How much food should you feed your livestock? A lot!
by, 06-04-2011 at 01:45 PM (1630 Views)
At our last club meeting, Dr Ron Shimek spoke to us about what real science proves when it comes to fish eating habits. He started his talk while tornado sirens wailed outside and hail pounded on the roof above our heads. His microphone was set up incorrectly and we really couldn't hear what he was saying all that well, but the audience did what they could when they weren't fidgeting or wincing for the damage their cars were likely enduring.
Halfway into the meeting, we were told to take the emergency stairs and head to the ground floor, and to stay away from the windows. Three rotations were on the weather channel in our immediate area. 20 minutes later, things were calm again and we decided to resume the meeting and hear the rest of Ron's talk. It was very interesting.
I really enjoyed his secondary talk segment. It was fascinating to learn how much fish eat and how little the corals actually get from the tested area they measured. Here's what I remember:
They took a 1 meter wide swath of a reef, starting from the shallow point leading all the way down to the 80' depth mark. From this area, 500 fish were captured, dissected and then it was determined what each fish ate.
Total food (particulates) found in the measured zone: 1,100,000 foods found
Total food eaten by fish in the measured zone: 1,200,000 foods ingested
The fish ate more food than was actually present in the area. The question is then how the corals get anything to eat at all.
He then showed the types of food they ate, which varied based on fish type and location found in the area. Foods were in three overall types: meaty, algae, and gelatinous. Gelatinous was the most widely consumed, overall but very unlikely for us to be able to obtain.
The food passes through the fish quickly, usually within 20 minutes of consumption. What exports isn't fully digested, which explains how corals do get some nutrition regardless of the fishes' voracious appetite.
Here's the most interesting point to me: Fish ate all day long, from dawn to dusk. Average food consumption... they ingested a bite food every 18 seconds all day long. ( Personally, I've always felt feeding small portions several times a day was more natural than once a day or once every few days. This seems to coincide with this study. ) If we could feed more often and knew what foods were best for our livestock and still maintain good water quality, we'd have incredible success in this hobby.