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FAQs about Stony Coral Health/Disease 1

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

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FAQs on Stony Coral Disease by Category: Diagnosing: Environmental (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments 
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Black Band Disease in the Bahamas

Frogspawn Infestation 11/6/05 Hello all, <Howdy Matt> WWM is an excellent site with tons of info. I could not find anything with my problem, however. I have a 45 gallon breeder aquarium with 285 watts of VHO light that is dedicated to mostly LPS/softies. It has been set up for about 10 months, and most of the livestock is doing very well.  Beginning about 4 weeks ago, the frogspawn was not showing as much polyp extension. There has been progressively less and less extension since that time, so I looked very closely at it. There are many tiny white creatures crawling all over it. From a macroscopic perspective thy look like copepods: Same tiny size, white color, and movement. I'm attaching a picture that shows the relative small size of the critters, if not much definition. <Nice pic> I also have other Euphyllia in the tank including a torch coral, hammer coral, and pearl bubble coral. All these corals are doing well and do not show any signs of infestation. Tank parameters are kept stable with a top off unit and B-Ionic. I run an aqua C urchin skimmer and do regular water changes. I have not dipped new corals when I add them to the tank however, and feel that this is the most likely source of the white critters. Other measurements: Salinity 1.025 Nitrates 0 Ph 8.2-8.3 Ca 420 DKh 9.8 I know I should start dipping new corals, but what can I do for the current Frogspawn infestation? And what are these things?  Thanks, Matt <From the pic, your description of their behavior, likely some sort of crustacean... I would go the fish predator route here if you can allow, have space... Perhaps an Amblygobius species of Goby... a small, compatible wrasse... Bob Fenner> 

Open brain unwanted growth 11/6/05 Hello. <Hi there> I hope you can help with this one as you have in the past. I have a green open brain coral that has grown green hair algae that has exposed some of its skeleton. <Mmmm, what came first, the chicken/algae or the egg/damage, conditions that induced this?> I have removed it frequently but seems to grow back worse. Others have suggested that I use a Dremel and drill out the algae like a tooth cavity. <Mmm, better to seek out what is "too much" or "too little" here and change the circumstances in the system to favor the Trachyphyllia> Before taking such a drastic measure I wanted to consult the pros. Your wisdom is eagerly anticipated by my coral and I. Thank you for your time <Do a read over of our area covering the species/family: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyphlliidae.htm and the linked files above... hopefully "something/s" will "jump out" at you re husbandry... that will shift the balance to the health of the specimen and away from the algae. Cheers, Bob Fenner> 

SPS Bleaching 9/15/05 Hi,  I have a situation that I believe has me on the borderline of significant problems and wanted to get your opinions on what I can do to get back into the clear.  I have read several of the other messages with respect to coral bleaching and think that I have some ideas of what I may need to do based on feedback that you offered.  I just want to make sure that I do the right thing, so here goes.  My problem is that I have a SPS bleaching problem, but my tank conditions seem to be within (or at least bordering) what you have shown as acceptable conditions.  <Often, the problematic conditions that lead to bleaching or dying are not things we measure for.> First the specifics; the tank is a 180 gal system with about 140 lbs of live rock with a 65 gallon sump which services both the 180 and a 70 gallon refugium on a reverse lighting schedule with a 5 inch deep sand bed.  The sump also has about 30-40 lbs of live rock in it from a prior rearrangement where I didn't have room for it in the main tank.  The total volume is around 300 gallons give or take.  The system has been in operation for four years now and I decided six months ago to try to keep SPS corals.  Although the system has a moderate fish load (yellow tang, 10 yellow tail damsels, Midas blenny, Lawnmower blenny, 6-line wrasse, and a pair of percula clowns which are fed daily with a variety of items like Cyclop eeze, formula one and two and Spirulina.  I also dose DT's on an every other day basis adding about a tablespoon at a time.  I run a pair of Tunze skimmers and the water seems to stay clear with no noticeable yellowing.  I also have pretty good coralline algae growth and minimal hair algae in the tank- just a little rust colored algae on the back wall and some Valonia in small controllable patches.  Finally, the tank has 3 clams which have been doing great for years- a 14 inch Maxima and two Croceas that are about 5 inches at the long points.  To accommodate my attempt at keeping SPS corals, the tank has a pair of Tunze 6100 stream pumps and I have recently added 3 400w 20K MH bulbs to the 4 110w VHO's that were over the tank.  The lights are turned on and then off stepwise during the day with the halides on for about 6 hours during the middle of the day and a 12 hour total lighting schedule.  I have a calcium reactor as well as a Kalkreactor that run continuously. The Kalkreactor consumes about a tablespoon of powder every 2-3 days.  I also add Lugol's solution at the rate of about 1 ml. once a week and add a teaspoon of buffer 3 times a week.  All additions are to the sump. Water evaporation replacement is done by overflow from the Kalkreactor and untreated water. <All sounds good, but that is a LOT of light!  Let's see what else is going on...> Test results on the tank are as follows: pH typically is 8.1-8.4 dependent on time of day, nitrates are zero, alkalinity is 10-11, and Ca++ is around 420 (hard to tell with a LaMotte test kit where the purple/blue transition is exactly). I live in Virginia so the tank temp stays around 79-80 in the summer and I drop it to 78 in the winter- it is held constant with a chiller. <All sounds very good.> I have added about 10 frags and 4 colonies total- mostly Acropora SPS with a Turbinaria LPS and a Pavona of which half are doing great and growing while half of the Acroporas are bleaching.  All of the additions were treated with tincture of iodine and then a tank water wash prior to being placed in the main tank.  One of the bleaching specimens is a 3 inch diameter blue SPS colony that was added just two weeks ago. Another is a tan colored Staghorn frag that has been in the tank for 5-6 months had grown to at least triple its original 1 inch size prior to beginning bleaching this last week.  The tan Staghorn stayed the same color its entire stay and about half is bleached as of today. Both of these corals are at about the midway point in the tank which would have them about 14-15 inches from the MH bulbs and 5-6 inches below the water surface.  I have one SPS frag that turned from fluorescent yellow to white about 4 months ago, but it has not shown algae growth so I assume it is still alive. Finally, I had two other fluorescent SPS frags which did seem to lose some tissue but parts were clinging to life so I did not remove them.  I'm not certain what RTN looks like, but I don't see any tissue falling off these three currently bleaching or already bleached corals or any slime being expelled.  I am concerned that I might have something spreading and that my other corals that seem to be doing fine might catch something?   I also am at a loss as to exactly what steps I should take to get whatever is going on back under control- help!  Thanks for any information you can give to me that will help me figure this out or anything you can do point out problem areas with my reefkeeping methods.  Eric Black <The addition of new colonies often leads to RTN and/or bleaching in established colonies. Colonies under stress can produce chemicals that produce extreme reactions in other corals.  If the corals are really bleaching (living tissue but white, usually from the tips down), I still suspect light.  If the corals are suffering from RTN (tissue actually dying, often leaving lacy black tissue remnants, usually from the bottom up), it is likely due to the addition of new, stressed colonies.  Bleaching is easier to deal with... simply reduce the amount of light and slowly re-acclimate the corals to it.  RTN is trickier.  It is probably best to remove the offending colonies to a quarantine tank until they are over the stress of shipping.  Water changes and carbon will help remove chemical messengers from the tank water.  Good luck! AdamC.>

Bubble in LPS coral tissue 7/15/03 Hi all, just a brief question. My candy cane coral has formed a bubble on one of the polyps. Any idea what this means or why this happened? <It is never a good sign when they appear, but it is not often/always fatal either. The least worrisome explanation is that a polyp ball is forming for polyp bailout due to another coral stinging it or simply being placed too close. A bigger concern is if they coral is suffering light shock from being new and placed too bright or too shallow without proper acclimation... or... if it is established, but the tank has seen a sudden increase in light (fresh carbon, large water changes, cleaning dirty lamps or lenses/canopies, new bulbs, etc)> Other than this it seems to be doing ok. Tentacles extend at night.. has multiplied nicely over the year. Thanks Angelo <no worries... but do watch closely and try to determine the cause to prevent reoccurrence. Anthony>

Acropora emergency I can't stand it.  I just can't stand it.  <sigh> You've been helping me with some lighting issues, which I really appreciate, but I'm starting to think it's not the lighting.  My biggest problem is that I can no longer seem to keep Acropora alive. <so many possibilities> I had two pieces for a couple of months before a water circulation problem (blown pump) killed them.  I had acclimated them, and they seemed otherwise healthy, so I replaced them with another piece, but stupidly didn't acclimate.  It bleached within a week.  OK, I thought, my fault, and for the replacement to the replacement, I've gone the whole nine yards, with the screen method, to acclimate.  Everything's been fine for a week...and today I get up to find the bases of several of the branches are bleaching. I've checked most of what I can think to check: am,>ni, nitrate all zero; Ca at 500; <lets stop here. We may have a water quality issue. Either your Ca test is inaccurate (500ppm Ca is dangerously high if even possible in most tanks without a precipitation of Alkalinity)... Or... your alkalinity is on the floor! I can almost guarantee you that if you test your Alkalinity/hardness that you are well under 10dKH. Quite frankly... I won't be surprised if you are under 6dKH! Very dangerous and could easily foul Acropora and other SPS. Target 8-12 dKH and 350-425ppm Ca but not the high en of both simultaneously. Use a LFS or another test to compare your kit's accuracy of a water test> with a chiller, the temp stays at 78 24x7.  If you recall, I had 20K 250W>MH lights when I got the piece, but switched to 10K for a couple days due to other issues; I've put the 20K bulbs back, but with the heavy screen it's had, I didn't think that would cause the piece to start bleaching, especially literally overnight - I looked at it last night, it was not bleached at all (believe me, I've been checking 5 times a day).  I have noticed that the polyps never really have extended, but I thought it was due to the move and have been waiting it out. <the switch was indeed stressful... but I am wondering if this isn't really a problem with skewed Ca/Alk dynamics or consistency> Is there anything I can do to save this piece?   <we need to ID the cause before we can say whether to pull the coral or not> I'm sick of watching Acropora bleach.  Other corals (mostly LPS and soft) all seem fine - <more tolerant> including a large branching Hydnophora excesa (I believe - it's a fuzzy-looking green branching SPS), which has done fine from the beginning. <it is one of the worlds hardiest corals... I have seen them propagated by literally running them through a band saw!!!> Any ideas?  Or am I just going to remain an Acropora killer?  Arthur <no worries... we will figure it out in due time. Anthony>
Re: Acropora Emergency
An update; I performed a few moderate water changes over the last two days, and have swapped out the equivalent of 60% of the original water.  The new reading for Ca shows around 420, but I'll let it settle for a day before reading it again.  Alk is still 11.  Things seem a little "perkier", but they always do after a water change - probably a good indication that my skimmer just wasn't cutting it. The Acropora emergency is over - it's bleached over 75% of the piece, so I expect it'll croak.  RTN stinks.  I'll go back to daily Ca checks for a while until I get some stability. <Sounds fine now, sorry about the Acro. Test calcium and alk and then let it run for four days with no supplements. Test again and divide difference by four. That is what you should dose of calc  and alk supplements daily.  11 alk and 420 calcium is just on the high end of optimum for both. They could both come down a little with no problem.> I've already purchased the Remora Pro (today), so at this point, over the last 2 months, I've replaced or added: the chiller (1/4 HP), canister filter (Hagen 404) leading into a UV sterilizer (CSL double helix, to help fight ich - won't be permanently on), lighting (from 4x110W VHO to MH), and now the protein skimmer (Remora Pro).  The last thing I'm going to do is convert the sump to a refugium (when I can remove the in-sump skimmer I have and get the room back).  For a 75 gallon tank, I have to believe this is getting close to optimum conditions- I suppose I could always add a Ca Reactor, but that isn't going to happen soon (not if I want to stay married :)).  If I can't get some stability now, I really *will* consider changing to guppies...:) Thanks for the help... Arthur <Hmmm, sounds like my house.... Do have fun!  Craig>

Coral meltdown Hi there, a good friend of mine has a nasty problem.  In about 24 hours a huge frogspawn melted down to the skeleton, forming this brown goo that smells like death (brown jelly disease?).  All hammers and frogspawn in the tank seem to be affected to some degree (there are about 5-6 of them), the brains and Blastomussa as well as a couple of softies seem ok for now.  Corals were dipped in Tech-D last night and will be freshwater dipped today.  He put in additional skimming, carbon and a PolyFilter.  We're looking for advice on how to avoid a total meltdown. Thanks Stephen <Besides what you've done....water changes, water changes, water changes.  Like 10-25% a day.  I wouldn't do anymore stressful treatments.  Test water parameters and make sure they are within the norm. Also watch temp...this is most likely environmental. QT all new corals.  Best of luck!  Craig>
Coral Meltdown redux
<Hi Steven, I looked into this further (in Anthony Calfo's great book!) and he advises removing all infected corals from the display in a plastic container, then removing any infected, dead and necrotic tissue with a stream of water and then with a toothbrush down to healthy tissue, then placement in a QT tank, perhaps with iodine/Lugol's in known doses.  As a last resort fragging/separation of healthy tissue from infected. Discard all operation/rinse/cleaning water and lift corals from display in container to prevent stress and contamination. Iodine may be used as a dip and in the working containers. Time is of the essence. Good luck, Craig>

Stressed hammer coral and polyp bailout This is Ben Grimes again, thanks for the information you gave me last week on Anemonia "Majano". <quite welcome... now whaddya want <G>?> I now have a new problem, concerning my Hammer coral. I have had this coral for approximately a year and it is doing great as for as polyp extinction as well as all other SPS and LPS and Gorgonians . The polyps look healthy, but are bailing out or abandoning the skeleton . <understood... this is indeed called "polyp bailout'... a stressed induced strategy of reproduction. A bad sign> HELP! Any information is greatly appreciated. <polyp bailout in corals in general is caused by a sudden change to a physical parameter in the water... most often luminary shock. If you have recently upgraded the lights, replaced overdue old lamps, added carbon after a long absence or did a huge water change (either suddenly increases water clarity and light penetration)... then you might have your answer. Or... a sudden influx of a lot of freshwater from long overdue evap. top off can do it as well. If none of the above, I'll guess that you were feeding the coral food that was too large (bigger than brine shrimp or 1/4") or you just weren't feeding it enough at all (2-5 times weekly minimum... daily needed by some). Most corals can hang in for 12-18 months before polyp bailout before they starve to death. Do consider the above. If feeding is the issue... use anything but brine shrimp which is complete trash and a waste of money. Frozen adult brine kills fishes and corals by letting you believe that they are getting nutrition out of the lousy 4% protein therein (gold fish food has more nutrition!!!). Instead... look at frozen Mysis shrimp...69% protein. That's real food for zooplankton feeding fishes and corals. Best regards, Anthony>

Brown Algae and bleached coral Bob, I have attached two pics of some brown algae which has been growing in my tank for some time. It is getting worse meaning there is more and more. Can you recognize this from the photos and if so is there anyway to get rid of it. I have been asking around but can't seem to fine anyone who can recognize this algae.  <alas... I knew the name and cannot recall or find it in a handy reference at this moment! Arggghhhh. Will dig for you though :) I do recognize this rubbery species though <G>> It seems to "peel" off the rock in sheets kind of like skin after a sunburn. It also grows scallop type formations. There are patches of it throughout my tank. <yes, indeed... and there do not seem to be many popular predators on it either. My advice would be to experiment with very small urchins (1-3") for control. I favor the diadema long spines or some of the small decorator urchins. Among the commonly available Echinoids, pick almost anything except a pencil urchin (carnivore). Even small short-spine black urchins from Florida may be very fine... just buy them small (coin sized) and pull them before they grow too large and knock many things over. Else they are excellent algae grazers> Second question if I may. I purchased a frag, Pocillopora damicornis I believe, from the Sacramento MARS back in July. I placed it in good light and water flow. It seemed to be doing fine. Two weeks ago while cleaning the tank I noticed it had fallen to the bottom of the tank near the back. I don't know how long it was there. I placed it back where it had originally been. The next day several branches were white and a day after that the whole coral had bleached white. Why do you think this happened and is there anything I can do?  <it suffered light shock from the sudden return to its perch. It really needed to have been moved back up slower over a period of several weeks. Leave it be for now and feed it heavily when possible (baby brine shrimp or rotifers... no phyto here)> Thanks for your help and I look forward to seeing you back in Sac..........soon I hope Jim <best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Pearl bubble health question Finally, not a lighting question from me! :) <I'm not betting on it until I finish reading the whole message <G>> I recently installed a large pearl bubble coral into my 75 gallon reef tank. I went through what I thought was a good acclimation process, and I expected him to take a while to acclimate to the tank. He seems somewhat OK (it's only been 3 or 4 days, so as well as can be expected after the move),  <agreed> but last night I thought he was dying - he started emitting streams of a gooey-looking substance through slits in his body. <two things it could be... simply excrement (usually dark in color), or zooxanthellae packets (symbiotic algae) from stress... often luminary shock (lights too bright). Acclimation to bright lights takes weeks.. a drawn out process with shade screens atop the coral, etc. Do you recall the synopsis for doing that from my lighting article, bud? NO worries anyway... it still may be excrement. Was there a recent large feeding? Bubble corals need to be fed finely minced meaty foods 4-5 times weekly minimum. Daily would be better> I was about to remove him from the tank entirely, into quarantine, but I noticed that he didn't actually look like he was on his last legs, but the emissions disturbed me. They went on for about an hour, not continuously but every once in a while. This morning, he looks like he always has. I'm keeping a close eye on him, but would like to get your input. <excellent... as per above> My lighting is a pair of 250W MH (as if you guys haven't heard enough about *that* recently) and 4 55W actinic PCs. I'm acclimating him by lowering the MHs to 3 hours a day and working back up to 9 hours over a 10 day period, but I'm wondering if he's just having a bad reaction to the change in light (although he'd been under lower-intensity MHs prior to entry in the tank). <this is a bad habit and an inappropriate acclimation technique. Even if it is the only coral in the tank. And when there are other corals... this means every established coral in the tank will be deprived of light every time a new coral is added? Yikes. Do read my acclimation technique using screens at the bottom of this article (excerpted from my coral book): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm > Thanks... Arthur <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Pearl bubble health question
"And when there are other corals... this means every established coral in the tank will be deprived of light every time a new coral is added?" Yikes! You know, I wondered about this recently. I have read about other methods, but always stopped after reading about placing it low and moving it up - he's large, so that wouldn't work. The screen idea never occurred to me, but it's an elegant and simple solution. <awesome, my friend! It does seem to work well for most folks> The reason I thought it would work out to place him and lower the MH duration was because I'm simultaneously replacing the MH bulbs, going from 10KK to 20KK  (I got the 20KK Radiums - *love* the effect). Even though the 10KK bulbs I'm replacing are only 3 months old, I was concerned about the new bulbs' being too strong, and having asked a million light-oriented questions recently, I didn't want to ask another and thought I had a good solution (bad assumption).  <not necessarily a bad assumption... just a bit risky without concurrent use of a PAR or Luxmeter. And in the future when a bulb change was not a convenient segue, it would quite possibly compromise the other corals> I'm about 4 days into lowered levels, and have worked back up to 5 hours (out of 9, up from the lowered starting point of 3) - should I simply put the hours back to 9 and place the screens, or continue the path because of the new bulbs, or do something else entirely? <having reduce the photoperiod, I'd be content to see you carry on as planned. Slow acclimation of all to increasing photoperiod. Do be sure to feed well... food can compensate for lower/inadequate light with corals> Dang it, I knew *somehow* this would get back to a question from me about lights...:) Arthur <Ha! no worries at all... never hesitate to ask or wonder. Keep learning, sharing and growing. Kindly, Anthony>

Coral die off Hi <whassup?> I have a major problem that I cant seem to find an answer to.  <lay it on me... I'll make up a convincing answer> A friend of mine has a reef tank, 100 gallons and halide + actinic lighting. Yesterday the water was fine. No ammonia, nitrite and very low nitrate levels,  <low relative to what? The true measure of nitrate (ionic) is a multiple of 4.4 times whatever you get on most test kits. So a reading of 10ppm nitrate as nitrogen is actually 44 ppm!!! So for you to be under 10ppm actual nitrogen in the display, you need a test kit reading of 2ppm or lower (tough on most kits to see). Do consider> ph was 8.3, salinity at 1.025, calcium at 400, very low reading of phosphate.  <OK> He also at the advice of a local aquarium was treating the tank for a small case of Cyanobacteria with penicillin (I realize not an ideal when it comes to other bacteria).  <Doh! what a terrible thing to do to a reef tank <G>> That day he introduced several new soft corals that had been transported in wet newspaper on the hour long trip home. <aside from the lack of quarantine... no biggie> Today the hardness has dropped to 300 and alkalinity to 8.0, all other measures are the same.  <sounds like he recently dosed calcium too much or too fast and skewed the Ca/ALK dynamic... with or without a precipitation> A newly introduced frogspawn coral and an unidentified bright orange squat tubular coral (I think soft) had turned to mush and clouded the water.  <Ughh... the latter coral ws almost certainly a filter feeding aposymbiotic Neptheid. Good heavens... your friend needs to be more responsible with his choices... at least better educated. Please suggest to this person to buy a book and a quarantine tank and use both before spending another dollar on animals that he doesn't know how to care for. Read about QT protocol here on WetWebMedia.com in the archives. For a book referral... many choices. Borneman's Aquarium Corals for ID and much more, my Book of Coral Propagation for 200 of 450 pages on fundamentals of reefkeeping and Bob's Conscientious Marine Aquarist for everything implied by the title>>  I am at a loss as to why the sudden die off and change to the water quality.  <I cannot comment on the die-off without symptoms or any more information. As fresh imports they simply could have dies from the duress of import. Just one of the many reasons QT is critical so that dead new guys don't pollute the rest of the tank> As a result of the die off polluting the tank we are doing a 30% water change and will buffer the water to get the hardness and ph right.  <hold off on the buffer until you figure out if it was a Ca spike that caused it. Else you may feed the reaction and make it worse. Just big water changes for now.. resume proper dosing and testing of Ca and ALK in a week or two> Activated reef carbon is also being added to the filtration to strip out the penicillin.  <dilution for this... and time (degrades)> Can you please advise me on what might have killed the corals like this. <no clue beyond poor husbandry/choices> I have gone over this site but not come up with an answer. Would the antibiotic be the culprit? <nope> Many thanks Brett <best regards... and regrets that I couldn't be of greater help. Do share more info if available. Kindly, Anthony>

Coral health in high salinity Hello Anthony, Pete from Western Australia again. <cheers, mate... its very good to hear from you! My apologies for the delay in response, I was out of town giving a presentation to the Los Angeles aquarium society. A great club and time was had> A query regarding the adaptability of corals to water with higher than usual salt levels.  <hmmm... interesting> Shark Bay is an area with limited flushing, high evaporation and low rainfall, and as such salt levels in some places are up to nearly twice normal seawater!  <Yikes!> At our location the SG is around 1.029 rather than the usual 1.026.  <no worries here> There are some nice corals around us here, probably at salinities of 1.030 or more. Can most corals usually cope with such salt levels, or would the specimens in these areas have developed a tolerance over many generations? <some tolerance... but also some concern here for the long term viability of trying to run that in a captive system. In the ocean, at least many/most other parameters are more in line... crashing waves, high dissolved oxygen, unlimited food and dilution of waste products, temperature stability etc. The reality in your closed system will be different despite your best efforts. Higher DOC levels, lower dissolved oxygen, less temp stability, etc. To add a salinity on the highest end of the threshold to that may be too much for many coral species. I'm worried that it will be a problem. Do ameliorate/dilute the display if possible (unless this is an open system?)> With regards to our 600,000L display tank, we are pretty much stuck with the 1.029 SG because of the size of the tank and the limited available freshwater. If this salinity is a concern, the obvious solution is to collect corals (we have permission for this) from areas with similar salinity.  <yes... perhaps best at least to begin with I'm sure> However, having dived these areas frequently and seen consistently high concentrations of zooplankton, I suspect that many of the corals from this region are heterotrophic. The difficulty in feeding corals in a tank as large as ours has me leaning towards aposymbiotic species, especially as the water may be clouded during feeding of heterotrophs, which is not a good thing for a public display... it would be too hard to explain to most people - they just want to see pretty fish in clear water.  <hmmm... do you have the terms confused my friend? Aposymbiotic creatures require frequent and heavy feedings (as in "not symbiotic" and must feed). Heterotrophic means the same thing. Hermatypic corals are the photosynthetic reef builders that I think you seek. Arghh... the science of it all <smile>!> Perhaps we could identify and collect species which are known to be mostly aposymbiotic from these areas, or perhaps we could feed more heterotrophic species after closing and let the foam fractionator clear the water overnight... <I would avoid most or all heavy feeders for the big displays. Better for small displays that you can feed heavily and afford to do larger and more frequent water changes on> The alternative is to collect from deeper, "cleaner" waters just outside of the bay. Visibility here is often over twenty meters (mmm...20m+ vis...:)  <just beautiful! I hope to see it one day> so I suppose corals would be mostly aposymbiotic. We could use an underwater light meter to match the light conditions between the point of collection and the position in the tank (wouldn't it be nice if this information was given with all collected corals...).  <yes!!! very wise... please do this for all, my friend> However, this area has SG around 1.026. How would these corals take the transfer to SG 1.029?  <on the point of a .003 change... no trouble at all, I suspect> What duration of acclimation would be appropriate? <short would be fine in fact. Hours no doubt> As always, I value your input and thank you for your time. <it is my great pleasure to share my opinions and experience. I wish you the very best and look forward to hearing from you again. Pictures too when you can!> Regards... Pete McKenzie <kindly, Anthony>

Bleached coral Hi guys <greetings, my friend!> I saw a piece of coral in a shop that I very much like to buy. Need your assistance to ID them since it will be at least 2 more months before my books arrive. I have attached 2 shots of the 2 different corals, they appear of the same species.  <they are both bleached specimens of Trachyphyllia geoffroyi... unmistakable. See our article on this species here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyreproart.htm> The colour is a little off in the photos but actual coral is light yellow and the darker shades of the yellow in the photo are actually the fluorescent equivalent of the yellow tang. The base of the coral resembles a Cyanaria (that is it is conical), so I am expecting they should be placed on sand substrate, but I was wondering at this colour, do they need very high light compared to Trachyphyllia or Cynarina?  <as a bleached animals, they need very LOW light and frequent feedings until the natural zooxanthellae returns. Else this starving animal (without much zooxanthellae now) will starve to death within months> BTW, the corals are just unloaded from Indonesia, about 2 hours plane ride away, so the colors should be natural and not bleached......  <not correct my friend... many animals bleach naturally in the wild from natural events (and some unnatural ones=pollution, etc) like water temperature increases. They are collected and shipped just the same. Bleaching is not exclusively a shipping induced condition by any stretch of the imagination> The "dark" strings on the rim of the coral (also, what do you call these "rims") are mucus strings that the corals are disposing since they are newly unloaded. <and just as likely they are the stressed expelled zooxanthellae packets! Two very unhealthy corals indeed. May hang in for months without much food, but they will die without. Offer to buy these animals at cost from the dealer to save them.> Best Regards Edwin Lam <kindly, Anthony Calfo>

Acropora bleaching? Hi guys, 'hope you're all well. <Anthony and Steve here in San Diego with Bob... drinking beer and answering e-mail. Yep... we're very well <smile>> one of my acros, dark purple valida is starting to whiten, no peeling off just white. Is this due to a loss of light as it has now grown nicely and maybe overshadowing its base. Also it's been quite hot these last few days and the temp gradually reached 83. <many possibilities for bleaching... light shock (water change, new carbon after absence, etc), lack of nitrate/nitrogen/feeding, and of course temp as suspected. If increase was 3 or more degrees in 24 hrs, then it is a real candidate> Could it be a lack of a certain vitamin or maybe even strontium. <not likely> All parameters are great, the tank is 2 years old and the valida is the only of my acros which is giving me trouble. Any info would be great, thanks. <my regrets, but not enough info my friend. Do consider the above possibilities> Stefi/London <best regards, Anthony>

Coral Problems PLEASE help Good Morning crew,  <Cheers, my friend.. Anthony Calfo in your service> I have a question about my corals, I recently bought a Plate coral, but it has completely bleached,  <Hmm... some clarification here: bleached usually refers to the expulsion of pigmentation from tissue but no immediate damage to tissue. I suspect that your coral has simply died or has nearly so...become actually denuded (rotted/eaten away) of tissue> I think it was an attack from my Coral Branded Shrimp.  <very unlikely... the shrimp was probably scavenging the dead/dying tissue and just helped it along. Heliofungia are commonly mishandled on import and succumb rapidly to infections. If this coral is less than a couple of weeks old, I suspect that was then case. Also, if in the vendor's tank or your tank it was kept anywhere other than on the sand... this may very well have contributed to its demise. Plate corals MUST be kept on a soft substrate... else the normal polyp cycle while perched on rocks leads to abrasion of tissue or worse... and imbalance that leads to a fall from the reef. Yikes! Often causes fatal wounds>  My water is in perfect condition, for a 20 Gallon. The PH is 8.3, Spg is 1.023, Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0, Nitrate 0, I just changed over to DSB, could that be the problem?  <the DSB would not be a problem... actually a great benefit for this animal that derives so much nutrition from DSB fauna. However, if you bumber or slightly damaged it in the move... it could have caused the infection/bleaching. There wasn't a lighting change too at the same time was there? Perhaps light shock caused the stress> I only have 1 fish in at the moment, it's a True Percula Clown. I'm using a 55 Watt PC and a 20 Watt NO 50/50, I just don't want my other corals to die please help me!!! this is the most tragic thing that has happened to me in 3 months since the cycle. Hmmm... if the tank is more than 16" deep, this lighting in the long run is modest. Especially for coral on the bottom. You'll need to compensate for the lack of light with some species by feeding them well (compensate for weak production from photosynthesis)> Thanks for any help Mike BTW Anthony, and Bob your books are great!!! <Thank you! Please do pass what you learn on to others in kind. Anthony>

Plate corals turned white Hope as is well with you .... <and you as well. Anthony Calfo in your service> I have a patch of plate coral about 7 inches tall.... well they completely turned white in the span of 3 days..... what do you think happened? <expelled zooxanthellae due to some kind of shock... usually a physical parameter like light, water temperature or salinity> I changed my lights over the period of a week about 2 months ago... <a week is short and sudden indeed but two months ago is far enough removed to be not wholly contributory> besides that I added just a bit of strontium since it was testing very low. I don't play the make the numbers perfect game. I mostly go with how things look but since the test was very low I added about have the recommended dose.... Like to go slow.... <fair enough> So what could it be? Are they dead/dying? <when you say "plate corals" are you talking about the stony corals, Heliofungia? or something else. Please offer a scientific name if possible> There is one piece that I accidentally broke off about a month ago and it is on the substrate and has not changed to pure white. The white ones look terrible... they look like Chinese chips... Yes they are emitting a film substance. The original color was brownish rust. <regardless to what reef invertebrate we are talking about... no they are not dead if only bleached of color... but they are severely stressed and will need weeks or months to recover. Feeding will be helpful and crucial to their recovery in the interim since they do not have zooxanthellae to nourish the host. A sudden influx of freshwater for evaporation top off or a sudden increase in temperature (more than 4 degrees F) are likely factors. Also a large water change and/or change of carbon after many weeks of neglect would suddenly increase water clarity and cause light shock. Do consider any such possible changes and focus on stability and feeding very finely shredded meats of marine origin (mysids, krill, plankton, etc).> Any info would be greatly appreciated as usual...Regards, Robert <kindly, Anthony>

Corals Dying Bob, It's been a while since I have sought your expertise so I hope you are well and wise. <Bob and many of the rest of the WWM crew is off in Germany attending the Interzoo conference.> I started my 40g reef tank a year ago but now my corals are dying. I am not sure what has caused my moon rock and bubble coral to die. About 6 weeks ago, I purchased a RO/DI unit to help combat the hair algae. I am using the RO water for top off and saltwater changes. In the last couple of weeks, the bubble coral, a few snails, and a small emerald crab have died. The moon rock is over 1/2 bleached and is on its way out. The two open brains are shrunken and no longer puff up. The tank is shared with a shrimp, another emerald crab, snails, clown, Yellow tang, and a bi color which are all doing well. The results of the water tests I did the night before last are: Salinity-1.023, pH-8.2, Nitrite & Nitrate-basically 0, Ammonia-.05, dKH-6.4, Alk-2.29, Ca-480, Temp-80. <You should not have any detectable ammonia and your alkalinity is on the lower end of the acceptable range, but everything else seems fine.> Prior to the switch to RO water everything was alive and doing fine. I can't put my finger on the problem but at this point I am thinking I am not doing something correct with the RO water. I am using it straight for top off and straight to mix up my saltwater. <Will help to deplete your alkalinity. You can find out what you should be doing regarding top off and mixing with a quick search of WWM.> Also, I am not using any additives of any type. Last night I did a 20% water change and will do another in a few days. I hope you can help as I do not want to lose anything else. <You did not mention anything about lighting or feeding of the corals. It could be that your corals have been using up their energy reserves because of a lack of one of the above.> Thanks for your time and input. Thom Walters <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Elegance and Doxycycline I have an elegance coral that is not doing well.. not expanding...receding.. I want to treat it with Doxycycline ... but I can't find any information on dosage...  <is there any evidence of an actual pathogenic infection? "Brown jelly", necrotic tissue...or simply recession? can you tell me how much to use?....  <I fear that medicating may do more harm than good with an antibiotic on this invertebrate. Iodine dips may be a more temperate solution if you feel you must medicate. What is the history of this animal so that I can help (how long have you had it, what is your average Ca and Alk levels, purple tip (low light) or other color, what lighting employed, animal at what depth, etc)? thanks Al Nuckols <kindly, Anthony>

Brown Jelly and Hammer Coral I have lost the last three hammer corals I purchased. Each lasted approx. 4 weeks. They all succumb to brown jelly infection. All my other LPS corals are doing well i.e. frogspawn, torch, Candycane. Have you experienced this or heard of this problem as of late? I am wondering if it from collection methods etc. The so called hardy hammer may be coming more like the so called hardy elegance. <Yes... not an uncommon occurrence. Please read through here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/caryfCorlsaqs.htm  re what folks in the trade do for preventing this largely bacterial complaint. Antibiotic and dilute seawater dips... Bob Fenner> Any help greatly appreciated. Mario

RTN in SPS frags I have experienced RTN in a few of my small SPS frags. Where does this come from? It seems to just begin upon the tips of the coral's branches. Should I break off the white parts or just see if it cures itself? Any advise you have would be great. Thanks!! <wow... this is a question that literally cannot be answered in less than pages. RTN is not clearly defined or explained. It is a term applied to several if not many conditions in coral (some pathogenic, some not... rather stress/heat related). Do peruse the WWM archives and beyond for current discussions on this topic. Most of the popular reef authors have written on this topic. Eric Borneman in Reef Corals book is most thorough and current. I discuss it as well in my book on coral propagation. I cannot say much without so much more information (what you call RTN: is it necrotic and rotting tissue or bleaching/expelling zooxanthellae... how old is the coral... did you quarantine it... so much more...?). You best bet is isolation in a QT tank, heavy aeration, ozone would be ideal... but use iodine if no ozone is available. You may also use an antibiotic in the hospital tank as well or in a strong extended bath. Best regards, Anthony>

SPS RTN Event? <<<Anthony Calfo with the follow up>>> Tank Specs: 120G ETS Skimmer 2x175W MH with 2x65W PC ph 8.2 - 8.35, SG 1.025, nitrate 20, calcium 400. <Everything listed seems pretty good. Your nitrates are a little high, but your clam (listed below) will enjoy/consume that. I would like to see you keep track of your alkalinity and temperature.> << Temperature is maintained by a Medusa temperature controller at 80. I have not check alkalinity in awhile - I'm depending on the ESV supplement to keep it in range.>> <<<wow... blind faith. Charming, but not at all safe or recommended <wink>. A fine product but the manufacturer's rec. doses are merely guidelines. You must test and dose accordingly. X teaspoons per X gallons means nothing in a system with 500 clams or 1 clam for that matter. It is the daily demand for Ca/ALK that should determine how much supplement is added>>> I add ESV calcium/alk supplement every other day, iodine every week and coral vital every now and then. I've been moving my tank over from a FO to a reef over the last six months or so. I've replaced the bioballs in the wet-dry and added a bunch of live rock. I've upgraded the lighting as well. I currently have a large Naso tang, a large derasa clam, a couple of cleaner shrimp, misc snails and hermits. A couple of weeks ago I went and picked up a mushroom rock, a zoanthid polyp rock and a SPS - a Montipora. I put the SPS high up on the reef in a place where the return pump created some current. The SPS looked good for two week showing clear signs of growth. Overnight this piece of coral "melted" away. When I got up in the morning about 75% of the coral was gone. <There is an important distinction to be made here. Has the tissue disappeared or has the tissue remain but lost its color?> << The tissue is gone. I have removed the skeleton at this point. >> I did a FW dip (hey, what the hell) knowing it would probably not help. It's been several days now and the coral looks stark white. Any chance of the coral making a recovery? <Again it depends if there is still tissue left.> Is/was this a bacterial problem? <Hard to say at this point.> Any suggestion to how I can prevent/decrease the chances of this happening again? Thanks! <I will refer you to an excellent article by Julian Sprung. It is titled "Coral Bleaching" and it is in the Marine Fish and Reef 2002 Annual magazine. This is a once a year special issue magazine put out by the people who publish Aquarium Fish. See if you cannot find it at your LFS. Hopefully, it will help you diagnose the exact cause for your loss. -Steven Pro> <<<yes... agreed. So many reasons for Coral Bleaching (light/salinity and especially temperature shock <sudden increase of 4 or more degrees), pathogens, weak Ca or Alk levels, etc.>. There just is not enough information to make a fair diagnosis at this point. Best regards, Anthony>>>
SPS RTN Event?
Tank Specs: 120G ETS Skimmer 2x175W MH with 2x65W PC ph 8.2 - 8.35, SG 1.025, nitrate 20, calcium 400. <Everything listed seems pretty good. Your nitrates are a little high, but your clam (listed below) will enjoy/consume that. I would like to see you keep track of your alkalinity and temperature.> I add ESV calcium/alk supplement every other day, iodine every week and coral vital every now and then. I've been moving my tank over from a FO to a reef over the last six months or so. I've replaced the bioballs in the wet-dry and added a bunch of live rock. I've upgraded the lighting as well. I currently have a large Naso tang, a large derasa clam, a couple of cleaner shrimp, misc snails and hermits. A couple of weeks ago I went and picked up a mushroom rock, a zoanthid polyp rock and a SPS - a Montipora. I put the SPS high up on the reef in a place where the return pump created some current. The SPS looked good for two week showing clear signs of growth. Overnight this piece of coral "melted" away. When I got up in the morning about 75% of the coral was gone. <There is an important distinction to be made here. Has the tissue disappear or has the tissue remain but lost its color?> I did a FW dip (hey, what the hell) knowing it would probably not help. It's been several days now and the coral looks stark white. Any chance of the coral making a recovery? <Again it depends if there is still tissue left.> Is/was this a bacterial problem? <Hard to say at this point.> Any suggestion to how I can prevent/decrease the chances of this happening again? Thanks! <I will refer you to an excellent article by Julian Sprung. It is titled "Coral Bleaching" and it is in the Marine Fish and Reef 2002 Annual magazine. This is a once a year special issue magazine put out by the people who publish Aquarium Fish. See if you cannot find it at your LFS. Hopefully, it will help you diagnose the exact cause for your loss. -Steven Pro>

Corals Bleaching  <Hi, Jeff!> Hi, would too high of alkalinity make my corals bleach? <such a stress could indeed contribute> I checked it the other day and it was at 17 with the blue, green yellow color change test.  That is quite high. <agreed... rather high indeed. around 12 dKH would be just fine> My PH stays around 7.99 and have to keep adding buffer to get it to 8.2 on a daily basis and that is why my alkalinity is so high. <pH is way too low, you know... but buffer is not the answer. Are you using Kalkwasser? Kalk will increase pH and save/spare buffer depletion concurrently among its many benefits. I'd suggest a couple of large, gentle (proper temp, SG, etc) water changes to dilute the skewed calcium/ALK dynamic in the tank. Once you get back to some reasonable range through dilution, then either use more Kalkwasser with Seabuffer (oppositely... Kalk at night and buffer by day as necessary) or if you have some extra bucks... simply use a balanced two part calcium additive (B-Ionic, Sea Balance, etc)> Will the colors come back to my corals after the alkalinity comes back down or am I SOL? <definitely and almost assuredly will come back... for some it is a matter of weeks, others many months. Be sure that SG shock (a drop in salinity), temp increase or inadequate feeding were not the actual primary causes... they are more common reasons for coral bleaching. Best regards, Anthony>

Browning Acropora Hello BAS, I've been an avid aquarist for quite some time and have read this column more faithfully than I've gone to work. There is no point in attempting this question with my LFS, as they are currently feverishly culturing Aiptasia anemones for sale (despite my unsolicited advice). My question pertains to the browning of SPS corals. I not-so-recently purchased a pink Acropora loripes despite my measly three and a half watts per gallon. I thought that if I placed the coral high enough in the water column that it would negate the fact that I didn't possess the high wattage usually required for this type of coral. I soon noticed several Aiptasia anemones of my own on this specimen, but unlike my LFS, I quickly dispatched of them with injections of Part A of the C-Balance duo. But with the bad comes the good and I also discovered a red Coco Worm with bi-lobed crowns attached to the base of the coral. The A. loripes itself has grown, which is quite apparent by its base coverage of the live rock I attached it to. My disappointment is that the color that was originally bright pink has now darkened into an almost rust color (It's been brown for over six months but still growing). Most sources indicate that the browning of SPS corals is due to inadequate lighting and an overabundance of symbiotic algae, but none discuss the reversal of this condition. For this reason I have recently up-graded to metal halides. My questions are, how do I acclimate an entire reef tank to two watts more per gallon, <It would be great if you have a lux-meter. Start the MH's up pretty high so that their output matches that of your current lighting. Another trick is to cover the tank in several sheets of vinyl window screening to cut back on the amount of light entering the tank. Then gradually lower the lights and/or remove a sheet over the course of several weeks. If you cannot verify the difference in output, attempt to make an educated guess by referencing the work of Dana Riddle, Sanjay Joshi, and Richard Harker. They have all conducted studies on various lighting setups and lamps and they may have comparison info about your old and new systems.> and do you have any suggestions about the Kelvin of the lamps I should purchase? <I like 6,500K Iwasaki lamps and 10,000K Aqualine-Buschke or Ushio lamps.> I am a big fan of D. Knop and he suggests for most tanks with invertebrates that are found near the surface ( I have two four inch T. Maximas as well) nothing higher than 6.5K, but I have read many online magazines as well as advertisements in TFH tout 10K as the ultimate true white light. <Some 10,000K lamps are quite good, but many are just marketed and hyped well. Most 6,500K lamps could use supplemental actinics for appearance. They do have enough blue light for good photosynthesis without it, but they have so much red, yellow, and green, that to our eyes the corals may not appear pleasing.> I'd just like a little information on the reversal of browning and how it has been achieved, as I've noticed recently, even some online suppliers advertise SPS that will color up with the right lighting. <Increasing your lighting is the way to correct the situation.> Thanks, Andrea <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Corals bleaching I have a 300 gal tank just over a year and a half old. Berlin sump. nitrates at 20 ppm. My Hydnophora corals are all starting to white out. Same with a bubble and meat coral. I add iodine and strontium twice a week to recommended dosage. I have a calcium reactor. Large water changes once a month. Is this a infection of some sort and what can I do? I plan on a water change this week. My lighting is 6 rows of VHO. I also use ro/di water. Does anyone have problems keeping certain corals or am I doing something wrong. THANKS!!! <Have you recently changed your lamps or any other non-routine changes? -Steven Pro>

The bleaching problem (huge thermal vacillation) Thanks for your response. The only thing I goofed up was last water change the temp dropped because the water is stored in garage and its cold here in the east now. It normally runs at 80 degrees and it dropped to 71 <Wow! An unbelievable drop... if it coincided with a lower salinity as well, that spells catastrophic for many. To better days. Anthony Calfo>

SALTWATER PREDATORS? Robert, I introduced a green, open brain coral into my tank. I discovered little bugs, that look somewhat like shrimp, eating the brain at night.  <stop the presses... is tissue actually being denuded/eaten or are they just crawling all over it? What you are most likely describing are amphipods which are common and very desirable in marine aquaria. They are excellent scavengers of the dead and dying, but not healthy coral tissue. If the brain is losing tissue, it is not because of them... they're just the janitors> I repositioned the brain onto the top of a pump  <aieee! Trachyphyllia open brains must have their conical skeleton buried in the sand for a very long list of reasons. On rock or hard substrate (like the pump) they will suffer in time. perhaps die> and need to know where I can get some information about this type of problem. I would appreciate any assistance you could give. Sincerely, JNASH <bud... do determine if the coral is actually losing tissue and then otherwise why if so. As a new specimen, it my be succumbing to the stress of import. Do keep in mind that open brain species favor low to medium light and must be fed at least several times weekly with very fine shredded meaty foods (1/4" or smaller). It is not healthy to offer larger chunks of food. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

I love the site! (coral quarantine, coral disease, electrical power) That is, www.wetwebmedia.com <we do too... of course, if we don't say that, Bob affects an accent like a Catholic nun and raps us across the knuckles with a wooden ruler. Anthony> Could I trouble you with a few questions that do not appear to be answered in the Quarantine FAQs? <sure...> 1) If I buy a number of pieces of coral together, from the same dealer, and probably from the same tank, can I quarantine those items TOGETHER ? On the grounds that if they have pathogens, they've ALL ALREADY got them from being together at the dealers? I realize that for FISH you want to reduce stress and not have them fighting each other, but if CORAL are well out of the reach of each other is it valid to put them in the same tank? <nope...same problem with coral...actually worse. The close confines trigger chemical receptors and escalate allelopathy (chemical warfare). It will be a truly hostile environment. It can be reduced by only tanking like organisms separately (Zoantharians, SPS, Alcyoniids, etc> 1b) Dealers connect all their tanks together, surely? Doesn't a pathogen on one fish just swim through the pipes to the next tank?  <possibly, but such systems should be bare bottoms, skimmed heavy, ozonized and UV sterilized which can really produce quite good water quality of properly supported with biological filtration> And if dealers get new fish all the time, doesn't this mean that there is always a risk from a dealer that his fish have something?  <more or less...yes. A fish sitting in your dealers tank is not two weeks quarantined if a new shipment of fish arrived the day before your purchase.. then you have a "One day old" fish from quarantine> Which is obviously why we quarantine,  <exactly> but it just goes to show that surely a dealer who says his stock are healthy and don't need quarantining is lying,  <well...lets call it selectively representing the truth (hehe... how Clintonesque)> unless he has had NO deliveries of fish at all for 2-4 weeks! <you are very intuitive indeed...seriously! I wish more fish friends thought things outie this far> 2) The coral is going to be in the quarantine tank for some time. It will place a bioload on the water. I guess I can't use live rock or sand as filtration, because if the coral IS infected then so then is the rock and sand and I'd spend my whole life throwing out 'infected' sand and rock!  <no not really... invertebrates are rarely plagued with contagious or pathogenic infections (although there are some nasty ones)... it is more a matter of screening for pests, predators, and nuisance organisms> Also, I guess any copper (for fish) or other medication I put in will taint the rock or kill the nitrifying bacteria.  <yes...ruined> So, I guess I need a skimmer and a wet-dry filter.  <a good coarse sponge filter usually works fine considering the water changes you will be doing to the QT anyway. A foam filter is under twenty dollars (for large/XL) and very efficient. Can you get a wet/dry that cheap <wink>> But must I discard the filter media after each occupant? And do I then bleach the tank and filter housing afterwards?  <a nice thought...very thorough> I read the bit on your website http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnornart.htm, but that didn't mention filter media. I would worry about chlorinating the filter media and then putting it back in my main tank sump to get all the bacteria back. Or, do I only need to CLEAN the quarantine tank if something actually got sick in there?  <exactly> How DO you clean the bio media correctly, and more important, if you use a toxic cleaner, how do you get it out of the media afterwards? Is de-chlorinator really good enough?  <yes...completely dechlorinates bleach,,, and not much bleach is ever necessary> Can you condition fresh bio media (with bacteria) by just throwing it in my main tank sump for a few weeks, and filling the quarantine tank with water from the main tank? <that would be fine> 3) I have had no success with Euphyllia coral. Every single other coral has been a breeze, but Euphyllia (all sorts) have just died on me, but after about 8 weeks by which time quarantine was over and it was in the main tank. After buying 3 pieces over 2 years, I stopped buying them. Why continue to kill stuff by accident?  <good thinking> I think it was a protozoan, brown gunky kind of infection. <yes...they are prone to it... your suppliers were likely getting Indonesian coral.. perhaps transshipped> Anyway, someone has suggested that I use a prophylactic dose of Metronidazole the next time I quarantine some of this stuff. True or false? And how much? <not for this infection...iodine and tetracycline have had an impact on "brown jelly" infections...even freshwater dips for coral! (written about in my book and many places in the net I suppose) 4) When I move across country in about a week, I need to pack and take my two Clownfishes with me. I intend to keep them dark before packing them and to keep them separate and each in a dark bag with water and a large space above which I will fill with pure oxygen.  <agreed and fast 48 hours before hand> I saw the comment about adding Hydrogen Peroxide to the shipping solutions, but decided that oxygen above would be safer.  <O2 will be more than enough> Then they will each go in a padded pelican case and CAREFULLY carried by me by hand. They are each about an inch long. How much water should I put in vis a vis oxygen space?  <1/3 water , 2/3 O2 or air> I was thinking of about half a gallon of each tank water, and oxygen. They will be traveling for approximately 10-12 hours,  <easy move...they suffer far worse on import> and I already have a (quarantine) tank ready and warmed up for them in England. I know this is a lot of effort for two tiny fish, but they were presents! I will acclimatize them as your guerilla thingy says - Methylene blue and an airstone. <a noble effort...you sound like an admirable and intuitive aquarist> Incidentally, on the subject of UPS, I am just moving from the US to the UK where the voltage AND FREQUENCY is different. I have solved this problem for my fish tanks by purchasing a pair of SPS-2450 power supplies from Samlex (http://www.samlexamerica.com/sps2450B.htm) and a TrippLite PV2400FC Inverter. These two together will convert continuous 2400watts from 50hz to 60Hz and will deliver a peak of 4800watts, which is more than enough to power my metal halides and chiller. Best of all, the SPS-2450 come with connections for 200 Amp marine batteries, which means that the entire assembly will keep running for several hours in the case of power failure, certainly more than enough for someone to come round and turn the lights off, when it will last for DAYS. <nice tip thank you!> Thanks for a great book and website! <kind regards, Anthony>

Coral Bleaching and Recovery Bob <reef aquarist/author, Anthony Calfo in your service> I recently went away on vacation. Upon my return I found that the timer on my 400 wt. 10K metal halides had malfunctioned. The corals in the tank, soft leathers, hammer, elegance, etc., are now severely bleached out.  <very sorry indeed...but they are resilient> I have left the halides off for about a month, using only the 6700K and actinic power compacts, <get those halides back on my friend for 2hrs daily, and increase by an hour weekly until back on par> but there doesn't seem to be much improvement so far.  <a very slow process (sometimes 4+ months) but it will come in time> What, if anything, can I do to help the corals in their recovery? <the zooxanthellae need carbon/nitrogen to reproduce but little symbionts remain to produce it...so: feed well whatever corals will eat for you to provide the necessary carbon. Shredded meats for LPS, live rotifers/baby brine for SPS, phytoplankton for Gorgonians and some soft coral. Again, all will be fine in time. Have faith and keep up the good work. Anthony Calfo> Thanks, Ken Weekly

Sudden loss of corals Hi Bob, I already discussed with you the loss of my open brain corals, Candycanes from what appeared to be some kind of swift infection. As per your advice I checked water and came up with the following pH 8.0, nitrate 10ppm, alk 3.0, cal 400. Upon thinking back I noticed the brains declined the day after I fed them with Kent Phytoplex and some frozen squid and plankton mixture. Do you think the Phytoplex could have caused this ? The bottle is four mos. old and not refrigerated. The Candycanes were also directly squirted w/the mixture. <Not likely of and by itself. A "triggering" effect from the Trachyphylliids dying is far more implicated in the other loss. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Mario

Very very confused (coral health) Hi Bob Hope you are doing well today. I have a definite problem with my 120gal Berlin system reef tank. My tank has been set up for about 5 years and till now doing very well. Last week i received a large Anchor, and a orange tile starfish. Needless to say everything came in excellent. After a few days, the star was starting to lose a leg and the Anchor didn't open up even 25 percent. I tested my water with my Salifert kits as i do 3 times a week and everything was great. DKH was 10, Cal was 450, no trace of phos, or ammonia or nitrate or nitrite, as per usual. After a few more days went by, my star just died, and my anchor died also. Now my Elegance and my large Torch corals are not opening up 25 percent. I decided to run some carbon for a few day's to take out what ever might be in my water but to no avail, my elegance and my torch are still not opening up 25percent.All of my other corals look great as well as my fish. This morning i woke up and saw my sand starfish had lost 2 legs and died. I went out and purchased all new Salifert kits and retested my water again. My water was perfect. Do you have any idea what is going on in my tank??? <Something is/has gone wrong chemically/physically... perhaps coincidental with the new livestock additions... I would have done what you have so far... and now would be more pro-active, changing a good part of the water (twenty percent let's say), adding vitamins and iodide, feeding the elegance, torch corals. Do check the inception dates of your lamps/lighting, and consider augmenting or replacing some of your live rock> All of my pumps are in good shape and not leaking any oil or anything like that. I always use my RO unit and replace all of the membranes long before they really need to be just to be safe. Sorry this is so long, i just don't have any idea on what else to do. I even did a water change as i do every week. Still no difference in my 2 corals and no answer as to why my sand star just up and died after 2 years. Any help would be GREATLY APPRECIATED. As always, thanks and take care. God Bless America. Very confused and concerned. <Will keep cogitating on this situation. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Is This RTN [Rapid Tissue Necrosis]? BOB, <<JasonC here filling while Bob is away diving.>> Need some help having my first encounter with some kind of disease that is attacking one of my SPS corals. One of the lower branches of a tri color coral has lost all of its pigment and has died over night. I have placed the infected coral in its own tank with hopes that the others don't get infected. <<quite wise to isolate it, in case this is a pathogen. RTN isn't really a disease, it's more like a description of conditions - there's going to be something else going on - need to look further.>> The coral that was effected looks like the skin has just vanished with just small traces left on the dead branch. twelve hours have passed and the rest of the colony does not seem to be effected. <<ahh good.>> Any advice how long i should leave it in quarantine? <<perhaps as long as is practical - a month perhaps, two weeks if you can't stand it and it's continuing to do well. Again, if this is a pathogen, you will need time to identify it and treat appropriately.>> Should i do any thing to the main tank? <<run all the normal tests, keep watch in the spot where the coral was placed - in case there is a new predator you didn't know you had, nearby sweeper tentacles, etc.>> should i try to salvage some frags off the unaffected part of the infected colony? <<You could, but if this is a systemic problem with the coral, the resulting frags will take the problem with them.>> Is there a cure or should i let it take its course? <<with the exception of stepping up the observations, wait.>> temp and lighting have been consistent and the effected branch was on the lower part of the colony. <<How low is low? Some/Many of the SPS corals do this to their lower branches as the top branches grow into the nutrient-rich stream/currents.>> It's been 36 hours and the bleaching has not progressed. Am I in the clear, or should I wait longer what do you think? <<I'm a big fan of patience, and because these are all closed systems, you really don't want to introduce [although it may be too late] pathogens. It's a good thing you have the quarantine nearby so you might as well use it for as long as seems useful. Is a difficult question to answer as there's just not a ton of information about the various causes/problems/cures for sick corals - mostly anecdotal, personal accounts. Stay patient, and in the meanwhile you can read through the SPS FAQ's: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stonyfaq.htm >> thanks Kurt Keener <<You are welcome - I hope it helps. Cheers, J -- >>

Aqualink Web forum : Re-stocking my 180 http://www.aqualink-too.com/ubb/board/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=11&t=005851 Bob, I know you are busy but could you maybe read this and shed some light on the subject. Thanking you in advance. Barry <Mmm re the RTN (groan... not again!). I consider it more of an environmental disease... the elevated temperature likely triggered the outbreak/breakdown here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Aqualink Web forum : Re-stocking my 180
Bob, I was not trying to get you to sway one way or the other but I felt I wasn't making my point clear with these few people on the BB. <I see> It's like I was tying to convey that EVERYTHING was ruled out and the only possible was the heat spike. <Okay> Have you done any dives lately? <Yes... last month out to the Bahamas, mostly about Bimini> Do you ever take people with you other than your regular crew.  <All sorts of folks are welcome to come along... We don't have a crew per se. I don't do "tours" or trips but many people have/do come on the same dive adventures. We're out to Taveuni at the end of the month...> The reason I am asking I would love to go one of these day as I have to use up some vacation time or lose it. I am going to Cancun in a few week and do a few days of driving. :) <A very nice place. Very clear water most all year...> Hope all is well? When are we, the local reef club getting together again? Had SUCH A GREAT TIMES the last time we were there. <Yes... think Maurice and I are off to L.A. to fish shop. Going to try and make the next meeting (in RB?), and giving a pitch at the joint OC and LA clubs on 12/15 if memory serves. If you'd like to be cc'ed re upcoming trips, or just chat them up, please make this known. Bob Fenner> Barry

RTN Good morning Bob. Have been doing some reading on "RTN". Do you know if there is any on going research on RTN and if they have found exactly what causes it and any new cures or treatment for this ?  <Plenty o' speculation... fungus/es of sorts being carried by the wind... overheated reefs... a combo. of influences...> I have been trying to find some article or on this subject. A lot of the books that I have read don't really say what causes other than maybe stress or changing there environment. <Take a read through "The Modern Coral Reef" books by Fossa and Nilsen, and Eric Borneman's latest (great) tome "Aquarium Corals"... this is an "old complaint" that many thought we were done with (at least in the trade). There is a bunch on this in the scientific literature... I have a piece on how to search this on the WWM site. Bob Fenner> Like more hobbyists I have lost some nice SPS colonies to RTN. Have a great day. Barry

Coral die-off in the past 2 months, my knob coral slowly "lost" its tissue and became skeletonized. then my trumpet coral died-back to a skeleton 9 with other heads following suit. now my hammer coral is dying-back to skeleton form. all my soft corals are in good condition. my pearl bubble (2) and a form of brain coral are fine. my water test fine, low phosphate, low nitrate. good ph, calcium about 380. water changes 205 every 2 weeks. i add liquid calcium, Kalkwasser, strontium/molyb, iodine, trace elements and vitamins. by the way, all my snails, once added to the tank go dormant, don't die, but close up and never move! never had this in 6 years of hobby. all my fish are healthy. any suggestions? please help. <Lots of clues here... I suspect a combination of a lack of magnesium from displacement due to your calcium and Kalkwasser uses... and chemical competition from your soft corals poisoning the stonies. Please see our website: www.WetWebMedia.com  re these issues. Bob Fenner> thanks
Lowell Halpern

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