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FAQs on Stinging-Celled Animal Compatibility 4

Related Articles: 'Coral' Compatibility: On Reducing Captive Negative Interactions Cnidarians  by Bob Fenner, ppt. vers: Cnidarian Compatibility: On Reducing Negative Cnidarian Interaction Parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,  by Bob Fenner Cnidarians, Water Flow, How Much is Enough,

Related FAQs: Cnidarian Compatibility 1, Cnidarian Compatibility 2, Cnidarian Compatibility 3, Cnidarian Compatibility 5, Anemone Compatibility, Coral Compatibility, Zoanthid Compatibility, Mushroom Compatibility, Soft Coral Compatibility, Cnidarians 1, Cnidarians 2, Cnidarian Identification, Cnidarian Selection, Cnidarian Behavior, Cnidarian Systems, Cnidarian Feeding, Cnidarian Disease, Cnidarian Reproduction, Acclimating Symbiotic Reef Invertebrates to Captive Lighting

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Livestocking Pico, Nano, Mini-Reefs; Small Marine Aquariums
Successfully discovering, determining, picking out the best species, specimens for under 40 gallon saltwater systems.
Book 1: Principles, Algae, Invertebrates

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Hello. I'm pretty confused on Coral Compatibility. - 9/3/07 I've read many FAQ's on your site, and bought a book on corals, but am still confused. Some people say you can mix LPS, SPS and soft corals, and others say you can not because of Cnidarian Allelopathy, etc. Some say it's safe to mix LPS and Softies, or LPS and SPS, but never SPS and softies. <The subject can be a bit confusing. I'll try to help. :)> So confusing! If I have to choose only one, I'd go with LPS corals. I also love mushrooms, but now know they can be noxious so not sure if I should refrain from adding any more. <Mushrooms and Zoanthideans are offensive to other corals more for their tendency to multiple and grow rapidly, taking over space from other more slowly growing corals.> I would like to add a couple SPS corals, but not if it will make matters worse. Am I safe mixing any LPS corals if I stick to only LPS only in my tank or will some LPS corals fight with other LPS corals? <Ok, let me try to help you organize your thoughts here. When mixing corals there are basically 3 concerns: 1)compatibility within the same space (room for growth, lighting, water flow, etc.) 2) allelopathy and 3) aggression. When mixing different LPS corals, you're usually ok with #1 and #2. They're all relatively slow growing. They all need about the same (or can adapt to) similar lighting, water flow, etc. And they're not known to raise any allelopathic concerns with each other. That only leaves #3. Some LPS corals are very, very aggressive while some are quite passive. For example, Acanthastrea has a reputation for actually dissolving and digesting any neighbor within reach of its mesenterial filaments (which are extendable stomachs). On the other hand you have the quite peaceful Lobophyllia. Both these types of corals are "LPS" corals you could put in the same tank so long as you made sure not to put them near each other.> Should I eliminate any soft corals that I already have in my tank or just not add any more? Below are the corals that I currently have. All are doing great except for the mushrooms. They're surviving....but aren't nearly as big as they used to be. They were the first coral I added to my tank. There's only 4 mushrooms on one rock with 2 baby mushrooms that have sprouted since I bought the original rock. I ran some activated carbon for 3 days, and the mushrooms perked up some, but still aren't nearly as big as they used to be. One is kind of folded in half. With the mix I have, would you eliminate any of the corals? <Let me look...> What corals would be safe to add to this mix....any and all LPS, or only certain ones? Would you definitely stay away from any and all SPS? Are any of my corals below soft corals other than the mushrooms and zoos? Just FYI, my tank is a 53g tank with 55lbs of live rock. Set up for 4 months. Parameters all stable. (nitrite, nitrate and ammonia are all 0. Phosphates are .1 ) Temp is 80-82. PH is 8.0 to 8.2 . Alk is 2.5 Calcium 340, going to work on getting Calcium up. Haven't tested or dosed for Iodine but ordered a Salifert test kit. Corals I currently have are below. I attached a picture of my tank that I took a couple days ago so that you can see the coral placement and distance between each other. I also attached a picture of my mushrooms when they looked beautiful. You can see how the mushrooms completely covered the rock and were really close to each other, and if you zoom in on the mushrooms in the full tank picture, you can see a big gap between the same 4 mushrooms...which is probably about 1.5 or 2" in diameter now (two babies are actually in this gap). <I don't think this has much, if anything, to do with your coral selection. The mushrooms might not be happy for some other reason. Another thing to consider is that many soft corals, like Xenia, while they don't generally raise allelopathic concerns while alive, can be quite noxious when they are dying. In general, allelopathy in closed system is still largely a mystery outside of the most obvious cases of it. In any event, filtration with activated carbon helps.> Should I remove any of the corals below? -Mushrooms (1 rock with 4 Shrooms, plus two babies) -Zoo's (1 frag with maybe 30 polyps, and a couple - very small frags with maybe 6 polyps) -Yellow Colony Polyps - Colony is about the size of a plum - Hammer (Small - 2 heads) - Frogspawn - (Large - 2 branches with about 8 heads) (I have the Hammer and Frogspawn away from everything else. - Aussie Duncan - (started with 1 head, now there are 6) - Sun Coral - (about 15 polyps) - Xenia (3 heads) <I think you're ok for now. However, as any aquarist mixing LPS and soft corals, you're going to have to worry about the soft corals growing out of control. Healthy Zoanthids and xenia can take over an entire piece of live rock in a few months. When it comes to allelopathic issues, this seems to be mostly a problem with leather corals. Stay away from leather corals (especially those in the genus Sarcophyton which are known to be particularly toxic). And as always, research any coral before you put it in your tank. You want to know what conditions it needs, how fast it grows and how aggressive it is. As for adding SPS, your tank is much too young for them. Wait and watch how your tank evolves over the next year or two.> Thank you so much!!! Pam <De nada, Sara M.>

Hi Sara. That you SO much for your very detailed response. You definitely helped to clear some things up. <cool> I believe the leather in my tank is a Sarcophyton sp. <Hmmm... I didn't see a leather coral on your list.> It's about 2.5" in diameter. Would you suggest I bring it back to the LFS ? <I would, yes. Your tank isn't that big and you have several corals (the LPS) which might potentially suffer from its presence.> I guess I was confused with the description of the leather stating that it's "Peaceful", thinking that meant it wouldn't cause any allelopathic problems. <Ah yes, I can see why you feel mislead. Allelopathic concerns are usually discussed separately from coral aggression. Leather corals are "peaceful" in that they don't sting their neighbors with long sweeper tentacles or dissolve them with mesenterial filaments. And the allelopathic issues aren't thought to be a problem with other soft corals.> Thanks again.
<Happy to help,
Sara M.>

Unintentionally Kill New Finger Leather? Corallimorph incomp. in an established sys.    8/30/07 WWM Crew- <Part> Thank you for everything you guys do - you are a great resource for many aquarists. <Welcome> I've had my 75 gallon tank for about 10 years. I started off with fish-only and in the last five years it's been a modest "reef." The tank contains the following fish: flame angel, maroon clown pair, yellow tailed damsel and another yellow colored damsel - all have bee alive for over three years. I have the following corals: toadstool leather, many mushrooms, clove polyps, button polyps and a small colt coral. All inhabitants are doing fine <Acclimated... used to each other...> and I've had them all (except the colt that I bought a few weeks ago) for several years. I've fragged my toadstool several times (great fun) and my mushrooms have grown from 5 to over 30! I rarely buy new things for the tank and just enjoy watching things grow. I also only buy hardy organisms that I'm sure I can handle with great success. <Good technique, focus, attitude> I've always wanted a finger leather and I've heard that they are very hardy. <Can be...> I purchased a finger leather on Aug 27th. During the 28th it opened about half way - it was looking okay. For some reason I decided to clean the tank a little (?!?!?) - I removed some algae, gravel vacuumed the bottom, and replaced about 15 gallons of water. I also fragged my toadstool again - it was just too huge - at least 10" tall! All of my corals are quite hardy (haven't died on me yet!) and a cleaning rarely causes any problems. However, I should have taken into consideration the stress of the new finger leather. The coral has really shrunk and hasn't opened up at all as of late Aug 29th. There are areas on it that contain dark gray/blue areas - I hope it is not decaying!. <Appears to be on its way...> I've also noticed it giving off small squirts of some slimy substance. The coral also seems to be removing itself from the rock it's attached to - not completely, it is still somewhat attached. I hate to waste money and I definitely don't like causing a coral to die. I've attached several pictures - does it need help, is there anyway I can save him? Please help. <Mmm, Daryl... I espy a Mushroom in the vicinity of this soft coral... This is very likely a simple case of allelopathy... need to be separated space-wise, perhaps the use of activated carbon... All covered here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shroomcompfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>


Need Help, Mushrooms looking limp and not opening all the way, Cnidarian Allelopathy mostly    8/24/07 Hey all. My tank has been up and running for 4 months. The first coral I added was mushrooms (4 green mushrooms on one rock). They have been doing great the whole time and have even sprouted two new mushrooms on the rock. The mushrooms started looking really limp and only opening to about half their normal size a couple weeks ago. Color of the mushrooms look good. Mushrooms are at the bottom of the tank, under a little ledge, and have not been moved since I put them there a couple months ago. No other corals near the mushroom. All parameters look good. Calcium is low, 340, but has been at that level all along (only softies and LPS in my tank right now). I plan on switching salts when I run out, changing from Tropic Marin to Reef Crystals to see if I can bring up the Calcium without getting into dosing. My Parameters have been very consistent for the past couple months. They are: SG: 1.025 Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates are all 0. Phosphates .1 Calcium 330-340 PH ranging between 8.1 and 8.2 with lights off / on. Alk 2.9 Temp 82 to 83.6 (heats up to 83.6 when the MH comes on) I first noticed the problem when my central AC died a couple weeks ago. Tank heated up to 86. <Yikes...> Brought the temp down with ice bottles in the sump, and got the AC running within 48 hours. <I'd leave the lights off on such hot days... turn on more toward night> Another thing that changed, is I added a second powerhead. I have the mushrooms between two rock structures, and they don't appear to be getting blasted with current. I have a 53g tank with about 25x flow now (was about 12x). Have a MJ1200 and added a Tunze6025. Also have a Eheim 1260 for a return pump. <Corallimorphs often are found in quite stagnant settings> There's only one other softie that's not doing well all of a sudden, and that's a yellow colony polyp. <... Here could be a major portion of the problem...> When I bought it from another reefer, it was brownish and "fringe" for lack of a better word, on each polyp were long, and the dots in the middle of each polyp, were bright yellow. They have since changed to completely bright yellow, and the fringe is really short. I suspect these changes are because I have stronger lighting than the reefer I bought them from had. This coral seems a bit limp to me too. I have a Aussie Duncan which is doing awesome. <Duncanopsammia? As in a Dendrophylliid I take it> Bought one head, and it has sprouted 3 new heads. Have a zoo that is doing great and spreading. <...> Leather looks great. Hammer looks great. Any ideas on the mushroom? <It's losing to more dominant Cnidarians... the Sarcophyton, likely the Zoanthid...> Could it be the temperature spike from when my AC died and it just takes a more than a couple weeks for the mushroom to recover? <Could be a contributing factor> Nothing except for the mushrooms seemed to be affected when the AC died. Should I be feeding this mushroom? I've tried putting a little frozen Cyclops or enriched brine near it, but have never seen it take any food. I haven't been adding any phyto or anything, but tried adding a capful of Kent Phyto last night and left the return pump off for about 45 minutes. Don't know if that will help. Thanks! Pam <Too much too soon... I would move the Mushrooms to another system, spiff up your skimming, start the expensive ongoing use of carbon... And read on WWM re Cnidarian Allelopathy... use the search tool here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Need Help, Mushrooms looking limp and not opening all the way   8/24/07 Ahh...the great Bob Fenner. <...? Wait, (goes to mirror... same ole non-hair combed petfish kind of guy... ego-deflated, returns to the computer...> Thank you so much for the response. <Welcome> I had never heard the term "Cnidarian Allelopathy", so at least now I have something to read up on. <Neat term eh?> I will take your advise on the carbon. <Good... advice> I don't have another system to move any of these corals to. The mushrooms are one of my favorites. Should I remove the Yellow Colonial Polyps, zoos, or the Sarcophyton if I want to keep the mushrooms, or do you think Carbon would handle what I guess you're saying is chemical warfare? (or is that something completely different?) <Is of a sort and more encompassing... takes in "stingers", agglutinants... sweeper "tentacles" and more...> I thought of one other possibility. I have never tested for, or dosed Iodine. Could lack of Iodine be a cause? <Again... perhaps a co-factor> I checked my LFS but they didn't have a test kit, and I don't want to dose without testing, but I will order a Iodine test kit online just in case. <Ah, good. Likely once-weekly administration per dosage... would not overshoot...> One last question, do you think I'd be better without the two powerheads, and just go with one powerhead and the return pump like I had before I started having this problem with the Mushrooms? <Maybe... but what re the rest of the life in the system? If there's room, I'd just move the Mushrooms to a less-circulated area...> I only had the MJ1200 and the Eheim return pump for flow, and added a Tunze6025, but I thought I could pull out the MJ1200 and just go with the Tunze now if that would be better. (53G tank which is 31.5" x 19.5" x 19.5") Corals I have so far if it makes a difference on flow: Sun Coral (just added two days ago and doing well) Waiving Hand Xenia (also just added two days ago and doing well) <... I'd be slowing down on these non-ordered/directed additions here...> Aussie Duncan (doing great) Tan Sarcophyton with Green Polyps (doing great) one orange centered zoo (doing fine) Bright Green Mushrooms (Doing poorly) Thinking of adding a Hawaiian Feather Duster. Thanks so much Bob. Pam <Please do read re the Compatibility of each of these Pam... here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm A very good idea for all to understand the "order", propensity for one group of animals... mainly Cnidarians in this case... to out-sting, out-grow, overshadow, displace one another... and to formulate, adhere to a plan of placing the less "winning" groups... of appropriate size... first... spacing time and dimensionally subsequent additions... using techniques, gear to limit the warfare that is/are these environments, including their living complements. BobF>

Re: Need Help, Mushrooms looking limp and not opening all the way  8/27/08 Hi Bob. I took your advise and added activated carbon this weekend. I also moved the Leather to a corner of the tank (it was only a couple inches from the mushrooms). <Yikes!> I'm not sure if it was the carbon, or moving the leather, or a combination of both, but within two days, my mushrooms have totally perked up!!! Not completely back to their full glory, but close!! I'll have to read more on the compatibility of corals. Thanks for your help! Pam <Thank you for this update Pam... and do keep reading. BobF>

Corals... or what have you... Alcyoniid allelopathy...   8/20/07 I have a 55 gallon reef tank with a 22 gallon fuge, Remora Protein skimmer, 2 power heads hooked to a wavemaker, 100Ibs of live rock. Tank has 4 fish-crabs, snails, 1 coral banded shrimp, and a cucumber. Corals include 1 open brain coral, 12 candy cane coral, 1 zoo, 2 colonies of mushrooms, and 1 leather coral. <How long has all this been mixed together? In what order was it introduced? You have read on WWM re te Compatibility, Systems for all these?> Lights are 260 watt power compacts which run 10 hours on daylight and 12 hours on actinic. I test for Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate-all read Oppm. PH, Calcium, ALK, Gravity, all within parameters. I dose 1 gallon of Lime water daily for evaporation. The tank has been up for 3 years. I do 5 gallon water changes weekly, using ro purified water. All fish and inverts are thriving. Coralline algae spreading like crazy. The problem is the last 4 months there has been a slow decline in coral health. <Not atypical> My brain which I fed every other day will no longer open up or feed. <Losing to the more dominant non-Scleractinian species> 1 colony of mushrooms are shriveled up. The zoos look dull and not fully expanded also. My candy cane coral-leather and other mushroom colony look healthy but have only been in my tank for around 4 months. <Bingo...> I do not add trace elements or any other additive other then the lime water and weekly water changes, using instant ocean salt. Any suggestions would be appreciated. <Mmm, well... likely the Sarcophyton is the big winner here... You can/could remove it... or speed up the amount, frequency of water changes, add chemical filtrants, improve skimming, add/change-out some substrate (LR and LS...)... I'd be reading re Alcyoniid allelopathy... maybe starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoncompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Please help! Cnidarian sel... w/o system info.    8/19/07 Hello, i backtracked again and bought myself a small Coral Beauty fish! The fish was in such good condition i had to buy it. <Mmmm> The tank is running well, and all the fish seem happy and are eating great! I would like to add some Invertebrates to my system. So i wondered which hardy species you would suggest. Such as hard and soft corals. I would just like a few to make an interesting aquascape. could you suggest some for me please? Clint Hamilton <Please peruse here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm The various group's Systems, Compatibility, Selection... FAQs files. Bob Fenner>

Zoanthid (comp.) woes   5/9/07 Hi WWM crew! <Tyler> This is the first time I have reached out for professional help but I've used Wet Web for quite some time and I thank you for your continued dedication to the hobby. I have a problem with a Zoanthid colony (actually 2) in my 90 gallon tank. They are growing rampantly and encroaching on some of my prized SPS corals. <I see this in your excellent photo> The thing is, there is a very large (although uncolorful) encrusting Montipora growing on the far side of the same rock as one of the delinquent Zoanthid colonies which I would like to preserve. I would like to get rid of these Zoanthids preferably without removing the rock and also without the use of chemicals. <Mmm...> I tried adding 4 Zoanthid eating Nudibranchs but I think they may have been eaten by one of my wrasses although I am uncertain. <Wouldn't be surprised...> What I do know is that they don't seem to be affecting the colony. I would just have mechanically removed them but as you can see in the attached picture I am dealing with thousands of polyps. <Yes... would take a major intervention... remove the surrounding rock, stony corals... carefully cut away (with chisel, side-cutting Dremel... the Zoanthids (with extra careful care to wear gloves, long-sleeve shirt, complete eye cover... to prevent Palytoxin poisoning... rinsing... replacement of Scleractinians> I have all small fish in my tank with the exception of a Chocolate mimic tang so I am wondering if there is a good (smallish) fish that I can add to the tank that will eat the zoos but leave my clam and SPS alone. <None that I'm aware of worth mentioning> I know this is a lot to ask in a fish but I am out of ideas other than recooking the rock but losing the large Montipora. If you can suggest a suitable fish or have any other ideas they would be GREATLY appreciated. <Physical removal as quickly mentioned above is about it> Your time and consideration are appreciated. Attached you will find a picture of one of the 2 colonies I am dealing with. Regards, Tyler Ramsay <I do want to mention the alternative of "breaking off" a good part of the desired colonies above this area (the Montipora, Acropora...) and recolonizing these elsewhere... in essence, abandoning the present material (left behind) to the Zoanthid encroachment... and going forward limiting this material someway with rock movement/placement where it is emplaced/attached. Bob Fenner>

Death of LTA Causing Pollution -- 3/29/07 Hi crew, <Hello, Brenda here> I haven't written in a while, but have a somewhat urgent question that I can't find the answer to.  I had a purple long tentacle anemone that mysteriously decided to leave his spot in a rock and apparently somehow tore his foot in the process.  He actually looked as if I had forcibly moved it.  I never touched it by the way.   <Did it come in contact with a power head?> Anyway it was injured and then began to go downhill and within a couple of days totally disintegrated, died and had to be removed.  In the process of removing it, it pretty much came apart and many parts of it (very small parts) went everywhere throughout the tank.   <Yikes!> The tank is 150 gallon with a large ASM skimmer so I wasn't too concerned and figured that the skimmer would take care of getting the stuff out of the water, along with the crabs. <Not necessarily fast enough.  I suggest a large water change also.  I also don't recommend crabs with anemones.   Crabs have been known to pester and attack these creatures.> I have no idea what happened to make him move or why he died, but my question really is this:  I have a tube anemone that I have had about two weeks. <Your tube anemone is likely the reason your LTA decided to move.  You should not house two anemones in one system.> He has been very active and healthy, stays totally open all the time and looks gorgeous; he has never closed since I have had it.  This morning I get up and the tube anemone is TOTALLY closed.   <Check your water parameters.> I have not seen this at all since I got it.  Last night he was wonderful and seemed normal.  Could he be suffering some sort of reaction to the death of the purple anemone? <Yes, from the pollution.> I have heard something about toxins getting in the tank when anemones die. Would this have happened and caused the other to have problems? <Yes, ammonia is extremely toxic.>   My water parameters were tested the day before the purple anemone died and they were all perfect.  No ammonia, no nitrates, nitrites, phosphates, SG1.024, <Salinity at 1.026 is best for anemones.> Temp is always 78-81 night to day and I have lots of light MH and actinic, lots.  The calcium is steady at 440 to 460 and the ph 8.4.  These tests were the day before the purple anemone death; I have not tested this morning. Any help or insight into this would be most helpful.  I don't want to lose this other anemone too. <You definitely need to monitor your water parameters closely after something dies.  Have saltwater ready at all times in case of an emergency.> Thanks,  Debi <You're welcome!  Brenda>

Ich on corals? Cnid. allelopathy, esp. dangerous in smaller vol.s  3/28/07 Hi guys!  I'm hoping you can help me out of what I'm afraid might be my 1st experience with Ich (or marine velvet). I have a 24g Nano with MH lights, temp=80, spg 1.025, ph=8.3-8.4 (depending on am or pm measure), calcium=450, nitrites, nitrates and am=0.  I do 3g H2O changes weekly.  We have 2 true Percs, a royal Gramma, 2 peppermint shrimp, assorted snails and hermit crabs.  Corals include Blasto, assorted mushrooms, Zoas, sun coral (my favorite), toadstool and Palys. <Yikes... trouble with all these disparate Cnidarians down the road... with growth... do settle on not adding any more species... and DO be diligent re maintenance> I noticed white spots on our Palys 4 days ago, and they have gotten worse.  I removed and gave to a friend to put in his hospital tank (I am getting one tomorrow!). <Good moves!>   Now I noticed that the Gramma is looking beat up. and scratching itself on the live rock. He's not breathing heavy, though. I think I see 2 pinhead white spots on the fin of 1 of the Percs. I plan to take all 3 fish and put in hospital tank as soon as I have it set up, but I'm wondering if the corals are at risk of this parasite, since it seemed to start on the Palys. <Mmm, not likely a parasite... of any of them... But very likely a matter of the fishes being exposed to types of chemical warfare twixt the stinging-celled life... "Caught in the cross-fire" so to speak"> I have had them for 1 mo already.  I just don't want to treat the fish, and wind up with all the corals getting this white stuff too!  Please advise!  Thank you!!   -Debbie <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompfaqs.htm And the linked files above... Perhaps my write-up on Tom Walsh's small systems from years back... The "Garden Mix" of Zoanthids, Scleractinians et al. you list is possible, though not really practical in small volumes... these sessile animals species have varying, but highly effective strategies for "saving space", hogging light, gathering food exclusively to themselves... These potent stinging, poisoning, over-growing mechanisms easily play havoc in small captive systems... As you are experiencing. There are a few strategies for limiting the morbidity and mortality here... Read on. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich on corals? Bambi vs. Godzilla short parody/explanation   3/29/07 As always, thank you for the prompt reply!  You guys are wonderful!! Just so I understand correctly what "next steps" to take, if the likely culprit is chemical warfare rather than a parasite, would the best course of action be to relocate some of the corals into a separate tank, rather than placing the 3 fish in a hospital tank and treating with copper, etc.? <... please read where you were referred to> I do think the hospital tank approach may be premature, <Agreed> as none of the fish appear to have breathing difficulty or white spots -- only the Gramma is scratching on the rocks very frequently, and seems unhappy.  If a larger and separate tank is what you suggest for separating the corals, which of the following corals would get along best together? (red & green mushrooms, green and blue hairy mushrooms, button polyp frag, Zoas, xenia, toadstool leather, sun coral). Please note that I have looked for a Compatibility chart for specific corals, <Good point... As far as I'm aware there is none that is comprehensive... too much of "this goes with that, but not with this other" factual matter to graphically present> and I just seem to get general information about keeping 6-10" spacing, etc. <Is a good idea... as is starting with small specimens, colonies, the less noxious/stinging first... Additionally, frequent, partial water changes, use of chemical filtrants... diligence in cleaning/operation of your skimmer...> The reason I am so confused is that many reef tanks I've seen appear to have many different corals living together in close proximity. <All a matter of balance, time going by, and all potential trouble/time bombs... as in the wild, what appears to many folks, or as so pastorally "painted" as calm, serene cohabitation is in actuality an extremely aggressive world of chemical and physical warfare, kept in check (but not static by any measure) by dilution of water currents, predation, meteorological events...> I love the look of a reef "garden" with lots of colors, but I'm not sure how to avoid the chemical warfare issue. :-(  I greatly appreciate any advise you may have!   Thanks, Debbie <Much, MUCH that should be written on this overall topic... Perhaps a good deal by you... And much to tie-in with promoting biotopic presentations, careful organism selection, placement.... Bob Fenner>

Lysmata wurdemanni vs. Coral   3/21/07 Hi Everyone, <Hello Bill.> Thanks for all your help over the past few years.   <I'm glad it has been useful.> Your expertise has been amazing.   <Thank you.> My question basically applies to Peppermint Shrimp and corals. <Okay.>   I have a 75 gallon tank.  I had a lot of Aiptasia in my tank during the first year, and added 3 peppermint shrimp.  I know they can be evil critters, but I think they hilarious to watch, and they killed my Aiptasia in less than a week. <They are rather comical and hardy compared to many of their cousins. And not to get off the subject but I surmise you figured out the source problem of the Aiptasia?> One of my favorite fish has been flame Hawkfish.  I added him, without consulting your site first, and he killed 2 of my shrimp.   <Yes, expected behavior.>   (Actually saw him dart across the tank and knock the snot out one peppermint that came out for some food).  I liked the shrimp more than the Hawkfish, and trapped the Hawkfish and donated him back to my local fish store.  I added one more peppermint so that I now have two.   <Lesson learned.> Fish in my tank are: 1 clownfish, 1 black cap Basslet, 3 Firefish goby and 1 bicolor blenny.   <A good mix in this size tank.> I have recently been adding corals to the tank.  I have: Candy Cane, Frogspawn, Toadstool Mushroom, Colony Polyps and Brain Coral (Wellsophyllia). The Brain and Frogspawn were added two days ago. <And you are concerned about  the shrimp'¦> My lighting in this tank is an Orbit Lighting Fixture: 48" w/4-65W (SunPaq Dual Daylight (6700°K/10000°K) and Dual Actinic (420 nm and 460 nm) bulbs). <Fine for what you are keeping, just replace the bulbs every 6-9 months, a year at the VERY latest as PC's depreciate in lumens rather quickly.> I work from home and came down this morning to work, and saw one peppermint on the frogspawn munching away, and the other peppermint on the brain coral munching away. <Uh-oh.> I was assuming this wasn't good and just moved these two corals to my NanoCube in my bedroom.  After reading your site again today, I see that some folks have problems with these peppermint critters and their corals. <Correct.> So my question to you is: Are there any types of corals that are 'Peppermint Safe'?   <I have found that they are less prone to picking at larger noxious colonies of soft corals, such as Octocorals and Sinularia.  Keepers of hermatypic corals like Acroporidae seem to have 'luck' with them as well (but you don't have the lighting for those)'¦what's important to keep in mind is that there are no guarantees and there is always a risk.> I like my shrimp, and would like to keep them.  Mine are out and about all the time.  They are friendly and I can hand feed them.  But I also have a reef tank, and would like to add some more coral life to it as well.  I have not seen them pick on the other corals, but who knows what happens at night? <Another thing to keep in mind is that when animals do become predatory, they will pick on the easiest, least resistant targets.  Just because the shrimp may be ignoring one colony as of present does not mean they will continue to do so once the others are removed.> Best regards, <To you as well.> Bill
<Adam J.>

Coral questions   3/20/07 Hi Crew, I have a 10 gallon almost 4 years old, penguin mini filter,  less than an inch fine sand., 10 pounds live rock, and a 50/50 65w PC. Corals are mushrooms(15), one Zoanthid colony(25 polyps), 2 candy canes (4 polyps each), a star polyp colony and one Blastomussa merleti. Fishes-clown goby (3 years), spotted cardinal(3 years), Royal Gramma (2 years), pair of neon gobies (6 months). Success due to WWM help even though I am not following advice regarding stocking density (we all have our weaknesses). And yes I have an algae problem but I consider it manageable. 1. A  polyp of one candy cane   just  came off when I was cleaning it of algae, just like when you pick off a rotten fruit from a tree. Anyway, this was 3 months ago. I put it in the sand and it seems to be doing well. It was nice and plump, about the size of a nickle. Then one night a roving mushroom leaned against it and one side it is just about gone. <I see this> In just a few hours it looks like it burned away all the flesh on that side. Any hope? <Mmm, some... though not much in this setting> 2.  I got a Blastomussa a few weeks ago during freezing weather. It was sent express but ended up being en route for 2 days. It looked like a plain skeleton when I got it. <Does retract its flesh...> In a couple days I could see nice green centers and now there is some 'meat around it. But the color is very light. The picture by the seller showed a raspberry red head with green centers. <Might have lost color in transit... but could have gotten mixed up...> It is possible it was not the actual picture of this item but I am wondering if  lighting is the issue. <Mmm, much more likely the former... the color shouldn't change this quickly due to lighting...> 3. I have a star polyp covering a 4 inch shell and attached to the underside there is a strange thing growing. I was not able to get a picture. It looks like a flower. There is an outer petal of white and red and in the middle it looks like a bunch of white stamens. This shell came from a Brooklyn beach and was all dried out before I used it. <Could be a bunch of things... Algal, Cnidarian... W/o a pic... Bob Fenner>
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