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FAQs about Zoanthid Health, Pests, Predators 1

FAQs on Zoanthid Disease: Zoanthid Health, Pests Predators 2, Zoanthid Health, Pests, Predators 3, Zoanthid Hlth., Pests, Pred.s 4, Zoanthid Hlth., Pests, Pred.s 5, Zoanthid Hlth., Pests, Pred.s 6, Zoanthid Hlth., Pests, Pred.s 7,
FAQs on Zoanthid Disease by Category: DiagnosisEnvironmental,
(Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments 
& Zoanthid Reproduction/Propagation,

Related Articles: Zoanthids, Sea Mat: An Ocean Of Color For The Aquarium by Blane Perun,

Related FAQs: Zoanthids, Zoanthids 2Zoanthids 3Zoanthid ID, Zoanthid Behavior, Zoanthid Compatibility, Zoanthid Selection, Zoanthid System, Zoanthid Lighting, Zoanthid Feeding, Zoanthid Reproduction

Zoas hlth.   4/24/07 A few days after buying some Zoas the colony died off.  Now I have white spots on my remaining colonies, which appears to be tissue damage.   It reminds me of chicken pox.  They don't show in photos, too small, but appear to be growing. They don't move. Please help identify and suggest a treatment. <What type and wattage of lighting are you using? Strong halide lighting can induce a condition that sounds similar to this?!> What is the best method for dipping Zoas? I currently use an iodine dip. <No special requirements, just drip acclimation> Ken <Olly>
Re: Zoas hlth.   4/24/07
After investigating further, it appears to be some type of small snail. <Possibly young Heliacus? See here - http://www.reefs.org/hhfaq/snails/photoalbum_photo_view?b_start=1> Ken <Olly>

Zoanthid spiders, Pycnogonids, MgCl2 dipping...  4/18/07 Hi,      I know you have talked about these before, but I couldn't find the answer to my question on the previous forum.      I am a newbie and did not know that I should QT corals (I know better now).  Somehow, somewhere, I have picked up Zoanthid spiders.   <Pycnogonids... some of which do feed on Zoanthids... some are "just" space commensals...>      So far, I have FW dipped the affected zoos, dipped them with coral dip   <... what is this? Oh, the Kent Product... mainly I2 cpd.s> and QT'ed them.  They have been in QT for about a month.  I didn't see anything for the last month, but recently began to notice that some of the zoos looked puny and were drooping.  Tonight about 2 hours after lights out, I turned on the lights and saw a baby spider.  I immediately FW dipped the zoo and got another.  I dipped all the zoos in the QT and got a couple more.  I have had about enough.  This is so disappointing.  I finally just tossed the affected zoos tonight. <?!>      I am writing because I am worried about the zoos that dipped clean on the first go round.  I left these guys in my DT and they seem to be doing fine.   I plan on doing another FW/coral dip tonight on the ones that are not attached to rocks and see what happens.        If I find more spiders, what should I do? <Remove, and dip (in a 1.024 or so spg MgCl2 (Magnesium Chloride) solution (made with clean freshwater...) for half a minute... place all in a new, non-infested system...> I have several colonies that are attached to base rocks in my tank.  If I find spiders in some of the colonies should I take out the base rock and dip/QT it too? <You could... but starving these Pycnogonids out will do the same... just leave them, the existing system w/o food for a month or more...>   I probably weighs about 20#.      I hope you all can help me decide what to do.  I love this hobby but am getting very close to bailing because of the disappointments.  I also received some flatworm infested Chaeto from my trusted LFS.  Now my refugium has a few of them.  What should I do?   <Read... on WWM re...>      Will a sixline wrasse help at all?  Will they eat these things?      Thanks,      Miri    <Read on my friend, read on. Bob Fenner>

Mysterious blobs   - 4/7/07 Hey Bob! <Hi Brian, Mich here.> I've got a quick question, I have noticed some blobs on some of my Zoanthids. I am unsure what it is, I have passed it off as regurgitation but like I said, I am unsure. <Looks like algae growth to me, I would check your circulation and at least temporarily move these Zoanthids to an area with more flow.  I'm guessing they haven't been opening as much as normal.> I attached some pics of it. <Got it!> Any info would be greatly appreciated. <Hope this is helpful.> Thanks
<Welcome!  -Mich>
Re: Mysterious Blobs on Zoanthids  - 04/07/07 Hey Mich! <Hi there Brian!> I have 2 Seio m620's in 75g, along with everything else, I have roughly 1500gph+ flow. I have a spray bar in the bottom of the tank pointed it at an angle to where it blows directly thru my live rock so nothing settles in there. <Lots of flow in theory, if all is functioning properly.  I would double-check this.> The blobs are not algae, <Maybe, maybe not.> nothing else has it, <That does not rule it in or rule it out... not cause and effect.>   none of the other various Zoanthids, just that frag. <Starts somewhere.> They haven't opened in 2 days. It started out with one or two had it, then all of them had it. <So it is spreading.  It may or may not be algae.  What I can say is I have experienced this phenomenon and found that the Zoanthids would improve if they were placed in an area where they received a high amount of flow, even continuous direct flow for as a temporary measure.  Hope that helps.  Good luck!  Keep us updated.> Thanks
<Welcome  -Mich>

Re: Zoa and Amphipod Problems... Unrelated   3/21/07 Hello <Hi!  Mich here.> I read through a bunch of text regarding predatory amphipods..  There seems to be some conflicting info about whether they are carnivorous or not..  I'm having problems with some Zoanthid colonies ceasing to open during the day...  Some of the colonies were originally 50-60 polyps and reproducing extremely fast..  About a week ago they stopped opening..  The first day they didn't open I did a 10min freshwater dip to check for nudi.s...  Nothing showed up at all.. I placed the colony back in the tank and waited until the evening still nothing..   About 2am I check on them again.  My main lights are off at this time so It's a little hard to see..  There are about 40 of these "amphipods" (I'm not really sure what they are) swarming all over the colony that stopped opening plus 2 other colonies..  I watched them for a couple of minutes and it definitely looks like they are pulling off pieces of the Zoas..   <Mmm, pulling off algae.> My tank parameters are as follows..  Bare bottom 33g, 60lbs of rock, EuroReef 5-2, 150w heater, Seio 620, 150w MH de pendant..  The sump is filled with Chaetomorpha.. kH 10-12 calcium 450 <Allow to drift under 400> magnesium 1300 Ph 8.0 ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate > 5 temp 77-78f I was hoping to find out for sure if these things are eating my Zoas..   <No.> I'm also looking for suggestions for control of these critters..   <Not recommended.> Maybe some sort of Wrasse..  Any and all info would be much appreciated.. I'm providing  a link to a picture of them..  I'm not sure how to attach it to this email..  I originally tried to take a pic of them in the dark with flash and they all scattered.  The pic came out all blurry so this is the best I could do..  A couple of them came back after a few minutes so I snapped this picture.. http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c306/fishnfst/evilpods99.jpg <A very nice photo.  These are scuds (Gammaridean amphipods) and are not the source of your problems.  These are harmless, beneficial creatures.  I suspect you may be seeing them scrap algae of your Zoanthids.  I am not sure of the cause of your problems, but I have found that increasing the circulation to these closed up Zoanthids can help.  You might try adding a power head and checking your outlets, perhaps your circulation has been unknowingly reduced.  I hope that helps.  -Mich>
Re: Zoa and Amphipod Problems... Unrelated   3/21/07 Thank you very much for the prompt reply Mich.. <You are most welcome!> I did remove one powerhead from my tank recently..  I thought I had too much flow with two Seio 620's and a Koralias 2..    The tank is only 24"x20"x16"tall.. Flow seems adequate still with only one Seio 620 and my mag3 return pump...  I will add one power head back to see if it helps.. <Hopefully it will!> Off Topic:  I appreciate the easy going and concise answers.  I was originally apprehensive about sending my question due to fear of getting my grammar and spelling ripped apart in an open forum :)   <No need to fear! Underdog is here... Oh wait, that's something else!  There really is nothing to be apprehensive about.  If there is an effort made to follow the posted directions you won't have a problem.  But you would be surprised by the blatant disregard for requests of proper grammar and spelling we receive.  We get queries filled with "i this" and "i that" or ALL CAPS or just chat room speak "cuz it ez".  We do not want to post anything in this format.  We use these queries to educate and help others.  It must live up to a certain standard to achieve this goal.  We are all volunteers and it is time consuming to fix all these problems.  After a while it can get exceedingly frustrating, especially for Bob, who has dedicated thousands upon thousands of hours of his life building this site.  We provide a free service and ask for very little but an attempt to keep things on a level where all can understand and benefit.> Thank you for going easy on me..   <No worries my friend.> If you can post the pic to my reply it would be much appreciated as well.. <Oh, but of course!>.   Thanks Again,
<You're welcome again, -Mich>

Zoanthid/Paly trouble, brown slime and shrinkage   3/8/07 Dear WWM crew! <Hi Julia, Mich here.> Thank you once again for all the great advice you have given me and all the other hobbyists! <Our pleasure to serve.> Today I am having a peculiar issue with my Palythoa and Zoanthids.  I have done my best to research it on your site, as well as ask my local reef forum members, and to no avail.  I have a severe sinus infection, so my head and eyes really hurt and I just cannot do any more research... Please help me so I do not lose my collection of these neat critters. <Will try my best.> First of all, this is my 54-gallon corner bow front tank with a 20-gallon sump/fuge.  It is mainly Zoanthid dominated, although I have a few LPS which will be moving into another tank in the near future...  The LPS are: 2 heads of frog spawn, 4 heads of torch coral and one tiny frag of Galaxea.  All three are located as far away from the Zoanthids as possible.  My temperature is 78 degrees and my specific gravity is 1.025.  I have a 250-watt MH light (15,000K XM bulb) about a foot above the water.  The fish are: two small pink skunk clowns, one royal Gramma and one small 6 line wrasse.   <OK.> There is a sand sifting goby in there (someone gave it to me, it was either that or he would have flushed it, and it is starving but I am working on finding it a more suitable home). <Very good.> I am including a picture of what has been going on.  Here is a description (pardon me, it is not very scientific).  A single polyp elongates and looks like a "pee pee" (sorry) and its head gets covered in brown stuff.   <Ho buoy!  Phallic indeed!> It looks like the polyp got dipped in glue, then in fine sugar sand (which I do have in my tank), then in Cyano.  But I doubt anyone glues sugar sand and Cyano to my polyps overnight...   <Hee!  Not unless you have some of South Park's "underwear gnomes"!> And I have absolutely NO visible Cyano anywhere in the tank.  Also, this comes overnight (in the evening there are no visible signs of trouble, and by morning there is this brown stuff).   <OK.> And I noticed that at least one polyp had an open mouth (I mean WIDE open!) <OK.> About a year ago I got my first Paly colony and a part of it got covered in brown slime similar to this.  There were actually three small colonies of the same Palys, and I split the "sick" one in half, dipped one in FW and left the other alone.  Well, the one dipped in FW died after a few days, and the one left alone recovered and is thriving to this day.  The current brown stuff is not so mild... the polyp that gets infected ends up disintegrating after several days... <Yes.> One of my colonies has shrunk tremendously (literally shrunk, not "lost polyps" and the polyps have brown on them, not sure if it is the same thing).   <I think yes.> Then there are individual polyps on other colonies that don't shrink but do what I described above.  One thing I noticed though, is that most of the infected polyps are "people eater" style.  Then again, I have a perfectly healthy RPE colony in the same tank... go figure. <Typical.> I wonder if any of it has to do with the goby sprinkling sand on the polyps, maybe getting in the mouth, or ... ? <I have experienced this in my tank, it seems to improve with increased circulation.  You may want to check your plumbing and make sure everything is flowing properly.  I would also try moving the polyps displaying symptoms into areas of higher flow.> Please pardon my lengthy email, I just wanted to give as much detail as possible. <Details can make all the difference sometimes.> I forgot to add that the brown stuff on my Palys does not siphon off or blow off, and I can't even rub it off without tearing the "skin" off the polyps. <Yes.> Hope this helps! <Yes.> Thank you very much yet again, <You are quite welcome!  -Mich>


Snail ID: Possibly Sundial snail (Heliacus sp.)   3/3/07 Good Afternoon, <Good Morning I guess!  Mich here.> While having coffee this morning I observed a moving speck, which turns out to be a snail. <What good eye you must have!> At present my aquarium houses two Astraea and three Turbos. Also there have been no recent additions in the last three months to account for recent hitchhiking. The shell on which the snail is perched is app. 1"x1 1/2" to give some idea of scale. Thanks in advance for any information, <Hmm, Is a bit small, but does look an awful lot like a Heliacus snail, which are predatory on Zoanthids and typically nocturnal.  Do you have any Zoanthids in your system that are experiencing any difficulty?  See this page, next to the penny:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypdisfaqs.htm  Heliacus snails have a small pagoda shaped operculum (trap door) this may help with identification.  Hopefully is not a Sundial snail (Heliacus sp.)!  -Mich> Jane
Re: snail id: Possibly Sundial snail (Heliacus sp.)   3/4/07 Mich and crew, <Hi Jane! Mich with you again.> Thank you for the link to the image--the wee bugger in my tank bears a striking resemblance to the Heliacus. <Not good.> Unfortunately, due to its small size and my lack of x-ray vision, the operculum was/is too small to see.   <Magnifying glass?> Difficulty with Zoanthids is now past tense--little left but a rock and red stubs. <Uh oh!> But, thanks to you, I can see the light--now if I can only see the snail(s) again... <Hee!> Regards to all,
<And to you and yours.  -Mich>


Disappearing Zoanthus  2/28/07 Hello. <Hi.> I just recently (about an hour ago) found your website. <Welcome.> There is SO MUCH info on there that my brain is starting to hurt from reading so much.  :) <D@mnit Jim I'm an aquarist not a Doctor...that's a little Trek humor for you.> Here's my tank specs, first: 135 gallon 40 long fuge/sump protein skimmer cascade filter with in-line heater direct to tank <Is that a type of canister filter?> titanium heater in sump third heater (glass) in tank Compact Fluorescent (orbit system), running 10 hours of actinic and 9 hours of daylight <Okay.> Specific Gravity-1.026 Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Phosphate: 0 Calcium-around 400 <Sounds good thus far.> Here's my problem: I purchased 2 different zoo frags from an individual on Jan 21.  One of the frags is about 4 inches from the bottom of the tank and the other one is about 12 inches from the bottom of the tank.  The one that is closer to the bottom is doing GREAT.  It has numerous new polyps on it.  The one that is farther from the bottom (closer to the lights), however, is not doing so well.  Polyps are actually starting to disappear.  I am wondering two things.  First, could my long spined sea urchin (who has eaten almost all of my star polyps) be eating the zoos? <Perhaps, though many times Urchins are simply destructive through their clumsiness and not always predation.> Second, should I move the zoos that aren't doing so well down so they are at approximately the same height as the ones that are doing well?   <Well if you had high powered lighting such as Halides I may be inclined to say yes but with what you have it doesn't sound like that's the issue, in their current state it would not hurt to try though. You may also have a Heliacus snail in the tank, common predator of Zoanthus.> Thank you SO MUCH for you help.   <Anytime.> LIZ <Adam J.>

Little crawly critter I.D. 1/28/07 Hello Bob or Graham, <GrahamT again, Steph. Did you miss me?> This is Steph. I had a few "green bubbles" on my button polyp, which, after looking on your site resembled bubble algae. Removed those, only a few. <Hope you read on the preferred method for "bubble algae" removal, using a siphon, etc.> Now, I see some whitish, long, and slender "bugs". Some of them are on the sides of the tank and some crawling on my button polyps....are these a good thing? <Hmm, still would like to see these, rather than go on a verbal description. I am inclined to believe that you are ok, though. -GrahamT.> Steph

Hair algae, P. diadema, and Zoanthid rejuv. 1/25/06 Hello folks, <Deb, glad you could join us.> Thanks so much for all of the helpful information. <We *try* to be helpful!> In the next 6 months, I'm going to be upgrading this tank to between a 150g and 250g system.  At that point, I will make my 55g into the sump for the main tank.  I will either section part of this off for a refugium, or I've got a 20g that I can hook into the system as a refugium.  When I do this, my canister filter will go away, and I will be implementing a DSB in the main tank.  Until I can do this, I plan to continue weekly 20% changes (replacing one section canister filter media each time), continue aggressive skimming with the CPR BakPak, and continue to ensure that the current in the tank is strong. <Very glad to hear that you are moving beyond canister-filtration. You will be moving into a much more versatile/useful configuration.> At this point, my Cyano problem has seemed to cure itself.  In doing the weekly water changes, I found that the pump servicing my SQWD system was clogged.  This was inhibiting water flow significantly in the tank.  Now that I serviced it, there's a pretty strong current in the tank, which probably helped to eradicate the Cyano growing in the tank.   <Most likely, this helped a lot!> Also -- my Halimeda is making a comeback, though I still need to continue cleaning hair algae off of it every couple of days.  The bubble algae is still present in the tank, but somewhat manageable, as I can gently pull it out during water changes and dispose of it. <Are you sure you have bubble-algae? Sometimes, I think folks think BGA is bubble when it has gaseous packets in it's layers...> So, the only real problem in the tank is the hair algae.  It's still growing quite rapidly.  In trying to fix this problem, my bicolor blenny stopped eating and has "disappeared" in the tank.   <Maybe he needed a vacation. Heck, if I had to eat hair algae...> I'd like to pickup a lawnmower blenny to replace him and to help with the hair algae problem. <Remember, Deb: This is dealing with the symptoms of a water-quality issue. IIRC, your last phosphate test was .03ppm, and I was asking how sure you were of the accuracy of that result. Where do you stand now? Did you ever buy a new kit?> Once the hair algae is gone, I plan to supplement his feeding with various algae foods (as I already do for my Coral Beauty). <Should pose little problem with a little research...> Adding him will result in having the following fish in the tank:  1 coral beauty, 1 Dottyback (Pseudochromis diadema), 1 yellow-tail blue damsel and 1 lawnmower blenny.  Does this seem like a sound decision to add this fish? <As long as you aren't hoping for a total massacre on the hair algae, yes. In my experience, algae-eaters always choose to ignore the one thing you bought them to eradicate.> Otherwise, my Zoanthids have stabilized a bit.  They're not dying off anymore, but they're not flourishing as they've been for the past few years.  Only a handful are opening up, and not fully at that.   <All this points to a water chem. issue to me.> I'm hoping that they are on the road to recovery.  I'm supplementing the daily feedings now with Cyclop-Eeze, in hopes that the added nutrients will encourage their growth.  I also use a plastic turkey baster to blow water over them with each water change to try to free them of the hair algae that grows around them. I've ordered new test kits for my phosphates, silicates and nitrates, and they should be arriving any day now.   <Ahh, very good. A reputable, reliable manufacturer, I hope. Mmm, one note: Silicates aren't a factor unless you have huge diatom blooms, so worrying about the concentrations is moot IMO. I don't own a silica test kit.> I've taken the water changes down to 1x per week, 20% using RO/DI water.  I've just gotten new cartridges in for the RO/DI unit and will be replacing them this week. I've also cut back my lighting schedule, taking 1.5 hours off the back end for both the daylight and actinic lighting. <Good steps, all.> In doing all of this work, I've realized that I haven't replenished my cleanup crew in years.  I've still got about 10-15 Astrea and turbo snails in the tank, but all of the small crustaceans are gone.  I'd like to replenish this crew, but am afraid that any crustaceans I add will be decimated by my Pseudochromis diadema.  Any ideas on what types of inverts I can get to replenish this crew that will survive the presence of the Pseudochromis diadema?  Having a well stocked cleanup crew may also help with the algae problems in the tank. <Hmm... I never worried about a P. diadema bothering hermits to the point of murder. Types and compatibility of hermits is not a strong-suit of mine, but I know we have the info here on WWM if you look for it.> So, to summarize: -Lawnmower blenny for this tank -- good or bad idea? <Good, in your case.> -Any ideas on how I can nurse my Zoanthids back to health? <Provide optimum water conditions: temp, movement, quality, feeding, lighting spectrum/duration.> -Any ideas on how I can supplement my cleanup crew without buying an expensive smorgasbord for my Pseudochromis diadema? <Mmm... *I* don't see a problem with the "generic" red-legged hermits here. (RMF strike me down if I am in error)> Thank you so much for all of your help.   <Oh, Deb. You know we love you. -GrahamT> Deb

Hydroids infesting my Zoanthids? Dear Crew, <Russell> Here's a new one for me...maybe you also? <Could be> Over the holidays my Zoas (four frags, about six months old and previously healthy) closed up and became infested with little critters. My Ca and dKH dipped mildly when I was out of town for three days, but otherwise the tank was stable.. (need to get a calcium reactor, my 2-part dosing pump is temperamental). These parasite-like things attach to the closed polyps and are too small to photograph accurately. They look like a small (1-3mm) hydroid-ish creatures, having a clear stalk with small white-brown tentacles. They start like white little dots and grow pretty fast, spreading to all colonies and show tiny tentacles. I had hydroids on my tank walls last year, but they went away after a month or so. <Typical> Last week I removed the frags (some had already grown on to surrounding rocks) and did a 15 minute dip in a gallon of tank water with a salinity of 1.015 and over a tablespoon of Lugol's... at the same time blasting the frags with a turkey baster. This seemed to do the trick upon reintroduction... most polyps re-opening and looking good. <Good> Then, over the last two days, the little critters came back so last night I re-dipped the frags- same as above except for 30 minutes AND I followed this with a flash RO/DI water dip. I also pruned and discarded the remaining small amount of new growth- polyps left behind on my LR (figuring these small stragglers were still infected and causing the problem). <Mmm... much more likely to be residual animals in your system... really need to dip, move the Zoanthids to another setting> This morning the frags, for the most part, are open with no obvious critters. Could these be hydroids?? <Oh yes> I've searched this site (and others) and am confident it is not "reef pox" which is more pustular, ulcerative in nature. If these apparent parasites come back, any other ideas???? <Mmm, plenty> Interestingly, I also recently picked three Nudibranchs off the Zoa frags. I don't think the infestation is from Nudi eggs. Also, they are not Zoa spiders. Thanks, Russell in KY <Hopefully gone for good this time. Bob Fenner>

Zoanthid Eating Nudibranch...Not Hydroids After all! - 01/25/07 Dear Crew, <<Hello Russell>> A couple of weeks ago I wrote to you that my four small Zoanthid rocks in my 11 month old tank were infested with hydroids.  You offered good advice. Upon further observation, and research, these are actually small Nudibranchs. <<Uh-oh...not the "better" option>> They are about 2-6 mm in size, light brown, and very, very annoying. <<Indeed>> I dipped the four colonies in fairly concentrated Lugol's with a SG of 1.014.  Then I did a flash FW dip.  I don't have a pH meter, so I just added a small amount of tank water to the FW; hoping to buffer as well as I could. <<Not likely much of a factor here>> It seemed to work.  All zoo colonies opened up and did well. <<Hardy little buggers those Zoanthids>> But now- really, based on my research, not much of a surprise- two have the little creeper's back on them. <<Yep, a few adults/egg strings were probably still in the display while you were nuking the rocks>> My next step is to remove all four rocks and place in my QT, with periodic dips. <<A good move, though I would only perform the dips if/when the Nudibranchs are sighted>> The nudi's only seem to be going after my zoo's, and not my softies or LPS. <<They are likely "obligate" feeders on the Zoanthids>> No SPS in my tank yet... and certainly not until I take care of these Nudi's.  I have heard Nudi eggs are hard to kill (I am a family physician and have the same problem getting lice eggs out of my patients' hair)? <<Usually more "resistant" to attempts to eradicate, yes...but I think your plan to remove the Zoanthids from the display will allow any remaining eggs to hatch and die out...not unlike leaving a tank fallow when treating an Ich infestation>> Besides Lugol's (which, I swear, has to be the same Iodine I use to clean wounds in my office), <<Ahh, but it is mate!  Lugol's Solution (named after the French physician J.G.A. Lugol's...and also called IKI (Iodine Potassium-Iodide); Iodine, Strong solution (Systemic); and Aqueous Iodine Solution BP) is a mixture of 5% iodine (I2) and 10% potassium iodide (KI) in distilled water with a total iodine content of 130 mg/mL>> any medicated dips you can suggest? <<I think the Lugol's is fine>> I suspect the only thing I can do is QT, do freq dips and, essentially, use tweezers to pick them off for the next, say, three to five years... <<Ha!  At least you have a plan [grin]>> It's ironic that hobbyists have the hardest time keeping the large, pretty Nudibranchs alive and, at the same time, can't seem kill off these prolific little buggers.... the Aiptasia of slugs. <<All comes down to providing an adequate supply of the appropriate foodstuffs my friend>> Thanks, Russell in KY <<Always a pleasure to assist.  EricR in South Carolina>>     

Help With Button Polyps!   12/4/06 Hi!  <Hello! Mich here.>  I need help with my button polyps.  I got a small colony of them on a rock about 2 months ago.  They seemed fairly healthy, but eventually they were not all opening as much during the day.  I went to my LFS and they told me to raise the pH, so I did and it seemed to help.  <Do you check you tank chemistry regularly?  If not, you should start.>  About a week after that, my Mandarin Goby got what I thought to be Ich (according to various disease identification sources I have found online).  Well I went again to my LFS but my favourite customer service rep was not working.  I talked to another one of the guys there and he gave me some meds for the fish.  <Best to do your own research before making purchases.>  I read the instructions but apparently not well enough.  After adding it in correctly, I read the instruction booklet over again and there was a precautions section that said to remove any invertebrates.  <Yes.  There are no reef safe treatments for Ich.>  Now, 2 days later, my Mandarin has died, (and had been removed, obviously) and my Button Polyps are all closed, excreting some sort of mucus and some of them are turning white on the tips.  <I'm sorry for you loss.>  Along with that, I have a small piece of LR with 3 VERY small frags of Leather Coral.  They have been thriving beautifully thus far, until a few days ago.  Their tentacles have all retracted and the frags all have that smooth look, although there is no discolouration.  Well, I prepared a small , makeshift quarantine tank and placed the two rocks in there (with the Button Polyps and the Leathers) and I am now waiting to see what happens.  <And mixed a new batch of salt water to use in this tank, right?.>  I just really am getting frustrated here, because my Mandarin started off as this beautiful fish, and then I had to give him meds to make him better but he ended up dying, and I think that the meds for him have harmed my polyps and my leather.  <Yes, the med has harmed, and may kill the leather and the polyps, and most likely hastened the death of the Mandarin.>  What can I do from here? <The most important thing you can do is educate yourself! Please start reading!  There is much to learn.  Seems like you are missing many basic concepts and relying primarily on advise from you LFS.  This is not the recipe for long term success.  Much of the information can be found on this website.  But I think you would be most wise to invest in a basic book.  You will save yourself money, time and frustration.  I think "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert M. Fenner is the best place to begin. Hope that helps.       Miss Kris

Zoa Spiders    11/27/06 Hi, <Hey Shelton, JustinN with you today> I have an outbreak of Zoa Spiders in my 99% Zoanthid tank (70gal) I have used the "dip" on all new comers, although up till now I have never used a QT for corals :( <Better late than never, I always say :)> I have setup a QT & removed all my Zoas from the main tank, fresh water (pH adjusted & temp)/Lugol's dip on them, & found approx 40ish spiders in all! I have searched all over the Net & posted on forums both this side & is the US, but no-one really seems to know much about these spiders? <Mmm, a Google search for the term "Zoanthid spiders" turns up many results on many forums> Sooooo I'm hoping you might help in the reproduction (do they lay eggs on/in the polyps or do they keep the young with them until big enough to fend for themselves? <Yes, they do lay eggs in the polyps themselves, but I don't think there's any tending by the paternals. I believe they hatch, and eat the Zoanthid from the inside out.> Secondly I've been checking the Zoas after lights out for more spiders, so far have not found any, but I'm thinking of dipping them all again after say 10-14 days to make sure? <I would do an additional one at 5-7 days of QT just to be safe> Finally (sorry) <no worries> how long do you think it would be wise to leave the main tank free of Zoas so if there are any left in there they starve to death? I was thinking 4-6 weeks possibly? <I can't seem to find any information on this, incidental or otherwise. Likely, after the 2 week quarantine, you will be fine, but if you have the facilities to wait out a full 4-6 week fallow period, it wouldn't hurt.> Many Thanks, Shelton (UK) <Glad to be of help, Shelton. Good luck on getting those nasty suckers out! -JustinN>

Strange Zoa Infestation  11/21/06 Dear Bob (or whichever if the wonderful crew answers this) <Hi Claire, JustinN here with you today>   I have a problem with the Zoas in one of my Nano tanks.  All the polyps have closed up, and they seem to have white dots in them.  When we squeezed a polyp, a tiny white pin head sized thing came out, which appeared to be slug like.  I have also caught 2 Polyp munching Nudibranch  - could this be the young of the Nudibranch, infesting the polyps?  I don't think this is what some people refer to as Zoa Pox, but I could be wrong. <I would be inclined to think it to be more likely related to the Nudibranch, however a quick Google search turned up some pictures linked to the term 'Zoa pox' which look suspiciously like what you describe.>   What should I do to treat this - iodine dip - freshwater dip - would flatworm exit work? <An iodine dip would be my recommendation here. 1 tp 2 drops of Lugol's iodine solution per gallon of pH adjusted RO water should do fine. While Flatworm eXit does seem to have quite a following on many message boards, what you describe does not sound to me like flatworms, nor can I condone its use in an active reef environment.>   It has spread so fast that it is alarming.   I would really appreciate any help.   Kind regards, Claire <I would try the pH-adjusted iodine dip before moving into panic, and if you have the facilities, quarantine this specimen until you have a better identification of what you're up against. -JustinN>

Green Polyp Crash, Zoanthid Toxicity   8/2/06 Howdy Gang. Thanks for running a great site. I find myself burning WAY too many hours through your FAQs. Keep up the good work. <Am trying!> On to my problem: I've got a 35g reef with a 10g photosynthetic refugium, DSB, plenty of live rock, 223w MH and 24wCF actinic on timer cycle, a couple of colt frags, some other Zoanthid mats, frogspawn frag, mushrooms (all well spaced out - I doubt any chemical warfare is happening), <Is... all a matter of degree and type... tolerance and acquired resistance> Longnose Hawk, Maroon Clown, 6 line Wrasse, Peach Blenny and a cryptic Rainford Goby). I am usually chemically stable, but recently experienced a little crash in Alkalinity (dropped from it's usual 8-9 to somewhere around 6 - not sure why). All the livestock survived and I'm supplementing my way back higher levels and my normal stability. The lingering problem is that my colony of green polyps/Zoanthids (look like the yellow polyps you see often, except these are emerald green) experienced some damage. About half of the polyps seem to have died and are now flopped over at the base. The larger polyps are still healthy, but I'm concerned about the dead ones, <Me too> and I seem to be seeing contradictory info in your FAQs as to whether or not to remove them. <I would> I know that many polyps contain problematic toxins and I'm worried about harming the rest of the system. Should I remove the dead polyps, and if so, HOW do I do it without harming the survivors and/or releasing toxins into the tank? Thanks in advance. <Best to wear gloves, safety glasses, remove the rock they're attached to, scrape off underwater in a tub... rinse repeatedly, let soak in system water (that is NOT returned to the main tank) for an hour or so... Stay aware of possible overt negative effects on other livestock. Bob Fenner>

Xenia and Yellow Polyps...Health  5/16/06 Bob: <James with you today.> I'm a new salt water/reef enthusiast.    I only started three months ago with two tanks... a 20 gallon and a 55 gallon.    I have CoralLife Compact Florescence with dual tubes @ 65 watts (Dual Day Light 6700K/10000K and dual Actinic 420nm/460 nm).    I have moderate to heavy water flow.    I keep pH higher than 8.0, Specific Gravity around 1.025, temperature at 78 F, keep my Copper below 0.25 ppm (one tank is zero, one tank has trace from when I introduced a Blue Tang that had copper medication on it), Ammonia = Zero, Nitrites = Zero and Nitrates > 40 ppm.    I provide Iodine, calcium, vitamins and adjust pH with Carbonates. I have had great success with fish, crabs, shrimp and some invertebrates (urchins).     I introduced a yellow polyp about three weeks ago and it was doing well until this week when it did not seem to open anymore.   I feed them twice a week by squirting with a medicine dropper with commercial phytoplankton.     Since they stopped opening, I squirt them once or twice a day.      They seem to have lost some individual polyps, but they seem to be retracting rather than growing.      They are also darker in color....when I got them they were light yellow, now, they are brownish yellow.    Is this the end for them? Last Sunday, I purchased a Xenia from a local store that is 45 miles away. I have read that Xenias do not do well in transit so I elected to get it from this store.    They do not have guarantees so I picked up one (they said that the coral was mounted only two weeks ago).       They packed them in a double bag but were not very careful about not "crushing" the coral.    When we got home, the coral was "under the rock".    I acclimated it overnight (in the dark).     This morning, the Xenia looks contracted and no movement whatsoever.    There were pieces of it on the surrounding rock (like white spots and some small tissues).       Can you provide some insights as to what is going on.    My understanding is that Xenias do not need to be fed, that they are totally photosynthetic. I appreciate anything you can help me with. <First question before we go any further.  Is the coral in the tank you are getting a copper reading from?  If so, I believe that is your problem. James (Salty Dog)> Noli

Button Polyp Issues ... comp., dis.     5/2/06 I hope you can steer me in the right direction as I have no idea what is going on with my Orange Button Polyps.  Only half of the colony will open up, and I have no explanation for this.  It is next to a purple ribbon Gorgonia and a yellow Sarcophyton, neither touching it. <Don't have to affect chemically...>   I understand chemical warfare is a strong possibility but I always change my carbon and poly pads along with a 5 gallon water change every Sunday.  My current setup is a 75 gallon tank with a 20 gallon sump.  Been running for nearly 3 years, and the button polyps have been around since the start!  My other tank inhabitants are as follows: Corals Colt 2 Sarcophyton elegans 1 Toadstool Brown Zoanthids Orange Button Polyps (Problem) Green Star Polyps Green Striped Mushrooms Hairy Mushrooms Neospongodes Kenya Tree Red Ricordea Montipora Capricornis Montipora Digita Montipora Encrusting Frogspawn Favia Hammer 2 purple Ribbon Gorgonia. Don't ask me how I stuffed these all in there but somehow I did it with out any of these corals touching each other.  A lot of them are small colonies and frags.   Fish Yellow Tang Perc Clown Springeri Pseudo Flame Angel (have not seen him picking) Mandarin Inverts Cleaner Shrimp Variety of Snails Variety of Hermits Filtration DSB and Refugium Coralife Superskimmer Lighting 384 watts of pc lighting Parameters Ammonia-0 Nitrite-0 Nitrate-2 SG- 1.025 Phosphate-0 Calcium- 430 Alkalinity- 9dkh I did see one of my Astrea snails hanging around the colony at night but they never opened back up and it has been three day's.  Should I start to worry yet or just let things be. <I'd do the latter... if anything, be moving this colony elsewhere>   They have never been touchy before so I have no idea why they would start now.  I also don't understand if it is chemical warfare why would half the colony be open why the other remains closed.  I also recently switched from B-ionic to C Balance about 5 days ago.  Can this be the problem? Do you have any other recommendations other than waiting it out? Thanks Eric <This is a not-untypical "garden variety" result of such stocking... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/zoanthid.htm and the linked files at top, particularly on Compatibility. Bob Fenner>

Zoanthid Illness question    4/9/06   A friend of mine, who doesn't have internet access, recently purchased a colony of Zoanthids from a local LFS.  He has had them in his QT now for about a week, and noticed lesions have begun spreading over the colony.  He described them to me as small to medium sized, raised white bumps that are covering all surfaces.  The most affected polyps are slowly starting to remain closed.  This has also spread to some of the other colonies adjacent to the colony initially showing symptoms. <Not good> After doing searches and reading what references I have, I can only find one reference to what he described.  There is a thread on Reef Central that shows a picture of what he describes and they have labeled them "zoo pox". <Heee! Good name as any> I can not however, find any hard evidence of what this is, etiology or treatment.   <Not surprising> In the RC thread, the individuals have tried a variety of therapies including iodine, freshwater dips, drying, water changes, antibiotics, etc.  Most seems to be speculation and random attempts. <Bingo> The successful reports on the thread seem to involve letting the illness run its course and trying not to stress the animal with a variety of treatments. <I would do this as well... seek to maintain optimized, stable water quality... use activated carbon in the filter flow path... and Lugol's weekly... and be careful re allelopathic problems here. Likely the root cause... negative chemical interaction with extant cnidarians. Bob Fenner> Any advice would be appreciated. Steve

Zoanthids/Shipping/Acclimation   3/20/06 Hey everyone!  <Hello Jennifer> Just a thanks and another quick question.  I recently set up a 10 gal sump/refugium to my nano reef (12 gal) thanks to your page instruction for baffling, flow rate, bio contents and so on to be able to increase the volume.  Very successful so far and a really neat addition visually too. My question is: I ordered two Zoas from frags.org last week, got them in VERY little water (water on one end of bag while Zoa on the other) warm, thank goodness, but little water.  I acclimated them and added them to my tank.  It's been 3 days and they still haven't opened.  Water quality optimal, decent water flow, skimmer, 2 filters.. so on and so forth - all good.  My question is - are they gone?  I know time tells, but how long should I leave them in there before tossing them?  I didn't want to pollute the tank.  BTW replacement is coming. <I'd give it a couple more days.  If the closed polyps have some color they should come around, if not, discard them.> Thanks again, I appreciate everyone over there helping all of us out here. ha ha.  I have a marine science degree (which I'm currently not doing anything with.  ha ha) and would one day love to join all of you!! Thanks again, have a great night.  <We are always looking for qualified individuals who don't mind volunteering their time.  James (Salty Dog)> Jennifer

Yellow Polyps  - 03/12/2006 Hi guys,<Hello Dave.>      Great site with tons of useful info.  My problem is with my golden polyps, <believe they are yellow polyps.> they have been in my tank for approx. 1 month, half of them on the same rock seem to be fading away while the others are doing fine.  They have medium water flow over them 10000K lighting and water parameters are all good.  Button polyps and other soft corals are doing great.  Should I remove what looks like dying polyps from the tank or let them be?  <I would move the colony in a different area with a little less water flow.  They really don't like medium or strong flow.  Would not remove dead ones, may cause more problems at this time.  Do Google search our site, keyword, "yellow polyps".>    Thanks,  You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Dave

Yucky Zoanthus  12/24/05 Gentlemen, <We have ladies here to, careful of what we say, their watching right now! Hello, Adam J with you tonight.> I reserve this writing for just a most urgent matter. <And here I am thinking you just dropped in to say hi, anyway onto the urgent matter at hand.> I just purchased a group of Zoanthus coral polyps from Drs Foster and Smith. It arrived on Tuesday. When I opened it, it smelled really bad. <That's not a good sign.> I pulled it out, and put it in my tank, hoping to save it. This is Thursday, and the corals remain retracted. In addition,  in the areas where the coral seemed damaged during shipping, it was  a white color. Now, that white has spread to a crust that has covered up almost the entire polyp. I have it placed in the mid to upper part of my 55 gal. tank, where I have 2 175W MH lamps, and 2-T5 fluorescents, which run 7 hrs per day. Sufficient water circulation. I tested water this morning, results as follows: <Sounds like this animal suffered some trauma during shipping and that part of the colony is dying off. If you can I would fragment what remains of it look healthy and discard the rest.> Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Nitrates 10 or less (hard to tell exactly with my Wellfish kit) KH 9.6 DKH PH 7.92 with lights off <This is acceptable, the situation does not sound like your fault at all, this was definitely a "shipping tragedy."> I run an aqua c remora skimmer, Magnum 350 canister with floss only at present), 60# live rock, deep sand bed with plenum, Coralife UV disinfector on canister filter discharge. <Sounds good.> Since it stunk when I got it, do you think it is/was destined to die, or is this white coating a natural reaction, or ? From the reading I have done on the animal, it seemed it was a hardy choice, and a good choice for my first coral. Please advise at your earliest convenience, if there is anything that can be done. <This animal is a very good choice for home aquaria, just sounds as if you got a "dud." I would call the dealer, if I recall correctly Dr. F&S policy should cover this and I believe you may be entitled to a replacement.> Thank you, <Quite Welcome.> Don Laskey <Adam J.>

Questions regarding Zoanthids  12/17/05 Happy Holidays Crew! <And to you and yours> I recently ordered online some assorted Zoanthus for color in my 250 gallon FOWLR.  The first attempt resulted in the online e-tailer making a mistake and shipping the two rocks with Zoos 2nd day air instead of next day as they were supposed to.  As everyone knows we are in the middle of winter, and by the time the shipment arrived the bag was brown, not a lot of water in there and it was cold to the touch. <Yikes...> I was instructed to go through an abbreviated acclimation process and try to rehabilitate the specimens (which I did).  In addition to the acclimation process, I made an iodine dip to try to help. The first night, one of the two rocks faired relatively well and although it did not show but muted grayish/green colors, they did open and seemed to be trying at least.  The other rock was miserable and the polyps were literally disintegrating.  The online store (reputable I might add) offered to ship a replacement order free of cost including shipping charges.  The next day I received the replacement order, only to find larger rocks covered with Zoos; however they were in brown stinky water and it was cold to the touch as well.  The only heat pack in the large Styrofoam box was not warm at all and not even in a place where it would have done much good anyway. <Likely either not activated thoroughly before placing, and/or the box had insufficient oxygen to "keep it going">   I acclimated the Zoos and did the same iodine dip as a final process.  These Zoos have been in the tank and only about a handful of polyps have half heartedly opened, again with not much color.  I placed all of the Sea Mats up high with PC lights (about 500 watts, 10,000 K, white and actinics), and plenty of flow (aquarium has about 20X flow rate). Question:  do you think the Zoos can recover and thrive, or do you think they are a goner.   <Only time can/will tell> The first shipment that arrived late has only been in 24 hours and the second shipment only about 6 hours, so I know it is still early, but since the bag and water smelled rotten and they are not opening, I wonder if they are doomed.  The closed polyps are kind of like eraser heads with the top being a little plumper than the base and are a greenish/gray color.  In addition, I have seen my hermit crabs occasionally picking at them, which I thought was rather strange. Your comments recommendations are greatly appreciated.   Regards, Steven <For "more expensive" organisms such as these, searching locally (from clubs, specialty stores) where you can see what you're getting is strongly advised. Zoanthids are particularly noxious, especially when "shaken, not stirred" in being handled. Do take care to wash your hands thoroughly if in the tank, handling... and not move the acclimation water into your main/mixed system/s. Bob Fenner>

Palythoa problem  11/16/05 Hi, About a month ago I purchased some Palythoa, and they were doing fine and were actually replicating until about two weeks ago. I first noticed one polyp near one end of the colony beginning to discolor, becoming darker than normal, and shriveling. It then began spreading to neighboring polyps. About one third of the colony has shriveled and died at this point, and while the opposite end of the colony is still multiplying, it looks as if the discoloration is beginning to present in the polyps closest to the die off region. <Good note, observation> I assume this is some sort of bacterial infection, but I really have no clue.   <Mmm, not necessarily, likely bacterial... perhaps environmental, predaceous...> Should I cut the colony in half and dispose of the discolored polyps to attempt to save the others?  <One route to go... do take care with exposure (yourself, skin, eyes) here... do this outside the system, toss any water, rinse the specimen before replacing> Should I try a freshwater dip, or iodine or something? <Could do this... in addition, instead of the surgery> I am using Kent Tech I for iodine, I don't know if you can make a dip out of that or not, <Yes> but I would like to make some attempt to save the remaining polyps. Thanks, Frank <Help me rest assured and read all the material we have archived on Zoanthids, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zoanthid.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 

My Zoanthids are turning white - 10/19/2005 HI, <Hello Paul> I'm a newbie to reef keeping.  I've had a fish only marine tank before but now I've decided to move onto reef tanks.  Currently my tank is 4 month old and I have four fishes and various Zoanthids and mushrooms.  Following is my tank parameters: pH=8.3, ammonia=0, nitrite=0, nitrate=0, alkalinity=3.5meq, calcium=340 question I have is related to my Zoa.  I've had them for about a few months now and recently noticed that the oral disk on the Zoa are turning white.<A sure sign of stress.>  I've read that this is due to too much light <not necessarily> but I only have about 3.7 watts per gallon and I have all my Zo's on the lower half of the tank.  Tank is 75 gallon.  Please help.  Thanks. <Paul, please capitalize proper nouns and beginnings of sentences in the future.  That said, back to business.  The oral disks are turning white because they are expelling their Zooxanthellae.  Too much light can cause this but is not the only factor.  There is not enough info on your tank to be certain what is causing this.  What is your temp.?  Salinity?  Are the mushrooms touching them?  Try moving your Zoanthids further up in the tank (maybe midway though mine prefer the top).  The only absolute here is that they are not happy with their present environment. - Josh> Paul  
Re: My Zoanthids are turning white - 10/19/2005
Josh, <At your service now that I'm finally home from work.> Sorry about the grammar.<No problem and thank you for correcting on this query.>  Here is the information that you've asked for. 1) salinity=1.023 and temp=80.8 to 82.<Salinity is fine though it could come up slightly (1.024-1.025, gradually of course).  Temp. is a bit high though not terrible either (78 would be preferable, again gradually if you choose to do so).>  The tank temperature rises when the lights are on and drops during the night when the lights are off.<The nature of the beast I'm afraid.  My heater is only set at 73, but with the lights and pump I'm at a constant 78.1-78.5>  Other things I forgot to mention is that I have 70lbs. of live rock and 120lbs. of live sand.  The mushrooms are far way from the Zoa.  By the way, can strong water movement cause this?<Is this strong laminar flow or random and turbulent?  Zoanthids like a random, turbulent flow.  My Zoanthids tend to "bob and weave" a different direction every 5-10 seconds.>  My tank water is heavily circulated with two Seio power heads.  Please let me know what other tank parameters you need to know in order to better help you diagnose the root cause of my Zoanthids being stressed.  Thanks. <Sorry Paul, but nothing jumps out at me immediately.  Therefore, I have more questions to help me out.  Strong laminar flow would likely result in closed polyps, not this per se (but still of concern).  Are you using a skimmer?  What type of lights do you have?  How old are the bulbs?  Welcome to the world of reefing friend and do get back to me please. - Josh>   Paul  
Re: My Zoanthids are turning white  10/20/05
Josh, <Bleary eyed and at your service> I'm still at work and I just got back to my desk from the engineering lab.<Sounds like you could teach me a thing or two!> The water flow is mainly laminar since directions on Seio specifically says it cannot operate with any type of wave generator.<Not necessary friend.  Turbulent flow can be created many ways.  Please search the site RE this.>  I'm using Aqua C EV180 skimmer<A great skimmer/company> but it is producing dark skimmate far less than a cup a day.<How many per week?  Do contact them if you are disappointed.>  I have a 15 gallon sump with a refugium.  My refugium is only 5gallon with Chaeto and live rock frag.  I'm in a process of designing a bigger and better (hopefully) sump.  For lighting I have power compact.  I believe I have two 10000k and two actinic from Current USA.  Light bulbs are about 4 months old.  Do you think my calcium and alkalinity is too low<No.> and can this cause stress on Zoa?<It could but I do not believe this is your problem.  Zoanthids are some of the easiest and least demanding to begin with.  You seem mindful of water quality so I would look to water velocity (at least direct velocity) instead.  I would correct the laminar flow first, as you may well be beating them to death. - Josh>  Again thanks for your help! Paul   

Polyps shutting down 9/8/05 I'm having trouble with some polyp colonies in my 125 gallon reef system!  The system was set up about 1 year ago and was doing great until about 1 1/2 months ago. Around this time, most of the polyp colonies closed in on themselves. The only colonies that seem to be thriving are the yellow polyps which continue  to open wide and ,in fact, are spreading! <When one coral is thriving while others are suffering, it is a good indication that the thriving coral is actually winning a chemical battle against the others.  Water changes and carbon are often helpful, but sometimes removal of the offender is required.> I have many Ricordea in the tank as  well as some leather coral which also seem to be doing well. I do have a hammer coral that has drawn in somewhat . I do not know the scientific names of the  polyps. I bought them as frags and have been growing them out. I regularly test for calcium, ph, magnesium, alk, salinity, and iodine. All test are in the accepted ranges. Do you have any ideas why only the polyps are suffering? thanks C.B. Hough  <Possibilities other than chemical warfare include nipping by fish or the presence of a predator (look for small snails with a "checkerboard" pattern.)  Best Regards. AdamC.>

Turbo snails harming my polyps? 7/5/05 Hi Crew, <Hi - Ted here>           I wondered if you could help me? I have a 30 Gallon tank, fully cycled, has been running for about 10 weeks now. Vitals are as follows; SG - 1.022, Temp - 77, Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate - 15ppm, pH - 8.1 Lighting is only 2 x 30 watt fluorescent tubes (1 x daylight plus - 1 x Actinic blue moon) Inhabitants are; 1 x red legged hermit (about 3/4 inch in size) 2 x unidentified "hitch hiker" crabs ( 1 tiny one and one about an inch) 2 x Turbo snails Some Chaetomorpha. I have some Yellow Parazoanthus polyps on a small piece of live rock positioned a few inches beneath the surface because I know my lighting leaves a lot to be desired. I am concerned for the polyps' health though. I sometimes notice a turbo snail on the rock, it doesn't appear to be eating them but it does look as though it could be harming them through pure clumsiness (knocking them and pressing against them with its shell) The same goes for the hermit crab too. Their health does seem to have declined since I started adding other livestock (they were the first live inhabitants). Some of them never open now and one of the smaller ones has actually vanished, some of them sometimes look as though they have been squeezed at the base as they go thinner (almost as though they have had fishing line tied around the base and tightened). I feed them weekly with a small amount of Mysis shrimp (soaked in SeaChem reef plus) squirted on to them with a syringe which they appear to eat in earnest. There is also an abundance of pods and bristle worms in the tank. Do you know what may be causing the decline of these polyps? I really like them and would love to keep them. (they have been in the tank about one month) Sorry for the long message but I wanted to cover as much as possible in one mail. Best regards and thank you for whatever you can tell me. <Your water quality seems fine although I'd like to see the nitrates lower. The presence of pods and worms are an indication of good water quality. While polyps will retract when disturbed, they should extend again so the snails are not likely the problem unless they are constantly disturbing the polyps. Your lighting may be contributing to the polyps decline. Keeping the polyps near the light is a good thing but adding more light would be better. You might also check the water flow in the tank. Chaotic water flow will help the polyps. Finally, true crabs are opportunistic predators. I would caution against keeping them in the tank as they may view your other inhabitants as food.>            Leif, Birmingham, UK. <Good luck with your tank - Ted>

Zoanthus infection? Hello all. The help I have received from your site goes without saying. I have been keeping reef tanks for 3.5 years and my system now comprises ~250 gallons in a 90g, 2x110g stock tubs, and a frag tank, all plumbed inline. The 90g has 2x250w 10k halides, and each shallow tub has one 250w halide at least 2ft from the water. After much trial, this year I have finally succeeded in growing Acroporids, utilizing nightly Kalk drips and various phyto and zooplankton. Just as an aside, I acquired a small cuttlefish a week ago and he is probably the coolest thing ever. Anyway, I am trying to keep my cool, but I am afraid I will lose it if I cannot remedy the situation plaguing my Zoanthids. My coral collection has always relied heavily on zoos, and I have over 50 different colors, with some that are quite exquisite. About three weeks ago, one of my oldest colonies (a 6x5" rock covered in solid emerald, with a white commensal sponge covering the base of the polyps) <Perhaps not quite so commensal> began to close up at the edge of the rock. In less than a day the closed polyps were shriveled and discolored, and if touched released a mushy brown substance. <Not good...> At first I assumed the polyps had grown under a shaded area of the rock and become necrotic. However, after removing all of the dead ones and even some of the yet healthy ones from the borderline, the rest of the colony still succumbed. Interestingly, a small group of differently colored polyps on the same rock was all that survived. And so it has gone in this fashion; A particular color on a particular rock will close overnight and each polyp literally becomes a small sack of crap. I have already lost 5 or 6 full colonies in the past week. I have experienced white cheese beggiatoa infections upon receipt of mail order shipments, but even these often leave at least some of the colony alive if iodine dipped and kept well circulated. With what I have, the colony can be at any position in any tank and once one polyp closes, the disease quickly overtakes any polyps attached by basal filaments (same color situation). For ~1-2 months prior to the first occurrence, the tank was somewhat under skimmed and inadequately supplemented with iodine (because I am lazy and also I had been putting off the purchase of a $20 bottle of Lugol's from the LFS, this is where you smack me). I have already totally cleaned and reworked the skimmer and I have began dropping iodine again, although I have yet to see any improvement. Perhaps related is that two small maxima clams that I have had for some months are doing very lame, they barely extend their mantle at all. Granted they have been this way for weeks and seem otherwise healthy (or should I say not dead). I believe the second clam I purchased introduced some sort of disease, as the first clam was healthy prior to the second clam's intro. This seems like an obvious lack of quarantine, but I don't believe I can say the same for the zoos, as the first sign of disease was in a 2 year old thriving colony. I simply don't know what to do now short of turning most of my colonies into lovely pieces of plain live rock with a razor blade. This really peeves me because I am building a greenhouse next year and I intended to focus mainly on zoo propagation. Sure I can always do it, but to lose all these colors I have would crush me. Anthony's book has been invaluable, and I hope to eventually be one of Texas' aquaculture leaders. That's right, Texas :) One last question, when moving my halide lit corals to a naturally lit facility, what sort of acclimation procedures do I need to follow? <I would add some suspended light for the first few weeks> I have only seen literature pertaining to the reverse of this situation. Thanks again, hopefully all is not lost. Hunter Leber, Austin TX <Can't tell what the root cause/s is/are here, but definitely know what I would do... move a good many of your Zoanthid colonies to another system, running them through a diluted seawater and iodine/ide bath enroute... whatever the problem here... infectious or parasitic disease, water quality, nutrient imbalance, allelopathy... it can best be dealt with by "dividing and conquering" and not losing your stock. Do set up separate system/s... and move your healthy cnidarians with as little of the rock in the present system/s as practical. Bob Fenner>
Zoanthus infection? <<Anthony's input>> 4/27/05 Hello all. The help I have received from your site goes without saying. I have been keeping reef tanks for 3.5 years and my system now comprises ~250 gallons in a 90g, 2x110g stock tubs, and a frag tank, all plumbed inline. The 90g has 2x250w 10k halides, and each shallow tub has one 250w halide at least 2ft from the water. After much trial, this year I have finally succeeded in growing Acroporids, utilizing nightly Kalk drips and various phyto and zooplankton. Just as an aside, I acquired a small cuttlefish a week ago and he is probably the coolest thing ever. <<yikes! Its a fab creature but wholly worthy if not in need of a species tank. I do hope this creature has not been thrown in a community tank ;)>> Anyway, I am trying to keep my cool, but I am afraid I will lose it if I cannot remedy the situation plaguing my Zoanthids. My coral collection has always relied heavily on zoos, and I have over 50 different colors, with some that are quite exquisite. About three weeks ago, one of my oldest colonies (a 6x5" rock covered in solid emerald, with a white commensal sponge covering the base of the polyps) <Perhaps not quite so commensal> <<Agreed... so often they can be parasitic, and even when not so: they are often more noxious than many corals. Winners in a fight (chemical)>> began to close up at the edge of the rock. In less than a day the closed polyps were shriveled and discolored, and if touched released a mushy brown substance. <Not good...> At first I assumed the polyps had grown under a shaded area of the rock and become necrotic. <<This is not ever really likely... more than a few reasons>> However, after removing all of the dead ones and even some of the yet healthy ones from the borderline, the rest of the colony still succumbed. Interestingly, a small group of differently colored polyps on the same rock was all that survived. And so it has gone in this fashion; A particular color on a particular rock will close overnight and each polyp literally becomes a small sack of crap. I have already lost 5 or 6 full colonies in the past week. I have experienced white cheese beggiatoa infections upon receipt of mail order shipments, but even these often leave at least some of the colony alive if iodine dipped and kept well circulated. <<I'm guessing/hoping you QT all new specimens for several weeks (4+ ideally) before adding them to your display? To reduce the chance of infections, pests, predators>> With what I have, the colony can be at any position in any tank and once one polyp closes, the disease quickly overtakes any polyps attached by basal filaments (same color situation). For ~1-2 months prior to the first occurrence, the tank was somewhat under skimmed and inadequately supplemented with iodine (because I am lazy and also I had been putting off the purchase of a $20 bottle of Lugol's from the LFS, this is where you smack me). I have already totally cleaned and reworked the skimmer and I have began dropping iodine again, although I have yet to see any improvement. <Iodine is mildly helpful at best in such cases. I use and recommend it in general... but not as a medicant>> Perhaps related is that two small maxima clams that I have had for some months are doing very lame, they barely extend their mantle at all. <<I would not say because of the clams, but rather that there may be a pervasive problem in the tank affecting all. When in doubt, do a water change. Especially if/since your skimming has been weak. I'm hoping you compensated instead with larger water changes (weekly instead of monthly ideally)>> Granted they have been this way for weeks and seem otherwise healthy (or should I say not dead). I believe the second clam I purchased introduced some sort of disease, as the first clam was healthy prior to the second clam's intro. This seems like an obvious lack of quarantine, <Ughhhh... you may be learning a very hard and expensive lesson at the expense of other animals lives here>> but I don't believe I can say the same for the zoos, as the first sign of disease was in a 2 year old thriving colony. <<Actually... anything else added to the tank (snails, fish, LR... anything wet) could simply have brought the infection in for having been kept in merchant's central systems and then bypassing a proper home QT>> I simply don't know what to do now short of turning most of my colonies into lovely pieces of plain live rock with a razor blade. This really peeves me because I am building a greenhouse next year and I intended to focus mainly on zoo propagation. <<If you neglect QT you will almost certainly suffer challenges and excessive losses my friend. PLEASE do not underestimate the need to QT everything(!) for 4-8 weeks without exception>> Sure I can always do it, but to lose all these colors I have would crush me. Anthony's book has been invaluable, and I hope to eventually be one of Texas' aquaculture leaders. That's right, Texas :) One last question, when moving my halide lit corals to a naturally lit facility, what sort of acclimation procedures do I need to follow? <I would add some suspended light for the first few weeks> <<And do learn to use and obey a PAR meter. If you need a suggestion, do look into Apogee brand PAR meters (Google search)>> I have only seen literature pertaining to the reverse of this situation. Thanks again, hopefully all is not lost. Hunter Leber, Austin TX <Can't tell what the root cause/s is/are here, but definitely know what I would do... move a good many of your Zoanthid colonies to another system, running them through a diluted seawater and iodine/ide bath enroute... whatever the problem here... infectious or parasitic disease, water quality, nutrient imbalance, allelopathy... it can best be dealt with by "dividing and conquering" and not losing your stock. Do set up separate system/s... and move your healthy cnidarians with as little of the rock in the present system/s as practical. Bob Fenner> <<Agreed again/of course. Remove the afflicted to an isolation tank and do frequent/large water changes. Maintain high water quality (yes... iodine will indirectly help here, boosting RedOx). And exactly as Bob has said/suggested... "divide and conquer". Cut out small amounts of good tissue and separate/sacrifice (if needed0 the rest. Best of luck! Anthony>>

Zoanthid Question Hi  <Hello Bruce> I have a 120 gallon tank, which has been operating for about 9 months. It contains a collection of soft and hard corals, and a few fish. All of the water parameters are within normal ranges. Metal halide lighting. 5% water changes weekly. Up until a week ago, everything was thriving. Then, two of the three polyp colonies I have began to shrivel up. One is completely gone. The other is close to that. The third is fine. Was wondering what might cause something like this to happen.  <How old are the bulbs? These should be changed yearly. Are you using a calcium supplement that contains strontium and magnesium? Iodide helps also. I've been having good luck using Cyclop-Eeze phytoplankton for my softies. I feed once a week. James (Salty Dog)> 

Yellow polyps and Zoanthids - No Problem Here! Hi crew:  <Hello Larry from KC.> I love your site and all the good information it contains.  I have a couple of questions but first let me give you my setup 29g tank with the following equipment: CPR Bak-Pak2 skimmer 220w pc lighting 2-Rio 600 powerheads 1-Zoomed power sweep 45 lbs of live rock 1 1/2 to 2" of crushed coral and I do 15% water change every 2 weeks Tank inhabitants are: 1-Perc clown 1-Emerald crab 6- Bumblebee snails 12-Astrea snails 12-Hermit crabs 1-Green star polyp rock (over 150 polyps) 1-Blue mushroom rock(14 Shrooms) 1-Yellow polyp rock(8 polyps) 1-Brown/Green Zoanthid frag(10 days in system) Tank parameters: Ammon-0 Nitrites-0 Nitrates-0 PH-8.4 Temp-76 ALK-14.4Kdh Calcium-325 I noticed the other day that my skimmer wasn't skimming well, I discovered that the airline to the powerhead was clogged. Replaced airline and skimmer working great.  My mushrooms and green stars are doing great but my yellow polyps and the Zoanthids just barely open up. Could this be a result of poor skimming or something else? Also, is my ALK at 14.4 too high or is it ok? Too much confusion on proper levels for this. Any suggestions for helping my yellow polyps and Zoanthids would be great. Thanks and keep up the good work.  <Sounds like you are doing everything right. I would try weekly feedings of DT's phytoplankton or Cyclop-eeze. James (Salty Dog)> 
Re: Yellow polyp and Zoanthids
Hello again: Well, it's been a couple of more days and my Zoanthids have not opened up at all. I don't see that feeding would do anything if they are not opened. I've been reading that normal parameters for Zoanthids have ALK between 8-12Kdh.Could the problem be with my ALK at 14.4Kdh? Is there a way I could lower it to see if that helps? I don't want to lose these. I always feel bad when anything dies because I feel that I failed in my responsibilities. <Larry, you have about 7.5 watts per gallon on the 29.  I think it's a bit much for the polyps and zoos. I would try moving them to an area in the tank where they are not in direct lighting and see if that changes anything in a couple days.  I don't think lowering your dKH is going to help any, it's really not that high.  James (Salty Dog)> HELP!!!!
Re: Yellow polyp and Zoanthids
James: After reading more about KALK, I think I have been adding it incorrectly. I mix 1tsp in 2 gals of RO water and siphon off the clear top portion. I add it at night after the lights go out, but I just pour in what is needed to top off the tank. Should I actually be dripping it in during the entire night? Might I be spiking my PH by doing it this way? <You certainly will spike the ph.  It has to be dripped.>Maybe this is causing my problem? I will reduce my lighting and see what happens. I also intend to upgrade to a 225g tank later this year. Thanks for your help.<You're welcome> Larry

Zoanthid Predators? Hi Crew,  <Hello Brandon> I've got a pair of fire shrimp, L. debelius, and have them in my refugium. The day I received them, I also received a new book specifically on inverts. In this book by a leading author, it mentions that fire shrimp have been known to regularly feed on soft corals and Zoanthids. I have several small colonies of very rare color morphs of Zoanthids, and this comment has given me much concern. Have you guys seen this behavior, or heard the same things?  <No, I've never heard of them eating zoos and I see no warnings on LFS sites about this. James (Salty Dog)> 

Green " Sponge" growing on my Zoanthid Hi, <Hello there> I have some type of green sponge or algae growing taller and taller on my Zoanthid, should it be removed? <Maybe... can you cut a bit off... take a close look to see what/which it is?> If so, how would I remove it without killing my Zoanthid? <Best by working at the conditions that favor this material over your mat polyp: Please read here re Algae Control: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm > I have read the following paragraph but I'm not too sure how to removed it and how to know if this is the type that should be removed. Thanks for any help.  Annie-Martine from Toronto Canada Symbioses: Many Zoanthids live in close association, either commensal or mutualistic with other species, particularly sponges and algae; and they "get along" with most other kinds of sessile marine life as well; neither quickly overgrowing them or being supplanted by true corals, other Zoanthids, Corallimorpharians or even some anemones. Regardless of their innocuous nature, Zoanthids should be purchased without their symbionts. Die offs from specimens purchased with sponges and algae are way too common. To repeat; the exception to the rule of Zoanthid hardiness is the ones that come attached to commensal sponges and algae. Many of these perish easily. <Do take care if you're going to try cutting the pest material away... the Zoanthid itself is quite toxic to humans... wear gloves, and wash these thoroughly afterwards. Bob Fenner>

Aiptasia on Zoa Stolon Hello Gang, I have a question I was unable to find in the archives. Do you have any safe methods for removing Aiptasia from a Zoanthid colony stolon? The Peppermints haven't touched them, and I don't have enough to support an Aiptasia eating Nudi, and squirting Kalk has caused too much collateral damage. I'm stumped! Thanks for your help. Brook <Hello, Brook MikeB here.  Your situation is difficult to say the least.  I would suggest trying a different product that Kalkwasser.  Have you tried Chem Marin's "Stop Aiptasia" or "Joe's Juice".  They are usually successful at eliminating those buggers.  Let me know.  MikeB.>

Adding Zoos! I am going to be adding 2 coral rocks with Zoanthid polyps on them to my aquarium. <Nice additions to a reef tank!> In reading, I understand that Zoanthids contain a poison that can be deadly if it gets into my bloodstream. How is the best way to get these into my 55 gal. aquarium that is already established? <I'd simply add the "Zoos" to your tank on the rock that they are attached to. Acclimate to your system like you would any other animal. Given time and acceptable conditions, these hardy inverts will spread and grow with little intervention required by the hobbyist! Hope that you enjoy the color and diversity they bring. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Dead Zoanthids - Cyanobacteria 11/5/04 Two weeks ago, I had a bad case of red slime, an F/S recommended I added Ultra Life's Red Slime Remover, so I did <Aiiiieeeee! No, please say it's not so :( This is an anti-biotic. Do look up the root definition of the term. Or, no... I'll spare you: anti-biotic: against-life Sure... it kills the Cyanobacteria... and so much more! And sadly, red slime algae is staggeringly easy to kick without hardly lifting a finger. Its all about controlling nutrients. Not allowing thawed pack juice from frozen foods into the aquarium, skimming aggressively, increasing water flow and water changes. A cure in 2 weeks or less> and it worked great. The red slime was gone but also an entire colony of zoos. The zoos closed up and are turning a dark brown should I just give on them and declare it a lost or should I just wait and see? How do you even know when a zoo is completely dead? William <water changes, good water flow and time/patience my friend. And please do read through our archives on BGA/Cyanobacteria/Red Slime Algae my friend. So much info. Anthony>

Nudibranch assistance Thanks for great website. <Thank you Chris for the compliment, MacL here with you tonight> I found few opisthobranchs on my reef they were around my expensive blue zoos and pink zoos I removed 3 of them yesterday night but is there any better way than wait for them to show up and catch them? <Youch that's a big problem. Honestly I have heard there are traps but I've never seen any that truly work other than just pulling them off.  Also I have friends who isolate their zoos to try to catch them.  Usually they show up more at night so with a flashlight and/or with a red-light?> One of them were on my orange zoos and it's some tassels color was orange I am sure it is eating my zoos (Some reason starting 3 weeks ago all of my zoos are not doing good (all other corals are ok) I could not figure out why but now I know...) <They can be terrible problems. let me also recommend you look on www.seaslugforum.com> Since my camera is not so good it looks like this http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nudifaqs.htm Nudibranch id 6/11/03 Thanks Chris Kim

Strange Encrusting/Smothering sponge 7/25/04 The sponge in the attached photo has slowly been covering this zoo frag, and seems to be smothering it.  I have asked on a forum but no one had seen anything like it.  Any identification info or what I should do about it would be appreciated. thanks, Rusty <no pic or attachment came through my friend... but we can still chat about it. Sponges are commonly associated with Zoanthids. Some are harmless or beneficial, some are parasitic and others are indeed simply another reef invert in competition for space. I'd suggest that you do remove (screwdriver or sharp chisel will be fine) some of the polyps from the sponge (use latex gloves to protect yourself from palytoxin). Clean the polyps off with a toothbrush (no worries) and pat the Zoanthids dry before super gluing them to a rock (see more info in my "Book of Coral Propagation" and elsewhere on the Internet). We also describe and illustrate some of these species in our "Reef Invertebrates" book. Anthony Calfo>

Aging lights? Poor polyp expansion 5/29/04 I have some very beautiful green button polyps that are seemingly taking a turn for the worst.  The polyps have been in my tank for about 8 months.  In this time, they have not been moved, and have been doing quite well (they have even propagated).  Within the last two days, they have become flaccid and small.  Nothing new has been added to the tank in the last few months, all chemical factors are within normal limits, and all other corals are doing fantastic (frogspawn, bubble, various mushrooms).  I performed a 25% water change, and it didn't help at all.  What am I doing wrong?  Could this be a light issue, or is this some sort of cycle the creature goes through?  Please let me know.  My email is XXXX@hotmail.com   Thank You Very Much Tim <from the general symptoms described, its tough to say. If its a physical or chemical parameter astray in the tank, something has to be the first to show signs of stress - perhaps your polyps are a beacon. In this case, I wonder if your lights are not aged (fluorescents over 10 months old?) or if the glass canopy hasn't got so dusty or crusty that it is dramatically reducing light? Some things to consider. Best regards, Anthony>

Brain Food, and Other Coral Concerns! Hi Bob! <Actually, Scott F. in today!> I have looked thru a lot of your articles, but this problem I couldn't find. It may be me. <Yeap.. it's you! Hah- just kidding!> We have a 125 gal. tank with a wet/dry filter, protein skimmer, chiller, and even bought a r/o unit with deionizer. It is a starter reef tank with 120lbs. live Fiji rock, Yellow Tang, 3 Spot Domino, 2 Clarkii Clowns, Yellow Polyps, Orange Button Polyps, Open Brain, Red Mushrooms, one Ricordea, and misc. snails, starfish, crabs, and shrimp.  <Nice mix> The problem is, our Orange Button Polyp which has tripled its size and is gorgeous has developed white spots on the front part of the cluster. They are only on the "stem" of the polyp. The polyp is still beautiful and shows absolutely no signs of distress, actually it is still producing polyps. The polyps on the front do stand real tall compared to the others, where the ones on the back make a ball shape. The only time they close is when the lights go off at night. They open readily when the lights come on. All other corals are totally clean. Please help me. We have had this polyp for 6 months and it is my favorite. <Hard to be 100 % certain. Possibly just a migration of pigment, but it could be anything from flatworms to some other pest, too. If the coral is otherwise reacting well, and appears healthy, I would not be too concerned at this point. Just observe carefully and let us know if you notice a decline in the coral's health at any point> I know I am being a pain, but could you also tell me the best thing to feed our Brain Coral and amount. Everyone I talk to disagrees and I haven't had much luck with the internet or books. Thank you sooooo much!!! Julie <You're NOT a pain, Julie! As far as feeding the Brain Coral is concerned, I'd use fine zooplankton-based foodstuffs, such as minced Mysis, krill, or other "meaty" foods. The newly-available frozen "Cyclop-eeze" is a great food for these species! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> 

Red Grape Algae...but not Hi Bob, Anthony, or any of you other mystery invert specialists on the Crew: <Whassup?> Quick question for you all... <Okey-dokey> I have a piece of rock with some yellow Parazoanthus "gracilis" polyps that I have had for over a year.  I have noticed that the polyps have been thinning a bit and couldn't really figure out why.   <many possibilities... often simply from lack of adequate water flow. If they have not been getting enough random turbulent or surging flow (or if they have been getting too much laminar) they will not extend so fully and fleshy and just dwindle in time or be encroached upon> Now I notice that something (I presume fauna, not flora) has begun to grow between the polyps.  I did not notice these "somethings" before as the growth started from the hidden rear of the rock.  Anyway, the creature(s) that are now growing start out looking exactly like the "grapes" on the algae that some call Red Grape Caulerpa but without the stalks of the algae.   <Botryocladia can also grow without stalks... may be the same> They have exactly the same color and translucent appearance as the algae.  I flipped the rock over and the older ones have turned a mottled brown on their tops.  Any idea what these might be?  Good, bad (at least in terms of being responsible for the waning of the "gracilis')? Thanks for all the info past present and future.  Take care, Greg <hmm... on this scant description, I cannot even see why you think it may be fauna and not flora. A pic would help here my friend. Anthony>

- Palythoa w/ white dots - Hi, Bought some Palythoa on Sunday the 6th today is the 10th I have noticed some small white spots on about 4-5 out side polyps only that the white spots are on the edges of the polyps ,what might be causing this in just a few days.. some say it could be from bumping it , ruff handling.. rest look great.. Ph.8.2,salinity 1.023,alk 9 dKH, Mag 1330,calcium 280.. (low) lights 65 watt each 10,000k and 1 blue actinic on for about 8 hrs day. <Sounds like it may be getting stung by something, hard to say without a picture but likely nothing to worry about. Just keep an eye on it! -Kevin> thanks Scott

Sick Zoanthid 7/7/03 Thanks Anthony... I'm down to 1 healthy polyp left. <sadly common.... quick necrosis with cnidarians that have little skeletal/"muscle" mass> He (she, it) is hanging on for dear life in a very stubborn fashion. Curiously, it's at the outer rim of the colony, farthest from the 'ground zero' of the atom bomb analogy I used (and you metaphorically elaborated on with your Mexican food anecdotes.) <VBG> I dipped this colony into a commercial reef dip composed of iodine and other mysterious things, and the disease seemed to have stopped, albeit there was only this one healthy polyp - and a few stragglers - left by then. The stragglers seem to be permanently closed up, not necessarily dead, but they don't look good. <Hmmm... may survive after all> Thanks for the 'not for free' advice on those products. Curious what out there on my LFS's overpriced supplement shelves are really helpful in any context? <phytoplankton used correctly is good... Dick Boyd's Vita Chem is excellent... and Selcon is simply outstanding (source of lipids/HUFAs)> I'll keep the daily iodine dipping up on this last polyp, and I'll probably get the Dremel drill out and attach a polishing scrub-brush-wheel and dermabrade all of the polyp corpses completely off (instead of chiseling the rock in 2.)> I sure have a funny taste left over in my mouth now after brushing with my Sonic Care. <Don't even joke about it mate... some Zoanthids are fatally venomous. Always handle inverts with gloves... and no licking fingers afterwards <G>> Thanks again, SLC <kind regards, Anthony>

Zoanthid Meltdown/Necrosis 7/4/03 Anthony, I've moved this colony into a stronger current flow area (albeit somewhat laminar right now, but I'm fixing that in a few days), and I have scrubbed off necrotic tissue as you recommended. I actually used a Sonic Care tooth brush and it seemed to work well. <excellent and ingenious> I also added CoralLife Liquid Reef Gold Pro Plus (!) and tried to syringe-feed the polyps with CoralLife MicroVert...but they didn't seem to notice. <No exaggeration... I would not take either product for free and I sure as heck would not use them in my tanks. Do consider feeding thawed Mysis shrimps, Sweetwater plankton, Pacifica plankton, etc... any or all soaked in Selcon/lipid rich supplements> I sound like a product placement ad. Again, they're under about 8-12 inches of water, under 2X65 watt CF actinics & 2X65 watt 10,000K full ranges. I have lots of bristleworms, but they don't seem to bother this colony and the way the colony is melting down reminds me of the way bacteria spread in a Petri dish, if you've ever seen this behavior. <Yes... occurs in my refrigerator in a weekly basis <G>>  (like a slow-motion atom bomb from the ground zero point of impact outwards.) <Hmmm... and that reminds me of the morning after if I eat the food item by mistake. Or is that what happen to me with Mexican food? One of the two> Not what I'd call predator attack patterns. Any more info would be helpful and most appreciated. <As will all afflicted animals... QT is usually the best. If not before entry to display... then after for isolation away from healthy animals if nothing else. Daily iodine dosing may be helpful too> I have only about 10 good specimens left, out of 60 or so, and I think the battle is slowly being lost. Perhaps I should chisel off the good section of the host live rock and go from there ? <Indeed may be helpful.> As a final bit of info., the remaining polyps don't seem to have their tentacles raised anymore when they're open...they just kind of droop. I have my salinity @ 1.0235, temp about 81.5, pH 8.2, <pH is flat if that is a daytime reading... aim for 8.3-8.6> .. and ammonia 0-.25 ppm (can't get more accurate with my test kit), nitrates & nitrites 0, copper 0, phosphates 0. Thanks, SLC <Do allow some nitrate (under 10 ppm) for coral health/feeding. Best regards, Anthony>

Sick Zoanthids 6/29/03 Thanks Anthony/WWM. <cheers, mate> I believe these corals are "Zoanthids" in the (of course) Zoanthus spp. The common names appear to be Sea Mats, Button Polyps. I think the term 'colored' means they are naturally of different colors. My LFS would be very unlikely to sell colored corals, given their reputation. <ahh... good to hear> The closest picture I've found is in the book "Reef Secrets" by Nilsen & Fossa, on page 115. I can't send you a photo because my camera auto focuses on the tank glass instead of the critters, <to help photograph in the future... turn the room lights off and leave on the tank lights only... taken at night if you must to avoid indirect room light> and I don't want to stress the remaining guys out anymore than I have to (by pulling them out of the water for a photo shoot.) Yes, I goofed big-time by not quarantining this small colony, for the first and last time. <alas... many of us have learned this lesson the hard way> These are the only corals in my tank, so a complete meltdown of this colony won't affect other corals (for the now, but later on ....) Does it makes sense to have a tank lie "coral-fallow" for a month or more? <may be helpful... but do help/heal this animal with good strong water flow on the colony... even taking it out of the aquarium and scrubbing softly with a toothbrush (not your daily hygiene one). Indeed... do liberate the loose and necrotic tissue> I keep these guys about 8 inches below the surface, under blue actinics/10,000K CF lights, according to the Reef Secrets suggestions. They apparently need no supplemental feeding, <quite the contrary for some species... you will need to research the given genus. Zoanthus tends not to need much food, but Palythoa tends to be quite hungry and will starve in months without feeding> although some species may 'benefit', from what I've read, by occasional filter-food injections into the water near the colony. <really much more than that... too many corals are underfed> So much to learn...thanks for any meltdown-advice, SLC Born Again Invert Quarantiner <best regards, Anthony>

Zoanthid - 11/25/03 Hello,     I have had some coral branch rock with small green button polyps (563.jpg) which had been doing fine for some weeks. <Very nice pictures> Recently they closed up and remained that way while other polyps in the tank have not (other.jpgs)<Interesting> I noticed some fine "smoke" trails emanating from some of the polyps and a jellylike mass from at least one. <possible Zooxanthellae bail out or just some excrement. Not too sure here>  I have executed a partial water change of 30% and my chemical levels are good from the standpoint of what most others report (Ca 400ppm, etc.).  I am mystified as to what might be happening. Any suggestions? <What has changed or been added recently? So hard to say what the issue could be here. I would leave them be and be sure that there are no other corals near them that may be affecting their ability to expand. How old is the lighting??? Are you dosing anything?? ~Paul>  Thanks!       From Sunny Misawa Japan       Richard Schulde
Follow-up on closed Zoanthids - 11/25/03
Thanks for the quick reply. <We aim to please> Lighting is very new, in a 30 gallon reef, and runs up to 260w (2x65w Act., 2x65w 10k) depending on time of day. <Did the closing of these polyps coincide with the addition of these new lights?> I add some Tech-I and have a Firefish and lemon goby which I have fed some garlic and Metronidazole soaked food for illness. <Were the polyps open during this time??> they appear to have recovered and now only get straight food. <Good to hear> The other corals (hammer, red mushroom, polyps) have co-existed fine until now and no-one else seems to have any troubles. <Means nothing to the captive animal world. Corals use allelopathy plain and simple, as a form of territory control. Some limit coral growth through the release of terpenoids (explains the smell of some soft corals when touched or cut. Smell your hands after a fragging. Smell funny after???)Other corals use there feeding tentacles as a means of defense. (nematocysts - stinging cells) So never count out corals within as far away as six inches and in some cases even further. Everything is fine until one day one of your corals begins to decline rapidly. I am not saying this is definitely the cause...... just something to think about> One small group of 4-6 green polyps had broken loose from the rest and settled across the tank exhibits the same behavior which I think is odd as well. <Agreed. I would just leave things be for a while. How long have they been like this, again?? Don't move them, only dose what you are testing for. See if this helps. Keep the water changes up and do about 10% twice a week maybe even three times a week in case there is some pollutant. Otherwise these corals actually live in very extreme areas. High flow and sometimes no flow, exposed to air even in some cases. I have seen them in polluted stagnant backwater areas in many tropical areas.> I am thinking about removing them to a smaller tank alone where I can control conditions for them and see what happens. <I would wait. No need to add the stress of a new acclimation to the fold. Leave them for awhile and see what happens. If they start to disappear then maybe move them> Any other thoughts? <Lots, but lets just stick to the topic at hand, eh? Hehheheheeh> Thanks again! <Oh my pleasure indeed. You are most welcome. ~Paul> Rick

Orange Zoanthid 12/5/03 hello all,<howdy> I recently bought a very nice rock that has both colony of  star polyps and some orange Zoanthids on it. However, the star polyps are encroaching on the Zoanthids and so I want to trim the star polyps back. I have found this is normally very easy .  However I'm worried that when I try to remove the star polyps form the Zoanthids, they will tear and release Palytoxin.    <a legitimate but small concern. Wear gloves and use carbon in the tank and all will be fine for this small maneuver> I will wear gloves when I do this to be safe.  However, should I be  I worried about the effects of the toxin on the other organism in my tank? thanks! -matt <no worries... and time it with a water change afterwards if you like. Best regards, Anthony>

Zoanthid Question Thanks for the info. on bristle worms and green brittle stars. Just a question about a colony of brown star polyps I have in my tank. I have 55g. system w/ 4 fish.( two yellow tangs, a regal tang and a blue damsel.) I also have various crabs, snails , etc. The tank is lit by 160 W of fluorescent light and the bulbs are all new within the last six months. I have a colony of green and red mushrooms in there also which is doing great, it expands well and new mushrooms are sprouting. The brown polyps on the other hand are going the other direction. When I placed them in the tank about 3 months ago they did great. They opened up well and even appeared to be spreading. In the last two weeks, fewer and fewer polyps are coming out and as of today they are little more than bumps with hardly anything showing. I have done some water changes and have even started to run a Magnum filter with carbon. Nothing appears to be working. My next thought was to change the position of the colony in the tank. I don't overfeed and my nitrates are at about 20ppm NO3. What gets me is how the mushrooms, which I understand have similar requirements, are thriving while the polyps are dying. Any help you can offer would be appreciated. Bob's Answer: Hey Roman. Well you're right on target with moving the Polyps. Very likely they're under-circulated and very very likely involved in chemical warfare with the seemingly acquiescent mushrooms. Those Corallimorpharians are actually quite virulent in their campaign to take over all available hard space, and you'd do well to arrange "breaks" or demilitarized zones to prevent their spread/proximity to other stinging celled organisms. Place the brown polyps above, away from the Corallimorphs my friend.

Green Button Polyp Problem I know green button polyps are supposed to be some of the hardiest polyps  around, but I am having some trouble with mine even though I have gorgonians  which are supposed to be difficult but are doing well. I have a 400W MH over  a 2ft deep 90gal tank the button polyps are on the bottom. The polyps are  multiplying and their are very healthy ones next to some that appear to be  burned with some white spots and signs of dissolving. What could this be  from? I do frequent water changes 20% every other week. Chemical tests are  normal no ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. I also have some green star polyps  that are not faring well the mat has receded a lot. Could their be hydrogen  sulfide pockets in my tank and how do you test for this? >> May be a biochemical reaction/competition with some other life form in your system... too much light... some sort of additive/supplement poisoning.... If there were sufficient H2S in your system, you'd smell it, see the blackening in your substrate, see bubbles coming out of it from anaerobic glycolysis... What I would do with the button polyps (Zoanthids), is move some of the colonies off to the sides (out of the direct blast of the MH(s)... and add a unit of Polyfilter, and Chemipure to your filter flow path... and take a long look at your supplement habits. Bob Fenner 

Zoanthids hi bob, it me again. sorry to consult you again. it not that I ask too much question. it because previously I got no one to consult until I got to know you. <Hopefully also reference works, listservs, other sites on the web...> I had brought some button polyped and yellow polyped. According to what you say Zoanthids are consider hardy species. <Most> but the button polyped that I previously brought is consider quite big in size. 3-4 week later, the size decreases. <Typical, not to worry> The water condition is ok. and I do not know the reason why it decrease in size. same apply to my yellow polyped. the number of yellow polyped had decrease. Q1. I had placed the button polyped on the aquarium floor and with light. the current is consider medium low. Is the placement correct ? Q2. Is the feeding the same as mushroom. If water condition is good, the it is not necessary to feed the polyped ? Q3. What is the cause of the reducing of size ? <Likely just adjusting to the conditions, newness of their new home... I would feed the polyps... as detailed on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com> * Anyway do you have book which talk about the detail about corals (environment it is found, lighting requirement, water current and more details) If have what is the name of the book. As I am staying in Singapore and marine aquarium is not so common here. It hardy to find lot of marine aquarium book here. Do you have any web site to recommend if I want to know more about the coral ? Thank again. Danny C. <Will be visiting SG in May and June... And yes to helping you help yourself with a suggested book or two. For sure you want to devour "The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium" by Fossa and Nielsen (their link is on the WWM links page) especially volume 1, and v.1 of the Baensch "Marine Atlas". You will greatly enjoy these books, and benefit from them. Bob Fenner>
Hi Bob, I've checked on line and in books for information regarding Zoanthids, but most of what I've found has been a repetition of the fact that they are hardy and easy to grow with little actual information on their care. I was hoping you could help me out here. <Hope to> I've been keeping a saltwater tank for about 6 months and am branching into the world of the reef tank. To start, I've added a Zoanthid colony. For the first two weeks, the Zoanthid seemed to be doing fine. Now, it's started to shrink. It is not opening up as much as he used to, but it is having new growths. Why is it shrinking? Is there anything I can do to prevent this? My tank setup. 40gal tall 78 degrees f SG = 1.025 Ph = 8.2 - 8.4 Ammonia = 0 Nitrite = >0.3 <this should be zero> Calcium = 450ppm kH = 11 2 -- 55 watt Power compacts 10,000k 1 -- 15 watt Actinic 03 fluorescent The Zoanthids are about 8 inches below the water surface (and therefore the lights) and are slightly below the power head so they are not directly in it's current. Thanks, Chad Bowser <Mmm, not much more to say that isn't posted on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zoanthid.htm Your new colony may have just shrunk due to the moving... water seems okay, same with set-up. I would just give this grouping more time. Bob Fenner> 

Zoanthids BUTTON Polyps HELLO, I HAVE A TANK WITH BUTTON POLYPS AND I SEE LITTLE CREATURES THAT LOOK LIKE BUGS LIKE LITTLE COCKROACHES THAT COME OUT OF THE ROCK WHEN THE LIGHTS ARE TURNED OFF, <they are amphipods and highly beneficial detritivores for your tank. Very good zooplankton to feed fishes and corals> ALSO THEY ARE DOING SOMETHING TO MY POLYPS BECAUSE THEY WILL NOT COME OUT. <not correct my friend... they can not harm your coral. The worst they could do is scavenge decaying tissue. They are harmless and VERY desirable to have. Your coral is irritated for another reason> WHAT ARE THEY AND WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT BEFORE THEY DESTROY ALL MY POLYPS? THANKS TED QUERCIOLI<changes in light or water quality are the two most likely cause to the polyps not opening. If the coral is new or has been moved recently, then the polyps may be trying to adapt to the change in light at the new depth or position.>

Mushrooms and Zoanthids not faring well Hi, <cheers> I have a 100 gal diamond tank with 4-95watt VHO and 1-55watt PC lights. I have a wet/dry and skimmer.  <keep an eye on those nitrates with that wet/dry ;) > There are assorted fish plus a Ritteri, bubble <Hmm... how long have you had the Ritteri and the bubble is what? anemone or coral> and golden toadstool. All my water tests are good.  <good...?> I add iodine and Kent CB parts A and B to maintain alk and ph. Here's the problem. I have never been able to keep mushrooms and polyps alive!  <a common problem is mixed garden aquaria so severely assorted as your (anemone, LPS, Octocoral, etc)> The mushrooms start off great, grow for a month or so and then slowly die off. The polyps just stop opening and over several months die off. HELP! I don't understand. Dave <no worries here... it is quite natural and a sign that your tank is not as nutrient rich as most. Corallimorphs and Zoantharians usually hail from deeper, nutrient rich waters... where as your Ritteri and Toadstool hail from very shallow, lower nutrient waters. In the wild they are separated by perhaps more than 60' of water! It would be impossible to homogenize the parameters of a tank to suit the needs of both in the long run. Best regards, Anthony>

Vanishing Polyps Hey guys <Scott F. is the guy tonight> Thanks for all your help over the years. I have another question. My yellow polyps seem to be disappearing. The ones that are there look ok, but their numbers are decreasing.  I also have several other corals including xenia (my h20 quality indicator) all growing quite well.  All tests are where they should be: ph 8.3, sal 1.0025, ca 420, alk 10dkh etc...  I have 2 theories.  1st- they are low in the tank. Maybe not enough light?  I have 5w/gal VHO in a shallow 50g breeder w/DSB, so they're about 10" deep, but slightly shaded from another rock outcrop. <These colonial anemones are usually quite durable, and adapt to a variety of lighting schemes and environmental parameters. Your lighting seems fine> 2nd- The other night, I saw a couple of these bugs about 8-10mm looked like a cross between a camel cricket and a roly-poly. Brown in color. Occasionally I'll see an exoskeleton floating around the tank.  Anyway, they looked like they were eating at the base of the polyps. Maybe they were eating something around it, I'm not sure, but something's causing these things to disappear one by one while the ones remaining look ok. Ideas? If its the bugs, what can I do to keep the population in check? Thanks for the help. Neil <Well, Neil, I doubt it was the "bugs". These are actually amphipods, most likely, and are highly desirable creatures to have in your system for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that many species of fish (wrasses, dragonets, etc) love to eat 'em! Aquarists often go to great lengths to "cultivate" "pods" in their systems, so consider yourself "blessed"! It's hard to say from here what is causing the polyp population to dwindle. Your environmental parameters and lighting sound acceptable. I am assuming that no other corals are in contact with the polyps? Do you have any fish in this system, or perhaps crabs or shrimp of some type? I had an arrow crab once that absolutely snacked on my yellow polyp population-ate 'em one by one! Now, that is probably not a typical occurrence, but it goes to show that you need to look at things beyond the obvious. Do review your livestock and see if there are any "suspects" among them, such as angelfish, butterflies, or other fishes that are known to eat coral polyps. In the absence of poor environmental conditions or obvious disease, I'd operate on the assumption that there may be a predator in the mix somewhere-but not the "pods"! Good luck! Scott F.>  

Dying or propagating trumpet? Okay Anthony, I drew my trumpet colony and the "fallen soldier", (and had fun doing it I may add)! Hope you can diagnose it now. <actually a big help! And a good example of the importance of us all trying to use scientific names whenever possible. What you have is not a coral and arguably not a trumpet "coral" according to common name usage (not your fault.. you repeated as told <G>). What you have is a Zoantharian... most likely Palythoa. Not a true coral but fairly called a reef invertebrate. Also known as button polyps, this creature is incredibly hardy! Often remains closed if it gets too much light or not enough food. The bud that fell off most likely was propagating indeed. My previous comments were in regards to the large polyped stony coral also known as trumpet or candy coral, Caulastrea furcata. My advice is to relax... these corals can remain closed polyped for some time! Do not move the colony around in different positions... this will delay the polyps opening. Do be sure to offer a tiny bit of food weekly or more if there is little or no fish feeding in the tank. If the fallen polyps attached to the new rock quickly then it is a very good sign. Keep your eyes open for a fine brown diatom sheen or any necrotic infections. Keep moderate random turbulent water flow over it. Scrub any algae of debris off with a soft bristled tooth brush in a separate bowl of seawater outside of the aquarium (discard water afterwards).> Thank you, Pam PS Hope you can manipulate the file, it's rather large. It opens with Microsoft's Photo Editor. <best regards, Anthony>

Trumpet corals still in trouble! Hello guys,  <cheers, love. Anthony Calfo in your service> still having problems with my Trumpet Coral. My Ph I have been working on if you can possibly recall out of the 100's of emails a day. I bought a buffering agent by Seachem. I added according to the directions. The Ph shot up to 9.0 !  <that honestly seems very unlikely. I would seriously doubt the accuracy of your test kit. Please do confirm against two others (hopefully one digital... local LFS, aquarium society friend, etc)> The coral looks terrible. Closed. I thought they were coming around for a few days because they began to open, but today, no good. I guess this is the end hmmm? Should I take them out soon before they pollute and raise my nitrates?  <OMG no!!! Irritated coral can remain closed for weeks...even months! If they were dying you would see a sudden necrotic foul mess. If your pH really is/was 9.0 or higher you would se severe reactions from many/most other corals, fish and/or inverts. The trumpet is simply unhappy... the real problem is your water chemistry and test equipment possibly... not the coral!> The camel shrimp are walking all over them, I guess looking for a meal. I don't want to take them out too soon,..... what do you suggest? <pH problems (skewed Alk from buffer or pH from Kalk, etc are EASILY corrected with a couple of large water changes...simple dilution to get you back to bar. Your immediate solution is single large water change or two away (premixed, aerated, salinity, ph adjusted if necessary). Aquarists can even do 100% water changes without a single mortality if fast and prepared well enough if it is warranted. Really, my friend... do relax, take stock and reassess the problem and attempts at solutions you have made. Let's figure this out> Thanks Pam
<best regards, Anthony>
Re: trumpet corals still in trouble!
I had a nice long letter for you when my monitor went black and my PC crashed. Ahhhh!  <Ughhh! I so hate when that happens!> But the jest of the letter was this. I bought Hagen's Ph Wide Range tester.  <Ahhh... yes... there is a big part of the problem right there.. a gross and barely accurate range on the high end> Difficult to read. The color chart is all off as far as I can see. I wasn't sure if I was seeing 8.5 or 9.0.  <wow...yes, agreed. Please don't put much stock in a kit like that> At any rate, I'll go out and buy the original Aqua Lab tester for ph and BC. From your tone, it sounded like my ph could never get that high with a buffer, is this so? <VERY unlikely! Most buffers and bicarbonate and as such are difficult to get much over 8.3 Further more, if it were so... 9.0 is so stressful I would expect you to be telling us of so many more problems if it were true> I added 1 spoon to every gallon, I have 55 g but put in 45 spoons. What do you think about that?  <HOLY cow!!!! Is that what the directions said?!?> Too much too soon?  <understatement of the week!> I'll go to my LFS tomorrow and spend more money, (originally, I was trying to save money, hence the Hagen product, seven bucks!) <hmmm... at any rate... a single large water change (or more) is necessary to dilute the problem else you can expect problems with calcium later as well> Oh, and some good news, (please tell me I did good!). I ordered a Kent Nautilus Skimmer and MAG7 PUMP at Champion Lighting & Supply, I hope this is a good product. <hmmm... looking through our archives, you would/will notice we strongly recommend Aqua C and Euroreef skimmers a lot. There are strong reasons for it. More than a few decades of experience between us here on the crew. It is not to say that there aren't other good skimmers out there... but in the big picture of getting bang for your buck (reliability, ease of maintenance. longevity, reputation, customer service, etc) there is a definite reason for such mention. Do consider that this site is free and at least in the case of the Euroreef skimmers, we do not even take their advertising dollars. That's honest advice. As far as your Mag pump... I like them very fine. They do give you what you pay for.> www.ChampionLighting.com <I like the product selection at this company... very diverse for reef aquarists... quite frankly, I think they would benefit greatly by advertising on this site... I wish they would. I believe our traffic would appreciate and support their products> Thanks for listening and Happy Memorial Day!! Pam <thank you, dear.. best regards. Anthony>

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