Mussels
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DIY Food - Mollusk Feast

By making your own fish food, you know exactly what your fish are eating. A variety of mollusks are a good choice, but I'm not a good shell shucker, so, I've taken the easy way out making this recipe. I also want to think I'm saving money, but don't really believe that is the case, especially if you take into account the time spent. However, I do get a good feeling knowing my fish are getting fresh seafood for dinner, and the best part is that your fish will go crazy for what I term, Mollusk Feast. You'll find this article very detailed, but please let me know if you have additional questions.

I feed different foods from day to day to give my fish a variety and a better chance of receiving the nutrients they need. The foods I typically have on hand are Flakes, Pellets, Seafood Medley (DIY), Mysis, Black Worms, Table Shrimp, and this Mollusk Feast. If you're interested, I posted my recipe for the Seafood Medley HERE.

The impetus for writing this recipe came, in part, from @Paul B 's recent article on the nutritional/immunity benefits of feeding clams; Clams, The Best Food for a Reef. This Mollusk Feast differs in that it includes three different mollusks, not just clams, all mixed together, and the best part is it requires minimal shucking. It's also ready to feed right from the freezer, with an amount that will last you months.

The DIY Mollusk recipes I've come across are typically based on clams, oysters, mussels and, sometimes scallops. The most common I've seen have been a dozen of each, and I believe this isn't based on the individual mollusk's nutritional benefits, but on the simple fact that a dozen is a nice number that gives you a good amount of fish food. I also don't understand a dozen mussels....the ones I purchase are so small, and a dozen is nothing! This recipe will only have the first three mollusks, with the scallops not included, and will also deviate from the dozen rule.

On the subject of nutrition, here are the facts on the aforementioned mollusks. Note oysters can come from the Pacific or Atlantic waters, which vary considerably in their nutrition, especially in calories, fats, cholesterol, protein, vitamins A & C, and selenium, while the clam data is based on an average of the large variety available, which are all close to this published average below. The mineral/vitamin numbers are based on human percent daily requirements. Note that these values are based on three ounces of each, and is provided for comparative purposes only.

Summary of mollusk nutrition below.
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Date supplied by https://www.nutritionix.com/food/mussels and reconfigured by the author. ©2018 All Rights Reserved.

LETS MAKE A MOLLUSK FEAST

If you are a mollusk shucker, you could simply go to your local fish monger and purchase the mollusks you'd like to include in your food mix. Unlike Paul B., I don't eat these disgusting little chewy, fishy, rubber-band-like, beasts, so I am not a good shucker. I'm slow and dangerous when I pick up that knife to start to shuck, so this recipe avoids as much shucking as possible by purchasing the mollusks from my local grocery store (Shoprite), already shucked.

Although my local grocery carries clams, oyster and mussels fresh, and in the shell, they also have the clams and oysters already shucked, and in containers. Unfortunately, mussels were not available this way. So I purchased one contain of clams, and one of oysters, and a bag of mussels, containing about 50 mussels.

Ways to buy packaged mollusks.
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Photo courtesy of redfishbluefish ©2018, All Rights Reserved

The cost of the mussels and oysters were $4.99 each, while the clams cost $6.99, for a total cost of approximately $17. The in-shell clams and oysters were also available at a cost of $0.99 each.

To start, the mussels were placed into the freezer and allowed to freeze over night. Freezing makes shucking easier, with the abductor muscle releasing from the shell easily and cleanly. The oysters and clams were drained and place individually into ziplock sandwich bags, and frozen. The frozen mussels were then shucked and also placed into a sandwich bag to be refrozen.

Here are the actual weights of each of the bagged three mollusks, in ounces:

Clams-------------15.15
Oysters (Pacific)--6.15
Mussels-----------11.60


SLICE AND DICE

The easiest way I've found to cut up this frozen block of mollusk was to first shave the block and then chop it up. You accomplish this with a sharp knife and draw that knife down the side of the frozen block of mollusk. The other option is to shave the block and then place into a food processor. What I don't like about this food processor method is that it's difficult to control food size, and you could easily end up with mush. Chopping allows you to control the size of the pieces. Big fish, chop big; small fish, chop small.

Slice and dice.
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Photo courtesy of redfishbluefish ©2018, All Rights Reserved

The best and fastest way to shave this block of mollusk is to stand it up on end and hold with one hand, while you start shaving with the other hand, like you're making shaved ice. (While typing this, it hit me that a mandolin might make this shaving even easier and definitely faster, but I think my wife would kill me. Note to self, next batch of Mollusk Feast is when wife isn't home.) After a good amount is shaved, I put that one partially shaved block back into the freezer to keep it frozen, while I chop up this shaved portion to the desired size, and place into a bowl. This is done in small portions so that the shaved pieces remain relatively frozen, making chopping easier. I then go onto one of the other mollusks (allowing time for the first block to refreeze), and repeat this process over and over, until all the frozen blocks are shaved and chopped up. By this time, the chopped up mixture has partially thawed. This is mixed well, ready for the next step.....


PACKAGE IT UP!

What I've done in the past is to now take this mixture and put it into a one gallon freezer bag and freeze this flat. Once frozen, I then cut this up into blocks of approximately 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces. However, I decided to try these small icecube trays this time around. Note, with only two trays, this will only take maybe about a third of the mixture.

Mini cube ice cube trays.
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Photo courtesy of redfishbluefish ©2018, All Rights Reserved

I ordered these off of eBay, and the picture made them look bigger. When these showed up, I was expecting larger cubes....these appear to be about 1 cubic centimeters per cube. I'm thinking I'll have to add 5 or 6 of these mini cubes per feeding.

The mixture was put into the mini ice trays and the remaining portion was put into a one gallon freezer bag and frozen with the bag laying flat:

Preparing the feast for the freezer.
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Photo courtesy of redfishbluefish ©2018, All Rights Reserved

After they were frozen (overnight), the mini ice cubes were popped out and put onto an aluminum cookie sheet and put back into the freezer. If these were placed immediately into a baggie, the slight thawing would have caused the individual cubes to re-freeze into a solid mass.

Individual tiny cubes of Mollusk Feast.
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Photo courtesy of redfishbluefish ©2018, All Rights Reserved

One more day of freezing, these mini cubes were packaged into baggies. The flat was cut into cubes as explained above, and similarly placed onto the cookie sheet to refreeze, and then packaged.

Slicing a frozen slab of Mollusk Feast.
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Photo courtesy of redfishbluefish ©2018, All Rights Reserved

FINISHING UP

When you're all done, you end up with three sandwich baggies of Mollusk Feast, ready to feed.

And you're all done.
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Photo courtesy of redfishbluefish ©2018, All Rights Reserved

When I'm ready to feed, what I do is take a cube or two (or with the mini cubes, maybe 5 or 6, or more) and thaw them in a cup of tank water. Using a Turkey baster, my fish are fed. I will guarantee your fish will love you that much more by feeding this delicacy!

Bon appétit!

Note from the Editor:

I spent considerable time checking whether mollusk should be mollusc or mollusk or mollusque, and apparently all three are correct, with mollusk as the most common American version.

Also, some lemon juice will help you get the stink/perfume of mollusk off your hands after preparation of this recipe.--Seawitch


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About the Author: redfishbluefish

Like most reef aquarists, redfishbluefish started with freshwater tanks at the tender age of seven, when tanks were slate bottomed with chromed metal frames. Other than a break while in college, he has always had tanks. Around 2006, his adult son dragged him over to the salty side, starting with a 57G bowfront. His current tank is a five foot 90 gallon mixed reef tank, for which he prefers finding DIY solutions to everyday obstacles.