Zoo Med Plankton Fish Food Flakes Ingredients Analysis

Written by Kmuda. Posted in 4 Star Foods

Zoo Med Plankton Flakes

Crude Protein (min)... 45.0%
Crude Fat (min)... 4.0%
Crude Fiber (max)... 3.0%
Moisture (max)... 8.0%

Zoo Med Plankton Fish Food Flakes Ingredients:

Salmon Fish Meal, Plankton, Soy Flour, Wheat Flour, Brewers Dried Yeast, Corn Starch, Dried Krill Meal, Shrimp Meal, Plankton Meal, Lecithin, Vegetable Oil, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascor.

Zoo Med Plankton Fish Food Flakes Ingredients Analysis

The top two listed products are preferred protein sources, with the primary ingredient listed at its dry weight. Plankton can be assumed to be listed at it's dry weight as well, despite not being identified as a meal. Three additional aquatic meals are located further down the list providing ample confidence that the primary protein sources are preferred.

The primary ingredient is “Salmon Fish Meal”. Not being labeled as “Whole Salmon Meal” potentially indicates this meal is comprised of the skins, scales, bones, internal organs, and other leftovers deemed unusable for human consumption. Salmon Meal contains higher levels of beneficial oils than many other fish used in generic fish meals. Salmon skin is also high in astaxanthin, a color enhancing carotenoid. This food is absent ethoxyquin (a preservative). An absence of ethoxyquin is an indicator of a quality meal product.

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 this meal is comprised of farmed salmon.

All four of the preferred protein sources possess color enhancing properties. Salmon skin, which is included in the Salmon Meal, Plankton, and krill meal are perhaps the best natural sources of Astaxanthin available.

Due to increased digestibility, use of Soy Flour as a higher ingredient than Wheat Flour can be considered a positive. However, listed as the third ingredient, it is safe to assume Soy is playing a role more significant than desired in the overall protein content of the food.

Note an absence of product splitting. This is a further indication that primary protein sources are preferred as the manufacturer does not attempt to artificially inflate the meal products by splitting wheat and soy products into multiple entries. 

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.

The preferred protein content of this food combined with vitamin supplementation ensures a fully nutritious food.

Food is absent Ethoxyquin, coloring agents, and synthetic vitamin K. One of a few fish foods reviewed for which this can be claimed.

Oscarfish.Com Rating: 4.0 star

While we would prefer the primary ingredient be “Whole Salmon Meal” instead of “Salmon Meal”, the quality of the utilized salmon meal and the quality and quantity of subsequent preferred proteins, combined with an absence of Ethoxyquin, synthetic vitamin K (K3), and artificial colors, justifies a 4 star rating. An absence of preferred plant proteins and questionable preferred protein to filler, binder, non-preferred protein ratio prevent rating any higher.

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