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Old 09/11/2002, 09:17 AM   #1
Dwayne
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Question on Feeding Corals

Anthony,

Great article!

I am especially intrigued by the section titled "Caring for Dyed Coral". I have always thought feeding was important and the higher the quality of the food, the better for the coral. Could you elaborate on this statement:

"But take heed that most reef aquarists drastically underfeed their corals and too many others at large inappropriately feed their tanks (such as with heavy feedings of phytoplankton to zooplankton feeders). "

I think, I understand the underfeeding of corals. The part I would like to know more about is the inappropriate heavy feedings of plankton.

Thanks

Dwayne


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Old 09/11/2002, 05:59 PM   #2
Anthony Calfo
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Great question, my friend..

My reference to the "inappropriate/heavy" feeding of phytoplankton specifically refers to the common misapplication of the bottled products.

When it comes to feeding corals... prey and particle size is everything down to a species level for some.

Some bottled phyto products are very fine indeed but they are commonly misapplied and some have outright poor instructions for application. I have not personally done the studies on phytoplankton, but I have read/heard the reports of those that have. Notably, Rob Toonen has described that even the best bottled phyto (whatever that is by species or nutritional composition for your purpose) is effective in a very narrow range.

The limitations have to do largely with "clotting" or coagulating of the product as it ages rendering the prey/product size too large for many of the fine polyped phyto feeders.

Some recommendations...

Bottled phyto ideally should be packaged, transported, sold and kept refridgerated throughout the chain of custody for the longest shelf life. (on this point most people suceed)

Said shelf life is arguably 6 months at best after which time the efficacy degrades markedy (particle size increases significantly). Such products are used best in 2-4 months, 6 months max. (on this point, most people are willing and able).

With every application, the phyto sample should be whisked in an electric "blender" to reduce particle size... hand shaken is largely ineffective. (Ahhh- ha! on this point, who really does this? Sure.. I have a few kook friends that actually do... but most aquarists know not or will not commit to this tedious application and simply feed more hoping for the best).

Some defenders of the "no-blending" school assert that the undigested or oversized particles still degrade into useful dissolved organics. I'll be the first to say that I am not qualified or interested to test that theory. But by the same line of logic... does that mean that small bits of dissolved cheeseburger also have some potential use? On a more serious note... what of rotting nuisance algae... is that helpful just the same? I don't even want to form an opinion on such matters. If we are talking about delivering particles of phytoplankton to an animal that feeds organismally (whole prey/particles!), then I do not want to make or hear excuses about possible ancillary benefits of dissolved matter.

And so... the reality of some or many folks misapplying such bottled foods (you can extend this argument easily to the chunky gumbo bottled foods that I usually refer to as "pollution in a bottle") is aggravated by the fact that many of the same folks are feeding said product to animals that are unlikely to eat or even known not to eat phytoplankton. The fact of the matter is that most of us has corals that decidely favor meaty fare (zooplankton). So... unless you have a herd of gorgonians or a gaggle of Neptheids... I'm not so sure I would be dumping bottled phyto in like it was hair tonic.

To be clear, I think the notion of using a product like bottled phyto in most tanks at least in small quantities is a great idea! I just think that it is misapplied too often. In a perfect world... everbody would have a phyto reactor instead

With kind regards,

Anthony


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Old 09/11/2002, 09:29 PM   #3
Dwayne
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Anthony,

Thanks for a great response.

Dwayne


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