Have you ever wondered if it would be possible to make your own saltwater fish food? It’s easier than you think to make highly nutritious food for the fish in your saltwater aquarium. Before investing a lot of time and energy, I encourage you to start off simple and try this recipe for the easiest DIY saltwater fish food ever. Calling it a recipe even suggests more complications than there really is. All you need to get started is a freezer, a cheese grater (one that shreds tiny pieces, not big fat pieces) and some seafood.
How to make the easiest DIY Saltwater Fish Food Ever
What to buy
The best DIY saltwater fish food to start out with are regular table shrimp–yep, the kind you would dunk in cocktail sauce and eat. Most of the meat-eating fish in your tank will enjoy a shrimp cocktail (figuratively speaking), shrimp are readily available in most supermarkets, and you buy a few shrimp (which will last you longer than you think) for pretty cheap. If your store has a ‘seafood counter’, you can ask the attendant to weigh out just a few shrimp–which will only cost you the loose change in your pocket. Buy raw shrimp, if you can find them, but cooked shrimp will do the trick too. When you get the shrimp home, peel off the shell, ball up the couple of shrimp you bought inside of a sealable plastic bag and stick it in the freezer.
Freezing your DIY saltwater fish food is an important step for a few reasons:
1) Kills parasites/pathogens–if the shrimp you purchased were fresh (never frozen) they may have been harboring pathogens or parasites. A reasonable period of time in the freezer is likely to kill anything you would worry about unintentionally adding to your tank.
2) Keeps the food ‘fresh’ longer. I know it’s not really fresh, by definition it is frozen, but I think you know what I mean. The shrimp will last much longer in the freezer without spoiling.
3) Ease of handling. If you ‘ball-up’ the shrimp before you freeze them, they should be nice and easy to handle when you are ready to feed your fish.
So you froze a few raw table shrimp–now what? When it is time to feed your fish, take the shrimp out of the freezer and use a fine mesh cheese grater or lemon zester to shave tiny slivers of the shrimp onto a plate or into a bowl.
I keep a small cup that I use exclusively for thawing frozen foods near my aquarium. Even if I’m feeding a commercial frozen food, like Hikari mysis shrimp cubes, I drop the frozen stuff in the cup and fill it up with a little warm water. Once thawed, simply stir up the contents of the cup a little (I do this by using a gentle swirling motion) and pour (very slowly) the contents into the aquarium, taking frequent pauses to observe the fish and let them get used to the new food.
Return the unused ball of frozen shrimp back to the plastic bag, seal the bag and put it back in the freezer. You’ll have to wash and dry the plate, cheese grater, and anything else that came into contact with the raw shrimp. I even recommend washing and drying the cheese grater right away and putting it back where you found it…just to avoid any questions about why the cheese grater is out….
What to expect
Wasn’t that easy? It was probably too easy. While I have personally had good success feeding my fish this way, there have been occasions where the fish were reluctant to eat the frozen offering–start off by feeding only small amounts, and be careful to remove any uneaten food, to avoid fouling the tank water. Also make sure that the saltwater fish food is properly thawed before feeding, as the temperature of the food does appear to impact appetite.
Building on your success
If your fish enjoyed your first foray into the DIY saltwater fish food space, consider branching out and getting a few other kinds of seafood under your belt. It is inexpensive and so easy to do. Just about any seafood will work–buy whatever seafood is on sale. You want to only use saltwater fish and shellfish to feed your saltwater fish–because it will be the most nutritious for them. Clams, mussels, scallops, oysters, ‘catch 0f the day’ fish meat, almost any saltwater seafood will work. Once you have a feel for what kinds of foods your fish prefer, buy a few different types of seafood, ball them all together, and shave off some from a different section every day–so that you feed your tank with a variety of nutritious foods. Add some nori or even a vitamin supplement like SELCO for an added boost of nutrition. But keep in mind, simply freezing some shrimp, scallops, or clams and using a cheese grater (or lemon zester) to create fine pieces is perhaps the easiest way to make DIY saltwater fish food ever!