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#542324 12/20/21 09:17 AM
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So I just started feeding the fish in the small lake behind my house this summer and I’m amazed at how much they grew even with the “poor quality food” that I was feeding them (I bought a bag of Sportmans feed at Tractor Supply because I didn’t know how things would work out). My understanding *now* is that since this is a grain based protein feed - it may not be the best for my bream. Now that I have had some success, I’m ready to buy some better food. I’ve read several study results on here that seem to show that Optimal grows fish the fastest, but Aquamax 500 doesn’t seem to be too far behind the Optimal... I can get 40lbs of Optimal for $55 or I can get 50lbs of AM500 for $50 so the Optimal costs 38% more per pound than the AM500. It doesn’t seem like fish convert 38% more of the Optimal into body weight vs the AM500. If both are considered equally healthy for the fish - it seems like for my situation AM500 makes more sense and I get more pounds of fish growth per dollar. Am I missing anything here? Is there another factor in this equation that I’m leaving out (or perhaps another feed option that is just as good as Optimal and AM500 that could be even cheaper)?

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Originally Posted by LTL
...Am I missing anything here? Is there another factor in this equation that I’m leaving out (or perhaps another feed option that is just as good as Optimal and AM500 that could be even cheaper)?

Nope, Purina and Optimal are probably going to be the best readily available options. I feed Cargill because it's easy for me to get, but expensive if you have it shipped.


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What is the specific type of Cargill feed that you use and where do you get it at? (If I understand correctly - that Sportman’s feed is made by Cargill also isn’t it...?)

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Originally Posted by LTL
So I just started feeding the fish in the small lake behind my house this summer and I’m amazed at how much they grew even with the “poor quality food” that I was feeding them (I bought a bag of Sportmans feed at Tractor Supply because I didn’t know how things would work out). My understanding *now* is that since this is a grain based protein feed - it may not be the best for my bream. Now that I have had some success, I’m ready to buy some better food. I’ve read several study results on here that seem to show that Optimal grows fish the fastest, but Aquamax 500 doesn’t seem to be too far behind the Optimal... I can get 40lbs of Optimal for $55 or I can get 50lbs of AM500 for $50 so the Optimal costs 38% more per pound than the AM500. It doesn’t seem like fish convert 38% more of the Optimal into body weight vs the AM500. If both are considered equally healthy for the fish - it seems like for my situation AM500 makes more sense and I get more pounds of fish growth per dollar. Am I missing anything here? Is there another factor in this equation that I’m leaving out (or perhaps another feed option that is just as good as Optimal and AM500 that could be even cheaper)?

Did you also take into consideration the amount of "pass through" of food that contributes to growing algae/plants, etc. that you have to treat in the pond? I truly believe that Optimal is cheaper per pound when looking at the bottom line numbers. When you break that fish weight down into fat and muscle mass, Optimal wins - less fat around the liver, etc.

Also, what does it cost you to drive to pick up the Aquamax feed?

Last edited by esshup; 12/20/21 01:29 PM.

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Originally Posted by LTL
What is the specific type of Cargill feed that you use and where do you get it at? (If I understand correctly - that Sportman’s feed is made by Cargill also isn’t it...?)

I feed Cargill Triton, which is their aquaculture line. The numbers are similar to Purina and Optimal, but availability is sketchy. Several of the TX/LA forum members use it since it's easy for us to get down here. Currently, walk up price is 90 cents a pound.

Yes, Cargill manufactures Sportsman Choice, but the numbers are much lower, and the price is too. Personally, I'd steer clear of it if possible.


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Esshup - I did mentally take that into account, however, since this is a 20+ acre BOW, it has never had any issues like that, it could probably use a few extra nutrients, and I’m not doing this on a massive scale - I figured that the result was inconsequential for my situation. For a small pond, I understand how this could be something to consider. Although I don’t eat fish (isn’t that ironic...), I don’t want to grow unhealthy fish - so are you saying that the AM500 could/would lead to more fat around the liver resulting in unhealthy fish? Just seeking to understand. It seems like I had heard that about the grain based feeds which is one reason that I wanted to change.

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Oh - and about the Aquamax - it looks like I can have it delivered to a local Tractor Supply for pick-up which isn’t too far away (maybe 6-7 miles) so there isn’t much cost to that.

Last edited by LTL; 12/20/21 02:14 PM.
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I am finishing up a Optimal fish food test that puts it against a few brands of what it really takes to gain weight on a fish. Food Conversion Rates will be shown. Should be finished out in the upcoming week.


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Awesome - do you already have a thread out there that you will be putting the results in or will you be starting one?

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I will start a new thread on all test.


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I have been getting Aquamax delivered free from tractor supply. When they run there free shipping 70.00 and above I stock up. My fish are growing beautifully on the 500 I prefer the 400 while fish are young but it went up in price.

Sunfish are getting thick and the HSB growing fast. My young channel cats won’t eat the sportsman choice if they detect the Aquamax. Simply swim past it and the BG spit it out like it’s cardboard. Optimal is a fine fish feed but the Aquamax is more economical at this point but I don’t think you can go wrong with either feed.

I am growing out a handful of pacu who hit the Aquamax so hard they throw it out of the pool.

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Piranha without teeth

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Buddy of mine used to have pacu in his big aquarium. He feed them hot dog wieners. Whole ones.


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I have fed my fair share of hot dogs. They have an interesting ability to eat things other fish wouldn’t touch. They’ll even eat whole carrots. But as big as they get they absolutely love them some Aquamax.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

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Originally Posted by That One Guy
I have fed my fair share of hot dogs. They have an interesting ability to eat things other fish wouldn’t touch. They’ll even eat whole carrots. But as big as they get they absolutely love them some Aquamax.

So we finally learn the truth ...

it was the lowly pacu fish that was the inspiration for Pacman!

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One thing to keep in mind is that prices may vary a lot even for the exact same food. In Marshall, Texas the feed costs roughly 10 to 15 percent less than in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Last edited by anthropic; 12/21/21 08:08 PM.

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I’ve fed a lot of different feeds. I’m now on Optimal and the fish like it. I had a couple of bags that had, I assume, been exposed to moisture. There were some clumps that stopped the feeder. I called Optimal and explained the problem. No sweat, more was on the way to me. I got it in no more than 3 days. That’s customer service that I didn’t get from Purina.


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.

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Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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Moisture is the enemy, I've had similar experience. Even had hard rain penetrate the feeder & had to do a duct tape fix.


7ac 2015 CNBG RES FHM 2016 TP FLMB 2017 NLMB GSH L 2018 TP & 70 HSB PK 2019 TP RBT 2020 TFS TP 25 HSB & 250 F1,L,RBT -206 2021 TFS TP GSH L,-312 2022 GSH TP CR TFS -116




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Snakebite - I haven't seen your study on feed conversion rates yet... I've been eagerly awaiting it!
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Originally Posted by LTL
Snakebite - I haven't seen your study on feed conversion rates yet... I've been eagerly awaiting it!
LL
I`ll post a thread soon. Everything is finished with the study. Just taking a minute to get all the photos and videos in order.


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I went ahead and got my AM500 so I’m excited to see how my fish grow this year. It took me awhile to get the fish “feed trained” last year (the first time they were ever fed...), but I’m hoping that they they remember things this year. When should I start trying? I believe the water temp is right around 60 degrees a couple of feet below the surface.

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I remember every restaurant where I got an excellent meal last year.

Your fish probably have better memories than I do. I suspect they are going to be very happy to see their favorite restaurant has re-opened this spring!

The best way to find out the right temperature is to experiment on your own fish. Toss out a little now and see who comes for dinner.

Several people on the forum have already reported feeding activity this year in ponds with colder water temperatures than yours. However, I am sure species and specific pond conditions do matter.

Good luck, and I hope you soon have happy (and growing) fish!

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Ok - I opened the bag and did a test feeding and some came up to eat so at least some of them remembered, but I was a little surprised by how small the pellets were (AM500, 3/16”). The smaller pellets work out great for my smaller fish, but are they too small for my larger sunfish (10” and larger)? I can get a bag of larger feed to mix with it, but I’m not sure if I will use 2 bags quickly enough for it to stay good. What is the shelf life on an opened bag?

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I doubt that they are too small for larger fish. Heck, they just keep eating. And, unlike natural prey, it takes very little energy to eat more pellets


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.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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Quote
I can get a bag of larger feed to mix with it, but I’m not sure if I will use 2 bags quickly enough for it to stay good. What is the shelf life on an opened bag?
Shelf life of pellet food somewhat depends a lot on the purpose of the food. If food is just for feeding free roaming pond fish then it could be good for 2 years because the pellets are just supplemental nutrition for the fish. As long as the pellets stay dry and do not gather a light gray color due to mold then they should be okay to feed to the free ranging pond fish. Generally any minor nutrient deterioration in the feed can be compensated by the fish feeding on natural foods in the pond. Real old fish pellets could over several years could become rancid due the fat content in the pellets. For longer term storage of high quality very high protein pellets I store them in a secondary refrigerator or freezer.

However if the pellet food is for fish who are solely dependent on pellets for all their health and vitality such as those confined in a tank, aquaculture or cage then the vitamin component nutrition becomes a more important factor and shelf life would be close to one year. Usually the first component to degrade in fish pellets is the vitamin C that is fairly stable.


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