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FAQs about Trachyphylliid Coral Nutritional 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, Environmental (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), 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,

Need measurable NO3, HPO4... not zero... AND regular small/meaty feedings, washes... 2, 3 X/wk.

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

open brain - receding   12/16/11
Hiya WWM Crew,
<Hi Mitch>
First of all, love the site and have found a ton of great info that's help me get further along in the hobby, really appreciate it.
That having been said, a little background: I have a 72 gallon bow front with overflow, skimmer, T5HO lighting, and 3 Koralia 600gph powerheads. 
Good amount of Liverock, and am just now (After about 2 years of running) starting to go from FOWLR to reef.  So far I have a Palythoa and just added about 2 weeks ago an open brain (one of the deeper water ones with the red outer lip and green inner bit).
<Ok. Trachyphyllia?>
So when I got the brain I gave it about a week, waited until my night lamps had been on for an hour or two, and then turned off the powerheads - and then used tongs to drop some thawed Mysis on the "mouth" area.  Tentacles started showing up and pushing food into the mouth (super cool to watch!). 
Now, having read on your site I know that these bad boys need to be fed at least a couple of times a week...
<Yes, can be done during the day also>
and my wife mentioned that it had been walnut sized all day today...so tonight I tried again (last feeding was around 5 days ago).  Same process, night lamps, power heads off, dropped some Mysis.  Now the mouths opened WIIIIIIIDE open (like I could see INSIDE the mouth), however no feeder tentacles appeared.  I tried to get a few bits of Mysis into the mouth - but not sure how successful I was.
<This is not likely a feeding problem>
So I pulled out the test kit so see if maybe I was stressing the thing out....trites, trates, and phates are all at zero,
<You should have a trace of NO3 & PO4 present, nutrients essential for life>
which would have been my first thought.  Also tested calcium - and it is indeed quite low (240 range). 
<Far too low - should be around 400ppm>
Could that be causing the lack of tentacle as well as the shrivel effect?
<Yes - the coral is Scleractinian (has a skeleton) so needs to calcify in order to survive. Without enough calcium in the water it cannot do this.
You also need to test for Magnesium and carbonates (alkalinity, dKH. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm>
 I've read that people on WWM have mentioned seeing the "skeleton" of the coral: I'm not entirely sure what that is, as opposed to the rock on which the coral is growing (again, I'm new to this, so be gentle)...so I can't tell if I'm seeing the "skeleton" or if it's just pulled back and hanging out.
<Mmm, the 'rock' on which it is growing is it's skeleton, assuming that what you have is an 'open brain' coral and not something else. either way, the calcium needs to be adjusted, and the Mg & dKH tested for and also adjusted if necessary http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2002/11/chemistry>
Plan for right now is to do around a 12 gallon water change tomorrow, and also start on a nice slow Kalk drip to help maintain the calcium levels. 
Think that's the right move?
<No. I think you need to understand the chemistry more before messing around with Kalk drips, one of the most dangerous things you can do to your tank, especially automated. After reading & understanding you could add a little Kalk, manually only, with testing, and not on a drip>
Thanks, in advance, for your help!
<No problem>
- Mitch
Re: open brain - receding   12/16/11

Simon - thanks for the quick response!
<No problem Mitch>
I'm going to pick up some more exact test kits this afternoon - I'm using the reefmaster kit right now, and unfortunately it won't detect "Trace" amounts (the smallest amount of nitrate it will show is 5 PPM etc).
As far as perking up the brain and calcium go, how much of the Kalk would you recommend starting with?  I've seen a lot of different suggestions in amounts, but all were for a "drip" setup, so not entirely sure what the process would be for adding manually? 
<Are there no instructions? You can make a slurry with some RO water, add a little at a time, test, add some more if necessary... until you get used to how much does what>
(as a side note, in a fit of insomnia, I woke around 3 this morning and took a quick look into the tank with a flashlight - brain is still in that "shrunken" state, but the tentacles were indeed visible again)
As a sidebar, I have a delivery of 3 small Zoanthid frags coming today (15 - 21 polyps total) - unfortunately it was an internet order and it's too late to stop it from coming.  Think they'll be safe in the tank? 
<Should be fine>
My Palythoa (sp) is doing fantastically well and is actually spreading like wildfire right now - from what I understand those are a relative of Zoas, so I'm hoping they'd be okay too? 
<Are Zoanthids also>
I have a small QT on the side but it's not really equipped for sustaining corals.  My plain was to acclimate, dip, and then introduce into the DT.
<I am a fan of quarantining all livestock, everything wet myself>
- Mitch
Re: open brain - receding   12/17/11

Simon - postlude today.
<Fire away!>
Open brain is fully open and happy looking.  No skeleton showing etc.  Took a water sample to the LFS - calcium is at 400.
Looks like my test kit is old and ineffective.  Treated myself to a new one while I was there.
<An essential purchase>
Here's what I suspect, you tell me what you think: I saw coral withered and decided that it must have been hungry and started dropping Mysis over it...in doing so, I think I annoyed it causing it to open its mouth real wide, not because it wanted to eat, but because it wanted me to go the heck away. 
<Hmmm, not sure this coral has the capacity to 'think' ;)>
So, in short, I'm going to give the brain a break and leave it alone until I can confirm seeing those feeder tentacles reaching out.
<I would just aim some food in it's direction when you feed your fishes were it mine, daily.>
Its amazing the panic a bad test kit can cause!!!
- Mitch
<All's well that ends well, Simon>

Deflated Trachy   2/17/08
I'm writing to you from Guernsey, a small Island in the British channel! I have a question that so far, despite trying many different people, have not got an answer. I have a Trachyphyllia Geoffroyi that has been deflated for about 3 weeks. I've had him for about 8 months and has always looked amazing. I recently upgraded my skimmer to a Deltec apf600 on a 325 Ltr
(90 US Gallon?).
<About 86>
I changed my carbon and phosphate remover but nothing different to my normal routine. My coral has since deflated. The flesh was very tight over the skeleton and I thought all was lost. I was really gutted as he's my favourite coral. I didn't remove the coral but left it for a few days.
One night I noted he looked a bit inflated but the next day he was the same. I have since put him in a Pyrex bowl on the bottom of the tank so that I can get to him easily. I feed him in the bowl and he feeds well but still no inflation. The flesh is no longer tight over the skeleton but definitely not inflated. Any ideas what the problem is?
<Mmm, first guess would be a nutrient shortage from your new, more efficient skimmer.... Do you have measurable phosphate?>
My conditions are:
S.G - 1.025
pH - 8.2
KH - 8
Ca- 420
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 15
I'm afraid that's all I test.
I do 25 Ltr water changes every 2 weeks with good quality reef salt. Use a Ca reactor, Carbon, Phosphate remover,
<This too is too-likely a culprit... I would pull this media for now. Some soluble HPO4 is absolutely essential to all life...>
Live rock, DSB, skimmer. All other fish / corals are in good health and no fish appear to be irritating the coral.
Many thanks for any help.
<And a bit of iodine/ide supplement, and let's see how this Open Brain does in a week or so, eh? Bob Fenner>
Re: Deflated Trachy, HPO4   2/25/09

Hi Bob, or whoever this may be going to.
Many thanks for responding to me. I've tried what you suggested and no response as of yet. I don't have any measurable phosphate. I removed the phosphate remover and added some Red Sea Iodine at the stated dosage. I've
left the skimmer running. Do you think it might be worth adding a Polyfilter? to remove something that may be irritating it. Maybe a change in salinity? I'm running out of ideas and any further help would be much appreciated.
<Mmm, no to the chemical filtrant... or changing SPG... Odd as it may sound, I'd look to adding a supplement that included soluble phosphate...
Life needs it... BobF>

Open Brain not doing well! Pls Help. Poisoning, starving, reading    12/31/09 Hello Crew, <Justin> I got a open brain that has not expanded or shown it's feeding tentacles in over a week. <Mmmm> This all started when I added my normal C-balance 2 part solution to my 90g Tank. <How added? I hope trust as dissolved via new water added as during a water change> As soon as I added the KH part, it immediately closed up and been that way since. <Please see WWM re supplement use... start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm>  It's mouth has receded a little bit and has yet to allow itself to feed. It's not getting bad, nor is it getting better. I normally feed once a week, <... and Trachyphyllia re Feeding: http://wetwebmedia.com/trachyfdgfaqs.htm  need to be fed more often than this...> either freeze dried krill or a piece of frozen shrimp. <...> My water conditions are: 0-ammonia, 0-Nitrate, <An essential nutrient...> 0-Nitrite, PH 8.3, Calcium 420ppm, KH 176-196.9ppm range, Temp 80-81*F, Salinity .025. The tank is a 90g with 2x 250MH 14000k, and 2 VHO actinics. I had him placed in the sand bed, but recently moved him under my frag rack. Assuming the reduced light may help him out. On Saturday Night I gave him a Reef Dip and a strange Black worm and Bristle worm came off of him. Also, I saw one of my Peppermint Shrimps picking at his mouth the other night, so looks like I will have to cover him at night. <Maybe...> What else can I do to get him back to his normal state? <Better water quality, feeding likely> I've tried multiple forums with no resolution! Any advice or help in this matter to cure my brain is greatly appreciate. He's my favorite piece!!!!!! Pls look at attached pics! Thanks in advance !!! -Justin <Please read the above citation areas and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Open Brain not doing well! Pls Help/Thanks!!   12/31/08 Hello Crew, > <Justin> Hey Bob, Thanks for responding back so quickly!!!! <<Welcome>> > I got a open brain that has not expanded or shown it's feeding tentacles in over a week. ><Mmmm>I know! Too Strange, but he seems to be getting better IMO! <<Ah, good>> > This all started when I added my normal C-balance 2 part solution to my 90g Tank. > <How added? I hope trust as dissolved via new water added as during a water change>No! I added to water stream from my return pump. Did not know I could add during water change. I use Reef Crystals, so did not want to overdue the Calcium and KH. <<Best to pre-mix the water, store for days, a week... and add supplements then... or blend slowly, well in a sump...>> > As soon as I added the KH part, it immediately closed up and been that way since. > <Please see WWM re supplement use... start here: > http://wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm> Thanks for the info! <<Welcome>> > It's mouth has receded a little bit and has yet to allow itself to feed. > It's not getting bad, nor is it getting better. I normally feed once a week, > <... and Trachyphyllia re Feeding: > http://wetwebmedia.com/trachyfdgfaqs.htm > need to be fed more often than this...>Ok! Is freeze dried shrimp good or  bad? <<Read on!>> either freeze dried krill or a piece of frozen shrimp. > <...> > My water conditions are: 0-ammonia, 0-Nitrate, > <An essential nutrient...> Good! I try to keep the water clean! <<Still, some nitrate presence is necessary>> > 0-Nitrite, PH 8.3, Calcium 420ppm, KH 176-196.9ppm range, Temp 80-81*F, Salinity .025. The tank is a 90g with 2x 250MH 14000k, and 2 VHO actinics. > I had him placed in the sand bed, but recently moved him under my frag rack. Assuming the reduced light may help him out. On Saturday Night I  gave him a Reef Dip and a strange Black worm and Bristle worm came off of him. > Also, I saw one of my Peppermint Shrimps picking at his mouth the other night, so looks like I will have to cover him at night. > <Maybe...> The cover has worked out so far. Got multiple holes in it to allow flow. <<Good>> > What else can I do to get him back to his normal state? > <Better water quality, feeding likely>Based upon the water parameters I noted, is there anything that is off? Will feed more often! <<Need some NO3... I would remove part or give up on whatever chemical filtrant use you have going...>> > I've tried multiple forums with no resolution! Any advice or help in this matter to cure my brain is greatly appreciate. He's my favorite piece!!!!!! > Pls look at attached pics! > Thanks in advance !!! > -Justin > <Please read the above citation areas and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Thanks for the help Bob. Happy New Year!! Wish my Brain luck!! :) <<Mine too! D'oh!!! BobF>>

Re: Open Brain not doing well! Pls Help/Thanks!!  1/4/09 Hey Bob and Crew, <Hello again Justin> The Trachy is making an awesome recovery. <Ah, good!> Even though his mouth is recovering, he can still eat from what I can see. How often shall I feed him to speed up his recovery??? <See WWM... two, three times per week> And Peppermint shrimp are they really safe with these types of "fleshy" corals? <Usually, yes> I ask cause I've seen them steal and eat from the mouth of this Trachy and I suspect them in aiding into his decline the past couple of weeks. Shall I pull them out of the tank??? <Or screen him out for now... like with an all plastic colander or "berry basket" turned over the specimen> Thanks for all the help! Justin L. <Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Bloated Open Brain (Trachyphyllia) 6/25/08 Hi WWM Crew, <Hello Cindy!> I am very much hoping that you can alleviate my worries about our open brain. <I hope so too!> We've had 'him' for about 4 weeks now and until recently it appeared as though everything was going well. Until the past few days his tentacles would come out every evening - dinner time for everyone else as he was curious. Twice a week we feed him a small morsel of clam, muscle, shrimp or octopus; which he accepts gladly. <Great! Glad to see you must have researched husbandry a little. Too many of these starve to death in aquariums.> There are never any leftovers and he hasn't spewed anything back into the tank. The rest of the week he will get left overs that may drift to the bottom once the fish have had their fill. As far as I can tell he's well fed. Recently we have upgraded our lighting and we are trying to acclimate everyone slowly to the better lighting. Since we've changed the lighting though the open brain coral has bloated and his tentacles are extended all the time. Based on all the research I've done I was sure that his tentacles were a sure sign of hunger and the bloating was generally reserved for the day after meals; but for the past three days they are out almost 24/7 and his bloating is incredible; he expands by about 50%. He still expands/retracts but the bloating is so much more than we've seen in the past that I'm worried about the behaviour. Is he incredibly hungry or just loving the new light? Do I step up the feeding/reduce/change it?? <This is a stress response, most likely. Expansion means more surface area, and therefore more passive cooling/waste diffusion. Even if he isn't cooking, full of waste, or wanting more light a coral only has so many responses to stress. If something seems wrong and all you can do is puff up, you're going to puff up- know what I mean?> Tank details: 6 months old, 45 gal -corner tank, 40lbs live rock, 2" live crushed coral covered by 1" fine live sand. 2 percula clowns, 1 cleaner shrimp, one engineer goby, 1 hammer coral, 1 bubble coral, 1 open brain :-), green Zoanthid polyps, 1 doz. assorted snails, 3 red hermits, various blue legged crabs, small refugium with 4 mangroves, Tunze 50 gal protein skimmer, Fluval filter, 78 degrees, 8.2 ph, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 20 nitrate??, 380 calcium. The calcium levels is slowly being increased (over the course of 2 weeks) to 400. The nitrates are frustrating, they are always there, we've tested the change water and the nitrates are 0, but after 1 day they jump to 10, am hoping the new lighting will increase the algae and that will help to take care of the nitrates. <Well, to run the colloquialism through the nitrogen cycle..."nitrate happens". It can be tough to control in smaller tanks...but it sounds like you know how to stay on top of it.> Change water 10% twice weekly. Old lighting: 2 x 18" 15w fluorescent bulbs 1 x 10,000k (ocean sun), 1 x 20,000 (coral sun) - new lighting: 1 250w 14,000k metal halide. <VERY good lighting! Keep an eye on that 14k, I've heard sometimes they don't hold their spectrum as long as the 10k or 20k flavor.> Thank you very much for the hours upon hours of reading material that you have provided for us! <You are very welcome! Thank you for reading them! I think your brain should return to normal as he adjusts to the new lighting. If he begins to bleach or show other signs of serious stress consider slower acclimation to the light- and feel free to write in if problems arise.> Cindy <Benjamin>

Receding Open Brain'¦ Feed Me Seymour  -- 09/13/07 Hey guys, Scott here. <Hi Scott, Mich here.> I have two open brains <I wish I had two brains, the one I'm using right now is a little tired.> in my 38-gallon tank. They both sit on the bottom in about 15 inches of water. Lighting is 2x96-watt, including actinic. Between my hang-on-back filter and my water pump, I turn over my water about 15 times an hour. <In theory.> The brains are sitting about 10" apart. One is thriving and has grown noticeably since I got it, the other is receding. The one that is doing well is clearly a Trach. I'm not clear on what the other one is -- it is flatter, deeply lobed but the lobes do not touch, and when the flesh retracts it has spikes coming out of it. It is a yellow/cream color in the middle, and dark maroon around the edge. <Hard to tell without a pic.> I purchased these two about a month and a half apart. <OK.> Anyway, my LFS advised me they didn't need anything special in the way of diet, just some DT's, which I use every week. <I would offer meaty fresh seafood's, Mysis shrimp here.> They both did well for a while, but about a month ago I noticed that the one had its flesh receding from the outer edge of the skeleton. LFS had no particular advice, said it should come back, and to try moving it out of the water flow a bit, which I did. No luck. <Manual feedings may help.> So I started researching your site on what to do, and found that I should probably be feeding it. <Yes. Sounds like this brain would particularly benefit.> For the past couple of weeks, I have been trying to feed it at night. Some nights I use a soda bottle with the bottom cut out, and a turkey baster to place some Mysis on top of the brain -- this helps to keep the shrimp and crabs off it. <Yes.> Other nights when I am feeling less ambitious, I throw some rotifers in the tank about a half hour after the lights go out. The coral still continues to recede, and is probably almost half gone now. Is there anything I can do, <Yes. You will likely have to increase the frequency and perhaps the quantity of your feedings. These corals can take in surprisingly large pieces, but I would recommend anything too large. I would soak any foods provided in Selcon, a vitamin/HUFA supplement, and suggest diced shrimp, scallops and the likes be offered.> or has this particular specimen reached the end of its road? <No! Certainly not. With aggressive feeding you very well may be able to bring this specimen back. Good luck and happy meals! Mich>

Re: Receding Open Brain'¦ Feed Me Seymour -- 09/19/07 <Hi Scott, Mich with you again.> Over the past two nights I have offered frozen Mysis and fresh-diced scallops, both soaked in Vita-Chem, <Glad to read you are using a vitamin supplement. In the future you may want to consider Selcon as it contains highly unsaturated fatty acids, that I believe Vita-Chem is missing.> but it does not seem to be eating much. I placed the food directly on it with the turkey baster and left it covered with the soda bottle all night. Would it stress the coral too much to take it out and put it in a dishpan filled with aquarium water to feed it, so I can do a better job of placing the food near its mouths? <Not at all. I think this is a good idea. You can read how someone else did something similar here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dendroreprofaqs.htme: The first couple on this page start the story, but what you really want to read is titled: Re: Feeding of Tubastrea.. Follow up to Baby Tubastrea Timeline 8/7/07> At the rate it is receding, I may only have a couple of weeks left. <I like your idea. It sounds like it is time to be quite aggressive with your feedings, perhaps offering multiple times per day. I wish you success here. Mich>

Re: Receding open brain  9/23/07 Hi Mich, <Hi Scott!> Thanks for the Tubastrea link <Welcome!> (wow, that's a pretty elaborate system). <Yep! Sure is. Now that's commitment!> I'm doing something just slightly less sophisticated. I take the brain out and put in a Cool Whip container full of aquarium water, <Simple works!> and place diced scallops on top of each mouth with a pair of tweezers. I've had some initial success -- first two nights, two mouths ate; last night none ate, but tonight three have eaten. <Good!> I haven't caught it regurgitating, <Well it will. The mouth functions as both intake and output! Aren't you glad your mouth doesn't? Heehee!> so I hope I'm dicing the stuff small enough. <tiny balls of finely minced food is best.> I have been leaving the coral in the Cool Whip container for 1-1/2 to 2 hours while trying to feed. <Good.> My new question is, how long can I comfortably leave it outside the aquarium to see if more mouths will feed, assuming that room temperature is in the 70's? <I'd try to keep the temperature as close to the tank temp as possible. Perhaps there is a way to support the containers and have them more or less floating inside the tank so the water temp remains consistent. If you go this route you will likely have the most success with feeding if the food is offered after the lights are out.> Also, I have been reading the site tonight about laminar water flow, which is exactly what I have. Do you think this might have contributed to my problem at all? <If it is a constant direct flow, it could be a problem.> I wish I had a picture of the brain, but it is probably not healthy enough for you to identify anymore. <Actually, sometime it is easier to identify when skeletal structures are visible.> I can't find a Google image that resembles mine at all. <Send in a pic and we'll see if we can figure it out.> Anyway, I am thinking about setting up another water pump on the opposite end of the tank so that the two pumps would be facing each other, to create more random flow <Would be better than have a constant direct flow. Laminar flow is not bad onto itself. But constant laminar flow can be a problem.> -- although I also have a torch, branching hammer, branching frogspawn, and candy canes that are happy and growing. <Yikes! This could be your problem! That's a lot of Euphyllia and a lot of allelopathy! This may very well be the cause of you brains suffering. I hope you run carbon and change it frequently!> Thanks Again <Welcome as always.> -- these kinds of details don't always make it into the books, <Mmm, much of it is in the books, you just need to put it all together. This can be the challenge.> Scott <Cheers, Mich>

Re: Receding Open Brain'¦ Feed Me Seymour -- 09/29/07 Hello again, Mich, <Hello again Scott!> I'm attaching a pic this time; after reading some more I have some suspicions about the identity of this thing, but tell me what you think. Maybe if I know what it is, I'll know if there's anything more I can do for it. <Is/was a Trachyphyllia.> Like I said in my first e-mail, it sits about 9 inches from a Trach that's doing great. Every night this one eats something, but it continues to recede. Will it tend to do worse before it gets better? <AYE! This is in far worse shape than I expected. I am very doubtful that you'll be able to bring this guy back to health.> I added a second water pump, perpendicular to the first. I tried facing them at each other, but it was a little too turbulent. I did change the carbon cartridge in my HOB filter, but maybe you can tell me what you mean by "change it frequently" (it's a Cascade 300, cartridges are about 7" square, half-inch thick, pumps 300gal/min). <Once a month, maybe even twice a month.> Allelopathy is something I wasn't warned about while buying all my corals at the same LFS; when I finally asked about it, the advice I got was that allelopathy is somewhat overrated <I would disagree, in fact, I think much the opposite.> (as far as getting this info from books, check this out: in Borneman's book, there's no entry for "allelopathy" in the index). <Borneman covers it my friend. Check out page 73, the section on Chemical Competition. He mentions it through out the text in reference to specific corals as well.> Should I step up water changes? <Likely it wouldn't hurt, but I doubt that it will help this coral. Though I hope I am wrong, I think this coral is just too far gone.> If I didn't want to get rid of some of my corals, could I group them together by type in opposite ends of the tank? <Could help, but eventually it will be a matter of survival of the fittest.> Also, I have not invested in a protein skimmer, because I have never had any measurable nitrates/nitrites in the tank, <Surprising.> and have read that over-filtering and -skimming can strip out your water. I have been advised by two different LFSs that I don't need a skimmer. Do you guys consider them a given? <I do. I am currently running a tank with out any fish and feed minimally and you would be surprised by the skimmate that is produced. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i5/Filtration/Filtration.htm > Thanks too much,
<Welcome! Mich>

Sick Open Brain... -- 08/02/07 Hello Crew, <Hi Thomas, Mich with you again. How is that goby of yours and his little pail? Heehee!> I was given (more like took) <Heee! I like honesty!> a bleached Open Brain. The person who I received it from had given up and the Brain was the only thing showing any sign of life. The next step was the dumpster <Yikes!> for this guy so I took it home hopping <The brain was hopping? Wow! Cool trick!> to do the right thing. When I quarantined it there was no sign of color in the outer ridge and the center had and still has a light fluorescent green glow under the light. I think it is a Trachyphyllia geoffroyi but it is too bleached to be positive. I quarantined it for two weeks and could not get it to eat. I have since moved it to my nano tank in hopes that it would find something in the water channel to eat. I have noticed that the outer ring is showing signs of pink coloring building up. This is a slow progression. <I hope you have strong lighting on this nano system. Oh! I see you do!> I still have not been able to feed it and have read that this is a must if this guy is to recover. <Yes.> I have used a turkey baster to put the food on the center section. <This is a good start.> The meaty foods I have tried so far are clams, Mysis, and squid all soaked in Selcon. <Good.> They all float away and do not stick to the brain. <Here is the problem. You will need to stop all circulation in your tank. Allow the food to sit on the center of this brain. It may need to sit there for quite some time... perhaps an hour or more. Hopefully you will see several small mouths open... will look like slits in the center of the coral. Now here's the challenge... during this time you will need to keep all potential thieves away... i.e. fish, shrimp, crabs. Much easier said than done. Plastic Strawberry baskets sometimes work or perhaps cut apart a plastic two-liter bottle or gallon container.> This assumption that the food is supposed to stick may be incorrect on my end. <Yes. This coral basically needs to be spoon fed at this point because it has been terribly compromised. > I have also been adding Kent Phytoplex and Zoomax to the water. <Mmm... not a fan.> My tank specs are as follows. Ammonia = 0 Nitrite = 0 Nitrate = <10 Phosphate = 0 Alkaline = 4 meq/l PH = 8.3 Calcium = 360 SG = 1.024 Temp = 79 F 24-gallon tank Aqua-c Nano Remora protein skimmer 150 watt MH light 2.5" live sand <Over 3 or under a half is generally better than this in between amount.> 35lbs of live rock The tank is seven months old. I have gone through the FAQ's and read up on open brains in two corral books <Hmm, cattle paddock?> trying to find out what procedure I need to follow to bring this guy back to good health. <See above.> I asked the LFS if they would take him at first but they stated that it needed to go in the trash. I don't believe this to be true. <Time will ultimately tell.> If you could give me any advise and point me in the right direction please. Thanks again for your help. <You are most welcome! Mich>

Open Brain Troubles  4/26/07 I recently purchased an open brain coral from the local aquarium store. <Okay.> It was very healthy at first and for the first week was swelling and acting normally.  I was told that every so often I could feed it a piece or two of silverside feeder fish to help it grow. <Mmm...is true that this animal should be fed but I would prefer something other than silversides or at least something in addition. Go for some Mysis, krill or even bivalve meat (scallop, clam, mussel).> After about a week of acclimation to the tank I fed it two small pieces.  It immediately swelled around each piece and ingested them.  The next morning it was not swollen and I assumed it was due to the digestion of the fish. I waited for a few days and it still had not returned to normal.  I asked the store and they told me it may stay shrunk for a week or so and not to worry.  Well things have gotten a lot worse.  It had never returned to normal and now the "skin" has begun to pull away from the skeleton and it looks like it is dying.  Is there any way to save it and what happened to make it start dying?  Was I not supposed to feed it? <A few question from me first; what type of lighting was the animal in at the store and what type of lighting are you providing now? How turbid id the flow the animal is in...and...what are your water parameters?> Thanks <Welcome.> Kevin <Adam J.>

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>>

Open brain question Hi WWM crew -- love your website; what a wonderful resource of information!  I have searched the archives, FAQs, etc. but not found enough specific info to answer my question . . . so here we go: I was recently (10 days ago) given an open brain coral (Trachyphyllia geoffroyi) by a well-meaning (but lacking any aquarium experience) friend.  I have a 125 g reef system, up and running for 18 months. Current creatures include: 4 clowns sharing 2 BTAs, 1 yellow tang, 1 royal Gramma, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 coral banded shrimp, and usual assortment of snails. Corals include 1 hammerhead, 1 Galaxea, a small stalk of xenia, and 2 gorgonians (Diodogorgia nodulifera & Swiftia exserta). The BTAs are on one side of the tank, anchored mid-way up the rockwork and happy campers. The hammerhead and Galaxea are on the other side of the tank, about a foot apart and 8' from the top of the tank. The gorgonians are on the sand, one at each end of the tank.  I placed the open brain in the sand at the front center of the tank, where it gets light and low/moderate current. (current provided by 2 opposing MaxiJet 1200s in the two back corners of the tank and inflow from a Rena XP3 (used for mechanical filtration), a Mag3 and no-name powerhead rated at 500gph also provide circulation (the Mag3 runs an Aqua C Remora protein skimmer) (total circulation = 15x tank volume).  Water parameters all test fine (0 ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, phosphates) with Alk of 3.5 mEq and Ca 300-350ppm range, depending on water changes/bi-weekly dosing. <Okay> Anyway, I didn't know anything about brain corals before receiving this one, so read everything I could find about them on your website. This coral doesn't have good polyp extension, the swelling barely covered the skeleton when I got him, so I figured he was probably hungry, and after several days to acclimate, I attempted feeding him finely diced shrimp & mussels (same mixture I feed the anemones).  I have gotten him to eat twice, but he doesn't have long or large feeding tentacles -- they only raise like tiny bumps. It is a slow process that takes about 1 hour to accomplish, and I have to fend off my cleaner shrimp to keep him from trying to steal the food while the brain is working at engulfing it with the polyps/tentacles. I was guessing that maybe he is just starved and has tissue recession due to capture, lack of feeding, etc.  <This is my guess as well> But after the second feeding two days ago, he seems to have gotten worse. The skin seems to be tearing and ridges of the skeleton are poking through on two of the polyps. He is not even swelling at all during the day. The polyps are deflated and looking thin. Upon careful inspection I noticed that it appears he has had a slow tissue regression for some time. Can it be saved? <Yes> If so, what is the best approach? I have noticed what appear to be grains of sand in the skeletal parts that are exposed. Any suggestions? Thanks, Kevin <I do not see that you add iodine/ate here... I would definitely dose this at near maximum... I would re-direct your circulation to this animals vicinity and if possible increase the lighting directed toward it... other than this, I would not move it, would keep offering foods... Bob Fenner> 

Trachyphyllia geoffroyi in Distress Bob, <Steven Pro this evening.> We've had a Trachyphyllia Geoffroyi for about 5 months now. Up until a couple of weeks ago, it was doing great. Over the past couple of weeks, it's been expanding less and less. At this point, when the lights are on it's very shriveled up. Everything else in the tank is doing fine. We've been putting phytoplankton in the tank, <Of no use. RMF> but haven't been specifically feeding the Trachyphyllia until the past couple of days. It's been expanding its feeders further at night, so we thought it was possibly just hungry. We've been defrosting frozen reef cubes (a mixture of different shell fish) and placing it right on the feeders, but it's only taken the food twice. The rest of the time, it eventually floats off or the shrimp come and get it. We've also tried moving it up off the sand and closer to the lights, but nothing seems to be helping. It's reached the point where are tangs and damsels are starting to pick at it. Is there something else we could be doing for it? <It sounds like a nutrition/feeding problem. This coral does not eat phytoplankton nor will it like big cubes of frozen foods. Try feeding defrosted, frozen Mysis shrimp and/or plankton nightly. Also, you may want to soak this food while defrosting in Selcon and Vita-Chem. Lastly, if this coral appears to die, leave it in your tank for up to two months. I cannot go into details until Anthony & I finish our article. -Steven Pro> Thank so much for any help you can provide. Kathy Fielder
Re: Trachyphyllia geoffroyi in Distress
Did Anthony mention this to you? We are keeping it kind of secret. I made a big discovery, anthocauli production in a "dead" Trachyphyllia one month after "death". I have photos and we worked up an article for publication. Every other source we could find says this only occurs in the Fungiids. When we are finished, we will send to you for review, editing, and possibly forwarding to your contacts at FAMA. <Sounds great... and Steve, you (all) don't "need" my assistance in editing, forwarding to editors... am glad to help in anyway I can though. Bob F, who hopes to see your materials also running on our sites... AND you referring people to the articles, accumulated FAQs there more.> Thanks, Steven Pro

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