Neither of the basics around the Zeo/lith methods (bacteria/carbon source/coral feed) will cause the pastel colours you see some Zeo tanks reach. It's the 'extra bottles' (things like Zeospur etc) that thin the coral tissue/cause pastel colouration. Any form of carbon dosing on its own (pellets/vodka/VSV/the carbon source from Zeo/lith) without the extra addition of some form of coral feed/bacteria can cause pastel colours in corals (I know, I suffered it from dosing VSV without any additional food source for the corals). This is my whole point. The OP can't state that Zeo/Lith are cruel methods when any form of carbon dosing if done to quick or to excess can have the same effect. I run Ultralith and my corals are far from a pastel colour as I don't like pale looking corals. The trick is to lower the bacteria/carbon dose to a point where it suffciently controls the NO3/PO4 levels in your tank but not too much that it doesn't work, then inrease the coral feed side (Aminos/the amount you feed your fish).