In an artificial reef aquarium we want our corals to grow faster and have stronger colors than in nature.
In order to meet these demands Red Sea developed its comprehensive Reef Care Program (RCP),where extensive research into coral nutrition revealed a great deal about how corals feed and how best to efficiently provide the energy they require.
Photosynthetic corals have Zooxanthellae to provide them with around 85% of their nutritional requirements, but where do they get the other 15% and what about those corals such as Gorgonia or Sun Corals that do not have any Zooxanthellae?
Corals can’t move towards food or even bring the food to themselves so they digest any Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM) that flows freely into their oral disc (about the size of a pin head) or gets absorbed through their soft tissue. On the reef the DOM comes from a wide range of organic sources such as the mucus from neighboring corals or bacterial flocks.
The aim of our nutrition research was to create an easily digestible and highly nutritious DOM complex that:
- Provides all of the energy components that Soft, LPS, SPS and non-photosynthetic corals utilize for growth and coloration
- Gives the greatest energetic value after digestion
- Causes the least pollution to the water
With this in mind we focused on isolating the various DOM components from a variety of conventional and non-conventional food sources, as research indicates that, contrary to popular beliefs, many traditional foods such as phytoplankton or nonmarine zooplankton (artemia, rotifers etc) are at best only of marginal and indirect benefit to corals.
Our nutrition program consists of the 2 part formula, “Reef Energy A & B”, that together provides the complete nutritional needs of all corals and other filter feeders. Reef Energy comprises unique formulations of carbohydrates, amino acids, fatty acids and suspended protein flocks along with a highly concentrated complex of vitamins and amino acids matching the exact vitamins and MAA (marine amino acids) produced by Zooxanthellae.
Reef Energy stimulates extension of the polyps and soft tissue, helping the coral to optimize nutrient consumption by expanding its surface area for absorption.
The results of our research indicates that corals grow more quickly and display better coloration when fed using the new Reef Program, when compared to feeding with other traditional feeding methods.