Best Food Options for Healthy Coral Growth (2021 Guide)

Corals have developed several unique ways to feed — they receive nutrients from symbiotic algae, catch solids such as plankton, and absorb dissolved organic matters in the water. In this article, you will learn about the best options for healthy coral growth.

Here is what you’ll discover:

  • Seachem Phytoplankton
  • Two Little Fishies Marine Snow
  • Continuum Aquatics Phyto Blast 
  • AlgaGen Copepods & Products 
  • Polyp Lab Reef Roids
  • ZooMed Can O Cyclops
  • San Francisco Bay Brand & Shrimp Eggs
  • Brightwell Aquatics Products & Macrovore 
  • AlgaeBarn Foods & OceanMagik 

Corals are fascinating but complex. This is also true of their nutrition. Although many species have algae that supply them with energy, corals need building material for growth. A well-fed coral is a happy coral… Keep the ball rolling to discover the best feeding options.

Seachem Phytoplankton

This product cuts like Paul Bunyan in his prime. Both brown and green plankton work together to create a professionally mixed concentrate. Seachem is among my favorite companies because they care about reef-keepers. Phytoplankton is not an exception, it contains a wide range of nutrients your coral may need — fatty and amino acids, microelements, proteins — just to begin. The size of food ranges to fit many animals within your display tank. Filter-feeding corals are equal to invertebrates in this regard. With this product, your corals have no chance to stay hungry ever again.

Reef Phytoplankton is designed to bring your animals carotenoids — an important source of natural proteins, pigments. Carotenoids are a more flexible nutrition source compared to other types (such as synthetic). Plus, using the product you automatically extend your corals’ lifetime. Because carotenoids are known for their antioxidant properties. 

Product Features

  • High-rated absorption. Corals easily digest the food.
  • Natural proteins and lipids, no chemistry used
  • Coral recovery. Helps to restore coloration
  • Great value & results. You can see results in a short period of time

On top of that, SeaChem Phytoplankton foods provide accessible vitamins, organic lipids, and pigments in a mixed way. Instead of using one-cultured phytoplankton, this product benefits largely from combining a variety of cultures. Some reef-keeps call it a “Little New York” (a place where different ethnicities and nationalities mix). Scientific studies show that targeted feeding with mixed food yields better results. You can find the whole research here.

Two Little Fishies Marine Snow

Two Little Fishies was among the first companies to introduce the so-called “Marine Snow” product. The term is widely used by marine scientists to describe special colloidal suspended matter. This matter is an important part of the marine ecosystem (particularly coral feeding).

This product is a planktonic food, meaning that almost any invertebrate can digest its nutrients. Including soft and stony (both LPS and SPS) corals, hydrozoans, anemones. A wide range of particles allows feeding sponges, squirts, and other animals.

Product features

  • Doesn’t contain yeasts, egg elements
  • A natural mixture made of top-notch raw materials
  • Has a scientific background. Balanced in non-organic & organic elements
  • Well-blended & convenient package. Easy to use and store the product
  • Not super concentrated, perfect for reef-systems
  • Particles vary from 20 to 150 microns 

Buying this product may be the best decision to affect healthy coral growth. As long as you follow the directions of Two Little Fishies, your corals are safe & sound. Marine snow covers all the needs your corals may have. Be it minerals, or organic elements. 

Continuum Aquatics Phyto Blast 

Phyto Blast is a complex full of phytoplankton. This brand implies the fact that phytoplankton was aquacultured under pristine conditions. “Not simply a mixture of freshwater algae or ground up vegetables” — they claim on the website. Being a good source of proteins, lipids, vitamins this product affects coloration as well as the overall health of your corals. 

Continuum Aquatics products also contain fatty elements like EPA and DHA, as well as chlorophyll (makes leaves green) and carotenoids (a great source of pigments and proteins). The list of elements goes on and on but it’s too savvy to care about. What makes this option special? 

  • You can refrigerate it to prolong the lifespan
  • Useful for feeding LPS, SPS, soft corals. Add some sponges, clams, and tunicates as well
  • Well-concentrated. Requires 5 ml per 200L of display tank water
  • Clear & easy-to-follow directions 

Tip: Turn off a protein skimmer for 20 to 30 minutes before feeding.

AlgaGen Copepods & Products

The company proves as a true innovator in the field of coral nutrition. Unlike other companies, AlgaGen offers convenient navigation on the website, which directly affects the convenience of feeding. Let’s be honest, if you can’t buy the world’s best food, what is the point?

AlgaGen offers feeding cultures without any fillers or dyes. The main feature behind this brand is freshness. You get fresh products without any germs, bacteria, or parasites. According to the company, all products are made in an isolated and sterile environment.

Copepods by AlgaGen are a mix of 3 species. The main criterion for selection was nutrient balance and feed usability. In my opinion, this approach is justified, because buying an untested brand, you risk losing a third (and even half) of the food. After all, if you do not competently pick up a copepod, they can simply eat each other. Definitely not the case of AlgaGen.

Product Features

  • This product is excellent for LPS, SPS, soft corals, and many fish
  • Copepods keep your display tank clean. They feed upon fish waste
  • Short-term storage. Meaning that this food is fresh and alive
  • You can use a pump to prolong the lifespan
  • Can’t be frozen \ refrigerated

It’s also worth noting that in addition to Copepods, this brand offers many other options for you to choose from. Here is a small list of what you can use.

  • Phyto-plasm Zooxanthellae, Green, Brown
  • Zoo-plasm Copepods, Brine, Tisbe
  • Combo products
  • Separate Zooxanthellae mixes

Bear in mind that almost all products are provided in a plasma-like (liquid) form. Generally, this is a great brand with a solid reputation. Definitely worth trying.

Polyp Lab Reef Roids

Right from the start, Polyp Lab has never wavered from its values: research, results, and simplicity. The last 10 years have clearly shown their will to improve the industry. Namely, coral growth and the overall health within tanks of thousands of reefers around the globe.

The product’s name resembles the word steroids for a reason. It is enough to use this magical mixture once to understand — all along there was a way to boost up the corals’ growth. Reef Roids are the truest steroids in the world of aqua hobbyists!

Scientific studies have shown that systematic use of Reef Roids increases the growth rate in a variety of corals. It’s officially documented that “Spontaneous and huge” growth occurred. Some polyps covered the annual growth rate in 6-8 months! Although this product was originally developed to feed Goniopora corals, it has been used successfully in the aquarium hobby as a food source for all filter feeding corals as well (and some fish & invertebrates).

Product Features

  • Highly concentrated product. Maximum efficiency
  • Good coral growth & size investment
  • Some categories have 1300+ reviews on Amazon. Either 4 or 5 stars
  • Shelf life is about 12 months. You don’t have to worry about the lifespan
  • Encourages the formation of “fresh” tissues
  • Thick particles of 150 to 200 microns. Perfect for spot feeding corals
  • Almost instant results. Yeast-like growth speed
  • Doesn’t use water-degradable ingredients. Only plankton used (several species)

Next time you get a new zoanthid of some mushroom corals consider adding Reef Roidsto boost the growth. Some reefers report a huge nutritional response if applied on a regular basis. Usually, 2 or 3 times a week is a number to strive for. Additionally, you can spectate coloration miracles, as Reef Roidscontribute majorly to your corals’ life. Resulting in a better color, and overall health.

Unlike other products, this mixture sinks well into the water instead of drifting to the surface. A scientific approach in the creation of the nutrient mixture has made it possible to create a product that dissolves well and minimizes the waste inside the aquarium. The composition of Reef Roids plays a major role in its effectiveness. High levels of crude protein (minimum 60%) and fats (minimum 20%), combined with low levels of by-products (such as crude fiber or moisture) make Polyp Lab one of the leaders in the aquarium world.

ZooMed Can O Cyclops

The concentration of food directly affects the nutritional quality of the coral. The higher the concentration of food in the water, the easier it is for the coral to digest. After many experiments, scientists have found that if the concentration of food in the water becomes too high, the so-called saturation moment occurs. 

Imagine a cup of coffee in which you put granulated sugar. Spoonful after spoonful, nonstop. Two spoonfuls, three, four… At some point, you will notice that no matter how much you stir your coffee, the sugar remains undissolved. This is the moment of satiety. ZooMed has made sure that its food is of high quality and has an optimal digestion rate. So with Can O Cyclops, you don’t have to worry about food remaining undigested.

Product Features

  • Formulated by scientists
  • Can be paired with Bloodworms
  • “Cocked in the can” for the best preservation possible
  • Delivers organic and mineral elements promptly

Can O Cyclops may become a bee’s knees for your display tank. You may want to give it a shot in 2021.

San Francisco Bay Brand & Shrimps

Young yet energized and enthusiastic company. They offer mainly food for fish and reptiles. However, you definitely should put them on the radar. 

San Francisco Bay Brand options:

  • Brine shrimps (both frozen and eggs) 
  • Frozen formulated options
  • Seaweeds 
  • Single-based frozen foods
  • Freeze-dried (like Krill, Mysis Shrimp)

I would pay attention to eggs. You can literally grow your own, fresh brine shrimp. This food is suitable for many corals (especially LPS like hammer coral, torch coral, etc). You will have to put in a little effort to grow such a shrimp. But your efforts will be well worth it. Here are some reasons why you should consider this way of feeding corals:

  • Freshly hatched shrimp are 100% natural
  • Provide high nutritious value
  • Fits a wide range of corals, fish
  • Rapid & proven feeding response

Being a natural source of proteins and lipids, SFBB brine shrimps can provide great value to your display tank. Experiencing a protein gap? — you can’t be lukewarm  — this product is an absolute monster.

Brightwell Aquatics Products & Macrovore 

Perhaps the best product for anemones and large-polyp corals (aka LPS). You can also use it to feed small fish, some invertebrates. Brightwell Macrovore is one of the most solid options for targeted feeding. Why so? Because the product contains “free-flowing” amino acids, vitamin B, saturated omega-3 acids, and much more. As well as other products in the list, Macrovore is full of carotenoids and pigments, which are good for coloration.

Product Features

  • Easy to keep. It’s not necessary to store in a refrigerator
  • Suitable for anemones 
  • Contains free-form acids

I’ve interviewed several reef-keepers who use the product to learn a bit more about it. So, they claim that Macrovore is a reliable way to feed anemones, LPS, some colonies, and gorgonians (which is pretty crazy, because they’re extremely capricious). Another great feature is the fish feeding option. You can satisfy the nutritional needs of almost any plankton-eating fish (except, maybe, large species).

Tip: It’s better to feed corals at night. When their tentacles embrace the whole tank. Corals catch and digest food much easier if the coverage area is bigger.

AlgaeBarn Foods & OceanMagik

A fresh-starter brand, but it looks pretty firm. The company boasts a whole range of foods and options to choose from. You can pick any of these:

  • Copepods (Ecopods, Poseidon’s Feast, Tisbe, and Tig Pods)
  • Food combos (combinations of the above copepods)
  • Phytoplankton (OceanMagik product)
  • Brine shrimps (simple and nano) 

Their OceanMagik immediately grabbed my interest. I’ve done research to find out that this nutritious mixture consists of 4 phytoplankton strains. They are hand-picked to blend perfectly with the company’s other products. Although OceanMagik is a stand-alone product, you will get the best results using it along with one of the three types of copepods AlgaeBarn offers. 

Product features 

  • Copepods-friendly environment. OceanMagik creates a favorable ecosystem for many microorganisms to breed and thrive
  • Helps corals look better
  • Eliminates certain algae species
  • Helps to balance trace elements within the tank
  • Combats the effects of overfeeding

In addition to OceanMagik, you can buy great combo foods. They are a ready solution for beginners as well as more advanced reefers. Nano brine shrimps are also worth considering if you urgently need some fatty nutrients for LPS or soft corals.

Bart Sprenkels

I have been keeping multiple aquariums since I was 18 years old. Just like many of you, I started with two goldfish but quickly learned they were not suitable for aquariums. Later, I switched to a tropical community tank and I also have two pet musk-turtles in a bigger aquarium. You can read more about me here.

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