What foods do you use in your reef aquarium?
So far, in our 75 gallon reef tank, we have 4 corals, 3 Emerald Crabs, 3 Peppermint Shrimp, 1 Cleaner Shrimp, 30-odd Snails, and 2 Clownfish. With this mix of corals, fish, and invertebrates, all with different diet requirements, one type of food is not sufficient, so there are a few different types we use.
Frequency of feeding varies widely from person to person and is dependent on the types of animals being fed. If you over feed, you can get fat fish, which is unhealthy for them, and you can also acquire poor water quality from the excess food breaking down and producing ammonia and nitrates. We choose to feed our fish once per day only, and always around 5-6pm. The Clownfish and Shrimp have become familiar with this routine and will wait in their designated eating area around feeding time.
Phyto Feast is used for many types of organisms in a reef including: some soft corals, sponges, tunicates, gorgonians, sea fans, Basket and Feather Stars, Clams, Mussels, Barnacles, Feather Dusters and Tridachnid clams (I have no idea what some of these are but this is what the website says). Because our tank is so new, many of the live rock’s organisms are still emerging, yet to be see by us. We are unsure all of the types of creature we have, and maybe never will, so Phyto Feast allows us to feed the reef for any other organisms yet to show themselves, as well as the ones we know are there. It is recommended that you turn off your powerheads, shake the bottle to mix, put in 1-5 drops per gallon in the display tank (we use 1-2 because its a new tank), and wait about an hour for the animals to “clear” the product. If after an hour Phyto Feast is still visible, use less next time. We do this daily.
We also use Arcti-Pods, a product of harvested Copepods that fish, invertebrates, LPS corals, anemones and brittle stars eat. For this product the recommendation is 1-2 teaspoons per day per 100 gallons of water. We only use a few drops of this every few days. The fish like to chase these little pods around so we leave the powerheads on.
The fish pellets we use are Ocean Nutrition Formula One Marine Pellets. Our Clownfish eat these as well as the Shrimp, and our Neon Trumpet and Hammer Coral have even consumed a pellet.
We currently have medium pellets, which are actually too big for our Clowns to eat yet, so we break them up into little pieces. Before giving these pellets, however, we soak them in Garlic Guard to help increase appetite. Our smallest Clownfish has a parasite, and it is said that using garlic can help increase his appetite, among other things, which can make him eat more and become healthier. We use 2-3 pellets per day soaked in Garlic Guard.
When we first acquired our Clownfish, it took them a few days before they would eat anything. The stress of transportation as well as the introduction to a new environment had them stressed out. We called our LFS, concerned that they may die without nutrition, and were told to just give them a couple of days to get used to the new tank. If they did not eat after that, then you may have to try multiple types of food in order to entice them to eat. Thankfully, our Clowns seem to like the Arcti-Pods and got used to the pellets pretty quickly. Now, I’m sure our largest Clown wouldn’t stop eating if he had the option. I have heard other aquarists say that their Clownfish are total pigs, and I’m finding that to be true!