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FAQs about Stony Coral Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 1

Related Articles: Coral Feeding, Food/Feeding/Nutrition, LPS Corals, True or Stony Corals, Order Scleractinia, Propagation for Marine Aquarium Use

Related FAQs: Coral Feeding 2, Coral Feeding 3, & FAQs on Stony Coral Feeding: Rationale, Types, Amounts, Frequency, Techniques, Coral Foods DIY, Commercial Products... & Cnidarian Feeding, Growing Reef CoralsStony Coral IdentificationStony Coral Behavior, See Also: Marine Foods/Feeding/Nutrition in the lower tray of Marine Maintenance:

Tip On Goniopora <fdg., ltg.> And A Question On Frogspawn <beh., id.> 6/23/10
Greetings crew!
First off, your site is incredible and I use it as my saltwater aquaria bible.
<Thank you, and glad to hear.>
My first point is a tip with Goniopora or flowerpot coral since it seems to be a delicate creature and hard for some to take care of.
<I agree.>
I have had the red variety of Goniopora in my tank (55gal with skimmer, charcoal media filter and 29gal refugium and 216W T5 with 2 10K and 2 Actinic and moon lights on a 12hr timer) with Zoas, Palys, Xenia, multiple
LPS (Favias, FS, chalice), Rics and Shrooms, a few softies (chili and orange carnation), a rose BTA and a Tube Anemone. Fish are Six Line Wrasse, Black Saddle Perc Clown, Orange Perc Clown, fire goby and a Blue Hippo
Tang. Said Goniopora has been healthy, blooming and encrusting for 5 months now. I feed Mysis, brine soaked in Selcon then drained and seaweed (for the tang) and zooplankton (targeted) and phytoplankton (twice a week). The
phyto is for softies and Goniopora. I read a study, possibly on this site, that studies of dissected Goniopora in the wild found the majority of the stomach contents to be phytoplankton.
<I have read similar reports to that extent, and that Goniopora cannot survive on photosynthesis alone, but depends on phyto for 70% of it's diet.>
I also found that, my species in my tank, seemed to be very sensitive to light changes even light temp. Due to a mix up at the LFS I had to run 3 10K bulbs and 1 actinic instead of the 2 and 2 normal setup. This ran for 4 days before I could correct and caused my flowerpot to completely recede into the skeleton and close the openings to the polyps. Once I fixed the lighting temperature SNAFU, it started to bloom immediately! Hope some of this helps.
<Agree, actinic doesn't do much for photosynthesis.>
Oops, forgot tank parameters:
Nitrate-fluctuates between 0 and 10
Phos-0-0.25 I know...no readable phosphate.
weekly 5gal water changes of RO/DI
1/2 cup dark skimmate every 3-4 days
So my question about the frogspawn is this:
I have researched on your site and others regarding the anatomy and physiology of this species (mine is the green and purple branching variety) regarding feeding parts. I know about sweeper tentacles (mainly for defense and attack) and the mouth located at the center of the head. The part that I am curious about is a tube like opening on each head separate from the mouth. This opening can close and retract and when it is open a translucent fanlike appendage darts out, opens up and rotates to catch particulate and then retreats. This happens constantly through out the day and night; pretty cool to watch. I have not been able to find any info on this on your site. Is this a filter feeding mechanism to add to the photosynthetic algae and carnivorous eating habits of this LPS?
<Mmm, I'm not aware of that physical behavior, and in searching Borneman's book, came up with nothing. I know Euphyllias have developed several feeding strategies and whether this is one of them, I don't know. As crazy as it sounds, it seems as though you have a barnacle of some type growing in the Frogspawn. Your description of this sure resembles a barnacle to me. Bob, am I losing it, or do you have any input?><<Mmm, this IS likely a Cirripedian... a Barnacle; but could be a filter feeding member of other arthropod groups (crab, shrimp). RMF>>
Thanks for your time!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Phytoplankton reactors 9/18/04 I was able to meet Bob Fenner recently in Raleigh and really enjoyed this.   <he is larger than life... blessed to know him> I also now have Anthony's propagation book and it is outstanding.  I was hoping to get feedback about a phytoplankton reactor. <all good... but do realize that in aquaria, the overwhelming demand is for zooplankton. Very little phyto is needed to support this. It is commonly abused as a supplemental staple IMO> My interest is in diversity and nutrition, especially nonphotosynthetic animals.  I'm trying to replicate cryptic environments.  The dendro thing fascinates me (as it does everybody).   <do consider other/better aposymbiotic cnidarians like Scleronepth.s and Chile corals> My background is clinical neurology. The experimental system I have consists of a 120 connected to an Ecowheel with a wave 2K, a 120 with Turbelle stream 6200 on controller set up for laminar flow around a  central divider, two twenty five gallons for experiments with refugia, and a 75 sunlit and compact fluorescent tank DSB currently culturing Chaetomorpha.  I am underwhelmed by the Ecowheel.  The system has a 75 gallon sump with a large Reef Concepts skimmer;  automatic top off and water changes via LiterMeter, sg 1.026.  I have tried feeding Corals and Clams cryopaste and am still working with it.  I have plans to construct a small greenhouse to continue this type of research.   <fantastic to hear... do let me/us know if we can be of help with shared opinions> I do think that stirring the sand bed is the best thing going for nutrition.   <very helpful... agreed> The detritus is recycled not added, and interestingly I have noticed that the sand bed diversity is clearly greater in areas that are gently blown off twice daily compared to nonstirred areas.  I really think a little storm activity is good for the sand bed.  I drain off the turbidity slowly over the overflow into the sump, and then to the tanks. <the reef is quite dynamic even in the calmest parts... much more than our tanks> My question is about a phytoreactor that I have going in one of the 25s. I have grown greenwater for years- sometimes unintentionally!- and this is my first attempt at a phyto reactor.  I used DT's to start;  I currently add no nutrients.  I am not stirring- this setup reminds me of the saltwater tubs Joyce Wilkerson described that she keeps outside for rotifer cultures, and that emboldened me to try not stirring, no airstone.  The pH gets high and slows down the growth.  I think the pH is more steady when the lights are turned off at night allowing some digestion and co2 release.  Perhaps the lack of stirring will help phyto diversity. I am concerned about toxins generated from this reactor.   <weak issue... no worries> I'm not sure of the benefit compared to Reed Mariculture cryopaste.   <live is better than any processed product IMO on one glaring point - particle size. Most always smaller with live (no clotting or coagulating in time)> The greenwater probably contains lots of things- ciliates, bacteria- and it does seem (Bob Stark) that there is already plenty of bacteria in our tanks. The reactor does seem to pull out nutrients well- discarding the stuff seems to be an effective microalgae scrubber.  I think we know a lot about many of the filter feeders- and the ones of most interest to me, the "dendros", seem to only take SOME of their nutrition from phyto.   <true... some take none at all... bacteria, floc, other nanoplankton>      So, the questions- 1)  Do you know anyone who has long term success with a phyto reactor like mine?  Any suggested improvements based on this experience (stirring/air, UV, getting rid of it and using cryopaste)? <phyto culture is a science... many people have refined techniques to learn from. Have you chatted with the folks at Florida Aqua farms? Pioneers and suppliers> 2)  Any news about successful experience with dendros from somebody knowledgeable? <none I am aware of recently... rather that not all aposymbiotic Nephtheids in the trade are Dendros... which is a good thing. Seek Scleros instead when you can find them> 3)  I am going to visit GARF, inland seafarm, and Tropicorium in February for my 50th birthday.  Do you know of any really professional greenhouse outfits I might also need to visit? <I like Tropicorium and Inland Aquatics very much. medium sized scale but quality personnel. Most of the outfits farming reef inverts in the US are cottage industry sized. But you may want to see about a visit to ORA in Florida some time... after they recover from hurricane damage> Thanks so much for your advice Charles Matthews MD <best of luck, Anthony>

Coral feeding 6/11/04 I feel so stupid I post you guys like two questions a day at the moment but I want to understand what I'm doing and get it right I am beginning to understand it is not quite an exact science though. <no worries> Any way my maze brain coral (if that's what it is) still haven't fed it but I now understand I can feed it actual food as in Mysis or krill mashed I thought it had to have liquid zoo or phyto plankton. <yes on the former... easy on the latter. For this and all corals, just look at their polyps (size and behavior) - "Form Follows Function". Large polyps that come out at night eat zooplankton (amphipods, copepods, etc. and like substitute: Mysis, rotifers, etc.). Tiny polyps that are out all day long or randomly, tend to eat nanoplankton (perhaps bacteria, floc, phyto, etc.)> Geo Liquid is what I have had recommended know anything about what this is? <no idea> Is it what I need? <if its a phyto substitute... no. Not needed for this coral> Thanks so much for answering all my stupid little (and some rather vague) questions, cheers. <all good... best of luck. Anthony>

Coral Chow? Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I have a question about feeding my corals. I have a bubble coral and I started out feeding it twice a week. Then not much at all. It started to not expand fully. It has a small piece of Septa where a mouth used to be. I read your article on feeding bubble corals 5 times a week or every day. The pet store where I buy my stuff isn't all that great on knowing all the animals. I'm going to list my corals and I feed formula one to the bubble and it looks better already. I want to know which ones require meat and how often and how much. <Well, it's hard to generalize. There are many different corals that can benefit from "meaty" foods; some need to be fed very finely minced seafoods...I'd suggest a good reference on corals, such as Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals", or Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation" for much more detail than we can go into here> Example: one block of formula one or half or one quarter. I don't want to feed meat to any coral that requires light and I hear doing that can kill your coral. <Not altogether true. Sure, corals that are completely autotrophic will not benefit from further feeding. These are rather rare, but there are well known examples, such as Xenia and Clavularia. You could "kill your coral" by smothering them in foods that degrade the water quality...> I have an extra large bubble coral. Will putting the food in while tentacles are out sting you or just stick to you. <Well, they will "sting" other corals, and they can potentially sting a human, possibly causing an allergic reaction of you are susceptible.> Should I wear gloves? I prefer my bare hands. <Frankly, if you're going to come into contact with your corals, wearing gloves is never a bad idea...> One Open brain. <Eats larger zooplankton, such as minced krill, etc.> One extra large hammer coral. One Torch coral. <Both can eat fairly large pieces of food, similar to the Trachyphyllia> 2 tongues one red and one green. A large colt coral. A large Green Daisy Polyp. <Phytoplankton would be best for these animals> Also for each when is the best time to feed. It seems for most when the tank lights are out. I know the bubble requires meat but read one internet article about how meat will kill it. I'm pretty sure the bubble, brain, hammer all can take meat. I pretty sure the torch, daisy polyp, colt and tongues take marine snow and phytoplankton. I just want to be sure and how often and how much to feed. <My answer is simple: Feed as often as you can without degrading water quality> My corals all look good but I don't want anything to die because of starvation. I have no fish in the tank and there are a lot of those little worm caterpillar small looking things in the tank. They are very common and get on the filter pads and rock and are in my 46 fish only as well. <Sound like they could be amphipods. Harmless and beneficial scavengers...> I appreciate any help you can give..........Thanks so much............Chet <Well, Chet- once again, it's hard for me to give precise answers for all of these animals in the space that we have here...One of the aforementioned books would be a great help in learning more about the specific corals that you maintain...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: zooxanthellae Thanks for the info, its nice to get accurate info on corals from an experienced aquarist, <Thanks kindly for saying so.> I like info that will keep the corals around for many years. Do you think "Sweetwater Zooplankton" is a good diet on a daily basis or chopped Mysis shrimp? <Both are excellent foods but neither (nor any) one food is a complete diet. As with fishes it is necessary to feed a wide variety. These two will be fine for your LPS but are too large for most other coral. Do consider also employing a fishless refugium inline in the system to generate natural plankton. In the meantime, both of these meaty foods will be very fine for your LPS corals. Add some Gammarus shrimp, Pacifica plankton and Cyclop-Eeze to the diet. Selcon soaking the food will be a great help too> I'd like to direct it to them, should I use a turkey baster? Thanks AB <There are many ways to target feed... turkey basters are a good start. Best regards, Anthony>

Feeding Reef Tank Ideas Hi Guys. I am a regular (constant and continuous) reader of your website, but until now I haven't had a question that I felt was worthy. <all questions are worthy, my friend> I have been reading some recent postings on this site regarding the feeding of LPS corals, in particular Anthony Calfo's recent postings suggesting a very frequent, perhaps daily, feeding of a carnivorous diet (i.e. minced shrimp, etc.) <indeed... most of the LPS have conspicuous large feeding tentacles that come out at night: evidence of dominant zooplankton feeding strategy (form follows function)> directly to the corals using a syringe or turkey baster.   <yes... but I have no preference on the delivery (baster, etc).. whatever method is convenient for you and gets the job done. I personally feed slurries in small tanks that get regular and large water changes (for growth of coral and water quality control) or I use a long thin pipette for bigger tanks. Whatever floats you boat> I have been feeding my LPS corals occasionally over the last year and don't dispute the obvious merit of more frequent feedings, <indeed... we have learned as reef aquarists that some of the hardiest coral that are say 90% sustained daily by zooxanthellate symbiosis are taking as much as a year or two to die from the daily 10% deficit if unfed but still given bright/adequate light.> but I am concerned as to how to go about this without causing a nitrate, and corresponding algae growth, explosion.   <I can understand and empathize with the concern... but it is of little substance to worry about. Feeding corals (even daily) requires so very little food that even "heavy" coral feeding cannot compare with average fish load feeding. Do consider that the size of a coral polyps "tummy" is magnitudes smaller than a yellow tangs stomach. And even if this were not the case... aggressive water movement and the products of a good skimmer (or two as with larger aquaria) easily temper the influx of nutrients. It is really all about good water quality. Small weekly water changes instead of monthly water changes... changing one oz of carbon weekly instead of 4 ounces monthly, etc> Like most reef keepers, I keep a handful of reef-friendly fish in my 72-gal bow front, and they, of course, would like to be fed daily as well. So Anthony's proposition would seem to require a doubling of the normal amount of food placed into the tank. <doubling?!?! Ha! I'm coming to dinner at your house <G>. You are too generous, my friend. Consider the relative size/mass of your fishes compared to the mass of the corals. Or... put another way... if you were starving and had to choose between eating your yellow tang, or whatever flesh you could skin off of a deflated bubble coral... which would you choose? Indeed... corals simply need tiny feedings. LPS are the hungriest to generalize and even they don't eat much. Soft corals (with polyps too small for most to even be target fed) often get more than enough food incidentally from fish feces and feeding activities. Yes... we are talking about a very small amount.> The fish (two clowns, two cardinals, a Coral Beauty, a Long nose hawk fish and a yellow tang) are only fed as much as they can eat in about 30 seconds (which is one cube of frozen food). <OK... hopefully no adult brine shrimp either :) > Feeding the corals is an always messy proposition since the corals don't necessarily capture everything they are given <they should if their feeding polyps are out... else most don't feed by day from go (must be enticed with juice in the water 15 minutes prior)> and what they do get the fish, being opportunistic, steal food right off the corals' feeding tentacles. <understood... but this is not the corals fault/flaw... it doesn't happen this way in the wild. The corals feed at night when most greedy reef fishes are sleeping/hunkered down. Thus... the corals are more successful at keeping captured prey in the wild. As aquarists, we have imposed an unnaturally high concentration of fishes in proximity to the coral (in the aquarium) and feed he coral by day most often> It usually takes the entire contents of a thawed-out cube to make the rounds amongst the corals (two bubbles, a frogspawn, a torch, and a hammer).   <very fine... does not sound like much> Two cubes of food per day in a tank my size would seem, in my mind, to be a recipe for a nitrate disaster.   <no worries here if the skimmer you have reliably produces a cup of dark skimmate daily. Most do not because most skimmers in my opinion are flawed if not complete junk.> Would you suggest alternatively feeding the corals one day, the fish the next? <cannot say for certain, but sounds like a reasonable experiment. Time will tell. You must observe the coral to see if they seem to be genuinely growing (calcification, not just polyps expansion from aging lights)> Feeding a smaller amount to each group, say, half a cube?   <Nah... you could just feed the corals fist and let the fishes scavenge while hungry. Then feed the fishes later... all in effort to minimize drifted food> Either way, I'm concerned that the corals will not receive enough food because of the hungry, thieving fish. Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks for your tremendous help/support. Scott Ball <no worries... any daily act of feeding is likely a tremendous help. Perhaps the best solution over all (my favorite) is to not target feed the corals (!) but instead add a fishless refugium to the tank with seagrass an/or rubble to encourage the massive proliferation of natural zooplankton. Really best if mounted slightly above the tank too for plankton to overflow nightly and let corals do their natural thing! You can make the refugium a focal point with a mangrove seedling growing out of the top of the tank and a cheap 75 watt spotlight shining on it. Be creative, my friend. With kind regards, Anthony>

Feeding coral Thank you Anthony. Thanks for the help.  I am a little new at the zooplankton and hope that helps.   <it will help for certain.. it is THE natural food> I do have a few questions about feeding the zooplankton. How often, how much?  Or the usual question I guess.   <varies by specimen and bio-load in tank (available nutrients from fish, feeding, feces, etc... actual light quality, etc) and many actors. But, I'd say 3-5 times weekly minimum. A small feeding daily is ideal> I had been feeding my home made clam etc mash to one and all using a turkey baster, every 2 to 3 days.... <pretty good... but more often please. Again... small amounts are OK> Now, with the zooplankton,  I am trying different things.  The first of which has been a mixture of the zoo (a piece about the size of a small marble),   <Helene... I apologize, but I have forgotten in the flurry of e-mail if I referred you to this article before... But... on the WWM "latest article/FAQ page  We have a bunch of pertinent reef articles there including one on "Feeding reef invertebrates"... tells all. You really seem to have missed the fundamentals here (prey size and composition). The food particles you are feeding are too large (never more than 1/4")... and do pay attention to polyp size and behavior... it is very telling about their dietary needs.> with the phytoplankton, a little of the clam stuff (marble size again), some vitamins...OK?  or should it all be done separately.... Varied is more important than separated or mixed.> remember of course that I love all the little darlings but I do have a job! <understood... that's why I keep suggesting that you simply feed a natural zoo-substitute like whole prey gammarus, Pacifica plankton and/or Mysis. No blending, mixing, supplementing, etc> Also, should we take out the sponge in the overflow?   <I'm sorry dear... I don't recall what the sponge was for?> We have the skimmer going all the time and carbon once in a while.   <I'd strongly recommend using carbon in small amounts changed frequently 24/7. Off and on use can severely effect coral health by shocking them suddenly with increased water clarity (less yellowing agents) from fresh carbon after an absence> Someone said that the sponge will just catch all the zooplankton and ruin all our efforts.... <possible yes> (keep in mind 75 gal tank, with 6 line wrasse, Sailfin tang, blue damsel, and 3 Chromis, assorted corals, brain, pearl, mushrooms, a few others who's names I have to get more familiar with (so much to learn so little time), the usual clean up crew) Hard to see if the crew is cleaning up all the food when the partials are so fine. Just not sure about the amounts.  Perhaps step up a little individual feeding for the pearl coral?   <indeed... target feeding is always better when time allows> No Mariah Carey for the Pearl.......but maybe a little Lyle Lovett at feeding time? <Doh! What was Julia Roberts thinking?!?! If I had known her bar was set that low I would have flown out to LA in a Frankenstein costume and married a celebrity> And what about soft lighting?  Aside from the romance, do they prefer to eat in the dark?   <they actually do (mentioned in the article above)... zooplankton feeders naturally feed after the lights go out when plankton flares/comes out at night> As usual, each thought brings a new question.....The update for the coral book is a great help. Thanks for sending it along.....Take it easy....Helene <thank you for your eagerness to learn, my friend! Best regards, Anthony>

Feeding coral Hi Anthony, Oh no, my dear, I don't mean that the pieces of stuff that I feed are as big as a small marble....the little zooplankton is shaved off in a pile about that big..... <aha! I misunderstood... whew! I had visions of this coral being fed with a shoehorn... Ha!> when I put that in the cup of water from my tank they sort of melt into tiny little dots....and the mash of clam etc has nothing in it any bigger than 1/8 " I'd say...I took the 'not too big' warning to heart when I made it <excellent!> However I will indeed read the link that you sent to me and try my best to wade through all the ideas.  Thank you again for all your help...Helene <our pleasure... with kind regards, Anthony>

Pearl bubble Hello to you all, <Hellooooooo Helene!> I have read all over the WWM site and still can't seem to figure out what to do for my Pearl Bubble. <flowers, soft music and candlelight always make me feel better. That and a fifth of brandy. Do consider... for the coral, that is... not for me. I can take care of myself> All seems well in the kingdom for the all other life but the pearl just keeps on shrinking... <do you play Mariah Carey a lot?> I have been trying to tempt him to eat with a little direct feeding of zooplankton and phytoplankton mixture.   <good with the zoo... but don't waste your time on the phyto with this species. Form follows function, and this coral has huge feeding tentacles designed to catch large zooplankton. No plant matter here> Even tried a little of my home recipe clam, shrimp, fish etc frozen stuff. All to no avail...he is in the middle of the 75 gal, decent water activity and not too near to anybody else.   <all good> Water quality is good although we did have a nitrate spike a while ago when we lost a few little fishes and couldn't find them.... <no biggie> these were new fishes and had been quarantined but alas who knows.... <understood my friend> Any ideas?   <yep... I think we should send Weird Al Yankovic to Iraq to counter the threat of chemical weapons by the tyrannical regime in power (the oil companies that is)> Or once again not enough info.... <regarding the bubble, it sounds as if you have done all you can. You may need to pull the coral to a bare bottomed QT tank to determine if the irritant is in the tank itself. 4 weeks as usual in QT> I will continue to try to feed him.  Hard to catch him when his feeders are out.... <good, but don't wait...put a tablespoon of meaty juice in the tank 15 minutes prior to feeding and the tentacles should come out> I think that he may be getting too weak to extend them.   <I assure you that is not so> The addition of zooplankton is new.....think that might help? <Oh ya! it is the only food this coral eats. If you have been using phyto only up to know, your coral has been starving. Bubbles are meat eaters> Anyway, thank you for all your help......Helene <best regards, my friend. Anthony>

Re: coral feeding Hi this question is for Anthony if available. I went out and bought some San Francisco Bay frozen Mysis shrimp for my hammer coral and my candy cane coral, as you suggested. I have read the articles on here about feeding inverts and also your answers from previous e-mails, but I am still a little confused about how to feed them. I unthawed some of the Mysis shrimp and put it in a squirter (not as big as a turkey baster) and I tried to squirt the shrimp in general direction of corals (with powerheads off), but the shrimp just fell past the corals or floated up and away from them. I never saw any go into the tentacles, and if I got closer with squirter the tentacles just retracted. <frozen food needs to be thawed, then drained of packing juice, and then put into a slurry of tank water. It can be fed to LPS corals 15-30 minutes after a little bit of food or packing juice has been added to get the modified feeding tentacles of the corals to come out. LPS corals don't always feed 'round the clock. Many zooplankton feeders (bubble corals especially for example) only put their delicate feeding tentacles out at night when zooplankton is out. By day, the specialized tentacles are retracted. Coaxing with food in the water usually works for say time feedings though> Also the shrimp looked to big (in my opinion) for the corals as they are just small frags. <Huh? Each head of a hammer coral branch is a single polyp (with many tentacles) ... they are huge relative to the prey! Still... you will want to make accommodations for the smaller colonies. The candy corals are much slower to coax feeding tentacles out and they are not at all as hungry or needy as the Euphylliids (elegant, bubble, octopus, hammer, torch, etc)> If you could give me a little more in depth info on how to feed them (if what I am doing sounds wrong), or have any websites that my be more helpful. Also i would like to know what would be the general percent of the shrimp to feed the small corals? <the amount has to be experimented with per colony... there is no rule. Not much is needed, but tiny frequent feedings are better than large ones less often> Last night I feed about 10% of one cube of the frozen shrimp. Don't mean to sound stupid or keep bothering you just want to make sure i am doing it right to insure the corals survival. Thanks again. <please refresh yourself on the feeding article that I mentioned earlier too. It mentions the importance of prey size relative to the various groups of coral. Although Mysis are an excellent food, they are too large whole for most any coral except LPS. You may have to shed them (do frozen) or simply use smaller prey/food for smaller polyped species. The tediousness of hand feeding truly underscores the need for an upstream (above the tank) fishless refugium for plankton culture. Best regards, Anthony>

Feeding Corals Please be sure that you are feeding all of these LPS almost daily or they starve very slowly over time (and swell while panning for light in the meantime making you think they are growing!).<< I never used to do this, but after reading on the WWM site, I began feeding about a month ago.   <excellent!> Twice a week (probably should be more often, <agreed> but it's a pain :)), <understood...hence the need and importance for upstream fishless refugia to culture natural live plankton> I mince up krill, and add some zooplankton bought at LFS (looks like caviar :)).  Mix in some tank water, and I'm ready to go. <very fine> However, the method is the problem: I generally do it just after the actinic "dawn" lights come on, <Doh! When the plankton feeding corals have begun to retract their modified feeding tentacles from the night before!> and I turn off the powerheads and pumps, except for the one coming from the sump to keep the overflow going.  I then take a turkey baster and try to "baste" them; for example, place the food on the bubbles in the bubble coral.  I have no idea if it's working well or not, though.   <frozen food should be thawed, drained of pack juice and then put into a bit of tank water so the slurry doesn't shock the coral. You will see then food being stung by the tentacles of the tentacles are still out> It seems like there's a lot of waste, and the little remaining current in the tank seems like it sweeps food away before the corals (bubble, hammer, frogspawn, polyps, mushrooms, etc.) have a chance to grab it.  In addition, the fish and shrimp/crab grab whatever they can. <perhaps feeding a bit too much... corals don't need much... just regularly> Is there a better way to do this?   <yep... a refugium above your tank growing your own live pods naturally> I looked through the FAQ and your article on feeding, but I couldn't find a description of methodology (aside from the recommendation about a turkey baster, which I'm trying to use). Thanks...Arthur <Many variations on this theme. Best regards, Anthony>

The right food for the right coral I have just recently purchased a hammer coral and a leather toadstool umbrella coral from local LFS. <both hardy choices with regards for water quality although the hammer and all large polyped stony corals are extremely sensitive to handling and the slightest damage. Most aquarists are advised to avoid all stony corals for at least a year until you get the hang of testing and maintaining calcium, alkalinity and magnesium levels. Do consider if you are a newer reef aquarist... and welcome, at any rate!> The salesman also said that I should buy a Kent marine product called ChromaPlex, which he said (and the bottle) was for filter feeding inverts. <he was quite mistaken. The product may be entirely useless for these two corals even if the product testing is not true about this brand specifically (has performed quite poorly in studies). The hammer coral is a zooplankton feeder by most any definition and the Sarcophyton (leather coral) is nearly autotrophic (served by zooxanthellae/light/photosynthesis). What the leather doesn't get from symbiotic activity it derives from absorption. At any rate, its polyps are too small to even capture this brand of phyto substitute. Were you also told that the product needs to have bought refrigerated, kept refrigerated, used within 4 months of the date stamped (if any) and whisked in an electric blender before every single feeding to have any hope that the particle size will be anywhere near small enough to be captured by phyto feeders. I'm gonna guess not. Bummer, bud. You likely got suckered like most folks regarding the mis-information and mis-marketing of phytoplankton substitutes> I have never heard of it , but bottle said that it is aquacultured phytoplankton. <heehee... sort of. Regardless... very few corals even eat phytoplankton (some Nephtheids and gorgonians do... not much else). Most all corals eat meaty foods (zooplankton) and/or feed by absorption> I would like to know if this is what I should be feeding these corals, <nope> and if not what do you recommend for feeding? <read our article here on feeding: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fdreefinverts.htm And how about these others as well for good reef husbandry: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm  > Also I have the small white bugs on glass in my tank, and by what I have read on here they are probably copepods. <yep... now there's some good coral food! Many folks set up fishless refugiums to culture these deliberately for coral food> If they are will my corals eat on these as they float by? <Oh, ya!> I am new to corals an any help would be appreciated. <welcome to the fold my friend. Its a great field in the hobby. Do continue to read and research before you buy corals or fishes. PLEASE make sure that you never add a new animal directly to your tank (always quarantine 4 weeks at home and never trust a LFS period in the store as a substitute for risk/ease of disease transmission from so many other tanks. Read about QT protocol here on wetwebmedia.com). Also... get some good books and read them. Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals is quite good about science and identification/husbandry. Consider my Book of Coral propagation as well... 200 pages (of 450) covering all aspects of reefkeeping basics in easy language. We also have a new book on Reef Invertebrates coming out in the spring: http://wetwebfotos.com/store/nma-ri.html    And of course, you can spend a lot of time in our wetwebmedia.com archives and FAQs educating yourself for free! Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Re: Coral feeding This e-mail is for Anthony. I asked you a few questions regarding feeding of my leather toadstool and my hammer corals about 2 days ago.. I just have a few follow up questions. I did read the articles you included with your answer also, thanks. First question is you said the hammer fed on zoo-plankton, which from the articles you sent means that is comes from animals, (where as phytoplankton comes from plants), <yes, my friend> I was wanting to know is zoo-plankton what I ask for when I go to my LFS or is there a particular brand or brands that you would recommend? <zooplankton can mean a lot of different things but in our hobby marketed foods, it generally refers to tiny marine crustaceans. You should ask for frozen Mysis shrimp first and foremost... they are the best. Pacifica plankton is also quite good. You may also take krill or cocktail shrimp and mice it extremely fine. There are many other choices. Just stick with shelled foods of marine origin and nothing larger or must larger than 1/4 inch. Just please do not feed brine shrimp (a useless and barren food. PE Mysis has 69% protein... brine shrimp has 4%. Complete trash> Also in one of the articles you had a LPS recipe which you said (Nutritious staples include thawed fresh-frozen gammarus, mysids, Pacifica plankton, minced shell-on shrimp, and minced krill. I was wanting to know where I would get these at, since I have never heard of them, and how do I prepare them? <local pet store freezer for the source, and the recipes abound on the internet (do a keyword search), and you can find them here on wetwebmedia.com (do a WWM google search from the home page (at the bottom)). There are also food recipes in Bob Fenner's excellent book " The Conscientious Marine Aquarist"> Last question. You said that my leather gets most of its food from symbiotic activity and absorption and doesn't need much food at all, but that implies that it does need some type of feeding, just not very often. What do I feed it and where do get it from? <with bright light, it never needs food from you (target feeding)... fish and snail waste, water changes, and many other things provide nutritive sustenance.> Sorry for long e-mail, just need some clarifying from last e-mail. Thanks. <my pleasure, Anthony>

Coral Feeding page Hello all, Not sure even how to ask this question but I definitely would love consensus answers if possible: <Can, will send around for> Does a list exist or what do you guys think about me or anyone putting together a list of known corals and there known eating habits by species?  <Mmm, sort of... in Borneman, Fossa & Nilsen... others... but not "just" this info.> Something more definitive than the 800 books and articles that have good information or sporadic at best. A quick list where hobbyists can reference preferably before but at the very least after purchasing a coral to help with understanding the necessity of supplemental food sources (other than photosynthesis) all at a quick glance. Instead of having to answer the question as to what a coral eats over and over again maybe an expert panel with a list of various foods utilized by corals. Just an idea. If something like this exists already I would love to know about it. If not I guess........wellllllllllllllllll, I guess I better get busy? Also, if anyone has a list they have already put together they can contact me at paulma30@hotmail.com <I'd like to propose a series of icons... and a "sliding scale".... from obligate macrovores like Tubastrea to altogether photosynthetic species...> I know Anthony has done lots of work in this area and his article on your page (as well as the stuff in his book) is very comprehensive and very valuable. I am thinking of stuff more along the lines of a quick list. <Make it so!> BTW- Bob, it was the coolest to meet your acquaintance at the DEMA show this past Friday. Then to have you buy me a drink???? I feel like a shmuck! I owe you. Come out to Monterey soon mate! <Anytime... and no worries> You have inspired me greatly. I'll have you know I became a member of SEABAY this weekend and had a blast. Met Dave Cripe of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the plan is to maybe have me volunteer under him for a while as an aquarist. I also took home some amazing frags of some corals I have been trying to get my hands on for quite awhile. Amazing what doors open so quickly. All based on a conversation. Tell Di I said hi. Peter too! The honor was all mine. <Will do so.> Thank you very much, Paul Mansur <A pleasure to meet you. Next time, more time... the DEMA show takes days! Bob Fenner> Re: Coral Feeding page Your are absolutely right about the DEMA taking days. It is incredibly large!!!! It was cool to be able to hang tho'. Thanks for letting me tag along for awhile. It was very informative. Especially all the travel tips. <We co-tagged> My wife and I are hoping to hit Maui in February and dive 5 days with Mike Severns. Loved diving with Pauline there. Should be a blast. Let me know about your upcoming adventures.  <Will do> I will be sure to make as many as I can. Am thirsting for knowledge not only of diving but also the marine and travel part as well.  <Lifetimes to learn, share, enjoy> It is a very exciting time for me. Very exciting indeed! It is an absolute must for you to let me know when you and Di are in the area. I will start trying to put together that quick list of coral feeding and I trust I can rely upon you and yours to assist when I require direction? <Please consider developing this into a book/let length manuscript. We are a media business... and gearing up to produce such titles. Really> I claim to not have anywhere near the knowledge the wetweb crew collectively have stored and filed! I will do my best despite being a little intimidated. YIKESSSS! Be chattin........... <We all know much more together than apart... Bob Fenner> Paul Mansur

Re: Coral Feeding page Ahhhhhh! Even your replies drip with many years of experience. It is almost religious. Stop that! =) Its making more and more intimidated! In the words of Cartman......"Screw you guys, I'm going home!" <To go is to return> I haven't even though about making it into a booklet. Crap! I have some work to do!!!!!!!! <Indeed> You're awesome. <We are what we are... Press on Paul. Bob F> Paul

Re: Coral Feeding page Dude... This would be a fantastic help to us all... and no easy task I'm sure. Many species, of course, have ambiguous diets, others we can surmise and many indeed we know. Still... most aquarists would struggle to tell you how a given coral feeds (primarily by... absorption, symbiosis, organismal feeding, etc), let alone what they eat. It would be very helpful and educational to see you collect this data. I know that I would learn tremendously from it <G>!!! So... when are you moving into the Scripps library? Ha! Do let us know how we can help... and best to you in this and all endeavors. Kindly, Anthony <Outstanding. Be chatting, compiling. Bob F, scanning>

Coral foods, feeding Hi, Your expert advice needed. Ever heard of Salifert Coral food? Any comments about this product? Should I off the mechanical filter and skimmer when dosing this food? Any target feeding needed? <depends on what you are feeding, turkey basters work well if you squirt in the general area, but not directly at the coral> Thanks in advance. <I have not had any experience with this product, and have not heard much about it either. Most prepared coral foods have particles that are too large for the corals to benefit. I would turn off the mechanical filter and the skimmer for a bit while feeding. You may want to post on some of the reef club forums to see if anyone else has an opinion on the product. If you use it, let us know how it works, thanks, Gage http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ http://reefcentral.com/>

Coral Feeding with Cyclop-eeze Anthony, Today I ordered some sponge filters for my QT tank the people at Fish House Supply recommended Cyclop-Eeze to use as feed for corals. Their information describes it as a copepod, any input on their product. <yep... nutritively it is a fine matter. The particle size is still too large for many/most SPS. Excellent for larger polyped zooplankton feeders. The frozen is more useful than the freeze dried. Freeze-dried is easier to get though and higher in protein. Make a slurry in a whisked blender with the dry product (handheld protein-shake blenders from the health food store are handy for this)... this will get the particle size down. Lipids are high in this matter... that may help conditioning for planulation in corals. Very cool... worth a try> Thanks, Mark <best regards, Anthony> http://www.jehmco.com/PRODUCTS_/FISH_FOODS_/Cyclop-eeze/cyclop-eeze.html

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. Thanx, 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>

Coral Care I currently have a 75-gallon tank, and 29-gallon sump/refugium combination with several different kinds of Caulerpa along with lots of Sargassum,  <hopefully the refugium is fishless to maximize plankton culture. Also... please be very-very strict with regular harvesting of plant matter from Caulerpa and Sargassum. They are potentially harmful if allowed to grow wild (noxious exudation of Caulerpenes that inhibit coral growth). Caulerpa is definitely a case of some is good, but more is not better> a second 20-gallon refugium, 85-90 lbs. live rock, plenum, 4 x 96 watt PC lights. I have a large cup coral, mushrooms (purple, red and green), yellow star polyps, green star polyps, Xenia, and several very nice zoanthids, eight scarlet hermits, various snails, yellow tang, clown, blue damsel, two cleaner shrimp, serpent star, and lots of live rock critters. According to my test kits the following are within the correct parameters. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, PH 8.6 early evening, Alk (can't remember but it was good according to my Salifert test kit), SG 1.024. I do a 10 -20% water change every two weeks with RO water  <aerating and buffering water before using for evap or salting, right?> and just switched from Coral Life to Kent sea salt.  <Hmmm.... neither would be my preference for reef tanks. Tropic Marin and Instant Ocean top the list for QC> I read your site almost every day and reference the vast storage of information regularly. However, I am still a little confused about additives, coral feeding and lighting. I <Fresh articles on the latter two here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fdreefinverts.htm here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm> have tried to offer the above corals various ground foods to no avail, at least I couldn't see where they grabbed hold of it and utilized it. How do I get the coral to "catch it?"  <depends on the species. Particle and prey size are quite important. A slurry with saltwater is usually a staple but basted in a general direction and rarely blasted onto the coral> I try to feed at the same time but this has not worked either. Am I doing something wrong? I read that mashed Formula 1 lightly sprayed over the corals would be good, what do you think of this?  <it is a good food but too large for most coral. Corals generally need ultra fine particles> My LFS said I need to use DT's, which from reading your site, most of these corals will not benefit from its use, so I only used it once, about two weeks ago.  <correct... it is only utilized significantly by Nephtheids and Gorgonians so far as we know at present. We are fairly certain that very few SPS feed upon it. Really a limited food product but useful for some corals> My LFS has since told me not to feed any of these corals that all they need is good light.  <wow... what terrible advice. That statement assumes that all such corals are autotrophic yet science has really yet to definitively identify even ONE fully autotrophic coral. Almost every coral in captivity needs to feed on something. Some can be target fed by us, others need natural plankton from a fishless refugium. But rest assured that most all need to feed weekly if not daily to grow and live beyond 2 years> Obviously, if this was true, I would be seeing more growth than I am currently seeing.  <excellent point and observation> Most of the corals look very good and all seem healthy, but again, I am not experiencing much growth.  <in fact... without food... they will starve ever so slowly and linger for perhaps a year or more before dying of attrition> My cup coral, yellow polyps, and purple mushrooms are doing the best and my red and green mushrooms are doing the worst. Anything stand out? <all are actually moderate to heavy feeders> Too much light, to little light?  <fine light> The mushrooms are not shaded and are near the bottom of a 20" tall tank. They were bigger when I purchased them from under MH lighting.  <food will compensate for most deficiencies in light over these hardy species> I have Kent Iodine and two parts Bionic but I am a little nervous about using them.  <good heavens... both are fine if not necessary. The Bionic especially unless you are already using Kalkwasser and buffer> Should I use these products? If so, how often?  Iodine in small amounts daily and Ca and ALK supplements as necessary to keep levels up (350-400ppm Ca, and 8-12 dKH ALK)> Do I need to use Kalkwasser in my top off water for these corals?  <I favor it... it has tremendous benefits> I do not have a calcium test kit yet and don't want to add anything until I can test for it.  <agreed> But, in the case of the Bionic should I be using it?  <its a fine product> Sorry about so many questions. I feel like I'm one tiny step away from success.  <do consider my reef book, Book of Coral Propagation... at least half of the 450 pages of text cover basic reefkeeping husbandry in detail. I really think it would help you my friend. Perhaps a local aquarium society has a copy in their library that you can borrow just the same> Since I'm writing this I have to ask a couple more questions, can wet bioballs be a contributor to higher nitrates?  <very much so!> Would the Bak Pak II be one of the better setups for a 29-gallon fish, LR, and some corals tank?  <actually... just live rock and one of the new Tunze skimmers for small tanks (rated for 45 gallons) would be excellent> Thanks in advance for your help. <best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Feeding Corals I have a leather toadstool umbrella and a candy coral. I would like to know what I need to feed these? <The Leather is one of the few corals that can feed upon phytoplankton (do a search of www.WetWebMedia.com concerning phytoplankton feeding and storage protocols) and the Candy Cane coral (Caulastrea?) could use weekly feeding of Mysis shrimp, plankton or Sweetwater Zooplankton (daphnia).> I thought that they got their food from the lights, <Some corals get almost all their needed energy from their symbiotic algae (Zooxanthellae) but all feed somewhat. Some absorb organics from the water column, a few eat phytoplankton, other zooplankton, bacteria, etc.> but was told that I might need to supplement their diet with food. I have no idea as to what to feed them or how often. Any help would be appreciated, thank you. <Let me also suggest Eric Borneman's excellent work "Aquarium Corals." -Steven Pro>

Coral Feeding Article I talked to Steven Pro yesterday about feeding my leather toadstool and candy cane coral. He suggested I feed them phytoplankton( leather) and Sweetwater zooplankton (candy cane).  <agreed> I still would like to know how to feed them? Do I need to wait for the candy cane tentacles to come out to feed him, since I have only seen this happen once in the 6 months I have had him?  <they can be induced by the presence of a little meaty "juice" in the water 15 minutes before the feeding. A slurry of tank water and the minced food can then be directed (through drift... not blasted as with a turkey baster) to the feeding polyps. Turn your circulation off if necessary for this. A long rigid plastic tube (like a UG lift tube or slightly smaller) works nicely for this purpose. As far as feeding phyto... most phyto feeders feed all day long (polyps are out random/around the clock)... for these a phyto drip of the food is recommended. Dilute the portion that has been whisked in> Also I read that bubble tip anemones will also eat zooplankton, is this true?  <very true... like most anemones, they will dwindle in less than 2 years (most in months) if unfed> Any help you can give me on feeding these would be appreciated. <read here my friend: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fdreefinverts.htm Best regards, Anthony>

Feeding Open Brain Anthony, Last week I asked a few questions about my now two week old T. radiata. It has acclimated to the tank nicely, and it's feeding tentacles are now easily apparent in the early morning. Here's my question. This evening (around 5:00 pm) it regurgitated some of it's food. I define 'food' as: Equal parts squid, clam and shrimp. Each is finely chopped. They are then mixed together.  <all good> The mixture is blotted dry with a clean white paper towel. <interesting> The mixture is then placed in a small plastic tea cup, to which 10-15 drops of Vita-Chem are added  <Whoa... "Houston... we have a problem."> (enough to soak whatever quantity of squid / clam / shrimp I just chopped). This is then placed in the refrigerator and is allowed to sit for at least six hours.  <Yikes... "Ground control to Major Tom..." > It is then placed in some tin foil and frozen.  <Doh! inert or not... do avoid metals of all kinds with salt water/ foods> I break off and defrost what I need each day. <ice cube trays bud... plastic...easy... get the tiny party cube size and drop the trays into plastic zip-locks... no metal foil please> I have fed this brain each of the last three days. I give a good pinch of food to each half. <Ok... I'll concede the foil may not be that big of a deal... but the super-saturated vitamin soak is noxious if not toxic in these concentrations. Not so much of a problem with the fishes... and fine in the water (better) for corals to draw on by absorption. But the super-soak is no doubt offensive beyond unnatural for the coral> I am quite careful to finely chop the food.  <I believe that you are... no worries about particle size here> I suspect that these animals have rather slow digestive systems.  <nope... quick... hours or less> It is possible that three straight days of generous feeding were simply a little too much? <nope... the food just tasted lousy <G>> I will *not* feed this brain tomorrow morning., even if it's feeder tentacles are out. <please continue to feed... some brains really should be fed daily... and all at least 3-5 times weekly. My advice is to simply stop the vitamin enemas> Sincerely, Mark Schwartz <ciao, bub... Anthony>

Feeding Corals......again. Anthony???? Is that you? Or Bob? Could it be you have time between your insane dive travel? No........Steven? What up SP? <its me... Anthony! Couldn't you smell the garlic when you loaded the WWM home page that lets you know I'm online? <VBG>> Sorry to have to have you guys broach this question again, I have a chili coral (hate that common reference)  <no worries... I understand, my friend. And this is one of the only common names for it... quite familiar and accepted. It is actually one of the hardiest non-photosynthetic corals available. Be sure to mount it upside down in the tank so that it can feed and survive well> and I have found a local supplier of live everything (Isochrysis and other phytoplankton to live Mysis)  <excellent!.> He is willing to sell me whatever I need and in just the right amounts for the shelf life of the various products.  <all to be used in 4 to 6 months... and best if you rotate every 2 months> My question is phyto or zooplankton for the chili.  <no definitive studies but both likely to some degree. Also likely more dependant on zooplankton (and absorption... do avoid a zero-nitrate condition)> I read Anthony's coral feeding article and the FAQs. I realize all corals will benefit from various types and sizes of foods. The tank is a soft coral tank. Sarcophytons, Palythoa, zoanthids, various cnidaria, Clavularia,  <everything you have just named up to this point needs little or no target feeding at all. Sarcos, Zoanthus species (not so much Palythoa species) and Clavularia all can live in "typical" reef aquariums with absolutely no target feeding if the lights are adequately bright and there is available nitrogen for absorption (fish feces, etc)> Nephtheids, and gorgonians,  <likely some phyto> Lobophytum??  <very little or no feeding... very successful with symbionts> and last but not least, Blastomussa wellsi.  <little or no target feeding... probably a heavy feeder by absorption> Anyway, I already use chopped mysids for my Trachyphyllia geoffroyi  <excellent and appropriate> (the only LPS I have and the oldest coral I have at almost 2 years and HUGE!!!!!) I get the most compliments for his coloration and size. Anyway, is it advantageous to feed live foods?  <very much so> Mysis too?  <yes> Just chop and place in the tentacle path for the Mysids? So is the aforementioned phyto good for the chili and gorgonians (Plexaurella grandiflora, Eunicea succinea, and Pterogorgia)  <yes... and rotifers or tiny brine for the chili too> and Mysis for the only LPS dude I have?  <agreed> By the by, only the LPS is from the wild but every coral I own is propagated from a coral farm.  <WOW! That is outstanding to hear. Kudos to you my friend> Most if not all from mother colonies of a minimum of 3 to 5 years. I am ordering Anthony's book tomorrow 8/23. It's the least I can do. <I hope that you find great merit in it, my friend. Thank you> Peace and may the ocean be with you! Pablo <And may you the sands of the beach also be with you (hopefully not finding their way to every (!) body crevice :) Anthony>

Coral Feeding Anthony, <cheers Mark> I have been Reading the FAQ's on feed corals and was wondering if it's better to direct feed my Cyanine or just add the supplements directly to the tank. <sorry about the correction, but if we are talking about a Cynarina (stony button coral... very fleshy and flowery) then direct feedings with minced meats thawed in saltwater are recommended. As a rule... supplemental foods from a bottle are nothing more than pollution in a bottle. Target feed whenever possible and use plankton reactors (fishless refugiums) when not> My son help me install the Dolphin Amp Master it seem to have helped reduce the excessive heat transfer from the pumps.  <excellent> Little Giant did a-mail me and their Engineers verified that 3-4 degrees is normal heat transfer from those pumps.  <yes... significant. A bummer> As always thank for your insight and assistance. Mark Johnson <a pleasure. Anthony>

Feeding of Trachyphyllia radiata  Gentlemen, <cheers> I purchased a Trachyphyllia radiata two days ago. My question concerns feeding. I have a red open brain that clearly exhibits feeding tentacles at night,  <the deeper water variety... green is more shallow water. T. radiata and T. geoffroyi are now synonymous species> which is when I feed it (at least twice a week -- chopped clams and/or shrimp).  <almost certainly not enough food for the coral to live 5+ years (although likely enough for a couple of years. 3-5 times weekly if not daily for most> The Trachyphyllia radiata is *much* larger during the day than at night.  <it is more effectively photosynthetic (by variety not by virtue of its size)> In fact, I am amazed that the amount of 'flesh' that is exhibited by day can be successfully withdrawn into its skeleton at night. It's only been two days, but I have not seen any feeder tentacles.  <much more time is needed for many corals to acclimate to new light and water quality... be patient> At a LFS, they have an Elegance coral that must be fed by day, as it closes up at night.  <all such corals can be enticed to feed most anytime with the right food/attractant> Is the Trachyphyllia radiata the same way, i.e.,  <nit by nature at all. All of these LPS feed on zooplankton by night> I must feed it during the day while it is 'fleshy', or will it normally display feeding tentacles nocturnally, like my red open brain. <only the feeding tentacles will effectively sting and draw organismal matter. Careful not to feed large chunks of food either... very finely minced is critical else the coral will draw it in but regurgitate it later and still starve> I am anxious to make sure this specimen feeds on a good meal of clam or shrimp. <more variety in the diet too please: frozen Gammarus, mysids and Pacifica plankton for starters> Also, the clerk who sold me the Trachyphyllia radiata said that he uses a technique in his reef tank that consists of taking freeze dried shrimp pellets and soaking them in Selcon or Vita-Chem, and feeding these to his corals.  <OK> Once fully saturated, they sink quite easily and stay in place quite well. I just haven't had any luck getting the Trachyphyllia radiata to take these or finely chopped clams. I was just wondering about your thoughts on vitamin soaked freeze dried <whatever> as a food adjunct to go along with finely chopped clams, shrimp, squid, etc. FD foods are strange fare to offer and the risk of air trapping is mild but worth mentioning. Soaking the food in Selcon is an excellent idea though. Rely on thawed frozen meats of marine origin> Sincerely, Mark Schwartz <best regards, Anthony PS: if it interests you... see the following article on Trach reproduction http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyreproart.htm>

Feeding Corals Thanks for responding and taking time for me. <actually... Anthony Calfo again, my friend. We are one big happy crew here :)> I don't want to overload you , but this is the first time I have really run into a serious problem. I would like to know if corals need to be fed, strange eh since I have been running my tank for 4 or 5 years, you would think that I would know that. I know some do, but I believe they are in the minority. I don't so maybe I should?  <on the contrary... very few corals can live on the products of symbiosis alone. Most coral can hang in for months to years starving very slowly as such. Remember, a coral that gets 99% of its food from light is still starving from a 1% deficiency (net daily loss) if you are not feeding it. Such coral will take a few years to starve to death... but it will in time. Feeding depends on the corals: Leathers and Xenia require little food, LPS and corallimorphs tend to need a lot of meaty foods, gorgonians like phytoplankton and most SPS like fine zooplankton> I have done another 15 Gal. change of water again today, I think maybe the elephant ear coral is showing some recovery! My salt water reading is 022 to 024 all within the parameters. As I said before my fish are in great shape. I know you want my readings , but here in Canada depending on what kit you get, it seems to vary from you guys in the US. I use a Hagen test kit, includes all the necessary tests. I use a electronic PH monitor and it always read 8.3 or higher during the day time.  <very good> My temp fluctuates between 75 and 80 during the day, I have fans to help keep it cool.  <YIKES!!! 5 degree swings are extremely stressful to fish an coral. 3-4 F daily is enough to cause disease. It would be better to maintain the tank at a higher daily temp to minimize the swing (target 78 e.g.)> I have a great deal of live rock in the tank , so I suppose the water capacity is somewhat less. I mean a great deal of rock, all the way up the back of the tank. My DAS tank is about 56 gal. and is about 4 feet in length and 24 in deep. As you know I use VHO lighting 4 tubes four feet long and a couple regular florescent ones. I use the URI bulbs which I understand are the top of the line.  <agreed. URI are at the top!> Well enough for now, if you get the time please respond. the important question is do I feed the corals?  <weekly for most... daily for some> Thanks for taking the time to respond. As I say I don't want to be a pest...all the best your friend in the North I think?/////////Bev Parker <best regards, Anthony>

ID Help & Feeding Aposymbiotic corals On the chili coral frag I was given, there is an anenomish (guess I just made up a word, Webster's here I come!) creature growing from the base. It is about 1", with a 1" crown there are approx 18 tendrils around the crown. the body is clear (which made me think Aiptasia) but the crown is fluorescent green, is this a colonial polyp or the dreaded Aiptasia? <doesn't sound at all like an Aiptasia but nothing definitive without a photo at least. Do a search for a picture of Anemonia majano ... a prettier nuisance anemone than Aiptasia:)> speaking of the coral... I've been feeding it golden pearls (brine shrimp that have been ground, a zooplankton substitute),  <OK for this animal, but too large for most filter feeders> I've also seen it feeding off of the particulates in the water (looks like the ecosystem filter is doing it's job of producing critters). is there something else I can feed it? <rotifers are easy to culture and excellent food... fishless upstream refugiums really do the trick too> I've also seen sun coral for sale, what would be a good food for that, or should I avoid it? <if Tubastrea, then it is quite hardy and can even be spawned (asexual planulae). Much work has been done with this beauty. It just needs special care like your chili coral: direct feeding (see my book bud on target feeding "food storms" Tubastrea in a cup) and not easily kept with traditional photosynthetic inverts> in my homegrown food I've been putting in phytoplankton (DT's)  <remember to whisk the DTs in an electric blender first/ALWAYS to reduce particle size> along with vitamins (E, A, beta carotene, HUFA [Argh! can't remember the brand, it's a common one] and C), garlic [everybody "pops tall" when I add garlic juice to the food, I figure it doesn't hurt anything and provides a strong smell to ring the dinner bell] and several commercial phtyomixes. I also put in finely chopped shrimp, fish, clams, carp roe, flying fish roe (love those Oriental Groceries), and several kinds of dried seaweed. should this provide enough food for these corals?  <the main thing would be to blend this mixture to ultra puree... particle size is everything. The smaller the better for most of the aposymbiotic inverts. I personally wouldn't have the discipline you've shown to home make food :) My vote is for large fishless upstream refugiums to generate natural plankton (perhaps a seagrass refugium for phyto as well as zoo-) and supplemental rotifer culture> I generally put the cube right in and let it thaw (the water component is dechlorinated FW). <I'm guessing if the food is not whisked in a blender before feeding that most of the particles are too large... still, Chili's are very hardy. Best regards, Anthony PS: do you have your proofreaders goggles handy? Two new books ready in the next 4-6 months :)>

ID help &  Feeding Aposymbiotic corals AFAIK, I'm the only person on the planet who follows the instructions on the phytomixes.  <Bless you!!! It is amazing how many people use DTs and like products and just shake it or worse... simply squirt it in?!?!> I just worry about burning out my blender motor. I need to get a small cheapie food processor to make it easier to cut the more macro stuff. off the non-phyto stuff, I usually make 3 batches: one ground to a puree, one ground to small particulate matter, and one "chucky bits" [about 1/16"] so I can hit everybody's needs for nano, micro, and macro foods. Since I love to cook, it's no biggie for me, I just get to cook for my fishes and corals instead of just my wife and me. I've been "ramping up" the amount of food fed to the tank and seen an increase in the pod, worm, and other critter populations. <excellent!> The goggles are armed and ready to go. btw, found a few things I may have missed in re-re-re of BoCP. One or two items so far, I'll just scan them in and send them to you. Nothing big, just "to" for "too" kind of stuff. <thank you :)> on a similar note, I'm in the outlining stage on the article I'll be submitting to Aquarium Magazine, they mentioned pictures, several times. That's something I lack. They require slides, and it's a standard "one use" for serial publication of the magazine. Would anyone on your end have pictures of mantis's they'd like to include when I send in the article? I would ask that the relevant info be on the slide so there's no confusion as to who took what. <Bob may very well have what you need... do send a list of your needs. Kindly, Anthony>

Re: Overheated my reef tank!! Hi Anthony.. <cheers, Doc> Thanks for covering for Bob... Is he off playing at a conference or taking pictures under the sea somewhere exciting :) What would you suggest in the way of feeding the Euphyllia ??  <very finely shredded meats of marine origin. Never larger than 1/4 inch. Mysids, Pacifica plankton and Gammarus are great frozen foods... so is Sweetwater plankton> I have occasionally given small pieces of shrimp, etc that I give to my Carpet Anemone... the Euphyllia is very tiny now, with no mouth showing, and the tentacles are very short and flaccid..  <even small "chunks" of shrimp are inappropriate for the anemone and impossible for the coral. They will sting and seem to ingest only to regurgitate at night... this letting the animal starve over months when you think it is getting fed well> I have some "Invertebrate Gourmet Gumbo" I can squirt around it, if you think that might be adsorbed..  <absolute pollution in a bottle... I wouldn't take any such product for free> I also have some of Dave's phytoplankton to add around the Sinularia -- yes/no ? <marginally helpful... read FAQs about dosing bottled phyto: must be bought and kept refrigerated, less than 6 months old and whisked in an electric blender with every feeding to reduce particle size to be even remotely useful to such coral> --thanks again, --chane <kindly, Anthony>

Bubble Coral Troubles Bob, I have finally been able to have perfect parameters for my tank (45g). Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20, and pH 8.2 ppm. Also Calcium 350 ppm and Alk 3.2 meq/l. SG 1.023 and temp 79 deg. <Don't mean to burst your bubble, but nitrate could be lower and pH, alkalinity, calcium, and salinity could be higher.> I have noticed that my Coralline Algae is growing and my brown or red algae along with the green algae is dissipating slowly. I have a large bubble coral that seems not to be doing well. I noticed last night it had like brown string coming out of it (not a lot). It has not been open for about 2 days, usually it opens everyday and when it does it takes up a lot of room. I have placed it on the bottom of my tank with little water movement and in a shaded area of my tank. My lighting consists of 110W of PC Actinic and (1) metal halide 175W(5700k) light. The PC comes on for about 8 hrs and the Metal for about 5 hrs. I am thinking about increasing the length of lighting. I don't feed it meaty food, <There is your problem.> some times the Kent Phytoplankton on occasion. I do add about a teaspoon of iodine weekly when I do my water change and I have a Kalkwasser drip. I have had the Bubble coral for about 2 months it has never done this before. Should I worry about? <No> Do I need to quarantine it and treat it with antibiotics? <No, just start feeding. Much written on the subject. Use the Google search feature at the bottom of the WWM page looking for Bubble coral info.> Thanks <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Ecosystem 40m filter and water quality Anthony, Just received your message. A world of thanks!!! I'm very new at all this but have been reading as much as time permits and am having a lot of fun. I will feed the brain at least weekly, here on out. I have a small problem though. I have tried this before and the tang comes along and swipes from the coral it before he can eat. I've heard of putting the coral into a plastic bowl and feeding them there. Is this safe?  <yes... but a feeding hat may work just as well. Cut the top 5-8" off of a pop bottle and use it to cap a coral in the tank without moving it. You can then squirt the slurry of food into the mouth of the bottle and have it swirl around the temporarily encased coral.> Will a small amount of brine shrimp be ok to feed him?  <Adult brine is a nearly useless food. Almost entirely water... fish and coral can actually starve while eating enough of it. Use true ocean meats (finely shredded krill, plankton, etc)> As far as the bleaching, I was told by the LFS that my Smartlight is a good light for most LPS's. Would you agree?  <yep.... and while most bleached open brains do so from light shock, I suspect yours bleached from another shock (nutrients, temperature, low salinity, etc)> In answer to you question about the Nutrifin, the tang and Percula consume what I feed them within a couple of minutes, completely. <excellent> Thanks for the great info!!! Jeff <always welcome, my friend. Anthony>

Yellow polyp feeding/Brain Light Hey Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> So, I'm progressing with my 25 gal mini reef (with PC light) now, my Yellow polyps have been doing great and have almost all reproduced already in the month that I've had them, even my button polyps are sending up babies from their base. I've been feeding the tank,  <the incidental particulate food has helped the polyps...feed them well to grow the them under bright light> which has at this present time a bicolor blenny and a Firefish (the purple back Pseudochromis has a new home in the display tank at my LFS since it never learned how to play nice with friends)  <agreed!> every other day with frozen Mysis shrimp, <excellent marine food!> (flake food the other days) which I try to mash up as much as I can between my fingers. The yellow polyps, on account of their growth seem to be loving it.  <yes> Now as of today, I've added a very nice pineapple brain specimen, and I noticed after reading the FAQ that it eats too! Is my current feeding sufficient for it too? or should I supplement with a commercial plankton?  <other Zooplankton would be nice, but the popular Phytoplankton substitutes are doubtfully useful for this Faviid brain. If form follows function, then the long aggressive feeding tentacles (large) are designed indeed for zooplankton. Feed nothing larger than crushed mysids> Any suggestions on what would be a good product if I you think I need to get some plankton? Oh and last question, What's the best placement of the brain coral? <really depends on the species and color. Some pineapples corals shipped are actually Blastomussa species and not Faviid brains. Do use a good photo reference to see if you have Blastomussa wellsi. If not B. wellsi (very low light), then as a rule, most true brains like very bright light. If the specimen did not come in stressed or pale/bleached...then top third of the tank under good reef lights will be fine> Thanks!!! David<quite welcome. Anthony>

Corals & Food Hi Guys! It's me again. So here is my second question. I have had a mushroom coral for about two months and have been feeding with Coralife Invertebrate Smorgasbord. My mushroom had been doing great, than I purchased an open brain coral. The LFS talked me into buying DT's Life Marine Phytoplankton, (very expensive). For a couple of days after feeding with this, my mushroom just lays on his side, than stands back up. Is this normal??? I know this really stresses me so can't be good for my mushroom. <Truthfully, the DT's is not going to be good or bad for either of the inverts you mentioned. Neither consume phytoplankton. Frozen Mysis Shrimp or Plankton soaked in Selcon and/or Vita-Chem would be my preferred food. Do be sure to go easy on the liquid foods, both the Coralife stuff and the juice from defrosting the frozen foods. You want to make sure you have good nutrient export as a lot of this liquid is concentrated pollution.> Thanks again. Lori <You are quite welcome. -Steven Pro>

Coral/Feeding Hi Guys! <Anthony Calfo here, bud> It's me again. So here is my second question. I have had a mushroom coral  <soft corallimorph or stony scleractinian?> for about two months and have been feeding with Coralife Invertebrate Smorgasbord.  <do be careful with such messy foods...pollution in a bottle and a good way to grow algae/increase nitrates> My mushroom had been doing great, than I purchased an open brain coral. The LFS talked me into buying DT's Life Marine Phytoplankton, (very expensive).  <the brain coral and mushroom (stony or soft) do not eat phytoplankton... they feed on zooplankton and by absorption... perhaps a waster of money unless you also have a refugium for culturing zooplankton to eat it> For a couple of days after feeding with this, my mushroom just lays on his side, than stands back up. Is this normal???  <can be normal for a corallimorph, but is unrelated to the DT's> I know this really stresses me so can't be good for my mushroom. Thanks again. Lori <kind regards, Anthony>

Re: Coral/Feeding Sorry Anthony, my mushroom is a mushroom leather coral, (Sarcophyton sp.) <no trouble at all...thanks for the clarification> sorry I am a new saltwater aquarist. I had to go get my book; Aquarium Corals. Also, if the food I have is going to pollute my water what do I feed these guys? <Sarcophytons specifically feed almost to exclusion by absorption and from the products of photosynthesis. The way to grow these guys fast is simply bright light. They physiologically do not have the means to eat much of anything in a mix like "smorgasbord/gumbo", not large zooplankton or like substitutes. Its like feeding a 2 story acorn to a squirrel...hehe> I also read on the daily Q&A's that you should stick with the same species when keeping corals in your system? I would like to have a Plerogyra sinousa, (bubble coral) will this be o.k.? Cheers...Lori <really just stick to similar families of coral like focusing on soft corals. or small polyped hard corals, large polyped hard corals, etc. Although many/most folks do mix animals like an aggressive stony bubble coral with a chemically noxious leather coral... most of those same aquarists with garden tanks have all sorts of mysterious deaths, complaints and mixed growth rates from the unnatural mix. My advice in a perfect would is to simply keep buying from the wide selection of octocorals and even some Zoantharians available. There are so many species available that you should be able to resist the stony corals for the health of the tank. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Coral Feeding I plan to obtain some non-photosynthetic corals like carnation corals and sun corals as well as some other non photosynthetic animals like certain species of gorgonians. Will a regularly dosed planktonic supplement such as Marine Snow Plankton Diet or Coralife's Invert. Gourmet Gumbo be sufficient in keeping these corals and others like them alive and thriving? <No... you would do well to experiment making your own "mashes", blends of meaty and marine algae based foods... see the various listservs in the interest... ask re formulations, protocols for making, storing, serving. Bob Fenner> Thanks,

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