Corals may seem helpless at times when there is algae growing around them or they are spreading their tentacles at night in search of food. After all, it seems like reefers are always elbows deep in their tanks feeding, trimming, or cleaning their corals.
You may wonder if you should be doing that in your tank and the simple answer is no; they will not die if you do not feed your corals regularly or scrub their plugs weekly. Depending on the type of coral it can sting or overgrow another coral eventually suffocating it.
However, like most reefers, we are impatient and want our corals to grow as fast as possible; in which, feeding, fragging, and keeping the coral free of pests will help eliminate the stresses that the coral may face without human intervention.
Feeding corals will allow them to grow faster and possibly even become more vibrant. It makes the coral look healthier overall and it is fascinating to see these animals engulf pellets or even small fish.
Of course fragging is a fun part of the hobby where we get to trade for the newest collector coral but there is also a practical reason for fragging. Because we value every coral in our tank, we do not want one to overgrow or sting another. You can either move one of the corals or cut pieces of it off.
In soft coral tanks there can easily be one species that over grows everything else while with other types of corals they can sting each other by touch or even from a distance. You can also cut out dead parts of the coral; this will prevent areas for algae to grow.
Keeping the area around the coral clean will prevent algae from blocking light and growing over the coral tissue. Sometimes it is necessary to clean a coral with a turkey baster blowing off any pests; fish may eat them or you can suck them up and throw them away.
You may want to watch your fish on a regular basis to make sure they are not eating or flipping your corals. Invertebrates can be held just as accountable for dismounting, breaking, and eating your corals.
In our tanks we can help increase the chances of survival for our corals that would be decreased in the wild. We can manipulate certain environments that would not necessarily naturally occur and therefore promote the growth and health of many different species of animals.