We know the red carotenoid astaxanthin is essential for optimal red and orange coloration in fish and coral, but Reed Mariculture conducted an experiment to ensure it had just the right level for clownfish coloration in its TDO Chroma BOOST food by leveraging research and the trained eyes of six saltwater livestock retailers.
Reed worked with Virginia Tech’s Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center (AREC) and Mid-Atlantic AquaTech to explore how top-dressing their food with various amounts of the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis would impact the coloration of the Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) to discover that 400 ppm of astaxanthin was the ideal amount.
The study used clownfish that were fed TDO Chroma BOOST at different levels — 0, 150, 250, 400, 640 and 1,020 ppm — over a seven-week period. Each level was tested against a batch of 40 juvenile fish.
To test the results, they relied on the human eye and recruited six experts for the panel and that were tested to confirm that they could visually discriminate between different colors by means of triangle tests. Then the panelists assigned a color preference score using a scale of 0 (lowest preference) to nine (highest preference) to the fish.
Astaxanthin Level Avg. Preference Score
0 ppm 2.8
150 ppm 4.8
250 ppm 5.3
400 ppm 8.3
640 ppm 5.2
1020 ppm 4.8
The clear favorite, with an average score of 8.3, was TDO Chroma BOOST with 400 ppm of astaxanthin when reds were optimum and whites were at their brightest. Now Reed is incorporating this knowledge into the foods to ensure they are maximizing the results and keeping the right amount of astaxanthin.
[via Pet Age]