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FAQs about Acroporid Coral Nutritional Disease

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...), Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest (see below), Treatments 
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,

Like all photosynthetic life; need appreciable, but not too much N, P, K... Nitrate, Phosphate...

LED Light Lenses are "Yellowing" with age... & concern re slowing rate of growth of corals
Hello Crew,
I have a set of well known, high quality LED light fixtures that I have owned for about 6 years. Recently, I have noticed that the lenses through which the LED light is transmitted have "yellowed".
<Mmm; yes; does happen at times; some makes/models by some manufacturers>
The white lights in the fixtures used to be bright white but now they have a noticeable yellow color. Can this be the reason for a considerable slowing of the growth rate of my corals?
<Yes; could be a/the influence>
I have been battling growth problems primarily with my Acroporas; even my typically fast growing "Green Slimer". I am seeing the tips turn brown and even some die off. Water parameters seem to be good as they always have been:
Salinity: 1.026
Alkalinity: 3.5
Calcium: 400ish
pH: 7.95 during the nighttime and early morning, 8.15 during the daytime
<About right>
Nitrates: .75ppm
Phosphates: .06
<Mmm; am self-prompted to mention potassium shortage, similarly magnesium being out of ration as a poss. issue here. Do you use a chemical "feeder stock" for your stonies? I'd look into SeaChem's line>

The tank has been stable around these parameters for the last year and a half. Looking for a possible cause I noticed the yellowing lights and have become concerned that that may be the problem.
Any comments or suggestions are welcome.
<Mmmm; and the usual perusal of the archives/FAQs on WWM on the topics you
list as concerns. Bob Fenner>
RE: LED Light Lenses are "Yellowing" with age

Hi Bob,
Can you give me a bit more information on the "feeder stock" you mentioned.
I checked the Seachem line but am unsure about which product you are referring to.
Thanks, Ralph
<Sorry re: http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/ReefPlus.html>
RE: LED Light Lenses are "Yellowing" with age

Thanks for the quick response. I will look at the items mentioned.
<Real good. Do write back re specific concerns, input. BobF>

Re: Acropora tricolor, fdg., and Zanclus fdg.      6/2/14
Hello Mr. F.
I just wanted to let you know, regarding that Acropora Tricolor that since
our last conversation I started feeding my corals with food specifically developed for SPS (dry zooplankton from an Italian company named Elos ) and the coral completely recovered. All the other SPS are looking much better and the polyp extension is greater than ever.
<Ah good>
So, I just wanted to point out what I have found out by myself: these
animals need to be fed in order to thrive,
<Oh yes; gone over and over on WWM>

maybe the statement that they
need only light in our tanks was true some time ago when the filtration
mechanisms were not so aggressive (the skimmer for example ), but now I
wouldn`t even think to keep corals without feeding them. The same goes for the fish: I have a Zanclus Cornutus for well over 1.5 years now and is doing great and not touching the corals, as well as my P. Imperator but I feed 4-5 times / day with different kind of foods.
Thank you again for pointing me at the right direction.
Andrei from Romania
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Acropora Agonistes    11/26/12
Hello All,
I'm having fits with my sps lately.  Let me give a little history.  My tank was set up 18 months ago running an octopus skimmer and ecobak bio pellets.
 Things were going well and I was beginning to see good continuous growth but alkalinity was always an effort to keep stable (I dose 2 part and keep magnesium well regulated).  Because I was concerned about alkalinity getting too high in a bio pellet system, I let my alkalinity drift down a bit and things continued to look okay.
<With you so far>
About three months ago it all went pear shaped.  Phosphates were getting higher (0.07ish) so I used a little liquid phosphate remover.
<Lanthanum I'll take it>
 Corals started keeling over the course of days.
  I went with massive water changes, stopping phosphate remover, and taking the pellets out of the system (I felt like I was working too hard to keep everything in a sweet spot). 
I tried to go with a much more traditional system with a longer track record of success.  I went with Purigen and gFO in separate reactors.
Things started working again.  Growth was great for a while.  I refreshed the GFO and things were going alright.  After a few weeks, a new batch of GFO, half as much, and things start going markedly worse.
<Remove the GFO>

I feed what I think is heavily, with a combination of Cyclop-eeze, Mysis, oyster ova, rotifers, and decamped brine eggs.  I show no nitrates ever
<All chemo- and photo-synthates need measurable NO3 and HPO4...>

 and for the last two months alkalinity is stable at 177 ppm on a Hanna Checker.  I have also noticed a lot of purple coloration in corals and clams that were more diverse in color.
I have attached a sample pic.  Note the shrunken polyps, the dieback, and the dark purple color on what is ideally a yellow and blue coral.  Forgive the poor picture quality.
Please advise.
With Many Thanks,
<Mmm, well, you could (I might) simply overfeed what you list to produce essential nutrients (in the water) here... Else-wise, there is some experimentation one can/might do to see if you can discover and restore whatever the rate limiting, missing component is here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Acropora Agonistes    11/27/12
Thank you for your kind reply.  I'm sure you hear it all the time, but the effort and assistance you give is very much appreciated.
<Ahh, welcome>
I took out the GFO and, this may just be my imagination, a day later I think I see improvement.
<Your situation, circumstances and current observations are more the norm than unusual nowayears w/ the proliferation of "chemical filtrants"...
Folks, companies "making money" from their promotion, sale really should self-assess what they're up to... My common statement: "More emphasis on biology, less on technology" would benefit all>

 The coral tissue looks like it is encroaching on the algae rather than the other way around.  The only coral not showing
some sign of improvement is the one I sent the picture of.  He was the worst off though, so we'll see.
Is it possible to see a turnaround that quick?
<Yes; think on your being deprived of something essential... like air, oxygen...>

  When and how much GFO should I consider (If phosphate gets up to .1? .2?).
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/phosphatemar.htm
and the linked HPO4 FAQs files above, and Nutrient Export... There are quite a few ways, means to avoid/exclude Phosphate accumulation>
Thanks again for the help!
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Acropora Agonistes   12/5/12
Thank you for all the help.  I've run things without the GFO since we spoke about a week ago.  Things are not getting worse and there are hints of improvement.  The problem is my phosphate is now 0.1ppm on my Hanna checker.  It was 0 previously.
<Not a problem I assure you>

I'm not about to panic.  My understanding is with steady input and decreased export, this is going to happen.
<What is going to happen?>
 I should just keep things steady and let the creepy crawlies growing and breeding and take up the excess.
<Likely so; limited by... whatever is limiting>
Assuming all this is correct, my concern is that the jump was pretty quick (from 0 to .1ppm in a week).  I'm going to cut the feedings down to about half until the phosphate reduces appreciably then increase it slowly.
Is this all correct or have I wildly missed the point?  Any additional advice?
<Have I referred you to Marco's piece here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/phosphatemar.htm
and the linked files above re HPO4? Bob Fenner>
Re: Acropora Agonistes   12/5/12

<Big D!>
Wow, I'm going to have my writing license revoked.  Shortly thereafter, they'll have me taken out back and flogged.  All quite warranted I assure you.  The corrected passage should read:
I'm not about to panic. My understanding is with steady input and decreased export, *a temporary increase in phosphate is expected or at least reasonably likely.*
<<Ah yes>>
My humblest apologies,
<<No worries all the way about. BobF>>

Montipora caps losing color, nutrient, lambda    6/30/12
Hi crew!! I bought a green Montipora cap 3 months ago and a red one 2 months
ago.  Although they are both growing the green one has almost completely lost its' color and the red one is paler but holding on. Here is some background on their circumstances. They are in a 55 gallon with a 30 gal refugium that has been running for 6 years. Lighting is a 4 bulb T5 with 2 AquaSun bulbs, 1 IndigoSun bulb and 1 actinic (system 4 months old).
<Mmm, this is not much light... do you have access to a PAR/PUR meter? Do check the strength near where these Montiporas are placed... I'd move up to where the reading is at least 100>
Daytime bulbs run for 10 hours a day.  Water parameters: Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate all 0. Phosphate tests out at 0.
<Here's at least one explanation for loss of color. All chemophotosynthates need (measurable) NO3 and HPO4
... the folks who sell chemical filtrants and gear are wont to explain this... Your Acroporids are starved for essential nutrients>
 Calcium 400-450, alkalinity 3.5 meq, pH 8-8.2. I run Chemipure and activated carbon and do weekly 10 gallon water changes with RO/DI water mixed with Tropic Marin Reef (marinated for days). When I first got both of them I started them at the bottom of the tank and moved them (after a month) half way up the tank.  What could be the problem? Water quality, lighting (too much?
not enough?)  Any direction you can point me in would be very appreciated.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acrosysfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Montipora caps losing color     7/1/12
Hello Mr. Fenner! Thank you for the very quick response!! I do not have a PAR/PUR meter.  I'll check to see if my LFS has one.
<Yes; and/or a local reef/marine club>
  In the meantime perhaps I should move both of them higher up in the tank. How should I increase HPO4 and NO3?
<Just stop using filtrants... perhaps feed a bit more>
 Should I remove the Chemipure or carbon?
I've been running them to reduce allelopathy.
<A good "reason"; but likely your Cnidarians are now "used to each other">
 I wondered about nutrients but I feed Rod's and Cyclop-eeze so I thought they would "feed" from that. Again, thank you for your help!
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Montipora caps losing color     7/1/12

Wow!  Good to know that they might be used to each other by now.  I'll remove immediately.  Will the color come back on the existing coral or will only the new growth have color?
<Maybe... one can hope. B>
  Thank you so much, Mr. Fenner! Jen

SPS Placement and Problem 12/27/11
First, thank you for being very helpful. I have recently acquired some corals that I am in need of some help with. One of them I bought from an online vendor that could only tell me it was an "Acro of some sort". I know they are hard to ID but this coral is giving me fits. It is a smooth skin coral, tan coloration throughout, and bright neon green polyps that seem to appear at random places. After doing some research I THINK it is a deepwater speciosa but I am not sure??
<Could be... but not "too deep">
I had it placed about mid level in my aquarium for about 3 weeks. The coral seemed to be browning a bit and seemed to be losing some of its neon green coloring it would take on when the actinics kicked on at night. So one day I moved him up only about 4 inches. I have 175 w metal halides.
When I got home from work the following day the coral had multiple tips that were completely bleached up to a 1/4 inch or more. There was no skin left on these tips just bone structure. I immediately moved him back to where I originally had him. This did not help. The tissue loss seemed to be getting faster daily. So I relented and moved the coral to the bottom of the aquarium where it is lightly shaded and has good flow. The tissue loss has slowed, but continues on tips. I break off the dead tips.....some continue to lose tissue but others don't. I am lost on what to do with this guy. I am afraid I am going to lose him. PLEASE HELP.
<Mmm, there's more to hard coral health then light/ing...>

I am attaching a picture of the coral. This picture was taken by the vendor not me. THANK YOU! My Param.s are 8.1 ph, 9.5 ALK, 525 Cal, phos 0, Nitrate 0,
<... Mmm, here for instance. "Some" measurable HPO4 and NO3 is absolutely necessary (essential nutrients) for chemosynthates... organisms that take up chemical foods from their surroundings. Whatever you're doing to render these 0.0 needs to be stopped... or alternatively, foods need to be introduced/fed that result in their presence.>

SG 1.024, MAG 1250.Second question, I also bought a coral from a LFS. It is a Cyphastrea. I have mixed directions on their placement. The first two days I had him his polyps were extended night and day. Now they are never out except at night and even then they seem to come out about half way. Where should this guy be placed?
<Medium light and current>
People say near the bottom in a random flow. It doesn't seem right to me. Please help on this.
<Again, the soluble phosphate and nitrate...>
Other than no polyp extension he seems fine. On the same rock as the Cyphastrea, I got a surprise coral. It is a purple rimmed Monti confusa I believe. Seems healthy but his polyps do not extend much either. I am going to separate the two but I am not sure where to place the Monti Confusa either.
<... please see WWM... the search tool, indices>
Please advice me. Thank you very much and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year guys! You guys are life savers. Respectfully, Chris Ryland
<Do search/read re the nutrients as well. Bob Fenner>

Re: SPS Placement and Problem 12/27/11
The tests used to receive the 0 results are standard API test kits. I hear they are the worst on the market. True?
<No, there are worse... this too is gone over on WWM, archived...>
I also hear that even if my test says it is 0 there is likely some organics or nutrient levels in my aquarium.
I have a moderate load of fish. 10 to be exact that I feed daily. Would this not add the necessary nutrients?
<Should... perhaps you can increase the feedings>
I should mention I have several other SPS corals including Monti capricornis and Acros. The Acro I refer to below is the only one giving me issues. Can you advise me on anything else I can do stop the tissue loss?
Thank you
<... that you read... See WWM re:
and the linked files above.... Learn to/use the search tool and indices.
Re: SPS Problem 12/31/11

Hello again. I hope all is well with you guys at WWM and happy new year.
We spoke previously about the Acro I have that is giving me fits. A few days ago I had to frag it.
<Had to?>
I cut about 5 good sized pieces off of it. When I got home from work that day it was obvious RTN had set in. Nearly the entire lower half of the Acro was dead. I waited about an hour and looked again and more of the coral was dead. Of the five pieces it appears 3 are doing quite well. No STN or RTN signs are apparent (crossing fingers). It is odd to me because the 3 that are doing well are under shelves in dark areas where they are not exposed to any direct light. In fact I would call these heavily shaded areas. Could this be due to the coral not being healthy?
<... Yes>
Or is it due to the type of Acro it is?
<... only to some extent>
Is it possible this particular type of Acro cannot handle bright metal halides?
<Likely not acclimated to such. Read here:
and the linked FAQs file>
The other 2 pieces were placed in areas with only a small amount of direct light hitting them. Both of these frags have completely turned white and have died within two days time. I am currently attempting to keep things stable as possible and leaving things alone. Do you have any advice you can offer for these 3 frags that seem to be doing okay and obviously want little light?
<Continue to leave them alone>
My Monti Confusa seems to be doing better however, its edges are not a deep purple as they were when I first got it. The edges are quite a bit lighter but there are no dead areas that I can see. I think it may be getting too much light...? It is mid level in the tank. Can you please advise on this too? Thank you
<Please read where you've been referred. B>

SPS Problem/s... induced, nutrient deprivation, allelopathy 12/27/11
Please forgive my constant questions but thank you for being so helpful.
How are you guys today?
<I'm fine, thanks; but I do wonder where the FW WWM folks are>
I have another question for you sir. Last night while checking on things I noticed the Montipora Confusa I spoke of below has a white patch starting on it now as well. It is not new growth as I know what new growth appears as on Montis. Could this be related to a disease or a fungus in the system?
<Could... yes; though highly likely something else>
I am completely baffled on this because I have many Monti, Acro, and Birdsnest colonies in my system and it is only these 2 relatively new animals (1 Monti confusa and 1 Acro) that are giving me the issues. PH 8.1, Cal 525,
<Too high... would keep below 450 ppm>
ALK 9.5, Phos undetectable, NO3 undetectable,
<... we've gone over this... Starving>
Mag 1250, SG 1.024 and running 0 TDS water for water changes. 3x175 watt metal halides with 2 160 watt VHO actinics over a 125 gallon display tank plus a 60 gallon sump/fuge full of Chaeto and Caulerpa. BTW I have Cyano in my sump.
<Likely scavenging nutrient>
Always have for some reason. I did feed heavily last night hoping the corals would get some nutrients and did a good dose of Selcon. The Monti was attached to the same rock as my Cyphastrea as mentioned previously. Two different light and flow preferences if I am not mistaken?
<Enough range, crossover...>
I cut the Monti off the rock by cutting the rock itself and separating the two. The white patch on the was cut away as well.
<... I wouldn't do this>
I moved the Monti to an area of good flow and higher light. About a 6 inch move to mid level. Remember the coral was nearly on the bottom. Too much??
<Too much what?>
Next I took both the Acro and the Monti and I dipped them in Seachem Reef Dip. No pests were seen falling off except tiny white Collonista snails.
I almost feel as though this is a last ditch effort.
<? Move them elsewhere; to another system, if concerned>
Tonight I am changing all media as well (carbon, GFO, Chemi pure elite).
Will this help?
<... IF the issue here is nutrient unavailability, no... IF allelopathy,
temporarily, likely yes>
What about super gluing the recessing skin on the Acro?
I've heard this will help? And now my final questions. I have Star Polyps in several places in my tank.
<Source of the likely allelopathy. SEE WWM re this term, condition>
They grow like weeds spreading throughout.
Very attractive sight as they are growing on the back glass too. Can these pose a problem to my SPS?
<Of a certainty, yes>
I also have a large (5 inches or more) Toad stool with 3 Kenya trees attached to the same rock. Could these guys be causing me an issue?
<Oh yes>
I have 2 Giant Hairy Mushrooms I got by accident but they do great and have never caused an issue. Could they be causing problems?
What about my RBTA?
<Uh huh>
I've had my RBTA for over a year as well with no issues. And lastly, I have had a Purple Frilly Gorgonian in my system for over a year. Could this guy be causing me these issues?
<Not nearly as likely as the others above>
I have read that the Purple Frilly Gorgs are not likely to release toxins into the water like some of their relatives. True?
<... just answered>
Why would it only effect these two corals?
<They're the newest, intruders, weakest...>
I hate to lose the Gorg as it has grown well and looks great in my system.
Gives it a very real Reef look. Thank you and again, sorry for all the questions. I am most appreciative of your assistance and I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to answer my questions. Respectfully,C. Ryland
<Mmm, you've got the good curiosity going for you... DO keep reading and we'll chat further. BobF>

Bleaching Montipora - 02/23/06 Hi and thank you for answering my ?. <<I'm happy to be a part of it all.>> I have had a frag of Red Montipora capricornis for about 2 weeks and I have noticed that it is losing its color and now is white/pinkish in color. <<Troubling indeed>> My Salinity, water temp, no nitrates, no ammonia, are fine.  My lighting is 2x250 MH with 10k Ushios and are about 12 inches from where the Monti cap is placed. <<Hmm...if the frag didn't come from the same type of light environment it may be experiencing "light shock".>> Their is very little flow where the cap is placed also. <<This too is a problem...high flow please...>> Could it possibly be that I have to much light over the Monti cap and should I place it under an overhang? <<These corals are often kept quite successfully in "high light" environments, but if it wasn't acclimated to the light, that may well have been the problem...but after two weeks I think you're better off leaving it where it is.  It will have begun to adjust by now (if it's going to recover), and moving it again means more stress.>> Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.  I could possibly send you a pic if that would help out. <<I think the best you can do at this point is increase water flow in the vicinity of the coral/the tank as a whole.  Regards, EricR>>

Acroporas turning brown Hi WWM! <Hi Jen, MacL here with you tonight.> I know you all are so busy these days, I have tried to research this on my own and can't really find a lot of info on Acroporas turning brown.  I have asked several online dealers and the LFS, but I get very conflicting information. <I can tell you right now that's because multiple things can turn the corals brown.> I have been told I didn't have enough lighting (when I had 2 X 150W HQI MH), and upgraded to 2 X 250W HQI MH, and now have been told I have too much lighting. <Did you acclimate the corals to the stronger lighting? By acclimate I mean did you give them time to grow accustomed to the stronger lighting by putting them on for less hours or perhaps higher above the tank?> I don't know how much info you need to be able to tell me why this is happening, but here goes. . . 80 gallon tank, setup three years ago.  100 lbs. of LR, 60-80 lbs. LS, Lighting: 2X 250 W HQI MH 14k, 2X 96 W PC Actinics, mounted 10" off top of tank.  Aqua C Remora Pro (upgraded skimmer 6 months ago), 4 Maxi-jet powerheads, approx 920 gph. Livestock: 1 blue tang, 1 royal Gramma, 1 lawnmower blenny, 1 six line wrasse, 1 citron goby, 3 blue Chromis, 1 cinnamon clown, 15-20 Turbo snails, 10 Nassarius snails, 20 Astrea snails, 25 various dwarf hermit crabs, 2 blue tuxedo urchins, 2 Mithrax crabs, 5-10 Cerith snails, 2 brain corals, 1 Favites, 1 Blastomussa, 1 Montipora (also turned brown), 1 Acropora, 1 yellow Porites.  The Acropora and the Montipora are both near the top of the tank, top 10".   Water Parameters:  PH 8.3 1:30pm, Temp 80, Amm 0, Trites 0, Trates 0, Phosphates 0, Alk 8.4-9.2 DKH, Calc 375, SG 1.025. I use RO/DI water for top off and water changes.  I top off with one gallon every night.  I change about 5 gallons per week.  I use Kalkwasser,  turbo calcium, and Warner Marine's two part A and B.  I also started adding this week Kent's Essential Elements (which I was told I should be adding every week).  <Your levels look great but let me ask? are you having any ph fluctuation? Also, how long after you got the corals did they turn color? How long had you had them? Do you have any idea if they are wild corals? Often wild corals turn colors but will often regain color after they adjust to the tank.  Wild Acroporas will often change as part of their adjustment. See what I mean by it could be a lot of things?> Please let me know what you think may be causing these corals to turn brown.  I have also read "high nutrients" can cause this browning. What nutrients?? <Phosphates can be a problem but generally high nutrients are what they call the "dirty tank" which is often lots of algae, plankton, etc.>  Where are they coming from?  How can I test for them?  If I was overfeeding wouldn't I see a rise in nitrates and phosphates?  I am just completely confused and my head is spinning with what everybody has been telling me, please set me straight. <No worries Jen, I think the most confusing part is  that Acroporas can change because of many things and the biggest thing is just to go down the list one thing at a time to try to isolate what did it. Don't worry we can help you.>  Thank You,  Jen Marshall      

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