RESEARCH AQUARIUM FOOD
Probiotics - The live micro-organisms (microflora) that are the friendly, GOOD bacteria living in your fish’s gut. They are essential to good health in many ways, and they can out-compete the BAD bacteria for space and nutrients in order to prevent disease. Studies over the last few decades in the aquaculture industry indicate that probiotics work in fish in much the same way they work in humans. They work to improve digestion and enhance the immune system at the same time. They have even been shown to act as nature’s own replacement for antibiotics.
In the aquarium hobby, they can be particularly important in nurturing newly arrived specimens, since these poor guys have been through the abnormal stress of collection and transport (often multiple times), the multiple holding facilities in unfamiliar places, and the abnormal habitats with inconsistent water parameters. During this time of changing homes - which can easily be a week or a month - the feeding is generally inconsistent and insufficient, especially early on. The digestive tract can be highly compromised. Providing proper and balanced nutrition ASAP is absolutely essential. Probiotics are an integral part of this equation.
Professional aquarists are coming to realize the importance of using probiotics to fill in the previously less understood gaps in formulating a truly full-spectrum food for fish. Nutrition for fish is improving. More than likely, the same basic biological concepts for improvement will soon be applied to the nourishment of corals and other invertebrates commonly kept in reef aquaria.
Prebiotics – A relatively new concept from the 1990’s - are food for the Probiotics. These are whole grains, etc. – high in fiber and basically non-digestible to the host animal - but “fermentable” as nutrition to the probiotic bacteria. Without Prebiotics, Probiotics cannot do their job. Prebiotics can actually nurture a selected group of micro-organisms (bacteria) living in the digestive tract. Therefore, the Prebiotics supplemented in the food must favorably correspond to the specific Probiotics being used. Common and not-so-common food ingredients than can serve as prebiotics in fish foods include:
whole garlic, whole wheat or other grains, soybeans, oats (high in beta glucan), dried fermentation
products, yeast, bananas, lettuce, and certain dried fruits & vegetables.
“NO FAKE PROBIOTICS or PREBIOTICS” … Success with Probiotics can vary, depending on the bacteria strains used, their concentrations, their storage conditions, and the management of the feed production and operations. Poor results in health benefits can be related to low-quality and/or inadequate or “backyard” probiotics. Likewise, Prebiotic ingredients must be carefully selected to coordinate with the probiotic bacteria and yeast strains being used. In other words, Probiotics cannot be faked, and ditto for Prebiotics.
At V2O AQUARIUM FOODS, our special blend of five different strains of bacteria (plus yeast) was compiled by our consultants who are current leading experts in the field of aquaculture NUTRITION and PATHOLOGY. Our goal is to enhance nutrition and to try to eliminate the gram negative pathogenic bacteria in both the gut of the fish and the water column in the aquarium. V2O then uses a special proprietary blend of natural Prebiotic ingredients researched by the same consultants to coordinate with the selected probiotic bacteria strains to achieve maximum function. We currently add Probiotics and Prebiotics to our Fish & Reef #1 and #2. These foods are formulated with a special Alginate binder which is very delicate but holds the product together just enough so that nutrient supplements will end up inside your fish and corals, and not just leached into the aquarium water. For many years, we have been adding essential supplements such as astaxanthin pigments, vitamins, amino acids, omega 3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. As of January 2017, we can add Probiotics and Prebiotics to that list! Remember that the key here is that our special alginate binder holds these nutrients in the food so that they end up where they are intended – inside the fish and critters - not leached out freely into the water.
Other manufacturers advertise a certain number of Probiotic CFU’s (colony forming units) per gram of food. That’s nice to know, but regardless of how many CFU units per gram are reported in the laboratory test results, it is only meaningful when these bacteria colony units actually end up inside the fish rather than being dispersed into the aquarium water.
We also produce a new dry food blend of pellets and flake foods that we call “NEW VISION – All in One”. This product contains special flake foods produced by our new “COLD-PROCESS DRYER” machinery brought over from the Aquaculture Industry exclusively to V2O FOODS. The product never gets hot - no more than 120 F - so those essential and delicate nutrient components are not damaged or “cooked off”. More to the point, the Probiotics stay alive through this process! (The prebiotics, of course, are also not damaged.)
We have tested these flake foods for the presence of live probiotics just after production, 10 weeks post-production, and 20 weeks post-production. We are happy to say that the Probiotics are alive and well – Happy as Ever.
The number of surviving bacteria CFU’s (Colony Forming Units) in these COLD-PROCESS V2O flake foods (and in Fish & Reef #1 and #2) is extremely high – up to 10x times higher than levels guaranteed by other food manufacturers.
At V2O FOODS we pride ourselves on staying way ahead of the curve in aquarium nutrition because of our combined 80 years of experience, 40 years of history, and our “Aquaculture Connection” – a significant advantage. We feel strongly that no other manufacturer of frozen or dry foods can apply the amount expertise to their products that we can.