Feeding Techniques for Your Coral Reef Tank
When you’ve got a coral reef tank, you need to think about the eating habits of all the inhabitants. Here are some tips to ensure they all get their fair share.
We already know that different fish, inverts, and corals have different diets. Some like algae, others like meat, some like a combination of both. As aquarium hobbyists, we often go through great lengths to ensure that our fishy friends are getting the best diet that we can provide. We culture live foods, buy fresh meats, insects, and vegetables, and some of us track how much they are eating daily.
The thing is that it’s not always as cut and dry as throwing food into the water and letting them dig in. In a tank that has multiple species, some will inevitably out eat others. Some fish are aggressive in their feeding techniques, while others will hide and come out after the pushy fish have finished. This means that some of those shy fish will not get adequate nutrition.
To keep multiple types of fish, corals, and inverts in one confined area, we have to be creative in ways to ensure they each get their share of the food. That’s where some of these feeding techniques come in, and using them can literally be a life saver to your fish and corals.
Dinner and Dancing
Making food appear alive is one technique that can come in handy. Some predatory fish need their food to put up a fight, and providing them with a supply of living food isn’t always a practical option. The alternative is to make the food appear alive by pinching it in a pair of tweezers and making it dance so the fish catch its prey.
This is also a handy tool for wild caught fish who simply don’t know what to do with commercial pellets or flakes that don’t move or fight back. You can also use this trick if you have a sick fish that needs to receive medication, but you don’t want any of the other fish to get the medicated food. Using a pair of tweezers, or a stick to present the food to a specific fish, is one way to make sure they get what they need, without having to separate them from the others.
Turkey Basting Time
Using a turkey baster or similar product to suck up smaller food items allows you to deliver a burst of food to one particular area of the tank. This method can be used to get a burst of brine shrimp, plankton, or other tiny foods over a specific area of the aquarium. It can be used either for a specific fish, or over a group of corals that feed on something specific, or even as a tool to draw the tank inhabitants away from one area and into another.
The last method feeding technique is hand feeding. It’s a fun way to interact with your fish so that they get used to your hands being in their home. It’s a cool feeling to deliver their meal by hand and to enjoy being up close and personal with them. Take caution, however, if you keep anything in your tank that has sharp teeth, spines, or can be potentially toxic to humans.
There are probably other methods to feed fish, and getting creative is the key here. Any way to provide ample nutrition to your aquarium or to just find a new way to interact with your tank can help rekindle lost interest in the tank, or just bring a new way to enjoy it.
Summer Davis is the mom of three kids, four dogs, and several tanks of fish. She boasts a passion for all animals, whether they are in the water or on land. This fish aficionado has kept many different species in her time, but holds a special place in her heart for wild and domestic bettas. When she’s not talking about fish, Summer “spins” her extra time as the director of a baton twirling organization.