NANFA-L-- tofu for herbivorous fishes?

Hoover, Jan J ERDC-EL-MS (
Tue, 7 Mar 2006 16:57:29 -0600

For those who keep herbivorous/omnivorous fishes:

I recently had a large sailfin catfish (Pterygoplichthys) die and wondered if
it could have been due to a nutritional deficiency. The fish would
occasionally eat algae wafers and pelleted food, but its principal foods (his
choice) were yellow squash and zucchini. Two friends (one a physiologist,
the other a health food enthusiast) suggested tofu. It is plant-based, easy
to obtain, not very expensive, and it stays on the bottom. You can dry it
out and cut it into "steaks" or cubes which are easily attached to rocks with
rubber bands.

Loricariid catfishes and a large pacu gobble it down; white sturgeon will
also eat it, but golden topminnow and bluefin killifish showed no interest.

Nutritionally, tofu offers fats, proteins, and calcium absent or minimally
present in squash (data from

Squash Tofu
Fat 0.2 g 11.0 g
Carbohydrates 4.2 g 5.4 g
Fiber 1.4 g 2.9 g
Sugar 2.1 g ----
Protein 1.5 g 19.9 g
Calcium 18.6 mg 860.6 mg
Potassium 325 mg 298.6 mg
Calories 20 183

It is also more calorie-dense: bad when you are dieting, great when you are
feeding fish (Fish capable of digesting cellulose may get more calories; I am
not clear on this).

I know that feeding squash is a common practice among aquarists; did not know
if feeding tofu was.

Has anyone maintained fish long-term on a tofu diet ?

- Jan Hoover
Vicksburg, MS
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