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FAQs about Poritid Coral Systems

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Related FAQs:  Poritids 1Poritids 2, Poritids 3, Poritid Identification, Poritid Behavior, Poritid Compatibility, Poritid Selection, Poritid Feeding, Poritid Health, Poritid Reproduction/Propagation, Stony/True Coral, Coral System Set-Up, Coral System Lighting, Stony Coral Identification, Stony Coral Selection, Coral PlacementFoods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, Propagation, Growing Reef CoralsStony Coral Behavior,

Large, calm, dirty...

Tip On Goniopora <fdg., ltg.> And A Question On Frogspawn <beh., id.> 6/23/10
Greetings crew!
First off, your site is incredible and I use it as my saltwater aquaria bible.
<Thank you, and glad to hear.>
My first point is a tip with Goniopora or flowerpot coral since it seems to be a delicate creature and hard for some to take care of.
<I agree.>
I have had the red variety of Goniopora in my tank (55gal with skimmer, charcoal media filter and 29gal refugium and 216W T5 with 2 10K and 2 Actinic and moon lights on a 12hr timer) with Zoas, Palys, Xenia, multiple
LPS (Favias, FS, chalice), Rics and Shrooms, a few softies (chili and orange carnation), a rose BTA and a Tube Anemone. Fish are Six Line Wrasse, Black Saddle Perc Clown, Orange Perc Clown, fire goby and a Blue Hippo
Tang. Said Goniopora has been healthy, blooming and encrusting for 5 months now. I feed Mysis, brine soaked in Selcon then drained and seaweed (for the tang) and zooplankton (targeted) and phytoplankton (twice a week). The
phyto is for softies and Goniopora. I read a study, possibly on this site, that studies of dissected Goniopora in the wild found the majority of the stomach contents to be phytoplankton.
<I have read similar reports to that extent, and that Goniopora cannot survive on photosynthesis alone, but depends on phyto for 70% of it's diet.>
I also found that, my species in my tank, seemed to be very sensitive to light changes even light temp. Due to a mix up at the LFS I had to run 3 10K bulbs and 1 actinic instead of the 2 and 2 normal setup. This ran for 4 days before I could correct and caused my flowerpot to completely recede into the skeleton and close the openings to the polyps. Once I fixed the lighting temperature SNAFU, it started to bloom immediately! Hope some of this helps.
<Agree, actinic doesn't do much for photosynthesis.>
Oops, forgot tank parameters:
Nitrate-fluctuates between 0 and 10
Phos-0-0.25 I know...no readable phosphate.
weekly 5gal water changes of RO/DI
1/2 cup dark skimmate every 3-4 days
So my question about the frogspawn is this:
I have researched on your site and others regarding the anatomy and physiology of this species (mine is the green and purple branching variety) regarding feeding parts. I know about sweeper tentacles (mainly for defense and attack) and the mouth located at the center of the head. The part that I am curious about is a tube like opening on each head separate from the mouth. This opening can close and retract and when it is open a translucent fanlike appendage darts out, opens up and rotates to catch particulate and then retreats. This happens constantly through out the day and night; pretty cool to watch. I have not been able to find any info on this on your site. Is this a filter feeding mechanism to add to the photosynthetic algae and carnivorous eating habits of this LPS?
<Mmm, I'm not aware of that physical behavior, and in searching Borneman's book, came up with nothing. I know Euphyllias have developed several feeding strategies and whether this is one of them, I don't know. As crazy as it sounds, it seems as though you have a barnacle of some type growing in the Frogspawn. Your description of this sure resembles a barnacle to me. Bob, am I losing it, or do you have any input?><<Mmm, this IS likely a Cirripedian... a Barnacle; but could be a filter feeding member of other arthropod groups (crab, shrimp). RMF>>
Thanks for your time!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Flowerpot, Poritid ID, care    8/25/09
Hi Crew,
<Hey Sam, long time no hear.>
I saw a nice coral in my local LFS and they said it was a flowerpot. Is there any easy way for me to tell if it is Alveopora or Goniopora.
<Alveopora has 12 tentacles per polyp whereas Goniopora have 24.
Should be easy enough, but knowing your system by heart, I don't think your lighting is capable of supporting either of the two.>
At the time I did not know enough to ask the question but after reading it seems people call both flowerpots but one seems to be impossible to keep. I guess I could ask them but sometimes I wonder if they really know.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Flowerpot, Poritid care 8/26/09
Hi James,
You comment about lighting surprises me. Based on what I read recently ( I can't find it right now) Mr Fenner writes that Alveopora problems come from either too clean water or too much light. So my impression is my 65w PC should be ok.
<I believe what Mr. Fenner was alluding to in "too much light", is in the form of high wattage MH lighting. In your tank, 24 gallon, if my memory serves me right, you would need a 150 watt HQI lamp or two 65 watt PC's to provide acceptable light requirements for this coral. Most LPS corals are going to require moderate
to strong lighting to survive.
Although not quite as delicate as Goniopora, Alveopora is still a difficult coral to keep for any length of time. At Waikiki Aquarium in Hawaii, they have been able to sustain Alveopora for over a decade and a half by providing the coral with natural sunlight and a constant flow of ocean water. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Flowerpot 8/26/09
You just save me a few bucks and some frustration.
<You're welcome, Sam. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Condylactis passiflora, intra species contention?, and now Goniopora ID, feeding, sys.   7/13/07 Thanks very much for your enlightening response ;-) Have actually spent literally years reading WetWebMedia FAQs and articles, was merely struggling a bit with this one, in any case have re-tackled the Alkalinity/Hardness/Ca issue and think I'm pretty much across the concepts (if I'm not , then I suspect I never will be). Have tested my water (PH 8.2, Salinity 1.025, Nitrates >60ppm, no Nitrites or Ammonia, Temp 24C, Ca 340ppm, dKH 12.5), and doesn't seem too bad. Regarding the possible Condy contention below , should I move one of them out if I can get the chance ( if they come out of the holes they have burrowed into to)? <Yes, I would> Confession Time: The background here is that a not so "funny thing happened the other day", Bear in mind , I haven't devoted a lot of time to the hobby over the last year, and my memory isn't so good, as a result I have made a rather disastrous mistake: I was in the LFS to buy a Sarcophyton I have had my eye on for a few weeks, and while I was there they had a beautiful large Goniopora (WAIT!, WAIT! please, stay with me.....just a bit longer) and they only wanted $55 AUD for it . I said to the "Expert" in charge of their marine section "Isn't that the one that has the really dismal survival rate in captivity?", ." Oh no, says Expert, these are quite easy and this one has been doing really well " . <Mmm, not so... this Genus IS the most used historically... but also has the survival value adverb you suggest> I wander the shop some more with my two year old son distracting me heavily thinking "....or is that the other one beginning with" Go", gogi.., gopi..something...?, and suddenly remember "That's it! Gorgonian!, the Sea fan, it must be that one that I was thinking of that I decided never to own. <Mmm, well, some of those/these hexacorals are not aquarium-hardy at all either...> Bought said victim, took home looked at notes/bookmarks again , placed head in hands and came to realisation that am probably developing Alzheimer's. <I can't seem to remember...> After sobbing a bit decided to do right thing and return it for a credit note, but ....LFS won't take it back, and don't have any friends that do Marine. I feel like such an idiot! I only didn't mention this before because it's so embarrassing, Now I am stuck with it, and desperately don't want to be responsible for killing it, it is a beautifully healthy specimen. Have spent a full week of hours per day researching ways to keep it alive (hampered by the fact that I can't decide if it is a stokesi, columna or lobata (Even though I majored in Animal Ecology at Uni 17 years ago ... <See my cursory review of "The World Trade in Coral" posted on WWM... species, even higher tax. ID's of Scleractinia are not easy> like I said, my brain appears to have fallen out). It is Hemispherical Colony on a single coned shaped column (looks like they skeleton has basically grown out and up in a circular fashion), Polyps are long and brown with green tipped tentacles (attached pictures, - the leather is has now been moved away from the Goni and I will keep a close eye on the Condy's although they don't seem inclined to move again, clown hasn't approached it) What do you think it might be? <Am looking... Columns too long for the first... tentacles not shaped like the second... I make this out to be the most common aquarium species, G. stokesi> Now if you are still reading , here's my questions : I have a bag of Seachem Oolitic Aragonite , that I bought for several reasons , one because my Nitrates keep creeping too fast (about 20-40ppm per week in 100 litre tank) <The high/er NO3 is actually of use, advised for this genus...> to be explained by my tiny stock (two small/medium fish) and stingy feeding rates and frequent (weekly) water changes, that I suspect that the 3 year old crushed shell substrate may be harbouring to much bound organic matter (even though I vacuum it vigorously) so I want to replace it. <I would NOT do this... but possibly add to...> Two because I was originally thinking to use it to help stabilise Alkalinity and add Ca , and Three because I am hoping/Praying I can foster some microfauna to help feed the Goni (do these 3 arguments sound plausible?). <Is, though a much larger system, and really a separate, tied-in refugium with DSB, lighting... is STRONGLY advised> Given that the water parameters above don't seem too bad for Ca and KH considering that I have never measured or attempted to alter either in 3 years , should I leave the Aragonite out in case it messes with the balance? (no.. I can't fit a refugium to this tank (wife/children etc) ). <I would leave in for the very organic component you mention...> In terms of Feeding it , I am attempting a mix of Hikari rotifer, baby shrimp and algae glass scraping, and recently purchased some frozen blocks of Spirulina, octopus, mussel, and shrimp mush to try as well (having trouble getting Cyclop-eeze, do you think the freeze dried would be ok or should I only go for the frozen if I can get it?). <All are suitable if small enough to fit into individual polyps... I would develop a routine of "covering" the colony temporarily, immersing the polyps with food... while having mechanical filtration suspended during these minutes... to assure each are fed...> If I can impose on your patience just a little longer... some Goni questions that I have read conflicting arguments on : 1. Do they tolerate nitrate well or not, have read conflicting assertions, I am guessing my typical reading of around 40ppm may still be a bit high for it? <This genus lives in quite "polluted" waters... including VERY high NO3 concentration> 2. Are baby shrimp small enough/suitable for it? (these look about the same size as a rotifer), should I try and culture some green water (phytoplankton) maybe? <Mmm, don't eat phytoplankton to any appreciable degree... meaty food items need to be "mouth size"... or smaller> 3. Is it abnormal for it to close into a swollen ball for about 4 hours after the lights go out, it only seems to look really happy during the day ( have read they should be out day and night), it is only under 2 x 18W at the moment and seems quite happy and I am about to add 75W 6500K for it, do you think it might actually not like the brighter light ( it WAS under Halides in the shop) <Not atypical behavior in both cases> 4. The LFS was feeding it JBL Koralle Fluid and claims it loves it, all the stock I can find on Melbourne shelves is out of date by a least 6 months!, most of the Red sea and Seachem alternatives I can find here all list about 0.0003mg/g of copper in them, <Not to worry re this preservative trace> (except for Red Sea Coral Trace that I can't get any specs on at all and Marine trace that just says the elements but no concentrations) and I am worried this may accumulate and hurt my feather dusters and corals, even though it isn't much, do you think Seachem Reef Trace(0.0003mg/g Cu) or Reef Plus(0.001Mg.g Cu) might be a good product for my Goni even with the copper? <Yes... no worries. Some small amount of copper is actually necessary... a "micro-nutrient"> I have to keep this guy alive in this tank for around 10 months somehow until I can get my new 5 foot reef system up and running (house being built at the moment) with refugium, Thalassia etc. <I'd move it last...> I will keep researching , but would appreciate any pearls of wisdom you could impart (besides " Research before you buy" and."... keep reading" already know those ones ;-) ) Cheers,
<Heeee! BobF>

Coral Placement/Appropriate Species Selection - 12/11/06 Dear Crew, <<Daniel>> I'm having a few concerns about a new coral I bought.  I'm in the process of converting a fish-only tank to a reef tank and placed in my first coral two days ago - it's a nice daisy coral. <<Mmm...a Goniopora species?  Did you research before you bought?  These corals are difficult to keep even for skilled/experienced aquarists...definitely not a coral for a beginning reefer.  Any chance you can return this specimen for a better/hardier choice?>> Immediately after placing it in the aquarium (about 10 inches down) it opened up and was looking good.  The guy at my LFS told me that these corals have high light demands and told me to put it high in the tank, as high as possible. <<I disagree with the store owner...these corals are very often found/collected from turbid waters...moderate light demands at best>> Today, I noticed it expelling some brown stringy mucus that is either waste or its zooxanthellae (I'm hoping it's the former!) from a few of its polyps. <<Might be expelling its zooxanthellae due to light shock>> My lighting includes two 75W actinics and one 75W fluorescent. <<Hmm, ok...wouldn't expect this lighting to be "too much">> They are in a weird configuration. <<...?>> My tank is 4 feet long, and the three lights are staggered: left, right, left from back to front.  I've put my two actinics so they fill the back and middle slot (left and right) so they stretch the full length of the tank, and my fluorescent <<What color temp?>> at the front (in a left hand slot). <<You might want to consider adding another bulb (two actinic/two 10000K and configure for a more even distribution>>   The daisy coral is on the right, with only one actinic above it (confusing I know!). <<Understood...but the coral would do better with 10000K lighting as opposed to "just" actinic>> I'm currently giving the tank 8hrs of light, mostly at night as the days are getting very hot here in Australia at the moment and the temperature will happily rise to 30C during the day if the lights are on. <<Ah yes...tis summertime down-under...>> My concern is that if the coral is expelling its Zooxanthellae, it's due to light shock. <<My first thought as well...but it doesn't sound as if your lighting is that intense>> The tank at the LFS had the coral quite high as well though so I'm not sure.  How can I go about helping this guy out? <<Try adding another "daylight" spectrum bulb to your setup>> Should I move him to the bottom of the tank for a couple of weeks or wait it out and leave him where he is? <<Moving the coral about is stressful...best to leave where it is in this situation and modify the lighting as explained.  I don't think "intensity" is the issue here with your current fluorescent configuration>> Or, more worryingly, could this all be a result of the relatively high temperature (averaging 28C)? <<Mmm, about 82F...edging up there but should be fine>> Any help would be greatly appreciated! Daniel <<The biggest problem I see is that you have acquired a very difficult species...one not really suited to captive care.  Regards, EricR>> Goniopora'¦better left in the ocean Hi Adam <What's up Ignatio?> I just bought a green Goniopora and I read about this specimen required a strong light, current.  <Yes lots of food too, this animals needs aren't completely known yet and sadly most starve or perish in captivity.>  So I put it on top +/-20 cm below the lamp (not Metal Halide one, I just using coral aqua lamp from Philips) And I read again that it must be put under the deep sand bed (is it true? and why?)  <It should be placed on the sand bed (naturally found this way usually) when the polyps extend and come into contact with the rock, the rock will act as an abrasive damaging the specimen.>  so in my condition, it is only attached in the live rock and the tentacle is not long extended about only 1 cm long. So should I put it under the live sand in the bottom of the tank (with the risk not enough light). <I wouldn't put in 'under' the sand just gently place it on the sand, you can put it in the rockwork but you would have to ensure the polyps will not extend and scratch on the rock.. Be sure to research more on this species and target feed it at least bi-weekly. Sadly it is rare these live past a year.>  Thank you for your support <Anytime.> Best regards Ignatio <Adam J.> 

Re: Goniopora 10/25/05 Hi again Adam <Hello> Thanks for replying so far. Yes I agree with you Goniopora should be left in the ocean. <Yes until we better understand it.> Adam, I'm planning to change the light of my 100 gallon tank. Currently I use 4 Fluorescent lamps (1 Coral aqua from Phillips 38 watt, 2 coral star from Sylvania 38 watt and 1 aqua star 38 watt so total wattage I have 152 watt. Actually is this enough? <No not for your tank volume, yeah with this light you better move that Goni. higher up.> (the height of my tank +/- 60 cm) I'm planning to change my lamps to be Metal Halide, what do you suggest for the watt. <I would use x2, 150 watt HQI (between 6,500K and 10,000K) for your tank (the DBL ended metal halide).> Sorry asking you too much. <Don't be.> Thank you Adam Ignatio <You are welcome, Adam J.> 

Coco Worm & Goniopora Hello,  <James here> I have a 30 gallon reef tank, four fish, and an assortment of hardy corals (clove polyps, mushrooms, open/closed brains, yellow Fiji leather) and recently acquired a Goniopora/green fluorescent buds with pink stem. I know, all but impossible to sustain these corals, however it was a gift, and cannot be returned. It's been doing okay for the last 3-4 wks., and recently my maroon clown began embedding itself in it constantly which is awesome to watch. However, the Gonio does not fully expand when I observe it, and the clown fish still tries to rub up against it often. Has the maroon disturbed this coral or does Gonio sometimes shrink up? Until now, their relationship seemed quite natural and healthy.  <I'm thinking you may not have enough light for this coral, but if the clown is always in there, I don't believe the coral will fully bloom. It's a difficult question to answer 100% correctly being that the Gonio is going to need pristine water quality/lighting to show it's true form to start with. You may want to do a Google search on the Wet Web, keyword, Goniopora or flower pot corals, and read about them.> I also acquired a coco worm which I read has the reputation of being fairly easy to keep. Plus I have a feather duster which has always done well (although I know these are 2 different invertebrates). However, the coco worm usually does not bloom and stays in its tube. It has just approached the surface of the rim a handful of times and doesn't even come out when I feed the tank Cyclop-Eeze or DT's phytoplankton. I know it's a timid creature that is easily frightened by passerby fish as I've been witnessing, but with a 30 gall tank and 4 fish, there is really not a spot I can put this coco worm without fish swimming by. Any suggestions or should I just give it more time? I've had the coco worm for about 4 days now.  <The coco worm is probably coming out in the evening when the activity is minimal. You might want to feed at that time and observe. James (Salty Dog)> 

Goniopora & Yellow Cup Coral 4/1/05 I'm in a bit of a bind. My parents surprised me with 2 gifts, Goniopora and what the store told them, yellow cup coral. They picked it up while on a road trip, and don't even remember the name of the store. I'm having trouble finding out info. on the yellow cup, <It's tough to say... it may be a dyed coral (Yellow Turbinaria peltata)... or it may be one of the real yellow species like reniformis. Do look for pics of Turbinaria species.> ...but was horrified with what I learned about Goniopora.  <Yes...> My parents thought they were doing a good thing. Little did they know. Now, I'm stuck with these 2 corals that I know very little about. They have no idea what store they bought it at, so there's no chance of returning these items. First off, is there anything I can do to sustain my Goniopora other than pray?  <Actually... if it's a free-living green G. stokesii, then keep it on a Deep Sand Bed and stir the sand around it a couple times each week minimum> I've read a lot on your website, and I normally never introduce coral unless I've thoroughly researched it. But, now I'm stuck. The Gonio seems okay, it gets bigger and bigger every day it seems. The yellow cup I have as high up as I could put it in the tank, but the edges seem to be fading in color , and there is a brownish lining around the tubes. Here are the parameters of my 30 gall. Cube tank---ammonia btwn 0 and .25, nitrates at about 20, nitrites at 0, alkalinity btwn 80 and 120 (though I don't know how this element affects the tank), ph at 7.8. I've got mushrooms, 2 open brains, polyps that seem to be turning white (probably not a good sign), a yellow leather coral, and the 2 new corals mentioned above, along with dozens of hermit crabs, snails, and 4 small fish. I feed the gang Cyclop-Eeze which everyone seems to love, and DT's Phytoplankton.  <Do consider adding DTs "Natural Diet" to the mix here. Fabulous food!> I add iodine, strontium/Molybdenum. once a week, and I was adding calcium every few days, but I also use Oceanic salt which has a lot of calcium in it. I need to buy a calcium tester this week, so I can't tell you the calcium levels of my tank yet. I've got a Prizm skimmer, huge wet/dry AMiracle filter and 176 combined wattage. I was doing 10 gall. water changes weekly until about 2 mos. ago, when I started doing 10 gall. water changes every 2 weeks instead.  <Ughhh! Please be more generous with the water changes> Can you give me any info. on the yellow cup coral as far as feeding or otherwise, and is there any hope for Goniopora? Thanks for your time, and sorry for this lengthy email. <Best of luck! Anthony> 

Goniopora & Yellow Cup Coral Follow-up 4/2/05 Hi Anthony, <Cheers> I think it is a yellow Turbinaria peltata, but I guess it was dyed yellow, which is really awful, as I'm learning.  <Ughhh! Its a deplorable thing they do dying such corals. Have you read the articles we have on WWM on dyed corals and anemones? > I have it high up in my tank so it can get as much light as possible... <Your intention is good... but this will harm the coral, my friend. The limited zooxanthellae remaining with be light shocked. Instead, this coral needs moderate light and VERY regular feedings (target feed the polyps 3-5 times weekly for a couple of months at least)> ...but since it is in the shape of a cup/bowl... <This is the low light variety of the species as evidenced by its cup shape. High light Turbinaria peltata often have convoluted shapes> ...it collects some debris, and the edges of each of its Turbinaria tubes is outlined in brown debris lookin' stuff.  <The debris should never accumulate... this animal needs better water flow my friend> Also the edges are turning dull and white slowly. I feel like I'm killing it.  <Not so much as the animal have already been insulted (dye). It is a hardy coral that can recover in months if you feed it regularly> My calcium levels were running high at 550 ppm, so I did water changes and will hopefully get it down to 450ppm.  <Yes, please... or lower actually to be safe> My pH and alkalinity were also a bit low, so I added buffer and hope to get things more stabilized in the next week. Could this affect the yellow Turbinaria the way I described?  <If anything... the high light has harmed> The Gonio has fluorescent green buds but constantly winds up below the sand bed level, so I'm going to move it onto a deeper sand level in the middle of the tank, rather than in a corner where it can smush into the glass corner.  <Ahhh... this may be Goniopora stokesii. If so, it is a bit hardier and can survive in aquaria for some years if given a deep sand bed, some phytoplankton feedings... and perhaps weekly sand stirring IMO> Is "Natural Diet" another type of DT's food or is it just for coral?  <It is an excellent food for many corals> Also is Cyclop-Eeze good for corals too, b'c my fish love it, but I thought it was good for coral?  <Agreed> What else besides good tank husbandry can I do for the yellow Turb and Gonio? Thanks, Helana... <You are doing fabulously my friend. Keep reading, pondering, researching and consider applying some of my suggestions above. Best of luck! Anthony>

RE: Goniopora & Yellow Cup Coral 4/2/05 Thanks for your speedy reply, I have read almost all the articles that I could find from your website on both Gonio and Turbinaria, and since mine is a bright yellow, I'm assuming it's a dyed Turbinaria peltata. I have to move the Turbinaria to a lower place, but when it was on the sand, the blue sand would always blow into it, plus I have a dragon goby who loves to dig! <Understood... indeed, do keep sand off of it. This coral only occurs on hard substrates> It's looking worse than ever, and getting whiter around the edge of its bowl rim. Also, you mentioned target feeding the individual polyps... what does that mean, and what do I use to feed it? <Do a Google search of WWM for "target feeding" my friend. But the gist of it is as it sounds - targeting polyps with food.> I have Cyclop-Eeze, DT's phytoplankton, frozen brine Mysis shrimp (they are in frozen blocks that dissolve into pieces of tiny shrimp--can't imagine the coral could eat something so big... plus I never really use it), flake food, frozen bio-pure rotifers (which I never use anymore b'c I use the Cyclop-Eeze to feed coral instead, plus fish love it), and Formula Two gel binder frozen fish food (algae fish food). Can you tell me which of these I could use to target feed my yellow dyed friend, and what/how does one target feed?  <Again... please turn to our archives. We work very hard to build them to help you to help yourself. Go to the index/home page at WWM and type in "feeding corals." I just did and see some fabulous hits> It sounds complicated and I'm already getting nervous. Lastly, you said in your email..." Goniopora stokesii. If so, it is a bit hardier and can survive in aquaria for some years if given a deep sand bed, some phytoplankton feedings... and perhaps weekly sand stirring IMO>" When you say deep sand bed, I used about 8 bags of blue sand when I set up my tank, back in July, I hope that is deep enough? <I have no idea of knowing how deep that is an unknown sized tank ;) If you have at least 3"... you are in the ballpark> Also, what do you mean by sand stirring IMO? I'm sorry for these silly questions...but I haven't heard these terms or abbreviations before. Thank you for your continued patience and support, Helena. <Much to read... and do consider joining a local aquarium society for outstanding perspective from tanks you can visit/see. Above all... please realize that you lack of familiarity with basic terms for reef keeping requires that you learn them before acquiring more livestock. Start with Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals. A great reference book. kindly, Anthony> 

Spirobranchus giganteus & Porites SPS - 5/24/2004 Anthony: <cheers Rich> To review our last correspondence, you said the Porites needs very, very bright lights & high water movement.  <yes... true for some Porites species, but not all. The growth forms (stout and boulderesque/massive and/or dense corallums indicate high water flow)> I have a 250W MH HQI Pendant w/Aqualine 10K bulb (on one side, lower light on the other) in a 55 gal (48x13), preparing for SPS and clams. I have about 42lbs. LR, 4" DSB (time to add more), Calcium around 375, dKH at 10, <all good> pH 8.07 (just before lights on) - 8.31 (at lights off) (Pinpoint Monitor).  <do try to get this higher... 8.3 minimum for low at night. Better calcification and stability in the system> In an earlier FAQ, someone asked you: "Do you think a bright yellow Porites coral gets adequate lighting if approx. 10 inches straight below a 150W AquaLine HQI bulb?", and you said "likely yes, close if not." Anyway, with my 250's, how far down IYO can I keep one?  <no idea... it depends on your water clarity, lamp age, reflector style, etc. That said, I'll make an educated guess that it will be fine in the top half of the tank> You also go on to say: "They are adaptable and will survive lower light... they just wont stay yellow".  <correct> Is this also true if you keep it too close to the MH lights ("ankle-deep" comment notwithstanding)?  <nope... they will/may pale in color instead. Rather dangerous too to apply too much light. Low light can be compensated for with additional food/feeding, but excessive light will not do the same. It may instead lead to photoinhibition/death of the coral in time. Error on the conservative side and feed the tank well (refugium in this case for the SPS)>> BTW, I am running an Iwaki 40RLXT through a closed loop manifold. Thanks, and welcome back. Rich. <thanks kindly my friend :) Anthony>

Enquiry on Goniopora 8/2/04 Hi there, Saw your website on Poritid Corals and would like to seek your advice.   I bought a Blue Goniopora from a LFS 2 days ago. It was opening in the LFS, but when I placed in my tank,  the polyps don't seem to expand.   <Two days is not a long time for the coral to get acclimated.  It sometimes is many days or even a couple of weeks.> Okay my tank is a 2.5ft by 18 inch by inch tank , with 2 X 24W T5 lighting (1 x 20000k white , 1x 420nm actinic). Water parameters as follows;     NH3, NO2 :0ppm     NO3:25ppm     PO4:<0.2ppm     CAL: 400ppm     Mg:1200     Hardness:8dkh     Temp:26 degree Celsius Currently, my Gonio is placed in the bottom of the tank substrate, facing up with a lot of light on it,  and water movement that sway the partially extended polyps. I also noticed that when I switched off my lights,  the length of extension of polyps seems longer than if lights were on???  But, some web says that  brightly colored Gonio prefers intense lighting? Can you help me out on this?  Thanks and Regards.  Alex   <IMO, many aquarists overestimate the amount of light that their corals need, so don't buy into the notion that you need a bazillion watts of light.  In your case, you probably have plenty, but not too much.   I would suspect that this coral has been kept under very low light and will need some time to acclimate to yours.   Other than your nitrate, your water parameters look fine.  Salinity should be 1.024-1.026.  Best Regards.  AdamC>

Goniopora care? 7/6/04 Hi Bob <Anthony Calfo in his stead> I was wondering if I could get some advice on my Goniopora Coral that I introduced to my tank about a week ago.  I have a 360 liter Tank.  The first few days the Coral's cones were all out.  The last couple of days most of them are either inside the rock or slightly out looking a bit dried out.  I restructured my Live rock and since then the Coral is placed in a different location in the tank.  I was told to place this type of coral half way from the top to the bottom.  There is not to much current on the Coral.  My water levels are all good.  Please can you advise. Thanks, Gary <its tough to say/advise in part because I'm not sure which species you have. Goniopora stokesii is common in the trade and is a free-living Goniopora that lives on the sand bottom and must be kept there (they suffer long term if placed on rock). They are also one of the few species in this genus that have a prayer surviving in captivity (red Goniopora and the genus Alveopora are much better alternatives). Goniopora lobata is another common import, but they are cleaved from hard substrates and really have little or no chance of surviving in captivity with our present knowledge of necessary husbandry. There are good reasons to support the suggestion by some folks that few if any of these types of coral should be collected at all for the aquarium trade. Do read more on the net (in our archive and abroad) and fine books like Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals or my "Book of Coral Propagation" [we both have Aussie distributors... see dealers list at readingtrees.com]. Best regards, Anthony>

Koko worm rock and Porites Coral Hello Wet Web Crew! Hope all is well for you. As you by now know I am very new at this hobby. I'm not sure if the questions will ever end! <I should hope not... keep learning!> Recently I purchased a rock with about 15 Christmas tree worms from my LFS. The worms are growing on/in what I believe to be Porites coral. <agreed... AKA "Koko or Bisma worm rock". Porites (lobata) with fanworms incused> When I purchased the rock the coral was a reddish brown color but it's now rapidly changing to green. <if you still see the Porites polyps, it may simply be a color change. Please know that this symbiotic pair needs massive random turbulent water flow. That is key to success in keeping them both alive> The pet store told me it was some sort of sponge... do you believe that??? <alas... I am not surprised. I'm just glad they don't run an orphanage> (sort of my fault I should have researched before purchasing) Anyways, I'm concerned the coral may be dying and I'm not sure how to help. If the coral dies will the worms die also? <its an old legend... the worms can live (although they are very difficult to keep) without the coral. You will need to have a fishless refugium inline on the tank for natural plankton else your worms will almost certainly die in less than 2 years> What to do?? Also can you tell me how Christmas tree worms reproduce? <just like anybody else... a little too much wine, a beautiful starlit evening and Barry White/Luther Vandross music playing softly in the background. They can also spawn sexually in concerted broadcast spawns on the reef with pelagic larvae settling en masse. Does not occur in small captive aquaria> Thanks in advance for the brilliant and witty answer I am bound to receive! <thanks for the easy segue <G>> Cheers! Melinda <with kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

Light, Porites Hi all, Do you think a bright yellow Porites coral gets adequate lighting if approx. 10 inches straight below a 150W AquaLine HQI bulb? <likely yes... close if not. Very shallow is necessary for this species... and very strong random turbulent water flow too. The color will be the indicator... they turn golden brown if they do not get enough light> That's about 3-4 inches below water surface (total tank 100gal has 300W, using an Aquastarlight fixture). I had read that Porites were abundant in nature, hardy and moderate in lighting demands so I bought it a few days ago. <no way dude... literally ankle deep water in the tropics!!! Equatorial sun> Then I searched your site only to find that the yellow is a particularly demanding type of Porites when it comes to lighting. <actually... just in color rendition. They are adaptable and will survive lower light... they just wont stay yellow> I'm not sure what this means, but I assume it implies a 250-400W metal halide fixture range. <no way! 400 watt halides are rarely necessary. Perhaps the 250s though if you have a deeper tank and want the coral deeper> Given that all other water conditions are good (high movement, good skimming, quality RO, etc.) does it stand a chance or do you think that I should give it away before I kill it? <I believe it will be fine> Thanks so much, Adam <best regards, Anthony>

Alveopora Anthony: I have a few questions about the daisy coral (Alveopora). 1 what to feed and how often? <it needs substantial food/matter to survive but most is by absorption. You cannot target feed this coral. An inline fishless refugium (perhaps with grasses for epiphytic material) is recommended for fine natural plankton instead> 2  placement in tank how far from surface, tank has 384 watts of PC lighting? <a low light species that shocks under bright light. In this tank, place between 12 and 20 inches> 3 Any good links on this site that has a lot of info on the Alveopora sp. Thank you very much. Pat <alas... not much is known/published on this species in aquaria. They are too commonly misidentified or lumped in with Goniopora. Nonetheless... this beautiful coral to me seems to be hardier than Goniopora once established. As with all LPS species... a species specific display is best. No SPS corals and very few if any soft corals in the same tank or it may easily suffer and die in time (1-2 years) from the mix. Low to med light, moderate current only, heavy feedings of fishes and other corals in the tank will lend dissolved organics beneficially to Alveopora. Best regards, Anthony>

Porites Hi all, I have a Porites head with plenty of Xmas tree worms - really nice.  My LFS told me to expect the coral to die, which is not great advice (although it probably does die for many customers.  This coral can be kept quite successfully on the condition of STRONG currents and BRIGHT (MH) lighting.  I can provide this environment in my display.   <agreed> The thing is, while this piece has been in my quarantine, under 30w of fluorescent lighting with minimal current, excellent water quality, the Porites is re-growing to cover original die off and is usually well extended (makes the rock look "hairy").   <very good> By my normal reading of coral health, a coral that is growing, well extended and looking normal, is happy??    <healthy... not sure about happy <G>> Am I in for some sudden surprise if I keep this coral in my quarantine?   <not sure I follow the question? It is expected to leave QT in some weeks, yes? Then acclimate slowly to MH on bottom of tank or with screen method (see archives)?> Why would this coral be doing well under almost opposite conditions to those recommended?  Have I stumbled onto some "blind squirrel" coral!!? <good question... but the coral is not an exception. Most all coral can adapt to much low light if food/DOC compensates. The reverse is not true though (extra light will NOT cover lack of food)> Best, MP <best regards, Anthony>

Porites coral Dear All have just bought a Porites coral. I was wondering what information you could give me to help its survival in my tank. I have the following system specs <Porites require strong water movement (not linear though), and most require moderate to very bright light (re-acclimate from wild imported stressed condition slowly if necessary)> 130 gallons, profusion of live rock. Lighting is with 3 marine whites (arcadia 9500k's) and 1 actinic 03, all with reflectors. <hmmm... what kind of lamps (style? PC, normal output etc)? If these are any kind of fluorescent lamps then your Porites will need to be right under the surface of the water at best... and if they are specifically normal output lamps (40watt each)... then you may not be able to keep Porites at all here> A calcium reactor is due to be added to the tank soon to stabilize alkalinity and calcium levels. <very nice> The coral is placed mid way across the tank (directly facing my pump) and high up (6 ins from the water surface) <in front of a powerhead is dangerous for almost any coral... (never apply linear flow except for planar corals like Sea fans). > there is 4 powerheads on a timed cycle at various locations in the tank. <Timers (wavemakers) are a waste IMO... instead, keep all pumps full time converging in random turbulent flow is much better for coals and more bang for your buck> I currently have a pyjama wrasse that has took an interest in the coral as soon as it was acclimatized. He will be removed forthwith. <very strange... are you sure its eating coral flesh?> Reading your FAQ's I see Porites has had a very varied survival rate in aquaria (Julian Sprung's coral reference guide gives it 7 on the success scale). They are hardy of given proper light and water flow... you'll need to modify both to succeed here> My water levels are up to snuff and I have the following fish stock. 1 flame angel 1 Banggai cardinal 1 regal tang 1 pyjama wrasse 1 Midas blenny 1 maroon clown 1 sand sifter goby Coral stock is mushrooms, two leather corals (Sinularia and finger type) with Euphyllia and trumpet coral also. Various polyps in too (green star and yellow), plus a large colony of xenia. I do water changes every week of 14 to 7 gallons and add strontium and iodine weekly. I also feed marine snow every other day, and 3 times weekly with mussel/Mysis and plankton to the corals. Is there anything I should be doing more for this wondrous little coral? <I have serious doubts about the practical benefits of marine snow... and your Porites cannot feed organismally from anything prepared or from a bottle (polyps are too small). You would be much better served here by an upstream fishless refugium that produces fine plankton> The species bought is light brown in colour, with Christmas tree worms, <reference Porites lobata> and tiny commensal crabs in also. Is my lighting up to snuff? <not sure... need mention of wattage and type. Anything awry you can see from the above? Your comments are appreciated. Jim Griffin <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Porites coral Each light is 58W (colour temp 9500K) with reflectors as stated the coral is right up close top he top of the tank. <excellent placement under fluorescents. Very necessary even with VHO, T5 and PC fluorescents with high light specie like some Porites (cylindricus for example). Fluorescents are very fine lights but limited in penetration of water at depth> You seem to think this coral is not a very good aquarium species. <hmmm... I did not mean to convey that sentiment. Many Porites are kept in inappropriate conditions and struggle captively for it. With high water movement and limited competition, they can often be kept well- displaying  growth for many years. Too many, however, end up under fluorescents at depth with moderate to weak water flow (or laminar flow) and in mixed garden reef tanks. This will likely be a greater challenge than any for you... long term allelopathic stress to this often weakly aggressive coral in the presence of an indiscriminate mix of coral (unnatural LPS, SPS, octocorals, corallimorphs, etc) all together. No worries though... some temperance to be had by aggressive carbon filtration, efficient protein skimming and weekly water changes> Do you think I should remove it? <no, my friend... I suspect that you can enjoy this specimen nicely where it is with a modification of your water flow  to full time random turbulent from the current intermittent laminar (wave timer). If the fish and other corals in the tank are fed several times weekly or better, you may not have to even target feed this creature. Do consider a fishless refugium for plankton production for the benefit of all of your filter feeders too. Best regards, Anthony>

- X-mas Worms - Any suggestions on how to keep a Christmas Tree rock alive and happy? I add a basic Kent A&B as well as iron and a phytoplankton diet to the tank. Anything else I should include? What about light needs (time wise). Just want to keep them healthy and happy. <Unfortunately, all too often the needs of the Porites (the coral that forms the "rock" that the tube worms live in) is neglected, which slowly dies. Porites is considered a SPS coral, and needs good water flow, high and stable calcium and alkalinity levels, and high light levels (preferably metal halide). The worms derive some health benefit from the Porites (they often die should the Porites die) and will be quite content to live on phytoplankton that you add, as well as naturally occurring microscopic floating goodies. That said, the duration of the lighting should not be taken into account with individual corals, but rather with the whole tank in mind (don't exceed 12 hours, I keep mine at 10 hours). I hope this helps! -Kevin> Thanks

Reef Tumbleweeds - 9/23/03 Hello WWM FragMaster: <yes... grasshopper> I have a softball sized and shaped Porites (probably a jeweled finger) that seems to have no up or down. I can't even tell where it was fragged from. <yes... this is common with some Porites and several other genera of coral (Siderastrea in the Atlantic). They live in very (!) high flow areas of a reef and live like reef tumbleweeds> Will it matter in terms of placement in my tank? <nope... it will adapt/settle> The polyps on the current upper-most side (little guys the size of a pencil dot) are out but the ones on the bottom are not...and, this may seem like a dumb question, but how do the guys that will end up in the shade survive, given that some will have to end up that way (unless I sink lights in the tank and point them upwards ??) Thanks so much, SLC <the deprived tissue/polyps will wane indeed. Your only other option is to grow the coral in suspension. I have written an article about this that is archived on Reefkeeping Magazine (online from reefcentral.com). Best regards, Anthony>

Porites Upside-down II? 9/24/03 Thanks...this does lead me to believe that this frag was raised in suspension, as it has polyps everywhere. <hmmm... I assumed that you bought a wild harvested coral. And I can assure you that they commonly are imported this way (a few species/genera)> I feel bad shading the guys on the bottom into oblivion. Perhaps I should re-suspend them ASAP. <either that or frag it if you like. These topics are covered at length in my Book of Coral Propagation if you care for such a read.> PS - You don't literally mean like a tumbleweed, I hope ... although it kind of looks like one, I'm not sure my powerheads are that strong. Thanks, SLC <they do literally occur that way... from very strong water movement on a reef. Siderastrea (star/starlet coral is the most prevalent example of this... but I have seen Porites often enough this way. Kind regards, Anthony>

Encrusting Goniopora 1/15/04 Hi, I have a couple of questions about my Goniopora. I bought a brownish red one a couple of days ago. I knew they were difficult before I bought it. It was not the ball shape kind. It seems to be an encrusting form. That is partially the reason that I bought it. <The verdict is still out on these morphs of Goniopora.  Some reports indicate that they are more hardy, while other do not.> I noticed it had feather dusters, and other filter feeding organisms on it. I guess that that would hint that it lived in a nutrient rich area. <Keep two things in mind... Nutrient rich in the wild is still low nutrients by aquarium standards.  Also, most of the nutrients in aquariums are dissolved and on the reef there is a lot of particulate.  Therefore, despite being "Nutrient rich", aquaria often fail to provide the kind of food such animals need.> I had it on the bottom of the tank in a relatively open area un-shaded area. The polyps didn't seem to be opening too much. So I moved it to a partially shaded area, and the polyps opened up a lot more. The tentacles on the actual polyps don't seem to out all of the way. The actual waving arms only extend about one inch. Is this normal for this species? <These morphs do have much shorter polyp extension than other morphs, so it sounds like your specimen is fine.  Reddish corals are often from deeper water, which explains why you coral seems better expanded in lower light.> Then I read an article at advanced aquarist online magazine about these corals and Alveopora. It said that Iron and Magnesium can drastically improve the corals health and polyp extension. What do you think? Thanks, Adam! M. <It was Iron and Manganese (not magnesium, which is the second most abundant cation to sodium in sea water), and while interesting and encouraging, this idea has not been supported.  There are probably other benefits to dosing Iron, but manganese is questionable.  If you do decide to dose, please do so conservatively and test for these elements.  Best regards!  Adam>

Goniopora Care Question - 11/22/03 I spoke with Anthony a while back regarding the hardiness of Goniopora at which time he stated they were very hardy given the proper conditions <to be sure... they can be long-lived with a the right care (many years), but it would not be fair to call them "hardy". My apologies if I was unclear on this> such as keeping them in multiples (within touching distance) on the substrate etc.   <correct... one very deep sand beds (6"+) that have been established and fishless for 1 year or more, to provide micro nutrients... and with established sea grasses which provide epiphytic material. Long-term planning needed here> My question is regarding water flow & how much to provide them. I would say average... 10-20X tank turnover per hour> Any other care facts you could offer would be greatly appreciated. <do be sure to seek only the free-living species, G. stokesii... not the common flowerpot G. lobata that is chiseled from rock and hard to keep alive. The red Indo species shows good promise too though> Thank you in advance for your help. Penny Harkins - Owner AquaCorals <best of luck my friend... Anthony>

Goniopora Care Question II Hi Anthony, <Hi Penny> Thank you for your response. It was my mistake in quoting Gonioporas were "very hardy". I also should have been more clear regarding flow. I was looking for how much direct current should we give them? Just enough to make the polyps flow, no current or? <ahh... good question. No direct flow at all (harmful)... we need random turbulent flow here... and actually of moderate strength (not too weak at all). Those polyps should be moving well back and forth. Having at least 10X turnover is our goal here> Thanks again!  BTW, we will be ordering more of the Reef Invertebrates book soon... at the proper e-mail address too!  ;) <much thanks, my friend!> Penny- www.aquacorals.com <be chatting soon :) Anthony>

Goniopora Hi Bob, I have a quick question, I have received a donated Goniopora from a distraught hobbyist because they were misinformed and purchased a beautiful red specimen, who is still doing reasonably I guess. They don't want to be responsible for the seemingly inevitable death. <In your care... not inevitable in the short term> Last night he retracted his top tentacles and began to puff up at the base of the tentacles shortly after I fed my buttons a distance away. Was he eating passing food or reacting to something else? In moving him etc the only reaction was to retract but not puff up. <Reacting to the other stinging-celled life> Thanks for your time Bob One of your many fans! Rob <Hmm, can I join? Do situate other Gonioporas near this specimen if you can/have them... and not be too fastidious about cleaning up around, near this colony. Bob Fenner, who says, "Flowerpots need not be doomed".>

Goniopora Follow-Up As a follow-up to my email last night--the hammer looked better this morning--I think it was just going through a "waste purge" from eating such a large piece of krill. I'll know for sure when I go home this afternoon. On the Goniopora--the hole I've observed is right on top, and is small--about the size of a pencil eraser. The polyps within about 1/2 inch of the hole don't extend much, but all the other polyps on the animal still extend fully. So it's not in distress at the moment--thought I'd clarify the current situation on this one. I did test the water again last night for ammonia, and it is still zero. <Good... these animals can/do regenerate under good care...> Is it possible that this situation is caused by pieces of krill or brine shrimp settling down between the polyps of the Goniopora and staying there? <Unlikely> Sometimes when I feed the tank, pieces of meaty food will fall down between its polyps--there is moderate circulation there, but not enough to blow away anything that falls into it because the polyps almost always stay fully extended, and are partially extended at night.  <Have seen huge colonies of this genus in very poor water quality situations in the wild... some with enormous amounts of sedimentation...> I have in the past used a turkey baster to direct water at it to make the polyps retract so I can wash away anything that has fallen in there. That's what I was doing last night when I noticed the hole, in fact, and what I thought was leftover food most likely was dead tissue on the animal, that washed away to reveal the hole. Would this assumed "dead" tissue instead be a healing process, like human scabs, that I should leave alone? <I would> Thanks again. James A. Deets <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Goniopora Coral Hello does my flower pot coral need to in the sand or on rock? <Best on the sand, but not a hardy coral either way. Most die within a year. -Steven Pro>

Alveopora <<Hello, JasonC here.>> Hi, my Alveopora have been shut for a while, I thought they would be easier to keep than Gonioporas. <<unfortunately not.>> What do they really need? more nitrates to feed on, more movement, more light, higher salinity? I've been using Marine Delux regularly. <<turbid, lagoon type conditions which are not easily reproduced. Probably best in a healthy refugium. Not really to familiar with Marine Delux, but as you've already observed, is not going to help.>> can you enlighten me on this. thanks. Stefi/London <<There is some really good reading and FAQs on this very topic residing on WWM. Here's a good place to start: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/poritidae.htm  Cheers, J -- >>

Unhappy Flowerpot (I know, I know!) Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> First off I want to say what a fantastic site you have. Being fairly new to the hobby, I have crammed so much information into my brain that I am even dreaming about it. My kids are sure that I have lost my mind! I read your "Tips on Asking Questions" so first I will give you a run down on the tank. 150 gal All Glass w/ 25 gal sump. 200 lbs. LR and 4" LS base. Protein Skimmer (which we made), Lights are all Power Compacts ( 2 - 96W 10,000K, 2 - 96W 6,700K, 2 Actinics). Salinity 1.021, Temp 82, pH 8.2, Calcium 405, Ammonia 0, Nitrate 10, Nitrite 0, Alkalinity & Phosphate I don't have tests for.  <overall sounds like a very nice setup... do get an Alk. kit soon though and keep an eye on it> Tank is 7 years old, but moved from office to home 1 year ago. Therefore, it has become my hobby rather than my husbands. (Don't think he ever thought that he would be buying me corals for gifts!!!) We have had just a few fish and the original cleaner crew for about 8 months because the lighting needed to be upgraded. Since then the current occupants are toadstool leather, finger leather, rose leather, plate coral, pearl bubble, open brain, several species of mushrooms and the flowerpot ( ugh! ... not my choice, but now my problem!) Fishies are Naso Tang, Yellow Tang, Percula Clown, Snowflake eel and 3 wretched damsels. All very happy, other than the flowerpot. We have had it for about 2 months and it is most certainly dying. The skeleton is turning dark brown and it has never looked like it did at the LFS. My question is what do I do with it?  <hmmm... is the color change one of pigmentation (which could be a tolerable or even favorable photo adaptation) or are you noticing a bit of necrotic infection (brown gelatinous tissue sloughing away)?> I read in another post that it can be poisoning everything else. It is just cruel and to take it out, but I don't have a QT tank to switch it to.  <although there is a bunch of tissue that could rot or spread an infection... lets first determine the nature of the color change> Any suggestions would be really helpful. <long term success is going to involve a refugium with some Seagrass...perhaps phytoplankton feeding...more for you to read/learn> WOW, sorry for the long message ... us mom's who stay at home tent to get carried away when chatting with an adult! Thanks for the help! Beckie <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Goniopora Anthony, Thanks for the input. Here's some more questions.... <fire away my salty brethren!> I'm picturing my 30g tall hex.  <<and I'm picturing a beach full of beautiful women who just love short men... I guess that means I win the visualization contest!>> My sump is too small, and has been on 'the list.' <<sooner rather than later>> <in a perfect world: yank the Caulerpa, establish Thalassia sp Seagrass > I just checked FFExpress, and they don't have it. Is Thalassia available on the market? <<yes... most any Atlantic collector can get Seagrass species. Start by asking the LFS if they have a dedicated Atlantic supplier. diver that can get it... else do a keyword search on the net with the genus name for a local supplier. I only know of overpriced retailers and strict wholesale only divers <wink>.>> <put bright daylight (and some window light if possible) colored lamps (6500-10K but no higher)> Window light is easy for me here in the valley of the sun.  <hmmm... that rules out Seattle or Pittsburgh>> Since the depth of the hex, what type of wattage do you recommend? With the grass, I assume I can't 'cheat' like I can with just the coral - putting it high in the tank.  <exactly... high light all the way. given the pricing options on various PC and VHO options and the tall nature of the tank... a single 150watt 6500K Iwasaki halide would do the trick. The bulb will last 3-5 years too most likely!!!> For the Goni itself, when searching your website, most of what I have read is basically "it's already dead, it just doesn't know it yet" and not much info on lighting and water movement - answers I'm sure I'll find in your book. <<yes...dangerously favorable towards encouraging the keeping of this most challenging species>> <and you might even experiment judiciously with DT's phytoplankton (more about proper dosing if you do),> Will keep the horse in front of the cart for now, but will plan on researching this once I get things set up. <<very wise my friend>> < very deep fine bed of sand (needed for microfauna and Seagrass... around 5-6" sugar fine aragonite> Ahh, finally something I know I can take care of! <if you care to, mention my book and website to your LFS to peruse the dealer list or order from me directly. Do us both a favor <smile>> I'm not going to walk into that place quite yet. I'm a little angry at the misguiding....  <<understood, but you can get good and bad advice anywhere... that's why it pays to be an educated consumer>> am actually considering using FFExpress for future purchases, but have a hard time with the idea buying site unseen.  <<I am very much of this same opinion>> When I eventually swallow and go in there, I will definitely recommend your book and site. I'll try not to say "This is the expert that said you sold me a poorly suited specimen." <<I suspect that will help with my book sales in this venue <wink>... and perhaps one of the owners or employees might do us all a favor and read it...hehe>> <the first 200 pages of the book are fundamental reefkeeping in plain language...no Latin or coral propagating until the last 250 pages <wink>> It's not the Latin I fear, just an introduction that goes something like: "....and now that you've successfully kept corals for years, and understand much about their individual needs....." I will definitely be purchasing your book... right after payday. <<hehe...after reading the intro to my book, you'll realize how hilarious your last question was... something about a cousin Guido and cabbage Popsicles in that intro...seriously <VBG>>> Thanks. <<kind regards, Anthony>>

Goniopora coral 1/6/04 Dear Crew, I was lead to believe that a Goniopora coral was easy to care for.  I have  since learned that is not, but I cannot find any information on how to care  for it. <Sadly, this is all too common.  Dealers either don't know any better or don't care.  There is no reliable info on Goniopora care because even among those that are successful and report their tank conditions, no one consistent "magic bullet" can be identified.> Any suggestions would be appreciated.  There was some initial die off  but for the last 2 weeks there hasn't been any.  I have a 29gal mini reef with Mushroom corals, tongue coral, xenia and the Goniopora.  I have 15 blue legged hermit crabs, 2 peppermint shrimp (for Aiptasia control), 1 emerald crab, 1  brittle star, 1 scooter blenny, a feather duster and 20lbs of live rock. <In such a small tank, you will have to be careful that all corals (particularly the Goni) have enough room to expand without physically touching each other.  As the mushrooms grow, they may be a problem in terms of chemical competition with the Goni.  Please do keep an eye on your crabs..  Hermits for killing snails and each other for shells, and the emerald for eating corals (esp. xenia.)> I have a 3 inch sand base and run an Amiracle skimmer and an AquaClear 200.  It has  24inch Coralife compact light with 2-65wt bulbs, 1 actinic and 1 regular with  2 fans. The PH is 8.3, the salinity is 1.025, NO2 is 0ppm, NO3 is 15ppm, NH3/4 is 0ppm, Ca is 350ppm (I am adjusting this to reach 450ppm).  I use Seachem  Reef Builder, Reef Advantage Plus and Reef Plus for supplements.  I do a 30%  water change once a month using distilled water as a base. <If you have found out that Goniopora is difficult, you probably also have heard that deep sand beds and light skimming are beneficial, so your system sounds ideal.  Just make sure you have seeded your sand bed with plenty of living critters (pods, worms, etc.).  You did not report an alkalinity measurement.  IMO, after the cycle, Alk is the most important parameter to test regularly.> This is my first attempt at a mini reef so any suggestions are welcomed.  I would like to obtain seahorses from Ocean Rider in the future.  I would also like to add other corals, any suggestions?   <In terms of other corals, just be careful to leave enough space for expansion and growth.  Some softies can double in size in just a few months.  As for sea horses...  They really need their own tank.  Reef tanks are inappropriate in so many ways.  Sea horses need very gentle current, cannot get enough food in the presence of most fish, will be stung or even eaten by many corals, and prefer deeper, taller tanks.  If you do pursue seahorses, please do read up here and visit www.seahorses.org .> Thank you, Caryn Heffner <Always glad to!  Adam>

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