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FAQs on Stony Coral Disease by Type: Brown Jelly Disease,

Tissue recession from other causes... lack of nutrient, improper lighting, supplements poured on...
Can look like other animal chewing.

Fungi<a> with strange parasite 12/9/11
Thank you for taking my question.
One of my recent additions is this lovely orange Fungia. It looked very healthy at the LFS and continues to look healthy in the tank. I dipped the coral in Lugos
<Lugol's; not my choice in iodide-ate soln's of use>
solution prior to adding to the main tank. It is quite active (moves around) and prefers to be snuggled into a large doughnut coral (green).
One evening I noticed what appeared to be an 8" long strand of hair attached to the Fungia. Upon closer observation, there were two 8" long "antennas".
Each "antenna" has numerous smaller hairs combing the water column
. Where the hairs are attached to the Fungia is a small opaque blob. This blob can pull in the "antenna" when disturbed or when it catches something tiny.
During the day, the "antennas" are not visible. This blob slowly moves under the surface of the coral daily.
I removed the coral, placed in shallow bowl and tried very carefully to scrape the blob off. I did manage to get some slime, but...? A few days back in the tank and the blob was visible and moving.
This coral is about 3" round, tentacles extend, tissue puffs up, it moves around and seems healthy other than this parasitic hitch hiker on it. I just don't want the blob to make more blobs or endanger the Fungia.
Today, I finally got a good picture of it. In this picture the blob looks like a tiny star fish, but it is not a star fish and seems to be under the tissue. The blob is becoming more visible than it was a month ago.
Any advice on what it is or how I can get rid of it?
<Can't make this organism out in your pic... even w/ enlargement, optimization. IF you have a larger, better-resolved image, please send it along. This may be (my first guess) a Hydrozoan of some sort... a stinging hydroid. Whatever it is, the treatments applied by folks for Aiptasia/Glass Anemones are avenues to try. Yes; may kill the immediate area around... but this Fungia should be able to regenerate this in time>
Background: Tank is 150 gallon reef, 30 gallon sump, 15 gallon refugium, AquaC skimmer, 3 power heads, 1 year old (much livestock/live rock transferred from my 3 year old tank), 200 pounds live rock, various hermits, 9 healthy fish, 3 clams, brittle stars, various corals, 81 degrees F, Orphek LEDs, 10% water changes weekly, no current algae problems, I feed 8 different types of foods (frozen, flake, pellet, live, freeze dried), all water parameters good... I could go into more detail, but this question is regarding the parasite.
Wet Web Media has been so helpful to me. Thank you. I can try taking better photos if needed.
<Please do. Bob Fenner>

Full size pic

Happy Fungia Unraveling Fast: Mysterious Tissue Transfer Matter, or Attack of the Benthic Ctenophores? 10/30/11
A "Hola!" Bob and Crew!
<Howdy Alex!>
I wouldn't write if I could find anything conclusive online, and so far I have not found much...
I am concerned about the smaller of my two Fungia specimens. It has, over the last two or three days, developed several (2-5 visible at a time) jellyfish-like tentacles that drift and trail string-like from the edges of the polyp.
<I see these in your excellent pix>
All the typical tentacles are extended like normal, and the Fungia still seems content most of the time: its polyp is almost always inflated, except when it exhales... The thing is, these stringier tentacles don't resemble any coeloplana I was able to look up (only one image I saw involved a Fungiid anyway); everything I saw online had more feathery or spider-webby strands.
<These look mysteriously like some types of stinging Hydroids I've seen on various Scleractinians over the years... >
The ones on my coral have one smooth strand paired with a much more rippled strand, connected by a transparent strip of tissue.
In the more close-up picture with the red-bordered strip, the string's base is at the left-hand side of the strip, and it extends across most of the disc to the right. I can't see any distinct connection so it is hard to tell
if it's part of the coral polyp or if it's a distinct creature all its own.
The longer string visible in the zoomed-out image is only partly in the frame in the close-up, since I was trying to focus on the important aspects of the images. The zoomed-out image is there to show the character of the string...
Generally, since the coral seems alright overall I wouldn't be worried, but a few single blades of the razor brain's skeleton are exposed, conveniently located about where the milky-white wisps seem to emanate from. Is my Fungia unraveling?
<I think it's being stung... would spot treat w/ an Aiptasia chemical treatment... to wipe out the Hydropolyp>
As you can see in the attached pictures, when the polyp is fully inflated you essentially can't even see the exposed bone blades, but in the shot I took after the plate had expelled most of its water and waste, the blades within the two circled spots are obviously bare (there are actually two exposed in the area on the right). I guess strong currents could cause those little rips in the polyp to happen, but I don't think that's really the issue in this case, nor do I think my fish are pestering it. I'm pretty sure my Cirrhilabrus melanurus acts as more of a steward to the Fungia, and none of the other fish really get that close to them. I did see my Sailfin tang "test" one of these new trailing strings, but he did not rip it off, and it did not retract (hard to be certain, but I don't think these strands are very reactive; if they are some sort of benthic ctenophore, possibly they are parasites rather than symbionts...?). He didn't seem too interested in the strings after that though, so maybe they did sting him. Apologies if there's some obvious FAQ about this that I missed... Nothing I read seemed to really describe what I've got going on and most times the experts seem to stress the harmlessness of the situation, but I'd prefer to not have one of my favorite corals skinned alive if there's a way to prevent it so I'll err on the side of "too cautious" and let myself email you guys.
<DO peruse here: http://wetwebmedia.com/HydrozIDF8.htm
I feed the tank well, using a blend I made of brine and Mysis shrimp, Nori and macroalgae (sometimes solo, for the tangs...), squid, Spirulina, silversides, raw whole table shrimp, garlic, and pure water, all pulsed into minced mash in an old cracked (fish only) Cuisinart, then frozen into thin chips. I believe the corals all filter in their fair share, but I still spot feed occasionally just in case. If you remember our previous correspondence, you'll be glad to know that I've since upgraded my lighting to 432W of T5 (3 daylight, 1 purple, 4 actinic), which combined with the morning sun (the tank is in an East-facing window) I think makes for a decently-lit sand floor (I have noticed a positive response in everything in the tank except one minor Cyano outbreak that occurred right after I added the lights).
And though I have moved the razor brains a few times when adjusting rocks or adding cupfuls of live sand to their area of the tank, as far as I know there have been no severe traumas to either one since placing them in the tank, and my water parameters are good: NO3 < 30ppm, PO4 ~ 0.25-0.5ppm, dKH ~ 9-10, Calcium ~ 420-440ppm, and Magnesium was pretty high (~1550ppm) last time I had the LFS test it (they use Salifert for Mg). Admittedly, the alkalinity has been hard for me to really stabilize more than about 10 +/-1 degrees KH, and I know Fungiids are picky about carbonate hardness but it's not been higher than 11 degrees since before I added the Fungia spp (for well over a month now), and both of them are fleshy and vibrant almost always. Besides that, I am pretty sure both my Fungia are aquacultured (sustainable and tough), though I can only be 100% certain of that for the big one, which was born in a local friend's tank (and which is not the subject of this particular plea, though it is beautiful, if you care to see:
A toast to your time, tenacity, and tolerance. Yia Sas!
<Thank you for sharing as always Alex. Do relate your further experiences here. BobF>

Re: Happy Fungia Unraveling Fast: Mysterious Tissue Transfer Matter, or Attack of the Benthic Ctenophores? 10/31/11
Hi Bob! Thanks as always for your quick reply...
<Welcome Alex>
I had a feeling that I was missing a key search term when I was trying to research this. After reading up a bit on hydroids, I think you're likely right, though I still haven't found any pictures of anything similar. Do you think what I'm dealing with is juvenile (i.e., yet to turn Medusoid), or would you guess these are already in an adult stage?
<Likely the latter>
I'd prefer to dip just the coral versus treat the whole tank if possible...
<Then I would do this soon... rather than risk the polyp spreading (they can/do!)>
I've had the Fungia for a little over a month, and this is the first time I've seen hydroids so I suspect they came already attached to it since there aren't any elsewhere in the tank.
<Yes; highly likely>
Is that unlikely based on the time it took for them to be evident? I just don't want to unnecessarily over-medicate... Do you think it will be OK to treat the Fungia on its own so as not to massacre my tank's existing worm population?
<I do>
Or possibly, when you say "spot-treat," you mean don't even treat the whole coral but just try and zap the individual hydroids themselves?
<Yes; this last>
Interestingly enough, I believe this morning the Fungia was actually EATING one of the hydroid strands, but there were still two small ones (not fully extended) visible at the edges. I'm curious how it will look when I get home from work. If the Fungia did eat any hydroids, would that be a good thing or is it just going to be stung from the inside now as well?
<As long as they're not too numerous; too stinging...>
Whether they came in with the Fungia or not, I suspect that the slightly-elevated nutrient content is helping the hydroids thrive. For the last two months until about five days ago, my nitrate levels were around 20ppm, but just recently they jumped to maybe 25 or 30ppm. I took your suggestion to add a Sock-It to my sump (had to modify the overflow outlet but it has been worth it...) and I change and rinse the sock every week (actually got two extra socks to allow them to dry completely between uses), but I have noticed lately that the foam level in my EV-180 has been fluctuating a lot and I'm not sure why.
<Foods/feeding, diurnal rhythms...>
The foam is fine most of the time
but falls to the top of the box seemingly at random and then re-stacks over the course of 10-15 minutes, so that a lot of gunky skimmate collects in the foam column as well as the top cup (and subsequently gets slowly re-added to the water, methinks), and I suspect this may be at least partly the cause of my elevated nitrates and phosphates, but I don't know the cause of the fluctuations themselves. The sump chamber which the fractionator's pump sits in has a constant water level, even with the rest of the pumps turned off. I did add some pipe to the skimmer's return line (post gate-valve) because the skimmer itself is no longer in the sump, but if that's the issue it took over two months to start expressing itself. I am emailing Jason Kim with pictures and more details, so hopefully he can help me stabilize my foam levels, but if anything I've told you rings bells in your brain feel free to offer input.
<Just the usual tinnitus unfortunately>
I will forward his reply so you can
post it on WWM. In the meantime, a fresh bag of GFO and activated carbon into the sump, and lots of crossed fingers that I can save this befouled Fungia...
I #$&^@*% love you guys. Donations coming soon (but first I must pay my utilities... you understand...)
<I do. B>

Plate Coral Problems 02/15/09 Hello to all. I haven't had to write you for quite a while as all has been going well in my system. Parameters: 125 gallon mixed Sps and LPSs, SG= 1.023, DKH= 10, Nitrate = 1 ppm, Phosphate = 0, Ammonia = 0, Temp = 74 degrees F Water change = 30 - 40 gallons bi weekly, Filtering = 2 Eheim wet dry filters + 4 oscillating power heads No skimming and no UV <74F, SG of 1.023... wet/dry filtration and no skimming?! ...man, you're killing me! > plenum under 4" sand bed 150 lbs live rock covered in coralline algae and sponge Many little critters and corals along with main stock of LPS (Even visible copepods in the sand bed) I have had this short tentacled plate coral for over a year. Recently my blood shrimp pair set up house in reach of the plate and lo and behold, the instant the plate coral catches some food, the shrimp dive on him and steel it. I created a cage so that I could feed it in peace but, I have noticed damage to the tissue around its "mouth". My assumption is that the shrimp are still stealing even after the coral has actually consumed the food. This is supported by me catching one with its pincer half way down the feeding orifice. The question is this, what can I do about the tissue damage? There is already algae growth on the exposed skeleton. The coral is still feeding and otherwise appears happy but I am concerned about the tissue damage since it does not appear to be regenerating and is not likely to grow over the algae. I actually read an article about fragging these corals and was wondering if I should try it as a last ditch effort to save it. If I can successfully frag it, I can move the pieces to the other side of the tank away from the shrimp. <Well, when a Fungia loses its mouth, it's a challenge to get it to recover, but it's certainly not impossible. It just needs a lot of TLC... in the long term though, sounds like you might have to move those shrimp. Cheers, Sara M.>

Re: Plate Coral Problems 02/16/09
I thought I would send on some pictures of the plate I want to save. I also include a picture of a "rescue" brain that although the main portion of the animal failed, appears to be doing something similar to the Fungia described in your articles by producing a "daughter" coral.
<I think you're referring to when Fungia produce anthocauli. What's going on with your rescue Mussid might look similar, but it's not the same deal.
What happens sometimes with the open brain corals... when they die off, but there's a glob or lump of healthy tissue left... they can regrow. But they don't regrow into the dead skeleton. They just start growing a whole new skeleton. So it's not so much a true "anthocauli" because the "offspring" is not really an offspring at all, but the parent colony regenerating the small bit of it that was left after most of it died. With the Fungia and anthocauli, the whole parent colony dies off, but springs these offspring.
There are some reports though, that Fungia might produce anthocauli even when they're not dying. In any case, it's a different scenario than when, rather, you just have a regenerating bit of coral. Do you understand what I'm saying/describing?>
I have decided to leave that one alone and see what happens. The picture of the plate shows where the algae has begun growing on the original damage by the mouth. This whole process is now months old. Just wondering if I should
continue to leave it alone.
<I would just leave it alone... unless you can very easily pull the algae off. I've had this happen to me with Fungia at least twice before. They can come back if you just be careful with them (keep your water quality high... good feeding, lighting, water movement, etc.).
Sara M.>

Re: Plate Coral Problems 02/19/09
Hi Sara and thanks again for the advice on the plate coral. As for lower temp and salinity, this is not the only method I use just an added stabilizer. The two spray bars and four oscillating powerheads pretty much ensure rapid turn over of the water in the tank along with providing surface turbidity. Since it is also known that lower salinity and temperature increases the amount of dissolved oxygen that water can hold, I keep it at the lower ends of the acceptable parameters.
<Ok, but... why do you assume that having maximum dissolved oxygen is more important than having ideal temperature and salinity? Well, in any case, it's your system.>
I realize with a larger volume of water I should probably not worry about a few degrees of temp or .002 increase in SG but, it does help me maintain peace of mind. Thanks again for your rapid responses and I will continue to
follow your postings. Keep up the good work. ;)
<Same to you, thanks.>
Beth Beardsley
Sara M.>

Sick Fungia -02/25/08 Hi. I hope you can help me. <me too> I picked up a small orange plate coral (Fungia) about three days ago. I drip acclimated as I normally do any coral I get. The first night, he seemed as happy as a clam. Mouth was visible and his tiny little tentacles were extended. Sometime in the night, something horrible happened. Something in my tank seems to have snacked on him. <Hmm... no, looks like tissue recession to me.> It is missing tissue that was fine when the lights went off. My GUESS is a  peppermint shrimp. <not likely> I also have some blue leg hermits and snails. As far as fish, I only have a couple bar gobies, a canary wrasse and a Firefish. After I found him the next day, I quarantined it in the tank so nothing can get to it. It's now in a slotted breeder box (with sand in the bottom) held in the middle of the tank by a magnet scraper (feel free to laugh, but its working). It's little tentacles still extend, except for the part where the flesh is injured. I have given it a small piece of Mysis to see if it would still react to it, and it grabbed hold and pulled it slowly towards its mouth. However, his mouth is not visible. By that I mean, it's wide open. Maybe looking at a picture of it would help (see attached jpeg). That is actually a piece of Mysis he has in the 'mouth' (the black dot is a Mysis eye I believe). <It looks like, maybe, the mouth is just very, very retracted.> Should I keep spot feeding this guy every couple days to see if he comes back around? <Yes> Do you think there is a snowballs chance he'll make it?? <Oh yeah, sure there is. Though these corals are not necessarily easy to keep, they are capable of some remarkable recoveries. And your coral is not in all that bad a shape. It's struggling for sure, but it's far from doomed.> (in the photo, the missing tissue is towards the edge of the top left) :-( -wuf <Good luck, Sara M.>

Re: sick Fungia... shrimp bothering  3/2/08 Thank you for your response on my stressed out/damaged Fungia. However, after several days of it recouping in a segregated box, I have to respectfully disagree with your conclusion. Here is why (if you are interested): After keeping the plate coral in a separate container in the tank and spot feeding it, it came back to it's 'normal self'. It was polyping out fully and the mouth was no longer gaping. Not 2 hours after I placed it back in the bottom of the tank, I found TWO peppermint shrimp sitting on top of it picking at it. Of course, all tentacles were pulled back in and the mouth was starting to gape. I immediately pulled it out and put it back into it's separate area. I also found the peppermints harassing my tongue coral. That being said, I believe that peppermints can be more of a nuisance to these LPS's than some would like to believe. <Hmmm, I must not have been very articulate with what I was saying before. I didn't mean to say that these shrimp can't be a nuisance to these corals. Rather, I mean to say that it's unlikely that they are actually *eating* the coral. However, there are plenty of other ways they can be a nuisance. They can steal food (even from out of the mouths of the corals). They might also be picking at the coral's mucus. Even just their "standing" on the coral can cause the coral to retract and be stressed (as you've seen).> Just my 2 cents...... <Thank you for the update. Great to hear your coral is doing better! Best,
Sara M.>

Crazy Worm? -- 02/27/07 I just got home to my poor stressed tank and see something very strange on my clump of dish coral.  Two or three corals have developed close together and it looks like some type of segmented worm going from one to the other. Or could they be transferring material?  I am not sure if I should get it with tweezers or not.  I am sending a photo along. Thanks, Cathy <<Well Cathy I can't really make anything out from the photo, but this doesn't look like a worm to me...it appears more to be mucus/excrement...and likely nothing to be concerned about.  Regards, EricR>>

Re: Crazy Worm? -- 02/28/07 Thanks again Eric. <<Hi Cathy!...quite welcome>> I just wanted to follow up.  In fact, it was a brown segmented worm. <<Ah, thank you for this...I did not get that from the photo>> Have you ever heard of this before. <<Mmm...many, many, MANY species of worms about (in excess of 10,000 I do believe).  Do you have any (missing?) fan/tube worms?  Possibly one of these exited its parchment tube and was actually being consumed by the coral rather than the other way around>> It was as if it was going into the mouth of my dish coral. <<Yes...did see this>> I did yank it out and had it move around awhile.  I could not identify it. <<Too bad you didn't take/send a close-up pic>> Seemed more like an earthworm than bristle worm. <<From what I could discern, yes, would agree it was not a bristle worm>> Thanks again for all your advice.   Cathy
<<Always happy to try to assist.  EricR>>

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