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FAQs on Foods/Feeding/Nutrition, Frequency

Related Articles: Foods/Feeding/Nutrition By Bob Fenner & Marine Nutrition, Probably the most overlooked component of proper fish keeping By Aaron Loboda, Feeding a Reef Tank: A Progressive Recipe by Adam Blundell, Making Vegetarian Gel Food for Fish: Five Minutes, Five Easy Steps by Nicole Putnam, Culturing Food Organisms

Related FAQs: Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 1, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 2, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 3Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 4, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 5, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 6, & FAQs on Foods/Feeding/Nutrition: Kinds, Amounts, Feeding Methods/Techniques/Tools, Automated Feeding, Holiday/Vacation Feeding, Medicated/Augmented Foods/Feeding, Feeding/Food Problems, Products by Brand Names/Manufacturers... & Brine ShrimpAlgae as Food, VitaminsNutritional DiseaseFrozen Foods, Coral Feeding, Anemone Feeding, Growing Reef CoralsCulturing Food OrganismsButterflyfish Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Species, system, even individual specific... Depends on activity level, ambient temperature... even your desires... for more/less activity, color, health... reproduction.

Best to be regular... re times, places, types of foods offered.

Infrequent Feeding for Fish (and mar. stkg. Earl's go?)       11/24/15
<Hi Edwin>
I have a predatory setup of Morays, Lionfish, Groupers and Scorpionfish.
My question is what other fish can go with a feeding once a week?
<Predatory nature is not the issue so much as metabolism. A moray can and will naturally go awhile without feeding, a lionfish or similar ambush predator will catch, say, one damsel-sized fish every few days. To a certain point, it's far better for these types of slow, languid fish with slow (but large!) metabolic processes to eat too little than too much.
Lionfish often eat themselves to death. I also have to ask what your setup is like. That combination of fishes seems ok assuming low/short period lighting, a lot of overhangs and cover, and extremely aggressive skimming.
But see below: >
Cowfish / Hawkfish / Squirrelfish / Cardinals ? seeing that they are semi-predatory.
<Squirrels/Bigeyes/Cardinals are also big eaters but more active perhaps and would like a little more food. Cowfish (I am assuming here that you are speaking of the hobby-standard boxfish type) not in the same kind of category...they are regular eaters that are constantly on the hunt for morsels and would suffer for being fed one large, infrequent meal. This goes toward one of my favorite maxims about animals...that you can tell what it does based on what kind of mouth it has. Obviously a sharp-toothed fish has those teeth to catch hold of fast or slippery prey (other fish, squid etc.) and a fish with blunt teeth is a crusher (snowflake eels cracking open molluscs). A cowfish has a small "beaky" mouth and is not going to survive well without small, regular food. If you watch one, they are always moving, prowling, nibbling. Once a week won't cut it. They are also likely to be outcompeted by faster more agile fish. Hawkfish would be a better match depending on size and species (bear in mind fish such as groupers can and will try to consume fish 1/3 their own size when making these choices hehe). If you are looking for more color, variety, denizens generally for that tank but not necessarily predators as such, you could look into "mean" assertive fish that can take care of themselves to some degree and subsist largely on grazing such as the meaner tangs...but limiting your feeding to once a week really does kill your options.
Frogfish maybe? The real question I'd ask is why the limit on feeding to begin with? Hope this helps!>
Re: Infrequent Feeding for Fish; and large SW stkg. Bob's evidently follow-up try        11/24/15

<Hello Edwin>
I have a 180 Gallon (i think it could be more) with heaps of overhang, cover, strong nitrate reactor, huge sump (1/3 of main tank) and an oversized skimmer.
Bob Fenner (are you bob?)
<I am>
and myself had a discussion on how my combination is not feasible but I have always prided myself on achieving hard-to-establish tanks.
For example I had a 5x2x2 feet tank previously with almost 10 bichirs, an Arowana, a green terror, FW stingray, tiger fish etc. On paper it sounds like overcrowding but frequent water changes and quality oversized equipment compensated, the tank lasted for more than 2 years till I made a mistake.
But I digress - current tank has :
6 morays - Blue Ribbon, White Margined (commonly labeled white ribbon), zebra, snowflake, estuarine (g.tile) and labyrinth (not sure if Marco identified correctly).
<Mmm; at least the Rhinomuraena will prove difficult to keep with these others; hard to feed, compete w/ other Muraenids>
All are juveniles and except for the white margined are on frozen food right now.
2 Lions - 1 fuzzy and 1 dwarf zebra
1 Scorpionfish - a yellow leaf scorpion
<And these above; will "accidentally" sting the Morays in time; not compatible>
2 x groupers - so proud of this - i separated a Variola Louti and a Polleni for weeks, they got so used to staring at each other they are now buddies ! (I have pics)
I have been running the above supposedly impossible setup for 3 months and showing no problems at all.
<Good thus far>
As for the infrequent feeding - long office hours plus heavy traveling means I only get to enjoy feeding them on weekends.
<Ah, good>
Hence the once a week - and being a predatory fish keeper I enjoy feeding live - gut fed FW ghost shrimp and green Chromis (cheap in Singapore).
The polleni and Variola grouper add a fair amount of color so was just wondering if any other fish would fit.
A bit too late to add a Comet Grouper so the last fish will be a radiata lion (those things just like starving to death).
<I'd go w/ the Comet over another Scorpaenid>
Hawkfish .. hmm .. I was thinking of a large flame hawk.
<Could fit; until the basses get large enough to swallow it>
What about puffers ? Don’t think they make a good addition - a bad tempered one will really wreck the eels.
I am worried about Frogfish as from experience they will attack massively oversized fish (had a painted choke on a zebra lion) and don’t want them injuring my eels - thoughts?
<A Frogfish would present feeding problems now; but it appears you have good "hand" feeding technique/s here... As you state; if/when it gets bigger, esp. a large species, the Frog might try to consume a smaller fish (Lion)...>
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Hi Bob, 

I've got a question on feeding. Is it best to go with guidelines offered in books and on the web on how much/how often to feed my fish, or is it better to use my own judgment? Whenever I feed my fish they are voracious, but part of me thinks that even if I fed them 20 times a day they would still behave the same. Is there a way to tell if a fish is sated? In fact, so long as I pay attention to my water quality, does it matter how much they eat



You've posited one of the 'great questions of all time' Martin'¦ It is my opinion that you, all should 'do a combination' here, of blending knowledge regarding the types of foods, frequency, mode of offering'¦ to all their aquatic charges, COUPLED with keen observation. It turns out that some fishes and invertebrates can, will, do overeat if and when food/s are plentiful. This gluttony should be guarded against; not only for the sake of the livestock itself, but for obvious system maintenance considerations.

          The very best assay, observation for satiation, health through feeding, or better put, nitrification, is the 'index of fitness' of your fishes'¦ Their 'fullness', and actually a fisheries biology measure'¦ a ratio of the length and circumference. Your fishes should be 'rounded', convex in profile, rather than concave, or 'sunken in' in the sides. In particular, the area above and behind the head should not be thin.

            Overfeeding livestock has more to do w/ keeping an eye on water quality. It turns out, akin to studies on laboratory mice and other species, keeping all a bit hungry, eager for food extends life times and improves apparent health. Better to feed most all small amounts at whatever interval (straight carnivores maybe once every few days, herbivores a few times a day, mixotrophic species in-between'¦) and have your entire system more active and interesting.

Reef Tank Feeding and Maintenance Schedule 1/9/10
Hi crew!
<Hello there Jonathan>
I've been playing around with creating a feeding and maintenance schedule for my reef tank, mainly for when I am out of town and someone else is taking care of the tank, but also to just make sure I don't overfeed or underfeed the tank, or let regular maintenance go by the wayside.
<Good ideas>
I hope you can read Excel 2007 format, as the file is attached (it is very wide, so scrolling to the right is necessary).
<Have looked over>
Also, I'm trying to determine a proper feeding schedule for the fish (11 of them: Foxface Rabbitfish at 6", flame angel at 3", pacific blue tang at 5", Tomini tang at 4", 3 blue-green Chromis at 1.5", gold head goby at 3", tiny little yellow/purple thing (diadem maybe) I can't remember the name of at 1.5"
<Perhaps a Dottyback, Pseudochromid>
, 2 osc. clown at 1.5" and 2". Also, for the various coral (mainly SPS) and coral-like inhabitants (Montipora, Acropora, Zoanthids, green star polyps).
<Easy enough to do. Please "look up" each species on WWM, their "Foods/Feeding/Nutrition" FAQs files, and compile the information presented>
In the spreadsheet, anything with an "x" means I plan to do that thing on that day. I've just started using it, so if you see anything out of whack, I'd appreciate your thoughts on it.
<Am querulous re the daily 3 gallon water (changes)... I'd make these larger percentage, weekly tasks>
I'm considering turning this into a web based application that would let users enter in details of their tank, and auto-generate a PDF for them over a certain date range. Think there's any interest in that sort of thing?
<Oh yes. Many folks benefit from such>
Jon Hoover
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Feeding amount... SW     07/20/09
What is the proper amount of shrimp/clam/squid...etc to feed a 7-8" Spanish hogfish and 6-7" dogface puffer? My nitrates seem to be climbing and i think I'm overfeeding my fish.
<Better to feed a staple like Spectrum pelleted food daily and supplement such fatty foods on an every other or occasional basis... but the "amounts" of both are best arrived at by the apparent "fullness" of the fish
themselves... and best, better by far, to keep all a bit hungry. Bob Fenner>

Feeding schedule  12/14/05 Hi to our kind and knowledgeable aquarist! <Hiya Joel! You got crewmember Lorenzo today.> Once again, I want to express how grateful I am for the fountain of information on the WWM site. <We do our best. Thanks for the kudos.> I directly attribute much of my success with my reef tank to the wealth of articles and FAQs on WWM.  My question is about feeding.  Other than WWM, all my sources for info about fish food are trying to sell me more food. So, I would love for you to evaluate my feeding plan.  I have a 55 gallon corner tank (about 7 months old) with a 4" -5" DSB with sugar-fine aragonite and 75 lbs of LR.  I use SeaChem Reef Complete and Reef Plus twice a week and 5 gallon water changes every two weeks.  My stock is as follows: 3" Diamond goby 1" yellow clown goby 3 turbo snails 4 Nassarius snails emerald crab 3" crocea clam pink and green cucumber brittle star 4 stalks pulsing xenia blue mushrooms yellow and brown polyps 2 big feather dusters pink coco worm green/ purple Fungia plate coral Galaxea coral (about 2 1/2") 2 branching hammer coral heads (frags, about 1 1/2" to 2") I feed the tank every other day (during which I shut off the sump w/ filter sock and skimmer for one hour).  I feed one cube of Ocean nutrition frozen food <Wow! A whole cube, for two little fish and a handful of inverts? That's quit a bit of food...> (alternating each feeding between Formula One, Brine Shrimp Plus, and Prime Reef) <Good idea, variety is important.> along with 1/2 ounce of DT phytoplankton and 1/5 teaspoon DT oyster eggs.  I use a turkey baster to make sure the mix of foods gets spread throughout the tank. I just don't know whether the Ocean Nutrition is good stuff <It certainly is.> and if the variety is beneficial or not. <Definitely.> Is it ok to only feed every other day? <Sure.> I know less is more when it comes to feeding <To a certain degree...>, but I wonder if I should feed every day <Probably.>, and just do phyto and frozen one day and oyster eggs the next. <Alternation is good, but the fish will appreciate being fed every day.> The skimmer works fine, and the only nuisance algae I have is some hair algae on some of the LR. <Less food, but more frequently, might help keep this under control.> I'd like a  refugium, but my sump is just an open aquarium with no dividers, so I am hesitant to grow algae down there. <Not too hard to rig up a fenced-off area by putting a smaller container into the sump. You just want to make sure the algae can't clog the return pump.>  Except for one xenia stalk (I think he was to close to a hammer coral and got zapped) <Could be.>, everything seems fine.  Overall coral color has slightly improved with introduction of the oyster eggs. <Glad to hear it!> I am going to add two pajama cardinals from my quarantine tank <Good on you for performing quarantine!> in two weeks, and I would love an informed analysis of my techniques beforehand. <These guys would definitely like to eat every day. No need to set the tank awash in food though!> Thanks so much, <Any time. Cheers, Zo.> Joel Schwartz Feeding In General...Mixed Bag  - 06/07/06 I have a 225 gallon tank with (in tank ruler order) 1) 7" Male Naso Tang 2) 4" Blue Dot Grouper 3) 5" Purple Tang 4) 5" Desjardini Tang I have the following questions. 1) How often should they be fed, and how much food? Meaning specifically, how many sheets of seaweed selects (I feed them the brown, red and green normally in combination) should I feed daily and at what intervals? <Fish should be fed slowly until not interested, and twice a day would be fine.  No set amount on number of sheets to feed.> 2) How do you soak the algae, as I heard that you should always soak it in garlic, Selcon and vita chem (to prevent illness), but do you wring it out before placing it in the tank? Wont the tank just wash the vitamins and garlic and Selcon out of the algae within a minute or two of being on the clip in the tank? <Not necessary to use more than one vitamin supplement.  Selcon would be my choice, and I'd use the garlic twice a week.  The fibers in the food will retain some of the vitamin supplement.  No need to wring it out.> 3) How many of New Life Spectrum's Thera +A for large fish pellets should I feed them and how often? <As above.> Should I soak these also as they don't break down to easy in water? <You can.  What do the container instructions indicate?> 5) Is brine shrimp not worth feeding the fish? I heard that they are like potato chips for fish, and therefore not nutritious at all? Should I switch them to mysis shrimp that is soaked in the Selcon, VitaChem and garlic? If brine shrimp are ok to feed them, should I soak them as well? <Very little nutritional value in brine shrimp.  Mysis is fine and you can soak in a vitamin complex.> 4) Is it possible to have too much current in a tank? I have an Iwaki 100mdrlt pump for the return at 10' of head, hooked to a wavy sea plus wavemaker (which I love). I also have a Rio 2100+ powerhead in the tank pushing 692 gph. Is this too much current? <In your tank I would want a total water movement of at least 2,300gph.  Yes, you can have too much current.  Total water flow exceeding 15X the tank volume isn't necessary.> 5) I have a sump full of red Gracilaria and Chaetomorpha, should I feed them this as well? I have tried the red Gracilaria (via hooking to a clip) but they don't like it? What advise do you have in terms of how much to feed, and how to feed? Should it be soaked in Selcon, vita chem, and garlic? <Probably won't like the Chaeto either.  You need to stop repeating yourself..."how to feed, how much to feed". 6) My 7" male Naso has a bloated belly always, I don't know if it is because I refill his clip 3 times a day with about 8 sheets of seaweed selects each day? <Wowsie, way too much food.  Tangs should look slightly round looking at them head-on, not like a turkey.> Is he over-eating? <No, you are overfeeding.> If it is not, could it be dropsy? I will add pictures to this post tomorrow. <Please do, we love pics.> 7) Should I add Zoecon to the list of pre-soaking items for the tang food? <You have all you will need.> 8) I feed the 4" blue dot grouper 1 silverside a day stuffed with about 5 New Life Spectrum's Thera +A for large fish pellets and I soak the fish in garlic extreme, vita chem and Zoecon. I alternate days with krill done this way on one day, and the next day it is a silverside. Is this enough food for him? Is this a complete diet? <Yes and Yes.> Thanks again and I LOVE your site. It is the best on the web by far! <Thank you, continue to enjoy.  Keep in mind, there is much information on the site regarding feeding...Do search/read.  James (Salty Dog)>   Thanks again for your help! <You're welcome.>    Greg R.

Re:  Feeding In General... Mixed Bag   6/8/06 How do I measure the tank's total current to come up with the recommended amount? If the return pump pumps at 1500 gph, the overflow is 1400 gph and  a 692 gph power head on a 6' x 24" x 30" tank? Thanks again, you are an asset to the fish community and should be carried through the streets as a hero! <Mmm, afraid of falling, Bob may want the honor.> <<Heeee, though am "stature challenged", I too don't like heights... RMF>> <It will be the total flow in the display tank only.  If you have a return pump rated at 1500 and a power head at 692, you have a total flow of 2192, a little shy if we look at multiplying 225x15=3379 or 225x10=2250.  Somewhere in this range would be ideal.  Keep in mind, you will have to subtract head pressure loss from your return pump.  That info should be in your user manual.  If not, go here.  http://www.reefcentral.com/calc/hlc2.php> Thanks again <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>   

Feeding/Schedule   7/28/06 Good morning. <And to you.> This is one of those questions that I seem to find multiple different answers for (including from your site), so I'm trying to tap your expertise to get a specific answer for my system, if I may.  I have a 36 gallon bowfront mini-reef with HOB skimmer and filter, 2 powerheads in the back corners pointed toward the front at roughly 90 degrees to each other, and 4 small fish with  3.5" DSB, 50# live rock, with several softies (star polyps, yellow polyps, mushroom), and a branching anchor.  All is fine, but I have a nagging question about feeding.  I presently turn off the skimmer and HOB filter for my one time daily feeding in the evening, and leave the powerheads running which blows the food around.  Should the powerheads be on or off for feeding, and should it be the same routine everyday or maybe one day with them off and another day on to vary the flow (and food) distribution around the corals? <I'd leave the powerheads on, could shut the filter off...up to you.  I do not shut anything off when I feed.> I've also read about putting the powerheads on timers for a "tide" effect.  I have some spare timers around, and I could do this if it helps.  Is there a benefit to alternating the powerhead flow, and is there a benefit to a period of "quiet time" at night or in the early morning to have both powerheads off? <What you've read are about "wave timers" which turns powerheads on/off at a user selected frequency.  They can be set to go on/off as much as 60 times per hour.  Household timers aren't much good in this regard.  Aquarium Systems makes a inexpensive wave timer ($50-60> that can run up to four power heads.  These units work best when using at least three powerheads.  In my opinion, wave timers are beneficial to corals as they create a cleansing effect with to and fro motion of the water.  If considering a wave maker timer, it is not necessary to buy the expensive units that are available.  Just wasting money as they work no better than the Aquarium Systems unit.  Incidentally, most power heads do not work well with frequent cycling.  The Aquarium Systems powerheads do.> I presently have plenty of flow between the 2 powerheads and HOB filters (roughly 20x tank volume/hr).  Thanks!!! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> PS>  Thanks your for all your help, and for the easy access to your accumulated knowledge.  At this point, I've gotten into this hobby solo out of a great deal of interest, and your website has been my most reliable source of info, as I haven't had time to get involved in any local clubs....

Feeding Frequency, Feeding grandma at the all you can eat buffet?!   1/8/07 Hello, <Hi Jay!  Mich here.> In my aquarium I have a Sailfin Tang a Maroon and Gold Clown, 2 Engineering Gobies, a six-line wrasse, and a purple grandma.   <WOW!  You have a purple grandma in your tank!  Where do you keep grandpa?> Along with, some zoos, some star polyps, a moon brain, a tree leather, and a candy. Also a Sebae anemone and some other misc. inverts.  I have been feeding them a cube of prime reef, a cube of emerald mix, and 1/2 a cube of brine shrimp twice daily.   <Holy all you can eat buffet Batman!  Grandma must be pretty hungry!> From what I have read on your site that is obviously too much, I was hoping you would be able to suggest a proper feeding regimen, at least as a baseline to work from, as my nitrates were 160ppm and after a water changed dropped to about 60ppm (I will probably be doing another 30% water change tomorrow. <Yikes!> My Nitrites however still present also dropped from 1 to .25.   <You want to get this down and keep it at zero.> Everything else tests perfect (can't test for ammonia, need to get a new kit).   <Well, as you know you are overfeeding by several orders.  You should feed no more than what your fish will eat in five minutes, while the tank circulation is shut down.  I would suggest starting with 1/4 of a cube of anything but the brine shrimp as they have little to offer as far as nutritional value.  You can feed twice daily, but only what they can eat in five minutes.  You may also want occasionally offer your tang some Nori (available at grocery stores as it is used for sushi) or other dried seaweed fish foods.  I am hoping you tank is quite large as Sailfin Tangs (Zebrasoma veliferum) can reach up to 15.7 inches long and should be housed in tanks that are at least 135 gallons in volume.> Thanks for your continued help. <Welcome.  -Mich> Jay

Feeding Habits 2/5/04  How often should I feed my inverts/corals? I don't have many. 1 - Rose Anemone, 1 Flame Scallop, Pumping Xenia, Brain, Bubble, Green Star Polyps. That is I also have a blue tang and cleaner shrimp, some hermits and two huge snails, and a sand sifting star. That's it at this point. I only feed the fish, shrimp, anemone every other day.  <The fish should probably be fed daily. The anemone, open brain and bubble probably should be fed at least once a week. More is fine, but probably not necessary. Generally, shrimp will get by on missed fish food if you feed every day.>  During this time I am also feeding the corals and inverts two teaspoons of marine snow or a pinch of Cyclop-eeze. I alternate between the two to give them a variety.  <None of your corals is likely benefiting directly from the addition of Marine Snow or Cyclop-eeze. None of what you listed has the type of polyps to capture such food. The flame scallop may be getting some benefit from the small amount of phyto plankton in marine snow, but unfortunately it is probably not enough. Most flame scallops perish of starvation within a few weeks-months.>  I have a 40 gallon breeder and have a slime problem. Trying to get to the root of it and overfeeding is a concern. Do you think I am feeding the corals/inverts too often? How often should I feed them and how much based on my current livestock. I would consider all to be small to medium sizes. Thanks, Rob  <See above for feeding recommendations. Slime algae is often caused by lack of water movement and low alkalinity as much as high nutrients. Water movement equal to 10x the tank volume is a good rule of thumb. Alkalinity of 3-4.5 meq or 9-12 dKH along with good water movement will help prevent the slime from growing and favor the growth of coralline algae. Do directly address the issue of nutrients, you will have to write back and describe your filtration and water change routine as well as provide the results for as many of the following tests as you can: Salinity, temp, pH, Alkalinity, ammonia, nitrate and phosphate. Best Regards. Adam

Feeding intervals here I am reading an article on reefs.org about hair algae and the author writes this..."Another thing to do is to check out your skimmer. It should first of all be big enough for the tank, and secondly, it should be pulling out a really dry foam.; This will help to get out some things before they can break down and cause problems. Also cut down on overfeeding. You should only feed about twice a week. Kalkwasser will help too. You should dose that stuff every other night, and mix it fresh every other time (actually, every time would be better).".....the part of question is the twice a week feeding bit, little generalized, in my ongoing battle with hair algae I assume I don't overfeed, marine flakes (HBH, Ocean Nutrition and "rich mix" for something diff.) a couple times a day (very small amounts that the fish immediately consume), as well as blood worms at the end of the day (or brine shrimp, I know of no value), some raw tiger shrimp every few days, few pieces of freeze dried krill here and there (lately), is this overfeeding?. with testing all else I'm still researching the solution, with my fish (if you remember, should I cut back as this article suggests?...thanks......Riot.... <Do agree with the overgeneralization of the quoted statement. My opinions on the topic can be read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feeding.htm Bob Fenner>

Managing A Busy System Hey guys, <Scott F. your guy today!> Hamish here from the U.K. You've given me invaluable advice in the past, and I'm back for more! Got a 70 (U.K.) gallon system, tank & sump, biological filters, fish only system, 4 of them: red-tooth trigger, lipstick tang, rock beauty & maroon clown. Had the system for a year now, lost only a couple of fish to stress initially, do 10% water changes every 10 days, and pretty much do all the necessary work on a daily basis. <Sounds like a formula for success...Glad the Rock Beauty is doing well! Not to harp- but I'm sure you know that a larger system is gonna be required down the line for these fishes...They do grow to substantial sizes!> My Dad, who lives in Florida, called the other day to say that he'd met a guy with a huge system, invertebrates and small fish, who said that regular water changes were a thing of the past, he merely topped up each day to replace evaporation; not sure when he does any water changes. So what's with that? <I have to quote Anthony on this one: "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes..." Basically, just because this guy seems to have his system working without following one of the basic aspects of aquarium husbandry. So what if he has a light bioload...Sure, that helps keep nutrient accumulation down somewhat, but we're talking about a closed system here. Even with some forms of nutrient export (i.e.; protein skimming and mechanical filtration), water exchanges will be required to maintain a viable system for the long term. Trace elements get depleted, organics accumulate, etc. I really think that this guy is luckier than good...I certainly wouldn't follow his lead.> Also, the trigger and tang are about 6 inches long, the other two a bit smaller. I feed them: 3 1/2 cubes of  omega+ brine shrimp each day (3 sep. feedings), the tang gets a leaf of lettuce, then in the afternoon some dried seaweed, the trigger and the other two get half a cube of squid, and half a cube of mussel. For a treat, the trigger occasionally gets a prawn to wolf down. This all happens on a day when I'm around to do all this, it's usually a little less, but is it still too much? The reason I'm asking is because I've just noticed a coating of what appears to be white dust-like spores over some of the rocks, with tiny little thread-like worms climbing around. Phoned my dealer, he said it wasn't immediately serious because they weren't on the fish, it was just a result of excess food in the tank. I do monitor their feeding, they finish everything I put in there, little and often is my policy. But are leftovers inevitable, and are these worms going to jeopardize the health of the fish? My dealer also suggested just giving the rocks a scrub to remove the bulk of the parasite, but some are easier to move than others. The rock isn't live. Any advice here would be much appreciated. Yours, Hamish. <Well, Hamish- I agree with the "small and often" feeding regimen. So important to keep heavy eaters fed well. However, the equal obligation is to engage in strict husbandry procedures. Keep up those regular water changes (perhaps you might want to consider my semi-obsessive rule of two 5% water changes per week?), clean all mechanical filter media regularly, and make liberal use of aggressive protein skimming. As far as the "worms" are concerned, it's hard to be 100% certain what these are without a photo. However, I agree with the dealer, in that these (probably harmless) creatures are multiplying rapidly as a result of increasing nutrients in the system. You certainly can remove them manually if they get to be annoying. However, I'd like to solve the "root problem", which is nutrient accumulation. Simply continue or enhance your good husbandry techniques, and you'll see an improvement...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

55 gal with an eel and 2 triggers <Way overcrowded... Ian!> I looked through the FAQ's first and didn't find my specific question. So my question is: I have a Predatory tank. 55 gal. <this aquarium is too small for the two triggers and the eel in the long run. year or so)> (2) Triggers. 2" Picasso. 4' Blue Throat. (1) Eel 18.5" Zebra. (5) Large Trigger proof hermits.<these hermits will be consumed in time> Fluval 204 Canister. W/D SUMP W/Skimmer. How often to feed them?<once a day...sparingly> This is such a subjective question, with each LFS, Blog and BBS offering a WIDE variety of suggestions. They would eat all day if I let them.<yes they would> I feed lightly daily for the Triggers and every other day for the eel!?!<that sounds about right> Please advise.<good luck, IanB> Thanks, as always. -Jake

How often should I feed and fish recommendation - 7/24/03 Thank you, I have a timer set to come on at 4 p.m. and go off at 10:30 P.M., but wanted to make sure that was enough for the fish. <Up to you, but I like 8 hours myself> A couple more questions please. <Sure>  Tell me your recommendation on how many times a day I should feed my fish.  The owner of a local fish store told me once a day was sufficient.  (clowns, dwarf angel, Dottyback) <I would recommend small feedings of a few to three times a day which means enough food in each feeding for each fish to get a bit of food. This may take some time to identify who is getting enough and who isn't without trashing your biological filtration by overfeeding. My reasoning for the multiple times a day is two fold, natural to the fish (these fish are very active and constantly exerting energy) and is more natural to the environment where they come from. They constantly scavenge for food on the reef. So my methodology is just a natural progression to a more "realistic" (used loosely) fish regime. Plus, it gives fish, who may be a little shy about eating, a few chances to grab a bite.> Also, I have been considering getting a pair of pajama Cardinalfish, but have read that they won't show themselves much with the light on and will not accept flake food. <Well, I think compatibility is more the issue here than the feeding and viewing of your fish. The fish you have are quite active and excitable. Cardinals in general are typically slow moving, shy, docile fish. In the right tank these are great fish to have, fairly hardy once established, and are being commercially farmed (no environmental impact). It doesn't get any better than that! So I personally would hold off on putting these in a tank with your current inhabitants if you can. -Paul>   Please advise.  Thank you, James

- Feeding Schedule - I'm trying to get my tank mates on the same feeding schedule; I have a 11 inch Goldentail moray, 8 inch snowflake, and a 4 - 5 inch miniata grouper... I use to feed them every other 2 days (ex. if I fed Monday, they'd get fed again Thursday); Now I moved to 3 days (ex. if I fed Monday, they'd get fed again Friday)... In your opinion knowing they are still pretty small, which feeding habit would you recommend? <Once a day... a little less for the grouper, perhaps every other day.> Also should the grouper be fed more often, or is he alright with the same schedule? <Think all would be better off with smaller portions, more often... just be careful with the grouper, it will grow as quickly as you feed it.> Thank for your time.. <Cheers, J -- >

The skinny on skinny fish Hello WWM crew! The last time that I wrote Anthony replied to my questions, THANKS AGAIN!! Hopefully whoever reads this can help me equally as well. <the rest of the WWM gang is pre-occupied... they are getting a group bikini-line wax (separately, but paid for on the same check). Anthony Calfo here... AKA Salty Sasquatch> So here are the questions. FIRST: The Kole Tang and the Coral Beauty were just taken from QT and introduced to the tank an hour ago. As soon as I put them in there my Yellow Tang started chasing both of them around pretty viciously. <Zebrasoma tangs are funny that way> I know that the Yellows can be very territorial and I should expect this to happen initially but should I be worried or planning to take him out of the tank in the future? <may just be establishing the pecking order. If it persists after 3 days, do consider removing the tang. Unless, of course, the tang hires a pufferfish to carry out the hit for him> About 20 min. after they were introduced the Yellow seemed to be going to the other side of the tank and minding his business a little more. He would still chase them if they came into sight. Opinions and suggestions? <sounds expected... no worries> SECOND: My Lyretail Anthias has been doing great since I got him about a month ago. His colors have been changing nicely and he gets along with everyone in the tank. Lately I've noticed that he seems to be losing weight and getting really skinny. <ahhh... one month later and he's skinny. We may need to redefine "doing great" in your household <G>. This Anthias has been starving from Go as most do. They need at least three feedings per day of very high protein food. Please tell me that brine shrimp was nowhere near its lips and I won't tell you brine shrimp kills fishes. Just read the nutritional assays of various plankton substitutes... mysids and Pacifica plankton top the list. Sweetwater plankton is a good secondary food (vitamins not protein here)> I feed my fish twice a day and sometimes when I'm at home during the whole day I add a midday feeding. <very good my friend... for the Anthias it may just be that it needs denser fare> I have read different places that this Anthias tends to eat a lot and needs to be fed at least three times daily. <agreed> How can I plump him back up and not trash my tank at the same time? <Oreo cookies fatten me up pretty quick. Oh, ya... and 1/2 bottle of homemade wine daily and sausage helps too.> Opinions and suggestions? <yes... don't eat the Oreos, wine and sausage at the same time> Do you recommend a certain vitamin supplement for my fish (especially tangs!!!-HLLE-) that you can just add to the water? <none to the water... weakly effective and lazy. Do add Selcon to the food, though> Any and all help that you can give would be most appreciated. I look forward to your reply. Happy Holidays to you guys!  Stephen Baker <Happy holidays, my friend. Anthony>

Beginner Feeding Question I've had my tank going for about one month now...my question is regarding feeding...in the article on www.wetwebmedia.com it says to feed the fish 2 or 3 times a day and to feed them what they can eat in five minutes....I've also been told to feed them once a day what they can eat in 2 minutes...as well as many times in between. How do I decide which advice to follow? <Really it depends on the fish. Groupers and Lionfish should be fed several times per week. If you have fish that would naturally forage all day for food, several small feedings each day would be more appropriate. If the food hits the bottom or gets sucked up into the filters, you gave them too much.>  Thanks for your time, James <You are quite welcome. -Steven Pro>

Feeding Hello, just heard from the LFS that I should feed my fish only once every three days. They say because the live rock provides a lot of the food already. Is this true? <it depends on the fish, quality of the rock, health and maturity of the tank and more. If you tank is less than one year old it is not accurate to apply to your setup. Best regards, Anthony>

Feeding I understand that overfeeding is a common problem in aquariums. We feed our damsels half a cube of brine shrimp a night and flakes in the morning. We heard that they should spend three minutes eating their flakes and when I timed them it only took 56 seconds. We don't have our reef going yet, so they can't eat off of that. Should we be feeding them more? >> Not necessarily... rather than more, I would encourage you to make the feedings more frequent... and maybe add a piece or two of live rock for them to pick at in-between meals... Smaller amounts more frequently is the route to go with these constant foragers. Bob Fenner

Overfeeding fish Hi Bob! I've written before and have a new question regarding feeding saltwater fish. Is feeding once a day, enough food to fill the fish, considered to be overfeeding? I recently lost a bi-color blenny and a flame angelfish to no other apparent cause. The blenny looked rather fat before he died. I have been feeding nugget, frozen and flake food. My current fish in a reef setting are 3 Chromis, Lemonpeel angel, mimic tang, and 2 ocellaris clownfish. I put Nori in the tank every day for the angel and tang (they love the Nori). Should I switch feeding to once every other day, or even twice a week? I need to know, as I don't want to kill any more fish out of "kindness." Thanks for your advice, and informative column. Jenny Turco  >> Thank you for writing... and I sense that you know the answer to your query... It depends: On the species for instance... Some predators only eat occasionally... every few days to weeks... and so can easily get by on once, twice weekly feedings... But the fishes you list are almost continuous browsers in the wild... and will do much better on being offered something to eat (like the Nori sheet algae) on an almost continuous basis... hence my suggestion to place some healthy live rock for them to sample at leisure and for you to feed them otherwise, at regular intervals, the prepared foods you list... twice a day. Bob Fenner, who's getting the munchies come to think of it

250 gallon aquarium foods/feeding Good Morning Robert, How's Everything ,?  <Fine, but do have the upper-respiratory involvement that's going about... wowzah, am operating in the 20-40% range...> I just wanted to thank you for your advice on my tomato clownfish and my angelfish?  <Oh> I got one more question for you, how often should I feed the inhabitants of my aquarium? as you know I have an adult red Volitans lionfish, an adult longhorn cowfish, a French angel and a Koran angel, a small harlequin tusk, a clown trigger and a juvenile Emperor angel , I've got them eating frozen formula cubes by ocean nutrition? <Okay> I give them the variety cubes in the two pound bags, how often is enough? <Some, twice a day> can I feed every Monday, Wednesday, Friday? or should they be fed everyday if so how much should I feed them? my lionfish also swallows the cubes whole he's humongous? is that sufficient for them or do they need other food to eat? I appreciate your time and consideration in this matter thanks again rob. <Would seek other, perhaps less expensive fare to augment what you have... Silversides, human-consumption intended shrimp, mollusks... perhaps even make my own... as these fishes get larger they will eat you into a/the proverbial poor house. Bob Fenner>

Re: help please... not feeding a non-cycled setting Bob, Can you please clarify something for me?  <Perhaps> You said not to feed...even possibly for a few weeks. Don't feed the fish or anything else? They won't starve? <Much less likely in your scenario than that they might well be killed by the present situation of incomplete nutrient cycling... Please read over the section on "Biological Filtration" on the WWM site... and do look into a standard "marine aquarium reference book"... simply asking questions here will not give you enough timely information> I had a scarlet shrimp die today. The ammonia level was up again. Can I change the water too much? <Yes. Too much, too soon will forestall nitrification and its establishment> When I pour water in. the Banggai Cardinal fish thinks the bubbles are food and tries to eat them...so I know he's hungry. Thanks again, Sara <If you deem it necessary or "worth the risk" do feed sparingly... but do understand what you're doing here... and augment the biological filtration in this system... with old filter media, cured live rock, old/established substrate... Do you have a livestock-carrying fish store near you? Other aquarists? Seek their counsel as well. Bob Fenner>

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