Crude Protein (min).....35%
Crude Fat (min) ..............5%
Crude Fiber (max)...........5%
Aqueon Algae Rounds Ingredients
Whole Fish Meal (Whole salmon, herring & other mixed fishes), Whole Wheat Flour, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Spirulina, Soybean Meal, Whole Dried Krill, Kelp Meal, Wheat Gluten Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Fish Oil, Spinach, Garlic, Dicalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Calcium, Propionate (a preservative), L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin A, Acetate, Cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin, Menadione Sodium Bisulphite Complex (source of vitamin K activity), Folic Acid, Thiamine, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (B6), Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, DL-Alphatocopherol (E), Manganese Sulfate, Cobalt Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate.
Aqueon Algae Rounds Ingredients Analysis
Primary ingredient is Whole Fish meal. A meal form including the word “whole” identifies the entirety of the fish is utilized, not just processing leftovers as can be found in “fish meal.” Aqueon Meals are known to be manufactured in the United States, not utilizing Ethoxyquin as a preservative, which enables some level of confidence in the quality of the meal. Whole Salmon is a high in Omega 3, Omega 6, and astaxanthin (A color enhancing carotenoid and powerful antioxidant). Salmon, combined with Whole Dried Krill, one of the best sources of astaxanthin available, ensures a food that will enhance red coloration.
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 farmed salmon is utilized in this meal.
Wheat is split into two separate ingredients (Wheat Flour and Wheat Gluten Meal) potentially making it the actual 1st ingredient. Combined with other fillers, binders, and non-preferred proteins sources (Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal and Corn Gluten Meal), the ratio of non-preferred proteins and fillers is concerning.
Spirulina is sometimes called "The Most Nutritious Food on the Planet". 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. Spirulina is only available in a dry form, so regardless of how it is listed on the ingredient label (spirulina meal, dried spirulina, or spirulina), it's ordering in the ingredient list should be accurate.
The next preferred ingredient is “Whole Dried Krill Meal”. Preference would be for this to be identified as Antarctic Krill. Regardless, it is a preferred protein with excellent color enhancing properties. Kelp Meal, listed at its dry weight as the 7th listed ingredient, is likely the primary preferred plant protein in this product, followed by Spirulina and Spinach. Overall, the plant protein content of this food, advertised as a herbviore food, is marginal.
Fish oil can be either a beneficial ingredient or a hazardous one. Human grade fish oil collected from specific specifies of fish and screened for mercury will provide necessary omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids as well as protein. Non-human grade fish oil may not be screened for mercury and originate from fish with reduced omega 3 content.
The inclusion of both spinach and garlic are appreciated, although their listing this far down the ingredients limits their nutritional contribution.
With only two of the top 5 ingredients being preferred proteins, there is insufficient confidence in the overall preferred protein content of this food.
This food does not contain Ethoxyquin or artificial colors but it does contain synthetic vitamin K.
Oscarfish.Com Rating: 3 Star
Use of the whole fish is appreciated, as is an absence of ethoxyquin or artificial coloring agents, resulting in a 3 star rating. Moderately low preferred plant proteins for a product marketed as an "algae wafer", concerns with overall preferred protein ratio to fillers, binders, and non-preferred proteins, combined with use of synthetic vitamin K prevent a higher rating.
Understanding Oscarfish.Com Ratings:
This review is an attempt to analyze the ingredients, rating them from 1 (worst) to 6 (best) in an effort to judge quality based upon three simple criteria.
- Absence of toxic, potentially toxic, and controversial ingredients
- Aquatic Animal protein and Preferred Plant Proteins as the primary protein sources
- A fully nutritious food to include necessary vitamins and minerals with natural sources of vitamins and minerals being preferred.
These basic concepts apply:
- Inclusion of sufficient quantities of preferred plant proteins is a bonus with sufficient Spirulina content being a significant bonus.
- Any food that utilizes Ethoxyquin, BHA, or BHT as preservatives, cannot rate higher than a 4 star food.
- Use of prebiotics or probiotics is a bonus
- 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.