We can sometimes forget that corals are living animals which have a mouth and digestive system, and therefore need to eat. While the first step in keeping corals alive and healthy is a properly lit and flowed tank, feeding is a great way to keep your corals happy and growing.
All corals eat, that’s why each coral polyp has a mouth, and although there are a few exceptions to the rule like soft corals and xenia which are able to absorb dissolved organic compounds from the water, all your stony corals will be happier when they are fed. The mouth sizes for each polyp is relative to the body size of the polyp and this size will more or less determine the particle size a coral can eat. We have found that even the smallest of SPS polyps, even Anacropora will accept food.
There are several coral foods available to the aquarium hobbyist and we generally mix up a few with varying particle sizes and target feed this to all of our corals. We’ve had success feeding all our corals and find our Echinophyllia (chalice corals) Montiporas, Acroporas especially A. millepora among others respond well to feeding.
This recipe is by no means set in stone, and we are using this recipe to feed several large raceways of corals and have the quantities scaled up. The best we can recommend for feeding is combining a few different foods together, soaking them in water for at least 10 minutes and then target feeding your corals with a baster or coral feeding pipet. Some of our favorite ingredients for the best all-around food for our mix to be the Reef Roids from Polyp Lab, New Wave Copepods and the Frozen Coral Food cubes; these three ingredients would be a good start to your feeding.
When you are feeding your corals you will want to turn off the flow in your tank and gently target each coral. We like to feed our corals at the end of the day when the lights are still on their daytime light setting. You can even try broadcasting some food in the tank before you target feed as a “dinner bell” for your corals, or try polyp lab reef booster as a way to prepare your corals to feed.
We recommend feeding your corals several times per week. After a few days of feeding your corals should be responding quicker to your dinner bell and looking all and all more vibrant. Some of the benefits we have noticed after 2-3 week included more polyp extension, puffier body tissue, more colourful, increased growth (compared to unfed corals).
As a way to test out some feeding methods and additional supplements we have been power feeding some NPS corals and have definitely seen more polyp emerging during daytime feeding, greater polyp extension with more color and size. Our corals like food, so we think yours will too!