FAQs about Health/Diseases, Pests of Soft
Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae 13
FAQs on Alcyoniid Disease:
Alcyoniid Health 1,
Alcyoniid Disease 3,
Disease 5, Alcyoniid
Disease 6, Alcyoniid
Disease 7, Alcyoniid
Disease 8, Alcyoniid
Disease 9, Alcyoniid Health 10,
Health 12, Alcyoniid Disease
Disease 15, Alcyoniid Disease ,
Alcyoniid Disease by Category:
Nutritional, Pathogenic (Infectious,
Related Articles: Soft Corals of the Family
Related FAQs: Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae,
Alcyoniids 2, Alcyoniids 3, Alcyoniids 4, Alcyoniid ID, Alcyoniid Selection, Alcyoniid Compatibility, Alcyoniid Systems, Alcyoniid Behavior, Alcyoniid Feeding, Alcyoniid Propagation, Soft Coral Propagation, Soft Coral Health, Dyed Corals, Soft Coral Propagation, Nephtheids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids, Xeniids, Dyed
Is my limp soft coral dead? Not yet
Hi, I am new to the saltwater tank hobby. I have a 14
gallon oceanic bio cube tank that has been running for
about five weeks. I have a soft coral that is now limp. It
originally was upright. Should I take it out of the tank?
<Mmm, I would put it into another established system if you
have one... Or at least move this Sinularia from where it is
presently... The Sarcophyton next to it may well be poisoning
Will it poison the rest of my tank?
<Not too likely... you'll see it decomposing and remove
it, change some water in time>
Is this abnormal?
<In such small systems stocked thus? No, not abnormal... Am
attaching a piece (not in print yet, please do NOT redistribute)
re stocking small systems w/ Cnidarians>
I attached some pictures of it. I appreciate any help you can
<Do read the article and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/alcyoncompfaqs.htm
Re: Is my limp soft coral dead? 10/23/10
Thanks for the info and the article. It looks great. I won't
<Welcome dear. B>
Colt Coral under attack? Cladiella sp compatibility.
Thanks for a great web site. I know I join lots of people around
the world who use your site to learn more about this wonderful
<Thank you for the kind words.>
Attached is a photo of my colt coral that seems to be being eaten
Unfortunately the culprit has chosen a week while I am traveling
so I am unable to do night time spot checks.
<Of course... it is one of the constants in aquarium
I am also unable to ask my brother to move it to my quarantine
tank because it seems to have "fused" itself onto a
piece of live rock about half way up it's trunk
My only option is to try and identify the culprit and move it to
my quarantine tank until I return in a week
Mine is a 14 month old 250L tank and other inhabitants are (in
1 small globe urchin,
1 large pincushion urchin,
<Most urchins are herbivores, but there are some ones that are
not reef safe. have a look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/urchins.htm
4 peppermint shrimp, <Likely. Peppermint shrimp are NOT reef
2 hermit crabs (plus any number of hitchhikers). <I never
completely trust crabs, but it is unlikely.>
I also have an assortment of small snails plus a turbo snail but
I don't think it's them? <I agree.>
On the fish suspect list (again in order) a juvenile Longnose
butterfly, <Another distinct possibility
2 clowns, and
1 yellow goby.
Although butterflies have a reputation for nipping I have never
seen the butterfly fish worry the
coral in any way except if it is stealing food from them when I
target feed the coral
Do you have any suggestions?
<I would remove the shrimp, then watch the butterfly very
My follow up question is will this much damage to the trunk
(caused in less than 5 days) be terminal?
<This is more of a wait and see. If you see signs of it
remove it ASAP.>
Dying shipment of Sarcophyton
Again, thanks for doing what you do. I received a cooler of 17 pieces
of Sarcophyton from Fiji that were seized by customs.
<Argghhh! For what reason?>
When I opened the cooler, the state of the shipment was
evident...coffee brown, horrible smelling water, coupled with
suffocating corals and die off of all the hitchhiking organisms. Saw
some really fierce looking Polychaetes that I haven't seen before,
and some neat boring urchins with tests the size of pencil
erasers, but alas, they were dead.
I know that Sarcophyton is totipotent, and has remarkable regenerative
abilities. I am wondering how to take advantage of them without
completely fouling my system. I rinsed the corals eight or nine times
and each time, the water was coffee brown by the last coral. I then
placed them in a cooler with yet another change of water and an
airstone and left for a couple hours. I returned to find the smell
unbearable, which I half expected, and the water completely fouled
again. Is there any way to salvage something from these unfortunate
casualties of smuggling?
<Not likely... IF you have a huge amount of water, you can try
changing this out, tossing the old completely... Till you're out of
water or patience, which ever comes first... other than this...>
Blown up Sarcophyton 8/8/10
Dear WWM Crew,
I have looked up on your website and on Google but nowhere have I
found a description of what is happening to my Sarcophyton
(possibly due to a bad choice of search criteria, English not
being my mother tongue).
I think a picture will explain better than words (see attached
<I see this>
I was on vacation for a week, it was all happy and smiling
When I returned (one week ago) it was somewhat shrunk with the
polyps retracted but I didn't worry as corals do that once in
a while (I believe). The blowing up started a couple of days
Should I just leave it alone, poke a hole, remove it before it
<I would leave this animal alone, leave it here in this
system, but you need to address water quality... The
BGA/Cyanobacteria growing on the stalk of the Sarcophyton is
indicative of real trouble here. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm
and the linked files above. At the very least, I'd do a
series of good-percentage water changes, change-out your chemical
filter media for new>
Thank you in advance for your help
<Welcome, Bob Fenner>
Re: Blown up Sarcophyton 8/9/10
Thanks a lot for replying so quickly.
The coral did deflate by itself over the weekend and looks ok
I guess I should have waited but the look of it was
Regarding water quality, I am currently fighting nitrates (19 ppm
<Mmm, not too high... but likely the BGA is taking up a large
amount beyond this>
Note : the algaes visible on the picture are only limited to 2-3
spots in the aquarium.
<But on the base/pedicle of the Soft/Leather coral as well...
a very bad sign>
Best regards and thanks again
<Do please read where you were last referred to. Bob
Re: Blown up Sarcophyton - 8/9/10
If I may, I have one last question :
You mention the BGA being a very bad sign. For the coral or for
the tank ?
<... both. The causes/allowances need to be addressed...
I did read the page you referred to. One possible explanation is
that I reorganized my filtration system quite a bit but I
haven't yet put a mechanical or chemical filtration in it
(for about two months). I will make sure I correct this ASAP.
(I do have a large skimmer and a large amount of live rock
<And you, BobF>
Re: Blown up Sarcophyton - 8/9/10
Thanks a lot for your time and your help
<Very glad to assist you my friend. BobF>
Please Help!!! Alcyoniid lack of data, reading
Hi, we just purchased a leather toadstool about a week ago. The worker
at the pet shop told us to put it in a hole in the live rock, so we
<Without support, tying it in some way?>
today I got home from work and the coral was lying on its side in the
sand and its polyps were retracted. it got very soft and limp, so now
it won't stay in the rock. we now have it in between two rocks in
the sand. Is it going
to be okay there or should I move it somewhere else?
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/alcyonsysfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Please Help!!! Alcyoniid lack of data, still not
I'm sorry to bother you, but I can't find an answer...Should I
leave it there?
<... did you read where you were referred to? You have not provided
sufficient information for a useful response... the system make up,
water quality/tests, tankmates, history... Read. B>
Re: Please Help!!! Alcyoniid lack of data, ....
meaning...should I leave the coral in the sand between the rocks?? the
polyps are coming back out now...but will it survive there?
thank you sooo much for your help!!
<... help yourself.>
Re: Please Help!!! Militant stupidity
umm ok. You suck. Don't see why you have a site to answer ppl's
your not going to answer them. Doesn't make sense.
You could have just told me you don't know instead of help
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/faqstips.htm
Re: Please Help!!! Alcyoniid lack of data, .... reading
I knew that...My answer was not in the FAQs. It's okay I just left
it in the sand, still alive so I'll just keep it there. Thanks!
<... had you read you'd know that Sarcophytons don't live
in/on the sand...
Please, go back, read where you were referred. I/we can't help you
if you won't. B>
Finger Leather Dying From Shipment--How To Salvage? --
<<We are pleased to know this>>
I ordered a shipment of coral from that
very-big-and-appropriately-named saltwater fish store on the
everything arrived alive and is doing awesome, except for a
finger leather which is looking like it wants to be a goner.
The store has been very nice and issued a credit,
so if I can save this guy it'll essentially be a freebie.
The question is - *can* I save it?
You can see in the attached circled pic that it's bleached
and at least one finger (circled) has gone mushy and sloughed off
Should I leave it in the tank whole, or should I cut off the
brown healthy parts and plant them somewhere?
<<Actually Kelly, this specimen does not look to be in
exceedingly bad condition. If the photos are accurate, the areas
you assume to be bleached are simply normal variations of
color--the real problem I see here is the necrotic tissue (the
withering/sloughing fingers). If it were me, I would remove the
necrotic tissue and leave the rest of the animal as is and
observe it for a while>>
Or is this a goner and just going to poison my water?
<<Is worth a try to save>>
I'm a newbie at this so any instructions should be spelled
out for any idiot to understand::grin::
<<Place the animal in a container of tank water (like you
show in the pics) and use a sharp Exacto-knife/scalpel, or you
can use a new single-edge razor blade, and carefully excise any
dead and dying tissue being sure to cut back to healthy tissue.
Rinse the leather in a separate container of clean saltwater, and
place in quarantine if you're using such protocol, or back in
your system--keeping an eye on it for any further decomposition.
It also wouldn't hurt to dose Iodide/Iodate (following
manufacturer instruction), if not doing so already. Do also have
a look here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/softcorhealth.htm ) and
here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/softcorpropfaqs.htm ), as well as
among the associated links at the top of the pages>>
<<Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>
Sick Toad? 7/24/10
Dear WWM Crew
I had this Toadstool for 8 months and its growing steady. In the
past couple weeks I notices his body is not standing upright and
at the base, there is a hole. (picture included)Just a rip from
the weight or a worm or other
beast eating at him?
I do dose Iodine and had been spraying him locally with Iodine.
Should I cut him half and throw away the part with the hole?
<Is one approach... I might first try to bait a trap, have a
flashlight out to check periodically at night re finding,
removing the munching predator>
Any suggestion would be great! Thank again Phil
<Could also be some sort of chemical influence is malaffecting
your Alcyoniid... in particular the two sponge colonies that are
proximal. There are a few things folks can do re... Please read
and the linked files in series... and write back if this, your
options aren't clear. Bob Fenner>
Sick Coral? - 7-14-10
<And some gals Christine>
I purchased what I believe is a finger leather coral this
weekend. It hasn't come out fully since getting it home,
which apparently may or may not be normal depending on what you
The parameters in my tank are all "normal," and there
are other established corals that are thriving in it.
My concern for this new guy is that there is a spot on it about
the size of a pea that has developed since getting it home, and I
think it might be necrosis.
<I see this>
I have attached an image of the coral, and circled the area of
concern. There's also some sandy bits it has attached to at
the base, which look weirder in the picture than they look in
real life. I read the post about cutting off necrosis [Green
Finger problem (?), see below] and am willing to attempt this,
but I want to make sure that 1) it is necrosis
and needs to be cut off, and 2) there's no way it's going
to just go away on its own.
<I would not cut this area away just yet. Likely better to
just wait, see if it heals of its own accord... In the meanwhile,
you should seek whatever is mal-affecting this colony
Also, I increased my protein skimming in the meantime as
suggested in a previous post, which temporarily led to bubbles in
the tank. I decided to just leave them on the sick coral instead
of screwing with him- should I try and blow them off with a
turkey baster or something?
<No; I would not... the specimen is overly sticky due
Finally, is there any chance that this will infect my other
<Yes... the most likely "explanation/cause" of what
you're observing is allelopathy twixt your Cnidarians...
Please read here:
and the linked files above... Best to adopt/adapt the acclimation
through isolation protocol detailed there>
Thanks - you're my hero!
Re: Sick Coral? Alcyoniid -- 7/14/10
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly - I really appreciate
your help. Also, I didn't mean to offend the ladies...
<Ah yes... a descriptive use of the term nowayears I
I call everyone guys, my bad. I read the link that you sent to
me, and you are right on. Today I brushed by a large patch of
pulsing xenia, which is about 6 inches from the leather, enough
that their pulsers closed, and they had surrounded themselves
with a thin layer of clear goo. Almost immediately the stalk on
the finger leather turned darker and shriveled. The xenia were up
and about in 2 minutes, but the leather is taking longer to
"recover" to its
moderately shriveled state. I'm pretty sure at this point
that there is an allelopathic interaction occurring between the
two and that the xenia are most likely emitting small amounts of
I will begin immediately with more frequent water changes &
aggressive skimming. I can't move my xenia, should I move the
already perturbed finger leather?
<Yes I would... to another established system if you have
My tank is 29 gallons + a 5 gallon built in overflow (Red Sea Max
with some minor modifications), is there room for both of these,
or are they likely to duke it out to the death?
<May be the latter... only time can/will tell in such
Do you have any other suggestions as to what I should be doing in
addition to the link you sent to me? Thanks again!
<Unfortunately no. BobF>
Sinularia coral.. reading, data, lack of
Hope you can help, bought this coral a week ago it has a white
stalk and yellow top, the polyps when they are out are short
flower shaped a bit like my toadstool, I was told it was a
<Could be, yes>
Problem been have since been told by a friend that it has been
dyed - would like your expert advice on what you think dyed or
not. if it is dyed can I save it or will it end up dying?
<Looks like, yes. Can recover with good care though, you make
no mention of any useful data. Read, search on WWM re: the care
of these quite easily kept animals http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniids.htm>
this is a pic 2nd day after buying it polyps were not out.
thank you for your help great site
| Dyed... and dying
Trouble With Fiji Leather/Nitrate Control
For the last eight months I have been struggling with nitrates in one
and a half year old system. I have a 125 gallon display tank and a 30
gallon sump with about 20 gallons of water. I've had nitrates as
high as 80+ and I do a 15% to 20% water change each week.
When I started to get concerned, I took the sand out of my refugium and
then I took the sand out of my display tank (I only had 3" to
4" of sand in the DI, and I thought it wasn't deep enough and
could have been releasing waste due to the high flow in my tank). I
have done everything I could think of to remove any sort of dissolved
waste in my tank. I even got a bigger skimmer (Reef Octopus Extreme
200) and I run my overflow water through a
filter sock, which I replace every three or four days. I've even
been dosing vodka!
<I wouldn't let this problem cause me to drink.:)>
But I still have nitrates between 20 and 40.
<Still too high.>
I lost all my SPS and LPS corals, but my soft corals are doing pretty
well. At least, they look nice, but I've noticed that they
aren't growing much.
<More tolerable to water conditions than SPS/LPS.>
Even my mushrooms really aren't spreading. I've started to
wonder if my large Fiji leather coral could be causing problems.
<Is likely the other way around. Your mushrooms are semi-aggressive
if they are near another coral.
They will/can cause other corals to loose tissue, recess, possibly
Acroporas for one, will not grow in aquariums with large mushroom
Be sure to leave 5 to 6 inches between the mushrooms and your Leather
It has been in my tank for almost a year and is about 10" in
diameter when fully open. However, even though it has pretty good polyp
extension, it doesn't get bright yellow. Kind of a golden yellow.
And the crown doesn't stand up, but lays pretty flat, like a large
I have noticed in the past some small holes in the base of the colony,
but I never really worried about it. Could this coral be doing
something that is keeping my nitrates up?
Right now it isn't in direct water flow, but I do have two Koralia
4 pumps moving water, and a Quiet One 4000 for circulation. I also have
175 watt MH lights over the tank.
BTW, I don't think the tank is too heavily stocked. I have a
5" Foxface, a 5" Yellow tank <Tang>, a 4" Red Sea
Sailfin tank <Tang>, two ocellaris clowns and four Chromis. I
also have a serpent start <star> and a couple
handfuls of blue-leg hermit crabs and an assortment of snails. I feed a
sheet of Nori and some flake food every day, and I feed Mysis and
Cyclop-eeze every other day.
<Do rinse all frozen foods through a net before feeding. The waste
water is a source of nitrates.>
My other water parameters are pretty good. No ammonia or nitrite and
really low phosphate. Ca is 480+, dKH is 9, and Mg is 1200+. SG is
1.025 and pH is between 8.2 and 8.4. Only thing that isn't ideal is
that temp fluctuates during the day between 78 and 80 degrees.
<No problem with that.>
Is there anything I should do? I don't have a quarantine tank.
Should I find a new home for my coral? Or should I keep looking for the
source of nitrates?
<My first action would be to reduce the substrate depth in the
display tank to no more than a couple of inches. Deeper sand beds can
cause nitrate problems as they age if a healthy population of micro
fauna does not exist in the sand bed.
Minimize stirring up the sand bed when doing this, is best to siphon
out the sand during your water changes. I would add some Caulerpa in
the refugium if you have none, can/will help in removing nutrients from
May also want to read here and related articles/FAQ's found in the
Thanks for any help you can offer!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Trouble With Fiji Leather/Nitrate Control
I've got some Chaeto and bits and pieces of Caulerpa in my fuge.
Periodically I thin it out and feed it to my tangs.
As I mentioned, I actually took all the sand out of my tanks.
<Ah, I see that now, missed a line.>
I took the sand out of my display tank about 6 weeks ago. I'll put
an inch or so back in the tank once I get nitrates back in line. At the
moment, all I have in my system, besides the livestock, are about 150
lbs of rock and the aforementioned Chaeto and Caulerpa.
<Have you ever compared your nitrate reading with another/different
I'll read the FAQ you recommend. If the big leather isn't
causing the problem, can you think of anything else that might be
causing the high nitrates? I'm really stumped...
<I'd make sure your kit is reading correctly, and to concentrate
on your feeding regime. Best to feed small amounts a little more often
and only feed what the fish will eat in no more than a five minute
period. Uneaten food over the long haul can lead to nitrate
Even with a clean up crew, food can get into crevices/areas where no
critter can get to. You may want to take
a nitrate test of your source water if not using a R/O device. And, do
article I sent along with related items found in the header.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Leather Toadstool base 5/10/10
I have a problem with my Toadstool Leather which doesn't seem to
want to extend its polyps anymore, looking on here and the net it
doesn't seem to be going through a state of shedding a layer. It
used to extend and have a diameter of around 6 inch. The only thing
that has changed in my system since this started happening is I added a
canister filter with Live Rock Rubble, Seachem Matrix Carbon and
Salifert Phosphate Killer
<A mistake... these and other chemosynthetic life need some soluble
phosphate to live>
and a UV Sterilizer. I also moved my powerheads from the side of my
tank glass to the back but have not changed the direction of flow it
was merely to move them more from sight. My parameters are Ammonia 0.0,
Nitrite 0.0, Nitrate 0.0,
<And NO3... these are essential nutrients>
Phosphate 0.00, S.G. 1.022.
I add Salifert All In One once a week and do 40% water changes
All my other corals are flourishing which includes 2 types of mushrooms
which are multiplying, Green Star Polyps, Clove Polyps, Button Polyps,
Zoanthids and Mouse's Ear Coral.
<Some of these are too likely poisoning the Sarcophyton as well...
and the linked files above>
That's it for the background now to the full extent of the problem.
As I said it doesn't seem to want to reveal it polyps anymore
although it does rise up and isn't drooping. The main worry is that
it has a ring/band of brown around the bottom of it from where its
attached to the rock to about 1/2 an inch up. To describe the brown
ring is quite difficult, its browny
green reddish and seems as if its kind of flaking or could possibly be
rubbed off. Like I said other than it not extending and this problem
around its base it looks very healthy. I just want to rejuvenate it as
it is my main attraction and I would hate to lose it. Thanks for
hearing me out and any help would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
<Read, soon... be ready to remove this animal. Bob Fenner>
Re Toadstool Issues/Sarcophyton Health/Systems
I was finally able to grab an iodine testing kit along with some Kent
Iodine supplement last night. I tested the water and determined that
there was no iodine present so completed the initial dosing as stated
on the bottle (1 cap for ever 50 gallons).
I'll retest again tonight, but at this point can you suggest on how
to proceed. If undetectable, should I repeat the above, or should I now
get into the daily drops.
The SeaTest kit that I purchased indicates that the reading level
should be at 0.006. Can you verify that this is correct for a reef.
<Retest until you can read 0.06, then follow dosing directions on
You may want to retest in a couple of weeks, you may need to
Sorry to bother you on this, but was unable to find a definitive answer
in the faq's.
<Oops, the average iodine level in sea water is 0.064.>
Thanks for your help
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Toadstool Mushroom Help, hlth.
I have a large toadstool mushroom that has some tissue damage on it. I
was away for the weekend, and one of my colt leather corals decided to
reproduce by dropping some of its branches. Consistent with my luck,
one of the colt branches became lodged in a powerhead intake, and
proceeded to spray bits and pieces of itself onto the toadstool
mushroom that usually enjoys the current from the powerhead. There are
two white, spot, about 1in in diameter on the toadstool now, the tissue
is dying and beginning to fall off. I'm guessing this is probably
due from chemicals from the colt?
The spots are almost exactly where the flow from the powerhead hits the
toadstool, and now its has been retracted for a few days. I have
removed the remaining bits of the colt from the intake, and cleaned it
thoroughly, but is there anyway I can help the toadstool?
<Mmm, I'd dose (double) whatever Iodine-containing supplement
you have/use (Lugol's?)... and an hour or more later double up on
activated carbon in your filter flow path... That, and stay
Thank you so much,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Problem with my Reef tank....Please
Light Acclimation 3/13/09
I have a Trigon 350 <liters> and haven't had many problems,
all parameters where fine although my pH level was a little low (7.9 -
8.0) However I never tried to rectify this as all my Corals where doing
However about 1 month ago my lighting system (The Trigon fluorescents
system) broke and I therefore bought a Metal Halide system. ( 2x 150 w
Metal Halides and 4 x Blue actin tubes).
As soon as I put this light into action my pH shot up to 8.5 and my
leather Mushroom corals seem to be withering and shrinking.
<With that drastic a change in light intensity, light acclimation is
Also there seems to be a mass of green algae appearing on the glass..
This stuff is a nightmare getting rid of it as it won't budge.)
There are no Nitrites, Ammonia, present my Nitrate seems high..
<Bingo, intense light, a food source and rapid photosynthesis/growth
takes place. The food, in the form of nitrates needs to be removed.
Read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm>
My main question is this Lighting to high for my tank
and do I need to move my corals around to keep them out of the full
lighting as they are near the top of my reef, still about 6-7inches
<Do read here and related articles/FAQ's.
Thank you very much for your help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>