Since one of the major goals of most aquarists is to keep their tanks as close to sterile as possible (with the exception of beneficial bacteria and trace elements) the average home aquarium provides scant nutrition to their resident corals.
Adding extra food to your tank can be a double edged sword, however. If we try to keep the available food level in a closed aquarium system at the same level that is available to corals on the reef, it wouldn't take long for the average tank to crash due to the quantity of uneaten food decomposing in the tank's substrate.
Many experienced aquarists have found that the judicius application of the proper mix of foods and additives to a coral tank is extremely beneficial to the corals. Active water circulation in the tank as well as a powerfull protein skimmer will dispose of the uneaten food and avoid the accumulation of decaying matter.
Follows is a coral food recipe which was inspired by Eric H. Borneman's "Homemade Coral Ration" which he published in "Aquarium Corals - Selection, Husbandry and Natural History". It is similiar to what the oceans make available to reef corals in that it contains a wide variety of nutrients as well as elements and a variety of particle sizes, making it suitable for a mixed coral tank. A key factor for coral foods is that it possess properties which allow the mix to remain suspended in the tank for long periods of time, rather than sinking quickly to the bottom of the tank.
- 6 fresh mussels
- 6 fresh clams
- 6 fresh oysters
- 3 whole shrimp (fresh or frozen)
Frozen Aquarium Foods
- 1/2 package frozen sea urchins (aquarium pack)
- 1/2 package frozen fish roe (aquarium pack)
- 4 oz. decapsulated Artemia nauplii
- 1/4 cup of red, green and brown seaweeds after soaking.
Aquarium Foods & Supplements
- 2 oz. (1 small container) Marine Flake Food
- 2 oz. (1 small container) Tiny food pellets
- 1 tbsp Liquid vitamins (Selco, or other vitamin/amino acid supplements)
- Soak the seaweeds in fresh (declorinated) water until soft.
- Thaw all of the frozen ingredients in a bowl.
- Remove shells from all seafood.
- Crush all dry ingedients into a powder. A mortar and pestle is best, but various other kitchen implements (2 spoons, 1 spoon and a small plate) can be used.
- Add liquid vitamins to the powdered ingredients.
- Liquify all of the ingredients in a blender.
- Freeze in Ziplock bags in thin flats or in small compartment ice cube trays (cut pieces in half, or quarters for feeding convenience and store in Ziplock bags after frozen).
Start by feeding small amounts (1/2 tsp per 50 gallons of system water per day) to begin with. You can gradually increase the amount, until you start to see water quality problems, then back off on the quantity a bit. The food can be administered at night (when most corals actively feed) or with the use of a turkey baster (dissolve the ration in a container of tank water and inject directly onto the corals).
This coral food is pure, high potency nutrition for your corals. Using a high powered protein skimmer in your tank will greatly assist you in keeping the accumulation of uneaten food to a safe level.