Are you "direct" feeding your corals in 2021 and is it worth it?

BRS

Are you "direct" feeding your corals in 2021 and is it worth it?

  • Yes and it's worth it

    Votes: 172 28.1%
  • Yes but not sure if it's worth it

    Votes: 133 21.7%
  • Yes but not often

    Votes: 126 20.6%
  • No but I am considering it

    Votes: 50 8.2%
  • No but I did in the past and didn't see a good reason to continue

    Votes: 65 10.6%
  • No I have never directly fed my corals

    Votes: 55 9.0%
  • Other (please explain in the thread)

    Votes: 12 2.0%

  • Total voters
    613

Tastee

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I have a 3 1/2 year old 65g with LPS and Softies that I never feed as they are all thriving and obviously getting enough nutrition from the fish waste and leftover food. In fact I don’t want them to grow any more strongly than they are as I don’t really want to have to prune and kill any of them.

I answered yes however as I also have a 130g tank that is 1 year old. I used the lessons I learnt when setting up the first tank the second time around and if anything those lessons worked too well. The new tank was fully cycled and established and running at 0 Nitrates and Phosphates within a few months. By month 6 I had my initial stock of fish and corals in. Although the Hammers, Torches and Duncan were doing well the Blasto, Acan and Favia were really struggling. The SPS were looking ok but not growing, as were the Zoanthids.

I felt the lack of PO4 and NO3 was telling me I didn’t have enough nutrients in the tank. About 2 months ago we stepped up our fish feeding and I also started broadcasting Reef Roids twice a week. The struggling LPS have started looking better and the SPS look happier. I’m going to add some Red Sea A/B soon to my feeding regime and see how that goes. Needless to say the fish are not the least bit unhappy about being fed more!

So it all depends on your tank. Later on when I have added more fish to the 130g and increased fish feeding further I may find I no longer need to supplement feed the corals. Time will tell.

It also depends what you are trying to achieve. If you are fragging corals for sale then you would want to target feed the corals more heavily to promote growth.
 

Trever

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I do not discount the testimonials of other hobbyists, but for me the most important question is not "What are they doing and what results do they claim to see?", but rather: What does the peer reviewed science say?

I don't the have links to back this up (could insert them later), but from what I have seen, the extremely limited science on this says:
  1. Photosynthesis alone can not sustain corals (plenty of science on this point)
  2. Corals need phosphate. They do not need nitrate.
  3. The only demonstrably effective food for captive corals is reef roids (peer reviewed study, nothing to do with the vendor). Several other commercial foods were actually detrimental to coral growth.
  4. The benefits of reef roids were extremely minimal, to the point where it was not clear if it is worth it.
My testimonial, FWIIW:

I am a beginner (6 month old tank).

I spot feed reef roids, having done it 3 times now, using less reef roids than directions say because I have two small colonies but rest are small frags. My tank has immeasurable phosphate and nitrate, but most likely algae has been sucking that up, so nutrients are probably there. I have probably been overfeeding my fish a bit, have recently backed off of that.

I suspect my first two doses of reef roids made my algae worse a bit- hard to know. Maybe not.. I fed RR as an attempt to increase nutrients, but concluded that probably I had nutrients that were immeasurable because uglies (algae) sucking it out of the water.

In the last few weeks, uglies are mostly gone. I need to test again but phosphate and nitrate still zero.

In the last 1 -2 weeks, some of my corals appear to be bleaching a bit (not overt, but appears some could be starting to). So last night I fed reef roids again, this time using even less (but I'm sure more than plenty!). Concern is zero nutrients will bleach corals (science? I don't know on this point- but reefers including LFS say zero nutrients will lead to bleaching corals, and my coraline algae has been bleaching for over a month, and it would not be from lighting).

I'm also a bit worried about dinos coming, thus worried about zero nutrients in the water column, but here again, the science and anecdotal information is all over the map. Do zero nutrients cause dinos? No one seems to know, but everyone seems to have an opinion.

I plan to keep my eye/tests on things and consider feeding reef roids again, with a notion I will only do it once a month, spot feeding carefully to avoid getting the "fog" of reef roids all over the DT water during feeding (ie. keep it lite!).

I also "feel like" my coral growth is less than it could/should be. I'm getting growth for sure, very possibly good growth (I dose/test all the things). But I have wondered if nutrient deficiency could be a limiting factor right now in my young tank.
 
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Emerson

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My corals had been struggling with good light (Aquatic Life Kessil A360 + T5s), even with broadcast feeding Reef Chili 3-4 times a week. I started direct feeding Brightwell Aquatics Coral Amino...Man!, what a difference. Has really increased growth on SPS, but where I saw it help the most was bringing a nice Trachy back to life after it seemed to be detaching and on it's way to the "pile". It looks better than ever as does a Hammer and Goniopora. Anecdotal, to be sure; I'll keep doing this, though.
 

Chrille26

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Hi! I have a question on this subject!
I have decided to feed my corals twice a week. But I am not sure about flow, I have 2 streamers and 1 wavemaker pushing quite a bit of water in my 65g tank. Is it nessesary to turn down the flow to broadcast feed or spot feed? Are the corals able to grab food when their polyps are swaying quite a bit in the current?
 

Gogol_frag

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If you feed your fish you're feeding your corals that's a given. But today I want to talk about "direct" feeding your corals whether it's directly to their mouths or a broadcast type of feeding. For the sake of this topic we will call both of these methods direct feeding.

I admit I RARELY ever feed my corals and when I do it's a powder food that I distribute very minimally via the water column and a pump! I know many of you hand feed your corals and I have at times but I'm pretty lazy when it comes to certain tank tasks and this is one of them. But what am I missing out on or am I missing out at all? Do your corals grow better? I would assume so. But what about negative residual effects of adding extra food to your reef if any? Not to mention the extra money. Let's talk about it today!

1. Are you directly feeding your corals in 2021?

2. Is direct feeding worth it considering the money and the risks? The risks being extra phosphates or nitrates, algae etc..

3. What food are you direct feeding your corals with?



image via @robert
brain.jpg
My vote is in the Other category - for stability and consistency in my tank, I want to automate my feeding routine via dosers and auto-feeders.

Having said that, corals are the main-show of my tank (sue me :p) ... and I had started culturing their food from February, 2021 - much before i had even ordered my aquarium.

I wanted to provide a balanced diet of Lipids, Fatty Acids, protein and carotenoids - without having any idea of what those nice words meant - it was like "sugar-spice and everything nice" for me. I also wanted them to hunt in my tank and have their tentacles out. So I made sure that whatever plankton i was culturing had a size of not more than 150 microns.

With these filter-criteria - i have so far been culturing and dosing:
  1. L-type Rotifers (gut-loaded with ReefNutrition's RG complete)
  2. Tisbe Pods (gut loaded with Nanochloropsis)
  3. Nanochlorposis
  4. Tetraselmis
  5. Isochrysis Galbana.
For my doser, I use a Jebao (non-Wifi) which has worked like a champ thus far. While I feed, i have my Neptune Wavs provide a laminar flow at 30% of full intensity.

Things are too new in my world to say yay or nay. I am solidly in the wait and watch mode. But, given a choice I won't be direct feeding my corals for fear of human-error, and will be auto-feeding them instead.
 
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Gogol_frag

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1. Are you directly feeding your corals in 2021?

yep, daily.

2. Is direct feeding worth it considering the money and the risks? The risks being extra phosphates or nitrates, algae etc..

the money? that's got to be the least expensive part of this hobby. the risk of extra PO4 and NO3 and algae?
PO4 .9/1.2
NO3 40/60
algae: yea, there's some but it isn't out of control. herbies gotta eat too.

3. What food are you direct feeding your corals with?

mysis, brine shrimps, blood worms, R.O.E., Benepet

4. Do they grow better?

5 polyps per some time last year
IMG_2927.jpg

IMG_3077.jpg
Great Tank, Sp1187!!
 

Gogol_frag

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1. Are you directly feeding your corals in 2021?

Yes once a week.

2. Is direct feeding worth it considering the money and the risks? The risks being extra phosphates or nitrates, algae etc..

A coral is literally a mouth that wants food so will do better being fed.

As for filtration.. if you designed your filtration correctly it is my opinion that it should be able to handle MORE than you could ever stock your tank with. So if you add extra nutrients into your tank than you should only have to adjust your filtration accordingly, as opposed to not being able to add extra food your animals want.

People blame a product like Red Sea AB+ or Reef Roids for causing nutrients to rise or algae growing. It’s not the products fault if your filtration can’t keep up.

3. What food are you direct feeding your corals with?

Red Sea AB+ with some fish flake food soaked in. I’m going to get some powdered coral food soon to add also.

Since I started feeding my corals a few weeks ago they look significantly better. I’m so glad I started feeding and don’t know what took me so long! My tank is Euphyllia dominant.
Really digging your comment on filtration. Care to share what yours is?

I am trying to be as much of a sponge as possible and absorb knowledge from this prermium cult of reefers :)

I have no reactors yet, but have provisions and the raw material on emergency for nutrient export via the following manner:
  1. Large particulates: Filter Pad in Tunze 3168 Com Filter
  2. Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate - Bacteria cocktail that gets replenished every 15 days (Prodibio)
  3. Organics and Nitrate: Deltec Skimmer and BRS Rox Carbon (within media-chamber of skimmer)
  4. Phosphate/Nitrate: Santa Monica Algae Scrubber, BRS GFO in media-chamber of Filter
I run my biological filters - bacteria and Algae Scrubber- 24×7×365. The skimmer is turned on (without carbon) for 2 hours in a day. The Tunze Com Filter is kept off.

Since none of the macrofauna haven't arrived yet, my bioload is miniscule and All's Quiet on the Western Front.
 

Jase4224

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Really digging your comment on filtration. Care to share what yours is?

I am trying to be as much of a sponge as possible and absorb knowledge from this prermium cult of reefers :)

I have no reactors yet, but have provisions and the raw material on emergency for nutrient export via the following manner:
  1. Large particulates: Filter Pad in Tunze 3168 Com Filter
  2. Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate - Bacteria cocktail that gets replenished every 15 days (Prodibio)
  3. Organics and Nitrate: Deltec Skimmer and BRS Rox Carbon (within media-chamber of skimmer)
  4. Phosphate/Nitrate: Santa Monica Algae Scrubber, BRS GFO in media-chamber of Filter
I run my biological filters - bacteria and Algae Scrubber- 24×7×365. The skimmer is turned on (without carbon) for 2 hours in a day. The Tunze Com Filter is kept off.

Since none of the macrofauna haven't arrived yet, my bioload is miniscule and All's Quiet on the Western Front.
My filtration is very simple.. 4 x filter socks (changed every 3 days), chaeto with a 55w horticulture led and a pump to tumble the chaeto, skimmer and carbon. No extra reactors or media necessary. My biggest problem is that my nitrate and phosphate are undetectable so i’ve had to reduce the hours of light on the chaeto.

I’ll also add that I have a 1” sand bed that I vacuum monthly (with my monthly 15% water change) and 50/50 live rock and dry rock. This is important because the live rock gave me my bacteria diversity and the sand gives surface area for bacteria.

Please don’t run reactors with extra media unless you really need to. If you are running a scrubber than you shouldn’t need a anything extra.
 

Gogol_frag

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My filtration is very simple.. 4 x filter socks (changed every 3 days), chaeto with a 55w horticulture led and a pump to tumble the chaeto, skimmer and carbon. No extra reactors or media necessary. My biggest problem is that my nitrate and phosphate are undetectable so i’ve had to reduce the hours of light on the chaeto.

I’ll also add that I have a 1” sand bed that I vacuum monthly (with my monthly 15% water change) and 50/50 live rock and dry rock. This is important because the live rock gave me my bacteria diversity and the sand gives surface area for bacteria.

Please don’t run reactors with extra media unless you really need to. If you are running a scrubber than you shouldn’t need a anything extra.
Thank you for that wisdom venerable master :)

What prompted the use of carbon, if you don't mind me asking? I am hesitant towards all chemical filtration ( I am right now using Kalkwasser to precipitate heavy metals and phosphate, and really not liking it at all). It does have a marked positive impact on pH though, which was impressive.
 

DarkReefer

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How do you direct feed coral pellets?
I tried to do by hand but it seems annoying (as you're not supposed to put wet fingers into the pellets? so it means u can only do 1-2 at a time before drying off and going again).
Do you use a turkey baster and suck up pellets into that or do you use long tweezers?

Any help on this would be appreciated as I enjoy giving the corals food but I've not been doing it much lately.
(I used to give them frozen mysis, thawed out, but my LFS keeps telling me I have to basically run it through filters if I want to get all the watery phosphorus out etc and use the turkey baster for it once all the excess water is filtered away and I've been put onto pellets instead having been told there's more nutrients in the pellets and less phos).
 

N3mo

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1. Are you directly feeding your corals in 2021?

Yes and a I love doing so


2. Is direct feeding worth it considering the money and the risks? The risks being extra phosphates or nitrates, algae etc..

Yes it is worth it, I have adopted the heavy import and heavy export method of feeding.

3. What food are you direct feeding your corals with?

Locally made planktonyx coral feast and sea sprat for the brains and LPS. Also dose live phytoplankton nightly.


1619854270931635198127003829979.jpg
 

Jakepen

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Maybe directly every few weeks. However in the frozen food I make, I add vitamin carb x, selcon, reef roids, pellets and rotifers (then blend it up slightly). I feed the fish twice a day, so I know the coral is getting some particles from the column.
 

Jase4224

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Thank you for that wisdom venerable master :)

What prompted the use of carbon, if you don't mind me asking? I am hesitant towards all chemical filtration ( I am right now using Kalkwasser to precipitate heavy metals and phosphate, and really not liking it at all). It does have a marked positive impact on pH though, which was impressive.
Haha I’m no master but thanks :)

Think of carbon not as chemical filtration, but as mechanical filtration on a micro level. I use it to remove pollutants that could be introduced via literally anything that enters your tank. Think hand soap, moisturisers etc. Also consider what is in the air as the skimmer and power heads force air/water agitation.. my wife’s air ‘fresheners’ as well as fumes from cars and cleaning chemicals. Anything that is on your hands or in the air ends up in the tank and carbon can and will reduce the effects of these to some degree. Carbon also keeps water clear if used correctly. The secret is high quality carbon. I’m using Quantum Reef as I’m in Oz but BRS does good carbon. Kalk is great for PH, Alk and Calc but I’m not sure it can do much for pollutants.
 
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