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

Related Articles: Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae

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

Could be... that the animal is just new... could be food, competition, parasitic issues... likely alkalinity, pH, biomineral involvement.

Toadstool leather splitting or problems?       11/29/15
Hi All,
Thanks for all of the times you have helped me. I hesitate asking questions on the various reef websites' open forums because I always receive conflicting advice. I'm grateful to you pros for helping us.
I have had this leather for 3 years. It started as a tiny frag in my 10 gal nano. He thrived and has been in my 220 gal for 6 months now. I noticed a few days ago a tiny hole in him right in the center of the coral and is now like a year <tear> drop. At first I thought that it was my emerald crab, but after removal the hole changed shape from round to teardrop and seems bigger. No necrosis, just a clean hole . Pic attached. What do you think? Problems, pests or splitting?
<Looks like a tear to me; sans repair; and no problem>
The polyps extend beautifully all day. The coral is happy. Here they are recessed. See pic.
Thank You!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

5 year old Sarcophyton and Lobophytum not opening     9/15/15
Hi Crew
I have messaged before reference my Sarcophyton and Lobophytum not opening up completely.
<Mmm; many possible inputs here>
It is a well-stocked reef tank with the following parameters (150 gallons)
Parameters are
<A little high; I'd keep under 400 ppm>
Mg 1300
Alk 9.8
Nitrates 10-20
Phosphate 0
<Needed... sigh... see (READ) re Alcyonacean nutrition on WWM>

Lighting is 160 watt T5 with reflectors (and the leather opened up fine under these a few years ago)
I have two very large (large orange sized) hammer corals and Euphyllias in the tank that are due to be fragged soon due to size. Proximity to the leather is about 6 inches apart.
<And allelopathy with these>

I have recently upped water changes to 25% every week. Ozone is on as a background dose
<Ah good>
and I run a PhosBan
<Ditch this or reduce the amount of media to very little>
and nitrate reactor on the tank along with carbon.
Inhabitants are
Dwarf angels (flame and fireball) get on fine. no pecking as I can see Regal tang, yellow tang
Banana wrasse and a small goby and maroon clown.
I have eliminated other reasons (I think) for the leathers closing up and am coming to the conclusion the LPS Euphyllias are releasing chemicals to cause them to close up.
<A large possibility; yes. Along w/ the lack of HPO4>
Any other ideas chaps? Could fragging and selling off the
buds reduce this chemical warfare?
<Doubtful to no... need to be further separated (at least a foot), GAC used, perhaps the 03 kicked up>
All other corals are doing fine apart from these two leathers. The lobo opens up as does the sacro with 10% polyp
extension..like its sick.
<The reading. Do you need help using the search tool (on every page); or indices? Bob Fenner>
RE: 5 year old Sarcophyton and Lobophytum not opening

Hi Bob
<Heya again Jim>
Many thanks for the reply.
A bit of feeding will be applied to the corals...my bad but due to work I didn't even consider this. The phosphate reactor uses fluidised Rowa .
From your response are you saying the sacro/lobo corals need some phosphate to thrive?
<.... the reading.... ALL chemo-photosynthetic life needs soluble phosphate. In fact, remember your H.S. bio. and poss. college biochem. classes re ADP, ATP.... oxidative decarboxylations? ALL life needs phosphates>
It was put on the tank to starve out a horrible Cyano outbreak, <Other means... and after use, other ways of providing... READ mate; I don't have the time (or patience, desire) to re-key.....>
your thoughts here are valuable. I shall get some zoo plankton food and trim back my Euphyllias as soon as possible to give the guys a chance.
<Ah, good>
Many thanks for the advice.
<As many for your sharing. BobF>

Toadstool Mushroom – 06/18/14
Dear WWM Crew,
First off, I’d like to say thanks for all the awesome info that you provide. Its been an invaluable resource for me and my aquariums over the last four years.
<Ah good>
I wanted to see if you could help answer a question regarding my Toadstool Mushroom Coral (Sarcophyton). I got this from LiveAquaria over 3 years ago and at the time the cap was around 2”. Since then it has dramatically changed as it has grown up to its current 20-24” size. About 6 months ago I moved it into a 220 FOWLR/mixed reef tank where it currently resides. It was previously in a 125 FOWLR.
<I see your pix of this animal>
When I moved it into the 220, I also upgraded the lighting from 4 X 80W T5s to 3 Rapid Led Onyx Fixtures hung 10” over the tank. Also, I added some additional flow with an MP40 (I also have an MP60 which was also on the 125).
Over the last 4 months, it has changed from a gold color with long extended polyps to a blue-greenish color with little to no polyps extended. It also tends to “close up” or “scrunch up” more so now that it did in the past. I attached a photo of what it currently looks like along with some of what it looked like in the past. I guess I’m wondering if this is normal behavior for the coral.
<Something "normal" given the changes you detail in the lighting, move. This specimen appears starved to me>
Could it possibly be receiving more energy or nutrients from the brighter lighting?
<Mmm; possibly... but perhaps there's less nutrient to go around in this new setting. DO you have measurable NO3 and HPO4? >
Could the increased flow also be a factor in the polyp extension?
Please let me know as I really enjoy this coral and want to make sure there isn’t something seriously wrong.
Michael Schmidt
<Need your nutrient measures... what specifically do you feed it, your system? How much and how often?
Do you utilize chemical filtrants? Bob Fenner>

Re: Toadstool Mushroom – 06/19/14
I'm honored by your fast reply. I love your books, articles, and email
responses by the way.
<Thank you for your kind words>
As far as feeding goes: I think it should be getting "some" nutrients. I
have a pretty high fish load - porcupine puffer, harlequin tusk, foxface, yellow tang, small hippo tang, flame angel, along with quite a few various damsels and everything's healthy although I have had some Ich outbreaks in the past before I setup a QT. I also have quite a few soft corals
<Yes; to the right of the Sarco... Lemnalia? Another softie; perhaps a bit of allelopathy going on>
a few Montipora corals which seem to be doing good & growing. I feed small amounts of various pellet food on an auto-feeder 2X daily and also feed frozen (usually various rod's foods, shrimps, scallops, clams) 4x/week and Nori/macro 1-2X/week.
As far as measurables go: I just tested and my levels are as follows:
Phosphate .04 (this has been steadily dropping over the last 3 months from .15 as I added a GFO reactor as part of the upgrade to the 220 - could this drop be the problem?),
<Yes indeed. I would turn off for now>
and Nitrate 10-15 PPM
which is a best guest with a
color test kit (usually its around 5-10). 8 dKH (usually 6-8), Ca 420 (usually 400-420), Mag 1365 which are at/near my goal levels b/c I just dosed alk/ca a few days ago.
For chemical filtrants: I run a cup or 2 of carbon in a 7" filter sock changed
once per week.
I run a bio-pellet reactor w/ 2-3 cups of pellets that feeds
into a large Reefoctopus skimmer.
<Fine as well>
In addition to those I run a UV ( I know, I
know but they seem to work well together), a 40 gallon Chaeto/DSB fuge, and the previously mentioned GFO reactor which all output to the return pump intake. This is all in a 125 baffled sump. Last but not least, there's about 275 lbs of live rock throughout the whole system.
I'm pretty diligent with maintenance, changing 28 gallons every Thursday and
testing/dosing every Sunday. Overall its pretty clean & nuisance free but when doing weekly water changes, I still need to clean algae from the sides & gravel vac the sand bed (which gets a little brown algae growing on it) to keep it looking good. I'm guessing this is normal when the CUC consists of myself and a few urchins.
<A worthy team>
Hopefully this all sheds some light.
Funny thing is that this coral looked "normal" since the beginning when I didn't really know what I was doing and now that I think I have a handle on the hobby, it starts to look "weird". I know I've made a lot of changes since the upgrade and there are a lot of moving parts (lighting, flow, chemicals, and nutrient levels) that it can be hard to pinpoint the problem but what would be your best guess as to why it has very little polyp retraction and a change in coloration?
<Could be many factors... best to proceed slowly>
One last thing I just thought of, when it does show polyp extension (they stick out 1/4" at most), it usually happens at dusk/dawn when my blue lights are brighter than my whites. They are controlled with an ALC module to ramp up to 80% with the blues being on for around 10.5 hours and the whites on for 9. I rarely see any polyp extension at night.
<Often the behavior of nocturnal-active organisms gets reversed under captive conditions... when food is available, and no real predators and pests as in the wild>
Thanks so much,
<Ah, welcome. BobF>

Yellow Fiji Coral... hlth., no data       5/11/13
I am having a problem with my yellow Fiji coral.
<...? Sarcophyton elegans? This soft coral is a poor survivor in most hobbyist settings>
  I noticed a film on it thought it was shedding like most leathers do and blew the film off and when I did it opened up two huge holes in it.
<Mmm, likely a predator or two at work here... do "dig around" the wound sites... for mollusks and worms... And see WWM re (Errantiate Polychaete/Bristle) control (baiting/trapping/removal>
 One on the base and one on the cup of it. I want to save this coral if at all possible. Thank you for any advice
<... search for all on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Fiji Coral       5/11/13

No pred.s in the tank
<... likely there are... again, try a baited trap, at night>
 the tank is 8 years old...I have a clown and a damsel in there and snails and yes it is a Sarcophyton Elegans.  I have searched your website over that is why I finally emailed you....we treated for dino last week so it had no lights for 3 days but I kept an eye on the param.s and when we finally uncovered the tank and turned the lights on It was still bright and yellow.
<... well; the holes could be from other cause/s... Need data re the other livestock, mechanicals/controllers, water quality tests... Perhaps allelopathy or a chemical over-under imbalance... B>

Colt coral frag health. 12/13/10
Good morning!
Hope this email finds you well.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
I have a 75 gallon with a 20 gallon sump. Lighting is 2 10000k ice white t5s and 2 true blue actinics. My parameters are ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate 0.
<Nitrate is an essential nutrient for many chemoautotrophs...>

My ph is constantly 8.0 and I am in the process of raising it to 8.3 with the use of Kent pro buffer dKH.
<Not important here; and do take care w/ how you're adjusting>
I will be purchasing an alkalinity, calcium and phosphate testers in the near future.
I received a frag from a friend two days ago of a colt coral. I have attached him to the rock via an elastic band. He has expanded, during the days, since I've received him but no polyp extension at all. He appears to be bleaching on some of the tips of his branches.
<I see this>
I have not found a whole lot of information about colts bleaching when skimming through the FAQs.
I know it has only been a couple days. The aquarium has been up and running for about three months. I do 5% water changes twice a week. I just started to run active carbon, from Marineland as well.
<Likely, in addition to general stress from being moved, a lack of nutrient. What are you feeding this organism, system? Do you have a "dirtier" longer-established system to move it to? Bob Fenner>

Re: Colt coral frag health. 12/13/10
I feed the system roggers reef food and new life spectrum pellets.
<Good foods I'd merit>
I also received a Kenya tree coral. It's doing really good. All the polyps are extended during the day. I have two percula clown fish and a flame angel.
<Ahh, a good clue>
I do not have another system to put the colt into.
Purchased the phosphate and dKH testers today. Will test when I get home.
Thanks for getting back to me!
<I urge patience here. Chances are this Sinularia will rally. BobF>
Re: Colt coral frag health. 12/13/10
As far as raising the ph. I just follow the manufacturer's directions.
Is this a good product? Would you recommend another one? Or another way? I already opened the windows but the ph did not change.
Thanks again for your help!
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/maintindex.htm
scroll down to pH, Alkalinity...
Re: Colt coral frag health. 12/13/10
After reading the FAQs you've recommended, on more than one occasion, that a consistent ph o 8.0 is fine.
I will back off as I can see over the three days of use that one of my fish is starting to breath more rapidly.
<Only add such supplements to new/make-up seawater (not directly to established systems) and allow to set/circulate a good day ahead of us>
I will stop adding and see if this was the cause.
<Thank you, BobF>

Leather troubles....Allelopathy?-01/30/08 Hi Bob, For the past several weeks I have been experiencing problems with all my leathers. The first leather I noticed that was in trouble was my Toadstool, which I had for over two years. It detached from the rock and then quickly shriveled away. The next leather issue was what I believe is a green tree coral. I got this leather as a frag about a year ago. It grew to about three inches tall and then all of the limbs fell off one by one. Strangely enough I have fragged the limbs and they are doing great, <huh... good> but the original trunk has still not started any new growth. <Is it still alive?> Next in line was my year old Fiji Yellow. The yellow leather closed up for over three weeks and looked as if small bites were taken out of it. No foul play suspected. The yellow has now opened twice as big and all injuries healed. Finally my five year old stubby finger leather has begun to suffer. It appears that four or five fingers are burned to the base and another almost appears as a flesh wound. I would really like to avoid any further injury to this leather if possible. Is there any thing I can do? <It's hard to say without knowing what is causing this.> I am assuming that it is some sort of allelopathy? <It could be.> I have read multiple articles about coral aggression and allelopathy but not sure as to which ones are the culprits. <There may not be one culprit so much as just a bad combination of tank mates.> Could it be growing pains between only the leathers? I originally thought it was a wall of frogspawn which took up the entire top left hand side of my tank. I have since sold a good portion of it. I'm still not sold on that theory though. <These things can bee quite difficult to figure out specifically.> I then thought it could be the large Maze Brain next to the Stubby Finger leather, but that would not account for the injury to the other leathers. <Hmm, maybe, but as far as allelopathy goes, I would expect the leather corals to hurt the maze brain.> I believe that the Maze Brain uses its sweepers rather than chemical warfare. <It's possible.> The leathers are about three inches apart from each other and the Stubby Finger leather is about four inches from the Brain <This is close enough to be in range of sweepers.> (both have been paired together for years). <This means nothing really. For one thing, it's not unheard of for corals not to display sweepers for years. Also, corals change/adapt/grow. Just because they've been playing nice for years now, doesn't mean they are now or always will. Even the addition of other leathers may be affecting their dynamic/interaction/over all level of "hostility." These things are so poorly understood even in the wild. You can imagine how little is known about them in captivity.> I'm not sure if I should try to move the leathers further apart or to remove some mushrooms that are close by. Is there a specific type of coral that would cause the above symptoms even if the corals were on opposite ends of the tank? <Some leathers are toxic enough to affect corals anywhere in the same tank system as them.> About my tank: My 125 gallon reef has been established for almost eight years now. I have 6 six foot VHO bulbs, three actinic and three aqua suns. Two main pumps 1800 and 1200 gph. They are controlled via two SCWDs and four returns. The actinic lights come on an hour before and after the main lights. Temp is between 76 - 78 degrees. I have a wet dry sump, but plan on purchasing an ADHI refugium shortly. <cool> For the time being I have a small basket of Chaeto algae in the main tank for nutrient control. 15 gallon water changes are done weekly. I am using an AquaFX RO/DI system for RO water. Salinity level is at 1.025; PH 7.8; Nitrates and Nitrites are at 0. Alkalinity is a little on the low side. I am starting to use a buffer to bring it up. <sounds good> I also skim and use activated carbon. <Maybe more activated carbon would help.> The only other additive I use is marine snow. <a useless product> I also have 150lb of Fiji live rock. Last but certainly not least, I just wanted to say thank you to both you and Anthony Calfo for guiding aquarists through an extraordinary hobby! <Not Bob here, but will pass along the thanks...> Your book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" was the very first book I purchased when I began this hobby almost ten years ago. <Was my first book purchase too. :-)> Since then I have followed up with "Reef Invertebrates" and Anthony's "Book Of Coral Propagation". I consider you both invaluable assets to the hobby. Thanks for the years of help and for saving me a small fortune by constantly emphasizing research and education. Thanks Again! Dave Gambone <De nada, Sara M.>

Shrunk mushroom, missing information on water parameters -- 04/29/07 I have looked and looked, but find no answer to my question. I just bought a leather mushroom, he looked fine in the store, I got him home, let him get use to the tank, and now his trunk has shrunk and the mushroom part of him is just lying on the bottom of the tank, the "stem" looks gray, black and brown. When I first introduced him into the tank he let out lots of white stuff. Now some of the white stuff is just stuck to the side of him. Is he dying? <Possible, but maybe he is only cleaning himself and needs a day or two to recover.> My water is great, ph, N3 <no such molecule in aquaria if at all. You mean ammonia, nitrates?> so on so forth. I also have 4 live rock inside my 45 gallon tank, and anemone (sp) tomato clown. I placed the mushroom on the bottom, because I read that they don't need to be close to the lights, which mine are high wattage for the live rock. <I'd put him onto a piece of rock. You can fix him with a toothpick if necessary.> Does my new mushroom need time to recover or do you think he's dead? <You state your water is great, but what is great for one species can kill another. Check nitrates (<20), phosphates (<0.6), pH (8.0-8.4) and SG (1.022-1.026). Nitrites and ammonia need to be absent. If all parameters are ok, he may recover soon. A water change probably won't hurt, too. Read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallim.htm and the FAQs for more information. Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Shrunk mushroom, missing information on water parameters II -- 04/30/07 The Leather Mushroom is attached to a rock that the man at the pet store broke down before I bought it. <I see. From your last mail (without picture) it seemed you were talking about a Corallimorph aka Mushroom, which have a small stem, too. Now I see you have a Sarcophyton sp. aka Mushroom aka Leather Coral. Another example, why the use of scientific names should be preferred.> So, its on a small piece of rock. <Okay.> To me he looks horrible, let me attach a picture of him for you and you tell me what you think. <Just what was suggested in the last mail: check those water parameters. If they are okay, and the brown on the stem continues to spread, cut away the 'head' (which seems quite fine) and fix it onto a new piece of rock with a toothpick, and remove the brown stem. Don't cut it until you are sure your water is fine. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniidsii.htm and the related FAQs on health and disease.> Thanks Rhonda. <Cheers, Marco.>

Re: Photos from Caracas (help). Alcyoniid Allelopathy Likely  5/8/06 Hi Bob <Claudio> Is Claudio from Caracas <Como que va my friend?> I am still working on the plan to invite you down here, because the political situation and the presidential election early December we better wait and see what we can do for early next year after everything settles down again <I understand> On the other hand I need some help relating the enclosed photos.. <Okay> The finger leather refuses to open fully, I do not know if has something to do with the nearby Sinularia (I think) <Could be...> The whit spot in the Briareum <Or this animal/colony> appeared after I had to eliminate one Aiptasia with an injection of Kalkwasser <Or...> Did I over do it?? <Maybe> Thanks in advance for you help Claudio <Best to "go back to the start" here... seek to improve, maintain high water quality... through water changes, chemical filtration... and hope for natural recovery here. Bob Fenner>

Sickly Toadstool Leather - 09/15/06 Hi, <<Hello>> I love this web site, and it is very helpful with all of needs, and questions, but one question that I haven't been able to get answered is why my toadstool leather coral isn't opening up.  I have had the coral for about a year and half, and up to about five months ago, it hasn't fully opened, or even opened the slightest amount. <<Odd...and after five months I'm surprised it hasn't begun to deteriorate>> Any tips, or reasoning would be great. <<Mmm, nothing to go on here really, can only guess.  I imagine the reaction is secondary to an element of/change to the environment.  Have you added noxious corals in large quantities or placed same in close proximity to the toadstool?  Have you fallen down lately on maintenance?  Added any phosphate scrounging media to the filter path?  Is the toadstool receiving adequate light/water flow?  Try a large water change or two along with repositioning the coral in the tank>> Thanks, Sam b.
<<Regards, EricR>>

Colt Coral Health  2/14/06 Dear Crew <Larry> I'm having trouble keeping "colt" coral.  I have one nice big specimen that is thriving, but can't seem to keep a second one around, no matter where the placement. I'm on my fourth attempt.  Can only one specimen be kept per tank, or am I just having bad luck? <They are an aggressive coral but as long as they are placed far enough apart, shouldn't have any trouble keeping more than one.  Colt corals will sometimes secrete a mucus during shipping/bagging to protect itself.  Do rinse off good in seawater before placing in your tank. Are you dosing trace elements...strontium, iodine, etc?  How about flow rate, nitrate levels?> thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> L. Splitter
Re: Colt Coral  - 2/15/2006
James I hate to generalize, but if one specimen (colt coral) is doing well, shouldn't the other specimens (colt coral) do the same. <Understand you here but quite possible the one you have may have adapted or came from a system with similar water parameters to yours. There are many varieties of colt coral also.  Do you drip acclimate the coral before introduction?> I dose iodine, strontium and do frequent water changes.  The nitrate level is between 10 and 20 ppm, sp gravity is 1.023, <1.025 much better for corals.>  temp 77 F, dKH 12, ph 8.3 and they are placed an opposite ends of the tank. <Am at a loss for words as these corals are relatively easy to grow.  May want to try one from a source other than where you bought the previous colts.  Another suggestion is to propagate new ones from your present colt.  Here is a link showing you how.  http://search.isp.netscape.com/nsisp/boomframe.jsp?query=colt+coral&page=1&offset=0&result_url=redir%3Fsrc%3Dwebsearch%26requestId%3Dce25d7a9a126710f%26clickedItemRank%3D3%26userQuery%3Dcolt%2Bcoral%26clickedItemURN%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.garf.org%252Ftrever%252Fcolt%252FCOLTmoves.html%26invocationType%3D-%26fromPage%3DNSISPBoom%26amp%3BampTest%3D1&remove_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.garf.org%2Ftrever%2Fcolt%2FCOLTmoves.html > Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Sarcophyton trouble and unreliable test results  12/10/05 Hello again crew, <Hi Tom, Adam J with you today.> Thank you in advance for reading this and sharing any ideas that might spring to mind. <My pleasure.> My question is about a Sarcophyton coral I've had for a couple months. It seemed happy in my tank for the first few weeks, but the last couple weeks I have noticed that, although the polyps extend, the ends don't open up fully.  Instead, the fingers at the ends of the polyps seem to form little globes. <I've noticed this myself with Sarcophyton, could be a few things going on. One reason is it's about ready to shed, has it done this lately? Another reason is allelopathy from neighboring corals? Any new additions or drastic growths from neighboring animals. Also And the final reason I can think of at the moment is phosphate additives or sponges. Some of these have aluminum which has been known to irritate softies and leathers in general.> I know that Sarcophyton do some kind of shedding thing from time to time. Could this be part of that process?  <Possibly.> Or could it be something else? <See above.> My tank is 30 gallons. Tank started in March. Used old live rock, pre-seeded Bio-Wheel, and occasional bit of shrimp to feed bacteria for first few months. Added some new live rock 8/27/05 (arrived in pretty good condition). First livestock (Sarcophyton, Fire Shrimp, and 30 small hermit crabs) added 10/5/05. Firefish added 10/25, and Yellow Clown Goby added 11/18. All but about 12 hermits have disappeared (probably I started with too many) <Yes.> but all the other creatures are doing well. <No protein Skimmer.> I tested water last night and got this: pH 8.4 (7:20PM) ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 0 (approx, certainly below 5 ppm by my test) specific gravity 1.026 dKH 6.7 (low, see below) <A little low but not drastically low. The 7 to 12 range is ideal.> Tested alkalinity again this morning and got 7.4 (still low, see below) calcium - no reading I never got a color change on my calcium test sample using a Tropic Marine titration kit. Either this implies off-scale low calcium or a bad test (or bad kit - kit might be a couple years old). Earlier, on 11/25, I had dKH of 8.0, and still earlier, on 10/15, I had dKH 7.2 and calcium around 340-350.  <Kits do have an expiration date please check this. It's also a good idea to verify the test with a local LFS, but get exact readings, do not just let them tell you "Good" - that's not helpful.> I'm puzzled that I cannot seem to raise my alkalinity and calcium. I use RO/DI water for top off, and dose with B-Ionic almost every day. I started using 15 ml per day on 10/12, and raised that to 20 ml on 10/24. In a 30 gallon tank I would have thought this would raise dKH and calcium, even if there is approximately 40 lbs of live rock with a lot of coralline algae. The maximum recommended dosage in a 30 gallon would be 30 ml/day. My alkalinity test kit is a couple years old too, but it gives a plausible reading on new aged Instant Ocean, which tests 8.3. Probably I should get new test kits for alkalinity and calcium so I'm more confident of my readings. <Yes I agree that you have a wacky test kit.> For circulation, I've got an Aqua-C Remora, <Oh you do have a skimmer, a very good one too.> Penguin 170 (sans Bio-Wheel), two 175 gph powerheads, and one 127 gph powerhead. <Consider another powerhead for some more turbulent motion. For a few months, I've run a 96 watt 50/50 compact fluorescent 12 hours/day. The other bulb is a 96 watt actinic that I've experimented with, recently running it 7.5 hours/day, compared to daily 1 hour "dawn" and 1 hour "dusk" cycles for the previous several weeks. <Lighting is good.> I did feed DT's Marine Phytoplankton regularly for a few weeks in October until I ran out and the fish store was out of stock. I wasn't too anxious to get more since my son has a Sarcophyton in a different tank that has done fine for a year or two with no special feeding. <Yes they can often get by on dissolved organics, waste from fish, etc..> I know there's potentially a lot to consider here. Does anything jump out as a possible explanation for the Sarcophyton's malaise? <I would address your test kit issue first and get some more accurate readings.> Thanks, Tom <Welcome, Adam J.>
Re: Unhappy Sarcophyton, Chemistry to Blame?  12/26/05
Thanks, Adam. <Quite Welcome.> Since I didn't trust my test kits, I decided to order new ones (Salifert). <Good move.> It took forever to get them.  In the meantime, I decided to discontinue the B-Ionic applications, and change 10 percent of the water about twice a week. <B-Ionic is a reputable calcium/alk two part but yes you should not be adding it without the test kits for it.> Test kits arrived, and I got dKH of 5 and Ca of 380, with pH of 8.4 at 5:00 PM. <dKH is a bit low, should be between 7 and 12.> That looks low on dKH, fine on Ca and pH. <Yup.> So here's the question:  Am I close enough to balance on Alk and Ca that I should just go ahead with B-Ionic dosing at the low end of the recommended range (1 ml per 4 gallons per day)?  Or more than that? <Go with the recommended dose and test daily, or at least every other day to monitor the effects. The best way to stabilize these though is with keeping up on the regular water changes. If you don't like the two part additives look into ripping Kalkwasser.> My uninformed instinct is that I should dose with the Alkalinity component alone for a while to get the dKH more like 8, then resume dosing both.  Is that crazy? <Not completely, but I wouldn't do it. Your Calcium could be a little higher, 380ppm is not extremely high.> Or do I have to do more water changes to get something closer to dKH of 10 and Ca of 400, then dose in equal amounts? <Read here for a much better explanation than I can provide: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm.> By the way, just today I found the recommendations to shake the B-Ionic before application. <That's the recommendation for most bottled items.> The bottle does not say to do that, and I have not been doing it.  Can that be part of the reason dosing did not seem to raise my dKH? <Should not be to much of an issue.> Thanks, Tom <Welcome, Adam J.> P.S. Sarcophyton is still not quite happy. <Try correcting your chem. issues and then take it from there.>
Re: Sarcophyton Still Pouting  1/8/06
Thanks again, Adam. <No problem.> I'm working on water chemistry. <Cool.> But one of your earlier responses suggested chemical warfare from other corals as a cause of unhappiness for my Sarcophyton.  I didn't think much about this, because I thought I had no other corals. However, it occurs to me that I do have some little things that are probably Aiptasia that came with Florida live rock.  I can see 8 of them (in a 30 gallon), but there could be others. What's the chance that these are why my Sarcophyton is not quite happy? <If they are in direct contact, then yes they could be/are responsible for he negative reaction, if they are a-ways-away then I wouldn't fret to much. However I would look up Steven Pros article Re: Aiptasia on WWM, these little buggers can get out of hand.> Thanks, Tom <Anytime, Adam J.>

Sick Sarcos?   1/14/06 Hi guys, thank you for the wonderful service you are providing. I have a 55G tank home to primarily all Sarcophyton leathers. I purchased a new leather about a month ago and after a week noticed a quarter sized brown "scab" on the edge, the coral being about 5" in diameter. I put it in the path of a powerhead and the "scab" blew off, soon to re-appear a couple days later. Fearing an infection spreading, I discarded this coral. This week I noticed another brown scab on a Sarcophyton. This scab is about 1" long and the width of a pen tip, on a 3" diameter Sarcophyton. I removed the scab with tweezers. In researching your past articles, it didn't look like brown-jelly infection or a necrotic infection because the scab was hard and the tissue underneath looks healthy. I hope this is a descent description, thank you for your response. <Don't know what this/these might be... perhaps just accumulated/shedding mucus cuticle. Likely adequate nutrition, lighting, good water quality is all that is required here. Bob Fenner>

- Is this Coral Dying - Hey WWM, Thanks for the information on the last e-mail, you guys are the best.   A few months ago, I bought a Yellow Fiji Leather Coral (What I was told), and now after a few months, it is not so yellow. The "fingers" started turning brown to this color. The LFS said that corals change color, and I was curious as to whether this species changes color so dramatically. <Not in my experience.><<Dyed specimen. RMF>> I looked on the FAQ's and must have missed something.   Any comments/feedback is greatly appreciated. This had wonderful vibrant color that is disappearing. Overall, the health of the coral appears to be fine, is it just a color change? Or is something worse slowly happening? <I'm sad to say that it may be something worse. The brown color is typically caused by the Zooxanthellae that reside in the coral. When corals turn white (which is the way it looks from this picture - hard to tell with that fish in the way) it often means they are expelling their Zooxanthellae which means they will soon die. Could be a temperature issue in your tank - this is the most common reason for bleaching, although not the only one. Would suggest you read through the FAQs again, use the Google search and look up bleaching.> Thanks Guys,
<Cheers, J -- >

Collapsing Coral And Rising Nitrate  Hi,  <Hi there! Scott F. here today>  I talked to ya'll last week. I now have finger leather that looks like its insides have been sucked out of it. It is just lying there almost flat and is a brownish color. It had been looking so good.  <It might be history...Not to be too premature here, but it may be beyond salvaging at this point. You could potentially try cutting out any salvageable parts of the colony and placing them in on rubble to re-attach... The reason for this collapse is not entirely understood. Eric Borneman, in his book "Aquarium Corals", suggests that salinity variations, physical trauma, or injury may play roles in this condition>  Now I never did find that thing that was on my mushroom leather that you thought might be some kind of Nudibranch.  <Hmm...the "thing" might have been the source of the "trauma"?>  Also there is something on my rock that I have just noticed in the last few days. It is shaped kinda like a mushroom, they are really small, the stalk is so small I can hardly see it and the round top is a lot smaller that a dime maybe the size of the tip of a small persons finger. I can't tell the color of the stalk very well but it appears to be kinda a brownish color, the round top has little things standing up all around its edge and these and the top is clear. If my shrimp or fish get close to them they suck themselves back into the rock and you can't see the at all, you wouldn't even know there had been something there.  <Hmm, I'd love to see a photo and I could attempt an ID on this animal>  I did another 10% water change and vacuumed Sunday, my nitrate is still high around 60 I can't seem to get it to go down and stay everything else seem to be ok.  <Well, consistent water changes over time, combined with solid husbandry techniques (skimming, use of chemical filtration media, etc.) over time will do the trick. Initial, larger changes can help get things started>  I really need some help and I hope you guys can tell me what to do. Like I have told you I am just starting and I love my little ocean friends and want to really take care of them.  <Keep reading up on the WWM site concerning nutrient control and export techniques, and you'll see the water chemistry factors improve>  My sail fin tang ate out of my hand the other day; I thought that was really cool.  <Gotta love that!>  If I could just get my leather healthy and nitrate under control and these other things.  <Hope I gave you some places to start!>  Thank so very much, Teri  <My pleasure, Teri! Let us know if we can be of further assistance! Regards, Scott F>

Sick colt coral 3/2/03 Good evening, What would be happening to my colt coral, Tuesday it was large and very healthy looking. temp. 79degs,nitrite 0.00, nitrate 20, ph 8.2, salt 1.24. Having not changed anything. Skimmer running all the time, collecting some. check out pics and reply please!!!! <the coral looks irritated... but it could really be anything from a minor catalyst to impending self0destruction or infection. There are many factors to cause this. If you've had the coral for ore than 6 months, but have no refugium or little algae growth... it may be starving from the lack of phytoplankton. Or... another coral nearby might finally be winning the silent chemical war... any mushroom anemones, Starpolyps or LPS coral nearby? When in doubt, do a water change and consider all aspects of husbandry that may have strayed or changed. Anthony>

Leather Coral Hi there! My leather coral has been in good health - showing nice polyp extension and a fair amount of growth as well. Recently the polyps have contracted and the coral has remained like that for a number of days now. Everything else in the tank still seems to be fine - is this normal behavior? <Yes, it is not unusual for leather-type corals to remain closed for a while and shed a waxy layer.> If so, how long can I expect it to continue - or do I need to be concerned? <In a couple more days all should return to normal. Watch out for that waxy material. You do not want it to fall and settle on another coral. It is rather noxious.> Your insights will be greatly appreciated. <You can search for additional information using the Google search tool on www.WetWebMedia.com> Thanks, Hilton
<You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Another Sarcophyton Question. General Health hi Robert I have had a leather coral for about 3 weeks now and its polyps have partly extended but they look no where near as good as the pictures I see of leather corals on the internet my water levels are all good am I doing anything wrong <Could be... that the animal is just new... could be food, competition, parasitic issues... likely alkalinity, pH, biomineral involvement. Please read over the stinging-celled life sections on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

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