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FAQs about Soft Corals of the Family Nephtheidae Systems

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

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

Don't always get along... and should not touch, stony corals.

Leptoseris cucullata

Scleronephthya/Dendronephthya, Red Sea biotope 12/27/10
Hi Crew
Firstly hope you are all well and hope you all had a very Happy Christmas.
I've recently been reading your articles on here about softies, especially the keeping of dendros and sclerons trying to get more of an understanding of the needs and requirements of these delicate corals.
The reason I'm here is to say I have had an orange Scleronephthya in my tank for around 8-10 months now, it is only a very small piece that came in on a piece of LR I brought and opens up to about 2cm in height, can't believe how well it is doing to say how hard to keep these can be, it must be feeding well from when I supplement and feed the SPS in my aquarium.
<And/or some life in the system is producing such food>
I am currently in the process of ordering a new marine set up, and would love to recreate a red sea looking reef with a shoal of Anthias and other fish that are found in this area of waters. I'm tempted to buy more Scleronephthya/Dendronephthya to create the look I'm after with vivid colours of soft corals, also gorgonians and sponges, I'm dubious in buying these though and was wondering if there would be any other corals you could recommend that could fit the bill of what I'm trying to achieve in my new set up.
<Mmm, all sorts. Have been to parts of the Red Sea several times, diving, photographing. And have one section of a book re its habitats, organisms.
Much of this is reproduced here: http://wetwebmedia.com/redseafwgv1.htm
and the linked files above>
Any help and suggestions would be most appreciated.
Take care all and an early happy new year to you all for when it arrives.
Many thanks for all your expertise
<Glad to share! Bob Fenner>
Re: Scleronephthya/Dendronephthya 12/28/10
Hi Bob and the rest of the crew
Thanks for the speedy reply, you gave me good reading from the links and an abundance of useful information as usual, I have also already made book purchases this morning for reference on corals and fish of the red sea.
This is the kind of thing I would love to achieve (see attached picture)
for my perfect biotope, obviously on a much smaller scale.
<Ah yes>
Do you know of any books that would list all/most soft corals found in the red sea?
<Mmm, none that I'm aware of... there are such checklists on various groups of the region... but hard to find. Peter Vine's work is largely incomplete.
Do check out ReefBase:
I have already purchased 'coral reef guide - red sea'.
One last thing do you know what the long branches are coming out from the corals?
<Oh yes... whip, wire corals, Antipatharians>
would add nice height in the aquarium if I could find out what these are.
<Perhaps models... or a/the big challenge... harder to keep than many of the difficult soft corals>
Thanks again.
Kind regards
(I'll send pictures of the tank when it is up and running, hopefully get some constructive criticism from the guys and girls on here).
<Thank you for this. I do hope we meet up, above and below water! BobF>

Creative coral mounting? 11/1/07 This well-meaning coral vendor sent me this "chili coral" which appears to be one of those impossible-to-keep azooxanthellate corals. It was a "free gift" with my actual order. <I abhor this practice> I know they were trying to be nice, but it never makes sense to me to send someone an animal they didn't ask for. I mean, now what am I supposed to do with it? I didn't have anywhere to put this thing, so I had to resort to this "creative" method of hanging it upside-down in an area of high flow (which I think is the only way to have any chance to keep them alive for more than a few weeks). What do you think? :-)Sara <We're in agreement... as usual. BobF>

Free Chili, no thanks

Chili coral (Nephthyigorgia) -- 07/26/07 Hi Guru's of the underwater world! <Hi Debbie, Mich here... but far from a guru.> I love your site and refer to it often. <Glad to hear!> Today I have a question about a chili coral that I acquired. <Typically does rather poorly in captivity.> The LFS guy said that it did NOT need to be hung upside down, but it did need moderate water flow and low light. I read one letter on WetWebMedia that said it SHOULD be upside down and another that suggested leaving it in the substrate. I would just like to clarify which is correct? <In the wild it is usually found hanging, but I have seen this coral commonly kept lying on the substrate in captivity... When in doubt, I try to mimic nature.> I currently have it in a shaded area, <Good.> but when it opens at night it completely fills the area and some of the branches touch the rock that surrounds the area that it is setting (not upside-down). Is that going to be a problem in the long run? <Perhaps... depends whether or not the rock is causing injury.> I didn't realize how big it is when it opens because it was during the day that I purchased it. <Perhaps if you researched ahead of time you would have been aware. I'm not saying this to be judgmental, I too have made this mistake. I am saying it is a good habit to be in and I would highly encourage you to do this. It is the only way to be a responsible reef keeper. This is not an easy coral to keep. I presume you are aware that it is aposymbiotic, meaning that it has no zooxanthellae, and therefore non-photosynthetic. This coral must be target fed, at night when the polyps are extended, but their nutritional needs are not well defined.> Thank you for all of your help <Welcome!> kudos to all of you that provide such a wonderful service! <Thank you for your kind words. Mich> Debbie Terry

Lighting for soft corals, Nepthea, Kenya Tree 12/19/06 Hi, <Hi Dave, Mich with you tonight.> I just got a small Kenya Tree coral and a Green Nepthea. <OK> I have done some research on lighting requirements for these corals and read some conflicting information. <Yes, I am not surprised.> Some places say "intense light" some say "low light". My big problem is the "relative" aspect of high vs. low light. I have a 30g (36"x12"x16") tank with 3 x 39W T5 HO lights (1 act, 2 d10kK). From what I understand this should be more than adequate for the corals referenced. <I would tend to agree.> The question is at what level should these corals be. I can use two Xenias as reference if that will help. I have two different pulsing Xenia corals at different ends of the tank. They are both about half way up and seem to be very happy. Would the Nepthea and Kenya Tree need more light (higher in the tank) or less (lower in the tank) than the Xenia? <My guess as to the reason you're finding conflicting info is most likely related to the Nephthea. Some specie of Nephthea have zooxanthellae while others reportedly do not. Those lacking zooxanthellae require feedings to survive in captivity. Neon green tree coral, the most common Nephthea in the trade, typically has zooxanthellae and will often turn brown under intense reef lighting. To maintain the green, a lower may be better, but if it does turn brown, it is not indicative of poor health. Kenya Tree (Capnella), tend to grow in more turbid areas, getting a lot of nutritional support via dissolved material in the water. I think a lower placement would be better. Good water circulation is more important and supplementation with phytoplankton may help. While I'm at it, what about orange Rics or zoos? <Orange Ricordea are typically found in shallower waters, so they would most likely benefit from a higher placement in your tank. Zoanthids are highly dependant on zooxanthellae and will benefit from a higher placement also. Good luck!> Thanks, <You are welcome. -Mich> Dave

Chili coral wont open... keep upside down with good flow! 1/11/05 I have a Chili coral in my 60G LR/LS reef tank that won't open up. <this most always occurs from lack of water flow: not enough or not enough of the right kind. Also... the animal must be kept upside down to survive naturally long term> I have had it since May of '04. Tank Parameters are: Ph: 8.2 Salinity 1.0225/1.023 Temp 77-78 Calcium 350-400ppm all others (nitrate, nitrite, ammonia) minimal/barely readable. Feed PhytoPlex and zooplankton 2x per week. <hoping for a fishless refugium too... this would be a great benefit for many reasons> The coral used to open up every night, until it ejected the spicules from one branch. As per advice from I don't remember where, I cut off that piece. This was in August. it didn't open after that for a few days only, but after that it was business as usual. Then I moved. I put all the livestock in buckets one day, then set up the tanks next day or the day after. When I took "chili guy" (as I call it) out of the bucket, it was open, and remained open for several days after being put in the tank again, I figure it was hungry, yes? Anyway, then it closed up and hasn't opened up again since. I moved Thanksgiving weekend. I have it in a cave, with a powerhead directed at it and attached to a rock with rubber bands so it hangs upside down in the cave. <do be careful about laminar flow like this... its unnatural for most corals and can be fatal in time. Turbulent flow would be better> (The rubber bands only touch the rock it came with so as not to split it) Is there anything I can do to save it? <manipulate the powerheads to create a better flow pattern around the coral. Do a keyword search here on our website for an article called "goodbye powerheads" for a better long term solution> even though it is just a red lump, it has yet to eject any more spicules, so I think I stopped that from spreading. My Fiancé's cousin gave us a book and said that there is something in the book that we could try-something about dipping chili guy in freshwater for 30 seconds, then in a strong iodine solution. <little or no purpose for doing this... no pathogen is indicated, and frankly... the brief dip would do little to help it if there were> I think this is supposed to shock it into "resetting" itself (like it's a computer?!) <ahhh... no.> If anyone knows that exact formula, that would be great, as I cannot find it in the book, "Reef Secrets." Thanks for all your help! <trust me, mate... its all about finding the right kind of flow. Do try feeding thawed frozen (or dry in slurry) Cyclop-eeze as a better zooplankton offering. Anthony>

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