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FAQs about Soft Corals of the Family Nephtheidae Disease/Health, Pests, Predators

Related Articles: Soft Corals of the Family Nephtheidae, The Soft Corals of the genus Dendronephthya Soft Corals, Order Alcyonacea

Related FAQs: Nephtheids 1, Nephtheids 2, Neptheid Identification, Nephtheid Behavior, Nephtheid Compatibility, Nephtheid Selection, Nephtheid Systems, Nephtheid Feeding, Nephtheid Reproduction/Propagation, Soft Coral Propagation, Alcyoniids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids, Xeniids, Soft Corals/Order Alcyonacea

Kenya Tree problem    9/2/12
Hello. Happy Labor Day, hope you are enjoying your weekend.
<Thus far...>
I have a question regarding my Kenya Tree. For a few months now I have been watching a green band slowly spread up the stalk. Looks to be the same hue as what I believe to be algae growing on the rock right next to it.
<Mmm, not likely; but maybe>
The coral appears to be healthy and not at all affected, but it does keep spreading. The affected section in the pictures has taken about 3 months to progress thus far.
Can you tell me what it might be and what I should do about it (if anything)?
<This may be a bit of the "slime" that these soft corals shed... that is "hung up" near the base... and perhaps infiltrated w/ algae et al. as you speculate. T'were it me/mine, I'd do nothing to remove it... such colored masses do occur on Alcyonaceans in the wild... Your specimen appears a bit too white in colour... Do you have sufficient HPO4, NO3 here? Do you dose iodide/ate? I would boost the dosage for the next few periods.>
Thanks as always.
Bob Colley
Thornton, Colorado
<Welcome. Bob Fenner, San Diego, CA>

Re: Kenya Tree problem    9/2/12
Thanks as always for the quick reply.
It has lost color in the last few weeks.
NO3 is approx. 5ppm, PO4 is approx  .25 ppm.
<Ahh, these are fine values>
What levels do you suggest I target?
<Do you feed items for this species/specimen? Have a healthy refugium?
Re: Kenya Tree problem    9/3/12

I do have a healthy refugium. Bugs everywhere!
I currently am using Kent Phytoplex Phytoplankton and Coral Accel.
<Ahh, these should be enough>
Regarding the Iodine supplement, will activated charcoal filter that out?
<Oh yes; it will. I'd pull out the carbon every other water change schedule... dose w/ the Iodide/ate product>

<The other Bob>

white Capnella sp.
just curious I bought what was labeled white Capnella sp. it is a very white colour Kenya and has been thriving for about 5 or 6 months. my question is are these corals dyed or are there actually white Capnella a friend of mine suggested it was bleaching but I bought it white and it has always stayed white its healthier than my pink or brown Kenyas:) what do you think???
<There are some "whitish" specimens of this genus to be found in the wild, though I've rarely seen these collected for sale in the trade. Most folks prefer to buy the more colorful, at least tan varieties. I suspect yours is fine health-wise, as it would have perished before now if not so. Bob Fenner>

Nudibranch Question: Probable Tritoniid Nudibranchs -- 7/12/10
Hi Folks!
<Hi Adam, Lynn here today!>
Once again thanks for the invaluable resource.
<On behalf of Bob and the rest of the crew, you're very welcome.>
I have one question (with pics this time!) that I think I already know the answer to but I'm hoping you can confirm it for me before I commit mass murder.
<Fire away.>
In my 20 gallon Nano I had one large colony of soft leather type coral (I can't remember the type, they are tall, very soft and when their polyps are out they look sort of like an inside out lungs with bronchioles), go from massive, purple and healthy to melted in a matter of days.
It was during a pretty busy month for me so beyond making sure the water parameters were ok I didn't have much time to trouble shoot. However, a few days ago I noticed these white, feathery looking Nudibranchs in my tank.
How this many managed to appear without me noticing until now is beyond me,
<Unfortunately, it happens. They could have been introduced through attached egg masses, as minute juveniles, or as overlooked individuals that eventually reproduced. Some Nudibranchs blend in so well with their prey that hobbyists can have a difficult time seeing/recognizing them. They also tend to be nocturnal, so they can be easily overlooked until the hobbyist notices a decline in the coral's health, the individuals grow/mature, and/or the population explodes.>
..but I have another colony of the same type of soft coral on the other side of the tank that is neon pink and neon yellow
<It always makes me think 'dyed coral' when I hear/see the word 'neon' used to describe any soft coral, but if these are Nephtheids, then it's understandable. See Bob's article for more info/photos: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nephtheids.htm >
-and was thus considerably more money - that I've noticed them gravitating towards. Upon closer inspection today I realized that there wasn't just one or two, but dozens of these Nudibranchs with what appears to be a dense mat of them right where the foot of the largest of the now vanished coral was attached.
<Double yikes!>
If I've done it right, clicking the links below should just open the pictures I uploaded to drop box in a browser window.
<It all works fine, thanks.>
I'm a terrible photographer
<Not so! Bad is when all you see is an indistinguishable blur!>
..so I tried to get them in as many different kinds of light as possible to highlight their anatomical details, as well as show one on the pink coral they've started moving towards.
<Thanks, the more information and photos people can supply, the better we're able to help.>
As you can see, the pink guy is no longer extending its polyps, though it does periodically molt and goes through cycles throughout the day where it expands and then shrinks. I suspect that these guys were the culprit behind the demise of my other coral, but I would love to know if you can identify them for sure as it will be the difference between them going in the toilet and going back to the store.
<From what I can see in the photos, you're most likely dealing with a Trinoniid of some sort (family Tritoniidae); that is, a soft coral predator that needs to go bye-bye. I'd use something like a turkey baster to remove all individuals, as well as any eggs (usually on/near the base of the coral), and keep an eye out for more. Please see the following link for a commonly seen tropical species, Tritoniopsis elegans. Note the variation in Nudibranch color and shape/placement of the egg masses: http://www.seaslugforum.net/showall/triteleg . We also have several FAQ's regarding Tritoniids, starting at the top of this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/NudiIDF7.htm >
Oh, and as I was writing this, I discovered one in the tank that isn't white, it's an orange pink. Possibly absorbing the colour of my pink coral as it eats it?
<Well, normally that would be my guess as well, but according to Bill Rudman of the SeaSlugForum, it sounds like prey color isn't really a factor; at least with the common species (Tritoniopsis elegans) linked above (see initial post, second paragraph).>
<You're very welcome and good luck!>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

Chili coral... does it regenerate  3/13/10
Hi all!
<Hi Debra!>
So the odd question. How do you know if your Chili coral is a goner?
<The sad fact is, most of these are 'goners' as soon as they leave the sea.. it really is just a matter of time>
Although I questioned it, a local LFS told me that this chili coral was very easy to care for.
<It is not>
So I bought it.
<The oft repeated phrase/s..>
It seemed to do okay for a while, but now it has no polyps at all.
<Mmmm, have you read here? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nephtheidfaqs.htm. Water flow could be an issue'¦ apparently it needs the 'right kind'>
From what I've read through the FAQs here it may have expelled its spicules.
<Mmmm, more likely they are retracted>
However, since the sponge itself was still holding its colour very well and continuing to expand a little at night and shrink during the day, I've kept it tied upside down in my Sun Coral tank.
The odd thing now is that it seems to be getting 'bumpier' where before it seemed to be smoother. There appears to be little 'sticks' coming out.
I don't know enough about their makeup to understand what's going on. Do they ever 'regenerate' polyps?
<Given the right conditions, yes, these will come out, grow 'regenerate'.>
This coral has been in this tank for over three months with no polyp extension.
<Then it is starving. The no.1 reason why they often die off. Even if it was showing polyp extension, it would probably starve anyway. Does your system have a refugium? Essential. Live food is what this animal needs>
The sun corals are fed at least every other night if not every night.
The tank also houses a High Fin Goby and Pistol Shrimp.
The tank only receives ambient room light. When there were polyps I was target feeding it a mix of phyto, coral food mix, Cyclop-eeze, oyster feast, a bit of meaty bits ground fine (shrimp, clam, fish from seafood market frozen first), Marine snow, trying to cover various food sizes figuring it would reject what it didn't or couldn't eat, hopefully consume the rest.
<Ok, all of these are good foods, but no substitute for the real thing here>
I was running a skimmer and small filter with carbon. At another LFS a staff person said not to run those because I could be pulling out all the nutrients the Chili coral needs.
Also, when I told him they weren't opening very often and that every time I noticed the polyps were open I bombarded them with food, he told me that maybe I'm feeding them too much and to feed less so they'll come out more.
<No, this animal needs to be fed constantly, all day, not once a day. Live food, from a refugium, is the only way to do this>
The tank is a 6 gal Eclipse with a 5 gal refugium.
<Too small.. there could be many potential reasons here. Temp/ salinity fluctuations, lack of food, nitrates.. this is a difficult task you have set yourself.. try experimenting with some different flow patterns.. maybe a Hydor Koralia>
The Sun corals were kept in the Eclipse which was a refugium for another tank for over a year and when I upgraded rather than break it down
I kept it running as a non-photosynthetic tank.
<Fine for Sun Corals, which are easy, and are probably hogging all of the planktonic life here.. not so fine for a Nephtheid>
Bi weekly water changes of 1-2 gallons. Test weekly mainly alkalinity and calcium. Alkalinity is normally around 9-10, and calcium runs around 400-440. Test Magnesium monthly, last test was 1500.
<Way too high -- this will irritate corals.. could definitely be a/ the issue/ contributing factor here>
I use Seachem Reef Builder in the top off water <I would not. If anything then just Kalk will do here.. dripped overnight only> and dose B-ionic alkalinity and/or calcium if needed.
Thank you in advance for your help and insight
<No problem Debbie.. do write back if you make any changes and see any results either way>

Soft Corals And Alkalinity, hlth.  9/21/09
<Hello Ron>
My tank is low on alkiline <alkalinity>, soft corals seem to be melting, can I save them by moving them to another tank temporarily, I have two tanks, both 75 gallon tanks, one reef ,one fish only, both setup the same, live rock , refugium, protein skimmer, reef has 300 watts of light, was wondering if I could move
soft coral to refugium of fish only till I fix problem, the coral is a kendra <Kenya Tree Coral>
I believe.
<I'm almost positive low alkalinity isn't the problem here, but likely due to water chemistry being out of whack in the form of calcium, magnesium, strontium, and iodine, and/or lack of nutrition. The Kenya Tree
Coral relies less on the symbiotic algae within it, and depends more on obtaining outside food in the form of phytoplankton.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Nephthea looking poorly... A whole messa reading   10/1/08 I have 2 rather large green Nephthea corals. <Can be "touchy"> Over the last 3 days one of them has not opened up and seems to be shrinking. There doesn't appear to be any dead tissue, but I am concerned. I performed water tests and determined my nitrates were reading 40ppm, <Yikes!> ammonia and nitrites were not detectable. I have lots of other corals (mushrooms, zoos, Euphylliids) and none of these species seem affected. <Uhh... but likely these are mal-influencing the Nephtheids> The other Nephthea is also appearing to be fine. Is this species more sensitive to the nitrates than the others? <Can be, yes> I have a prop tank I could move it to but I'm concerned that moving it might make it worse. From reading your articles, I will be dosing iodine tonight and yesterday I performed a 20% water change and I have another 20% water change ready and could be done tomorrow. I adjusted my skimmer to skim 'wet' to try and pull out as much organic matter as I can, and I have added carbon to the tank for a few days as well. <All good approaches to bandaiding... but what might you do to address causes?> Please recommend any additional actions I could take to help resolve this issue. Thanks for the help. <Mmm, a bunch of reading: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and: http://wetwebmedia.com/nephtheids.htm and: http://wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and the linked files above all. Bob Fenner>

Re: Nephthea looking poorly... BGA, more reading    10/4/08 Thank you very much for the quick reply. I read the supplied links as instructed. Regarding the nitrates, the water changes have brought them down to about 10ppm, and I'm still not reading any nitrites or ammonia. <Mmm... take a look at the pic you sent... see all the surrounding BGA? This is likely "taking up" a bunch of metabolite...> I recently moved and during this process 4 fish did not make it. They weren't very large, and under a large stack of rocks, so I left them for the cleanup crew. <Mmmm> I had hoped my refugium/plenum in addition to my serpent star would clean it up but apparently I was wrong. Regarding the allelopathy, outside of this one incident these coral have been getting along for about 15 months now, <Ah, good> however I am setting up a 135 gallon this weekend as an upgrade from the 75 gallon, which should further help reduce this potential problem. I will, however, be on the lookout for indications of reactions between inhabitants. Regarding the more immediate problem at hand, it has been about 6 days or so since the Nephthea has closed up. I moved it into a different system with no nitrates, and I also gave it a Lugol's dip. <Also good> On the tips there appear to be a fuzzy fungus-like growth. It is stuck on there pretty good but I can remove it using a turkey baster with a little work. I have included a picture so you can see what I'm talking about. What additional steps can I take to help this coral return to good health? <Improve the overall environment... "Whatever" is favoring the Cyanobacteria has got to be fixed... pronto> Should I perform more dips, if so how often? <Nope> Is it a good idea to physically remove the growth from the coral's tips? <Nyet> Would it be advantageous to simply 'prune' off the affected tips? <Nein> Should I frag off healthy areas in case the coral doesn't survive? <As a last resort... though/but if the env. isn't improved, it won't save this life> There still doesn't appear to be any dead/dying areas of the coral, so I am still hopeful. Thank you very much for all the help. <Do take a read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Kenya Tree... losing allelopathically, using WWM   2/14/08 Hello Crew First time writer, but have enjoyed your site very much Well here it goes I have a 14 gal bio cube with a 3 inch live sand bed, and 14 LBS of LR (cured) The tank is about 2 months up now. Live stock is a Bi Colored Blenny ( he says hello) and 3 shrimp 1 cleaner and 2 peppermint. All are doing great, The Blenny is a blast. oh and Ya I have some Turbos and blue legs Coral frags are green star polyp, 2 Zoa frags, purple sea fan, cabbage leather, blue anthelia, and a red mushroom These are all frags and very small. <Thank goodness> I also have 2 Kenya tree frags one was accidental when I cut the rubber band, a piece fell off and I just left it on the rock it landed on. They have been in my tank the longest. Both have flourished but will sometimes close up for 2 or 3 days I thought at first it was a water flow issue, <And losing to "stronger" cnidarians here... eventually totally> but since I moved one it has closed up again Everyone else is doing fine, and when one Kenya tree closes up within 24 hours the second one will too. I am just wondering if the Kenya Tree is acting like the canary of the mines and warning me something is wrong. <Mmm, yes> Some people have told me not to worry it a phase but I would like to hear your advice. When I say closed up I mean the get a 1/4 of there size and change color. I guess like they do when the lights are out I feed Kent Zoe, Coralife invert gourmet gumbo, and when I can get by the college I get some rotifers I use Fiji Gold once a week ops water SG=1.025 (little high but bringing it down slowly) Nitrates 0 Nitrites 0 Am= 0 pH = 8.2 Calcium is 420 As of last night <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/nephcompfaqs.htm and here http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Unintentionally Kill New Finger Leather? Hey Bob- <Daryl> Well... After losing the finger leather, I assume to allelopathy, I decided to remove about 15 of the Ricordea mushrooms and one of the toadstool leathers. The pet store gave me $11 credit per mushroom for the Ricordea! <Wow!> I also have purchased a Kent Marine RO/DI filter and upgraded my skimmer to a TurboFlotor. The tanks looks wonderful and most everything is doing great. <Good> Using my store credit, today (Sunday) I purchased a small finger leather frag for $12.00. Unfortunately it looks as though it is going the same route as the first one....soon to be a goner (I assume allelopathy). What to do? Can I simply not add anymore leathers? Do I have to remove more toadstool leathers or more Ricordea....? What hardy LPS corals can I add? <... all posted on WWM> Also, I purchased a frag of a colt coral (not sure...see pic) over a month ago. <...? Not what I would call it: http://wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniids.htm... Nephtheid, Capnella...> The coral has noticeably grown. However, for the past 5 days it has been COMPLETELY closed - I've noticed a VERY small amount of mucous streaming from the coral. It looks okay, just completely closed....is this normal? When should it reopen? <... please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/alcyoncompfaqs.htm and the linked files above> I've added a picture of the 75 gallon tank so you can see what I'm working with. Water Specs: Salinity: 32 ppt pH: 8.2 Calcium: 390 Alkalinity: 3.89 mEq/L Magnesium: 1500 I truly appreciate all your help! Daryl
<When, where in doubt, keep reading. BobF>

Re: Unintentionally Kill New Finger Leather?, & Spg measure...  12/25/07 Thanks a bunch Bob! <Daryl> I thought you would like to hear some good news... <Always> The "finger leather" is still alive... and is beginning to extend its polyps! (see Finger Leather.JPG). Also, the "kenya tree coral" (?) has shed all its mucous and looks just great! (see Kenya Tree Coral.JPG). I've already noticed a reduction in algae after switching to RO/DI, adding a Turboflotor skimmer, and adding a Yellow Tang! Everyone seems to be doing great! My coralline algae is starting to peal and turn pale in spots... I suspect replacing the light bulbs and the glass covering over the tank has something to do with it. <Likely so> Also, just a quick question regarding specific gravity/salinity. I have a plastic, swing-arm type hydrometer (Deep Six Hydrometer). It is stated that it gives temperature-corrected readings in warm water aquariums. The hydrometer shows a bracket (which I assume they are marking 'normal readings') between 1.020 (~27 ppt) and 1.023 (~31 ppt). I am under the assumption that I should have a specific gravity of 1.024 (~33 ppt)??? I've also read that natural seawater is around 35 ppt (~1.026). I think I'm making this a bit too confusing... basically, what should I be reading on my Deep Six Hydrometer? <About 1.026> Also, my pH is around 8.2 (two hours before lights out). I would like Is there a way to increase the pH without affecting the alkalinity? <Posted... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm scroll down...> Water Specs: Salinity 33 ppt Temp 78 pH 8.2 Nitrate 0 Ca 430 Alkalinity 3.5 mEq/L Mg 1500 Thanks for all that you have done. I hope you had a very Merry Christmas! Also, when is your 'reef book' coming out? Daryl <I wish someday soon... no scheduled production time... but I do keep bugging JamesL, my US publisher re... Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Chili Coral Behavior Question, and hlth.  -- 10/04/07 Hello again, Thought I would write back with some feedback to you regarding a Chili Coral specimen. <Okay> Good news all around. The specimen is doing awesome and back to its normal daily routine and behavior. It appears to even be growing a small bit. Through some replacement and addition of higher and random flow along with reduction in the amount of skimming things seem to be back on track. It was not until mid September (almost 2 full months of "dormancy" did the coral come back out in all its splendor. I seem to be lucky in that my LFS got a new employee in who provided me with some possible tactics. I dramatically reduced my skimmer operation time from essentially 23hrs per day gradually down to about 12 hours a day. The skimmer is off during night time feeding period for this coral which I increased in frequency based on your recommendations. I now feed every day except for Sunday with phyto and zoo plankton. My water parameters have remained all normal. The only side effect is now a bit more hair algae growth. Thought you would like some feedback that is good news and if anyone else has similar problems this might be of use. Thanks again and I continue to have a pleasant time with my tank and its prospering inhabitants Sincerely, Craig Martell <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Lemnalia Story - Hope it Helps Someone... env. effect on beh./hlth.    7/25/07 Good evening Crew. <Greetings, Mich here.> Not a question, just an experience that I hope may save someone else some frustration. <Always appreciated.> I have a soft tree coral, Lemnalia sp., which was doing well until yesterday when I noticed that the polyps on the main stems were tightly contracted and a free-standing stem had gone limp and was slumped over. I started researching on WWM in a panic and thought it must be my mushrooms (I have a total of about 13 shrooms in 110g display). <Not a lot for such a large display.> So, I moved my shrooms to the other side of the tank last night. While at work today, I had time to go back to WWM and read carefully everything I could find on Lemnalia and luckily I found a response from Anthony Calfo warning a Lemnalia owner that a rapid introduction of fresh water for top off could stress the coral. <Can.> Well, I got home and started thinking about that advice. I have a Tunze auto-top off system that dumps water into my sump above where my return pump sits. It just so happens that I recently installed a vertical ported return pipe that extends all the way to the bottom of my tank, and the Lemnalia was sitting right in front of this return pipe. So I put two and two together and realized that when my Tunze dumps a gallon of top-off water into my sump, that water, albeit somewhat mixed with existing salt water, was flowing right into my Lemnalia via my return pipe. I quickly moved the Lemnalia to the other side of the tank and a little higher up so that it can get some more light, and within 1 hour the coral was fully extended and the limp stem was starting to reach skyward again. <Great deductive reasoning. Thanks for sharing! Mich>

Tree Coral Health; Nephtheid "juiced" along with Glass Anemones   7/31/07 Dear Crew, <Andy> I have a question about my small tree coral. It was sold to me as a "tree coral", so I'm not exactly sure what it is--I have searched for images of similar corals, and I'm pretty sure that it of the genus Capnella. "It" is actually two corals--two individual 3" trunks attached to one piece of base rock--and have a pink fleshy look, with darker pink polyps. <This genus does occur in a wide range of light colors/hues> I have had them in my tank for over a month and they have been doing very well. Fully extended during daylight, shrunk up a bit at night. Last week, I killed off small four Aiptasia that were within about 10" of the coral with Joes Juice. Although I was very careful with my targeted injection, a small amount of Joes Juice did become free-floating due to the pressure of submersion. Ever since that date, my tree coal has been completely retracted---I can send a picture if you need one, but basically they are just two tightly-packed "lumps". <No pix needed> They have been in this state for about 5 days now. They are producing no mucous, and they are not changing color or otherwise showing signs of disintegration. At the time of application of Joes Juice, they were perched on a ledge of rock--maybe slightly shaded, but not much--at about the 1/2 way point of my tank. About 3 days ago, while they were still totally retracted, I decided to move them up about 5" so that they could get more flow (thinking that if they are reacting to the Joes Juice, the flow might help "clear the air")--the consequences of this movement are that they are a little higher up and in full lighting. Other than the application of Joes Juice, I have done nothing new to the tank (other than normal maintenance)--no new livestock, rock, or any other addition. Now about my tank/lighting. Tank/lighting: 110g display (48" long x 30" high x 18" deep) with 30g refugium; 6 x 54W T5 HO (4 10,000K and 2 460nm actinics); wet-dry filter; Coral Life 125g Super Skimmer; 2 MaxiJet 1200 power heads; and return flow from Little Giant 1245 gph pump. Display livestock: 70lbs live rock, 1 Sailfin Tang, 1 Gold Stripe Maroon, 1 Atrosalarias fuscus, and 1 Royal Gramma, 5 green hairy mushrooms, 5 red mushrooms, 1 BTA, <This animal is stationary, open, has room about it?> the 2 tree corals noted above, 12 snails, 24 hermits, 2 cleaner shrimp; 2 Sally Lightfoot Crabs; and 1 small decorator crab that came in with my live rock. Refugium has 4-6" DSB, 3.5lbs of live rock, and a large piece of Chaeto, with lighting on a reverse daylight cycle. My parameters: Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate all 0; alk is 3.5 meq/L; calcium ranges from 350-400; phosphate is 0; temperature 78*-80*. Daily top-off and 10% weekly water changes, both using buffered RO/DI water. The only supplements I add are Kent Marine Tech CB Parts A/B daily/as needed and Kent Marine iodine (6 drops daily). <... Do you test for this last? I would not apply it daily... perhaps weekly w/ water changes> The tree corals are on the far left side of my tank; the BTA is in the middle at the bottom, and the two colonies of shrooms are on the right side of my tank. Because everyone has gotten along for over 1 month, I am pretty sure that there is sufficient space between all corals such that there is no significant chemical warfare going on. I do run activated carbon in my sump, which I change every 3-4 weeks. <Okay> I am worried that the small amount of Joes Juice that may have made contact with the tree coral has really irked them, but I would have thought that it would have gotten over this by now? <Mmm, apparently not> Two other thoughts. First, I'm thinking that my decorator crab has attacked them. The other day I noticed that, in addition to the pieces of orange sponge that he walks around with, it appears that he has decided to add some polyps to his portfolio. These polyps look like they "might" have come from my tree coral (as I don't have any other similar coral in the tank, that's the only thing I can think of). <It's mainly the "juice"> Second, I do not target feed any of my corals. I realize that the mushrooms rely primarily on zooxanthellae. I guess I was thinking that my fuge coupled with daily feeding of Mysid to my fish would supply food to the tree corals, but maybe I am wrong. Am I starving my tree coral (and, if so, any suggestions on a good food product)? <See WWM, the Net... should be fed every other day... HUFA's...> Wouldn't a starving coral degenerate slowly and, in fact, remain extended looking for food? <Mmm, generally so, yes> If this is the case, how can I get this coral to re-extend so I can feed it? Any thoughts you have are appreciated. Andy <Give up the juice. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tree Coral Health  7/31/07 Thanks for the response, Bob. Tree corals have since recovered. <Ah, good. RMF> New Kenya Addition. Acclimating a new Kenya tree to a nano setup -- 07/20/07 Hello to everyone, and thank you for your recent help. <Hi. I'm glad we were helpful.> I was given a 3-4" purple Kenya tree yesterday and she (we'll go with she, its just easier and nicer than "it") is concerning me a bit. I know that softies can take a while to properly acclimate to their new surroundings so I am remaining patient and hands off. <good> But its slumped over, to the point where its polyps are on the sand bed, about 1/2 way up the base "stalk." I have about 60w of PC light in a 10 gallon tank that houses the Kenya, with a ocellaris <see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nemoproart.htm>, three hermits and a couple Ceriths. I thought the Kenya would make a nice addition, especially at the great price of zero dollars. I have kept close tabs on my params, s.g. 1.024, ph 8.2, nitrates 5.5-5.7, don't recall my alk readings (I didn't write them down for some reason) but I know its the high 6 to low 7 range. <Those parameters sound adequate for this coral.> I felt uneasy about taking the Kenya, because I hadn't done enough research on it, but when it's free its hard to say no. <Imagine what tremendous discipline living by the sea would need. This time you are lucky. The Kenya tree can be kept in your system and will probably thrive.> Especially to such a beautiful specimen, very vibrant purple, nice thick stalk. I could go on and on...and begin to creep myself out (hahaha). Please help with anything you think I could do. I am furiously searching the web for as much info as I can on care guides and the like. You guys are always helpful. <Be patient and keep your hands out. Kenya trees and their close relatives are among the most easy corals. Keep up the water quality and it will likely be upright again in one to two weeks. In the meantime fix your lack of research. Be prepared that this species is capable of taking over your tank and that there are not many other species of corals that be kept as tank mates in this small system. Take care. Marco.>

Re: New Kenya Addition. Successful Kenya tree research -- 07/23/07 Marco, <Phil> Thank you for your help regarding my new Kenya. <You are most welcome.> I spent much of the weekend reading up on this coral and am very pleased to announce that she was upright and "lively" by time I had gotten home. <Very good.> I did notice one of its "branches" was damaged during transport to my house, there was some discoloration in the area, but that too has started to mend and regain its color. I have read where this coral, along with xenia and other species of this type will take over a tank. Because of this I am currently in the process of finding someone to trade or take it off my hands. Because of its size when fully extended, its already 4" tall, I don't feel it has adequate space in my current setup. <Okay. To remove it permanently, it would be best to take out the entire rock it is fixed to, if possible. If you just pull the animal off, it may re-grow from tiny pieces of tissue. While this capability can be used to propagate them, it may remind those of garden weeds, who want to get rid of it.> Thankfully this was a great inexpensive lesson to learn about tank compatibility and proper education. I have also been lucky enough to be apart of a group of local aquarists (well they are aquarists, I am more of a newbie still) that are very dedicated to aquacultured corals. I know that so far everything I have in my tank, rock and sand excluded, was tank "born and raised." Thank you again for your help. <Thank you for sharing. That's great. It should be a goal of all (at least most) aquarists to propagate their stock and help the community to become as independent from wild animals as possible. Carry on. Good luck with your wet career. Marco.> Kenya tree tip necrosis...  - 05/26/07 Hey crew I need some help! I got a purple Kenya tree about 3 weeks ago... My LFS had just gotten it in and it hadn't even opened yet but since I knew a purplish Capnella was hard to come by, I got it... For the past three weeks it has not opened at all... for a little while, its stalk was seeming to inflate a little but I have yet to see any polyp extension... I had it in medium flow and didn't move it so as not to stress it but I have since tried it in high flow and another medium flow area... Two days ago our A/C went out and the tanks temp went up to 86-87... I have since made some changes and brought the temp down and while that won't happen again, it seemed to be the last straw for the poor tree... it developed black spots on the very tips of each of the branches and I've done hours and hours of research on this... It seems that this is rare and happens either with a combination of high stress and high temps or..... in another case, due to possible starvation... (its under 108W PC so no light starvation) I'm pretty sure the tip necrosis is due to the coral's high stress and possibly even starvation since it hasn't had any polyp extension in at least 3 weeks... What do I do? Right now all my params are fine, <... my friend... "medium flow", "fine" are not useful bits of data... Need real numbers> I just can't get it to open at all. Should I cut off all of the black tips (which is a lot of tips to cut)? Should I completely frag it to pieces since the rock that it came on was/is cracked in half so the base isn't stable and maybe stressing it that way? I've also heard something about suspending chili coral and other similar things upside down but that seems only for Dendronephtheids, not regular Nephtheids... I'm just out of ideas on how to get this thing to open... -Nathaniel PS... all I have that could really be causing allelopathy is a small frag of frogspawn but its far away from that... <We need to step back... and quickly... and start with the set-up, your maintenance, water quality test data... Likely faster for you to read re Alcyonacean health, systems... Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm Scroll down to the Soft Coral Tray. Bob Fenner>

Re: Kenya tree tip necrosis...   5/27/07 Thanks crew, unfortunately I've read all of those things... I'm still at a loss.  I brushed off all of the necrotic tissue last night and now its coming back...  It's also clearly decomposing... my parameters that I just tested today are showing I'm dangerously close to a mini cycle... Here's everything that I just tested:  Ammonia: .2, nitrite: .1, nitrate: 10, pH: 8.1, alk:2.6, and calc: 400...  My tank is a 24g Nanocube and I have a Hydor l35 for flow...  3 gallon water changes every week, activated carbon etc...  I'm thinking aggressive fragging is the only option now... <No. Won't work here> any other ideas? I've attached a picture so you can see what the tips look like... -Nathaniel <Moving this organism is the only viable means of saving it... This system is too small, the other Cnidarians too well-established... What was that word? Allel...lo-something. RMF>

Re: Kenya tree tip necrosis...   5/27/07 It makes no sense that it would be allelopathy (chemical warfare)...  I've read everything on your site about it and given that 1. Capnella is a completely nontoxic leather. <Isn't this...> 2. I don't have any other organisms in the system that would be in competition (I have clove polyps, a small frogspawn, zoos, less than half an inch of xenia, and a small Ricordea ie. nothing that causes enough of an allelopathic reaction)... <Incorrect...> 3. I don't have another system to put it in and I've read numerous accounts of Capnella in this size of system all of which say that this stuff is indestructible... <Believe what you will till experience changes your mind... It won't be long now>   My system has been up for about 8 or 9 months now... So there's nothing wrong with the system, its something wrong with the coral. So is there actually a viable option here because I'm not giving up on this stuff yet... -Nathaniel <... If you don't want the tide to come in... will it not just the same? Bob Fenner>

Re: Kenya tree tip necrosis...   5/27/07 Well if I don't have another system to put it in what am I supposed to do? <Return it, give it away...?> I now have the home made skimmer that I've been building up and running, pulling any chemicals <... no...> I might have out of the water.  Which coral is likely to be producing the chemical warfare? <Starting from the most likely? The Euphylliid (not a good idea to place in a small volume...), the Zoanthids... Again, you should read re...> Fragging may not be the best option here but don't I need to remove the necrotic tips in this case? <...>   I can fill the empty 5 gallon minibow that I have laying around to quarantine but it doesn't have the lights to sustain a photosynthetic coral for very long (I have a  6500K daylight screw in fluorescent that I can put on there but that's probably not going to be enough)... So what should I do (and telling me that nothing will work isn't exactly helpful when I'm sure you guys have an idea of something, even if its a long shot...) <Please, don't write. Read. BobF> Capnella Detaching - 11/16/06 My Capnella is detaching from all the rocks.  How to reattach these pieces? <<Mmm...I think the bigger question is "why" is the Capnella coming detached?  Do ensure your water quality/water flow is as it should be.  Read/search here; and among the linked files, for more specific information on their care (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nephtheidfaqs.htm).  As for "reattaching" the Capnella, these Neptheids can be problematic re.  Super-glue doesn't really work...rubber bands tend to "cut" the animal apart before it has a chance to attach...I think your best option is to "sew" the pieces to the rock.  Use some fine monofilament fishing line and a sewing needle...pass the needle through the base of the piece and then tie the piece of Capnella to the rock.  Regards, EricR>> Ailing Chili Coral - 11/09/06 Good morning. <<Good morning>> I would like to request some information concerning a Red Chili Pepper Soft coral that I own. <<I'll see what I can do>> It is showing signs of Necrosis, being that his base has some tissue missing (about 0.3cm).  The soft coral has not opened (extended its polyps) in some time (+- 2 weeks) and I am concerned that it may me malnourished. <<Yes, likely so.  These animals are not easy to keep/provide adequate nourishment to>> I thought that it may be busy defecating, but I am now starting to get worried. <<I would be too>> How long can this soft coral survive if not fed properly? <<Most do starve in captivity...usually in weeks to months>> The soft coral was probably already malnourished at the Local Fish Shop. <<Very much in agreement here>> So I need to take some drastic action.  I need to FEED it, but I am concerned with what: Phytoplankton, zooplankton, Mysis, Liquifry (from Interpret)? <<These are probably all too large (particle size)...live phytoplankton may prove helpful if you can obtain it, else a very large/mature plankton generating refugium is needed...though I suspect the coral is past saving>> I am in South Africa so I can't buy all that fancy overseas stuff, but I can buy: ZoPlan, PhytoPlan, Marine Snow (all the former and latter are from Two Little Fishies), Plancto (Aqua Medic). <<I honestly don't believe these to be helpful here>> The tank Specifications are as follows: 100L(going to be transferred to a 300L), Nitrates? <<Need to get a test kit, mate>> ,Temp (26C), Specific Gravity (1.027).  Sorry about the lack of tank specs, but I am in serious need of some new test strips (which is better/easier to read: strips or liquid). <<Strips are useless (too inaccurate/easily degraded), best to acquire "quality" test kits (Seachem, LaMotte, Salifert, Hach)>> I have 2 Feather-duster worms that are open and feeding, Brown Polyps (also open and feeding).  So my nitrates can't be that high. <<Not true...everything doesn't just "fall over dead" immediately but rather is mal-affected more by prolonged exposure.  Your nitrates may be fine as you say...but who knows without testing?>> On an extra note: I am finding it hard to chose between the books Reef Invertebrates (Robert Fenner, Anthony Calfo) and Aquarium Corals (Eric Borneman). <<Both are very good books and both are worth having...but if you can only get one at the present, the Reef Invertebrates book will be more helpful to you right now>> Are weekly 10-20% water changes good enough to keep the elements in the water at the correct level or should I give it trace elements. <<Frequent partial water changes will provide adequate replenishment of trace/earth elements for the majority of aquarist.  If you suspect you need to supplement, only do so after testing to confirm/control the additions>> Ditto for the 300L tank: Lots of soft corals in this tank + Trumpet Coral + Sun coral, Elegance coral etc.  Do weekly 10-20% fresh seawater changes replenish enough Zoo- and/or Phytoplankton in the tank to last a week, for the 300L (until the next water change). <<Nope...you have need of a large plankton generating refugium>> Great site by the way, full of useful information. <<Thank you>> Thank you for your help. <<Happy to assist.  EricR>>

Dying Tree Coral - 10/10/06 Hello Crew, <<Hey Wesley>> I've had a tree coral in my tank for about 10 days now.  The first week went well; it perked up after just a few days and looked healthy.  However, over the weekend, one side of it started to slump. <<Hmm...>> Then today, the whole coral looks like it has collapsed upon itself and the tips look as though they are melting? <<Bad...>> It is not just limited to the tips (though it is most obvious there) the branches are also showing areas that look like decaying flesh. <<All over but the crying I think my friend.  This animal may have been damaged/on the decline when you acquired it (regardless of its initial appearance), but you should do check of your water quality/double-check its placement re other organisms to ascertain something is not amiss there>> My questions are, should I give it a few more days and see if it recuperates? <<From your description that is not likely>> Or is it already beyond saving and should just be removed? <<This is what I would do>> All my parameters look good. <<Ah...okay...but there could still be something "environmental" at play.  If your tank contains aggressive animals already, the coral may simply have succumbed to their will in its weakened state (another good reason for proper quarantine).  Not that the soft coral doesn't have its own defenses (chemical warfare), but close proximity to an aggressive stinging coral with long "sweepers" could do it in, in a hurry>> It is located in the top half of the tank (50g w/ 192 watts PC).  I added it at the same time I added a torch coral which is doing very well. <<Mmm, a VERY aggressive organism.  We're these in too-close proximity perhaps?>> Thanks for your help. Sincerely, Wesley <<Happy to assist, EricR>>

Sick Neptheid 11/8/04 Hey gang, Top 'O the Day from Denver, Anthony, <hey bro... good to hear from you :)> I snapped a shot of that "Mash 4077th" tree coral you helped me with a year, or, so, ago. I thought it was doing a natural fission a while back & didn't really think about it, is the pic clear enough to tell what's going on here, it looks like a mess of necrotic tissue to me...is this what natural fission looks like? Thanks my friend, Scott <hard to say for sure... but this pic/symptom is very reminiscent to me of a coral that overgrew itself but did not have enough water flow in and around it. This can occur because the water pumps haven't been cleaned for a while and have tired/slowed down... or... because the tank never had enough of the right kind of flow to support a large colony from go, but could support a frag to grow up to this point. Either way, strong water flow (increase here) is a key. Maintaining high Redox through aggressive skimming, small daily iodine doses and perhaps some ozone a would likely do the trick. Best of luck/life! Ant->

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