Poll: What is your Technique for Feeding Corals? (Feeding Corals 101)

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When I first got into reefkeeping I researched the whole issue of coral requirements for trace elements, additives, snake-oils, etc. Having concluded that most are unecessary and a waste of money, I don't want to make similar mistakes or waste any money as i begin to research the area of feeding corals.

I thought I'd do a poll on the issue of techniques or regimen for feeding corals. What do you feed your corals? How often? When? Live phytoplankton? Cryopastes? Anything else?

Also, do all corals benefit from feeding? SPS? LPS? or just softies?
Great topic,Rinaldi.
I would think the anecdotal experiences by this group of people could be very illuminating. I hope we here from them.
Mostly I feed the tank heavily while feeding the fish in hopes that the various corals get what they need. An exception would be open brains, they get fed about once a week with the same food I feed the fish. In other words, Formula 1, Angel Diet, and other frozen foods. I do feed DT's Phytoplankton and zooplankton irregularly, sometimes live brine shrimp as well. I keep softies and lps, the lps benefit most from direct feeding. For those that I do feed directly, I use a pair of tongs to lay the food in place.

Larry M

See my tanks at Northern Reef
The corals I DO feed get fresh-killed shrimp bits (speck size) on a bamboo skewer. I hold a 10,000v cattle prod in the other hand to ward off fishes (No, no, I don't use the prod on the tank, sheesh, I zap myself to frighten the fish off with the ensuing light and smoke show).

This is mostly for Tubastreas, Fungias, Favites, Tracyphyllias, and I do this once or twice a week. The Tubastreas seem to find nutrition aside from this, or they'd be dead by now.

I also dump a teaspoon of cysts' worth of Artemia nauplii once or twice a week just for insurance. Had to "train" the corals to eat that stuff though. Shows how superior humans are: I needed no such training!

BTW I believe feeding zooxanthellic/hermatypic corals is potentially dangerous:
They settle into growth rates and sizes that they seem to have difficulty sustaining or defending if and when feeding is withdrawn.

Too many cases of corals succumbing after a prolonged break in the feeding schedule, while unfed compatriots get by fine on light and in-tank nutrition. Just my 80 sentimos

[This message has been edited by horge (edited 02-09-2000).]
I just feed the crap out of the whole tank, daily durring the week, sometimes 2x daily, always 2x daily on the weekend. I feed formula 1 shaken & soaked in 2 drops selco & 2 drops bsd cyro.

Yup, new url, finally thumbnail index html's on the folders, and a streaming webcam!
So Megadeth,
you do not feed your corals directly? They do fine?
Horge--why would you "withdraw" feeding?
Yeah, they do fine, I have really really good sps growth & color. L8r mega

Yup, new url, finally thumbnail index html's on the folders, and a streaming webcam!
bmw: I and my wife sometimes have days of non-stop 19-hour work, designing and/or supervising, far from home. I try to get subs to do the feeding, but they're scared to death to try. Wussies. Must be that cattle prod that willies them out.

ctenophore: I think the schizophrenic nature of herm-sclerac nutrition is to blame. If you spoonfeed them, they get lazy zooxanth-wise and adapt to lean on predatory nutrition. Better to let them 'learn' to rely heavily on something "as constant as the sun" --and of the same resultant wavelengths, hehe.

[This message has been edited by horge (edited 02-09-2000).]
Funny you should ask, I just finished feeding. I feed cyropaste about every third day. I have a deep sand bed and tons of tiny tube worms and little crustaceans have appeared. I figure that their spawn can feed a lot of corals.

I feed the tank fairly heavily, it serves to keep the shrimp and crabs away from the corals.

I feed several corals directly: Caulastrea (Trumpet); Plerogya sinuosa (Bubble); Catalaphyllia (Elegans); Trachyphyllia (Open Brain); Blausmossa; and, Frilly Mushrooms.

The technique varies. Tonight I went to the grocery a half mile away and got a large scallop (they cut nicely into small bits when raw and slice like a water chestnut when frozen), a shrimp and the butcher threw in a sole filet. I cut into pieces of appropriate size for the mouth.

The Elegans is the best eater. I am trying to resuscitate him from the point of death. He gets a piece per mouth about a little over a quarter inch in size. I place the food next to the mouth and brush the tentacles to close him up before the shrimp arrive. It takes about 15-30 minutes to consume the food. He is fed every third day.

The Bubble gets a bigger piece, Ã"šÃ‚½ inch or a silversides minus the head. I push it gently into the bubbles. It is also consumed in 15-30 minutes. Shrimp do not steal food from her. Fed at least weekly, sometimes twice a week.

The open brain gets smaller pieces placed between the ridges. It is a slow eater. It is a job keeping the shrimp away, probably because I feed with the lights on and it takes a while for tentacles to appear and grab the food. If it is dark and the tentacles are out, the feeding goes faster and the shrimp are less of a bother. Fed every three days.

The Trumpet gets a 1/8 inch piece placed into the tentacles. Shrimp have not tried to steal this food. Fed weekly, occasionally twice a week.

Frilly mushrooms are difficult. They are slow and do not grab the food like the others. It is easily brushed off the mushroom. Small pieces and a watchful eye for thiefs. Fed randomly when I have the patience.

Blausmossa, small mouths. I have tried brine shrimp with limited success. I have lured newly hatched peppermint shrimp into its mouth. Tonight, I noticed that it took some small pieces of sole that I had chopped in a food processor and squirted in its direction. Fed irregularly until I find a food that it takes easlily.

I usually throw in some extra food to keep the shrimp and crabs busy and use a long piece of rigid airline tubing to keep brushing the shrimp and crabs away.

The soft coral get what is in the water column.

I have only been doing this about 7 months, but the bubble, open brain and elegans expand tremendously. The trumpet has grown from a two trumpet fragment to about 12 trumpets in 4 months. The Basusmossa was a 3 polyp fragment and is a little bigger than a golf ball now and a perfect sphere.

Of course, I may be wrong.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by horge:
Too many cases of corals succumbing after a prolonged break in the feeding schedule<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Horge, that's a very interesting observation and might explain the recent demise of a bubble coral I have been keeping for the last 10 months. I had been feeding it a lot and it was doing great then I got really busy with other things and did not feed it nearly as often. Thanks for the insight.

Peace - John

I have been feeding sweetwater zooplankton to most of my LFS for a while now. They seem to REALLY like it. Especially the trumpets.

I basically just stick a 5ml syringe in the jar, and get about 4 ml's of the stuff, and squirt it right onto the mouths of the corals that are being fed... trumpts, open brain, frogspawn, torch, and some mushrooms and large button polyps.


It's all fun and games until someone looses and eye....
I feed the tank very heavily several times a day. I choose from the following:

Prime Reef
Formula I
Formula II
BSD Spirulina Flake
BSD Plankton Gold Flake
BSD Tropical Fish Flake
ESV Spray Dried Phyto
BSD Tahitian Blend Zoo
BSD Rotifer Golden Pearls
Various Live Food Occasionally
Various Red and Green Dried Algae (health food store)
BSD Selco
Fresh Fish and mollusks occasionally

Only the tubastraeas and a couple lobophyllias get target fed...

I dissolve frozen foods in tank water and use a medicine dropper to squirt into the tank. I squirt food over/near/around the E. quadricolors, Catalaphyllia, Trachyphyllia, and Caulastrea daily. I feed the tank DT's phytoplankon every other day. I have lots of creepy-crawlies in the sandbed and I assume they provide plankton. I also have two pair of shrimp that are constantly pregnant. More plankton!

Now, how do you pronounce (and/or spell) that again?

Reefgal in the desert

I add live phyto (nanno. and tetraselmis) and live rotifers daily. And throw in artemia nauplii every other day.
I prefer the live stuff over the cryopreserved products even if it's a bit more work because it allows me to go nuts and dump truckloads of plankton in the tank without worrying too much about food decaying. I feed heavily because i have ahermatypic softies (scleronephthyas) and i'm too lazy to target feed them.

what is sweetwater zooplankton?
sweetwater is the brand,

you can get it from www.aquaticeco.com

it is some zooplankton ( i think mostly daphnia) in a liquid base that you have to keep refigerated once you open it. It has a 1 month shelf life once opened, but the corals ( and fish) seem to REALLY like it.

should be like $5.00 for a jar that should last just about anybody a month.


It's all fun and games until someone looses and eye....
Great thread! I have an open brain, closed brain, colt, leather, shrooms, and polyps. I often feel like I have no idea when I'm feeding my corals. Generally I just squirt stuff in their general direction with a turkey baster, including fresh hatched brine shrimp every few days. I go by the overfeed method, using cyropastes daily until the water is green, and keep the pumps off for a few hours. I sometimes do this when I get home and sometimes after lights out. Pretty haphazard but everyone looks happy.
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