Designed specifically for lumpfish and wrasse, the elongated feed blocks are produced using a cold-extrusion process that results in soft and malleable blocks, which the UK-based firm says “are highly digestible and attractive to the cleaner fish”.
A statement released for the launch explains: “As the blocks maintain integrity in water for up to 24 hours, they encourage and facilitate natural grazing behaviour, allowing the larger fish to satiate before the smaller fish take their turn. This subsequently leads to reduced aggression during feeding. VAF blocks are complete diets and require no refrigeration or mixing and have a two-year shelf life, massively reducing storage costs and preparation time.”
Following extensive trials in Scotland (Loch Duart) and Norway (GIFAS), studies have demonstrated the high effectiveness and benefits of the feed blocks when compared to other commercially available feeds. It was found that fish fed with VAF blocks maintained stable and controlled growth rates, negating the symptoms of artificially high growth rates. Improved efficacy was also achieved by huge reductions in cataract development. At the end of the trial period, there was a 77% reduction in cataract prevalence in lumpfish when compared with those fed with a pelleted diet. Studies also recorded improvements to general health and welfare, indicative of the selection of high quality, sustainably sourced ingredients contained within the feeds.
As well as feed blocks, the company has developed unique feeding stations designed for practicality and to maximise efficiency. The VAF manual line deployment (MLD) system can be easily loaded direct from the pack in situ at the pen. The MLD can be deployed vertically or horizontally as required and floats back to the surface once the block has been consumed.
Looking to the future, the company also has an automatic deployment station (ADS) in the final stages of development. This buoyant dispensing system is designed to deliver the feed blocks over longer periods, with minimal supervision and maintenance.
Yorkshire-based World Feeds Ltd has been producing feeds since 2004 and its products are distributed to over 40 different international markets. Customers include leading public aquariums such as Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and SEA Sentosa in Singapore.