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FAQs about Stony Coral Health/Disease/Pests 4

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 2Stony Coral Disease 3 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,

LPS Receding After battling green hair algae for the last year. I transferred all of the corals to a second 55 gal tank with only themselves and killed the lights on the main tank. I did this for about a month, soon the tank with the corals became overran with the same algae so I returned everything to the main tank. . I  finally succeeding somewhat after the inclusion of a UV sterilizer, fixed my calc reactor (bad pump), and replumbed my protein skimmer.. During the time with the corals in the quarantine some of my corals started to do not so good Not sure how the algae was growing as I added no nutrients of any type to the water. I thought I lost my Galaxea but it seems to be coming back  Now that most of the algae has disappeared I have noticed a couple other victims. I have noticed that many of my LPS's have started receding. The patients include a pink tipped elegance and  bi-color frogspawn. The elegance is all puffy and it tentacles have shrunk to about 1/4".The frogspawn looks normal during the day but at night you can see a bit of exposed skeleton around each of the heads. My Trachyphyllia, Favites and Pagoda seem to all be doing OK, but not really growing (I have had the Faviid for over two years and it is only marginally bigger.) My Hydnophora looks good and I wear I can see me Montipora capricornis growing each day. Even my Bubbletip Anenome which I rescued as a little white guy about 3/4" in dia 2 years ago is now 5" fully open and green. My calcium is about 400, alk, 11.2, pH 8.3 Sal 1.022 (got low due to skimmer overrun last night.), Phos, nitrates, nitrites, ammo all unreadable.. Any ideas why they may be receding? No real necrotic tissue, just receding. I have been running lower light levels to counter the algae.. << There is your answer.  I never cut back my lighting.  In fact, I can't ever get enough.  I would certainly keep the lighting up as corals are so heavily dependent upon it for proper health. >> I would really like to save them I have had bot for well over a year. << I would increase skimming, and water changes, to help combat the algae.  Hopefully the increased lighting won't cause an algal bloom.  Also, hermits and snails are very helpful here. >> -Jerry <<  Adam Blundell  >>

- Problems with Starting a Reef tank... Please Help! - WWM FAQ, I recently added a small hammer coral to my tank a week ago.  The coral opened up to its normal size for the first couple of days.  For some weird reason, it is shrinking.  Its tentacles do not enlarge as big.  I have Coralife Aqualights, and a CPRs BakPak protein skimmer.  I've tested for pH and calcium levels but not alkalinity.  pH is always somewhere around 8.3.  I also add ESV solutions daily.  How important are calcium levels and alkalinity? <Important enough - you should be testing both. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm > What am I doing wrong? <Perhaps nothing...> Maybe the coral has not yet acclimated. <This is a distinct possibility, and without knowing what your alkalinity is, this coral might be making the adjustment between its previous environment and its new one. There are other factors that affect this coral, suggest you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/caryophyllids.htm > Thanks for your time, Jonathan <Cheers, J -- >

Hammer Coral Problem  <Hi Ken, MacL here> Sorry. <No biggie> I hit the send button prior to getting the message ready.  Quick question for you. I have a problem with my hammer coral bailing out of the skeleton. <Not good at all.> I have good water quality with 0 nitrates, PH at 8.4, calcium at 380-400 no ammonia and no nitrates.  I have been using a Kent calcium additive and I am wondering if perhaps I over did it in the past week. I put 1 teaspoon in on two separate days. I also feed the corals brine shrimp/small arctic shrimp (don't remember the name) combination about every other day.  Last night the hammer looked like it was feeding well but then this morning I noticed that it was bailing out. <Sounds possibly like an infection to me. Is it also getting any kind of jelly looking thing? Honestly sounds like it might need to be dipped. I personally have had good luck with coral reef dip by SeaChem for a commercial product and there's a great dip listed on the wetwebmedia website.> Any ideas? Thanks, Ken <Try the dip on wetwebmedia Ken and good luck! MacL>

Trachyphyllia Health Hi Crew, (re-sending without attachment.  For some reason all my emails sent to "crew@wetwebmedia.com" bounce back if I include an attachment - even though the size is minimal [25kB]) I am a bit concerned about my Trachyphyllia.  I think I have a T. Radiata but, from the attached photo, maybe you can help me to verify this as well (it has a flat base - not conical and it does appear to have more "folds" than what I have observed in most photos of T. geoffroyi).  My concern is that I can see the skeleton nearly penetrating through the coral's tissue in many places.  This occurs during the day but the coral inflates to nearly round after the lights turn off and it appears "normal" at this time. << I wouldn't be surprised if it is eating at night, and therefore expanding. >> I have had this coral for about a month now and it does seem that the skeleton has become more visible during this time. This coral sits on the aragonite substrate of my 180g tank, with 520W of PC lighting (50% actinic / 50% 10,000K) and 3,000 gph flow (1,200 gph via alternating-flow manifold).  Water parameters: Temp=79-81 F, pH=8.1-8.2, alk=4meq, Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, Nitrate<5ppm, Ca=400ppm.  I noticed my pygmy angel nipping at this coral for the first several days after adding the Trachyphyllia to the tank but, with over 200 pounds of live rock, I have been unable to catch this fish (I am open to any suggestions).  I am moving in six weeks so I will remove all such "nuisance fish" when I drain the tank at that time.  I am just concerned that this coral might not make it that long. My second concern is that I have never been able to see any feeder tentacles or polyps on this coral.  I had read that these corals are very hardy and that they require no external food so I had not been concerned about feeding it.  Tonight I read that these corals require feedings about three times weekly, with meaty foods and that they should only be fed when their tentacles are out. << The coral may not "need" to be fed, but feeding can certainly help them grow.  I would recommend weekly feeding. >> So now I am worried that I have been starving the coral and that I do not know how to feed it (since there appear to be no tentacles).  I have used a dim flashlight to check for tentacles on several occasions (after the tank lights have been out for a few hours and the brain coral was inflated). << You can directly target feed these types of corals.  You can use any type of small shrimp or even krill.  Simply feed your tank (the coral can tell when there is food around) and wait a few minutes.  Then, with your fingers take a piece of shrimp and hold it on the coral (near any mouth opening).  It may take a few minutes, but it will open up and ingest the food. Go to www.utahreefs.com and under Presentations you will find a PowerPoint on Feeding A Reef.  It has video clips of feeding brain corals. >> I have Eric Borneman's book "Aquarium Corals", in which I have read everything I could find about this coral.  Unfortunately, I feel that I am still missing something.  I have tried feeding zooplankton, phytoplankton, marine snow and mysids but I have never noticed any feeding response from this coral. << They are not the easiest corals to feed.  Unfortunately indirect feeding, and even semi direct feeding don't work well for them.  You really have to hold the food right on them. >>  I have even used a turkey baster to quirt these foods directly onto the surface of the coral but my cleaner shrimp always picks the food off the coral before the coral has a chance to react.  I have tried this during the day and at night, with the same results. Please advise how I should attempt to feed this coral and what might be causing the appearance of the exposed skeleton.  I am assuming this is not health appearance. << I would also see what other's are doing to keep these corals.  You may be able to pick up some advice from some friends in similar situations.  I for one like to have these corals in areas of high lighting. >> Thank you, --Greg
<<  Adam Blundell  >>

Follow-up: Trachyphyllia Health Adam (or crew member of the day), <Hi Greg, MacL here> Since my emailed photos are no longer being received via WWM email, I put the photo of my Trachyphyllia on a web page for you to view ( http://home.comcast.net/~greg.wyatt/trachy.htm). <Sorry you are having to do this. Some type of technical difficulties.> Hopefully this will help to clear-up my concerns. Since this is my first brain coral, I am unsure whether the white, nearly exposed skeletal areas around the mouths should be considered "normal". <Have you been to the website and looked at the section on these types of corals? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyphlliidae.htm. This looks very similar to the ones pictured on this page. I can't see very well around the mouth because of the angle but you should be able to tell if its similar or not.> The pygmy angel that appears to think this coral is an appetizer and the apparent lack of feeder tentacles has me concerned. <I'm sure and pygmy's can be terrible pests to this type of coral. You might need to consider removing the pygmy. But let me ask? If you haven't seen him nibble on it why do you think he's the pest for it? Like Adam, I think you need to feed this coral. Is there anyway to keep the shrimp off of it? Perhaps even putting it in something to feed it? I hate to disturb them but I really feel you need to feed it some. I am a bit concerned that you are seeing through to the stony coral below. Although the fact that it is swelling at night does mean usually that it is feeding. I know that my brains feed much better at night.>If you have any additional input after viewing this photo, please advise. Thank you! <Hope this helped Greg, MacL.> --Greg
Trachyphyllia Problem II Hi MacL, <Hi Greg, got a little help from a friend to help you as well.> I wish I could remove the pygmy angel but, as I mentioned below, I have a 180 gallon tank with over 200 pounds of live rock. So, although I have tried many methods of capturing this fish, I have had no luck.<Well I know people who have gone so far as to try to catch them with a hook.> I certainly welcome any suggestion you might have for catching this fish! Otherwise, I do plan on removing it, my damsels and an eyelash blenny when I move to my new house in six weeks.  I must drain the tank at that time so I should be able to catch everything them. I am just concerned the Trachyphyllia will not last that long. <Well I've heard of an acrylic cage over them.  With lots of openings that water and light can go through but not the angel.> The reason I am concerned about the pygmy angel is because it nips at the brain coral daily.  Although I have never noticed it removing tissue from the coral directly, I am sure this nipping must cause some amount of coral stress.  <The Trachyphyllia is pulling it's flesh in so often that it's exposing areas of skeleton.  Trachyphyllia retract due to declining water parameters or some other form of irritation, usually nipping by fish or chemical warfare from other organisms.  Since this coral is not in the close proximity to other corals and (assumably) the water parameters are in check, the angel seems to be the culprit.> I tried again to feed the coral tonight.  I soaked freeze-dried krill in tank water and Selcon for 30 minutes.  I then cut the softened krill into small pieces and held one piece over the oral cavity of the Trachyphyllia. The coral did expand slightly but, even after 20 minutes, sweeper tentacles never appeared and it never ate the krill. <Maybe something smaller? like Mysis?> There are two openings on this coral.  I assumed both are oral openings.  Is this the case or is one an "entrance and the other an "exit"?  If so, I think I might heed to apologize to my coral! ;-)  Maybe re-hydrated, freeze dried foods will not be consumed by corals. My fish love them so I expected to at least get some response from the Trachyphyllia. Do you have any other suggestions? <You have got to find a way to protect that coral?  or perhaps a friend to keep it until you get the fish moved?  Good luck Greg, MacL> --Greg P.S. Please forward the issue about the file attachment to your ISP.  This was a problem a few weeks ago also but I was eventually able to get an email through.  For the past week I have been unable to get any email through if it contained attachments (even very small attachments). <Done>

Vermetid snails taking over - how to control 6/16/04 This question is for Anthony Calfo if available. <in your service> Anthony, I have a 75 Gallon reef with mostly SPS corals.  It is a mature tank with much of the rock/corals I have kept for over 5 years.    <very nice> You mention in your book of coral propagation that Vermetid snails are a "normal" thing.    <yes... inevitable in some quantity> For some reason I have LOTS of these guys.   I can live with the stringy stuff they give off but some of them are a real problem. They seem to like to grow on my Montipora (Cap and Digitata). They do not seem to bother the Acropora as bad.   In fact, I have one that has planted itself on the back of a large purple rimmed Cap I got from a friend. I also had one climbing up a green digitata and in my opinion has "choked" it out. Can I do anything to control these critters and why do they like growing on my corals? Thanks for the help. Andrew <as you might guess, they are not growing from thin air - or water as it were - but rather, they are filter feeders that are flourishing because of excess nutrients. Better nutrient export (or limiting import) will easy check these creatures and force them to wane. If skimmer performance has waned (less than several dark cups of skimmate weekly minimum), or if the water change schedule has been too modest/small all along and caught up with you (20% per month or less), or if feeding habits are sloppy like mine <G> like thawing frozen foods but not decanting the thawed pack juice which is "rocket fuel" for growing nuisance algae, sponges or Vermetids in this case. Some possibilities to consider. But I can reassure you my friend... control the nutrients and you will control their growth. There is no "reef safe predator" on these snails for the aquarium. Anthony>

Fungia illness? 6/2/04 I am concerned about my Fungia.  I have had it for a month now, and it seems to be doing fine.   <I do hope it is placed on a soft sandy bottom and not on rock (critical for long term success). Also, do feed it finely minced meaty foods of marine origin (Mysid shrimp, Pacifica plankton, etc) weekly or more often> A week or two ago I noticed a couple small brown and grey lumps around the mouth.  Now they are bigger, have a rough appearance, are still brown and grey, and seem to be forming on the skeleton, not the tissue.  I also noticed this afternoon that the tissue was retracted (tentacles in, tissue retracted) but i am not sure if this is being caused by the lumps.   <tough to say without a pic. But in the worst case scenario of denuded "skeleton", still do not give up... Fungia are remarkably regenerative and may very well at least produce buds from the stripped skeleton> Also, just to let you know, I added CALXMAX by Warner Marine today.  If you are not familiar with it part it forms these whitish clumps, and some stuck to my Fungia and he swallowed them (I saw no harm).   <yikes! chemical burn is quite possible here. Fully dissolve all supplements in water outside of the tank before adding> I also have an over-curious peppermint shrimp, but I don't think he is pestering the Fungia. <Lysmata shrimp very commonly attack large polyped stony corals. Do not rule this shrimp out either. You will find many references to such shrimp attacking coral in our WWM archives and abroad on the Internet> Thanks, Andrew <best of luck, Anthony>

Coral Health Issue? 5/21/04 HELP! Light areas on flower coral! Is this good, bad, or indifferent? <we need more information to help you Daniel. Your description is general and the coral ID is unclear. What species of coral (scientific name) are you referring to? And what exactly is the nature of the color change?> It has been in hospital tank for 6 weeks and now this, and barely opening up. <without signs of disease, the coral could/should have been moved to the display and better water quality after 4 weeks> Check out the photo and let me know, if you would be so kind. <no photo was attached mate... please resend as a downsized jpeg (under a couple hundred kb please)> Thank You, Daniel <Anthony> 

Need more water flow? Coral Health 5/24/04 Hello and good morning, <howdy!> Hopefully this finds you with the picture this time. My coral is having some issues, it is not spreading out and polyps don't open any more. Now I am noticing some white spots on the underside. I bought it under the name of Pink Cabbage coral, the closest thing I can find is a flower leather coral. It has been "sliming" and then, the slime falls off. Is it cleaning itself? The white areas are of most concern. Any info would be helpful, and thank you for your time. Thanks, Daniel <the sliming is a normal mucous tunic shedding metabolites. If it lingers for more than a day, its a sign of inadequate water flow and can stifle the coral. I suspect this animal needs better water flow. Such leathers are generally quite tolerant of low to moderate light. No worries there unless you have less than 3 or 4 watts per gallon of white light. Anthony> 

Do corals get ich? Hi there, <Michael here> I have a powder blue tang which has been infected with ick for about 6 days and recently my damsel has also been infected. <A very crypto-prone species; your tang> I do not have a hospital tank as I do not have the place to put it. I have noticed a pattern about this ich problem it disappears in the morning till afternoon and appears in the night on both my fishes as for the rest of my fishes there are not infected. Also will corals get infected with ich or are they immune to ick? Pls advise. <Corals are not susceptible to the parasite Cryptosporidium spp. For more information see our FAQs regarding Crypto treatment. M. Maddox> 

Reef stress - help! 4/22/04 I did change the water out quite a bit and things looked better yesterday (at least the torch doesn't look affected anymore). I'll keep doing that and observe the changes. <excellent to hear, my friend> Also, maybe it might be a good idea and I stop adding chemicals to the tank for a while ? (iodine and strontium, molybdenum). <indeed, for a tank this small... regular partial water changes will be better and simpler. Easy enough to do. As they say, "The solution to pollution is dilution."> I'll change out more water tonight and see what happens and maybe put the brain under a shade of a rock somewhere, and hope it'll survive...which bring another question, how would I know if its dead since its all skeleton now? <do not give up on it... they are amazingly regenerative. DO a keyword search with the Google tool from our home page for "anthocauli, Trachyphyllia" and you will find an article by Steve Pro and myself on a brain coral that regenerated buds from a seemingly dead skeleton> Thanks for your input Anthony, its my honor to get a reply from you... <the honor is truly mine that anyone cares to know my opinion. With kind regards, Anthony>

Symbiotic Crabs- Or Nasty Neighbors? (Gall Crabs) Hi there, <Hello there! Scott F. with you today!> First I want to give you my congratulations for your web site which is the best source of help and information about the hobby that I have found. The reason I came to you for help is the last episode in the life of my reef aquarium, it started when I returned from a brief vacation and sat in front of the glass to admire my little piece of nature, the first thing that I noticed was that my open brain coral was in distress, with the polyps closed and some stringy white stuff coming out from the mouths but more important in one of the tops, the coral was showing what appeared to be his skeleton and the tissue around it was white. After close inspection, I was surprised to see that the exposed hard of the coral was moving, opening and closing like some sort of door, what the hell was that? <Sounds weird...these corals are not really known for rapid movement other than expanding and contracting periodically. Perhaps some current is flowing directly into the coral, or maybe someone is crawling around in there?> After a while, I found the culprit was some kind of animal living inside the coral. I did a little research on the web, and found some info about a gall crab that lives inside stony corals and it said that if the coral showed some sort of distress or damage it should be better to remove the crab. So I picked up a needle and stuck it in the hole between the crab shell (that was the door) and out it came. Nasty looking fellow, whitish with a hard shell on the head and with lots of tiny eggs. <Well, I guess she's been evicted, huh? If you're noticing that the coral is declining in the presence of one of these animals, it is not incorrect to remove the crab. Some are known to mimic the harmless symbionts that are commonly found in corals, while actually munching on the coral.> In the coral skeleton was left a round cylindrical hole where the crab was. My worry is if there are more of these in my reef and what can I do to eliminate them, the brain was clearly in distress and if I didn't act, I suppose it could have died.  With my best regards Hugo Lima - from Lisbon-Portugal. <Well, Hugo, I would not be too concerned about these crabs causing problems with your other stony corals. They are more commonly found in corals like Pocillopora, however. And, as mentioned above- most are harmless. However, do be sure to keep an eye on things. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Green open brain necrosis 4/14/04 First off: this site is incredible! You guys are one of the best resources I've found yet (still new to the hobby though). <Thanks for the kind words!> Anyway regarding my problem, I searched & browsed the site/FAQs, and  got some good info, then tried the public forum, but no responses, so here goes. In a nutshell, after being out of town for 5 days my open green brain is suffering serious tissue necrosis which was not at all evident before I left. <You will find that one of the amendments to Murphy's Law states that these things will always happen when you are out of town.!<g>> This is a new 37 gal tank (2 months old), but the brain was doing quite well before I left town (already in the tank for 1 month, bad advice from my LFS).  When I returned from my trip everything in the tank looked fine except for the brain, which showed a small area of what looked like irritation (bright green spot, slightly dented-in looking). Today it's blossomed into full-blown tissue necrosis across one lobe. I lifted up the brain (from the base, using a glove) and upon closer inspection the affected polyp tissue looks like it has some tiny holes bored into it--like termite holes in wood. <Open brains are a bit more sensitive to water quality than most folks consider them to be.  They are also one of the corals most commonly picked on by fish.  Their fleshy inflated tissue can be easily damaged.> Here are some possible culprits/factors: (1) a few days before I left town I added new cleanup crew members, an assortment of snails (Astrea, Nassarius, Ceriths) and some small blue leg hermits. Could these be doing damage? I've seen them waltzing through the button polyp but never anywhere near the brain. (The button polyp and finger leather are a good 18" away from the open brain, which is on the sand with decent light exposure and moderate water flow (no direct laminar flow)). <It is possible that the hermits damaged the brain, but unlikely.  Any fish that may be nipping?> (2) the inverts had been added to battle green hair algae which started blooming a week or so prior. I set up the tank with dechlorinated tap water but have been using RO/DI for about 3 weeks now. So there are probably still some phosphates in the tank. I just read a reference to boring green algae on your site but didn't find much info on it. I'm guessing this is unrelated to run-of-the-mill nuisance algae but that's a newbies guess. The tiny holes got me thinking. <Such boring algaes are quite rare, but conspicuous when encountered.  The real issue is that when exposed skeleton becomes colonized with algaes, the coral has a hard time overgrowing it.> (3) While I was gone the house sitter only topped off water with my RO/DI supply, but I think the weather was hot: when I got back the water level was low and specific gravity had shot up to like 1.027 from the normal 1.024. This would have been for 2-3 days at the most. <No concern over the rise in SG.> (I performed a 10% water change and brought the salinity down to 1.025, then 1.024 the next day. All other tests were not that remarkable--ammonia, nitrite, nitrate were zero, pH 8.3, temp. 77, alkalinity 3.5 meq/L). <Keep in mind that drops in salinity are far more stressful to inverts than rises.  Water quality sounds fine.> (4) I have never fed the coral in the 4 weeks I've had it (more bad advice from the LFS). I just fed the poor guy some minced fresh shrimp per guidelines found on your site. <Great!  Pieces up to the size of a marble or so should be greedily accepted.> (5) A week or so ago I moved the coral to the corner of the tank, as in its previous location it was growing upwards into a rock overhang and I was afraid it would get an abrasion. The new location should be getting plenty of light but it's possible water flow is weaker in that area. Even so, would that cause tissue necrosis? <Perhaps you are seeing the effects of previous damage?  Open brains prefer moderate current, but are very tolerant of fairly low current.> Thanks for any advice. I have pics if that would help but it basically looks like the green brain 2/3 of the way down this page, but worse: www.wetwebmedia.com/corldisfaq2.htm  Your fan, John MB <My hunch is that there was some damage, and the coral was not able to cope because of the immaturity of your tank.  There are no measurable parameters that suggest maturity, and it is a very non-specific term.  Suffice it to say that corals do better in systems that are at least a few months old.  Best regards.  Adam>

Goniopora Ailment 4/12/04  Hello folks and thank you for taking the time to perhaps help me. I have a Goniopora stokesii, that has been in my tank for about six months and seemed to be doing well.  <they are free-living species and need to be on the sand bottom. If they are placed unnaturally on rock (like folks regrettably sometimes do with Trachyphyllia open brains) they seem to suffer in time (lack of micronutrients from substrate, abrasion from polyp cycles on rock, etc?). Most will go about 6 months on rocks ;)>  The problem is that when the lights are out and the polyps are retracted I have noticed that there is an area of missing polyps. I first noticed this about three weeks ago but as the area was very small and the coral expands beautifully I felt the coral was in no real danger. Over the last three weeks, however, the area of lost polyps is becoming larger. The rest of the animal opens very well, so well in fact that you can only see the damaged area after the polyps are retracted. There is never any 'jelly' infection and no slough tissue. Might there be something that would eat the polyps and section at a time?  <yes, but just as likely could be an injury from a fish or invertebrate that nipped it... expanding now>  The coral is in a 125 gallon SPS aquarium that is lit by 250 watt metal halides. It receives moderate to strong flow and as I said the rest of the coral opens completely and covers the damage. My water conditions are as follows: NH3, NO2, and PO4 are all zero as per Salifert tests.  <do allow some nitrates for good coral health/color. About 5 ppm is fine>  Calcium is around 450 ppm, pH ranges from 8.1-8.2, and alkalinity is 2.5 meq/l.  <your Alkalinity is flat because the Ca is so high (not needed). Do consider allowing the Ca/Alk dynamic to be more even keeled. 8-12 dKH for ALK and no more than 420ppm Ca (350-420). Neither should be at the high end of either range at the same time (no worries)>  There are sally Lightfoots, red leg hermits, two camel shrimp and an arrow crab.  <none of the above are truly reef safe. All are cited as nipping coral... the sally lightfoot in particular. Read about it in the archives FAQS>  The only fish are two lawnmower blennies and a Scopas tang.  <no trouble here likely>  Any insight you might be able to offer or any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again. Matt Hall  <best regards, Anthony>

Bubble Coral Damage 4/5/04 While working in my tank tonight I bumped my bubble coral.  A small portion got crushed against the sharp shell. There is definitely some tissue damage. It pulled into its shell right after, and has not come out for an hour or so.  Is this likely to regenerate, or did clumsiness just kill my bubble coral?  Thanks! -Ken <while even some hardy LPS corals are very sensitive to tissue damage, Bubble corals are not.. really durable and resilient! With good water flow, water quality and adequate feeding/light, I suspect this coral will recover very soon. No worries. Anthony>

Tissue Necrosis on Acropora 3/28/04 The bottom of this Acro seems to be dying and slowly moving up. The dead area you see in the picture took about 10 days to get that high. It's about 1/2 inch by 1-1/2". I've included a picture of it while it was healthy also. What is it and how do I fix it?? Thanks in advance - Chris in Georgia <there are numerous possible reasons and few if any clear answers to why tissue necrosis occurs in SPS corals. Without a speck of information on your system, I cannot speak to the possibilities. Please do use the terms "tissue necrosis Acropora SPS" and various combinations in a keyword search of our site and beyond. Also, do read Eric Borneman's excellent coverage of coral pathology n his book "Aquarium Corals". Kindly, Anthony>

Toadstool leather coral 3/26/04 Thanks for the help with my leather.  It is now doing great.  I have one more question.  My green open brain coral was doing great for about 5 weeks but for the past 2 days it has not opened up.  All other tank inhabitants are doing great and the water quality is high.  What should I look for as the problem? Ken <many possible reasons... do browse the archives with a keyword search (wetwebmedia.com), but I should say that two of the most common reasons would be inappropriate water flow (too much or too little) or attrition (starving over time from little or no feeding... or feeding chunks of food too large that get regurgitated later). Anthony>

An Assortment of Coral Problems? Sorry to bother you AGAIN <Never a bother> .....But something is awry in my tank...Quick rundown....26 Gal. Bowfront, Ecosystem 100 Reefugium above with gravity return (Grape Caulerpa: Red Caulerpa: Rock with mushrooms and Halimeda, Miracle Mud)150 Watt AquaSpacelight with 10K AB Bulb 6" over water surface,30LBS. Live rock (Fiji),4" Live sand, Turboflotor multi 1000,2 Maxijet 1200's,Eheim with carbon and floss (changed often),1 not pulsing Xenia (was pulsing great),2 Green open Brains 2"&3"(on the sand),1- 3 branch Alveopora (yellow&white) doing great,3 rocks Yellow Polyps,1 rock green mushrooms,2 rocks Purple and White Mushrooms,1 Yellow and Green Mushroom on small rock,1 small piece of Green Star Polyp,3 feather dusters,1 Flame Scallop,1 Tonga branch (small) with Button Polyps,2 Tube Polyps (frag)?,6 Xenia-type tube polyps (frag)?,1- 1 1/2 " Percula clown,1- 1 1/4"Sixline wrasse,1-3" Jawfish (not affecting brains with sand),1 Algae Blenny,15 Turbo snails,10 Margarita snails,15 Red Leg hermits (small),15 Blue Leg hermits (small),2 Red Linckia stars (small) PARAMETERS: pH 8.2 (Salifert) :8.3(kordon)--pH (Hanna ph continuous monitor auto temp. adj.) 8.01---Alkalinity 5.0--Salinity (Instant Ocean Plastic Hydrometer) 1.024/32----Salinity with American Marine Dig. Monitor I believe to be calib. properly (auto temp adj.)46.2 mS %salt (ppt)=29.8 Spec. Grav.=1.022 what should I believe the plastic hydro? <I like refractometers!> The Hanna pH says it came calibrated.---Temp. 79-80 F. New water is RO PROBLEMS:1 Yellow Polyps not opening well <Usually a function of water movement, or lack thereof. Give 'em a bit more flow and see what happens...>          2 green brains not inflating one was eating regularly but not now also noticed what  I believe to be Zooxanthellae being expelled. .Both have stopped inflating...can also                  notice a slight bit of the skeleton showing through in one ,in tiny spot. tiny tear it looks like one of the blades of the skeleton tore through (very small) can I fix it? <That doesn't sound too good. You may have a "snacker" somewhere in your tank. Keep an eye on those crabs. Insufficient feeding is also a contributor to this type of situation. It may be possible to save the coral, but it will need to be kept in an undisturbed situation with good flow, and sufficient food. Hopefully, with effort, you can provoke a feeding response still.> 3Xenia not pulsing but is expanded most of the time <Pick a theory- any theory: insufficient iodine, low specific gravity, pH fluctuations, low alkalinity...You may have to experiment a bit to find out what it is...A common complaint!> 4 Mushrooms don't really expand to well <Maybe too much direct light? Try moving them to a more protected (from light) area...> 5  I have a rock with half moon coral (grey to green) and the other half is mushrooms (the moon coral side doesn't look to well for about 3 weeks could it be polluting the tank? <Could be. I noticed that you did not mention nitrite, nitrate, phosphate, ammonia, etc. Do some testing here> All fish are doing great and looking great and eating well ...I know something is wrong with my tank i just cant figure it out....Please help........AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!ready to smash the tank. <Nah...don't do that!> Tank has been up and running since November of last year...2003 Any direction would be greatly appreciated....By the way did you get the pictures I sent you guys...hope you liked them. <Hang in there, check out some of the possibilities that I mentioned, and see i we're on the right track. With a little testing, and a bit more tweaking, you may see things come around again! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Coral polyp extension 3/22/04 Anthony, <Cheers> I read a response you gave to my same question, however wanted to add some additional information. I have purchased many corals in the past that have been fully extended in the LFS or an friends tank and when placed into mine the polyps retract and do not come out except at night ( fully extended). I wondered if there was something wrong with my tank, <not necessarily (or even likely). Polyps expansion occurs and to varying extents for many reasons. Surprisingly to many folks... its often not so much from light (although in the case of some fleshy corals, brighter light does instigate reduced polyp extension). Water flow (enough) is the most influential factor across the board... feeding opportunities (or not) is also quite significant. Case in point, Tubastrea that have been starved for a prolonged period of time cease to extend their vulnerable polyps, but can be slowly trained to do so again in aquaria with consistent (same time each day or night) feedings of enticing meaty "juice" to be followed days/weeks later with full polyps expansion by a successful target feeding> however my water parameters are all excellent: CA 420, ALK 10 dKH, PH 7.95-8.30, Nitrate 0, Mag 1370, Phos, undetectable Salinity1.024. <all good> I have noticed however that my lighting seems much brighter and intense than the identical lighting of a friends tank that the same corals extend in. <yes... for the zooxanthellate species... this could  simply be the reason> I do however constantly use large amounts of carbon. <no worries... I agree here. Particularly if you feed your corals well/regularly> I did have a grounding problem but have added a grounding probe to the tank and it seems to already be helping (tangs, etc) I have a MTC reactor that replaces CA and ALK as best as possible and I drip KALK 24/7 for replacement water. My water flow is greater than most if not all of the tanks the corals have come from ( 2 SeaSwirls on a Blueline XXX 1800 gallons per hour) 1 Tunze in the middle on a 220. <outstanding> I have a UV, <not needed... arguably harmful to plankton production. I'd skip it> and a Euroreef style skimmer. <excellent skimmer> Could it possibly be that my tank is just cleaner (DOM levels) <ahhh... no. :) All of our aquaria are remarkably high on dissolved organics regardless.> and that the corals don't need to extend except at night as they do in the wild when food levels are at their highest. Any ideas or comments would be helpful. Chris <if the corals are growing well and have good/rich pigments... no worries! Best regards, my friend. Anthony>

Sick Coral - Help I have a large green Goniopora? (flower pot coral) that is covered in brown goo in several spots....disease? <yikes... a highly infectious condition> I was told to dip the coral in a partial hydrogen peroxide dip and watch the goo bubble away and hope for the best. Is this wise or just toss the coral? <perhaps helpful, as are iodine dips and freshwater baths. Still... the coral is not likely to survive this aggressive infection. And you really do need to understand, appreciate and use a quarantine tank to put all new corals, fishes and other critters in first before adding them to the display... and to use at times such as this. The infection you are observing can easily spread to healthy coral in the tank and take a heavy toll. I'd hate to see you learn about the importance of QT tanks this way. Please do read up more on this ASAP. Anthony>

Sick Coral - Help 3/18/04 I understand the importance of the QT, but I've had this coral for 3 months? How would a QT help in this scenario? <you do not understand it at all my friend, as per your question: QT for new corals is only the tip of the iceberg. In this case, is to be on hand and waiting for the expression of established animals that become sick, injured and/or dieing. You could/should have pulled this Goniopora back to QT immediately upon noticing this infection which as it turns out is highly infectious and can easily kill other healthy coral in the tank> Update: I dipped the coral in a heavy iodine and HP dip, and I noticed that where the skeleton is coming through is a limpet looking invert attached to the coral with a little mouth that was pulsating. I killed whatever was there with a screwdriver and the coral looks much better. <ahhh... OK> I now noticed a few of these limpet looking things in my overflow, stuck to the wall, like a snail that's flat and without a shell. A hitchhiker of sorts, I'm assuming. <sounds more like a harmless diatom grazing Stomatellid snail> Also, I have a bunch of emerald crabs in my tank, red and green (male and female). <huh?!? Ahhh... they are different species... the former getting over 4" across the carapace and eating medium sized fishes in time> I saw a red one that is about 1 1/2 wide (body) that looks dangerous. Could this be a hitchhiker and not an emerald. <I have no idea without a picture or a detailed description. But there are red Mithraculus crabs in the trade commonly... and they are dangerous like the green ones in time (not truly reef safe, you will see... or read in the wetwebmedia.com archives)> Thanks, Adam <there are several recent articles on proper use of a QT tank on the site. Do re-read . Anthony>

Sick Goniopora Hello guys and girls I emailed a very poor picture of some sick Goniopora. It had a brown translucent covering all over it.  It started out on one corner of the piece and quickly spread over the entire piece. I took the piece out of the tank to wash away the brown covering and it disintegrated in the tank. I did manage to wash some of it away in a bowl filled with the tanks water and put it back in the tank. much of the piece looks dead and had a little foul odor after I cleaned it smelled ok and it looks like there are some tubes trying to blossom. Will this piece come back? I included the best picture I have of it. I have included a picture of the piece after I cleaned it and it is Jpeg 014 it shows it on top to the left of the bubble. Will this fragmented crap floating around in my tank effect the other corals, worms, polyps?  I also included JPEG 008 that shows what looks like hair algae (red) growing on a rock can you identify and tell me if this is bad stuff and how to get rid of it if it is bad? Thanks Kirt Joseph <please send only downsized images to friends/folks like us as a courtesy to our mailboxes, my friend. These images are huge and clog mail space for other folks in need. As per your query... there is much information in our archives on this subject... please do take the time to read and do keyword searches to focus on your topic of interest. Go to the index page wetwebmedia.com and type in search words/phrases at the bottom of the page in the google search tool like "sick Goniopora", "infection", "brown jelly" [the infection you have], "Goniopora", etc. kindly, Anthony>

Is The Fox Finished? (Damaged Fox Coral) Hi, I recently bought a large fox coral off of liveaquaria.com, and it arrived with one half of the tissue gone. That is, that it died and fell off. The colour was bleached white on the areas where their was no tissue. Is there any way I can feed it, so that it can re-grow over the dead areas? I tried feeding it, but the food just floated off. And the "ribs" were exposed. If you do not know what I mean by ribs, you know how on bubble corals, there are large round plate like things? That is what I am talking about, only an a fox coral. <I understand what you are referring to...Good description!> It is at the bottom of my reef aquarium. It didn't seem to open well under direct light. Anyway, can you help me out? Thanks, Adam <Well, Adam- assuming that you are providing appropriate environmental conditions, it is certainly possible for recovery to occur. Not an everyday occurrence, but it is worth not giving up. The most important thing is to provide stable, healthy parameters, and feed as often as possible. Don't give up yet! Regards, Scott F>

Does my Brain (coral) need help? Hi Crew !  You've been great help in the past so lets try it again. <Glad you have benefited!> Presently have a 46 gallon bow front with roughly 90 lbs of live rock and assorted healthy fish. Tunicate and sponge growth here and there. I would think this is a sign of a healthy tank also. Lighting consists of one Coralife 10k and one Hagen Marine-Glo actinic staying on 9 hours per day. Good filtration and moderate skimmer. I am a believer in Tom Walsh's theory that you don't have to have a complex system to be successful in this hobby just good husbandry. <All sounds reasonable.  I do also subscribe to the KISS principal... Keep It Simple Stupid!> Now to my question. I was given a Green Closed Brain Coral two weeks ago . I have never kept corals before but have read that the Favia? was a good beginner. I have noticed that in the last week it is showing some brownish coloring around some of the edges. <A picture is worth a thousand words here....  This is most likely "browning out" due to differences in (likely less) light in your tank.  If the tissue looks in tact, but is just changing color, I would not worry.> I have always used SeaChem Reef Calcium and Reef Complete but have been out since this coral was added. I dosed the tank last night and also added Reef Plus. What do you think will happen now. Will he recover from this? Will the supplements get him on the rebound? His feeder tentacles are out when the lights come on however. Thanks for your help. Randy  <The only way to be sure what supplements are necessary is to test for those elements.  My suggestion is to supplement only calcium and alkalinity (should be checked often), and nothing else unless you are testing for it.  In most cases, regular partial water changes will supply enough of everything else.  Over use of supplements can easily lead to overdose.  Occasional feedings of finely chopped meaty seafoods will also be of great benefit.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Coral Soup? (Saving Corals From An Overheated Tank) Yesterday I was changing the reflector on my canopy and had to take everything apart. Well, I have a digital heater and the probe that takes the temperature of the water fell out without me not noticing till this am around 4:00, and the water got to around 91.8. <Yikes> Well, my Frogspawn is looking awful, along with my Colt Coral, but the Zoo's are doing fine. is there anything I can do to stop losing the beautiful frogspawn and colt coral???? PLEASE HELP <Well, there is no guarantee, but I have personally had good experiences with these corals rebounding after miscellaneous traumas. They do have fairly good recovery properties, IMO. I guess that the best thing that you can do is to return the temperature to a normal range, and observe the corals carefully. Employ a chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon or Poly Filter (or put in some fresh media, if you already use them), and consider a small water change to help remove any of the allelopathic or other compounds that the corals may have released during the stressful period. You may need to use a sharp razor blade to cut out any sections of the corals which appear to be damaged beyond their ability to recover. Make sure that the cutting is done in a separate container. With a little luck, these corals should be able to rebound! Regards, Scott F>  

Ich "Treatment"- Or Coral Curse? My 150 gallon reef tank with a mix of soft, hard, and fire corals along with a dozen fish is having problems. ICH! <Uh-Oh- a familiar enemy!> My fish have Ich, so I went to my LFS and they told me to mix Marex in with the food and feed to the fish. I did over 3 days. The fish seem better, but still visible ich spots. <Well, these types of food-based medications are not always effective with this illness. Better methods of treatment exist> The big problem...My corals... My elegance Coral melted off it's skeleton onto the live rock, my Acroporas turned bleach white, and my sebae anemone died.... What's up? The medication? <Quite possible. Was the medication a liquid or powder mixed into the food? It is very possible that this stuff is not (as many manufacturers like to label their products) "reef safe". Quite frankly, it is my opinion that treatment for any disease should take place in a separate aquarium, and that the main system should run fallow, without fishes, to help disrupt the life cycle of the causative protozoan. Much has been written about this technique on the WWM site, so do look into this method. Of course, it is equally possible that there has been some other sudden environmental lapse that has resulted in your corals being adversely affected. Do some water parameter tests, and take action if needed to correct them. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Stung coral - treatment "brown jelly infection" 2/6/04 I have a brain coral that was stung by my Pear coral.  The brain now has some brown powdery stuff where it was stung, it seems that more and more is accumulating. <yes... this is a necrotic infection. And may be infectious to other corals. The best thing to do might be to remove it to a quarantine tank to prevent it from infecting other healthy corals. If you do not have or own a QT tank, you need to own and understand why you should have one (much is writ about it here on WWM if you take the time to read through the archives). Otherwise, you may be about to learn a very expensive lesson.> What should I do, to stop this? <siphoning loose necrotic tissue daily is helpful, strong water flow in the tank too. Small daily instead of large weekly doses of iodine may also be therapeutic> I have already moved the corals farther apart. <Tes... please do maintain a minimum of 10" between all corals for safety. Best regards, Anthony>

What's That On Your Hammer?  Eeewww!!! Hi, I have a tri-color hammer branch that had been doing quite well for a couple months (that's about how long I've had it) but then I added in a frogspawn coral on the other side of the tank and started adding in calcium and iodide in moderate quantities. Since then, the hammer has been almost completely closed up. The frogspawn, meanwhile, is flourishing.  Over the last week or so, I've noticed that long stringy brown algae has been growing on the hammer and I started moving it away but probably not very effectively because it always came back. Someone at my LFS recommended using a turkey baster which appeared to literally blast away all the bad algae and maybe some brown stuff that seemed to be inside the hammer. That very night (yesterday), the hammer started coming out again, probably to about 50% of what I've ever seen it at but then stopped and I noticed some small pieces of algae growing on the edges. I blasted those away too (though rather gently so as not to harm the hammer) though the hammer didn't come out any more. However, this morning, more brown stringy algae was on the hammer and the hammer had pulled back into itself.  Is my hammer damaged or diseased? Is there a way to get rid of the algae from growing on it? I'm relatively certain that if I could get the algae to go away, the hammer might come back out as normal. I have 3 blue-leg hermits, one Astrea snail and one turbo snail, but recently (last couple weeks) I have noticed that the brown algae on the glass seems to be a little out of control as well as some red slime algae on the substrate.  Thanks for all your help! Veronica <Hi Veronica, The algae (which I'm guessing is Cyano bacteria from your description) is growing on a dead surface, meaning that the hammer is most likely dead in the areas which the algae is growing on. Your regular additions of iodine may have caused this, as well as moving it. I would recommend you purchase an iodine test kit and test for your iodine levels. You should always test for anything you're adding. Blasting the Cyanobacteria off the hammer is a good idea. Cyanobacteria (or, also referred to as Red Slime) is usually caused by lack of currents and extra nutrients. Overfeeding could possibly lead to the Cyano taking over corals. Phosphate will also elevate your Cyano levels.  For now, I would continue to blast the algae off the hammer and discontinue dosing iodine until you've tested for it. I would also look into feeding less and adding more current to your aquarium to prevent further Cyano build up. Take Care, Graham>

- Fragging - Hello again, I would appreciate your expertise with a three fingered HAMMER CORAL.  One of the fingers seems to have died while the other two fingers are thriving.  Is there a way I can cut off the dead finger without damaging the other two. <Yes... with needle-nosed pliers or I've seen some use tin-snips - just cut that one arm as close to the base as possible. Should be no problem.> Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.  Also, would a lawnmower blenny and a Kole Tang help with the removal of green hair-like algae that is growing in may tank. <The blenny would likely help with some of it.> I realized that my lights were on too long of a period. Thanks for providing a great service to us, Jose
<Cheers, J -- >

-Dead portions of hammer- Hello again, I just have a quick question for your fine staff.  I have a three fingered HAMMER CORAL.  Unfortunately, one of the fingers seems to have died.  Their is no sign of life.  However, the other two fingers are flourishing.  Can I cut off the dead finger or what would you suggest. <Absolutely, provided there is no live tissue connecting the dead head to the live ones.> Their is some brown slime starting to form on the dead finger. <Definitely remove this dead one, it would also be good practice to give the other heads an iodine dip, do a search on this site for info how. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks again for your hard work and dedication,

Coral Health 1/28/04 I have a 55g tank with a Remora skimmer, 80lbs LR, 3inch DSB and 265w PC lighting.  It has been up and running for just over a year now and I have used nothing but RO/DI water, Kalk and now B-ionic 2 part system. I have done regular water changes and so far have experienced excellent purple coralline growth and happy fish/invertebrates. The problem is with just certain corals and I cannot pinpoint it.  I have a star polyp, brain, mushroom, umbrella mushroom and finger coral that all seem to be happy.  But no matter what, the Galaxea, Goniopora and frogspawn will not open more than 10-20%.   <FWIW... the first common thread I can think of to these three corals is an inclination towards lower light schemes. Arguably, the Goniopora and the Frogspawn at least should be kept  in the bottom third of this particular tank. Furthermore... the Galaxea and the Frogspawn are very heavy feeders, requiring target feeding several times weekly unless the fish load is high enough. They will die if forced to live on the products of photosynthesis alone in aquaria. Slow attrition is a common problem with aquarium held specimens> I have just changed all the bulbs, also done large more frequent water changes in the past, all with no results.  I have been feeding them Coralife bottle food, and Phytoplan in the past... <ughh... the thought was good, the choice was not alas. Most all of your corals are carnivores... requiring zooplankton or like substitutes. The phyto has little or no place here... and there are a wide range of issues with the Coralife foods that you can discover chatting with aquarists abroad> now I am trying Golden Pearls.   <a good choice... but Cyclop-eeze (frozen thawed) would be a great addition here... better still, adding a fishless refugium to the display to generate plankton. If you have our "Reef Invertebrates" book (Calfo and Fenner), there is very extensive coverage of the topic therein> The only thing left I can think of is my evaporation water I re-add one gallon a day, is this too much, maybe throwing things off?   <not likely at all... just add slowly of course> I monitor the water parameters closely all pH, calcium, Alk, Nitrate is very good, so I am not sure what else.  Should I add additional trace elements?  I use Instant Ocean salt now and only add Iodine as extra, I hate to add too much extra garbage.   <agreed... stay the course. Frequent water changes are the best way for replenishment and dilution> thanks for any ideas you might have!  -Brian <best regards, Anthony>

Coral color changes To the WWM Crew : I have a 450 litres reef aquarium with a  big Tubipora musica, 1 Sinularia dura, 2 Turbinaria peltata, a bubble coral, one Cynarina, a big Sarcophyton, one Tridacna  and more than 80 Actinodiscus with several colors and shapes, a problem to solve. There are a good amount of live rock, about ? of the entire tank volume, almost covered and tied together with red and rose calc. algae. It's a  4 years old tank. I notice that the bubble coral, initially with a brilliant with color, has becoming brownish, similar to the other corals like the Sarcophyton and some Actinodiscus. I believe this is because the type of light. The question is, what can I do to change this, to promote some color changes if possible? The lights: 4 fluorescents day light Osram 36W  72/965 and one actinic. All the corals are growing and looking very good, some of them have tripled is initial size. <Hi Flavio.  Your coral may be turning brown for several reasons.  High nitrates, lack of feeding and low light can both stimulate the coral to produce more zooxanthellae to get more energy.  Bubble corals generally don't require much light, so I would look at feeding more and reducing nitrates if they are high.  HTH.  Adam>

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