Physical Properties of Quality Fish Feed
A significant difference between feeding fish and land animals is that once fish have been fed in excess, the leftover cannot be retrieved from the pond water, unless when fed with extruded or floating pellets.
Even though in the case of land animals, the excess feed can be retrieved because they are fed in containers, but even land animals encounter problems when too many fines are in their feed.
Too many fines in fish feed would make the fish unable to eat all the feeds and obtain the required nutrients needed for growth, as the feeds would dissolve and disintegrate before being consumed.
Consequently, this would result in a greater risk of poor water quality and poor growth performance.
Factually, the higher the feed quality used, the less feed wastage, and the easier the pond water quality management. As it is proven that the better the water quality, the greater the pond carrying capacity and the faster the growth performance of the fish.
Therefore, below are some physical properties of good and quality foreign and local feeds.
1. Feed ingredients used should be finely ground: The pellets would have uniform color and morsels of maize/corn or any other ingredient should not be distinguishable.
2.No fines or dust in the feed: Much fine/dust on the feed would eventually be wasted in form of powder floating on the water’s surface. Though Tilapia spp may eventually consume this powder bigger catfish would not.
3. The firmness of pellets: The pellets should be firm with water stability of at least 20 – 30/40 minutes. The pellet’s water stability is the time taken for the pellet to fall apart in water. Gelatinized edible starch or any good feed binder added during the mixing of the ingredients helps to bind the pellets together.
4. Uniformity and correctness of feed size: The feeds should be molded to a uniform size and of the correct size of the fish stage/size of which the feeds are being produced. This is done adequately so the fish can swallow the pellets. A size of about one-quarter (¼) of the diameter of the fish mouth is advised.
5. Feed palatability: The feed should be formulated to be palatable to the fish with a good smell, feel, and taste (fishlike smell). This is strongly advised as fish would always vomit or only slowly consume feed that is not palatable to them.