Beef heart is a food used by many successful discus breeders. It is an easy and inexpensive way to feed all types of discus several times a week. It is an excellent source of sodium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and zinc and a great way to administer extra vitamins or even medication that can be added to the mixture.
Breeders have differing opinions on what should be added to the mixture. Ingredients commonly used for various reasons include shrimp, spirulina, flake foods, baby cereal, peas, raw eggs, paprika, garlic, spinach, and squid.
Here is a good recipe to start with
- 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of beef heart, cleaned and cubed
- 1 pound (.45 kg) of fresh or frozen shelled shrimp
- 0.5 pound (.02 kg) of high-quality fish flake food
- 6 ounces (175 g) of spinach (should be boiled briefly) or
- 6 ounces of spirulina powder (you can also crush the tablets
from the pharmacy)
- 2 ounces (57 g) of paprika spice as a color enhancer
- 6 packages of Knox gelatin
- 10 multivitamin tablets for human consumption
Preparing the Beef Heart
The prime ingredient is, of course, beef heart. To purchase Beefheart, ask your butcher to buy several hearts – 10 pounds (4.5 kg) is a good quantity to start with).
- The hearts must be cleaned and stripped of any small amounts of fatty tissue and blood vessels. This should be done with a very sharp knife or scalpel. The hearts often come frozen and are easiest to cut when they are almost thawed but still firm in the center.
- Cut the heart in four pieces from the top and work on the smaller sections. Place the pieces of clean meat in a bowl. You can precut the pieces into cubes so they will be easier to mince.
- At the end, you should have around two-thirds of the meat left to work with.
- Run the cubes through a meat grinder to make small strings like regular minced meat.
- Next, crush the flakes, and mix in a blender with the shrimp, spinach (or spirulina), paprika, and crushed vitamin tablets.
- Use a large bucket to blend the beef heart with the other mixture with your hands. Once the mixture is uniformly mixed, prepare the gelatin according to the instructions on the package. Then use your hands to blend the gelatin into the beef heart mixture.
Beef Heart Mixture
Storing the Mixture
The mixture can now be bagged. The best storage bags are large zipper-lock bags. Make sure not to make the individual slabs too thick or else you will be unable to break off pieces to feed later. Ideally, the slabs should be around 0.5 inches (13 mm) thick. Add two handfuls of the mixture to each bag and then have someone with clean hands flatten the bag to the right thickness on the counter. Place the bags flat in the freezer until they are ready to use.
Getting Your Fish Used to New Food
Your fish will need some time to get used to any new food, and especially so with beef heart. When first offering your new food, offer small amounts and never overfeed with the beef heart mixture, as it will quickly pollute the water. Break off a small piece and throw it in the tank frozen. The fish will quickly get used to the food and eat it eagerly within a month’s time.
It is important that beef heart be only part of the discus diet. Using the beef heart as the only food for your fish can cause serious health problems, including intestinal blockage.
Ideally, this food is fed only two days a week.
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