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FAQs about Abalone Foods, Feeding, Nutrition

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Macrophagous herbivores... rasp macro (and some micro) algae from hard substrates...

How Much/How Often to Feed an Abalone?     10/20/14
Hello Bob & Company!
We’ve talked before, and I so appreciate your help - this time, my question relates to my abalone, Oscar. (“My abalone has a first name, it’s o-s-c-a-r-…”
I’ve had Oscar for almost a year now, and he’s grown from 4” to almost 6” resting length (longer when stretched out). He’s active for several hours a day, and does a fantastic job keeping the reef clear of algae. I made some mesh cages for macroalgae, which helps me offer him live food in addition to dried seaweed (he eventually clears the cages, and I refill them).
Here’s my question: how much and how often should Oscar be eating? He’s reached a point where he can plow a 6” x 2” square of dried seaweed in less than an hour, and I suspect he’d do it as often as I let him. I’ve been offering the seaweed 2-3 times a week, and letting him “graze” the tank (which is fairly algae-free, thanks to Oscar and the pair of turbo snails I keep with him) and get what he can from the macro-algae cages the rest of the week. I don’t want to overfeed him, because he’s such a lovely creature and I’d like him to have a long life - but I don’t want to starve him, either! I’d really appreciate any help you can offer.
<Really depends on temperature mostly... but I would keep on the schedule you've been using... it IS working>
Thank you! (I’ve included a photo of Oscar, and another that shows one of the algae cages.)
<Very nice. Thanks for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Abalone-related thanks!      5/23/15
Hello again, Bob and Company!
I’m writing to thank you for your advice about my abalone, Oscar, and to share a photo of a neat abalone behavior you mention on your site (feel free to use it if you wish).
<Thank you>
Back in 2014, I asked you about the frequency of abalone feedings. I’m pleased to say that Oscar is still doing great - he’s grown almost an inch in the last 6 months - and doing well on a diet of fresh macro-algae and dried seaweed. After reading your advice, I decided to give him live macro-algae “at will” and offer supplementary dried seaweed once or twice a week.
<Ah, good>
I can tell when he’s hungry, because he will “stand up” and reach for the seaweed when I put it near his snout. When he’s not, he ignores it or runs away. He grazes on the fresh macro-algae and scrapes the tank glass also.
On your site, you mention abalones using their foot to secure food to prevent it from floating away. Oscar has even learned to rise up and “hold” his food while he eats it. Here’s a photo of him doing it, just last night. I thought you might enjoy!
Thank you again - your site is really a spectacular resource.
Susan Spann
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

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