Crude Protein (min)... 45.0%
Crude Fat (min)... 4.0%
Crude Fiber (max)... 3.0%
Moisture (max)... 8.0%
Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Fish Food Flakes Ingredients:
Salmon Fish Meal, Spirulina Algae Meal, 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-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (stabilized Vitamin C).
Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Fish Food Flakes Ingredients Analysis
The top two listed products are preferred proteins listed at their dry weight; their ordering in the ingredient list should be accurate. 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 indicator that a quality meal product is utilized.
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.
The secondary ingredient is Spirulina listed in its meal form. In this instance, we know that 20% of the food is comprised of this wonder food. 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. t is easily digested due to the fact that Spirulina cells do not have cellulose walls.
With five of 10 primary ingredients being preferred protein sources, including the first two listed ingredients; ample confidence exists in the preferred protein content of this food, although concerns do exist with the amount of non-preferred proteins utilized. These concerns are marginally minimized by the food containing a higher percentage of Soy Flour over Wheat Flour. Use of Soy Flour as a higher ingredient than Wheat Flour is positive as soy contains about 1/4th the amount of carbohydrates so the protein it contains is more digestible by fish.
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 preferred meat and plant products by splitting wheat and soy products into multiple entries.
Three of the preferred protein sources possess color enhancing properties. Salmon skin, which is included in the Salmon Meal, and krill meal are perhaps the best natural sources of Astaxanthin available, while Spirulina contains high levels of Zeaxanthin. Each of these carotenoids enhances red coloration.
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. Its use in this food does not appear excessive.
The listed vitamin supplements in conjunction with the high Spirulina content indentify an exceptionally nutritious food.
This food does not contain Ethoxyquin, coloring agents, or synthetic vitamin K. One of a few fish foods reviewed for which this can be claimed.
Oscarfish.Com Rating: 5 star
While we would prefer the primary ingredient be “Whole Salmon Meal” instead of “Salmon Meal”, the quality of the utilized salmon meal, the high concentration of Spirulina, and the subsequent inclusion of Krill Meal and Plankton Meal, justifies a 4 star rating. However, an obligation to reward foods that do not utilize controversial preservatives, artificial coloring agents, or synthetic vitamin K results in an overall 5 star rating, despite a marginally questionable ratio of non-preferred proteins, which prevent it from being rated higher.
Understanding Oscarfish.Com Ratings:
This review is 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.
- 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