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FAQs about Trachyphylliid Coral Environmental Disease

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: Diagnosing, Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments 

Related Articles: Coral Pests and Disease; pests, predators, diseases and conditions by Sara Mavinkurve, 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,


Open Brain questions (picture attached). Hlth., likely env.  2/22/10
After extensive research, asking at the LFS, fellow reefers, etc. and not getting a satisfying answer I turn to you. So far I have got great info about Open Brains from your website so maybe you will be able to help.
Have an open brain in a 100g reef, ca. 60 lbs live rock, 4 T5's, nitrate 0,
<An essential nutrient>
ammonia 0, nitrite 0, alkalinity 10, calcium 420. Currently taking care
<? How?>
of a low PH problem which is fluctuating around 8.0
<Not likely an issue>
and high salinity (that is if the new specific gravity tester is not working right) but I think we're at around 1.029 ppm.
Two false Perculas, starry blenny, mandarin goby, two clown gobies, watchman, snails, crabs.
Had it for about a month and he seemed very happy at first, extending tentacles, feeding (never fed much, maybe once a week). He sits in the front corner, low flow. Be bloated to about twice his size once and I read that it's due to stress even though he had his tentacles out and it didn't last that long he went back to normal shortly after. The two clown gobies in the tank like to move around and hang out on different corals for a while, some corals don't mind, some do. I am not sure if the brain does or not.
About a week and a half ago I noticed a black 'growth' coming out of the coral . It is the strangest thing and nobody seems to know what it could be. It is about ½ ' in diameter, blackish brown, has a sheen to it and it's getting bigger. It is literally coming out of on the U-shaped corners of one of the brains fingers. Around the same time the clown gobies started perching on it and I have noticed that it's not extending its tentacles anymore at night or during the day. He bloated up one more time yesterday and the black 'dome' that's growing out of him was almost completely submerged by tissue. Tonight I am noticing a lot of slime coming out of him, even though I haven't fed him in a few days.
Any idea?
<This Trachyphyllia is likely reacting to the water quality being off density-wise, the lack of NO3 and whatever you're doing to absorb it. Chemical filtrants should be removed, the Spg adjusted pronto. Bob Fenner>

Re Open Brain questions (picture attached) 2/23/2010
Mr. Fenner,
thanks for your quick response.
So, we purchased a new specific gravity tester and it must be out of whack since it read about 1.025 ppm in my TAPWATER.
<? Is this a "floating arm" type hydrometer? Do read the instructions on use that came with it... likely some air bubbles are adhering to the arm here>
My old one, which I originally thought was bad read 1.025 ppm yesterday so for now I have to rely on that.
<... please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/spgmeas.htm>
I am treating the PH with Kent Marine Superbuffer 1tsp per 20-30 gal of water
<How? These materials need to be pre-dissolved in new water; best done during water changes. NOT added directly to the tank>
so this morning after testing and it sitting around 7.8 - 8.0 I added another 2 1/2 tsp.
We did a big water change yesterday, about 30%.
What can I do besides getting PH to stabilize?
<Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/maintindex.htm>
We are actually in the progress of setting up a new tank 60 gal, 40 gal sump, protein skimmer, etc. We currently have an all in one wet dry sump which we found out is not ideal for reef tanks.
It's in the works but it'll be a few more weeks and I am worried about loosing live stock.
<Or losing it>
I also don't dose regularly, about every two weeks calcium, strontium, not that much iodine since I heard to be careful with it. Not sure if I'm going to right route on this, I am overly careful and maybe not doing enough?
<... Eva, please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM... Do not add anything you can't and are not testing for>
I also try to stay away from chemicals as much as possible, super buffer being the only thing I'm using right now.
I also just lost a clam probably due to predator?!
<Can't tell from here, the data presented>
Trying to research as much as possible.
Your response is greatly appreciated.
Open Brain questions (picture attached)
Quick add:
I am thinking my nitrate is low since I have a hair algae issue on some of the rock. The only thing I can explain it with since I always had around 5 - 10 nitrates before.
<... read re this as well. B>

Return Pump Flow--How Much Is Too Much? -- 02/18/08 Greetings WWM Crew, <<Hello Bill>> Here is my situation. I have an AGA 180-gallon RR tank with the 'MegaFlow' system--sort of. <<Mmm'¦>> The ¾-inch return is now 1-inch, and the drains are 1 ¼-inch instead of 1-inch. The 'MegaFlows' have been replaced with Durso's. <<I see'¦ I do hope this means you increased the size of the holes/bulkheads in the tank'¦not just an upsizing of the pipe>> I drilled out the 'teeth' in the overflows and siliconed black plastic gutter guard in its place. My tank has an Ocean-Motions 4 way Closed-loop plumbed according to Paul's suggestion. This all drains in to an 85-gallon 'fuge, <<Sweet>> and then to a 90-gallon sump. <<Really sweet>> My skimmer is in the sump. The return I was using was a Mag 1800, and up until last Tuesday it worked fine--then BAMM. <<Hate it when that happens'¦ I have used these and do think the Mag-Drive pumps usually serve pretty well, for the money 'but I made the 'switch' to Ocean-Runner a while back and have been very pleased with the result 'and when/if you can get them big enough, Eheim is even better>> A friend of mine that owns/runs an LFS said he had a 'new' (used for 5 minutes) pump he would sell me, so OK, I'm good to go right. The pump is an Eco-Plus rated at 4950gph. <<Yikes! Much too much flow for your overflows 'or are we talking 'closed-loop' here?>> New plumbing was done--ball valve etc., etc., and I turned the pump on--(now don't get ahead of me, I know what you are thinking--but the ball valve WAS turned to 1/2 to start) <<Mmm'¦okay'¦>> Oh, I forgot--I installed a "Calfo Manifold" around the top of the tank in 1 inch PVC in place of the double returns already in use. <<Very nice>> I'm figuring my flow at about 3800 to 4000 gph--just from the return. <<Not with 'two 1 ¼-inch drain bulkheads' my friend (would only safely drain about 1000gph en toto). I must assume this is a closed-loop>> With the 1-inch return manifold--it has 12 outlets around the top--I can turn the valve to 3/4 open with no problem. With ½-inch reducers in the outlets, and with capped 45 degree pieces drilled with a small hole attached, I can open the valve all the way, without overflowing the tank. <<Okay, this 'must' be a true closed-loop then'¦no way you would be running this much water through your sump/through two 1 ¼-inch gravity drain lines>> I also have 2 Koralia #4--1200gph each in the rear corners. My 'buddy' at the LFS says it can never be enough flow. Is this too much flow ????? Thanks in advance, Bill Fletcher <<Well Bill, that depends much on your livestock's requirements/placement and how this flow is 'arranged' in the tank. A common rule-of-thumb for marine systems is to have a water-flow rate of at least ten-times the tank's stated volume. For your tank of course that would be 1800gph. I have heard of some hobbyists with flow rates of 50-times and more their tank's volume. I believe 'lots of flow' is very beneficial if applied properly'¦my own tank boasts more than 30-times the tank volume in water flow. I also believe the majority of hobbyists 'don't have enough' flow in their tanks. So to answer your question'¦if the animals in your system are not having their flesh blasted from them'¦if the animals in your system exhibit health and vigor, and the corals are not 'closed-up' all the time as a result of the flow'¦then no, this is not too much flow. Regards, Eric Russell>>
Re: Return Pump Flow--How Much Is Too Much? - 02/19/08
THANKS for the reply Eric. <<Happy to assist, Bill>> To start, the pump in question IS the tank return pump. On my OM 4 way, I have a DART. <<Ah, thank you for the clarification. I must say I think either there is something I have missed, or the pump is encountering a 'bunch' of headloss as there is no way two 1¼' gravity drains handling the flow volume you mention (4,000gph+)>> Each return has 6 one inch "T"s around the top of the tank, into which a 1" to 1/2 " reducer is placed, with a 45 degree PVC piece placed into that, and then capped and drilled with a small, not real small, hole drilled in the end. <<So'¦the water is returned to the tank via these small holes in the caps? Well, that would explain how the drains can handle the flow with the valve from the pump wide-open (the 'holes' are GREATLY restricting water flow)>> This allows me to swivel the 45's left or right, and raise or lower the "T"s as needed. The drain and return tank bulkheads were re-drilled to accommodate the tubing upgrades. <<Excellent'¦too bad you just didn't go a little larger on the drains [grin]>> I did forget to add/state that ALL plumbing is in the basement which is just behind the wall that the tank sits in front of. <<Cool'¦does make plumbing/dealing with some associated hassles a bit easier>> As of now, everybody--all the animals in the tank--- appear to be doing very well--I did tweak the 'nozzles' initially so as not to blast anybody--so all is well. <<Very good>> THANKS again for ALL you do for us in the hobby--where would we be without your help and knowledge. Bill <<Rewarding and encouraging to read'¦We are pleased to be of service. EricR>>

Bubbles in Open Brain   1/3/08 Hello WWM Crew, <Paul> I recently purchased an open brain from my LFS. I acclimated and placed it in QT, temperature is 80 degrees and salinity is 1.026. <Good> During QT I spot fed with Mysid, one piece of which had a small air bubble attached. A few days later I noticed what looked like 2 small air bubbles under the tissue near one of the mouths of the open brain. <Mmmm> However, it disappeared a few days later, upon which I placed into a separate stand alone refugium. This is lit with a 100W daylight CLF bulb. It expanded normally and was doing fine until I did a large 50% water change. The NSW was at a salinity of 1.026 at approx 80 Degrees F. However, during the water change I thoroughly covered the open brain in sand. <Yikes> I then forgot to plug the heater back in and the temperature dropped to about 70 Degrees F before I noticed. The next morning the "bubbles" had reappeared so I quickly removed it, did an Iodine dip (10 drops to 1 gallon), and reacclimated it into the QT tank. <Very good> It still goes through regular expansion and shrinkage, but there appear to be more and more bubbles under it's tissue. Please advise? I have attached pictures. Thank you! Paul <I think you'll be okay here... as will the specimen. Sometimes such gas accumulation does occur... in moved specimens under "boosted" conditions (mainly lighting), and rapid metabolism following challenges. Bob Fenner>

Re: Bubbles in Open Brain   1/3/08 Mr. Fenner, <Pablo> Thanks! The open brain is indeed slowly recovering and the bubbles are receding. Another coral making it safely from LFS to my tank. <Ah, congrats! BobF>


Trachyphyllia worries   6/13/06 Dear crew, <Andrea> Very sorry to bother you, but I need a bit of professional advice.  Last week I was away on work business, when I retuned home it became apparent that my area received somewhat of a heat wave, and my reef tank was running in its low 30,s!!!!!  After the initial blind panic and setting up the chiller I began to assess the damage which I might add was not good but thankfully not as bad as it could have been. My tank is now running at 26 and my only concerns are the two Trachyphyllia, one red one green that are situated on the fine substrate.  They are not at their best colour wise, the red specimen seems to have retained most of its Zooxanthellae, however the greener specimen, looks some what fleshy.  (this particular specimen has never had the intense green fluorescents of a Stichodactyla anemone, like some Trachyphyllia). Anyway my point being, should I leave them both exactly where they are or move them to the miracle mud sump where they is less light intensity and more cover of Caulerpa, and Chaetomorpha? Best wishes Andrea <That they did not perish is telling... I would not move these specimens... in all likelihood they will recover, re-color in your good care. Bob Fenner>

Open Brain Coral Question, overly lit hlth. ish   2-18-06 Hey sorry to bother you. <No worries> I've just recently picked up a 250w MH ballast and XM 10000k bulb for my 75g tank. <A little bright there - shallow water 'sps'?> I now have a few open brains.. one of them seems to be "droopy" like. <Guess not - your lighting is excessive for 'LPS' corals, I would seriously consider downgrading. Regardless of popular opinion, throwing high wattage halides over everything is simply not necessary, with the exception of a few species of course> It is a metallic green open brain. It expands during the day and opens up at night to feed...but when it expands during the day it seems really thinned out and the on side of it seems to hang down (left side in photo). Could this be a light problem? <Sure - especially if it wasn't doing this before the upgrade, and all water parameters are nominal> Water is great I test almost everything except iodine. <Numbers are usually requested, but okay> I think I bought it from underneath a few T5's. I had brought it home and sat it in the substrate off to the side for about a week before moving it more towards the center. Could I have moved it into intense light too fast? <Yes, and yes, and it may never acclimate to the brighter lighting, or if it does, it may not open as far as it did> I fed it for the first time after 2 weeks of having it. Could this be a hunger thing? <Possibly, but not as likely, though you should have fed it sooner. I recommend feeding more often - twice a week should suffice> I bought some shrimp, successfully fed it and haven't noticed any change in appearance. Everything else in my tank is doing great. Could you shoot me any advice? Like moving it to a new location, or is this coral dying on me? <From the picture, I'd say nothing is wrong with the coral - but you are going to know better than I am, as you see it every day. I'd say if anything, the lighting is too intense> Also it is in not heavy but moderate water flow. Could this be a problem? <Doubtfully> Thanks a lot guys. <Sure thing - when emailing us in the future, please make sure to use correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation> Jason <M. Maddox>
Open Brain Coral Question Part Deuce  2-19-06
Good morning. <For those of us without chem lab, yep ;)> Thank you for the quick response. <Sure> You say I should downgrade my light set-up? I cannot do that, but I was wondering...is there any way I could block some of the light intensity by using typical black screen in between it and the water? Would this work or is it a long shot? <It would work fine - window screens work wonders in this situation. However, unless you're keeping animals that require that much light, why not sell/return your lights and get a 175w setup, or T5's? Cheaper, less electricity/heat, etc> I really have no way to move and mount the light anywhere else. It is where it is. Another thing, what if I were to buy a 15000k or 20000k bulb instead ( I hate the colour of my 10000k neways )? Probably wont make any difference will it? <It will, actually - the farther you move from the ~5500-6500k range the less photoactive radiation (PAR) there is going to be, and wavelength intensity decreases as well, if I remember correctly> Any overall suggestions on killing off some of the intensity from the light? <See above> Jason <M. Maddox>

Green open brain not inflating 10/6/05 I enjoy your site and find it very helpful. I have looked at many articles and Q & A on open brain corals. I have some answers but was looking for more specific suggestions. I have a 29 gallon tank. 135 watts power compact lights. Ph=8.3, salinity is currently 1.026 (has fluctuated from 1.024-1.027 at times b/c of evaporation. Relatively stable though), Nitrate 5-10, Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0, Calcium 480, KH 8, temp 78 degrees (some fluctuations but relatively stable). Bak-Pak 2r Skimmer, Skilter 250 (don't use skimming aspect), and power sweep 212. I have had a green open brain for two months. I purchased it from my LFS attached to a small piece of rock. I have sat it on the bottom since I got it. It seemed to be doing very well up until 2-3 days ago. It would inflate/expand during the day while deflating and tentacles would come out at night.  Recently it does not inflate/expand like it used to during the day. Also it has not opened its mouth during feeding recently. Finally, I no longer see its tentacles at night. I have historically feed a variety of frozen foods to the couple fish in my tank including: Mysis, formula one, ocean plankton. I had not directly feed this brain but always observed it opening its mouth during feeding times and had visibly seen it eat small pieces of food that float into its mouth in the past. Should I be concerned about this change? Any advice its greatly appreciated. <Not a difficult coral to care for.  Your lighting is close to borderline for keeping these.  As far as food, they will produce most of their own food but benefit from occasional plankton feeding such as Cyclop-Eeze.  You didn't state how long you have had it.   Is lighting on for 12 hours/day?  Addition of strontium and other trace elements is very helpful in maintaining this coral.  Read here Anthony...http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyphlliidae.htm    James (Salty Dog)> Thanks Anthony
Green open brain II 10/7/05
Thanks for your quick response. <You're welcome>  Yes, I do keep my lights on for 12 hours/day. I actually do dose with strontium and iodine. I also do 5 Gallon weekly water changes. My question is specifically does the lack of inflating and currently no tentacles at night represent some kind of specific problem? What can I do? It seems to be a negative change from my observations. Is the green open brain dying?  <Pretty tough to answer that without observing. Couple of things to consider...How old are the PC bulbs. Should be changed yearly. Might want to try moving the coral. Do not keep it in direct current path from the pump/powerhead. Do you have any fish that may be picking on it? Are water changes done with Reef Crystals or a similarly reef enhanced product? Other than that, just observe. You didn't mention how long you've had it, short time/long time. James (Salty Dog)> 

Open Brain Coral. HELP!! - 08/20/05 Hi, <<Hello>> I recently bought an open brain coral that is hot pink and green. <<I love these!>> It has not opened up at all yet to release its tentacles but it has opened and closed its mouth.  I am only feeding it oyster eggs and plankton at the moment. <<Diced meaty foods please...>> My concern is that the coral is starting to lose its color and the skeleton is starting to show around the edges. <<A bad sign.>> I moved it into a cave because I think the light was to strong. <<A common mistake to put these corals in the top third of the tank believing the bright colors indicate high light requirements...usually dooms the coral.  Should be on the bottom in the sand for most (conical-shaped skeleton).>> Since then I have yet to see the mouth close at all. Is this normal? <<No...another bad sign.>> Now, the fleshy middle where the mouth is has been ripped or detached from the outer skeleton.  Will my coral make it to see another day or is this a battle that's already been lost? <<From your description I'm inclined to believe this coral is doomed/lost.  Do ensure your water parameters are up to par, and have a good read through our FAQs re this coral:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyphyllidfaqs.htm Jessica <<Regards, EricR>>

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