Food for discus? Interview with a nutrition specialist.


Not long ago, you could discover on the site some reports dedicated to the foods offered by Dennerle.

M.ehmer, who works for the German company gave me an interview which I suggest you discover here.

This nutrition specialist discusses the range of foods offered by Dennerle, and there is no doubt that you will find here ideas for making good quality discus food.

A very relevant vision of aquarium fish food…

A food specialist at Dennerle

Yann Hoiret : Mr Ehmer, you have developed the new fish food from the Dennerle company, Can you present it to us?

B. Ehmer : My experience with ornamental fish has been enriched since the beginning of the years 90. Since 1991, I kept discus for several years. I have continuously improved myself through reading expert contributions. For me, articles of the website Fanatik-discus are part of must readings.

I had known Dennerle and its team for many years. Not just because of the proximity of the aquarium experts' headquarters (I live nearby and Dennerle is very well known in the region for an important employer).

In collaboration with the biologist Dr.. Carsten Gretenkord, Director of research and development at Dennerle; I have finally been able to develop over the last few years a range of natural foods. This until it meets high quality standards as well as our own imposed criteria in terms of sustainability..

Yann Hoiret (Fanatik-Discus) Bernhard Ehmer and Sylviane Scheidler (Dennerle)

Our meeting in Germany (We pose here with lollipops, treats for koi carp)

A particular philosophy?

Y.H : Can you introduce us the philosophy of food for fishes Dennerle?

B.E : The objective of our development was to reproduce the best natural aquariums fish food.

Even the fish are a product of evolution. They have adapted over millions of years to certain food spectra. They only can have a good health, desire for procreation or a long life, If it offers them this food or equivalent.

Inappropriate long-term nutrition leads to deficiencies, skeletal malformations, a greater frequency of diseases, a decrease in life expectancy and a lower reproductive rate.

Classic food for ornamental fish consists mainly of fish and cereals flour. However, very few aquarium fish are "fish eaters" and certainly not "grain eaters". Which means that this food is not at all suitable for this kind of species.

In the new range of food Dennerle, We only use high quality and nutritionally valuable ingredients that aquariums fish eat under natural conditions (or in similar form).

 Recipes must be adapted to the species

Y.H : The ingredients that make up the food Dennerle are totally new, can you explain us how you imagined the recipes.

B.E : When you look at the industrialized for ornamental fish food, you realize that fillers are often part of the food. The revenues are also mainly from the feeding of industrial fish farms.

In this case, the objective is purely economic: rapid growth with a low use of the ingredients by fish. Unfortunately, the balanced diet here plays a rather minor role here. Dennerle requirement is exactly the opposite : If you look closely at the eating habits of aquarium fish in their natural habitats; you quickly realize that they may eat a very wide variety of foods . For example, crustaceans, insect larvae, worms, molluscs, zooplankton, phytoplankton, algae, fruits, seeds or detritus.

Preparation of food for Discus
Developing recipes

These ingredients are then used in our food. We are also very careful to the quality of the ingredients and we are very picky about the selection of our suppliers. In addition, the ratio protein / fat plays a crucial role because if the fish food contains too much protein and not enough fat, the fish draws its energy in protein rather than fat.

This product ammonium / ammonia, who will strongly damage the gills and the quality of the water. We use an optimal ratio protein / fat of approximately 5 for 1 for a favorable use of food and low contamination of the water.

For a targeted supply of essential fatty acids, We opted for a salmon oil rich in high quality omega-3 , with an optimal ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids 3 for 1.

Small scale manufacturing?

Y.H : Dennerle announces that this manufactured food in an artisan way. Can you tell us more on this subject?

B.E : Yes, It is true. We deliberately decided not to make mass production. This is not only for reasons psychological but also because our range of food is produced by hand.

We also put a lot of passion and commitment in this work, This is why this makes us even more proud when you see the packets of food on the shelves of the stores and especially when that one gets very positive returns of ornamental fish breeders.

Y.H : The Dennerle granulates include probiotics and Prebiotics, Can you explain the benefits that one could possibly hope for discus?

B.E : The combination of prebiotic and probiotic with beta-glucans is used for regulation of digestion and the activation of the immune system *..

Dennerle is a pioneer because so far there was no culture of probiotic lactic acid (Pediococcus acidilactici) made for aquariums fish food.

The favorable effect of new lactic acid bacterium is scientifically proven. This improves the intestinal flora, evicts undesirable germs and regulates the digestion in order to have a low water pollution. Selected prebiotic substances serve as "food" for these probiotic bacteria and promote their proliferation.

(*On this subject, find more information the article dedicated to Dennerle food

Nourriture pour discus en granulés

What tests are carried out?

Y.H : What are tests done with the food for fish Dennerle?

B.E : All new varieties of food have been distributed to various species of fish over a long period of at least 6 months . Many parameters have been evaluated, in particular the acceptance, the digestibility, the growth and development of color. Our food tests speak for themselves.

The main factors we observed, are balanced growth, increased vitality, fertility improvement, a lower mortality rate, excellent bright colors and intense, a very good food quotient * and less pollution of the water.

[*Remark : the food quotient is a measure of the effectiveness of the conversion of food supply in body mass. Food quotient X = Ingested food [kg]/ growth [kg]]

 Vary your food for discus…

Y.H : Mr Ehmer, Do you have any specific advice on nutrition and how to use Dennerle food??

B.E : Basically, should always use a power supply suitable for the species in question. This concerns first, food composition suitable for each species: the fish eats mainly plant food (herbivorous) or rather the animal food (Carnivorous), or is it omnivore one?

The composition of the different foods, That means the components and the analysis values give very valuable informations. New food Dennerle mentions explicitly all of the unique components contained in food and not only the groups of products like this is usually done.

The second point is the type of manufacturing. We opted for granulates because important components are better protected from oxidation than for example in flakes. The size of the granulates must match the size of fish's mouth or smaller. The big fish also eat small granulates, However the small fish encounter difficulties with large granulates.

For fish that prefer to seek food on the surface of the water, There are types of floating foods, for fish located in the middle of the aquarium, for the groundfish food flowing and stagnant food.

The diversity of food

The important thing is the diversification. Although most of the fish food is designed and promoted as being a complete food, it is important to diversify the types of food as well as to bring from time to time frozen food such as Calanus or live food. This ensures a balanced diet.

Calanus FD Organic Dennerle for Discus fry

Regarding us, We do not want to eat the same thing every day.
The biggest mistake that is made is always the overfeeding with all the problems that occur such as fattening liver.

The fish move less in the aquarium than in the wild and need less energy.

It is also more natural to feed several times per day in small portions rather than a large amount at one time.

In this context, It should be noted that many varieties of food eventually swell in the stomach of the fish.

Final Council : do not feed in a ring of food. It is preferable that food disperses in the aquarium. The fish must search like in nature and so "deserve" his meal.

So this interview ends. I would like to thank once again Bernhard and the Dennerle company for their time. Thank you for your availability!

You are welcome on the site Fanatik-Discus!

Hope this interview will help you better understand how to recognize good food for discus; but also that the information given here by M.ehmer will help you prepare food for discus 4 stars (Like in restaurants!)!

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About Author

Discus Breeder and Discus columnist, Yann Hoiret share on the website Fanatik-Discus his experience and passion for the King of aquariums. From 2014 He worked as a writer for the french magazine "AquaMag", the German magazines "Discus Live" and "Discus yearbook". He participated as an international judge in France Discus show 2014 and 2016 in Arvert, au Greek Discus Show 2014 in Athens, Discus Show in Paris Grigny 2015, 2017 and 2019, au FIDO concurso 2016, 2017 and 2018 Spain, au Nordic Discus Show 2018 Sweden, au France Discus Show 2018 Cognac, Discusvrienden the discus competition 2018, 2019, 2022 in the Netherlands.

A comment

  1. Campbell on

    A good interview Yan!
    It's well worth mentioning that the food should be adapted for each species and the protein and fat ratio. A lot of people consider the fat as « bad ».
    This perception must come from the human « nutrion » mainstream. 🙂

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