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FAQs about Sea Mats, Star Polyp Disease/Health, Pests, Predators

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A Clavulariid colony in captivity

Green Star Polyp blues...or purples rather     9/13/19
Hi Crew!
I hope everyone is very well. I have some green star polyps on a rock island that seem to be having issues. My tank was rebooted about 2 years ago and I have a garden of corals that all seem to be thriving except, believe it or not, my GSP.
I recently started to move things around in my tank and noticed my GSP seemed to be struggling...holes in the mat, recession, etc... I suspected a hitchhiking predator but after moving the GSP saw this dark purple growth. It looks like a sponge?
Very prevalent in a spot my GSP has retreated from. Is it possible this is the suspect? It looks pretty and I value all life but if it’s harming my GSP, how can I remedy this? Peroxide?
<Maybe... I'd try cutting most away (above water, out of the tank) and scrubbing away the sponge with an olde toothbrush... rinsing the area with sea water out of the tank... >
I appreciate all wisdom the I have definitely used for many years. Thank you for your time as always!
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Green star polyp colony... too crowded in too small, too aggressive setting.... no rdg., using WWM        11/6/15
Good morning from Washington, I'm writing to you today him some questions about my Green star polyp colony.
Before I ask my question I'll give you some background on my tank it is a 5 gallon reef
<5 as in five gallons? Not easily kept... stable, optimized; being so small>

set up for 6 months now no fish roughly 6 pounds of live rock running to Finnex 8.9 W LED blue/white fixtures. Water quality test as of today is zero across the board for nitrates, nitrates and ammonia. Currently in the aquarium I have a variety of soft corals: the GSP, mushrooms, Zoanthids, and a single Majano anemone the size of an eraser. Roughly 3 inches of sand using an AC 70 with a refugium modification running at the lowest speed.
Green star polyps colony was living great for two weeks when I received it it was stuck to drag plug and was growing upward in a question mark fashion. But for the last week it has been closed up.
<Mmm; not surprising.... very likely allelopathy at work here
.... the established Cnidarians; Zoas, Shrooms esp., outcompeting, chemically poisoning the Clavulariid>
Never sends its polyps out but has grown roughly one centimeter in length.
I have tried moving it to different flow areas to no avail. I would appreciate any insight that can be given.
Thank You
Morgan Saul
<I'd be moving out (NOW), and reading here on WWM:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Green star polyp colony       11/6/15

Thank you so much for the fast response, I removed the mushrooms and Zoas from the tank because the GSP was there first.
<I see>
Did a two gallon water change. Will that remove enough of the poisons in the water or should i do more?
<..... my friend; I/we can't help you unless you're willing to read. Do so. B>
Also will the Majano hurt the GSP or is it safe as long as it is on a different rock?
Thank You
Morgan Saul

Moody clove polyps - 03/09/2013
This time I have a question about soft corals that I am hoping you guys can help me with. The problem I have is quite puzzling and seems rather unique.
Once again to recap, I have a 500g FOWLR system established for over a year that I have slowly been introducing soft corals into. Fish stock is as follows: Started off with some of the hardier fish i.e.: Damsels and Clowns.
After a year and a half this is my current stock list: 6 Chromis, 1 Bicolor Angel, 1 Flame Angel, 2 Firefish, 1 Long Horned Cowfish, 2 Blue Damsels, 2 Four Stripe Damsels, 2 Yellow Tangs, 2 Regal tangs, 2 Ocellaris, 1 Six Line Wrasse, 2 Magenta Dottybacks and 10 recently added Lyretail Anthias = 36 fish in all (all within 2-4 inches).
Coral stock includes some Blue and Orange Mushrooms, Ricordeas, Favia, several Green Star Polyp colonies, Green Sinularia, Blue Cespitularia, some assorted Palythoas, 1 colony of orange Zoanthids and 2 colonies of Clove Polyps (green center, gold lining along the feathers).
Tank dimensions are: 6 feet X 4 X 3 feet. Tank infrastructure includes lighting from 3X400W ReefLux 12ks in Lumenbrite reflectors, Reefoctopus skimmer, Kalkwasser stirrer, Fluidised bed with GFO, A 1hp commercial JBJ Arctica chiller, 100 gallon sump with 40 gallon refugium with live rock and lots of Chaeto with many pods. The DT probably has about 450 lbs of live rock or more. Flow comes from 2 wave makers in the DT at 4000gph each and a return pump at 5000gph - I still think i need more flow. I feed heavily and my tank parameters are ph 8.4, SG 1.026, Ca 420, Mg 1300, Alk 7 DKH, Amm/Nitrites = 0, Nitrates = 20ppm - 40 ppm (cant tell clearly) and Po4 = 1.5 (high), temp 26 deg C
All corals are doing well, the Cesp started out as two stalks and has rooted in 4 new places and each is growing into a new stalk. The mushrooms are all doing well and reproducing and the Favia seem ok too. The GSP is growing quite a lot and I have many baby colonies that I have relocated across the tank. It seems that my nutrient rich water is being tolerated ok by the softies that I currently have.
Now the issue. I got my clove polyps from a friend. His tank was much smaller 60g and both were subject to pretty high water flow for over a year and did quite well, spreading all over the place. His lighting was less intense than mine and higher wavelength with 20K LED lights (mine are 12k).
When I moved his cloves into my tank, I put them mid height and under good flow and they were doing well, they were building a network of tubes right into a Paly colony
<Mmm, trouble being there. Zoanthids are copious producers of allelopathogens>
 and didn't seem to care. However all of a sudden they closed up one day and didn't open for a week. I took them out of the DT and put them in the fuge. The fuge receives indirect sunlight almost all day with less intense water flow... the polyps opened immediately. I looked at the polyps and they seemed like they had been chewed on by something.
After recovery I put them back in DT and again they refused to open up at all...
Moving them back to the fuge opens them up in less that 6 hrs!!! Now sometimes I spend countless hrs sitting and observing my tank and have not once seen any fish including my dwarf angels touch the cloves. The only things that are different in the fuge are lighting (indirect sunlight and a 150W 6k bulb), lighter flow and no fish. However my lighting in the DT comes from three 400w 12k MH which I would assume is good enough. I mean these cloves were very happy in my friends smaller tank with much less intense, higher K lights. The cloves looked beautiful in the DT and I am going nuts trying to figure out what the matter is. The invert population in both tanks is the same, I do have a fair amt of Aiptasia now, but that doesn't seem to bother the cloves in the fuge at all. As far as other corals in proximity, the same rock carries a round ball of brown Palys - but this condition exists in both cases. In my DT the cloves were located about 6-8 inches from my Cespitularia.
Any ideas on what this is about?
<Yes; the most likely issue from what you've listed is the proximity of the Palythoas. I would move the Clove Polyps away, and toward an "upper" area  of more water movement>
This is meant to be an easy to keep coral from what I've read but its really got me scratching my head now.
Thanks in advance for your time.
<Do give a read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ZoCompF3.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Mushroom coral <attachment)> and green star polyps <allelopathy likely>      7/1/12
Hello crew I have a small red mushroom that detached from its rock and I don't know how to get it to stay in one spot....
<Mmm, there's a few techniques (archived on WWM)... best to just nestle it down into an area w/ little water motion, allow it to self adhere>
 and the green star polyps haven't ever come out since I introduced them its been like two weeks and I'm really nervous its a purple mat with only a couple of polyp heads, I brushed them with a toothbrush yesterday to clear away any detritus and I have tried to move them to different levels of currents but nothing works all the other corals are fine and my candy cane is making a comeback.. please help
<... reads like a simple case of Cnidarian allelopathy. Read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
including moda for reducing such effects. Bob Fenner>

anemone and polyps... Entacmaea ID, disappearing Polyps     3/23/12
Hello WetWebMedia I ordered a green bubble tip anemone and candy apple polyps they are doing great but my anemone looks like it has a lot of red in color and only a little green. Is there any chance it could be a rose bubble tip anemone?<Possibly. There is a tremendous amount of variability in color with E. quadricolor even within the same animal.  In addition,
your specific lighting, water parameters, etc can all affect the color over time.  If it is healthy, I would not be concerned, just enjoy it ;)> My other question was that my polyps arrived great there was only 4 polyp heads but 2 of them disappeared! Now there is a tiny head, and another head that looks like it has its head in a bubble. I think my yellow tang may have eaten the\the other two. <possible> Do you think they will repopulate and start to make a colony? <If your water parameters, lighting, etc are all appropriate, there is no reason they would not.  Observe its progress>I was able to surround it by live rocks. It has great flow and light. I am feeding it perfectly and all. I am just hoping the polyps will make
it. Thank you <You are welcome, Bobby>
Re: re: anemone and polyps    3/24/12

Well my tang found a way to eat another polyp and now I only have 1 :( the anemone is doing amazing but I really want these polyps to grow . Any ideas? <If the Tang is in fact eating the polyps, you have two choices. 
The Tang or the Polyps.  It is really that simple> The only polyp left is tiny and it hasn't opened in a day or two. <Bobby>
Re:  anemone and polyps    3/24/12
Well my tang found a way to eat another polyp and now I only have 1 :( the anemone is doing amazing but I really want these polyps to grow . Any ideas? The only polyp left is tiny and it hasn't opened in a day or two.
<? Prev. corr.? Search/read on WWM re Polyp Health, Systems.... Bob Fenner>
Re: re: anemone and polyps    3/25/12

I would like to thank you guys(crew) for all the advice and suggestions
<You are welcome!>
Re: re: anemone and polyps

My bubble tip anemone is now splitting into two is this good? <Based on how new the tank is and how recent has been introduced, it is likely splitting as a result of stress/survival mode.  Just make sure you parameters are in good order and the anemone remains in good health, you may end up with 2 healthy ones!!  They are resilient critters in a healthy tank><Bobby> 

Green Star Polyps 9/6/11
I have a question about my GSP's. I recently upgraded from a 54wx4 T5 setup to a 250wx2mh and 65wx4pc unit on my 75gal reef. I know its a tad strong but I couldn't pass up the deal. Currently I'm only running the Halides for an hour a day with an egg-crate diffuser directly under them (acclimating
the tank to the new lights). My GSP's seem to stop waiving <waving> in the current when the Halides fire up. They all just seem to point straight up until the Halides turn off, then they go back to waving in the current. Unfortunately I can't move them down due to the rock they are growing on. Should I be concerned that they are getting too much light?
<I believe I've answered this before, but what you are seeing is likely photo shock from the halides. Star polyps should do well in moderate to high intensity lighting with proper acclimation to the more intense lighting. James (Salty Dog)>

Strange Darker Coloring on Green Star Polyp   12/12/10
Hello WetWeb Crew,
For the last 2 weeks, I have been worried about my green star polyp. I have had it for a little over a year (it has thrived), and of course, it will have it's 'temper tantrums' where it won't come out for a few days once in awhile (like after a snail decides to crawl over it), but as of the last 3 1/2 weeks, it has been acting strange. I noticed a little over a month ago it had two small white sponges growing on it. At first I thought they may be harmless so I let them grow to be about the size of a dime each (thinking maybe something would eat them). About 1 1/2 weeks after I noticed them, the GSP started acting strange. It wouldn't come out of its mat that often, and when it did, the polyps would appear as if they were 'gripping' their
arms together (like when they would be eating food in the water; only difference is that they would do this when I wasn't feeding the tank).
They would also not all be out. Then a week ago, I noticed that there was a dark patch on the bottom of it (see photo).
<I see this... appears to be a bit of blue-green algae>
This worried me. I took a surgical scalpel and cut out the sponges thinking they were harming the GSP. I was as careful as possible not to 'cut' the GSP. Nothing has changed to make the GSP better. So my questions are...
1. What is the dark spot on the GSP?
<BGA likely>
2. Why would sponges grow on it? Could they have hurt the GSP?
<Opportunity, possibly>
3. How do I get it to stop acting strange (or is there no hope)?
<Try a bit of dosing iodide/ate>
Any help would be appreciated. I'm at my wits end. I've searched the Internet high and low for answers and am coming up with nothing but 'bad water flow,' which would be an answer to it acting strange (this isn't the case).
<Not to worry. Your GSP can overcome these competitors. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Polyp Unhappy/ Not enough info 2 /22/10
I have a yellow polyp that I moved from one tank to another 2 days ago.
The first day it opened up and extended about 2 inches, since then it has opened but not extended, the stalks are staying close to the rock. Any idea why.
It is relatively close to the bottom in a 40 gallon deep tank, it has a 50/50 Coralife 10000K, and a 18000k prolife.....is there enough light?
< Difficult to say without more info ( tank parameters, stocking list more, specifics on lighting etc.. ) ,but since it has been recently moved my first thought is it is still acclimating. I would give it a day or 2 and see if you can notice some improvement. I can also say from experience that yellow polyps require moderate to strong lighting to really thrive. If possible you may want to consider moving it up higher in the tank depending on your lighting. Yellow polyps under the right conditions can become a nuisance very quickly. Something else to consider during placement. GA Jenkins >
The Jewelry Lady
Nikki Morris

Re: Yellow Polyp Unhappy/ Not enough info 2/23/10
The tank dimensions are 20 x 18 x 28 deep
20 pounds of crushed coral
20 pounds live rock, 22 more pounds have been ordered.
1 false Perc
< Geez, why does everyone call them false Percs. Let's call them Ocellaris.
Don't want to give them an inferiority complex! >
1 yellow tail damsel
< These are one of the more mild mannered damsels , but some seem to get more aggressive with age. >
1 emerald crab
2 turbo snails
65 Watt 50/50 10000K Power Compact Lamp (Square Pin) Power Compact Lamp with Square Pin Base. 10,000K lamps provide high-intensity, purified super daylight one T8 18000K
The polyp was in a 12 gallon Marineland with the eclipse 2 system, like 15 watts
< The only problem I see is lighting. I've seen large colonies of yellow polyps slowly disappear under lower lighting. I would move it up as high as I could or look into upgrading your lighting if you are planning on keeping very many photosynthetic inhabitants. I would go T5 or metal halide depending on what you have planned. Nice looking setup. GA Jenkins>

Another GSP <Green Star Polyp> Question 1/15/10
<Hello Will>
I would like to begin by apologizing for another question about a Green Star Polyp (GSP).
In late November I acquired a lovely GSP that was nicely wrapped around a rock. The area of the rock that it covers is a little larger than a softball. The GSP was beautiful and came out every day until I did something stupid but necessary just before Christmas (after a month of having the GSP).
Ok...my system is:
135 gal (72w x 24h x 18d)
150 lbs of live rock
150 lbs of live sand
8-96w compact flour. bulbs 14k (one bulb is a dual with an actinic)
2 powerheads
2- 50 gal sumps tied together
1 sump has 1/3 used for macro algae, 1/3 for bioballs,
<The bioballs are not necessary in your type of system.>
2 SeaClone 100 protein skimmers,
<Not nearly enough skimming power for your size tank.>
HOB filter, heater
Remaining portion is sectioned off to use a floss filter pillow filled with carbon before being pumped back to tank Overflow box with skimmer for supply to sumps Second sump is used for added gallons and as emergency hospital tank Ammonia, Nitrates, Nitrites, Phosphates all are at 0
pH is at 8.3
Temp is 80 degrees
SG is 1.027
20% water change every 2 weeks
Calcium remains high at over 450 without ever adding any.
<Likely because the magnesium level is low and the corals are not able to absorb all of what's available.>
I add API iodine, strontium, natural trace and Seachem reef plus all per instructions.
Lights are on 8 hours per day.
GSP is located at bottom of tank in medium to high-flo area under lights.
Ok...now for the stupid but necessary thing. My sumps were down and I had acquired some fish from someone local and was not able to quarantine them like I prefer doing. I am sure you can tell where this is going.
<I am.>
So, three days after I got the fish they began showing signs of ich. I couldn't do anything about them and did not have the hospital tank ready at that time and had some issues going on that prevented me from getting it set-up quick enough. After a few days, more fish were exhibiting the issues and I had no choice but to do something for quick relief. I did a fresh water dip with the most affected fish and that wasn't enough to help. I obviously didn't want to add copper to the system so I chose a product called Rid-Ich from Kordon.
My plan was to do one major water change, one treatment, and a major water change the next day...this is what I did. It seemed to buy me enough time with the fish to get them into a QT but I did end up losing 5 fish to the parasite.
<Not good.>
I also lost a nice red candy cap coral (at least it looks pretty pale still after 3 weeks). I lost a couple smaller snails too. My Kenya Tree coral was pretty mad at me for a while but has recovered nicely and is doing great.
But...my GSP seemed to get really mad at me and has only sent a couple dozen polyps out. I have kept it cleaned off with a soft brush. It is still bright purple and firm but is not opening. I have read that it is common for them to stay closed...but 3 weeks is pretty long. If it were dead, I would expect it to be falling apart by now. Very few polyps are coming out...but some are coming out.
The fish are all in the QT tank now and will be there for at least 6-8 weeks (probably 8 weeks to be safe). I am using hyposalinity to treat them.
I have used this time to add a couple other corals to my tank and they are doing well.
I am wondering if there is anything I can do to tempt the GSP to come out before it really is dead (if not already)? Should I just wait and pray? I do see what looks like new bedding on the GSP that is lighter purple in color with flat or small fingers...could it just be expanding?
I know the formalin was not a good idea...but I had several hundred dollars in fish that I just couldn't sacrifice and a $50 GSP along with a couple of other things were worth the risk if I do lose them. I had to make a choice...but I am still hoping there is some chance for the GSP and want to make sure I am doing everything I can to nurse it back to health. If leaving it alone is not a good idea...I would like to know that too.
<I would heavily filter the tank with a Poly Filter or Chemi pure. This should absorb any remaining formalin/toxins in the system, and hopefully your GSP will give you a
second chance.>
Thanks for all you provide in terms of help and service to all of us inexperienced people.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Tiny Creatures On Clove Polyps/Coral Pests 9/7/09
Dear WetWeb,
Thank you for your incredibly helpful site;
<You're very welcome.>
I did a search and couldn't find what I needed (though generally I do!). I have some lovely Clove Polyps,
Clavularia sp., with green centers and yellow "ribs." They seem to do ok in my now 4 month old system, though when I first brought them home they ejected some Zooxanthellae (I saw brown stuff coming out of their mouths).
They are therefore lighter in color than they were originally. Perhaps this will change over time?
<With moderate lighting and medium water flow, your Clove Polyps should be fine. A rather easy coral to keep which benefits from weekly feedings of micro-plankton.>
But, the real question is this. I tend to hunt around with a flashlight at night to see what's going on (and there is a lot!). Tonight I saw some mysterious animals on the cloves. They look a little like snails but move a
bit faster. Slower than say, amphipods, but faster than any snail I have seen so far, even the relatively speedy Stomatellas. They were too small to really tell what they were, perhaps 0.5mm long. Too tiny to take a photo of. I haven't pulled the cloves out to look closer. Should I be worried?
Should I remove and dip the coral in something? Or, just not worry so long as they seem healthy?
<As long as the polyp colony is healthy and opening up nicely, I wouldn't worry too much.
As you have observed, there are many critters roaming the streets at night and most are harmless to corals. You may want to read here Roxanne.
Thanks for any advice!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Tiny Creatures On Clove Polyps/Coral Pests 9/7/09
Thank you James.
<You're welcome.>
I guess I still worry that the cloves are not spectacularly healthy as I think they could be.
<Yes, looking at the last picture, I have to agree with you.>
They are surviving and perhaps even spreading (slowly), but are not the gorgeous creatures they were when I purchased them.
<What does your lighting system consist of, and what is the salinity of your water? Is a protein skimmer used? You mention nothing of your water parameters or filtration methods, would give me a better picture
of your scenario.>
See 2 attached pictures. The first is from July 2009, soon after I got them; they had lightened already, but their pinnules were intact and looked nice and feathery. Now, see in picture 2 taken yesterday. Some pinnules are shorter and the "feathers" look scraggly. Admittedly, I had them in too high of flow for a time. I do feed with phytoplankton 2x/week (1/8 tsp, 2x/week of Reef Nutrition phyto).
<Once weekly is plenty, feeding more just adds excess nutrients in the water, something we do not want in a reef system or any system for that matter.>
I have moved them about four times since they just never seemed very happy to me. This position they are in now seems the best so far and the strategy was to wait and give them time. I have other corals, mostly stony ones, that are doing very well, so this "easy" coral is a mystery to me!
<These types of coral, including xenia, seem to do better with alternating flow patterns such as a
wavemaker provides. What other corals are in your tank, you may have some allelopathy going on here.>
Any advice? If the little snail-like creatures on them at night are bothering them, would a dip in Revive get rid of them? Revive does say on the bottle that it is for *stony *corals, not soft corals though.
<I'm not familiar with the product, I would not use if it isn't stated.
You may want to start dosing iodine, may help/improve overall health of the coral. I prefer using Lugol's solution at one drop per five gallons weekly.>
Thanks again,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Tiny Creatures On Clove Polyps/Coral Pests 9/7/09
I'm sorry - I should have included parameters, other corals, etc.
<Yes, does help, but all is forgiven.>
The tank:
55 gallon with 20 gal sump; tank dimensions are 30x22x20" R/O water with Reef Crystals salt mix; R/O for top off Elos protein skimmer; does not skim much yet Filter socks on water to sump and on output from skimmer, carbon bags in both socks.
<The socks need to be cleaned/changed weekly before decomposition starts taking place. I would not use a sock on the skimmer return, most waste will find it's way into the collection cup. Carbon should really be placed somewhere after mechanical filtration, the carbon will clog up much faster where it is now. I've tried socks in the past and found they are more trouble than they are worth. Have better results watching my food dispensing and letting the clean up crew and skimmer do the work. What I employ now is a Tetra in tank filter that I have placed in my sump. Very compact and uses disposable Bio Bags containing carbon that I change weekly. Buying these pads in the 36 count boxes on-line prices them out at about 79 cents each, pretty reasonable in my opinion when Wal-Mart gets 2.19 for one.>
~ 50 lbs live rock from a few local sources
SG = 1.025
pH = 8.3
all nitrogen tests = Undetectable, incl nitrate
PO4 = UN
Ca = 420
Mg = 1350+
Temp = 79-81 deg F
Light = 24" fixture with 1 x 250watt MH at 13,000K and 4 x T5 actinics.
Actinics are on 12hrs/day and MH for 6 hrs/day.
<Ahh, a little too intense for Clove Polyps, especially where they are located in the tank.>
Water flow: Pump return is quite strong and faces right to left; Vortech MP40 powerhead on opposite side flowing at 1/2 speed, left to right. I think I have turbulent flow. I have the powerhead on a setting that varies the speed so the flow is not always the same.
3 x Euphyllias
<May be some physical/chemical allelopathy problems with this coral.
During the night, sweeper
tentacles come out and can extend as much as six inches stinging anything coming in
contact with them.>
2 x Acanthastrea (1 hillae, 1 lordhoweensis)
several Acropora sp
Montipora encrusting type
2 x Seriatopora
1 chalice
1 Caulastrea
Xenia sp.
Ricordea florida (I know, not west Pacific!)
Duncan coral
Goniopora (red)
I have a sand bed in the DT of about 3-4" and another DSB in one compartment of the sump at 8". The sump also contains live rock rubble in one compartment and I run 2 x bags of carbon, switched out alternately every 2 weeks. At night I see numerous amphipods, bristleworms and other various worms (spaghetti, Spirorbid, Terebellid and several unknowns), not many copepods (but some other similarly sized animal that looks angled and clings to the glass). Also, various baby snails including what may be Collonista snails (but mine look flatter and no color), young Stomatella as well as my intentional snails (Ceriths, Nassarius, and Nerita).
I appreciate the advice on coral feeding; once/week suits me fine; I didn't want them to slowly starve.
<Will not starve, they are photosynthetic animals.>
I just didn't know better. I do have quite the diatom problem on the rocks, see picture attached and am hoping snails plus Salarias fasciatus will help.
<The blenny won't touch the stuff. Appears to me more like brown algae rather than diatoms, pic taken too far away to be of any use identifying.>
Regarding Revive: this is a coral cleaner designed by Julian Sprung.
People use it to dip stony corals to rid them of any "bugs" or coral pests.
It kills all crustaceans and mollusks and other things from what I can tell. http://revivecoralcleaner.com/ , Oleum abietis 0.5%, Citrus limon 0.5%. It smells like Pinesol (note the "pine" oil is from Abies sibirica, a fir not a pine).
<I'm aware of what it is and made from, just no product experience with it.>
If I try the Lugol's solution, do I need to keep an eye on Iodine levels via testing?
<Not really necessary, at least in my opinion. With your system, I would not dose more than seven drops weekly providing you are using pharmaceutical grade Lugol's from your drug store. If buying a hobbyist formulation,
follow instructions on container, and I would dose the iodine.>
Thanks again! (and thank you for answering on Labor Day for heavens sake!).
<No problem Roxanne, just sitting around anyway waiting for my bonus check from Bob.
James (Salty Dog)>

Re Tiny Creatures On Clove Polyps/Coral Pests 9/8/09
Thank you once again; I promise there will be an end to these emails, but all of this is so helpful.
<Not a problem.>
>>I would not use a sock on the skimmer return, most waste will find it's way into the collection cup. Carbon should really be placed somewhere after mechanical filtration, the carbon will clog up much faster where it is now.
I've tried socks in the past and found they are more trouble than they are worth...
I rinse/replace the socks 2x/week, so junk doesn't really build up. The sump is small, so I'm not sure about fitting another filter in there (is the Tetra Whisper in tank filter you are referring to later?). I will remove the carbon from the water return sock for sure.
<All is fine with your present maintenance schedule. I didn't mean for you to go out a buy a filter, just indicating what I am using.>
>>Ahh, a little too intense for Clove Polyps, especially where they are located in the tank.
This could be the problem; I could try to find a "shady" spot, or just accept that I cannot grow things that need moderate/low light.
<Yes, corals should be selected with your lighting system in mind.>
>>May be some physical/chemical allelopathy problems with this coral.
During the night, sweeper tentacles come out and can extend as much as six inches stinging anything coming in contact with them.
A possibility, but it must happen at 2 or 3 in the morning since I do check at night and the Euphyllias look happily "asleep" with all tentacles tucked
>>The blenny won't touch the stuff. Appears to me more like brown algae rather than diatoms, pic taken too far away to be of any use identifying.
Bummer! I took 2 more pictures of the algae, closer this time. Is it brown
<Looks like algae to me, likely the result from too much coral feeding/excess nutrients.
Diatoms will appear as a very fine powdery substance.>
Blenny won't eat it? He is eating *something *as he scrapes the rocks since he gets fat during the day. What controls brown algae then?
<Your husbandry. Read here.
Iodine: I purchased a hobbyist formulation; the tank tested at 0.03. I added 1/2 recommended amount. So, we will see if that helps anything out.
<Yes, continue using as stated on the container.>
Thanks again.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Clove polyps turned white. Allelopathy most likely   7/28/09
Hi, thanks for all the information you supply-it's invaluable. Anyway, I have a 65 tall with a 25 gal. sump, a Euro Reef RS 80 skimmer, Mag 7 pump,2 Koralia3's, about 80 lbs. of live rock, hammer, frogspawn, xenia, many Zoanthids and mushrooms,3 green Chromis 1 royal Dottyback and a yellow head Jawfish. My question is about a colony of clove polyps that came with a piece of rock. When I got them about 2 months ago, they were light brown and had been in another tank for about a year. A few weeks ago I noticed
they were getting lighter in color, and now they are completely white. (see pic.) They appear to be healthy as ever(closing at night, opening fully during the day). They continue to spread along the rock. I have 4 39 watt T5HO bulbs(2 12K, 2 actinic) as well as a 150 watt 10K MH. The polyps are about halfway down in the tank. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are all 0, Alk. is 9.5 DKH, calcium is 420, Mg is 1300. Is this bleaching?
<Mmm, yes>
Or is it just normal and they are happy? Your help will be appreciated.
Thank you; Gary.
<These Clavulariids are "losing" to some other Cnidarians in this system... who is "winning?"... The Zoanthids or Euphyllias likely... Will the Cloves regain their Zooxanthellae? Maybe. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Nice pic! RMF

Star polyps... hlth.  6/19/09
I have a bunch of green star polyp frags growing in a greenhouse. I actually have many corals in a large vat. I have had great success using sunlight to grow my frags.
<Nature works>
3 weeks ago, a couple of star polyp frags had a white slime on them. Maybe a fungus or bacteria. Nothing new has been done and all of the other corals are doing great. My first thought was that the intensity of the sun was shocking them, since it was increasing, being summer and all. I put up an 80% shade cloth, up from 50% in early spring.
All water parameters are good. PAR readings run anywhere from 150 to 400 given the clarity of the day. These frags have been in this system thriving for over 4 months and as mentioned, all other corals are doing great. We were dosing about 12 ml of vodka as a carbon source (system is over 600 gallons), but stopped (did not wean it off of the juice:)) Anyway, the white slime is spreading from star polyp frag to star polyp frag, no other corals are affected. What is it?
<Necrosis likely>
What may be causing it?
<Don't know... perhaps ethanol poisoning>
And is there anyway to stop it (or I should say, save them)?
<Pretty much what you've done and time going by...>
We have toothbrushed the infected areas (out of the system and very lightly), dipped them in a iodine solution and removed the mother colonies. My thoughts are either light shock, an infection (that over time) caused a bacteria, or sudden stop of a carbon source (causing the additional bacteria to die, releasing harmful byproducts). Please let me know if there is something I am overlooking.
<For what you list, you re-state the obvious possibilities>
Seth Wheeler
Underwater Wonders, LLC
<For what you have invested, I'd look into a microscope of a few hundred
power. Bob Fenner>

Strange tentacles extending from a rock... Better than strange tentacles extending from your bed! 6/7/09
<Ok, been watching too many horror movies lately I guess!>
I have a concern about something I've seen in my tank. A piece of live rock, that until recently had star polyps on it, has dozens of long, thin, clear tentacles extending from it.
They all come from holes somewhere in the rock and if I prod them with my tweezers they all retract and they seem to catch some sand and other particulate matter in them.
<No worries about these, my friend.>
They don't seem to have harmed the nearby colt coral and mushrooms, but like I said The rock they all seem to come out of used to have dozens of star polyps,
<I am unaware of anything fitting this description that would prey on star polyps. There is a Nudibranch (Phyllodesmium briareus) that will feed on Pachyclavularia (Briareum) violacea. Star Polyps are among the more chemically toxic corals and are usually the allelopathic winners, which is one of the reasons they can be so difficult to control in a closed system.
This allelopathy is often a detriment to other corals.>
and is now completely barren.
<Pachyclavularia can be a nuisance.>
I have watched them come out and they all seem to slowly drift out and land on another rock.
I am not sure whether or not you know what this is, but hopefully you can let me know if it is a good idea to remove this rock or not.
<Keep the rock.>
On a closer inspection of the "tentacles" they seem to appear very similar to that of my bubble coral, though I have no evidence that they sting.
<No, are just grabbing at a passing meal.>
The tank is a 30 gallon with 30 lbs of live rock and has been running for 9 months now. The star polyps were in the tank for nearly 7 months and disappeared from the rock in less then a month.
<Could be any number of causes, but if you get involved in a local club there is likely to be someone who would gladly donate a new patch to you.>
Any help you can offer me will be greatly appreciated.
<Hard to tell without a photo as far as an ID is concerned, but what you describe is unlikely to be harmful to you tank inhabitants.>

Sick Green Pipe Organ Coral: I love guessing... 5/29/2009
They have not opened in a week. warier levels are good
salt is good help ?  do they go dormant ? please help
<Need much more information. how big is your tank, how is it filtered, who is it lit, what is in there with it? You can start reading here:
In the future, do read here before submitting.
a) Please check your grammar and spelling... as all content is answered, then posted on this website and read over MANY times by others.
b) Please write in complete sentences,
d) If you want to send attachments (particularly of photographs), please limit photo size to a few hundred Kbytes... and send along as jpegs or bmps.
e) DO send us as much pertinent information/data as you have. DON'T worry re length of your message... We NEED to know what you have in terms of the system, its history of operation, water quality tests, livestock, observable data... >

Re: Sick Green Pipe Organ Coral: 5/31/2009
<Hi Chris>
First of all sorry for the lack of information the first time
<No problem>
The information you gave me was the best
<Ahh, good.>
I have attached some pics of my tank the nitrates were in the red I had the water tested @ the LFS the day before it was fine and so I must have received bad tests.
<Not all that uncommon I'm afraid.>
I have changed 25%of water look like they are going to recover. Also I do regular water changes .
<10 - 15% per week is best.>
I did lose a small blue hippo tang and a race cleaner fish And one more thing can you identify the two yellow things on my coral one may be a sponge the one in the middle is it baby Pipe Organ
<It is a sponge.>
Again thanks for your time

Clove polyp problem 01/31/09 Hey guys, I've got a problem for you...2 days ago i purchased a rather large colony of clove polyps from the aquarium company i work for. They were put into a fairly new 28 gal nano. My water specs are as follows: trates:0 trites:0 NH:0 CA:300ppm PH:8.3. I've got a 10000K 150w HQI for lighting. The colony just wont open fully. Now, Im pretty sure im just being impatient, <Likely, yes.> but usually my new additions open up within a few hours. Any help would be appreciated. The company I work for usually turns to me to answer questions like these so I really don't have anyone to ask. Side note: instead of live rock i am using large chunks of lava rock for a different look, but I have a 4inch deep live sand bed. Also, the colony came from a 400 gal holding bin where it resided there for 6 months or so. It was sitting under a 14000K 400w HQI, along with a million other frags. The calcium level was 450ppm. Could these differences in lighting and calcium have that big of an impact on such a hardy coral? Am I just be impatient and paranoid? Thanks for your time. <Honestly, I would just wait... sometimes they just take awhile to fully open.> Thomas <Best, Sara M.>

Green star polyps 01/23/09 Hello crew @ WWM!, I have a green star polyp coral that was doing great when I first got it but now it has been closed up for almost a week. I can't figure out what's wrong with this thing? All the other life in my 150 gal tank is thriving! Right now it just looks like a purple "mat". Doesn't look like its decaying or anything. <Have you changed anything with the tank at all? New lighting? Any new additions? What else is in the tank?> My param.s are.... ammonia - 0, nitrate-0, ph 8.2, SG 1.025, temp 78.5, ca - 420, iodine - .05 Any ideas if and when they will come back? <It's hard to say since I don't know what caused it to close up. But if the mat is still there, it's still alive.> Thanks for your reply! <Best,
Sara M.>

Yellow star polyp not opening... no useful data, reading   1/10/08 the first picture is of the star polyp when I first purchased it and the second is what it looks like now a couple months later. <Not good> it now only opens up a little . as you can see no where near what it used to. I was wondering I had purchased a sea cucumber the filter feeding kind and it took a liking to sitting right on top of the polyp. Could that have done something to it <Mmm, doubtful to no... I do like the tiny Amblyglyphidodon aureum damsels here... Oh, please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/polypdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above... to see the sorts of info. we need/are looking for... others experiences... Bob Fenner>

Green Star Polyp Help... Cyano on my Alcyonacea doesn't make me happy...  11/24/07 Hello and Happy Thanksgiving. <Hi Rick, Mich here. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.> Here are my stats. 55 gal 70 lbs live rock 2 Maxi Jets 1200 130 watt total 10000k daylight/460nm actinic lighting AquaC Remora skimmer salinity 1.023 <Corals prefer slightly higher, would raise to 1.025.> pH 8.2 amm 0 alk 1.7-2.8 <Best between 2.5-3.5 meq/L> nitrite .05 <Should be zero.> nitrate 2.5 phos 0 calcium 410 dKH 7 I do 15 gal water changes every two week. <You may want to increase either the volume or the frequency or both. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/scottsh2ochgart.htm > I have the GSP located half way up in my tank near the one maxi jet. I have had the GSP for 6 months. Recently it has developed a rust colored "crust" over the top of the polyp. Where this crust is no polyps are growing. What could this be? <Looks like Cyanobacteria to me. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algcontbrf.htm > Should I try to remove it? <Yes.> I have attached a pic of the plume that comes off the top of the GSP. This appears to be part of this crust. <I would remove as much as you can, you might want to try removing the GSP from the system and blow off the algae with a turkey baster filled with tanks water and let the water drain into a waste bucket so do you don't spread the algae in the system.> Thanks for your help. BTW. This is my first attempt a corals. <well Rick, Pachyclavularia are one of the easier beginner corals but are highly allelopathic so they can have a negative impact on any other corals you try to keep. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/soft.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypcompfaqs.htm > Rick
<Cheers, Mich>


Metallic Star Polyp coral issues, dying or being killed...  - 08/31/07 Hi WWM Crew, <Suresh> I love your site and all the efforts that the entire WWM crew puts into it. <Welcome!> Ok, Wanted to find out what could be the issue with my metallic star polyps. Lately my star polyp colony has closed down slowly and completely and a milky white substance on top of it in patches. <Can barely make this out...> I did freshwater dip <I would NOT FW dip Star Polyps> and iodine dip a week ago and no help. Still no change, all polyps are closed and big patches of milky white substance on the colony. I have attached some pictures for your reference. My water parameters are as below Ammonia - 0 Nitrate/Nitrite - 0 PH - 8.0 KH - 16 Alkalinity - 5.8 <What units is this?> Calcium - 350 <A bit low> Magnesium - 1500 <Too high proportionately> Could you please help me resolve this issue? <Can't from the data, graphics supplied... though your water quality is off... What other cnidarians are present? How large a system, what can you tell me/us re your set-up, what livestock has been recently introduced...> Thanks in advance. -Suresh <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Metallic Star Polyp coral issues  9/1/07 Hi Bob, <Suresh> Thanks for the reply. This is a 90G Reef tank. T5 lights. 324 Watts, ON for about 10 hrs a day. I have been aggressively dosing Seachem reef advantage Calcium for the past 3 weeks to bring the calcium level up. Also dosed Magnesium few times in the past 3 weeks. <Time to do some massive water changes to dilute the Mg> My calcium was at 150 and Magnesium was at 1000 when i started, 3 weeks ago. Now it is at 350 and 1500 respectively. <More Ca, less Mg...> Salinity is at 1.025 Alkalinity - 5.8 meg/L <This may be inhibiting your Ca somewhat... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alkalinity.htm and the linked files above> Live stock as below 1 Yellow Tang 1 Flame Angel 2 Yellow wrasse 1 PJ Cardinal 1 Maroon Clown 10 Scarlet Reef Hermit Crabs 50 Blue leg 30 Snails Corals 2 Orange Zoo colony 1 Metallic Green Zoo colony 1 Florida Green Ricordea colony 1 yellow Ricordea colony 1 Blue Mushroom colony <Are the Zoanthids or Mushrooms any where (like w/in a foot) of the Stoloniferans?> Daily Dosage 60ml - B-Ionic Calcium supplement (Part A of two part supplement) 60ml - Seachem Reef Advantage Calcium <Mmmm> Weekly Dosage 5ml Iodide - twice a week 10ml - DT - twice a week Please let me know if you need any other information. Thanks,
<Be reading. BobF>

Clove polyp problem  7/29/07 <Hello> Hi folks! Thanks for all your help so far in my reef keeping journey. I have a clove polyp that looked the way it should for about 2 weeks before becoming this. It keeps growing more and more polyps but it's all thinned out and doesn't look anything like a clove polyp anymore. Is it too much water flow or too much light causing this? <I looked at the pic provided and I must say it is definitely a healthy, growing colony of yellow striped clove polyps. I have the very same kind in my 180gallon mixed reef tank. The unusual growth pattern you are referring to is the fact that the tentacles became very long on the arms and are giving it more of a crazy polyp look. This is indeed from too much light. Every colony of clove (no matter the color morph) I have placed close to a 250watt Metal halide lamp has developed the very same characteristics as yours. I am adding 2 pics of before and after increased lighting to show the difference. I have never tried to reduce the amount of tentacles as I saw no reason for the attempt. If you are unhappy with the look you could try shading the cloves or moving to the sand bed and see if they change back.> <Thanks, Rich aka Mr. Firemouth>

Naso Tang & Colony Polyps... ? hlth., supplement madness    7/20/07 Hi. Thanks for trying to help me. <my pleasure> Here is what the levels in my tank are: Ammonia - 0 mg/l Nitrate - 40 mg/l <too high> Nitrite - 0 mg/l PH - 120 mg/l <huh? pH measured in mg/l?> Salinity - 29 <This is too low. Salinity should be at 1.025 to 1.027 s.g. or 34 to 36 ppt for reef tanks.> Temp - 76 Degrees <maybe a bit too cool, 79 to 82 would be better> When my mushrooms wouldn't open up I added Iodine and Strontium. <Ok, but that's not going to help.> I added 3 capfuls of each twice a week for the last three weeks. <Hmm... you don't need to do this. You have more than enough iodine and strontium in your salt mix. Just do regular water changes and you'll be fine.> I also have balance blocks I add in once in a while and Reef Complete that I put 3 capfuls in once a week. <Why are you adding all these supplements? The Reef Complete seems ok as a calcium supplement, but how do you know you need it? You shouldn't be dosing these things without knowing what your calcium and alkalinity levels are.> I hope this helps. Knowing this can you tell me why the polyps and mushrooms won't open up? <The most obvious problems are your salinity and nitrates. You might be over doing the supplements too. But again, we can't know that without knowing your calcium and alkalinity measurements.> Thanks again! Jenny <No problem. Let me know if you're still lost after you test your calcium and alkalinity. :-) Best, Sara M.>

Pink Star Polyp (Pachyclavularia sp.) 7/10/07 Dear Crew, A few days ago I purchased a pink star-polyp coral from my local fish store. About two days after acclimating it to my tank half of the polyps were extended, but I noticed that there was a film that seemed to come from mucous secretions of the coral. I thought this might impair the coral's feeding so I removed it by holding the coral directly under a powerhead. The polyps naturally retracted back and now only a few have come back out, but the film seems to have come back as well. I'd like your opinion on whether I should worry with this. Also, I have the coral placed in an area of relatively high flow (not directly under a powerhead, but close). Is this suitable for the coral? I plan to feed the coral DT's phytoplankton. Will this food be enough or should I supplement with something else? <No need worrying about the mucus, quite normal with a change in water parameters. As to water flow, they like a moderate flow and as for feeding, they are photosynthetic and no feeding is actually required, although the DT's may increase the growth rate of the polyps.> Thank you! Your reply will be truly appreciated. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Green star polyp. New, beh.    - 07/03/07 I have a 3 month old, 14 gallon Bio Cube. I have a blenny, 2 false clown, a 6 line wrasse and a sea anemone. Four days ago I added a green star polyp with purple centre and 2 days ago I added a green star polyp with white centre. All the polyps have withdrawn when they were taken out of the aquarium in the store and they have not come out. Should I be worried? Too close to sea anemone? Nitrate about 15 ppm. No ammonia. Salinity 1.025 <No need to worry yet. Sometimes they can take as long as a week or more to come out (especially if you acclimated them in a hurry). As for the anemone, well, it probably depends on the type and size of the anemone and exactly how close they are. If they're touching, that might be a problem. But green star polyps can usually hold their own.><<Trouble. RMF>> Elaine <Sara M.>

Re: green star polyp  - 7/4/07 Thanks Sara. It's been almost a week and the 2 star polyps haven't opened. My sea anemone is a small one with a pink base (disc?) with brown tentacles. It has grown to twice the size (about 3 inches when the tentacles are spreading) since I got it about 2 months ago. Could there be chemical warfare? <Yes. And I'm so sorry I should have mentioned this to you last time. I wasn't paying enough mind to just how small your tank is. In such a small volume, the anemone will likely be a problem for the star polyps. I can't say for sure what kind of anemone you have (several anemones might fit that description), but it might be a long tentacle anemone. If so, these anemones can get huge. But I wouldn't recommend having any type of anemone in such a small tank. There are two reasons 1) anemones tend to be sensitive to changing water conditions (which happens a lot, and drastically so, in nano tanks) and 2) they secret toxins that will not get diluted out enough in just 13g of water.> I have since moved the anemone to about 6 inches away from the coral and moved one of the totally closed star polyp to about 2 inches from the surface of the tank. <This might not help much. In such a small volume of water, the anemone could be a threat to the corals no matter where you put them.> Ammonia=0, PH=8.3, Nitrate about 15 when I put the first one in. I have since changed about one gallon of water a day and the Nitrate has gone down to 7. <Hmm... I'm assuming you mean 7ppm, right? Even 7ppm nitrates is kinda high for a reef tank. And if your nitrates are that high, it makes me wonder what your nitrites are. If you have detectable nitrite levels, this could be your problem too.> The Bio Cube comes with white, blue and moon light, the last of which can't be turned off. Should I put the polyps close to the top of the tank or on the bottom? I just fed them coral food at 4 AM... <Top or bottom really doesn't matter much with star polyps in a nano tank. They'll get more light at the top, but I don't think lack of light is what's keeping them from opening. I'm sorry I didn't consider the size of your tank in my last email. I do think that the anemone might be the problem (either that or your nitrate/nitrite issues). You could wait and see if moving the star polyps farther away from the anemone helps, but I'm not convinced it will. Plus, it looks like your anemone is going to keep growing. If the star polyps don't open up in the next few days, I'm thinking you'll have to choose between the anemone and the star polyps. And in any case, do test your nitrites and try to get your nitrates down. Good luck, Sara M.> <<Well done Sara... the colored base... Maybe a Macrodactyla doreensis... should be MUCH larger. B>>

Re: green star polyp  7/5/07 Thanks Sara for your prompt reply. I have tested the water again today: PH=8.3 Ammonia=0 Nitrite=0 Nitrate=20! <Yikes, those nitrates need to come down.> I don't think it is a long tentacle anemone, it looks like a bubble tip anemone without the bubbles. <LOL. Sorry, but that doesn't narrow it down much. Whatever it is, if it's growing that fast it's likely to either get huge or start splitting, making multiples of itself.> since I have moved the corals and anemone around, the anemone has been hiding in the rocks! <That may or may not have anything to do with the new arrangement.> The one star polyp that I put into my tank 7 days ago has opened 2 polyps. The other star polyp that I put in 5 days ago has not opened any. Any advice? Much appreciated :) <I know you probably don't want to hear this, but you should find another home for the anemone ASAP. Either that or get a much bigger tank. Even if you can keep your water conditions really stable (which is very difficult to do in nano tanks), the majority of ornamental anemones get way too big for small tanks. And even the ones that might be ok in a nano tank will make the tank unlivable for most any coral. Generally, I'd suggest you do more research on nano reef tanks. There are a lot of people who keep these small set-ups successfully (and beautifully). But one has to be especially careful and thoughtful about livestock selection and maintenance when working with such small volumes of water. Good luck, Sara M.>

Re: green star polyp  7/5/07 Thanks Sara. It is sad but I will find a good home for the anemone :( <I have a story that might not make you feel better, but it might make you laugh. When I was very (very!) new at keeping salt water tanks, I fell in love with a baby horseshoe crab of all things. And I put it in my then 10g tank. Believe it or not, it didn't strike me as a very, very bad idea until my husband looked at it and said something like "sweetie, I'm no aquarist, but I've been to the beach and don't those things get huge?" Um, yes, they do. ::sigh:: Anyway... good luck finding another home for your anemone and with your star polyps. :-) Sara M.>

Star Polyps Not Opening - 6/3/07 <Hi Jordan> I have had a starburst polyp (the yellowish brown color, not the green) in my tank for a little over two months now, and for the past three days it has stayed retracted completely. Up until this point it has been fully extended, and growing quite rapidly. <They can certainly do that!> My water parameters are all very good and everything else in the tank is doing very well. Besides the starburst polyp my 75 gallon tank also includes a short tentacle plate coral, a purple Goniopora, a long tentacle anemone, a blue damsel, purple Dottyback, Foxface, algae blenny, 2 percula clowns, turbo and Cerith snails, and some assorted dwarf hermits. I have not noticed any fish picking at the starburst, and the other corals and anemone are at least 12 inches away from it. I was just wondering if you had any ideas why it would have retracted, and any possible solutions to bring it back out? Any help would be appreciated. <Have there been any changes made recently re: position, lighting, flow, chemistry, etc? Quite often, water flow is the cause. They need good, random, flow to be happy. Sometimes the problem can be as simple as a grazing snail dislodging a powerhead. The polyps react to the interrupted flow by closing. Once that's corrected, they should start opening again (although it might take a few days). Also, you might want to check the colony for any built up detritus, hair algae, Cyano, Aiptasia, diatoms, etc. Any of these can be a problem. Detritus can be blown off using a turkey baster, while the algae, Cyano, and diatoms, can be lightly scrubbed off in a pail of SW. If it's Aiptasia, please see WWM for methods of eradication. Hopefully, the causative problem here is something simple, and can be dealt with easily. Let us know if after taking care of any of the above mentioned issues, the polyps are still not opening.> Thanks, Jordan <You're welcome and good luck! -Lynn>

Star Polyp closure   5/5/07 Hey guys and gals,    <Darby>     I've been battling BGA/Snot algae.  It's turned a perfectly balanced nano tank <Ah, no> into something less than good... and it all began when I put in a dose of Purple Up. <I don't endorse...>   2 days after the first dose, the invasion began.  I tried to let it run its course and battle itself, but too much stress was being heaped on my tanks inhabitants.     I know you hate it when we say this without added info, but all parameters fall within "perfect" limits, according to 3 test kits (Ph is 8.4ish, 0 Phos, 0 Na3 and ammonia).  I've shortened my day cycle, which helps a great deal, and sometimes throw in a 4 hour day here and there to keep the crud from blooming.  I've also removed all ceramic rings and bioballs from the sump, and have eased back on water changes (as I've read that water changes can add more nutrients that the BGA feeds off of), but not eliminated them.  This weekend I plan to make the center compartment of the sump a mini refugium using cheat and a light.     My biggest worry are my Star Polyps.  I have 2 different kinds (large green, and very small neon green) and both colonies closed up day 3 of the outbreak.  It's been just over 2 weeks now, and some hair algae is starting to grow on both of them.  Further more, a few hours into the day cycle, BGA starts to cover them too.  I always "dust them off" with a blast of water from a syringe, but they still do not come out.     How long can they survive like this? <... who knows?>     One of the mysteries to this is that the large polyp colony spread some just before the outbreak of BGA, and those new polyps are tiny, but they are open every day, all day.  Why not the parent colony? <Better adapted>     Aaaaaaargh!   Darby <See WWM re BGA... recentering your tank from the CaribSea product... BobF>

Reef Safe?  Coral Beauty (Centropyge bispinosus)   3/3/07 Hi WWM staff, <Hi Mercedes, Mich here.> Your website is really great and beyond helpful...I visit it on a daily basis :) <Thank you for the kind words.> I'm a little discouraged about the hobby right now b/c I've read sooo many conflicting articles and gotten so much contradicting advice from LFS's and the net about what's reef safe and what's not.. <Yes there are many opinions out there.  Find a source you trust and stick with it.  I would encourage you to consider a book titled "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert M. Fenner.  Belongs on the shelf of every marine aquarist in my opinion.>   I have had a FOWLR tank since last May.. my water parameters were finally perfect (Ph- normal, Alk- normal, Nitrate- 0, Nitrite- 0, Ammonia- 0) so I thought I could finally start bringing home some corals.. I bought a glove polyp <Clove polyp (Clavularia)?> and have had it for about two weeks.... every time I come home another polyp piece has been shredded.. and the rest of the polyps are shriveled up.. by now only one opens.. I thought it was my hermit crabs and took them out but am scared that maybe I'm over looking some thing. <Could be.> Someone suggested maybe my coral beauty is eating away at it. <Also could be, are known to be pickers.  More here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/c_bispinosa.htm> I just called my pretty reputable LFS to ask about the Coral Beauty.. (which I found numerous conflicting articles re: whether or not they are reef safe)...and they said they are "perfectly reef safe" and suggested maybe the polyp is just disintegrating b/c "corals are like fish.. sometimes they just die" considering how expensive corals... that response is pretty scary! <Yes.  There is usually a cause, we just don't always know what it is.> lol I'm kind of at a loss for words right now. Is this true? My coral was beautiful and opened all of it's polyp heads until a few days ago...can they really just up and die for no reason???? <Not usually, there is most likely a very real explanation.  Perhaps a few hours of keen observation might reveal.> I really appreciate any insight anyone can offer....or if there is an article on WWM on this I would be happy to read it! <Wow!  This is nice to hear!  Since you asked more here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clavulariids.htm  and related links in blue.  -Mich> __________________ 75 Gallon All Glass Aquarium Instant Ocean Sea Salt Fluval Canister Filter with carbon and bio media Aqua C Remora Skimmer w MaxiJet 1200 Coralife Aqualight Pro 75lbs Fiji and Tonga LR 1" Live Sand and Oolitic sand bed 2 Turbo Snails 1 Margarita Snail 2 Cleaner Shrimp 1 Pajama Cardinal 2 Ocellaris Clowns 1 Lawnmower Blenny 1 Orange Spotted Goby 1 Coral Beauty Angel 1 Glove Polyp Mercedes

Green daisy polyps ...Need to be a Conscientious Aquarist <Hello Mich here.> I am so totally new at this.   <Welcome!> I wanted to move my daisy polyps <Do you mean Green Star Polyps/ Pachyclavularia?> to the back because they were so big. Couldn't enjoy the rest of my very small tank because it drew the eye straight to it. <OK.> Well in moving it I dropped it onto the sand. It was still in the water but I dropped it with the polyp side down.  Now it looks dead.  Could it just be recovering? <Umm, yes if it is Green Star Polyps/Pachyclavularia.  Does it have a purple mat like base to it?> Also, I have this thing coming out of the rocks they put in the aquarium.  It looks like feathers in a circle.  It comes out and goes back in. no set time just when ever it notices movement. What in the world could it be? <Umm, likely a feather duster.> Any ideas? Thank You so much from a very newbie. <Time to start reading!  There is much to learn.  Best to be aware of the general behaviors and needs of creatures depending on your care for their survival.  Welcome to the hobby.  -Mich>
Re: green daisy polyps ...Need to be a Conscientious Aquarist, Cyanobacteria  1/26/07
<Hello again!  Mich with you today.> I wanted to thank you so much. The Green Star Polyps are coming back in full force.   <Don't thank me, thank yourself.  I am glad to hear your coral is recovering.> But I now have this red algae growing on them.  Got to figure what this is now. <Most likely Red Slime Algae, which is called a Blue Green Algae often shortened to (BGA) but is truly a bacteria, specifically Cyanobacteria. Your nutrient levels are most likely elevated.  I would turn off your circulation and try to remove the algae. It may come off the GSP in a sheet if your gentle ...and lucky ...or it may just completely fall apart, but here's hoping for the sheet.  Try not to broadcast it around your tank.  Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm Good luck!  -Mich>

Green star polyp disease?   12/11/06 <Hi Chuck, Mich with you tonight.> OK...  I've poured through the site and haven't found anything on this. <Thanks for checking first.> I have a 24 gal nano which has been up and running for 18 months.  I have had a green star polyp in there for about 7 months now.  It has been going great, coming out every day, growing on the rock that its on, growing across the sand a bit...  It covers about 4x the area now than when I first got it.   <Yep, they can grow like a weed, some even consider it a weed.> I've got a clarkii clown a 6-line wrasse and a small bristle-tooth tang (yes, I know you will tell me that it will grow too big for this setup), various snails and hermits, an emerald crab and some Caulerpa that I trim out from time to time.   <Ah, yeah, you're absolutely right about the tang, ...a 24 gallon nano, ...please tell me your getting a larger set up within the next few months!> 10 pounds or so of live rock and 1.5-2 inches of live sand,  I've been keeping up with about a 4 gallon water change / gavel vacuum every 2-3 weeks for a while now. <OK> The green star polyp has developed what looks like a fungus on the original portion of the organism.  I've been watching it over the past 5-6 months now.  It starts white/fuzzy at a particular site and then seems to progress to a small gray ball.  There are about 5 isolated sites like this now, all near each other.  The polyps continue to come out every day and when they are out, you can't see these gray balls at all. <Hmmm, not sure what this is.> Is this part of the regeneration process?  Should I leave it alone?  Is it a disease of some sort?  Should I cut it out? ( I can cut out the affected area and leave 70% of the mat in-tact) <Well, you can always cut the mat, usually never an issue with Green Star Polyps (Pachyclavularia).  However, if the polyps are coming out, I don't think the coral is trouble.  Usually if there is a problem the mat will begin to disintegrate.  If this happens, start trimming! -Mich> Chuck

Retracted Polyps  11/18/06 Hello guys- <And gals> It has been awhile since I needed to ask you guys for advice, but, no offense, lucky streaks don't last. <Heeee! You may find changing your definitions of luck, lasting... will serve you here> I have a 30 gallon Reef tank that "crashed" sometime ago.  Lost lots of soft coral.  LOTS.  It has been a couple of months now and everything has settled down.  My test are all normal.  Ph a tad low but doing better and Ammonia a little high, by 1-2 points.  Lowering everyday.   <I hope so...> The tank runs with a HOT Magnum filter, and a D&D Typhoon Skimmer (Excellent).  Three powerheads for current, 70 Lbs. Live Rock and 2 inches of Live Sand.  One med Ocel Clown, one small Purple Pseudo, and one Med Algae Blenny. Also, three serpent stars, Coral banded Shrimp, bunch of snails and one hermit.   It lasted for two years before an over-feeding accident and a move "crashed" the system.  Stable for two months now, easily.    <Mmm, but with a low pH, detectable ammonia?> Well, I only have two small mushrooms, and about nine little brown polyps left.  The mushrooms are doing great, and growing everyday.  The polyps though for the last three weeks have been retracted.  No fish are bothering them. I see no physical problems.  My bulbs need to be replaced and I will be changing them Monday.  130w Power Compact 10,000k and an Actinic (Spelling?).  Can't figure it out and I want to start restocking the tank but a little worried.  Local Fish store, Absolutely Fish, <Have heard/read good things about this outlet/staff> has been great and helping me with this, but I can't figure it out.  It is just strange that the mushrooms are doing fine while the polyps aren't.   <This is really "it"... the Mushrooms are mal-affecting the Clavulariids...> Any Help, Advice, or Direction will be greatly appreciated. Mark Ryan <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shroomcompfaqs.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/polypcompfaqs.htm and consider what you can do to reduce the apparent allelopathy. Bob Fenner>

Problem with Metallic Green Star Polyps!!!   10/1/06 WWM Crew,   <Tristan> I have encountered a few problems with my star polyps and I was wondering if you could help by providing me with some advice.  I recently (2 months ago) added a rock of some metallic green star polyps to my aquarium.  For the first 6 weeks, all was great.  The individual polyps all fully extended and waved freely in the water column - I even noticed the polyp colony expanding onto the nearby rock.  They certainly looked healthy. Then I decided to introduce some white finger leather <Here it is> and mushrooms.  Since their introduction (2 weeks ago) the polyps now all fail to extend.  I have read your site and acted on the advice you have given others. I have checked the water parameters, which appear fine, I have blasted a powerhead over the polyps (to clear of diatom algae), I have varied the polyps position in the tank.  However, the polyps still appear to hide.  I don't have any fish - just a 55 gallon aquarium 1/3 filled with live rock and some soft corals (rock of mushrooms, finger leather, toadstool). Do you have any idea what the problem could be?  Any help would be much appreciated.   All the best, Tristan <Allelopathy in a word. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoncompfaqs.htm and the linked files above... there are a few things one can do to lessen the effects... most extremely separating these incompatible cnidarians. Bob Fenner>

White/Brown Patches on Rock - 07/20/06 Love this forum - I'm learning so much! Glad I "stumbled" upon the site! <<Me too!  Welcome>> I have a 12 gallon AquaPod which has been running for 2 months now. This is my first venture into saltwater and I'm fascinated and loving it more every day. <<Indeed...much reading, research, adventure ahead>> The tank includes; 13lbs of live rock 8 assorted snails (Black, Margarita, Turbo, Nassarius) 6 hermits (scarlet, red and blue leg) 1 Royal Gramma Fragments of red, yellow and green Zoanthids 1 cluster of pulsing Xenia Fragment of green star polyps that the local fish store created for me about 1 week ago. The  Xenia is doing fabulously adding new branches and heads and pulsing happily.  The Zoos, though only in the tank for 2 weeks now, are reproducing with 5 new heads diverging from the main stalks.  My question lies with the star polyps. <<Okay>> Because the store created the fragment for me it took a while for it to overcome the stress of fragmentation and acclimate to the tank and for the polyps to emerge. <<Hmm, generally a very hardy organism...quick to recover from such "fragging", in my experience>> Daily more have been popping out (about 60% are out now) and there are new small white polyp heads appearing too.  Everything appears to be doing very well.  Today though I noticed a small patch of what looks like a milky mucous covering the purple base where some of the polyps that have not opened yet are.  Is this some kind of regrowth mechanism or is this something preying on the compromised polyps? <<Probably the latter, possibly a bacterial or protozoan infection/infestation>> I introduced a few small fragments of live rock (not even a 1/4 of a pound's worth) and on one of the pieces there is something that looks like white melted wax - with a leathery sort of composition though.  (Sorry I can't provide a picture). <<Hmm...a sponge maybe>> There is also another patch of the white "mucous" substance on another small piece of live rock, could this be related to the white stuff on the star polyps? <<Indeed, is this rock fresh?  Likely the rock is not "completely" cured and some organisms are still dying off>> Also on this piece there is a small brown leathery patch about the size of half a dime.  It's irregularly shaped and doesn't resemble anything I've seen before and doesn't appear to be moving.  Any suggestions as where to even begin researching would be greatly appreciated? <<You could try a search on "Syconoid sponge" for the white waxy/leathery patch.  No idea on the brown growth...perhaps once it develops more/gives more clues...>> If I knew what to call this stuff I'd know what to search for. <<Mmm...me too!  <grin> >> Thanks so much for your help and for the resource of this site! <<Happy to assist>> Sincerely Nan <<Regards, EricR>> Colony polyps   6/8/06 Hi there!!!  I have a question on my colony polyp.  I have noticed inside the stalks of some of the polyps are white particles.  It looks like they ingested the fine aragonite substrate.  I've read somewhere that white patches = loss of Zooxanthellae. <One possibility>   I don't know if this is the white patch it is referring to.  The sand like particles are on the inside of the stalk.   Any concerns here? <Not IMO/E. I would ignore these if your Polyps are otherwise doing/appearing fine. Bob Fenner>

Starburst problems I have a 2 year old tank 55 gallons, 190 watts of compact lights 20lb live sand 75lb live rock ph 8.4 alk 3.2 sg 1.024 temp79 ammonia 0 calcium 400 about a month ago I did a large 70% water change after I treated a red slime outbreak I only use Wal-mart distilled water <Man! I knew I should have bought their stock!> with instant ocean mix for my changes, I usually only do 10-15% water changes every month or two but decided I needed a big one this time , due to all the dead red slime ,,,Cyano ,,  I have 1 turbo snail 1 green brittle star 1 Oc.. clown fish my tree coral, mushrooms and pulsating xenia are doing well but my green star polyps haven't came out in 2 weeks except for a few early in the am but then disappear, there is a lg amount of die off brown diatoms in the tank what is wrong with my starburst, they where the fastest growing coral in my tank? thanks <Very likely the post-Cyano let-down... the ill-effects of the massive die-off, removal of the BGA... did you poison it with an antibiotic? At any length, these polyps are TOUGH! And will very likely recover fully... within a few weeks. Bob Fenner>

Pale patch on wrasse and sick polyps Hi WWM Crew, my wrasse's caudal peduncle seems to have faded on both sides and lost it's pink coloration normal of a Lubbock's fairy wrasse. The spot is not white (typical of a parasite infection), but clear, and looks like it has lost pigment.  <symmetrical changes in color indeed usually are not pathogenic indications alone> There is also a place on the pale patch where it looks raised in places, almost like the skin has peeled up.  <Hmmm... do look at pictures of fishes in the archives and beyond with "dropsy" like symptoms (bacterial)... a possibility here.> I've had the wrasse for about 6 months, and this condition has been here for about 3 weeks. I don't know if this helps, but ever since I have had the fish there has been a very small red cut or scar that has never fully healed. This scar is right next to the fading patch of skin.  <Ahhh... indeed an easy entrance for bacteria... do look hard. Consider QT with broad spectrum antibiotics (Furan/Nitrofuran drugs possibly... no Maracyn please for this)> The only other fish, a cherub angel, is healthy as usual. All invertebrates are doing well (snails, GSP, mushrooms, shrimps, crabs, brittle stars), with the exception of a colony of button polyps that are succumbing to some unknown infection (They are also fading in patches and shriveling up one by one). Have you ever heard of a condition like this?  <ironically may be bacterial as well... but certainly unrelated> Should I be worried? Any way to reverse it?  <take out and scrub with a soft bristled brush like a toothbrush... rinse (discard water) and return to tank with stronger water flow. Feed weekly if they are larger polyps (Palythoa or Protopalythoa species). Perhaps a little iodine in the tank if you have been lax> Thanks for any help! <best regards, Anthony>

Ugg, Slug problems on corals Good Afternoon Mr. Fenner, <Anthony Calfo in your service> Having tried to find some info on the WWW with not too much luck, I was wondering if you could advise me on what to do with a slug problem, I am having in my tank. I live in the UK, and am quite new to marine fish, having kept tropicals for years. My tank is 60 UK gallons, I have live rock, live sand and coral sand as a substrate, >> Livestock >> 1 fox fish >> 5 green Chromis >> 2 percula clowns and bubble tip anemone >> 1 orange spot goby >> 1 small blenny >> 1 dwarf cherub angel and an assortment of soft corals, also have 2 cleaner shrimps, 1 blood shrimp. And a clean up crew of critters i.e.: blue and red hermit crabs, and turbo snails. All of which are doing very well. I am running an Deltec APF600 Protein skimmer,1 UV Sterilizer. I also have 2 large Eheims,  plus an internal filter for the filtration, and 2 power heads for the moving of substrate. And my problem is I have star polyps which are currently infested with these slugs ! they are small and white, and have completely decimated 1 coral, and I am now afraid they will start on the other one. So do you have any advice on how to dispose of them, without using chemicals in the tank, as I am against using anything in the tank, is there a fish or something I could put in that will happily munch on them. <yes... you can use a wrasses species like the six-line wrasse. There are in fact many other species that will work well. The best bet if to move this coral(s) to the quarantine tank while you QT the new fish for 2-4 weeks in isolation. This will force the new fish to eat more and do so faster while the stranded slugs in the display starve without a host> I also use an R/O Unit to make my own water, and I am about to change my salt to tropic Marin, after using Kent sea salt, as I was advised this was a better quality. <A VERY wise move in my opinion> Hope this isn't too long winded ! but I felt if I were to ask an expert, such as yourself you would need to know all the statistics. <you've done an excellent job of providing background information my friend> The tank has been up and running for 7 months now and no losses. Hope to hear soon. Yours Sincerely, Sue Coveney <Sue, to avoid these problems in the future... please be sure to QT all new corals, live rock, etc for 2-4 weeks just like fishes. Else you take a great chance with every piece of livestock added fresh to the display. Best regards, Anthony>

Clean up crew killing star polyps? - 3/21/03 Guys, <Paul here> Last week, I bought a small colony of green star polyps and three margarita snails for my 6 gallon nano. <likely two too many snails, but otherwise no problem> Everything has appeared to be normal until yesterday morning, I noticed that two of the three margarita's and both of my Astrea snails, <Make that three too many snails> cruising over the star polyps. They were on top of the colony most of the day. They quickly closed and have not opened yet. Here are my tank parameters and livestock: Ammonia = 0 Nitrite = 0 Nitrate =approx. 5 Phos. = 0 PH = 8.2 in morning; 8.1 evening (Drip very diluted Kalk at night) KH = 11 Calcium = about 400 2 Astrea snails 3 margarita snails 1 emerald crab 1 rock with 3 green mushroom polyps 2" layer of sugar sized live aragonite 6.5 lbs. premium Fiji live rock I feed the tank lightly with Spectra Vital, 15 min. before the lights go off, every night. <Why? Although I applaud your effort, I can't see a single reason in your setup as to why you would waste money on feeding a tank that a) does not need it as there is not one animal that will benefit from it and b) this is a marginal product at best for feeding corals and invertebrates their necessary nutritional profile. c) in this case see a) =) Read through our FAQs before feeding corals or attempting to, and see what I mean. There also many helpful coral and reefkeeping books out there with environmental information on various corals and their feeding habits and methods.> Is it possible that the snails are a predator to the colony? <Big negative. At least none of the animals you mentioned are known to be predatory to corals (except maybe he emerald crab). However, There are a great many predators to corals. Check out the web for "reef pests" or "coral predators" or "coral hitchhikers" Some ideas regarding possible unsolicited predatory additions are tiny starfish (Asterina anomala) or predatory snails (Rapa Rapa). Here is a link: http://www.anchofish.com/_paletta/mp_apr01_predators.htm many more sites out there with pictures. Do a search on Google. Hope this helps. Take care, Jeff. >Thanks, Jeff

Button Polyps dwindling 2/26/03 Greetings! <cheers!> I have a 45 gal tank (high), parameters are as follows: specific gravity 1.024, temperature 76F, no ammonia or nitrite, trace of nitrates (am getting rid of bioballs) Urchin pro skimmer, PolyFilter in Eheim canister filter.  175 Watt MH (10000K -- German) and 40 watts of actinic (blue moon).  I have a Tridacna, leather coral, Atlantic gorgonian Octocoral, star polyp, yellow cup coral and green and purple mushrooms.  I have several small hermit crabs and a banded coral shrimp.  I have two small PJ cardinals and a mandarin as well as a Firefish.  I also have a rock that is covered with brown button polyps.  Everything except the polyps is growing, spreading, looking great.  And, the polyps that are out look good.  It's just that they are slowly dying off.  They close down, then look like they are "turning inside out" and then just wither away.  I have been looking out for anything bothering them, and have seen nothing suspicious.   <actually... it sounds rather like predation from a Heliacus snail. Perhaps creeping at night... do surprise the tank after several hours of complete dark and look for this predator (AKA Sundial or Bob snail) see attached picture> They are not next to any other corals.  Any idea what could be causing the die-off?  I have had them about two months, and they are in a relatively strongly lit area.  Too much light, perhaps? <not likely at all>
thanks tom
<best regards, Anthony>

-Purple stuff in star polyps!- Hi Crew, <Hellooo there, Kevin here> This has happened twice in the last couple of weeks.  I come home from work and there are literally hundreds of tiny, purple, spherical things stuck in a colony of green star polyps.  They seem to be embedded among the polyps with some type of a mucus substance.  They are a light purple color probably the size of the head of a pin, maybe a little larger and perfectly round. Nothing in the tank is interested in eating them, even when one breaks away in the current, so I didn't think they were anyone's eggs.  The only fish in the tank right now are a pair of tank raised Ocellaris and a royal Gramma. There's a daughter colony on the other side of the tank that has the same thing in lesser quantities.  I'm hoping some pics might come out but for now do you have any thoughts? <Sounds like they may be parasitic, since they are the same color as the closed mat of your coral. If possible, I'd shake all those things off in a bucket or try to siphon them off. But then you say that they're spherical, so I really don't know. I'd just get them off because it's definitely not normal. -Kevin> Doug

Star Polyp problems 7/16/03 Hey, Thanks for the excellent site! <quite welcome :) > I have a question related to the health of my Green Star polyps. I am starting slow and this is the second frag of GSP's I've gotten. <actually a very good and hardy choice for beginners. The most common problem with it is lack of adequate water flow... or... inappropriate water flow (laminar is bad, as from an outlet or powerhead)> I'm starting slow as I want to make sure I can keep this frag alive before I try anything else in the coral world. Anyway, the first frag slowly deteriorated over about 1 month as the polyps extended less and less often. Removed when they appeared to be all dead. Some hair algae had grown on them and that may have bothered them but if I tried to clean the mat it would fall apart. <a classic sign of lack of water flow... enough detritus settles among the exaggerated calyces of this tube coral... allowing algae in turn to grow and suffocate/kill the coral> This latest frag started fine for a few days but now the polyps are not extending again. There is no algae growth on them. My water quality couldn't be much better but I am wondering what is wrong. <random turbulent water flow (not laminar again) produced by converging effluents would be ideal. A turnover in the tan of 10-20X times per hour is needed in most reefs. Leaning toward the higher end for these corals> My tank is about 5 months old and things a generally going well with a few learning curve difficulties. Fish, cleaner shrimp, snails are doing well and algae is not much of a  problem. Here are the specifics: 29 gal tank Eclipse 3 w/BioWheel 1" aragonite substrate 30 lbs base rock w/small live rock pieces 1 canary wrasse 2.5" 1 Perc 2" 1 engineer goby 4" 1 cleaner shrimp2" 4 small turbo snails IO salt w/10% weekly water changes Non RO sediment and resin DI filter for makeup/changes Daily filter pad cleaning and continual Polyfilter use 65W SmartLamp 50/50 retrofit kit for lighting on 13 hours per day custom cooling fan to maintain temp at 79F even when light is on 2 PH's for additional circulation No skimmer but additional in-tank carbon filter w/weekly changes SG 1.023 Ph 8.2 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Calcium 380 Alk 10 dKH Here are my ideas/questions. Please tell me what you think is most likely to the problem: Placement-I've put them about 10" off the bottom maybe 12" from the light. Could this be too much? <not even... the contrary is anything. Even the best fluorescent technologies are challenged below 8-12" of water. And that's assuming superb water clarity (weekly water changes, weekly carbon use, etc)> I think water movement is Ok, enough to randomly move the polyps and not direct. <good to read of your awareness... seeking 400-600 GPH here> Do I need to supplement iodine or anything else? <nothing significantly... regular water changes and fish feeding will be sufficient> Is the carbon removing too much? <very doubtful> Is zero nitrate too low? <true... we need at least a few ppm to feed coral. Yet still not the primary cause here> Does there need to be some Nitrate in the tank for absorption by the Zooxanthellae in the polyps? <correct> I have no reason to suspect any metal contamination. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks! Rob Douglass <hmmm... you do seem quite aware and well-read. It's difficult to say what else it might be sight unseen. Do be sure your corals are established colonies and not fresh frags or imports for best success. Best regards, Anthony>

Nudibranch id 6/11/03 hey guys, thanks as always.   <our pleasure> I noticed that my star polyps have been shut for almost 2 days straight. I inspected last night and found a couple Nudibranchs on the mat.  I have not seen them anywhere else in the tank.  however, I don't notice much damage being done to the mat itself. I caught one with a turkey baster. sorry for the fuzzy photo, but its the best I could do.  is this predatory?  to the polyps retracted? <yes... clearly predatory as indicated by the presence of cerata on the back (the "tassels"). They are for storing, in part, the digested stinging cells of Cnidarian prey like your coral. Do seek and remove, my friend (the opisthobranchs... not the coral <G>). Best regards, Anthony>


Green star polyps not opening >Greetings from Anchorage, Alaska. >>Greetings from Marina in north Orange County, California.  I bet you're having better weather than we are.   >I have a concern about the green star polyps I placed in my tank.  First let me give you the vital information.  I have a 30 gallon tank with a long spined sea urchin, 3 hermit crabs, 4 snails (2 turbo, 1 Astrea, 1 Trochus), 2 peppermint shrimp, a Sebae anemone, an unknown crab (live rock hitchhiker, likes to hide), a sand-sifting starfish.  The tank has 2 damselfish, 1 cinnamon clown, and a potter's angel.  The tank is working quite well, as far as I can tell, the fish eat vigorously, and all the animals are growing.  The purple algae is spreading.  >>Eee...this is a 30 gallon tank?  Please know that the fishes alone will soon outgrow this system.  Please also know that, of the vertebrate inhabitants, the Centropyge presents the most difficulty in husbandry.  I can tell you right now that having the anemone in the tank is highly problematic as well.  Of the desirable anemone species, the Sebae is not the easiest to keep, and is far better placed in a 60 gallon tank *minimum*, and that tank should be dedicated to the Sebae. >For filtration / skimming I have a newly modified (airstone) Skilter 250 and three powerheads positioned left, center, and middle.  The water tests in the normal range, pH is about 8.1, ammonia and nitrite are 0 and the nitrate is about 15 ppm (a little high but should be acceptable).  >>Aah, my friend, (another Marina saying here), what should be and what is are two different things.  It should be acceptable to you, but for many animals it is not.  The anemone is one of them. >I also have 2 compact fluorescents for a total of 110 watts. >>When sorting out lighting issues I find it easiest to sort by output and Kelvin ratings.  I'm not sure that this is sufficient light. >So here is the problem, I have had the star polyps about 3-4 weeks and they refuse to open.  Once in a while they open very small and inconsistently, but they never make a mat or open wide.  I have started (in the past 10 days) adding trace element and carbonate in addition to my calcium additive at the suggestion of my local fish store.  It did seem to help a little.  I test calcium and it sits about 370 mg/L.  I have moved the polyps all over the tank, they remain dark purple, so I don't think they are dying, but they just won't open.  I notice incidental hermit crab, urchin movement over the polyp rock, but they never stay for more than a half hour eating algae.  The Potter's angel doesn't pick at them either.  I read your message boards and I feel like I have exhausted the possibilities.  By the way, the anemone is on the other side of the tank.  Hope you can help.  >>The anemone may be on the other side of the tank, but I still feel it's a problem being housed with sessile invertebrates.  Two things, either the lighting is significantly different from what the GSP's were harvested/grown with, or these things are HUNGRY.  I still find the anemone to be problematic, but I can't say that it's releasing anything into the water to cause the GSP's only to remain closed.  Please go through all pertinent links on this page for copious information http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm >>I would purchase some invert food (many invertebrates require direct feeding) before these things simply starve out in your system.  It may take a while to get them to get the idea.  Then, look up lighting within the link I gave you, that could be a problem, too.  Best of luck, Marina

-Unhappy yellow polyps- First thanks for having an awesome site full of info hey best place for a 15 year old to get some answers <Great, starting off young!>, well anyways I had purchased a 29 gallon tank, filled it with live rocks and cycled it and its been running great for the last 2 months.  So I decided to add some Yellow Polyps to make a great decoration for my tank ,so I figured  it was easy and all so I brought a rock with ton of polyps on it added it to my tank and they looked great!  about a week later I started noticing that some were turning gray and some were shriveling up hey and some are perfectly healthy so I don't know what's the deal I got one 50/50 light <A single normal output lamp is not enough to keep these guys happy and healthy> do I not have enough light  <You don't but you wouldn't notice any bad effects in a week.> maybe or is it my fish I have a yellow tang <Unless this is a very tiny tang ( 2" or less) it's too large for this tank. They need ample swimming room, please provide it!> and two common Clownfishes one time I saw a red centipede looking worm around the polyps it was about 5-6in. <Sounds like a bristle worm. If it was eating your polyps they would simply disappear.> long water quality is great to so if you could please tell me what you think is wrong with my polyps that would make me feel better. <Run ammonia, nitrite, pH, and carbonate hardness tests (have them verified by another kit as well) first off. They may be diseased, however unlikely, but from your description it's hard to tell exactly what's going on. Can you get a picture? -Kevin>                                  Thanks,                                          Chris

Cyano, Surface Scum, and Unhappy Polyps >Dear WWM Crew, It's been a while since my last inquiry, and I've since encountered a couple of problems.   Here are my tank specs: 45 Gallon tank (36"x 12" x 24") Aqua C Remora w/MaxiJet 1200 Whisper 3 power filter (for carbon / water movement) 1 x 250 gph powerhead 1 x 80 gph powerhead 75 lbs live rock (50/50 Tonga/Florida Gulf) 4+ inch DSB (sugar fine aragonite) 4 x 55 W power compacts (2x10K / 2 actinic) Current inhabitants: 1 yellow tang (3") 1 coral beauty (2.5") 1 solar fairy wrasse Cirrhilabrus solorensis (3") 3 Mexican Turbos 7 blue leg hermits 7 scarlet reef hermits 1 small colony of green polyps The tank has been running about 10 months. Nitrates, Nitrites, Ammonia = 0 pH is a little low at around 8.0 - 8.1 KH - 9 About 2 months ago I began to notice some Cyano growing on my DSB. My water change regiment is 5 gallons (11%) weekly and I have always been very careful about not overfeeding.  The foods I use are Formula 1 and 2 as well as some marine flakes/pellets and Nori for the tang and angel.  I alternate between these. I had been using tap water for water changes aged/aerated 1 week and decided that since all or most other factors were ruled out (overfeeding, under skimming, infrequent water changes, inadequate water flow) that it must be the tap water.  So I purchased a 6 stage RO/DI unit and have since used this water for all top off and changes.  About the same time I got the RO/DI unit, I began to add as per manufacturers recommended dosage some Seachem reef calcium for my coralline algae growth, and Iodine for the inverts.  These are the only supplements I have ever used in my tank and am pretty sure that they are not a contributing factor to my algae problems (I have discontinued their use for 2 weeks to confirm). >>I agree, but you have yet to mention any phosphate/phosphorous testing. >Well the coralline is growing beautifully, however the Cyano is getting worse.  If I stir the surface it is back the next day. I realize that my tank is tall, and that this is not necessarily ideal for nutrient export in that there is more vertical space in the water column before the debris and detritus can reach my mechanical filtration, however by placing one powerhead on the bottom left front about 2 inches above the sand bed and one in the middle right rear of the tank I believe I am getting decent water movement.  With the skimmer and Whisper in addition to my 2 powerheads I have about 15X turnover. >>I generally agree, but let's say your change water is phosphate-free, then I would tend to lean towards insufficient water changes when compared to your bioload. >I am considering the purchase of some Nassarius snails an Archaster starfish, or an Amblygobius phalaena goby as I'm not quite sure what else to do. >>I will encourage the sea star, along with a serpent (Ophioderma squamosium.. sp?) sea star for detritus cleanup.  I'd also try making some large water changes, but first test at least for phosphates and nitrates before adding to the tank.  (Yep!  The Cyano may be "fixing" what's in the tank.) >This stuff is very irritating, and as far as I know I'm doing everything right. >>Indeed, my only other suggestion would be to add a refugium to the setup.  I'd also like to note that the yellow tang will quite soon outgrow that tank.  Woefully. >My next issue is the clear/whitish film on the top of my water.  This too is a reoccurring problem which I cannot seem to shake and would seem to indicate water flow issues as well, but as per above I think this can't be the problem.  I have tried placing a powerhead near the top of the tank pointing up to disrupt the surface, but this simply pushes the scum to the other side.  I purchased the surface skimmer box for the Remora, however this design is poor in that the evaporation in a day is enough to disrupt the supply of water to the intake pump and needs constant adjusting in order to function properly, so I removed this in fear of burning out my pump.   >>Ah, yes, unless you set up an automatic top off system.  However, a surface skimmer box is the ONLY way I know of to actually remove this very common occurrence. >I also remove the scum manually on a daily basis with a net but the next day it's back.   >>Yes, I wouldn't spend the time, myself. This stuff is very unsightly and I'm concerned it is disrupting my gas exchange and light penetration. >>Doubtful it's significant. >Finally, my green polyps which I purchased knowing are a very hardy are not opening fully and seem to be less than flourishing.  I have them placed about 6 inches below the surface and my lights are about 2.5 inches above the surface, so I do believe I have plenty of light.  The strange thing is that at night they seem to fully open and look much happier.  Could they be too close to the light? >>Not so strange, listen to what they're telling you.  Try moving them lower in the tank, or towards the ends of the lights/tank (assuming fluorescents are being used). >I don't feed them anything directly, however when I feed the fish flakes and the Formula foods small bits of food settle on the polyps.   >>I don't think it would hurt them to be target fed every once in a while at LEAST.  I would find a good coral food, do a search on feeding polyps on our site. >All my other inhabitants are in excellent condition.  Hopefully you have some answers for me, as I have worked very hard and patiently to set up a successful aquarium and am not getting the results I expected.  I have researched endlessly, and have tried most all the recommendations I have come across to no avail. >>And thus you learn that it's not all science, but often an art. >Best Regards, Jesse Canizio >>Try the testing, etc. mentioned, and hopefully you'll find some answers with the results.  Marina

Question on polyps/mushrooms... Hello Mr. Fenner! I am sorry to bother you with this question, but I couldn't seem to find an exactly similar situation on your "WetWebMedia" web site, and I thought your expertise just might be able to recognize a problem that I am unaware of.... <Okay> I have a 7 month old, 60-gallon hex. (high) with 50 lbs. live rock, 5 green Chromis and 1 yellow damsel. I'd like to start a "beginners" reef setup so, about 2 months ago, I bought a baseball-size rock of yellow polyps (seemed to be healthy and flowing) that I placed near the top of my rock since they were situated near the top of the dealers tank by the light. <So far, sounds good> In a months time, the yellow polyps were nearly gone and "stalkier" brown polyps and green mat-like polyps started to quickly replace them.  <Yes... this happens... best to keep these "green star polyps" isolated on their own rock/s... can be very "adventitious"> So, I thought things were balancing, working their way out, and I bought a small purple mushroom fragment. However, the mushrooms seem to open each day for a short time and mostly remain shriveled. I've tried putting them in high AND low light places, but to no avail. <Mmm, could be a few things here... lack of biomineral or alkalinity... perhaps lack of feeding...> After initially growing very well (and multiplying), the brown and green polyps now seem to be a bit less in number (the brown have lightened in color too) and they don't always open completely. What am I doing wrong? I have no signs of ammonia, nitrites, nitrate. PH is 8.1. Temp. is 81F. Specific gravity is .023 I add 20 drops of CombiSan almost every other day and keep the calcium over 450ppm. Other animals: Sally lightfoot, hermits and turbo grazers. Filtration consists of a wet/dry, AquaClear. I just got a protein skimmer but haven't hooked it up yet. Also, I have 3 powerheads for water movement. Lighting is a 250 watt/10,000 K pendant (Due to algae on glass, I just cut it down to 5 hours per day). Tank is also near window which gets 45 minutes of scattered early morning sunlight. Thanks for any advice you can give! (I'm sure you are very busy and I appreciate it!) <We all have exactly the same amount of time my friend... focus, organization (and some small influences of heritage, development and chance otherwise neglected) determines how we utilize it... I would try adding a dilute "mash" of something meaty, administered via a plastic turkey baster... sprayed in the direction of these animals... with the filter pumps cycled off for fifteen minutes (on timers) two, three times a week... maybe with a bit of vitamin prep. (like Selcon) mixed in ahead of "squirting"... to see if this doesn't engender some positive response. Bob Fenner> -Declan Procaccini

Green Star Polyp not extending anymore Hi Bob, First of all I want to thank you for the great website that you have. I'm new to the Reef aquarium (but one year) and your site has helped me tremendously. Also, your book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" is very informative and enjoyable to read which can not be said for many books on this subject. <Ah, very gratifying to find ones work well received, useful> I have a new 125 Gallon tank that I started about 4 months ago (upgraded from a 30 Gallon). I have 175 pounds of live rock and 50 pounds of Aragonite sand. I have a cleanup crew that consists of 100 mixed snails, 50 Hermits crabs, 2 Peppermint shrimp, 1 Sally Lightfoot, 1 Emerald crab, and a Serpent Star. The fish that I have include one Yellow Tang, one Clown Fish, one Australia Flame Hawk, and one Lawnmower Blenny. For coral I have 2 yellow finger Gorgonians, I purple ribbon Gorgonian, 2 leather corals, 1 Sarcophyton, 1 blue Capnella, 1 Bali Xenia, 1 Sinularia, Brown and Green Star Polyps, Zoanthids, and one Christmas Tree rock. I purchased the Brown and Green Star Polyps about a month ago. The Green Star Polyps have almost doubled in size since adding them to my aquarium. The polyps were fully extended since the day after I got them but the last 3 days I have not seen the polyps at all. The water conditions are within expectable limits and stable: PH 8.0 (morning) to 8.2 (Evening), Temp. 76 (Morning) to 79 (Mid-day), Ammonia 0.0, Nitrate 0.0, Nitrite 0.0, PO4 0.1, ALK 3.2, Calcium 500, and Salinity 1.023. The Brown Star Polyps are in the same location and are still fully extended. What should/can I do? <I would continue with your regular maintenance, operation... possibly add a vitamin preparation and blended food together... perhaps a dose of iodide> I don't think that it is a predator since there was not a decrease in the number of polyps extended but instead all polyps were extended one evening and the next morning (and since) none of the polyps have returned. <I agree> Thank you again for all the help your website has provided me! <You are welcome my friend. It is exactly the adding to your success and enjoyment that WWM, indeed all my pet-fish efforts are directed towards. Bob Fenner> Mike Streifel

RE: Green Star Polyp not extending anymore Bob, Thank you for the quick response. Here are the additives that I'm currently adding (all SeaChem products): Reef Complete - 2Tbs on Wednesday and Saturday Reef Plus - 2Tbs on Wednesday and Saturday Reef Builder - 1Tbs per gallon of makeup water every other week (approximately 5-7 gallons) Reef Advantage Calcium - 1Tbs per gallon of makeup water every other week (approximately 5-7 gallons) on opposite weeks from Reef Builder additives. <I would cut back on this last till your calcium is closer to 450ppm> Is there something that you would recommend that I add in addition/replacement to these? <These are all fine, and miscible products. You may have a magnesium imbalance... this biomineral should register about three times the concentration of your calcium... if you have a friend, friendly LFS with a Mg test kit I would have this checked out... Otherwise, you are a prime candidate for giving up the above supplements entirely and going with a calcium reactor instead... Bob Fenner> Mike Streifel

Polyps I am having a problem with certain polyps in my tank. I have a 150 gallon reef tank that has been running about 8 months. I use MH lighting (10 hr/day) Actinic Blue florescent (9 hours/day), protein skimmer (24/7). I dose Kalkwasser, Strontium/molybdenum, and iodine. Temp 78 degrees. All my water tests are great. I change 5 gallons of water a week. I use DT phytoplankton about twice a week. I put in a colony of yellow polyps and a colony of waving hand Anthelia Polyps, among other things 5 months ago. Everything did great. The anthelia polyps multiplied and were very expanded. The yellow polyps also did great. I added several different button polyps, sun polyps, etc. I have about 8 different soft corals ( including a small flower pot coral)  <This is a Scleractinian, a true or stony coral... the others are in different Orders> and about 10 assorted mushroom corals. All are doing fabulous and growing except for the Anthelia Polyps, yellow polyps and flowerpot coral. They were growing unbelievably fast for 4 months then all of a sudden they started to fade. They were not open and expanded and the colony seems to be shrinking. The other polyps are spreading and fully expanded. The mushrooms and soft corals are doing great. I haven't changed anything, yet the yellow and anthelia polyps continue to decline. They did so great initially, that I don't think moving them in the tank would help. <No not likely...> They get plenty of light and current and as I said before, they were growing like crazy for the first 4 months I had them. About the only thing that has changed is I added a 10 gal planted refugium about 3 months ago and my nitrates have dropped from the 15 to 20 range (normal for a 5 month old tank) down to less than 5. Do these polyps need nitrates to do well ????  <Yes, to some degree.> The frustrating part is I see Flower pot, yellow polyps and waving hand anthelia advertised as "very hardy, great for beginners" Got any ideas? Thanks, Frank <What you are observing and relating so well is to be expected... there are dynamics going on in your system of competition (chemical and physical) with some groups "winning", others losing... Next time you have the opportunity, look closely at underwater reef images... you will see the same sorts of things... overgrowing, digestive dominance... "demilitarized zones" between many types of sessile invertebrate life... You can "help" your various types of livestock here by careful maintenance (including water changes), the periodic use of activated carbon in the filter flow path... and not crowding them... and reading/studying about their needs, discussing same on chatforums on the Web. Bob Fenner>

Dying polyps? Robert, You've done a great job helping me in the past. So if you don't mind, I have another question for you. <Okay> I have some yellow polyps and some sand polyps that seem to be dying off. They retract their cap / head into their stems (basically implode on themselves). I seem to lose a couple a week and a once flourishing patch has now lost about 1/3 of it's members. They are in moderate to heavy current, are getting plenty of light (i.e. near top of tank in 175W halide setup). All water parameters appear to be fine: Calcium 400 Phosphates .2 Nitrites < 10 Nitrites < 10 Salinity 1.024 PH approx 8.6 Alk 3.2-3.6 Ammonia 0 I just recently started feeding them once I started to notice the die-off. Any thoughts on what could be causing this? <Hmm, could be a simple lack of biomineral like Magnesium, even just iodide (iodine)... do you do regular water changes? Perhaps a negative interaction with other stinging-celled life in the system... maybe a predator that's hard to see or only comes out at night...> Everything else in the tank is flourishing (i.e. Xenia, green stars, mushrooms, leathers, donuts, brain, maze). Do you think they'll bounce back? <Hopefully. Any chance of separating these organisms out... as in out to another system? Bob Fenner> TIA...Steve

RE: Dying polyps? Actually, I supplement iodine as well as magnesium. <Well, there go those possibilities... Mg about three times the concentration of Ca++?, some detectable iodide/ine?> I use a 5-gallon pale with a tiny siphon as part of my automatic top-up. In the 5-gallons of top-up water I put: 1 capful of SeaChem iodine 4 capfuls of magnesium (1/2 per recommended dose) 2 ml SeaChem calcium 1 tspn baking soda 1 capful of SeaChem water conditioner <Actually, I would not do this... the baking soda and alkaline earth materials may well be precipitating each other out... have you tested this mix to see what's still in solution?> This mix seems to keep the levels in check, although my iodine test kit sucks I've been dosing as suggested by SeaChem. Is it okay to mix all the supplements like this together in my top-up water? <Ah, there's the question. No, not really> As far as predators go, there is nothing too obvious in contact with these except for blue-legged hermits. However, at one time I closely examined one of the polyps and seen something that may have been a tiny red/brown worm...like a blood worm but smaller (1/8") on one of the polyps. It may have been nothing. I'll keep a closer eye on them and see if I can see it again. <Ah ha! Yes to this being a real possible cause of loss... a biological control for such Polychaete worms is likely a good idea> Water changes I have been doing on occasion (every 3 months), but will now start more frequently (monthly 15-20%). <Five percent a week, or twice that in twice as much time is advised> Even if parameters are all good do you still suggest water changes? <Yes... there are many important types of materials the hobby has no tests for that are best diluted through such changes, and many small concentration compounds made up by water switching> I cut down my stocking to 5 fish (from 8)...now about 10" per 70 gallon. I've also been leaving a small sack of carbon in my canister filter at all times. Could this cause this much of an effect on the livestock? <The carbon? Not likely. More beneficial to change it out once a month than not run/have it> The only other thing I can think of now is that I'm still tinkering with the automatic top-up and sometimes the water level fluctuates +/- 3/4" over a 1 day period in a 48" long 70 gallon. Could this be a result of too much freshwater and/or supplements too fast? <A potential problem, yes> As fast as separating them out goes, I only have a small 10 gallon FO tank without LR. I'm not too comfortable taking a chance at killing the rest of them off. <I understand. I would go with adding calcium, magnesium together, in pre-treated freshwater or synthetic, and add the other materials separately, and get a Pseudocheilinus wrasse or other worm predator.> Thanks again for the prompt reply. Sorry about the million new questions, but you got me thinking ! <Ah, my intent exactly!> As always, a great help. <Okay, this too. Bob Fenner> ...Steve

Star Polyps Robert, I recently purchased a small star polyp cluster. Within days of placing it in my tank, they have all closed and are growing what looks like a slime. <Not a good sign> I have had this tank for four months. However all of the contents were from a previous tank I owned for 4 years. I have approximately 35 pounds of live rock, blue legged crabs ( aprox. 24), one ghost crab, 1 red banded Coral Shrimp, and 6 snails. As for fish I have a Maroon Clown and a Banggai Cardinal (both in tank for past 4 years), a Mandarin ( in tank for 3 years). In addition, my mushroom have begun to thrive since my switch to the new tank. Tank Information: 75 gallon, with overflow wet dry system. Lighting: Top Aquarium series with 2- 55 watt blues and 2- 55 watt whites * These lights are set on automatic timers, With Blues on at 10a.m. and Whites on at 10:30 a.m.. Whites off at 7:00 p.m. and Blues off at 7:30 p.m. Do you have any suggestion that may assist me in helping my polyps grow. This is the second time I have tried to keep polyps. My fish store tells me that if mushrooms grow in my tank that polyps should. <Much to state, relate. Please read through all the FAQs on stinging celled life posted on WetWebMedia.com and the links therein. You may have just received a doomed colony of polyps, but likely your alkalinity and/or biomineral content of your water is off... Or other life is negatively impacting this patch of cnidarians... or perhaps you have too much nutrient in your water, insufficient filtration, a missing trace material like iodide, a predatory snail, worm that has gone undetected... Study my friend. Bob Fenner> Your assistance an knowledge would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your help. Richard

Button Polyps Joe, Anthony Calfo here... Bob Fenner passed along your invertebrate query to share an opinion. <Yes, thank you Anthony> Kudos, first of all, on the longevity of your charge. Although seven years old may not constitute old age for most inverts/coral, it is a delight to see nonetheless and complimentary to your husbandry. Secondly, I believe you are right on with some of your suspicions regarding the Zoanthids symptoms. Although quite durable, as you know, Zoanthids are hardly indestructible... close, but not entirely. Attrition is definitely a strong possibility as we are beginning to appreciate and understand this concern ever more in reef aquariology. In part, it has been brought to light by the circumstance of aquarists in positions such as you are. We are no longer struggling to keep most invertebrates for a couple of years and are know faced with the challenge of realizing full life spans in captivity. To do that, satisfying an animals daily needs by say 98% sounds good but really means that there is a 2% net daily deficit. And so, it will catch up at some point in time... perhaps seven years for a certain Zoanthid colony <wink>. If only it were that simple or literal...hehe. Still, you get the idea. Slow starvation is still starvation. I'd like to hear more about deliberate or passive feeding opportunities for your invertebrates and coral... just the basics (roughly what kind of foods and how often, any incidental matter from a good fish load, etc.). In gross terms, symbiotic corals that will feed organismally (particles, so to speak) should be fed at least weekly and more often in many cases. Two to three times weekly for your Palythoa type would be fine with matter no large than adult brine shrimp (although I'd use something more nutritious than adult frozen brine... which are actually water made to look like shrimp in my opinion <smile>). Finely shredded ocean meats (krill, squid, shrimp, etc.) and mysids are pretty tasty... and good for coral too... hehe. I totally agree with Bob's suggestions for dividing the colony (stimulating for growth, isolates healthy tissue), discarding the mucusy section if it appears necrotic (decay), and carefully adding more/some iodine (nutritive<?>, antiseptic, increases RedOx, etc.). E-mail a picture or describe the mucus a little more if you can. There are several things it could really be (decay, expelled Zooxanthellae, palytoxin <yikes! careful>, etc.). As far as the possibility of old age... unlikely. Although some reef invertebrates are believed to have short life cycles, more can be measured in decades. I honestly do not have any idea what the expected lifespan of a Zoantharian such as your might be. I'm curious and will look into it. But ultimately think that it is not only unlikely, but cannot attribute anything that you have said or not said to it. Often times, an invertebrate nearing the end of its life cycle (like with some Anthelia sp. in less than three years) will strategically self destruct... a sort of selective asexual fragmentation (self-destruction of the parent colony) that sends fragments of the colony into the drift to re-establish possibly elsewhere. It just doesn't sound like your colony is that dire. Bottom line: fragmentation, improved feeding and water quality if necessary. Praying, dancing and Italian love songs wouldn't hurt either <smile>. Kind regards, Anthony www.readingtrees.com anthonycalfo@readingtrees.com <Chat with you soon my friend. Bob Fenner>

Questions about Star Polyps Hello Bob, <<Not Bob actually, but JasonC filling in while Bob is away diving.>> When I have a problem I like to bounce it of a few sources, then if/when necessary I come to your FAQ (or ask you directly) for the final word. I have a 40 gal reef tank composed of soft corals & peaceful inhabitants (mixed inverts, a rock pool blenny, and a mandarin dragonet). One of my first coral additions (green star polyp) had what I believed and now confirm to be a Bristleworm on it. Ok, big deal. <<is this a long, skinny bristle worm, or a short, fat one? Long, thin ones are no cause for concern and are beneficial.>> Well, about a week and a half ago the polyps remained closed at daylight which does happen from time to time so I wasn't worried. they have since remained in seclusion and I have obviously become concerned. <<ok>> Upon closer examination I saw a few bristle worms and some spaghetti worms (?) scattered about the coral. <<about the coral, but not on it?>> So that's why those little hermits have been hanging out on the polyps at night!!! <<probably one of the reasons, sure.>> Do you suppose the polyps have closed due to irritation/harassment by worms? <<irritation from those or from the hermit crabs is one possible answer. Water chemistry is another, have you run all the usual suspects? [tests]>> If so what would be the best natural or painless way to rid myself of them? I have heard that traps are futile and I know from experience that tweezers are useless too. <<if these are the long, skinny ones, leave them be.>> Also my peaceful little neighborhood just wouldn't be the same if I introduced some bruiser into it (not to mention the size constraints of a 40 gallon high). <<fair enough>> As for my inverts I have 20-30 dwarf red and blue legged hermits, 3 or so scarlet hermits, 2 Mithrax emerald crabs, 20 margarita snails, and a sand-sifting starfish. <<With that many crabs, I'd imagine they can't help but irritate your star polyps from time to time, and often if this goes on long enough, the polyp loses so you might want to trim your heard of hermits.>> Anything come to mind that is light on the bioload and easy to get along with? <<A royal Gramma perhaps?>> Lastly, what can I do to help my star polyp? <<lose some hermit crabs, check your water chemistry>> It is such a beautiful species and I would hate to lose it. <<indeed. Cheers, J -- >>

Harmful chemicals? Hi Robert,  <Anthony Calfo in your service> Two quick questions about recent happenings in my tank. 1) I recently bought a dwarf angel for my tank, and he has caused the worms in my Porites rock to hide all day. He actually hasn't really been picking at it, but I believe that his continues presence has scared them.  <Hmmmmm... don't bet on it unless you have been peeping at night/early AM>> The rock used to be on the sand floor, but is now on the upper shelf, away from the angel most of the time.  <wow... be careful about moving the living Porites so suddenly (light shock).. a good way to bleach or kill it> I know that at night the worms come out to feed, but they used to come out all day and night.  <faIr enough> Is this still adequate for the worms to survive?  <depends on available and appropriate foodstuffs> I am going to be getting a new tank in 2 months, but I need these worms to survive until then. Should I increase my planktonic feedings at night (phytoplankton and Black Powder)? <may not be necessary... but do review your use of Black Powder in light of scientific research and an intelligent consensus of such phyto substitutes efficacy. Some brands have been demonstrated to be useful and some useless. Look for Dr Rob Toonen's comparative study on the web about such substitutes and also look in the archives here at WWM for how best to apply phyto subs (must always be refrigerated, must be fish (less than six months old) and must be mechanically blended (blender) prior to each feeding for optimal particle size...else limited usefulness)> 2) Also, a rock fragment that had a xenia on it had recently fallen from its' perch and onto my green star polyp rock. The Star polyp rock has ever since been closed up completely. This has been for about a 36 hour period. I have raised the rock up closer to the light as well as in a good high current area underneath my skimmer spout. I am not sure if the xenia had exuded some kind of chemical compound to bother the rock, or if perhaps the angel is bothering it.  <absolutely no question that the fallen rock or Xenia had nothing to do with its retraction (Xenia are weakly aggressive). Dwarf angels are very often predatory on coral... rather nibblers> However, the angel had been in the tank for a couple of days without the polyp rock ever closing up. It only began to fully close after the xenia incident.  <unrelated... the star polyp may simply need better current, but now having been moved to a new light level it may take a little longer to open. Please review the article" Acclimatizing Symbiotic Reef Invertebrates" in the archives of WWM> Please help! Should I dip the rock in a Lugol's dip? Or should I just wait?  <Yikes... easy there fella! If you don't see an infection...lets not medicate.> And if I do wait, how long should I wait before I begin more drastic measures of curing the star polyps? I had taken a look this morning, and none of the polyps had come out. I am very concerned...Paullee <no worries my friend... this is an incredibly hardy animal. Test your water chemistry for peace of mind...watch the angle closer and let the coral adjust if you feel that the current is sufficient (random turbulent). Many stay closed under stress for more than a week. Kindly, Anthony>

Brown button polyps Hello Bob and crew I hope all is well I have some brown button polyps that don't seem to be doing well. There color hasn't been good for a while and they don't open all the way, from what I read about them they don't need strong light so here are my specs. I have a 55 gal with about 75 lbs. of LR 2 false Perc, 1 yellow tang, 1 banner fish, 1 flame angel, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 blood shrimp, about 7 hermits and 9 Turbos 3 feather dusters. 110w daylight power compact magnum hot w/ bio-wheel pro 60 skimmer went down new one on the way 10 gal sump with siphon overflow Rio 2500 return pump my most recent test results are as follows am 0, rite 0, rate 10, pH 8.1, phosphate 4 down from 8, <Stop! Is this four parts per million? Not 0.4, 0.04 ppm? Four is way too much> calcium 400 I change 15 gal every 2 weeks with aged Ro water mixed with Coralife salt. my temp is kept at 75. Any advice is appreciated thanks again for all your help Dela Yazzie <Could be a few possibilities that are mal-affecting your polyps... the shrimp might even be picking on them... But the one glaring item is your phosphate measure. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/po4faqs.htm and elsewhere on WetWebMedia.com re filtration, maintenance... and develop and implement a system for improving your water quality... as measured by your phosphate level, which should be near zero. Bob Fenner>

Brown Button Polyps Follow-up Hello again Yes My phosphates are high this is a battle that I'm starting to win though. When I first set up my tank my newbie self didn't realize how important keeping track of the phosphates were, boy do I know better now. I looked into getting an RO unit after discovering the source was from my tap water, it's not in my budget yet so I found a place to buy RO water by the gallon at only 50 cents a gallon. I've done 2 water changes so far with this water and am doing another this weekend. Is doing 15 gal a week to get them down too much? <No, just fine.> I have a sump being built which will replace my existing one that I'm housing mangroves in. Thank you for the link and I hope to continue with the water changes to bring the phosphates down to 0 if you say it's safe. I've been having a problem with BGA which is clearing up too and I think this next water change will make all the difference.....well that and to have a skimmer running again. <Yes, agreed on both counts.> thanks again and I'll be in touch again next week to let you know how it's going Dela Yazzie <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Nudibranch on star polyps Bob, First of all, I am grateful for the wealth of information the WWM group provides on a daily basis.  I found two Nudibranchs on my Starpolyps which can be seen while the lights are either on or off.  Found a picture of them on the web which labels them as a soft coral eating Nudibranch or Dendronotacean. See following link http://rshimek.com/rogue's_gallery.htm  Should I just pull of this pest off with tweezers/wash off ... please advise...I also read in Sprung's Vol 2 of specific harmless Nudibranchs which co-exist with star polyps .. they looked quite similar in appearance. Please help Thanks again, Joe Velazquez <The link did not come through for Shimek's ID. In general though... predatory nudi.s do severe damage fast. If more than a week has gone by... I'm thinking you are likely safe.  Do cut and paste or attach a picture if you need to follow up. Best regards, Anthony>

Nudibranch on star polyps Bob, thanks for the reply, pulled both Nudi's off of Starpolyps last night with tweezers (they held on for dear life)... polyps have not opened since yesterday morning, hermit crab seemed to be working on polyps this morning ... hope this is the reason for no polyps.  <quite possibly... they are tripped easily> Should have taken pictures prior to ... Great to have someone to communicate with about our hobby/passion ... owe you a beer .... Joe <agreed... do look up a local aquarium society as well... perhaps the best place for fellowship and information with enthusiasts> While I have your attention ... any feeling on coral feeding with "Aqualine Plancto". Recommended Feeding daily (roughly 8 drops for 120 gallon reef. Concerned will eventually encounter diatom bloom. <as with any nutritive supplement, experiment judiciously. Maintain regular water changes and good nutrient export processes (skimming, chemical media, water changes) and you will likely be fine. There certainly are no miracle additives out there> thanks again
<always welcome, Anthony Calfo>

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