Drs. Foster and Smith Algae Wafers Ingredients:
Fish Meal, Wheat, Rice Flour, Wheat Bran, Dehulled Soybean Meal, Wheat Germ Meal, Spirulina, Dicalcium Phosphate, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Carrot, Celery, Beet, Parsley, Lettuce, Water Cress, Spinach, Dried Brewer's Yeast, Soy Lecithin, Pea By-Product Meal, Dried Kelp, Shrimp Meal, Krill Meal, L-Lysine, Manganese Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Iron Proteinate, Cobalt Proteinate, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Supplement), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (source of Vitamin K Activity), Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, L-Ascorbyl- 2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Dl-Methionine and Artificial Color.
DOCTORS FOSTERandSMITH Algae Wafers Fish Food Ingredients Analysis
The primary ingredient is fish meal. We have no way of measuring the quality and nutritional value of the meal being used as the source is unknown. As a result, the quality and subsequent nutritional values are questionable. Use of fish meal, instead of “whole fish meal” indicates the primary ingredients are fish processing leftovers (scales, skin, bones,blood, internal organs) deemed unsuitable for human consumption.
The next 6 ingredients are fillers, including wheat products spilt into three separate ingredients. Combined, it is likely these replace fish meal as the primary ingredient.
Spirulina, listed as the 7th ingredient, is listed at its wet weight. Once dried, as it must be for inclusion into a dry fish food, its weight will be substantially reduced, making it a minor ingredient. Being the only "Algae" listed and being a minor ingredient, is troubling for a food labeled as an algae wafer.
Subsequent preferred plant based protein sources (Carrot, Celery, Beet, Parsley, Lettuce, Water Cress, Spinach) are each listed at their wet weight. Once dried, as they must be for inclusion into dry fish food, their weight will be substantially reduced, likely dropping their order in the ingredient list.
Dicalcium Phosphate is a calcium supplement commonly found in breakfast cereals. An inorganic calcium, it is added to fish food primarily as a binding agent to create a firmer pellet or wafer. Derived from bones, it also contains phosophorous and other minerals and can become toxic with the potential cause kidney stones. May contribute to soft tissue calcification. Its listed this high in an ingredient list is concerning.
Further preferred protein sources of Shrimp Meal and Krill Meal are listed too far down in the ingredient list to be considered as significant contributions to the overall protein content of the food.
Dl-Methionine listed as a supplement is a potential indication of low meat protein content.
This food contains each of the three least desired ingredients in fish food. Unlike other Doctors and Fosters Foods, no statement exists identifying an absence of Ethoxyquin while both “artificial colors” and Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (synthetic vitamin K) are listed as ingredients.
Oscarfish.Com Rating: 2 Star
The existence of Ethoxyquin, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite, and Artificial colors, in addition to the low preferred protein contents of the food, algae as a minor ingredient in an algae wafer, and excessive use of grains/filler/non-preferred protein sources, prevent a rating any higher. Use of quality plant protein products, albeit in marginal quantity, prevent a lower rating.
Understanding Oscarfish.Com Ratings:
This review is an attempt to analyze the ingredients, rating them from 1 (worst) to 6 (best) in an effort to judge quality based upon three simple criteria.
- Absence of toxic, potentially toxic, and controversial ingredients
- Aquatic Animal protein and Preferred Plant Proteins as the primary protein sources
- A fully nutritious food to include necessary vitamins and minerals with natural sources of vitamins and minerals being preferred.
These basic concepts apply:
- Any food that utilizes Ethoxyquin, BHA, or BHT as preservatives, cannot rate higher than a 4 star food.
- Use of artificial colors prevents rating higher than a 4 star food.
- Any food that utilizes Menadione Sodium Bisulfite (Synthetic Vitamin K, aka K3) cannot rate higher than a 5 star food.
- Inclusion of the “Whole Fish”, or “Whole Krill” (in meal form or not) is preferred over fish meal or krill meal.
- In order to achieve a 5 or 6 star rating, the quality of the meal must be known.
- In order to achieve a 6 star rating, the “Whole Fish’ (or whole animal) must be used, either in meal form or in sufficient quantities outside of meal form.
- Inclusion of sufficient quantities of preferred plant proteins is a bonus with sufficient Spirulina content being a significant bonus.
- Use of prebiotics or probiotics is a bonus