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FAQs about Acroporid Coral Disease Treatments

FAQs on Acroporid Disease: Acroporid Disease 1, Acroporid Disease 2, Acroporid Disease 3, Acroporid Disease/Pests/Predators 4, Acroporid Health 5, Acroporid Health 6, Acroporid Health 7, Acroporid Hlth. 8, Acroporid Hlth. 9, Acroporid Hlth. 10,
FAQs on Acroporid Disease by Category: Diagnosing, Environmental (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest (see below)
FAQs on Pests of Acroporids: Montipora Munching Nudibranchs, Flatworms, Red/Black "Bugs" Acropora Munching Copepods,

Related Articles: Coral Pests and Disease; pests, predators, diseases and conditions by Sara Mavinkurve, Acroporids, SPS Corals

FAQs on Stony Coral Disease by Type: Brown Jelly Disease, RTN,

Optimized and stable conditions... perhaps a dose or six of iodide-ate.

NEVER metals, antibiotics, antiprotozoals,


Deep Water Acropora. Dips; also archived on WWM    5/7/14
Hi everyone!
I've read a lot of conflicting opinions about dipping deep water Acros and Echinatas. What do you recommend for these corals? Revive, coral Rx, Lugol's, something else...
<Slightly depressed specific gravity... a thousandths or so... and a few times dosage of iodide-ate. Perhaps with a modicum of glucose (or other simple pentose, hexose) in if receiving a large number or valuable specimens. Bob Fenner>
Re: Deep Water Acropora        5/8/14

Interesting, I've never heard of the use of glucose for coral dipping (only in calcium supplements in the form of gluconate in order to provide an energy source). Is this the same concept?
<Nope... the former is a long-established SOP in the trade; not well-known amongst consumers/hobbyists... Tis what we do on importing several (from the ME meaning many) boxes distally... long hauls>
Can you explain a little more or point me to a source? Thank you!!
<Try the search tool on WWM; "coral dips". BobF>

Acropora, hlth.      12/23/12
Good morning Crew, Shawn here.
Hope all are well.
 <Ah yes; thank you>
A quick question regarding an SPS coal. The tips of one of my favorite Acroporas have recently bleached and now are covered in a brown algae.
Should I break off the dead tips or let nature take its course.
<If it bugs you, you could/can simply break off the bad tips; but if not; I'd leave them be. There isn't much/any real danger from the algae et al. encroaching on healthy live tissue in a system of good circumstances>
Thanks for your help and all have a Merry Christmas.
<And for you and yours. Bob Fenner>

Branching Montiporas retracting polyps 11/12/11
HELP!!!, Why would only branching monti's retract polyps??
<A few general reasons... "something" not agreeable in the way of water quality... allelopathy from other life in the system...>
Has anybody else experienced this strange behaviour??
Last week all of my branching Monti's retracted all of their polyps (which had been fully extended for many months prior to this) and look like bald pieces of rock. This happened to 3 different digitata's (peach and purple ones), a ORA Jeremy's Monti, ORA spongodes.
this is really weird and disturbing because ALL other corals (SPS, LPS, Zoas, etc.
<Likely the Zoanthids are the cause here... again, that mysterious "something" upset the Zoas, they in turn released chemicals into the water mal-affecting the Montiporas>
Are not exhibiting this trait whatsoever. I have a sunset Monti and a Rainbow Monti that are still OK, as well as plating Monti's that are ok as well, and all other SPS' have extended polyps including Birds Nests (thick branched and thin), millies, red planet, several chalices, basically all other living inhabitants are OK! System param.s: I have a 125 mixed reef tank with 40 gal sump, protein skimmer, running BRS GFO in a reactor, carbon in a reactor, daily 2 part dosing (Randy Holmes Farley recipe), plenty of flow/water turn over using RKE wave maker setting with 2 Koralia Magnum 7s and 2 4s, plus dual returns from sump.
Temp: 78
SG: 1.026 - 35ppt refractometer (calibrated with 35ppt solution)
CA: 420
AK: 9.2 Hanna checker
PO4: 0.00-0.04 - Hanna checker

NO3: 4 - red sea Pro low level Nitrate test kit, confirmed at SEA with High end Hanna tester.
MG: 1350
15% water changes every 10-14 days
Test param.s weekly
Tank has been set up for 1 1/2 years.
<All the above looks good... I would step up the water changing regimen, and add a bit of chemical filtrant... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ZoCompF3.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and as much of the linked files above as it takes to clue you in here>
Nothing (to my knowledge) has changed in my tank that I can point to that would cause just branching Monti SPS to totally retract their polyps, while everything else is fine, especially since Monti's are supposed to be hardier than most SPS' are.
If anyone has experienced this before and/or can shed some light on this, I would welcome the input.
<Then you're welcomed in turn... Do write back if any of this is unclear, incomplete after reading. Bob Fenner>
Re: Branching Montiporas retracting polyps 11/12/11

Thanks Bob, I was reading on your site that removing too much phosphate can also cause these symptoms of starving the corals, true?
<Mmm, can, as well as too little; but you don't have excessive HPO4, and you report/ed that your other Cnidarians were fine>

I tested my PO4 yesterday with my Hanna checker and it was zero, so I took my gfo reactor and carbon reactor off line to see if letting the PO4 build up some to around 0.04 on my checker would help?
<As well as just simple food additions for your other livestock>
The reason I am leaning that was is based on what my last PO4 reading was before the symptom started showing up (my recorded PO4 level was about 0.05). Could the water be too "clean" for the branching Montis?
<Not likely; no>
Based on the limited information you have about my system, would you still lean toward the Zoanthids?
<Some form/source of allelopathy, yes. The Zoanthids/Mats are the most likely suspect of what you list/ed>
The branching type Monti's that are affected are in different areas of the tank and have been in the same spot for several months before this occurred.
<As I surmised>
One final thought (change that I made just before this happened) I had several smaller power heads for flow in my tank, that were not on any sort of timers or wave makers, so I replaced them and reconfigured my flow with the two Koralia magnum 7s on an RKE wave maker. This has provided a LOT more varied flow for my tank and just after making that change I noticed the branching Monti's retracting all of their polyps.
<Could be a factor as well>
Just want to mention that none of the Montis are directly in front of the power heads and are not getting blasted with flow. Could it be the increased flow is "stirring up" the Zoas released chemicals causing this?
Based on this limited info about my situation, what would you do in this situation?
<Nothing overt. I might increase/pulse whatever source of iodide-ate you utilize, as well as the items mentioned in last email...>
Looking forward to your responses.
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Tissue Necrosis, Discoloration, and White Excretions on SPS/LPS 5/8/10
I figured I would follow up. Per your advice I removed the clove polyps entirely and changed out my carbon in my media reactor.
<Good moves>
This seemed to help in the short term (at least nothing was immediately getting worse). But despite my best efforts, whatever is afflicting my tank has continued to spread amongst my SPS, despite the cloves being out of the tank for about 2 weeks at this point.
<These "events" often take weeks to resolve>
I have noticed that the LPS that showed symptoms earlier seem to be recovering; the spread is limited to SPS. I have attached a photograph of the most recent victim.
<Looks slimy... reacting to...>
The Montiporas that 'caught' whatever this is have since died (With the exception of a M. setosa that is
recovering). One Acropora has survived (although it is much drabber now) but several appear to be on the way out. Any further ideas?
<Is not something... "catching" as in a biological disease (infectious, parasitic), but a biochemical "burn"... stabilizing, optimizing the environment is the only salvation here, along with patience, time going by.
Bob Fenner>

Live Rock - Montipora Digitata 9/16/09
Hi crew,
I am just starting up my first marine system, and the live rock has been placed in the system about two weeks. Since the tank is cycling with normal lighting cycle I am experiencing quite some algae growth. Mainly some fine Green Hair Algae but also some Bryopsis. The live rock was collected from the coast in south China and shipped by air directly to me (in Beijing). I washed the live rock before placing it in the tank, but did not brush aggressively, merely shake and blow of detritus with a powerhead. Two large pieces of live rock are apparently dead pieces of Montipora Digitata, with three or four tips of about 0.5 to 1 inch of live coral, colored blue-brown and with polyp extension. My question is: do I need to do anything if I would like to keep this coral alive, or will the fact that it is connected to the dead coral (partly overgrown with algae currently) not affect its chances or survival?
<Possibly either way...>
The tank is still cycling. This is a system of 150 gallon with two metal halides of 250W as lighting. During the cycling, I am doing water changes weekly of about 10%. The skimmer is a Bubble Magus 200E2 (local Chinese brand, rated for systems up to 390 gallon) with Eheim Pump 1264 and circulation is provided with an Atman return pump of 5000L/H and 2 Tunze 6105 pumps on a multicontroller. I have not tested the water yet since I suppose the tank is still cycling, but will do so soon.
<I would... Likely you could use some chemical filtration, and possibly larger water change outs, some supplementation for biominerals and alkalinity for sure>
Any advise would be appreciated. I have been reading for a long time on your site before setting up this tank, and have found it to be of great help, and my first and major reference for any question regarding marine or freshwater systems.
Henk Naert
<Do search on WWM for the terms mentioned for more background, direction.
Bob Fenner>

Montipora capricornis, hlth., reading 3/1/09 I added a Montipora capricornis to my 55 gallon tank 3 months ago. It was a three inch frag and had been growing and doing well until last week overnight it developed two white spots about the size of a pea towards the center away from the edges. The spots appear to be exposed skeleton. One day after the first spots appeared 1 more appeared. Now three days later they remain the same size and the rest of the coral looks healthy with polyps extended and a dark orange color. What do you suggest as a coarse <course> of action. I have some reef dip but didn't know if this would help. <Mmm... what are the ingredients? Likely some general I2 et al. materials would not hurt... The "dots" could be due to physical trauma (something eating, walking on the colony), or interaction with other life there (what other "corals" are nearby... within a foot?), even just chemical imbalance issues...> If I leave it alone will the flesh possibly grow back or should I just frag it and hope it doesn't happen again. <I'd leave all as is> My Ca. is 430, Alk. 3.31 meg., Ph 8.2, <Mg? W/in 3X or so conc. range?> Ammonia, Nitrite, nitrate all 0. <Need to have some NO3, HPO4...> I have 4 65 watt power compact bulbs, 2 1200 maxi jets and 2 600 MaxiJet. Any suggestions? Thanks, Greg <As usual, reading: http://wetwebmedia.com/acrodis4.htm  and the linked files above, and/or the use of the WWM search tool... Bob Fenner>

Re: SPS Boring Algae Better Living Through Ozone (Nutrient Export and Coral Health)  12/16/07 Mich, <Scott F. in for Mich on this one.> DOH! I just started running ozone a week ago, for the past few months I have been chasing a proverbial ghost. <"Who you gonna call...?" Umm- never mind...bad 1980's movie reference.> I couldn't figure out why these Acros were not beaming like they should. Ultimately, it was that when I set the system up, the sand I used was not thick enough for a DSB and was emitting bad stuff, but phosphate and nitrate on Salifert were registering zero (I was using Phosban as well) {must have been some type of trace amount, enough to cause problems, that coupled with very alkalinity levels as I was trying to stabilize ph!). <Well, it has been debated that a sandbed in that "grey area" (2"-3") might be too shallow for complete denitrification, but too deep to be fully aerobic. Another one of the debates raging in our hobby- imagine that?> I have since fixed it, started running ozone, and have noticed a difference already. <I can imagine. Ozone, if properly administered, can provide amazing benefits for a system.> If you were me, would you trash any affected colonies, saving the frags above the algae line? If I am interpreting your response correctly, what your saying is don't necessarily worry about the infected pieces but make darn sure the nutrient issue gone! Dude, you guys are life savers! Tom <As usual, Mich is right on target! It's certainly best to frag the affected colonies and salvage what you can. Seek and maintain high water quality, and your system will be in great shape sooner than you can say, "Dude, Michelle is a Chick!" Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>  

Mysterious Coral Bleaching, Not Such A Mystery (Antibiotics Administered To The Display System) -- 08/08/07 Dear WWM Crew, <<Hello Bill>> Please lend me your thoughts. <<Sure thing>> Recently (within the past week) I noticed two Montipora corals in my tank that have been acclimated and growing well begin to bleach. Within the past two days a few small Pocillopora and Acropora began to bleach as well and polyps hid. <<Mmm, an environmental issue of some sort>> I've checked the tank parameters - everything seems rather on par -- 75 gallon tank -Alkalinity - 4.2 (may be a bit high?) <<Considering you Calcium is over 400...yes, a bit>> -Calcium - 420 -Nitrate - 0 -Temp - 74 - 76 night and day <<Probably fine but a little on the cool side in my opinion>> -SG- 1.024 <<Better than many I've seen but bumping to NSW levels (1.025/1.026) is best>> -Lighting - 2 * 250 10K, 4 * 96 actinic. All the corals have loved the light to this point. <<Unless the bulbs are 'very' old this is likely not the issue>> I think my problem may be one of two things, or a combo of both. I used a cycle of "Chemi Clean" Cyanobacteria remover which threw my protein skimmer way out of cycle. <<Ugh! It has done much more harm than that I fear...you have likely wiped out much of your biological filtration. You didn't list an Ammonia reading but you need to check this right away...as well as preparing/performing large water changes and adding chemical filtration (Carbon/Poly-Filter/Chemi-Pure) to try to keep the buildup of nitrogenous compounds under control until bacteria has a chance to repopulate>> It is creating massive amounts of micro-bubbles so I haven't been able to run it properly. <<Possibly overcome by the increased organics load...perhaps you can adjust it 'down' a bit>> I am doing a third partial water change today (in the last week) to try to remove excess chemicals so I can get my skimmer running normally (not overflowing the collection cup constantly). <<The water changes probably explain why your Nitrate reading was zero. Do try to get the skimmer back in service...perhaps throttling it back a bit to slow down the overfilling of the skimmer cup>> There is also one leather coral in the tank, could the lack of chemical filtration for the past two weeks, or that in conjunction with the leather emitting toxins be killing these previously healthy corals? <<Is definitely a contributor...at the very least is exacerbating the situation. Get some chemical filtration going!>> Any advice? <<Yes...don't administer antibiotics to your display system...and start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm>> Thanks! Bill <<Regards, EricR>>

Acro Color -- 04/30/07 Sometimes I wonder the average number of questions you get hourly on your site... Sorry to bother you but I had a question I haven't been able to find an answer to normally. I recently purchased a dark green Acro (no specific name was given by the online retailer) about 2 or 3 weeks ago. In the bag it was a nice dark green color, they labeled it Hunter Green, similar in color to perhaps grass. At any rate, after about a week or two I noticed its color changing from green base with whitish polyps to something else. The base/skeleton is like a Coral Lipstick or Peach color with white polyps, even when viewed from an angle, straight on, or from above. I'm kind of wondering if its similar to an anemones Zooxanthellae (sp?) that can be expelled due to some sort of stress? <Yes> He's on a high point in the tank, around 3" in width total <Mmm... well, depending on your lighting... and how this colony has been kept recently... starting it down in depth a bit to start is generally advised> if I'm being generous, and he's grown about a 1/2" total since I got him (I'm so proud!). It completely baffles me, wish I had a before/after picture  but I never got to take a before pic. I haven't moved him at all since placing him in the tank and the only potential predators are a small Green Bubble Tip Anemone, <Incompatible... could be your answer here> which is smaller than the Acro, and a dime-sized hermit crab that hasn't taken notice to him. There's also a Yellow Watchman Goby - awesome fish! - but no other mobile buddies. I've been dosing Kent Invert food every few days for my small Crocea clam, about a drop per gallon or less depending on my steadiness with my hands. I was also thinking that I haven't glued him to a rock, he's sitting on the rock and I was just going to let him do his thing. The color doesn't really bother me, I really like it, but I want to make sure its not a sign of something bad. The polyps are still extending and he's in an area of pretty high flow, so maybe he's just playing Chameleon? I have PC lights and the tank is only about 8" deep, I'm just scared that he's starting to bleach for some error on my part and I really don't want that. Thanks. <Mmm... well, the growth and polyp extension are good signs... and if you don't mind the color change... I would leave all as is. Such color changes are often due/led by lighting, current, water quality differences... Bob Fenner>

HELP... Montipora hlth.     02/17/07 Hi guys,    I will probably get scolded for this one, I didn't research nor spell check. (Sorry) I will never do it again, but I need you desperately and quickly. I ordered a Montipora Cap offline. Great piece and excellent seller. He shipped On via USPS on Tuesday. I just got it in. This thing is gorgeous, only it has been in shipping bag, lost in mail for 3+ days. I floated it for 10 minutes and placed carefully in hospital/quarantine tank directly under BioWheel filter output. I have nothing in the tank but live rock and a pair of sailfin mollies to keep unused tank cycling. Due to live rock and usage for quarantine on live rock as well as new corals, I keep regular additions of strontium and calcium in this tank. Salinity is 1.023, PH 8.3, Nitrates 10, nitrites 0, ammonia 0. I have low 30 watt Pc lighting on quarantine tank. The color is very pale on the Monti, the water was bad cloudy and pretty pungent odor. I actually tested the bag water once I got the coral removed from the toxic waste. I was amazed nitrates 10, Ammonia <50, nitrites 0, temp was very cool 68-70 (guessing) Ph was just below 8.0 reading. Is there anything else I can do for it? Please help. Seller has been great, says he will refund or replace but has nothing comparable to this guy. It wasn't his fault anyway. Please help me! I have never owned a Monti yet always wanted one. I have researched plenty about their general maintenance, but nothing about recovery or emergency care. What advice can you give and what can I expect for his pending doom. He definitely isn't happy, and had some pretty drastic temp changes I'm sure between CA and SC.                                             Thanks for being there!!!                                                     Cindy <<Cindy: At this point, the best thing you can do is provide it with clean water, good flow and decent lighting.  Since the coral is obviously stressed out from the move, you should not disturb it for a few days.  Hopefully, it will quickly adjust to the conditions of your tank and recover quickly.  Best of luck, Roy>>
Help... Roy... titles... hard to place new, ongoing corr. tog. w/o... Re... Montipora hlth?  2/18/07
Roy,    Thanks for the quick response. As always, you guys are great and I appreciate your service. I know you hear that a lot, but please believe we mean it. I lost the Monti despite all efforts. The sender is being great about it, but cannot duplicate this particular specimen. He had grown this in his personal tank, over the course of the last year, from a small frag. I was so looking forward to an aquacultured Montipora. Thanks Again.                                                                  Cindy <<Cindy:  Sorry the coral didn't make it.  Sometimes, if there is a small section left, they can start growing again from hardly anything.  If you can't get another one from the seller for a while, you might want to try another more common one.  That way, you'll have more experience, when the special one becomes available again.  Usually, they like medium to high light and medium flow.  If it's coming from someone else's tank, it's always good to ask how they keep it.  Then, you can try to duplicate the same conditions the best you can.  Best of luck, Roy>>

Please Help! - dying corals   3/18/06 Hi Crew, <Greg> I hope you can help me with this problem.  I just returned from a business trip to find that one of my Acropora corals is dying (see attached picture). The skeleton is exposed on one entire branched section of the coral and a brown slime (dead flesh, I assume) is covering the base of the coral.  My makeup water float switch did stick while I was away and the additional water dropped the salinity from 1.024 to 1.023 over a 1-day period. Although this probably caused some minimal stress, I would not have expected such drastic results.   <Happens> I have had this coral (and others in my tank) for slightly over two years and I have never experienced any such issues.  There have been no new livestock added to the tank in the past 6-9 months, so I would be surprised if any type of pathogen would have been introduced. <Mmm, opportunistic if so... much more likely just environmental in cause> That said, I did add a dead Montipora to my refugium approximately two weeks ago.   <Ahh, another source of "stress", pollution> My sister mailed this coral to me for Christmas.  Living in Florida, she did not realize that it would not survive a winter mailing to New England.  The coral appeared very dead when it arrived and I was leaving for vacation but, in a last hope that it might survive, I placed it in my quarantine tank for 6 weeks.  Rather than throw it out, I then placed it in my refugium (I had read of some LPS corals mysteriously re-growing after several months of appearing dead).  I do not know the origin of this coral but I had assumed that 6 weeks in a QT would have eliminated any risk from introducing it into my main tank system.  Is it possible that chemicals stored in this Montipora could have affected my Acroporas? <Yes> My tank is 180g + 100g refugium (6" DSB, Caulerpa, red Gracilaria) so I had not expected this volume of water to be largely affected by such an addition.  Possibly other corals are releasing chemicals that are attacking this Acropora? <Is possible> I have attached a picture of the entire tank so you can see the placement of other corals in the tank.  Maybe this will provide a clue? Water stats: Temp=77F, Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, Nitrate<5 ppm, pH=8.1, Alk=4 meq/l, PO4<0.5 ppm, Ca=400 ppm, Mg=1,500 ppm.  These readings are mostly typical of water parameters for the 3+ years since I began the aquarium. Temperature is 1-2 degrees cooler than it runs in the summer and pH is actually slightly higher than past (I have been dosing baking soda and washing powder [NaCO3] for several months in an attempt to increase the pH). <Mmm, I would be using other means... is a calcium reactor in your future?> About 4 weeks ago the Montiporas in my main tank began to bleach as well. As you can see, all of the other corals, inverts, fish, continued to appear healthy so I was not overly worried. I assumed this was only a temporary condition.  Around the same time my coralline algae began to turn white and flake off as well.  Since my Ca and alk appear to be within "normal" ranges, I could not explain the loss of coralline algae either. I apologize for the long email but I am hoping something in this information might help to explain why this coral is dying.  One more recent change: just before I left for my trip, all of the Astrea snails in my tank began releasing eggs / sperm into the water.  There appeared to be tiny "smoke trails" coming from about 100 snails. <Yes... another (perhaps) indication of a stressed environment> I had assumed that this would have provided food for the corals but maybe this could be a clue as well. <Of a certainty> I am at a total loss trying to determine why this is happening and how to correct the problem.  I will be out of the country for the next week so I am terrified what I might find when I return if I do not address this now. Please help.  I greatly appreciate any advice you can provide! --Greg <Mmm, "when, where in doubt, change water"... I would institute some substantial water changes, boost your iodine/ate supplementation weekly, consider adding a vitamin supplement directly to the water (like Selcon, Microvit...). I would not "frag" the Staghorns just yet... Do consider switching even to a "two part" mineral/alkalinity approach... Bob Fenner>

Today's faq... re baking soda... Please Help! - dying corals- 03/18/2006 Appended is the faq in question. Being that noticed using baking soda and "washing powder" (borate?) Since, corals don't use borate alkalinity, and that being alkalinity reading of 4 meq/l  thinking that lack of carbonate alkalinity being major culprit since the things that seem to have trouble require carbonate alkalinity?   <Yes> There are test kits specifically for carbonate alk. Also this explanation, drives the point needing to major water change, use 2 part dosing or calcium reactor. Ps, I love my calcium reactor for its benefit of stabilizing ph, alk, magnesium, & calcium.   Granted the ph stability is a byproduct of keeping the alkalinity high. <Mmm, yes! Am often pressed (by myself) to "come up with" a/the more appropriate response... Do you have time, interest to aid our efforts? BobF>
Re: Please Help! - dying corals - 03/18/2006
Bob, <Greg> Thank you for your response.  After examining the Acropora again last night, it appeared that the tissue loss had increased since I emailed you.  So I fragged the one remaining small branch portion that appeared to have full flesh and polyps intact.  I dipped the remaining coral and the frag in a Lugol's + tank water solution, placed the frag back in my main tank and placed the remaining coral in my refugium.  When I checked this morning, I found the original coral had lost the remainder of its tissue and only a white skeleton remained.  The flesh was floating in the refugium and the odor was very noticeable to say the least.  At least the frag appears to be doing better.  It has all flesh and full polyp extension. I performed a 32 gallon water change and added activated carbon tonight.  I also discovered that the light, which was above several of the corals (including the decaying Acropora) has loosened from its swivel and was angled slightly differently than normal.  Again, would not expect this to cause significant problems by itself but could be one of many factors that came together at the wrong time. <Perhaps so> I repaired this light mounting as well. Yes, I have the materials to build a Ca reactor.  As soon as I can get a few days at home I hope to complete this project.  I typically dose 9-10 drops of Lugol's each week.  Tonight I added 4 teaspoons of "Purple Up" instead, since it is supposed to contain 10 micron aragonite, Ca and iodine / iodide. Hopefully these steps have helped. <Believe so> I guess all I can do now is wait.  I only wish I were not going to be away for a week at this time. I really appreciate your input -- thank you! --Greg <Thank you for this update... Do take a read at today's Daily FAQs, as someone has written in re your prev. corr. Cheers, Bob Fenner>  

Coral Bleaching - 12/12/05 Hello, <<Howdy>> I hope you are well. <<I am...thank you>> I have a problem, I have been keeping Acropora (several different species) for about 4 months, and now one of my smaller frags and my biggest colony is starting to bleach.  The smaller one was bleaching in more of a traditional sense (as far as I'm concerned), by turning white, and all the polyps have vanished, but I have seemed to counter act that by moving it closer to the lights, and it seems to be doing better.  Is that possible? <<Maybe...if the change was not extreme...if the coral was suffering/bleaching from absence of light.  Maybe you got lucky...>> Is the act of bleaching reversible? <<Certainly...if it hasn't progressed too long and you can determine/eliminate the stressors causing the bleaching event.>> Also, my biggest colony a few tips (maybe 4 of 50) have started to turn a puke green color, instead of the purple they once were, as well as a portion around the base.  Is this some sort of bleaching? <<Mmm, maybe tissue damage/loss and the skeleton is being colonized by algae.>> Can this be repaired, and I'm sorry I could not send a picture due to camera problems, but if you can help me that would be great. <<If the damage does not continue (as in being caused by a predator), it will likely stop/heal on its own.>> Thank You <<Regards, EricR>>
Re: Coral Bleaching - 12/13/05
Thank you for your help, things are still shaky and it seems like everyday I come home from work another coral is showing signs of bleaching, how frustrating is this hobby? <<Mmm...a sure sign that something is amiss.>> I am a long time keeper of soft corals, but these hard corals are tricky. <<Not so much really, with proper research/understanding...the problem starts when you mix the two (soft/hard)...puts you at a disadvantage from the get-go.>> Is there any way to determine what is the stressing element in my tank, could it be a change in salinity? <<If wide swings or less than natural seawater concentrations...yes.>> Do Acropora need direct, and constant water flow? <<Not "direct"...possibility of blasting the flesh from the skeleton.  But vigorous random flow is essential in my opinion.>> I currently have 4 Maxi-Jet 1200s hooked to a Wavemaster, and the return from my sump off a Mag 7, in my 72 gallon, is this not enough? <<In total volume likely so...the problem may lie in the application.  Position the powerheads so the outputs converge to produce random turbulent flow.  Also check to see that you have flow "throughout" the tank and add more powerheads if necessary.>> The only Acros that seem to do fine are the ones getting hammered from water current. <<May be something telling here.  Do have a close look to be sure you don't have a parasite problem (Acro flatworms, etc.) that get "blown off" the Acros with good flow.  Not saying this is your problem, but good to check.  I really think your bleaching is more likely from either the flow issue in general, or allelopathy (even more likely) from the mix of coral species in the tank.  It would help to add some carbon and Poly-Filter to your filtration if you don't have it already.>> Thank you for your help again, and hopefully I can save these corals. <<Check/adjust your flow as recommended, perform a large water change, check/adjust the salinity if you think this is suspect, and add the carbon/Poly-Filter.  EricR>>

Alkalinity drop 7/23/04 I had been using Rowaphos for a few months with no problems. Unfortunately while on vacation, my Calcium Reactor output hose clogged up and the alkalinity dropped from around 10 to 6 ! This severely stressed out several of my favorite colonies including: Tri-Color Acro - this is the worst one hit but there are some live branches with many polyps under the dead white tips. Hydnophora - looks like this may recover from the bleaching Baby Blue Acro Frags- have many of these so not a biggy Blue Acro tortuosa - Tips are turning white, not sure if it will make it. One of my more expensive and most favorite pieces. <I am not convinced that a drop in Alk to 6 would be enough by itself to cause this.  How sure are you that nothing died while you were away, causing an ammonia spike and how sure are you that your temperature did not rise more than about 4-6 degrees above normal?> My questions are:  What is the difference between bleaching and RTN ? My colonies did not all die in a matter of hours, but instead are bleaching slowly....although now that I have stabilized the water parameters (Ca = 430, Alk = 10) the bleaching has slowed but still continues. <Bleaching is the expulsion of Zooxanthellae.  RTN is a condition where the coral "self destructs" and the animal itself dies and the tissue sloughs off of the skeleton.  I agree with your move to correct the alkalinity, and recommend carefully monitoring temperature, alkalinity, pH and other parameters and focus on STABILITY!  I would not try to aggressively correct any other parameter unless it is dangerous (ammonia?).> Should I remove the affected colonies ? <I would not.  Moving them would be another undue stress.> Should I frag the affected colonies to save what I can, or leave them alone and hope they recover ? <I would leave them alone.> Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. <In the mean time, I would recommend lowering your light levels a bit.  I would do this by reducing intensity first (fewer lamps running, raising lamps higher above tank) and only shorten the photoperiod if you don't have any other choice.  After a week or so, work your lighting back to normal over a week or so.  Best of luck!  Adam>

Acropora bleaching question I just acquired three pieces of medium Acropora which came in fine. <be careful of such statements or beliefs. Most corals are somewhat to severely stressed for the first couple of weeks on import. Its just not that obvious unless flesh is falling off> After slowing acclimating to my 30g holding tank (before I put it into the main tank), it was fine for a day. Then the next morning (2 days after acquisition),  <Yowza... a problem already my friend! A mere two day holding period was more harm than good. This animal that was put through several changes in lighting (and extended periods of darkness) on import had to go from another lighting scheme at your vendors holding tank to your holding tank to your display tank all within the same week. Such drastic changes are a great burden on the limited resources of a coral. A longer QT in mod light with mod to heavy feeding would have been better. 4 weeks is a proper QT acclimation. Also, do review the following: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm>  the whole tank was cloudy and everything in that holding tank was dead (2 snails, a small Kole tang). All three pieces of Acropora were bleached white. I guessed something caused it to release its Zooxanthellae.  <stress indeed> Anyhow, my question is this, will these pieces of Acropora slowly recover their Zooxanthellae or are they pretty much dead.  <that depends on if the corallum is denuded of tissue or the tissue simply bleached pigmentation. If the latter, then yes it will recover. You should see clear polyps extended conspicuously if so. Heavy feeding with zooplankton will be critical then (do so in a small QT please). Live rotifers would be excellent> They were fine 24 hours ago, and have been moved to the sump of my main display. Thanks Jim <Jim... moving any coral is truly one of the most dangerous things to do. Even moving an established coral 2-3 times in a week can be enough to kill it. It is a bad habit, my friend and has contributed to the demise of this animal at least to some extent. To better days... Anthony>

Bleached coral- how to handle We have a 20 gallon reef tank in our home. Recently we have been given an Acropora. However it is white with blue/purplish tips. <Ahhh... bleached with only U.V reflecting pigments left. This coral will die within a year if it is not fed and colors up (likely brown... hopefully... with purple tips> I have read about them and understand that there is no naturally white Acropora. <exactly correct> I came across a post on your website that described a similar Acropora. The Acropora we have although white is loaded with green polyps. What is your opinion on this Acropora? The coral is indeed bleached and the pigments you are looking at are reflective proteins and not Zooxanthellae> Would the polyps still be open and thriving if the Acropora was bleached? <absolutely...one thing has nothing to do with the other (feeding organismally on nanoplankton versus symbiosis. What you need to do is fed this coral... but because the polyps are so small (and your mention of a 20 gall display leads me to believe that you do not have a plankton generating refugium), there is likely little hope for this coral to survive here. If you do not choose to move the coral to another tank, however... my advice is to make sure that you have a source of nitrogen in the tank (allow nitrates to linger). If your nitrates are low, you can make an ammonium or nitrate solution to dose the tank with (carefully) to feed the coral. Also, know that this coral will not eat bottled green phytoplankton. It needs zooplankton so small that you cannot provide it from a bottle or can. Do consider adding an upstream refugium to your tank (no Caulerpa though). Gracilaria or Chaetomorpha will help you to grow nutritious plankters for your corals below> Thanks for your time and help. Sincerely, Tana Landau <best regards, Anthony>

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