Much of our aquaculture process depends on the fast growth of our corals and the long-term health of our colonies. Coral nutrition is a major factor. We constantly experiment with different foods for our coral. Corals that are fed consistently have dramatically improved coloration and display much better polyp extension. It’s always interesting to see coral colonies that we have had for years sitting next to colonies we recently acquired. They look like completely different animals in many cases.
As much as we like to stuff our corals with food, some corals are not as receptive to feeding as others. Large-polyp corals, such as Acanthastrea and Scolymia, pretty much will eat anything offered. It doesn’t take much to keep those guys happy. Other corals, such as Goniopora and zoanthids, aren’t as cooperative unfortunately. It is for the sake of these types of corals that we have to experiment with different foods.
A good friend of ours named Nathan requested a special pellet food for his tank called Sustainable Aquatics Hatchery Diet. It was the only food that his orangespotted filefish would eat (other than his SPS corals). The timing was right because Advanced Reef Aquarium was still in the process of selecting products to carry online, so we went ahead and placed an order for this food.
I personally had never heard of Sustainable Aquatics before. It turns out that they are very active in fish breeding and this Hatchery Diet is their go-to staple. The fact that very finicky fish, like orangespotted filefish, would eat it was an encouraging sign that potentially finicky corals might like it as well. We tried feeding a wide range of corals, starting with ones that eat readily and progressing to more challenging corals.
The Sustainable Aquatics food performed very well in our opinion. Just about every type of coral ate it, with the exception of zoanthids, which don’t seem to like anything. Particularly impressive was that both frogspawn and Goniopora consumed it. Take a look at our video below to see the time lapses. For those interested, Hatchery Diet can be purchased on the Advanced Reef Aquarium website.