Aqueon Cichlid Pellet Ingredients Analysis

Written by Kmuda. Posted in 4 Star Foods

Aqueon Cichlid Pellet


Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein

42.0% min.

Crude Fat

8.0% min.

Crude Fiber

3.0% max.


9.0% max.


1.0% min.



Aqueon Cichlid Pellet Ingredients:

Whole Fish Meal (whole salmon, herring & other mixed fishes), Whole Wheat Flour, Whole Dried Krill, Wheat Gluten Meal, Soybean Meal, Squid Meal, Dried Yeast, Fish Oil, Kelp Meal, Garlic, Spirulina, Marigold Powder, Chili Powder, Natural Astaxanthin, Choline Chloride, Calcium Propionate (a preservative), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Vitamin A Acetate, Cholecalciferol (source of Vitamin D3), Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin, Menadione Sodium Bisulphite Complex (source of Vitamin K activity), Folic Acid, Thiamine, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (B6), Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, DL-Alphatocopherol (E), Manganese Sulfate, Cobalt Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate and Copper Sulfate.

Aqueon Cichlid Pellet Ingredients Analysis

Primary ingredient is Whole Fish meal. A meal form including the word “whole” identifies the entirety of the fish is utilized, not just processing leftovers as may be found in “fish meal.” Aqueon Meals are known to be manufactured in the United States, not utilizing Ethoxyquin as a preservative, which enables ample confidence in the quality of the meal. Whole Salmon is a high in Omega 3, Omega 6, and astaxanthin (A color enhancing carotenoid and powerful antioxidant). Salmon, combined with Whole Dried Krill, one of the best sources of astaxanthin available, ensures a food that will enhance red coloration.

Studies conducted by the University of Albany’s Institute for Health and the Environment have identified significant contaminant levels in farmed salmon. “In particular, four substances that have been well studied for their ability to cause cancer-PCBs, dioxins, dieldrin, and toxaphene-were consistently and significantly more concentrated in farmed salmon.” Contamination is significant enough that the human recommendation for the consumption of farmed salmon is reduced to a “one-half to one meal per month-based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consumption advisories for these contaminants. A meal was considered to be an eight-ounce portion.” It can be safely assumed that farmed salmon is utilized in this meal.

Wheat is split into two separate ingredients (Wheat Flour and Wheat Gluten Meal) potentially making it the actual 1st ingredient.

The next preferred ingredient is “Whole Dried Krill Meal”. Preference would be for this to be identified as Antarctic Krill. Regardless, it is a preferred protein with excellent color enhancing properties. Squid meal is a quality preferred protein.

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 content.

Kelp Meal is a good source of iodine for thyroid function and chlorophyll, dietary fiber, Vitamin C, Pantothenic Acid, Zinc, Copper, Riboflavin, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Manganese.

The inclusion of garlic and Spirulina are appreciated, although their listing this far down the ingredients limits their nutritional contribution. Marigold and Chili powder are more gimmicky than nutritionally important.

With three of the top six ingredients being preferred proteins, including the first ingredient listed, there is sufficient confidence in the overall preferred protein content of this food.

This food does not contain Ethoxyquin or artificial colors but it does contain synthetic vitamin K.

Oscarfish.Com Rating: 4.0 Star

Use of the whole fish and subsequent quality preferred proteins easily justify a 3 star rating. However, bonus points are awarded for not using ethoxyquin or artificial colors resulting in a 4 star rating. Limited quantities of preferred plant proteins combined with use of Menadione Sodium Bisulphite (synthetic vitamin K) and questionable amount of non-preferred proteins/fillers used, prevent rating any higher.

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.

  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:

  • 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
  • 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.

Posted: 5 years 6 months ago by Ronald Reagan 81 #2661
Ronald Reagan 81's Avatar
i like these pellets they are perfect for my Oscars, and they love them! perfect size, perfect quality, good fish food.

id say they are 5 star.