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Spirulina Algae in fish food. - by Carl Strohmeyer

Spirulina is a planktonic blue-green algae found in warm water alkaline volcanic lakes and is rich in raw protein and seven major vitamins.

Spirulina is different from other algae and is similar to bacteria in many ways, occupying a niche between plants and bacteria. Spirulina is similar to cyanobacteria in structure (spiral shape, unlike true plant plankton), which can be toxic. Spirulina Blue- Green algae are recognized by the body (fish in particular) as a bacterium, causing an increase in antibodies, which in turn increases disease resistance. Spirulina is not Chlorella (the blue-green algae harvested from Klamath Lake, Oregon). Chlorella is a green micro-algae and does not have the same anti-viral, anti-cancer and immune stimulating properties of Spirulina. The Chlorella cell wall is made of indigestible cellulose, just like green grass, while the cell wall of Spirulina is made of complexed proteins and sugars.


Besides the above mentioned high protein content and digestibility, Spirulina come from waters with minerals deposited from ancient soils and mountains that no other plants can live there. Due to the fact that Spirulina thrives in such alkaline waters, it incorporates and synthesizes many minerals and derivative compounds into its cell structure.
Transformed into natural organic forms by Spirulina, minerals become chelated with amino acids and are therefore more easily assimilated by the body. Fish can ingest high amounts of added inorganic minerals (most fish foods are low in natural calcium and need added calcium to meet requirements) without benefit to health because the fish (or other aquatic organism such as shrimp) body does not know what to do with these incompatible forms. In fact, evidence is accumulating that the inorganic minerals can block absorption of the organic forms, leading ultimately to mineral deficiency diseases.

Essential Amino Acids:

• ISOLEUCINE (4.130/o)
• LEUCINE (5.8001o)
• LYSINE (4.000/o)
• METHIONINE (2.170/o)
• THREONINE (4.170/o).
• TRYPTOPHANE (1.1301o)
• VALINE (6.0001o)


It is possible to have a staple fish food that has its primary ingredient as spirulina algae and be an effective diet for most fish. Even carnivores can benefit by feeding spirulina based flakes to feeder fish before feeding as most carnivores in the wild obtain many nutrients from the intestinal tract of the fish they consume.
What is important to note is that most commercial fish foods that call themselves Spirulina Flakes (
Spirulina 20 the exception) have spirulina quite far down on their lists of ingredients (Tetra in particular). You need a food that is 10-20% spirulina to obtain these benefits.

Along with adequate
calcium and magnesium in the water (especially for marine organisms), Spirulina helps insure proper electrolyte function, calcium levels over calcium and other minerals that are added to fish food as an after thought to make up for poor quality ingredients.

For the full article about Spirulina as a fish food, please visit this URL: http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/SpirulinaAlgae.html

Professional aquarium maintenance experience since 1978 as the owner of one of the larger aquarium maintenance companies in LA, CA.

I have been in the hobby since 1969.



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