Jaco Schoeman

Reef Pearls Tested / Review

  • Okey guys, Dorry Pets in PTA has asked me to test and review a new product that is available in South Africa called Reef Pearls. This product has been used by many reefers abroad, but here we have no known knowledge of it.

    Dorry Pets' reasoning for allowing me to test the food, is that I have a dedicated NPS tank, and how better to test food than on corals that requires food as a sole form of nutrition. Other photosynthetic coral would open up with other factors and the test may not be as accurate. So the NPS test was the best way, as they will not react if food is not to their liking.

    The manufacturer of Reef Pearls are the same guys that manufacture NP Reducing Bio Pellets.

    Firstly I want to post some information from their website and there after I will post my opinion and test results on the product.

    Website Info:

    Reefpearls are (zoo)plankton mimicking feeding pellets for corals and other filterfeeders. They have a neutral buoyancy, high nutritional value and low levels of inorganic phosphates.
    Reefpearls contain microencapsulated particles which are stable for 4-24 hours in the watercolom and have a low leakage of nutrients, thus floating around for a long time and allowing a long feeding time for your animals. Reefpearls consists of a mixture of different pellet sizes, ranging from 5-200 µm (microns), that is mimicking the natural sizes of plankton. They can simply be dosed by using a automated fish feeder.
    Reefpearls contain the essential levels of phosphates, however, in contrast to most other feeds, these phosphates are in an organic form (attached to proteins and DNA) instead of inorganic phosphates (PO4) . This will result in lower pollution of your tank and better uptake of this essential element by your corals and other filterfeeders.

    Product information
    Feeding depends on which kind and how much corals and/or filterfeeders you need to feed. It also depend on the watervolume of your aquarium. As guideline we suggest 2 feedings a day for photosynthetic corals and 6-12 feedings a day for non photosynthetic corals. Start with 1/5 - 1/4 of a teaspoon of food per feeding time for each 350-500 liters of water. After your corals are used to the feeding regime, you can slowly add more food per feeding time. Keep feeding your fish and other animals like normaly with a premium flake and/or pellet fishfood like Omega One Fish Food and/or frozen fishfoods like brine shrimp, mysis, krill, etc.
    Reefpearls ingredients and analyses:
    Ingredients: Fishmeal, Fish Oil, Lecithin, Vitamins & Minerals, Anti-oxidants.
    Reefpearls are produced in the European Union.


    Protein: 67%
    Lipids: 11%
    Carbohydrates: 4%
    Fibers: 0,6%
    Ash: 13%
    Vitamin A: 1.400 IU/KG
    Vitamin D3: 300 IU/KG
    Vitamin E: 510 ppm
    Vitamin C: 1.450 ppm
    Organic-P: 1,67%
    Inorganic PO4: 0,001%
    HUFA: 3%
    Packaging and Expiration date:
    Reefpearls are packed in PET / ALU / LDPE standup pouches with a recloseble ziplock on the top. The standup pouches are thermo sealed at the top. This type of packaging features a strong barrier against water vapor and oxygen and keep the product at his best for a long time, even when it is opened and reclosed. The expiration date is printed on the front of the label.
    Water quality:
    Because of the high nutritional value and feeding frequency of the Reefpearls, please keep an eye on the NO3 and PO4 levels in your aquarium. In order to easily control Nitrates (NO3) we suggest using our NP Reducing BioPellets. For more info, please click here.

    In order to control your Phosphates (PO4) we suggest using our DVH - Instand Phosphate Remover (For more info, please click here.) or a good quality phosphate remover / absorber.

    Frequently Asked Questions What is the difference between organic and inorganic phosphate ?
    All living organisms contain organic phosphate. Phosphates are building blocks for all living organisms. Inorganic phosphates (PO4) can be used as a preservative and some manufacturers add inorganic phosphates to their foods as a nutrition. Reefpearls only contain organic (natural) phosphates, which are attached to proteins and DNA, which is absorbed much easier by your animals compaired to inorganic phosphates. This also results in a lower pollution of your water during the feeding.
    How much should I feed ?
    This is a very hard question to answer. It mainly depends on your watervolume. The food must be present in the water colom so the corals and filterfeeders can catch the Reefpearls when they float by. An other factor is which kind of corals / filterfeeders you need to feed. Photosynthetic corals / animals have algae inside called [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]zoöxanthells who live in symbiose with the coral / animal. These algae also give nutritions to the animal by converting light in to energy. Knowing this we suggest supplement feed your photosynthetic corals / animals twice a day.[/FONT]

    There are also non-photosynthetic animals that need to actively catch their food that is floating by in the water colom. In this case you need to have enough food in the water colom so the animals can catch it with their tenticles or mouth. That is why we suggest 6-12 feedings per day. We suggest by starting with 1/5 - 1/4 of a teaspoon of Reefpearls per feeding time per 350 - 500 liters of water.

    Reefpearls are stable for 4-24 hours and have a neutral buoyancy, they stay much longer in the watercolom then other foods for corals. You can simply dose them with a automated fish feeder, there is no need to pre-soak the pellets.
    Do I still need to feed my fish now I am using Reefpearls ?
    YES !! Reefpearls are so small that most fish cant see them or dont pay attention to it. Keep feeding your fish with a premium flake or pellet food and/or with frozen foods like brine shrimp, mysis, krill, etc.
    My nitrates are going through the roof, HELP !
    Because of the high nutritional value of Reefpearls you need to keep a eye on the nitrates and phosphate levels. If you want to keep non-photosynthetic corals / animals or feed multiple times per day you need to have a kind of nitrate reduction. The easiest way to do that is adding our BioPellets to your system. A good skimmer is also very important ofcourse.
    Are Reefpearls the same a Golden Pearls from the USA ?
    No, Reefpearls are nothing like Golden Pearls. Reefpearls are made in Europe by a special process which makes the Reefpearls unique. Next to that there are no inorganic phosphates added to our Reefpearls.

    My findings:

    Before I go into anything, the company is contradicting itself with regards to the phosphates, causing me to doubt the claims therof. If you look under the above section, I have marked the contradicting areas in red. You can decide for yourself...;)

    So onto the product, what does it look like?

    The package is an 80gram silver package that has a ziploc seal. There are very little information on the packaging, with absolutely no indication on how much to feed, or how to feed. All of this information is only available on the website. This is another daunting aspect of the product, as many noobs will either overfeed and overload the bioload on the system, or underfeed and will not see the required result.


    Initially when I read about the product I was under the impression that it was pearsized balls, that would dissolve over time, releasing food into the water column. This conclusion came from the fact that they said it can be used with fishfeeders. To my surprise, this product was in fact a brown poweder, and looked nothing like a pearl...


    How does one feed it?

    Well, the manufacturer says that it can be used with a fishfeeder, but I found this to be a bit debatable. Being in powder form, most of it just floats on top of the water, and would thus quickly be pulled in by your tank overflow. If you however just whisk it once or twice, the reef pearls quickly sinks. For this reason I would imagine that if you could introduce the food dry onto the water column in an area where the water ripples quite aggressively, you may be able to mix the dry substance into the water with minimal Reef Pearls drifting off. With regards to the natural boyancy the manufacturer states, I also could really see their point. According to what I understood, the pearls will remain afloat, untill desolved. This was very hard to see in my NPS system with lots of flow, but in my lagoon pico tank with very little flow, I found that the pearls just sinked to the bottom and remained there. Not sure where the boyancy comes to play there.

    Here is a photo of it being dropped into saltwater without mixing:


    Here you can see some of them sinking upon introduction, whilst most stays afloat:


    Heres the product after a good swirl, and you will now see the "pearl" resemblance as they are in fact tiny little balls:


    The test subject:

    I decided to use a normal Tubastrea sp. (Suncoral) for this excersize. Reason being that they are not as sensitive to being moved around as many gorgonians, dendrophyllia, chilli coral etc. I used a very small little 200x200 tank, with water from my DT, and a very small little pump for circulation.

    This photo was taken of the subject coral just before the food was introduced:


    This photo was taken immediately after the Reef Pearls where introduced:


    I then took photos in exaclty 10 minute intervals:

    10 minutes from introduction:


    10 minutes later:


    10 minutes later:


    10 minutes later:



    As you could see, the product does work, and works quite well. Note the mouths of the suncoral heads. They are swolen very heavily, and this only happens when they detect filterfoods in the water column, as they then increase their surface area of the mouth, thus taking in more food. If they feed on 'n mysis shrimp for example, the mouth would only open enough to consume the shrimp.

    So within 30minutes the coral opened up fully from being closed up 95%. I have been feeding Reef Pearls now for about 3 weeks, and the all the corals in my tank are doing incredibly well. I must admit that I cannot see an improvement from the coral from the time I started feeding Reef Pearls, but they do seem to react well to the product.

    I have no reason to believe that my water parameters are any better / worse from feeding the product, but overfeeding will definetly swing the scales.

    This is a great product to use on any system, however I do not see the need for a fishfeeder if you have a normal mixed reef. I would recommend feeding a normal mixed reef with your normal products, and try feeding reef pearls every three days.

    The cost of the product is R190 from Dorry Pets, so that is thus R2.38 per gram, which is much cheaper than the likes of Cyclop Eeze etc.

    I can recommend this product to anyone, it works, it's cheap and I have not seen any problems using it.

    Thank you @lanzo and @Tiger !!

    Reefpearls Website: ReefPearls a D. van Houten (Import) product - Home

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