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Cobalt Aquatics Spirulina Premium Fish Food Ingredients Analysis

Written by Kmuda. Posted in 3 Star Foods

Cobalt Aquatics Spirulina Premium Fish Food

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein 45.0% min.
Crude Fat 10.0% min.
Crude Fiber 3.0% min.
Phosphorus 1.0%, min.
Moisture 5.0% max.

Cobalt Aquatics Spirulina Premium Fish Food Ingredients:

Salmon Fish Meal, Wheat Flour, Soy Flour, Brewer's Yeast, Corn Starch, Dried Spirulina Algae, Freeze Dried Plankton, Freeze Dried Krill, Dried Kelp, Fish Oil, Lecithin, Garlic Powder, Earthworm Powder, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Biotin, Dried Brine Shrimp, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of stabilized Vitamin C), Beta-Glucan, Spray Dried Egg, Garlic Powder, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Supplement, D1 Calcium Pantothenate, Niacin, D-Biotin, Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus licheniformis Fermentation Product, Methionine and Natural Coloring.

Cobalt Aquatics Spirulina Flakes and Pellets Ingredients Analysis

The primary ingredient is “Salmon Fish Meal”. Not being labeled as “Whole Salmon Meal” indicates this meal is potentially comprised of the skins, scales, bones, blood, internal organs, and other leftovers deemed unusable for human consumption. While “Whole Salmon Meal” would be preferred, it is assumed that the included Salmon Fish Meal is a quality product as it is not imported. Salmon Meal is high in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids as well as Astaxanthin, a color enhancing carotenoid and powerful antioxidant.

Studies conducted by the University of Albany’s Institute for Health and the Environment have identified significant contaminant levels in farmed salmon. “In particular, four substances that have been well studied for their ability to cause cancer-PCBs, dioxins, dieldrin, and toxaphene-were consistently and significantly more concentrated in farmed salmon.” Contamination is significant enough that the human recommendation for the consumption of farmed salmon is reduced to a “one-half to one meal per month-based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consumption advisories for these contaminants. A meal was considered to be an eight-ounce portion.” It can be safely assumed that this meal is comprised of farmed salmon.

With four of the top five ingredients being non-preferred proteins and binders,  there is insufficient confidence in the preferred protein content of the food.

Brewers yeast is a waste product of the beer and ale industry. As a dried product, it is commonly added to fish feeds as a growth accelerator and source of vitamin B-complex. Studies do exist validating this use, although these studies do not account for long term use. When used as a supplement comprising between 2% and 4% of the food, this is an acceptable product. When used as a primary provider of protein comprising 25% or more of the food it is less acceptable as protein digestibility concerns have been documented. It is listed here at its wet weight. Once dried, as it must be to be used in fish flake or pellet food, its actual location should be further down the ingredient list, which is a good thing for this product.

The next listed preferred ingredient is Spirulina, followed by an additional three preferred proteins (Freeze Dried Plankton, Freeze Dried Krill, Dried Kelp). Extensive use of Spirulina and subsequent inclusion of Kelp is very much appreciated, ensuring a natural source of vitamins and minerals.

Spirulina, specifically, is rich in raw protein and seven major vitamins: A1, B1, B2, B6, B12 (one of the best natural sources for B12, although the bioavailability of its B12 is in dispute by many researchers), C and E. It naturally contains beta-carotene, color enhancing pigments, and a whole range of minerals. In addition, Spirulina has 62% amino acid content and contains all essential fatty acids and eight amino acids required for complete nutrition. It is easily digested due to the fact that Spirulina cells do not have cellulose walls.

Four of the preferred protein sources possess color enhancing properties. Salmon skin, which is included in the Salmon Meal, plankton meal, and krill meal are perhaps the best natural sources of Astaxanthin available, while Spirulina contains high levels of Zeaxanthin. Each of these carotenoids enhances red coloration.

The listed vitamin supplements in conjunction with the high Spirulina content indentify an exceptionally nutritious food.

Use of probitics in the form of Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product and Dried Bacillus licheniformis Fermentation Product is very much appreciated. Probiotics aid in digestion, including increasing the protein digestibility of terrestrial starches such as wheat (at least for true omnivores such as Oscars), and the subsequent breakdown in waste. Functional probiotics can reduce waste build up in the substrate and filters by as much as 50%.

Per communication with Cobalt, Cobalt does not add ethoxyquin directly to their products but pre-mix meals contain "trace amounts". The actual levels of Ethoxyquin are unknown.

Food does not contain artificial coloring agents but does include Menadione Sodium Bisulfite (synthetic vitamin K).

Oscarfish.Com Rating: 3 star

The assumed quality of the utilized salmon meal, the significant concentration of Spirulina, subsequent inclusion of additional quality preferred proteins, an absence of artificial coloring agents, and use of probiotics easily justifies a 3 star rating. Use of Menadione Sodium Bisulfite, the amount of wheat/soy product utilized, and  use of Ethoxyquin prevent rating higher.

Understanding Oscarfish.Com Ratings:

This review is an attempt to analyze the ingredients, rating them from 1 star (worse) to 6 star (best), in an effort to judge quality based upon three simple criteria.

  1. Absence of toxic, potentially toxic, and controversial ingredients
  2. Aquatic Animal protein and Preferred Plant Proteins as the primary protein sources
  3. A fully nutritious food to include necessary vitamins and minerals with natural sources of vitamins and minerals being preferred.

These basic concepts apply:

  • Any food that utilizes Ethoxyquin, BHA, or BHT as preservatives, cannot rate higher than a 4 star food.
  • Use of artificial colors prevents rating higher than a 4 star food.
  • Any food that utilizes Menadione Sodium Bisulfite (Synthetic Vitamin K, aka K3) cannot rate higher than a 5 star food.
  • Inclusion of the “Whole Fish”, or “Whole Krill” (in meal form or not) is preferred over fish meal or krill meal.
  • In order to achieve a 5 or 6 star rating, the quality of the meal must be known.
  • In order to achieve a 6 star rating, the “Whole Fish’ (or whole animal) must be used, either in meal form or in sufficient quantities outside of meal form.
  • Inclusion of sufficient quantities of preferred plant proteins is a bonus with sufficient Spirulina content being a significant bonus.
  • Use of prebiotics or probiotics is a bonus