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FAQs about Poritid Coral Feeding/Nutrition

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Got to make sure each polyp is individually fed... Yikes!

Re: Porites trouble, and fdg.    2/26/11
Thanks Bob for the quick response. My mg is at 1250. A little low but just enough to keep my parameters where I try to keep them.
<Is fine>
Since I have no fish in the tank I have been feeding my tank a combination of Brightwell Phytochrome and rotifers twice a week.
<Mmm, not really useful>
Now that I think of it I fed the tank the day before the coral closed?
Wonder it the food caused the coral closed. Kinda of like a full belly?
<Kind of like toxic. BobF>

coral help... Goniopora fdg. 04/27/09
I am hoping to get some help with coral.
I recently came across WWM, and also found Sara Mavinkurve's website ASIRA.
On her site, Sara lists the Goniopora, and says recent breakthroughs make it possible to keep them in captivity. She then goes on to provide a link to a webpage that defines the feeding methods require. The problem is that this page is no longer active.
<Oh geez, I'm so sorry... that the link is bunk, but even more so that such a great site no longer exists.>
I recently lost 2 of Goniopora. They were sold to me with assurances of how easy they were to care for. I feel terrible about losing them and am desperate to learn how to care for them.
So, I am wondering if Sara is still a member of WWM, and if so, if she would be able to provide me the feeding info that was discovered, which is not listed on her website.
<Indeed, I am! And I will help you as much as I can. What are you doing currently for target feeding? I suggest you start hatching brine shrimp asap. Fresh, live, baby brine is a great food for them. In the mean time you could start with frozen baby brine shrimp from your LFS. Rotifers, oyster eggs, and other small, meaty foods are also good. But putting these in the tank is usually not enough. You will have to feed the corals under a "dome" of some sort or another (creature keepers work well). Also, I hope you have a DSB and/or refugium and feed DT's phytoplankton. This will increase your invert populations... these critters, in term, produce larvae and such that can also feed the corals.>
Or is there anyone at WWM who knows and could answer this question for me?
I do want to have them in my aquarium but I am determined not to risk them without specific knowledge.
<Very wise, much appreciated...>
Please advise.
William Hernandez
<Thank you for writing, I will have to remove that link, provide more specific information on the site,
Sara M.>

Re: coral help  4/27/09
Thank you, Sara.
Currently I'm not doing anything, as the 2 I had died (very depressing).
<If it eases your pain at all, they are relatively abundant and fast growing in the wild...>
I used to do targeted feeding, but only with phytofeest
<Oh no... that wouldn't work. Phytofeast, despite what it says on the bottle is not really "live" phytoplankton (it might be live at the time it is bottled and it might have a few live cells, but not so significant). Thus, it might help somewhat with your invert populations, though not as much as with DTs (IMO/experience)... but the coral almost always need more than this. I say "almost always" because there is this one LFS owner/manager here in Fresno who has kept Goniopora alive and growing for years. It baffles me that he does not target feed the corals at all. When asked, he says he believes it's because he read somewhere that if you "cut open a Goniopora" all you find is phytoplankton. So he doses DTs with a heavy hand. I know, this is starting to sound like a commercial for DT's, but I am a big believer in it and I don't see anything else this guy does that's so different than other aquarists who fail with these corals.>
and with the normal tank flow. I see now that the poor things probably starved. I'd been told by my LFS that normal tanking feeding was enough (not true).
<It's very rare for aquarists to keep these corals alive without forget feeding them. Again, the only cases I know of, where people kept them alive without target feeding, is in systems where live phytoplankton is added quite generously.>
I won't be getting one immediately, but as soon as I'm ready to get one I'll let you know how it goes.
Thanks for the advise, and the website. It's good to have that information out there.
<De nada,
Sara M.>

Goniopora gut contents  1/8/08 Dear Bob, I came up with your name through Googling Goniopora. I would like to know how long ingested zooplankton stays in Goniopora's gut after feeding. <Mmm, depending... on hunger, temperature, the type of food... a few days... 2,3,4> If you know the answer, could you please let me know? Thanks, Sofia <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/poritidfdgfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Condylactis passiflora, intra species contention?, and now Goniopora ID, feeding, sys.   7/13/07 Thanks very much for your enlightening response ;-) Have actually spent literally years reading WetWebMedia FAQs and articles, was merely struggling a bit with this one, in any case have re-tackled the Alkalinity/Hardness/Ca issue and think I'm pretty much across the concepts (if I'm not , then I suspect I never will be). Have tested my water (PH 8.2, Salinity 1.025, Nitrates >60ppm, no Nitrites or Ammonia, Temp 24C, Ca 340ppm, dKH 12.5), and doesn't seem too bad. Regarding the possible Condy contention below , should I move one of them out if I can get the chance ( if they come out of the holes they have burrowed into to)? <Yes, I would> Confession Time: The background here is that a not so "funny thing happened the other day", Bear in mind , I haven't devoted a lot of time to the hobby over the last year, and my memory isn't so good, as a result I have made a rather disastrous mistake: I was in the LFS to buy a Sarcophyton I have had my eye on for a few weeks, and while I was there they had a beautiful large Goniopora (WAIT!, WAIT! please, stay with me.....just a bit longer) and they only wanted $55 AUD for it . I said to the "Expert" in charge of their marine section "Isn't that the one that has the really dismal survival rate in captivity?", ." Oh no, says Expert, these are quite easy and this one has been doing really well " . <Mmm, not so... this Genus IS the most used historically... but also has the survival value adverb you suggest> I wander the shop some more with my two year old son distracting me heavily thinking "....or is that the other one beginning with" Go", gogi.., gopi..something...?, and suddenly remember "That's it! Gorgonian!, the Sea fan, it must be that one that I was thinking of that I decided never to own. <Mmm, well, some of those/these hexacorals are not aquarium-hardy at all either...> Bought said victim, took home looked at notes/bookmarks again , placed head in hands and came to realisation that am probably developing Alzheimer's. <I can't seem to remember...> After sobbing a bit decided to do right thing and return it for a credit note, but ....LFS won't take it back, and don't have any friends that do Marine. I feel like such an idiot! I only didn't mention this before because it's so embarrassing, Now I am stuck with it, and desperately don't want to be responsible for killing it, it is a beautifully healthy specimen. Have spent a full week of hours per day researching ways to keep it alive (hampered by the fact that I can't decide if it is a stokesi, columna or lobata (Even though I majored in Animal Ecology at Uni 17 years ago ... <See my cursory review of "The World Trade in Coral" posted on WWM... species, even higher tax. ID's of Scleractinia are not easy> like I said, my brain appears to have fallen out). It is Hemispherical Colony on a single coned shaped column (looks like they skeleton has basically grown out and up in a circular fashion), Polyps are long and brown with green tipped tentacles (attached pictures, - the leather is has now been moved away from the Goni and I will keep a close eye on the Condy's although they don't seem inclined to move again, clown hasn't approached it) What do you think it might be? <Am looking... Columns too long for the first... tentacles not shaped like the second... I make this out to be the most common aquarium species, G. stokesi> Now if you are still reading , here's my questions : I have a bag of Seachem Oolitic Aragonite , that I bought for several reasons , one because my Nitrates keep creeping too fast (about 20-40ppm per week in 100 litre tank) <The high/er NO3 is actually of use, advised for this genus...> to be explained by my tiny stock (two small/medium fish) and stingy feeding rates and frequent (weekly) water changes, that I suspect that the 3 year old crushed shell substrate may be harbouring to much bound organic matter (even though I vacuum it vigorously) so I want to replace it. <I would NOT do this... but possibly add to...> Two because I was originally thinking to use it to help stabilise Alkalinity and add Ca , and Three because I am hoping/Praying I can foster some microfauna to help feed the Goni (do these 3 arguments sound plausible?). <Is, though a much larger system, and really a separate, tied-in refugium with DSB, lighting... is STRONGLY advised> Given that the water parameters above don't seem too bad for Ca and KH considering that I have never measured or attempted to alter either in 3 years , should I leave the Aragonite out in case it messes with the balance? (no.. I can't fit a refugium to this tank (wife/children etc) ). <I would leave in for the very organic component you mention...> In terms of Feeding it , I am attempting a mix of Hikari rotifer, baby shrimp and algae glass scraping, and recently purchased some frozen blocks of Spirulina, octopus, mussel, and shrimp mush to try as well (having trouble getting Cyclop-eeze, do you think the freeze dried would be ok or should I only go for the frozen if I can get it?). <All are suitable if small enough to fit into individual polyps... I would develop a routine of "covering" the colony temporarily, immersing the polyps with food... while having mechanical filtration suspended during these minutes... to assure each are fed...> If I can impose on your patience just a little longer... some Goni questions that I have read conflicting arguments on : 1. Do they tolerate nitrate well or not, have read conflicting assertions, I am guessing my typical reading of around 40ppm may still be a bit high for it? <This genus lives in quite "polluted" waters... including VERY high NO3 concentration> 2. Are baby shrimp small enough/suitable for it? (these look about the same size as a rotifer), should I try and culture some green water (phytoplankton) maybe? <Mmm, don't eat phytoplankton to any appreciable degree... meaty food items need to be "mouth size"... or smaller> 3. Is it abnormal for it to close into a swollen ball for about 4 hours after the lights go out, it only seems to look really happy during the day ( have read they should be out day and night), it is only under 2 x 18W at the moment and seems quite happy and I am about to add 75W 6500K for it, do you think it might actually not like the brighter light ( it WAS under Halides in the shop) <Not atypical behavior in both cases> 4. The LFS was feeding it JBL Koralle Fluid and claims it loves it, all the stock I can find on Melbourne shelves is out of date by a least 6 months!, most of the Red sea and Seachem alternatives I can find here all list about 0.0003mg/g of copper in them, <Not to worry re this preservative trace> (except for Red Sea Coral Trace that I can't get any specs on at all and Marine trace that just says the elements but no concentrations) and I am worried this may accumulate and hurt my feather dusters and corals, even though it isn't much, do you think Seachem Reef Trace(0.0003mg/g Cu) or Reef Plus(0.001Mg.g Cu) might be a good product for my Goni even with the copper? <Yes... no worries. Some small amount of copper is actually necessary... a "micro-nutrient"> I have to keep this guy alive in this tank for around 10 months somehow until I can get my new 5 foot reef system up and running (house being built at the moment) with refugium, Thalassia etc. <I'd move it last...> I will keep researching , but would appreciate any pearls of wisdom you could impart (besides " Research before you buy" and."... keep reading" already know those ones ;-) ) Cheers,
<Heeee! BobF>

Living Overseas And Searching For Good 'Non-Refrigerated' Coral Foods -- 06/28/07 I have somewhat run into a problem with feeding the coral. <<Oh? What genera/species?>> I am currently living in S. Korea, and quality items are few and far between. <<I see>> This being my first SW set-up outside the US, I've had to order equipment from the States. <<Lucky we have the Internet these days, eh?'¦wish it had been around during 'my' overseas tours>> I have been reading on your site continuously with no avail. <<Okay>> My question for you: Is there any dry coral food that is actually good? <<There is'¦and I will elaborate shortly>> All the reviews from everyone make dry invert/coral food a bad idea. <<Opinions differ>> Since I cannot get shipped "live" items, makes this even more difficult. So my choices are finding a quality dry food, un-refrigerated liquid (which from what I read is a bottle of crap), <<For the most part, yes, I agree>> or trying to find something on the Korean market (fingers crossed). Currently all I have now is a few small feather dusters on the LR, and a medium size piece of Alveopora (Branch) Coral (along with two small clowns). What suggestions for food do you have, and what path should I take? <<Well John, there are a few manufactured products I think can be useful/will fit your criteria and I will go over these in a moment. But what you need here is an in-line plankton-generating refugium. This would be your best and most economic source of 'coral food''¦along with the other benefits such a system provides (lots of info re to be found here and among the links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm). There are several refugium methodologies you could employ, but I think a reverse-daylight vegetable refugium with DSB would work just dandy here. As for dry/non-refrigerated packaged products'¦ I like and use Polyp Lab Reef-Roids. This is a 'fine dry powder' product that seems to illicit good feeding responses in my SPS dominated reef system. You can find this product here (http://www.aquariumspecialty.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=783&osCsid=b5a1cb93cf978ad7d489575f88b0d8f1)'¦the owner of the site (Scott) is a friend of mine, you can tell him I referred you if you like. For corals AND fishes requiring larger food items, the saltwater variety of Sweetwater Zooplankton is a good choice. This is a very good vacuum-packed 'wet' product that does not require refrigeration until opened. A third item that will benefit both fishes and corals is freeze-dried Cyclop-Eeze. The use of these products in unison should give you pretty good 'coverage''¦especially if you employ the refugium as well. And if you should ever find yourself with animals that need/require Phytoplankton, the ESV spray-dried product would suit your circumstance>> Thanks! John <<Ah, one last thought'¦I have found that placing a few 'shrimp pellets' in some tank water and waiting a few minutes to let them crumble/dissolve also provides some nourishment/may fill another niche in the reef food chain. Good luck with your search. Eric Russell>>  

Flower pot coral Dear Crew, <cheers, my friend> I have a 80 gallon traditional with 90 lbs of Fiji LR., 1 inch crushed coral <please be careful with coarse gravel at this depth... can be dangerous in time if neglected. Finer sand would be better and deeper here (over 3" if you want denitrification), or any sand at 1/2 or less would be safer. At 1" coarse, you should siphon or stir a couple times monthly. Be faithful and employ very strong water flow in the tank too> Lighting is P.C. at 4 watts per gallon(12 Hrs).  Filtration is a Fluval 304 and bio-wheel  (300 gph). (2) power heads  Water temp fluctuates between 79-80 degrees. nitrite/nitrates 0.0   ph 8.4  salinity 1.022-23.  Current occupants (1) large yellow tang, (1) Coral beauty (1) red lipped Blenny.  Various cleaner and peppermint shrimp, coral banded, etc 40-50 hermits (blue and red) 25 Astrea snails... Phew, sorry to bore you with that but I was afraid leaving anything out would provide to many variables for you to accurately answer my question. <Very good and all fine...> My flower pot (Goniopora lobata ) ( the green one not the purple) is mid level with medium to light flow.   <this species (G. stokesii) is a free-living coral and really must be kept on a fine sand bottom. Most will die if kept on rock> It has been in my tank for 6 months.  It has recently only "deployed" the tentacles on the upper half of the "dome" never fully deploying as it used to.   <alas... yours is right on time for a starving Goniopora...typical> I am feeding Phytoplex 3 times a week (1 Tablespoon).  Do you know what it could be? <the polyp cycles on/near hard rock haven't helped... but your animal is simply starving. Most studies say that bottled phyto is not even remotely small enough for phyto feeders such as this Gonio. And that is assuming that you whisk every portion fed in an electric blender before feeding to reduce particle size. Product also needs to be less than 6 months old (with a born on date... not a bogus expiration date). The bottled phyto also needs to be bought and kept refrigerated the entire time. Most people fail o the electric blender part. Phyto straight from a bottle without this protocol is about as useless as a rotting hamburger in the tank. Both will grow copepods and neither will keep your Gonio alive. My best advice is to get this coral into a macro dense fie sand refugium. They can fare very well here. I had a colony of almost a dozen of these Gonios in such a display for about 5 years and they produced buds for many years on a monthly basis. I used seagrasses for natural plankton and epiphytic material> I'll send a 61 kb photo so you don't have to use your imagination :)  I love your site! Thank you. Steve <best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Flower Pot Coral II Dear Crew, As you remember, I wrote concerning my G. Stokesii (thanks for the correction). I wrote Kent and awaited a response. The response is in and I value your opinion as much and possibly more (your helping the amateurs, he is selling a product). Please do not take offense to my quotation of expert as I am unfamiliar with your staffs qualifications. <No problem. If you are interested, there is a page on the crew, who we are, what we look like, what we do, etc. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/wwmcrew.htm> I simply didn't want some smug response from them saying "who this guy, we are the pro's" <No, I am the Pro, Steven Pro to be exact. :)> You seem to overqualified to say the least and I am interested in your response. By the way, they asked If I am skimming. I said yes 4 hours per day venturi style. Effective today I have 3 inches of aragonite live sand and the stokesii are on the bottom. Thanks Steve- HERE IS THE OFFICIAL RESPONSE FROM KENT Hello, Thanks very much for your inquiry; I'll do my best to try and clear up some confusion. Goniopora, in general, has a poor track record for survival in captivity, and the reasons for this aren't very clear to even the most experienced hobbyists and professionals in the industry. There are many factors, however, that are often observed and/or theorized to have an influence on the survival rate. Certainly, water temperature, nitrogenous waste concentrations, light characteristics, water flow, dissolved oxygen concentration, nutrient input, and presence of toxins excreted by nearby corals and other cnidarians play roles in the relative survival rate of Goniopora. I will, at this point, say that I am not aware that any specific studies have been performed on "bottled phytoplankton" and the size of the species included as they pertain to the feeding habits of Goniopora. Our product, Phytoplex, contains three species of phytoplankton in a size range of 2-15 microns, and our ChromaPlex contains two species with a size range of 5-25 microns. The recognized lower limit on size of phytoplankton as noted by Marine Biologists and Oceanographers is 2 microns; therefore I find it difficult to believe that Goniopora, which feed not only on phytoplankton (all 2 microns and larger), but also on zooplankton (also 2 microns and larger) are not able to feed on organisms present in our products. In other words, the insinuation or claim that the phytoplankton in Phytoplex are too large for Goniopora doesn't hold water. Corals and other organisms that feed on the smallest classes of plankton, femto- and picoplankton, at 0.02-0.2 microns and 0.2-2.0 microns, respectively, often use a visible mucous to aid in the capture of such small particles; Goniopora do not display that characteristic. Note that the femtoplankton class is composed wholly of virioplankton (virus'), and picoplankton is composed of bacterioplankton. Again, I believe that an individual would be hard-pressed to locate a study performed on Goniopora citing their feeding schemes, but perhaps I'm just not reading enough these days. Now, allow me to say that if the coral isn't getting the amount of nutrients it needs (i.e. the coral is simply not capturing enough of the plankton to meet its nutritional requirements) in order to survive and thrive, that's another matter, more easily solved. You didn't mention that you have a protein skimmer on this aquarium, did you omit that information or is the tank skimmer-less? Kindest regards, Cris Brightwell Marine Scientist Kent Marine, Inc. www.kentmarine.com <While I know of no studies involving Phytoplankton and Goniopora, Dr. Rob Toonen did perform a study on bottled Phytoplankton products. You should be able to easily find this on the net. The basics are what Anthony gave you in the last email. To be useful, it must be fresh, refrigerated, and whisked to ensure proper particle size. While their live Phytoplankton is probably of the sizes he quoted, Dr. Toonen's study showed that all of these products have a tendency to clump, making them worthless. They must be used up in less than six months, refrigerated the entire time (wholesale, retail, and your home), and need to be blended for a few minutes to minimize clumping. Do read the article for yourself, though. -Steven Pro>

The Scoop on Poop- corals feeding directly on nitrogenous matter I was recently researching things over on RC and found this: http://www.reefcentral.com/vbulletin/archive/84/2002/11/1/99557 for the abstract: An aquarist has found that Goniopora greedily devour tang fecal matter as well as goo left on an algae clip from a piece of Nori. he's going to experiment with target feeding it waste from his skimmer (disgusting, but given what he's observed so far...), just a drop or two. Given how notoriously difficult these corals are to keep, I thought someone out there might be able to use this info. PF <Michael, thank you my friend... once again you have demonstrated that you really know your Sh*t. Best regards, Anthony>

Goniopora coral Anthony, Thank you so much for responding. I can't believe you respond to so many people! I hope it all comes back to you. <its a labor of love, my friend> What is your book called, and where can I buy it? <My last book is called "Book of Coral Propagation" (can get direct from readingtrees.com, Amazon.com or here on wetwebmedia.com by following link on the home page for our new book "Reef Invertebrates"  (BOCP1 box is on the same order form)> I'm going to do everything possible to save and keep my Goniopora. <that is awesome to hear! It truly is a beautiful coral. Do consider keeping it in a colony in a Seagrass refugium or dedicated display. That will work best IMO> I am >monitoring my water quality constantly, and it all seems perfect. My concern now if feeding it. Can you please just inform me what I should get, and how to make sure it is being fed. <as mentioned in the last message, there is little or not organismal feeding. No catch up to be played with this coral. They need deep sand beds and refugiums that are old and mature> Also all the supplements that will help him? <none are known to work although the bottled phyto folks would like you to believe otherwise. If anything, try the bottled phyto or better yet, start your own live phyto reactor and 24/7 drip> If you lived near Boston I would have taken the Goniopora to you to save it.:-) <dude... I was just in Boston 3 weeks ago giving a lecture for the Boston Reefers Club meeting at a U. Mass hall. Do seek support/advice from local reefers in the club. Attend their meetings too... a great club with some sweet tanks :)! See their forum here: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=869e765f2b7a6c35acbc35c11092eb1c&forumid=116  > Thanks! Martin PS: I can offer you website development if you ever need a favor back. <thanks kindly. Be chatting soon. Anthony>

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