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OSI Spirulina Flake Food

Written by Kmuda. Posted in Foods

 Spirulina072oz_L

  • Fortified spirulina flake food for all freshwater and marine fish
  • Natural color enhancer plus beta carotene for vibrant fish color
  • Contains stabilized Vitamin C for healthier fish

Ocean Star International is recognized around the globe as a manufacturer of premium quality fish foods. All their products are proudly made in the United States!

Nutritious spirulina algae enhances fish color and helps support your fish's immune health. High-protein spirulina flakes are easy-to-digest and contains natural ingredients for healthy and vibrant aquarium fish. Use to supplement the diet of both freshwater and saltwater fish. Can also be fed to both baby fish and larval/post-larval shrimp. Won't cloud aquarium water.

O.S.I. Spirulina Flakes are not only an excellent natural color enhancer, but the algae, spirulina, also stimulates your fish's immune system to attack gram-negative bacteria. Gram-negative bacteria are known to cause a variety of diseases in fish. The result of feeding O.S.I. Spirulina Flakes is healthier, hardier, and more vibrant fish. This diet is appropriate for all freshwater and marine fishes. This diet is especially important for marine fishes, which tend to be more delicate and disease prone.

Ingredients: Fish Meal, Wheat Flour, Spirulina, Shrimp Meal, Algae Meal, Fish Protein Concentrate, Torula Dried Yeast, Brine Shrimp, Fish Oil, Beta Carotene, Lecithin, Vitamin A Palmitate, DL-Alpha-Tocopherol Acetate, D-Activated Animal Sterol, Thiamine Mononitrate, Choline Chloride, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Calcium d-Pantothenate, Inositol, Niacinamide, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Ethoxyquin (as an antioxidant).

OSI Spirulina Flakes Review

by Kmuda

Overveiw:

While there are many "Veggie Flake" foods on the market, look at their ingredient list. Almost exclusively, the first ingredient in these foods is "Fish Meal". Since the first ingredient is the primary content of the food, how can these be labeled as "Veggie Flakes". This particular food fits that category. Advertised as a "Spirulina Flake", the primary ingredient is "Fish Meal" with the second largest component being "Wheat Flour" (which is an indication that protein in the "Fish Meal" is degraded.) Following "Wheat Flour" we finally come to "Spirulina". However, the fact that it is listed as "Spirulina" instead of "Spirulina Meal" indicates that it is the wet weight of Spirulina that qualifies it as the  third ingredient on the list. Since 80% of the weight of the product will be water and the product must be dried out to be included in the flake, the content of Spirulina in this flake food should actually place it much lower on the ingredient list.

So we have a flake food, advertised as a Spirulina laden herbivore food, whose primary ingredients are actually Fish Meal, Flour, and Shrimp meal, with Spirulina being a minor component.

I have never been impressed with OSI flake foods, although I've tried several, and a review of the ingredient list for this specific flake justifies that opinion. This particular flake food basically uses green dye to convince you you've purchased a veggie flake. My experience is that my fish will eat the flakes, albeit many get spit out and they are less then enthusiastic when they discover I tricked them with these flakes instead of the good stuff.

In my home, the OSI flakes generally get relegated to the less important tanks, or discarded altogether. For a Spirulina or "veggie flake", there are much better options. However, the fact that I do have this flake in my home and use it is an indication that it is acceptable food for fish. While there are better, there are certainly worse. So. in a pinch, or as a cost saving measure, these flakes can be used.

Pros:

  • Availability: OSI Flake foods are available everywhere. 
  • Health Benefits of Spirulina: The benefits of a diet rich in spirulina are well known. Improved coloration and increased disease resistance are amongst the proven benefits. While this flake food over advertises it's spiriulina content, there is some there. And a diet containing Spirulina is better than a diet that does not.
  • Texture:  These flakes actually hold together quite well, not turning to dust. Unfortunately, it is likely the high flour content that allows for this.
  • Good Fry Food: The flakes hold together well but they are also of a consistency easily crumbled into a powder for use as fry food.
  • Cost: 1 oz of this product cost about as much as 1/2 oz of an Omega One Product. Certainly, the old addage of "you get what you pay for" applies.

Cons:

  • Ingredient List:A veggie flake should contain veggies. A Spirulina flake should contain more spirulina than these flakes. Use of undefined "Fish Meal", with no additional details available from the company, combined with the heavy use of flour, is an indicator that the primary ingredient of this food is actually low quality processing leftovers.
  • Tricky Advertising/Marketing:I've already discussed the Spirulina content of the food. Companies that perform this type of ingredient list and marketing trickery raise a warning flag for me. Another example is their claim that "All their products are manufactured in the United States". Great, I love it, I believe 100% in supporting American companies, but where do the raw materials originate from. They likely spent months in Chinese warehouses, then on boats, then in warehouses here, where finally they are purchased as the "lowest bid". Trust me, following the melamine scare of a few years ago, if the raw materials came from the United States, it would be all over their marketing, not just the claim that the product is assembled in the United States.
  • Use of Ethoxyquin: Ethoxyquin is a fat preservative found in almost all pet foods that contain fish meal. It's hard to escape as it is required by law to be included in any imported fish meals. Regardless, despite USDA guarantees of it's safety (they say the unhealthy affects are dose dependent), Ethoxyquin is widely accepted to be a cause of numerous pet ailments (cancer, liver failure, birth defects, and infertility). To top it all off, as it relates to this specific product, OSI tries to pass off  Ethoxyquin as an "antioxidant" (I'm not kidding, go back up and review the ingredients).