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Thread: sinking food

  1. #1
    Tategoi Louie's Avatar
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    Smile sinking food

    I would like your imput on sinking food [pellets] Is it better to use during the growing season or makes no differance. would you buy it ? years ago it was available here in the USA . most folks like the fish to come up to feed, good way to check them out [ health ] In Japan they use alot of sinking food and floating pellets why ?
    Louie

  2. #2
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    I like to feed my koi in growing seasons several times a day. one of the feeding is always sinking. because there are those koi not as competitive on the top. Also i live close to a river where herons frequent and if they start stopping by I switch to feeding sinking toi keep the koi from scourering the edge looking for morsels that floated into shore.


    in my experience with mud ponds, they often stir up the bottom feeding so that the water is cloudy and floating food harder to see. Sinking works great, feeding in same spot and time to develop a routine. predation in mud ponds is always a concern so the food is tossed in several feet from shore so the depth covers their feeding activity and all you can see is rolling clouds of mud...
    Dick Benbow

  3. #3
    Tategoi
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    Because in Japan their kois are in mud ponds and there are alot of predators so the kois tend not to come up to the surface to feed. Breeders use both sinking and floating food to feed, they mix the feeds to allow even feeding.

    Because when they feed all the kois tend to come together to feed, if you only feed floating koi food the stronger and bigger kois will push the smaller and weaker out of the way for food. But if you feed a mixture of floating and sinking pellets some of the kois will feed on the surface while some will feed on sinking pellets.

  4. #4
    Tategoi Louie's Avatar
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    I recentlly talked to a breeder from japan and he told me they use 60% sinking at 40% protien during growing season. He also said that it is better for confirmation when the head is faceing down when they eat. he touched his chest as if to show me where the improvement is.
    What I also found interesting was they use medium size floating pellets [ sinking food still on the menue ] on large fish . he said it gives the slow eaters a better chance of getting enough food and it makes them work for their food. I had many ?`s but not much time . Some of the things he told I will not get into because I have enough just trying to get more imput from everyone on sinking food Dick do you use the slow sinking from Ziegler or from some other source and what is the protien % ?
    Thanks, Louie

  5. #5
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    There are a variety of sinking foods designed for koi available in Japan, but not much in the U.S. I have tried several, but keep going back to Hikari sinking wheatgerm. I have found slow-sinking types unsatisfactory for my purposes. Many sinking foods break apart after a few minutes. These seem to produce copious amounts of only partially digested waste, so water quality is affected. Some have the fat content primarily from oil sprayed on the outside of the pellet in the final stages of production (so not heated), which results in a great deal of it forming an oil slick on the pond surface and not getting consumed. Last year when I wanted to increase protein levels, I soaked Hi-Silk in water/orange juice until soft (10+ minutes) and then smashed the pellets individually so they would sink. The koi loved them, but it was very tiring and time-consuming.

    My favorite high protein sinking food was one Ray Abell was selling imported from Japan about 7 or so years ago. It was not sufficiently popular, so he switched to floating. Blackwater came out with a sinking version of their 'gold' pellet a couple of years ago, but sales were too weak to continue production. U.S. koikeepers like to see their koi at the surface in unnnatural feeding postures. The producers stick to what sells in the mass market, and thereby keep production costs per pound low. If a 10,000 pound production run cannot be sold in short order, the producer has a whole set of business problems, not the least of which is dealing with storage of a 'custom' product.

    I would love to have a range of sinking foods available, other than trout chows and such. Sinking Saki Hikari would be wonderful! (And I also really want the Saki Hikari large floating pellet which is readily available in Asia, but not in the U.S.) I try about everything that comes along, but keep going back to Hikari sinking wheatgerm as the best overall sinking pellet on the market in the U.S. Unfortunately, it does not come in a high-protein version for growth season use. So, I end up using it as more of a staple food, and use high-protein floating pellets as well during the growing season.

    If you find a quality sinking pellet intended for koi, let me know. I'd definitely give it a try.

  6. #6
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    BTW, we are always looking at the labels for nutrient content. Any guesses how accurate those labels are?... And, how does the nutrient content change after 5 minutes in the water?

    Oh well, we can only work with what we have, even if not particularly reliable.

  7. #7
    Daihonmei
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    Koi are BUILT a certain way and lead a 'life style' that is sometimes called scavenging! (how rude!) LOLs

    So with a mouth facing downward and a back bone that bows downward towards the the head and the nose.
    The metabolism is geared towards an omnivorous diet of live and dead animal protein and decaying and live vegetable matter as well as micro organisms and bacteria.

    So sinking pellets in a mud pond are EXACTLY the right delivery system for a bottom feeder! Lots of skill at finding the pellet, less risk of predation in deep water and more comfortable for the fish (ever see how awkward looking koi are finding floating pellets?).

    Having said all that, let’s talk 'practical'. In a concrete pond with bowed floors and active sucking bottom drains, has the advantage of bottom food been undermined? You bet!
    Floating pellets allow us to interact with our koi. And also to inspect our koi for feeding habits/interest. Also allowing for physical exam of the koi schools bodies for signs of infection or irritation.
    All in, the ingredients are the same and the fish certainly are eager to eat both! So I'll stick with the floaters. JR

  8. #8
    Honmei
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    As previously mentioned, many of the positive factors of sinking food are underminded in closed loop, recirculating systems. While the typical saying is to feed as much as the koi will eat in 5 minutes, sinking solids tend to be flushed to my bottom drains in well under a minute (a desired system charachteristic for me). Thus, sinking food produces a much higher waste in food itself (not feces) in my sysem design. Floating pellets are far easier controlled in this manner since my skimmers are single point of suction requiring longer periods for floating solids to reach such. This and the fact that skimmers are far easier to control during feeding if necessary.

    I'll stick with the floating pellets for this and the reasons JR pointed out as well.
    The views presented are my personal views and not that of any organization that I may belong to unless otherwise specified. [email protected]
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  9. #9
    Oyagoi
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    Yall missin' the point......

    Fish farmers like sinking pellets because THEY ARE CHEAP. The manufacturing process does not involve extrusion as with floating pellets.

    The extruder is the most expensive part of the feed mill that makes floating pellets. Sinking feed is made in a pellet mill. You can get a nice pellet mill for around $50K, an extruder costs $millions.

    The energy cost for making sinking pellets is also a lot lower, however, some ingredients that are to be run in a pellet mill must be pre-cooked, unlike an extruder, a pelletizer does not cook the pellet.

    The 60/40 mix of sinking/floating pellets is widely used on fish farms around the world in an attempt to both "see your fish eat" and "save on feed costs." Matters not if the culture animal is a koi, tilapia or catfish.

    As a general rule, floating pellets are a lot more digestible than sinking pellets, but that is also a factor of the ingredients.

    At least as far as koi are concerned, when feeding floating pellets, the smaller pellet size is a lot more digestible than the larger ones, hence the widespread use of smaller, rather than larger pellets. But, in extruded feeds, pellet size also drives cost. The very small pellets are very expensive because they take longer to make, and one of the biggest costs in feed manufacturing is "mill time." 1mm or smaller pellets costs a fortune. I can't begin to imagine how much those teeny (smaller than 1/2 mm) Hikari pellets cost. They are perfectly milled, nicely colored, and would be great for feeding very small koi, but the cost......

    One of the dangers in using sinking pellets is that you do not see your fish eat (at least in mud ponds) and can over or under feed, plus the "behavior" aspect of their feeding is hidden, and you do not get the typical clues that something might be going wrong.

    OTOH, in mud ponds, sinking feeds help protect the fish from avian predators while feeding.

    Bee awhile, but back when "things were still good" I looked into manufacturing feeds, even came close to purchasing the old "Grand Champion" feed name. Thing is, you havta make 6 tons of the same recipe and pellet size, so each change in pellet size or ingredients means another 6 ton run of feed. That is a lot of money at one time and a lot of cold storage or alternatively a strong and fast sales effort. Shelf life of extruded feeds is short in a hot, moist climate like here.

    'Course I could make the feed on borrowed money, store it in the living room at home, and sell it out of the front drive. Probly make a fortune.
    Brett

  10. #10
    Oyagoi HEADACHE6's Avatar
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    I read somewhere about how the Japanese Breeders fed Sinking Food in their Mud Ponds, I was really caught of guard by this.

    I feed a Sinking Food at least once a day and will continue to do so. I've watched from my window my Koi searching for that last sinking pellet an hour after feeding. Work those muscles Girls !

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