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FAQs about Soft Corals of the Family Nephtheidae Identification 2

Related Articles: Soft Corals of the Family Nephtheidae, The Soft Corals of the genus Dendronephthya, Soft Corals, Order Alcyonacea

Related FAQs: Nephtheid ID 1, Nephtheid ID 3, Nephtheid ID 4, & Nephtheids 1, Nephtheids 2, Nephtheid Behavior, Nephtheid Compatibility, Nephtheid Selection, Nephtheid Systems, Nephtheid Feeding, Nephtheid Disease, Nephtheid Reproduction/Propagation, Soft Coral Propagation, Alcyoniids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids, Xeniids, Soft Corals/Order Alcyonacea

Identify my picture, Dendronephthya? 5/5/09
Coral ID
<Hello Alex>
I have been searching high and low for a picture and supporting information on this coral I picked up yesterday. Am I right in believing it is a species of Dendronephthya?
<You are correct.>
The only articles I have found so far are years old, has there been any advances in keeping this beautiful coral in the home aquarium?
<Unfortunately, this is a most difficult coral to care for and most will wither away in a matter of weeks. This coral does not derive its energy from the byproducts of photosynthesis but feeds almost exclusively on phytoplankton, and requires both a steady supply of phytoplankton and sufficient flow to carry the food to its polyps. Do look/read here.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Carnation coral 4-13-09
Hello again.
Just bought what my LFS called a beautiful 6" carnation coral. Is this what it is?
<I don't know, is it?><<? RMF>>
I have it slightly under an overhang as I read about low lighting and the polyps are all open. I target fed it this morning with concentrated phytoplankton.
<Sclero/Dendronepthea corals do not feed on phytoplankton...it's anyone's guess as to what they actually feed upon. There is a 99% chance that this coral is doomed to a slow starvation in your aquarium, but this species continues to be imported because ignorant aquarists continue to buy them without doing their research>
I also read about how difficult they are to keep because of feeding and wondered if I should take it back.
<Yes, and give your LFS a good tongue lashing, and stick to online vendors instead (in my opinion)>
I have 3 gorgonians that do very well in my established tank and will diligently feed the new coral but is it to no avail and will it eventually die?
<Almost certainly>
Thanks for your advice.
<You're welcome - next time please email *before* purchasing?>
<Mike Maddox>

Re: carnation coral 4-19-09
Thanks for the reply. I do a lot of research before I buy so I think I buy "researching ahead" but this one had just came in and was very nice looking so I bought and then did the research. Everywhere I read said they feed on mass amounts of phytoplankton so that's what I started feeding it. I will take it back but I'm sure they will just turn around and sell it again without considering anything I tell them but hopefully they will... they are a bigger localized chain.
<One of the many reasons I detest LFS/pet stores><<Bears self-examination. RMF>>
It's too bad that these cannot be kept in a closed system... it is so pretty.
<Agreed. Even the Waikiki aquarium tried and failed to achieve above a 50% success rate, even pumping NSW through their systems daily>
Thanks again.
<Mike Maddox>

Re: carnation coral 4-20-09
Hey Mike. I did take it back and talked with the manager about this coral.
She had never heard of this and said she was going to talk with the supplier about sending difficult corals to sell. Well, I went in there yesterday and she told me that the supplier did tell her that this was for "experts only" and he wouldn't send any that weren't easy to keep so thanks for helping me help them not to sell these delicate corals.
<That's awesome, I'm glad to hear the LFS listed to you! Thanks for making the extra effort to reduce coral mortality, Tammy. Myself and your fellow hobbyists all appreciate and can learn from your gesture>
<Mike Maddox>

Coral ID help 2/18/09 <Hi Gabriel, Minh at your service.> Hello crew. Just need a little help with a coral I can't identify. I got this piece from my LFS when I purchased a few other things and they put this in there by mistake. I've been doing a lot of reading and looking at pictures and still can't figure out what this type of coral is. It has been in my tank for over a few months and seems to be receding. The branches on it where longer and more defined at one time. This coral glows bright fluorescent green under actinic lighting. Any help you could give me in identifying this coral so I can research how to better care for it would be a great help. <Based on the picture you've sent, it appears to be a Nephtheid. If you browse through this page, you can identify which genus it best resembled when it was healthy: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nephtheids.htm. Care and husbandry information is available in those pages as well.> Thanks, Gabriel <You're welcome. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>

Unknown algae growth and unknown coral 03/28/2008 Hello Guys and Gals. Thank you once again for all of your help! <<G'Morning, Andrew today>> I have an algae growth that none of my LFS can seem to tell me what it is. It shows up on my sand bed after the lights come on and seems to grow patches within the first couple hours and grows throughout the day. After the lights go out, it seems to diminish a great deal over night. I'm not sure if it's being eaten by my snails and hermits but it is a lot less in the a.m. before the lights come back on. It looks black in the tank on the sand, although I have removed some before and put in a bag to take to my LFS and it sat in the bag for a couple days and turned the water in the bag pink! Then the water turned clear eventually. It has a very fine hair like look when stirred up. <<Yes, its a red hair algae, from what I can see in the picture. There is a good possibility that your snails are keeping this under control. The tufts on the substrate can easily be syphoned out>> I have a 65 gallon tank. 3 1/2 month old, 75 lbs. live rock, 3 circulating powerheads w/ a total 1000 gph circulation. (3) 96 watt lights equaling 50% blue and 50% daylight. Night light is a submergible LED blue strip lights. <<For a reef tank, you may want to up your flow a little, get yourself into the region of 1600gph>> Water parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, calcium, 480-500, nitrates are questionable, I get about 20-30, LFS test 0, PH 8.2, salinity 1022-1023. I use Oceans Blend for Calcium, PH, Alkalinity. Had phosphate tested today and they said very minimal. <<Usually with plague algae, they have already absorbed the phosphates from the water, so, a test showing up minimal is common. Have you tested the water before it goes in the tank? If not, give it a test, see what it shows>> I have several small frag corals, mostly soft coral, but some candy cane coral, one Bubble tip anemone and a fair size frog spawn. I also bought a coral today that the LFS told me was a Cotton Candy Coral. <<I would concur on the carnation coral. They are not the easiest to keep, however, with research and understand, you should be fine>> It has extended out at least two inches since I put it in. Now that I am looking online, it looks like a carnation coral! They say that they are difficult to keep. Mine seems very happy in the few hours I have had him but now I am afraid that I won't be able to keep him alive! Included is a pic of it as well. Can you identify this coral? <<As above>> Fish include: 1 Dwarf Coral Beauty 1 Six Line Wrasse 1 Lawnmower Blenny 3 Blue Green Chromis 1 Midas Benny 2 Mated Percula Clowns Inverts: 1 skunk cleaner shrimp 20 Nassarius snails 2 large Mexican Turbo Snails 4 very large stocky Cerith Snails? The ones that burrow under the sand I pulled some of the algae out and put in a bowl for you to take a look at. Please tell me what this is. I have been told may be hair algae, another told me red slime. Another place said they don't know what it is, they have never seen it. Will you please take a look at the pics attached and tell me what YOU think. Also, what kind of coral in the other pic. Thank you for all you do for us! Rachel <<Thank you for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Was: Urchin Hitchhiker: Pencil Urchin, Now Nephtheid ID - 2/3/08 Thanks, Lynn! <Hi Andy! You're most welcome!> I believe you are right on the money on both counts. <Woohoo!> After reviewing the pictures you sent me, I can now see the rings around my urchin's spines, so I believe it is indeed a E. metularia. Also, I agree on the Capnella ID. Since you're 2 for 2, I thought I would also send you two pictures of what was sold to me as a Lemnalia tree coral. <Okay, neat.> When I was looking at the Capnella link you sent me, I noticed the WWM picture of the Dendronephthya (attached for reference). The lines in the stalks of the Dendro <Calcareous spicules called 'sclerites'.> makes me worry that I actually have one rather than a Lemnalia, as my tree coral also has these lines running through its stalks (the picture of the Lemnalia on WWM is not very clear and an internet search revealed a ton of different looking pictures). <That can be frustrating, I know. Unfortunately, softies aren't exactly one of my strengths, but after doing some research, I'm inclined to think that your coral is indeed a Lemnalia. I'll need for you to take a close look around the polyps to confirm, though. Regarding the visible lines/sclerites in the stalk, apparently Lemnalia has those as well. Where it differs from Dendronephthya is that the sclerites are not as apparent (if even present) around the polyps. Dendronephthya, on the other hand, has them surrounding the polyps, sometimes even extending beyond them - giving them an almost cactus-like appearance. That's what you'll need to look for in your coral. One other issue is the muted color of your coral. This is more typical of a Lemnalia. I'm hoping Bob will correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm thinking that what you have is very likely a Lemnalia.> Thanks! (I promise that I'm done bugging you . . . for now!) <Heheee! Not too worry, we're always happy to help.> Andy <Take care. -Lynn>

Re:.. Now Nephtheid ID - 2/3/08 Lynn, <Hi Andy!> The sclerites are definitely not evident at the polyps. <Whew, good. I really don't think it's a Dendronephthya.><<RMF does>> This, and the fact that my coral has survived for a long time, leads me to believe you are right yet again. <Well, we both learned something with this query! I'm just glad that it's not a Dendronephthya sp.. They're beautiful, but so very difficult to keep.> Thanks for all your help. I really appreciate your time. Andy
<You're very welcome, Andy. Take care. --Lynn>

Re: Urchin Hitchhiker 2/4/08 Lynn, <BobF here following on> The sclerites are definitely not evident at the polyps. This, and the fact that my coral has survived for a long time, leads me to believe you are right yet again. Thanks for all your help. I really appreciate your time. Andy <Actually, the white "squiggly" things in the translucent tissue are sclerites. See a referent on the Net, books... BobF>

Re: Dendro ID 2-4-08 Dear Bob, <Andrew> Thanks for following up--I appreciate the input. I see from the recent WWM posting that you believe I indeed have a Dendronephthya. Ugg! I purchased this specimen about 7 months ago <You've done well to keep this specimen this long, I assure you... and encourage you to write up your experience here... What is it about your set-up, feeding, maintenance... that allowed this organism to live? Is it oriented "upside down", in a darkened area?> from That Fish Place in Lancaster, PA, which is reputed to be a fine and trustworthy LFS. <It is IMO. I have visited there, talked directly with the owner> It was labeled as "Lemnalia sp." My display is a 110g (48" x 30" x 18"). Lighting is by 2x250W HQI (20,000K) and 4x65W actinic PCs. This coral sits in the bottom third of my tank, and the HQIs are about 7" off the surface of the water. I have target fed this coral Cyclop-Eeze as I do with my Capnella. This coral has grown since I purchased it, both in size and in polyps (albeit slowly) and otherwise "appears" very healthy. <Great> I take this is a good sign, but I am now very worried that I may not be doing all I can/should be doing for this creature. <... I assure you... far less than 1% of specimens live a month in captivity... You are doing most "things right"> I employ an in-line 30g refugium that is teaming with pods. At night, I can see many pods swimming around my display. I will now go back to the drawing board and do some research on this animal's needs, but is there any food product in particular that is well-suited for this coral? <Mmm, there were some experiments that Charles Delbeek and co. did out at the Waikiki Aquarium years ago, but I don't recall off-hand where the results were posted, and if memory serves, they were pretty inconclusive... As stated, your situation, the make up of the refugium... something/s are going very well for this specimen in your system.> As always, thanks for your time. Andy <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: A nice piece on a successful keeping of Dendronephthya, maybe Neospongodes 3/3/08 Dear Bob, <Andy> I posted pictures of my Dendro on a Reef Central thread specific to Dendros, and the guys/gals on that message board believe that my coral is not a Dendronephthya sp., but a Neospongodes sp. Just thought you might be interested in remaining in the loop on this. http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=11999623#post11999623 http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1292781 Andy <Is a possibility... Nephtheids raised in captivity... gross morphology can be hard to discern to genus... Again, dissolving a bit of the proximal body, measuring sclerites, their preponderance in shape, size... BobF>

Re: Urchin Hitchhiker: Pencil Urchin - 1/31/08 Hey Lynn, thanks for the quick reply. Your response was very helpful/reassuring. <You're very welcome. I'm glad I could help.> And . . . You were right--a check on the tank this morning before the lights came on revealed that the urchin was indeed roaming out of his safe haven. I found him attached to the back of my tank (presumably munching on some algae/coralline). I was able to take a picture of him, although it's not great because I was trying t balance a flashlight and manually focus and zoom my Nikon at the same time. <Heeeheee! What fun that must have been! I do appreciate your efforts though. Let's see if we can't figure out what you've got!> What's your best guess? <Hmmm, well I can certainly understand your thinking that this is either a Eucidaris tribuloides or a Heterocentrotus mammillatus. There are certain characteristics it shares with each. My best guess is that it's something in the genus Eucidaris, possibly E. metularia (an Indo-Pacific species). Take a look at this photo for comparison: http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/basch/uhnpscesu/htms/kalainvr/fish_pops/cidarid/urchin01.htm Your urchin has the same shape to the tapering spines and basic look to the body, with the obvious lines/lighter areas between the spines. In comparison, Heterocentrotus spp. bodies can have an almost shingled, or armored appearance. This is due to a covering of flat(ish) short spines. Now that we're pretty sure it's in the genus Eucidaris, I can tell you that these urchins are omnivores. I would offer it seaweed sheets/Nori as mentioned before, sinking pellets, and the occasional clam/mussel 'on the half shell'. The idea is that if you keep it well fed, it will hopefully leave your other livestock alone!> I have also attached a picture of my yet-to-be-identified tree coral that I mentioned in my previous mail. Any ID information on this coral would be much appreciated as well. <It looks like a Capnella sp./Kenya Tree Coral to me. Nice looking coral! Please see these links for comparison: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nephtheids.htm See the photos within the first continuing query here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nephdisfaqs.htm > Andy
<Have a great weekend! Take care. --Lynn>

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