Tetramin Flake Fish Food -- A Product Review: Tetra Min for Tropical Fish and Goldfish Reviewed

Endlers Livebearers
Endlers Livebearers | Source

Over the course of about 15 years, I have had the pleasure of raising nearly every type of freshwater fish that comes to mind. My fish room has included all manner of barbs, bettas, angelfish, goldfish, corydoras, tons of livebearers, apple snails, and many more. For several years now, I have been considered the “local fish expert” in my community, as well as several online communities dedicated to tropical fish.

The Basics of Feeding Fish


TetraMin Tropical Flakes: The Rich Mix is the primary fish food I used when I first started with fish, and to this day I still use it for one of the daily feedings for a number of my tanks. While fish are opportunistic eaters and have a metabolism that will allow them to go days or even weeks without eating, they grow and thrive best on at least two small feedings each day. Remember, any healthy fish will act hungry, this does not mean that they need more food. Give the fish about what they will eat within 2-3 minutes for each of their feedings. If a lot of uneaten food sinks to the bottom, cut back.

The second most important rule for feeding fish is that there is no single food that will provide for all of their needs, they must have a variety for complete health. I generally rotate my fish’s feeding schedules around TetraMin, Pro Gold, Tropi-Color, Tropi-Blend, Wardley shrimp pellets, Salad Supreme wafers (or Wardley algae wafers in a pinch), spirulina flakes, live food (micro-worms, grindel worms, moina, baby brine shrimp etc.) and my own homemade “cookies.” Every day generally consists of live food for one feeding, then a higher-quality food such as the Pro Gold, Tropi-Color, or Tropi-Blend, and then an average store-bought filler such as Wardley and TetraMin. The average at-home aquarium hobbyist does not need to go this far in feeding their fish, but a varied diet with two or three different types of food is essential.

TetraMin Flake Facts


TetraMin Tropical Flakes are approximately aspirin-sized multi-colored flakes. The flakes have fish meal as their first ingredient, so they do smell a bit fishy – and if you’re used to top brands and their “shrimp dinner” smell, the odor will seem a bit stale. While the flakes will not harm bottom-dwellers such as corydoras, loaches, or Chinese algae eaters, these types of fish may do better with a sinking pellet (such as the Wardley shrimp pellets) simply because it gives them better access to the food without the top-dwellers eating it all.

Ingredients


Fish meal, dried yeast, ground brown rice, shrimp meal, wheat gluten, potato protein, feeding oat meal, dehulled soybean meal, fish oil, soybean oil, algae meal, sorbitol, lecithin, ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C), inositol, niacin, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, riboflavin-5-phosphate, A-tocopherol-acetate (source of vitamin E), D-calcium pentothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin A palmitate, menadione sodium bisulfate complex, cyanocobalamin, cholecalciferol, and colors blue 2 lake, red 3 dye, yellow 5 lake, yellow 6 lake, ethoxyquin as a preservative.

Feeding Guide (as printed on the jar)


For best results, feed in conjunction with TetraMin granules and tablets, feed two to three times daily only as much as your fish can consume within several minutes. See store for details.

Guaranteed Analysis


Minimum Crude Protein 46%
Minimum Crude Fat 8%
Minimum Crude Fiber 2%
Maximum Moisture 6%
Minimum Phosphorus 1.3%
Minimum Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C) 193 mg/kg

Pros and Cons


My favorite thing about TetraMin flakes is that, unlike almost all store-bought fish foods, is that even my spoiled fish will eat it. It’s available at pretty much every pet store, and at department stores such as Wal-Mart starting as low as about $2 per can, depending on the size. It is sufficient to keep average community fish alive and relatively healthy on its own but, again, to thrive to their fullest extent they should have a variety. These flakes do not cloud the water if fed properly.

Personally, I don’t like flake food very much. Fish have to expend a lot of energy just to get the minimum food value out of these flakes, and the time it takes to eat them opens up opportunities for slightly more rambunctious fish to get more than their share at the expense of the slower fish. On the other hand, sinking pellets make it easy for a fish to get the necessary nutrition with minimal competition from their tank mates.

I only feed TetraMin once a day to keep costs down, but otherwise it has way too many fillers for my preferences. While fillers don’t matter to most fish hobbyists, it’s about the difference between feeding your dog Purina as opposed to the much-touted raw food diet. This fish food is just fine for those who don’t mind the Purina of the fish world.

The next problem is ethoxyquin; ethoxyquin has proven in lab tests to cause cancer in rats. Since it can’t be approved for human consumption, it’s still used in a lot of pet food such as fish food, bird food, and very cheap brands of cat and dog food. Maybe they just think the shorter-lived critters won’t be around long enough to get cancer? Because of this, ONLY my short-lived fish get TetraMin – for example, guppies. Goldfish have a life expectancy of 15-30 years, tetras have an expectancy of 12 years or better and the same for angelfish and plecostamus, so they all get the higher-quality food that does not include this preservative.

In short, if your only access to fish food is Wal-Mart, then the Tetra line of fish food is the way to go. If your priority is the long-term health of your fish, then I strongly suggest ordering a higher-quality food. Many pet stores will carry Omega One or Hikari, both better brands. My personal preference, by far, is for the food from The Goldfish Connection (i.e. Pro Gold, Salad Supreme, Tropi-Blend, and Tropi-Color), which is a bit more expensive and much less available, but worth every penny.

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Comments 2 comments

e winters 6 years ago

every ime I feed tetra flakes my 55 ga is overrun with tiny spiral shaped snails??? is that expected??


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wychic 6 years ago from Sheridan, Wyoming Author

The snails are normal, but they're not connected to the flakes :). They're called physids, and they hitchhike in on live plants, any gravel or decorations that might have been used in another tank, some live aquatic creatures such as apple snails, and sometimes even in a bag from the pet store if the person catching new fish happened to scrape the aquarium at a spot where eggs were laid. In addition, if the aquarium has been used previously then there may have still been egg masses in there, they're really tough to kill. Depending on your current fish, there are several types of fish that will eat these snails but some are aggressive. Botia loaches (such as a clown loach) are probably the most popular, but many types of these get pretty big and will eat whatever will fit in their mouths, so be careful on the selection if you have smaller fish. Hope this helps! Note to self...must get that hub written on snail-eating fish :).

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