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FAQs about Merulinid Corals 1

Related Articles: Merulinids, SPS Corals

Related FAQs: Merulinids 2, & FAQs on: Merulinid Identification, Merulinid Behavior, Merulinid Compatibility, Merulinid Selection, Merulinid Systems, Merulinid Feeding, Merulinid Disease, Merulinid 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, SPS Identification, SPS Behavior, SPS Compatibility, SPS Selection, SPS Systems, SPS Feeding, SPS Disease, SPS Reproduction,

At right: a Hydnophora exesa colony in captivity.


Montipora capricornis Compatibility 03/31/2008 Hey Crew. <<Good Morning, Andrew today>> I hope the mice aren't playing too much while the cat is away. I have a "professional compatibility opinion" question for you. I was in my LFS today and noticed a very nice (4" wide and 6" long) coral that I believe to be a Montipora capricornis. (See attached picture--do you agree?). <<Agreed>> This coral is in the "all corals in this tank are $25" tank. I couldn't believe the LFS is selling this for only $25 as I've seen similar corals demanding much higher prices, so I asked one of the clerks why it was so cheap and he said that they are trying to get rid of it because it's been at the store for over 2 weeks with no takers. He tells me that it is an aquacultured "cup coral" that doesn't have the coloring that most people like. This coral would look great in my tank, so I came home and did some research on compatibility and am a little concerned about its ability to survive/thrive given my other animals (mostly, my Corallimorphs). I have a 110 gallon display with 95 lbs of LR and a 30 gallon refugium (DSB, 10 lbs LR, and large clump of Chaeto). Lighting is 2x250W HQIs (20,000K) driven by 2 IceCap ballasts and 4x65W actinic PCs. My circulation is about 15 x per hour between my return pump and my internal power heads. My coral livestock list is as follows: Corallimorphs (positioned throughout my tank): 8 small green hairy mushrooms on one rock 8 medium green Rhodactis mushrooms on one rock 1 small purple Rhodactis mushroom 14 small red mushrooms spread throughout my tank 1 medium orange Ricordea mushroom 3 small cream colored mushrooms on one piece of Tonga branch Soft Corals: 2 large colonies Pulsing Xenia 2 large Capnellas 1 large Dendronephthya (9 months and thriving!) 1 large red pipe organ (Tubipora musica) LPS: 1 Pacific Open Brain (Trachyphyllia) 5 polyps candy cane coral (Caulastrea echinulata). I run two 1-cup portions of activated carbon in my sump that I change out every 2 weeks to help reduce any allelopathy. At $25, this isn't a huge investment by any stretch, but I don't want to purchase this coral only to put it in an environment in which it won't thrive or survive. There is an empty spot about half way up my tank that is in a relatively high-flow area that would be a perfect spot for this coral. What do you think? <<Given enough space / distance between this and other corals, I see no reason why you could not house this in your system>> Thanks for your insight/thoughts! Andy <<Thanks for questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Re: Montipora capricornis Compatibility 04/01/2008 Andrew, <<Andy>> Someone opined to me that this coral is a Merulina ampliata, not a Monti cap, but the pictures of Merulina that I've been able to find don't resemble this coral. However, after reading WWM and elsewhere, the ridges on this coral make me wonder whether it may be a Merulina, but . . . Any thoughts on the proper ID of this coral and, if a Merulina, any difference in your original opinion that it should do okay in my display? Closer pic is here: http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii81/abulgin/DSC_0654.jpg <<Ampilata do not roll up as the Monti Cap does. Its a more flat plating coral. I will stick with Montipora capricornis>> Thanks again! Andy <<Thanks for the follow and query. A Nixon>>

Re: Montipora capricornis Compatibility - 04/1/08 Andrew, <<Hello again>> Thanks for the reply. This picture is what got me thinking maybe we were wrong: http://whelk.aims.gov.au/coralsearch/html/201-300/Pix/240-02.htm <<I still feel confident of this being a Monti cap. If you review the following photo's of the Merulina ampliata, to me, I can see the difference..  http://www.reef-guardian.com/fiches-coraux-pic-76.html ..Flat, not rose, higher pronounced ridges.>> <<Thanks, A Nixon>>

help with coral, ID, lambda....   3/6/08 Hi Crew! Donna here needing help again. A local reefer gave me a frag of this coral about 4 months ago. She told me it was a Pink Birdsnest <... a Poritid? Mmm, no... Looks more like a Hydnophora species; a Merulinid...> and she had it under PC lighting so I thought it would be okay in my tank. A 20L with PC lights. I put it pretty close to the top. It was doing fine all this time and then I decided to change my lights. It was under 130W PC and I just got the Hagen Glo T5 HO 2X29W one actinic one daylight. I did this 4 days ago and now the coral looks like this. Am I correct in assuming the light is too strong? I moved it lower in the tank for now until I receive your response. Thank you in advance! Donna P.S. the pictures are reversed I couldn't figure out how to get them in the proper order...Sorry <Mmm, I would borrow (check with the stores about, or the local marine/reef club) a PAR meter... Too "guessing" to gauge how much useful light/change otherwise here. I would in the meanwhile use a bit of shading material as discussed here: http://wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm
Bob Fenner>

Coral Identification  2/2/08First off I just want to say I love the site, it has helped me lots and lots. A couple weeks ago a friend gave me a couple pieces of coral that he no longer wanted. I thought they would go perfect in my 8g. Any info on this piece of coral will be appreciated. <... looks like a Hydnophora species to me...> The tank has been going for almost a year now with no major problems. Over the tank there is a 70w viper clamp. 15lbs of LR, about a 5 inch live sand bed, 2 small Turbos, 1 small cinnamon clown, 1 watchman goby, 1 peppermint shrimp, 4 blue leg hermits, Cladiella sp, 1 green frogspawn, a small clove polyps, small blue maxima and a couple of feather dusters. <Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/merulinidae.htm and the linked files above...

Hydnophora Dying  - 09/08/07 I wondered if you could help me with my Hydnophora frag which has been doing well i my tank for half a year now, recently i have been seeing major tissue recession from the main body, and exposure of the skeleton, its gradually got worse and worse and i don't know what to do i wondered if you can be of any help at all. All my parameters of course are fine, <Hmm... what does "fine" mean exactly? These corals need your water chemistry to be as close to natural sea water as you can get it. (i.e. salinity 1.025-1.027sg, calcium 410 to 420ppm, alkalinity 3 to 4 mEq/L, etc. Always keep in mind that what's "fine" for one coral might not be so fine for another. You'd be surprised what I can get some species of Zoanthids and clove coral to grow in. But Hydnophora is a bit more picky.> recently lost a Ricordea which may have caused this what do you think? <I doubt it, unless maybe if the tank is really small.> The Ricordea did start to disintegrate due to too high water flow causing it to be moved around. <It might not be disintegrating. It might have just scrunched up and let go to find a better spot.> please help it looks so gorgeous and i understand they are not the easiest of corals to keep but that is why i took up the challenge, but my hopes have been dashed by this recent event and i am at a loose end. I hope the picture helps you with your diagnosis. <These corals often suffer frightening tissue recession before getting truly settled into a tank. But they're also known to make some heroic recoveries. Do you feed it anything? If not, that's likely part of the problem. Keep it under strong light and moderate water flow and start target feeding it. If you have to, turn the pumps off for an hour or so while feeding.> Yours Laurence Sykes <Good luck, Sara M.>

Hydnophora Dying   9/10/07 I wondered if you could help me with my Hydnophora frag <Forgive me if I already answered this email. I can't seem to find my response anywhere so I'm afraid maybe I never sent it. Anyway, here it goes again...> which has been doing well i my tank for half a year now, recently i have been seeing major tissue recession from the main body, and exposure of the skeleton, its gradually got worse and worse and i don't know what to do i wondered if you can be of any help at all. <This is typical for Hydnophora which is not yet settled into a tank.> All my parameters of course are fine, <Hmm... what is "fine" exactly? What's fine for one coral might not be fine for another. Hydnophora need water parameters as close to natural seawater as possible (calcium 410 to 420ppm, salinity 1.025 to 1.027, etc.)> recently lost a Ricordea which may have caused this what do you think? <Highly unlikely unless the tank is really small.> The Ricordea did start to disintegrate due to too high water flow causing it to be moved around. <It might not be disintegrating. It likely scrunched up and let go to try to find a better spot.> please help it looks so gorgeous and i understand they are not the easiest of corals to keep but that is why i took up the challenge, but my hopes have been dashed by this recent event and i am at a loose end. <It's quite common for these corals to suffer frightening tissue recession when not well established in a new tank. Fortunately, they're also capable of heroic recoveries. Do you feed it? If not, that might be part of the problem. Try target feeding it (turn off the pumps for an hour or so if you have to).> I hope the picture helps you with your diagnosis. <not doomed yet... could definitely come back with some TLC> Yours Laurence Sykes
<Good luck,
Sara M.>

Coral Recession... Merulina - 08/05/07 Hi, <Hi Brian, Mich with you again.> You helped me identify this a few weeks ago and it had been doing fine. Now I am noticing some recession. <I am not surprised. This coral is not generally not easily kept in captivity. Merulina often suffer from tissue recession, bleaching, decalcification and overall failure to thrive and the causes are seldom well understood.> Any ideas? <Tissues may be compromised by sediments and contact with other corals> What can I do to slow, stop it? <Is difficult to say, as the causes are not often able to be determined. You will need to keep sediment off of this coral. Keeping your water quality as high as possible with frequent water changes and regular carbon replacement may help. Borneman recommends generally leaving this coral alone and untouched. He further recommends keeping this coral under strong lighting and a good distance from any potential allelopathic organisms. Merulina grow quite slowly so if, and a big if here, it does recover it will likely take a good bit of time. I'm sorry, I wish I had better news for you.> See attached pic. <Got it. Thanks, Mich>

Coral Recession... Merulina - 08/05/07 <Hello again Brian, Mich here.> Guess I deserve it for not doing my research before I purchased. <We are all human and hopefully we learn and grow from our mistakes.> Need to practice what I preach. <Yes, don't we all?> Actually we need a mobile solution to be able to look something up at a LFS in the case we see something we like that we do not know what it is. Here's an idea for a new web site. <<RMF has seen some shops making Net access avail... where folks can easily "look up" at least what there is to find thus>> You email a picture of a coral and it emails back info about it. Just need a coral identifier system :). <Heehee! Actually Jake Adams is working on a mobile coral reference guide that can be down loaded to your MP3 player. See his website here: http://www.coralidea.com I hope you find this helpful. Mich>

Id...Possibly Merulina ampliata  - 07/03/07 I can't find the following in any of my books, any ideas? <Hi Brian, I actually replied to this last night on your web site after listening to Bob's pod cast, which was quite good by the way! I tried to post this response but the site only allowed 300 characters. So I sent the second response.> http://bp0.blogger.com/_Saa3csugMNM/RogAXQq9gGI/AAAAAAAAABk/mJwEj4Tqbzs/s1600-h/2007+Jul+02+004.JPG <Greeting! Mich here from www.wetwebmedia.com> Anyone know what type of coral this is? <Hard to tell from just one picture. My best guess is Merulina ampliata> I checked all my books and cannot identify it. <I am glad to read that you have reference books! Good for you, and the creatures for which you care!> I was a bad reefkeeper and bought it without being sure what it was. <Not a good practice or the actions of a conscientious aquarist. 40 lashes with a wet noodle for you!> I highly recommend not doing this. <Me too!> Do your research ahead of time. <Sage advise! Life to you! Michelle Lemech> ===== Greeting! Mich here from www.wetwebmedia.com It is difficult to tell from just one picture. My best guess is coral may be Merulina ampliata. A little more info here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/merulinidae.htm Hope that helps. Michelle Lemech

Id...Possibly Merulina ampliata  7/4/07 <Hi Brian, Mich here.> Hmm...I looked at some pictures of the Merulina, looks different. <Could be. Multiple growth forms are possible, often within the same colony. Some pic's I thought resembled yours: http://www.aquarium-design.fr/Img/ImgTelecharge/Pt/1192.jpg http://www.meerwasser-lexikon.de/images/1375.jpg http://www.mailordercorals.com/displayPict.asp?cartID=1154 http://www.reefaholics.org/Sale/reefaholicsimages/images/PIC00088.JPG http://www.atlantisaquarium.net/images/merilina.jpg.JPG The corallites in this species tend to form ridges and valleys which radiate from the center, which is why I though this genus was a possibility.> I did stumble across Agaricia agaricites. Could that be it? <Unlikely, Agaricia is an Atlantic species and generally not available in the trade. Initially, I was think this might be part of the Family Agaricidae, along the lines of a Pachyseris, but the ridges and valleys tend to be more concentric. It is difficult to identify a coral by one photo alone, and for some corals it is outright impossible without skeletal examination. So perhaps it is a Merulina, but it may be something else too. Wish I could be more helpful,

Hydnophora health decline. Env. and allelopathy    6/21/07 Hello guys, how's things? I'd like some help here, I'm having a Hydnophora that seems to be dying <dying> there are a number of factors this could be attributed to so i would like help in narrowing it down. The problem started a few weeks ago, my Hydnophora simply just refused to inflate, i <I> was also having problems with summer temperatures, it was abnormally hot and tank temperatures were fluctuating with up to 6 degrees <Yikes! Too much> over 24 hours, down to 78-79 and peaking at about 84, i managed to get that under control with a fan. Then i also noticed that one of the surface powerheads had quit and a thick scum layer on the surface formed, i did note some of my Palythoa loose some color. <Both trouble> after a week or two of not inflating it finally browned out, and now i am seeing bare skeleton in the brown areas which suggest to me a tissue necrosis of sorts. I also have a briareum colony in the tank, <...> possibly and possibly not toxic <More likely so> (frequent water changes and carbon usage), my candy cane and Favites brain who are both very very close to it seem unaffected (just a few inches away, measured between expanded polyps). with all these problem thou the other colonies have remained healthy including my Montipora that's growing like a weed, i did however note my Zoa frag being closed up alot <No such word> of this period but seems to now open up again after i cleared the surface scum. I have checked the water parameters, nitrate, calcium, PH, hardness etc.  and they all check out fine. Short summary of the symptoms, deflated, brown out, tissue recession. so the big question, what's killing my Hydnophora, the stress from the temperature swings under control now) surface scum blocking out the light? now under control) or allelopathy even thou its farther away from the briareum colony than most of the other corals? and what can i do to save it? Hope to hear from any of you soon, Best regards, Mark Forsling <Is highly likely the variable environment, the encrusting Gorgonian and Zoanthid at play here. Solutions? More water changes, carbon filtration, moving/enlarging their world... Bob Fenner>  

Coral Identification: Hydnophora   2/24/07 Hi, <Hello Iain, Mich with you tonight.> First of all many thanks for your website - it's a real oracle of useful information. <Glad you think so!> My reason for writing is for a Coral ID (see attached photo and film). <Got the photo, but was unable to open the movie.> I bought the coral in one of my local shops (in the UK) and they said that someone has brought it in as it had become too large. They suggested that it is a Pocillopora but after consulting several books, websites etc I'm not so sure as I haven't found anything that seems similar. <Mmm, don't think it's a Pocillopora.> It's skeleton, is white, branching and very fragile but most of the time the polyps are out so it's hard to see. The polyps extend 8 to 10mm during the day and come out to the point of making the coral look like it's been veiled in a light velvet cloth. It looks great and is growing well but I've never seen an example of it before or since. Any ideas ? <I believe it is a Hydnophora, also known as a velvet horn coral.  More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/merulinidae.htm > Many thanks,
<You're welcome!  -Mich>

Hydnophora microconos comp.    11/27/06 Hello guys or gals, <Hey Ryan, JustinN with you today> I have a question I hope you can help me with.   <I'll do my best> I've been doing all I can to find help with this problem (books, forums, Internet searches) with no luck.  I have this brilliant fluorescent green and pink Hydnophora Microconos coral that is receding on the "cones" only, the rest of the coral appears to be fine.  It's not all of the "cones" just some of them, almost as if the flesh peeled off.  I also haven't seen the polyps opening very often, which are very hard to see even when they are open.  Should I feed the coral something, if so, what?   <These lovely, yet extremely noxious corals are planktivores, and consume filter feeding material, such as phytoplankton and zooplankton> I have other types of Hydnophora that are fine and have been for a long time.   <Aha! We may have the culprit!> We also have a Hydnophora Microconos at the store I work at that has been great for years.  So I am very confused, I don't know what would be causing this.  It's about 6 inches under water, which is about 10-12 inches below my 250 watt metal halide bulb ( I acclimated it slowly to the lighting ).  I've had it in high flow, moderate flow, and low flow, which doesn't seem to make a difference.  I don't want to bore you with my water parameters, here's a quick look, all bad things are 0, calcium 425, Alk 9 dKH, salinity 1.025, and temp 77-78.   <All sounds good here> Since I've received the coral it seems it has gotten brighter in color, the cones which didn't recede are a more brilliant pink which you would think would indicate good health.  Anyway, I'm confused about this, any help would be appreciated.  Thanks, Ryan. <Well, Ryan, the only thing I can assume from what you describe is allelopathy between the Hydnophora sp. in your tank. These beauties are some of the most noxious around of corals, actively battling, and winning, with most other species. Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Re: Hydnophora microconos    11/28/06 Thanks Justin, I'll try removing the other varieties of Hydnophora and see if that helps. <Sounds good, Ryan. Good luck! -JustinN>

Re: Hydnophora microconos - A Follow-up  12/2/06 Thanks again for the help.   <No problem, Ryan... its why I do it> The Hydnophora is now doing great, polyps are out, it's expanding like a balloon during lighting hours, it looks better than ever.   <Excellent to hear!> You hit the nail on the head.  Thanks for the help and the most information regarding corals and fish on the net, Ryan. <Thanks for the kind words, Ryan. We're here to help. I'll take this as a chance to offer up a friendly reminder to everyone of the Christmas spirit, and also of the donation box *grin* Every little bit helps! -JustinN>

Coral ID 9/22/03 Hi crew; <howdy> I am trying to id this coral but not having a lot of luck. I'm thinking Pagoda or Merulina or Pachyseris but I'm not sure. <its tough to say... the shot is distant and the polyp structure is not clear/close... but it does resemble Mycedium or Oxypora. Definitely not pagoda (Turbinaria) or Pachyseris> It is roughly 9" x 6". Small polyps. Here's a pic. Thanks for the help. Mark & Heidi Vacca
<best regards, Anthony>

Need Coral Id - 9/23/03 Anthony, thanks for the stab. I read up on Mycedium & Oxypora and neither fit this coral very well. I inferred from you reply that a close up of the polyps might help. Here you go. Thanks again. Mark Vacca <quite correct... and it does the trick. You have a nifty plating (less common) Hydnophora species. If you have any doubts, please refer to the works of Charlie Veron (the newer volumes if possible). Kind regards, Anthony>  

Coral Question Follow Up-Alleged Merulina Sorry forgot to send picture. Here it is. You also said to buy Eric Bornemann's book "Aquarium Corals." Where can I order it. Thanks again! <I reviewed your picture with several friends and our general consensus is this is an octocoral, possibly of the genera Sinularia or Nephthea. Eric Bornemann's book is available at various aquarium e-tailers or online bookstores. -Steven Pro>

Coral Question The LFS told me the name of this coral was Merulina. Is this correct? If not what is the correct name? <I don't mean to be rude, but how in the world would I know. You have not sent a picture or even given a description.> I have some mushrooms, pulsing Xenia, and this piece in my 55 gallon tank along with a couple of fish. I do a 20% water change every 2 weeks and add iodine at about 4 drops per day. Do I need to add anything else to the tank? <I strongly urge you to buy Eric Bornemann's book "Aquarium Corals." It will permit you to properly identify your coral and will give you care information.> pH 8.4 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Calcium 500ppm Phosphate 0.05 alkalinity 11.2 dKH or 4.0 mEq/l <The values given are all good. -Steven Pro>

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