Feeding Beefheart

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04 Jul 2011 22:00 #1 by DJK (David Kinsella)
A generous Forum member gave me a good chunk of his homemade beefheart mixture(frozen)a few weeks ago. It's made up of 40% beefheart and the rest made up of vegetables with a little bit of prawn. He's been using it for quite a while (possibly a year)as a treat without any problems. I've tried it myself in my community set-up, just the once a week and my fish absolutely love it.

My question is, given the information out there saying the inability of fish to properly digest beefheart- with such small feeds does it really make any difference?

Dave

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04 Jul 2011 22:09 - 04 Jul 2011 22:11 #2 by JohnH (John)
Replied by JohnH (John) on topic Feeding Beefheart
I'm not altogether sure it's that bad Dave - although definitely a 'no-no' for vegetarian Cichlids (I'm assured).
Russell used to feed it to his Discus and there was nothing wrong with them.
It must be fully cleaned of fat before being shredded/blended though - they definitely cannot absorb animal fat in any form.

I would suggest that a 'once-a-week' treat wouldn't go amiss anyway (assuming it fits the criteria mentioned) and as long as no uneaten portions remain to 'go off' in/on the substrate you should be OK.
What are the fish you're feeding it to?

John

Location:
N. Tipp

We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl - year after year.


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Last edit: 04 Jul 2011 22:11 by JohnH (John). Reason: felt like it

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04 Jul 2011 22:32 #3 by DJK (David Kinsella)
Harlequin Rasbora
Rummynose Tetras
Cardinal Tetras
2 Angelfish
2 Female Bettas
Corydoras
2 Bristlenose

They're all in the same tank for pushing 2 years without an iota of a problem but I do seperate the angels from time to time for breeding purposes.

Dave

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04 Jul 2011 22:45 #4 by JohnH (John)
Replied by JohnH (John) on topic Feeding Beefheart
as far as I can see there's nothing there which would not be able to digest it, even though the Corys might start to 'bloat' if they were to eat too much of it - but once a week will be fine.

John

Location:
N. Tipp

We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl - year after year.


ITFS member.



It's a long way to Tipperary.

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04 Jul 2011 22:55 #5 by derek (Derek Doyle)
although i have used it in the past for discus and some other fish, would not use it again. it is unlikely that fish would have much opportunity to eat mammalian flesh of any sort in nature, let alone the heart of a cow and most experts are saying that fish dont have the gut to digest it properly. anyway would also be interested to read what ian thinks.

30 tanks specialise in african cichlids, angelfish and various catfish

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04 Jul 2011 23:26 #6 by igmillichip (ian millichip)

derek wrote: although i have used it in the past for discus and some other fish, would not use it again. it is unlikely that fish would have much opportunity to eat mammalian flesh of any sort in nature, let alone the heart of a cow and most experts are saying that fish dont have the gut to digest it properly. anyway would also be interested to read what ian thinks.


Hope you're not trying to put me on the spot. :) I had read this thread, but was not going to comment.

I have used beef-heart to a great extent in the past for Discus.....and got some pretty fast growing fish.
But, and here is the 'but', I'm now half-n-half as to its usage.

I got excellent results with Discus if I looked at the breeding side, but I was not too convinced about the long-term health of discus. I like my discus to live a long-time and be in good health.

I was toying with idea of getting some of the Stendka stuff recently.....but decided not to in the end.

Balanced diet is very important, and the problem with beefheart alone is that the early results seem to show everything is fine, but the long-term is (in my opinion, and based upon doing autopsies) that beefheart is not good for the general physiology of the gut function as well as potentially causing fatty degeneration of internal organs.

Beefheart is what I would call 'soft digestible' food....ie not great for Discus (at least) unless the diet is properly balanced with 'roughage' (as we used to call it).

Apart from looking at dead Malawis and Tanganyikans (and a few Panaques) fed on beefheart brought to me for autopies, I never really bothered looking at the effects on other fish apart from Discus.

I believe that a monotonous diet of an unbalanced beefheart mix will render the gut unable to function correctly (eg 'push') and that can lead to a partial blockage.....that then will lead to a weakened intestine and an increased potential for capillaria worm to get a hold (possibly piercing the intestine).....and then you may even get Hexamita and Spironucleus entering the systemic body of the fish.

With such gut dysfunction, the fish will also have a debilitated uptake of micro-nutrients (eg vitamins)....
hole-in-the-head is a potential outcome of that. (Does that sound a familiar story?).

My old recipe was to use beefheart with all visible fat removed, then it was scrapped off the frozen heart and blended with carrots, prawns, bloodworm and other stuff. I would either feed as raw or as a semi-baked product....but always with other foods (including whatever dried foods the fish would take).

I would not feed beefheart to a Loricarid catfish to be honest, but that is only based upon seeing heart defects in Panaques (when the Panaques first became big) fed on meats and lacking other vital things in their diet.

Even if feeding other foods then the diet should be balanced in most fish anyway.

Ian

Irish Tropical Fish Society (ITFS) Member.

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05 Jul 2011 00:11 #7 by JohnH (John)
Replied by JohnH (John) on topic Feeding Beefheart
So you would have no problems with telling Dave it will be OK to continue his weekly 'treat' then?

Or would you?

John

Location:
N. Tipp

We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl - year after year.


ITFS member.



It's a long way to Tipperary.

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05 Jul 2011 00:40 #8 by igmillichip (ian millichip)

JohnH wrote: So you would have no problems with telling Dave it will be OK to continue his weekly 'treat' then?

Or would you?

John


If DJK asked should he feed beefheart to that group of fish, then I'd probably highlight the bristlnoses and siamese fighters as a concern....and not positively advise to feed it.

But, if he is already feeding it as a treat with a well balanced diet and has noticed no ill effect then I wouldn't tell him to stop.

That is me sitting on the fence a little, but that is because I couldn't unreservedly recommend a feeding regime for some of those fish using beefheart.

Smaller fish may well do better than larger fish when feeding beefheart (??...I'm speculating here..) because smaller fish may find more of choice in the tank other than what is fed....eg small animals (cyclops or other little things that do tend to exist in many tanks), bits of algae etc and so may well be getting a some additional supplementary food. But larger fish will have to put up with scoffing whatever is given.

Balance and varied diet is key to any discussion on nutrition.....there's nothing wrong with us having a good bag of greasy chips now and then (and it'll probably do us the world of good), but it is when it becomes monotonous or is not balanced with something else that we (and fish are not as forgiving as our dustbin bodies) will become ill.

Ian

Irish Tropical Fish Society (ITFS) Member.

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10 Jul 2011 12:47 #9 by Xaribdis (Lorcan O' Brien)
If I may stick my nose in, I can clarify what is actually in the mix-

@40% (by weight) heart with all visible fat removed and then shredded.
a full bag of spinach
6 bananas
2 carrots
garlic powder (made it before with fresh garlic- my housemates didn't appreciate that one!)
6 organic eggs (straight from the hen house- better than I feed myself!), seafood mix (prawn, mussel, calamari etc)
6 crushed vitamin tablets.
That's it- it's cooked for a half hour in low heat to allow the egg bind it together. I was wary about the egg originally, but so long as the pricipal of not leaving uneaten food in the tank is followed, don't see an issue with it.

I have used it every few days for the past year and have had no problems that I can see. I was conscious of keeping the majority of it veg and seafood.

Would like to hear a few opinions on that mix.

Thanks, L

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