Coral Auctions

Since 2018 we’ve run 2 coral auction every week in our Facebook group, Chaos Corals.   They have been a great success and we have received tons of positive feedback about them.  We’ve had a lot of time to think about improvements we could make and how to bring the auctions to reef keepers that do not have (and do not want) a Facebook account.   

I am excited to announce that the day has finally arrived!   We now have full auction functionality right here on our website.    

How It Works 

  • Create an ACCOUNT or login to your existing account 
  • Once logged in, click on the AUCTIONS tab in the main menu. 
    Here you can see corals currently up for auction.    
  • Select a coral to bid on  
  • Enter the amount you wish to bid on the coral.   
    PROXY bidding is a new feature that was greatly requested and enabled.   You can safely enter the Maximum you are willing to pay for the piece and the software will bid on your behalf up to that amount.   It will bid only the minimum amount needed to ensure your high bid.  No one can see your maximum bid amount, buyer or seller.  Should you be outbid, you will receive an email alerting you.   
  • If you are high bid when the auction ends,  on your ACCOUNT page you will see a tab that says Auctions.  The items won will be listed under the Bids Won tab.  Simply click Pay Now beside each item and it will be added to your cart. 

It really is that simple, and it’s FUN!   Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions!  


Why Do I Do This?

It’s pretty common to get an odd look when meeting someone for the first time and telling them what I do for a living.   “You’re a what?”  Is the response 99% of the time.  Coral farmer just isn’t something you hear very often.   The next question is usually why?   It’s not an easy answer but I may as well put it in writing.

Some 25 years ago I walked into a pet store and walked through their saltwater displays.  In one of the tanks was a row of these crazy looking “things.”   This was the mid 90’s so it was mostly shades of green with some browns thrown in for posterity.  I asked an employee what I was looking at and he explained they were corals for reef tanks.   He then said it was pretty difficult to do and you need a large aquarium.   Challenge accepted.  I had a 20 gallon tank and determination.     

I went home made every single mistake that could be made, but never gave up on it.   About a year later I was successfully keeping corals alive with a 4 bulb T8 fluorescent fixture and a big hang on filter in my 20 gallon.   That was it, I was hooked.

Fast forward to 2002 and I had just graduated college and moved to Florida to work on a second degree.   Needing a job I applied at the local saltwater specialty store and was hired.   That store really propelled my reefing forward.   I had the privilege of working with some amazing people with a wealth of knowledge.  That store also changed my life forever.   I had a customer that would come see me every saturday.  I taught her how to set up and keep a nano reef.   At this time, reefs under 20 gallons were very uncommon and considered expert only territory.    Through determination and a willingness to learn, she had a beautiful tank.   We’ll be married 13 years this September.  She takes all those pretty photos on this site and is the glue that keeps Chaos together.

Back then since I was keeping smaller tanks I would always scan underneath the racks at work for tiny pieces of colonies that had broken off and the manager would discount them for me.   My best friend worked there, and I remarked multiple times that we should sell these pieces of frags at a discount.   He would laugh and tell me no one is going to pay $15 for a 2 inch piece of coral.   Eventually I brushed off the idea to get a “real” job after graduation and stepped away from the aquarium business for about 14 years.   Corporate life eventually got the better of me and it was my wife that pushed me to quit and do something that makes me happy.   Watching coral grow makes me happy.

2016 Rolled around and I became friends with a guy named Brad that was also addicted to reef keeping.   One day we were talking and he remarked about wanting to open a farm.   I had finally met someone as crazy as myself with the same vision.   We jumped in head first.   January of 2018 we opened for business and we haven’t stopped since.

It definitely isn’t all roses.   Too many people assume that because we do what we do that we don’t have the same issues that hobbyists experience.   Those people could not be more wrong.  Not only do we constantly battle all the same stuff, but it’s magnified 10 fold in a commercial system.   Fragging, selling coral, handling coral, bringing in new coral, it all takes a toll on the fragile ecosystem that is a reef tank.   Afterall, even though they’re working tanks, it’s still a reef tank at the end of the day.   Farming coral is an absolute grind.  It’s 7 days a week.  Maintaining excellent customer service is a 24 hour a day job.   We’ll never get rich doing this.    So why?  Why do I do it?   Watching coral grow makes me happy.  Watching you grow the coral I grew makes me even happier.   Thanks for growing our coral.


Our Innovative Marine office 40gal

All good things must come to an end.    Unfortunately for my wife and myself, our 17 year old 90 gallon home display has to come down.    A pipe in our wall was kind enough to start leaking and now our entire kitchen, walls, tile, and most everything else has to be replaced.   So our aquarium, which is older than our son, has to come down.    

That said, what better time to use all the extra equipment we have at the shop to start up a small display in our office.    We have a mated pair of Wyoming White clownfish that have been with us for quite a few years that will very soon be in need of a new home.   It’s been a while since I’ve set up a small display instead of a commercial growout system, and I’ve never actually set up an All In One aquarium of our own.   

Equipment List:
Innovative Marine Nuvo 40
Innovative Marine stand
Innovative Marine Chaetomax Fuge Light 
Ecotech XR30 G4 Pro
Ecotech Vortech MP10
Maxijet 1200 return
Custom Aquascape done by Pristine Rock
Tunze ATO

To be added after the 90 comes down:
Apex ATK module
3 channel doser

Wednesday, December 16th, I set up the aquarium in our office.   I couldn’t be happier with the aquascape that Jonathan of Pristine Rock designed for it.    I plan on cheating a bit with the cycle by using 17 year old live rock rubble in the rear compartments from our 90 gallon, as well as weekly water changes with aged water from our home display until it finally comes down.    My hope is that it will be ready for our clownfish before the turn of the new year.   Time will tell.    

If you would like to follow along with the build, we have started a build thread on   

You can find it here:

Our 90 gallon

What Corals Should I Start With? Chaos’ top 5 Beginner Coral Picks

We get asked this question a whole lot, and it’s a very valid question.   The world of reef aquariums are full of beautiful, and fragile species.    In this day and age of forums and social media the advice coming from strangers can be so conflicting it’s enough to confuse anyone.   I decided to write this up as my personal top 5 picks for great beginner corals.

Mushrooms.    Talk about an easy coral to keep, these low maintenance softies are absolutely perfect for the beginner.    Some people fall in love with them and are perfectly happy keeping a tank fully stocked with mushrooms.   They are extremely low requirement pieces.    We recommend low to medium light, and medium flow for success.    One of the great thing about mushroom corals is there seems to be and endless variety with every color of the rainbow.   They can range from extremely inexpensive to the most expensive specimens such as bounce mushrooms.     Low cost or pricey, they’re all easy to keep.    Pick your favorite color and have at it.

Zoanthids and Palys.   Our number 2 pick is another coral that comes in such a variety and many people set up entire tanks as zoa gardens.    These polyps come in hundreds, if not thousands, of patterns with new morphs popping up in the hobby all the time.    Zoanthids are extremely tolerant of varying aquariums.  High light, low light, and all types of flow will be just fine for the majority of them.   As with everything, there are exceptions, but for the most part you can plop them wherever you like in the tank and they usually grow.    For best results, give them some space to grow a bit rather than stacking frags right next to each other.    In my home display, I have them growing across the sand as a carpet.    

Leather Corals.    Last of our softie picks are leathers.    While not quite as popular as zoanthids and mushrooms, they are just as easy to care for and offer unique shapes and contrast to the mostly round zoas and mushrooms.    In our experience, leathers love them some light.  They can tolerate low light aquariums fine, but to really see them shine give them a bit more light and more flow.    Toadstool leathers are some of our farm favorites.    They are low maintenance and easily fragged with scissors when they grow large enough to shade their neighbors.

 Euphyllia Corals.   Torches, Hammers, and Frogspawns are among the most popular corals on the market, and for good reason.   Take anyone that has never seen a reef tank and chances are one of the first corals they will point out in the tank is a euphyllia.    With their tree-like stalks and flowy tentacles, they look simply amazing in the home reef.   Some corals go in and out of style,  but euphyllia is always a contender for top pick.    After over 20 years in the hobby both personally and professionally, I have yet to see them go out of fashion in a reef.    Euphyllia prefer medium light and moderate flow.    While they are an LPS coral, they can tolerate a wide range of calcium and alkalinity levels.    Like everything else, the most important parameter is stability.    As long as you keep things steady, these gorgeous large polyp stony corals will thrive.

Brains such as trachyphyllia and wellsophyllia.   Brain corals are and will always be one of my personal favorites.    These big mouthed LPS corals look amazing in the sand when all puffed up.   Low to medium light and low to moderate flow and they are generally happy campers.    They come in a variety of sizes and shapes and there is a color pattern for everyone.   Many beginners with large reefs are looking to fill space without spending a fortune and these guys are a great way to do it.   True, some can get extremely pricey, but even the commons are beautiful additions to any reef aquarium.

I’m sure some experienced reef keepers will disagree with this list, but that’s all part of the fun of the hobby.  In our experience these 5 corals are perfectly suited to the beginning reef aquarist.    They are all low maintenance corals that are extremely tolerant of mistakes.    As always, maintaining stability should always be the goal in a reef.   Having corals that can put up with some mistakes can be great peace of mind when starting out.     Happy Reefing.


Help! My tank looks terrible!

I receive messages every day of every week that start out like this from reefers.    Usually it’s some combination of various types of nuisance algaes, cyanobacteria, or a combo punch of the two.    On the other end of the message is a defeated hobbyist frantic for a switch they can flip to right the capsizing ship.

The only way to help is to gather as much data as possible about the afflicted aquarium.   Unfortunately, more often than not, the questions that are critical to determining a course of action are answered as vaguely as possible helping absolutely no one.   Here are some prime examples:

What are your parameters?

“They’re good”
How much do you feed?
“A little”

I’m sorry but this just isn’t going to cut it.   In order to get to the solution we need to know what is causing the problem.  The only way to do that is with as many specifics about the aquarium as possible.   The following are the minimum questions that need to have answers before a reasonable course of action can be chosen to fix a problem tank:

Tank Size?

Age of aquarium?


What type of lighting?
Light Spectrum?
Light Schedule?
Filtration type?
Flow type?
Maintenance schedule?
Feeding schedule?
Amount fed and type of food?
Does the tank get sunlight?
Does the temperature fluctuate?
Where do you get your water?

This may at first seem like a lot, but I can assure anyone reading this that 90% of the algae and cyano problems in today’s reefs are caused by the answers to one or more of those questions.   By being ready with those answers when seeking guidance from an experienced reefkeeper you increase chances of success immensely.

Aquarium Tech. A love hate relationship.

We live in the space age of aquarium keeping. Many of us can operate our tanks from our
smartphones. Check in on them via apps and aquarium specific cameras. Our lights are as
advanced as ever. Minute changes in specific color channels are possible, built in timers, wifi of
course, acclimation modes, storms, moving sun, and more. Gone are the days of listening to
the hum of a magnetic halide ballast and having ozone bottles refilled. So, what’s to hate?
Well, keep reading.

I fought automating my home display for many years. I watched products come and go and
simply stuck to my old faithful stuff. In my mind, biology hadn’t changed and that tank grew as
much coral as any other, so why fix something that isn’t broken? Then I had the opportunity
to see the colors other reefers were pulling with their fancy set ups. Sure, my corals were
super healthy and happy, but none of my acros were rainbow colored. My stuff was bright, but
these other guys had corals that Glowed. I needed that glow, and that required upgrades.
First on the list was to upgrade my old metal halides to T5 bulbs. At first I angered every coral
in the tank but after a few months things started getting used to the light and I started to color
up some stuff. The thing is, they still didn’t glow. For that I needed LED. Blue LED to be
exact. So I went out and purchased the fanciest blue LED strip I could find to add to my t5
lighting. Unfortunately the combination put out so much more light that I bleached everything
in the tank, again. Now they required 2 separate timers so I could achieve the dawn and dusk
effect without raining PAR down that not every coral appreciated. So I bought separate timers
and waited a few months and things started to color. I started getting great growth like my
halides, and started to get those sought after rainbows.

Then I read about the need for increased nitrates to pull the really crazy colors. So I decided
to reduce the amount of time my refugium light was on from 24hrs to 12hrs running opposite
my display lighting. This required another timer. I was also over-skimming apparently, so
needed to put that on a timer.

For a while everything went great, corals grew, colored, even Glowed! As corals grow, just like
plants in a healthy garden, they need pruning so they don’t shade or sting their neighbors.
Now I need a frag tank. Which required more lights, and more timers. Soon my electrical
cabinet looked like something wired by Clark Griswold.

Enter the controller. I had read about aquarium controllers for years but always steered clear.
Even in my upgrading process I told myself that was way too high tech and wanted nothing to
do with it. That is until I basically made a fire hazard of box timers next to the tank. It was
time. After many interesting words that thankfully no one was around to hear, lots of
googling, and trial and error, my system was automated. This single control and corresponding
power strip took care of all my timing needs. Not only that, but it controlled my heater and
automatic top off. Pretty neat.

Everything was fine and dandy. Until it wasn’t. About 9am on a Thursday morning I heard a
bang and our power went out. Turns out a landscaping truck hit a power pole on the street.
No one was hurt and electrical crews were on the scene fairly quickly. Power stayed out until
about 4pm that day. When it was restored, all my pumps kicked on properly. Skimmer,
powerheads, everything except the lights. It seems the controller wasn’t happy about the
sudden restoration of power and decided right there to give up the ghost. Our beautiful
display sat dark and there was absolutely nothing I could do to fix the controller. Extension
cords were ran and box timers emerged once again. Clark would have been proud.

The point of this post isn’t to scare anyone out of upgrades, or controllers. The point is to
ALWAYS have a back up plan. Do not for even a second think your fancy stuff won’t just quit.
Warranties are definitely nice, but they won’t help you in the moment. Remember to always
keep some of that old school tech tucked away in a drawer somewhere. When you need it,
you really need it.

Ultimate Guide to Types of Zoanthids


Aquariums can house a number of incredible life forms. Choosing between critters depends on what you want out of your tank.

Many saltwater tank enthusiasts place zoanthids into their aquariums, as they bring the aquatic atmosphere to a whole new level. With so many types of zoanthids to choose from, where do you start?

Types of Zoanthids Explained 

Zoanthid refers to an order of cnidarians. These gorgeous, colorful creatures look like plants but fall into the animal kingdom.

The animal classification comes from the fact that plants make their own food, while these zoa’s cannot. These bizarre invertebrate animals are called polyps.

These creatures grow over rocky surfaces. As water passes over them, they capture bits of krill, brine shrimp, bloodworm, and other meaty foods.

They provide sanctuaries for a number of fish and other sea creatures and look stunning in live aquariums. Keep reading to learn more about the types of zoanthid corals!


These prized polyps remain incredibly popular in the fishkeeping hobby. You can care for them quite easily, plus they add lots of color to your tank. 

Around their oral opening, they display a distinct sphincter muscle, which you will not typically see on other forms of zoas. These guys grow in a mat of coenenchyme, or body tissues, and embed themselves into the tissues close to the mat.

Their coenenchyme does not contain sediment, making them more fragile than other zoanthids.

They display the most color out of the zoanthids. You will often find a deep contrast between their bright tentacles and oral disc, making them aesthetically pleasing in an aquarium.

One of the most popular types of Zoanthus includes button polyps. Many first-time coral buyers choose this type because they are the easiest coral to care for. 

They present with a flat oral disc on top of a short stalk. Their delicate tentacles come out from the outside of the disc. 

The button polyps come in a variety of colors. Despite the hue, actinic lighting will give them a glow in the dark appearance.


Palythoa polyps also grow out of coenenchyme from the substrate. Shorter tentacles surround their large, flat oral disc, but they lack the muscle seen on Zoanthus.

Their mouth is slit, rather than round. This animal grows in dome-shaped colonies.

They possess much thicker skin than Zoanthus. This is because they use sediment, such as sand and crushed shells when forming their coenenchyme.

This makes their skin feel rough to the touch. Though rough, they also feel quite slimy.

They come in a variety of shapes and colors. Though, their color palate is usually dull in color, and rarely neon.

This kind of zoanthid produces palytoxin. This dangerous fatty alcohol seeps into the water, creating a deadly environment for many other forms of sea life. 

If you carefully choose your organisms, you can still use Polythoa in your tank, as human poisoning is rare. But, make sure you use the proper safety equipment, like goggles and gloves, while cleaning your tank. 

Many aquarium lovers choose Palythoa Grandis for their tank. This large polyp looks cool and does not require the special lighting that other animals of this kind need.


Protopalythoa, also known as Protopalys, also embed their bodies into a mat of coenenchyme that they make out of the sediment.They often use stolons to connect themselves to the mat. You will notice this as they appear raised up on stalks, like flowers.

These guys do not tend to live in large colonies like the other zoanthids. Instead, this species tends to live alone.

They feel quite slimy in your hands. Though, the use of sediment in their coenenchyme also gives them the texture of sandpaper.

The Protopalys’ oral disk appears bigger than any of the other zoanthids’. They also grow the longest tentacles in the greatest abundance.

Their coenenchyme often appears brownish or another dull hue. But, their outer disc typically appears quite bright in color, making it beneficial to aquarium keepers to use fluorescing or actinic lighting.

Many fish lovers enjoy keeping the giant sun polyp. It is the biggest zoanthid. These guys need adequate lighting and good water flow.

Zoa Coral Care

As with any type of marine life, these unique creatures require good care. This starts with picking healthy zoa from the get-go.

Their coloring should not appear drab in comparison to other zoanthids of that type. Also, their tentacles should reach out, as retracted tentacles can indicate a health problem.

Putting too many in the tank will not create a healthy environment. You should pick a few Zoanthus or Palythoa, and only a single Protopaly.

They require strong water movement so that food particles constantly flow past them. You can create this current with the use of water pumps.

Watch their tentacles in the current. If they look retracted, then slow it down.

These creatures require moderate lighting. You want at least 4 to 5 watts of light per gallon of water in the tank. Taller aquariums require more light than wider aquariums, as the rays need to travel deeper.

Zoanthids do photosynthesize to a certain extent. They contain cells that turn the light into some food. 

But, you still need to feed them as well. Some people opt for special food sold by pet stores, while others choose to culture copepods on their own to feed their zoanthids.

Remember that these are very fragile creatures. You want to always handle them with care.

Always wear gloves, as they can be toxic. And only touch them, gently, when necessary, to avoid ripping their delicate coenenchyme.

Keep Zoanthids in Your Aquarium

Maintaining an aquarium gives you a close-up look into an alien world. These amazing creatures only enhance the experience.

You will find all types of zoanthids, and each provides a unique quality to your tank. Choose the right one that goes along with the rest of your aquarium’s ecosystem.

We want to help you create the aqua-system of your dreams. Shop for your favorite zoanthids on our website.

The Ultimate Guide To Chalice Corals


If you’re interested in adding a bright new specimen to add to your reef, look no further–chalice corals may be exactly what you need.

These corals are known for their bright, almost fluorescent colors and their prices range from inexpensive to exorbitantly high. 

Read on to learn all about chalice corals and how to take care of one to keep it bright and thriving! 

What are Chalice Corals? 

“Chalice” refers to a group of cup coral species. The chalice corals that are the most common come from six different genera of the Pectiniidae family: 

  • Echinophyllia
  • Echinopora
  • Oxypora 
  • Mycedium
  • Pectinia
  • Physophyllia
  • Echinomorpha

Although the classifications can get confusing and murky, these are highly regarded LPS corals for any hobbyist’s aquarium because of the large variety of bright colors they present. 

Chalice corals can be found prevalently throughout the Pacific. Because of import and export bans in Fiji and Indonesia, the majority of chalice corals are being exported from Australia.

Chalice corals range from around $40 to even up to $500, so both new enthusiasts and serious hobbyists can enjoy them in their tanks. 

How to Care for Chalice Corals 

Chalice corals are some of the easiest kinds of corals to take care of and require low maintenance.

However, they do require specific light, feeding, and water flow requirements so that they can grow and thrive. In order to be a responsible owner, you’ll want to do your research before you purchase one! 


Chalice corals prefer low to moderate light conditions of 50 to 100 PAR. Remember that in the wild, they’re typically found about 40 to 80 feet in the water, and you’ll want to try and mimic the lighting conditions they’re used to at those depths.

If the chalice is in good condition, you can also try copying the condition of the seller’s tank.

Remember that you did purchase your chalice corals partly because of their bright colors, and under actinic blue LED lights, their colors will be the most vibrant.

Chalice corals are also readily adaptable to many lighting conditions, but for them to thrive it’s best to introduce them slowly to the conditions you would prefer. 

Water Flow

This doesn’t need to be complicated–you just need a light to moderate flow so that debris doesn’t settle on the chalice. Some chalice naturally form a bowl shape which can become the perfect area for debris to settle if the water flow isn’t high enough. 

You also don’t want the water flow too high where you can see the tissue moving in the water or its jostled from its original position. 

Water Parameters

You should only add chalice corals to your tank if it’s well-established and stable. Chalice corals do well in tanks that have standard reef system parameters. However, they’re known not to do well in nutrient-poor systems.

You’ll also want to ensure that your magnesium levels are on the high-end at around 1400 ppm. Any lower could result in tissue loss. 


These guys are avid late-night eaters–it’s a perfect time because they don’t have to fear fish or other creatures stealing their food away. 

Trying to determine what your chalice likes to eat is a bit of trial and error, however. Be patient and try out several types, from frozen foods to pellet foods. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that the chalice can get the food inside its mouth and then close its mouth in less than five minutes. 

Chalice corals also get a good deal of their nutrients from photosynthesis. 


One aspect that newcomers to corals won’t be aware of is their aggression. Chalice corals are highly aggressive towards any other chalice, especially when they’re in tight quarters. Only a few have sweeper tentacles that they can extend, but when they do they can do a lot of damage to each other.

Placement is key if you have multiple chalice coral–keep them away from each other and your tank should remain peaceful. 


The propagation of chalice corals is fairly straightforward. However, here are a few tips that some people are prone to forget: 

Clean Your Tools

It’s recommended to clean your tools after cutting into each chalice. This is because chalice corals can emit mucus and other chemicals that remain on the tools even after you’re finished cutting. If you use the same tainted tools on another specimen, you can run into some undesirable reactions. 

Gluing Frags

You’ll find many tutorials online that advise you to glue down your new chalice coral to the substrate. However, oftentimes you’ll find the next day that all your hard work was wasted because they became dislodged during the night. 

To avoid this, try using gel super glue. Then, spray it with an instant set product afterward to ensure that your coral will remain stuck fast to its new substrate. 

Brightly Colored Additions to Your Tank

Chalice corals have become popular over the years because of the sheer variety of colors they come in. If you’ve never added coral to your tank the new addition may seem daunting, but these kinds of corals are just as easy to take care of as any other kind of coral.

You’ll just need to ensure that light levels, flow, and parameters of your tank are all appropriate for your coral. Monitor and pay attention to how the chalice corals grow and make adjustments when necessary.

Ready to purchase your very own chalice coral? Take a look at our selection today!

How Do Corals Eat? A Comprehensive Guide to Coral Feeding

For anyone who is fascinated with the strange nature of coral, chances are, you’ve contemplated how they survive. Do they absorb sunlight like most other plants? Do they obtain nutrients from the water? 

If you’re an ocean aficionado in search of biology food for thought, or if you’re considering growing coral at home, then here’s a complete guide to coral feeding and nutrition.

What Are Coral? 

Ocean lovers might remember a time as a kid reading Jules Verne and picturing coral monsters with mouths filled with razor-sharp teeth. If you’ve ever been scuba diving or watched Planet Earth, you might have thought about the absurdity of that image. That image isn’t entirely wrong. 

How Do Corals Eat 

Coral comes in many shapes and sizes, but they are all living animals. If we look at them, it doesn’t look like they have mouths and a digestive system, but they do. And they need to feed themselves regularly. 

Corals are sessile, which means they cannot move to obtain their food. Instead, they have tentacles that reach out into the ocean and snatch unsuspecting ocean particles such as zooplankton. 

How large corals’ prey is, depends on the size of the coral itself. Like most living creatures, corals have specific times which they like to feed (humans do too, think breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Coral isn’t much different except for their feeding time depends on zooplankton. 

Zooplanktons rise to the surface of the ocean around sunset, and it’s then when coral fills its belly. Coral also feed when zooplanktons retreat from the surface at dawn. 

How Do Corals Tentacles Work

In addition to their tentacles, corals have an outer mucus layer that aids in transporting nutrients to their digestive system. Some corals don’t even need tentacles and only use the mucus membranes to transport nutrients to their gastrovascular cavity. 

What Do Corals Eat

Corals get their nutrition from different sources. Many corals use their tentacles like fishing nets that catch dissolved organic matter (DOM). DOM consists of organic molecules that float in the ocean. These organic molecules come from many places, including ocean animal waste and decaying animal waste. 

Corals also use sediment as nutrition. They trap floating sediment with their tentacles and extract the organic molecules from the deposit, such as amino acids, sugars, and lipids. Sediment can also contain bacteria or protozoa (single-celled organisms that contain many nutrients.)

Can Corals Bite

Corals cannot bite, but some corals can undoubtedly sting. Many corals have a predatory mechanism known as nematocysts. Nematocysts are stinging cells located in corals’ tentacles.

These stinging cells are very similar to those of jellyfish. An example of a coral that possesses these stingers is fire coral, which produces a paralyzing sting. 

The three types of nematocysts

Glutinant- Glutinants have a sticky surface that stings prey and causes it to stick to the tentacles. 

Penetrant- Aptly named stingers that act as tiny harpoons and penetrate the exoskeleton of zooplankton. 

Volvent: The cowboy of tentacles that has a lasso-like structure that captures prey in tentacles. 

Living Together In Food Harmony 

Corals can also derive nutrients from a symbiotic relationship with certain types of algae. Zooxanthellae, whose pronunciation is not very important, is the algae that corals bond. 

Corals can have one of three different types of symbiotic relationships with algae.

Corals and algae can have a mutualistic relationship where both the coral and the algae benefit. The coral and algae can have an endosymbiotic relationship where the algae live inside the coral, and they can have an obligate relationship where the algae are obligated to live with the corals, or else the coral dies.  

Do Corals Use Photosynthesis

In most cases, corals do not directly use photosynthesis. Instead, they obtain the byproducts of photosynthesis from the zooplankton they feed. 

In cellular respiration, the coral obtains ATP and gets its life force. 

Feeding Coral at Home 

Now that you know all there is to know about how to feed coral in the open ocean, how do you feed coral in a fish tank? The answer is very similar to how they feed into the sea.

Until recently, keeping coral in a saltwater aquarium was next to impossible. It was difficult because there was no way to control the water quality well-enough to protect the coral from toxins such as nitrates and phosphates. Luckily the science behind aquariums caught up. 

Direct Feeding 

If corals have larger mouths, they usually eat larger prey. Examples include brain coral, elegance, and Plate corals. 

Examples of direct feeding include feeding bigger corals diced fish, frozen plankton, phytoplankton, krill, pieces of shrimp, squid, or clams. Do not overfeed corals. Overfeeding corals can cause a build-up of phosphates and kill the corals. 

Also, corals need a current to flush their digestive tract, so take care not to keep corals in stagnant water, or else they will die. 

However, while feeding your coral, you’ll want to turn the current off. Gently target each coral. Feeding coral in the beginning and the end of the day keeps them in a feeding routine they would follow if they were in the ocean.

Drizzling some food in the tank before feeding each coral can prepare your corals for feeding. You can also try a polyp lab reef booster to stimulate your corals for feeding time. 

Owners should feed their corals several times a week. After the corals adjust to the feeding schedule, they should become more responsive and add color. Usual benefits from consistent feeding schedules include polyp extension, puffier body tissue, increased vibrancy, and increased growth (compared to unfed corals).

Indirect Feeding 

Some corals can survive off the fish who live in the tank. They don’t eat the fish, thank God, but they survive off the scraps the fish leave behind. Bacteria that fish do not consume is a viable food source for corals. 

Different Strokes for Different Corals

Researching how corals eat is the best way to ensure you’re feeding your coral the right food. A food chunk the size of your fingernail is of great value to many Large Polyp corals but is too big for a Zoanthid. 

Owners should research how corals eat in the ocean to decide the best practices to use while keeping corals in the aquarium. Click here to discover more exciting facts about aqua life!

Saltwater Coral for Beginners: 7 Easy-to-Care-For Species

Coral reefs have become known as the rainforests of the sea. They may cover less than one percent of our oceans, yet they are home to nearly twenty-five percent of all known marine species.

There are hundreds of different types of corals. They come in a dazzling array of shapes and colors.

When you’re starting out with a reef aquarium, you’ll need to know what the most appropriate coral is for your tank. Here’s our guide to saltwater coral for beginners that will help you on your way. Continue reading Saltwater Coral for Beginners: 7 Easy-to-Care-For Species