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FAQs about Stony Coral Health/Disease/Pests 10

Related Articles: Coral Pests and Disease; pests, predators, diseases and conditions by Sara Mavinkurve, Quarantine of Corals and Invertebrates, LPS Corals, True or Stony Corals, Order Scleractinia, Propagation for Marine Aquarium Use,

Related FAQs: 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 11, Stony Coral Disease 12, Stony Coral Disease 13, Stony Coral Disease 14, Stony Coral Disease 15,
FAQs on Stony Coral Disease by Category: Diagnosing: Environmental (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments 
& By Family: Caryophyllid Disease, Fungiid Disease, Faviid Disease 1, Cnidarian Disease, Quarantining Invertebrates,

Multiple coral health issues - allelopathy?      6/6/13
<Hi there>
I have multiple corals in some type of distress at the moment and I have not seen an obvious chemical or physical cause.  I have gone the first 10 months with zero issues, now this has popped up.  I have searched Borneman's book,  your site, and the internet and have not figured it out for myself.  Perhaps you can help.
<Let's hope so>
Tank: 46 gallon, mixed reef, about one year old.  I have about one year's experience as a marine aquarist.  Remora skimmer, carbon and media in a canister filter.  Carbon change every 2 months (most recent one month ago), water change 10% every 2 weeks (Reef Crystals).  Reef Fusion 2 part a couple times a week is the only additive.
<Do you measure [Ca] and alkalinity? Mg concentration in balance?>
 Water source is a deep private well with no chlorine or nitrates.
Fish:  Green Chromis, midas blenny, royal gramma, Firefish, flame angelfish.
Inverts: porcelain crab,
<Is this animal crawling over your corals?>
pom pom crab, cleaner shrimp, sexy shrimp (2), long spined urchin, dwarf hermits (4), various snails, feather dusters (2)
Corals:  Zoas/palys, toadstools, xenia, mushrooms, yellow leather, bubble, chalice, monti's, small hammer, candy canes, finger leather. All corals except those mentioned below appear healthy.
temp: 76
s.g.: 1.024-1.026
Ca: 420ppm
<Need to know [Mg]>
kH: 9
Nitrate: 0
<... need>
Phosphate: 0 (or very close)
<... your photosynthates need appreciable/measurable NO3 and HPO4... can't live w/o>
Ammonia: 0
1)  Two candy cane colonies look very unhealthy.  The heads began to look clear and saggy, with the tentacles in affected areas absent. Within the last week a neon slime has appeared in parts of the polyp.  The polyps are normally mint green, no neon at all.  At the same time, an adjacent neon green candy cane seems unaffected even though a few heads were touching the sick coral.  I have moved it away.
<I see this>
2) A largish finger leather which is nearby to the affected candy cane no longer expands much during the day.  This has been about 2 weeks.  In the past we would see this for a couple days then it would shed some mucous and come back to it's original size.  This seems different.3) A Monti undata, also nearby, has changed in appearance, becoming wrinkly and bumpy instead of smooth.  It used to be covered in visible white polyps, these have all but disappeared.
4) A Monti cap, also nearby, also had it's polyps disappear.  It used to look fuzzy, now it looks very hard.  It has kept its color, as has the undata.
5) A finger leather frag died.  This was fragged off of the main finger leather in the tank.
Possible causes:
1)  Lighting.
I changed lighting in February, from 96w T5 to 120w controllable led.  I acclimated very slowly, stating at 40% strength, increasing by 5% every few days.
<Mmm; not likely a principal source of trouble>
2)  Allelopathy. In February I fragged the finger leather as it was getting too close to the candy canes.  Fragged outside of DT, and kept frags and parent in QT until they were healed about a week. Although all these issues are on the side of the tank where the finger leather lives, I don't know why this would come on suddenly.   The candy canes were added last August, the finger leather last September. No change in their locations since.  After reading through your advice I think you will say that this is the cause.
<Could well be>
3) Parasites/disease.  I do not see anything on them.  All heads appear to be affected equally.
<I discount this as well>
The finger leather may be the culprit, but I hate to pull it out of the tank without knowing for sure.  Perhaps you have seen a candy cane coral with this appearance before? 
<Yes; due to allelopathy... chemical and physical warfare w/ other Cnidarians>
Are they capable of recovering at this point?
<Oh yes; certainly>
Any help would be appreciated.  Thank you for your time.
<Well; there are a few paths, steps you can take to alleviate the allelopathy... Read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and the linked files above... Again, you want to allow (likely by simply stepping up feeding) some NO3 and HPO4. Bob Fenner>

Tissue Necrosis, Discoloration, and White Excretions on SPS/LPS 4/21/10
Hi there and thanks in advance.
<Welcome Aaron>
I've recently run into some trouble with my year old 47g mixed reef. Over the past few days I've noticed some startling tissue necrosis and zero polyp extension as well as general paling out of colors on a relatively localized section of my display.
<I see this>
The affected corals include Cyphastrea, a Favites (possibly), several encrusting Montiporas, two Acropora colonies. In addition to the tissue necrosis I've noticed a white, mucus/string-like excretion from the stony corals. I was careful to verify this wasn't a Nudibranch or anything living.
Several weeks prior I added some clove polyps without dipping them (I'm ashamed to say) but would think that if this was something I had introduced with them it wouldn't be affecting such a wide range of coral in similar ways.
<Likely just an interaction (allelopathy) w/ the Clavulariids period...
Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/polypcompfaqs.htm
Perhaps a "cascade event" twixt them, the Zoanthids, Euphyllia in turn to all>
I should note that a frogspawn, numerous Zoanthids and several other LPS corals, as well as a Pocillopora are in the general area and not exhibiting symptoms.
<The "winners">
I also ran a battery of tests with the following results: Salinity: 1.025 Ammonia: 0ppm, Nitrite: 0ppm, Nitrate: 5ppm, Mg: 1200ppm, Ca: 440ppm, Alk: 5.9 dKH, pH: 7.8. Further investigation yielded a heater plugged into a surge protector which had been turned off/blown within the last few days (not quite sure when). Thankfully, the ambient temperature is around 75 but it is likely that there were some temperature swings over night. Despite the low pH and alkalinity levels (which are being rectified), I'm not certain that the parameters or temperature is causing the problems as there are numerous corals (various Acroporas, Blastomussa, xenia, clams) that I would have thought to be more fragile in other portions of the tank that as of yet appear to be doing just fine.
I'm hoping for some sort of recommendation for treatment.
<... chemical filtration, water changes... taking out the most likely offenders, slowly re-acclimating them through water-mixing... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and the linked files above>
Obviously getting the parameters back in check is a priority (and I'm hoping your opinion is that this is the root cause as it's easily fixed!). I did a 30% water change yesterday and plan to continue this for a number of days in case something was accidentally added to the water (although, again, the localized nature of the problem makes me wonder whether that could be the case.
Unfortunately, a freshwater dip for the corals would be quite difficult to manage as many of them are encrusted on a very large rock but if it meant containing the spread of something potentially lethal to my entire aquarium, I could find a way.
I have attached pictures of several of the affected corals for your inspection. Please advise!
Thank you,
<The most likely scenario/cause here is Cnidarian allelopathy... Read where you are referred to. Bob Fenner>

Trouble Keeping Hard Corals Alive 3/19/10
Hi there, I have a question,
<Hello Mike>
We are having trouble keeping our Hard corals alive.
We have done all the tests and here are the results:
Ammonia 0.15 - 0.2
<This should read 0>
Nitrate 50 - 110 ppm
<Way too high for keeping corals and tangs/sensitive fish.>
Nitrite 0.1
<Should also read 0>

PH 7.8 - 8
Calcium - 420ppm
Alk 3 MEq
Copper 0
phosphate 0

Chelated Copper 0
Silica 0.01
We have done 3 - 10% water changes over a 2week period, and the nitrates are just not coming down.
<Not going to help much with your fish load.>
That seems to be the levels that are a little higher then what they should be.
<Not a little, much higher than they should be. Your biggest problem is that you are overstocked with fish, which produce waste, which also produces nitrates. You do not mention the use of a protein skimmer and this is necessary to control/reduce nitrate levels providing the waste isn't being imported faster than it is being exported, and this my friend is your major problem and is the reason why you are detecting ammonia and nitrite. The system cannot keep up with the biological load and this load needs to be reduced or you will be losing fish due to environmental stress in the very near future.
I'm guessing your tank is a 46 gallon bowfront, and I might add that this is too small a volume for keeping tangs
with any long term success. Maintaining/growing hard corals also requires intense lighting, and you do not mention the type/wattage of lighting you are using. Do read here and related articles/links in the header above.
Any help would be greatly appreciated,
<Do read. James (Salty Dog)>
Best regards,
Mike Ezekiel

I have both white band and black band infections -- 2/3/10
and have researched it extensively but have found no cures ???
<On/with your Stony corals I take it>
I have a coral/fish 210 show tank with a basement cascading through 3 75 gal deep sand beds with Chaeto Caulerpa and mangroves that also has a 210 gal in line tank that cycles through a 50 gal sump with uv ozone
<What is your ORP reading?>
and many 100 micron sox that are changed regularly all parameters are fine except nitrates at 5
<Five ppm isn't bad. What do you have for HPO4? Do you utilize chemical filtrants? What re Ca, Mg, Alkalinity? Something is likely off environmentally here>
(lots of fish to feed) if I segregate the corals is there an anti biotic treatment
<I would not use such here>
and if so how applied I have lost 2/3 of both soft and stony corals and want to try and save my last pieces ????? help !!! thanks Paul Garlasco friend of rob brays (house of fins in ct )
<Mmm, can you send along some pix of the malaffected colonies Paul? And the data requested above. Bob Fenner>
Re: sorry about the caps I have both white band and black band infections -- 2/3/10
orp is 350
po4 is 0
<Not good. All life requires some "free" phosphate... Whatever is removing all, you should take out>
chemical filtration is 6 poly pads rolled and caulked and capped in 100 micron sox with 400 gal/hr pumps alkalinity is at 110ppm ill try to shoot you some pics also I'm getting a bubbled reddish carpet on much of my live rock ???
<Indicative of? Likely Cyanobacteria. Again, summat is off here environmentally. BobF>

Cyano, algicides admonition 1/13/09
Hi Crew,
I have been battling red slime for a few months and made a lot of progress but could not get it completely. It was contained in a few spots that I would siphon. Every once in a while it would flare up and I would have a real clean up to do. So I decided to try a product despite the problems people have reported. UltraLife Red Slime Control.
My tank is just a 10 gallon and I have candycanes and some fish. Instructions were to use one measure of the enclosed dispenser ( one flat teaspoon full) for 15 gallons. I figure I have about 8 gallons so I used half of that. I pre mixed it with tank water until completely dissolved as instructed. And it did get rid of it. My tank always had a reddish hue to it and now it actually looks very clean. The fish did not seem to mind the treatment. I have a few snails and I did not notice any adverse affects. The corals did not like it. It was nothing major but I rarely see them with open mouths, usually just a few.
<I have seen this, a friend just wiped out his reef recently using a similar antibiotic product.>
But during the treatment they were all open. I left it this way for 2 days. Then I put carbon back in my filter and did some water changes and so far, after a week, all seems well and it has not returned (yet).
<It will unless the fueling factor is addressed. These treatments are a temporary fix and a poison to filtration. The tank inhabitants are threatened initially by oxygen deprivation, followed by a hit to the biofiltration. See the links below for more re this and the BGA.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htmCyano Control 1/13/09
Hello Crew:
As Always I must say Great Site! Tons of information which I read daily and then some.
My tank is a 3-1/2 year old 46 gallon bow with the following:
1-2" crushed coral (which I plan to create DSB 4-6" I have the sugar sized sand but lack the confidence to create without killing my tank family)
<Ah, just add a bit at a time over a couple of weeks and you will be fine.>
50+ lbs of LR
Fluval 404 - took all components out and added Chemi-pure Elite and charcoal
<Redundant, save yourself some cash and use one or the other.>
Aqua C Roma w/Maxijet 1200 and drain hose (upgraded about 2 months ago from Prizm)
<Good move!>
2 power heads for water movement
Coralife 36" compact fluorescent dual 96w (1-daylight, 1-Actinic)
SG - 1.023
Phos 0-0.25 (color chart)
Cal - 300
KH - 7
PH - 8.2
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate -10
Temp - 80 F
2 false clowns - had almost 3 years
Yellow Tan
g - 1-1/2 years
2 cleaner shrimp - 6 months
Several various hermits
Several various snails
Frogs spawn - 2 years (had 2 heads and now has 4)
Yellow Polyp - 1-1/2 years
Green Polyp - 2 years
Several Mushrooms - 2-1/2 years
1 Ricordea - 2-1/2 years
1 leather - 1 year
2 nice size pieces of candy cane - 1 year
I believe my tank has a Cyano problem. The back of my tank ended up covered with dark maroon color algae which I scraped off like wall paper. But it also covered much of my LR. How do I clean the LR?
<Best to just scrub in the tank a bit, siphon off what you can with water changes. Treating the cause is the real cure.>
Can I remove some LR to open up the tank a bit?
<You can.>
Should I be doing something different or in addition in order to remove the Fluval 404 canister?
<Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm
Continuing through all the linked files above will tell you more than you ever wish to know about your problem!>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Cyano Control 1/14/09
Hello Scott:
Thank you for the information.
<Happy to help out Tom.>
I will keep reading WWM & learning.
Do you think at some point I would remove my Fluval 404 completely and relay on my LR & skimmer?
<I would, it is of little benefit with your other filtration in place while just providing a possible detritus trap and extra maintenance.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Cyano Control... and Scler. hlth. 01/19/09 Hello Scott: I seem to have a possible problem with my Candy Cane & Frogs Spawn coals. The Candy Cane always seemed to have plump looking heads and all of a sudden they appear hard for at least a week. The Frogs Spawn for about 2 weeks has not been fully out the tentacles are very close to the skeleton. I kept thinking that they were disrupted yet its been a while. Water has not changed as listed in earlier email. <Hmm... I don't know, but it could be a reaction to the Cyano.> Not sure whats going on. <When in doubt, do a water change.> Regards, Tom <Best, Sara M.>

Re: Cyano Control 01/19/09 Hello Sara: Thanks for the response. That's exactly what I did tonight and will keep doing them. Another thing I noticed is that my snails are not acting right. Astraea & Margarita snails seem to have slowed down and appear to be having trouble moving and some are extended. Another thing I had been doing often was blowing off the LR with a turkey baster and doing the same to the 1-2" crushed coral on the bottom stirring it up. The reason I was doing that was to allow the protein skimmer to clean the water. Is that ok? <Yes, this is even recommended. However, if your tank is not "used to" it, you might have stirred up too much too fast. Again, the only really remedy for this is more water changes...> Regards, Tom <Best, Sara M.

RTN Theorizing 12/24/08 Hi Crew, <Hello Jason. Minh at your service.> It's been a long time since I've had to write you with a problem. That's good! Unfortunately, one of my beautiful and large Birdsnest just underwent rapid tissue necrosis (RTN). It happened frighteningly fast; in less than a day the grapefruit-sized coral went from healthy to half dead! <I'm sorry to hear about your loss.> While my particular cause is unknown (I suspect encroaching mushroom corals, but unsure), I noticed something interesting. The death progressed along the branches of the coral, not simultaneously. In fact, it spread from base to tips (oldest to newest growth). I understand this is a common pattern. In an attempt to save as much as possible, I broke off branches that were still alive and discarded parts that were totally bleached. <Rapid Tissue Necrosis (also known as apoptosis) is a cellular reaction in corals initiated by various stresses such as bacterial infection, temperature, UV radiation, allelopathy, etc. In this particular case, the encroaching mushroom is a very capable culprit.> More interesting: the frags that had some dead tissue still on them proceeded to degrade in the same manner. Those that were comprised only of living tissue appear OK. <If the tissue on a fragment is undergoing apoptosis, it will continue to degrade until the fragment is dead. I would suggest for you to quarantine any remaining healthy fragments in a separate tank to isolate the cellular reaction. This would allow for the highest survival rate of your Seriatopora guttatus while reducing any risk of exposing other healthy SPS corals to this condition.> This is very puzzling. If this condition was caused by a biological or chemical agent attacking the coral flesh, one would expect that it would either be localized (killing a small area) or all over (killing patches at different places on the coral simultaneously). The fact that the progression moves very predictably along the branches implies, at least to me, that it is innate behavior of the organism, not the result of attack. Perhaps it is an evolved survival mechanism; a last-ditch effort to abandon the skeleton and grow anew somewhere else on the reef more amenable to the coral's health. In our tanks, of course, that would not happen thanks to lots of factors, but possibly on the reef? This may explain why the frags without dead patches survive: the signal to eject never reaches them, so they persist. Do you know of any research in this regard? Thoughts? <Although I have seen broadcast reproduction occur in a similar manner, and some rare instances in captivity, the behavior of tissue necrosis appearing in a predictable band pattern indicates a classic case of apoptosis. This cellular reaction could be triggered by allelopathic attack from a neighboring soft coral. Further reading on this subject is available in an excellent article by Eric Borneman, "The Coral Health and Disease Consortium: New Information on Coral Disease." Link: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-03/eb/index.php.> Thanks! Happy Holidays! Jason <Likewise to you and yours. Cheers, Minh.>

Foraminiferans Irritating Corals? 11/21/2008 Hello to whomever is answering emails today :D <Hi Miguel, Mich here.> I've been having an issue with what I think are Marginopora vertebralis, which I just Id'd thanks to the handy search function on your site. <Looks to be so.> For a back story, I've had issues in the last few months with LPS peeling slowly, and every time on the peeling flesh I find these Foraminiferans. It seems like they're slowly irritating the corals to death as they feed on whatever it is that they're feeding on the live rock. <Mmm, does not necessarily make it causational.> I've included a picture of what I think is them irritating a coral. <In researching I have not found information to support this, but that does not mean it is not possible.> This is how all of the peeling LPS tissue in my tank looks like, you can see that at 12 and 6 o'clock they are digging into the flesh of the coral, and especially at 5 o'clock you can see a smaller one digging into the coral with a distinct peeling flesh next to it. <This is unusual.> At the very bottom right of the image you can see them working into the flesh as well, and in the top left there is a white spot on the coral that's actually another one that has just attached. <I see.> I'm not sure if these are the cause of the problem or just bystanders in another tank issue that may be going on, but it's a bit coincidental that they're always right at the edges of the peeling sides of the corals. <Some types of Foraminiferans feed on bacteria, perhaps the Foraminiferans are feeding on areas of decay.> One of my friends had a microscope, so I'm attaching several highly magnified images in order of magnification. <Cool!> They average about 1mm across, and in picture 4 there is a blob of green. <I see.> I'm not sure what that is but it's the only block in the Foraminiferan that had one in there, possibly it's feeding on it? <Is a possibility.> Thanks very much for your time, and I hope things are well! <Thank you Miguel.> Miguel <Cheers, Mich>

Nice pix! RMF

Hole in my Wellsophyllia brain coral 11/09/08 Hello, <Hi Tamika, Mich here.> I just purchased Wellsophyllia brain coral from my local store. When we arrived home we noticed that there are a few holes in it and they look as though they were drilled. <Well sort of.> They are perfectly round. <I see.> One is about 3/8" diameter and the other 2 are around 1/4" diameter. <Ok.> I am quite concerned, <No need.> and the store where I bought them say they are "mouths" but we can see the "mouths" and they are not the holes I am looking at. <They are not mouths.> Is this some kind of a parasite? <No.> Is this going to hurt the rest of my tank? <No.> We trust the dealer, we have brought home a few bristle worms from him, <Again, nothing to worry about, as long as they aren't huge.> but nothing too terrible. Thanks for your time. I am attaching a couple of pictures. <These are the homes/former homes of some sort of polychaete worm, ie a feather duster or the like. Nothing to worry about. Enjoy your beautiful brain.> <Mich>

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