Ditch minnows as feeder fish? - Reef Central Online Community

Give your minnows a flake fish food. Feed according to the directions on the packaging.
Photo provided by Flickr
The most difficult aspect of keeping rosy red minnows, is actually finding healthy ones. The feeder fish tanks at most fish stores are full of parasites, diseases and have absolutely terrible water quality. Rosy reds should never be put into an aquarium containing other fish, until they have been quarantined for a minimum of four weeks in separate quarantine tank and treated for parasites and disease.
one thing to think about as minnows as a feed source for your food fish...
Photo provided by Flickr
Aren't Thiaminase containing fish eaten in the wild?

Yes, they are, and this can cause predatory fish massive problems. The offspring of salmon from the Baltic Sea -- which apparently feed mostly on Thiaminase-rich herring and relatively little food that contains high levels of Vitamin B1 -- were found to suffer from a condition called Reproduction Disorder M74. This was later identified as being simply one particular form of Thiamine Deficiency Syndrome. The eggs produced by adult salmon were provided with very little thiamin, and the fry that emerged almost all died soon after hatching. Comparable problems have been found among Salmonids in the Great Lakes of North America, and this has been hypothesized to be related to a diet containing a large proportion of alewives, another type of Thiaminase-rich fish.

However, most of the time predatory fishes maintain a kind of balance between those prey fish rich in Thiaminase and those fish rich in Vitamin B1. As long as the predator has a reasonably varied diet, it should get enough Vitamin B1 to stay healthy. It should be mentioned that in the examples of the sick Salmonids from the Baltic, the key problem was that they were not eating a varied diet, but mostly consuming just one type of prey.

The big problem for captive fish is that they are fed frozen fish. Thiaminase is not destroyed by freezing, and over time will break down whatever Vitamin B1 is present in the frozen fish. The longer the fish is stored, the less Vitamin B1 it will contain. Furthermore, any fish fed such frozen fish will be consuming the Thiaminase, and that will destroy some of the Vitamin B1 it already has. Making things even worse, freezing and thawing both break down some of the Vitamin B1 content of food as well.

While freezing does not destroy Thiaminase, heating it will. This is why cooked fish is not dangerous with regard to Thiaminase for human or animal nutrition. From the perspective of a fishkeeper, the big drawback to cooking food is that heating destroys a lot of the useful nutrients as well. While omnivorous humans compensate for that by eating a varied diet containing both raw and cooked plant and animal foods, piscivorous fish have no such option. They cannot be fed cooked fish and expected to stay healthy.

At least some types of live feeder fish will contain more Vitamin B1 than frozen foods, but the downside here is that the convenience of live foods is accompanied by a major risk of introducing pathogenic microorganisms such as Mycobacteria and endoparasites. Feeder fish are also expensive compared with frozen foods, and as will be described shortly, many of the types of feeder fish widely sold contain a great deal of Thiaminase anyway, dramatically reducing their usefulness.
Cost more to cure whatever your fish can catch from minnows and feeders then it does to just use good food or breed your own feeders .
Photo provided by FlickrCommon Name: Fathead minnow, Tuffy, Rosies, Red Top Minnow, Blackhead Minnow, Bait Fish, Feeder Fish etc
Photo provided by FlickrThe “feeder fish” that the Petsmart employee showed us were Rosy Red Minnows
Photo provided by Flickr
The fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) other names they are called, Rosy Red Minnow, Rosey Reds, Rosy Reds, Rosies, feeder fish, minnows. The Rosy Red Minnow is a calm group of freshwater fish associated with the Pimephales genus of the cyprinid family. The Rosy Red Minnow is best known for making Schreckstoff (a distress signal). Rosey Red Minnows can also adapt to a wide range temperatures, with it being said to living in temperatures below freezing, and living in temperatures as high as 100F (37C). It prefers temperatures in the range of 70-80F (21-26C), and will breed contently if the water is kept at these temperatures. Males usually grow 2-3 inches and females, 1-2 inches. In the wild the fathead minnow will appear to be dull greenish-grey, with a darkish stripe extending along the back and side, and a lighter belly. There is a darkish blotch halfway on the dorsal fin. The Rosy Red Minnow is normally sold as a tropical fish, but it is really a color different of a native North American fish the fathead minnow. The fathead minnow is found in many streams and rivers in North America, and its natural coloring is a shinning silver, with the males developing dark horizontal stripes during mating season.
Rosy Red Minnows are great feeder fish and also making it one of the easiest fish to raise. The Rosy Red Minnow will tolerate both poor water quality and low oxygen levels in an aquarium. In the stores you will often see hundreds crammed together with very poor water circulation and you will see many still being active and healthy after living in these horrid conditions.
Rosy Red Minnows can live in many types of water, from mildly soft water to very hard water and a pH range of 6pH to 8 pH.
When the males are ready to breed, they will find a cave and claim it, and defend it against any other Rosy Red Minnow males or other fish in the tank. Plain, unpainted clay pots and cave ornaments from fish stores work very good. Then bury the pots half way on their side in the bottom of the tank this makes for a very good cave. This creates a nice cave environment for Rosy Red Minnows.
Get a good filter that can handle the size of your tank, the sponge filter is good choice, it provides good aeration for the tank and is a lot safer for the fry (baby fish) that will appear at sometime in your tank.
One good reasons to buy Rosy Red Minnows is to experience their mesmerizing, breeding behavior.If being used as a feeder, the Rosy Red Minnow need to be quarantined, and medicated so that it will not pass on disease to your larger fish. It is best to breed your own rosy reds if you plan on using them as feeders.