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FAQs about Dendrophylliid Coral Reproduction/Propagation

Related Articles: Dendrophylliid Corals,

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

Strange things on Tubastreas      6/20/13
Hi Folks!
Here's hoping you got the three photo attachments with this e-mail so you can see what's going on here.  These Tubastrea colonies are a little over four years old each and for the last few months these little spaghetti looking things that are screaming electric yellow appear on a few polyps for a day or so then disappear, only to reappear a few weeks later.  I haven't noticed yet if the same polyps keep having this happen to them or if they're different polyps each time.  The colonies (all two of them) appear very plump and healthy.  Whatever these things are, they don't seem to be harming the colonies as they continue to exhibit rather robust growth with over three dozen polyps in each colony with more on the way. Both colonies were started with four polyps each, all of which were less than one millimeter across when we got them after having been starved for over a year and a half and rescued from certain death.  Nowadays, they are target fed once or twice a week with a really good frozen reef critter food from my favorite LFS using a small turkey baster.  Anyway, could these yellow spaghetti things be planulae? 
<Mmm, yes>
Borneman's book Aquarium Corals, and Calfo's Book of Coral Propagation both mention planulae but I've never seen pictures of them. 
<See here on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dendroreprofaqs.htm
These colonies have to be releasing planulae because baby Tubastreas keep popping up all over my tank, almost always on the very mature pieces of live rock totally covered with pink coralline algae.  Judging from the different sizes of the baby polyps, there have been three separate waves of planulation that have successfully dodged the tank's filtration system and settled out.  Right now there are three colonies in the tank that have started from planulae and have three polyps each after about a year.  ( I feel like a grandparent now)   I checked out the articles and photos of Tubastrea reproduction on your site, but couldn't find any actual photos of a Tubastrea polyp releasing planulae. 
<Don't think we have this>
The only other possibility I can think of is that these yellow "worms" are related to food processing/regurgitation/defecation although they have never appeared near the mouth but down where the polyp body meets the tissue that covers the calcite skeleton.  So at least for now, all the Tubastreas appear fat and happy.  Thank you for any help you can offer and tell me if you didn't get the attached photos and I'll try sending them again.  Oh by the way, your site rocks!  I've been visiting this place for over six years now, and recommend it to every fish geek (like me) who doesn't know about you yet.  My seven year old reef tank would never have made it this far without your help!  Thanks again.
Gregg from Golden, Colorado
<At first I thought these might be mesenterial filaments, but now am placing my money on reproductive event. Bob Fenner>

Propagate Corals    5/19/12
Dear WWM,
   I have a wonderful Duncanopsammia axifuga that I would like to propagate. I bought it as a two polyp coral; shortly afterwards it developed small bumps along the base of one of the polyps. After a few days I noticed that they appeared to have small mouths. I continued to continue what I had been doing in hopes that I would get a nice reward. Anyway, now I have one polyp with 6 heads on it. They are still all attached to each other, and I assume that before fragging I will need to let them separate?
What tools should I use for this?
<A simple metal clipper or even flat-end screwdriver that can be fitted twixt the basal hard (carbonate) skeletal joinings... leveraged to snap off the individual polyps of this Dendrophylliid>
Could a hack saw work for cutting through the skeleton without much damage?
<Too much chance of damage; and unnecessary>
Also, could they be sold?
 If so, what would a reasonable price be?
<Depends on the market thereabouts... see the Net>
 I received them online for 15$ per polyp, and don't know if I overpaid or stole them.
<About right>
 Also, I have a small Caulastrea
furcata which seems to be doing well. I fed it some Mysis shrimp last night, which I try to accomplish with some frequency. Is this appropriate?
<...? Yes>
I also dose the tank with Kent ZooPlex weekly. I had seen posted that these corals do not need fed frequently so I assumed that weekly would be enough.
<Depends... I'd double this frequency>
I also am receiving a package of Galaxea fascicularus, Tubastrea spp, and Trachyphyllia geoffroyi. I was wondering if you would suspect the allelopathy to be especially high?
<For the first, yes>
I did a bit of research, and read that
these with the exception of the Galaxea fascicularus tend to be peaceful.
Would water changes, good flow, plentiful food, and carbon be enough to "keep everyone from getting cooked?"
<You'll see; likely so>
I keep salinity at 1.025, NO3-: 10ppm, NO2-: 0, NH3: 0 PO4: .10ppm, Ca: 420ppm, Mg1350ppm, pH: 8.1, KH: 10, Temp: 78 degrees under four 65 watt power compacts. Thanks for your time. Happy day before the weekend!
<Keep searching... w/ your curious mind you'll do fine. Bob Fenner>

Reef tank... Free HH Duncans, sawing away. Prop. input 3/25/10
Hello my name is Eric,
<Hello Eric>
I recently purchased a frag mushroom coral and I've noticed that there are about 9 tiny Duncan corals sprouting underneath the mushroom.
<Lucky, very very lucky>
Is it safe to cut the Duncan coral to move them somewhere else?
<Yes, if this is what they are. Can you post a photo to confirm?
Duncanopsammia axifuga is a very easy coral to propagate this way. Either carefully snip or hacksaw the skeleton off at the base (I prefer a clean hacksaw blade cut) and stick to a rock using some putty. Keep a reasonable
distance between each head, as this coral will grow quickly, especially if you target feed it>
And if so where is the best place to cut them at?
What would be the best procedure to attach them to another rock.
<Two-part epoxy putty. I like Milliput, the terracotta one>
What other materials can I attach them to?
<Just use a rock>
Thanks for your time
<No problem, Simon>

Fraggin a Duncan Coral 12/2/09
Hello, first thanks for all the help getting my 150gal reef to where its at today, couldn't have done it without you.
<Some fun now!>
I have a Duncan Coral with about 12 heads now and its getting too big for the little stalk it is growing on. I want to frag it for the purpose of selling some of it and also spreading it around my tank a bit. I have read somewhere that you just break off the stalks? Does that sound right to you?
<Mmm, yes>
If not, could you give some basic info on the process?
Thank You,
<Sure... after making sure of the health of the colony, securing a plastic tray and hand tools... Pick up and gently "shake" the specimen in the main/display tank to have it pull in its polyps and tentacles, lift it out into the tray, and choose your surgical tool... If the specimen is small enough, a large flat-head screwdriver may serve. Insert this twixt the area between "heads" you'd like to separate and with your other hand on the opposite side (for support) of the colony (between heads as well), twist the screwdriver laterally, and you will very likely find that this will bring about a fracture of the pieces. I would rinse all, do a concentrated iodide-ate bath-soak for a few minutes, and replace the pieces in the system whence they came. Bob Fenner>

Double dendro 9/27/07 Wet web media, <Joe> Hey guys, how are you. <? Okay> The crew has most likely seen just about everything so I thought I might ask if you have seen this before. I have an orange dendro colony that started with seven heads. After feeding it daily for about 6 months it reproduced babies. One of the polyps has two heads that shares the same skeleton. <Neat! And yes, have seen> All the arms are independent except one that is in the middle and is split at the end. Is it one animal or two separate. <In process...> I ask because if I accidentally feed one more than the other, will one grow larger. <Try it and see> It reminds me of the cell division and a 2 headed snake in my biology book growing up. Thank you for your time. -Joe
<Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Sun corals everywhere! 2/16/07 Houston we have a problem... Hi Bob... I really tried to have a heart to heart with my animals. <Heeee! Good luck, esp. with cats!> I told them that under no circumstances are they to make me a grandma. Their new home is not really the ocean but a 10 gallon tank. It didn't work! Not only have my tree corals been spawning the last couple days but I have just discovered that my sun corals beat them to the punch. Some time in the past two weeks they did the same. I had noticed the past week these tiny orangish spots on the rocks and thought they were the start of Sycon sponges of which I have several. This morning I noticed a spot on my Astrea snail and pulled out the old magnifying glass to have a closer look thinking a Sycon sponge was forming on it Alas, a baby sun coral with polyps extended. Uh-oooh. Upon further inspection I have now counted 15 small orange spots around the tank - that I can see - but mostly on this one large rock. Can we say species tank? <We can> There's no way I can feed them without possibly causing water quality issues. <Mmm... perhaps this is my cue to launch into your "new tank" program... or a sump/refugium?> The majority of them are still in formation as now using a magnifying glass I can see numerous flat orange spots on other rocks... new count 25. I'm sure there are tons more. I've only had these guys in my tank 3 weeks. Maybe I shouldn't add a second shrimp. My luck I'll have a pair and baby shrimp everywhere. Do Green Star Polyps spawn as well? <Yes... all on sorts of "timed" schedules... having much to do with moon/tides, temp.s... and other life/reproductive cycles of other species... a magical myriad solar dance> If so, do they hide before spawning? <Usually so, yes> Please say no. Or could all this birthing activity and unseen chemical release in this tank have caused them to hide? <That too> On another note, the purple coralline I have here is fading, I don't think it likes the lighting. I had read somewhere that when the edges turn white it is growing. <Mmm... maybe...> Is that true? <Could just as well be receding...> A native Floridian, avid diver for over 20 years, underwater photography for 7 years, instructor for 2 years before having to move to Dallas, TX, and I can't believe how much I don't know about the underwater world I so love. Have a great day, Debra P. <Thank you my friend... Excelsior! BobF>

Sun coral babies update... 5/29/07 Hi... <Hi Debbie, Mich here.> Just thought you might like to add this picture of my 2-1/2 month old baby sun corals as a reference. Their tubes are just starting to become noticeable and slightly rising above the rock's surface. The parent colony is in the background. <Thank you for sharing.> The glutton for punishment that I am, I purchased a colony of yellow sun corals (I could not find their scientific name). <Tubastrea aurea> Unfortunately, they are not in great shape. One polyp is slowly dying. The day before it's skin coat looked like it had blistering and then yesterday morning I noticed an unusual amount of dark slime surrounding it. I gently blew it away with a turkey baster only to reveal a white skeleton. Its center is intact and it appeared to eat last night. I am feeding them every night adding a couple drops of Selcon to their container water and soaking their food, too. Poor handling during shipping and poor feeding has taken its toll on them. Hopefully with TLC most of them will become stronger and their skin coat will spread and fill in those bare areas. <Good luck!> Thanks.
<Thanks for sharing! Mich>
Regards, Debbie

Baby Tubastrea 3/07 to 8/07 - 08/05/07 Hi all, <Hi Debbie, Mich here.> Thought I'd update you on my baby Tubastrea. <Excellent!> Others may be interested. <Yes, most definitely!> I have 4 additional colonies besides these babies. The parent colony of these babies, a yellow Tubastrea, the black diaphana and another orange Tubastrea. All kept in a 20-gallon tank but fed in a separate 3 gallon tank every other day. <An interesting and apparently a successful technique. You remove each colony and place in a 3-gallon tank in order to feed the colony? Is this correct? What are you feeding the colonies with? Do you use Selcon? Do you feed all the colonies at the same time or individually? How long do you allow them to feed? Do you keep this tank set up all the time or do you just add enough water to allow for feeding? Is there any circulation/filtration/live rock in this tank generally? Is there any circulation during feeding? How are you water parameters in this tank? How often do you change the water in this tank? Is this tank lit? I'm sure there are other question should be asking. I'm curious and I'm sure others would be intrigued as well in any details you care to share.> Thanks,
<No, thank you for sharing! Mich>

Re: Feeding of Tubastrea.. Follow up to Baby Tubastrea Timeline 8/7/07 Hi all... <Hello again Debbie.> Mich this is a follow up to your questions, hope this is helpful. <Oh most definitely!> Because my sun corals are housed in a 20g tank feeding them in the tank would most certainly cause major quality issues. <Assuredly.> So every other day I completely set up a 3 1/2 gallon plastic critter tank. It is filled between 1/2 to 3/4 with fresh saltwater, a heater is added and a 5-10 internal filter. I let everything run until the water temp matches the temp in the tank. I check the pH. The lights have been off in the main tank a while so it has started to drop. If there's a significant difference I mix a bit of buffer in RO and add to the 3-gallon tank to bring it up a bit. I have two containers (Tupperware type) that have been cut to accommodate moving the corals. One small one for the smaller colonies and one large one for the large colony of mixed black and orange. They are never exposed to air during the process. <Good technique.> The water from their moving containers fills the rest of the 3-gallon tank and becomes part of my water change for the main tank. After they are placed inside I put the Whisper filter back in (it was removed to make room for moving the corals in) and turn it on without any filter media. I have cut the flaps on the impeller to slow down the movement as it is purely for circulating food in the water. I start with Sweetwater zooplankton to whet their appetite, but I have found that they apparently recognize my scent because anytime I place my hands in the tank they begin to open in anticipation of moving to feed. <Interesting Pavlovian response.> Anyway, I circulate zooplankton and maybe brine shrimp. In the mean time mini mysis are being thawed in another container. I do add Selcon but not every feeding. <Very good.> Taking the recipe for food from "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" <Fenner's Wonderful Marine Mash, is of course one of our favorites!> I also vary their diet with a mix of seafood (snapper, grouper or dolphin, <dolphin???><<Likely Coryphaena hippurus... Dorado, Mahi... RMF>> oysters or mussels, shrimp then some frozen Formula One added blended and then frozen in egg crate to make cubes) The cubes are grated to make small pieces. I let the corals feed on floating food for a while and then turn off the filter. Using a homemade syringe made from rigid 1/4" tubing that I bent at the end and an ear syringe which I cut the end to accommodate the tubing, I draw the mysis shrimp into the tube and then start feeding each polyp. By the time I get to the last colony the first colony fed is ready for more. I try not to feed more food than appears to fill the polyp cavity as I find that even though they keep eating they will regurgitate. So giving them just enough food to fill their "tummy" keeps them from regurgitating. <Very good instinct on your behalf.> One colony (the orange in the top left of the picture) uses a slime coat to capture their food and are the slowest eaters. (This is my original colony purchased the beginning of the year and the parent colony to the babies.) The whole feeding process (not including setup) can take about 3 hours. <Very time consuming.> But the last hour I pretty much have just left them to finish eating and then I start the filter again to recirculate any food on the bottom which they can capture and eat. To finish I put a piece of filter pad into the filter and begin siphoning out any food remaining with a baster. I do a bit of a water change because any phosphates from the food and the food itself will be transferred to the main tank when I move the corals back. I have two cleaner shrimp who know exactly what their job is when I put the corals back in the tank and that's to clean up any excess food between/around the polyps. <You show tremendous dedication and have been rewarded with excellent growth and reproduction.> Included is a picture of the corals in their tank ready to be fed and a picture of the three corals consisting of four separate colonies. The yellow were pretty much a rescue as they had not been fed regularly if at all and I lost 4 polyps before the end of the second day that I had them. One polyp I almost lost as it lost a portion of its covering its white skeleton is showing, but it's eating and doing okay now and I'm hoping that its tissue will come back and cover the rest of the exposed skeleton. <Has about as good as any in your excellent care!> Regards, Debbie <Debbie that you for sharing your amazing husbandry methods. You are quite dedicated. Might I encourage you to pen an article on your experiences here? I'm sure Bob would assist you in making contact with potential publishers. Mich> <Yes. Please do consider putting all together in an article format. I will gladly aid you in rough editing and introduction to the print and on-line zines. BobF> Re: Feeding of Tubastrea.. follow up to Baby Tubastrea Timeline 11/4/07 Robert, <Deb> I apologize for the delay in responding to this email... both because of my work schedule and thinking over if I could do something to this end. <No worries> My sun corals have spawned again and I have a new batch of babies. And the jury is still out on this one but I think my black sun corals may have spawned as well. <Oooh, was watching a show re: Raja Ampat last night and though the spiel was a mix, there was the mention a few times of corals challenging/modifying species concepts, and the notion of super-species...> They're tiny but their coloring is very much like Aiptasia yet their tentacles are very different, and they're scattered just like the orange sun corals. Anyway, this whole experience has been fascinating to say the least but especially informative as well. These colonies appear to take years to develop, have special feeding requirements and cannot be propagated easily. So I'm hoping by having this information out to hobbyists it will make them think twice about purchasing them. Because of this, on a personal note, I would love to see them stay in the ocean and no longer sold at LFS's. <!? But how much progress could/would be made in understanding their biology... and the interest generated... might well have a multi-order of magnitude influence on humans... I am resistant to such regulation> Workwise this is season for me and I'm pretty much loaded 7 days a week, <You lazy bum! Only seven? Heeeee!> but I think sometime the first of the year would be good for me to get an article out and give me some time to arrange info in the meantime . If you find this acceptable, please let me know guidelines, and possibly links to other articles written on subjects to get an idea of format, etc. and any other ideas you have for this as well. Thanks again, Debbie <Crank the piece out as you see fit... length, format unimportant for now... And I'll help you place it mach schnell in the print press... and we'll figure out the e- placement and follow-ups later... and take pix! Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Baby Tubastrea update - 2 years 01/19/09 Hi all. <Debbie> This is a follow up to the Tubastrea timeline "Baby Tubastrea 3/07 to 8/07" under 'DendroReproFAQs. <Ahh!> Well the babies are almost 2 years old now. This picture was taken in December, 2008. They are now joined by both black and yellow Tubastrea babies which have grown much faster in less time. <Interesting... the black ones esp...> Bob, I'll look forward to meeting you (if you're not too mobbed) at our Next Wave 2009 in Dallas this coming Saturday. <Sounds great! Will be there> Thanks. Debbie Piedra <Bob Fenner>

Balanophyllia Reproduction 1/19/07 Probably a dumb question - but if I start out with one single polyp of Balanophyllia, will it eventually produce baby polyps? <Mmm, this Dendrophylliid can produce such asexually, yes...> I read they were "singular" in nature and couldn't find out much about their reproduction. Thanks, Doug <See/search with the correction of your spelling above. Bob Fenner>

Katrina the Sun Coral (Of Katrina and The Waves, of course) :o) 6/24/06 Hello, Anthony, Bob, or whom ever I lucky enough to get! <Ho buoy...> I did look through everything for sun coral info, but all I could seem to find was feeding/care/space warfare related, so here goes: I have a sun coral that I got at half price a year ago because 2/3 of it's little polyps were skeletal. Now, it covers about all but three heads of it's rock (About 40-50 large polyp heads), and has 30-40 tiny polyp heads taking over the rest. <Neat!> ::The Crowd Goes Wild:: I spot feed saturated brine shrimp and other treats every day, because she is my favorite in the tank... though I have to admit becoming a bit addicted to zooanthids of late. <Careful with these> My question is, I have a friend who has watched this happen, and had always wanted a frag of Katrina. I would also like to have a frag of her to trade now that she is so big. Is this safe to do for her, and what is the best way to go about it? Your friend in Maine Laurie <Can be carefully split twixt the polyps... corallites that are broken themselves will not likely "make it". A sharp tool (e.g. a chisel) to split the rock it's attached to, eye protection... Bob Fenner>

Was that spawning by sun coral 9/9/03 This is Ameya, I am a regular visitor to the site wetwebmedia.com and it is fantastic. It gives a whole lot of ideas regarding various aspects of marine aquarium. This is my first e- mail to your website. <welcome!> I am new to marine aquariums but do have a 60 Gallon one set up by my self and a friend of mine who is a retailer of marine and freshwater aquariums some six months ago. It has three 2000 L/Hr. capacity power heads, two 900 L/Hr. attached to UG, and another 900 L/Hr. attached to a homemade skimmer, 10 40Watt tube lights (no external filter, no sump, no chiller, no calcium reactor). I maintain sal. 1.021, PH 8.3-8.6, nitrite is nil. <for successful coral keeping, do allow some small amount (<5ppm) of nitrate to linger as a food source> I have three spot damsel, electric blue damsel, yellow damsel, smoke angle each along with them I do have three carpet anemones, a long tentacle, sun corals, and a pulsating coral (sub category unknown) it can be ripped off stone and stick on any thing (it grows on standing glass as well) it has branches, with white tentacles and it grows sending new runners along its mother branch. These two types of corals are collected from a near by sea shore which has very dirty water. <understood... but do be careful about mixing anemone species together and mixing any anemones with corals for long-term success. It is usually difficult if not leading to mortality or disaster from aggression or movement in the tank by the motile species> One day when I came back home I saw the sun coral had a swollen look to it and the usually fluttering tentacle almost invisible after observing for ten to fifteen minutes carefully I saw white clouds being thrown out of their mouths, I suspect spawning must have taken place, but I wonder whether it is possible in such a small aquarium. <yes... it is possible and has been documented. If the even is asexual planulation, larva will almost certainly settle out successfully. Do see the reports from Joe Yaiullo (New York aquarium) on the topic> After approx. three days the tentacles were no where to be seen I thought the coral was dead, it was almost covered by diatom algae but after three to four weeks I was shocked to see tentacles coming out again. For that matter they haven't come out completely yet, I want my coral to survive, I will be thankful please give your expert advice, also expect a proper name for the above mentioned pulsating coral. <Xeniid corals are the only notable group of corals with pulsatory function. You may have a Xenia. As to the sun coral activity... they are weekly aggressive and may very well suffer after some weeks/months to chemical warfare (no touching needed) by the anemones which do not belong in the same aquarium. Best of luck! Anthony>

Easy way to get sun coral (Tubastrea) spawning 4/10/04 Hello, Dr. Bob, <Anthony Calfo in his stead> Five to six months ago I wrote to you about sun corals spawning in my tank, two months ago there was power failure for about 2hrs. Or so, and I noticed my sun corals spawning again, I thought it was just a routine as they do tend to spawn every month. A week later I was drilling hole into the tank to connect it to the sump and I turned the filtration off and lowered the water level then I noticed the sun corals spawning. Then I decided to go forward with the experiment of turning off filtration and observing whether the sun coral spawn or not, and after caring out this experiment three to four times at the interval of 10 to 15 days I reached the conclusion that when the water movement is absent the sun corals do tend to spawn. <very interesting!> As I can collect the sun corals from the near by sea shore only on the days of full moon or no moon when there is no water movement as the water level drops, I guess they must be spawning every 15th day. Since I don't have any other hard coral in my tank, I would be more than happy if you carry out this experiment and let me know whether this technique works or not on other hard corals. AMEYA <fascinating information my friend... thank you so much for sharing. Please do follow up with more when you can. With kind regards, Anthony>

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