Introduction: Bristlenose Pleco Cubes (Fish Food)
Hello Peoples of Instructables! This is my second Instructable, I hope you enjoy!
So I'm going to start this off by saying that I am a fishoholic. I volunteer 8-10 hours a week at a local aquarium, I keep fish at my home, I spend most of my free time reading about fish, visiting my local fish stores, or hanging around the fish section of petsmart/co. And as you will learn in this 'Ible, I sometimes make my own fish food!
I am calling these BN Pleco cubes, because the ingredients I used were specifically targeted for that type of pleco. Different plecos have different nutritional needs, and BN plecos are mainly herbivorous. There's a lot of room for creativity and adaptation in this recipe, so you can tailor it to pretty much any kind of fish. In fact, this it's self has been adapted from the Snail Jello recipe.
These cubes will keep your tank cleaner than just clipping lettuce in there, and they last longer too because you can freeze 'em!
Step 1: Ingredients
1 head of escarole
2 tbsp TnT Powder
2 1/2c water
3 packets Knox Gelatin
This is the most versatile step. You can add anything that is safe for your fish to eat. Since this is for my Bristlenose Pleco, I just added lettuce (My lettuce was a head of escarole that I got for my tortoise, but she HATES escarole, so it ended up as fish food. It was a little bit wilty, but still safe. I tried some first and have not gotten sick. ) and a supplement (TnT Total Nutirtion for Tortoises) which is basically just different flowers and plants ground to a powder. I added this since I only had one type of lettuce and I wanted it to be a more complete meal. The only ingredient that is steadfast is the unflavored gelatin. I used Knox.
Step 2: Blend the Lettuce (or Vegetables/solid Ingredients)
Okay, this step is pretty simple. I shredded the lettuce, and put it in my blender with 2 1/2c of water. You can probably use less water and next time I think I will. It came out a bit soupier than I wanted. Keep blending until it basically becomes a puree (see second pic).
Step 3: Mix in Supplements (*Optional*)
After blending (or during, it probably doesn't matter) add your supplements. Mix well.
Step 4: Microwave, Then Add Gelatin
Microwave your veggie slurry for 30s to 1min. Then slowly add your gelatin, a bit at a time stirring while you add it to make sure you don't get any clumps.
Step 5: Pour Into Molds
Now it's time to mold! I have these nifty ice cube trays from the dollar tree ($1 each), but you can use anything (most people just use your standard ice cube trays). One head of lettuce will probably fill 4-6 of the small trays. I only have 2, so I poured the rest into a cake pan.
Step 6: Refridgerate
This step is self explanatory. Just shove your molds into the fridge for a few hours so the jello can set. Overnight works.
Step 7: De-Mold
Now take your cubes out of your molds! I find the easiest way to do this is to run a knife alone the edge of each mold.
Step 8: Store
The best thing about these versus fresh lettuce/veggies, is that you can easily freeze them for longer term use! Just thaw a cube out before you feed it to your fish. Stores for a month of two in the freezer. If in doubt, taste test! Make sure to label your baggie.
Step 9: Serve!
The best part is serving it to your fish and watching them go wild. My little 2 inch Bristlenose Pleco finished half of a heart cube in one day. The snails like it too. It may take your fish a little bit to realize it's food. But once they taste it, they will love it!