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#486629 02/26/18 11:36 PM
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I've got a half a bag of Optimal left from last year. How quickly does it degrade? Is it shot? Or should I go ahead and use it?


J Waters
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Im not an expert, but as long as it has been kept dry and there are no signs of bugs or mold I would use it.


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So would i


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

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Yep, cool and dry is the way to go. If I've got multiple bags, I put them on a pallet so floor condensation doesn't become a problem.


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Ok. I'll go ahead and use it. It was in an unheated garage - cool and dry. I had heard or read that the protein degrades to lower levels over time, but I'm pretty sure the fish will be hungry once the ice is gone.


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I would toss it. Fatty acids and especially vitamins are what break down with most effect. My preference is to use feed within 90 days of manufacture and going that long only if not opened in a cool dry location without sun exposure.


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Optimal food site recommends using within 6 months. If you just have half a bag might not be worth messing with it. Others that store multiple bags I could see still using even after 6 months if it stored correctly and no signs of mold /moisture etc....

However I am no expert on what Jim states on the fatty acid and vitamin breakdown....are those essentially gone after 90 days after production?


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I'll just get a fresh bag when things warm up and keep the old stuff for kids and guests to throw by hand outside the normal time/place of the regular feedings. It's still got to be better than breadcrumbs, right?


J Waters
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I asked the same question to Optimal. THey said it would be fine with very limited degradation of feed.


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Kept as it has been, your feed certainly could be fed supplementally. It can't be completely destroyed by a few months of proper storage.

Maybe try a test for curiosity's sake. Throw a handful of the older feed "over here" and a handful of the fresh stuff "over there" and watch for a difference in fish preference. This wouldn't be any sort of a clinical trial, just something to observe.

Many organisms chose more nourishing food items over less nutritious stuff. An example I can think of is mule deer selectively browsing on specific sagebrush plants and not eating other sagebrush right alongside the favored ones. Nutritional analyses of the side by side plants have shown the favored ones to offer better value. Isn't nature wonderful?

Many species do not, of course, demonstrate that selectivity. Look at humans' propensity for eating junk food over more appropriate stuff.

You might have something to then post on the thread about "what I did at my pond today".

Anyway, I'd be interested in reading your observations. I imagine others here would be too.

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Good call. I can share my experiences this spring for other's sake. I doubt I'm the first or last person to have some leftovers.


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Unless J.W. meant that the vitamins turn into toxins when they start to breakdown then I can't imagine there would be a necessity to throw away food that has a few less vitamins. The stored fish food still has more advantages to the fish even with no vitamins compared to other fish foods. Just having fish based protein in the food makes it better than most of the grain based fish food that others are feeding.

It reminds me of the ridiculous labels on prescription drugs that say you should throw them away in a year. Next thing they are going to tell us that we should drain our fuel tanks if we don't use up the fuel in a week and buy fresh...

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Please use it. Stored and fairly sealed at room temperature and dry, it should stay fresh for at least six months, probably much longer. I have had left overs in spring, and could tell no difference in feeding.

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When I use a feed, my assumption is the feed contains all the nutrients in optimum amounts needed to support good growth. Feed that has been sitting around exposed to air (oxygen), moisture, heat, and /or light is going to experience chemical reactions between nutrients that preferentially degrade some. The unsaturated fatty acids and vitamins are most vulnerable to this process. If fish are also getting a good amount of nutrition from forages, then some degradation will not be an issue. In my setting I typically use feeds in ponds, cages and recirculating systems where degradation of nutrient quality does negatively impact growth in a measurable way. The harder you push the fish using feed, the more important the feed quality is.

To further pattern with something like Bluegill, when just supplementing the natural forage base, providing it with nutrients as a diet made for catfish works fine. As I push the Bluegill to grow faster with less dependence on the natural forages, then feeds with more protein, lipids and vitamins is sought.


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Thanks, Jim. Yours is a situation where specific nutritional goals must be met. It wouldn't be good science to vary the quality of the feed mid-experiment when striving for consistency.

Those of us supplementally feeding our charges can get away with more than you can, for sure.

I appreciate your sharing your wisdom in this thread.

Roger

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Thanks for all the responses and suggestions. Jim, those are great points, but I'm not feeding in a controlled or limited forage environment. I've got a "free choice" environment. If they don't like it they can wait for the feeder to go off next time around smile

I think the best point made is that partially degraded Optimal is still better than a lot of crap called fish food that I could go pick up at a farm store today.


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Originally Posted By: Dam'dWaters
Thanks for all the responses and suggestions. Jim, those are great points, but I'm not feeding in a controlled or limited forage environment. I've got a "free choice" environment. If they don't like it they can wait for the feeder to go off next time around smile

I think the best point made is that partially degraded Optimal is still better than a lot of crap called fish food that I could go pick up at a farm store today.


Keep this in context. On many occasions have had folks using very high end trout / salmon feeds at or beyond end of shelf life that supported less performance than a lower end feed (crap) fresh from the mill. The fish were not confined and fed only as a supplement. When both feeds are fresh, the higher feed is clearly better and maybe even so when serving as a supplement to natural forages.

Look at run dates on those feed sacks. Position on the crap scale is not always a function of brand.


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Originally Posted By: Jim Wetzel


To further pattern with something like Bluegill, when just supplementing the natural forage base, providing it with nutrients as a diet made for catfish works fine. As I push the Bluegill to grow faster with less dependence on the natural forages, then feeds with more protein, lipids and vitamins is sought.


All please note a very important and correct point made by Jim above. This Forum has members/readers of all types wrt feeding. From No feeding to various ranges of sup feeding to a high reliance on feeding - all types are present. There are many studies that stress that the biggest problem found in waters surveyed is the lack of adequate food for the fish present. In such cases even a small amount of supp feeding can make a difference. It is many times more energetically efficient especially in low resource circumstances. Even low end catfish food is much , much better than no feed. Its all about the situation , goals and options available to the manager.
















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I regret using the term "crap" in my earlier post. I meant no offense. I guess I elevate a few brands and their products above others based on many of the reviews and observations in this forum and other places. I can't even rely on my own experience yet as a relatively new pond owner. Most suggest that you can do better than the local farm fleet which isn't going to stock a quality 40%+ protein food (regardless of brand). That left me making assumptions.

As always, I appreciate the discussion and new knowledge that comes from you guys. Thanks Jim, Ewest, 4Cs, and others. What started as a simple inquiry has led to a much stronger understanding of what I'm introducing to my BOW.


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We all understood what you meant and no apologies are necessary. I have opened some feed sacks and said exactly that. Some feed is better than others for its intended purpose and upon the right conditions to meet specific goals. Its all about what is best for the pond/owner in question and the goals to be achieved. Knowledge is the power to achieve those goals. There is still much to be learned about feeding fish and we will all learn as we go forward.
















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I would guess 30 days with temps up to 115-130 degrees inside feeder in Texas heat would have more effect on feed than 4-5 winter months at 40-60 degrees inside a shop. Again that is an uneducated guess.


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That's a great point Brian. "Baking" feed in a metal box would surely have a great effect on it too. I'll try to keep my feeder 1/3 to 1/2 full in the summer after giving that some thought.

Heat must be more detrimental than time on this issue.


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I keep mine in the unheated garage too...it should be fine as stated above, if kept cool and dry. The shelf life of feed is some what of a joke, I worked at a feed company for a while...how you store it is much more important than how long you store it.


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When I buy feed pellets and mix it for the dock feeder, I always have open bags. I use food grade 5 gal. buckets with tight sealing lids for any excess I have. Whether it's an open or a full bag, I transport them to the buckets that way it keeps the feed dry and out of the reach of mice, rats....etc. that will be in the barn where it is stored. I use Cargill. It is a very oily pellet and will very seldom dry out in the 5 gal. pails. I would definitely use it, unless it had mold on it....


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I have fed leftover feed for the last two years and will be three here in a couple weeks. I actually try to have some left over as fish food is not always available early enough in the season to suit me in my neck of the woods, so the left over feed allows me to start at reduced levels early.

But..... when I quit feeding it is usually early December and the temperature is dropping so the feed stays cool till I start using it again in March. Plus I get it out of the bags and into sealed plastic barrels with lids in an open front shed (so exposed to cold ambient air temperatures but out of the weather).

The feed seems to in fine shape come spring, kept under my conditions.

Last edited by snrub; 03/01/18 08:45 PM.

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