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FAQs about SPS Coral Health/Disease, Pests/Predators

Related Articles: SPS Corals, Acroporid Corals, Dyed Corals,

Related FAQs: SPS 1, SPS 2, SPS Identification, SPS Behavior, SPS Compatibility, SPS Selection, SPS Systems, SPS Lighting, SPS Feeding, SPS Reproduction, Acroporid Corals, Agariciid Corals, Astrocoeniid CoralsMerulinid Corals, Pectiniid Corals, Pocilloporid Corals, Siderastreid CoralsStony Coral Behavior, 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,

Critter ID question        4/8/15
yesterday I discovered hundreds of these little guys on some corals, All over an ORA blue Chalice, and some encrusting Psammarcora and Montipora.
The corals were in poorer health, Not sure if it was because of the critter or they were just being opportunistic. Tanks are bare bottom. Recent addition of a large amount of Chaeto to that holding tank (I own a store)
Sent the one blurry pic to Marc Levenson for ID, he was not sure. So I took the failing corals and gave them to a local vet and he put the critter under a scope. Said that its definitely a crustacean,
Looks like a flea,
Definitely has a mouth with biting parts.
I'm thinking this is something beyond a pod,
<MANY possibilities>
I've been doing this for about 15 years and never seen anything quite like it.
I attached the photo of the chalice I found them on, That chalice was fine up until yesterday when I found it looking like the photo.
Curious as to ID, and possible way to get rid of them!! (6 line wrasse maybe?)
<Yes! I'd try small-crustacean predatory fishes>
The system the tank is on is about 400 gallons. Not seeing anything in the other tanks with wrasses, not sure how long they've been around but I've never seen them before yesterday.
<As you know... such organisms do "pop up" seemingly from nowhere. Stocking a mix of.... Oh, let me see if we have summat archived re: Ah yes; read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/podcompfaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>
*Jennifer Kaufman*
*Aquarium Artisans *

SPS Anthelia Question, hlth and comp resp.    3/29/15
Hello Bob et.al. I have been having some real weird issues with sps in terms of them burning (turning all white or brown). This all began in October when I moved the existing system into a 180, plenty of skimming, plenty of water movement. 6 months of scratching my head as too why with MG of 1500, CA at 450, I was still having issues getting ph to 8.3 (even with
Kalk, and alk issues).
<Don't fret over this.... do you have sufficient N, P, K?>
Boiled down to the salt I was using, I don't know if its because I have a ULN system,
<ULN: Ultra Low Nutrient for browsers>
but it was seemingly associated with using Red Sea Pro salt. I have bought multiple test kits and been through it all, I am now seeing color in sps and chalices I haven't seen in 6 months. One question though. I have anthelia which has gotten to the invasive stage,
<This could definitely be a factor as well>
it dominates 40% of LR surface.
<Yes; I'd trade out (with a shop) all but five, ten percent of this... for new rock. Isolate the remaining on its own bommies>
I know it can be toxic, but the only way I seem to be able to rid of it is to blow torch the rock which sends the rock into recycle.
<Careful here. Instead, as stated, trade it in for new rock>
Any suggestions on dealing with the anthelia? My understanding is that anthelia are minor to moderately toxic but only if irritate or try to kill them. I am just trying to determine how big of a threat their presence in my system is to sps, other than touching warfare.
Thanks, Tom
<The nutrient check (to make sure you have all three in proportion) and removal of the bulk of the Xeniid... along with enough light, circulation.... Bob Fenner>

SPS Corals Fading     10/24/14
Dear Bob & Crew,
Thanks so much for your years of dedication! Your advice as been a integral part every tank that I've set up. Sorry about the email length!
<Welcome and no worries>
I've been having issues with my SPS corals in my 155 in-wall reef. The set-up is designed for their particular needs and its ironic that they are not flourishing. The main problem is the gradual fading of color,
especially in the red corals.
<Perhaps a good clue>
I have listed all relevant data below:
155 Gallon tank- 72"L x 21"H x 24"W, established since August 2013
55 Gallon Sump with 2 fuges, one mud, one DSB (about 6 gallons each)
Large Reef Octopus Skimmer
Filter Sock
Purigen Chemical Media
3 Kessil 350W LED's at 90W each- running at 3/4 power, 75% blue
4 ATI 80W, 60" T-5's, 2 Blue, 2 White
1 19W Rapid LED actinic (for moonlight)
11am-12:30pm Moonlight on
12:30pm-6:30pm 2 Actinic T-5's On
1:30pm-7:30pm 3 Kessil's on
<I'd extend these for another two hours>
2:30pm-5:30pm 2 10K T-5's On
7:00pm-9:00pm Moonlight on
Eheim 1290 gph return
2 EcoTech Mp-10's at about 2000gph (set on reef crest)
2 Hydor Evolutions at 1500gph each, (running constantly)
Water Parameters:
SG 1.024 (need to raise)
Temp 77.1-77.4 F (controlled by Reefkeeper)
pH 7.9-8.1 (New probe, just calibrated)
Alk- 9.2 (Salifert) (Dosing B-ionic part 2)
Cal.- 400 (Salifert, dosing Kalk every hour, without vinegar)
Mag.- 1290 (Salifert)
Nitrate- 0 (API, need a low reading kit)
<... trouble. All chemo-autotrophs need appreciable NO3, and...>

Nitrite- 0
Ammonia- 0
Phosphate- 0 (API, again, need a better kit)

I have been dosing the Red Sea Product NoPoX,
<... this is at least one other, related source of your trouble here>
to aid in algae control, Have a pistol shrimp that has been killing all snails and have not been successful at removing yet. Will add snails once removed.
Mated pair of Skunk Clowns
Tail Spot Blenny
Yellow watchman Goby
Red-head Salon Wrasse
Starry Blenny
Med Neon Green Swirl Hammer Colony- about 8 heads
Large Silver Hammer Colony about 30 heads
Med. Duncan Colony, about 40 heads
Large Pink Birdsnest
Med Sunset Red Montipora digitata
Med Green Montipora spumosa
Small Purple Bushy Acropora
Small Tabling Acropora
Med Green Montipora Digitata
Med Pocillopora
Med Red/Pink Montipora capricornis (4)
Med Orange Montipora capricornis
Sm. Yellow Colony Polyp rock
Sm. Radio-active Dragon Eye Zoanthids
Large Caribbean Eunicia Gorgonian
Green Trumpet colony- about 6-7 heads
Med Rose Anemone
6 tiny Blue Leg Hermits
Med. Pistol Shrimp
The SPS's that have been fading are red Montipora capricornis (5 medium colonies) and my prize red digitata. All corals grew wonderfully in my last tank under T-5 and Halide lighting. It is strange because the cap's exhibited decent growth, vasing upwards nicely while losing much of their red color. Another culprit is an unidentified Acropora which did the same.
Other SPS corals are either growing extremely slowly while maintaining most coloration. All LPS corals show a maximum of about 40% polyp extension. For some reason, they just don't expand. All other corals including the Rose anemone are doing well.
<The latter can/does derive more nutrient from direct feeding>
I've deduced that the problem has to be among the following:
1) Water motion
2) Lighting (not sure if its quality, quantity or duration)
<Not much>
3) Allelopathic compounds from the Eunicia or GSP or other culprit,
although I removed the Eunicia for about 3 months with no improvement.
<Not likely>
4) Problems from carbon dosing (Red Sea NoPoX)- (Perhaps over filtration with DSB, chemical media, skimmer, mud, algae, and Carbon dosing?)
<Yes... the overall lack of Nitrate, soluble Phosphate. Pull this product, feed a bit more...>

I fear that I will lose all of my red capricornis's soon, as they are getting close to pure white in color! I've spend thousands on this system and I've tried to tailor it to meet the needs of the SPS corals but it appears that I'm failing! Any suggestions?
<The above... you could directly chemically feed the system; not the better route here>
Much appreciated!!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Slow bleaching and slow tissue necrosis (SPS hlth. f')       4/29/13
Hello all this is a question for a friend who has about had enough and we have exhausted all options from many experienced reefers. His system consists of a 210g display a 75g sump a 40g refugium, and two 40g breeder frag tanks. Obviously water volume is not an issue! He has several hundred pounds of live rock and biopellets for nitrate reduction used in conjunction with zeobak.
<The usual admonition/s re mixing chemical technologies; inclusive of rust/GFO use here>

Chemistry is as follows:
Ammonia (NH3-4) Good 0.01 mg/L
Nitrite (NO2) Good 0.005 mg/L
Phosphate (PO4) Good 0.17 mg/L
Nitrate (NO3) Good 0.5 mg/L
Silica (Sio2-3) High 1 mg/L
Potassium (K) Low 122  mg/L
Ionic Calcium (Ca) Good 132 mg/L
Molybdenum (Mo) High 0.3 mg/L
Strontium (Sr) Good 7.5 mg/L
Magnesium (Mg) Low 875 mg/L
<Too low and out of balance w/ [Ca]>

Iodine (I) Good 0.07 mg/L
Copper (Cu) Good 0.01 mg/L
Alkalinity (meq/L) Good 2.5  meq/L
Total Calcium (Ca) Good 350 mg/L
<As above w/ Mg>

These numbers are slightly lower than when issues started to occur as the calcium reactor was taken offline. Flow is provided in the display by three mp40s and two Mag drive 1800gph pumps. The frag tanks employ two JBJ powerheads on a Wavemaker in conjunction with the return pump from the sump. The refugium employs Chaeto and it has good growth and needs to be harvested bi weekly. Lighting on the display consists of three 250w hqi halides with phoenix bulbs and four actinic t5 bulbs. The frag tanks have one 150w hqi radium bulb and a 4 ft 6 bulb t5. Sps corals are struggling
under all flow conditions and all lighting from 80 par to 400 par nothing is happy regardless of placement. The inhabitants consist of several fish including three tangs two bluejaw triggers and a handful of smaller fish.
Corals include sps such as Birdsnests, Montipora, Acropora, digis, etc..
all are being affected. This tank is a mixed reef so many lps corals such as frog spawn, Duncans, chalices etc... also inhabit the tank but many lps are doing well with the exception of chalices.
<Good clue>

 Very few softies but many species of Zoanthids and Palythoas exist in the tank along with a few mushroom corals
<The winners in this mix>

 here and there but no large colonies of mushrooms are present. No leathers, large anemones, or other really noxious softies exist in the system.
<The Zoanthids and Corallimorpharians are enough here>
A reef octopus Diablo cone skimmer is set to wet skim and Bulk reef ROX carbon is employed on the system and changed regularly. Gfo is also used but only on an as needed basis. Currently the biopellets have been off of the system for a few weeks and the ROX was pulled offline as well to see if an excess of carbon sources was causing rtn but a recent experiment showed that newly introduced sps including two Acroporas and one Monti cap bleached and rtn'd after 6 days. They begin by bleaching then slowly lose tissue until the coral is gone. It should also be mentioned that temp is consistent around 79 degrees and monitored by an apex same with ph. No large swings have been noticed. I am at a loss for why this is happening. Any insight you could provide would be much appreciated.
<Appears to be a mix of the chemical filtrants used, the low, out of proportion alkaline earths, and likely a cascade allelopathogenic effect at play here... I'd move either the SPS or the Zoas, Shrooms... and ditch all
but one of the three chem. filtrants use.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Slow bleaching and slow tissue necrosis      4/29/13

See but that doesn't make sense because I employ bio pellets, a ZEOvit reactor, ZEOvit additives minus Zeo start(carbon source) GFO and carbon and a refugium.
<Different mixes (of livestock), differing results>

Plus all of the other additives in the Zeo line and I have large colonies of Zoanthids/Palys as well as large very colorful sps in a system more than half the size of the 210 listed above. I have been running this system this way for two years and corals have almost become a problem because of constant pruning. Here is a top down of my system not the one with problems listed above. [URL=
http://s1208.photobucket.com/user/zachkeys/media/056_zps561282b5.jpg.html][IMG] http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc362/zachkeys/056_zps561282b5.jpg[/IMG][/URL]
outside of your initial response is there anything you notice that could be triggering bleaching and stn. We have thought of warfare but as most of his corals as very small colonies in a large body of water it seems unlikely.
Zeo start is just a bacterial strain that keeps the tank from a mono culture when processing the bio pellets and GFO is only used when biological process's cant keep up with p04 reduction. Not trying to be a pain just trying to find something we haven't already thought of and tested.
<I do understand>
Many very successful hobbyists have had a crack at this and cant seem to find the problem which is why we are turning to a much more experienced source. Thank you for the speedy response again and if you see anything else that could be the issue it would be much appreciated. Thanks again
<We need better tools... to much more simply test for carbon (esp. 5 ring) compounds... Perhaps years later. BobF>
Re: Slow bleaching and slow tissue necrosis

We are isolating the zoanthids as most are in the two 40g breeders we will also isolate the 5 mushrooms in the display.
<Mmm, they really should come out, go elsewhere>
The livestock has all come from my system and coexists very well in mine but obviously something is awry in his tank.
<Yes; happens quite often... my fave term "cascade event"... "Something/s" triggering conflict, release of fighting chemicals>
 For the interests of helping other hobbyists we will send our findings in a few weeks. As stated the biopellets are offline now and have been for a while and zeo supplementation has been suspended. Calcium reactor is offline and two part is being employed to be able to specifically manipulate calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium. We are switching from ROX carbon to small particle lignite as it has been stated that some carbon does not work well in a nutrient poor system and can have adverse effects.
We have also turned off the skimmer for the time being to see if low nutrients may be a factor.
Nitrogen compounds and P04 will be monitored and when it has risen we will continue skimming again and employ water changes and/or gfo if necessary. Just writing this so when it goes on your site others can see how we approached the problem and possibly gain some insight.
<I appreciate this in all meanings>
We are also doing another water change on his system today but rather than use freshly mixed salt water like we have been we will use water taken from my system.
 Previously we have employed large water changes to see if it would help the system right itself to no avail hence using water from an established system as the source of replenishment. All water is ro/di checked with a frequently calibrated tds meter. Thank you for your
help if you do think of something else we could use all the input possible.
Sincerely Zach Keys

SPS demise   3/14/11
Hi Crew! I am having a big problem with my 10 year old 120 gal mixed reef tank. Over the last six weeks or so I have lost almost all of my SPS corals-one lone Montipora survives. The tank used to have a Birdsnest, various Acropora,pocillapora...as well as some LPS-Frogspawn,Duncans,Fungia
<Is there a formatting issue w/ the software we're employing? Where are the spaces twixt the words here?>
and lots of various mushrooms and zoos-and a few leathers.
<... allelopathy>
The mushrooms and zoos are still ok,as well as the leathers
<Ah yes... they're the winners; your SPS, losers>
and what I believe is a Symphyllia.The Frogspawn and the Duncans are expanding less and less. I also had a Squamosa clam that died early-on. I have had many of these corals for years and years...I think the Frogspawn is the first coral I ever got...its been fragged probably a dozen times-its probably at least eight or nine years old! As I said my tank is 120 gallons with a 20 gal sump underneath. I have filter sock with Chemi-pure Elite that covers the return from the overflow. I have a Tunze 9010 DOC skimmer in the sump-no other filtration is used. The tank has nice brisk flow using a Tunze Wavebox 6212 and a Tunze Turbelle powerhead. My param.s are: alkalinity 148(Hanna Checker),magnesium 1400,calcium 430,po4 0.05,nitrate 5,ph 8.05 at this moment but varies between 8-8.4,temp 78 degrees, SG 1.023,ammonia 0,nitrite 0.The tank has a lot of live rock that I've collected over many years. I add Kalkwasser almost daily and 2 part calcium a couple of times a week. I don't use RO water for top-off because we have well water(it has a lot of iron in it but is otherwise ok I think).Now...a couple of changes I've made-around Christmastime I changed out my 2x250 watt 10,000k halides for 250 watt 15,000k-looking for better color. I've since found out that I should have screened the tank or reduced my photoperiod at first-but didn't. The other thing is I got four Anthias from my LFS and started feeding frozen mysis twice a day...way more than my tank is used to getting, but I figured the skimmer could handle it. The only other thing I can think of that happened is that in early January I visited family in Oregon for a week leaving my wonderful husband in charge..and he failed to notice the skimmer quit working at some point-so it could have been nearly a week. That was before I got the Anthias though, so we weren't feeding heavily at that point. Anyway we got the skimmer going and everything still looked fine so I didn't even do any testing at that point! This tank has been stable for such a long time...I confess I really don't test it much and only occasionally did much water changing. When I got all these test kits I really thought something would be way out of whack that would explain what's been happening. Some people have said its the lighting, some the increased feeding, some say its "old tank syndrome". I just don't know what to do next...please help!! Cherie
<Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and the linked files above in this series, as well as the Compatibility FAQs for Zoanthids, 'Shrooms and Alcyonaceans... almost assuredly your problem/s originate with chemical warfare twixt these. Bob Fenner>
Re: SPS demise   3/14/11
Duh...I forgot to tell you what I have for livestock:1 yellow tang,1 Scopas tang,1 Clarke clown,4 Lyretail Anthias, 1 Six-line wrasse,1 Clown Goby,1 dwarf angel,1 fire red shrimp. Don't know if that helps!thanks, Cherie
<Mmm, not really; but thank you for the data. BobF>

Re: SPS demise   3/14/11
Bob, thanks SO much for your help! At least I know what to concentrate on now. And sorry about my poor typing-what I really need is a secretary!
<Or a new space-bar!>
After reading up on allelopathy I realized that another thing I forgot to mention(sorry, but with the way I type,slowly,it took me 45 min) is that I recently added a rather large Colt coral that has since proceeded to break off numerous small pieces.
<Ah ha!>
These little pieces are now growing all over the tank! I just did a quick count and saw 13 of them. Do you think this could be the cause?
<Oh yes>
I'm just wondering because all the other stuff has been coexisting in there for a long time. Again thanks for your kind consideration of my probably self-inflicted troubles! Cherie
<Does happen. Do read and heed the bit re "mixing water" ("Boris Karloffing") twixt new arrival in quarantine and main/display tank/system. BobF>
Re: SPS demise
So here is a pic of my tank a few days ago-note the Colt coral and babies-the babies are all gone now and the parent is on a fast train back to the LFS tomorrow.
<Ah, hon; we usually have the opposite trouble, but your pic is way too small... 4.8 Kbytes! Do send along something a few hundred Kbytes>
What about the large hairy mushrooms on the lower right? Should I also remove?
<Not likely... if it's been in w/ the rest...>
By the way-WWM is my new best friend!!Is there a way to support you financially-because I would be happy to!!
<We/WWM has a donate button at the bottom left of every page. BobF>
SPS demise

yes, full size

Re: SPS demise   3/14/11
Many, many thanks hon...err Bob...sorry, computer is not my first language!
<Mine neither!>
Never the less-you have provided an invaluable service and I have really enjoyed my first experience with you guys! Donation in progress!!
<Hotay! B>

Re: SPS demise   3/18/11
Hi WWM guys! One more question. At what point might I consider this crisis "over"? We have pretty much changed all the water in the tank(over several days), removed all possibly offending corals and put in all new Chemipure. I would like to start replacing some of my lost stuff but I don't want to rush it. Is there a certain amount of time I should wait? The remaining LPS coral IS starting to look a little less stressed. Thanks so much, Cherie
<Mmm, actually, if by "replacing lost stuff" you mean the livestock... I would hold off on any Cnidarian life. BobF>

Re: SPS demise   3/18/11
Bob,darlin...of COURSE I mean the livestock! Did you think I meant the protein skimmer or the Wavemaker? I'm just looking for some guidelines about when it might be safe to start adding some corals or a clam or two. I ordered some Purigen, will continue to test...maybe some further water changes. Please advise. Thanks again for all the hard work by you and all the crew!! Cherie
<I would wait a good two weeks post observing any signs of duress here. B>
Re: SPS demise
Now THAT'S what I needed to know! My enthusiasm for this new-found website is exceeded only by my admiration for a group of people who seek to guide, voluntarily, all us less than perfect and chronically underinformed, but passionate aquatic hobbyists! Cherie
<Cheers and a hie ho!>

Reef Problems/SPS Systems/Health 3/7/2011
Hi all,
<Hello Liam>
This is my first post, so apologies if I miss anything that you may need. Firstly I will tell you sizes of my tank, sump, lighting and filtration etc.
Tank size is 72' l x 24'w x 18'h, sump is 60'l x 12'w x 15'h, filtration media in sump is 40kg of Florida crushed coral gravel with an Underworld Polyfilter and Alfagrog, return pump is via an Aquaone 1050 external filter. running through a Octopus flow screw and an ionizer rod <Useless>. Media in external filter is standard carbon and ceramic media
<Why ceramic media if you're using live rock?>
with a polishing pad.
<Would not use a polishing pad on a permanent basis, can/will be a nutrient trap.>
Skimmer is an Aquamedic 1000 multi-sl. I have 2 6000l/h circulator pumps, one at either end of the tank, and a smaller 2000l/h pump at the same end as the skimmer. My lighting is 2 x 150w 14k metal halides and 2 blue t8 tubes. Blue tubes on for 12 hours a day and halides for 10 hours.
I have roughly 60kg live rock with a couple of cm of crushed coral gravel.
My water chemistry is as follows:
ph 8.2 API test kit
ammonia 0 API test kit
nitrite 0 API test kit
nitrate 0-5 API test kit
phosphate 0 API test kit (also virtually 0 on a powder kit a friend has but can't remember what brand)
copper 0 (I always test this but I know I have never used it in aquarium, just precautionary)
KH 10dkh API test kit
<I'd try to maintain at 7-8 dKH in a reef system.>
sg 1.024
think that's everything you will need.
<Mmm, what about calcium and magnesium, both essential for SPS/LPS growth/health.>
Now for my problem. I cant seem to keep most hard corals or button polyps alive. I have pulse polyp, star polyp, toadstool, anenome's, yellow polyp, asparagus coral, bush coral, medusa coral, cabbage coral, finger coral and cauliflower coral. All of which are doing brilliantly. I also have bubble coral, torch coral, mushrooms and a snow polyp which are doing ok but could be better and I also have pineapple rock, moon coral, spiny brain corals which seem to be dying quite fast. In the past I have had Acroporas (three different types), Elkhorn and another sps that I cant remember its name which died very quickly. Oh and I have a Scolymia which is doing fantastically.
<Two 150 watt halides are a little on the weak side for a six foot tank. May want to read here and related articles/FAQs found in the header.
I feed all my tank with live home made plankton mix at least twice a week, which also contains rotifers and copepods and then I direct feed the corals that need it brine shrimp/Mysis shrimp/prawn (prawn mainly for the scoly)
<Mmm, may want to read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm>
As far as my lfs say I am doing everything right. so why are my hard corals dying out on me all the time? I have struggled with acro's etc for quite a while now and just cant seem to keep them going for very long before they start losing the fleshy parts on the lps or bleach on the sps.
<I suspect low lighting is contributing to this along with the possibility of allelopathy. Suggest you read Eric Borneman's article found here.
I have no fish on there that are known coral predators, however I know that they cant all be guaranteed not to touch them, but I have also never seen anything attack them.
Please try and shed some light on what I am doing wrong?
<As above, and ensure your Euphyllia corals (Torch and Bubble) are kept a good distance from other corals as they are very aggressive in terms of allelopathy. I also suggest getting yourself a
reference book on corals. Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals is an excellent source of information on all corals commonly kept in the home aquaria.>
Thanks in advance.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Reef Problems/SPS Systems/Health 3/7/2011- 3/8/2011

Hi James
<Hello Liam>
Thanks for your help so far.
<You're welcome.>
I agree the ionizer rod is pretty useless but I was given it and thought if it does nothing I have lost nothing and if it does something I have gained for free. The ceramic media within the external filter was left in there purely as I was only using the filter as a type of return pump. I have now removed the polishing pad from the filter as I was unaware it would act as a trap.
<Only if not cleaned on a weekly basis. My motto has always been that the easier a system is to maintain, the more it will be maintained.>
My calcium level is 420ppm and my magnesium level is 1280ppm using Salifert kits. Thought I had put those in my first email sorry.
<No problem.>
If I were to change my two blue actinics for white marine 30w bulbs one at 12000k and the other at 9000k do you think that would be better?
<No, you really need to get another 150w metal halide, SPS corals demand intense lighting.>
I already have extra means for blue lighting.
I have looked into how close my corals are and I do not think it is allelopathy, but again I am not 100% sure how long the stinging polyps are on some of the corals.
<I only said the possibility of allelopathy. It's the sweeper tentacles that do the damage and it's usually in the evening when they are extended and can reach lengths exceeding
six inches.>
Is there anything else you would recommend I do that I have not mentioned?
<Yes, follow my advice in the original email and do read the links I have provided you. You state you cannot keep hard corals alive and these corals are the most light demanding.
Concentrate on improving water quality, low nitrates/phosphates are not necessarily indicative of good water quality. Replacing carbon with Chemipure will noticeably improve your water
Thanks again.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Need help in identifying pests on my coral  3/1/11
My coral is dying at a very rapid rate. (All SPS) Water parameters are perfect and stable. Have successfully removed red bugs (6 months ago) and no visible signs of them now. Have also encountered Acro Eating Flatworms (AEFW) and are currently treating those with dips. (Coral RX and Revive).
<A hard lesson in the value of isolation, quarantine for sure>
Have discovered a new batch of worms that are taking out our coral at an alarming rate. These worms do not leave visible bite marks or any other indicators like the AEFW other than totally destroying a small colony of coral in a matter of 24 hours. Would appreciate any help in identifying these pests before we lose our whole tank (240 gal). I have attached a couple of photos that were taken of the worms under a microscope.
<Can't make out even the phylum of these apparent worms from your photo; however, the vermifuge/antihelminthic/s used for treating Flatworms should eliminate these as well. I would carefully review the inserts in the products being employed esp. their MSDS sheets)... ALL chemical filtrants
should be removed, skimming turned off... perhaps the substrate vacuumed ahead of reapplication.>
Thanks in advance for any help in this matter.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Excessive CO2, ph, sps coloration   11/24/10
This ones for Bob or Anthony if he's still around.
<Long since gone>
I have a 300 gal system, has a rdsb. I used to have a dsb and never had color or ph issues with sps, but since I set up with a rdsb, what I noticed is that my sps have a habit of stressing and turning white when ph falls below 8.0 (Alk at 10dkh), but as soon as I raise it, they start to color up.
<Am wondering what/re is the cause of pH shift here...>
I am totally perplexed as many other reefers claim sps is best kept at lower phs such as 7.8 and dKH of 8, which TOTALLY contradicts my experience.
<Mine as well, except for certain "dirty" species like the genus Goniopora... All SPS live, do better at elevated pH and slightly lower dKH>
What I am perplexed by is whether the issue is caused by excessive indoor co2,
<!? I am very concerned here. IF you believe there is this much gaseous carbon dioxide in your living space, you should thoroughly investigate such. GET a CO2 monitor...>
or whether its actually perhaps a phosphate threshold issue ( I know I have higher co2 levels as I have
natural gas heating and have done the aeration test).
<Ahh, good>
I don't know what my phosphate level is (its fairly low no massive algae growth to speak of). I know as o2 rises, co2 declines
<Mmm, not really. That is, one can have circumstances with highs, lows of both, neither>
and ph rises. I'm just curious if you guys have ever seen anything like this?
<Yes... again, the possible causes are several... Do you want to chat this up a bit? BobF>

Coral Polyp Extension 11/23/10
Hi Guys
I have a very interesting problem with some of my SPS corals that I have been fighting for the last 10 months or so. Several of my SPS colonies have virtually no polyp extension what so ever while others are doing fabulously.
<Not an uncommon situation>
The affected colonies are ALL of my Acropora, Millepora, Prostrata, and a Porites colony. These colonies literally have no Polyps showing at all, however at night the ones on the branch tips will extend somewhat but the Millepora for example will not look anywhere close to what it should. Any new frags that are added to the tank will have polyps for the first day or so then nothing. Some of the corals are growing quite well but the Millie's and Prostrata for example are not growing at all other than their bases are spreading a little.
I also have colonies of Pollicipora, Stylophora, Horn Coral, M. capricornis (3 different), M. Digitata (2 Different), Superman Monti, Birds Nest, and all of these colonies have good to fabulous Polyp Extension especially the Digitatas. Also In the tank are a Frogspawn, Hammer, Ricordea, Candy Cane, Chalice and all seem healthy and happy.
I have literally tried everything, More flow, Less flow, More Water changes, Carbon, No Carbon, Salinity, Prodibio additives, red bug treatment (yes I did have them), temperature, more skimming, higher/lower Cal/Alk/Mag the list goes on and on.
The system is a 120G reef and my parameters are Cal 430 Alk 7.5 Mag 1335 Nitrate 2.5 Phosphate .05 SG 1.025 and temp 78-80F. I use Kalkwasser at night to maintain my levels. Lighting is provided by 2x250 W Phoenix 14k bulbs and 2X96W PC 50/50 bulbs. Flow is a Reeflow Dart return and 4
Korallia Evo 1400's on a random wave program. Everything is controlled by a Neptune Apex controller.
I have noticed lately that many of the affected corals have changed color to green, especially anything that is supposed to be yellow.
<A good clue... there is a nutrient (chemical) deficiency at play here. The Kalk may be (over)precipitating soluble phosphate (needed) out to too large a degree. Do you have measurable HPO4 at times greater than 0.05? You may actually have none... the test kit may be giving you an anomalous reading>
They are now a vibrant lime green. The growth patterns have changed too on some of the affected Acros, they are becoming very thick and knobby and even misshapen in some instances.
<Also telling>
Some even appear that the tissue has grown over the corallites structure and sealed it off. I have however not lost a single coral in this system since it was started up 1 year ago.
<Good. Just starved>
Another thing that has also recently developed is my Frogspawn has had a large bubble growing on it for some time. It simply looked like a Ping-Pong ball size balloon of tissue that's just full of water. It has
popped 2x but has returned eventually. Now my Purple Stylophora has some small ones on its shaded side and so does my Ultimate Prostrata on the underneath side of 1 of its main branches. They all just appear to be fluid filled pockets of coral tissue. Coral Zits?
<Of a sort>
Any light that you could shed on these issues would be greatly appreciated because really what is the point in having a tank full of Millepora if you cant enjoy the polyps swaying in the breeze?
<Do see the Net, including WWM re phosphate... and stop using chemical filtrant/s for the same. And consider moving the Euphylliid... it may be mal-affecting your SPS. Bob Fenner>
Re: Coral Polyp Extension   11/24/10

Thanks for the reply Bob.
I use a Hanna phosphate checker for my Phosphate tests and I heat the samples then allow them to cool before taking the reading. (apparently this will then give you a total Phos. reading ?)
<Supposedly so... though insoluble formats are not that easily resolubilized>
Anyways never noticed much of a difference in the reading either way but my Phosphate readings are always between 0 and .09 ppm usually depending on my husbandry.
<Mmm, well... as prev. stated, chemotrophs like "corals" of various sorts need more than 0>
Often I will feed heavily when I add a new fish or something. They were slightly higher at one time so I began using Phosban
<Ahh, I would discontinue. This may well be the primary source of your SPS troubles here>
but have since discontinued it in favor of the
NP biopellets because my Nitrates were above 5. Please note the Polyp problems began before I began using any of these products so I doubt that any of them are the cause and they were actually normal for the first 2-3 months.
<Mmm, well, "something" has/is become rate-limiting. You might consider switching to another/better brand of salt for a while... Perhaps Tropic Marin's line>
I had initially attributed the condition to the addition of Fresh garlic due to a Ich outbreak but they never returned even though I haven't used garlic in months.
<Am not a fan of Allium sativum additions to aquaria, but do greatly enjoy this plant on various human foods, cooking>
I could discontinue the use of the pellets and Kalk and begin 2 part dosing if you think it may be a solution.
<Worth experimenting re, but not likely a/the issue>
As for the coral "zits" do you think it is a viral/bacterial contagion?
<Mmm, no... as with "human pimples", a matter of "contamination response"
by the organisms... again, that "something missing" or in too great/out of balance presence>
or excessive buildup of some trace element or reaction to some other environmental factor.
<Ah yes>
It is worrisome because it has spread to more than one colony.
<"It" is environmental, not biological... do you understand?>
Its difficult to tell what to do when you don't know whether you are dealing with a lack of something or an excess of another,(or both)
<You obviously have a good mind... are engaged here... Do the above possible changes and report back what you observe please. BobF>

AEFW on SPS?  5/18/10
Hello. I have an Acropora colony in quarantine that looks like it has some type of pest on it. I understand that there are different types of Acropora eating flat worms that can be introduced into our system from the wild. Do you guys think these are Acropora eating flat worms?
<I do not... under higher magnification of your large images these appear to be Hydrozoans... See WWM re their control... likely a predator to eat them... Bob Fenner>
Thanks for the help

Re: AEFW on SPS?  5/18/10
Thanks for the help
<Welcome. Please do make it known what, which course you set upon for control of these pests... I do URGE you to NOT place this Acropora colony w/o eliminating these ahead of time. BobF>

SPS Polyp Extension/Growing Corals   3/17/10
Dearest Crew,
Thanks again for your tireless efforts! I greatly appreciate your combined experience, knowledge, and wisdom.
<You're welcome.>
Just a quick questions today regarding coral polyps. I have had great success with LPS corals in one of my reef tanks, most notably Euphyllia species among others. They are durable, adaptable and great water quality monitors- just a glance gives me a basic idea of water parameters. I have, on the other hand, not had phenomenal success with SPS corals (tank specs below). I chose all captive propagated frags to maximize success. Frags consist of 4 Acroporas, and 1 Montipora digitata. I have had the frags for 8 weeks and have not noticed any growth. In addition only the Montipora and one Acropora have polyps extended. I have never witnessed extension from the others. Is polyp extension an indication of coral health for SPS corals?
<Yes, can be.>
I believe that often (not always) it is a strong indicator for LPS health.
Secondly, how soon can one expect to notice growth upon a newly introduced captive propagated coral, assuming water quality is spot on?
<Actually will depend on the specie of coral, but you should notice some growth in three to four weeks. Your tank specs do not indicate your magnesium level. Do you supplement/test magnesium? Magnesium is essential for good coral growth as it's presence allows corals to better absorb the calcium that is available. Magnesium levels in NSW is three times higher than that of calcium. Your dKH level is fine, but your lighting is a little on the weak side for maintaining SPS corals as most require intense lighting whereas most LPS get by very well with moderate lighting which I consider your lighting to be. You can improve the lighting situation by replacing the actinic lamps with 10 or 12K lamps which will give you a little more intensity in the needed Kelvin range. Coral compatibility is another issue you likely have. Euphyllia species such as Torch, Frogspawn, and Hammer corals are very aggressive as to allelopathy as they do shoot out sweeper tentacles and will sting any corals the sweepers come in contact with. It is their way of protecting their space. Care must be taken that these corals are placed far enough away from other corals to prevent such, and this can be difficult to accomplish in a small system such as yours. Do read here and related articles/links placed in the header. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm>
Thank you SO much!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)
Tank Specs:
50 Gallon Reef
SG 1.025
Temp. 78-79 F
pH 8.4 (am reading)
Ammonia- 0
Nitrite- 0
Nitrate- reads as 0 although present in tank
dKH 7 (working on raising)
Calcium- 420, Dose with B-Ionic
Lighting- 150W 14,000K HQI, 65w PC Actinic
Water Motion- 500 GPH Return, 2 Maxi Jet 1200's w/Hydor flo
M. Digitata
4 Unknown Acropora frags
3 Scarlet Reef Crabs
Misc. Snails
No fish presently  

SPS Issues 09/14/09
Hey everyone hope all is well over there
<Thank you>
I am having some ongoing issues with my tank and I am on my last legs with this. I have a 6x2x3 foot
 reef tank with a majority of SPS corals and a couple of LPS corals. I am having some real issues with a few of my SPS corals and I can work out why except that maybe my lighting is to blame???
<I don't think so... not unless you recently changed the lighting drastically.>
My parameters have been pretty good and very stable:
Ph 8.1 - 8.2
Calcium ~375-400
Alk 8 - 9 dKH
Redox ~350
Temp 26 C
Salinity 1.025-1.026
I have noticed that a number of my corals have excessive mucus with almost white puffs of cotton wool like coatings in certain areas. I have also noticed that a number of corals are showing less polyp extension. I changed over to Lumen Bright reflectors with 250w 20k bulbs about two months ago but I already had this issue. I have approximately 50x water flow plus a wave box and use a large Beckett style skimmer although my bio load is low with a single yellow tang and a clown fish.
<Oh! This is good for water quality, but bad for coral food. What do you feed the corals?>
I do approximately 30% water change a month via a programmed 15 litre per day water change. I thought that maybe the new globes I got which are a Chinese made globe are really poor and maybe I should change back to 10k XM's which I ran on my previous tank. Could this be an infection of some type or are these signs potentially from lighting.
<As long as there is no bleaching and the tissue is not receding, I wouldn't think disease just yet.>
The only other thing I thought it might be was the original water I used to use for water changes was collected and stored for about 3 hours in plastic containers which had once been used to hold lemon syrup used in the manufacture of lemonade. The containers still have some smell but I doubt there is much product left leeched in the plastic as the containers have been used at least 20 times. I recently changed over to ASW about 2 weeks ago.
<I doubt it's any lemon syrup residue... but who knows? One way to be sure is to just use different buckets and see if it helps anyway.
My "guess" is that either you're feeding the corals something they don't like, not feeding them enough, or... perhaps you have particulates in your water from somewhere/something. Corals shed mucus like that usually in response to some kind of physical irritation... can you think of anything that might be irritating them?
Sara M.>

Re: SPS Issues 10/09/09
Thank you for the quick response.
<Yikes, I'm soooo sorry for this very delayed response!>
I have changed over to ASW (Tropic Marin) and I am still seeing the strange mucus build up and now I am seeing some recession on some corals from the base. My water parameters are still very stable and have changed very very little. I have had no temp swing but my RedOx has been moving little more than I would probably like from around 315 to 350 over 24 - 36 hours. I have purchased new XM 10k globes which I have had success with before and will be seeing if a change to better globes will improve the situation. Is it possible there is some sort of pathogen or bacteria that has got into the tank and is infecting some of the corals?
<Hmmm... do you smoke? Or, do you light incense or candles? I'm not sure what's going on here. But do stop changing things... best to try and keep things stable and the same until you/we figure this out.>
Thanks for any help you can give me.
<Again sorry for the late response.
Bob? Anyone? ...have any other ideas?
Sara M.>

Is a dying coral dangerous?
Possible SPS Hitchhiker 5/5/09

< Hello >
I just purchased several live rocks from someone's personal tank for my month-old 29 gallon tank. One of the rocks has a cute little coral growing on it. I know next to nothing about corals. It's pinkish-tan to light brown in color, and the branching type; maybe one of the Acroporas (sp?).
< Hard to say. >
Since I was only planning on a FOWLR tank, I just have standard lighting.
I'd love to keep this coral alive and buy the appropriate lighting for it, but my wallet disagrees with me.
< My wallet and I have this same argument. >
So, my main question is this: when this poor thing eventually dies, is it going to be polluting my tank?
< If it is in fact a small SPS it should not cause any noticeable changes in water quality. >
Can it cease living and safely become a part of the tank's decor (that sounds kind of morbid, doesn't it?).
< Yes. >
I'd hate to get rid of the rock its on, as it has a great shape and incredible coralline. How can I tell if a coral is in the process of dying? Are there any physical signs?
< It should turn white. >
And are there any mini lights that I could place right above this little guy to help him out? I have him placed as high in the tank as possible, but I really don't think it's going to help. Thanks for your advice.
<I'm sorry to say that without metal halide or at least T-5s it probably has little to no chance. JBJ and a few others make a clip on halide but there is no "mini light" strong enough to keep SPS. G A Jenkins >

Strange event in my SPS tank 02/18/09 Crew, I witnessed something pretty weird in my sps reef when I came home for lunch today. I was cleaning my remora pro when I saw a smokey, milky white substance coming from the back of a large live rock..The back of this rock is covered with a Macro algae(big green plant) that could be Halimeda (don't think that's spelled correctly). I've always just left it in the tank to grow assuming it would suck up any excess nitrates in the water. The milky substance looked to be coming from the white(appearing dead) part of the plant but it could have been some sort of creature under the plant that I cant see. <That would be my guess. It could likely be a spawning bivalve living in the live rock... or a snail you just can't see.> Anyways, this clouded up the tank a little and made all of my SPS retract their polyps pretty quick. Anybody have an idea of what this could be? <This does sound like a spawning. Of what I couldn't tell you exactly... but not the macroalgae.> This leads me to my next question. Are these large growing Macro Algaes "good" for my tank or should I cut it all out? <They are good. But, you want them to keep growing. Thus, you should be trimming them down on a regular basis. I would say take about 25% to 50% out at a time, wait for it to regrow, then repeat.> I always have Nitrate and Phosphate readings of 0(wonder if it's because of these Macros??). <It is quite likely the macro algaes are at least partly responsible for this.> I have trace amounts of bubble algae..other than that no other nuisance algae at all. Thanks for your help and opinion. Seth <De nada, Sara M.>

SPS don't grow... Nutrient deficiency likely    2/17/08 Hello all, I have a 75 gallon sps dominated system that has been up for a year and half. It has about 80-90 pounds of live rock distributed between the display and the 30 gallon sump. There's probably 75 gallons of total water with rock displacement factored. Octopus nw-150 skimmer. 10 gallon fuge section of the sump growing Chaeto. Display is lit with two 175 watt iwasaki 15k halides and two ATI blue +. Photoperiod of 10 hours. Flow is provided by two Koralia 3's and a modded maxi-jet 900. I have about 20 sps frags (a few that could be considered small colonies), xenia, Zoas, some Halimeda macro algae, and some GSP. A purple tang, red tail tamarin wrasse, scooter blenny, pair of Percs, and five chromis (just added) make up the fish load. Current param.s: Ph 8.0-8.3 Ca: 420-440 Alk: 9 Mag: 1300 no3: undetectable po4: undetectable (via Salifert which really isn't good for phosphate, can't afford a Hanna though...) specific gravity: 1.025. I don't feed corals, only fish. Feed a cube of prime reef and formula one pellets daily. I know feeding corals is recommended by you all, but I believe in fish poop as being a great food source. No noticeable algae, except stuff that appears on glass every 2-3 days. Five gallon water changes every week. My problem is with my corals, the sps in particular. They do not appear unhealthy, they have great polyp extension. For the most part, the Acro's and digis have decent color. The problem is, the corals get in my system, grow for a week or two, then stop completely. I have had many frags for almost 7 months that haven't budged. My caps are extremely pale and some Acros are as well. My Zoas are also pale and kinda halfway closed sometimes. What could be some possible reasons for this? <Mmm, the most glaring defect is the absence of food. You state you have zero phosphate? All life needs some HPO4... You don't list chemical filtrant use, but... do you? I would cease this, or at least cut it back... perhaps take up some purposeful feeding... a brand of Phytoplankton likely... DT's or such> I have a few theories that I couldn't find anything about online really. Maybe you could discuss them with me. I know its not the basics (lighting, flow, basic param.s). 1. Phosphate. I rid my tank of phosphate via Chaeto, water changes (ro/di), and Caribsea's Phosbuster. <Oh, here it is> I know phosphate really inhibits calcification so I was thinking maybe there is high phosphate (Salifert would detect it about .5 at least, so couldn't be higher than that.) that I can't detect. Phosbuster supposedly binds to phosphate and turns it into dust (or something along those lines) that can be skimmed out. Perhaps some of this "dust" is affecting growth. <Perhaps . Much more likely it is absent... and essential> 2. Potassium. I don't test for it, not many do, but i hear a lack of it can stunt growth, and make Monti caps, esp. red ones, very pale. This seems like it could fit, but I found mixed feelings about potassium on the web. <Potassium is rarely rate-limiting in captive aquatic systems... hence the paucity of discussion, products sold...> 3. Lack of nutrients. Perhaps my tank is "too clean". This would be a nice thing to hear because, as an sps keeper, clean water is an important goal. Perhaps I should feed more and let my trates climb to 5 or so. This seems like it would fit with the lack of color in some corals, but not sure about growth. <I do agree with this> Those are the possibilities I came up with, but please let me know what you think about them and others you may have. I appreciate it very much. Have a nice day! -Mark <Remove or vastly cut back on the chem. filtrant use, add more foods of use... Perhaps an iodide-ate supplement weekly, along with the small water change. Bob Fenner>

SPS Disease? 01/31/09 Hey guys! How is everyone? I am in desperate need of your help once again. I have a Yellow Bottlebrush that may or may not have a disease. It's slightly browned out, no tissue recession, and seems to have some white cotton like growth near where the polyps usually are. Is it some type of fungus? It's not much, just near the front of the coral. <Any chance this is just coral mucus with some debris caught in it?> It's kind of like leftover mushed white food being caught in the polyps. I wish I had pictures but it's in the back of the tank, I don't have a good enough camera to take pictures. <Hmm, can you borrow one? A pic would be really helpful.> The back has stayed yellow. Every other coral seems fine. This an SPS dominant tank. Here are some of my tank specifications: Tank size: 90 gallons with a 55 gallon sump pH: 8.35, Ca: 390, Alk: 3.5, Phosphates: not detectable, Nitrate: 2.5 <Nitrates are high, but you know that... and might not be the "problem" here.> Temperature is controller with an AquaController that fluctuates between 78.0 and 78.3. Lighting is the Solaris G series (250w equivalent) Any help is greatly appreciated! <I'm sorry, but what you're describing just doesn't sound familiar to me. Please do try to get a picture of it... maybe borrow a friend's camera. Cheers, Sara M.>

RTN Theorizing 12/24/08 Hi Crew, <Hello Jason. Minh at your service.> It's been a long time since I've had to write you with a problem. That's good! Unfortunately, one of my beautiful and large Birdsnest just underwent rapid tissue necrosis (RTN). It happened frighteningly fast; in less than a day the grapefruit-sized coral went from healthy to half dead! <I'm sorry to hear about your loss.> While my particular cause is unknown (I suspect encroaching mushroom corals, but unsure), I noticed something interesting. The death progressed along the branches of the coral, not simultaneously. In fact, it spread from base to tips (oldest to newest growth). I understand this is a common pattern. In an attempt to save as much as possible, I broke off branches that were still alive and discarded parts that were totally bleached. <Rapid Tissue Necrosis (also known as apoptosis) is a cellular reaction in corals initiated by various stresses such as bacterial infection, temperature, UV radiation, allelopathy, etc. In this particular case, the encroaching mushroom is a very capable culprit.> More interesting: the frags that had some dead tissue still on them proceeded to degrade in the same manner. Those that were comprised only of living tissue appear OK. <If the tissue on a fragment is undergoing apoptosis, it will continue to degrade until the fragment is dead. I would suggest for you to quarantine any remaining healthy fragments in a separate tank to isolate the cellular reaction. This would allow for the highest survival rate of your Seriatopora guttatus while reducing any risk of exposing other healthy SPS corals to this condition.> This is very puzzling. If this condition was caused by a biological or chemical agent attacking the coral flesh, one would expect that it would either be localized (killing a small area) or all over (killing patches at different places on the coral simultaneously). The fact that the progression moves very predictably along the branches implies, at least to me, that it is innate behavior of the organism, not the result of attack. Perhaps it is an evolved survival mechanism; a last-ditch effort to abandon the skeleton and grow anew somewhere else on the reef more amenable to the coral's health. In our tanks, of course, that would not happen thanks to lots of factors, but possibly on the reef? This may explain why the frags without dead patches survive: the signal to eject never reaches them, so they persist. Do you know of any research in this regard? Thoughts? <Although I have seen broadcast reproduction occur in a similar manner, and some rare instances in captivity, the behavior of tissue necrosis appearing in a predictable band pattern indicates a classic case of apoptosis. This cellular reaction could be triggered by allelopathic attack from a neighboring soft coral. Further reading on this subject is available in an excellent article by Eric Borneman, "The Coral Health and Disease Consortium: New Information on Coral Disease." Link: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-03/eb/index.php.> Thanks! Happy Holidays! Jason <Likewise to you and yours. Cheers, Minh.>

An answer, rather than a question! Crab eating SPS 09/18/2008 <<Good day, Bob, Andrew today>> I see a lot of posts asking about crabs. Here area couple of very good pictures of one that I guarantee is an SPS-eater. <<Heeeee...i would certainly agree>> The coral he lived on was getting 'tracks' all over it of nipped out polyps, etc. After he was removed, the coral completely recovered. Feel free to use the pictures as you like. [IMG]http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd7/Coralmaker/crab2.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd7/Coralmaker/crab1.jpg[/IMG] bob <<Two really great shots there Bob, and they will certainly be welcomed into our picture database. Thank you very much for providing / sharing two wonderful pictures. Kind Regards, A Nixon>>

Question about Salt Creep Burn to SPS   8/12/08 Dear Crew, <Andy> I am looking for a little information but wasn't able to find an answer on WWM. I cleaned my overflow this weekend. When I put it back on my tank, I dislodged a very small amount of salt creep which fluttered down and landed squarely on my beautiful Merulina amp. I immediately blew the undissolved creep off the coral using a turkey baster, but by the time I ran to get the baster and the time I blew off the coral the damage had been done. <Yes... burns almost instantaneously> The coral immediately started excreting mucous, and 12 hours later there was--and is--a dime-sized white spot on the coral. Can anything be done to heal this area? <Mmm, best to "do" nothing... will repair on its own in time> I'm worried that this damaged area may spread or that RTN may ensue. <Mmm, not likely> I have some MediCoral, which is basically Lugol's but did not want to do anything without checking with someone who may have experienced this. Thanks in advance for your help. Andy <I would use the/this Iodine compound... Bob Fenner>

Follow Up - Salt Burn to Merulina   8/14//08 Dear Bob, <Andy> Unfortunately, I deleted our e-mail chain regarding the salt creep that fell onto my Merulina amp., and for some reason I cannot for the life of me find the post on WWM (I searched just about every combination of words in my post, but could not find it). <Mmm, I recall the details. Is posted here: http://wetwebmedia.com/spssysfaqs.htm and elsewhere> Anyway, here is a pic of my Merulina that was burned when I knocked some salt creep off the edge of my tank into the water--things have gotten worse since Sunday (burn is primarily on left side of pic--was originally round and a little bigger than a dime). I did prepare/use an iodine dip for the coral last night, but it seems to have done nada. <Takes time> I guess it's just a waiting game to see if this continues to worsen? If so, frag off dead/dying portions? <I would not do this... just try to be patient... the burned area will very likely regenerate here> The Merulina cost me $25 so not a huge blunder, but I like the coral a lot and would like to save it if possible. Andy
<Patience. Bob Fenner>

Toxicity in sps reef -- 07/16/08 Hey guys, just had a quick question regarding a vexing issue I have been having. Long story short, the phosphate remover I was using <Mmmm, am compelled (by myself natch) to make a comment that by and large I'm not a fan of hobbyist use of such... unnecessary, better means...> caused an issue with the water's supersaturation point (despite mg of 1400 and frequent water changes, the max at which I could keep alk and ca kept dropping to the point where I could only get alk of 7 and ca of 360. I did extensive reading, and through much trial and error, finally determined it must be GFO (other reefers have reported the same) <Mmm, for browsers... iron oxide hydroxide: A nice piece here re: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-11/rhf/index.php> , I removed it, did a few large water changes and my sps started coloring in colonies I hadn't seen color in over a year! <Ah, yes... some HPO4 is absolutely essential to all life we're interested in> My issue is that the low alk levels brought on the onslaught of Cyano, I run a very clean system, let frozen foods thaw first before use, have a killer skimmer, no sand beds, very little detritus, heavy oxygenation, run ozone, change carbon weekly, use Purigen. My ph is 8.4, alk 12, ca 400, salinity 1.026, no ammonia, trites, or trates but I cant seem to kick the Cyano. It built up over a week so I put a filter sock on the output of that tank and cleaned the tank up. <Good> Within the next few days, sps that had been coloring started losing color again, but have good polyp extension. Some zoas are not opening up either. I have read posts by people saying that when they removed Cyano it caused problems for them even killed fish! <Mmm... one must proceed... cautiously here... BGAs can cause havoc... coming and going> Is it possible the removal of Cyano is stressing out the sps, <Yes> or is it more likely they are just stressed from the changes in alk, ca, mg. <Could be both, either> I have made changes slowly, and use baked baking soda (that's why ph is 8.4). <Mmm, not by itself... sodium bicarbonate> My alk has been over 10 for a week and yet I am not seeing coralline growth. Outside of a few water changes, do you have any recommendations? <Mmmm, "punt"... keep changing water, stop using iron hydroxide... All else reads as fine, should be fine in time. Bob Fenner> Browning SPS -- 03/27/08 Many of my SPS that are toward the back of the tank are browning on the side facing the back and many are brown on the lower half or third of the SPS. Is this normal because light is not reaching the bottom of the SPS and maybe there's not enough light at the back of the tank? <<There are many things that can cause corals to 'brown,' but based on your statements, yes, I think it is likely due to a lack of light intensity/spectrum in those areas>> Is there any way to compensate for this or is this normal to only have color where light shines? <<'Compensation' would have to come in the way of providing enough light from all angles (a common problem in most hobbyist's systems), to include a reflective substrate (Aragonite sand). Moving the corals more toward the centerline lengthwise in the tank should provide better color on all sides'¦adding more lights front-to-back and/or upgrading to better reflectors would also probably help>> Thanks very much for all your help. <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Can red slime treatment affect SPS? Coral Death 1/8/08 Gentleman, <Hello> Recently I treated for red slime with "ultra life - red slime remover" in my 125 gal reef tank (after reading some of the forums...I know this was bad but this was the LFS recommendation). <Not good in my opinion.> I think I know the answer to the question, but ...have you heard of this product affecting SPS corals? <Yes, is an antibiotic and can negatively effect the whole tank. See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm .> I had two SPS corals slime over about 48 hrs after the treatment and completely die within 12 hrs of that. All water parameters are on par (now and then) <numbers please> and I did an immediate water change which seams to have salvaged one tiny tip of one of the corals. All other SPS corals currently appear OK for now. Any info on this would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks John F <More water changes would help here, and figuring out what is fueling the Cyano bloom and eliminating this will help control it in the future. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cyanocontrolfaqs.htm> <Chris>

SPS Boring Algae... Ostreobium 12/5/07 Hey guys just a quick question, <Hi Tom, Mich here with a quick answer.> I have run into a few pieces of sps (cultured) that have that sps boring algae, but I can't seem to find any info on it. <Sounds like you have Ostreobium.> Obviously there are probably no known means of treating it other than fragging above unaffected parts, <Actually the best means of controlling this algae and preventing its spread is by limiting excess nutrients and reducing nitrate and phosphate levels. Some thoughts on how to do that here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/scottsh2ochgart.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgae.htm The nitrates feed the algae and the phosphates limits the growth of the coral skeleton. Diadema urchins may also be useful.> but in captivity is it known to spread to other healthy colonies as well? <Fortunately, Ostreobium is slow growing, so if you can get ahead of the nutrients you may have success.> Thanks, <Welcome! Mich>

I'm nuking my SPS...  11/13/07 On my prop system, I recently made the mistake of not topping off my water for about five days. That swung my salinity to 1.03 (from 1.025). I lowered the gravity by removing approximately three gallons of tank water every three hours and replacing it with fresh RO/DI water. <Good routine> Of course, I failed to consider that in doing so, I was dropping my alkalinity and calcium. My soft corals had a fit and slimed, touching off some chemical warfare in my system. Not the worst I had ever seen, but something is always worse than nothing. <Yikes... you should have pre-treated the top-off water...> As a result I panicked. In my rush to equalize my levels, I overdosed my CA. I'm not really sure how high it got, because my aqua medic test just didn't seem right at all. I did get precipitation on the aquarium interior. So, I started doing water changes again. Fortunately, I saved the water I removed from the first time around, and balanced the salinity, plus added about 10 gallons of fresh RO. Now I have changed about 20 percent of the water, I fear the damage has been done, and I may not be able to recover. <SPS corals are a lot tougher than folks give them credit for> While my LPS corals like my frogspawn and hammer corals seem like they should survive (their polyps are not extended, they are retracted, but starting to look better) my SPS are taking a beating. My Montipora sp, Montipora digitata, yellow Porites, green Acropora and Psammacora superficialis have all lost significant color. The digitata are REALLY the worst of the bunch, and so far the only RTN action I am seeing is on the red Montipora sp. Additionally affected are my small frags of Pocillipora and my blue millepora. Considering that this week I was supposed to spend over $1200 on a new protein skimmer and calcium reactor, I am very disheartened today, even considering quitting this hobby. I feel like I am in over my head, and I have never been a big fan of working so hard to grow things only to turn around and nuke them the next day. <Perhaps an automated make-up system...> I am especially distraught over the Psammacora. I have worked so hard to grow out this frag and even harder to even figure out what it was. With my water changes, the Calcium is back to 400, my pH is 8.02 and my alkalinity is 3.57, I am currently drip dosing Alk to get that number as close to 4 as possible. <Take your time here> I wonder if my SPS will come back, and if there is anything I can do to help the situation along. <If these disparate species are mixed in the same tank, it is certain that they are mal-affecting each other... I would spiff up your skimming (clean the contact chamber) and add a good deal of GAC (carbon) in your filter flow path... And, keep the faith. Bob Fenner>

Re: I'm nuking my SPS...   11/14/07 > <If these disparate species are mixed in the same tank, it is certain that > they are mal-affecting each other... I would spiff up your skimming (clean the > contact chamber) and add a good deal of GAC (carbon) in your filter flow > path... And, keep the faith. Bob Fenner> I'm the guy who ISN'T currently skimming because my Corallife skimmer was too deep in the sump. Remember me? <I recall the circumstances> I have the following equipment ready to order: A Korallin calcium reactor Two little fishies Phosban reactors <... likely not necessary. All photosynthetic life needs some soluble HPO4> And a skimmer, but haven't decided which one - currently going with your recommendation. Previous to this I had one 29 gallon tank with a 29 gallon sump/fuge for prop. I am probably going to make some kind of auto top off system with a simple float valve. Possibly even something that could be hooked directly to my RO/DI unit in the event of a vacation, just in case there's no one who could watch the tank. <Good> As to the stock in my tank, there are two separate 29 gallon tanks joined by a 55 gallon sump. In hindsight, probably would have been better keeping both systems 100% separate. I used two tanks because of light considerations. <Okay> Will the SPS come back? When will I know if they did not make it? <I hope, only time/experience can/will tell> Also you said... "If these disparate species are mixed in the same tank, it is certain that they are mal-affecting each other..." One of the reasons I have the number of species that I do is because I was trying to find out what grew well for me. In the long run I only anticipate keeping 2-3 species in each tank. <All right> In the softy tank, I plan on primarily having branching frogspawn and hammer coral, and 3-5 varieties of Zoanthids. I also have not ruled out GSP, provided they aren't too close to anything else, and possibly seeding my layer of base/live rock with mushroom corals. In the SPS tank, I am gravitating toward several varieties of Montipora sp and possibly the Porites and Psammacora. The Acropora I have was a gift and it has grown well with good color up to now also. The blue millepora were an experiment, and the Montipora digitata was inherited. Again, on the live rock I might consider GSP, mushroom corals or stuff that can grow passively and just basically act as gravy. Stuff that hopefully doesn't affect parameters much but grows quickly and can help support the habit. I'd love your input, especially if there is any corals that I should NOT consider keeping because they create these types of issues. <What little I know of Cnidarian culture is posted on WWM> I really want to do this. I'm just quite dejected about constant and expensive setbacks. JW <I do understand your frustration... but there's not much that can be done at this point other than what you have. RMF> Re: I'm nuking my SPS...   11/14/07 > Two little fishies Phosban reactors > <... likely not necessary. All photosynthetic life needs some soluble HPO4> Sorry for not being specific. I am not running Phosban, I am using these little reactors for CARBON. <Ahh, I see. BobF>

Untimely demise... SPS...  10/16/07 I suppose I will start by telling you a bit about our system. We set up in late December of last year, for the second time in our lives. Main tank is 50 gallons, with a 29 gallon sump/refugium. We are running a Red Sea Prizm Pro skimmer. There is about 50 pounds of live rock in the system, substrate is Florida crushed coral and live sand. We moved cross country in September, and lost (literally lost it) a small frag (some type of SPS, the guy wasn't sure what it was and I forget what we decided on now) with the exception of a small piece, which is fine now, and our Mandarin, which perished sometime after the move. We have in the tank: a large Condylactis anemone, a Scolymia (pardon my spelling), Trachyphyllia, Montipora, Finger coral, Xenia, Goniopora, 2 heads of candy cane coral, a recovering frag of Acropora, a large featherduster worm, various small polyp things, sponges, and micro life (pods and shrimps and spaghetti worms etc). Fish are a Yellow Tang, two Yellow Tail Damsels, and a pair of Solomon Island Percula Clowns. We acquired a small Regal Tang after our move, which succumbed to Ich shortly after, it was in our main display tank (yes, bad idea I know). It has all been peacefully co-existing for quite a while now, even the anemone LOL Wow all that information and I finally hit my point.. We have had a sudden and unexpected loss. We HAD a small frag of birds nest coral. Very beautiful, bright green polyps, full and vibrant. Yesterday morning, it was fine, polyps extended. Later in the afternoon, I looked in the tank to see about half of it was stark white skeleton. This morning, about 3/4 of the coral is gone, nothing left but stark whiteness, where there was vibrant life. Nothing else seems affected. What is left of it is kind of hanging on the skeleton, so I assume it is going to slough off like the rest. The ONLY things that are a little out of the ordinary for our system are the Ich treatment (Kick Ich, supposed to be invert safe) and we added a little baking soda yesterday to help buffer the PH/Alkalinity. That is something we have done lots of times. I do not know the current parameters on the testing right now, but could get them if that proves important in this case. Do you have ANY idea what could have happened, and if we can expect any more losses like this? <<Veronica: Sorry for your loss. SPS corals can be very tricky and frustrating. You don't say how long you had the coral frag. Here are some possibilities and things to think about for the future. 1) SPS corals are not very tolerate of sudden changes in parameters (might have been the baking soda). 2) Something up current could have chemically attacked it. 3) This frag may have had a disease and/or parasite that took a while for it to do it in. 4) None of the above and it was just an act of God. Almost everyone that has SPS has posted stories similar to yours. The best we can do, is to try to figure out what might have gone wrong and learn from them. Captive frags tend to be hardier in our tanks than wild frags. Best of luck, Roy>>

SPS disease    7/25/07 Hi crew, I have test everything, Ph, calcium, nitrate, nitrite, KH, magnesium, etc everything is perfect as far a testing. I have been away for 4 days and on returning found a few bleached SPS. Since than I am finding 1 or 2 starting to bleach. On inspecting the SPS, each one that bleached, the flesh was slimy/jelly like. <Sounds like dying tissue... how fast/slow is this happening? Is the slimy/jelly like flesh all over the entire colony or just the parts that are dying? It might also be coral mucus, but it's difficult to say without a photo.> I have never seen or read this on SPS before but have noticed and read this on LPS and soft corals. All other corals (LPS and SOFT CORAL) looks fine and so does the SPS, everything looks normal. <While you were away, did you have the lights on a timer? Was anyone (or anything) adding top off water while you were away?> I need to identify the cause. Before this started happening I did remove 2 football size Acro's to frag but unfortunately they fell on the floor but I did place some of the pieces in my tank which might have caused the problem by something that might be on the floor. I have done a 20% water change and added more carbon. <I doubt it was something on the floor unless (maybe) if you had just cleaned the floor with cleaning agents that might have gotten on the coral when you dropped them. Though if this were the case, one would think that your other corals would be suffering as well (since the cleaning agent would have contaminated the water too).> Is this some sort of disease but I hope not? <My guess is that 1) something went wrong while you were away, 2) some parameter you're not thinking about is off (salinity, temp, etc.) or 3) the Acropora have a parasite of some sort that you're not seeing. Acropora are more sensitive than most other corals. There might be something wrong with your tank that the other corals can tolerate that the SPS can't. SPS are also considerably more vulnerable to parasites than are other corals we keep in aquariums.> Your help is much appreciated. <Sorry I can't help you more without more information. All you can do is try to think hard about what could have changed since you left. Also, do look very closely at the coral (use a magnifying glass if you can) to see if there are any parasites on them.> thanks Mohamed <Best, Sara M.>

Re: SPS disease  -- 08/27/07 Hi Sara, <Hi> it happened slowly, the slimy/jelly like was on the parts that was dying. Unfortunately I did not take out pictures. <My first thought was brown jelly disease. However, brown jelly moves very quickly and is usually more of a symptom of some other underlying problem. It also would seem strange in your case since you haven't added anything new to the tank. It would just seem odd to get brown jelly on several corals just out of the blue (though I suppose it's possible). In any case, if this is not going away, you might consider fragging off the dying/infected parts of the corals.> Thanks Mohamed <Wish I could help more... good luck. Sara M.>

Acclimation of New SPS in 135 Gallon Display  6/20/07 Hello WWM Crew, <Scott> I wonder if I can get some advice from you regarding the recent addition of two SPS corals into my system. I have done an extensive search on WWM and checked my SPS reference books, but I am still unsure as to how to proceed. For your reference, an overview of my system (running for about a year now) is as follows. Display: 135 Gallon Tenecor Acrylic Aquarium (72" W x 18" D x 24" H) with 1" fine aragonite sand bed (vacuumed frequently) and approximately 120 lbs of Live Rock. Recirculation rate is about 1300 GPH. Refugium: Ecosystem 3616 Mud Sump with active Chaetomorpha and roughly 15-20 lbs Live Rock. Two large overflows with Durso standpipes add roughly 30 gallons "fishless" volume. The mud sump has many amphipods visible to the naked eye. Lighting: Three 150 W HQI pendants (12K) and Four 160 W VHO (1 AquaSun, 2 Actinic White and one Actinic). Lights are on timer sequence with MH's running 8 hours/day <I'd increase this daily light run to at least ten hours, likely 12...> and maximum overall wattage (including VHO's) does not exceed 720 W. Filtration: Eco Reef CS 135 which runs continuously and produces about one cup (very dark and smelly) skimmate every 2-3 days. Also employ four (1 cup each ) bags of activated carbon in the in the sump which are rotated/replaced one bag per week. Chiller: 1/4 HP Aqualogic "drop in coil" type <Okay... though am not a fan of the drop in exchanger tech.> Water Parameters Temperature: between 81-82 F Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate not detectable per Salifert test kits pH - 8.4 Calcium - 400 ppm, Alkalinity - 9.5 dKH Inhabitants Fish: Flame Angel, Bicolor Blenny, Purple Firefish, Sunrise Pseudochromis, Neon Goby Inverts: Two Cleaner Shrimp, Blue Legged Hermit Crab, Blue Mushrooms (Discosoma) and a Tuxedo Urchin LR Hitch Hikers: Zoanthids, Star Polyps, Unknown Soft Blue Polyps, Unknown Encrusting Stony Coral, assorted sponges and small clams. Macro Algae: Assorted small Halimeda and Caulerpa (removed manually). No significant nuisance algae to speak of. Now, back to my current situation. The new SPS corals, a (2" x 1") Green Plate Montipora and a (1 1/2 ") Stylophora are both aquacultured and were purchased from a high quality LFS system where they were living under a 400W MH Mogul Pendant (roughly two feet away and under about 8" of water). I did a quick check on the "bag water" and found they were living in the following conditions: Alkalinity 9.2 dKH, Calcium 425 ppm, pH 8.3 and Salinity 36 ppt). I used water from my display to house the corals in a 10 gallon quarantine tank with an "aged" sponge filter and a 150 W HQI pendant. I changed 1 gallon of water (taken from the display) daily and fed 1/5 ml of DT's Oyster Eggs every couple of days. During a two week quarantine period, the color of both specimens held up quite well and I saw some polyp extension on the Stylophora to varying degrees (normally not all the coral but maybe over 30%). To my eye I could not see the polyps on the Montipora. <Not easy to make out...> Over the two week quarantine I had difficulty keeping temperature constant and noticed evidence of deteriorating water conditions (gradual decline in polyp extension and an increase in brown algae) so I decided to introduce the corals into the display after only two weeks. <Good, this is what I would have done also> I acclimated the corals to the display water and when I put them into the display I noticed an immediate (and rather dramatic) improvement in polyp extension on the Stylophora - to my untrained/inexperienced eye it looked like the coral was responding very well to the new conditions. Both corals were placed (roughly one foot apart) about one third of the way down from the top of the water. I adjusted the returns on the display so that the both corals were near the intersection of two returns to get a random movement of water around them, but not "blasting" them with flow. For feeding, I relied on some help from the refugium and also from the fish feedings (Ocean Nutrition Prime Reef flakes and frozen Mysis soaked in either Selcon of Boyd's Vita Chem) and a dose of DT's Oyster Eggs a couple of days back. Unfortunately, my initial enthusiasm was short lived. It has been about five days since I put the corals into the display and have not seen ANY sight of polyps on the Stylophora since. Its color appears the same (a nice reddish maroon) but the coral is evidently not feeding. <"These things... take time"> Also, the color on the Montipora turned from an attractive deep green to a dull mustard brown, which I took to be a reaction to the brighter lights and crystal clear water (lots of carbon filtration) in the display. <Maybe> Two days ago I backed-off on the lighting by reducing the run time on the HQI's by two hours (I plan to phase this back in over a period of a couple of weeks if all else goes well). By my eye the appearance of the Montipora looks about the same or possibly slightly better. Incidentally, I also see some evidence of growth on the Montipora as the rough "fragged" edges of the coral now appear softer and have a light pink color. These are my first SPS so I have no personal experience to draw from at this point. May I ask you opinion on the following. Do you have any thoughts on why the Stylophora does not seem to be interested in feeding? <Likely still just acclimating to the new digs/conditions> Would you concur that the browning of the Montipora is probably due to a sudden shift in lighting? <This or "general" stress, being moved about... Can/may very likely re-color in time...> Can you suggest anything I need to correct or adjust at this point? As always, I very much would appreciate any advice you folks can provide. Best Regards, Scott <Mmm, well, I'd increase the light time regimen as you and I mention... and likely do little else. Your system water quality is likely fine, the gear sounds very nice... I'd be patient at this point, not move much of anything about, start making a list of what else you'd like to add... attend a marine/reef club meeting or two... Let time go by. Bob Fenner>

Re: Calfo's new book, now SPS nibbler   6/18/07 Thank you very much for the reply. I had ordered it through the readingtrees address but had misplaced it. I will try there. I have greatly enjoyed your books as well. Right now I am dealing with a very frustrating problem in my reef. I have an SPS nibbling critter that I cannot identify. He only attacks at night, and almost specifically at Acroporas. What ever it is will take about a dozen polyps off at a time. Not so bad with larger corals, but really havoc on my smaller starters. Any ideas? Thanks, Jon laCour <I'd get out a small flashlight (with a red filter would be a bonus) and look during the night, perhaps set some types of traps (covered on WWM) to try and catch/ID the culprit... Could be a crustacean, worm, mollusc, even a fish... BobF>

Re: Talkin' bout the Midnight Nibbler, honey he is one of those...    6/18/07 Thanks for the advice. I was fortunate enough to catch the culprit last night. I looked like a large commensurate <Heeee!> crab that had come in on an Acroporas that turned bad. I picked the whole coral out and then snatched him off. I hope that is the end of it all! Thanks, Jon <Ahh! Good sleuthing! Thank you for this follow-up. BobF> Natural predator for parasites... Shades of an SNL skit...Could You be More Vague?   3/21/07 Hi crew, <Hi Mohamed, Mich here.> Is there a predator that will feed off parasites including those nasty slugs that feeds on corals especially SPS? <Mmm, not sure what parasites and which slug you're referring to here.  Can you provide the scientific names or at the very least the common names?  It is impossible to help otherwise... just a little too vague.> Thanks <Welcome,  -Mich> Mohamed

Re: Natural predator for unnamed parasites   3/21/07 Hi Mich, <Hello again Mohamed> No, I do not know the scientific or common names.  I'm referring to them in general, all parasites and slugs that eat SPS.   <Most parasites have specific predators, so there really is no panacea.  The best thing to do would be to dip, where appropriate and quarantine all new corals to hopefully prevent any parasites from entering your display tank.  More here and related links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quarinvertfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/flatwrmfaq2.htm  > Thanks <You're welcome.  -Mich> Mohamed

SPS Bleaching Problem 11/01/06 Hi crew, <Greetings, fellow reefer> I have a BIG, BIG problem with my SPS. Every 2 to 3 weeks I lose an Acropora or Montipora from bleaching. My water parameters are in par, I do my water changes every 2 weeks and carbon once a month. All the Montiporas and Acroporas have excellent polyp extension and without any signs of a problem.  I have found a snail on 1 of the SPS but I have not noticed anything on the others. <Most likely harmless algae eater> I have tried to frag some that started bleaching but without any luck. <Usually the case.  Once they are bleaching, it is often hard to save them> Is there a procedure that can be followed to help the SPS or prevent it from happening? Please advice, I hate to lose anymore. Thanks Mohamed <I would watch for fluctuations in water parameters.  Also, check your bulbs (if MH) for cracks in the outer sleeve.  Something isn't right.  Good luck.  Cheers! -- Dr. J>

Re: SPS bleaching   11/5/06 Hi Dr. J, <Seems to have left the room> Thanks for the reply. What are the harmless algae eaters? <See WWM re...> How do I get rid of them? Will a UV help? <Possibly... in indirect ways, by improving general water quality> I do a complete water test once a week and water parameters are constant. I use T5's with sunlight from noon for +-4 hours. The SPS where growing at an excellent rate before this problem which is happening for 2 months. Thanks    Mohamed. <You have read on WWM re SPS Systems, Health...? Bob Fenner> New SPS Frags... Long Shipping... What To Expect? - 12/31/05 Hi all... <<Hello>> as has been stated by many, you have an awesome site, no fluff, all info. <<Thank you>> I have read much, but not all of the site, haven't been able to find an answer. <<ok>> I just acquired  some Acro frags 1 yongei and 2 tortuosa (sp.?). <<Correct>> Thanks to shipping problems they were in transit about 40hrs. <<Uh oh!>> They arrived white, little or no apparent color, no polyps yet. <<Expelled their zooxanthellae...or worse...have complete tissue loss.>> My fears about ammonia in bags and alkalinity of tank water led me to introduce them to the QT tank after temp adjustment. <<Smart>> I'm acclimating lighting using vinyl screen layers. <<Smart again>> On intro to QT tank frags had filaments of slime but no other indications of life. <<Not unexpected...>> Don't expect a miracle here but what if anything should I expect from these frags if water parameters, lighting and flow are optimal, which I think they are.  At what point should I give up on them in your opinion. <<Mmm...both species of coral have quite visible polyps, if you don't see any evidence of these after 48 hrs. I think you can assume the worst.  You might also try viewing the frags under some magnification (jeweler's loop/magnifying glass) to see if you can determine if there is any flesh on the skeleton.>> This is my first of many cracks at SPS so would like to not overreact. <<You're not overreacting...40 hours in transit/bleached condition is cause for concern.>> Steve <<Regards, EricR>> SPS TURNING YELLOW 01-01-06 Hello I just bought 2 SPS coral for my 55 gallon reef with  260 watts power compact ( about 5 watts per gallon) a canister filter,  protein skimmer,2 power heads, and a heater, about 30 lbs live rock, 40 lbs  live sand. Now for the fish I have a yellow tang, maroon clown, mandarin goby, and  bullet goby. My corals are a finger leather, yellow polyps, 2 mushroom  rocks, Ricordea, open brain, cabbage coral bubble coral , 2 SPS on the same  rock, and star polyps. My inverts are a sponge, emerald crab, camel  shrimp, coral banded shrimp, t. gigas clam, bubble tip anemone,6 astray snails, and a  large turbo snail. Also I have a medians hair algae, Chaeto ,needle  algae. My water tested perfect. <Sounds like a very full tank.> My new SPS coral that was a green brown  color is now turning yellow. The other day I had to catch a clown fish  and I took down the rock work to catch him. Is this because stress  did I kill it or is it new symbolic algae because lighting  please  help I love this coral thanks for the help. Sorry this letter was so  long. Please excuse the mis-spelled words I'm 11 years old thanks for the help love your web site. <First, let me thank you for the compliment. As for your question, you may have three situations going on. The first situation could be chemical warfare in your tank. To remedy this you will need to add carbon to your tank. The carbon will also clear organics from your water making the lights more useful for your coral. The second possibility is that you may be witnessing bleaching. If your coral is bleaching you will need to upgrade your lighting to keep that coral or remove the coral to a friend's tank until you can afford to upgrade your lighting. The final situation you may be witnessing is; the corals may be adjusting to your lights and will actually color up to a more natural color. This situation is usually found more in tanks with very high watt lighting and pristine water conditions. Travis> Chemical Warfare?  4/6/06 I mentioned in my last email that my SPS started showing signs of stress. Their tips started dying. I have a doubt about my anemone, do you think that it can secrete allelopathic substances that can affect the SPS? <I believe that it is entirely possible, which is why I discourage mixing corals and anemones in most systems.> I looked up the archives but I am not sure if this is right or wrong. <I think that the theory is right.> It has been in the tank for 6 months now and once in a while, I lose one or two of my SPS for the same reason, either dying tips or bleaching , but mainly the tips begin to die. <Could certainly be allelopathic competition, or some lapse in environmental conditions.> Do  you think it is the anemone? The water chemistry is great, calcium is above 400 and heavy skimming all the time with Euro-reef skimmer, water changes every 2 weeks !! I am confused and I need your help. Thank you. P.S. It is a red, long tentacle anemone. Regards, Ramy Ontario, Canada <Well, Ramy- in the absence of other possibilities (such as environmental lapses), the only theory that I have is that the anemone could be an issue, unless you're looking at some type of disease affecting the coral. My advice is to "specialize", and keep only the coral or the anemone...Hope this helps. Regards, Scott F.>

Marine Algae Woes  4/6/06 Hi Bob, <No his young pal Adam J. with you tonight.> Hope all is well. <He was good last time I chatted with him...though busy (aren't we all).> I got these red algae, they are all over my reek tank now. They are like little cotton clusters .I tried manual removal, black snails but they are out of control now. Is that something I should be concerned about ??? <Yes.> I realized that some of my SPS are not doing that great lately. <Astute observation.> Please see attached photo. Thank you. <Ramy before I give you advice please use the search engine in the main site re: Cyanobacteria and nutrient problems.> Ramy, <Good luck, Adam J.>

SPS problem!!  4/6/06 Hi there, I have a problem with my SPS, I started the tank almost a year ago. I have this algae growing now and dominating the tank ( see attachment ) The growing tips of the SPS die and then the whole piece dies off afterwards. Any explanation ?? <Not good... could be pathogenic, but much more likely environmental in its allowance/occurrence> Do you think this algae is the reason ??? Thank you. <No... this is secondary, tertiary... Most likely the root problem/s are environmental.> Regards, Ramy <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm Scroll down to the Scleractinians tray... read re SPS, Acropora Systems, Disease... Bob Fenner>

SPS problem !!    3/29/06 Hi Bob, <Ramy> I had my 150 gal running for a year now, housing only SPS and clams. Everything is fine so far except that one of my favorite Acros started showing the following : The growing tips started to break and are covered with algae. <Yikes!> I can see the polyps extending but not as much as they used to be. I haven't moved this piece from its spot for more than 5 months, same lighting conditions, great water values , nothing else is wrong. So what could have gone wrong ???? <Very likely "just" the unnatural make-up of aquariums at play here... Changing the flow (increasing greatly), introducing some smaller fishes, perhaps switching out some of the live rock... will steer your system back toward where you want it. Bob Fenner> Regards, Ramy, Ontario, Canada.

Please Help! -- Mg damage to corals? Sclera. health - 2/28/2006 Hi Crew, <Greg> I hope I am worrying needlessly, but I am concerned I might have an unknown coral predator or a water parameter problem with my 180g reef.  My main concern is one Acropora with approximately a pea-sized exposed skeleton near the base of one branch and ½' of skeleton exposed on one tip.  A brown mucous-thread-like substance covered the Acropora, with dead tissue trapped in the bottom of this mucous net.  I siphoned-off the mucous and dead tissue, cut off the dead tip of one branch, then dispensed a tank water + Lugol's solution over the remaining bare skeletal areas.  I just fear that this area of necrosis might be spreading.  This Acropora is placed approximately 8 inches from a 7' Crocea clam (which occasionally produces a similar-looking mucous-like 'net' near the byssal opening).  So I am unsure if the Acropora coating was from the Crocea or if it was produced by the coral. <Mmmm> Two days prior to this happening I did move a rock that was attached to this Acropora and one tip was broken off the Acropora.  This has never been an issue in the past as new flesh would cover the exposed skeleton within a week and new branches would form.  Possibly this initial stress is what led to the current tissue necrosis. Current water parameters: Temp=77°F, Salinity=1.024, pH=8.1, alk=3.2 meq/L, Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, Nitrate~1ppm, Ca=440ppm, PO4={below meas. Limits}, Silicate=0).  I did also increase temperature on my heaters from 76°F to 77°F a few days ago.  I performed a 32g water change at the same time. A little history'¦ About two weeks ago, I noticed that all of my Montiporas were becoming much lighter in color.  I was not overly concerned because they have lightened and darkened in color several times over their 2 years in my tank and they continue to grow well.  Although water parameters have always remained within acceptable ranges previously, my salinity dropped from 1.025 to 1.022 <This is a huge difference> over the course of a day just before the Montiporas changed color a few weeks ago.  A snail had stuck my makeup water float switch in the 'on' position for a day, flooding my 100g refugium and diluting the water with RO/Kalk mixture. <No fun> My pH measured 8.2 so I was only concerned about the sudden change in salinity (makeup water flows at only 10gpd).  I removed 10 gallons of tank water and slowly added 10 gallons of very high salinity water until tank salinity measured 1.023.  The following day, I repeated this procedure until the salinity reached 1.024.  All fish, corals, clams, other inverts appeared to be unstressed so I assumed that worst case, this might have induced a temporary color change in the Montiporas. <Takes a while to show... weeks, months> Since my alkalinity and pH have always remained near the low end of acceptable (pH=8.0-8.1, alk=2.5-3 meq/L) despite using a Kalkwasser reactor for top-off and the addition of Na2CO3 and NaCO3, I bought a Mg test kit to determine if a low Mg level was partially responsible for low alkalinity (Ca=440 ppm).  Mg measured 1,140 ppm <Close enough...> so I mixed 10 teaspoons of Seachem Reef Mg in 1 pint of RO water and dripped this into the pump intake in my refugium.  An hour later I repeated this.  According to Seachem's label, I would have needed to repeat this process a few more times to reach the desired 1,300 ppm but I noticed another Acropora (near the return line) with mucous-like threads waving from its polyps.  I was concerned that I might have changed the Mg level too quickly so I made no further changes to the tank for the next two days. <Good> I did continue to noticed these 'mucous threads' waving from the Acropora polyps at times.  This is a different Acropora than the one that is currently displaying tissue necrosis.  Could dosing Mg in this way cause tissue necrosis in Acropora? <Possibly a factor, not likely "the"> This particular coral is not in direct flow of the pump return line. One Montipora has completely bleached (although polyps are visibly extended) but I did move this coral to a lower light area of the tank when it initially began to bleach.  All other corals (4 Acropora, 1 birdsnest, 1 open brain, 1 pineapple coral, hammer coral, zoos, star polyps, mushrooms, Alveopora) appear to be doing well.  Even the Acropora that had previously produced the mucous-like threads now appears normal.  All inverts appear unstressed as well. What should I do about the Acropora with the tissue necrosis -- is there a way to reverse this spread?   <You likely have> If the necrotic area continues to grow, I assume I should frag the coral to save the remainder -- correct? <An approach. I would move this colony to another system, or even shallow, brightly lit sump first myself> Do you think this in contagious (e.g. should I be doing anything to protect the other corals in my tank)?  Unfortunately I do not have a picture to send yet, but I can follow-up when I return home tonight if needed. Thank you in advance for your help!!! --Greg <I doubt you have a pathogen at play here. Very likely the bit of trouble you've observed is/was due to the change n spg... I would not over-react here. Bob Fenner> Re: Please Help! -- Mg damage to corals?  - 3/1/2006 Bob, <Greg> Thank you so much for your input (or at least putting my mind at ease) -- and for taking the time to read my email.  I will continue to watch this Acropora, but no additional skeletal areas appear to be exposed tonight. <Good> I refer all of my fellow reefers to the WWM search for answers to their questions.  You and the WWM crew offer an invaluable service to aquarists! --Greg <We're very glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Question: I have a Table Acropora that is getting algae growth on the tips. I'm afraid it is going to get suffocated. Is there any way to clean it? I have placed it where it is in stronger current, but so far it looks the same. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Bob's Answer: Rick, look to the possible cause(s) of a lack of metabolic competition with the algae (let's say, rather than means of chemically, physically or biologically removing it). Do you have sufficient light? How much of what sources? Can you add more, leave it on a bit longer? Raise the specimen toward the surface? How about the nutrient make-up of your water. Do you purposely add chemicals to your system? What on what basis and regimen? And a big "Sherlock Holmes" kind of clue-ing; what other organisms do you have that ARE doing well? Some current is of course desirable, but I doubt if this is the root problem.

Question: Hi Bob, about a month ago you helped me out a lot with a question about my reef tank. I just wanted to say thanks, and... I have another question. I have a 60 gallon reef tank with 2 175w MH and two 55w PCs. I was under the impression that would be enough to sustain SPS corals. My SPS corals are alive and thriving but all have turned some form of brown. I have tried high placement as well as low placement but it doesn't seem to affect the coloring. I examined my MH bulbs and discovered that the are 175w 5500K bulbs. Could this be the reason that my SPS corals have turned into a fine golden brown? I would like to return them to their previous glory but I am stumped, any advice would be greatly appreciated. Bob's Answer: Hey Ian, thx for writing back, and glad to hear things are going better. Yes, a higher Kelvin temp. would help, but this may well not bring back the color in your impugned SPS', and their loss may well not have been related to lighting issues in the first place... A full answer must be very lengthy... but the handling and duration of transit of the animals before your procurement, their source (esp. depth), nutrient background (developmentally), and "disease" (i.e. trauma, infectious and parasitic) may have caused the animals to lose their zooxanthellae that produce/co-produce the apparent desired pigmentation.... Keep studying my friend... Take a look at the Aquarium Frontiers on line archives... much good input there that is not stated expressly, but deals with this issue.

Acclimation of SPS corals Bob, I was wondering the standard for acclimating SPS corals (Acropora, birds nest). I keep reading that they need lots of light but to put them lower in the tank to start, is this correct? Do you acclimate corals of this nature just like you would a fish? Thanks, M.D. >> Wow, good questions... Yes, unless I knew for sure that the new SPS I was getting had been fully-exposed to strong lighting in the day to days ahead of my receiving them, I would start them deeper, or off to the sides of my lighting, especially if I were using metal halides. And no, I do get around the tropics quite a bit in the trade, advising (I guess this is an okay word, but it's more like helping, having dinner and diving parties...) friends/associates on acclimation/holding/shipping protocols. The current SOP for new SPS includes using water of a slightly lower spg (a few to several thousandths) of sea/freshwater (to facilitate infusion) that's been pH adjusted (generally just with sodium bicarb.), and a good dose of iodine (up to 0.10ppm) and some addition of hexose sugar (isn't this starting to sound like trauma medicine?)... and some folks throw in the added expense of Aminoplex soln. For ten, twelve minutes as a bath, then into quarantine or holding systems... Bob Fenner, who is telling

Keeping SPS corals <Lorenzo Gonzalez here, standing in for Bob-on-Safari...> I'm having trouble maintaining SPS corals in my 40 gallon reef. Inevitably, they do well for about 10-14 days and then suddenly perish. I have several fish (tang, 2 Chromis, 2 clowns, Firefish, neon goby) and a variety of soft corals that all do well. 175W MH/2-32W power compact actinic, CPR BakPak, good water flow, 4 gallon water change once a week, Kalkwasser mix for top-off water, etc. I've tried Montipora, Acropora, Pocillopora... none have lasted. What can I do? <Were those captive cultured frags? Cultured frags are much more amenable to these typical captive/hobbyist conditions. Are you actually testing the calcium and alkalinity produced by your Kalkwasser routine? Your lighting sounds quite sufficient...> Too many fish? <Only if they mess up the water faster than 'the system' and your water changes can keep up... -Lorenzo> Thanks, Steve

Re: Keeping SPS corals Thanks for responding, Lorenzo... I've tried both "wild-caught" and captive cultured frags. Ironically, I have an Acro (maybe millepora?) in the tank right now... it's the only SPS left that hasn't "shed" all of it's color/polyps and gone bone white, and it's a wild-caught specimen. I've tested for calcium (>400), but not for alkalinity. If the calcium level is good, is it still possible that the alkalinity could be screwed up? and what would I do to fix it? (for the record, I have about a 3" bed of aragonite... I hoped this would provide for a satisfactory buffer...?)  <Nah, your alkalinity is probably fine. If your pH is totally stable/predictable, your alkalinity is typically not suspect...> Also, having a problem w/ the red/brown slime algae on the substrate and live rock, and green algae shows up on the front glass viewing panel like clockwork everyday. I do have good water flow and a CPR BakPak w/ a Rio 800, but neither of these efforts have kept the pest algae away. Any more thoughts? <I've had BGA/'red slime' choke out a couple of corals that I didn't keep a close enough eye on, particularly pipe organ, other 'reddish' corals. I assume you've tried all the usual remedies, i.e.. lighting (yours is more than sufficient), circulation, competition (Caulerpa is great for this), and finally RO water? -Lorenzo> Thanks, Steve

Wants to get it Bigger Hi guys. <How goes it, Michael here this evening> I'm hoping you can help me out. <Try my best>  Here's a quick tank profile: 90g/20gsump/20gref 2x250w 10k MH 1.025sg 79F. <So far so good> I'm in college, so most of my stuff is diy. <I think we're all poor as students :|> Here is my problem: I have been keeping my tank for 2 years now, 1 year in a 55g before I had to move, which I will have to do again this summer (not far- not that that means it wasn't a pain in the ass the first time). I only lost one snail during that move! <Nice>  Anyway, I have been keeping a little of everything, but few SPS. I have had good success with almost every coral I have purchased, and I even had a frogspawn return from a skeleton that had been dead for six months. <Have to love corals' recuperative powers in a healthy system>  I only have a few (8, mostly small) fish. Salinity and temperature are kept almost perfectly constant. My fish seem happy and soft corals, mushrooms and polyps reproduce fairly rapidly. I even have a neat pink sponge that has covered almost all of the undersides of my LR. I also have 3 clams- I have had my squamosa for about a year. <Are they all Squamosas?>  Anyway, things seem to be right, but the growth of my coral (mainly SPS) seems to be dramatically slow. I have a brown Acropora frag that I have had for over a year, and it has grown maybe a few millimeters. sad, huh? It's stuck out its polyps every single day and appears healthy, but there is little growth or encrustation at all, with some bottom-up recession. <When a coral appears healthy and extends polyps as usual, but doesn't actually grow much, something is deficient. Probably not enough food or not enough light. Acroporas are very light hungry corals (for the most part, there are many species in the Acroporidae genus), much more so than your mushrooms, as these species are separated by at least 60' of water in the wild>  I have a purple tortuosa frag that I have had for maybe six months- it hasn't receded, but the growth is almost nonexistent- definitely unlike the time lapse sequences of acros that I have seen. I have been using tech cb for quite some time almost everyday as well as Lugol's and I infrequently (~once a week) add other stuff like magnesium, trace elements, strontium etc in small quantities. I add a little plankton or black powder twice a week or so. Recently I purchased a ph probe to see if that was where my problem was. It was around 8.0 during the day, but I have brought that up by drip dosing Kalk steadily to around 8.2/8.3 and I'm shooting for 8.4. Sorry about how lengthy this is. Should I be adding more calcium/buffer or feeding much more plankton? <Well, your calcium levels should be around ~400 ppm if not closer to 450. Acroporas are very calcium needy, being stony corals. As for plankton, it will do them absolutely no good. If you've only been feeding plankton, this is probably why you're not seeing any growth, as they're slowly starving. Acropora sp. are very hungry, and need zooplankton to survive and flourish>  I thought that most of the corals were predominantly autotrophic. <Not nearly, they most definitely need feeding>  I am keeping the SPS frags in the highest flow areas of the tank. <Probably a good idea, but really depends upon the subspecies>  I have an orange capricornis frag that is very healthy looking and has shown decent growth (~1.5" in 5 months):(. Also, I have had various xenia colonies, which in my tank seem to move very rapidly across the rockscape (with little growth) and then they either stay the same size and look good or wilt. I know I'm doing something right because I have had my mandarin for 1.5 years and a leopard wrasse for one, a colt coral that I grew from a small piece and now have to prune, and my tank is pretty cool looking (but I have nightmares about some aquarium hotshot coming in and catching all of the problems I know I have). If you need anymore info, just write me back. I want a COLONY, not a one year old frag. thanks so much, Hunter Leber <What all are you feeding? What is your current lighting? A bit more info might help us get to the bottom of this. M. Maddox>

SPS Polyp extensions Hello: <Hi Brian, MacL here with you today.> I have a few questions I am hoping you can help me with.   First of all my tank: 265 gallon 3 175 20,000k MH's 4 96 watt PC's 2 actinic and 2 white light 100 gallon sump with a mega protein skimmer 30 gallon refug with 2 types of Caulerpa and a PC 7 power heads 500lbs live rock 3in aragonite 1/2hp chiller WATER 1.024 380 cal 10dkh alkalinity 0 nitrate 0 nitrite 0 ammonia Bionic and Kalk daily LOTS of tangs, fire shrimp, cleaners, hermits, emeralds, 3 red bubble anemone and more livestock all reef safe. I have 40-5- diff SPS colonies and frags. A few SPS frog spawn  brains etc. I have 2 softies one is huge but not waxy now. The bottom line is the SPS have not been in the tank long and I am getting little polyp extension. <Could be a few different things. Could be the spectrum of the lights, the depth of the tank and the positioning of the corals in the tank.  You don't say how tall your tank is nor do you say how deep the corals are positioned. The 175's may not be penetrating as deeply as you need in the water. I would also be a little concerned that your calcium is a bit low for SPS. How frequently do you do water changes? Good luck and let me know if we can help you in any other way.  You'll find numerous FAQs on the site about how to raise your calcium and keep your tank in ionic balance. MacL> Tank has only been up 4 months. Is there anything I can do to help.   Brian

Re: SPS Polyp extensions Thanks: <Hey Brian, MacL here again> The tank is 30 inches tall. Most of the SPS are within 12 inches of the surface. I am doing water changes every 3 weeks. I will check my calcium again to ensure accuracy and proceed with raising it. The big question I have had is that some of the colonies are doing fantastic and others are not. Any ideas why? <Could be a million different reasons, like the lighting they came from before they went into your tank, or some stress that they received, something in your tank eating on them,> Could this simply be due to the tank only being up for 4 months? I did allow it to cycle for 5 weeks before adding any livestock.  <A tank does take time to age and become stable and when its unstable its hard on corals. I didn't add any corals into my tank until it was over a year old because of that although I do know people who have been very successful with newer tanks but they constantly work to achieve that stability of calcium, ph and basics in the tanks.> Brian

SPS RTN !!! <?> 8/9/05 Hi Crew, <Ramy> Great site indeed, up-to-date info for sure !! I have purchased an Acropora frag a couple of weeks ago and the base was kind of white, or missing any colouration. <Typical...> After 3 weeks, the size of the white part is still the same, meanwhile, the rest of the frag is very healthy and shows very nice polyp extension. <Good> My question is, is there any chance that this unhealthy part can spread or do you think that it will recover. I have very good lighting, excellent water circulation and all the other corals are doing just fine. Is it true that RTN can spread over a few days and kill the whole piece ? Thank you. <... this whitish area is not likely RTN, but just resultant die-off from the actual fragmentation process... RTN can indeed spread rapidly... I would not worry here. Bob Fenner>

SPS Corals Turned Brown - 05/17/05 Hi, I'm Bill. <Hi, I'm Eric!> I'm relatively new to coral reef aquariums. I've had much good luck with my two 50 gal tanks. One thing that I'm noticing is that the brightly colored corals turn brown or darken relatively quickly after introducing them to my aquarium(s). <Not uncommon.> I have some idea that this has to be a lighting issue. <Possibly...likely a response to a lack of acclimation to the lighting...but other factors are probably contributing as well.> I have a 250 watt 14k metal halide that I thought would brighten ...or at least retain these colors. <This color temperature is very popular due to its blue appearance though my preference is for something closer to the 10K range, especially for shallow (relatively speaking) water SPS corals.> The lights are on from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm ...too much? <Nope probably fine, ...Although I would actually recommend increasing the photo-period by an hour a week until you reach the 12 hr. range which more closely replicates the tropics.> I'm hesitant to decrease the amount of light out of fear that the corals will not receive enough light. <Agreed.> All other water parameters quality are constantly monitored and kept well within range. <Curiously enough, letting your nitrates rise to around 5ppm can actually help/increase coral coloration.> Thanks for any help you could suggest. <Bill, coral coloration is a result of many factors, not just lighting. Do take a look at your water flow and feeding practices. Strive for an absolute minimum of 10x tank volume for water flow (more is better), and be sure to feed those fishes well. SPS corals are voracious predators and need to feed. And one of the very best coral foods is what is processed by your fish!> Bill <Regards, Eric R.> SPS and ich Hi Bob, <Ramy> I always quarantine any new fish before introducing it to my reef tank. My dealer has a closed system where he keeps SPS and fish. Some of his fish show some ich, so how can I prevent transmitting ich when buying corals from the same water that has the parasite ??? <Run them through a prophylactic dip/bath as proscribed for both groups, on WWM... and the quarantine period... Bob Fenner>   

Bleaching SPS 09/11/05 Hello, <<Hello Chris -  Ted here>> I was wondering if you might be able to help me out. I attached a few picks of one of my corals that is starting to bleach out. There is nothing around it that could be stinging it or anything. I have a 125 gal tank, 3 X 250W MH 14,000k, 2X 96W PC, all my other corals are doing fine including the few other Acro's I have. I only just started adding SPS to my tank in the last 6 months or so but the others are fine. This one was just added in the last 2 weeks or so and the bleaching started about a week after I added it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.<<Sorry to hear of your trouble. From the picture, it appears the coral in question is M. capricornis. Diagnosis from a picture is difficult. If the bleaching is on one side and is spreading out, it may be STN/RTN. If the bleaching spreads in patches, it may be a Montipora nudibranch infestation although nudibranchs can spread out from an initial infestation. I would monitor the water quality and run both carbon and PolyFilter while you deal with this problem. If it is STN/RTN, you can frag the coral to try to stop the spreading and save the coral. If it is nudibranchs, you will have to clean (read this find and kill) the nudibranchs from the coral religiously to beat this pest. Do check the underside of the colony if you suspect nudibranchs. If you have other Montipora sp. in the tank, the nudibranchs can and will spread. Please search WWM for "coral quarantine", "coral disease", "RTN", "STN" and "Montipora nudibranchs".>> Thanks Chris
<<Your welcome and good luck - Ted>>

SPS Bleaching part 2 9/19/05 Thanks for the advice.  When you say to reduce the light- would reducing the amount of time the lights are on work? This would be easier for me as my lighting is in a rather fixed position. <Shortening the photoperiod is one way to do this.  Newly introduced specimens can be acclimated to your very strong light by shading them with pieces of window screen or other shading material for a week or so.> I guess the second easiest thing to do would be to rearrange the reef, but I would rather reduce the lighting time if there is a chance that would work- also, by your description, it looks like bleaching is the culprit, not RTN. <This is good news!  Bleaching is much more recoverable than "RTN".  FWIW... I also ran 400w MH lamps for a while, and had problems with quite a few corals bleaching.  It is simply too much light for many corals, even "SPS".  Acclimating the corals slowly to the light and perhaps shortening the photoperiod will help.  Best Regards.  AdamC.> Corals out of water - 9/14/05 Hi Mr. Fenner! <Paul here to help> Thanks for the last reply! I only forgot to ask about SPS and the water line. I know one should initially place corals 4" below surface and that is what I did. My Pocillopora is now noticeably growing. When I do my weekly water change it gets very close to the lowered water line. Within months I wont be able to do water changes without having part of the coral emerged. So is it bad to have a SPS coral (Pocillopora and Montipora species) partly out of the water for (at the worse) 30 minutes each week? <OK. Well, I have the exact same issue with the exact same corals. The short answer is for a short time, I would say I haven't experienced any issues with bleaching or color problems or anything of that nature. Any longer than that though, I would have to think you might see some issues. Now all this depends on the water replacement, health of the coral, lights on or off etc. I use raw natural seawater from Monterey Bay, I feed my tank a mish mash of Mysid shrimp, Cyclop-eeze, enriched brine, and other stuff, and I do try to water changes with the lights on but not always. Of course there are many more factors that I am sure could be an issue and/or might affect the corals ability to be above water for a short time. For some corals in the surf zone this isn't an issue, but the corals you mention aren't technically surf zone corals. Try and see. Let me know what you find. ~Paul> Dominique

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