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FAQs about Mussid Coral Systems

Related Articles: Mussid Corals

Related FAQs: Mussids 1, Mussids 2, Mussid Identification, Mussid Behavior, Mussid Compatibility, Mussid Selection, Mussid Disease, Mussid Feeding, Mussid 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,

How to tell if light is right for Blastomussa wellsi   1/8/12
Hi wonderful experts!  I just said my prayers, crossed my fingers, and ventured into LPS coral by placing a pair of Blastomussa wellsi
<A pair... as in two... they may not get along in close quarters... See WWM re Stony Coral Allelopathy>
in my newish NanoCube.  They seem to have a reputation of being good for beginners.  But my question is this: How can I tell from their appearance/behavior if I have the right lighting for them?
<Mmm, a few ways... the ole bioassay of just observing their behavior... metering for PAR/PUR... There are (of course) many other aspects that contribute to health>
 Right now they at the bottom front edge of the tank, facing out, so they get very low light.  I have the option of facing them upward by just rotating the smallish live rock they are glued to.  I can also raise them higher in the tank or place them more centrally.  But I have no idea how to tell when I've got it just right.  I would deeply appreciate any advice. 
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mussidsysfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: How to tell if light is right for Blastomussa wellsi   1/8/12

Bob - Thanks for your prompt reply!  I am confused about one thing.  You said that two of them may not get along in close quarters.  Please forgive a possibly dumb question, but I don't understand how allelopathy can be an issue between two members of the same species.
<Actually, this is quite common>
  Of course, I understand that sheer quantity of chemicals can be overwhelming and contribute to declining health.  But in my case, I have two frags, each of which contains two heads.
<Ahh, these are not only the same species, but the same individual. Likely little (allelopathogenic) issue here then>
  How is that different (if it is) from one frag with four heads?  It's still four heads, either way.  Surely they can't tell that those other two heads belong to a different individual and custom design a chemical warfare agent meant for that other individual.  Can they?  Am I missing something important here?  Thanks!
<Not missing, but not communicated in the first email, nor in the beginning of this one. I studied Anthopleura elegantissima re genotype and "compatibility" decades ago... sym-types are no worries. BobF>
Re: How to tell if light is right for Blastomussa wellsi   1/8/12

Bob - Okay, thanks.
<Thank you Tim. B>

New coral help... Pocillopora lgtg., Acanthastrea current...  1/14/11
Hey crew,
I tried to find some info about this question but never found a direct answer to this question, hope you can help. I just got a Pocillopora damicornis sps frag about 2 days ago. In the retailers tank it was under metal halide lighting high up. My tanks lighting is 2x55w 10000k/antic compact t-5s and 2 Ecoxotic stunner strips, 1 is 8000k/antic and the other is 8000k. I placed the coral about 6 inches from the top in a indirect current since this coral seems to favor less. I noticed that for the past 2 days the coral is losing its brown color but the polyps are keeping its green and are extended. Its turning a pale tan and heading to a white color. My question is should I move it down the tank?
<... do you have access to a PAR meter?>
or just leave it alone?
<I'd leave where it is>
I really don't want to lose it and it comes paired with a crab that lives on it so it would make him homeless. I also have a Acan which I was wondering does it favor less current or more?
<Less than Pocillopora spp.>
I have read so many different views on the Acan I just cant figure out which is best. I currently have it in a indirect low current.
<Likely fine...>
Thanks again for all the help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

coral ID   6/30/10
Dear crew,
I got so many good tips from you and your site. Every morning I print a few pages, and then during my lunch brake
I read them.
I'm planning to get this coral. It has ID as Blastomussa. However, one guy from the shop told me , that he has the same kind and keeps it on a top of his LR with SPS, and it is doing good. Please help to identify it for a proper care.
Thank you so much.
Best regards,
<A Mussid in any case. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mussidae.htm
and the linked files above.

Re: coral ID... Mussid sys.    7/1/10
Thank you Bob very much for a fast response.
I guess a light requirement for both , Acan and Blasto is similar, right?
Best wishes,
<I do think so. BobF>

Addition Of LED Lighting and Adding 10,000k PC/Reef Lighting/Acanthastrea 4/6/10
Hi guys,
<Hello Jason>
I am thinking of doing a retrofit on my Oceanic Biocube (29 gallon). My questions are:
1. What do you think of Panorama LED Retrofit Module (believe the maker is Exotic)?
<I have no experience with the new LED systems although I am hearing good reports regarding their use.
Would be best to post this question on one of the BB's where you will get input from actual users.>
I am looking to add 2x453/nm on each side of the PC fixture.
2. Doing this, I would like to take out the actinic PC and replace it with another 10,000k PC. I read quite a bit about the hobby, but one thing that always confuses me is the lighting. I don't want to torch my coral. Is this too much having two 10,000k PC's??
<Absolutely not. Most Acanthastrea are tolerant of diverse conditions and can thrive in strong or subdued lighting.
Be forewarned that they are voracious predators with strong nocturnal feeding responses and must not be placed near other sessile animals.>
3. I would like to start adding Acan's to the tank. Right now I only have soft corals (Leather, zoo's). I keep reading that they require only moderate lighting. With the lighting I described above, would you feel (only asking your opinion of course) that I would be able to sustain them in a 20" deep tank (I want to have the Acan's on the sand bed).
<You should be fine here with this type of coral.>
I apologize ahead of time if I could find these answers somewhere on your site.
<Mmm, they are Mussids and can be found here.
You may want to read here as well.
I did look through your lighting section, but in addition I have also read some books that somewhat put more emphasis on actinic lights than on the 10,000k's. Some also shun LED lighting while others love it. So I just felt I would save time and ask you straight.
<Do read the links.>
Thank you for any help you can offer on this matter.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

New year, new reef! Sm. SW set-up, Acan. use...    2/3/09 Hello Crew, <Sweta> You have saved my behind and my fish and my corals on several occasions. Thus, I feel compelled to consult you before I take a rather huge step in reef keeping. <Okay> I have 2 tanks, one 75 gallon with 3 small fish, and plenty of soft corals and Zoanthids. That is doing great. I just started a mini reef with my 29 gallon. (Salinity - 1.25, Ph- 8.4, Calcium- 400 - and this thanks to James' advice, Magnesium- 1400, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are undetectable, temperature 78). I have over 30 pounds of live rock, and a DSB (5"). I have a canister filter. My skimmer is not attached to the tank yet. (Aqua C remora) Right now, all I have is a couple of Zoanthid colonies, one small mushroom colony on its own rock, and a small anthelia freebie on its own rock. I was kind of lollygagging about what other corals to keep and given that my experience has always been in softies, I thought this tank would be one of those as well. However, a friend suddenly and unexpectedly gave me 3 Acan lord frags for free. Now, they are beautiful and I am very very very tempted given the outrageous prices charged for these corals and the "great" price on these. But even free is too expensive if I can't keep these beauties. <Nice!> Firstly, I tried my best to identify them as Acanthastrea lordhoweensis instead of other LPS species they could be, and by my amateur deduction, they are Lords. They are about 3 polyps each. I pored through your site and every internet resource I could find on these corals. 1. Lighting: I have 2 x 65 watt compacts. From what I have read, these seem to be sufficient for them. If that doesn't work, there is the other MH lit tank but I don't want to risk my softies. If it doesn't fit, they go to the LFS. <Okay... Acanthastrea can adapt to about either type/amount of light here. More folks use MH for looks, boosting metabolism with this genus of Mussids> 2. Growth: Your crew has been pretty honest about how mean these corals are. I have three shelves of about 5X5 each where they won't ever come into contact with the other corals, but am afraid they may eat my Cleaner shrimp or grow so large they will take over my tank. I have looked everywhere, but I have no idea what happens when they reach the edge of the shelf. Do they grow vertically? <Mmm... maybe will go "over the edge"... but this and related genera (e.g. Symphyllia) don't grow all that quickly... chances are you'll be moving, even fragging them in time> Should I take out my Zoanthids, mushrooms or Anthelias? <Not necessarily> 3. Feeding: I target feed my corals IPSF coral food three times a week, occasionally supplemented with oyster eggs. They have responded very well to this. However, I am not sure if Acans will be okay with these foods or whether I need to pick up frozen Mysid that most people recommend for this coral. <Try and see is my best suggestion> I know if I keep the Acans, I am going to end up being one of those DREADED Reef Garden keepers. <Heee! Too late... you already are> But even though I bought the book James' recommended, I am not getting anything on Acan Lord compatibility. Are there any corals I can keep with this one? <Sure... with the general provisos for mixing most all Cnidarian life... size of system, placement distance, most importantly careful acclimation to each other... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and the linked files above> Or should I just tell my generous friend that his corals don't fit in my tank? <I wouldn't... I'd accept this gift graciously and keep moving forward with your learning, appreciating, enjoying the greater breadth of experience> Getting a new coral for me is scarier than getting married. I'd prefer to do it right the first time. Please help!!! <Gladly. Bob Fenner>

Brains in a Nano   3/4/06 Dear Anthony, <No longer with us, unfortunately. Will cc him here> You probably remember my tank,  but I'll refresh your memory anyway. I have a 20gal. nanoreef with a CPR BakPak with a  prefilter, an Aquaclear 200 box filter and 130 watt PC lighting. I have  30-40lbs. <Yikes, and not much water!> of live rock with a profusion of clams and other filter feeders  living on it. 1 large hairy mushroom ~5", 2 small Discosoma mushrooms  ~1", 1 softball sized Lobophyllia, a large colony of daisy polyps that are  spreading rapidly. (I am in the process of fragmenting some of them and then will  sell the fragments on a site like frags.org) and a small colony of green star  polyps ~2.5".  About 8 Blueleg hermit crabs, 2 ocellaris clownfish and one  yellow-tailed blue damselfish. (I am keeping an eye on the damsel.) My lobo looks  on the overall like it is doing pretty well. The only thing is that it has a  small (about the size of a nickel) area of recession. It doesn't appear to  be getting worse, but it is not getting better. I have had the lobo for about 3  months now, the recession might have been there since I bought it. If not then  it showed up shortly after I got it. I have noticed that throughout the day  sometimes the lobo will be completely expanded and then in seemingly no time at  all it will be closed and the mouths on it will be open. In about an hour it  will be opened back up and looking fine. It doesn't do this everyday, maybe once  or twice a week. Do you know why it is doing this and if it means there is  something wrong with it. <Can't tell with the info. provided...>     My LFS  has been getting in some variety of what they call green brains. I think that  they are probably Trachyphyllia. They have a flat(ish) middle section with a  heavy ring of tissue around it. (it kind of looks like a flattened out lobo) I  was wondering if it would be possible for me to have one. <I wouldn't here... your system is too small, crowded> I don't have any room  on the bottom except for one place under my powerhead that doesn't get much  light. I was wondering if it would be ok to place it on a flat rock about  halfway up the 12" tank. I was also wondering how often I should feed the lobo  and hairy mushroom and if I get it the Trachy. I am currently feeding them about  once weekly, with small pieces of krill or shrimp. (I will probably get something  else to feed them, any recommendations?) Thanks, MDM <Do take a read, Google on WWM re Lobophyllia/Mussid Disease/Health, Trachyphyllia Selection. Bob Fenner>

Re: Brains in a Nano cont.     3/17/06 Dear Mr. Fenner, I followed your  advice regarding the Lobophyllia, but could not find anything like I described  to you (on WWM or Google). I might want to add that since I last emailed you I  have added 3 Ricordea mushrooms and that one of my Discosoma now has a baby one  growing next to it. I also got new calcium (the old stuff ran out). It is a  different kind than I was adding before, ( pet store didn't have the other kind,  which annoyingly I cannot remember the name of) I am now using Kent Marine  concentrated Liquid Calcium, and adding 1/8 teaspoon daily as directed on  the bottle. <I would take care to only add such materials in mixed, new seawater, during change-outs> (This is probably unimportant, but you never know) I will send you  several pictures showing the lobo in its very expanded form, it's normal form  and when it is closed.   Every  time I have tried to send a picture with an email to you guys (whether as an  attachment or just in the email) I have never received a reply. <Mmm, do try my personal email addr.: fennerrobert@hotmail.com> I resize the  pictures so they are fewer than 60K. Any idea why this would be. <I know not... There are many such "mysteries" re computers, mail, that I am ignorant of> Also  the other day about 2 days after I had fed the lobo some krill, I noticed that  it was excreting some clearish stuff that looked kind of like undigested shell  from the krill. <Might be> My damselfish since then has developed a close relation with  this coral, as I had noticed him nipping the clear stuff from it's mouths. Is  this something I should worry about, or is it ok? Thanks for the  help, MDM <Not likely a problem. Bob Fenner>

Mussidae: Acanthastrea husbandry 5/13/05 I have a question about Acan lord frags. I've been trading them lately, and acquired a couple of nice pieces. My question is about their care. I have Eric Borneman's book, but it has a very short blurb about Acans, not really getting into aquarium husbandry. With frags, should they be put in partial shade with low current, partial shade and high current, or full light at bottom of tank? I think Anthony has had lots of success with these frags and I'm curious what conditions he puts his frags at. Thanks, Brandon <This entire genus is staggeringly hardy for aquarium use. At worst, they need slow acclimation to bright lights in some cases. But, they CAN be acclimated to a wide range of light. They grow successfully under fluorescent and metal halide light equally well. They real key to fast growth is feeding: heavily and frequently (meats of marine origin, whole and minced zooplankton substitutes). Mine double in 2-4 weeks (individual polyps are cut in half and then again within one month cycles). Its due largely to my feedings (3-5 times daily) and weekly (75-100%) water changes in their systems. Such habits illuminate the difference between reef keeping versus coral farming. Two very different styles of husbandry. Best of luck, Anthony>

Proper lighting for Scolymia 3/1/04 Sorry I didn't have more specific info--I should have known better. However, I am told I have a Scolymia Cynarina.  Does this compute?   <Sort of. It sounds like you/they are referring to one of two possible genera: Scolymia or Cynarina. Both need low light if red in color... high UV (although not necessarily bright light) if green. Feed 3-5 times weekly> Could use your input, if this is the correct species.  Thanks again........Barry <best of luck! Anthony>

Symphyllia recta Brain Coral Hi I'm getting conflicting information on what the best conditions are for Symphyllia recta. I have bought a piece and placed it quite high up in the tank on a flat piece of live rock. I have put it high up as I was told it needs strong light and I have T5's rather than halides (too expensive on the electricity). So the brain coral is about 4-5 inches from the water surface. I know some corals need to placed on sand - is this the case with this coral - it looks a little awkward. <These corals are usually found on the mid levels on reefs.>  Otherwise what about water flow - moderate is what I thought. <You need 10x tank volume total flow.>  I feed all my coral by putting a phytoplankton/coral food type stuff straight into the water - a little twice a day. Will this coral need direct feeding and if so what should I feed it and when? <Feeding twice a day is a little much, adds excess nutrients to the system. These corals do produce most of their food, but weekly supplemental feedings will aid in maintaining the coral.>  Sorry to ask so many basic questions, I can't find out much on this coral and the two so called experts and the aquarium shops gave me contradictory info. I can't find much on your website. <I did a Google search and came up with all sorts of hits.>  Also I need some advice on a bubble anemone. My LFS has a bubble anemone which was found under a rock - where it had been trapped for a while and has seemingly lost it's colour. It still seems quite healthy and I have seen it eat ( a bit of squid or something). The LFS is willing to sell it very cheaply as it is now a white bubble anemone rather than green! If I buy it and put it in my aquarium is there any chance it will recover given good lighting and feeding?  <You don't want to get into that>  I have a maroon clown so it may be a good home for him. By the way how do you get a clown to take to an anemone - It hasn't taken to anything yet. <Maroon clowns prefer the Ritteri, bubble and long tentacle, in that order of preference. No guarantee any clown is going to take to an anemone though.>  The lighting in the LFS is just ordinary fluorescents - so the anemone is pretty doomed if it stays there anyway. Is it wise to keep an anemone with corals?  <Better not to>  ( I have mostly soft corals, African tree, mushrooms, xenia etc.) Finally just a quick question: I am planning (dreaming) of building a much bigger aquarium - fish only. What is the most important dimension to keep bigger fish, is it length of the tank - or height or depth, from front to back. Or is it more a matter of having as many gallons as possible. I'm thinking in terms of a 6ft long by 3ft high by 20inch (front to back) wide tank for housing tangs, trigger fish etc - would putting a really big sump on this be crucial - or is swimming space most important.  <The area of the tank is more important than height. I'd just size the sump for the tank in mind.> Just realized I wrote a hugely long e-mail - thanks for any help you can give me. <James (Salty Dog)> 

Cynarina...No Place To Rest - 04/27/05 I have recently purchased a large red Cynarina that has a deep cone shaped bottom (4 inches from the wide part of the base to the tip). I have a shallow sand bed (~2 inches deep), and I am not able to bury the base in the sand so that the coral is flush with the sand. It is lying on it's side propped up with a piece of rubble. Will it be OK like this? I don't know how it will be able to expand and "Spread out" over the sand bed like my smaller one does. Thanks! Sherry < Hi Sherry! Why don't you try building a corral on the sand bed with some small rock bits and add some sand to create a special "bed" for your new friend? Eric R. >

Cynarina In Shallow Sand Bed II - 04/28/05 I will try the small rocks to keep the sand in place. I have 2 Seio 1100's along with my return pump (1050 GPH) and a MJ 1200 for water movement in the tank, which is a 125 gallon. Although the flow is pretty gentle where the Cynarina is placed, the sand I tried to mound around the base keeps getting moved away. < This is to be expected, hence the need for some type of barrier to corral the sand. > I can use the front and side glass as a barrier, and put some rocks on the other side and back of the coral to see if that works. < you're not limited to using rocks, though this will give a more natural appearance. Another thought is to sink a suitably sized container (plastic/glass) in the existing sand bed, fill the container with sand, and then disguise the container with the rockwork. > Thanks :) < Welcome, Eric R. >

Yellow polyp feeding/Brain Light Hey Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> So, I'm progressing with my 25 gal mini reef (with PC light) now, my Yellow polyps have been doing great and have almost all reproduced already in the month that I've had them, even my button polyps are sending up babies from their base. I've been feeding the tank,  <the incidental particulate food has helped the polyps...feed them well to grow the them under bright light> which has at this present time a bicolor blenny and a Firefish (the purple back Pseudochromis has a new home in the display tank at my LFS since it never learned how to play nice with friends)  <agreed!> every other day with frozen Mysis shrimp, <excellent marine food!> (flake food the other days) which I try to mash up as much as I can between my fingers. The yellow polyps, on account of their growth seem to be loving it.  <yes> Now as of today, I've added a very nice pineapple brain specimen, and I noticed after reading the FAQ that it eats too! Is my current feeding sufficient for it too? or should I supplement with a commercial plankton?  <other Zooplankton would be nice, but the popular Phytoplankton substitutes are doubtfully useful for this Faviid brain. If form follows function, then the long aggressive feeding tentacles (large) are designed indeed for zooplankton. Feed nothing larger than crushed mysids> Any suggestions on what would be a good product if I you think I need to get some plankton? Oh and last question, What's the best placement of the brain coral? <really depends on the species and color. Some pineapples corals shipped are actually Blastomussa species and not Faviid brains. Do use a good photo reference to see if you have Blastomussa wellsi. If not B. wellsi (very low light), then as a rule, most true brains like very bright light. If the specimen did not come in stressed or pale/bleached...then top third of the tank under good reef lights will be fine> Thanks!!! David<quite welcome. Anthony>

Blastomussa coral... AKA Pineapple Brain Hi, how are you today? <very good, thank you. I hope you are well indeed. Anthony Calfo in your service> Yesterday I went to look for a new coral to purchase and was interested in one the LFS called Blastomussa.  <Blastomussa wellsi> I'm not sure if I am spelling it correctly, but I searched wet web for it and had no luck. Are you familiar with a coral by that name, and if so, can you tell me another name that it may go by so I can read about it. It resembled a closed brain, but fuller and softer, and much brighter. Thanks :-) Marci <very hardy under low to moderate light. Very sensitive to bright or new lamps. Keep in lower half of the tank under VHO or PC for new imports. MH is tough for them to acclimate to but not impossible. Hardy and long lived but relatively slow growing. Keep far from aggressive neighbors. Best regards, Anthony>

Blastomussa "Pineapple Coral" WWM Crew- Can someone tell me what type of substrate Blastomussa wellsi should be placed on? Does it matter? <a hard substrate is normal and natural. B. wellsi is not especially adept at purging sand. Low light is best for most and bright light only with slow and careful acclimation. Do review my article for tips: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm> Thanks! Ann <kindly, Anthony>

Blastomussa "Pineapple Coral" II Thanks for your reply. I have had the coral for 4 months now and it "appears" fine but, there is no new polyp growth or anything.  <a notoriously slow grower... please consider feeding very finely shredded meaty for to keep this coral and grow it> It is located on top of a rock in my 20 gal tank and I wanted to make sure that it didn't like sand.  <yes... but do be careful not to burn it... a change or upgrade in bulbs could shock this animal terribly without caution> I'm glad it doesn't because there is no sand in my tank. Are there any good sources for information on this species? How can I tell that it is truly happy? <regular polyp extension/cycling and some growth. A rich dark color too> Just so you know, I kind of "stumbled" upon this coral, the LFS had just received it and they thought it was a red mushroom rock (which I had been wanting for some time). I must say, it did look like mushroom rock in the shipping package but, to my surprise shortly after I turned on the lights the next day it was NOT mushroom rock but, a Blastomussa wellsi coral! <yes... I agree. And it is often misidentified... even as a brain coral (Faviid)> <best regards, Anthony>

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