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Marine Damsels and Live Rock - by Carl Strohmeyer

QUESTION: Do marine damsels only need mysis shrimp, frozen. I have read that a balanced diet of flakes, blood worms etc are better. This is question number one, what they really need to eat.
Question 2 is concerning live rock. I do want to eventually have live rock. Can live rock be added as the aquarium matures?

ANSWER: As for feeding, damsels are naturally constant nibblers of many food sources.
Mysis shrimp is a good start, but not complete. I would look into a balanced flake food that has both aquatic protein sources and vegetable ingredients (especially spirulina algae); less cereal and soy proteins are good. HBH, Omega, Spirulina One, Ocean nutrition are some of the good ones (there are more). TetraMarin I would avoid.
The flake foods I recommend most are the
Spirulina 20 Flake for its high digestibility natural immune boosting spirulina content and the HBH Flake Frenzy for its varied and nutritious quality content.

For more about proper fish foods, see this article:
‘Quality Fish Food; What ingredients are needed for proper fish nutrition, growth and health’

As for live rock, I highly recommend it. But as a previous importer of "live rock", I can tell you that it arrives mostly ‘dead’, especially the aerobic bacteria. A reputable dealer will revive it in an aquarium with other organisms for a month before selling it, this is called curing or seasoning, do not buy it otherwise. Well cured live rock will have both aerobic nitrifying and anaerobic de-nitrifying bacterial colonies within it. Even newly imported live rock will still have some life in it, especially coralline algae, but the addition of this un-cured live rock in a new tank in particular could be disastrous for ammonia levels

Live rock is best added slowly, especially if it is not well “seasoned’. If your live rock is not well seasoned it can bring up your ammonia to toxic levels. You can season it yourself by rinsing it in de-chlorinated water and adding small amounts at a time to an ESTABLISHED aquarium.
Well aged live rock will act as a secondary filter, removing ammonia, nitrites, and even nitrates (from anaerobic bacteria deep within the rock). Some aquarists even use it in a large sump as their biological filter system. I also have broken it up into smaller pieces for built in wet/dry filters and used it in place of bio balls, this works much better in my opinion.

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Professional aquarium maintenance experience since 1978 as the owner of one of the larger aquarium maintenance companies in LA, CA.

I have been in the hobby since 1969.



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