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FAQs about Acroporid Coral Disease/Health, Parasites, Pests 1

FAQs on Acroporid Disease: Acroporid Disease 1, Acroporid Disease 2, Acroporid Disease 3, Acroporid Disease/Pests/Predators 4, Acroporid Health 5, Acroporid Health 6, Acroporid Health 7, Acroporid Hlth. 8, Acroporid Hlth. 9, Acroporid Hlth. 10,
FAQs on Acroporid Disease by Category: Diagnosing, Environmental (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest (see below), Treatments 
FAQs on Pests of Acroporids: Montipora Munching Nudibranchs, Flatworms, Red/Black "Bugs" Acropora Munching Copepods,

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

FAQs on Stony Coral Disease by Type: Brown Jelly Disease, RTN,

Purple Spots on Acropora yongei  3/10/06 Hello. One of my corals (I think it is A. yongei) has been developing a number of small, purple spots. It does not look like the tissue is sloughing off in these areas, but I can't see any polyp extension either. This coral has been in my tank and doing okay for over 2 years. I did change from 175W to 250W MH, but that was over 6 months ago and this symptom just started to show up about a month ago and is progressing slowly. There does not seem to be a pattern, high or low on the coral. All other SPS and LPS species in the tank, including other Acropora, look normal and are doing fine. Water parameters are good. Please see attached. Thanks. <A very nice pic of a very nice specimen. I do believe this is "just" coloration returning to the colony... Beautiful. Bob Fenner>

Please Help! -- Mg damage to corals? Sclera. health - 2/28/2006 Hi Crew, <Greg> I hope I am worrying needlessly, but I am concerned I might have an unknown coral predator or a water parameter problem with my 180g reef.  My main concern is one Acropora with approximately a pea-sized exposed skeleton near the base of one branch and ½' of skeleton exposed on one tip.  A brown mucous-thread-like substance covered the Acropora, with dead tissue trapped in the bottom of this mucous net.  I siphoned-off the mucous and dead tissue, cut off the dead tip of one branch, then dispensed a tank water + Lugol's solution over the remaining bare skeletal areas.  I just fear that this area of necrosis might be spreading.  This Acropora is placed approximately 8 inches from a 7' Crocea clam (which occasionally produces a similar-looking mucous-like 'net' near the byssal opening).  So I am unsure if the Acropora coating was from the Crocea or if it was produced by the coral. <Mmmm> Two days prior to this happening I did move a rock that was attached to this Acropora and one tip was broken off the Acropora.  This has never been an issue in the past as new flesh would cover the exposed skeleton within a week and new branches would form.  Possibly this initial stress is what led to the current tissue necrosis. Current water parameters: Temp=77°F, Salinity=1.024, pH=8.1, Alk=3.2 mEq/L, Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, Nitrate~1ppm, Ca=440ppm, PO4={below meas. Limits}, Silicate=0).  I did also increase temperature on my heaters from 76°F to 77°F a few days ago.  I performed a 32g water change at the same time. A little history'¦ About two weeks ago, I noticed that all of my Montiporas were becoming much lighter in color.  I was not overly concerned because they have lightened and darkened in color several times over their 2 years in my tank and they continue to grow well.  Although water parameters have always remained within acceptable ranges previously, my salinity dropped from 1.025 to 1.022 <This is a huge difference> over the course of a day just before the Montiporas changed color a few weeks ago.  A snail had stuck my makeup water float switch in the 'on' position for a day, flooding my 100g refugium and diluting the water with RO/Kalk mixture. <No fun> My pH measured 8.2 so I was only concerned about the sudden change in salinity (makeup water flows at only 10gpd).  I removed 10 gallons of tank water and slowly added 10 gallons of very high salinity water until tank salinity measured 1.023.  The following day, I repeated this procedure until the salinity reached 1.024.  All fish, corals, clams, other inverts appeared to be unstressed so I assumed that worst case, this might have induced a temporary color change in the Montiporas. <Takes a while to show... weeks, months> Since my alkalinity and pH have always remained near the low end of acceptable (pH=8.0-8.1, Alk=2.5-3 mEq/L) despite using a Kalkwasser reactor for top-off and the addition of Na2CO3 and NaCO3, I bought a Mg test kit to determine if a low Mg level was partially responsible for low alkalinity (Ca=440 ppm).  Mg measured 1,140 ppm <Close enough...> so I mixed 10 teaspoons of Seachem Reef Mg in 1 pint of RO water and dripped this into the pump intake in my refugium.  An hour later I repeated this.  According to Seachem's label, I would have needed to repeat this process a few more times to reach the desired 1,300 ppm but I noticed another Acropora (near the return line) with mucous-like threads waving from its polyps.  I was concerned that I might have changed the Mg level too quickly so I made no further changes to the tank for the next two days. <Good> I did continue to noticed these 'mucous threads' waving from the Acropora polyps at times.  This is a different Acropora than the one that is currently displaying tissue necrosis.  Could dosing Mg in this way cause tissue necrosis in Acropora? <Possibly a factor, not likely "the"> This particular coral is not in direct flow of the pump return line. One Montipora has completely bleached (although polyps are visibly extended) but I did move this coral to a lower light area of the tank when it initially began to bleach.  All other corals (4 Acropora, 1 Birdsnest, 1 open brain, 1 pineapple coral, hammer coral, zoos, star polyps, mushrooms, Alveopora) appear to be doing well.  Even the Acropora that had previously produced the mucous-like threads now appears normal.  All inverts appear unstressed as well. What should I do about the Acropora with the tissue necrosis -- is there a way to reverse this spread?   <You likely have> If the necrotic area continues to grow, I assume I should frag the coral to save the remainder -- correct? <An approach. I would move this colony to another system, or even shallow, brightly lit sump first myself> Do you think this in contagious (e.g. should I be doing anything to protect the other corals in my tank)?  Unfortunately I do not have a picture to send yet, but I can follow-up when I return home tonight if needed. Thank you in advance for your help!!! --Greg <I doubt you have a pathogen at play here. Very likely the bit of trouble you've observed is/was due to the change n spg... I would not over-react here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Please Help! -- Mg damage to corals?  - 3/1/2006
Bob, <Greg> Thank you so much for your input (or at least putting my mind at ease) -- and for taking the time to read my email.  I will continue to watch this Acropora, but no additional skeletal areas appear to be exposed tonight. <Good> I refer all of my fellow reefers to the WWM search for answers to their questions.  You and the WWM crew offer an invaluable service to aquarists! --Greg <We're very glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Bleaching Montipora - 02/23/06 Hi and thank you for answering my ?. <<I'm happy to be a part of it all.>> I have had a frag of Red Montipora capricornis for about 2 weeks and I have noticed that it is losing its color and now is white/pinkish in color. <<Troubling indeed>> My Salinity, water temp, no nitrates, no ammonia, are fine.  My lighting is 2x250 MH with 10k Ushios and are about 12 inches from where the Monti cap is placed. <<Hmm...if the frag didn't come from the same type of light environment it may be experiencing "light shock".>> Their is very little flow where the cap is placed also. <<This too is a problem...high flow please...>> Could it possibly be that I have to much light over the Monti cap and should I place it under an overhang? <<These corals are often kept quite successfully in "high light" environments, but if it wasn't acclimated to the light, that may well have been the problem...but after two weeks I think you're better off leaving it where it is.  It will have begun to adjust by now (if it's going to recover), and moving it again means more stress.>> Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.  I could possibly send you a pic if that would help out. <<I think the best you can do at this point is increase water flow in the vicinity of the coral/the tank as a whole.  Regards, EricR>>

Red Acro Mites   2/10/06 Hey Crew, 2 of my Acro's have tiny red bugs on them.  the polyps on the coral are in because they are probably stressed out.  i have a fridmani,   but he isn't interested.  he prefers spaghetti and meatballs!! i am concerned.  i did a Google on wet web media and didn't find any real solutions.  please advise... best regards, Jenna <Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acrodisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner
Red Acro Mites II - 02/11/06
Hey Bob, thanks for your help...... <<EricR here this morning...>> Well, I looked through the link you sent, and found that Interceptor will kill bugs, but all my crabs as well!! <<Indeed, as well as other beneficial life! (amphipods, mysids, etc....maybe even beneficial protozoa...)>> No good right? <<Not in my opinion, no.>> I love my critters... <<And your tank loves them too.>> I also did a Google search, but no info really. <<Agreed>> I assume it is not really known what to do right? <<As I am aware, there aren't any "scientific" studies on these critters and their impact in aquariums/captive systems.>> All my Acro's are infected now, and they are stressed out.  Color is fading, and polyps are closed.  They will probably die, if I don't fix this... <<Jenna...I have red bugs (Tegastes) in my reef tank for more than a year now, more likely more than two.  I have not lost any corals due to them, and color/growth/vigor has not been affected by them...in my opinion.  I have not and will not "nuke" my tank to get rid of them and quite honestly, don't give them a second thought (an attitude that admittedly, has drawn scorn and caused me to be shunned by the "fraggers" in my local reef club...but I digress...).  My point is; and I'm not saying this is the case in your situation, I think many aquarists are quick to blame their own mistakes in choosing proper tank-mates or inadequacies in water quality/lighting/flow/feeding on the Tegastes.  Just my humble opinion...no "proof" either way at the moment.  But for your own peace of mind, if the corals in question can be removed from the display tank you do have a couple options you can try.  You could place the affected corals in a bucket of tank water with a powerhead and heater and treat per instructions with the Interceptor...or...you could simply give the corals a 15 second bath in temperature and pH adjusted RO water...though the second option is harder on the coral.  And do be aware, neither of these options guarantees the corals won't become "reinfected" once reintroduced to the display.  I don't know that all this helps you much but as you've discovered for yourself, aside from anecdotal evidence or knee-jerk reaction, there's not much to go with.  Regards, EricR>>

M. digitata? And Care.   2/2/06 Howdy everyone, <Hello.> as previously mentioned this is a great website! <Thank you.> I've been reading a lot since my discovery of it and have learned a lot. <Outstanding.> Attached is a pic of a frag coral that I obtained from my LFS. <Looks to be a Montipora, possibly M. Digita. Also looks to be going through or went through some RTN.> They were not sure of the type of coral so if you could point me to the family or genus that would be cool. <See above.> Also it has a growth on it and a few tubes, I think they are some type of worm. <Likely tube worms, usually nothing to worry about.> Is this growth harmful or is it just part of the corals coloration or maybe a sunburn? <Are you referring to the tubes or the dark spots, either way see the above comment(s).> I have a 65 gal tank with two 10K, 175 MH's and the coral is placed halfway in the tank. <Lighting sounds great, provide lots of water flow an calcium, not to mention low nutrient levels. If the RTN continues, consider fragmenting the unaffected areas.> Thanks for your response and your time! <Anytime, Adam J.> <<Couldn't find file/image. RMF>>

Montipora   1/14/06 I just purchased a dying Monti cap,<Why on earth would you want to do that, they are not easily kept to begin with.> but I think I can see some of it's polyps opening up.  The color is still orange. Is that a good sign?<Yes, didn't bleach out yet.> Also, does hair algae kill corals? <It can, prevents needed light from reaching them.> I was reading an ad and it seems this man was dying to have somebody "save" his corals due to a bloom of hair algae. The parameters are normal, 78 degrees at night and 80 degrees in the day time.  Specific gravity is at 1.025, and I do a 15 gallon water change, on a 90g tank, about every 10 days.  I'm guessing it must be phosphate.  Tank equipment includes a wet/dry filter, ETSS 500 skimmer, a 700g/hr return pump, a Danner Mag drive 9.5 to drive the skimmer, and 540w of P.C lighting. Thanks for the help so far.  My tank is looking great. <With your lighting you would have to keep them near the top of the aquarium as they do require intense lighting, preferably metal halide or HQI as a major requirement for life. Do search our web site on "feeding corals" and other related subjects.  Most will be found here.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Montipora
Thank you for the quick response. The Monti Cap is turning a darker orange than it was before. Is that a good sign? <Yes, it certainly isn't bleaching.> I also have a question about Kalkwasser. Can I drip it 24/7 using the Kent's Marine Aquadoser? It says it only replaces the water lost during evaporation.  Or is it better to use that during the night? <I'm not familiar with that product from Kent.  I suggest you contact Kent Marine for info.  In the future please reply with the original query that includes my remarks.  This just makes the editing/posting confusing.  Thank you.  James (Salty Dog)>Well, thanks again. <You're welcome>

Montipora turned brown... 01-10-06 Hey all, <Jay> I have a question regarding Montipora turning brown... I've read what seems like hundreds of questions similar to mine, and I realize that there is a pretty long list of reasons WHY Montis turn brown, but I just wanted to run my specifics by you and see what you think. I have a 90g with two 175w [Hamilton] 6500k bulbs <Here is one possibility. Low spectrum bulbs lead to more browns.> and dual VHO actinics (actinics on for 14 hours or so, halides on for 7); 46g refugium and (I think) a 20g modified wet/dry which I removed the bioballs from. These are all being supplied by an Iwaki 40rlt and a s.q.w.d. along with 2 zoomed rotating powerheads in the 90g (I've had them for over a year and a half and they still rotate, though I do have to clean them once a month or so.) The skimmer is way under rated, but my lovely big fuge takes care of my nutrient issues along with the 100 or so lbs of live rock. No ammo, no nitrites, near 0 nitrate, no phos, salinity @ 1.024-25, calcium around 400, but occasionally closer to 500. pH seems to fluctuate between 8.0 and 8.3, but I do NOT trust my pH test. dKH between 9 and 10. I also use Lugol's solution once a week <Be careful with this.> as well as strontium/molybdenum, and until recently iron as well (daily) but I went a bit nuts with it so I stopped until I get my new salt (marine environment... was using tropic marine, but I think it sucks). <Be careful and take your time switching salt.> Now, ALL of my corals are growing really well, but since getting my halides (2 or 3 months ago) I've been experimenting with some SPS. Aside from three different colors of Montipora (all branching) I also have an Acro Staghorn which is green/brown with great purple tips and an unknown Acro that was green/brown with light blue between the polyps. When I put all of these in my tank I light acclimated them for a week or two (did it each time I added one SPS) and they all turned brownish within a day or two. The purple tipped Acro got its color back stronger than ever. The other unknown Acro had a problem I'll assume was Acro-eating flatworms... won't get into that now though... and it is also finally getting its colors back. The Montipora though (brown, pinkish and purple) are staying brown. Obviously the brown Monti wont change, but I'd like to figure out what is going on with the pinkish and purple. My lights are 6-8" above the surface (need to measure...); the pink Monti is 3 or 4 inches below the surface and the purple is about 6 inches below the surface. ALL the Montipora and both Acros are growing like crazy (Acro is very quickly encrusting the rocks they're glued to as well as branching out a bit, and the Montipora have all grown at least a couple of centimeters.) I think I've managed to 'train' them to extend their polyps during the day even though I didn't mean to, and I feed the whole tank a combo of phyto/zoo plankton, Cyclop-eeze, oyster eggs, marine snow and chromaMAX (not all at the same time, usually 1 or 2 every other day or so) on top of the flake and frozen prawn daily for the fishies. Whew... that was rather long-winded. As you can see, my only 'problem' seems to be lack of color in the Montipora, and I would really love to see that purple Monti turn purple again!! What do you think? <I believe your Monti would benefit from 10K or 14K bulbs. You may also see an increase in color with the addition of activated carbon usage. This will keep the water more clear and help make up for the weak skimmer. Travis> Thanks -Jay
Re: Montipora turned brown... 01-10-06 Part 2
Cool, will start using carbon then. As far as the higher Kelvin bulbs go, do you think there will be any [noticeable] difference in coral growth if I switch from my current 6500's to 10k or 14k? Only reason I even bought the 65's were to stimulate more growth, but I don't really like the yellow tinge they give everything. Oh, and any specific brand of bulb in your opinion? <As far as bulbs go... 65K gives you fast growth, but brown color. 20K gives you good color, but poor growth. 10K and 14K give you average growth with good color. 10K tends to be a white light and 14K is a bit more blue. As for brands I suggest sticking with the bigger names such as Hamilton and Ushio. Travis> Thanks again!! -Jay

Red Bugs   1/7/06 Hello All, I noticed some tiny red bugs on my red Monti?? Is this bad?  What can I do besides hope my Fridmani eats them?? Thanks. Jenna <Mmm, try the Google search tool on WWM's homepage with the term "red bugs". You'll find your answers thus. Bob Fenner>

New SPS Frags... Long Shipping... What To Expect? - 12/31/05 Hi all... <<Hello>> as has been stated by many, you have an awesome site, no fluff all info. <<Thank you>> I have read much, but not all of the site, haven't been able to find an answer. <<ok>> I just acquired  some Acro frags 1 yongei and 2 tortuosa (sp.?). <<Correct>> Thanks to shipping problems they were in transit about 40hrs. <<Uh oh!>> They arrived white, little or no apparent color, no polyps yet. <<Expelled their Zooxanthellae...or worse...have complete tissue loss.>> My fears about ammonia in bags and alkalinity of tank water led me to introduce them to the QT tank after temp adjustment. <<Smart>> I'm acclimating lighting using vinyl screen layers. <<Smart again>> On intro to QT tank frags had filaments of slime but no other indications of life. <<Not unexpected...>> Don't expect a miracle here but what if anything should I expect from these frags if water parameters, lighting and flow are optimal, which I think they are.  At what point should I give up on them in your opinion. <<Mmm...both species of coral have quite visible polyps, if you don't see any evidence of these after 48 hrs. I think you can assume the worst.  You might also try viewing the frags under some magnification (jeweler's loop/magnifying glass) to see if you can determine if there is any flesh on the skeleton.>> This is my first of many cracks at SPS so would like to not overreact. <<You're not overreacting...40 hours in transit/bleached condition is cause for concern.>> Steve <<Regards, EricR>>

Coral Bleaching - 12/12/05 Hello, <<Howdy>> I hope you are well. <<I am...thank you>> I have a problem, I have been keeping Acropora (several different species) for about 4 months, and now one of my smaller frags and my biggest colony is starting to bleach.  The smaller one was bleaching in more of a traditional sense (as far as I'm concerned), by turning white, and all the polyps have vanished, but I have seemed to counter act that by moving it closer to the lights, and it seems to be doing better.  Is that possible? <<Maybe...if the change was not extreme...if the coral was suffering/bleaching from absence of light.  Maybe you got lucky...>> Is the act of bleaching reversible? <<Certainly...if it hasn't progressed too long and you can determine/eliminate the stressors causing the bleaching event.>> Also, my biggest colony a few tips (maybe 4 of 50) have started to turn a puke green color, instead of the purple they once were, as well as a portion around the base.  Is this some sort of bleaching? <<Mmm, maybe tissue damage/loss and the skeleton is being colonized by algae.>> Can this be repaired, and I'm sorry I could not send a picture due to camera problems, but if you can help me that would be great. <<If the damage does not continue (as in being caused by a predator), it will likely stop/heal on its own.>> Thank You <<Regards, EricR>>
Re: Coral Bleaching - 12/13/05
Thank you for your help, things are still shaky and it seems like everyday I come home from work another coral is showing signs of bleaching, how frustrating is this hobby? <<Mmm...a sure sign that something is amiss.>> I am a long time keeper of soft corals, but these hard corals are tricky. <<Not so much really, with proper research/understanding...the problem starts when you mix the two (soft/hard)...puts you at a disadvantage from the get-go.>> Is there any way to determine what is the stressing element in my tank, could it be a change in salinity? <<If wide swings or less than natural seawater concentrations...yes.>> Do Acropora need direct, and constant water flow? <<Not "direct"...possibility of blasting the flesh from the skeleton.  But vigorous random flow is essential in my opinion.>> I currently have 4 Maxi-Jet 1200s hooked to a Wavemaster, and the return from my sump off a Mag 7, in my 72 gallon, is this not enough? <<In total volume likely so...the problem may lie in the application.  Position the powerheads so the outputs converge to produce random turbulent flow.  Also check to see that you have flow "throughout" the tank and add more powerheads if necessary.>> The only Acros that seem to do fine are the ones getting hammered from water current. <<May be something telling here.  Do have a close look to be sure you don't have a parasite problem (Acro flatworms, etc.) that get "blown off" the Acros with good flow.  Not saying this is your problem, but good to check.  I really think your bleaching is more likely from either the flow issue in general, or allelopathy (even more likely) from the mix of coral species in the tank.  It would help to add some carbon and Poly-Filter to your filtration if you don't have it already.>> Thank you for your help again, and hopefully I can save these corals. <<Check/adjust your flow as recommended, perform a large water change, check/adjust the salinity if you think this is suspect, and add the carbon/Poly-Filter.  EricR>>

Acropora animal question  9/20/05 <Hi, Adam J responding to you this evening> I recently bought an Acropora sp. at one of my LFS.  I placed in my tank and found a small brown looking "bear" on the coral. <Even though your attached picture was a bit blurry you did a wonderful job at capturing the animal. It appears to be a common Acropora Crab, though identifying the exact species is much more difficult, but more than likely it is harmless.>   Is this safe to leave on the coral or should I try to remove it? <I would not remove it yet, though I would closely monitor it.  Most Acropora crabs are commensal, feeding off of the waist of the host coral. Furthermore they usually don't get very big. (Dime sized is the biggest I have observed) However a few have been known to pick off/feed on the polyps, so I would still keep an eye on him. 'If you are in doubt take him out.' By that I mean, if his behavior becomes suspicious (i.e. visible damage to polyps) I would remove the crab at earliest convenience.>   I'm including a picture of the animal; not the best quality picture. <The picture was fine, glad to have helped, Adam J>

- Acropora Bleaching - Hey Guys, I hope that health is well with all, and I thank you for the opportunity to ask questions. <Thank you and you're welcome.> I had an Acropora "haimei" coral with purple tips that I bought months ago. I appeared to be doing well in my 80 gallon with MH lighting 250w 20,000k. Because I purchased a large colt coral moved the coral to another spot in the tank to prevent it from being stung and noticed that a piece began to bleach white that night. I placed the coral back to its original position, but lost in in 3 days. My question is that each time I read the forums the question is asked if brown algae existed. <Am not sure that this is more than coincidental - when corals bleach, polyps are dying which means the nutrients are going to attract things like BGA.> While the coral was bleaching brown algae started to appear, but was never there before. My question is besides moving the coral, what caused it to die off, and what is the "brown algae" and why is this question always asked? <Well, for starters, could be your Acropora was on the down-turn from day one. These animals are very finicky, and need careful acclimation to your tank and lighting. Likewise, they need very strong water flow throughout their structure in order to stay healthy. Failure to provide any of the above will result in an eventual breakdown low on the frag which then often spreads to the rest of the coral. More on light acclimation here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm As to why folks always ask about brown algae and what its significance is, I can only speculate.> I appreciate any advice and wish you the best. Thanks, Chris <Cheers, J -- >
Re: Acro Bleaching and Lighting  11/14/05
Hi Adam, <Hello again and sorry for the late reply.> Many thanks for the reply, <No trouble.> The Ph 6.6 and dKH 24 are those of the calcium reactor effluent, the tank Alk and ph are towards the top of the list. <Yes I saw that...and felt quite stupid when I did, guess I wasn't paying attention, okay so that's obviously not the problem.> Plenty of water movement, 2 x 12,000lph Tunze stream pumps pointing towards each other constantly running, no timer. I personally feel wave machines are a complete waste of money, my flow is just as random, maybe even more so than with a timer. <Yes your water flow is quite adequate and I suspected as much.> The SPS seem to pale within a few weeks after addition. I usually start them off about mid way and move em to the top. Do you think perhaps there is a lack of nitrogen/Iron/aminos or something for the Zooxanthellae? <Even with highly efficient skimmers such as yours the average reef tank usually has plenty of nutrients to go around, if you want to give the SPS something else to feed on I have had good luck with DT's oyster eggs.> After reading a few more posts I am believing that the symbiotic algae aren't doing too well resulting in the pale colours and lack of polyp expansion. It certainly is a mystery. Let me know your thoughts.  <Correct me if I'm wrong but your lighting was 14K? If so on your next bulb change I would suggest switching to 6500K or 10000K as Zooxanthellae {Zooxanthellae - MH} in my experience prefers lighting within this range, especially shallow water organisms such as Acros.> Kind regards, Lee <Adam J.> 

Montipora 06/08/05 Hi, I have been in the reef hobby for about 1 year now.  I do 10% water changes weekly, qt religiously and monitor many other parameters (I will give them to you at the bottom of this email with results from today) on a weekly basis as well.  I have had great luck with soft corals so I decided to give hard corals a try.  I purchased a Montipora capricornis (I believe that this is the correct scientific name) about 6 weeks ago.  After two weeks in qt I moved it to the bottom of my  75 gallon show tank to get it accustomed to my much brighter lighting (2-175 MH 20000K, and 4 T5 actinics).  After two weeks at this depth I moved it up to what I had hoped would be its permanent position.  About 6 inches higher.  I feed DT's live phytoplankton every other day, and DT's oyster eggs and frozen Cyclop-eeze together on the days that I don't feed DT's plankton.  The coral had great polyp extension and good color and seemed to be growing until I came home this morning (six weeks in main display, four weeks at higher location). About 5 or 6 days ago I set up a new sump system.  It is a 25 gallon high with a 5 inch sand bed (sugar size sand) for growth of amphipods, copepods, etc... It drains into a 36X 14 X 12 which has  a 4 inch sand bed in it and will act as a place to grow Caulerpa.  As usual all corals drew back some the first few days, but have all returned to their normal size, color, and polyp size.  I added Caulerpa algae to the sump two days ago and it is doing fine.  This morning when I came home the above mentioned Montipora capricornis had bleached out about 50% and had a lot of clear/brownish slime coming off of the bleached areas.  I used a syringe to blow off the slime and moved him down a few inches.  I see no signs of parasites and the other two pieces of Montipora in the tank have no signs of this.  I smelled him after blowing the slime off and it smelled like any other thing that would come out of a marine aquarium--NO foul odor.  I was wondering if you could help me figure out what this is.  I have been reading a lot of the FAQs, but most of them apply to Acro's and other SPS (for lack of a better term).  I need help,  I have attached two photos of the coral from different angles to try to help you.  I think it maybe some kind of white band disease, but I didn't think that it would be this drastic overnight.  Thank you for all of your help.  I am sorry this is a long email but I figured extra info could help.  Below are the water parameters from this morning.   pH--7.8 NH4--0 NO3--0 NO2--undetectable on Salifert's test kit Ca--480ppm Alk--2.3 mEq/L--has been at this level since the coral was introduced have been trying to raise with B-Ionic with no avail Salifert's dKH + buffer should be in Thursday to raise this on up.   PO4--undetectable on Salifert's test kit salinity--1.026 temp--80.1 << Everything looks good except your pH is way too low.. Alk like you said is pretty low.  Sounds like you got the brown jelly disease.  Which is not any fun.  the best thing you can do is break off a small piece farthest away from the brown jelly stuff and set that on the opposite side of the tank. This way if the brown jelly takes the whole colony you hopefully can start it from a frag. >> Thanks, again for your time and patience with us newbies Jonathan << good luck.. EricS >>

- Acropora Help - hi, <Hi.> I have been trying to keep Acropora for the last 6 months now and still have no success.  I'm constantly finding that my Acropora bleach, and I'm almost positive it's not my water.  I check and even take my water to a local store who specialize in Acropora (salty critter), the staff there are some of the most intelligent reef keepers I've ever met, and every time I take my water there they tell me it's great and it's ok to try some more Acropora (I think they are just trying to sell me things, which is why I wanted a non-partisan opinion on this topic) and usually I think it's my acclimation, or water flow (which led me to buying 4 new power heads, with circular rotating heads, which they said the corals would prefer). getting back to the question at hand, in my previous tank (which was a 38 gallon with 192 watts of power compacts) I kept Acropora with no problem.  now I moved to a 72 gallon tank with 2x 250 watt metal halides, and it seems like everything is dying.  at first I thought it was because I didn't acclimate them to the lighting, so I went on starting over, and then I noticed I couldn't really keep anything alive, so then I changed the bulbs, from 10k to 14k.  still everything I put in my tank dies, except the fish which are extremely healthy (purple tang, yellow tang, and a pair of blue striped clowns).  the only thing that I have still is a colony of Zoanthids, which have turned a frosted color, and now are bordering death. so is it possible to have too much lighting with 500 watts of MH. on a 72 gallon tank? <No, but you need to acclimate your animals carefully to both the water and your lighting. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm > should I switch to 20000 k bulbs. thank you it would keep me from pulling my hair out! <The color/temperature of the bulbs has very little to do with your animal's response to your tank. Would suggest you pick up a copy of Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals and also avail yourself to the FAQs on our site so you can learn from other folks besides those at the store. Cheers, J -- >

Rapid Acropora Death 2/8/05 I just purchased a frag of a gorgeous A. albrohensis. It shipped very well I'm assuming because even while acclimating it, all polyps were out and is still had a greenish hue to it. I acclimated it for an hour, turned the MH lights off in the tank (only 2x96W actinics) running... <All sounds good, although extended polyps are not a reliable source of "happiness" it can just as easily indicate stress.> ...and glued it down to a rock. Polyps still out. <What kind of glue, and did the glue contact living tissue? It is unusual, but have seen cases where tissue recession, or even total loss was caused by contact with glue.> Wake up this morning, and looks like a bone. No polyps anywhere, just skeleton. I quickly turned off the MH that was above it. Checked it several hours later, and maybe one polyp at base of coral.  <Two possibilities... first (and far less likely), the coral bleached. If this is the case, the coral will be colorless, but still covered in living tissue. Second, the coral died. If this is the case, you may see stringy or lacy remnants of tissue clinging to the skeleton. If you don't have a lot of Acro experience, it may be a bit tough to tell the difference, but on a dead coral, you will be able to see the rough porous texture of the skeleton.> Is this normal, and it might be fine tomorrow, or did I do something wrong?  <This isn't normal, but it doesn't sound like you did anything wrong. It could have been the stress of shipping, or it could be water quality in your tank.> Tank is 125G, 2x250W 10K MH with one 400W MH in the middle with the actinic. Like I mentioned, turned off all lighting but actinic when I put it in the tank. No MHs until the following morning, but already looked bad before MHs came on.  <All sounds good. You wisely protected the coral from possible light shock.> I recently read that peppermint shrimp might do this. I have a pair, but nothing in tank but tangs and clownfish. Any thoughts on if it will recover and adjust, or does it sound like it died?  <Peppermint shrimp will absolutely not do this. They may pick at some corals, but would only cause minor damage to an Acro. My guess is that the coral died of what is referred to as "RTN" (Rapid Tissue Necrosis) or "SDR" (Shut down reaction). In these cases, the coral tissue "self destructs" in response to stress. The stress can be caused by shipping, but is more often related to water quality problems, including the presence of other aggressive corals. Infection has been implicated as well, but this is questionable. Please feel free to write back with a list of other corals in the tank and a list of all of your test results (actual values please!), please include pH, Alkalinity, Calcium, Salinity, temperature and nitrate. Also briefly describe your filtration. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Acropora fading in a tiny tank Hello, <Hi there> I brought an Acro on Saturday and by Sunday some of It's purple color on its peeks are fading away. I have him in a 10 gall nano tank, water checks out fine and I'm running it on 8 watts per gallon.  Also I have great flow in the tank. What could this be? Could it be that it is acclimating to my tank? <Not acclimating more like it... if the color, vitality is lost... it will not likely return> I have him real close to the light on top of the rocks is it to close should I move him lower? Thanks for your time!!! <No, thank you for yours. Please study on WetWebMedia.com re small marine systems: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm  and the genus Acropora...  Bob Fenner>

RTN? Please take a look at the attached photo (sorry about the quality). Tissue is sloughing off, I assume hermit crab is eating dead tissue and is not the cause. < I would say that as well. > Perused many comments regarding RTN on your site, is this what it looks like? This Acro has been in the tank for 6 months without symptoms and several other Acros look normal. About the only change recently is switch to Reef Crystal from IO. Have not verified all parameters yet, what I do know is pH 8.2, dKH 12, Ca 350, temp stable at 77-78*F. I guess my question is, if I do find something amiss and slowly correct it, what are the prospects for a full recovery? < Looks like a perfect example.  Chance of recovery is very very bad.  I would immediately frag that coral.  I used to advise otherwise but every time I did the reefer would lose their coral.  So now, I say frag many many pieces away from the RTN area and just hope the remaining mother colony makes it.  Sorry I can't be more optimistic but I wouldn't wait this one out. > Regards, George.
<  Blundell  >

Acro Mower Hi Bob <<Good morning, Lorenzo here filling in for the rest of the crew, off at MACNA in Texas.>> Yesterday morning I noticed that one of my stag horns had an eaten path carved in it. Something had sucked the polyps right off. <<Yikes!>> I'm looking in the tank to see what could have done this. I found a weird snail with a long trunk not far from where the stag is. Do you know of any snails that eat SPS? <<Definitely, but not very common.>> What else should I be looking for? <<There are a number of animals that will do this, including snails, Nudibranchs, and sea-spiders (quite rare, but sometimes seen, and does exactly that). At least if it's a tight, "path" you can probably rule out your fish. You may need to observe at night, with a red or blue flashlight to uncover your killer... Good luck! -Zo>>

Acropora bleaching question I just acquired three pieces of medium Acropora which came in fine. <be careful of such statements or beliefs. Most corals are somewhat to severely stressed for the first couple of weeks on import. Its just not that obvious unless flesh is falling off> After slowing acclimating to my 30g holding tank (before I put it into the main tank), it was fine for a day. Then the next morning (2 days after acquisition),  <Yowza... a problem already my friend! A mere two day holding period was more harm than good. This animal that was put through several changes in lighting (and extended periods of darkness) on import had to go from another lighting scheme at your vendors holding tank to your holding tank to your display tank all within the same week. Such drastic changes are a great burden on the limited resources of a coral. A longer QT in mod light with mod to heavy feeding would have been better. 4 weeks is a proper QT acclimation. Also, do review the following: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm>  the whole tank was cloudy and everything in that holding tank was dead (2 snails, a small Kole tang). All three pieces of Acropora were bleached white. I guessed something caused it to release its Zooxanthellae.  <stress indeed> Anyhow, my question is this, will these pieces of Acropora slowly recover their Zooxanthellae or are they pretty much dead.  <that depends on if the corallum is denuded of tissue or the tissue simply bleached pigmentation. If the latter, then yes it will recover. You should see clear polyps extended conspicuously if so. Heavy feeding with zooplankton will be critical then (do so in a small QT please). Live rotifers would be excellent> They were fine 24 hours ago, and have been moved to the sump of my main display. Thanks Jim <Jim... moving any coral is truly one of the most dangerous things to do. Even moving an established coral 2-3 times in a week can be enough to kill it. It is a bad habit, my friend and has contributed to the demise of this animal at least to some extent. To better days... Anthony>

Acropora bleaching? Hi guys, 'hope you're all well. <Anthony and Steve here in San Diego with Bob... drinking beer and answering e-mail. Yep... we're very well <smile>> one of my across, dark purple valida is starting to whiten, no peeling off just white. Is this due to a loss of light as it has now grown nicely and maybe overshadowing its base. Also it's been quite hot these last few days and the temp gradually reached 83. <many possibilities for bleaching... light shock (water change, new carbon after absence, etc), lack of nitrate/nitrogen/feeding, and of course temp as suspected. If increase was 3 or more degrees in 24 hrs, then it is a real candidate> Could it be a lack of a certain vitamin or maybe even strontium. <not likely> All parameters are great, the tank is 2 years old and the valida is the only of my across which is giving me trouble. Any info would be great, thanks. <my regrets, but not enough info my friend. Do consider the above possibilities> Stefi/London <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Acropora bleaching question
Anthony, thanks for the response. I wasn't doing the QT for just a few days. It was meant for several weeks. That is how I have always acclimated my corals and has worked well.  <Ahhh... I misunderstood. Thanks you and kudos to you for the good technique> It allows me to gradually acclimate their lighting to what their position in my main tank is. I'm sorry if you got the impression that I was just putting it in there for 2 days. . . <no...thank you, my friend. The limitations of e-mail :)> Still not sure what would cause it that would cause the entire tank to go milky white and stink. Very possibly the little Heliofungia that has been in there for awhile.  <indeed some rotting tissue> This tank is fairly stable as it is my coral acclimation tank. Oh well, thanks for the input and yes I agree with your assessments about stress. Now I'll just have to slowly nurture this back to health in my qt tanks. Jim <yes... corals are amazingly resilient! If there is any tissue still left, it will likely survive. Good water flow and feedings are the key for now... lighting not so much. Kindly, Anthony>

Browning Acropora Hello BAS, I've been an avid aquarist for quite some time and have read this column more faithfully than I've gone to work. There is no point in attempting this question with my LFS, as they are currently feverishly culturing Aiptasia anemones for sale (despite my unsolicited advice). My question pertains to the browning of SPS corals. I not-so-recently purchased a pink Acropora loripes despite my measly three and a half watts per gallon. I thought that if I placed the coral high enough in the water column that it would negate the fact that I didn't possess the high wattage usually required for this type of coral. I soon noticed several Aiptasia anemones of my own on this specimen, but unlike my LFS, I quickly dispatched of them with injections of Part A of the C-Balance duo. But with the bad comes the good and I also discovered a red Coco Worm with bi-lobed crowns attached to the base of the coral. The A. loripes itself has grown, which is quite apparent by its base coverage of the live rock I attached it to. My disappointment is that the color that was originally bright pink has now darkened into an almost rust color (It's been brown for over six months but still growing). Most sources indicate that the browning of SPS corals is due to inadequate lighting and an overabundance of symbiotic algae, but none discuss the reversal of this condition. For this reason I have recently up-graded to metal halides. My questions are, how do I acclimate an entire reef tank to two watts more per gallon, <It would be great if you have a Lux-meter. Start the MH's up pretty high so that their output matches that of your current lighting. Another trick is to cover the tank in several sheets of vinyl window screening to cut back on the amount of light entering the tank. Then gradually lower the lights and/or remove a sheet over the course of several weeks. If you cannot verify the difference in output, attempt to make an educated guess by referencing the work of Dana Riddle, Sanjay Joshi, and Richard Harker. They have all conducted studies on various lighting setups and lamps and they may have comparison info about your old and new systems.> and do you have any suggestions about the Kelvin of the lamps I should purchase? <I like 6,500K Iwasaki lamps and 10,000K Aqualine-Buschke or Ushio lamps.> I am a big fan of D. Knop and he suggests for most tanks with invertebrates that are found near the surface ( I have two four inch T. Maximas as well) nothing higher than 6.5K, but I have read many online magazines as well as advertisements in TFH tout 10K as the ultimate true white light. <Some 10,000K lamps are quite good, but many are just marketed and hyped well. Most 6,500K lamps could use supplemental actinics for appearance. They do have enough blue light for good photosynthesis without it, but they have so much red, yellow, and green, that to our eyes the corals may not appear pleasing.> I'd just like a little information on the reversal of browning and how it has been achieved, as I've noticed recently, even some online suppliers advertise SPS that will color up with the right lighting. <Increasing your lighting is the way to correct the situation.> Thanks, Andrea <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Acropora emergency I can't stand it.  I just can't stand it.  <sigh> You've been helping me with some lighting issues, which I really appreciate, but I'm starting to think it's not the lighting.  My biggest problem is that I can no longer seem to keep Acropora alive. <so many possibilities> I had two pieces for a couple of months before a water circulation problem (blown pump) killed them.  I had acclimated them, and they seemed otherwise healthy, so I replaced them with another piece, but stupidly didn't acclimate.  It bleached within a week.  OK, I thought, my fault, and for the replacement to the replacement, I've gone the whole nine yards, with the screen method, to acclimate.  Everything's been fine for a week...and today I get up to find the bases of several of the branches are bleaching. I've checked most of what I can think to check: am,>ni, nitrate all zero; Ca at 500; <lets stop here. We may have a water quality issue. Either your Ca test is inaccurate (500ppm Ca is dangerously high if even possible in most tanks without a precipitation of Alkalinity)... Or... your alkalinity is on the floor! I can almost guarantee you that if you test your Alkalinity/hardness that you are well under 10dKH. Quite frankly... I won't be surprised if you are under 6dKH! Very dangerous and could easily foul Acropora and other SPS. Target 8-12 dKH and 350-425ppm Ca but not the high en of both simultaneously. Use a LFS or another test to compare your kit's accuracy of a water test> with a chiller, the temp stays at 78 24x7.  If you recall, I had 20K 250W>MH lights when I got the piece, but switched to 10K for a couple days due to other issues; I've put the 20K bulbs back, but with the heavy screen it's had, I didn't think that would cause the piece to start bleaching, especially literally overnight - I looked at it last night, it was not bleached at all (believe me, I've been checking 5 times a day).  I have noticed that the polyps never really have extended, but I thought it was due to the move and have been waiting it out. <the switch was indeed stressful... but I am wondering if this isn't really a problem with skewed Ca/Alk dynamics or consistency> Is there anything I can do to save this piece?   <we need to ID the cause before we can say whether to pull the coral or not> I'm sick of watching Acropora bleach.  Other corals (mostly LPS and soft) all seem fine - <more tolerant> including a large branching Hydnophora excesa (I believe - it's a fuzzy-looking green branching SPS), which has done fine from the beginning. <it is one of the worlds hardiest corals... I have seen them propagated by literally running them through a band saw!!!> Any ideas?  Or am I just going to remain an Acropora killer?  Arthur <no worries... we will figure it out in due time. Anthony>
Re: Acropora Emergency
An update; I performed a few moderate water changes over the last two days, and have swapped out the equivalent of 60% of the original water.  The new reading for Ca shows around 420, but I'll let it settle for a day before reading it again.  Alk is still 11.  Things seem a little "perkier", but they always do after a water change - probably a good indication that my skimmer just wasn't cutting it. The Acropora emergency is over - it's bleached over 75% of the piece, so I expect it'll croak.  RTN stinks.  I'll go back to daily Ca checks for a while until I get some stability. <Sounds fine now, sorry about the Acro. Test calcium and Alk and then let it run for four days with no supplements. Test again and divide difference by four. That is what you should dose of calc  and Alk supplements daily.  11 Alk and 420 calcium is just on the high end of optimum for both. They could both come down a little with no problem.> I've already purchased the Remora Pro (today), so at this point, over the last 2 months, I've replaced or added: the chiller (1/4 HP), canister filter (Hagen 404) leading into a UV sterilizer (CSL double helix, to help fight Ich - won't be permanently on), lighting (from 4x110W VHO to MH), and now the protein skimmer (Remora Pro).  The last thing I'm going to do is convert the sump to a refugium (when I can remove the in-sump skimmer I have and get the room back).  For a 75 gallon tank, I have to believe this is getting close to optimum conditions- I suppose I could always add a Ca Reactor, but that isn't going to happen soon (not if I want to stay married :)).  If I can't get some stability now, I really *will* consider changing to guppies...:) Thanks for the help... Arthur <Hmmm, sounds like my house.... Do have fun!  Craig>

Acropora "mites" AKA 'Red Amphipods" I have a 10 gallon nano with some small SPS frags and I have notices small orange mites crawling around on a couple of the Acropora frags.  <Ahhh, yes... not uncommon at all. A curious little arthropod. AKA "red Amphipods"> They look like little fleas. They are very small but viewable to the naked eye. What can be done?  <some say they are parasitic, but I and most aquarists do not believe this to be true. No proof yet. At best they flourish incidentally while SPS corals wane/die from other common denominators (water quality, lack of QT, etc)> Is there a safe dip or treatment I could give?  <some have employed FW dips... I do not believe this is necessary> Are these parasitic or commensal?  <the jury is still out... leaning towards commensal> I have searched and found no information on these.  <do a keyword search on reefcentral.com and other large message boards for perspective (use "Red Acropora Mites", "Red Amphipods", etc.) to get a consensus. My advice is to simply watch carefully and do employ a natural predator if possible (Red Sea Pseudochromid, small wrasse, etc)> Thank you ahead of time for any help. <best regards, Anthony>

Acropora Tissue Recession Hey Crew! <Whassup?!?> I am not sure what to do with my Staghorn Acropora.  <grow it, frag it, trade it... get more Acroporas> Its about 5in diameter purple branching and showing steady growth from the axial corallites. Everything seems normal however there is very slow tissue recession at the base.  <a common symptom... many reasons for this... inadequate water flow, static posterior lights (as from focused pendant halides instead of nicely reflected horizontal mount bulbs or bulbs on tracks), disease (rare)>  There appears not to be any peeling of tissue at all; just seems like every week when I look at the white band at its base its getting wider. I guess its losing about an 1/8 inch weekly. Odd to me because I have had the "Rapid" variety before and it definitely is not showing this. Furthermore I have purchased other Acropora on the net that looks to have some old recession that has since been grown over with new tissue on top of the dead parts.  <good to hear... but please be sure to QT all new animals... fishes, corals, crustaceans, mollusks...ALL! 2-4 weeks minimum to reduce risk of transmitting disease> When I originally received this internet bought Acropora I thought they ripped me off by sending me a Trojan horse to destroy the rest of my corals, but after close observation, the recessed parts are not expanding and is showing good polyp extension.  <at any rate... Trojan horses only work if you let them into the castle, right? Please always quarantine all livestock, my friend. It is proper and responsible if not respectful to the living treasures we keep> Does this mean that some Acroporas may begin to recess then just as quickly stop and begin new growth? <so many reasons for healing and receding. Cannot be summarized as such> Also I have a Stylophora pink...again its showing good growth, but there are spots of some kind of algae with fibers that seems to be spreading, although very slow....what should I do about this.  <Hmmm... very indicative. Stylo's also require massive water flow. I'm wondering what your flow is? The old rule of thumb at 10X turnover is pathetic and antiquated for modern reef tanks. I myself am running about 2400 GPH in a 50 gallon. It is dispersed in random turbulent patterns. You'd never guess it to be that high by looking at it... but the corals know! Do consider> I have placed this Stylophora at the end of a powerhead for better circulation and I occasionally will use my hand to fan away the algae. <Arghhh... please no linear flow (in front of the PH). Such reef corals need strong surge or random turbulent flow. Few reef corals will tolerate linear/laminar> Regards, Dennis <best regards, Anthony>

Acropora injury Hi! I have 440watts of PC lighting and  a beautiful piece of purple >Acropora (5x4 inches in size) which is from my local fish store Purchased 2 months ago)- It has about 8 different large branches coming off it.  It did fine for the first 6 weeks. It still is doing fine but 2 weeks ago one of the branches started to turn white at the very tip of the branch. This particular branch is about two inches tall. For about a week, the whiteness worked its way down the branch. I became very worried the whole coral was going to di. But now it looks like the whiteness/it stopped progressing>down the branch. For over a week  it hasn't become worse. It only worked its way down about 1/4 inch of the 2 inch branch. The whiteness has now turned brown. <it is difficult to diagnose without seeing it or a photo, but it sounds like tissue became infected and denuded. The white corallum (skeleton) was exposed and has now been attacked by diatoms. The coral may reclaim or lose tissue. Hard to say. Do you really have the tank for SPS corals? Very stable Alk, Magnesium and Calcium? You test for these things regularly and dose daily? What have your parameters been specifically?> Are my worries over?   <I suspect this is a mixed garden tank too... mushroom anemones, LPS corals, soft corals. Going to be challenging to keep the SPS more than 1 year here> If not, What can I do to help this coral? I do have other Acroporas for over 4 months that had no problems- Should I consider cutting this tip off and allow the branch to grow back? <Definitely break this branch off... if is easier to regrow a branch than reclaim one with diatom algae> Please let me know.- Thanks Ron <you may want/need some more information before proceeding too much further with delicate SPS corals. I get the vibe that you are very new to at least this aspect of reefkeeping. Live animals here... not stereos or widgets. Perhaps you should get (or read) a good book too before buying another coral my friend. Let me suggest Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals". Covers corals diseases at great length too. Best regards, Anthony>

Bleached coral- how to handle We have a 20 gallon reef tank in our home. Recently we have been given an Acropora. However it is white with blue/purplish tips. <Ahhh... bleached with only U.V reflecting pigments left. This coral will die within a year if it is not fed and colors up (likely brown... hopefully... with purple tips> I have read about them and understand that there is no naturally white Acropora. <exactly correct> I came across a post on your website that described a similar Acropora. The Acropora we have although white is loaded with green polyps. What is your opinion on this Acropora? The coral is indeed bleached and the pigments you are looking at are reflective proteins and not Zooxanthellae> Would the polyps still be open and thriving if the Acropora was bleached? <absolutely...one thing has nothing to do with the other (feeding organismally on nanoplankton versus symbiosis. What you need to do is fed this coral... but because the polyps are so small (and your mention of a 20 gall display leads me to believe that you do not have a plankton generating refugium), there is likely little hope for this coral to survive here. If you do not choose to move the coral to another tank, however... my advice is to make sure that you have a source of nitrogen in the tank (allow nitrates to linger). If your nitrates are low, you can make an ammonium or nitrate solution to dose the tank with (carefully) to feed the coral. Also, know that this coral will not eat bottled green phytoplankton. It needs zooplankton so small that you cannot provide it from a bottle or can. Do consider adding an upstream refugium to your tank (no Caulerpa though). Gracilaria or Chaetomorpha will help you to grow nutritious plankters for your corals below> Thanks for your time and help. Sincerely, Tana Landau <best regards, Anthony>

Something eating SPS - Montipora Anthony, happy holidays and hope all is well with you. <Adam here today.  Anthony bumped this over to me since I just dealt with this problem in my own tank.> I noticed one of my recent frags, a Montiporas Cap,  that is purple in color bleached around the edges about a quarter of an inch.  This is more then the  normal white tips from growth.  I attributed this to a drop in Alk while I was adjusting to my winter evaporation rate.   <I did pretty much the same thing.  I attributed it to water quality, did some water changes and never really inspected the coral closely.> However, I have noticed a small white spiral looking thing on the white part of the coral.  Looks almost like a very small white fan worm (at least the ends of the fan worm anyway). <The critter you saw is an Aeolid Nudibranch.  They seem to becoming quite common in the hobby, likely from frag trading.  They seem to favor plating Montiporas, but will move on to branching forms.> I also noticed a small white area on my established, thriving purple cap.  Could this be a bug or something?  Any ideas or am I  just seeing things. <The white spots are where the Nudis have eaten the coenosteum (tissue between polyps) of the coral.  Unfortunately these are very real and quite difficult to get rid of.  Manual removal is the only way to do so without significant risk of killing the coral.  You will have to remove the infested corals every day or couple of days and pick or scrub off any Nudibranchs or eggs.  It may be best to this in a bucket of tank water since the critters tend to collapse under their own weight and become difficult to spot out of the water.  After you are 100% sure you have eliminated them, continue to check your Montiporas at least weekly.  I continued to find one or two a week for about a month.> Thanks <No Sweat, and best of luck!  Adam> Andrew

Tissue Necrosis on Acropora 3/28/04 The bottom of this Acro seems to be dying and slowly moving up. The dead area you see in the picture took about 10 days to get that high. It's about 1/2 inch by 1-1/2". I've included a picture of it while it was healthy also. What is it and how do I fix it?? Thanks in advance - Chris in Georgia <there are numerous possible reasons and few if any clear answers to why tissue necrosis occurs in SPS corals. Without a speck of information on your system, I cannot speak to the possibilities. Please do use the terms "tissue necrosis Acropora SPS" and various combinations in a keyword search of our site and beyond. Also, do read Eric Borneman's excellent coverage of coral pathology n his book "Aquarium Corals". Kindly, Anthony>

Acro Suffering Algae Hello Folks- <howdy> I have a beautiful Acro that has a brown film algae develop on the tips. At first I thought nothing of it but it has now spread from on or two tips to about 6 or 7 . It seems to be only on the tips and spread to a few corallites near the tips and not down the whole stalk. I moved the coral away from any direct current but that has not helped. I am worried that it may be the beginning of the end for one of my favorite pieces. (tried water changes)....Any ideas ? Is this a common occurrence ?. (BTW no other across in the tank have any problems including the frags of this colony) Dan <without a picture of better description, I'm not much help here. For a diatom or other brown algae growth to be encroaching live tissue, you would/should be reporting receding flesh/tissue of the Acropora. In such cases, the tissue is sometimes even long since denuded and its the corallum that is being settled. If this coral had direct laminar flow before, that may have been the problem (unnatural water flow which pummeled healthy flesh into giving way to brown algae). Do send clear full-frame picture if you can. Thanks kindly, Anthony>
Acro Suffering Algae II 3/1/04
Thanks Anthony, I have attached two pictures. I have yet to master this (**^$^% digital camera. <Hmmm... yes, helpful. The color and apparent texture of the algae remind me of a Dinoflagellate infection instead of a diatom algae. Do check you pH and Alkalinity. Dinos like this often show up when the aforementioned are flat (under 9dKH and under 8.3 respectively). Aggressive protein skimming and daily use of Kalkwasser alone can eradicate this pest. DO let us know if it helps! Anthony>

Yellow with a red dot Acro bugs 5/3/04 Hi, I have some Acropora corals that are infested with little yellow oval shaped bug like things on them. I am afraid that they are hurting or eating the Acropora corals. How can I get rid of them? I have a yellow Coris wrasse and a mandarin fish but they are not eating the bugs. If I use SeaChem's coral dip, will it kill these pests? Thanks, Adam <Hi Adam.  Adam here<g>.  There is much debate about these critters and why they appear, what they feed on, if they are harmful, how to get rid of them, etc., etc.  Some folks have had success with predators, commensal crabs or clown gobies, but none are 100% reliable.  I never like to send anyone elsewhere for info, but I don't have any first hand experience and there is A LOT of discussion in the forums at www.reefcentral.com .  Good luck!  Adam>

Alkalinity drop 7/23/04 I had been using Rowaphos for a few months with no problems. Unfortunately while on vacation, my Calcium Reactor output hose clogged up and the alkalinity dropped from around 10 to 6 ! This severely stressed out several of my favorite colonies including: Tri-Color Acro - this is the worst one hit but there are some live branches with many polyps under the dead white tips. Hydnophora - looks like this may recover from the bleaching Baby Blue Acro Frags- have many of these so not a biggy Blue Acro tortuosa - Tips are turning white, not sure if it will make it. One of my more expensive and most favorite pieces. <I am not convinced that a drop in Alk to 6 would be enough by itself to cause this.  How sure are you that nothing died while you were away, causing an ammonia spike and how sure are you that your temperature did not rise more than about 4-6 degrees above normal?> My questions are:  What is the difference between bleaching and RTN ? My colonies did not all die in a matter of hours, but instead are bleaching slowly....although now that I have stabilized the water parameters (Ca = 430, Alk = 10) the bleaching has slowed but still continues. <Bleaching is the expulsion of Zooxanthellae.  RTN is a condition where the coral "self destructs" and the animal itself dies and the tissue sloughs off of the skeleton.  I agree with your move to correct the alkalinity, and recommend carefully monitoring temperature, alkalinity, pH and other parameters and focus on STABILITY!  I would not try to aggressively correct any other parameter unless it is dangerous (ammonia?).> Should I remove the affected colonies ? <I would not.  Moving them would be another undue stress.> Should I frag the affected colonies to save what I can, or leave them alone and hope they recover ? <I would leave them alone.> Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. <In the mean time, I would recommend lowering your light levels a bit.  I would do this by reducing intensity first (fewer lamps running, raising lamps higher above tank) and only shorten the photoperiod if you don't have any other choice.  After a week or so, work your lighting back to normal over a week or so.  Best of luck!  Adam>

Monti Eating Nudibranchs and predatory starfish I 8/11/04 Dear Bob Anthony, <cheers, my friend> First and foremost I wanted to say thank you for everything you do. I believe it can truly be said that this phenomenal hobby has advanced so much over the years because of your dedication to it! <thanks kindly... it is a labor of love> I had a quick question if you don't mind, and also wanted to bring to your attention an interesting experience that occurred. I am of the opinion that everything in the wild has its purpose, and will not try to eradicate anything unless it is truly harmful. <agreed... and yet, there is a joke somewhere in there about politicians. Well give lawyers a pass on this one> I have a fairly large system with 8 plating Montis in it. I went on vacation and when I returned I noted two plating Montis were suffering severe tissue loss. I thought the issue was more water quality related, particularly since my calc reactor had been down for several weeks and the filter socks needed cleaning. Despite water changes and dosing with Kalk, the affected Montis continued to RTN. I had heard of these little predatory Nudibranchs, but did not think there was a chance I had them. I fragged one of the Montis, and what do ya know there they were. Tons of them (to be honest, even though I have an obvious degree of hatred for them, they are fascinating). <Arghhh... you have not been diligent about quarantining your livestock my friend. 'Tis why you have this pest now. Do QT all things wet in the future - live food, live sand and rock, snails, corals, fishes, everything! <G>> My problem is the effected colony encrusted hardcore onto a large piece of rock, there is no way I can pry it lose. I am suspect that these suckers are concentrated under the base. Is there anyway to rid of these things? <they are very difficult indeed... do check the extensive threads on this topic at reef central. I cannot say the bad news any better than they have :p> Is there anything in the wild that eats them? <certainly.. but reef-safe? Hmmm... spec at this point. Some have said various wrasses and dragonets. None excel though reliably> I do have one CBB, but I would think some form of reef "safe" wrasse would be better. <perhaps... Tamarins or small yellow/green "Coris"> Also, wanted to mention in the past there was a dispute as to whether these little brown starfish we all have actually eat SPS (i.e. GARF). <Asterina species... and yes, I have read the GARF info. I do not believe it is accurate.> I had been in the SPS end of things and never had an issue so I was not concerned. Indeed they do eat SPS, the other colony I referred to above had tons of these brown starfish on the underside, right were the run line was on each plate. What is stranger, I have tons of across and non have been affected. Looks like it is time to buy a harlequin (there are plenty of these things to last the harlequin quite a long time).  As always thanks!!!!!!!! <do check out my take on Asterina and other sea stars in the recent article on reefkeeping.com from a couple of months ago. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>
Monti Eating Nudibranchs and predatory starfish II 8/11/04
By the way, I am curious (from a scientific perspective) as to whether these predatory Nudis show a preference for certain species of plating Monti, or whether this is just a random event. <there are quite a few opisthobranchs that are obligate on one species of invertebrate or very limited (by genus usually) otherwise. There are lists of slug species and their prey available on the web. DO check out resources like the Seaslug forum. We also have an extensive list of web sites and references on Seaslugs in the bibliography of our book "Reef Invertebrates" by Calfo and Fenner 2003> What I think is strange is the Nudis have only affected one colony, none of the others have them (at least not yet). It would be neat to take frags of say 10 types of plating Monti, and see which species they show a statistically significant preference for Thanks <please do take photos and tell us of your findings if not write an article. Anthony>

Red bugs on SPS hi, Bob, how's going? << Blundell here as well. >> This is George in SDMAS. << Hey George, hope all is well. >>  Got a question for you about red bugs.  I am sure you probably read some posts online about it.   Some ppl use a heart worm medication call "interceptor" to get rid of the red bug.  Supposedly the only side effect known at this point is that the medication kills most if not all the crustaceans and everything else seems to do fine. << Wow, I wouldn't call that all successful.  If it kills all the other crustaceans then I would stay clear of that method. >> Someone also said that pipe fish eats the red bugs. So I decided to do an experiment.  I have Ron got me some dragon pipe fish.   I put them in my refugium/frag tank.  Saturday they feel comfortable enough, the male start to compete against each other to see who is most handsome and the female pipe fish just doing whatever they are doing like nothing is going on.  So I dropped a SPS colony that has red bugs on it in the refugium/frag tank.  So far I only observe 2 pipe fish swim onto the colony look around for food, but some how they didn't eat any of the bugs. SO they either don't realize those bugs are food, or perhaps not that hungry, or some how they can't see them.  Since pipe fish aren't build for living in rough water, so I am more leaning toward they don't know what the red bugs are. <Me too> << Definite possibility.  But with time, and hunger, they may go for it.  Or, is possible that the red bugs aren't food at all for them. >> I am planning on feeding the pipe fish some Cyclops Eeze tonight by squirt some into the SPS colony, hopping maybe the pipe fish will eventually associate the bug and food together.  But of course they have to start eating the Cyclops Eeze first. << Good idea, and just about everything will go for Cyclop-eeze. >> My question is that from all your dives and observations when you were diving.  Do you know if any fish/shrimp/crab....etc that live in the reef that might eat these red bugs?? <I don't, but suspect there is definitely some predator/s> <<  I would think a wrasse would be the best choice.  Probably trying a rock mover (dragon wrasse) or six line wrasse. >> If you do, I would appreciate if you let me know.  I am sure I can spend money and try all the reef safe fish that I think might eat things like red bug, but don't have that kind money to throw around. << I wouldn't spend any money on chemical treatments.  I would stick with fish (wrasse) or maybe even a Mithrax crab. >> Hope to hear from you soon.  Have a great day! Sincerely, George <Hey George. Am sending your note/query to our Crew... as they are much more current on this issue. Be seeing you, Bob F> <<  Blundell  >>

Acro Question Hello. thanks for all the help keeping my reef in wonderful condition. Your expertise has been tremendous. I currently have run into what I think is possibly another small problem. I have an Acro which I got as a frag about 3-4 months ago. I attached it high up in my tank plenty of light and it seems to be doing quite well. It has definitely grown I see good polyp extension and all in all it looks fairly healthy. My concern is this. Imaging the Acro as a kind of an inverted tripod. At least the three main legs which have begun branching on their own but for our sake lets think that there are three main legs. The smallest of the legs which seems to have shown the least growth and looks the least healthy, has begun to over the last month slime over. The slime appears to be a white slime, fuzz, etc that is only on the tip of the one Acro branch. So if the branch was say 2 inches, the bottom inch and 3/4 is looking fine with polyps out etc while the top 1/4 inch seems to be covered in this white stuff. I can't blow it off with current at least not easily, a baster used for feeding etc, or rub it off with a light touch from my gloved hand. When I look close it almost looks like some of the white may actually be skeleton of the coral maybe it is dying as a result of the slime, maybe the slime is a result of death but it is really hard to tell as the very tip definitely looks soft and seems to be able to be blown off the coral although never completely. Is this normal? What can I do to reverse this trend, remove the white and get back my healthy frag? Should I cut off the branch? Can it spread to the other branches? It has been there for at least a month now and doesn't seem to be spreading although it looks like more quantity of slime has developed with time. Any help would be again greatly appreciated. -Jonathan >>>Hi Jonathan, My first concern would be current. Make sure you have plenty! It should not be linear, but as turbid as possible. Secondly, you may just be seeing an area of tissue loss due to injury. Algae soon colonizes an area such as this. In most cases, given proper conditions, it will get no worse. It does not sound like a case is necrosis to me. Good luck Jim<<<

Branching Acropora resurrected...is this possible? Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in his stead> I have a most interesting phenomenon occurring in my 100 gallon reef tank.  On my last visit to a LFS the owner gave me an (apparently) dead piece of branching Acropora to use as decoration.  This fragment was sitting on a shelf and was completely bone dry.  It had probably been out of the water for several weeks. Anyway, I put the dead coral (bone white in color) in a niche among my live rock.  For about two weeks it still looked the same.  On the third week or so I started to notice that the coral was taking on a light red tinge.  Right now, after about 4 weeks, it looks almost exactly like one of the pictures on your site.  The whole thing has a light red tinge and the tips of the branches are a darker shade of red. Is it even possible for a dead coral to regenerate like this?   <Not likely after weeks out of water> The only other possible explanation that I can think of is that it is red algae growing on the dead coral.   <a much more likely scenario indeed> This seems unlikely to me, though, because I already have a bit of red slime algae growing on my overflow and it is a much darker shade of red.   <Ahhh... there are many thousands of algae species this could be> I did have a problem with red slime algae a couple of months ago, but it completely cleared up except for the small area that I mentioned.  There is no new red algae growing anywhere else in the tank. <but there are the "seeds"/spores" of many not expressed but floating in the water pending optimal conditions or substrates to settle out from/on> My tank is not that old (only 5 months), but it is in great shape.  I have a deep sand bed and lots of live rock.  I have a venturi skimmer in a 20 gallon sump, but that is it.  The sand bed, live rock and skimmer have been maintaining the water with little to zero measurable ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.  I add calcium powder as necessary, trace elements about once a week, and phytoplankton about twice a week.  I have 2 VHO daylight bulbs and 2 VHO blue actinics.  The Acropora is sitting directly under the lights and gets fairly strong current. Thank you in advance for your wisdom on this phenomena. Whit Liggett <best regards, Anthony>

Acroporas turning brown Hi WWM! <Hi Jen, MacL here with you tonight.> I know you all are so busy these days, I have tried to research this on my own and can't really find a lot of info on Acroporas turning brown.  I have asked several online dealers and the LFS, but I get very conflicting information. <I can tell you right now that's because multiple things can turn the corals brown.> I have been told I didn't have enough lighting (when I had 2 X 150W HQI MH), and upgraded to 2 X 250W HQI MH, and now have been told I have too much lighting. <Did you acclimate the corals to the stronger lighting? By acclimate I mean did you give them time to grow accustomed to the stronger lighting by putting them on for less hours or perhaps higher above the tank?> I don't know how much info you need to be able to tell me why this is happening, but here goes. . . 80 gallon tank, setup three years ago.  100 lbs. of LR, 60-80 lbs. LS, Lighting: 2X 250 W HQI MH 14k, 2X 96 W PC Actinics, mounted 10" off top of tank.  Aqua C Remora Pro (upgraded skimmer 6 months ago), 4 Maxi-jet powerheads, approx 920 gph. Livestock: 1 blue tang, 1 royal Gramma, 1 lawnmower blenny, 1 six line wrasse, 1 citron goby, 3 blue Chromis, 1 cinnamon clown, 15-20 Turbo snails, 10 Nassarius snails, 20 Astrea snails, 25 various dwarf hermit crabs, 2 blue tuxedo urchins, 2 Mithrax crabs, 5-10 Cerith snails, 2 brain corals, 1 Favites, 1 Blastomussa, 1 Montipora (also turned brown), 1 Acropora, 1 yellow Porites.  The Acropora and the Montipora are both near the top of the tank, top 10".   Water Parameters:  PH 8.3 1:30pm, Temp 80, Amm 0, Trites 0, Trates 0, Phosphates 0, Alk 8.4-9.2 DKH, Calc 375, SG 1.025. I use RO/DI water for top off and water changes.  I top off with one gallon every night.  I change about 5 gallons per week.  I use Kalkwasser,  turbo calcium, and Warner Marine's two part A and B.  I also started adding this week Kent's Essential Elements (which I was told I should be adding every week).  <Your levels look great but let me ask? are you having any ph fluctuation? Also, how long after you got the corals did they turn color? How long had you had them? Do you have any idea if they are wild corals? Often wild corals turn colors but will often regain color after they adjust to the tank.  Wild Acroporas will often change as part of their adjustment. See what I mean by it could be a lot of things?> Please let me know what you think may be causing these corals to turn brown.  I have also read "high nutrients" can cause this browning. What nutrients?? <Phosphates can be a problem but generally high nutrients are what they call the "dirty tank" which is often lots of algae, plankton, etc.>  Where are they coming from?  How can I test for them?  If I was overfeeding wouldn't I see a rise in nitrates and phosphates?  I am just completely confused and my head is spinning with what everybody has been telling me, please set me straight. <No worries Jen, I think the most confusing part is  that Acroporas can change because of many things and the biggest thing is just to go down the list one thing at a time to try to isolate what did it. Don't worry we can help you.>  Thank You,  Jen Marshall      

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