Tyree Icefire Echinata

What to Dose For SPS? Supplements, Additives & Coral Food

You can ask successful reefkeepers what they dose for SPS in terms of supplements, additives and coral food and chances are you will get a few different answers. Some use amino acids while others may use a powder food like Reef-Roids. Dosing trace elements is also a common practice. The point here is that there is no definitive answer.

Many other variables are also in play. Lighting, flow, stability and key parameters can all impact the growth and colors of SPS. So how important is it to add stuff to your tank to have a thriving collection of SPS?

What I Dose

Let’s answer this question by using my 187 gallon aquarium as a case study. It is overgrown with colorful SPS. Yet, I do not do a lot in terms of supplements, additives and coral food for this tank.

reefbum reef tank

I do dose nitrates and phosphates when necessary to maintain my target levels for those elements. I shoot for nitrates in the 2.5 to 5.0 ppm range and phosphates between .03 to .07. Some fading can occur with my SPS if I go below those levels.

I also dose ChaetoGro from Brightwell Aquatics to optimize chaeto growth. This supplement is also a good source of iron and manganese for SPS. Anecdotal evidence suggests that iron can help bring out greens while manganese helps with reds and pinks.

Coral Food – Not a Big Part of My Success

Over the years I have not used coral food and amino acids too often with my reef tanks. I did use frozen Cyclopeeze and Reef Nutrition’s Oyster Feast and Roti Feast pretty consistently with my old 225 gallon tank. I have used Oyster Feast sparingly with my 187g tank.

reefbum reef tank

Today I tend to get cyano or some other type of undesirable algae like dinoflagelletes when I dose too much coral food or aminos.


As for fish food, I usually feed mysis and brine shrimp cubes, pellets as well as nori. My tangs need their veggies and just love nori. My goal is to feed the fish a lot of food. Typically, there are four to five feedings per day.

A Special Blend of Coral and Fish Food

I also use my own coral and fish food. Ingredients include shrimp, scallops, nori, clams, mussels, silver sides, blood worms, mysis and brine shrimp. Additionally, I add in some Vitachem, spirulina powdergarlic and some Reef-Roids.

reefbum chum

Vitachem addresses nutritional deficiencies in marine fish and invertebrates. Garlic helps finicky fish eat and the spirulina powder is supposed to be good for fish, corals and invertebrates since it contains amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

So where does feeding SPS rank on my list of Top 10 Tips For Keeping a SPS Reef Tank? It didn’t make the cut. Personally, I have not noticed better color or growth with my corals after using aminos or coral food from a bottle. This has been the case for my 187 gallon tank as well as past tanks. My corals seem to do pretty well without that stuff. I think fish poop is beneficial for corals. One reason why I like to keep my fish fat and happy.

But I am just one reefkeeper. As mentioned previously, others have success using specific trace elements, supplements and food for SPS. However, there is no silver bullet like coral food that will dictate success. Many other things factor into the equation.

Additional Resources

If you would like some help with a new tank build, including help designing a custom aquarium, or help re-configuring your current setup then you can visit this page for more information. And if you are looking to add some equipment, I do sell GHL, Pax Bellum, Reef Octopus Calcium and Kalk Reactors and Royal Exclusiv products, including Dreamboxes, which is the equipment I use and recommend. I also sell Reef Brite metal halide and LED fixtures as well as Maxspect & IceCap Gyres.

As for additional insights and information, please explore my many other reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my YouTube channel. For an even deeper dive into reef tank care you can check out my Reef Keeping Master Class. This online course is an immersive and one of a kind educational tool designed to help reef aquarium hobbyists build and maintain a beautiful SPS reef tank. The course is a series of video presentations with some supplemental video from my YouTube channel. There are also quizzes to help students retain and understand the information presented in the course.

Need some frags…..I can help with that as well 🙂 Please visit my SPS Frag store to see what is available.

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