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FAQs about Blue and Pipe Organ "Corals"

Related Articles: Blue, Pipe Organ Corals

Related FAQs: "Polyps"

An Aquarium "Organ Pipe" and "Blue" in the Maldives

Rapidly growing Tubipora needs pruning  3/1/10
Hello everyone!
<Hello Greg!>
We've been visiting your site for three and a half years ever since we inherited a forty gallon almost defunct marine tank and had practically no clue about how to set up a reef tank. You have helped us along every step of the way and now our fifty gallon tank is rampantly overgrown with sixteen species of corals <Great!>, soft and LPS mostly, which all seem to get along well since all but two LPS's have been growing steadily. The two that haven't shown growth are a two year old Nemenzophyllia
<nice coral, and a slow grower>
and a single polyp of Blastomussa, although they can only be described as healthy in our opinion.
We are getting ready to move our garden into a ninety gallon tank and trim back some of the dandelions (Capnella) and crabgrass (Xenia).
And now we get to ask you folks a question: Is it possible to frag a Tubipora?
<For sure, yes>
We've had this guy for three years and he has grown from baseball size to that of a real large grapefruit. We got it from one of our LFS's and it appeared to have been sheared off the substrate. Since there was no substrate attached to it, we buried the end of the colony into the sand/substrate and discovered a Majano anemone (we think because of its shape) that has been living at the base of the colony all this time and has behaved itself all these years and not reproduced all over the tank.
<Mmm, do you have an unknown pest anemone eater in your tank somewhere maybe -- an Angel perhaps'¦>
Well we've grown rather attached to our Majano and now it's being overgrown by the Tubipora that has doubled its size over the last six months with mostly rampant sideways growth through its lamellae (Is that the right term for the lobes that grow sideways from the base of a polyp tube?).
<You've got me there! I don't have any books with me right now, maybe Bob or someone else knows the answer to this one!>
Anyway, there's a small nickle-sized cluster of polyps that seems to have grown from one or a few polyps that is hanging right over our anemone and now needs to be removed. In fact, at the rate the Tubipora is growing now, the anemone will be choked out in another four months or so.
Well we checked out your articles and FAQ's and we have Calfo's awesome Book of Coral Propagation and both references recommend not messing with the colony, although there's one answer to a FAQ that suggests cutting down low in the colony rather than shearing off the top polyps.
<Yes, these soft corals have skeletons that you should be aiming for if possible>
If we let the Tubipora do its thing and choke out the Majano, will the anemone decide to reproduce under the stress and colonize the tank with its offspring?
<Do you really love this anemone that much? I also suspect, that since you think this has been there a while, that there could be a predator of these somewhere in your system anyway, so offspring or not it should not matter too much>
We were thinking of trying to nip off the base of the cluster with snips or wire cutters and then super gluing it in a depression or hole on a piece of live rock large enough to support a large colony. Would cutting the tubes allow infection to occur and spread through the rest of the colony?
<You can frag these corals -- see here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2007-02/gh/index.php>
We could use Seachem Reef Dip dabbed on the cuts with a Q-Tip if that is necessary. After all, these colonies must get trashed now and then in nature so they must be able to deal with this sort of treatment to some extent.
In fact, we will have to continue this judicious
"pruning" as the colony invades the anemone's space.
Or we could take out the anemone with a shot of Kalkwasser administered into the oral disk with a hypodermic needle.
<Your choice here -- I use vinegar>
At least we heard that Kalkwasser would work. But we really hate to off a creature that has been doing so well in our community. We appreciate your feedback on this matter. If you need more info about our tank such as chemistry, physical parameters, livestock, etc we will gladly supply it.
<I think we are ok in this instance, thank you>
This tiny ecosystem has been constantly thriving and evolving over the years much to our amazement and delight, despite occasional blunders on our part.
<Everyone has/ does them believe me! I've done some just blindingly stupid things in the past that have left me gasping in amazement at my own ineptness!>
Thanks so much for your help. After we move everyone into their larger quarters, the next big purchase after getting better lighting (metal halide) is going to be an Ozone generating/monitoring system.
<I have to ask, even though I am a fan of ozone, if your system is doing so well, why do you need to change it?>
We have many questions but thought it would be better to send them to you separately so you could post them in appropriate areas on your site.
<thank you for this Greg!>
I (Greg) had the pleasure of meeting the esteemed Mr. Fenner at the reef show (ReefEd or ReefStock) in Denver, Colorado last April 25, 2009.
<Jealous am I! We don't get many shows like this here in the UK>
Bob's topic at the show was on ozone, and it turns out that Bob knows Dr Gary Brusca at Humboldt State College too, although I don't remember how the conversation we had after his talk got to that point!
<Maybe I should have directed this question to Bob's folder instead! Will post there now>
Keep up the great work! We recommend you folks all the time.
<That's marvelous news!>
Greg and Lorri

Is this a Heliopora?   12/13/09
Hi crew,
I recently received a the mushrooms in the picture from a friend and I didn't really notice the brown thing below the mushrooms. Since I brought the mushrooms home the brown thing has been growing about 1 cm a week, polyps are extended now and then, sometimes a few and sometimes all over the surface, and at the moment of the picture no polyps where extended. I think the hitchhiker is a Heliopora but would like a second opinion as it's still so little compared to all photos I've found online.
Thanks in advance and best regards,
<I do think this is Heliopora as well. And doing well in your care by this account! Bob Fenner>

Heliopora coerulea Toxicity   10/1/2009
Dearest Crew,
Thanks so much for your amazing efforts. It really seems like your patience has been tested this week from reading the dailies. Kudos to you for maintaining some sanity!
<Heeee! Believe me, for my part, the work is an act to preserve mine own!>
This is a quick question. I would like to add a Heliopora coerulea (Blue Ridge Coral) to my Montipora dominated 75 gallon reef. This is a fascinating species to me- it is amazing that it is actually an octocoral!
<Yes... a relic species indeed>
I have researched extensively but have found very little information regarding its level of toxicity. Borneman makes no reference at all to its allelopathic properties but does state, interestingly that it prefers somewhat warmer temperatures.
<Not very toxic as far as I'm aware, but yes, more tropical>
Do you have any information on how toxic this species is in comparison to other soft corals such as Sarcophyton or Lobophytum sp.? Any experience regarding Blue Ridges coexisting with stony corals?
<I do think Heliopora is of low toxicity to most all other Cnidarians... I have encountered it throughout its range in large, almost single-species stands, to mixed amongst, hard, soft, rindkorallens, actinarians...>
Thank you so much for all of your generosity!
<Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. Bob Fenner>

Please save my coral... Tubipora   2/23/08 Hi Crew, First of all a big thank-you for providing such a fine resource and for donating your time to help people in this hobby. <de nada> I have spent the last week searching your site and absorbing as much information I can, promising myself not to jump the gun on livestock. then I did. I dropped into the LFS and walked out with an unidentified, probably poor quality coral that I was in not way ready to have. I have since realized that my lighting, 80W NO fluorescents are totally inadequate. <Inadequate for most corals, yes.> Anyway, about the coral, from reading your site I believe I might have a Tubipora. it has eight tentacles with an iridescent green centre, calcareous trunks (from the damaged parts I can see) and the polyps are in clumps of 1 to 2 inches. The polyps have smooth arms not feathered in any way. The total coral size is 9"L 4"W 5"H <It does sound like Tubipora sp. pipe organ coral from your description.> I would take a picture but my camera is on loan, if I get it back soon may I send one in for confirmation? The coral began to fall apart right from when it was bagged at the LFS, and then a large hermit crab I had in the tank decimated about 1/3 of it. <Hmmm... maybe, but since hermits are scavengers by nature, it's more likely they were taking advantage of an already quite compromised coral.> none of the polyps were open on the first day, but then about 10 more open per day over the last 4 days. <a good sign> I should note that from memory only about half of the polyps were open at the LFS <These can be very difficult corals for which to care properly.> The tank is 340L (90G), I have the temperature at 24C (75F), the PH at 8.4, SG at 1.025 and sugar fine aragonite substrate with a few pieces of live rock. Filtration is via wet/dry and I use a protein skimmer. It has one large 6" hermit crab and this hopefully not doomed coral. My questions are; Is this coral better off higher in the aquarium rather that on the substrate? <Not necessarily. It's more important that it has enough room to fully expand uninhibited.> Should I try and "clean up" all the damaged parts, and if so then how? <This might be more stressful than beneficial. The coral has been through a lot, I'd just leave it alone for now.> Does it have any reasonable chance of survival or should I remove it? <Yes. However, there are some concerns with these corals in general. 1) They're often collected incorrectly. Sometimes the collectors "frag" them by cutting across the tops of the tubes rather than breaking off a cluster of tubes from the base. This former method significantly decreases the chances of the coral surviving. 2) They're difficult to feed. In addition to the pages you've found on WWM, here's so more info on these corals: http://www.asira.org/pipeorgancoral> Is it going to be mutually exclusive to the large hermit crab? He eats the broken off bits and makes a habit of playing "king of the mountain" on it. <It's ok for the hermits to eat already dead bits of the coral. However, they may be harming the coral if they are excessively crawling or standing on the coral. Generally, larger hermits are not considered "reef safe."> Thanks in advance and sorry to take up your time due to my impulsive buy. I promise not to do it again! <Haha, thank you. :-) > Kind regards Steve <Best, Sara M.>

Please save my coral... Tubipora 2/25/08 Thanks for your reply, Sara. I've taken two pictures of the coral in question, one shows the polyps and the other shows some of the damage that has been sustained. Is the identification still correct? <yes, looks like Tubipora> The damaged areas are very purple and the coral base itself seems to be a loosely held together bunch of trunks. Mr hermit will soon be isolated to a sump, he's far to big and clumsy for the main display. <I would also substantially increase the water flow over this coral. It looks like it has a lot of debris building up on it.> I tried perching the coral on top of a large piece of base rock, but he climbed and subsequently toppled that too. Oh, by the way, I tried looking for my email in the daily FAQ's and in the relevant sections but couldn't find it. Not that it matters if the replies always come back through the email as well. <The dailies are usually only up for about 24hrs. After that they get moved. Your query can now be seen here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blupipfa.htm> Thanks again.
<De nada,
Sara M.>

Hitchhiker on Organ Pipe Coral ID Phyllodesmium colemani 11/22/07 I have recently bought an organ pipe coral and it wasn't until I got it home that I noticed what appears to be a hitchhiker. <Sure looks that way!> I have absolutely no idea what it is and hope that someone here can let me know. <It is an Aeolid Nudibranch and likely predatory on your pipe organ coral... Doing more looking I'm fairly certain this is a Phyllodesmium colemani, which feeds exclusively on Tubipora musica. More here: http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet.cfm?base=phylcole > I have attached a picture. You can clearly see "whatever it is" in amongst the red coral tubes. <Yes, I see.>
Many thanks in advance.
<Welcome! Mich>

Nice pic and good ID. RMF.

Tubipora musica... hlth...  10/1/07 I have a Tubipora Musica (red pipe organ coral) and some of the polyps have disappeared due to a rough acclimation and not so great water quality. I have only had this specimen about 8 weeks and found a tiny Aiptasia on it after close observation. The coral was sort of browning out and there was talk of it possibly having algae on it. So I put a little Joes Juice on the Aiptasia and as a result, the coral now looks wonderful. <Good, but don't be too surprised if the Aiptasia comes back. I would also recommend that you increase water flow to the coral.> To make a long post short, my question is that I am wondering if the polyps come back in one of these corals? Once the polyp is gone, will the tube grow a new one? <If the polyp is 100% gone then the tube will not grow a new one. However, the colony can still grow whole new tubes and polyps.> I am somewhat new to reefkeeping but have had a saltwater fish tank for many years. <Ah, you'll find that reefkeeping is a whole different game and much more challenging. These particular corals can be easy or difficult to care for depending on factors such as how they were collected.> I have read extensively and would like to extend my appreciation for your site. It has been very helpful but I could not find the answer to this question. <Just in case you haven't found it yet, please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blupipfa.htm and here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blue,pip.htm With one note: feeding is recommended, but it's probably better not to target feed them.> Many thanks for all your knowledge and time donated to others situations. :) <our pleasure> I have attached two photos of the coral before treatment. Maybe I can take some of it to day when the lights kick on to show the improvement. <Best,
Sara M.>


Organ Pipe Coral, fdg.    7/2/07 Hello there! Great site you guys put together for us! I have a question about my recent purchase of an Organ Pipe Coral. Very nice looking specimen. It is in my standard 55g tank, no sump or fuge, 500gph of water movement, Aqua C Remora skimmer, with a 265w Coralife PC, and 55 lbs of LR/LS. My question is will my weekly regular water changes of around 7 gallons be enough to replenish the trace elements in the water. <Should be, yes. But always monitor your calcium and alkalinity anyway.> Some sites that I read on say not to feed anything additional to them, <You don't want to target feed them. But since they're filter feeders, feeding the tank small particle food is a good idea (oyster eggs are a great food).> so say to feed them phyto!?!? <Phytoplankton doesn't directly feed these corals. Rather, good quality phytoplankton will feed the critters that produce larvae that can feed corals.> Can you clear this up for me? Livestock- various snails and crabs, 2 peppermints, 1 skunk cleaner, 1 black ocellaris clown <Hope this helps, please let me know if you have more questions. :-)> Thanks a bunch! Brad <de nada Sara M.>

Bristleworms & Tubipora comp.  - 07/01/07 Hello all, I have two Tubipora musica. I was looking them over and found a bristleworm 'snacking' one of the tubes on the larger coral. <This is unlikely. These tubes are made of calcium carbonate. So unless your bristle worms have some serious heart burn, they would really have no reason to be eating the actual tubes.> I do have bristleworms <Congrats. The vast majority of bristle worms are great scavengers.> and hoped that they would not be a problem, but I see that they are. <Nah... they're just opportunists. What you're likely seeing is them eating food or mucus (or both) stuck on or between the coral's calcium carbonate tubes. Or, if the coral is dying (of some other cause), they might be eating the dead/dying coral tissue.> Is there anything I can do to rid the coral of the worms that won't harm the corals? <Not really. But I highly doubt you need too. Truly problematic coral-killing bristle worms are not so common. The vast majority are harmless, if not beneficial. People often assume they're guilty because they tend to be the first on the scene when something dies. But they're simply scavengers (not too unlike vultures). That said, if you're thoroughly convinced otherwise, you could always send us a picture to confirm.> Thank you. Debbie <de nada, happy to help :-) Sara M.>

Re: Bristleworms & Tubipora - follow-up   - 07/01/07 Sara, Thanks for your prompt reply. The reason I became concerned is I found the following information on WetWebMedia - here's the link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blue,pip.htm ... and found the following paragraph. Predator/Prey Relations Coral eating fishes generally ignore blue coral, but Tubipora can be picked apart and is a favorite of those nemesis' of reef keepers, the errantiate polychaetes called bristleworms. Apparently I'm misunderstanding the 'picked apart' portion. <No, actually, I think it's the "errantiate polychaetes" that is a little vague. It's quite unfortunate that so many very different kinds of worms are lumped in under the term "bristleworms." Even narrowing it down to errantiate polychaetes is unfair since this is still a huge group of worms. There are a *few* errant polychaetes that can be problematic to some corals. However, the majority of errant polychaetes found in aquariums are not coral predators (a lot of them eat other worms actually). It's just unfortunate that there are a few very nasty species that give the whole group a bad name. These few are pretty scary looking and quite distinguished from most of the more common and harmless bristle worms. So, again, if you're convinced you have one of the "bad guys," please do send along a picture. :-)> So please clarify the above paragraph as I'm becoming confused. <I hope I've clarified it now. Please let me know if something is still confusing.> And yes, bristleworms are great scavengers: an aside my shrimp had molted and I saw the molt shell in the tank and being in the middle of something figured I'd go back and get it later. Later the shell had moved and after searching high and low (in a 10g) I saw an antenna by a rock and looking closer saw a bristleworm had taken head part of the molt shell. I set my webcam on it and watched it while I worked and it ate the whole thing bit by bit. <Very cool! You are now officially a reef geek. ;-) > Thanks, Debbie <Thanks for writing. Sara M.>

Pipe Organ polyps not opening   1/21/06 Hello all,<Hello James.> I need some expert advice with my pipe organ. I actually had this coral for about three months and WAS thriving. Unfortunately, the polyps have been opening less and less the past two weeks. My nitrate level was a little high (20-40ppm) and is now at 20ppm after adding poly filter and some water changes. Everything else seems normal: Ammonia 0 Phosphate 0 Alkalinity 9 Nitrite 0 pH 8.2 Calcium 420 I did have a little problem with phosphate which raised to about .5 to 1, but have since been decreased to undetectable readings. This is due primarily to using tap water but I did finally invest in a Kent RO/DI system. The only other thing I can think of was a recent addition of a Yellow Leather which was added about a month and a half ago, could allelopathy be the issue here? <Unlikely, the yellow leather coral is a rather peaceful coral.> Lighting is 260w pc with 130w actinics and 130w 10,000k with actinics on for 9.5 hours and 10,000k for 7.5 hours. <Size and depth of tank?> I also have a bubble coral, maxima clam (doing fine), pineapple coral, pulsing xenia, various mushrooms, Clarkii clown, 2 damsels, blue hippo tang, cleaner shrimp, two peppermint shrimps, pistol shrimp, goby, two Mithrax crabs, various snails including a Mitra Mitra and a bristle star. I would appreciate any expert advise you may have. <Do you supplement with strontium, iodine, etc?  Good water flow as both the leather and pipe organ like moderate to strong flow.  More info here on the pipe organ coral.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blue,pip.htm> Thank you! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> James Re: Pipe Organ polyps not opening   1/22/06 Thanks for the info based on the limited info I gave you. <You're welcome.> I use C-balance daily along with the Gold Supplement Pro <Not familiar with this product, who makes it?> every other day for trace elements. Iodine is added daily, about eight drop per the labels instructions. <Mmmm, that much daily in a 55, do you test for iodine levels?> This is a standard 55g  48" and 15" high. The pipe organ is placed on the upper part of the tank on some live rock, there have been many blue leg hermits that seemed to like hiding the pipe organ. Both the leather and the pipe organ is placed directly in the current <Don't know if I'd do that, they do like moderate to strong current but no coral should be placed directly in the path of the return.> coming from the tidepool. sump which also stores 250w heater and Aquac skimmer, on a mag drive 7 and the current alternates with a SCWD, <That's better, forget the comment re current above.> the leather on the right side of the tank and the pipe organ on the left. There is an additional Maxijet 1200 (295 gph)  and a PowerSweep 228 <Had one of those for three days, returned it, got tired of cleaning it.>(270gph) that rotates. <Do you perform weekly water changes?  And, I'd continue the use of the Polyfilter till nitrates etc are lowered.> Thanks again! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Re: Pipe Organ polyps not opening  - 01/23/2006 Hello again, thank you for your patience.<You're welcome> Like your name by the way. <Yes they are similar aren't they?> To answer your questions regarding the Gold Supplement Pro, I actually meant Liquid Gold and was developed by Albert Thiel. Supposedly, this product is similar to Combisan manufactured by Two Little Fishies but is added every other day instead of once a week. Ever heard? <Yes, haven't saw that product for quite awhile, didn't think Thiel was still marketing.> The water is changed every other week and the activated carbon, every other water change or once a month. Again, this is tap water I'm adding with some phosphate levels detectable, waiting for the Kent RO/DI to arrive net week to perform a couple of daily water changes, about 20% over a five day period? Think this'll help with my Pipe Organ? <Can't hurt, keep in mind the pipe organ is not one of the easiest corals to keep.> Don't know what went wrong expect for the nitrate spike. May think about reducing the number of fish in the tank (two damsels  1 in., Clarkii clown 1.75 in., Hippo tang 1.75 in. and unknown species of Goby 2 in. ) in order to prevent another nitrate spike. <I suggest cleaning your skimmer weekly, improves efficiency of the unit in getting organics out of the water.> Thank you, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> James Coral color change and Etail advice 4/28/05 I bought 3 blue ridge corals. At the time of purchase they looked baby blue, but now they are turning brown. Are they dyed? I sold one of them to someone because I had 3, and they were furious with me when they received it. They said it was totally brown. Mine in my tank looks brown over the top and blue underneath. They were all blue when I bought them. I refunded the money because they think we did it on purpose and threw a terrible temper tantrum. <I don't think these corals were dyed. Blue ridge coral never has blue tissue. It is always light to caramel brown. The skeleton is blue, so I suspect you saw some blue skeleton that was visible where tissue died.> We're trying to get started in a saltwater online business. We have accounts with Sea Dwelling, Underwater World, Segrest, and many others. The quality really varies in what you receive. <This is absolutely true. It takes time to build good relationships and to learn what each supplier does best. Hiring a "jobber" to go in person to pick your animals helps a lot!> For dry goods we have champion lighting and a few other but I don't think they offer very good wholesale prices. Any suggestions on dry and live good suppliers?  <You are dealing with some of the biggest already, but you may want to check Custom Aquatic for dry goods and Quality Marine for livestock (there are many others).> Also, we have tried no ick and kick ich for marine ich. Do you have any recommended brand? We have ordered more uv sterilizers. <The drugs/chemicals in No Ick and Kick Ick are not effective at the recommended doses. UV is the better solution in a commercial setting, however proper FW dips on arrival and quarantine are the best way to prevent outbreaks. UV is only effective when they are kept clean and the lamps are replaced often (every 6 months).> We got some corals in such as blue carpet and bright pink finger leather sold as purple hairy finger leather, and I\u2019m sure they're dyed because the water in the bag its colored! How long will the color stay in the coral will it fade soon? <The blue carpet is probably natural, but the pink leather is very suspicious. On future orders, tell your wholesaler that you won't accept dyed animals! The dyed colors usually fade fast, and the dyed animal often dies. Keep an eye on it so that it can be removed if it starts to fall apart.> I wouldn't want to sell something and then have a customer get furious, because some people are less than understanding. I want to try to have the best quality I can have and represent it honestly. Thanks. Any ideas and links to point us in the right direction are very much appreciated. Thanks again. Your site has got to be one of the most informative on earth! Right up there with an encyclopedia!  <Glad you appreciate the site and more glad that you have a desire to run a stand-up business. Beware that this business is very difficult, even for very knowledgeable and experienced people. Please do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/Biz%20Index/Biz%20index.htm for good information about this business. Best of luck. AdamC.>

Pipe Organ Coral Dear Bob, <Jim/Salty> Being a diver, where do the pipe organ corals congregate on the reef? <Mid-depths (30=50 feet mainly), with little to no other cnidarians about, often right on soft substrates> I understand they are in the soft coral family. <Mmm, no... not even the same group> Thinking about getting one but I understand they do not like direct water current and do not prefer bright lighting.  What's your professional opinion? Salty Dog (Jim Gasta) <Posted on WWM. When are you joining us answering queries? Bob Fenner> James Gasta Everything you ever wanted to know or ask about... Blue Ridge Coral - Heliopora caerulea 8/26/04 I am thinking about getting a Blue Ridge Coral (Heliopora caerulea).   <what a delightful coral! Truly underrated by most aquarists... yet it is quite beautiful with adequate water flow to express its unique and beautiful polyps> However, I have not found much information about their care in captivity.   <hmmm... there is more than a bit written on this coral. See Borneman's "Aquarium Corals"... or my "Book of Coral Propagation" for recent address of this and other corals> Have they been kept successfully in the long run?   <yes... easily. And they have been kept in captivity for many years... over 20 years in fact> What kinds of corals are they found around in nature?   <they occur over a wider range than most any other coral commonly imported for aquarium use. High light to low light everything in between> What are their lighting requirements, (Power Compacts or Halides)?   <I have seen them under it all... scary bright with slow acclimation to remarkably low light aquaria> How strong of a current do they need?   <moderate to very strong. Provide random turbulent flow with a minimum turnover of 20X per hour in the tank> What part of the reef do they come from?  What are the depths at which this coral is found?  Do they hail from the Indo-Pacific/Tropical Pacific regions or are they a Tropical Atlantic species?   <DO consider referring to Veron's excellent works (see hobby book sellers like Champion Light and Supply company for books like this) to answer all of these questions and more> What are typical monthly growth rates for this animal?   <over 10cm per month is common and easily attainable> I've also read that these animals only fully extend all of their polyps once to three times a month, is this true?   <nope... instead its an artifact of water flow and feeding opportunities> Is captive propagation via fragmentation of this coral possible? <yes... FAMA ran an article on the former more than 10 years ago> Are they hard or soft corals, (I've read that they're actually soft corals - octocorallimorphs)?   <true... they are not stony corals, although they are arguably one of the few reef building "soft" corals> Are they a very aggressive or passive aggressive species, (sweepers, digestive filaments, chemical warfare)?   <moderate on the scale> Do they harbor any kind of symbiotic relationships with any other animal currently available or unavailable to the reef hobby, (other than zooxanthellae)?   <not sure... but would love to hear if you find something out> Are there parasitic animals that can come with it that can potentially destroy an existing reef aquarium?   <yes... as with any livestock... do use a strict quarantine habit to reduce or avoid the chances of such things from happening> Most importantly, if they get stressed out or start to die, do they release harmful substances that can cause a system crash, (other than the obvious ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates),   <very little risk here... very little tissue involved> or even harm any human coming in direct contact of the toxins? <not likely at all compared to say zoanthids> Philip , S. El Monte, Ca. <best regards, Anthony> Trouble with a pipe organ coral. First, thank you for all your help.  Your website rocks!  I have a 55-gallon reef tank with 260 W PC lighting, Emperor 400 filter, and an AquaC Remora protein skimmer (which produces a dark cup of skimmate every day).  About 75 lbs. of LR and 45 lbs. of LS.  Many inhabitants including open brain coral, starburst polyp coral, various mushrooms/Ricordea, hammer coral, xenias, pagoda cup, trumpet coral, various leathers, Alveopora, a blue maxima Tridacnid clam, and a couple of feather duster/tube worms.  Fish inhabitants include black sailfin blenny, yellow tang, 3 reef Chromis, a wheeler's watchman goby, flame angel, and an African flame-back angel.    Also have various snails, hermit crabs, sea stars, and peppermint shrimp.   << Sounds like a fully stocked and functioning aquarium. >> The pipe organ coral is about four and a half months old, and has been thriving in the tank and growing swiftly, producing several daughter colonies off of the main colony.  I found a pair of loose polyps that had naturally fragmented off the mother, I placed them in a hole in the live rock, and now there are over fifteen polyps.  Recently I set up a 37-gallon reef tank, and moved one of the fragments (about thirty polyps) into the new tank.  This one I fragmented myself, after reading about propagation techniques, carefully shearing the polyps off the main colony.  Both the mother in the 55-gallon, and the fragment in the 37-gallon were looking good, and continuing to grow.  All other inhabitants in both tanks are still thriving.  Recently, however, the polyps on the pipe organ fragment in the 37-gallon stopped opening.  I thought at first it was because it had gotten knocked over by a crab, so I moved it to a more secure location.  But the polyps still didn't open.  Then, a couple days later the mother coral in the 55-gallon tank stopped opening.  Just today, the other polyps that had naturally fragmented and attached to the live rock stopped opening.  The water quality parameters (measured regularly) are stable, and are, on average, as follows:     Ammonia/nitrate/nitrite - 0 pH - 8.0-8.2 Alkalinity - 5 meq/L Calcium - 380 mg/L Magnesium - 1335 ppm Sp Gr - 1.0245 (33 ppt) Temp - 76 F I did a 15% water change less than a week ago.  There appears to be no visible infection on the polyps, and some of them (about 10%) appear to be trying to open.  This is the first time this coral has not opened for me.  It seems weird that the mother coral, and both fragments in both tanks won't open.  I regularly add vitamins, and trace elements, as recommended.  I have a 30-gallon hospital/QT tank into which I can move the coral and fragment if necessary.  I would appreciate any suggestions you could give me as to how to revitalize this precious coral. <<  I would recommend a large water change at this point.  I'm not sure if the trace elements are the problem, but it is a possibility.  It is possible you are adding something that you aren't testing for, and it is reaching a toxic level. According to Borneman's book this coral may do better with feeding, and if the water is overskimmed, they tend to not do as well.  So I would try feeding the coral, and a water change. >> <<  Blundell  >> Star polyp 5/10/04 I have a star polyp, at least I think it is one, someone said that it might be an organ something or other.   <Pipe organ, that is... Tubipora musica... only similar in gross appearance to Briareum star polyp. The former being very difficult to keep alive. Either, like all new corals, should have been IDed and researched before you bought the specimen to be responsible as an aquarist> Anyway, it was open and beautiful when I got it , then it looked wispy now about half the polyps are open.  I don't know what to ask you but which water parameter should I be looking at, maybe lighting, I do not feed or supplement the water and my tank is about 3 months old. Hope you can shed some halide light on the situation. <we need a correct species ID, mate... if Tubipora, you may learn a hard lesson to look before you leap> 46 gallon bow pc lights 192watts 70 or so lbs live rock 2 in sand bed 0ammonia 0nitites little nitrates 8.5 ph little phosphates 250 calcium (this might be a problem) very high alkalinity about 20meq/l <if accurate readings, your Calcium is a little low, and your Alk is dangerously high! Do figure out how this happened (source water extremely hard? Supplements misdosed, etc?) And if the problem is not your source water, do water changes ASAP to get these numbers more even keeled. Also, please take the time to read my article "Understanding Calcium and Alkalinity" posted here on wetwebmedia.com (do a keyword search from the index page with the Google search toolbar for WWM)> I was going to start adding calcium or Kalk but don't really know how. <indeed, do get an "understanding" first. Seek Calcium of 350-400 ppm to be safe (no need to go over 400ppm like many hardcore hobbyists push), and Alk should be 8-12 dKH. Neither can/should be at the high end of each range simultaneously (see article for explanation)> I moved the coral to the top of the tank to get more light <yikes... moving stressed new coral multiple times in the same week is a good way to kill them. You need to get and read some good references before you buy any more corals, my friend. Fundamentals to learn before buying living creatures. Seek Paletta's "New Marine Aquarium" for husbandry, Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" for reef animals/techniques... my Book of Coral Propagation for reef fundamentals and coral care/culture> let me know if you need more info... mark maybe iodine/trace elements (I have been reading about what to add) should I add this stuff I don't have an iodine tester! <do not dose anything that you cannot test for. Rely on regular (weekly) partial water changes instead. Anthony>

Tubipora musica 11/26/03 I recently acquired a Tubipora musica in less than perfect condition -i.e. small number of polyps out. <more importantly... look to see if there is any encrusting growths underside (sponges, tunicates, etc) that would indicate if this tube coral has collected as a ledge specimen (good) or if the underside simply looks cleaved (as most are) from a larger colony like cut flowers. If the latter... this coral will die regardless... just like cut flowers. Tube corals cannot be collected as severed from a mother colony> It came with a discount and I wanted to give it a good home in my tank. It is in a mainly sps tank no algae all good values under 250 MH with good circulation. Since it has been in a few more polyps are coming out, but many pipes are still empty. I just wondered if it is likely to recover further and what I can do to aid that. Many thanks, Massimo <it really depends on how it was originally collected. If the former, then simply give it time and good water flow... it will adapt most likely to the new lighting scheme... just be sure not to move this weak coral around the tank. A sure way to kill many new corals. Anthony>

Re: Tubipora musica II 11/27/03 Hi all, <howdy> Thanks for the advice. The underside of it has some white sponge covering and gradually every night I see more and more polyps appearing. <ahhh.. very hopeful then> Some of them are very small but there seem to be a few more every night. On one side in particular there is a larger sponge. Will it not eventually affect the health of the coral by smothering it? <depends on the species of sponge... but it will be easy to manually control even if it encroaches> Thanks again, Massimo <cheers from across the pond, mate. Anthony>

Heliopora- Easy Or Difficult? Dear crew, <Scott F. your Crew member tonight!> I have seen a gorgeous heliopora in my LFS. I have been reading around on the net and I can't quite assess the level of difficulty of this coral. Too much contrasting info. I have good water quality, low nitrates, plenty of circulation and light. Can you enlighten me on its real requirements and needs? Cheers, Massimo <Well, I have actually "found" this species in my tank accidentally (came in on some live rock), so I did some researching myself not long ago. What I have found is that they do like strong current and bright light. In nature they are found in areas of brisk water movement and bright light. Eric Borneman, in his book "Aquarium Corals", feels that they make an "excellent addition to any aquarium". And, judging by my experience with hem, I'd be inclined to agree! They really seem easy to care for, and are a lot more interesting than the usual "fuzzy sticks" that we see in so many SPS-dominated systems. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F>

Pipe organ with closed pipes >Hello crew,              >>Good morning, Marina here. >My 55 gal. tank is 7yrs old. All my stock of corals are doing well. A beautiful bubble tip with two clown fish. I have polyps, mushrooms, a large and small branching frog spawn, elegant, clam, soft corals and a pumping xenia. I add iodine, calcium, trace elements, and strontium. a wet/dry, protein skimmer, and a uv  sterilizer. MY PIPE ORGAN WILL NOT OPEN.  PLEASE HELP!!!!  Thank you, Michael                   >>Hhmm.. this is tough.  I'm assuming the pipe organ is a new addition, yes?  If so, I think I can also safely assume that, since you've been at this for 7 years you should be knowledgeable on acclimation procedures as well.  So, my next question is how often do you do water changes, and do you happen to have anything like leathers in there?  If so, maybe we should consider allelopathy, yes?  If that is a possibility, then I suggest running some carbon (be careful it's a good quality carbon that won't leach phosphates into your nice system) along with several small water changes over the next week.  Daily.  Also, I'll go ahead and link you to our invertebrates section here  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm And try this site for information http://www.reefs.org/library  Good luck, Michael!  Marina      

Tubipora musica colour Are you able to tell me what is responsible for the red colour in organ pipe coral, Tubipora musica? Stella <Hmm, a trick question perhaps? Don't know what nutritional, metabolic input allows for this red appearance... Do know how to search for this information (at a college library)... and the "How to Search the Scientific Literature" directions are posted on the www.WetWebMedia.com site. Start with BIOSIS here. Bob Fenner>

Tubipora musica Hi Bob, I just got an Organ Pipe, and the polyps have been taking a while to show up. I can only see a handful of them coming out. Is this normal? Do they usually take so long to open up or is this an indication of trouble? Thanks, Norberto. <Yes to what you describe as being quite normal for wild and captive colonies of "Organ Pipe Coral"... not necessarily a sign of any trouble... I suspect that this species "time shares" certain tasks... with a portion of their interconnected polyps "taking a break" while the others are out food gathering, respiring, eliminating... Bob Fenner>

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