If you feed your fish with frozen foods, then you may want to check out the Gourmet Defroster product, from Innovative Marine. I got this fun little gadget as a birthday gift, and couldn’t wait to check it out.
What is the Gourmet Defroster and why would you use one?
The Gourmet Defroster is a small gadget that makes feeding your fish just a little bit easier. The design is relatively simple–it is a clear plastic cup (really 2 cups), attached to a rather strong magnet. The magnet helps hold it in place, at the surface of your aquarium water, and the cup itself has several holes, undoubtedly painstakingly designed, to create a bit of swirling water flow within the cup.
The novelty is in the engineering which makes it so simple and easy to use. There are holes drilled into each of the cups that make it the perfect reservoir for thawing out the frozen food for your fish.
Drop the frozen food into the cup and the circulating (reef temperature) water does the rest. As the food particles become thawed, they float out one of the holes in the sides or bottom of the cup.
When you feed frozen foods to the animals in your tanks, you have historically had 3 basic options:
- Drop the frozen morsel right into the tank. Doing so can cause some problems, though. Your most aggressive fish will take big mouthfuls and eat more than their share. Chunks of semi-frozen food will float to sections of the tank you don’t want them to, or even worse–they might drift to a corner and go uneaten.
- You could thaw it out, first, setting the cube in a bowl of water. Not a hard job, but how many times have you left that bowl of water and frozen food out for a family member to find. Then, once the frozen food has thawed, you either dump it all in (creating a storm of food) or dole it out sparingly, which is sometimes a fun manual step and other times feels like a chore.
- The third option is that you thaw and rinse your food–because you don’t want the nutrients in the ‘juice’ to pollute your tank
As you can see, there are pros and cons to each method. If you run a low-nutrient tank, the Gourmet Defroster may not be for you–because the whole frozen food product will be placed in your tank. But if you use either methods 1 or 2, it could give you a new and even easier option to consider.
This little gadget lets you go from freezer to tank in one step while dripping out the food piece-by-piece, as it thaws.
Product review: The Gourmet defroster in action–in my tank
So now, let’s talk about how it performed in a real-life test in my tank. The product performed its simple task quite well, in my tank, once properly installed. That’s the important caveat–that explains what was a lukewarm experience in the beginning.
As mentioned above, the product is designed to accommodate two different frozen food types/styles: those that are bound with gelatin and those that are ‘just’ frozen. The reason this is important is that the top and bottom cups may look the same, but each is designed to handle one of these food types–so if you have the gelatin side at the top–and are feeding ‘regular’ frozen brine or Mysis shrimp, it won’t work as well.
If installed upside-down, the food does melt in the cup, but you need to ‘stir it up’ to disperse the foods.
Once I figured that out (and my manual error), the product worked as expected. The food floats and catches a current out, attracting the fish and seeming a bit more natural, when a morsel gets caught in the current.
Installation of the gourmet defroster
It couldn’t be any easier to install. It was super-easy and intuitive, as soon as you take it out of the box AND pay close attention to the difference between the TOP and BOTTOM, for your application. If you’ve used a MagFloat or any other magnetic clip on your tank, you’ll know, essentially, how to use the magnet to attach it to your glass.
The only real ‘moving parts’ or decisions you have to make are:
- Which side is up?
- Where to install it?
To decide which side is up, take a close look at the differences between the two cups:
The difference I want to call your attention to is how the holes are drilled in the clear side of the plastic–one cup has holes that are vertically aligned (reminds me of snowman buttons :)) and the other is horizontally aligned (looks like eyes).
For regular frozen foods, you want the vertically-aligned version on top. For gelatin-based foods, you want the horizontally-aligned version on top.
Where to install
You want to install the gourmet defroster at the top of the tank wall so that the top holes are at the waterline (flowing in), ideally with water flow pointed at it. Simply hold it in place with the strong magnet provided. I have a 92-gallon tank with curved glass and the magnet holds easily.
Where to buy
You can simplify your daily feedings with this fun little gadget delivered to your door for about $20 from Amazon. Check out the actual price and availability here.
This is definitely a ‘nice-to-have’ product, it isn’t a ‘need-to-have’ product. But if you’re a gotta-have aquarium owner who already has everything (well, almost everything), this inexpensive gizmo does perform it’s job well, is well made and is fun to use. Feeding my tank is now a little bit easier.
If you want to pick one up for yourself, you can find it here.
For more information
If you’re looking for other aquarium tools to help with mealtime, check out this other product review:
Comparing the Sea Squirt and Julian’s Thing Feeders
To learn more about aquarium foods and feeding fish and corals, check out:
5 Nutrient packed live foods
Check out this video to get some more information about the Gourmet defroster, by Innovative Marine