Not all corals eat the same thing, so I think if you are just adding food to the tank "for the corals" you may be either wasting your money, polluting your tank or both.
Phytoplankton is a good example. Certain animals benefit from the feeding of phyto, but certainly not the majority of the animals in our tanks. Phyto will often elicit a feeding response from corals in the tank, however, even those that won't or can't utilize it as a food source so I think it fools many people into thinking that their animals are actually eating it. When I had a Tubastrea in my tank, even it would open up ready for dinner in response to phtyo, and sun corals are big carnivores.
I do target feed many of my LPS and would occasionly use a baster to blow small amounts of small particles of food over corals like Palythoa, yellow polyps, hairy shrooms, etc but for the most part, everything in my tanks other than the LPS was catch-as-catch-can.
I participated in a coral feeding study once for a class and it was interesting that many of us came up with atypical feeding habits in some of the corals in our tanks. My T. Peltata (Pagoda cup) and Capnella (Kenya Tree) both really took a liking to flake food, lol.
I personally don't target feed my corals (except my torch and frogspawn). They basically get fed by whatever's in the tank, or whatever's introduced into the tank. I feed my tank blender mush and mysis shrimp, as well as some flake. My torch and frogspawn LOVE mysis shrimp and chow them down with gusto. Haven't seen any others taking anything, though...
I feed my tank twice daily and food sources are a combination of what I feel like at that time. On occasion I target feed the hammer, frogspawn,plate corals, and open brain.
I am feeding the smaller two sizes of Golden Pearls, Phyto, and Algae paste to feed the filter feeders and other sorts of zooplankton in which the corals are supposed to feed on.
Variety of Foods:
Blender Mush: Scallops, Clams, Shrimp, Nori, and Selcon
Tahitian Blend Algae Paste
Decapsulated Brine Shrimp
Live Brine Shrimp
I feed my tank as little as possible. The fish get fed once a day and the coral lives off the left overs. There is a lot of food that stays in the water column after the fish eat, and the coral can eat some of that up. I try not to use extra food if I can help it. Hey, I had a tank crash this year, I am good at not feeding my tank
I feed once in awhile, generally every 2-3 days. Enough that it broadcasts through the tank so the LPS can snag what they can. Once a week or so I will target my Hammer and sometimes the Galaxea, and the Fungia's get a little something, usually a bit of fish when I'm feeding the BTA, which eats every 4 days.
I also add phytoplankton a few times a week for my maxima, but it's mostly for the tube worms and pods.
I feed twice a day. The first is in the morning before i take off, probably around 8 am or so. This consists of Formula One flake food or Omega One Flake food. A pinch for my 5 fish in the 75 gallon.
When I come back in the evening, I feed again. This consists of frozen mixture. This can consist of mysis shrimp, formula1 cubes, formula2 cubes, or home homemade foods (shrimp, squid, lime juice, etc blended). Other than that i really dont feed anything else. Its a fact that corals absorb nutrients fromt he water column, and even use fish poop as food.
However, I'd like to get a better variety of stuff and new things to feed. I've never tried the freeze dried foods, and will give it a shot soon.
Every other day, i put nori(dried seaweed) on a clownfish clip for my tangs. They love that stuff. I also target feed my rose bubble anemone, green open brains, and LPS, but maybe only once a week for the LPS. I feed the anemone every 3 days with half a cube of mysis shrimp.
I feed my tank in the AM with a mixture of flake food and Golden pearls of various size. In the afternoon/evening, I feed my tank with combination of home made misture of various blended sea food, sea weed, vitamine and Selco. I also feed Mysis Shrimps. I feed the LPS and Anemone several time a week usually in the PM after feeding the tank so the shrimp will not pull foood out of the anemone.
Ok lets take this talk a little bit deeper. Which corals do you feel require outside feeding from us? which are capable of not requiring any external feeding? and what do you feed particular corals that need food.
Genus of coral that will decline without feeding (excuse my crappy spelling, but I have no ref handy):
M. doorensis (anemone)
Cerianthus (anemone - no zoox, must be fed a lot)
Genus of coral that can be target fed, but seem to grow without it:
Genus of coral that grow without target feeding:
I feed the entire tank DT algae every couple of days, and sprinkle in a very samll amount of Brewers yeast on alternate days. I have clams and a large population of fanworms, this is mostly for them. The fish do go nuts for the yeast that form little clumps, though. The Lobo, M. doorensis, and elegance get prime reef cut into tiny chunks, and frozen foods like mysis and bloodworms. I don't target feed the anemones/LPS much more than once a week. The fish, of course, cut in on this action. The cerianthus eats whole prime reef, fish, mysis; whatever it can lay a tentacle on. I occassionally (every few days) feed the fish dry or frozen food, as much as I can see them consume.
I feed less now than I use to. I percieve that there are is a lot of nutrition that gets recycled in the tank - more than when the tank was new. I often see the fanworms and Stomatellas spawning, and of course little detrivores swimming/crawling everywhere that serve to help keep things fed. I've also noticed that, in the morning when the wavemaker first kicks on, a fair bit of detritus gets blown up into the water column. It's obvious that the Favia, Fungia, and Hydnophora feed on this, and I suspect that many of the smaller-polyp corals do, to.
The only corals I know of that really need feeding are tubastrea and dendroneptha and the other 'nepthas'.
I guess soft corals (leathers) need food, but they can usually get what they need from the tank as far as I know? Fish poop and pods and leftover fish food. Ditto for shrooms, I think.
thier are a few more TG. Thier are many different ways a corals has in the capture of the things it needs. Some corals, such as the ones you listed have bared nemacysts that they shoot out at prey to capture food, then complex enzynes to break it down. Most corals have the ability to asbor nutrients through their tissue (ammonium, nitrogen, and so on). SPS on the other hand can also absorb and do, but thier nemacysts are not barbed and dont have anywhere close to the enzynes needed to break that food down. However they do have an unbelievable electron transport system to turn light photons into energy.
I think the best way a hobbist can tell if a coral needs food is by its location in the water. Corals that are higher in the column have evolved to use light, and those lower out of lights energy have evolved to capture foods.
Thanks, Mike!!! Cool info!
I was thinking mostly about captive corals that we need to actively feed (beyond what they can get from our tanks).
Don't acros also eat bacteria (somehow) too?
Also, that info about lower-light corals - does that mean corals like Cynarina and open brains need to be fed? Also, shrooms; can they get what they need from our tanks?
I'm pretty reluctant to add any unnecessary nutrients to my tank, so tend to avoid getting corals like tubastrea or phytoplankton eaters like feather dusters. So, this is a great topic for me.
What about leathers and xenia?
I mean, I figure they might appreciate active feeding, but will do ok without it - is that wrong?
I feel the same way TG. I am not a big fan of feeding either. Yes SPS will farm bacteria also. They allow i to form in thier mucus and then reel it in as they need it. But that also takes lots of energy for them to do it.
Brains being a massive coral have good surface for the capture of light but will also feed (thus they get the small ammount they need usually from the tank or by fall out of food from the fish). Cynarina, nepthias and so on do have feeding requirements, so do leathers to a smaller degree.
A way around it is to incorporate food for them in the food u feed the tank. This is one of the reasons I feed a blendered mush. Thier is enough small particles as a result of the blendering to take care of most of these corals.
How much blender mush do you add and how often? I've got some golden pearls (the smallest size), but am not sure how to use them. Do they dissolve? Or are you sposed to target feed?
How do you feed leathers?
I feed about an ice cube a day to my tank inn regards to the mush, but remember it a big tank. I dont have an experence feeding golden pearls TG so I cant really answer that for ya.
On the leathers I am not saying that you need to feed them. They absorb nutrients through thier tissue and thier polyps will filter capture small particles. But again I would not do anything special for them. They would be a coral that can take care of its self in your tank.