General Growing Live Foods For Corals

Discussion in 'General Reef Related Discussion' started by Agent M, Nov 24, 2013.

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  1. Agent M

    Agent M Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I recently purchased some Phytoplankton from @Fragalicious (shameless plug because they are earning their stripes here with good service) and came on the forum to find out how to look after it. I found the information I needed but it was pretty scattered, little gems of info here and there. Couldn't find anything about which fertiliser to use, @NiCd helped out with that one. Having grown phyto for a few weeks I've come to the conclusion it sounds a lot harder than it is, I would have done it years ago if I'd known, and I want to create a thread that is stickied that lets people know how they can go about growing it. We might as well include other foods as well so everything is all in one place - such as rotifers, brine shrimp etc. We can then sticky the thread and also add the info to the WikiReef.

    Any tips you have on space saving and short or long term storage that mean your place doesn't end up looking like a science lab with bubbling flasks everywhere would be great also, as well as pics of your setups!

    I will edit this first post, move this thread and sticky it once it is complete, but please post below your tips on growing live foods for corals!
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  2. Oceanarium

    Oceanarium Member

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    I would not say its a difficult thing to do more so tedious and time consuming as the cultures do need constant care and re starting. If your growing the algae for a coral feed then using a proper F2 fertilizer mixed to the prescribed formula and number of days prevents excessive PO4 entering the aquarium and the algae is at its most nutritious stage. This means you need to start a new one each day so it will be ready in the prescribed number of days.

    Unless you have a centrifuge I don't think its very viable to store for any length of time, the cultures are too dilute. Reef culture (frozen) and Aquasonic (S.F. Chlorella) sell concentrated products.
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  3. Agent M

    Agent M Member

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    I've found the maintenance aspect no different to growing seedlings on a window sill or monitoring your house plants each day. I'm keeping a back up in a jar in the fridge in case mine crashes, which I just give a swirl every few days when I am getting something out of the fridge so it doesn't die off from settling to the bottom. If the culture crashes or becomes contaminated over time I can just buy a new batch and start again without a fuss. Where is the phosphate coming from Pete @Oceanarium - the fertiliser?

    For my own purposes I'm finding a 2 litre bottle more than adequate, but I'm still working out how much I can get away with putting in the tank. I don't mind freezing some of the excess in an icecube tray, even if it isn't as dense as it could be, as I would have put it in the tank at that dilution anyway. As long as it doesn't get mixed up with the frozen herbs I have in there I'm golden ;)

    I am using tank water and RO to replace the water in it and feeding the phyto to the tank every other day or every third day. Then just topping up the bottle. I used Aquasol to fertilise it and just followed the dilution rate on the packet. I tried growing it without fertiliser and it started to yellow out and took longer to reach a good density.

    I guess the way I'm doing this is very inconsistent.
    I'm yet to do any water tests, now that I've read your comments Pete I will monitor that more closely.
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  4. Oceanarium

    Oceanarium Member

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    Using tank water will result in contaminated culture, you really need to be using ASW or sterilizing the tank water. Ultimately you will end up with a vial of rotifers, hair algae or the like.

    Yes the phosphate comes from un-utilized fertilizer. F2 should come with instruction as to the optimum time to harvest the culture.

    Here is a little light read, the bit on population dynamics might enlighten as to when you should be harvesting the culture; https://srac.tamu.edu/index.cfm/event/getFactSheet/whichfactsheet/224/

    Pete
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  5. Fragalicious

    Fragalicious Member

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  6. Agent M

    Agent M Member

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  7. Agent M

    Agent M Member

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    Another way to feed corals is to keep animals that will provide live larvae to the tank - I have used shrimp for this purpose mainly over the years but had a couple of yellow tipped hermits that would spawn as well. I like this idea because it is about as fresh as food can get and there is no separate culturing or system set up.
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  8. lorby

    lorby Member

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    Definitely agree with that, if you can get peppermints or CBS etc to spawn, don't bother trying to raise the larvae (although go for it if you've got the time) and they're a free feed for everything in the tank! And probably much more nutritious than frozen/freeze dried/processed stuff.

    Breeding msyid shrimp is pretty easy imo as well if you've got a spare tank, or use a refugium. Might be a bit big for some corals, but others love it!
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  9. MarkRyan

    MarkRyan Member

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    I could be far off the mark here, I have 3 gazzion brissle worms. A few weeks ago I observed what I could only call a phenomenon ALL of them came out of the rocks & spawned.
    My coral haven't looked as good as they do now. I was going to try & rid my tank of them because I hate them, But I think I will leave them alone, except for the 2 huge ones, they have to go. I have removed huge ones before means pulling the rock out & breaking it open to get em out they were about 500 mm long & as thick as my thumb. They have to be adding to the bio load.
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  10. holly

    holly Member

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    I also had that happen a few months ago. Caught it on camera and have been too lazy to upload it!
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  11. potatocouch

    potatocouch Member

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    Hmmmm ... I'm quite intrigued in this topic @Agent M but I don't know whether I am capable to.

    I will take my questions from completely beginner level, so pardon the stupidity.

    At start, I was thinking of putting Macro Algae into my sump; the reason being solely to reduce phosphate & nitrate. in this case, I was thinking of purchasing Chaeto.

    Then, i was looking into other forum and seems that savageAJC from reefCentral able to grow pods, 6 months after the introduction of the Chaeto in his sump (see post #2).

    Then, TeddyNola (again from reefCentral) in the same thread mentioned "TROPIC PODS" TISBE.

    Description of the product:

    You receive 400 +Live Tisbe. All different stages of development. Nauplii to breeding adults.
    Description: Harpacticoid: Bottom dwelling. Nauplii as well as adults do swim in the water column.
    Size: 50 microns to 1 mm.
    Sub Tropical marine species. Detrivore, Eats microalgae, Phytoplankton, and fish wastes,uneaten food.

    So this makes this copepod an excellent addition to a marine aquarium system. Not only providing a micro clean up crew. Tisbe will crawl and swim around the aquarium and become a natural live food source for dragonettes, gobies, blennies, and Seahorses, etc. This species is one of the hardier copepods, It will adapt readily to differing conditions in the home aquarium and establish a breeding colony in and among your live rock and refugium. They are also one of the fastest, more prolific breaders.

    I'm a bit pessimistic. Surely it can't be that easy to grow Amphipods/Copepods.

    I was under the following impression (how easy it can be, which I don't think it's true):

    1. Buy Chaeto Algae and put in Sump.
    2. Buy live copepods/amphipods and drop (as per instruction) in Sump.
    3. Happy days because you just form a food chain? (which is very doubtful).
    The reason why I think it's hard because of this article here. Usually what's difficult tend to be the accurate one.

    Any inputs are much appreciated.
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  12. Agent M

    Agent M Member

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    @potatocouch Pods are really easy to grow - the problem is that so many things eat them that it seems like you never have enough. If you set up a tank with some live rock and keep it fishless for a while, your glass will be absolutely covered in copepods and the amphipods will be scurrying everywhere. Amphipods are incredibly adaptable, I used to have a nano tank with an African Violet pot plant next to it, and I found Amphipods in the soil of my pot plant!

    This thread may interest you - http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f76/copepod-amphipod-farm-211330.html
    You can buy the Plasboard or plastic cardboard mentioned in the thread from Riot Art and Craft for $8 for an A3 sheet.
  13. MagicJ

    MagicJ Moderator

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    Also, buying pods is not so easy in Australia - I'm not aware of anyone that acually has any for sale at the moment.

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