Nutrition: Lions,scorps, and others

lion king

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Any of you that have read any of my post know that I am a stanch live food advocate. But I have gotten questions in regards to feeding dead foods and what would be a good dead food diet. Presently and for years I have only supplemented my predators with dead foods, but years ago; many years ago I did stumble upon a dead diet that did work for long term success with dwarf lions. These food requirements would address lions, scorps, anglers, eels, and many other carnivorous predatory fish. I am focusing my attention to lions and scorps today, and would welcome a discussion and input from others that have achieved long term success. When I say long term success; that's like 5 or more years for a dwarf lion or small scorps, and more like 8 to 10 years if you raised them from a pup. Just getting your fuzzy to eat krill is not success.

1st off, it's been said many times; in regards to dwarf and medium bodied lions as well as many scorps(add anglers and ribbon eels), there is just no guarantee they will take dead food at all, or at least enough to sustain for very long. You also can not broadcast the food into the water column and expect them to eat or catch enough to sustain. You must target feed. You can research other threads for tricks to convert to dead foods, and maybe one day I'll share mine in a thread. If you are going to keep them in a community tank, I suggest starting them in an observation tank and getting their dead diet consistent before adding them to a community display tank.

These are the primary elements to a dead diet that will provide long term success. 1st off limit food with high amounts of thiaminese, thiaminese is an enzyme which will bind vitamin B1, lead to nutritional deficiencies and even lockjaw. You want to include fresh seafood, at least buy fresh and freeze only small portions. Buying frozen is mostly dead in nutrients. Supplementation likely doesn't work; I used to advocate for selcon and muti-vits but my verdict is now in after compiling more data from people that are religious into supplementation. The nutrients either are not effectively absorbed into the food or by the fish, or fat soluble nutrients become toxic. These lions on supplemented dead foods still never lived that long.

Fatty fish, bones, shells, and guts. These are the things that need to be included, fresh when possible. I stumbled into a dead diet that kept my lions for years when at the time lions were being fed goldfish, rosies, or guppies. I started tying pieces of food from my diet on a string and bobbing up and down in the tank. These are some of the things from my diet I fed; tuna, salmon, octopus, squid, and shrimp. I would cut a chunk from what I had in the house, always fresh. Some would take it, some wouldn't, over time I got more and more to take at least some of what I offered. I fed shrimp that still had shells and intestine. I started feeding silversides as well for the bones and guts.

Today I still eat salmon and tuna, I don't give up my tuna that easily at $20/lb but I do cut a sliver of salmon for those that will take it. Research the fish you eat at home and see if they could benefit from eating it, you'll have to check but I believe talapia is a fish some people feed and is very popular today, but the key is "fatty fish". Shrimp does contain thiaminese, but if you are feeding fresh with the shells and guts, i believe it outweighs the thiaminese content. Either way shrimp should only constitute no more than a 1/3 of their diet. Silversides encompass a few varieties of fish, so check your brand to see which species of fish they use, as some do contain thiaminese. Hikari brand silversides uses Pseudohemiculter dispar and does not contain thiaminese, you'll have to check for your brand and reference a list of fish that contain thiaminese.

Eels are other predators that succumb to a shortened life because of a poor diet, if you feed your eel frozen dead(dead nutrient) food, don't expect them to live that long; especially if you include krill and unknown sourced silversides. Sadly i see people teach that it is commonplace for a snowflake eel to live between 2 and 4 years in captivity; that's bull, it should be 15. Eels live a very long life in the wild, like 20-30 years. I know 2 different guys that feed their eels from the table as I spoke before, fresh seafood from their own table, and one has a tessalata for almost 15 years last I spoke with him. The other has a few that I know at least a couple over 10 years.

If you could get your picky preds to take these dead foods, you could have a chance at keeping for many years. Fresh Atlantic salmon and fresh shrimp with shells. Don't be shy about asking for 3 fresh shrimp, I do(hahaha), tell them it for your pet lionfish and they usually get a big kick out it. Hikari brand silversides. Any other fresh seafood; scallops, squid, etc.; 2 squid, 3 scallop, and 3 shrimp please; only use the frozen you freeze yourself in small batches. When feeding fresh, the nutrients especially B vitamins may nullify the action of thiaminese. Even after all of this, the live gut flora of feeding live may still be the secret to success.
 

xxkenny90xx

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Thanks for the write up. Years ago I had a volitan (2 actually). Such an amazing fish. I fed it frozen seafood from the Asian market exclusively. After about a year it stopped eating and died. I won't make that mistake with my new angler.

Do you have similar believes for invert diets? Usually my marine giant hermit gets frozen food (and the occasional ghost shrimp or Molly). But I'm not against switching him over to fresh as well.
 
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lion king

lion king

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Thanks for the write up. Years ago I had a volitan (2 actually). Such an amazing fish. I fed it frozen seafood from the Asian market exclusively. After about a year it stopped eating and died. I won't make that mistake with my new angler.

Do you have similar believes for invert diets? Usually my marine giant hermit gets frozen food (and the occasional ghost shrimp or Molly). But I'm not against switching him over to fresh as well.


I would imagine same rules apply. Chop up a little sushima offering from your own table. If I were eating some fresh scallop, I'd chop a bit off for my hermit.
 

flampton

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Interesting thanks for the write up! One thing that has been on my mind is the use of cold water and temperate foods for my livestock. The problem I see is that these foods have a high unsaturated fatty acid content. They need this to keep their membranes fluid in cold water. Animals living on a reef would necessarily have less unsaturated fatty acids. This is important not only for their membranes but they will be much less susceptible to free radicals. The free radical attack on membranes is obviously damaging and promotes aging. This is also the reason I avoid any Omega 3 supplements (selcon and the like).

However it's hard to find more warm water foods than cold water. E.g. mysis, calanus, etc are easy to find for my fish.

Do you find foods with less unsaturated fat to be better for your predators? And I assume the salmon is a treat and not standard?
 
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lion king

lion king

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Interesting thanks for the write up! One thing that has been on my mind is the use of cold water and temperate foods for my livestock. The problem I see is that these foods have a high unsaturated fatty acid content. They need this to keep their membranes fluid in cold water. Animals living on a reef would necessarily have less unsaturated fatty acids. This is important not only for their membranes but they will be much less susceptible to free radicals. The free radical attack on membranes is obviously damaging and promotes aging. This is also the reason I avoid any Omega 3 supplements (selcon and the like).

However it's hard to find more warm water foods than cold water. E.g. mysis, calanus, etc are easy to find for my fish.

Do you find foods with less unsaturated fat to be better for your predators? And I assume the salmon is a treat and not standard?

Salmon or similar fatty fish would need to be the standard, one of the primary additions to the dead diet, not a treat. This is where they get the beneficial efa's. I eat fresh salmon at least once a week, I will cut a sliver off to offer my preds that will take it. I had some fresh tuna last week but kept it all to myself, tuna is another fatty fish that is a good offering, but at $20/lb maybe a little excessive. You see this is another problem of maintaining the proper dead diet, the right dead foods are expensive. Today I'm not so worried about my fish eating any dead foods as they all get a dominant live diet.
 
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Interesting.

I've had my V. Lionfish for 6 years now. He's healthy (knock on wood). For the past 5.5 years, I've been feeding him frozen food.
I fed him chunks of jumbo shrimp, chunks of frozen krill and whole cubes of fish food. I just drop a cube in and he eats it whole.
I usually give him 2 to 3 cubes about every other day.
I have had zero problems and he is healthy and happy from what I can tell.

Is there an issue with feeding krill?
 
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lion king

lion king

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Interesting.

I've had my V. Lionfish for 6 years now. He's healthy (knock on wood). For the past 5.5 years, I've been feeding him frozen food.
I fed him chunks of jumbo shrimp, chunks of frozen krill and whole cubes of fish food. I just drop a cube in and he eats it whole.
I usually give him 2 to 3 cubes about every other day.
I have had zero problems and he is healthy and happy from what I can tell.

Is there an issue with feeding krill?

Volitans generally take a variety of dead foods more easily than do the dwarf or medium bodied lions and scorps. Volitans may live a bit longer but will still suffer from the same nutritional deficiencies that other predators do in the captivity. One old guy can eat fast food and live to a hundred, but 99 will die an early death. This hobby is not absolute as there are different ways to success. But overall a dead frozen diet will produce an early death to most predators, volitans live to about 15 years in the wild.
 

Dj City

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Is there any danger in feeding krill specifically? He's pretty good taking cubes and shrimp and whatever i feed him but I don't remember if krill is inherently bad for them.
 
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lion king

lion king

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Is there any danger in feeding krill specifically? He's pretty good taking cubes and shrimp and whatever i feed him but I don't remember if krill is inherently bad for them

Krill contains a high amount of thiaminese, which most specifically binds vitamin B1. This enzyme has been contributed to nutritional deficiencies and lockjaw as a symptom. Lockjaw sometimes appears as if the fish is going to eat something, but then just doesn't quite get it, like he misses.
 
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lion king

lion king

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I have had long term success with volitans(10+years) and fuzzies(5+years) with a combination of the dead diet I've described, as well have helped others with volitans, russells, fuzzies, and zebras. I have never seen any of the others survive much longer than a year and a half on a dead only diet. They seem to be just be too picky to accept the necessary varied foods, or at least in enough consistency and/or volume. There are other reasons lions die within this year to year and a half time frame, or sooner, that has to do mainly with liver failure due to the use of medications. I've described this in some of my other threads.

Something for you to ponder. We use to feed volitans live goldfish, if you kept your tank clean and didn't overfeed, you could keep a volitan for as long as 5 years or so. Keeping volitans if proper dead foods are fed today is highly successful, but for some reason the average volitan only lives 2-3 years, that's after 90% die much, much sooner. At the outside I hear people keeping them 5-6 years, about the same as with live goldfish. Even with goldfish containing high amounts of thiaminese and too fatty, or the wrong kind of fats; being alive provided more nutritional support than most people's dead food choices today.
 

Hugh Mann

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When I read your posts on nutrition, always very informative. I desperately wish I could feed my eel like this, but fresh,not frozen seafood is unheard of in my town. Have to drive a couple hundred kilometers to go and get it, if those places even have it.

Makes me jealous you can feed so many preds so well.
 

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