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FAQs about Trachyphylliid Coral Behavior

Related Articles: Trachyphylliid Corals, Trachyphyllia Reproduction Report,

Related FAQs:  Open Brain Coral 1, Open Brain Coral 2, Trachyphylliid Identification, Trachyphylliid Selection, Trachyphylliid Compatibility, Trachyphylliid Feeding, Trachyphylliid Systems, Trachyphylliid Disease, Trachyphylliid Reproduction, Stony Corals, Stonies 2, Stonies 3, LPS Stony Corals, Coral System Set-Up, Coral System Lighting, Stony Coral Selection, Coral PlacementFoods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, PropagationStony Coral Behavior,

Trachyphyllia geoffroyi   5/29/16
For many years I had a Trachyphyllia geoffroyi living in my salt water take, about 14 years. Overtime, this coral became very large and seemed to split, now the smaller split portion drifted off on its own.
For now, we have this split portion living in a glass jar as he will float out and drift amongst the rocks. I don’t want him to tear himself.
My question is, he doesn’t seem to have a anchor or coral base.
Will this just develop in time vs. attaching himself to a rock?
<Once floating... I'd anchor this specimen. There are a few techniques here: >
Any suggestions are welcome. My tank is a 75 gallon 2-3 inch sand bed 100+ pounds of live rock with most LPS, one type of SPS given to me by a friend and 2 mated tank born/raised (so I was told) clowns that I have had for ever also. One Banggai Cardinal, one very large old yellow watchman goby (who isn’t really yellow anymore), a pencil sea urchin and a serpent star fish nothing else. LED lights. I have had my tank for the past 15 years.
I would love to hear back from you as to your ideas, recommendations on the Trachyphyllia geoffroy “baby?”
I love your website and have used this sight multiple times over the past 15 years. My tank would not be what it is today without your website!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Trachphyllia Geoffroyi does not extend tentacles 5/10/2012 - 05/11/2012
wwm: Mmm, no msg.? This extension (in your pix) is about all this species does generally, particularly during daylight... feed at night. See WWM re our coverage. Bob Fenner

Re: Trachphyllia geoffrey does not extend tentacles 5/10/2012     5/21/12
Hello, Sorry not sure what happened to the message but lets try this again...
<Responded to; archived here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachybehfaqs.htm
I have a 75 gaI tank. I use the Aquatic Life T5HO four bulb fixture. I have two Aquablue and two Aquablue + bulbs.I use the Fluval 405 filter with a Reef Octopus BH-1000 skimmer. It is Approx. 18 inches to my sand bed where my open brain is. I have a diamond Goby, Regal Tang, Ocellaris, False Percula Clownfish and two peppermint shrimp.I also have a green bubble tip anemone and a Green Montipora Capricornis. I keep my temp at 75.5 and Salinity at .20. All my other levels are good.  I feed Cyclop-eeze twice a week in the morning.
For the everyday fish feeding its Marine Cuisine three times a week and the other days it is Auathrive. Calcium is 400 and I dose phytchrom once a week, Dt’s phytoplankton once a week for my Coco worm and Aquavitro reef fuel. My problem is that the tentacles don’t come out. I have had the open brain for approx. four weeks. The first two weeks all was good. It swells up during the day and goes back down to normal at night. Every now and then after I feed I can slightly see a few tentacles. The color has faded and stringy stuff is starting to hang from it. Thanks for the help, Paul.

open brain - receding   12/16/11
Hiya WWM Crew,
<Hi Mitch>
First of all, love the site and have found a ton of great info that's help me get further along in the hobby, really appreciate it.
That having been said, a little background: I have a 72 gallon bow front with overflow, skimmer, T5HO lighting, and 3 Koralia 600gph powerheads. 
Good amount of Liverock, and am just now (After about 2 years of running) starting to go from FOWLR to reef.  So far I have a Palythoa and just added about 2 weeks ago an open brain (one of the deeper water ones with the red outer lip and green inner bit).
<Ok. Trachyphyllia?>
So when I got the brain I gave it about a week, waited until my night lamps had been on for an hour or two, and then turned off the powerheads - and then used tongs to drop some thawed Mysis on the "mouth" area.  Tentacles started showing up and pushing food into the mouth (super cool to watch!). 
Now, having read on your site I know that these bad boys need to be fed at least a couple of times a week...
<Yes, can be done during the day also>
and my wife mentioned that it had been walnut sized all day today...so tonight I tried again (last feeding was around 5 days ago).  Same process, night lamps, power heads off, dropped some Mysis.  Now the mouths opened WIIIIIIIDE open (like I could see INSIDE the mouth), however no feeder tentacles appeared.  I tried to get a few bits of Mysis into the mouth - but not sure how successful I was.
<This is not likely a feeding problem>
So I pulled out the test kit so see if maybe I was stressing the thing out....trites, trates, and phates are all at zero,
<You should have a trace of NO3 & PO4 present, nutrients essential for life>
which would have been my first thought.  Also tested calcium - and it is indeed quite low (240 range). 
<Far too low - should be around 400ppm>
Could that be causing the lack of tentacle as well as the shrivel effect?
<Yes - the coral is Scleractinian (has a skeleton) so needs to calcify in order to survive. Without enough calcium in the water it cannot do this.
You also need to test for Magnesium and carbonates (alkalinity, dKH. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm>
 I've read that people on WWM have mentioned seeing the "skeleton" of the coral: I'm not entirely sure what that is, as opposed to the rock on which the coral is growing (again, I'm new to this, so be gentle)...so I can't tell if I'm seeing the "skeleton" or if it's just pulled back and hanging out.
<Mmm, the 'rock' on which it is growing is it's skeleton, assuming that what you have is an 'open brain' coral and not something else. either way, the calcium needs to be adjusted, and the Mg & dKH tested for and also adjusted if necessary http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2002/11/chemistry>
Plan for right now is to do around a 12 gallon water change tomorrow, and also start on a nice slow Kalk drip to help maintain the calcium levels. 
Think that's the right move?
<No. I think you need to understand the chemistry more before messing around with Kalk drips, one of the most dangerous things you can do to your tank, especially automated. After reading & understanding you could add a little Kalk, manually only, with testing, and not on a drip>
Thanks, in advance, for your help!
<No problem>
- Mitch
Re: open brain - receding   12/16/11

Simon - thanks for the quick response!
<No problem Mitch>
I'm going to pick up some more exact test kits this afternoon - I'm using the reefmaster kit right now, and unfortunately it won't detect "Trace" amounts (the smallest amount of nitrate it will show is 5 PPM etc).
As far as perking up the brain and calcium go, how much of the Kalk would you recommend starting with?  I've seen a lot of different suggestions in amounts, but all were for a "drip" setup, so not entirely sure what the process would be for adding manually? 
<Are there no instructions? You can make a slurry with some RO water, add a little at a time, test, add some more if necessary... until you get used to how much does what>
(as a side note, in a fit of insomnia, I woke around 3 this morning and took a quick look into the tank with a flashlight - brain is still in that "shrunken" state, but the tentacles were indeed visible again)
As a sidebar, I have a delivery of 3 small Zoanthid frags coming today (15 - 21 polyps total) - unfortunately it was an internet order and it's too late to stop it from coming.  Think they'll be safe in the tank? 
<Should be fine>
My Palythoa (sp) is doing fantastically well and is actually spreading like wildfire right now - from what I understand those are a relative of Zoas, so I'm hoping they'd be okay too? 
<Are Zoanthids also>
I have a small QT on the side but it's not really equipped for sustaining corals.  My plain was to acclimate, dip, and then introduce into the DT.
<I am a fan of quarantining all livestock, everything wet myself>
- Mitch
Re: open brain - receding   12/17/11
Simon - postlude today.

<Fire away!>
Open brain is fully open and happy looking.  No skeleton showing etc.  Took a water sample to the LFS - calcium is at 400.
Looks like my test kit is old and ineffective.  Treated myself to a new one while I was there.
<An essential purchase>
Here's what I suspect, you tell me what you think: I saw coral withered and decided that it must have been hungry and started dropping Mysis over it...in doing so, I think I annoyed it causing it to open its mouth real wide, not because it wanted to eat, but because it wanted me to go the heck away. 
<Hmmm, not sure this coral has the capacity to 'think' ;)>
So, in short, I'm going to give the brain a break and leave it alone until I can confirm seeing those feeder tentacles reaching out.
<I would just aim some food in it's direction when you feed your fishes were it mine, daily.>
Its amazing the panic a bad test kit can cause!!!
- Mitch
<All's well that ends well, Simon>

Trachyphyllia, beh....   11/11/11
Hi Crew,
I have a Trachyphyllia geoffroyi, I think. It has a pointy bottom. When I got it over a year ago I would see feeding tentacles between the outer mantle and inner area where the mouths are. Lately I don't see them. When I feed it it seems to contort and open and somehow ingest the food.
<Mmm. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trachyfdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above.
A few months ago I bought a second one and it has not displayed any feeding tentacles and does not seem to want to eat. When I place finely chopped food in the center it opens its mouths and blows all the food away. Other than that it seems very healthy.
Just sharing,
<Are these specimens in close proximity? Do read... BobF>

Trachyphyllia won't open or feed 2/19/10
<Hi Jonathan>
I've looked at your website a few times and you guys seem fairly knowledgeable on the subject of corals.
<Wow! A great endorsement!>
I have a Biocube 14 that I am running as a reef tank. All of the inhabitants seem to be happy (plate coral, pagoda, trumpet, and assorted soft corals) except for my Trachyphyllia.
<Mmmm, a lot of species... of different types... in a small water volume...>
I have it down on the sand bed in front of the tank with direct light access.
<Ok, do you have enough of the correct light? Try here: >
Originally when I got it I tried spot feeding it (first brine shrimp, then Cyclop-eeze) but most days I would notice later that it was just throwing the food back up through a mucous release from the mouths (assumed from your website). So I stopped trying to spot feed it.
<I don't think this is a feeding issue>
Now I'm noticing that it seems to be bleaching (the outer ring used to be a deeper red but is definitely paling). It never opens anymore at this point as well (night or day, even if I do try to offer food now). I have no idea what to do at this point and I'm considering donating it back to the LFS rather than letting it die on me.
<I would. You have not posted your water test results, so assuming all is ok in that department my best guess is allelopathy, or compatability betwixt other animals. Read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm . If you post back with a full analysis we might be able to narrow this down a bit. Trying to diagnose problems like this is more often than not a case of elimination>.

Open brain coral color and extension change....problem?? 02/02/10
I have a question on my Trachyphylliid coral I added to my tank about 2 months ago.
system is as follows: 55 gallon, AquaC remora skimmer, 4 inch sand bed, no mechanical filtration, (do run Chemi-pure elite in a HOB once in a while), 3 Koralia powerheads for flow, and nova extreme pro T5 6*54w bulbs.
livestock: melanurus and yellow wrasse, red and purple Firefish, tail spot Blenny. cleaner shrimp, 60 or so dwarf Cerith snails, some adult FL Ceriths, dozen or so Nerites, 15 blue leg hermits, 10 Nassarius vibex
parameters: 0 ammonia, nitrite. undetectable nitrate (thanks for the help on that one), ph 8.2, Alk 12dkh, Ca 480, PO4 .25-.5 (still using tap water....I know).
<Oy...I hope you have good tap then.>
Spg 1.025.
my question is on how the color and extension has changed since adding it to the tank. When I first got the brain it was a very light pink almost flesh color with green streaks. the percentage of green has increased a lot, which I think is a good sign. I am assuming that the fluorescent green is the zooxanthellae algae increasing.
<Mmm... there are a lot of things that influence coral color change, zooxanthellae certainly play a role.>
The pink has changed to a dark purple which I kind of concerns me but have seen others this color.
<This is very good actually. You didn't give any photos, but from what you're describing, it sounds like your coral was bleached when you got it and now it's coming back to life!>
what worries me is that it does not extend nearly as much during the day as it did at first. Could this be due to increase in zooxanthellae so the coral does not have to expand as much to collect the same amount of light??
<Maybe... who knows? Corals are often unpredictable in captivity. But you'll know if this coral was dying. If it were unhappy, it would be bleaching and/or the tissue receding.>
The coral is fed regularly, it eats pretty much every night when I feed the fish. I dump about half the regular feeding amount in first then wait about 10 minutes,
<good method>
small feeders come out along the inner edge of the skirt, then I dump the rest of the food in the tank.
<well done>
It always gets a few chucks of mini Mysis. It even appears to eat flake food that falls on it (it closes a lobe around it at least, not sure if it gets eaten or not). I also add Kent MicroVert, and Cyclop-eeze about once a week (different days).
<I don't know about the MicroVert, but Cyclop-eeze is great... and variety is always preferred.>
only other coral is a Euphyllia (frog spawn) which is at least 12 inches away so I dont think the long sweepers are getting it. also never see any fish messing with it.
<There might be some chemical intimidation going on between the two stony corals. I wouldn't worry about it though. It sounds like your coral is doing just fine.>
So. all that said, do you think the decrease in extension (probably about 50% less at least) is something to worry about.
<No. In fact, it could be a good sign even. "Over swelling" can be a sign of declining health sometimes... maybe it used to be swelling too much.>
What are your thoughts about the color change.
<I think that when a Trachyphylliid deepens in color (goes from pink to red or purple), and when it responds to feeding (extends tentacles promptly and regularly)... these are very good signs.>
Thank you, this site is a wealth of information
<De nada,
Sara M.>

Brain Not Extending It's Tentacles/Trachyphylliidae/Health 8/27/09
<Hello Sharon>
I have had an open brain coral for about a month and it swells pretty well when the lights are on and is maintaining its colours. However, it does not extend it's feeding tentacles at night. Since buying it, I still have not seen it extending it's tentacles before. Does that mean that it is unhealthy or is there something wrong with my water? All the critical parameters are in check and I place it on the sand bed. I try to feed my
corals several hours after lights off..
Please comment,
<Well, you do not mention lighting being used, would be very helpful here, along with stating additives being used, if any. Please respond and we will continue on.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Brain Not Extending It's Tentacles/Trachyphylliidae/Health 8/28/09
Dear James,
I'm using a single 250w Reeflux 12k MH with Lumenbright mini reflector supplemented with 2 actinic blue plus T5. I dose Purple Up daily and Seachem Reef Advantage Calcium, magnesium and carbonate to maintain ionic balance.
I also do around 10% water change weekly using natural seawater that my LFS sells.
<May be a problem here depending on where the water was collected from. I believe you would be better off just using a reef blend of artificial sea salt mix.>
Thx for the prompt reply. Hope to hear from you again.
<Always include your measured levels of calcium, magnesium, dKH, and pH, does aid in our response. I would add iodine to your additive list. As for feeding, cut back to no more than once weekly. Corals produce most of their food by way of photosynthesis and frequent feedings can have a negative impact on water quality.
Do read here and related FAQ's for helpful information on keeping this coral. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyphlliidae.htm
James (Salty Dog)>

Re Brain Not Extending It's Tentacles/Trachyphylliidae/Health 8/29/09
Alright, I will try my best. Thanks for the help!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Open brain bloating halfway 4/16/09
I've got an open brain, and over the last week, I've noticed that it has been bloating up weirdly. From the picture, you can see that only half of it bloats up and the other half not.
<I see this>
Previously, it (the whole coral) was bloating up fine. Water param.s have not changed much.
Appreciate any inputs on what this is happening?
<Perhaps not much... I might increase/pulse your iodine/ide here a bit, change out a bit more water next change, and clean up your skimmer... but not much else here given the paucity of information provided. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trachydisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Deflated Trachy   2/17/08 Gents I'm writing to you from Guernsey, a small Island in the British channel! I have a question that so far, despite trying many different people, have not got an answer. I have a Trachyphyllia Geoffroyi that has been deflated for about 3 weeks. I've had him for about 8 months and has always looked amazing. I recently upgraded my skimmer to a Deltec apf600 on a 325 Ltr (90 US Gallon?). <About 86> I changed my carbon and phosphate remover but nothing different to my normal routine. My coral has since deflated. The flesh was very tight over the skeleton and I thought all was lost. I was really gutted as he's my favourite coral. I didn't remove the coral but left it for a few days. One night I noted he looked a bit inflated but the next day he was the same. I have since put him in a Pyrex bowl on the bottom of the tank so that I can get to him easily. I feed him in the bowl and he feeds well but still no inflation. The flesh is no longer tight over the skeleton but definitely not inflated. Any ideas what the problem is? <Mmm, first guess would be a nutrient shortage from your new, more efficient skimmer.... Do you have measurable phosphate?> My conditions are: S.G - 1.025 pH - 8.2 KH - 8 Ca- 420 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 15 I'm afraid that's all I test. I do 25 Ltr water changes every 2 weeks with good quality reef salt. Use a Ca reactor, Carbon, Phosphate remover, <This too is too-likely a culprit... I would pull this media for now. Some soluble HPO4 is absolutely essential to all life...> Live rock, DSB, skimmer. All other fish / corals are in good health and no fish appear to be irritating the coral. Many thanks for any help. Cheers Jeff <And a bit of iodine/ide supplement, and let's see how this Open Brain does in a week or so, eh? Bob Fenner>

Strange/Rare Trachyphyllia Behavior  10/7/08 I have had a green and red "Open Brain" for about six months now. My 55 gal tank is a year and a half old all levels are GREAT and water change up to date. For the most part I don't have any disappointments. I am coming to you for advice as I have exhausted all other possible resources. I have looked on the WEB, WWM website and called multiple local fish stores. About 3 weeks ago my "Open Brain" seemed to be detaching itself from its base. <I see this... and some possible cause/s> At first I figured it was going to die off rapidly. Well to my surprise it remained brightly colored, tentacles out and it was just beautifully full. Just four days ago it seemed to be almost just hanging by a string (almost like a balloon). Pics attached. I was told by my local fish store that the Open brain wouldn't/shouldn't survive as it is detaching from its base. <Mmm, can/do "leave" if conditions aren't right...> I took pictures to prove what I am witnessing. The last pic attached is from this morning already completely detached from the base and more than six inches from it on the sand by the xenia. How could this be? <Tore loose from the corallum> and could this open brain survive like this? <Hopefully will regenerate its base... can do so> Please Help!! I just need an answer... its almost like closure. Thank you so much!!! <Mmm, some of the surrounding organisms... the Zoanthids below, the Clavulariids to the left, the Arrow crab... may well have irritated this animal to the extreme... "We'll see". Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/trachysysfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Re: Strange/Rare Trachyphyllia Behavior I truly appreciate your time! THANK YOU!! :) <Thank you for sharing. BobF>

Bloated Open Brain (Trachyphyllia) 6/25/08 Hi WWM Crew, <Hello Cindy!> I am very much hoping that you can alleviate my worries about our open brain. <I hope so too!> We've had 'him' for about 4 weeks now and until recently it appeared as though everything was going well. Until the past few days his tentacles would come out every evening - dinner time for everyone else as he was curious. Twice a week we feed him a small morsel of clam, muscle, shrimp or octopus; which he accepts gladly. <Great! Glad to see you must have researched husbandry a little. Too many of these starve to death in aquariums.> There are never any leftovers and he hasn't spewed anything back into the tank. The rest of the week he will get left overs that may drift to the bottom once the fish have had their fill. As far as I can tell he's well fed. Recently we have upgraded our lighting and we are trying to acclimate everyone slowly to the better lighting. Since we've changed the lighting though the open brain coral has bloated and his tentacles are extended all the time. Based on all the research I've done I was sure that his tentacles were a sure sign of hunger and the bloating was generally reserved for the day after meals; but for the past three days they are out almost 24/7 and his bloating is incredible; he expands by about 50%. He still expands/retracts but the bloating is so much more than we've seen in the past that I'm worried about the behaviour. Is he incredibly hungry or just loving the new light? Do I step up the feeding/reduce/change it?? <This is a stress response, most likely. Expansion means more surface area, and therefore more passive cooling/waste diffusion. Even if he isn't cooking, full of waste, or wanting more light a coral only has so many responses to stress. If something seems wrong and all you can do is puff up, you're going to puff up- know what I mean?> Tank details: 6 months old, 45 gal -corner tank, 40lbs live rock, 2" live crushed coral covered by 1" fine live sand. 2 percula clowns, 1 cleaner shrimp, one engineer goby, 1 hammer coral, 1 bubble coral, 1 open brain :-), green Zoanthid polyps, 1 doz assorted snails, 3 red hermits, various blue legged crabs, small refugium with 4 mangroves, Tunze 50 gal protein skimmer, Fluval filter, 78 degrees, 8.2 ph, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 20 nitrate??, 380 calcium. The calcium levels is slowly being increased (over the course of 2 weeks) to 400. The nitrates are frustrating, they are always there, we've tested the change water and the nitrates are 0, but after 1 day they jump to 10, am hoping the new lighting will increase the algae and that will help to take care of the nitrates. <Well, to run the colloquialism through the nitrogen cycle..."nitrate happens". It can be tough to control in smaller tanks...but it sounds like you know how to stay on top of it.> Change water 10% twice weekly. Old lighting: 2 x 18" 15w fluorescent bulbs 1 x 10,000k (ocean sun), 1 x 20,000 (coral sun) - new lighting: 1 250w 14,000k metal halide. <VERY good lighting! Keep an eye on that 14k, I've heard sometimes they don't hold their spectrum as long as the 10k or 20k flavor.> Thank you very much for the hours upon hours of reading material that you have provided for us! <You are very welcome! Thank you for reading them! I think your brain should return to normal as he adjusts to the new lighting. If he begins to bleach or show other signs of serious stress consider slower acclimation to the light- and feel free to write in if problems arise.> Cindy <Benjamin>

Open Brain Coral... ID, hlth...  2/25/08 Greetings WWM, <<G'Morning. Andrew today>> I have acquired and open brain coral, I stuck him on the bottom of the tank in the substrate and he was all closed up and now he has puffed up like a balloon is this normal? My water perimeters are great any suggestions? Thanks from Colorado <<Species of coral? Would always prefer to know you exact water parameters. <<Sometimes, yes this is normal for an open brain to bloat up as its creating more surface area for feeding. Maybe provide a photograph to enable us to better look at the coral>> <<Hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Re: Open Brain Coral 02/26/2008 Greetings Andrew, <<Hello again>> He is not as blown up as he was, he has seemed to mellow a bit. My water parameters are as follows nitrate is around 5, nitrite is at 0 ph is at 8.3, ammonia is at 0 alkalinity is at 10, calcium at 400. I run a metal halide made by current at 150w, I had VHO lights but it was too much lighting. I have adequate filtration with skimmer and my bio load is as follows for a 55 gallon. 2 false clowns 2 blue neon gobies 1 mandarin goby 3 turbo snails 3 hermit crabs 2 cleaner shrimp 1 serpent star 1 metallic green open brained coral 120 pounds of live rock and Tonga branch <<Am sure it will be fine once it has settled down in the tank. By the sounds of it, its already started to deflate, which is a good sign>> <<Thanks. A Nixon>>

Wellsophyllia Brain Swelling/Compatibility Hello Again, Happy 4th of July! <Hi, Pufferpunk here. Happy 4th to you too!> I'll make it short and simple. 75 gal. reef tank. 100 lbs of live rock. 390 watts of PCs (3 month old bulbs). Ammonia levels are 0, Nitrite 0, Phosphate 0, Nitrates barely detectable. I am aggressively skimming and changing about 20% of the water every 4-5 days. I have a Green Wells Brain <Wellsophyllia> that is awfully close to some silvertip Xenia. The brain eats every couple of days ...some Mysis, and Zooplankton. The Brain has grown excellent and has doubled in size in the past 4 months. The brain is overall about 7" in diameter. However, today I noticed that it looks swollen or "puffed up" and I was wondering if this is normal behavior. <Mine shrinks & swells daily.> I also noticed that for a short time today, the Xenia was closed. I placed them so close because I was told that the "Chemical Warfare" would not be an issue. <Agreed> The Brain is showing no skeleton and aside from being swollen, it looks very healthy. Are these two species compatible? <They should be fine. I run Purigen in my sump, just in case.> I am supplementing Bio-Cal, Bio-Stront, Tech I, and Tech M. <Are you testing for calcium & alkalinity?> P.S. Am I wasting my money adding DT's Phytoplankton to a tank with Leathers, Xenia, a Wells Brain and assorted zoos and shrooms? <Not at all. There are tiny creatures in your sand bed that need to eat too. They help keep your tank healthy.> Just wondering... I am using HOB filters with powerheads and Carbon. <Sounds like your tank is doing great. I had issues though, with my brain not receiving enough light from PCs. Eventually, I had to loan them out to someone that had more light over their tank, until I upgraded to T5s. Good luck to you. I hope you enjoyed fireworks somewhere! ~PP>

Brain Coral/Health 4/4/07 Dear WWM, <Hello Paige> After reading through your site, I am slightly confused about open brain corals. Are they supposed to puff up, or not. I have been taking care of one for about six months. When I started, it did not puff up, the tentacles did not come out at all and it had some white spots on it. Then about a month ago, it started to puff up and turn a bright green. Then last week, it went back to not puffing and got the white spots again. I did vacuum the sand two weeks ago. Could this have affected it at all? I have a 100 gallon tank with three Fluval filters, the salinity is about 33.6 ppt, the pH has been constant at 8.0, the calcium is about 480, alkalinity is 3 meq/L, the nitrates are 0 as is the phosphate. I am also doing 5% water changes weekly. Any help would be greatly appreciated. <They should puff up slightly in the evening hours when the tentacles are expanded.  They do best in a well established reef aquarium that incorporates moderate to strong lighting.  You do not mention what type of lighting you are using.  Along with a moderate water current, the addition of calcium, strontium, and other trace elements are beneficial to the coral's health.  They will also benefit from weekly feedings of Cyclop-Eeze or similar food.  They should only be fed when the tentacles are fully expanded.  Sounds to me like there may be a water quality issue here along with insufficient lighting.  You mention the use of three Fluvals, are the filter pads cleaned and rinsed weekly?  If not, there will be an excess of dissolved nutrients in the water which is not favorable to their overall health.  A protein skimmer helps immensely in this regard along with the use of Chemi-Pure in the filters.> Thank you very much! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Sincerely,

Worried bout my open brain   10/2/06 Hey guys/gals, I love reading your faq's they are very helpful.  First my tank parameters I have a 25 Gal tank with 2x 65 Coralife Pc's 1 10K 1 03 Antic, my salinity is 1.025, PH 8.2, alk 11, ammonia is 0 nitrates 0, this is a coral only tank no fish.  My question is about my Trachyphylliid I have had him for over a month.  I feed him 2 krill 2 to 3 times a week and I feed DT's once a week he has awesome expansion and seems healthy, but the other day this white stuff came out of his mouth (refer to pic) I blew it off with my turkey baster gently and it has came back do you guys know what this is?   <Looks like egested food-waste... Cnidarians only have one opening/exit to their lumens/gastrovascular cavities... I'd "fish out" (siphon, net) this waste. Bob Fenner>

Wellsophyllia a.k.a Trachyphyllia radiata   8/24/06 Hey guys hope all is well! I have one question, it was mentioned in one of your previous responses but I would like to make sure. I have Trachyphyllia radiata that I have recently purchased. It has fed once (krill). I have two Kent marine drip systems in place one for food and the other for additives. The coral seems to inflate and deflate. Is this normal? Thanks for any help you may give. Mark <Yep. BobF>

Open Brain With Backwards Behavior   6/16/06 Hi Web Crew! I would like to say thanks for all the helpful information your site contains and the on going dedication of everyone. Your my first source when it comes to difficult reef keeping questions! My Specifications: 125g All-Glass MegaFlow with a 55g sump/refugium, Two 9.5 mag drive pumps, Light: One 160w 72 inch Actinic, One 160w 72 inch 10,000k, One 250w MH, Temp:78, SG: 1.023, PH: 8.1, A: 0, N:0. N:0 CAL:480 I recently purchased a red Trachyphyllia geoffroyi. It looked great and healthy at the LFS but when I acclimated it into my tank I have had a few issues. I made a few errors to begin with. One, maybe I should have acclimated it for more than an hour.  Two, I had it under the 250 MH to begin with and may have ³light shocked² it (now under the softer light of the actinic/10,000k). Three, it does have nick in the flesh on the ³underside² exposing some skeleton. Four, I have a Flame Angel that took a little nip at it once or twice, but has now lost interest in it. The brain contracts during light but expands some (but not fully) sometime during the night (tank lights off) because I check on it in the morning. I have been placing food on it¹s mouth every other night, alternating brine and a raw shrimp, scallop, homemade blend. All tiny pieces. I monitored it with a flashlight and noticed it did engulf the food. My concern is it¹s tentacles aren¹t active in the feeding process even when I blow ³food juice² on it 15mins before to stimulate feeding. Also, I¹m thinking of blowing lightly some Kent Iodine on it with the concern of preventing that nick getting infected. Do you know why it¹s contracting in light then expanding in the dark, and do you have any advice on further treatment or steps in regaining the health of my brain? <<Clayton: Most brains will take several days to adjust to the conditions in your tank.  They like to be on the sand.  If yours is eating, that is a good sign.  On mine, I only see the feeding tentacles at night when the lights are out.  As long as the flesh is not completely receding away from the skeleton, you should be OK.  If you don't have a test kit for it, you should monitor alkalinity. Best of luck, Roy>> Open brain retracting  - 04/05/2006 I just want to start by thanking you guys for everything you're doing.   About 2 weeks ago I purchased a gorgeous open brain coral.  I didn't notice in the store, but as I was acclimating him at home I noticed a small spot where it looks like he is retracting from his skeleton.  I've had him for about 2 weeks now and it hasn't gotten any worse.  My nitrate, nitrite and ammonia are all 0, pH is about 8.3-8.4.  I have a little bit of a phosphate problem and if I remember correctly its about 1 ppm, and I  just can't keep my calcium very high because of my corals.  It is at about 300-350 ppm.  I'm wondering if this can be something that happened in shipping or how I can tell if its getting worse? <Perhaps a series of close-up digital pix you can save, send to compare> It doesn't seem like its getting worse, but it doesn't look like its getting better.  Thanks again for all your help guys. <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Devils hand/devils finger *update* The brain has left it's skeleton and is almost double in size. This should rack your brain. <symptomatically it is no surprise to me on this point. Your brain <G> is under duress... and LPS corals in particular when severally stressed will often expand markedly which some aquarists mistake as a positive sign ("happy" or growth). It is in fact generally a sign of an animal panning/struggling for light (by spreading tissue and zooxanthellae out in an effort to catch more of the inadequate or waning light from deteriorating water clarity <yellowing agents from lack of carbon/water changes> or the bulbs) or lacking food (T. geoffroyi uses a mucosal net strategy for feeding which involves such ballooning). Now why, your coral has done all of this is another matter <smile>. Again... time will tell. Things will get better or worse soon <G>. Best regards, Anthony>

Brain not Functioning I have been keeping deep water LPS corals for the past year. I recently purchased a green open brain. During the past week he is opening less and less. Also I have yet to see his sweeper tentacles. What do they look like? (like a Bubble Coral) <Yes, very similar.> System specs. Temp 78 no trace ammonia, nitrite or nitrate Calcium 420 200 watts Smartlight 55 gal tank, 20 gal sump, 10 gal Refugium ph 8.4 @ mid-day using Poly-Filter for the past few days to a week <All looks good. Do be sure to feed this coral. Frozen Mysis shrimp, plankton, or Seawater Zooplankton would all be appropriate. About three times per week.> Thanks, Jeremy p.s. do green brittle stars eat amphipods? <I would think they would be a little small for this predatory starfish. -Steven Pro>

Red Open Brain Anthony (or WWM reefer), <Steven this morning. Anthony is a little busy and getting behind, so I am helping with some of his email.> I was reading the daily FAQ on WWM and came across an answer from Anthony that has caused me some distress. This is in regards to the "Hammer Coral with Spots!" answer. I have attached this post at the bottom. I was hoping you could set my mind at ease, or at least point me in the right direction. My concern is with the LPS polyp extensions. I have a red open brain in a 20 gal high tank with 2x65w PC's (one daylight and one actinic). I've had this coral for 8 months now and have always seen the polyps extend greatly during the light cycle (Usually 3 to 4 times its nocturnal size). I feed him 3 times a week with a home mixture of shredded jumbo shrimp, Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp. This is soaked in Zoe for 24 hours before feeding. I keep the pieces small (usually smaller than 1/8 inch) and have not seen any regurgitation of large pieces of food. Does my feeding schedule and light seem appropriate to you? <It all seems fine to me.> I realize that the brain is a different species than a Hammer, but does your advice/experience for the Hammer work for both? <The care for many LPS coral is similar.> I'm concerned that I may be leading this beautiful creature to a slow death. Tank info: 20 gal high 2x65PC's CPR Bak-Pak skimmer 2- maxi-jet 400's for circulation Emperor 280 HOB filter (more circulation and occasional carbon use) 30 lbs LR 50 lbs LS Corals: 1 - Red open brain colony of blue mushrooms colony of pulsing Xenia Fish 1 - Royal Gramma 1 - yellow watchman goby assorted hermits and a peppermint shrimp. Tank parameters: Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 5ppm Phosphate - undetectable with Salifert kit Calcium - 400ppm Alk - 3.2 meq/l Thank you in advance for any help. Regards, Mike Spaeth <Everything above seem good to me. If you are concerned that your Open Brain is panning for more light, do compare photos of healthy ones to yours or send us a digital image. No zipped pictures and nothing too large, 400 KB or under please. -Steven Pro>

Open Brain coloring Hi all, I purchased a red open brain about 2 weeks ago. I have it sitting about 12 inches from the water surface, under 2 36 watt pc bulbs, 1 6500 k and 1 blue. I feed it every other day with finely cut shrimp.  <all excellent husbandry for this species. Kudos to you for doing your homework my friend> I know that the coral needs time to adjust to the different light and water quality, and may change in appearance.  <agreed> Here is my concern. Over the past few days the red has been fading. It has green stripes that are incandescent on him that seem the same as when I purchased him, maybe even getting more numerous. Just looking for your collective wisdom. Should I be worried or wait it out and see what happens. <although a paling color is not a favorable change... I'd wait it out. You may be looking at the result of shipping duress. Have faith in the place and care you have provided and please do not move this coral under any reasonable circumstance. Simply give it several weeks to adjust.> Thanks Jon <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Open Brain coloring Thanks, You guys rock!!! <live rock...coast to coast...San Diego, CA to MA. Keep on rockin' in the free world... rock on my brother... Rock of Ages (Ok... I think I'm done now). Kindly, Anthony>

Open Brain Coral care - 4/18/03 Hi guys, <Hello. Paul here after an intense night of hockey action> Yesterday, I purchased a open brain coral (Green), after reading from WWM found that is quite hardy and suitable for most reef tanks. <Can be, but as you know, any animal no matter how hardy, needs your help. Also, it is a good habit to gain knowledge before purchasing an animal, in my opinion. You are well on your way.> Great site by the way, very knowledgeable and informative website. <We aim to please> I have a slight concern that when my Orange diamond Goby "shift" sands, or sometimes they wiggle their tail, which cause sand to get on top of the open brain coral (Green), should I be worried about that? <Yes you should. Be sure to either blow it of gently with a turkey baster or something similar to that effect. These animals do utilize a slime coating/netting that in some ways aids in feeding and shedding detritus, but I don't think it could move a good amount of sand if it were to get on it.> Or should I try to help by removing the fine live sand? <Help move the sand off with a gentle hand wave or turkey baster> The open brain coral (Green) opened up beautifully today, which is a good sign. <A good sign that it needs food <VBG> Please read through the FAQs on our site regarding care and proper nutrition. Good luck, Pablo>  

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