It has only recently been made possible for reefers to keep their corals in a saltwater aquarium, as the nitrates and phosphates in found saltwater meant that coral was previously unable to thrive.
However as both understanding and technology has advanced, the ability to control and manage these levels of toxins has significantly improved, meaning that the water quality is much better and hobbyists are now able to enjoy greater success when trying to encourage thriving coral communities in closed saltwater systems.
With increasingly powerful lighting systems becoming available and the knowledge of more coral enthusiasts expanding, the understanding of how to stimulate the different water currents has resulted in even better results, which should grow further as scientific insight and technology continue to develop.
Of course, having a thorough comprehension of how to provide the optimum climate for coral to grow is essential, in addition to this. However, those who wish to make sure that their coral is growing well must also understand how to feed it.
Now, this may seem a simple task, but it’s not like chucking some fish food in the tank and assuming they’ll take care of the rest themselves. While there are many types of coral that will happily inhabit a saltwater aquarium without a tailored feeding regime, there are others that have particular dietary requirements which are extremely difficult to replicate outside of the natural environment.
Of course, those who want to provide for their coral in an optimum way will examine the requirements of each type and make sure they are able to give them the specific nutrients they need to flourish.
So how do you feed coral?
Broadly speaking, there are three ways to feed your coral:
1. Direct Feeding
For types of coral with bigger tentacles and a mouth that is you can see (which is the case for lots of LPS corals), direct feeding is usually the most beneficial solution. This is because they are likely to eat macroscopic or more significant prey. This could include diced fish, plankton, and other types of seafood, such as clams, shrimps, or squid.
However, if using this method, it is important to monitor the tank and be careful not to overfeed as doing so can result in a build-up of nitrates, which will damage the coral. Having a strong current will help to flush your coral’s surfaces if any excess food particles remain is also useful.
2. Indirect Feeding
Indirect feeding is arguably one of the simpler feeding methods, and here, the corals can absorb the required nutrients from the water they inhabit. Corals often survive off waste products as well as food that other animals have left uneaten, for example, the tiny bits of food that fish will not eat, and even the bacteria contained in plankton if corals are the smaller polyped variety. Absorbing these dissolved organic compounds from the water is a smart and economical way to sustain themselves.
3. With Zooxanthellae Algae
Zooxanthellae Algae is important in coral growth as it gives coral food from light via photosynthesis resulting in the stunning array of bright, bold colours that we admire in the various different coral types. Feeding coral this way can be beneficial as each coral species has unique needs with regards to how much light they require. However, the majority of them may need additional forms of nutrition rather than surviving off the light alone.
Feeding your corals – research is imperative!
At the end of the day, if you want your corals to thrive, you need to understand the exacting requirements of each type you own. Only by doing so can you ensure you provide the correct type and amount of food to give it the very best chance of success.
At Fraggle Reef, we are delighted to bring our customers a huge range of stunning coral frags, and we’ll be happy to advise you on how to care for them too. Browse our shop to see our different varieties or get in touch via our contact form, and one of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.