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FAQs on Stinging-Celled Animal Compatibility

Related Articles: 'Coral' Compatibility: On Reducing Captive Negative Interactions Cnidarians by Bob Fenner, ppt. vers: Cnidarian Compatibility: On Reducing Negative Cnidarian Interaction Parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, by Bob Fenner Cnidarians, Water Flow, How Much is Enough,

Related FAQs: Cnidarian Compatibility 1, Cnidarian Compatibility 2, Cnidarian Compatibility 3, Cnidarian Compatibility 4, Cnidarian Compatibility 5, Cnidarian Compatibility 6, Cnidarian Compatibility 7, Cnidarian Compatibility 9, & By Group Anemone Compatibility, Coral Compatibility, Zoanthid Compatibility, Mushroom Compatibility, Soft Coral Compatibility, Cnidarians 1, Cnidarians 2, Cnidarian Identification, Cnidarian Selection, Cnidarian Behavior, Cnidarian Systems, Cnidarian Feeding, Cnidarian Disease, Cnidarian Reproduction, Acclimating Symbiotic Reef Invertebrates to Captive Lighting,

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Book 1: Principles, Algae, Invertebrates

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Re: Reef Decline- Totally Stumped/Frustrated 6/22/2011
Thank you James.
<You're welcome, Joe>
Very kind words and I appreciate the encouragement. I need a lot of that these days! Even the experienced aquarists have problems sometimes!
<Oh yes they do. I've been in this hobby 35 years and I'm trying to correct a Cyano problem and it refuses to go away in spite of doing everything possible to eliminate it.
I can see daylight at the end of the tunnel though, improvement is coming.
This leads me to mention that problems do not happen overnight and they won't go away overnight.>
In regards to the sump, I will not be adding one to this system at this time. I would like to have a new Tenecor up in a year with a much larger water volume- sump, refugium, better skimmer, bells and whistles etc.
<I had a Tenecor at one time and I must say their workmanship is super.>
This was a tank I received for free and of course, it has its limitations.
<Yes it does.>
I would prefer not to make large equipment investments in it at this time due to upgrading to a much better tank within a year.
In the meantime, of course I want to make it the best that it can be. Hope that sounds logical.
In regards to the tint of the images- this is the camera and its various settings, not the water.
Luckily, as stated, the finger leather will be moved on Friday.
<A good start.>
Do you think that chemical problems will be significantly improved over time? Any idea how much time?
<Yes, and if the corals in decline can recover, you should see some improvement in a month.>
I'm confused because huge water changes took place often. I was looking for some visual evidence that the corals would improve after this but they did not. I would think that a way to test for allelopathic compounds would be to do a large water change followed by observations of coral polyps but perhaps not.
<Won't happen that fast. Slow healers just like us humans.>
Any idea why the tank appeared to be doing so well in January despite the presence of so many potentially toxic species? My guess would be that the compounds gradually accumulated over time.
<Good guess.>
It is still baffling to me how some folks can have tiny tanks filled with wall to wall corals with seemingly no visual problems.
<I've looked at many very large systems in my day and rarely see Leather Corals mixed in with other species of corals. Euphyllia corals are highly allelopathic but it is mostly a physical form by means of potent sweeper tentacles. During the night, these tentacles are capable of reaching out many inches.>
Based on your recommendations, I will implement this plan after the tank is moved next week. How does this sound?
1) Remove Finger Leather
2) Do 25% water change. I will try my aquarium store's RO water instead of Culligan.
<Will help.>
3) Remove HQI, replace with T-5 unit for total of 4 T-5's. I will use the following spectrum: 2 10k's, 1 6500k, 1 Actinic.
<Not worth the investment. I'd replace the HQI with a 14K lamp and try to shade the Caulastrea from direct HQI light with rock overhangs or trade/sell these corals for light loving species but
I do think your present lighting array is the least of your problem.>
4) Add new circulation system. Am looking at the JBJ Oceanstream unit with 2 500gphs and wavemaker.
<A definite improvement. I'd want the pumps opposing each other and switching about every 30-40 seconds.>
<A good price but would question it's longevity at that price.>
Do you think this will be too much flow?
<No, but I'd just be sure the wavemaker is capable of alternating the pumps and not just turning them both on and off otherwise it may be too much flow with propeller type pumps.
I do not have the time to read the entire description so I cannot elaborate here.>
As stated, I tried a Koralia 750gph and it was way too much flow. My tank is not very long and a powerhead seems to have more impact compared to a 48" long 55 gallon tank. Any other circulation ideas for my tank?
<Not without spending a lot more cash.>
5) Use Chemipure Elite by itself for chemical filtration.
<Great, and I'm guessing your phosphate level is on the high side. Just about every type of aquarium food does contain some phosphate.>
The skimmer will stay as is for now, due to investing in the larger system soon.
Any further recommendations?
<Continue to read/learn.>
James, you are a life saver as well as a very wise aquarist. Thanks for everything!
<You're welcome. Well, no lives have been saved yet but I believe you're going from ICU to recovery. Oh, I might add that your filter floss/pads in your Rena should be cleaned or changed at least every two weeks, minimum. If you haven't already, do read Marine Water
Quality, many suggestions for improving will be found there. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Reef Decline- Totally Stumped/Frustrated 6/22/2011- 6/24/11
Thank you James!
<You're welcome.>
I think I'm now on the right track now, thanks to you.
I will go ahead and try the 4 T-5 idea. I already have the additional dual unit so it will be no cost to me. I may go back to the Halides eventually but I really think that this set up may be more appropriate for the species of corals.
<In your shallow tank this may be all the lighting that's necessary. T5s put out more intensity than most people realize.>
In terms of the wavemaker I suggested, I wasn't quite sure on what you meant:
"<No, but I'd just be sure the wavemaker is capable of alternating the pumps and not just turning them both on and off otherwise it may be too much flow with propeller type pumps. I do not have the time to read the entire description so I cannot elaborate here.>". Did you mean that this wavemaker should cycle one pump on while the other is off, as opposed to simply turning both units on at the same time and then off at the same time? This unit alternates the pumps, one on, one off for a changeable amount of time.
<Is exactly what I meant.>
Lastly, do you have any additional coral species to recommend after the tank gets back on its feet? I would like to begin restocking in about 2 months and was thinking of the following species:
Another 1 or 2 Caulastrea furcatas
Frogspawn Coral
Torch Coral
Any other species that you believe would mix well and reflect the makeup of the natural habitat?
<You mentioned in your original email that you have Borneman's book. I would refer to the information Eric provides and choose accordingly. I have his book and often refer to it. Very good reading.>
Thank you so much!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: [Follow Up] Question about odd male Lyretail Anthias behavior. 6/4/2011
(and new questions!)
Dear Bob and Colleagues,
A few updates, and a couple questions:
Remarkably, the odd couple Anthias (two males and a female; see below) are living together harmoniously in our 225-gallon mixed reef, after a brief touch-and-go period in which the newly transformed male was very aggressive to the original male (we call him the "fabulous male"...). Perhaps more remarkably, the original male is showing signs of reversion to a female, both behaviorally and physiologically (much more orange and less red than the new male, body size similar to or even smaller than the remaining female, purple eye rim and purple streak below the eye have returned).
I've taken pictures throughout the process in case this putative gender reversion may be not previously documented among P. squamipinnis before, and if you are interested I'll organize them and send them to WWM.
<This is a known quality. I.e., Anthiines are capable of sexual reversal>
The male mandarin (the female never re-emerged and is presumed deceased) has fattened up nicely, and the tank's pod and pod-like populations have reestablished themselves.
On to the questions...
I'm aware of the dangers of allelopathy and indeed I've witnessed firsthand a Sinularia damage half of my reef before I identified the culprit and removed it. On the bright side, it was a real wake up call to research, research, research before buying anything (I realize I'm preaching to the preacher on this point).
<To some extent>
My first questions relate to a large-ish (~7" long skeleton), and beloved, frogspawn that is occupying precious real estate in the tank. The DMZ around the frogspawn is large enough that even when fully expanded, it does not touch any other corals. I've read about Euphyllia sweeper tentacles but I confess that among the torch, frogspawn, and hammer in the tank now, I've yet to see any sweepers that are much longer than their normal tentacles. (In contrast, I've seen Goniopora, trumpet, and Goniastrea sweepers quite regularly).
1) Do frogspawn, torch, and hammer coral sweeper tentacles look any different than their regular tentacles, only longer?
<Look like consistently thin, translucent flexible from the origin...>
The trumpet and Goniastrea sweepers, for example, are glass-like, thin, and, well... mean looking :) Are these three Euphyllia corals' sweepers simply longer versions of their normal tentacles?
2) Do these three Euphyllia release significant allelopathic compounds?
<Can; yes>
Or does their legendary aggressiveness really only derive from physically touching other corals?
<Mostly, yes>
I have a giant palm tree coral (Clavularia sp.) parked immediately downstream of the frogspawn that appears to be in perfect health. However, a wild-caught Acropora also placed close and downstream of the frogspawn (but far enough away to avoid physical contact) did not survive. It could be of course that this Acropora specimen simply did not do well in captivity, as some wild-caught specimens tend to do, but I've wondered if the frogspawn might have released some terpenes or other natural products that could have contributed to the Acro's demise.
<Might have>
Thank you once again!

Additional carbon use, re Cnidarian Allelopathy, ongoing corr. 5/5/11
Dear Mr. Fenner,
It's me ... Art S. ... again. My recent coral purchases, have really made my reef tank look beautiful. You are correct that my fish are suffering though as a result of the chemical warfare between these coral, which are aggressive by nature. I have found that your advice of using high quality carbon (along with skimming, U.V., ozone, etc.), to remove the toxins these coral are expelling, is spot on. I am currently using Chemi-pure elite.
While it does work well at removing these toxins, it's performance seems to drop off after about two weeks (that is my own personal experience, in my tank).
<I do concur>
It is a very good product, however, replacing it every two weeks will get quite expensive. I believe that if I remove two-thirds of these coral, the water quality in my tank would improve, but I would rather not do that. So for this reason I am trying to find an alternative plan. Reading through the FAQ's, I found that another contributor to your site, advised someone to run additional carbon alongside the Chemi-pure. This would be a more economical carbon that could be changed out once a week or so. My question is, knowing that different carbons have different pore sizes and are each better a removing different sized molecules, what would be the best brand/brands of carbon to use for specifically pulling coral toxins out of the water?
<Mmm, unfortunately, the better carbons of use are also more expensive...>
Are coral toxins small molecules or large?
<For organics, most are rather small>
In the end, if the carbon stops being effective in removing these toxins, I will have no choice but to remove these coral or perhaps invest in a larger aquarium.
<Actually, in time, over time, w/o adding new specimens and/or some overt change (chemical, physical) to the system, all "learn to get along" much better. Weeks, months going by>
Hopefully it will not have to come to that. Thanks, Sincerely, your humble student, Art S.
<Your humbler friend. BobF>
Re: Additional carbon use... Cnid. allelopathy relief 5/20/11

Dear Mr. Fenner,
After thinking it over for a couple of days, I decided to do an experiment to see what would happen if I removed some of my more aggressive and more toxic coral. I decided to remove my Leather Coral, one Torch Coral, one Frogspawn and two Bubble Coral. I put them into a different tank to see if my fish would be less stressed by the chemical warfare.
The results have been impressive. With every day that passes my fish scratch less and less.
They seem to be much happier and more active. I haven't even had the need to replace my Chemi-Pure Elite as often [$$$ me :) ]. I know you said that in time these coral may learn to tolerate one another but I don't believe that there's any reason why these animals should suffer any longer because of their over-zealous owner wanting a fully stocked reef tank instantly.
<I agree>
So I have decided to trade-in the coral I removed for another fish or something less hazardous to the stability of my tank. I mean, how many Bubble Coral does one man need anyway? Speaking of Bubble Coral, one night about a week ago I decided to feed my Open-Brain Coral some Mysis shrimp. Afterwards, I also fed my Bubble some Mysis. The next day, and everyday since, the Bubble Coral doesn't seem to expand its bubbles as much as it used to and every evening it opens its mouth and expels some clear and brown goo that my clownfish seem to enjoy pulling out and trying to eat.
<Is "Mysis poo">
I don't know if it's just living off of the nutrients of the Mysis shrimp and that's why it doesn't feel the need to expand in order to absorb light or, if there is some thing wrong. Any ideas? Thanks again,
Sincerely, Art S.
<Could be the influence of the pre-fed Trachyphyllia (I'd feed all at the same time), or as you say, satiation. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Additional carbon use 6/19/11

Dear Mr. Fenner,
It has been over a month since I removed about half the coral in my tank.
Everything had been going great with my remaining coral( no apparent chemical warfare) and my fishes scratching had pretty much completely disappeared. Today a problem has developed. I have been battling a Blue-Green Algae problem for a couple of years now. I had read your article about this Cyano and had started siphoning it out whenever it had appeared.
This has worked well in the past and today I decided clean it off a few of the rocks it has been growing on. I started by using a 1/4" air tube to siphon as much as I could off the rocks. Not wanting to waste the water, I used a funnel with some filter floss stuffed into the spout to catch all the Cyano/debris and placed the funnel into a gallon plastic container.
<I would NOT re-use this water>
As I was siphoning near the one and only mushroom coral( Actinodiscus ) I have and I just barely sucked the edge of the mushroom up a little with the tube.
There was no visible damage to it. After I had finished siphoning I poured the clean water back into the tank. I then proceeded to brush the remaining BGA off the rocks with a soft brush. After I was done brushing off the rocks I noticed all the coral were closing up. They were not closing normally as if the lights had gone off, but instead as if there was some sort of change in the chemistry of the water. They looked weird. About 15 minutes later, I noticed both my Clownfish were breathing rapidly and darting around and twitching.
<Move them now; or change out a good deal of the water>
They are definitely stressed. About 10 minutes later my Gramma and Chalk Basslet also are acting stressed. The last time I saw my Clownfish acting this way was from the allelopathy of my coral. Could this be the same problem?
Did I start another "cascade effect" by nipping that mushroom coral?
<And siphoning the BGA, returning the water>
Or does it have something to do with my procedure for removing the BGA?
For now I have adding new Chemi-pure and I am monitoring the condition of the fish. The last time they acted like this I was able to remedy the situation, within a couple hours, with a fresh bag of Chemi-pure.
Fortunately, I have fresh saltwater standing by so if the situation does not improve I will remove the effected fish to another tank.
<Ah good>
Your input would be
very helpful. Thanks and Happy Father's Day to you{ if applicable :) },
Sincerely Art S.
<No children of my own... to me, you are all my children. Bob Fenner>

Please help: mushrooms are goo, frogspawn and leather polyps not extending, Zoas closed 5/1/11
I had a FOWLR aquarium, but started adding corals about a year and a half ago. I have a rock of green Rhodactis mushrooms and I have a superman Rhodactis mushroom. These have been looking pretty withered for the last six months, but I was hoping they'd improve if I maintained good water quality and kept up with my weekly water changes.
<Mmm, okay...>
My other corals are a couple leather corals, a couple candy cane corals, a Blasto, a frogspawn, an Acan, some Zoas, a Ricordea, and some green star polyps. These were all doing great.
<The "winners" here>
I changed my actinic bulbs in my PC fixture two weeks ago. My old bulbs were one year old. I was looking for a bluer look, so the bulbs I switched to are 454nm instead of the standard actinics I was using previously. As I have done in the past, I was planning to switch my 10,000k bulbs a week after I changed the actinics so I didn't stress my tank. I still haven't changed the 10,000k since I've been having issues with the corals and didn't want to stress them further.
Everything looked great under the new actinics for the first 3 or 4 days. I kept my photoperiod the same as what it was before (actinics 3pm to 11pm, actinics and 10,000k 3:30pm to 10:30pm, moonlights when the actinics are off).
<I'd only overlap the actinics for an hour or so, and only have them on alone for another hour or so>
Then, my frogspawn started looking a little pale and wasn't extending its polyps much, my leather (finger?) was slumped over and was growing more algae than usual on its stem, and the Zoas were all closed). The Acan, Blastos, and Candycanes continued to do great, as did my red mushrooms.
<A good clue>
This past Wednesday, my superman Rhodactis rotted before my eyes and yesterday and today two green mushrooms expelled a slimy brown substance out of their mouths and then disintegrated. The mouths on some of them look wider open than usual and I can see directly through the mouth to the other side of the coral.
I have a 125 gallon tank and change 15 gallons every week using 0 TDS RO/DI water and Tropic Marin salt. Here are my parameters from yesterday (and some for today)
Temp 77 with a chiller
Specific gravity 1.025 (refractometer calibrated with calibration solution)
pH 8.0 yesterday so added Seachem buffer, 8.3 today (API)
<Do this only through new water change outs... and no more than a thousandth (0.001) in any given "day">
Ammonia 0 (API)
Nitrite 0 (API)
Nitrate 5 to 10 (hard to tell on API test)
Phosphate 0 to 0.25 (hard to tell on API test)
Alkalinity 8.0 yesterday, 9.9 today after adding buffer (Salifert)
Calcium 385 (Salifert)
Magnesium 1385 (Salifert)
Iodide 0.1 or less (Salifert)
<I would boost/treat with the Iodide here>
I moved the frogspawn down in the tank last week, reduced the photoperiod on Thursday (actinics 4:30pm to 11pm, 10,000k and actinics 5pm to 11pm), and dipped the green mushroom rock and frogspawn in coral Rx today. I also added a PolyFilter and changed my carbon (ChemiPure Elite). The Polyfilter has not changed color at all.
<Mmm, no; I didn't suspect so>
I've included pictures of my corals. Please let me know what suggestions you have for me. Thank you!
<I do think your system, Cnidarians are warring... with some of the Alcyoniids winning (the Leathers), the Shrooms losing... further accelerated by the new/lighting regimen. Do see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
re what you can do re the allelopathy; and re-set the timers for your "blue" lighting. Bob Fenner>
Re: Please help: mushrooms are goo, frogspawn and leather polyps not extending, Zoas closed 5/1/11
Thanks for your quick response, Bob.
<Welcome Erica>
I can definitely reprogram the lights. Do you recommend sticking to my previous lighting duration (3pm to 11pm, with reduced actinic usage), the reduced lighting duration (4:30pm to 11pm with reduced actinic usage), or is there something totally different you'd recommend?
<The overall duration is fine, just cut short the actinic hours>
I have two Coralife Aqualight timers, so the moonlights are on when the actinics are off. Is it OK to have the moonlights on with the 10,000k lights (while the actinics are off)
or should I switch it so the moonlights are on when the 10,000k lights are off (the actinics will be on for part of this time)?
<The latter would be my preference... Can't really "see" the moonlights when the higher Kelvin lamps are on>
For the iodide, I have SeaChem AquaVitro Vibrance. I have dosed this twice a week for the last three weeks, but stopped when the coral problems started because I didn't want to harm anything further. The bottle recommends 1mL for ever 25 gallons every day to raise iodide by 0.1mg/L.
Previously, I was dosing 4mL twice a week so I wouldn't overdo it. What would you recommend?
<A double dose at this time>
Thanks for the suggestion on only adding buffer when I do water changes. I didn't know that. Is SeaChem Marine Buffer OK or do you recommend something different?
<SeaChem's line is very good>
I'll check out the information on allelopathy.
Thanks again,
<Do write back if you have questions, concerns. BobF>
Re: Please help: mushrooms are goo, frogspawn and leather polyps not extending, Zoas closed 5/1/11
Thanks, Bob.
I reprogrammed the lights. The moonlights are on with the actinics and overnight. I have the actinics on from 3pm to 4:30pm and again from 10pm to 11pm. The 10,000k bulbs are on from 3:30pm to 10pm. Sound OK?
I added the iodide, as you recommended. Should I add a dose every day?
<No... see WWM re use>
Would you recommend a water change? I do a 15 gal change every Wednesday, but I can do an additional one tonight if you think that would help. I looked at the allelopathy information and it looked that that recommended water changes.
<Do read first re the issue at hand. Simply changing some, even most all the water will NOT remedy this situation; in fact it can worsen it>
In the future, do you think I should stay away from leathers and mushrooms?
<Mmm, at least do what you can to acclimate the parties before placing them permanently together>
By the way, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist is definitely one of my favorite references in my collection.
Thanks again and I'll let you know how things turn out.
<Thank you. BobF>
Re: Please help: mushrooms are goo, frogspawn and leather polyps not extending, Zoas closed 5/2/11
Hi Bob,
The corals are looking the same today, but I'm glad my fish and shrimp are doing well.
Is there anything you'd recommend doing for my leather? It has a good amount of algae on its stalk. Should I dip in in Coral Rx, just leave it alone, or do something else?
<There are a few "things" that can/should be done... and these are touched on where I referred you. Do re-read. Cleaning your skimmer, dialing in the "bubbliness", the use of some chemical filtrants, most improvement: by the use of Ozone, raising RedOx... B>
Re: Please help: mushrooms are goo, frogspawn and leather polyps not extending, Zoas closed 5/5/11

Thanks for the information, Bob. I'm continuing to read WetWebMedia to learn more.
Unfortunately, my leather coral was necrotic.
<... how badly?>
I removed it to frag the unaffected tissue and found a large hole in the side it was bending toward. Nearly the entire stalk was hollow. It was in great shape a few weeks ago, so I guess it was the allelopathy you mentioned.
<Mmm, maybe, though I wouldn't discard entirely other considerations: Predation, chemical/physical issues>
Hopefully the frags will make it as I really liked the coral.
<This genus is TOUGH; your frags should survive>
From the reading I've done, it sounds like it would be best for me to keep just one type of coral (soft, Zoas, mushrooms, or LPS) in the future. Is this correct?
<Mmm, yes, unless the system is large/r, the organisms carefully (and "properly") introduced to each other... Precautions taken to reduce the likelihood and severity of negative interactions>
Thanks for your help,
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Please help: mushrooms are goo, frogspawn and leather polyps not extending, Zoas closed 5/5/11
Thanks again, Bob.
I'm glad you think there's a good chance my leather frags will make it.
I'm definitely a novice at keeping corals, so I'll do more research before I even think about adding anything else.
<Ah, good>
Thank you,
<Welcome Erica>

reef problem, Cnid. allelopathy 4/29/11
Hi all,
This is my first post, so apologies if I miss anything that you may need. Firstly I will tell you sizes of my tank, sump, lighting and filtration etc.
Tank size is 72' l x 24'w x 18'h, sump is 60'l x 12'w x 15'h, filtration media in sump is 40kg of Florida crushed coral gravel with an Underworld Polyfilter and alfagrog, return pump is via an AquaOne 1050 external filter running through a Octopus flow screw and an ionizer rod. Media in external filter is standard carbon and ceramic media with a polishing pad. Skimmer is an AquaMedic 1000 multi-sl. I have 2 6000l/h circulator pumps, one at either end of the tank, and a smaller 2000l/h pump at the same end as the skimmer. My lighting is 2 x 150w 14k metal halides and 2 blue t8 tubes. Blue tubes on for 12 hours a day and halides for 10 hours.
I have roughly 60kg live rock with a couple of cm of crushed coral gravel.
<Mmm, I might switch this out to sand... more inches/cm.s>
My water chemistry is as follows:
ph 8.2 API test kit
ammonia 0 API test kit
nitrite 0 API test kit
nitrate 0-5 API test kit
phosphate 0 API test kit (also virtually 0 on a powder kit a friend has but cant remember what brand)
copper 0 (I always test this but I know I have never used it in aquarium, just precautionary)
kH 10dkh API test kit
sg 1.024
think that's everything you will need.
Now for my problem. I cant seem to keep most hard corals or button polyps alive. I have pulse polyp,
<Xeniids I take it>
star polyp, toadstool, anemones, yellow polyp, asparagus coral, bush coral, medusa coral, cabbage coral, finger coral and cauliflower coral. All of which are doing brilliantly. I also have bubble coral, torch coral, mushrooms and a snow polyp which are doing ok but could be better and I also have pineapple rock, moon coral, spiny brain corals which seem to be dying quite fast.
<Good input/clues>
In the past I have had Acroporas (three different types), Elkhorn and another SPS that I cant remember its name which died very quickly. Oh and I have a Scolymia which is doing fantastically.
I feed all my tank with live home made plankton mix at least twice a week, which also contains rotifers and copepods and then I direct feed the corals that need it brine shrimp/Mysis shrimp/prawn (prawn mainly for the scoly)
As far as my lfs say I am doing everything right. so why are my hard corals dying out on me all the time?
<In a word: allelopathy>
I have struggled with Acro's etc for quite a while now and just cant seem to keep them going for very long before they start losing the fleshy parts on the LPS or bleach on the SPS.
<They're losing, will lose to the other Cnidarian groups you have here>
I have no fish on there that are known coral predators, however I know that they cant all be guaranteed not to touch them, but I have also never seen anything attack them.
Please try and shed some light on what I am doing wrong?
Thanks in advance.
<Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and/or the non- .ppt vers. here: http://wetwebmedia.com/CorlCompArt.htm
and as much of the Related FAQs as it takes to make this condition live to your understanding. Bob Fenner>

Coral Allelopathy, Placement 2/23/11
Hi WWM crew,
Evening! The new tank crawls along slowly but surely. I'm looking at my coral stocking list and having perused all the material I can find on Your Friend and Mine, Allelopathy and have turned to you for direct application of wisdom regarding my coral plan in a 28g MH NanoCube. Parameters, assuming you trust my judgment after all my prior foibles, are well within the accepted norm and even the temperature (halides are hot!) is under a steady control to maintain 78-81F. God love me I even do a religious 10% water change weekly.
<I'd make this twenty>
I'm adding the following kiddos this week:
On the skirts of my cove-shaped live rock pile:
4 Eye of Rah Zoanthids
3-5 True Red People Eater Zoanthids
10+ LA Laker Zoanthids
<Mmm, you realize how toxic these are?>
On a rock of their own, to limit the fission-based encroachment:
<Oooh, I do like this term>
1 Pink Ricordea
A few LPS on sand or their own ledge as they see fit, away from all and sundry:
4 heads Tyree Mystic Grape Favia
1' Aussie Tricolor War Coral
2-3 Heads Neon Green Candy Cane Coral
2 Head Aussie Duncan
And finally though I do assume I'll be giving this one back to the LFS:
2' ORA Birds of Paradise
Aside from my hope to add a few other colors of Ricordea to the Rock o' Ricordea, I have no plans to add any other coral to this setup.
I'm planning on following standard sand first - higher as they like the light acclimation.
I estimate the odds that you'll immediately find the errors I've made at 20:1 against myself, and thank you for your continued attention and patience!
<Well... w/ slow introduction/acclimation of the parties... Starting w/ the Poritids in there first... dipping some water twixt the "other" way-station/separate system... so that the parties can "smell", get-used to each other... you might be able to keep all this Cnidarian life together for several months... a couple of years w/ restricted feeding/nutrient availability... Otherwise, really, I'd be getting the/that new much larger system up and going.
Bob Fenner>

New reef aquarium, fish scraping against rocks and substrate 1/7/11
Hello, 3 months ago I replaced my 29 gallon reef tank with a slightly larger 38 gallon aquarium. I noticed that after adding my fish and coral, my fish (2 Ocellaris Clowns, Firefish, Cherub Angel, Royal Gramma)
starting scraping against objects in the aquarium (rocks, sand, equipment, etc.). This did not occur in my previous tank. All water parameters, PH, Salinity, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, KH, Phosphate, Silicates, Iodine, Calcium and Magnesium, are in proper ranges. My coral are doing great, however the fish keep scraping more and more.
<Mmm, actually, there is a good possibility that your corals doing great is the source of your fishes irritation>
There are no visible signs of parasites like Ick or flukes or anything, the fish physically look perfect . There is no color loss or excess body slime, but something seems to stressing them. Everything is new , the tank ,live rock, substrate, and equipment. I purchase my RO water from my LFS, so the water is the same water I used before. I don't know if it's possible that the new live rock might have introduced some kind of parasite that I cannot see, but you'd figure that after 3 months something would have shown up.
Any ideas and/or treatments you would have would be greatly appreciated.
Thank You, Art S.
<I suspect the move brought on a "cascade event" of the Cnidarians/Corals interacting w/ each other... competing... and that this chemical warfare is mal-affecting your fishes. I would utilize a good grade/quantity of activated carbon... And if you had such means, increase the RedOx potential of the water (using Ozone, UV...). Do read here:
Bob Fenner>
Re: New reef aquarium, fish scraping against rocks and substrate 1/10/11

Mr. Fenner, thank you for answering my question so quickly. I have decided to move all the coral back to my other tank for the time being. I will add a high quality carbon and do some water changes to remove any toxins.
<A good, work-able plan>
Hopefully this improve the condition of my fish. I do not have access to ozone equipment, but I do have a UV sterilizer.
<Good/decent makes, models of these produce considerable O3>
It's a JBJ Submariner and an odd situation arose when I installed it into my aquarium. Moments after I turned it on, my Tunze 9002 Nano skimmer stopped producing foam.
<Actually, this isn't odd at all>
24 hours later it is still not producing foam into the collection cup. I started thinking that maybe I knocked the air mixture screw out of adjustment when I was installing the sterilizer, so I increased the air but when I did it started pumping out noticeably more micro bubbles into the tank. So right now I'm not sure if it's just out of adjustment or, if perhaps, this signifies some sort of issue or condition with the chemistry of the water in the tank. Any ideas?
<Ah, yes... you need to either figure out about how much RedOx is being affected here with measure or test/metering gear. Read:
and the linked files, particularly the survey article linked above>
Thanks again, Art S.
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: New reef aquarium, fish scraping against rocks and substrate 1/10/11
Mr. Fenner, thanks for the info. I will have to purchase a meter so I can get you the RedOx level. In the meantime I do have an issue with some sort of nuisance algae or Cyanobacteria. It's orangey/rusty colored and really more resembles Cyanobacteria.
<Could well be>
It is barely visible when the lights come on, but as the day progresses it intensifies only to start to lessen intensity an hour or 2 before the lights go out. This happens everyday and I have had this issue in my previous saltwater aquariums. Do you have an idea of what this may be and could it be related to improper RedOx levels? Thanks, Art S.
<Likely BGA and these and other algal issues are often easily solved w/ proper RedOx levels. Read here:
and the linked files above. B>
Re: New reef aquarium, fish scraping against rocks and substrate 1/10/11

Mr. Fenner, I believe you are correct, in does look like my nuisance algae is BGA.
<Oh yes>
While I wait to get my ORP meter, there is something I have noticed that is different about my new tank as compared to my previous saltwater aquariums. When would open the top or just smell the water, my previous tanks had water that smelled kind of fresh, almost sweet.
My new tank's water smells, for a lack of better term, like mold or mildew or some sort of wet vegetation. Any ideas? Thanks, Art S.
<Yes... get rid of the BGA. Please see our prev. corr. (below) re. Cheers, BobF out for biers>
Re: New reef aquarium, fish scraping against rocks and substrate 1/19/11

Hello Mr. Fenner, It looks like your initial diagnosis for why my fish were scraping against objects in my tank was correct, it was the coral.
After removing all the coral, adding a UV sterilizer, adding better carbon, and doing water changes, the fish are doing great. Thank you for your advice on this matter. I do however have a couple of questions about my Blue-green algae problem. #1 If I give a piece of equipment from my tank to someone else, will that person's aquarium develop a BGA outbreak if the equipment has been cleaned and dried prior to installation?
<Mmm, not likely; no... In fact, if conditions are not "allowing"/propitious, BGA rarely gains a "foot hold" against other (likely more desirable) photosynthetic life>
#2 I seem to also have a bit of algae in my tank that resembles green hair algae but none of my hermits or turbo snails will eat it. Is this also some form of BGA?
<Could be... but perchance it is some Chlorophyte... or even other Division of Thallophyte... colour is not definitive and many species/groups of all Divisions are unpalatable to much aquarium life>
again for all your help, you folks have a great website. Art S.
<Glad to share Art. BobF>
Re: New reef aquarium, fish scraping against rocks and substrate 1/22/11

Hello again Mr. Fenner,
<Hi Arthur>
I guess we have reached my final question regarding the coral allelopathy problem in my reef tank. Now that my fish are doing well after removing all the coral, I would like to work on a plan to eventually put the coral back in.
<Can be done>
Base on articles and FAQ's I've read on this site, I believe I should put the least toxic coral in first?
I basically have 3 different types of coral right now, LPS (Torch, Frogspawn, Bubble and Acan. Lord coral), green toadstool leather, and assorted Mushrooms(Actinodiscus). Would this in fact be the correct order that I should go with, LPS, leather then mushrooms?
<Mmm, are all these Cnidarians currently living in the same system (apart from the fish)? IF so, there may be just a need to wait a few months to have them become acquainted w/ each other... and moved at the same time/day later>
I would like to buy some Button polyps and maybe some Zoanthids or Yellow colony polyps in the near future, so I'm assuming I should put those in last or towards the end, right?
<Yes... and acclimated as suggested... in a separate system, with some water passed/exchanged every day for a few weeks... then placed apart from other colonies... at an appropriate distance>
Anyway, I'm sorry to keep bothering you with all these questions,
<Not a bother>
but with my local fish stores seemingly employing only dunderheads and the internet filled with people who think they know what their talking about, it is nice to have a place to go to get advice from people who have the experience that you and the crew at WetWebMedia.com have. All the best to you and the crew, thanks for everything, Sincerely, Art S.
<You are welcome. BobF>

Candy Canes, sm. vol., allelopathy likely 12/16/10
Hi Crew,
<Hello Sam>
I have a 24 gallon AquaPod with a glass top and 96w of T5, 2 actinics and 2 daylight. Lights on 8 hours full and 2 hours just actinics. I replace 1 gallon a week and I have a hang-on skimmer. If I see any algae problems I do more changes. Ammonia, nitrates 0, nitrates .2, Calcium is about 500,
<too high>
water 1.025 and temp around 80.
<How about pH? Alkalinity? Mg? PO4?>
Crushed coral bottom, snails, a Spotted cardinal, Blue Chromis
<Singular? These are social animals>
, Red Firefish, Clown goby, Neon goby. Candy cane colonies of 25 heads (brown with blue centers), 12 heads (light blue), 15 heads (light blue), 6 heads (green), 2 heads (green), Hammer with 10 heads, Frogspawn of 2 heads and one very large head, Torch with 4 heads and 8 colonies of Acans with about 10 heads each. And one large and beautiful open brain (Trachyphyllia)about 6 inches across.
<All in a 24g? You have a lot of colonies there>
I feed finely chopped silversides to the corals once a week. I rarely see any tentacles on the Candycanes so I don't think they get anything out of it.
Most of my corals are less than a year old but 3 of the Candycane colonies are 4 years old if not more. My problem is the green Candycanes. They just don't last.
My new one of 3 weeks had 5 heads and I am now down to 2. My older one of almost a year had 8 heads and 2 died in the last two weeks.
A second green colony that I bought at the same time died within the first couple months. What is different about the green ones that make it harder for me to keep?
<If all others are doing well then this might be competition between animals here, with the greens as the 'losers'. Search on WWM re: allelopathy, you have many corals in a small volume here, a recipe for problems. An alternative theory is that since different animals come from different places/ environment/ conditions, and your tank has a single set of parameters, then these parameters are favourable to some animals and not others. It is impossible to create a system where everything you put in will thrive no-matter-what. You might just have to settle for the fact that you have several animals doing well and be happy with that. A third theory is water chemistry. There are several unstated parameters as alluded to above, so I can't comment on these, but 500 for Ca is too high, I would lower this to about 400ppm.>
<No problem, I hope this has been helpful to you>

Strategic Planning and Allelopathy in Coral Tanks -- 11/14/10
Hello to the lovely person who receives my e-mail!
<<Greetings Andrea!>>
I have two systems; both have 2x 100 gallon displays tanks attached to a 70g Miracle Mud Caulerpa and Chaetomorpha filter sump.
<<Sounds neat>>
They are currently coral tanks which have somewhat lost their way - what with poor water quality, excessive Allelopathic species, inadequate lighting and unsuitable water flow.
<<Mmm, okay -- I guess the good news is you recognize what needs correcting>>
However my mission is to make things right again and bring them back from collapse and to their former glory.
If possible I would like to run (in brief -as you are all busy) a collection plan.
I wish to set up an SPS display, a Tubastrea only display, a softy display (Litophyton, Lobophytum, Corallimorphs, Sinularia, Xenia, eeeks etc) and then a 4th display possibly as an LPS display.
<<I see>>
The issue I am having is which display I should pair up with which.
I was thinking the SPS and the LPS should be on the same system and the softie and Tubastrea should be on the other system which I would add a carbon filter too? What do you think?
<<Separate systems for 'each' display type would certainly give better control re individual water chemistry/quality -- but sharing system water as you plan, is no worse than the 'mixed reef garden' systems that abound in the hobby>>
What are the alternatives if not?
<<Limited, for sure'¦ I think keeping the Softie display separate from the SPS display as you plan is the best basic configuration here - the LPS and Tubastrea displays can probably be paired-off either way>>
Thanks xxx
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Butterfly-Safe Corals? 9/15/10
I want to take an inverted approach to a basic question of fish and invert compatibility. We all are familiar with the term of "reef safe" fish, but I want to look at it from the other standpoint. What are the "fish safe"
cnidarians? With such a whacky question, I thought who better to ask that the collective wisdom @ WetWebMedia?
Specifically, what cnidarians (corals, anemones, gorgonians etc) are so noxious that they are "Butterflyfish Safe"? ;)
<Most Zoanthids, Corallimorphs, Alcyoniids and Xeniids>
Yes, the overall thought is that maybe my largest display tank may feature a Butterflyfish community with whatever inverts, algaes and cnidarians they'll simply leave alone because they're so distasteful and unpleasant that they are "Butterflyfish safe"! I have a few ideas in my head already, but I'll reserve making any suggestions of my own so I get unbiased answers. I realize there are MANY shades of gray here - curious for one or more opinions of what might work ;) And yes, given my experience with corallivores like the Harlequin Filefish, I may be tempted to try a species like Chaetodon reticulatus or C. meyeri.
Thanks Bob et. al!
Matt Pedersen
<Welcome Matt. Bob Fenner>

All My Polyps are Closed!!? Anomalous Xeniid crash 5/24/10
Hello Crew,
I have been a big fan of this website for years, and I come here whenever I have an easy or tough question to answer. The wealth of knowledge on this site is second to none, and I appreciate having this resource available.
Here's my most recent issue:
I've had a reef tank set up for a little over 3 years (50 Gal display with 30g sump), with various polyps, and other soft corals, as well as some fish, snails, etc. Everything has been doing well, but I recently switched two things to my tank, and ALL my polyps have been closed since. It looks like the Pom Pom Xenia are all either dead or dying, as well. I'm hoping someone can help...
<Do be ready to scrape, remove the Xeniids if they're collapsing... or take out all else to some other system>
I have always had perfect levels (8.3, 0 nitrate, 0 phosphate, 480 cal., etc.), but was still having an algae issue. To combat that, I decided to add a Vortech MP10 to make sure I didn't have any dead areas (Have been running a Mag Drive 12 as main return with a SCWD, with a Maxi Jet with 1600 attachment in the tank). I also added two boxes worth of Hagen BioMax Filter Media in a section of my sump, just before the return pump.
<Both these changes, additions should be fine>
My goal with those was to get rid of any "crap" that kept getting pumped back into the main tank by the return pump. My levels are still pristine, algae is pretty much under control, and the clarity of my water is much better.
But, my polyps remain closed!?
Any ideas?
<Something else... but Pulsing Soft Corals can/do at times undergo population collapses... and the resultant chemical stew can be very toxic to other Cnidarians, fishes even>
Have I "purified" the water too much with the BioMax?
<No... this is a chemically inert material... for bacterial housing...>
I've tried different speeds with the MP10, and no change. I've also tried putting Coral Frenzy in a few times, and no change.
Any help is Greatly Appreciated.
<Again, the removal of the Xeniids... or all other livestock elsewhere... Water changes, use of carbon, spiffing up your skimmer can only do so much>
(if this helps, I also have a small amount of carbon filtration, Nova Extreme T5's, a protein skimmer, and a good amount of live rock)
<Do/es help>
<Bob Fenner>

Re: All My Polyps are Closed!!? Xeniid allelo? 6/7/10
Thank you Bob,
I have a few follow up questions:
I removed the xenia, and left the other polyps that were closed in the tank. They have not opened as of now, and I am worried that they have all died. Are they possibly adding more pollutants to my tank?
<Is possible>
I have done at least two water changes, have changed the carbon in my filtration system, and added a poly filter to that system as well. My skimmer is taking up more than it has in months, and the poly filter has turned blue. Apparently the poly filter turning blue means that it is taking some sort of copper out of the system.
<Mmm, not necessarily... though copper presence does change these pads bluish. Did you add copper to this system? Lo dudo>
I don't understand what is going on in the system. It seems like most, if not all, of my snails have died. I have a royal gramma and clown fish in the tank, and they both seem fine. But, I found my cleaner shrimp stuck to my Vortech MP10 this morning. It was doing well, and I'm not sure what happened, but it must have gotten sucked into the pump sometime overnight. Should I get the other polyps out of the tank?
<If you have room elsewhere, another established system, I would>
I tested the water again, today, and all my levels are near perfect (8.3 pH, 0 Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, and Phosphate, and 500 Cal).
<The Calcium is too high... is Magnesium about three times this concentration?
The Calcium was a little higher than the usual 480.
Any help you can give is greatly appreciated, because I'm at a loss.
<There are still a myriad of possibilities here... Please peruse the "toxic water cond.s" and "env. disease" FAQs here:
Bob Fenner>

LPS questions, Faviid hlth. f' 5/23/10
Hello again, I recently bought a candy coral about three weeks ago along with some mushrooms and a polyp I cannot identify. My mushrooms and polyps are doing fine and starting to open up but my candy coral has yet to
extend it's feeders.
<Likely mal-affected by the Corallimorphs>
My tank is a 29 gallon with 96w of t5 12k and 28w of actinics for the lighting I run the actinics for 10 hours and the 12k for 8 hours the actinics coming on an hour early and going off an hour later. I have a Coralife super skimmer the 65 gallon model, I know you prefer a remora so would I if I wasn't a college student and father of six. My water conditions are ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5, ph 8.3, sg 1.025, calcium 420, dKH 12, temp 79, and flow rate is around 550 gph the majority of which is pointed away from the mushrooms and candy coral. I do 5 gallon water changes every week and I also dose with iodide and magnesium. The candy coral in question is about 14 inches from the light maybe a little more. Am I giving him to little or too much light is he still adjusting, I know many only come out at night but I have come out with a flashlight at all hours and never seen even one polyp open.
<Good observation>
I have however seen him secret the brown stringy mucus from his polyps that is used algae correct?
I do run carbon only through my canister filter and clean it every time I do a water change.
I also only use RO/DI water I have a four inch sand bed. I know these animals are not completely photosynthetic and I worry that I have not been able to feed him.
I have tried coaxing him out with a turkey baster with Mysis and with brine shrimp. He seems healthy from what I can tell other than he does not open he has 14 good sized polyps and it seems strange that not one has opened. I
have however seen him swell up at night but no feeders any input would be greatly appreciated. Sorry about all of the info on my tank but I didn't know how much you need. Thank you
<Mmm, well... IF you had another established system, or a friend who did, I'd move the Faviid... Do read here:
and the linked "Compatibility" FAQs files re 'Shrooms above. There are some other aspects of care that may be employed to reduce probable allelopathy here. Bob Fenner>

Re: LPS questions... Faviids, allelopathy f's 5/24/10
OK, thank you for the linked pages I think I may have messed up. I used to have a bubble tip anemone but found a new home for it after learning that it needs a larger system than the one I own. This anemone has been gone for
about a month but the rock that was his home is the same rock that I attached my candy coral frags to. I noticed before that all of the algae on this rock had died and is slowly returning. After reading about the toxins these animals produce in the linked pages I cant help but wonder if there are still traces of these chemicals on and in this piece of rock.
<Mmm, possibly>
As I said my mushrooms and polyps are doing very well and I got them at the same time I got my candy coral.
<They "win" over Faviids chemically>
If my suspicions are correct other than using ozone is there any other way I might be able to detoxify my system from this anemone.
<Carbon, water changes, time going by>
I don't want to do anything I am unsure of and any input would be much appreciated. Thank you again for all of your assistance.
<Welcome. BobF>

Palytoxin 04/19/10
Hello WetWeb Crew,
Is it possible for you to tell from my attached picture of Zoanthid, whether or not this species contains Palytoxin?
<It's most likely a Zoanthus sp, claimed to be non toxic in most of the hobby references. However, I have to note that Palytoxin (ptx) has been found in most Zoanthids in doses theoretically sufficient for an intoxication. Palythoa and Protopalythoa are the ones said to be toxic in the hobby area, but Zoanthus and Parazoanthus are also toxic. I'd like to add that given proper care they should not be very dangerous to the aquarist (see below) anyway.>
I'm rather fond of hand feeding my fish and do own gloves but seldom wear, though I know the recommendation is always to wear. As I currently have no other Zoanthids I would sooner part with this specimen than be forced to wear gloves at every feeding. Can you enlighten me?
<Do not grab into the aquarium with wounds at your hand. Be very careful when fragging Zoanthids of any kind (surgical mask, gloves, goggles). Don't stress these corals too much. Most people don't need these kind of safety regulations and do what ever they want with their Zoanthids without being harmed, however, the reported cases of intoxication were always linked to a lack of gear or severe disturbances of the Zoanthid colonies.>
From my searches I've found info saying that the ones with Palytoxin are not that commonly available, and a picture I looked at of a toxic variety did not look like this one.
<As noted above there are no genera, which can be said to be toxin free. Cheers, Marco.
PS: A little reading for the interested: "Implication of Palytoxin in the coral reef ecosystem" by Mebs at al. found in the journal Toxicon, Volume 33, Number 3, 1995 and "Distribution and sequestration of Palytoxin in coral reef animals" by Gleibs & Mebs in Toxicon, Volume 37, Number 11, 1999. To name just two studies out of quite a number. One may have to read them in a library if they are not available on the net.>

Re: Heteroxenia sp. & Caulastrea sp., allelo f' 3/11/10
Thanks, I've read some of the links you mentioned. I have moved the Zoas to the bottom of the tank away from other corals, put in some carbon to remove any potential toxins.
It almost looks like the Xenia's stalk has been stung or damaged.
<Very possible>
I'm also moving the Xenia away from the Zoas. Any need to "dip" the Xenia in something to help the tissue heal... Melafix?
<Never... read on WWM re... worse than worthless... Perhaps additional iodide/ate... BobF>

Single species kill mystery 3/10/10
Hey Crew!
Yesterday at 'lights on" I found that my 3 Royal Grammas had all died some time in the early morning hours.
None had color fade, all were locked in sleeping positions, and only 1 had damage or any kind on him (and that was because he bedded down next to some hermits). The previous day and night they were their normal selves, eating, swimming, and just a little bickering. All were different ages and showed absolutely no signs of distress or illness, I have no idea what could have done them in. They had eaten the exact same things as all the other fish (fed 1 cube frozen Mysis, 1 cube frozen Spirulina brine, and 1cube butterfly/angel prepare) and none of the other fish have died.
Tank info:
150 gal, been running 2 years+, 6"avg DSB
Ph= 7.8
<A bit low>
Nitrate= 5ppm
phos= .1ppm
SG= 1.20
<Too low...>
Other inhabitants=
Atlantic Blue Tang (subadult)
Yellow Tang
4 Atlantic pygmy angels
2 flame angels
saddle blenny
3 chalk bass
Other info:
prior to the sudden RG deaths, I had sudden noticed a decline in Zoanthids, which started 3 months ago.
<May be an important fact>
Water tested out the same as current (using 3 different kits), though one test put it with a nitrate level of over 200ppm, it turned out to be a false reading upon a second go.
I also had a pair of Yellow Head Jawfish both go blind at the same time, no idea why (diet perhaps?).
<Possibly related>
They continued to live for over 5 months, being target fed. The last one died this morning, seemingly healthy and unmarked (though it had been acting depressed). Over the last 2 weeks, this Jawfish had ventured from his hole, and kept digging craters in the corners of the tanks to sleep in, but would still return to his other burrows on occasion to keep them clean.
Is it possible that the Jawfish digging might have released some trapped gasses into the water that might have killed off the Royal Grammas?
<Mmm, not likely, no... else, the other fishes would have been mal-affected>
Any help would be appreciated.
<Is a "bad" mystery; that is, one I can't for sure point out real possible explanations for. I suspect that some sort of "cascade event" occurred here with your mention of Zoanthid behavior... with the Grammas most affected. I would take care to "spiff up" your water quality, add some new live rock, perhaps some new coral sand... to re-center your system chemically and biologically. In addition, I'd give your skimmer a thorough cleaning, and change out/add new GACarbon, and possibly PolyFilter in your water flow path. Please read here:
and the linked files in this .ppt pres. above, and here:
Bob Fenner>
re: Single species kill mystery 3/10/10
Thank you for the reply Bob.
Some additional happenings and info:
Found the largest Atlantic Pygmy Angel dead this morning. No marks, bright colors.
<Again... I suspect some sort of biological poisoning... likely associated w/ the Zoas... Read and act... soon>
The Atlantic Blue Tang seems to not be sleeping. She's covered in what looks like Ich, but it clears up by mid day. I noticed last night that she was avoiding her hidey-hole and hanging out near the rocks, but in the stream of the Vortech...
<... related/due to stress>
The tank was originally a Caribbean biotope for almost a year and a half (all fish, gorgonians, Zoas, Palys, and Ricordeas bought from Florida collectors), but I broke it when I took down my Nano and added the Yellow tang, Flame Angels, Galaxea, and some mushrooms (boy was that last one a bad idea...).
I forgot to mention that when this all seemed to start I had a Caribbean collected Dendro that was nice and bright, and it seemed to get injured and die off.
<All part of the whole... "cascade...">
Now, however, there are tons of babies beginning to take over the old skeleton. Pretty cool!
Anyway, the week before the RG deaths I had cleaned out my skimmer (Coralife250, I'll be getting an MSX soon though) and changed out all media (poly, carbon, and Phos-x) and can't help but wonder if all of that at once may have contributed somehow.
<May well be>
As these deaths are all rather sudden, could it be that a chemical may have been introduced into the water somehow?
<Is... but not exo... endogenous>
Is there a place I can send a water sample to be tested for extraneous chemicals/poisons?
<Not as far as I'm aware... one can do their own bioassays... but unless you act prudently, there won't be much to test. BobF>
Thanks again,

Re: Single species kill mystery 3/10/10
Ahhhhh.... did a thorough scan of the aquarium, and found that there are 2 spots where the rock had shifted somewhat recently, causing 2 different Zoanthid colonies to be damaged. Perhaps that is our "root cause".
<I see...>
My girlfriend also just told me that she did a water change the day before the Royal Grammas died, and that she "harassed" some of the mushrooms that were encroaching on Purple Sea Rods,
as she could see damage at their base. basically, she said she tried to vacuum them up, sometimes getting their flesh all the way into the siphon, but they stayed rooted to the rock. She did observe "some powdery and snotty looking stuff coming off of them and into the tube". Perhaps this is tipped the scales?
<Very, to too likely>
(I'll be having a talk with on proper conduct with sea life... lol)
<Does little actual good to "wag fingers", but does make me feel better.
Cheers! BobF>

Lighting For 6 Gallon Nano/Coral Compatibility 2/9/10
Hi guys,
<Hello Howie>
Once again, great work with the site - very helpful and very informative.
<Thank you.>
Just have a quick question regarding the lighting for my 6 gallon Nano. The tank is 11 inches deep...and i <shift key disabled> have 1 x 24W daylight power compact and 1 x 24W marine blue power compact sitting about 10cm
above the water. The tank originally came with a single 18W 50/50 tube so I decided to upgrade it. my question is whether or not the lights I have now are too strong for corals such as Duncans, Fungia, Acans and mushrooms. The Duncans and mushrooms in particular have not really seemed to take too much of a liking to the new lights with the Duncan's polyps more retracted than extended and the mushrooms kind of wrinkled up (note: corals were
introduced after new lights were installed). There are two 130gallon/h pumps (return pump and internal powerhead) responsible for flow - return outlet is on top right corner of back wall and flow is directed at the bottom left front of tank; powerhead has spray bar with flow directed along horizontal plane of water surface.
Water parameters:
Amm: 0
No2: 0
No3: 0
Phos: 0
pH: 8.1
<Your lighting and flow rate are a little strong for both the Duncan Coral and Mushroom Anemone. Both prefer low water flow and low to moderate light intensity. Another problem you have is that Mushroom Anemones, Acanthastrea, and Fungia are noxious in terms of allelopathy and can/will create the problem you describe when crowding together in very small systems. The more peaceful corals such as your Duncan will be the first to react.
In larger volumes of water, one can get away with it using a protein skimmer and a good grade of chemical media to tone down/remove the noxious compounds.
Another area of concern is that it is very difficult to maintain steady water parameters in such a small volume of water. Sensitive corals will not tolerate this fluctuation in water chemistry.>
Many thanks in advance!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

My tank... Sm SW allelopathy, fish mis-stkg. 12/30/09
Hi Crew,
I have a 24 gallon AquaPod (been up for a year) with a glass top and recently put 96w T5's on it (based on Crews suggestion). 48w daylight and 48 actinics.
I used to have 65w PC daylights. I have two Candycane colonies and about 15 heads of branching hammers, different colors. The tank has a hob skimmer, crushed coral bottom, snails and who knows what else.
Glass keeps fairly clean for over a week. Hair algae growing on the back wall and a bit on the rocks that I clean of once every couple months.
My branching hammers have been doing ok but with actinics they look like they have lights on inside. I also have a wall hammer that seems to be shrinking. I am hoping the light change will help.
<Mmm, unlikely here... likely allelopathy will keep favouring the
Caulastrea. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and the linked files above>
I also changed the position of the hammer so that it is almost on its side plus an angle from front to back. It is about at mid tank. Should it be lower? Would it grow better if I did not have the skimmer?
<No and no>
My Royal Gramma (1 year) bashed his head into something and it looked real bad. But now 2 weeks later you can't even tell.
I just let nature take its course.
<Mmm; no, not in an unnatural setting of your own devising>
I also have a Chalk Bass that I got at the same time as the Gramma. The Gramma is boss but at feeding time the chalk becomes aggressive and makes sure he gets his fair share.
<Too small a world for both here>
But for about 10 days now the chalk is sitting at the bottom very listless. He does swim a bit during feeding but just for a bite or two.
<See WWM re Serranus sp. and Grammatids>
This morning I did see him swimming before feeding but then he went back to the bottom.
I do not see anything to indicate a physical problem from the outside. I am hopeful for recovery since it has been so long in this state.
<? Would you 'recover' from living in a closet... with another similarly sized animal?>
I would have expected him to be dead after a couple days like this. If you have any ideas let me know.
<... read. Bob Fenner>
re: My tank 12/30/09
OK, Mr. Fenner I will find those fish a better home.
<A good plan Samuel. Cheers, BobF>

Coral Help, adding Cnid.s to an established, complex sys. 11/2/09
Hello Crew! I've written you guys several times in the past and have
received a wealth of information from your website. Thanks for being so dedicated to helping hobbyist like myself get the answers and advice we need to make our aquariums the best they can be. I'm writing to get some general advice and suggestions on my reef tank. Its a 90 gallon glass tank (48x18x24) with dual overflows, 20 gallon sump, Das Bx-2 skimmer,
<Mmm, what do you think of this unit?>
Mag 7 return, Hydor Koralia 3 for circulation, MaxiJet 1200 pump behind the live rock, and a Current 6x54 watt t5 lighting system. Inside the tank I have 107 lbs. of live rock, 40 lbs. of live sand, Clove Polyps, Frogspawn, Hammer coral, Xenia, Finger Leather, Kenya Tree, 2 Open Brains, 2 Polyp rocks, 1 Conch Shell covered in Green Star Polyps, Red Flower Pot coral (has spread and is doing great), Derasa Clam, Cleaner Shrimp, Long Tentacle Anemone, Tomato Clown, Yellow Tang, Blue Throat Trigger, and 3 Green Chromis. I don't add anything to the tank other than Zooplex 3 times a week and do a 15 gallon water change once a week. My question is, what other corals can I add that wont be affected by all the chemical warfare that I'm sure is going on inside my tank?
<Mmm, actually, likely none. You might be able to "accommodate" other Cnidarians by careful quarantine and mixing water twixt the systems several times over weeks periods...>
If this were your tank, what would you add?
<Maybe some Zoanthids, Corallimorphs in the foreground... perhaps a Fungiid there as well...>
I would like to get in to some more exotic corals if possible i.e.. SPS.
<Mmm, better for you to try these in another system, really>
Again, just looking for some neat ideas and maybe something I haven't thought of.
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 5ppm
Calcium 430
Salinity 1.025
<A bit re the "Boris Karloffing" issue in your reading here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Coral Help
Thanks Mr. Fenner on the fast response and recommendations for my tank. As far as the skimmer, it was given to me for free from a friend getting out of the hobby. I was shocked to see the retail price on it and figured it
would do more than enough on my 90 gallon tank. It pulls about 3/4" of dark skimmate each day. That seemed to be a lot to me considering how big the collection cup is. Does that sound ok to you? Please, let me know what you think.
<Considering your (apparent!) success, I think this unit is fine here. My experience has been that the Dutch Aquarium System skimmers were feeble.
Perhaps their designs have improved. Thank you for this input. BobF>

Re: Coral Help, further re adding Cnid.s to an established, complex sys. 11/3/09

Here are some pictures of the aquarium and skimmer Mr. Fenner. The skimmate in the collection cup is after two days. My camera isn't the best but maybe this will help you and readers of your website get an idea of what I'm
talking about in my email.
<... groan... Steve... 13 megs in pix? Thanks, B>

Coral Compatibility 12/2/09
Hi Bob,
<J J>
Came across a good article by Delbeek re above. Thought I'd share the link with our readers.
Cheers and biers
<Wow! All the way back to 1990! See how little things have changed? BobF>

Allelopathy Culprit -- 10/26/09
Hi Crew:
<Bonnie... why are you sending images of 13 meg size?...>
I have attached 2 pics of my 3 yr. old 29G reef tank. The specs are:
Salinity 1.026, KH=11, Calcium=440, Magnesium=1320, Temp=78 degrees, 1 150W MH 14,000K, use an Aqua C Remora skimmer and an Aqua Clear 300 filter which also houses a sack of ChemiPure Elite and a small amount (2 tsp.) of Rowa Phos. I faithfully perform a 25-30% water change every weekend. Nitrates and Ammonia are zero.
<So far...>
Fish: 2 orange & white Ocellaris clowns and 2 black & white Ocellaris clowns, 1 Kole Tang.
<I'd stick with one pair of Clowns and the Kole needs more room>
I've had the orange & white clowns and the Kole tang for 3 years; the black and white clowns for 1 year.
As you can see by the pics I have 2 variety of xenia, red Goniopora, frog spawn, 1 crocea clam, Zoanthids/green star polyps, orange Ricordea, blue sponge and the low encrusting star polyp (don't know the proper name).
Everything in the tank is doing well and thriving with full extension except the crocea clam. I've had this clam for 3 years and it continues to show new shell growth. However, the past 4 months I have noticed that is retracting more and more. I have noticed when the lights first come on in the morning, the clam is fully extended and beautiful. But within about 3-4 hrs. the clam starts closing up tight. Since all tank parameters are good, I feel that once all the other corals start opening up, there must be a bit of allelopathy or chemical warfare going on which the clam is reacting to. I know that the Zoanthids & star polyps can be fairly toxic and have even read that the Goniopora can put out some pretty good stinging cells.
<You are correct>
My question to you is what do you feel is the most noxious animal currently in my system for me to remove?
<Unfortunately, the Xeniid/s...>
I would hate to loose my clam,
<Or lose it likely>
and am willing to remove what is the biggest culprit or culprits. I change the sack of ChemiPure every 2 months.
<Good... I'd switch this out monthly... leave one in for the two months... i.e. leap-frog two units>
I'm thinking maybe I should use ESV charcoal and change it every weekend when I do my water changes instead of using the ChemiPure. What would you recommend?
<Worth trying>
Thanks in advance for any suggestions/help you can lend me.
<Is there room for another, or larger system? Bob Fenner>

Re: Allelopathy Culprit 10/27/09
Hi Bob,
Sorry about the pictures! Thank you for your reply. It was an eye-opener for me! I was really surprised that you had recommended the xenias be taken out over te other tank occupants.
<Mmm, am sure there is some way (though I don't know how to do this) to make /a symbolic formula/e for "who gets along with whom"... but I can only guess given appearances and lists of cohabitants... Whereas, like a RedOx chart for elements, one can rank who is most likely to steal/lose electrons, things aren't so neat and precise with dealing with allelopathogenic relations... Often Xeniids, in long association with other
Cnidarians, become toxic>
I was always under the impression that xenias got along with everything and were not toxic at all. Fact is, the following was posted on WWM (don't know what date?) ..........
"-Xenia / Seahorse compatibility-
Hello crew, My tank is ready for captive bread seahorses!!! But I was wondering, is it a good idea to mix this coral pom pom xenia in with the seahorses??? I heard they sting, I have right now button corals and green star polyps!! <Well you heard wrong, xenia are one of the few corals which do not possess nematocysts (no stinging!).> Would that be a good mix???
<Supposing you have the appropriate lighting, you should be all set.> Thank you so much!!! <Enjoy, -Kevin>"
<Ah, yes... not stinging, but a good deal of chemical aggression>
So, thanks again, for your recommendation. I am going to remove all the rocks that have the xenias and sell them back to my LFS. Fact is, my xenias have grown so well over the last couple of years that I have
propagated them many times and have actually sold them to my LFS! This time they can buy them all.
<Likely "about half" removal will re-establish balance here... with harvesting in future! Bob Fenner>

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