A couple weeks ago we told you about Reed Mariculture’s forthcoming new product line that seeks to fill the gap between large-scale commercial foodfish aquaculture and the individual reef hobbyist – finally addressing the needs of small scale ornamental marine fish production and settings like public aquariums. One of the long-awaited products is a new Top Dressed Otohime, aka. “TDO”. Reef Builders was granted a preview of the new feed, and we are excited for the possibilities.
Original Otohime could only be ordered in sample sizes or 1,2, or 10 kilo units (depending on the size of the feed). That severely limited its use by the casual breeder or general aquarist. This new line will also come in “hobbyist-friendly” sizes, possible 1 oz, 3 oz and maybe one larger size.
[youtube width=”640″ height=”390″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qp6G9mVBNY[/youtube]
It should be mentioned that Otohime is not new to those who’ve taken a stab at breeding clownfish. This Japanese feed was specifically designed for marine fish culture, and at this point is a time-tested, reliable food for clownfish and other baby marine fish. However, as mentioned in our prior article, this feed lacked a critical element for the production of ornamentals. It lacked pigments. Fish grown on the original formulation grew faster than other foods, but were dull in color. Hobbyists have long since tinkered with Otohime, coming up with “top dressing” methods to “apply” supplements to the feed. The only other option was to utilize more than one feed so that pigments could be delivered by some other mechanism.
Reed built on this hobbyist innovation and has taken care of the dirty work, providing a ready-to-use top-dressed formulation so hobbyists can spend more time tinkering with fish. Initially, I am impressed. I expected moisture or maybe a greasy feeling but instead was confronted by a clean, dry pellet not unlike the original Otohime feed. The fish took to it without any hesitation (it’s not like they hadn’t seen Otohime before). What did surprise me was that other small fish (i.e. Clown Gobies as seen in the video) were equally interested in taking the top-dressed Otohime.
That’s when it hit me. I have a feeling Reed may have stumbled onto something more useful than they originally anticipated. Given the new smaller quantities, we’re now looking at a feed that is accessible to any mainstream hobbyist. While Reef Nutrition offered the Aquathrive marine fish pellet feed in the past, this food is no longer being produced. In reality, this new top-dressed Otohime could more than replace that old line, owing to its proven use in aquaculture, and now rounded out with pigments that naturally foster the creation of good color in marine fish. But the biggest bonus hasn’t been mentioned yet – Otohime comes in a range of 15 sizes (yes, fifteen) starting at well under 250 microns. This is not just “small pellet” and “big pellet” as typically offered in marine fish foods, but very narrow size ranges used to meet the needs of larval and juvenile marine fish all the way on up. Whether the new top-dressed Otohime will come in all 15 sizes remains to be seen, but you can bet that probably everything from the smallest to a regular size pellet (the EP2 range) will probably be available.
The real benefit here – you can get a marine pellet feed in virtually any size, many of which are smaller than traditional marine pellet feeds. You can get a pellet size in exactly the size you want for exactly what you intend to do with it. The potential applications in the mainstream reefing community are open to your imagination, and the level of control over food size is unmatched. Otohime could be a great feed for any fish with a small mouth. Perhaps it will find its way into use as a coral or invertebrate feed.
As if I couldn’t be excited enough, it stands to reason that Reed Mariculture’s top-dressing method could further expand the Otohime line. While the new feed is top-dressed with astaxanthin (natural red carotenoid pigment), natural feed stimulants, and a natural immune-stimulant, we could see other coatings come into play (I’ve already asked them to find a good solution for delivering YELLOW pigments, xanthophyll, for fish that require yellow pigments vs. red, and we’ve talked about one other very interesting addition to the mix). This particular TDO (Top Dressed Otohime) is for predominantly red fish and should not be fed to predominantly yellow ones. Breeders take note – feeding exclusively a red-pigment to a yellow fish might turn them orange.
Could this be the start of a new mainstream dry food? Hard to say, but the promise and potential is there. It will be very interesting to see how this revamped Otohime finds its way out of the clownfish breeders’ basements and into their friend’s reef tanks.
There’s still time to get your hands on your own personal insider’s look at the new Top Dressed Otohime. Reed Maricultures “name our new product line” contest is in full swing. There’s still time to enter, as every entrant gets a free sample of the new TDO product!
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