|Crude Protein||35% min.|
|Crude Fat||4% min.|
|Crude Fiber||3% max.|
Hikari Cichlid Excel Ingredients
Fish meal, wheat flour, wheat-germ meal, flaked corn (processed), spirulina, dehydrated alfalfa meal, krill meal, brewer's dried yeast, enzyme, astaxanthin, garlic, DL-methionine, monosodium glutamate, and vitamins and minerals including stabilized Vitamin C..
Hikari Cichlid Excel Ingredients Analysis
The primary ingredient is Fish meal. Being a Hikari produced fish meal; we can have confidence in the nutrient and protein levels of the meal. However, not being labeled as “Whole Fish Meal” identifies that the meal is potentially compiled from leftovers after the more desirable components of the fish are used for human consumption (pending clarification from Hikari).
A total of five non-preferred protein sources are listed compared to a three preferred protein sources, with one of the preferred protein sources being listed at its wet weight. If each of the non-preferred protein sources is combined, chances are they will exceed a combination of the preferred protein sources in weight.
Use of flaked corn, especially this high in an ingredient list, is not desirable. Fish cannot properly digest proteins from corn.
Spirulina is sometimes called "The Most Nutritious Food on the Planet". Rich in raw protein and seven major vitamins: A1, B1, B2, B6, B12 (one of the best natural sources for B12, although the bioavailability of its B12 is in dispute by many researchers), C and E. It naturally contains beta-carotene, color enhancing pigments, and a whole range of minerals. In addition, Spirulina has 62% amino acid content and contains all essential fatty acids and eight amino acids required for complete nutrition. It is easily digested due to the fact that Spirulina cells do not have cellulose walls. Spirulina is only available in a dry form, so regardless of how it is listed on the ingredient label (spirulina meal, dried spirulina, or spirulina), it's ordering in the ingredient list should be accurate.
Inclusion of astaxanthin, a color enhancing carotenoid, is appreciated, as is subsequent inclusion of garlic.
Brewers Dried Yeast is a by-product of the beer making process; this ingredient contains about 45% protein and is rich in Vitamin B. Is use in fish foods is as either as a protein source or a vitamin supplement. Studies do exist indentifying its capacity to improve fish growth rates. When used as a supplement comprising between 2% and 4% of the food, this is an acceptable product. When used as a primary provider of protein comprising 25% or more of the food it is less acceptable as protein digestibility concerns have been documented.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is considered by many as a controversial ingredient. It is used in fish foods for the same reason it is used in human foods, primarily as a flavor enhancer although it may possess preservative capabilities. There are many myths concerning MSG, the only one for which I’ve been able to find a factual bases is that some people are sensitive to MSG, causing headaches and/or “flushing” of the skin. Other myths associated with MSG have been debunked.
This food does not contain Ethoxyquin (statement from manufacturer) or artificial colors. However, it may contain Menadione Sodium Bisulfite (synthetic vitamin K) within the listing of “vitamins and minerals” (other Hikari products contain MSB).
Oscarfish.Com Rating: 3 Star
Use of a corn product high in the ingredient list, the potentially low preferred protein contents of the food and minimal quantity of preferred plant proteins (Spirulina, kelp, spinach, vegetable extract), combined with the existence of Menadione Sodium Bisulfite prevent rating any higher. Known quality of Hikari fish meal and barely sufficient use of spirulina and krill meal within a comparatively short list of primary ingredients justifies a 3 star 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