Welcome to the first in a new and exciting series of interviews #BehindtheBrand! In this series we will be interviewing a variety of aquarium related brands to find out more about them and whether their products are right for you. Today we start the series with FishScience and talk to the founder of the brand Dr David Pool.
Hi David, thanks for talking with us today and answering my questions. I love Fish Science products so I'm eager to learn more. My first question to you is what makes FishScience stand out from its competitors?
Hi Matthew, thanks for inviting me, and the brand, to take part! The FishScience range of foods are formulated using natural ingredients. Key to this is the use of insect meal to recreate the natural diet that many fish would consume in the wild. We started using Black soldier fly larvae but have expanded the insect component to include bloodworm, silkworm and meal worm. We extended the natural approach to the colour enhancers in the foods. These are ingredients which provide the colour pigment fish need to show their true colour and include shrimp, krill, paprika, spirulina algae, chlorella algae and even carrot. Finally we use natural ingredients including garlic, beta glucans (from yeast) and omega oils to support the fishes immune system.
Sounds brilliant, I love that it's all natural. Can you tell us about the benefits of this for our fish?
Most of the fish that we keep are not fish eaters - and yet most of the foods on the market are based on fish meal. The fish we keep eat lots of insects in the wild, either aquatic larvae or the adults. By using insect meal in the foods we are recreating their natural diet. This has 2 main benefits:
-Fish have evolved to eat insects over millions of years. As a result they digest and process them very efficiently leading to great food conversion rates (a measure of how efficiently the food is used) and low waste.
-Fish eagerly feed on the insect meal based foods. The taste, smell or perhaps something else triggers a really good feeding response, even from timid feeders
Well my fish certainly seem to enjoy it! Your products are also made in an environmentally friendly way, which is very important to us at AquaHabit , how do you achieve this?
Insect meal is again a key to this. It is replacing much of the fish meal used in our foods. The insect meal is grown in Europe on waste fruit, vegetables and brewery products. We still use a small amount of fish meal as our trials showed that this was needed to provide a complete diet, but the small amount used is sourced from the herring industry and is the portions of the fish that can’t be used for human food. Finally, all of the FishScience foods are made from ingredients that are sourced from Europe, so there are no large transport miles.
Brilliant! You won an award from Practical Fishkeeping magazine for best fish food in 2019. How did this make you feel?
It was fantastic to win the award, particularly as it was voted for by fishkeepers - the people who had been using the foods to give to their fish.
It was a big achievement, well done! So, why did you start FishScience and what is your background?
My background is in fish health. My PhD involved 3 years studying a tapeworm parasite of koi. I then lectured at Liverpool University whilst working on a part time basis for Tetra. I worked for Tetra for over 25 years, initially providing information and advice on their products, then in marketing, sales and finally running the UK and South African businesses. I left Tetra following their acquisition by Spectrum Brands. My plan wasn’t to stay in the fish food market, but a conversation with an ex colleague who was working for an insect meal company was a light bulb moment - the opportunity to produce a food for ornamental fish using the ingredients they would eat naturally.
It's really good to know as a customer that the brand and it's products are designed by such an experienced professional. Do you currently keep any fish yourself and what are they?
Not as many as I would like - work gets in the way a little. I have two ponds in my garden. A small one containing fancy goldfish and a larger wildlife pond with orfe, rudd and roach. My aquaria have been put into storage temporarily. I used to have a planted tank focused on a shoal of 10 stunning angelfish.
Yes, the busyness of life does take over sometimes but hopefully you can get your aquarium out of storage soon! What is Next for FishScience and what should customers lookout for?
We are only at the beginnings of using insect meals for fish foods. There are hundreds of different insects that can be cultured to provide different nutrients to feed fish (animals and humans). As this research proceeds we will be able to further improve the FishScience foods. We have just released two new foods - a Shrimp Stick and a Cichlid Floating Pellet. There are also some new foods planned over the next few months. Look out for a sinking pellet for larger catfish and cichlids. Also a discus food.
Exciting stuff on the way then! Thank you for your time today David and for telling us all more about the FishScience brand, we wish you all the best for the future!
You can buy FishScience products at most leading retailers.
AquaHabit is in no way associated with FishScienceLTD and this is NOT paid promotion.