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FAQs about Stony Coral Selection 2

Related Articles: Stony Coral Selection, Stony Coral Identification, Coral Feeding, LPS Corals, True or Stony Corals, Order Scleractinia, Propagation for Marine Aquarium Use,

Related FAQs: Selection 1, Cnidarian Selection, Growing Reef CoralsSoft Coral SelectionStony Coral Behavior,  

 A Goniopora species in captivity.  

Super colored corals!     6/27/13
Hi Bob, have been your fan for many many yrs, your simple and smart suggestion on reef keeping helped me a lot in my initial stage of the hobby!
after many many year i have a well established reef tank! thanks to you and WetWebMedia!
however, this msg is mainly my question about all these new corals coming in with really unnatural corals, some may be real but some seem very unbelievable...
whats ur take on these.. see link:
are the dyed or are the photographed using some special lighting, and if they are dying it, seems they have come up with some new methods!!!
what to u feel looking at the pics on that link, that profile has many more similar pics
thanks a lot!!!
Not dyed I believe; but with intense, specialized lighting and likely
further color-manipulated post production (e.g. "photoshopped"). Cheers, Bob Fenner

Re: Are there any corals that can withstand 115 degrees Fahrenheit or 45 degrees Celsius?      5/27/13
Thanks for the quick reply. The root cause of the problem for my country is population explosion.
<Ah yes; around the world. But we are not going to reverse this trend here, now... And India will soon have one fifth of the world's work force... under and un- and mis-employed. Your country's laws need to change, the financial institutions loosen up... REALLY, time for you to have some people in higher government that are under 65 years old. There are none currently>
 The city folks understand it and have only one child but the rural folks, religious extremists (all religions in India are to blame), bureaucrats (some have 7 kids) and politicians (who are mostly polygamous even though by policy they oppose it!) don't realise it. If population is brought down below 200 million we will be living in a paradise. So guess it is very hard to keep corals. But i have one question there is a reef near rameswaram
<http://tourism.webindia123.com/tourism/wildlife/nationalpark/marinenational park/index.htm?state=Tamil+Nadu&state_id=41&sub_cat=National+Parks> (the hottest place in tamilnadu) how can it survive.
<I see; twixt India and Sri Lanka... the water is cooler than the air, and it's constantly circulating... it doesn't get warmer than the eighties F, except perhaps in lagoons at low tide>
 Also one in Gujarat
<http://www.jamnagar.org/mnp.htm > which seem to do well even with all the pollution.
<Yes regarding this last... many corals do fine in "polluted water">
 I am no biologist but just curious. Also are you related to Robert m fenner of "the conscientious marine aquarist" book.
<I am that person>
I have bought his book costed me 6000 rupees ( the freight alone costed 3000).
 That was the book that started me into the hobby. If you are related to him please ask him to mention the temperature range less importance is given to that (don't blame him he lives in a much colder region).
<Ah yes; San Diego, CA... where I am now>
I didn't know about temperature until a local hobbyist told me so. Everytime i see people buying a magnificent anemone just because it is cheaper than a Bubbletip anemone. I am reminded of his book. If they had read it they would not buy it.
<Ahh! Hopefully>
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Are there any corals that can withstand 115 degrees Fahrenheit or 45 degrees Celsius?      5/28/13

Thanks for the valuable insights you rock!!!!
<Ah, glad to share. BobF>

Quick Question/Growing Corals 1/5/12
Dear WWM,
   My tank is doing very well but I do have one question. Obviously, I have no intension of trying to keep a Goniopora but how will I know when I can move from 'Beginner' corals to 'Intermediate' corals. I keep LPS corals. Bubble, Torch, Trumpet, Duncan. I just found a website that said Frogspawn was an expert only coral and I would love to add it but I don't want to kill anything in my tank or contribute to the mass extermination of reefs.
<Mmm, would not class that in the "expert" class.  More like moderate.>
How do I know when I am ready to consider myself not a beginner?
<When you gain enough knowledge about individual coral's needs and you can provide these requirements.
Understanding allelopathy is important as well, some corals do not do well with others.
Euphylliids are especially high on the allelopathy list and the Frogspawn is a member of this genus.
Plenty of info on our site to read/learn.
James (Salty Dog)>

More coral questions... Stony sel.   12/26/10
Hello Crew,
Once again, I ask for your opinion on several corals that would be able to survive in a 28 gallon cube with 150 watt MH lighting. After purchasing Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals (for a pretty penny, I might add . . . ) and flipping through just about every page, I've revised my list. Because of the limited space I am definitely not looking for something that will spread out across the bottom with the goal of smothering the tank. As of now, I am seriously thinking about purchasing either a Montipora (likely one of the plate-like ones such as Montipora tuberculosa) or a Porites as a first coral. I want something that, in the long run, is fairly easy to propagate without much risk and can do well under the supervision of a novice.
<Montiporas will be a better choice than Poritids>
I read that these are both fairly timid corals, so I was really wondering, if I went in that direction, what else to add in due time.
That being said, would adding a Lobophyllia (which normally require a calm current and strong lighting I believe) some time afterwards, if not before, be a good choice?
<Mussids are much more slower growers>
Seems to me they are quite common and are one of the few corals I could actually recognize before reading up a bit.
Please give me your opinion, and don't be afraid to suggest a coral or two ;)
Many thanks,
Sam Sutonovski
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Coral Selection   3/20/10
Hi WWM Crew!
I was starting to consider what corals to stock in my 3-month old RSM 66 gallon AIO. For reference, it has 117w of 10k T5s and 117w of actinics about an two or three inches from the water surface. The display portion of the
tank is approximately 3' x 17" x 22". I've come up with a short list of corals, and would like to get an opinion on keeping them together.
Goniastrea (2 colonies)
Torch/Frogspawn/Hammer (something with a bit of movement to balance out the relatively static look of the rest of the corals, likely 2 of these 3 varieties)
<Aggressive species. See WWM re placement, stocking/selection>
Trachyphyllia (I was thinking of a Geoffroyi and a Radiata across the tank from each other, as the Radiatas tend to be metallic whereas the Geoffroyi tend to be more "pastel", at least as I've seen them)
Acanthastrea (likely a lordhoweensis colony or 2)
Also, which of these corals would be best to start with for a coral beginner?
<The Trachyphyllia>
I've come to understand the brain varieties to be the hardiest of the bunch (Goniastrea and Trachyphyllia, in this case).
Thanks alot <No such word> guys!
Andrew Angrist
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Rhizotrochus... family Flabellidae 02/14/09 Crew, I was at my LFS today and noticed two stony corals labeled "Rhizotrochus." They were $650 each! These were very large (fist-sized), white/clear single polyps with long sweeper-like tentacles. <Wow... that's some major lettuce.> I can't find much about them on-line, other than the full name, Rhizotrochus typus. They were not particularly attractive, so for $650 per polyp they must pretty unique in some way. <Not necessarily... it's just supply and demand. If the supply is low and the demand high, the price will be high. Think Beanie Babies in the '90s...> Do you have any information or sites you could share? <Hmm, I couldn't find much specific to these corals either. But I'm fairly sure the care requirements for them are similar to those for most LPS. Though, because it's a Caryophylliina, it might be azooxanthellate. I'll keep looking, researching for you...> Thanks! Andy <De nada, Sara M.>

$650 Rhizotrochus   2/17/08 Dear Sara, I snapped these pictures today of the $650 Rhizotrochus. Sorry for the quality, but all I had was my cell phone.

Thanks for these. It's always interesting to see what the "hottest" "new" coral is (of course, I'm being a bit facetious here)... if you really want one, I'd just wait until the "craze" dies down or you find one mislabeled as an "unknown LPS." ;-) Cheers, Sara Ha, $650 buys a lot of frags! I don't want one, Sara. I just thought I'd pass along/try to learn about something that I'd never seen in the hobby before. These Rhizotrochus look pretty plain to me. Other than an orange mouth and being big, there really isn't much that excites me about these two. They look like giant white curly cue anemones to me. I believe there are others out there that are brightly colored. Take care!
<cool... thanks for sharing the pics>


Some explanation is needed, sel./$ of Scleractinians  -12/19/2007 Hi there, I am so confused after reading this post by Anthony. AFAIK, there's no one selling @ the price that Anthony proposed. <<Actually, I've seen them being sold at these absurd prices all around the country.>> And this gets more true for Acans or Duncans. Do you guys (specially Anthony) have some proof to back this up? Not trying to be rough, but just want to understand it a bit better. <<I'm not sure what you want in the way of "proof" exactly. It was certainly true at the time Anthony wrote this. However, the prices may be going down now. You can get some idea what they're going for these days by looking on EBay.>> Feeding Mussid LPS corals 5/13/05 Hello, I just lucked out on a single polyp of Blastomussa wellsi and three polyps of Acan lord, my question is should they be imbedded in the sand or glued to a lower section of live rock? <My first concern is that you got robbed (price-gouged really) in saying that you "lucked" into a single polyps of Blastomussa wellsi. These are common in imports... landing in LA for around $10 per colony (10-30 polyps). An appropriate retail price for the whole colony would be $30-50. Single polyps are worth mere dollars. Some unscrupulous hobbyists have been price gouging these (as well as Acans and other corals) as "rare" to unknowing hobbyists. I hope that you were not one of them my friend. As for husbandry, Both can adapt to a wide range of light, but it is usually best to err conservatively and start them low I the tank (bottom of the aquarium is fine). The real key to success with these (and most) corals is feeding. 3-5 times weekly ideally (or more). Use meats of marine origin/zooplankton substitutes. Cyclop-eeze is a great choice. Flying fish eggs (for sushi) are great too. For smaller polyped corals, DT's natural diet (oyster eggs). Best regards, Anthony> <<I agree with Anthony that these corals have been sold (and perhaps are still sold) at some absurd prices. However, personally, since corals are "luxury" items, I don't believe it's wrong/immoral for stores to sell them at whatever price people are willing to buy them. It's just classic supply and demand. If a particular type of coral experiences a surge in popularity and demand, it's only "natural" for the price to go up (imo). There are many things for sale at outrageous prices I don't personally think their worth. For example, recall the "Beanie Baby" phenomenon. Here we had toy bean bags made in China (things materially/inherently nearly worthless) selling for hundreds and even thousands of dollars! However, you wouldn't seriously consider Beanie Baby collectors/traders to be unethically "price gouging" for simply having their finger on the pulse of demand and pricing their goods accordingly. Corals, like Beanie Babies, are luxury items, not life necessities. So why should coral vendors be accused of unethical "price gouging?" It's up to the consumer to be smart enough with their own money to do the appropriate research on competitive prices and to not to spend their money on something that might not be "worth" it to them (though, how one wants to establish "worth" is also debatable). Best, Sara M.>>

Re: Some explanation is needed 12/19/07 I tried to do the search on eBay but I only found 2 Acan corals and no Duncan. Does that mean that price has gone up and/or these corals are more rare than 2005? <If by "Duncan" you mean an Acanthastrea from Australia, I'd assume they are/were always expensive. As for other Acanthastrea, the prices were often very high in 2005 (though I couldn't tell you specifically when the prices began to rise). It does seem like the prices are coming down now (more recently). When it comes to Acanthastrea, it's not an issue of rarity (they are not rare and have not been rare). It's an issue of demand and what people are willing to pay.> Ghazni <Best, Sara M.>

Elegance coral ?? 12/7/2007 HI Bob! <Sara M. here.> In a forum, someone was saying how great a store's elegance corals were. I said, well I bought one there and it was supposedly from a good source and would not die. Took 6 months, but it did. Went against every fiber of my being to BUY it, but my corals never die on me. So I figured I would give it a shot. I did everything you are supposed to do and YES my tank always has 20 to 30 nitrates (no phosphates and my sps even grows!.... they are at the top of course) Anyhow, I was rebutted when I mentioned the coral was 7" long. The person said, oh well, the corals from Australia are smaller and are better. <Australian Elegance corals are "better" (less prone to Elegance Coral Disease than Indo-Pacific ones (this is so, at least in more recent years).> Correct me if I am wrong, but Australia TYPICALLY will NOT export young fish or corals, right? <Umm, this depends on what you mean by "typically." They don't export the way the does, but they do export some corals and fish.> I mean basically this person is trying to defend the store owner and I said, hey I don't blame the store owner. Bob, I just don't KNOW if I am being fed a line of c*ap about how they are smaller from Australia. <Bob and I are sitting here in Kona chatting about this right now. And, sorry to say, I'm going to have to give you the classic law school student answer to every question..."um, maybe." It's certainly possible that this coral you were sold is from Australia. It's also quite possible it's not. As for relative sizes of corals from different parts of the world... this might be the case all over (not just from Australia). However, please don't assume that this person you talked to (or the store owner) is lying to you. He/she might not be lying. Or, the lie (if there is a lie) might not have started with them. They might have been lied to by the distributor, or the distributor lied to by yet someone else up the line. In any case, Bob thinks that if your elegance coral really was from Australia, it would have been very expensive! Best, Sara M.>

Mix and Match? Coral Selection - 7/18/07 Hi Crew! <Hi there, Peter!> I have a 90 gal reef tank running for about 9 months now. <Nice!> My lighting system is a SunPod 48" 2x250w MH 14k. I'm planning on getting some beautiful purple Acroporas. <Love those!> What other corals such as some LPS and Soft corals can I get? My tank is 48"x18"x24". <Oh wow, I could have some fun here, coming up with all sorts of neat corals for you! Unfortunately, there are so many factors, and variables, involved (beyond lighting) that I simply couldn't begin to list all the possibilities. I'd recommend you start with personal preference. Take a look at what's available out there and make a list of which corals you like best. From there, check their individual requirements as far as suitability in your tank. Remember, that as far as lighting, it may be very strong up top, but moderate to low at the substrate level if there's an overhang, cave, etc. You'll have to be sure to keep in mind current/water flow needs, aggression potential (chemical/contact warfare) nutritional needs, growth rates, placement, etc, as well as lighting. It's a lot of work, but it's so worth it to plan it out right from the beginning! One thing you need to be sure to do though, is remember to add things slowly! Also, do not discount the aggression factor. In a closed system, allelopathy (chemical warfare) especially, can be a big problem. If you're planning on a predominantly SPS tank, be very careful if/when adding soft corals like Sinularia. There are ways around it, but if it were me, I'd just avoid those altogether.> How many inches below the surface should my SPS and other corals be? <Again, it depends - what type of coral, will there be a glass, or eggcrate, etc, cover over the tank, how far from the surface are the lights, etc.> Any advice will be wonderful. Thanks Peter <Ah, you're very welcome! You have much fun, but a lot of reading ahead of you! There are many good books out there, such as Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals", and copious amounts of information available here at WWM and elsewhere online. I'd start here at WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlcompfaqs.htm . Good luck and have fun! -Lynn)>

Acan/Blasto Purchase... Ten Dollars a Head Not an Arm and a Leg.   5/19/07 Hello Crew, <Hi Nate, Mich here.> First, I must say that I have been reading your site for the better part of 6 months now and it is always the first place I look when I have a question about my coral.  Excellent site you have here.   <Nate, thank you so much for your kind words!> My question today is about the purchase of a "price inflated" coral.   <Mmm, Lordhowensis?> I would very much like to own an Acanthastrea, but I cannot seem to find one under $40...(4 heads or so). <I don't think this is so unreasonable, at least in the NE USA.> I have read on this site that these corals are very over priced and have been told not to pay the high asking prices. <Some corals are ridiculously overpriced at hundreds of dollars.> I live in Cincinnati and I believe I have searched all LFS as well as local clubs and still no luck.   <Really no luck at the local clubs?  This would be my first suggestion to you.  Is often the best source.  There was a big frag swap in your area back on March 24th.  Check out www.fragswapper.com perhaps there is another in you region in the next several months.  MACNA is in Pittsburgh in September if you have that much patience.> Any ideas on how I can get a hold of this coral without paying an arm and a leg for them?   <Again, I don't think $10 a head (who said head?) for a nice Blasto is paying an arm and a leg!> <<Heeeee! I'll take some of that!>> Please help I am severely addicted to this hobby and I'm not sure how long I can resist before I give in to the high prices!!   <I don't think this price is terribly inflated unless it's very small frag.> I would much like to grow a nice colony and sell locally for very cheap prices.   <Go for it!> Someone has to do it! <May as well be you!> Thanks!! <Welcome!  Mich> -Nate

GARF    5/15/07    I seem to be getting the shaft, from Leroy at GARF.  I paid $153, total, for what was to be an "ACRO special" from Leroy. <Mmmm>   I received three bags in the shipment.  One bag had three Acro frags in it.  The bag was a leaker, completely empty of water upon arrival, and the green slimer frag killed everything in that bag. <...?! Corals (all Cnidarians) should to MUST be separately bagged>     The second bag had a Torch coral and an Acan.  The torch coral was touching the Acan, and damaged it badly. <Ditto>   I did not order LPS. <... Are Euphyllids, Acanthastrea considered SPS by some?>     The third bag had a small colony of unidentified SPS, it looked like it was dead long before it entered the bag.     All corals were acclimated properly into a ten gallon quarantine tank, with fresh sea water.     I called GARF that evening to tell him of the situation, <Good> got no answer, left a message.  I took pictures of all the corals and their damaged state, <Good> and sent them in e-mail to him that night to document it. <Good>     The next day, all corals, except the Torch coral were dead.  I spent $153, and have a one inch tall Torch coral, that I did not want or order!!!!  Everything else is dead.     The next day I called again, and Leroy called me back.  I explained the situation to him, and told him of the e-mail with picture documentation.  He apologized, and told me he would send me more corals the following week.   <Good>     I waited patiently all week and no corals arrived.  The next Monday, I began calling and e-mailing him, and have not received a response.  I leave voice mails, and sent multiple e-mails, and nobody will respond to me.  He is obviously avoiding my calls waiting for me to go away. <Perhaps... could be traveling, busy otherwise...>     Here are the pics taken the day of their arrival.  All corals were to be Acropora frags for a "show tank".  All Acros were dead or near dead on arrival.  The rest of the Acan went overnight.  And the other coral was dead before it was shipped!  The Torch is happy and will be donated to the next raffle at my club meeting.     HELP!  What can I do?   Thanks   Richard <Mmm, keep trying to contact them... Perhaps contacting the DA's office in their State re... Posting on the various BB's to urge other consumers to (re)consider purchasing from them... Bob Fenner>

Re: Coral Placement/Appropriate Species Selection - 12/12/06 Thanks for the quick reply! <<Quite welcome>> I looked up Goniopora corals on the net but couldn't find anything that looks quite like this coral so I have attached a pic.  Sorry it is large.  Any idea what this is? <<Daniel, I'm afraid the picture didn't get here>> In case the file is too big, the coral is composed of hard calcite branches with a flower-like polyp coming out of a cup at the end of each branch. <<Hmm, there are "branching" species of Goniopora...but this doesn't sound like that>> Most Goniopora seem to look like they have soft stems, <<Agreed>> this one definitely doesn't. <<The description doesn't ring any bells with me...  Bob, any thoughts?>> <Perhaps the Dendrophylliid genus Tubastrea. RMF> Also regarding my lights, I need to correct some information.  The two actinics are 30 W, the single fluorescent is a 30 W 10000K tropical marine light. <<Ah, yes...big difference (30w ea. vs. 75w ea.)>> Adding an additional fluorescent will be difficult as the tank I have is an all-in-one filter/light set up (AquaOne120). <<Mmm, I see...then I suggest you replace one of the actinics with another 10000K bulb (1-actininc/2-10000K) and gear your stock list toward lower light-requiring specimens (corallimorphs, Zoanthids, etc.)>> Unless I remove the filter from on top of the tank there is simply no room for an additional light. <<Understood...but do realize that only having three 30-watt bulbs over the tank will limit/dictate what you can/can not keep>> I am considering removing the whole lot and replacing it all with metal halides. <<Decide what you "want" from this system first...better to buy lights to suit the organisms you want to keep>> Do you think this would be a worthwhile investment or is the configuration in my previous email going to be sufficient? <<It all depends on what your plans are for this system.  Do some looking around/reading/researching and decide on a theme/species/biotope, or pick a niche of the reef you would like to replicate.  Once you have an idea of what you want you can then build the system around this.  It takes a bit of patience and a measure of effort...but the result/ultimate health and vigor of the system is well worth it>> Thanks again, I absolutely love your website! <<A collaborative effort.  Regards, EricR>>

Seahorse Compatibility  7/5/06 Hello, <Hello Michelle> My name is Michelle.  I have currently set up a new 29 gallon saltwater tank that will eventually house at least 20 lbs of live rock, 2-3 blue-green Chromis, 2 Banggai cardinal fish, and 2 false clown fish. <Too many fish for a 29, Michelle.  The two cardinals and clowns would put you at the max.> The filtration that is in my tank is an undergravel filter, <This filter is more trouble than it's worth. The live rock will take care of your bio-filtration with no need for the undergravel filter.> a Berlin air-lift 60 protein skimmer and an Aqua-Tech 20-40 hang on filter.  I'm currently using an Ocean Sun 10,000k standard fluorescent light.  The tank has been cycling now for 1 1/2 months.   Eventually I would like to add no more than 2 sea horses to the mix.  I know that anemones are a definite no-no with them, but I was wondering what kinds of corals would be compatible with them. <Seahorses are a no-no.  They are very slow moving and could not possibly compete for food among aggressive feeders.  Best left to a specie tank only.> What kind of lighting would they need, <What is the wattage of your light?  With a twin 10K PC fixture you could keep mushroom corals, star polyps, and some species of LPS corals.  I'd gain a little experience before getting into LPS corals.  Do search/read articles/FAQ's on our site pertaining to such.  But, a good starting assortment would be Candy Cane, Plate Coral, and Pineapple Brain Coral, all relatively easy to maintain and should flourish under a twin 10K PC (130 watts) fixture.>   I don't mind up-grading the lights, but I don't want to go to metal halides due to my space and wallet restrictions.  I am new to the saltwater hobby and have been trying to do as much research as possible before I make any purchases. <An excellent idea.> Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> O! Canada!  Must be Great to Live in Canada...  Canadian Shipping Follow-up  11/19/05 Hey guys just had a quick question. I am selling SPS frags in the US and had a customer ping me about shipping to Canada. Outside of contacting Canadian, customs, I don't think there would be any department in the US I would need to contact since its going out, not in, right? We are only talking a $100 worth of frags, and I use FedEx for shipping but don't want to get my butt in a sling.  Thanks, Tom <<Not only do you have to contact Canada customs: FedEx will not and is not allowed to carry live across borders. You require CITES papers if you are shipping corals. You require a USFW license. You require a USFW export paper and receipt of inspection fee. Your customer needs to clear customs and register if CITES is involved. I would advise you against doing this any other way. >> <<But who is it that gave us this answer?  We may never know...  Marina>> <Likely Oliver Lucanus... who is a canuck. RMF>

Acanthastrea Lord's  11/10/05 Hello - <G'morning> I have a small business in Chicago, IL USA and was looking to import Acanthastrea lordhowensis like the pictures I have attached. I was wondering if you could help me or point me in the right direction. Thank you, Michael Kleist Dark Lord Coral Company <Mmm, how big an operation are you? That is, how many pieces, boxes can you accommodate, afford at a go? If not many (not ten boxes, five thousand dollars...), I'd buy these from the "usual suspects"... Quality Marine, Pacific Aqua Farms, Sea Dwelling Creatures... others in Los Angeles. Bob Fenner>

Seriatiopora caliendrum Hi Bob, <James, today>             Do you have any ideas where I may be able to find a Seriatiopora  caliendrum colony or frag? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanx. Brian <Brian, I found a couple places for frags.  Keep in mind these are difficult corals to keep.   http://www.frags.org/keywordsearch.php?keyword=seriatopora+caliendrum&searchmethod=all James (Salty Dog)> Coral Stocking 6/15/05 I have a hundred gallon (60x 18x 22) reef tank that has been set up for awhile. It circulates at 4200gph and has 940w of light (500w=MH 14k and 440w=VHO actinic). I use carbon and a phosphate remover in my sump, along with an AquaC 180 and a denitrator. Everything is very stable in the aquarium, with nitrates always under 5ppm, 0 nitrite, 0 ammonia, 0 phosphate, pH at 8.3, alkalinity around 11, and calcium at 430. I also have about 200lbs of LR and a little over 20" of fish in the aquarium. <All sounds great, although counting fish by the inch is a very poor estimate of actual bioload.  Consider twenty 1" damsels vs. two 10" panther groupers.  Quite a difference!> Now with all that said, I have only a few corals (a mushroom colony, zooanthids colony, and a green open brain coral). I set up the tank so I could house some SPS corals and some clams. I have taken it slow so far but am ready for some corals. My question is how many SPS colonies can I put in at once and still be safe. I have an opportunity to hand pick corals and clams from a distributor but the thing is I will only have this one opportunity. Since I have this change to hand select from a large stock and get it at a low price, I want to take full advantage of it. <This is a great opportunity!  The risk does not lie in bioload.  The bioload of corals is pretty trivial since they don't feed heavily and because the zooxanthellae process most of the nitrogenous wastes.  The real risk is in putting so many stressed and probably wild colonies together.  It is not uncommon to for one dying colony to take out several.  Also, the more corals you introduce at once, the greater the likelihood of introducing pests or predators.> I would like to purchase about 30 colonies of SPS corals, three clams, and maybe a half dozen LPS corals. Would this just be too much? <Yowza!!  In my opinion, this would be way too much.  If you don't suffer losses as described above, you will quickly have problems with corals growing into each other.  Do consider how all of these colonies will fit when they are all two, three, five times their current size!> I monitor the tank very closely and I feel that I would be able to catch something before it turned catastrophic. I also planned to use a very large amount of carbon in the filter and changing it every three days. What do you think? <If you do get a large number of corals at once, I agree with the use of carbon and would also perform very frequent small water changes (perhaps 10-15% twice a week) for a couple of weeks.  It may also be worth considering setting up a separate holding system so that you can better observe each colony for poor health, pests, etc.  This way, each colony could be moved to the display based on it's individual appearance.  Best Regards.  AdamC.> Frag Swap Hello WWM crew! I don't know if you guys have seen this, but here is the link if you haven't: http://www.liveaquaria.com/general/general.cfm?general_pagesid=366&ref=3175&subref=BF <Great! Sounds as if Dr.s Foster & Smith have their new facility up and going... A good promotion for all for sure> I hope you guys will be speakers someday - this looks like it will be pretty big, and I would make the trip if even one of you could be present at this event! <I'd bet Anthony Calfo would be a hit, and willing to attend> As you all know - the WWM site is a Godsend for those of us who have a mouse of the plastic variety and keyboard port on our CPU towers.   <Welcome> Thanks for the years of service and info, Zukeypr <Will post, share. Thank you for sending this along, and pumping us up! Bob Fenner> Re: Frag Swap Greetings WWM Crew, Hope all is well with everyone.   I would like to cordially invite you and your family to attend our First Annual Coral Conference and Frag Swap on Saturday, August 6th & Sunday, August 7th.   The goal of this Coral Conference & Frag Swap is to bring together hobbyists and professionals in order to trade, sell, and swap coral frags, as well as learn and exchange ideas among one another.  In addition to the Frag Swap itself, several popular vendors will be setting up booths to exhibit their products as well as answer questions.  Lunch on Saturday afternoon will be catered courtesy of Drs. Foster & Smith for all participants of this event. On Saturday evening, we will be hosting a Banquet Dinner that will incorporate three speaker sessions from Julian Sprung, Dr. Tim Hovanec, and Andy Howard who will cover relevant topics pertaining to Aquaculture and Reef Keeping. On Sunday, we will provide tours of both our new aquaculture coral facility as well as our pet supplies call center and distribution center. On top of the previously mentioned features, we will be hosting a fund raising raffle in conjunction with the Greater Minnesota Reef Society and the Wisconsin Reef Society. Any proceeds that are generated from the raffle will be donated to these two societies.  We have blocked a number of rooms at area hotels and will have a shuttle available to bring participants to and from the Frag Swap and the Banquet Dinner. We are asking that you join us here in Rhinelander, WI as a guest of our company.  You will not need to register online to attend this event and will obviously not be charged an admission fee.  Instead, please send an email or call 715-361-9464 to confirm or decline this invitation. We hope that you can join us for this inaugural event! Sincerely, Kevin Kohen Director of LiveAquaria Drs. Foster & Smith 715-361-9464 www.drsfostersmith.com www.LiveAquaria.com www.eTropicals.com ><{{{{o>  ><{{{{o>  ><{{{{o>  ><{{{{o> <Thank you Kev, will share/post. BobF> Green elegance Coral and Green Flower Pot Coral - Not for Beginners Hi Bob my name is Paulette and I recently set up a 75 gal reef/fish. I am not new to keeping a salt tank but I'm new to reefing. I've just start putting coral specimens in my tank. On Monday I purchased 2 large Elegance corals and a large Flower Pot. <Yikes... not on the high part of lists for survivability...> I have been reading that both corals are semi-aggressive with other tank mates. <Yes> I have the Flower Pot between the Elegance but the larger of the two seems to be trying to reach out to the Flower Pot. Should I separate them ? <Yes... need to be several inches apart> Can I put the Flower Pot in the bottom of the tank in the sand? Please help Thanks, Paulette L Smith <... Please read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/poritidfaqs.htm  here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlplcfaqs.htm ... and on to the linked files at top... I would return these colonies if indeed you are as new to reefkeeping as you state, apparently are. They are NOT easily kept. Bob Fenner>

Re: Green elegance Coral and Green Flower Pot Coral Thanks Bob for your quick response to my question. Unfortunately I can't return them, any other suggestions until the inevitable happens? Thanks. <Mmmm, read... make your best effort at providing good conditions... Catalaphyllia and Gonioporas are not impossible to keep... just historically don't do well... In your profession, if these were clinical trials... But can be kept alive... and you will find the "keys" to their effective husbandry listed where it was suggested you read. I wish you well. Bob Fenner> 

Where can I buy awesome coral frags - 1/18/05 Hello <Hello Alex> Do you guys know were I can buy some awesome looking frags on the net? <Oh, well.....lots of places really. I like these place and can vouch for their quality: http://www.coralsdirect.com/ http://www.drmaccorals.com/sys-tmpl/door/ http://www.farms-of-thesea.com/catalog/index.html I can also swear by your local reef club/marine/saltwater club. Depending on where you live, I have received some of the best coral frags ever from these so call frag swaps or people just wanting to prune the growth in their corals. Check it out. Take your time. Make a wish list and start checking out the frag swaps in and around your area. ~Paul> Thanks

Flowerpot corals Thank you for your advice.  I completely disagree with you on  flowerpot corals.  I know Bob Fenner holds the same opinion.  It was  the first coral I purchased, and until I added my more powerful lights,  it  was thriving; it is halfway out while adjusting to the new lights.  It is a  sensitive coral, and has alerted me to problems in the water.  The  flowerpot and green star corals have both survived my disastrous first attempt  at reefkeeping.  It is not slowly dying, it has grown since I acquired it  over 8 months ago, even with inadequate light and mediocre water chemistry.  PLEASE reconsider your view on flowerpot corals, they are beautiful. << Oh they are beautiful, but I really do think you are in the minority here.  Just about every large site (ReefCentral and Reefs.org) have many many horror stories of these corals.  In fact in Borneman's book Corals he states "Goniopora have a long history of failing to survive in the aquarium, often going into a slow demise for no apparent reason." He then goes on to say "Goniopora frequently thrive for up to a year or more before declining".  You may be having good luck with yours, but I would still not recommend them to anyone. >> James <<  Blundell  >>

Re: new corals affecting old ones?- Thank you for your advice.  I completely disagree with you on  flowerpot corals.  I know Bob Fenner holds the same opinion.  It was  the first coral I purchased, and until I added my more powerful lights,  it  was thriving; it is halfway out while adjusting to the new lights.  It is a  sensitive coral, and has alerted me to problems in the water.  The  flowerpot and green star corals have both survived my disastrous first attempt  at reefkeeping.  It is not slowly dying, it has grown since I acquired it  over 8 months ago, even with inadequate light and mediocre water chemistry.  PLEASE reconsider your view on flowerpot corals, they are beautiful. James <Do agree that these Poritids are gorgeous, and will have AdamB respond as well, but I assure you, after nearly four decades in the trade, this genus is a solid LOSER... the vast majority die within a few weeks of collection. Am glad yours is doing well... and will relate that the Goniopora that I've seen around the world do best in what folks consider "filthy" water conditions in captivity... the bottom of sediment, nutrient laden systems. Bob Fenner>

Another Goniopora... sigh :( 10/9/04 Hey there, I have a quick question about a Goniopora.  I just purchased one about a week ago, and am enjoying its appearance in the tank.   <sigh...> I was reluctant to get one for awhile (for known reasons..) but I'm deciding to try to test fate and keep it alive as long as I can, though I have learned that its death is seemingly definite!   <it is beyond my grasp why informed aquarists still attempt to keep these corals casually (versus mature, deliberate species-specific displays at least). My harshest opinion is that it is disrespectful to life. My kindest opinion is that it is a flippant approach to aquarium keeping when so many other hardy and beautiful corals can be had instead> I am noticing today within 4 or so hours its body has bloated up a lot, and then it had calmed down and appears to be doing well.   <it was "doing well" when it was bloated too... it is an attempt at feeding. A strategy to increase its (mucus) covered surface area and trap nanoplankton, bacteria and other prey> I have searched the internet for "bloated Goniopora" but can't find any explanation, so I figured I have learned so much from your website, I would give it a try and see if you had any ideas on this. Thanks for any and all help. Jeremy <no worries on this count, a normal behavior again. Please do ponder future purchases seriously as a conscientious aquarist. Anthony> Look before you leap, please! Goniopora 10/6/04 Hi, a couple of days ago I bought a Goniopora, <oh, no!> yep I know they could be a challenge but Anthony says in his BOCP1: "Goniopora are kept for years and even propagated in captivity by aquarist willing to look beyond the stigma and dark reputation" so, I want to look beyond the stigma! :) <Carlos, my friend... it is not fair to me (the excerpt) or fair to yourself... and especially not fait to the animal you just bought. You clearly do not have the set up I recommended for keeping this coral (p. 246 - 600+lbs of aragonite in the refugium display with mature/established seagrass [providing epiphytic matter). On those same two pages of BOCP1... the same two paragraphs even re: this genus, the coverage says "responsible aquarists will leave Goniopora to the most experienced individuals until more information about captive husbandry requirements can be determined." and "Goniopora species, as a rule, are best left tot he most experienced aquarists." Now I realize that you have said you more or less want to do what it takes to keep this coral. But your actions speak differently. I don't believe you have a mature sandbed and lagoonal biotope display. I fear that this is a mixed coral reef display with other species and genera of coral. I don't think you can describe what this coral actually eats ( and I will tell you that studies report that at best only 78% of this corals daily nutrition is derived from zooxanthellate symbiosis... 22% or more must come from alternate feeding everyday or your coral will slowly starve to death as most all do in captivity. Sigh... I know that you mean well my friend. But you have been impatient. And you are not prepared. Please tell me I'm wrong and that your tank is a species tank set up and mature/waiting just for this species of coral?> The first step (quoted from his book) is the correct identification of my specimen, I try to look into the internet, and probably my decision would be G. stokesii.  Please, I'm attaching you a photo so, if you can help my in the correct identification I will appreciate it! Regards. Carlos D?z (Guatemala, Central America) <the pictures are not clear enough, but it does resemble G. stokesii. And yet, you bought the coral without even a clear identification. I do wish you well, Carlos. But I am disappointed to be honest. If it helps you for perspective (and you could have asked this and got this answer before you bought your coral)... my successful display (resembling others) was a 240 gallon seagrass tank with over 6" (15cm) of deep fine sand... established for over 2 yrs before it was given to the Goniopora colony. Prior to the Goniopora there were small Acroporid frags in the tank, but they were pulled and the tank was a fishless refugium the entire time with a remarkable plankton population. FWIW. Best regards, Anthony> SPS Corals I have a one hundred gallon (60"x18"x22") aquarium that turns over 24 times per hour w/out powerheads) and has about 720 watts of light (two 250w 10k metal halide w/ two 110 watt actinic VHO). I believe this to be sufficient for most SPS coral and am looking into purchasing some Acropora and Montipora. I am able to buy entire colonies (mostly from Bali) for wholesale which is about $15-45 for 6"+ colonies. <Truly great prices.> This seems very reasonable to me especially when 1-3" frags go for about the same. <There is perhaps a difference in the health and strength of the corals. Most frags are stronger than wild caught because they have adapted to tank conditions.>  My only concern is the quality of these "wild caught" colonies. I have no way of seeing before buying. The wholesaler that I will be dealing with receives an overnight delivery from Bali ever Wednesday and I would pick up the same day. What is you opinion on the matter? Should I order a couple and see the quality and perhaps go from their?...<I'm pretty cautious about things like this and I usually order one or two and then see what happens. I also recommend quarantine for any new additions before they go into your tank.> or should I speed more $$$ (because of shipping) and go with aquacultured frogs. <Most people have success doing a bit of both, but still quarantine.> Also how do aquacultured coral compare to "wild caught" when it comes to care, growth and overall color? <I think aquacultured do a bit better generally.> My last question concerns the corals that I currently have in my display. I have a some Ricordea, zoanthids, branching frogspawn, star polyp, and two Trachyphyllia. All are on the small size but I am wondering if I should remove the more aggressive corals (mainly the frogspawn) before adding any SPS corals. <I keep both LPS and SPS together without problems. Are you using a protein skimmer?> I should probably add that I will try to keep and Imperator and a Flame with any corals I have or may get. <That could be a problem, Imperator angels and flame too for that matter might pick at your corals>  I just remembered another question (sorry) I have read a lot of your FAQ pages and have seen replays saying that sand shifter stars and hermit crabs are not always recommended. <Sand sifters can eat the majority of pods in the sand which most people find beneficial to their tank. Hermits are known to pick at corals and sometimes other invertebrates.>  What is wrong with these critter and what could go in there place besides more fish? <shrimps, narcissus snails and conchs usually.> I have 3 sand shifting stars and about 125 sm. hermits. Thank you very much for all you time and info, Andy <Good luck Andy, sounds like you are on the right track, MacL> Bali aquacultured corals in aquarium trade? any insights you can share Bob? <Mmm, I know Daniel Knop has been working on a farm on an island north of Java for a while. Am sending your note to him and Anthony Calfo here for input. Bob Fenner> Chris Fanning SCMAS Member since 2000 Hello. I am a reef aquarist and also a federal resource manager in the tuna industry arena. I frequent various reef aquarist discussion forums and currently there is some heated debate about the true nature, source and operations for aquacultured coral farms. for example: http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=410929 Specifically, some of the brightly colored specimens from Bali have been commanding premium prices in the hobby and some hobbyists suspect purposeful mis-representation to get higher prices. Are you aware of any publicly available information about coral farming ventures in Indonesia and the Pacific in general? It would be greatly appreciated if you could direct me somewhere to gain more knowledge of this recently developed aquarium industry niche. Chris Fanning Garden Grove, CA

Coral Compatibility / Selection 5/30/04 Hello WWM Crew.  I'm in the process of setting up a 90-gallon reef tank, and I have a couple of questions about coral selection.  I've never kept corals before, though I've had fish-only marine tanks in the past.  I've done an extraordinary amount of reading over the past couple months in preparation for the tank, but I'm still grappling with the questions of what corals to include in my tank. <How to stock is a challenging question even for seasoned reefers!  Kudos for planning ahead and educating yourself!> My tank specs are as follows:  90 gallon tank (48 x 24 x 18); lighting is 2 x 250 w metal halide (10,000 K) and 2 x 96 w pc fluorescent; 36 gallon sump under the tank with a small built-in refugium (will probably use as a DSB refugium with Gracilaria); protein skimmer (haven't picked the model yet); calcium doser; waver makers, etc.  The substrate in the tank will be a sprinkling of fine sand (less than 1/2"). <If you are going to use such a fine layer of sand, I would suggest something with a 2-3mm grain size.  Sugar fine sand will blow around quite a bit leaving bare spots, and no grain size will provide much biological function at such a shallow depth.> Like many people, I really love the look of reef tanks that mix soft, SPS and LPS corals.  However, I've done enough research to know that this is often problematic, and I don't want to take on more than I can handle as a beginner.  In general, I find soft corals to be the most interesting (and maybe the safest choice for a beginner).  However, my FAVORITE coral is Montipora -- the variety that forms plates or scrolls.  I understand that it's fairly hardy for an SPS coral, and I'm wondering if it would be a mistake to try to combine several frags of Montipora with soft corals in a new tank. <Montiporas are generally fairly tolerant of soft corals.  They also should be widely available as fragments from other hobbyists making experimentation a bit more acceptable (ethically and financially!).> I've done some research to try to determine which soft corals might be the least aggressive, but I'm not coming up with much. <This is a very difficult thing to quantify.  Corals will produce different amounts of aggressive chemicals under different conditions.  Also, the interactions can be very specific, and you may find that certain individual corals will not do well with the other corals in your tank, although they may do very well in another tank.> I understand that clove polyps and star polyps don't contain many stinging cells, but I'm not sure if that means they wouldn't emit chemicals that would be harmful to the Montipora. <Again, this is hard to predict, but clove and star polyps can and will simply grow right over other living corals!> (btw, I plan to use carbon in the sump and replace it monthly, which hopefully will reduce some of the chemicals). <Very good idea!> My main question is, what soft or LPS corals do you think be the safest (or engage in the least amount of warfare) with the Montipora? <I would be much more concerned about the well being of LPS (especially Euphyllias) in the presence of soft corals than I would be of Montipora.  LPS are generally very sensitive to softies, but aren't very chemically aggressive themselves, relying on very powerful stings to defend themselves.> Some of the ones on my list that I'm considering besides the polyps are Ricordea mushrooms <med-highly aggressive>, leather coral<Among the most chemically aggressive>, hammer coral and open brain <Hammer and Trachyphyllia are very sensitive to softies>.  Thanks for any advice you can provide me. <Glad to help, and please don't miss the imbedded comments in the last paragraph!  Adam>

When Corals Attack! (Pt. 2)  Hi Scott!  <Hello again!>  Thanks for all the help !  <Glad to be of service!>  I went to the LFS last weekend, and sad to say they don't sell mushrooms or button polyps. They only have hammers, bubble corals, and flowerpot corals.  <All of which can be both challenging and fascinating!>  I've read the articles and FAQs in the site, and I may consider the hammer coral, since bubble corals get big, and flowerpots are hard to take care of, as my tank is a tiny 2 month old 10 gal nano-tank.  <Yikes! If you are going with a hammer coral in a nano- I'd avoid any other corals. This is a rather small volume of water, and the potential allelopathic competition would be pretty tough!>  I'm starting to stock corals while my fishes (2 false Percs and 1 black Sumatra saddleback) are in QT, recovering from ich. They're now ok, but I'm still observing them.  <Be patient...you did a good job on beating the disease; no sense rushing them back into their home>  I'll be buying thick long gloves for the hammer coral. Thanks again ! Romel  <Keep up the good work! Regards, Scott F>

Get Your Coral Straight Thanks for the advice... will go with better husbandry corals....  <excellent to hear my friend>  so does this mean that large polyped stonies( brain, moon, hammer) and soft corals (Sarcophyton, Sinularia, zoanthids, leather) can't or shouldn't be kept with each other?  <it is commonly done... and will work for some years, but is not without sometimes considerable challenges to coral health/husbandry. I think you will enjoy far greater success with a more natural selection of like-needs species>  what I had come up with was 2 175 watt 10k hm and 4 110 watt VHO  03 of them being actinic and one being 6500 k ...Was just concerned about keeping the fluorescence of the LPS as I have read in your book of coral propagation that if you have less than sufficient light the corals will turn brown or release their ZOO  <yes... true for some corals. Other corals its the opposite. Its really a case by case basis. Its one of the reasons why you hear so often that you have to pick your exact list of corals (by species... not just by group/type) before you pick your lights. Red brains need UV to maintain their reflective color it seems, but other corals will darken under excessive UV, for example>  I am not even sure the SPS I like is really SPS it is usually found in my LFS and they have it listed as Pagoda cup coral.  <ahh, yes... its a LPS (Turbinaria), and a good, hardy one at that. Excellent choice>  It is shaped as a cup and has long polyps that come out of the cup.. maybe LPS ?cant find a picture of it in your book (cause there are no pictures) and Eric's book doest show it either.  <actually does... page 319, left-center picture... a shaggy, healthy piece of Turbinaria peltata>  any way being that the tank will have 19 inches of water after the sand bed will the lighting I suggested be sufficient to support (Brains, moons, Zoanthids, Star polyps ,hammer and softs like xenia, Sarcophyton, Sinularia and maybe some leathers ? The skimmer I bought is the Euroreef CS-8 4 external,  <outstanding skimmer!>  after I fist spoke to you on the water flow I bumped the pumps up to 2 dolphin 2000 each one driving opposite side of the tank on a dual outlet manifold. also used as sump return pumps. Sorry to bother you so much just want to do it right once...Ya  know...Thanks a million.  <sounds very good my friend... best regards, Anthony>

Need your expert suggestion.... Hello and thanks for taking the time.........Question is.... in a 120 Gal. tank 48 L X 24 W X 24 High  <one of my all-time fave shaped tanks>  with 4-6 inches of LS.....  <excellent>  progressive stacking of rocks....  <be sure to avoid stacking rocks against any walls... this will dramatically improve water flow and reduce nuisance algae growth>  with inhabitants such as Trachyphyllia  <this genus must be nestled in the sand... never on rock. Be sure this is so>  (all sorts of brain coral and moon corals...one or two clams and softs like xenia, Sinularia, zoanthids, leather, colt, Sarcophyton, mushrooms maybe a pagoda cup and possibly one or two SPS just because, what would be the ideal lighting arrangement utilizing metal halides and / or fluorescents....  <ughhh... with such an unnatural mix of corals from all over the map, I do not know where to begin. For long term success in an attempt at keeping this motley crew, let me strongly encourage you to do weekly water changes (10-20%), change carbon weekly instead of monthly or use ozone full time, and make sure the skimmer (or two) are working superbly>  I am partial to the blue appearance mainly because of the way it makes certain corals fluoresce but not too blue if you know what I mean, also want the best for growth rates as far as photosynthesis is concerned...I will purchase whatever arrangement you suggest and thanks again for your time and brain power. Anthony Pastorelli NYC Fireman  <my sincere advice is to swap out some corals and focus on a more natural mix of corals with like needs. Open brains and high-light SPS corals could not be much further apart from each other on a reef. Noxious soft corals mixed in really throw a monkey wrench into the equation. There is no one lighting system that will satisfy all of these creatures. Still... if you twist my arm for a recommendation, 2 x 250 10k K Halides gets my vote for the compromise. Anthony>

Corals 3/20/04 Hello, I have a 100 gal tank that I am adding corals to. I have added a finger leather, a torch, a long tentacle plate (very beautiful), sunburst polyps and an open brain.  I have two 220 watt pc for lighting.  My question is can I add another plate to the system (other side of tank?). <You certainly could, but long tentacle plate corals are very poor aquarium survivors.  They will often look good for a couple of months and then die.  Our systems don't provide the tiny planktonic food they need to survive.> Also, what other corals do you suggest that wont wage war on the ones I already have?  I would like to go with softies but don't want to start any problems. <Torch, hammer, frogspawn, Blastomussa, and open brain all top the list of most sensitive.  Leathers, colts, zoanthids, and mushrooms top the most aggressive list.  This doesn't mean you should not keep these corals together, but rather be observant.  If most corals are doing well, but one is failing to expand or thrive, it maybe chemical aggression.> I currently have a dual BakPak skimmer, two Fluval 404's and two 802 powerheads for enhanced circulation. I have a refugium on order and plan to have it soon. any ideas?  All corals in tank are doing fine and would like to keep corals now more than fish. Thanks, Erik in Reno <Sounds good.  I am a fan of refugia, and your animals should benefit from it.  I am not a fan of canister or power filters for reef tanks for many reasons including nitrate accumulation and the fact that they are often neglected.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Coral compatibility 3/19/04 We are new to the reef tank, and may have made a bad choice due to lack of correct research.  I was trying so hard to find hardy coral to start out with that I just completely forgot that they do not all live together and can exude toxic chemicals to each other. We have a 75 gal, 110 lb live rock, with aragonite substrate, CPR Bak protein skimmer, Rio powerhead 1100, Eheim canister filter, compact fluorescent light with actinic. it has 4 long light bulbs at 10,000 but what or wattage I do not know). <Sounds like a nice set up.  It is hard to pick out quality information when there are so many sources!  You have plenty of light for a wide variety of corals.  I am not a fan of canister filters for reef tanks (no real benefit, and can contribute to nitrates), and would recommend replacing it with another powerhead.> We have a damsel, and a mandarin which you have helped with and I am now growing copepods separately to assure enough food as our tank is only 3-4 months old.  We have a mushroom on one end that is striped purple/green and at the other end a mushroom that is fluorescent green/pink bumps or hairy type I am not sure. We have a newly propagated silver tipped xenia in-between. The mushrooms are place in front of the live rock on the substrate hoping that they will grow up the rock, the xenia is in the center of the tank on a lower live rock.  Today, we purchased a leather that is like a finger leather and a frogspawn coral. After reading how these corals may have toxic warfare I am very concerned. <These toxic interactions (termed "allelopathy") are cause for concern, but not panic.  Some animals are particularly aggressive, some particularly vulnerable, but as a general rule, most are quite tolerant.  The interactions can be quite unpredictable and sometimes despite everything being "right" and other animals thriving, a coral will not do well in your tank.  Allelopathy should not become a catch all excuse for unhealthy animals, but is often the culprit one single animal fails to thrive.> Can you give me any advise in regards to the corals we now have? Any recommendations as to how to place them so that they can live happily and healthy together? Is that possible? <In the tiny water volumes of the home aquarium, placement will not protect animals from each others chemical defenses, however, placing animals in such a way as to eliminate physical contact is very important.  Mushrooms, zoanthids, colts and leathers are generally fairly aggressive.  Euphyllias (frogspawn, torch, hammer), Blastomussa and Trachyphyllia (open brain) are generally quite sensitive.  This doesn't mean that they can't be kept together, but if your 'shrooms are thriving and your frogspawn is hurting, allelopathy is a likely suspect.> I am hoping that they can live their life span and I had so much wanted to correctly put this tank together. Can you recommend a book that we can use that will give us this type of information so I do not make the same mistake? <Natural lifespans of many coral is in the hundreds of years, and some are thought to have indefinite life spans, so good luck and put those corals in your will!  "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Bob Fenner is a great all around book.  "Aquarium Coral" by Eric Borneman is a great coral care book.  The forthcoming volume of "The Natural Marine Aquarium Series" by Calfo and Fenner will also be a very good resource.> Also, how many different corals can fit in a tank this size as I understand they need room to grow as well "personal space". Thank you for any attention and information you can provide. <Most aquarist overcrowd their tanks not realizing how fast and how large some of these animals can grow.  I would recommend at least 6" all around any animal, with more if it is particularly fast growing.> Hi, I just sent a email regarding coral compatibility. I forgot to mention we also have a moon snail, a pencil urchin and a cleaner shrimp. Would it be possible to add a blue Linckia starfish with coral?  Thank you Sue <Pencil urchins will occasionally eat corals.  I would watch it carefully and be prepared to give it up.  Linckias are generally safe with corals, but often die shortly after purchase due to poor handling.  Ask your retailer to hold one for you for at least a week before purchase.  If your snail is a "red foot" moon snail, they are temperate and very short lived in tropical aquarium temperatures.  Stick with Turbos, Astreas and Trochus to be sure they are tropical.  Best Regards, Adam>

Corals for Actinic Blue only lighting systems? 2/17/04 I ran across your web page during a search for corals that would be happy in my 26 gallon saltwater aquarium. My lighting system consists of two PC 65 watt actinic blues. Are there any corals I can keep in my tank with actinics only? Would the Elegance coral survive under actinic only? Thanks, Roel <there are very few if any photosynthetic corals that will survive under blue actinic light only. What you can do is find a hardy aposymbiotic species that is indifferent to light and will survive by your diligent daily/weekly feedings. Tubastrea is a fine choice if you will feed it well. Anthony>

# of Coral at a time  Hello all.  <howdy>  As I look at your site daily for the FAQ's, I find more and more valuable information. I can not say how valuable your perspective and experience is for those in the hobby.  >its a labor of love :)>  I have had several tanks over the past few years and have gotten out and back in.  <then ciao to you, for when you are both coming and going>  I the past my tanks have been FO. This time after taking my wife with me to our LFS she wants to have some coral. The plan is to add what you could call easier coral like star polyps and leather corals.  <yes... please stick with soft corals only... and avoid large polyped stonies for certain>  To give a little back ground my tank is a 125 Gal with 170 pound LR for filtration and has been running for about 6 months. The lighting currently is 2 140 watt (280 total) VHO URI bulbs (1 super actinic, 1 actinic white). I guess my first question  is should I double my lighting?  <exactly my friend... 2 watts per gallon is low by any measure>  The main reason for my email is about adding coral to the tank. I understand the acclimation process and about slowing increasing the lighting, but I have searched everywhere and cannot find anything about the number of coral that can be added at a single time.  <they are not like fish in so much that many corals are not a net burden/importer of nutrients but rather compete for dissolved organics, etc and as such will not always spike the bio-load. A few at a time is fine>  I know that with fish it must be very slow. Currently I have only 3 fish in the tank and they are all reef safe. The main reason that I am asking is that I have seen several places that offer  deals when you purchase multiple corals at a time, for an example 5 Corals for $99 or even 9 corals for $99.  <fine too if they are small. But please avoid the common bad boys lumped into these "sales" like Goniopora, SPS corals and many cheap LPS (open brains, etc)>  Since all of the places are close to my house I could pick the coral that I want. This seams like a good deal from a  monetary perspective, but I am not sure if it is a good deal from a tank perspective. Can you add this many corals at one time if they are small to mediums sized or does size of the coral even matter?  <yes>  Thanks for your help and perspective. I have been reading stuff from Bob since FFExpress day's and greatly appreciate his opinions.  <wow!>  His book the Conscientious Marine Aquarist is one of the best book I have read on the subject.  <very much agreed>  Also I wanted to let you know that I love the Reef Invertebrates book and can't wait until the next in the series comes out.  <writing on it as we speak :)>  Thanks James  <best regards, Anthony>

# of  Coral at a time II 2/6/04 Anthony, Thank you for the information.  I would definitely be hand choosing the coral that I purchased and would be very careful on the selections.   <ahhh... good to hear. We have to infer/guess sometimes regarding the limited medium of e-mail and law of averages regarding the amount of queries we get> On additional questions I that realized after reading your reply was that I am using a icecap 660 ballast and have the ability to add one additional bulb.   <excellent> As I mentioned and you suggested, I am only going to add soft corals. <very good my friend... at least for the first year to 18 months. It will give you a much easier start> One additional question is IF I add the third bulb, which would you suggest.  I will add a URI but should it be an 03 actinic, 50/50, or a Aquasun?  As I said I have a 03 actinic, and a 50/50 actinic white. <always add white/daylight for health/growth in corals... actinic is almost only for aesthetics among the popularly kept species> Thanks for all your suggested.  I just want to do what is best the livestock  in my tank. Best Regards, James <kindly, Anthony>

Keeping corals - 1/27/04 Hello all. I am interested in ordering some corals (mixed) for my newly set up reef system. <OK. How new?? I would let it sit for at least six months if possible before adding anything but I know that is hard to do for most people including myself> 90 gallon display, 50 gallon sump, 45 gallon above tank fuge with Gracilaria, Ulva and pods. <Amazing. Sounds perfect. I am impressed with your planning and execution. Nice work!!> Entire system is up about four months. <Awesome. Maybe another month then go for it? Otherwise, you have done more than most in your planning and execution. You are getting my "Conscientious Marine Aquarist Award" for this month. Excellent setup and good waiting period. You are a breath of fresh air my friend> All parameters seem okey-dokey. <What does that mean?? You are testing these right? I may have to take back the award. Heheheheh>  mixed snails (IPSF), micro hermits 5 DSB worms etc. Current livestock is one lawnmower blenny, Kole tang,( these are to help with hair algae I was getting...(using RO/DI)???? <Excellent. Sounds great!!> One Sarcophyton, and several frilly Indo-Pacific Shrooms. <good start> Question is I would like to take advantage of the free shipping some online vendors are offering, yet one has to meet a price 175 dollars. <Yeah. They always seem to have these deals from time to time. Are you looking at thesea.org deal by chance??> I am wondering that for an avg specimen prices are say 45 dollars <depends....start with frags cheaper and hardier and you have the opportunity to create a masterpiece from the ground up (well, practically anyway)>.....in meeting the 175 dollar min., will this be too many animals to add at once. <Well, not likely, but be aware of their vicinity to each other. Also, I am not sure you mentioned your lighting. Granted you have adequate lighting, I am sure that you can keep anything you would like.> Filtration is about 125 lbs of Kaelini type rock and large venturi (Precision Marine) skimmer. <Sounds amazing, man. If your lighting is good, go crazy. I believe you could keep anything you wanted to just as long as you keep some space between them as they grow, you should be fine. Send pictures of the setup and be sure to document as you go with a digital journal ~Paul>

The Coral Is In The Mail...Or Is It? Could you recommend a few good mail order places to purchase coral? Thanks, Chris <Well, there are a number of reliable, well-regarded sources for corals. Some of the ones I've heard good feedback from include ReeferMadness.com, LiveAquaria.com, Inland Aquatics, Marine Center, and a number of others. Also, if you are really interested in obtaining captive-propagated specimens, you should look into a group called FRAGexchange.com, which is essentially a internet-based message board of hobbyists interested in trading and selling captive-propagated corals...Definitely a good choice for corals that are best suited for captivity. You also might want to put a post on the WWM Chat Forum to hear what places your fellow hobbyists find to be reliable. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F> Buying corals wholesale 12/29/03 I have just discovered your site recently and learned a lot from it.  I myself have been a reefer for 8-9 years now.  To get to the point.  I have been getting coral out of Indonesia through Petsiam International and was wondering why you recommend getting them from Fiji .The shipments I get from Indo usually come in very nice with a surprisingly low mortality rate.  My usual mortalities usually come from airlines crushed boxes half froze etc..  I was wondering price quality shipping costs.  The corals I do buy I hold for about two weeks before selling them. If it is price and quality can you recommend some where a small wholesaler can buy from {400-700dollar minimum orders}.  me and my wife have a small operation 500 tanks mostly all freshwater dealing with small stores but slowly expanding. Any help or insight would help Thank you, Nathan Poyner P.S. keep up the excellent work on the site. <the difference is significant, my friend. Although you have had some good fortune getting few/small shipments from Indo... the overwhelming majority of dealers throughout the US do not have the same success/flight patterns, connections (or not) and conditions (time/temp) of transit as you do. And after you have been in the business long enough and handled enough volume (tens of thousands of pieces), the difference will be clear. Mortality and poor handling practices from Indo eliminate them as an option for most anybody that does not live near Los Angeles (the closest/best legal port of entry). All others really should consider other options like Fiji or simply buying from a wholesaler that tanks/QTs their specimens and have a good facility. This is the best use of a living resource if you will participate in the biz successfully and responsibly. Do find a good wholesaler in LA area like AM Aquatics (AM4fish.com). Best of luck, Anthony> Re: Let there be light II 12/16/03 Oh my I read you nightly like I said just for my own education and oops I can not believe I did not list my corals. <ahhh... no worries> Well here goes 1.a lg Frogspawn way up on top blocked from other corals 2 Lg Palythoa 3 4 Mo old Flower pot coral 4  Toadstool leathers 5  Lg Yellow Finger Leather 6  LG Plate coral 7 misc Mushrooms  12 8  3  Capnella corals 9  Sm number of Zoanthids 10  very lg Fan worm 11 3 species Gorgonians 12 md Candycane Coral 13   4 inch Ricordea Can most of these be considered lower light animals generally speaking. Sorry for not mentioning before. <I would say that they are collectively moderate leaning to high light species (the Ricordea and Yellow leathers need to be in the top of this and most any tank - within 10" of surface. Only the corallimorphs (excluding Ricordea) can be fairly called lower light animals. Best regards, Anthony>

Coral Buying Binge! This past week I have been impatient and bought lots of corals in my tank. <We've all been there before! Scott F. with you today> Here is the info on my tank. I have a 90 gal tank that is currently 3 months old.  I didn't know that buying too many corals at once could hurt the tank and possibly cause the tank to crash until after the fact. <Yikes!> Before the last two weeks I had: Medium Blue Tang Medium Orange Shoulder Tang 2 small percula clowns 3 small Chromis 1 small Jawfish 3 gorgonians Large toadstool Pagoda Coral But in the last two weeks I have added: medium size frog spawn Big rock with metallic green star polyps rock with 12 small red mushrooms a sun polyp rock thingy (it's growing out of a pot type thing) large rock with lots of RedSea xenia medium lobo coral small open brain coral 5 Ricordea mushrooms 3 small toadstools Scroll Coral Large Moonstone <Wow! You HAVE been busy...And you've been helping the economy, too! A lot of potentially noxious corals added in a very short time span...A recipe for possible problems, as you know!> I have monitored the water, and the alkalinity and calcium are at the correct levels. Nitrate, ammonia, and nitrite levels are all okay right now... However, I am currently checking the levels every two days, and have 15 gallons of water on hand just in case I need to do an emergency water change. <Never a bad idea> So my question is... is my tank doomed to crash no matter what I do, or is there anything more I can do to prevent my tank from crashing? Thank you, Tai <Well, your tank is certainly not "doomed to crash", but it will require some careful attention to water quality. You definitely should be using some form of chemical filtration, such as activated carbon or Poly Filter, to help alleviate both organics and the many noxious compounds exuded by some of the soft corals. Protein skimming is a given, too. Water changes on a regular basis (like weekly or more frequently) would be optimal to help maintain stability and optimum water quality. I certainly would hold off on new animal additions for a while to help your system adjust to its new bioload. With a little bit of new-found patience, and a few adjustments to your maintenance practices, there is certainly no reason why you can't keep things working well. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Coral Buying Binge Aftermath One more question... how long should I put my tank in ICU??? How long will it take before its condition stabilizes... Give it to me straight doc... -=o)   That's the last question and I'm out to get a active carbon filter tomorrow. Thank you very much, Tai <Well, Tai, I think that your tank will probably need two weeks or so to just settle in. With some of the husbandry adjustments that we discussed previously, the system should adjust fine. Good call on the carbon! Get a good brand and replace it often. Be patient and enjoy your system. Things should work out just fine! Regards, Scott F>

Collecting coral Bob, my name is Adam Martin and I am thirteen years old. My question is, can you collect corals and fish anywhere in the USA legally?  If not is their a place close to the USA were you can. I have a 75 gallon tank and enjoy snorkeling and finding things myself.   thanks Adam <Not as far as I'm aware... both Florida and Hawai'i restrict such collecting... you can plan on an international trip (e.g. Fiji, Vietnam, the Solomons...) where you can do your own collecting still... you can collect many other invertebrate groups and fishes in the U.S.. I really enjoy getting out, mainly taking photographs of aquatic life. Have you considered buying/selling growing/fragmenting soft and hard corals as a past time, means of generating money for your aquatic interest? Bob Fenner>

Low Light Corals - 11/18/03 I have a 55 gallon tank that I have had running for about 2.5 months now. <Wow. Fairly new. Welcome to this exciting hobby!> Everything has been going great, and I am looking for some easy low light corals if possible. <Well some zoanthids and mushroom corals might do well but of course it depends on the intensity and PAR output of your lighting source as well as coral and coral placement (if you are not sure what any of the aforementioned items are, please read through our many lighting FAQS and articles on wetwebmedia>  If I don't have enough light for corals, can you recommend some other interesting life that I do have the proper conditions for? <What kind of lighting are we talking about here..?>  I don't want to get anything that I cannot keep successfully. <A very smart approach. Not good for the pocket book or your morale > I have a Coralife Aqualite PC light strip (two 65 watt 50/50 bulbs). <I believe the corals I mentioned above and maybe some Nephtheids possible>  I wanted to get some mushrooms, but the LFS says I need at least 180 watts of light for even mushrooms.  Is this true? <More light doesn't hurt but it could be possible to keep them with their placement high in your tank> Also, I have a coral beauty angel I just added. I have read that it's a gamble as far as whether they will be reef safe or not. <Well, I would read more about them and check through the various reef forums for others experience with them in reef tanks> I had a bunch of feather dusters coming out of my live rock, as well as some kind of coral.  The "coral" grew little tubes with a fan looking thing on top out of a white porous lumpy rock (Fiji live rock). <Sounds like some form of worm possibly, hard to say with this description>  Any idea what this could be (I know. very vague description but maybe this is common growth of Fiji LR)? <I believe common for Fijian live rock but not sure exactly by what you describe without some form of picture.> I have not seen any feather dusters come out, and the coral growths have been not been out (they pull into the rock sometimes) since I added the coral beauty. <Mmmmmm maybe because they are no longer there. Perhaps they have already been digested??> He does nip at the live rock, but I am not sure if he is just nipping at algae, or if he could have eaten all this life already (only been in there 3 days). <Doesn't take long in a captive system. Fish/invertebrates in a barrel....literally!!> What do you think? <I think more research on our site, through books, and discussion in forums will help you make a better informed decision. I wouldn't chance it myself. Good luck to you, mate. -Paul> Thanks for the great advice! -Ken

A hitchhiker and a coral choice dilemma 11/18/03 Dear Anthony, <cheers my friend from Poland> Actually, I'm not certain about this particular piece of rock, because it came with the Pachyclavularia. The rest is Indo-Pacific; chances are the same is true in this case,  because Atlantic rock is rare in Poland. Also, Sprung mentions that the Caribbean species is bothered by light, while mine isn't. <ahhh... I see> Well, I will keep an eye on the little fella; he's actually doubled in size since I first observed him, but still has a loooong way to go if he wants to become a fish eater :) <yes... agreed. You can likely enjoy it for some time... perhaps indefinitely> ...Yes, but this is true for other soft corals as well. I mean, a Xenia housed with Sinularia also has to cope with an unnaturally high level of whatever the latter leaks into the water. So your position seems to be that hard corals are *more sensitive* to those compounds than other softies. I wonder why that is? <correct. Soft corals categorically are much more noxious (issuing allelopathic compounds) than stonies.> >> <I sincerely think the Montiporas are a fine choice here for many reasons.> Well, I am glad to hear that :) I have decided to create a "lagoon zone" tank, but somehow a reef without any SPS seems woefully incomplete.  All the best Anka PS. BTW, Anthony, I have your book and I think it's excellent. <ahhh... thanks kindly. And I will be in your region... sort of, shortly. An aquarium conference in Stuttgart 29.Nov-30.Nov Have you heard of it by chance? Aqua Terra organized by Claude Schumacher. Best regards, Anthony>

Hard coral culture, Solomons, visiting Germany Here's Claude from Germany <Greetings Mein Herr> I've a question to you May you can tell me which Companies send cultured Hard corals to the US Market ? <Will ask Anthony to respond. There are MANY here now... and more coming online all the time> and what's happened with the farm on the Solomons <Much trouble there my friend... now mostly cleared up/out by the Australians... but most businesses left (or were burned down) in the trade. Dave Palmer is now in Los Angeles...> Why you will not come for a few days to Germany to my exhibition ? with Anthony :-))) <Anthony mentioned something about this... What are the dates? Is there a site to refer to? Bob Fenner> Many Greetings Claude

Coral selection question I have a 45 gallon tank that has been set up for some time with live rock and inverts.  I would like to start adding corals and was wondering what you would advise. <start off with soft coral, Try mushrooms or polyps good starter coral if these corals are doing well in a month try a LPS thanks MikeH > My lighting consists of 55 watts PC actinic, 55 watts PC 6.5K and 110 watts PC at 5.5K.  Due to limited top clearance upgrading to metal hides is not an option.  The tank is 24" tall 36" wide and 13" deep with a 4" sand base. Thank You Dennis

Corals As Weapons Of Mass Destruction?  Hi Crew,  <Scott F. your Crew member tonight>  I've been a fan for several months now and read the FAQ's daily. I've come to notice that mixing corals is not the best thing to do.  <Not good for long-term results, IMO>  Since I already made a mix before knowing I shouldn't could you look at my list and tell me if a chemical war is going to start. This list came off a receipt from a wholesaler where I bought them. I hope the spellings are correct.  Sun Coral-Orange ( Tubastrea )  Mushroom Rock -Green  Bubble Coral ( Plerogyra sinuo )  Polyp rock Star -Green  Flowerpot Coral ( Goniopora )  Organ Pipe- White (Tubipora )  Hammer Coral ( Euphyllia ancora )  Torch Coral (Euphyllia glabrescens )  Flowerpot Branching  <Well, you do have some fairly aggressive LPS corals there. I think that sufficient space, very aggressive skimming, consistent use of activated carbon, and frequent small water changes can help. The corallimorphs should be kept at a distance from the more aggressive corals, like the Euphyllia>  Acropora  <I wouldn't keep Acropora with LPS or softies>  Elegance  <Give it room...lots of room!>  Anemone blue or purple tip with orange butt  <I would not keep the anemone with corals>  I've read that anemone's shouldn't be in a reef tank with other corals, but it's too late. He is behaving himself and staying in one spot a good 6" or 8" away from any other coral.  <Okay.. Just keep an eye on the anemone...And don't place corals too close to it>  Please tell me which ones I should move out to keep peace in the tank.  <As above>  FYI it's a 110 gal with 110 lbs of live rock. The corals have been in the tank for about 3 months and look healthy. I would like to eventually get a maxima clam in the mix also. Thanks in advance, Dick.  <Well, basically, Dick, you have a more-or-less viable mix of animals. Keep an eye on things here. Some of the non-photosynthetic animals should also be given some attention. Just keep up good husbandry procedures. Time for a brief not here: I'm not trying to spell doom for everyone who has a mixed coral "garden" display...Lots of hobbyists seem to do it with relatively satisfactory medium term success. What I am trying to do is raise our readers' awareness to the fact that mixing animals from very diverse habitats, which would never encounter each other in nature, is not a recommended practice. The problems seem to arise in the long term, in many instances, when allelopathic compounds accumulate, and stress and competition finally takes a toll. It's important to understand just where our animals are found in nature, and to try to create an environment that best suits them. Some of the finest reef tanks I've ever seen result from the aquarist "specializing" in one type of coral (i.e. SPS, LPS, softies, corallimorphs, etc.). Give some thought to this practice...You might end up with an even more amazing tank! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Livestock recommendations 10/22/03 Thanks Anthony.  I didn't mean to waste your time.  I just thought you might have some unusual and appropriate coral faves off the top of your head. I'll read through WWM, the BOCP and Borneman's book several more times and see what I think.  Take care, Greg <no waste of time at all my friend... its just such an open ended question among hundreds of choices (thousands really). And your livestock really should be a personal expression of what you admire most. You said that you had a list of faves but didn't share them... do with us/others... but let your own pleasure/prefs be your guide within the realm of realistic husbandry. For you having opted for Acropora already as the focal point... I'd rule out most all soft coral and LPS stonies for concerns with compatibility. Best regards, Anthony>

The Quest For Frags... Who would you recommend as a source for SPS corals and other inverts to a person in Central California? I'd be willing to travel a couple hundred miles if necessary or mail order of course. Your sponsors that seem the best are wholesale only, or am I mistaken? All LFS are weak around here and clubs or other swapping opportunities are very limited or non-existent. Thanks, George. <Well, George, you have several possibilities to obtain quality specimens. First, you could try two of our sponsors, Live Aquaria (Drs. Fosters & Smith), or Marine Center. Both are dependable, well-regarded sources of quality livestock. You can also check out our Wetwebmedia Forum, where you could post to see if anyone has some captive-propagated frags available for sale or trade, or you could check out FRAGexchange.com, a website devoted to coral trading/selling by reef hobbyists. If you REALLY are willing to do some driving, there are excellent aquarium clubs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Orange County. Probably more convenient to try the internet-available resources first. Good luck- enjoy the search! Regards, Scott F>

Stony coral additions/selection Hello to whomever is at the helm today...... <Anthony here... commanding the wheel like the captain of the Exxon Valdez.. although slightly more sober> Just wanted to thank you for having such a thorough web page, for those of us who are just anal (um...may I use that word? *L* It's the only word anyone ever uses to describe me....scary, isn't it?) enough to have to study absolutely everything about anything that goes in our tanks, it's nice to have so much info and opinion in one place. *G* <grazie> Anyway, I have a 75 gal. reef tank about 7 months old, approx. 90 lbs live rock and about 3 inches of live sand, a  super reef devil skimmer in a 30 gallon sump with a mag 9.5 return pump, and 470 Watts P.C. lighting(10K, actinic, and 8800K).  Inhabitants include: 1 Firefish, 2 very young aquacultured percula clowns, 1 charming but annoying 6 line wrasse, 3 scarlet hermits,1 absolutely beautiful porcelain crab (the only id I have found for it is Petrolisthes kranjiensis) 2 cleaner shrimp, a few Cerith and Nassarius snails and 3 Astreas.  Parameters: Ph-8.3, Ammonia-0  Nitrite-0 Nitrate >.5, Sal. 1.024 Temp 81 Calcium 400, KH- 9. I use Poly filters and carbon on a rotating basis. I do have a few corals, a Caulastrea Frag (three heads) a small Lobophyllia (2") and a Tubastrea (these three are fed each evening, a variety...Chopped Mysis, krill, prime Reef frozen and whatever I happen to be feeding the fish) I also have a rock with green star polyps that has doubled since I got it (no, not the rock, the polyps...) and a couple of small rocks with Zoanthus. Once or twice a week I feed Instant algae (Tahitian Blend) and Golden Pearls. I am planning on having this be an LPS tank mainly, although I would like to have a Montipora cap. and digitata, if this is possible. <yes... also favoring moderate light and water flow like many LPS> My Reef -Savvy friend quickly talked me out of Porites, explaining that I didn't have enough light and it wouldn't do well. <most Porites do need extreme light and water flow indeed> I really only want animals that can be healthy and happy in my tank, and would appreciate any suggestions on corals I could include in the future. I don't plan on any additions for quite some time, but would love to have some ideas to think about (I must have something to mull over!) Do you think It would be a bad idea to have the Montipora with the LPS? <no trouble at all> I do plan on adding a refugium as soon as possible, I put a small handful of Chaetomorpha in the tank and it's growing quite rapidly... maybe too rapidly... :) thanks so much for any suggestions and keep up the good work!  Sue <yes... all good. Do get that refugium on as soon as possible! Anthony>

Coral By Mail (Ordering On-Line) I was wondering if anyone has good luck with purchasing coral on the internet (Marine Depot)?  I'm about two hours from the nearest store and sometimes they have good stuff and sometimes not much to choose from. <It's like that wherever you are in the world, LOL!> I've also noticed how much cheaper the stuff is. I just purchased a small leather coral for $50.00.  If you do recommend this, who is a good supplier. Thanks, Chris <Well, Marine Depot Live is a good source. I have met the owner, Ken Wong, and he is a nice guy and a conscientious hobbyist as well. His company delivers good products. There are so many other fine e-tailers out there who "deliver the goods".   http://www.liveaquaria.com  offers a nice selection of fish and corals, as does Marine Center. Another good place to check out on line is Mary Middlebrook's SeaCrop -- http://www.seacrop.com . Mary is a fanatically conscientious aquarist and does not carry animals or corals that were collected unethically, or animals that don't fare well in captivity. There are still other places out there that do the job. A quick search of the net will reveal dozens more that offer quality animals and good service. If you are comfortable with one of these companies, give them your business! Have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Mixing Anemones with Coral - a recipe for disaster 8/4/03 I recently purchased a Maroon clown mated with a green bubble tip anemone, it looked very good in the store tank, so I bought it. <they are hardy and well-suited> I asked some questions about the pair and the employee and I determined that it would be OK in my tank. <OK> Well I placed the pair in my tank after a slow acclimation and waited to see if the anemone would stay put or move to a different spot, well he did move and all seemed well except that he will not open and he looks very small and there is white stringy things coming out of the center. <aieee! Mesenterial filaments - defensive aspects. A sign of it being attacked or feeling threatened. And yes... they all move. That would be the main reason for never mixing them with sessile cnidarians like corals> All of the coral in my tank is doing well. <mixing sessile stinging animals (corals) with motile cnidarians like anemones is unnatural in most cases and a recipe for disaster in most tanks in the long run. Keep anemones in a species tank only> The salinity in the tank is 1.023 and the temp is a bit high at 81. This is all of the info that I can remember do to the fact I don't have my log book at work. Can you help me or I should say my Anemone? <do separate them from corals> Is there a book that you would recommend that has good info on the green bubble tip? Thank you, Mark White <no definitive works on such cnidarians for aquarists... but a lot of good/short passages in various works from the like of Wilkerson, Sprung, etc. Daphne Fautin has also done tremendous work in this field. Please browse our wetwebmedia archives and FAQs for much info on this anemone including tips on breeding them. The creature is Entacmaea quadricolor... also known as a BTA. Try various keyword searches with these names. Best regards, Anthony>

Narrowing the coral species selection? 8/4/03 Thanks much for your reply <Anthony Calfo with the follow-up here> I have been giving some thought to narrowing my range of corals: <very important for long-term success my friend. Focus on families or very specific bio-topes. Not the hodge-podge garden reef aquaria that are so common and rather challenged> My goal is to have a "diverse" group of corals, with different colors along with different shapes.   <understood... and it can be done without mixing unnatural tankmates> I've been thinking about hardy varieties that were attractive, but I haven't found anywhere that explained the problems with a multi-species smorgasbord (probably just haven't been looking in the right place). <good heavens... I suspect that you haven't looked anywhere at all then <G>?!? I can copy the bibles fro the back of my coral prop book for you to pursue more information on the subject. You should also look to find the papers of Eric Borneman on the subject of allelopathy (use that word in a keyword search of our site using the google search too by the way... many FAQs of help there). And of course, take a look at "Aquarium Corals by Eric Borneman> This being said, I really like clams, I like zoanthids (the orange and green variety I have seen is spectacular) and I find pulsing xenia absolutely mesmerizing. <agreed> My thought is to put these species at the top of the previously mentioned triangle rock mounds (6" from the surface?)--my wife insists that the tank be covered with a wood canopies, so I will be using the 440 watt VHO (2 actinic and two daylight bulbs) with fans to provide adequate cooling. <OK> This having been said, I'm not sure how to chose suitable companions to spruce up the rest of the tank.  (I won't need a lot more species, but a few more specimens should liven the place up).  Mushrooms are cool, but I have heard they can be aggressive towards the zoanthids.  Could I add a few more soft corals (i.e pipe organ, star polyps and leather corals) and save the SPS, etc for a later tank?   <a better idea yes> Or if that idea is fraught with peril, can you give me an idea of how to appropriately expand around the clams, zoanthids and xenia or point me in the right direction? <you are already on a good track... begin by avoiding the random mixing of species from vastly different niches like shallow hi-light/hi-flow SPS with deep water LPS or softies. You simply need to research the habitats of the corals you admire and make a list of the most compatible species> Thanks again for your help. Nate <best regards, Anthony>

Pondering corals 8/4/03 Currently I have a 45gal FOWLR system set up with 96W VHO 50/50 actinic blue and 10,000K tubes in it.  I also have 2 medium chocolate chip stars... amongst other things not pertaining to this subject.   <on the contrary... they are quite pertinent to your subject line. They will randomly prey on corals in time. Chocolate chips may work for weeks/months... or merely days. But rest assured they will eat coral in time> Lately I have pondered corals.  Actually I pondered them from the start... but I stumbled onto these stars... and cut back on my original lighting needs for the lack of corals and anemones in the system.   <do know that mixing anemones and corals is never proper. Sessile stinging animals versus motile ones... a recipe for trouble in time> First off, are there any corals available that would tolerate the chocolate chip stars?   <some... large Alcyoniid leathers like Sarcophyton or Lobophytum perhaps. Many more choices likely... but still a risk> If so, at a minimum... what would I have to bump the lightning needs back up to...including my current lightning? <the lighting needs to be doubled to get anywhere near the ballpark for keeping average corals. Else you will be severely limited to deep water polyps which are quite delicious to your predatory sea stars. Do read all about them in our new book "Reef Invertebrates" (Calfo/Fenner) <G>>> Thanks Steve <best regards, Anthony>

Point-Counterpoint... Thanks for your time on this. <Our pleasure- we love this stuff! Scott F. here today> I have been doing a lot of research on marine aquariums (books and internet searches) and what I am finding is that there are a number of diametrically opposed views about the aquarium. <Different views? On marine aquarium keeping? Really? LOL> I have read enough articles on WetWebMedia to know what you believe and I would like your opinions on some of these differing thoughts. <Sure- I'd be happy to!> 1) It is a universally accepted principle that aggressive protein skimming is a must (1 cup a day) for nutrient and allelopathy export.  In addition, to successfully grow corals, micro-organisms such as zooplankton, phytoplankton, etc., (whether grown in a refugium, a reactor and/or green water additives) is also a must.  However, protein skimming removes these micro-organisms from the system and there some thought that protein skimming is as harmful as helpful.  The no-protein skimmer belief rests upon refugium/Caulerpa/seagrass and/or clams as a more natural mechanism.  Plus, there are less impellors killing the organisms (including powerheads). <Well, I am of the opinion that a well-tuned protein skimmer is absolutely essential for long term success in closed marine systems. I have heard from a number of people who yanked their skimmers-some have been successful for a while- many have gone back to skimmers. I like to think of the long-term with reef tank maintenance. Skimmers remove many noxious compounds and dissolved organics before they have a chance to degrade water quality. I have yet to see a very successful reef system that has been maintained for years without skimming. I do not consider  one or two years a success...The bottom line on skimmer use, in my opinion, is that if you are going to omit skimming, then you need to compensate somewhere- either with a much lower bioload, very aggressive water change schedule, alternative "filtration" techniques (like Steve Tyree's Sponge/Sea Squirt Cryptic Zone concept, etc.). It is a trade off, and one that I do not feel is worth it. As far as the impellers in pumps destroying valuable plankton is concerned- I have heard a lot of thoughts on this, and, quite frankly, I feel that the threat-although legitimate, is highly overstated. Most reef systems simply don't grow and support large enough populations of plankton for this to be a legitimate concern, IMO. Even with productive refugia and other supplemental systems, I just don't think that the impact is there> 2) To remove allelopathic compounds from the system, weekly carbon changes are suggested.  However carbon also leaches vital trace elements out of the system.  Once again, harmful and helpful. <I am a firm believer in the continuous use of small amounts (like 2-4 ounces per 100 gallons of tank capacity) of high quality activated carbon. Good grades of carbon, such as those offered by Seachem (my personal favorite), Two Little Fishies, or ESV do not leach phosphates into the system. Yes, carbon can remove small quantities of trace elements from the system. However, if you are following one of my other favorite practices in marine husbandry, frequent small water changes- you will be replacing trace elements on a regular basis. In fact, you will probably not experience a deficiency in trace elements if you practice these water changes> 3) Another universally accepted principle is weekly water changes.  When you have a 55 gallon tank, a 10% water swap is no big deal.  When you have a 125 with a 30 gallon refugium and 10 gallon sump, it is a much greater effort, requiring a large garbage can sitting in the living room overnight to allow the salt to fully aerate and mix before doing the swap.  Plus the swap tends to be somewhat stressful on the fish.  I am planning on buying a 300 gallon at the end of the year and turning the 125 into a large DSB/Live Rock sump. A 10% water swap on 425 gallons will be a huge effort! <As a fanatic about regular small water changes, I can tell you that the process is simply not that difficult. One of my systems has about 200 gallons total capacity. I change 5% of the water twice a week. This amounts to 2 10 gallon water changes, which I perform on Wednesday morning before work, and on Sunday mornings (unless the surf is good- in which case it's usually Sunday afternoon!). I will generally mix up the saltwater in a Rubbermaid container about 24-48 hours before, and then perform the change. I also perform minor maintenance tasks, such as a little extra algae scraping (if needed), coral pruning, etc. on Wednesday. This will take about 20-30 minutes to perform. On Sunday, I take a little more leisurely pace, and will clean the skimmer, replace carbon or Polyfilters if needed, change micron socks, or any other little things that have to be done. Maybe it takes about 45 minutes to an hour of pleasant labor. I have always done the additions of new water "manually", by pouring it into the tank from a pitcher. If I really wanted to do it quicker, I'd hook up a Maxijet 1200 powerhead to some 5/8 ID tubing, and "pump in" the replacement saltwater...it's a lot quicker. Frequent small water changes need not be a chore. Rather, look at them as an opportunity to regularly assess the situation in your tank. Anyone who maintains their own garden can relate to the labor involved. It is part of the "price of admission", IMO, and is simply not that difficult. And, when you see the difference in your animals, you'll realize that it's all worth it!> Lastly, I have and read about many a aquarist who has been very successful for years with minimal swaps, minimal effort by maintaining proper trace elements/calcium/alkalinity. <I have to quote Anthony on this: "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes!". It's just not something that you'd want to do. We are talking about living creatures here- which require us to provide the highest level of care. Closed systems are just that- closed, and unlike the ocean, do not afford the animals a constant influx of clean water. To those hobbyists who think that water changes are not required, I respond, "You wouldn't let your dog live in the same room for 5 years without cleaning out the waste, would you? Don't do it with your fish!"> 4) Bio-wheels and Bio-balls are sold in virtually all LFS and internet dealers.  They add a tremendous amount of stability to the system but also contribute nitrates because there is no anaerobic area for denitrification. Once again, stability vs. water quality, harmful and helpful. <These media are, in essence- "victims of their own success": They are so good at removing nitrites and ammonia, that they cannot provide a bacterial population to keep up with accumulating nitrate. Yep- it is a tradeoff. Frankly- I like to keep things simple, and use a more natural approach: Let the live rock and sand do your filtering, along with use of macroalgae in refugia, and protein skimming, water changes, and regular use of carbon and/or PolyFilter media.> 5) Allelopathy is another subject, not discussed at LFS trying to make a sale.  Some people claim that pictures of beautiful coral displays that are all over the internet will be very different a year from now because of allelopathy and others claim success for years in spite of pictures showing many corals side by side, touching each other.  Another subject in dispute. I have purchased very aggressive corals (not knowing better at the time).  I have multiple leathers, Ricordea mushrooms, 5" genitor, frogspawn, colt and bubble corals.  Is this a toxic soup, a ticking time bomb, or as others claim, no big deal. <Well, I would not call it a ticking time bomb, but it is not an ideal situation. This is an aggregation of animals that are rarely, if ever found in close proximity to each other on natural reefs, so there will be a certain amount of allelopathy. However, these animals can be maintained together in a certain "stand off" with use of aggressive nutrient export mechanisms (the aforementioned skimming, water changes, and use of chemical filtration media). It's much more ideal to develop a stocking plan that utilizes animals that live together in nature. However, as we often state, this is a closed system that we're talking about. It can be done-and done with some possible success, but it is not ideal. I have seen many successful "garden" reef systems over the years, so I can't say that it's not possible to do this. just not recommended!> As I plan for a big expansion of my system, these are the thoughts that come to mind.  Natural (refugium/Caulerpa/seagrass and/or clams) vs. mechanical (protein skimming).  I currently have both.  Is chemical filtration needed? <I believe that a "natural" approach, with a few technical props (skimming and chemical media) is the best approach for most systems> Are water swaps absolutely mandatory, which would dampen my enthusiasm for a larger tank.  Would removing some of the aggressive corals reduce the allelopathy problems or would the bigger tank mitigate them? <Yes, removing some of the aggressive corals could help, as would reducing the proximity between corals. However, it is still important to change water. I would have to say that it's mandatory! Please understand that it just is not that daunting a task...Small amounts often is not that difficult!> Long email.  Apologies.  Thanks for the time. <My pleasure! These were some excellent, thought-provoking questions that have stimulated many a late-night fish nerd conversation at a MACNA conference! I hope that you will be in this year's MACNA in Louisville so that we can discuss these things in more detail! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Beginner corals 6/11/03 Hi I would like to know what the best live coral is for a beginner. My tank is a 55 gallon I have a niger trigger, nine pound's of live rock, a good amount of dead coral, and two snowflake eel's that I may get rid of. I would like two bring some color to my tank. Thanks, Kevin. <there are many fine choices to pick from, Kevin. Do consider getting a good book on the subject. I really like Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals". My recommendation for you is to stick only with soft corals. Perhaps some colored mushrooms or button polyps (zoanthids) may appeal to you. Very hardy choices. Kind regards, Anthony>

Coral Compatibility: everything but the kitchen sink! 6/1/03 Dear Crew <cheers, my friend> I have the following corals in my tank; 1 Porites 4 individual frags of Acropora 2 Favia species 1 rapidly spreading colony of xenia 3 Sarcophyton soft corals 1 colony green star polyps 1 colony green button polyps 1 colony yellow polyps 2 cup corals (Turbinaria) 2 colonies of mushrooms 1 Trachyphyllia 2 colonies of Caulastrea (candy cane coral) 1 Euphyllia My message concerns allelopathy between the polyps and the mushrooms toward my SPS and LPS. <wow... with this kind of mix, mate... your future problems with allelopathy are much bigger than octocorals versus scleractinians. No worries though - with such an extraordinary mix, invest in an ozonizer, conduct very regular partial water changes (weekly or better) and change chemical media (carbon or the like) weekly and continue to enjoy your mixed garden reef instead> After much deliberation; I am considering removing the colonies of mushrooms completely, as the are starting to encroach on my Trachyphyllias gravel space. <Corallimorphs are indeed top 10 most aggressive> Is this a wise move? <yes... but only the tip of the iceberg. I really don't know where to begin here <G> You have cnidarians from every conceivable niche on the reef mixed together in one tank. Quite beautiful however unnatural it may be, I'm sure. Again, do enjoy all as you like and focus on water quality instead> Also my button polyps are beginning to encroach near to one of my Turbinarias; Shall I just cut the polyps off the rock completely? <you might simply keep a "firewall" of loose rubble between them instead and replace polyp encrusted rubble as necessary> Also As a further problem. My green star polyps (Pachyclavularia), has grown up the stalks of a Sinularia coral I have choking it almost. Should I remove the star polyps completely as they will irritate the stonies I have? <a must, yes... star polyps are quite aggressive as you have noted. They will kill most scleractinians> None of the stonies are anywhere near the polyps by the way. I use carbon regularly, in step with Polyfilters, and do bi weekly water changes. <very excellent to hear!> My tank is 130 gallons and has a medium fish load. Is my coral stock too high? <not necessarily to high, my friend. Just a very diverse mix> Would you recommend removal of the corals I have suggested? <honestly a moot point if all else is healthy. Your husbandry routine sounds excellent. If you are willing to propagate and thin corals as needed, I say you can continue to enjoy it. Any address of the big issue of allelopathy might require extraordinary changes to make satisfactory groupings of so-called appropriate animals> regards, Jim Griffin <kindly, Anthony>

Coral recommendations! Hi what do you guys recommended coral wise for my 75 gallon reef I have 3 powerheads and 220 watts pc lights to actinic two 10,000k daylight they need to be hardy to keep thanks JM <Wow... where does one start? Here's a few hardy critters, but since they each require different care, I'm going to give you some genus names so you actually have to look them up. I know, I'm evil but you'll be much better off! Here are some that come to mind: Discosoma, Sinularia, Sarcophyton, Cynarina, Caulastrea, anthelia, Ricordea, zoanthids, Fungia, the list goes on and on. Have fun! -Kevin>

First Corals? I'll be looking into buying a few inverts soon. Most likely soft corals. <Great to start with...And very addictive for the long run- trust me on that!> My lighting isn't too great yet (30W for 20 gallon tank) and the water current is pretty strong. I'm wondering what are some corals that would be good for beginner (I don't mind feeding them) and not require too bright lighting and would be ok with stronger water current. Thank you, Luke <Well, Luke- why not start with some of the less demanding mushroom corals (like the Discosoma species)? when you get a bit more experience, and some more powerful lighting, you could try some Sinularia leather corals, or my favorite, Capnella...Do pick up a copy of Anthony's "Book of Coral Propagation" or Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" for some good information on the selection, care, and propagation of these corals. Regards, Scott F>  Future compatibility of corals  4/25/03 Hi there! <cheers, my friend> I heard your great things from some friends of mine in the Chesapeake Marine Aquarium Society.  I found out too late that you (Anthony/Bob) were presenting, otherwise, I would have switched up my travel plans and been in town that weekend. <sorry we missed you!> Anywho...I have a new system (running for two months now).  We (me and my better half) are trying to be as patient as possible, and just watching the world brought in by our live rock unfold before us.   <yes... the most amazing part... and one that is so often missed by aquarists for stocking with fish early> Other than some cleanup critters, live rock and macro-algae we haven't added  a thing to our system.  Snails abound in our system (no doubt hitch-hiked in, since we didn't add them on purpose).  Now we have literally hundreds.  I have plucked some up and thrown them into my refugium and my sump.   <all good... no doubt herbivorous... perhaps on diatom algae (we can say this for lack of meaty fare)> I have read that a wrasse could help with this (6-line Fiji wrasse is what was suggested to me, and I have confirmed on your site among others).   <hmmm... not so quick, my friend. It depends on the species of snail. Six-lines  are great for controlling Pyram snails... but do not harm those much larger. Also, they are feisty/mean, albeit beautiful, fishes Beware.> What I would like to know is this species as reef-compatible as my LFS leads me to believe, and would she pick at a Tridacna sp. mantle?   <on the contrary... this wrasse is great for controlling the snails that prey on Tridacnas. But adding this fish early/first could be a terrible mistake... they can be fiercely territorial to fishes even larger than they are. Add six-lines last. We do not have one yet (clam or wrasse or anything but tons of pods and other live rock inhabitants, for that matter), but the clams are one of reasons we got into the hobby, and they heavily influenced our lighting/setup choice. <fair enough... but resist the delicate clams for a while (crocea and maxima). Start instead with a hardy T. derasa or H. hippopus> If not, is there another snail control mechanism you could suggest (other than the effective if time consuming Homo sapiens). <we really should ID the snails first... you cannot have predatory snails flourishing without prey! Likely the snail bloom is a desirable species... and whatever it is... it exists because of available food/algae. They best way to control them no doubt is to limit their food/nutrients. Aggressive skimming that causes the algae to wane can easily reduce the snail population> Gracias, -Michael Vincent <di niente... Anthony>

Wild Coral Mix This is my tank setup it is for a 55gallon 2 175 watt Metal halides if I have to much of something or if something is not compatible please let me know thank you. <Hmmm... some observations I have to share: The Goniopora and Pectinia are very difficult corals to keep even for advanced aquarists... if this tank is less than a year old (understatement) or if you are a newer aquarist (less than 3 years say...), then I fear you will have great difficulty keeping them alive. The Goniastrea may be a species that requires VERY bright light... the LPS Bubbles and Hammer are somewhat to the contrary and require weekly feeding... the bumble bee snails do not eat a scrap of algae (strictly carnivores) you should know...and the yellow Porites needs more water flow than will be safe to have with the several LPS corals you have listed. All in all... it is a rather incongruous if even possible mix to succeed with for the long term. My advice, before you buy another coral, is to spend your next $30 on a good book like Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals to gain better insight to appropriate species (more compatible light, feeding and water flow requirements). Best regards, Anthony> Acropora, Neon Color Size: Med Amt:1 Porites, Yellow Branching Porites species Size: Med Amt:1 Anchor Coral, Ridge Euphyllia ancora Size: Med Amt:1 Toadstool, Yellow Leather Coral Sarcophyton species Size: Med Amt:1 Percula Clown, True - Pair Amphiprion percula Amt:2 Size: regular Brain Star Goniastrea Coral Goniastrea species Size: Med Amt:1 Sebae Anemone Heteractis crispa Size: Med Amt:1 Maxima Clam Colored Tridacna maxima Size: Med Amt:1 Astrea Conehead Algae Eater Snail Astrea species Amt:1 Bubble, Pearl Physogyra species Size: Med Amt:1 Cactus Coral Pavona cactus Size: Med Amt:1 Blue Ridge Coral Heliopora caerulea Size: Med Amt:1 Lettuce Coral, Spiny Cup Pectinia species Size: Sml Amt:1 Flower Pot True Red Coral Goniopora lobata Size: Sml Amt:1 Lobophyllia Brain, Red Lobophyllia species Size: Med Amt:1 Electric Blue Damsel Pomacentrus coelestis Size: regular Amt:1 Yellow Damsel Size: regular Amt:1 Bumble Bee Snail Tiny Pusiostoma mendicaria Amt:8

Mixing corals in a small reef tank 4/19/03 Good evening, <cheers> Quick question but take your time in answering. I am following your advise and not mixing hard corals with soft ones.  My 29g reef tank has several varieties of corallimorphs.  Would introducing star polyps violate the principle of avoiding the "mixed garden effect?" Thanks <in such a small tank, there will always be prominent issues with aggression. The Starpolyps may be fine with the 'shrooms if their growth is checked. Both can grow quickly, however... and both are very aggressive. Best regards, Anthony>

Rock Growth / Coral Max >Help Please! >>Certainly do my best, Steve.  Marina here. >Question 1 - I have Aiptasia (spelling?) >>Spelling is Aiptasia. >growing from my live rock.  One LFS told me to buy peppermint shrimp to eat it and another told me to shoot with Calcium and it will die.  What should I do? >>Either will work.  What you DON'T want to do is end up dividing the "foot" of the beast, as it will end up growing into MORE!  (EEK!) >Question 2 - I have a 125 gallon reef with ecosystem filter.  About how many corals can I keep in the tank? >>This is entirely dependent upon the coral species themselves, their sizes upon introduction, and subsequent growth rates.  I suggest, if you haven't already, getting (either, or better yet BOTH) Eric Borneman's book of corals, and Anthony Calfo's book on coral propagation.  There is also MUCH information about different corals (what you can keep is partially dependent upon lighting) on site here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm >Thanks, Steve >>You're welcome, and good luck!  Marina

Coral warfare  3/14/03 I've read much about interactions between corals on this website, and much advice to stick with one kind of coral do a display.   <specifically... I am just suggesting folks focus on a group or niche, and not mix unnatural tankmates like deepwater corallimorphs with shallow water SPS. Beyond issues of warfare, the mix is incongruous and a homogenized light/water flow scheme is impossible... one of the two will not thrive... merely survive at best. Hence the reason why so many folks complain they can get one group to grow but not the other when mixed> My question is this: do sweeper tentacles from one type or coral only affect members of different types of corals?  For instance, do LPS corals only have damaging affects on SPS and octocorals? <the issue is much bigger than sweeper tentacles... we are really talking about allelopathy- shed chemicals into the water that concentrate in a closed aquarium system. To answer your question, however... all corals will essentially respond to/sting any others that are not their species (including other species in their genus). Some will even sting others individuals in their own species if they do not belong to the same colony!> This seems to be the implication I get from the advice to not create a mixed garden display... <that part is correct... out goal is not to eliminate "coral warfare" but merely reduce it> or are you saying that the only way to stay safe is to only have corals from one family (i.e. only Acropora, or only Fungiidae)?   <no my friend... not that literal. It is simply that a tank a soft coral which includes species which might naturally occur together is likely to fare better IMO than a tank with unnatural species mixed together that would never see each other on a reef and thus are stimulated to fight excessively (chemical or physical) due to the unnatural sensation of an alien species in the shared water> I guess what I'm getting at is that I don't understand how sweeper tentacles from one coral can distinguish who or what they are being aggressive towards... <they don't need to distinguish... anything that is not their species/colony is a threat> and that it seems to me that an aggressive coral would be aggressive to ALL corals in the vicinity (not just different species)... it wants that space to itself at all costs. <exactly correct, bud. Thus the groupings of SPS only or LPS only or replicating a specific and naturally occurring biotope are better than having a mixed garden reef display> Thanks in advance, Jeremy <kind regards, Anthony>  

Re: Coral warfare II 3/14/03 I would suggest that recreating a specific biotope would be the only completely responsible way to go... to generalize a display to only LPS that have similar requirements would not address compatibility issues at all, merely their suitability to the environment that the aquarist has set up.  A mixed garden that conforms to a certain biotope would be more stable than an all SPS tank with species from dissimilar biotopes. My preliminary research on the net shows many corals of SPS, LPS, and soft coral designation to be high flow, high light species (granted, I'm waiting for the Borneman book to arrive as a more definitive source of information). Not being a diver myself I am forced to trust the anecdotal evidence of other divers that SPS, LPS and softies are found in fairly close proximity on reefs in the wild.  I understand the ocean system will disperse chemical products better than my aquarium, but some species from different groups must be able to form a stable biotope.  Given that corals are aggressive to ALL other species, it seems limiting to omit a soft coral that I like from an SPS tank if they are from a similar environment.  I think the approach I would like to take is to pick corals from all types that: 1) will flourish in the conditions I have established in my tank, 2) from similar regions/biotopes, 3) are low on the aggression scale, 4) spaced appropriately based on aggression levels. What do you think?   <stated as clear as I can offer in the previous e-mail> I guess we have to clarify what is meant by "mixed garden".    I have been interpreting it to mean mixing any two or more different types of corals in the same display.  To elaborate on the term, should I consider "mixed garden" to mean "mixing corals from unfamiliar environments", rather than "mixing SPS with LPS" or "mixing LPS with soft corals"?  I would like to display shallow-water coral species (mostly SPS and soft corals), with maybe a compatible high-light, high-flow LPS somewhere in the tank if I can find something appropriate that I like (there are a couple of beauties I'd hate to leave out). <I do believe superb water quality (extra water changes, aggressive skimming and/or chemical media, ozone, etc) can overcome many obstacles of captive husbandry and allow these mixes we pursue> Do you know if the Borneman book discusses only tentacle aggression, or is there some indication of allelopathy effects by species?  If his book doesn't cover this, is there one that does? Jeremy <Eric is one of the very best chaps to discuss the academics of the matter with. It is part of his post-graduate studies and his passion/personal studies. He has a forum on Reefcentral if you'd like to pose the question there. Kind regards, Anthony>

Stocking levels 3/8/03 Hey guys, I searched your site for info on this but it's sort of case sensitive.  I'm wandering if I am overstocked.  I have a 75 gallon w/ plenty of filtration, live rock, movement, etc. Corals: sea mat, several mushroom rocks, galaxy, leather, hammer (2), xenia, clams (2), bubble, bulb anemone, brain, trumpet, star polyps, pipe organ, colt, devil's hand, and Nephthea. <a bit of a hodgepodge, but no worries here other than the organ pipe. Likely to die in the long run for being mixed with mushrooms, colt and galaxy in particular... they are very noxious> Fish: powder blue, yellow, and Sailfin tangs (all small), percula clown, purple pseudo, scissortail goby, goatfish, damsel (3) So, what do you think?   <clearly overstocked on fishes for the long run. There was a recent poll on ReefCentral where I think more than half of all aquarists agreed that a 75 or larger was required to safely/humanely house a single yellow tang. In this case... the powder blue is probably pacing in your tank (common behavior in small tanks where they swim back and forth against the glass)... or will be soon. And the Sailfin tang alone will outgrow this aquarium. My strong advice is to pull the powder blue soon as it is the most likely to suffer in the short run 12-18 months for a mere 4 feet of swimming space. Its just a needy/sensitive fish. Perhaps you can enjoy the Sailfin for another year or two before it gets too aggressive> Water parameters are PERFECT, everything looks ok but I always wander if they are miserable. Thanks. <other than if/when your powder blue is pacing, I suspect all else is fine for now with these hardy fishes (yellow and Sailfin). Just be mindful of their adult sizes and the fact that a 75 cannot house the Sailfin properly in the 3-5+ year plan without stunting it or making it a bit more aggressive than they already are. Best regards, Anthony>

Beginners coral - 3/5/03 Hello crew: <Paul here> Recap: 55gal FOWLR, 130W CF's, 6" DSB, CPR Skimmer, 15x circulation. I would like to get a small, easy, coral for this setup. <This depends on fish and lighting. There are many "hardy" deemed beginner corals, but they still have a great many diverse needs to be met.> 1-The tank is 48x12.5x20, so that counts as 14" (subtract DSB?) top to bottom space, as far as light penetration, right? <Fine in my opinion> 2-Would a "frag" from LFS be a good thing to start with? <Always a good idea to look at farmed (fragged) corals. Not all frags mean farmed, but ask your retailer. A farmed coral (if all other needs are met) seem to acclimate better and generally seem to be "hardier"> I have been reading your site, and I don't want anything that will spread like wildfire, like I hear mushrooms can. <Mushrooms and zoanthids may be your best bet, ironically enough, again based on lighting and if your fish aren't polyp eaters. Look around wetwebmedia and do some research about your fish before buying any coral> I just want coral presence for now. <totally understand this. Take no chances, though. Research, research, research. You are taking a first step here, but much more to be done. We and you're future and current tank mates will benefit from your studies> 3-Can I get  something that I don't have to supplement it's diet, what's it called - a filter feeder? <These are fairly easy to avoid with some research. Pick up a few books regarding corals. I like Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals : Selection, Husbandry, and Natural History" and take it with you to your retailer or use it while looking on the internet. Some corals can get their nutrition through photosynthesis (meeting their lighting requirements) and a smaller amount of additional feeding met through absorption, some feed through catching prey of various sizes. Filter feeding is considered one method of catching prey, not a type of coral that needs to feed. A great many corals do both photosynthesis as well as utilizing a method for additional foods. Other corals do not utilize feeding through photosynthesis and need to catch food as their only means of nutrition. This has to do with a single celled symbiotic algae cell called zooxanthellae. This is broken down further by corals with zooxanthellae and those without. I suggest research here. Check out this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm > 4-Is this too much to ask for - a coral without the responsibility? <To a degree, anything in the aquatic realm requires some responsibility, from your thermometers to your inhabitants!> Gee, now that I have worded it that way, it sounds like I have answered my own question, but...Thanks, Rich. <No problem. I would upgrade lighting a bit. Plenty of links on that here. Also, look through our links on various soft corals and see if you can't pick up anything from the FAQs. I would purchase a few books, and also check out all the forums on the various reef related sites. To summarize, I suggest zoanthids and/or mushrooms. They are easily kept, and their growth can be maintained under control through "pruning" and other propagation techniques detailed on this site and many others. If you want other "hardy corals, you need to upgrade your lighting by adding more CFs or a completely different lighting scheme.  I wouldn't fret about that until you get there. A good first step in self education, but keep looking around out there (ahhhh...the life a conscientious marine aquarist....hey isn't that a book or something?) Knowledge is power. Regards, Paul>

Re: Lighting Uh Oh!! Let's say hypothetically that I already ordered these cnidarians. should FFExpress have known that mushrooms, button polyps and an LTA shouldn't be ordered together? - I did order over the phone) <not exactly... in large tank they actually could get along (although still not a great mix). More importantly... if you are to succeed in any hobby and beyond, you need to be an educated consumer. Research the needs of these animals before buying them. Asking the guy that is trying to make a sale from you is not objective advice <G>. Even if it was... it cannot be complete and does not make a consensus.> Why can't they all just get along!? <they all are sightless and stinging. But the anemone is motile and can travel across the tank battling/killing or being killed. They are also unnatural tankmates that would never be so near each other on reef and are ill-prepared to live together. Even if the anemone doesn't move around, they still sense each other and shed noxious compounds to battle each other through the water. It will likely be fine for months... but not years> seriously is there anything I can do to help them get along? <Weekly carbon and weekly water changes... aggressive protein skimming> Is there any combination of these 4 (the three ordered plus the Haitian Anemone) that would be ok? <simply remove all anemones here and enjoy more like coral> Should I try to give some of them away? I wouldn't mind letting the Haitian have a new home - not sure the LFS would take them or that they would do well there. <my fear is for the latter> As far as lighting - think I'm going with adding 4x65 W PC. <that will be very fine for the polyps and mushrooms, bud> Thanks for all your help. Mark <best of luck, Anthony>

2/3/03 - Lighting and coral selection Hi there, <Howdy. Paul in the hizouse and messin it up after a few too many tacos for lunch......bad breath....I mean.> would 1 36watt PowerCompact and 1 55 watt power compact light be enough light on a 29gal. <In my opinion that is a very low amount of light for most corals. Without getting into the weak "watts per gallon" argument/theory/thing. I would like to see at least 1 more 65watt PC added to that. Anthony Calfo has written a pretty easy to follow and understand methodology for lighting (So have many others). Please refer to the following links as well as do a search here in the google wetwebmedia search tool: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm > tank for  toadstool leather <Maybe too little light for most of the Sarcophytons. Please look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniids.htm>....finger leather <depending on what is truly referred to as a finger leather the previous link also could apply>....mushrooms <I think you could get away with the lighting you currently have with the corals placed about halfway up your rock structure. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallim.htm>....candy cane coral <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/faviidae.htm>and green brain coral? <Definitely would need a bit more light as this coral should be placed on the substrate with adequate room for expansion. This coral will inflate itself to not only pan for light sustenance but also as a method of feeding on physical foods such as mysids and other small meaty food chunks. Check this area out for more info: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyphlliidae.htm> if not which ones would be ok with that amount of light? <I really hope you can get more light. Why be limited by less light? Get the most out of the hobby instead of limiting/settling for a few corals at that light range. I have seen new fixtures for around 100 bucks or less through mail order or even DIY projects would be a bit cheaper many options here....since your tank is still cycling, maybe save some money for more light before spending on corals. If not I think the mushrooms and maybe a few zoanthids (beautiful animals can be had from LFS and mail order) may be your best bet. In some cases with inadequate lighting it is possible to keep a great many corals through a proper feeding schedule with proper foodstuffs. This is a more advanced technique and don't recommend to most aquarists. It is difficult to pull off and requires dedication and good water chemistry/husbandry practices. More light would be ideal for the corals you speak of with the exception being the mushrooms> and what's the highest the phosphate levels should be?<You would be better of reading our coverage on www.WetWebMedia.com. This is a rather large question that cannot be answered briefly in an email. The simple answer is to control their input into the tank, i.e. use purified water and not overfeed. I usually find that water changes with good quality source water, coupled with good protein skimming and the use of a phosphate-free activated carbon product, will really help control phosphate problems.> thanks allot, <Thank you Eric. Keep the questions coming and have a great day.> Eric Species Selection and Lighting needs Don, since I wrote my first question I have learned more on how important it is to research animals and their required environment prior to purchase. <Kinda fun too> With the amount of light I discussed, 175 w MH and 2x36 PC actinic, would that be considered sufficient light for an animal requiring <are we talking corals?>'High Light', 'Medium Light', 'Low Light'?  <By placing at different levels in the water column, I would think you could do most any appropriate species.>What species would you recommend raising with this amount of light?<Oh, My that is pretty wide open. As per above, Research and find what you like/feel you can provide for. A couple of books to consider would be Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" or Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation". There are good discussion about appropriate corals on the WWM Forum at http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk>  Also, I am now investigating the difference between 5000k, 6500k, and 10k MH lamps. <The tendency now seems to be 10K MH and this is what I am planning, with actinic for the next tank. Although species will determine as well. Some of this can be personal as well as the different temperatures give very different looks. Try to see other tanks with different bulb, temperatures, etc> Would one of those be better with the two actinics? <Not necessarily> With your experience, what combo would you install personally <as above>? <<Go slow, research, understand needs and have fun! Don>

Hard Lessons on Coral Keeping: Look before you leap, please! Dear WWM Crew, <cheers, mate> Can you please take a look at the attached picture of my new tankmate. <thanks kindly. It is clearly a Goniopora species. Very difficult if possible for any beginner to keep. Actually, its extremely difficult for advanced aquarists to keep too. Most die within weeks of import. This one will almost certainly not live to see a year captive at any rate unless you make rapid changes in system design or get it to someone that has a better shot at keeping it. Shame on your dealer for selling it to you without advising you of its needs, and quite frankly bud... you need to shoulder the same blame for buying a living creature without knowing its needs and if you could meet them first. It will likely cost this animal its life> I am trying to identify him and to get more info on habits, lighting, feeding, etc. to keep him happy. <please use the genus name "Goniopora" to do a keyword search in our wetwebmedia.com archives (use the Google search tool on the home page). There are many FAQs regarding this creature. I will also say that the animal CAN indeed be kept... but not likely the way you want to keep it. It needs deep sand bed systems (perhaps 6" plus) that are mature and have been established for some time to generate natural plankton. Seagrasses kept in-line in a fishless refugium may also be extremely helpful for producing phyto and epiphytic matter. It will benefit by being kept on the sand bottom in a colony with others of its kind... but will likely suffer in time in a mixed "reef aquarium" packed with a variety of species conducting silent chemical warfare on each other (allelopathy). You are going to learn a hard lesson on this coral most likely and I do hope that you will be sure to not only research an animals need before you bring it home... but also be sure to quarantine it. Again, please browse our archives where there are many thousands of pages that should interest you (like QT articles by Fellman). Be mindful too of infection with this coral. The brown jelly infection that commonly afflicts Goniopora as they begin to die can wipe out many/any of your other healthy corals in the display> Also, maybe how it breeds, <I have had this coral propagate naturally by issuing daughter satellites in modified tentacles that form an incused calcareous nodule which tears away from the parent to become free-living in time. Reproduction by fragmentation or sexually produced planulae is unlikely here> and if it is a risk to any other type of animal. Most importantly what should I feed him? <this coral cannot eat anything prepared (from a bottle, bag, pack, etc) that you can offer it... needs natural nanoplankton from a fishless refugium in aquaristics. Research refugium methodologies too. Dude... you really could not have picked a worse coral to buy on impulse... I regret to say. I do wish the best of luck to you though.> Thank you in advance! Martin <Anthony>

Coral selections Thanks Anthony for the response - I will probably return the Frogspawn to the LFS where it was purchased for a credit :-(. I have been looking at some Montipora capricornis - good or bad choice? Thanks Again. JT <Hmmm... the plating Montipora is a fun and beautiful coral... but there is a bigger concern here. If you want to have long term success in your reef tank and reduce your incidence of mysterious deaths of "healthy" coral down the road, you really need to pick a more compatible group of coral and resist mixing LPS, SPS, soft coral, mushrooms, hamsters, Smurfs and pillbugs all together. It is an unnatural mix that instigates even worse chemical exudations by these corals for the sensation of a unnatural neighbor. Narrow your focus to a high light/high flow SPS and clam tank... or a medium light and medium flow Soft coral tank... or the low light/ high nutrient LPS tank. But not all in one... too many complications. Best regards, my friend. Anthony>

A Few Questions on Corals Hi, Last week I added three corals (Hammer, Leather and Sea Fan) to my 100 gallon tank. My tank has finger leather coral, flowerpot (I bought before I know I cannot possibly keep it for long), star polyp and clove polyp. The tank has a "strange" powder blue tang that used to nip my clove polyp as well as finger leather and flowerpot but to a lesser extent. <Some fish are like that. I have a friend whose Blue Regal Tangs eat Zoanthids, crazy!> So, I move out my clove polyp when I add the three new corals. After a few days after adding my corals, my finger leather and flowerpot seems very unhealthy. Also, I saw my tang starts nipping at the finger and flowerpot. Even though my old corals seem to have problems, the newly added one seems very healthy. What's the cause for this? <He has not started eating these ones yet.> The tang or the newly added corals? <Likely the one doing the biting.> I understand that corals like hammer may release harmful chemical to other corals. <All corals release noxious chemicals in competition.> But I always use activated carbon and think this may help. <Yes, that with water changes and protein skimming.> I did a 10% water change but didn't help. Another question. The tang seems very interested eating my soft corals. Will it start to eat my hammer and leather as well? <I don't know.> Can you suggest any corals which you think the tang will not eat? <I cannot say because this is not usual behavior.> Thanks and regards, Manus <Good luck to you! -Steven Pro>

Corals Anthony -Thanks for the quick reply. A few comments/questions regarding your response; Regarding the frogspawn/hard corals and the wait, bought it before knowing this but did know enough to be testing and dosing Ca and watching Alk. level. <no worries... a few exceptions in the tank can work... you just don't want to have a complete hodgepodge mix without some discretion and limitations. Best for long term success but do enjoy this great coral in the meantime> Regarding the frogspawn and it's aggressiveness/toxicity - it is a relatively small branching frogspawn - with 4 branches each slightly smaller than a golf ball in diameter when full. It seems to be thriving. Given this, if I do not add any more hard corals will it be relatively safe to keep in the tank with the rest of the soft <indeed... no harm here. We are just trying to avoid an indiscriminate mix without any focus. Maintain good water quality and no harm done> and how much distance should I give between the softs and the frogspawn - I have read 6" but this will eventually leave a large void around the frogspawn. <six inches would be a bare minimum. This is a very aggressive coral that puts out long modified sweeper tentacles at night. Also sheds a lot of chemical toxins. 8-10" berth would be safer> If it will eventually lead to the mysterious problems sometime down the road I may consider returning it or donating it to someone with hard corals. <no worries... enjoy> Finally, I found that the coral I purchased was not of the Dendronephthya sp. genus. The owner of the LFS was present when I went back and we had a very informative discussion - he will not purchase the Dendronephthya sp. due to the difficulty. Thanks again. J.T. Craddock <very good to hear, best regards. Anthony>

Corals Good Afternoon! I'm a beginner when it comes to corals. I've had a FO tank but have now taken the plunge into the reef with LR/LS and am adding corals. <welcome! And do be sure to seek out your nearest local aquarium society... we'll help you if need be. A great place for info and fellowship> I am staying with the so-called "hardy" soft corals since I have PC's and am a neophyte. <very wise, my friend> I have read quite a few of the FAQ's and am doing research but my desire to purchase corals sometimes overruns my research. I recently purchased a "Tree Coral" form my LFS and am going back today to determine the exact genus. If I have understood all that I have read, the Dendronephthya sp. is definitely not a hardy coral nor a coral for a newbie like me. <exactly> On the other hand, the Capnella sp. seems to be a suitable choice. Would you agree?. <generally true... although Sinularia species branching soft corals are even hardier as a rule> My choices up to this point have been the Leather Umbrella, Frogspawn,  Xenia and all appear to be doing great. <although the frogspawn is hardy regarding water quality (mostly) it is best to avoid all hard corals for at least a year or more. You really need to be testing and dosing Ca, Alk and perhaps magnesium along with pH weekly for the first few months and dose accordingly. Critical with most hard corals and too tedious for most newbies at first. Frogspawn are also extremely aggressive (can kill most soft coral) and they are quite noxious. Too many people make the mistake of a hard and soft coral mixed tank and then have so called mysterious problems 1-2 years later from the noxious mix> I don't want to add something that I cannot care for and will return the coral to the LFS if it turns out to be of the Dendronephthya sp. genus. <good heavens bud... you should be able to spot a Dendro. from a mile away! Do you have even a single photo reference? Forget that... just look on the net. Aposymbiotic Nephtheids are fantastic colors... white, pink, orange, red, etc. Hardy Nephtheids are brown or green at best (like some Capnella)> I have learned my lesson in not asking enough questions at the LFS and/or researching the coral before purchasing. I have also read where the colt coral is a hardy coral but I read somewhere that it can also be one of the most toxic to the other corals in the tank. Is this true? <quite correct> and any suggestions as to some hardy corals that aren't toxic but will possibly survive in PC lighting conditions with a neophyte caretaker? <all are toxic to some extent but less trouble if kept by family group: Go for Alcyoniids (Sarcophyton, Sinularia and Lobophytum leather corals) and photosynthetic Nephtheids (Nephthea and Capnella mostly)> Finally, I am keeping a close eye on my iodine/strontium calcium and other trace elements (along with all of my other tank parameters). <ahhh... very good> Should I be target feeding any of my existing corals with zooplankton or ? <your frogspawn is the only one you have mentioned this far that can feed organismally. Offer very finely minced zooplankton substitutes 3X weekly or more> Thanks for all of your help guys (and girls?). J.T. Craddock <always welcome :) Kindly, Anthony>

Adding corals Hey guys, I would like to get your opinion on my adding these corals to my tank (I currently don't have any coral): Red Lobophyllia Metallic Trachyphyllia Candy cane coral Bulls eye Mushroom Coral <Hmmm... our first problem that three of four corals named here are stony corals. Unless you are an experienced aquarist )over one year with coral) I would recommend staying with soft coral for a while. Even with hardy stony species, they are very sensitive to mishandling and in this case, they require almost daily feedings (the brains especially). A Toadstool or finger leather placed in the top third of the tank would serve you much better. The mushrooms and fine hardy choices, albeit aggressive> I have a 90 gallon tank with 6 65 watt PC lighting. As far as the brain corals are concerned will they get enough light on the sand bed or should I place them on the live rock higher in the tank? <The Trachyphyllia must be kept on sand only. The Lobophyllia will do much better in the top third of the tank> Will this combination of coral have "chemical warfare" with each other or are they safe to keep together? <coral aggression is inevitable. Simply stay with groups of like corals mostly. One this point you have succeeded with 3 or 4 corals being large polyped stony corals> Thanks for the advice!!! Derrick <best regards, Anthony>

Fish With Corals Are their any kinds of corals that can be in a live rock aquarium with triggerfish, tangs, butterfly fish or trumpet fish? Thank you, Karla Lankford <Well, Karla- I think it's sort of the other way around: "What fish can be kept with corals?" No doubt there are hobbyists who have kept all of the above with corals at one time or another, but typically, triggers and butterflyfish will use your corals as a buffet! However, there are notable exceptions, such as the Pyramid Butterflyfish (Hemitaurichthys polylepis) and the "Big" Longnose Butterflyfish (Forcipiger longirostris) that can often be kept without incident. Even some triggers, such as the Blue chin Trigger (Xanthichthys auromarginatus) and the awesome Crosshatch Trigger (Xanthichthys mento) are largely planktivores, and have been successfully maintained in reef tanks. Many tangs are ok, but some may nip at corals if underfed or curious. I think that Trumpetfishes should be avoided by most hobbyists, due to their larger sizes (in many cases) and difficulty in feeding. Keep in mind, however, that no fish can be considered 100% "coral safe", they all may take an occasional nip at a coral, or feed off of algae on a coral skeleton, irritating the coral until it does not open. I suggest that you search the wetwebmedia.com site for more information on the specific fish that you are interested. It's lots of fun, and you might even find some new fishes to keep that you never thought about before! Good Luck! Scott F.>

On-Line Coral Suppliers Given your experience in the industry, I was wondering if you could supply me with some names of on-line coral suppliers that have a very good reputation and are known for shipping healthy specimens? <You are best off seeking out the advice of other hobbyists who are actively purchasing on-line for their impressions and feedback. Our message board is here http://wetwebfotos.com/talk, there are others you may wish to check with. ReefCentral.com and reefs.org are two big ones.> Thank you, Angelo <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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