Most everyone you talk to says to do a water change once a month.
After my latest tests, I totally disagree!
You ever notice that after a WC everything in your tank looks better than ever? After about 2 weeks the algae starts growing faster, the corals seem to loose some of their lushious colors. I've even noticed that polyp extension is not as pronounced.
I'm now doing 7% WC every two weeks. By doing this, here's what I've noticed;
Faster growth (on average 1" month w/o CR with SPS), more vibrant colors, much greater polyp ext, more disease resistant, all in all everything is more healthy and happy.
Some may argue that more frequent WC's export too much of the needed nutrients. NIMHO
Salwaternut I dont disagree. Some of my water is over 3 years old. One must view atrifical salt mixes as low grade additives. The dillution of pollution through water changes is a good thing, but if you caan process your water good enough I dont feel they are needed at all. ASW mixes come with alot of stuff you dont really want and depending on the salt can have alot of nutrients in them.
I like to feed homegrown rotifers everyday to my tank when the lights are on.
This has trained all my corals that normally did not experience day polyp extension, to do it.
I also feel that feeding coral is just as important as providing enough light and flow for them. There are many different foods/ways to feed your corals, but I feel if you dont do it you should try it.
I do seem to experience very good growth rates, however it is truly hard to tell.
I do know that I am able to retain the color of every coral that has come into my system.
Having VHO lighting only, I've noticed that whatever coral I have, if moved to or from a system with better MH lighting, some of them seem to grow quicker & open up like I've never seen before. I don't make a habit of switching out corals but have several occasions where I've seen this. Even corals purchased at the LFS under MH and later transferred to my VHO's, they never seem to meet up to the same size as before, so my point here is lighting seems to be an important food for corals, even if my water quality is tested better then the water at the LFS, his lights beat out mine. I'm convinced that MH provides better growth & health to corals, even more so to SPS but to all of them in IMO, well excluding sea fans & certain others etc ...If I had the knowledge when I first started out, MH would of been my first purchase not VHO or supplemental lights. The cost with the equivalent of my VHO setup would be very little difference.
Scotterman you are correct. In the case of SPS light will suppy up to 98% of its energy requirements. So very little supplimentation is required. You will find that in most case the ammount of tissue the coral has is an indicator of how much supplimental feeding it needs. Most of the supplimental food goes to the making of tissue. An example would be a SPS, with only a tiny veneer of tissue requires very little, A torch coral per say needs substancally more, a mushroom coral is on the opposite end of the scale.
Folks looks at corals with to mch of a broad brush, they are so different from each other and must be looked at like this. Corals get thier suplimental food in so many differing way, through tissue absorbtion, slime netting, nemacysts and so on. Polyp extention is also very misleading, it can mean so many different things or combination of different things. A coral uses its polyps for defence, offence, reproduction, light gathering, food gathering and so on. Scooter in your case understanding the back ground in lighting conditions I would say the polyps are out to expose more surface of zoox for light gathering.
One of the books I was peering through, I saw a common between all of the corals, Light is needed to some level. On the feed charts of sps, & most other corals, I saw, Lighting, fish poop, & other poop, as necessary foods, it seems to be a multitude of food sources they all feed on, not just one. In a closed marine environment, this may sometimes be difficult to replicate, even harder to feed for each individual need that isn't common in our routines of feeding. Target feeding would be the only supplement to getting each individual what it doesn't get, well unless you feed everything you can throw in!
Scooter thier are lots of corals that do not need any light at all. When you look at the list of food sources, dont look at the list of sources, but look at what the sources have in them. Ultimately that is what the coral needs, it can just come from different sources. For corals supplimental feeding boils down to N and P. The food you feed should contain them (and most do), as per waste its is just 90% of what the food was, but broken down more. For those that feed corals the absolute most important thing is the particle size.
I think this is in fact not actually correct, these low or no light requirements of corals is actually their ability to absorb light, which darker colors do so easily, if you look a really deep sea creatures, they have no pigmentation, I have to believe that any pigmented species requires light to some degree. Prove me wrong?