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Gorgonians/Health 3/11/10
<Hello Jo>
I recently purchased from saltwaterfish.com a lovely yellow gorgonian. It has been in my 90 gal (with 15 gallon refugium) tank for 6 days and has not opened up. I have 4x 100 watt VHOs ( 2 white , 2 actinic). I placed it on
the bottom of the tank (they rec high flow area). I have recently checked pH, SP gr, calcium and alkalinity and the temp is also ok. Everything else in this established tank is doing ok.
any ideas?
<Mmm, any fish/critters picking/climbing on the gorgonian?
Predator/scraper caprellids (unlikely these are present), some gastropods and Polychaetes are known to feed on them and would be one reason for the gorgonian not opening. The other is water quality, gorgonians will generally not open if conditions are not to their liking. Do read here and related articles/FAQ's linked in the header.
James (Salty Dog)>

Photo-Synthetic Gorgonian (???) Not Extending Polyps -- 04/18/08 Hello, <<Howdy>> I am back again for more advice. <<Okay>> I have some questions about my gorgonian. Here is my current setup: 72 gal bow front with 20 gal sump. I have a 10 gal chamber in the sump set up as refugium. 2x65w pc lighting (2x65 watt actinic and 2x65 watt 10000k) I have a Quiet-One 4000 for my return pump and a Maxi-Jet 1200 (I think) powerhead. I am working on a closed-loop but that is a whole other issue. <<Indeed>> I have a 4 inch sugar fine Aragonite sand bed and about 80 lbs of live rock. The tank has been set up for about 3 months and most of the live rock and some water came from a previous tank that had been up for 5 years. pH = 8.3 Ammonia = 0 Nitrite = 0 Alkalinity = 10 Specific gravity = 1.025 Temp = 77-80 Inhabitants: 3 stripe damsel Scopas tang- 4 inches Long nose hawk fish Scooter blenny Scarlet cleaner shrimp 7 Nassarius snails 10 red and blue hermits Pink red sea pulsing xenia - s stalks in a small bunch The gorgonian I have is a yellowish tan color, like the leather work glove you get at Home Depot. Looks like pictures of ones commonly seen in Caribbean. <<And is likely where this one hails from>> The branches are more flat then round. The polyps are brown and I am positive it is photosynthetic, well 99%. <<Hmm, if the polyps extend only from the edges of the branches then what you have is very likely Pterogorgia, commonly called Sea Blade or Yellow Ribbon'¦else, there are a number of other possibilities>> I did not want a non-photosynthetic due to the fact they almost always die in tank. <<Very often the case, yes>> I have had it for about 1 month. I have noticed more growth then I expected in that time and it has shed twice. <<This is how it keeps from being overtaken by alga and other secondary settlers>> The past week it has not extended its polyps, well maybe 2 or 3. It is about 6 inches tall with many branches. Before this the polyps were out every time I looked at it. They were even out in the bag when I brought it home. I made some food I use 3 or 4 times a week that has pellets, flake, Selcon, Vita-Chem, silverside, krill, scallops, daphnia, and tuna blended together. I have seen the gorgonian eat this. I am wondering why is has closed up for so long. I did a 12 % water change last night. The gorgonian is mounted on a rock which is on my sand bed. It is getting good current, the sump return hits the back glass and disperses, I can see the gorgonian sway; it is not too forceful though. <<Mmm'¦it may not be 'enough''¦these animals are generally accustomed to very high flow rates/heavy water movement>> I did adjust it a little last night to see if that would help. <<Adjusted how?>> The Xenia is looking fine and from what I have read they are one of the earliest indicators of poor water quality. <<A common perception'¦ But I have also heard that Xenia has been found growing on sewage effluent pipes. Kinda makes me rethink that whole 'Canary in the mine' concept>> I cannot figure out why or find any reason my gorgonian has stooped opening except for 3 or 4 out of hundreds of polyps. Any thoughts or suggestions would help. <<Well Jeff'¦I think both an increase in lighting AND flow may be needed here. I would suggest that you swap-out one (or maybe both) of those Actinic bulbs for another 10,000K bulb'¦and add a second Maxi-Jet powerhead to the system (position the powerheads so the streams merge from opposite directions to create a random and turbulent flow pattern) Thanks for your time. Kind Regards, Jeff <<Quite welcome'¦happy to share. EricR>>

Fan coral from Mexico  1/25/07        About a year and a half ago my husband and I were married in Mexico.  A piece of what we thought was dead fan coral washed up on the beach.  We put it in a bag and took it home with us.  After moving twice we finally had the chance to take it out and thought we would use it for decoration.  It must have been wet when we put it in the bag and molded a little.  But the weirdest thing is that it is growing little tiny fingers from it.  Does this mean it is still alive? <Mmm, no>   could it have been feeding on the mold? <Not> I went to the St Catherine's sound that feeds into the ocean and took some water to soak it in.  I know nothing about coral or how to identify its species so I can figure out how to take care of this.  I want to get a tank and try to keep it alive if it is possible.  I would appreciate any help with this.  I am including a couple of photos. Thanks, Jeanne <Very interesting indeed. I think that likely the "internal matrix" (non-living... only the "skin", rind, is) somehow continued to extend itself from chemical reactions, perhaps in concert with decomposers. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Gorgonian Shedding Waxy Material Hey Bob, how've you been?  <Bob is away traveling my friend... WWM crew member Anthony Calfo in your service> It's that 14 year old again (haven't emailed for a while).  <we should get along great... I act like I'm fourteen years old. Who do you like better... Nas or Jay-Z as a rapper?> This Christmas I got an Icecap to fire up some VHOs on my 38 gallon tank so I'm finally going reef.  <excellent> My only photosynthetic invertebrates are some green star polyps (Pachyclavularia) and some sort of photosynthetic gorgonian.  <kudos to you for the discipline to learn the Latin name of your coral! Keep up the good work> I've had the star polyps for about 3 1/2 weeks (already starting to spread), and the gorgonian for 2 1/2 weeks. The polyp extension has been good on both. But when I woke up today, there was this clear waxy material covering the gorgonian's rock. I thought only leathers shed this, but apparently the gorgonian did too.  <very common and profuse with gorgonians. A good sign to be shed, but the waxy tunic itself is highly noxious to other corals... remove whenever the skimmer doesn't take it out> What is it, and should I pull it off? Will it harm the green star polyps if it comes in contact with them? <green star polyps are actually very aggressive as corals go... but still, we want to avoid such aggression and contamination from the waxy buildups> Also, I have a Lubbock's fairy wrasse and an Atlantic pygmy angel (c. argi) in my 38 gallon. Would a neon goby or yellow assessor be a good last choice? Or should I skip a third fish all together? <the goby would be fine... but the assessor may terrorize the others. Yes, skip the latter.> Thanks Bob <best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Bubbles in my Briareum! A weekend full of "Tiny Bubbles" [sing to yourself] 4/19/03 Hey all! <cheers, Katherine>      I have tried searching google and thumbing through various books on coral, but I am stumped on a current problem with my tank.  I have a specimen of Briareum stechei in my tank, measuring about 5.5 x 4 inches (height varies) of which all of the polyps have remained shut for almost two weeks now.  From where the polyps are budding, there are swollen little "bubbles" in the tissue (looks as if an air bubble were under the tissue). Earlier in the year (2/16, removed 3/10), I had an anemone (Condylactis gigantea) in my tank which caused a similar reaction.  Other creatures in tank: Aiptasia, about 6 Blue Legged Hermit Crabs, 5 Turbo Snails (Astrea), Spaghetti worms (several attached to coral itself recently...could this be a cause??), several copepods, and isopods.   <I just replied to a similar question at length to be posted on the dailies tomorrow... is has been pasted below this message for your convenience... several possibilities for trapped air bubbles>      All parameters are within acceptable ranges, with the exception of salinity (1.026-1.028).  However, my Briareum has remained open through a period of 1.029 before, and I'm extremely worried about the length of time for which it has been withdrawn.   <With Briareum... water flow is a huge issue! They are very sensitive to the exact amount and delivery (tend to need moderate to strong random turbulent, never linear)> I do not think salinity is the cause of the problem, <agreed... although getting scary high if accurate> as the three propagated pieces in the tank (I'm experimenting with alternating flows on the coral) are doing relatively well. A hanging propagation is doing marvelously, with some polyps extended at nearly 5/8"! (Thank you, Mr. Calfo, for that suggestion!) <all good <G>> Any help or suggestions you might offer would be appreciated extremely! Sincerely, Katherine Almquist <With kind regards... Anthony>

Disguising plumbing with live coral 10/16/03 Greetings from Denver, Anthony, I've recently gotten my new 75g/70g sump going & picked up some green star polyps to affix to the return input pipes. Question;  Would the corals cover the entire pipe faster by affixing them to the underside of the pipe, forcing them to strive to the reach topside to reach the light? Thanks, Scott <Briareum is quite hardy and adaptable and may very well grow here. Still... the lack of adequate light will be a great hindrance. You would be better off fixing a sponge here to grow. Best regards, Anthony>

Disguising plumbing with live coral II 10/16/03 Thanks for the quick reply Anthony, the water return pipe are in the tank about 4" away from the lights, I've already glued the purple mat of the Star polyps to the top side of the flare nozzles & various places along the returns, I want the corals to completely encrust the pipes, I just wondered if placing the coral on the underside of the 3/4" pipe would convince them to move towards the top side a little quicker.   <I understood/gathered as much/The concern is that the underside simply receives inadequate light for even such a hardy coral to establish. Hence the sponge recommendation (may sponges are weakly photosynthetic and will fare well in light or near dark. In your case (so close to the surface) its tough to say... perhaps yes, it will work. A lux meter sure would be handy right about now. Ha! Anthony>  

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