Are you ready to

discover something new?

Summer in the Arctic

Air and water temperature is 5 ° C. Polar bears climb around on the ice floes. Whales break through the surface of the water. They come here for the same reason as we do: to catch the plankton that is vastly available during those summer months. The otherwise clear water is therefore clouded by the plankton animals. Now, finally the time has come when we can fish for the plankton of our JBL PlanktonPur.

 The revolution in fish nutrition

It is a fact that every fish, excluding the absolute specialist feeder, lives off the plankton passing by in its natural habitat. JBL has now found a way to keep pure arctic plankton harvest fresh and long lastingly packed (temperature process-controlled) without artificial preservatives. As a result you now have the opportunity, for the very first time to feed your aquarium fish with freshly caught plankton.


Zooplankton is the primary source of food for many species of fish in fresh and salt water. Over many generations these fish species have adapted to this form of nutrition.





What is plankton?

Scientists define plankton as organisms, which cannot move against currents. Thus it is not the size of the organism that defines it as plankton, but its movement. In fact plankton can be as long as several meters in length! A distinction is made between two groups of plankton: animal plankton (zooplankton) and vegetable plankton (phytoplankton). Since plankton are extremely high-energy, big sea dwellers like blue whales or whale sharks can live on plankton alone, without having to recourse to eating larger plankton eating prey.

What is in JBL PlanktonPur?

JBL PlanktonPur M (Medium) with crustaceans up to 2mm in size (95% Calanus finmarchicus, 5% Calanus helgolandicus) for fish between 4 and 14 cm in length.
JBL PlanktonPur S (Small) with plankton between 0.2 and 1 mm in size. It contains a plankton mixture of copepods (cyclops), snail and mussel larvae and different copepods of the species Temora, Pseudocalanus, Paracalanus, Acartia, Centropages, Calanus and Oithona. JBL PlanktonPur S is suitable for fish between 2 and 6 cm in length.
The plankton organisms are pure and sieved, and packaged without preservatives.




The zooplankton for JBL PlanktonPur is caught sustainably using a special method in the cold, unpolluted arctic waters of Norway. Immediately after the zooplankton for JBL Plankton- Pur (mostly crustaceans and molluscs) is caught, it is gently preserved using a new method which does not require any preservatives. The high quality and gentle processing of this natural product can be recognised by the high water content in JBL PlanktonPur. Natural zooplankton has a water content (moisture content) of 80 – 90%. This natural water content is retained in JBL PlanktonPur and ensures excellent acceptance, even by fastidious ornamental fish species. JBL PlanktonPur is ideally suited for breeding tropical marine and freshwater species. The special processing used for JBL PlanktonPur ensures that the individual zoo plankton organisms are not harmed. This reduces the loss of nutrients to a minimum and guarantees the ornamental fish a high intake of vitamins, trace elements and other vital nutrients. Scientific studies have shown that the excellent supply of vital nutrients enhances the colouration and well-being of ornamental fish in an aquarium.

Which fish eat JBL PlanktonPur?

Extremely comprehensive feeding tests with professional fish breeders, fish importers and scientists have shown that there are very few fish species (freshwater, brackish water, saltwater), which do not eat JBL PlanktonPur. These include some catfish species, which live on a purely vegetable diet, some predatory fish, which only take notice of prey bigger than 5 cm, as well as globe-fish like the Tetraodon mbu, which only eats large snails. Initial feeding tests were carried out in the aquarium facilities of the largest pet shops in Europe, using every species of fish in stock. These species ranged from discus to tetras, barbs, livebearers and dwarf cichlids to Tanganjika and Malawi cichlids, and none of them had ever received JBL PlanktonPur before. The platies, strangely enough, hesitated occasionally during eating, but no explanation has been found for this yet. In the saltwater sector there was some astonishing success with fish considered as particularly delicate eaters.

Advantages of PlanktonPur

What proven advantages does JBL PlanktonPur have in comparison to live food feeding?

  • An up to 100% higher survival rate in fish breeding
  • An up to 100% higher growth rate with juvenile fish
  • A 3,5 times higher stress tolerance
  • A 50% reduction of unwanted patterning of colouration
  • An 18 times reduction of the bacterial density of the dangerous Vibrio species, as compared to food enriched with Artemia nauplii (brine shrimp)


Are you ready to discover something new?




Hello Nils, many thanks for spending your time for our interview. My name is Heiko, I’m biologist and I’m head of the JBL research expeditions. We have some questions on JBL PlanktonPur:

  • Heiko Leader JBL Research Expeditions
  • Nils Marine biologist and expert on planktonic food

Please introduce yourself.

Nils: Hello Heiko. My name is Nils, and the manager of a Norwegian company. I have background from research at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway, where I did my doctoral degree in marine biology and later as a scientist. My field of expertise is marine planktonic food webs.

What is your position within the JBL PlanktonPur project?

Nils: I have been co-operating with the research and development team at JBL to develop a best possible quality zooplankton feed for ornamental species in user-friendly packages for aquarium owners. It has taken a long time to develop the optimal formula and type of packing to maintain the nutritional quality of zooplankton.

Why is this new food something so very special?

Nils: It is well known that marine zooplankton, and especially copepods, contains a nutritional profile which fulfills the nutritional requirements of aquatic organisms in general. Zooplankton from high latitudes has significant amounts of essential fatty acids bound in phospholipids, which is beneficial for most aquatic organisms. We hold methods for processing the raw material of zooplankton in a way that the nutritional composition and also the lipid profile are kept intact, and deviates negligible from fresh zooplankton taken directly from the sea.

What’s the idea to use this plankton diet for ornamental fish care?

Nils: Our main idea is to use the plankton diet for juvenile stages of marine fish in aquaculture. We have seen that no other feed has similar outstanding nutritional quality as ours, which is reflected in the performances of the fish larvae in terms of development, survival and general health. During the last years, aquarium owners have tried our JBL PlanktonPur diet on a variety of ornamental species, both freshwater and marine species with success. Aquarium owners have reported about ornamentals with better welfare and better pigmentation. Additionally, this is a sterile and cleaner type of feed compared to e.g. different types of frozen feed offered at aquarium shops, and has no undesirable elements as dissolved nutrients (no or negligible phosphates or nitrates) or pathogenic micro-organisms which potentially makes negative influence on the water quality in the aquarium tank.

Is it possible to harvest the zooplankton over the year or is it a seasonal product?

Nils: The zooplankton is caught in different seasons over the year. Large sized copepods are typically harvested in spring and autumn, whereas small sized zooplankton are harvested from June till October. During the winter months, the primary production in the sea is at its lowest, and also the occurence of zooplankton. Thus, we are harvesting zooplankton during the period April till October, and not during winter.

Should we be afraid, that there is a overfishing of the sea?

Nils: I did my PhD degree on this topic, and I am confident that our fishing quota has no effect on the sustainability of zooplankton. Zooplankton, and especially marine copepods, is thought to be the world’s largest bio-resource of multicellular animals. Globally, the copepods even outnumbers the insects. The Institute of Marine Research in Norway has estimated the production of zooplankton in Norwegian waters to range from 500 to 1000 million tons per year. Considered that landings of the world’s fisheries including aquaculture are 140 million tons per year, it is easy to understand that the zooplankton stock constitute a vast bio-resource. Zooplankton as copepods has typically generation times of more or less than one month in cold water areas, and the stock will easily restore after heavy predation (or harvesting). Zooplankton can potentially solve the demand for protein and fat for the worlds growing population which is projected to increase from 7 to 9 billion people the next 20-30 years. We should, however, perform a precautionary approach for the management of the zooplankton stock, and do research based management for obtaining a healthy ecosystem.

Can you describe the main steps of harvesting the zooplankton. Do you use special gear?

Nils: We are using several types of catching techniques, but our main innovation is the use of passive plankton traps. This is a very environmentally friendly method for catching the plankton, and involves minor use of fossil fuel and the emission of CO2 is negligible.

How is it possible to make the plankton storable without the use of preserving agents?

Nils: When we process the plankton, the last step is flash sterilizing at very high temperature, which kills all bacterial spores. As the plankton is packed in laminated aluminium foil with a barrier for both micro-organisms and oxygen, there is no need to use preserving agents.