Feeding corals is one of the most important aspects of the care of all sessile invertebrates in a reef aquarium environment but it’s not as easy as dropping in some flakes or some pellets. Most coral foods are particles of dried food bits, freeze dried phyto and zooplankton, all of which require some time to rehydrate otherwise they would just float on the water surface and overflow into our sumps all filters.
The typical method of feeding coral food involves soaking them in tank water for ten minutes to an hour making it a little bit more of a hassle than we’d like, but we’ve developed a system to streamline this process in order to feed more tanks and faster. Instead of soaking coral food every time we want to feed our corals we make up a big one liter batch using tank water and a whole range of popular aquarium foods.
The melange is well mixed using a magnetic stirrer for a half an hour to thoroughly hydrate Reef Roids, several different formulas of Reef Blizzard, and any number of additional coral foods we might be trying out in our recipe. This large batch mixture is then added to silicone ice cube trays and frozen so that it is ready to use at a moment’s notice – this method might be a little more effort up front but it saves a lot of time in not having to soak the coral food every night that we plan to feed.
Freezing rehydrated coral food is not exactly the same as feeding actual ‘frozen food’ like we do with our fish, but the freezing process imparts some degree of mechanical breakdown to the food particles which we believe helps to make them more digestible for our aquarium corals. One fun trick that we like to do using our cubes of frozen rehydrated coral foods is to place it on the mesh screen top right above the outflow of the return pumps so that it can be evenly dispersed as the cube slowly dissolves.
One of the questions we get asked about reef keeping is what we feed but we believe it’s much more important how you feed because we are trying to recreate a feeding condition in our tanks that could never match the constant food supply in nature. It might be a little overkill to go through all the trouble to transform dry coral foods into ready to use frozen cubes but feeding corals is a part of the aquarium hobby that we have always enjoyed and this method has worked well enough for us that we thought it worth sharing.