One of the tricky parts of raising live corals in a saltwater aquarium is providing the right combinations of foods to keep the polyps alive and healthy. For many coral aquarists, feeding time meant thawing out messy frozen foods and maintaining a schedule of feedings that range from brine shrimp and phyto to krill, plus additions of amino and other elements to keep the corals happy. However, with the arrival of Fauna Marin’s pre-made coral foods in North America, feeding time in the aquarium just got a whole lot easier.
Why Feed Specialty Foods to Corals?
Owners of coral colonies have two main reasons to use specialty foods in their aquariums: to keep the coral alive and healthy, and to bring out the gorgeous colors that are so much a part of the best coral colonies. If all goes well, the coral will even grow, further enhancing the overall aquarium setup.
Actual feeding of coral colonies is a two stage affair. First, you have to attract the attention of the colony enough to get them to open their polyps. Then you have to serve up a food that maintains their interest long enough to get them to eat. Pre-made coral foods, such as those provided by the German-based company, Fauna Marin, hand the coral reef aquarist everything he or she needs to keep most corals, including gorgonian and filter feeding coral, happy over the long term.
How Are these Foods Applied to Corals?
Sometimes, you have to match the size of your coral food to the size of the polyp. With Fauna Marin Ultra LPS Series, feeding some stony corals with polyps up to ¼ inch in diameter, such as acans, can be as simple as sprinkling the medium-sized pellet across the coral. This way, the individual polyps do not have to be target fed, because the colony is connected together by way of pathways and connective tissue, and all polyps in a coral colony benefit from the feed.
In fact, Fauna Marin’s coral foods are highly concentrated, so some colonies can get along with feedings a couple of times per week. With the greater concentration, the energy level produced by Fauna Marin coral food is much greater than the same energy level produced by normal fish food. Plus, you don’t have to store frozen coral food in your freezer any more, nor do you deal with the mess of frozen food.
Fauna Marin Ultra LPS Grow and Color is a powdered food product, which can be reconstituted by mixing some water from the aquarium into the food powder, until it reaches a sticky consistency. There are warnings with Fauna Marin products to not inhale the powder, do not feed it to other pets or animals meant for human consumption, do not swallow their products, and avoid contact of Fauna Marin foods with the skin or eyes.
What to Look for in a Good Coral Food
First of all, you want to apply a food to your coral reef that your polyps respond to, and good coral foods such as those created by Fauna Marin, stimulate the polyps to feed almost immediately. The size of the pellet also matters. Acans and chalice corals have very small mouths, so a medium-sized food is better for them than a large-sized food.
Another aspect of coral foods that is worth considering is the softness. Coral polyps are soft-bodied creatures, and you want to purchase food for them that is soft and without sharp edges that can harm the corals. Fauna Marin’s food becomes sticky and soft once it reaches the water, so even partially open polyps benefit from the food.
Also important is to give your corals a combination of foods and minerals as close to their native environment as possible, and this is where Fauna Marin excels. This company mixes together dosages of mineral supplements, organic biopolymers, and trace elements to give the corals what they like best. Also included in Fauna Marin coral food are all the carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, fats, antioxidants, Omega-3 oils, and marine proteins needed by a coral reef to maintain health and good color. Purchasers of Fauna Marin coral food products have reported polyps which extend out far beyond their normal distance after a feeding session.