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FAQs about Disease Treatment 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, Environment, Nutritional, Pathogenic (Infectious, parasitic), Predator/Pests, Social, Trauma,

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

Sarcophyton coral, closed with brown mucus      3/10/15
Hi there!
We recently noticed our Devil's Hand leather has developed some irritated/pale tips and what appears to be brown slime accumulating on the "fingers" (please see attached photos).
<Looks like the colony is failing; algae growing at the burnt tips>

Water parameters:
180 gallon
pH: 8.2
water temp: 78 degrees F
kH: 7
Ca: 380ppm
Nitrate: ~2ppm
Phosphate: 0.03ppm
Salinity: 1.026
<All above is okay... note that this is not ALL involved. e.g.; what re Potassium?>
This leather has been in the tank for over a year now and we've never seen this brown mucus before or the pale bruised tips.
<Well; I see evidence of similar "burning" on the Sarcophytons shown...>
I've recently changed the GFO/Carbon reactor which caused a drop in phosphate from 0.2ppm to 0.03ppm.
<I'd remove this...>

There are two other leathers in the tank that have full polyp extension  but a couple of the polyps appear to be spitting out some zoox.
<Perhaps the low HPO4, rust burn, low K; a reaction to the reacting Zoanthids...>

Out of curiosity, we suctioned out some of the brown slime and placed it under our scope. Are the brown organisms in the slide Zooxanthellae, diatoms, or something else?
<The former likely; the shape and color is indicative; though I swear I can see two nuclei and cilia in some>

Other reef keepers have suggested dipping the leather, but I don't want to move it in case it gets stressed further.
Thank you for your time,
<I'd ditch the ferric oxide, add iodide-ate and a KCl or other K soln and hope for the best.

Bob Fenner>

Toadstool Mushroom Help, hlth. 3/17/09
Hi All,
I have a large toadstool mushroom that has some tissue damage on it. I was away for the weekend, and one of my colt leather corals decided to reproduce by dropping some of its branches. Consistent with my luck, one of the colt branches became lodged in a powerhead intake, and proceeded to spray bits and pieces of itself onto the toadstool mushroom that usually enjoys the current from the powerhead. There are two white, spot, about 1in in diameter on the toadstool now, the tissue is dying and beginning to fall off. I'm guessing this is probably due from chemicals from the colt?
The spots are almost exactly where the flow from the powerhead hits the toadstool, and now its has been retracted for a few days. I have removed the remaining bits of the colt from the intake, and cleaned it thoroughly, but is there anyway I can help the toadstool?
<Mmm, I'd dose (double) whatever Iodine-containing supplement you have/use (Lugol's?)... and an hour or more later double up on activated carbon in your filter flow path... That, and stay observant>
Thank you so much,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Distressed Leather? (Leather Coral Malady)   12/11/07 Hey, <Right back atcha! Scott F. in tonight!> I have a Toadstool Leather that I have had for a few years now. It had a yellow discoloration on the cap in the past and I put the leather in Lugol's and it seemed to take care of the problem. It has returned and the Lugol's doesn't seem to work this time. The middle of the cap has begun to decay, or I guess you could call them areas of necrosis. It hasn't look healthy for a few months now. <Hmm.. not a good sign. Something may be amiss here!> I have placed in Lugol's solution 3 times during this time period. Is there anything else that I can do? Any ideas on what might cause this? Thank you for your help. Zach Stamey <Well, Zach- this type of "necrosis" could be caused by a few different things, ranging from a localized reaction by the coral to something lodged in its tissue (such as a piece of sand, debris, etc.) to a possible response to poor or inadequate flow, or degraded water chemistry. Do some investigation and see if you can correct any problems that you find. The remedy for this condition is typically the Lugol's dips that you have already employed, or freshwater dips. If this does not seem to reverse the condition, you could always play "ER" and surgically cut out the affected area with a sharp razor blade. As you probably know, these corals generally respond well to such procedures, and heal quickly if environmental conditions (flow, water quality, etc.) are maintained. With some careful observations, minor system "tweaks", and some perseverance, you can help your Leather coral regain its former glory and thrive for years! Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>
Distressed Leather (Cont'd.)  12/16/07
Thanks for the info. <You're quite welcome!> Is there a limit to how many times I should try the Lugol's treatment? <I would not try it more than once a day...maybe once every other day. Not based on any scientific data, just personal experience...I don't like to overuse the stuff.> I am pretty sure that its not water quality or water movement. The water quality is maintain very well. I may have to be a surgeon for a day! <Break out the razor blade and get to work! Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Damaged Sinularia...What To Do? -- 09/17/07 Hi crew, <<Hiya Monica>> Love your site, thanks a lot for all the information. <<Hope you find it of use...>> I have a Sinularia sp that I just got. I put it in the QT and few days after I did a freshwater dip with Flatworm Exit (a friend advised but I did it with freshwater instead of saltwater... wrong !!!). <<Mmm, indeed...most corals do not take well to freshwater dips in my experience>> I saw something like a necrotic part but it didn't have any smell. I took it out cleaned it and put it back. It didn't help. <<How so?>> I am attaching a pic. <<I see it...possibly a physical injury/scarring as a result of collection>> Now I don't know if I should cut it (have never done it) or if is on its way to recuperate. Please advise. Thanks. Monica Johlic <<Unless you're certain the damaged tissue is decomposing or the wound is spreading/enlarging I would just keep an eye on it and leave it be to heal on its own (make sure the coral receives good water flow to allow it to shed metabolites/bacteria). If you determine it to be necessary, you can carefully remove the diseased or necrotic tissue with a new razorblade and see if this stops the progression. Eric Russell>>

Sinularia dura looking bad    5/3/07 Hi Crew, <Jason> I have a Sinularia dura that's been in my tank for over a year and a half (came with my first LR). It has been doing well all this time, but for the past 2 weeks (about) parts of it have been looking bad -- no polyp extension I can see, crusty-looking surface. All my water parameters are in line except a somewhat low alkalinity of 7.5. All of the other corals in the tank look normal. <When, where in doubt... Water changes, added circulation, cleaning up of your skimmer... if necessary/practical, moving the specimen/s> One thing to note is that I have a fair amount of green hair algae. <Ahh... perhaps a clue... as do dis-improving water quality... Tests?> I've been trying to remove it slowly through siphoning and water changes. Here are two pictures, hopefully these will help. In this first one, you can see the left-most "horn" looks good, with polyps and a translucent pink color. The others have no polyps and look duller. http://picasaweb.google.com/jasonm1/AquariumLife/photo#5060129994889755474 This one is taken from a different viewpoint, where you can see the top surface of the coral better. http://picasaweb.google.com/jasonm1/AquariumLife/photo#5060129831680998210 Thanks! Jason <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyondisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Leathers flaking away   4/13/07 I have recently purchased two new leathers, one green and purple finger leather and a colt leather. The colt is drooped over changing color from dark to light purple and also appears to be separating itself from the rock it was attached to, should I be concerned or take any action I have only had it for about a week? <This is a bad sign, I would attempt to remove this coral to a separate tank, using the same tank water then altering this slowly afterwards. Also, there are likely common scavengers -- crabs etc - that will soon start pulling this apart when they discover it> My main concern lies with the finger leather, the coral seems to be flaking apart but its color has not changed much, today I was scraping algae from the front glass and the bottom stalk actually fell right off the base of this coral seems to be completely flaking apart is this coral doomed and what could have caused this I have other corals that have been thriving. <It sounds like you have a lot of necrotic tissue present around the coral's base. Probably due to over-handling (contact with hands etc), also how did you acclimate this coral? As for both to be purchased at the same time and both have the same problem an acclimation procedure may be partially to blame. I would 'frag' this coral immediately to have hope of saving at least a percentage of it. 'Have a VERY sharp razor blade or scalpel ready. A needle with clean nylon thread (or fishing line) ready and waiting to stitch too. Also a piece of small rock or rubble as well. Move 3/4-1" above the highest necrotic area of the base of the stalk. Cut clean and fast through the animal. You must wear gloves and keep the procedure down to a minimum time of handling. After the cut, look at the exposed trunk and be sure that you cleared the soft and necrotic area... if so, run a stitch or two through the base (no more than an inch from the bottom) and tie it off to a piece of rock. Return it to the exact same place it was in the tank and do not touch it for weeks. Maintain strong water flow and very aggressive skimming in the tank. Small daily doses of iodine may be therapeutic for the tank too (not extra iodine... just your weekly dose broken down to daily).' -- Thanks to Anthony for that explanation. Also see here - http://www.wetwebmedia.com/softcorhealth.htm> Water tem 78-79 kH 8 Ca is high over 520 Nitrates are low <Figures needed> Nitrites 0 Salinity .029 I know is high <Would lower to nearer NSW - .026> 3 watts per gal t5 72 gal bow Two opposing Seio 820 powerheads <More reading needed, this a common problem with this common species with a common answer commonly available. Also please spell check and punctuate all sentences. Olly>

To cut or not to cut, that is the question!   3/26/07 Hello again guys and gals! I wasn't sure what to think about this coral this morning when I came in, I noticed a small area on it that appears to be dead or dying tissue. (Close up) <I see this> see the light spot on the underside of the small "nub" sticking out? What would  that be? <Mmm... a sort of ecdysis perhaps... maybe a bitten off injury... could be a "stung" reaction area by another Cnidarian> This coral stays completely open and extended all day, this photo was  taken during the dawn hours of the tanks light cycle so this coral was just  opening.   Water  Parameters: PH - 8.4 during the day No3 - <2 Po4 - <.3 dKH - 12.5 Ca  - 400 NH4 - 0 No2 - 0 SG - 1.025 Temp - 76 - 78 degrees F Any input  on what this is or what to do would be wonderful, thank you so much! Brian  Crenshaw <I wouldn't do much of anything here... Do you utilize Iodine-ide in your system... See WWM re> PS sorry for the mix up with the photos! Also, any idea what the white spots are in the third  photo? <Mmm, maybe Ascidians... BobF>
Re: To cut or not to cut, that is the question!   3/27/07 Hello again Bob, How are you today? <Fine, but bushed... traveling> About the small white ovals I mentioned before, would it be possible that those might be coco worms developing? <Mmm, no not likely> Mine have spawned twice now, and it has been about 2 - 3 weeks since the first time. Every time I do a  water change towards the end of my tanks dusk cycle with slightly cooler, and  slightly less saline water than what is in the main tank the male  coco worm gets to work sending his streamers of sperm out and almost as soon as  he is done the female starts sending out pink streams of eggs out into the water. I do plan on experimenting and testing this further but those conditions seem to work like a charm. It is quite fun to watch, like a discovery channel special! <Sounds great... Perhaps a more "close-up" photograph...> The leather coral I mentioned in the previous email seems to be doing alright, it shed off some skin yesterday and seems to be a bit more  perky today. I was (am) thinking that perhaps it was stung by my torch coral.  About three weeks ago I was moving some things around in the tank and I  bumped one of the torches heads pretty hard (I felt terrible about it) and early  last week I noticed that head starting to "wither away" it is now nearly  completely gone, no sign of any kind of infection ex: brown jelly or any other  type that I am aware of. While this head was wearing away could a piece have  broken off been caught by the current and blown into the leather stinging it on  impact and causing that kind of damage? <Mmm, yes> As far as the damaged area of the  leather coral is concerned should I remove it, or just keep an eye on it? <I'd do the latter> Would  it possibly grow back? <Yes, certainly> Also, with no sign of infection on the torch, should  anything be done to it, or am I doing the right thing by just watching it for  further problems? <Read... on WWM re Euphylliid, Scleractinian Disease/s...> Current water parameters in the aquarium are still the same: PH - 8.4 during the day No3 - <2 Po4 - <.3 dKH -  12.5 Ca  - 400 NH4 - 0 No2 - 0 SG - 1.025 Temp - 76 - 78  degrees F There is a bit of sponge growth in the tank now too, I found 6 Syconoid sponges growing on a couple of pieces of live rock. From the readings I have taken from the tank, I know the dKH is high, but does anything else look off to you? <No> I read on WWM that these sponges typically grow if the tank has poor skimming, over feeding, basically poor water quality. I have been feeding the tank very lightly every other day, mainly for the inverts 3 cleaner shrimp, 7 Nassarius snails, and lots and lots of amphipods. After I did the water  change I also had a brown algae bloom, it mainly appeared on the sand bed  wherever light hits it, and in small patches on a few live rocks, it looks a bit  slimy so I am guessing perhaps that some of what I am seeing might be bacteria rather than algae? <Possibly> I really hope my microscope gets here today. I am considering purchasing some Cerith snails to stir up the sand bed more, would this in your opinion be a wise purchase? <Are useful species>
Thank you,
Brian Crenshaw
Re: follow up on "coral surgery". Alcyoniid hlth.   4/4/07 Hello Bob, How are you today? <Fine my friend, thank you> I wanted to let you know the Sinularia coral with the stung and dying patch on it is doing great now, I took it out of the display tank and placed it in a large casserole dish mostly full of aquarium water where I used an Exacto knife to cut away the dead and infected tissue. I also use vinyl gloves any time I am handling corals so my skin oils don't damage any parts of them. <Very good> After the "surgery" I then placed the coral in a Lugol's dip for 17 minutes and then let it sit in some clean salt water of the same temperature, specific gravity, ph, and so on of the aquarium for about 2 hours where it did shed some skin. Today it is open, perky and looking loads better! I did have a couple of other questions for you. You mentioned in the previous email that it is not a good Idea to place 2 Sinularia sp. corals in the same aquarium, <Correct... they compete for space in the wild... a dispersal mechanism... helps to ensure survival of the species...> I have no idea if mine are clones or not, and I am not sure how to tell. They do seem to be doing well though, and have been for a month now (not long I know). What is the danger in keeping these together? Should I leave them together if they seem to be fine, and do something if the situation becomes other than favorable? <No likely need for overt reaction... just something to be aware of...> Or would you recommend removing one right away? I also have a large Cladiella sp. coral in this tank that is doing quite well, all three corals are on different levels of the tank, the Cladiella sp. is at the highest point in the tank almost 4 inches from the surface and loves it! I am doing bi-weekly water changes on the tank until the new filtration system arrives. All animals are doing well, I figured out what the white ovals in the tank are (we talked about those in a previous email), they turned out to be Nerite snail eggs, <Ahh!> now all 4 species of snail introduced intentionally into the aquarium have reproduced. My coco worms have twice now in front of my fiancé© and I. Today I noticed my feather dusters seem to be splitting into two, I am guessing this is a form of asexual reproduction. I now have 5 Xenia colonies where there was once one, and my Anthelia coral has now become 7 colonies! My crocea clams are also showing wonderful growth! Have you ever heard of Life Reef Filtration Systems by Jeff Turcheck? <Yes> If so, what is your opinion on his products? <Their products appear to be well made> I was considering getting a filtration system made by him. Yesterday we also introduced our first fish back to the reef after nearly 5 weeks of the aquarium running fallow. He had been in quarantine for 4 weeks and was losing weight from not eating, he is very healthy other than that. He is stuffing himself with amphipods and small crustaceans in the sand and rock, and seems extremely happy! He likes sitting in places where he can "people watch". My last question for you is about 3 "Yasha haze" gobies I have, they have had some black spots on them for what must be 2 weeks now, I can't Identify what they are, I have done freshwater dips with Methylene blue, and they are in quarantine with copper in the system, any suggestions or ideas on what this might be? <Likely just some sort of "stress markings"... I would not expose such small fishes to long periods of quarantine or much chemical use> I will try to get some good photos to send you so you can see what I am dealing with on them. As always thank you for your help and time Bob! Brian Crenshaw
<Thank you. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sinularia hlth., repro.   4/13/07 Hello Bob and Crew! I had another concern to run by you today. My Sinularia sp. coral is having a possible issue again. I don't know if you remember what happened before or not but my Sinularia coral had a small branch that developed a white (ish) area on it. We both agreed that it was most likely stung and infected. I had cut the infected branch off and it is almost completely healed now and doing great. Now, however there is another branch doing it and this time I know it wasn't injured. Could this be some form of reproduction? <Mmm, possibly> I know some corals will drop branches and those will attach to substrate and grow. Have you seen/ heard of this type of coral doing that? <Yes> The "infected" area seems to spread around the arm to be dropped and thins out an area until it breaks off. At least it seems so, when I was cutting the arm off of it the first time it just broke off, then I cut the rest of the light area off. What would you recommend I do with this coral? Thank you as always for your time and consideration. Take care, Brian <Have heard/read of this "dispersal mechanism"... a version of "fragmentation", asexual reproduction... Does it portend something "missing", "overly-stressful" in this colony's environment? Bob Fenner>


Leather hlth... predation? Allelopathy?   2/22/07 Hello Crew <Wayne> I could really use your help here.  Can't seem to find anything on the site.   I know I've been writing you  a lot lately, but questions keep coming. My leather seems to be falling apart.  See pics attached. I woke up the other day, and noticed that one of its stalks/arms was missing. I thought maybe it was the Condy anemone, maybe my Tuskfish ate it...and dismissed the incident. <Could be the effect of either...> Well, I found the stalk that had fallen off, and it was dead and starting to rot (brown, slimy and stinky). You can see where the stalk fell off on the pic...it's the big white spot. It seems like the spot is spreading, and the next stalk appears to be weakening. I figured if a stalk fell off, it would in essence frag itself, so I was startled when I found it dead. Any thoughts? The leather is 1.5 years old and has grown tremendously over the years. I just added more LR 1 week before this happened. Maybe a hitchhiker of some sort. <Mmm... I'd move this specimen if it were mine... away from whatever the mal-influence is here...> I have a Condy anemone, some zoos, <These could also be a source of trouble here> and a colt coral. Also have Volitans lion, Harlequin Tusk, and a damsel. Parasite maybe? <Mmm, the last is unlikely... If you have to leave this animal here, I would check your water quality and bolster your Iodide supplementation... if it continues to disimprove, I would definitely move it... and if it "falls apart" even more, frag it... You have read on WWM re Alcyoniid health I take it. Bob Fenner>

Sarcophyton Health  - 03/13/2006 I have a new reef aquarium setup (first time reefer) that I am now to the point of adding corals to.  The first corals added were Yellow Colony Polyps, a Sarcophyton Leather Toadstool coral and green Button Polyp (Zoanthid).   They all did well for the first week and I added a few more corals - perhaps too soon.  New corals were an aquacultured green Sinularia (three to four inches from the original Sarcophyton), a green Sarcophyton, a small aqua cultured Capnella  and a Cladiella.  Water parameters are 0 ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, 420 calcium, 11dKH , 1100 magnesium, 8.2 PH, 80~81 degrees, 1.025 salinity.  I add Calxmax daily (any experience with this product?) <Nope.> to buffer calcium and replenish trace elements.  I also change 10 gallons of water weekly on a 46 gallon bow front  tank.  Lights are 150W metal halide for 6 hours a day <Lets get this up to 10 or 12.  The reefs get more than 6 hours of sunlight per day.> and 135W of blue actinic for 13 hours a day.  The leather in question is in the lower middle  of the tank in moderate water flow.  Water is from a combined RO/DI unit with Tropic Marine Pro Reef salt.  There is an external protein skimmer with refreshed activated carbon as I refreshed it when the new corals added.  The original Sarcophyton was doing well.  It was just finishing shedding it's mucus for the first time and was opening up again when the new corals were added.  After one day, its health started to declined quickly.  It was drooping this morning and I noticed the base turning white as well as the fringe of one of its folds (new corals were added 2.5 days ago).  The newly added Sarcophyton is doing very well but is on the other end of the tank. <May want to dose iodine/iodide here, will help.> I feed DT's Phytoplankton and Oyster eggs as directed.  <Good products.> When the Cladiella was added it did not adjust well and sagged after one day - turns out that I did not rinse it in salt water to remove the mucous, I rinsed it and moved it to a higher water flow area - the rinsing perked it up, but the original water flow may have been fine as it started disintegrating quickly in the new water flow (beginners mistake). <Can't expect corals to adjust in one day.> I stitched the healthiest fragment to a piece of live rock and discarded the rest which seemed beyond hope.  Hoping for the best here. I suspect that the declining health of the Sarcophyton is being caused by chemicals from the Cladiella Colt Coral  fragmenting or the neighboring Sinularia? <Chemical warfare is possible.> We also had the first hot day since the tank was setup and water temps rose to 83 in the day.  I am trying things to get the ambient temp back below 80 via removing the clear cover,<aquarium cover?> fans, house ac, etc...  What do you think is the best course of action? <I'd be moving some air across the lights.> Move the Sarcophyton?  Might I need to cut it?  I'll try another water change today.  <Lets wait a week, see what happens, don't get yourself all tied in a knot.> I have a 20 gallon FOWLR tank in the basement with a pair of Ocellaris clowns in it as well that has sufficient lighting for corals.  Any suggestions would help. Thanks.  <And thank you for writing so well.  First one today with no editing needed.  James (Salty Dog)> Brett
Re: Sarcophyton Health  - 03/13/2006 Thanks for the quick response James!  The base of the Sarcophyton turning white is what has me concerned.  I'll wait it out, start dosing iodine daily as you suggest and send a picture with my next question if things get worse.  <Where the corals displayed under MH lighting at the LFS?  If not, may have to slowly dose the photoperiod.> The light has built in fans.  It is a 36 inch Aqualight Pro.  The tank is acrylic and has a clear acrylic cover that goes over the opening in the top.  I had been leaving the cover on to minimize evaporation, but I am going to start removing it in hopes that evaporation will lower the temperature.  <If the light fixture does not have a protective acrylic cover I'd leave the cover on the tank just to play it safe.>  I'll add a fan over the water next.  The submersible pump seems to add the most heat and is the core of my temperature problems. <Is it possible to use an external pump?> Thanks again.  <James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Sarcophyton Health   3/16/06 James, <Brett> Thanks for your help.  The Sarcophyton appears to be recovering quickly. <Good to hear.> I got the temperature down two degrees.  I added Iodine.  I also tested for iodine, but the color strip on the test kit is extremely hard to read/match.  Iodine level "appear" to be in the range of natural seawater now.  When I got home, the Sarcophyton was finishing it second sloughing in 1.5 weeks.  Its polyps were re-emerging and it started to stand back up.  It appears to be attaching to the large rock below the small fragment that it was attached to when I bought it.  I consider this a good sign as the rock it came on is too small. I lost the Cladiella do to a bad stitch job that came off the rock.  I guess I still need to perfect tying them off. The cover has a glass shield so I am all set.  The tank has an integrated filtration area in the back so an external pump will require some work/modifications.  That may still be my best long term option to control the temperature during the summer, as the pump, lights and power heads increase the tank temperatures about 10 degrees over room temperature.  The pump appears to account for a large portion of the rise as I noted when I first setup the tank. Thanks again for your suggestions.  <You're welcome.> Your web site is a great resource.  I am reading Anthony's book as well.  Great stuff.  <Anthony thanks you.  James (Salty Dog)> Brett

Leather Coral 01-26-06 Hi Crew, <Mohamed> I have 2 Thin Finger Leather Corals and 1 seems to have some die off. It gets sort of mushy on the one side. I just done a water exchange calcium 400, ph 8.4, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5.0, alkalinity 8, phosphate 0.1 and magnesium 1300. (ppm) I have done a fresh water bath for 3 minutes and an iodine dip for 15 minutes but the problem still continued so I cut the part that is dying but with no luck (day 5). <Make sure to cut into the good tissue to remove all the diseased tissue.> I had a problem once with a Finger Leather Coral that had some die off but I cut the patch that had the die off twice but with no luck and finally I cut about ½ a inch away from the die off which seem to help. <As mentioned above.> Is there a rule as to how much can be cut off from the die off? <You want to make sure all diseased tissue is removed. It is similar to tumor or cancer removal in that you go past the lesion to ensure that it will not return.> I need to save this coral what else can I do? <Cut it and do an iodine dip. Then place it in a moderate flow area so the slime coat can be cleared away. Travis> Thanks    Mohamed.

Sick (Dead) Toadstool? 3/13/04 Hi all, <Hi Kevin, Adam here. Sorry for the slow reply.> I have spent quite a bit of time looking for an answer to my question but have not run across a specific answer to date. On Feb. 19 (2 weeks+ ago) I received a rock with several Xenia groupings, two types of mushrooms and a toadstool.  In bringing the rock home the toadstool seemed to have shed a waxy outer layer and the Xenia appeared 'burnt' in areas.  The toadstool extended polyps for a couple of days and then appeared to go dormant and slouch over. <All sounds quite normal after being moved.> The Xenia disintegrated several days later and I cut them back quite close to the base rock.  Since then the Xenia have started sprouting new arms throughout all of the areas that were cut back but the toadstool is inactive and the stalk is slowly taking on the colour of a bruise.  I enclose two photos. <The coral doesn't look good, but as long as it doesn't start turning to mush or losing tissue, I would tough it out.  These animals often take many weeks to recover from insults.  If it stays in this state for more than a couple of weeks, despite water changes, etc., I would consider moving it to another tank.  I have seen several cases where Sarcophytons suffer for months despite every effort only to quickly recover after being moved to another tank.> Parameters are: SG        1.024 Temp     77 PH         8.2 Amon     0 NO3       0-trace Phos      0-trace Alk         4.5 Calc       300 (attempting to bring up) The tank is a small 38 gallon with approx. 75 lbs. live rock, 12 times volume turnover per hour, 96 watt actinic (13 hrs) & 96 watt 10K (12 hrs). Dosing with strontium & iodine. <I would withhold the Sr and I for a couple of weeks.  These are both easily overdosed and the experience of many aquarists who never supplement them proves that with regular partial water changes, they are not necessary.> Is this toadstool gone?  How long should I wait to further signs of life?  Thanks for the great resource.  Kevin <I would perform a couple of 25% water changes, hold the Sr and I and see how it does, but don't give up yet!  Best Regards.  Adam>

Sufferin' Sarcophyton? (Leather Coral Staying Closed) I have a Toadstool with pretty long "tentacles" and I have had it for maybe 3 months.  It always came out really nice, then within the last 3 weeks it has not come out at all.  I have other Toadstools with no problem and other corals in my tank that are doing fine.  Do you have any suggestion what could be wrong.  I have a 55 gal tank with 4 65 watt power compacts. Thanks, Karen <Karen, I'm assuming that you're referring to a "Toadstool Leather Coral", Sarcophyton. If this is the coral that you're referring to, I wouldn't worry too much just yet. These corals are well-known for their behavior of "closing up" for periods of time while they shed a waxy organic coating. Sometimes, they can remain closed up for many days. Given good quality water conditions and proper lighting, they will often re-emerge to their former glory. Just make sure that the tissue is still firm and not necrotic. In fact, I just experienced this phenomenon for the first time myself on a two-year-old specimen that I purchased from IPSF. If this is really a cause for concern, do run a check of your basic water parameters, and consider the possibility that some environmental factor might have suddenly changed. Or, there is always the possibility of allelopathic competition (i.e.; "chemical warfare") with another coral nearby. Hopefully, it will simply be another case of the "sloughing" phenomenon discussed above. Keep an eye on things, and don't give up. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Leather coral troubles - 4/5/04 Hello- I tried posting this first, but no response..... My leather coral (looks like an upside down mushroom) had been drooping for about a week when I realized that he wasn't going to make it back to upright. I have had him for about a year and a little yellow goby had lived with him the whole time. The goby would perch on top and survey the tank. <this is a Sarcophyton correct?> Anyway, yesterday I took a glove and moved him to get a better look and saw that he was going necrotic on me. <Hmmmmm> I immediately took him out with some tank water and added some iodine all into my girlfriends Tupperware and cut off most of his stalk, which was decomposing. I sewed him up to a rock and he actually looked better with polyps a little extended. <Good move in my opinion> It seems that although the polyps are still extended the death is still spreading. Should I cut him down more? <Hard to say without seeing it but if the necrosis seems to be spreading then cut it about a 1/2 inch above the necrotic area> There were no parasites in his stalk. <Weird. Sounds like one to me> All water parameters are all good. Everything else in the tank is all good, from pulsing xenia to clams... Oh yes, there are no corals next to him or even close to him. <Excellent. Look through our FAQS on our site if you haven't already> The closet inhabitant next to him was a sponge that was about 4" from his base. <Well, never know. Sponges can be aggressive as well but probably not the issue though> thanks, <Good luck ~Paul> Miguelito Arias

Colt coral combustion! Good evening gentleman! A strange thing happened this evening involving a colt coral and I want to get your thoughts... Tonight I noticed that a colt coral in my tank looked deflated around the main stalk. Further observation showed that apparently the branches were separating from the main stalk.  <Ahhh, yes... self destruction. Not always as bad as it sounds... sometimes like now perhaps it appears to be strategic. A stress induced strategy of propagation. Animal dissolves at forks in the branches and frags drift to a (hopefully) better spot> Polyps were still extended and it really didn't look that bad. It just looked a little unhappy. When I picked up the coral to check it out, several of the long beautiful branches simply floated away in the current across the aquarium. After my wife stopped screaming (sheesh) I picked up the coral and gave it a closer examination. The "nose" test showed that the coral is not in a state of overall decay and neither are the branches. In the middle of the main stalk, at the point where the branches begin to separate from the main stalk, there was a necrotic ball. I scraped it out very easily and the hole that it left looks very clean.  <hmmm... could simply have been an infected spot from minor damage/attack/nibbling> I am planning to mount the loose branches and sew the main stalk back to its' base.  <excellent... the best method for attaching this creature> I am surmising that the necrotic spot in the center of the stalk was caused from sediment deposit in that area.  <indeed possible, but a sign of poor water movement in the tank of so> I am led to believe this because there was lots of sand in this spot. What do you think?  <agreed... a likely possibility> Should I just optimize water conditions and let this incident go?  <yes... with close observation and improved water flow> Do you think the branches will make it through this traumatic experience? <easily yes> Possible mitigating factors: B-ionic was started a month ago.  <a fine product... be sure to shake vigorously before each use (calcium part stratifies and imbalance of dosing can occur with such liquid products> I add about 60 ml.s a day before the lights come on. The coral was moved at about the same time the B-ionic was started. ammonia- Always 0 nitrite- Always 0 nitrate- Nearly 0 Ca- 280 <definitely a bit low... get into the 300s approaching 400ppm Ca. Kalkwasser will be fine> dKH- about 7.4 ph- 8.0-8.4 lights- 420 watts of VHO. Bulb are a year old and I have ordered new ones. Current configuration: 1 50/50, 1 Aquasun, 1 actinic. Circulation: approximately 1300-1400 gph. <also... colt coral are one of the few coral believed to feed well on phytoplankton. Do consider a planted refugium or liquid supplement to feed this coral for optimal health> Thanks for your time and energy! Dave <our great pleasure. Anthony and WWM>

Past & Present, Green Finger Coral - 7/14/03 Hello & top of the day! <to you as well my friend> Anthony, I hope you don't mind seeing progressive photos of a green finger coral you helped me "fix" back in January of '03. <a pleasure to see> Do you remember the "Mash 4077th" emergency surgery you talked me thru? <yep... I do recall... carving out the necrotic area at the base as it were> As my very first coral, this beauty has nearly doubled its size twice over! The series of pictures began in mid January & ends 7-13-'03 (the pic with the shrimp on it!) <much appreciation for sharing, mate.... do need to ask you to send non-zipped files, and shrunk in size for us to view/post (low-med res jpegs)> Every time I look at the coral, I want to call ya and say thanks for teaching  me all you have in the course of this tank. What better way than to let you see for yourself how the coral is doing! Many thanks, again for your knowledge & willingness to share with the hobby. Peace & incense, Stormbringer. <its truly redeeming and inspiring to hear my friend. Keep on truckin! Anthony>

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