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I have three functioning TH feeders on my BOW, spaced far apart. Sometimes I fill them with AquaMax, sometimes Optimal. Fish seem to love both about equally, so far as I can tell.

So the thought struck, why not pit one against the other? AM in one or two, Optimal in one or two. Observe fish feeding activity, and take creel surveys to see which area seems to do best. Heck, maybe even do a professional electrosurvey next fall for most reliable data!

Anybody tried this? If so, what were your results?

Last edited by anthropic; 09/25/19 09:17 PM.

8ac, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17,L, 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18. 100# TP 4/19, 200# RBT 12/19, 10k TFS 3/20, 100#TP 5/20, 25 HSB & 250 F1 9/20,L,180# RBT 12/20, 206, 7k TFS,100#TP 5/21, 225



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This will be a great experiment to compare relative weights and color of the fish caught in their respective areas. Iím going to guess that one wonít noticeably be Ďlikedí more than the other. I think what will happen is the fish that are around the AM will develop an affinity for the AM shape smell and flavor and vice versa for the Optimal. But thatís just a wild guess on my part.


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I think there's a whole lot more to this than fish size and color over 1 year's time.
How about fish longevity, liver function, overall health long-term, effects of feed on water quality, etc..????
Not to be a party pooper but I feel the end goals are far more complex than what meets the eye.

Last edited by Snipe; 09/25/19 11:02 PM. Reason: spelling
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Originally Posted By: anthropic
I have three functioning TH feeders on my BOW, spaced far apart. Sometimes I fill them with AquaMax, sometimes Optimal. Fish seem to love both about equally, so far as I can tell.

So the thought struck, why not pit one against the other? AM in one or two, Optimal in one or two. Observe fish feeding activity, and take creel surveys to see which area seems to do best. Heck, maybe even do a professional electrosurvey next fall for most reliable data!

Anybody tried this? If so, what were your results?


In addition to Snipe's concerns, there is the added complication that the feeders are spatially separated. The habitat and natural foods may not be equivalent at the different location. It could be that any favorable differences (particularly like those Snipe pointed out) are sourced to natural foods and not the feed at all. To be good science, there must be better control. For example:

1. Selecting equivalent numbers of equivalent sized fish.

2. Place them in cages in near proximity to limit natural food effects.

3. Feed them equivalently both in the weight of food but also in the size of pellets.

These treatment controls allow for a fairer comparison of the two feeds although even these are impractical for the multiyear and water quality effects that Snipe mentions.

Just as an aside. Were I feeding, I would favor a feed that produced lower RW fish of equivalent or greater gain. By this I mean that I would be more interested in producing lengthy frames than girth and I might even prefer a feed that produced less weight gain particularly when the length attribute is favorable and the relative cost/gain remains reasonable.

Last edited by jpsdad; 09/26/19 03:01 AM.

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I have 3 TH feeders and I have used Cargills, Optimal and Aquamax MVP. I now use the MVP because I have easy access to it and I no longer have to store fish food. Mice really like that stuff. What I have seen is one feeder holds more of the larger sized bg. I am sure it is because of waters depth and it's next to a larger sunken sweetgum tree. All of the feeders keep some large bg but the one mentioned keeps more of them around. My point is location of the feeders have a lot to do with the sized fish that hang around them. While hand feeding the hsb and feed trained lmb yesterday at the same feeder I was thinking there are a lot of big BG hanging out here. I am not sure how big the largest ones are but I think they are the largest bg I have ever seen with the exception of some I have herd about here.


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Originally Posted By: Snipe
I think there's a whole lot more to this than fish size and color over 1 year's time.
How about fish longevity, liver function, overall health long-term, effects of feed on water quality, etc..????
Not to be a party pooper but I feel the end goals are far more complex than what meets the eye.


You're right, Snipe. I am taking a shortcut due to lack of time & money to really do this properly, hence the "sloppy test". May prove absolutely nothing, but should be interesting anyhow.


8ac, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17,L, 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18. 100# TP 4/19, 200# RBT 12/19, 10k TFS 3/20, 100#TP 5/20, 25 HSB & 250 F1 9/20,L,180# RBT 12/20, 206, 7k TFS,100#TP 5/21, 225



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tracy, jpsdad, and NEDOC, thanks for the input. Location really does matter, especially cover near the feeder. Weeds & sunken brush around dock make that feeder the most successful in generating CNBG growth and attracting LMB, HSB and even a few TP. Also, as it is easy to access, that's where I usually hand throw larger feed once or twice a week.

Knowing the peculiarities of my feeder locales is important to my assessment of the results. One is on the dock, one is at the corner of the dam, and one is near a large spawning area.

I have not yet gotten any AM MVP from the local Purina store, just AM Sportsfish chow. Hopefully they will order MVP if I ask, as it is much more comparable to Optimal BG feed. AM is considerably cheaper, roughly 20-25 percent less per lb.

Last edited by anthropic; 09/26/19 07:36 AM.

8ac, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17,L, 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18. 100# TP 4/19, 200# RBT 12/19, 10k TFS 3/20, 100#TP 5/20, 25 HSB & 250 F1 9/20,L,180# RBT 12/20, 206, 7k TFS,100#TP 5/21, 225



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I am currently testing a variety of foods from Optimal at my pond which makes me think alot about the variables involved. It's pretty mind boggling.

Thus far, all the experimental food samples have all been approximately 4-5 mm round pellets and have mostly yielded less enthusiasm compared to the control feed (Opt BG pond feed - 4.5 mm by varying lengths). I certainly do not know the ingredient differences, but it seems that size and shape MAY be a big factor. I say this without anything more than limited visual observations, but it would appear that the HSB tend to prefer the larger bits of the BG feed and when it is switched to the experimental feeds of smaller sizes...it takes the HSB a little longer to actively start feeding.

I know JPS mentioned size of pellets already...I'm just throwing in my recent observations regarding the same.


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For a DIY experiment, I would be tempted to switch the feeds back and forth every few days over the course of a full season and observe and record the activity. You would have to establish a 1-10 scale, up front, knowing that you can maintain some consistency. I think this approach would allow the fish to become accustomed to both feed's differences and performing the tests over the course of a summer might allow environmental changes to be averaged out. In the end you would have a number rating for both feeds based on enthusiasm alone.

Not very scientific, but you could establish whether the fish like Prime Rib or Filet Mignon.


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Study design and methods will depend on one goals of the study. What hypothesis or question are we trying to prove or answer. 'anthropic' does have the qualifier of "sloppy test" in his title. However all the suggestions provided are very helpful for those interested in comparing two brands of fish food.


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Originally Posted By: anthropic
Originally Posted By: Snipe
I think there's a whole lot more to this than fish size and color over 1 year's time.
How about fish longevity, liver function, overall health long-term, effects of feed on water quality, etc..????
Not to be a party pooper but I feel the end goals are far more complex than what meets the eye.


You're right, Snipe. I am taking a shortcut due to lack of time & money to really do this properly, hence the "sloppy test". May prove absolutely nothing, but should be interesting anyhow.


I didn't mean to deter you from trying this.. I had my own intent of what I would expect while typing that out.
There's always something to learn on anything we do and yes, it'll be interesting.
My thought was if one feed grows fish to 12" in one year, the other grows them to 10", etc., my question would be will fish 1 die in 3 yrs and fish 2 lives 7 and grows twice the size??
We don't know unless we try different things so continue on!
My foot fits quite well in my mouth. :-))

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I too have fed several types of both Optimal and Aquamax. As far as activity I couldn't tell a difference. I have switched from using Optimal to MVP. I can't tell any difference other than cost are a lot less. These feeds are really hard to compare because there are so many variables.


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Looking at the labeling of both those feeds, there is a lot of nitrogen and phosphorous in both, especially the Aquamax.


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Joey, that's a good point. Uneaten feed becomes fertilizer, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on your BOW. But it's an expensive way to fertilize!

Last edited by anthropic; 09/26/19 03:04 PM.

8ac, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17,L, 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18. 100# TP 4/19, 200# RBT 12/19, 10k TFS 3/20, 100#TP 5/20, 25 HSB & 250 F1 9/20,L,180# RBT 12/20, 206, 7k TFS,100#TP 5/21, 225



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Originally Posted By: Quarter Acre
I am currently testing a variety of foods from Optimal at my pond which makes me think alot about the variables involved. It's pretty mind boggling.

Thus far, all the experimental food samples have all been approximately 4-5 mm round pellets and have mostly yielded less enthusiasm compared to the control feed (Opt BG pond feed - 4.5 mm by varying lengths). I certainly do not know the ingredient differences, but it seems that size and shape MAY be a big factor. I say this without anything more than limited visual observations, but it would appear that the HSB tend to prefer the larger bits of the BG feed and when it is switched to the experimental feeds of smaller sizes...it takes the HSB a little longer to actively start feeding.

I know JPS mentioned size of pellets already...I'm just throwing in my recent observations regarding the same.


Noel, that's been my observation as well. Really big CNBG will take LMB size feed with enthusiasm, as do LMB and HSB. Giant hand thrown 1 inch feed drives HSB and LMB berserk, so much so that I fear they will bruise each other from collisions. Big CNBG will try the 1 inch feed, but mostly can't fit it in their mouth.


8ac, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17,L, 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18. 100# TP 4/19, 200# RBT 12/19, 10k TFS 3/20, 100#TP 5/20, 25 HSB & 250 F1 9/20,L,180# RBT 12/20, 206, 7k TFS,100#TP 5/21, 225



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I have caught 3 lmb that were blind in one eye. I think it's due to feeding the large pellets to the feed trained lmb and hsb who attack the Purina lmb feed so aggressively. I removed these blind lmb from the pond because I felt like they would or might be slow growing even though all of them were in the 3 lb range and 16" fish. RW were good. I now throw the pellets out more to spread the feeding fish apart from each other. Not sure if it will make any difference because they feed so aggressively.

Last edited by TGW1; 09/28/19 06:23 AM.

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That's really interesting, Tracy. I try to spread out the big hand thrown feed too, though not sure it reduces the frequency & violence of collisions.

Wonder if there's been any studies on how to minimize this problem? I get the impression that it is worse now with HSB in my pond, though I love having them!


8ac, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17,L, 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18. 100# TP 4/19, 200# RBT 12/19, 10k TFS 3/20, 100#TP 5/20, 25 HSB & 250 F1 9/20,L,180# RBT 12/20, 206, 7k TFS,100#TP 5/21, 225



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Last year Optimal offered PB members the chance to do some feeding trials and comparisons using Optimal Fish food. Hopefully those members that took advantage of this offer now have some results to report. Hopefully Optimal will also report the results. I would like to see Optimal provide a list of PB members that agreed to participate and the design of each participants study.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 09/28/19 09:59 AM.

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