HBH Cichlid Flake Frenzy Ingredients:
Fish Meal, Soy Flour, Krill Meal, Shrimp Meal, Wheat Starch, Fish Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Brine Shrimp, Spirulina Algae, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Pea Powder, Squid Meal, Brewers Dried Yeast, Wheat Gluten, Carrot Powder, Spinach Powder, Beet Powder, Zucchini Powder, Kale Powder, Soy Lecithin, Red Pepper Powder, Garlic Powder, Canthaxanthin, Natural Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Rosemary Extract with added Vitamins and Minerals
HBH Cichlid Flake Frenzy Ingredients Analysis
The primary ingredient is fish meal. We have no way of measuring the quality and nutritional value of the meal being used as the source is unknown. As a result, the quality and subsequent nutritional values are questionable. Use of fish meal, instead of “whole fish meal” indicates the primary ingredients are potentially fish processing leftovers (scales, skin, bones, internal organs) deemed unsuitable for human consumption.
While a second preferred protein would be ideal as the second ingredient, use of soy flour over wheat or corn is favored. As the third ingredient, Krill Meal provides an excellent source of protein and Astaxanthin, a red color enhancing carotenoid. Shrimp meal is a lower quality product than is fish meal.
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.
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 a 62% amino acid content and contains all essential fatty acids and eight amino acids required for complete nutrition. While the preference is for Spirulina to be a primary ingredient instead of a marginal one, it's inclusion is appreciated.
Brine Shrimp, Fish Eggs, and Earthworm are all listed at their wet weights. Once dried, as it must be for inclusion into a fish flake food, its weight will be substantially less, likely moving it down further in the ingredient list. However, with three preferred proteins listed within the first five ingredients and subsequent listing of an additional 12 preferred proteins, there is ample confidence in the preferred protein content of this food.
Brewers dried yeast is a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient contains about 45% protein and is rich in Vitamin B. Is use in fish foods is as either as a protein source or a vitamin supplement. Studies do exist indentifying its capacity to improve fish growth rates. 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. Its use in this food does not appear excessive.
Beet powder is a rich source of natural sugar that provides sodium, potassium, phosphorus, chlorine, iodine, iron and various important vitamins. In humans, it is considered a health food. It is likely added here more to impart red color in the flake. It is an undesired ingredient in dog foods.
It is not known if this food contains Ethoxyquin. Some HBH foods contain Ethoxyquin and some do not. Nor is it known if this food utilizes artificial colors. It is likely to contain synthetic vitamin K within the labeling of “Vitamins and minerals added”.
Oscarfish.Com Rating: 4 Star
With three of the top four ingredients being preferred protein sources listed at their dry weight, confidence is high in the preferred protein content of this food. The inclusion of signifiant preferred plant proteins fully justifies a rating higher than a 4 star. However, unknown quality (and source) of the utilized fish meal prevents a 5 star rating. It would also appear that HBH has made a concerted effort to discontinue use of Ethoxyquin, using a preferred preservative (Natural Mixed Tocopherols) . However, with the source of the meal products being an unknown, the potential is high that ethoxyquin remains a hidden ingredient.
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:
- 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