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FAQs about Stony Coral Health/Disease 2

Related Articles: Coral Pests and Disease; pests, predators, diseases and conditions by Sara Mavinkurve, Quarantine of Corals and Invertebrates, LPS Corals, True or Stony Corals, Order Scleractinia, Propagation for Marine Aquarium Use

Related FAQs: Stony Coral Disease 1, Stony Coral Disease 3 Stony Coral Disease 4, Stony Coral Disease 5, Stony Coral Disease 6, Stony Coral Disease 7, Stony Coral Disease 8, Stony Coral Disease 9, Stony Coral Disease 10, Stony Coral Disease 11, Stony Coral Disease 12, Stony Coral Disease 13, Stony Coral Disease 14, Stony Coral Disease 15,
FAQs on Stony Coral Disease by Category: Diagnosing: Environmental (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments 
& By Family: Caryophyllid Disease, Faviid Disease 1, Fungiid Disease, Cnidarian Disease, Quarantining Invertebrates,

Bob Fenner in Brooklyn this Friday evening at BAS & Polyp loss 5/5/03 Hello there! I was reading some of the e mail on your web site and read that polyp loss can result from a build up of chloride ions.   <to be specific... Chloride accumulation (usually taking 8 months or more from regular use of liquid calcium and not having enviable water changes (25% monthly or less)... can skew the Ca/Alk dynamic, leaving one quite low the other quite high, and that prolonged stress and inability to effectively calcify is what harms polyps> I have a 75 g reef tank and have had  a pagoda coral for close to 9 months. Recently it has began to recede with polyp loss which started in areas of the coral that were in the shade but now has continued in areas  of what was previously adequate light.   Many possible reasons for this... most likely is inappropriate water flow (not enough or just merely laminar- yikes!- as from a power head blasting at it) or it occurs from a lack of feeding (Turbinaria needs fed weekly if you do not have a fishless refugium... else it slowly starves over time in most tanks> The polyps that remain extend  quite  well ( at least 1 - 1 1/2" ). There are several  large Sarcophyton  leathers that have recently divided and are encroaching on the pagoda. <the leathers are indeed quite noxious> And now for my question.  I use liquid calcium and recently Kent's Liq. Ca++ <dreadful long term plan IMO... liquid Ca is a temp calcium for quick fixes and corrections... use a calcium reactor, Kalkwasser or calcium oxide for a long term Ca supplement> Is the loss of the polyps due to  a build up of chloride  ions or allelopathy? <could be either, both, or neither... do check you chemistry to see if Ca and ALK are skewed (ALK is likely low (under 8 dKH) while Ca is high if the liquid Ca was a problem> Do all liquid calcium supplements contain chloride? <all but Reefchem's Reef Calcium which is calcium gluconate> I use Coralife dechlorinator/deaminator on tap water for preparation of H2O for changes. <no worries> I perform on average a 5% water change every week. <yikes... a very weak water change schedule... allows much to accumulate and concentrate in time. Step that up to 10-20% weekly minimum, my friend... especially in a tank full of noxious stinging cnidarians (unless you have ozone and or wicked skimming)> Can you recommend a brand of Ca that is safer. <always calcium hydroxide unless a calcium reactor is a possibility. I love the Knop reactors if so> Thanks once again.   Jim/ Long Island <hey, Jim... Bob Fenner is going to be in Brooklyn at the BAS club meeting this Friday night... do visit if you can! Best regards, Anthony>

Coral losing polyps! HELP! 5/1/03 Once again let me thank you all for maintaining such a wonderful source of info. <its truly our pleasure> I am having a problem in my tank. I have torch coral, open brain among bubble coral, maize brain, tricolor Acropora, star polyps, xenia, mushroom and bubble anemones. <quite an odd mix for long term success... troubles abrew easily in the 2-3 year picture if not sooner. Best to stick with groups/specimens with more similar needs (low-med light LPS... high flow-high light SPS... fast-grow octocorals, etc)> My torch coral and open brain is losing its polyp for reasons I don't know. <a few possible causes... how exactly are they lost? slow necrosis... fine one day/gone clean the next... or simply ejected (but fine and floating around)?> the torch coral has 6 branches and it has lost all the polyps from 2 branches. The polyps from brain coral is separating itself from the stony part and some are falling off it. <hmmm... have you been using liquid Calcium for many months (its a temp calcium... else it accumulates troublesome chloride ions and skews chemistry)? Do you have high calcium but low ALK (below 8 dKH)? Have the water changes been lax (less than even 25% monthly... when such twice monthly or better is ideal)?> I feed my coral every 2-3 days with a seafood mix. Recently I started adding garlic to the seafood to benefit my fish and feed the coral the same thing. Is this why the corals are losing polyps? <no worries... I don't believe the garlic helps or hurts the corals> Also I have recently upgraded my light. It's the same wattage but I am using better bulbs (changed from Jalli power compacts to Coralife bulbs) now. <light shock is a possible cause if the nature of your polyp loss is "bailout" (no necrosis... just ejection). When increasing light (upgrade new lamps or wattage) acclimation is important. Do a search of our archives for info in the "screen method"> I tried using JBJ bulbs but it kept burning after 1-2 days. And also my temperature fluctuates sometimes between 78- 83 F. <Holy cow?!?! 5 degrees is absolutely shocking. Stressful for the corals indeed... and definitely an invitation to get ick on the fishes in time> It usually stays at 82-83 F but when it's cold it goes up to 78 F. The temperature has been like this since I started my tank though. <you need another heater my friend. It would be better to run a consistently higher but stable temp with good oxygenation than have a "safer" low temp that fluctuates wildly. Most references cite a swing of no more than 2F daily> Other than that I have run the tank as I have always done. Please help me through this and let me thank you in advance. <I do believe all will be quite well in time... keep reading/asking/learning. Anthony>
Re: Coral losing polyps! HELP!
Thanks for such a fast reply. As expected. <always, welcome my friend> I think you at least pointed me in the right direction. I do use liquid calcium for my tank almost every day.  I use 1.5 ml  of it in a 30 gallon tank I have. So this could be a problem huh. <Alas, yes... it may be the catalyst. Have you been doing this for more than 8 months or so? It does take some time for enough Chloride ions to build up to be a problem with water chemistry. To be clear here too... Liquid Calcium is very helpful for occasional tweaks or emergency quick fixes of strayed Calcium levels. However, it will be troublesome in the long run if used regularly without extraordinary water changes (large weekly or more) to dilute it> I do use pro buffer dKH with it but not as often. <not related/no worries> But recently I am adding the pro buffer along with the calcium. Will this help? <not sure... depends on your chemistry. Are you able to steadily maintain 8-12 dKH and 350-425ppm Ca?> I do about 15%water changes every 10 days. <cool... not bad at all> About the light its 192 watts power compact. With Jalli bulbs my Acropora was not doing good. But with new Coralife bulb it seems to be coming around. And you are saying it is best to have a high but stable temperature right. I'll do that. <well... not exactly. What I'm really saying is that if you cannot provide or afford to provide (chillers, etc) a stable low temp... then a slightly higher temp kept stable will be better than wild fluctuations. My real advice is to aim for 78F. Figure out where the heat in your aquarium is coming from (excess powerheads is my guess)> The heater works but its just that I thought if the temperature is already high the light will heat up the water more and the temperature will increase more than 83 F. <dangerous enough at 83 prolonged. Do you employ muffin fans to exhaust heat from the light canopy on the same timer that the lights are on?> But I'll experiment with it. I am also trying to install a fan somewhere near the aquarium. <ahhh... my fault. Need to read ahead <G>. Yes.. more air circulation by day with lights on... also use a large external sump pump instead of powerheads whenever possible for water movement> I am glad that it has had no ill effect in my fish so far. I have a beautiful gold striped maroon clown and a flame angel. Recently I have tried to pair it with other gold striped maroon clown and they fought like crazy. <quite normal... they are fierce> They tore each others fin and now the aggressive one is in the breeder net. I wish I could have filmed them when they were fighting. About the polyp loss in the coral. The torch coral lost it fast. The second branch was gone in 2 days. And I don't see the polyps floating around as it is in a high flow area of the tank. I use 2 AquaClear 201 powerhead and a 300 gph tetra filter for circulation. Is this too much circulation? <the power heads produce laminar water flow which is not ideal for corals. Aim the PHs to converge on each other to produce random turbulent flow. We have some articles on water flow in the archives on WetWebMedia.com too for reef/marine aquaria. Aim for a turnover in the tank of 10-20 X per hour. If you have less than this but it seems too strong, then it is likely misdirected (as with laminar from powerheads)> The open brain is not losing much polyp but it's just that it is coming off the skeleton. And I do see the polyp it has lost in the tank. I hope I didn't bothered you with too many questions but thanks a lot in advance. I don't want to keep nagging you from time to time. <your directive currently is to buy/use test kits to determine your complete water chemistry (Alk, pH, Ca, etc.) and also to do larger water changes temporarily to dilute the misuse of liquid calcium which may have skewed your Alk/Ca dynamic. How about two 50% water changes in the next 10-14 days. Keep using your dry buffer... but add Kalkwasser to the regime instead of liquid calcium. Best regards, Anthony>
Re: Coral losing polyps! HELP! 5/4/03
Had to bother you again. I just wanted to let you know what I have been adding in my tank and get your opinion if I am on the right track. Once again its a 30 gallon tank. Every day I add 1.5 ml ca. and .5 ml iodine. I have started to add 5 ml pro buffer dKH daily instead of twice a week. I am stopping to add liquid calcium per your suggestion. Instead I am going to start using 7.5 ml of Tech CB calcium buffer part A & B every day also by Kent marine instead of liquid calcium and pro buffer. <actually, bud... it is still Chloride... just balanced and "safer" assuming you shake it vigorously (!) with every application... else the product can become stratified and dosed disproportionately and still lead to problems. As I suggested in my last e-mail... I really think your best bet is Kalkwasser. For a larger aquarium I might suggest a calcium reactor> And twice a week I add 2.5 ml of strontium & molybdenum, essential elements and iron. I use Marine environment salt mix which also contains a small bottle of essential elements which I add to the water I change. <all a matter of personal pref... but I am strongly disinclined to use Kent products or Marine environment mix.. I like the quality of Instant Ocean, Omega or Tropic Marin salts much (!) better... and have never been impressed with Kent> Now I heard from a local LFS store that adding strontium actually inhibits coralline algae growth. Is that true? <nope... not true at all. If you felt really frisky, I could proffer you scientific literature documenting the uptake of strontium in addition to or in preference to calcium at various temperatures (tends to be selected more as temps fall towards 76/77F)> Also if I use Tech CB part A & B calcium buffer I don't have to use the pro buffer right? <correct> Also I bought a fan to cool the lights and I was able to maintain a temperature of 79 F on a 77 F day so I think its working. I don't know why I didn't think about it before. <outstanding, my friend!> Also I am starting to use poly filter in my tank from today. The label says it removes ammonia and phosphates from the tank. <we like Poly Filters very much... excellent product and long-lasting media... perhaps a few months... at least 6 weeks for most)> Also about buying a test kit, I don't know if I should buy one. I tested my water at 2 places today. One said the Ca was 232 ppm and alkalinity 3.2meg/l and the other said ca was 420 ppm and alkalinity around 2.5 meg/l. Now I don't know which result to go by. <most hobby test kits are crap <G>... don't get me started on brand preferences here...heehee. You need to test your water regularly if you have any hope for long term success. LaMotte and Hach are high quality test kits. You get what you pay for with them. If you want/need a more affordable hobby grade test kit... seek Aquarium Systems brand (SeaTest(s and Fastest lines)> And beside if I had a test kit I'll probably testing the water all the time. <twice monthly till you get the hang of it... once monthly after that will be fine :)> Do you have any suggestion on good test kits? Ok I hope you will be able to give me some suggestion on if I am adding the right thing to my tank. Thanks a lot.   <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Coral losing polyps! HELP!
Thanks a lot. I'll use the Kalkwasser mix instead from now on. I have also bought another fan to cool the light which is producing the heat. I do have the powerheads converging against each other and the flow from the filter converges over there too. Ok once again thanks a lot. It is nice to have someone to turn to when we need some answers. <Always welcome my friend... do be sure to follow up if you do not see improvement. Do take some pictures too to share with other aquarists to help them in similar need in the future :) We'd love to post them here on WWM too. Best regards, Anthony
Re: Coral losing polyps! HELP! 5/5/03
How are you doing today? I am starting to feel like I am taking a class with you. I think the liquid calcium and Tech cb are different product at least according to the label. the content for liquid calcium is calcium chloride but for tech cb it says its mostly calcium carbonate. <no my friend... the one of the two part mix solutions is founded on calcium chloride... it is the other part that provides carbonates (buffer solution). You are still adding CaCl> But I might still be having a chloride problem in my tank as I noticed that the essential element I add to my tank contains mostly chlorides of all the elements. <the chlorides are not that big of a deal honestly... certainly not from trace elements... but can be from the prev dedicated CaCl use. Its effects are mitigated over time (even 50% monthly water changes leave 50% behind in solution and concentrating over time)> I am not using it any more. I started adding tech cb from today and noticed that part B is actually buffer and part A is the calcium supplement. Is this  true? <correct, and the liquid part is still chloride> I wanted to use the Kalkwasser mix but I couldn't find it in the store so I decided to give this a try for a while. <I'm not sure what more I can say, bud. Kalkwasser is dirt common... its just pickling lime (calcium hydroxide). Please search our WetWebMedia.com archives (use the google.com search tool or begin here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm and here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/kalkwasser.htm be sure to follow the other linked pages above> Also about using Tech CB, should I use it every day as the direction says? <only use supplements as dictated by your tanks actual need/demand which you can determine by using you Ca and ALK test kits> I do use a protein skimmer that isn't skimming much. <its a common problem... most commercial models are poorly designed... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimbestof.htm there is a lot of good information in the links on that page to follow> Also I was wondering if true Percula or false Percula will go into a bubble anemone. There is a list of likely/natural hosts on this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm > I have actually seen a bubble anemone host a Percula but when I go around looking in the internet for host of Percula it doesn't list bubble anemone so I am a little confused. <there are sometimes exceptions... but I wouldn't bet the farm on it> Will tanks raise Percula go into an anemone readily? <it makes no difference tank-raised or not... instinct and personal inclinations> I was wondering how long have you been in the hobby. <as a professional (making a "living"/money... over 10 years... you can see all of our bio here for WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/wwmcrew.htm > And how do you manage to find the time to answer all the questions. Is it a job? <we are all volunteers here... several of us earn at least part of our living by writing articles/books... if you haven't read it yet... do please consider Bob's excellent "Conscientious Marine Aquarist": http://www.disaquatics.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=DA&Product_Code=TCMAS (see reviews about it on Amazon.com... I have also written a book on Coral Propagation (www.readingtrees.com) and Bob and I have co-authored a new book that will be out within weeks: http://wetwebfotos.com/store/nma-ri.html > And what kind of tank do you have? where are you from? And where is WetWebMedia based? Ok thanks and have a good day. <WWM has volunteers from all over the country from coast to coast... Bob Fenner founded it in San Diego. It really is a wonderful resource... please do make a concerted effort to use our archives to help answer your questions and so many more... the google search tool for our site really is a tremendous help. Best regards, Anthony>

Bubbles in my Brain!!! (air trapped in coral tissue) 4/19/03 ok.. I attached a photo, but this morning is the first time I've seen this occur on my Lobophyllia.. it looks almost as if there are air bubbles inside the flesh of the brain coral.. <there are several possible reasons for this not entirely uncommon occurrence. In the safest/simplest circumstance... some corals simply "eat" air bubbles (or are fed it trapped in food). As strange as it might sounds... the deliberate ingestion is done by some of the more heavily mucous species for the purpose of capturing food and elements such as proteins that are attracted to the air bubbles (Yes... indeed like the organics "stuck" to air bubbles in protein skimmers). In these cases though... the tiny air bubbles are easily purged. When they are large and apparent as in your case here... it leads me to believe one of two things... forced ingestion of an inappropriate food (freeze dried foods for example... that have much air trapped inside)... or stress. The former is self-explanatory... and the coral is likely to expel it in time, although you don't want to make that a habit! In the case of a stress induced symptom here... there are a few things it could be... and neither are good. The first is over stimulation (over-driving/photoinhibition) of corals by light that is too much or on too long (for this species if only in the tank). New bulbs, cleaned lamps, improved water clarity (carbon used after an absence), etc... all are things that improve or increase the quality of light and cause the zooxanthellae to work overtime to the extent that they produce oxygen inside Cnidarian tissue that cannot be processed fast enough. The other possibility is supersaturation of the water with oxygen by a leak in the plumbing (causing the aspiration of air to super-sat-levels)... OR... the inappropriate addition of hot water to cool water (during a water change or evap top off) to make "warm" water which drives the O2 out of solution quickly (the reverse of super-saturation). This can occur right within the corals tissue just like divers that get the "bends" from nitrogen. Not good at any rate.> it's been fine up until now and the only thing that is changed is that I fed it chunks of krill last night before I went to bed.    <no worries unless the krill was freeze dried or any food that floats that world indicate trapped air> is this something I should worry about? or take caution of? <perhaps... do consider the above possibilities and why it may have occurred> another thing I was wondering was that I have a large toadstool leather that stopped opening during the day... I've noticed polyp extension at night about an hour after the lights go off, but other than that it fully expands during the day.. just that there's no polyp extension. <interesting... generally not a big deal (they do not feed organismally with their tiny polyps by much. However... in light of the Lobo's symptoms... the polyps shutting down early does indicate a possible lighting problem. Are you one of those kooks using 400 watt halides on a 20 gallon aquarium <G>? Perhaps have your lights on too long (over 8-10 hours on MH... or over 12-14 on fluorescents). Perhaps changed to brand new bulbs recently? Hmmmm... many possibilities here.> I'd really appreciate any information. Jonathan
<best regards, Anthony>

Air Bubbles in Coral Tissues ("Bubbles in my Brain") 4/19/03 thanks for the response.. it makes sense on the light stimulation... he had just been recently moved to a higher point in the tank.. but has since been moved into another tank in which his air bubble situation returned to normal.. <ahhh, yes... very plausible and consistent with our theory. Great to hear that your brain is not so gassy <G>. FWIW... corals that express such symptoms (air bubbles from excess light as with sudden move to higher point) can in fact acclimate to the new higher position in time... they just need to be acclimated slower to prevent the air bubbles from forming. Use the screen method (suggested in my articles here on WWM and beyond) to adjust the coral to brighter light over a period of a couple weeks> and I almost forgot to add.. I LOVE your coral propagation book.. the wealth of information is priceless and I've been looking for a book exactly like this for years. Jonathan <thanks kindly, my friend! Best of luck to you in your endeavors. Anthony>

Coral parasite control 4/2/03 My partner has a coral reef aquarium but is away for 3 months and has asked me to take care of the aquarium in his absence. I don't really know anything about aquariums and just do the basic stuff like feeding, etc.  I'm having problems with one of the corals (shaped like a mushroom - sorry don't know what it's called).  It's seems to be getting parasites on a very regular basis.  I know that my partner normally removes these himself very carefully, which is what I've been doing, however, they keep appearing. Is there any way of preventing these parasites from appearing? <there are natural predators likely for these parasites... perhaps a wrasse species. But we must first identify the specific parasite (flatworm, etc) before we can find the compatible predator. Even then, a new fish would have to stay in quarantine for 4 weeks before being added to the tank for fear of introducing a contagious fish parasite to the established fishes. There is no fast solution unfortunately. Please keep removing them manually until your partner returns to make a long term decision on a natural predator. Best regards, Anthony>

Coral Eating Flatworms and need for QT 3/25/03 Dear WWM crew- <cheers, mate> For the last year my Acropora sp. corals have been ravaged by coral eating flatworms (see picture in Julian Sprung's Invertebrates book or The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium).   <yes... quite familiar with it. It is an aquarists penitence for not properly using a QT tank for all new livestock. Its a dreadful lesson to learn the hard way. Please be sure to QT all (algae, plants, fish, live rock, coral... everything) for a simple 4 weeks first. There are several very good articles here on WWM for guidance on the topic from Fellman> I first noticed that areas of my corals were bleaching usually underneath in low flow areas.  Upon closer inspection I noted masses of <1 mm golden brown eggs next to the areas of bleaching.  The worms themselves are cream colored and blend in with the coral quite well.  In their wake they leave a pock-marked appearance to the tissue of the coral and eventual bleaching.  My control methods so far have been to scrub the eggs off (although they can be in rather inaccessible areas) and blast the corals with a powerhead so that the worms come off.  This seems to work better after the coral has been taken out of the water for 2-3 min.  By the way, my Anthias have learned to love eating the flatworms and don't usually miss a single one. <yes... but labor intensive especially for a pest that has direct development (on its prey)> My question is do you know of any other method of control or better eradication?   <nothing surefire... although many have been suggested. Anampses sp. (delicate) perhaps, but only if your tank is large (over 100 gallons), peaceful (fishes), mature (over 1 year old) and preferably with a fishless refugium to support it. These "Tamarin" wrasses have thick rasping lips... advantage over other wrasses> The worms seem to prefer my Acropora valida type corals (aka "tricolor").  They recover after my removal method but within 1 month are back in the same situation.  Halichoeres wrasses seem to ignore the worms (hard to see) and I can't imagine that a Nudibranch would climb on to a coral to get them.  Know anything about "Flatworm Exit"?   <"Coming to a Theater Near You!"> Thanks, John Boe <best of luck, John. Anthony

Hungry bubble and open brain? 3/20/03 Hi,  I'd like your input on a troubling development. My tank has been running about 2 years and basically going very well , till the last few weeks when my bubble and open brain which had both been thriving started to open up less and less, secrete more mucous/waste, and accept feedings of small pieces of shrimp much less readily.  The tank is a 46 with 2x96 pc's (one actinic on for 14 hrs; one 10,000K on for 12 hrs).  T= 78; SG=1025; pH=8.4; Alk=12; Ca=425-450; NH4=0;NO2=0; NO3=varies between 1-3(can't seem to get it to zero).  Other critters are all doing great: 2 toadstools, pr of Banggais, pr of ocellaris, 2 cleaner shrimp, one fire shrimp, a frogspawn which actually does seem to be getting slightly browner; was a brighter green at first).  No new inhabitants or changes in parameters that I can think of. The recent change in the bubble and open brain is quite dramatic and puzzling since nothing else is different.  I know I should try to get the  nitrates lower with more h2o changes, but I can't seem to do enough.  I do about 10-15 gallons every few weeks; it varies and NO3 did reach 3-4 recently for a short time.  I'd really appreciate any ideas you guys have as to what's going on and if you think that the NO3 levels could account for the "symptoms."  Thanks very much! <it is far more likely that they have suffered very slowly from attrition. These are two of the "hungriest corals". Even with ideal lighting, their daily nutritive needs are only served 70-80% by photosynthesis. The rest they must get from food (organismal and absorptive feedings). Without feedings several times weekly, most only live 12-18 months before showing the signs. At 2 years, you may simply have been feeding some but not enough. Or if not at all.. then these corals were getting it incidentally from the bio-load (fishes feeding, waste, etc). Do consider if this may be the case. And please read our articles and FAQs on corals feeding starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fdreefinverts.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm Best regards, Anthony>
Help for ailing bubble and open brain 3/20/03
Thanks very much for the quick reply!  I have studied the site as well as your great book on Coral Propagation.  I have been feeding them several times a week with small bits of cooked cocktail shrimp, <ahhh, kudos to you for the research my friend. Excellent to hear. Passing mention... avoid feeding any cooked foods to your aquatics, the process reduces their nutritive value. Do seek raw and preferably intact (shell-on, guts, legs, etc... for fishes, corals, etc). No problem here though likely from just that> but when I began to notice the recent change, they both stopped "accepting" food, i.e. they didn't seem to extend their feeder tentacles or contract around/envelope the food any more.  So if they're hungry but won't eat,  it's a catch-22, no? <agreed... perhaps a whole different matter here. Many possibilities... a physical parameter would be the next likely cause (aging or dirty lights, water clarity, light penetration... change in water flow dynamic (usually increase from pump cleaning or added pumps)... water quality of course). Its a stretch for us here to guess without knowing more about the history and hardware of the tank> What to do?  Are there other ways to get them to accept food?  Thanks again! <do examine and consider if there have been any physical changes to the tank/water recently... there may be more to this. With kind regards, Anthony>

Nasty Snail Tale Hi, <Hi there, Scott F. here today!> I am writing on behalf of a friend who I don't think realizes just how frustrated and irritated he is.  He has two tanks - both very beautiful and very well kept...except for those little, tiny, apparently irritating snails.  These tanks are both marine one of which is primarily for more aggressive fish that cannot realistically be kept with coral that he would like to keep alive.  The other is a smaller tank (for the time being) used for the coral.  This tank has two coral beauties and many different types of coral including a brain coral and mushrooms among others.  He recently acquired a couple of new pieces of coral and tonight while looking at it as I always do, I noticed a couple of snails.  One was a tube snail (pointed end at one end, snail body at the other) and the other was a spiral-shelled snail.  He then pointed out one of the pieces of coral that seems to be undergoing bleaching as we speak.  He has no doubt these snails are the root of the problem, but when he has asked his fish store how to remedy the situation, they recommended a fish that apparently can either eliminate the snails or eliminate the coral. <Well, the snails may not be causing "bleaching", as this is an environmental response. However, some species of snails can be responsible for munching on polyps. There are a couple of ways to prevent damage caused by the snails. First, you should quarantine newly-arrived corals for a period of time, expressly for the purpose of letting these pests "drop off" from the corals. You can place them on a egg crate platform, and add some "meaty" food, such as krill, Mysis, etc. underneath. This will help "bait" the snails and other pests off of the coral, where they can easily be removed. The other thing that you could do would be to add certain fishes, such as hawkfish or some wrasses, to the tank, which enjoy preying on snails.> He does not like this iffy-ness and so is plucking these snails as he sees them.  However, I am most concerned as these tanks are a source of great joy except this snail issue seems to really frustrate him.  Please tell me there is a remedy for this and please then tell me what it is.  Of course, these snails were introduced via live rock he purchased from that same fish store.  He figures that store sees enough business that those live rocks are turned over before the store sees the snail problem.  I have now spent the last two hours trying to find a solution and while solutions abound for the freshwater problem, I have found nothing that says what to do for marine. <Well, as mentioned above, I'd study those two ideas...Should do the trick> Ok, done babbling now.  Please help.  As a side note, he has mentioned that friends he shares this interest with have similar problems in their tanks.  Of course, they are purchasing their coral, fish, and live rocks from the same place. Just to add more, case I haven't said enough, I know pH, nitrates, phosphates, silicates, and salinity are where they should be.  He, as well as his friends, vehemently maintain their tanks within appropriate ranges and we are all Oceanographers and Marine Biologists with a tad bit of awareness of what marine environments should be like.  But no matter how many Marine Biologists we ask, the answer is unknown as usually, propagation is desired, not removal.  Or so we are finding when the question is asked. <Well, some types of snails, such as Strombus, Trochus. Astrea, Turbo, etc. are really helpful at eliminating nuisance algae. Other snails, such as the "Box" and Pyramidellid snails, are nasty little guys that damage clams and snails with their habits> Ok, really done babbling now.  Please help. <Well, I hope that I gave you a couple of good ideas here. Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Thanx Lori

Expulsion of coral pigments? 3/11/03 Hi guys <cheers> I just got home from work and was surprised to see about 200+ reddish specs floating in my overflow and tank. They are the size of Spectrum fish food pellets (about 1/32") and some are connected by clear "slime" and are floating/suspended in groups. I touched some and they tend to crush at the slightest touch and look like a spot of blood. I have a green with pink tips Euphyllia (Torch) that is deflated and the pink tips appear to be gone. <yikes... the spots could be expelled packets of pigments (proteins and zooxanthellae)> Could this be what I am seeing? <possibly yes> I also have a red/green open brain, a red Blastomussa merleti, red Wellsi, Red Lobophyllia, green  Turbinaria, pink Pocillopora - all of which are deflated or have their polyps pulled in to some degree. <check all of the water chemistry ASAP (including strayed temp or SG?)... then do a large water change (25-50%)> The tank also has a variety of xenia and anthelia and a green Sinularia, orange Ricordea, mushrooms, Palythoa, and a small button leather all of which appear to be doing fine. I have had the corals from one to 8 years. This morning I had added Kent Tech-I. Could this be the problem? <only if you added too much or too fast. Not likely... look for a bigger parameter. Perhaps a sudden influx of freshwater from a neglected evap top off? A sudden change of carbon that improved water clarity?... or change of light bulbs that caused light shock> Maybe too much? Tonight I did a 10% water change and am running carbon. Is there anything else I should be doing? If it is the Torch, will the pink colored tips return? Thank you for your help. Tim <all of these corals can recover in time... but it will be very slow (months) and feeding will be crucial in the interim. Best regards, Anthony>

Heliofungia Plate Coral 3/6/03 Great site...very informative! <thanks kindly> I have a Fungia plate coral bought like a week ago. I have him in a 90 gal, w/live rock, and various fish. He is on the sandy bottom. He mainly opens up at night. I have 265wat power compact lighting with actinic too.....Why does he only open at night, <planktivorous... when plankton is out> <<and predators not. RMF>> and my main question is this.....When I 1st got him, his mouth was visible...now, there is a hole there, and bare coral skeleton is visible. <Yikes... a sign of severe stress. Perhaps light shock if you did not QT in subdued light first.> He seems to no longer be able to accept food, but is putting off very little mucus, and is still puffing up at night... <the latter being a good sign> Is it just a matter of time, or is he ok do u think...thx a lot guys    Tim <its a little scary... gaping is often a rather bad sign. My advice though is to not move or stress this animal at all... it is likely very weak and will not tolerate a change well. Patience and diligence are required here. Do keep offering food in small amounts and give it time to acclimate. Be sure nothing is bothering it (another coral nearby... fishes, crabs in the tank, etc). Anthony>

Stressed coral from move? 2/17/03 Hi, Thanks.  It is a reef....I will use the old 8 month old white until the new one arrives....any thoughts about the lighting having some thing to do with my pearl bubble not doing that well  (an understatement) <not likely... bubbles can live in extremely low light. They simply need fed a lot> He just keeps shrinking....polyps , brain and pagoda....all fine ....but that little guy just is struggling.... <is one of the other corals near to it (say less than 6"). Aggression from chemical warfare (allelopathy) could be the ticket> feed him zooplankton and little cut up food but to no avail it seems....I wondered if he needed more light.   <might help... but not a quick fix> I sort of moved him around a bit in the beginning when I first had him but then I thought I'd better stop.... <yikes!!! For some coral, 2-3 moves in the first week is all that it takes to kill them. It is very stressful and drains their reserves trying to adapt. Please (!) put a coral in place the first time and let it adapt no matter how it looks... moving it won't help> nothing seemed to help and I thought that I should leave him alone.. <agreed> He is mid tank in our 75 gal.... not near anybody....not happy...Thank you for all your help....Helene <alas... no clear cause either. Do keep feeding, improve light and have hope/patience. Anthony>
Stressed coral 2/18/03
Thanks Anthony, Hmmm...thank you for the advise about moving corals in the beginning....Although I didn't move him very much, I did move him twice during the first few weeks.... <may not have been too much trouble. Its a tough coral at any rate> I am a little unclear about all this still.... <understood, my friend... and do read here too: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm > I will dive into your coral book...somewhere in the past I thought that I read that the little darlings should be put a little farther then the normal light at first and then moved to the real place.... <yes... or even better ... the screen method mentioned in the article link above and elsewhere in the FAQ archives> No need to respond....I will reread and I suspect find my mistake..... Anywho he looks a little better today and he will get a little dinner soon as I finish feeding all the other critters around this old farm.... Hate to say it but the next struggle for me is the Kalkwasser stuff...yikes!? How confusing is that issue for the fairly new aquarist!? <actually... it can be very easy. Read about the slurry method in my book and remember that you first test/determine your daily need for Ca... then simply figure out how much Kalk to add slowly each day to meet that (starting small... 1/16 or 1/8 teaspoon)> I am at the point where I read your book out loud and try to figure out what to do.....hate to sound stupid but actually I have a brilliant husband and he is the one I am reading out loud to!!! <no worries at all... we all learn differently. Sounds good to me :) > Questions will follow....I am sure.....Hope it is warmer where you are then it has been here in Maine. <heehee... I'm in Pittsburgh... just hours from DC and Baltimore <G>. It has been a beautiful snowfall. Alas... my back is sore from shoveling snow. I'm getting old :) > Thank you.  Helene <best regards, Anthony>

Green Slimer Hi WetWebMedia crew How's it going I have a question about a SPS coral that is starting to bleach a little at the base. I know why this has happen because the temperature in my area has dropped, which in return has made my basement colder and I have found out the hard way that my heater is not working properly. I found my tank running at 70 degrees, when I checked the heater it was not even on, so I had to compensate it by turning it up to 86 and have added another heater that I know is more reliable. <And the new one is properly set and the broken one thrown out, right? I suggest TWO good quality heaters so this doesn't happen again. Ebo's are very reliable.> Now to my question. The SPS coral in question is a green slimer and up until this happened was doing pretty good.  The bleaching at the bottom does not look very bad, but I am hoping that it does not get worse. Looking for your opinion here, Should I wait to see if it gets better now that the problem has been corrected or do you think I should remove the bleached area. Thanks and keep up the good work. Scott <Optimize conditions (heat, light, current, calcium, alk, pH) and see if it doesn't recover. If it continues to spread, then you will need to take action (iodine dips, etc.) Since you seem to have located the problem, see if it doesn't recover without too much interference. Also, sometimes bleaching events destroy tissue and sometimes not, if the later and you remove the tissue, then you are doing more damage, not helping.  Slimers are pretty hardy.  Craig>

Spots to left of me, bubbles to the right - 2/6/03     Hi to all, <Huuulllllooooooo.> I'm wondering if the brown, translucent spots on my white bubble coral are of any concern. <Sounds like a Planaria infestation, but could maybe be the start of some sort of "Brown Jelly" issues maybe? Other than the spots, are you noticing any disintegrating tissue?> The tank is 6 months old, water parameters are great, temp 80, sal. 20, <Do you mean 1.020?> lighting is a 48"PC <what kind of light? Just curious> which are on 8-9 hrs daily,  water changes are 3-5% wkly <Mmmm.....maybe 5-10% weekly would be better> and the tank is 55glns. The coral is a little more than half way down, the brown spots started about two to three weeks ago and is covering approximately 75%. <A picture would be really helpful here, but if it seems that these are small irregular looking spots some darker than others, then try gently blowing bubble coral with a turkey baster. See if these "spots" come off or move.> Its fed twice a week with Mysis shrimp and a home blend food which includes garlic, serving size is less than 1/4" or smaller. <Could be fed more. Is it still eating currently?> There is a torch coral, <Be sure that the Torch is far from the Bubble as they have a tendency to use their feeding or err....."sweeper" tentacles to wage war on other corals, animals, and yourself <G> when not feeding with them>  purple mushroom, buttercup and a plate coral <Be sure this coral is not too close to anyone either. As a matter of fact be sure they are all pretty far apart if not already ;)> in the tank with it. <Do any other corals have any "spots"?> I do have two gold band maroon clowns in the tank which don't bother it at all, actually I don't see any of the fish bothering it. Any thoughts? < Hard to say. See above suggestions. I would check here also: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pestflatwrmanthony.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/flatworms.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corldisfaqs.htm Hopefully something in there will help identify the issue. Let me know if I can be of more help. If you have the means, please send a pic. Paul >

Manipulating Coral Color I have always had an issue with the color of my corals in my 72 gallon reef tank. <its a complex issue that cannot be resolved completely in any mixed reef tank with unnatural collections (LPS, SPS, soft coral, mushrooms, etc)> I have always had a problem with most of my corals end up turning brownish/ tannish color( Although always healthy and growing). <often a sign of high nitrates and/or low light (not necessarily from weak lamps either... could be aged bulbs (over 10 months old), yellow water, dusty salt creep lens/covers, etc)> I was always told the lighting would effect the color of corals my coral the most.   <depends on many factors... more is not always better, and sometimes it is water clarity and color that is the issue skewing light penetration and coral color... and not the lights themselves>> So I changed it from 260watts blue actinics/whites to 440 watts of 03atinics/whites. The 03 made some impact but nearly what I was hoping for. My tank holds mainly 90% soft corals, 2-tangs, 1 clown, 1 Firefish, 2- cleaner shrimp and various serpent stars, snails and hermits.   <good to hear the focus on soft corals and not a hodgepodge. My advice for optimum soft coral color is URI VHO fluorescent lamps or 150 watt 10K HQI MH outfits> The following were not supposed to be brownish but have slowly turned brownish/tannish in color. The following was sold from GARF: Capnella was sold as blue but now is tannish. POM POM Xenia were a brilliant pink but seems to become more brownish in color the longer its in my tank( very similar in color to the common Xenias). Lemnalia was sold as pink but has more of brownish hue. Overall I have about 45 different frags from GARF. <what?!?!? 45 frags in a 72 gall. I don't care how small they are, you will be lucky to keep this mix alive let alone in good color for the allelopathy. Wow... serious chemical exudations occurring here. The tank can look "fine" and frags will grow for a year or maybe two. But I'd put any kind of money on this tank having a serious problem in the 1.5-3 year picture for it. Just too many specimens to grow out in one tank healthy> All of these corals are doing well since 04/02 but I am very disappointed in my colors. My mushrooms retain there colors. This gives my tank is very tannish appearance from all the corals colors except  I was wondering if it is something that I am doing or if one of my levels is off. <are you using carbon weekly or at least a large portion monthly? Are your nitrates under 10ppm? etc> All the normal test are within normal ranges. <normal relative to what? Numbers would help here bud> I follow GARF'S bullet proof reef recipe. <heehee... bullet proof marketing too> I use Seachem reef plus, reef complete, reef builder. I add Magnesium & Iodine once a week. My PH is about 8.4. I also test for Phosphates, Calcium, Alkalinity , Iodine and Magnesium. However my Iodine is always very low. <Its taken out of solution within hours... I like dosing a small amount daily instead of a large amount weekly> Could this be my problem? Is there any other area I should be testing that could be effecting the color of my corals? <your coral are brown likely because they are over fertilized (phosphate and/or nitrate)... Or... they have shed UV reflective proteins because they are not getting enough UV (yellow water, poor skimming, dusty lenses or lamps, old bulbs, etc). There are other possibilities but these are most common. Anthony>

Bleached coral- how to handle We have a 20 gallon reef tank in our home. Recently we have been given an Acropora. However it is white with blue/purplish tips. <ahhh... bleached with only UV reflecting pigments left. This coral will die within a year if it is not fed and colors up (likely brown... hopefully... with purple tips> I have read about them and understand that there is no naturally white Acropora. <exactly correct> I came across a post on your website that described a similar Acropora. The Acropora we have although white is loaded with green polyps. What is your opinion on this Acropora? The coral is indeed bleached and the pigments you are looking at are reflective proteins and not zooxanthellae> Would the polyps still be open and thriving if the Acropora was bleached? <absolutely...one thing has nothing to do with the other (feeding organismally on nanoplankton versus symbiosis. What you need to do is fed this coral... but because the polyps are so small (and your mention of a 20 gall display leads me to believe that you do not have a plankton generating refugium), there is likely little hope for this coral to survive here. If you do not choose to move the coral to another tank, however... my advice is to make sure that you have a source of nitrogen in the tank (allow nitrates to linger). If your nitrates are low, you can make an ammonium or nitrate solution to dose the tank with (carefully) to feed the coral. Also, know that this coral will not eat bottled green phytoplankton. It needs zooplankton so small that you cannot provide it from a bottle or can. Do consider adding an upstream refugium to your tank (no Caulerpa though). Gracilaria or Chaetomorpha will help you to grow nutritious plankters for your corals below> Thanks for your time and help. Sincerely, Tana Landau <best regards, Anthony>

Light Shocked Corals? Greeting and salutations <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> My problem is as follows setup: 300 Litres. Used to have 2 Actinic Fluorescents and 2 10000K White fluorescents -Recently changed the 10000k's to 2 x 150 MH and kept the Actinics . Power head driven protein skimmer which only does about 1 cup a week ??? Problem here ?? <Well, not a problem, per se- but try to adjust it to pull out a couple of cups a week, if possible> Fluval 404 Filter NO Calcium Reactor / doser My water parameters are good although monitoring my Calcium is a problem. I use reef life Calcium Supplements and Buffer tablets on a weekly basis. <Do try to monitor calcium additions closely...The calcium/alkalinity dynamic can get really out of whack if you don't test for these regularly> My problem is that about 2 months ago I purchased a small cluster of brown mushrooms and a tree coral . My tree coral was doing great all of his small little feelers where coming out and grabbing the water for food . Now 2 months later it hasn't opened up for about 2 weeks and my mushroom coral is dying . I do 10 % water changes every week , my lighting should be fine ...... Why is this happening to me ??????? Should I add iodine and all those other expensive supplements you find in the pet shops ???? Werner Schoeman <Well, Werner- it sounds like everything is in order here...However, it appears that the decline in the corals occurred about the same time you upgraded the lights. Mushroom corals, in particular, can be adversely affected by sudden changes in lighting (both intensity and spectrum). Anthony has a great article on this on the WetWebMedia.com  site. Do check it out! I don't think that you need lots of supplements....just maybe a little patience, and some slight adjustments. Check all water parameters for any aberrations.. then I think you'll see those corals come back! Good Luck! Regards, Scott F.> Werner Schoeman

Coral and anemone follow-up Hello Everyone: <Cheers, my friend> Would like to give a special thanks to Anthony for his advise regarding the tube anemone.   <my pleasure> I reluctantly removed it and couldn't believe how the rest of the coral has responded.   <they are indeed hostile> Everyone is fully open and enjoying their meals per Anthony's instructions.  Even the candy coral seems especially happy and has remarkably bounced back, <great to hear!> although I couldn't find the brand name frozen food he recommended, I bought Hikari's brand of Zooplankton and Mysis Shrimp (hope this is acceptable).   <no worries if the protein is comparable (over 60%?)> Everyone seems to be eating just fine because they are obviously very happy.  Have been feeding them 5:00 AM when their feeding tentacles are out. I do have a concern regarding a lime green feather duster (with a soft tube).  I'm having trouble with bubble Caulerpa sprouting on it.  Apparently some time back it must have seeded itself everywhere.   <bummer> I have tried pulling it off the tube but it seems to stress the tube itself.  Also, there is a thick dark velvety red algae growing on the last inch of the tube that seems to be getting thicker.  I've tried to scratch it off with my finger, but it appears to be very dense.   <do try a peaceful grazing urchin like a Tuxedo sp (Mespilia)> The rest of the tube is fine since I have it buried in the sand.  So far it doesn't seem to have bothered the feather duster.  Should there be concern?   <little> Am also concerned about roots from the Caulerpa growing inside the tube and bothering the little guy. <agreed... remove when possible> Everyone at WWM is just great, thanks for all the professional assistance. <our great pleasure> May the force be with you. <it is... I had Mexican food for dinner. Thanks for noticing. Anthony>

Coral problem I have an SPS coral, Pocillopora sp. who has been exhibiting what I believe to be is RTN.  First it was a small amount of bleaching, and then it began to increase more and more.  Only like 20% of the total coral has been consumed by this, and I am wondering what to due.  I have removed the portion of the coral that was affected, but what if it continues onto the still living tissue?  Can this be helped? Thanks! -D <Hi Donovan, In the past when I have coral starting to RTN I frag a couple of pieces off from the coral and remount them somewhere else in the tank.  I have lost whole colonies due to RTN but some of the frags do make it believe it or not.  There are many things that attribute to corals RTN' ing.  Good luck! Chad D. Bryant chadb@reefscience.com

Odd creature attached to coral ? A flatworm [picture attached] Anthony, I hope you all had a great Christmas and I hope the New Year will be good to you all at WetWebMedia. <and to you in kind, with thanks> With reference to our previous discussion.  Father Christmas delivered me a digital camera for Christmas.  I am still learning how to use it on manual settings, because auto doesn't work very well on the tank, it tends to focus on the glass and not the subject Anyway find attached some shots of the beast.  The last shot was taken by someone else so pass it around, but please don't publish it.  You're free to do what you will with the rest of the shots.  I will get better with the camera and try to take better shots.  When I get some good shots I will email them to you.  But the following is a taster of things to come. Thanks, Jon <thank you, my friend... the picture named "parasite" helped immensely. It is an unmistakable flatworm. Rather common... indeed parasitic but slow to harm. Simply remove it with tweezers. It is unlikely to have reproduced but look for symptoms of offspring just the same in the coming weeks. Best regards, Anthony>

Has He Lost His Brain? For the last three days my open brain coral hasn't seemed to be opening up very well. It seems like it has started to reseed on one lobe of the coral. Tonight when I got home it had mostly white slime and a little brown slime oozing off of it. The other 5 lobes seem to be opening up a little bit. <Sounds like some form of infection. I wonder if it was brought about by some injury. These corals are often nibbled on by fishes, trampled on by crabs and shrimp, and sometimes have difficulty removing sand that gets into them. All of these things can lead to stress, and further decline> Is there a way to help the coral heal itself? Should I do any dips? <Well, you could try a 1 to 3 minute freshwater dip> Can feeding one lobe of a open brain feed the coral as a whole? <I think that it cannot hurt!> I think what happened is I didn't have it in enough circulation due to a slight change in the rock structure. Ever since I moved the rock around it wasn't happy. I have attached some pictures so you can see the lobe. I hope you can help me save this coral. <Well, moderate water flow is desirable for these corals...Too much flow can damage the tissue and interfere with their natural feeding processes. I'd try to increase the feeding and see if this brings about a recovery. Also, make sure that there are not tankmates "sampling" the coral...Once injured, these corals are almost "irresistible" to predators. Keep a close eye on your specimen. If you have further concerns, let us know. I'm sure that Anthony might have some more ideas if the coral does not seem to be improving. Good luck!> Thanks, Ian Roff
<And thanks for stopping by, Ian! Regards, Scott F.>

Coral health Thanks so much for your response. I failed to mention, but I do have a 4-6" DSB in the main tank. <very good to hear... very light sand too!> I will start QT all corals.  I do have a QT tank, I need to get lighting for it.   <yes... please do, my friend. No worries about fancy lighting either! Normal Output (NO) cheap fluorescents daylight tubes from the hardware store can work fine (plant type bulbs). No VHO, PC or MH needed in QT when the water is so shallow. Besides, corals benefit from the lower light on acclimation and all deficiencies in lower light can be corrected with extra feeding (but the reverse is not true about a lack of food with well lit corals)> I already QT all fish prior to addition to main tank.  (the fish and coral QT tanks are separate. <excellent!> I will now insist that frags from fellow aquarist tanks be 'healed' before addition to the QT tank. <indeed... it is much more responsible> I assume that the only way to keep the pH in the 8.3-8.4 range with a calcium reactor is to dose Kalkwasser in the makeup water.  Is this correct? <not correct at all... its more likely an aeration/circulation issue (accumulated CO2 in the water ... or... same but in the winter sealed house). Test this by taking a glass of aquarium water to the garage or another well aerated spot (outside even!). Test the pH before and after 12 hours of vigorous aeration. The pH shouldn't move. If it increases... you have a CO2 problem. Regards, Jeff <kindly, Anthony>

Desperate Hello, First off let me apologize for the length of this question.  I'm sure that you receive many questions such as this from desperate aquarists, and it must be tiresome at times. <a labor of love> I'd also like to thank you in advance for your assistance. <our pleasure> First, my system specs: 125 gal display tank (6'x18"x 24") with a 30 gal refugium and 26 gal Rubbermaid sump. Lifereef protein skimmer, dual chamber calcium reactor. Lighting consists of single 400W Ushio 10k in the center and a 250W AB 10k on either side. Supplemental lighting and dusk/dawn effect with (2) 160W actinic blue My most recent water quality parameters (yesterday) are: pH= 7.9 to 8. <this is too low indeed... aim for 8.3-8.5> Ammonia-0 Nitrite-0 Nitrate-5 ppm (previously this had been at 1 ppm, but I recently pulled all my Caulerpa from the refugium and suspect the spaghetti algae hasn't had a chance to catch up) <very good move to Chaetomorpha... away from Caulerpa> Alkalinity- 10.6 dKH Calcium- 435 ppm Phosphate- 0.03 ppm Temperature varies from 79-82 F Specific gravity- 1.024 on my hydrometer (but was read out as 1.0255 on a refractometer) Water flow is provided by a MAG18 as the main return pump, a Maxijet 750 ph and a Gemini ph to provide additional flow. The main tank has about 175# of mixed LR.   <hmmm... that sounds like only about 2" of sand. Do read through the WetWebMedia.com archives about the advantages and disadvantages of this> The 'fuge contains a mix of Chaetomorpha, Gracilaria, Halimeda, and Ulva. The main tank also has areas of Caulerpa racemosa which came with the LR. I am currently trying to rid the tank of it (an impossible task).  The tank currently houses a Purple Tang, a Lysmata amboinensis, and a Maroon Clown. I desperately want to have primarily SPS (I know many hate that terminology) corals in this system... especially plating type Montiporas, but can't seem to get Montipora frags to survive.   <hmmm... there must be a simply problem to address somewhere here. Montipora are so categorically hardy. > All of the frags that I've gotten have been from captive raised corals grown out in local reefers' tanks.  The primary difference is that the corals had been previously under 400W 20K Radiums. <no worries here... attractive but weak (PAR) lighting... or rather... comparable to your heavier daylights of a lower wattage> I acclimate the frags slowly over 1-2 hours, I dip them in Seachem Reef Dip and after mounting them with superglue, I place them on the sand (in the lowest part of the tank) to acclimate them to the lighting.   <OK... two problems here. The dip and handling of a young unmounted frag is undue stress. The other problem is that you added the coral without a QT period! This may not be the problem now, but I assure you that if you keep it up, you will be writing to us again within a year or two about the suspected and unseen microscopic Nudibranch predators killing all of your Montiporas. Please, please, please quarantine every living thing for 4 weeks that you bring home. Protect your investment if not their very lives (your display inhabitants). The other benefit here is that it will serve as a diagnostic. If they survive in QT but not after  then move to the display... the problem is in the display> Additionally, I run activated charcoal after introducing the frags to help with any 'chemical warfare'.  Over the course of several days to a week or two, the frags gradually lighten, then slough tissue and the calcareous skeleton becomes covered with brown filamentous algae.   <wow... a handling or water quality issue for sure. Try simply acclimating an unmounted (untouched) frag to QT and see if it lives longer> I'm hopelessly frustrated.  I read Borneman's book and researched quite a bit on the reef message boards. Most people recommended Montiporas as good "starter corals" for SPS. <they are the best> Ironically, two Acropora Millepora frags that were given to me along with the Montiporas are doing quite well, while most of the Montipora are dead or dying. Mr. Calfo, I saw you speak at the local WAMAS meeting here in the summer, and was very impressed.   <thank you, my friend... you have a wonderful club and very kind people> I am ready to do almost anything you feel would increase my chances of success. <I suspect that this will be solved easily. Most likely a handling problem (fresh taken frags are already a bad habit... they should always be settled an healed first. Many service though. To then dip them, hit them with superglue and throw them in new seawater is really pushing your luck <G>. Simply acclimate to QT, then attach later> Again, sorry for the lengthy post.  Thanks for all you do.  Feel free to email me with questions. Gratefully, Jeff <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Coral placement I have another question for you if I may: <Rock on my brother> Hammer (below) has one polyp (of six) which has recently started to retract and extend daily. The rest stay extended day and night.  I can see no reason for irritation but my calcium level has recently risen to 520ppm (it is normally kept at 450ppm) due to a faulty top off switch (I add using top off water), could this be a trigger for such behavior?   <not a trigger for the behavior, but an actual value of 520ppm is highly unlikely and at grave risk of causing a snowstorm (crystalline carbonate precipitation.. ALK crash!). Frankly, I doubt your test kit is reading accurately, but do confirm and dilute with water changes if true (slowly... nothing fast here please). And if true, what is your ALK? It must surely be on the lower end (below 10 dKH?)> Is this otherwise normal? <indeed... no worries on the faster hammer polyp cycles. It could simply be because of nearby flow, fish or critter activity- this specimen gets more detritus and plankton and digests more matter. Many actual possibilities here... none are bad. Best regards, Anthony>
Anchor Coral problem 2
I guess in my pre-Christmas haste, I forgot a few important details. 1.  There were no real outward symptoms.  No necrosis or other signs of tissue degradation or color change.  One day they would appear open and happy, and the next day they would begin shriveling up.  They would start shriveling on one side and by the end of the day, they would be completely shriveled.  The tissue would be almost completely gone by the next morning (most likely eating by my many critters).   <agreed... this is a severe water quality issue or predation. Perhaps a large inconspicuous flatworm nearby> The last polyp that died was in the front, so I could see it much better than the other two.  In addition to the shriveling, the tissue looked as if it was tearing away from the skeleton.  I did not notice this on the others, but this may have been caused by the fact that this polyp was also in a slightly higher water flow area. <interesting... have you checked magnesium levels? Do you use/abuse liquid or turbo calcium (awful stuff... chloride accumulation)... or do you use buffers with borate heavy handedly (maintains ALK but weak for coral use)>> 2.  I have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and < 10 nitrates.  My calcium is at 410, my dKH is at 9.5, and my pH is at 8.3. No complaints here> 3.  I have 1 Ocellaris clown, one Hippo Tang, and one Scott's Velvet Wrasse. <no conspicuous risks here> It's interesting that you brought up the predation.  I did find two brown Mithrax crabs.   <Doh! If you don't have Atlantic live rock, they weren't Mithrax  crabs (Mithraculus)! And most all crabs including true Mithrax can be predatory... strong candidates here> I was able to get them out of the tank last night.  They seemed too small to do any damage, <heehee...> but maybe that's what was killing my coral. Thanks again. <very possible. Anthony>

Brown Jelly infection on Gonio I think that my Goni might have brown jelly disease, there is a kind of  orange film developing on some of the polyps, how do I get rid of this infectious disease and save my Gonio? <this secondary barrage of infectious pathogens known as "Brown Jelly" is highly infectious and so virulent that odds are not good at all of saving the specimen. You will be lucky if it doesn't kill other corals in the tank too (healthy established ones too!). This is just one of the many reasons why it is so critical to quarantine all livestock for a full 4 weeks before adding them to a display. Besides having a better chance to save the new guy, there is always the risk of infecting some/all of the established animals. My advice is to capture this coral underwater with a large plastic bowl and lid (the coral is to be moved slowly and sealed in the bowl underwater) to reduce the chance of drifting infected tissue through the water. If any pieces do float away... siphon them out promptly... it is highly infectious to other corals. Treatments to date are highly experimental with antibiotics, FW dips and iodine spikes. I honestly don't think the coral will be alive 48 hours from now, I hate to say, but do consult Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals book for an extensive range of options. My advice is a 60 second shower under cold tap water (seriously) before placing it in QT. Maintain vigorous circulation and aeration in QT as well. Best regards, Anthony>
Goniopora and brown jelly (protozoan) infection?
Hey Anthony, The good thing is that I don't have any other corals in my tank, <a good thing> I was coaxed into buying this Goni as my first coral by my local LFS. <wow... if they are receptive, willing to learn... please suggest that they browse and use our free resource/database for themselves and their customers. Promoting success in the hobby is out mutual goal. Also suggest that they buy either of Eric Borneman's coral books for a quick reference to not make such a terrible mistake again> My coral doesn't have much brown jelly on it and I am thinking that it might just be decay of the slowly dying coral. <agreed... simply decay. "Brown Jelly" is wickedly virulent... you can literally watch flesh fall away over a period of hours.> Thanks for all the help involving my Goni. <best regards, Anthony>

Candy Coral First, I have to say your web site is awesome. I wish they had tools like this 40 years ago. If I spend any more time on this site someone is going to expect an engagement ring. <Thank you for the kind words, but I am already taken.> I recently bought what I was told was a LPS known as a Candy Coral. After I got it home I noticed one of the polyps didn't seem to fully inflate and upon closer inspection, it looks like a very small fan-shaped transparent feeler is feeding from inside this polyp. Is this part of the Candy Coral or did he just hitch a ride and is an unwelcome guest? <From your description, it does not sound like a part of the coral.> Will he cause trouble? <Hard to say, this could be some sort of mutual relationship. Likely not parasitic in nature. At worst, the creature is exploiting the coral and may in time damage this one head.> Should I kick him out for not paying his rent? <I would leave it alone for now.> Keep up the excellent work. <We will. -Steven Pro>

Acropora injury Hi! I have 440watts of PC lighting and  a beautiful piece of purple >Acorpora(5x4 inches in size) which is from my local fish store Purchased 2 months ago)- It has about 8 different large branches coming off it.  It did fine for the first 6 weeks. It still is doing fine but 2 weeks ago one of the branches started to turn white at the very tip of the branch. This particular branch is about two inches tall. For about a week, the whiteness worked its way down the branch. I became very worried the whole coral was going to di. But now it looks like the whiteness/it stopped progressing>down the branch. For over a week  it hasn't become worse. It only worked its way down about 1/4 inch of the 2 inch branch. The whiteness has now turned brown. <it is difficult to diagnose without seeing it or a photo, but it sounds like tissue became infected and denuded. The white corallum (skeleton) was exposed and has now been attacked by diatoms. The coral may reclaim or lose tissue. Hard to say. Do you really have the tank for SPS corals? Very stable Alk, Magnesium and Calcium? You test for these things regularly and dose daily? What have your parameters been specifically?> Are my worries over?   <I suspect this is a mixed garden tank too... mushroom anemones, LPS corals, soft corals. Going to be challenging to keep the SPS more than 1 year here> If not, What can I do to help this coral? I do have other Acroporas for over 4 months that had no problems- Should I consider cutting this tip off and allow the branch to grow back? <Definitely break this branch off... if is easier to regrow a branch than reclaim one with diatom algae> Please let me know.- Thanks Ron <you may want/need some more information before proceeding too much further with delicate SPS corals. I get the vibe that you are very new to at least this aspect of reefkeeping. Live animals here... not stereos or widgets. Perhaps you should get (or read) a good book too before buying another coral my friend. Let me suggest Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals". Covers corals diseases at great length too. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Sick Donut Coral? Wow! What a prompt reply. Actually I meant 2 1/2 to 3 feet (') from the lights ;)   <my fault, bud. Flying through e-mail I misread. I do indeed see the single hash foot mark :) A deep tank and fine for the coral is it were on the sand bottom> My tank is deep and the lights are about a foot above the water. <ironically, I will suggest that you keep your 175 watt lamps 6-9" from the water for maximum benefit. Lower slowly (weeks). Yoshi among others has done great work regarding this> I really don't have any open floor locations.  My aquarium is a 75 gallon with a mountain of LR.  The only book I have on corals is Sprung's Quick Ref guide - which IMO is a great reference on a variety of corals, but not enough for an intermediate refer like myself. <agreed, my friend. It is exactly as billed: a concise reference. Eric's book is heavily illustrated and a pleasure browse. Do consider.> Thanks Anthony.  Your help is valued indeed ! Steve <our pleasure! Kindly, Anthony>

Odd creature attached to coral ? Dear crew, I am sorry but I don't have access to a digital camera at the moment.  However, I have attached a graphical representation of the beast, sorry but I am no artist.   <actually a fine job, thank you :) > The tendrils withdraw when they capture floating particles.  They are definitely a feeding structure of the beast. If this rubbish picture doesn't give you any clues I will see if I can borrow a camera and scan the image. Many Thanks, Jon <an odd creature indeed. I still want to say a flatworm. Its presence on the capitulum (even if non-predatory) is a long term problem for the coral. Remove the coral into a bucket or bowl of water, have another handy for rinsing. Pull the creatures off the coral with tweezers gently. If it is small enough, you could seal it very tightly in a film canister (and then doubled in Ziplocs) with some Formalin from the pet store ( a clear, colorless medication... Aquarium Products is one brand). I would love to look at it and ID it for you. Perhaps I could photograph it and put it in our upcoming book on Reef Corals (with credit to you of course!). My postal addy is Anthony Calfo, Box 446, Monroeville PA 15146. With kind regards, Anthony>

Open brain coral that will not open... HI- I have  a 72 gallon reef/fish aquarium with several healthy corals and fish.  To name a few I have tangs, gobies, chromes, a pair of clowns, an anemone, finger leather, flame mushrooms, star polyps, yellow leather, etc.  All are healthy and doing well.  My nitrate and ammonia levels are good, the temp is 78, the salinity is 23....I have live rock, live sand, and a good sump and separate 55 gallon refugium.  My concern is my open brain that I added bout 10 days ago- it was open and healthy in the store but will not open in my tank.  I have tried moving it, feeding it directly, etc with no success.  Any ideas?? <water flow that is too strong or rather simply directed upon it in laminar (one directional fashion is very irritating). Else a simple acclimation to new lighting. This is a sand dwelling creature... and I assume that you have placed it on the sand bottom. If it is on rock, it will likely die from an infection due to abraded tissue from unnatural polyps cycles in contact with hard live rock. Must be kept on sand. Best regards, Anthony>

Elegance Coral Hi, Steven Pro, how are you? <Not too bad. How are you?> My elegant is not doing well. I just got back from LA for Thanksgiving. I only went away one day. I don't know if it is possible to get you out to my place in La Mesa (near Lake Murray) to take a look to see what can possibly be going on and is there anything I can still do for it. <I am out in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.> Or maybe if you have a place at your place that you can try to raise it back to health. <There is probably nothing you, I, or anyone could do.> The store I bought from had it under 175 watt MH's at mid tank, about 12 inches below water surface. <That was its first problem. They should always be kept on the sand under low to moderate lighting.> The owner said he had it for 3 weeks, and it did look healthy. <They generally do. One of the bad things about these corals is they survive long enough to give the hobbyist false hope.> Like you said damage can be done at anytime, but I just can't believe with calcium reactor keeping alk/pH in check, that it can't make a recovery from whatever the damage. <Many Elegance has perished in recent years in the hands of very experienced keepers with well maintained tanks. It is the coral, its particular needs, and the care it received previously that are usually the problem. Never buy an Elegance that has been perched up on liverock, never place it on rock yourself, give it low to moderate amounts of water movement and lighting, and hope for the best.> Something else have to be the problem that's causing it to not improving. <Not really> I did find the cleaner shrimp (one-I assume is the same one), that was picking on it when I walk in the door today. <I would describe the behavior as opportunistic and not attacking. It is feeding on necrotic tissue, not attacking healthy tissue.> The cleaner shrimp I got is the kind that have 2 red stripe and one white strip in between the 2 red strips. So I immediately fed them and my fish and I am planning on feed the shrimps everyday if I can, and hope it stays away. I wasn't successful on catching it today. I always only see one shrimp picking on it at one time, so I assume it's the same one and maybe it developed a taste for it. Now after they all ate, the shrimps went in hiding. I do have a 10 gallon empty tank (no fish/shrimp), but there is water, live rock, and some Caulerpa with two 8 watts fluorescents on it. It used to be seahorse tank. One bulb is regular fluorescent (which doesn't help much with Caulerpa growth), and the other one is a Aqua-glow bulb (which Caulerpa likes). But, due to busy schedule at work, I sent the horses away. It does still get water change and power head still running, but no calcium reactor. It has a drop in air pump powered skimmer, which was turned off since no more seahorses are in it. If necessary, I can rinse old sand from my old 50 gallon and make a few inches deep sand bed for Elegance. I will have to buy another Aqua-glow bulb, I think if I want to put elegance in that tank. What do you think? <It might be best to quarantine this specimen now for fear of wasting away in your display.> I don't even know if you are in San Diego. I figure if you are partner with Bob Fenner, you probably close by. <Actually the other side of the country, The beauty of the internet.> But I could be wrong. If you can come check it out, I would really, really appreciate it. If possible perhaps this weekend. I don't know how long the coral will last. Probably no more than 5 days to 1 week. Please let me know ASAP. My cell number is 619-xxx-xxxx. If you are in town, I can go pick you up, if you don't feel like driving. I just hate to see things die on me. <I understand.> Thanks in advance. Hope to hear from you very soon. Sincerely, George <Sorry about your coral. On a positive side, our conversations have spurred me to begin an article discussing Elegance corals. Best of luck to you! -Steven Pro>
Elegance Questions
Thanks for your response. I moved it to the bottom, partially bury in the sand, with both end's edge (coral is fan shape) about 1/4 inches or less from sand. It has been there since Saturday night. The 2 cleaner shrimps stick there pinchers into the opening between the meat and skeleton once a while, I guess there are something to eat in there. <This is not a good sign. They maybe feeding on necrotic/infected tissue. Nothing for you to do about it though. Just keep your fingers crossed.> But overall seems coral improved a little, compare to the way it looks like then and today. One thing got me worried is the articles I read from the link you gave me. It mentioned about nutrient rich environment. I don't like to super skim my water like some other people do, perhaps some corals need that kind of water quality. <There are many different niches and many different types of "reef" tanks.> I usually only clean my skimmer once a month or so. <I would like to see you clean it more often that this. I clean mine about every other day or so.> Since the tank just transferred with 60lbs of new sand at bottom, I believe it still balancing itself out. I still have diatoms and start getting some green algae growing now rather than just brown. I do have about 30 snails at work. One clam, one sea squirt thingy, a sponge, and a gorgonian filtering the water. <Depending on species of above you are going to need to take a proactive stance in feeding these animals.> Curious, what kind of animals do you have in the same tank as your elegance coral? <Mostly other LPS, a few SPS, a few soft corals, and mushrooms that I am actively removing.> What's your alkalinity, pH, nitrate, etc? <Specific gravity 1.025, pH ~8.2, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all undetectable, alkalinity ~3.5 meq/l, calcium ~375 ppm, temperature For a tank that's not as nutrient rich, can feeding replace the nutrient it needs? <Yes, that is what I do.> Right now I think my tank has plenty of nutrients, since diatom and green algae is all over the place. <I am not so sure. This is a cycle of sorts for new tanks.> Coralline algae is starting to grow faster and faster now. <Excellent!> I do have Calcium reactor. <Great!> I do add buffer, mineral supplements, and iodine once every week. <Ok> I don't know if my test kit is ok or what. Yesterday I test my alk=11.2 (I tested 2 times), and calcium is 400 (which is lower than the 425 for sea water). <These numbers are fine. Just keep them consistent and you will be rewarded.> I think I probably need to have someone test it again for me. Thanks again. Let me know. Sincerely, George <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Ugg, Slug problems on corals Good Afternoon Mr. Fenner, <Anthony Calfo in your service> Having tried to find some info on the WWW with not too much luck, I was wondering if you could advise me on what to do with a slug problem, I am having in my tank. I live in the UK, and am quite new to marine fish, having kept tropicals for years. My tank is 60 UK gallons, I have live rock, live sand and coral sand as a substrate, >> Livestock >> 1 fox fish >> 5 green Chromis >> 2 Percula clowns and bubble tip anemone >> 1 orange spot goby >> 1 small blenny >> 1 dwarf cherub angel and an assortment of soft corals, also have 2 cleaner shrimps, 1 blood shrimp. And a clean up crew of critters i.e.: blue and red hermit crabs, and turbo snails. All of which are doing very well. I am running an Deltec APF600 Protein skimmer,1 UV Sterilizer. I also have 2 large Eheims,  plus an internal filter for the filtration, and 2 power heads for the moving of substrate. And my problem is I have star polyps which are currently infested with these slugs ! they are small and white, and have completely decimated 1 coral, and I am now afraid they will start on the other one. So do you have any advice on how to dispose of them, without using chemicals in the tank, as I am against using anything in the tank, is there a fish or something I could put in that will happily munch on them. <yes... you can use a wrasses species like the six-line wrasse. There are in fact many other species that will work well. The best bet if to move this coral(s) to the quarantine tank while you QT the new fish for 2-4 weeks in isolation. This will force the new fish to eat more and do so faster while the stranded slugs in the display starve without a host> I also use an R/O Unit to make my own water, and I am about to change my salt to tropic Marin, after using Kent sea salt, as I was advised this was a better quality. <A VERY wise move in my opinion> Hope this isn't too long winded ! but I felt if I were to ask an expert, such as yourself you would need to know all the statistics. <you've done an excellent job of providing background information my friend> The tank has been up and running for 7 months now and no losses. Hope to hear soon. Yours Sincerely, Sue Coveney <Sue, to avoid these problems in the future... please be sure to QT all new corals, live rock, etc for 2-4 weeks just like fishes. Else you take a great chance with every piece of livestock added fresh to the display. Best regards, Anthony>

Trapped gas in Euphyllia? Hi guys, I have a question about my Euphyllia.  It was sold to me as a branching hammer coral and it's been absolutely gorgeous up until now.  I did a water change on Tuesday and now on one of the branches in the middle of the of the branch near the mouth there are like two bubble looking things, they look like air pockets. <arghhh... not good> The only thing I can think of that might be a possible cause is the water temp.  The water may have been a little colder than the water in the tank.  I can't get a clear photo of it because of the angle, but it just looks like two little air pockets on either side of the mouth.  Any ideas? Thanks, Arthur <you are correct... the sudden mixing of cold and warm/hot waters can cause this condition (like an embolism). It is also caused by microbubbles that supersaturate the water as when aspirated through a pinhole leak in the return pump plumbing. It is also caused by excessive illumination (recent upgrade of lights or changing of an old lamp). And lastly, air is sometimes ingested deliberately by some SPS with or without food (perhaps for the proteins attracted to the surface of each air bubble). The last event is the least common and seems to occur most often captivity (not on a reef so much). All other explanations here are unfavorable but not fatal. We simply must give it some time to see if it will pass (week+) or lance it if necessary (interferes with normal polyp cycles). Best regards, Anthony>

Zooxanthellae I am a beginner reef keeper, <welcome my friend> my tank is pretty mature about 8 months and water quality is good (as far as I know). <please be sure to test all parameters regularly before you buy corals> I just purchased bubble coral and it has emitted some zooxanthellae, I have read this is normal as it is adapting to my tanks parameters. <its not normal or healthy... just common in stressed animals> How do I know if it is too much or if it is in fact emitting all of its zooxanthellae and therefore dying? Thx AB <we cannot say without more information and images at least, but rest assured that the coral will almost certainly adapt. At times like this feeding is crucial if the coral will survive. Feed small portions of very finely minced meats daily for the first 2 months... then at least 3-5 times weekly indefinitely after that. See this article as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fdreefinverts.htm Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

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