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FAQs about Fungiid Coral Environmental Disease  

FAQs on Fungiid Disease: Fungiid Disease 1, Fungiid Disease 2, Fungiid Disease 3, Fungiid Disease 4, Fungiid Health 5, Fungiid Health 6, Fungiid Health 7, Fungiid Health
FAQs on Fungiid Disease by Category: Diagnosing, 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, Fungiid Corals

FAQs on Stony Coral Disease: Stony Coral Disease 1, Stony Coral Disease 2, Stony Coral Disease 3, Stony Coral Disease 4, Stony Coral Disease 5, Stony Coral Disease 6, Stony Coral Disease 7, Stony Coral Disease 8, Stony Coral Disease 9, Stony Coral Disease 10, Stony Coral Disease 11, Stony Coral Disease 12, Stony Coral Disease 13, Stony Coral Disease 14, Stony Coral Disease 15, Stony Coral Disease ,
FAQs on Stony Coral Disease by Category: Diagnosing: Environmental (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments 
FAQs on Stony Coral Disease by Family: Acroporid Disease, Acroporid Disease 2, Acroporid Disease 3, Acroporid Disease 4..., Caryophyllid Disease, Caryophyllid Disease 2..., Elegance Coral Disease/Pests, Dendrophylliid Disease, Faviid Disease, Faviid Disease 2, Mussid Disease, Mussid Health 2, Poritid Health, Trachyphylliid Disease, Trachyphyllia Disease 2,
FAQs on Stony Coral Disease by Type: Brown Jelly Disease,

Live in/on fine/soft sand substrates. NEVER on rock.

Plate Coral Problem          1/21/17
Good Afternoon, I found your site as a recommendation, but only seem to see freshwater stuff. I apologize if I have reached you in error.
<No worries; all subwebs (including Marine) should show on our root: http://wetwebmedia.com/
Fungiids in general here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fungiidae.htm
and the linked files at top>
I have a plate coral that I have had for about 3 weeks.
<Mmm; Fungiids are easily lost; most species, but some are notorious>
It looked great and ate well up to a few days ago. I noticed the flesh on top turning a bit white, and assumed that my diamond Goby had spit some sand on it and irritated it.
<What they do>

I then put up a bit on a rock and it has continued to decline in appearance.
<Uhh; don't live on rock, but on the substrate>
I have attached pictures.
My parameters are:
S - 1.0245
pH - 8.2
NH3 - 0
No3 - 10
No2 - 0
Ca - 440
KH - 10
The day I noticed it, my parameters were:
S - 1.0245
pH - 8.2
NH3 - 0
No3 - 10
No2 - 0
Ca - 420
KH - 11
I was then told my Alk was a bit high,
<Not... 11, 12 is ideal>
and I've been working to move that down slowly. However, prior to this, my parameters have been the same for longer than this coral has been in my tank.
Any idea why this coral wouldn't do well?
<All sorts of possibilities... The best route to have you go through the linked files referenced above... The FAQs files Re Selection, Systems, Health/Disease in particular>
All of the other corals I have are doing well, including a Acropora frag that I have.
Any guidance would be much appreciated
Many thanks, Henry
<Please do write back after reading if your path is not clear. Bob Fenner>

Irregularly Shaped Tentacles on Fungiid 12/21/2009
Good Evening,
<G'morrow now here>
I recently received a coral from a fellow reefer at a local fish club (M.A.R.S.)
<Oh, up in Sacto. Was just up there a couple mo.s back giving a pitch>
and am puzzled by the anatomy of it. The coral in question is a Fungiid (please see attached picture). This is the second Fungiid that I have owned; the first still doing very well after 5 months (sticks to a regular cycle of inflation / deflation, eats well every other day and has grown). What I am puzzled by is the irregular tentacle shape on the new Fungiid upon arrival. The tentacles themselves each individually look unique. They are rather thick toward the base and stay that width for roughly 3/4 of the total length. Some of the tentacles then thin to a very fine point. On others there is a fine line of a contrasting color running up the side, almost like there is a stitch where the tentacle had been sewn up. Some of the tentacles have multiple bumps toward the ends and have a twisted appearance (reference the far right edge in the photo). The tentacles have not undergone any changes in shape as a result of being placed in my tank.
The coral does not seem interested in feeding on Mysid shrimp nor silverside and I am rather concerned about this as well, not eating is never a good sign. It may also be important to note that the coral in question is one of three fragments created from a single larger polyp. I am unsure how long ago the fragmentation was performed;
<Quite a while, considering the near-circular (regrowth) appearance presently>
however, the skeletal disk is very near circular and a mouth has developed and appears to be structurally mature.
This leads me to believe the coral has recovered from the initial trauma of fragmentation.
Now that you have an idea about what I am viewing we come at last to my questions: Are there Fungiids or corals in general in which the polyp tentacles are non-uniform?
<Mmm, not really... sometimes appear to be more "miniaturized" toward the center, but otherwise about the same conformation>
If not, then is it likely this be a mutation or disease of some kind?
<The latter is my guess... this environment is trouble. Obvious BGA about where the Fungiid is placed... either the predisposing conditions are unfavourable to the Coral and/or the Cyanobacteria is poisoning it>
I have understood that generally coral polyps should have tentacles which are symmetrical, with each one identical to the next.
If this is a mutation, should this coral *not* be propagated and distributed to others?
<Nah; you need to study, fix whatever is allowing the Cyano to predominate here>
I want to preserve and propagate healthy specimens that are true representations of life that exists in the natural reef.
Your insight and assistance is most appreciated.
Best Regards,
<Umm, start here:
and the linked files above...
And have you read on WWM re Fungiids in general, their systems? You should.
Bob Fenner>

Pink Fungia Plate Coral 01/09/09 I have been an avid reader of your site for a couple months now and would like some expert advice. Here is my current problem, my pink Fungia plate coral which has been doing well, started showing signs of white skeleton around the mouth are yesterday. <Yikes, not good. How long have you had this coral? If you've had it a long time (several months or more) and only just now started target feeding it, it might be starving to death.> I came home tonight and it was worse. I watched it last night in the dark and it was the first night it had not open it's tentacles at all. I tried target feeding it last night, but never saw it eat. It still has some color, but it has puked up a lot of it onto the sand bed. My parameters all checked out o.k. except two, salinity was at 1.027, I have since lowered it to 1.026. My calcium is high enough that I can't get an accurate reading to tell you, it's at 600 or more, <Calcium is too high... makes me suspect that your Alk is much too low.> I have changed out water, but calcium is still high, ph seems to reside where it always does between 8.0-8.1, is there anything I can do? Should I remove it. <No> Here are my tank specs. 65 gallon wide 4x96 watts 2 10,000k, two blue actinic, 1 flower anemone, 1 tube anemone, a pair of mated percula clownfish, 1 green Chromis, one hippo tang, 1 goby Firefish, 1 mandarin goby, 1 coral banded shrimp, several blue and red legged hermit crabs, 1 emerald crab(maybe 2), 1 anemone crab, 1 sand sifting starfish, a few Cerith snails, a few turbo snails, white star polyps, green star polyps, flower pot coral, Kenya tree frag, xenia colony, yellow button polyps, blue zoos(small colony growing on a half clam shell), green zoos, amour of god zoos(very small colony), colt coral, blue anthelia, purple, red and blue mushroom colonies, and my pink Fungia plate. My tank may be over stocked? <This is somewhat a matter of opinion, but yes, I think you have too many different types of coral in too small a tank... many of which are notorious for their toxicity to each other and other corals.> Did my high calcium level start to kill my plate? <Perhaps not by itself, but really high calcium usually means that other parameters are out of whack (such as alkalinity). Also, I suspend that maybe you haven't had this tank for very long. You may have added too many things to the tank too quickly-- and before giving yourself enough time to learn good aquarium maintenance... and to let your system age.> Is there any way to save it? <Time will tell. If you have a friend with an older tank and more reef aquarium experience, you might give it to him/her for awhile. Otherwise, I suggest you leave it where it is and concentrate on getting your water parameters closer to ideal (do this slowly). If/when it starts to recover> Do I leave it or pull it? I am running a skimmer, and several pumps, as well as a whisper 30 hang on filter with carbon. Everything else seems to be doing well, here is a picture of the tank layout. <A good sign at least...> Thanks for any help or advice in advance. Aaron
<De nada,
Sara M.>

down here at left
Re: Pink Fungia Plate Coral 01/09/09 After testing the calcium several times(new test), seems to be somewhere between 580-600, so it is high and I just changed out some water with fresh water to lower the salinity, (my salt has calcium in it, so I don't know if a further water change will help or hurt.) Did high calcium levels lead to my dying plate coral? Wouldn't other corals in my tank suffer first? <Please see my response to your first query for answers to these questions. -Cheers, Sara M.>
Re: Pink Fungia Plate Coral 01/09/09
Thanks Sara! The tank is about 9months old, transferred with most of the water and new substrate to a bit larger tank 3 months ago. The tank has done really well in the last couple of months, outside of the plate coral(recent) and the high calcium levels. <I can't say for sure, but sometimes LPS and soft corals (especially leathers), just don't mix.> Is there anyway to bring the calcium down and raise the alkalinity safely and easily? I know I can do water changes, but unless I buy cheaper salt, this is just going to add more calcium to my tank. <You can add baking soda to slowly raise the alkalinity... this will lower the calcium. Please see here: http://www.asira.org/practicalchemistrybasics> How does the layout look in the pic? <Looks fine, but expect some (or a lot) of warfare once these things "take off" growing.> I think I have things separated and positioned properly for what I have. I could move some things to another tank eventually. I can send you more pics if that would help. <Thanks for the pics. I think your tank is fine for a soft coral set up. Just don't be too surprised if you continually have troubles with stony corals amongst all those softies in such a small-ish volume of water. You could add to water volume by adding a remote refugium.> Thanks, Aaron <De nada, Sara M.>
Re: Pink Fungia Plate Coral 01/10/09
Thanks for the great advice and links, one last question, in your opinion should I remove some of my soft corals if I want to try and keep a plate coral, I do have a large sump that I was planning on turning into a refugium <Unfortunately, moving the soft corals to a sump or refugium might not help much since their toxins can travel between tanks. If it were me, I would remove (entirely) at least the leather corals. Also, you might try moving the Fungia to the sump (if it's well lit). For whatever reason, *sometimes* they do better there.> at some point. I really think plate corals are fascinating <I do agree... they are great corals!> and would love to keep one or do I need to have a second tank for this? <I would advice you to first get your water parameters right and stable for awhile. I'm not entirely sure which is the problem here. So best to get everything else in order, and stable. Then by process of elimination, think about what the problem might be.> Is it possible having the amount of softies I have may be a problem in itself without trying to keep anything else. <You might have to remove some things (like the leathers). But it is certainly possible to keep soft corals and Fungia together. Some of these things can get along, especially if you run a lot of activated carbon. However, you might have to remove some of the softies.> Still learning, at least I am slowly learning from past mistakes. <We are all still, slowly learning. :-) Best, Sara M.>

Re: Pink Fungia Plate Coral 01/10/09 One last question, this is about the dumbest mistake I have ever made in this hobby, I read my thermometer wrong, since I have set up this tank, about two-three months since I transferred my tank to this one, I got a new thermometer and have been reading it wrong, my temp is at 85-86 consistently, <This is too warm. My advice, get 1 or 2 more thermometers... of any type (they don't have to be for aquariums necessarily, just anything reliable and accurate that you can dip in water). Aquarium thermometers are often unreliable. I personally have about 5 and they all read slightly different temperatures. I usually just average them.> which everything seems to be happy with, should I try and drop my temp a bit and how slow. I know I should attempt to drop it no more than 1 degree a day I would assume. <Yes, do drop the temperature (slowly, 1 degree a day) to closer to 80 to 82F. Best, Sara M.>

Re: Pink Fungia Plate Coral 01/10/09 I am concerned, lowering the temp could cause more problems, especially if it lowers too quickly. It's hard to control this precisely. I have three heaters in the tank, I lowered the 150 watt quite a bit and left the two 100 watts as is, so far in 5 hours the temp has gone from 86 to 85 I won't be able to check it again until morning, everything still looks well. <good> I added two extra thermometers to be sure the temp was correct. I suspect the temp combined with high calcium killed the Fungia as well as perhaps irritation from the leather, however I think it's strange that the star polyps, yellow button polyps, anemones, and xenia <The star polyps, yellow buttons, xenia... these are all extremely hardy corals. In fact, many seasoned reef aquarists consider them "weeds" because they grow so fast in healthy tanks and are actually often difficult to kill/abate. As an experiment, I once threw some Zoanthids (button polyps) in a 10g tank with no light (except for a little ambient sunlight) and didn't top it off or do anything to the tank for over a month. By the time I finally remembered they were in there, about 1/3 of the water had evaporated, the salinity was through the roof. The water was actually cold and I'm sure the parameters were all completely out of whack... even the algae had died... but those Zoanthids hung in there. They weren't happy. They were skinny and brown, but they were alive. I guess my point is... these are difficult corals to kill. Just because they are doing well in your system, that doesn't necessarily mean you're doing everything right. Fungia are different. They are more sensitive. That said, they are also known for their seemingly miraculous recoveries. So unless there's no tissue at all left on the coral, I wouldn't consider it dead yet.> are all doing so well along with everything else. <Best, Sara M.>

Plate coral I recently bought a plate coral from my LFS. 4 days into him being in my tank, it is "melting" on one side and it's white "skeleton" is extruding. all I'm really asking is if it's dead?  <indeed suffering from damage that could be fatal... maintain good to strong water movement around the coral. Skim well and siphon loose necrotic tissue when possible. The coral may stabilize and heal in time... death is unmistakable and fast... tissue rots away within a few days to leave a denuded corallum ("skeleton"). These corals (Heliofungia) suffer damage easily on import. A common cause of death after import is the keeping of this species on rock. Heliofungia must always be kept on soft sand... placement on rock will cause a tear or abrasion in soft tissue with regular polyp cycles that can lead to infection and death> I brought it out of the water to smell it but it didn't have a fowl smell to it. thanks, Jason <if the coral survives... be sure to feed this animal very finely minced food weekly. See here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fdreefinverts.htm Best regards, Anthony>
Re: plate coral
I've read your FAQs and I do not have it on rock, although I know this is a bad thing, I do have it on crushed coral. That's the only substrate I have. <Ahhh... yes. In the long run this will/would be too coarse for Heliofungia to live on. Finer sand is a must else tissue is easily abraded from polyps cycles>  I read about a type of plate coral that if it dies you can leave the skeleton in the tank and it will still daughter polyps after a couple of months of just sitting in the tank.  <yes... anthocauli produced in Fungiids. Not yet reported in your Heliofungia although seems possible> <=can't recall exactly what I read.) If this does in fact die, would you suggest doing this?  <in a separate aquarium/QT tank perhaps... not here though> I'm kind of worried that it will raise my ammonia level? (but I may be wrong).

Heliofungia actiniformis: Plate Coral on Rock: never Buenos dias.  <greetings my friend!> I have a plate coral that is in trouble due to an accident. I recently purchased it and it was doing great for the first couple of days. Then I injured it by dropping the top of it against the glass while moving it. It has not opened up fully for about a week now and it is deteriorating.  <alas... do keep it on the sand bottom with moderate to strong water movement on the edges. Siphon away decay as necessary. Add iodine as per mfg suggested dose if you do not already. Remove if decay seems rapid (to QT tank hopefully)> It is pulling back from the edges and I can see the skeleton in the middle too.  <it may recover in time> I tried moving it closer to the MH and higher current for a few days but that didn't help.  <yikes! Not possible, my friend. First of all... moving a stressed or damaged coral to brighter light is very stressful and sometimes fatal. Lower light and increased feeding is always better. Furthermore... Heliofungia can never be placed on rock. That will sign its death certificate. They only occur on sift sand in the wild and will suffer from abraded tissue with polyp cycles on rock. Always keep on soft sand. Feed this species 3-5 times weekly minimum too with very finely minced meaty foods> I now have it in my refugium under low lighting and moderate current. <OK... and perhaps stronger current would be better> While transferring it I noticed the bottom of it has a reddish spot covering about half of the underside. Is there anything I can do to save this coral? My water chemistry is good. Temp fluctuates between 77.5 and 78.5. Lighting in tank is 3x 150 watt HQI MH (tank is 24 " deep).  <all water quality is fine, my friend... keep up the good work!> By the way, did Mr. Fenner go to Mexico for the aquaculture conference? I translated some documents for him and was just curious if he got them back. It was a while ago. Thanks. <Gerardo... we thank you so much for your help with the translations. Alas, the trip fell through. The organizers must have had some trouble. They did not answer any of our requests for travel and contact information and did not try to contact us by phone for travel arrangements until 2 days before the event. By that point we assumed the event was long since canceled and made other plans in our schedules. It is unfortunate... we were really looking forward to seeing that beautiful city in Mexico. But again, we thank you for your help in trying to contact the committee.> Gerardo Gomez <with kind regards, Anthony>
Re: Heliofungia Actiniformis, Dilution is the Solution to Pollution: High ALK
I will try what you suggested to revive the plate coral. I mentioned my water chemistry was good but I hadn't checked my calcium hardness and it is WAY too high. I have checked it twice and it is reading over 20dKH with a LaMotte kit (it actually reads it as CaCO3 at 4515 ppm). <YIKES!> My pH is steady at 8.2 and Alkalinity is 2.75 mEq/L. I have a calcium reactor hooked up filled with Korallith and water flowing through it but I have yet to connect the C02 tank. When I originally filled the tank I overdosed on Seachem's Marine buffer to the point that a precipitate formed all over everything (I am still trying to remove it).  <Ahhh, yes... I see> I did a water change but have been adding Marine Buffer to replacement water (RODI) to bring pH to same level.  <agreed... but do aerate before any buffer or salt> Any suggestions on what I should do next?  <indeed... a string of large water changes. As they say, "Dilution is the Solution to Pollution."> Sorry to hear the trip to Mexico fell through. It sounded like it would have been interesting.  <yes... I was dreadfully sorry to miss it. We were so surprised to get a call 2 days before the event!> Thank you again. Regards, Gerardo <my pleasure, Anthony>

Plate Coral, Again The new long-tentacled plate coral looked great for three weeks--almost always inflated to over twice the diameter of its calcareous plate and three times the thickness. It started declining this weekend. It has a small dead spot on one side, and only 3/4 of it inflates now. It started acting weird this weekend, but I thought I'd leave it alone and see if it rallied. It looks like it is doing the same thing the last one did--sometimes rapidly deflating, but not retracting, its tentacles. I've read on the internet that these corals tend to do well for a while and then just crash suddenly. My water has been good--I checked it today and had ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and phosphates all "0". <<Starved chemically. RMF>> Calcium got low this weekend--to 300 ppm--and I'm getting it back up with supplements pending receipt of the reactor. I've managed to get it back to around 360, but can't seem to get it any higher than that. Aren't these supposed to be some of the easier corals to take care of? <Not necessarily... highly variable on the basis of immediate past histories, damage from falling, rubbing/touching other organisms, water quality and changes (likely here), light/lighting, parasites...> This specimen is on the bottom of the tank in live sand. The water is moderately turbulent in that location. Lighting is VHO--2 actinic white and 2 actinic blue--440 watts total over the 115 gal DAS. What is this coral telling me, other than perhaps these species are not as easy to take care of as I thought? What should I do? (I've tried to refrain from moving it when it looked weird, due to stress--I thought the "collapse" if its polyps may have been due to the lowered calcium level.)  <It will move itself if it can in your system... if it wants> Incidentally, I did try feeding it some krill this weekend. The last plate coral I tried went into decline right after I tried to feed it krill--but I'm thinking this is a coincidence and that this is environmental or lighting-related. Thanks for your thoughts, once again. <Need to write up this part of an upcoming book (a section on the Fungiids). Hopefully something will "come up" from that endeavor... Finishing the Anabantoids today... Bob Fenner> --James Deets
Re: Plate Coral, Again
Thanks for the quick reply--I think the best course here is to keep the Ca level up and watch and wait. Incidentally, I went back last night and reviewed our correspondence in relation to the last plate coral problem (that are posted in the Fungiid FAQ section of WWM). The one factor (besides the feeding) in common to the rapid decline of both of these corals is that there was a significant "crash" in the Ca level right before the decline began. In both cases, Ca dropped to 300 ppm or lower, and then the decline began rapidly. Could be coincidence, but I'd advance the hypothesis that the low Ca was at least a contributing factor, if not the cause of the initial decline, which in each case led to a recession of tissue around the edge, creating a "portal" for infection that quickly consumes the coral. <Yes, likely a cause-effect> Related to the Ca drop is another possibility (which I wasn't aware of until installing a pH monitor on Monday) and which is probably even more likely. And that is stress from the pH swing caused by use of the calcium supplement. Although the instructions on the product say that it won't affect pH, the first time I supplemented after installing the pH monitor, the pH dropped 0.25 (from 8.14 to 7.89 in a matter of minutes). So the Ca drop, in and of itself, may not be as much the cause as the pH swings from using the supplement. <Yes> If this plate coral doesn't pull through, no more LPS until the Ca reactor (which is arriving today) is up and everything is stabilized, and the coralline algae begins to really flourish. . . <Ah, you're learning...> On the positive side, at least I'm perhaps providing some more fodder for your piece on the Fungiids, as well as some additional material for the FAQs on these species. (although I'd certainly rather be reading the FAQs to learn from someone else's mistakes). Maybe someone will learn from mine, however. <Yes my friend.> I'll let you know what my numbers look like after one week of using the Ca reactor. Thanks again! (And also, thanks for your agreement about the ID of the Cirrhilabrus cyanopleura--I guess I really am learning something here--and it's a great fish!) <Very good. Bob Fenner>
Plate Coral
The plate coral I wrote about on Monday night looked particularly bad yesterday. It was clearly dying where it was located in the tank. In an effort to save it, I moved it off of the substrate onto some live rock halfway up in the tank, near the flow from a power head. More light and more circulation. The stuff that was caked on one side was detritus--from dying polyps of the coral. I know these particular species do best on the substrate and that I'm risking damage to the tissues on the edges by placing this one on the rock, <Not really... Fungiids are "moving corals"... and are often found on top of rock, various places in/on reefs...> but I didn't think I had much of a choice under the circumstances. It did look somewhat better this morning with the added circulation, and most of the dead tissue had washed away. Are these species likely to recover, and will the polyps that have died grow back over time? (Time will tell, I guess, but I'd like to at least know what to expect with this one.) Any thoughts on this one? <Of stony corals, the family is amongst the most resilient> I also wanted to confirm my conclusions on another issue. I did a full range of water tests last night to rule out water contamination as the reason for the decline of this specimen. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrates were all 0. Phosphates were also 0. Ca was 380--still trying to get it back up around 400-420.  <No worries on the 380...> Alkalinity was 4.5, but pH was 8.0. In the past I've always had pH readings of 8.2 in the evening and 8.0-8.1 in the mornings before the lights come on. I checked pH this morning and it was 7.9. Based on my reading and research, I think the reason for the low pH is an excessive amount of CO2 dissolved in the water.  <Mmmm, and corresponding paucity/lack of buffer to the contrary...> And my guess is that the elevated levels of CO2 are due to the calcium dosing I've been doing this week to get the Ca level back up, as the Tropic-Marin product states that it releases CO2 in the water to aid in synthesis of the Ca by the symbiotic algae.  <Careful here... it is very easy to obsess about such matters, and cause yourself and your system grief in over-reacting...> So I'm thinking I need to increase aeration, either by placing an airstone or turning up the air supply on the skimmer, at least until I get the Ca level back up. (And I'm going to start gathering supplies this weekend for a DIY calcium reactor. . .) Does this sound like a reasonable theory as to the cause of the lowered pH and an acceptable course of action, or am I missing something? <Many other plausible explanations... but the short term addition of aeration is a good idea... and the long term one on using a calcium reactor an excellent one> I'm fairly sure that the suspected CO2 buildup is not from livestock load--the only fish I have in the 115 gal tank are three tangs (large, med and small), 3 bicolor Chromis and one small yellow-tail damsel (in addition to various inverts like crabs, shrimp, snails, sand stars, etc., none of which should be a major factor). <Actually... it IS due to the livestock... think of the balance of photosynthetic activity during the illuminated hours, the dark reaction during "night" along with the metabolism of your non-photosynthetic life... all utilizing oxygen and other "oxidizers"... Oxygen is not nearly as soluble in water/seawater as carbon dioxide... the reductive nature of all this is that pH trends down in the dark> Also, I think you implied this in your prior email, but I wanted to confirm that it is ok to mix the Tropic-Marin product with top-off water, and then add it to the pre-filter chamber on my DAS. (The filter chamber just past the skimmer and before the biological filter chamber.) <Yes...> I can't seem to get even one scoop of the Ca powder to dissolve in a day's supply of top-off water (RO/DI), and it looks like I'm going to have to add 3 scoops a day to achieve a balance in the Ca level. I can't pour the top-off water with the Ca directly into the tank without clouding the water for several hours. <Perhaps consider removing part of the water daily and mixing the material "off site" in a dedicated container... with a submersible pump or powerhead... and changing this back and forth with your main tank...> When I pour it into the prefilter chamber, I don't get any clouding at all. <Yes> Once again, thanks for your kind counsel and guidance. <You're welcome my friend. Your success is mine as well. Bob Fenner> James A. Deets
Plate Coral
Things are going well--got the Aiptasia taken care of with a freshwater soak. I decided I didn't really want to add any livestock right now (i.e., predators), and I'm relatively certain there were only 4 and they were isolated to two live rocks. Now a couple of other problems. <Oh?> I added a small greenish plate coral a couple of weeks ago. It was doing OK--not great, but acceptable for a new addition--over the past two weeks. It is on the bottom of the tank on top of the live sand. It never looked completely healthy from the time that I put it in, however (although it seemed to look great at the LFS. . .). It was more ecru colored at the LFS, but has since changed to a very pale aqua. <This happens, varying mainly with light spectral mix, intensity> This weekend, I added another plate coral. The new one has brownish tentacles with lighter, straw-colored tips. It is a little larger than the first one. I moved the first one over--it was previously in medium current, and now it is in more still waters. The new plate coral is where the old one was before. <Ones that have lost their color... oh, I see, you answer this...> Since I moved the older plate coral over, it has not done well at all. Sometimes it just instantaneously "shrivels" up--it doesn't retract its polyps, but they just collapse and shrivel very quickly. Some of the polyps extend pretty full (but they've never been completely "full" since it was added to the tank--always looking more full at the tips and more deflated or wrinkled closer to the base). The quick deflations look almost like a reaction to something in the water. Also, the fleshy tissue looks like it's pulling away from the stony plate at the edges, and the vertical stony ridges are sticking out in some places. On one side, it's got something that looks like detritus on top of it near the edge, and the polyps in that spot are not extending at all. It seemed to be doing pretty good until I moved it over and added the other plate coral. (Jealousy???) The two corals are about 12 inches apart on the bottom of the tank. <Not a factor... you have read MCRA v.2? The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium books by Fossa and Nilsen would/will bring you much joy, and understanding> The only things that have changed are the addition of the new plate coral and moving the one that seems sickly to calmer waters. Lighting is 4 48" VHOs, two actinic white and two actinic blues. It's a 115-gal DAS setup. 150# of LR. (I did try to feed the ailing plate coral a small piece of frozen krill last weekend--and it took it into its mouth but about 30 minutes later, rejected it back into the water. . . The new plate coral was added the same day--so I'm not sure if the problem might be related to something about the krill it spit back up, or the new coral. . . I ended up removing two pieces of krill from the tank, because once the coral rejected it, the fish weren't interested in eating it, either.) The older (sick) plate coral was under metal halide lights at the LFS. <Do best, look good there> I'm really worried about this coral--it has seemed to decline very rapidly over the past three days. <Already was in decline> The new one I added is doing fine and hasn't deflated since it was added to the tank, even at night when the lights are off. My numbers have been fine--ammonia, nitrite and nitrate have all been zero. SG is 1.0235. I finally achieved phosphates of zero this weekend as well. I did a 10% water change on Saturday with 2-day old synthetic water. Late last week, the Ca dropped to 320, but I've been supplementing daily now with the Tropic-Marin to keep that up around 400. Alkalinity has been consistently at 4. (The other corals don't seem to have been adversely affected from the drop in Ca.) Any ideas on this one? <Have rendered them... more current might help.> On a final note--on the end of the tank where I've been adding the Ca powder--some of the powder will settle on a piece of LR and I'm getting black slime algae on that rock, but no other rocks. I know the Tropic Marin product has something in it to promote synthesis of the Ca by algae--might this slime outbreak in that isolated location be caused by the collection of Ca on that particular rock? I only have been seeing it on that rock--no others--and I've been using a net to scrape it off the rock and remove the loose pieces. It's pretty ugly stuff. (But, looking at the brighter side, it seems to oxygenate the water well. . .) <Shouldn't be any "powder" introduced to the tank as such... either completely dissolve ahead of introduction, or place the powder in a setting where it will dissolve ahead of introduction (part of the DAS or added filtration. The deleterious conditions where the powder is settling are killing off the organisms there, allowing BGA and decomposers to flourish in their stead.> I'm still trying to find the best way to get the Ca in the tank without burning the corals like I did a couple of weeks ago. This end of the tank is pretty calm and I've been adding it there to avoid getting too much particulate Ca flying around through the power heads, but this may not work too good, either. . . (A Ca reactor is starting to look really good--no dosing issues or Ca crashes. . .)  <Yes...> I tried mixing the Ca with water first but couldn't get it to dissolve adequately. I'm now adding a few scoops every day, although I'm still looking for the best spot to put it in and avoid the problems with burning the corals. Once again, thanks for your kind thoughts. --jd <And you're welcome. Bob Fenner>
Plate Coral--HELP!
Urgent update. The plate coral that had been declining gave up the ghost today. I removed it--it smelled foul. Also I tested the water and had slightly less than 0.2 ppm ammonia. Should I test again in the morning or do an immediate water change?  <Just keep testing... once, twice a day... unless this goes over 0.5 ppm the change may do more harm than good... hold off on feeding anything in the meanwhile... the ammonia should "go to zero" in a few days> (I'm already drawing up water, which will take several hours. . .) I have an elegance coral that was closed up today--so I knew something was wrong with the water, and the finger leather, while it has its polyps fully extended, looked "wilted." Other corals seem unaffected. Should I also suspend feeding for a day or so? HELP! <An Elegance? Catalaphyllias are not easy to keep nowadays... WWM ref... Go SLOW my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: Plate Coral--HELP!
Thanks for the speedy response. I know Elegance is not a good choice. . . Over the past few weeks I've read everything on WWM that pertains to this species, including the narrative pages and every single one of the FAQs. I'd have probably not chosen this species for the tank, but significant others have a way of wanting things and talking you into getting them. <Hmm... hoping that reason, persuasion will prevail henceforth...> So we're trying one. . . We did find a medium-sized specimen that looked relatively healthy at a local LFS, where we have had very good luck with coral specimens, for $49. It's been in the system for a couple of weeks and seems to be doing well--located in the LFS at the bottom of the tank on its side. Until the plate coral demise, its polyps were staying completely extended, even at night. The sand sifting stars, however, have had to learn the hard way to steer clear. . . <I see.> I haven't tested the water yet today--but the tank looks relatively back to normal. The elegance is opened up again, not quite all the way, but almost, and the toadstool leather, which had seemed slightly distressed over the past few days, is back to normal. I'll be testing the water again this afternoon--I had guessed last night that the right thing to do would be to watch and wait, since nothing was in acute distress, and I really didn't want to change with newly-mixed synthetic water. The good side is that I now have enough water mixed up for two water changes! <Ahh, very good... You'll soon be able to take over for me here!> Thanks again for your kind counsel. (P.S.--when are you going to put some info and FAQs on there about brain corals???) <Thank you for this/these promptings... they are directional. Have the new Veron and Borneman books out, and several thousand images... hundreds of articles to wade through to post much of anything (significant, accurate, meaningful) on the fifteen families of Scleractinians (stony/true corals)... This is not too far away (on the side burner?), but prep. for some presentations, normal correspondence must take precedence for now. Be chatting. Your friend in fish, Bob Fenner>

Plate Coral Hi guys. I bought a LT plate coral about a week ago. I put it on the substrate in the tank and it wouldn't open up. I moved it to a rock higher up in the tank and it looks great. I know it can inflate and fall over or even tear growing tissue there.  <This is still dangerous, my friend for many reasons. And they are never found on rock/hard substrates in the wild> Is this an indication of too little lighting?  <could be, or it just needed time to acclimate to the new lighting. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm>  I have a 120 with 300 watts of PC.  <this is indeed modest lighting. The tank is too deep to support this animal with these lights possibly and it WILL die within a year if you move it up onto the rocks. This is really not a beginners coral. Please do research this animal more. Daily feedings of finely shredded meats are necessary. Else it will die of attrition within a year just the same> This coral is sooo pretty. BTW my flame angle seems to like picking at it.  <and will do so until the coral dies. They must be separated> Thanks for the help! -Becky <please do read, learn more before you buy such animals>

Plate Coral Stressed Hi Bob, <cheers mate, Anthony Calfo in your service> I'm from England and a regular reader of your fantastic web site, but this is the first time I've had to post.  <a pleasure to hear from you> I bought a Long Tentacle Plate (Pink Tipped) coral about a month and half ago and everything was fine until this week end. All the tentacles have retracted and I don't know why, I've done all water parameter tests and everything is fine. The body of the coral swells up and the tentacles swell up a little then after about two minutes they retract again, its like it is trying to force the tentacles out but something is stopping it from doing it. Any help in this matter would be much appreciated. Keep up the excellent work. <two things come to mind: Fungiids like your Heliofungia plate coral are categorically free-living creatures. Some like your plate coral about living on a sandy bottom that even a few days of living perched atop a hard substrate can be fatal as tissue abrades with normal polyp cycles. Plate coral must live on a soft sand bottom. If yours has without exception, please disregard. The second thing that comes to mind if actually favorable. Fungiids commonly employ mucus net feeding strategies and balloon without tentacles extending after capturing food. If your tank is fed heavily, fed with a messy food or has a very messy feeding fish, perhaps the coral is stimulated frequently. Do consider if either common event is applicable to you.> Regards, John <with kind regards, Anthony Calfo>
Plate coral
Hi Anthony, <cheers, John> Thanks for the quick reply, unfortunately the plate coral didn't survive. I've got real fine gravel substrate not sand do you think this was the cause of the death of the plate coral.  <indeed, yes... gravel and rock can be quite abrasive on a plate corals daily polyp cycles> I've also got a piece of living rock that was next to it and its got a hairy crab inside. I've looked on a lot of marine forums and they say that this crab could kill corals, would this be possible.  <very possible! As a rule, most crabs are predatory or at least opportunistic omnivores. VERY few herbivores in the trade. Legend has it that is the crab has a hairy carapace or dark tipped claws then it is a great risk> I've been told by a lot of people that I should get the crab out of the rock and dispose of it, what is your opinion on this.  <I would remove it to a sump, refugium or fish only tank. They are still good scavengers> I'd like to finish off by thanking yourself and your team for the excellent work you do and even though the plate coral died, it as not put me off from getting another one. Regards, John <education and fellowship are passions for us. Thank you my friend, carry on gently and wiser. Anthony>

Torch Coral I am writing regarding the addition and now poor condition of a torch coral (Heliofungia actiniformis).  Prior to its addition, my tank was doing great.  I added the torch coral one week ago and it started out fine, but has deteriorated over the past three-four days.  The tentacles have deflated, the skeleton is apparent and a beige film has formed over the tentacles and skeleton.  The film can be removed and the tentacles still have color.  Do you have any advice or is my coral dead?  Thanks! Here's the parameters of my tank: 15 H with 2 16 watt bulbs (blue and natural sunlight) and Eclipse system Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrates low to none, Calcium 480-500 Changed filter and 1/5th of tank water yesterday in effort to help the torch coral. Contains assorted mushroom anemones, star polyps, Zoanthids, Stereonephthya spp. on an oyster, a blood shrimp and two green Chromis fish. -Johanna <<Greetings Johanna, Craig Watson answering while Bob and Friends are away at the MACNA conference. The coral you identify by name is Heliofungia Actiniformis, which is a plate anemone coral. Torch Corals are branched LPS corals of the Euphylliid family, aka Candy or Trumpet Coral. The plate anemone coral lives on the substrate (sand) and while most corals of this family require moderate intensity light in shallow displays and more intense light in deeper displays, this particular variety, Heliofungia Actiniformis, is more demanding of intense lighting. One weakness of the Eclipse hoods is the inherently low light output from the supplied fixture.  This is further exasperated by the depth of your tank. To keep your Heliofungia will require a lighting upgrade either for the existing hood (CSL makes a compact fluorescent retrofit as does AH lighting supply) or the purchase of a new lighting hood with the type and intensity of light required.  I kept a 15H with some corals with similar requirements and I used a 96watt smart lamp. I would advise around that wattage in compact fluorescent lighting, either a smart lamp or separate lamps of around 96 watts combined, one white, one actinic blue.  There are kits made specifically for Eclipse hoods that can supply the light needed.   Your other corals will benefit as well. Fungiids produce mucous for feeding that covers them.  This is normal. They don't like too much water movement as it will remove this mucous. They are relatively aggressive feeders that require feeding with all kinds of treats like shrimp, mussel, scallop, etc.  Set the food on the net/mucous in feeding mode.  This would especially be true in low lighting, although this variety is less dependent on feeding and more dependent on light. You don't mention alkalinity or pH, but I would test both and maintain in normal limits, i.e.: pH 8.3-8.4   and  4-5 mEq/L. I hope this helps get things back in order! Craig>>

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