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FAQs about Environmental Disease of Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae  

FAQs on Alcyoniid Disease: Alcyoniid Health 1, Alcyoniid Disease 2, Alcyoniid Disease 3, Alcyoniid Disease 4, Alcyoniid Disease 5, Alcyoniid Disease 6, Alcyoniid Disease 7, Alcyoniid Disease 8, Alcyoniid Disease 9, Alcyoniid Health 10, Alcyoniid Disease 11, Alcyoniid Health 12, Alcyoniid Disease 13, Alcyoniid Disease 14, Alcyoniid Disease 15,
FAQs on Alcyoniid Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Nutritional, Pathogenic (Infectious, parasitic), Predator/Pests, Social, Trauma, Treatments

Related Articles: Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae

Related FAQs: Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae, Alcyoniids 2, Alcyoniids 3, Alcyoniids 4, Alcyoniid ID, Alcyoniid Selection, Alcyoniid Compatibility, Alcyoniid Systems, Alcyoniid Behavior, Alcyoniid Feeding, Alcyoniid Propagation, Soft Coral PropagationSoft Coral HealthDyed CoralsSoft Coral Propagation, Nephtheids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids, Xeniids, Dyed Corals


Tyree Leather Question; ID, hlth.    9/6/13
Hi there,
First to start, I was told when I purchased this toadstool it was a Tyree Neon Green Leather. I have attached photos, do you believe it is indeed?
<Will have to guess what you're after here... Was SteveT paid some money, or paid himself some for lending his appellation to this sort of phenotype Alcyonacean? Can't tell from here. Could be>
 I have looked at others online and notice slight variations in the polyps.
<Oh! There's all sorts of dissimilarity here to be expected; due to recent experiences, conditions in locus>
Are others mis-classifying similar leathers?
<Doubtless; consciously and not>

Or was mine mis classified. I only have one not great picture of it when it was open.
<See it/this>
The real question is should I worry it has been closed for 3 days.
<Oops; have you read on WWM re such? I would... Alcyoniid beh. FAQs>
The other corals
<... Umm, and re Allelopathy.
.. how was this animal introduced here? Read on!>
 I have (all on separate rocks) are open and healthy. When I was attaching the frag, I unfortunately had to touch the leather a few times. The first day, it was on the sandbed
<.... this species grows attached to rock; not on substrates>

opening within 20 minutes, after attaching on day 2 it closed and hasn't reopened. Is it just reacting, possibly shedding from handling? Does it still look healthy despite being closed? 
<Macroscopically (which doesn't count for much); yes>
My parameters are:
Nitrate- undetected
<Uhh, keep reading... All chemo-autotrophs need measurable NO3, HPO4 and more
... Something the folks making the big bongo bucks selling novices chemical filtrants, gear seem to want to neglect mentioning.>
Nitrite- undetectable
KH- 180-200 on strip test
PH- around 8
Thanks for your time
<You'll thank me/use much more after reading, more fully understanding what's going on here; and better, what can be done to "make things better".
Bob Fenner> 

Do you see what I see?
Re: re: Tyree Leather Question   9/6/13
Ah my mistake. I know Steve Tyree has his name attached to many things in this industry, but I thought Tyree green toadstool was a specific name for a specific type of toadstool.
<Likely is; I don't know what is meant by "specific type"... Have seen something similar listed as "ORA" "type">
In my reading over the past few days I have seen that leathers are usually the aggressor, or at least the victor in chemical battles.
<Indeed they are; though all such life wars in various ways, degrees>
I thought this could be the issue so I did a water change yesterday and  I run activated carbon, but I can change it out just incase.
I have also read that toadstools will cover themselves with a mucus or waxy like substance from time to time.
<Kind of a continuous behavior... build-up, and shedding>
 There seems to be some debate as to what exactly this is a response to. I didn't have much time to get my baseline observation of how mucus covered or wax covered it appeared while it was open, so I don't know if this is one of those cases. I had hoped it would come through in the pictures I sent, all I have is my camera phone and it always wants to focus on the glass specks and not the corals.
I introduced the toadstool by float method over approximately 25 minutes.
<... please read where you were referred to... this SOP is NOT useful for mixing Cnidarians>
 I also introduced an Australian hammer coral over the same period. Both corals are approximately 1 inch diameter. The toadstool being 1.5 to 2 inches tall. The hammer is doing great.
<Euphylliids/Caryophylliids generally "rank higher" on/in allelopathogenic rankings/battles>
I have green star polyps, orange and green Zoas, green Zoas,
<... and see WWM re these, Compatibility FAQs>
 the toadstool and hammer coral, and 2 trumpet corals. I have read Zoas can sting touching corals, but are they usually a threat via water column?
<Can definitely be>
 Also, none of the corals touch or are even on the same rock.
<Doesn't exclude their negative interacting>
I also have a healthy maxima clam. A yellow watchman goby, and paired tomato clowns.
I realize it isn't a perfect world where you can just tell me the exact answer, but should I remove a coral, change my carbon, or just wait and see.
<To read. B>
Thanks again,

Blown up Sarcophyton 8/8/10
Dear WWM Crew,
I have looked up on your website and on Google but nowhere have I found a description of what is happening to my Sarcophyton (possibly due to a bad choice of search criteria, English not being my mother tongue).
<No worries>
I think a picture will explain better than words (see attached picture)
<I see this>
I was on vacation for a week, it was all happy and smiling then.
When I returned (one week ago) it was somewhat shrunk with the polyps retracted but I didn't worry as corals do that once in a while (I believe). The blowing up started a couple of days ago.
Should I just leave it alone, poke a hole, remove it before it bursts ?
<I would leave this animal alone, leave it here in this system, but you need to address water quality... The BGA/Cyanobacteria growing on the stalk of the Sarcophyton is indicative of real trouble here. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm
and the linked files above. At the very least, I'd do a series of good-percentage water changes, change-out your chemical filter media for new>
Thank you in advance for your help
Best regards
<Welcome, Bob Fenner>

Re: Blown up Sarcophyton 8/9/10
Hi Bob,
Thanks a lot for replying so quickly.
The coral did deflate by itself over the weekend and looks ok now.
I guess I should have waited but the look of it was worrisome.
Regarding water quality, I am currently fighting nitrates (19 ppm !).
<Mmm, not too high... but likely the BGA is taking up a large amount beyond this>
Note : the algaes visible on the picture are only limited to 2-3 spots in the aquarium.
<But on the base/pedicle of the Soft/Leather coral as well... a very bad sign>
Best regards and thanks again
<Do please read where you were last referred to. Bob Fenner>

Re: Blown up Sarcophyton - 8/9/10
Hello Bob,
<Big T>
If I may, I have one last question :
You mention the BGA being a very bad sign. For the coral or for the tank ?
<... both. The causes/allowances need to be addressed... now!>
I did read the page you referred to. One possible explanation is that I reorganized my filtration system quite a bit but I haven't yet put a mechanical or chemical filtration in it (for about two months). I will make sure I correct this ASAP.
(I do have a large skimmer and a large amount of live rock though).
<Ah good>
Best regards
<And you, BobF>
Re: Blown up Sarcophyton - 8/9/10
Hello Bob,
Thanks a lot for your time and your help
Best regards
<Very glad to assist you my friend. BobF>

Please Help!!! Alcyoniid lack of data, reading 8/5/10
Hi, we just purchased a leather toadstool about a week ago. The worker at the pet shop told us to put it in a hole in the live rock, so we did.
<Without support, tying it in some way?>
today I got home from work and the coral was lying on its side in the sand and its polyps were retracted. it got very soft and limp, so now it won't stay in the rock. we now have it in between two rocks in the sand. Is it going
to be okay there or should I move it somewhere else?
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/alcyonsysfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Please Help!!! Alcyoniid lack of data, still not reading
I'm sorry to bother you, but I can't find an answer...Should I leave it there?
<... did you read where you were referred to? You have not provided sufficient information for a useful response... the system make up, water quality/tests, tankmates, history... Read. B>
Re: Please Help!!! Alcyoniid lack of data, .... reading
meaning...should I leave the coral in the sand between the rocks?? the polyps are coming back out now...but will it survive there?
thank you sooo much for your help!!
<... help yourself.>
Re: Please Help!!! Militant stupidity

umm ok. You suck. Don't see why you have a site to answer ppl's questions if
your not going to answer them. Doesn't make sense.
You could have just told me you don't know instead of help yourself!!
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/faqstips.htm
Re: Please Help!!! Alcyoniid lack of data, .... reading 8/9/10

I knew that...My answer was not in the FAQs. It's okay I just left it in the sand, still alive so I'll just keep it there. Thanks! -Monica
<... had you read you'd know that Sarcophytons don't live in/on the sand...
Please, go back, read where you were referred. I/we can't help you if you won't. B>

Trouble With Fiji Leather/Nitrate Control 5/21/10
<Hello Jason>
For the last eight months I have been struggling with nitrates in one and a half year old system. I have a 125 gallon display tank and a 30 gallon sump with about 20 gallons of water. I've had nitrates as high as 80+ and I do a 15% to 20% water change each week.
When I started to get concerned, I took the sand out of my refugium and then I took the sand out of my display tank (I only had 3" to 4" of sand in the DI, and I thought it wasn't deep enough and could have been releasing waste due to the high flow in my tank). I have done everything I could think of to remove any sort of dissolved waste in my tank. I even got a bigger skimmer (Reef Octopus Extreme 200) and I run my overflow water through a
filter sock, which I replace every three or four days. I've even been dosing vodka!
<I wouldn't let this problem cause me to drink.:)>
But I still have nitrates between 20 and 40.
<Still too high.>
I lost all my SPS and LPS corals, but my soft corals are doing pretty well. At least, they look nice, but I've noticed that they aren't growing much.
<More tolerable to water conditions than SPS/LPS.>
Even my mushrooms really aren't spreading. I've started to wonder if my large Fiji leather coral could be causing problems.
<Is likely the other way around. Your mushrooms are semi-aggressive if they are near another coral.
They will/can cause other corals to loose tissue, recess, possibly die.
Acroporas for one, will not grow in aquariums with large mushroom populations.
Be sure to leave 5 to 6 inches between the mushrooms and your Leather Coral.>
It has been in my tank for almost a year and is about 10" in diameter when fully open. However, even though it has pretty good polyp extension, it doesn't get bright yellow. Kind of a golden yellow. And the crown doesn't stand up, but lays pretty flat, like a large shitake mushroom.
I have noticed in the past some small holes in the base of the colony, but I never really worried about it. Could this coral be doing something that is keeping my nitrates up?
Right now it isn't in direct water flow, but I do have two Koralia 4 pumps moving water, and a Quiet One 4000 for circulation. I also have 175 watt MH lights over the tank.
BTW, I don't think the tank is too heavily stocked. I have a 5" Foxface, a 5" Yellow tank <Tang>, a 4" Red Sea Sailfin tank <Tang>, two ocellaris clowns and four Chromis. I also have a serpent start <star> and a couple
handfuls of blue-leg hermit crabs and an assortment of snails. I feed a sheet of Nori and some flake food every day, and I feed Mysis and Cyclop-eeze every other day.
<Do rinse all frozen foods through a net before feeding. The waste water is a source of nitrates.>
My other water parameters are pretty good. No ammonia or nitrite and really low phosphate. Ca is 480+, dKH is 9, and Mg is 1200+. SG is 1.025 and pH is between 8.2 and 8.4. Only thing that isn't ideal is that temp fluctuates during the day between 78 and 80 degrees.
<No problem with that.>
Is there anything I should do? I don't have a quarantine tank. Should I find a new home for my coral? Or should I keep looking for the source of nitrates?
<My first action would be to reduce the substrate depth in the display tank to no more than a couple of inches. Deeper sand beds can cause nitrate problems as they age if a healthy population of micro fauna does not exist in the sand bed.
Minimize stirring up the sand bed when doing this, is best to siphon out the sand during your water changes. I would add some Caulerpa in the refugium if you have none, can/will help in removing nutrients from the system.
May also want to read here and related articles/FAQ's found in the header.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm >
Thanks for any help you can offer!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Trouble With Fiji Leather/Nitrate Control 5/21/10

Thanks, James.
I've got some Chaeto and bits and pieces of Caulerpa in my fuge. Periodically I thin it out and feed it to my tangs.
As I mentioned, I actually took all the sand out of my tanks.
<Ah, I see that now, missed a line.>
I took the sand out of my display tank about 6 weeks ago. I'll put an inch or so back in the tank once I get nitrates back in line. At the moment, all I have in my system, besides the livestock, are about 150 lbs of rock and the aforementioned Chaeto and Caulerpa.
<Have you ever compared your nitrate reading with another/different test kit?>
I'll read the FAQ you recommend. If the big leather isn't causing the problem, can you think of anything else that might be causing the high nitrates? I'm really stumped...
<I'd make sure your kit is reading correctly, and to concentrate on your feeding regime. Best to feed small amounts a little more often and only feed what the fish will eat in no more than a five minute period. Uneaten food over the long haul can lead to nitrate problems.
Even with a clean up crew, food can get into crevices/areas where no critter can get to. You may want to take
a nitrate test of your source water if not using a R/O device. And, do read the
article I sent along with related items found in the header.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Problem with my Reef tank....Please help..
Light Acclimation 3/13/09

Hi guys,
<Hello Phil>
I have a Trigon 350 <liters> and haven't had many problems, all parameters where fine although my pH level was a little low (7.9 - 8.0) However I never tried to rectify this as all my Corals where doing fine..
However about 1 month ago my lighting system (The Trigon fluorescents system) broke and I therefore bought a Metal Halide system. ( 2x 150 w Metal Halides and 4 x Blue actin tubes).
As soon as I put this light into action my pH shot up to 8.5 and my leather Mushroom corals seem to be withering and shrinking.
<With that drastic a change in light intensity, light acclimation is necessary here.>
Also there seems to be a mass of green algae appearing on the glass.. (
This stuff is a nightmare getting rid of it as it won't budge.)
There are no Nitrites, Ammonia, present my Nitrate seems high.. 80ppm.
<Bingo, intense light, a food source and rapid photosynthesis/growth takes place. The food, in the form of nitrates needs to be removed. Read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm>
My main question is this Lighting to high for my tank
and do I need to move my corals around to keep them out of the full lighting as they are near the top of my reef, still about 6-7inches below water..
<Do read here and related articles/FAQ's.
Thank you very much for your help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Alcyoniid hlth. reading   10/22/08 Hi, I have a new system of 175l with external canister filter, internal filter 2 Power heads so good water turnover, temp is stable 78-80 ph of 8.0 nitrates is Creeping to 20, <Mmm, do read on WWM re NO3 and canister filter use on/with marine systems> calcium of 440, phosphate 1.0 <High> salinity of 1.023, <Low> carbonate Hardness 214.8 troubles is I have a devils finger coral that overnight has Detached itself from its rock and crumbled mostly in to a chalky powder, <Bad> I am Worried this is predation or disease <Environmental> please could u <...> give me any information, I Have 2okg of live rock so it's a reef based aquarium. Thanks Donna P.S My apologies for the bad grammar, I was rushing when typing and forgot to run a check. Great site also by the way. Many thanks Donna <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/softcrlsysfaqs.htm  the linked files above, and where you find yourself embedded links of interest. Bob Fenner>
Alcyoniid hlth., reading   8/24/08
I have a green finger coral in my 55 gal tank, I also had a brittle starfish, I took the starfish out of the tank, and the coral started to look wilted, does the starfish give off any toxins when frighten? <Mmm, not as far as I'm aware, no> I changed about six gallons of water, and still the coral doesn't look any better...can you please help? give me any info on what I should do? <Well... need to know a bit more here... re other tankmates, the system gear make-up, foods/feeding... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/alcydisf10.htm and the linked files above... till you have an idea of the sorts of data we're looking for... Bob Fenner>

Soft Coral Rotting -- 05/13/08 Hi there. <<Hello>> Was hoping you guys can help and quick! <<Let's see>> I got what I believe is a medusa soft coral about 6-8 weeks ago and was doing fantastic, but now is looking really worse for wear. <<Hmmm, hard for me to tell without the polyps extended 'but it looks more like a Sinularia species rather than a Sphaerella species, to me. Not that it likely has any bearing on your problem>> I have tried to include some pictures to help but not sure how clear they will be. <<Clear enough I think>> He has slowly refused to open more and more and for only very short periods when he does. My other soft coral has also gone through a bit of a rough patch and I thought it may have been down to a water change. I added my pH buffer to the new water and it went cloudy, this took a long time to disperse and seems to when they both closed down, could this have been the problem? <<Ah yes, sounds like you had a precipitation event from over-dosing the buffer 'is very hard on your tank inhabitants. Do have a read here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm) and also perform a Google search on our site re 'precipitation event'>> My other one has now recovered to almost full health. What do I need to do?? <<Not much to do at this point other than maintain your water quality and ensure your bio-minerals are in 'balance' (reference the article)>> Any thoughts or suggestions will be of great help. <<The precipitation event was likely the 'last straw' so to speak for this coral. It was probably already in a weakened state from its close proximity to that Anemone I see in your tank. Judging from the pictures, the tank seems 'just big enough' for the Anemone alone 'and certainly too small to be housing it with sessile inverts too 'in my opinion>> Most appreciated Wayne Tunnah
<<Happy to share. EricR>>
Re: Soft Coral Rotting -- 05/14/08 Thanks a lot for your help. <<Welcome, mate>> This has been of great use. <<Ah'¦good>> Perhaps I'll try moving him further away from the Anemone? <<Won't make much difference I think 'not in this size tank>> Or should I just sit on my hands for now? <<Best to move the coral to another tank altogether>> I've also made the water a bit more brisk around him to also try and help any recovery he might make. <<The increased water movement, though not likely to 'cure' anything in this instance 'is still of benefit to the tank as a whole>> The Anemone was only half the size in the dealers display and looked almost fully open at the stage of purchase. He just inflated massive when I gave him his new home! Guess he's happier now then? <<Mmm, maybe 'or maybe trying to gain more light from an insufficient source by making itself larger/increasing its surface area 'is only a guess>> Thanks again and I'll let you know whether he pulls through or not..... Wayne <<Please do'¦ EricR>>

Bleached Toadstool -- 10/15/07 Hi, <<Hello>> I bought a Sarcophyton leather coral 4 months ago, all has been well until I changed my bulbs. My aquarium is 240l and is fitted with 2 Aquablue+ T5s. All tests seem fine, Calcium is a bit low at 250. <<More than a 'bit' low...but simple water changes should correct>> The problem I am having is I swapped the two bulbs for 2 new ones. Since then the toadstool has been looking bleached. I was wondering if there is anything that can be done to bring it back to its original color? <<If the bulbs you replaced were 'very' old, this may be a reaction to the increased light intensity. Probably best to leave it be at this point as it has surely begun to adjust/acclimate on its own...but for future reference please read here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm). Another possibility is the Sarcophyton is reacting to an environmental/water chemistry issue. Your Calcium reading indicates an imbalance in bio-mineral elements at the least...do test for and perform a water change/water changes to bring things back in balance>> Thanks, Phil <<Regards, EricR>>

Hole In My Yellow Fiji Leather Coral 'Do I Have A Problem? -- 06/17/07 I have a nice 6" diameter Yellow Fiji, << Sarcophyton elegans I presume>> I noticed the last couple days that it has been closed and not extending its polyps. Today it opened back up, but there is a hole in the center of it like it is going to split. <<Uh-oh>> Is this possible?? <<Not usually, no 'at least not in this manner>> Or do I have a potential problem. <<I think so, yes>> My bicolor blenny spends a lot of time in it, could he be eating it?? <<Maybe, I have seen this species eat noxious Colt Coral (Cladiella spp.) before 'or maybe the fish is just irritating the coral by sitting on it. Another idea is that maybe sand/detritus has accumulated on the coral blocking light/fostering bacteria and caused the necrosis 'this is usually attributed to insufficient water flow (Both intense lighting and strong water flow are important to the continued health of this species)>> Thanks for your time.. Water parameters are: 81 degrees Nitrates 20 <<This is another potential issue'¦ Doesn't have to be 'zero', but should be maintained below 5ppm when corals are present, in my opinion>> Phosphates 0 Calcium 500ppm pH 8.1 dKH 12 <<Maintaining both Calcium and Alkalinity at these upper limits is a recipe for disaster, please read here and among the links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm >> Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Phosphates 0 <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Mushroom Anemone and Soft Coral Help (update) Soft Coral Problems -- A follow-up - 2/28/07 Hello Justin, it's Ben here from the UK. I hope you remember me ( I have attached the last email that I sent just in case you don't). <Hey Ben! Great to hear from you again!> I trust you had a great xmas and new year. <Indeed I did; the aquatic Santa was kind to myself and my tank this year *grin* I hope the same for you and yours, my friend.> I just wanted to update you on the progress of my tank. <Excellent, cant wait!> Previously I mentioned that I had ordered two 18watt T5 bulbs but unfortunately my LFS was having problems with the suppliers so that never materialized; however I managed to snap up a bargain on EBay in the form of a 150watt metal halide with a 14000k bulb. <Do keep an eye on your evaporation levels and temperature here... If I recall correctly, you've got a fairly small body of water, right? These lights put out a lot of heat, more than you may be prepared for... This isn't to say you've made a bad choice, but instead just that you'll have to monitor things with diligence.> Since I have upgraded my lighting I have noticed big changes; one example would be that my colony of brown button polyps has now got a nice green/blue tinge to their centre and have doubled in size. :) <Excellent to hear!> However it has not all been good; before I installed my new light I did some research on the positioning of it (I figured it would be quite a shock going from a dull light to an extreme light) <You are correct> so I placed the light 18inches from the waters surface and gradually brought it down to 10inches over the course of 2 months. <Another course of action would be to go to a local hardware store and buy a decent amount of mesh screen for window covers, and use this in layers over the tank to simulate 'cloudiness' and reduce the light penetration, but as the old adage goes, 'hindsight is 20/20'.> Unfortunately this was all too much for my larger Toadstool and after a few days it bleached, luckily it seems to be healing, does this happen? <Oh, yes.. Soft corals are not nearly as light demanding as their stony brethren, and have to be acclimated to their conditions, and given time to recover.. I think all will be fine here, in time.> And is there anyway that I can help? (I feel I should mention that I have moved the coral to a shaded area of the tank). <Then you've already helped as much as you can for now, my friend. Just keep moving the coral more into the light slowly as the recovery warrants it. You'll eventually find its sweet spot, and all will be well once again.> I have taken my horrible under gravel filter and powerhead out along with the crushed coral substrate and replaced it with a maxi jet 400lph powerhead with the gyro attached, CaribSea live sand (sugar sand I think) and an AquaMedic Biostar Flotor wet dry filter and protein skimmer (a bit of an overkill for my tank I didn't realize how big the pump was - 2000lph!!). <Excellent. Do be sure to clean out your wet/dry media regularly (every water change) in tank water to keep it from becoming a nitrate farm.> I have also purchased two mangrove plants and some macroalgae to reduce my nitrates and organics. <While they won't hurt anything, don't expect a whole lot of effects from the mangroves... they're really more decorative in this type setting. Good move on the algae though, my friend.> Hopefully this will result in a great improvement with the health of my inhabitants. If you have any suggestions please let me know and I will act upon them. <Just as stated above; I feel you've got the right ideas already and are aware of how to 'educate yourself.' Your responses and courses of action certainly show this.> I do have one question to ask before I go; I'm thinking of moving my inhabitants into a 3ft ClearSeal tank, can this be done safely? <Absolutely, but you will be likely dealing with a minor cycle again after the move. See our sections about tank moving for more info here.> Thanks very much for all of your help, you have been an excellent source of information for me.    <Thank you for this, Ben. We're glad to help. -JustinN> Ben Sandford

Toadstool Leather coral with necrotic spots   2/3/07 Hello, <Hi there Chad!  Mich with you today.> I have read over the available FAQ's but they left me undecided on what to do next.   <OK.> I have a 13" across Leather coral that has a couple of yellow dead/dying spots right in the middle of the head where the polyps extend from.  The necrotic tissue is there because I did was not have enough circulation in the tank(120 gal). Dirt and silt settled on a couple of areas and I'm guessing it killed the polyps off. I have corrected the circulation problem but what should I do about the dead spots? Cut them out or just leave well enough alone. <Either is an option.  This is really more of a personal decision.  It may  heal easier, but not necessarily faster with a clean cut, but it should heal if you let be also.  Do which you feel more comfortable.>     The remainder of the polyps still extend, except where the necrotic spots are yellowing.  I once had another section of this coral die off and I cut out the dead chunk  It healed up as good as new in a couple of weeks.  Should I do the same to this one even though the spots are in the middle?   <If you're considering fragging it, I would cut it.  If not, you can also try the wait and see approach.  If you don't see improvement in a couple of days or things start looking worse, then it's time for surgery.> Thanks, <You're welcome.  -Mich> Chad

Any Hope For My Lobophyllia?...I'm Afraid Not - 09/23/06 Bob, <<EricR here tonight...Bob is in Houston at the MACNA convention...no doubt headed to the bar about now for some adroit conversation with the Boyd brothers and others <grin> >> I have a green Lobophyllia purchased about 4 months ago.  It is in a 58 Gallon Oceanic with 5 VHO lights.  Our tank is one year old.  The Lobophyllia seemed to do fine until about a month ago when it began shrinking and stopped extending its tentacles for feeding. <<Mmm, something environmental at play here.  Likely a water quality/chemistry issue>> I feed Phytoplankton <<A waste of money on this coral.  This coral is a carnivore (as are "most" corals/inverts kept by hobbyists (a few notable exceptions being gorgonians, clams...)...needs finely minced "meaty" foods>> and alternate Mysis shrimp with other foods (krill, Prime Reef) for variety. <<Ah, good>> Unfortunately the LFS who helped us set up the tank and who we relied on for advice has recently gone out of business. <<Unfortunate>> I think they may have been distracted towards the end and as a result our water parameters got out of hand. <<Mmm...you need to learn how to test/correct these yourself my friend.  Please spend some time reading here and among the related links at the top of the page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/watrqualmar.htm >> We have started doing frequent 10% water changes and adding Reef Advantage calcium to get back in order. <<Too little too late.  Did you do any water tests? How do you know "calcium" is the problem?  What about alkalinity?...pH?  What are your ammonia/nitrite/nitrate readings?>> We have also found a different LFS to deal with. <...and?>> Our Lobophyllia has now shrunk down to about an inch and a half across and came detached from its skeleton. <<Not good...not good at all...>> It is still bright green. <<Typical>> I have held it to a small piece of live rock with plastic netting.  Is there any hope that it will survive and start growing? <<Very unlikely...once the animal becomes detached from its skeleton it's only a matter of time.  I'm guessing this is a result of very low and/or out of balance calcium and alkalinity levels...though excessive nitrate could also be a culprit.  As stated, you need to educate yourself to take care of this tank...relying solely on/going to the LFS for help once you're already in trouble will only lead to more heartache for you, and especially, your wet pets.  Please do avail yourself to the vast amount of information on our site...and shoot us a line when you need further clarification>> Thank You, Steve <<Regards, EricR>>
Re: Any Hope For My Lobophyllia? - 09/24/06
EricR, <<Steve>> Thank You for the reply. <<My pleasure>> The calcium was definitely low (tested by our new LFS). <<Ahh...>> We have started testing the calcium level ourselves and will start doing the rest of the testing as soon as we can get a kit. <<Excellent my friend...and much better to do/keep track of yourself.  Best to catch/identify issues before they become real problems>> Do you have an opinion on the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Saltwater Liquid Master Test Kit, API Reef Master Test Kit, Tetra Deluxe Laborett, Instant Ocean Saltwater Ocean Master, or Seachem Marine Basic test kits? <<I do...go with the Seachem test kits (use these myself).  These are good, quality test kits that give provide great value for the dollar...in my opinion.  There are better/more expensive kits available if you want to spend the money (LaMotte, Hach), but the Seachem kits are good performers and likely all you will need>> Is there another brand/kit you prefer? <<I prefer electronic testing equipment...where money is not an option...Even so, the $100 or so spent on an electronic pH meter is well worth the investment in my opinion.  Many pH test kits are just too darn difficult to read/get an accurate reading.  But learn to use/calibrate the electronic meter and you have an instant reading at the push of a switch...makes frequent/continuous monitoring a snap!>> Any to avoid? <<Have used most over the years...best to stick to the middle of the price range and up...and never rely on the "dip stick" type testers...okay for a quick check of your swimming pool, but have no business in the aquarium hobby...again...in my opinion>> Thanks again for the help and the great site. Steve <<Do keep reading/learning my friend...and give a shout when necessary.  Regards, Eric Russell>>

Finger leather coral has green algae growing on it    3/24/06 Greetings to all. Nice forum here. You all have an abundance of information that is sometimes overwhelming. <All in good time> Never the less, here goes. I have a 55 gallon reef tank with the following: 55 lbs of new live rock (purchased in the last week or so), aragonite sand approx. 2 to 3 inches deep. lighting is a Current 265W power compact with lunar lighting. The skimmer is a Red Sea which works quite well. Filters include 1 Emperor 400 with regular filter pads and the gray containers are filled with de-nitrate media. A Magnum 350 with Purigen and topped off with De-nitrate. 2 Aquaflo powerheads with sponge filters. Inhabitants are: <... I would have waited a few more weeks to add these, after the live rock settled in> 1ea Lemonpeel Angel, 1ea Coral Beauty, <A fifty five is really too small for even one Centropyge of these species... and two are not compatible> 1ea Sailfin Tang, <Will get too big...> 1ea cleaner shrimp, and 1ea Pink Face Goby. Inverts are: 1ea Finger Leather, 1ea BTA and 1ea feather Duster. Last week I added 20 lbs of "cured" (so I thought) Fiji live rock. All my readings prior to adding the rock were salinity 1.025, ph 8.0, KH 8.0, Calcium 500, Ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0. Temperature is between 77.0 and 78.0. Now the readings are pretty much the same but the Nitrate is 80+. <Yikes, but not atypical of new LR> I did 3 water changes. 2ea 5 gallon and 1ea 25 gallon over the course of 4 days. The Nitrate still stays up there. The fish are fine. The BTA is in hiding and is not outstretched like it normally was. The Feather Duster is fine. The Finger Leather has withdrawn it's polyps and shrunk down. Not fully, like at night though. So there is some difference between night and day extension. Now today I noticed what looks like the whole thing is being covered in brown algae. <Possibly, but much more likely it is shedding its cuticle... happens> Not a dense covering but looking like it is discoloring it. My LFS said just hang out and wait for the media to do it's job. I am concerned for the Finger Coral. Should I wait or do something else? <Siphon off this material once it becomes loose... keep feeding extra low... until your nitrates are under 20 ppm. Bob Fenner>

Leather/Xenia Shrinking   1/30/06 To whom ever, <Mike G> I have been searching the FAQs and don't think there is an answer (tank info below). Over Christmas, I left my tank in the hands of a family member, who took the pre-sized frozen food portions in the weekly pill case out of the freezer for the week, but continued to feed the rotting food.   <I assume that most every fishkeeper has a horror story of a similar sort.> Secondly, right before leaving my Auto top-off stuck on and added two gallons of fresh water to the tank.   <It just gets better and better.> Finally, my heater stuck stock on (now I'm thinking a surge of some sort) and sent the tank from 76-77 to 82, and that night down to 73 before I put the new heater in.   <Bad day. Really, really bad day.> Needless to say everything is now thriving/spreading again (mushrooms, zoos, gsp, the too many fish) except my leather and xenia which were good for 4 months prior.   <Xenia are notorious for suddenly doing poorly/melting away for either no reason at all or from previous stresses.> The leather is now about half the size, with no melting or white tissue, just slumped over and a little shriveled looking.  The three connected xenia stalks have reduced to small white bumps on a rock.  Is there any hope for them?   <Well, there's always hope, I'd like to think.> If so what measures can I take to improve their odds. <Keep water conditions stable/close to what they were doing wonderfully in before the day of doom. Not much else you CAN do.> I have done several water changes slowly returning PH, Temp & SG to normal, But two weeks later no improvement, but not dead (the leather) or completely gone (the xenia).  How long can they persist this way before I should remove them?   <Until they're dead, they can still bounce back. Leathers and Xenia are notoriously hardy corals once they're in good water. Keep the conditions stable and you should se an improvement.> Thanks. (Last x-mas it was three fish dying for some reason, same care giver) <Time to invest in a tank sitting service?> [My tank:  2yr old Sumpless 44gal Corner Pentagon (By product of my past hobby, wife&kids and Finding Nemo Movie), internal refuge w/ Chaeto, and DIY spray inj/air stone skimmer (2 liter pop bottle of brown tea/mo), Ca=390, <A touch low... should be ~400, 425> DKH=11, Amm, Nitrates & trites~0, Phosphates are too high <0.5 (water source) <Considered RO/DI water? May also help the melting softies in the long run.> but not any higher than always (need a more precise test kit (CHEAP/accurate recommendations?)) <Not usually two synonymous terms... Salifert is wonderful for accuracy.> (Thanks by the way! last year removed Bio-Wheels nitrates went from constant 20 to zero in two days) <Very nice.> SG=1.025, PH=8.3(low before lights on), don't test/add trace elements <Try adding a two-part Cal/Alk supplement such as B-Ionic or C-Balance. Would help your Calcium levels, give the corals something extra.> 8gal water change (tap water) 1/wk <I'd recommend a switch to RO/DI water - tap really isn't great for reef tank purposes.> About 4gal evap auto top-off/wk. Tank is 1/3 full with live rock & 4in deep sand bed (I know it doesn't leave much water (this tank is for growing inhabitants for a 125gal in a year or so, wife didn't know she would rekindle the itch)).  2 oscillating power heads, one more feeding skimmer , and an eclipse hang-on w/ removed filter cartridges for current (border line violent water flow). Two cartridges with carbon and PolyFilter changed alternately every week.  Four 15W 10k NO Fluorescent Bulbs 3in from surface 13hrs/day w/ 3-4hrs natural sun light in morning (all corals are less than 6in from surface) <Still not much light - would recommend upgrading to at least PCs. Much better idea in the long run.> Fish: Flame Angel, Pair Yellow Watchman Gobies, Engineer Goby, Pair Neon Gobies, Pair Percula Clowns, Royal Gramma. <I'd say you're a touch overstocked there.> Inverts: Brittle Star, Pair Cleaner Shrimp, Couple Dozen Cerith and Nassarius Snails, 8 Blue Leg Hermit Crabs. Corals: GSP, Red & Green Mushrooms, 1 Ricordea (sp?), Hairy Mushrooms, 4flavors of Zoos, 3"Leather, Xenia, Some quick spreading brown/white small star looking polyp gift of the live rock gods (spreads with white thread like growths, help IDing this one would be great) <Have a picture? Best of luck, Mike G>
Re: leather/Xenia Shrinking   1/31/06
Thanks, Xenia disappeared.   <Bad news.> Leather looks like it does before shedding, but seems to be more inflated today.   <Good news.> I have read Seachem's Reef Plus is good, might an additive like this if used moderately help? <Seachem is a wonderful brand - I'd assume it would be alright, though, really, I'm not a fan of adding anything more than you can test for. A two-part additive such as C-Balance would be a far wiser purchase, in my experience.> Additional Question: Is there a good place to get PC sockets, my hood is home made, also do you know if they can be driven by a workhorse 4 ballast? <Hmm... I'm not the one to talk to re: ballasts, but I do know that Coralife makes decent PC sockets. I'm sure other companies such as Custom Aquatic would offer them for sale, as well.> As far as the mystery polyp I have included two pictures.   <Not attached... send again?> One shows its coloring a little better, the other shows the white strands it uses to spread, they spread under rocks and places void of light to pop up just about anywhere.  I just want to make sure it isn't something that might take down my tank or start a war with some of my other corals.  Thanks, I appreciate your time and input! <You're very welcome. Good luck! Mike G>
Re: Leather/Xenia Shrinking   2/1/06
Sorry, hope these go through. <They came through fine, and, if I'm looking at the right creatures, they look like Clavularia species to me - a beautiful and desirable Octocoral. Some resources: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clavulariids.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypfaqs.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypfaqs2.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypfaqs3.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypidfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypcompfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypdisfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypreprofaqs.htm > Have a good week! <Same to you!> Ryan, Amanda, Larkin & wee Liam <Mike G>

Drop in pH, Colt coral suffering Hi all, <Larry> I'm hoping that you can give me some suggestions for a treatment plan.  I have a colt coral in my reef system that just hasn't had any luck.  I added it to the tank in February and it bleached within 1 week of being introduced.  I've been trying to nurse it back to health ever since.  Fortunately, the polyps never stopped extending and the color has been gradually coming back over the last couple of months.  I don't know that it helped or was a coincidence, but the color started improving after I started target feeding with a mixture of Cyclop-eeze and DT's Oyster Eggs. I thought we were on the road to recovery until I got home from work today and found the colt nearly melted away.  All of the limbs were eroded to a point close to the main stalk and no polyps were extended.  Another soft coral, a green Kenya tree looks okay (not fantastic, but okay).  All other corals (including 2 yellow leathers) look fine.  No corals are within 5 or so inches from the colt and the nearest are candy canes.  The major change in the tank was a 10% water change yesterday, done with day old aerated water matched to the temp and salinity of the tank. I did some quick water tests, temp 78 degrees, nitrates and ammonia undetectable.  Didn't test nitrite (never really do with this tank, but can if you think it is a good idea).  Then I checked pH.  Normally it is a steady 8.3 (I usually test around 9:00 am), tonight (7:30 pm) it is about 8.0.  I haven't checked alkalinity yet, but I can guess that it will be below my normal readings (will check in a bit).  I can/will check other items (calcium, phosphate, iodine, silicate, etc.), but I have a feeling that I've already found my problem.  I dosed some Reef Builder this evening.  I will check the pH in the morning and if the pH is still low I will dose some more.   Other than buffering the water and investigating possible causes for the drop in pH (and possibly alkalinity) is there anything you would recommend to try and save the colt? Thanks for you help (as always!) <Larry, to be successful in keeping corals, 10% weekly water changes are necessary.  It replaces lost trace elements and also removes waste products from the water.  You don't mention what your salinity or alkalinity are/were.  Alk should never fall below 8 dKH and calcium levels 375/400.  A weekly iodine supplement also helps.  You also don't mention your lighting intensity (watts per gallon), and your water flow in gph.  Do a Google search on the wet web, keyword, "corals", will open up links to most anything you are interested in. James (Salty Dog)> Larry
Drop in pH, Colt coral suffering 7/20/05
James, <Larry, sorry for the long delay.  Been out of town.> Sorry, I meant to include sg and didn't.  It is at 1.023 (a little low, <1.023 is fine.> I plan on gradually bring it up a bit).  I didn't mention, but the water change is a regular part of my maintenance schedule although it was overdue.  Alk is 7 dKH (per the FasTest kit).  While the alk is low,<Not dangerously low.> this has been a typical reading on this tank for as long as it has been running, I occasionally get alk to 8.4, very rarely as high as 9.8.  Calcium (per Seachem test kit) is at 400 (which for this tank is very good).  I do provide a weekly iodine addition. <Sea Chem's Reef Builder will raise your alk safely.> I can't give you a watts per gallon, I've never figured it out that way.  The tank holds 240 gallons (with another 100 in the sump).  Lighting is 2 x 175 watt MH pendants (65K) and 3 x 6 foot VHO bulbs (2 actinic white, 1 actinic).  The halides are suspended about 5-6 inches from the top of the tank.  The colt is towards the end of the VHOs, off to the side from one of the pendants, about 21 inches down from the surface of the tank.  Water flow should be more than sufficient, the return from my gravity fed sump is via a 2000 gph Iwaki MD-100. <Your wattage is only 1.75 watts per gallon.  Not near enough to keep any light loving inverts alive for any length of time.  The flow rate should be somewhere up around 2400 gph.  Try adding a couple powerheads to increase the circulation.> I tested the pH again this morning, still at 8.0.  I added a second dose of Seachem's Reef Builder this morning, will continue checking/working with the pH.  Is there anything else you would recommend to help stabilize/revitalize the colt?  <Lighting my friend.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks again! <You're welcome> Larry

Yellow Fiji Leather  Hey guys <Hey, Mike G here> I set up a 20 gal. reef system about a year ago. I've added corals slowly that include orange & greenish pink Ricordea Yumas, red Florida Ricordea, mint green finger, pulsing xenia, anthelia, Sinularia, some green star polyps and a cabbage leather. I had a toadstool leather in my tank and it stayed in constant shedding mode. I moved it to my wife's 3 month old reef tank , it shed once, turned beautiful reddish brown polyped out and has been this way since. <It was likely stressed in your other tank. Possibly chemical warfare was culprit.> Our water quality is the same .25 Amm., 0 nitrate, 0 nitrite, 0 phos. <You should not be registering any measurable ammonia: that is, it should be at 0 and no higher.> Both tanks temps are 75-78 deg &1.025 sal and both have Prizm skimmers . Her tank has 130 watts of power compacts, my tank has a 175 watt 10k metal halide & 2 -20 watt actinic. Both have about 30lbs of live rock. <Then perhaps the toadstool liked the low light better than the high light.> O.K those are the specs. now for the Q? 2wks ago I bought a yellow Fiji leather. It was gorgeous for about 2 days (beautifully yellow), then filmed over, turned bluish grey and has been that way since. <Ouch. That does not sound good.> I feed Kent Marine strontium.& Moly, 2.5ml & reef plus vitamin & amino acid supplement, 5ml.twice a wk. Water change about 10% per wk. Every thing in my tank is doing extremely well except this leather. I've moved it around the tank from strong water movement and light to less of each, no change . Any suggestions? AND DON'T TELL ME I SHOULD MOVE THIS CORAL TO MY WIFE'S TANK , THE TOADSTOOL WAS DEVASTATING ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OKAY? <It sounds as if you've tried most of what you can. I would personally suggest moving it to your wife's tank as the other did well there, and see how it did. But, I am detecting that you do not want to do that. Why don't you check out the following links on leathers and see if you can figure out the problem. Oh, and do lower your ammonia It is possible that it is the culprit. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniids.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniidfaqs.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyonfaq2.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyonfaq3.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyonfaq4.htm >

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