I thought I would take some time to explain how I prepare the raw foods that I feed to my carnivorous / predator fish and my anemones. This results in a higher quality food for less cost than purchased frozen fish foods.
For the anemones, I will typically use fresh uncooked tilapia, shrimp, mussels and scallops as they are all high quality protein sources and are relatively cheap. They are also meats that are typically lower in oil/fat content. The exact fish I use will also depend on what is available to buy where I live. I will buy them from a local grocery store to ensure I am getting the same quality of food that I often enjoy to eat.
When I return from the store with the fish food, the first thing I will do is wash the fish very well in running tap water and wipe it dry. RO water will also work every well for this. If I am preparing shrimp, I will first remove the outer shell. If I am preparing mussels, I will remove them from the shell as well.
I will then cut it up in sizes that are more appropriate for the critters that I am feeding. As I have a larger carpet anemones, I will cut some larger pcs for them and some smaller pcs for a smaller seabay anemone that I have as well. When cutting up raw fish, you have to keep an eye open for bones. You do not want any bones in the food. I will layout the cut up pcs on wax paper, then stack these sheets on a tray and place them in the freezer overnight.
Once frozen, I will bag these up in freezer bags according to size to make it easy for me to get the correct food.
A few hours before feeding time, I will thaw the food in some tank water and vitamin additives. By mixing the different types of meat together, it will be easier for me to ensure my critters are getting better varieties of foods in their diet
The above describe process is more intended for my anemones, but can be applied to feed almost any marine predator. But I will take a slightly different approach for my lionfish. Just as with my anemones, I will not feed them any frozen fish foods. I will purchase: shrimp, squid, octopus, and scallops that were intended for human consumption from the grocery store. It is very important to alternate the different types of foods you feed most marine predators (like lionfish) to ensure the get a wide range of nutrients and proteins into their diet. As the squid and octopus can be very hard to find, I will usually have to purchase an already frozen sea food package from the store with these two different meats in it.
After letting the frozen meats partially thaw in a bowl of cold water, I will wash it very well in cold water and cut up all the different meats that I want to use as fish food. I will base the size of the food pieces on how big my fish are to make sure the food will not be too large to cause potential problems. This is also why I will only make about a 4 month supply of food at one time, allowing me to adjust the size of the food as my fish grow.
I will place this food into ice cube trays so that one cube will be equal to one feeding. I will try my best to ensure there is every different type of meat in each of the cubes to make it easier for me to offer my fish a daily variety in their diet.
Once that is done I will add the vitamin additives into eat cube. I will also fill the unused portion of the cube with RO water and place the tray in the freezer once it’s all full
Now I just have to take a single ice/food cube out of the freezer and let it thaw in a small bowel or glass of tank water or RO water before feeding. I have found this is one of the easiest ways to feed the best quality froze foods to my fish.
Just a concern about buying prepackaged frozen raw fish from the grocery store. Sometimes they will be packaged in a salt brine that contains preservatives to help them last longer. You will want to thaw these in a larger amount of tank or RO water followed by a good rinse to help remove these preservatives and any other additives that might have been used in the brine. Read the label and make sure you are comfortable with feeding it to your critters before using it. I have only ever found one brand of food that contained a preservative that I was not comfortable with.
And just some personal preferences based on research
I do not feed silversides to any of my fish or anemones for two reasons. The first reason is that parts of them can sometimes be hard for them to digest, such as the skull and bones. Although they can handle this, it would be best if they could avoid it completely. The second reason is the low quality of silversides as a food source. When the silversides are harvested from the ocean, they are not individually inspected for signs of disease. In addition to that, silversides are not given the same level of care as human foods often thawing out during transit only to be refrozen again and again. As I do have these very same concerns about all frozen fish food, I will always try to make my own food as much as possible to help avoid the risks.
If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to ask them in our forum. If you are not already a member, it will only take a minute or two to sign up.