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I now have a dozen bluegill in my 60 gallon system (about 4-8 inches in size), and am scrambling after having bought some bad (very old, dried out) aquamax that they won't touch.

I'm confused by the size and type info given on Purina Mills site. While there is a separation between carnivorous and omnivorous sections, they mostly seem to be the same lineup.

But in short, all one local dealer has is a 50lb (new) sack of Aquamax Grower 500. Is this ok for 4-8inch bluegill? Is is ok (or advisable) to break pellets up into smaller pieces? And, also, is it critical if the feed is all "float" instead of "sink/float"?

As you can see, I'm a fish-feeding noob. Any advice appreciated :)

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For bluegill either carnivore or omnivore will work, although carnivore will be better.  grower 500 should work for the larger fish, but the smaller ones will have a difficult time getting the pellets.  you want floating for bluegill.  Unless you're growing catfish, I recommend always using floating feed so you can observe feeding and adjust.  also, as a sidenote, silvercup is better if you can get it.  aquamax uses a lot of feather meal in their feed, which your fish can't digest.  if i'm going to pay preemo pricing for high protein feed i want digestible protein, not feather meal.  (it bumps up their protein percentage. . . )

I've been feeding Aquamax 4000 to all my fish once they are big enough to be off the special high protein fingerling food.  Aquamax 4000 is an omnivore feed for dense culture recirculating systems and it has done very well for me for my catfish and when I had tilapia and the Bluegill seem to like it well.

Granted I haven't eaten any of my Bluegill yet but they like the Aquamax 4000 just fine and they started eating that while they were still fairly small.

I have in the past gotten some of the higher protein small pellet grower feeds from Aquamax but I don't think my fish did so well on it so This past year when I had small fingerlings I would get a 5 pound bag of a higher protein small feed from Aquatic Eco Systems and when that started running low I would transition the fish onto the Aquamax 4000.  I have been known to grind up the Aquamax 4000 a bit for small fish.

And even with catfish, Floating feed is fine, they will come up to eat it.

Thanks all for the advice! Basically, it sounds like most any of their line will work as long as I'm not trying to squeeze every last optimization out of my fish rearing.

I think my basic problem was just some way-old expired feed. Now that I have fresh, I should be good. Plus I'm gonna swap some of my 50lb. bag with Phil Wolf for some 300 Fingerling feed. That way I have a size mix as needed.

Claude, I'm curious.  I just bought the SpaceSaver two bed system sold by The Aquaponic Source Company.  It has a 60 gal tank.  I was wondering if maybe you bought the same system.  I haven't received the system, just ordered yesterday.  If you have the same system, I would like to ask a few questions once I begin cycling and stocking. 

Yes, I did, although I parted it out and didn't get everything from there. I figured I could save by building my own stand, etc. It all worked well, although the cycling kit should have been more cautious in its instructions regarding dosing with ammonia. I think it says start with a teaspoon of the powdered ammonia. I suggest starting with 1/4 teaspoon, testing, then adding another 1/8, testing, etc. I added the 1 teaspoon right off, and the ammonia went off the chart.

I have videos of my progress under my page here at the site. I'm still editing up the third video that has me introducing fish and worms. I'm glad to answer anything I can - although there are others more expert here than me. I do feel I understand the space saver system pretty well now, though.

Thanks, I'll follow your progress. I ordered it without stands too. Mine will be in a sun room. If I'm able to become proficient with operating and maintaining the system, I will build a greenhouse and buy the modular system with 8 grow beds. I’m a long way from that point. I guess I will start with tilapia although bluegill or bream would be more adapted to SW Alabama winters. But since the tank will be inside I think the tilapia will be fine. A person that has a large catfish farm and also has tilapia said he would give me 60 fingerlings. I don't know for sure, but that seems like way too many.  I'll watch your videos and then probably come back with more questions.  Thanks

60 would be way too many.  Think you could get them to give you like 12 fingerlings instead?

Yes, I don't think that would be a problem.
TCLynx said:

60 would be way too many.  Think you could get them to give you like 12 fingerlings instead?

TC, you've had them what, a year or so?  How are they doing?

I ordered Aquamax 4000 but received 400 instead and decided to go with it, rather than wait.  My bluegill are mixed sizes so I'm having to crush the 400.  Fla. Fish Farm had no sorted fish the day I was there.  400 is a floating food but mostly sinks once crushed.  The fish are feeding well on it.    Many of the smallest fish have died - possibly they needed fry food.  Overall, they seem to be doing well now, feeding well on the warm days and not so much on the cold days. 

My water tests have been 7.0, 0, 0, 0 for a while now.  Holy smokes, it was a relief when my system was fully cycled.  Other than the low nitrate, all seems to be well.  I have a lot of plants so the nitrates don't have much chance to build up yet.

regards and Claude, good luck

TCLynx said:

Granted I haven't eaten any of my Bluegill yet

For as many bluegill as you have I suggest that you buy less food. It might be more expensive at first but it will save you money because you won't have spoilage.

I get the floating pellet mix from Angels+ . If you read the ingredients on some of the food they don't have a lot of stuff that you can't pronounce.

I got the bluegill last spring sometime so not a year yet, some are probably big enough to eat but others still small.

With the aquamax 400, beware the high protein feed can go bad more quickly.  If you start having unexplained deaths or if you thing the food might have gone off, you will probably be best composting it since feeding rancid feed can kill fish.  I like the Aquamax 4000 but their higher protein feeds I no longer buy, instead I will get a 5 lb bag of something from Aquatic Eco Systems when I get new fingerlings and then transfer them to the 4000 as I run out of the higher protein stuff.  I will sometimes grind up the 4000 to a smaller size for the small fish until they are big enough to take full pellets which is usually pretty quick with the catfish and bluegill.

Thanks Nate

Nate Storey said:

  also, as a sidenote, silvercup is better if you can get it.  aquamax uses a lot of feather meal in their feed, which your fish can't digest.  if i'm going to pay preemo pricing for high protein feed i want digestible protein, not feather meal.

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