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Feeding/Supplementing corals


mcallahan

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I took the plunge this weekend and added some beginner corals to my tank. Namely, a green Mushroom, a star poly frag and a Zoo frag. I'm a little confused on what I should be feeding these new guys though. Some sites say a mysis shrimp once a week, other recommend "marine snow". So I'm turning the questions to the ARC community:

What should I be feeding/supplementing my water for these corals?

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I've had good results with Reef Roids. Bought it at Aquatek. I use it with a small baster. Be sure to turn your pumps off while you target feed and be careful not to overfeed. Once or twice a week does the trick for me. This is supplemental feeding, since zoas, mushrooms etc get most of their fuel from photosynthetic zooxanthalae. But like you, I'm curious what other people are using as well. I think phytoplankton is good too but I have a hard time keeping it fresh for any long period of time unless I were to cultivate it myself.

http://www.polyplab.com/reefroids.html

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I have used reefroids in the past as well. However, I only used it once a month or so. I have found that as long as you have sufficient light and keep your parameters good those types of corals will grow quickly with no feeding at all. Marine snow is fish poop by the way.

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Fish poop!? Wow...that's marketing at its best.

Pardon my ignorance, but I'm assuming target feeding is using a syringe/baster/etc to release the food in close proximity to the coral so it can eat?

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Fish poop!? Wow...that's marketing at its best.

Pardon my ignorance, but I'm assuming target feeding is using a syringe/baster/etc to release the food in close proximity to the coral so it can eat?

Correct. If you don't have one (baster), most reef stores can probably provide you with one. I find them to be easier to use than syringes but with the latter, I speculate you can measure your feeding easier if you want to be precise.

Question for GK: Do you think it's important to feed softies more often if you're using less than stellar lighting? For example, cheap power compact lighting.

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It would probably help them survive and grow. That being said I think they will never live up to their potential without proper light. However if you are keeping a nano or small tank and are happy with softies I think PCs can work fine. You just have to change the bulbs about every 6 months to keep them strong and they have a tendency to color shift. I had PCs on my first 29g and I grew mushrooms, xenia, zoas, and frogspawn. They didn't grow fast, but they grew and were pretty. At about the 6 month mark I noticed a color shift in the bulbs and that is when I started having major Cyano problems. Could have been coincidence but I have heard they could have been connected. I think where the main problem with PCs is when people try to use them on larger tanks. Especially ones that are deeper. They just don't have the water penetration of other types of light. Honestly, with the price of T5s where they are now and the bulbs lasting longer than PCs I don't know why anyone would go with PCs other than ignorance when they are new. A bit more of an answer than you were expecting huh? :D

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It would probably help them survive and grow. That being said I think they will never live up to their potential without proper light. However if you are keeping a nano or small tank and are happy with softies I think PCs can work fine. You just have to change the bulbs about every 6 months to keep them strong and they have a tendency to color shift. I had PCs on my first 29g and I grew mushrooms, xenia, zoas, and frogspawn. They didn't grow fast, but they grew and were pretty. At about the 6 month mark I noticed a color shift in the bulbs and that is when I started having major Cyano problems. Could have been coincidence but I have heard they could have been connected. I think where the main problem with PCs is when people try to use them on larger tanks. Especially ones that are deeper. They just don't have the water penetration of other types of light. Honestly, with the price of T5s where they are now and the bulbs lasting longer than PCs I don't know why anyone would go with PCs other than ignorance when they are new. A bit more of an answer than you were expecting huh? :D

Hmmm.. I always err on the side of caution, so I'll look more into reef supplements.

In regards to your comment about lighting, how deep of a tank is too deep for PCs? I have a standard 55gal setup and i've put all my softies (mushrooms, star polyps and Zoo's) on the bottom of the tank.

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I think a 55 is too deep to get good penetration from PCs. Some may argue with me, but I tried it for a brief time and was not happy. Again though, the corals you have are VERY hardy. I think they could live under a CF bulb. The Zoas I think would benefit the most from being closer to the light. Is it possible to move them closer to the top?

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Hmmm.. I always err on the side of caution, so I'll look more into reef supplements.

Actually, the cautious thing to do would be to not feed at all. Remember, everything you put in your tank has to come out somehow. Any food not eaten, which will be most of it, will turn into Nitrates and Phosphates. So if you dont have a great skimmer and stay on top of water changes feeding could actually be more harmful than not. The only corals that I have seen that really need spot feeding are LPS. Acans, Frogspawns, candy canes all love some mysis squirted on them. The only supplements I would worry about are Calcium and Magnesium. B-Ionic is the best pour in supplement in my experience.

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It would probably help them survive and grow. That being said I think they will never live up to their potential without proper light. However if you are keeping a nano or small tank and are happy with softies I think PCs can work fine. You just have to change the bulbs about every 6 months to keep them strong and they have a tendency to color shift. I had PCs on my first 29g and I grew mushrooms, xenia, zoas, and frogspawn. They didn't grow fast, but they grew and were pretty. At about the 6 month mark I noticed a color shift in the bulbs and that is when I started having major Cyano problems. Could have been coincidence but I have heard they could have been connected. I think where the main problem with PCs is when people try to use them on larger tanks. Especially ones that are deeper. They just don't have the water penetration of other types of light. Honestly, with the price of T5s where they are now and the bulbs lasting longer than PCs I don't know why anyone would go with PCs other than ignorance when they are new. A bit more of an answer than you were expecting huh? :D

Thanks Gabriel. Great advice and not verbose at all. I've had similar observations about old PC bulbs. And I think the stock t5 bulbs on my frag tank are on the decline too. For the sake of my corals, I'm going to consolidate two of my small display tanks (both have terrible PC lighting) into a 15 gallon aga and will most likely use a 24" Current USA Sundial T5. I know this isn't the best T5 set up. It uses contoured reflectors as opposed to individual reflectors but it's the best I can do in the next 6 months. I think it's better than the Coralife lunar PC light I was considering. I'm open to other options though if you have suggestions. Back to feeding, I probably wouldn't be feeding my ricordeas/yumas/mushrooms or palys so much but they seem to respond really well to the roids. They chow down every time. But I think it would be wise to take your advice and cut back on the feeding since I don't use a skimmer yet. Thanks for letting me tag along here AZ. =)

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This is good advice all the way around. I figured my PC's needed replacing as one even looks less blue than the other, but for now I'm just running with it since my corals are so hardy.

I'll see how they hold out before I consider supplementing the tank. Thanks for your help everyone.

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Beefy, I take it you don't have a canopy? Could you build one? Retro fit T5s in a canopy would probably be your cheapest and most effective option.

Glad I could help.

Well all I have right now is an empty 15g AGA...no canopy at the moment. I should consider it though. It would be great to be able to flip a canopy open to get inside the tank. That's the downside of the Sundial I've been thinking of using. One has to lift that thing off the tank to get inside so that's kind of undesirable but I like the fact it has only one cord and integrated timers. I like the coralife legs, since you can flip the light up for easy access to the inside of a tank. But they don't offer anything decent in T5 and MH isn't an option for me any time soon. As I write, I'm working on a sketch of the tank mod and everything I had in mind for it. Maybe you can take a look when it's posted and let me know if you think everything will work. I figured that sketching the idea out and getting some pro feedback would help minimize my failures. TIA

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