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FAQs about Trachyphylliid Coral Disease Diagnoses

FAQs on Open Brain Disease: Trachyphylliid Disease 1, Trachyphyllia Disease 2, Trachyphyllia Disease 3, Trachyphyllia Disease 4, Trachyphyllia Disease 5,
FAQs on Open Brain Disease by Category: Environmental (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments 

Related Articles: Coral Pests and Disease; pests, predators, diseases and conditions by Sara Mavinkurve, Trachyphylliid Corals, Trachyphyllia Reproduction Report,

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 Type: Brown Jelly Disease,


Trachyphyllia color fading       12/21/13
Seasons Greetings to everyone!
<And you Tim>
I purchased a couple of healthy open brains about 3 months ago and they seem to be losing color.
<I see this in your pix; and flesh as well. The "big three" causes of such are a lack of (chemical) food/s, poisoning from somewhere, and allelopathy>

I have them in an established 90G mixed reef tank with ample random flow, under a Rapid LED DIY kit, 25G sump (with macro and LR) and a Skimmer. I dose Kalk periodically (via my T/O) and run a BRS GFO reactor
<Mmm, a nod toward nutrient deficiency>
all controlled and monitored by an Apex controller. Parameters have been very stable � Temp 79, pH 8.25, ALK
8-9, Ca 400-440, SG 1.026, N�s 0,
<... stop. All chemo/photosynthetic life need Nitrogen... measurable NO3 here>

 PO4 0.03 (Hanna). Stock includes 2 (purple and green) LTA�s (not doing well lately - maybe from the mistakenly shipped Condy in there for a couple weeks!),
<And a vote for allelopathy>

several Acans, 2 Montis, a Turbinaria, various softies (Zoas, Palys, mushrooms, Ricordeas), feather duster, coco worm, some meteor shower Cyphastrea, sun coral, an Arrow Crab (friendly so far), a few cleaner shrimp, various snails, a couple Favia, a couple sea stars, and a cauliflower colt coral). I believe I have everyone placed correctly with the LPS on the sand bed, and the SPS up higher. Softies are in various locations. I had a new 3� Crocea clam placed fairly high for 4 months and looked beautiful up until it closed up one day and died 2 days later, never reopening. The LTA�s are pretty contracted and roaming quite a bit
 mostly not attaching to anything. They are still sticky so I don't know if they are recovering from some allelopathy  with the Condy or a yet to be determined issue. I've been doing 10G water changes weekly using RODI and Instant Ocean Reef Crystals. I started dosing iodine
<-Ide, ate actually>
 a few days ago and just got a BRS Carbon reactor in. I vary the feedings (2-3 times per week) between mussel, squid, scallops, krill and shrimp for the bigger mouths (cut to ¼�) along with Reef Chili, Coral Frenzy and Oyster Feast for the smaller creatures. Everything else in the tank seems to be doing really well.
As for the brains, I am having some trouble determining if my lighting is the issue or it is something else.
<Something/s else>
 From what I have read, it seems like the fading could be caused by too much or too little light.
 I believe both situations can cause the loss of the Zooxanthellae which could result in what I am seeing. I have the lights on about 12 hours a day (ramping up and down over 90 minutes). Attached are some pictures from Oct and Dec for your reference. As for their feeding behavior, I used to see their sweepers come out at feeding time and they would typically expand after a meal. Now the sweepers don't seem to come out and lately the red one always seems to be expanded. They are still eating but I have to place it right on their mouths and cover them. Any ideas at what else I should be looking at? Thanks for all you do!
Carmela and Tim
<Where to send you to read on WWM... Let's try having you just use the search tool re "Nitrate and Stony Corals", "Cnidarian Allelopathy" (or sub species you're concerned re instead of the phyletic name...
Categorically: I'd pull the ferric oxide, increase the feeding till you have some Nitrate/s showing... and maybe put activated carbon in place of the carbon feeder media, re-home/move those Actinarians... Bob Fenner>

Re: Trachyphyllia color fading     12/22/13
I assumed that with a reading of .03 for PO4, I was good shape. Why should I be stopping the GFO?
<See WWM re; am a tab busy to reiterate>
 I will increase my feeding to every other day until I see some measureable NO3. Right now I have an API test kit
<Junk... I'd invest in better for what you have invested here. Again see WWM re>
 for NO3 with 0, 5, 10, 20,40, ppm graduations. What range should I keep the NO3 within? Could you clarify "maybe put activated carbon in place of the carbon feeder media"?
<... see... re... you want terpene-removing capacity and don't likely need more carbon...>
I was planning on running activated carbon in the new media reactor.
<Ah, good. B>
Thanks again,
Carmela and Tim

Brain coral has a brown spot, not flatworm... no data, rdg.      2/19/12
I purchased this brain coral and placed it in my tank tonight. Coloration is looking great however I'm concerned about the brown spot (see pic below). It looks as if it's the skeleton.
<Is a necrotic area... due to what? Uhh, need data re system, water quality, tankmates, foods/feeding, use of supplements... and much more>
Is this a major problem? Can it heal itself?
<Can, could... but need to know what's going on here... Read:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>


Open brain coral color and extension change....problem?? 02/02/10
I have a question on my Trachyphylliid coral I added to my tank about 2 months ago.
system is as follows: 55 gallon, AquaC remora skimmer, 4 inch sand bed, no mechanical filtration, (do run Chemi-pure elite in a HOB once in a while), 3 Koralia powerheads for flow, and nova extreme pro T5 6*54w bulbs.
livestock: melanurus and yellow wrasse, red and purple Firefish, tail spot Blenny. cleaner shrimp, 60 or so dwarf Cerith snails, some adult FL Ceriths, dozen or so Nerites, 15 blue leg hermits, 10 Nassarius vibex
parameters: 0 ammonia, nitrite. undetectable nitrate (thanks for the help on that one), ph 8.2, Alk 12dkh, Ca 480, PO4 .25-.5 (still using tap water....I know).
<Oy...I hope you have good tap then.>
Spg 1.025.
my question is on how the color and extension has changed since adding it to the tank. When I first got the brain it was a very light pink almost flesh color with green streaks. the percentage of green has increased a lot, which I think is a good sign. I am assuming that the fluorescent green is the Zooxanthellae algae increasing.
<Mmm... there are a lot of things that influence coral color change, Zooxanthellae certainly play a role.>
The pink has changed to a dark purple which I kind of concerns me but have seen others this color.
<This is very good actually. You didn't give any photos, but from what you're describing, it sounds like your coral was bleached when you got it and now it's coming back to life!>
what worries me is that it does not extend nearly as much during the day as it did at first. Could this be due to increase in Zooxanthellae so the coral does not have to expand as much to collect the same amount of light??
<Maybe... who knows? Corals are often unpredictable in captivity. But you'll know if this coral was dying. If it were unhappy, it would be bleaching and/or the tissue receding.>
The coral is fed regularly, it eats pretty much every night when I feed the fish. I dump about half the regular feeding amount in first then wait about 10 minutes,
<good method>
small feeders come out along the inner edge of the skirt, then I dump the rest of the food in the tank.
<well done>
It always gets a few chucks of mini Mysis. It even appears to eat flake food that falls on it (it closes a lobe around it at least, not sure if it gets eaten or not). I also add Kent MicroVert, and Cyclop-eeze about once a week (different days).
<I don't know about the MicroVert, but Cyclop-eeze is great... and variety is always preferred.>
only other coral is a Euphyllia (frog spawn) which is at least 12 inches away so I don't think the long sweepers are getting it. also never see any fish messing with it.
<There might be some chemical intimidation going on between the two stony corals. I wouldn't worry about it though. It sounds like your coral is doing just fine.>
So. all that said, do you think the decrease in extension (probably about 50% less at least) is something to worry about.
<No. In fact, it could be a good sign even. "Over swelling" can be a sign of declining health sometimes... maybe it used to be swelling too much.>
What are your thoughts about the color change.
<I think that when a Trachyphylliid deepens in color (goes from pink to red or purple), and when it responds to feeding (extends tentacles promptly and regularly)... these are very good signs.>
Thank you, this site is a wealth of information
<De nada,
Sara M.>

Brain Coral hlth., Lack of Info -- 12/16/2009
Dear Crew,
<Hey William, JustinN here>
My green brain corals are turning black and brown. What is causing this condition and how do I treat it?
<Something related to water conditions is not favoring it -- possibly allelopathy, nitrates, phosphates, or any number of other potential maladies. Please do provide more information so that we can provide details. Good luck! -JustinN>
Re: Brain Coral hlth., Lack of Info -- 12/16/2009

The problem started with the coral turning black around the basal perimeter.
It was on the base that was pointing away from the front of the coral.
The black coloration then expanded to about three quarters of an inch. Then, black spots appeared on several locations around the coral. One spot was on top of the coral and one spot was on one of the lobes on the side. Then, it literally developed a brown coloration inside of one of the folds of the coral. A second green brain coral has now developed a black spot on top of the coral. It is a spot that is about a half inch in diameter. The basal edge of this coral is turning black as well.
<This still sounds like something negatively affecting the coral within the water column. Please do provide specific water parameter information, as well as ancillary information such as what other corals are housed here, proximity, etc... anything that you might think has an effect on water quality will help us paint a broader picture. -JustinN>

Brain Not Extending It's Tentacles/Trachyphylliidae/Health 8/27/09
<Hello Sharon>
I have had an open brain coral for about a month and it swells pretty well when the lights are on and is maintaining its colours. However, it does not extend it's feeding tentacles at night. Since buying it, I still have not seen it extending it's tentacles before. Does that mean that it is unhealthy or is there something wrong with my water? All the critical parameters are in check and I place it on the sand bed. I try to feed my
corals several hours after lights off..
Please comment,
<Well, you do not mention lighting being used, would be very helpful here, along with stating additives being used, if any. Please respond and we will continue on.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Brain Not Extending It's Tentacles/Trachyphylliidae/Health 8/28/09

Dear James,
I'm using a single 250w ReefLux 12k MH with LumenBrite mini reflector supplemented with 2 actinic blue plus T5. I dose Purple Up daily and Seachem Reef Advantage Calcium, magnesium and carbonate to maintain ionic balance.
I also do around 10% water change weekly using natural seawater that my LFS sells.
<May be a problem here depending on where the water was collected from. I believe you would be better off just using a reef blend of artificial sea salt mix.>
Thx for the prompt reply. Hope to hear from you again.
<Always include your measured levels of calcium, magnesium, dKH, and pH, does aid in our response. I would add iodine to your additive list. As for feeding, cut back to no more than once weekly. Corals produce most of their food by way of photosynthesis and frequent feedings can have a negative impact on water quality.
Do read here and related FAQ's for helpful information on keeping this coral. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyphlliidae.htm
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Brain Not Extending It's Tentacles/Trachyphylliidae/Health 8/29/09

Alright, I will try my best. Thanks for the help!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Red Open Brain Help... reading    7/30/09
Hey Guys, Let me begin by saying your site is a wealth of knowledge and I have learnt soo much from it!
I bought a red open brain about a month ago and within a week of introducing it to my aquarium it turned from deep red to a light pink on one lobe. The open brain has two lobes of which the other is still brightly colored. I figured that this was because of too much lighting so i reduced the Photo period to 5 hours.
<Mmm, not a good idea>

Since then a small part of the outer tissue has receded to show skeleton (showing about 4 ribs all the way to the center) on the lightly colored lobe.
<... What are you feeding?>
Once this stopped I figured that I was in the clear and the coral may bounce back as nothing changed for a couple of weeks, but yesterday I noticed tissue receding again on the same lobe at another point. I am really worried now and do not want to lose this coral. I feed it every other night and the tentacles are extended, more on the colored lobe though.
This coral is placed on the sand and the aquarium is 20" in depth and lit by 250 MH lighting. Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates & Phosphates are all undetectable.
<... all "corals" need some NO3, HPO4... the absence of chemical food may be the issue here or at least a large/r contributing cause>
I keep the water temp. between 78-80 F.
I have not noticed any fish picking, I do have a flame angel though but he does not even come close to the brain. Other coral are Finger Leather, Plate Coral, Xenia, Colt, Mushrooms, Zoos and Montipora. Yesterday to I did a Lugol's dip hoping that it would help the situation. Can you offer any guidance?
Thanks for the help!
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trachydisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Red Open Brain Help -- 07/30/09

Thanks for the response Bob. Since I emailed I have moved the brain to under an overhang, after reading your response on reduced lighting I am guessing that this may be a bad idea too?
<... likely so>
Should I move it back out into the open and increase the lighting period?
<Likely so...>
I am feeding minced shrimp, salmon & coral frenzy. What should I do to raise the Nitrates and Phosphate? I am running Rowaphos so I guess I should turn off the reactor?
Sorry for all of the questions, I just don't want to lose this guy.
Thanks for the help
<Keep reading. BobF>
Re: Red Open Brain Help

Thanks again for the help Bob.
<Certainly welcome Troy. B>

Open Brain Coral Help, hlth.  11/30/08 Hello Crew, I'm hoping you can give me some advice on making my green open brain coral happy again. When I first purchased it it would fully open and would look like this. http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/KAYesZ3Ldi9SVZzRSl5a6w  After a few months (beginning of summer) it stopped opening but continued to live. During this time my nitrates went through the roof, 50 mg/L. Here is the most it will expand now. http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/EzTBpRzNs-nVvkTHzmCEhw  When completely closed it looks like this http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/HEJB1__C8iAbesZGeISA5Q  First of all can you confirm that this is an Open Brain coral? <The common name "open brain coral" can be used for different species... Lobophyllia, Symphyllia, Trachyphylliidae, etc. See here: http://www.asira.org/lobophylliasymphylliaothermussideans  http://www.asira.org/trachyphylliidae  > Perhaps the person at the LFS was incorrect. I've seen other open brains before but these had a skeleton that ran around the perimeter of the coral. This specimen has ridges with individual polyps with mouths between the ridges. I have also never seen this specimen put out sweeper tentacles. When the coral first stopped opening I thought it was because my Ocellaris clown was hosting it. http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/hPndSXqGFGsEF4m-8dREQA It has since stopped doing. I do see my yellow tang occasionally picking at it as if there is something growing on it. It doesn't remove any flesh from it as far as I can tell. <The fish was/is likely picking of pods or other snacks on the coral...> Here is what I have done so far: 1. Installed a refugium with a deep sand bed and also included Chaeto algae. Nitrates dropped to 10 mg/L one month ago. They are now at 0.5 mg/L and still dropping as measured with a Salifert kit. <very good> 2. Replaced my PC fluorescent bulbs one month ago (260W total 2 10,000K bulbs and 2 actinic bulbs). They had been installed for about a year. I also added some supplemental lighting using 4 6500K spiral compact fluorescent bulbs (100W total). 3. I lowered my temperature from 79 degF to 75 degF over the course of the last three weeks. <Bad idea... corals should be in water at about 80 to 82F> I remembered that at the beginning of the summer I raised the tank temp to 79 degF because I realized that the water temp was fluctuating with the room temp during the day when the house was getting hot. Perhaps it didn't like the higher temp. Lowering the temperature seems to have made some improvement. It expands a little but never fully anymore. All my other inverts are doing great. My Pom-pom Xenia pulses like crazy and is spreading like a weed. I have Star Polyps, Frogspawn and Tooth Coral that are also growing and spreading. My green bubble tip anemone which was shrinking before replacing the bulbs is now growing again. Here are my tank parameters: 72 gallon with apx 80 lbs live rock Tank age: 13 months Nitrate: 0.5 mg/L <Try to lower this if you can.> pH: 8.1 Alkalinity: 2.5 Calcium: 420 Temp: 75 degF Specific Gravity: 1.024 <SG of 1.025 to 1.026 would be better for the coral.> Any advice you can provide will be greatly appreciated. <Do you have a lid on this tank? If so, take it off. Other than that, I would recommend some activated carbon filtration. Also, try target feeding the coral at night (after lights out). Turn the pumps off for about an hour. Do this daily for a week or so and see if this doesn't help improve the coral's extension.> Thanks, Paul <Good luck, Sara M.>

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

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

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

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

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

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

Green open brain coral (Trachyphyllia), hlth.    3/11/07 Ok, <Hello Jason.> I have a thiry <thirty> five gallon  tank and am currently changing into a reef setup from FOWLR. I have taken an green open brain (Trachyphyllia) <Trachyphyllia> from my mom's nano cube where it has steadily declined to the point that over 1/3 of the skeleton is showing. <Not good.  I would assume that it is placed on the sand.?> It is my mission to save this coral!! <Admirable.  And it can be done.> It has been in my tank for about a two weeks and will puff during the day. I have yet to see any tentacles <tentacles> when I attempt to feed it (and haven't ever seen any when it was in the nano either). Is it too late to save this coral?? <No.  Try adding a little bit of food before feeding.  They seem to be able to sense the protein.  Shortly after the tentacles should emerge.  If they don't try target feeding a little bit of food.  I had to do this for several days before I saw tentacles on mine.> What is the best plan of action from here? <Please see above.> My water parameters are all excellent, <Please define excellent.> adequite <adequate> lighting, intermediate flow (in that part of the tank), and there is nothing to harm it in my aquarium (fish, other coral, etc), so I am hoping that I <I> can bring it back. I want to know what the best feeding stategy <strategy.> would be (and what exactly I could buy from the LFS as far as food mixtures, or can I spot feed it with frozen fish food). <Mysis, Blood Worms, etc. soaked in Selcon.> Finally, can I use a toothbrush to keep the algae from growing in the abandoned part of the skeleton? <I would not do this.  Place it in the tank in an area where the algae cannot get light, and it will start to die off.  After the die off, you can begin to re-acclimate it to the light.  I have used this method to clear mine of algae.  Using a toothbrush will cause you to have to move it too often. It needs to be left alone for a while.  Also adding Iodine to the tank will help.  Please remember that regular water changes are a must here.  10% once a week.  You need the influx of new chemical nutrients here to help.  Add the I to the replacement water.  For more information see here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyphlliidae.htm.> (and on the remaining coral?) I need help fast to keep this guy alive! Thanks in advance! <You are welcome.  Brandon.>
Re: green open brain coral (Trachyphyllia)
 3/16/2007 Thanks for the response about the Trachyphyllia!! <You are welcome!  I take it that you got it to eat.> You stated that I should place the coral where it will not get light to kill off the algae, but I am wondering how long (as in days) can I leave the coral in the shade without hurting it even more? <It should be fine as long as you can get it to feed.  Feed it a little more than usual, about once every other day.  Do remember to use some Iodine supplementation.  Just don't overdo it.  I left mine in the shade until the algae died off.> Also, what is a good schedule as far as re-acclimating it to direct light? Thanks again, you guys are a life saver. <Use a piece of cardboard to create the shade, and remove it in gradually increasing thirty minute periods.  Increase thirty minutes a day until you reach 8-10 hours.  Brandon.>
Re: green open brain coral (Trachyphyllia), fdg.  3/16/2007
Update on the Trachyphyllia. So I have relocated the brain coral to back of tank (in sand bed still) and made an arch of rock to make shade. I have tried to feed the last couple days <Cnidarians take time to acclimate to such moving...> with no site of tentacles (even if I prime with juice before the feeding). Where should I be placing the foodstuff, i.e. where would the tentacles come out from. <The grooved areas...> The only thing that I have seen are very small tentacle like things, but they are coming from the underside (rock-like side, near the sand-line). So is this where I need to place the food? <Possibly... if feeding a mash, I encourage you to place a bowl, cover over the animal for ten, fifteen minutes...> These tentacles are small and do not look like they could do much? <May be "it" for now> I have revamped my supplement  addition (especially iodine), but promise not to overdo it.    <Mmmm, you have read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyphlliidae.htm and the linked files above? Please (re)do so. Bob Fenner>

Trachyphyllia hlth.   2/6/07 Hello to the wonderful crew a Wet Web Media, <Brandon... so soon?> One of these days when I am experienced enough I am going to ask you guys if I can help out. <I look forward to this time>   Good god I hate being a newbie.  I am also slightly retarded in my selections of coral.  I have apparently put two types of Favia, Favites in the same tank. <Mmm, if there's room, likely no problem>   I can move them if I have to.  This will cost some money, but fortunately I am in a position at the moment that cost is not an option.  By the way, (I know that I should have posted all of the original texts with this)  I have found a place to put the Tangs. <"The" tangs... we have a bunch to recall... not even including WWM... w/o prev. corr....> I have a person that has adequate room, tank space for them.  Please understand that I acquired these creatures in the purchase of an aquarium.  I did not want to sentence these guys to an early death.   So I tried to the best of my abilities to keep them happy.  I cannot purchase another tank (Read wife here.  She was okay right up until the MH retro purchase.)  I have around five thousand USD into my fish.  That is saltwater and fresh.  I feel that this is a large enough commitment.  My problem is that I have too much trust in people that seem to have a good deal of knowledge.   <Trust yourself... accumulated knowledge...> I purchased a Trachyphyllia from an LFS, and I have had some issues.  There is a section that is missing tissue.  About 1/8 the overall coral.  I am feeding when it will take food.  If it will not I let the fishes eat the food.  The coral has green algae growing on the exposed areas of the skeleton.  Just regular green algae.  I am very concerned.  There are a number of things that could have caused the tissue loss.   <Yes> I am wondering though, can the coral recover from the tissue loss and the green algae, or should I chalk this up to inverticideal stupidity. <It can recover... I take it (for one) that this colony is placed on the substrate... and for two, that you've read the postings on WWM re this species> I am hoping that with regular (two to three times a week) feedings that I can reverse this.  I love these little critters, and caring for them/watching them makes me think about my own mortality less, <Interesting point> every time that I lose one, I feel a great personal loss.  I recently lost two Discus to a bad product that was supposed to lower Ph, and I felt horrible.  To heck with the cost, ($150 USD apiece.) I accidentally killed two fish that were so used to humans that they would let me pet/move them around the tank with no stress.  I cried like a baby when they died.  This taught me a very important lesson, and I have tried to research specimens, and not use chemicals when I can.  I took someone's advice and now I am in trouble.  I do not think that this is allelopathy based on previous responses, and other information that I have found on your wonderful site. I think that I may have touched this coral improperly, or photo-shocked it. I am really hoping that it can recover.  Thank you for all of your help. Just a thought but perhaps, we should not pretend to be god, <Though indeed we are each others?> and take all of the money that we spend on aquaria, and instead spend it on visiting real "God made" reefs.  Perhaps the reason that we do this is because we love to create like God. <Mmm... more likely transference from a fear of death...> Again Thank you all so very much for your tireless effort, I would like to help.  Please let me know if I can, Brandon R. Foster. <Study my friend... and in the meanwhile, draw contentment from the realization that you're doing your best. BobF>

Brain Coral/Bleaching   4/14/06 Hi! <Hello.>  I always seem to be able to find the answers to my questions on your website. It is very informative! However today my question is simple. If an open brain coral is eating great, expanding most of the time and growing well could it turning from a pinkish-red to white be a sign that it is getting too much light? My tank gets direct sunlight from a patio door for about three hours every day. This placement of the tank was very purposeful to save electric and simulate as close to the wild as possible for my corals. All my light loving corals are thriving. Could too much light be killing my open brain? Or will it just fade to a pinkish-white and thrive being a different color? Will moving the coral to a darker location restore the original color or is it too late? thanks for listening. <Bleaching generally refers to loss of Zooxanthellae (symbiotic algae) which the coral needs to survive.  Since these corals require moderate to high levels of lighting, it may be suffering from lack of light.  You didn't mention what type of lighting you have so I cannot comment further.  James (Salty Dog)>

Neuroscientist or Reef Aquarist? - 03/29/06 Hello, <Hi Dan, Adam J. with you this fine-afternoon.> I bought a "rare" Trachyphyllia from the pet store about 2 weeks ago. <Okay.> It has a dark purple rim, with a pinkish blue center. I haven't been able to find a picture of one like it so I assume it is a bit rare... Anyways All of my tank parameters are good, my lighting is 440 watts VHO on a 75 gal, and I feed it Mysis every couple of nights. It has been getting better, but there is an area near the rim where a piece of its skeleton has broke off and it is just laying sideways in the tissue. I can see it in the tissue because the area is bleached and it looks like it is slowly dying there. It is a thin piece about the size and shape of a dime. My question is, should I let it handle the problem itself or maybe try to make a small incision with a razor and remove the broken piece of skeleton. <If the 'dead' area does not appear to be spreading I would leave it be for now'¦.continue to provide optimal water quality and keep nutrients low, I have seen many a brain perish because the owner allowed algae to colonize exposed skeletal areas.> Thanks, Dan <Adam J.>

Trachyphyllia health question   3/10/06 I've been reading, reading, reading (Aquarium Corals, Book of Coral Propagation, and this great site!), and I've come to a dead end.  I'm learning a hard lesson about not quarantining corals... <... no fun> Last week I received an order of corals, including three Acropora frags.   They were shedding quite a bit of mucus from the stress of the trip.  I placed them in the bottom of the tank to acclimate, near my two open brains.   One of my brains has been having issues ever since - mucus, and this deposit of white stuff on the brain.  I've long since moved the Acros to their final positions. From what I've read I'm sure this is the result of the noxious mucus of the Acro, but haven't found anything on what, if anything, should be done about it. <Time going by, some addition of iodine/ide/ate...> Any insight/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks much, your fan, Kimberly <Bob Fenner>

Trachyphyllia Confusion - 11/06/05 Hi Crew, <<Hello Agnes>> I need your experience and knowledge. <<I shall try to help.>> I have two Trachyphyllia corals, one is a red and the other a green. They were placed about the same height in my tank so the light and water movement was nearly identical. My tank is a 110 gal. with a below tank refugium of about 25 or 30 gallons. The ammonia and nitrites are zero and nitrates are below 40 <<Yikes!>>, I know the nitrates need to be less and am working on it diligently. <<5ppm or less>> I keep the sg at 1.024 to 1.025. <<Very good>>> I have an RO/DI unit on order which should have been here yesterday and didn't make it yet. I have well water so no chlorine, it is a deep well and has less minerals than some but can still have enough to cause problems. <<And possibly trace amounts of pesticides, heavy metals, nitrates, etc..>> That's the reason for the RO/DI unit. Several days ago I noticed that the green coral was not opening very much, it has done so beautifully until then. But my red coral is opening just as much as ever, maybe even more so. <<You don't mention your lighting or "where" in the tank these corals are placed. Tis possible they are getting too much light, though honestly I would have thought the red brain to be mal-affected first if this were the case.>> What is the difference between these two besides the color which can cause one to look so poorly, it may even be dying? <<It may be that the one was in a more weakened state when acquired. For certain the high nitrate levels are not doing any of them good.>> I'm doing water changes as often as I can and really watching the pH, sg, temp and nitrates. <<Good, keep it up.>> I appreciate your help as always. Thank you. Agnes <<All things being equal, I think your nitrates are probably at issue here (have you tested your well water re?), hopefully the RO unit will arrive soon. I would also recommend employing some Polyfilter in a canister filter if possible...and have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachydisfaqs.htm. Regards, EricR>>
Trachyphyllia Confusion 2 - 11/06/05
Thank you for your reply. This seemed like a good way to answer your questions and give you more information. <<Italicized is from previous correspondence, hope it's not too confusing!  Marina>> "Trachyphyllia Confusion - 11/06/05 Hi Crew, <<Hello Agnes>> I need your experience and knowledge. <<I shall try to help.>> I have two Trachyphyllia corals, one is a red and the other a green. They were placed about the same height in my tank so the light and water movement was nearly identical. My tank is a 110 gal. with a below tank refugium of about 25 or 30 gallons. The ammonia and nitrites are zero and nitrates are below 40  <<Yikes!>> I know the nitrates need to be less and am working on it diligently. <<5ppm or less>> I keep the sg at 1.024 to 1.025. <<Very good>>> I have an RO/DI unit on order which should have been here yesterday and didn't make it yet. I have well water so no chlorine, it is a deep well and has less minerals than some but can still have enough to cause problems. <<And possibly trace amounts of pesticides, heavy metals, nitrates, etc..>> That's the reason for the RO/DI unit. Several days ago I noticed that the green coral was not opening very much, it has done so beautifully until then. But my red coral is opening just as much as ever, maybe even more so. <<You don't mention your lighting or "where" in the tank these corals are placed. Tis possible they are getting too much light, though honestly I would have thought the red brain to be mal-affected first if this were the case.>>" [You are right, I forgot to mention the lighting. I have a fixture with 2 150W, 20000K, bulbs and 4 actinic blue lamps.  <<Mmm, could be too much light for the brain corals depending on their placement in the water column.>>  I turn the blue lamps on about 2 hours before and off about 2 hours after the MH bulbs, and the MH are on for about 8 hours a day.  <<For overall health/natural lighting, I would shoot for a MH photo-period of 10-12 hours.>>  My corals were about at the middle of the tank.  <<Better at/towards the bottom. Though they may be bright in color, most brain corals don't require such intense lighting as you describe though many can/will adapt, some of the "reds" will actually turn brown and/or decline from such intense lighting.>>] What is the difference between these two besides the color which can cause one to look so poorly, it may even be dying? <<It may be that the one was in a more weakened state when acquired. For certain the high nitrate levels are not doing any of them good.>> [I got the green brain first and it was doing beautifully, it would open at least 4 times it's closed size. I've had the green brain for about 6 months.  <<OK...you have me thinking it is the nitrates again...but these corals also need to be fed...feeding once or twice a week with finely minced meaty foods is recommended.>>  I got the red brain about 4 months ago and it never has opened anywhere near as fully as the green brain but it was doing better lately. And now it looks great!] I'm doing water changes as often as I can and really watching the pH, sg, temp and nitrates. <<Good, keep it up.>> I appreciate your help as always. Thank you. Agnes <<All things being equal, I think your nitrates are probably at issue here (have you tested your well water re?), hopefully the RO unit will arrive soon. I would also recommend employing some Polyfilter in a canister filter if possible...and have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachydisfaqs.htm. Regards, EricR>> [Yes, my well water tested zero nitrates and very close to 7 pH.  <<Be sure to buffer your makeup/salt mix water to bring up the pH.>>  Thank you again for your help. It sounds like the red brain is actually more delicate of the two so I am at even more of a loss as to why my green brain is looking so poorly. I had not added anything to my tank before this happened. I have since added some new live rock that just finished curing. Maybe the extra rock will help with the nitrates. <<Maybe...but you need to determine the source of the problem and address that as well.>>  I hope so, my green brain is still hanging in there, it opened weakly today so it is trying. As always I am amazed at the amount of help you offer folks. Agnes  <<Very happy to assist,

Hurtin' brain - 2/25/03 Hi Gang! <Hi there, Paul here>      I have an open brain coral that has some algae on the edges of it's skeleton. <What?>  Can I scrub this off with a soft toothbrush? <Is there flesh there?>  The edges of the skeleton are bare, but the middle still expands.<Ahhhhh. I see. Well, a light brushing might serve well. Have you checked our FAQs? See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyphyllidfaqs.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyphlliidae.htm Additionally look at this interesting article as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyreproart.htm> It looks a little rough, but I think with some better care, it will be beautiful. <Feed it! Mysids and krill (frozen is fine) and keep the water quality high i.e. water changes> Thanks for any suggestions. <Thank you, and good luck> -Becky

Brain Bleaching? Hi I have a red brain coral I have had him for about a year now. I have noticed that his color is fading and he is turning a white color. He's not shrunken or shriveled, he just is turning white like the color is fading out. Any suggestions? <Well, there could be a number of factors at play. Check water quality, lighting (are the bulbs getting old? Too much light?), feeding habits (are you feeding the animal regularly?), current (excessive current?). Any potential allelopathic competition (like from Sinularia or other "noxious" soft corals). Is anyone in the tank "sampling" the coral's tissue? These guys seem very "tasty" to some fish...Lots of possible factors. Do a little checking, and adjust conditions as needed. The answers are out there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

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