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FAQs about Stony Coral Health/Disease/Pests 5

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 4, 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, Cnidarian Disease, Quarantining Invertebrates,

Too much Lighting? Every time I buy a frag of a Montipora coral, they turn brown? Too much lighting? What would cause this strange phenomenon? Most are purple to start with. <Several factors could be influencing this color change. High Nitrate levels, which act as a sort of fertilizer for brown zooxanthellae, could easily be the cause, as could old bulbs or low lighting. Hope this helps, mike G> 

Rapid Acropora Death 2/8/05 I just purchased a frag of a gorgeous A. albrohensis. It shipped very well I'm assuming because even while acclimating it, all polyps were out and is still had a greenish hue to it. I acclimated it for an hour, turned the MH lights off in the tank (only 2x96W actinics) running... <All sounds good, although extended polyps are not a reliable source of "happiness" it can just as easily indicate stress.> ...and glued it down to a rock. Polyps still out. <What kind of glue, and did the glue contact living tissue? It is unusual, but have seen cases where tissue recession, or even total loss was caused by contact with glue.> Wake up this morning, and looks like a bone. No polyps anywhere, just skeleton. I quickly turned off the MH that was above it. Checked it several hours later, and maybe one polyp at base of coral.  <Two possibilities... first (and far less likely), the coral bleached. If this is the case, the coral will be colorless, but still covered in living tissue. Second, the coral died. If this is the case, you may see stringy or lacy remnants of tissue clinging to the skeleton. If you don't have a lot of Acro experience, it may be a bit tough to tell the difference, but on a dead coral, you will be able to see the rough porous texture of the skeleton.> Is this normal, and it might be fine tomorrow, or did I do something wrong?  <This isn't normal, but it doesn't sound like you did anything wrong. It could have been the stress of shipping, or it could be water quality in your tank.> Tank is 125G, 2x250W 10K MH with one 400W MH in the middle with the actinic. Like I mentioned, turned off all lighting but actinic when I put it in the tank. No MHs until the following morning, but already looked bad before MHs came on.  <All sounds good. You wisely protected the coral from possible light shock.> I recently read that peppermint shrimp might do this. I have a pair, but nothing in tank but tangs and clownfish. Any thoughts on if it will recover and adjust, or does it sound like it died?  <Peppermint shrimp will absolutely not do this. They may pick at some corals, but would only cause minor damage to an Acro. My guess is that the coral died of what is referred to as "RTN" (Rapid Tissue Necrosis) or "SDR" (Shut down reaction). In these cases, the coral tissue "self destructs" in response to stress. The stress can be caused by shipping, but is more often related to water quality problems, including the presence of other aggressive corals. Infection has been implicated as well, but this is questionable. Please feel free to write back with a list of other corals in the tank and a list of all of your test results (actual values please!), please include pH, Alkalinity, Calcium, Salinity, temperature and nitrate. Also briefly describe your filtration. Best Regards. AdamC.>

RTN? Please take a look at the attached photo (sorry about the quality). Tissue is sloughing off, I assume hermit crab is eating dead tissue and is not the cause. < I would say that as well. > Perused many comments regarding RTN on your site, is this what it looks like? This Acro has been in the tank for 6 months without symptoms and several other Acros look normal. About the only change recently is switch to Reef Crystal from IO. Have not verified all parameters yet, what I do know is pH 8.2, dKH 12, Ca 350, temp stable at 77-78*F. I guess my question is, if I do find something amiss and slowly correct it, what are the prospects for a full recovery? < Looks like a perfect example.  Chance of recovery is very very bad.  I would immediately frag that coral.  I used to advise otherwise but every time I did the reefer would lose their coral.  So now, I say frag many many pieces away from the RTN area and just hope the remaining mother colony makes it.  Sorry I can't be more optimistic but I wouldn't wait this one out. > Regards, George.
<  Blundell  >

Brain coral  <Hello EAM917> We have a 46 gal reef tank which has been working for approx 7 months.  A few months ago we got a green brain coral.  It would change size during the course of the day and evening.  Usually large during the day and much smaller in the evening.<Sounds normal> During the past 3 or 3 days it has not changed size, it is small. The sides appear to have some white coloring which we have not seen before.<Sounds like bleaching> Do you have any idea what is happening and what we should do.<Several factors can cause this.  First, what kind of lighting are you using?  Do you feed your corals?  The hard corals of which the brain is a member of require very intense lighting of the proper spectrum to survive along with good water movement. Answer the questions I have asked and we can try to help you. James (Salty Dog)>Thanks Elizabeth
Re: Brain coral, health
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. <You're welcome Elizabeth> We have never heard of bleaching, what is it  & can it be corrected?<In a nutshell bleaching occurs when things are not to the corals liking>  We use a coral life Aqualight double strip 34 in 96 w Actinic and 96 w 10000k square bulb.  Water movement in the tank is good.  We are using flake food for the fish and were never told by the store to use anything else. They said they would get their food from this. Do you think this coral can be saved.<What is the height of your tank?  The PC lighting may not be intense enough for the brain coral.  Corals don't require feeding on a daily basis but a weekly feeding is good.  DT's phytoplankton is a good choice. As far as saving the coral, keep your lights on for 12 hours, replace the bulbs if they are over one year old, do 10% water changes weekly. There is no cure in a bottle that will save corals, just good sound maintenance of the aquarium is all you can do for now. James <Salty Dog)> (Thanks Elizabeth
Re: Brain coral, health
My husband said to tell you that the nitrite and ammonia is 0ppm however the nitrate is over 160ppm.  Would that stress it.<yes, corals do require pristine water quality.  This tells me you do not do 10% weekly water changes.  This helps reduce the nitrate level by dilution.>  He has put in a nitrate sponge<the nitrate sponge is fine but nitrates have to be controlled at the source of the problem or the levels will just return>in the filtering system to try to lower it earlier today and did a water change  6 days ago.  The water temp is 78. Thanks Elizabeth<James (Salty Dog)
Re: Brain coral
We have done 2 water changes and the levels are still high.  Any suggestions to lower it.  I was wondering, parts of the brain are looking better and are enlarging during the day.  You can see them moving or pulsing like water is going through them.  I don't know what actually causes that.  Other parts seem to have split  open and you see an off white color that appears skeletal.  Is there a possibility that parts will continue to live on the brain coral or is it just a matter of time before the entire brain changes to white.  If this happens is it dead ?  Thanks Elizabeth <Elizabeth, if you have a canister filter I would recommend you get some "Chemi-pure" and use this.  It is an excellent product for removing nutrients in the form that protein skimmers will not take out.  You do have a protein skimmer, correct?. James (Salty Dog)
Re: Brain coral part 2
Sorry the mail somehow was sent.  I am bad on the computer. We did a water change again last night.  The brain is enlarging during the day but only is some sections.,  We can see is moving or pulsing like water is going through it.  Some parts seem to have split open and you see an off white color that appears skeletal.  Is there a possibility that parts will continue to live on the brain or is it just a matter of time before the entire brain changes to white.  If this happens is it dead.  Thanks Elizabeth <Hello Elizabeth, One thing you have to keep in mind with keeping hard corals, or anything marine for that matter is that weekly water changes (not just till things get better)  is one of the best things you can do for the overall health of the tank.  It not only removes nitrates etc. by dilution, but also replenishes traces elements that have been absorbed by the animals.  You will know when the brain is dead.  You will end up with a white skeleton.  These corals are not one of the easiest to keep.  The elegance or bubble corals are a little easier to maintain.  James (Salty Dog)
Re: Helping injured brain coral 1/12/04
This is for James, Salty Dog.  You have been helping me with a problem with the 46 gal reef tank.  I was just wondering if a brain coral could still live when a portion of it is damaged or will it eventually die? <Anthony Calfo with a contribution as well :) indeed, most any can survive and recover with adequate water quality (do not move the animal and stress with a change in light... provide good turbulent water flow but never laminar, etc.). The addition of small amounts of iodine (reef supplement) may be of some indirect benefit too. Feeding the coral with tiny bits of food (mysids or Pacifica plankton... nothing larger) will be of tremendous help! 3-5 times weekly. Best of luck, Anthony>
Helping injured brain coral 1/12/04
This is for James, Salty Dog.  You have been helping me with a problem with the 46 gal reef tank.  I was just wondering if a brain coral could still live when a portion of it is damaged or will it eventually die? <Anthony Calfo with a contribution as well :) indeed, most any can survive and recover with adequate water quality (do not move the animal and stress with a change in light... provide good turbulent water flow but never laminar, etc.). The addition of small amounts of iodine (reef supplement) may be of some indirect benefit too. Feeding the coral with tiny bits of food (mysids or Pacifica plankton... nothing larger) will be of tremendous help! 3-5 times weekly. Best of luck, Anthony>

Sick Stylophora 1/7/04 Hello, I've had my 29 gallon running for about 5 months now.  It was  an upgrade from a 20 gal. and I've added a lot of different corals lately.    <hmmm... easy on the "a lot"... this is a tiny tank for corals, unless you plan to frag several times monthly. Even a few corals will outgrow this tank in 1-3 years> I don't know much about what goes good together or where they go, but I've been  able to use your site and Borneman's book as reference for all my  inquiries. I recently bought a Stylophora which I got a deal on since it wasn't looking very healthy. <please read and understand why it is critical to quarantine all new livestock... particularly ones that look sick. Else you will infect your tank most likely in time with something unsavory> Almost a day or two after it was placed in the tank  I noticed around the base of the living tissue that something had eaten away the  material which was previously there.   <for starters, this coral needs very strong turbulent (not linear as from a power head stream) water flow. 20-30X tank turnover minimum> I remember there being more of this  algal stuff where there is now a white band.  I didn't think much of  it.  A day or two later, I noticed it had increased very slightly.  I  read up in the Borneman book about what is known as White Band Disease.   I'm afraid that maybe that is what I have.   <not likely... this coral just looks starved to death over time> For a remedy, it suggested to  try using Lugol's dip or propagate a healthy chunk off of it. <the coral is too pale... looks starved. I'd leave it be and focus on water flow, light and feeding.>   Are you familiar with this disease?   <yes, somewhat> Do you think this is what I  have?   <cant say from pic quality... but again, its unlikely> What recommendations or questions do you have? <do read the articles here at wetwebmedia.com on QT and check out Steve Pros recent article on the same at reefkeeping.com> Sincerely, Brant

Coral Aggression: Galaxea 1/7/04 Brant here again, <cheers> I really appreciate having such an informative site.  I wanted to  mention in reference to my last e-mail about white band that I also got  a Galaxea at the same time.  I placed it on the top of a rock in the  center of the aquarium with some distance between corals.   <grumble, grumble... would rather have heard it was placed properly in a QT tank first for 4+ weeks. We might not be having this exchange if so <G>> The Stylophora  is only 3-4 inches away and is somewhat 'downstream' from the Galaxea.    <Yikes! The Stylo is soon to be Galaxy coral food> I've read a lot about sweeper tentacles <eventually 10" long from Galaxea... they are one of the worst> and was wondering if this had anything  to do with my Stylophora problem.   <very easily so> My salt level is low also, at about  1.019. <do get this up to 1.023-1.025 for corals> Besides the Stylophora problem, I was wondering if I could/should place my  Galaxea directly on the floor of the tank at the farthest distance from everything else?   <perhaps... they are one of the most aggressive corals in the trade> Your help is greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Chris Brant <best of luck, Anthony>

Dying maze coral Hi I have a 3" maze brain coral.  It is my favorite bugger in the tank and I feed him a little every morning and keep him in the best light.  He has been doing well since I got him.  But now he is in dire shape.  Lot of his green color between the crevices has disappeared and it looks like the crevices are getting deeper.  Plus there are brown stuff, I'm guessing coral scabs in the crevices. << Sounds like dying tissue or an infection. >> What had happened was I was changing water and when I was putting in the new water, the hose was too close to the coral.  I had it pointing to the aquarium glass wall but the force of the water and the sand damaged my coral. << It should recover from something like this. >> It was all puffy when I did notice something was wrong an hour later and its ridges were damaged and white. Is there any hope for him?  How will I know if he is dead?  Will he contaminate the aquarium if he is rotting away? << Well he will pollute the tank.  But I wouldn't worry about that.  More concerning is the health of the coral and if it can be saved.  I'd try adding some iodine to the water (squirt it right by the coral) and just keep him in good water.  I wouldn't worry about feeding him for now, just leaving it alone. >> Thanks in advance <<  Blundell  >>

Acropora Color Change Bob: <Scott F. in today!> I purchased some colorful Acroporas and placed them in my tank. In a couple of weeks, they started to turn all brown. I have since got my phosphates to 0% and my nitrates to under 5%. The acros are starting to grow with tips being colorful. My question is will the entire Acropora return to its original color now that I have my water quality under control? Joey <Great question, Joey. The prevailing wisdom is that the colors of coral are a sort of natural "sunscreen", which the coral will manufacture as it needs them. Under intense light and high water quality, it is certainly possible that the colors will return to something approaching their original splendor. Phosphates are well known to inhibit calcification and color in stony corals, so you were right on in trying to get water quality in order. Interestingly, you will often get different colors for the same species even under different lights. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: Hey Bob ;) (new Wrasse, brain coral...) Good to know you're back, my friend! <Good to be back> I hope things were good with your travel. And that you are able to catch up on what I'm sure is a hug pile of queries from all of those persons you so generously offer your services. <Yes> So here's the situation. I just had a birthday yesterday. My girlfriend (bless her heart) knows almost nothing about salt water aquaria, but she does support my passion and attempts to help as much as she can. So for my birthday she got me a BEAUTIFUL "Scott's Fairy Wrasse" from FFE and a piece of unidentified Stony Coral. I know nothing about either of these animals . . . <The Cirrhilabrus is a real winner. Our coverage: http://WetWebMedia.Com/cirrhilabrus.htm The coral a bit worrisome... and happy birthday> Currently my tank looks great the refugium already has some nice algal colonies brewing. Here's the problem. I have a huge piece of brain coral in there that had looked AWESOME for a few days and now it is about half the size. . . I was planning on adding nothing to the tank for at least a few weeks to let things settle. Now I have added stock (by no plan of my own) and there is bound to be another ammonia spike. To the best of my knowledge all parameters are perfect. Everything else looks great. . . Have I lost this guy? He still has some color, but again, he's half the size. <A brain coral that has shrunk halfway? Please take a look over the stony coral sections on WWM... for closer identification> At one point he was so enormous (like 6-8 inches across), colorful and even had tentacles coming out of him?!?!?! It was great. I don't want to lose this guy. Oh also, my temp has spiked up to the likes of 83-85 degrees these past few days. Could this be it? <A contributing cause> Thanks for getting back to me. Oh, and I took out that cuke. Shortly after the water cleared up and things returned to normal. <A close one.> Talk to you soon, and have an awesome day! <You as well. Bob Fenner>

Acroporas turning brown Hi WWM! <Hi Jen, MacL here with you tonight.> I know you all are so busy these days, I have tried to research this on my own and can't really find a lot of info on Acroporas turning brown.  I have asked several online dealers and the LFS, but I get very conflicting information. <I can tell you right now that's because multiple things can turn the corals brown.> I have been told I didn't have enough lighting (when I had 2 X 150W HQI MH), and upgraded to 2 X 250W HQI MH, and now have been told I have too much lighting. <Did you acclimate the corals to the stronger lighting? By acclimate I mean did you give them time to grow accustomed to the stronger lighting by putting them on for less hours or perhaps higher above the tank?> I don't know how much info you need to be able to tell me why this is happening, but here goes. . . 80 gallon tank, setup three years ago.  100 lbs. of LR, 60-80 lbs. LS, Lighting: 2X 250 W HQI MH 14k, 2X 96 W PC Actinics, mounted 10" off top of tank.  Aqua C Remora Pro (upgraded skimmer 6 months ago), 4 Maxi-jet powerheads, approx 920 gph. Livestock: 1 blue tang, 1 royal Gramma, 1 lawnmower blenny, 1 six line wrasse, 1 citron goby, 3 blue Chromis, 1 cinnamon clown, 15-20 Turbo snails, 10 Nassarius snails, 20 Astrea snails, 25 various dwarf hermit crabs, 2 blue tuxedo urchins, 2 Mithrax crabs, 5-10 Cerith snails, 2 brain corals, 1 Favites, 1 Blastomussa, 1 Montipora (also turned brown), 1 Acropora, 1 yellow Porites.  The Acropora and the Montipora are both near the top of the tank, top 10".   Water Parameters:  PH 8.3 1:30pm, Temp 80, Amm 0, Trites 0, Trates 0, Phosphates 0, Alk 8.4-9.2 DKH, Calc 375, SG 1.025. I use RO/DI water for top off and water changes.  I top off with one gallon every night.  I change about 5 gallons per week.  I use Kalkwasser,  turbo calcium, and Warner Marine's two part A and B.  I also started adding this week Kent's Essential Elements (which I was told I should be adding every week).  <Your levels look great but let me ask? are you having any ph fluctuation? Also, how long after you got the corals did they turn color? How long had you had them? Do you have any idea if they are wild corals? Often wild corals turn colors but will often regain color after they adjust to the tank.  Wild Acroporas will often change as part of their adjustment. See what I mean by it could be a lot of things?> Please let me know what you think may be causing these corals to turn brown.  I have also read "high nutrients" can cause this browning. What nutrients?? <Phosphates can be a problem but generally high nutrients are what they call the "dirty tank" which is often lots of algae, plankton, etc.>  Where are they coming from?  How can I test for them?  If I was overfeeding wouldn't I see a rise in nitrates and phosphates?  I am just completely confused and my head is spinning with what everybody has been telling me, please set me straight. <No worries Jen, I think the most confusing part is  that Acroporas can change because of many things and the biggest thing is just to go down the list one thing at a time to try to isolate what did it. Don't worry we can help you.>  Thank You,  Jen Marshall    

Protein Skimmers, vague pH and coral health questions Hello how are you, I had a couple of questions. I would like to replace my current protein skimmer which is a Prism Red Sea, which I am not happy with at all. I have a 55 gallon marine tank, could you recommend a good skimmer under  $400.00, I do not want to purchase another disappointing skimmer, I was looking to purchase the Aqua C  Remora (hang on) which comes with the maxi jet 1200, I have read a lot about them and its all positive, what do you think? <A very good choice, change. You will not regret this decision I assure you.> also do these units omit micro bubbles which my Prism does which makes the tank look murky. thanks <Not likely> Also my other question is, I cant seem to get my PH above 8.0, it is consistently at this level but I think it should be at 8.3 any idea what I should do? <Please read over marine pH on WetWebMedia.com...> I have a 55 gallon reef with corals and fish, 110 watt compacts with 40 watts actinics. also I had a beautiful octocoral which had 3 heads and it died a slow death over 2 weeks I had it for 7 months it really saddened me, I know these are hard questions to answer but anything you could offer me would help. <See WWM...> I was thinking that I didn't have enough light for hard corals, but would it take that long for corals to die if there was not enough light I had it placed at the very top of the tank. also is disease a possibility. <Not likely infectious or parasitic... but environmental, nutritional to an extent> I just feel that I'm doing something wrong (attached photo), I have been using the Kent 2-part CB additives for calcium and Alk and it seems to be keeping my levels consistent. my brains and mushrooms are doing fine to this point. thanks very much for your help great site. Val Sammut Toronto, Canada tank is 11 months old. calcium @ 390 ppm magnesium @ 1,100 ppm Alk in DKH- @ 11.2 Ph - 8.0
Ammonia - 0
Nitrate - 0
<Bob Fenner>

Fungia dying? Hey there folks! Hope your weekend is less rainy and dreary than mine :) Actually I like the rain! << Great fall weather here. >> On to my question... I purchased 4 Fungia of various sizes and colors last week from one of the LFS's. << I wouldn't recommend adding so many corals at once. >> The largest is about 3.5" across, the smallest less than 2K (when 'deflated'). They all appeared fine; expanding/contracting with the day light cycles. Yesterday, however, the largest did not open all day and had a large strange bump or lesion of some sort. I watched it closely for more than 24 hours. While the other three opened/closed daily, this one did not. As well, the 'bump' started to darken: sort of greyish-brown. << Hmmm, not good. >> I was going to put it in my QT tank, but two things struck me as funny; it hadn't opened up in close to 36 hours and it had a distinct odor (almost putrid) that was immediately evident even in the brief second it was out of the water going into a transport container. << I'd keep it out of the display tank. >> So I assumed those facts in conjunction with the bump/lesion convinced me this one died yesterday sometime. My water tested as follows after removing the organism: amm/trite/trate: 0, PH: 8.4, Phos: 0.1, SG: 1.045, Ca: 450, Alk/DKH: 3.77/10.6, Temp low/hi: 79.4/80.6. Doing 10 changes/hr, big skimmer, adding ESV B-Ionic 2 part Ca/Alk daily and Mg. All my livestock, softs and LPS's show no signs of anything like the Fungia suffered. Do you guys think I did the right thing throwing that Fungia out on assumption of death? << I wouldn't throw it out.  There are never dead.  I would keep it in a QT tank, but not throw it out. >> I guess I was primarily concerned for the rest of my livestock . Thanks in advance for the amazing site and never-ending patience you guys appear to have  :) -Jeff <<  Blundell  >>

Losing His Brain? (Brain Coral In Trouble?) Wet Web Crew, <Scott F. here today!> Hello all!  Let me take a moment to suck up....  You rock!  I've learned a ton from your site, and always check there for any questions I have.  Great resource!  Thank You! <No need to "suck up!" We're all fish nerds, just like you! Well, maybe a bit more weird, but nonetheless harmless!> This is a coral I recently ordered.  (I've included a current picture along with the one from the site I bought it from ... I'm guessing you can tell which is which?) <Doh! I couldn't open the attachment, so I'm not able to make an ID for you here...Grr> Prior to this, I've purchased all my coral from local shops, but I haven't been able to locate a maze brain, so I gave mail order a shot.  What came was, well, less than ideal. Is there anything I should do to try and nurse this coral back to health? <Unfortunately, common names for coral are not much help, as many different coral species can go by this moniker. Let's assume that we're looking at a Platygyra or Leptoria, the two most commonly found species to carry this "Maze Coral" name...Well, Leptoria is extremely rare, but misidentification is not uncommon! Anyways, Platygyra can bleach pretty easily if it is injured, or if conditions are not to its liking. Often, they are collected intact, which makes the chances for survival and growth much higher. If the specimen has been damaged by hammering it off of the reef, the coral will have a much tougher time adapting to captivity, and resisting disease. My best advice for an injured Faviid coral would be to provide clean water, moderate to strong water flow, and bright lighting (once the colony has acclimated to it, of course). Keep the coral away from "pickers", like Centropyge angelfish, and do offer fine zooplankton foods, such as Cyclop-eeze or Liquid Life "Coral Plankton". If you see necrotic tissue, be sure to remove it at once. Try not to disturb the damaged coral excessively, if possible.> Can you estimate it's likelihood of survival? <If you can stop any advance of necrosis or bleaching tissue, it's chances of recovery are probably pretty good...Only time will tell> You'll note the attached text, also.  It includes a description of the coral's condition.  I have yet to hear back from the shop. Mickey <Sorry again that I couldn't get the pic, Mickey. I hope this general information was of some use, though. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting for corals, placement and the explanation on corals browning 10/21/04 Hi Bob,    I have the following set up: a 2.5 footer length by 18 inch wide by 18inch depth tank.    3 x T5 HO 24Watt tubes 20,000k white    1 x T5 HO 24Watt tube Actinic Blue    Temp: 26 degree Celsius    NH4/NO2 = O ppm    NO3 = 20ppm    PO4 = 0ppm    Alk = 8Dkh <nitrates are rather high here as the real nitrate levels (nitrate ion vs. molecule) is a multiple of 4.4X your test kit reading - this you have something approaching 90ppm - getting rough for inverts> I need some advise on my current placement of the following Corals and whether the following lighting is okay; 1 ) Elegance coral (conical shaped) on substrate btm <correct> 2)  Trachyphyllia coral (mid top ) <yikes! never... must be on sand bottom to protect polyp(s) against unnatural abrasion against hard substrates. This coral also has a conical skeleton indicating it is free-living on sift substrates> 3) Green star polyps , yellow star polyps ( top) <OK> 4) Open brain ( low inches off substrate) <sand bottom if conical corallum again> 5) Bubble (on substrate) <adaptable> 6) Mushrooms, ( where should this be placed , currently at the top and refusing to open big) <depends on species/genera: Ricordea need high light... but many Discosoma and the like prefer lower light>    I also have a Pink plate Fungia take was very pink when I bought it, also used to have a jewel stone coral (Gonio) that looks beautiful beige in colour. However this two have since turned brown and darker brown day by day. I am starting to worry that my other corals are turning brown too. What is the reason for the increased in Zooxanthellae in this case? Does that mean UV pigment is losing in these corals? Is it due to my lighting ? <it is not necessarily an "increase" in zooxanthellae, but rather the mere increased visibility of them in the absence of UV reflecting proteins that have been shed under your lights which are lower in UV than the coral came from (natural light)... or in he case of low light corals, proteins used to refract (low) light no longer needed in the presence of higher/better light>    The photoperiod is all 4 tubes on for 4hrs , then followed by 1 20000k 24W T5 HO + 1 actinic blue for another 2 hrs. Is this okay ? <its not about spectrum but rather PAR and intensity. See the new article(s) in reefkeeping.com magazine by Joe Burger. Part one is out already... part two next month I believe. All on this topic exactly> Thanks and Regards. Alex <kindly, Anthony>

Treating a sick torch coral Hi, crew.  Back again with a question.  I have a torch coral that suddenly went from looking happy and lush to having 3 of its branches covered in nothing but that brown jelly I have seen described on your site. << Frustrating thing to have happen. >>   Based on a search of similar problems on the WWM site, I moved the torch to a QT tank, and am on my way to buy Lugol's solution and give some dips a try.  My question is, how long of a process is this? << Wow, risky.  I'd say it is only takes a couple days in a hospital tank to make or break the coral. >> Any special instructions?  When do you know if the coral has turned a corner and/or should be returned to the tank? << You never know, but I think lighting is so important that I'd move it back after one day. >> And what would cause such a sudden event?  It's not a new coral, nor have I added anything to the tank in several months.  I need to know if I'm doing something wrong or what things to investigate. << I'd check water quality of course, as well as water motion and the health of all other corals. >> Thanks, as always.  Will let you know either way what happens. Laura <<  Blundell  >>

Treating a sick torch coral continued Hi.  Thanks for getting back to me.  I'm a little confused by the answer, though. What is it you're referring to as "risky?"  According to the site, you should remove the brown jelly infected corals from the tank immediately because they're infectious to other corals. << I usually don't remove any corals, but if they are infected then I guess you should.  I think most corals that we lose aren't really infected, just poorly cared for.  In other words if I saw an ailing coral in a friends tank, I could put it in my tank and often times nurse it back to good health. >> And the Lugol's dip appeared to be what was recommended.   (I wasn't able to find it locally so it didn't happen anyway, but I did a quick fresh water dip.) << Lugol's is great stuff, but very potent.  I'd be very careful using it. >>  We have good lighting in the QT tank, or is the comment about lighting just that it would be different from the lighting in the main tank? << My concern was that you may have a 10 gal QT tank sitting there, without any lights, or with just some cheap normal output fixture on it.  If it well lit then that is great.  Most people don't have QT tanks, and those who do often have very simple systems. >> We're trying to do the right thing here.  We've lost corals before and are determined, now that we have a QT tank set up, to do whatever is needed to help this guy. << Well if he is dieing, then you really having nothing to lose by trying the QT methods.  So go for it, and write back letting us know how it goes. >> Thanks. Laura <<  Blundell  >>

Bleached corals Hi crew!-   It goes without saying that you provide an invaluable service, thank  you much for all the help you have provided me and others.   >>Our pleasure!>>   I have a 90 gallon tank, and I recently lost almost two thirds of my  tank life, due mostly to mismatching corals, a terrible skimmer, and  sub-standard lighting.  My lights are 355Watts of power compacts, and a  SeaClone skimmer.   I'm upgrading to an efficient skimmer, and 2 X 400w 14K  MH with 2 X 96w pc actinics. My question concerns my corals and invs that survived.  I have a  green bubble tip anemone that survived, as well as a flowerpot.  Both of  these, mostly the anemone, have bleached.  Will upgrading to these intense  lights be hurtful to them?  Will the anemone regain its color?   My green star polyp is thriving and spreading, will this new light hurt   them? Should I phase it in? >>Definitely phase it in. Either by putting it high at first and only leaving it on an hour or two a day and slowly leaving it on longer over the course of weeks - and/or using a series of screens over the tank but below the lights and removing a screen a week. >> Thank you so much for your advice, it has been a lifesaver in the  past- James >>Hope it helps this time!>>

Temp and Salinity killing corals                               URGENTLY! Dear crew,      The aquarium husbandry Interzoo, Odessa, Ukraine online.      Due to an accident in our client the salinity felt from 1,023 to      1,021, whereas the temperature raised from 78,6o F to 86o F. << Neither of these changes would worry me.  Are you sure about those figures?  Very little changes. >> The      accident was eliminated during one day. On the third day      afterwards Galaxea fascicularis was bleached. Currently the part of the      bleached tissue is near 3/4 of colony. Both the intact and the bleached      tissues are spread with stripped pattern on the surface of colony and on the side      surface of corallites, whereas the septae of corallites is      bleached.      We suggest both the salinity and temperature stresses as the primary      cause of disease. << Yes, it may wipe out a couple species, but most of your livestock should be just fine. >>      We took the coral for treatment in the husbandry.      The lighting in our aquarium consists on two tubes of Sylvania 10      000 K and one blue actinic Coral Glo 12 sm from surface (aquarium      is 42 cm deep).      We are using bathes of Chloramphenicol (60 mg/L) during 20      minutes and directed jet from UV sterilizer in aquarium.      The bleaching has been a little bit slowed, nevertheless it      continues. << I would frag the coral.  Try to remove the healthy areas from the damaged areas. >>      - Have you any practical recommendation, what can be done in this case? << Save what you can.  >>      - We found a number of references on Alf Nilsen who suggested      that Iodine could be used against the bleaching. Nevertheless,      this was not an original report, so we don't know, when and how      it may be applied. << I'm not sure how Alf recommends to do that, but he is way smart.  I've just squirted a bunch of iodine into the water around my corals.  Not the best method, so in this case I wouldn't risk doing that. >>      Could you inform us both about this issue.      Best regards, Interzoo, Odessa  << I would make the adjustments to get the tank back to its original salinity and temperature.  I don't think I would be too slow or fast, just over the course of a day.  Otherwise there isn't much you can do in this situation. >>                          <<  Blundell  >>

Dying Euphyllia I have a wonderful reef tank that has been up and doing very well for over a year and a half. << Great to hear. >> My tank is doing so well that my two Mandarin fish only eat off of my live rocks and have no desire for any other food. << Mandarin fish rarely eat prepared foods, which is why they have an abysmal survival rate. >> A few days ago I purchased an Euphyllia ancora.  As I went to acclimate it I saw quite a bit of slim but a lot of my corals have slimmed in transportation from the pet store to my home. << This is quite common. >> Now my anchor coral is starting to deteriorate.  Is there anything I can do to save it? << Well I'm not sure what the problem is, but good water quality and plenty of light are a good starting point. >> I have it in a spot in my tank that has moderate light and low water movement.  Last night one tentacle stretched to about an inch and a half but it was just one of its many tentacles that did this.  I tried feeding it some Microplankton to encourage it that its new home was inviting, safe, and that it would have plenty of food.  Today when I woke up it seems that it is still deteriorating.  Can you give me any advice on what is happening, why, and what if anything I can do? << I would try to mimic the conditions of the aquariums it came from.  Otherwise, if you really think you'll lose it, I would take it to a friend or store to hold for you. >> Thanks in advance! Stephanie White <<  Blundell  >>

Purple band disease Porites 10/2/04 Dear WetWebMedia Crew: Is there anything that can be done for a Porites with purple band disease? The reading I've done only says stress or injury can cause it and that it is common in Porites.......no mention of what to do for the coral once it gets the disease or whether or not it can spread to other corals.  Both I and the local fish store owner here are anxious to learn more about this disease........any help you can give is much appreciated. Janey <I am not aware of any definitive treatment... but folks have tried with variable success a number of standard treatments. I feel that some can help. Starting with isolation in a bare bottomed QT tank... the application of ozone via a controller (target a conservative 350-400 mV). Topical swabs of the afflicted area/band may be effective too (iodine based meds). Short baths in antibiotics are du jour in kind: Nitrofurazone is a common drug of choice. Its all rather experimental. Please do share your results/experiences. Kindly, Anthony>

Corals losing color Good Morning WWM,<< Blundell here. >> Over the last couple of weeks I have noticed some of my soft corals (Polyp & tree corals) losing some of their color. Even though they seem to be doing very well the colors are not as deep as they used to be? I have (2) 10K (2) Actinic 65watts The Actinic stay on about 16hrs a day (trying to grow coralline) & the 10K about 8hrs? I feed the tank twice a week using: Reef Plus, OSI Micro food, Spirulina, Baby brine shrimp. Shake it up and pour it in or use a turkey baster for a more direct feed. << Sounds like a good plan.  How big is that tank?  If you have a 20 gal, you are fine on lighting.  If that is a 120 gal tank, you need a lot more light. I would see if your lights are replicating the tanks the corals came out of. >> Any suggestions? Thanks for all your help! <<  Blundell  >>

Corals losing color Good Morning WWM, I have noticed over the last couple of weeks that some of my corals (Mainly the red polyps & tree coral) have been losing some of there color. They seem to be all doing very well but they don't have that rich color like they used to. I have a Coralife light 65 watts (2) 10K on about 8 hrs a day (2) Actinic on about 16 hrs a day (trying to grow coralline). I feed the tank or use a turkey baster for some of the other corals using the following Ingredients 2X per week: Reef Plus, OSI Micro food, Spirulina, baby brine & Selcon. << This all sounds good, so what different is going on?>> I do a water change once every two weeks using Tropic Marin. My LFS told me to use iodine and that would help? Any suggestions would be appreciated. << I doubt Iodine would be some sort of miracle cure.  I'd be more likely to guess that ageing light bulbs are the problem.  How big of a tank?  Are you sure you have enough lighting? >> Thanks for all your help! << That's about all I can guess at this point. Blundell >>

LPS bleaching Hi Guys, <<  Blundell today. >> I have an LPS (some type of Favia) that had 'oozed' a quantity of white 'stuff' over the surrounding rock during the night. When I washed away the ooze, the polyps in that area had lost their color/flesh, and all that remains is skeleton ('damaged' area accounts for about 25% of coral). << Doesn't sound good. >> The same thing occurred a few months back with this coral, but on just a single polyp - didn't worry too much at the time as it seemed to recover OK, looked healthy enough, and was opening fully each evening. Won't bore you with all my water parameters but can't be too bad as I have quite a bit of stuff that I'm told won't possibly survive in tanks that are doing great (Goniopora, anemones, Gorgonians). Can you please explain this phenomenon? << Not really.  Could be caused by lack of water motion, as many corals slime out to remove waste products.  Increased water motion can help them. More likely a light problem (in my mind).  But if all else is doing well, then I wouldn't guess that.  Soooo, I guess I would do a small water change and wait it out. >> Cheers! <<  Blundell  >>

New corals bleaching Hey Guys, << Blundell here. >> First of all, I must commend  you on the vast info your site has and also tell you guys I love your books.  Anthony, I met you briefly at the Southern California Marine Aquarium Society (SCMAS) meeting a few weeks ago. Definitely the best speaker I think the club has had in a long time.  We need to get you guys to visit us more often. << Southern Cal huh, in that case you should have Scott Fellman come speak.  He is another one of our crew speakers. >> Anyway, my dilemma.  I recently got hold of a lot of SPS corals mostly Acropora, a few Mont caps. I had a friend (who also services tanks for a living) assist me in getting them into my tank (120G, 2x250W MH's, 2x95W VHO actinics, 40g sump, 1/3hp chiller, setup in Mar '04).  I had a few acs & some soft corals already in the tank and have been doing fine.  It's been about 3 wks, I have 1 Acro completely bleached, and 2 staghorns (I think) that are about 70% bleached. << Could be an acclimation problem, or maybe a lack of light. >> Looks like they're flaking tissue.  The other corals seem to be doing fine, but I am concerned that it's just a matter of time before they find the same fate. << Indeed this does happen.  Sometimes there is little you can do. >> My water params are as follows: alkalinity - 7 dKH ammonia - 0 ca - 435 nitrite - 0 nitrate - 0 pH - 8.0 phosphate - 0 sg - 1.024 temp - 77.0 Not exactly sure what needs to be done at this point.  I've reduced my lighting to the following schedule: 4:00 actinics on 5:00 MH's on 11:00 MH's off 12:00 actinics off I know my pH & alkalinity are on the low end of the spectrum.  Working on those to get them up.  My CA I maintain in the range of 400 - 450.  I use a 2-part Alk/CA.  Did I introduce too many at once? << That can be a problem.  But in this case I would be a little concerned with the condition of them before they were added. If some little things were wrong, combined with low light and too much stress, that could combine to form some problems. >> My friend who helped me said that I didn't need to worry about acclimating them since they are very hardy.  (probably not the best advice looking back)  Is the coral that is bleached and the ones that are almost bleached lost causes?  Any ideas on trying to save the rest of them? << Sure, take them out for a while and have another friend hold them in their tanks. >> I thank you in advance for any advice or suggestions you have for me. <<  Good luck. >> Rick <<  Blundell  >>

Corals dying for unknown reasons Hello WWM Crew. I have a 55-gallon reef tank with some various corals and reef fish. Over the last couple of weeks I noticed my finger leather coral wasn't standing up anymore. So I thought something was wrong. I checked all the water parameters and everything couldn't be better. Ammonia-0; Nitrate-0; Nitrite-0; PH-8.2; Calcium-450; salinity-1.023. Then I did a water change just to be safe. And about a week later my hammer, torch, and trumpet coral started to lose their heads. I haven't added anything or changed anything on the tank in a long time. I asked my LFS and they had no idea. Please tell me what could be wrong. << Well this is tough.  Does it look like the corals have been chewed on?  Are your lights getting old? Were the corals growing well and thriving at some earlier time?  Have you added phytoplankton (it really does help).  Hmmm, otherwise I don't know what could be causing problems.  I suggest having a friend come over to look at your tank. >> Thanks You Very Much Louis <<  Blundell  >>

HELP !! Candy Cane Coral and Parasites 4/29/05 I've recently ran into a problem with a Candy Cane Coral Frag.  It has been in my tank for a few weeks now and one of the polyps was damaged when I got it.  The rest looked healthy and after a few days in my tank began developing good color and inflated polyps.  The damaged polyp even seemed to be coming back. However, about a week ago I noticed white "things" (I'll refer to them as parasites from here on) all over the damaged polyp. I kept my eye on them   and they would come and go but always overwhelming the polyp. <from the image these are clearly not parasites but instead are mesenterial filaments from the coral being stressed> So last night I decided to do a freshwater dip for 30 seconds, making sure to match pH and Temp. The parasites seemed to shrivel up and I thought I got them. However within minutes they came back in full force.   <because of the stress of the dip> As I watched them seemingly come out of nowhere I noticed them begin to show up on the healthy polyps too. I watched this happen very slowly, too slowly to see these things moving. As far as I could tell they came from between the polyp and the skeleton and in some cases looked as if they were pushing through the tissue in the middle of the polyp. I documented the take over at the following site (thumbnails are clickable to a larger version) The first pic in the series is before the freshwater dip. http://users.arczip.com/manfrotto/images/Photohost/candy%20cane.html And this link will take you to the photograph I took of it this morning http://users.arczip.com/manfrotto/images/Photohost/candy_morning.jpg I've asked around and can't figure out what these are and I don't know what to do next.  I appreciate you opinions and comments very much on this. Sincerely Michael <do a keyword search on our website and beyond for "mesenterial filaments". Continued good water quality and feeding/water flow will recover this coral in time. Have patience my friend. Anthony>    
HELP !! Candy Cane and Parasites II 8/31/04
Thanks Anthony for getting back with me.  I'm glad to hear that these aren't parasites, I thought I was in for a plague.   I actually considered  that these may be a part of the coral but I always assumed, more or less,  that any defensive posture was expelled from the mouth not from the sides of the coral < a common/understandable assumption> and that they (the mesenterial filaments) would sway in the   water instead of clinging to the polyp.  I've not messed with the coral since that first FW dip and it has begun to come back again, although I did loose the one already damaged polyp.  Not too worried about it though since I know I can work on growing this frag without concern.  Thank you  again for your help.  By the way, feel free to use any of those pics as  helpful reference if you'd like. Michael <thanks kindly, my friend. Anthony>

LPS coral troubles Ok folks, short and sweet without too many details (will supply more if needed)...  125 gallon reef (over five years mature) with variety of reef safe swimmers and too many different corals to count (mainly SPS, LPS). Problem:  over the past 3-4 months my LPS corals have been slowly declining, starting with the 2 lobos, then my bubble and now my plate.  Nothing is DYING but everything looks sick. << Well then I would say they are dying.  Just kidding, but that doesn't sound good. >> Some receding tissue, polyps not opening. However, the remainder of the tank is in spectacular health.  My SPS is raging, fish are fine and water quality is within spec. << I would still do a water change. It can't hurt. >> The only solution after investigating source after source was contaminated water from my RO unit (contaminated with what- I have no idea). I purchased a new RO yesterday and in the process of the initial purge so that I can begin using the unit. << I would have thought it was something like old lights or nutrient build up, or excess additives.  It could be RO problems, but I would be watchful of other things. >> Any hints? << Nope, things should go well.  Good luck. >> Tim, The Cell Guy <<  Blundell  >>
LPS coral troubles continued.
Thanks, you guys/gals? are quick! << Your welcome. >> I perform frequent water changes (as needed), lights are 6-8 months old. Lets explore this "nutrient buildup".  I have a very active downdraft skimmer and have noticed over the same period of time that it seems to extract more goo than it has in the past. However, nitrate/phosphate seem to be fine. << Well I guess that means it is working. >> I use vita-chem with each feeding as directed.  The only additive that this tank has ever received is Kalkwasser.  Outside of this particular problem, nutrients have been introduced via water change. << I don't think nutrients can be added by water changes.  Well at least not with store mixes.  You can add nutrients by ocean water changes, but not just from water changes.  I wouldn't underestimate how much/many nutrient(s) can be added by feeding your fish/corals.  It is good, don't get me wrong, but if not consumed can lead to problems. >> Thanks again, << Sounds good.  Blundell >> Tim, The Cell Guy
LPS Decline
Thanks again. << No problem. >> I will try reducing feeding or at least feed less at one time;  clean skimmer more frequently and do a number of water changes with the new RO. << Good idea, hope it all works for you. >> I will keep you in the loop. Thanks again... Tim, The Cell Guy <<  Blundell  >>

Again... the need to QT: coral ails 8/16/04 a few other things I have thought of to tell you about the mushroom ( the water/lights are all good - everything in my tank and hers both thriving well....) - <do know that the behavior of all other corals in the tank is not a reliable factor of tank health... when something strays, some coral is the first to show stress, you see? And many corals have such very different needs/tolerances that its like comparing apples to oranges. A false sense of security at times> the base feels hollow to me.  it looks like a dried prune - all shriveled up.  the top of the toad has a hard "shell" over it  (and her tank has a very good amount of water circulation - even her hydrocoral (sp??) that the pet store couldn't get to live is thriving)...   <the hard "shell" on the Sarcophyton is a mucus tunic... and if it does not peel off in 2 days or less, it is a sign of very inadequate water flow> when I attempted to remove some of it part of the toad pulled apart and its mushy inside that area.   <this coral needs to be removed, the good parts cut out and sent to a QT tank for settling out> I am mostly scared for my other toads in my tank.... what kind of disease or predator can do this??   <stress, lack of water flow/light, adding corals or creatures to the tank without a proper quarantine in advance (brings in various diseases), etc. Many reasons here> I have been surfing the site for some time now but I'm so panicked I cant think straight. <no need to panic... but it was a mistake to not use a quarantine tank... please do read more in our archives about the how's and whys of QT> Neither of us have a hospital tank (yes I know.. very bad).. <heehee... true <G>. If not for the many living creatures whose very lives depend on you... then only to spend $50 or less to protect the many hundreds or thousands of dollars you have invested in your displays> so my only option is to throw him out and I really don't want to do that without giving him a chance but I love my other toads and sure don't want to infect them.   <another reason for a hospital tank... which costs only about as much as one coral but can save the lives of so many more in the future> this morning when I turned the lights on a few copepods were on his base but they were stripped  shrimp looking things. <just scavenging microcrustaceans - no worries> all others I have seen in my tank are clear.  also when I did the SeaChem reef dip I noticed a few TINY worm like things (I picked the rock/gravel he was attached to see if there was a hole in his base) and some slug like thing (the slug with the partial shell on top).   <I cant possibly ID these from the scant descriptions> also on a few spots of the toad it is fading to a yellow color - not good.  his overall color is a gray.  when I had him he was a softer pink color. <get thee to a QT my friend :) Anthony>

Monti Eating Nudibranchs and predatory starfish I 8/11/04 Dear Bob Anthony, <cheers, my friend> First and foremost I wanted to say thank you for everything you do. I believe it can truly be said that this phenomenal hobby has advanced so much over the years because of your dedication to it! <thanks kindly... it is a labor of love> I had a quick question if you don't mind, and also wanted to bring to your attention an interesting experience that occurred. I am of the opinion that everything in the wild has its purpose, and will not try to eradicate anything unless it is truly harmful. <agreed... and yet, there is a joke somewhere in there about politicians. Well give lawyers a pass on this one> I have a fairly large system with 8 plating Montis in it. I went on vacation and when I returned I noted two plating Montis were suffering severe tissue loss. I thought the issue was more water quality related, particularly since my calc reactor had been down for several weeks and the filter socks needed cleaning. Despite water changes and dosing with Kalk, the affected Montis continued to RTN. I had heard of these little predatory Nudibranchs, but did not think there was a chance I had them. I fragged one of the Montis, and what do ya know there they were. Tons of them (to be honest, even though I have an obvious degree of hatred for them, they are fascinating). <arghhh... you have not been diligent about quarantining your livestock my friend. 'Tis why you have this pest now. Do QT all things wet in the future - live food, live sand and rock, snails, corals, fishes, everything! <G>> My problem is the effected colony encrusted hardcore onto a large piece of rock, there is no way I can pry it lose. I am suspect that these suckers are concentrated under the base. Is there anyway to rid of these things? <they are very difficult indeed... do check the extensive threads on this topic at reef central. I cannot say the bad news any better than they have :p> Is there anything in the wild that eats them? <certainly.. but reef-safe? Hmmm... spec at this point. Some have said various wrasses and dragonets. None excel though reliably> I do have one CBB, but I would think some form of reef "safe" wrasse would be better. <perhaps... Tamarins or small yellow/green "Coris"> Also, wanted to mention in the past there was a dispute as to whether these little brown starfish we all have actually eat SPS (i.e. GARF). <Asterina species... and yes, I have read the GARF info. I do not believe it is accurate.> I had been in the SPS end of things and never had an issue so I was not concerned. Indeed they do eat SPS, the other colony I referred to above had tons of these brown starfish on the underside, right were the run line was on each plate. What is stranger, I have tons of acros and non have been affected. Looks like it is time to buy a harlequin (there are plenty of these things to last the harlequin quite a long time).  As always thanks!!!!!!!! <do check out my take on Asterina and other sea stars in the recent article on reefkeeping.com from a couple of months ago. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>
Monti Eating Nudibranchs and predatory starfish II 8/11/04
By the way, I am curious (from a scientific perspective) as to whether these predatory nudi's show a preference for certain species of plating Monti, or whether this is just a random event. <there are quite a few opisthobranchs that are obligate on one species of invertebrate or very limited (by genus usually) otherwise. There are lists of slug species and their prey available on the web. DO check out resources like the seaslug forum. We also have an extensive list of web sites and references on seaslugs in the bibliography of our book "Reef Invertebrates" by Calfo and Fenner 2003> What I think is strange is the nudi's have only affected one colony, none of the others have them (at least not yet). It would be neat to take frags of say 10 types of plating Monti, and see which species they show a statistically significant preference for Thanks <please do take photos and tell us of your findings if not write an article. Anthony>

My corals look terrible. Hello crew, <Hello, Quinn.> Long time fan of the site, <Thank you.> love the comebacks and the fun you have with us all. <Thanks again!> I'm in a bit of trouble and need some advice. Parameters are 75 gallon, reef. 2 - 175 watt MH lights with 2 - 48 inch actinics. Large sump with refugium. Tank stocked with 110 lbs of beautiful live rock, 2 types of torch coral, 1 star polyp encrusted rock and an elegance coral. Critters are about 50 hermit crabs, 25 to 30 snails and for fish I have 1 tang, 1 true perc, and 1 cleaner shrimp. (didn't feel like impressing everyone with genus names). System has a protein skimmer that is functioning great, water flow in tank seems to be ok, and refugium is growing nice. Now to the problem. My corals look terrible. <That's not good.> Tank has been up for 7 months, things were progressing nicely, corals were looking great, suddenly, everything in the tank looks ill. Corals are coming out, but not extending like they were. They look to be extremely green. One torch looks like its clear, I can see right thru to the body of the coral. <You definitely have zooxanthellae loss in the coral. If you didn't know already, zooxanthellae is the name of the algae (dinoflagellates to be correct) which is contained within the coral and provides the coral with its coloration as well as a food source. The zooxanthellae is definitely expelled, which I will continue on later in your email.> I had a bout with heat, tank would reach levels of 85 degrees, and I have ordered a chiller to control that. <I'll talk about heat later on in your email.> Problem is, I have managed to cool down the tank recently with a small fan on the surface water, and have managed the refugium with a liter bottle of frozen water when I needed to, but nothing seems to be coming back. <See my last message -- I'll talk more about heat later on in your email.> I assumed heat was my issue due to the fact that my levels are spot on. levels are 0 across the boards, ph looks healthy and the only other factor I could find out of place was that my salinity was a bit high due to evaporation. <I doubt salinity would be the cause of this, unless you had a major salinity change within a matter of minutes or hours. If the salinity increased within a few days, that's fine.> I have had tanks for 12 years, and tore down my last one to make the move to our new home. I started over with better equipment and nice lights. I have never had problems with heat before, so I guess I cant say what corals look like if they are stressed from heat. I have tried switching the light cycles from 9 to 10 hours to only 6 hours of MH over a week and a half ago, but still no change to the coral appearance. I read thru my Sprung "The Reef Aquarium" again lately, just to try to get some idea of another parameter that I'm missing, but Mr. Important didn't seem to cover what I am experiencing. Any advice or issue I could have missed, or could it just be recovery time for my tank from a 2 week bout with heat control? <Now for my heat explanation. I have a strong feeling your corals have been reacting to heat issues. The loss of zooxanthellae tells me that your corals have been stressed, and temperature is a usual suspect for coral bleachings (when I say bleaching, I mean loss of zooxanthellae, not loss of tissue). A temperature fluctuation can easily stress out the corals -- what you're most likely observing is the effect of a high temperature,  or a large temperature fluctuation. Over time, your corals should eventually heal and regain their appearance. In the mean time, make sure your water parameters are stable, especially temperature, pH, and salinity. You can also feed the bleached frogspawn to help it regenerate its zooxanthellae.> Thank you in advance. <No problem. Take Care, Graham> Quinn.

Why are my corals closing up? I know you request that we search first, and I have gotten most of my   knowledge from your site.  Its hard to generalize my problem into a  search.  None of my corals are really at their peak health, yet they all  were about 3 weeks ago.   My tank is a 90 gal, 130 lbs LR, 10 lbs  crushed LR in the sump, which is 20 gallons, 340 watts power compacts << This may not be enough light.  I'll keep reading first. >>, a  SeaClone skimmer( I know- time to upgrade-:) ), 3 AquaClear 802  powerheads.    My chemistry is all fine.  salt= 1.024, ph=  8.3, amm=0, trite and trate are also 0, alk =9, I don't regularly test calcium,  but it usually falls in the 400-500 area. I am faithful with water changes,  usually 10 gallons a week, sometimes 20 every few weeks.  I have been  battling red slime for a couple months. << Increase the water flow right where it is growing, and try adding some macro algae to compete with it for nutrients. >> The tank is 5 month old.      My corals and fish, with their current  status- -flowerpot- bad choice, but it was thriving for some time, its been   retracted for 2 weeks -green star- doing well, starting to spread like mad, only one not  affected -Xenia- until my water change last night, healthy, it is so sickly looking   now, shriveled up -frogspawn-has not been out in 2 weeks, seems lighter than before finger leather- doing fair, never really was super healthy -neon mump- doing ok I have a green anemone and green SPS- both are losing color, I know it is   the lack of halides << Yes more lighting would make a difference. >> My fish yellow tang, coral beauty, 3 yellowtail damsels, lawnmower blenny,   all healthy and happy. I first noticed problems when I introduced the neon mump. The finger leather   started giving problems, with long sweepers at night.  I don't know if any  of this ramble can bring any ideas to your mind, but I am baffled.  All was   peachy a month ago, now its a horror show.  Any info or ideas would be more  than appreciated. << Crazy idea, but I would really check that hydrometer.  Use/Borrow a refractometer and have someone check that well.  With all your water changes (which are good) maybe you are slowly increasing (or decreasing) your salt level and it is finally catching up.  Other than that, I would check with some friends in your area and have them come look at your tank. >>  I love your site, and thank you in advance for your  help. James Pruefer Providence, RI << Blundell... sitting in a lab >>

Red bugs on SPS hi, Bob, how's going? << Blundell here as well. >> This is George in SDMAS. << Hey George, hope all is well. >>  Got a question for you about red bugs.  I am sure you probably read some posts online about it.   Some ppl use a heart worm medication call "interceptor" to get rid of the red bug.  Supposedly the only side effect known at this point is that the medication kills most if not all the crustaceans and everything else seems to do fine. << Wow, I wouldn't call that all successful.  If it kills all the other crustaceans then I would stay clear of that method. >> Someone also said that pipe fish eats the red bugs. So I decided to do an experiment.  I have Ron got me some dragon pipe fish.   I put them in my refugium/frag tank.  Saturday they feel comfortable enough, the male start to compete against each other to see who is most handsome and the female pipe fish just doing whatever they are doing like nothing is going on.  So I dropped a SPS colony that has red bugs on it in the refugium/frag tank.  So far I only observe 2 pipe fish swim onto the colony look around for food, but some how they didn't eat any of the bugs. SO they either don't realize those bugs are food, or perhaps not that hungry, or some how they can't see them.  Since pipe fish aren't build for living in rough water, so I am more leaning toward they don't know what the red bugs are. <Me too> << Definite possibility.  But with time, and hunger, they may go for it.  Or, is possible that the red bugs aren't food at all for them. >> I am planning on feeding the pipe fish some Cyclops eeze tonight by squirt some into the SPS colony, hopping maybe the pipe fish will eventually associate the bug and food together.  But of course they have to start eating the Cyclops eeze first. << Good idea, and just about everything will go for Cyclop-eeze. >> My question is that from all your dives and observations when you were diving.  Do you know if any fish/shrimp/crab....etc that live in the reef that might eat these red bugs?? <I don't, but suspect there is definitely some predator/s> <<  I would think a wrasse would be the best choice.  Probably trying a rock mover (dragon wrasse) or six line wrasse. >> If you do, I would appreciate if you let me know.  I am sure I can spend money and try all the reef safe fish that I think might eat things like red bug, but don't have that kind money to throw around. << I wouldn't spend any money on chemical treatments.  I would stick with fish (wrasse) or maybe even a Mithrax crab. >> Hope to hear from you soon.  Have a great day! Sincerely, George <Hey George. Am sending your note/query to our Crew... as they are much more current on this issue. Be seeing you, Bob F> <<  Blundell  >>

Bleaching/RTN with Rowaphos? 7/23/04 Adam, Thanks for the reply.  I am quite sure that the temperature did not spike since it is controlled via a chiller and X10 controller (Aquadyne Octopus).  Also it does not appear that anything died....but even if it did I have a 300 gallon tank, 30 gallon frag tank and 50 gallon refugium all connected together.  It would take a lot to raise ammonia.  <Agreed on both counts.  Thanks for the clarification.  Although, you might be surprised at how much ammonia can be generated by the consumption of a relatively small animal!> But I agree with you that alkalinity alone may not be the culprit.  Maybe the use of RowaPhos PLUS an alk drop did it.  People have been associating the use of RowaPhos with RTN.  Originally I had no problem using the RowaPhos...but maybe the alkalinity drop, along with the adverse effects of the RowaPhos was enough to cause these problems? Regards, Chuck Spyropulos  <I have not heard about the association of RowaPhos (or other Iron Oxide Hydroxide phosphate removers) with RTN, but I have heard that they can drop pH.  Definitely worth checking!  Also, most chemical media will remove elements other than the target from the water.  Performing additional water changes during their use is probably prudent.  Best Regards.  Adam>

SUN CORAL 7/17/04 Hi <Hi Rain, MacL here with you tonight.> I went to one of the local fish stores, I saw a dying  sun coral, it only had one mouth left living so I have been feeding it and it is growing my question is will it ever look like it did or will it just stay a skeleton except for the one mouth??? I will always feed no matter what I was just wondering if it would ever look normal again thanks, where can I find some information on sun corals I couldn't find much thanks <There are several FAQs and information about sun corals on Wetwebmedia.  Let me begin by suggesting you start here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dendrofaqs1.htm from there are several more that might help you. Pay particular attention to the one on spawning and good luck!>

Unhappy Corals 7/16/04 Hi, guys...<Hi Ralph, MacL here with you today.> I hope you don't mind if I come back to you with another question; you have been an incredible resource for me over the past couple of years. <Glad we are able to help you.> I have a problem with a torch, a hammer and some Xenia, which had been doing fine before now. They seem to be slowly dying off, and I cannot figure out why. One obvious culprit is hair algae, which I have been battling for the past couple of months. <Hair algae is so hard on corals. HATE THE STUFF> I have tried everything on it, including phosphate sponges, activated carbon, good RO water, a simple mechanical filter, DLS material, a good Euro Reef skimmer, crabs, Valencia Goby, Lawnmower Blenny, and frequent turkey bastings (every 2 or 3 days); the water is changed every other week, about 20%. And the clam, cup coral, open brain coral, leathers and cabbage coral are still doing fine, as are the fish (in a 140 gallon tank, a purple tang, true percula, royal Gramma and Midas goby).  Chemical levels seem to be fine, i.e., calcium 460, little or no ammonia, nitrates or nitrites, but the alk level is a bit low (about 10dKH), and I am working on getting that up. <You need to get the alk up and steady and that will help the tank.> The pH of the top-off water is fine, also, at just over 7. <That's pretty low actually, you might consider raising it before you add it to the tank.> The weakness in those corals have appeared about a week ago; they don't seem to ever open up, even on the days when I do no turkey basting. And the Xenia is looking very bad in many places. <Xenia can do a melt down look and quickly. Sometimes they seem to need iodine. I know lots of people don't like this but I have to say when I started adding iodine my xenias started multiplying. Mine also thrive in a low current. The only problem with adding iodine is that it can damage your clam so it has to be done very carefully.> They seem very unhappy, and I just cannot figure out why. The guy who owns the LFS is also the guy who services my tank, and he cannot figure it out either.  He doesn't think the corals are dead, but concedes they look mighty unhappy. <Do you add Kalkwasser to your tank? I have found it very useful in my tank maintenance when I want to get rid of hair algae and keep my tank stable. I also wonder if you check your phosphates? You might have high levels of them. Also and not to try to be picky but what exactly are the readings from your test kits. You should have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates? Is that the case?> I have cut the fish feedings down substantially, to help reduce the hair algae, and provide only a modest amount of phytoplankton, once a week. <Sounds like you have definitely done your research.> I have done much research on your fine website, and have looked at lots of your FAQs; however, I cannot figure out what might be wrong. Any ideas?  Thanks MUCH! <Ralph My immediate thoughts are getting that alkalinity stabilized.  And I wonder if you are checking your magnesium levels? I know that it has a big effect on stabilization of ph, alkalinity and calcium.  Good luck and please keep me up to date. MacL> Best, Ralph
Hi, MacL...thanks much for your concern and suggestions. <Hi Ralph and thanks for the follow-up.>  First, to answer a few of your questions: The pH level is actually 7.8, based on the color match on the test kit (which is made by Fas Test, and apparently not very precise). <Never hurts to double check with the pet store just in case.> I think the iodine is OK, as I have been adding 2-3 drops of Lugol's daily, and the Salifert test kit says that the iodine levels are OK (though the new Salifert iodine test kit is very hard to read). <Have not tried it yet.> I will increase the iodine, but at a very gradual pace. <Just a little bit and very gradually Ralph its possible that it might not be the iodine, and to be honest there are studies saying Iodine does nothing for the corals. I just speak about my personal experience with it. Also I would increase the flow nearby the xenia.>  I ran a test for magnesium this morning, and the results are a bit low, at 1,000. <I think that might be a problem with your alkalinity. Its all a delicate balancing act.> I have been adding magnesium weekly in the past, but haven't added any for a few weeks until today. <I would try to get the magnesium where its supposed to be and keep it there, I think that should help with your stability problems.> I should be able to easily get the magnesium level a little higher also. I have not been adding Kalkwasser (though the calcium level has been fine and steady, at 460). <In my experience the Kalkwasser precipitates the phosphates and organics in the tank, while raising the alkalinity and stabilizing the calcium. I personally have had a lot of success with it.> The tests I have run on ammonia, nitrates and nitrites all correspond to the lowest reading on the respective test kits.  I have not yet tested for phosphate, and will do so this weekend (the LFS didn't have a kit to sell me, but offered to test the water when I bring it in). <Have them test your tank water and either the fresh water from the tap or the RO water that you use or some that you mix up. Your problem could be in the salt mix.>  However, I have been adding phosphate sponges on a regular basis (the last one was about two weeks ago, and I am adding one today, having taken some water out of the tank for testing at the LFS before doing so). <Very wise, I know when I started using a phosphate sponge I had to replace it after the first week and then I was able to keep that one in for over a month before having to replace it.> And, of course, I will really focus on getting the alk level up -- and stable; on Thursday afternoon, it was under 10dKH (it was  over 13dKH as recently as June 13), and since Thursday I have been adding two scoops of Kent Superbuffer each evening instead of one.  Hopefully, that will do it. I am surprised that the alk level is bouncing around as much as it is. <Your tank seems to be slightly out of ionic balance. Water changes and what you are doing should be able to put it right back into perfect condition.> Should I also proceed with Kalkwasser? <If you use Kalkwasser you would want to discontinue any other additions of calcium to the tank. I can only tell you it worked wonders for my tank.> Would that help stabilize the alk level? <It did for me>  Anything else you can think of? <I think you are doing a marvelous job and very attentive to your tank. Keep up the good work.>  I love this hobby, but it can be very, very frustrating at times. <Absolutely, but so rewarding. Please keep me updated on your progress, MacL>  Thanks much, MacL! Best, Ralph

Coral Killer on the Loose... It's me again...the coral killer! <Janet! Stay away from mine, you!> I just don't know what I'm doing wrong. I tested the water--nitrates, nitrites, ammonia are all 0; pH is 8.2 or 8.3 (sort of in-between); salinity is 1.022 and calcium is 440. <Alkalinity?  Dissolved oxygen?> Water temperature is 80F. (On the high side...77 would be more comfortable for most livestock.> The star polyps look terrible and I thought maybe if I moved them they would perk up. They slimed me--is this normal? <Stress response.  Don't move a coral once it's in place- Leave him, and allow the natural process of change to occur.> Now they look really bad. The yellow polyps (the ones the fish store told me were "idiot-proof") are scary-bad. They seem to be disintegrating. I only bought these 5 days ago! Not deterred by my failure, I bought another small patch of yellow polyps last night. As I floated them in the bag, they opened. Good news, right? So, I put them in the tank, and they closed up, but I figured these looked better upon removal from fish store bag, so I'd have coral to look at tonight. Nope--they are tightly closed. <Are you turning the light off on acclimation?  Perhaps you're shocking them by floating the bag just inches away from the light?> My fish are gorgeous and I'm not having fatalities there. Why can't I keep coral alive? I added iodine today to see if that would help. <Hmm...what other supplements have you added recently?  Copper?> For lighting, there is a total of 550W of power compact lighting and we have 4 power jets in the tank (it's 175 gallons). Is there another parameter I should be testing? <See above> I'm also confused about water changes. I understood that water changes were to reduce nitrates. However, since ammonia, nitrates and nitrites are all 0, does the water need to be changed, and if so, how often and how much? <Yes, because it also refreshes trace element levels in your system.  Regular, small water changes are best for your system.  It's also a good time to access the condition of your livestock, and clean skimmer, etc.> Thanks again for the help! R/Janet <We'll get to the bottom of this, just don't give up quite yet.  See ya, Ryan>

BUBBLE CORAL Hi there! <Hi Julie, MacL here> I love your site...very informative for us newbies to the hobby.. ok, I have inherited a bubble coral that isn't doing well...minimal bubbles have been out in the week we have had it..<Is it a pearl bubble? One that has the tiny bubbles?> now our bubble is big and beautiful...<Julie I'm sorry a bit confused here, after a week are you saying its gotten better with you? Or are you saying yours that your bubble you have already have is doing well.> water parameters are fine...as well as all the fish and other corals...I am feeding it with zooplankton as well as frozen meaty foods just as I do my bubble...<Sounds like you are doing exactly as you need to with him Julie. Obviously you know what you are doing since your original one is flourishing. It might have been best to put the new one in quarantine so it doesn't spread something to the new one but for now you should be able to tell how its doing by judging by yours. They do take some time to acclimate to new waters, is that possibly what is going on?> how long can it take before I know if it will make it?? <Depends on the individual coral.> or how will I know if it wont?? <They fade very fast, often producing the brown jelly when fading, if you aren't seeing that it is possibly coming back very well.> thanks for your time....Julie <Julie please let me know how it is doing.  I'm guessing its just a matter of time before it responds to the better situation.>

Dying corals please help Hi, i bought two dying corals yesterday, at one of the LFS, they are doing better since i have gotten them but i don't know what one of them is i think both are in the Tubastrea family, one looks like orange cup coral, only yellow, the other i have no ideal, its lime green and looks like its in the Tubastrea family please id if u can  sorry  for the bad pic's but no other camera, thanks << It is very difficult to tell from those pictures.  It could be a Tubastrea.  I would keep it growing for a few months, then send us another picture with it healthy and expanded. Adam B. >>

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