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Scientists estimate that there are about 33,600 different types of fish species found on earth. Out of all of these species, the Mullet is one of the best and most interesting.
Mullets are also known as grey mullets and belong to the Mugilidae family of ray-finned fish. There are 78 mullet species in 20 genera of species and they are found all over the world. They prefer coastal temperate and tropical waters and most species are found in salty sea waters, although some species thrive in freshwater.
The different genera and varieties of mullet do vary a bit but the mullet species is distinguished by their two separate dorsal fins, their small triangular mouths and the fact that they don’t have a lateral line organ. You can identify mullet in the water by their long shape, shiny silver or red scales and their distinct fin placement.
Mullets are valuable food sources. In Mediterranean Europe, they have been an important food source to locals since Roman times and this species is still important for both locals and fish industries to this very day.
Mullets are not just caught from the wild. These fish species are also farmed in extensive, semi-intensive ponds and some regions, they are kept in netted enclosures in shallow coastal waters.
What do Mullet Eat?
This fish species is a bottom feeder. They will eat just about anything they can find. Mullets love to munch on food sources such as tiny plants, detritus, insects, and flesh. Mullets have tiny mouths and as such usually consume small food morsels. They love to eat and are not shy about nibbling at just about anything. The biggest part of a mullets day is all about looking for and eating foods so they can get the needed nutrition to stay healthy.
When fishing for mullet, you need to set your bait low to the ocean floor because this is where you will find them. The ocean floor is where they find most food morsels and as such, they are mostly located in these regions. They also like to swim about docks looking for something tasty to eat.
Here is a quick look at the top food types that mullet are most likely to consume;
Mullets will munch on any type of tiny plant that grows on the ocean floor. They will nibble at blue-green algae, algae, diatoms, filamentous green algae, detritus, and green sea lettuce and much more. Mullets won’t bite off huge chunks of food from the plant but will continuously nibble at plant sources they can find.
Detritus is a compound that is created from wasted leftovers of dead plants. This compound is usually found in areas that are rich in plant life. Detritus will settle on and drift about the ground. The compound will also get logged on items such as rocks and plants in the region.
Mullets also love to eat all sorts of larvae and insects. They especially love to nibble at maggots and many fishermen believe that maggots are their favorite food source. This is commonly used bait for fishermen. If you cannot find maggots, you can also use ragworms to catch mullets. It is important to remember to use small pieces of food or small worms on hooks so the mullet can fit the whole piece and hook into its mouth.
These bottom feeders will also munch on pieces of leftover flesh. They are especially fond of mackerel flesh. If you are using mackerel flesh as bait then remember that the pieces should be skinless with no other traces on it. If you use large pieces, you will attract other fish species instead.
Bait is often used to attract mullet to a specific region so you can catch them with ease. You can use just about any type of food for bait. Fishermen often use bread or pastry on hooks to attract fish. If you are planning on catching always be sure to have the proper fishing license. Another common technique is to use special dough with a mixture of water and flour with a hook inside.
Mullet are omnivorous creatures. They will consume plant and flesh pieces and are not fussy about what they eat. They do prefer certain foods like insects, flesh and tiny plants but they will consume other food types also. Their diet can include any consumable food imaginable including bread, vegetables, fruits and much more.
Fish farm foods
In fish farms, farmers can choose to offer natural foods such as grain mills or rice to feed their mullet. In polyculture farms, farmers may choose to purchase pellets produced at feed mills. Manufactured fish feed is formulated according to the dietary requirements of major fish species and many of these formulated foods are designed to optimize growth to boost harvests.
In aquaculture ponds, chicken manure and cow dung fertilizers are also used as fish foods. These foods are usually supplemented with rice, cornmeal and wheat bran along with food pieces provided by natural plants grown in aquaculture ponds.
How to Feed Mullet?
Feeding a mullet is very easy. You can simply dunk food pieces into the water and wait for the fish too much. Mullets do prefer smaller foods and will be more likely to consume foods if you cut them into small pieces.
Feeding methods for mullet depends on what you want to do with the fish.
Feeding Pet fish
If you are keeping your mullet as a pet fish then you can simply feed it fish pellets purchased at any pet store. Fish pellets are packed in nutrition and since mullet consumes all food types, they will be happy to eat these pellets.
Fishing in the wild
If you are fishing for mullet to eat then it is best to first attract mullet to the area before you set out bait to catch them. To attract fish species to the area, fishermen will often distribute small food amounts in a certain area a few days before fishing. Foods like soft bread and water or maize can be used to attract fish species to a certain region.
On the day of fishing, you can set bait on your hook to catch fish. Fishermen can use all types of bait including special dough, mackerel flesh ragworms or maggots on the hook. If the pieces are too big, your fish might nib it off the hook but if you use small enough pieces, mullet will bite the entire piece and swallow the hook along with it. This allows you to easily catch mullet via a hook.
Nets can also be used to catch mullet. If your mullet is used to feeding in an area then you can layout the net around your usual feeding time to catch these fish.
Feeding farmed fish
If you are keeping mullet for farming purposes then you want them to gain as much weight and grow as much as possible.
As mullet grows bigger, their nutritional needs increase and they are also able to consume bigger pieces of food such as fish food pellets. It is best to feed your millet daily on nutrient-rich foods. Farmers can choose to offer natural foods or fish pellets to keep farmed fish healthy.
How much do mullet eat?
It is unclear exactly how much mullet eats. These bottom dwellers are notorious munchers and will consume foods all day if they can. For this reason, it is probably important not to overfeed your fish. Offering too much food can make the water dirty and fish can feel ill when they consume too much of certain foods.
For optimal fish health, it is best to offer sufficient feed regularly. With regular food supply, your mullets will grow at a steady rate and you will have much more control over the size and weight of your mullet at given stages of farming.
If you are setting out bait to lure mullet to a specific spot then it is also important not to dunk too much food for luring. Lingering food pieces could affect your ability to catch fish when it is time to fish. When you do fish, be sure not to add the same type of food pieces as your bait to the water so fish will catch onto your hook instead of following free food you may offer.
What do baby mullet eat?
Fry mullet usually depend on natural foods. The soil of tanks is usually treated by adding animal manure before water is added and chicken manure and chemical fertilizers can also be added to feed small fish while they stay in nursery ponds for 4 – 6 months.
In the wild, fry mullet will also consume natural foods found on top of the soil. These foods can include anything from plant pieces to flesh and larvae.
What do wild mullet eat?
Wild millet will consume anything they find in their region. They will munch on pieces of small plants, detritus or old plant species, pieces of flesh, small insects, larvae, worms, maggots. There is nothing a mullet won’t try to chew on.
Maggots are mullet’s favorite food. They love to consume these small soft worms. Fishermen often use bait like maggots, ragworm or dough paste to feed to catch wild mullet on fishing rods.
What is the best bait for mullet?
Mullet will consume any type of food. But they do show a preference for some food types. They love maggots and also prefer ragworm above natural plant pieces. They also love to consume small pieces of mackerel fish.
If you want the bait to catch mullet then it is best to use any of these food types. For optimal results, create a feeding area before you go fishing where you lure mullet to the region by distributing small food pieces such as soft bread daily.
What Are The Natural Predators Of Mullet?
Mullet fish do have quite a few predators. Just about every carnivore that is willing to dive into the water is a mullet’s enemy. Humans have been eating mullet since Roman times and still enjoy this fish to this very day. This makes the human race one of millet’s biggest predators.
The fish species are also caught by all sea carnivores such as seals, sharks and much more.
Why Do Mullet Jump Out Of The Water?
In the wild and fish farms, you can see mullet jumping out of the water at times. This fish species is a common jumper and will leap out and splash back into the water.
Many scientists believe that mullet do when pursued by predators but others say that these fish jump when spawning season is about to start.
Others believe that mullet jump to get more oxygen when the water is particularly dirty or shallow.
Is Mullet Healthy To Eat?
Mullet has been serving as a food source for many people for a long time and is still a popular food to this very day. You can catch them in the wild and they are also bred on farms.
The fish offers a strong distinct taste and the flesh is moist and oily. The fish can be grilled, pan-fried, marinated or baked. Many prefer the fish with the skin since it bakes or fries beautifully crispy but some prefer to skin the fish to reduce oil and fat consumption.
Like all other fish types, mullet is quite healthy to consume. The fish contains lots of vitamins and minerals like omega 3 fatty acids.
Diamondscale mullet is the highest priced of the mullets while Yelloweye millet is more commonly found.
Millet fish is one of the easiest fish species to care for when grown in farms or captivity. They will consume anything and are very helpful in aquaponics farms because they assist in cleaning water. They are great to eat and their fast-growing rate makes them ideal for large scale fishing.
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