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FAQs on Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 3

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Anemones are often to a degree photosynthetic

Human food? <Hello, Ananda answering the puffer questions tonight...> Well, I'm happy to say that this is the first time that I'm sending an email without sickness or a fishy funeral pending. In fact, everything is going just fine except that my fridge went out, <Gack!> so all of the meaty stuff that I feed my porcupine puffer is no good, and I don't want to make him subsist on Spirulina flakes until the repair and restock can occur (2 more days). <While he may not be thrilled with Spirulina flakes, he would be okay for a day or three. But I completely understand the desire to feed your fish the good stuff.> So, what other human food can he eat?  Fruits, nuts?  Canned tuna, sardines, clams? <You could stop at the grocery store or deli and get a small package of frozen shrimp, or one of those "krab" sticks. I think I would avoid the oily canned fish (sardines, any oil-packed fish). Perhaps canned shrimp or crab -- rinse well to get rid of any added salt. If you live in any of the northern states, you might be able to use your car as a temporary refrigerator for the opened food container. Regarding fruit, I have heard of one porcupine puffer who loved bananas!> Or should I just go for sushi tonight and bring him home a treat from the sushi bar? <Ah, sushi is such a wonderful thing....I would go to my favorite sushi place and ask the sushi chefs if they have any day-old "leftovers", or scraps that are cosmetically unsuitable for sushi. Those would probably be fine for your puffer.> <Hopefully this reaches you in time for your sushi excursion... Regards, Ananda>

Human food? Well, I'm happy to say that this is the first time that I'm sending an email without sickness or a fishy funeral pending.  In fact, everything is going just fine except that my fridge went out, so all of the meaty stuff that I feed my porcupine puffer is no good, and I don't want to make him subsist on Spirulina flakes until the repair and restock can occur (2 more days). <If it's not too "stinky" can likely be refrozen, saved, fed> So, what other human food can he eat?  Fruits, nuts?  Canned tuna, sardines, clams? <Clams of all these> Or should I just go for sushi tonight and bring him home a treat from the sushi bar? <To heck with the puffer, I'm coming right over! Actually, I would hold off for the two days if necessary, or proffer freeze-dried krill (one of their faves). No problem. Bob Fenner>
Re: Human food?
Actually, he loves the Spirulina flakes from O.S.I. <Ah, I was hoping it was those...they have a good percentage of shrimp, which is probably why the puffer likes them.> I just know that there's no way to fill him up on them when he's used to frozen krill or frozen marine blend, which I rotate.  And yes, I already do the sushi scrap trick when I go out...they must think that we're nuts. <Many people would say that we are. :-) > Bananas huh?  I've always thought that he'd like stuff like that, or dried apricots and apples, but they're all so high in sugar that I didn't think it would be very healthy for him. Besides, you never know what weird allergy they might have. Do they even have allergies to foods? <I have never heard of that happening. Dried fruits are always higher in sugar on a per-weight basis than fresh fruits, so I wouldn't recommend dried fruit. But an occasional bit of banana shouldn't hurt.>   Anyway, hopefully the repair guy will get the right parts tomorrow.  Till then, the frozen stuff was actually saved, but it's across town at my girlfriends place.  Here in gusty SoCal. <Glad to hear you were able to keep the frozen stuff safe.> Thanks for your help...y'all are the best! <You're quite welcome...and thank you. --Ananda>

Bits and Pieces Thanks for your helpful input!  It brings up a few other questions, though. <One thing always leads to another in this hobby, huh?> (BTW, I think I will go for a single Firefish) <Good call> 1.Although the Kupang Island LR has lots of great coralline algae and other nifty things on it, I have come to hate having Caulerpa in the main tank. <Good! This stuff can be...well- a pain. I mean, I like it-it has it's uses- but there is definitely a "dark side" to its use.> Little bits and pieces break off & float everywhere--difficult to keep clean. I want something to basically eat it all up. Which would be better for this, the Yellow Tang or the Flame Angel? <I'd give the edge to the tang. However, sometimes, you'll get a tang that doesn't eat Caulerpa (a Gracilaria "snob", perhaps?). But usually, the tang will have a definite impact.> 2. On the other hand, the Caulerpa is working out quite well in the refugium. There are also lots of creepy little white things swimming around in there now. <Sounds like Mysis...a great natural food! If you are employing Caulerpa as a means of nutrient export- do harvest it carefully on a regular basis, BTW..> Are there any good detritivores or other useful creatures that could be added without risking them? I have a few snails with conical shells (Trochus?) in the main tank (came with the LR) now. <I'd stick to the Trochus, Strombus, and other "grazing" snails in the refugium.> Which gobies do you favor and how long should the tank have been running before adding one? <I really like the Stonogobiops species (shrimp gobies)- these are really neat fishes; they stay small, and are fun to watch. You might also want to try a blenny, like the "Midas Blenny" (Ecsenius midas), or one of the Meiacanthus blennies (these are some of my favorites), which are colorful, small, and active.> In reading various entries in Scott W. Michael's Pocket Expert Guide to Marine Fishes, I see that he recommends feeding most of them "at least 3 times per day."  I certainly do not have time to feed more than once or perhaps twice per day (though my Hogfish seems to want to earn his name with a seemingly insatiable appetite). The adage in freshwater is often "a hungry fish is a healthy fish." Is there a general rule of thumb for feeding typical marine community fishes? Thanks again, Steve. <I had the pleasure of spending some time with Scott a couple of months ago, and I posed to him the same question. He stressed that the fish don't have to be fed 3 times a day, but that they should be fed well. In other words, use common sense. Make sure that everyone gets food, but don't just dump a large quantity of food into the tank and forget about it. Careful, targeted feeding a couple of times daily is certainly better than careless heavy feeding! Believe me, it's really tough to feed a fish so much that they won't want to eat again for the rest of the day...These "stomachs with fins" are always looking for that next meal! Have fun selecting your next fishes! Regards, Scott F>

Finicky Fishes On A Hunger Strike! Bob et al, <Scott F. the et al today!> We have a 7" Naso Tang in our 125 gallon reef. She has been very content for 6 months but now she has been hiding and laying on her side behind the rockwork. The only new addition is a colt coral. We did have a recent Cyano outbreak which was treated with a siphon and water change. She appears to be healthy when she does come out but we are worried about her diet. She has never eaten anything except the macros growing in the tank which were mostly killed by the Cyano. We have tried green and red seaweed, brine, krill, bloodworms, and Mysis. We know that Tangs sometimes act very strange but is this normal? <Tangs are known to go on protracted "hunger strikes" from time to time, often times as a response to some form of stress (environmental or otherwise), and sometimes for no apparent reason! Keep trying to get him to eat. Try "Ogo" (Gracilaria parvispora). Most tangs will go nuts over this stuff. If tank conditions are constant, and no disease is evident-he should come around...> In another tank we recently added a lionfish to a 55 gallon tank that had some live rock, a Condylactis (sp?), a serpent star, and emerald crab. The lion fish doesn't care to eat anything that isn't alive. He has eaten ghost shrimp and a damsel that was badly hurt in a power head incident. We have tried krill, Mysis, and brine. We have tried using a clear feeding stick and trying to make the krill "look alive" but the lion sees right through the facade. Any other hints you can offer? <Unfortunately, No! You are doing the right thing...just keep trying. This is the way it's done!> Thanks again, Amy and Tom <Just keep on trying with these fishes, guys. Do also re-check your environmental parameters (water chemistry and temperature) regularly, just to be sure that everything is A- OK. They can go a fairly long time without eating in many cases. If they are not otherwise sick or injured, they will generally come around. Be patient! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Shelf Life of Sweetwater Plankton? Hey Guys; <Scott F. with you today> Don't want to keep e-mailing you but I have a question . I bought some Sweetwater zooplankton, and was wondering just how long this is good for after opening and refrigerating . I've heard 2 weeks from LFS and read 6 weeks on a message board. Any ideas?? looks to big for just two weeks unless I have a hundred fish. Thanks so much ... <Hmm- I was kind of thinking about this myself the other day. Love this stuff! I have a bottle that's been in the fridge for a few months(!) now, and I've been feeding it with no catastrophes yet! It still smells "good" (if you could call the smell of this stuff when its fresh "good!")-but don't take my word on it...I'd contact the manufacturer on this one. Sorry I couldn't provide more information on this one. Do keep in touch when you get the answer! Regards, Scott F.>

Flame angel and Trachyphyllia Dear WWM Cheers, my friend> In the new year I am thinking of trying a Trachyphyllia brain coral. <very fine, hardy, low light, sand-dwelling (free-living- never place on rock), feed 3-5 times weekly minimum with minced meaty foods... long-lived> I have one that has been reserved at my LFS for 2 weeks. I am going to pick it up in the new year. However I have a flame angel in my tank. He has been resident for about 5-6 months in my tank <hmmm... I see. Very good to hear about the hold on the livestock. Goes a long way for acclimatization into captivity (rather that frequent moves on import)>> I have read that a few other reef keepers have had trouble with this species nipping Trachyphyllia. I also currently have pulsing Xenia, Favia and Caulastrea (candy cane) coral in there. <yes... all are somewhat at risk of dwarf angels in general> These have all been left alone by my flame. Is there a chance he will nip my Trachyphyllia? <no guarantee, alas> Also I might like to add that I feed my angel on granular food in the mornings. <A Very concentrated source of food... good to hear> Its called tetra prima granules (red granules). if you need to wean marine fish onto dried food, this stuff is really excellent (if you guys get it in the USA). <agreed! An excellent staple and color enhancer. I believe that this product has gone through a marketing evolution of changed names over the years. First it was called Discus bits, then color bits... now prima? Perhaps I'm mistaken. Still... Tetra makes some very good dry foods. Thanks for sharing the tip!> Here's a pic of the tank by the way. Cheers for all your help. Regards, Jim <Happy holidays :) Be chatting soon. Anthony>

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>

- Fish Food - Hello, merry Christmas, happy Chanukah, Kwanzaa, holidays....etc. <Hello, JasonC at your service...> Quick question, in relation to other frozen foods what do you think of blood worms as part of a salt water species diet? <Well, my fish never seemed very interested in them, but I've heard from other aquarists who have no problems with their fish eating them.> They seem to be high in protein content. <A perfectly viable food.> Just looking to add to the diversity of foods fed. <I say go for it.> Species include 2 ocellaris, and a palette surgeonfish that has developed hole in head disease. I have started using Selcon and Zo? In addition to feeding seaweed select for grazing, Sweetwater zooplankton, various frozen items including Mysis shrimp, Spirulina, and formula foods that include various seafood and  flakes. <Sounds good to me.> Thanks for you help. Ang <Cheers, J -- >

Trigger Live Food I have a question regarding Trigger food --- basically I am trying to find a live food to feed my Huma and Undulated Trigger --- my experience is that live food triggers (excuse the pun) a instinctive response in predators that you don't get with frozen, pellet or flake food (just my experience with triggers and Groupers when I had across the street access to crayfish). <You and I's experiences are in agreement>   The reaction when a my trigger is fed a live crayfish or night crawler is noticeably different than when they see a frozen silverside, flake or pellet food.  That leads me to my question --- I have 8 Bearded Dragons <For unfamiliar readers these are lizards> and their main diet is Crickets (farm raised no pesticides) --- now here is the catch --- to gut load the crickets I feed them fish food --- I know you know where I am going with this. Is there a problem with feeding the triggers the gut loaded crickets? --- I already know they will eat them readily my Huma devoured about 12 medium crickets yesterday.  Pros or Cons or absolutely not? <Likely no difficulty... other than the very response, conditioning you alluded to initially. Do you want your fishes to "act mean"? If so, feeding live foods will encourage this. Bob Fenner>

Marine Diet Hello, Merry Christmas, happy holidays....etc. <Happy holidays to you and yours!> Quick question, in relation to other frozen foods what do you think of blood worms as part of a salt water species diet? <Occasionally? Not a problem> They seem to be high in protein content. Just looking to add to the diversity of foods fed. <It will serve the purpose that you desire adequately> Species include 2 ocellaris, and a palette surgeonfish that has developed hole in head disease. <Needs marine algae such as Gracilaria, Caulerpa, or even dried Nori...supplements that contain vitamin C, good water quality with low nitrates, and low DOC (nutrients in the water). Check out our facts about HLLE> I have started using Selcon and Zo? In addition to feeding seaweed select for grazing, Sweetwater zooplankton, various frozen items including Mysis shrimp, Spirulina, and formula foods that include various seafood and  flakes. <Sounds like a winner to me...Remember to keep the water quality high with little or no nitrates> Thanks for you help. Ang <You're welcome! David Dowless>

Looking for Ocean Nutrition Hi <Hello> I don't know if you can help me with this one. I was looking for a mail address for someone at Ocean Nutrition to enquire if their flake food (Formula Two) is available anywhere in the UK. I used to get Formula Two but haven't been able to get it for a while. (or any Ocean Nutrition product) I've tried lots of shops and mail order places. It went down very well and would like to get some more. I went to your business pages and got the URL of their homepage but that just says under construction. <Their site is still under construction. The best way to reach them is onsales@saltcrk.com Bob Fenner> Thanks, Phil

pH question and food Greetings!  Ever since I started reading your site, I have been paying more (better) attention to my tank.   <Good to hear!> Although I have had long-term success till now without testing water parameters, I have started recently. <Long-term success is measured in terms of years (multiples)> To that end, to check one parameter (pH) I bought a PinPoint device, calibrated it and put the probe in the sump.  The meter reads 8.15 until I do a 10% water change -- then it goes to 8.25 for a day or so, then slowly returns to 8.15 where it remains until the next water change.  Does that sound normal?   <Yes..PH is a dynamic reading that will from change day to day and even hour to hour. One should only be concerned when it gets below 8.0 or above 8.5> Also as to food, I am another one who adds some frozen brine shrimp to the food that I feed my Scopus Tang and Mandarin.   <I would leave out the brine shrimp. Little to no nutritional value> I also feed algae flakes and blood worms.  Are the latter products OK?   <should be fine. Nori (dried seaweed) from the Asian section of the supermarket is also good for tangs. Be sure to offer a variety of foods to all of your fish. The fish will be healthier for your added efforts> The mandarin in particular seems to love the bloodworms.  The Tang eats whatever falls into the water. thanks for the help, You're welcome! David Dowless> tom

Phytoplankton... Not a food for everyone Hi Steven Pro, Just for your information, I do feed my corals phytoplankton. That includes my sponge, sea squirt, clam, and of course I use syringe squirt some at the elegance too,. I don't know if it need/eat it or not. <Please search www.WetWebMedia.com for phytoplankton. Anthony has detailed its benefits and drawbacks (namely in dosing procedures) many times. Your clam, sea squirt, and sponge maybe able to eat phytoplankton, but it must be blended or whisked every time to reduce particle size. Your Elegance will not eat any phytoplankton. Zooplankton for it.> As for the cleaner shrimp sticking their pinchers between the meat and the skeleton of the elegance, this does not bother me too much, because they are not attacking the coral. What I mean is they are not doing that all the time, only when necessary. Don't know if that's the most correct way to describe what they do. <Ok, but I would watch it.> Glad to hear that you pretty much have the same type of animals variety as me. <You will see a full and complete description with pictures once our online magazine comes out.> I have few fish, mostly corals (soft and hard). As for cleaning my skimmer, I don't feed my fish as much as most people do. So stuff that comes out isn't as much. <But your corals are constantly producing wastes that your skimmer could be removing.> Most of the liquid that is in the collection cup is drained into a container. <Ok, you have an overflow on the collection cup. These are both good and bad. They make life easier, but negatively impact performance. The neck of the collection cup needs a bit buildup to skim, but after a day or two the buildup gets so thick that skimmate cannot rise, hence the need to clean a well working skimmer every couple of days.> But you are right, I should probably clean them more often. BUT every other day, that's way too often for me, like I said, I don't get that much "stuff" in the collection cup. <But you should be.> Normally I go by how dirty the collection cup looks. And you are right, for the past few years in the hobby. One of the things I learn is that there is really no one tank is the same. Each one is unique. As for the brown and green algae growth, I do realize that it is a new tank's cycle thing it goes through. But I also believe that there must be something that is fueling it's growth. The bottom line is that the system is not balanced out yet. As fast as the coralline algae is growing, I hope it can be faster. Right now still kind have that newly setup tank look without them cover the rock. Thanks again for all your help and patience. As far as I can tell, my elegance is doing better now. <I am glad to hear it.> I hope it pull through this. Have a nice Thanksgiving. <You too!> Sincerely, George <Kind regards. -Steven Pro>

Target Feeding/Shrimp Compatibility Thanks, you guys are awesome.... have been a tremendous help. <really glad to hear that! That's why we're all here!> So how do you directly feed a fish in your tank...  for example, I am afraid of overfeeding my tank but some days- not enough food falls to my shrimp goby...  Should I just trust that he gets his food over time? How do I directly feed my mandarin goby this Mysis shrimp without it being stolen from other critters??? <A great method to "target feed" these animals is to utilize a turkey baster to shoot a little food down there where he is. Also, you can "skewer" larger items, like krill, crab meat, or squid on a wooden kebob skewer, then carefully put the food in front of the fish's "nose". Do this at the same time that you are giving the other fishes in your tank food, to help eliminate some of the "competition" Even shy fishes will eventually learn to accept food this way.. Oh, you will be happy to hear that my Coral Banded Shrimp and Cleaner Shrimp are best buddies... ok, well not exactly.  I have seen the CBS take a swing at him once...  The Cleaner Shrimp seems to walk on water... he bounces off of everything and floats...  He was walking upside down underneath the top of the water level - if that makes sense. <Yep- a bizarre, entertaining behaviour! Glad to hear that they are getting along with a minimum of squabbling> It seems as though as long as the Cleaner stays outta the CBS's face, he is left alone. <Like with any animals, these guys have their own territories, and tend to display their bravado, so just keep an eye peeled to make sure that everyone stays intact! Take care! Regards, Scott F>

Weaning Longnose Butterfly Hello, <Hello!> I recently purchased a Longnose Butterfly and put him in a 15 gal. QT tank with about 15 lbs of live rock.  It will eventually be moved to my 75 gal. with about 100 lbs of rock.  It was being fed live brine shrimp at the LFS, <Fish love it...Aquarists hate it! Little to no nutritional value even when enhanced with vitamins> but I want to feed more nutritional foods such as frozen clams, enriched brine, etc.   <Skip the brine completely> So far the Longnose has ignored all of my offerings, but it has been picking things off of the live rock.  I worry that the little rock in the QT tank will not sustain him for long.  Do you have any suggestions for weaning him onto the frozen foods?   <Try some Mysis shrimp. This worked perfectly with my butterfly. Also try a fresh open clam or oyster. Take a look at the fish's snout...see how small it is? Food must be able to fit in this little mouth. Be sure to feed small pieces> How long can he go without eating before it becomes critical?   <Depending when he was last fed, two to several weeks at least... if there is ample LR in the tank> I have seen him mouth the frozen clams, but apparently not eat.  He appears very healthy - robust body, with clear skin and fins. Perhaps I should move him to the 75 with more rock? <You don't say how long you've had the fish. If it's only been a few days, I wouldn't worry. Keep trying different things> Thanks for your advice, <The pleasure is mine. Try lots of different small food items. He's been spoiled with those silly brine shrimp. David Dowless> John.H
Weaning Longnose Butterfly: Mysis shrimp worked!
Thanks for your response.   <You're more than welcome!> I'm happy to report that my Longnose Butterfly has taken a liking to Mysis shrimp.   <Yippee! I'm glad to see that I was able to help!> First he tried just one, then about 10 at the next feeding! <Give it a few days and try some other meaty things. Just remember, a small mouth can only eat small pieces of food> Thanks again, <You're welcome! Take care! David Dowless> John.H

Starving Hawkfish Robert,  Since you helped me heal my Blue Rings lip (the golden puffer bit a bottom chunk off by accident when going after the same piece of food about a year ago). I thought you might be of service again... I have a long nose hawk about 3" long who USED to eat like a stud!! Well, the eating has stopped for about 2 weeks; I put some appetite stimulant in the tank (Cravex Plus by Aquatronics) every other day last week to no avail (but the marine Betta is eating me out of house and home!!) he swims after the food, live, flake, freeze-dried, etc. <What live foods have you tried? I would seek out someone who has/sells amphipods, mysids and try these live or not... with some of the Cravex or similar (I would rather use Selcon) soaked into it a good five minutes before offering> but continually misses his strikes at it, he's starting to get real skinny on me (not good). I don't think he's blind? <Doubtful> his eyes still look gin clear. If you or your staff help me it (once again) would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!!     Thanks, Gary     p.s. The Blue Ring looks like new <Good to hear of the Angels recovery. Do try soaking the crustaceans. Bob Fenner>

I found out what was wrong with the California ray Bob, After seeking your help about what might be wrong with the California ray, I took your advice and attempted to find someone here who could help identify the problem. No one could give me a definitive answer, which is probably due to the fact that I live in Oklahoma, and we just don't have a lot of marine experts here. So, I looked through books and websites, and finally came across what her problem is. She has goiter.  <Ahhh, not atypical...> Purina, test diet division, has a multivitamin that I'm going to try to use. <If it doesn't include iodide, do add this... through the food> I just wanted to thank you for trying to help and let you know what I found out in case it might be of some use to someone else. Rochelle <Thank you for the follow-up... Will post your findings, intentions on WetWebMedia.com... Over time, you will have saved many losses, other trouble for folks. Bob Fenner>

Sting ray goiter picture WWM crew, A while back I wrote to you about our California Ray's goiter problem.  It's getting a lot better with the addition of Seachem's Iodide treatment just over the last few weeks.  Anyway, I thought your readers might be interested in seeing what goiter looks like, since it seems to be such a common problem with elasmobranches.  This picture is of Norma the Ray at the height of her goiter problem. <Thank you for this pic and progress report Sherry. Good to hear of the improvement. Bob Fenner>

Nutrition (Coris wrasse, Lionfish and Eels) Ahh sorry I didn't get this advice earlier.  He died last Saturday night. The situation kept getting worse and worse. kept becoming more and more to himself and eating less. <I'm sorry to hear that, but sometimes nothing can save a sick fish. If you learned from this, then the death will not have been in vain> The other fish in the tank are doing brilliantly and water checks out perfect accept for the water temp which is still too hot.  maybe I should not fill water as full next time to keep light contact farther apart. <Try blowing some fans across the water surface> I guess I assumed that the frozen Mysis shrimp was specifically designed for my marine animals to have all the vitamins and nutrients needed for a healthy fish. <It's a great food, but you still need to vary the diet> Any ideas on what to feed eels and lionfish that isn't feeders?  I have gotten by with feeding things such as cocktail shrimp and other type of shrimp that I can cut up. They will not go for the frozen flakes of Mysis or brine shrimp which contains a better diet. <Try pieces of krill, squid, etc.> Thanks for your help! Bryan <Good luck, Bryan!  Scott F.>

Food recipe Hi, I have a Huma trigger, a gold stripe maroon clown, a dog face puffer, and a Volitans lion. I am interested in making my own fish food so I went to my LFS and bought some items. <Most make your own food recipes are based on buying items from the grocery store. They are safe and cheaper.> My lion is trained to eat raw shrimp from a prong, so this is mainly for the other three (although the puffer and trigger will take raw shrimp from my hand). Here is what I bought. Frozen brine shrimp, <Junk> Mysis, formula one, and silversides. <All excellent, but kind of a shame to spend the money at the LFS for raw ingredients. Silversides are sold at pet shops, but the same thing is found at fish markets called smelts. The Formula One is an excellent food on its own. The same thing goes for the Mysis Shrimp, but maybe to small for your fish except the Clownfish.> I also bought mixed sea veggies (a variety of dried seaweed), <You can buy the same thing at an Asian grocery called Sushi Nori seaweed wrap.> Selcon, <Excellent!> Garlic Extreme, <Don't know if this is a food or extract. Still experimental in my opinion for parasite control.> PhytoPlan, <Green water supplement? Not too useful for fish.> and Omega One marine flakes. <A fine brand of flake food.> Is this selection ok? <If sounds fine, but not the best use of your dollar.> What particular measurements do I need? <Nothing to specific, just some of each, if you decide to go this route.> I want to make this about once a week and just refrigerate it. <It must be frozen.> I will be adding a yellow tang and a panther grouper soon. <I don't know how big your tank is, but unless it is pool size, you should pass on the Panther Grouper. They get to three feet long.> Thanks <Take a look here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feeding.htm to start. -Steven Pro>

Feeding (amounts, types, marine) Dear Mr. Fenner, <Steven Pro in this morning.> I have a simple question, I think, but it continues to plague me every time I think about it. <Ok> I have an 80 gallon, marine, fish only setup with a 20 gallon wet/dry filter/sump underneath. I have plenty of live rock and territory for the fish that I keep. I currently have a lion, an angelfish, two triggers, two tangs, and one damsel. My question, is everywhere I read on your website, you consistently state that overfeeding is a mistake that most fish keepers make. How much is enough? <There is no way to tell you something like a half teaspoon per day. Merely watch the fish and the food. If you see it getting sucked up into the filters, or falling to the ground, or the fish seem lazy in going after it, those are all signs of giving them too much.> How much is too much? I consistently vary their diet, which includes, frozen, flake, pellet, spinach, <I would switch from the spinach to Nori/Seaweed Selects. The terrestrial plants are not digestible, plus they are usually loaded with nitrates and phosphates to fuel nuisance algae.> and live feeders. <I would also get rid of the feeders. I have trained Lionfish, Groupers, Triggers, and others to eat prepared frozen formula foods.> Thank you for your advice, Mike B. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Brine shrimp nutritional properties Hello crew, Pete McKenzie from Western Australia again. <Cheers, Pete! Did you read my reply posted to your last question? I tried sending it 6 times but the mail kept getting returned so I gave up and simply posted it on the dailies hoping that you'd read it> Just a query regarding the use of brine shrimp as fish food.   <adult frozen brine shrimp is quite popular, but a truly useless foodstuff. 3-6% protein for most... even the enriched ones are 12-16% at best> I have read in the WWM FAQs that brine shrimp can have protein levels as low as 4%.  Is this correct?   <yep... one of the most popular brands tests out at 4.5%> Having studied aquaculture both at university and beyond I have many references on the nutritional profile of brine shrimp and protein percentages are generally in the 40 - 60% range.   <sure... for healthy LIVE shrimp that have been fed in culture or freshly hatched... not the frozen, starved adult shrimp packed with lots of water and sold as fish food we see here in the USA <G>> Typically brine shrimp hatch with around 45% protein and this percentage increases with time as the animal uses its lipid reserves. <yes... but only within a window of mere hours... 9-12 for many... less than 24 hours for most before it degrades without supplemental feeding. And there is a big difference between a scientist studying or a fish farmer using freshly hatched shrimp: a quality and necessary first food for many larval creatures in mariculture... versus... the average aquarist buying junk frozen adult brine shrimp. Two very different perspectives. Most aquarists are not aware of the nutritive value of freshly hatched brine. But then again... most aquarists are not rearing larval fishes or food shrimps! As such, 9 hr old brine nauplii is too small to be useful. And the average home aquarist does not want the tedious job of hatching, feeding, and rearing enriched live brine shrimp when a more convenient and nutritive fish food can be found in mysids, krill, Gammarus, Pacifica plankton and live copepods from a fishless refugium. Heehee... its just you nerdy scientist types that don't think hatching brine is a big deal. Ha!> I agree that brine shrimp are not an ideal food for marine fish.  In fact I avoid them in marine larviculture if possible!  <agreed... an unnatural and inferior food> They inhabit hypersaline lakes in the wild and are therefore not a food that most fish would encounter naturally.  Newly hatched brine shrimp lack some amino acids and are usually very low in the important highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs) of EPA and DHA.  A much better alternative from a larviculture perspective is one or more of the many species of copepods, which form the basis to the diet of most larvae hatched in the wild.  These animals have little "pockets" around their bodies to store lipids and as such are a vastly superior food.  Pity they don't have the storage and hatching convenience of brine shrimp!   <also agreed!> Attempts to grow copepods in the numbers required (hundreds of millions per day) for large-scale finfish larviculture have been largely in vain, as these animals have a relatively slow reproductive rate and cannot be held in extremely high densities. Brine shrimp can be an acceptable diet for many fish if they are enriched prior to feeding.  Enrichment may begin when the mouth opens twelve hours after hatching and may involve one or more microalgae or alternatively commercial enrichment products such as Super Selco from INVE Aquaculture.  Many fish are reared from first-feed to weaning (pellets) entirely on properly enriched brine shrimp. From an aquaculture perspective brine shrimp are indispensable for large-scale finfish larviculture.   <agreed> From an aquarist perspective I consider them to be of little dietary value as most aquarists will not be prepared to make the time/effort to enrich them correctly.   <Bada-boom bada-bing!> Perhaps only useful when trying to elicit a feeding response from a fish not eating.  Far better to utilize a refugium to harbor more nutritious copepods and the like for supplemental feeding. <all very wise and appreciated. We will be sharing this of course with our friends on the daily FAQ page. Thank you!> Hope this information is useful, I just wanted to point out that 4% protein is likely an error, and that the humble, much-maligned brine shrimp does have a use somewhere!    <apples and oranges my friend <G>. The deservedly-maligned starved grey (!) frozen adult brine shrimp is still complete trash! Ha! But I do hope your information shared inspires at least a few more people to consider hatching live brine and enriching all. Best regards, Anthony>

Questions on marine fish - What to feed them I just bought a small yellow eye tang, a yellow tang, and 2 Amblygobius rainfordi    <the first two were good choices... the Rainford gobies were very ill-advised. They are extremely difficult to keep alive, require species specific tanks and most die in well under a year. They have very specific and not clearly understood feeding requirements. An otherwise fishless refugium may be necessary where you encourage hair algae to grow (yuck!). It is not clear if they need the hair algae or the zooplankton in it to survive. Either way you have your work cut out for you. In the meantime get some PE Mysis shrimp (68% protein) and try feeding that until you get your refugium set up> Question - the tangs are ignoring the romaine lettuce I offered them. This is the first day after their arrival in my home (I acquired them yesterday from a LFS - a nice one - in Columbus Ohio). They totally ignore the romaine on lettuce clips. They swim right by it, under it, and over it but don't chew on it. <please don't feed lettuce or any terrestrial plant. The cellulose is indigestible and if you freeze or blanch it to make it digestible it is still a low grade food that is polluted with nitrate and phosphate (the fertilizer farmers use to grow veggies) and can lead to a ferocious algae bloom in the tank. Try Nori dried seaweed instead (from Asian grocery store... used to roll sushi (maki)>> The yellow eye is constantly picking on my live rock, <natural... they are the best algae eaters... rasping brown diatoms> while the yellow tang just swims back and forth, or occasionally nibbles on the Hikari algae wafers I offered as an alternative (they are made mostly of Spirulina and other veggie matter). <yes.. a pretty good food> Are the algae wafers OK for a yellow tang? <you still need leafy matter (nori0 to let them graze or they will blunt their noses on bald rocks> The wafer package does not indicate it is for saltwater fish - indeed the package shows a freshwater species. <no worries... a great supplement> Should I keep offering the romaine? <nope> Should I feed or offer daily, or less often? <Nori instead daily> This is a new reef system with 45 lbs of live rock. All bad stuff ammonia nitrites nitrates are 0 and the tank went through it's cycle, although abbreviated because I used cured rock from a reliable supplier and I used live sand with plenty of bacteria. <excellent!> What about the yellow eye? Is there something on the rock that he is eating that I can't see? <diatoms> Should I expect him to start eating the romaine? <maybe...no worries if not> He ignores the algae wafers. How should I attend to his eating habits? <let him rasp the algae on the aquarium walls too... don't scrape three sides if you can help it> I was thinking that these two may prefer the sheets of seaweed from the local oriental grocery, <yahoo! Bada boom bada bing!> seeing as how the yellow tang took to the algae wafers. What do you guys think? <Ahhh... yes> Now - about those Amblygobius rainfordi  Rainford Gobies. <gonna die> I think the LFS may have given me wrong information. <me too> They told me these fish should do OK eating off of what they find on my live rock or in the sand. <not even close> The only problem is this is a new tank. Should I provide some food for them (they ignore the algae wafers)? I read with horror that most often, left in a newly established reef on their own, they starve to death. <agreed... almost a certainty without a separate tank/refugium. Do consider setting one up... many benefits to the tank (the refugium)> What, how, and how often should I feed them? <try frozen Gammarus, Pacifica plankton and especially Mysis shrimp for starters... it will buy you time while the refugium matures without fish (and the sand/rocks grow "bugs"/zooplankton). Best regards, Anthony>

Natural Foods Hi Crew, <Scott F. with you tonight> What do Neon Gobies (Gobiosoma oceanops) and Yellowtail Reeffish (Chromis enchrysurus) eat in the wild? <Neon gobies generally will eat parasites and minute crustaceans in the wild. Your Chromis generally will feed on zooplankton in the wild, but can be omnivorous, also feeding on algae.> What is the best replication of these foods/nutrients in the captive setting? <Good choices for both fish would be frozen Mysis shrimp, finely chopped seafoods (clam, shrimp, etc.), and zooplankton, such as Sweetwater plankton, a great product that comes packed in water in jars. It's very nutritious, and fish seem to love it!> I plan to put 2 gobies and 5 Reef fish with an Atlantic Blue Tang (over time) in a 75 gal. FOWLR tank.  I'll feed the tang Caulerpa, Gracilaria, Nori, etc. <Sounds like a nice mix. The tang will get quite large, however, so keep an eye out if things get too crowded, and keep water quality high.> Thanks for you help, Mike <You're welcome, Mike. Enjoy these fish!><<Refer folks to fishbase.org for natural food listings. RMF>>

Cyclop-eeze Hello Steven, Do you know where I can buy the Cyclop-Eeze? I have had a heck of a time finding anything on the web and nobody sells it here in Kalamazoo. Thank you, James Wesley <the master distributor is Argent labs: http://www.argent-labs.com/ and it can be ordered direct here (small link at bottom): http://www.argent-labs.com/argentwebsite/frm3news.htm or you may want to simply contact Argent for advice on the closest local distributor. Best regards, Anthony Calfo WWM>

Bamboo shark Question (vitamins) Bob, I asked my LFS if they had any sort of shark vitamin, they suggested Kent marine essential. I read the contents and saw that it contains, Inorganic mineral salts of aluminum, boron, bromine, calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, lithium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, potassium, selenium, sulfur, strontium, tin, vanadium, and zinc in a base containing deionized water and EDTA. <Mmm, not what you're looking for> I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that they were wrong. You will be happy to know I decided to consult with you first. I cant seem to find any shark specific vitamins or water additives, <Not necessary that they be specified for sharks... the metabolism of all vertebrates is about the same...> do you know of an chain stores that would carry this or any brand names I can call and ask for, I know of ocean nutrition Shark formula, any others? <Look for encapsulated (or make your own with store bought gelatin capsules) "baby vitamins"... and do conceal them in food items right ahead of feeding... and add a drop or two of an iodide supplement to the food. Brand not important. Bob Fenner> Thanks a lot Tom

Hawaiian Ogo... Lolo for Ogo! Aloha WWM Crew, <Eh Howzit Jeff, Scott F. with you (one haole with one Big Island girl)> Your web site is DA KINE (the best). I can't thank you guys enough for the great service you provide. I live on the island of Oahu and have a 55 FO tank. I have a question about Hawaiian Ogo (seaweed). I noticed that the local markets have fresh Ogo bagged for consumption. I was wondering if you could place that Ogo in your sump or main display. <If you got the Ogo already refrigerated, chances are it will not grow in your sump or aquarium. If it's fresh, meaning you "jus' wen pick em from da ocean water," then, the Ogo will probably survive and grow. I have had success growing fresh Ogo in a 10 gallon aquarium with an airstone. Please note that Ogo (Gracilaria parvispora) needs a lot of light and should be kept in suspension in order to grow at its best>  Moreover, would it be okay to place shoreline rocks from the North Shore into my tank without worrying about pollution and other negative consequences. Thanks for all your help. <Jeff, are you referring to coral rubble or lava rock? If it's coral rubble, it may be okay after curing. If it's lava rock, it may not work in a closed system, because of the possibility that it could release lots of compounds that will induce microalgae growth. Also, you might want to check with local authorities to see if it's legal to collect rock.> Jeff <Malama Pono and A hui hou! Scott F.>

...about that copper sulfate... Good evening WWM crew!  <Good Evening Teyah!> Hope you all are well. <Just peachy so far!> A couple of nights ago I discovered that some pellets I was feeding my cleaner shrimp had copper sulfate in them. While this doesn't seem to have adversely affected the shrimp, I wanted to discontinue using the product. Prime Reef was suggested as another possible source of food, and indeed I've read/heard lots of good things about this frozen food.  <Comes in flake version as well w/o Copper Sulfate. (At least the plastic jar/jug I have).> Tonight, however, I discovered that one of the ingredients (trace elements) in this is copper sulfate. So... just how harmful is copper sulfate to inverts if given in this form? Since it says right on the package that this stuff is "ideal for reef systems", & given that I've heard of other people feeding it to their shrimp/inverts, that leads me to believe that it can't be THAT bad. What's the word guys? Should I feed it to them or not? Thanks for the advice/time patience! Have a great night! TJ <Well your shrimp should be proud of you for thinking of them and doing such a great job of reading the labels! I wouldn't feed this food or the darned brine shrimp pellets either! Frozen marine meats like those available from your local fish store will do nicely, or frozen or flake foods w/o copper sulfate. Keep reading those labels and enjoy your shrimp! Craig>

Feeding Fresh Foods Hi Bob, I have two questions. 1. Do you need to feed fresh seafood to your saltwater fish?  <can be very nutritious, is recommended for many fishes and corals> If so do I just go to the local store and buy fresh shrimp, clams and squid and put it in a blender and then freeze it?  <sounds good... be sure to freeze it as you have stated. Never feed raw fresh for risk of disease transmission. In fact... studies have shown that previously frozen foods have less bacteria and more nutrition because they are frozen quickly after catch and "preserved" whereas fresh raw foods are kept chilled only for an extended time> I assume you wouldn't cook it because it's not cooked in the ocean and it would be too hard to chew.  <actually no cooking because it destroys nutrients> I have the following Saltwater fish so you know a little about what I'm trying to feed. A pair of Maroon Clownfish, a Purple Tang and a Scott's Fairy Wrasse in my 55 gallon. In my 46 gallon I have a Coral Beauty Angel and a Foxface rabbit fish.  <you have a mixture of omnivores and herbivores> I'm concerned about my Fairy Wrasse because I want him to have a good meat based diet.  <exactly... try Gammarus and mysids froze from the LFS freezer too. Also, fresh (jar) Sweetwater Plankton... a find for Anthiines> I feed Formula one and two flake and some tetra flake. Seaweed sheets once a week and the frozen Pygmy Angel food along with Frozen Brine Shrimp.  <all fine but the brine (a hollow useless food)... do add some higher protein crustaceans to the diet like krill, shrimp, mysids, Pacifica plankton, etc> I'd appreciate any advise on the fresh frozen food you can provide.............Thanks again........Chet Get more from the Web. <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Feeding Fresh Foods
Anthony, Is Sweetwater Plankton something like Marine Snow?  <nope... It is larger and an interesting zooplankton substitute for picky feeders like Anthias. I believe Red Sea distributes it now> I'm not sure what Gammarus and mysids are but I can ask my local fish store.  <fresh and saltwater crustaceans respectively. Most good LFS outlets have a source for these frozen foods. Fish King is on of many brands that offers them. Be sure to get Mysids... very good food> Are Kole Tangs also known as Yellow eye Tangs really good at eating hair algae on live rock?  <they are very good nuisance algae grazers... but no tang is especially good at controlling hair algae once it grows much beyond 1/2" long. For this you need to address the root of the problem... inadequate nutrient control/water changes and skimming. Skim aggressively (daily product) and watch it wane in mere weeks with little effort on your part.> I just wanted to be sure before I got one.............Chet <a very nice fish. Best regards, Anthony>

Golden pearls (dry rotifers) Hey there, I just received my order of Golden Pearls, active spheres and clusters, and I was wondering what I should be looking for in the way of polyp expansion etc. Should I be feeding these at night when the LPS and SPS are sending out their feeding tentacles? Hope you can give me a hand, there are absolutely no feeding instructions on anything I received. Thanks, Charlie <Greetings, Charlie. The product you have mentioned has been received with mixed results in the industry. I am hopeful of this or a like product being viable as a zooplankton substitute but do have my concerns about particle size and delivery of "prey" to coral predators. You are correct that a night feeding is recommended for the LPS and SPS (possibly) that may accept it. A slurry or suspension can me made with the product (whisked in a blender is best) and poured into a strong stream of water in the tank. The mfg claims to have microbubbles in the product which help to keep the food in suspension longer. Curious. I need to work more with the product myself to draw a more specific conclusion. Do seek the smaller sized items in the product line. See mfg info here: http://www.brineshrimpdirect.com/brineshrimpproduct5.htm#goldenpearls Best regards, Anthony>

Aquarium food supplements Dear Crew, can you please help me to find out which is the best additive for my tank, <IMO, the fewer the better.> I have a 65 gallon reef, and I currently use marc Weiss reef vital and Knop f as well as feeding my fish marine cuisine from san Francisco bay brand, I have a large collection of hard and soft corals and I utilize a Knop model c reactor (currently using CaribSea arm media, excellent!) I have been toying with the idea of buying an aqua medic phyto reactor, but I'm unsure, I've also just bought a blue sponge which came on a piece of cats paw coral, will this totally photosynthesize or are the additives that I am using sufficient, <Your blue sponge is partly photosynthetic, but will also absorb organics and perhaps phytoplankton from the water column.> I have 2 150watt MH lamps on my tank. your thoughts greatly appreciated Paul <I prefer to provide calcium, alkalinity, and occasional use of iodine, but that is it as far as supplements/additives. Feeding and regular water changes take care of the rest. -Steven Pro>

Feeding bananas? hey guys, a wholesaler was in the store recently (my family own a store here) and was mentioning the method of feeding banana to specimens in order to "fatten them up", and for nutrition, he claims is a common practice from shippers, your thoughts?.....riot... <Actually is done in places. Bob Fenner>

Hovercraft fish Hi I have a hovercraft fish called Harry <A new common name to me. Not Harry, but hovercraft... for a Lactoria no doubt> he is ok most of the time but when I give him Marine flake food he seems to go a little mad he spins around dives up and down and all sort of things I am wondering could it be the flake food that is causing this reaction <Mmm, reading your note... it seems like these are linked events> Thanking you in advance for your help. Theresa <Maybe this fish really likes the flake food, or something in it. Bob Fenner>

Feeding questions Good evening, <And thou> I have a few questions on feeding. I have a 30 gal tank, it consists of two percula clownfish, male/female(?) <Eventually, likely> they get along great 2" and 1 1/2", a 1" yellow damsel, a 2" Hawkfish, four turbo snails, and a couple hermits. That the Hawkfish hasn't found yet) The plan is to add two Featherdusters next week. <Mmm, a thirty is a bit small for all this life in a long-er time frame> Their diet consists of flake in the morning, a alternation of ocean nutrition formula one, and tetra marine color flakes, lunch snack every other day consist of freeze dried plankton, and evenings I feed frozen bloodworms. Guess the question "Is it varied enough?  <Likely so... I would alternate the dried prepared food brands... HBH, Spectrum, Omega Sea...> Just started the formula one to get more algae into their diet, I think I read in the FAQs that brine shrimp (?) was nutrition less. <Variable in food value> And it got me thinking if blood worms was a proper frozen selection.  <Occasional use recommended> Some on the site recommend formula one frozen. (should I look to switch if the LPS carries?) I also read on your site about Selcon and was planning on starting this vitamin supplement. Good idea? <Yes> For the Featherdusters (think Anthony replied to my question last week) was going to go with the clam juice and periodically go with the raw clams and shrimp done up in the handy chopper. (baster feed the dusters and larger scraps to the fish). (is minced can clams acceptable? <Yes, just use conservatively> I worry about additives) And for a late night shot I planned on ordering (along with the Selcon) DTs phytoplankton to feed the live rock and dusters a bit. To much? To little? <Variety is fine... amount, frequency need to be monitored> I've always tried to vary the diet between flakes and frozen, not sure if it's the proper variation? or if I should add the vitamin supplements? <Think of your own nutrition... formats, content are important to consider... if you suspect your own diet is nutrient-limited or limiting due to food sources, health-state (more vitamin C for me when I drink alcohol for instance), it may well be worthwhile to supplement.> Just have to say great site, It's funny though, all that is recommended by the crew masters or readers, my LPS has never heard of. <Corals of LFS as in store likely. An opportunity here to make a comment re shops, personnel therein. Many folks seem to be "under the impression" or of the attitude that people who own, work in fish retail are able to know, relate all needed, pertinent information re any given subject, organism, group to be found in such establishments. This is assuredly not the case (nor is it possible here btw, though we have the advantage of taking our time, consulting with each other, references... and not the time taken up scrubbing tanks!). Understand that the field doesn't pay well, attracts newer "growing" consumers who learn as they go by and large... and hence all that is offered by LFS should be "taken with a 50 gal. bag of salt (or bucket if you can heft it), as "input"... no greater, lesser valid than what we, magazines, BB's, even books can/may offer... There is no defensible argument for not becoming/being a good consumer in our hobbyist fields... In other words, arm yourself with an open, educated mind and attitude whenever you encounter information.> Thank you kindly, (and my fish thank you).

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