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FAQs on Stinging-Celled Animal Compatibility 5

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 4, Cnidarian Compatibility 5, Cnidarian Compatibility 6, Cnidarian Compatibility 7, Cnidarian Compatibility 8, Cnidarian Compatibility 9, & By Group 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

Take a look in the wild... A large Montipora stand in N. Sulawesi.


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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
Nitrite spike... Allelopathy twixt Cnid.s   4/25/08 Hi, <Ho!> I have a 54 Gallon corner reef aquarium with sump filtration, aqua c remora skimmer, 2 Koralia # 2's, 50 lbs LR, 25 Lbs LS, 130 Watts of PC lighting. Livestock includes 2 false Percs, 1 royal Gramma, 1 Firefish, and 1 banner cardinal. Small clean up crew 4 Nassarius snails, 4 blue leg hermits, 4 red leg hermits, and 3 emerald crabs. I have 2 discoma colonies that came on LR, and recently purchased a small hairy mushroom colony and a toadstool leather. <... get... very large> The levels were Ammonia-0, Nitrite-0, Nitrate-2ppm, phosphate-.03, Sp. G. 1.0253, Ph. 8.06, Calcium 420, dKH 3.15 mg/l. For about 10 days the toadstool was looking fine as was everything else. Yesterday, it began to slump over and retract its polyps (picture included). <Yes... I see it being burned by the Corallimorph in the foreground...> I couldn't determine if this is normal leather behavior or if something was wrong. <Mmm, in too small a world, too close to a better-established Cnidarian...> However, today the leather looked worse. I performed a water change and performed water testing. To my surprise my Nitrites were up to .25. <Yes... reaction from the life t/here> I haven't ever had nitrites in the tank. Could the leather's problems be contributing to nitrite spike? <Yes> Or is it doing poorly because of nitrites. I haven't really changed anything else in the system and can't figure out what would cause increased nitrites. Any thoughts/links, etc. would be helpful. Thanks, Mike <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm for background, then onto the Compatibility FAQs files for both groups of Cnidarians... Your options will be obvious. Bob Fenner>

Re: nitrite spike... Allelopathy twixt Cnid.s  4/26/08 Thanks, Bob. Relocated toadstool to a QT that was up and running. The plan is to get this guy in shape and return to LFS. It seems like it was a bad choice for my system. That's what happens when you listen to LFS and don't do your research. Lesson learned... Mike
<Ahh! BobF>

Disappearing Mushroom and Ricordea Polyps -- 04/14/08 I awoke this morning, looked into my tank, and to my horror I saw that all my coral polyps had been eaten. <<'¦!>> I had just put in my tank a red mushroom, a green Ricordea, and a blue/purple Ricordea within the past week. The livestock in my tank is as follows: 1 Yellow Tang 1 Tomato Clownfish 1 Lawn mower Blenny 3 Damsels 1 Neon Goby ! Coral Beauty Angelfish 10 Blue Leg Hermit Crabs 2 Turbo Snails 25 Cerith Snails 5 Scarlet Leg Hermit Crab 1 Condy Anemone I thought all theses critters were reef safe. <<Depends on your definition res a relative term, very few organisms are totally so>> Checked again today on the internet to confirm my belief. Any ideas who the culprit could be? <<Are you certain the Corallimorphs were eaten? Nothing you have listed comes to mind as being 'fond' of the noxious organisms that you say are missing>> I must also mention that the tank is 45 gallons. <<Yeeikes!'¦much too small for the Tang and the Angel. If the polyps were truly eaten, then perhaps this was a manifestation of behavioral retardation by the Tang or Angel due to the too-small confines of the tank>> I know a bit overstocked. <<More than 'a bit'>> I have been trying to downsize by sacrificing the Damsels but they are hard to catch. <<A better start would be to find a new home for the Tang>> Could the overcrowding be a culprit as well? <<Indeed>> There appears plenty of stuff (algae, diatoms, etc.) for the inverts. I must also mention that I received a shipment (10 of the Cerith Snails and the Scarlet Leg Hermit Crabs) 36 hours ago from a reputable on-line source that I have used many times with no problems. Could be coincidental but the shipment may be the problem but I can't be sure. <<The Cerith Snails are not the issue here. The Hermit Crabs are quite opportunistic, and if not well fed before/after acquisition>> I don't want to make this mistake again that's for sure. Any ideas? <<A stated'¦ But another thought perhaps you have a nocturnal hitchhiker/predator. A Mollusk of some sort with a taste for Corallimorphs maybe. Seems strange the Polyps would disappear overnight without you noticing anything if the fishes were at fault>> Thanks <<Regards, EricR>>
Re: Disappearing Mushroom and Ricordea Polyps -- 04/14/08
Thanks for the response and your insight. <<Very happy to share'¦>> Overstocking of tank due to impulse buying wife. <<Mmm, a dilemma indeed. You don't want to dampen the enthusiasm/lose the buying power, yet'¦'¦>> I've tried to find an anti-wife alarm for my tank, haven't found one yet. Considering cutting her hands off! <<Seems a bit drastic [grin]'¦perhaps some 'shared' buying excursions (and some educating) instead. EricR>>

Cnid. compatibility with butterflies  3/30/08 Hi, I went through the FAQs and articles in the website. Not able to get a clear picture so asking you folks by email (Sorry for the trouble). Can I keep the following inverts with butterflies? 1. Leather coral 2. Mushrooms 3. Sea Fan 4. Palythoa 5. cucumber 6. Xenia 7. Anything else I can keep? <Sure, an ocean full> I do know that LPS will be totally out but what of SPS like Acropora? How many butterfly types can I mix in a 120 gal tank? <Depends on the species... two-three> Cheers Ranjith <And you! B>

Micromussa'¦ Thoughts on Combating Allelopathy -- 03/07/08 Hi Crew, <Hi Sam, Mich here.> I tried to get a picture but my Kodak just does not get it clear even when I use the setting that says it is for less than 27 inches away. <Look for a "Macro" setting, the symbol often looks like a daisy or a flower.> Anyway, I want to know if what I bought is in fact a Micromussa. <Hard to say with out a photo.> The person who sold it to me sent me a picture first <How about this picture? Does it look more like this: http://images.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&client=safari&rls=en&q=Micromussa&btnG=Search+Images  or more like this: http://images.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&client=safari&rls=en&q=blastomussa&btnG=Search+Images  > but what I got does not look like the picture. <Often the case, but does not necessarily mean deception is involved.> But I do like it and just want to know. <Is responsible to know the animal you are caring for.> The polyps are smaller than a dime and are an orangey (no such word) <Nope, but I understand what you are saying!> tan color with the centers a brighter orange. <OK.> The tell tale sign of what this is, is what I saw this morning. I could see some tiny tentacles that I would not notice except that I was looking for it. And the mouth was not just a dot in the center as it usually is but was elongated like it had a nose shaped like a funnel sticking out about 1/8 of an inch (O>). <Sounds like the tin man!> On another topic, most tanks with corals have this chemical warfare going on. <Mmm, I'd go as far as saying most tanks with coral have allelopathic issues!> It would be nice if someone came up with a test to show it <I suspect it would be similar to allergy testing, could be done, but doing it repeatedly isn't terrible helpful or informative. We are aware that many corals kept in captivity produce toxic compounds, and that these compounds are present in our systems.> and an antidote to equalize it. <We have the "antidote". The simplest, easiest, most cost effective way to limit the effects of these toxins is frequent water changes. For example, why would you test your hands for potential infective agents and then cover your hands with multiple expensive antibiotics when simple hand washing is more effective, easier and most economical? I should also mention that activated carbon can be useful. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chemFiltrMar.htm  > Thanks Sam <Welcome, Mich>

About corals and anemones in a two month old tank... Not a joke? A mis-mix w/ no pix, useful info...    2/19/08 I have been trying to figure out if it is a soft coral or an anemone. It looks exactly like a brown colt coral, that is as close as I can get to finding a soft coral that looks like this. It is in my friends tank, but she says that the pet store told her it was an anemone. <... do you have an image?> I have looked at many different types of anemones but none that look or resemble this, that is what led me to believe it was a colt coral. She said that she can touch it and move it around, which leads me to believe it is a soft coral as well. Though it looks and flows like it is floppy and it has edged itself underneath a rock, so it is very hard to get picture of it. There is a damsel and a royal Gramma that swim extremely close to it as well and doesn't seem bothered by it at all. There is also an anemone is her tank that is off white at the base and the tentacles are a deep purple, I have not been able to indentify it either. <... you have read on WWM re Anemones, their identification?> I have come close to matching it with a purple Condy. However at the ends of the tentacles, there are tiny hook like tentacles, and sometimes the tentacles look a bit shriveled. I have searched and the Condy is the closest match, any ideas on that one? <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm and peruse the above linked ID FAQs files> And, she just purchased a tube anemone, <...?! I hope not a Cerianthid... very incompatible... see WWM re...> But this one is very bright almost fluorescent pink in color. Could this be natural or do you think it has been dyed? <... My friend, what is this? A guessing game? Send photos> Two more questions, she said she saw a 4 inch white fuzzy thing come out of the live rock that she has never seen before, any ideas to what that could be? And she is going on vacation for a week, is it safe to leave the tank that long without them being fed or should she have someone come over to feed? She feeds the tube anemone every other day and the purple one about every three days. She also puts some type of liquid food in for the colt coral look a like thing about every three days. Thank you so much for tolerating my questions, I am more of a novice in this as she is and I just want to help her out as well as educate myself. <Have just skipped down... your answers and much more that needs to be made known is posted/archived on WWM. Do yourself, your friend and esp. the livestock in both your care the giant favor of learning to/using the indices, search tool... Bob Fenner>

G'day, Sudden Xenia crash... Cnid. incomp.    2/8/08 Good morning to all at WWM, I have had several Salt tanks for a few years now. All of them have always had pulsing Xenia in them. The tank in question is a 72g BF with a 30 gallon sump, 2x250 MH, 4x54 T5 actinic, Mainly Softies and LPS. <Mmmm> This tank has been setup for a little over 2 years and has had pulsing Xenia in it from the start of adding corals. I haven't added anything new in quite some time I don't even remember when it was but it's been a while. I do however frag/trim stuff fairly often to keep from overgrowing. Tank Parameters SG 1.025-26 Temp 79.8 - 81.1 Nitrate 20 Ammonia 0Nitrite 0Ca 350Mg 13202% - 5% water change every couple of days (I'm a stay at home dad so I like to work on the tank). Okay all that said I woke up yesterday morning, looked at the tank and saw that the pulsing Xenia Had shriveled up drastically more than I'd ever seen it. The tops were turning a light white/green color, also if you moved them at all they let off a dark brown stuff into the water and They smell really bad. I have always kept them isolated to one rock in the tank and trim them down when it gets to big. I usually keep what I trim off in the sump or give them away. The odd thing is that all the Xenia in the sump are doing the same thing! <Mmm, not strange> But no other corals seem to be effected by this. I have attached some pictures of the Xenia in question, <Good ones too> as well as some shots I took just two days ago. I guess my questions are, Is there any hope for them still or are they gone? <Gone> Is it bad to leave them in the tank to see if they make it? <Likely no trouble... are being dissolved, filtered out...> What could do this to them so suddenly, could it have been some kind of chemical warfare, <Yes> the only thing near the rock is a Torch coral, GSP, Toadstool leather? Thanks again, Never could have made it this far into the hobby without everyone's help at this site! Lucas <There was some sort of "cascade effect" by one, two of the above Cnidarians... Likely the Euphyllia... and...? The Xeniid lost. Bob Fenner>

Re: Coral eater  2/4/08 Hi, I have Halichoeres chrysus. Could the fire fish be eating my corals? <Microdesmids rarely chew on Cnidarians> Also can the hermit crabs be a predator? <Oh yes. B> Regards, PraKash

SW questions, Cnid. comp. and NO3 reduction  -- 1/26/08 Hi Crew, My first question is about lighting. I have a 10 gallon which is almost 5 years old. It has 4 different candy canes with a total of about 40 heads. Also four hairy mushrooms (browns with blue lines) that are from one original. <Would be very big trouble if introduced all at once...> All my other mushrooms (reds, greens and blues) have shrunk and just disappeared. <To be expected> In fact there always seems to be one that does great and the others either just hang in or start shrinking. <Bingo> I have 65w PC's. The bulb I currently have is 10k and it will need to be replaced soon. Should I continue with this or can I go with a 50/50. <I would not change> I plan on staying with candy canes and mushrooms. <And not add any more/other Cnidarians> I have lots of coralline on the glass and very little on the rock although it has started to increase on the rock lately. My second question relates to nitrates. I am under the impression that it takes a DSB to have bacteria to process nitrates and if I do not have a DSB then water changes and/or a skimmer will help reduce it, water by dilution and a skimmer by eliminating the source pollutants. <Actually, not so... for biological conversion (denitrification) requires some/any sort of hypo- to an-aerobic setting/media, very low flow rate through, thereabouts... Doesn't have to be... a DSB> The first 3 years that I had my tank my nitrates were usually around .20. But for the last 2 years it is zero and I do not have a skimmer and I change 1 gallon every week. Does that mean I do have some nitrate eating bacteria or is my test kit on the blink. I use one of the cheap test kits (AP's master kit). Thanks <Likely there is no appreciable NO3... Bob Fenner>

Chemical warfare - 1/24/08 Dear Crew, <Wesley> Thanks for the great site. I wish I had spent more time reading before I bought my corals! First I'll give you my tank specs: 50g, 2 x 150 watt MH (20k), protein skimmer, 60 lb live rock, 40 lb sand. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate, <0.01 ppm Phos, 1280 Mg, 8.3 pH when measured toward the end of my 10 hr light cycle. One maroon clown, 1 sand- sifting goby and no plans for anymore fish. <Sounds good and nicely under stocked> I think there's a war going on in my tank, here's why: 9 months ago I upgraded to metal halides so I could start keeping clams and Acros. I sold all my corals except a rock with Zoanthids, some pulsing xenias and a Hydnophora. Added a clam, 3 across and 2 Montipora to the tank over the span of three months. Then I added a RBTA... <Boom, problem solved, too many corals of different Class in a space too small!> This set up lasted for about 3 months with no problems, then the Montipora started to bleach. My phosphates were high so I bought a RO/DI system, started thoroughly washing frozen food, and attributed this to the Montipora deaths. Then two weeks ago about half of my snails died and now some of the across are bleaching. The only thing that has changed since adding the RBTA is the number of Zoanthids. Started at about 30 and is now closer to 200, maybe more. A chemical war between the Zoanthids and the RBTA is my guess. The xenias are nearest the bleaching corals, could that be a problem too? <Xenia in an SPS tank is never a good idea if long-term success is planned, I'd take it all out and swap it for credit, has a nasty habit of taking over! The same goes for the Zoanthids, which are notoriously toxic, and in a comparatively small space they can wreak havoc. If you want SPS success then I would remove all other corals and also the RBTA which will either injure itself or your other inhabitants, most likely both from its untimely demise from the above. With only SPS in the tank it will allow you to build back up your stock levels and get a real feel for how to run an SPS tank and then attempt if you wish a few other less chemically-intrusive corals, namely LPS appropriately distanced of course> What do I need to do to save my tank? <As above, remove all corals other than SPS and focus on the care requirements of these alone for a while. Credit the rest of the stock in, but if you cant bare to let it all go, the Xenia should be your primary concern along with the RBTA. Also some Polyfilter and PO4 remover will help> I'm going to do a water change and remove the Zoanthids while awaiting your reply. <Perfect start, but Xenia!!> Thanks, Wesley <Hope this helps, you were obviously off to a good start as SPS healthy for months initially shows a good grasp to build on! Olly>

Re: chemical warfare, Cnid.s   1/25/08 Dear Crew, <Hi again Wesley> Thank you so much for the quick reply. Just a few more questions: You said remove everything but the SPS corals, does this include the clams? I don't have another tank which I can remove them to other than a five gallon bucket I use for mixing / aerating salt water - currently in use by the Zoanthids. And about the Hydnophora / horn coral; is this ok to leave in the tank? The horn coral and Acros next to it have all faired well, granted they were at the other end of the tank and near their own power head. <The clams can stay in the tank as their interaction with the SPS will be negligible and the Hydnophora can also remain> Maintenance: I do have some ROWA ready to use that I can put in. The reason its not in is because the phosphates are low right now. Do I understand you correctly that this may also help with other chemicals/toxins in the water? <A Polyfilter would be more useful in that capacity but you can run PO$, especially ROWA, constantly without negative effect to withdrawn any phosphate that does and will occur> Also my lights; I'm using USHIO 20k 150 watt HQI's, they are about 9 months old now. Do these need to be changed? I haven't experienced any increased algae growth, but I've read this doesn't necessarily mean the lights haven't 'shifted' to a less beneficial spectrum. I know 14k or 10K would be better but I don't have room to add actinics, and find the 20k pleasing. <I don't recall the depth of your tank and it is possible to maintain SPS perfectly well with 20k bulbs but the PAR output as you probably know is quite low. As this is your first venture into keeping these coral then I would change to 10k or 14k, I imported the Phoenix 14k DE and have been very very pleased with that and the colour it gives will please you so that would be my recommendation. At this early stage whilst you are getting to grips with how an SPS tank works I feel more help from your lights in terms of coral nutrition will leave you more time to concentrate on the other critical elements> While healthy SPS is my priority, eventually you said LPS might be ok. Really the only thing I would care to risk is a brain coral. Would this be ok? <Definitely. I run an SPS system and the only other coral that I have in it are my collection of Trachyphyllia and as long as their tentacles aren't within reach you should be fine here> Finally, removing the xenias and Zoanthids means removing about 1/3 of the live rock. Any concerns about bioload? As I indicated in the previous email I'm on essentially a Berlin system; just sand, rocks, Eheim canister filter, and a protein skimmer. <Is it not possible to chisel the inhabited areas off the rock, of course taking care not to leave any metal deposits? The bioload should cope as long as you don't add anything else for a while, increase flow if possible and keep running the ROWA as this will take care of the phosphate that is released when you start shifting rock structures around -- detritus agitation> End of questions, I know that was a lot hah. Thank you for the advice and quick response. On my way to the LFS with a bucket of Zoanthids and xenia right now! <Good to hear it, hope all this is helping and I think we're almost sorted> Best regards, Wesley
<Olly>

Silent Killer In My Tank... just Cnid. allelo...   12/23/07 Hi Crew, <Jon> I was referred to you by the Foster's & Smith Tech Team. <Many fine folks there> I have been corresponding with them regarding my tank problems for about a week (to no avail). Here is the problem, for a little over a month, some of my coral and invertebrates are dying off, while others are thriving. The following livestock are effected: Brain Coral (looks as if the soft individual polyps have receded and what's left is just the skeleton), Plate Coral (the mouth remains wide open and starting to tear, while the tentacles no longer come out), Frog Spawn (have detached from the branches of rock it was on and floated away behind the live rock), Bulb Tip Anemone (Its shrinking every day, the tentacles are almost non existent) Fancy Tiger Striped Star Fish (is missing two of it's legs). Parameters get checked weekly. I do a 10% water change weekly. I sense a virus. <Mmm, not me...> The history, equipment, parameters, livestock and pictures are as follows: History: The tank has been running for approximately two years. No major setbacks until now. The two newest additions were the halide lighting and the nitrate filter. Both have been running about six weeks. The Anemone and Frog Spawn are about 9 months in the tank. The Plate and Brain Coral have been in the tank about two years and have never had a problem, until about a month ago. I have not had any new livestock in the tank for at least six months. Equipment: 70 gallon tank 4 wave makers Sump Tank Biological Filter (biospheres) Protein Skimmer 10 W UV light Nitrate Filter (running about 6 weeks now) 314W Halide/Blue Actinic Lighting 1 Lunar Light Chiller Phosphate filter bag Parameters: Alk- 300 Ca- 450 Mg- >1280 Nitrate- 20 (down from 40 a month ago) Nitrites- 0 Ph- 8.0 Phosphate- .1 Specific Gravity- 1.024 Temperature- 71-73 degrees Specimens: 2-Blue Damsels 2- Four Stripe Damsels 1- Maroon Clownfish 1- Tomato Clownfish 1- Yellow Tang 1- Brain Coral Bullseye Mushrooms Button Polyps Candy Cane Coral Yellow Colony Polyps Frog Spawn (pretty much doomed at this point) Hairy Mushroom 1- Plate Coral 1- Blood Red Fire Shrimp 1- Bulb Anemone 1- Zebra Moray Eel 1- Black Longspine Urchin 1- Fancy Sea Star 1- Fancy Tiger Striped Several Dwarf Red Tip Hermit Crabs Some Flat worms Several Margarita Snails Several Scarlet Reef Hermit Crabs Tubiculous Polychaete Worms 50 lbs.-Fiji Premium Live Rock 50 lbs. Tonga Ridge Shelf Live Rock Fiji Mud Crushed Coral Substrate (2") Chaetomorpha Algae Pictures Enclosed: #2152- Frog Spawn floating around the tank #2148- Anemone shrinking #2149- Brain Coral receding #2150- Plate Coral w/ mouth wide open and torn #2151- Branches of rock where the Frog Spawn removed themselves I thank you for your time with this situation. I just hope that if this is a virus, the whole tank doesn't get infested. Please advise. Thanks again, Jon Hess <It is highly likely you have a classical allelopathological situation here... Most likely triggered by the Entacmaea presence... Please start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and the linked file above. This is such a common situation of induced problems, am making the topic my annual/08 pitch routine. Bob Fenner>

Re: Silent Killer In My Tank, using WWM - 12/23/07 Hi Bob, Thanks for the valuable information. You raise an interesting point, which leads me to ask, should I look to eliminate the BTA? Can I eventually stock the tank with more coral or am I at my limit? Jon
<Keep reading Jon... Onto Entacmaea compatibility. BobF>

Re: Calcium vs. Alkalinity, now Cnid. incomp. - 12/12/07 Thanks for your previous feedback. <<My pleasure>> I have noticed both in the WWM site as well as your response to my posting, that soft corals and anemones are not considered compatible. <<I don't recommend them be mixed with 'any' sessile inverts due to the anemone's tendency to 'wander' and come in physical contact re...but additionally, most soft corals also prove to be very noxious to the anemone>> I am a bit surprised that I have not been under this impression previously and I know at least a couple of fellow aquarists that also have been keeping such co-inhabitants. <<Mmm, yes...I know more then a 'few'...even did it myself in my younger days. And have even witnessed such displays at public aquariums.>> Are there different degrees of compatibility? <<Compatibility?...no Tolerance?...probably>> Am I causing harm to either of these creatures? <<To some degree...most assuredly. These creatures are all aware of each others presence...and likely in constant combat-mode. The soft corals exude noxious chemicals...the anemones release stinging-cells in to the water column...all of which is made worse by the confines of a closed system>> They seem rather successful. <<Maybe... But consider that these creatures are expending energies on attack and defense that could be going toward increased health and vigor, growth, even reproduction>> In actuality, I am keeping many mushrooms, 3 medium sized leathers along with the one (hard?) Acropora which has been unintentionally fragmented into several pieces. My anemones are 3 rose's and one very large sebae (white w/lavender tips). <<Yikes, not a good idea to mix anemone species either... Even a group of conspecifics can be a problem unless they are clones>> What would you recommend for the future of my creatures? I am not in this to cause harm. <<Ideally, the anemones would be housed in species specific systems designed for their 'long-term' health>> It seems strange that we get attached to aquarium creatures!! <<Indeed...though maybe not to the same extent as that for a beloved dog or cat. But I do believe aquarists should at least have compassion for the creatures they keep>> Gratefully, Wes J <<Happy to share my opinions. EricR>>

Re: Unintentionally Kill New Finger Leather? Shroom incomp.  11/23/07 Hello again, WWM! <Daryl> Unfortunately, the finger leather coral we chatted about earlier didn't make it. However, I now know about the seriousness of allelopathy! <Ah, good> Now, I would like to add a new coral or two to my established tank. However, I still have mushrooms everywhere! Do I have to remove these mushrooms to have any chance of successfully introducing a new coral? <Mmm, there are techniques for gradually/getting used to such established settings... in another tank... with some water moved from the existing... perhaps a few of the Corallimorphs...> The mushrooms are everywhere, like I said. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can move these mushrooms to several loose rocks so I can sell/give some of them away? <Mmm, likely the existing rock can be cut/broken... with polyps on parts... or a chisel type tool can be employed to sheer part of the rock and bases off...> After looking in the tank, there has to be at least 50 2-3" mushrooms in this 75 gal tank! Also, I've successfully fragged two more heads from my toadstool leather. One of them is nearly 3" tall after only a couple months! Perhaps I should see if the local LFS would like some mushrooms and a toadstool for some new coral?!? <A very good idea. BobF> Thanks for all your help! Daryl

Re: moving and improving... and sugg.s for the Cnid. incomp. art./ppt  11/23/07 Hey Bob, Sorry it has taken me so long to reply and take a look at your presentation, we are finally at the coast now getting ready to move the tank now. We have been VERY busy. I would love to show you the changes. We have been having some great luck with the aquarium lately. While we are out of town I have someone feeding the tank every day for me with frozen prepared foods I set up in an ice tray. I thawed brine shrimp, Cyclop Eeze, and Mysid shrimp added garlic extreme, Zoe and Selcon, let that all soak for an hour then froze them so all that needs to be done is to pop them out, thaw and feed. <Good technique> My fianc√©© was so excited the other day to see a few Chitons in the tank 2 of them had some really cool color to them, our starfish (Fromia sp.) is doing quite well in our tank, it has been 3 months now and it seems happy as can be, I am looking forward to watching it grow and hopefully continue to thrive in this tank. I have some really interesting photos of unidentified critters to show you as well, once I get my computer set back up. I am taking a look at your ppt presentation and I like the direction you are taking with this, great information! One thing I am having trouble with is reading the black type against that blue background. <I think I will change the rest to the off-light-green then> In general the page layouts are nice. I like the photos you picked, very good demonstrations. The layering effect is nice as well. Overall a wonderful presentation, all I can think of here is more contrast between the type and the background, and a nice dark background to compliment the photos rather than compete with them, the blue "steals the spotlight", and makes the type hard to focus on, black backgrounds work well for that, perhaps with white type? Maybe use bold font as well? On page 2 I noticed some size variation in the photos, have you thought of balancing the bottom two photos height wise? That may make a difference in the flow of the page. I think the whole thing is great! So are you working on any new projects (books) or planning on such? <Always a few> I would love to have more of your works, they have been like bibles to me while learning about my aquatic pets, and teaching my fianc√©© how to care for them as well. I have gotten the whole family into this stuff now, we often go tide pooling out here, tomorrow is a -1.8 should be nice. We go out and capture critters such as octopus, eels, shrimps, crabs, snails, starfish, urchins etc and take good looks at them, discuss differences in certain animals / species being careful not to harm them and always return them safely to exactly where we got them, sometimes we save a few unfortunate critters from certain doom as well. I look forward to sharing my moving experience with you soon, have a great thanks giving! Sincerely, Brian Crenshaw <Thank you for sharing and your input Bri. BobF>

Cnid. incomp., crowding... refugium use  11/19/07 hello again Hi all! Two purposes to this email, one as an update, in case it helps others, and two, to ask a couple of questions: Background info: Main tank - 65 gal, with 4X96 watt lights, one 6700, one 10000, one 460 nm, and one 420 nm. I use a Hydor ETH 300 external heater (I love this unit, very reliable and constant heat input to tank). Lots of live rock, two Phosban reactors used for activated carbon (I switch between them every month - very firm believer in the benefits of activated carbon). Protein skimmer - skimmer, carbon etc. in wet dry sump. Refugium is a 37 gal. glass tank that I installed acrylic baffles into (acrylic didn't bond well to silicon- it holds well and is strong, but water passes by silicon). <Right, silicone shouldn't be used to bond acrylic to glass.) In the main tank I have two rapidly expanding star polyp colonies, lots of pulsating Xenia (started from one colony, now I'm up to about 10), Pavona cactus, hammer coral (one fragment, now expanded to 6 separate clusters), branching Montipora (started from a 1" fragment rubber banded to a rock, now about 3" in diameter and growing, two colonies of Nephthea (or Capnella, not sure), two Sarcophyton elegans, and some mushrooms (on a cluster of rock). <Ugh, why would you put a Sarcophyton in with a Euphyllia? Sarcophytons are notoriously toxic to a lot of large polyp stony corals.> Finally two very small Zoanthid polyp rocks, that seem to hold their own, with some small expansion. Buying fragments works out well for me, they're cheaper, and they seem to me to be very hardy. <...and more "environmentally friendly." :-)> As for other organisms, have three serpent stars, one Echinometra matthei (hitchhiker who's growing up), multiple hermit crabs, one blue-green Chromis, one Sebae clown, one coral beauty and one keyhole angel (have had these angels for years, seem to leave corals alone), one yellow clown goby, one lawnmower blenny, and one pearly Jawfish. <All these in a 65g tank? It's going to get crowded as these fish grow (I'm assuming the angel and Sebae haven't reached full size yet).> Also have a large Featherduster at the base of my rock (have had for over two years), within the last year, the Sebae clown has started a symbiotic relationship with this feather duster. <Yeah, these clowns will apparently try to bond with anything.> 1) Update - I've been running a fishless refugium now for a year and a half (thanks to Eric R. for some good advice). What I noticed is that there is way more stability in my display tank, and everything is hardy and growing well. The refugium is really neat to look at as well, lots of life in there in the form of worms, micro stars, copepods, Mysids, feather dusters, Sycon sponges, etc. <Cool. Refugiums are great.> I run a DSB section in my refugium, with live rock and I try to harvest out algae at some frequency (lots of green hair algae, though I've added Chaetomorpha and am not sure how to make this catch on better). <Maybe this will help: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/greenalg.htm> Does Chaeto grow quickly or do I need to really stock up a larger quantity to get started? <It just depends on how much light you put on it, availability of nutrients, etc. Most people report that it grows pretty fast.> Even if my phosphates are low (near zero) and I try to reduce the time the lights are on in the refugium, I seem to get the hair algae (very bright green, long, dense). <Your phosphates might be zero (or near zero) BECAUSE you have hair algae growing. Also, phosphate test kits only measure inorganic phosphates. Growing macroalgae in the refugium should help.> I've recently noticed a near explosion of white limpets in my refugium, with some making their way over into my display tank. From what I've read, I don't *think* I should be concerned, but I wanted to mention it in case you disagree. The only livestock I've ever added to the refugium are three small turbo snails, some small micro stars, and a green sea hare. (maybe Elysia?) I drain water off of my display tank, with a suction pump in the charge side of the refugium, and then pump back to my main tank with a pump from the discharge side. I have some safeties in the form of level switches to make sure I don't overflow anywhere, so far have had no problems. I cannot stress enough what a positive experience the refugium has been. <Excellent... please spread the word.> I chart my tank chemistry in MS Excel, and I can see exactly where my nitrates dropped to zero once I brought the refugium on-line. <cool> I also just recently got up enough courage to remove my bio-balls from my main tank wet-dry sump, I will update if anything changes, though I don't expect it to. I have stopped almost all tank supplements, other than Kalkwasser (with a 3 mL vinegar boost to one liter of Kalk solution from an Aquadoser per Julian Sprung's Reef Aquarium Vol. 3), occasional Lugol's sol'n for iodine and once in a while an HBH Balance block (probably not necessary?) - I've given up on all pollution in a bottle! <fabulous> I really feel that I get a large portion of phyto and zooplankton from my refugium. I run RDP on the refugium, probably a little overpowered on lights, 96 watt dual daylight/actinic on about 37 gal. tank, but I re-used these lights from my main tank when I upgraded it. I enjoyed building the refugium, the family likes it, and the livestock in my display tank certainly like it. I also enjoy looking for new and never before seen microorganisms in this tank as time goes on. I've never had this healthy a system before. Those out there considering, please give it a try, using this site as a reference, as well as the Calfo/Fenner Marine Invertebrates book - they have a great section on all the different types of refugiums you can build. <yep> My tattered book is currently on loan to my brother/sister-in-law, as I think they've decided to give a refugium a try after keeping an eye on mine. <Great!> 2) Now some questions. I've always had my corals pretty well spread out, and have taken care to relocate some (figured out my Nephthea were probably attacking my Zoanthids). So I had pretty good spacing. And everything is growing very well. However, two areas concern me. My hammer coral is expanding heartily toward my Pavona and my xenia. I've noticed that the xenia are moving away from the hammer. I just noticed the hammer is now touching the Pavona. Perhaps the carbon helps reduce the chemical warfare, but I'm assuming I need to cut back a couple of stalks to give away, or else move the hammer? <You can do either. But the Euphyllia will hurt the Pavona if it touches it.> My star polyps expand in a thick mat everywhere. They've surrounded the base of the Sarcophyton elegans and the mat has moved some way up the stalks. Other than that the elegans both look ok, but will there be a problem here? <Possibly, star polyps can get to be a nuisance.> Do I need to pull that mat back away, or do you think they will find equilibrium somewhere? It looks like the mat never makes it up the shafts, but maybe the elegans are expending valuable energy growing upwards to try and get away from the star polyps? <They're competing for space. I doubt either is enjoying it. Are you asking me who will win? I don't know. If it were me, I'd remove the Sarcophyton (b/c they are often toxic to stony corals).> Sorry for the long email - thanks again for all the great info, hope this helps somebody else, and if you're reading this and on the fence about refugiums.......go build one!!! You won't regret it! <Haha... definitely. Best,
Sara M.>

Misc. to be expected small reef mixed Cnid. prob.s    11/14/07 Hi Crew, I have a 10 gallon running about 4 years. It has a mechanical filter, 10 pounds of (one large) rock and 65w pc. I have mushrooms, candy canes and star polyps and some gobies. <Mmmm....> Over time my mushrooms have changed quite a bit. It seems that one type is doing great and the others either just hang in there or slowly disappear. <Oh yes...> I have red ones that used to produce at least one baby a month but now they are staying small and no new babies. <"Losers"> I had some nice blue ones but they have disappeared. I have a hairy type with many colors. Started with two and now have 5 but they also seem to have stopped dividing. I had a Yuma type on a small rock but it left the rock when a small feather duster started coming out. The feather duster is now about as large as a quarter when fully open. It has been like this almost a year. The mushroom that left the rock eventually disintegrated. My candy canes have nice color and flesh but very little growth of new heads. The star polyps are 2 small colonies. One is static and the other has started to expand off the plug it came on onto the sand. I have decided to get rid of the star polyps based on an earlier reply from the Crew. Based on what has happened in this tank I would assume that the chemical warfare exists not only between different species of coral but also within the same group such as mushrooms. <Ah yes> And therefore, at any one time, one group does better than the other. Thanks, Sam <Mr. B... take a look at my outline for a pitch am giving at the MARSH club in Jan.: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm What do you think? Bob Fenner>

Re: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm , small SW stocking f's  11/15/07 Really more than an outline. Very informative. Also lets me understand why you always push for larger systems. What I found most interesting is your statement that over time they can get used to each other. Thanks Sam <Thanks much for the input Sam. Am going to think re for a while, try to crank out an article or two re specific applications. BobF>

Elegance Coral - secreting white cotton like substance...   11/12/07 Hi, Thank you for maintaining a very informative site that provides extremely useful information to beginner like me. I recently bought an Elegance coral, I put it on the bottom of the tank as many of your articles suggested, and I tried to place it as far away as possible from the lighting. Since I put it in the tank, it started secreting some white stuff from a few of its mouths. The white stuff looks like cotton balls, pretty white in color (no brown stuff so far) and dense, and occasionally white slimy stuff. When I put the Elegance in the tank, my cleaner shrimp checked it out. It was pretty detailed, <?> and it pushed its claws into each of the mouths. I am not sure if it caused the problem. I tried to search your site, I saw most problems were related to brown stuff, but mine is white. The coral never fully opens. Is it some kind of a disease? <How long have you had this animal? What other livestock/cnidarians esp. are present? What re your water quality? What have you tried feeding it?> Should I dip it in SeaChem Coral Dip (the only medication I have now)? <... no> I also have an Open Brain before the Elegance. <Oh!> The Open Brain used to open very well. <How far away is this colony?> From the day I have the Elegance in the water, the Open Brain seems to open less as large as previously, and it has been hiding its tentacles so far. <Ah yes> Is the Elegance secreting some kind of chemical that affects other corals? <Oh YES!> Thanks in advance for your help! Simon <Look on WWM, the wider Net re mesenterial filaments, sweeper tentacles... of Caryophyliids... compatibility of Cnidarians... you have a battle going on here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Elegance Coral - secreting white cotton like substance... still not reading...  11/13/07 > Hi, > Thank you for maintaining a very informative site that provides extremely useful information to beginner like me. > I recently bought an Elegance coral, I put it on the bottom of the tank as many of your articles suggested, and I tried to place it as far away as possible from the lighting. Since I put it in the tank, it started secreting some white stuff from a few of its mouths. The white stuff looks like cotton balls, pretty white in color (no brown stuff so far) and dense, and occasionally white slimy stuff. When I put the Elegance in the tank, my cleaner shrimp checked it out. It was pretty detailed, > <?> [The shrimp was all over it including the mouths. I would be very happy if my clown does the same instead of the shrimp. <... no... It would be consumed> The condition of the Elegance is getting worse and it is completely closed, some tentacles are being bitten off by the shrimp and I can see them floating in the water! I can now see the white stuff between the skeleton and the flesh. May be I have an aggressive cleaner shrimp. This is not the first time, I have a frogspawn. <... ! You didn't mention this...> Please forgive my ignorance if I got it completely wrong. On the frogspawn, there is a small area like a small volcano. There are some really small tentacles inside it and they move in and out to drag food inside. The shrimp actually pull the poor little thing out <?> and now I think it is left with an empty shell, though the frogspawn seems to be ok.] > and it pushed its claws into each of the mouths. > I am not sure if it caused the problem. I tried to search your site, I saw most problems were related to brown stuff, but mine is white. > The coral never fully opens. Is it some kind of a disease? > <How long have you had this animal? What other livestock/cnidarians esp. are present? What re your water quality? What have you tried feeding it?> [I only have it for 3 days. I have a clown, a cleaner shrimp, a frogspawn, a open brain and a few snails. I also had a Sailfin until this morning! <Killed by the stony coral interaction...> It was doing very ok on the day I introduced the Elegance. It was very relax searching for food, it was eating, and it was not shy at all. Its condition suddenly went very bad, breathing very rapidly and then died within hours. Could it be the chemical from the Elegance? <Yes...> I also noticed the water get a bit foggy during the past two days. The water parameters was perfect, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Ca, KH, pH are all at the recommended level for reef the day before I have the Elegance. I can't imagine they can change drastically within 3 days.] <Not the root cause here. What is? Your jamming incompatible life...> > Should I dip it in SeaChem Coral Dip (the only medication I have now)? > <... no> > I also have an Open Brain before the Elegance. > <Oh!> > The Open Brain used to open very well. > <How far away is this colony?> [They are at least 6 inches apart. I did not see any tentacles that can reach that far.] <Euphylliids need to be placed a foot or more apart... their sweeper tentacles can reach this far... mesenterial filaments can break off, chemical allelopathy go throughout the system...> > From the day I have the Elegance in the water, the Open Brain seems to open less as large as previously, and it has been hiding its tentacles so far. > <Ah yes> > Is the Elegance secreting some kind of chemical that affects other corals? > <Oh YES!> > Thanks in advance for your help! > Simon > <Look on WWM, the wider Net re mesenterial filaments, sweeper tentacles... of Caryophyliids... compatibility of Cnidarians... you have a battle going on here. Bob Fenner> [I can't deal with chemical warfare in my nano. I just move the Elegance to a QT and I have to decide the next step. I am not even sure if it can survive since it is completely close. Another lesson I guess! Thanks.] <... too cavalier. Read here (don't write): http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Worms!!! Help!!! 10/27/07 Hello, I'm having a huge problem with a tube worm "tubiculous Polychaete"? <That's actually not an animal name. It's an adjective put before a descriptive noun. Basically, it's just a fancy way of saying "tube worm."> It started out as two that where in my tank for a couple years. They were really cool at first, never multiplied or disturbed anything, just cast a silk line out every now and then and would reel in various things that floated by.? <They sound like Vermetid snails. They're actually not worms. Please see here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-01/rs/index.php> Suddenly, after all this time, they have started multiplying exponentially. I've literally got hundred of them and there silk is bothering corals and making the tank look nasty. <They're probably not bothering the corals, but they can be aesthetically unpleasing.> To top it off, the tubes they make are sharp and I've cut myself several times on them. Do these things have any natural predators that I can put in the tank, or is there some other way to get rid of them? <I don't think they have any predators you could keep in an aquarium. But these things usually go through booms and busts. They'll likely start to die down eventually on their own. There are some desperate measures you could take (involving things like NaOH), but if I were you, I'd just make my peace with them for now and hope they go away eventually.> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for all the great info! Will <De nada, Sara M.>

Re: was ID, now Vermetid snails hurting corals? -- 10/28/07 Sara M., Thank you for helping me put an name to my plague. After doing some research, I found some pics of Vermetid snails and that is definitely what they are. I also found a study on their effects on corals in the wild and it stated that they can reduce growth of some corals by up to 90% (http://eco.confex.com/eco/2007/techprogram/P7313.HTM ). <Very interesting! Thank you. However, the researchers only looked small polyped stony corals. And even among those, they noted that there was a great difference in how much the snails apparently effected each of the different types of corals. I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that these snails would have the same effect on other corals. Also, I'm curious to know more about the details of the research (i.e. did they study just one type of Vermetid snail or all types?). There is a great variety of Vermetid snails on reefs. For one thing, some are quite large while some are really small. This study is certainly thought provoking, and I thank you for finding and sharing it. However, I wouldn't read too much into it at this point.> I found another site that said that some Copperbanded butterflies will eat them. Do these fish pose any threat to desirable corals?? <Butterfly fish aren't generally considered "reef safe." There's no guarantee they would prefer the Vermetid worms to your soft corals. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BFsBestWrst.htm> Right now all I have is Zoanthids, xenia, and mushrooms. <As mentioned, I wouldn't assume that the study results apply to soft corals.> Thanks again! Will <De nada, Sara M.>

New Fishes, New Problems (Problems With New Fish Additions) -- 09/23/07 Good morning crew. <Hi there! Scott F. in today!> First, I just want to say thank you for donating your time like this!! I have found so much useful information and contribute the success of the tank to some articles on your site! <Thanks for the kind words. We have a top notch crew of talented volunteers here on WWM, and I'm proud to be associated with them!> I have a 75 gallon tank coral/fish and is doing pretty well. Ammonia - 0 Nitrate - 0 Nitrite - 0 PH - 8.2 Alk - Normal Tank mates include: Clownfish Black and White Damsel Diamond Goby Coral Banded Shrimp Atlantic Anemone Bubble Coral Christmas Coral Assorted Polyps 4 turbo snails Assorted blue and red crabs 2 feather dusters <Interesting mix...> The Polyps tend to flourish in my tank growing larger and larger everyday. The anemone, bubble and Christmas tree all seem to sustain life but don't seem to flourish like the polyps. <Well, anemones do have rather demanding husbandry requirements and you really are better off creating a system to cater to their specific needs. Categorically, they don't do well in mixed aquariums in the long run for most people.> I can't seem to keep alive additional fish in the tank. I added a Cardinal who lasted a few weeks then passed. I immediately tested the tank and all levels were 0. Not trusting my tests I took my water to the LFS and all levels were perfect. I tried again with a Foxface and same result. <Curious. BTW, I think that a Foxface needs more space than this aquarium can afford, but I don't see that as the reason why the fish died.> The current fish seem to do great and love life. There does not seem to be any aggression towards anything. I have read about other 75 gallon tanks that have twice as much livestock. <I'm sure that there are systems out there like that. However, think about this for a second: I have lots of friends who drive their cars though twisty canyon at ridiculous speeds, and they never get into accidents...Does that mean that I should also be driving outrageously fast on the same roads? Maybe a bad analogy, but you get the picture. For optimum success, create an environment that provides all of your specimens conditions that they need to thrive, including conservative stocking levels. Who cares what "other guys" do? You do what you feel is right for your animals. That's what got you where you are!> I attribute this to my actual water quantity. It's a 75 gallon tank with almost 90-100 lbs of live rock and about 75 lbs of sand. My displacement is about 8-10 gallons. My canister filter and remora protein skimmer are the only devices that add water quantity to the system. In your opinion have I reached my tanks capacity? I would like additional fish but not at the expense of their lives. <I commend you on your philosophy. I believe that you could probably keep one or two additional small fish in this system. I'm more concerned about your mix of inverts that I am about your fish. It's hard to say why the fishes that you introduced died. Could be stress from acclimation, transport, etc. It sounds like overt aggression from other tankmates and water quality were not factors. It really sounds like an issue related to the new fish themselves. Review your selection process, quarantine procedure, and fish source. Another, rather distant possibility is that there is some sort of pathogen in your system that the existing inhabitants have developed an immunity to, but that the new fishes were unable to withstand. Personally, I'm leaning towards the new fishes themselves. Do review the issues that I pointed out, and perhaps you'll have better luck in the future! Regards, Scott F.>

Tank trouble... Allelopathy amongst Cnidarians?   7/21/07 Hey guys, <Melissa> I have something crazy going on in my tank. Overnight all of my stony corals started to bleach. Within two days most of them were dead. <Yeeikes!> Also my clowns look like they have some type of film on them. Lastly, my Coral Beauty angel is missing half of her tail and her dorsal fin. It resembles peeling after a sunburn. I have no idea what could be happening. This tank was started in January of 2007. <Something very wrong...> My tank specs: 150 gallon reef with two built in overflows Wet/dry filter, slowly replacing bio balls with live rock to bring nitrates down Protein skimmer Wavemaker system Nothing new has been added to the tank in at least 3 months Fish: Sailfin tang, regal tang, two clowns, Naso tang, Pseudochromis, watchman goby and a coral, beauty angel Coral: open brain, maze brain, bubble coral, green polyp birds nest, xenia, frogs spawn, pipe organ, star polyps, trumpet coral, plate coral, and a variety of mushrooms and button polyps. Well, this is what I did have. Inverts: two cleaner shrimp, turbo snails, clam, hermits, spiny oyster and two feather dusters I did two water changes since this all began on Sunday (20%). Should I do more? <Mmmmmm, maybe... but not with the salt mix you've been using perhaps. Have you tried adding some chemical filtrants... Activated carbon, Polyfilter... I would> The strange thing is that the soft corals look fine. <Mmm, they may indeed be the source of the trouble here> I would appreciate any assistance. I really want to save anything that I can. pH-7.8 <Low> ammonia-0 nitrites-0 nitrates- under 20 Thanks, Melissa <I would move the "mal-affecteds"/what you can if you have space elsewhere... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/softcrlcompfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

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