Feeding corals

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Probably the most fascinating subject in terms of coral husbandry to me.

There is no paper (at least in hobbiest literature) which can compare to Bornema's Reef food series of articles.
http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-07/eb/index.php
Even though this series of articles started way back in 2002, it still amazes me how many people adhere to the philosophy of minimal feeding, intense lighting, good skimming and strong flow, combined with stable parameters to keep "sps" corals such as acroporids.
Sure there are a lot of people who have had "success" with sps corals following the above recipe, but I believe feeding is the missing link between tanks where sps survive and those in which sps thrive.

Keep reading this line over and over:
In all cases except for Galaxea and Symphyllia, more energy is acquired by feeding than by photosynthesis, and for the typical "SPS" species, the ratios tend to be higher.
(from part four of Borneman's series.)

Another article i keep refferring back to: http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/full/207/9/1461

Even though most of it is way above my mental capacity, the bottom line is what strikes home each time!!!
Our results suggest that the increase in the rates of calcification in fed corals might be induced by a feeding-stimulation of organic matrix synthesis
While searching for a link to Bornemans series of articles (you would think I have it bookmarked, I read it so often), I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is reference to it in the latest issue of reefkeepig.com!
http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2007-05/atj/index.php (Even though this reffers mostly to lps corals, its all relevant)

My question, as always, is how do we go about providing our corals with the optimum quantity, quality and variety of foods to get a bit closer than to what they are used to in their natural environment??

(And please don't tell me that if you feed your fish their poop is enough) Don't get me wrong, there is merit to it, but poop and light just can't be enough!!

IVAN
 
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Hey Mofro welcome to Masa.

Very interesting thread you have started here and one which I hope to learn a lot from.
Like you say quality and variety are probably the 2 biggest stumbling blocks. You want to feed your coral and not the pests :)
 
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Cool thread, Ivan me old well repected sparing partner.
I'm interested to know how to satisfy the needs of all my corals but more especially the LPS species in a low nutrient system such as my SPS tank.

By lowering nutrients I find that my LPS (or some of them) suffer. They sort of exist but dont thrive.

SPS, I have seen thrive on sunlight and Poop and big wter changes.

I have to go, will pick up later.
 
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By lowering nutrients I find that my LPS (or some of them) suffer. They sort of exist but dont thrive.
Yip I'm experiencing the same thing with my Elegance coral at the moment. In my previous LPS dominated tank my Elegance would open huge. Since my new system has started to mature and my aggresive skimming I've found that it doesn't open up as much. I've never target fed it.
I also struggle with Ricordea, again not target feeding.
 
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I should really replace my camera!!

I target feed all my LPS once a week and the growth is phenomenal. In December last year I bought 2 x 2 head frogspawns from a LFS in Krugerdorp. With proper feeding the one now sits on 7 heads and the other on 6. I feed small pieces of defrosted hake or octopus directly to the individual heads.

My open brain gets taken out of the tank weekly then put in a dark container (obviously with water in)till the tentacles come out and then gets target fed.

I also target feed my sun coral in the same way. The sun coral was in really bad shape we i got it and its almost completely recovered.

Anyway here's a bad pic of one of froggies

frogspawn.jpg
 
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If you read the link i provided above, (http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2007-05/atj/index.php) You will notice that the lps are target fed. Personally i think that in a low nutrient environment this is the only way to succeed with LPS corals. I also believe this should not lead to nutrient spikes, as most of the food fed is turned into biomass!! The bit of waste is no more than waste from feeding fish, and should be removed by bacteria and skimming in no time! (Naturally this will only be as long as overfeeding is not being practised)
 
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Yeah read the article, those time lapse photo's were cool.

I tried target feeding my Elegance tonight with some Mysis, but my damn clowns kept taking them !!
 
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Lps (and even more so sps) should be fed after lights out, as this is when i notice polyp/tentacle extension to be the best, and the function of polyps is to capture food. It just seems more natural, and the chance of fish getting hold of the food is considerably reduced.
The only problem I have with target feeding LPS is flow removing food from the tentacles, causing me to have to feed larger pieces. I would prefer feeding small pieces more often than larger pieces say once a week, as this is also unnatural IMO. (How often in nature do you think a frogspawn recieves a piece of mussel, lancefish, octopus leg or chopped prawn meat?)
I believe a considerable part lies in the ability to provide live zooplancton, bacterial swarms etc. Which begs the question: Are we all doing this in reverse? I.e. large tanks with small sumps?
Next question: What volume of sump/sandbed/refugium should we provide per what quantity of livestock in our systems.
I am in the fortunate position where space is not much of an issue, so I can add quite a large (much larger than current 650 litre setup) area dedicated to in line plancto culture.
 
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Irie Ivan.. cool

I always switch my pumps off when feeding, it allows me to control the feeding more.
I have started feeding cyclopeeze 2 - 3 times a week now mixed in with the reglular stuff. My last feed is generally 30 mins before lights out.
I've noticed that when the circulation pumps kick in and start stirring up the uneaten food that all the coral polyps go into hyper extension.

Interesting point RE bigger sumps / Fuges. I desperatley want to add another 200/300 l live food tank (Fuge) to my system.
 
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In my opinion live food refugiums is the way to go, but unfortunately most hobbyists are more focussed on the display, so this aspect is often neglected. I would guess at the very least even double display volume for food production, would still feel short in my opinion.
Understandingly, not many people have the room under their tanks to go this route..... But I think people like me (and if I remeber correctly, you) who have the space, should invest as much space as we are willing to, into food production areas.

Going off topic here: A recent study shows that the dissolution of aragonite is nowhere near enough to support calcifying organisms in a tank. This led me to ask: where does calcium in the wild get supplimented from? Surely by a much larger volume of aragonite proportional to the calcifying organisms.

Surely this would apply to bacterial, zooplancton and other live food supply systems to reefs.

Just look at the vast sandbeds, mangrove swamps and lagunal sediment areas supporting small reef communities.

Hey, look at the vast farmlands supporting tighly compacted city areas in our existance...............
 
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In my opinion live food refugiums is the way to go, but unfortunately most hobbyists are more focussed on the display, so this aspect is often neglected. I would guess at the very least even double display volume for food production, would still feel short in my opinion.
Understandingly, not many people have the room under their tanks to go this route..... But I think people like me (and if I remeber correctly, you) who have the space, should invest as much space as we are willing to, into food production areas.

Going off topic here: A recent study shows that the dissolution of aragonite is nowhere near enough to support calcifying organisms in a tank. This led me to ask: where does calcium in the wild get supplimented from? Surely by a much larger volume of aragonite proportional to the calcifying organisms.

Surely this would apply to bacterial, zooplancton and other live food supply systems to reefs.

Just look at the vast sandbeds, mangrove swamps and lagunal sediment areas supporting small reef communities.

Hey, look at the vast farmlands supporting tighly compacted city areas in our existance...............
I agree 100%, thats why we have to supplement feeding because due to the size of our displays and live food "tanks" we will NEVER be able to supply enough food to our corals. I've seen tanks in a Fossen Nielsen book where the sump and fuge is more than double the size of the display IMHO thats not even enough...
 
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Happy bout the response so far!!! Okey, so we need to suppliment feeding. Granted!! But what can we feed our corals , mainly sps, to provide them with a truly balanced diet???
Like i said before: feeding the fish and having their fecal matter feeding the corals is just not enough.
 
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ok i'm not big into SPS but i've seen good growth on the 2 frags i have, i use SERA coraliquid and garven frozen invert food. At night I turn off the skimmer and pumps and using a syringe basically dose the SPS with the coraliquid. Then wait 15 min. before I switch everything back on again. With the frozen food I thaw it in the tank in a fine small net over the SPS also with skimmer and pumps off. Same thing 15 min later all comes on again. Only problem with the frozen food is that I don't know what else goes into the water but the food is so fine that you can't rinse outside the tank.

PS! The coraliquid is made up out of shrimp protein, sperulina and cyclops.
 
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Any idea of the micron size of the particles in the sera coral liquid or the van gerven invert food?
 
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Did a google search on it, and came up with nothing! There is a plethora of "coral foods" out there at the moment. In my opinion most of them potentially more harmful than good. Still see bottles of soup on the shelf with ingredients listed as peas and yeast! Never saw any peas floating around reefs where i lived! Doubt if there was yeast.
Personally the only food that i feel justified to try in my reef at the moment would be live phytoplancton (hardly avail in SA) and some live zooplancton (not avail in SA to my knowlege)
 
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I feed a mixture of Invert Banquet and Cyclopeez once a week. Mixed in a glass of tank water. Target feed each coral with a squirt from a plastic pipette (the ones you get with some test kits.) Use up half a glass of mix then throw the rest in front of my seio's to disperse.
 
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I read an interesting article by somebody reputable (can't remember who ) comparing foods especially comercially prepared foods.

They said that far ahead of the rest in terms of size and nutritional content and ability if corals to absorb was Marine snow (two little fishies). This was in the non living plancton side of the article.

I feed Kent's three phyto and zoo plancton foods, which is a concentrated mix of various plancton types that according to the manufacture are correct for the various inverts and corals in our tanks.
 
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Some takes by mesocosm on these two products you have mentioned Bob:

On TLF marine snow:

This stuff starts out as an "uncolonized" macro-aggregate, but within 3 hours (on average in one reference) much of it will become colonized by free-living (suspended) bacteria. Notice the size range ... 20 microns to 150 microns. Nice.

Notice the "buzzwords" ... DOM, suspended, collodial, microscopic, macroscopic ... hehe ... you've got to love it. Whatever else you want to say about TLF's marketing strategy, at least it's grounded in the research literature. I've used this stuff for years ... like it a lot ... but nutrient accumulation is a very real potential issue. Even so, if you're interested in fooling around with "artificial mulm", this one might be worth toying around with (while keeping a careful eye on dosing). JMO.


BTW ... did you notice the "does not contain yeast" quote? This refers to "RotiRich"(indirectly) and the whole set of aquaculture artificial foods (directly) which became available in the trade in the 1980's (although these have been used in various aquaculture applications for a lot longer). They were all based largely on yeast & phytoplankton combinations (... and are .. you can get RotiRich from Florida Aqua Farms, and if you're growing rotifers it's an interesting food/supplement option).
On Kent microvert:

Notice the shift away from the literature "buzzwords" towards indirect assault on characteristics of competitor products? Hehe ... capitalism at its finest. Even so, I "like" Kent products as mindless, "entry level" stuff, especially in terms of its "uncombined" and relatively "dilute" formulations ... arguably appropriate for entry-level zoanthid and LPS dominated "mixed reefs" and first time hobbyists. If you look at the ingredients (something Kent is usually quite good about ... they typically list specific ingredients), this set of products is typically 90%+ distilled water (... ask yourself why it doesn't smell ..). Strange as it may seem, this might actually be a good thing in terms of the way that a newbie or "casual doser" does things. Then again, I generally don't like "idiot proof" products ... nor do I particularly like paying for a lot distilled water (even if it smells good)
From zeovit:
http://www.zeovit.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5624&page=2&highlight=dendronephthya

Really like the size of marine snow, but what bothers me is the 3 hour wait for bacteria to colonise it. With my flow rates this stuff will be feeding the "mud" in my skimmercup.........
 

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