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Candy Cane Coral, hlth.  - 7/28/08 Hello: <Hello!> A few months ago a successful hobbyist gave me 2 nice size pieces of healthy Candy Cane Coral and for almost 2 months they were doing fine and then towards the 3rd month they have lost the green center on the heads. They now are brown the same color as the white striped rim. <Loss of UV-blocking pigments, browning because of nitrate, malnutrition likely causes...> I have a 46 bow tank with a Fluval 404 with a prism hang on skimmer and 2 power heads. In the tank is about 50lbs of live rock, about 1/2? of crushed coral on the bottom, several hermit crabs, several snails of different types, 2 clowns, 1 yellow tang, <Needs a much larger tank> 1 Sally Light Foot Crab, 2 cleaner shrimp, 2 different pieces of frogs spawn, 1 leather coral, several mushrooms and some polyps. I have had this tank for 3+ years. I only wish I researched more before getting involved because I would have chose a different size & style tank which would have allowed me to have a different filtration system. But here I am. Any suggestions on where I should begin to figure out what the problem is? Most of the other items in the tank have been there for a year or more. <What sort of lights are you using? Perhaps your bulbs are old? If you aren't feeding this coral, do check the search feature and our forum at bb.wetwebmedia.com re information about this.> Regards Tom From Connecticut <Benjamin>

Re: Candy Cane Coral - 7/28/08 - 7/30/08 Hello Benjamin: <Hello Tom!> Thank you for commenting. <You're very welcome!> The lighting is Coralife 36" dual total of 192w. <Good. Do keep these bulbs fresh> What am I supposed to feed it? <Finely chopped meaty particulates, when the tentacles are out> And based on the test kit I always had and still do a nitrate problem. It seems always to be between 40-80. <We've found your problem> And I cannot seem to get it lower. <A familiar story...I understand> The PH always seem fine by the test kit. Now I have installed a monitor and it goes from 7.70 to 8.00. The Salinity is 024. Zero nitrite & zero ammonia. I have removed the sponges from the Fluval 404 filter and the only items in the canister are activated charcoal in the bottom tray & Phos Zorb in the top tray which I change both every 4-5 weeks. <Perhaps switch the carbon more often. Consider adding a DSB or mayhap one of those nifty acrylic HOB refugia? I'm assuming you don't have a sump...if you do, perhaps a little Chaetomorpha and a light? Is there anyway I can save the candy cane coral? <At the current time, the nitrate won't necessarily kill the coral, but it will keep it looking pretty drab (search re: 'browning out'). You might try popping over to the forum at bb.wetwebmedia.com to talk tank with folks and see what tricks you might be able to try for lowering the nitrate...some pretty amazing DIY solutions that are effective on the cheap.> Thanks, Tom <No problem! Benjamin>

Re: Candy Cane Coral - 7/29/08   8/1/08 Hello Benjamin: <Hello again, Tom> Thanks again! I did register on WWM forum & posted what I have asking for any suggestions. <Wonderful! Glad to hear it> Can you clarify the abbreviations you used in your response? "Consider adding a DSB or mayhap one of those nifty acrylic HOB refugia" <Sure thing: DSB is an abbreviation for deep sand bed, and HOB is the industry shortcut for 'hang-on-back' equipment that.. well, hangs on the back of your tank> Yes you assumed correct I do not have a sump. Should I? Should I consider investigating changing to a different type of filtration system which would include removing the Fluval canister? <To do this you'd need an overflow siphon box, which I am NOT a fan of. I'd recommend finding ways to work with what you've got now- unless of course upgrading to a large drilled aquarium is up your alley...hee!> Regards, Tom <Benjamin>

Candy Cane...Nursing Caulastrea Back to Health - 6/19/07 Hi Crew, <Hello, Mich with you tonight.> I just picked up a candy cane that I volunteered to nurse back to health. <OK.> I have some candy canes and each head is nice and plump. They are brown or tan outside and green or teal inside. <OK.> The one I just got is tan and green but it is in bad shape. Some heads are just skeletons but many have some brown but very little. The skeletons are poking through the 'meat'. It looks very different than mine in that mine are like a tree with branches upward. This one is almost round. It does have a main stem but the heads are going out in all directions and it is actually a ball shape. This makes it impossible to get light to all heads. I can not figure out how it grew this way. When you look at it it just looks like a ball of candy cane heads. Any suggestions? <Yes. You will likely need to hand feed this coral to bring it back. I would try Mysis shrimp soaked in Selcon. Depending on how badly this coral has shrunk you may even need to cut up the Mysis into very tiny pieces. This can be a very tedious job, typically requiring tweezers, keeping thieves away (i.e. shrimp, crabs, fish) and stopping all water movement in the tank for an hour or more so the polyp has a chance to engulf its food. When done daily or multiple time a day, you often get quick results. Lighting alone probably won't bring this coral back, regardless of its shape. That being said you could always frag it. It is quite simple to do, particularly with corals of this type. It is often easy enough to break it by hand if there is enough room to get your fingers in there. But right now, I think I would keep this coral in one piece and move it to a place where you will be able to access it easily and keep food in it's mouths.> Thanks <Welcome! Mich>
Re: Candy Cane...Nursing Caulastrea Back to Health  7/28/07
Hi Crew, <Greetings Mich here again.> Regarding my sick Caulastrea. It has improved a little but I have not been able to feed it. I add Selcon to the water but since I have not seen it send out any tentacles I have not been able to feed it. <You do not and should not wait for feeder tentacles. You need to place very tiny pieces (size of a pin head) of food near/in its mouth. (The mouth is the small circle in the center of the polyp.) Cyclop-eeze works well or very tiny pieces of Mysis. It may take several tries and a lot of patience before the mouth swells and opens, but with time it should. If these Caulastrea were in as poor condition as you say you may not see tentacles for quite some time.> I am practicing the feeding by feeding my others that have their tentacles extended which is something I never tried before. Is there any way to get it to extend its tentacles. <Get the food into its mouth first. This is what's most important. Right now you are giving a baby a spoon and food and wonder why the infant isn't feeding itself.... Neither the baby nor this coral has the capacity at this point. You need to put the food near/in the coral's mouth.> I check most nights after the lights are out and so far no luck. My blue Caulastrea seems to have a few heads with the tentacles out even after the lights come on in the morning. But the sick one is not cooperating. <It's not cooperating because it's incapacitated. Tiny foods, near the mouth... as described below... tweezers, no circulation, multiple times a day. You may want to position these corals so the mouth is facing upward so you don't have to fight gravity as well.> Thanks <Welcome! Mich>

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