Coral consists of different polyps, being a marine organism. You will find them in tropical seas but can keep them in a reef tank if you want. Since coral is a living animal, it has to eat. Learning how to feed corals in a reef tank will ensure that you have a thriving and healthy reef aquarium.
You can feed corals in two ways: indirectly and directly. The indirect method requires you to use a tank lamp, introduce fish and microfauna, and give them food. Contrarily, direct feeding means you will have to prepare the food and make a schedule to feed your corals.
I will talk more about the methods below. Keep up with me, okay?
Coral Feeding Method 1: Feeding Indirectly
You can feed your corals indirectly in the following ways.
Step 1: Using a reef tank lamp and setting a timer:
Corals get a part of their fundamental nutritional needs depending on photosynthesis. If you get an aquarium lamp and set a timer, it will enable your corals to feed themselves.
- Corals photosynthesize using zooxanthellae algae. It grows on the surface of corals, giving them vivid colors.
- The lamp will keep corals alive, but they will not thrive. If that happens, you’ll want to go for other ways too.
Step 2: Keeping fish and various microfauna in the tank:
A perk of having fish in your aquarium is that their waste products can be a source of indirect feeding for your corals.
- Clownfish, Firefish, Blue-Green Chromis, and Damselfish are good fits for a coral reef tank.
- Microfauna refers to critters living alongside corals in oceans. Sea squirts, marine worms, and sponges will thrive with your corals and help them stay well-fed and healthy.
Step 3: Purchasing fish food that corals also eat:
If you get fish food like clams, squid, krill, shrimp, and phytoplankton for your fish, put a little more of them in the water. Your corals will eat them too.
Step 4: Feeding your fish:
When you give your fish food, follow the instructions by the manufacturer. Tiny food bits will drift naturally, allowing the corals to eat them.
Coral Feeding Method 2: Feeding Directly
If you feed your corals indirectly, and they do not look healthy or get sick, you should consider direct feeding. In that case, you should go with the step-by-step process below.
Step 1: Mixing the food with your aquarium saltwater:
Measure how much food you need from each item. Put them in a container or bowl. Mix them enough to get soaked in the water.
Step 2: Letting the food soak for 10 to 12 minutes:
Let the food be ready by giving it at least 10 minutes to be dipped. That way, it will dissolve smoothly into the water.
- It is okay if you take more time to do this part. Just do not take less than the mentioned duration.
- If you want to prepare extra food for later, use a sealed jar to store it and put it in the refrigerator.
Step 3: Turning the tank flow off:
It will help you target feed your corals one by one without letting the food drift away.
Step 4: Keeping the lights switched on:
Feed the corals when the day ends with the daytime light still running on your tank.
- You need to make the environment as natural as possible in the reef tank. Corals become most active during the evening prior to sunset. Feeding them at that time ensures they get most of the nutrients from their food.
- If you think you cannot remember to feed them during the evenings, it is okay to make that up during the daytime.
Step 5: Filling a coral-feeding pipette or baster with the mixture:
You can take a cooking baster or buy a special coral-feeding pipette.
- Fill the pipette or baster with the full mixture at once. You can also put a little food to feed your corals individually.
Step 6: Target feeding the corals:
Put the pipette or baster tip into your tank. Get it closer to each polyp and squirt some food near it. Do it gently so that it does not damage your corals.
Step 7: Turning the tank flow back:
It will allow your aquarium fish to eat your corals’ leftover food, which will keep the tank clean.
Things To Remember About Feeding Corals Directly
Since direct feeding involves your participation, here are three or four things to keep in mind.
- You have to your corals twice or thrice a week. Keep a gap of a couple of days between the feedings. Look for improvement in the health of your corals.
- While buying coral foods, get the ones of different sizes. Coral polyps are of different sizes and shapes. Smaller ones cannot take in large-sized foods, and larger ones prefer chunky food particles. Preparing a mixture of variety will provide you with the best outcome.
- Three types of foods with various sizes are enough for most corals.
- You will find many choices when buying coral foods. Any mixture of rotifers, marine plankton, and copepods will work.
- Get yourself some food containers as per your serving quantities. It will vary with the sizes of the foods. You should take it seriously to get the right serving size to prevent yourself from giving your corals extra food. Overfeeding them can cause a nitrate buildup in your tank, which is toxic and harmful for corals. Sticking to the correct container size will solve that problem for you.
A little one. You can feed most corals easily. However, rare and exotic corals need strictly specific food with a feeding schedule. If you have any, do your research and get yourself educated about taking care of them before buying.
So, we are done with how to feed corals in a reef tank. There are two methods – indirect and direct. If you are wondering which one is better, I would say you should try both, depending on your tank situation.
If indirect feeding does not seem enough for your corals, shift to direct feeding. A variety of food items of different sizes, sufficient serving, and routine feeding can fulfill their nutritional needs and keep them thriving.
Best wishes to you and your coral buddies!