Is Freeze-Dried So Bad?

Aster

Multiple occasions I've seen people say that freeze-dried fish foods are unhealthy, not nutritious as frozen, "junk food", etc.

I decided to do some research of my own and I've found no evidence of this.

https://www.aqualifesupport.com/getArticle.php?ArtID=209
I originally wanted to compare nutrition labels, but this explains why comparing nutrition labels is useless, then goes on to say that live, frozen, and freeze-dried have basically the same amount of nutrients.

  • "Comparing nutrition labels from a package of frozen brine shrimp to a package of freeze-dried brine shrimp seems to display that the freeze-dried package is a better nutritional choice. However, the nutrition labels found on fish foods are not designed the same way as nutrtion labels on human foods. Human food labels are based on a pre-serving basis while fish food labels are not. There is no way to determine a basis when fish needs vary so much. For instance, a damsel could not handle the amount of food a full-grown snowflake moray eel requires. The labels on fish food actually give information about the amount of nutrients the organism (i.e. brine shrimp) contains and are not based on a standard serving size."
  • "In other words, all fish foods (whether alive, freeze-dried, or frozen) contain almost the same amount of nutritional value. The differences between the choices is minimal and not enough to cause concern."


This site also doesn't say that either freeze-dried or frozen is any better than the other.

And according to the manufacturer itself...

  • "High in natural protein for healthy growth"
  • "Rich in vitamins and minerals"
  • "As nutritious as live food without the risk of bacteria or parasites"

This site even says that some people believe freeze-dried is better than frozen, although it's debatable. It says the main advantage of frozen is fish appeal.
  • "Freeze-dried foods are much more convenient, but frozen versions sometimes seem to have more fish appeal."



Nutrition of freeze-dried vs. raw fruits and vegetables | Go Ask Alice!
These links aren't specifically about fish food, but here's what I'm interested in:
  • "Basically what’s happening is we’re putting the food “on hold” for a very extended period of time. Because there is no moisture in the food the bacteria and enzymes cannot be activated and the food is brought back “to life” with just a little warm water – retaining the texture, taste and most importantly the nutrition of the original food – pretty nifty!"
  • "Freeze-drying is a process whereby fresh or cooked food is rapidly frozen and placed in a vacuum. Cell structure, nutrients, shape and color are all preserved in the freeze-drying process. The water is removed under low temperatures, thus cell structure is maintained, as is the fiber content."
  • "Freeze-drying is a process that preserves food by removing 98 percent of its water content. This prevents food from spoiling, while still maintaining most of its flavor, color, texture, and nutritional value."
  • "Freeze-drying removes the moisture from foods, decreasing their volume and weight while preserving their nutritional value."
According to all of these pet/human food sites, freeze-drying preserves nutritional value. One of the sites did say certain vitamins may be lost:
  • "The biggest losses in nutrients through freeze-drying occur in vitamins C, A and E."
But that seems to happen in frozen foods too:
  • "One of the main concerns for nutrient loss associated with freezing seems to be related to the blanching process that oftentimes occurs prior to freezing. About 25% of the vitamin C and a greater percentage of folate are lost during the blanching process that occurs before foods are frozen. About 10% of thiamin (vitamin B1) is also lost during blanching."
I've noticed that most frozen and freeze-dried foods have vitamin supplements in them anyway, so this shouldn't be a concern. It seems from these sites that the freeze-drying process preserves the nutritional value of the food.

Then we enter the realm of fish food again, and suddenly we encounter some very different information.

  • "Frozen fish food is more nutritious than most commercial and freeze-dried foods because fewer nutrients are lost than during freeze-drying and processing."
  • "Some see the frozen staples as old hat and are looking for improved nutrition and feeding response of the new specialized diets. Others look at the freeze-dried foods as lacking in nutritional value."
  • "This [freeze-drying] preserves the food for a very long time. However, you do loose some vitamins in the process. They are actually good food when used as variety, however since frozen foods and live foods are readily available you should choose them over freeze dried." (Why? Why? I want to know! Why should I choose them over freeze-dried? It doesn't offer any real reason.)

Appears to be conflicting information on the nutritional value of freeze-dried foods between the human food industry and fish food industry, and I'm more inclined to believe the human food industry to be honest.

So, my conclusion is that there seems to be no basis for saying that freeze-dried foods aren't as nutritious as frozen. So is there any other advantage to frozen foods, other than fish appeal and "more nutrition"? I feed my fish freeze-dried brine shrimp and bloodworms as supplements to their NLS pellets, and they always eat it quite greedily. I always presoak it for a few minutes to keep it from expanding in their stomachs. I've never had a problem with it.

I guess I wrote this all to say, if frozen is that much better, by all means, I'll get frozen foods. However, based on what I've discovered, there is no big difference. I'll stick with my arsenal of freeze-dried foods for now
 

TexasDomer

I've never heard that freeze-dried food isn't as nutritious, but it can be problematic if not fed correctly. It needs to be soaked in tank water before being fed, not just dropped in. Otherwise it can cause health problems. Frozen food is easier to feed, as there's no rehydration necessary.
 

Aster

I've never heard that freeze-dried food isn't as nutritious, but it can be problematic if not fed correctly. It needs to be soaked in tank water before being fed, not just dropped in. Otherwise it can cause health problems. Frozen food is easier to feed, as there's no rehydration necessary.

I see, well I do soak it before feeding so I've never had problems.

Don't people also soak frozen foods to thaw them?
 

clk89

I see, well I do soak it before feeding so I've never had problems.

Don't people also soak frozen foods to thaw them?

Most people I talk to on forums do not soak freeze dried food they just drop it in.


I don't soak frozen food, I thaw it. I cut a small sliver off then put it in a small container, which fits into another container. The second container has warm water that thaws the frozen food in the first container. The frozen food doesn't actually come in contact with the water.
 

justjewels

I just today bought a container of omega one freeze dried brine shrimp. I was excited that my fish (Cherry barbs, guppies and cories) would be getting a treat that they would enjoy judging by all the reviews. To my amazement, they are not liking it. I broke it down to very small pieces and they ate it and spit it back out! Only one that ate it was my Betta who is in a different tank and eats anything! I will give it another try in a few days but not so sure they will warm up to it!
 

TexasDomer

I also thaw the frozen food in a cup of tank water and pour it in.
 

Aster

Most people I talk to on forums do not soak freeze dried food they just drop it in.


I don't soak frozen food, I thaw it. I cut a small sliver off then put it in a small container, which fits into another container. The second container has warm water that thaws the frozen food in the first container. The frozen food doesn't actually come in contact with the water.

Oh, I know it can expand in the fish's stomach if not soaked, which can cause constipation or bloating. I just soak it in a cup for a few minutes and squish it against the sides to get the air out.

I just today bought a container of omega one freeze dried brine shrimp. I was excited that my fish (Cherry barbs, guppies and cories) would be getting a treat that they would enjoy judging by all the reviews. To my amazement, they are not liking it. I broke it down to very small pieces and they ate it and spit it back out! Only one that ate it was my Betta who is in a different tank and eats anything! I will give it another try in a few days but not so sure they will warm up to it!

Wow, my guppies eat that exact same product with gusto. Maybe it'll take them a few times for them to accept it. Do they normally get frozen?

I also thaw the frozen food in a cup of tank water and pour it in.

Interesting... So either way, both require a bit of preparation.
 

TexasDomer

Just a bit! I know people have tossed the frozen cubes in the tank without thawing or they hold them in the tank with their fingers, but I feel safer thawing first.
 

justjewels

No. I have not given them frozen. I don't have any and live an hour from a store that sells it. They get flakes and pellets. They also eat the wafers that are meant for the cories! I give them peas once a week and they love them! This has me stumped why they don't love the brine shrimp but I am hoping they warm up to it after awhile!
 

Aster

No. I have not given them frozen. I don't have any and live an hour from a store that sells it. They get flakes and pellets. They also eat the wafers that are meant for the cories! I give them peas once a week and they love them! This has me stumped why they don't love the brine shrimp but I am hoping they warm up to it after awhile!

Odd, like I said earlier, all my guppies eat it like the hungry little beasts they are...

In my experience, fish sometimes take a few tries to accept a new food, so that might be what's going on. If they absolutely won't take it, you may have to try frozen since it seems to be more appealing.
 

Fgrefee

So the trick to freeze dried food is just to soak it first? I'm thinking of getting some for my betta as I don't know where to get the frozen and I actually won't have a freezer in my dorm
 

Aster

So the trick to freeze dried food is just to soak it first? I'm thinking of getting some for my betta as I don't know where to get the frozen and I actually won't have a freezer in my dorm

Yes, you soak it for a few minutes to prevent the food from expanding in the fish's stomach.
 

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