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FAQs about Stony Coral Compatibility

Related FAQs: Cnidarian Compatibility, Caryophyllid Compatibility, Stony FAQs 1, Stony FAQs 2, Stony Coral Identification, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, PropagationAnemone CompatibilityStony Coral Behavior,

Related Articles: Stony Corals 'Coral' Compatibility: On Reducing Captive Negative Interactions Cnidarians  by Bob Fenner, ppt. vers: Cnidarian Compatibility: On Reducing Negative Cnidarian Interaction Parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,  by Bob Fenner

Coral warfare       8/9/15
I have a chalice coral, which has grown from about 2 inches across when I purchased it to about 15 inches across today. Unfortunately, it has grown to the point where it is overlapping with my Platygyra (about 7 inches across). I am hard pressed to move either coral as they are both well attached to the rock work and trying to move them would cause a major
disturbance in the tank.
<... life is.... a series of compromises>
The Platygyra is defending itself and is clearly coming out the winner.
The portion of the chalice that is next to the Platygyra has started dying off although the rest of the colony seems fine.
My inclination is to leave things as they are. The chalice has plenty of room to grow in other directions and the Platygyra seems to be able to defend itself. What do you think?
<Can be done... happens "in the wild" "all the time" as we may well presume>
Can I leave it be or do I need to take more decisive actions?
<Can leave... whatever kinds, degrees of chemical and physical warring (allelopathy) occur, they will habituate amongst the life, system here... likely w/ small repercussions>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

coral compatibility        3/1/15
Hello Crew, I would like your opinion on mixing corals.
I have a 125 gal reef tank that has been set up for about eighteen years.
Originally, it was full of LPS corals. Superstorm Sandy hit and wiped out everything but mushrooms, two lobos and an Acan which are still going strong. To make things easier for myself, I re-stocked with all the typical leathers- Sinularia, Nephthea, etc. Fish inhabitants are a niger trigger, Picasso trigger, yellow pseudo and huge hippo tang, which survived Sandy. The fish ignore the lobos and Acan. What do you think of my plan of adding a few trachys, lobos or Euphyllia to the bottom?
<I think that starting these specimens small (a couple three inches across) and placing away from existing colonies a good food (esp. the Euphyllia) will be fine>
I am getting all kinds of answers to allelopathy and don't want to kill any corals. Thanks, Dennis
<Do see my piece, ppt on avoiding these sorts of chemical incompatibilities twixt Cnidarians.... Here:
and the linked files above... part. the "Boris Karloff" technique of mixing water back/forth.... Bob Fenner>

War declared, Scler. incomp.   1/26/11
Hi Crew,
I have a Candycane (brown with blue centers) with about 30 heads and it is at least 3 years in my tank. Next to it are some blue and grey colored ones that have been there over a year. I used to have a Frogspawn to its left but recently replaced it with a Hammer.
<How introduced? These corals, genera, families don't "play well together" unless slowly acclimated to each other>
Lately I noticed some head dying on my blue and grey Candycanes. It just looked like something stripped the flesh off the head. The past few morning I have noticed some long sweeper tentacles on the brown with blue Candycane. Are they the culprit. And why after all this time would they declare war.
<Very likely so. Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/corlcompfaqs.htm
and: http://wetwebmedia.com/carycompfaqs.htm
and.... : http://wetwebmedia.com/faviidcompfaqs.htm
and the linked files above each... Do you have an understanding here? Bob Fenner>
Re: War declared  1/26/11

Yes, I understand and have read these before but I guess I needed a refresher.
<Heeeeee! BobF>

Coral Placement...  Scler., using WWM  5/18/10
Hi Crew,
<Sammy, long time no hear.>
I have a frogspawn and I am getting another one in the mail . Can I put them next to each other or do I have to treat them as enemies. They are both the same color, green with purple tips.
While on the subject of placement. I am also getting some other corals and have been browsing WWM to see where they should be placed in regards to light, flow, rock or substrate and I found it difficult (time consuming)
to get this information. Most of the articles relate more to identifying each type and where they are found but very few talk about placement and feeding.
<<Do learn to/use the search tool... located on the left shared border of every page... RMF>>
You have to go through answers to get most of that. It would be nice to have a quick lookup of some sort. Or at least, as in some articles, there is a paragraph about placement in tanks and feeding.
<Sam, here is a link to a site with good general information on corals. I believe you will find this information useful. Scroll down, look.
http://animal-world.com/encyclo/reef/reef.htm#Stony Corals LPS
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Coral Combat -- 08/26/09
I had a really disastrous day with regards to my tank today.
My huge Seriatopora caliendrum broke free of the putty holding it in place and came crashing down onto my Bubble Coral.
When I removed it the Bubble Coral was still extended but has obviously been stung all over. There are little white dots all over the polyps and at times during the day it looked a little deflated. It still has it's tentacles out, is that a good sign?
<Yes it is.>
Quite a few small pieces of the Seriatopora were breaking off which I clipped and mounted on frag plugs.
<Very good.>
It has obviously also been stung by the Bubble coral as its polyps on the top branches, where it made contact, look almost squashed. It has secreted a lot of mucus during the day but there are no signs of any bleaching yet.
Are these corals likely to recover?
<With a healthy tank, and assuming that the corals were not in contact for too long a period of time, I would expect the colonies to recover.>
Is there anything I can do, or is it just a question of giving them time to recover themselves?
<Give them time, make sure it doesn't happen again.>
I have secured the Seriatopora with a lot more putty of a stronger type so it is firmly in place this time.
I also have a question regarding Sun Coral.
Does every individual polyp need to be fed?
How often should I be feeding it?
<I would recommend daily with small meaty pieces of food, but please search regarding sun corals on WetWebMedia.>
Many regards and thanks for your wonderful site
<You're welcome,
Josh Solomon>
Re: Coral Combat  8/29/2009

Hello again
Just in need of your advice again please.
The bubble coral seems to be doing fine, the Seriatopora not so fine.
It's bleaching and losing flesh in a few places on the top branches where it was touching.
Is it imperative that I clip these branches off to stop this from spreading?
<From your description it sounds like only the parts that were stung are sloughing flesh, since you know the cause it likely won't be spreading unless it has gotten a subsequent infection.>
This may be very difficult as the coral is in a strong flow area and has grown very thick, tightly packed branches, which almost appear to be fused with other branches.
Is it possible for the flesh and polyps to recolonize the dead parts of the branches?
<Not in the way you imagine, they won't fill the same coralites as the original polyps, but eventually they will grow over the area.>
It will be such a pity if I have to cut these branches as I will lose a lot of healthy parts caught in between two bleaching areas.
<I would leave it alone unless the tissue shedding appears to spread through the colony.>
Many Thanks
<You're welcome,
Josh Solomon.>

Family Feud... Caryophylliid incomp.  3/16/2009
Hello!? Sorry about all the question marks, for some peculiar reason my e-mail system tends to place them randomly.? Anyway, I have a JBJ 24 gallon nano.? It has 32.5# live rock (Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga) and 40# of pink Fiji sand.? The system is a little over a month old and only has a pearly jaw. I do about 10% weekly water changes with premixed R/O saltwater.? I do keep a Polyfilter in chamber 1.? I had the lid recently upgraded with a 3rd 36w watt bulb, bringing the total wattage to 108w.? SG 1.0255, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 10 ppm, pH 8.2?
There is a Koralia 1 power head in the display and a maxi 1200 for the return pump.
My calcium was 500+ my last test...
<... too high...>
I was dosing 3.75 ml of 2 part b-ionic the last 4 days (recommended for a 15 gallon volume).? I immediately performed a water change and will resume 2.5 ml (recommendation for a 10 gallon volume) in a few days and retest.?
<I wouldn't add any>
I knew something was odd when brown algae and brown hair algae started sprouting here and there.
I did have a temperature variance problem but that was resolved by a cheap $7 fan blowing on my lid.? I was skeptical of the advice but it worked!?
Temperature only goes from 79 to 81 now versus the 79 to 84ish!?
<Ah, good>
I'm still shocked at how well that worked out, thanks for the advice!?
I usually read the Coralife digital thermometer, but I have the glass one in the tank as well just to make sure it's in check as suggested.
My real question is to clarify something.? I was thinking mostly stocking one particular family of coral in my tank, Caryophylliidae.? Frogspawn, torch, hammer, elegance, and bubble coral.?
<Mmm, not really a good idea... That Scleractinians/stony corals all are placed in a/the same family doesn't imply that they are compatible>
I'd like to do this to limit corral aggression.? However, when reading through FAQ's I see that although they are in the same family, these corals still can fight with each other and cause adverse reactions if within close proximity??
<Ah yes>
Correct me because I'm probably wrong, but I thought since they were in the same family, their aggression between each other would be futile???
<Mmm, no... are fighters amongst each other>
I guess even families have feuds within themselves???
<Well put>
Thank you for your time and helping me stabilize my tank! :)
Tampa, FL
<BobF, San Diego, CA>

Coral compatibility 03/04/09 Hi crew. I know Euphyllia and Plerogyra are more aggressive and Actinodiscus are less aggressive but I don't know much else. I Have two Duncans (different species/color), Actinodiscus, hairy mushrooms, Acans, two Euphyllia (frogspawn and torch), a Plerogyra, polyps and some Montipora caps. I think I know that the Euphyllia and Plerogyra should be kept away from others but can they be together? Should anyone else be separated? <Yes, do keep the Euphyllia and Plerogyra apart. I hope you have a big tank... those mushroom corals are going to grow huge and bugger (maybe kill) your stony corals.> Thanks John <Cheers, Sara M.>

Gold Rim Tang/Behavior... actually incomp. with Euphyllia  1/18/09 Hello, hope you can help. Recently bought a Hammer Coral, it was stunning. I then introduced a Gold Rim Tang and he has ate most of it. Will it eat the rest of my soft corals? I am panicking, any advice would be appreciated. <I have never witnessed a tang eating coral. I have seen tangs picking into the coral if algae or other food source is present, which will cause the coral to react and retract. I'm thinking this is what you are seeing. Secondly, when writing to us, please follow the guidelines listed here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm Since we are all volunteers with very limited time, it is appreciated if all proper nouns, and "I's" are capitalized along with use of proper punctuation. We just do not have the time to edit these, and in doing so, takes our time away to answer queries from others. Thank you. James (Salty Dog)>

MH HQI replacing PC's? And Cnid. incomp. non-action  - 10/02/08 Hello there! I have a real quick question on lighting that's pretty unique, hoping for your suggestions. It's that time again to change my MH HQI lamps and PC's (been 12 months). Currently the set up is two HQI 150 watts and two 96 PC actinics (Aqualight Pro) on a 90 gallon (48 x 18 x 24) that have recently been converted to a predominantly SPS tank mixed in with some LPS's. SPS's are in the middle to upper half of the tank and LPS dominates the lower portion of the tank with many Acans and Blastos. Now to my question, I have began noticing 70 watt HQI's in the market recently and I am wondering if I could replace my PC's with those to be used for supplemental lighting, I'd probably use a 20,000K bulb. Well first off, is my current set up sufficient for SPS corals? <Mmm... IF these were "elevated", placed "higher up" closer to the lights... likely perched on rocks or such, yes> Second, I think a 70 watt MH HQI will penetrate much deeper than a 96 watt actinic PC <Mmm, am not such a fan of actinics period... they don't do much functionally. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/actinicfaqs.htm> plus I save some money on the monthly electricity bills! What do you think? Would this be a realistic option, using a 70 watt 20,000K as SUPPLEMENTAL lighting? <Mmm, yes, or even principal...> Oh and one more, sorry, I know I said one quick question! My Micromussa accidentally came in contact with my Torch Coral recently (thanks to a very mobile Fighting Conch), and most of it has disintegrated within 8 hours. I checked it the morning and they were fine until I came home from work. There are maybe one or two heads they weren't affected, should I cut them off from the disintegrated meat or just leave it alone? <I'd leave as is (though re-separated of course),... it may well be that the "empty", "melted-off" heads will be repopulated in time> Thank you for any assistance you can provide! Jay <Welcome Jay. Bob Fenner>
Re: MH HQI replacing PC's? - 10/02/08
Thanks for the quick reply! <... welcome> So would just the two HQI 150 watt 10,000K be sufficient for the SPS (perched on rocks from one foot below surface to near surface)? <Mmm, yes> My plan is to create a dusk to dawn effect by turning on the two 96 watt actinics and then turning then off when the MH come on. then midway through the day have another two 70 watt MH come on. What do you think? Is this light sufficient? <... Is, in terms of photonic strength> Thanks again! <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Fighting Allelopathy  8/17/08 Hi WWM Crew! <Jillian...> Thank you again for your support and enthusiasm regarding the hobby! <Welcome> My question today deals with the coral ruckus that occurs in the average reef tank. In my efforts to maintain a healthy mixed reef, I have become fascinated with allelopathy and its affects on other reef inhabitants. I have just finished reading Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" <You should have seen the unedited version... actually... not> and was very impressed. What I have read has lead me to 3 steps that I can take to help deal with the toxic compounds produced by corals: <Good> 1) Decrease the number of coral families mixed in the tank. Borneman does a wonderful job of describing the toxicity of soft corals and even provides a list of families ranked in order of toxins produced. However, he does not mention the toxicity of stony corals which leads me to believe that they are, in general, less toxic. <Mmm, just the timing of the writing, re-writing of this work... by others... Not much discussed prior to this re Scleractinian allelopathy in hobbyist circles> 2) Allow substantial space between species that are known to produce significant allelopathic compounds. I personally think that this will have limited success due to the closed nature of home aquaria. <Agreed> 3) Use chemical filtration. <Of limited value as well> Finally, my questions. Do you have any other suggestions in regards to diminishing these compounds in the reef aquarium? <Heeee! Is this Eric? Yes, I do... Posted: See my Ppt pres. outline here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and the linked files above> Regarding chemical filtration, I use Purigen in an attempt to keep trace elements in the system. Do you know how this product compares to activated carbon in regards to filtering allelopathic compounds? <I do... neither are really useful> Lastly, I have read on WWM that stony corals can be toxic as well. <This is really "old" science... but the answer is a definite yes> IYO, how do they compare to the levels of the most toxic of the toxic corals, such as Sinularia, and Lobophytum? <Toxic in different ways... Do you want to chat re other Cnidarians, fishes...?> Thank you so much for your expertise and time! Jillian <Do take a quick to long read re the citation above... Bob Fenner>
Re: Fighting Allelopathy   8/18/08
Ahh, thank you so much Bob for the link and shame on me for not finding it sooner! Indeed, reefs are not a peaceful meadow! <Heeee! Agreed... I do wish I could figure out how to make the "Bambi vs. Godzilla" graphic of the ppt. work on WWM...> When we take the time to examine the tiny details, reefs actually appear more like our own "human" world- aggressive, competitive, and chaotic! <Mmm, a bit more "purposeful" per my value system> THANK YOU! Jillian <And you for sharing Jillian. BobF>

Question about Eucidaris metularia  7/4/08 Dear Crew, <Andy> Hope you're doing well. I was wondering if you've ever heard of/witnessed a Eucidaris metularia (Ten Lined Urchin) munching on Acros? <Mmm, other Urchins, yes> I have a nice Acro. millepora on which I recently noticed small white patches. This is sudden, as the patches were not there yesterday. It does not look like necrosis or bleaching--rather the patches look like something took a bite out of the coral. I scanned my tank with a flashlight and could find no bugs in or around the coral that might be preying on it--I quarantine everything and give all my SPS a 10 minute iodine bath before placing them in the display. The only thing I can think of is that my urchin may have mistaken the base of the Acro for a snack? <Might have> I've attached a picture, although it's not a very good one--the lights were out. None of my other Acros have anything similar. Thank you for your help. Andy
<I'd remove this urchin. Bob Fenner>

Re: Coral eater  2/4/08 Hi, I have Halichoeres chrysus. Could the fire fish be eating my corals? <Microdesmids rarely chew on Cnidarians> Also can the hermit crabs be a predator? <Oh yes. B> Regards,

Ecsenius lineatus… Munching On My Corals   9/2/07 Hi Crew, <Hi Peter, Mich here.> Just wanted to give you guys a heads up. I use your site for researching new additions to my tank all the time, and always recommend you to others through the various BBs. <Thank you. Is wonderful to hear that you value what you find here.> I have never come across this info so I though I would share. <Always appreciated.> I recently purchased a Ecsenius lineatus as seen in the attached picture. <Pretty fish!> Well, he's a total coral muncher :-( <I'm sorry.> Started with Montipora species, and Birdsnest coral, and has graduated to Acros. <Mmm, he's got good taste!> Just thought I'd share this bit of info. <Thank you!> I'm sure it is very uncommon, but I still think it's something people should be aware of. <Hopefully will help others to be aware.> Thanks.
<Welcome, Mich>

 Wonder how they get those neat little hidey holes? Not just from stealing them. RMF

Coral/Anemone Compatibility 1/29/07 Hello, <Hi Mike> As everyone says at the beginning of their letters, "Thanks for all of your help and knowledge that you pass on to those of us who love this hobby." <Welcome.> This site really is a great resource and I really appreciate the time, passion and knowledge you all impart to us lesser beings. Anyway, I just have a quick question that I cannot find the answer to anywhere. The night before last, my Bubbletip anemone (huge) decided for some reason that his spot in the tank that he has resided at for the last four years was no longer suitable. As he made his way around the tank, either he or his partner in crime (maroon clownfish) knocked a new frag of plating Montipora down (I had not "glued" it in place yet, was waiting to make sure it was happy with its spot first). As luck would have it, the Montipora spent the night in the tentacles of the anemone. I have not seen the polyps of the Montipora since (my sons call the polyps, Cheerios). Is the Montipora doomed? Is there anything I can do to help or do I now just have an expensive decoration for my tank?   The only other difference in the tank is that the clownfish has been fanning substrate out of the way clouding up the tank. I have been gently squirting the residue off with a turkey baster. I wish now that I didn't have the anemone because I enjoy growing corals, but it has become such a fixture in the tank that I don't have the heart to part with it. <This is exactly why we do not recommend keeping corals with anemones. As for being doomed, time will tell.  I'd say it's not off to  a good start for sure.>   Thanks in advance for any wisdom you can impart, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Mike

Coral question, comp. and Mandarin nutr.    7/22/06 Hi. Thank you guys for the service you provide.  I am most impressed with your genuine care for these rare delicate life forms that we keep.  This site is a wealth of excellent information and has been invaluable to me in over coming many of the common/baffling mistakes that I have had due to the pertinent information being found nowhere else but this site.  Which brings me to my issues of which I have two quick questions. First background info. My system is a 8 year old 72 gallon show tank with 300 watts of metal halide lighting and 260watts PC.  It contains 90lbs of live rock, a deep sand bed and a 55 gallon sump with a large refuge (3' x 1' 1/2.)   The fuge also has a deep sand bed with a huge clump of Chaetomorpha for nutrient exportation and pod proliferation.  Correcting for displacement I put the total water volume at a little over 100 gallons.  I am running a skimmer and I use carbon for 3 days then a week without and so forth.  I change 30% of the water once a month and the water is being turned over roughly 15 times per hour.   Water Parameters: Source water R/O Calcium           460 PH                   8.4 Phosphate        0 Nitrate              0   (Deep sand bed is amazing) Nitrite               0 Ammonia          0 Temp                80 Alk                   10 dKH Question 1.   Is keeping hammer, torch, Hydnophora and Acropora in the same tank not a good idea?  I know how aggressive the hammer and Hydnophora are.  All corals are at least 12 inches from each other but it is the chemical warfare that concerns me because I feel now that I didn't take that enough into consideration.  All the corals are healthy and growing, I am just concerned that they may do even better if the environment is changed.  The hammer and Hydnophora have been added within the last several months. My first and foremost concern is the well being of the Acropora.  Everything else can be removed and traded if need be or better yet, I will start another tank!  : ) Question 2 I recently purchased a Mandarin Dragonet.  I know how difficult they are to keep from the research I did prior to the purchase.  I would not have purchased this specimen if I did not research it and reach the conclusion that I could provide for it.  He has acclimated well and is eating.  My concern is will enough pods make it to the show tank from the refuge on their own and not be damaged by the pump, or should I take a clump of the Chaeto and shake it off/leave it in the display for good measure once in a while? Thank you very much for your time. John <<John:  Your corals should all get along with the spacing your are planning.  Since Acropora are the most delicate, if you want to play it extra safe, you might want to set up the water flow so that the water hits the Acropora first and flows towards the other corals.  As far as the Mandarin goes, the copepods should flow from the fuge to the main tank without a problem.  To supplement this migration, you can also shake out the Chaeto from time to time in your main tank.  Best of luck, Roy>>

I Have A Dream... (Or A Nightmare!). Scleractinian comp. sys.  07/12/06 Hi guys, <<and gals>> and thanks for all the times you've helped me through difficult times in my aquarium life (ha-ha). <<Happy we have been of use>> Anyways, here's my current (surely not the last. sigh) situation: I'm planning to set up a reef aquarium measuring 40" L x 24" W x 20" H.  VHO and PC are not available in my corner of the world, so I am only able to use 2 pc.s 150W metal halides (industry surplus, refitted with 10,000K bulbs). <<I see...should be fine>> I know how you guys feel about 'garden' type reef, mixing LPS with SPS and softies, but I have this dream setup that features low-profile rockwork, patchwork mounding LPS colonies (Platygyra, Faviids, etc) with all the spaces between them filled with Actinodiscus, Zoanthids, Ricordea etc) and maybe several of the branching soft corals for relief. <<Mmm, yes...an unnatural but not uncommon mix of organisms in reef aquaria.  Do be cautious with the Corallimorphs and the Zoanthids, these can spread very quickly and are quite noxious>> My concerns include the following: 1) I chose LPS colonies because of their propensity for aggression and sweeper tentacles, but will they be able to fend off the encroaching mushrooms, Zoanthids etc by themselves? <<The more aggressive Faviids/Euphylliids "might" be able to fend them off.  But bear in mind this requires a great expenditure in energy, as well as induces stress...do be sure to provide supplemental feeding of your corals>> Without my intervention, will the latter groups win and take over the LPS? <<Is a possibility/have seen it happen>> As much as possible, I want my inhabitants to grow into the tank naturally with little intervention, but given the chemical weapons of the softies, the runaway reproductive rate of the Shrooms, and the aggressiveness of the LPS, is my premonition of ceaseless warfare warranted? <<Indeed it is.  There is little that is "natural" in this situation.  You can mitigate things to some extent by providing aggressive protein skimming and the use of chemical filtrants (carbon/Poly-Filter)>> I want a dream tank, not a nightmare tank. <<Can be/has been done.  Though in the long-term I feel these "mixed garden reef" tanks don't hold up/mature as nicely as one that has been modeled after a certain niche/for a certain species>> 2) Are the 2 x 150's ok enough for a 20" deep tank? <<Plenty...you might even want to consider going to a higher Kelvin temperature (13,000K-14,000K) considering the animals you plan to keep.  But if not, the 10,000K bulbs will do fine>> Will the non-LPS component of my tank be able to stand the 2 x 150 watt metal halides? <<One thing about these critters is they are highly adaptable.  They may not give you their best color under very intense lighting (I've seen red and blue mushrooms turn brownish-green), but if acclimated carefully, they will do fine.  Same goes for the LPS, not all do "best" under intense lighting...though I think your chosen species will be fine>> I'm concerned about the soft corals as they are documented to suffer under halides. <<Hmm...many do come from high-light environments.  But same rules apply...use careful acclimation to your lighting>> Your thoughts on these issues will be greatly appreciated, More power to you guys! Rix (Philippines) <<Proceed with caution and use your own good sense...and research your acquisitions fully...before you buy!  Regards, EricR>>

Repeat Customer, Coral compatibility   2/2/06 Dear Adam J. <Hello.>         Thanks for the help with picking  out the Lobophyllia. It looks great in my tank. <Awesome.> Just to refresh your memory I  have a 20 gal. nano reef with a CPR BakPak skimmer, an Aquaclear 200 box  filter, a rotating 160gph powerhead and 130 watts of PC lighting. 10000k  daylight bulb and one actinic bulb. <Actually I remember, you sent in photos as well correct?> I now have 30-40lbs. of live rock a small  clump of star polyps (about 3") that has doubled it's size since I last  emailed you (about a month ago). <Great.> A clump of Daisy Polyps Clavularia sp.  that has spread about 3" in 3 directions in the 2 months I've had it. I also  have 3 mushrooms; one large hairy (4") and 2 small mushrooms in the genus  Actinodiscus. I think.  And of course the Lobophyllia. I also have 2  ocellaris clowns and a yellowtailed blue damsel. <Keep an eye on the damsel.> And about 9 Blueleg hermit  crabs and a small snail that masqueraded as a hermit crab.     I found 2 beautiful coral fragments on frags.org. (  Have you had any experience buying from this site?) <Personal experience; no, but I have heard mostly good reviews about them.> One is a clump of green and  orange daisy polyps. An the other is a lavender blue Montipora  digitata. The they are both listed as 1-2". I know the daisy polyps will be  compatible with my other corals (would it be possible to place them next to my  other daisy polyps or is this asking for trouble). I do not know if the  Montipora will be compatible although I'm pretty sure it is. <The Monti leans more toward the shallow water spectrum in term of what you have now, they are labeled by the hobby tem SPS, they like intense lighting (your about borderline) and lots of water flow. Calcium and alk needs are also quite important with these critters.  It would be okay with your other sessile inverts. Short term but the mixing of these types of corals long term is not advisable.> If it is were  should I place it in the tank? <High as possible.> The daisy polyps I currently have  are  slowly creeping up on the Lobophyllia. Will the lobo be able to hold  them off or will I have to pull them away from it. I would fragment the encroaching polyps and place them somewhere else.> I also have a 29 gal.  eclipse tank. It gets about at least 4 hours of sunlight every day. Would  it be possible to put daisy polyps in there? <Possibly, maybe fragment those polyps that were encroaching on the lobo and place them in there, see how it goes.> Also would some variety of Acanthastrea be possible in the 20 gal.? <Yes they are pricey but quite hardy, about the same care level as your lobo.> Thanks for your help, <Anytime.> MDM    <Adam J.>

Elegance Stinging soft corals  9/22/05 Hi,    Overnight 1 of my circulation pumps detached with the result forced 2 of my coral to land on an elegance.    The Helioporidae and Sarcophytons have been stung badly that the 2 has not opened for 2 weeks. Its heartbreaking watching these corals do nothing. Is there anything that I can do to revive these corals? <Not much, may possibly revive on their own.  I'd probably do 10% water changes weekly, starting now, to replenish lost trace elements. Keep an eye on them, don't want them dying unnoticed and fouling the rest of the tank.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks     Mohamed.

Massive Coral Infusion!  8/26/05 I'm feeling unsure about my tank. <Well, we all get that way at times! Scott F here with you today!> I have a 46 bow with Prizm skimmer, and Fluval 304, around 40 lbs of live rock, and 3 bags of aragonitic live sand. I have been slowly adding coral ( 8  or so pieces so far) until today I added 12 more. ( LT Plate, 2 short Tentacle Plates, 2 Wall Hammers, 1 Branching Hammer, 1 Branching Frogspawn, Ricordea Mushrooms, Bullseye, Flowerpot, Green and Purple Star Polyps, Elegance Coral, 2 Brains, Acropora, Bubble Coral, Leather and some more Shrooms). <Wow! What was the rush, my friend? Adding these corals all at one time was not one of the better moves you could make...Also, you added a mix of very aggressive LPS corals, soft corals, and Acropora in a relatively modest sized tank! Not a great recipe for long-term success, IMO. I'd try to "specialize" in one type of coral in this tank. For example, if you like "Large Polyped Stony Corals" (LPS), stock with mostly LPS. If you are seduced by Acropora, stay with "Small Polyped Stony Corals" (SPS). There is a lot of allelopathic competition going on in this tank!> I was told I probably shocked my tank by adding 12 at one time ( I thought you could only shock with fish). <Well, remember, corals are living animals, too, they take on food and eliminate waste, adding to the "bioload" of the system. This is a tremendous amount of life to add to any system at one time.> I guess I was wondering if I messed up my tank and if not how much should I be feeding? <Well, I wouldn't say that you "messed up", but I would suggest that you take some corrective actions by specializing, as alluded to above. As far as feeding is concerned- it's dependent upon the animals that you keep, and their specific needs. Yes, some of your corals will benefit from feeding, so research their dietary preferences and feed accordingly. I guess the one general rule of thumb is to feed carefully, taking care not to leave excess amounts of uneaten food in your system to decay and degrade water quality.> How beneficial would a refugium be? <Refugia are beneficial to almost any system. In addition to providing additional biodiversity and processing of organics, the many animals and plants that thrive in a refugium can provide natural supplemental food sources for your fishes, in the form of larvae, plankton, etc.> I was thinking about a 40 gallon refugium.( I also have a Purple Tang, Diamond Goby, and Lion.. I plan on taking out the lion because of his waste production) <Good idea.. And I would consider removing the Tangs as well, as your tank is kind of at the "lower limit", size-wise, for keeping this fish on a long term basis. The 40 gallon refugium is nice, because it effectively adds to your system's overall water capacity, and provides greater environmental stability.> Oh, yeah- I have Coralife PC( 2 96 watt bulbs). <A good light source, but if you intend to keep the more demanding SPS corals, you may want to increase the lighting accordingly. As for the future...Study the animals that you have, make some decisions about what direction you want to go, and do consider specializing. You really can't "have it all" in a tank of this size, so slow down and consider trading your unwanted animals for those that you want to keep. In the future, embrace quarantine for ALL new animals-even corals, stock carefully, make sure that your skimmer is producing skimmate regularly, and apply common sense husbandry (i.e.; water changes). Also, use of chemical filtration media (activated carbon and/or Poly Filter) is a good idea, as it will help remove some of the nasty allelopathic compounds being produced by your corals. Steady as she goes! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Coral Compatibility 07/01/05 Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a 2.5 year old 55g reef tank, w 80lbs LR and 260w PC lighting. I also have the AquaC Remora skimmer and a 4" deep sand bed and use only RO/DI water. For the most part everything has gone well, with this site to thank! <We're glad to be a part of it!> To keep nitrates in control, I just added a refugium w/miracle mud and Chaetomorpha and a new detritivore kit from Inland aquatics, which has been up and running for about a month.  Water parameters are very good and things look much better but some corals are still closed up, specifically the Pagoda, Finger Leather and Star burst Polyp.  The only left that I can figure is that I must have a chemical fight going on with the corals. <Very likely...> Are there any problems with the following co-existing? Finger Leather Coral, Pagoda Coral, Star burst Polyp, Torch Coral, Brain Coral, Bubble Coral, Hammer Coral, Mushroom Coral, and Acropora.  Not sure what else to do here. <Well, this is a pretty interesting mix! The Torch and Leather Corals are extremely aggressive. The Mushroom Corals really have no place in this mix, coming from much deeper on the reef than Acropora. Also, rethink the Acropora in this tank. The allelopathic compounds being produced by the other corals will create great problems in the long run, particularly in a tank of this volume. Study the corals that you really want to keep, and develop a stocking plan that incorporates corals that come from similar environmental niches and conditions.> Any suggestions? Thanks <As above- I'd think about the corals that are "must haves" in your book, and figure out which of the other corals you like will work with them. Do check out the resources here on WWM, and in books like Anthony Calfo's excellent "Book of Coral Propagation", or Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals". Both are excellent guides to identification, selection, and care of corals. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Corals At War! (An Unnatural Mix of Coral) Hello all, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> First off, thanks for your website... it rocks!!! <Excellent! Glad that you like it!> I am asking about my 55 gallon reef tank.  It is in very good health for a 2 year old tank and everything is well (for the most part).  I have 4x65W PC lighting, 2 Dual Daylight and 2 Dual Actinic that I run for about 11 hours per day.  I change the bulbs about every 9 months or so. <A good habit to have..> I have healthy fish (2 Tangs, a Blenny, a few gobies, 2 mated clowns and a few Chromis).  Most of my fish are over a year old and I do not intend to add any more since they are happy (very little aggression - a quasi-peaceful tank if you will).  I have slowly added specimens and my protein skimmer is fully functional so this patience and water clarity I hold responsible for their health.  I have been diligent not to overstock my tank and do frequent water changes (~10% every 2 or 3 weeks) because I realize my bioload is heavy (I have many corals). <You're doing okay!> I have many soft corals and 5 LPS and 2 SPS.  My Galaxea, Trumpet, Tongue, and Hydnophora are all healthy and growing like crazy.  My tank looks great! <Great to hear...That is a potentially problematic mix of corals in a relatively small tank. Allelopathic compounds are no doubt being released by these corals, which is problematic in this sized tank if you don't keep at your diligent water change/maintenance/protein skimming schedule.> (I also have 4 other reef tanks that are doing awesome).  By the way, I have about 90+ lbs of live rock and about 2 inches of live sand as my biological filter). I don't use a trickle filter. I have a few questions: 1) I have a piece that I got from a friend that has a Spaghetti Finger Leather on a sort of conical rock.  Around the perimeter, was the light brown version of Goniopora which COMPLETELY died off several months after I got it. <Not an uncommon occurrence with this coral, unfortunately> I let the leather keep growing where it was and 5 months later, the Goniopora came back!!! It is growing like mad. I was very surprised to see it come from "nowhere." <Cool!> My first question is twofold. a) My Leather has never grown large.  The fingers are small and extend only a fraction of a cm.  I have had this coral for over a year and it's size has not changed.  I want it to expand.  Now that the Goniopora is growing around the leather (again) will it kill the leather? <It is possible, as these are strongly aggressive corals. Of course, Sinularia species are very aggressive, as well. To be quite honest, I think that you need to really re-think your overall stocking plan of corals for the long term in this tank. A smaller tank like this is tough to manage with an unnatural mix of aggressive corals like this...Specialize!> b) What can I do to get the Leather to expand?  It has looked the same with and without the Goniopora present. <Well, you actually answered your own question. You can't have 'em all in this tank. You really need to think about what kind of corals you want to keep, especially in a smaller system such as this. Someone needs to go.> I have been waiting for it to grow but it doesn't;  it looks healthy, but does not grow large.  I have thought about cutting the Leather like a pizza pie and let it heal for a while and then take the frags and rubber band them to small rocks, hoping the frags will grow better than the "mother." <Not in this situation. The "chemical warfare" occurring in this tank will not go away if you keep this mix. These are corals that are not found together in nature in such proximity, so the odds of success with this mix in captivity are really small.> HOWEVER, I like the rock as it is with the Goniopora circling the leather. I really want the leather to grow with longer fingers and have better polyp expansion with everything else the same.  Also, my Devil's Hand Leather is small and behaving the same way (without the Goniopora). <But with the Hydnophora, etc...Do rethink this mix again!> Both are about midway in the tank... I want my Leathers to grow.  Can you advise me on this? <Again, I'd "specialize" in one type of coral: soft corals, LPS, etc. In this sized tank, an unnatural mix such as this is a real problem.> 2) My Pagoda Cup has two strange air bubbles.  Everything else is fine; the polyps are healthy.  How can I make these bubbles go away and are they a problem?  What should I do? <If they are somewhere on the surface of the coral, you could gently brush them a way.> 3) I have a Hammer coral that has 4 branches/polyps (the pink variety). One polyp got damaged in transportation and is dead.  A second polyp is not looking good;  it is not expanding and the tissue seems to be receding.  My question is two fold again (sorry): a) Should I remove the dead polyp branch or should I leave it - a healthy polyp is right next to it - could it grow back,  I mean could the healthy polyp spread to the dead one? <Do watch for the dreaded "Brown Jelly" infections for which these corals are known. If it makes you feel better, you could remove the dying branch for isolation/observation.>   b)  As far as the "sick" polyp, it still expands somewhat during the day but the adjacent polyp which is very health seems to be over crowding it.  Should I cut the branch off or treat it some how for the recession? <If you're only talking about a single polyp, it may not be too problematic. If it's an entire branch of polyps, then it's far more serious.> I realize I am asking a lot of questions, so thanks for listening. Cheers, Karlo <My pleasure, Karlo. Again, I think if you try to keep more compatible species together...The real recipe for long-term success, IMO. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Galaxea 28 Mar 2005 Hi Guys! <MacL here with you today, hoping I can help.> You have helped me so much and I first want to thank you! My problem is pretty weird and I am sorry I do not have a picture. I have a Galaxea and it is very healthy, my tank is doing great (thanks in part to you). I noticed a little bit of an indent in the polyp in one section and inside if that "dimple" if you will is like these five cat whisker looking tentacles that rise up and retract.  <Is it possible that its some type of duster worm? Its so hard to figure these things out without a picture but that does sound like typical duster characteristics.>  These do not resemble the Galaxea's sweeper tentacles in any way. these are very straight and rise and retract straight back in.  <There are multiple worms that nest in the middle of these corals. Some of which can be bad. You can always dip the coral and remove most problems that way with multiple types of coral dip. Two types I have used personally are SeaChem's ReefDip and Kent's TechM.>  I hope this doesn't sound crazy but it has me boggled. The Galaxea does not seem affected.  <Most worms won't bother the coral whatsoever and I personally like that effect but if you are worried that its something that will hurt the coral then the dip is definitely the way to go.>  I have a 90g tank, 45g sump, 100lbs LR, a bunch of neat frags, some zoo's, pistol shrimp, 2 peppermint shrimp, a Nemo, a LTA that Nemo and a Banggai cardinal share (weird huh?), yellow tang, 4 Chromis, a giant sand sifting goby, and a scooter blenny, all parameters are good, 380+ on the calc... but this thing in the Galaxea is weird.  <Honestly Eirik I love finding things like that on my corals it makes them so much more intriguing to me. Is there anyway you can get a picture so we can make sure its not anything bad?>

Blenny problems Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2005 Hi, <Hello Chris, James (Salty Dog) here.> I've written to you a few times and you have always promptly replied.  Thanks so much for the help you have given me.  <You're welcome> I am stuck with a new problem, a problem with a bicolor blenny (Ecsenius bicolor) chewing on my Turbinaria peltata. I acquired a magnificent Turbinaria peltata last weekend. Its amazing with light brown polyps and fluorescent green between the polyps. Its been doing great, all polyps expanding. But a few days after I got the coral, I saw patches on the green tissue that looked like someone has taken an eraser and tried to remove the green. I know it was the blenny as he had slight go at my Acro.  He stopped chewing on that now at least. I did not think he would go for the Turbinaria though. I see him sometimes lying in the cup of the coral, all peacefully, then just to turn around and nip a piece of the fresh green tissue. Is this just a phase that will pass, or is it better the blenny goes. <You know Chris, there are some that say the bicolor is reef safe, and there are some that say it will go after corals and the like. So, if it continues, I guess you'll have to give him his discharge.>  I'd rather remove the blenny than lose the amazing coral. If the blenny leaves, will the damaged tissue recover?  <Yes, under good conditions> I want to evict the blenny, and tried a few times to no avail. He's a slimy customer. He has a favorite hole in which he sleeps and hides, and as soon as I get close to the tank with the net..... shwoop, he's gone. I've even tried to coax him out with some food, because he's quite a pig when it comes to food, but that was no good either. Can you suggest a method to remove him easily. I thought of removing the rock in which he sleeps, but I'd rather not rearrange my tank decor if possible. Is there a sort of trap I could build?  <Ahh, the joys of trying to catch a fish in a reef tank. You might try a mantis trap baited with his favorite food. No guarantee, but it is better to try this first that to disrupt the whole system which you will end up doing if he doesn't take the bait. Good luck. James (Salty Dog)>

Predator Tank with Coral? Hi Guys, Good day to you. I have a 55g with 80Ibs of LR, an 18" Zebra Moray, 2" Porc. Puffer.. <Wow, small!> ..one cleaner & one peppermint shrimp & one turbo snail. <Umm, your puffer will consume these in time> I know my eel will outgrow the tank so will be looking into an upgrade soon. All are doing well and water parameters are close to perfect. I want to add some color & life (my fish are all too docile!) to the tank in terms of coral. I'm fairly new at this and from your site, you recommend mushrooms and polyps as beginner corals.  Thing is I have a cover to protect my eel from escaping (though he hasn't tried it yet) and if I leave the lights on too long, the heat gets trapped and water temp. rises (being in tropical Malaysia doesn't help). I've drilled holes in the cover for aeration and drop in a bottle of frozen water from time to time to cool the water down. <Good techniques> So far my fishes are coping with the temp. My question is how long should I leave the lights on for the mushrooms or polyps (I only have 2 fluor tubes - enough?). <A good ten, twelve hours per day... much of this time could be in the evenings... when prevailing air temperature is lower> Are mushrooms and polyps the corals to go? <To begin with, yes> Any other easy corals you'd suggest? <Mmm, not at this point...> Would they be safe with my puffer and shrimps? Thanks and you guys rock!  Desmond <More important is water quality as an issue rather than outright predation here. Bob Fenner> 

Crabs as Thieves (1/11/05) I have had problems with my hermits stealing food from my Blastomussa and Candycane corals. They climb up on them and pick at their mouths all day after I feed them. Is this harmless behaviour or could they damage the corals? <As long as they do not appear to be doing physical damage to the corals, it is probably not harmful. They will likely continue to get adequate nutrition. Any crab can be a problem for corals in the aquarium setting.> Any advice on prevention? <The only way to do this is to remove the crabs.> Thanks for your help. Cord. <Hope this helps. Steve Allen>

Elegance coral risky to fish? 1/2/05 I have a question before I purchase a gorgeous specimen of C. jardinei. I had a terrible experience lately where my rose bulb anemone ate a $150 geometric pygmy Hawkfish the day I got it! I was broken hearted over the loss of such a rare fish.  Nonetheless, I have moved the anemone to a different tank <Yikes!!  I feel your pain.  My carpet anemone has dispatched with about the same dollar amount in various shrimps and small fishes.  This is one of the many reasons that anemones aren't ideal community tank inhabitants.  Kudos for sucking it up and moving it!> but after thinking this through, what is to keep the stinging tentacles of a C. jardinei from capturing a perching fish such as a Hawkfish as well? Do you guys have any reports of this coral taking fish?  Thanks In Advance! <C. jardinei has one of the most powerful stings of any of coral, and is more powerful than even some anemones (Mine has actually raised welts on my fore arm!).  That said, fish capture doesn't seem to be a big problem.  However, I suspect that most folks are careful not to mix slow moving or perching fishes with this coral, and I would suggest exactly that precaution.  Best Regards.  AdamC.

Hammer Coral Killed My Fish? Hi, this is my first time to your site, it's great! I am new to saltwater keeping and am wondering if a hammer coral can kill fish? I bought on yesterday and woke up this morning and my clown fish and scooter blennies were dead. I didn't know what else it could be, my water checked out fine. >>>Hi Brian, It's not likely that your hammer coral is responsible for your fish deaths. As far as what IS responsible, I wish I could be of more help. Having kept various species of Euphyllia though with many different species of fish, and NEVER having a problem, I'm all but certain your hammer is not to blame. Cheers Jim<<<

Mixing Aggressive Corals Hi Bob, <Scott F. in today!> I got a bit of a startle last night.  I have a tank full of Frogspawns, Hammers, and Torches, and in one of your articles ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/elegance.htm), you wrote that Catalaphyllia should not be placed near any other  cnidarians.   <They can be highly aggressive, and don't mix well with stinging cnidarians in close quarters.> I've always been under the impression that as long as they were in the Euphyllia genus, they could live side by side without any problems and haven't witnessed any issues thus far in such an arrangement.  Is this not true? Thanks, Don <Well, Don, while it is certainly possible to keep them together in the same system, it is not recommended in most closed systems, simply because of the potential allelopathic competition. These are highly aggressive corals! In the long term, one species-or one specimen- will almost always dominate the others. In most small to medium sized systems, I'd stick to one species; or at least I'd allow considerable distance between specimens of Euphyllia and other corals. HTH. Regards, Scott F>

Coral toxicity Hi Crew! I have a question concerning the toxicity of Amplexidiscus, Actinodiscus and Pachyclavularia violacea upon Acropora and Montipora. << Hmmm, okay but I don't foresee any problems here. >>  My intention is NOT to have a garden reef, but a few pieces of live rock in my SPS tank contain good colonies of the aforementioned softies.  I am in the process of removing the pieces and placing into tanks designated for them.  However, my concern lies in residual propagated polyps which certainly will remain in the tank.  Good quality activated carbon is our friend and I maintain a good regime of small and frequent water changes.  I have read in many places that Pachyclavularia may be toxic, but have not found any source that indicated to what extent.  In addition, I had concern about the mushrooms as well as I have heard mixed reports about them.  Currently, I am experiencing nice growth of all Acropora and Montipora (as well as the softies), but want to take all necessary precautions moving forward to ensure their continued success. << Yes I understand your concern.  However these corals are not what I would consider to be toxic (relatively speaking of course).  So in this case, I wouldn't worry one bit. >>   Thanks for any insight, Jeff Morgan <<  Blundell  >>

Re: water change, Clown-Coral interaction Thanks for the response, I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question.  Unfortunately, the precipitate made me nervous so I dumped the water and started over.   I did the same procedure as before, but added 1/2 tsp buffer and the prescribed amount of pro buffer to bring pH to 8.4 and alk to 3.2meq/L.  I don't currently have a calcium test (mine expired) so I don't have a reading there.  One is on the way.... <Okay... very likely whichever brand synthetic mix you are using, the calcium will be fine.> You mentioned that it seemed a lot for my 65 gal tank, what about it seems like to much.  Too many fish, or too many coral or both.  What would you suggest, I really thought it was the right amount, but your advice would be appreciated. <Too many fishes... when they grow, there will be issues of inter-species antagonism, as well as pollution from food, wastes for your cnidarians> Another question, does the clownfish bother the plate coral? <Can, yes... some Clowns are so aggressive in their pairing with non-anemones that they do cause real damage>   He seems to like it a lot and is always swimming in it, and bumping it on the sides and towards the bottom, just like he would an anemone.  The plate coral seems to be affected by it, but not too negatively, but I am still not sure. It seems that the clownfish could injure some of the lower tentacles if he bumped them against the "plate" of the plate coral.  What do you think?  The LFS said it would be fine, but you know how that goes.... <I'd just keep an eye on these two> Thanks so much for your time! <Thank you for writing, your concern. Bob Fenner>

Saving Lobophyllia (not Silverman) 10/3/04 I hope all is well with you today.   <and with hope for you in kind> I do need some help in saving my Lobophyllia.  My flame angel was nipping at it continuously and causing it to recede to not much more than a skeleton.  Since I have a 180g tank with much live rock, catching the flame angel was nearly impossible until I recently moved and had to drain the tank.  Since that time the Lobophyllia has expanded from about 2.5" in diameter to over 7"! Just when I thought all was perfect (for over a month), now my purple tang has apparently grown to love the taste of the Lobophyllia.   <heehee...> The coral has once again deflated to a little more than a skeleton.  I really like the purple tang and prefer to leave it in the tank (not to mention I do not plan to drain 180 gallons of water again!).  Is there anything that can be done to stop the tang from nipping at the Lobophyllia and to keep the both healthy in the same tank? --Greg <nothing at all... really, short of separation. Its a compatibility problem that cannot be conquered by extra feedings, etc. Do consider placing the coral in a small inline refugium instead - perhaps the best of both worlds. Anthony> Toxic corals? 9/30/04 Hi please I need help, I am very confused, all corals are toxic right? <hmmm... depends on your perspective/meaning: regarding filter feeding? (stinging nature of Cnidarian animals)... regarding allelopathy (chemical warfare against encroaching organisms)... poisonous nature if ingested or harassed?? what corals are more toxic?, what corals are lees toxic?,   <variable as you might guess... and as per the above definitions> can a coral kill a human really?, <yes... more than a few can. Notably... palytoxin in Zoanthids. A historical use by Hawaiian natives, et al when tipping spears for mortal combat> I wont full my aquarium with corals, but I don't wont go to the hospital or die, please help me, what corals you know not are dangerous?, thanks you. <this is a small concern with good husbandry/handling... really. No worries with careful and proper handling as you do household chemicals, medications, fumous agents at work/home, etc. Anthony>

Chemical Warfare? 9/5/04 I got a problem and hope you can help.  I've recently added two corals: Button polyps and Alveopora.  After adding these two, my frogspawn closes up a lot.  To trial, I removed the Button polyps to see what's happen.  However, on the second day, even my green star polyp refused to open!  I then removed the Alveopora and within a few hours, my Green star polyp open normally again.  For this reason, I added back the Button polyps while leaving the Alveopora in a small container with an airstone.  The Green Star Polyp seems normal after adding the Button Polyp back.  However, the frogspawn is still much worse than before.  BTW, I have also used Activated Carbon which I think can help to absorb these chemicals.  Do you think it is Alveopora causing the problem?  Any additional thing I can do? Thank you very much.  Regards, Manus   <Kudos for conducting a very good experiment to solve this problem!  I do suspect that the Alveopora could be part of the cause of your problems.  It may be that quite a bit of time would have to pass before the frogspawn fully recovers.  Activated Carbon does help absorbed the noxious chemicals produced by corals, but Euphyllias are notoriously sensitive.  You could complete your experiment by housing the Alveopora elsewhere and seeing if the frogspawn recovers.  When it does, return the Alveopora and see if the condition recurs.  Do be sure to rule out any other changes that may have caused this.  Good luck!  AdamC>

Macroalgae + Corals? 8/1/04 Hi, First I want to thank you all for organizing such a great site to provide and promote good  aquarium husbandry system. <thanks kindly... please do tell others about us> I have a question regarding of reef aquarium set-up: It is a good idea to have a tank setup up with  macroalgae grown (harvested in a regular basis and prevented them from going sexual) and some corals? <macroalgae can serve a very useful purpose as a vehicle for nutrient export as well as substrate for cultivating  natural plankton> What would your opinion be if I set up a 40g aquarium with 6" sand bed + several sp. of macro algae + life rocks +  some soft corals without a sump. <macroalgae are very competitive... please stick with one species ideally. Mixing them is a bad idea in the long run IMO> For circulation, I would use a  DIY SCWD closed loop system (estimated to run at about 700gph) in additional  to a protein skimmer. <excellent> Will this kind of system (macroalgae + softies in a same tank) likely to fail? <not really... the more we/you mix... the more you simply have to be diligent about water quality:  weekly water changes, daily changes of small amounts of carbon, aggressive protein skimming,  and you'll be fine for years> Honestly, I do not know why actually most aquarist grow macroalgae in the sump but not in the tank itself. <macros are noxious and compete with corals for space & light and with chemicals> Thank you. Leo <kindly, Anthony> Elegance Hi! <Hello. Graham at your service.>   I have a problem. <Okay.> My elegance, purple tipped, was doing wonderfully until one of my fish started nipping at him.  I removed the fish but the elegance has stayed sucked in in the middle where I saw the fish nip at him.  Now other fish, a yellow tang, has begun to pass by and nip at him.  I fear he will not recover.  I moved him a little higher on the rock as many of my fish do not go there as much.  Is there anything I can do to help him heal?   <If the fish are bothering the elegance, either the coral or fish has to go. Unfortunately, once fish get the taste for the flesh of corals (Especially large polyped Scleractinians, such as your elegance), they don't seem to give it up very easily. I can recommend, however, to feed the fish often, preferably small amounts throughout the day. This may stop the fishes urge to feed on the coral. Another point is that Yellow Tangs do not often nip at corals. Is the tang nipping at the fleshy area of the coral, or the skeleton? Secondly, how long does the coral stay "sucked in" after the fish nip at it? How long have you had the coral? Elegance corals are not very hardy, and many have a poor survival rate in captivity if not kept under certain water conditions. Generally, they prefer strong light and high nutrient levels, especially since the majority of elegance corals are being collected from shallow nutrient rich areas.> He's near the top of my 75 gallon tank.  Please help - I do not want to lose him. <I look forward to hearing a response from you. Elegance corals are indeed very beautiful. Take Care, Graham.>

Coral warfare G'day Mate! << Hi there. >> In my tank I have a hammer coral which is in the top of the photo. It seems to be reaching out to touch the coral at the bottom (of the photo), but it hasn't reached yet. Are these 2 about to go into battle and sting each other? Or will they be OK? << I'd say they will "fight" a little.  Personally I wouldn't be too worried about it.  If in fact they grow that close to each other, it is easy to just move one a way.  That is what I would do, just to be safe. >> I cannot find in my Marine Atlas books (1, 2 & 3) the name for the coral in the bottom of the photo. Could you please ID it for me and give me any info about keeping this coral. << Difficult to tell, but it looks to me like an Elegance Coral.  I would keep it on the sand, with lots of light. Other than that, no special care instructions.  They are typically not recommended, but some have great success with them. >> Thanks mate Chris <<  Adam Blundell  >>

Coral Compatibility / Selection 5/30/04 Hello WWM Crew.  I'm in the process of setting up a 90-gallon reef tank, and I have a couple of questions about coral selection.  I've never kept corals before, though I've had fish-only marine tanks in the past.  I've done an extraordinary amount of reading over the past couple months in preparation for the tank, but I'm still grappling with the questions of what corals to include in my tank. <How to stock is a challenging question even for seasoned reefers!  Kudos for planning ahead and educating yourself!> My tank specs are as follows:  90 gallon tank (48 x 24 x 18); lighting is 2 x 250 w metal halide (10,000 K) and 2 x 96 w pc fluorescent; 36 gallon sump under the tank with a small built-in refugium (will probably use as a DSB refugium with Gracilaria); protein skimmer (haven't picked the model yet); calcium doser; waver makers, etc.  The substrate in the tank will be a sprinkling of fine sand (less than 1/2"). <If you are going to use such a fine layer of sand, I would suggest something with a 2-3mm grain size.  Sugar fine sand will blow around quite a bit leaving bare spots, and no grain size will provide much biological function at such a shallow depth.> Like many people, I really love the look of reef tanks that mix soft, SPS and LPS corals.  However, I've done enough research to know that this is often problematic, and I don't want to take on more than I can handle as a beginner.  In general, I find soft corals to be the most interesting (and maybe the safest choice for a beginner).  However, my FAVORITE coral is Montipora -- the variety that forms plates or scrolls.  I understand that it's fairly hardy for an SPS coral, and I'm wondering if it would be a mistake to try to combine several frags of Montipora with soft corals in a new tank. <Montiporas are generally fairly tolerant of soft corals.  They also should be widely available as fragments from other hobbyists making experimentation a bit more acceptable (ethically and financially!).> I've done some research to try to determine which soft corals might be the least aggressive, but I'm not coming up with much. <This is a very difficult thing to quantify.  Corals will produce different amounts of aggressive chemicals under different conditions.  Also, the interactions can be very specific, and you may find that certain individual corals will not do well with the other corals in your tank, although they may do very well in another tank.> I understand that clove polyps and star polyps don't contain many stinging cells, but I'm not sure if that means they wouldn't emit chemicals that would be harmful to the Montipora. <Again, this is hard to predict, but clove and star polyps can and will simply grow right over other living corals!> (btw, I plan to use carbon in the sump and replace it monthly, which hopefully will reduce some of the chemicals). <Very good idea!> My main question is, what soft or LPS corals do you think be the safest (or engage in the least amount of warfare) with the Montipora? <I would be much more concerned about the well being of LPS (especially Euphyllias) in the presence of soft corals than I would be of Montipora.  LPS are generally very sensitive to softies, but aren't very chemically aggressive themselves, relying on very powerful stings to defend themselves.> Some of the ones on my list that I'm considering besides the polyps are Ricordea mushrooms <med-highly aggressive>, leather coral<Among the most chemically aggressive>, hammer coral and open brain <Hammer and Trachyphyllia are very sensitive to softies>.  Thanks for any advice you can provide me. <Glad to help, and please don't miss the imbedded comments in the last paragraph!  Adam>

Chemical Warfare? Help please!!! <OK, fire away.  Ryan here> I have a 150 gallon reef filled with shrimp, stars, crabs and corals.  The fish load is not high but I do have some activity with tangs and gobies. I have had no problems in the past with the reef other than the occasional brown algae from to much light, and other nutrients. <OK>  Lately my brains and other LPS have been on the decline. They have been very healthy for some time and suddenly all of them have crashed at once. All of the softies are very happy and seem undisturbed by whatever the problem is. The only thing I have noticed in the tank that is odd is blue mushrooms shrinking a bit. I have changed water, checked for water problems, checked temperature, and any other thing I can think of.  <this isn't real helpful- Actual test results are needed here> I have now moved all of the LPS to another tank and they have immediately made a dramatic comeback. Whenever I move one back to the other tank, the same result occurs. Please help me help my LPS! <Are you skimming?  If not, I would imagine the LPS (Although you haven't mentioned any specific animal) are at the receiving end of a little chemical warfare.  Please re-write with some helpful details and we'll see what we can do.  Sorry I couldn't do more, Ryan> Brian    
Chemical Warfare pt. 2
Thank you for your response. <No problems! Glad to be of assistance> The specific animals affected have been a large green Lobophyllia, a large green brain (not sure of specific type), candy cane corals, two plate corals, elegance corals, and a red and green neon brain. As far as the specifics on the water, I will get that for you ASAP. I am not running a protein skimmer. I will put one on immediately. <I would encourage you to do weekly water changes of %15 total volume, and put a decent skimmer like an Aqua-C Remora or a Double Bak-Pak on there. You're headed in the right direction. Also, if you aren't running activated carbon at this point, it will help get things pristine again. Good luck! Ryan> Brian 

Having A Cow(fish)? Hi Bob, <Scott F. in for Bob today> Thank you for the help so far, WWM has been very helpful.  I was interested in buying a cowfish and a royal Dottyback.  The cowfish is just a little (for now) yellow guy with black dots, and of course you know the Royal Dottyback.  Are these guys safe with False Percula Clowns, Banded Coral Shrimp, Green Brittle Star, and Algae Blenny. <I'm not too concerned about everyone else, but I do worry about the cowfish, and it's potential to poison the tank if agitated excessively. Ounce for ounce, Dottybacks can be some of the toughest fish around! With lots of good rockwork, and plenty of space, it could work, but I'd pass on the Cowfish, and relegate this guy to a more "mellow" tank.> I have read that the cowfish is omnivorous and I do have a fair bit of green algae and black algae (trying to get rid of, just got another powerhead to increase water movement as WWM stated). <Yep, they do eat some vegetable matter> I have also read that the royal Dottyback is very territorial will this be a problem with the other tank mates??   <As above. Mainly concerned with the Cowfish> I am wanting to do a partial reef partial fish tank are these 2 reef safe, I know the Cowfish nips at some corals, anemones. <The Cowfish is problematic, but the Dottyback is a fine reef fish> I also had a question about the power head I just bought. Are all powerheads submersible? <Well, there are a number of manufacturers who make external powerheads, such as Tunze, Gemini, Hi Tech, etc.> I bought the Pro 4 by Hagen, which pumps 240-425 GPH, it has a water line located on the side.  Am I able to submerse it as it states it is a submersible?? <I believe that this all Hagen powerheads are totally submersible, but I'd consult Hagen first, as I am not familiar with this particular model. They should be able to give you exact information on it> Finally, I read that you should have a GPH flow of 5X -10X the tank size.  Now are these Imperial or metric GPHs.  Just curious not to worried as they are FAIRLY similar. Thank you very much, Todd Hawman <Interesting question! As an American, I say "X" times per tank volume in US gallons, but the theory is the same in metric, too. Shoot for 10 times tank volume, and I think you'll be okay. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Half Moon Angel with Cnidarians? Hello, Are there any corals and anemones I can put in my tank that my half moon angel wont eat! I saw a saltwater show tank at (the Sony store) witch had a 5 inch half moon angel and Mushrooms on the live rock together. All of my fish are reef safe in my tank but my angle. I did now this when I got him and I have NO regrets. thank you so much.... <Small, flat corals will be your best chance- such as mushrooms.  Mushrooms also have amazing regenerative properties, so a bite here and there may not prove lethal.  Bottom line is keep these corals cheap!  They may be breakfast.  Ryan>

Coral additions 2/12/04 I have a quick question, can these corals Alcyonium, Euphyllia, Sarcophyton, Heliofungia, Pachyclavularia, Plerogyra, Catalaphyllia, Trachyphyllia, be kept safely in the same tank as long as they didn't touch? <Sure, as long as the tank is big enough.  Keep in mind that Heliofungia and Catalaphyllia are notorious for poor survival, and just to pick nits, Pachyclavularia is now included in the genus Briareum.> I understand Clavularia is resilient to stings and dose not sting other corals. I was planning on placing these corals in-between corals that could seriously harm each other. Is this a good idea? <I would be suspicious of Clavularia as a strong chemical competitor.  As you stated, it doesn't have a strong sting, so it has to protect itself somehow.  I would suggest simply leaving adequate physical space.> I'm planning on doing 25% water changes every week to dilute chemical warfare. In the main tank I don't want the sand dissolving under the coral could you recommend a sugar fine sand that doesn't dissolve. Also, would 250 watt or 175 watt halide be better.  Thank you <25% a week is commendable, but a lot.  Any aragonite sand will dissolve.  Silica sand will not, but it's use is controversial, and I don't recommend it.  All of the corals you listed will tolerate fairly low light.  VHO would be adequate if the tank is 24" or less deep.  I would not go more than 175w halides unless the tank will be 30" or more deep.  Good luck!  Adam>

Coral Aggression/Isogeny 2/6/04 I've got a question about aggressiveness between Sarcophytons and Capnellas. Are they going to be aggressive towards each other? I have some that are growing quite close now, but don't want to disturb them unless I have to. <at present, its impossible to quantify how much and to what extent aggression will be apparent between various corals. It is a complex dynamic influenced (beyond the noxious potency of a given colony) by water quality (water changes, use of carbon and ozone, etc) and other factors (water flow, proximity and sensation of unnatural or competitive neighbors, etc). But suffice it to say that no corals should be allowed to touch each other and you will be safe. For many, they will even execute aggression against others of their own species! [Isogenous corals that will only tolerate clones of the same colony]. Its a reliable rule of thumb to maintain a minimum of 10" (25 cm) between corals at all times with good water quality. Most aquarists unfortunately don't plan for this and have problems with crowding even in the short term (1-3 years). Anthony>

Corals and Anemones? (Almost) never together 2/5/04 Dear WWM crew, <howdy!> Thanks in advance for the help.  I am running a corner tank (custom made) approx. 50 gals.  I am running 3 CFs, one 10,000K daylight 50-50 and two actinic 50-50's all 65W for a total of 195W.  I am running a Fluval 303 with biological and chemical media attached to a UV sterilized processing between 50-75 gal/hr.  I recently added a refugium ( a 10 gallon aq. capacity is about 7.5 gal and a sump about 3.5 gal.  I'm using an overflow box to get the water from the tank to the sump and it free flows from the sump to the refuge. and a quiet one 3000 pumping at about 400 gph.  The refuge is about 2 weeks old, Q1. How long and when should the refuge be lit?   <depends entirely on the needs of what is growing inside (just like light over displays). Anything you read about 24hr illumination applies only to Caulerpa, which you need to understand well if you are going to use... many merits and dangers with the genus. Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria are better/safer macroalgae IMO to be lit on a simple 12hr photoperiod (reverse of display if you like to help with pH stability> I had some problems with Cyanobacteria so I backed the lighting off of the main tank.  I am running the two actinic from 10am - 6 pm and the daylight from 11am to 7 pm. <Cyano is not about lighting my friend... it is entirely about nutrients. That is what feds/fuels Cyano... and its caused by many things: quality of source/tap water, overfeeding/overstocking, poor skimming (less than 3-5 dark cups minimum weekly), and most commonly - a lack of adequate water flow (10-20X) which allows detritus to settle and feed nuisance algae> The main question I have is this.  I did some drilling on my stand to run the hoses for the refugium and I lost my yellow tang.  I thought he had died from stress, but my Condy anemone is getting huge.  Could he have eaten a silver dollar sized tang.   <yes... possibly> His base is about the size of the palm of my hand and he stretches from about 10-12".  He seems to be getting to big for the tank.  Will he eat other fish?   <they can indeed. And please take note to read further about the perils of mixing anemones with corals. It should almost never be done in my opinion (beyond being an unnatural mix with most sp.> I recently (1 month ago) bought a sebae anemone, white w/purple tips.   <Oh, no... mixing anemone species is arguably even worse. Arghhh. These anemones simply are not commonly found mixed in/on a reef with corals... and even when they are, the condition of confinees in an aquarium with motile stinging cnidarians (anemones0 with sessile ones (corals) is a recipe for disaster in the long run. Please reconsider> I know this isn't good but he seems to be doing OK and my maroon has taken to him.  He is between golf and baseball size.  He has taken up residence under a ramosa shell I have in the tank.  He wasn't eating very well but I have read some of your articles and will change my feeding regime.   <OK> I have a Goniopora coral, the Condy, a sebae, and Xenia in the same tank.  Can/Will they get along?   <The fact that your young tank also has a Goniopora in it tells me that you are getting staggeringly bad advice on buying decisions... or you are not taking good advice from your LFS, my friend. I say this to help you... there are several red flags going up here that earmark your tank for an all too common disaster in the near future. Fish/coral losses at very minimum> The Condy is slowing growing and is getting pretty close to the Goniopora.  Will he sting in and kill it.   <Yes, possibly. It is one of the problems with mixing anemones with corals as mentioned above> He has already harmed the Xenia?  How far apart should they be and any info you can provide will be nice.   <10" is the minimum distance to keep between most corals to start with> I just found your website today and spent about 4 hours here.  My wife is ready to kill me. Thanks, Dave <read on my friend... and buy flowers <G>. Anthony>

What corals to keep with a bird wrasse - 1/29/04 Hello crew,  I have a 230 gallon FOWLR system which I am interested in converting into more of a reef set-up.  What I mean by this is that I would like to keep shrimp, hermit crabs and snails (to clean algae), feather dusters, and easier corals such as colt corals and the like. <Go for it> My problem is I currently have 3 percula clowns, 1 yellow tang, 2 blue devil damsels, 1 majestic angel, 1 emperor angel, 1 green bird wrasse and 1 clown trigger.  I know I would have to get rid of the clown trigger to keep some of the above, how about the green bird wrasse? <Should be fine. We have them at the Monterey Bay aquarium in our Clam and Soft Coral tank. They might snack on your hermits, shrimps, and snails. So might need to look into getting a hand fish. They are great a rasping algae from glass, sand, or acrylic (your hand cleaning the tank with an algae scraper, just in case you didn't get that futile attempt at humor.>  Would the snails and hermit crabs clean the algae? <They would if they weren't in the Bird Wrasse's digestive tract. Heheheh! Be sure to keep up the water quality and scrape away, my friend!> Any other corals you might suggest? <Green star polyps (Pachyclavularia violacea) or some clove polyps (Clavularia or Anthelia) Green or Yellow tree coral (Nephthea sp.) These are similar to what we maintain in our tank with our clowns, bird wrasse and damsels and tangs. Also keep an eye on the Angels, though as they may nip at the soft corals. If they do then you may have to make a decision; add noxious soft corals or get rid of the Angels. Paul>.   Thanks

The corals don't like the Blenny Hi, <Hi Lisa!> I got a rock with a few orange/purple Ricordea and another with green  star polyps about 1 1/2 weeks ago. They were doing great until I got a  Sailfin blenny. He climbs all over the rocks and occasionally the  corals. He knocked the Ricordea rock over 2 times! <Hee Hee!  Very normal Blenny behavior.  They don't seem to care much what they "climb" over or perch on, and in fact, mine will forcibly throw objects off of his favorite perch!> The first time he  just tapped it and they seemed fine, 2nd time it was flipped and  sitting on one of the Shrooms. I finally got some glue but when I  picked up the rock I realized the Ric was only partially attached to  the rock. It also has a small chunk missing, the purple looks grayish and the mouth does too. <Gluing or otherwise attaching corals is a wise choice to prevent such falls.> Is it dead or injured? Anything I can do to  save it? <It sounds like it is a bit  bleached.  It should recover quickly and completely if you prevent further insults.> As if that's not enough trouble from the blenny, he's also upset the  GSP. They were 1/2 closed up after the first day w/the blenny, now  they've been closed solid for 2 days. Are they OK? Will they get used  to him? <It is normal for GSP's to periodically close for a while.  If you are sure it is the Blenny, they may adapt, but it is probably best to move the GSP's out of his territory. Thanks, Lisa Spencer <best regards!  Adam>

Coral/Cnidarian captive compatibility folks.  <Howdy> After countless hours of researching on your site and other areas, I have a few questions that I need to be answered, if you would be so kind. <I'll try> I have a 20H nano with a 10 gallon DSB refugium, and I am currently in the process of stocking the tank.  I plan on sticking to soft corals, as I know in a tank this size careful considerations must be made in order for my livestock to flourish in the long run. <So true> So far, I have a lime green Sarcophyton, a xenia colony, an anthelia colony, and a small Parazoanthus <Yellow Polyps?> colony (all colonies are small "frags").  I plan on going for a Fiji yellow leather, a Cladiella, a Sinularia, etc. next, and before I go any further, I have a couple inquiries in  regards to compatibility.  I know that it is best to stick with one group, i.e.. all softies, all LPS, all SPS for the overall health of the tank and ALL it's inhabitants, and I plan on doing so (especially in such a small tank). <Good plan>  My question is in regards to Zoanthids, star polyps, and polyps in general, I guess. What category are these animals best placed in, as far as compatibility is concerned?  <Many species are quite toxic. They contain a potent neurotoxin (Palytoxin) that can injure the unwary aquarist. Do look this toxin up on WWM. They will also sting anything they come in direct contact with. Citing Anthony's excellent Book of Coral Propagation "most Zoanthids are aggressive and noxious to other corals."> Are they able to inhabit any of these tanks, without major allelopathy and aggressive behavior?  Are they more compatible with one general grouping (soft/LPS/SPS) than the other? <I have read that they are most damaging g to hard corals.>  It is my understanding that these animals, especially the star polyps, are quite noxious to other corals. <true> Can I house Zoanthids and the like with my softies and safely say that it is alright? <IME, you must be careful to keep them far enough away that they can't touch. I had some yellow polyps that were brushing against my Sarcophyton & noticed it was beginning to wilt on that edge. I moved the rock with the polyps ant the Sarco has healed. Also be aware that if they're thriving, the polyps will spread like mad to any rock that is in direct contact with the rock they're on.> I guess what it all boils down to is my lack of understanding as to where the polyps fall into place, in terms of compatibility.  Any answers you may provide me with would be much appreciated! <Well, you certainly seem to be making an excellent effort to learn. Do check out Anthony's book or Aquarium Corals by Eric Borneman.> Oh, and as far as battling allelopathy is concerned, I change 3 gallons weekly and run a bit of carbon weekly as well.  No skimmer yet (cowers in embarrassment).  Thought I should add that on to aid in your response. <Do consider PolyFilter and ask Santa for a skimmer for Christmas--An AquaC Remora would do nicely.> Thanks again! <A pleasure, Steve Allen> -Dave Conners

Curious about the Curious Worm Goby: Gunnelichthys curiosus 11/26/03 Hey guys (and girls?) got a few questions I couldn't find answers to. First off thanks for all your help and providing hobbyists with such an informative and easy to use website.   <your appreciation is... er... appreciated <G>> I am looking to add 1 or 2 more corals to my 45gal tall tank and I had a  few in mind (I already have a silver-branched pumping xenia, devils hand, and a small Zoanthid mat-all aqua-cultured) and I was looking to add either pink cauliflower coral (Pocillopora Damicornis)  or a few species of Montipora digitata.  Which would be a more natural, safer combination in the long run? <cannot speak to natural here regarding mix (regarding niches for all of the above... varied)... but the Montipora digitata would be a very hardy and safe bet (weakly aggressive). If you prefer Pocillopora... go for the brown one instead as it is much less demanding. I doubt you have the lights to keep a pink one pink. No worries though> Could I have them all?   <do resist mixing many species in such a small tank without leaving room for growth... and distance between to temper chemical aggression> And do have any information on the curious worm goby? <a cute little fish, but not much to chat about. They are very poorly suited for community aquarium life. They are very easily intimidated into not eating/thriving. For perspective, one might fairly say they are more difficult to keep than mandarinfishes, seahorses or their Firefish (Microdesmid) kin. The Curious Worm goby needs a very peaceful tank with deep soft sand for burrowing: Gunnelichthys curiosus> I cant seem to find any info at all.   <Always include fishbase.org in your searches my friend... a link for this fish follows. Please be sure to follow all of their links on the page... info regarding gut analysis telling of natural diet reproduction, etc. http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=12677&genusname=Gunnellichthys&speciesname=curiosus> A friend of mine bought one on an impulse buy (I know, I promptly slapped him) and now it has be hiding out of sight for about 2 days, with no signs of burrowing into the substrate.  Any info will be much appreciated. Thanks again. -Nick IMO... if this fish shares the tank with a single wrasse, damsel, clown or tang... it will die even without aggression from its mates. They are just that shy. Please suggest that your friend get that marvelous little fish into a quiet refugium or another tank altogether with ultra slow and ultra peaceful fishes. They can be kept well under those conditions. Feed zooplankton substitutes. Best of luck, Anthony> Averting Chemical Warfare! Hi Guys, <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> As always, I enjoy coming home from a long day of work and spending time at night relaxing and reviewing the FAQ's on your site - great reading. <Glad that you enjoy them! We have a blast lending a hand where we can!> I have a 75 Gallon tank which I have had up for about 5 - 6 months. It has cycled and all the water characteristics (PH, Ammonia, Nitrate and Nitrite etc look good. I have a lot of live rock in the tank built up in layers all the way to the top of my tank, with a lot of hiding places, and a small layer of sand/crushed coral still visible in the front of my tank - starting to give the effect of a pretty decent reef. <Cool! Sounds like fun!> Coralline is starting to show up now over and above what came on the live rock, which is exciting. <Yes, it is!> As far as fish are concerned, I have one small (~ 1 Percula Clown (~ 1"), 1 Gold Striped Maroon also < 1", 1 Skunk Clown, 1 Royal Gramma ~ 1.5", 1 very small Green Damsel, and finally, 1 Foxface Rabbitfish ~ 2"). They all seem to be doing o.k. I have a substantial cleaning crew - ~ 20 blue and red legged crabs (tiny guys), three emerald crabs, ~ 15 turbo snails and one serpent star. <Nice mix of animals!> Now my question -- I have a closed brain coral (Wellsophyllia) lying on the front sand bed, and two pink tip anemones at either ends of the sand bed too. There are a couple of feather dusters on the sandbed as well. All seem to be staying away from each other at this point, settled in their places of choice, and I haven't seen any big problems -- however, I have been reading on your web site about the problems of mixing corals and anemones. <Yep! The problem isn't always in the physical contact arena...It's as much about allelopathic "warfare" between the animals, with potentially dangerous chemical compounds being released by animals that are not generally found together...It may not be an "immediate" problem, of course. Often, animals will coexist together for some time, and at some point, deterioration will occur. Just something that you need to worry about for the long term> The skunk and the maroon clown seem to like the anemones and host in them frequently. I also have an elegance coral sitting out of the reach in the middle of the aquarium on live rock, and an umbrella coral (I think it's also called toadstool) on the other side of the tank, also well out of reach of where I have seen the anemones hang out. <An unnatural mix...and potentially problematic. But darned attractive, unfortunately! The large distance between these incompatible animals will help, but remember-it's all about the possible chemical interactions, which can be hastened by the flow in the tank> After reading your notes about mixing the anemones and corals, I am getting worried about the closed brain coral -- Should I move the brain to somewhere on top of live rock too -- away from the anemones? <I'd leave it in the sand, as keeping it on rock could cause potential damage to the animal as its tissues expand. If you are reluctant to remove the anemones, then you could perhaps run a stepped-up (i.e. more frequent) water change schedule, like 5% twice weekly, as well as very aggressive protein skimming, and liberal use of effective chemical filtration media, such as PolyFilter or Chemipure, and activated carbon, to help remove potentially dangerous chemical compounds before they become problematic in the tank.> Do the anemones climb over live rock too - Although I have not seen that behavior? <Many anemones are capable of "roaming" to wherever they feel the most comfortable, so it is possible.> I wanted to add one or two other corals too, and seem to have enough space to place the corals within the live rock away from each other, but want to make sure that the anemones will not be flying all around the tank (on live rock etc.) going after corals causing problems. I would really appreciate some advice on this issue. Thank You, as always for your guidance. <Well, I find that the mixing of corals and anemones is simply a potential problem, which is best avoided, if possible. The best solution is just not to keep them together! That said, I would caution against the mixing of various coral types (like LPS and soft corals) together, for the same reasons discussed above. I'd pick a category of corals (LPS, SPS, softies, etc) and stick with them. If you are going to add to the existing mix, I'd certainly start "specializing" at this point, and-perhaps, trading the animals from the categories that you're less interested in for ones that you are inclined to work with. Better for the animals- and better for you, in the long run! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Coral compatibility 10/20/03 Dear crew of experts, <ship of fools... same thing> In a previous email I asked about lighting for a soft coral grow-out/holding system that I'm planning. <schwing!... er, I mean - good to hear> I have another question about how best to segregate soft corals to allow for toxicity. I won't have enough room or enough tanks to do only one species per tank. I would appreciate info on which families of soft and LPS corals can peaceably and successfully coexist, especially corals which have recently been cut. Besides than Sarcophyton and Xenia, are there other groups or pairings that can get along fairly well? Or that I should particularly avoid? <other than gross unnatural tankmates (LPS with SPS, and soft corals with... er, anything (they are the most noxious at large), little is known about specific matches/potencies. Eric Borneman has published some studies and has excellent bibliographical references to follow on this subject. And remember... your goal here is not to stop allelopathy (can't be done), but to minimize it/the stimulation> Should I avoid placing any particular recently cut species in tanks containing an algae-eating blenny and detritivores? <no harm here> To review, I currently have a lot of Gorgonia, Zo's and Palythoa, xenia, <all but the Xenia are fairly to very toxic here> plus an assortment of others including torch, turban, bubble, and hammer LPS corals (I'm aware of their space needs), Sinularia, Ricordea, mushrooms, Capnella, toadstool leathers, etc. I may also buy other corals from an area Indonesian importer. It would be helpful to have a plan to ensure peaceful co-existence. Thanks, Suzanne Hathcock <alas... if they are all kept in the same system, you have the same common problem that so many reef keepers have with mixed garden reef tanks. The mix is unnatural with a sampling of so many different cnidarians here. Optimal health long term will be a challenge. Do employ more/separate systems or simply keep less diversity. Focus on farming fewer things better. Anthony>

Arghhh! Still mixing Anemones with corals 10/21/03 First and foremost what a great site I stumbled on. <thanks kindly> You have helped in more ways than you know with answering my questions but I have one that no one seems to answer confidently at my local shops. I am running a 60 gallon cube, 30 soft corals, mushrooms, polyps, etc. 3 Coral life 65watt power compacts. I have not lost one coral or even a fish and have had exceptional luck with all my inverts. <hmmm... do be realistic about what is success. I'm guessing your tank is young (months old/less than one year). We hear of these problems commonly with corals and/or anemones in in small overstocked aquaria. 30 random coral species in a 60 gallon is quite a challenge in the long term regarding chemical warfare over time (months/years). Please do a Google search from our homepage for "allelopathy" to read more in the archives about what you are/will be experiencing> Problem is that I have lost every anemone I have introduced into the tank! 1 long tentacle, 1 sebae and now a bubble. <anemones simply do not fare well in mixed Cnidarian displays with corals More often than not, they will die prematurely. Unfortunately, a few aquariums/LFS's give false hope that it can work for all> I have 2 tube anemones but spaced extremely far apart from each other and 10" from the newest anemone which is slowly withering away. I have taken great care in choosing non torn, good looking and eating anemones. Am I missing something? <we have a lot of info in the archives here at wetwebmedia.com on this topic... please do read through> The PH is 8.1-8.2. Salinity is 1.021. Temperature is 79 +-1 on average. Is there one part to the puzzle I am missing? I would lose the tubes if you were 100% confident they were the issue? Thanks in advance for your help! Regards, Kevin Tippitt <your lighting is weak for many corals/anemones (well under the est. 5 watts per gallon needed. The issue is also compounded by the depth of the tank... fluorescent technologies are only effective in the first 12" or so of water... poor penetration below that. Yet, your anemone problem here is much bigger than a lighting issue. Read on to enlightenment my friend. Start here perhaps: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm and be sure to follow the many blue links at the top of the page. Anthony>

Evil Peppermint Shrimp! >Just an FYI to all of you getting lured into buying 'reef safe' peppermint shrimp.  Be cautious.  So far $3 peppermint shrimp wiped out 2 of my plate corals.  Now that they are gone, I can't wait to see what they move onto next.  Any ideas on getting them out of the tank without having to rip a fully stocked tank apart would be greatly helpful.  I doubt the jar trick would work since I have fish and hermits in there and they would probably go nuts trying to get at the bait. >>Wow, gotcha.  This is the biggest problem we have with common names.  I bet you *didn't* get Lysmata wurdemanni, which is the animal that we all love and often use to control Aiptasia.  However, there is at least one other animal that goes by the "Peppermint" moniker, Rhynchocinetes spp., with large eyes and a beaklike "nose" (you'll also note that their color saturation is strikingly different and much stronger).  Now, honestly, I would do the jar bit after dark.  Persistence means that you'll eventually trap these things, unless you're very good with a net (this does take practice).  I haven't got many other answers for you, other than to possibly isolate their hiding spots as one would a mantis, then yank that rock, dip in freshwater and they should exit quickly.  I do hope this helps, and let this be a warning to others!  Marina >Thanks, Andy

Coral compatibility 10/3/03 Hello crew!  I know you get much praise, after reading so many FAQ's that saved me from making disasters, but I must say it again--thank you for having this web site, your help is most appreciated!!! <thanks kindly!> I want to start getting some corals and have a question about the compatibility of some prospects.  I know you should not mix different types of corals, i.e.. hard and soft, as chemical warfare may be detrimental in the long run.   <best to focus on a niche or biotope. You can mix different species from within such group(s)... we are simply trying to minimize unnatural aggression (not eliminate it, which seems to be impossible)> I tried searching if polyps are compatible with soft corals within the site, for example xenias (peaceful right?) with yellow polyps/star polyps, and saw that some people kept them but the FAQ did not have direct comments on if this was desirable.  So......Are polyps (i.e. button, yellow, star) soft corals or are they in their own category--if they are different from softs will they get along with soft corals? <its not so literal, mate... rather a function of crowding, water flow, water changes/chemical filtration or not, etc. And then, the keeping of natural neighbors (research their history on a reef> I have a 45 gallon, 2 X 96W PC, 1.024 SG, O ammonia, nitrate, nitrites, dKH 11, pH 8.4, 4.5 inches aragonite, 55 lbs live rock with a mated pair of perculas, a green mandarin (plump!), CBS, a few blue legged hermits and Astraea (no blood baths yet). <all good> I do have a small bubble tip anemone who has only moved 1 inch from where I first put him into a crevice to hide his foot and has not moved in 2 months.   <hmmm.. but no guarantee of it not moving later (lights age, water clarity strays, stinging neighbors encroach or get moved near, etc). The anemone is simply not a responsible or "natural" tankmate for sessile corals> I knew I had to let him settle down first before I even thought of getting corals, but I think I can "safely" say he's pretty happy with his location and will watch him closely upon putting in the corals.   <I hope you are right... but the odds are against you in the long run. Quite likely in the 3-5 yr picture if not far sooner that this anemone will move and perhaps cause a problem or catastrophe> Again, thanks so much on the "soft/polyp" compatibility question! Danny   <sticking with soft corals is a safe bet (polyps and soft Octocorals). Avoid mixing SPS and LPS with them to start with. Best regards, Anthony>

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