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Related FAQs: Dendronephthya, Nephtheids, Nephtheids 2, Soft Coral PropagationSoft Coral Health

Related Articles: Soft Corals, Order Alcyonacea, Dendronephthya and Scleronephthya, Corals to Avoid, by Adam Blundell

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Dendronephthya: Definitely NOT for Everyone,



AndrewB's success with Dendronephthya    2/16/08 Dear Bob, <Andy> I meant to respond to your request for a write-up on what I'm doing in respect of my Dendronephthya so as to educate others here about keeping them healthy, but things got away from me. So I have some free time and thought I would answer your questions. <Ahh!> As I mentioned, I bought this coral in the Summer of 2007 (June or July) from That Fish Place in Lancaster, PA. It was labeled as "Lemnalia sp.", but as you pointed out, and as I have since confirmed by comparing pictures, etc., it is actually a Dendronephthya. It's very beautiful--cream colored stalks with small but bright yellow/blue polyps--and it has 6 or 8 stalks of varying length (2" to 5"). New heads/stalks have dropped off/grown since I purchased it. It is affixed to a piece of flat live rock, so I had a hard time placing it in my aquarium--I didn't want to sit it on the bottom of my tank. I ended up finding a place in the bottom third of my tank at which I could lean the live rock piece at an angle on/against other pieces of live rock. The coral is not upside down. My setup is a 110g tank (48" x 30" x 18") with about 85-90 lbs of LR, 1/2 to 1" of fine-to-course aragonite substrate. I run a wet-dry trickle filter with bio balls (I know . . . but this tank has been running for almost 1 year and I have 0 nitrates). I run carbon in the sump that I change out every 2 weeks or so. I skim aggressively with a Coral Life Super Skimmer. Make-up water and change water are RO/DI. I have a Tunze auto top-off unit (a wonderful and handy addition, by the way). I also have an in-line 30 gallon refugium with a 4" DSB, 10 lbs of LR and a very large tuft of Chaeto, which is illuminated with 2 el cheapo 17W fluorescent grow lamps from Wal-Mart on a reverse daylight cycle. I have been able to cultivate a good quantity of pods, bristle worms, brittle stars, etc. in the fuge. I periodically "feed" my fuge shrimp pellets. Until December, my lighting was six 54W T-5 HO lamps (4 10,000K and 2 460nm actinics). In December, I upgraded to 2x250W HQIs (20,000K), 4x65W actinic PCs and 8 LED moon lamps. The lights are on timers--the actinics come on at 10:30 am and go off at 10:30 pm; the HQIs come on at 11:30 am and go off at 9:30 pm. The coral is out in the open, so it gets full illumination throughout the day (again, though, it sits in the bottom third of my tank). My maintenance is pretty simple. I do a 10% water change every Sunday with water that I've heated, mixed and aerated for at least 48 hours (most times, more like 3 or 4 days). I clean the skimmer at least once per week. The only thing I dose is B-Ionic 2-part buffer, as needed with testing. I test every week or so for the regulars--ammonia (always 0), nitrite (always 0), nitrate (always 0), pH (always 8.2-8.3), alkalinity (always 3.5-4.0 meq/L), and SPG (1.024-1.026 depending on salt creep any the extent of my efforts in returning creep to the sump). My temperature is pretty constant at 79-80*F. I use 4 power heads for circulation (Maxi-Jet 1200s placed 2 on each end of the tank, pointed in various directions). I've thought about adding 1 more. My return pump is a Little Giant 1325 gph, that returns through a home-made PVC shaft that stands vertically down the height of my tank (with several large holes drilled the length of the tube). As far as feeding, I target feed the Dendro Cyclop-Eeze with a turkey baster about 1-2 times per week, plus whatever the Dendro captures from the fuge/LR inhabitants. My other animals are: Sailfin Tang, Gold Stripe Maroon Clown, Brown Combtooth Blenny, Royal Gramma, and Copper Band Butterfly; a Capnella tree coral, two colonies of Xenia, about 15 Corallimorphs of various types (Ricordea, Rhodactis, red, green hairy, etc.), and a Pacific Rose Coral; two Lysmata shrimps, a number of hermits and snails, a Sally Lightfoot Crab, and a Red Mithrax Crab that came in on my first batch of LR (which has grown huge and has behaved himself nicely). In December, I gave away my dying green BTA to someone who wanted to work on reviving it and had the means/setup to do so, but it was also in the tank since I purchased the Dendro. I feed the fish once or twice per day (usually live black worms (the secret to keeping a Copper Band Butterfly eating!) and Formula 1 flake (or a small sheet of Nori)). I feed the Capnella as I do the Dendro. I feed the Pacific Rose Coral once every week to 10 days (small pieces of silversides). I let everything else fend for itself. I don't know if this will help anyone as I don't think I'm doing anything magic, but for whatever it's worth . . . Cheers, Andy
<Thank you again. Bob Fenner>


Some tantalizing Red Sea Dendronephthya pix


Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.
Scrunched down in the Red Sea... as during high water movement, non-feeding periods.

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