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FAQs about Trachyphylliid Coral Disease/Health, Parasites, Pests 3

FAQs on Open Brain Disease: Trachyphylliid Disease 1, Trachyphyllia Disease 2, Trachyphyllia Disease 4, Trachyphyllia Disease 5,
FAQs on Open Brain Disease by Category: Diagnosing, Environmental (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments 
Related Articles: Coral Pests and Disease; pests, predators, diseases and conditions by Sara Mavinkurve, Trachyphylliid Corals, Trachyphyllia Reproduction Report,

Related FAQs: Open Brain Coral 1, Open Brain Coral 2, Trachyphylliid Identification, Trachyphylliid Behavior, Trachyphylliid Selection, Trachyphylliid Compatibility, Trachyphylliid Feeding, Trachyphylliid Systems, Trachyphylliid Reproduction, Stony Corals, Stonies 2, Stonies 3, LPS Stony Corals, Coral System Set-Up, Coral System Lighting, Stony Coral Selection, Coral PlacementFoods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, PropagationStony Coral Behavior,

Bubbles in Open Brain   1/3/08 Hello WWM Crew, <Paul> I recently purchased an open brain from my LFS. I acclimated and placed it in QT, temperature is 80 degrees and salinity is 1.026. <Good> During QT I spot fed with Mysid, one piece of which had a small air bubble attached. A few days later I noticed what looked like 2 small air bubbles under the tissue near one of the mouths of the open brain. <Mmmm> However, it disappeared a few days later, upon which I placed into a separate stand alone refugium. This is lit with a 100W daylight CLF bulb. It expanded normally and was doing fine until I did a large 50% water change. The NSW was at a salinity of 1.026 at approx 80 Degrees F. However, during the water change I thoroughly covered the open brain in sand. <Yikes> I then forgot to plug the heater back in and the temperature dropped to about 70 Degrees F before I noticed. The next morning the "bubbles" had reappeared so I quickly removed it, did an Iodine dip (10 drops to 1 gallon), and reacclimated it into the QT tank. <Very good> It still goes through regular expansion and shrinkage, but there appear to be more and more bubbles under it's tissue. Please advise? I have attached pictures. Thank you! Paul <I think you'll be okay here... as will the specimen. Sometimes such gas accumulation does occur... in moved specimens under "boosted" conditions (mainly lighting), and rapid metabolism following challenges. Bob Fenner>

Re: Bubbles in Open Brain   1/3/08 Mr. Fenner, <Pablo> Thanks! The open brain is indeed slowly recovering and the bubbles are receding. Another coral making it safely from LFS to my tank. <Ah, congrats! BobF>


Pink Brain Coral -12/29/2007 Hello, I have my first huge problem, by huge I mean the life safety of one of my inhabitants. I'm really struggling on what the cause could be and was hoping you guys may have an answer, or some direction on how to correct the issue! I have included a photo of my pink brain coral that was taken on Dec. 19th, it shows the coral nice and fleshy and with some of the feeding tentacles out, and to what I have taken to be a healthy specimen. I may have been fooling myself though. Christmas morning (of all mornings) I woke up and did my normal check on my animals and noticed some bleaching on the rim of the brain. <Looks worse than bleaching... looks like tissue recession.> I thought that maybe it had gotten blasted by sand or irritated by a crab or something and decided to keep a close eye on it for the next few days and see what happened. One thing that comes to mind that happened a few days ago is that my cleaner shrimp molted over night and my fiancĂ©© found the molt inside the brain corals mouth the next morning. <This sounds normal. The coral was likely eating it (or trying to eat it).> (This happened before any of the bleaching appeared). Other than that the only other thing that comes to mind is that one of my power heads came loose and dropped into the sand and I awoke to the results of a sandstorm and a big "hole" in my sand bed. (My tank did not have a good Christmas season.) This powerhead was on the opposite side of the aquarium though and I'm not sure that it would have had a significant effect except for maybe a sand flurry or two onto the brain coral. I'm at a loss to what could be going on and don't want to see anything die under my care. <What do you feed this coral? How much? when? and how often? These corals are voracious eaters. It might be starving to death.> (Not to mention my fiancĂ©© would kill me if her favorite coral didn't make it. It's funny how she doesn't lay a finger onto the aquarium but she lays claim to the fish and coral and has VERY outgoing opinions about things when they go the slightest bit wrong... lol) If you guys can think of what may have caused the problem and how I can correct it it would greatly be appreciated. I began last night feeding the brain heavily with E.S.V. spray dried phytoplankton <No good... they don't eat this.> and frozen Mysis and brine shrimp. (I have listed my tank specs, as of this morning below) <Meaty foods like this are good (be sure to defrost first though).> 55 Gallon tank with about 60 lbs of live rock. and a 3-4 inch sand bed. (up and running since May)55 gallon sump (1/2 dedicated to a refugium half to filtration, used to be a trickle wet dry, but I have began to slowly take the bio balls out and just go with a prefilter and VERY aggressive Skimming) ASM G-3 Protein Skimmer Refugium has Grape Caulerpa, a 2-3 inch sand bed and about 25 lbs of live rock rubble. ( I plan to replace the Caulerpa with Gracilaria and green Ulva and maybe some Chaetomorpha soon) The circulation in the tank is provided through a Mag 7 return pump fed into a SCWD that comes out at opposite ends of the tank. I have a Tunze Stream 6101 that stays on its lowest setting except when the Cyanobacteria starts to show on the sand and I turn it up for a few hours. The Tunze is accompanied by a Maxi Jet 1200 (with the 1600 upgrade kit.. claims to put out 1600GPH of turbulent circulation) the maxi jet is on the opposite side of the tank blowing water across the back glass and back side of the rocks. Tank Parameters Salinity 1.021 <Salinity should be closer to 1.025 to 1.026> Nitrites 0.00 Nitrates 0.00 Ammonia 0.00 PH 8.0 Calcium 310ppm Alkalinity 110 mg/L Inhabitants 1 yellow tang 1 zebra goby 2 green Chromis 1 pink and blue watchman goby paired with a tiger pistol shrimp 1 lawnmower blenny (that I now have a hard time keeping well fed because there is no algae in the tank, I feed dried algae strips daily. Any suggestions?) 1 Cleaner shrimp A huge clean up crew ( 3 Mithrax crabs, 20 scarlet hermits, 20-30 blue hermits, 5 Nassarius snails, lots of Astrea and cap snails, other creepy crawlies that go bump in the night (bristle worms etc. .)) Green star polyps a large pink leather (not sure the species. It can be seen in the photos) a huge xenia colony (THAT WONT STOP GROWING!!!) two green Ricordea polyps a frogspawn and a piece of moon coral?, The LFS sold it to me as pineapple brain coral? The tank has 4 55 watt T5 (two actinic and two 10K, as well as an Actinic VHO) (lights set on a 12 hour cycle) Also I recently scraped off about half of the coralline algae covering the side of the tank, about a week and a half ago. I didn't want to scrape all of it at once but both sides are covered and I'd like to be able to see in. I also attached a picture of the coralline growth in the tank without any of the aquarium lights on (flash only) does this look normal, I almost feel as though it may be bleaching out also. <Looks normal to me...> Again you guys have been a HUGE help to me thus far and I am taking in as much information from you guys as I can as I begin plans for the 280 gallon that is going into my basement! <cool> Thanks, Adam <De nada, Sara>

Re: Pink Brain Coral  12/30/07 I feed the brain 2 - 3 times a week. Mostly the Spray dried phytoplankton, that's what the LFS told me it needed. <Well, they were/are wrong.> I guess as I and a friend are finding out they provide A LOT of bad information despite their good reputation. <::sigh:: This seems to be a common phenomenon, unfortunately...> Every once in a while I would feed it 'shrimp' pellets, and chopped bits of frozen shelled shrimp (thawed first), last night was the first time I had directly fed it the Brine and Mysis shrimp. So should I up my feeding with the shrimp? <If I were you, I'd feed it at least 4 to 5 times a week until the tissue recession stops. After that, you could feed it only every other day or so. But you should target feed it good foods such as well-chopped fresh seafood, scallops, shrimp, squid, clams, oysters, etc. (this might help: http://www.asira.org/feedingyourtanks)> are the shrimp pellets going to be digested? <Maybe to some extent, but they're certainly not ideal. I personally would not feed them to any of my corals.> Is there any other foods I should try? <Yes, food you make yourself (please see the above link). From your LFS; frozen Mysis, krill, chopped mussels are good. Don't use stuff that has seaweed in it (corals won't digest it). Also avoid products with a lot of fillers and preservatives, etc. Have you heard of Rod's Food? This is good stuff too.> The coral seems to take them in as food. but it also seemed to take in the phytoplankton. <This doesn't mean anything. It likely just spits it out later. And this isn't good for the coral. There's a net metabolic loss when it takes in food it doesn't derive much nutritional value from.> Is there a chance for this guy to make it? <Yes, of course... just be patient and feed it properly. Things may get a little worse before they get better, but corals can be tough animals. Raising your salinity should also help.> How often should I be feeding him now that he is wasting away, I am guessing several times a day ? <I'd say about once a day (at night--after lights out, or whenever you notice the tentacles peeking out). Just be careful not to spoil your water (effective target feeding small amounts of food is the best way to go).> If he pulls out what kind of feeding regime should he be on? <Quality, target fed food 3 to 4 times a week (or about every other day) is ideal (IMO).> I was also told that the lighting in my tank may not be adequate is this true? <I doubt it. They don't need intense light.> I don't want this guy to waste away at my care! It especially bothers me to now know that I haven't been taking proper care of him in the first place. <No worries, you know now. It's a learning process. Just keep at it, keep reading, etc. You'll get the hang of it. ;-)> Thanks for all your help, Sara M.>

Re: Pink Brain Coral  1/5/08 Sara, I am displeased to say I think this will be my last email re-guarding my pink brain coral. It has deteriorated much more than the first few pictures I sent you a week ago depicted. Despite my desperate attempts to feed it and keep it alive. Several nights I woke up in the night to get a drink or something and traveled into the living room to check on it and would try to feed it. <::sigh:: Been there myself... > I even went as far as to try to very gently squirt pieces of chopped shrimp and squid into the few mouths that were left. None of which worked. One night it appeared as though the tissue was regrowing and I was ecstatic, but alas, I went by the tank on one of my late night strolls and noticed hermits devouring what appeared to be the corals desperate attempt at regrowth. I gently pulled the hermits from the coral and placed a plastic jug I cut out over top of the brain to allow it to be left alone. I fear this decision was too late. I have attached an updated picture taken a few moments ago. My question is: Should I still be trying to help this animal pull through... or is it too late? <It's not too late. As I warned (or should have if I didn't), things would get much worse before they got better. If I were you, I would 1) use a powerhead and/or turkey baster to blow off any dead tissue and opportunistic diatoms and such, 2) use the plastic jug to help with target feeding, 3) don't be too aggressive, don't try to inject the food into the coral. I forget, do you have a lit refugium? In my experience, sometimes moving a coral to a refugium can really help. I noticed this after several times I would give up on a coral and toss it into my refugium, thinking it would soon die. Much too my surprise/delight some of these corals no only recovered but became much healthier than they ever were in the display. I'm not sure why this is (though I have some theories). It's worth a try at least (IMO).> If it is too late, should I remove the animal from the tank? I know it is polluting my water due to the outbreak of Cyanobacteria. My parameters are still in check, and I would like to see the animal pull through but my gut feeling is that it probably wont make it. Please advise. <In theory, so long as there is even just a "drop" of live coral tissue left, the coral can recover. I won't lie to you, things don't look so good. But I wouldn't say it's over just yet. The coral appears to still has a fair amount of live tissue left and I've seen even more "miraculous" saves than this. All in all, I definitely think you should keep trying to save it. If it doesn't make it, it will at least be a valuable learning experience.> Adam <Good luck!> If the animal is to be removed, what is the most humane thing to do with it. I would like to keep the skeleton, it was one of my first corals. <Let's not give up on it just yet... if it does completely die, do write back and I'll tell you what you can do with the skeleton to preserve it. :-) Best, Sara M.>

Re: Pink Brain Coral -01/04/07 I do have a refugium (or about half of my 55 gallon sump that is being used for one. It has about 10 - 25 lbs of a mixture of live rock, lava rock that the aquariums previous owner was using, (one piece is covered in coralline), and dead coral skeletons from yet another friends tank. (who gave up after a tank disaster). It only has a 15 watt 6800K fluorescent bulb over it. The grape Caulerpa thrives under it and I have even seen some coralline algae start to grow on the glass (not much due to the lack of lighting I'm sure). Will this amount of light be ok for the brain!? <Temporarily, yes, perhaps... I would give it a shot.> Also this is normally where I pour in my supplements and My top off water. After placing the brain in the refugium should I try to top off and dose in the other half of the aquarium after placing the brain in there? ( I would expect so, as to keep from exposing it to concentrated chemicals and drastic salinity changes) <Yes, good idea. But I must tell you, moving the coral to one's refugium as a "treatment" of sorts is not the "standard" recommendation. This would be a more "controversial/experimental" course of action coming from mostly from me personally. So, it's up to you... it might help, it might not. In any case, do keep target feeding it (delicately).> Thanks for all your help, Adam <De nada and good luck... please do keep us updated! :-) Best, Sara M.>

Re: Pink Brain Coral  1/5/08 Sara, As I am still going over things in my head this came to mind: The pink/blue brain that I have is a deep dwelling species correct? <Um, not necessarily. Usually the collectors stay more shallow I believe.> With this being said should it be in the shaded portions of my tank? I ask this because it was in the "shaded" area of my tank, Until about a month ago. It was expanding and got hung up on a rock. Because of this I moved him to one of the few spaces on the sand where he would fit which is directly under my lights with no shade. Could this have been part of the problem? <Possibly... the sudden change of light could have been detrimental.> I don't think he would have experienced photo shock because he wasn't completely covered in the shade in his last spot. It was under a huge Xenia colony that due to its movements in the current, provided it with partial shade and light. So moving it out shouldn't have induced photo-shock should it? <It's hard to say for sure, but it's possible.> I have placed him back under the Xenia for now and if conditions become worse I am going to move him to the refugium as a last ditch effort. (I hate to keep him from the light, but I guess this could also be beneficial for short term?) <If it was "happy" under the xenia, then that's where it should be. I think one of the hardest things for reef aquarists to learn/accept is that every coral is different and you shouldn't try to "impose your will" on them. If a coral appears healthy and growing in a spot that (according to your sources) is totally wrong for it, so be it. I assure you that the animal knows itself better than you do. So, maybe we need a "Zen of Coral Care" article or something... lol :-)> I hate sitting things out and waiting with things like this, but it's all I can do. <Haha, I know how you feel, but it's all you can do.> My brain wanders too much in it's attempt to figure out things. <No pun intended, right? j/k I really am sorry for your struggle and I know how it feels. I've even slept on the couch next to one of my corals when I thought there was something wrong with it (I was that worried/obsessed over it). But I've come to learn that this hobby is just so uncertain. Even if we read all we possibly can, it's still a lot of trial and error (and may always be so). It does help for our trials and errors to be well educated/informed though... so please do keep reading/learning/sharing. :-)> Sara M.>

Re: Pink Brain Coral... death   1/10/08 Sara, <Hi, sorry for the late response...> My brain is now completely white and most of the tissue is gone. <:-( Sorry to hear that. At least you did all you could do.) I have had a Cyano bloom on the sand. (nothing that the powerheads can't clear up with a little adjusting but it is a nuisance) The coral is still in the refugium. The reason I said most of the tissue is gone is that two nights ago I figured it was probably over for the little guy (it was completely bleached and smelled like sulfur), so I pulled it out of the tank to notice that there was still white fleshy tissue on the skeleton. I placed the coral back into the refugium and blew some of the necrotic tissue of with a turkey baster as well as removed some of the algae accumulation off the skeleton. While doing this I notice I sucked some of the white tissue off the skeleton. To my surprise tonight while I was looking at it I noticed the white "tissue" was back. Is this coral tissue or something else? <I can't think of anything else it could be. But I don't know if this tissue is still alive enough to be saved. When you're ready to pull it out and clean/preserve the skeleton, you should boil it for a half our or so, then soak it in 50/50 bleach/water. Best, Sara M.>

Sick Elegance, Rose Brain health, & possible Lithophyllum sp. ID 10/18/07 Hi Folks, I have been searching your site for answers and with all the information I've read I am less sure than I was before I started. <It happens to all of us. :-)> I have a few questions and I am a recent student of this hobby so please bear with me. I am running a 265 gallon, 32in x 32in x 5ft, with a 29 gallon sump with skimmer, we don't do anything small in this house. Currently, I am in the process of slowly filling my tank, so I have started at one end with a 400W MH and 4-40W fluorescent actinic. I will be adding another 400W MH at the other end when I have life to put under it. First, I have enclosed a few photos of my rose brain, elegance and an unknown. The unknown was a skeleton covered in mushrooms that had a great shape. When I got it in my tank a tiny portion of the skeleton was still alive and started to regrow, recovering the skeleton with life, any idea what this could be? <Very nice recovery. It looks like some kind of Lithophyllum sp.> Under actinic only this glows green, but with MH it looks a tan colour. The other 4 pics are of my formerly healthy elegance and brain and their now sick images. The elegance from what I read on your site looks like the virus that Julian Sprung describes. Over the course of about a week parts of it started to shrivel. Now it's been like this for about 3 weeks. I am hoping for the best and just looking for suggestions. <There's been some recent promising investigation into the cause of (and possibly cure for) Elegance coral disease. Please see here: http://www.elegancecoral.org/Page_4.html > My brain on the other hand had almost tripled in size from this healthy photo(daytime) and now for about 5 days has continued to shrink. The colour is still good but there is no puffiness to it at all. <Actually, it looks a little bleached. You should move it to an area of less intense light or raise your light. For general care of these corals, please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyphlliidae.htm > I have done a partial water change and then today I noticed that the little sponges that hitchhike on live rock, the one that look like cotton balls, have all started to die off. I can't figure out what has happened. My ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are all at 0 and the ph is 8.4. <I think you probably have too much light over your tank. Some sponges don't like a lot of light.> Also in this tank, 130lbs live rock, Rhodactis mushrooms, 2 Fungia - green and orange Platygyra, Blastomussa, lg coral covered in Christmas tree worms, a Purple, a blue and a yellow tang, 2 small clownfish, a lg orange and green BTA and a small rose BTA, a sm Xenia, a frogspawn, chili sponge 3 cleaner shrimp, a debelius lobster, multiple mushrooms, candy coral, green star polyp, a red and yellow feather duster, many snails and hermit crabs, and of course anything that hitch hiked in on the live rock. Everything else in this tank appears healthy, eats normally and seems to be thriving. The only thing that has changed since just before the brain started to recede is the addition of 5 lbs of live rock, and the Rhodactis mushrooms and a move of the purple tang in from the QT. Should I just leave it or is there any suggestions about intervention? <I don't think the new additions are causing your coral troubles.> Thanks in advance for your help, us newbies really appreciate your time and consideration. Sara M.>
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