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FAQs about Fungiid Coral Selection

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Related FAQs: Fungiid Corals 1Fungiid Corals 2Fungiid Identification, Fungiid Behavior, Fungiid Compatibility, Fungiid Systems, Fungiid Feeding, Fungiid Disease, Fungiid Reproduction, 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,

Heliofungia actiniformis         5/21/15
Dear Crew,
I just thought I would share an interesting story.
<Oh, good>
I sent in a picture back in '12 of an unknown coral that had sprouted from a brain I purchased. I was fairly new to the hobby, and so I guessed it was a member of the genus Euphyllia. Well, as time has gone by I recently remembered that I had sent
the picture, and thought I would do a follow up (especially since I don't hear many success stories with this coral). It later detached from the rock, and has increased to about four inches in diameter.
The tank they were in originally crashed during a move, and so many things did not make it(summer of '14). These two, however, did survive; and I took this photo two days ago. I feed them every few days, and they prefer large meaty
foods (shrimp/krill). Currently I have then about 12 inches below a ReefBrite LED. Salinity-1.026, pH-8.2, KH-8, Ca-380-410ppm, Mg-1600ppm, nitrate-0.5-2ppm. For what its worth, and Im not an expert, I do not think I would recommend this coral in general.
<And of all species of Fungiids (the Mushroom Coral family), this one rarely does well...>
Its beautiful, tends to sting others and moves with some frequency.

<Ah yes>
It also can start to go downhill quickly. I had an accident with one last October and the entire bottom of the coral lost tissue, and the skeleton still shows in places though it is still living and eating. The system has no fish, only corals, and snail, a
tiny unidentified clam(2cm), and pods. Anyway, have a fantastic day, and happy reefing!
<Thank you for sharing your valuable experience. Bob Fenner>

Yet another question - Heliofungia care -- 10/07/11
Hi Crew,
<Mornin' Sugam>
I can't help but ask you guys more questions because you have been ever so helpful (and accurate) in the past. This time my question is about a Heliofungia plate coral that I am considering. I have put a deposit on it and am currently doing research on its care. I found a few FAQs on WWM but not as much information as I would like. I also found contradictory information so am at a bit of a loss on how to care for the species. Here is a link to an article that I thought was quite comprehensive - http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2003/4/inverts
<Have just reviewed, and largely agree on Jules's statements (as usual) w/ the exception of the need to feed Heliofungia and the upper limits to the stated concentration of Calcium... Am not a fan of this being over about 400 ppm>
So far what I have been able to gather is that they are not the easiest to care for. They feed from both lighting as well as direct feeding but I have found some sources saying the feeding should be very very small while other suggests larger meaty bits.
<I am of the latter opinion... once per week>
On duration again, I have found suggestions on feeding every day whole others claim only very minimal
feeding. The one thing most resources I have reviewed seem to agree on is low to medium flow with good lighting.
Could you perhaps guide me on how best to care for the species?
<What you and I have stated; the article you cite on Reefs.org...>
The plate I am planning on has white tentacles with pink tips.
My specific questions for this species are -
1. Feeding: Should I do larger meaty bits like silversides and shrimp or micro foods? Also, regular (daily) feeding or a couple of times a week?
<Once or twice a week, the former>
2. Placement: I gather that direct sand placement is ideal. In terms of flow, would you agree that low to medium flow is ideal?
3. Light: Am planning on placing in a well lit area but since on the sand bed of an RSM 250, light is not massive. Is this an issue?
<PAR around 100 at the bottom is fine>
4. Interactions: I understand that they swell up and 'walk' so am planning to place them a good 6-8 inches from any other coral. Is this sufficient?
5. Prospects: Having found some places say that care is quite straightforward and others suggesting it is a lost cause, I am unsure what to go with. I would consider myself to be a beginner with a couple of years experience in keeping soft corals and some LPS (all thriving).
Am I getting in over my head?
<I hope not. Some specimens do well...>
While I am writing to you, I would also appreciate some advise on where I might be able to find more information on a chili coral. I have found only one or two FAQs on WWM and so far have gathered that it needs to be in a low light area with good flow and must be placed upside down.
<Not always the latter, and the flow only needs to be brusque alternately... as in there are periods of rapid to slow to slack tide in the wild. Look to AZOO feeds...>
I have managed. In terms of feeding I am using JBL Koralfluid and frozen Cyclops a few times a week. So far, it has decent polyp extension but I would like to continue reading for optimal care. This was labeled a red finger leather at the store and I bought it in my excitement of finding a truly unique piece. Have since correctly identified and rectified conditions for it but have a long way to go with researching. I would really appreciate being pointed in the correct direction.
<Mmm, well, if/when I really wake up... perhaps I can/will add to my ever-growing "to do" list the re-writing of care of Nephtheids. There are plenty of good works on this group in recent years in the hobby literature.
Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Yet another question - Heliofungia care   10/9/11

Thanks so much for the response Bob.
<Welcome Sug!>
I am glad to hear that my research on the plate was along the right lines. Have acquired the specimen and have placed it as planned. So far, so good. The one thing that didn't strike me earlier, and should have been fairly obvious is the size of each feeding. I have fed it meaty bits about the size of a pencil eraser attached which it readily accepts. I plan to do this twice each week.
The plate itself is about 4-5 inches in diameter.
<Sounds about right>
Sad to report that the chili does not seem to like its new placement. Am planning on giving it a couple of days to see if it will get better and if not, then take corrective action accordingly. Have been reading extensively about Nephtheids in general since the acquisition (would have been quite useful pre-acquisition!) and yes and article by you on the subject would be very handy.
<Ah good>
On a completely separate note, if there is any way I can help WWM at all, I would be happy to assist. The site has been of tremendous use to me and if I can ever lend a hand, I would be glad. While not an advanced hobbyist, am a writer by profession if that helps any.
<Ahh! Thank you for your offer. Do you feel confident in helping others... In English... or? Have the time to respond to questions (a few minutes most days?). Are you a known quality on our bb (WetWebForum)? If so, please send along a brief biography and we'll solicit it amongst the present Crew.

Heliofungia actiniformis -09/05/08 Hi Crew, please look at the picture on the attachment. I have 2 of these LPS for 3 months which opens fully and this 1 is been like this for +-10 days. I cannot see any jelly or dead flesh on the LPS, except for stinging cells. Path of the LPS tentacles is extended, picture 035. Is this a dieses, do I need to do something, please advise? <Unfortunately, these particular corals (Heliofungia) just do not do well in captivity. Sorry, but there's likely not much you can do.> thanks
Sara M.>
WTF is this plate coral doing? HELP... Using WWM 04/22/08 See WWM re Heliofungia (actiniformis)... an inappropriate aquarium specimen... this one is dying rapidly, being overgrown by Cyanobacteria. Bob Fenner>

Heliofungia actiniformis - Signed Death Warrant   6/1/06 Ladies and gentlemen of WWM the service you perform is spectacular. <Wowzah! High praise indeed!> I have what appears to be a huge problem with a Purple Plate Coral.  The specimen that I received has either been epoxied or puttied to a piece of live rock. <!> The rock is situated in such a way that the tissue of the coral is not rubbing against it.  Because of the delicate nature of the plate coral I am reluctant to try to remove it from the rock, but everything I have read, especially here, tells me that it is a goner! <Likely so. Not a sturdy aquarium species.> I can place the specimen in such a way that tissue is not touching any rock other than the piece it is mounted to. <This is best> Do you think I should try to dislodge it, or just try to make it as comfortable as possible until the end? <This latter> It seems to be eating.  I feed it a blended mixture (to try to minimize the particle size) of DT's plankton and oyster eggs, Sweetwater zooplankton, and either mysis shrimp, SF's Reef Plankton every or some other meaty foods every other day.  The coral puts out it's mucus web and traps the food and takes it in. What do you think I should do? Thanks         Roy <Perhaps this specimen will dislodge itself... or reproduce through fission or via acanthocauli... For browsers, our coverage: http://wetwebmedia.com/fungiids2.htm Bob Fenner>

Plate coral Hi, I have a 80 gallon eclipse tank with about 60-80 pounds of live rock and  40 pounds of coral substrate not a sand type of bottom. I also have 1 three stripe damsel, 1 yellow damsel, 1 Gregory damsel ,and a Clarkii clown. Well I was wondering if I were able to put a plate coral into my system; however I only have 80 watts of illumination in blue and white spectrums. But, I do have the tank near a kitchen sliding door where natural light shines on the tank. not direct sunlight. Some websites say that the plate coral need a sandy bottom is this true, because I really don't want to go through the hassle of removing all of the substrate and replacing it. I also add some Kent liquid calcium daily for my live rock. Overall will this set up be sufficient enough to support these corals. If not is there an other sorts of corals or invertebrates that would survive in my situation.
<I would stay away from most coral except maybe some mushrooms of polyps.  You will need more lighting for most coral except the ones mentioned above.  There is tons of info on this at www.wetwebmedia.com Cody>

Heliofungia care 10/05/04 Hi Anthony: <cheers, Greg> Hope all is well (and the various writing projects are coming along).   <plugging away feverishly at times <G>> It's been a while since I needed to solicit your advice, but....   I have a beautiful Heliofungia actiniformis (bright green body with white-tipped brown tentacles) that has begun to look very odd.  At least to me.   <beautiful coral... but rather difficult to keep and extremely sensitive to damage and mishandling. They must be kept on fine (sugar-sized, oolitic) sand and favor deep mature sand beds (over 4" and over 1year old) to thrive if not survive! Never place them on rocks for any reason. They are also only satisfied by Zooxanthellate symbiosis less than 80%... that means heavy feeding. Yet you cannot easily target feed them organismally (particles). Rather, they need nanoplankton which aquarists cannot readily supply... short of sand stirring of that deep mature DSB, etc. You begin to see the challenges of this coral and why many starve to death slowly in captivity after some months> I have had him on a soft sand bottom in my 110g reef tank (24" deep) for approximately a month.  The tank has dual 250w MH 10K lighting and I have been feeding him fine foods two or three times a week. <all sounds good... although the lights may be a tad bright for this specimen> The problem is that he has begun to show mesenterial filaments from the base of about a dozen of his tentacles.  It's as if he has a bunch of tiny holes in him.   <perhaps some nibbling by a Centropyge or Zebrasoma in the tank? Common> If this had happened initially I would have though "mishandling."  But it seems strange that this would show up after he has looked so good for a month.  I know that's not long really, but the little "holes" are confusing me.  Also, he is in light flow, so I don't think the current has caused the "injury." <Hmmm... you really do seem aware of its needs and have done the right things IMO> Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.  As always, thank you and all the other volunteers for sharing your time and opinions.  Certainly service to the greater good! Take care, Greg <I'm wondering if it isn't just finally showing signs of wear from the rigors or import. My advice here is to simply let it be. You are doing all the right things as far as I can tell. Best to leave the stressed beast rest quietly. Do look for possible nibblers in the meantime. kindly, Anthony>

Heliofungia care II 10/05/04 Thanks for the response.  I do have an Eibli in the tank, but he has been in with various species of Euphyllia, Nemanzophyllia, and Plerogyra and Physogyra for about six months <six months is hardly a track record, my friend... not safe yet <G>> and I have not had any problems with them or noticed him nipping at any of them (he is my personal fave...I'd hate to remove him without knowing he's the culprit).  In your experience, do the Centropyge pick on Heliofungia more than other LPS? <they are in fact more prone to nipping corals than most other Centropyge... this is a strong candidate here> (Maybe he's mad I added something to "his" tank without proper consultation!!)  As to the lights, I mounted them about 16" above the tank due to my love for the LPS, <ah, good> I hope this is high enough...that's the advice I got from various sources when I had the opportunity to pick up the lights on the cheap.   <I agree with the distance... but doubt the savings on the initial purchase can compare to the expense of extra/unnecessary ongoing cost of operation> I bought the 250s because I am planning to set up a longer SPS tank in the near future and thought I could lower the lights to the proper height at that time and "strategically place" my LPS corals toward the edges of the tank so they would get bright indirect light. <yes... perhaps :)> Also, you gave me a thought.  I have been feeding the Helio with zooplankton, but also with finely crushed Formula One.   <both are likely too large... Cyclop-eeze might even be a little big, but very good if taken> It seems to eat both, but do you think that maybe the Formula One was too large and could have caused a massive outbreak of bacteria that has had a deleterious effect on him?   <too large, yes> Just a thought.  I have read several sources (including the BOCP, I believe) that said "finely shredded" ocean meats were appropriate for these corals.  Anyway, what do you think? <true... very fine matter> Finally, the coral is definitely taking a turn for the worse.  Everyday, fewer and fewer of his tentacles are coming out and he has started to get an abnormally thick mucus layer.   <aieee! The mucus layer (if clear) is a feeding strategy! Please do not remove. Fungiids produce this daily... wait for bacteria and nanoplankton to stick to it... then suck it back in to digest it> I siphon this off, but do you think an iodine bath or other therapy might be appropriate at this point.   <almost never... more harm than good (stress)> Or should I just leave him to his fate and continue "supportive therapy"?  Thanks for the support.  Good luck with the books.  Take care, Greg <always welcome my friend> P.S., if this coral doesn't make it, I would like to try again (after an appropriate grieving period of course... reading and learning more than grieving, but still).  Do you have any recommendations as to where/who has the appropriate knowledge/technique to supply well-handled, healthy specimens?   <always/only local... never buy this one sight unseen> Or would your advice be to leave these guys in the ocean and break out the scuba gear?  Thanks again. <there are definitely better Fungiids. DO check out Cycloseris species... some bright orange ones are imported. 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>

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