Is Garlic a useful food enhancement?

stunreefer

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In short, no. My friend Ted is a fish disease research scientist and his lab has done several independent studies on the efficacy of garlic enriched fish foods. Here's what he had to say about the use of garlic on another forum. The results lead to my conclusion that garlic could potentially be used to entice fish as a last resort, but should not be used for anything past that.

As with most additives, save your money :)
 
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P3FE

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Definitely agree! I use garlic to strenghten the fish imune system. Other than that I don't believe has any other purpose.
 
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stunreefer

stunreefer

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I use garlic to strenghten the fish imune system.
Ted's results debunk that 'myth', showing garlic does not strengthen fishes immune systems. In fact it causes long term health issues in fish:

"Terrestrial plant lipids are well known to cause heart and liver lesions in marine fish. The problem with feeding terrestrial plant oils (not just garlic but any terrestrial plant oil) to reef fish is problematic due the nature of the lipids the fish do not possess the enzymes to digest them correctly and this leads to fatty deposits and serious pathological changes in the heart and liver of fish that are fed these lipids. Although these are not instantly fatal they cause chronic change to these organs and long term deterioration in the health of the fish."
 

P3FE

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Ted's results debunk that 'myth', showing garlic does not strengthen fishes immune systems. In fact it causes long term health issues in fish:

"Terrestrial plant lipids are well known to cause heart and liver lesions in marine fish. The problem with feeding terrestrial plant oils (not just garlic but any terrestrial plant oil) to reef fish is problematic due the nature of the lipids the fish do not possess the enzymes to digest them correctly and this leads to fatty deposits and serious pathological changes in the heart and liver of fish that are fed these lipids. Although these are not instantly fatal they cause chronic change to these organs and long term deterioration in the health of the fish."

He also points out that they never studied reef fish. At the end of the day, that's ME and the oldest fish in my FOWLR is an 8 year Pure Tang down to the youngest 2 year Emperor Angel I got when he was a juvenile and it's almost finish with his transition. I always quarantine my fish and their food is always soak in garlic before feeding. I will never dispute scientific data but I can say from my experience that garlic has never cause any problems for me and since I make my own garlic extract, I don't have to worry about giving my money away because there's demand for the product. Do I have scientific proof that it helps with the immune system NO, am I going to stop using it because of this article NO. The study is good, but not enough proof to make me stop using garlic.
 
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stunreefer

stunreefer

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Unfortunately there's no 'real' money in reef fish so we'll likely never see any data on them in this regard. I've also used various garlic enhancements for years... now I'll simply be using it on the rare occasion that other enticers don't do the trick (clam juice, Selcon, etc.) :) Kudos for making your own garlic mash and not Kent GarPower (or whatever the heck they name it)! For the vast majority of newcomers to the hobby I won't be recommending the use of garlic.
 
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Thanks for the link and read! I have run across the one about the salmon, feeding your fish broccoli and carrots ( terrestrial based plant oils), and the effects of garlic on fish organs before.

With so many individual accounts of garlic being an effective treatment for cryptocaryon I personally have pondered what exactly could it be about garlic that may be producing these results. aside from dismissing all accounts of garlic curing fish with ich, which is pretty hard to dismiss given the shear number of claims. I thought, well what could it be doing?

organisms don't develop "immunity" to parasites, at least in the way we develop it against virus's. we develop immunity by building up sufficient antibodies that the next time that virus enters our body we are prepared to fight it and it never gets a chance to take hold. to develop immunity against a parasite you would need a shield of some kind.

So lets forget about garlic helping with the fish's immune system because that wouldn't stop the ich life cycle and would stop the parasite from feeding off the fish.

to lend credence to the mass amounts of claims that garlic cures ich I wonder if the garlic,or even fish on their own, is developing some sort of distasteful or noxiuos compound that the trophont won't attach to the fish, ending the life cylcle.


Aquarium Fish: News from the Warfront with Cryptocaryon irritans Part Four of Five ? Advanced Aquarist | Aquarist Magazine and Blog an article that at least acknowledges some alternative methods.
 

ReefFrenzy

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I have read the study that Ted posted and talked with him at length about the subject. Sadly, a scheduling conflict prevented me from seeing his tank last month when I was in CT. (BTW- Ted didn't do those studies himself, he cut and pasted the results of many trials, but people often get confused.) I originally met Ted when he commissioned us to produce 20 pack runs of a "garlic free" blend of our foods for his Angels. When we became too busy with standard production to take on side projects I explained to him how little actual garlic is in our foods.

There has been a fair amount of debate on the subject and I agree that consuming too much actual garlic "meat" could have a deleterious effect long term. Hence we do not add actual garlic to our foods, merely flavored water to minimize this risk. I know there is a video floating around of another food maker adding several cloves of minced garlic to a commercially available food blend, so do your due diligence if this is a concern. For better or worse, consumer "demand" has resulted in about 80% of the foods in my home from various makers having garlic listed in the ingredients list. Still many people take these foods and further boost them with liquid extracts. Good, bad or indifferent store owners and hobbyists are going to continue to add garlic to their foods in an attempt to entice finicky fish to eat.

We address this issue on our FAQ page:

Q: How Much Garlic Is In Your Foods?

A: Great question. The inclusion of garlic in saltwater fish food has proponents for and against its use. A large segment of the reef keeping community believes Allicin, the active ingredient in garlic, has anti-parasitic and immunity boosting qualities. While many reports of its effectiveness are anecdotal, a whole lot of hobbyists and store owners are convinced adding garlic "works."

Our informal testing revealed that adding garlic does in fact cause fish to come inspect the food rapidly, possibly simply to investigate the pungent aroma. Sometimes getting fish to find and ingest ANY food is half the battle, especially with a new purchase. (Many store owners reported 65% less fish losses in 2013 since using our foods to feed new arrivals.) Surveying the available foods on the market today reveals that over 85% have garlic listed on the label.

Studies were recently discussed on popular web forums which suggested long term use of garlic could have a negative effect of fish health. Please recognize these studies used a ratio of "garlic per gram of body weight" far in excess of what we ever add to our foods. Our food processing method NEVER permits any actual garlic "meat" to get into the food or ingested by your fish. When we make a 100 pound batch of Frenzy Food, we merely add a few ounces of strained RO water which has some minced garlic in the container. The water is "flavored" if you will, but no cloves of garlic are minced and added to the blend. We have many customers feeding our foods every single day for almost two years with no ill effects reported. We feel the feeding response generated by adding a little garlic flavored water offsets any possible negatives.


Even with the garlic, our foods earned the trust of "Ted" and many others
with tens of thousands of dollars worth of fish after Ted replied to a question on another forum asking "What do you feed?"

Answer-
What does Ted Feed? Scroll down past the angel pics.

Ted has been using our foods for the past year and introduced us to Karen Brittain in Hawaii who is using our foods in aquaculture studies.

I'm not trying to hijack a Q&A thread, but many folks are feeding garlic enhanced foods, (weather they know it or not), and IMHO it all comes down to the amount actually ingested. I think there are too many folks who have been using it as a food soak or additive for too long to say in "all" instances it is bad.

(On another note I do have data from a public aquarium who feeds broccoli flowers to Tangs to cure and prevent HLLE with pretty good results. I agree most terrestrial veggies shouldn't be in a marine diet, but broccoli seems to be high enough in Vitamins A&D that it has some merit.)
 
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stunreefer

stunreefer

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Great additions, guys!

Larry, I certainly believe it can be beneficial to entice newly received fish to eat, and as you mentioned, that's more than half the battle! I've actually been testing your food on some smaller O. borbonious in my conditioning system. Their staple diet was P.E. Mysis, although one of the three was not putting on much weight and rivaled my mother in regards to pickiness of their food (choosing shrimp based on size and look and letting the rest float pass). After introducing LRS this fish has almost overnight gained the 'pregnant' look that I define healthy fish by.

Very interesting concept you guys use with garlic in your food, and I like it. At this point I'm less inclined to reach for my Seachem Garlic Guard however when I use NLS pellets and now LRS foods as my staples it's hard to argue that a bit of garlic certainly will help entice fish to eat. Besides that there's not much merit (data) to dowsing foods with it, however.
 

ReefFrenzy

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Thanks for the detailed reply StunReefer! As a manufacturer it is always opening up a door when you enter into a dialogue on a web forum on a topic with so much opinion as to the efficacy of adding garlic or not. (The only other topic which is as hazardous is the "Managing Ich verses eradicating it"..LOL) I always try and share information I feel may help someone make an educated decision and help their aquarium inhabitants. I am no Marine Biologist, but I speak with several and always try and stay abreast of new developments. I am glad to hear you like our foods and we take a lot of care and do a lot of research in preparing them. It is simple really; our fresh ingredients and diversity provides a balanced diet that is often hampered through limited frozen food choices at the LFS. Couple this will mass production methods and longer storage times at a distributor's freezer before arriving at the LFS and it cal leave little to be desired.

Some of our ingredients were swimming in the ocean 3 days before going into our blends and they get shipped out a week or two later. I think this is why Aqua Nerd just posed a review of our foods and said he will ONLY be feeding LRS from now on...

Hands on with the Entire Line of LRS Frozen Aquarium Foods | AquaNerd

I am sure you have already seen it if your are a fan of our foods, but this video was submitted to us by Reef Valley in TX and we added our jingle to it. In this video you can see everything from Regal Angels to Seahorses eating LRS, so something in there is attracting them. Is it the garlic? Who knows, as long as it works.

LINK: Reef Frenzy, Best Reef Food - Larry's Reef Services, Llc - Advance, Nc : Other


BTW- We just sent out a newsletter to our stocking retail stores about the next "boost" on the horizon for LRS.... This tweak is getting A LOT of praise from the folks who tried the samples.

Here are the screenshots of the newsletter.





 
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