It's Week 39 of 52 Weeks of Reefing, and this week we are feeding our corals, and sharing with you why you may want to do the same.
Corals are unique in that many can have both autotrophic and heterotrophic traits. Meaning they can produce their own energy utilizing symbolic zooxanthellae. Zooxanthellae are single-celled protozoans which live within the corals and utilize nutrients abundant within the corals tissue like carbon dioxide and light. There are also various ways corals can commonly capture nutrients or prey. The polyps, tentacles, or sweepers directly capturing the prey and ingesting it. They can uptake dissolved organic matter directly through their soft tissues cell walls and the corals mucous membrane can capture prey or even stream out a mucus into a larger array to capture prey.
So do corals require direct feedings in the reef tank? I think the most basic answer is generally no. Most common corals will survive just fine off good lighting and particulate foods generated from feeding the fish. However simple survival isn't the only goal in the reef tank. Most of us want to maximize growth, health and support general metabolic function like tissue repair and ability to fend of disease or parasites.
So the real question isn’t do you need coral foods to have a successful reef tank because I think we all know that not to be the case; It’s can we use foods to promote healthier, faster growing and disease resistant reef tank?
Follow along to find out on this week's episode of BRStv!
Do you feed your corals? If so, let us know in the comments area down below!