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FAQs about Stony Coral Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 3

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, & 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:

Some corals are totally reliant on feeding, not photosynthesis... and must have their polyps attended to individually.


Reef Tank Nutrient Balancing     11/11/14
​​Dear WWM Crew (Bob),
<Hey Wes>
First of all, with the advice you provided some time ago (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movaqfaq5.htm, 9/1/14 post), I safely transferred over all my livestock and rocks to their new, roomier home (although now I see what a difference this makes, I now wish my new tank was 240 gallons instead of 240 litres). Although it is still early days (2 weeks), everything survived, is currently alive and my corals are beginning to calcify: my corals, critters and I would thus like to send you our collective gratitude for your help.
<Ah, welcome>
I wonder if I could trouble you for some more advice? My basic situation is that despite starting regular feeding, my reef-tank setup appears not to be accumulating measurable levels of nitrate and my phosphate has additionally remained low.
I guess the available advice (including on WWM) about this appears to be quite conflicting, but would I be right in thinking that even for more autotrophic corals, a low, measurable level of both would be advisable over undetectable levels?
<Yes; almost always so>
My question thus relates to how I should manage nutrients in my tank.
<Need to ask a question in return... is "all okay?". IF all organisms appear to be doing fine... I would not fret here>
A summary of my (hopefully relevant) tank conditions are as follows:
It is a 240l tank with 35kg live rock and 0.5in SSB + 80l refugium containing a 4in DSB (total water volume is approximately 285l-295l). LR is well established with populations of various microfauna, filter feeders and macroalgae (although the latter is not currently growing excessively). The system is 2 months old from the end of cycling right now, but half the rock is from my previous system and at least 9 months old. I think the tank is understocked (6 small captive-bred "SPS" colonies, 5 Lysmata shrimps, 10 trochus? snails and 3 Cerith? snails, no fish) although I have been feeding a home-made meaty ration for my corals/filter feeders every night for the last 10 days. I am running a Tunze 9006 skimmer (rated to 600l) full time but this appears not to skim all that much (no more than 200ml of dark skimmate per week).
<Again; fine>
There has always been a certain amount of detritus in the tank, particularly in the refugium, which has become a settling tank of sorts. I currently aim to change 5-10% of the water or thereabouts once every 2 weeks. Regular testing over the last 14 days has shown no ammonia/nitrite, nitrates consistently undetectable, and phosphates decreasing from 0.1mg/l to somewhere around 0.03mg/l (both relatively new Salifert test kits). I challenged the system once with about 0.25mg/l NO3 using potassium nitrate (apologies for lack of subscript),
<No worries>
but the level fell to undetectable within 6 hours and I dared not add more. The nitrate kit appears to be relatively accurate based on testing the diluted stock solution in RO water.
Otherwise, the main tank circulation is temporarily reduced to 8000l/hr from 16000l/hr as a snail broke my Vortech mp40 yesterday by going inside it while it was off and jamming the propeller when I started it up (ironically, said snail is completely fine. Grrrr!!!). Lighting is a custom LED build definitely sufficient for at least macroalgae if not corals. I dose using a three part system for Ca, Mg and alkalinity to advisable levels for a reef tank, although may also now add some Kalkwasser occasionally to counteract the high CO2 levels/relatively low pH (8.0-8.1 sometimes, rises on aeration with outside air) in my tank water.
So, broadly then, the question: What method(s) would you recommend to maintain a sufficient, yet healthy level of nitrate and phosphate for stony corals, and what levels would you aim for?
<Just what you're doing right now...>
From my reading, there are a number of different ways to accomplish this (and of course, most marine tanks have the opposite problem), so what is your opinion on the following strategies?
1) Increase feeding (gradually) to a level that generates detectable nitrate. If I do this, would I need to use GFO to remove phosphate if it starts to rise too high (say above 0.1mg/l) compared to the nitrate?
<Could do>
2) Decrease removal of the detritus from the LR and sand beds. Would this set a dangerous precedent in terms of building a nutrient reservoir that may later on cause the tank to crash?
<I wouldn't do this>
3) Put a small mechanical filter in to catch detritus and deliberately not clean this (although detritus is still removed as normal from the LR and sand bed).
<Nor this>
4) Reduce the amount of time the skimmer is running. Would increased levels of DOCs as a result of this be harmful to stony corals?
<Could try; not likely harmful at all>
5) Dose nitrate directly in the form of potassium nitrate.
<Unless there was a demonstrable reason to do this... I would not. Instead I'd rely on your feedings>
6) Increase the bioload with more livestock (I guess option 1 would do this by increasing LR microfauna, but I don't know if this is comparable to say, a small fish).
<Food in... excess energy... has got to go somewhere>
7) Reduce water changes or only change when nutrient levels rise. Would I theoretically be risking micronutrient depletion from the water over time?
<I'd stick w/ your current regimen>
8) A combination of some of the above (it's probably this, if anything, but hopefully you've already suggested your preferred methods in the individual feedbacks above).
<As stated above>
9) The opposite of all of the above: try to maintain water quality (aim for undetectable nitrate and phosphate), export as much as possible, keep a low bioload and feed minimally to a non-polluting level. In this case, it implies feeding provides sufficient levels of bio-nutrients for corals and microfauna and you don't want additional free inorganics in the water if this can be avoided, since this is the situation in the wild.
Any other suggestions?
<Just to enjoy your system, investigating the processes there in>
Also, I appreciate the anecdote in the last email you sent to my other address post-donation; it would be a dream come true if one of my relatives owned a successful marine aquatics business, but I suspect I'm not closely related to the owners of All Seas Marine, and we're of course separated by the Atlantic, which is inconvenient. That said, one can dream about it. Maybe if my career in medicine doesn't work out, I could go into professional coral-keeping and propagation. :)
<One never knows... as in soccer/futbol, best to keep ones passing lanes open>
Many thanks for your time,
<And you for your sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Reef Tank Nutrient Balancing
Dear Bob,
As before, your response speed is crazy. I guess you're at your computer, but still, I can't even get to my LFS and back in this time. I really appreciate it.
<<My question thus relates to how I should manage nutrients in my tank.>>
<Need to ask a question in return... is "all okay?". IF all organisms appear to be doing fine... I would not fret here>
As far as I can see, yes, everything that can move is actively out and about at night, and my corals are showing polyp extension/mesenterial filaments particularly on food addition.
>Ah, good<
<<So, broadly then, the question: What method(s) would you recommend to maintain a sufficient, yet healthy level of nitrate and phosphate for stony corals, and what levels would you aim for?>>
<Just what you're doing right now...>
<<Any other suggestions?>>
<Just to enjoy your system, investigating the processes there in>
LOL. A very polite way of saying I am worrying too much about my tank.
Advice taken.
Thanks for the helpful feedback.
<Cheers, BobF>

mass recession/decline... Scleractinian starvation       11/14/13
I'm really frustrated with my reef.
<I can't get folks to follow simple instructions to only send Kbyte size files; I understand>
 It's been up approaching a year and a half. It's a 120 gallons with about 100 pounds of combined live/previously dried/dead rock. Circulation is about 4000 gph through 4 Koralia pumps plus an Eheim 1260 return from the sump. Two skimmers, an old Tunze 9010 plus a recently added Tunze 9410 are in the 40 gallon sump. Lights are 2 54W T5s ATI Blue Plus, and 2 Hamilton metal halide 175W 14K bulbs. These were all changed for new ones last month. Presumably, according to an old article by Sanjay Joshi on-line, the Hamilton 14K bulbs were the lowest par 175W bulbs tested, so I thought they would be perfect for a predominantly lower-light LPS tank.
I keep salinity at 1.026. Calcium last tested at 400 ppm, and kH I try to keep at 9, though it does tend to drop quickly to 7 or so if |I don't add alkalinity a couple times a week, even though I have an ATO with saturated kalk that I added as a result of the kH dropping.
I test zero for phosphates and nitrates,
<Stop. This is at least part of your issue. See WWM re NO3, HPO4... chemo-photosynthates need appreciable nutrient>
 though I realize this can't be the case (because I do have some nuisance algae and feed well) and is due to the inaccuracy of the API tests
<Junk as far as kits go>
 I have for these which apparently don't detect low levels well.  I had my local aquarium store repeat these and they got the same results, but they also use the same tests! Last 3 months or so I added a very small amount of carbon and Phosguard (because of the nuisance algae) into separate media bags in the sump...about a half cup of each. I plan to gradually increase this. Never used these up until very recently.
Magnesium is at 1250 when tested a couple of weeks ago.
There are definitely some scattered tufts of hair algae in my tank, some Valonia, but nothing major. I pluck them out regularly. Used to have some red Cyano but not for several months now. For the past month and a half I've had a stubborn brown algae on the substrate which may be Dinoflagellates, though I'm not a 100% sure. I suction it out but it returns within a day or so. However, this is only the past month and a half, and my problem has been happening for more than a year.
I vacuum the substrate weekly, and do an 8% water change at the same time.
New water is made through a multi-stage RO system purchased specifically with my chloramine-treated city water in mind...with the additional GAC stage. The carbon stages in it are only about 3-4 months old. The membrane still seems good as the tds is always under 8 ppm. I use Instant Ocean salt. Used Kent for some time before.
<Some real products, some scams>
I have only 3 fish, 2 Gobies and a Royal Gramma. One pistol shrimp.
You can see from my pictures I have about 15 corals. Most are LPS, several Euphyllias, with some Favia, Favites, Candy Cane, Lobos, and a large red Trachy. There are also a couple Monti Caps. All are fairly well spaced out.
I feed a cube of mysis to all the LPS at least once per week, sometimes more often.
<.... why are you writing us w/o searching, reading first? These can't live on Mysids alone...>

Getting to the point...all my corals start out seemingly quite healthy, with strong feeding responses. They are all dipped in Revive
and quarantined for 2-3 weeks until I feel comfortable there are no pests.
Many looked great for several months, but in time start to show  slow tissue necrosis and recession. Sometimes the receding margin is clean looking (lobo), sometimes there's a whitish mucus-like band (the favia/favites), other times there is obvious necrotic tissue that starts to peel away and flop around in the current before disappearing (euphyllia).
The appearance of the damaged area seems to depend on which type of coral it is. In time the feeding response weakens. It's affecting more than half the corals to a greater or lesser extent. Sometimes it seems to slow down, then start again. Recently my candy cane coral which looked great for months has started to lose heads...seemingly without reason. My receding torch coral has some tiny white copepods living on it, but the other sick corals don't show any critters at all, so I'm not sure on their impact or significance. I think it's important to point out that there are a few corals that seem impervious to whatever is going on. For example the large Euphyllia Divisa on the left, and the Trachyphyllia have never shown any problems and continue to look great....so far! Also the 2 Monti Caps have grown considerably after starting out as tiny frags. Over-all I have only lost one coral, a Plerogyra, and that was many months ago. So the decline happens quite slowly, but it's little comfort as the corals are clearly declining, and I have certainly lost entire heads of a torch coral, a candy cane, and probably 80% of the tissue on one Favites. Most recently both my Lobos are starting to show some recession, and one shows reduced feeding response.
One has been with me about 9 months, and other about 6.
For some time I thought it was the low kH, but have been on top of that for some months now. Thought lights too strong and reduced halides to only 3-4 hours and 7 hrs for the T5s for some months but saw no improvement. Then thought maybe not enough light so I increased T5 to 10 hours per day, and 6 for metal halides. Maybe I should increase it further? It's just that towards the end of this photo-period some of the coralstart to show signs of closing up as if they've had enough! As I said above, my understanding is these are quite mild as far as metal halides go...from what I remember from that Joshi article it was about 30 ppfd at like 20 inches...I know the details make a difference, but I can't remember.  I don`t have a par meter.
However, I placed one of my Torch corals and Favites into a 10 gallon "hospital" tank under a different single 150W 10K MH for the last 2 months or so, and don't see any significant changes...at first thought the recession stopped, but now see some progression.
I'm thinking a possibility is maybe some Chloramines getting through my RO system? But then that would damage the RO membrane and increase the TDS, which has remained consistently low. Maybe a disease, but would that kill so slowly, and so many different types of coral? Based on the photos and description, is it possible to tell if this is a water quality, lighting, or an infection issue? I may try iodine dipping some of the corals soon.
Also want to try the Bayer insecticide dip I read many using successfully on-line...only thing is that the Bayer insecticide recommended is not available in Canada, I believe because there are some environmental concerns with one of the active ingredients.
Not sure where to go from here, and I feel that I need to do something ASAP as many of my corals are still potentially saveable, but not for long.
Thanks for reading this loooong letter, but I didn't want to leave out any possibleclues. Appreciate any inputyou can provide.
<Have just skipped down. Read a while re the above notes and write back if
you have questions. Bob Fenner>

Re: mass recession/decline     11/15/13
Hi Bob...thanks for getting back to me, but you lost me. Which "above notes" do you mean?
<... see prev. corr.... the need for soluble nutrients; which you list as "zero">
 That mysids are insufficient food?
<... and again, re-search WWM re LPS, Scleractinian nutrition
(foods/feeding)... >
 I assure you I have read everything on WWM regarding possible causes of my problems. As far as feeding mysis, my understanding is these are the most nutritious option...much better than brine shrimp. I have coral pellets but my corals don't seem to like them, and usually regurgitate them so I stopped trying. The mysids they seem to like. Many aquarists don't feed their corals anything at all and they do well. In a tank I kept some years ago I didn't feed my Euphyllia a thing and it grew huge...whereas the ones I have now are receding. So, I'm not following your point, sorry. Were my photo files too large?
<Yes; happens too often... our requirements are gone over and over...>
If so I apologize, I re-sized them.
<Your Cnidarians are starving/starved. BobF>

Re: LED lighting question/coral question 1/6/11
Thanks for the quick response you guys are great as always
I went to my local fish store yesterday and got the urge to possibly purchase some Acro aquacultured SPS frags or some LPS hammer coral frags ( I prefer aquacultured since they don't go tearing up reefs).
<Instead humans tear up the planet for generating power and salt mix....>
But I decided to first do a little research. They have their corals under some insane metal halide lights (
I think at least 6 which I think are at least 250watts or more) and they seem quite healthy. My tank is the red sea max 130d which has 2 x55watt t-5 10000k/antic lighting along with 2 Ecoxotic led stunner strips ( 1 is 8000K
1 is 8000K/453). If my tank can handle these corals would placement be high?
<To start with... a good idea likely>
or start them low and move them up?
<Only able to tell w/ testing... a meter>
also I have a MP10 wave maker in the tank on reef crest mode, If I'm not mistaken the hammer coral would not like the heavy flow but the Acro would?
<Both will do fine w/ semi-vigorous water movement... 10X flow easily 20X not too much>
and last question is feeding... they feed bottled phytoplankton once a week
<... a waste of resources. Please search/read on WWM before writing us>
just a few drips in the tank which is a huge coral frag tank. I just don't think the bottle stuff both phyto or other stuff is worth it
<We are in agreement>
and I would think it would just pollute my tank.
<Not this either>
What would you suggest to feed corals? Cyclopeeze maybe? and how often?
<... read what is posted/archived>
thanks in advance for all the help, you all are great and do a wonderful service for the reef tank community,
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Chalice has become completely different color than when purchased... -- 11/16/2009
Please find attached a hasty outline on stony coral nutrition for aquarium hobbyists. BobF
Re: Chalice has become completely different color than when purchased...
Hi Bob,
I think this outline is great!
<Ahh! Is very simple. But then again, so am I! And am hopeful it does the "intended job" here>
The article is very educational and enlightening on the subject of feeding and nutrition for Cnidarians. It is very clearly written and easy to understand. It also is quite eye opening to the hobbyist in terms of the
importance of providing nutritional supplementation to these captive creatures, and which food sources are of value to them.
I am so glad you sent this to me, Bob.
<Am very pleased then; as you prompted its origin>
I look forward to reading the article in it's formal state on WWM.
<Cheers, BobF> For now, please see: http://www.asira.org/feedingyourtanks

Trachyphyllia Health 11-11-08 Hi crew, my Trachyphyllia is not eating. <Odd, especially for a fleshy LPS coral such as this> I?ve been reading through your archives and can't determine how to handle my situation and I'm afraid if I wait too much longer I might lose the coral.  When I purchased the coral it had beautiful color, its tentacles were coming out at night, I was able to feed it mysis during the day so all was well. Within a week I noticed the color starting to fade, and it stopped responding to food. After reading, I suspect current and lighting may be the culprit. The coral is placed on the sand bed in the center of the tank 1/3 is shaded by a little cliff the other 2/3 or in direct light from 3 - 24" VHO bulbs this gives my 29gal over 7.7w per gallon (18? tank depth). <Wattage is a useless indicator of PAR, but the bulb information and depth help> Current is around 1000 gph, a lot of this happened to be hitting the front glass and redirecting to where the coral was placed. <Laminar currents are never good for the vast majority of coral species, and especially not for this 'LPS' species> After the decline in health, I realized the placement of the coral was directly in one of the highest current areas of the tank. <Not good - in the wild, these corals sit in less active areas that are more turbid. Your lighting may be too intense as well> Since then I have redirected flow and it is now in a minimal flow zone. <Good - a low amount of turbulent random flow is the best> However, I have read that the coral is very sensitive to light and to only move it as a last resort. <Very sensitive to too much light - often done in this day and age of putting intense lighting over everything. However, in this case I believe the water flow is of more concern> This is one of my concerns, and I believe it is the main cause if its declining health. The store I bought it from had it in a small power compact system, so I believe it is in shock from the large increase in light. <You didn't acclimate it to the (much) more intense lighting of your system? Definitely a cause for a health decline> So my first question is whether or not I should move it off to either side of the tank or let it adjust to were it is. <Do not move it again! The worst thing for a photosynthetic animal (besides being cared for inappropriately) is being moved around the tank! I would attempt to shade it though if it is an area of full light - eggcrate of window screen may help in the short term. In the long term, please acclimate properly, and research the species you plan to keep to make sure your lighting is appropriate> Second critical issue is that it is no longer excepting food. It does not extend it?s tentacles at night anymore, instead it inflates like a bubble.  During the day it still inflated normal, and will sometimes have it?s mouths wide open but does not seem to respond to the food anymore. I have several food thieves in the tank, so I cut the top off of a plastic bottle and have placed this over the coral, but unfortunately, I have not been able to get it to eat. <When the more critical issues are resolved, it will begin to feed normally> I would love to see this creature eating/behaving normal again, and regain its beautiful color. <It will, in time and with the proper care. Please review our archives regarding the proper care of "open brain" type LPS corals. You can also read and post on our forums (we have a few members that love these types of corals) at bb.wetwebmedia.com. We'd love to see you there> Please help, <Hope I have, and I hope I don't sound too harsh. This is a tougher species of coral, and should recover just fine once shaded somewhat> Tim <M. Maddox>

Torch 11/01/08 Hi again, once again I am here, humbly before the reef-gods... <Haha... hardly a deity here.> I have been smitten with the Torch Coral since I first laid eyes upon it a year ago. I live in a small town with a very limited supply of anything salt, and the tiny LFS has sub-standard conditions for the coral they offer for sale, with no lighting (none at all at this point), when they do have lighting it is only standard incandescent bulbs <Seriously? Yikes.> not even suitable for freshwater IMO, but in any case, that is their supply. They also run wet-dry only, and no skimmer. So when they do get coral, if nobody buys it, it just slowly dies. Very sad. So I went in there yesterday, and there was a torch, about 8 heads, and slowly dying. All tentacles were completely void of color, completely white and transparent. The price tag was 60 bucks on this guy who had been under darkness for a week or better, but I felt so bad for it I went ahead and bought it, <Hmm... I would have at least haggled down the price.> hoping to revive it, and color it up. It isn't expanding as it should, but it IS expanding, a little, enjoying my halides no doubt. I did start it out under actinic hoping not to shock it and make his condition worse. In any case, my question to you is, IS that considered bleaching, and do LPS corals bleach? <Likely so, yes... and absolutely, "LPS" corals bleach just as other corals do.> Or is it some other condition? I have seen many SPS corals bleach, unfortunately, I bought them when I was still young in the hobby...Still am pretty new, only 1+ year. <Ah, you should not have started out with the "sps" corals. Typically we don't recommend keeping most sps in tanks any less than a year old.> BUT have DAILY studied WetWebMedia, reef central, <RC, the forum? I'd advice you to read Reef keeping the magazine instead (produced by the same site)... be weary of the forums unless you know the people answering the posts. Remember that usually anyone at all can answer a question on an open forum (they don't necessarily know what they're talking about). And of course, WWM is always a great source. :-) There are a few good books out there too.> and the wealth of info on the web (usually wetweb) on coral, reefkeeping, and marine life. I am so thankful for your site, it has been such a savior in so many areas for me when I didn't know squat! <Great to hear!> So anyway, I have this torch who in one day is looking a little better, a little fuller, and I have high hopes for him, but I really want to know if I am doing the right thing with him as far as "diagnosing" the bleaching and such. Also what do I feed him? <Please see: http://www.asira.org/feedingyourtanks and also: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlfdgfaq3.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feeding.htm> My frogspawn seems to do fine with mysis, <Yes, a good choice... but variety is also important.> but I could be totally wrong and they are actually not eating it but letting it go. I have zooplankton but I have had it (refrigerated) about 6 mo. and I'm not sure if it is still live? Thank you all so much! Tanya <Good luck, Sara M.>

Candy Cane Stopped Extending Tentacles - 10/28/08 Hello, <<Hi>> I have a candy cane coral that I've had for about 2 years now. I've ignored my aquarium recently and haven't fed the coral. I use to feed the coral about once a week. Since ignoring the coral, the tentacles stopped coming out. <<Mmm…this is possibly a symptom of ignoring the tank in general (water quality issues), rather than not target feeding the Caulastrea. A healthy coral should show "some type" of feeding response most of the time when any meaty foods are introduced to the system>> My problem is finding a way to revive the coral. <<Start with reestablishing balance to your system…if this is an issue>> I use to feed the coral by giving food to the tentacles with an eye dropper, but now there are no tentacles to feed. Any suggestions would be appreciated. <<If this organism is healthy, just dropping a bit of food on it should stimulate a feeding response. Try small meaty foods like Cyclop-Eeze, small Mysis Shrimp, or finely chopped fresh seafoods from the market. Adding a bit of nutrient booster, like Selcon or Vita-Chem, to these offerings should also help here>> Thanks for your time. <<Happy to share. EricR>>

TLC for a sun coral -09/02/08 Dear All :D I recently acquired two new corals for my 135g tank, both came from other aquarists who couldn't look after them (too little space, not enough feeding...). One is a Goniopora and the second an orange sun coral. I've been target feeding both and although they are better now than they were when I got them a month ago, about half of each colony is skeletal, rather than nicely covered in polyps... So, my question is this: what is the best food to give them to encourage regrowth (if this is possible)? I've read an excellent article on WWM where a lady took the corals out of the tank and into a "feeder" tank, which is entirely possible for me to do . The food I currently give the tank (and corals) consists of frozen brine shrimp. mysis, cockle, rotifers, a marine mix (containing a variety of seafoods) <All good choices... do *finely* chop the larger foods.> and marine snow (which isn't targeted at the corals but left to disperse in the flow). The marine snow is given once every three days <This is a useless product (not worth the expense or even the time/energy to put it in the tank)-IMO> while the rest are feed one cube daily, rotating the food given. <Good idea> The fish are also given flake once a day too. <Oh, why not feed the fish a chunkier version of what you're feeding the coral?> Carolyn (forever in your debt for all the help you've given me!) <Best, Sara M.>

Pavona/Montipora identity questions...  10/23/07 Hello crew, <Chad> I bought a nice piece of plating metallic red/orange Pavona this weekend and I'm wondering if it has the same potential growth rates as a plating Montipora. <Mmm, no. The Acroporid has a much greater growth rate potential> The polyps are quite large and I have read that they do not need additional feedings, is this true? <Not IMO... I would purposely feed all captive Scleractinians> I have a 250 MH lamp (10,000 K) shining on it. I believe both the Pavona and Montipora came from Tonga. <Possibly, yes. Both genera are collected from this island nation> The Montipora was sold to me as a "Superman morph" that has not morph yet since being out of the ocean. <Interesting terminology> To be honest I'm not sure if it is even a Montipora once I saw some of the polyps come out. This is an encrusting piece that is purple with purple polyps but the polyps look exactly like miniature start polyps. They even have the white dot in the middle of them. Do you have any idea without a picture what this could be? <Not really> The encrusting flesh is not as soft as the star polyps but very similar being purple and encrusting but hard like Montipora. Thanks for any additional information you can provide. I have done plenty of research on the internet but to no avail. That is why I seek council from the best. Thanks, Chad <Perhaps a set of J.E.N. Veron's "Corals of the World" for Xmas... Bob Fenner>

Pump on or Pump Off, No Need to Feed for a Week Away.    5/21/07 <Hi Sue, Mich here.> Just a quick question.  I have looked through multiple postings concerning feeding, but have not found the answer to my question.  I have had two candy cane coral frags for about a month and have been feeding them during the day with the pump off.  They have been doing well and appear to be growing.  My question is this; is it totally necessary to leave the pump off while feeding?   <It is a good practice and I would encourage you to continue doing so when you can, but no, it is not necessary.> I need to be gone for a week, and my "fish sitter" is not familiar enough with fish husbandry to reset the protein skimmer if the pumps need to be off. Can these lovely creatures go a week with just filtering what is circulated in the tank if food is dumped in with the pumps on? <Yes. Most corals and fish in a generally well-maintained, healthy state can go for a week without food.  It is generally better for the livestock to have no food than to be in a system polluted with excess food from a well intending fish sitter.  Candy cane coral (Caulastrea) have zooxanthellae and are photosynthetic.  They should thrive when being provided supplemental feeding as you are currently doing.  That being said they will do fine without any food for a week but will appreciate any they can grab while you are gone!  Thanks in advance for the advice and your wonderful site. <Thank you for your kind words!  Mich> Sue

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

Feed Me Seymour!!!  Trachyphyllia and torch coral feeding problem,   1/29/07 Hello guys, <Hi there Mark, Mich with you tonight.> Gotta say, I found your site a couple of weeks ago and have been reading through a lot of the FAQ's ever since and it's an amazing service that you provide! Great job!! <Welcome to WWM, glad you found us!> I have an open brain coral and a torch coral. The open brain seems to be doing just ok. We've had it for about 2.5 months now and it hasn't grown at all. It has these spikes (don't know the right word for it) that are all around the circumference and some of them are white now. The store told us to feed this phytoplankton powder stuff (please forgive the spelling if it is wrong) for all of our corals. <Less than ideal.> I've been reading on your site that we need to be feeding both the torch and brain corals with meat like krill or shrimp. Is this phytoplankton stuff sufficient? <Mmm, not really, there are better options out there.> I've been trying the meat at night about an hour after the lights go out but the little mouths aren't opening any more at night, and before the corals have a chance at the meat, the cleaner shrimp come along and steal the food. <Oh yes, been there, done that, an exercise in frustration so sure.> The torch coral is fairing less. It is turning white and the white is working it's way from the base of each torch and working it's way out to the end where the mouths are. I've been having the same problem with it since I've been trying to feed meat lately, the shrimp come along and steal it. Do you have any suggestions for how to feed these guys without the shrimp coming along and stealing it? <Yes, you will need to temporarily move these corals to try to rehab them.  Frozen Mysis shrimp soaked in Selcon would be a good food source.  Use only the meaty parts, the liquid will just produce excess nutrients in your tank.  They need to be somewhere that the shrimp can not steal the food, one way of doing this is to place them high in the tank and keeping vigil over them while you are feeding them, scooting the shrimp away if need be.  I've also tried temporarily covering them during feeding time, but did not find this method terribly successful. These corals are not doing well, tissue recession is never a good sign.  You will need to be pretty vigilant to bring them back to health.  How are your calcium levels?  Have you been doing frequent water changes? If not, now is the time to start.>     Also, I've been reading that the open brain coral should be placed on the substrate, and it always has been, but the torch coral is placed on some rocks about mid way up the tank. We have a 90gal with VHO lighting, 2-40watt 10K blue actinic lights and 2-40watt 10K actinic white lights. <This is contributing to your problems.  This is not enough light.  Please read here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm Please consider adding light to you tank if you plan on keeping corals.  Your ballast should be able to handle bigger bulbs if you are truly running a VHO setup and not just a normal output system.> The blues come on an hour before the whites and stay on an hour after the whites. Is this placement all wrong for the torch coral, should it be on the substrate as well? <Not necessarily, at this point these corals need intensive care.> Also, just FYI in case, the tank params are: ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates 25, <I hope you mean 0.25 ppm here.> phosphates .2, calcium 460, alkalinity 4.5, <Elevated, less than 3.5 meq is desirable.> and PH 8.1. Thanks for all of your help!! <You're welcome!>    Mark

Re: Feed Me Seymour!!!  Trachyphyllia and Torch coral feeding problem   1/29/07 <Hello Mark, Mich with you again.> Thanks for the tips!! <Welcome!  I hope they help, and if you figure out something better, please share!> Here's some clarifications/questions to your responses. I was incorrect on the lighting, they are not 40 watt, they are actually the 48" 110 watt Coralife VHO bulbs. I must have thinking of my garage lights, DOH!! <Heeheee!  Something seemed inconsistent...> That should be enough for the size tank we have I would think... <Yes, much more appropriate.>   We do frequent water changes, 90 gal. tank about 18-20 gals changed per every 2 weeks. <Very good.> For the alkalinity, the Sea Chem test kit we have says it should be between 4 and 6 meq. I've been buffering it up to just a bit into that range since it also says natural sea water is between 2 and 3 meq. I figure it shouldn't be at the other end of the 4-6 range. I can back off a bit, but then pH drops to 7.9-8.0, too low from what I've been reading. <Nah, keep doing what your doing.> I will give your suggestions a try on the feeding. It looks like the corals mouths are open tonight, so hopefully they will eat good! <And well too!> Thanks for your help!! You guys are great!! <You're welcome!  Not great, just trying to make the world a little bit better.  -Mich> Mark

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

One comment and two questions, Aqua-C, mud in a 'fuge and feeding Scler.    1/27/07 Hello WWM Crew, <Bart/holomew!> Thanks you so much for the wonderful service you provide.  I wanted to comment on the great service I received recently from one of your sponsors.  I love my Aqua-C skimmer!  The O-ring dried out and cracked (as O-rings do). I made one phone call, waited two days and TWO new O-rings arrived in the mail.  No muss, no fuss, and NO CHARGE! <Hee heee, Freeeeeee!> This is a great company and they will be skimming for me till I no longer need to skim.  Now, two quick questions if I may:  I am running a closed-loop return manifold that I constructed using Anthony's informative article on my 72 gallon bow-front reef system.  It was fun to build and works great with the old-style external Quiet-One pump that I have.  My question has to do with the intake.  I used my miter-saw to make cuts half-way through a ?" piece of PVC to make a strainer.  Over this I have placed a coarse sponge filter to keep the tiny snails I have all over my tank from getting into the pump. <Good design>   I dislike the sponge filter because I have to clean it and because I suspect it is a source of nitrate in my tank.  It is the only mechanical filter I have on the system as I use a refugium and skimming for water treatment.  Do you think I could remove the sponge? <Mmm, no, I'd leave it, or something similar in place... as a screen>   Would the tiny snails be able to stop the pump? <Possibly, yes... and/or cause trouble in being crushed, dissolving...> Secondly, I have an assortment of Caulastrea and Euphyllia corals (widely spaced, of course).  Do you have a recommendation as to a food of the appropriate particle size for feeding these animals? <A mix of live or frozen/defrosted zooplankters... "of small size", 1/16" diameter nominally will do> I suspect the Mysis I feed the fish is a bit large for these corals to utilize. <Yes, likely so> Thanks again for the good work you do. Best Regards, Bart V <Welcome... Oh and please do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/faviidfdgfaqs.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/caryfdgfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Amino Acid Supplements For Coral   1/12/06 Hi Crew, <Hello Mohamed, Mich with you today.> I will like to know what is the benefits of using amino acid for corals and has anyone from the crew done experiments with amino acid? <The benefit is providing nutrients that are not easily synthesized from the environment.  Many extol the use of vitamin supplements such as Selcon, which contains amino acids.   Eric Borneman mentions in his book Aquarium Corals on page 58 that "Some of the products required by corals and zooxanthellae that are not supplied by photosynthesis include vitamins and long chain fatty acids.  These compounds are supplied by diet only.    Glycine is also a compound the many coral do not easily synthesize, and it, along with some carbon, may be obtained in the wild by living in proximity to the released photosynthetic products of certain macro algae."   In a home aquarium this association may not be possible.  Therefore addition of amino acids via a vitamin supplement may be quite advantageous. Thanks Mohamed

Re: Amino Acids Supplements For Coral    1/17/06 Hi Mich, Thanks for a speedy reply. <Welcome, sorry this one isn't quite so speedy.> On the same subject.  What are the types of amino acid that is required by corals? <Hmm, varies with differ organisms, thus the multivitamin recommendation (and also a high quality mixed diet).> Is there a formula for amino acid similar to iodine which can be mixed? <RMF says Aminoplex, a veterinary product, may be of benefit if slowly dripped into the tank during daylight hours only.> Thanks <Welcome, hope that helps! -Mich> Mohamed

Reef tank feeding question   2/1/06 Folks. <David> I've been spending a lot of time the last few weeks reading your site, <I as well... too much> in particular responses re. feeding reef tanks.  Your site is an excellent resource - I wish I had found it years ago. <And you had joined us by now responding to queries> My next reef will be much different based on what I've read here.  Here's my current setup (this tank has been doing well - I also have a QT and a nano but this is the tank I have questions about at the moment): 55G 4 foot tank 2" live sand substrate 60 - 70# live rock wavemaker/powerheads skimmer heater T5 lighting (4X54W) 12 hrs/day, 4 blue LED "moonlights" 24 hrs/day Water check every week is good (Hagen tests), 10% weekly water change w/RODI + Instant Ocean.  Makeup water is RODI. Kent-I (weekly) Kent Coral-Vite (weekly) Kent Essential Elements (weekly) Seachem Reef Complete (weekly, different day than others) Seachem Reef Builder (weekly, different day than others) pineapple brain (small) plate coral (medium) candy cane coral (small) red/blue mushrooms (small) hairy mushrooms (small) bullseye mushrooms (small) xenia (large) leather toadstool (large) colt/finger (LFS was not sure, I haven't come across any pics yet - medium) 2 colony polyps (small) bubble tip anemone (big and happy) 2 ocellaris (small) 1 Foxface lo (will move him to FOWLR when he gets big) cleaner and peppermint shrimp (2X2) sand shifting star various cleaner crabs, snails I'm currently feeding coral every 2 days with Marine Snow (have started using blender since reading your site) and Liquid Life Marine Plankton (with Cyclop-eeze).  I feed fish every day (mostly flake) and bubble tip gets stamp sized piece of minced clam every 3 - 4 days, thawing tank water put back so clowns also get bits of clam. I have no problem blending or food processing food for these animals. I have looked at Adam Blundell's excellent article on making reef food and I will follow a similar recipe (not all the ingredients are available here) but I will have to freeze into packets about 1/4 thick. <Good> While Adam mentions additives, he does not give amounts. <These are generally on the labels for such... variable per ingredients, batch sizes> 1. Would it be better to continue to add the Liquid Life separately from the food I make up? <Yes>   If so, should I also add DT'S Oyster Eggs to the tank at the same time? <Could> 2. If I should add them directly to the food mixture, what is the correct proportion to use? ( I will drop the Marine Snow based on what I have read on this site.) <I would... of very little value nutritionally> 3. What vitamins and proportion should I add to the food mix (brands)? <... See their labels... most are deficient in fat soluble... and thus not much trouble in terms of potential overdose> 3. I'm a bit worried about water levels - with the present feeding every other day, I get algae growth on the glass pretty frequently but water tests OK for nitrates/nitrites.  I would like to feed daily with the home mixture, but what are the guidelines for amounts?   <Overridingly, your personal observations...> Half a stamp-size thawed, 1/4 thick and LL/DT'S every other day? <If this works for you> 5. Is the LL with Cyclop-eeze the correct food or should I be using the LL CoralPlankton - or both? (soft and LPS + mushrooms). <Again... you will have to experiment, appraise yourself> 6. Other than the obvious water quality degradation signs, what should I watch for to indicate over-feeding? <Water clarity, color... the usual nitrate, phosphate accumulation, algae proliferation...> Thanks for your assistance. David <Don't become overwhelmed here... no need, use to "over-think". Bob Fenner>

Averting disaster (tank repair), coral feeding   2/1/06 WWM Crew, Today, to my horror, I noticed a couple of air bubbles in the seams connecting the front panel to the sides of my 75 gallon reef tank.  I  had never noticed these bubbles/gaps before, but I was never really looking for them before.  The aquarium is glass and measures 21 inches high x 48 inches long x 18 inches wide.  I have about 2 inches of gravel on the bottom and 60 pounds of live rock.  The reef has been running for about 8 months now. As for the bubbles/gaps in the seam. There are two small bubbles on the left side (appear as one in the photographs) that account for about half of the seam's width.  On the right side, there is a larger bubble that takes up about the same space.  Both areas are about halfway down the tank. Also, the gaps come to a very small opening on the outside of the tank. I have included photographs that show you what I'm talking about. I am concerned that a leak may not be far off. <Me too... or worse, a separation of the seam> I have some suitable silicon (all-glass brand), but I feel that application will be difficult if not impossible, as the outside openings are the size of a pin hole. Should I try applying silicon with a small pin? <Definitely not, no> Also, should I try to remove some of the silicon on the outside to make application easier, or is this to risky for starting a leak? <Correct. Do NOT do this> Or, am I possibly out of my league....do I need to call a professional or in the worst case get a new tank? <You can likely effect a repair, resealing, but this requires taking the tank down entirely>   Any help you can give me is very appreciated! Also, with the help of your site, I have realized the need for feeding my corals and am about to start a regimen.  I just would like to make sure that I am getting everything right.  I have three SPS corals: one 3.5 inch Acropora gomezi, one 1.5 inch Acropora tortuosa, and a 5 inch Stylophora pistilla with a commensal crab.  The polyps on these corals are out for most/all of the day, so I assume I should feed them during the day.  From your articles, I understood that I should feed these SPS corals zooplankton once or twice a week and that I don't need to supplement with phytoplankton. <Mmm, this is a matter of dispute... offering a mix of single celled algae is to be advised IMO> I plan on using "Sweetwater zooplankton".  Will this be enough or should I vary/add more to the diet? <More diverse> I also have 2 Platygyra, one that is about five inches in diameter.  I have been feeding my fish frozen "Brine shrimp plus" by Ocean Nutrition and frozen Mysis shrimp.  I plan on feeding these to my LPSs, as well as a couple of blue Ricordeas, three to five times a week.  The polyps on my large Platygyra are out for part of the day and I have yet to see the polyps on the smaller specimen, so I plan to feed these corals at this time of day.  I will mince the food and feed with a syringe or turkey baster. I am not real certain on the anatomy of the Platygyra, however.  Can I place the food anywhere on the coral, or should I be specific/random with placement? <On the top, near center... corallites will share> Also, should I supplement these will zooplankton as well? <A good idea, yes> Thanks again for all your help! Tim <Do take a read over WWM re Coral Foods/Feeding/Nutrition... You would do well to read over Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation" and Borneman's Microcosm title on Aquarium Corals. Bob Fenner>

Kalkwasser Automation...Coral Feeding - 12/28/05 Hey Crew, <<Hey Jennifer!>> Happy Holidays! <<And to you...>> My 50 Gallon SPS reef tank is doing well.  I dose B-Ionic 2 part DAILY!!  I drip ESV Kalk nightly for evaporated water...  This has been becoming difficult, as I am a touring musician. <<Mmm, you could possibly get by on the drip only...and even do this "'round the clock"...thus eliminating the need to have to start the drip nightly.>> Should I get a reactor or Kalk reactor on such a small reef tank, or can you suggest other options so as to minimize the daily maintenance to the system??? <<Maintenance is part of the hobby.  Automation can be helpful to a point, but is no substitute for your own daily observation of the system to ensure all is well.  But saying that, if you have an automated top-off system you could easily add a Kalk-reactor to facilitate leaving the tank for a couple days at a time.  Anything more than a couple days and I suggest you find/orient someone to come check on the tank to perform necessary maintenance/feedings...or resetting that tripped breaker <grin>. >> Thanks for your time.  Also, SPS doing ok, but growing slowly.  I understand many factors are involved.  Besides water motion/quality, lighting, what else helps??  Feeding? <<Feeding is very important in my opinion.>> If I feed I get phosphates and brown stuff on the sand.  My Phosphates are generally around .03-.04... <<Don't be so afraid of a bit of algae that you are depriving your tank by not feeding.  There are measure you can take to limit this (all found on WWM) while still providing the nutritional requirements of your charges.  Very few, if any, corals are truly and completely autotrophic...SPS corals need to feed...>> Thanks! Jennifer  NYC <<Regards, EricR>> Re: Kalkwasser Automation...Coral Feeding - 12/29/05 Hey Eric. <<Hey Jenna>> Will my ALK go to high if I drip Kalk all day? <<Mmm, not so much a concern for Alkalinity as for pH...you will need to experiment/start out slow until you can determine the maximum you can drip without boosting your pH too high.>> If I do, do I still need to dose B Ionic? <<If you are performing frequent partial water changes (20% bi-weekly) I think you can do away with the supplements.>> What should I feed the SPS and clams? <<Do you have any fish?  One of the best foods for SPS corals in my opinion is the food you feed your fish...after it is processed by the fish.  I also like Cyclop-Eeze (the frozen offering), Selcon, and vitamin supplements (Boyd's is my fave), as well as the pack juices from the frozen cubed fish foods...though the latter is feared by some aquarists as rocket fuel for algae growth.  Another food which I have yet to try but hear very good things about are the oyster eggs offered by DT's.>> I have gotten so many answers to this question, but I trust you guys! <<We appreciate the vote of confidence!>> Thanks, Jenna <<Regards, EricR>>

Coral Food and Supplementation Hello,   I have two questions. Sorry.  You guys are very informative and your website rocks. 1)  My question is about supplementation and food for corals and invertebrates.   I have the following animals in my tank. Corals: Green Bubble Candy Cane Mushroom Zoos Kenya tree Invertebrates Feather Duster Hardware 46G Bowfront 30-40 lbs of LR 2 96W PC Rena Canister Filter Fluval 404 Filter -  with Bio Material only Aqua C Remora Internal MaxiJet for additional flow I have been looking for some good advice at what to feed my corals and invertebrates.   There are about 4 LFS within 30 mile radius from my house. Each time I go to them for questions they always try to sell me stuff.  Which after reading your site, I realized that I don't really need them.   One of the LFS told me that since I have my skimmer running 24 X 7,   I need to constantly replenish my trace elements, thus selling me the Reef Solution, and Coral Vite solution.  As for food, they sold me Krill, silverside, Marine Snow, Kent Filter feeders.  I just had enough from them.  I also went to them with the question of Iodine. I read that mushrooms needs a supplement of iodine and again they tried to sell be the Lugo Iodine.  Even after I told them that the Reef Solution already contained Iodine and No, I do not have a test for Iodine yet.  I am tired of going to my LFS store with the feeling of being taken advantage of. <I can sense this> After I started going to your website, I stopped asking them questions and started to go to the LFS knowing already what I need.   So could you please point me to the right direction as to a brand of supplements and food you recommend? <... you need, test kits... for whatever it is you believe you're needing to add... I would get/use something for alkalinity and calcium and leave all else out here... Along with water changes, careful feeding, you don't need, nor likely want more.> I feed my Green bubble coral silverside and chopped squid.  Frogspawn, Zoos, Candy cane, Feather Duster I am not sure that filter food brand to give. <Best to add a live sump, aka a refugium to this set-up, and rely on this as a principal food provider for your filter feeders. Many other benefits as well...> 2) Question I have a feather duster that lost its crown last week.   I have not removed the tube in fear that the worm may still be alive.   At the same time I am afraid that is the worm is dead then the tube may decomposed in my tank thus creating a bioload nightmare from hell. <Not to worry... In a system of your size, make-up, no big deal> I have hermit crabs in my tank and the hermit crabs has not jumped on the tube yet.  Thus is my indicator that the tube is still alive.  I know that the hermit crabs will know that the tube is decomposing thus they will try to eat it.   I am I correct with these assumptions?  Or should I try to grab the tube to check if the worm is still alive? thank you Louie <I would leave it as is. Keep reading, chatting with other hobbyists... and maintaining a skeptical mind... you'll do fine. Bob Fenner> Feeding Hammer Coral Hi crew: I have a question regarding the feeding of a Hammer coral. I currently have DT's and Mysis shrimp. I feed my perc clown the Mysis. Do I just add the DT's to my tank and if so, at what time of day. <Anytime once they are expanded.> I figured I should feed the Mysis in the evening when I see the feeder tentacles out. These are not feeder tentacles, they are sweeper tentacles used as a defense mechanism.> Also, how often should I feed my perc clown? Some suggest small amounts daily and others say every couple of days. <I feed mine small amounts twice daily.  James (Salty Dog> Any help is greatly appreciated in this wonderful hobby. Larry. 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!!!

Feeding LPS Corals Hi gang! At what time and what food should I be feeding my hammer, bubble and elegance corals? For the past 6 days, I've been feeding them very tiny pieces of fish meat in the morning. I do this every other day. Am I doing the right thing? I've read Anthony's article that they should be given zooplankton, problem is, LFS here don't sell any except for Sera Premium Plankton Food Tablets. This fish food claims to contain both phyto and zooplankton, so I bought some today. Since it's in tablet form, I broke off a very small portion, and gave it to them at around 7:30pm. Strange coz the small broken-off portions dissolved upon contact with water. Is this sufficient coupled with my fish meat meals? Sorry, don't have the space nor the resources to culture zooplanktons in a refugium. By the way, I also have some Sera Coraliquid w/ contains: shrimp protein, Spirulina and Cyclop-Eeze. It says here to slowly add this above the corals through the use of a syringe. Dosage is 5ml/50gals 1x or 2x a week. I've tried using this last year, and I noticed that it's a very thick, mucus-like liquid. My corals would retract upon contact with it. Do you think I should be using this again?  <Paul, here is a link that will help you out.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm . James (Salty Dog)> Thank you so much for all your help. <You're welcome> 

Feeding Large Polyped Corals 4/2/05 Anthony, Thank you so much for the reply. When you say 'target feed', are you talking one of the commercially available feeds, like Phyto-Feast or Liquid Life BioPlankton, or something different? <None of the above for your Acanthastrea. This Mussid- like Faviid polyps/corals are voracious consumers of ZOOplankton. Seek fine meaty foods instead. Nothing larger than Mysid shrimp. Better yet... DTs Natural Diet (Oyster eggs), flying fish eggs from the Asian grocery section (masago sushi eggs)... and Cyclop-eeze for starters> Sorry for the additional question, I just want to make sure I do this correctly. I love the Acan frag, and since you are having stellar success, I'd like to mimic your feed. <It really is just a hardy coral. And not rare at all. Exports for it out of the South Pacific are pegged at 1000 pc.s. For perspective... so are common Caulastrea candy corals (1000 pc.s). Some very nefarious merchants (mostly basement frag traders) have made a brilliant advertising blitz and are literally price gouging aquarists for extreme amounts of money per polyp when the coral enters the country with numerous other common corals for mere dollars for large colonies> Secondly, I am very proud of my collection of signed reef books. I have one from Mr. Fenner, among others. I have your invert book, and your coral propagation book. Is there a chance I could pay shipping both ways and send it to you for an autograph? You'd join the likes of Rich Pyle, Jack Randall, Jerry Allen, etc. Thanks again, Brandon <Wow! It would be my honor to do so... but to even save you shipping, do look at my active hobby club visit schedule at readingtrees.com Perhaps there is a town near you? Kindly, Anthony> 

Re: Turbinaria peltata Dear Bob, Thanks for the reply. I believe we have some confusion. I constantly have to add buffer to maintain my tank at the normal to high level as per my Red Sea Test Kit. This kit only gives a general low/normal/high coloration scale. No numerical values are given. I try to keep it at the high normal to low high reading. According to my LFS, this is about 10/12 DKH. My thoughts were as follows. Three things to affect the corals' current condition. Food - Since I am feeding a mixture of products at three to four times per week and it readily accepts whatever I feed it, I have eliminated this as the causation. More on this below. Lighting - I only had 100 watts of light previously. My feeling was that maybe this may be the reason for the receding tissue. I had wanted to upgrade my lighting, so I purchased a 260 watt Coralife unit.  <This by itself will "do it"... burn the specimen as you sent in the pic> Water Flow - I only have the Emperor 400 on this half of the tank. It produces a slight waving of the polyps. I have a HOT Magnum on the other end of the tank also. It has the swivel head on the exit and I switch it from one side to the other at least two/three times per day to get some random turbulence. I was thinking of adding another power head to the lower portion of the tank on this side also. However, I want to see if the lights make an improvement. Changing too many things at one time increases the number of variables. No way of knowing what actually helped. <I agree> More questions on Coral Feeding: After months of reading WetWebMedia, CMA and Reef Invertebrates, I have some questions of coral feeding. Please excuse me if I missed it somewhere. <Sure> On plating types of Corals such as this T. peltata that have numerous polyps, does each and every polyp have to receive nutrition in order to survive, or is it simply a collection point? <The latter> For example, if one area of the coral receives more nutrition because of flow, location of polyps, will the polyps that receive the most nutrition feed the entire colony and will the area that does not receive as much food gradually recede away or not plate in that general area. For example, the area that the tissue is receding is on the back side of the coral and it is difficult to target feed. I pose the same question regarding the LPS corals such as the Mussidae corals. Will the polyps that do not receive as much nutrition die in that general area, or will the polyps that receive the most nutrition support the entire colony. Thanks, Dean <Some Dendrophylliids (e.g. Tubastrea) need to have each polyp fed, others share... the mussids inclusive. Bob Fenner>

Coral feeding I was reading through the site today and discovered the section on feeding corals. I looked on with stupidity because my LFS has always told me that they get everything they need from light. <It was probably a mistake and it happens.>  I have to admit I am still not sure how to feed my corals. I bought some frozen Mysis shrimp, but now what? I have never even seen sweeper tentacles. I have a frogspawn a torch, and a xenia, any suggestions as to how I should feed them (turkey baster method, etc.) or what to feed them (zoo/phytoplankton) is greatly appreciated.  EY <Hello, well you are on the right track from what I see. Knowledge is power. You should feed based on the needs of your corals. The frogspawn, and torch will probably take the Mysis depending on size. The best time to feed them is at night using the baster method. The xenia will take the phytoplankton. I want you to remember this. Although you should be feeding your corals, a big beginner mistake is to over feed them when they first start. Start feeding little amounts and work your way from there. Good Luck. MikeB.> 

Reef Chili, food product Hello WWM Crew, I saw this product http://www.reefchili.com on eBay and the feedback was very positive.  I was wondering what you thought of it? Thank you. <Neat site! Some plug for Photoshop now! Looks to be pretty straightforward, made of "good components"... Have NOT used this, but is likely fine for many "types" of corals (of the polyglot of Scleractinia, even hydrozoan groups called this) used by hobbyists... The usual qualifying statement re some coral groups/species being largely photosynthetic, others eating larger prey (e.g. Tubastrea)... Bob Fenner> 

Re: Coral Chili food Thank you Mr. Fenner for the fast response.  I will perhaps try some! Thanks. <Please do send along your impressions. Bob Fenner>

Feeding Turbinaria Dear Crew < Hi > I have had a Turbinaria in my tank for some time now (12 weeks). In all this time its polyps are just coming out but never fully. I have a calcium reactor and my water parameters are as follows pH 8.4 mg 1100 Calcium 440 phosphates 0.08 hardness 12 DKH Lighting 3 60W fluorescents 1 actinic blue (60W) 1 T5 lamp (80W) on for 12 hours The coral is placed 6ins from the top in medium flow. I have started to offer meat juice and phyto to this coral at lights out on a daily basis to no avail. The polyps remain retracted. Before this I was offering zooplankton and phyto twice a week. Any ideas as to what maybe going wrong? Could the coral be laying down deposits and not ready for feeding??  < Possible. I almost wonder if it would do even better tucked away down lower under a ledge. I know that the "sun polyp goddess" uses a long straw to feed her Turbinaria frozen brine shrimp. Maybe try that. Otherwise, keep good water chemistry and wait it out. > PS I regularly dose daily with iodine and strontium too.  Any help greatly appreciated. < Blundell >

Feeding Turbinaria continued Thanks for the info I have moved the coral to midway down my tank, still in medium flow over a branch rock overhang. I am keeping my calcium at a constant 440ppm with Kalkwasser additions to see if that will coax the polyps out to feed. Not to question you chaps but the coral is a Turbinaria sp, not Tubastrea the non photosynthetic species I have.  < Very similar requirements and feeding for these corals. I think the lower light, overhang, with food is my advice. >  I believe Turbinaria is a wide ranging photosynthetic species, which tolerates a wide range of spectrums.  < Yes it does. I think (and I could certainly be wrong) that it will be more likely to actively feed if it can't get all its energy needs from light. >  Does the polyp extension need to be a common feature with this coral day to day?  < Surprisingly this coral will open for a few days, then stay closed up for a few days. I don't really understand that. >  I will keep you posted on events. I am trying feeding during the day, at lights out and just before lights out. Any further info appreciated  < Well here is my other thought. I wouldn't worry about it. If it doesn't open up, oh well. I think it can and will do fine with healthy water regardless of its amount of feeding. > < Blundell > 

Shriveling and ballooning Bubble Anemone in a tiny tank, Marine Snow Hi there-- <Howdy> I've been in the fishkeeping hobby for about 15 years, and finally jumped into salt a year ago. I now have a 20 gallon tank with about 20 lbs of live rock, a cleaner shrimp, fire shrimp, and camel shrimp, a black/white damsel, and a blue damsel. I also have a bit of pumping xenia, star polyps, and green mushrooms. Recently, I acquired a rose bubble anemone from a pet store. it had just recently divided, and seemed to be healthy (albeit ratty-looking). It's been in the tank for about 2 days now, and just keeps shifting shapes. It moved about 6 inches, and is now at mid-tank height. It goes from a loose, spread-out look to being almost folded on itself, but most recently has been looking terrifyingly desiccated. It shrivels down to almost nothing, and the bubbles deflate into little raisins. I called the pet store and asked for some advice, and I have turned off my powerheads (already done), but also turned off the 10,000k daylight because I was told it might be irritating it. (I also have a 50/50 light on the aquarium--65watt actinic, 65 watt daylight). It's been about 2 hours since I turned off the light and the bubbles have re-inflated and the anemone looks fuller and less death-like, but is still sloppy looking, and I worry if it's being stressed by something. <It is... from just being moved... being in a very small, variable system (due to volume)... though this is about the best of large anemone species for aquarium use, AND it's great to have a cultured individual to start with... Most all the behavior you so well describe is to be expected... but these animals are exceedingly hard to keep in little tanks... as you will learn> I fed the tank with Marine Snow the other day, but I don't know if I should be feeding the anemone shrimp right now or not... <This product... is a sham... it's the "Emperor's new fish food"... of exceedingly little to no nutritive value><Please see: http://www.reefs.org/library/article/harker_toonen.html> any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, because I really don't know what I should do! Thanks for the help--you guys are really great. <I do: read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm  scroll down to the area re Anemones... go over their systems, feeding... Bob Fenner>> My water composition is pretty good too-- 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrite, 10ppm nitrate, specific gravity of 1.021, pH of about 8.2.  Thanks!  Bryan R

Monti Feeding Hello Bob and Crew: I was looking for your advice for target feeding my only SPS a Montipora capricornis (my favorite).  I lost a Hydnophora.  I do not want to get into a refugium so I have been direct feeding ESV's Phytoplanton and Daphnia.  I have been considering Cyclop-eeze, is that too big?  I tried to find liquid life's CoralPlankton but it's not anywhere (LFS) and I do not want to pay $25. for overnight shipping.  I would appreciate any suggestions, I love this coral and want to do all I can (besides refugium).<Rich, I've heard a lot of good things about Cyclop-eeze.  I am using it at the present time, mainly for my Percs, but my soft coral sure seems to be looking better since I've been using this.  Other product that is good for this is DT's Phytoplankton.  You might call around in your area for this, otherwise you will have to order direct from DT.  They tell me if you keep it refrigerated it has a shelf life close to six months.  Keep in mind this is live phytoplankton.  I don't think DT would charge you 25 bucks to send it to you, just normal UPS charges unless you want it overnight.  I wouldn't worry about the Monti while waiting since corals do produce most of their own food. James (Salty Dog> Thanks for the help! Rich

Funny mushroom tentacles and feeding candy corals Hi I just set up a 26 gal reef tank about a month ago.  I went to my LFS and purchased a small mushroom coral and a small red mushroom which was attached to a very small candy coral.  Now the mushroom coral is doing ok and the little red mushroom looks good, but it appears to have some tentacles growing from underneath it!? << On a mushroom?  I wonder if it is spreading skin to propagate. >>  The tentacles are very thin white strands with a little black spot on each strand.  Is this part of the mushroom or a bonus critter that hitchhiked with him??  With my horrible description is there any chance that you know what it is?? << Well it isn't anything to worry about.  Do the strands move?  If so I'll say it is a hitchhiker, if not then I'll say it is part of the coral. >> My last question is I read that I should feed the candy coral a few times a week but I have a lot of little white bugs in the tank (copepods maybe??) would this be food for the candy or what could I feed it?? << Well mainly feed it lots of light.  I don't think micro shrimp will be consumed by candy corals, I think something like phytoplankton and Cyclop-Eeze are a better choice. >> Ok I lied one more question should I only feed the candy at night when its tentacle like things are out?? << I would feed it during the day.  It will get use to it and often times extend tentacles during the day. >> Thanks so much for all your help!! Tammy

Feeding sun polyps Hope you guys and girls get this, having some problems getting through to you. I bought a sun polyp from my LFS, they forgot to tell me how difficult feeding this beautiful invert is (should have done some research). What I did was cut the bottom out of a margarine tub and when he comes out (usually 30 minutes after lights out) I place the tub over the animal and squirt zoo plankton inside the tub and every polyp eats. << Good idea. >> I was worried about too many nutrients flooding the entire tank, but this works great for me and the sun polyp. This has got to be one of the most beautiful inverts that I have seen. I thought you might want to pass this on to others and it could help with the flooding of food while feeding these creatures. << Will share this info, thanks. >> Thanks Jerry S. <<  Blundell  >>

Tubastrea sun polyp feeding/dying 11/28/04 My little sun polyps are coming out to feed easily now, but the pale orange one does better than the red-orange one. The area around the red-orange one is turning white (with two of the little polyps completely gone... <clearly sounds like those polyps are starving... need more food or the right kind/size of food. Do try/use Cyclop-eeze as a primary staple... really outstanding for these corals> that was an area pushed up against the sand where they could not feed), <move the coral my friend or make a feeding hat (do a keyword search for "Tubastrea feeding hat")> but I am concerned about the rest of the polyps because many of them seem to have this white (it's hard) stuff around them. Is the entire coral dying?   <the white is starving polyps/bleached> If so, what did I do wrong? <you can save these polyps in mere months with resumed feeding> Alexandra

Re: question about sun polyp Thank you so much for your help with my little sun polyps. <Anthony is out...> I have moved them to a little cube tank by themselves and am feeding them with the filter off.   <Good> I have one more question if you don't mind. I am feeding them a mixture of frozen Cyclop-eeze mixed with phytoplankton and they seem to love it.  I am using an eye dropper and squirting it right on top of each polyp.   <Okay> How often should I feed them since they were starving and want to save them? <About every other day is fine. This predaceous coral does not need that much actual food, and it's best to be on guard re the possibility of the ill-effects of overfeeding. Bob Fenner> Thanks Alexandra Long Tentacle Plate Feeding 11/27/04 I recently heard of a long tentacle plate coral eating a Coris Wrasse.  Is this possible? Thanks for the reply. Sam Reef <I find this very unlikely.  My understanding is that Gut studies of long tentacle plate corals show tiny plankton, not large prey.  Hope this helps.  AdamC.> Corals feeding - nanoplankton? 11/26/04 Thanks again Anthony, I almost feel silly asking. But I'm going to do it anyway. Is there enough Nanoplankton in my tank without adding any. The soft corals seem to be doing very well and multiplying. <no worries... a very good question. Its tough to answer though. While I am sure your tank like nearly all does not produce enough (much of any really) nanoplankton, there are enough soft corals that require so very little organismal feeding that a decent fish load and good quality lights will be enough to keep them. Sarcophytons and Xenia are two prime examples. Anthony> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlfeeding.htm (page missing?) Is there supposed to be an article under the header on this  page? <Mmm, yes... as in there is no article written and placed as yet... AnthonyC and I are not up to this area in a series of books yet... In the meanwhile there are pertinent FAQs to be placed...> Appreciate all your advice to folks! John <Thank you. Bob Fenner>

LPS, feeding, lighting, water You probably get these questions all the time (and I did check the archives), but I have a couple of questions about LPS corals: First off, I never knew that these things were so cool.  Didn't even know that they existed and then in the last month we have purchased a slipper coral, open brain, and a rather large "meat" coral. <What a planet, eh? I'm not leaving!> The fish store guys swear that they are "easy" to keep and from what I am reading, I tend to believe them.  So anyway, we noticed that that are very carnivorous and will eat anytime they are offered food.  We usually offer small pieces of cut up shrimp, about the size of a match head, and then stand back to watch the fun (morbid fascination - probably goes back to the boa that I kept in high school). So the question is how much is too much meaty food? <Feeding to satiation more than two, three times a week is not a good idea... these animals don't need it, and leads to induced wastes problems> The recommendations in the archives say that as long as water quality is maintained, you can feed quite a lot of food to these creatures.  But we have great water quality thus far and use several brands of test kits religiously every week to check it.  Ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, and phosphate are always zero.   How big should the food pieces be? <What you state is fine> The meat coral looks like he could eat something the size of a chicken wing.  Obviously that would be too big.  I am thinking more like pea-sized pieces (something just big enough to grab with tongs or fingers). <Smaller>   What about blenderized food?   Do you just make a sea-food smoothie? <Mmm, not suggested... too much liquid, nutrient gets into the water... if finely cut, it's recommended to rinse (in a net, under the sink tap) the food to remove the "juice"> Can you point me to a good recipe? <Likely in the archives under marine food/feeding: http://wetwebmedia.com/feeding.htm (linked in blue, at top), or a book by moi, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist> I assume that the finely divided stuff is easier to for the coral to handle, but it kind of takes away from the fun of hand feeding larger pieces of food. Lighting?   We have 2 x 65 watt 10,000K and 2 x 65 watt actinic in a PC hood over a 75-gallon tank.  Is that good enough? <Wattage, intensity-wise, just barely... understand that stony corals have a wide range and good-sized adaptability to deriving their nutrition from photosynthesis and non-photosynthetic sources... other species, the generally-labeled SPS corals as the genus Acropora require more intense lighting... some Dendrophylliids like the genus Tubastrea, hardly any at all> Livestock = 2 Percula Clowns, 2 Banggai (sp?) Cardinals, 1 lawnmower blenny, 2 cleaner shrimp, 1 brittle star, and lots of hermit crabs and snails.  1 Royal Gramma and 1 small I-forgot-what-it-is called neon magenta colored fish (fish guy said it was small, safe, and colorful) in quarantine tank. Tank Stats:75-gallon display40-gallon sump20-gallon refugium90 pounds LR Big Protein Skimmer moderate flow (7 to 8 turnovers per hour in main tank) thanks, Paul and Judy in Kansas <Bob Fenner>

Coral feeding 11/21/04 Hey Anthony, After reading the section here and your book "Coral Propagation". (My favorite book a must read for all) <ah, thanks kindly!> I have made up a batch of food for my corals: Fresh seafood, Nori, marine flake, baby brine, Selcon all blended together and frozen. I have mainly soft , Gorgonians & candy cane corals. <very thoughtful to make the mix, but few soft corals can eat large particles as with homemade food... the gorgonians the same (needing nanoplankton). Only the candy corals (Caulastrea) listed above can eat the mix> The tank is a 90 gallon with 3/4" of live sand (No DSB or refugium...sorry) About 125lbs of live rock. I seem to see more feeding tentacles when the lights go out (Unfortunately this is very late at night because I'm trying to kick start Coralline growth. I just switched to Deionized (sp?) water for make up and water changes) Do you think it would be a good idea to set up a drip using my prepared food ?(taking the larger pieces out) Thanks again! <I do believe the nature of the mix and ingredients overall is very well suited for larger polyped stony corals and anemones, but not for soft corals and gorgonians. Feed this sparingly in your tank if only for another DOC source assuming you do not already have nuisance algae problems. kindly, Anthony>

Can I feed my brain too much? Hi there- May I say again how much I love your site? <Sure!...and Thanks!>   I really appreciate the resource.  I actually have five questions for you.  My tank is about 5 months old, 46 gallon, protein skimmer, Eheim filter, halite lights.  I do weekly 10% water changes.  Ammon, nitrates, and nitrites are 0, salinity is 1.024.  I have two perculas, one magenta Dottyback (eats my little Bristleworms, by the way), a cleaner shrimp, and various blue-legged hermits and snails.  I have a frogspawn and a hammer and a brain and some star polyps. They have all seemed to have adjusted well, and colors and extension are good, and they have all grown a little bit.  Here are my questions: 1) My brain coral is a pig.  I feed the corals Mysis shrimp weekly, and I'm not sure how much the brain would eat at one sitting.  It is about 4" in diameter, and I give it about a dozen shrimp.  Should I keep feeding until it stops engulfing?  It is growing the most. <I would err on the side of caution here, and underfeed.  If it's growing, it's happy, and overfeeding can pollute your tank.> 2) I had not been feeding my star polyp shrimp because I thought it was a vegetarian.  I accidentally dropped one on it a week ago, and it snatched it up, so I gave it about 3 more.  Now it doesn't look so perky.  Did I make it sick? <Doubtful.  GSPs go through cycles of closing up for no apparent reason sometimes.  If it stays closed up for long, then start to worry.> 3) My cleaner shrimp has molted 4 times in two months.  Is this bad for its health? <Not at all.  Good sign that it's growing and thriving.> I do supplement with iodine and the calcium level is about 600 (high, I know.  Trying to solve)  Should I be doing anything else for it? It eats like a pig, too.  I thought these guys were supposed to by shy... <The iodine addition is completely unnecessary IME, but it could be helping.  If paired with another shrimp these guys can molt as often as two weeks after they spawn.  Just need to feed them well.> 4) The tank has developed a bad hairy algae problem.  Do I have room to add something that would eat it, and if so, what would you recommend? <Rather than adding something to consume it, consider fixing the root of the problem--nutrients in your water.  Do you use RO/DI for top off and water changes?  What size skimmer do you have?  Are you overfeeding?> 5)  My tank evaporates almost 2 gallons a day (probably because of the hot lights).  Does this replacement water count towards water changes, by chance? <Nope.  Are you adding any type of calcium/alkalinity supplement?> Thanks again.  By the way, my frog spawn continues to excrete brown goo after shrimp feeding day. (I asked earlier if it was coral excrement) It seems to be doing really well, too.  My perculas have started to host with it. <Possibly 'coral poo', yes.> --Jill <Cheers, Matt>

Circulation Query I read all 7 Circulation FAQs (amongst many, many others), and found a few that were close to my setup, but I could use a little reassurance (My reef seems to teeter totter on the edge of destruction, or at least my fear is that). This site is a wealth of knowledge, and the whole crew's reposes are a joy to read and a good smile! Please comment on any spots you see I need improvement. I have a 37g (30x12x22) with 45lbs Fiji rock, CC substrate, 3 Spotted Cardinals, 1 yellow goby, Emerald Crab, Arrow Crab, assortment of snails/hermits, a green brain (on the substrate) and a Hammer coral (on the top 3rd of the rock). In addition I have a mechanical filter that I run only when needed (320gph), an internal Berlin 60 protein skimmer, and 65wPC 10000k/Actinic combo. I read much about circulation, and so I picked up 2 maxi-jet 1200s yesterday and placed them in apposing corners to up the flow ante. I have them apposing, and seems to create a nice random chaotic flow on the hammer. It is not being beat down, but it gets a good whiff every 10-15 seconds. The Brain also seems to jiggle on occasion. But WOW with almost 16x turnover, this tank looks like Hurricane season in the tropics (Which has been accurate for this year). The fish have been pretty wide eyed since I placed the new power heads into battle. I assume they will adjust, but for this small of a tank, am I asking for trouble? Seems like feeding with that much circulation would be un-doable; I guess I should cut them off at feeding time? Also please, any tips on methods and times for feeding the Brain coral and the Hammer (I've been dosing DT). What do I look for? The brain seems to have shrunk in size. I placed a piece of raw shrimp on one of the mouths of the brain, but it didn't do anything with it. As for the Hammer, where and when do I feed it? Be chatting, ;) Billy Dallas, TX >>>Hello Billy, I'm a bit confused. On one hand you say your hammer coral isn't being "hammered" by the current, and on the other hand you compare it to a hurricane? The bottom line is that if your tank inhabitants are not being stressed, it's not too much current. I'm not in front of your tank observing things, so only you can make this call. Euphyllia (hammers, torches, frogspawns) do not like strong, direct current. You will get better polyp extension in mild currents. If it's tentacles are half retracted, it's too much. Fish are usually not an issue in this area, although there are exceptions. Euphyllia will take direct feedings, but you have to experiment with food types. Some will take silversides, other's will not. Some will take shrimp, etc. Just drop the food item in the tentacles once a week or so. They don't eat phyto. Cheers Jim<<< Hungry SPS corals 9/20/04 We have a 120g ecosystem reef tank that has numerous soft and stony corals with ample room for all to grow.   <Hmmm... OK. But do resist the temptation of mixing unnatural species in garden reef aquaria. Better to focus on niches, themes or biotopes for The lighting consists of two 250w metal halides with two 96w pc actinics. We supplement with bionic two part calcium solutions with weekly additions of iodine and strontium. We consistently run poly bio pads with PhosBan to keep phosphates to a near undetectable level. All of the corals and clams are growing at a fast rate and look healthy but occasional one of our SPS corals just bleach out and die. What could be some possible causes especially when the corals had been thriving before their demise and what should we do. <lack of adequate nutrition is a common cause here... SPS cannot be fed much/any prepared foods (particle size is too large). And so... if you have zero nitrates, no sand stirring of a DSB and no large mature refugium... then you have little feeding opportunities for them. They typically hang in for some months... even a year or two... then finally starve to death> We haven't introduced any new animals for at least 6 months. The tanks parameters were recently checked with the following results: ph  8.1 phosphates  0.00  ( Salifert test kit) calcium  480 Alkalinity 7.5 nitrates  0.5 Thanks for your help <your CA. ALK dynamic is scary skewed... that Ca should be a lot closer to 400 for safe keeping and the ALK should be in the 2-12 dKH range. Do a large water change to dilute this skew and then resume a balanced dosing of your two-part mix. And get thee to a refugium <G>. Anthony> Bubble Coral feeding I've recently added to my aquarium a bubble coral. My question is how to feed it? I was told once a day to feed it phytoplankton 1tsp per 15 gallons of water (my tank is 20 gallons). <I personally think that's a bit much. Would probable do it ever other day or so.> The way I  administer the food is pouring the 1tsp in the tank around 5 or 6pm just below the filter so the phytoplankton will flow out.   Am I feeding the right thing? <They can also eat a larger piece of meat, so you could add something a bit larger occasionally directly to it.> Should I feed at a different time? Am I administering the food correctly (under the filter)? <As long as the flow goes directly to the coral should be fine so it gets some of the food. Good luck, MacL>

Coral Husbandry  - Book Referrals 7/18/04 Dear crew! <cheers> We are dealing with the animal husbandry and we've a lot of problems. Recently we purchased two unidentified gorgonians . The first one forms a bushy red colony with white polyps & thorn-like cups,25 cm tall. The second one is a tree-like brown colony with blue polyps 15 cm. tall. We assume that they are Muriceopsis flavida & Eunicea succinea, but we are far from to be sure. <sadly... these are both azooxanthellate species and as such are very difficult to keep alive in captivity. The prognosis for success is a matter of months, not years in captivity likely... and really a matter of slow attrition> Could you send an identification key? <do consult the fine works of Fabricius and Alderslade (2001) "Soft Corals and Sea Fans" for example. Published in Australia, it is distributed worldwide.> Both they were in the quarantine about 2 month. Now they are melting, Their polyps are closed, & in the second species the tips of branches are shrinking. May this be a melting consequence? <this is very common with azooxanthellate species. Most really should not be collected or used for casual aquarium keeping. The problem is that for many we do not even know exactly what they eat... and for others, its a matter of not being able to adequately culture their desired prey (bacteria, floc, larvae, eggs, etc)> Could you also inform us about the hydrochemistry, in particular, Ca, Sr, Mg and the with the other Cnidaria. P. s. What do your think about the following livestock: 1 Euphyllia glabrescens (diameter (d)=10 cm), <a very hardy scleractinian... do feed this animal finely minced meaty foods of marine origin 3-5 times weekly in a slurry of aquarium water. They need moderately bright light... around 5 watts per gallon of 10,000 Kelvin illumination> 1 Sinularia sp. (25 cm. tall), <does not feed organismally (by prepared foods) but is likely hardy. Favors the same or brighter light as above and perhaps warmer colored light (closer to 6500 Kelvin)> 3 specimens of Alcyonium sp.(50 cm tall), <do check the ID of this animal... last I heard, this genus was shaken up and all valid Alcyonium only reside in temperate waters. If you have a tropical "Alcyonium" it may be a Klyxum (branching, arborescent) or Cladiella (nappy/bushy)> 1 Galaxea sp. (d=5 cm.), <similar care as E. glabrescens above> 1 sphaeric colony of Goniopora (d=15 cm), <this genera on the whole has a dismal rate of survival in captivity. Unless you have a free-living species (Like G. stokesii), this coral is not likely to see 6 months. Best left in the ocean> 1 colony of Cladiella sp. (25 cm. tall), 4 specimens of Sarcophyton sp.(2x20, 15 & 10 cm),2 specimens of Lobophyton sp. (25 & 20 cm tall)& <the above three are also similar in care to the Sinularia mentioned above> 2 colonies of the gorgonians mentioned in 250 gal aquarium (assuming that all the other factors are normal one)? Best regards,   Interzoo, Odessa <my apologies, I do not know your skill level or experience, but do consider some cnidarian husbandry books like Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" or my "Book of Coral Propagation". Sincerely, Anthony Calfo>

Feeding Tubastraea Good morning, <Good evening Alex> I got one of these corals and I was wondering, I'm feeding it outside of the tank in a plastic cup. How long should it be in that cup, he feeds really slow??? <I would really be concerned about taking him out of the tank to feed him. If nothing else after an amount of time you would get temperature fluctuation.> I fed him yesterday for the first time and he was still eating after 20 min, then I put him in the tank with a feeding hat (cool idea I got from your web site)<Good to know it helped.> I didn't want my fish to eat his food, 4 hrs later he had finished. I do not know how long should he be out from the tank. I have him in side the tank under some live rock. He has some light but not to much. Does he need to be in total darkness??? <It does not need to be in darkness or sunlight, since it's non-photosynthetic.  It really wouldn't respond any different to either situation. I have mine located at the front of the tank so I can check for polyp extension. Good luck, MacL> Thanks

Tubastraea coral, again. Hello again, <Hi again Alex> I'm sorry, but I'm new on this coral. <Not a problem that's what I'm here for.> When you meant polyp extension that means they only open when there hungry???<I generally feed to get the polyp extensions and yes when I see polyp extension on mine I try to feed it. It responds then when I can see it. And I know it gets all the food. I also try to feed each polyp individually.>  And how many times do you feed yours a week???  <Probably 5 times a week.>  Thank you so much. <I hope I have helped you with this.  I'd like to recommend Anthony Calfo's Coral Reef Propagation book and Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals. They are such amazing reference books.> Coral feeding 6/14/04 Hi guys hey if my coral is a zooplankton feeder can I just feed it mushed Mysis shrimp or do I still need to get a zooplankton food for it? Is this ok as a staple or should I aim for more variety? <Depends on the coral.  Please write back and let me know exactly what coral you are talking about.  As a general rule, the size of the polyps is a good indicator.  Larger polyps can accept larger food (although this is not universally true).  Best Regards.  Adam>

Coral feeding 6/15/04 Adam or whoever else my coral is some kind of brain coral I think, collected it myself. Has tan/brown ridges in a maze pattern, with in between valleys being fluoro green. When ridges open the polyps are about 5mm in length and maybe 1.5mm in diameter. When I feed it mushed Mysis shrimp it seems to expand and close around them so the green valleys disappear and the brown ridges are all soft and greatly expanded and polyps have gone again. So should I just maintain this once a day or does it need other variety of zooplankton as well? << I believe that a variety is very important.  I would use something like Cyclops shrimp or rotifers weekly. >> Or anything else, other than calcium supplements? << In addition to calcium supplements, please check and watch your alkalinity.  That is every bit as important. >> <<  Adam Blundell  >> Coral names, questions 6/1/04 I have a couple questions and can't find the answers in your FAQs.  The first one: I have read about open brains and different scientific names.  I have a Wellsophyllia; is this an open brain? <yes... but that scientific name is not valid anymore. All such brains are Trachyphyllia, a monospecific genus> Also, does my Wellsophyllia need to be fed, and if so what? <yes, feed finely minced meats of marine origin weekly or more often. Whole foods like Mysid shrimp and pacific plankton from your pet stores freezer are also quite good> Another quick question.  What do you recommend to feed Fungia and what do you find to be the best method.   <the same as above... and feed all such LPS corals by adding a little bit of food or juice to the tank 15 minutes prior to feeding to stimulate a feeding (tentacle) response> Do frogspawn need to be fed as well or is good lighting sufficient (i have 1 250 watt metal halide and two 36 watt actinic bulbs in a 75 gallon corner tank).   <they also need fed, like most all large polyped corals. They have these large polyps for a reason! Form follows function as they say. As a rule, most corals need to be target fed unless the fish/feeding load otherwise is very heavy (rare)> Thanks!! Andrew <best regards, Anthony>

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

Coral questions Hi, <Graham at your service.> I have a couple questions and can't find the answers in your FAQs.  The first one: I have read about open brains and different scientific names.  I have a Wellsophyllia; is this an open brain?   <Yes. Most likely your brain coral is in the genus Trachyphyllia.> Also, does my Wellsophyllia need to be fed, and if so what? <The Brain coral will benefit from regular feedings, however, it's not needed. If you wish to feed your coral, you can try to feed the coral at night when its feeder tentacles are out. Once these tentacles are out, you can place several small pieces of krill within these tentacles and the brain should consume the food. Silversides and lancefish may also work.> Another quick question.  What do you recommend to feed Fungia and what do you find to be the best method.   <If you feed your fish regularly, most likely the plate will be catching food particles. You can also place small pieces of meaty foods (krill, silversides, squid, etc.) <<How small is small? RMF>> within the plates tentacles. The tentacles should then push the food towards the central mouth where the food is then consumed.> Do frogspawn need to be fed as well or is good lighting sufficient (i have 1 250 watt metal halide and two 36 watt actinic bulbs in a 75 gallon corner tank).   <As I stated above, they will benefit from regular feedings, although it isn't necessary. If you choose to feed the coral, do so the same as you would as I described above with the plate coral.> Thanks!! <Take Care, Graham!> Andrew

Coral Chow! (Feeding Corals) Howdy, <Hi there! Scott F. here tonight> I was skimming your FAQs on Fungia and I have a couple questions. I understand that you should feed a Fungia. <Yep, they are active feeders> I add live phytoplankton and that freeze-dried Cyclop-eeze on a regular basis. However, do I need to feed it anything else, and if so, what do you recommend and what is the best method to feed it? <I like the Cyclop-eeze. I believe that the phytoplankton is less useful to the coral, and I'd stick to zooplankton/zooplankton substitutes, myself> Also, I heard somewhere that you must feed open brain coral too (Wellsophyllia). Is this true, and if so what do you recommend and what is the best way to feed it (I have one too). <Yep, you should feed it, and I'd use finely minced foods of marine origin (like clam meat, squid meat, krill, Mysis, etc.) as the main course. The Cyclop-eeze would also work well.> Also, does my Wellsophyllia prefer to be on the sand or can it be on a flat rock? Thanks! Andy <Well, Andy, like Trachyphyllia, Wellsophyllia do best in a soft, sandy substrate, as they can be damaged on rocky substrates when they expand and contract. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.> 

Brain Food, and Other Coral Concerns! Hi Bob! <Actually, Scott F. in today!> I have looked thru a lot of your articles, but this problem I couldn't find. It may be me. <Yeap.. it's you! Hah- just kidding!> We have a 125 gal. tank with a wet/dry filter, protein skimmer, chiller, and even bought a r/o unit with deionizer. It is a starter reef tank with 120lbs. live Fiji rock, Yellow Tang, 3 Spot Domino, 2 Clarkii Clowns, Yellow Polyps, Orange Button Polyps, Open Brain, Red Mushrooms, one Ricordea, and misc. snails, starfish, crabs, and shrimp.  <Nice mix> The problem is, our Orange Button Polyp which has tripled its size and is gorgeous has developed white spots on the front part of the cluster. They are only on the "stem" of the polyp. The polyp is still beautiful and shows absolutely no signs of distress, actually it is still producing polyps. The polyps on the front do stand real tall compared to the others, where the ones on the back make a ball shape. The only time they close is when the lights go off at night. They open readily when the lights come on. All other corals are totally clean. Please help me. We have had this polyp for 6 months and it is my favorite. <Hard to be 100 % certain. Possibly just a migration of pigment, but it could be anything from flatworms to some other pest, too. If the coral is otherwise reacting well, and appears healthy, I would not be too concerned at this point. Just observe carefully and let us know if you notice a decline in the coral's health at any point> I know I am being a pain, but could you also tell me the best thing to feed our Brain Coral and amount. Everyone I talk to disagrees and I haven't had much luck with the internet or books. Thank you sooooo much!!! Julie <You're NOT a pain, Julie! As far as feeding the Brain Coral is concerned, I'd use fine zooplankton-based foodstuffs, such as minced Mysis, krill, or other "meaty" foods. The newly-available frozen "Cyclop-eeze" is a great food for these species! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> 

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

LPS Coral Q's - getting their fiber 4/25/04  Hello there friend!!!  <cheers, mate>  I have a quick question regarding two of my stony LPS corals. I have a green torch coral and a branching frogspawn coral. I believe they are doing great by the way they look (opened, tentacles stretched out, and good tissue). On to the question....at times, I see these corals excrete some brown stuff that floats off into the water....Is this something I should be concerned of or are they just excreting waste matter.  <the latter almost certainly - particularly when they are getting enough meaty foods>  I have heard of brown jelly disease but have no clue of what it  looks like.  <its unmistakable... and virulent. From sight to complete decimation of the coral in 48 hours or so for many>  What are the signs and symptoms of the brown jelly disease.  <tough to describe in a brief text message. Do look at Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals book for excellent pics/descriptions of coral diseases>  What do they look like and how can I prevent it from happening???  <it usually enters the tank from a new, sick or otherwise un-quarantined animal carrying it in. Please be sure to QT all new livestock without exception for 4 weeks and most all such troubles will not visit you/your coral>  Last question, have you heard of a food for corals/filter feeders called PhytoPlan by Two Little Fishies???  <yes>  Is this stuff good to feed to my two LPS coral???  <Hmmm... a subjective question. I'd like to see you feed a wide variety of foods to your corals. In the case of your LPS... they are carnivores (like most corals) and need zooplankton... not phytoplankton>  One more question.... what is the life span of these corals??  >many decades, with many over 100 years and some with no known senescence (old age). The oldest living coral is pegged at around 1000 years old>  Thank you very much  <kindly, Anthony>

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

How to feed a bubble coral 3/22/04 I have a bubble coral (Plerogyra sp.) and have had it for about4 months.  it used to open up every day and here lately I have noticed that it doesn't open up as much anymore.  How and should I go about trying to feed the coral. <Your bubble and open brain will benefit from feedings of small (BB-marble size) pieces of meaty food.  Simply place the food onto the corals when their feeding tentacles are extended, which is usually at night.> I also have a brain coral that was opening up well and now he doesn't open up as much (expand or get fleshy).  what can I do.  my water quality is good sp 1.024, calcium 450, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, and nitrates 0.25.  my setup is a 15 gallon high tank with 72 watts of lighting (actinic bulb, and combo actinic with 10,000 daytime bulb, power compact). <My first recommendation would be to do a water change and/or run some carbon.  Both of the corals you mentioned can be quite sensitive to water quality, and there are a lot of things that affect water quality that we can't test for.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Coral feeding - 3/17/04 I recently was given a few corals and am trying to figure out what to do to feed them. <Depends on the corals of course.> I only took corals that I knew were going to be reasonably easy to care for, but I have a question about the bubble coral's exact needs.<OK> I see that bubble corals need to be fed. <In my opinion they do.> Some things I read say to feed meaty foods, and others say they need zooplankton. <Maybe a mix, but more likely of the meatier variety> I have been feeding it by squirting a little Hikari Mysis shrimp <good> or blood worms <not so good> (I alternate every other day for my fish). I feed it about three times a week. <excellent!> It seems to eat it. Are these small enough for a bubble coral, or will it regurgitate these pieces? <I think mysids should be fine but if the pieces are too large than it might regurgitate. Have you noticed this? You could try Cyclops-eeze, baby brine, enriched brine (Spirulina enriched) and other frozen fish preparations> Would I be better off buying one of those liquid zooplankton supplements? <Unless you have other corals that could make use of the zooplankton I would save your money and buy fresh or frozen preparations as noted above> I do not have a refugium, so I doubt I have enough in the water to sustain the coral. <Most of us even with a refugium sometimes still don't have enough natural foods alone, to maintain corals. The use of frozen or fresh preparations seem to assist our abilities. Thanks for your question. ~Paul> Thanks! -Ken 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>

Feeding Tubastrea sun coral 3/11/04 Hi, how often do I have to feed the Sun Coral (Tubastrea)? And, what types of food are best? Cyclop-eeze? Thanks, Adam <Cyclop-eeze is an excellent food, but cannot be used alone like any whole food (limited in various nutrients/vitamins). Offer your Tubastrea a variety of 4-6 meaty foods of marine origin (mysids, Pacifica plankton, minced krill, etc) several times weekly. And be sure to feed each polyp... they are individuals and not colonial. There are many interesting feeding tricks for Tubastrea (feeding hats, removal to feeding cups for slurries, etc). This coral is best kept in a species tank... they are too hard to feed in a typical reef tank of zooxanthellate corals without ruining water quality or starving the sun coral. This coral has been spawned many times in captivity. Do research more on the subject. Kindly, Anthony> Feeding corals minced foods 2/22/04 Hi Anthony, <hi Rick.  Adam here today.> Is it ok to buy an entire package of Pacifica plankton and Mysid shrimp, thaw them out, mix them together, mince them in a blender, then refreeze them?  I want to do this for my corals, so I don't have to mince them a couple times a week when I feed them.  I was going to mix them just to vary the diet a little, I guess.  Bad idea? Regards, Rick <Generally, thawing and re-freezing foods is quite damaging to their nutritional value.  That is why most DIY fish food recipes recommend only fresh seafoods be added.  Adding small amounts of thawed foods to a recipe of mostly fresh foods is probably fine.  Best Regards.  Adam> Tubastrea Food I have had a Tubastrea, (orange cup) for about a year now. It has slowly died off from lack of food on my part. I'm not only afraid to pollute the tank with daily 'injections', but it's really no easy task to get to it. I am on a crusade now however to save it. First of all, how hard should the water flow be for this guy? <Medium currents should be fine. If you would like me to try to be more specific, around 3" of water should pass by the coral in a time frame of 1 second, Meaning that that water would travel 3" every second.> I do have a powerhead about 2 feet away from it, so that the water just sort of flows over it.  Does it need a strong current? <Strong current isn't needed.> Next, what is the best food to feed it,  Phytoplex Phytoplankton,  or, could I pulverize some frozen food and add Reef Plus with vitamins and amino acids, by Seachem? <The Tubastrea is not a herbivore, therefore phytoplankton based foods would not benefit the coral very much. I would recommend you feed it brine shrimp, shrimp, diced fish, and squid 3x weekly. Remember to feed each polyp rather than one or two individuals. You may want to look into creating a feeding cap. This can be made by cutting a 2L soda bottle in half (keep the side with the cap). You would want to first drill a small hole in the cap. Once the hole is drilled, you may take a few feet of tubing and stick one end of the tubing through the hole you have drilled. Now, you will see half of the 2L bottle and some tubing coming out of the cap. On the end of the tubing, you may want to have a syringe attached. Once the syringe is attached, you're done. You can then place this "Feeding cap" over the Tubastrea. Then, suck some DT's live phytoplankton or any other foods in the syringe and inject it into the tubing (which is connected into the bottle). The food will then be injected into the bottle for the Tubastrea to feed on. As I stated above, be sure to also try to inject some meaty foods into the mouths of the Tubastrea. If you need any further instructions on how to make this feeding cap, please do not hesitate to email one of us back.> As always, it's a pleasure to chat with all of you at WWM! I really enjoy it! <Thanks! Take Care, Graham Stephan.> Pam

Re: Tubastrea food Sounds like a great idea, but when you say DT's live phytoplankton, is that the same as  Phytoplex Phytoplankton?? <No. DT's phytoplankton is live phytoplankton, unlike Phytoplex. Phytoplex is dead phytoplankton which won't benefit the coral very much.> Just want to be sure I order the right product! thank you <No problem!> Pam Take Care, Graham Stephan

Re: Tubastrea food Ahhhhh, I see. Okay, one more thing about these phytoplankton. You say that Tubastrea are NOT plant eaters. But, phytoplankton are microscopic plants that live in the ocean,.. can you explain this? <Earlier I stated that phytoplankton wouldn't benefit the coral that much. I then used phytoplankton as an example for what you could inject into the feeding cap. Phytoplankton is often used to feed some species of non photosynthesis gorgonians, tunicates, or sponges, which is why I used it as an example. In the same sentence I also implied that you could also inject other types of foods into the feeding cap. I was trying to use phytoplankton of just an example of what you can inject into the "feeding chamber," rather than what you should feed as the corals food source. I apologize if I was unclear and my message sounded misleading, but was not my intention. I hope this helps! If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to email one of us back.> Graham Stephan WWM Crew Thanks, Pam

Tubastrea Treats (Feeding An Ahermatypic Coral) Good morning Scott, <Hi there!> I would like to buy the beautiful Tubastraea sp. I have some Liquid Life BioPlankton running in my system, Do you think having this in the water is enough to feed this beautiful animal or do I have to still feed it brine shrimp???  Thank you!!! <Well, Tubastrea do better with "meaty" marine-based foods, such as suspensions made from fresh squeezed seafoods, etc. In his "Book of Coral Propagation", Anthony recommends feeding the animal by removing it from the display into a bowl or other container, filled with water from the display, into which food is infused. The coral is left in the container for about 20 minutes or so, then simply removed and placed back into the display. This eliminates the possibility of polluting the display tank from overfeeding, and offers you a lot of flexibility in the feeding process. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Feeding Corals  Question: is it best to feed your corals and clams at night time when the lights are out or just before they come on in the morning, by the way I'm feeding it DT live planktons?  thank you in advance  < in my observations corals feed at night and during the day depending on what corals you have. Try feeding 1/2 light on 1/2 lights off Thanks for the question MikeH> 

Coral Cuisine! Hi crew <Scott F. your Crew member today!> I am currently feeding my corals a combination of Cyclop-eeze ( Cyclopeeze.com ) and Liquid Life BioPlankton ( liqiudlifeusa.com ). I know my tank is happy with this food. As I was reading a few FAQ on wetwebmedia, it says that live phytoplankton like DTs might be a wiser choice for me. The BioPlankton has to be kept frozen in my freezer. I for sure want to keep using the Cyclop-eeze but I'm wondering about the phytoplankton. <Well, all of the products you mention are good! It just depends on what kinds of animals that you are feeding! Phytoplankton is a major food source for some soft corals, LPS, and gorgonians. It's not particularly useful for SPS corals, which are much more accepting of zooplankton. Some of the foods that you mention might be absorbed by SPS corals, but it's all about particle size (Anthony uses a clever analogy of the usefulness of two story high acorn for a squirrel!). In the end, the best way to go, IMO, is to develop a refugium for your system, where natural plankton populations can arise and reproduce, providing your tank with the ultimate food source, live zooplankton. Do read the many wonderful resources about refugia available on the WWM site, and in Bob and Anthony's "Reef Invertebrates" book. Have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Phytoplex vs. ChromaPlex vs. Zooplex - 9/24/03 Hi! I have a question about Phytoplex vs. ChromaPlex vs. Zooplex. The Phytoplex has micron size up to 15 microns. The new Zooplex has micron size up to 800 microns. I am assuming the larger the micron size the smaller the particle size is. If that is correct, do I still need to whisk the Zooplex (800micron)? <not correct, mate... the smaller units of measure are smaller particles> I have a 75 gal soft coral tank. I have a Colt coral, Gorgonian and Cladiella that require these type of products. <ahhh... no they don't. <G> At least, that is to say... I believe there are much better options. Live cultured phyto or any bottled brand that is sold refrigerated and dated (like DTs)... and a refugium for live zooplankton. Warm bottled supplements in my opinion are not good for long term success> I am have a difficult time figuring which one I need. <take my advice... none. Add a refugium and call it a day :) > I have been rotating them, one every other day with one cap full. I read on your web page about refrigerating them and whisking them in a blender. Keeping them in the frig is no problem but how do whisk a cap full at a time? <to answer your question... simply ameliorate it with a few cups of aquarium water (add water, whisk, then return the water to the tank). But do know that supplements purchased at room temperature and of an unknown age scare me. Best regards, Anthony>

Feeding Corals 8/27/03 Dear Crew <howdy> I have a mixed stony/soft coral reef tank. I know what Anthony will say and I agree they don't co-exist on the reef. We have corresponded in the past on this. <no worries... its not that they don't exist naturally together on a reef... but rather that they don't exist in the overwhelming concentration that we see in unnatural garden reef aquaria. Biotope displays are more successful if not attractive IMO> Anyway, I am getting decent stony growth on my Turbinaria, and Caulastrea specimens. <excellent LPS species... hardy and easy to feed/grow. Great corals> Albeit I have a Porites that grows painfully slow as does my Favia. <quite natural... with the former requiring unbelievable water flow that would be incompatible with likely all other corals in the tank... harkening back to the challenges of a "garden reef" aquarium> I am told this is natural as Favites and Porites both grow very  slow (dense limestone skeleton I'm told by my LFS). <well... they grow slow naturally in the wild. But either or both can be grown remarkably fast in aquaria when given the right conditions. Porites in particular is a weed for many coral farmers> My converted calcium reactor keeps my alk MG and Ca03 at decent levels and my lighting is as follows. 3 marine whites (58w_ each) 1 actinic 03 1 T5 80W tube My question concerns feeding. I feed a plankton DT phyto mix 3-4 times a week (once usually at night) sometimes with the pumps on sometimes off. I am looking to construct a phyto reactor because DT's is expensive and frankly I can make it far cheaper in bigger quantities. <understood and agreed> Is my feeding sufficient for my Porites, Favia, Acroporas and cup corals? <none of the above eat phyto to any significant measure if at all. At best... your DTs is fodder for copepods which in turn feed your zooplankton eating corals. If you have a fishless refugium to enhance this and/or have no significant nuisance algae problems... then I have no complaints. Else, do spend your money on a better refugium or zooplankton reactor instead> Do I need to increase light? <not sure... I see no mention of tank size, depth or placement of the corals at depth. Still... I suspect so. Fluorescents should be mounted no further than 3" off water surface... and the high light corals no deeper than 10" under the surface for these lamps to work. As much as I hate rules of thumb... aim for at least 5 watts per gallon. If the tank is deeper than 24" or if you wish to keep SPS corals much below 12"... do consider halides. Even small ones like the double ended 100 watt HQIs. Fantastic lights at 10K (AB brand)> My Porites, Acro frags, Favias and cups are placed near the top of the tank accordingly. Your constructive comments are appreciated. Jim Griffin <ahhh... excellent my friend. Best of luck. Anthony>

To Feed Or Not To Feed (Fish and Coral Feeding) Hi Bob et all.. <Scott F. at the keyboard tonight!> I am very new to this game - well after 6 months into my first reef tank (100gal), I seem to be making some progress, with things starting to look good, even the hair algae are now reducing since I rearranged some of the live rock to give a better flow at the bottom of the tank. <Cool! It's neat how a seemingly simple adjustment can yield huge dividends...> Maybe you can help with a question regarding feeding of my fish. I have 4 green / blue Chromis, Yellow tang, Sailfin tang, algae blenny along with 2 cleaner shrimps, 8 hermit crabs and some snails. I have been feeding the fish with either frozen brine shrimp or a frozen 'formula' from blister packs, occasionally some marine flake food with a clip of romaine lettuce which only the Sailfin really eats. <I'd really avoid Romaine lettuce. It has very little nutritional value for marine fishes, can potentially leach nitrate into your water, and is simply not as healthy for your fish as green items of marine origin, such as microalgae, Nori, or my favorite macroalgae, Gracilaria, which Zebrasoma tangs just freak out over! Give it a try1> Reading through your q&a's, I understand that brine shrimp is not good? <It's not bad...It just doesn't have a lot of nutrition, unless enriched substantially. Kind of like eating Power Bars all the time. Yes- they supply some vitamins, protein, etc.- but they come up short as a staple diet.> and you recommend Mysis shrimp. <Much, much better nutritionally> Well, I bought some, but none of the fish will touch it. <Odd...but it does happen now and again when fish aren't used to a new food> Should I keep trying? <I certainly would!> I don't what to start accumulating uneaten food if I can help it. <Just feed small amounts and try to clean up what is not eaten> How about the sun coral that I have? It is the most gorgeous thing in the world when it opens to feed about an hour after I feed the fish. Should I give it anything extra than it gets in from the water, a friend suggested hand feeding with lobster eggs.. <It should receive some supplementary feeding- ideally- you could remove it into a separate dish, filled with tank water, and place food into the water in the dish. Let the coral feed for about a half an hour, and then return it to the tank. You could use the "packing juice" from your frozen foods to feed it...> FYI-I also have various xenia, a large leather toadstool and a Goniopora. Ron Patmore <The Goniopora may require supplemental feeding, too...I'd recommend that you purchase a copy of Anthony Calfo's must-have "Book of Coral Propagation" for more information on the care and feeding of these corals in the aquarium. I think that you'll love it! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

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