Ways To Approach Feeding Your Reef TankHowever, today we know much more about corals. For starters, corals are animals and not plants, as people used to believe earlier. As they are animals, they can follow animalistic eating patterns, which mean selecting their own food and ingesting what they can eat. They are quite capable of following eating trends as most animals do, and hence feeding corals in the right way becomes just a matter of trying and testing out different foods with them.
If you are direct feeding your corals, this is what you must do. You can feed your corals directly if they have visible tentacles and an oral orifice. In that case, they will probably ingest big sized food. Common foods for corals are plankton in frozen form, phytoplankton and even pieces of fish, krill, shrimp, squid and clams. If you can spare the time and effort, you can make some food on your own for your corals by referring to coral feeding manuals that are available online.
Of course, it is beneficial to know what species your coral belongs to because different coral species have different eating habits. Corals belonging to families such as Faviidae, Mussidae, Fungidae and Trachyphyllidae can be fed large foods that are available around the house. The popular home aquarium coral, Lobophyllia is of such type. It does not become a problem even if you feed the wrong food to such corals, because foods they cannot eat will be regurgitated from their oral aperture, or their tentacles would not reach out at the food at all.
Many coral species, especially the smaller polyps, are capable of fending for themselves in an aquarium tank that contains other live organisms. They will be able to absorb dissolved organic substances from the surrounding water, and even the residual and waste food of the other organisms in the tank, especially those things that the fish leave behind. Another favorite food for the smaller corals is the bacteria that are present on plankton.
Algae that grow on corals provide them with an indirect food supply when they prepare their own food with the help of lighting. These algae belong to the Zooxanthallae family, and they make a symbiotic association with the corals. This type of feeding works better for smaller to midsized corals, and is possible only when there is a proper supply of lighting into the aquarium.
There are certain important cautions that you must know when you are feeding corals. One thing to note is that corals will regurgitate indigestible food, and that might increase the nitrate content of the tank. This could be toxic to the corals and the other organisms that exist in the tank. However, you can answer this issue by making regular water changes in your tank. You will also have to make arrangements for the water to rinse the corals periodically, which would require an aquarium pump and filter system.
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