When we released REEF RECIPE™ (our premium dry coral food) in December of 2021, we made the claim that when REEF RECIPE is fed according to our instructions (see the REEF RECIPE label on the jar or the REEF RECIPE website page), no negative phosphate (PO4) affects should be observed. This claim that we made at REEF RECIPE's product release was based off of data collected from feedings here at our aquaculture facility coupled with data collected from beta-tester reef aquariums. Phosphate parameters were measured with a combination of both Hanna and Salifert test kits. Data collected both on- and off-site confirmed that when dosed according to our instructions, REEF RECIPE had no significant effect on phosphate levels in aquaria.
In recent months, we have taken our REEF RECIPE phosphate experiment a step further. While the data previously collected via Hanna and Salifert test kits is undeniably valuable, we wanted to run a new feeding trial here out our aquaculture facility in which we dosed REEF RECIPE and sent off weekly water samples for Inductively Coupled Plasma - Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES) analysis to get the most accurate phosphate readings possible. Our methods and results are outlined below.
Our REEF RECIPE Phosphate Experiment and Method Protocol
The Experimental System
Our experimental trial began on 01/04/2022 and was conducted through 02/08/2022. The system selected for the experiment was one of our coral systems here at our aquaculture facility. This particular coral system is approximately 850 gallons, and it houses a variety of corals (including soft corals, LPS, and SPS corals).
The experimental coral system was fed once daily at a consistent dosage of 8.5 teaspoons, strictly following the instructions listed on the REEF RECIPE jar and the REEF RECIPE website page. For our experiment, we chose to broadcast feed (rather than target feed) the REEF RECIPE. Once the REEF RECIPE was hydrated in water from our coral system, we dumped the solution into a high-flow area of the coral system (i.e., in front of an Ecotech Vortech powerhead) to be dispersed to the corals.
Two water samples were collected from the experimental coral system between the hours of 10:00am EST and 3:00pm EST every Tuesday during the experimental trial. These water samples were mailed off same-day for ICP-OES analysis by Reef*Labs in Bradenton, FL. Specifically, we were interested in the ICP-OES readings for phosphate (PO4) and phosphorus.
Discussion - Nutrition without excess Nutrients and Nuisance
Over the almost seven years that Aquaholic Aquaculture has been in business, we have tried feeding our corals a variety of different dry food brands that are on the market, but we had never been able to find a brand of dry food that performed up to our standards. Specifically we wanted to find a nutritionally balanced dry food, that contained a variety of both phytoplankton and zooplankton, that incited a feeding response from our corals, and that did NOT degrade water quality (specifically, did NOT significantly increase our phosphate levels). The most common issue that we found with other dry coral food brands on the market was that (even when feeding according to the manufacturer's instructions), our phosphate levels sky-rocketed, resulting in an abundance of unsightly green hair algae (GHA) and recurring red slime (cyanobacteria) blooms in our coral systems.
Tired of battling nuisance algae and chasing low phosphate levels that were impossible to achieve whilst feeding these other brands of dry coral food, we decided to formulate our own dry coral food that would be just as nutritious without compromising water quality: REEF RECIPE. When formulating REEF RECIPE, we took both nutrition and water quality into account, and worked to create a food that would be beneficial and nutritional for all types of corals without causing water degradation. Since switching to feeding REEF RECIPE at our aquaculture facility, we have had no issue maintaining a phosphate level of 0 ppm, our corals have never looked better, and all of our green hair algae and red slime issues have completely disappeared.
The results of our experiments confirm that aquarists can feed REEF RECIPE without compromising water quality or incurring the wrath of unwanted nuisance algae. For aquarists looking for a dry coral food that provides superior nutrition without water degradation from excess phosphates, REEF RECIPE is the coral food for your aquarium.