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FAQs about Acroporid Coral Systems

Related Articles: Acroporids, SPS Corals,

Related FAQs: Acroporids 1, Acroporids 2, Acroporid Identification, Acroporid Behavior, Acroporid Selection, Acroporid Compatibility, Acroporid Feeding, Acroporid Disease, Acroporid Reproduction, Stony/True Coral, Coral System Set-Up, Coral System Lighting, Stony Coral Identification, Stony Coral Selection, Coral Placement, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, Propagation, Growing Reef Corals, Stony Coral Behavior,

LED's and Acropora/Reef Lighting 1/14/13
Dear Crew (likely Bob, or James),
<Hello Bryce, it will be James today.>
As I already informed you I set up a 20 gal. reef for SPS. I lit it with a Kessil A150W LED Sky Blue (10k). I recently did a water change and discovered that 5 gal. is a ton, I think it would be better to do 2.5 gal a week.
<I agree.>
I had the live rock stacked in a way that would bring corals within 6.5 inches of the surface, This wouldn't leave much room for growth, and so I was curious how far down in the water column SPS/clams could be placed?
The sand bed to surface is 14 inches, and the light is 6 inches from the surface. Most of the rock would put the corals closer to 10 or so inches below the surface if stacked flat along the bottom, but this doesn't allow for places to hide for inverts and pending goby. I also was curious as to the typical growth patterns of branching Acropora, and Acropora millepora.
I do not recall these as being overly aggressive as far as tentacles, or toxin release goes, but obviously they shouldn't be allowed to touch each other. I suppose the question reduces to: How much space should be left between these two colonies?
<Is really your call here.  I've had two colonies that grew into each other with no allelopathic issues.  Most hobbyists trim the corals before it gets to that change.>
The acro's should also be fed small planktonic foods, if I recall. Due to this, would Kent ZooPlex or Micro-Vert be useful to these species?
<May help some but I have never feed Acropora/Staghorn type corals.  Most of their food is obtained by photosynthesis although maintaining trace elements is helpful.
AquaVitro, a premium line from Seachem makes an excellent product called AquaVitro Fuel which is enriched with amino acids.  Reports I have heard state the product works very well.  Might want to check it out here.
Also, is my light strong enough for Derasa/Crocea/Squamosa Clam(s)? From what I have seen it should be sufficient for Derasa, and Squamosa but I am skeptical with the Crocea.
<Should be fine with the Crocea as long as the clam isn't resting on the bottom.  One source tells me that PAR readings on this fixture that were taken on the sand bed in a 29 biocube read a little over 100 with the lamp placed six inches above the water surface.
One of the downfalls with multichip designs is that there is a decrease in quantum efficiency as the chip size increases. The trade off is you get better color mixing with no hot spots.  Why Kessil calls their pendant an A150W is unknown to me.  I could find nothing on their site that mentions that it is equivalent to a 150W HQI lamp in terms of PAR.  I'm not degrading the pendant in any way, it is a decent fixture for the money but it does have its limitations.>
I suppose that this is quite a bit of information for one email, but I do not with to embark on this road uninformed. 
<No, the more pertinent info you furnish usually results in a more detailed answer.  James (Salty Dog)>

Montipora Lighting
Good Afternoon!
I have been hearing mixed reviews on the lighting requirement for Montipora and the FAQs on SPS lighting aren't really to the point. Can Montipora be kept successfully in a 29 Biocube with two T5 HO bulbs one blue and one white?
<Mmm, "can". Not easily done, but possible>

I am particularly interested in Purple Undata aquacultured by ORA. I have heard that plating Montiporas can be kept in Biocubes close to the top and ORA's site says moderate to high lighting. Can you please confirm or refute any of this information?
<I do confirm it. In fact, most all (90 plus percent of what they state) of ORA's information I find to be accurate, useful>
I am also fully prepared to feed it anything it likes since I have some NPS Gorgonians that enjoy just about everything in the Reef Nutrition line along with live and frozen copepods and frozen prawn eggs.
On another less pleasant note I have some worms eating my coralline algae.
They are strictly nocturnal and look much like peanut worms but longer and very skinny. There are at least two of them and around the holes they come out of every night the coralline is vanishing very quickly. I can happily put one more small fish in my Biocube without crowding or even maxing my bioload if it will enjoy eating the worms.
<Look into the genus Pseudocheilinus... See WWM re... beware the sixline tends to be "mean">
Thank you again for ALL the wonderful help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Laminar Flow'¦Maligned and Misunderstood? -- 11/05/11
Hello and Happy Friday to the Crew!
<<And greetings to you, Daniel>>
I am in need for further understanding of flow in a reef tank.
I have tried to read through the many, many pages of articles on WetWebMedia pertaining to the subject, however, given that I'm a new Father, I'm not sure if I'm actually going cross-eyed or not!
<<Ha! Yes, sleep deprivation is likely a factor [grin] >>
What I understand is that corals, particularly SPS (Acropora) do not appreciate laminar flow.
<<Mmm, not necessarily true'¦the statement is too nebulous as is. The caution against laminar flow in a 'captive' reef system is in regards to placing corals too close to the 'continuous and narrow' blast of a powerhead or other such device. Doing so will often cause tissue loss from the too-powerful wash of water on the affected organisms. But 'laminar flow' in itself, is not detrimental. If you can keep your livestock a safe distance from the output of the water motion device (this will vary with different organisms), the 'laminar flow' of a powerhead is quite adequate for providing water movement. Many will argue it is best to 'vary' the direction of the flow, and with this I am in agreement. But that doesn't mean you need to employ an expensive switching device to turn pumps/powerheads on and off every 15 minutes. I actually feel the opposite is best'¦setting up simple and inexpensive timers to switch flow on a 4-6 hour cycle. Doing so saves money since wear and tear is reduced (versus on/off cycles of several per hour) such that most 'any' water flow device will suit (no need to purchase expensive low-voltage pumps run by equally expensive controllers). And if you set up your pumps/powerheads to provide a 'Gyre' type flow pattern'¦even better, in my opinion>>
What has thrown me for a loop is this person's spectacular reef tank on ultimatereef.com:
<<A very nice looking display>>
She states under Water Movement, she only uses 4x Tunze 6025s, which are NOT controllable! Hence, they're on all the time, all laminar?
<<The 'flow from the individual pumps' is laminar or turbulent depending on strength (do look these up as both 'travel in a straight line'), but the positioning of the pumps likely causes the individual flow paths to collide creating random-chaotic-flow which provides for directional changes, swirls and eddies throughout the display. Though not as effective or natural as an alternating gyre type flow pattern'¦again, in my opinion'¦this means of creating water movement can be effectively employed, as your example shows>>
Not sure what I'm missing here, but would sincerely appreciate some enlightenment.
<<Hope I have provided some'¦and do keep reading/researching>>
Thank you so very much for your time,
<<Is my pleasure to share'¦ EricR>>

No Light Getting To Base of My Acropora -- 07/20/10
<<Hey Daniel>>
I have a branching Acropora and it has been growing well for the last 16months now it is a small mini colony. The base doesn't get much light now that the top parts are covering it up.
<<This is not uncommon to captive systems -- no 'arc of the sun' to illuminate all sides'¦ Along with a likely absence of reflective surfaces such as Aragonite sand that has been 'scoured bright' by wave action/an abundance of associated biota>>
The polyps at the base do not expand and the tissue is starting to peel off. Is there any way to stop this?
<<You can try positioning the colony where more light will be 'reflected up' from your substrate (if a possibility). Or probably more to your dislike -- you can thin out the branches somewhat to allow more light to penetrate'¦much like pruning a fruit tree to increase its production. I must mention'¦ In my experience such 'light deprived' tissue will usually just lose color and maybe diminish/recede somewhat, but generally does not 'peel' unless there are other issues. You may also need to increase water flow around this coral>>
Daniel Naveen
<<Cheers'¦ Eric Russell>>

Re: No Light Getting To Base of My Acropora -- 07/25/10
<<Hello Daniel>>
I've attached a pic of the Acro.
<<I see them--thank you for these>>
You can see how the parts that don't receive light are going pale and the polyps don't extend either,
<<Indeed--and my response remains the same--with perhaps the addition of an increase in water flow>>
this pic was taken after lights out. The other picture shows how the branches on top look with my lights on.
Daniel Naveen
<<Cheers'¦ EricR>>

Acropora yonggei & Lighting -- 01/12/2010
Hello WWM Crew, <Hello Adriel> It's been with your help that I've been able to sustain a Nano reef!! <Wahey!>
Apologies for being verbose, but was hoping you could help me with the following <I'll try>:
Tank: 24x24x18 (DSB = 3 inches, water column = 14 inches). I have a mixed Nano reef tank, containing Acropora , Pocillopora and other softies & LPS. The tank is lit with a single 150 MH, 14000k, and 2x 9 watt PC
actinics <ok>. Recently, I replaced the MH bulb (about 5 months old at the time, photoperiod about 10 hours.) Within a couple of days the Acropora started looking pale all over, with reduced polyp extension <bleached>.
Pocillopora etc were fine. I'm guessing that this problem is due to my failure in not adapting the specimen correctly <yes>. I have since lowered the Acropora from 2 inches below the water surface to 2 inches off the DSB.
Am I on the right path? <Yes> Would it help if I changed the bulb to 20000k to reduce the intensity on the coral? <No, not now. I would leave as it is>
In future, I would like for this to be an all SPS tank, with minimal live rock in the display, with frags placed on the substrate itself. My question therefore is, would a single 20000k MH, on a 10 hour photoperiod be adequate? <Not for the two corals you mention. The 20,000K bulb does not have as much light in the 'useful' spectrum as the 14000k, and you already have two pc actinics. I'd leave the lights and the coral where they are now and try to keep everything, all parameters etc, as 'spick and span' as you can in an attempt to coax this coral into regaining some of it's lost zooxanthellae. If you can increase feeding some useful foods to the coral without letting the nitrate and PO4 rise too much then I would do so. Try here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acrofdgfaqs.htm>
Thanks for your invaluable help!! <No problem> Adriel <Simon>

Re: Acropora Yonggei & Lighting -- 01/13/2010
Hi Simon, <Hello again Adriel>
It's me again. Thanks!!!!! It's amazing how much more relaxed I am now :-)
<that's good to hear!>
I also have Tubastrea in this tank, so am already feeding Cyclop-eeze <ok, but these corals do appreciate 'live' foods as well - do you have a refugium of any kind?>. The Acropora polyps are extended, less than before, but they're there :-)<Then it is quite possible that this coral can recover in time>. Is it a logical deduction that reducing the light supply via lowering the coral location/ reducing the photo-period etc, "encourage" the coral to regain its zooxanthellae to acquire energy?<hmmm, all lowering the coral does is 'encourage' it not to lose any more zooxanthellae, although the damage was probably already done. Assuming that it has some left (very likely) then these should multiply, albeit very slowly at first. I would monitor this coral and when/if it shows a colour improvement start to slowly move it up in height, a week at a time>. I do have another question, my lfs tells me that to keep bluer Acropora specimens, I would require to use higher Kelvin lights. Is this accurate? <Some stony corals can/ do show colour changes with different lights. I believe it is to do with the different 'Clades' (types) of zooxanthellae and how they react to different lights, but you are better off searching for the works of Sanjay Joshi and Dana Riddle for this, as I am not by any means an expert on this subject. In fact I prefer brown corals, believe it or not (I am my LFS's dream customer because I buy all his 'boring brown Porites' corals that no-one else wants!), I feel they look more 'natural', so it is not something that I have looked at in detail. Try here:
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2006/1/aafeature1 &
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2009/1/aafeature1. There are many similar articles by the same authors on there that might help you, otherwise Bob or one of the crew might know more>. Could I just continue with the 14k's <I
would, yes. Is a much better spectrum than 20K IMO, but I use 10000K's & 6500K's w/ actinics>. I'm aware that corals do change colors based on tank conditions <yes, and the same colors can get darker with more concentrated zooxanthellae>, but is the above a reasonable generalization? <It would depend on the coral, and the clades found within it>. Fast growth is not really a criterion for me <Fast growth can be a pain sometimes. Borneman also states that slow but steady growth can result in healthier (less brittle) specimens, so I think you are on the right track here>. Thanks again!!<We're here to help!> Adriel <Simon>

SPS ID/Lighting 5/25/09
Do any of you know of any 30" T5 light fixtures that would meet my Acropora's needs?
< I thought you'd never ask! >
I had to go and choose a tank size that's not the most common, so now I'm not having much luck finding 30" fixtures.
< 30" is not a popular T5 fixture size, but there are a few on the market.
The Current Sundial comes in a 30"
I run the 36" Sundial myself and have been keeping SPS with great results. There are a few more out there. What you are looking for is a 4 bulb fixture with individual reflectors. The individual reflectors greatly improve the efficiency of each bulb and are a critical component to keeping higher light needing organisms. >
Thanks again.
< You are very welcome. GA Jenkins >

SPS ID/ Lighting 5/24/09
Hello again.
< Hello! >
Let me just say it's a good thing I work from home, otherwise I'd be fired for spending all day reading articles on your website.
< Well don't get fired. It cuts back on the aquarium money! >
It's quite addictive. I have a couple more questions for you regarding this coral which is pushing me into the reef world (hadn't planned on keeping corals, but the more I research, the more I want to keep them). First off, the only T5 light I can afford right now is the Current Nova
Extreme T5HO. It has one 24 Watt 10K bulb and one 24 watt 460nm actinic fluorescent bulb. I know this isn't much, but it'll at least help a bit, right?
< Its an improvement but not enough. >
Also, the manufacturer directions state that it needs to be placed over a glass top; does the glass alter the amount/quality of light going into the water?
< Yes, glass tops reflect and distort lighting. >
My next question is about the coral's polyps. The only things I see opening and closing on it are little white extensions on the tips of the branches. Are these polyps?
< Most likely. >
I haven't seen any other sort of extensions on the branches themselves, just lots of bumps, nothing like what I see in pictures online. I've even tried looking a few hours after turning off the lights, and no changes I can see. Would the low lights be affecting this?
< Yes. >
Would the insufficient lighting also be making the coral spread it's branches out more (it was more upright when I first got it)?
< Possibly >
Lastly, I've attached a couple of pictures of my coral (sorry for the poor quality) in the hopes that someone can at least tell me if what I have is an Acropora, Montipora, etc, so I can more accurately know it's care requirements, though I understand how hard it is to I'd. coral from not so great pictures.
< Hard to tell specifically but definitely an Acropora. Look here for Acro care.
It's very brittle, if that helps at all for identification. Thanks in advance,
< The two bulb set up will not be enough lighting. Check your local clubs for used lighting. A four bulb T5 light with individual reflectors would be a minimum. GA Jenkins >

Re: SPS ID/Lighting 5/24/09
Thanks for all the quick answers.
< You're welcome! >
Just two more questions (at least for the moment). Should I ignore the manufacturer instructions and mount the fixture on legs and not use a glass top/lid so that I get every bit of light to my coral? Is this safe?
< If the instructions say to use over a top , I would do so. It most likely does not have a splash guard and would not be safe run without a top.>
And if I were to get another of the same fixtures in the hopefully not too distant future, will there be any heating/electrical issues if I place both fixtures next to each other?
< No, they should be fine. This particular fixture does not have the individual reflectors so I cannot say for sure that they would be enough to keep any more than the more moderate light needing animals. GA Jenkins >
Thanks again

Scrolling Montipora flow - 02/08/09 I have a red Monti cap and I want it to scroll its a rose form. Currently it is under a 150W 14K HQI bulb. It gets good flow that circles around it. I've heard that flow/lighting will influence on how this coral will grow. I'm not sure what those influences are though. I was wondering if you could help me out with the subject. <Mmmm... along with feeding, water quality mostly... the lighting is fine period, the only improvement here would be to have it traverse the surface like our sun... Water movement needs to be vigorous (20 time plus turns per hour), non uni-directional... perhaps Koralias, Vortech, or Tunze Streams on a reversing schedule via a wave maker or other control device. Bob Fenner>

Please Help Me Identify This 6/22/08 I purchased this Acropora at my LFS today. They said that it is a "Deep Water" Acropora <Mmm... is of the genus... but judging by the color, not "very" deepwater> and that even though I only have VHO and T5HO lighting totaling 6.4wpg that I should put it in the middle portion of my tank. Now I am questioning if that is actually true or not. I ended up puttin it in the upper portion of my tank and so far everything is good with full polyp extension, but it has only been a couple hours. I appreciate any help you could give me with identifying this Acropora and if it is indeed a "deep water" species. I attached two pictures of the coral to this email. Thank You. <Wit the stated type and intensity/wattage light I would place, keep this colony where you have placed it... near the waters surface. Wherever the original biomass was collected, the shape, growth, color of this specimen shows that it is "used" to this sort of positioning. Bob Fenner>

Acro Acclimation -- 07/03/07 To the crew I just got back from the frag swap at Drs. Foster and Smith this past weekend and have a few questions concerning acclimating my new beauties. Here are the specs for my tank. 75 gallon w/30 gallon sump - mag 12 running to four 1/2 inch returns 2 Koralia 3's on opposite sides for flow Aqua C EV 180 Nitrates - >5ppm Ph 8.4 temp 77-80 Calcium - 320 KH - 9 Mg - 1300 My concern is really with the light acclimation. I just picked up a nova extreme 8x54 t-5 setup, and picked up a bunch of SPS frags. I already have a couple Monti digi's and caps and a small millie that are doing fine. Previously I was using a 260w PC fixture but had good growth with all. Okay now to the questions! I bought a nice staghorn and pink millie from the DFS retail store that were maricultured. Do I need to light acclimate these corals seeing as they were under halides before I got them? <Not likely, no> Also with the frags I bought, they have gotten quite pale compared to when they were in the actual traders tanks (all used PC nano tanks). They have only been in my tank for a day, after being in the dark for about two days (Long time)? <Mmm, no... much more likely "light-stressed" by the move/show at the get-together itself...> Really I just would like to know is if the light acclimation is really geared towards halides over t-5? <Mmm, no... much more just intensity differences in most cases> The new frags are all on the bottom of my tank right now but I'm worried that they aren't getting enough light? <Possibly... I would move the Acropora spp. "up" to about half depth> One might already be bleaching out a little bit or is just really pale (Acro yongei), is it better to move it up more or shade it if it is losing color? <In this circumstance, up> All but one's polyps are peeking out. <A good sign> Also I heard to keep them in more gentle current when acclimating and not the vigorous flow they all like. True? <Yes> I'm a paranoid nervous wreck! Please help me and thank you for your time! Sincerely Mike <Patience... these 'things' take time. Bob Fenner>

48w 10K 50/50 replaced with SunPod 70W HQI, Sm. SW light/burn episode 7/5/07 Your web site seems to be the most knowledgeable on the net so here goes: I just replaced 48w 10K 50/50 with SunPod 70W HQI on a 12 gallon nano cube I have established for two years. The tank primarily contains different soft corals that had blossomed under the 10k 50/50 with coralline algae growing everywhere. Since placing the SunPod on this tank (only two days), everything seems wilted and is not as vibrant and alive as before. <Ah, yes... a lack of photo adaptation... All "burned"> Please advise. My goal was to remove the canopy and add a little extra light. I'm not sure what is happening but want to get advise. thanks, Philip <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm and the linked files above... And elsewhere (learn to/use the indices, search tool) re lighting small marine systems. Bob Fenner>

Re: 48w 10K 50/50 replaced with SunPod 70W HQI, Sm. SW light/burn episode 7/5/07 thanks for the prompt and excellent response. I think I may have caught this just in time. <Ah, good> On a good note, early this AM I peeked in the tank and noticed all the corals looks fantastic under the blue nocturnal lighting. This led me to believe the lighting was proving to be too much for them. I have adjusted the light to only run in small increments today. This will hopefully help until I get to implement some of the recommendations in your article. thanks again, Philip Johnston <Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Keeping Acros Under PC Lights & Poor Water Parameters 4/29/07 Dear WWM members, Hi everyone, my name is Peter. <Hi Peter, Jeni/Pufferpunk here> First, I want to say thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. I have been viewing this site many times. I have a few questions on Acropora Spp. I have a 90 us gal tank. In there I have: 75 pounds of live rock (Fiji, Lalo, Tonga) <It is recommended to keep 1-1 1/2 pounds of live rock per gallon.> 1 young Yellow Tang 1 young Hippo Tang 1 young Sailfin Tang 3 False-Percula Clownfish 2 Blue-green Chromis 1 Scooter Blenny 1 Blue Damsel 1 Green Bubble Tip Anemone many hermit crabs and snails <That's a lot of tangs for a 90g. It's usually best to keep only 1 tang per tank. Have you researched their adult size? The scooter blenny needs a long-established tank (at least a year) including a refugium, so there are enough live pods for it to eat. Otherwise, it will starve. Also, Percs are best kept in pairs. When they mature, there will be fights between the 3.> My tank has been running for about 6 months. I was wondering if I could successfully keep a couple Acropora clusters. My lighting is an Orbit 4x130 watt Power Compact. As for my water quality: ammonia-0.25 nitrite-0.1 and ph-8.2. Any advise and info would be great. <With what you paid for that lighting system, you would have been much better off with T5s. PC lighting is borderline, with acros. The ideal conditions for the Acropora coral is an established reef aquarium with bright lighting provided by preferably intense metal halides. They can thrive under multiple T-5 or compact fluorescents if placed high in the aquarium. I did keep a green slimer up high, for about 6 months under PCs but it didn't grow. To maximize their growth rate, it is imperative to maintain a high pH, alkalinity and calcium levels and to keep phosphate and nitrate levels as close to zero as possible. Along with lighting and water quality, Acropora corals prefer strong, intermittent water flow within the aquarium. This is best accomplished with a wavemaker (I use a SeaSwirl) and multiple powerheads. Acropora corals receive a majority of their nutritional requirements from photosynthesis but will benefit from the addition of various types of phyto and zooplankton. Your larger worries here are your water parameters. Ammonia & nitrites are extremely toxic to fish & even worse for corals. They must be kept at 0 at all times. What are your nitrates? They also should be as close to 0 as possible for corals and below 20 for fish. How long did you wait for the tank to cycle? Have you added any live rock lately? Either your tank is overstocked, you are over-feeding, you are not using a good skimmer You added uncured rock or you need to add a refugium. (I had trouble keeping my nitrates below 40 before I added a refugium. Now they are undetectable.) Get that all straightened out for considering adding anything to your tank. ~PP> Peter Choo

Monticap, not Monty Hall - 03/12/07 Dear Sir, <Ernest> I am just starting on having an SPS dominated tank in my 120gallon reef tank. 48 inch length x 30 inch high x 20 inch wide. <Okay> The tank has been set up for about 3 months with initial growth of coralline algae showing up. (I believe its good news). <Yes... generally indicative of full-cycling, suitable habitat...> Tank parameters are on par. <Fore!> And I have just purchased a monticap (very small ~ 2 inch wide). Which has been in my tank for 3 days now. <For others... this is some sort of new-reef-speak for a species of Acroporid, Montipora capricornis> My lighting is 400W 12000K Metal Halide, I've placed my monticap halfway up the tank so around 20 inch into the water. My question would be, for SPS and this monticap, how deep would I be able to place them in the water before its not good for them? MH height is 20 inch from water. <Mmm, really depends on what species, and more importantly, what conditions they were living under recently (and to a lesser extent what conditions from some time back...). In practical terms, better to start most deeper... raise up to shallower in weeks time... to prevent "burning"/bleaching, stress> I have a Tunze WaveBox for flow, would adding Tunze stream 6100 be better or 6200 ? <Mmm, the more the merrier in the way of flow> Also after 3 days I do not see much polyp extension on the monticap, would this be a cause for concern? <Mmm, nope... too short a period of time as yet to have become acclimated... and don't have much in the way of polyp extension at any length...> There was some slight damage on it when I first got it, i.e. some small broken tissue, but it was a cheap pieces so I bought it. Further I am planning on introducing grape Caulerpa into the sump as a natural filtration media, would that be advised? <Mmm, no... best to look around for other genera, even Division (Reds, Rhodophytes)...> There's no Chaeto in Hong Kong (where I live). Best Regards, Ernest <Mmm, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm The tray with Stony Corals... Scleractinians... Bob Fenner>

Encrusting Montipora sys. 12/15/06 Hi Crew, <Tom> I have an established, 120G 2 year old reef with various healthy and growing SPS colonies. I'd like to fill in some color on the live rock with various frags of colorful, encrusting Montipora. To give the Montipora frags the best chance of growing quickly and covering the rock, should I scrub clean the rock area with a brush, or will the Montipora grow over the life on the rock just as well? By life, I mean a little micro algae, tube worms, coralline, etc. Thanks, Tom <Interesting question... I do suspect that the more "scrubbed" rock might well offer a better substrate here... but would ask that you try an experiment with making a sketch of the areas in your system where you do/don't scrub and report back re which ones appeared to have an "easier" time of colonization. Bob Fenner> Nano Lighting For Acropora 6/15/06 I have a 14gal nano with 2x 55w power compact 50/50 10,000k/actinic plus a NO 18w fluoro. I would like to get a small Acropora frag to put high in the rockwork in around 4" of water. I have been getting mixed info from different sites as to whether this lighting will do, (mostly from guys who will only use MH) but have seen examples of it working. Stable water parameters and supplements aside, 1) will it work? <Should> 2) will I be able to run the 18w as actinic for aesthetics or should I run a 6.5k for better health and growth? <The actinic will be fine.> 3) when I replace the globes would I be better off with a dual daylight 6.5k/10k and a actinic as well as the 18w? (I stuffed up the globe order the first time) <If using the 18 watt actinic, I'd go with two 10K's.> I have had a bit of trouble finding a definitive answer. Thanks <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Scotty Lighting For SPS....Buying the right light - 5/17/2006 Hello crew, <Hi Tim> First off I want to thank you guys for taking the time to look at this e-mail. I am trying to get the right light for my reef tank. I am planning on upgrading to metal halide lighting. My display is a 75 gallon tank that measures 48" long x 18" wide x 18" deep (from the sand). I already have a couple acropora frags as well as two Stylophora pistillata specimens. This is the kind of coral which I primarily wish to house. I plan on using balanced lighting, most probably in the form of both 10,000K and 20,000K bulbs. I was looking at a fixture that has two 250 watt HQI and one 150 watt HQI and assume that this would be overkill as it comes out to well over 8 watts/gallon. <More than needed.> Another fixture I saw had two 150 watt HQI and one 70 watt HQI. This comes out to almost 5 watts/gallon which I believe is close to a good target value. Is this correct. Will this second fixture be sufficient for the more light hungry acropora that I wish to grow? <Tim, with your 18" deep tank, I'd feel more comfortable with three 150 HQI's for the light loving corals you intend on keeping.> Also, I was wondering if you guys have any preference in fixture brands? <I think Current USA makes a nice fixture for the money. In bulb brands? <I like Ushio lamps.> I know that some metal halide bulbs are clearly better for gardening and was wondering if the same holds true in reefkeeping. <Some brands such as Ushio have a more accurate color temperature and a little more intensity. You may want to check this company out. They carry the new Odyssea light fixtures that I've heard are nicely built and a bargain. There is an error on this link, they state three 175 HQI but I'm sure they are 150's as I have never saw 175 HQI's. See here... http://www.aquatraders.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=275 Do keep in mind I have had no experience dealing with Aqua Traders.> Thanks for the suggestions. Thanks for the help, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Tim

Lighting For Montipora digitata - 12/31/05 HI Bob, <<EricR here today...>> Hope this email finds you well. <<I am, thank you>> You may not remember, but we had discussed the proper housing of Anthias, in particular the squamipinnis with the purple eyes (lyre tail) and your suggestion of 1 per 50 gallons or 1 per 15 seems to be working well! I have 3 females in a 150 and so far none have changed to male and are fed 2 to 3 times a day and seem to be doing well. <<Interesting that none have started to change. I had two females in a 375 and the dominant female began to change in just a couple weeks...though this was quickly reversed with the introduction of two full-blown males...but enough about me <grin>.>> Thank you. That was a little off the main reason to email you, but just wanted to thank you. <<That Bob is a pretty smart fella.>> Now here is the deal. I purchased a couple Montipora digitata in green and purple. Colors went to brown (though the green which was aquacultured kept the color to a certain degree) when I moved to my 150, I know I need to upgrade my lighting to bring out the colors in these cool SPS. Here is the confusing part. I have CP that are 8 months old, with 2 10k and 2 actinic. <<Best to go all 10K here, though at 65w (read ahead) you'll need to keep the bulbs close to the water's surface, and the Montipora in the top third of the tank.>> I am going to be replacing them and use the sunscreen method of acclimation. Now I read that you can just change the lights at night and in the morning they may all recoil, but adjust eventually. <<Mmm, no...you still need/is best to acclimate over several days.>> I thought the light shock would kill them, but I read they just look crappy for a short time and adjust......your thoughts? <I don't agree with this. While many corals can/will make the adjustment, you are submitting them to unnecessary stress that can kill more sensitive species.>> Next, I wanted to add a spectrum to bring out the color (maybe new lights would do it) and I talked to and read a TON of things and the range of advice and suggestions are so different, I decided to email you. <<And with all that reading you should have found that more than lighting effects coral color...though an increase in intensity will likely help you with the Montipora you mention.>> One person said use a 20k with my 10k and actinic. Another says do NOT use 20K just use a 3rd 03 actinic. Then I read that 6500k is what they want for color. WHO IS RIGHT????? <<Everybody...nobody...many times it comes down to the individuals own sense of aesthetics.>> I am going nuts here! lol! <<Understood>> I am going to order 2 96w to retrofit with my 2 65w 10k and 2 65w actinic. I am just moving everything close to the surface (I do not want to get into MH, or HQI, sorry) <<ok>> What would your suggestion be to the color temps? <<10K...contains plenty (more than enough) light in the blue spectrum for the coral's use without making your tank look like Papa Smurf peed in it.>> One person said make the 2 96w actinic, one said make them 20K and another article says 6500K! I have a 6500K 500 watt CF over my Heteractis magnifica and he seems pretty happy. <<Yes, the 6.5K bulbs generally produce more PAR per watt...are also considered the best spectrum for coral growth.>> Should I try and see if putting them under the 6500k would work? (only 84 CRI, so my anemone is at the surface right under) <<Up to you>> NOW I did put a green zoanthid under the 6500k and it turned brown until I moved it away. (obviously the symbiotic zooxanthellae over producing) <<yes>> BUT it seems that does not apply to the Montipora........that turning brown/tan means not enough light? <<Is likely, yes>> I am very confused, please let me know soon, as I want to put an order in for the right lights. <<10K gets my vote...>> Take care! Carrie :) <<Regards, EricR>> Re: Lighting For Montipora digitata - 01/01/06 Eric, <<Carrie>> Thanks for the reply! Especially on a Saturday you devoted web media crew member, you! lol! <<Hee! That Bob is a real slave driver <JK> >> First about the Anthias.......which species do you have? <<Same as you...Pseudanthias squamipinnis>> Bob's web page, Saltcorner.com, or his contribution to it, was what made me make the decision to even try them. Mine is Bob's favorite, Pseudanthias squamipinnis. <<Hmm, I wonder if you have your "Bobs" confused? The "Bob" at Saltcorner.com is Bob Goemans...the "Bob" associated here (WWM) is Bob Fenner...>> Problem being, someone buying many females and one male and the male dying, next female changing to male, THEN dying, until all dead. This is the case with many of the Anthias from what I read. <<But for a few species, most do seem to be inappropriate for the average home aquarist. Either we just don't know enough about their nutritional requirements or they don't/can't tolerate the rigors of capture/transportation.>> That is why I emailed Bob. <<Ah, but which Bob? <grin> >> So my 3 girls were in a 60 gallon for 3 weeks (with all the LR it was like 15 gallons each!) then a 150 so far for 2 weeks. None have changed and seem about the same size. <<Mmm...perhaps these are all juvenile fish?...possibly too small yet to change...>> Now I don't know if this way LETS one of the females change to a male on its own thus preventing deaths?? Not sure exactly the reason for the formula.....maybe Bob can enlighten both of us. <<I don't believe the "formula" has anything to do with sexing these fish. I think Bob's intent was to provide a guideline to ensure a tank of proper size for the number of fish kept. Regardless of tank size, the most dominant female will become male when mature enough.>> On to the lighting......thanks for adding to the confusion! lol! Just kidding! <<Agreed <G>, much to consider (coral specie, depth of occurrence, etc.)...and no 'one' perspective can cover all.>> One article I read was that the TRUE actinic 03 was NEEDED for coral growth as it simulates dawn and dusk which is the optimum time for spawning/growth etc. <<The so called "dawn/dusk" cycle is more for the aquarist than the coral, though it can/does help with easing fishes to bed. Bear in mind that very little we do/can do with our tanks truly simulates nature...luckily these animals we keep are very adaptable. But saying that, the dawn/dusk cycle is fine if you wish to have one, but as an add-on, not as a partial replacement to existing lighting.>> This is why I got 2 10k and 2 actinic. <<Too much actinic in my opinion. Better to go 3 to 1 respectively.>> Now I have already ordered and got lamps for 8.50 each! <<Cheap!>> On line Innovativelights.com. I know you cannot put that in your web page, <<Sure we can.>> but for you personally, and the rest of the crew...enjoy! <<Thanks!>> Okay now as for the 20k.......what is your thought on that? <<Thought I did in the previous email...too blue for my taste on a general scale...does not provide a true color rendering. If you were keeping deep-water corals the 20K would be fine, but it has much more blue in the spectrum than your SPS need/require...and just maybe...not enough in the red/yellow spectrum for optimum health/vigor.>> Isn't the 20k so close to actinic anyhow? <<Not really, no. Some good reading here, and among the indices in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/actinicfaqs.htm >> I do LOVE how my corals glow at dawn and dusk with the actinic! <<Many folks do!>> I would like to see that a little more, esp., if the digitata favored it. <<Mmm...sounds like you might be better of with deeper water LPS/Corallimorphs than SPS...>> I think Papa Smurf has magic pee if he can make corals glow! lol!!!! <<Ha!...not magic, but does give all a blue cast...>> I just want the light that is the most beneficial, <<Then you need move toward a natural daylight spectrum.>> so I had already bought 3 6500k 65w (gives off 500 watts, but only 84 CRI.....how deep would that penetrate the water? <<Depends <G>...water clarity/height of bulb above the water/age of bulbs...all things being optimum, should work fine for an 18" deep tank with higher light demanding species in the top half of the tank.>> I know I am moving the corals up) fixtures based on my research for optimum growth. Here is the problem as I see it...... 6500k makes for more algae <<That should tell you something about spectrum and growth potential.>> and besides, are the Montis a shallow or deep coral? <<Is generally found in shallow reef environments/mud flats. I have green, purple, and German blue M. digitata and orange M. foliosa under 250w 10K metal halides. All express their best color and most vigorous growth under intense lighting. The blue digitata in particular will "brown out" under the slightest bit of shading.>> If so, wouldn't the 6500k be the wrong spectrum? <<Is "perfect" actually. Even the 6.5K contains plenty of "blue" light for the corals needs.>> I guess you are saying use 10k in all 4 65W and BOTH 96W? <<Would be "optimum" in my opinion, yes.>> I really would like the dawn/dusk for them. Maybe 2 65W actinic, 2 65W 10k, and 2 96W 10K? <<This is a viable alternative.>> What is all the hype about the 20k???? <<s you have already noticed/stated...makes the corals glow/look more blue.>> My thoughts were to put 2 20k for the 96w. <<Not the best option for your SPS.>> Sorry to make you crazy, just paying you back! lol! kidding, kidding........ <<Tee hee! No worries mate, was/is an enjoyable exchange.>> Have a great weekend and if possible have Bob read this to see what his thoughts are. <<Don't trust me eh? (kidding you back <G>). Bob (Fenner) may be able to CC Bob Goemans re.>> >Will gladly send her's to BobG if requested. RMF< Take Care! Carrie :) <<Regards, EricR>>

Lighting Acropora 12/17/05 I have recently been given some sort of Acropora by a friend who was breaking down his tank...I want to know if how I am currently running my tank will be enough to keep a healthy Acropora or will it die because it is a yellow like brown color?...<Acroporas are available in several colors.> I have a 29g TruVu that is 30in long 18in deep and 18in wide...I am currently running 2 pc's 50/50 65watts each. <Not nearly enough light for these guys.> WATER PARAMETERS: salinity is 1.023. Cal 420 ph 8.2 ammon 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0...I perform 5g water change every 2 weeks to week 1/2. temp 79 degrees. <Good> LIVESTOCK: pair of true perc clowns, 1 cherub pygmy, 1 white ray goby, 6 hermit crabs, 15 turbo snails, 30-35lbs of live rock, 15-20lbs of live sand, 15 mushrooms, 2 orange Ric florida, 4 small frag Kenya tree, 8 green button polyps, teal candycane coral. FILTRATION: Rena xp1, aqua c remora skimmer <Good choices in your filtration selection but as above, your lighting needs to be improved. Try keeping the Acropora near the top. That will help considerably. If you have enough indirect light from nearby windows you may get away with what you have. Consider using Chemi-Pure in the Rena. <James (Salty Dog)> Thank you <You're welcome>
Re: lighting Acropora How many watts per gallon am I supposed to have to keep Acropora healthy? <Julio, I did answer this question earlier. Perhaps for some reason you didn't receive it? Anyway in a 29 I think one 150 watt HQI would work well. In power compacts, I'd kick that up another 65 watts. Keep in mind that Acroporas do best under HQI/MH lighting. <Happy Holidays. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting needs of deep water Acropora? 10/19/05 Hello! <Howdy> Thank you so much for the WetWebMedia site - a truly awesome collection of knowledge! <Welcome> I have two questions (the first might be a silly question, but I thought I should ask) that I have not been able to find an answer to on the site... I recently purchased a coral (see attached) that was billed as "deep water Acropora from Bali." <I see it> My first question is: if the coral is truly from deep water, does that mean it needs less lighting than my other Acropora? <Mmm, yes... there are species, but more accurately colonies of species that "get along" with less photonic energy> or, since it is an Acropora, should I still try to get it as much light as possible? <Likely so... but do bear in mind the issue of photo-adaptation, and acclimation of newly arrived photosynthetic species... grade up to more intense light in other words> I have a 20 gallon tank with a Coralife 96W 6500K 50/50 four-pin bulb, and my other Acropora are doing great being placed at the top of the tank... can this guy stay up there too, or should it be moved lower after all (the colony seems fine after being up there for a month, but it dawned on me that perhaps it would be happier lower down)? <I'd start it lower down> Second question: the person I bought it from said it had come to him from his supplier labeled "Acropora tutuilensis(?)" but that he was not certain it was the correct ID. It does not seem like my coral matches the descriptions I've found on the net for a. tutuilensis, but I know sometimes the colonies need to grow much larger before they can be ID'd. Based on the picture, can you guys make an ID? (I can send other pics with more polyp detail if it would help). <Mmm, not able to make such determinations from small pix. You might check with Dr. Veron's works here> Thanks for your time!
<Welcome, Bob Fenner>

Montipora sp. tank 8/13/05 Dear WWM crew, I am planning on setting up my 40 breeder (36X18X16) as a Montipora sp. tank. I just wanted to run some equipment by you and to if I'm on the right track. My tank is not drilled, so a continuous siphon overflow (1400 gph) with a 960 gph Iwaki MD pump. I have been inspired by J. Sprung's refugia and want to run a miracle mud sump either 24X10X12 or 30X12X16. <The bigger...> I plan on using a 4X96w Orbit P.C. fixture over the tank. I am uncertain of which protein skimmer to use. Any suggestions? <Likely an Aqua-C product. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aquacskimrfaqs.htm> Thanks a lot. Your site is like an oasis in the hobby. Sincerely, Mike <Ah, wish we were having some tall, cool ones about the oasis... Bob Fenner> Nano Acroporas & clams Good morning crew <Alex> Do you guys know If I can have Acroporas & clams in my 10 gall nano reef system ? I'm running It with 8 watts per gall with a Rio 600 pump. I know I should not have a problem with light & flow, but my LFS told me it could not be done. Clams yes Acroporas no. I know Acros are very aggressive so I should provide a lot of distance from each other. What do you guys think? Thank you for your time! <Mmm, can be done... but not easily... by "clams" I take it you mean Tridacnids... get too big... and Acroporas generally require high and consistent water quality... difficult to achieve in such a small volume... though possible, have seen done. Bob Fenner>

Montipora Trouble Hi gang, Quick question (hopefully). I am on my third frag of a very hard to get but popular purple Montipora frag. For some reason, I keep bleaching them. At first I thought it was because I put them about 6" off the bottom immediately after receiving them, and wasn't putting them low enough and letting them acclimate to the light. However, when I received the third frag, I put it all the way on the bottom of the tank, right on the sand. It still didn't help, as one corner turned brown then bleached. However, the middle to left part of the frag is still purple, but I fear the browning and then bleaching is spreading. I had it on the bottom, somewhat under a rock for some shade. Panicking, I moved it up a couple of inches several days after being on the bottom to try and save the frag. What am I doing wrong? My lighting is as follow: 2x250W 10K MH, with one 400W 13K bulb in the middle. Then there are 2x96W PC actinics. I put the coral under the 250W MH, not the 400W. This doesn't seem to happen with my Acro frags, which I've done okay with. It only seems to happen with the Montipora frags. Any thoughts? >>>Hi Brandon, Doesn't sound like a lighting issue to me, but more of a current or water quality issue. Check your parameters and make sure you have decent current where you're placing this frag. Also, are you sure this frag was grown under lower lighting? If not, check into this. Cheers Jim<<<

Too much Lighting? Every time I buy a frag of a Montipora coral, they turn brown? Too much lighting? What would cause this strange phenomenon? Most are purple to start with. <Several factors could be influencing this color change. High Nitrate levels, which act as a sort of fertilizer for brown zooxanthellae, could easily be the cause, as could old bulbs or low lighting. Hope this helps, mike G>

Water Movement For Acropora Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> Do Acroporas do better with a direct flow of one power head or with 2 - 125gph Power Sweep power heads? I have a 10 gall nano reef tank with 1 Acro with plenty of room for more! What do you guys think? Thanks for your time! <Well, most of the Acropora that favor high flow will benefit from randomized, indirect flow. Laminar flow directly into a coral can literally peel the tissue right off of the colony. Better to use those Power Sweep powerheads, or even some sort of rotating return device, like the wonderful Sea Swirls! HTH! Regards, Scott F.>

- Acropora Losing Color - Hello, When I got this Acro it was light brown with purple tips AWESOME! But I have noticed that Its purple tips has been fading away in time. And now the coral It's just light brown. I'm running my 10 gall nano tank with 8 watts per gallon with power compacts. And my water quality is perfect! My LFS said that for Acros I need metal high lights to keep those colors alive and bright is that true? <Quite often yes... what is not always obvious to aquarists is where there coral came from, the light the coral is accustomed to. In the tropics where stony corals are prevalent, the sun just bakes... is very, very intense; aquarium lighting is not even an approximate substitute. The browning of your Acropora is typically indicative of inadequate lighting.> I also have two awesome looking clams on the sand bed and they have not lost their beautiful color with my power compacts, what could this be? <Unless you've had these clams for several years, I would not use their color or current state as any judge of lighting intensity or even their health... clams can look excellent right up to the day before they die.> I have my Acro as close to the light as possible and my calcium reads at 450 ppm. I even have a power sweep power head for some wave action. Is there anything else I can do to get those colors back? <More intense light.> I've just started DT'S live marine as well for my clams that I've had for 5 months and Kent marine Tech 1 Iodine for my other corals. <This is a lighting issue and not an additive one.> Thanks for your time <Cheers, J -- >

Lighting Acropora Good Afternoon Mr. Scott <Hello again!> SORRY for so many questions but you give the best advice!!! <Never apologize! Thanks for the undeserved compliment...We have a lot more talented people here on WWM than myself, but I'm happy that I've been able to help you!> Color changing Acropora... I'm running a 10 gall nano reef tank with 24 hour Orbit lighting system with 8 watts per gallon. When I got a Tri-color Acropora from my L.F.S it was nice light brown with dark purple tips and yellow polyps...AWESOME!!! <Sounds hot!> But I have notice when my day lights come on the purple gets real light and the polyps retract. And when my day lights come off the purple gets really dark again and the polyps come out. Is this the norm? What could this be? <Certainly a relatively normal behavior for a coral. Many corals will display day-night polyp retraction. Feeding occurs at night with many corals, and the colony is merely exercising its natural "rhythm". This would be an opportune time to feed the coral..> I have her on top of my live rock close to light as much as possible. Do you think is to close to the light? Should I move her down a bit? My L.F.S. said that is perfectly normal. <I don't think that the reaction you are seeing is a negative one. It's irresponsible for me to generalize, but many Acropora do have very high lighting requirements. On the other hand, it is important to slowly acclimate a coral to its new lighting regime to avoid shocking the coral. Do see Anthony Calfo's excellent piece on acclimating corals for more.> Thanks so much for your time. <You're quite welcome! Regards, Scott F.>

Acropora reef tank Lighting 3/10/05 Hello Anthony, It's me again! Sorry, for asking so many questions, but the advice is just sooo good! haha.. <no worries... my pleasure> Ok... I've been checking up on different types of fluorescent tubes to use and I still can't find the kind you're talking about in VHO format. <just ask the sales rep for a warm daylight colored lamp my friend. If they do not have one around 7K with a CRI rating over 90, then someone else will... do keep shopping :)> I looked on the URI site and they have a "Aquasun" bulb, however, this is rated as a 10k bulb. Are you speaking of a different bulb all together? Anyways, I read a plug in CMA about Vita-Lite Bulbs made by Durotest. These bulbs sound killer as far as specs go... but they don't offer them in VHO format. <the company is gone... sadly> Do you think if I ran their standard output bulbs on a digital ballast they'd put out enough light? Any suggestions would be great...Sorry to sound so redundant but I want to make sure I'm catching your drift. I mean lighting is pretty important...Wouldn't ya say?!? <actually... corals are highly adaptable over a very wide range of lighting. Within reason, I'd put lighting behind water flow and feeding for coral health and growth> You said Acros need a lot of flow...but GEEEZ!! I didn't think you needed as much flow as you're talking about. 30x turn over?... <actually... for Acropora, many enthusiasts run towards 60X turnover (diffused). The shallow reefs covered in Acropora are very dynamic environments> Well, that doesn't sound ludicrous at all, but in order for me to have that much flow I'd have to add an extra Iwaki 30rlt on a closed loop. That'd be a 70rt and a 30rlt.....Phew that's a lot of flow in there. Oh.. one thing I was thinking of is, if I were to do this extra pump would it be a good idea to have it on a timer to turn off during the night? <it's a terrible idea, mate... most tanks simply don't have anything near enough flow like on a reef> This pump would be on a closed loop so I could turn it off for about 6hrs in the middle of the night. This could simulate gentle nighttime currents? <bull pucky> My concern is that the pump would be garbage in short order with all that on/off hoopla...ooookk I do believe I'm done for today. Once again thanks for the time and sound advice. Chris <always welcome :) Anthony>

Acropora tank 3/8/05 Thank you for the response Anthony it has helped me out. Your answers, however, have spawned more questions (I'm sure all too often). Your advice on the Acroporas and Montis have spurred me to go with strictly Acros. <ah, good... I feel you will be much better in the long term for a more natural and compatible mix of corals> With that said I'm going to run 8 VHOs instead of 7. I figure instead of buying an icecap 430 I'll get a 660 for extra 20 bucks. <a good decision> For lighting...What bulbs of 7k do you know of?? <URI daylights> As far as I know URI makes the only decent VHO bulbs and they don't have a 7k spec bulb. <Hmmm... do check again. I recall they have a 7100K or some such. Maybe their Chroma series. Just ask a rep. Its one of the cheapest and best bulbs for corals... the daylights in the 6500-7500K range> What do you suggest. Either way my ratio is going to be 3 daylight to one actinic which should give me plenty of daylight. <agreed> In your reply you mention Acros like more water flow. The flow on this system will start with an Iwaki 70rt. The tank has a trapezoid center overflow drilled with two 3/4" bulkheads on either side of the box. These two exits will be run off one SCWD. The next set of returns will be 2 3/4" SeaSwirls on either side of the tank. Both of these will also be running on a SCWD. I think this should give me some pretty random turbulent flow with pretty strong current due to the large pump. <try for at least 30X turnover> Now the skimmer I've decided will be a 6-2...How would you set this skimmer up? Due to you're advice I'm going to pull some overflow water out of the overflow box through a 3/4" bulkhead. <correct> Any advice on how to regulate the water level in the overflow box so I can get a consistent water level in the skimmer? <it's a standing overflow... never changes. A dam or a bulkhead in the partition/wall> Do remember there will also be a one inch drain going to the fuge area...I figure once the pump gets turned on and the water flow reaches a equilibrium throughout the system the water level in the overflow box would be pretty constant right? <the skimmer overflow box/wall is to be higher than the sump proper> In the sump there's gonna be an auto top off valve so changes to head pressure on the main pump will be minimized. I don't plan on adding any fish or corals to this system for at least 6months. <this is very good!> I want to get every kink worked out as well as get the refuge area super stable and let the micro fauna really get a hold. Along with letting the tank cycle this way I was planning on using only blue spectrum lighting to keep algae down. Sally Joe at GARF mentions that using blue light encourages coralline algae growth...Is this true? <depends on the coralline species... they run the gamut> Makes sense to me. I was also interested in using calcium gluconate to help encourage more growth. I figure the more coralline I have the less nuisance algae I'll have. <correct> Ok well I have to cut this short a co-worker is breathing down my neck. Thanks a mill Chris aka fishtank <best regards, Anthony>

SPS hah! what have I gotten myself into now. I've been eyeing an Acropora formosa at the store four about a month. I checked all the signs. No algae complete polyp coverage. Its apparently so small that nobody wanted it for their big tanks. But me, I come along with my 15 gallon in which it would look of substantial size, the boss gives me an incredible deal because it hasn't sold. I'm acclimating it to the light like you inform on your site as I write. no ammonia, nitrites and less than 5 nitrate. test for calcium alkalinity and CaCO3. my lighting is a 10000 K and a 50/50 HO tubes. no skimmer. (the eclipse) Any advice PLEASE..... do you think it will survive or kick? is my lighting substantial? Beautiful blue-pink tissue, would absolutely LOVE to have it survive and flourish. MUCHOS MUCHOS GRACIAS, Chris Survive and flourish, even retain it's color? Only time will tell... I definitely would modify the Eclipse (tm) and get a skimmer on this system... and keep looking, prompting me, and I'll post more of my SPS, Acroporid materials on the WWM site. Bob Fenner

Re: SPS ah, that feeling of elation and stupidity that courses through the body as a bold, (stupid) inexperienced (dough-blowing) aquarists mindlessly yet enthusiastically states those three magical words, "bag it up," is unrivaled. Day 2 - polyps are extended beautifully are a bright red against the pinkish-blue flesh (retracted slightly after the lamps were on for about fifteen minutes this is normal right?). Growing tips are a stunning shade of light turquoise. No wonder Acroporids are more like Rolls Royce's of the Anthozoan world. By modify my Eclipse, How so? not enough lighting? thanks again Chris >> Oh, well written, posed... Yes to most Acroporids being "open" at night (to feed), though most can be trained to be more open during the day. Modification probably refers to cutting the top back to fit a skimmer. Bob Fenner

Acropora whiting out, lighting.... hey bob. I have a few questions...I have a 55 gallon reef tank (standard size 55 gal.) right now, I have 2 - 55 watt power compacts on the right side of the tank and 2 - 35 watt power compacts on the left...is this sufficient lighting???. <For? What livestock, what purposes? Should be fine for low-light using livestock for maintenance> .it is a homemade hanging hood, so I was considering putting all of the power compacts on one side and getting one metal halide for the other, does this sound better??. <Not necessarily... a MH will be quite hot (thermally), and this size, shape tank is hard to dissipate heat in... I would save this money for other purposes> ..also, I have a Acropora coral that completed lost, or should I say, shed its color of green and is now completed white...did it die??, <Maybe... is there algae growing over the exposed skeleton?> why would this happen??? <Could be a myriad of things... please see the Coral health section of our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/corldisfaqs.htm> will this process have any effect on the other corals??? <Depends on the cause/s here... likely not if it has not already... could be lighting (is the colony up near the source?), predation, lack of nutrient, interspecific competition...> I have a calcium reactor and add strontium and iodine on a weekly basis, I do weekly 5 gallon water changes (with RO/di water), all other parameters are fine...thanks, Jeff <It sounds like you know what you're doing, and have a bunch of background in the hobby... have you read/re-read Borneman's Aquarium Corals, Fossa and Nilsen's v.1 Modern Coral Reef Aquariums recently? I suggest you do this to refresh your memory about basics here. Bob Fenner>

Marine Light/ing hi sir Fenner, this site is great.. my question is lighting duration and intensity. I have a mini 8 gallon tank running one 32 watt 10000k daylight and one 32 watt actinic. My friend say to have the actinic come on for about a hour prior and then switch to daylight for about 8 hrs and then finish off with the actinic for another hour.. Is this correct.. <Mmm, the use of actinic is about right... overlap the actinic with the white, and I would extend the time frames... to 12 to 14 hours per day> My local fish store told me to have both of them at the same time.. Which is correct.. I have switched to having both at the same time but the Acropora started bleaching.. is there any way to save the Acropora?? <It should "photo-adapt" to the bright, mixed light in time> is the lighting too strong for Acropora?? <Possibly... try fewer hours or shielding part of the light if you can't dim it electronically (like with aluminum foil over part of the lamps) for a few weeks. Bob Fenner> thank you for you time sir.. <You are welcome my friend.>

Acro lighting.. Hi Bob, How's it going? <Muy bien mi amigo> I hope well. Well my studies at Vandy are going slowly, but I still get a chance to stop by my house and take care of my corals only 30 min away). Well, I have this question for you. It's about lighting a 20 gallon long tank for Acropora. I know that you get all kinds of questions about lighting and I have read books and some of the FAQ's on this site but I still get confused (Sigh). <Me too> I was looking to light the 20 gallon using 55-watt power compacts. I have one 7100K bulb and I think another of the same K. I am planning to add 40 watts of N.O fluorescents, one actinic and the other actinic white. Well I was thinking and I wanted to ask you, should I use the 10000K bulb and an actinic on the power compacts? <Hmm, yes... would be nominally/minimally better for this setting> I'm not totally clear on the Kelvin color thing. Could you clarify? <Re Lord Kelvin? As a measure of average kinetic motion? Take a look at a photography reference work> Well I got to head back to Vandy. Oh thanks for the other questions you've answered and future ones you will answer. I love WWM. It fills my day with joy reading the FAQ's after a hard day of hard work. Thanks, Eric <It fills my day with that work!> P.S I'll keep studying on my corals and fish because I enjoy them way too much (my future job hopefully) <No such thing as way too much. Bob Fenner>

Staghorn Acro and specific gravity Hello WWM crew, <<Hi Charlie>> I did a search here on specific gravity and couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, so here goes. My current specific gravity is 1.027,and the polyps on my green slimer are not opening up fully. Do I need to do a water change using fresh top off water only to reduce the SG, or is there another way to reduce the SG? My usual target is 1.025. Please give me a hand!!!!! Thanks, CE <<You want to do this slowly over a minimum two days, .01 per day, removing some tank water and replacing it with buffered, aerated, heated FW until you reach your target. I doubt it's the SG causing your slimer to not open, but do lower SG to 1.025 and test your water for wastes and also pH, calcium, alkalinity, magnesium, etc. Make sure circulation is up to par for your slimer, needs good current. Yours, Craig>>

Micro-Acropora Reef Possibilities? Hey Everybody, :) <Hello!> I've been toying around with the idea of setting up a micro-reef in a spare 5.5 gallon tank I've had laying around for awhile. I had a very successful set up for about a year with a 5.5 gallon tank housing a single blue damsel, a Firefish dart goby, some mushrooms and a bunch of Halimeda that I harvested regularly for nutrient export. I was surprised at the diversity in such a small system, in the likes of sponges, worms, amphipods, snails, small brittle stars, etc. I eventually tore the system down and moved the Firefish to my main 75 gallon mixed reef and sold the damsel back to the LFS. The tank has been laying idle for awhile (after a brief stint as a freshwater fancy tailed guppy tank on my desk) and I have decided to finally try another micro-reef. My LFS has a small compact fluorescent fixture for 5.5 gallon hoods that is 10 watts at 6500K (comparable to 30 or something like that in incandescent lighting) which I was thinking about getting two of. I would use a fairly thick 3 maybe 4 inches of sugar sized aragonite sand, with some live rock to cycle it. Adding a small power head or two aimed at the front glass panel for random diffused currents and possibly a small skimmer/filter contraption or something else for additional filtration. I was wondering if it would be possible to house a few small frags of Acropora in the tank. I know they are very difficult to house and I was wondering what your input would be on this idea. What problems would you foresee? <I guess I don't need to preach to you about the difficulties of micro marine tanks. I even had trouble with a 5 gallon freshwater tank! I can only speak for myself on this one...but this would be a difficult challenge. All of the problems inherent with keeping Acro in large tanks will be magnified...everything from water chemistry to salinity to temperature, alk, calcium, etc., will be compounded in a tank this small. Large reef tanks can crash fairly easily if good husbandry is not followed daily/weekly. In a 5.5 gallon tank?...I don't even want to think about what could happen while you are on a 1 or two week vacation...> What variations to my plan would you suggest? <Honestly? A larger tank...> Any advice from the experts would be very welcome. <I'm not an expert on across...But I do see a lot of difficulties with a micro system that holds delicate corals like across. This will be much different than the Halimeda, mushrooms, etc. that you kept in the old tank> Thank you guys so much in advance and keep up with the excellent work. :) <Thanks my friend! I invite you to not necessarily accept my opinion but research through other literature/websites and decide if this is a gamble that you want to take. You're going to be climbing a tall mountain...> Sincerely, Dan <Best of luck! David Dowless>

Nano Reef Hey David :) <Hello again!> Thanks for your honest reply. It seems you're echoing the same thoughts going through my head about the problem of tank size. What do you think the minimum set-up would be to keep a relatively small tank stocked with some Acropora frags? <My friend...anything will be an improvement over 5.5 gallons> I have a small terrarium (false bottom set up with small power head forcing water from the dead space below into a piece of cork tube that looks like a tree and some moss and a few small tropical plants) on one side of my desk and would like to put a small comparable in proportion saltwater tank on the other side. A 5.5 gallon would fit perfectly on the right and match the terrarium in size, but like you mentioned, the size is one of the greatest problems in and of itself. I was just wondering what your thoughts might be on the minimum size should use. <Well...A 10 gallon tank would be twice as large as a 5.5 gallon...Geez...That's really a small, small, minimum> Oh, and my terrarium was a freshwater tank for three years before I converted it this past summer. It housed a Betta, some feeder guppies I allowed to reproduce to feed the Betta, some freshwater mussels I harvested locally from a river, for a short while a blue crayfish (until he was moved to his own tank a few months later and ultimately traded back to the LFS), and a LOT of Java moss. That stuff grows so fast that it does an excellent job of nutrient uptake and eventual removal, just like a refugium on a salt tank. And, you can trade it in at the LFS for some credit towards other gadgets and critters, usually. <I've had that experience with Caulerpa and Halimeda. It is nice> :) The best part of the tank was the Java moss itself, since when left nearly undisturbed for a good while between harvests, it formed what looked like fern covered hills in the tank with such a small scale. That, coupled with the fish swimming around them, it was quite a sight. <I'll better it was... Sounds great!> Anyway, a small freshwater tank has proven to be very easy as long as I use plenty of Java moss, and a small normal saltwater tank was also fairly easy as long as I kept plenty of Halimeda. So, perhaps I should try another form of nutrient export if I give this venture a go. <Hmmmmm...It seems that you are planning to fit a particular area on a desk...with dimensions that fit the 5.5 g? That's what makes this hard. If you had room, I would suggest buying a long tank that isn't very deep...Then you wouldn't need really strong lights. Tank depth is a lot of what sucks the life out of lights. A 10 gallon would be better than a 5.5 but...I've had experiences with 10 gallon quarantine tanks...They're still too small for me...Water chemistry, temperature, ammonia, nitrite, and top-off just change too fast. Okay...I'm going in circles here. A 10 is more stable than a 5.5, a 20 is even more stable, 55 even better. Let me hasten to add that since you seem to know what you're getting into...maybe with a lot of diligence, a 5.5 might work...Who knows? Many people that try these things don't know the odds they are up against and that is their main problem. What you are proposing won't be easy. You'll notice that I didn't say it was impossible. Success in this hobby is determined when critters live for years and that is hopefully your goal. At some point you will need a bigger tank if everything survives and thrives long term> Any ways, I'd best be going now and I hope you have better luck next time with a smaller freshwater tank and let me know what you think about the size of the tank for the across. :) <Thanks for the encouragement! Believe me...I have a 100 gallon reef and it's just about all the work I can handle...HA!> Thanks again, <You're most welcome! David Dowless> Dan

Acropora and Sea Fan questions Hi all! Thanks as always for a great site. <our pleasure> I don't know where I'd be without my daily dose of WWM. <out of the Institution, perhaps?> My first question is really more just curiosity than a problem (I hope). I've noticed that my Acropora polyps are almost always out during the day. They close after the lights have been out for a while or after a feeding. <feeding particulates that is... they prefer nanoplankton and feeding by absorption instead (some). Thus... no need or irritation by the turbidly of plankton at night or your feeding> I'm puzzled because the Acroporas that I've see in the display tanks at my local pet stores are always closed. <varies by species, water quality, water flow, etc> The pictures I've seen are usually too small to distinguish the polyps. What is the normal behavior supposed to be? <varies> Do I have anything to worry about? <nope> I've attached a picture so that you can see what my coral typically looks like. <a handsome coral> I hope it's not too big, <if only I had a dollar for every time I had to say that [fill in your own joke here]> was the smallest I could make it without losing the detail. <[follow up joke inserted HERE]> I feed them a variety of meaty foods that I blend in a hand-held blender until very fine. <a nice effort but likely little help. They do not eat phyto... and prepared meaty foods are grossly too large. They need nano-sized zooplankton. A fishless upstream refugium would be a much bigger help> I feed the tiny suspended food to my small polyped corals and sea fan, <yes... better for the sea fan indeed> and the larger crumbs that settle on the bottom of the bowl I feed to my sun coral. <good strategy> My sun coral, by the way, is doing very well and growing fast. <excellent. Do look in archives for the old article in Aquarium Frontiers by Joe Yaiullo on asexual planulation of this coral. Fantastic!> My second question is about my sea fan. There is some Cyanobacteria growing on the fan -- but no where else in the tank, <yes... needs more random turbulent flow here... they have evolved by design to trap particles!> fortunately. How can I safely remove it? <just better flow bud... tweak your outlets but no laminar action here. Have two effluents converge above it perhaps> The Cyano is beginning to smother the fan, but otherwise the fan seems to be doing very well, even growing. I've included a picture of the fan. You can see the dark areas where the Cyano is growing. I have a 75 gallon tank with lots of live rock and about 3 inches of live sand. I keep a protein skimmer and a small carbon filter running all of the time. My protein skimmer is a Turboflotor 1000 multi. The cup is filled about once a week (is that enough?). <not really... (hence the Cyano). This is a skimmer with a good design that needs pampering and tweaking. There are even companies that sell modified Turboflotors. Browse the archives here and the message boards for modification tips and tricks.> For lighting, I have a 384 watt PC with two 10000K and two actinic bulbs. My water parameters are: >pH = 8.3 >dKH = 9.3 >Calcium = ~400 >Ammonia = 0 >Nitrite = 0 >Nitrate = 10 Thanks, Patrick <best regards, Anthony>

Acropora Millepora growth hello guys, <Hello - An "SPS freak" at your service :) > I have an A. Millepora that's been in my tank about 3 months now. happily, it has been growing like crazy, and the new growth is a very nice purple color with teal polyps. <Sounds nice.> here's the thing... in my experience these colonies grow in a pretty random upward and outward branching fashion. the branches on this one, however, started out pointing upwards but have now all bent outwards and are growing laterally and branching very little. the result is a pretty odd looking colony. I am trying to think of a reason the colony would want to expand laterally and not upwards, towards the light... could it be that it is in search of more intense light? (I have 175 10k's with PC actinics) I am curious to hear your opinion on this. <Well, Mario, most likely this growth has to do with the current it's receiving. Generally speaking, the more current you give a coral the compact the branches will grow. It's interesting point out that many A. Millepora specimens in the wild have a table growth form, so this growth your observing is quite normal. As long as it seems to be growing, I wouldn't be worried about it at all.> thanks, <Take Care, Graham.> -Mario

Calcium Reactor Not Required? <Hey there, Scott F. here with you tonight.> I have a 400 watt 10k bulb on with a spider reflector, metal halide lighting setup. My question is how can I keep Acropora hard corals in it without a calcium reactor? <How? By regular additions of calcium in the form of Kalkwasser or two part Calcium\Alkalinity additives such as B-Ionic, or C-Balance, etc. Yes, a calcium reactor is more convenient with some respects but wonderful reef systems can be maintained with calcium supplementation as outlined above.> If so, what can I start out with that's not too demanding as far as Acropora goes? Are there any easy SPS that will thrive under these conditions? <There are many species that will fill the bill. I highly advise that you purchase a good coral reference such as Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" or Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation.> I just want clams and SPS corals. Can I get away without purchasing a calcium reactor? <Sure, as I already mentioned above.> In dire need, Carlos, in Salinas, California. <Good luck Carlos, and happy reefing! Regards, Scott F.>

Acropora keeping sans calcium reactors? hi I e-mailed you guys yesterday and I got no response? << Sorry, we get lots of emails which are shared by lots of people here. >> I was asking if its possible to keep Acropora species alive and thriving without a calcium reactor? << Absolutely. Most people don't have calcium reactors. >> if so what kind and what species will make it? << I don't think calcium reactors are at all necessary. Convenient yes, but not necessary. I would think you are okay using two part additives like B-Ionic. >> thanks in advance, Carlos, from Salinas, California. << Adam B. >>

Lighting set-up question Hi WWM crew!! <Hi Steve MacL here with you today.> I wish to have shallow water species of invertebrate like Acropora. <Acroporas are a type of coral as I am sure you are aware, I get my words all messed up all the time as well. Gets me in trouble with the bosses!!! lol> My tank is a 50 gal and is 18 inch deep. I am now lighting it with a 175w MH and I am thinking to add a 400W MH bulb. What do you think about it ? <A general rule is about five watts per gallon for the Acroporas.> ( do you think that my inhabitant would need some Coppertone?!) <You can always raise or lower both your lights and your inhabitant. Personally if I do it again I'm going powerful> Should I only add a 250W MH bulb ? I am thinking to add 1 or 2 actinic VHO to add some blue and to be able to make a dimming effect !! <Similar to the PFO lighting setups that are so popular!> Thank you very much for your answer!!! <Please let me know what you decide, MacL>

Lighting a nano for Acroporas - 11/23/04 Hey guys, I have a 10 gall nano reef tank and I'm running it with 8 watts per gal. (PC). Do you think I have enough light for Acroporas and clams. <Well, to be honest there is a lot more to lighting SPS and clams than watts per gallon, for sure. This is a much debated issue. First and foremost, you need a very stable marine environment. (unfortunately in my opinion, a 10 gallon is awfully hard to stabilize) Also, there is the debate regarding useful PAR from Power Compact lighting. I believe there are some PC bulbs out there that do produce useful PAR ranges for light loving Acropora and high light loving clams but I have yet to find any with long term success. I personally have not had a great amount of success with most SPS (Montipora capricornis and Hydnophora are one exception) but you might have some luck with some of the lower light loving clams like Derasa and Squamosa. I am not guaranteeing success but something that might work. Again stability, food, lighting, environment (i.e. water chemistry and flow dynamics) and water maintenance. A very had task but I do think it can and is being done. Do a little research and see what you can come with. Check www.nano-reef.com. Thanks for asking this important question here at WetWebMedia.Com. ~Paul> Thanks for your time Acros only open at night 11/26/04 Hi all, <cheers> I have read every thing I could find on your site and I still can't get the answer I am looking for. First let me tell you about my setup. My 55 gallon tank has been running for 18 months with DSB, remora skimmer, 15X circulation, PC 260 watts (lamps 5mths old), mech. filter for charcoal and lots of live rock. My measurements are 1.024,0,0,0, ph 8.35, pH .05, temp 80, cal 400 and alk 8.5. All test are double checked by my LFS once a month. I have a clown, flame angel and a hawk fish, all since the beginning. My corals are lots of mushrooms, zoos, one Xenia and on the top Acros, pink birdsnest, trumpet, plate and a brain coral. All corals have a good separation. I feed the fish a large variety of frozen foods. The corals I feed a cocktail of Phycopure and Cyclop-eeze or DT's and for the larger coral I feed bits of fish food like Mysis. On Sunday I stir the top of the sand bed, clean my skimmer, 10% water change and run test. I have no algae problems, lots of coralline algae and everything is growing and happy. In fact, at least once a month, I have to pull some of the corals and give them away. When I first got the Acros, they opened during the day for 2 weeks but for the past 4 months the Acros open only at night. I see lots of them in other tanks that are open during the day. I have tried to entice them with food during the day but it does not work. <hmmm.. since they do not feed organically very well/heavily... this is not a principal influence (feeding). More likely water flow is the culprit. And the change from behaviors on arrival is simply their acclimation (or even suffrage if the flow is too low or way too high)> However, they eat well at night. I have to believe that my Acros are getting all they need. I know that I could use more light but they are at the same level as the birdsnest and if it is growing, I don't think that light is the problem. <agreed> Do you have any ideas? <lots... the Pittsburgh Steelers should try to run Jerome Bettis again this week and give Duce at least another week to rest> If you think it is the lights are VHO ok? <very fine lights and good color. I like the URI brand best. Change any brand VHO by 10 months> MH just put out too much heat. <Ahhh... actually not my friend. It really is a misinformation. VHOs as close to the water as they need to be if effective (less than 3") are also hot. And either lamp style can easily be cooled with a single muffin fan (9 watts) and a well-designed fixture. MH are a better value by far in the long run considering lamp life, trueness of color, intensity (bang for your buck on light produced per watt), etc> PS I owe you all a big thanks. I have saved a lot of money. Fan vs. chiller in the summer, proper equipment selection, etc. Thanks <very welcome my friend. With kind regards. Anthony>

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