New Life Spectrum & Preservatives

A new controversy over ethoxyquin preservative in tropical fish food has been brought to our attention, and we’ve been asked about where New Life Spectrum stands in the matter — both our perspective on the subject and in regards to our product. We thought it would be a good time to let everyone in on some things we’re working on behind the scenes:

This fall, we’re launching our next generation of the Spectrum Nutrition Formula. Our distributors have already been informed and are readying their shelves for September! Along with improvements, including using high-protein squid and ginger to boost resistance to parasites, the new formula will use only Naturox-preserved ingredients. We’ve been working on this with suppliers behind closed doors for a while — and all the needed ingredients are finally available using this natural, alternative antioxidant.

Occasionally, New Life Spectrum® is asked to provide statements stating we’re “ethoxyquin-free”. We never have. We refused to provide a marketing-convenient answer that didn’t match reality. While we don’t add ethoxyquin to our formula, available ingredients have used this common, FDA allowed antioxidant. In the upcoming formula, for clarity and to address any concerns, we will indicate Naturox along with the ingredients.

In this online uproar, we noticed certain revelations have ignited speculation that most tropical fish diets may contain far beyond 150ppm (or even 300ppm) of the controversial preservative. In the interest of transparency, we’ve sent samples of our current formula to accredited labs and will be posting the original reports on our site. We don’t now claim to be “ethoxyquin-free,” but we’re confident the results will be well under these figures. Once our new Naturox preserved New Life Spectrum formulas are released, we will test and release ethoxyquin level reports online for those as well.

With all that said: despite discontinuing ethoxyquin in favor of Naturox, it’s still our position that Ethoxyquin, used in FDA approved amounts of 150ppm (or better yet under 100ppm), has never been shown to cause health problems in pet fish. The fact is, there are no documented cases where ethoxyquin at these levels has been found to cause any long term negative health problems in fish (or even dogs and cats). This concern was sparked by a 1987 study that suggested a carcinogenic potential in rats dosed with 5,000 ppm of ethoxyquin. The FDA has ruled that the additive “may be safely used in animal feeds.” In consideration of lactating dogs who may nurse, dog food companies do voluntarily limit ethoxyquin concentrations to 75ppm.

Our move toward Naturox is based on a desire to respond to the concerns of hobbyists, allowing people to feed highly nutritious New Life Spectrum without worry. Yet we won’t market Spectrum as “ethoxyquin free” despite this. Ingredients we will source are preserved with Naturox, but realistically they’re stored and produced by suppliers that do provide the more standard ethoxyquin-preserved ingredients. Thus, our goal is for the preservative to be zero, but if present to only be in trace amounts of about 5ppm or less. New Life Spectrum® is committed that the promises we make are conservative — and when bold, as with our Spectrum Guarantee (, 100% supportable. Therefore, we will only claim that we are sourcing ingredients certified as having no ethoxyquin by suppliers we trust. We will also test our raw ingredients when received to ensure our suppliers are meeting this standard.


Ian Tepoot, President
New Life International, Inc.