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FAQs about Elegance Coral Systems

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More specifics on lighting and coral species   11/7/11
Dear WWM,
I am terribly sorry for my constant questions that take up your time.
<Mmm, actually, this is what we're here for, live for helping, sharing w/ you, others>
However, I would like a professional opinion about two species of coral.
The tank is 55 gallons, with two of these http://www.petmeister.com/item2131.htm
< 2 65W CFs>
The lamps are one 10k and one 50/50 actinic. The coral in question are: Elegance Coral Catalaphyllia jardinei, and Lesser Knob Coral Cyphastrea decadia. Would I need to get a third light with only 10k lamp, or could I just elevate them in the water column?
<The Elegance should go on the bottom... See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/elegance.htm
and the FAQs file re Systems linked above. The Cyphastrea can be placed higher up on rock.>
Also, the tank currently receives water changes every two weeks. I know I would need Calcium Supplements and to feed the corals protein based food. The water is Ammonia-0, Nitrite-0, Nitrate-0-10ppm, pH-8.4,
Alkalinity-400ppm, Salinity-1.023,
<I'd raise this up to 1.025>
15 pounds Live Rock. Fish/Inverts: 4
Turbo Snails, One Domino Damsel (Yes, I know it can be referred to as a monster), One Four-Stripe Damsel, One Percula Clown, One Jewel Blenny, One Pencil Urchin (for almost three years now!), One Chocolate Chip Starfish (was informed about their taste for coral so it will NOT be residing in the tank much longer). I wouldn't be getting them for a while and before hand will make sure I can keep Mushroom and Bubble Coral, but the Elegance and Lesser Knob are my goal species.
Thanks, William

Elegance Coral and Lighting  -- 7/14/10
I have a quick question on lighting for an Elegance Coral (Catalaphyllia jardinei?)
I've had the Elegance for almost a month, it's the Australian variety and is about 3 x 6 inches when fully expanded. Recently the tentacles have been expanding less and the actual body tissue of it has been puffing out more.
I believe this is due to the insufficient lighting of 3 x 18 watts.
<This is insufficient>
The coral is also in an area of moderate flow, where the tentacles move slightly, but aren't blown sideways.
I was meant to order a new light fixture but ran into some problems and as a result didn't get a chance to purchase the fixture, but now I am able to and so I was looking at a 6 x 24 T5 watt hood. The Elegance would be more than 20 inches below the hood,
<Too deep>
as it will be suspended, so I wanted to know if this lighting would be too much for the Elegance.
I've read they can not handle direct light from metal halides, nor any other form of intense lighting, so I'm not sure is 144 watts of T5 HO would be too intense.
<... PAR meter... between 100, at most 200...>
Or even perhaps to little lighting if it's in the bottom substrate of the tank. I know I most likely sound as if I've never read anything about Elegance Corals, but I have, I just find the term, "Moderate Lighting" slightly confusing
<Keep reading>
Sorry for such a, most likely, redundant question, but thanks for any help you can give me.
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Elegance Coral and Lighting  -- 7/15/10
Hi again, thanks for such a quick reply.
Based on your reply I'm guessing that the best idea would be to go with the 6 x 24 watt fixture, but place the elegance higher up in the tank?
<Mmm, no... this species needs to be situated as it is found in the wild... with the apex (point of the skeleton) embedded in "muck" or not-so-clean very fine "sand" on the bottom... I'd just make sure and provide extra food
and supplementation (of the water). Please read here:
and the linked files above, esp. Systems:
I understand that 10K bulbs are more white in appearance and have a higher PAR range, I think, than 14K bulbs, if I used more 10K bulbs would this allow the elegance to be closer to the bottom, as the lighting would penetrate deeper, or would this still be insufficient?
<This species is not so dependent on photosynthesis... As you'll come to understand when you read where you've been referred. BobF>
Thanks again,

Omnivorous Snails eat starfish? and Elegance coral care  10/14/08 Hi Crew, <Trent> 1) I bought a 2in. red sea star (Fromia milleporella) that seemed to be doing well for a few days (i.e. it was moving around) until I found it one morning apparently half eaten. The outer pigmented layer of tissue seemed to be torn off. The only critters I have in my tank (that I know of) that could have done this are three fairly large Nassarius distortus. Have you ever heard of this happening? <Mmm, yes... though, it may well be/have been that the Fromia perished, was perishing and the snails were just opportunistic... not predaceous> 2) I'd like to try to keep an elegance coral (Catalaphyllia jardinei). I've read what you have about them on WWM and I feel that my tank can support one. The only area I'm concerned about is my lighting. My Elegance would be coming from Australia and I've heard that these require more light because they're harvested from a shallower depth than those of other locales. My tank is 16in. deep with a 2in. sand bed and my lighting is a 70W 14000K MH. Is this sufficient? Should I try a lower bulb temperature? Use supplemental CF or VHO? <The temp. will likely be fine, I would add more intensity... Perhaps double or triple this over the Elegance> Thanks for the help guys and gals, Trent <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Two Bits of Info/Comments. That Fish Place event/PA and Elegance habitat   4/19/08 Hey Crew! Hope all is well with you. I wanted to share some info that might be helpful to fellow hobbyists. That Fish Place in Lancaster, PA is holding a 35th anniversary extravaganza tomorrow and Sunday (4/18-19) with lots of sale items and presentations by the likes of Steven Pro and Anthony Calfo. Just thought people who live near this store might want to know/be interested. <Ahh, thank you for this> Also, I read a lot of posts/responses here about people keeping incompatible life forms together in their reef tanks. I got this month's edition of "Freshwater & Marine Aquarium" and there is a great article on efforts to restore/preserve reefs around the world, particularly in the Florida Keys. In any event, unless the photo has been photoshopped, there is a picture of (I think) an Indonesian reef site where some type of anemone (I believe a long-tipped--but it could also be an Elegance Coral, as I'm no ID expert) is right up next to/growing in between some plating Montipora. Maybe it's just my ignorance, but I was under the impression that these two animals were examples of those that don't live in close proximity and shouldn't be kept together. <This is so> I guess when you have the whole ocean, compatibility/allelopathy becomes less of a problem! <Perhaps... but... I have never seen any other Cnidarian species growing next to a Catalaphyllia in the wild... Elegance grow in "muddy settings" (actually with their apical/pointed end of their skeletons "dug into the muck"... with no Scleractinians et al. about in proximity. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/elegance.htm> Anyway . . . take care and keep up the good work. Andy <Cheers. Bob Fenner>

Re: Two Bits of Info/Comments  4/19/08 Thanks for the info Bob. Do take a look at the photo I referenced if you get a chance. I'd be interested to know your thoughts on what the picture shows. Andy <I do have a copy of the mag. at home... but am out in San Antonio giving a pitch at MAAST... will try to remember to take a look on my return. Cheers! BobF> Adapting Elegance coral to new lights  - 03/22/06 Howdy! My tank is 55g long w/ 25 gallon upstream refugium, under-gravel filter with 1 inch sand bed in display tank, and  6 inch sand bed in the refugium.  Lights are 130w PC 10k/actinic (on 13 hours) and 130w PC 10k/6500 (on 10 hours) in the main tank, plus 2 15w 6500 lights in the refugium (on 12 hours alternate from main tank).  There is about 60 lbs live rock, plus maybe 15 in the refugium.  I have a Millennium power filter, and achieve <Heee!> light skimming with a Sea-Clone skimmer.  Currently there is a large bed of  Caulerpa and Sargassum macro algae in the refugium. I plan to move toward better quality macro algae soon, and switch to one type. Ammonia 0, Nitrate 0, PH 8.4, dKH 9, Ca 410, sg 1.024, temp 77. Main inhabitants include green zoanthid polyps, orange/yellow polyps, medium green star polyp (which has tripled), elegance coral, hammer coral, green open brain, green/red closed brain, Condy anemone, yellow carpet anemone.  I realize after reading your site in detail that there may be some problems with the carpet. <Mmm, among other Cnidarian interactions here...> The Condy has been in the same place for two years, and it took several months for the carpet to find a place.  It seems happier for the last couple of months now at least.  The tank is two years old, and nothing has been added in the last 9 months until recently.  Please advise how I might improve the general set up. <Really not much. Maybe switch out the actinic/s... definitely making it much larger would help.> I started with crushed coral in the main tank but have moved to fine sand over the past year.  I have just one patch of crushed coral left.  Should I cap my under-gravel filter at this point? <You could> I hate to give it up.  I have no problem with nitrates from it, though I believe it is a real drag on my alkalinity. <I see> My main problem is with my lighting and the new elegance coral I added to the main tank about a week ago.  It really seemed to melt under my lights.  So, I switched one of the 130w PC fixtures from super-daylight (10k/6500) to 50/50 bulbs (10k/actinic) for the early part of the day, and would put in the super-daylight bulbs in for a few hours in the afternoon.  I've been doing that for at least five days, and the coral seems much better. <Likely adaptation from being shipped, in the dark...> I tried to increase the amount of time the super-daylight bulbs were in yesterday (by two hours), and the coral really didn't like it.  It reacts by deflating its tentacles and shrinking back into the shell.  Unfortunately, I had also switched it's orientation just a bit at the same time.  I oriented in a more upward position (cone down), than side-ways position as it had been when I bought it and how I first placed it in my tank.  So, I'm not sure if it was reacting so much because of the added white light, or because it was getting more of that light with its new orientation, or both. <Both> I'm wondering if I just need to go a little slower trying to adapt this coral to my super-daylight bulb (and more upward orientation), or just go with the 50/50 all the time? <Should adapt to the higher light in time> The other tank inhabitants don't seem to mind the 50/50 bulb too much, except the carpet seems more perky with the white light.  Thanks in advance for any help! Dave Wallace <Have you read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm Our coverage on Euphylliids? Bob Fenner>

Lagoon Tank Questions (keeping challenging scleractinians) 1/8/06 Hello, <Hi there> I set up a second reef tank a couple of months ago, a 58 Gallon (36L x 18W x 21H) with 3 inches of Carib Sea fine oolite sand, 80 lbs of Indonesian Rock that has several types of macro algae growing out of it and a refugium with 2 inches of mineral Mud topped by 2 inches of the same sand as in the tank. I seeded the refugium with a large chunk of Chaeto from my 75 gallon along with some live rock rubble from the bottom of the existing tank 2 weeks before adding the rock. The refugium has 2 18w compact fluorescents. The tank's lighting (PFO Shimmer Hood) consists of 2 175w 13,000k MH Venture bulbs along with 2 96w PC lights. Each PC has one 03 actinic and one 10k daylight bulb. I would have preferred 6500k MH bulbs like on my 75 gallon reef, but they came with the hood so I decided to use them. The refugium I bought on EBay came with a Jebo skimmer that is a CPR Bak-Pak clone. It skims a little, but nothing like the AquaC EV-180 with an Iwasaki 30 RLT that I use on the 75. This week I put a nice Physogyra lichtensteini on the rock, 2 Goniopora stokesii and a Lime Green Catalaphyllia jardinei on the sand bed and that's it for now. <All challenging species for aquarium use...> The shape of some of the rocks enabled me to construct a nice overhang on one end of the tank. My first question is about placement of the Lime Green Catalaphyllia. Is the color indicative of a deep water coral and if so should I put it under the overhang or leave it out under the lights? <Have you read my piece on this species posted on WWM?> My second question is about "right-sizing" the skimmer. The El-Cheapo skimmer doesn't extract much, which I would think is good for a lagoon tank or should I run without a skimmer to ensure that I provide enough DOCs for the types of Cnidarians I have in the tank. <This CPR unit should be sufficient here> The Physogyra would be content either way I would think, but I have read a lot about environmental requirements for Goniopora and Catalaphyllia and want to provide for their needs. I had both of these species in a tank 15 years ago and kept them for 5 years before having to sell the tank after being laid off from my job. <Wow, outstanding... not the job loss...> I guess they did well because the skimmer built into the sump I had then left enough DOCs for them to survive. When I got back into the hobby this year it was mostly to once again have an Elegance and Goniopora. I was really disappointed when I got caught up on current news and read how these 2 types of corals have done poorly in tanks the last 10 years or so. I've read all of the articles and forum postings I could find about how to provide for them. <Ah good> So I decided to set up the unused 58 gallon tank I had out in the garage with an environment that would hopefully enable them to thrive. I hope this tank does as well as my 75 is doing. Thank you, Bryan <Do agree with your view-points on DOC and these animals... would leave the Elegance as is for now... as hard to discern whether it was collected from shallow, sunny conditions or no... Bob Fenner>
Re: Lagoon Tank Questions  1/8/06 Hi Bob, <Bryan> Thanks for the comments, I really appreciate the feedback on this project. Guess I'm lucky that my wife understands my love of science and aquariums. But if she knew I just sunk almost $2000 into this second tank, I just might lose my cajones! <Yeeikes!> Originally I was going to buy an AquaC EV-120 for this tank, but I later decided that it would probably strip too much DOCs from the water for this type of tank. Don't really like the idea of running skimmerless either as I would think it's best to have some skimming in order to provide a nutritious soup of sorts but not so much junk in the water that it turns the tank into a cesspool. Hopefully the El-Cheapo skimmer will enable me to achieve that balance. <Yes... alternatively, consider the possibility of saltatory skimming... periodically (every few hours/days turning on/off a better skimmer)> The Catalaphyllia I had years ago was thick, meaty and a deep red like beefsteak with nice green streaks of zooxanthellae and got to about 10" or so. I fed it mostly small pieces of chopped popcorn shrimp and an occasional goldfish. I had a fresh water Xenetodon canicula in a tank with discus and would keep small goldfish to feed him as he grew too large for guppies to fill him up very much. As soon as the Elegance's tentacles would touch the goldfish they seemed to be paralyzed and it would then pull them into it's closest mouth. I was always careful to keep my forearm out of reach of the tentacles when cleaning the tank as I had visions of it clamping onto my arm and stinging the hell out of me. <You are wise here> It was always very sticky when touched with latex gloves and was kind of like some monster in a sci-fi movie. I really loved that big monster as the centerpiece in that tank. <Beautiful animals> I've attached a picture taken yesterday of the new one the day after I got it (Thursday). It was a Premium Aquatics "Cherry Pick" specimen and is a very different looking than my old Elegance. I had been eyeing it on the "Cherry Pick" page for 2 months and kept hoping it would still be there after the tank ran a few months. As you can see in the picture, it has zooxanthellae throughout and has pink tips. Hopefully it will grow into a monster like it's predecessor. I feed chopped up krill to my other Euphyllids (Plerogyra and Physogyra) and to my Trachyphyllia geoffroyi as well. The Elegance didn't respond to krill yesterday, but it did spit out some poop this morning, so obviously Premium Aquatics has been feeding it while they had it. <Good> Thanks again and have a nice weekend, Bryan
<Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Elegance corals and substrate 8/31/05 Hi my trusted masters, <Hello my dearest Bernard> The substrate of my tank is about 2 inches of crushed coral (Florida Crushed Coral, 2-5mm grain size).  I love to add Elegance Coral to my collection, but I am worry about damaging its underside because my substrate is not soft enough.  Do you think the worry is unwarranted? Similar concern applies to Nassarius snails and other sand-bottom dwellers, assuming I have good water parameters, do you think they can live in my coarse substrate? I have a 46g tank with 50+ lb of live rock, PH 8.0-8.3, Temp 80, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate < 5, Calcium 400, dKH 10.  I do bi-weekly 5% water change.  I Have two Ocellaris Clowns, 3 Yellow-tail Damsels, 2 Cleaner Shrimp, 4 Turbo Snails, many small Hermit Crabs, all seem very happy. Thank you very much for your help. Bernard <Substrate is not a crucial factor with these corals, however and this is a big however - be warned that the elegance corals of today unfortunately do not hold the same almost indestructible and bullet-proof status of several years back. Seemingly healthy elegance corals, suddenly begin to shrivel down in size within a few weeks to several months in captivity and ultimately meet their demise. Research is currently being conducted as to why these corals are all of a sudden dying in our aquariums. Many believe poor handling/shipping techniques and/or new collection environments/regions are to blame. Either way, I would avoid this particular species unless you are able to find a cultured one from a fellow hobbyist/friend. - Ali>

Elegant orientation The elegance is already in the bottom third - it's actually a horseshoe shape, and I have it mounted above the sand, but horizontal, not vertical.   <really needs its natural orientation for long term success/survival (vertical here)> Really?  I misunderstood what I read, then - I was under the impression that it was best to mount elegance horizontal (that is, the horseshoe shape is parallel with the ground).  In the case of horseshoe, it's better to mount it vertical (meaning in the shape of a "U")?  I'll make the change tonight. <don't change anything just yet... perhaps I have misunderstood from the general terminology that we have been using. Lets be clear: the corallum (skeleton) of your coral has only one clear and natural orientation. This will be with the open ridge/envagination of the skeleton that holds the fleshy "meat" of the coral pointed straight up to the light. On the exact opposite end of this side, you will see the bottom of the skeleton where the coral was clearly sawn off the reef (place this downward). You can generally tell by incidental growths too on the skeleton which side was naturally upwards or otherwise shaded> As for the lighting, I will put the 20K's back tonight then (2 days on 10Ks hopefully won't cause a major problem with the change back), leave them with the normal photoperiod, and continue using the screens to acclimate (down to 8 layers! :))...thanks again for the advice...Arthur <awesome, bud... best regards! Anthony>

Elegant coral on rock? 10/8/03 I've read your article: Catalaphyllia; What's Wrong With Your Elegance Coral, Family Caryophylliidae and all the various FAQ pages and tons of various books and internet articles.  I would just like to know why the elegance can't be placed on live rock at all?   <they are commonly collected from mud flats (notice the conical skeleton of most) and require, in part, the living soft substrate for micronutrients in the very microniche of their placement on the sand> I have a specific piece of live rock that has a huge flat surface on top (sort of like a table-top) that I would love to put the elegance on it.  there's probably no risk of the elegance falling off and getting injured.   <its unnatural, and there is the added risk of wear and wounds to the living tissue from polyp cycles that come into contact with rock> that area of my tank has very light water flow that is very indirect and the pc lighting is 10-12 inches away from that flat spot.  should I lower the temp. of my tank?   <not relevant> it's currently at 80 degrees?   <no worries... just keep it stable> I have no fish or inverts yet, wanted to make the elegance work first, tank has been up for about 5 months now with just a clean-up crew of various snails.  I know... I've been very indecisive!  no amm. or trites, trates at... right now at 8ppm.  sp. grav. at 1.023-1.024.  I would love to be able to put the elegance at that spot but if it's not possible, please let me know... also where can I get some of that seagrass (Thalassia)?  thanks bob! Seattle hobbyist <now you are thinking, my friend... a deep sand bed, seagrass and a beautiful elegant coral placed naturally amidst it on the sandy bottom. For Thalassia, do check with your LFS that order from Fiji... Thalassia seed pods are available seasonally from the wholesalers for those that ask. Else, ask your LFS to contact their Atlantic supplier (the one that gets them Astraea snails and hermit crabs) for actual plants. Best regards, Anthony>

Elegance Coral 12/5/03 I just thought you would like to see some of the fruits of your advice. Here is my elegance coral.   <very nice... thank you for sharing :) > It is really a nice picture,  I think.  Maybe you could offer it for download if you like it.  If you see anything you are not comfortable with let me know. Thanks again Craig B. <indeed... the first impression I have is that the color is very pale. Most commonly cause by inadequate feedings: either a lack of food (needing 3-5 times weekly with very small meats/minced... Mysid shrimp are very good here)... or feeding with food chunks that are too large which get regurgitated in the night and lead to starvation much to the aquarists surprise. The second thing I notice is that this specimen looks like it has a conical skeleton. If so, it needs to be in the sand/bottom. Such LPS corals derive micronutrients from the substrate. Do consider, my friend. Anthony>

Elegance Coral 12/5/03 Thank you for telling me about placing on the bottom, I will try to extricate it after I ask for yet more advice.  It did come attached to the live rock though <interesting... perhaps best to leave it be> and it looked much worse, hardly any green around the edges and almost never opened at the LFS.  The only question I have is there are several stringy, bright, orange growths attached to the live rock and the skeleton of the coral, I am not sure what they are, and I am afraid if I break them it might be detrimental to the coral.   <they are not part of the coral... sponge or some other sessile invertebrate> I have spent several months getting to this state and would sure hate to hurt or kill it after seeing it recuperate this far.  If you know what the bright orange stringy growths are, I would sure like to know, and if I can safely move this coral to the substrate without damaging it. Thanks again Craig B.   <lets leave the coral in place if the skeleton is wall-like (not conical) and simply compensate by feeding it small portions regularly (weekly or better). No worries. Anthony>

Elegance placement Hi, <HI> say I sent out a question over the weekend about lighting over Elegance Corals ? Haven't heard from you , I know you get Lots of questions , but what I read here on the sight and other forums is controversy to what type of lighting is needed. Would like your opinion I have 90gl. reef of 5 years 2 175 watt metal halides 10,000k 2 VHO 110 actinics was wondering placement of this coral, some say lots of light others say shade it some! Thank you Brian <Brian, over the years of keeping this animal I have found them to do best in the substrate (out in full light), were they are found in the wild or near the bottom of the tank) MikeH>

Elegance coral care 12/3/03 Hello, I have an interest in purchasing an elegance coral, I have been reading much about their difficult survival rate and understand that lately this past year due to where and how they are collected this is changing. <hmmm... sort of. Really a matter fo being an educated consumer and knowing what to look for (avoid the pale greens with dark purple tips that are collected at great depth... or be prepared to keep such animals in specialized aquaria)> The question I have is on how much light they need? <depends on the depth of tank, type of specimen collected, etc> My reef tank of five years has 2, 175 watt 10,000 k and 2 110 who actinics on it, just what type of placement does this coral need for lighting? <under these lights, I'd say on a sand bottom at approximately 12-18" deep> some articles say shaded with little water flow and the sites to purchase from say ideal center piece with high light out put on them! <the conical skeletons clearly indicate animals that need to be placed in the sand/on the bottom. Some elegance (rarer( are collected from hard substrates though and have wall like corallums that have clearly been chiseled. They can be placed on rock. The slow water flow recommendation is incorrect and dangerous for most corals. Moderate flow (10X) minimum needed here> Just confused and would like a good idea on care and placement before buying this coral. Thanks Brian <more importantly... know that you must feed this hungry coral (like many LPS) 3-5 times weekly. Best regards, Anthony><

Lighting for Catalaphyllia Elegant coral 6/9/04 I was wondering if you could help me with a question regarding elegance coral. I recently bought an elegance coral, and just found out from the web about how much harder it is to keep them than before (probably because of collection methods and location of collections). <seems to be some truth to this yes, but once you get any established, they can be quite hardy if well fed (weekly or better with very fine meats)> At the moment I have a fairly deep tank (about 30" deep). I'm have 4 light tubes. 2 blue, 2 white actinic 12000kelvin. <are these standard output tubes? If so, their light does not penetrate usefully for corals much below 8-10". Keep all coral at the top if possible excluding sand dwellers like your conical skeleton elegant perhaps> I have 2 powerheads and all my water parameters are good, however I just wanted to know the best location to put the coral. Currently I have it fairly high up, approx top 1/3 of the tank, but from my readings I have realized that this coral does not need strong lighting requirements and may die (?) . <halides can shock it... but not your fluorescents... not likely at all> Is it okay if I leave the coral where it is ? <depends... if this coral has a cone shaped skeleton (versus a cleaved wall), then it needs to be buried in the sand> or should I put it further down? in addition, is it okay if I put it on the bottom of my tank running the lights that I have? Thanks <no common fluorescents can really penetrate deep enough to keep any coral at the bottom of a 30" tank. We may have a compatibility problem here (elegant needs to be on the bottom but needs better/brighter light). Do feed well/extra in the meantime to compensate for light. Best regards, Anthony>

Elegance Coral Color and My lighting 5/26/04 Hey crew, <Whassup G-money?> Hope things are well with all of you. Been a long time since I asked a question. I know that elegance corals are kind hard to keep as of late but I decided to give one a try. He is only about 5-6" in length and 1.5-2 in diameter.  <if the corallum (skeleton) is conical, then it must be kept in the sand and likely needs lower light and more feedings (3-5 times weekly). If the skeleton is "wall" in formation and clearly sawn/cleaved from a reef... it may be higher light/tolerant> He opens up about twice the size during the day and shrinks at night. My problem is this: the coral seems to be losing its green and purple colors.  <this is no problem... simply a response to a lack of UV light in your lamps> I have it placed at about 10" from the surface on a rock (should I move it to the substrate?) light is about 3" from water surface. The water flow is very little just enough for the tentacles to move a little now and then.  <more water flow needed I'm sure> I guess another question is the tentacles. My elegance coral doesn't have long tentacles the shrink to about .25cm at night and are only about 1.0cm during the day. Is this a problem or are there elegance with short tentacles??? <polyp tentacle length is wholly influenced by water flow and changes accordingly. No worries :) > Thank you, Todd Hawman <Best regards, Anthony> Hey guys, Sorry for the second email I forgot to mention my set up. I have a 90 gallon tank, AquaLight 4 x 65 watt (2 x 65 10K, 2 x 65 actinic), <yikes! this is very low light even for LPS like Elegant. The "rule of thumb" is about 5 watts per gallon of daylight (actinics don't count here). Fluorescent lit systems need this much or more (than halides) for their poor penetration of water at depth. Your tank here has less than 2 watts per gallon of daylight (10K). Scary my friend... please do upgrade... and feed all corals very well in the meantime to compensate for the low light> ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm and nitrate about 10 ppm. 3 false percula, 1 algae blenny, 1 yellow tang, 1 royal dotty back, 1 green brittle star, <Doh! another flag here... if your star is O. incrassata, the infamous Green Brittle starfish, then you can expect it to eventually catch and kill something desirable in your tank (small fish, clams, etc.)> 2 cleaner shrimp, 1 banded coral shrimp 2 turban snails and various crabs. I have also been battling red hair algae. <most any nuisance algae can easily be cured in 2-4 weeks by better control of nutrients. Look to aggressive nutrient export like improved protein skimmer performance (tweak and tune it to produce daily dark skimmate or nearly so). Water changes and carbon/PolyFilter use will help too> Thanks again, Todd Hawman <kindly, Anthony> 

Elegance Coral Hey Steven, <Ryan in his place today> Just bought an elegance coral (purple tip) and was hoping to get a little more professional insight. <Fire away>  I read over some of the info here and on wetwebforums.com and found, what I hope is right, that they like little current, little light and a sand bed?? Don't elegance occur on a reef attached to the rock? <Typically- But varies><<Actually found in soft substrates. RMF>> I was hoping to place mine on a rock about 10-12" from the top near the back of the tank with lower current. <I would place it in the top 8" of water depending on your lighting>  My lighting, in case you don't remember as I know you get lots of questions, is an Aqualight 4x65 watt. <PC? VHO? Sounds ok, but I would recommend that you ask these questions BEFORE you buy for an animal. Thanks, Ryan> Hope you can provide me with some insight. Thank you in advance, Todd Hawman

Elegance coral placement 1/2/04 Thank you so much for your article on WWM. I recently purchased a green elegance and they gave good advice but your article gave me insight to its natural habitat. Now by  "point down" you mean the cone shaped tip of its hard skeleton right? <correct> I had it in the lower to mid section of the tank but is placing it on the  substrate best? <it is arguably necessary for optimal feeding opportunities (micronutrients from substrate) and care of polyp cycles (avoiding abrasion on unnatural rock)> Thanks. <very welcome... best of luck. Anthony>

Torch Coral (Euphyllia glabrescens) placement I have a question about lighting requirements for the torch coral. Since placement on a sandy bottom is preferred,  <placement on the sand bottom is neither preferred or recommended. This Euphylliid occurs only on hard substrates in the wild and will suffer if forced to purge sand deposited by sifters. The confusion may stem from the fact that such coral care best often in the bottom 1/3 of the tank under metal halide lights. Indeed... they do not like or require extremely bright light. They do however need weekly feedings with fine minced meaty foods> would it get enough light in an 20" tall tank even though I am only using 2 96 watt 10K power compacts? Thanks <it may not get enough light here, but you can compensate for the lack of light to some extent with extra feedings (weekly instead of a few times weekly). Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Torch Coral (Euphyllia glabrescens)... Elegant Coral? Anthony, <cheers, mate> I think I may have been confusing Euphyllia with Catalaphyllia (elegance), this is actually what I wanted to know about.  <ahhh, yes! You are correct my friend. Indeed they fare best on the sand bottom. The exception in the Euphylliid family> Can they thrive in low light conditions on the sandy bottom of the tank? My bad. <no worries... and yes, indeed they can thrive at the bottom of the aquarium. Especially if you have the purple tipped variety which is often indicative of a specimen collected in rather deep waters (60-80 feet down). The key to keeping elegant corals successfully is frequent feeding with very fine foods. They are one of the hungriest coral. If fed almost daily with small bits (never offer larger than 1/4-1/2 inch although they will take it), they will thrive and grow nicely. Your lights will be fine for this coral on the bottom of a 20" deep tank. Help all along with weekly water changes, good skimming and weekly changes of small amounts of carbon to maintain great water clarity. If you haven't read it yet... see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fdreefinverts.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm> Thanks Angelo <best regards, Anthony>

Elegance problems and alkalinity Dear Blundell, This is Diane, (Tom's wife), again. Sorry if I sounded flippant about names in the last letter but I didn't know that it says Tom's name right at the top of the e-mail. The only e-mails I send or receive are with you guys. Gotta get out more!  < No worries, I to spend much time conversing with reef nerds. >  (Besides the LFSs!) And you were right, when addressed to Adam got Adam, imagine that! And a very helpful chap too. Anyhow, per your suggestion I added one cup of Kalkwasser (Reef Evolution, Aquarium Systems, mixed per directions) to my top-off water, wrote back to say that my pH had not changed, got Adam, and had not done anything until yesterday because I was waiting for my test refills. If you can't test for it, don't add it! However, Yesterday (Feb. 8) one of my powerheads slipped and was blowing sand around.  < I hate it when that happens. >  (Talk about a love/hate relationship). After reattaching it, I was using my hand to "gently" waft the sand off my Elegance coral and pieces of his flesh blew away!!!  < Not the best of things to see. >  I immediately started a water test and water change of at least 10%. Before water change there were 0 nitrites, 0 ammonia, less than 10 nitrates (but higher than normal), pH less than 8.0, alk. 2 meq/L. After water change everything was the same except nitrates which dropped. And this morning everything remains the same except nitrates are less than 5 and I will do another 10% w/c. When in doubt, change some water!  < I tend to agree, but I'd be careful to not stress the fish or other inhabitants. >  The Elegance is almost completely gone. The coral's shell is approximately 4" and there is an area about the size of a quarter where the polyps are still there and inflated too. Also a few in between a couple of the flutes. Now, my order came today and with it the 2 part E.S.V. B-IONIC which both you and the Other Adam recommended.  < Great stuff. Although with those water changes you probably won't need to add any for weeks. >  In one reply you had said to add B-IONIC; we thought my calcium was between 375 and 425 so Let's assume that I am on the low end (I am awaiting my test refills which are on backorder, will be four days). Can you give me an opinion on the following and also any other suggestions for saving what I have left? I am going to change another 10% and add the B-IONIC according to the "starting dosage" recommended on the bottles, 1 ml. per 4 gallons of system water.  < Okay, but freshly mixed water is great. I don't think you will really have to add anything. If you do use the B-Ionic I would dose once a week and not once a day for a while. >  But it says to dose every day until reaching desired levels and was wondering if daily dosing was O.K. with just the alkalinity test.  < Yes, some people like to dose different amounts. Basically you want to have your calcium and alkalinity in the "good area" then just add equal amounts in small quantities. >  It is a 125 gal. acrylic but I figure with the DSB and all the rock that maybe it's closer to 100 gals. Also, I only have 175 watt single screw (mogul?) MH lights, 3 of them, 5500K with 2 36" blue PCs. < Wow, 5500 K? That is a super yellow light. Not bad, but rare. >  Could this be the problem? I know now is a hell of a time to ask, after I've killed everything! But since I can't change the wattage of the MHs just now I was thinking that when I replace them I could go with a "blue-er" K and change the PCs to 96 or 110 watt 10000K or 50/50? Something with more "daylight"? Again, thank you so much for all your help!!!  < I think switching the halides to 10,000 K in the future would be a good move. But not necessary, and not worth the money at this time. Also, the Elegance may not be your fault at all. They have a terrible survival rate, and I wouldn't mess up the whole system to save (or attempt to save) just one Elegance. > Sincerely. Diane. (P.S. The powerhead had only been down a couple of minutes and there was not much sand on the Elegance but I had not seen him/it yesterday as I was out most of the day and the day before he was retracted a while but had done that before and seemed no worse for it when he would re-inflate.) PSS Why is the mixed Kalkwasser good for only four days if its in a sealed container? just curious. < I've never heard that. Hmmm, sorry I don't know. > < Blundell >

Disappointed and confused! (a path) Hi Bob, I feel as If I'm heart broken and totally confused, I been in a reef for 1.5 years, and still feel as If I just began few days ago as if I'm not knowledgeable in a reef hobby. <What will you do about it/this?> Before I begin my whole story I want to begin by detailed info about my tank: It's a 180 gal 23" deep acrylic, with 40 gal sump along 10 lbs of LR and lots of macro algae and reverse photoperiod and I will soon add a 4" sand. The main tank consist of 250 lbs of LR, 2" deep live sand 2 5500K 175 watts MH, 4 Blue PC 55 watts, 2 URI 140 watts VHO one blue and 1 white, and also filled with lots of Caulerpa. Equipments: 2 protein skimmers EV150 by AquaC and Berlin triple pass connected with 100mg ozonizer running 25mg/hr at 350. 25 watt UV with 120gal/hr. pump, 1/3 HP chiller, K2R ca reactor that runs 25cc/min <Really? 25 cubic centimeters? Not 25 "bubbles"?> with 7.0 pH of effluent-CaribSea aragonite crushed coral as a media. 30gal/day of Kent HiS reverse osmosis for water make up and water changes with Instant Ocean. Parameters: SG: 1.025, Temp 79-80, pH. 8.0 a.m.7.6-7.8 p.m., Ca 390, alk of 2.9 milliequivalents or 8.14 DKH, Phosphate/nitrate 0. Circulations: total of 3000 + per gallon including the return from sump using Rio's and CAP, but soon to change them with 2 Iwaki 70RLT's  <Good change> connected to a PVC T's. from left to right. top to bottom. Chemical Filter: 2 Chemipure change monthly along Polyfilter. Additives: Iodine concentrated by Kent (1capfull daily, but they recommend 1capful/5ml/50gal <I would not add this daily... maybe just once a week, and then for only three weeks in a row, then skip till the end of the month (about every fourth week...> of coral Accell every other day reverse other day with DT phytoplankton and sometimes with KENT Phytoplex, twice/week 5ml of KENT coral Vite for trace mineral supp., Zoecon to soak the fish and coral foods such as frozen, mussels etc. Occasionally 10 drops of vita chem, by Boyd. Foods: Formula 1&2, prime reef, brine shrimp plus, zooplankton, dried algae by Ocean Select. Feed differently everyday! Invertebrates:2 fire shrimp, and 1 boxer shrimp, 2cucumber to stir the sand one yellow, one black tiger tail Fish: 1 yellow tang, 1 Foxface, 1 Goby to stir the sand Corals: soft Colt, yellow finger leather, Fiji green Alcyonium, violet Scleronephthya, 2 Lobophyton tree corals sp, 1 Sarcophyton sp, one unknown leather. Hard: green long tentacle Elegance, 1 pearl bubble, 1 green frogspawn, 1 red open brain SPS: Purple Montipora, green Pavona cactus, Fiji yellow branching Porites, fire coral (Millepora) Polyps: green star, sun polyps, 3 sp. of buttons Mushroom: frilly, blue, purple, red Sponge: red tree, 2 bread crumb Observations: all soft corals are not doing well except the finger leather, and Alcyonium leather which is high in the tank about 8" and strong water movement, The elegance was doing well at 8" from MH and PC good strong water movement, until I read the WWM, which recommends low to med light and semi-still water movement, and also recommends no feeding of meaty chunks because will pollute the tank.  <Really? Will have to check this latter... I do encourage some feeding of this species... with meaty foods... in pieces if not in chunks. Let me repeat this: I would be feeding this Catalaphyllia/Elegance> I was afraid with the corals so I placed them back at the top and fed them with a mixture of Zoecon and zooplankton, but still semi-open. The leathers and tree corals specially the Sarcophyton are somewhat in a bad shape, so I change their position as well, and maybe wait and hope for the best.  <Shouldn't have to move these animals... better to move water discharge patterns from pump, powerheads...> I ordered these at FFExpress they were doing okay at first, but until now. Research: Read books from Robert J Goldstein, this is weird they seem to be in the same boat as Jim Newman whom I spoke to today, which is put the Elegance in a strong lighting such as VHO or MH, with strong water movement, and feed with chunky meaty foods. Jim recommends to get rid of the Berlin triple pass, increase circulation, get rid of the Ozonizer which can do more harm than good, increase alkalinity to 11-14, and pH. to 8.2-8.4, and Ca above 400ppm. That means I need to raise the effluent flow, and Co2, <I do agree with all of this with the exception of the loss of the ozonizer... and possibly the need to increase CO2... the latter may be the/a major cause of your troubles... as well as the constant overuse of iodide... Did you mention the last to Jim.N?> while dripping a Kalkwasser, which Jim Newman also suggested, but this is what I did before I had problems with BGA, and noticed a low O2 saturation from the redox reading from the Ozonizer. I'm also afraid that I been putting my hands on the water too much from all this worry cleaning the pest BGA, changing the position of the corals, and afraid stressed them out further.  <Yes, likely> I'm confused too many different suggestion, and every time I read something on the Internet it seems everyone is doing something different, <Yes, there are many opinions, and "many paths" for different folks... what one has to do is sort out what is best for themselves, their situation, and UNDERSTAND the underlying principles of what you're doing... Not just blindly take one idea, item as a separate entity (e.g. "iodine supplementation is good", therefore pour X amount in per Y gallons per day"...) this is not so...> I want to be a good reef aquarist, but it seems I'm just a failure. HELP!  <You are the only one who can help yourself> I have a friend who just add Ca and buffer with Fluval 303, with no Protein skimmers, and no activated carbon or PolyFilter, and he leaves the tank alone and his tank is fabulous, what am I doing wrong, spend lots of money in equipments, do 5-10% water change, that been pre-mixed 1-2 weeks ahead, but still no luck! Bob you are the only hope that I can think of, please help me and thanks in advance! RL <Don't know how to proceed from here... You will be forever confused and disappointed till you become aware of what captive systems are and the interrelatedness of what your actions, non-actions do/are doing... Yes, you need to have higher, more steady pH, yes to more concentrated biomineral and alkalinity... how to best achieve these? What about all the synergisms with your other supplement practices? You should investigate all that you are doing individually and together... Bob Fenner>

Elegance mistake Bob, Once again I need to tap your vast knowledge. I have written on various occasions and your advice has been very helpful. I have been through a nightmarish bout with nitrates due to my wet/dry, but I finally seem to be on the winning end of the fight. Your bio-ball removal advice and some addition of live rock seem to have done the trick. <Ahh, yes... very simple... when one understands the underlying causes/principals> Now for my next dilemma. There is no need for you to type, again, all of the minerals/trace elements my tank is lacking. I have read and reread your site and FAQ's, (albeit to late) about the conditions an elegance finds in the wild. I know I can't reproduce all of them, but what can I do to help? Right now my specimen sits in top third of the water column in a 45 tall under twin 24" power compacts. Water flow is moderate, not direct and controlled by a Wavemaster. I know still conditions in the wild are quite different from a closed system tank. My numbers are as follows: Phosphate: .2, KH: 10 dKH, Nitrate: 10-15 PPM (still working on it), pH: 8.1, Specific Gravity :1.024-25, Calcium: 300-350, Temperature: 80 degrees. All inverts and fish are doing fine except my elegance. At what point is it no longer worth keeping? <Each must decide for themselves in final synthesis.> Right now its receding all the way into the skeleton. No odor is detectable. The tentacles are practically non existent, with only "bubbles" of green showing. It's still alive, but I don't know if it will rebound. <Do you have a "dirty" sump to stick it into? Do so...> I have seen some fantastic turnarounds in my time, but I'm not sure with this one. I tried moving it to the bottom with no luck, then back to the top third. You advised another reader not to move his piece around to much, so it will stay where it is unless you suggest otherwise. It is oriented properly with the mouth up. One other bit FYI, the specimen did fabulous for about 2 months, enjoying frequent minnows and my attention, then it began its decline over a few day period. It has been in its current state for about three weeks now. Any supplements you can suggest that may help? <Perhaps some iodide... Selcon...> Would plankton drops help?  <Perhaps...> I know my tank is probably to "clean," but the rear glass behind the live rock and the sides are covered with green and coralline algae. <Do you consider this is an indication of cleanliness?> The live rock is all pink and purple with small patches of green algae. Does this help at all? I take pride in keeping my tank inhabitants alive and well, I just wish I would have found your site before the I found the elegance. Brett <Place this waning specimen in the midst of your "wet dry" sump... maybe add a small light (fluorescent) on an alternated light/dark cycle with your main tank... and leave it otherwise alone. Bob Fenner>

Elegance Coral Bob--I got this info from someone on the NG regarding the elegance coral. I don't know to what extent the depth at which they're currently collecting specimens is the reason for the inability of most aquarists to be successful with the elegance these days, but I thought this account was interesting and was wondering if you had any comments. <Umm, no Catalaphyllia are collected from "great depths" all are collected in shallow water... four samples does not science make... all are collected in mud... amongst vascular plant shade cover...> I'm in the process of getting the new system in place, so it will be several months before I could even try anything new, and I might not even try one again, but I thought this was a good "success story" I'd pass along. <Will post it. Bob Fenner> > Hi James D / Anthony, > I am aware of the difficulties with keeping newly > purchased Elegance Coral specimens and have been > successful with the one that I currently have. I > purchased three in total. The first two seemed to > open up drastically during the first couple weeks, and > then for no apparent reason, retracted and died. I > decided to give it one more chance and purchase one > more. A couple weeks after I bought it, it started to > retract. I heard that they might now be collected from > a greater depth than before. I decided to simulate > those conditions. Since it was doomed anyway, I > removed it from the tank and put it in a bucket filled > with fresh salt water. The water was held at room > temperature (no heater), lots of water circulation, > and no lights other than from the window from across > the room. This went on for about a week and a half. > Over a few days, I lowered the temperature of the main > tank to about 75 deg F and cleared some space down at > the bottom with low light and very high water current. > Within hours of placing the coral in the main tank it > started to open up again. Over a period of a week, I > slowly moved it closer to where I wanted to keep it. > Right now, it is kept in medium light, medium water > current, and 75 deg F water temperature. I feed solid > food once every two weeks (clam and shrimp meat). > Over the last year and a half, it has doubled in size > and added about 1.5 inches to it's skeleton, and still > going strong. > I can't guarantee that this will always work, but > it's worth a shot. > Sincerely, Bill

Elegance Coral Positioning Hello Mr. Fenner I had a question regarding my recently acquired elegance coral. I placed it near the upper area of my tank so that it was about 8 inches away from my three 110 VHO light bulbs, I recently read an article posted on flying fish express saying that it should be placed in the mid to lower level of the tank, the article made no reference to how intense the light they were talking about or how deep the tank either.  <Have you seen my input on this species posted on our site? Please do so: www.WetWebMedia.com> As I said I have three 110s for lighting, my tank is a deep 125 at about 30 inches. the current the coral is receiving is enough to make the tentacles sway and the plate area slightly lifts where it comes into direct contact with the coral. Does this lighting and current setup sound OK to you? Or should I move him lower/higher more/less current? Any info is as usual very appreciated <More current is better, lower in the tank is ideal... Do read through the article mentioned. It states the conditions that Catalaphyllia are found in in the wild. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Matt Cruzan

Elegance & Ecosystem Greetings, My name is Ron and I am an Aquaholic. <We kindly refer to ourselves as fish-geeks.> I have recently discovered your site and let me say BRAVO! Now for the real reason I'm writing two questions. First is it possible that a six line wrasse could be picking a my elegance coral <Anything is possible, but not very likely.> as it recently stopped opening fully (since this fish was added) with no changes in water parameters, light, or water movement. Or should I check something besides the regular battery of test (i.e.: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, calcium, kH, temp., and salinity? <No, that is pretty full battery of tests as far as water quality goes. Other things to consider, the lighting is constantly degrading. When was the last time you replaced the lamps or cleaned the glass covers or lamps shields? Also, do you feed this coral meaty items like plankton of Mysis shrimp? Look through the archives for some other possibilities.> Second I have been reading everything I can find on the Ecosystem/Miracle Mud filtration method and would like to weigh the pros and cons before rushing out and buying one for a new system I am planning. I have not found anything against it on the web or the trade pubs that I read religiously which brings a couple of old adages to mind. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is and a happy customer tells two friends and an unhappy one tells nine. Oh the question. Can you point me to someplace (web or Media) that is telling both sides of the story. Sorry I got a little long winded and thanks in advance for any and all advice. Appreciatively Ron <I would perform a Google search of WWM for hits on Ecosystem, Miracle Mud, Leng Sy, etc. Also, stop in and ask a few of the kind folks on the WWM message board for their first hand opinions. -Steven Pro>

ELEGANCE AND FOX <Anthony Calfo in your service> Hi to all, me again Turk , need your expert advice. By the way I received the book last week and it is great. <excellent!> I have 4 month old reef aquarium. All is doing fine. (fingers crossed) I just purchased 1 fox coral and 1 elegance coral (coming from Singapore), both are very strong green luminescent colored, more than any other that I have seen. I remember reading on your site that such corals comes from low lights and deeper water,  <yes.. agreed for many imports> should I put them under the ledges that they receive less light ?  <indeed something like this... filter/temper DIRECT Metal Halide lighting with most/all Caryophylliids> If I put them in full light , will they loose the color and become brown? <this is a strong possibility with the fox coral> I have following setup 50 gallon aquarium , 20 gallon sump. 3*30w NO PowerGlo, 3*55w PC True Actinic, 1 * 55w PC SunGlo I would also appreciate your comments on the lights do you think is OK or not? <this lighting could be described as moderate in intensity at best. It will not be too much for the fox and elegant and might very well be just fine... if anything, it is a bit weak for maximum symbiotic activity> I have 2 clams one of them doing fine but other one had the inhale hole greatly open such that the insight the clam have also blue and purple coloring inside , I guess sunscreen:-).  <nope... your lights just aren't that bright. Not enough light for T. maxima or T. crocea (better with T. derasa or Hippopus in moderate light displays) unless the clams are in less than 12" of the surface. Gaping could be for other reasons (health... predatory snails, inadequate light, etc)> Should I do anything? Will it be ok ? <cannot say for certain> Thanks in advance for all the answers. <best regards, Anthony>

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