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


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

  • Yes and it's worth it

    Votes: 160 27.4%
  • Yes but not sure if it's worth it

    Votes: 125 21.4%
  • Yes but not often

    Votes: 124 21.2%
  • No but I am considering it

    Votes: 49 8.4%
  • No but I did in the past and didn't see a good reason to continue

    Votes: 63 10.8%
  • No I have never directly fed my corals

    Votes: 54 9.2%
  • Other (please explain in the thread)

    Votes: 9 1.5%

  • Total voters


Valuable Member
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Oct 19, 2018
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Sydney, Australia
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.


Well-Known Member
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Feb 19, 2020
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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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Active Member
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Mar 18, 2017
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San Antonio
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.


Active Member
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Jan 29, 2019
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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?


  • Love it and wouldn't change it

    Votes: 48 61.5%
  • Like it ok but would try something different

    Votes: 24 30.8%
  • Don't like it at all

    Votes: 4 5.1%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 2 2.6%

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