In aquafeed, you can find three types of pellets: floating pellets, sinking pellets, and slow-sinking pellets, because not all aquatic species eat at the same height of the water column. In the case of bottom feeders such as shrimp, river crab, sea bass, and some species of catfish, they eat sinking pellets. Contrary to tilapia and carp that feeds from the surface with floating pellets. Sinking pellets production must control water stability to preserve the quality and form of the pellets, avoiding nutrients’ dissolution in the water.
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Water stability is the most important quality feature in sinking pellets production
Making sinking pellets, needs expertise not only to formulate the right ingredients but to produce the right texture with a fast sinking rate. Water stability is critical in sinking pellets production and must be controlled at all stages of the process because this type of aquafeed has to preserve its physical form and quality, to avoid the loss of nutrients in the water.
When the pellet is stable in the water for hours, you are going to assure a great part of the bottom feeders will eat it, and at the same time, you will avoid water pollution due to the dissolution of ingredients.
Sinking feed can be pelleted or extruded
To make water-stable sinking feed, you can choose between pellet mills or extruders. Contrary to floating pellets and slow-sinking pellets that can only be extruded. When you use a pellet mill, the previously ground and mixed ingredients are pressed into the pellet die and steamed for better compacting, resulting in a dense feed. This is a more economical process compared to extrusion. Besides the lower costs of processing, there is also a lower risk of losing vitamins in pelleted feed, but it needs to use higher amounts of starch and higher quality raw material.
On the other hand, the extrusion process gives you the versatility to produce granulates of different sizes, including micropellets. Moreover, it can also make floating, slow-sinking, and sinking pellets, with better water stability, and a better feed performance due to a higher digestibility of extruded feeds.
Whether you choose one or the other, it is important to take into account your feed formulations, the type of aquatic animals you are going to feed, the quality of the feed you want to produce, and your production and maintenance costs.
Include alternative feed ingredients in your sinking pellets
In aquafeed, fishmeal is the primary protein source due to its rich protein and fatty acids content. But as fishmeal production and supply, need sustainable improvements, you can use alternative protein ingredients in your formulations such as plant-based TVP or insect-based, to make sinking pellets.