API Cichlid Pellet Ingredients Analysis

Written by Kmuda. Posted in 2 Star Foods

API Cichlid Pellet


Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein

33.6% min.

Crude Fat

7.5% min.

Crude Fiber

4.9% max.


9% max.


API Cichlid Pellet Ingredients:

Wheat Flour, Pea Protein, Shrimp Meal, Condensed Fish Protein Digest, Wheat Distillers Dried Grain with Solubles, Squid Meal, Brewers Dried Yeast, Fish Oil, Mussel Meal, Carrot Meal, Banana Meal, Garlic Powder, Spirulina, Polychaete Worms, Earthworm Meal, Dried Waterflies, Cockles, Dried Seaweed Meal (Fucaceae), Choline Chloride, Honey, Vanilla Extract, Hydrolyzed Yeast, Calcium L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, A-Tocopherol Acetate, Inositol, Propyl Gallate (preservative), Citric Acid (preservative), Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, BHT (preservative), Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Acetate, Folic Acid, Copper Sulfate, Biotin and Vitamin D3 Supplement.

API Pellets for Cichlids Ingredients Analysis

Primary ingredient is Wheat Flour. If more companies were honest in their ingredient labeling, this would likely be more common. Pea protein is a highly digestible plant protein known for its amino acid content (Lysine, Arginine, Glutamine, and Leucine). Its use in fish food is novel but welcome.

While Shrimp Meal is a preferred aquatic meat protein, it is generally of lesser quality than are fish meals. Condensed Fish Protein Digest should be a step above fish meal in protein content and present fewer risks as it originates from clean, un-decomposed whole fish, is more expensive than fish meal, and is manufactured under hygienic conditions.

Condensed Fish Protein Digest appears to be a lower quality product than fish meal. It can better be defined as fish protein hydrolysate, which is the processing of what's left after the processing of fish meal. API is the only fish food manufacturer using it to this extent. More research is warranted.

With three of the top six ingredients being preferred proteins and three being non-preferred proteins, including the top listed ingredient, the prefererred protein content of this pellet is questionable.

A by-product of the ethanol industry, Wheat Distillers Dried Grain with Solubles is a undesired ingredient due to its potential for fungal or mold contamination and questions concerning digestibility.

Brewers dried yeast is a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient contains about 45% protein and is rich in Vitamin B. Its use in fish foods is as either as a protein source or a vitamin supplement. Studies do exist identifying 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.

Fish oil can be either a beneficial ingredient or a hazardous one. Human grade fish oil collected from specific specifies of fish and screened for mercury will provide necessary omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids as well as protein. Non-human grade fish oil may not be screened for mercury and originate from fish with reduced omega 3/6 content.

Spirulina and Honey are listed too far down in the ingredient list to provide significant nutritional benefit. The additional inclusions of garlic powder, banana meal, carrot meal, dried waterflies, and earthworm meal are appreciated.

This pellet contains BHT as a preservative, a known carcinogen banned in Japan, Romania, Sweden and Australia with adverse effects on liver and kidney functions. It not does appear to contain Menadione Sodium Bisulfite (synthetic vitamin K) or artificial colors.

Oscarfish.Com Rating: 2 Star

This cichlid pellet is a novel approach. At issue is the mix of quality ingredients with less desired ingredients. Use of pea protein and such a wide spread of aquatic animal proteins, as well as earthworm meal, seaweed meal and waterflies, combined with an eclectic list of supplements such as Carrot Meal, Banana Meal, honey, and vanilla extract, justify a 3 star rating, at least. It’s the use of BHT as a preservative, questionable primary meat protein content, lack of confidence that the primary protein content of this food comes from preferred protein sources, and the extensive inclusion of questionable or less desired ingredients such as Wheat Distillers Dried Grain with Solubles and Brewers dried yeast, that results in a final 2 star rating.

Understanding Oscarfish.Com Ratings:

This review is an attempt to analyze the ingredients, rating them from 1 star (worse) to 6 star (best), in an effort to judge quality based upon three simple criteria.

  1. Absence of toxic, potentially toxic, and controversial ingredients
  2. Aquatic Animal protein and Preferred Plant Proteins as the primary protein sources
  3. 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

Posted: 5 years 6 months ago by kmuda #3055
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The only decent pellet you will find at PetSmart would be Omega One. PetCo, at least, carries Hikari and NLS, both of which are steps up. Most of my food orders are online from Substantial cost savings when purchasing online.

I do use one of the API products. That would be their Algae Wafers. Not because I consider them outstanding (I think I rated them as a 3 star food). But I use these to feed an 18" long "cow of a" pleco that has been hogging a 55 to itself for a very long time. This fish goes through so many wafers that I cut corners on cost and of the lower cost Algae Wafers, the API product is far superior to Wardley, Tetra, and Top Fin.

For future reference, I consider anything rated at 3 star or above as a "quality" food.
Posted: 5 years 6 months ago by Mary Ann #3049
Mary Ann's Avatar
I was a bit surprised at the review as I thought (a newbie here) it appeared to be good ing. I'm going to return it to PetSmart and get a better quality pellet for my 'Walter'. :) Thank you