Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about Stony Coral Health/Disease/Pests 3

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 2 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,

Unhappy Symphyllia 12/31/03 I purchased a beautiful Symphyllia about a week and a half ago and it is not happy in my system.   <it really does not look bad in the pic... just irritated as evidenced by the issue of defensive filaments> It is mounted somewhat vertically in the bottom of my tank (75 gallon with 260 watts PC lighting).   <the lighting is not worry here... Symphyllia are adaptable to lower light and require heavy (almost daily) feedings regardless of lighting (they are not sustained adequately by photosynthesis)> There is some white recession on the top edge and the bottom of the coral has exuded it's digestive system in what appears to be small round tan bumps.  I have enclosed a pic that was taken after a Lugol's dip.  The little strings that are in the pic appeared after the dip but are now gone.   <ahhh... no worries then. The recession may simply have been due to mishandling prior to your purchase. It simply needs time to heal. Do not move this coral around (or any.. very stressful). Put it in a good place and simply let it adjust for some weeks. Keep it at a safe distance from other corals too to allow for growth> It does not extend it's feeding tentacles at night and has not eaten since I got it.  I've had it in 3 different locations in the tank and this makes no difference.   <yikes! this is a surefire way to stress if not kill a coral. No wonder its not eating either. The movement drains significant biological energies> I have read that it can be sensitive to Xenia and I do have some in the tank.   <I seriously doubt that. In fact... I'm nearly sure of it. Xeniids are one of the most weakly noxious/aggressive of all soft corals.> It is approximately a foot away from it.  The only corals in close proximity are a fox coral, red open brain and cup.   <"close" needs to be defined here... but I'll say at least 10" distance needs to be between corals minimum... and further for aggressive species> I'm really worried about it dying on me.  All of my other corals are doing great.....it's the first coral I've bought that is not.   <more patience are needed here mate> Other corals are Anthelia (about 2 feet away) some mushroom anemones (about 2 feet away), and a frogspawn (about 8 inches away).   <the frogspawn is a serious and present threat... way too close for this extremely aggressive coral (they do not need to touch... noxious exudations> I have an Emperor 280, Emperor 400 and a Remora Pro skimmer on the tank.  Calcium is running 400, alk 10.2, nitrates are 2, no ammonia or nitrites.  I have changed the cartridges in the filters so there is fresh carbon running.  What else can I do to help this beautiful coral?  Thanks for you time in answering...... Janey <give it time and do have a long term plan for the tank. DO not overstock and please allow room for growth, assuming you hope this unnatural mix of corals will live long term for you. Best of luck, Anthony>

Location and a sick coral 1/1/04 Hello there, <Hi Eric, Happy New Year!> I have been making use of the info on your site for close to a year now and  have found it to be very helpful.  I have 2 issues which I was hoping to get  your assistance with. <Glad you have found the site useful.  Lets see what we come up with....> 1.  I know that corals are not supposed to touch one another, however, I have a Sarcophyton that is now surrounded by mushrooms (due to growth) some of  which are in direct contact with the Sarco's stalk.  Everyone has been doing fine  for the past several months (all of the aforementioned corals have been in  the tank for at least 7 months - touching for about 2). Should I move the Sarcophyton? <As a general rule, corals should not touch, but if they have grown this way, and the interaction isn't harming either coral, I would leave it.  Do watch both parties for any bad reactions.  Also... Either coral may look fine, but the interaction may be causing a heightened chemical response.  Observe these and other corals in the tank for other wise unexplainable poor health.  Be prepared to move one or the other if things decline.> 2.  I had a mishap with my Goniopora (a sponge fell on it and was there for  most of a day while I was at work).  The Goniopora now has what appears to be a  brown slime infection.  I'm worried about doing a dip with Lugol's.  Would a  freshwater dip be advisable?  Have you ever used a product called Ruby Reef  HydroPlex and if so what did you think of it? <I have not used the Ruby Reef product, and am wary of any product that is not clearly labeled with ingredients and a description of what it does.  Freshwater dips are usually as or more deadly to corals than to infections.  A proper Lugol's dip is probably a good idea, but brown jelly usually proceeds so fast that by the time you get this and do the dip, it may be too late.  Try 10 drops Lugol's per quart of aquarium water for 15 minutes.> Thank you for your time and any answers that you may provide. <hope this helps, and good luck!  Adam> Sincerely, Eric Baker

Something eating SPS - Montipora Anthony, happy holidays and hope all is well with you. <Adam here today.  Anthony bumped this over to me since I just dealt with this problem in my own tank.> I noticed one of my recent frags, a Montipora's Cap,  that is purple in color bleached around the edges about a quarter of an inch.  This is more then the  normal white tips from growth.  I attributed this to a drop in Alk while I was adjusting to my winter evaporation rate.   <I did pretty much the same thing.  I attributed it to water quality, did some water changes and never really inspected the coral closely.> However, I have noticed a small white spiral looking thing on the white part of the coral.  Looks almost like a very small white fan worm (at least the ends of the fan worm anyway). <The critter you saw is an Aeolid nudibranch.  They seem to becoming quite common in the hobby, likely from frag trading.  They seem to favor plating Montiporas, but will move on to branching forms.> I also noticed a small white area on my established, thriving purple cap.  Could this be a bug or something?  Any ideas or am I  just seeing things. <The white spots are where the nudi.s have eaten the coenosteum (tissue between polyps) of the coral.  Unfortunately these are very real and quite difficult to get rid of.  Manual removal is the only way to do so without significant risk of killing the coral.  You will have to remove the infested corals every day or couple of days and pick or scrub off any nudibranchs or eggs.  It may be best to this in a bucket of tank water since the critters tend to collapse under their own weight and become difficult to spot out of the water.  After you are 100% sure you have eliminated them, continue to check your Montiporas at least weekly.  I continued to find one or two a week for about a month.> Thanks <No Sweat, and best of luck!  Adam> Andrew

Sick Tank 12/13/03 I'm looking for ideas tonight. Yesterday I came home from work and found my Trumpet coral dead, This morning 1 clam, 3 Acros, 2 Montipora, 2 Leathers have joined the Trumpet. <Sorry to hear about these losses.  Before reading on, I was already thinking something toxic was introduced into the tank.> My Tank is a 180 AllGlass with 40 gal sump and 50 gal. refugium, and has been running for 11 months. All tests this morning good: ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, PH 8.2, dKH 10, Temp 79. I quickly started making saltwater and have performed 2 30 gal water changes. I also refreshed the carbon and added a couple of more bags. I have removed all dead animals. <Kudos on the quick action.  I would do more of the same and consider a brand name chemical filter pad or toxic metal absorbent. With so many deaths, I am surprised that no ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate are present.  You might consider trying another ammonia kit.> Now as I inspect the tank some of the fish are deteriorating (swimming poorly, hiding, breathing slowly) and more corals are shrinking. The only thing I have found out of the ordinary is 1 250w MH bulb was broken  but still burning. <This is pretty normal stress response for the fish.  The broken lamp could have a couple of effects.  First, without it's outer envelope, it will be transmitting a lot of UV.  Second, metal halide lamps have a lot of nasty metals in them (hence the name), but those should have been contained in the inner envelope of the lamp.  Lastly, if it broke because it was splashed, the salt creep could be conducting current into the water.  If you don't have a multi-meter, they can be had for $10 or less at your local home improvement store.  Set it to 150V AC (or whatever is closest), put one probe in the water and the other to ground (a water pipe will work, as will the round hole of a wall outlet)  If you aren't comfortable with electricity, get help.> My skimmer is working well, and the tank water is very clear. I have removed the Caulerpa from the refugium leaving only a 4 inch sand bed. <clear water and a working skimmer are good signs.> My RO unit is working to make more water. Also my coralline is losing its purple color.  I plan a large water change tomorrow evening. <Great!  As I said above, you get "more bang for your buck" out of one large water change than two small ones given the same total water changed.> Can you suggest any procedure, or tests I can perform. <So far you are doing the right things.  If losses continue despite the water changes, etc. and you cannot find the source, I would find a babysitter (or a few) that can take your animals while you sort it out and get the tank back to normal.> Thank You for your time. <Glad to!  Best of Luck.  Adam>

Her Flame Scallop Is Happy As A Clam! Hi guys! <Hey there! Scott F. your guy tonight!> I hope you had a good Thanksgiving and didn't put on too much weight.  Remember you have to save some room for Christmas food too! ;] <Yikes! And I still haven't finished my shopping, either!> Well I haven't written in quite a long time (that's what happens when you become an educated reefer).  hehe   I wrote back in March about a Flame Scallop I collected while snorkeling.  It took a few days to settle in and did a very funny scallop jig around my tank in the process.  It finally found a secluded spot (kind of cavey) on the back of one of my rocks (a miracle that I can actually see it!).  I don't want to jinx it, but I am happy to say that it is December now and my scallop is still as happy as a clam. hehe <Glad to hear that it is doing well. We usually tend to discourage the keeping of these guys in most aquaria. As you are probably aware, Flame Scallops have an absolutely dismal survival record in captivity, starving to death over the course of a few months, so keep doing what you're doing!> It extends all of its tentacles (?) and its filters are nice and pillowy looking.  I feed a mixture of 3 tsps Dt's, 1 chunk blood worms, and a chunk of red frozen food via turkey baster to everyone once a week.   <Glad to hear that you are feeding...Usually, most hobbyists don't seem to have luck using bottled phytoplankton, as these animals feed on some of the most minute-sized plankton, which is usually hard to come buy in captive culture...Keep giving it your best!> My flower anemone is gorgeous and my open brains look like meat corals the morning after.  So I will report later on down the road and hope my success continues.  (Of course there are other factors: 58 and 75gal running on the same sump, running a refugium for a few months, Nerites and Ceriths love to make it on the glass adding to the zooplankton population, well established tanks with 3+" sandbed, etc, etc)  ;] <There you go! Having a healthy refugium is one of the best things we can do to assure success with delicate animals. You're right on the mark regarding the natural zooplankton production occurring in the 'fuge!> Okay one question,  Do you know of anything that would make an open brain (red rim green middle) that is 5+ years old rip open from the mouth, then fix itself?  This went on for several months then it finally got so bad (couldn't repair itself anymore) that it kicked it.  My four other open brains (I have a thing for them) never had this problem.  We figured that the brain in question might have had a microscopic algae problem that caused this.  Sad because it had a true RED rim figure eight shape. <Well, it's hard to say what this was. Could have been anything from a localized trauma to some sort of malady...Don't really have an answer for you on that one..> Drats!  I have another small question.  I have these little algae eating guys in my tank.  They're under half an inch and have a shell like a limpet crossed with an abalone.  My husband says they're limpets, but here's why I'm not so sure.  They have a head like a snail and if you touch one it zips away as fast as a sea slug.  These guys really move!  Thank goodness they eat diatoms or I might have problems!  If this doesn't help I'll try and get a pic to you sometime. <Yep- a pic would really help...I'd like to see what it is before making a guess!> Love you guys, take care! I hope everyone has a fine holiday and happy new year! Goodnight! <Thanks for the kind words, and happy Holidays to you, too! I hope you have continued success with your Flame Scallop! You're doing the best that can be done in captive husbandry- keep it up! Regards, Scott F>  

Bubble Coral  Hi There,  <Hey! Scott F. with you today!>  I have a x-large bubble coral. It has white spots on the bubbles. It is not opening up the way it did before. I wasn't feeding it formula one until recently. It started opening up better after I started feeding it but wasn't sure if it got weak and fell ill because of malnutrition. Is there any antibiotics that might help if it is a fungus? I don't know which ones might help............ Chet  <Well, Chet - lots of possibilities here. I don't like the idea of medicating unless you know exactly what your working with. This may not even be a disease. If you suspect that it is- and, if you deem it appropriate, you could employ a dip in saltwater with Lugol's solution (iodine in potassium iodide) may be effective, but it can be dangerous if the coral is left in too long. The recommended concentration is usually 5-10 drops of 10% solution per liter of water, and the coral can be left in for about 10 minutes. Again-if you go this route- watch the coral carefully. This is not a panacea, but it can be effective at reducing some pathogenic microorganisms. Alternatively, you could use a freshwater dip, with similar cautions. All in all, I'd recommend watching the coral carefully for a while before embarking on a course of treatment that could be more problematic than effective! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> 

Coral Tissue Loss  Hello Gang !  <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!>  Once again, I come to the coral oracle for advice. I have several Blastomussa wellsi in my 110 gal tank. Over the past several weeks, some of the polyps have slowly deteriorated starting from one side and eventually the whole polyp. There is no sign of decaying matter just a slow "melting away", like someone eating a cookie only it takes a week or more for the whole polyp to disappear. The rest of the polyps seem fine and happy and open nicely, even the one(s) that start to decay. Any ideas ? All my numbers are in line.  <Well, it's hard to be 100% certain, but I'm leaning towards some sort of decalcification even in the coral tissue, or a form of stress-related necrosis...This species tolerates cutting and other imposed propagation techniques well, so I doubt it was related to some damage that the animal may have incurred during handling. Sounds more like some sort of decalcification response. The cause of this malady is not entirely understood. The possible cause might be a lack of bio-available calcium for the animal. Sometimes, however, the decalcification continues even if calcium sources are available to the coral, so my best suggestion is to maintain good levels of calcium, and overall good reef conditions. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>
Coral Tissue Loss (Pt. 2)
Hi Scott, thanks for the advice.  These have been in the tank for several months w/o incident. I did have a small incident of loss of an Acro recently that spiked the nitrates a bit to 10. It also threw my alkalinity, cal and mag #'s off for about a week. That happened a month ago and since then the #s have been back into my normal range. The cal was off slightly though during that period. Thanks so much again for your thoughts on this. <Hmm.. Maybe, just maybe this theory might be correct...Keep in touch and let us know how things work out, okay? Thanks for sharing! Regards, Scott F>
Coral Tissue Loss- New Thoughts?
Will do. Thanks again. One other thought. Do you think my UV sterilizer has anything to do with it? I know that there is symbiotic algae in the coral but do you think it is being harmed in some way by the UV ??? <Well, it's an interesting thought- but the UV light only irradiates the water as it passes through the sterilizer, so I don't think it would affect the symbiotic algae that occur in coral. On the other hand, if you were using double-ended (HQI) halides and not keeping the bulb shielded, potentially dangerous levels of UV could penetrate into the water, possibly causing damage to the corals...Something to think about, anyways. Hang in there. Regards, Scott F>

Pick A Direction- Any Direction!  Hi. I'm hoping you can help me with a problem that has suddenly come up with my reef.  <I'll give it my best! Scott F. here today>  My tank is 110 gallons with a 25 gallon sump and a 15 gallon refugium. I have an Excalibur skimmer in sump rated for a 200 gallon tank. I empty the skimmer cup about every 3-4 days. The refugium has mud and macro algae and gets 24 hours of light. The tank itself is lit by 2 250 watt 10,000K halides and 2 55 watt actinic pc's. On 10/30 I had the following livestock, all of which had been in my tank for at least 9 months.  Fish:  (1) Gold flake Angel (Apolemichthys xanthopunctatus)  (1) Golden Angel (Centropyge aurantia)  (1) Black Tang (Zebrasoma rostratum)  (1) Chevron Tang (Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis)  (2) True Percula - pair (Amphiprion percula)  (1) Peppermint Hog (Bodianus opercularis)  (1) Swiss guard Basslet ( Liopropoma rubre)  (1) Lavender Fairy Wrasse, Australia (Cirrhilabrus lineatus)  (1) Rosy-scales Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis)  (1) Clown Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus solorensis)  (1) Flame Hawk (Neocirrhites armatus)  (1) Sunrise Dottyback (Pseudochromis flavivertex)  (1) Six Line Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia)  (1) Mystery Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus ocellatus)  (1) Canary Demoiselle (Chrysiptera galba)  <A neat combination of interesting fishes, but way, way too many for this tank, IMO>  Invertebrates:  Coral Banded Shrimp mated pair (Stenopus hispidus)  Scarlet Shrimp (Lysmata debelius)  Cleaner Shrimp, pair (Lysmata amboinensis)  Blue Leg Hermit Crabs  Snails (Astrea sp.)  Red Bubble Tip Anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor)  Corals:  LPS -  Green Plate (Fungia sp.)  Orange Plate (Fungia sp.)  Rose Brain (Trachyphyllia geoffroyi)  Green and Red Scolymia (Scolymia sp.)  Green Blastomussa - (Blastomussa merleti)  Red Blastomussa - Green Center (Blastomussa merleti)  SPS -  Brown/Blue Acropora, branching 1 small frag (Acropora sp.)  Yellow/Green with Pink/Purple Tip Table Acropora (Acropora sp.)  Orange/Brown/Green Acropora, bushy (Acropora sp.)  Brown/Pink Acropora, bushy (Acropora sp.)  Padabola Acropora (Acropora solitaryensis)  Orange Montipora, plate (Montipora sp.)  Green Montipora, plate (Montipora sp.)  Brown Cup (Turbinaria sp.)  Yellow vase (Turbinaria reniformis)  Pink/Brown Bird's nest (Seriatiopora hystrix)  Soft -  Clove Polyps (Anthelia sp.)  Green Cabbage (Sinularia sp.)  Spaghetti Leather (Sinularia sp.)  Green Leather (Sarcophyton sp.)  Mushroom Leather (Lobophytum sp.)  Colt (Cladiella sp.)  Blue Coral (Heliopora sp.)  Gorgonians -  Purple Sea Fan (Muriceopsis flavida)  Tan Gorgonian  Corallimorpharians -  Peach Ricordea (Ricordea florida)  Green Ricordea (Ricordea florida)  Blue Ricordea (Ricordea florida)  Green Ricordea, Atlantic (Ricordea yuma)  Blue Pinstripe mushrooms (Discosoma sp.), Australia  Purple Mushrooms (Discosoma sp.), Vanuatu  Red Mushrooms (Discosoma sp.), Vanuatu  Red Mushrooms (Discosoma sp.)  Blue Mushrooms (Discosoma sp.)  Blue Striped and Spotted Mushrooms (Discosoma sp.)  Green Mushrooms (Rhodactis sp.)  Red Elephant Ear Mushroom (Rhodactis sp.)  Lavender Mushrooms (Rhodactis sp.)  Clams:  (2) T. Maxima  The tank has been up and running for about 2 1/2 years, the refugium was added about 8 months ago. All in all my tank has been stable and successful. Yes, I've suffered losses, but the last one, before a few days ago, was probably six months ago. So here's my problem. On 10/27 the Seriatiopora hystrix began to bleach from the bottom up. By the morning of 10/29 it was completely gone. I tested my water that afternoon and everything (calcium, KH, magnesium, nitrate, phosphate, PH, nitrate, specific gravity) was within acceptable parameters. On 10/30, I performed my weekly maintenance which consists of a 5 gallon water change (RO DI water purchased from a LFS) and cleaning the sponges in my overflows and sump. I had a high nitrate issue (in the 60's) about 7 months ago and have done this regimen every week, religiously, since that time. About 40 minutes after the water change, I looked at the tank and my corals had closed up, including the mushrooms and the anemone. Because the anemone usually shrinks nightly I did not think much of this. The next morning, however, everything was still closed up, mushrooms and leather corals included. By the time I got home from work that afternoon the story was the same. The tank looked terrible and everything was still closed up. Panicking, I mixed up 35 gallons of new water, let it sit about 2 hours and performed a 35 gallon water change. I also replaced, not rinsed, all the sponges, added two poly filters and some carbon.  <Poly Filter and carbon is a good combination of filter media for organic removal...Good move>  This morning I woke up and my two plate corals had bleached as had one Acro frag. Everything else looked about the same. Later this morning I took a water sample to the LFS where I buy my RO DI water and had it tested and told them the problem. Again my water tested fine. They also tested for Chlorine and Copper which were not present. When I got home my rose brain was dead and all of my SPS had lost their colors and turned brown. Now, several hours later, my anemone looks a little better, as do the mushrooms and Blastomussa. Everything also looks about the same. The fish, by the way, appear to be acting normal and the look fine.  Any ideas what caused this and what I may be in for? I am as concerned about the course this is taking or may take (will I lose my entire system?) as I am about not knowing what started this and what is wrong. Any help you have is much appreciated. Thanks.  Michael  <Well, Michael, I guess I need to start by reviewing a few basics here. First, it sounds like you have entirely too many animals in this tank to have a long-term sustainable system. Although there are lots of theories about bleaching, rapid tissue necrosis, and other maladies that effect corals in closed systems, I think a good deal of what caused this in your system was the mix of corals. Although relatively common in aquariums, mixing SPS, LPS, soft corals, corallimorphs, and stinging cnidarians in the close proximity of an aquarium is a recipe for long-term problems, IMO. These animals are simply not found in close proximity in nature, and are not naturally "equipped" to handle the interactions amongst each other. There are issues of allelopathy ("chemical warfare") occurring between corals, as well as the sheer volume of metabolic products given off by the corals, and the large, large fish load that you have. Yes, you had some short-term success, but the long-term sustainability of this type of arrangement is questionable. Your idea to employ more frequent small water changes is valid, but in a tank this crowded with potentially incompatible animals, even larger water changes and very aggressive protein skimming would be much more valuable here. If it were me, I'd do a little re-evaluating of my goals here, and start thinking about what animals and fishes are the ones that I want to keep the most. You really need to "specialize" to a certain degree, and keep almost exclusively SPS, LPS, softies, etc. Your fish load is also enough for two tanks of this size, IMO. You really cannot have it all in this hobby, unfortunately! As the hobby sayings goes, "Nothing good happens quickly in a reef tank"- and the reverse is true, too, in many cases. Yes, there can be some short-to-medium term success, but in the end, it will end up in a situation just like you're experiencing. My advice is to choose a direction that you want to go, and stock a tank accordingly. You may even want to branch off into a few tanks, so that you don't have to sell or give away all of your treasured animals. The fact that you were able to maintain a very crowded, unsustainable population of animals for almost a year is testimony to your husbandry practices and skills being good. You need to "tweak" things a bit, and apply your good husbandry techniques in a viable stocking plan. Just think about what's best for your animals, and plan accordingly. In the end, you'll see greater long-term success! Regards, Scott F.> 
Pick A Direction- Any Direction! (Cont'd.)
Thanks for the response, obviously your points are valid and things I have considered.  Truth be told, I like many other hobbyists, "want it all." <I've been "guilty" of that many times myself, so I understand- believe me!> I do, however, take my responsibilities as a fishkeeper seriously and the losses I've suffered are not suffered lightly. <Yes you do- and I'm glad you are a truly conscientious hobbyist!> To update you, since my E-mail, things went from bad to worse.  I lost my rose anemone (which I had for over a year and was almost the size of a basketball) and about 1/3 of my other corals.  The rest of the corals I packed up and brought to my LFS to, hopefully, save.  What I don't understand is why this issue only affected corals.  My fish, shrimp and several brittle stars are all fine.  And, my water quality again tested within acceptable parameters.   <Well, again- it could be the long-term effects of allelopathic compounds, or maybe some other coral-borne pathogen that is causing the problem...> So, my question now is: Where do I go from here?  The owner at the LFS said not to do another water change, but instead, replace the poly filters and carbon daily for 5 days and that, together with my skimmer, should pull out whatever is in the water. <Well, the skimmer and PolyFilter/carbon can and will yank stuff out of the water, but even these great tools are no substitute for a good water change, IMO> He also said do not remove the rock or substrate.  Other advice I have gotten from hobbyists I am friends with, is to remove the rock and substrate and "rinse" it in salt water and then replace it. <I'm not sure what the rational for that would be. If you are dealing with allelopathic compounds, this would be a fruitless exercise, and if the problem is a coral/cnidarian specific pathogen, I still am not sure what this process could accomplish...I would rather remove the corals and possibly dip them, before I'd start tearing out the rock, myself> I really am at a loss for how to proceed.  Any help you can provide would be much appreciated. <I'd do some substantial water changes, replace filter media and chemical filtration media, run some water tests again, and let the tank run without the corals for a while. Then, when you have settled on a direction that you want to take, you can gradually introduce them again...No sense in rushing things, since your patience and care kept the tank going for this long. Take the time and observe carefully...> BTW, before this crash, the tank was up an running for about 2 1/2 years.   Finally, the LFS proprietor said a customer told him that a bad batch of Instant Ocean salt made its way into circulation in the Midwest. I'm in Chicago and the 5 gallon change I made was with Instant Ocean salt.  Have you heard anything about this?   Thanks again. Michael <Most curious. I have not heard this, but it may very well be worth checking on. I'd contact the manufacturer and see if this is true. Hopefully, you still have the container to give them a "batch number" for verification. When you have a strange incident like this, it's worth checking out all possibilities. Either way- I'm sorry to hear of your losses, and wish you success and enjoyment as you bring your tank back to its former glory (A bit wiser, perhaps, for this frustrating experience!? Regards, Scott F>
Pick A Direction- Any Direction! (Pt. 3)
Thank you again for your response and your opinions, they are very helpful.  It was initially suggested that I remove and replace the aragonite and not rinse it.  That was premised upon the its ability to absorb and retain chemicals (copper). <Well, I'd still think that any absorbed compounds would not be released by mere rinsing...> I was reluctant to do so because, primarily, I'm not convinced there was anything absorbed since the poly filters are not changing color, they are just getting dirty. <Well, they still are probably removing stuff, but the pronounced color changes are more obvious when absorbing compounds like copper. I do commend you on not removing the substrate> I also wasn't thrilled about the prospect of disturbing the substrate which is a DSB (5+ inches). <Quite frankly, I think that would prove more harmful than beneficial> So here is the course of action I have decided upon.  Leave the substrate for now, conduct a series of significant water changes over the next several weeks, and see where that takes me. <Not a bad course of action> As of today, my water still tests fine and the fish and crustaceans are all doing well.  Also, the few mushrooms left have not deteriorated. <A positive sign!> Since it has already been 3 1/2 days since the wipe out I threw in a single mushroom from another tank. I guess if that does fine over the next few days I may be out of the woods.  If it deteriorates then maybe I need to sterilize my system.  What do you think? <I certainly think that your experiment is worth a shot. I'm not sold on the idea of "sterilizing" the system...yet. I think that you'd be better letting the system run without any corals for a while, if it comes to that - just to make sure. Sort of analogous to the "fallow" tank technique we often recommend with fish parasitic diseases. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

"Brown Jelly", Or Just An Orange Spot? (ID'ing Coral Disease) Hello! <Hi there! Scott F. with you today> I have a hammer coral that has an orange circular  1/4 inch spot on the stalk of the coral about an inch down from where the where the polyps start to extend from the stalk. From everything I have read about brown jelly, it sounds like brown jelly develops on the polyps themselves. <Well, this condition can develop throughout the animal. It is thought to be initiated by a trauma to the coral...and, of course, coral can be injured anywhere on the animal...> This spot seem to be very solid. Is it possible for brown jelly to developed on the stalk. The fact is that I don't know if this is really brown jelly or not. How can I be sure? I might have to send you a photo. Please let me know what you think? -Ron <Well, Ron- it is thought to tell from here; even with a photo, it may be difficult to get a positive ID. However, you can make a reasonably good "diagnosis" by looking at the nature of the tissue damage on the coral. "Brown Jelly" disease is typically a mix of dead tissue and microorganisms, and has a definite "jelly like" appearance...Not the greatest diagnosis aid, I know, but if it looks like "brown jelly", it probably is "brown jelly"! :( Sounds like what you're seeing might be something else...possibly not even dangerous...Keep observing, and take action if necessary...Regards, Scott F>

A Cry For Help From The South Pacific Another cry for help from a novice Reef keeper. I live on a Coral Atoll in the So. Pacific and have been keeping a 55 gallon Fish only tank for 4 years. Just branched out with a reef tank acquired from someone who has left our island. Many soft corals in the tank, lots of live rock. I get real "live" fresh seawater from a tap (can you beat that), water parameters are to die for. <Cool> My problem, one of my corals (looks like a type of bubble coral with elongated and slimmer bubbles - excuse my ignorance) was very happy one day, the next day I find it enveloped in a white, tenacious mucus like slime. I siphoned off the slime only to find that the coral appeared to have been decimated by the slime. This substance has appeared on another entirely different coral - which is I think a type of Zoanthid sp?. <Hmm, hard to say exactly what this slime is, but I'll venture to guess that it is bacterial in nature. It could have been brought on by a number of factors, ranging from a water-borne bacteria, to one brought in by a wild coral that was not dipped or quarantined properly...> I am doing 5 % water changes daily in an attempt to help things out, I have not taken the corals out and dipped them yet - I also added approx. 1 Tbsp of Dick Boyd's Vita Chem. <I think that water changes are always a good idea, as long as the source water (even natural sea water) is  clean and within proper chemical ranges. I would strongly consider dipping the affected corals, as you contemplate.>   Am I killing them with kindness/ignorance? Please, any help would be appreciated. Thanks Fran. <Well, Fran, I think that you're probably doing okay...The most important thing is to maintain very consistent water parameters, conduct regular water changes on a frequent basis with high quality source water, and to quarantine all new arrivals religiously. In my opinion, quarantine and regular water changes are two of the things that you can do that are most likely to increase your chances of success as a hobbyist. Keep on top of things and I'm sure things will work out in the end...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Low pH shock? Hi guys, <cheers from across the pond> It's been a while since I have had to write to you (which is a good thing -no offence!) <understood <G>> During the recent heat wave we had over here in the UK, many of our corals in our reef tank bleached.  (Huge investment in a tank cooler for next year!)   <arghhh! So sorry to hear it. Only so much that evaporative cooling can do, indeed (fans)> Happily, some of them are recovering now and are getting their algae back.   <slowly but surely they will recover> Anyway, we have slowly started to replace the corals that didn't make it.  Yesterday, my hubby inadvertently tipped a lot of "Amquel" into the tank - I am not sure how much. The tank pH was already slightly low and he was going to add buffer etc afterwards.  The corals shriveled up and have not come out to play since.  I logged onto the Amquel site and read that you should exercise caution when adding to a tank of low buffer reserve.   <risk of buffer precipitation I presume> I assume the corals are suffering from mega pH shock.   <hmmm... perhaps. Overall irritation> If we raise the pH slowly over the next few days will they recover or have we lost them all (again)?  The fish seem to be fine. Thanks very much. Lesley <not lost again... and please do not add more chemicals (pH adjuster) to compensate for an overdose of another chemical. Instead, remember the admonition: "Dilution is the Solution to Pollution". What you need here is simply a large water change or two in the next week to dilute the problem, raise pH, and bring all back to par. 30-50% each time with well-aerated/adjusted water. No worries! Anthony>

Bubble on Brain Coral - Polyp Bailout 10/5/03 Dear Anthony, <howdy> I have had this weird closed brain for 2 years and it has grown a great deal creating the "brim" of what now looks like a Mexican hat. <a handsome specimen indeed> We discussed the bubbles that grow from it previously but I didn't have a digital camera. The attached photo shows a bubble about 1 inch in diameter. I can't find anything about this phenomena. It doesn't seem to harm the animal. It is a sign of ill health? Or?  -  Howard in Wisconsin <its called polyp bailout... and it usually is a stress induced response (light shock, allelopathy from accumulating noxious elements in the water, etc). It can occur as a natural reproductive strategy however. Perhaps the case here. I describe polyp bailout a bit in my Book of Coral Propagation. No worries, my friend. Anthony>

Goniopora Regrowth Question >Will flowerpot corals rebuild themselves when damaged in certain areas? >>Actually, I'm not certain, but I would surmise that in nature this would certainly be possible, so it should also be in the aquarium.  One of the things that we've learned with them is that they most definitely need to be directly fed, this will go a long way towards helping them rebuild/regrow/regenerate.  If this is due to bacterial infection, then there are other issues that need to be addressed, but I do know that many invertebrates are treated with broad spectrum antibiotics (specifically Spectrogram) at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific.  Marina

Elegance coral and regrowth 9/29/03 Hey Guys!!!  Let me start by saying THANK YOU for such a great website and such great information.  I think I can say for all of us out here that your website is INVALUABLE!!  I am pretty new to this hobby, about 4 months, and I couldn't have accomplished what I have without you guys. <thanks kindly... do share your wisdom in kind> OK, Here's what I have for you today.  I have a Catalaphyllia jardinei (?sp?) <Catalaphyllia jardinei> that my girlfriend bought me for a present.  Unfortunately it is starting to slowly waste away.   <if you've had it for more than a few weeks... could be attrition. They need fed almost daily... at least several times weekly with finely minced meaty foods> It is secreting a lot of mucus and the brown jelly stuff. <ughh... a necrotic infection. This like all new livestock should have been quarantined. The brown jelly is highly contagious to other corals>   Per your website and everything else I have read, I put it in my hospital tank and gave it an Iodide bath, Cause Iodine is toxic right?   <ahhh... used properly, it is anti-septic/medicinal so-to-speak> I also supplement with SeaChem's Reef Plus, and Reef complete so it is getting some Vitamin C also.  I have read some people will cycle antibiotics also.  Is this worth a shot and if so, which one or ones should I use?  And is there anything I can do to save my precious present? <tetracycline has been used in bar-bottoms QT tanks with some success at mfg dose strength> Also, if it starts to recover, will it regrow over the spaces where the skeleton is showing through or not?  I sure hope so. <it can indeed in time> She is the one with the pink tentacles with the purple tips.  I had her at the bottom of my 40 gallon breeder in lower light with low water flow also.  I heard from your website this is the best placement.   <agreed... although not too low of flow. 10X tank turnover is the minimum> Oh, she was also placed on her back with tentacles toward the light too.  This is correct right? <correcto> My tank parameters are: pH 8.5,sg 1.025, temp 79F, calcium 450, Nitrates 0, Nitrites 0, and ammonia 0, phosphates .02.  You guys have taught me well!!!  (I hope so anyway!  Hahahha!)    <all good... although the Calcium does not need to be that high... wane lower is Alk is flat> I change 5% of the water twice a week also.  I think this really helps with my 40 gallon breeder.   Agreed, my friend> It's so easy and fast too!!!!  Thanks for all your help guys.  I know you guys get this question a lot, but everything that I read, and I read all of the responses and questions, didn't really hit on my question.  Thanks again guys.  Will be in touch. Oh yeah, I am attaching a picture so you guys can see what your knowledge has helped me to create. <thanks kindly... could not open the zip file though. Please send pics as web-sized jpegs. Thanks kindly, Anthony>

Too bright or too slow? Polyp inhibition 9/30/03 I have a 180 gallon reef tank with very good conditions, water quality etc. I introduce repeatedly star polyps and leather corals and they do not open all the way. The star polyps do not open at all. I know this is a general question but are there conditions that cause this. I have 250 watt metal halides, calcium reactor, water changes weekly, salinity at 23 temp at 74 degrees, ph 8.20-8.30 etc. Any ideas and thanks Gregg <the most common cause is inadequate water flow... 10-20 X tank turnover is recommended. I am also concerned about your excessive lights... 250-400 watt halides are generally reserved for shallow water coral species (like SPS and clams). If you have been placing these new corals in the top 12" of the aquarium, then they are suffering at least in part from light shock/photoinhibition. Do consider. Anthony>

Brain Bleaching? Hi I have a red brain coral I have had him for about a year now. I have noticed that his color is fading and he is turning a white color. He's not shrunken or shriveled, he just is turning white like the color is fading out. Any suggestions? <Well, there could be a number of factors at play. Check water quality, lighting (are the bulbs getting old? Too much light?), feeding habits (are you feeding the animal regularly?), current (excessive current?). Any potential allelopathic competition (like from Sinularia or other "noxious" soft corals). Is anyone in the tank "sampling" the coral's tissue? These guys seem very "tasty" to some fish...Lots of possible factors. Do a little checking, and adjust conditions as needed. The answers are out there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Pocillopora Problem? Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I bought a frag identified as Pocillopora damicornis from ETropicals about 2 months ago.  It was advertised as a green Pocillopora, but when I received it, it was a pale brown color. <Not uncommon when newly received...> I placed the coral approximately 5-6 inches from the water surface, and the tank receives light from 2x 96 watt compact fluorescents (1x 10000K and 1x ultra-actinic).  The coral has its polyps extended for the majority of the photoperiod (about 12 hours a day), and sometimes keeps its polyps extended well after the lights go off. <Good!> I was initially worried about this coral, since I would see my Peppermint shrimps seemingly grazing on this particular coral.  It almost looked like it was trying to pick at the polyps.  I have 4 (approx. 1 inch) Peppermint shrimps in my tank.  I read on your site that they may pick at corals, but usually not to harm them (they're rather doing their job and cleaning stuff off of the corals). <I'd get nervous seeing them around my Pocillopora, too. They usually are harmless, but anything is possible, you know?> I make sure that I put in some supplementary food that they are able to eat, and they have been doing it much less. <Excellent. I wish I could have said the same for my Sailfin Blenny, which constantly snacked on my Pocillopora, until I relocated him!> Since being placed in the tank (with moderate indirect, turbulent current, and full exposure to the current light setup), the coral has slowly changed color from the light brown to a fluorescent green. <Awesome!> I figure this was a good sign, since it appears more now of what it was initially described.  However, I just noticed today that there is a small patch (about 1 mm x 1mm)on of the branches of the coral that seem to have lost tissue.  It is not completely white, and still has some brownish hue to it.  The polyps in that small area is either retracted or no longer there.  I'm worried that this could be the start of something bad.  Water parameters are: S.G. of 1.023-1.024, Ammonia and nitrite is 0 and nitrate is 5-10 ppm.  Calcium is 360-400, and pH varies from 8.3-8.6.  The aquarium has a 3 inch live sand bed, and the aquarium is a 55 gallon bowfront with 30 lbs of live rock. The system is about a year and a half old.  I have been having problems with my lighting recently, with the PC bulbs visibly (honestly) losing intensity in about 2 months time.  Could the coral tissue be receding because of inadequate lighting intensity? <I suppose it's possible, but I doubt it, in this case. sounds to me more like a localized response to some sort of trauma (maybe munching?). Keep a close eye on this colony. Not to overly freak you out, but these corals can decline quickly if they suffer significant tissue damage. It may not be a bad idea to "frag" some of the coral if it begins to decline, in the hope of salvaging some of the colony..> I also recognize that this could be a bacterial infection (since I did not dip this coral prior to placing it in the tank...I know...bad form). <Well, you've learned!> I will be upgrading the lighting to 4 x 96 watt PCs in about a week coincidentally, since I plan on keeping SPS's in the future. Sorry that this is exhaustingly long-winded.  Your advice is greatly appreciated.  Thanks!!! Fil <Well, Fil, at this point, I'd just keep observing the colony carefully, and if the entire colony starts to decline, do consider salvaging what you can. On a happier note- I can say that I have witnessed this phenomenon in my own specimen, and it has always rebounded just fine! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Mushrooms and bleached tissue? 9/13/03 I have 55 with a wet dry and a red sea Berlin skimmer.  The tank seems to be doing really well.  I have all mushrooms and a lone finger leather with the tank full of live rock.  Lots of coralline algae growth.  I have an icecap ballast with 3 48in VHO bulbs. I add calcium, strontium and iodine and do water changes once a month.  I have two small clownfish. My problem is that some of my blue mushrooms(5 out of 30) have areas on them that are almost transparent....the mushrooms are still alive but don't expand like all the others.  it seems that they are not dying off or getting worse...just staying like this. <there are several possible reasons for this... but if you are not feeding these mushrooms weekly (a common error), the slow attrition/starvation is the likely cause here. Even under the best lights... corallimorphs (and most coral) can only get 60-80% of their daily food from photosynthesis... the rest has to come from feeding (absorption and/or organismal feeding)> they do not appear to be getting stung by anything that I can tell and the hermits and snails seem to leave not bother anyone much. all the other mushrooms and the leather look extremely healthy. any ideas. <bleaching tissue is the expulsion of zooxanthellae... not from aggression. And since mushrooms are hardier regarding water quality than most other corals (no symptoms stated here from your others), I strongly suspect that the mushrooms have gone weeks/months with little or no food. DO read through our archives at wetwebmedia.com for info regarding feeding corals. Anthony>

Algae on polyps - 9/8/03 I read in a lot of posts that algae growing on polyps may cause them not to open. <Sometimes is the result of such, but could be the other way around as well. Polyps not opening causes algae to grow on them.>  Aside from prevention, is there a way to clean the algae off the polyps? <Lots! How about a turkey baster with a sturdy blast of tank water? Or a VERY soft bristled toothbrush? Gently brush the algae off of the polyp. Be sure to adjust the flow in your tank. A brisker flow helps to dislodge algal matter and make it a bit harder for it to attach itself to various items in the aquarium. Hope this helps. A very good question. Thanks for your inquiry! -Paul>

Crabs in coral 9/9/03 Hi, there. I am a devoted fan of your website, esp. the FAQs, which I read daily. Thanks for all of your time and devotion to helping the not-so-experienced out there. <thanks kindly> I had a question regarding two mysterious crab-like organisms that are now in my tank.   I know that you guys like pictures for identification, but these crabs blend in too well with the sand to get a good close-up. These 0.5 inch, creamy white "crabs" have very small legs, no apparent claws, and have quite a large body in comparison to leg length. Eye stalks are not discernible. They are not agile creatures and spend a good deal of time sitting on their backs. <sounding like one of many possible Xanthid crab species> Evidently they were living between a piece of soft coral and its hard skeleton. A portion of this coral recently receded and there were two indentations carved into the skeleton where the crabs had been living (I saw them in their respective coral homes). When the crabs left the coral (which ultimately died), they took with them some tentacle pieces, which they either were eating or decorating themselves with. <yikes. Indeed... there are destructive species> Now, sans LPS coral, they live in my sandbed and ride on top of my sandsifting star occasionally. Have you heard of any crabs making a permanent residence in LPS corals? <many do, yes> After removing the skeleton from the tank and scrubbing it, I now believe that the coral had grown around the crabs. <a combination of crabs teasing/training it and natural growth> Could they be commensal? Parasitic obligate LPS feeders? Would you recommend removing them? (I have no other LPS, SPS,  or any other cnidarians, as this was my only one that died. I am thinking of some green star polyps for the future, though.) Thanks for an incredible resource. -McGreggor Crowley <I would consider removing them to a refugium... they may be decorator species and will be rather destructive in time. Do send a pic if possible for a better ID. Best regards, Anthony>

Lighting and coral reaction - 9/3/03 Hi,   This is a sort of mixed bag question. <We can take it.>  The first is a question regarding the lifespan of PCs. <Always seems to depend on the brand of the lights and the fixture. (more about the component structure of the fixture and gas structure in the tubes>  I currently have a 55 gallon bowfront tank and I have 1x 96watt 10000 K daylight bulb and a 96 watt ultractinic bulb both from Catalina products. <Not familiar with this brand per se.> I have had my lighting hood for a little under a year now, and have found that I have been having to change the light bulbs more and more frequently.  I just changed my actinic bulb about 2.5 months ago and have noticed that they are visibly dim again. <Not easily seem with the naked eye> I noticed this too with my ultradaylight bulb prior to this.  I know that it is difficult to gage the intensity of the light by human eyes, but this was visibly decreased in intensity. <Again, without familiarity with the brand you describe, you might be better served asking them about how often a bulb needs to be changed. For what it is worth, the rule of thumb can be from nine months to no longer than a year with typical usage (10-12 hours)>   I have read that PCs are generally changed every 6 months. <Could be> Sounds like there is something wrong with either the bulbs I'm getting or with the light fixture. <Very possible.>   In a related (or so I think), my star polyps have not been wanting to open up recently.  I know there are numerous factors that can contribute to this including sudden decreases/increases in light intensity or spectral shifts. Should I change the bulb and see what happens. <An easy experiment. I think it would be a viable option. Overall though, go through our FAQs on the subject of polyps and their behavior. Check this out: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clavulariids.htm See if there is not something that can be gleaned to help your situation>  Please let me know.  Thanks for your time. <Good luck. -Paul> Fil

Candycane coral Anthony, Gentlemen, or whoever takes this question of mine today, hope all is well for you. <Chris today, and same to you> I have a Candycane coral with about 15 heads on it, all with tissue, no skeletons.  I've had it for about 8 months, and I noticed the other day that one of the heads lost its tissue and 2 others looked kind of like they were on their way.  The cluster of heads are packed tightly together, but I think that is common for the Candycane. You guys have any idea why this would happen? <Overshading would be my first guess, or another coral's sweeping tentacles are becoming within reach> The whole colony has been doing great for a while, its tissue and tentacles swell up at night to feed, and I do feed this corals heads fine minced seafood, I'm kind of puzzled, everything in my tank is doing great, parameters all on spec.   That particular brand that lost the head has three heads on it, with the other 2 heads looking kind of shriveled up as I mentioned, should I saw that branch of the colony off ? <I wouldn't worry unless the problem starts to spread. Keep an eye on neighboring corals for sweeper tentacles.   best, Chris>

BRAIN CORAL exudation 8/25/03 dear sirs, last night I noticed my brain coral putting out strands of a tan colored mucous , which the fish were gobbling up. it also expelled a cloud of cloudy liquid into the water. what was that all about? is it sick was it attempting to reproduce? thanks,  Omar d. Marrero <the exudation was likely waste or gametes... if the coral feeds normally and behaves normally otherwise, I suspect there is nothing to worry about. Do watch closely for the next few days. An extra water change is good for peace of mind. Anthony>

- Issues with Coral - Hi, I've had a 55 gallon reef tank set up for about 10 months with everything working great.  However, recently (in the past 2 weeks), the corals seem to be slowly fading.  Here's a list of what I have in the tank and its current health pulsing xenia--going limp over the past 4 days; fox coral--receding over the past 2 weeks; green bubble coral--seems to be fine; encrusting gorgonian--seems to be fine; Tubastrea--receding over the past 2 weeks  <Is this fed on a regular basis with a meaty seafood?> frogspawn--isn't coming out as fully; candy cane coral--receding; all of the fish (Firefish, 3 Chromis, Clownfish, Flame Angel, Royal Gramma and Mandarin) are looking and behaving normally.  I've checked the nitrates (5 ppm), calcium (400), pH (8.0), specific gravity (1.024), temperature (80).  I can't seem to figure out what the problem is. I've got a Seaclone 150 skimmer, an under gravel filter, a penguin BioWheel 350 and 60 lbs of live rock. <First off, I would suggest removing the under gravel filter and substrate in favor of a deep live sand bed. I would remove any mechanical or bio filtration from the penguin since you have ample live rock. You may also want to upgrade your protein skimmer as it is a bit undersized (regardless of what they recommend on the box).> The light is a 260 watt JBJ  (2 actinic bulbs and 2 daylight) which is on from 8 am to 10 pm with a 1/2 hour dawn dusk effect with just the actinic bulbs.  The manufacturer doesn't recommend changing the bulbs until 14-16 months so I don't think that could be the problem either. <Regardless of what JBJ says, all fluorescent lamps should be changed at a maximum of every twelve months. 8-10 would be much better. Even though the intensity will have dropped and the spectrum shifted, I doubt it would be causing the problems you have described.> I'm planning on adding a 20 gallon refugium in the next week or so which I thought might help, but I was wondering if you have any ideas of what could be causing this problem.  I can't think of anything else.  Please help!!  Thanks  --Kirra <There was a similar problem with another aquarist who, after several full range water tests, discovered that the cord to his heater  had disintegrated while submerged. Check all your wires, and do be careful. I would run a copper test to rule that out, then perform a large 50%+ water change. It is possible that a contaminate has gotten in there that does not effect the fish (like heavy metals). I would also pop in a poly-filter or two because they adsorb all sorts of nasties. Where is your top-off and water change water coming from? -Kevin>

Mangled plate coral - 8/5/03 Hi guys! Hope all is well! <Busy!> Thanks for all the help in the past. <Thanks for the thanks> When I walked in this evening my new plate coral <lots of corals have the common name of plate coral. Do you have a positive ID for it?> was tragically mangled on one side?? <Uh oh!>I have a 120 gallon tank that has been running for aprox. 2 months. 84 lbs. of Live Kaelini rock and 37 lbs. of Fiji rock. 80 lbs. of live sand. I have 2 Bak Pak 2 protein skimmers, a Cascade 1500 canister filter, 4 powerheads, and a power compact with the new moonlights. <The tank sounds brilliant> Live stock include: 2 Percula clowns, a cleaner shrimp, a lawnmower blenny, 12 Turbo snails, 12 hermit crabs, a feather duster, sebae anemone, <Dangerous. These have a tendency, like all anemones, to move about the tank> finger leather coral, and a now half mangled plate coral. <What do you mean by "mangled"?> The tentacles are falling off and it looks pretty bad. <Does it look like it fell? Did something fall on it? Clowns like the tentacles, maybe they were taking up residence and biting the at the coral to stimulate tentacle extraction? Coral could have stung it? or maybe the sebae?> Any advice?? Also should I place this coral in the sand as opposed to on the rock?? <depends on what type of plate coral we are talking about. Turbinaria and Montipora cap. are often called plate corals. I recommend a rocky out cropping or ledges for placement. If it is a Fungiid then I recommend a sand placement. Send a picture if you can. -Paul>

Help, is my coral dying? 8/4/03 I don't know what to do... when I bought this finger leather it was nice and 'erect'. After a few days it looks like a willow tree, as if it lost all of its rigidity... <do try stronger water flow although be sure never to apply linear (one direction as from a power head). Read more in the wetwebmedia.com archives about water flow in our articles and FAQs... much data there> My water parameters: 1.024 25C pH 8.3 Ca 440 Daily iodine and Reef plus supplementation Ammonia, nitrites 0 Only races of nitrates and phosphates... Water current is created from Fluval 404 + Dual BakPak2.  Tank size is 90gallons. What is going on? <likely a response to water flow indeed. No color change noted to suggest photoinhibition or shock. Would have been nice to hear of a proper 3-4 week quarantine of this animal first instead of a risk by putting it directly in the tank> Thanks, Luke <best of luck... Anthony>

Sea Slug ID - coral eater 8/1/03 Hello, <cheers> I found this creature in my tank; I think it has been eating my leather coral. Can you identify it? I have attached two pictures. Thank you!!! Would <any sea slug with "tassels" [cerata] on its back is a give-away carnivore. The cerata are structures which hold the noxious or stinging elements of its prey. Yours is a familiar coral eater... commonly ascribed to the genus Tritoniopsis (true or not). Bottom line... it is to be removed unless your reef is large enough to grow enough soft coral to sustain it. A beautiful creature indeed. Anthony>

Dipping Coral (7-1-03) Just a quick question:<Cody here, sorry for the delayed reply.> I've ordered some Gorgonians and a few soft corals. Should I dip them in fresh water (for how long) before I put them in the main, display tank?<Nope, as this would likely kill them, I would advise quarantine though.  Cody> Thank you,

Snoozing Snails And A Hurting Hammer? I have a 29 G reef tank which I have cycled for 6 weeks with LR and LS. Had the LFS do a water check and they said the numbers were great--- ph 8.4, 1.023, 0 on the ammonia and nitrites. We put in a small Hammer coral on 6/24 which looked fine at the store. It has not "come out of its shell" since.  I have a 70 watt MH light which runs about 7 hours a day. The Hammer seems to be spewing fine silk-like threads fairly often now. What are they? <Hard to say without a pic, but I'll hazard a guess that it's one form of mucus or other organic material. If it is mucus, it's probably some sot of response to a stress of some sort. Or, perhaps the coral is being picked at by one of the other inhabitants of the tank. Do a little re-check of the setup and see if there are any possible culprits. Also, did the coral acclimate to your lighting regimen? Lighting shock is a possible culprit> I also introduced a Turbo snail and 3 bumblebees the morning of the 25th.  The Turbo moved around a lot that first morning but now hasn't even moved for around 48 hours.  Pretty much the same for the bumblebees. Help!!!! <Well, I wouldn't be overly concerned about the lack of movement of the snails, unless they are stinking or missing from their shells all together (perhaps victims of a predator, like a hermit crab, etc). For a variety of reasons, snails will stay in a "dormant" mode for periods of time...In fact, Anthony has a great picture of a snail that fell asleep too long near a xenia colony, and had some polyps grow right onto the shell! These guys will move again...Be patient. I'm sure that they will be fine Regards, Scott F.!

No Grey Poupon? How 'bout brown jelly? Does this coral have brown jelly disease? (attached photos) <Not that I can see. It is deteriorating though, you may want to give it an iodine dip anyway. Brown jelly is extremely easy to see, identify, and cure, so if you see any brown colored jelly on or around closed parts of these hammers, dip that sucka! -Kevin>

Sick corals/polyps 7/1/03 Hi Anthony, How are you doing these days, <enjoying the trials and tribs of life :) > I have a quick question for you what do you feed your corals? <depends on the coral... they vary in need tremendously. But I do favor a large fishless refugium (40% of tank size) to take care of much of the zoo- and phytoplankton needed> I feed Reef Solution from Ecosystem Leng Sy told me it had Phytoplankton in it but it does not say anything about the ingredients in the bottle. <I do regret to see that on any supplement. I will not use any such "mystery" supplements myself> I had picked up a Beautiful 6" Maxima it was doing fine but little by little it started fading in color my calcium, salinity water parameters are all in check, after that my pumping xenia just melted away, and I have tried several yellow polyps and they finish off by just shrinking up and disappearing. the only thing I could think of is the food. <hmm... as in, the food causing the symptom? Doubtful if so... rather coincidence and some other factor at hand> Oh my LPS's, scroll coral, pagoda, and mushrooms are thriving. <not a fair comparison, mate. If the problem is a physical one (pest, predator, disease, water quality, etc)... then each of these remotely related corals will have very different tolerances. Think instead if you have added anything recently without quarantine that could have brought a bug in. Do review WC and when in doubt, do a water change. Dilution is the solution to pollution as they say.> Merci, Regards <with kind regards, Anthony>

Coral Color - low Nitrates? 7/1/03 Anthony, one last question on my 75Gallon SPS, LPS and Softy Reef.  After what you have told me about my VHO lighting and from the tanks I have seen, It should be adequate for my tank.   <agreed... although it pains me to see such an unnatural mix of corals. Sure to be challenged and have some failures in the 1-3 year plan if not sooner for mixing LPS SPS and octocorals in one small tank> I have now seen some great looking SPS tanks under VHO and saw a coral breeder's tanks in person.  They were outstanding. <indeed... MH not needed for SPS> However, I would like to get the color of my SPS to stay as dark and vibrant as when I get them.   They have darkened up some since my low Alk episode but even some of my new frags seem to lighten up or at least changed color over time in my tank.  Is this normal?    <perhaps a lack of nitrogen for the zooxanthellae... are your nitrates near zero... too low if so. Need a few ppm for coral vigor/color> I am feeding the tank much more and doing larger water changes.  My Alk seems to stay at a steady 9.5 dKH and my calcium is around 350-360 since the 2 big water changes you had me do.    <excellent> I am dripping about a gallon of Kalk daily.  You have said not to push either Calcium or Alk to much so I have been keeping it at this. <and will be very fine for growth of corals... steady and stable> Can you think of anything else that would help with the color of my SPS? Thanks so much. <Daniel Knop reported on European aquarists making a sodium nitrate solution to improve coral color ion zero nitrate systems... I cited and repeated it in my Book of Coral Propagation. Do test for nitrates. Best regards, Anthony>

Sick Euphylliid Coral 6/28/03 I have been having a problem with my frogspawn and torch corals.  About four months ago, for some reason, the polyps on my frogspawn and torch would draw in, and within 24 hours the polyp would be shredded and falling off of the skeleton.   <many possible reasons for this... could be pathogenic from adding non-quarantined organisms (Euphylliids are quite sensitive to bacterial infections> I did numerous water changes, with quality salt, and deionized water, and the problem went away. It is happening again.  All water parameters are great.   <which I cannot confirm or deny/help you... will take your word on it> I use a calcium reactor, and a deionized water for top off.  As for the species of corals in the tank, I have numerous species of hard and soft corals.  I use large amounts of carbon, in numerous bags, and change them out at alternating intervals. <the info provided is too general, alas to be of much help... no list of number/qty of corals, size of tank, husbandry schedule, detailed symptoms (mucus or know, sloughing, etc?).> I am wondering if the problem could be with the manner in which the deionizer is recharged.   <not likely at all... recharge then purge with a few gallons of water then all is fine to use. If there is any problem it is from improper preparation of DI water (no aeration or buffering for 24 hours prior to salting or use). Also have fear/concern that you are putting that Di is being used raw for top off (Yikes!)> I use lye for one cartridge and Muriatic acid for the other, as per the instructions.   <quite normal and appropriate> The unit is a Kent Deion 200r.  I run about 20 gallons of water through the units before putting any of the water into the aquarium.   <wow... way more than you need to make it safe... but fine> I have never felt right about putting water into my aquarium that has been exposed to such chemicals, in any way, but that's what Kent says to do. <a better understanding of chemistry would reassure you just how safe and easily neutralized these chemicals are... no worries> I am at a loss.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  My alternative is to not have any large polyp corals. <do read through our archive on wetwebmedia.com regarding quarantine protocol... if the problem is not water quality... I suspect a pathogen was brought in with a new fish, plant, algae, other coral, live rock, etc. Best regards, Anthony>

Coral crash in a 220... Where to begin? Oh yeah Hello there! <Heya, Kevin here> Ok here is the info. I have a 220 gallon tank, Amiracle 30gal sump, Turboflotor skimmer, power compact 6x96 watts. 576 total watts. The tank is 24" deep. I have had live rock in there for about 4 months. 250 lbs of live rock and 100lbs of base rock. The first fish was put in over 3 months ago. Over the past week things have been dieing off.  I have lost a mushroom rock, button coral, plate coral, in that order, and today I lost my corn anemone. By tomorrow or the next I feel as though I will have lost a yellow finger leather. Everything mentioned was not near each other some were on opposite sides of the tank so I do not think they were fighting with each other. The plate coral and button coral were less than 5 days old so I was able to get credit at the LFS for them. They checked my water and everything was good. I feel as though it has to be in order for them to give me credit for those items. <Wow, you're lucky, most places don't give credit for inverts.> I tested everything also it is good. I tested for everything, copper, iron, calcium, magnesium, PH, ALK, salinity, bla bla bla. If it came in a master test kit I tested for it. Everything was in the range. I use mainly Kent Marine products and some Marc Weiss and custom SeaLife additives. I haven't done anything out of the ordinary to cause this. The only thing other than testing and adding the additives as I always do on a scheduled basis is a water change. I changed 20% of the water. I usually do about a 15% to 20% every 3 weeks. I use The tap water filter from aquarium pharmaceuticals. I am running a poly filter just in case there is something in there that I do not know about. It has been in there for 4 days. No it has not changed color to indicate anything, just brown. I asked the LFS if they had any ideas and the only idea they came up with is my lighting. They said it should be bigger for those corals. I am running about 2.6 watts per gallon. If I have 350 lbs of live rock in my tank how does that convert? Or doesn't that matter when figuring out watts per gallon? I mean if I fill my tank with rock and only have about 50 gallons of water (this is totally hypothetical) in there would if figure out the same? How do I figure out how much water is in my tank without draining it and refilling? <Whoa, you're taking the watts per gallon thing WAY to literally. WPG is a cheesy guideline that has everything to do with the tank size and nothing to do with exactly how much water is inside. I frown on PC's on tanks deeper than 18", I'd recommend switching to metal halide (3 175w or 250w lamps would do). That said, the lighting had nothing to do with the demise of your coral. Dying from light deficiency is a looooong process.> No that is not what I am going to do. I know that there is a lot of light in my tank, my neighbors think I am growing "things" in my living room. I mean I paid almost a thousand dollars for my lighting and now I am being told that it isn't enough and I have to get more wattage by upgrading to metal halides? <Yep, you've got a big tank so even low level lighting is expensive. Upgrading your lighting really isn't a priority right now and it's fine for what you had in it so long as they were at least midway in the tank.> Oh yeah if and just if (he he) a porcupine puffer would get sucked into a powerhead intake (the filter fell off) and he would puff up for awhile would that do any damage to my tank? <I know that they're poisonous to eat, but I've never heard of them releasing toxins into the water. This is not a reef-safe fish though, since they become very large and eat crustaceans.> Also the area around his eye and his eye are damaged. His eye is cloudy and puffy. The skin around his eye are tore and some of his spines are still sticking up. Will he make it and will his eye get better? Yes his eye is what got sucked up on to the filter. Never seen a puffer puff before at first thought it was an urchin that we never bought. He is still swimming and still eating just not happy I assume. <He'll probably be fine. Keep an eye out for infection though.> Also my Turboflotor is going to be junked or on my QT not sure so I will need advice on a good skimmer. One that will actually work, I'd settle for 75% of the time. I get about 3 days max out of the week for it to produce anything. After reading the FAQ's all day and writing this I am going blind so I will leave it up to your knowledgeable minds to get me out of this jam I am in. <Hehe, I hear ya about the Turboflotors. If you want a really kick-butt skimmer, go with a Precision Marine Bullet II with a Gen-x or similar external pump. A larger EV series skimmer from AquaC would also do the trick. Now, as for why everything is dieing, I have no idea! More info would be needed to make some sort of educated guess such as: I'd like numbers for your water parameters, descriptions of how they died, the temperature of the tank, and preferably another set of tests done with a different brand of test kits. In the mean time I'd run carbon, a PolyFilter, and do a big giant massive 100g plus water change JIC. -Kevin> Thank  You Kenny B

Hermit crabs picking at live coral Hi, I really appreciate all the information I get from your site.   <Thank you for sharing your part today.> I was searching on the necessity of hermit crabs and couldn't find an answer to my question hence this email.  I traded in my 40 gallon tank for a 25 gallon high because I move around at least 3 times a year and wanted something easier and cheaper to maintain.   <Cheaper? Yes, Easier? Not sure about that one as the greater the volume in a system, the greater the stability.> I took my 30 blue legged hermit crabs in as well as all my fish except for the two percula clowns and my fire shrimp.  I have not had any success in keeping my corals alive until I got rid of the hermit crabs, they kept crawling on and picking at them.  I am maintaining a reef tank now and want to add a lot more corals.    <Be careful how you define 'a lot' as with fish, corals need room to grow and feed without having chemical warfare with each other. Do research the different types of corals you are thinking about so you can avoid these problems and choose tankmates that will co-exist with each other.> My question is, am I required to have hermit crabs to control the hair and other algae on the rocks? <Certainly not. Water quality is number one in nuisance algae control. Regular weekly or twice weekly water changes will do wonders. Personally, I don't like the hermits and lean more to a diverse combination of snails. Astrea, Cerith, Trochus, Turbo and Nassarius> I don't think I should get another tang because my tank is too small for one.   <Good call, you don't want fish that are much more than 3-4" when adult. With the 25 I don't think you want more than one more.> What would you suggest? <As per above, Don> Please help!

Shrinking coral 6/22/03 Hi Crew, <cheers> I am running a 450 litre reef tank with about 60 kilos of live rock, no sand (to speak of), skimmer, controlled injection of ozone and a wet/dry with bio-balls. 2 x 150 MH on for 9 hours a day. <all good> PH range between 8.2 and 8.5, ammonia, nitrate and nitrite nil, temperature range between 27 and 27.5 C. Fish inhabitants are Flame Angel, Mandarin, Yellow coris (canary), small Kole and Purple tang, pair of Percula clowns, purple Blenny. Invertebrates are boxer shrimp, hammer LPS, mushroom LPS, Elegance LPS, a Duncanopsammia axifugia, one Lobophytum, 6" maxima clam. I feed all corals that will take it and fish well but carefully.  This setup is 12 months old.  Current phase is experiencing quite heavy growth of Caulerpa & Bryopsis which I trim regularly. All going well, I expect to begin reducing in about two months. <on track it sounds> Now my question.  Over the past three weeks, the Duncanopsammia axifugia has not been extending all polyps (which is unusual both for the species and for this colony).  It has been growing well, with many new polyps appearing over the past few months.  I observe that the lower polyps are now extending, but those on top are not.  Light related?? <it is indeed a lower light coral that depends largely on food... not so much on light as other corals> I have not changed anything recently.  These creatures are a deepwater species, but usually adapt well to brighter lights (MH). <debatable... but agreed if slow enough> Close observation of all fish/shrimp does not suggest that someone is picking on it.  I do observe what look like small "scratches" on some branches however, but cannot identify the cause. Any thoughts?? Best regards, MP <nothing stands out, mate. From the brief description... your husbandry and perspective sound spot on. Perhaps experiment with water flow... occasionally changes (every 2 months) to see if the tweak up or down elicits a response. Kind regards, Anthony>

Will mantis shrimps or bristle worms in any way damage corals or clams? 6/15/03 <Hello, PF with you tonight> Will mantis shrimps or bristle worms in any way damage corals or clams? <Ok, I'll break this down: Mantis shrimp will generally not harm corals, unless they disturb them by walking across them. Depending on the relative size of the clam and the mantis, and the type of mantis (smasher vs. spearer), it could kill and eat a clam. A 2" mantis is no threat to a 10" clam, a 6" mantis is another story. Bristle worms: in general, no. If they are in plague numbers, they could irritate a corals tissue. As for clams, they have a bad, and undeserved rep. Often a clam with be doing poorly, but still look healthy overall. The clam dies overnight and the worms come out and eat it, the nest morning the aquarist sees the worm shell crawling with worms and makes the obvious (but wrong) conclusion. There are a few species of worms that prey on clams, but they are very rare in captivity. Bear in mind these are generalizations, you can get a more specific answer with a more specific question. So on that note, have a good evening, PF>

Everything was going so well...and then: No QT bites back sick coral 5/20/03 I've had a torch coral for about a month, absolute beauty, 5-7in sweeping tentacles, great color and then-trauma.  One of the 4 heads died in 3 days, and produced this brown jelly like algae.  I assume it's Brown Jelly disease.   <sounds conspicuously/uniquely like it indeed... highly infectious! Get the specimen into QT ASAP! The risk to your other corals is really a hard lesson here for proper QT before adding new coral/livestock to a system. With brown jelly, you stand to lose every other Euphylliid and some other coral groups as well... all for lack of a full QT.> Now 48 hours later another head is demonstrating the same problem. Tested the h20, 420 Calcium, although I've recently changed from liquid calcium to Kalkwasser, 1 cup a day for 125gal tank.  PH 8.1, Ammonia .1,Salinity 1.022, temp did jump to 80, usually runs around 78.  VHO lights 2 blue/2 white that run about 12 hours a day.  Recently (last week) added a red & orange chili coral and then TROUBLE in PARADISE. <ughh... many possibly carriers/catalysts... alas> If it's brown jelly, should I dip it.  I have an awesome Frog Spawn and several hammers and I don't want them to get sick, <all are at risk... move the sick coral to a simple 10 gallon hospital tank... iodine dips would be fine... strong water flow and aeration are as important or more so> plus I've got some great leathers that are looking a little rough around the edges-literally. <less likely to catch this infection unless there is a bigger problem overall> Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated. <do you have Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" or my "Book of Coral Propagation"? Both have protocols and suggestions for treatment of infected corals (more coverage in Eric's book on this topic... excellent chapter). Else, use a standard iodine dip and follow manufacturers dose/rec for long term baths (small daily doses in QT). Best of luck with it, my friend. Do follow up if need be. Kind regards, Anthony>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: