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Fish Prefer Hard Shell Tacos (Fish Taco Party Instructions)


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In honor of the CARE forum's 1st anniversary, let's give our fish a treat!

And what better treat could there be for a nerm's fish than a taco? 😃

The purpose of this post is to encourage you to make your fish a fish-appropriate taco, give it to them on NERM Day (July 14), and upload a picture or video to a thread I have yet to create. This is a great way to celebrate NERM day if you're not able to make it to your LFS wearing Aquarium Co-op gear, or if you're not interested in stuffing your own belly with tacos.

If you already know how to make fish-appropriate tacos, then you needn't read any further. See you on NERM day! 😄

If you're looking for some culinary help, however, keep reading and you can learn from my first attempt at cooking for my swimmy friends.

I decided to do an experiment to see if fish prefer hard shell vs soft shell tacos. (Actually I was just trying to figure out if they liked any tacos, but let's pretend.)

Hard shell tacos were made with zucchini shells:

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Soft shell tacos were made with seaweed:

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Fillings included any fish food I had lying around.

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I tried two different kinds of "glue": powdered chia seeds and repashy. I even added a little garlic powder to the "glue." Fish are supposed to like that, right?

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And oh yeah, I also included rocks. Because I was trying to get the tacos to sink. (Spoiler: I should have used more rocks.)

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I stuffed my tacos with layers of glue and food. It was quite fun! In the end they looked pretty nice. Especially with some spirulina powder decoratively sprinkled over the top. 😘👌

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My husband walked by, looked at the results of my labor, and said, "If only the fish would appreciate this." Hopefully I would prove him wrong in just a few minutes!

Feeding time came and unfortunately the tacos didn't sink. Should have used more rocks. Or bigger rocks. Or bought a veggie clip like I've been meaning to for about a year.

So I had to tie the tacos to a plastic tray that came with my breeder box, and put rocks on top of the tray.

I think this made the tacos look a little scary.

At any rate, I tried to encourage the fish to give them a try. I didn't offer any of their regular food. And then I sat in front of the tank, got out my phone, and waited.

And waited.

It occurred to me that I feed my fish really well every day, and maybe I should have fasted them before trying this. Because obviously they would have appreciated that. 😛 

Finally the biggest pleco came and checked out the spread.

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She eventually figured out the food was on the tray, not around the tray or under the tray or even the tray itself. She took a taste of the soft shell taco and immediately swam away. Bleh. Okay, so she doesn't like seaweed.

Eventually she figured out how to nose her way inside the soft taco and rummage around. She certainly seemed to like the filling, and I even saw her pull a long zucchini sliver out of it. But it soon got away from her and went floating up into the water column, where the gouramis totally avoided it.

Any time a glob of "glue" came floating out of a taco--I think this was the chia seed version--the tetras nabbed it. I counted that as a moderate success.

The loaches, who I was sure would find the tacos and devour them, had no interest in swimming over the tray. My husband came by. "Maybe the tray smells weird," he said in an attempt to be comforting.

Eventually I gave the top-dwellers some of there most boring pellets and walked away. A watched pot never boils, right?

Later I came by and saw one of the otos had found the tacos! And it looked like someone had picked away at the inside. The soft shell tacos looked relatively untouched and rather mushy.

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I came back hours later, late at night when the lights had been off for a long time. You can probably guess who was eating the tacos now. It was dark, so I didn't get a picture, but I'm sure you can imagine the writhing mass that I ended up lifting out of the tank.

It was a great way to get rid of about 500 Malaysian trumpet snails, if nothing else.

Lessons I learned:

  1. My fish prefer hard shell tacos.
  2. Use more rocks in the taco itself unless you're feeding top-dwellers and want it to float. Do not use a strange tray.
  3. Make the taco more open-face so the yummy insides are accessible. Like a food boat instead of a food pocket. This shape should be easier to carve out of a vegetable anyway.
  4. To give yourself the best chance of success, fast them a day ahead of time.
  5. You can make a fish a taco, but you can't make him eat.

Best of luck to you.

Edited by Hobbit
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