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FAQs about Fungiid Corals 1

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

Fungia danai in Fiji

Torch Coral I am writing regarding the addition and now poor condition of a torch coral (Heliofungia actinoformis).  Prior to its addition, my tank was doing great.  I added the torch coral one week ago and it started out fine, but has deteriorated over the past three-four days.  The tentacles have deflated, the skeleton is apparent and a beige film has formed over the tentacles and skeleton.  The film can be removed and the tentacles still have color.  Do you have any advice or is my coral dead?  Thanks! Here's the parameters of my tank: 15 H with 2 16 watt bulbs (blue and natural sunlight) and Eclipse system Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrates low to none, Calcium 480-500 Changed filter and 1/5th of tank water yesterday in effort to help the torch coral. Contains assorted mushroom anemones, star polyps, zoanthids, Stereonephthya spp. on an oyster, a blood shrimp and two green Chromis fish. -Johanna <<Greetings Johanna, Craig Watson answering while Bob and Friends are away at the MACNA conference. The coral you identify by name is Heliofungia Actinoformis, which is a plate anemone coral. Torch Corals are branched LPS corals of the Euphylliid family, aka Candy or Trumpet Coral. The plate anemone coral lives on the substrate (sand) and while most corals of this family require moderate intensity light in shallow displays and more intense light in deeper displays, this particular variety, Heliofungia Actinoformis, is more demanding of intense lighting. One weakness of the Eclipse hoods is the inherently low light output from the supplied fixture.  This is further exasperated by the depth of your tank. To keep your Heliofungia will require a lighting upgrade either for the existing hood (CSL makes a compact fluorescent retrofit as does AH lighting supply) or the purchase of a new lighting hood with the type and intensity of light required.  I kept a 15H with some corals with similar requirements and I used a 96watt smart lamp. I would advise around that wattage in compact fluorescent lighting, either a smart lamp or separate lamps of around 96 watts combined, one white, one actinic blue.  There are kits made specifically for Eclipse hoods that can supply the light needed.   Your other corals will benefit as well. Fungiids produce mucous for feeding that covers them.  This is normal. They don't like too much water movement as it will remove this mucous. They are relatively aggressive feeders that require feeding with all kinds of treats like shrimp, mussel, scallop, etc.  Set the food on the net/mucous in feeding mode.  This would especially be true in low lighting, although this variety is less dependent on feeding and more dependent on light. You don't mention alkalinity or pH, but I would test both and maintain in normal limits, i.e.: pH 8.3-8.4   and  4-5 meq/L. I hope this helps get things back in order! Craig>>

Plate Coral Stressed Hi Bob, <cheers mate, Anthony Calfo in your service> I'm from England and a regular reader of your fantastic web site, but this is the first time I've had to post.  <a pleasure to hear from you> I bought a Long Tentacle Plate (Pink Tipped) coral about a month and half ago and everything was fine until this week end. All the tentacles have retracted and I don't know why, I've done all water parameter tests and everything is fine. The body of the coral swells up and the tentacles swell up a little then after about two minutes they retract again, its like it is trying to force the tentacles out but something is stopping it from doing it. Any help in this matter would be much appreciated. Keep up the excellent work. <two things come to mind: Fungiids like your Heliofungia plate coral are categorically free-living creatures. Some like your plate coral about living on a sandy bottom that even a few days of living perched atop a hard substrate can be fatal as tissue abrades with normal polyp cycles. Plate coral must live on a soft sand bottom. If yours has without exception, please disregard. The second thing that comes to mind if actually favorable. Fungiids commonly employ mucus net feeding strategies and balloon without tentacles extending after capturing food. If your tank is fed heavily, fed with a messy food or has a very messy feeding fish, perhaps the coral is stimulated frequently. Do consider if either common event is applicable to you.> Regards, John <with kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

Plate coral Hi Anthony, <cheers, John> Thanks for the quick reply, unfortunately the plate coral didn't survive. I've got real fine gravel substrate not sand do you think this was the cause of the death of the plate coral.  <indeed, yes... gravel and rock can be quite abrasive on a plate corals daily polyp cycles> I've also got a piece of living rock that was next to it and its got a hairy crab inside. I've looked on a lot of marine forums and they say that this crab could kill corals, would this be possible.  <very possible! As a rule, most crabs are predatory or at least opportunistic omnivores. VERY few herbivores in the trade. Legend has it that is the crab has a hairy carapace or dark tipped claws then it is a great risk> I've been told by a lot of people that I should get the crab out of the rock and dispose of it, what is your opinion on this.  <I would remove it to a sump, refugium or fish only tank. They are still good scavengers> I'd like to finish off by thanking yourself and your team for the excellent work you do and even though the plate coral died, it as not put me off from getting another one. Regards, John <education and fellowship are passions for us. Thank you my friend, carry on gently and wiser. Anthony>

Plate Coral (Heliofungia) Hi. Just a question about my plate coral. It's a brand new purchase. <FYI this coral is actually a rather delicate (primarily with regard for handling) species. NOT recommended for beginners by any stretch of the imagination. Actually significantly dependent on organismal and absorptive feedings as well. Even with "perfect" lights, this animal may only be satisfied by up to 80% (by some estimates) by photosynthesis. So, without feeding, most are remitted to slow starvation and death by 10-18 months. Do take heed and research if you were not already familiar. They must also be kept on a soft sand bottom. Never on rock (a surefire way to kill them: cycling polyp tissue abrades, or the animal simply inflates, falls and gets torn> The coral is beautiful and expanded. I was wondering about it's color and some spots on the tentacles. The color is almost exactly the same as my BTA. The coral is a light brown with lighter tips. Does this tell what part of the reef it came from or better yet, narrow down it's lighting requirements?  <neither> I thought the brighter the specimen, the more light it needs.  <nope... many highly iridescent coral are from very deep water. Pigmentation can be used to reflect light away or refract weak light within (amplify, sort of)> I was thinking medium.  <OK> The spots I noticed, after I got it home of coarse, almost look like small tears or weak spots on the tentacles. The spots are darker brown on the outside, and look like weekend tissue on the inside. Any thoughts on this would be nice.  <indeed... many wholesalers and retailers do not know how to handle this animal. If you bought it off of a perched rock or placed it so... it could get a little rough. > Also, do I need to place this coral on the substrate?  <absolutely critical for survival> I know they move around, and have read about them climbing rocks. Thanks! -Becky <best regards, Anthony>

Plate Coral Hi guys. I bought a LT plate coral about a week ago. I put it on the substrate in the tank and it wouldn't open up. I moved it to a rock higher up in the tank and it looks great. I know it can inflate and fall over or even tear growing tissue there.  <This is still dangerous, my friend for many reasons. And they are never found on rock/hard substrates in the wild> Is this an indication of too little lighting?  <could be, or it just needed time to acclimate to the new lighting. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm> I have a 120 with 300 watts of PC.  <this is indeed modest lighting. The tank is too deep to support this animal with these lights possibly and it WILL die within a year if you move it up onto the rocks. This is really not a beginners coral. Please do research this animal more. Daily feedings of finely shredded meats are necessary. Else it will die of attrition within a year just the same> This coral is sooo pretty. BTW my flame angle seems to like picking at it.  <and will do so until the coral dies. They must be separated> Thanks for the help! -Becky <please do read, learn more before you buy such animals>

Fungia fungites Hello.  <Cheers> I bought a Fungia fungites today. It has been expanding well, but on part of the edge, some of the tissue is peeling up, so there is some bare skeleton exposed. Should I be worried? I didn't notice because at the LFS the Fungia was not expanded fully. <little concern... Fungia are one of the most incredibly hardy and regenerative corals. Even if it seems to die and lose all tissue, leave the skeleton in the tank... very often the seemingly dead skeleton will decalcify and issue daughter polyps (anthocauli) from along the septa. An incredible coral. Just know that this animal is only about 70% photosynthetic which means that it is critically dependant on feeding for survival (and healing <wink>). Feed meaty foods (except brine shrimp...what trash)... and nothing larger than 1/4" (even though it will eat it... bad for digestion, often just regurgitates it at night). Some reef iodine in the water to raise Redox and be mildly antiseptic would be nice. Look for an article by Steve Pro and myself on this site within the month. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Fungia fungites Thanks Anthony. I truly love this coral. I will be sure to feed it. The issuing of daughter polyps sounds interesting, although I would never try to force that condition on a coral. As for coloration, I would greatly appreciate it if you could please list some of the different colors and patterning fungites come in. Mine is a nice yellow with the pink edging, and green fluorescence. What a beautiful coral these are. Looking forward to the article. Calvin <Calvin, you are very welcome. I do admire this family of coral too. An uncommon cousin, Cycloseris, can actually flip itself right side over if upturned and it can climb over rocks! Fungia is fairly motile too... don't be surprised. There is a picture of the many daughter polyps (tens of the them) on a Fungiid in my Book of Coral Propagation. We'll have them in the article too soon. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Rise From the Dead Guys, I have a Trachyphyllia geoffroyi and am pleased to hear about your discovery. It's always nice to learn more. I didn't know what Acanthocauli means, but the following paragraph (www.aquarium.net <http://www.aquarium.net/> ) describes what you found (although it's in reference to Fungia). Pretty wild. Does it mean we'll be "fragging" these too? Look forward to reading your article. I hope it will get posted on www.wetwebmedia.com first! Thanks for all your contributions. <Thanks for the additional info. That is the truly interesting part about this discovery, anthocauli production has only ever been described in the family Fungiidae. The one I have has about 30 daughter colonies on it, but fragging is not really practical here as the parent died (not intentionally) to form the daughters. And yes, it will get published on WWM too. Anthony is coming over on Friday for sushi and hopefully we will get the article completed then. -Steven Pro> As if these attributes are not sufficiently unique, Fungia also has a special mode of reproduction. While normal sexual reproduction occurs with a release of gametes into the surrounding water, Fungia reproduce asexually through the formation of anthocauli. These genetically identical daughter colonies are formed from bit of skeleton and tissue of the parent colony. Often, if there is an injury or if the parent is partially buried in substrate, the coral begins an active decalcification process whereby the injured area of skeleton dissolves and separates through the formation of certain biochemical controls and enzymes. These cellular processes seem to initiate a calcium gradient where the intracellular calcium concentration is actively pumped out, allowing a net efflux of calcium from the skeleton. The actions of the normally present burrowing algae, Cliona sp., is then able to initiate further decalcification. Following the process, the result of which is akin to the coral "cutting off its own arm, the remaining fragments of skeleton with attached tissue separate from the parent colony and move outward to begin their own solitary life David <Above is exactly what I did not want to happen. I guess it is not too big a deal. I just really want to get this published. -Steven Pro> Fungia repanda Robert-  <Anthony Calfo in your service> I recently purchased a Fungia Repanda disk coral. Within a couple of days I noticed a white fungus covering a small portion of it.  <yes... the LPS corals injure easily. This animal was kept on the substrate... not on rock in the store or your tank, right?> It is white and sort of transparent. Its only about 1/8 of a inch by and 1/8 of a inch in size.  <the current doesn't blow the necrotic mass away? If not, do adjust for more random turbulent action and you should manually siphon the infection away gently> The rest of the coral does expand but the white area is suppressed by this fungus. Might this white pox or white plague?  <Impossible to diagnose without a picture or live specimen and then inaccurate without a scope... most likely a simple bacterial infection> Would the this coral benefit more from Lugol's solution dip or a Kent tech D dip? Please let me know what you think. Thanks Anj <yes, my friend...good thinking. One drop of undiluted Lugol's solution per five gallons of water for a short bath up to fifteen minutes (p421 of my book). Do not give up on this animal at any point! Fungiids are the most incredibly regenerative animals. Parents that suffer an infection and become apparently, completely denuded of tissue have sat in aquaria for months(6+) like a bare skeleton only to form tiny babies (Acanthocauli...asexual daughter colonies) from a decalcified skeleton (they can even form them from the underside if flipped over (photograph on p 229 of Book of Coral Propagation)). Maintain superb water quality in the meantime...skim aggressively, do not abuse iodine but add small frequent daily doses rather than less often weekly ones. We may need to take a more aggressive course of action if you apprise us that the condition progresses. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Re: Fungia repanda Are you suggesting not to keep this coral on the substrate bottom?  <my apologies for unclear wording. No, on the contrary... Fungiids simply must be kept on the soft substrate bottom> Also, what is the best way to feed this coral? Is similar to the Open brain such as feeding it minced meat when its tentacles are extended??- <exactly correct, my friend.. a meaty diet of zooplankton substitutes> Please let me know. Thanks An <best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Stuff out of my Coral Hi Robert, I have a couple of pictures I would like you to look at and see if you can tell me, or have an idea whets coming out of my plate coral.. <Looks like simple waste material... You do feed your Fungiid I take it... No worries, just clean up. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Robert

Re: Stuff out of my Coral Ahh.. Ok, cool I do feed him. I give him sinking wafers, shrimp, silver sides, and he get some of the brine shrimp that I feed the fish.. <Sounds good, in fact delicious. Better go eat some toast. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

What the? Lost the images...

Plate Coral Bob, Hello again. I have a plate coral in my 38-Gallon reef. It has white tentacles and purple tips and it is placed on the substrate in the middle of the tank. Over the past few days, actually a week, it seems as though I have to clean my tank every other day. I had been noticing that the tanks would be overcome with a brown algae, sometimes hair-like. At first I thought it my have been Cyanobacteria. I have about 20 turbo snails, a flame angel, purple tang, false Percula clown and a sphinx goby. All of the these inhabitants seem to take care of the "so-called" algae. <All in a thirty eight gallon? Will be crowded if not already> This morning, I noticed that my plate coral I had mentioned above, shot out of its mouth some brown stringy substance. Zooxanthellae? <More likely just "waste"> After it had done this, the tank was covered in this stuff. It was all over my other corals, Hammer, frogspawn, spaghetti and toadstool umbrella leathers. I have seen my hammer do this before but it never created such a mess!! After this had happened the fish went around and ate most of it, if not all of it. Is this normal? Why does this plate coral do this? Is it safe for the fish and other inhabitants? <Not safe given how much life you have in such a small volume... Do: monitor water quality, keep your eye on your livestock, have plenty of pre-made seawater on hand to effect changes...> Latest water test were… Temp = 77.7 F PH = 8.1 Gravity = 1.0245 33ppt Ammonia = .0 Nitrite = .0 Nitrate = 6.6 Phosphate = .09 (Using Phosguard from SeaChem to bring this down to 0) <Very good idea... trouble here> DKH = 8.74 Calcium = 557.26 (Increasing dKH with SeaChem Reef builder to bring Calcium levels down) <Good idea> Regards, Keith Broadbent

Fungia coral hi, I have a 'pink and green fungi coral' purchased from flying fish express several months ago. It had been doing very well. Growing in size and it's little tentacle like growths (though only a few millimeters in size) were coming out every night. <Yes... natural> A few days ago it started to release a cob web type substance. Brown in color and about 10 cm. in length (as seen by me in the pre-dawn, so I do not know if this description is fully accurate). This occurred for several days. It seems to have not be happening anymore. <Not to worry> There are an increasing number of white 'fin' appearing throughout the coral. These started in a particular area, while the other side of the coral seemed to be ok. These white (dead?) fins seem to be spreading across the outer edges of the coral. <Perhaps just growth. Please read over the section on Fungiids: http://wetwebmedia.com/fungiidae.htm> any ideas? Are the 'cob web like releases' a defense mechanism?, <That and/or waste production> is the coral trying to spawn? or is it a sign of it's last dying gasp? <Unlikely> Please help. David Kleber by the way. I have a 55 gallon setup with a Berlin skimmer in a wet-dry sump. Several power heads in the tank. Some 50 to 60 lbs of live rock. A Sailfin tang, 2 clowns, 2 damsels, 1 coral beauty and a flame hawk ( which recently ate 1 of the 3 shrimp and my favorite scooter blenny). there are 2 open brain corals which have been doing fine, a new polyp which is well, but the several 'hard corals' which I have yet to identify their species (aquarium store specials) which are not doing nearly as well (actually they are on their last legs) oh yea, I also have a Pectinia paeonia which is also retreating in it's structure. <Hmm, do look into getting Eric Borneman's new "Aquarium Corals" book... a worthwhile investment. Bob Fenner> My chemistry has been stable. Due to summer heat waves, The temp. has fluctuated somewhat. Never over 82 degrees. Lacking the funds to purchase a chiller, I leave the ac on all the time. This seems to keep the temp. stable. thanks again

Plate Corals Hi Bob, The 40 gallon gal again. I hope you had a good time on your little trip. <Oh yes... all pet-fish chatted out... for a short while> Anyway, Saturday I got a very pretty "pink tip" plate coral. I was reading in Aquarium Fish 7/01, and Ron Shimek recommends them as hardy corals for beginners. I guess that everybody doesn't feel the same way as Borneman rates them as difficult and I read your FAQ and comments also. So anyway, I could have made a mistake here (See, new and different mistakes and not the same old same old. :-)) <Progress!> I posted on reef-l on topica, and someone stated they are difficult to feed. He suggested this: you take a piece of fish, put it in the corals mouth and when it starts to grab it, put a upturned berry basket (I did the best I could haven't seen those in years) over it with a rock on top and this keeps others from grabbing its dinner. This worked very well and it eventually ate it, and the basket frustrated the shrimp! I must have a mean streak as I kind of liked watching that. :-> <Good trick> So anyway, more questions about these, but I wish to succeed as I find them very fascinating creatures with the quite visible mouths and tentacles that are always doing something different! <Is this a Fungia actiniformis?> CA is at 375 last tested and alk was 3.0 (other things SG 1.024; Temp stable at 80 degrees; pH 8.2; Phosp .02; Ammon. 0; nitrite trace; nitrate 10 (I'm thinking this is because of the Sailfin being so big, but I believe I have a new home for him now. Happy and sad about this!! And a new Kole coming for me). <A much better choice for this system> Questions (finally): Do you give them variety (I gave them squid tonight)?; <Yes> how often and how much (I think I gave him a thin inch long piece-- you suggested mashed and with turkey baster-- is the method above ok?) <Yes, and about twice a week> Do I need phytoplankton and/or iodine? <Likely the latter, the former doesn't hurt in most any system> I understand the Ecosystems mud has iodine in it. Does my CA need to be higher? <No, it's fine> (it ranges between the 375-420 or so). I am adding buffer with CA. I am about out of this, can you recommend a good one? <The Kent, SeaChem product... or just a pinch of baking soda if KH and GH aren't too far off. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, your always verbose and totally inquisitive friend in fish, --Jane (Subaru?) J "Timing is everything." <No my friend, only everything is everything>

Re: Plate Corals Hi Bob, >So anyway, more questions about these, but I wish to succeed >as I find them very fascinating creatures with the quite visible > mouths and tentacles that are always doing something different! ><Is this a Heliofungia actiniformis?> Yes I think so. They didn't have the species name. (I haven't seen any LFS around here that does this. I wish!) Anyway, it looks very similar to the middle specimen on the bottom of the page-- actually a bit prettier, IMO. <<Only member of the genus: http://wetwebmedia.com/fungiidae.htm> >because of the Sailfin being so big, but I believe I have >a new home for him now. Happy and sad about this!! And >a new Kole coming for me). ><A much better choice for this system> Yes, happy someone with a bigger tank will be over to see him this week! (Sailfin Piggee, I mean). >Questions (finally): >Do you give them variety (I gave them squid tonight)?; ><Yes> I was thinking of human food, as you can get these in very small quantities and cheaper. I go to a store that makes their own sushi. I heard you like that? Any nice ideas here? <Yes, was with friends as they made a few pounds of Sanjay food (blended seafoods including Nori sheet, this weekend> >Do I need phytoplankton and/or iodine? ><Likely the latter, the former doesn't hurt in most any system> >I understand the Ecosystems mud has iodine in it. Doesn't a refugium provide the phytoplankton? <To a large extent yes> >Does my CA need to be higher? ><No, it's fine> >(it ranges between the 375-420 >or so). I am adding buffer with CA. I am about out of this, >can you recommend a good one? ><The Kent, SeaChem product... or just a pinch of baking soda if KH and GH >aren't too far off. Bob Fenner> Does this do anything for the CA? (Baking soda?) <<No... sodium, carbon, oxygen...> I am not wanting to dose with strontium. Have read several articles that indicate this might not be so good. I notice some of the combo buffer/iodine products have strontium. <The systems that will ever have a deficiency of strontium are almost non-existent... yes> >Thanks again, >your always verbose and totally inquisitive friend in fish, >--Jane (Subaru?) J Very clever, Bob. I know about Subaru being the Pleiades in Japanese. And most of my friends do think I am an alien. :-) <<We are my friend>> >"Timing is everything." ><No my friend, only everything is everything> Now where have I heard this...

Sick Fungia Plate Bob, I have a Fungia Plate Coral in my tank that appears to be on the decline. I have had it for a couple of weeks and until a few days ago was doing well. Now the membrane is recessed and pulling away from the skeleton. Where it is pulling away, the skeleton is turning white. Is there anything I can do for this guy? <Yes... do you know that your water has sufficient calcium, alkalinity? Do you utilize iodide supplementation?> I bought a hammer at the same time and it appears to have a bacterial infection. I am preparing a malachite dip for it to see if I can heal it. Could this infection have spread to the plate coral as well?  <Doubtful> I also have an open brain, elegant, mushroom, and some polyps that are all doing very well. Is it possible to use the malachite dip on the plate coral too?  <Yes> Or should this be avoided. My calcium levels appear to be acceptable (but just to be safe I added some more). Thanks for your help. Chad <How much Calcium? What do/did you add? Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Fungia Plate Parameters are as follows: PH = 8.2 Alkalinity = 3.5 meq/L Nitrate = 5 mg/l Calcium = +- 500 mg/l I do utilize Kent Tech-I as my iodine supplement.  <And do you test for same?> I am currently using Coralife Invertebrate Calcium Supplement for calcium addition, though I will probably start using Kent Liquid Calcium instead when the Coralife is gone. <Good idea> One thing that I suspect may be the culprit is that he was placed in a high flow area in the tank initially. I have moved him to a position higher in the tank and out of direct flow of the power head. For now I will wait and see if this helps unless you think the malachite dip or something else might be better at this point. <Hmm, and know that these corals do ambulate... that is, they are capable of moving... if in good health... to conditions they more favor. Bob Fenner> Thanks.

Re: Sick Fungia Plate I currently do not test for Iodine. I use the recommended dosage and make sure that it doesn't stress the coral. The slow drip method seems to help with this. <Yes... much more valuable than a colorimetric assay> I do know that these corals can move on their own. Which makes me wonder if this guy didn't get acclimated as well as the others or he would have moved somewhere else. We shall see. <Agreed. Good point of view. Bob Fenner> Thanks.

Re: Sick Fungia Plate (dip procedure) The malachite dip I prepared killed the Fungia. As soon as I put it back in the tank it started completely disintegrating. The skin floated away from it's skeleton in the current. I am aghast. I followed the instructions in your faq as follows: 1 gallon of fresh (RO) water <A NOTE: I mis-read this: Please re-contact me here/WWM... this is NOT freshwater? But freshly made up and spg adjusted synthetic seawater? Please tell me the latter...> 1 teaspoon of baking soda 4 drops of Nox-ich which is (1% malachite green and sodium chloride) <Very strange... this amount of malachite, the prepared water should not have "caused" the observed result... I suspect the animal was dead, decomposing (to an extent) ahead of the protocol> 10 minutes in this solution and then back to the tank. What I am afraid of here is that this same process will hurt the hammer in the same way as the Fungia. I hate to think that my efforts to save them have ended up making matters worse and killing them. <I share your concern, but will assure you that I have used the same procedure on thousands of specimens and know of companies that do the same. Bob Fenner>

FAQ Bob--a question about one of the FAQs today. (I see mine made it up there--lessons to be learned there. . .) On the last question, regarding the Heliofungia sp. coral dip. I thought the proper procedure for a malachite green dip for a coral called for lowered SG (1.018) for the dip (not freshwater). At least that's what I remember reading, but I can't remember if I read it in CMA or WWM or both. Am I remembering incorrectly here? <Curse my lazy mind James! I "casually" read the message as "freshly made-up seawater" with RO... You're absolutely correct.... Hope I can find the original sender's e-address or he writes back after viewing your input here... Yes to using dilute seawater, not freshwater...> I went home with the Magnum at lunch, and the water had already cleared up significantly from where it was this morning on its own. I hung the filter on the sump. (What did I ever do before I had a sump. . . LOL) Once it's cleared a little more and I can see what I'm doing in there, I'll do a water change to vacuum all the "snow" off the LR to get as much of it as I can out of the tank. <You might try hooking up your gravel vacuum to the Magnum... sure to need a few cleanings, but a very handy way to more quickly remove the "dust"> Hopefully no more crises this week! Chat soon. --jd <Indeed. Bob Fenner> James A. Deets

Re: FAQ My guess is that he mistakenly used the procedure outlined for fishes on the coral. At any rate, good luck tracking down his original message/email. And thanks for the gravel vacuum suggestion--it will definitely save me loads of time! <Right-O James. Bob Fenner>

Slipper Coral Health  I recently purchased a pink slipper coral. I have a 55 gallon tank. The tank has been matured for one year. I have recently noticed that on one end of the pink slipper about one inch the tentacles have turned to white. My salinity is at 30 PPT and the gravity is 1.022. My PH is at 8.2, nitrite is at 0, nitrate is 0, alkalinity is 3.5, phosphate is 1.0, and calcium 450. I do 25% water changes weekly. Any information you can share on this problem is greatly appreciated. Thanks. <Hmm, may not be a problem per se... your phosphate is a bit high... but the discoloration could be (and most likely is) a temporary reaction to... another life form... something touched, stung this animal... it should recover, re-color in time. A periodic use of iodide and vitamin preparation will spur this on. These issues are touched on in FAQs files of the same name on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Walter

PLATE CORAL DISASTER I had a 55gal. reef that was 8-9 months mature. being my first set up with relative success (minimum losses)& inadequate everything I decided to upgrade my set-up. My plate thrived in the small tank. My new tank is 155gl. bow; reef rd;150 aqua clear skim w/2400 Mag drive pump in a 55gl. sump ,2 icecap430 ballasts with 4-5` URI bulbs(2 blue). IS TOO MUCH CIRCULATION POSSIBLE? <Yes, but very rare in captive systems... more troublesome are constant, linear (one directional) "blowing" of water against specimens> I was told I could never replicate the ocean .the plate seemed to be under stress, as it was at the sand level and in the line of blowing aragonite from water flow.) Water tests show all is good,&this took place immed. after transfer. I approx. 250# live rock(150 existing,100# from. LFS which cured in his tank for at least 2wks.Rest of tank is remarkable, brain bigger than thought possible. mushrooms are same. br. hammer is thriving, finger leather sat next to plate) along w/toad stool other side of plate) are finery/gorgo has never looked better. I strongly feel water flow contributed substrate blast) to my financial & mental woes. <Does sound like it... though Plates (Fungiids) are capable of moving... they do not "like" substrates blown against them... or settling on them for that matter> ALTHOUGH IM A ROOKIE, I HAVE MUCH VESTED IN MY PASSION, AND DON'T KNOW WHO TO TUSTIN A CARPENTER BY TRADE AND VERY DISS. BY THE ALL-GLASS STAND. MY LFS SAID BRING BACK THE STAND &THEY WILL REPLACE IT (HAHAHAHA)I WAITED FOR 4 WEEKS FOR THIS TANK ON A TWO WEEK SPEC. ORDER. AFTER $5,000 I EXPECT A LITTLE BIT MORE FOR MY $$$ .ONE OF MY HOODS ARE CHIPPED, I WAS TOLD BRING IT BACK &THEY WOULD HAVE A REPLACEMENT IN 4-6 WEEKS? WHEN YOU CANT TRUST THE LFS, WHO CAN YOU TRUST <Yourself my friend... no need to "shout" (all capitals). I will gladly offer you my opinions (and you can find a few tens of thousands of such on aquarium matters archived on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com). Please try to learn, understand the underlying principles behind all's opinions and consult with books, others you come to trust ahead of any important act/decision. Help is available. Bob Fenner>

Plate Coral, Again The new long-tentacled plate coral looked great for three weeks--almost always inflated to over twice the diameter of its calcareous plate and three times the thickness. It started declining this weekend. It has a small dead spot on one side, and only 3/4 of it inflates now. It started acting weird this weekend, but I thought I'd leave it alone and see if it rallied. It looks like it is doing the same thing the last one did--sometimes rapidly deflating, but not retracting, its tentacles. I've read on the internet that these corals tend to do well for a while and then just crash suddenly. My water has been good--I checked it today and had ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and phosphates all "0". Calcium got low this weekend--to 300 ppm--and I'm getting it back up with supplements pending receipt of the reactor. I've managed to get it back to around 360, but can't seem to get it any higher than that. Aren't these supposed to be some of the easier corals to take care of? <Not necessarily... highly variable on the basis of immediate past histories, damage from falling, rubbing/touching other organisms, water quality and changes (likely here), light/lighting, parasites...> This specimen is on the bottom of the tank in live sand. The water is moderately turbulent in that location. Lighting is VHO--2 actinic white and 2 actinic blue--440 watts total over the 115 gal DAS. What is this coral telling me, other than perhaps these species are not as easy to take care of as I thought? What should I do? (I've tried to refrain from moving it when it looked weird, due to stress--I thought the "collapse" if its polyps may have been due to the lowered calcium level.)  <It will move itself if it can in your system... if it wants> Incidentally, I did try feeding it some krill this weekend. The last plate coral I tried went into decline right after I tried to feed it krill--but I'm thinking this is a coincidence and that this is environmental or lighting-related. Thanks for your thoughts, once again. <Need to write up this part of an upcoming book (a section on the Fungiids). Hopefully something will "come up" from that endeavor... Finishing the Anabantoids today... Bob Fenner> --James Deets

Re: Plate Coral, Again Thanks for the quick reply--I think the best course here is to keep the Ca level up and watch and wait. Incidentally, I went back last night and reviewed our correspondence in relation to the last plate coral problem (that are posted in the Fungiid FAQ section of WWM). The one factor (besides the feeding) in common to the rapid decline of both of these corals is that there was a significant "crash" in the Ca level right before the decline began. In both cases, Ca dropped to 300 ppm or lower, and then the decline began rapidly. Could be coincidence, but I'd advance the hypothesis that the low Ca was at least a contributing factor, if not the cause of the initial decline, which in each case led to a recession of tissue around the edge, creating a "portal" for infection that quickly consumes the coral. <Yes, likely a cause-effect> Related to the Ca drop is another possibility (which I wasn't aware of until installing a pH monitor on Monday) and which is probably even more likely. And that is stress from the pH swing caused by use of the calcium supplement. Although the instructions on the product say that it won't affect pH, the first time I supplemented after installing the pH monitor, the pH dropped 0.25 (from 8.14 to 7.89 in a matter of minutes). So the Ca drop, in and of itself, may not be as much the cause as the pH swings from using the supplement. <Yes> If this plate coral doesn't pull through, no more LPS until the Ca reactor (which is arriving today) is up and everything is stabilized, and the coralline algae begins to really flourish. . . <Ah, you're learning...> On the positive side, at least I'm perhaps providing some more fodder for your piece on the Fungiids, as well as some additional material for the FAQs on these species. (although I'd certainly rather be reading the FAQs to learn from someone else's mistakes). Maybe someone will learn from mine, however. <Yes my friend.> I'll let you know what my numbers look like after one week of using the Ca reactor. Thanks again! (And also, thanks for your agreement about the ID of the Cirrhilabrus cyanopleura--I guess I really am learning something here--and it's a great fish!) <Very good. Bob Fenner>

Plate Coral The plate coral I wrote about on Monday night looked particularly bad yesterday. It was clearly dying where it was located in the tank. In an effort to save it, I moved it off of the substrate onto some live rock halfway up in the tank, near the flow from a power head. More light and more circulation. The stuff that was caked on one side was detritus--from dying polyps of the coral. I know these particular species do best on the substrate and that I'm risking damage to the tissues on the edges by placing this one on the rock, <Not really... Fungiids are "moving corals"... and are often found on top of rock, various places in/on reefs...> but I didn't think I had much of a choice under the circumstances. It did look somewhat better this morning with the added circulation, and most of the dead tissue had washed away. Are these species likely to recover, and will the polyps that have died grow back over time? (Time will tell, I guess, but I'd like to at least know what to expect with this one.) Any thoughts on this one? <Of stony corals, the family is amongst the most resilient> I also wanted to confirm my conclusions on another issue. I did a full range of water tests last night to rule out water contamination as the reason for the decline of this specimen. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrates were all 0. Phosphates were also 0. Ca was 380--still trying to get it back up around 400-420.  <No worries on the 380...> Alkalinity was 4.5, but pH was 8.0. In the past I've always had pH readings of 8.2 in the evening and 8.0-8.1 in the mornings before the lights come on. I checked pH this morning and it was 7.9. Based on my reading and research, I think the reason for the low pH is an excessive amount of CO2 dissolved in the water.  <Mmmm, and corresponding paucity/lack of buffer to the contrary...> And my guess is that the elevated levels of CO2 are due to the calcium dosing I've been doing this week to get the Ca level back up, as the Tropic-Marin product states that it releases CO2 in the water to aid in synthesis of the Ca by the symbiotic algae.  <Careful here... it is very easy to obsess about such matters, and cause yourself and your system grief in over-reacting...> So I'm thinking I need to increase aeration, either by placing an airstone or turning up the air supply on the skimmer, at least until I get the Ca level back up. (And I'm going to start gathering supplies this weekend for a DIY calcium reactor. . .) Does this sound like a reasonable theory as to the cause of the lowered pH and an acceptable course of action, or am I missing something? <Many other plausible explanations... but the short term addition of aeration is a good idea... and the long term one on using a calcium reactor an excellent one> I'm fairly sure that the suspected CO2 buildup is not from livestock load--the only fish I have in the 115 gal tank are three tangs (large, med and small), 3 bicolor Chromis and one small yellow-tail damsel (in addition to various inverts like crabs, shrimp, snails, sand stars, etc., none of which should be a major factor). <Actually... it IS due to the livestock... think of the balance of photosynthetic activity during the illuminated hours, the dark reaction during "night" along with the metabolism of your non-photosynthetic life... all utilizing oxygen and other "oxidizers"... Oxygen is not nearly as soluble in water/seawater as carbon dioxide... the reductive nature of all this is that pH trends down in the dark> Also, I think you implied this in your prior email, but I wanted to confirm that it is ok to mix the Tropic-Marin product with top-off water, and then add it to the pre-filter chamber on my DAS. (The filter chamber just past the skimmer and before the biological filter chamber.) <Yes...> I can't seem to get even one scoop of the Ca powder to dissolve in a day's supply of top-off water (RO/DI), and it looks like I'm going to have to add 3 scoops a day to achieve a balance in the Ca level. I can't pour the top-off water with the Ca directly into the tank without clouding the water for several hours. <Perhaps consider removing part of the water daily and mixing the material "off site" in a dedicated container... with a submersible pump or powerhead... and changing this back and forth with your main tank...> When I pour it into the prefilter chamber, I don't get any clouding at all. <Yes> Once again, thanks for your kind counsel and guidance. <You're welcome my friend. Your success is mine as well. Bob Fenner> James A. Deets

Plate Coral Things are going well--got the Aiptasia taken care of with a freshwater soak. I decided I didn't really want to add any livestock right now (i.e., predators), and I'm relatively certain there were only 4 and they were isolated to two live rocks. Now a couple of other problems. <Oh?> I added a small greenish plate coral a couple of weeks ago. It was doing OK--not great, but acceptable for a new addition--over the past two weeks. It is on the bottom of the tank on top of the live sand. It never looked completely healthy from the time that I put it in, however (although it seemed to look great at the LFS. . .). It was more ecru colored at the LFS, but has since changed to a very pale aqua. <This happens, varying mainly with light spectral mix, intensity> This weekend, I added another plate coral. The new one has brownish tentacles with lighter, straw-colored tips. It is a little larger than the first one. I moved the first one over--it was previously in medium current, and now it is in more still waters. The new plate coral is where the old one was before. <Ones that have lost their color... oh, I see, you answer this...> Since I moved the older plate coral over, it has not done well at all. Sometimes it just instantaneously "shrivels" up--it doesn't retract its polyps, but they just collapse and shrivel very quickly. Some of the polyps extend pretty full (but they've never been completely "full" since it was added to the tank--always looking more full at the tips and more deflated or wrinkled closer to the base). The quick deflations look almost like a reaction to something in the water. Also, the fleshy tissue looks like it's pulling away from the stony plate at the edges, and the vertical stony ridges are sticking out in some places. On one side, it's got something that looks like detritus on top of it near the edge, and the polyps in that spot are not extending at all. It seemed to be doing pretty good until I moved it over and added the other plate coral. (Jealousy???) The two corals are about 12 inches apart on the bottom of the tank. <Not a factor... you have read MCRA v.2? The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium books by Fossa and Nilsen would/will bring you much joy, and understanding> The only things that have changed are the addition of the new plate coral and moving the one that seems sickly to calmer waters. Lighting is 4 48" VHOs, two actinic white and two actinic blues. It's a 115-gal DAS setup. 150# of LR. (I did try to feed the ailing plate coral a small piece of frozen krill last weekend--and it took it into its mouth but about 30 minutes later, rejected it back into the water. . . The new plate coral was added the same day--so I'm not sure if the problem might be related to something about the krill it spit back up, or the new coral. . . I ended up removing two pieces of krill from the tank, because once the coral rejected it, the fish weren't interested in eating it, either.) The older (sick) plate coral was under metal halide lights at the LFS. <Do best, look good there> I'm really worried about this coral--it has seemed to decline very rapidly over the past three days. <Already was in decline> The new one I added is doing fine and hasn't deflated since it was added to the tank, even at night when the lights are off. My numbers have been fine--ammonia, nitrite and nitrate have all been zero. SG is 1.0235. I finally achieved phosphates of zero this weekend as well. I did a 10% water change on Saturday with 2-day old synthetic water. Late last week, the Ca dropped to 320, but I've been supplementing daily now with the Tropic-Marin to keep that up around 400. Alkalinity has been consistently at 4. (The other corals don't seem to have been adversely affected from the drop in Ca.) Any ideas on this one? <Have rendered them... more current might help.> On a final note--on the end of the tank where I've been adding the Ca powder--some of the powder will settle on a piece of LR and I'm getting black slime algae on that rock, but no other rocks. I know the Tropic Marin product has something in it to promote synthesis of the Ca by algae--might this slime outbreak in that isolated location be caused by the collection of Ca on that particular rock? I only have been seeing it on that rock--no others--and I've been using a net to scrape it off the rock and remove the loose pieces. It's pretty ugly stuff. (But, looking at the brighter side, it seems to oxygenate the water well. . .) <Shouldn't be any "powder" introduced to the tank as such... either completely dissolve ahead of introduction, or place the powder in a setting where it will dissolve ahead of introduction (part of the DAS or added filtration. The deleterious conditions where the powder is settling are killing off the organisms there, allowing BGA and decomposers to flourish in their stead.> I'm still trying to find the best way to get the Ca in the tank without burning the corals like I did a couple of weeks ago. This end of the tank is pretty calm and I've been adding it there to avoid getting too much particulate Ca flying around through the power heads, but this may not work too good, either. . . (A Ca reactor is starting to look really good--no dosing issues or Ca crashes. . .)  <Yes...> I tried mixing the Ca with water first but couldn't get it to dissolve adequately. I'm now adding a few scoops every day, although I'm still looking for the best spot to put it in and avoid the problems with burning the corals. Once again, thanks for your kind thoughts. --jd <And you're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Plate Coral--HELP! Urgent update. The plate coral that had been declining gave up the ghost today. I removed it--it smelled foul. Also I tested the water and had slightly less than 0.2 ppm ammonia. Should I test again in the morning or do an immediate water change?  <Just keep testing... once, twice a day... unless this goes over 0.5 ppm the change may do more harm than good... hold off on feeding anything in the meanwhile... the ammonia should "go to zero" in a few days> (I'm already drawing up water, which will take several hours. . .) I have an elegance coral that was closed up today--so I knew something was wrong with the water, and the finger leather, while it has its polyps fully extended, looked "wilted." Other corals seem unaffected. Should I also suspend feeding for a day or so? HELP! <An Elegance? Catalaphyllias are not easy to keep nowadays... WWM ref... Go SLOW my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Plate Coral--HELP! Thanks for the speedy response. I know Elegance is not a good choice. . . Over the past few weeks I've read everything on WWM that pertains to this species, including the narrative pages and every single one of the FAQs. I'd have probably not chosen this species for the tank, but significant others have a way of wanting things and talking you into getting them. <Hmm... hoping that reason, persuasion will prevail henceforth...> So we're trying one. . . We did find a medium-sized specimen that looked relatively healthy at a local LFS, where we have had very good luck with coral specimens, for $49. It's been in the system for a couple of weeks and seems to be doing well--located in the LFS at the bottom of the tank on its side. Until the plate coral demise, its polyps were staying completely extended, even at night. The sand sifting stars, however, have had to learn the hard way to steer clear. . . <I see.> I haven't tested the water yet today--but the tank looks relatively back to normal. The elegance is opened up again, not quite all the way, but almost, and the toadstool leather, which had seemed slightly distressed over the past few days, is back to normal. I'll be testing the water again this afternoon--I had guessed last night that the right thing to do would be to watch and wait, since nothing was in acute distress, and I really didn't want to change with newly-mixed synthetic water. The good side is that I now have enough water mixed up for two water changes! <Ahh, very good... You'll soon be able to take over for me here!> Thanks again for your kind counsel. (P.S.--when are you going to put some info and FAQs on there about brain corals???) <Thank you for this/these promptings... they are directional. Have the new Veron and Borneman books out, and several thousand images... hundreds of articles to wade through to post much of anything (significant, accurate, meaningful) on the fifteen families of scleractinians (stony/true corals)... This is not too far away (on the side burner?), but prep. for some presentations, normal correspondence must take precedence for now. Be chatting. Your friend in fish, Bob Fenner>

Peace When I got home today, everything seemed normal. And the maroon clown we added this weekend (after a freshwater dip) had associated with the plate coral. Is this normal, or am I just very lucky? <Perhaps both> I'll let you know how the levels do when all the Ca reactor stuff gets here--all was ordered online today and should arrive this weekend or Monday. And thanks for your understanding. <And you for your endeavors and communication. Bob Fenner


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