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FAQs about Soft Corals of the Family Nephtheidae Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related Articles: Soft Corals of the Family Nephtheidae, The Soft Corals of the genus Dendronephthya Soft Corals, Order Alcyonacea

Related FAQs: Nephtheids 1, Nephtheids 2, Neptheid Identification, Nephtheid Behavior, Nephtheid Compatibility, Nephtheid Selection, Nephtheid Systems, Nephtheid Disease, Nephtheid Reproduction/Propagation, Soft Coral Propagation, Alcyoniids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids, Xeniids, Soft Corals/Order Alcyonacea


Umbellulifera sp. Fdg.     5/22/14
Hi Bob, I am hoping you can help me, I brought an Umbellulifera sp (orange tree coral) not that long back, I understand the needs and have an nps tank set up, I am curious as to what they feed on? Is it phytoplankton and zooplankton? Would the orange tree coral eat lobster eggs or is it just phyto and zooplankton?
<Umm; not lobster eggs... on LiveAquaria: "...include live, baby brine shrimp, micro-plankton, and other small foods designed for filter feeding invertebrates, in order to survive in the reef aquarium."
Have never known anyone to keep this family of soft corals alive for any period of time. Bob Fenner>
Re: Umbellulifera sp

That's what I have read too, that the survival rate is poor. I thought I would try an attempt the Dendro
as I have sun corals which spawn a lot and have popped up all over the place. Would they eat copepods and rotifers in the system as well?
<Only if these were spawn... small copepodites; perhaps>
As there is loads of life in this system.
<Good. A vigorous refugium of size, with a deep DSB... are helpful. BobF>
Re: Umbellulifera sp     5/22/14

Sorry to ask Bob what is the difference between this coral and the Dendro?
<Ahh, I do apologize re the mis-ID re the family here... Overnight I kept (I used to dream about women and money...) going over a citation I'd seen on the Net, ascribing the genus to the family "Nephropidae"... Uh, yeah... these are lobsters... the genus IS along w/ Dendronephthya of the family
Nephtheidae... though none other than wiki (.com) also misplaces it... in the Alcyoniidae). At any/all lengths, these Alcyonaceans (soft corals) DO have similar nutritional requirements>
I fed some brine shrimp it has accepted it, the set up is just for nps, the system has one Jawfish as it got rejected by the others in the main DT.
I read somewhere that the orange tree coral is easier to keep than the carnation coral, is this true?
<As far as I've read as well; yes. I have never kept/husbanded either myself. Thank you for your patience. BobF>

Re: Dendronephthya coral... Done! A prank (?) re feeding et al.?    9/14/13
Hi bob,
<... names are capital nouns Lorna>
 just wanting some advice I have a tree coral or Dendronephthya and I bought it a month ago
It is in a cave hanging upside down I feed it phyto
<... of what size... Is it your understanding that any random Nephtheid will eat any phytoplankton? Not so>

regularly, when I bought it it was struggling and had dissolved at The base it is still dissolved and is expanding which it wasn't in the shop, how long will it take to thicken at the base.
All parameters are fine apart from phosphate which is 0.25 and nitrate is 5.
<.... Heeeeee! Are you joking? Read here:
and (all) the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sclero/dendro growth   9/17/11
Dear crew,
Recently, after about six months in the tank, my first piece of live rock has had several colonies of either Sclero or Dendronephthya pop up. I have not yet identified which as each colony is only 10 polyps at most and I cannot closely inspect them (though I can visually see the sclerites that line up with the "stalk"). They are in a corner of the tank with a fair amount of flow so I assume a bit of food comes their way. Should I target feed them with Cyclops eez or just leave them be?
<Mmm, might be worth trying other foods, but whatever you're doing/not doing... I would continue>
As is I feed the fish omega enriched pellets and the Fungiid krill and Mysis.
<Likely bits of this, endogenous sources...>
Would target feeding increase their growth rate, or do they grow slowly regardless so long as their basic needs are met?
<Mostly the latter>
I myself am surprised that they have manifested but will be more than happy to give these little guys a shot.
Thankful as always, Sam
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Oysters in the Sump (Not the answer here) -- 11/29/10
I thank you for a wonderful website and excellent moderators.
<<A collective effort'¦we are pleased to serve>>
I tried but was unable to find any info on stocking oysters in the sump.
<<Not practical, really -- extremely difficult to sustain for any length of time>>
I currently run a 50 gallon tank with a 15 gallon sump. It is stocked with Carnation Corals
<<Mmm -- about as difficult as the Oysters. The challenge here with both types of animal is the feeding of them - both are very likely to starve to death. Please do read here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dendrofaqs.htm) and here (http://www.thesea.org/carnation-coral/ )>>
I picked up under the docks in Kochi, Japan. I have been feeding them with PhytoPlan and ZoPlan,
<<Here's a link to a 'recipe' for azooxanthellate corals (http://stonyreef.com/blog/2008/feeding-azooxanthellate-corals/). Even with an accepted supply of food(s), providing this in sufficient quantity without overwhelming your system is a challenge. It can be done, but takes a special dedication and attention to system setup and husbandry>>
but they have shrunk to about half their size in 6 months.
I have read that feeding them oyster eggs would be good, but frozen oyster eggs are not available locally.
<<Can be found on the Net (http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=21981) >>
There's an oyster farm about 10 miles from my house so I picked up a few and put them in my sump.
<<Hmm'¦perhaps you could also check to see if the farm harvests/will provide eggs for purchase>>
Water temp is 24.5 C, pH 8.0, dKH 11 and Ca 410. Filtration is a trickle filter with a coil denitrator, Beckett skimmer and ozone.
<<Do search the net re Azooxanthellate systems for tips on configuration/lighting/water flow/husbandry needs et al. One in particular that might be worth researching is the 500L non-photosynthetic reef by Dutch aquarist Pieter van Suijleko>>
Would 5 or 6 oysters spawning overload my biofilter?
<<I think the bigger question is 'will they spawn?''¦and if they should, 'would this be sufficient' to meet the nutritional requirements of the Carnation Corals? In both instances, I think the answer is 'not likely at all.' Such a 'self-sustained' non-photosynthetic system as you describe is not practical in my opinion, especially one as small as yours. It would take a much larger number of Oysters kept in peak condition and spawning on a continual basis -- something at least, if not more so, challenging than the Carnation Corals. Better to expend your time and energy on researching alternate feeding methods (e.g. -- producing your own 'live' Phytoplankton and Rotifers for a 'continuous-drip' feeding system, etc.) for the carnation Corals, as well as system and husbandry requirements'¦and to make sure you have the time, resources, and dedication to the keeping of these beautiful but 'extremely challenging' organisms>>
James Miller - Okayama, Japan
<<And to you in kind... Eric Russell - Columbia, South Carolina>>

Chili Coral... non-photosynthetic... fdg.  04/15/2008 Hello, How is everyone today. <<Hi there, Andrew here, yes, all well thank you>> I recently purchased a Chili Coral and thought that I had done my homework in regards to this coral. <<Ahhhhh.....>> I checked two different web sites that said that the Chili Coral hosted its own symbiotic algae. Also the same info I received from my LFS. After purchasing and putting it into my reef tank I checked another web site that said it did not and must be fed daily. Normally this would not be a problem but with summer coming I will be off on long weekends and vacations and wanted to stay away from corals that needed daily feeding. <<Correct, this is not a photosynthetic coral>> I do have someone to feed my coral a couple times a week when on vacation but did not plan on daily feedings. My question to you is do Chili Corals host their own algae or do they need to be fed daily. <<Fed daily is fine, some feed every other day on phyto or zooplankton, baby brine is a good one if readily accepted>> Once again, thanks in advance, Shawn <<Thanks for the questions Shawn, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Re: Red Chili Coral Behavior Question, and hlth.  -- 10/04/07 Hello again, Thought I would write back with some feedback to you regarding a Chili Coral specimen. <Okay> Good news all around. The specimen is doing awesome and back to its normal daily routine and behavior. It appears to even be growing a small bit. Through some replacement and addition of higher and random flow along with reduction in the amount of skimming things seem to be back on track. It was not until mid September (almost 2 full months of "dormancy" did the coral come back out in all its splendor. I seem to be lucky in that my LFS got a new employee in who provided me with some possible tactics. I dramatically reduced my skimmer operation time from essentially 23hrs per day gradually down to about 12 hours a day. The skimmer is off during night time feeding period for this coral which I increased in frequency based on your recommendations. I now feed every day except for Sunday with phyto and zoo plankton. My water parameters have remained all normal. The only side effect is now a bit more hair algae growth. Thought you would like some feedback that is good news and if anyone else has similar problems this might be of use. Thanks again and I continue to have a pleasant time with my tank and its prospering inhabitants Sincerely, Craig Martell <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Question for Anthony re Scleronephthya cult./fdg.   3/8/07 Hello Anthony <Mmm, no longer w/ us... you might try him at Readingtrees.com or Marine Depot>      I was thinking about your interesting description of the spawning of the nonphotosynthetic soft coral in your greenhouse.   <I visited Antoine a few times when he was in the Xeniid biz>      Were you "pushing" iodine at that point?  Certainly it would be interesting to know this;  also I presume you were skimming aggressively as always, but what were you feeding the tank? <I do think the answer to both here is/was yes>      Any new information on these intriguing organisms you have come across, especially from Peter Wilkins or others with some success? Charles Matthews M.D. <As stated... try the above addresses. Bob Fenner>

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