Week 41: Feeding fish – Selecting food for maximum health & longevity | 52 Weeks of Reefing

Week 41: Feeding fish – Selecting food for maximum health & longevity | 52 Weeks of Reefing

Today on BRStv we are going feed some fish Hey guys my name is Ryan, welcome to another
week of the BRS 160 where every week we do our best to help you guys, members of the
reefing community enjoy your tanks and find new ways to explore the hobby. We do that
by following the set up and progression of this one hundred and sixty gallon reef tank. Today we are going to cover fish foods including
the right type of food, how often, how much and some cool feeding accessories and tips.
I think the most important component of all this first identifying what type of fish you
have in the tank and what their natural diet is. While fish can survive in a lot of different
types of foods their biologic functions have evolved around utilizing a certain mix of
proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. This is pretty similar to other pet foods.
For instance many pet owners acknowledge their dogs and cats are carnivores and make an attempt
to feed them protein rich foods which have minimal to no grain diets, many take it a
step further and feed low carbohydrate or even raw foods almost completely comprised
of the entire animal bones organs and all ground up to supply a very natural source
of protein, minerals and vitamins. I think we all recognize a dog or cat can
survive a long time on the cheapest unbalanced food out there because they do supply enough
nutrients to support biological function. The same way a human can survive off sugary
cereals, pizza, burgers, soda, chips and French fries for decades however the imbalance of
nutrients our bodies are designed for will likely result in a whole slew of health issues
mostly relying around premature organ deterioration or failure and Immunodeficiency disorders
which increase susceptibility to disease or infections from bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Same can be said of fish. I think you can
buy pretty much any food on the shelf and the fish will survive for many years as long
as you feed them enough to support their energy requirements. However if your fish have names
, you treat them as pets or members of the family and you take pride in keeping them
healthy for ten to twenty years then giving at least some effort into selecting the right
foods is probably a wise move. At the highest level you have you basic categories
of fish. Your carnivores and your herbivores Carnivores primarily diet being flesh which
is very protein rich, and herbivores diet being primarily algae or plant material. In
reality a good portion of fish in the reef aquarium are omnivores which mean they consume
both algae and flesh. So the first step in all this is recognizing
the natural diets of the fish you selected for the tank. For the most part it is somewhat
easy to recognize just from their behavior in the tank. Most of the herbivores or omnivores
like tangs, some blennies and rabbit fish spend a majority of the day obviously looking
for algae to peck off the surface of the rocks. Most of these fish will also have an active
feeding response to meaty foods and will rapidly go after them when they are added to the tank
as well. There are a handful of ways to help fulfill their natural dietary habits as close
as we can in the reef tank. starting with frozen foods which have algae as part of their
mark up like hakari’s mega marine algae, which has sea algae as the primary ingredient,
spirulina brine shrimp which are brine shrimp that have been fed spirulina just prior to
harvesting to increase nutritional value or maybe mega marine angel which has sponge and
sea algae as the primary ingredients. Outside of frozen foods there are a whole
variety of dry foods with algae as the primary ingredient as well, the most notable being
the Hikari seaweed extreme which is close to 70% seaweed in the pellet. I am pretty
confident this is the highest seaweed content of any pellet food out there. Outside of that
fauna Marin has some excellent soft spirulina pellets. Fish seem to really like all of fauna’s
softer pellets. Another super common method of feeding algae
is nori and other types of algae sheets. Typically placed in these suction cup or magnetic algae
clips. Not the most attractive things in the world but they give the fish a natural way
to graze all day. Some reefers will also rubber band some to a rock and throw that in the
tank which is another awesome way, particularly if your fish are aggressive eaters and constantly
pull the algae off the clip, Two little fishes offers three types, red
purple and green. Green being the most common but different fish like different kinds of
algae and I might try a couple types to see what your fish like best. Related to that
two little fishes also offers these algaes in smaller flakes. They tend to float so you
might need to soak them for a couple minutes and fish are a bit more picky about these
flakes when they are floating around the tank rather than attached to the clip for some
reason. Time to talk about the Carnivorous fish which
primarily eat flesh. This is pretty obvious with frozen foods clams, shrimp, squid and
similar items are all obviously meaty flesh of some type. While most fish will do best
with a varied diet if you are going to select one you should do so my nutritional content.
The food blends like the mega marines which have been fortified with nutrients do a great
job of including a varied diet with a high protein and essential fat content but I think
the most popular with seasoned reefers is the Canadian Mysis shrimp because it has a
naturally high protein and fat content and doesn’t need to be fortified. Pellet foods are actually also very high in
protein and fat. I think the Elos pellets being the highest concentration at over 60%
protein. We have used all kinds of pellets here at the office. My choice is normally
the Elos, but we got ridiculous growth and health from the clowns on the sustainable
aquatics diet. These guys have out grown every set of clowns any of us have ever seen on
their food. I’d like to share some general information
on the differences between those broad food categories of frozen, pellets and flake foods
that not everyone considers. Frozen foods offer a soft natural texture most similar
to the live foods makes them the most palatable and well received by most fish. pellets and flake foods are a lot more convenient
to feed, pelletized foods being the most common of the two because they sink and a shape better
accepted by the fish. The most notable thing about pellets is they are extremely nutrient
dense. Most frozen foods are about 70-80 water, 1-2 percent fat and only 5 to 15 percent proteins. Whereas pellet foods have most of the moisture
removed is often 5 times as nutrient dense with as much as 8 to 12 fat and 40 to 60 % protein.
I would compare this to the nutritional content of a single orange verses a cup of orange
juice concentrate which has had the water removed and been fortified with vitamins,
minerals and essential fats. One of the other nice things about pellets
is you can even further fortify them with additives like fatty acids like selcon, bright
well as a whole line designed specifically for this with garlic, omega three’s, and
angel elixir. Similar to that elos’s extra vitamin and Fauna Marin’s ultra food energizer. Just add a small amount to your pellets and
let them soak it up which not only increase the nutritional value but also soften the
pellets before feeding making them more palatable. So all that doesn’t mean that dry pellet foods
are better than frozen foods only that a little goes a long way and in some cases they are
contain a bit more varied form of nutrition. End of the day everyone has their preferences
I personally like frozen food better for my tanks for a couple simple reasons, first the
fish seem to like frozen food better, it stays in suspension longer , typically doesn’t float
and because it is less nutrient dense it is just a lot easier to over feed. That last part is particularly important.
When you feed pellets which are five times as nutrient dense it is a lot easier to over
feed and cause nutrient issues with your tank which lead to algae growth and other issues.
In fact if you are constantly having nutrient related issues with your tank my first bit
of advice would be to switch to a fairly pure frozen food without a lot of additives like
the Canadian Mysis from Hikari. To that note that’s what we feed the brs160.
Once a day I hit the feed mode on the tunze’s, dissolve a small chunk of Canadian Mysis in
a cup of water, add my reef chili and a few of the smaller algae extreme pellets from
Hikari and broadcast feed the tank and corals at the same time. We feed a bit heavier and
the reef chili daily rather than just a couple times a week because the tank has a considerable
amount of corals in it and we are less concerned about excess nutrients, after the tunze’s
feed timer is up the roller matt removes most of the food that goes down the overflow and
the Zeovit reactor will keep the overall nutrients near zero. Outside of that I add a half a sheet of nori
a day to give the tangs something to peck at and we have a freezer full of foods here
so I do like to vary the diet once in while by feeding clams, squid and krill. If I wasn’t
feeding the reef chili I would probably also add some of the cyclopods, rotifers, or coral
gumbo to the mix. So how much and how often should you feed
your fish? Well what goes in needs to come out so always keep that in mind and only feed
what you have to or what you are prepared to take out with water changes and other tank
maintenance or nutrient reduction methods? In terms of general fish health most people
feed once a day but super active fish might require more. In general fish are no different
than people or any other animal, they will look skinny if you don’t feed enough and fat
if you feed too much. And super active swimmers like anthias which expend a lot of energy
darting around the open water all day will need a lot more food or energy than pretty
docile fish which spend most of their time perched on the rock work like hawkish and
some gobies. Ill also note that a lot of the smaller fish
that spend their time in open water swimming all day where you might feed them twice or
even three times a day often benefit from much smaller partial foods which are easier
to digest and more similar to the plankton they are eating in the wild. The frozen cyclopods
are a pretty good example of a small particle food reefers use for this. All that said In general I would recommend
you feed you feed about half as much as you want you both in terms of frequency and amount.
As long as you are paying attention to their size and overall health it’s much more likely
that you are going to pollute the tank with too much food than it is you are going to
malnourish your fish. Right after heater failure I am going to say overfeeding is probably
one of the biggest causes of complete tank tare downs because the polluted tanks just
end up looking horrible. In direct relation to that there are some
tools that help you avoid that and there are some that dive head first into the polluted
tank pool. Automatic feeders being the number one issue. Some of you may require them but
it is incredibly common for reefers to set them to feed a pretty sizable amount of extremely
nutrient dense foods like pellets five times a day every day. While there are exceptions
in almost every case this is going to result in a tank with nitrate and phosphate levels
which are off the hook and all kinds of health and algae issues. if you do use an automatic feeder try because
it suits your lifestyle or livestock needs just keep in mind that just because you have
the option of feeding more doesn’t mean you should. Pay close attention to how much it
feeds each time and how often. I also strongly suggest placing a feeding
ring like this one from two little fishes which keep the pellets in a place where the
fish can easily get them and prevent them from going over the overflow. If you have
fairly turbulent water the feeding station from skimz or gourmet defroster from innovative
marine are excellent options. These tubes work really well for those who want to just
throw a cube of frozen in and walk away. One last bit there are some fish out there
that don’t require any direct feedings at all but do require some thought into what
they are going to eat in the tank like sand sifters and mandarins. Eventually they both
might start to eat prepared foods but in the beginning you absolutely have to think about
what they are going to eat in the tank. Sand sifters are sifting through the sand
for looking for microfauna to eat. You might not be able to see them with the naked eye
but if you look very close there are all kinds of organisms growing in the sand. This is
a quick shot of everything you can see growing in our sand bed already. How much microfauna
your sand bed has is a component of how long the tank has been up and how many nutrients
settle out in the sand to feed them so keep that in mind. Mandarins are the same type of thing, they
feed on copepods and in the right environment one the easiest fish there is to take care
of but also one of the most abused species. You can often see the copepods with the naked
eye on the glass. They look like tiny white specs that sit still and then jump around
in a jerky movement pattern. When you first get a mandarin this is the
only thing most will eat and as you can see they are going to eat a ton of these to be
healthy. You will see them hunting for them basically all day long. To keep a mandarin
healthy you not only need a healthy supply of pods but you also need a safe place for
them to reproduce. Ideally a refugium of some type where they
can populate safely within the macro algae and slowly be released into the tank. but
a large tank like a 100 gallons or over with a lot of rock, sand and particularly rock
like reef saver or pukani which are filled with holes where the pods can safely reproduce
are excellent. There is a lot of debate on sand sifters and
mandarins and a hundred reefers will say they had no issue at all in their tanks and others
will say they have no place in the aquarium and better left in the ocean. My opinion is
if you have the tank up for a year, and put some real thought into how you are going to
provide their natural diet such as a refugium you are very likely to have success. If you
throw the poor fish in the tank right after setting it up and just hope it figures out
how to eat prepared foods before it starves to death you are probably just going to kill
it so it was better left in the ocean. All in all no different than any other fish
in the tank, consider its natural diet and put some effort into feed them nutrient rich
foods that they readily accept. Mandarins and sand sifters just happen to require more
planning, none of which is particularly hard. I will say sand sifters are one that are more
likely to either adapt to prepared foods or eventually die because it is hard to prevent
them from completely decimating the microfauna population in the sand. So last week we asked all of you what your
favorite component of the BRS160 is and the roller matt was a land slide winner with over
50%. Considering our conversation about feeding today it’s easy to understand why. The roller
mat isn’t just a replacement for filter sock but the only piece of equipment on the
tank that removes uneaten food and fish poo before it has a chance to break down into
unwanted nutrients. I honestly wonder which is removing more waste at this point. The
roller matt or skimmer. This week we are asking you what type of food
you feed so hit that I in the upper right hand corner and vote. But honestly this is
a super interesting subject so share what, how much and how often you feed in the comments
below for other reefers to check out. If you Picked up anything new today let us know with
quick thumbs up and hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss out on next week’s episode
the BRS160 maintenance schedule.

100 thoughts on “Week 41: Feeding fish – Selecting food for maximum health & longevity | 52 Weeks of Reefing

  1. A tip for feeding Nori on a clip. I fold it up, place it in the clip. And with a pair of scissors I cut little notches in the Norii. This keeps the fish from ripping off big chunks that just float around.

  2. I am new to the hobby and absolutely LOVE this series! It has been so helpful to me making decisions about my tank.  The tank is now 6 months and about two months ago I started to facing a huge nitrate and phosphate problem.  I am sure as everyone has done before me, I overfed.  I started researching and moved to fresh Red Gracilaria.  First, for my two tangs and foxface, but also to help control my nitrate and phosphate problem.  Not only do my fish love to eat it, but it also helps to reduce the excess nutrients in the tank. For the other fish I use frozen brine daily and every other day I mix Oysterfeast and Mysis.  I will switch up twice weekly between adding the Hikari Frozen Clam or the Spirulina as well.  My tank's water is much bteer and everyone seems a lot happier. I will also use Seaweed Extreme, but I never thought to soften it in water before addiung to the tank.    If any one has any or advise I welcome it!

  3. Demand: Mixed reef 6 medium corals, LPS, SPS, and softies, 480 days old. 7 Fish: 4.5" powder blue tang, 4.5" bluechin trigger, 4" dragon goby, 3"coral beauty angel, 2 mocha clowns and a 2.5" Lubbock's fairy wrasse. Food: I feed the tank 1 cube of frozen food per day. Target feed the corals the juice from the melt and some of the solids. The fish get the blowby and whatever is left at the end. Nori is 1/2 sheet 2-3 times per week. Fuge farms copepods and amphipods, snails and starfish such that the sand is alive in the DT at night. The fish get plenty of live food this way.Results: Growth seems sluggish for the fish. Corals are growing inches per month! Other Thoughts & Changes: LFS said to never feed brine to a marine tank last night. I'm going to work in more carnivore and veggie options. Love the auto defroster for the nights I'm not target feeding corals. Buy this! I have an auto feeder I run on vacation and the three days before I leave for operational validation. You are absolutely right about watching the dosage on the pellets! Made my own feeding ring, 1 foot diameter, works beautifully. With a 25 gallon fuge containing 20# of live rock and a giant mass of chaeto following socks and a skimmer, ending with a fluvol 405 full of rox.8 carbon, I never have water quality issues, zeroes all around, every time. BRS Rocks!: I can't say enough how helpful your videos and site are. This is my first salt tank and BRS has saved me time and countless dollars! Please let me know how I might promote you more!

  4. I would have appreciated a section on foods to avoid and answers to some common food questions. Such as: "Is the nori I get at the grocery store ok?"

  5. I'm really surprised to see how much you guys feed this tank. It seems pretty common in some of the forums I go to that people feed 1 time a day or every other day. And most of these reefers admit to only feeding half a cube of frozen mysis every other day. I will say I usually go for a good pellet food for one feeding and then a frozen food for the second feeding of the day. Then I'll add a sheet of nori every other day for my tang which keeps him motivated on pecking around the tank. I used to feed my corals at the same time I fed my fish but stopped when I had too many mouths to feed. I'm definitely considering starting that again and maybe trying some chili

  6. Frozen food: mysis with algae and garlic. The fish love it. The easy days: pellets. I feed them once a day.

  7. day 1-Hykari day 2-notihng day 3-Mysis day 4-nothing <repeat / supplement pods for mandrin (25G nano SPS tank 9months old)

  8. You brought up a point (actually several of them) in your recent videos. While you are using Zeovit in this system, would you still say that it is a nutrient rich environment, with low nitrates and phosphates?

  9. Man, what don't I feed? Aminos 3-4x per week (Brightwell's, AcroPower, Reef Roids, and KZ rotated) Fish food: pellets and flakes mostly daily, 1x per month frozen food.
    For the Tangs, clip with different types of freeze dried seaweed.
    If I had more fish, I would do Hikari or Rods food for prepared frozen foods.
    When I feed flake food( Ocean Nutrition green and red I use tweezers to submerge the flakes so they dont float around- I find this way most effective for its consumption and reduction of potential leftovers.
    Heavy in, heavy out.

  10. I also find that different fish like different frequencies and amounts. for example, tangs, which spend a lot of time grazing, prefer a constant stream of food or high frequency small feedings. lionfish or eels on the other hand are fine eating every two to three days, so long as you fees big chunks at a time.

  11. I am going through some tough things at home I was wondering if u can help me get a coral reef tank of my dreams. Btw I love your videos and ur so helpful

  12. I feed frozen mysis 5-7 times a week. i have a small tank so keeping nutrients under control is important.
    Also, I have a question. I might be setting up a 75 gallon for an office space soon, what kind of low maintenance filtering options are there? I was thinking a load of macroalgae in a lighted refugium.

  13. excellent video on feedings and the type of food each individual fish eats. since I have tangs, wrasses and angels i feed a different variety at each feeding to support each fish groups needs.

  14. I feed LRS Reef Frenzy, NLS pellets, PE Mysis, and Reef Chili. I only have a pair of clowns and a Midas Blenny. Typically they get about 1cc of LRS Reef Frenzy a day. Oh, I also feed my BTA a chunk of grocery store shrimp every other day. My Acans go nuts for the PE Mysis so they get some once a week or so. Currently battling high phosphates and hair algae on my Pukani. Wasn't aware my mother was feeding the fish pellets every night. My Blenny is pretty bemused with feedings being cut back and has taken to splashing water onto the floor in protest.

  15. Whats the fish at 9.17 thats got a long nose thats just above the elegance coral.

    I feed pellets in the morning then LRS reef frenzy. Occasioanlly i sprinkle reef chilli on-top for seasoning : )
    My tank loves LRS. My nesarius snails only come out when i feed this.

    Will be covering cyano, Dinos and other tank headaches?

  16. Do you recommend rinsing frozen food before adding it to the tank? I've heard mixed reviews on this thought but not sure if it's unnecessary to do so. Thanks.

  17. I had a Polluted tank before, I now use Red Seas No3 Po4- X every other week and it keeps Nitrates and Phosphates low.

  18. I enjoy growing phyto and rotifers, plus have a large dedicated pod fuge. Other than that, I live near the sea, so I buy a variety of fresh stuff from a local fishmonger, chop it up and freeze it in icecube trays.

  19. Hey! Just curious: What do you tink of DyMiCo? Does it have potential or is it just some hyped system and first needs a lot of change and improvement to become as perfect as the makers claim it to be?

    PS. Super cool vid, as always!!

  20. Always wanted to ask this about the Mandarin and copepods- i add pods all the time but don't have a refugium yet. Is it safe to say if you don't see pods hanging out on your glass, then there aren't enough to sustain the mandarin? My tank is 1.5 years old and I still don't see any?

  21. Thanks BRS. One more thing. After the part about responsible fish keeping. I beg you to include something in the next few episodes about the latest Fish related Disney movie, and how every mom n dad should NOT GO BUY A BLUE HIPPO TANG and a ten gallon tank from the bulk store with out doing some serious research. Many many fish died from lack of informed purchases after the first "Clown Fish" movie and BLUE hippo's are far less hardy. Our local club has been struggling with how to get this message out effectively for the health of the hobby as a whole. Thanks great work as always.

  22. hi Ryan , im going to buy a red sea max s-500 led white complete system, but Im not sure if the hydraHD led lighting will be enough for more demanding corals. Somebody knows what T5 tubes could I use that fits on the light fixture

  23. hi Ryan , im going to buy a red sea max s-500 led white complete system, but Im not sure if the hydraHD led lighting will be enough for more demanding corals. Somebody knows what T5 tubes could I use that fits on the light fixture

  24. would love to see a diy reef rock video showing different mixes techniques and tricks to making reef rock..great videos

  25. I get a bottle of tigger-pods, the live little red ones that you can get in the refrigerator at your local fish store, every month, turn off all of the powerheads and filters for about two hours, and dump them in and let them get down into the rocks. My mandarin (male) eats them happily. You have to leave the pods out in the bottle with the cap popped open to allow them to come to tempeture, which is annoying, but that's pretty much it. Here's the link to them: http://www.petsolutions.com/C/Live-Fish-Food/I/Live-Tigger-Pods.aspx

  26. It's cool to see that you actually try to make the food fit the fish's natural diet. Do you feed your own cats raw? I feed mine prey model raw and it's fur is much more shiny and her stool is smaller and less smelly, appart from all the health benefits it will have in the long run.

  27. I honestly never considered a feeding ring with my auto feeder. Definitely going to try using one

  28. Hi, I have some frozen brine shrimp and also some pellets. How much and how often should I feed two small tank bred clownfish in a 300 litre tank? Should I alternate between the two types of foods every other day?

  29. What's a good rule of thumb for how many frozen mysis cubes to feed a day. For the sake of this discussion let's assume a moderately stocked tank. What size tank do you think one cube a day is good for. Clearly a cube a day for a 10g tank is way to much and 1 cube a day for a 300g tank is way to little. What tank size approximately needs 1 cube a day. Just looking for a good rule of thumb.

  30. i feed my tank every other day and i vary it one day they will get omega one carnivore diet which is mysis,brine shrimp and bloodworms then next time they got a small pinch of omega ones marineflakes and a few omega one reef pellets

  31. I feed Pellet, flake, mysis, enriched brine shrimp with spirulina, daphnea, bloodworms once in a while, 2 to 3 times a day in smalll portion.

  32. +BulkReefSupplyCom I think a cool BRS Investigates could maybe revolve around whether the Roller Mat is more effective then a skimmer in a controlled setup. Might be worth looking into.

  33. would love to see a video recommending what to do about feeding when going away on a weeks vacation and having non fish friends or family feeding the tanks.

  34. I noticed you guys have a twin spot goby pair.. what are they eating for you? I'm struggling getting mine to eat.

  35. Hi guys thank you for all these great videos. I just tore down my 180 because we are remodeling our family room. I made many mistakes over my six year reefing journey. I have learned much along the way but have much much more to learn. I will be setting up a Red Sea Reefer after the work is done. Not sure what size yet most likely a 425 or 525. I have a bunch of Pukani, Fiji, and Reef Saver curing right now. Picked up my 2 MP40's and Vecta M1 from you guys. Went with a Reef Octopus Elite 200 skimmer. Looking at Kessil 360, Radions, or Hydra for lights. Will be a "Mixed" Reef but primarily LPS and Nems.

    One of the mistakes I made was probably overfeeding. I used to go to the supermarket and buy clams, squid, shrimp, and sometimes fish to make a homemade blend of frozen food. I would also add frozen mysis, a sheet of nori, and sometimes pellet food. I'd add Selcon and blend it all up in stages (largest food first) so it didn't get soupy. What are your thoughts on this type of homemade food? Assuming its fed in moderation.


  36. I've switched between freshwater species to reef and now back to freshwater… My choice and what I see brings out the fishes or aquarium species colour is without a dobut, frozen foods. Specifically Sally's/San Fransisco Bay Brand brine with spirlina and bloodworms.
    I've also given my fish the frozen "community" variety that helps make sure that the fish get a well balanced diet. Sadly, I have not been able to get ahold of the "Freshwater Frenzy" (Community) variety as our LPS refuses to carry it. 🙁 🙁 So instead, I am stuck with giving them the OMEGA ONE brand flakes every other day.

  37. I take a small chunk of frozen mysis, a small chunk of frozen krill, and crush up a pinch of flakes mix it all together in a cup of tank water and dump it in. Once a day.

  38. I feed mine 3 days a week a mixture of a pinch of flakes, frozen brine shrimp and a few pellets. I'm feeding fish, 2 annenames, 2 shrimps, a flower pot coral and a snail and 10 hermit crabs and brittle star fish

  39. What are your thoughts on DIY frozen fish food?  I have been feeding mine a homemade mixture of fresh shrimp, scallop, clam and mussels that I get from my local fish monger.  I cut it up into chunks and then soak it 24 hours in Kent Marine Zoe.  I then pulse it in a food processor to get it to the right size portions, freeze it in a ziplock bag lying flat and then cut into cubes.  My fish go crazy over it and they are thriving.  Every other day I supplement with frozen Mysis.  Any concerns with using fresh seafood?  It saves a ton of money from buying the prepared cubes every few weeks.

  40. Hi, you should make a video of feeding plans for keeping mandarins, you know, for us who are new into the hobby for about a year.

  41. See, for my herbivorous fish I like to get live algae like from algae barn and stick them in the rocks all over the tank so they can graze for it. They also seem to like the "fresh" stuff a lot more than dried

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