At AAC, the team and I are often asked the best way to feed your corals/tube worms/clams etc., how to feed them and when is the best time to do so.
With corals, there’s no clear cut answer, or ‘one rule for all’. The word ‘corals’ is so general. It refers to a huge group of animals, with many different ways in which they may capture their food source(s).
This may comprise of microscopic, particulate or sizeable prey items in relation to the polyp size.
In addition to understanding prey capture/feeding, its vital that we also make sure that, if the corals are of the photosynthetic (light loving) type we are providing them with the adequate levels of light required. This ensures the animals require very little extra food, such as they would find in nature. If the corals do not gain nutrition from light (are of the non photosynthetic variety), it’s important we provide enough nutrition manually to maintain and grow them without compromising water quality.
Make sure before setting off on a shopping spree for ‘coral foods’, you are aware of the animal(s) you keep. Coral Polyp size is split into 3 groups. SPS (small polyp stony corals), LPS corals (large polyp stony corals ) and NPS (non photosynthetic species).
Other filter feeding species are partially photosynthetic. These species include clams, molluscs, tube worms and anemones. Even some sponges, which are notorious filter feeders can partially photosynthesize, using species of bacteria rather than the usual algae cells found in corals (zooxanthellae).
It’s a given that myriads of bacteria and micro organisms assist alongside these feeding processes. But to keep things simple, what do I suggest to use, and for what animal? What should make it into that shopping basket?
Coral ‘foods’ can be divided into 3 groups:
Particulate and Pellet feeds.
Each food, depending on how its engineered, will also have greater or fewer nutrient values. Some can also contain Probiotic Bacteria or PNS ( Purple Non-Sulphur Bacteria). In recent times, people are looking at Feeds with liquid and dry bacteria incorporated into them. Through this, we start to uncover the nutrient requirements of certain species and what they actually feed upon.
These are found in the market place, and in-store/online at http://aac-online.co.uk. Just click on the title of each product to view it here in the store.
Nevertheless, here’s my current ‘Top Ten’ Coral foods in no particular order:
1/ ‘Reef Energy AB+’ by Red Sea
This is a fantastic ‘all-round’ liquid feed, particularly when your tank conditions are very nutrient poor. Amino acids alongside other materials contained will keep those newly set up systems particularly well fed with D.O.C (dissolved organic compounds) . I find this particularly useful with Acropora and Euphyllia (especially Torch Corals). It’s often used as a broadcast feed, but can be pipetted more directly if required. Do be careful not to overdose as this product will increase nutrient levels.
2/ ‘Benereef’ by Benepets
Another very useful particulate feed. This is designed to be mixed with aquarium water and broadcast fed. What makes this a stand out product is its ability to actually lower nutrient levels (specifically phosphate). I’m sure this is due to some clever probiotic bacteria that’s within the mix. This is extremely popular with SPS coral fans. It has a huge following due to the benefit of providing nutrition, without compromising on water quality. You’re pretty safe to do heavy broadcast feeding with this product.
3/ ‘Oyster Feast’ by Reef Nutrition .
All of ‘Reef Nut.’s’ range is worth looking at, but Oyster feast is really special. This a nutrient-rich, highly concentrated food of varying micron sizes. It’s got to be one of the obvious natural foods to feed coral with. We have extensively used this at AAC and we find its best application is with Soft Corals, NPS corals and SPS corals.
4/ ‘Reef Roids’ by Polyp Lab.
‘Roids’ Along with its partner product ‘Polyp Booster’, packs a punch. First on the scene with a super powerful nutrient rich dried zooplankton, Reef Roids became especially popular in the Zoanthids craze and offers a good food for larger polyped SPS and some LPS, goniopora and gorgonians especially.
It’s sister product ‘polyp booster’ is wickedly strong, so do be responsible when using these products so as not to contribute towards too much organic waste, unless of course thats what you need. Therefore Reef Roids offers serious value at a very good price point.
5/ ‘Acropower’ by Two Little Fishies
The name should make this one super easy. Acropower, formulated by Julian Sprung (well-renowned author and marine biologist). This product has been around for some time, but its still one of the most respected Amino Acid feeds on the market. It targets SPS and Acropora frags with precisely all they need to get by, aside from their photosynthetic properties. Despite its age, this product is still very much in demand today by those familiar with Julian and his place within the hobby.
6/ ‘Coral Power’ by Coral Essentials
This is a brand new particulate food that’s just hit the market place. It’s ideal for broadcast feeding, and is made by the Australian firm famous for its additives. Coral Power is very popular amongst hobbyists that focus again on keeping SPS. Like many other brands in this field of particulates, it will suffice the diet of pretty much anything in your tank capable of Polyp prey capture.
Extensively tested on Sustainable Reefs’ coral farm prior to its release (as all of their products have been). It’s also good to see total disclosure on its raw ingredients so you can be sure what you’re using is precisely ‘what’s on the tin’.
7/ ‘Ultra LPS – Grow & Colour’ by Fauna Marin
This particular food is of a larger pellet format, ideal for feeding your LPS corals. I find this ideal for species like Elegance corals, Duncan’s, Acan’s, Blasto’s, Bubble corals, Fungia/Heliofungia, Lobo’s, Trachy’s, Symphillia, Scollies, and many others.
Basically, any LPS coral that has a decent sized mouth. Your corals will develop very strong colour if you use this. It is not necessary to over feed with this; once or twice a week is more than enough. You certainly don’t want any wasted pellets sitting on the coral.
8/ ‘GoldPods’ by Nyos
This slick, German brand (renounced for their hardware) also offer a preserved suspension feed based on the artic Copepod species Calanus. It will feed your fish as well as your larger polyp stony corals. Do make sure that you don’t overdose this product, as the profile is super rich.
9/ ‘R.O.E’ (Real Oceanic Eggs) by Reef Nutrition
This is another suspension feed. Make sure to reduce your flow rate, otherwise you’ll wash the product away from the targeted coral.
What I love about this product, is its neutral buoyancy when the flow is on. This simulates a genuine, larger plankton-sized particle that drifts around like you’d expect in a spawning event. Although the focus here is on ‘How to Feed your Corals’, this food is also superb at feeding anthias and finicky butterfly fish.
10/ ‘Reef Enhance’ by ReefBrite
This is a very clever, small particulate coral food not unlike Benepets. It’s ideal for all hard and soft corals alike; mushroom anemones, scallops, filter feeders, gorgonians etc. It can basically recreate marine or reef snow.
Thank you for reading, should you require more information please contact the team at AAC !