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FAQs about Soft Corals 2

Related Articles: Soft Coral

Related FAQs: Soft Corals 1, Soft Coral ID, Soft Coral Behavior, Soft Coral Compatibility, Soft Coral Selection, Soft Coral Systems, Soft Coral Feeding, Soft Coral Health, Soft Coral Propagation, Alcyoniids, Nephtheids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids, Xeniids

Sick leather A. Sinularia       9/21/18
Hello crew!
<Hey Cath!>
I've got a leather A. Sinularia that has, up until a couple days ago, been healthy and happy for the last 3 years. It had three big branches and it's on one side of the aquarium with not much else around it beyond some Ricordea and mushroom coral that have been in the vicinity since the aquarium was first set up. Only recent change was three weeks ago with the addition of a couple snails, a new pacific cleaner and a small Pocillopora frag that I'd placed on the other side of my 72G tank. Problem started a few days ago when I noticed once of the branches didn't seem to be as extended as usual. Took a close look at it today and there's a couple fingers that have turned dark brown at the tips. One of the three main
branches has condensed it's size significantly while the second doesn't have it's polyps extended as normal and has a single brown tip. There's still one of the three branches that seems 100% healthy and normal.
Initial research online makes me wonder if it's a bacterial infection of some sort possibly from the most recent introductions.
<Would be my guess too; stress of some sort (chemical, biological, and or physical) setting off an allelopathogenic reaction... the soft coral losing>
Question is, what's the best way to save it - I've seen suggestions like cutting any brown tips off and
dipping the coral (in something like Revive). My concern with dipping the coral is that I'd need to somehow detach the leather from where it's attached to the wall of the aquarium. I'm worried that may further stress it.
<I share this concern and would not be snipping and dipping just yet. Instead, I urge you to double to triple dose iodide/iodate w/ whatever preparation you use>
I've also read flow can help and I could possibly reconfigure things so my gyre pump provides more circulation around it.
<I agree re increased flow>
Even if I can do all of the above, is there something I should be doing to treat the entire tank?
<The I2 treatment is my "go-to" here>
I have a variety of Euphyllia who at least at this point seem fine but I did find a dead pulsing xenia which may be related.
<Oh. Yes>
I'm including a couple photos of the coral as well as an overview of the tank (before it started to get sick)
Once again, I can't thank you guys enough for being here when I've run out of places to turn for answers.
<Please do keep me/us informed of developments, your actions. IF it becomes expedient to snip to outright frag this Sinularia, DO so outside the system, AND place the specimen in another established tank for recovery for a few weeks. Bob Fenner>

i have a leather coral the base not attached but back of coral attached to rock .       7/10/15
<? Via its body?>
can it be removed from rock without damaging?
<Can't say/tell w/ the data provided. DO READ on WWM re Alcyoniid fragging, systems.... means of attachment. Sometimes just "nestling" a specimen amongst rock w/ no other Cnidarians present.... Bob Fenner>

Umbellulifera sp. Fdg.     5/22/14
Hi Bob, I am hoping you can help me, I brought an Umbellulifera sp (orange tree coral) not that long back, I understand the needs and have an nps tank set up, I am curious as to what they feed on? Is it phytoplankton and zooplankton? Would the orange tree coral eat lobster eggs or is it just phyto and zooplankton?
<Umm; not lobster eggs... on LiveAquaria: "...include live, baby brine shrimp, micro-plankton, and other small foods designed for filter feeding invertebrates, in order to survive in the reef aquarium."
Have never known anyone to keep this family of soft corals alive for any period of time. Bob Fenner>
Re: Umbellulifera sp

That's what I have read too, that the survival rate is poor. I thought I would try an attempt the Dendro
as I have sun corals which spawn a lot and have popped up all over the place. Would they eat copepods and rotifers in the system as well?
<Only if these were spawn... small copepodites; perhaps>
As there is loads of life in this system.
<Good. A vigorous refugium of size, with a deep DSB... are helpful. BobF>
Re: Umbellulifera sp     5/22/14

Sorry to ask Bob what is the difference between this coral and the Dendro?
<Ahh, I do apologize re the mis-ID re the family here... Overnight I kept (I used to dream about women and money...) going over a citation I'd seen on the Net, ascribing the genus to the family "Nephropidae"... Uh, yeah... these are lobsters... the genus IS along w/ Dendronephthya of the family
Nephtheidae... though none other than wiki (.com) also misplaces it... in the Alcyoniidae). At any/all lengths, these Alcyonaceans (soft corals) DO have similar nutritional requirements>
I fed some brine shrimp it has accepted it, the set up is just for nps, the system has one Jawfish as it got rejected by the others in the main DT.
I read somewhere that the orange tree coral is easier to keep than the carnation coral, is this true?
<As far as I've read as well; yes. I have never kept/husbanded either myself. Thank you for your patience. BobF>

Books, by WWM folks, on soft corals   1/27/11
I have spent many enjoyable hours exploring your website and soaking in all I can. Thank you for your dedication and willingness to share your knowledge. Can you tell me if you have any kind of list to share of the books that you and/or your colleague's have published?
<Neale Monks and I, and in the past Anthony Calfo, have penned a few titles. These can all be found by searching the major book houses online (e.g. Amazon) or just general Net searches by our names>
I know books are mentioned often in some of the articles, but is there "one" place to find them and buy them?
<Yes... Amazon et al. etailers>
I am particularly interested in books on soft corals, how to maintain them, and what species can thrive with each other.
Thank you,
<Ahh! I encourage you to peruse Anthony, Fossa and Nilsen, and Eric Borneman's popular works. Bob Fenner> 

The Soft Corals, Order Alcyonacea; Use In Marine Aquariums online article  6/5/10
Probably an older article, but is this sentence missing a word?
"Briefly, you can see that it is not only the lack of external hard, stony, calcareous skeletons that the "true" corals (Order Scleractinia, Subclass Hexacorallia) from the soft fleshy or leathery corals, the Alcyonacea and their relatives; but major elements of body plan and symmetry (tentacular and body segmentation number, mouth-anus openings)."
Seems like it is missing
Briefly, you can see that it is not only the lack of external hard, stony, calcareous skeletons that [separate | distinguish | ???] the "true" corals (Order Scleractinia, Subclass Hexacorallia) from the soft fleshy or leathery corals, the Alcyonacea and their relatives; but major elements of body plan and symmetry (tentacular and body segmentation number, mouth-anus openings).
<Thank you Frank. Will amend. Bob Fenner>

General Question about lighting, Soft Corals  - 03/10/08 Hello and congrats on a great source of info! <Thank you> First of all, this is an absolutely great site with an unbelievable amount of information! I have a general question about lighting. My wife and I have a 56 gallon display aquarium that is 30" wide x 24" deep and 30" high (I know, this was her pick that offset my $$ spend on equipment). My primary question is deals with lighting. The tank came with a single 20 fluorescent lighting fixture and we have a Corallife 2x65 watt 30" fixture (New 1 actinic 65 watt and 1 10,00k 65 watt w/2 moonlights) is this enough light for soft corals or leathers? <Mmm, no... not nearly intense enough... There are some relatively low light groups, species of Alcyonaceans... and you might "get away" with positioning a few more light-needing species higher up, on your rock... And I would definitely switch out the one actinic lamp for another "white"... Much of this is gone over (and over) on WWM... I would either settle on the three 65 watt "white" lamps and the arrangement of life as stated, or look into adding, switching out this fixture for about twice this wattage... The "better" response might well be to encourage you to ask around at your local fish stores, marine clubs to see if they have a PAR meter for loan... and actually measure the useful photonic energy of all here... at various depths... and/or to encourage your regular use of GAC, ozone... to enhance useful photonic energy transmission... or...> Your insight, as always, would be appreciated... Tank set-up now, 56 Gallon w/actual 48 gallons water (DO w/IO SW mix), 7 months old, 62 Lbs live rock, Remora skimmer w/1200 MaxiJet, 3 MaxiJet 1200 powerheads for circulation, 1 TopFin powerhead for circulation, Fluval canister w/polyfoam, PhosBan and ChemiPure 3/4" CaribSea live sand 1- 2" Flame Angel 2- Ocellaris clowns 1" & 3/4" 1- Bicolor Blenny 2" 1-Royal Gramma 1 1/2 " 1- 1 1/2" six line wrasse 2- Peppermint Shrimp 20- Assorted hermit crabs and snails. 0-ammonia & nitrite 5-10 nitrate (reading before weekly water change) PH 8.3 Salinity 1.024 I'm waiting for my Salifert test kit for Ca, Alk. (I'm in Hill Country Texas ...mail order only!) Weekly 8 gallon water changes w/DO and IO sw mix (aged one week) Canister cleaning each week. <Sound/reads very nice indeed> 40 years experience with fresh water aquariums and I had a prior 400 gallon saltwater aquarium when the only source of saltwater was at Scripps Institute in San Diego. <Ahh, I do remember... still live in SD... in East La Jolla, okay... Mira Mesa> Thanks, Jim Ferguson <!? Any relation to friend Mark Ferguson? Bob Fenner>

Questions on new corals 10/29/04 Hi Crew....great site!  I have been reading your site since we started our 75 gal reef tank about 6 weeks ago.  Finally the cycle has completed and all water parameters are great!  We put a few fish and coral in a few days ago.  I got a hammer and pearl bubble both that I put mid level in tank on some LR.  Green brain WAS at the top per the guy at my LPS, but reading thru your site today ran across some info and it said the brain should be down at the bottom on the sand, so that is his new home.   <ah, good to hear> Hopefully he will like this spot better and actually open up some, we have yet to see it do this.   <no worries... many corals take a few weeks or even months to fully express polyps on acclimation> We also have a toadstool leather, about 4 inches across.  I have look thru tons of info on your site and still can't find out the best placement for this coral.   <they are very adaptable... strong water flow is more important for it here> I thought toadstools had stalks but this one doesn't.  Again the guy at my LPS said to just put it in the sand and it will attach.  Could you please help my in placing it?   <anywhere in the top 20" of the tank ;)> Also didn't realize I had to "hand" feed corals!? <yes.. your bubble, hammer and brain at least need fed 3-5 times weekly. Small portions of finely minced meaty foods. The leather does not need target fed> More info I've learned from your site.  So today I bought some mysis shrimp and zooplankton.   <perfect> I will try later this evening to see if I can get the hammer, pearl, brains and sun polyp to eat.  Is it correct that I don't have to "hand" feed the toadstool?   <exactly! Thaw the meat in cold FW... then strain and soak again in tank water then feed as a slurry (turkey baster, pipette, etc)> Thank you so much for all the time and energy you put into this site!  Beth <very welcome my friend... best of luck/life to you. Anthony>
Questions on new corals II 10/29/04
Thank you so much for the info Anthony.  Sorry to bother you again, but just one thing I'm still not too clear on.  The toadstool......I will move it to the top 20" of the top as you suggested, but I'm not sure exactly how to do this.  Since it has no stem do I just lay in on a piece of LR?   <is it not attached to any small bit of substrate on its own? In describing it without a stalk... I wonder if it was not misidentified and is instead a Lobophytum "cabbage leather". Please do use the term in key word searches online to see if this is your animal. Tank bottom is fine if so> I read some in the site about people rubber banding or sewing them to a rock, but I would think it would have to have a stem in order for me to do this.   <you can just stitch through the underside and tie off to a small rock> Is mine missing it's stem or is this normal for them not to have a stem?   <not for Sarcophytons usually... but do look at some cabbage leathers like the so-called "Lobophyton crassum"> Again thank you for your time and wonderful knowledge!  Beth <kind regards, Anthony>

Securing Leather Coral 10/31/04 Greetings again Anthony, thank you for the quick response.   <very welcome> I have looked through the pictures and I am certain that I have a toadstool.  It does have a small amount of substance on the bottom maybe an inch or so.  Since I have only had this coral for a week should I wait a few weeks before moving it up in the tank? <yes... very wise> And when I do move will it just lay on the LR or do I need to secure it to the LR? <superglue (gel) or tie it off (stitch through trunk) as needed> I guess I am a little timid when it comes to putting a needle through the coral, afraid of damaging it.   <this is safer than superglue or epoxy... do not fear it> I got up this morning and of course first thing checked on my tank and noticed that the brain is doing something that is of some concern to me.  The neon "skin" on it is coming off.  Looks as if something has been nipping at it, but I don't think this is so. <I cannot say without a clear photo of the animal... I'd just be guessing> My tank consists of 1 blue tang, 2 clowns, 1 bi color blenny and 1 cleaner shrimp.  Is this normal for the brain to "shed" like I have read the toadstool will do? <not really... no tunic like Sarcophytons... although they do employ a mucus net feeding strategy> Thanks again for all of your help. Beth <best regards, Anthony>

Moving a Sarcophyton 10/14/04 I have a 5" tall Sarcophyton that is about 1.5" across at the base. It has overgrown the small rock it was propagated on and about half of its base is now attached to a very large rock that I do not want to move. I wish to relocate it to another area in the tank. What is the best way to separate it from the rock? Will it tear easily away or will it have to be cut? Thanks, George. <It can be cut or simply pulled away.  If you pull it, I would gently "tease" the tissue away from the rock with fingers or the tip of a plastic knife.  In either case, you are unlikely to remove every shred of tissue and there is a fair chance that some baby Sarco's will sprout!  In either case, the risk to this very hardy coral is tiny. Good luck!  AdamC.>

Controlling excessive soft coral Growth 7/26/04 I'm hoping you have a solution for me.  I have an outbreak of Capnella (Kenya tree coral).  The stuff is propagating like crazy.  I would like to remove some of the established stalks but am fearful of cutting them off of the rock there are attached to.  Would doing so release any toxins? <it can to some extent... other greater risks though (excessive mucus, stimulating a response (chemically) in other corals in the tank from exudations, etc.> I have noticed that when I take stalks that have broken off and haven't yet attached to anything, that once in the air they smell like crazy. <true... many soft corals are quite noxious> Any ideas how I can thin this stuff out before it strangles out everything else? Jerry <using diagonal pliers or poultry sheers seems to be the best bet. You can snip at the base of the rock without touching the corals and skin under them for removal. You can also use a sharp wood chisel to scrape under them again without actually touching the tissue. Then trade, donate or sell them to local stores and hobbyists. Anthony>

Leather Finger Thanks for your last reply. Been watching the coral carefully and have noticed the following. Overall coral looks healthy and has shed the slim coat. << This is a good sign. >>But underneath the coral on the bottom 1/4 the white fuzz remains. In fact some of the deepest furthest down fingers which were small and covered in fuzz have completely disappeared leaving only the white fuzz on the coral trunk. << Can you physically pull off the "fuzz", if so do that. >> In addition it seems the white fuzz still remains on a few of the other bottom fingers that do not get direct light or to which current is limited by the other fingers. In general the finger is growing taller and wider and looks quite healthy << Good, let it keep going. >> I'm just concerned and don't want it to begin to decline or die off. Also there is some brown spots maybe algae right near where the coral is attached to the rock. They have always been there and don't appear to be getting darker, worse or growing, is this normal should I be concerned etc. << If they don't appear to be doing anything bad, then leave them there and don't worry about them.  I have lot's of funny stuff in my tank, and I have no idea what they are doing. >> Let me know what you think of the pics. You should be able to spot the white fuzz on the fingers in some of them and I provided some full shots for reference on where they are positioned. << Something else to keep in mind is that you can always easily frag many of the "healthy fingers" just to be safe.  That way if something does happen to the mother colony, you still have your corals. But, as long as things don't appear to be getting worse, or detrimental to the coral, I wouldn't do anything.>> -Jonathan <<  Adam Blundell  >>

Detaching Leather Coral From Live Rock 3/19/04 Hi,  I recently purchased a leather coral which came attached to a rock.  What is the recommended procedure for detaching it from the rock and reattaching it to a submerged rock in my tank?  I have searched your site but can't seem to find what I am looking for.  Thanks in advance,  Dave <The best way is to let it attach itself first and then cut it from the rock it came on with a razor blade. It can take a couple of weeks for it to attach well enough to do this.  I would recommend against removing it and then trying to re-attach.  The very best option would be to leave it on the rock it came on and figure out how to incorporate it into your existing aquascaping.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Fighting Ich and Adding Corals! From a newbie -- Ich / Controlling water parameters I have recently moved five damsels into 10 gallon hospital tank to treat for Ick.  I am using HydroPlex by Red Reef.  (Not sure of the results yet) <Not familiar with this product, but I am glad that you are treating in a separate system!> How can I control  ammonia levels and pH in such a small tank with such a big load.  Have done 50% water changes for the last two days but plan to let my main tank lay dormant for six weeks to let the Ick clear.  That will be a lot of water to change! <Yep- it is a lot of water to change, but it really is a good way to go in a rather crowded small tank. I'd also monitor other water parameters, such as specific gravity and alkalinity, just to be thorough. If you are using a product that contains copper sulphate, do monitor regularly to assure that you're maintaining a proper therapeutic dose. Tank is glass bottom with a polyester filter (no carbon) and a heater. <A good way to go...> Only thing in the main tank is a few snails and a emerald crab who look like they have run out of algae to eat.  Fed the crab a little flake food but all the snails are at the top of the tank or stationary on the LR.  How do I keep them going without fish in the tank? <Do just what you're doing> I have turned off the Bak-Pak 2 skimmer but continue to run the heater and Fluval for circulation. <Personally, I'd run the skimmer, even in a fallow system. In fact, I'd conduct all regular maintenance, such as water changes, media replacement, etc.> On the issue of live rock in the main tank (55 gal)  should I put the rock on top of the sand or move the sand out and put it right on the glass?  Have 2"-3" of sand from Florida that is very fine and sirs up a storm easily. <Well, I've done it both ways. I generally place the rock on the sand, myself.> How do I vacuum it without sucking it out of the tank. <Well, you generally don't want to disturb anything but the top 1/2" or so of sand, or you might disturb some of the very processes that you want to foster.> Do I need more sand? <I'd go for a 4 inch sand bed, myself> Do I need any other equipment to keep the tank healthy for soft corals and fish? <Just continued good husbandry practices, and regular use of chemical filtration media> Also what kind of sand stirrers and corals do you recommend for a beginner? <I think brittle stars are fine. Coral choices abound, but you'd do well with Sinularia, Sarcophyton, and a number of other species. Check out Anthony's "Book of Coral Propagation" and Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" for more on the selection, care, and identification of corals for your system> Will eventually have a 440 watt VHO system but will start with 220 watts of VHO. <A good start with many of the less demanding soft corals> By the way, I posted once before but could not find my questions posted. How do I find my answers and what times is this forum staffed. <Sorry that you didn't find your post before. we try to turn them around as quickly as possible. The page is updated a couple of times a day, sometimes more often. We are "staffed" essentially 'round the clock, since we have Crew members all over the country!> Thanks in advance.  I have enjoyed reading your responses to other posts. Steve <Glad that you enjoy it! Good luck with your system! Regards, Scott F>

Clearing After the Clouds ... New Questions (12/23/2003) Thanks Steve, Yep, Zero ammonia and nitrite!  The only thing that was slightly off was the dKH was slightly high...around 16.  Today the tank is crystal clear again???   All animals are doing fine. <glad to hear> I did notice something strange last night.  One of my emerald green crabs turned a snail over and ate it to death! <Crabs will get food however they can. Expect more of this.> I have a question about my toadstool leather coral.  It opens wonderfully during the day...just beautiful.  BUT, it's beginning to "twist"  The stalk has a slight twist to it when it opens up, instead of just straight.  It still stands strait, but the stalk is just twisted...hope you understand that description. <Yes. It may be adjusting to the angle of the light or to the direction of the current (just like plants do to wind/sun). Probably not a big deal, but you do want to avoid a strong, constant unidirectional current in your tank. Its good to mix it up a bit. Read more at WWM.>  Also at night it really shrivels up and bends over. <They do this.> The "head" actually leans over at a 90 deg angle and rests on the rock next to it?  Is this normal?  I know it is normal for them to shrivel up at night...but to bend over like that? <I would not be concerned unless if fails to perk consistently and fully when the lights come on.> My bubble is doing beautifully...those sweeper tentacles at night are sure cool looking. <Indeed. Do remember to feed this one. Check WWM or a good coral book for info.> --Daryl <Great to hear that things are going along smoothly. I hope it stays that way. Just avoid the temptation to become impatient or complacent. Steve Allen>

Successful Leather coral move 10/20/03 Folks, just a quick thank you for your advice about my leather coral which had grown over three pieces of live rock, making moving it to a new tank difficult. I separated the rock and leather as suggested, leaving what can only be described as a 'smear' on one piece. the leather is now in full 'bloom' in the new tank, <excellent to hear> and the smear is covered in polyps (after only three weeks), even on the sections where it is so thin the underlying coralline algae can be seen through it. <yes... they are amazingly regenerative and easy to propagate. Great fun :)> thanks again, Brian <always welcome... happy Reefing. Anthony>

Recovered Sarcophyton and Friend - 8/12/03 Hi Paul, <Hi Matt> As promised, a pic of the fully recovered toadstool, along with resident Clarkii clown.<Very nice pic!!!!> Thanks again for your help. <It's what we are meant to do> I will get in contact with those people - Leroy & Sally Jo Headley of GARF, and forward on my observations and pics - perhaps it will allow them to re-assure some one else some time :-)  Regards,  Matt <Fantastic! They will appreciate it very much.>

Question on moving/removing Xenia >Hi Crew, >>Greetings, Marina today. >Thanks for all your invaluable information.   Need some help figuring out how to move a Xenia Coral.  It is affixed to two pieces of live rock that will be difficult to move together.  >>For those meeting its needs, this, it turns out, is not uncommon. >I need to clean a pump that is enclosed in a skimmer box and the rock makes it impossible to do.  I am new to coral and so far this coral is doing well so I am reluctant to move it but have to keep the water quality up as this pump feeds the skimmer.  Will this coral let go of one of the rocks or will I do it irreparable harm?  I have looked in Anthony's book but can't find this information.  Any help would be greatly appreciated. >>I believe that you can treat the necessary procedure as "fragging", typically when one removes a part or branch of coral (soft and stony).  With Xenia, I believe you can actually take a sharp razor, I would probably use a straight edge blade.  If yours are growing as I am picturing, then you can basically treat them like a head of broccoli, cutting at the base, pick the narrowest "connection", and hopefully you will only need one, maybe two cuts to separate the rock.  What I would think is worse is tearing them apart, much loss of life, I would think.  Links:  http://www.reefs.org/library/talklog/d_maughmer_110799.html http://www.fishprofiles.com/profiles/coral/xenia.asp Best of luck!  Marina

- 250's Too Much for Softies? - Hi guys,  Thanks for the help in the past. <Kevin here today, ready to help again!> I have a couple of lighting questions.  I have a standard 75g which houses mostly soft corals with a few LPS.  I'm currently running 6 * 65 W PC's (mix of actinic and 10000K).  The tank has been running  for over 2 years with no signs of trouble.  I'm interested in moving on to SPS so am in the process of upgrading my lights to MH.  Another big factor in this decision is having to spend almost $300 every 6 months just to change the PC lamps. <Yes, lamp changing isn't the best time of the year, but depending on what kind of PC's you're running, you may be able to safely stretch that o 8-10 months.> Regardless of what the manufacturer says, I notice a significant difference in the amount of light after the 6 to 7 month mark. <Oh, never mind, there's your answer.> Anyway, I just ordered a MH dual 500W ballast (250W*2).  After reading a bit on your site I realized that 2 250W metal halide lamps may be too much and burn some of my softies that I've grown to love (mauve finger leather, devils hand, colt, Capnella, various mushrooms, and polyps. <If you stick the lamps right on top of the water with a full 8 hour photoperiod you will, but if you simply acclimate everything to the lighting you will have no problems.> I'm thinking of going with 2 175W lamps coupled with 130W of PC actinic just because I like the blue hue in the tank.  My order may have shipped already which means I'm stuck with the 500W ballast unless I shell out the original $50 for shipping plus the additional cost to send it back then an additional $50 to get the dual 175W ballast.  Can I still use the 2 250W bulbs but mount them higher in the canopy (10" to 12"), maybe use 20K bulbs and exclude the PC actinics? <Regardless of which lamps you choose I'd start the lamps at 20+ inches off of the tank on a 2 hour photoperiod, and over the course of a few weeks, slowly changing to your normal 8-10 hour photoperiod. After that the lights can be lowered at an inch or so per day until it is at the desired height. No biggie, as long as you take it slow you won't have to worry about UV burn, active O2 poisoning, etc.> Can I use 175W bulbs in the 250W ballast or is this dangerous play?   If so will it consume just as much electricity as the 250W bulbs? <They won't work> The last questions I have involves retrofitting a 48" JBJ strip light.  I'm sure you are familiar with the JBJ Formosa 48" light.  I was thinking of removing one strip (2 PC lamps) and mounting the two MH lamps in it's place.  I would then take the acrylic/plastic lens to a glass shop and have them cut a piece of tempered glass to replace the original lens in order to shield off UV rays.  The strip light has two fans in it already.  Do you think it's worth a try or just a stupid idea. <It would melt down, don't do that!> I could keep the other 2 PC's for actinic or remove them as well depending on which bulb I use for the MH (either 1000K or 20000K).  Any advise would be appreciated. <I'd go with 10k lamps, you'll lose much of the intensity if you choose a higher Kelvin lamp. Retrofitting PC actinics somewhere will work on the blue for you.> You guys are doing a great thing for the hobby.  Reef keeping seems to be booming and you are providing a great service to both people and ultimately the animals they keep. <We hope so! Good luck with the new lighting and I wish you great success. -Kevin> Thanks, Ralph

- Leather color change & bubble coral help - Hi there, I have a 29 gallon mini reef tank set up with about 20 pounds of live rock and a good thick crushed coral / live sand base.  The water quality is excellent.  The lighting is 165W provided by 3 - 55W power compacts (2 actinic, and 1- 10K). Filtration is by way of a protein skimmer and a hang on the back filter.  Two power heads - in addition to the filter returns - are used for water circulation.  I have two problems that I am unclear of and any advice would be great!   Firstly I have a green finger leather that was a neon green when I purchased it.  I've had it for about 3 months now and although it is growing (has gone from about 4 fingers to approximately a dozen) it has dulled considerably in color.  In fact, it's now a dark green.  It's also shrunk in height (but has gained width).  It's positioned closer to the top of the tank.<It was either a tad bleached when you purchased it, or it is simply increasing it's Zooxanthellae concentration in it's tissues because of your lighting.> My questions about this coral are:  Is this color change normal?  Are they some how artificially "dipped" before sale to give them the neon glow?  My pet store advised me that this may happen, but was unsure.  It's a shame the color has left this animal as it was a beautiful piece when I purchased it. <Almost any coral you put into your tank will go through a color change to some extent. I would suspect that it would retain a lighter color under metal halide lighting.> Secondly I have a large pearl bubble coral with 5 "heads".  When I purchased this coral all "heads" were alive, although not fully inflated.  Since I have placed it in my tank only one of the heads has inflated fully.  Two of the remaining 4 struggle, and the other two appear dead.  My main concern is that the stalk has changed from primarily white with some coralline algae to  a dirty green.  There does not appear to be algae growing on the outside of the stalk - more so the color is within the tissue of the animal itself.  This color change now appears to be moving higher on the stalk and is entering the head regions. <Simply algae colonizing the most valued real estate on the reef: exposed coral skeleton.> What exactly is this?  Is it a disease that can be easily treated and cured?  I'd rather keep at least one of the polyps alive and not lose the entire coral if possible. <It's not a disease, just algae doing what algae does. Good luck! -Kevin>  Any help you could provide would be fantastic.  Thank you.

Devil's Hand and Sea fan: Cnidarian contact 5/30/03 Howdy! <Howdy back atcha, Cathy!> A quick question - can a Devil's hand and a Sea Fan be close to each other? <alas no... no stinging animals (cnidarians- corals, anemones, gorgonians, etc) can touch at all. And most cannot be allowed to stay within close range (less than 10 inches) without responding to allelopathy in Tim> Right now, about 3" away, but if they grow, they may even touch. <they are too close even now... the leather in this case will likely kill the gorgonian after some months or a year or two> I can move the Devil's hand, but it is in a great spot, as is the sea fan, where the circulation is best for both. <alas... it is the difficulty in our home aquariums (space). The leather grows so fast and large in the 3 year picture, that it gets my vote to be moved> Thanks!-Cathy in Texas <>< <ciao, babe :) Antoine>

- Calcium Reactor Questions - Greetings    <Good morning to you - JasonC here...> My restlessness is on the reactors of calcium.       ?Is it true that you/they are exclusive for aquariums with hard corals? <Not really - there are other mechanisms for supplementing calcium in a reef aquarium. That being said, a calcium reactor is probably the best way to supplement calcium, but does represent an investment in equipment.> My aquarium belongs to a mixed population in its majority soft corals (15) and some few hard (6) The soft corals don't benefit in (! anything!) of a reactor? <Untrue - soft corals do have calcium in their bodies, and do benefit from the addition of calcium.>   Do I have understood that a reactor "no" alone it produces calcium. <Calcium reactors add calcium and increase carbonate hardness in the system - both very useful for reef aquaria.> Ahead of time I give them thank you for the attention and the orientation that can give me    Greetings    Gsoler    PD. Excuse the translation but I am not very I practice with English <Your English is very much better than my Spanish. Cheers, J -- >

Soft coral id, husbandry help Hi to all, Your fan from Istanbul, Turkey. <Sorry for the delay, Murat. Paul here to do my best>   Looking forward to your new book I have both Bob's and Anthony's and enjoyed them a lot. <I am sure they are happy to hear of another satisfied customer. I too, look forward to their new book> I have 2 Aquarium 55G and connected in the sump one reef and one FOWLR .  Total of 130G water. All my water parameters are ok. I have 4* 55wPC and 3*30W NO on the reef. Here is the Picture of my first SPS coral that I got last week but I think it is a goner it did not open yet and bleached most of its arms any suggestion is appreciated < Good water quality, maybe a little food along the lines of zooplankton (i.e. rotifers or possible brine nauplii). Don't move it around, let it acclimate, and it may recover in time. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corldisfaqs.htm <<...>> Here is my real question; I got the following sponge 3 weeks ago. My reef tank is a heaven for sponges , I counted 4-5 different sponges thriving on the life rock.  I bought blue sponge six month ago and that is also doing very well. Anyhow I put the following sponge under the rocks and it was sulking. Yesterday I decided to fix it under the cave which is partially light and it just  opened up to my surprise . Can you identify it? It arrived from Indonesia as Red Chili Pepper Sponge. <Not a sponge at all. This coral is commonly referred to as "chili coral". It is in the family of Nepthyigorgia (thanks Anthony). It is aposymbiotic (NON-photosynthetic) and therefore needs to be fed (heterotrophic). Pretty hardy coral as far as heterotrophic corals go. They occur naturally in overhangs (hang it upside down), with a heavy current of water to bring food to its extended polyps. I would try rotifers and maybe fresh hatched baby brine (Artemia nauplii). Sometimes pureed meaty foods (used sparingly) might also help meet it's nutritional needs. A refugium is your best bet though. Nice picture by the way. Look on page 298-299 in Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation Vol. 1" for more information> Do you have any suggestions for its care. <See above> <<...>> <<...>> Murat Ozturan <Again, sorry for the delay. Good luck, Paul>

Lighting a 65g for soft corals - 2/23/03 Good afternoon from rain soaked VA! <Good morning to you. Paul here.> I am trying to decide on a lighting upgrade for my aspiring reef tank. It is a 65 gal., 36Lx18Wx24H. I currently have one small Sarcophyton, one med. Sinularia, and a small frag of Sinularia dura. Also some Protopalythoa polyps. I intend to keep this tank limited to soft corals and mushrooms. <Very good> So here's the big question: I am looking at a few fixtures; one is a 3x96watt PC fixture, one is a MH + PC fixture - 150 or 175watt MH and 2 96watt PC's. <Well, the corals you have currently and based on your previous statement as to what kind of corals you plan to keep, they might do favorably (read OK) with the 3x96 watt. Now if you plan on going with different corals in the future.....more like clams and SPS, then maybe it wouldn't hurt to go with the MH fixture. If you acclimate your current livestock to the MH properly, I think all your corals will benefit from the stronger lighting. In any event, I would research the lighting needs of your corals you have now (I am sure you have) and for the ones you plan to keep, as related to their respective environment, and make the best decision. Either lighting system will do the job albeit, one will do it better.> Which one would be preferable, or would you suggest a different unit entirely? <I honestly like the 150w MHx2x96w PC as the best choice here. Definitely read through Anthony Calfo's awesome article on lighting invertebrates found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm> I appreciate the time you guys take to answer questions in this forum! You're a tremendous help! <Our pleasure. Thank you for coming to this forum to have your questions answered!> Thanks, Neil <Regards, Paul>

Natural reproduction in Leather coral 2/16/03 Hello. Just a brief question re leather reproduction. I  have 3 leathers which are in  the process of dividing into two. This did not occur simultaneously but  sequentially. Is there a substance that these corals release to stimulate this? <Not if it was budding or branchlet dropping. Just a matter of maturity/critical mass> Each leather was about 3-5" when purchased, attached to a common substrate and in retrospect may have been the reproductive product of one larger leather. <nature taking its course <G>> Thanks for your insight. Pic attached. Jim/Long Island NY <Dude... do you belong to the Long Island Reefers club? They have a club forum on reefcentral.com They meet at Atlantis. I'm looking forward to visiting them soon. Anthony>

Leather coral ID Could you please help me ID this leather coral... Thanks.......Jun <A Lobophytum species... see pages 127-128 of Eric Borneman's fine book "Aquarium Corals". Best regards, Anthony>

Zooplankton Hey Gang!  After Anthony suggested zooplankton for my 'Shrooms and Kenyan tree corals, I typed "zooplankton" on the internet, and this site is one I checked out. http://www.rotifer.com/  Interesting stuff. Does a refugium produce these kinds of life? Just curious, Thanks for the time! Your friend in Scott. <cheers, Scott.. yes- refugiums produce far more diverse and nutritive forms of plankton (photo- and zoo-). We have an extensive chapter on refugiums in our new book (Reef Invertebrates) ;) Do consider installing a fishless refugium... they are tremendously helpful additions to most any aquarium. Anthony>

Soft coral ID question I hope you can help me ID a soft coral fragment I currently have in quarantine.  It's a frag, so I can't give a complete description, but it's a stub, about 2 inches long, a half inch think, a stubby cylinder.  The main body is white, and when they're retracted its polyps are like little black dots, evenly spaced.  When they extend, however, it becomes extremely bushy, with the white body cylindrical body effectively hidden behind the puffy polyps. I picked it up at a frag swap, and I'm looking to identify it before moving it out of quarantine.  Any help would be greatly appreciated...Arthur <Arthur... a white stalked soft coral is either dead, dying, or aposymbiotic (non-photosynthetic). None bode well for you. Frag swap, LFS or mail order... you really owe it to yourself and the live animals you acquire to research their needs before you take responsibility for them. Our first goal here is to ID the animal as photosynthetic or not. If it is and is just simply bleached, it may recover but does not have the luxury of feeding organismally to support itself while waiting for Zooxanthellae to recover like some LPS corals. Please send us a picture or look through Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals Book for a better indication. More information is needed here bud for you to have any hope of keeping or saving this coral. Best regards, Anthony>

Unknown Soft Coral Hi there again, guys! Thank you for being so patient to us newbies and answering our endless questions. Hopefully Santa will bring me CMA and I won't be bugging you guys so much! <Oh don't worry. Even after you have read CMA several times there will still be questions. I have an extensive library that I have read and I still ask questions of my fellow crew members.> I purchased some live rock from the LFS (unknown origin) and it came with a soft coral which I am unable to truly identify on your website (or it's just that my brain is turning to much with all the information you provide!) It's about 1-1/2 inches tall, pinkish in color and has about 5 branches with little "nobbies" on them which spread out during the day. When fully open it looks like a weeping willow tree. Sometimes the branches are standing straight up and some are hanging down. When the light is off the branches almost retract completely into the stalk (base) of the coral. When my cleaner shrimp lands on it when he's moving around the tank, some of the "nobbies" seem to retract. The guy at the LFS where I bought the rock says it's a "leather", but I can't find one that's close to it in your website links. <I don't know what it is from your description. If you could send us a digital image, we maybe able to ID it for you.> Thanks bunches, Maureen <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Soft Corals Hi guys have a question regarding soft corals. Starting a reef tank and going with mainly soft corals. <excellent! You will have far greater long term success by keeping more specific groups of coral like this. Mixing Mushroom anemones, Small polyp stonies, Large polyp stonies and soft corals in the display is very challenging in the long run... not to mention unnatural> Have been reading and researching and came across in "Corals a quick reference guide" by J. Sprung a group of corals referred to Finger Leathers, but of the Paralemnalia species. I can not find much info on these, can find about Sinularia but not Paralemnalia. Would like to find more out on these corals b/c they look interesting. Please lead me in the right direction. Thanks, Bryan <You can find better information about corals at large in Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" book. But the short story on Paralemnalia is that it is categorically not recommended for beginners or young aquariums. They are difficult to keep by any measure. They are weakly symbiotic at best and require a lot of food. The problem is that we don't fully understand what they eat and what we do know (nanoplankton) is quite difficult to produce. If you intend to keep Paralemnalia, my advice is to set up an upstream fishless refugium (likely unlit in cryptic zone fashion) and let the  system mature for a year or more before attempting this species. When you are ready to propagate it... give me a call <G>. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Cladiella and Cabbage coral Hi! I recently purchased two coral for my 75 gal reef tank. My tank has 440 watts of light and I have both soft & SPS corals in the tank. <hmmm... OK. But not a good habit to mix soft coral and Scleractinians in the long run. Many allelopathic issues> 90% of my corals where purchased from GARF. <OK> I recently purchased two corals from my LFS. One was sold to me as a Cladiella although I think it is Alcyonium because of the description in Eric Borneman's book " Aquarium Corals". <understood... and know that since Eric's book was published, all tropical species in Alcyonium were moved out. The "Colt Coral" (Cladiella/Alcyonium) is now (genus) Klyxum> The reason I think this is because its color when purchased was dark/rich Pink and almost closer to purple. The book indicates Cladiella come in colors that range between gray - green - brownish. <color should not be a primary indication of evaluating speciation> Since purchasing it about 3 weeks ago - Its color slowly changed to a very light pink. I don't think bleached out (still very healthy & still opens) but I was wondering if it should exposed to much light. <your lights are very fine... the coral is simply adapting to the change. Be sure not to move it at all. All coral must simply be allowed to adapt even when the first few days look weak> All my other soft coral new & old have had no problem with the 440 watts of light. I keep it at the bottom of my which is about 21 inches deep. <actually, probably not enough light (at depth) under these fluorescents in the long run. Fluorescent do not penetrate water very well at depth. After a few weeks, move the coral up slowly to within 16" of surface at least> Eric's book doesn't indicate how much this coral requires. <this like most coral are collected over a wide range. There is no rule possible for animals that may have been collected at 5 feet or fifty feet. Hence the need for gentle and appropriate acclimation as you have done starting on the bottom first (or using a screen method better yet)> Will it do better if I were to put in a shady area like a mushroom? <will surely die in time> What is the lighting requirements for a Alcyonium? I am afraid it might die if I put it in a completely shady area like under a cliff or under a over hang. <corals are quite adaptable... and feeding can compensate for inadequate light. Do consider a fishless refugium inline to produce natural plankton for these corals> The other coral I purchased was sold to as a (stony) cabbage coral. the closest thing I found in Eric's book to it was a Merulina. <Ughhh! A very delicate and difficult species> When I purchased it it was a cream color. Is very white now. <most bleach and die within 2-6 months of import/ For truly advanced reefs. They need bright light and very strong water flow but cannot take the bright light initially for the stress of import. Must be acclimated slowly to full reef lights over several weeks> I do believe this is a stony coral even though when I touch it - it feels very rubbery.   <you are correct... it is stony (Scleractinian)> This coral I believe requires strong lighting. I recently moved it the center and up about 3 inches from the bottom. Is there any you can suggest for both of these coral- Thanks for your time-  Anj <you move of the <Merulina sounds fine. Please leave it be... moving stressed corals can easily kill them for the need to keep adjusting to changes in light. They have a better chance of acclimating to a new but alien light rather than toggle between a normal and abnormal scheme. In my Book of Coral Propagation I discuss several pertinent topics for you... summarized articles of the same (coral feeding, lighting and acclimation) are all here on WetWebMedia for free (better yet <G>!).It really sounds like you have done fine by your new specimens but that they simply need to acclimate. With kind regards, Anthony>

Re: cleaner shrimp and crab not surviving in my tank Hi Craig, <Hi Jun, How goes it?> Thanks you for the prompt response. I might try it again probably 1 more time. I found the dead shrimp this morning but no sight of the crab (he might still be alive).  <Very possible> Another question if that's OK with you. Is it alright to place leather corals (toadstool and colt coral) side by side?  <Yes, but do give them room, they can both put on some healthy growth, the colts tend to be more aggressive and some require more current, so be mindful of their individual requirements. You can find more on these corals and their placement by searching on their common names "Toadstool leather" or Sarcophyton and "Colt coral" or Alcyonium on WetWebMedia.com. Just give them room to grow.> Where can I find (WWM) regarding coral placement? Thanks again....Keep up the good job (of helping people like me with this challenging but rewarding hobby)....Jun <Enjoy! Craig>

Soft coral attacked Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> Please have a read of my thread on the Canreef board. http://www.canreef.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=20998#20998 I just would like to have a clue about what I could be up against. I have small crabs in the tank, but never seen anything that could but off a coral this size. <crabs are very likely candidates to attack coral and really most anything in time. They are opportunistic omnivores and sometimes they are outright predatory. If the coral did not show any signs of natural pinching or constriction ("branchlet dropping") and there was no necrotic infection at the base... just there one day and gone the next... then you definitely have a predator. A crab or pistol shrimp are the likely suspects. The size of the crab means little. As a rule... no crabs are truly reef safe. Many of the generally "reef safe" crabs like emerald crabs (Mithrax) and reef hermits in time will pick and nibble when microalgae wanes... do look closer at these crabs, my friend> Thanks in advance, Lee
<best regards, Anthony>

Re: Calcium Question? You asked what I was keeping that needed calcium? I have about 65lbs live rock, xenias, green star polyps ,mushrooms, button polyps, Kenyan tree coral, and this piece. Cant remember what it is? Here is a pick. <<Looks like one of the Sinularia species to me...>> Would the calcium levels that I have now be sufficient for what's in my tank or will I need to bring it up. <<None of these are incredibly calcium greedy like a clam or SPS coral would be... is would help to keep calcium up, but perhaps not strive for the higher end of the scale.>> Thanks Again <<Cheers, J -- >>

Red Lobophytum Hi, I bought a red leather coral @ a local pet store.  I tried to find the genus on the web and found that it is a Lobophytum sp.  The problem is the color.  I could find no information that says that it comes in red.  I did find a picture of one that looks just like mine but it is green.  The one I have is BRIGHT pink.  I'm wondering if this Lobophytum could be dyed.  Although it has been 3 weeks it has not faded but the liquid in the protein skimmer IS red. If it is dyed how long will the color last?  Lastly will the dye harm anything else? Thanks, Steve <<Hi Steve, I'm sorry to hear about your experience with your local pet store and your coral. As you already found out, Lobophytum is found in shades of brown and some variations in yellow and green. They are ideal for beginners being quite hardy specimens, but they don't come in bright pink. This and the red water in your skimmer aren't a good signs. Usually these dyes are water soluble so the corals will absorb them with water. There is no way to tell how long it will last or if it will harm your other inhabitants. I suggest returning the coral for a refund or if this is not possible, remove it to a quarantine/hospital tank to keep it from possibly harming your other inhabitants until it hopefully recovers it's normal color.   Lobophytum requires strong to moderate water flow and this may be needed to help clear any possible dye. I would also look for a reputable shop that specializes in marine fish and reef aquariums and purchase a good book on coral husbandry before laying my money on the counter.  You will save many times the purchase price of the book in the future.  I recommend Bob's book or there are several good suggestions on WWM. The WWM has a chat option that you could make good use of as well. Again, I'm sorry this happened to you, it is really a horrible fraudulent practice.   The best way to avoid it is become better informed before the sale, and don't make impulse purchases.  This will also keep you from buying something that is difficult or impossible to keep or that might be aggressive. We are happy to help you make the right choices!  Please feel free to write and ask questions before you buy. Sincerely, Craig>>

Lighting I currently have a 72 gallon bow front Oceanic tank with a plastic ABS hood designed for this bow front.-The tank is 48 inches wide. I am having a really hard time pick out a lighting set up to upgrade what I already have. I currently have a JBJ 260 watts PC. I want to upgrade to at least VHOs. <Ok... More of a lateral move than anything.> I have several soft coral and a few SPS's but would to add more SPS because of coloration. The overall reason I am upgrading is because even my soft corals are shading towards brownish hues rather their truer colors. So know my concern is coloration and I really don't want to have to add a chiller so I guess Metal Halides are out. <Not really. I believe the "MH's needs a chiller" theory to be a vast conspiracy by the makers of fluorescent lighting. They are the same ones suppressing the evidence of alien intelligent life, but that is a different story.> Is my current choice of upgrading to 4-36 inch 95 watt VHO's for total of 380 watts going to make a difference? <It will make a difference, but not much and IMO not your best/most cost effective move.> Unfortunately, the 46.5 or 48 inch bulbs won't work with my hood. I am afraid that my hood ABS plastic would melt or cause a fire hazard with Metal Halides. <That could be a possibility.> Please tell me what you think I should do to improve the colors of my corals. <If you believe your corals need more lighting, I would keep the 4-65 watt PC's and change them all to full spectrum daylight lamps and perhaps add some VHO actinics. -Steven Pro>

Lighting Hi everyone, Bryan Here. <Good day sir! Hope you are having a pleasant holiday weekend.> Question about lighting for reef tanks. I have a 75 gallon that I am thinking about keeping some soft corals since I am a beginner in reef setup. Looking at about 260 total watts of lighting, still not complete because I am still researching and haven't decided exactly what I want to add. My question is this, I have been looking at the 48" JBJ Power Compacts. I have read somewhere though that VHO can give a more blue/fluorescent look and the corals really stand out. <IME, VHO actinics are superior to PC blue lighting. There are supposedly better PC actinics on the market now.> I personally like the blue look and was wondering if this is true (about VHO). And if so, can the power compacts give off a more blue with the right bulbs? <Yes, perhaps now with true PC actinics on the market.> Last question is, do you want/or is it healthy for the tank to have a more bluish feel/look with the corals. <It really depends on the corals. Deep water LPS corals do benefit from actinic lighting, but it can be of little benefit to shallow water corals. All things in moderation and you should be ok. No more than 50% of your lighting in actinic for deep water corals and closer to 25% maximum for shallow water species.> Thanks for all your help. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Lighting  Buenos dias! My eyes are about to fall out from reading all I could find on this subject, but I still have a few questions. I have a 72lx18dx24h tank which I am setting up as a reef tank. I would like to keep soft corals, some hard corals and fish. I am just about finished with the plumbing and am now trying to decide on a good lighting choice. I am still undecided between MHs and compact fluorescents (or is it power compacts?). <Either or power compact or compact fluorescent.> I initially thought either 3x 175 watt or 2x 250 Iwasaki 6500 MHs with some actinic lighting would do the trick, but it seems like PCs would be the more cost effective alternative (no need for a chiller!) in the long run. <The necessity of a chiller with metal halide lights is a complete hoax. They are no hotter than PC's and most heat problems are because of improperly designed hoods, stands, and lack of AC in house.> If PC can be used I am not sure on how many bulbs (or watts) I would need. Any suggestions? <A whole bunch! No really, for this tank and to match the intensity of the 3x175 watt MH option, you would at least need 8x96 watt PC's. Not really a cost effective option when you consider replacing lamps every year. I would use the 3x175 watt Aqualine-Buschke MH's.> My second question is about acclimating corals and inverts to LESS intense lighting. Someone locally is selling corals from their tank. These corals are doing great under 2x400 watt MHs. I am interested in buying some corals from him but was concerned how well they would adapt to the less intense lighting in my tank. <Some may never adapt. There are very high light corals, like blue Acropora or Yellow Porites. These may all change color, some may not be able to make the transition. Not much you can do to acclimate them other than keep them relatively high in your tank and hope for the best.> As always, you guys are the best! Hasta luego! Gerardo Gomez <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

ID Help & Feeding Aposymbiotic corals On the chili coral frag I was given, there is an anenomish (guess I just made up a word, Webster's here I come!) creature growing from the base. It is about 1", with a 1" crown there are approx 18 tendrils around the crown. the body is clear (which made me think Aiptasia) but the crown is fluorescent green, is this a colonial polyp or the dreaded Aiptasia? <doesn't sound at all like an Aiptasia but nothing definitive without a photo at least. Do a search for a picture of Anemonia majano ... a prettier nuisance anemone than Aiptasia:)> speaking of the coral... I've been feeding it golden pearls (brine shrimp that have been ground, a zooplankton substitute),  <OK for this animal, but too large for most filter feeders> I've also seen it feeding off of the particulates in the water (looks like the ecosystem filter is doing it's job of producing critters). is there something else I can feed it? <rotifers are easy to culture and excellent food... fishless upstream refugiums really do the trick too> I've also seen sun coral for sale, what would be a good food for that, or should I avoid it? <if Tubastrea, then it is quite hardy and can even be spawned (asexual planulae). Much work has been done with this beauty. It just needs special care like your chili coral: direct feeding (see my book bud on target feeding "food storms" Tubastrea in a cup) and not easily kept with traditional photosynthetic inverts> in my homegrown food I've been putting in phytoplankton (DT's)  <remember to whisk the DTs in an electric blender first/ALWAYS to reduce particle size> along with vitamins (E, A, beta carotene, HUFA [Argh! can't remember the brand, it's a common one] and C), garlic [everybody "pops tall" when I add garlic juice to the food, I figure it doesn't hurt anything and provides a strong smell to ring the dinner bell] and several commercial phtyomixes. I also put in finely chopped shrimp, fish, clams, carp roe, flying fish roe (love those Oriental Groceries), and several kinds of dried seaweed. should this provide enough food for these corals?  <the main thing would be to blend this mixture to ultra puree... particle size is everything. The smaller the better for most of the aposymbiotic inverts. I personally wouldn't have the discipline you've shown to home make food :) My vote is for large fishless upstream refugiums to generate natural plankton (perhaps a Seagrass refugium for phyto as well as zoo-) and supplemental rotifer culture> I generally put the cube right in and let it thaw (the water component is dechlorinated FW). <I'm guessing if the food is not whisked in a blender before feeding that most of the particles are too large... still, Chili's are very hardy. Best regards, Anthony PS: do you have your proofreaders goggles handy? Two new books ready in the next 4-6 months :)>

ID help &  Feeding Aposymbiotic corals AFAIK, I'm the only person on the planet who follows the instructions on the phytomixes.  <Bless you!!! It is amazing how many people use DTs and like products and just shake it or worse... simply squirt it in?!?!> I just worry about burning out my blender motor. I need to get a small cheapie food processor to make it easier to cut the more macro stuff. off the non-phyto stuff, I usually make 3 batches: one ground to a puree, one ground to small particulate matter, and one "chucky bits" [about 1/16"] so I can hit everybody's needs for nano, micro, and macro foods. Since I love to cook, it's no biggie for me, I just get to cook for my fishes and corals instead of just my wife and me. I've been "ramping up" the amount of food fed to the tank and seen an increase in the pod, worm, and other critter populations. <excellent!> The goggles are armed and ready to go. btw, found a few things I may have missed in re-re-re of BoCP. One or two items so far, I'll just scan them in and send them to you. Nothing big, just "to" for "too" kind of stuff. <thank you :)> on a similar note, I'm in the outlining stage on the article I'll be submitting to Aquarium Magazine, they mentioned pictures, several times. That's something I lack. They require slides, and it's a standard "one use" for serial publication of the magazine. Would anyone on your end have pictures of mantis's they'd like to include when I send in the article? I would ask that the relevant info be on the slide so there's no confusion as to who took what. <Bob may very well have what you need... do send a list of your needs. Kindly, Anthony>

Coral Question Follow Up-Alleged Merulina Sorry forgot to send picture. Here it is. You also said to buy Eric Borneman's book "Aquarium Corals." Where can I order it. Thanks again! <I reviewed your picture with several friends and our general consensus is this is an Octocoral, possibly of the genera Sinularia or Nephthea. Eric Borneman's book is available at various aquarium e-tailers or online bookstores. -Steven Pro>

Coral Question The LFS told me the name of this coral was Merulina. Is this correct? If not what is the correct name? <I don't mean to be rude, but how in the world would I know. You have not sent a picture or even given a description.> I have some mushrooms, pulsing Xenia, and this piece in my 55 gallon tank along with a couple of fish. I do a 20% water change every 2 weeks and add iodine at about 4 drops per day. Do I need to add anything else to the tank? <I strongly urge you to buy Eric Borneman's book "Aquarium Corals." It will permit you to properly identify your coral and will give you care information.> pH 8.4 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Calcium 500ppm Phosphate 0.05 alkalinity 11.2 dKH or 4.0 meq/l <The values given are all good. -Steven Pro>

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