Coral feeding part II – Zooplancton and more!

In part 1, we’d informed you about the basics of feeding corals. Part II will now show some more informations about the different plankton species! Have fun!

Zooplankton and phytoplankton

Living phytoplankton and zooplankton is the natural food of SPS. Note that there are only a few corals (eg Goniopora) that eat phytoplankton actively. Phytoplankton represents, however, a very important source of food for zooplankton.
Regular addition of phytoplankton/zooplankton food promotes a boost of natural zooplankton of all sizes, which can have a very positive effect on the nutrition of the stony corals.


Here’s a video from my tank, showing many tropical mysis but also many more mikro- and makroplankton on and in the rocks (best to watch in HD directly on youtube):

Bacterioplankton and ‘pseudoplankton’:

Strengthening the bacterial flora can be supportive. Often, carbon compounds or the vodka method is used to increase the bacterioplankton. On the one hand it reduces the nutritional value slightly, on the other hand, the releasing bacteria carpets ar getting actively absorbed by the stony corals.
This effect can also be observed in the use of zeolite. If the zeolite is moved several times a week, the adherent bacterial plaque gets into the tank.
Also oyster eggs are ideal, because of their size and structure, and well received by stony corals.

So how do I feed my corals right?

Fact: There are more important things than coral feeding. Flow, light and low nutrient are the base of beautiful colored SPS corals.
If you’re so far, that the colors and growth is good, you can start the targeted feeding. Tanks, that are on NO3=0 and PO4 = 0, basically should feed the corals because of the low supply of nutrition the coral zooxanthellae can deliver to the coral.

LPS in turn, needs to be fed in an entirely other way. Especially the popular and ultra-colored LPS corals as Acanthastrea, Scolymia australis, Lobophyllia, Euphyllia, Blastomussa and many are able to take much larger food particles – so-called macro-plankton. It starts with the small clam eggs up to the size of Artemia, Goldpods (2mm) or even Mysis. This means that, especially for a mixed tank of SPS and LPS it is crucial to have a good mix!

Long polyp SPS

There is an awful amount of different food for corals on the market, and it’s not easy for less experienced reefers, by trial and error and the resulting effects or internet recherche to find out which products are good.

In the last part, we’ll show a best-practice example of coral feeding! Stay tuned!

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