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FAQs about Fungiid Coral Health/Disease 1

FAQs on Fungiid Disease: Fungiid Disease 1, Fungiid Disease 2, Fungiid Disease 3, Fungiid Disease 4, Fungiid Health 5, Fungiid Health 6, Fungiid Health 7, Fungiid Health
FAQs on Fungiid Disease by Category: Diagnosing, Environmental (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments

Related Articles: Coral Pests and Disease; pests, predators, diseases and conditions by Sara Mavinkurve, Fungiid Corals

FAQs on Stony Coral Disease: Stony Coral Disease 1, Stony Coral Disease 2, Stony Coral Disease 3, Stony Coral Disease 4, Stony Coral Disease 5, Stony Coral Disease 6, Stony Coral Disease 7, Stony Coral Disease 8, Stony Coral Disease 9, Stony Coral Disease 10, Stony Coral Disease 11, Stony Coral Disease 12, Stony Coral Disease 13, Stony Coral Disease 14, Stony Coral Disease 15, Stony Coral Disease ,
FAQs on Stony Coral Disease by Category: Diagnosing: Environmental (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments 
FAQs on Stony Coral Disease by Family: Acroporid Disease, Acroporid Disease 2, Acroporid Disease 3, Acroporid Disease 4..., Caryophyllid Disease, Caryophyllid Disease 2..., Elegance Coral Disease/Pests, Dendrophylliid Disease, Faviid Disease, Faviid Disease 2, Mussid Disease, Mussid Health 2, Poritid Health, Trachyphylliid Disease, Trachyphyllia Disease 2,
FAQs on Stony Coral Disease by Type: Brown Jelly Disease,

Plate coral injury - 05/16/2006 Hello, I found your site on Google and ready many of the articles on plate corals (very useful for future reference, bookmarked it) but still haven't found an answer to this: We bought a plate coral yesterday and after acclimating it we put it into out 24 gal Nano, <Fungiids are not easily kept in small volumes... too unstable> along with a small frogspawn, 2 true Percs, a 6-line wrasse, 4 hermits, 1 fire shrimp and three snails. The coral was damaged on one edge (seemed like the tissue was bumped during transport) and the tissue around this area looked dead. <Not good> The rest of the plate inflated, looked great and full and the Percs took right to 'hosting' in it. The wrasse, the two larger hermits and the shrimp, however, began to pick at the dead area and now (24 hours later) that area has been picked clean of dead tissue (and some live tissue as well I think), <... you need to remove one group or the other here... the predators or prey...> all the way down to the white skeleton. The damage was made worse by the hermits crawling across it and dragging their shells on the healthy areas as they picked at the edge of the 'tear'. So my question is a two-parter: will the coral recover from this, and if so, <Not likely if not moved> once it does will the offending creatures leave it be? <... not likely> I have placed a 4" high plastic ring around the coral (still on the sand) to keep the crabs and shrimp off of it, <Good technique, move> this is as unsightly as it sounds and I'm also hoping you have a better suggestion to keep it safe while it (hopefully) heals. The damaged area is about 1/10 of the total, like a piece of pie was cut off of the coral, all the way to the center. Thanks a lot. Alex Miller Carrboro, NC P.S. Chemistry is all good, frogspawn doing great as are all the other animals. <Mmm, well... most Fungiids have a dismal captive survival rate... and yours starting off damaged, predated, in such a small system... I'm inclined to encourage you to return it (if possible) or trade it in. Bob Fenner>

Heliofungia actiniformis - 01/01/2006 Hi, <Evenin' Lloyd.> I've read through the website & FAQs, but was hoping for a prognosis on one of my corals. Picture is attached. <Ok.> I have had a Heliofungia plate in my tank for about 6 weeks. For the first few weeks it was ok, then it had a couple of incidents when it inflated like a balloon. Then it excreted a lot of white mucus and little by little all the polyps shriveled away until now only the mouth is left. <Any other corals nearby?> What is weird is that the vertical coral 'fins' appear to have advanced into the center at the same time, but maybe they are just more apparent now that all the polyps are gone. <Yep.> Recently it looks like algae has started growing on the fins. Is it dead? <Afraid so.> Is there anything you can suggest to revive it? <No. They are very capable of regeneration, but I think this one is too far gone.> I don't really want to try this again until I have a plausible theory for what went wrong. It is possible that the brine shrimp type food was wrong based on what I have subsequently read. <Yes, also much else that could've caused this.> Facts & Figures: Approx 6 month old tank. Plate is on sand at the bottom of a 280g tank, 26" from the surface. Lighting is 4x175W 5500 MH with PC fluorescents. Lots of light but a deep tank. Approx 100 lbs of Fiji live rock. All the water chemistry is ok, except nitrates showing 20ppm, and Ca is only 340ppm. Am still researching Ca alternatives based on the advice from your website. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you can make. I am something of a novice at this. <Well, it seems like you're on point with your thoughts (water quality that needs correcting, diet). Make sure not to place these in high flow areas and away from other corals. Other than that, just research more on this before a second try.> Regards,
Lloyd Spencer.
<Better luck next time. - Josh>

Tongue Coral with "tumor"-like swelling 8.24.05 Hi, and thank you for all the help I have already gotten from reading your site.  I have a question about a tongue coral, and have not been able to find information on your site, other sites, from other local reefers, or fish stores. My Tank: *75 Gallon *40 gallon refugium * live sand * 75 pounds of GARF Aragocrete arches seeded with 25 pounds of GARF grunge * Ammonia/nitrite- 0  * nitrate-5 *alkalinity- 4.5 *pH 8.3 *calcium 420. The coral: *Tongue coral (Polyphyllia) *Has been in tank for about 4 months) *In the last few weeks has developed what looks like a tumor on it's left side * When the clown fish bump it, it jiggles, like it's full of liquid. * tongue has been behaving the same as always I have attached a picture.  I took it this morning with only the actinics on because it is easier to see when it's not fully expanded. I find this to be such a strangely interesting coral, I am not sure if this is something strange that they do and I have not seen, or if it has a problem.   Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thank you <The symptom appears to be a sort of polyp bailout... often caused by stress or damage (could be excessive water flow on that side, the coral got bumped/mishandled, light shock with new lights or sudden use of carbon after an absent period, etc.). Regardless, with good water quality and regular feeding (you do know that this coral like most Fungiids needs fed weekly if not more often... else they will starve slowly) the coral will resume normal behavior. In fact, its not uncommon for the whole coral to swell up (often at night) as a natural mucus feeding strategy. Anthony>

Re: Tongue coral with bubble/"tumor" 8.25.05 Anthony, Thank you for your speedy response.   Nothing has changed in my tank, and the tongue has not been disturbed (at least to my knowledge).  Do you think that perhaps my clowns hosting in it are bothering it? (they go back and forth from my tongue and toadstool leather).    <Yes... indeed. This is an unnaturally repetitive irritation and could easily stimulate polyp ejection on a stony coral. We have seen this cause and effect with clowns in Goniopora, Euphylliids, etc.> No new lights, although we did add carbon after having none for a few weeks, but that was a while ago, would the effects be instant?   Never fear about this coral getting fed.  I do daily spot feedings to my Tubastraea, Swiftia, and electric flame scallop, and the tongue (along with my torch, brain etc) is fed every few days directly.   <Excellent to hear! Kudos to you :)> I have noticed that one side of the tongue has slowly been moving closer to the glass, perhaps it is unhappy with the current somehow (it has been in this spot the whole time).     <Nope... not necessarily. It is simply a motile Family (Fungiidae)> I'll move it up a bit, and keep an eye.  Our water quality is great, so I am not concerned about that.   Thank you again. You guys and gals rock! Sara <best of luck/life. Anthony>  

Plate coral trouble... ID, health bad news 7/12/05 Hello crew, I hope that you can help me identify this coral as either Heliofungia or simply a Fungia. It is seven inches wide, 18 inches from 356 watts of VHO lighting, resting on the sandbed. It seems that a turbo snail or possibly even a blue legged hermit crab has ripped a hole in him. I have given him an iodine dip and tried feeding him DT's live phytoplankton and minced shrimp and scallops. Its mucus has caught the food up, but has yet to swallow it. Any help is appreciated. Thanks. <Take a look: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fungiidae.htm and the linked files at top... almost certainly a Heliofungia. Bob Fenner>

Plate coral I recently bought a plate coral from my LFS. 4 days into him being in my tank, it is "melting" on one side and it's white "skeleton" is extruding. all I'm really asking is if it's dead?  <indeed suffering from damage that could be fatal... maintain good to strong water movement around the coral. Skim well and siphon loose necrotic tissue when possible. The coral may stabilize and heal in time... death is unmistakable and fast... tissue rots away within a few days to leave a denuded corallum ("skeleton"). These corals (Heliofungia) suffer damage easily on import. A common cause of death after import is the keeping of this species on rock. Heliofungia must always be kept on soft sand... placement on rock will cause a tear or abrasion in soft tissue with regular polyp cycles that can lead to infection and death> I brought it out of the water to smell it but it didn't have a fowl smell to it. thanks, Jason <if the coral survives... be sure to feed this animal very finely minced food weekly. See here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fdreefinverts.htm Best regards, Anthony>
Re: plate coral
I've read your FAQs and I do not have it on rock, although I know this is a bad thing, I do have it on crushed coral. That's the only substrate I have. <Ahhh... yes. In the long run this will/would be too coarse for Heliofungia to live on. Finer sand is a must else tissue is easily abraded from polyps cycles>  I read about a type of plate coral that if it dies you can leave the skeleton in the tank and it will still daughter polyps after a couple of months of just sitting in the tank.  <yes... anthocauli produced in Fungiids. Not yet reported in your Heliofungia although seems possible> <=can't recall exactly what I read.) If this does in fact die, would you suggest doing this?  <in a separate aquarium/QT tank perhaps... not here though> I'm kind of worried that it will raise my ammonia level? (but I may be wrong).

Heliofungia actiniformis: Plate Coral on Rock: never Buenos dias.  <greetings my friend!> I have a plate coral that is in trouble due to an accident. I recently purchased it and it was doing great for the first couple of days. Then I injured it by dropping the top of it against the glass while moving it. It has not opened up fully for about a week now and it is deteriorating.  <alas... do keep it on the sand bottom with moderate to strong water movement on the edges. Siphon away decay as necessary. Add iodine as per mfg suggested dose if you do not already. Remove if decay seems rapid (to QT tank hopefully)> It is pulling back from the edges and I can see the skeleton in the middle too.  <it may recover in time> I tried moving it closer to the MH and higher current for a few days but that didn't help.  <yikes! Not possible, my friend. First of all... moving a stressed or damaged coral to brighter light is very stressful and sometimes fatal. Lower light and increased feeding is always better. Furthermore... Heliofungia can never be placed on rock. That will sign its death certificate. They only occur on sift sand in the wild and will suffer from abraded tissue with polyp cycles on rock. Always keep on soft sand. Feed this species 3-5 times weekly minimum too with very finely minced meaty foods> I now have it in my refugium under low lighting and moderate current. <OK... and perhaps stronger current would be better> While transferring it I noticed the bottom of it has a reddish spot covering about half of the underside. Is there anything I can do to save this coral? My water chemistry is good. Temp fluctuates between 77.5 and 78.5. Lighting in tank is 3x 150 watt HQI MH (tank is 24 " deep).  <all water quality is fine, my friend... keep up the good work!> By the way, did Mr. Fenner go to Mexico for the aquaculture conference? I translated some documents for him and was just curious if he got them back. It was a while ago. Thanks. <Gerardo... we thank you so much for your help with the translations. Alas, the trip fell through. The organizers must have had some trouble. They did not answer any of our requests for travel and contact information and did not try to contact us by phone for travel arrangements until 2 days before the event. By that point we assumed the event was long since canceled and made other plans in our schedules. It is unfortunate... we were really looking forward to seeing that beautiful city in Mexico. But again, we thank you for your help in trying to contact the committee.> Gerardo Gomez <with kind regards, Anthony>
Re: Heliofungia Actiniformis, Dilution is the Solution to Pollution: High ALK
I will try what you suggested to revive the plate coral. I mentioned my water chemistry was good but I hadn't checked my calcium hardness and it is WAY too high. I have checked it twice and it is reading over 20dKH with a LaMotte kit (it actually reads it as CaCO3 at 4515 ppm). <YIKES!> My pH is steady at 8.2 and Alkalinity is 2.75 mEq/L. I have a calcium reactor hooked up filled with Korallith and water flowing through it but I have yet to connect the C02 tank. When I originally filled the tank I overdosed on Seachem's Marine buffer to the point that a precipitate formed all over everything (I am still trying to remove it).  <Ahhh, yes... I see> I did a water change but have been adding Marine Buffer to replacement water (RODI) to bring pH to same level.  <agreed... but do aerate before any buffer or salt> Any suggestions on what I should do next?  <indeed... a string of large water changes. As they say, "Dilution is the Solution to Pollution."> Sorry to hear the trip to Mexico fell through. It sounded like it would have been interesting.  <yes... I was dreadfully sorry to miss it. We were so surprised to get a call 2 days before the event!> Thank you again. Regards, Gerardo <my pleasure, Anthony>

Fungiid problems - 2/24/03 I have had this plate coral for a few weeks now. the tentacles only come out at night and I keep getting a stringy discharge <Could be Zooxanthellae bailout (bleaching event) or just passed food stuffs> all over the top here lately. also my main concern the edges are pink and they are turning white are clear on the edges is there something wrong or something I should be doing? <Check here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fungiidfaqs.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fungiidae.htm Be sure to feed this coral Mysis shrimp and krill (frozen is fine) when there is polyp extension, and place this coral on the substrate. The feeding may help the potential bleaching that is occurring (the pink edges turning white)>water tests are fine. <OK> also I would kill for a good book if you know of any... <No need to kill. Know of a great many books...... I personally really enjoy and found most informative, Anthony Calfo's "Book on Coral Propagation Vol. 1" (which is why I am here) and I really enjoy Eric Borneman's' "Aquarium Corals". They can be found locally as well as online in many places. Another source of good information is to check reef boards as often as possible as well....much information to process there. Check the links above, leave the coral in the substrate and feed often. Water changes are in order here as well, in my experience. Good luck! Paul> Thanks Carlos  

Damaged Plate Coral 2/6/03 Hi guys,  I added a Plate coral about 2 weeks ago.  On occasion, his tentacles deflate while extended.  I also noticed that his mouth is open wider than usual (picture attached) - I believe this is a sign of stress.   <correct although it does not look too severe in this image> There is also a sandy looking something covering a small(3/4" x 1/4") section of the plate (pictures attached). I was wondering what this is, and if there is anything I can do.   <a slight tear in the polyp and possible nuisance growth attacking the exposed septa> I already tried to siphon and blow the stuff off of him, but it won't move.   <understood... still a good move on your part> Please also see the pic of my substrate.  It is aragonite, but has some larger grains (pebbles) in it, I was wondering if this could be part of the problem, and if it could actually cause problems in as little as two weeks. <not too terrible. No larger though please for Fungiids> My lighting is 165 watts actinic and 165 watts 10,000K on a 90 gallon. Calcium is 360 Alk is 3.5 Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are 0 pH 8.1 Salinity 1.024 Temp 74 All fine except pH if that's a day time reading... do get it up a little higher> Branching Frogspawn is doing fine (my only other coral). <my guess if that your coral was acquired with a little bit of damage (common on fresh imports). It will likely heal or become fatally infected within mere weeks. Just keep up with good water quality, good water flow (random turbulent) and occasional feedings with fine food> Thanks again, you guys are great, Adam Karp <thanks kindly, Anthony>

Heliofungia Plate Coral 3/6/03 Great site...very informative! <thanks kindly> I have a Fungia plate coral bought like a week ago. I have him in a 90 gal, w/live rock, and various fish. He is on the sandy bottom. He mainly opens up at night. I have 265wat power compact lighting with actinic too.....Why does he only open at night, <planktivorous... when plankton is out> and my main question is this.....When I 1st got him, his mouth was visible...now, there is a hole there, and bare coral skeleton is visible. <Yikes... a sign of severe stress. Perhaps light shock if you did not QT in subdued light first.> He seems to no longer be able to accept food, but is putting off very little mucus, and is still puffing up at night... <the latter being a good sign> Is it just a matter of time, or is he ok do u think...thx a lot guys    Tim <its a little scary... gaping is often a rather bad sign. My advice though is to not move or stress this animal at all... it is likely very weak and will not tolerate a change well. Patience and diligence are required here. Do keep offering food in small amounts and give it time to acclimate. Be sure nothing is bothering it (another coral nearby... fishes, crabs in the tank, etc). Anthony>

Fungia illness? 6/2/04 I am concerned about my Fungia.  I have had it for a month now, and it seems to be doing fine.   <I do hope it is placed on a soft sandy bottom and not on rock (critical for long term success). Also, do feed it finely minced meaty foods of marine origin (Mysid shrimp, Pacifica plankton, etc) weekly or more often> A week or two ago I noticed a couple small brown and grey lumps around the mouth.  Now they are bigger, have a rough appearance, are still brown and grey, and seem to be forming on the skeleton, not the tissue.  I also noticed this afternoon that the tissue was retracted (tentacles in, tissue retracted) but I am not sure if this is being caused by the lumps.   <tough to say without a pic. But in the worst case scenario of denuded "skeleton", still do not give up... Fungia are remarkably regenerative and may very well at least produce buds from the stripped skeleton> Also, just to let you know, I added CALXMAX by Warner Marine today.  If you are not familiar with it part it forms these whitish clumps, and some stuck to my Fungia and he swallowed them (I saw no harm).   <yikes! chemical burn is quite possible here. Fully dissolve all supplements in water outside of the tank before adding> I also have an over-curious peppermint shrimp, but I don't think he is pestering the Fungia. <Lysmata shrimp very commonly attack large polyped stony corals. Do not rule this shrimp out either. You will find many references to such shrimp attacking coral in our WWM archives and abroad on the Internet> Thanks, Andrew <best of luck, Anthony>

Broken Polyphyllia 8/19/04 Aaaaahhh!  I've had a rockslide!  I feel terrible!  I was sure my rocks were stable, but apparently I was wrong! <Happens to the best of us!  Black plastic cable ties, underwater epoxy and plastic rods work wonders to help prevent this.> A fairly large rock that had a Montipora capricornis attached to it fell.  The Monti broke, but only in two large pieces that I reattached.  I'm pretty sure it'll be fine. <Agreed.  These are very hardy animals.  Many of my fragments have been created in such an accident!> My big emergency is that the rock fell right on top of a tongue coral (Polyphyllia sp.).  It snapped in two.   It was about four inches long, but now it's in two pieces that are three and two inches.  (It broke diagonally.) I can't find any information on what to do for this poor little guy. Will both pieces die?  What can I do? <I would give each piece a slightly better than 50/50 chance.  Do be sure that the broken edges stay open to the water and don't get buried in the sand.  I am personally not a fan of dips, etc. unless there is a specific reason.> Thank you so much for your assistance!  Though this is my first catastrophe, I have found your site to be indispensable in researching potential tank  inhabitants. Sincerely, Conni <Glad you have benefited from WWM and the crew.  Good luck!  AdamC.>

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

Plate Coral, Again The new long-tentacled plate coral looked great for three weeks--almost always inflated to over twice the diameter of its calcareous plate and three times the thickness. It started declining this weekend. It has a small dead spot on one side, and only 3/4 of it inflates now. It started acting weird this weekend, but I thought I'd leave it alone and see if it rallied. It looks like it is doing the same thing the last one did--sometimes rapidly deflating, but not retracting, its tentacles. I've read on the internet that these corals tend to do well for a while and then just crash suddenly. My water has been good--I checked it today and had ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and phosphates all "0". <<Starved chemically. RMF>> Calcium got low this weekend--to 300 ppm--and I'm getting it back up with supplements pending receipt of the reactor. I've managed to get it back to around 360, but can't seem to get it any higher than that. Aren't these supposed to be some of the easier corals to take care of? <Not necessarily... highly variable on the basis of immediate past histories, damage from falling, rubbing/touching other organisms, water quality and changes (likely here), light/lighting, parasites...> This specimen is on the bottom of the tank in live sand. The water is moderately turbulent in that location. Lighting is VHO--2 actinic white and 2 actinic blue--440 watts total over the 115 gal DAS. What is this coral telling me, other than perhaps these species are not as easy to take care of as I thought? What should I do? (I've tried to refrain from moving it when it looked weird, due to stress--I thought the "collapse" if its polyps may have been due to the lowered calcium level.)  <It will move itself if it can in your system... if it wants> Incidentally, I did try feeding it some krill this weekend. The last plate coral I tried went into decline right after I tried to feed it krill--but I'm thinking this is a coincidence and that this is environmental or lighting-related. Thanks for your thoughts, once again. <Need to write up this part of an upcoming book (a section on the Fungiids). Hopefully something will "come up" from that endeavor... Finishing the Anabantoids today... Bob Fenner> --James Deets
Re: Plate Coral, Again
Thanks for the quick reply--I think the best course here is to keep the Ca level up and watch and wait. Incidentally, I went back last night and reviewed our correspondence in relation to the last plate coral problem (that are posted in the Fungiid FAQ section of WWM). The one factor (besides the feeding) in common to the rapid decline of both of these corals is that there was a significant "crash" in the Ca level right before the decline began. In both cases, Ca dropped to 300 ppm or lower, and then the decline began rapidly. Could be coincidence, but I'd advance the hypothesis that the low Ca was at least a contributing factor, if not the cause of the initial decline, which in each case led to a recession of tissue around the edge, creating a "portal" for infection that quickly consumes the coral. <Yes, likely a cause-effect> Related to the Ca drop is another possibility (which I wasn't aware of until installing a pH monitor on Monday) and which is probably even more likely. And that is stress from the pH swing caused by use of the calcium supplement. Although the instructions on the product say that it won't affect pH, the first time I supplemented after installing the pH monitor, the pH dropped 0.25 (from 8.14 to 7.89 in a matter of minutes). So the Ca drop, in and of itself, may not be as much the cause as the pH swings from using the supplement. <Yes> If this plate coral doesn't pull through, no more LPS until the Ca reactor (which is arriving today) is up and everything is stabilized, and the coralline algae begins to really flourish. . . <Ah, you're learning...> On the positive side, at least I'm perhaps providing some more fodder for your piece on the Fungiids, as well as some additional material for the FAQs on these species. (although I'd certainly rather be reading the FAQs to learn from someone else's mistakes). Maybe someone will learn from mine, however. <Yes my friend.> I'll let you know what my numbers look like after one week of using the Ca reactor. Thanks again! (And also, thanks for your agreement about the ID of the Cirrhilabrus cyanopleura--I guess I really am learning something here--and it's a great fish!) <Very good. Bob Fenner>
Plate Coral
The plate coral I wrote about on Monday night looked particularly bad yesterday. It was clearly dying where it was located in the tank. In an effort to save it, I moved it off of the substrate onto some live rock halfway up in the tank, near the flow from a power head. More light and more circulation. The stuff that was caked on one side was detritus--from dying polyps of the coral. I know these particular species do best on the substrate and that I'm risking damage to the tissues on the edges by placing this one on the rock, <Not really... Fungiids are "moving corals"... and are often found on top of rock, various places in/on reefs...> but I didn't think I had much of a choice under the circumstances. It did look somewhat better this morning with the added circulation, and most of the dead tissue had washed away. Are these species likely to recover, and will the polyps that have died grow back over time? (Time will tell, I guess, but I'd like to at least know what to expect with this one.) Any thoughts on this one? <Of stony corals, the family is amongst the most resilient> I also wanted to confirm my conclusions on another issue. I did a full range of water tests last night to rule out water contamination as the reason for the decline of this specimen. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrates were all 0. Phosphates were also 0. Ca was 380--still trying to get it back up around 400-420.  <No worries on the 380...> Alkalinity was 4.5, but pH was 8.0. In the past I've always had pH readings of 8.2 in the evening and 8.0-8.1 in the mornings before the lights come on. I checked pH this morning and it was 7.9. Based on my reading and research, I think the reason for the low pH is an excessive amount of CO2 dissolved in the water.  <Mmmm, and corresponding paucity/lack of buffer to the contrary...> And my guess is that the elevated levels of CO2 are due to the calcium dosing I've been doing this week to get the Ca level back up, as the Tropic-Marin product states that it releases CO2 in the water to aid in synthesis of the Ca by the symbiotic algae.  <Careful here... it is very easy to obsess about such matters, and cause yourself and your system grief in over-reacting...> So I'm thinking I need to increase aeration, either by placing an airstone or turning up the air supply on the skimmer, at least until I get the Ca level back up. (And I'm going to start gathering supplies this weekend for a DIY calcium reactor. . .) Does this sound like a reasonable theory as to the cause of the lowered pH and an acceptable course of action, or am I missing something? <Many other plausible explanations... but the short term addition of aeration is a good idea... and the long term one on using a calcium reactor an excellent one> I'm fairly sure that the suspected CO2 buildup is not from livestock load--the only fish I have in the 115 gal tank are three tangs (large, med and small), 3 bicolor Chromis and one small yellow-tail damsel (in addition to various inverts like crabs, shrimp, snails, sand stars, etc., none of which should be a major factor). <Actually... it IS due to the livestock... think of the balance of photosynthetic activity during the illuminated hours, the dark reaction during "night" along with the metabolism of your non-photosynthetic life... all utilizing oxygen and other "oxidizers"... Oxygen is not nearly as soluble in water/seawater as carbon dioxide... the reductive nature of all this is that pH trends down in the dark> Also, I think you implied this in your prior email, but I wanted to confirm that it is ok to mix the Tropic-Marin product with top-off water, and then add it to the pre-filter chamber on my DAS. (The filter chamber just past the skimmer and before the biological filter chamber.) <Yes...> I can't seem to get even one scoop of the Ca powder to dissolve in a day's supply of top-off water (RO/DI), and it looks like I'm going to have to add 3 scoops a day to achieve a balance in the Ca level. I can't pour the top-off water with the Ca directly into the tank without clouding the water for several hours. <Perhaps consider removing part of the water daily and mixing the material "off site" in a dedicated container... with a submersible pump or powerhead... and changing this back and forth with your main tank...> When I pour it into the prefilter chamber, I don't get any clouding at all. <Yes> Once again, thanks for your kind counsel and guidance. <You're welcome my friend. Your success is mine as well. Bob Fenner> James A. Deets
Plate Coral
Things are going well--got the Aiptasia taken care of with a freshwater soak. I decided I didn't really want to add any livestock right now (i.e., predators), and I'm relatively certain there were only 4 and they were isolated to two live rocks. Now a couple of other problems. <Oh?> I added a small greenish plate coral a couple of weeks ago. It was doing OK--not great, but acceptable for a new addition--over the past two weeks. It is on the bottom of the tank on top of the live sand. It never looked completely healthy from the time that I put it in, however (although it seemed to look great at the LFS. . .). It was more ecru colored at the LFS, but has since changed to a very pale aqua. <This happens, varying mainly with light spectral mix, intensity> This weekend, I added another plate coral. The new one has brownish tentacles with lighter, straw-colored tips. It is a little larger than the first one. I moved the first one over--it was previously in medium current, and now it is in more still waters. The new plate coral is where the old one was before. <Ones that have lost their color... oh, I see, you answer this...> Since I moved the older plate coral over, it has not done well at all. Sometimes it just instantaneously "shrivels" up--it doesn't retract its polyps, but they just collapse and shrivel very quickly. Some of the polyps extend pretty full (but they've never been completely "full" since it was added to the tank--always looking more full at the tips and more deflated or wrinkled closer to the base). The quick deflations look almost like a reaction to something in the water. Also, the fleshy tissue looks like it's pulling away from the stony plate at the edges, and the vertical stony ridges are sticking out in some places. On one side, it's got something that looks like detritus on top of it near the edge, and the polyps in that spot are not extending at all. It seemed to be doing pretty good until I moved it over and added the other plate coral. (Jealousy???) The two corals are about 12 inches apart on the bottom of the tank. <Not a factor... you have read MCRA v.2? The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium books by Fossa and Nilsen would/will bring you much joy, and understanding> The only things that have changed are the addition of the new plate coral and moving the one that seems sickly to calmer waters. Lighting is 4 48" VHOs, two actinic white and two actinic blues. It's a 115-gal DAS setup. 150# of LR. (I did try to feed the ailing plate coral a small piece of frozen krill last weekend--and it took it into its mouth but about 30 minutes later, rejected it back into the water. . . The new plate coral was added the same day--so I'm not sure if the problem might be related to something about the krill it spit back up, or the new coral. . . I ended up removing two pieces of krill from the tank, because once the coral rejected it, the fish weren't interested in eating it, either.) The older (sick) plate coral was under metal halide lights at the LFS. <Do best, look good there> I'm really worried about this coral--it has seemed to decline very rapidly over the past three days. <Already was in decline> The new one I added is doing fine and hasn't deflated since it was added to the tank, even at night when the lights are off. My numbers have been fine--ammonia, nitrite and nitrate have all been zero. SG is 1.0235. I finally achieved phosphates of zero this weekend as well. I did a 10% water change on Saturday with 2-day old synthetic water. Late last week, the Ca dropped to 320, but I've been supplementing daily now with the Tropic-Marin to keep that up around 400. Alkalinity has been consistently at 4. (The other corals don't seem to have been adversely affected from the drop in Ca.) Any ideas on this one? <Have rendered them... more current might help.> On a final note--on the end of the tank where I've been adding the Ca powder--some of the powder will settle on a piece of LR and I'm getting black slime algae on that rock, but no other rocks. I know the Tropic Marin product has something in it to promote synthesis of the Ca by algae--might this slime outbreak in that isolated location be caused by the collection of Ca on that particular rock? I only have been seeing it on that rock--no others--and I've been using a net to scrape it off the rock and remove the loose pieces. It's pretty ugly stuff. (But, looking at the brighter side, it seems to oxygenate the water well. . .) <Shouldn't be any "powder" introduced to the tank as such... either completely dissolve ahead of introduction, or place the powder in a setting where it will dissolve ahead of introduction (part of the DAS or added filtration. The deleterious conditions where the powder is settling are killing off the organisms there, allowing BGA and decomposers to flourish in their stead.> I'm still trying to find the best way to get the Ca in the tank without burning the corals like I did a couple of weeks ago. This end of the tank is pretty calm and I've been adding it there to avoid getting too much particulate Ca flying around through the power heads, but this may not work too good, either. . . (A Ca reactor is starting to look really good--no dosing issues or Ca crashes. . .)  <Yes...> I tried mixing the Ca with water first but couldn't get it to dissolve adequately. I'm now adding a few scoops every day, although I'm still looking for the best spot to put it in and avoid the problems with burning the corals. Once again, thanks for your kind thoughts. --jd <And you're welcome. Bob Fenner>
Plate Coral--HELP!
Urgent update. The plate coral that had been declining gave up the ghost today. I removed it--it smelled foul. Also I tested the water and had slightly less than 0.2 ppm ammonia. Should I test again in the morning or do an immediate water change?  <Just keep testing... once, twice a day... unless this goes over 0.5 ppm the change may do more harm than good... hold off on feeding anything in the meanwhile... the ammonia should "go to zero" in a few days> (I'm already drawing up water, which will take several hours. . .) I have an elegance coral that was closed up today--so I knew something was wrong with the water, and the finger leather, while it has its polyps fully extended, looked "wilted." Other corals seem unaffected. Should I also suspend feeding for a day or so? HELP! <An Elegance? Catalaphyllias are not easy to keep nowadays... WWM ref... Go SLOW my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: Plate Coral--HELP!
Thanks for the speedy response. I know Elegance is not a good choice. . . Over the past few weeks I've read everything on WWM that pertains to this species, including the narrative pages and every single one of the FAQs. I'd have probably not chosen this species for the tank, but significant others have a way of wanting things and talking you into getting them. <Hmm... hoping that reason, persuasion will prevail henceforth...> So we're trying one. . . We did find a medium-sized specimen that looked relatively healthy at a local LFS, where we have had very good luck with coral specimens, for $49. It's been in the system for a couple of weeks and seems to be doing well--located in the LFS at the bottom of the tank on its side. Until the plate coral demise, its polyps were staying completely extended, even at night. The sand sifting stars, however, have had to learn the hard way to steer clear. . . <I see.> I haven't tested the water yet today--but the tank looks relatively back to normal. The elegance is opened up again, not quite all the way, but almost, and the toadstool leather, which had seemed slightly distressed over the past few days, is back to normal. I'll be testing the water again this afternoon--I had guessed last night that the right thing to do would be to watch and wait, since nothing was in acute distress, and I really didn't want to change with newly-mixed synthetic water. The good side is that I now have enough water mixed up for two water changes! <Ahh, very good... You'll soon be able to take over for me here!> Thanks again for your kind counsel. (P.S.--when are you going to put some info and FAQs on there about brain corals???) <Thank you for this/these promptings... they are directional. Have the new Veron and Borneman books out, and several thousand images... hundreds of articles to wade through to post much of anything (significant, accurate, meaningful) on the fifteen families of Scleractinians (stony/true corals)... This is not too far away (on the side burner?), but prep. for some presentations, normal correspondence must take precedence for now. Be chatting. Your friend in fish, Bob Fenner>

Peace When I got home today, everything seemed normal. And the maroon clown we added this weekend (after a freshwater dip) had associated with the plate coral. Is this normal, or am I just very lucky? <Perhaps both> I'll let you know how the levels do when all the Ca reactor stuff gets here--all was ordered online today and should arrive this weekend or Monday. And thanks for your understanding. <And you for your endeavors and communication. Bob Fenner

Sick Fungia Plate Bob, I have a Fungia Plate Coral in my tank that appears to be on the decline. I have had it for a couple of weeks and until a few days ago was doing well. Now the membrane is recessed and pulling away from the skeleton. Where it is pulling away, the skeleton is turning white. Is there anything I can do for this guy? <Yes... do you know that your water has sufficient calcium, alkalinity? Do you utilize iodide supplementation?> I bought a hammer at the same time and it appears to have a bacterial infection. I am preparing a malachite dip for it to see if I can heal it. Could this infection have spread to the plate coral as well?  <Doubtful> I also have an open brain, elegant, mushroom, and some polyps that are all doing very well. Is it possible to use the malachite dip on the plate coral too?  <Yes> Or should this be avoided. My calcium levels appear to be acceptable (but just to be safe I added some more). Thanks for your help. Chad <How much Calcium? What do/did you add? Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Fungia Plate
Parameters are as follows: PH = 8.2 Alkalinity = 3.5 mEq/L Nitrate = 5 mg/l Calcium = +- 500 mg/l I do utilize Kent Tech-I as my iodine supplement.  <And do you test for same?> I am currently using Coralife Invertebrate Calcium Supplement for calcium addition, though I will probably start using Kent Liquid Calcium instead when the Coralife is gone. <Good idea> One thing that I suspect may be the culprit is that he was placed in a high flow area in the tank initially. I have moved him to a position higher in the tank and out of direct flow of the power head. For now I will wait and see if this helps unless you think the malachite dip or something else might be better at this point. <Hmm, and know that these corals do ambulate... that is, they are capable of moving... if in good health... to conditions they more favor. Bob Fenner> Thanks.
Re: Sick Fungia Plate
I currently do not test for Iodine. I use the recommended dosage and make sure that it doesn't stress the coral. The slow drip method seems to help with this. <Yes... much more valuable than a colorimetric assay> I do know that these corals can move on their own. Which makes me wonder if this guy didn't get acclimated as well as the others or he would have moved somewhere else. We shall see. <Agreed. Good point of view. Bob Fenner> Thanks.
Re: Sick Fungia Plate (dip procedure)
The malachite dip I prepared killed the Fungia. As soon as I put it back in the tank it started completely disintegrating. The skin floated away from it's skeleton in the current. I am aghast. I followed the instructions in your faq as follows: 1 gallon of fresh (RO) water <A NOTE: I mis-read this: Please re-contact me here/WWM... this is NOT freshwater? But freshly made up and spg adjusted synthetic seawater? Please tell me the latter...> 1 teaspoon of baking soda 4 drops of Nox-Ich which is (1% malachite green and sodium chloride) <Very strange... this amount of malachite, the prepared water should not have "caused" the observed result... I suspect the animal was dead, decomposing (to an extent) ahead of the protocol> 10 minutes in this solution and then back to the tank. What I am afraid of here is that this same process will hurt the hammer in the same way as the Fungia. I hate to think that my efforts to save them have ended up making matters worse and killing them. <I share your concern, but will assure you that I have used the same procedure on thousands of specimens and know of companies that do the same. Bob Fenner>

FAQ correction Bob--a question about one of the FAQs today. (I see mine made it up there--lessons to be learned there. . .) On the last question, regarding the Heliofungia sp. coral dip. I thought the proper procedure for a malachite green dip for a coral called for lowered SG (1.018) for the dip (not freshwater). At least that's what I remember reading, but I can't remember if I read it in CMA or WWM or both. Am I remembering incorrectly here? <Curse my lazy mind James! I "casually" read the message as "freshly made-up seawater" with RO... You're absolutely correct.... Hope I can find the original sender's e-address or he writes back after viewing your input here... Yes to using dilute seawater, not freshwater...> I went home with the Magnum at lunch, and the water had already cleared up significantly from where it was this morning on its own. I hung the filter on the sump. (What did I ever do before I had a sump. . . LOL) Once it's cleared a little more and I can see what I'm doing in there, I'll do a water change to vacuum all the "snow" off the LR to get as much of it as I can out of the tank. <You might try hooking up your gravel vacuum to the Magnum... sure to need a few cleanings, but a very handy way to more quickly remove the "dust"> Hopefully no more crises this week! Chat soon. --jd <Indeed. Bob Fenner> James A. Deets

Plate Coral (Heliofungia) Hi. Just a question about my plate coral. It's a brand new purchase. <FYI this coral is actually a rather delicate (primarily with regard for handling) species. NOT recommended for beginners by any stretch of the imagination. Actually significantly dependent on organismal and absorptive feedings as well. Even with "perfect" lights, this animal may only be satisfied by up to 80% (by some estimates) by photosynthesis. So, without feeding, most are remitted to slow starvation and death by 10-18 months. Do take heed and research if you were not already familiar. They must also be kept on a soft sand bottom. Never on rock (a surefire way to kill them: cycling polyp tissue abrades, or the animal simply inflates, falls and gets torn> The coral is beautiful and expanded. I was wondering about it's color and some spots on the tentacles. The color is almost exactly the same as my BTA. The coral is a light brown with lighter tips. Does this tell what part of the reef it came from or better yet, narrow down it's lighting requirements?  <neither> I thought the brighter the specimen, the more light it needs.  <nope... many highly iridescent coral are from very deep water. Pigmentation can be used to reflect light away or refract weak light within (amplify, sort of)> I was thinking medium.  <OK> The spots I noticed, after I got it home of coarse, almost look like small tears or weak spots on the tentacles. The spots are darker brown on the outside, and look like weekend tissue on the inside. Any thoughts on this would be nice.  <indeed... many wholesalers and retailers do not know how to handle this animal. If you bought it off of a perched rock or placed it so... it could get a little rough. > Also, do I need to place this coral on the substrate?  <absolutely critical for survival> I know they move around, and have read about them climbing rocks. Thanks! -Becky <best regards, Anthony>

Plate Coral Hi guys. I bought a LT plate coral about a week ago. I put it on the substrate in the tank and it wouldn't open up. I moved it to a rock higher up in the tank and it looks great. I know it can inflate and fall over or even tear growing tissue there.  <This is still dangerous, my friend for many reasons. And they are never found on rock/hard substrates in the wild> Is this an indication of too little lighting?  <could be, or it just needed time to acclimate to the new lighting. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm>  I have a 120 with 300 watts of PC.  <this is indeed modest lighting. The tank is too deep to support this animal with these lights possibly and it WILL die within a year if you move it up onto the rocks. This is really not a beginners coral. Please do research this animal more. Daily feedings of finely shredded meats are necessary. Else it will die of attrition within a year just the same> This coral is sooo pretty. BTW my flame angle seems to like picking at it.  <and will do so until the coral dies. They must be separated> Thanks for the help! -Becky <please do read, learn more before you buy such animals>

Plate Coral Stressed Hi Bob, <cheers mate, Anthony Calfo in your service> I'm from England and a regular reader of your fantastic web site, but this is the first time I've had to post.  <a pleasure to hear from you> I bought a Long Tentacle Plate (Pink Tipped) coral about a month and half ago and everything was fine until this week end. All the tentacles have retracted and I don't know why, I've done all water parameter tests and everything is fine. The body of the coral swells up and the tentacles swell up a little then after about two minutes they retract again, its like it is trying to force the tentacles out but something is stopping it from doing it. Any help in this matter would be much appreciated. Keep up the excellent work. <two things come to mind: Fungiids like your Heliofungia plate coral are categorically free-living creatures. Some like your plate coral about living on a sandy bottom that even a few days of living perched atop a hard substrate can be fatal as tissue abrades with normal polyp cycles. Plate coral must live on a soft sand bottom. If yours has without exception, please disregard. The second thing that comes to mind if actually favorable. Fungiids commonly employ mucus net feeding strategies and balloon without tentacles extending after capturing food. If your tank is fed heavily, fed with a messy food or has a very messy feeding fish, perhaps the coral is stimulated frequently. Do consider if either common event is applicable to you.> Regards, John <with kind regards, Anthony Calfo>
Plate coral
Hi Anthony, <cheers, John> Thanks for the quick reply, unfortunately the plate coral didn't survive. I've got real fine gravel substrate not sand do you think this was the cause of the death of the plate coral.  <indeed, yes... gravel and rock can be quite abrasive on a plate corals daily polyp cycles> I've also got a piece of living rock that was next to it and its got a hairy crab inside. I've looked on a lot of marine forums and they say that this crab could kill corals, would this be possible.  <very possible! As a rule, most crabs are predatory or at least opportunistic omnivores. VERY few herbivores in the trade. Legend has it that is the crab has a hairy carapace or dark tipped claws then it is a great risk> I've been told by a lot of people that I should get the crab out of the rock and dispose of it, what is your opinion on this.  <I would remove it to a sump, refugium or fish only tank. They are still good scavengers> I'd like to finish off by thanking yourself and your team for the excellent work you do and even though the plate coral died, it as not put me off from getting another one. Regards, John <education and fellowship are passions for us. Thank you my friend, carry on gently and wiser. Anthony>

Torch Coral I am writing regarding the addition and now poor condition of a torch coral (Heliofungia actiniformis).  Prior to its addition, my tank was doing great.  I added the torch coral one week ago and it started out fine, but has deteriorated over the past three-four days.  The tentacles have deflated, the skeleton is apparent and a beige film has formed over the tentacles and skeleton.  The film can be removed and the tentacles still have color.  Do you have any advice or is my coral dead?  Thanks! Here's the parameters of my tank: 15 H with 2 16 watt bulbs (blue and natural sunlight) and Eclipse system Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrates low to none, Calcium 480-500 Changed filter and 1/5th of tank water yesterday in effort to help the torch coral. Contains assorted mushroom anemones, star polyps, Zoanthids, Stereonephthya spp. on an oyster, a blood shrimp and two green Chromis fish. -Johanna <<Greetings Johanna, Craig Watson answering while Bob and Friends are away at the MACNA conference. The coral you identify by name is Heliofungia Actiniformis, which is a plate anemone coral. Torch Corals are branched LPS corals of the Euphylliid family, aka Candy or Trumpet Coral. The plate anemone coral lives on the substrate (sand) and while most corals of this family require moderate intensity light in shallow displays and more intense light in deeper displays, this particular variety, Heliofungia Actiniformis, is more demanding of intense lighting. One weakness of the Eclipse hoods is the inherently low light output from the supplied fixture.  This is further exasperated by the depth of your tank. To keep your Heliofungia will require a lighting upgrade either for the existing hood (CSL makes a compact fluorescent retrofit as does AH lighting supply) or the purchase of a new lighting hood with the type and intensity of light required.  I kept a 15H with some corals with similar requirements and I used a 96watt smart lamp. I would advise around that wattage in compact fluorescent lighting, either a smart lamp or separate lamps of around 96 watts combined, one white, one actinic blue.  There are kits made specifically for Eclipse hoods that can supply the light needed.   Your other corals will benefit as well. Fungiids produce mucous for feeding that covers them.  This is normal. They don't like too much water movement as it will remove this mucous. They are relatively aggressive feeders that require feeding with all kinds of treats like shrimp, mussel, scallop, etc.  Set the food on the net/mucous in feeding mode.  This would especially be true in low lighting, although this variety is less dependent on feeding and more dependent on light. You don't mention alkalinity or pH, but I would test both and maintain in normal limits, i.e.: pH 8.3-8.4   and  4-5 mEq/L. I hope this helps get things back in order! Craig>>

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