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FAQs about Faviid Corals 1

Related Articles: Faviid Corals

Related FAQs: Faviids 2, Faviids 3, Faviid Identification, Faviid Behavior, Faviid Compatibility, Faviid Selection, Faviid Systems, Faviid Feeding, Faviid Disease, Faviid Disease 2, Faviid Reproduction/Propagation, Stony/True Coral, Coral System Set-Up, Coral System Lighting, Stony Coral Identification, Stony Coral Selection, Coral PlacementFoods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, Propagation, Growing Reef CoralsStony Coral Behavior,

Caulastrea echinulata (Milne Edwards and Haime 1849).

Closed Brain Bubble- 5/28/03 Thanks to Anthony, the "doughnut surgery" on my overgrown toadstools was a success, the patients are fine and children were born. [trimming the perimeter of Alcyoniids to control growth] <excellent to hear, my friend! If you took any pictures, please share them with us> My closed brain coral has done  well for two years with little growth, but it seems healthy with the green pockets  brightly colored glowing under the blue actinic. Lately, I see two bubbles growing along its bottom edges, one is over an inch, the other about 1/2 inch. They are somewhat transparent and have a green  spot on them. Should I be concerned or be doing anything? <hard to say... could be a couple things... leaning towards bad: a change in lighting (usually an increase from cleaned bulbs/lenses or new lamps) can cause stress induced polyp bailout symptomatically similar to what you see. In other cases, it is caused by aggression from an aggressive neighbor nearby or touching> There are two large polyp colonies on either side of the brain. Perhaps I should remove some of them. <Hello! neighbor> I have too many polyps in my system but haven't come up with a method to remove them other than pulling them off the rock one at a time with tweezers. Any suggestions? <yep... diagonal pliers that bite the rock at their base and skin them off the substrate with a slight sliver of rock underneath. Much faster and less damaging (fear of the polyps exuding palytoxin that harms the coral or you (!) over time from you tugging on their heads with tweezers <G>> I do have a green globe urchin which stays busy eating coralline algae, mostly off the back of the tank where it is thick. He has never been seen near the brain or other SPS corals. <no worries... not suspected> My water chemistry remains perfect with nitrates usually un-measurable and ORP between 300 and 350. Ca at 350 to 400.Temp.is chiller controlled at 78F. Even with R/O, D/I, ozone, macro algae refugium, less than 1/2 the recommended bio load, regular bulb replacement,  and weekly 10% water changes I still have more than my share of red and brown algae. I conclude that this is something that must be lived with. Do some people really live without it? <possible... all about nutrient control. No nitrates does not mean no nutrients. Just none that you have a test kit for ;) The skimmer is the key. That and strong water flow (towards 20X)> I'm off to Cozumel for a family diving trip with a new digital camera and case. Does Bob use the "white balance" settings? <not sure... I thought he mostly used Tequila to get the best shots> Howard in Wisconsin <Antoine in space>

- Lighting for a Goniastrea - Is 175 watt metal halide bulb enough lighting for a Goniastrea? <Should be fine. Cheers, J -- >

Faviid eating hermit crab! LPS with a big appetite 3/16/02 Woke up this morning and found that my Faviid had found some dinner. Cant believe that there mouth can open so wide. There goes one of my blue legged crabs. <yikes... cool picture though. Shawn... I'd like to use this picture with your permission in a future presentation or article perhaps. If you would be willing to give your permission, could I trouble you to send the original (full-sized) image to me at readingtrees@yahoo.com and copy it to here as well in case Bob would like to post/use it? If that suits you, please also include your full name as you would like to have it cited for credit (and an address to mail any possible printed copy to). No worries if you cannot share it, my friend. A very cool shot... indeed large zooplankton <G>. Expensive too if it becomes a habit... Ha! Best regards, Anthony>

Coral ID: Faviidae... a Favia or a Favites? Wanted to know the name, lighting and feeding requirements of this coral before I go out and buy one. Reading from your site I believe its from the family Faviidae. Also I read that they need a good amount to moderate lighting. Is this correct? Not sure on the feeding requirements though? <the coral pictured is a Faviid, specifically a Favites species. You can tell the difference among Faviids as Favites has shared (melded) polyp walls while Favia species have distinct walls (separate from each other). They are adaptable to a wide range of light but are inclined to brighter schemes. Keep in the top 10" of water under any fluorescents and please acclimate slowly to all lighting (especially when new and to MH) after a 2-4 week quarantine in your separate isolation tank (before entering the main display). There are articles on QT for corals and on acclimating corals to new lighting in the archives. Feeding very finely minced meaty foods will be necessary 1-3 times weekly or more if lights are weak. Mysids and Gammarus are very fine. Pacifica plankton too. Water flow should be moderate to strong but never laminar. Best regards, Anthony>

Follow up ad Favites lighting - 3/5/03 Thank you for your reply. <No problem> Gosh, you guys are attentive. <We aim to please>  I will wait patiently for Anthony's comments. <actually he stated to me that he agreed with my comments. So he and I feel there is no need for a second reply.>  While I have your attention, (last question I promise), what are the light requirements for a red Favites?  I know the requirements for a green/brown one, but how does a red specimen compare to a green/brown Favites brain. <Well, in my references, it is my understanding that the green versions usually require higher light and found in shallower water and red colorations are found in a bit deeper water with a bit less or moderate light. Being that these are Favites (which I have personally seen in habitat diving for research in the indo-pacific) I recall that the green and red were pretty much in the same areas in and around lagoons and near shore flats. The green were found closer to sloping walls at the leading edge near surface. In other words, they like a good amount to moderate light in my experience. They were shaded through the highest point of the sun, but you could try some experimentation. In my experience they are very adaptable. Although, sun, seven degrees off the equator, is very much different than aquarium lighting (or sun anywhere else for that matter). Look around various reef forums and do a search for "Favites care" and see what other aquarists are doing with their lighting schemes in relation to Favites sustainability. Later, Paul> Joey  

Caulastrea bouquet Hi I'm just wondering if various Caulastrea colonies (aka trumpet, candy cane, etc.) will sting each other or whether I can safely place them in multi-color bunches. Thanks in advance! Adam <they cannot be blended in a bouquet and service long-term, my friend. These "colors" are different species and intolerant of each other. Aggression is not always apparent for the first few weeks/months, but one or both colonies will suffer in time. Best regards, Anthony>

Rose coral (Manicina areolata) Hi Anthony, What do you think of this coral? <a wonderful species... should be legal to collect but isn't. We have to simply luck out and get them on live rock> Picture 1- Rose Coral is 5 weeks after I got it as a hitchhiker on Carib. LR Picture 2-Rose Coral is 5 weeks later, same specimen. <little growth, but good acclimatization and polyp extension. Needs fed at night when modified feeding polyps come out... can be coaxed by day> You IDed this coral, anymore particulars? <Hmm.... not sure what else you'd like or are looking for. Care and feeding is just like the pacific Trachyphyllia open brain species except Manicina tolerates much brighter light. Feeding 3-5 times weekly is a minimum> Thanks so much, Mike <best regards, my friend. Do enjoy this little gem! Anthony>

Candy Coral First, I have to say your web site is awesome. I wish they had tools like this 40 years ago. If I spend any more time on this site someone is going to expect an engagement ring. <Thank you for the kind words, but I am already taken.> I recently bought what I was told was a LPS known as a Candy Coral. After I got it home I noticed one of the polyps didn't seem to fully inflate and upon closer inspection, it looks like a very small fan-shaped transparent feeler is feeding from inside this polyp. Is this part of the Candy Coral or did he just hitch a ride and is an unwelcome guest? <From your description, it does not sound like a part of the coral.> Will he cause trouble? <Hard to say, this could be some sort of mutual relationship. Likely not parasitic in nature. At worst, the creature is exploiting the coral and may in time damage this one head.> Should I kick him out for not paying his rent? <I would leave it alone for now.> Keep up the excellent work. <We will. -Steven Pro>

Re: Candy Coral I probably should have given you a more detailed description about this little guy. <A picture would be nice.> He as approximately 5 almost invisible "fingers", 3/16" long, that comes out of a tiny hole from this one polyp. The hole is off to the side so I know it is not a natural orifice, although this hole looks "healed" and has somewhat of a ridge around the opening, like it's been in existence for awhile. This tiny "hand" pops up out of his hole and twirls around gathering food and then pops back into it's hole and does this repeatedly, usually in the evening. My main concern is whether this thing will multiply and cause trouble with either another polyp or spread to another coral. <Both of these are possible.> All of this is going on in a 5 gallon nano reef that has been set up for two years, although the coral have been recent additions, which includes a hammer coral, another unidentified LPS, a tree coral (placed as far away from the LPS as it could get), assorted button polyps, both a red and a blue hermit crab, two peppermint shrimp, a tube anemone, a lime green feather duster and is packed with as much live rock and live sand as I could cram into this 5 gallon, maintained by a 6 watt blue PC and a 27 watt 6700K Ultra-Daylight Linear Quad turned on by a timer for 10 hours a day, water temperature runs around 78 degrees at night and goes up to 80 degrees during the day due to the PC lighting. I have a Whisper 5-15 filter hanging on the back which gets changed every couple weeks. A lot of work has gone into maintaining this reef tank and I would hate to see this little kingdom destroyed by an unwelcome predator. <This is likely a commensal relationship.> Can I include another question while I'm at this? <Sure> I originally inherited this set-up from my daughter who lost interest and it was overwhelmed with Aiptasia, which was the reason for the two peppermint shrimp. Now that the Aiptasia are all gone, what do I feed the peppermint shrimp? <They will eat just about anything.> Since they devoured about 30 small Aiptasia I have been feeding them and the tube anemone small chopped up pieces of a frozen food called "Angel Formula" manufactured by Ocean Nutrition. Oddly enough, it has turned the peppermint shrimp a dark orange. I have been feeding the coral "Micro Vert" manufactured by Kent. <Please check the ingredients and see if anything listed is truly needed.> All of the rock now has purple coralline algae growing on it, with numerous red and green macro algae growing everywhere, including a healthy piece of Halimeda growing so fast I have to harvest it regularly. <A very good sign> I also harvested most of the bubble Caulerpa, it looked so healthy I was afraid it would go asexual. I make weekly water changes of 1 gallon to maintain the water balance. Any advice or changes you could offer regarding this setup would be greatly appreciated. <Everything sounds fine to me.> I certainly appreciate your opinion and any more information you could give me, or direct me to, would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much. <It seems like you are ok, if not a bit crowded. Now that you are successful, maybe think about a larger set up. -Steven Pro>

Feeding brain coral I am considering purchasing a brain coral and was interested in what is best to feed this type of coral.  <Hmmm... that depends on what type of Brain coral. Some closed Goniastrea brain corals need high light and no target feeding whatsoever (they are nearly autotrophic). Open brain corals (Trachyphyllia) however are fairly low light and require very regular feedings (minimum 3-5 times weekly). > I have read that it should be feed shredded pieces of shrimp and another source suggested zooplankton. What would you recommend, shrimp from local grocery cut up or zooplankton from fish store?  <a mixed and very finely minced variety of all/many: krill, cocktail shrimp (raw shell on), mysids, Pacifica plankton, Gammarus, etc> Also, I have read daily or weekly feedings?  <depends on light... very small almost daily feedings for best growth and health> How would you feed the coral, just squirt the food on top of the open areas? Thank you, Abby <make a slurry of food in saltwater... put a tiny bit in 15 minutes before feeding to get polyps open.. then gently baste food with a tube, pipette or turkey baster in the general direction of the animals but never blasting right on top (frightens polyps in). Best regards, Anthony>

Cladacora- Solitary Cup Corals (Gulf Rock) hello how are you doing today <very well with thanks and hope that you are the same> I found two Cladacora on my live rock I cant find any info I really only need to know if they can sting coral  <they are only weakly aggressive and more likely to suffer in combat with most corals in the trade> I added a new leather coral and I noticed the Cladacora sweeping real close to my leather so please let me know if I should move it some where else <the sweepers are out in defense.. not to attack per se. Do pamper/protect these Cladacora... they are more delicate and harder to come by> thank you for your valuable time once again <best regards, Anthony>

Moon Coral Anthony, <cheers> I purchased Favia (moon coral) a week ago and have started to notice the lower edges of it starting to turn brown.  <many possible reasons for this... are your nitrates a bit high by chance?> It is placed on top of the LR about 10" from the surface. Lighting is 3; 250 watt MH with 6500 Iwasaki bulbs, and 2 160 watt VHO, located 10" above the tank. I have Sprung's book on Coral and used his reference chart to locate the coral.  <although I generally do not recommend 250 or 400 watt halides to most aquarists unless they are keeping SPS or clams, Faviids are generally high light creatures and I'm comfortable with your choice of placement> Flow is directed almost directly across it.  <laminar flow can be stressful... do adjust to surge or random turbulent if possible, else watch for stress or tissue erosion> All my other corals are fine, water quality and temp are text book. <what book? :p> Thanks, Mark Johnson <my preliminary opinion is that it is an inevitable but acceptable acclimation to the new lighting scheme. The fact that this color change is not a paling shift indicates a possibly favorable (health of coral, not necessarily aesthetically pleasing) acclimation to me. Best regards, Anthony>

What is my Candy shrimp doing to the mushroom coral? Hi Bob, <Steven Pro in this morning.> I'm a new hobbyist and I have noticed that my Candy shrimp is climbing over my mushroom coral. This does not look good as the coral curls up and lets off a lot of white stringy stuff. It looks like the shrimp is feeding but I need to know if this will damage the coral? <Yes on both accounts, feeding and damage. Try target feeding the shrimp to see if it will leave your mushrooms alone. Many of the crustaceans we keep are capable and willing to eat our other inverts if hungry enough.> Please enlighten me as to what is going on. Many thanks, Dave
<You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Dying or propagating trumpet? Okay Anthony, I drew my trumpet colony and the "fallen soldier", (and had fun doing it I may add)! Hope you can diagnose it now. <actually a big help! And a good example of the importance of us all trying to use scientific names whenever possible. What you have is not a coral and arguably not a trumpet "coral" according to common name usage (not your fault.. you repeated as told <G>). What you have is a Zoantharian... most likely Palythoa. Not a true coral but fairly called a reef invertebrate. Also known as button polyps, this creature is incredibly hardy! Often remains closed if it gets too much light or not enough food. The bud that fell off most likely was propagating indeed. My previous comments were in regards to the large polyped stony coral also known as trumpet or candy coral, Caulastrea furcata. My advice is to relax... these corals can remain closed polyped for some time! Do not move the colony around in different positions... this will delay the polyps opening. Do be sure to offer a tiny bit of food weekly or more if there is little or no fish feeding in the tank. If the fallen polyps attached to the new rock quickly then it is a very good sign. Keep your eyes open for a fine brown diatom sheen or any necrotic infections. Keep moderate random turbulent water flow over it. Scrub any algae of debris off with a soft bristled tooth brush in a separate bowl of seawater outside of the aquarium (discard water afterwards).> Thank you, Pam PS Hope you can manipulate the file, it's rather large. It opens with Microsoft's Photo Editor. <best regards, Anthony>

Dying or propagating trumpet? I hope you guys are well paid to answer all these letters, because here comes another! <ahhh... we are all very well paid. Great riches in friendship> What does it mean when one of the "trumpets and neck portion" of a trumpet coral, falls off? <I assume that you are talking about the colored flesh... not the actual hard skeleton?> Yes, I AM still obsessing over my trumpet colony. It's going through so many changes. One of the guys at my LFS said it was trying to spread. It looks to me, like it's trying to die! <very simple... if it degraded/rotted/dissolved then yes it is infected and dying. If the polyp simply bailed whole but undisturbed and is now blowing around the aquarium like a bowling ball... then the coral polyp ejected out of stress which is a sort of desperate form of reproduction. Send a picture and I will confirm> Thank you, Pam  <kindly, Anthony>

Re: trumpet corals still in trouble! I had a nice long letter for you when my monitor went black and my PC crashed. Ahhhh!  <Ughhh! I so hate when that happens!> But the jest of the letter was this. I bought Hagen's Ph Wide Range tester.  <ahhh... yes... there is a big part of the problem right there.. a gross and barely accurate range on the high end> Difficult to read. The color chart is all off as far as I can see. I wasn't sure if I was seeing 8.5 or 9.0.  <wow...yes, agreed. Please don't put much stock in a kit like that> At any rate, I'll go out and buy the original Aqua Lab tester for ph and BC. From your tone, it sounded like my ph could never get that high with a buffer, is this so? <VERY unlikely! Most buffers and bicarbonate and as such are difficult to get much over 8.3 Further more, if it were so... 9.0 is so stressful I would expect you to be telling us of so many more problems if it were true> I added 1 spoon to every gallon, I have 55 g but put in 45 spoons. What do you think about that?  <HOLY cow!!!! Is that what the directions said?!?> Too much too soon?  <understatement of the week!> I'll go to my LFS tomorrow and spend more money, (originally, I was trying to save money, hence the Hagen product, seven bucks!) <hmmm... at any rate... a single large water change (or more) is necessary to dilute the problem else you can expect problems with calcium later as well> Oh, and some good news, (please tell me I did good!). I ordered a Kent Nautilus Skimmer and MAG7 PUMP at Champion Lighting & Supply, I hope this is a good product. <hmmm... looking through our archives, you would/will notice we strongly recommend Aqua C and Euroreef skimmers a lot. There are strong reasons for it. More than a few decades of experience between us here on the crew. It is not to say that there aren't other good skimmers out there... but in the big picture of getting bang for your buck (reliability, ease of maintenance. longevity, reputation, customer service, etc) there is a definite reason for such mention. Do consider that this site is free and at least in the case of the Euroreef skimmers, we do not even take their advertising dollars. That's honest advice. As far as your Mag pump... I like them very fine. They do give you what you pay for.> www.ChampionLighting.com <I like the product selection at this company... very diverse for reef aquarists... quite frankly, I think they would benefit greatly by advertising on this site... I wish they would. I believe our traffic would appreciate and support their products> Thanks for listening and Happy Memorial Day!! Pam <thank you, dear.. best regards. Anthony>

Trumpet corals still in trouble! Hello guys,  <cheers, love. Anthony Calfo in your service> still having problems with my Trumpet Coral. My Ph I have been working on if you can possibly recall out of the 100's of emails a day. I bought a buffering agent by Seachem. I added according to the directions. The Ph shot up to 9.0 !  <that honestly seems very unlikely. I would seriously doubt the accuracy of your test kit. Please do confirm against two others (hopefully one digital... local LFS, aquarium society friend, etc)> The coral looks terrible. Closed. I thought they were coming around for a few days because they began to open, but today, no good. I guess this is the end hmmm? Should I take them out soon before they pollute and raise my nitrates?  <OMG no!!! Irritated coral can remain closed for weeks...even months! If they were dying you would see a sudden necrotic foul mess. If your pH really is/was 9.0 or higher you would se severe reactions from many/most other corals, fish and/or inverts. The trumpet is simply unhappy... the real problem is your water chemistry and test equipment possibly... not the coral!> The camel shrimp are walking all over them, I guess looking for a meal. I don't want to take them out too soon,..... what do you suggest? <pH problems (skewed Alk from buffer or pH from Kalk, etc are EASILY corrected with a couple of large water changes...simple dilution to get you back to bar. Your immediate solution is single large water change or two away (premixed, aerated, salinity, ph adjusted if necessary). Aquarists can even do 100% water changes without a single mortality if fast and prepared well enough if it is warranted. Really, my friend... do relax, take stock and reassess the problem and attempts at solutions you have made. Let's figure this out> Thanks Pam <best regards, Anthony>

Coral Questions Hello, it's Ari again. All's well with the tank. Crabs are molting, fish are loving life and getting along. Corals are all coming along beautifully. Currently, my 25 gal. reef has the following: clean up crew, sally lightfoot, emerald crab, 2 starfish, strawberry Pseudochromis, yellow watchman goby, Banggai cardinal and flame angel. Corals are 1 green open brain, bubble, frogspawn, mushroom, trumpet. All levels are in check and water is crystal clear. All organisms thriving. My question is about the green open brain. Yesterday it did something that perhaps it does each day but this was the first I'd seen in 4 weeks of ownership. All of a sudden it got very thin -- you could basically see the skeleton and then it opened each of its three mouths and blew red waste into the water. At least I think it was waste. Is this normal behavior? Last night it was feeding with all tentacles out and this morning it is great. I've just never seen this before. Is that how it excretes waste? I'm thinking that it must be b/c the starfish immediately came out from under the rocks and both of the were all over it. Any help would be great. <You are right, it sounds like normal waste excretion.> Also, could you tell me if I'm reaching my maximum fish load. I'd love a long-nosed Hawkfish. <You are definitely pretty full already.> Thanks, and GREAT BOOK. Ari <You are quite welcome. I know Anthony and/or Bob will enjoy the compliment. -Steven Pro>

Open brain coral <Anthony Calfo in your service> Just wanted to start by saying I'm new to the reef aquarium hobby and I've found your site invaluable. <outstanding... keep learning and sharing> I recently purchased a red open brain coral and wanted to know how it should be positioned. Should it be pointed straight up, or should it lean slightly.  <conical skeleton place perpendicular in the sand, flesh face up> The reason I ask is that one side of the "oval" has a dark, rock-like appearance, while the other side is red at the base.  <indeed a reflection of where it was collected but that matters not now in captivity. Your light source is directly above and the animal is no longer shaded or needs to be leaning for best health> I currently have it sitting pointing nearly straight up at the lights, and wondered if it would do better positioned with more weight on the dark side. <acclimation of any kind is inevitable, lean if you like but generally keep face up. Red morphs are deep water and require VERY slow and careful acclimation to bright lighting. if your tank is 24" deep or less and/or you have high intensity lighting... please be careful. Also know that these corals need fed weekly if not daily just to survive long-term (else they hang on for a year or two before attrition takes them). Begin here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyphlliidae.htm and look for an article soon that I have co-authored with Steve Pro on this animal> Thanks for the help. <best regards, Anthony>

I don't think the brain Coral was pooping..... Hello Bob or Anthony, <Anthony Calfo in your service> So, here's my problem, I've had my Faviid Pineapple brain for about 3 weeks now and I don't think its doing so well, just to refresh, I've got a 25 gal mini reef, LR LS, with a eclipse hood, with a 32w PC 1/2 daylight, 1/2 actinic, the brain is about 12in from the light,  <needs to be higher in the long run under these modest lights... remember, the Blastomussa sp "Pineapple brains" are low light, but the Faviids tend to be quite high>> with a bicolor blenny, and Firefish goby, also have yellow polyps and green button polyps that are doing terrific, and some mushrooms that are doing well too. recent explosion of worms all over the place and a LOT of baby brittle stars. <very nice indeed> So, the brain looks like its receding on one edge right now, and maybe on one other, I noticed when I put it in the tank that during the first week it looked like it was pooping, expelling some brown stringy stuff, but it hasn't done that since,  <either excrement or packets of zooxanthellae and since you having reported any loss of color (so-called "bleaching"), we are still betting on the poop> and the mostly all of the polyps are still a bright green, with brown ridges around them. Every night it still puts out a bunch of feeding tentacles, and there is a filter feeder of some sorts living in the middle of the colony.  <many common creatures embedded... barnacles (shiny pulsing threads kicking out from crevice)> Now, I did notice a spike in my nitrates from 0 to 5ppm, and I've been having a little trouble maintaining the alkalinity since I put the coral in the tank, though the calcium is still at 450 ppm, and ph is at 8.4,  <very fine> I'm having trouble keeping the alk at 3.5 meq, right now when I just tested it was at 2.2,  <yes, indeed low> so, I'm going to add some more supper buffer. I've been supplementing with Iodine and Strontium, but this coral doesn't look as nice as when I got it 3 weeks ago. What could I be doing wrong?  <the lights aren't bright enough for starters... moving up will help some> I stopped feeding Mysis shrimp everyday and cut it back to every other day,  <yikes... will die faster this way with weak illumination too... needs carbon from food not produced by symbiotic algae under weak light> and I only fee like half a cube, not to much flake food either, <flake food is inappropriate in this case> and a changed the filter pad and stuff to reduce the nitrates, Any suggestions? <again... keep small frequent feeding and move within 6" of surface> David <best regards, Anthony>

Re: I don't think the brain Coral was pooping..... Thanks Anthony!, <very welcome, David my friend> I'll try moving the brain up closer to the light, I'm definitely going to have to get more LR for my tank, make the base higher.  <LR is always a good investment in the tank> I'll cut the cubes in 1/3s, problem with my feeding,  <remember...very fine/shredded food is necessary. Cube foods are often gelatin based and hold together in a large and hard to digest chunk.> is that the brain doesn't put out the feeder tentacles until about 1-2 hours after the light goes off, is there a way to convince it to do this earlier?  <yes, take the thawed pack juice from frozen meaty foods (that is generally discarded for fear of contributing to algae in the tank) and put a spoonful as an attractant into the aquarium prior to feeding. After 15 minutes or so, the feeding tentacles will usually come out. Shrimp type prey (cocktail, mysids, krill, etc) usually works best for this.> or, should I just concentrating on feeding twice a day, once for the fish and the yellow polyps, and then again once the feeder tentacles come out? how does that sound? Thanks!!! David. PS. yea every night when the lights go out more and more things come crawling out of their wholes, its rather amazing, I just can't get over all the brittle stars, is there a microscopic variety of them?  <yes... and livebearing/fast breeding> or are these really baby's of the bigger variety?  <nope...very unlikely> I'll tell you the Firefish is enjoying it, I caught him/her (that's why we named it Lola) trying to get down a leg yesterday! <hehe...got to love it. Tell Lola to crunch all he/she wants... they'll make more <wink>. Kindly, Anthony>

Open brain coral, Shrinking open brain coral? Hi guys, sorry to bother you, but the chatroom couldn't answer my question about a green open brain coral.  <no bother at all, Anthony Calfo in your service> This coral has been in my tank for about 2 months. It has been healthy and fully expanded at all times. Yesterday I looked at it and I could see its skeleton. It was totally deflated. It still has the green coloring, but you can see all the hard plates.  <called septa> What could happen in 8 hours?  <little that wouldn't affect other coral/fish. You simply are observing the animal perhaps after it has passed a threshold... more below> water parameters are normal- same as they have been since I got the brain. Nothing has been added or changed in/or to the tank. No other inhabitants have been affected fish, anemone, mushrooms starfish, polyps etc....) Today, I picked it up to see if something had damaged it from the bottom sits on sand bed) nothing. It didn't smell, so I assume its not dead. I replaced it in the same spot, and checked that the powerheads were not blowing on it. Do these corals take a break sometimes, or is something seriously wrong? Thanks Chantillylace <although a cycle of polyp extension is quite normal with this and many LPS coral species... the problem of attrition is quite common with this animal in captivity. By some measures, this animal can only satisfy its daily need for food/carbon by 2/3 through the products of photosynthesis. That boils down to the animal needing to be fed almost daily and certainly weekly in captivity. If you haven't been feeding it much or at all, that is easily the culprit. Food should be meaty (zooplankton substitutes) and fine (1/4-1/2 inch... no chunks!). Do search the WWM site and message board archives for like posts on coral feeding. Kindly, Anthony Calfo>

Brain Coral ID Thanks Anthony, <welcome, my friend> found some pictures of the Blastomussa species and this one is definitely a Faviid, found a picture of it too!, so I'll put it on the top 3rd of the tanks, seems to be doing good so far,  <excellent homework!> the 4 loose mushrooms that I put in yesterday are doing amazingly well, they look a lot better in my tank then they did at the store!!... I'll see what Zoo Plankton I can find! <great... do consider Mysid shrimp, Pacifica plankton for fresh frozen, and culturing some baby brine live for most/all corals on occasion. A good fish-less plankton generating refugium would be pretty cool to>  Thanks again David <kindly, Anthony>

To Feed or Not to Feed Hello, <Hi, Bill... Anthony Calfo here answering Bob's mail while he travels across the great Midwest... and a fine time of year for it too!?> I recently purchased (2 weeks ago) a coral sold to me as "Platygyra" (spelled incorrectly I'm sure) <correct you are sir... Platygyra ... represented by more than a few species in the trade> and was told it did not need to be fed at all, that it would take its nutrients from the water.  <not even close to true...> When I was feeding my brown Scopas tang some brine shrimp as a treat yesterday, the Platygyra extended long tentacles from the neon green pores between its maze-brain like surface grabbing all the brine it could. I'm guessing I was told wrong, and this coral should be fed?  <most definitely... as they say, Form follows Function. Your observation and the evidence of responsive feeding tentacles indicates an animal that has evolved...to feed. Imagine that. And despite what the LFS said... apparently, this coral didn't read the same books that they did (smile). Feed finely shredded ocean meats in an attempt to deliver zooplankton substitutes. Fine krill or Mysid shrimp would be a good start. Please go easy on the brine shrimp. Frozen adult brine shrimp are nutritively hollow... rather like water made to look like shrimp...hehe> Just making sure I'm not doing something wrong for the coral..  <Your considerate information gathering gives me hope for this lil' fella in your care. Experiment carefully in acclimation of this animal to new light. Platygyra occur over a wide range, and various specimens of any given species may have drastically different tolerances for light and water movement> thanks in advance :) you're always so helpful! <with kind regards, Anthony>

Platygyra Follow-up Thank you for the quick response <quite welcome, Bill> I played around a bit with lighting yesterday, and while moving the coral it is rather large, almost 8" in diameter -its rather spherical, more like a brain shape) I noticed the undersides of it are degenerate.  <that's Ok... so are most of my friends> I can see the coral skeleton where it wraps to the bottom of the rock it is attached to. Should I be concerned?  <possibly a little, but a picture would help if possible> Or is this possibly a result of poor lighting?  <not in a short time in your tank/captivity. Any idea how long the LFS held it before your purchase or an educated guess on minimum time this coral has been held in total in captivity?> My reef tank has 96 watt smart lamp power compacts on it (36") and they illuminate the tank very well, <how deep is the tank and at what depth is the coral placed?> but just can't reach to beneath this coral due to its shape... the coral seems to love very high flow, as when placed in low flow it's neon green draws so far inside its hardly noticeable.. when placed with the output of my return pump nearly blasting the coral on the side, it is out and extended and offers tentacles from time to time trying for food... <interesting, astute and probably accurate observation about water flow for this animal> I've noticed every morning when the lights first click on its tentacles are out, is it possible it is nocturnal? (I'm still learning a lot about corals, <no apologies... we all start somewhere. The coral's feeding tentacles at night simply indicate a feeding preference leaning towards zooplankton most likely (when zooplankton is most prevalent). Quite natural and normal and the very best time to feed with substitutes like Mysid shrimp or very finely shredded meats. Feeding will help the receding tissue recover faster... but don't overdo it. Begin with 1-3 times weekly by deliberate target feeding of this animal> thanks again for the help :) <Best regards, Anthony> Bill

More on Platygyra the store that had this coral before I purchased it said it was held captive for over three months. hope this helps- it's one reason I bought this particular coral, it was a "survivor" that had acclimated well to a captive system (the store, however, did have a multi thousand gallon reef system for livestock, I'm sure the water had to have been better than my 58 gal. ) <actually less likely... big systems are expensive to maintain (w/c's and the like)... plus the water quality (not clarity which falsely leads customers) is usually errant from straying over months of slight (or not so) neglect from a busy store to a slow lazy store> in the tank the coral is approx 4" from the top of the water level, which is a mere 2" above the water- the top is covered w/ glass from edge to edge, to prevent escape of my albino ribbon eel (captive for 4 months, eating live peppermint shrimp regularly !!!) <sounds like good placement> the lighting is a 96watt power compact SmartLamp half blue half full spec <way too little light for the long run, but with the coral centered and shallow... not a problem for now> hope this helps.. will try and gain access to a digital camera.. the degeneration seems to not have progressed any.. I purchased Mysid shrimp <excellent foodstuff> as well as silversides and other various nutrient soaked foods. would you recommend soaking the shrimp in Kent Zoe or like vitamins soaks? <highly recommend Selcon> what about a coral dip? <not necessary without evidence of necrosis or infection... described in my book if you are interested... www.readingtrees.com and in Eric Borneman's wonderful new Aquarium Corals book> thanks again!!! Bill Hammond <very welcome, Bill. Best of luck to you! Anthony>

Re: Hey Bob ;) (new Wrasse, brain coral...) Good to know you're back, my friend! <Good to be back> I hope things were good with your travel. And that you are able to catch up on what I'm sure is a hug pile of queries from all of those persons you so generously offer your services. <Yes> So here's the situation. I just had a birthday yesterday. My girlfriend (bless her heart) knows almost nothing about salt water aquaria, but she does support my passion and attempts to help as much as she can. So for my birthday she got me a BEAUTIFUL "Scott's Fairy Wrasse" from FFE and a piece of unidentified Stony Coral. I know nothing about either of these animals . . . <The Cirrhilabrus is a real winner. Our coverage: http://wetwebmedia.com/cirrhilabrus.htm The coral a bit worrisome... and happy birthday> Currently my tank looks great the refugium already has some nice algal colonies brewing. Here's the problem. I have a huge piece of brain coral in there that had looked AWESOME for a few days and now it is about half the size. . . I was planning on adding nothing to the tank for at least a few weeks to let things settle. Now I have added stock (by no plan of my own) and there is bound to be another ammonia spike. To the best of my knowledge all parameters are perfect. Everything else looks great. . . Have I lost this guy? He still has some color, but again, he's half the size. <A brain coral that has shrunk halfway? Please take a look over the stony coral sections on WWM... for closer identification> At one point he was so enormous (like 6-8 inches across), colorful and even had tentacles coming out of him?!?!?! It was great. I don't want to lose this guy. Oh also, my temp has spiked up to the likes of 83-85 degrees these past few days. Could this be it? <A contributing cause> Thanks for getting back to me. Oh, and I took out that Cuke. Shortly after the water cleared up and things returned to normal. <A close one.> Talk to you soon, and have an awesome day! <You as well. Bob Fenner>


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