Intermediate Topic Feeding Your Fish: How to Create Your Own DIY Mollusk Buffet

Here's a terrific article from one of our forum members, redfishbluefish, on preparing at home a mollusk recipe for fish food.
  1. redfishbluefish

    redfishbluefish Stay Positive, Stay Productive Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor NJRC Member

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    Seawitch submitted a new Article:

    Feeding Your Fish: How to Create Your Own DIY Mollusk Buffet

    Mussels
    [​IMG]
    Photo is a royalty-free image from Pixabay.

    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.
    [​IMG]
    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.
    [​IMG]
    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.
    [​IMG]
    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.
    [​IMG]
    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.
    [​IMG]
    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.
    [​IMG]
    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.
    [​IMG]
    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.
    [​IMG]
    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


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    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.
     
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  2. Ramasule

    Ramasule Valuable Member

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    WHERES THE BEEF (IMG) M8???
     
  3. siggy

    siggy Gone Fishing Again R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    I know I have to start doing this. I often wonder whats in those little frozen cubes I buy and if it is contributing to phosphates in my tank.
     
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  4. Ramasule

    Ramasule Valuable Member

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    Images are there now, thank you :)
     
  5. Rakie

    Rakie Federal Coral Reserve R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    I've been craving seafood lately. This hasn't helped.
     
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  6. Oliver d

    Oliver d Active Member

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    Will be adopting your recipe.
     
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  7. Subsea

    Subsea Valuable Member R2R Supporter

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  8. redfishbluefish

    redfishbluefish Stay Positive, Stay Productive Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor NJRC Member

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    Actually Dr. Randy Holmes Farley looked at the effect of phosphates from food....rinsing versus not rinsing......and concluded phosphate in foods are a "trivial problem."

    Aquarium Chemistry: Phosphate And Math: Yes You Need To Understand Both
     
  9. Rakie

    Rakie Federal Coral Reserve R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Richard Ross also looked at phosphates in general. He concluded phosphates are not a problem at all, and are in fact a good thing.

    This ULNS 80's/90's logic needs to die. The 90's were a long, long time ago. Boy bands no longer roam the earth, and ULNS shouldn't either.
     
  10. Punchanello

    Punchanello Active Member

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    I do something similar. I go to the fish market and buy pippies or scallops (I avoid clams because they stink to high heaven and fish don't seem as interested), scallop or fish roe, shrimp and sometimes whitebait or similar. No more that $20. I blend it up with a bunch of nori and a few teaspoons of reef roids and freeze the goop in ice-trays.

    It lasts me at least a couple of months and feeds the whole tank. It's incredibly dense and once its in the water column and swells up it is a lot so it's important to feed sparingly.
     
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  11. redfishbluefish

    redfishbluefish Stay Positive, Stay Productive Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor NJRC Member

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    You had me googling pippies....appears to be a clam specific to Australia/New Zealand. I'm wondering why your clams stink. A fresh clam here in the States smells like the ocean. If it's died....run....it stinks to high heaven.

    Anyway, sounds like you've got a winner with your recipe. However, I'm not liking the mini ice trays I've picked up....too small. I prefer freezing the mix in a one gallon freezer bag and then cut it into cubes.
     
  12. Punchanello

    Punchanello Active Member

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    Yes that's right, pippies here are small shellfish with white flesh that tend to live in the sand. When I blend fresh black clams they have an overwhelming 'iron' smell. It might just be my nose but it is very pungent. The blue-cheese of the sea.

    I use the large ice cube trays and then cut thin slices off the cubes. A cube lasts me a week or so.
     
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  13. Oliver d

    Oliver d Active Member

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    If you mean the Black clams that grow on the rocks you are right fresh they have a strong smell of iron.here I dont get fresh ones just frozen ones so no smell,and they make a good addition to the mix.
     
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  14. Robink

    Robink Valuable Member ETRC Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Thank you again!!
     
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  15. Aquanino

    Aquanino Member

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    Thanks for this article, great read. I went out today to get buy some of these items. I was going through some of the frozen seafood and wanted to ask regarding this ingredient I found in the frozen prawns, sodium tripolyphosphate. Has anyone come across this and is this something to avoid when buying seafood to feed your fish.
     
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  16. redfishbluefish

    redfishbluefish Stay Positive, Stay Productive Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor NJRC Member

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    Very interesting. I specifically looked at the label for preservatives and non were listed on the packages I purchased.....BUT......

    Then I found THIS article which states that stores are not required to list Sodium Tripolyphosphate on their products. What?

    This just might cause me to wait when clams and oysters are in season, and purchase fresh from my local fish monger (so I'd get the best price, and know they have no preservatives)....boy, do I hate shucking!
     
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  17. Aquanino

    Aquanino Member

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    It’s pretty poor that they do this. That’s why after you cook the prawn/fish/etc it looks like a mini version of itself. It should be banned in my books, and how can they not be required to list a chemical that they are adding!!
     
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  18. Rakie

    Rakie Federal Coral Reserve R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    I really want to start making my own food, these threads are killing me.

    I need to find a good source of capelin roe too!
     
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  19. Paul B

    Paul B Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Spotlight Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    The only problem I can find with this recipe is that your fish may live forever, much longer then you so you would have to figure the additional cost of a lawyer to put them in your will. Also when fish live 25-30 years you get tired of looking at them and they tire of you.
    The people who make those fish medications and quarantine tanks may lose their jobs. But I see
    "Help Wanted " signs on all the McDonalds for the French Fryer Mgr. position.

    What a concept, shellfish to feed fish, who would have thought! :p
     
  20. Paul B

    Paul B Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Spotlight Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    What Redfishbluefish didn't mention in his excellent thread is the added benefit that you never have to feed the corals or sponges. Shellfish exude a "milky" substance that is basically tiny pieces of shellfish which is the best thing for all corals. You will notice their smile when you feed this.

    I still think Redfishbluefish should eat some of this himself. :D
     
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