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FAQs about Elegance Corals 1

Back to Articles on: Catalaphyllia Coral, Caryophyllids, Large Polyp Stony Corals

Related FAQs: Elegance Corals 2Elegance Corals 3, Elegance Coral Identification, Elegance Coral Behavior, Elegance Coral Selection, Elegance Coral Compatibility, Elegance Coral Selection, Elegance Coral Systems, Elegance Coral Feeding, Elegance Coral Disease/Pests, Elegance Coral Reproduction, Caryophyllid ID, Caryophyllid Compatibility, Caryophyllid Systems, Caryophyllid Selection, Caryophyllid Behavior, Caryophyllid Feeding, Caryophyllid Disease, Caryophyllid Propagation/Reproduction, Stony/True Coral, Coral System Set-Up, Coral System Lighting, Stony Coral Identification, Stony Coral Selection, Coral PlacementFoods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, Propagation, Growing Reef CoralsStony Coral Behavior,

Catalaphyllia jardinei in captivity, for a while.

Elegance sting Bob, I normally am good about my research, but I can't seem to get a straight answer about this question: -Details: I have a med. to large elegance coral in a healthy 75 gal mini reef about 2 years old. A few months ago I removed a nuisance Condy anemone and my Maroon Clown started nesting in the elegance. Cool! The only problem is that the elegance seems to have become much more aggressive/venomous.  <I do not believe it is virtue of the clownfish> I was working with a little placement in the tank and it's tentacles grabbed on as usual and I washed my arms when I was done... That evening, I had about 11 sting marks on my arm that had grown into gigantic welts. They later became scars that haunt me today -3 months later.  <yes very serious indeed> I am not allergic to bee stings and I never went into any kind of shock, but there is one symptom I received that worried me both last time and tonight. - I become slightly disorientated and nervous...like a panic attack. (remember... I thought nothing of the first sting and was not worried at all) <you must be careful of repetitive stings... each will get worse and enough in a lifetime can theoretically send you into anaphylactic shock.> WHOA! -I have already consulted the appropriate doctors and all they can say is - "you can breath, you must be fine."  <they just have no experience with repetitive cnidarian stings> I certainly would understand any hesitancy to answer, but I'm just shooting in the dark. -Meaning, I would never hold your advise responsible. <yes... thank you. And I am simply saying that your concern seems to be warranted. My advice to you and all aquarists for the safety of you and your corals (from each other) is for you to wear gloves when working in the aquarium. Corals are protected from contamination from your skin, under nails, etc and you are protected fro pads, paws and claws> -Question: In your experience, can coral toxins have this effect? It's not a nervous shock by any means, just an in between state.  <having been a coral farmer for nearly a decade on a commercial scale, I am very familiar with this. Euphylliids like your elegant coral are some of the worst. My nemesis is a relative Euphylliid the torch coral (E. glabrescens). I have been stung enough times by such cnidarians that the slightest brush with he animal feels like a full wall current electric shock! Indeed... it amplifies/gets worse every time> Are there known euphoric effects these toxins have?  <I'm still looking...heehee> Are there any resources that discuss this in plain English? <hmm.... more than a studies on the derivatives of "toxins" from coral, but you haven't actually been poisoned with a toxin. You have been stung and the sensation that you feel is mostly your bodies reaction to being stung. Indeed... an allergic reaction. Like being asthmatic> Thanks for any hints on this -Best! Dan J.W. <advice: Tunze gloves...heehee. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Elegance sting Thank you Anthony for the hints! <very welcome my friend> I'm certainly a careful person, but it just seemed harmless in the beginning. I'll be ordering gloves tonight in case I have to do any more shifting in the near future. <excellent!> You know, the sting can never be felt until minutes later. (I think my bodies nervous system just freaks out when there's something like that present. Similar to negative feelings I had at a few parties in college when someone passed around something cheap!) <Ha!> Any how, I'm a Graphic designer/developer for a large ISP in MN... If there's something small I could contribute as thanks... Let me know.  <how about a small, single, fair skinned girl that likes short hairy men of Mediterranean extraction who eats enough garlic to drop bats from eaves as he walks by?> I would be more than happy:-) <and I would too... in the meantime, your friendship is more than enough> -Best! <with kind regards, Anthony> Dan PS> You'll find my evil friend in the pic as he sat in a 55 gal last fall. ( I have plenty of sand room in my 75 to set him in now...) <indeed... such corals with conical corallums NEED to be nestled upon a spacious sand bottom. Kudos>

Elegance Coral Problem Hello, Thanks for the nice service. Always very helpful. I got an elegance coral recently, it seemed to be settling fine, till I fed it once with brine shrimp. Several hermit crabs got to the shrimps as well and have started picking on the elegance. <You said you got the coral recently. I do not know what recently means to you, but it is a very common story. While you may have thought your Elegance was "settling fine", it may not have been. The hermit crabs are feeding on necrotic tissue. I can tell you a healthy Elegance has a strong sting and ho hermit crab is going to be able to mess with it. There is an incredible amount of writings on Elegance corals and there demise over the last few years. Elegance were previously thought to be hardy. I know, I have one from seven years ago. The thing goes like crazy. There are various suggested reasons for why hobbyists are having problems now including shipping trauma, some unknown bacterial infection, etc. My opinion is that these somewhat different corals now. They appear different, are collected in different areas, and their skeleton is morphologically different and yet we treat them the same. Also, there is a lot of rather poor shipping of LPS corals, IMO. I strongly prefer to see all LPS shipped suspended from Styrofoam rafts that do not allow the tissue to abrade against the bag in transit.> They are coming back for more. The coral has closed mostly and has started to produce a very thick white slimy excretion. Can you give some idea what's going on. Tank parameters are: 30 gal/4 NO @30W SP 1.023 Temp: 78 DKH 11.2 PH 8.1 Ca 410 Nitrite/Amm - Undetectable Nitrate ~ 6 ppm Phosphate ~ .025 <These all seem good.> Thanks a lot in advance. Pabak <Unfortunately, nothing magical I can tell you. For the time being, removing the crabs would be my course of action and hoping for the best. -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>

Peppermint Shrimp and Elegance Coral Dear Bob, <Steven Pro answering this morning.> I added 2 peppermint shrimp yesterday and today my elegance coral has shrunk considerably. The tank is 180gal. with plenty of rock and other corals including Aiptasia for the shrimp to eat. Could the shrimp be bothering the elegance? Thanks for your help and website. Robert McNinch <IMO, it is possible, but not highly probable that the shrimp are attacking you Elegance. There are reports of hungry Peppermint Shrimp eating LPS's, but there could be many other reason for your Elegance's shrunken size. Do investigate further using the WWM archives. -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>

Pictures Steven mentioned over on WWF that he has had clowns hosting in an elegance, any chance of pictures? my internet surfing has turned up nothing so far, but one link that was just to frightening to think about. <You can see a bunch of pictures of my tank on the Pittsburgh Marine Aquarium Society, Inc. webpage. The link is http://www.pmas.org/ Hit "Enter Here" and then look for "Photos of Our Membership". -Steven Pro>

Did you get my email? & Sick Elegance I sent a message off at 6:00 am approx. my time about my dying elegance coral, did it now show up? <Yes, it is here, but we are running very behind. Bob is off in Australia, Anthony is presenting at the Midwest Marine Aquarium Conference, and I am attending it. We had hoped to remote access and answer questions, but had some technical difficulties.> here's a copy of what I sent: I got home from work and found my elegance in poor shape. it's separated about in the middle, 1/2 is sloughing off and a purplish color, the other 1/2 still looks good: bright purple polyps and a neon green center the temp varies between 79F and 81F (usually at 80F) ph is 8.6 alk is 3.5 no detectable nitrites or ammonia nitrates at approx 10 (slightly lower) 29g tank using an Ecosystem 40 as the only filtration system w/a bag of activated carbon in the return current provided by 3 MH's, 1 600 2x400 pushing the current in a counter-clockwise direction the other corals in the tank include: Florida Ricordea leather coral (Sarcophyton) open brain candy cane various corals that came in with the FL live rock they are all doing well, except the elegance is this the dreaded "brown slime" disease? <No, probably not.> anything I can do to help? <Again, sorry to say, but probably not.> btw: to the make up water I add 1 tablespoon of baking soda (about 3/4 of a gallon a day) I dose 5ml of ESV's 2 part B-Ionic alk/calc daily (I don't have a calc test kit) I use 5ml of Reef Solution supplement (about every other day) change about 2-4 gallons of water every 2 weeks the tank is what some consider turbid (i.e. not clear as glass), there are very fine particles in the water column, all the filter feeders are doing very well I feed a mix: Spray dried marine phytoplankton (I actually do blend it for 2 minutes) mixed with finely chopped dried shrimp, dried anchovies, about 1"x1" strip of Nori, some Spirulina, coral heaven. enough of the powder food for 1 week worth of feeding (based on manuf. recommendations) with 1 cup of dechlorinated water, I feed about 5 - 10 ml of this every other day. <Very good food for Ricordea and Leather, but the LPS's would rather have larger food particles, frozen Mysis shrimp or plankton.> last time I attached pictures, this time none. <I took a look at the pictures. It looks like many of the Elegance seen in stores now. The majority do seem to die now from unknown reasons. Many anecdotal aquarists reports.> it's down to one polyp now, is there anything I can do to help it? <I have no recommendation for you other to hold onto it for several months even after apparent death, just in case of Anthocauli production. -Steven Pro>

Did You Get My Email? Thanks Steven. <You are welcome, PF. Sorry I could not be of more assistance.> I planned on keeping the skeleton in place in case it recovered later, I've read about that happening with Fungia before. <The Elegance that I have, I was given six years ago because it was "dying". That was six years ago and the thing is a monster now. But, Elegance were different then.> Hope the conference is going well. P-F <I am home now and so is Anthony so we ought to be catching up soon. I enjoyed the conference, meeting people, getting to hear Anthony's pitch, and I got to meet Zo in person. -Steven Pro>

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>

Problems with Elegance Corals <<JasonC here, filling in while Bob is away diving.>> I have lost two elegance corals in the past year. <<I'm sorry to hear this...>> I have kept both exactly as recommended in your article. On the bottom, not to much flow and not under metal halides. Apparently this is a problem many aquarists have been encountering with this beautiful coral. <<I've not heard as such... there are too many factors to declare it an epidemic, methinks>> Several dealers have said they have stopped carrying them due to this mystery. <<perhaps, I will be traveling to my LFS today, I'll ask them.>> All the books call them hardy and easy to keep. Have you heard of this problem ("mysterious bacteria")? Do you know of any surviving and growing in captivity that were collected in the last two years ? <<I will ask around, I don't keep any of these myself. I did see a very healthy one recently in a video posted by a member of the WetWebDiscussion Forum but I've no idea how old the specimen was. You might want to post this question there, we are very fortunate to have some very knowledgeable coral lurkers in that forum and I bet you'd pique their interest. http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ >> Thanks for any info you can give me, Mario <<Cheers, J -- >>

J. Sprung in FAQ's In your FAQ section on elegance corals Julian Sprung says the current problem with them is caused by a bacteria and to treat them with the antibiotics Nitrofurazone or Doxycycline. Can you help me locate this medication. The online fish sources don't appear to carry it. Thanks, Lee <The first is sold in the industry by a few manufacturers/distributors, check with your LFS re. The second is available through a veterinarian only as far as I'm aware. There is a dip/bath protocol for Caryophyllids mentioned on the family's coverage on WetWebMedia.com you may benefit from reading. Bob Fenner>

Elegance Coral info you might find interesting Hi Bob. We've met a couple times and corresponded once. I know you have a FAQ on your page about Elegance corals and thought you might find the following from Julian Sprung interesting (I have no idea how you 2 get along, <Fine enough personally... though our ideas, understanding of facts don't agree on some subjects> if this is copyrighted or whatever :-) I picked up on this thread (from reefs.org) because my LFS owner was recently complaining that he couldn't keep Elegance Corals in the store even though they are "supposed" to be easy. <Mmm> So Someone asked on reefs.org about "Elegance corals that shrink and die". Evidently this has been a common problem for the last 5 years or so. <More so in recent years, yes> A LFS owner from New Hampshire said it was because they are from lagoons and normally half buried in mud, that they aren't getting enough nutrition now that we have more and more efficient skimmers and other means of removing nutrients. BUT, Julian Sprung emailed the following response. The rest of this is from Julian. Take care. Hope to see you at a future WMC or MACNA--if we have either one again! <Doubtful at this point> Jim bash Topic: Has anyone found the problem with the elegance corals deflating/shrinking and slow de I hope everyone out there is listening. I have written about the elegance coral problem in my FAMA column Reef Notes (more than once) and have spoken about it at my various lectures. I don't know why my advice on this point has fallen on deaf ears. The problem with elegance coral (Catalaphyllia jardinei) that has only occurred the past several years is caused by bacteria. If you first treat the coral in either Nitrofurazone or Doxycycline for about four or five days it will not suffer the shrinking and wilting/rotting then dying problem. Corals suffering the problem can be cured by treatment if it is initiated early enough. The problem is NOT caused by starvation. Please do not continue to spread that myth as it results in the death of more coral. Tom, you are an excellent aquarist running a great shop. Please treat the elegance corals with antibiotics in a quarantine system. Please post your results here, preferably renewing the topic every week, until a few people in the industry get a clue. Apparently I alone cannot tell enough people that when something is on fire they should try to put the fire out. This is such an easy problem to solve. I have visited may wholesale facilities and recommended that they treat the elegance corals. No one does it though. Dealers could also easily do this to help their customers. Another point- if you place a sick elegance coral in a tank that contains a healthy one, the disease is contagious. Both may die. It can also be passed to other corals, but usually remains confined to elegance. That is a fascinating point, worth studying. I hope no idiot gets on this forum and accuses me of creating a false story about bacteria and elegance corals. I have no interest in stirring up controversy- my interest here is to answer the question correctly and to help improve the hobby. I believe that it is irresponsible to receive elegance corals and not treat them with antibiotics. Their chance of survival lately without treatment is very slim. With treatment they become very hardy, as they used to be. I cannot explain why this disease suddenly became a problem a few year back. All I know is that it did, and continues to be a problem today. Regarding where elegance corals come from- it is true that they are lagoon dwellers, but that has no bearing on their success in aquariums with regard to nutrients. They can be found in shallow seagrass flats and on deep reef slopes (yes, on reefs). I have seen them in various habitats in Australia, the Solomon Islands, and in Japan. They do usually occur with their base in mud or sand, sometimes on coral rubble. Sincerely, Julian Sprung <Mmm, this really doesn't sound like (word usage, syntax) like Jules... My opinions on the species are posted on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Elegance corals Hi Bob, My two elegance corals appear to be declining. Not opening fully. I had one for four weeks and one for two weeks. I keep them as you recommend on the bottom, area of little water movement. I have PC lighting 10 K from AGA for a total of 220 watts on a 50 gallon reef. Could this be to strong? Water parameters are pH 8, nitrates 10, calcium 420, alk 3.0. <Probably not too much of a problem with the light... Do you feed these Corals? Something quite meaty... about twice a week I recommend... and would boost your alkalinity... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Mario

ELEGANCE CORAL Question, my elegance coral has started closing up after the addition of magnesium. I read on WWM about the Elegance's natural surroundings, and my tank has plenty of organic plant matter. Is it doomed? I did an iodine dip according to John Warner (Warner Marine) and the poor guy looks a little better. <Not doomed. I would try adding a bit of iodide solution and feeding your specimen a "cocktail shrimp" (yum, sans sauce). And ring me back in a couple of days. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Todd Gabriel

RE: ELEGANCE CORAL Sounds good. Thanks for the advice. How do I make sure the cocktail shrimp does not float away? <It won't... place with plastic, wood tongs, maybe chop sticks if you're handy... the animal will "grab it". Bob Fenner> By the way, is that a regular size cocktail shrimp for my 3 inch diameter elegance coral? <Yes, a big shrimp if it's a good sized (let's say six inch or more across) it should be fine... otherwise, half for you, half for the Coral. Bob F> Thanks, Thanks, Todd

elegance coral Today my elegance coral wont open up and there is a brown film leaking from the opening. Should I give it a fresh water bath? What is happening to the coral? The other ones are fine. The coral has been in the tank about 3 weeks. THANKS!!!!! <The non-opening and brown exudate may be nothing. I would not dip this coral in freshwater... but do read this part of our site and the accompanying FAQs file: http://wetwebmedia.com/elegance.htm Bob Fenner>

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 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 corals Hello again, Got a problem with my elegance coral. Looked in the "Reef Aquarium Vol. 1" and it's kind of a toss up between the 'Brown jelly' and 'white film'. The coral is not opening up and there is a cream colored film on one side of the skeleton. I'm not sure whether a freshwater dip and quarantine is the answer or trying to find some of the antibiotic that they mention. Most important is, does it have a chance of spreading? HELP!!!!!!! <Not much chance of spreading. Course of action? Please see the "Elegance" piece, associated "FAQs", and family input ("Caryophylliidae") posted on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com... this scenario is all too common... and has been covered, recorded there. Bob Fenner> thanks, Charlie

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/pump 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 Corals Hi Bob, I purchased a elegance coral weeks ago and he was doing great until my flame angel decided that he would be fun to pick at. The short version is that the angel now has another home and I have a new coral. The problem is the elegance closed up for several days after the flame was gone. Someone suggested an iodine dip which we did using your recipe out of your book. We dipped him for ten minutes and then returned him to the main tank. A week has gone by and he still hasn't opened up. He is all puffy and shows some signs of his original color but not much. Is it too late? Or by leaving him in the tank do I run the risk of hurting some of my other corals (brains, hammer, pagoda, bubble, galaxy, elephant ear, frogspawn, pulsing xenia, leather)? Now one else in the tank seems to be effected by the elegance being closed. Once again as always thanks so much for your help!! Brian >> Hmm, this is tough to "get my hands around"... w/o seeing the specimen. I would shy on the conservative side here, and probably just wait out and see whether this specimen will rally. Please take a re-read of what little I know/have to say re Caryophyllids and Elegance Coral in particular posted on the site: Home Page ... and "try to hang in there"... these can be slowly recovering, and chimerical species. Bob Fenner

Elegance coral Hi Bob, Thanks for the help with the elegance he now has returned to his original colors and has small tentacles. He's not all the way back but he sure looks good! Thanks again for the help!! Brian >> Outstanding. Glad to hear of you and yours success. Patience. Bob Fenner

Yet another question about Elegance corals Dear Bob, I read you recent article in the March issue of FAMA and as result I have a few questions. Also I have some question regarding conditions I am observing in my elegance. I have had my Elegance for about five weeks, for the first three the coral was open a appeared to be healthy. For the last two the coral has been closed up, it is not retracted in it's skeleton or pulling away from the skeleton. It is very puffy and closed so that you cannot see its beautiful green color. I had fed it shrimp when it was open and it was about half way down in my tank under direct light. I have tried moving it to different locations that were both less and more intense lighting without success. I have noticed that there is white stringy stuff coming out of the area where the flesh meets the bone. There are a few spots where it is coming out of the flesh only. Also upon very close inspection I have seen two "bugs" on it. In both cases the bugs were also at the junction of the flesh and bone. The bugs were less than 1mm in size and about the same color as the bone. I was only able to see them where they were moving. I tried the Malachite Green dip that you recommend, two nights ago. Today the coral was open more and for longer. I also noticed that it is expelling black stuff from it's mouths, but the stringy stuff is still there.  My tank is a 75 with 4x96W PC's. Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Phosp are all 0, Calcium 440-460, Alk 7.0 dKH, Temp 79-80. I dose Kalk, Iodine, Molybdenum, Strontium. My skimmer is a Aqua C Remora. I have not run it for the last two weeks trying to get the nutrient levels up, except for about an hour a day to aerate the water. All other corals (green open brain, moon, button, xenia, polyps, mushrooms) as well as my clams are doing great.  1) What is causing my Elegance to close up? And how can I fix it? <Hard to ascertain... maybe the "bugs" you mention, perhaps just cumulative insults from collection, handling, transport from the wild... low alkalinity? I would switch out from the Kalk (Ca(OH)2) to Calcium Chloride to raise the dKH to at least 9, to avoid precipitating out the latter/alkalinity> 2) What is the white stringy stuff, and how can I fix it? <A negative reaction to "something" in the way of stimuli, or lack of "something(s)" positive... How to fix? Remove negative's), add positive's)... I would stop moving the animal to find better circulation, light, nutrient circumstances... probably becoming more of a negative.> 3) Are the bugs good or bad? If bad how can I get rid of them?  <Probably bad to inconsequential... I would eliminate them through a rinse in a pH and alkalinity (just baking soda... about a tsp. per gallon) bath <Plus five drops of iodine supplement solution>... let the specimen soak for ten minutes and shake them gently off if you can> 4) In your article under conditions you state that the light should be Low-to medium intensity. The you say that in Nature and in the Waikiki Aquarium that the elegance in under bright light. I am a little confused as to which light I should try to provide?  <Sorry for the confusion... the light in both is greatly shaded by Thalassia grasses above and around the Catalaphyllia... Is this clear? The light IS intense, but shades the animals> 5) Also in your article you state that the animals are found horizontal in nature with mouths down. How do you know how to place them so their mouths are down? My elegance is curved in shape. Should I place it so the curve is up like a U or down like a N? <What? No, the animals are found horizontal in the wild with their mouths UP, like a "V"... this is how they should be oriented (in mulm and substrate best) in captivity: "Placed in horizontal orientation, point down, mouths and tentacles facing upward," from the article itself: Home Page > 6) Should I feed my elegance? If so what?  <I would, something meaty, about twice a week maximum> 7) Should I repeat the dip? If so how often? <If you deem it useful... always in balance of trade off of the damage of moving, handling it... Move it underwater (in a jar, specimen container)... no more than three times in a week> Thanks in advance, Tim Anderson  Feel free to ask any follow up questions >> <I sense your concern, and share it. Bob Fenner>

Elegance Coral Hi Bob, Couple of quick questions...I recently ( Friday ) bought an Elegance Coral for my 55g reef and upon getting him home I noticed about a 1/2 inch of tissue recession on the coral revealing the septa sp? Anything I can do for the coral?? My current set-up is VHO. I have the coral about half way up the reef and in very little flow. Any additives, vitamins etc. I could purchase? I currently dose Kalkwasser 24/7 and add strontium and Lugol's weekly per directions. My second question deals with Lugol's and strontium. I also have a 10g Nano Reef with mushrooms, star polyps, and two cuttings from a gorgonian. My question is how do I dose the Lugol's and strontium in the 10g? The dosage on the package is 1 drop per 25 gallons on the Lugol's and 1 or 2 ml per 50 gallons on the strontium (Seachem concentrate)... Thanks for any help, Brian >> There are a few important things to tell you re your Elegance Coral... first, please see my full take on this stony coral's captive use in an article stored at www.wetwebmedia.com. In recent years, these animals have especially not proven to be hardy for aquarium use...  Next, if you want to try saving this specimen, I would do a few things. For one, do direct some more flow (non-linear) to its space... and execute the following "dip procedure" (this may seem strange, but is standard operating procedure with the family (Caryophylliidae, including the popular Euphyllias) in the trade. Make a bath of system water and enough freshwater to lower the specific gravity by a few thousandths... the exact number is unimportant... the desire here is to make a hypotonic solution to expedite transferring the dip into the animal. Next put in four times the dosage (check the label) of Malachite Green (sold as this and a few other "ich" remedy names). Immerse the Elegance in this bath for ten minutes or so... Repeat in three days if it doesn't show signs of improvement. Regarding the issue of supplements and dosage... if it were me, I'd make a "stock solution" of these in a container of known volume (let's say a gallon jug) and use this "serial dilution" to feed the small/nano-reef. Easier to control, and much less chance of overdosing... Does this make sense? Dose the one gallon bottle, then pour the one gallon bottle's contents, as needed, into the mini-reef. Use distilled, RO, or other purified water to make up the stock solution... and don't worry if you put in too little of these supplements in this standard... best to shy conservatively here. Bob Fenner

Catalaphyllia jardinei

Corals I have a 29 gallon eclipse reef tank that has been set up for a year or so. I have live rock at least 1/2 way to the top, which is about 90% covered w/coralline algae. My water has always tested extremely well. I have a colt coral, green star polyps, and a mushroom which are all doing good. I want to add an elegant coral but not sure if it will do well, I've been told yes and no. I have 2 lights in the tank, a white and a blue, and I will be placing the coral at the highest place atop the live rock. It would be approx 12-14 inches from lights and have good current. What do you think? >> These are beautiful animals, but in recent years, ones with dismal survival records... the species really does not live in the type of setting you describe... Might I encourage you to consider a Euphyllia (like Anchor, Frogspawn...) Coral of the same family (Caryophylliidae) instead?  If not, please take a look at my article on the Elegance, Catalaphyllia jardinei posted at www.wetwebmedia.com for more complete information. Bob Fenner

Elegance corals Dear Bob I have a 200 gal reef tank that has been running for over a year. For light I am using 4 6 ft VHO's and two 250w 10000k halides. Filtration is 4inches of live sand with plenum, the best possible protein skimmer, and 57w U.V. Temp is 80F and I use calcium reactor. My question is; Why can't I keep a elegant coral alive. When I put one in the tank, no matter where, it comes out the first few days maybe 2 weeks but it then begins to slowly waste away staying withdrawn into the skeleton the just rotting apart. I am keeping Acroporas, clams, frogspawn, hammers, torch corals, Blastomussa and even a Pectinia but a elegant will die every time. No one has been able to answer this question even people who are very knowledgeable and have seen the tank. Some of these elegance corals have been doing well in other tanks for weeks but of course die in mine. James Lewis >> James, you are the "consumer" who broke the writer's back... and I thank you. Am going to move way-up my schedule for writing about Catalaphyllia (Elegance corals).      Seems like only yesterday (because it was) that I was taking pictures at the Waikiki Aquarium of their specialized "Elegance Coral Tank". Let me describe this set-up for you (all).     It had a few inches of fine sand, a bunch (really too many, I'd clear some so you could see the coral specimen) "grass" (in their case Thalassia hemprichii) a few fishes (a Phalaena goby, gorgeous green filefish, unid'ed rockfish of some sort), not much circulation, no added aeration, but bright light (the plants and algae were giving off obvious gas bubbles from the halides and sunlight (the roof is "missing")... and the specimen? It was alone, by itself, lying in the "mud/sand" horizontal on the bottom.     Now, let me assure you, I've collected this (and other) Caryophyllid (the family of this, the Euphyllias like Frogspawn, hammer...) corals in the wild, and this is how all Elegance corals I've seen live: Horizontal, in relatively stagnant, grassy areas, with bright light, low circulation, with no other stinging celled animals around, in probably "high nutrient" settings.     And how do aquarists by and large try to keep Catalaphyllias? In vertical orientations, with brisk, constant circulation, in almost nutrient-free water, with other aggressive stinging-celled animals...     Now, does all this make more/better/any sense? These animals are being kept in barely to un-tolerable conditions. They don't live in environments like your other corals at all. The places where I've seen them live are more like wild conditions... Bob Fenner

Elegance Coral decline Bob, I read your q/a in ffexpress, sporadically. But, I always learn something. My question is concerning the elegance coral (Catalaphyllia jardinei). I have one that looked great coming from the store and continued to look that way for about 2 weeks in my 75 gal. tank. After feeding it some frozen brine and silversides (the second time I fed it in the 2 weeks) it started to decline. It seemed to collapse then swell up around the edges and it hasn't extended it's tentacles much in a couple of weeks now. There is one area where it has pulled away from the skeleton. I checked today for an odor and it still smells healthy. Total of 4 weeks in tank. I subscribe to a couple of bulletin boards and posted a question concerning the elegance and almost immediately got a number of responses... all of them commenting that they either were, or had experienced this same problem. The elegance is supposed to be an easy coral, what is going on? Why are so many experienced aquarist having problems with this "easy" coral? Tank parameters: 75 gal 9 months old 0 nitrite 0 ammonia 8.1 - 8.2 ph <5 nitrate 140 lb Live Rock (Fiji and Old Florida) 85 lb Live sand (gulf of Mexico/ keys) Tank inhabitants Open brain coral -- doing great Torch coral -- doing great Flowerpot -- brought back from the brink of death Devil's hand -- doing great elegance -- mentioned above Green star polyps -- doing great Yellow polyps -- doing great Regular assortment of snails and hermits Skunk cleaner shrimp coral banded shrimp sally lightfoot crab Foxface Rabbitfish Naso Tang (I know he will outgrow this tank, by that time I'll have a 180 ready for him) Psychedelic Mandarin -- fat and sassy any idea's? Thank you, Wayne Pierce >> Hey Wayne, thanks for writing. Yours may be the final goosing I need to finally get my family Caryophylliidae, Stony Corals We love and hate article finished. Catalaphyllias/Elegance corals are NOT easy to keep. One more time on their requirements:1) Not clean water. They live mostly in inner lagoons and reef flats with high nutrient levels... in the mud...2) Horizontal orientation... Not vertical or on an angle as in NOT on an incline of live rock. They live in the mud.3) Not endlessly blasted by current coming from one (linear) direction. Where do they live in the wild? In the mud, where it's pretty calm. There's more, but you get my point. What's more I'm amazed that more folks in the trade and hobby don't 'fess up about these gorgeous corals. Historically they don't do much better than the notorious Poritid family genus Goniopora... But you did by your own admission, bring one of these (flowerpot) corals back from the brink. Maybe you can have the same success with the Elegance. Do you have another system or even a sump you can make into an algae or turtle grass and elegance habitat? Do you mind a few tens of ppm nitrate there? Bob Fenner

Dear Bob, Thank you so much for the info about the Catalaphyllia. I promised myself when I started my reef tank that I would do my best not to kill any animals. The dealer accepted the elegance back without any problem. I am happy that you were available in time to save the animal with the most up to date information about them. Everything else in the tank seems to be doing fine. Sincerely, Catherine Cyko >> Outstanding. And a nod of the pet-fish hat to you for your conscientiousness and quick action. Bob Fenner

Dear Bob, I'm having a problem with an elegance coral that I purchased recently. It seems to have been raised in half of an old clam shell or maybe it just grew that way, I don't know, but it's approximately 7 inches across not counting the curves. It never did open up fully when I placed it in the tank giving it plenty of room. We bought it locally from a reputable dealer and didn't travel but 30 minutes to bring it home. After about a week in the bottom of the tank, in moderate current and full light, a small portion of the animal at the far end seems to be falling out of it's skeleton. The rest of the animal stays pretty well withdrawn throughout the day and night now. I've placed it back in the quarantine tank. What is going on with this critter? We have a 125 gallon reef tank of R/O water with a skimmer, metal halides with two blue actinics set up 8 inches off the top of the tank with fans blowing through and a couple of power heads at either end of the tank. We put 190 lbs of cured and encrusted Marshall, Fiji and Tonga rock in it 6 weeks ago and never got a spike and we were told by several trustworthy shop owners that we may never get a spike. So we started stocking the tank. We have a Ritteri anemone with 2 Percula clowns, 5 green and 2 blue Chromis, 2 rock anemones, 4 assorted small leather corals, one Tridacnid maxima, a small bubble coral, a couple of open brains, 5 or 6 small mushroom corals, one red tree sponge, some zoanthids and a pulsing xenia, an assortment of snails that I believe are getting stung by the anemones, a half dozen small hermit crabs, and I've seen at least one bristle worm. I try to keep the soft corals down stream from the hard corals. Temperature gets up to 80 degrees during the day and cools to 76-78 at night. ph fluctuates between 8.0 and 8.3. The calcium was staying right around 450 to 495 mg/l until the other evening when it dropped to about 345 mg/l. I have a drip of calcium hydroxide at night and dose with Seachem's Marine Buffer every other day. Alkalinity has averaged at 3.5 to 4 meg/l over the last several weeks. Specific gravity is 1.025, no ammonia, nitrites, nitrates or phosphates.  Could it be that this animal is splitting it's colony and do I need to provide some sort of home for the orphan? Your prompt response is greatly appreciated, Catherine Cyko >> Catherine, tomorrow I am going to write and send you a draft (to review and edit if you don't mind) re Catalaphyllia... this coral animal is a real heartbreak... not suitable for most reef set-ups... You will soon realize that it's natural history calls for being in horizontal settings (not vertical), in mud, in high organic nutrient concentrations, with no other stinging celled life about... I promise to send along my pending article on this family Caryophylliidae genus... sorry to be so cynical, it's just that so many of these Elegance Corals are lost due to... what? A lack of disclosure? A general lack of understanding of their needs? Anyhow, will send in a day or so. Bob Fenner, who says, in the meanwhile, if you can, move the specimen to a dirty tank with vascular grasses, like Turtle Grass (Thalassia) by itself... with high nitrates, phosphate... >> Elegance corals  Dear Bob  I have a 200 gal reef tank that has been running for over a year. For light I am using 4 6 ft VHO's and two 250w 10000k halides. Filtration is 4inches of live sand with plenum, the best possible protein skimmer, and 57w U.V. Temp is 80F and I use calcium reactor. My question is; Why cant I keep a elegant coral alive. When I put one in the tank, no matter where, it comes out the first few days maybe 2 weeks but it then begins to slowly waste away staying withdrawn into the skeleton the just rotting apart. I am keeping Acroporas, clams, frogspawn, hammers, torch corals, Blastomussa and even a Pectinia but a elegant will die every time. No one has been able to answer this question even people who are very knowledgeable and have seen the tank. Some of these elegance corals have been doing well in other tanks for weeks but of course die in mine. James Lewis  >> James, you are the "consumer" who broke the writer's back... and I thank you. Am going to move way-up my schedule for writing about Catalaphyllia (Elegance corals). Seems like only yesterday (because it was) that I was taking pictures at the Waikiki Aquarium of their specialized "Elegance Coral Tank". Let me describe this set-up for you (all). It had a few inches of fine sand, a bunch (really too many, I'd clear some so you could see the coral specimen) "grass" (in their case Thalassia hemprichii) a few fishes (a Phalaena goby, gorgeous green filefish, unid'ed rockfish of some sort), not much circulation, no added aeration, but bright light (the plants and algae were giving off obvious gas bubbles from the halides and sunlight (the roof is "missing")... and the specimen? It was alone, by itself, lying in the "mud/sand" horizontal on the bottom. Now, let me assure you, I've collected this (and other) Caryophyllid (the family of this, the Euphyllias like Frogspawn, hammer...) corals in the wild, and this is how all Elegance corals I've seen live: Horizontal, in relatively stagnant, grassy areas, with bright light, low circulation, with no other stinging celled animals around, in probably "high nutrient" settings. And how do aquarists by and large try to keep Catalaphyllias? In vertical orientations, with brisk, constant circulation, in almost nutrient-free water, with other aggressive stinging-celled animals...  Now, does all this make more/better/any sense? These animals are being kept in barely to un-tolerable conditions. They don't live in environments like your other corals at all. The places where I've seen them live are more like wild conditions... Bob Fenner

Question: I have a short tentacle elegance coral that was beautiful for the first month I had it. Then for no apparent reason it would not fully open to is full potential. It is not retracting from the skeleton, and my water quality is unchanged. With calcium reactor, ph monitor, controller, Berlin skimmer, chiller, wave makers, chemistry is always good, and lighting is metal halide. I religiously do a water change weekly. I have moved it, gave it an iodine bath and regardless of what I try it still does not want to extend all the way out. Any suggestions??

Bob's Answer: Hmmm, Linda, yes. The very best suggestion I have may not work, and that is to place this specimen in another system - if you had one with a mud/muck type filter. As true stony corals go, Elegances (Catalaphyllia jardinei, Family Caryophylliidae) are much more difficult to keep than most references give/take credit from. Next time, if there is one, do try another member of the family or add one of the mud type filters to your system. Keep these animals away from others (they're aggressive stingers) and feed them occasionally (once to three times weekly).

Question: Bob - Read your book and really enjoyed it, especially the price (about half the going rate for marine fishkeeping manuals). I really appreciated the detailed advice on setup. My question relates to an observation and personal experience I have had with Elegance corals. I currently maintain three reef tanks containing a wide variety of corals and fish. I have had no real difficulty maintaining any corals including SPS corals in my tanks except for Elegance corals. I have made four attempts in the last 18 months with these corals and lost them all to rapid and virulent (bacterial) attack. Within days, the flesh begins to disintegrate into a brown jelly. I thought maybe it was just me or my tanks, except that I maintain several other LPS species with no problems (hammer, bubble, torch, fox, long tentacle plate, cup, etc). In addition, I have spoken personally and on the net with over a dozen others who all report the same experience with this coral and we have obtained them from a variety of sources. Is there a problem with this species or its collection? I have heard the U.K. has banned its importation as an endangered species. I personally will not attempt this coral again until I find a solution. Can you help. My tanks are all well aged - 18 months with 0 ammonia and nitrite, nitrate is always less than 2 ppt, Ph runs from about 8.3 to 7.8 using RDP in the sump with live sand and live rock. Calcium and Iodine are supplemented twice a week and water changes of 10% a week. I have tried this coral in many different settings in my tanks regarding light and water flow with the same sad result. I can provide further details on my setup if you wish, but I do not believe it is due to conditions in my tanks.

Bob's Answer: Thanks for writing Dan, I too admire the corals of the family Caryophylliidae, and abhor their losses. Numerous other authors cite Catalaphyllia as being hardy, accepting of a wide range of lighting and current... this has not been my first or second hand experience. This species need bright (50k+ lux) and high chaotic water movement, and plenty of space. It is my opinion that this is one of the most sensitive true corals to chemical communication from other species, particularly other stony corals. Do you utilize chemical filtration in your systems? Have a space "high and away from other species?" Most importantly, what is your protocol for bringing in new corals? Do you dip them in a Iodine compound, isolate them for a while in an independent system?

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