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- May 6, 2020
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I think that acropora can grow a lot faster in the ocean than a reef tank. There must be some things that can be improved about a reef tank.I caution people not to read too much into studies that just have one coral. They are not nothing, but also might not say much. A. Palmata might be one of the worst since it appears headed for extinction even before humans interfered with where it lives - this coral is not great at living in our current world. There are other studies out there in the GBR and other wild places that also indicated that corals will gather building blocks and energy 24/7. This was just one that I found quickly since I do not link studies much and mostly just read them.
Most other studies show that corals are excellently efficient at gathering nitrogen from ammonia and it is there largest, and preferred source.
In any case, I think that most over estimate how much food that acropora can catch in the wild. The biologist in the Coral Sea that we talked to said that nearly no plankton comes to the areas where the acropora grows, when it does, it is seasonal and there is no evidence that they can catch or digest anything caught in polyps - LPS and softies are different and appear to be able to digest things of the right size. Bacteria and small things that stick in the slime coat appear the other other sources of energy and building blocks other than the sun, sulphur in the water, nitrogen in ammonia, meta and poly phosphates, carbon in bicarbonate. You see one study that says that corals eat a lot and another that they do not eat a lot.
These corals do not need a lot of nitrogen or phosphorous. Sulphur is abundant in the ocean and so are sugars from light. N and P are only really needed to grow and form new organic tissue, not for daily function. Most hobbyists think that nitrate, or nitrogen is fuel or food or something and that more of a surplus is better.
As for timing, the bottom line is: who cares. If you want stuff to be healthy then provide it all of the time and let the corals get what they want, when they want. Only humans are dumb enough to try and outsmart nature and think that they can do it better. Feeding the fish and stuff before lights out might let them process and dump waste into the night for the corals to eat... crabs, shrimp and stuff can follow a bit later.