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FAQs about Acroporid Coral Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related Articles: Acroporids, SPS Corals

Related FAQs: Acroporids 1, Acroporids 2, Acroporid Identification, Acroporid Behavior, Acroporid Selection, Acroporid Compatibility, Acroporid Disease, Acroporid Systems, Acroporid Reproduction, Stony/True Coral, Coral System Set-Up, Coral System Lighting, Stony Coral Identification, Stony Coral Selection, Coral PlacementFoods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, Propagation, Growing Reef CoralsStony Coral Behavior,

Some from photosynthesis, some nutrition from feeding/s... and changeable.

Acropora Article Question; fdg.        6/11/17
<Hello Callan>
I was reading the "Quintessential Small Polyped Stony Corals, the Staghorns, Family Acroporidae, pt. 3" article which was published by Bob Fenner.
In that article, it was mentioned that you feed your Acroporid corals a mix of unicellular algae, plankton, etc.
I was wondering what time of day you feed the corals? e.g.: when lights are off, first thing when lights turn on, etc.
<Mmm; depends on the coral species involved and how you've trained them mostly. The vast majority of stony corals (in nature) feed at night...
Think about this; it's when there's the higher concentration of food organisms about, and less polyp-picking predators. Especially ahermatypic, non-photosynthetic species like Tubastreas... However, all can be conditioned to open and feed during "light periods" through practice...
Perhaps turning off filtering pumps temporarily (leaving circulation ones on) and delivering (via pipette, baster...) a little bit of a mash/mix of food against the colonies... Waiting a few minutes for a feeding response, and then again bathing them in food>
It would be great to hear back from you!
Kind regards,
Callan Gregg
<I would urge you to peruse WetWebMedia.org for the FAQs files on groups of "corals" you're interested in, the FAQs on Foods (Feeding/Nutrition) for what you hope to keep specifically and generally. Bob Fenner>

Re: Acropora tricolor, fdg., and Zanclus fdg.      6/2/14
Hello Mr. F.
I just wanted to let you know, regarding that Acropora Tricolor that since
our last conversation I started feeding my corals with food specifically developed for SPS (dry zooplankton from an Italian company named Elos ) and the coral completely recovered. All the other SPS are looking much better and the polyp extension is greater than ever.
<Ah good>
So, I just wanted to point out what I have found out by myself: these
animals need to be fed in order to thrive,
<Oh yes; gone over and over on WWM>

maybe the statement that they
need only light in our tanks was true some time ago when the filtration
mechanisms were not so aggressive (the skimmer for example ), but now I
wouldn`t even think to keep corals without feeding them. The same goes for the fish: I have a Zanclus Cornutus for well over 1.5 years now and is doing great and not touching the corals, as well as my P. Imperator but I feed 4-5 times / day with different kind of foods.
Thank you again for pointing me at the right direction.
Andrei from Romania
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Green Montiporas capricornis turning cream colored   1/18/10
Hi, ever since I started in this hobby I've had the same problem without known explanation: All my green Monti caps turn cream colored!.
Before I had a T5 system, and green Monti caps that were military green in the beginning, became creamy in a couple of months.
<Some aspect of water chemistry likely...>
Then I changed to HQIs and the same, I thought they were getting bleached but considering that it also happened with T5s in mid of the tank then I'm not sure its the light.
<Mmmm, may be... where are you locating these? Do you have (access to) a PAR meter?>
I acquired one of those new Tyree blue polyp Monti caps. And it also turned creamy colored but the blue polyps remain unaffected!.
I also have all kinds of encrusting Montis and they are unaffected, I also have an orange Monti cap and it remains unaffected as well, I have green and yellow Acros and they keep their colors, green Monti caps are the only ones that turn cream colored, I don't know why.
All my parameters are right and people have told me that its caused by having very little nutrients in my tank.
<They do need some phosphate, nitrate, other macro and micro-nutrients. In other words, there is a possibility of nutrient deprivation>
I do water changes every 1.5 months and change only 15% of the water and nitrates never get higher than .5ppm.
I've been adding phytoplankton at night, and no difference. Its just weird...
<... stony corals don't eat Phytoplankton. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/CnidIndex2.htm
toward the bottom of the page... the sections on Acroporids, SPS... Bob Fenner>
re: green Montiporas capricornis turning cream colored
Thanks for the info. I've always have a low bioload, but I'm starting to buy more fish though I don't know if that will help.
<May well do so>
As I told you phosphates are 0
<... Have you read on WWM re... HPO4? Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/phosphatemar.htm
and the linked files above>
and nitrates to <too> low, I also have a fuge with Chaeto, but there's hair algae growing on the glass, I leave the one that grows on the back so my tangs can feed on it.
Is my tank really nutrient deprived consider that hair algae grows on the glass?.
I read the link you sent me, and I think I will start supplementing a mixture of oyster, squid, shrimp, etc. Corals feed on that right?.
<Some aspects, some species>
Hopefully my green Monti caps will colour up.
<I'd be reading re chemical food ... Vitamins, HUFA supplements...>
You know, I've seen coral only tanks and I wonder how they keep them so colorful without fish, but I guess they feed something to the corals.
Since I don't see any other cause, then I can say that I've taken so much care of water quality my whole life, that perhaps my reef is a bit lacking nutrients. Like I said, Monti caps are slow growers in my tank,
<And wild>
maybe that's a sign of slow nutrients. And the other corals in my tank don't really grow fast, they grow a bit then stop for a while.
<Keep reading. B>

Re: green Montiporas capricornis turning cream colored   1/21/10
I just want to inform you of a very noticeable change. Two nights ago I fed the tank 1 vial of Prodibio reef booster. Turned the skimmer off. The next day I observed the green Montis that are now cream Montis to be sort of "tanned" as if they got a bit of colour from last night's feeding.
This has led me to create my own coral food, how many times a week should I feed?
<Two, three>
, my recipe:
1 half octopus
10 mussels
2 raw shrimp
bottle of Scott's emulsion original
1 spoon of crab eggs
half little of water
blend it all.
Feeding 1 spoon per night, How many nights a week?
<We'll see. BobF>

Acropora Care/Feeding -- 04/23/08 Hello again Crew, <<Greetings>> Well, I've decided to not go with the clownfish-anemone-tank plan and rather create a peaceful community of Gobiodon citrinus with a pair of Stonogobiops nematodes <<Both neat little fishes>> and maybe another peaceful fish. Anyways, I have a few questions. 1. As you might know, I've been planning on culturing phytoplankton and copepods. My tank is 86g with a 35g sump. Starting out with, say, a 4" Acropora frag, how would I feed it phyto? Target feed? Dumping bottle of phyto into the tank? <<Phytoplankton is of no direct benefit to the Acropora as they are decidedly carnivorous 'though it can be beneficial in small doses to feed those organisms upon which the Acropora will feed. Better to feed the Acropora foods like Rotifers and Cyclops-Eeze (can simply be the 'leftovers' from feeding the fishes), and install an inline plankton-generating refugium>> 2. How would I feed copepods to the prawn gobies? Target feed? Dump them in tank? <<These can be simply 'dumped in the tank' as you state>> 3. Would I ever have to feed the clown gobies? <<Yes>> 4. Approximately how many coral heads should I have per goby? I'm thinking about having four pairs of gobies in my tank. I have around 125lbs of LR. <<Mmm'¦will take several LARGE colonies. My experience with these fish and Acropora is not a good one. While these fish are found in association with Acros in the wild, the confines/limitations of captive systems do pose problems re. Maybe yours will be different, but in my experience these fish tend to nip and irritate the Acropora to the point they will not extend polyps and slowly decline in color/apparent health>> Well, that's it for now. I sent an email titled "copepod culture" to you on Thursday and have yet to get a response. Just a reminder. <<Hmm, this should have been returned by now 'you may want to resend>> Anyways, once again, I love your site. It's simply awesome. <<Thank you 'a collective effort>> Thanks in Advance, Random Aquarist <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Monti Cap Question... gen...  - 2-13-08 Hey there guys. I am back! I recently bought a Montipora capricornis at the LFS for a good deal. I was wondering what kind of special stuff it would need. <Proper water flow, water conditions, lighting> I know the lighting is not a problem. I feed DT phyto plankton and Cyclop-eeze. <Neither of which an 'SPS' coral such as this will eat, at least not directly/for the most part> Anything else in particular that this coral will need? it is my first SPS, so I am trying to start off right! <This is a very basic question that can be answered by a perusal of WWM's respective archives. Also, please use proper spelling/capitalization in the future! Start here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm in your quest for 'SPS' related knowledge!> Thanks guys, Jake <Anytime - M. Maddox>

SPS feeding   7/12/07 Hello again Crew So I was at a friends house over the weekend, and he kindly gave me several frags, as well as a dinner plate size Montipora Capricornis. <How do you know it's Montipora capricornis? Not that it matters much, but how do you know it's not Montipora aequituberculata or Montipora foliosa? Granted, chance is in your favor and it is likely to be Montipora capricornis. But please be cautious of assuming you know the specific species of any given coral. Identification down to species is quite difficult and requires close examination of the exposed skeleton.> All in all he gave me 5 corals. They are Montipora Capricornis, Montipora Digitata, Echinophyllia, a green starburst colony, and a type of Sinularia. I normally do my research before introducing new livestock into my tank, but not this time. May because they were free? <Bad excuse, but I'll forgive you.> My tank is a 210 gal, 55 gal Sump/Ref with Chaeto (not growing for some reason), 200# LR, AquaC EV240, AquaMedic 4x39 watt T5, 3x250 watt MH. In addition to the above, Livestock consists of 9" Volitans Lion 1" Yellowtail Damsel 5" Harlequin Tusk 4" Emperor Angel 4" Sohal Tang <The emperor angel might nip at some of your corals once it's an adult.> 1 very large Devils Hand Leather (I think) 3 smaller colt corals 1 large Zoanthid colony 1 small open brain I want to add 2 more corals to finish off my tank. Hopefully an Acropora of some kind, and a frogspawn. The tank is 6 months old, and has been doing great! <That's good, but Acropora shouldn't not be added to tanks less than a year old.> I do weekly water changes of 40gal with RODI water. Nitrates are around 2-5ppm, Nitrites/Ammonia are 0, PH is 8.3, Alk is 4.5 (This is a tad high), <Assuming units in meq/L, that Alk is fine.> and Cal is 340 (a bit low). The high Alk seems to be the result of Kalk dosing which I just started 2 weeks ago. My Alk has risen (used to be 3), PH has risen 0.1, but Cal has remained unchanged. I'll be adding Reef Calcium from Seachem to bring the Cal number up. Hopefully this will balance the alk/cal figures a bit. <Generally I'm a fan of SeaChem, but I don't know about their "Reef Calcium." It says it's "bioavailable polygluconate complexed calcium." Which to me means that it's some kind of organic calcium. You want inorganic calcium. So please find some calcium chloride. This should lower your alk and raise your Ca levels. But add this carefully. You don't want your alk to plummet either. ;) > I also just started dosing Magnesium about 1 week ago. Readings were at 900 before, now at 1125. I've just bought some Selcon to replace my Kent Zoe as a food additive. My question is regarding the feeding of the SPS corals. If I am able to complete my setup, this would consist of 3 SPS corals. M. Capricornis, M. Digitata and the Acropora ( I don't think the Echinophyllia is an SPS). <The term "sps" is probably meaningless anyway.> I understand that these SPS corals will consume zooplankton as supplemental feeding. I have no room for a gravity fed refugium, and fear that feeding the Eric Borneman recipe may pollute my tank over time. <Why? I'd stick with this recipe. It's a good one. Just take care in its preparation. Soak what he says to soak and make sure you chop, mince and blend well. You can pollute your tank with too much of any kind of food. Oyster eggs are also great for "sps" corals.> I've had nuisance algae issues before that I'd want to avoid like the plague. Even if it didn't pollute my tank, aren't the particle sizes much too large for SPS corals? <Not if you add oyster eggs and blend well. Yes, you'll have some chunks that are way too big for sps. But you'll also get a lot of very fine food particles too.> I've read on your site that feeding bottled zooplankton like Sweetwater, or Liquid Life Marine/Bio Plankton is not enough, and that Cyclopez (sp?) is too large. <Cyclop-Eeze is great and I recommend using it for your other corals and your fish. But it will likely be too big for your sps corals.> Is it worth using my pump driven refugium to try growing zooplankton? Or will the pump just demolish everything? <This is probably more a matter of opinion. I think a pump driven refugium is an excellent thing to have, but it's not necessary for the most common types of sps sold for aquariums.> Will a combination of Selcon, Sweetwater Zooplankton and Liquid Life do the trick? <Hmm... I'd stick with the Selcon. Liquid life BioPlankton is pretty useless for feeding corals. Sps corals don't eat algae. Liquid life coral plankton has rotifers and algae. Corals do eat rotifers. I'm not sure if they eat dead rotifers as much as live rotifers, but it probably wouldn't hurt to add them to the mix. The same goes for Sweetwater Zooplankton. The listed ingredients look like things that corals would certainly eat if they were alive. How much corals will feed on these things after they've been collected and packaged, I'm not sure anyone knows for certain. Lee Goldman recently conducted a study that supports the notion that at least some corals have a strong preference for live food. If you really want to do right by your corals, culture Artemia nauplii and feed them live to your tank. I'm a huge fan of the hatching disk sold by Brine Shrimp Direct. It just makes it so easy.> What are the chances that my tank has enough "stuff" in it to self support the food needs of these SPS? <Hard to say. But even if they could get enough to just survive, they'd probably do better if you fed them.> If there is a chance, do I wait until the corals to display unhealthy symptoms as a sign to start supplemental feeding? <Look, you don't need to specifically feed them a separate set of foods. Just keep them in mind when you mix up the food you make for the whole tank. Add some oyster eggs and blend the food well.> If I need to feed, what should I feed these 3 corals? and how often? I've read your site extensively on this topic, and have not come up with a clear answer to this question. <This is a hotly debated topic in our hobby and everyone will likely give you a different answer. However, given what's known about how much food is available to corals in the wild, I can't imagine that they don't need to be fed in our tanks. My suggestion to you is to use Borneman's recipe (with the oyster eggs he also suggests). All this should feed your fish and everything else too. And if you can, culture some Artemia nauplii too.> Thanks a ton! My tank is so satisfying to my family and friends. I owe many thanks to the great service you provide. <De nada. Thanks for writing. Best, Sara M.> Wayne

Monti Feeding Hello Bob and Crew: I was looking for your advice for target feeding my only SPS a Montipora capricornis (my favorite).  I lost a Hydnophora.  I do not want to get into a refugium so I have been direct feeding ESV's Phytoplankton and Daphnia.  I have been considering Cyclop-eeze, is that too big?  I tried to find liquid life's Coral Plankton but it's not anywhere (LFS) and I do not want to pay $25. for overnight shipping.  I would appreciate any suggestions, I love this coral and want to do all I can (besides refugium).<Rich, I've heard a lot of good things about Cyclop-eeze.  I am using it at the present time, mainly for my Percs, but my soft coral sure seems to be looking better since I've been using this.  Other product that is good for this is DT's Phytoplankton.  You might call around in your area for this, otherwise you will have to order direct from DT.  They tell me if you keep it refrigerated it has a shelf life close to six months.  Keep in mind this is live phytoplankton.  I don't think DT would charge you 25 bucks to send it to you, just normal UPS charges unless you want it overnight.  I wouldn't worry about the Monti while waiting since corals do produce most of their own food. James (Salty Dog> Thanks for the help! Rich

Feeding and nutrients for across Great site! Thanks for all the help. My questions are as follows: what nutrients, other than calcium and bicarbonate, would you recommend for the healthy growth of across? Secondly, what food would you feed your across and at what amount and time? Thirdly, is feeding essential? Again thanks for the great info.                                                         Joey <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlfdgfaqs.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acropt3.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>

Coral feeding I was reading through the site today and discovered the section on feeding corals. I looked on with stupidity because my LFS has always told me that they get everything they need from light. <It was probably a mistake and it happens.>  I have to admit I am still not sure how to feed my corals. I bought some frozen Mysis shrimp, but now what? I have never even seen sweeper tentacles. I have a frogspawn a torch, and a xenia, any suggestions as to how I should feed them (turkey baster method, etc.) or what to feed them (zoo/phytoplankton) is greatly appreciated.  EY <Hello, well you are on the right track from what I see. Knowledge is power. You should feed based on the needs of your corals. The frogspawn, and torch will probably take the Mysis depending on size. The best time to feed them is at night using the baster method. The xenia will take the phytoplankton. I want you to remember this. Although you should be feeding your corals, a big beginner mistake is to over feed them when they first start. Start feeding little amounts and work your way from there. Good Luck. MikeB.> 

Monti Feeding II Hello Crew,<Hey,> On the following response to a question that I asked I am a little confused. I have read on your site that Phytoplankton is not very useful with SPS corals. <There are pro's and con's to using this product. Basically, there could be better food sources out there, such as refugiums. But, in a bind DT's can get the job done if used correctly. Let me stress the word CORRECTLY.>  So I question the recommendation of DT's Phytoplankton. I have found BioLife's Coral Plankton and the SPS's seems to eat it (Polyps Expand), I am not sure about the particle size of Cyclop-eeze and will also add the DT's if it is eaten. Otherwise, I look at it as algae food. I do like to feed as much of a variety as possible since I do not want to get into a refugium. Also this is becoming a SPS tank eventually (my favorite) however I do have BTA's with very happy Clowns and one Galaxea, is this a problem? Thank you for all the help!  Rich <Rich, the BTA will be a problem eventually and so will the Galaxy coral. They will sting and bother the SPS corals. The problem with feeding food for the SPS corals is that people generally feed too much to the tank. This then causes a spike in water quality and degradation of the corals. I would remove the BTA and the Galaxy coral to another tank if you want to keep the SPS corals long term. Also, use what ever phytoplankton you decide that works best in moderation. Good Luck. MikeB.>

Monti Feeding III Hello Mike, Thanks for the reply. The way that I have been feeding my SPS's is to stop all pumps for an hour or so and target feed just enough food to cloud the general area around the coral. I do this twice a week. I think that this is minimal pollution and hopefully (?) enough nutrition for the coral. How does that sound to you? Thanks again for the advice! Rich <Rich, your method sounds fine. I wouldn't consider the food as pollution though. It will provide the sustenance your corals and microfauna will need. Keep it up!!! MikeB.>

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