A major expenses for a fish farm is cost of fish feed. Fish and other aquatic animals like turtles, crabs will consume food that is floating on the surface, and if it will sink or disintegrate, the food will be wasted. This decreases the efficiency and profit of the fish farm, aquatic ponds and other aquatic ventures, as the price obtained for the fish depends to a large extent on the weight of the fish which are sold. So increasingly farmers with small and medium fish farms are opting for a floating fish feed pellet mill, which will allow them to make fish food from raw material at an economical price, instead of purchases costly fish pellets from outside sources.
One of the main advantages of having a pellet mill for making fish feed is that it can use a wide variety of raw material depending on the availability and price. Some of the raw material which can be used include rice bran, soybean meal, wheat bran, peanut cake, cotton seed, fish, bone waste and other material. The composition of the pellets will vary depending on the raw material which will be used, and suitable ingredients, nutrients may be added to the raw material being processed in the fish feed plant, depending on the fish which are being kept at the fish farm.
Most smaller fish farmers are using a dry pellet mill for making fish feed, as it is more inexpensive, smaller and requires less electricity. The raw material in the dry mill is heating and compressed at a very high temperature to remove any moisture and extruded to form pellets of the specified shape and size. The size of the pellet depends on the requirement of the fish farmer. At a high temperature, all the bacteria and harmful microbes in the raw material are killed, so the fish can eat the pellets safely. The heating also has the effect of cooking the raw material, making it is easier for the fish to digest the pellets. As most of the moisture has been removed from the ingredients, the pellets from the mill are dry and light in weight, so they float on the water for a longer period of time.
It is possible to use a wet mill for making pellet type food for fish, however this mill has an additional steam boiler and is more expensive to operate. There is an additional stage in process of pellet making, as water is added to ingredients used to mix them properly and form a uniform mixture.The quality of the pellets produced using the wet pellet mill is better and is used for pets and other animals. However, in both types of floating feed mills, the moisture levels, pressure are controlled closely, as this will affect the time the fish food will float in water, before gradually absorbing water and sinking
The dry type fish feed pellet mill is usually smaller in size and more suitable for smaller farmers, who have a limited budget. Before placing an order for a floating fish feed mill, the farmer should confirm the type and quantity of raw material that is available, so that a suitable machine of the right capacity can be selected. The machine manufacturer will work closely with the farmer, to develop the right formula for the pellets, depending on the specification of the ingredients and the type of fish, crabs, shrimp which are being farmed.