The beauty of reef paste is the way it extends feeding time due to the slow breakdown. This concentration of food leads to far less waste where food particles, especially flakes, are lost in the rocks very quickly. Many bold fish will physically eat the Reef Paste from the glass, while releasing a cloud of finer particles that are taken by smaller fish and corals. For shy species and inverts sticking it to the actual living rock works very well, and they start feeding this way quicker than on the glass.
Taking the adaptability of reef paste a stage further it can be used as a carrier for other food items – using the advantage of the slow release rate to deliver the food over an extended period. Number one additive for me is a pinch of reef sticks mixed into the reef paste, holding them in place for the larger fish to target and actually pluck out.
Equally good is to take a ball of Reef Paste, flatten it slightly, and add some defrosted Mysis shrimp. Either fold the paste over, or add a little more on top so the Mysis are trapped in the paste ball. Stick it onto the glass as usual and the feeding response from fish like butterflys is far improved as they hover near the paste and dart in to pick the Mysis as they become exposed.
To steadily feed Reef paste to just your corals blend some of the dry powdered feed into the ball, and stick it in the end chamber of the sump, on the glass above the return pump. Now the paste will dissolve over a much longer time scale, steadily feeding particles of food in the return flow. This is a perfect way to feed the tank after the lights are out.
Reef sticks have several applications – Fed whole they suit larger species, and crumbled into the water all species will respond very well, darting around catching the particles. If you want to create a soft, fast dissolving paste they can be added to a small pot and covered in water for 10-15 minutes. Drain off the water (into the tank) and begin blending the sticks until they form a soft ball of paste.
You can add any of the powdered feeds at this stage, or add a little more water to the paste needs it. This gives you a fast breakdown paste that will cloud the water with particles almost instantly, totally the opposite of the ready made reef paste product.
Another little trick with reef sticks is to damp them down 5 minutes before feeding them – this softens the outside, something many more species like when feeding, and speeds up the release of the soluble amino acid feeding trigger. This is an excellent tip when getting your fish used to the sticks as a new food. In effect this ‘pre-soak’ happens when the sticks are added to the reef paste as well.
One product in particular has a far greater range of uses – the Clam and filter feed powder.
By mixing one spoon into 250ml of RO or tank water and shaking well you have a liquid feed for feeding and enriching live copepods, rotifers and brine shrimp. Keep this mixture in the fridge between use, and feed once or twice daily.
By making a stronger solution – 8-10 scoops to the 250ml container, you have a fantastic liquid soak to add extra amino acids to a range of commonly used frozen foods – especially Mysis and brine shrimp. Just thaw out, drain if you wish, and add a squirt of the liquid into a pot with the food. Leave for 5-10 minutes then feed as normal.