A photo for inspiration: a shot of Michael J. Cuttone's Reef2Reef January 2019 Reef of the Month.
This photo is from the Reef2Reef archives, courtesy of Michael J. Cuttone, ©2019, All Rights Reserved.
Some time ago, I asked forum members about their feeding routines. I was interested to see if there was a pattern. Perhaps my sample of replies is too small to generalize, but the answers were so interesting that I decided to compile everything into an article.
It seems that how people feed their livestock is all over the map. Some feed automatically, and some feed by hand. Some do both. Some have few fish and some have many. Some use special tools. So, here's an opportunity to read through all the different ways that people feed their tank inhabitants.
These are the original questions I asked. I won't repeat the questions in the answers.
1. When do you feed?
2. What food are you using?
3. What livestock are you feeding?
4. How often do you feed?
5. How do you feed? by hand? auto? etc.
And here are the replies from different forum members:
1.) I usually feed when I go home from work on my lunch break, between noon and 1.
2.) I'm feeding LRS reef frenzy frozen food and a sheet of nori for my angel.
3.) 5 fish (2 clowns, 1 firefish, 1 Yellowtail Goby, 1 Coral Beauty.)
4.) They get fed once a day.
5.) I thaw out the frozen food and dump it in with all pumps off. And the algae sheet is on a clip suction-cupped to the side glass.
1. Mornings and evenings (3-4x on weekends.)
2. Various frozen foods (mysis, algae mix, brine shrimp, angel preparations) and usually 3-4 types of pellet foods (mix of herbivore and carnivores preparations) 1-2 sheets of nori a day.
3. 23 fish in 1 tank, another ~20 in QTs, guess corals help themselves as well.
4. 2-4x a day.
5. Hand when home, auto feeder when traveling.
1. When I get up about 6 AM and around 4-5 PM.
2. Marine Cuisine frozen fish food and some Seaweed Extreme--I use one cube cut in half and every few days will make it a full cube twice a day which is getting a little more often as my fish have gotten bigger. One the weekends I will throw in a mussel for crabs and fish to snack on.
3. 14 fish, mostly smaller fish- 2 damsels, 2 clowns, a RGB, 2 cardinal fish, 2 clown gobies, 1 Sleeper Banded Goby, 1 Saddleback Puffer, 1 Yellow Tang, 1 firefish, and 1 Blue-green Chromis.
4. Twice a day.
5. By hand.
1. Auto feed 1 turn of pellets at 12:30. Homemade blend in the evening usually between 6-7. 1/4 sheet of nori every other day.
2. New life spectrum pellets. Homemade mix of live oysters, clams, mussels along with mysis.
3. 3 azure damsels, 2 Oscellaris Clowns, 1 Green Chromis, 2 Wheeler Gobies, 1 Pink Spot Goby, 1 Tailspot Blenny, 1 Flametail Blenny, 1 purple firefish, 3 Red-striped Cardinals, 3 Zebra Barred Dartfish, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Coral Beauty, 1 Flame Angel, 1 Onespot Foxface.
4. Every day
5. Auto for pellets, clip for nori, baster for homemade mix.
1. At 12:00 pm and 7:00 pm
2. LRS Fish Frenzy for lunch and Reef Frenzy soaked in Selcon for dinner. Both tanks either get nori or Hikari seaweed extreme pellets as well. My frag tank also gets a scoop of Reef-Roids, Reef Chili, and Benereef at lunch and 5ml of reef energy A&B at dinner.
3. 15 fish and numerous inverts and coral in my DT. 4 fish, several inverts and coral in my frag tank.
4. This is my daily routine.
5. I turn off the return pumps but leave the powerheads on and just dump it in after it has thawed.
1.) I feed manually (frozen) twice a day, 7 am, and 7 pm
2.) LRS and rods food original blend, New Life Spectrum for pellets,
3.) 30 clownfish, 1 longhorn cowfish
4.) 10 times a day, 8 times pellets, twice frozen, 3 times liquid
5.) Twice by hand, for frozen, 8 times with auto feeder, once for coral food, 3 times a day with phyto (doser)
1. About 20:00
2. Nori, my own mix: small neck clams, flounder, oysters, shrimp, krill (freeze dried), fish eggs.
3. Royal Gramma, Blue-green Chromis, Melanurus Wrasse, Cinnamon Clown, Sailfin Tang, foxface, Green Clown Goby, Yellow Clown Goby, Yellow Watchman Goby, Pink Spotted Goby, Yellowtail Damsels, Coral Beauty, Banggai cardinal.
4. Once a day work 10+ hours a day.
5. Drop in the tank and let them maul it.
1.) Every night at 8:30 PM.
2.) I use 1mm pellets and a bigger pellet. Zoo plankton, clams on a halfshell, mysis shrimp, krill.
3.) Sleeper Goby, Tailspot Blenny, two clowns, foxface, corals, and, of course, my eel.
4.) Every day.
5.) Always by hand, my eel freaks out if I don't pet him.
1. In the evening.
2. Hikari frozen food cubes, spirulina brine, ocean plankton, mega marine, krill, mysis.
3. 14 fish, triggers, tangs, clowns, wrasses, damsel, squirrel fish, cardinal.
4. Once a day 8 to 10 cubes.
5. By hand.
I have an auto feeder w/ NLS pellets that dumps once a day in the afternoon.
I come home and put frozen in a cup of SW, and w/ a turkey baster I squirt food in about 3x in the course of the evening.
I feed a mix of mysis, hikari mega marine, rods, maybe emerald cuisine, sometimes Calanus, Cyclop-eeze.
I have clowns, tang, tailspot, gramma, chromis, mandarin, anthias (main reason I started feeding multiple daily feedings.)
I feed multiple daily feedings but each is a small dose of food, so a normal amount overall, just spread throughout the day to help anthias metabolism/diet needs.
1. I have a heavier feeding schedule: I feed frozen around 8am, then I have an auto feeder for pellets at 11am, 2pm, and 5pm. Sheet of nori every other morning. Reef-Roids/Reef Chili four nights a week.
2. Frozen is a combination of LRS, mysis, chopped clam, Calanus, spirulina brine, chopped krill, Selcon, and garlic oil that I prepare ahead of time and pre-portion. The pellet is a 75/25 mixture of Hikari Marine S and Seaweed Extreme.
3. Seven Bimac Anthias, two Black Axil Chromis, purple tang, Whitetail Bristletooth Tang, Swallowtail Angel, Yellow Watchman Goby, invertebrates. Corals at night.
4. Daily, although in smaller portions.
5. Both hand and auto
1. 4x daily (spaced throughout the daylight photoperiod on my lighting schedule)
2. TDO pellets by @Reef Nutrition and @ReefFrenzy by LRS
3. Fish (2 clowns, 2 wrasses, 1 anthias, 1 basslet, and 1 tang)
4. 4x daily
5. Auto feed the TDO and hand feed the frozen
1. When I am home, four times spaced evenly throughout the light period - 9 am, noon, 3 pm and 6 pm. When I am not home, they STARVE (or at least act like they are starving).
2. Lots of different things - green and purple nori, NLS and PE pellets, large variety of frozen foods and masago roe.
3. I almost never directly feed the corals, so it's the fish population. I have anthias, so frequent feedings are a must. Zebra Eel gets two large table shrimp every two weeks. Quoyi Parrot mostly only eats pellets other wise I would not use them.
4. As noted, nominally four times per day.
5. Always by hand. Nori is via clip; all other foods are poured directly into my Vortech pump. I have always failed to understand the logic of turning off pumps to feed. Foods that are moving elicit a much better feeding response, and allows the less aggressive eaters to get enough.
Both of my tanks have auto feeders that feed pellets - Hikari Seaweed Extreme & Marine S with a dash of Reef-Roids twice a day at 10am & 6pm. On Weds and Sun I target feed my corals Reef-Roids. My 5 nems get clams or shrimp on Sunday & my foxface gets a sheet of nori on Sunday.
Regarding pico reefs and small aquaria: feeding closer to time of water change (tends to be larger percentage for small tanks due to ease) is better than standard daily feeding.
I feed roti feast and roe eggs from reef nutrition/refrigerated feed only.
1. When someone is home all day, morning, early afternoon, mid afternoon and evening.
Otherwise Morning and evening.
2. PE Mysis, Hikari Brine shrimp, Live black worms, LRS, fish eggs and nori.
3. Blackcap Basslet, Wrasses, CCB, Anthias, Clownfish, Fang, and Foxface.
4. Minimum of 2 times a day, maximum of 4 times a day.
5. By hand only with frozen or live foods. I use a small turkey baster to feed. Nori goes on the clip.
1) Auto feeder drops in pellets around 1pm. I feed frozen around 6p-7p. Occasionally hand feed flake around 4pm when I am not working.
2) LRS Reef Frenzy, mysis shrimp, seaweed extreme, PE mysis pellets, Benepets Pellets.
3) Blue-throated Trigger, Yellow Tang, Tomini Tang, Swallowtail Angel, clown, anthias, 4 wrasse, Starry Blenny.
4) 2 times per day. More on my days off.
5) Frozen by hand. Pellets in auto feeder.
1. No set schedule. Whenever I get the time /remember to.
2. Mainly homemade blended seafood kept in freezer but also frozen brine shrimp, mysis, krill, rotifers, cyclops, etc. pellets and lakes and nori strips every few days, 1/2 mussel in the shell occasionally.
3. 4 clowns, Pyjama Cardinal, Lawnmower Blenny, foxface, Flame Angel, Blue Tang, Powder Brown Tang, Valentini Puffer, 3 Engineer Gobies, Royal Dottyback, Falco Hawkfish, 1 Coral-Banded Shrimp.
4. Minimum twice a day, 3 or 4 times when I'm off.
5. All by hand. Mix of target and general dispersal feeding with baster. Direct feeding of anemones with tweezers. All pumps off for a few minutes then wavemakers back on. Return stays off for about 10 minutes.
3-4 feedings throughout the day. 6-8 cubes worth.
Male Gladiator Clown. (He enjoyed single life).
Kauderns Cardinal (Pair)
Court Jester Goby (Pair)
Helfrichi's Firefish (Pair)
Hawaiian Flame Wrasse (Male)
Lyretail Anthias (Trio)
Carberryi Anthias ( Females x2)
Bartlett's Anthias (Females x2)
Borbonius Anthias (Pair)
Blue Chromis (Pair)
[Oh! A feeding video!]
1. In the afternoon/evening.
2. I use all kinds of frozen food, mysis, marine cuisine, nori, frozen mixes, phyto, Reef-Roids, Polyplab genesis, Polyplab polypbooster, and occasionally pellets like TDO Chromaboost.
3. Very varied, clowns, firefish, multiple wrasses, tangs, gobies, blennys, etc. And then lots of different kinds of corals, mainly LPS and SPS.
4. I usually feed my fish once a day, and corals get fed once or twice a week.
5. I feed only by hand. For the fish, I'll drop a cube of frozen in normally, and let it blow around and get stuck on a powerhead where it disintegrates. For the corals, I'll get a cup, put a little bit of tank water in, put a large scoop of Roids, put some meaty frozen food in, phyto too, and then turkey baste it over my LPS and softie corals. Then I'll get some Roids in a syringe, put just enough water to make a thick paste and squirt that over my zoas, SPS, and LPS. Everyone loves both routines.
1. Normal routine is to feed at around 8:30am, noon, 4pm and 7pm. Sometimes I'll skip the 4pm and move the 7pm up. It's not a strict schedule. If I'm busy the fish may not get fed until noon.
2. Varies. For the DT it's normally a mix of frozen mysis, frozen brine, LRS reef frenzy, SFBay reef plankton, cyclops, or anything else I have on hand. Usually just 2 or 3 types per day. I sometimes do an extra feeding of pellets while I try to get new fish acclimated to those. Maybe 2 days a week I'll only feed flake. For QT I feed whatever frozen I can get the fish to eat and for some anthias currently in QT I resorted to freshly hatched baby brine.
3. 2 Ocellaris Clowns (8 years old), Melanurus Wrasse, Yellowfin Flasher Wrasse, Blackfin McCosker's Wrasse, Lubbock's Wrasse, Yellow Eye Kole Tang, Purple Firefish, 2 Bar Gobies, Yellow Watchman Goby, Potter's Angelfish, Tailspot Blenny, and a Royal Gramma. 3 Lyretail Anthias are in QT.
4. At least twice a day and up to 5-6 times per day. I am blessed to work from home.
5. By hand. If on vacation I mix individual servings into snack zip bags and label them for the fish sitters, who are usually my parents. I do have an auto feeder on hand, just in case, and a reefsicle that I prep for vacations as well. I mix whatever I'm feeding for the day into a small squirt bottle with RODI water and keep it refrigerated. I just squirt in 25% or so at a time and then back to the fridge it goes. I'm toying with mixing up a bottle per day for when I'm gone and freezing them. Then my parents can just take a bottle from the freezer and move it to the fridge at night and it will be ready for the next day.
1. 8 am 12 noon and 5 pm
3. Yellow Tang, Coral Beauty, clowns, wrasse, Dottyback
4. 3x per day
5. by hand
I usually feed once at night. They get LRS food, live white worms (once or twice a week) clam (that I buy live and freeze) Cyclop-Eeze for the tiny pipefish, anthias and corals, mysis (for the larger pipefish. I used to hatch brine shrimp every day for the mandarins but they seem fine now without it as I don't have time or a set up for that right now.
I have about 23 fish including Copperband, Queen Anthias, mandarins, pipefish, Scooter Blennies, gobies, wrasses, perchlets, etc.
I target feed everything using one of these [below].
Photo is from the Reef2Reef archives courtesy of @Paul B, ©2019, All Rights Reserved.
1. Every other evening for the fish and once a week for nems.
2. I make my own fish food consisting of shrimp, scallops, nori and oyster feast.
3. 2 clowns, yellow coris wrasse, yellowtail damsel.
4. 1 time every other day nems once a week.
5. By hand.
I have 2 clowns, 2 Lyretail Anthias, a blood shrimp, Lawnmower Blenny , and coral. I feed at 9 am and 5pm. 1/2 cube frozen pe mysis each feeding rotated with LRS Reef Frenzy . Twice a week I feed oyster feast tsp. And twice a week Reef Chili spoon.
I make my own fish food from the grocery, a mix of many different salt water fish, clams, oyster, shrimp, etc., to which I add Reef-Roids, mysis shrimp, blood worms for the mandarin, brine shrimp. I feed this concoction twice a day, morning and even. forgot to mention nori. I broadcast it with the pumps off. The corals and the fish benefit and are doing well. I have a 75 gal. with a fuge. I have started adding Selcon to the food.
1. I have an Apex AFS at each tank which feeds 3X per day and I do an evening feed of frozen variety each early evening.
2. I have 26 different frozen foods consisting of LRS, Rods, San Fransisco bay, Pisces, Hikari, Ocean nutrition and local frozen...plus ocean nutrition dry and dry seaweed.
3. Various fish including clowns, anthias, tangs, wrasse, gobies, and more. Also Harlequin, coral banded, and cleaner shrimp.
5. Multiple times daily at small portions. Hand feeding only to corals.
1. 9:00am I feed BBS and 8:30pm I feed my homemade mix.
2. BBS and a homemade mix of whatever I can get at the Asian store, usually mostly clams and muscles, and spirulina brine shrimp or LRS (whatever I happen to have around). I also mix in Selcon and freeze the mix laying flat in a Ziploc.
3. A mated pair of Banggai cardinals and a constant rotation of baby Banggais, hence the BBS. Yellow Watchman goby, Tiger Pistol shrimp, Springeri Damsel, and a Tailspot Blenny. 10 Nassarius snails, ~10 Trochus snails (always breeding new ones), 10 Cerith snails, 3 conch, and 2 Emerald Crabs. Zoas, assorted LPS and a handful of easy SPS corals.
4. Twice a day.
5. I turn off all flow and drop in a small amount of the food mix to feed the fish. The BBS I put in the breeder box and let them flow out of there to get to the rest of the tank.
Corals are spot fed with the flow off.
@4FordFamily [here's another feeding video.]
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Cynthia received her BA in English from NYU a long long time ago. She has been a freelance writer and editor for over 20 years. Now she is a writer and editor on staff at R2R, where her forum nickname is Seawitch.
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