After a hiatus of several years, Nutramar Ova is back in stock. Naturally sourced prawn roe and water make up Ova. Prawn roe are tiny sized eggs that are quite a bit smaller than fish eggs. The small size of these eggs makes it the perfect food for benthic copepod feeders like Mandarin fish who have been trained to eat frozen foods. Specialty feeders like Dragonettes and Pipefish also enjoy this treat.
Sometime in late 2013-2014, the supply of Nutramar Ova altogether stopped. There was chatter about a disease that may have compromised the supply but I was unable to find any actual reports about that at the time. What I did find out was that the prawn eggs are sourced from a specific region in Asia, which had some unusual weather changes. The changes were enough to cause a drop in the ability to harvest prawn eggs for the product. We were hoping the supply would be restored later in 2014 but that did not happen.
According to Michael Crespo, Director of Marketing at Quality Marine, “We stopped carrying ova due to weather conditions. Our vendor was not able to harvest the prawn eggs for approximately 3 years. The information from our vendor is minimal at this time but we were assured they will be able to harvest on a regular basis and we have committed to take all they produce.”
Each flat pack of Ova is densely packed with millions of eggs and it is easy to see how a lot of roe is needed to make it feasible for the product to be packaged and exported for sale.
Who likes to eat Nutramar Ova?
Hobbyists that love Mandarin fish know that they need a live food source at all times. They are constant feeders, pecking at rocks to eat pods once every few seconds. A single mandarin can wipe out the pod population in a tank in little time. To combat that constant need for pods, Mandarins can be trained to eat frozen foods.
According to the manufacturer, Quality Marine, Nutramar Ova is highly concentrated with protein and HUFAs. This product is very useful for those who are rearing nearly any species of fish through the larval and post-larval stages. Quality Marine uses Ova to train their in-house Mandarins. “They respond much better and we get an immediate response to the ova as opposed to other foods we use in-house.” – Michael Crespo
I chatted with Amber Ginther, Lead Aquarist and Manager of Fish Husbandry at Quality Marine about their use of Ova for their Mandarin Fish. QM does not breed Mandarin Fish but they have Synchiropus splendidus, Synchiropus cf. splendidus, and Synchiropus picturatus in house on a regular basis.
Q: How long does it take for them to be trained to accept frozen food?
A: It usually takes only a few days for them to be trained. The more stubborn animals will only take at most 5 days.
Q: When Ova was not available, what food did you use as a substitute?
A: When Ova is unavailable we will substitute decapsulated artemia for animals like the Mandarins with smaller mouths or a mixture of artemia and mysis.
Q: Are there other fishes that you train to accept Ova?
A: Many fish here love the Ova. We use the Ova for our Seahorses, and our more difficult Angelfish. We use the Ova as a tool to get more difficult fish to start eating. Once we have them eating we start to add more variety to the diet.
Take advantage of the current availability of Nutramar Ova being in stock. Every fish and coral is sure to enjoy the treat. Remember, a little goes a long way, feed sparingly as these eggs are very small in size but are nutritionally dense. Drop us a line and let us know how your tank responds to Ova. Happy Reefkeeping!