Logo
Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Stony Coral Foods/Feeding/Nutrition, Feeding Techniques 

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

Related FAQs: Coral Feeding 1, Coral Feeding 2, Coral Feeding 3, & FAQs on Stony Coral Feeding: Rationale, Types, Amounts, Frequency, 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:

Are your animals ready to feed? Show me your tongues, feeding caps, pipettes, turkey baster (don't let the significant other catch you). Defrost frozen foods, rinse away juices... unless you intend to introduce... and try to keep your actual hands out of the system water...

Feeding time Thank you for the help with the lighting situation.  I had another question about feeding my candy cane coral.  I have tried to feed it (using turkey baster, turning off all water movement) mega marine algae, Mysis shrimp and brine shrimp but the tentacles only ever come out at like 4:00 in the morning...I can't keep doing this.  Is there a way to get them to open up during the day, a certain food I should be feeding them?? <Corals can be "trained" to extend their tentacles by feeding at the same time each day and by "teasing" the polyps with a squirt of juice from the food.  It takes some patience and time, but it will work.  In the meantime, while I admire your dedication, you probably don't need to get up at 4:00 each morning.  This coral will do fine for quiet a while without target feeding. Any chopped (BB size) meaty food is fine.> Also, my green bristle star has started making a tent...waiting for an unsuspecting fish.  I have been feeding him shrimp whole) but he has recently stop taking it...is there something better to try and feed him???  Thank you very much for all the help so far, Todd Hawman <Todd, as you seem to be aware, some brittle stars are quite predatory when they get large.  I would try smaller pieces of shrimp or other meaty foods.  Do consider whether you wish to risk any fish or inverts by keeping this animal.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Food for thought Greetings crew! <Graham at your service!> OK, I did my research and reading like a good little pet-father before getting my open brain coral.  I know that it likes to be fed several times a week with fine chopped meat (got shrimp, clams, and squid for it).  The only thing I did not think of is HOW to feed it.  Here is what I have tried: 1.  I tried the turkey baster method with the pumps on and ended up feeding the rest of the tank.   2.  Turned off the pumps and did the baster method again.  The rest of my tank used the brain as a plate and got fed....again. 3.  Next day, tried putting small amount with my fingers directly on the center of the brain and then immediately feeding the rest of my tank their food.  Same result as #2. 4.  Tried #2 and #3 during day and an hour after lights go out.  Same results but fish & shrimp getting fatter and are hanging out around brain begging for more. I got the brain because I love how they look under my lights (220W of 10,000K & Actinic).  I did NOT get it to be a plate for my always hungry fish and shrimps. Any suggestions on how to feed my brain? <Well, it sounds like you've already tried quite a bit of various methods. It's important to feed your brain when the feeder tentacles are out. This usually occurs a few hours after the lights go off. Once these feeder tentacles come out, you may place a small piece of krill, silverside, shrimp, etc. gently on the tentacles. The brain should then pull the food in. You'll find it very difficult to feed a brain without these tentacles being out. You may use other methods to feed, including using a turkey baster and gently squirt the food into its tentacles. You may also want to temporarily turn off any current in the aquarium to prevent the food from floating off before the coral has a chance to catch it.> Thanks <Take Care! Graham.> -Ray

Tubastrea Feeding Tips  hey guys,  <Hi! Ryan with you today>  Thanks for all the help in the past it's helped myself and many others out tremendously. <Glad to hear it> Unfortunately I'm going to have to bug you again. <Why I'm here> I have some orange cup corals of the non photosynthetic kind. <Gotcha> There are a couple different variations of the species so I'll just give you the name I've been using for ID. <My advise when it comes to the species names of lower inverts is to take all with a grain of salt...> It's a Tubastrea coccina that is an LPS coral my problem is I don't know what to feed it. I've been using invertebrate foods such as PhytoPlex, ChromaPlex, and Zooplex on varying cycles but it doesn't seem to be keeping them in good health. <All bottled supplements with little benefits- You'll need to get some frozen high quality foods, as well as some decent coral food like Coral Heaven or Cyclop-eeze. These guys are quite the feeders- They'll require feeding every other day to flourish> I have two of these corals and they're mounted under a ledge in my aquarium just like in nature. <Feed them Mysis shrimp with tweezers> I've read that you need to target feed these types of corals, but I've also read that you don't and if you do what can I feed them? <See above> I've also tried feeding my fish at night when its polyps star to emerge so it can catch some of the fishes food but that I don't think is working too well either. <Nope, you'll need to target feed them. If you cut the top off a 2-liter soda bottle, you can put this around your polyps and then use a feeding syringe to really give them a decent chance at eating> I really don't want to lose this coral so I'd appreciate any info you have on them. I also seem to be having a micro bubble problem in my tank. I have a CPR overflow box that drains the water to my refugium/sump. Problem is it keeps blowing tiny bubbles down into my sump and creating a really annoying salt creep problem all around the top where the big bubbles pop and slash and such. Any simple remedies like egg crate on the surface of the water? <Sometimes a piece of bridal veil netting somewhere in the line to the sump can help- Really it's just fine tuning. Tinker, tinker my friend. Have a good one, Ryan> I don't know. Please help out. Chris aka fishtank

Coralline Algae Growth Hello Crew! <Hello, Ryan with you today> Just can't seem to find the answer to these in the FAQ's (sometimes TOO MUCH good information to find a specific question). <I know!  It's a bit overwhelming at times> 1.  I have an open brain coral that I feed meaty treats (shrimp, clam, squid) 3 times per week.  I noticed that it has 3 mouth-like structures that I put the food directly into and it gets sucked in.  I have to stand guard else my ever hungry clowns will snatch the food up.  Is it necessary to feed each mouth?  Can I just feed one or two of them and the nutrients will get shared to the entire organism?  The third is a little hard to see/reach and this direct feeding method is the only way I have found to feed it without others in the tank (clowns, shrimp) snatching the food for themselves. <The more each mouth eats, the better the entire colony will grow.  Corals grow in a very deliberate way; To make the most of a certain environment.  This said, I would either move the brain so that you can feed the entire thing, or make the extra effort.  As for snatching, it's highly frustrating.  Will a fish feeding just before will keep them distracted long enough?> 2.  On my live rock, I have tons of coralline algae growing.  Colors of purple, maroon, red, green and pink. On my glass, pumps and base rock (Tufa), I only have one shade of purple growing.  I would really like a mix of colors.  Any ideas on how to encourage this process or why only one is spreading from the live rock to other areas? <One is outperforming the others at this given time.  What's your calcium level?  Some varieties of coralline won't grow unless high calcium levels are met.  It's just a matter of luck, time and patience.  Perhaps you could graft the variety you like to unclaimed territory before the more aggressive types have the opportunity?> Thanks a lot.  You guys are a real credit to the hobby and I would be lost without you (or it least I would not have such a wonderful tank). <Great to hear!  Hope this helps, and good luck- Ryan> -Ray

Scolymia  I have a Scolymia in my 29 gallon reef aquarium. I have had him for about five months, and he doesn't seem to be acting like he used to. I feed him frozen krill. His mouth opens up when he is hungry, but lately, he is constantly keeping it open. After I place a creel in his mouth, he does not want to eat it anymore. He looks a lot skinnier in the mouth area than he usually did. He used to be big and plump in the middle. Some additional products I add to the tank is ChromaPlex, Zooplex, Iodine, Reef Buster, and PhytoPlex. I also have exceptional lighting (Coralife light). What can be making the Scolymia act the way he has been lately? Also, are there any other helpful hints I may need to know about the Scolymia eating habits. <How large are the krill you're feeding? If you're feeding whole krill, then the animal is probably declining from starvation. Feeding such large portions is unnatural, and is not usually digestible by any Cnidarian. They engulf it, for sure, but expel it later, and acquire virtually nothing from the food item. Feed small minced portions no larger than 1\4" across, and VARY the diet! Try Mysis, prepared foods, scallops, fish, Cyclop-Eeze, etc. Also, soak the food in a HUFA\OMEGA3 supplement such as Selcon> Thank you, <You're welcome, and good luck!> Holly <M. Maddox> 

Tubastrea feeding plan 4 April 2005 Hello Crew,  <Hi Alex, MacL here with you tonight.> I have a feeding plan that I would like to try on my sun polyp coral! And I want you guys to tall me if It's a good one. I would like to try coral vital and Cyclop-eeze mixed together with tank water, when the polyps open, with a turkey blaster blow a puff of food into a feeder hat. What do you guys think?  <I think it sounds really nice. I use DT's and Cyclop-eeze the exact same way.> 

Tubastraea Feeding follow-up 7 April 2005 Hello one more time MacL <Hey!>   How do I know when my coral has finished eating? (I know kind of a silly question). Not silly whatsoever, I generally judge it done when all the food disappears in the cap but I have a friend who leaves him on for an hour and no longer. His corals are thriving as well. I think you can safely judge by how fast they eat and by how they respond.> But I want to do this right. Thanks again!!!

Response to Feed Me Seymour!!!  Trachyphyllia and torch coral feeding problem,    2/16/07 Hey WWM, <Hi there Johnny!  Mich here.>     I was recently doing my nightly browsing of your site and came across someone's question Feed Me Seymour!!!  Trachyphyllia and torch coral feeding problem,   1/29/07 and thought that I may be of some assistance.  Pretty sure other people probably use this method, but in order for me to keep my fish and shrimp from stealing the food off my Trachy, I cut off the top of a Gatorade Bottle about 4 to 5 inches down from the mouth.  I rinsed it thoroughly to get out all the additives and glue from the label.  Now, my open brain is bigger than the bottle circumference but with a little coxing it will retract and allow me to put the bottle over him and allow me to drop the chopped Shrimp or silversides onto the mouths with out the thieves getting to it. Hope this Helps... <Thank you for sharing.  -Mich> Johnny Droste

Feeding my corals  2/5/07 Hi there, <Hello Susan, Mich with you tonight.> I'm a newcomer to saltwater aquariums and am hooked -- thoroughly loving this wonderful hobby and very much enjoying your column. <Excellent!> Thanks for all your hard work. <Mostly Bob's.> I purchased a mature 90 gal. set-up in October/06 and so far things have been going pretty well, although a few of my corals are a bit sad due to my inexperience. Thanks to you guys, they are now on solid foods. <Very good.> My bubble coral and plate coral (the kind with long tentacles) have lost a lot of tissue and their stony fins are showing. Thanks to your advice, I have started feeding them finely chopped Mysis so I'm hoping they'll recover. <Me too!  You may want to soak your Mysis in Selcon, a vitamin supplement.> Also, I have moved the plate coral to the sand bottom (I previously had him perched higher up on a flat rock) so hopefully he will be happier. <Hopefully.> Here's my question: When the bubble and plate coral have their "mouths" open (the slit in the middle is unzipped), is that a good time to feed them? <Can be.> Also, the plate coral is giving off quite a bit of filament, almost making a web around itself sometimes. Should I be doing anything about this? <You may want to use carbon and change it with some frequency.  This mucus contains cytotoxins that could have a negative effect on other corals in your system.>   Thanks for any advice you can offer. <You're welcome!  -Mich> Susan

Feeding Tubastrea Sun Coral Do you have any tips on feeding a sun coral (Tubastrea)?   I can't seem to get the polyps to extend so I can feed it. Thanks, Alan <much has been written on this subject abroad on the 'Net. I also have a section in my book (Coral Propagation) for feeding Tubastrea with a slurry in a basin. For starters, train the polyps to open by simply putting a little bit of meaty juice (tablespoon) from thawed frozen food (Mysis shrimp) into the tank at the same time every night. Do this for a week or two until the animals is trained to open and wait at that time. Then introduce meaty fare (yes... Mysis is a great start). Target feed with a saltwater slurry... or put the coral in a floating cup several times weekly and concentrate the food (to prevent overfeeding the tank) Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

LPS Coral Feeding Trick 2/8/03 Thanks Anthony.  Have one more question about the plate.  He isn't taking food. <try regularly but don't force it> When I first got him he took about 1/2" of silverside readily. <good> Since then (about 1.5 weeks ago),  he has not accepted any minced silverside, clam, or scallop.  Today I tried feeding zooplankton with a baster, he rejected this also.  Should I be concerned? <not in the 2-4 week picture> When target feeding, how much zooplankton should I administer? <a very small amount in tank water... perhaps 1/4-1/3 teaspoon of meat> And how far from the mouth should I squirt it? <try a feeding cap... cut the top off a soda pop bottle and sink it over the coral at feeding time... the squirt the food in to the top of the bottle and that will serve to increase contact time with food in a suspended slurry> Thanks, Adam <best regards, Anthony>

Green Brain feeding - 2/11/03 Hey Gang! <cheers, bub> How's it goin'? well I trust, I'd like to show Anthony a picture of the first attempted feeding of my Brain! (feeding my head comes later on this evening!) Do the pieces of food (Prime Reef) look about the right size? <indeed fine. This coral in fact can safely eat much larger fare than most LPS at any rate> After shutting off the circulation pumps, I placed the food on the coral where I thought the mouth (s) were. The coral did start taking the food after about 20 minutes and seemed to eat much of it. <and you'll notice they inflate magnificently some hours later> Meanwhile, the brittle starfish & red reef crab came ripping out from the rock work as soon as the Prime Reef food hit the water, so they ended up with some after I coaxed them to another part of the tank with a chunk of food.  I plan on doing this ritual about, every third day or so? What do ya think??      <quite good!> Thanks for the info, & for being there to share this fun stuff with!! Scott in Denver <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Green Brain feeding - 2/14/03 Anthony, Thanks for the last reply, I must apologize to you as well for not sticking to the "forum" of WWM. <not your fault, bud... our friends and readers have no idea (and do not need to know) how hectic is gets here. Its my/our obligation for the sake of courtesy and professionalism to project a better image. I slipped and have let that fellow and a few others "get my goat" lately. To better days :) > I reckon I won't buy from the LFS in question. Unfortunately, that store is probably the best store in this area to get these corals from (sad, but true) we won't even get into the LFS's that smell like "bait shops" with $40, 1 polyp 'shrooms that are half dead. <are you close to the Marine Showcase? I've heard good things from aquarists about them. They support the local club(s) and seem very sincere> I'm thinking the only other option is the internet retailers or local aquarium clubs & societies. <not really... I think you can shop anywhere as long as you are an educated consumer and don't need to rely on their advice. Only buy appropriate creatures for captivity. I would avoid internet purchased live animals at all costs. > I guess I'm learning about the "down side" of the hobby where  "the mighty dollar" takes precedence over caring with true concern of these animals, It sucks. I do have a question for ya though, I took the brain coral out of the 70 gal. softy display & put it in a 10 gallon with some live rock with an , that will be Emperor 280 back filter, it cycles the tank 25-28 time an hour.    When I feed the "prime Reef" frozen food to this beauty, I mush it up then try to place it on the coral around the "mouth" area but much of the food slides off onto the substrate.  What is the method you use to feed these animals? <put a little meat or juice in the aquarium fifteen minutes in advance and that will get the sticky stinging feeding tentacles to come out... then feed> Oh yea, the brain is the only coral going into the 10 gallon, talk about a "species specific' set-up!!  (Although it would be nice to get a little more variety in there) Again, I hope you'll accept my apology for "stirring it up" with the LFS & WWM/You.                                                          Scott <no worries, bud... we'll all be best to stick with the issues :) Anthony>

Feeding corals - 4/11/03 Good day WWM crew, <G'day Charlie. A very belated Paul here to finally answer your question> I have a 75 g reef tank that has been up and running for about 5 months now. I have been weekly feeding finely blended meaty foods to the following inverts with a syringe: Thin Finger Leather ( Sinularia) <May benefit from it, but somewhat doubtful> Speckled Leather (Sinularia) <Not sure about this one benefiting either> Devil's Hand Leather (Lobophytum) <Not sure about this one, but I don't think so> Mushroom Leather (Sarcophyton) <Definitely not benefiting from this feeding> Green Polyps (Palythoa) <very likely. Have you seen expansion and budding??> Mushroom Coral (Actinodiscus) <Maybe> small Tridacna clam (Squamosa) <Nope. Not even close. They eat in the food range likely around 2 to possible 20 micron size. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tridacfdgfaqs.htm> Feather Duster (Sabellastarte) <Not going to benefit as the size is likely too big> <Have you actually noticed any of these corals eating this food mixture? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlfdgfaqs.htm> I also weekly target feed bottled Phyto to the Feather Duster and clam (the phyto is refrigerated and put in a blender before use). <I am sure you have read by now that there is renewed interest in coral feeding et al. Much research currently being done in various areas of the world. Also, I am sure you have read on this site in particular, that most bottled phyto (except maybe DT's, as they are live) at this point just don't seem to have the true food appeal to corals as once thought for a great many reasons:  technique, size of food stuffs, food long past its expiration, and just plain crap food source. Again, if you see some difference in your animals, then great, but in my experience and findings, it's seeming more and more that phyto is somewhat overrated. Not to say that some corals won't benefit from its use, please don't get me wrong or misunderstand, but that these algae are the catch all for all coral feeding is something I am not willing to accept at this point in time. (Read MONEY MAKER!) I am currently in this realm of research in my Marine Biology studies. Trying various food sources and mixtures or true algaes and bacteria to various planktons (more specifically "pods"). Lots of indirect uses for phyto, but I do not believe it is THE food for coral tanks. Also, be sure to get a very reliable source of food stuffs for your inhabitants.> I don't do this with the corals since I have read that soft corals in the family Alcyoniidae, Zoanthidea, and the Corallimorphs don't really feed on Phyto but rather Zooplankton. <Ummm.....well, again many different thoughts here, but regardless, you feeding one drop of the phytoplankton to your tank may be feeding these animals. (If we could agree that phyto is what they would eat anyway, which I am not saying) I have been thinking that I should provide a natural means of providing both phyto and zooplankton. <Always a good idea to have natural food sources, but not necessarily easily done. A nice idea to have various fresh or live sources of food, but look at the cost for upkeep (true monetary cost and man hours in upkeep) versus the cost of just buying enough from a reliable source and storing> I have read that certain macro algae can culture many forms of nanoplankton that all corals will benefit from. <Well, again depends if we are talking "pods" or "plants"> I can't really afford to set up a refugium right now, but I was thinking maybe I could grow some Chlorodesmis in the tank. <Maiden's Hair? Many different species here, but I am assuming this is what you are talking about. Likely fine. Kind of a nest for pod's to do their thing so to speak> Since most herbivores won't bother Turtle grass, I was thinking that this could provide the natural foods I am looking for. <Again we are talking animals "pods" as this will not produce algal foods to replace the phytoplankton if that is what you are looking for. I don't think I have enough information to answer this though. This whole setup depends on what other animals inhabit the tank. A great many fish may be able to deplete you "pods" in no time and corals will likely benefit from their brood in the form of larvae so without some protection from such (i.e.. another tank separate from predators) this may not work...all depends>  Would this work? <See previous statement. A good start if you already have a good amount of copepods and amphipods already in tank with few to none predators> If not, can you make any suggestions? <I would look for a reliable source of fresh or live animals of various sizes available in your area or that can be shipped relatively easily to you. I love the idea of a refugium and if your only option is to throw in some Chlorodesmis (maiden's hair) then that will only help slightly, but not really the answer. So here is the million dollar question...? Why do you need this? Have you tried not feeding these particular corals? Were they dying before you started to feed them? I realize there is a lot of discussion on corals not reaching their nutritional requirements through photosynthesis alone, but maybe these corals are getting the excess they need in your tank without you adding anything at all. In other words you may already have the balance you need. This is such a big discussion to have in a somewhat limited forum (time to type more specifically and other questions and things to take my time). Please do more scouring on the net and more importantly ask around the different forums on the various sites out there. So much knowledge to be had for the taking with a little searching. Although I probably didn't really answer your question I just wanted to give you a little food for thought. No pun intended =) Let me know what you think and if you need any clarifying. So much research still to go.> Thanks Charlie

Feeding corals revisited- 4/14/03 My comments are now in <<< >>> Good day WWM crew, <G'day Charlie. A very belated Paul here to finally answer your question> I have a 75 g reef tank that has been up and running for about 5 months now. I have been weekly feeding finely blended meaty foods to the following inverts with a syringe: Thin Finger Leather ( Sinularia) <May benefit from it, but somewhat doubtful> Speckled Leather (Sinularia) <Not sure about this one benefiting either> Devil's Hand Leather (Lobophytum) <Not sure about this one, but I don't think so> Mushroom Leather (Sarcophyton) <Definitely not benefiting from this feeding> Green Polyps (Palythoa) <very likely. Have you seen expansion and budding??> Mushroom Coral (Actinodiscus) <Maybe> small Tridacna clam (Squamosa) <Nope. Not even close. They eat in the food range likely around 2 to possible 20 micron size. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tridacfdgfaqs.htm> Feather Duster (Sabellastarte) <Not going to benefit as the size is likely too big> <Have you actually noticed any of these corals eating this food mixture? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlfdgfaqs.htm> << I'm not sure if the corals are actually eating this or not, however I have watched the Zoanthids "grabbing" pieces out of suspension. Let me elaborate on what I feed and how I administer it: 1) I feed what is a frozen algae called Reef Treats. It is mainly green and brown algae with Spirulina, peas, and spinach. I bought this mainly for the Tang. It also has some meaty ingredients like brine shrimp, Mysid shrimp, squid, clam, scallop, mussel, and krill. I figured that the cnidarians, the Sabellastarte, and the squamosa would benefit from the meaty portions. 2) I first thoroughly defrost the frozen food and soak it in garlic for about 45 minutes. I then put it in a small blender and chop it up really fine. I feed the bigger pieces to the fish. I then mix a drop of bottled Phyto with the remaining smaller pieces and make a "mush". I suck the juices up in a syringe and target feed the animals. I turn the skimmer off for about 30 minutes. I have noticed all my corals have shown growth. The Palythoa has budded as well as the corallimorphs. The Sarcophyton' crown has grown in surface area and the stalk has grown taller, The Sinularia's branches are growing, The Lobophytums branches have grown a lot, The Xenia has grown twice the size when I got him a few weeks ago, The cabbage leather has grown bigger, the clam has gotten bigger as well as the feather duster. But for all I know they would have grown like this regardless of what foods I was administering. Like you say below, I could have a balance.>> <<<Now without going into it too much, I have many of the same corals you do spread out over a few tanks and I too, have experienced the same reproduction, growth, and expansion of said corals, only I add no external food items to my tank. I would likely attribute the growth in most of your soft corals to proper lighting and water parameters for their needs of nutrition as well as some of their additional nutritional needs to the by product of fish feeding and excrement.>>> I also weekly target feed bottled Phyto to the Feather Duster and clam (the phyto is refrigerated and put in a blender before use). <I am sure you have read by now that there is renewed interest in coral feeding et al. Much research currently being done in various areas of the world. Also, I am sure you have read on this site in particular, that most bottled phyto (except maybe DT's, as they are live) at this point just don't seem to have the true food appeal to corals as once thought for a great many reasons: technique, size of food stuffs, food long past its expiration, and just plain crap food source. Again, if you see some difference in your animals, then great, but in my experience and findings, it's seeming more and more that phyto is somewhat overrated. Not to say that some corals won't benefit from its use, please don't get me wrong or misunderstand, but that these algae are the catch all for all coral feeding is something I am not willing to accept at this point in time. (Read MONEY MAKER!) I am currently in this realm of research in my Marine Biology studies. Trying various food sources and mixtures or true algaes and bacteria to various planktons (more specifically "pods"). Lots of indirect uses for phyto, but I do not believe it is THE food for coral tanks. Also, be sure to get a very reliable source of food stuffs for your inhabitants.> << I appreciate your elaboration on the phyto here. Very helpful>> I don't do this with the corals since I have read that soft corals in the family Alcyoniidae, Zoanthidea, and the Corallimorphs don't really feed on Phyto but rather Zooplankton. <Ummm.....well, again many different thoughts here, but regardless, you feeding one drop of the phytoplankton to your tank may be feeding these animals. (If we could agree that phyto is what they would eat anyway, which I am not saying) I have been thinking that I should provide a natural means of providing both phyto and zooplankton. <Always a good idea to have natural food sources, but not necessarily easily done. A nice idea to have various fresh or live sources of food, but look at the cost for upkeep (true monetary cost and man hours in upkeep) versus the cost of just buying enough from a reliable source and storing> I have read that certain macroalgae can culture many forms of nanoplankton that all corals will benefit from. <Well, again depends if we are talking "pods" or "plants"> I can't really afford to set up a refugium right now, but I was thinking maybe I could grow some Chlorodesmis in the tank. <Maiden's Hair? << Yes, Maiden's Hair>>Many different species here, but I am assuming this is what you are talking about. Likely fine. Kind of a nest for pod's to do their thing so to speak> Since most herbivores won't bother Turtle grass, I was thinking that this could provide the natural foods I am looking for. <Again we are talking animals "pods" as this will not produce algal foods to replace the phytoplankton if that is what you are looking for. I don't think I have enough information to answer this though. This whole setup depends on what other animals inhabit the tank. A great many fish may be able to deplete you "pods" in no time and corals will likely benefit from their brood in the form of larvae so without some protection from such (i.e.. another tank separate from predators) this may not work...all depends> Would this work? <See previous statement. A good start if you already have a good amount of copepods and amphipods already in tank with few to none predators> << Here are the rest of the tank inhabitants:       Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum)       Pair of Tomato Clowns (Amphiprion frenatus)       8 Reef Chromis (Chromis viridis)       Scooter Blenny (Synchiropus ocellatus)       Wheeler's Watchman Goby (Amblyeleotris wheeleri)       Orange Sea Star (Echinaster)       Fire Shrimp (Lysmata debelius)       20 Blue Legged Hermits (Clibanarius tricolor)       6 Scarlet Reef Hermits (Paguristes cadenati)       15 Turbo snails (Turbo fluctuosa)       10 Astraea snails (Astraea tecta)       5 Bumblebee snails (Pusiostoma)       Sally Lightfoot (Percnon gibbesi) I have had the Scooter Blenny for a few months now and his belly went from sunken in (when I first got him) to looking plump and happy. So I would have to assume that I have plenty of Copepods and Amphipods. However there would be a problem trying to culture "pods" in the tank with a dragonet residing. Ummm......>> <<< I agree. A dragonet will likely go through your "pods" fairly quickly. It is always good to have an extra source nonetheless. Do what you can to procure them either through an external source of live/fresh or to facilitate your own. Either way, I like your thinking on this.>>> If not, can you make any suggestions? <I would look for a reliable source of fresh or live animals of various sizes available in your area or that can be shipped relatively easily to you. I love the idea of a refugium and if your only option is to throw in some Chlorodesmis (maiden's hair) then that will only help slightly, but not really the answer. So here is the million dollar question...? Why do you need this? Have you tried not feeding these particular corals? Were they dying before you started to feed them? I realize there is a lot of discussion on corals not reaching their nutritional requirements through photosynthesis alone, but maybe these corals are getting the excess they need in your tank without you adding anything at all. In other words you may already have the balance you need. This is such a big discussion to have in a somewhat limited forum (time to type more specifically and other questions and things to take my time). Please do more scouring on the net and more importantly ask around the different forums on the various sites out there. So much knowledge to be had for the taking with a little searching. Although I probably didn't really answer your question I just wanted to give you a little food for thought. No pun intended =) Let me know what you think and if you need any clarifying. So much research still to go.> Thanks Charlie << I appreciate all of your insight>> <<<We appreciate you thoughts, questions, and replies. Thanks for taking part and keep me updated as things unfold>>>

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>

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>

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>

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>

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>

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>



Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: