Floating fish feed is a kind of fish food that stays on the surface or in between the surface and the bottom of the water. It’s made by use of a special machine called a floating fish feed machine. It’s usually in the form of pellets, and the mode of production is what makes the pellets to float.
Compared to sinking fish feed, the floating feed has many advantages. They’re:
• By floating, the food doesn’t rot easily, as would happen with sinking feed
• You can always tell how much feed is left and know when to add more
• You can easily watch and determine the health of your fish and their feeding habits as they come to the surface to eat the food
• There are fewer chances of it making your fish sick because it’s unlikely to be attacked by bacteria and fungi that are found at the bottom of water
• There’s less pollution since there’s no chance of rotting uneaten fish at the water bottom
• There’s no food wastage as you can see uneaten food and not add more
What are the raw materials for making floating fish feed?
Once you have your floating fish feed machine ready, you can use a variety of ingredients to make the pellets. The following materials are used:
• Maize: contains carbohydrates, fats and some vitamins useful in the body of fish
• Bone powder: is an essential ingredient for its supply of calcium and magnesium for bone formation
• Fish powder: contains a high amount of proteins that’s easy for fish to digest
• Innards: are high in proteins that fish need for quick growth, especially catfish
• Wheat chaff: contains fiber for the digestive heath of fish
• Rice powder: is rich in vitamins B 1 and B 2, and B 6, as well as carbohydrates and proteins
The floating fish feed machine: fish feed manufacturing process
There are two types of floating fish food machine: one is dry type extruder and another wet type extruder. It all depends on preference; the environment in which the feed is made and on what type of fish it’s to be used on.
1. Grinding the raw materials
The first step involves grinding the ingredients to the size and texture of choice, depending on the type of fish the feed is targeted at. Before grinding, the raw materials are properly washed to remove any harmful microorganisms or dirt they may have. The grinding is done in a hammer mill. The materials can be fed into the mill one at a time or as a mixture. The mill grinds the materials to a set size, ready for the next step.
2. Mixing the materials
Mixing is then done to ensure consistency in the whole mixture. Mixing also ensures the extruding process is smooth. This process is usually carried out in the feed mixer. A spraying system can also be added to the mixture if liquids like oil, water or molasses will need to be added. Once the ingredients are fully and consistently mixed, the process onto the next stage; extrusion.
3. The extruding process
Here the mixture is passed through the extruding process in the floating fish feed machine. It’s in this process that pellets are made. There two types of technology used; the single screw and the twin screw. They, however, involve the same way of working, a stationary barrel and a movable screw. The ground mixture is fed into this barrel and screw extruder. The heat of up to a 100 degrees is then supplied. This causes the whole material to expand. It’s already in pellet form in the barrel and once it heats up, its extruded out of the heated environment causing it to rapidly cool. The rapid cooling causes it to expand.
This sudden expansion is what causes the light weight of the pellets so they can easily float in water. The material is then cut into pellets of the desired length.
4. Drying out the pellets
The pellets coming out of the extruder and now put out to dry. Usually, they’re passed on a conveyer belt of meshed wire or any other material with perforations. Hot air is passed through the conveyer from underneath. This is done until the pellets are dried to the required moisture content.
For small scale production, pellets coming out of a floating fish feed machine do not need to be dried on conveyer belts. Placing them in a dry, warm room and leaving them for several hours would be enough to dry them.
5. Coating the pellets
To finish the production process, so that the pellets can be bagged, coating may be done. It means adding flavors, oils or vitamins to the pellets. It improves the palatability of the fish food as well as its nutritional value.
6. Packaging the pellets
Once the pellets are dried, packaging is done for easy transportation or storage. For large scale manufacturing, machine packaging is used. For a small establishment using the floating fish feed machine making food for local use, there would be no need for fancy packing. Simple bags would do. There would also be no need for automation.
What kind of fish is floating fish food for?
Fish are of three kinds; those that eat food on the water surface, those that eat middle feed that’s slowly sinking, and those that only eat from the bottom. A floating fish feed machine is designed to make food that’s lightweight enough, specifically for fish that eat floating food.
Among those type of fish are:
• Hatchet fish
• Tetra fish
• Neon fish, and
• Tiger barb, and many other types of fish.
Floating fish feed is available to more fish variety. The only major downside to it is that it’s somewhat expensive to make. A floating fish feed machine can be used for large scale or small scale, feed production, depending on the amount of feed required. There are are both large and small machines to cater for that.