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FAQs about Stony Corals 1

Related FAQs: Stony FAQs 2, Stony FAQs 3, Stony Coral Identification, Coral Compatibility, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, Propagation, Stony Coral Behavior,

Related Articles: Stinging-Celled Animals, Phylum Cnidaria, LPS Corals ( Caryophylliidae, Fungiids, Oculinidae... ), SPS Corals ( Acroporidae, Pectiniid Corals, Pocilloporid Corals ), Coral System Set-Up, Coral Placement, Coral System Lighting, Stony Coral Selection, Growing Reef Corals, Stony Coral Feeding, Stony Coral Disease, PropagationGrowing Reef Corals, Water Flow, How Much is Enough,

Montipora in the Red Sea

Fish Only I have just started a salt water fish only (72gal) tank. I am trying to aquascape it with several different types of dead dried up corals nothing synthetic. <Synthetic is much better for the world's reefs and considerably easier/safer to clean.> I am having a hard finding white pieces especially white - clean looking white pieces. The ones I do find are on the internet and they seem to have lots of ugly brownish tints to them or have brown rusty marks on them. <Strange, almost all are pure white after the tissue is dead and the "skeleton" is exposed. Some are covered in a colored epoxy; yellow, blue, red, etc. All get diatoms (brown) and algae (green, pinks, etc.) growing on them after one month in your aquarium and require bleaching to maintain the white appearance.> Why am I having such a hard time finding good pieces? <Looking in the wrong places?> I am not sure about this but I think I heard of people beaching their coral pieces so that the are white without any brown marks. Have you heard of this and would recommend doing something like that to clean up these pieces? <Yes, most do bleach the corals. You can read about the procedure here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnornart.htm> Is the there something SAFE I could use to clean them with? Or do you think I should just return them? Is there any retailers on the web you would recommend?- Thanks for your time- Ron <Not too many people are carrying these type of decorations anymore. Most aquarium keepers are moving towards the liverock pseudo-reef look now. -Steven Pro>

Help with critter ID, good one for Anthony? Hi all! <whasuuuup? Pinky my friend! Anthony> Been a long time since I've written over here. I've got an unknown critter, and I was wondering if someone could help me identify it. I'm going to include my fuzzy picture (but not a picture of Fuzzy. ; ) ) <just saw the pic, this one is easy believe it or not. And I was fully prepared to blow this ID off <wink> because most ID photos sent in are too fuzzy to see, and when the sender SAYS they are fuzzy from "go" you know it is REALLY going to be bad. However, the breakfast cocktail of Peanut Butter Crunch cereal, Augmented antibiotics (eye is healing nicely... cat is still unimpressed at my fighting abilities) and grapefruit juice have steered me to recognize the creature of which you speak> I've got something I believe to be some sort of cnidarian,  <it is> I'd like to know what it is: harmless, pest (in our terms), a future problem, whatever  <nope... a desirable little coral commonly called a solitary cup coral (AKA cave or flower coral)> (I already got the mantis out of the rock). It came in on the LR I recently added to my tank. text description: calcareous looking disk/tube like extrusion very small oral disk at the center from head on it looks sort of like a radial mouth full of teeth that curve inward - this is the calcareous <yes...a stony species> (I'm assuming, I didn't grind one up to see what it is) disk/tube I speak of. arms are clear w/white tips, no sign of photosynthetic zooxanthellae (sp?),  <nope... naturally ahermatypic> then again shipping/acclimation may have caused bleaching (?) <little or no bleaching... just a night feeder> the largest one is about 3/8" across with arms about 3/4" long. none of the more visible macro life gets near it (shrimp, fish, etc). I've never seen them snare anything though, and they really extend when I add the invert feed.  <yes some feeding by absorption... baby brine shrimp may be as large as they are likely to eat> they don't look like the pictures or Aiptasia I've seen.  <not even close> I'm stumped. they live singly (sp) and in colonies. <mostly solitary species... most at least end up that way as they mature> they're from the Tampa Bay FL region. <several similar looking animals from different families (really about a half dozen in three different families... try a pic of Colangia or for starters). Do check out Paul Humann's "Reef Coral" dive book... I suspect that you'll find a familiar face> thanks for your help! PF ps, if any of you can clean up the picture please feel free. unfortunately I'm still shooting in Blurrovision <good hearing from you PF, kindly Anthony>

Cool Graphic (Coral Reefs) Here is a cool graphic on coral reefs around the world. --> http://www.cnn.com/interactive/world/0202/coral.reef/frameset.exclude.html <Very nice. Remind me to show you the coral reef book am reviewing. Bob Fenner> Mike

New Coral Input by none other than Msieu Calfo For Antoine's in-filling and enlightenment: Coral System Set-Up & FAQs, Coral System Lighting & FAQs, Coral Placement & FAQs, Stony Coral Selection & FAQs, Stony Coral Feeding & FAQs, Stony Coral Disease & FAQs, Propagation & FAQs  2/19//02 Here's the skeletal beginnings of your informing, inspiring others with more complete "answers"... Interested?

Low light Corals Dear Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I have a 75 g flat back hex tank (approx 48" long X 16D X 20 H). I currently have a CSL retro 36" long (2) 96w CF. (1) 6,700K & (1) Blue. My question is what type of corals will this lighting be able to support? Should I switch to VHO? Thanks in advance. Rocco <the lighting is rather modest for a 20" tank but you can still keep many coral (but you are also restricted from more). Under these lights, you'd be OK with some SPS (Caryophylliids like purple tip elegant, brown hammer/octopus/torch, Caulastrea candy cane, Cynarina stony buttons, Bubble corals... and many soft Zoantharians (button polyps and mushrooms corallimorphs). You would be excluded from keeping most SPS corals, clams and colored soft corals (yellow leathers and the like). Get VHO or MH lights only if you prefer the latter light loving corals... meanwhile, the former low light animals are actually some of the hardiest. Best regards, Anthony>

Coral ID, Mandarin Sexing and more hi Anthony......is Robert back yet?  <Yes and no... Bob is back in the country, but is quite busy right now. You see...he was making a batch of his most heinously excellent fish food (described in his most heinously excellent book "Conscientious Marine Aquarist") when something went wrong. Frankly, he was drinking a little bit as he was making the recipe (actually, he was lit up like a Christmas tree) and inadvertently used his favorite microbrew (preservative free of course) in place of water for the fish food. And so, he is presently laughing his but off while taking pictures of the fish that he fed it to... shouting, "Look at me, look at me... I'm the Emperor of Tinsel town!!!"> I just purchased your book from Amazon. I'm looking forward to reading it.  <very sincere thanks... read it in good health and pass along what you learn to others in kind> I have not received the book "Fishes for the Invertebrate Aquarium" yet, so Simon (the spotted mandarinfish) is still an "it". :-)  <actually, "her" name is Simone...your pictures came through fine this time> I got some Selcon....will let u know how it works. <an excellent elixir...keep refrigerated> since u are an expert with corals....would u identify this coral for me. it came with the rock, not realizing there was a coral on it. it is absolutely my favorite. <hmmm...good pics, but not close enough on the polyps for a definitive ID. If you can, send a close-up of a polyp and another picture of the polyps fully retracted into the corallites for a likely specific ID. In the meantime, it looks from gross anatomy to be a Poritid (Goniopora). But a better picture will help.> I look forward to hearing from u. Janelle p.s. how is it working for the mob? is it a lucrative job? ;-) <I could tell you that, but... <wink> Anthony>

Rocks & coral w/copper? Hello Dr. Fenner, <Just Bob please> Everything I have read seems to say that an effective copper treatment for marine ich/velvet requires removal of rocks & coral (mine are not live).  <In almost all cases, yes... otherwise the life, chemical nature of the non-living matrix absorbs the copper... and kills a bunch of the life in the process> A month ago I completed my second 14 day copper treatment @ 25ppm in my 135 gal. <Mmm, you're missing a decimal point> Each time I removed everything except about a one inch layer of crushed coral. Without adding any other fish the ich/velvet has returned, my fish get along fine with no stress, but on warmer days my tank's temperature fluctuates a few degrees. <Whoa! Are you sure you had a continuous physiological dose (free cupric ion concentration) during this interval?> I said the heck with stripping my tank again and just started the treatment again.  <Mmm, not a good idea... weakened fishes... from the previous treatment...> So far after only a few days the disease has seemed to subside. I will treat for at least 14 days. My question is Dr. Fenner, am I likely to be successful in treating with rocks and coral in the tank?  <No... if these materials, life are present they will take up the copper, be harmed by it (in terms of the living components, organisms) and preclude/prevent the copper from being of sufficient ongoing strength (concentration) to effect a cure. Please read through the many disease, copper use articles and FAQs posted on the Marine Index of WetWebMedia.com> And would it be advisable to try to push a few extra days on the treatment? In testing the copper levels I have not seen erratic drops or rises in the levels, and also, all of my fish have handled these treatments extremely well. One other thing please, I regularly feed these fish live ghost shrimp that I keep in a slightly brackish 150 gal tank outdoors. I collect these from a bay by the thousands, could they possibly be transmitting this disease to my fish? The water quality is always very good. As always, thank you very much for your time and expertise, Steve Tilotta <Again, do study the materials posted on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Japanese Corals Mr. Fenner, I wonder if you might be able to answer a few questions I have about acquiring coral from Japan. I have been to many Japanese web sites such as http://www.splash-sea.co.jp/zukan/index.html I wonder if you know of any whole-sale retailers who would be willing to get, or are already importing coral from Japan. <None that do so regularly> I do hear that the import tax is fierce, as well as all of the paper work. There for the price of such an import would be extremely high. As well as delays in shipping and customs. <Yes, these are the real reasons... the relative much lower costs of direct import from the same sources (in Fiji, Indonesia, Solomons, Vietnam)... though better (perhaps best) specimens are indeed shipped to Japan wholesalers (they pay more/most)> I do not know if it is at all possible. I hope you might be able to set me straight about this matter. Thank you for you time. :) Martha Wiggin <Are you looking for particular species? Better specimens? As intimated, these can be had through LFS, e-tailers... on asking, offering to pay. Bob Fenner>

Synthetic Coral Manufacturers Bryan again. I have a 75 gal FO. I have been searching the links for makers/sellers of either synthetic corals or coral skeletons only place one is sort of what I'm looking for (Acme Reef). Any suggestions. Thanks Bryan. <The company Coralife/Energy Savers makes some fairly inexpensive synthetic corals that should be widely available at various pet stores nationwide. Look here http://www.esuweb.com/new_site/ -Steven Pro>

Coral Lighting Hello once again bob.  <Calvin... Anthony Calfo here, answering Bob's mail while he travels> I have more questions about corals. First off, I have one 10,000k bulb on my 55g. Will this alone support any corals?  <could be... too many folks try to sell you a stadium full of MH lights before they ask you what kind of invertebrates you'd like to keep... that is what should determine what lights you choose and/or if you have enough light> Also, would three lamps be enough, or should I go for four?  <three or four MH's? Whoa friend! Just joking... Unless you are replicating high tide on the equator or making bouillabaisse, I'm thinking easy up batter. Long story short, unless you are a hardcore, colored (shallow water) SPS keeper, two 175-watt MH bulbs will work nicely> As for the corals, I plan to get open brains, bubbles, mushrooms, zoanthids, possibly leathers, and maybe something else.  <all with only moderate luminary needs relative to what is commonly seen in the trade> Will any of these corals survive under 1 40w tube?  <very few corals can survive under one 40W bulb and even less in a tank the depth of your 55 gall> How about the three tubes? What would work with that? All of the corals?  <although the corals you mentioned aren't very demanding, the depth of your tank precludes most any number of standard output fluorescents. You could put 12(!) 40watt bulbs on the tank and still watch your corals die if they are placed below, say...10 inches of water. The problem is intensity (light penetration). You have two choices... adjust your coral selection to fit the lights...or, adjust your light hardware to serve your coral selection.> Oh yeah, about the 5,000k bulbs, will these, although yellowish, support corals in conjunction with a 10,000k while I order some bulbs?  <again... depends on the corals you choose. Among the ones you listed, mushroom corallimorphs are some of the least demanding while many of the leathers will appreciate much brighter light. Small button zoanthids generally also lean towards the brighter side> Do those above corals tolerate nitrate? Mine are  at 5-10 , never higher. <corals need some nitrate but most systems have more than enough. Try to keep it close to zero, but if you stay under 10ppm... no one will harass you about nitrate ions/nitrate-nitrogen and how much nitrate you actually have in your system when a test reports 10ppm...Best of luck to you, Anthony>

Fast Coral Lighting Follow-up Hello bob.  <Calvin... Anthony again <G> > Sorry to bother you by sending another e-mail that I could have remembered and wrote in the first one.  <no trouble at all... active minds> Anyways, for the 55g, would two 40w 10,000k bulbs be enough to sustain either an open brain or a bubble? I was thinking on a semi reef, because I don't want to get involved too much with the lighting as of now, so would the bubble or brain work with two tubes? <answered in the first reply that you didn't get a chance to read yet (smile) but the answer is honestly no. A semi-reef is only a semi-good idea. By not committing to quality reef lighting, skimming, etc. you are really making the system a lot more difficult. Pick one path and do it right. Enjoy a beautiful fish tank or commit to a proper reef tank with fish, but avoid the mid-ground. Besides wasting your time and money... you stand to lose the most precious resource: life> I might supplement with food of needed as you say, it can be done twice weekly. <yes, please feed regularly with most LPS corals. With kind regards, Anthony>

Coral Lighting Follow-up Thanks Anthony.  <You are quite welcome, Calvin> I think I will go with a reef with 4 40w tubes, probably all 10,000k or 3 10,000k and 1 actinic.  <Excellent... keep your corals shallow and change the bulbs regularly (6-10 months) or the corals will suffer> It will be a few months though since I want to get more fish rather than rushing into the corals. I'll probably get the fish I want first, selecting them so they do not pick on the corals later on, then I will get the lights probably at the end of the month when I get my report card. Lol, yeah I'm still HS. <very wise... patience truly is a virtue. Best of luck to you, Anthony>

Chilly (not chili) Corals Hello again! <Cheers! Anthony Calfo here in the service of our good friend Bob whilst he travels> Over Christmas, we went on holiday (to Zanzibar - excellent diving). Unbeknown to us, while we were away, our central heating broke down. The result was that when we arrived home (31 December) the temperature on the tank was 69 (with the sun shining on it through the window). The house felt extremely cold and we knew there had been a very cold spell during our absence (outside temperature down to minus 6 or worse at night). I have no idea how cold the tank got during the nights, nor how long the heating had not been working for. We do have a heater in the tank (75 UK gallons) but it seems to be affected by the room's ambient temperature, hence the reason why we left the heating on to make sure the temperature stayed at a reasonable level. Anyway, we discovered that during our absence we had lost our mandarin fish, all 4 red-legged hermit crabs, an anemone crab, 1 cleaner shrimp, a mated pair of coral band shrimps and a leather coral. However, during the last three weeks we have also lost both our clams, a malu anemone and a purple gorgonian. I was wondering if the recent fatalities are linked to that cold spell over Christmas.  <Indeed, the stressful and prolonged imposition of severe temperature combined with the skewed dynamics of water quality from any decaying matter have contributed> If so, and if it takes a while for the full effects to become known, I was wondering how many more weeks it would be before we can safely assume that there will be no more losses due to this. <with more than a month of resumed stable and proper water quality I should say that you could rest easily> We have since replaced the malu with a carpet anemone but the clown fish are ignoring it and still seem to be missing their malu mate! Any insight you could give would be most appreciated. <you mentioned a leather coral and gorgonian... and I fear that you have other invertebrates. Anemones with invertebrates are a dreadful and stressful mix in the long view. The silent chemical warfare between such animals (allelopathy) can be severe and quite underestimated over time (months to years). If you favor anemones... avoid other stinging cnidarians (corals and the like) for your best chance at success> Thank you very much (again!) Lesley <kind regards, Anthony>

Lighting a 55 gal Thank You for your time!!! My reef consists of a bubble coral, torch, and a green flowerpot, and a few fish. My question is, will 2 65 watt Smartlights be enough light to keep these animals alive and thriving??? <Mmm, thank you for writing. The Flowerpot (genus Goniopora) is very hard to keep historically... but can do well under low lighting... the Euphylliids (formerly Caryophylliids) should be placed up quite high in the water column, nearer the light as this is not really enough for them... and all should be fed on occasion (once, twice a week)... the fish can do w/, w/o lighting, but I would use timers to keep a regular schedule. Please read about light, lighting, these groups of stony corals on our principal site: www.WetWebMedia.com There is a search feature there if you prefer, rather than the various indices/site map. Bob Fenner> My tank is a 55 gal with wet dry filter, protein skimmer, and UV filter. The corals are places low in the tank due to small amount of live rock!

Coral Questions Hello, <<Hello, JasonC here doing his best Bob impersonation.>> Some general information about my 40 gallon tank. <<ok>> Lighting: 2x96w compact florescent (one actinic one white daytime) on for about 6 ? 12 hours depending on the amount of direct sunlight on the particular day. The aquarium is fed about six times a week: flake about three times, whole and ground plankton or krill once or twice, frozen Artemia (and the liquid) fed semi-directly to the invertebrates (yellow polyps, coral, feather duster, and daisy polyps). Also, shrimp pellets are occasionally dropped in for the hermit crabs and shrimp. All filters are turned off for about 30 minutes while feeding. My first questions pertain to a clump of Daisy Polyps (Clavularia sp.) that I have. They seem to be growing good (sending out ?runners? and sprouting new polyps). However, in a certain section, the tentacles around the polyp heads seem to be disappearing (i.e. some polyps have just partial tentacles while others in that section have no tentacles). The rest of clump seems to be doing good. I scoured your site and other books and could find no information. What could be the cause of this? <<did not hear the mention of any fish - quick thought is that is sounds like inflicted damage. Are these near any other corals?>> Is this something to be worried about? <<If, as a general population your polyps are multiplying, I would think that would be a good thing [apologies to Martha S.]. If the colony is shrinking, then that would be cause for concern.>> If yes, what should I do? <<perhaps relocate it, look more for causes.>> Next questions are about a finger leather coral (Sinularia sp.). The coral has good polyp extension and color (based on the picture in your book) and has been up straight since I put it in about 3 weeks ago. About two weeks ago I placed some Yellow Polyps (identified as ?unidentified yellow zoanthid? in Sprung, Invertebrates) near the coral. A few days ago, I noticed to coral was leaning back farther (away from the polyps) occasionally touching the ground but still appearing ?stiff.? Also, on one of the points of the coral that points toward the yellow polyps, the coral polyps do not appear to extend. The rest of the coral seems to be doing excellently. Is there any problem with the coral? <<I would think this is normal for the finger leather - these expand and contract their polyps all the time and stay that way, sometimes for days/weeks - three weeks is not a long for an "adjustment period" as far as these are concerned, and it's probably just now feeling good about how it wants to situate itself.>> If yes, is it possible that the coral and the yellow polyps are engaged in a ?chemical warfare?? <<It is possible, but these are certainly low-grade warriors on that front, can't imagine it's that severe - but not out of the realm of possibility.>> If the chemical warfare is not the problem, what else could be and how would I fix it? <<I would be patient, watch some more. If the warfare issue is still causing you concern, separate the two with space or a physical barrier.>> I am planning of dosing with a KI solution to bring my iodine (primarily iodide/iodate) concentration to .06 mg/L. Also, I am planning on feeding with Phytoplex (Julian Sprung?s product) occasionally. <<ok>> Three more questions (although somewhat off the topic of the e-mail)? I have been browsing the Bibliographies in the back of my books and have noticed quite a few books on fish diseases. What are some good books and/or authors of books about fish diseases and cures? <<Probably those exact books...>> What about books/authors for diseases of invertebrates? <<there are fewer of these as it is still barely understood - very, very broad topic that is difficult to study. To steal a phrase from Bob, perhaps you will be the one to provide us all with this research and writing...>>  One last question about algae . I have some brown diatom algae on my tank glass (due to my fairly high silica concentration); however, I also have some green algae on the glass which I am trying to identify, find the causes of, and hopefully find ways to reduce the growth. The algae is a dark green circle about 1mm in diameter. The algae is hard (only scrapped of with a metal scraper) but does not contain any compound which would produce a noticeable reaction in acetic acid (e.g. calcium carbonate, etc.). Any possible identifications or possibly an family or genus name? <<Sorry, I'm not that good, but I do know the stuff you are talking about.>> Even if there is not enough information to identify the algae, maybe you can tell me some of the causes of such an algae (I would assume the normal nitrate, possibly nitrite or phosphate)? <<Phosphate is mega-fuel for algae. You should do some reading, start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm >> Any possible control methods (snails don?t appear to eat it, I have a growth of macroalgae started and am looking at the possible nutrients and lowering them)? <<perhaps feed a little less, is usually a good place to start. Look for sources of phosphate, perhaps in your water. There may be a RO/DI filter in your future.>> Sorry for the very long e-mail, Thank you, Kevin <<No problem, you are quite welcome. Cheers, J -- >>

Bubble coral and more Mr. Fenner, I mailed you about a week ago about my new bubble coral. I asked about it's strange behavior. I just wanted to mail you and let you know it is doing wonderful!! <Ahhhh> Very full and happy. I added some star polyps this afternoon and my reef is really starting to take shape (only two corals:)) Two questions if that is alright with you. 1) Is it a good idea to stock a tank with one coral after another? <There is indeed some logical order to be realized here... some species are far more dominant... likely to sting with various mechanisms... compete chemically with each other... not a topic that is often discussed....> Should one wait a few weeks between each? Or as long as everything is doing well go ahead and stock away? <Yes... a sufficient plan... look for captive propagations, trade with other hobbyists, stores.> 2) I am having new floors and the entire house painted. I would like to know if it is at all advisable to leave the tank running in my room (door closed) while the rest of the house is being painted? <Do what you can to increase air circulation from the outside... and if oil based paints, lacquers, I would cover the tank with damp towels, turn off all air-entraining devices for the duration... a few hours> Then when my floor goes in, disassemble the tank to do the floors and paint that room. After a few days reassemble the tank. Thanks for all of you help!! It means the world to me, honestly. :) Josie <As does your sharing my friend. Bob Fenner>

Paints for coral skeletons Hello, can someone please help me. I need to know if I can paint the coral skeletons in my marine tank and if so what brands of paint are safe. thank you  <Can be coated/painted with resins (easy to colorize) or epoxy, rubber paints (like the ones used in the spa, pool business). Follow directions explicitly, cure elsewhere. Bob Fenner>

Coral eaters Bob How goes? <Fabulous> Well. here is my big question. I have a 280g aquarium with 100g sump. It has been fully cycled with 100 lbs of live rock. Now the process is going to begin. I was thinking of doing a fish-only setup in the display tank, and then a DSB and algae growth in the sump. But I love the look of the live corals...but I also love the fish that aren't recommended with reef tanks. The fish I have in mind are the triggers and porcupines. <Hmm, I sense more tanks on your horizon... Maybe I can get one of those late night gigs... Bobstah, sees and blabs all... "Let's see what the Tarot cards have in mind for YOU!"> My question is - is there any coral that these fish wont bother (too much) or am I stuck going to artificial or dead route? <Sheesh, all sorts. Just look out in the oceans...> Will they actually munch on coral, even if well fed?  <Hmm, some much more than others, sure> I realize how the mobile inverts will be enticing...but a chunk of hard assed coral? <As long as has soft stuff on top... some fishes will give it a go...> Oh well. I am sure you will let me know straight up if there is any way of making it work. <Read over the stinging-celled sections of WWM... am working prodigiously on them currently: http://wetwebmedia.com/stonycor.htm> Thanks Ringo <Hey, we have a cat by that name... and yes, he's gear, he's fab. Bob Fenner>

Coral Literature Hi Bob, Can you recommend any taxonomy literature for Scleractinia in general, as well as physiology and biology? Something very comprehensive and inclusive perhaps? Thanks, subsequent to another correspondence hiatus, Chris <Veron's most recent 3 volume work, some on-line services (Zoological Record through BIOSIS), and accumulating your own notes... and possible genetic, molecular bio. work on the Scleractinians... they're way overdue. Bob Fenner>

Rubber corals, what? I like Jeff Turner, great guy. Todd <Agreed... a fine person, and asset to the trade. And yes, the faux corals we saw in Walt Smith's booth ayer. Pricey, but fabulous reproductions, and very useful for public aquariums... easily taken out, substituted with "clean" ones... and cleaned. Bob Fenner>

Angel and reef compatibility Bob- Are there any corals or anemones that might survive being in a 180 FOWLR with an Imperator that is going thru 'the change'? I've had him in the tank for about 1 1/2 years and would love to add some stuff to the tank to make it more 'reef-like'. I know I'll have to upgrade the lights, etc. if it's possible. Thanks. <A bunch of choices here. Please read through the few pieces these groups posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com, Eric Borneman's new coral book, and volume two of Fossa and Nilsen's Modern Coral Reef Aquarium. Bob Fenner>

Dead Coral (skeleton use) Bob, I have a pagoda coral that died a couple of months ago. Luckily I removed it from my tank before it died so it didn't pollute the whole tank. All the skin came off and what was left was the hard coral which looks like a giant mushroom. I have left it outside since it died. I was wondering if I could place it back into my tank?  <Yes, you can> I wanted to propagate some mushrooms onto it and place it back into my main tank but I am not sure if it is safe. Is there some procedure I should follow before placing it back into my main tank? Gianluca Carpinelli <If you were overly concerned you could "Bleach Wash" the skeleton per the instruction set of the same name on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com... this is the sort of protocol the folks in the service side used to follow for the "bad old days" when we just had such artifacts for decor. I would likely just freshwater rinse and place it. Bob Fenner>

Aquarium comments hi bob, I'd like to hear any comments and suggestions you may have on my current setup. it has been up and running for about 3 months now and everything seems to be doing well. but I'm always looking for ways to improve the quality of life for our little wet friends. <Good idea to seek out the input of others> I have a 50 gal tank, with about 50 pounds of Fiji live rock, about 1-1.5 inch of live sand (2 bags). in the filtration department, I have two emperor (hang-on type, with bio-wheel and carbon cartridge) filters, plus a BakPak 2 protein skimmer. also in the tank are two Hagen powerheads (the boxes they come with say 270gal/hr) <Well-stated> that I put at the back corners of the tank, aimed towards the front center. lighting-wise I'm using CSL's 2x96 power-compact (1 daylight 1 actinic). oh and I also have an airstone. <Okay> livestock are as follows: small blue (hippo) tang, two baby ocellaris clowns, bicolor blenny, scooter blenny, sand-sifting star, 20 snails, 20 hermit crabs, green star polyps, small green open brain, a lavender mushroom rock and an assorted mushroom rock. <Hmm,mm> specifically, I would like to know if my set up would be adequate for keeping some of the more delicate corals.  <Almost all types of life could/can be kept in such a system as you describe... once established, and with careful selection, placement... it is more important that the aquarist observe their stocks carefully... than having sophisticated controllers, probes, filtration gear... and keep up with their regular maintenance. SPS corals yes, very hard, questionable life (e.g. Dendronepthyas, no)> what would be the most beneficial equipment to add in your opinion?  <A sump/refugium tied in with your present system with continuous lighting, live rock, Caulerpa algae...> on a side-note, I've always noticed very tiny air bubbles in the water (and they are not from the BakPak skimmer's return). I think they are coming from the emperor filters as turning off the airstone doesn't stop them. anyway, aside from being poor in aesthetics, are the water bubbles harmful in anyway? <No worries on these bubbles... likely not enough, fine of diameter to be more than a nuisance in occasionally gathering on your tanks viewing panels> well, like always, your help is always appreciated. and thanks for providing such great service to the aqua community. regards, Alex <Ahh, thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Some small monies compared to those spent speculating/killing each other... http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1231000/1231098.stm Jon trowbridge <Steps in the/a "right" direction to preserve reef resources... What else would you do? Bob Fenner>

Coral Selection, PC lighting? Mr. Fenner, I am in the process of placing PC lighting under the hood of my tank. the tank currently has 1 10000k daylight 15w and 1 7600k actinic 15w. painfully inadequate, I know. no worries though as I have only water in the tank at the moment. I have purchased a DIY pc kit comprised of 1 55w 10000k daylight and 1 55w actinic. the dimensions of the tank that the light will be place over are 24Lx12wx18 deep. there will be a live sand bed of approximately 3" in depth. lights will be place from 2 to 3 inches above the water. given the information mentioned above what sort of corals might I reasonable expect to keep based on my new lighting scheme. thanks for your time and consideration. sincerely, John S. <Thanks for writing... you can/could keep most any/all of true and otherwise what the hobby calls "corals" under the conditions, gear you list... with the more light-demanding species nearer the surface... like Acroporids... as cultured frags especially. This is about a twenty gallon tank... approximately "five watts of PC illumination per gallon"... and not as deep as it sounds with the addition of sand... Do read over the Soft and various family accounts (which I must need finish) of stony/scleractinian Corals posted on the www.WetWebMedia.com for more... Especially their referrals to good coral books. The new one by Eric Borneman (finally!) is very recommended. Bob Fenner>

Livestocking a Reef Hello, I have a question about a new tank I am going to be setting up it is just going to be a 55 because this is going to be my first try with a coral tank is this a good size to start with? <Volume... okay (of course, larger is better), shape only so-so... very narrow width... and too tall for light penetration for a first set-up... would be better to have something "flatter", "wider"... If feeble memory serves, stock 55 "shows" are about 48" by 13" by 20" overall...> I was planning on a few soft corals some polyps, mushrooms, and maybe a hard coral of a certain type are any of these that I've listed like extremely hard to take care of or not.? <There are several, from the ME meaning "many", true or stony corals (Order Scleractinia) that are available and hardy for the purpose... Trachyphyllia, members of the genus Euphyllia... will be working on these families more on the www.WetWebMedia.com site now that Eric.B and Dr. Veron's new books are out...> For I was wanting to do about a 4 inch lion fish these are reef safe right? <Hmm, yes... though "dirty" in their eating/eliminating habits... and quite capable of inhaling fishes, motile invertebrates easily half to more their body lengths> and possibly a dwarf golden eel I was thinking this would be okay since it stays small but would it mess with the lionfish? <Keep investigating here... I would not place an eel here...> I will have around a hundred pounds or rock and very good filtration so should the nitrates be able to stay low if I just feed the fish about 2-3 times a week? <Only experience will/can tell... likely yes, with boosted photosynthesis utilizing the nitrate, other co-nutrients> The only place I have seen this eel is at the marine center when you order fish from places like this do they usually do okay by starting eating with in the 1st week or so? <Yes... applaud the Marine Center for its excellent practices... of quarantining, acclimating, training all incoming livestock... Amazing, and very glad to hear that folks are aware of the many benefits of their efforts> I will just get the lion fish from the local petstore. Should I get the fish before the coral or after? <Before, my anxious friend. Bob Fenner>

Coral Hi - Great site, Great book (The conscientious Marine handbook - None of the online bookstores have it - Only online aquarium web sites). <Rats, thanks for this... would gladly twist the handle on an old off-press to get more copies out there...> Tank 72G, 70 lbs Live rock (not that much life), 80 lbs live sand (nature's ocean), wet dry, protein skimmer. 2 x 50/50 65w mettle halide, 2 x 40w fluorescent. 2 damsels. 1 Sailfin tangs, water comes from a water purifier (w/ KDF/GAC and a ceramic filter) My tank is alive for 2 months. <Well put> From reading your site - I have come to the conclusion that my 1st few corals should be, mushroom, leather, tree (I think) & polyps. I plan to start adding coral and these are my questions. <Okay! Wish I had more of the stinging-celled materials on the site... will move up on the ever-growing schedule per this prompting/encouragement> Let presume that my tank is healthy (which it is) When buying corals how much time should I wait in between purchases?  <Variable per size, type of system, type of livestock... but a week or two is about right> Within these coral types (above) any specific recommendations for beauty/heartiness?? <Take a look through standard reference works to attain an idea of what good, healthy specimens look like... maybe take a fellow "reefer" along with your for interrator judging... buy/order from reputable sources... more?> What should I look for (chemically) after a new coral purchase is placed in the tank?  <Good question... most important... to gauge the chemical effects on your other livestock (bio-assay...)> I just started adding - (Kent) liquid calcium/iodine/S&M. I was told by my LFS to turn off my protein skimmer for about 1 hour after I add these supplements. What is you take on this??? <Not a bad idea... not necessarily a good idea... why would one hour matter?> I want to get a Percula clown and its Anemone, but I heard they (anemone) can be a little difficult - So the LFS store recommended that get a another coral that is heartier and the clown would have the same symbiotic relationship with that - I think one of his recommendations was a hammer coral? <Yes a possibility... this or another Euphyllia species.> Do you agree with this if so what other corals are good for a Percula clown.  <Hmm, good? Probably better than none... but not necessary either, especially with tank bred/reared livestock> I am going to do a 10 gallon water change every 2 weeks, when would be the best time to add coral and fish. Should I add them between changes or right before or right after. <A day or two after> Do I need to test for levels of calcium/iodine/S&M If I add the recommended daily dosages? <Folks should measure/for all/everything they add.> What should be my 1st Invertebrates?? <Whatever cleaner upper organisms you're going to employ... hermits, snails, crabs, shrimp, seastars, brittle stars...> Overall is my light sufficient, if not what needs to be upgraded? <You're okay for low-light organisms... about three watts a gallon in this size/shape tank... but not tridacnid clams, SPS stony corals...> Sorry I know that I have asked a lot of questions - Just trying to make sure my fish and coral live a long healthy and happy life : - ) - Brad D. <I understand. And agree. Bob Fenner>

RE: Coral+ Hi - Great site, Great book (The conscientious Marine handbook - None of the online bookstores have it - Only online aquarium web sites). <Rats, thanks for this... would gladly twist the handle on an old off-press to get more copies out there...> ------>>>>This is where I got mine if anybody is looking for one www.marineandreef.com <Thank you for this... I don't even have a copy...> Within these coral types (above) any specific recommendations for beauty/heartiness?? <Take a look through standard reference works to attain an idea of what good, healthy specimens look like... maybe take a fellow "reefer" along with your for interrator judging... buy/order from reputable sources... more?> ----->>>>>>>Do you know of any online sources???? I don't know any fellow reefers just fellow reefer smokers (sure you never heard that one before) I guess I should start asking people on the subway (NYC) if anyone has a saltwater tank. What should I look for (chemically) after a new coral purchase is placed in the tank? <Good question... most important... to gauge the chemical effects on your other livestock (bio-assay...)> ------>>>>>>By gauge you mean research what affects one organisms has on another, or physical/chemical changes that I see?? <Not research so much as carefully observe, record... on the other hand, maybe this is exactly what you mean by research, yes> Is that what you mean by bio-assay??? <Like the "Miner's canary in a cave" use the life in your system as the single best judge of "what's going on" there... rather than test kits, meters, probes...> I just started adding - (Kent) liquid calcium/iodine/S&M. I was told by my LFS to turn off my protein skimmer for about 1 hour after I add these supplements. What is you take on this??? <Not a bad idea... not necessarily a good idea... why would one hour matter?> --------->>>>>>>I was told so as not to skim out the additives too quickly. Does 1 hour not make a difference more/less or Is this doing nothing at all??? <Skimmers do remove some materials (degree, rate depends on factors including makes, model of skimmer, water quality parameters...). About the best one can do is to periodically "add more" of such materials, execute water changes to keep water "dynamically stable"... an oxymoron for sure> Overall is my light sufficient, if not what needs to be upgraded? <You're okay for low-light organisms... about three watts a gallon in this size/shape tank... but not tridacnid clams, SPS stony corals...> ------------>>>>>>Do I need to increase both the Halide and the fluorescent and to what levels???? <About twice this if your intent is to boost the photosynthetic/metabolic rate of the higher-light intensity types of life aquarists have> ------>>>>>3 more: My Sailfin eats his food (formula 1 / Spirulina / and algae that is in the tank) and spits it out eats it again spits it out etc..... What is going on I am glad I did not blend the food myself or I would take it personally <Interesting> When all the algae is gone from my tank (the type that the Sailfin eats) can I buy plants/algae that he will eat like Caulerpa? <Perhaps, but do go by the oriental food store, section of your market and look at the prepared algae they offer for human consumption. We use a BUNCH of Nori sheet to feed our Zebrasoma tangs... took me thirty years to convince my friend Chris Turk into selling this repackaged and the folks t TLF into copying him...> I Have air bubbles on a few of my rocks - the ones with some algae on them. Is this bad/good/of no concern??? <Not necessarily bad... see www.WetWebMedia.com sections on Green Algae, Algae Control... pictures there of this (likely Valonia)... > Thanks again!!!! <You're welcome again. Bob Fenner>

Hard Corals Hi bob, I am interested in knowing stony coral. Since you are a diver yourself, can you please tell me Q1. Where exactly is hard coral found in the reef (the depth btw., the type of reef it was found) Some species found intertidal... to depths of about a hundred feet (some to a few hundred...) Q2) Do hard coral enjoy strong or low current ? <Some a bit of both, some one or the other... You need to read a few reference works...> Q3) Is it the LPS and SPS enjoy the same type of water current ? <A mix... most LPS less, and are hardier> Q4) is it the all hard coral need bright light ? <No, just the hermatypic ones... > <Get your hands on a copy of www.mcra.com v.1 You have a need for much, basic information... that can't be answered in a few years by this Q A format. Bob Fenner> Regards, Daniel Chua

Plate Coral Dear Bob, First let me thank you for much sound advice. I can happily report that all seems to be well with my 40 gal SW tank. So well that I am now in the process of introducing various corals to go with my fish and anemones.  <Ahh, good to hear/read.> That brings up my question. I recently purchased a plate coral that appeared to be very healthy with nice long tentacles and deep brown coloring. Over the course of a week I noticed what appears to be a split in its plate, a sort of parting. This split is more noticeable in the morning hours when its tentacles are short and stubby. My levels are as follows: pH = 8.2, NO2 = 0, NO3 = 5, 145 watts of 50/50 (12hrs) and iodine supplemented weekly. The coral rests on the crushed coral substrate at the bottom of my tank. It is out of reach (>6 in) but in proximity of a bubble tip anemone, button polyps and a carpet anemone. <Likely no problem in the placement of this Fungiid... and maybe it's a type that has a split naturally, or even reproducing asexually... this happens in a few ways... one bilateral fission> Could this part be a sign of reproduction as seen in anemones? Or is it the beginning of the end for this coral and if so what can be done to save it? <No worries... time to "hit the books" about stony coral husbandry. Please see the book reviews posted on the www.WetWebMedia.com site here. Bob Fenner> Thanks so much for your time. Chris

Coral additions First, thanks for your advice on the skimmer. I settled on the CPR, after looking into the others. Space considerations were at the top of the list.  The tank has been performing beautifully, and all levels are a flat zero.<Good to hear> The 100lbs of live rock cycled much faster than I would have realized. <Sometimes amazing> Even with the addition of the first fish, three damsels and a tang, the levels have not wavered throughout the first week of occupancy. I intend on waiting another couple of weeks to make sure the levels are good, then beginning adding some coral to complement the growth forming on the live rock. I have several 'shrooms and button polyps well into their growth stage. I would appreciate a recommendation for a beginner on soft and hard corals. <Hmm these are posted in various FAQ's alongside the survey pieces on these groups on our site: www.wetwebmedia.com> Since Temecula is centrally located between Jeff's Exotic in Gardena, and the Kearney Mesa area in San Diego, I will be looking in both areas for these purchases. The tank, as you may recall, is 80 g. Is keeping Anenome the nightmare I have read about in some readings? <Can be... I would make this a much later addition. Bob Fenner> Rick Farris

Tongue coral in trouble. help! Bob, About 2 weeks ago I lost one of my percula clowns and could not find him, so I took a sample of water to the LFS to make sure my test kits were telling me the right things. Turns out I late found that he had jumped out. LFS found that my alk was a little low, so was calcium. So I started using Kent buffer and some Kent Iodine I bought to bring back the balance in my tank. My parameters in my 65 are now PH=8.2, no ammonia, and nitrite and nitrate < 0.10. No phosphates, calcium = 380 ppm, and alk 2.9. Its a 65, 380 watts VHO, 4 inch sandbed, 75lbs. Manono LR.  Well, before I went to fish store and began buffering, I noticed that my tongue coral had started to recede. He excreted a white waxy film off and on for a day or so. I noticed this for a few days, and its continued for about a week. The tentacles are all pulled in, except for on the sides. I had been feeding him about twice a week, and he often caught food from feedings. He has been like this for a week and I am beginning to get concerned. I also have a leather coral, crocea clam, Galaxea coral, and Favites coral that all are doing very well. Fish include small hippo tang, 2 perculas, flame hawk, 6 line, and small juv. imperator. All fish are fine too.  I am not sure what is wrong with him and am looking for some advice to try to help him out. He is pulled in to the point that I cannot feed him. Even side tentacles are not fully extended. I am concerned I am going to lose him. HELP! Thanks in advance.  Matt Barga >> <Hmm, thanks for writing... could be a few things awry with your coral, but suspect first and foremost there was an altercation with the Galaxea... this family (Oculinidae) are notorious strong stingers with a long reach... do make sure the Tongue is far away... and otherwise, I'd stay the course on what you're doing and hope for the best. Bob Fenner>

Re: tongue coral in trouble. help! They are on totally opposite sides of the tank--at least 2 feet apart. I have seen sweeper tentacles, but only about 4 inches long max so I am sure that wasn't it, unless it was excreting  something into the water. Thanks for the advice. Anything else I should be doing? Matt >> <Hmm, well, thought it might be a possibility... Yes to another step... about once a month I'd run "a unit" of activated carbon in your filter flow path (like Chemipure or like)... to alleviate the effects of organics that might be contributing to the problem. Bob Fenner>

Reef lighting Dear Bob, is it possible to do a tank with species like Acropora and Montipora, with two 175 metal halide lights. I remember reading somewhere that 250 watt halides were needed for these types of stony corals. However I do remember seeing a picture of this type of setup in John Tullock's book Natural reef aquariums. Thanks will be waiting to hear from you, Ron. >> >> Hmm, interesting query... read it over yourself... if the tank isn't too deep, or alternatively, the specimens not placed too deeply, sure. Bob Fenner

Coral color for aquarium specimens Hello Bob! I am a Postgraduate student in Marine science at the University of  the South Pacific, in Fiji; wanting to undertake a Masters (MSc) by  research next year (2001) and look into the colour and growth  forms of corals for the aquarium and curio (ornamental) trade. Could you help me with the research methodology for this; maybe  in the form of: [a] what factors to look at? [b] past research work in the same field? [c] people(s) who I could contact [d] how can color be maintained for aquarium corals? Thanking you in advance. Best regards from Fiji, Ron Devine Vave, Marine Studies Program, University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji Islands. >> <Will endeavor to help you in what ways I can... Don't know much or references to send you to re the above though. a) By "factors" do you mean for identification to species? I would chat with Ed Lovell in Fiji re this matter, perhaps Doug Fenner, J.E.N. Veron in Australia re. Will cc some of these folks. b) Don't know of any research done on the topic (retention of color of captive Scleractinia, Alcyonacea... But very worthwhile topic... as this is likely (other than gross mortality/survivability, THE major factor in rates of extraction/use of wild stocks. A computer search of BIOSIS should yield what can be had in the way of a bibliography, leads to who has done what in the field. c) There are many "hobby" and business culturists that you might avail yourself of, for some basic husbandry notes... Dick Perrin of Tropicorium, Noel Curry... But much of what they know they'll consider proprietary. Will send your msg. to Walt Smith (yes, principally of Fiji) for further input. d) Continuous high PAR lighting, adequate biomineral and alkalinity, infused carbon dioxide helps, as well as a myriad of "improved water quality" factors like circulation, protein skimming... and often addition of iodine supplements, some feeding (species specific)... Without the lighting, or a failure in "water quality" corals will lose (sometimes permanently) their coloration, greatly lessening their market value. Bob Fenner>

Re: Coral color for aquarium specimens Hi Bob and Ron: I have too many references on coral coloration to know where to start. One of the first questions I must ask is the actual color group you are looking at. The animal biochromes, the fluorescing proteins, and the pigmentation of the zooxanthellae are three very distinct groups all with their own factors. I would need to know this aspect and more about the study - i.e. a more concise version of the hypothesis and null hypothesis to be able to narrow it down to a reasonable request I would also add that asking people like Walt, Noel, Dick, etc is asking for completely anecdotal advice, as are the comments on iodine, alkalinity, protein skimming etc. Water quality and lighting will likely have an effect on the photosynthetic pigmentation in a number of ways, and food certainly for the zooxanthellae species in terms of pigments present and ability to be biosynthesized (if at all). Lighting will also affect those corals possessing the pigments Pocilloporid and related compounds. May also have to do with at least the GFP group, although possibly not the other fluorescing protein groups. Too new a field (Matz, et al 1999). Almost all observations coming from the aquarium populace are not worthy of serious consideration in an academic paper except in simple "by the way" comments.  Let me know what the scope and needs are and I will send you some references to get you going. Eric Borneman >> Ah, good to see/hear you out there... Now, where in tarnation is that book of yours!? Do disagree with your overall apparent disdain of "contacts" in the trade and hobby... In reviewing such requests for assistance, I suspect people are looking for "help" in a more general sense... as in contacts for specimens, even pragmatic matters like "how to gather, transport, keep alive specimens..." As such, industry types are invaluable... as they have indeed, been there, done that. Bob Fenner

Re: Coral color for aquarium specimens Bob, hi. Do you know Greg Stone at New England Aquarium? He and I have been working together on a foundation proposal to train conservation professionals, in parallel, with respect to the coastal fisheries of New England, California, and Pacific island states- the latter to be based at USP.  Les Kaufman Boston University Marine Program Department of Biology 5 Cummington Street Boston, MA 02215 lesk@bio.bu.edu 617-353-5560 office 617-353-6965 lab 617-353-6340 fax >> No, don't know Greg, but glad to hear of your efforts. Let me know if I may be of some assistance. Bob Fenner

Re: Coral color for aquarium specimens Hi Bob. My name is Jim Hart, formally with The Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans. I now operate a business called Oceanographic Expeditions which works with divers from aquariums all over the country allowing them to learn some oceanography while participating in a conservation/research project. ( sort of "be an oceanographer for a week") <Sounds very nice.> I'm sure you're as busy as all of us, but if you have a minute I'd like to ask a question. Could you tell me a very short, (easy to understand by a layman,) fascinating factoid/interesting characteristic/ or neat process which pertains to the 3 color groups you mention (animal biochromes, fluorescing proteins-which we are studding with UW black lights- and zooxanthellae pigmentation) which influence the colors we see in corals. <Hmm, admittedly not. But will refer you to Eric Borneman (nee Hugo) for such.> We try to present the most fascinating facts about fish biology, marine geology ( did you know that the Atlantic Ocean is widening at the same rate your fingernails grow- Columbus would have to sail 500 feet further today to discover America. ) and other oceanographic high spots to keep divers interested in learning and being involved in Marine conservation. <This would have to be a very long course... Have been an instructor at UC ext. and the State U. campuses in Nearshore Marine Bio.... but, factoids? Hmmm> Any neat factoids we can include?? If not ,I understand. Just thought if anyone had a neat coral coloration fact up their sleeve , it'd be you. Nothing to long or involved - a fact or two a high schooler would appreciate? since most adults are about the same level) Thanks for the time!! Cheers , Jim Hart >> <Will have to pull out some couple decades back work I participated in in the upper Red Sea... fluorescence studies... and send summat along. Cheers, Bob Fenner

Re: Coral color for aquarium specimens Hello Bob, Mike, Ron, Jim, and everyone else in the known world who has appeared on this header whom Bob has taken the trouble to cc on my prior response and I suspect will thus be forwarded on this as well for unknown reasons: <<Could you tell me a very short, (easy to understand by a layman,) fascinating factoid/interesting characteristic/ or neat process which pertains to the 3 color groups you mention (animal biochromes, fluorescing proteins-which we are studying with UW black lights- and zooxanthellae pigmentation) which influence the colors we see in corals.>> The zooxanthellae are the golden brown to brown colored algae that are found in the inner tissue layer of corals. They are responsible for the brownish coloration of many corals, and when coral bleach, their skeleton turns white from the expulsion of these tiny protist algae. The fluorescing proteins, once thought to be only of the green type, are now found in at least eleven colors/types, including, orange, yellow, pink, and red (Matz and Tsien references). They appear to be mostly located in the animal tissue, near to the zooxanthellae, and may have numerous roles only now being investigated. The green fluorescing proteins are thought to absorb light of the near UV range and reflect it back to the zooxanthellae in a wavelength they can use in photosynthesis. They may also be used in quenching in high light environments and serve a sort of photoprotective role. See thread "Re: Orange Monastery cavernosa recruits?" for a nice discussion of recent thoughts on this on NOAA's CHAMP webserver under logged threads. The subject of green fluorescing proteins is covered in an entire book, but is beyond the scope of this discussion. The animal biochromes are those which are found in the animal itself and serve no obvious light-related role. They are probably entirely obtained by diet, and give corals their many brightly colored hues. As corals are sessile animals, they serve no obvious role in display or mating, but may serve in mimicry or warning coloration. This is nicely seen in the symbiotic relationships with some zoanthids and sponges. Other roles of coral color are not well established. Also see the role of pocilloporin in the non-fluorescent pinks and blues of some Acropora and Pocillopora (Dove and Takabayashi refs) Below are some of the more pertinent references. Best,  Eric Borneman Fox, Denis L. 1976. Animal Biochromes and Structural Colors: Physical, Chemical, Distributional & Physiological Features of Colored Bodies in the Animal World. University of California Press, Berkeley: 82-91, 390-3. Fox, Denis L. 1972. Pigmented calcareous skeletons of some corals. Comp Biochem Physiol 43B: 919-27. Fox, Denis L., and Donald W. Wilkie. 1970. Somatic and skeletally fixed carotenoids of the purple hydrocoral, Allopora californica. Comp Biochem Physiol 36: 49-60. Kawaguti, S. 1985. Skeletal pigments of a scleractinian coral Oulastrea crispata.  Kawaguti, Siro. Electron microscopy on the fluorescent green of reef corals with a note on mucous cells. ______11-21 Kawaguti, S. 1969. Effect of the green fluorescent pigment on the productivity of the reef corals. Micronesica 5: 313. Kawaguti, S. 1944. On the physiology of reef corals VII. Study on the pigments. Palao Tropical Biological Station Studies 2 (4). Takabayashi, M., and O. Hoegh-Guldberg. 1995. Ecological and physiological differences between two colour morphs of the coral Pocillopora damicornis. Mar Biol 123: 705-14. West, David A. 1976. Aposematic coloration and mutualism in a sponge- dwelling tropical zoanthids. In: Coelenterate Ecology and Behavior , (Mackie, ed.). University of Victoria, British Columbia. pp. 443-52. Gil-Turnes, Sofia, and Jorge Corredor. 1981. Studies of Photosynthetic Pigments of Zooxanthellae in Caribbean Hermatypic Corals. Proc 4th Int Coral Reef Sym 2: 51-3. Dove, Sophie G., Misaki Takabayashi, and Ove Hoegh-Guldberg. 1995. Isolation and partial characterization of the pink and blue pigments of Pocilloporid and Acroporid corals. Biol Bull 189: 288-97 Matz, M. V. et al. 1999. Fluorescent Proteins from nonbioluminescent Anthozoa species Nat Biotech 17: 969-973 Tsien, Roger Y. 1999. Rosy dawn for fluorescent proteins. Nat Biotech 17: 956-7. Jeffrey, S.W., and F.T. Haxo. _____. Photosynthetic pigments of symbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae) from corals and clams. _________: 149- 65.. Shibata, Kazuo. 1969. Pigments, and a UV-absorbing substance in corals and a blue-green alga living in the Great Barrier Reef. Plant & Cell Physiol 10: 325-35. Logan, A., Halcrow, K., and T. Tomascik. 1990. UV excitation fluorescence in polyp tissue of certain scleractinian corals from Barbados and Bermuda. Bulletin of Marine Science 46 (3) 807-813. Wicksten, Mary K. 1989. Why are there bright colors in sessile marine invertebrates? Bulletin of Marine Science 45(2): 519-530 Prota, Giuseppe. 1980. Nitrogenous pigments in marine invertebrates. In: Marine Natural Products: Chemical and Biological perspectives, Vol. III, (Paul J. Scheuer, ed.) Academic Press, New York: 141-80. Mazel, Charles. 1988. Optical magic: Underwater Fluorescence. Sea Frontiers September-Oc ober 274-279. >> Sorry re the mass broadcast... all too common asinine "reply all" problem... and thanks to you for this input... Might I post it on our site? Home Page  Bob Fenner

Sick Coral Hi Bob, I hope you enjoyed your recent trip, glad to have you back. <As always.> I have a couple of questions on my 26 gallon reef tank. I have a trumpet coral that is not well. He fell and I think took a beating in the re-epoxy process. At night it's clear feeder tentacles barely come out from each stalk, and one stalk has turned completely white. (I'm sure this one is dead.) Will each stalk die one by one? Am I in danger of polluting my tank by leaving it in? <Likely not a big pollution possibility (the living portion of these corals is tiny... about one millimeter thick, mainly water. And the animal may turn around... only time...> Secondly I have a large anchor coral that has been slowly receding around it's edges. I read on WWM you recommend to check alkalinity (which I do and keep at around 3 with the use of baking soda, and my calcium is 400) and then to try a malachite green dip (every 3 days if necessary). After I dip the coral how long should it be until I see improvement, if it is going to occur? <Within a few days to a week.> Thirdly, I am thinking of trying a PolyFilter to help control algae (which is out of control). I have a lawnmower blenny, 10 red leg reef hermits, and 4 turbo snails, yet I still have algae everywhere. I realize that this is from my PC lighting, but I need that for my corals! I don't have a sump, can I just place the PolyFilter behind the existing pad filter of my whisper hang-on unit? I'm thinking of buying a large Caulerpa plant (maybe grape) to help also. Will my blenny see this as a buffet? <You can place the Polyfilter as you suggest, and the Caulerpa would be a good idea... and a hearty meal... best placed, yes... in a separate sump/refugium... plan one and institute.> Thanks as always. Brian >> <You're welcome just as often. Bob Fenner>

Mr. Fenner, Thanks for the advice on the Pagoda and I thought I would let you in on the latest. The RTN is over, lost two colt props from that, but have two more and just traded the parents of the props. The Pagoda is actually regenerating. It has three new polyps, two of which extend fully developed polyps. No flesh is growing over the skeleton as of yet, but it was just returned to the display tank last weekend.  Just a dumb question here, but is there anything I can add to the display tank to encourage or enhance the regrowth of the coral? This is the first stony I have had experience with. Thanks again, David Schutte >> Good to hear of the impending recovery, and yes. You can/should add a source of iodine (small doses, daily, and possibly an initial full dose)... that will act as a sanitizer and bolster the colony/animal's metabolism. Bob Fenner

Disease Coral/System? Rescued a dying Pagoda from a bad LFS and it immediately developed what I believe was RTN. It lost all flesh in about 2 weeks time, despite my attempts to stop the progression. Read Eric Borneman's and Jonathan Lowrie's article on Immune Response in Corals. Used the suggested antibiotic and got no effect. The Pagoda was moved from the main tank to a QTank and now appears to be regenerating polyps ( 3 so far ) on the side opposite the last of the RTN outbreak. RTN also attacked my Colt Coral, but I think propping the parent and re-propping the previous props and freshwater dips have saved those. Will this continue to affect the main tank and any other susceptible corals I introduce? Is it safe to return the Pagoda to the main tank? There is no sign of the RTN at this time on any of the new polyps and flesh that is regenerating. Thank You for any information you can offer. >> Yikes... all sounds possible... would attempt eradication of the RTN bacterial cause through half freshwater dips and half dose of malachite for ten minute dips at this point... with a couple of days between re-dipping as the perceived need continues... and otherwise be patient. Only time will tell if this episode will spread, persist in your system. Bob Fenner

Book Hello Bob, I was hoping you could recommend a good book for identifying and caring for corals. I was looking at Corals: A quick reference guide by Julian Sprung. <Nah. Too "light"... for two books only, Fossa and Nilsen, Modern Coral Reef Aquarium, v. 1,2... on general reef keeping, and cnidarians, of course including Corals> Also what do you think of the Uniquarium 12 gallon acrylic "reef ready" aquarium that FFexpress has. <Not much... too small, feeble mechanicals... too much chance of crashing... unless you're really diligent... which I sense you are/can be... and monitor what's going on closely, and daily... by mainly observing your livestock> I put the specifics at the bottom incase you weren't familiar. Would this aquarium be able support some small corals and maybe one percula clown, or fire fish. I also have a seventy five gallon aquarium that was FO before. Do you think I would be better off updating the lighting and keeping corals in it. I would like to continue to keep a fish only aquarium so the 12 gallon would be better, but if you think the 75 would be better then I guess that gives me a reason to buy another bigger aquarium for FO.  <The seventy five conversion is the way to go> Also while snorkeling in Okinawa I have started to notice some fish behavior that doesn't compute with what I have read. I have always read that triggerfish are solitary fish, but every time I see them there is always two of them swimming together. Also I swam across what seemed to be a school of porcupine pufferfish. Are these things common?  <Actually yes... seasonally... some species even gather in quite large associations... for feeding, reproduction, "protection" from predators> In your last e-mail reply you said that there were no rooms at the inn in the Cooks. <Yes, and good news, looks like there is space/accommodation now, and that we're off that way later this month> I'm pretty sure this must be a dive location but I'm not really familiar with all these new islands that I hear about since I started looking into diving. <Hmm, big place... kinda twixt the Society (Fr. Polynesia) Island groups and the Line Islands.... SWCentral Pacific... Use the net for a map?> Also when someone says that they are diving Yuk are they talking about the Yucatan Peninsula <Probably part of Micronesia, as in Truk, Palau... below you and to the right...> If you ever want to come back and dive Okinawa then you have a place to stay for at least the next three years.  <Outstanding... count on seeing us/me> Well thanks for all the help!  Adam * 12 gallon acrylic Uniquarium with built in Wet/Dry filter  * Clear-for-Life tm) Protein Skimmer - specially designed for the Uniquarium, it is placed in the provided chamber at the back of the tank where it is completely out of sight.  * Air Pump (to operate skimmer)  * Power Compact Reef Lighting  * one 9 watt 7100K  * one 27 watt 6700K  * polished reflector  * splash lens  * remote ballast with 6' cord  * separate power cords for dawn and dusk control  * air tubing to connect air pump & skimmer  >> <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

 I have been setting up (successfully so far) a reef tank and am > now adding soft corals. My tank (55 gal) has a "wall" of live rock that > stretches from one end to the other but does not touch the glass at any > point. I am running out of places for the placement of coral on the top of > the rock wall or on the sand substrate. I need to anchor new pieces on the > front face of the rock wall for reasons of space and to achieve an > attractive appearance. > I have read about drilling holes and putting in cable ties or > monofilament, but this seems to be very drastic and would require > disturbing the setup a lot. <Not really too hard or disturbing to do the rock drilling and replacing as it may seem right now... a variable speed drill motor and some larger (even dull) bits, and a few moments is all it takes with most types of live rock... and it works better, and is less toxic than Acrylates or epoxies...> > Can anyone advise me? Is there an underwater glue that will set fast and > is non-toxic? <Some folks really like the gel-type "super glues"... for hard, soft corals, gorgonians... I like the drilling approach better/best> > A related problem is that the coral I purchase comes attached to rocks. So > as I add them the total rock content is increasing and the tank will soon > get crowded. What do people do? Do they discard or give away beautiful > live rock? <Dave... it's time for a new, larger tank... You're ready. Bob Fenner> > Dave Dubnau

New Corals I just received an Elegance, Cat Paw and Cabbage Leather coral from Flying Fish Express. They all look fine. My concern is placement. I am a beginner. We had a pet store install a 75 gal. tank in our office and they were going to service it. (That didn't last long) Now I am trying to learn proper care and maintenance and find it difficult to find information on corals. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Also, I have 2 metal halides and 2 actinics ( I think). I'm worried about replacing them. I've had them for a yr. Is it time to buy new ones? Thanks, Julie Cyrus >> Hmm, lots to say in a short while... First, let me assure you, "help is available" here on the Net in abundance... and elsewhere.  To protect your investment, and peace of mind, I would encourage you to invest the time, money in one or more "standard" reference works about marine/reef aquarium keeping.... if you're very new to the hobby, not technically oriented, do look into John Tullock's "Natural Reef Aquariums"... If you're really going to "get into it", and can stand learning in large doses, take a look at the twin volumes (soon to be more) of Sven Fossa and Alf Nilsen's "The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium". Do place these corals about mid-depth, and far apart from each other... as they do engage in physical competition with each other. Do you have plans to feed these corals? Do you know much about their water circulation requirements, water quality (especially alkalinity, biomineral, pH...) needs? In the short term, I encourage you to seek another company to aid your efforts, help in your reef education (these can likely be found through the "Yellow Pages", calling around other shops, even ringing the local fish society, or marine one if you're in/near a large town... and asking them for a recommendation, outright help. In the meanwhile, please become familiar with the arrangement of information I have placed on the site: Home Page and remember, I am here to help you. Bob Fenner

Coral attaching Hi Bob! I need your advice on how to attach corals to live rock. I have a tree coral that I cant seem to attach to anything. The coral originally was attached to a small rock but it has managed to shed itself from this and is very difficult to work with. I've tried aqua stick. Does this stuff really work? I cant get it to. What about super glue from the hardware store? Is it toxic? What about tying it with fishing line? I decided you would know best before I continue to handle the coral. When I got home tonight the coral had floated into the intake of one of my power heads. Very distressing since my tree coral used to be as large as my face. Whatever you can do to help me. Thank you!!!! Liz Crawford >> The epoxies are not easy to use on softer soft corals, but the "super glues" (especially the more "jelly" types) do... better on a dry (drier) piece of LR, or just base rock... not toxic within a few seconds/setting up. And just to throw in the idea, no place to situate this animal in an empty slot between live rock, where the current won't blow it around? Bob Fenner

CORAL PROBLEM I have live rock with corals (Cladacora arbuscula tube coral, Phyllangia sp. cup coral, and Siderastrea radians star coral) on them and some of the corals are not doing to well. When I first put the live rock in the tank all the corals looked fine, but then some of the corals were changing colors (dark brown to light tan almost white). There are other corals in the tank and they are doing great. I am not having problems with the star coral, but just with the tube and cup corals. I was wondering if I even have the right setup for them. If not what would need to be modified? If anyone could give me information about these corals it would be greatly appreciated. My setup is a 55 gallon aquarium with the following; (2) 150 watt 6500k Iwasaki metal halide bulbs (5 hours a day) (2) 40 watt actinic 03 bulbs (10 hours a day) (1) 70 watt 3200k GE metal halide bulb (10 hours a day) for mangrove tank Filtration in order: (1) sponge filter (5) Mangroves (1) Berlin protein skimmer (1) Wet/dry filter (2) sponge filters (60 pounds) Live rock (1) Iwaki 420 g.p.h pump (sump return) Water quality: Temp. 78-80F Specific gravity 1.022-1.026 pH 8.0-8.4 Alkalinity 9KH Calcium 450mg/L Ammonia 0ppm Nitrite 0ppm Nitrate >5ppm Phosphate <0.03ppm Fish: (1) Blue damselfish with yellow tail (2) Humbug damselfish (1) Yellow tang Adding (1) Regal tang in 3 weeks If this is a good setup for these corals what am I doing wrong? Do I need to feed more or should I feed them at all? Please help. Paul Hirvonen >> Interesting set of observations... and circumstances... some sort of "bleaching event" of "polyp" organisms and a stonies. With what looks like sufficient lighting, conducive water quality, absence of bullies, competitive life... My first candidate as "most likely cause" would involve the question: "What other stinging celled life is "doing well" in this system... as you state? As the root of the condition may well be due to some sorts of chemical, even physical conflicts amongst these "loser" specimens (versus the winners)... But more to the point of speculating "what's wrong"?, what would I do at this point knowing nothing more? A review of water chemistry... very possibly adding something in the way of new/better/different "bio-filters"... like more live rock, some macro-algae, and/or my favorite move: adding an algae/mud filter component in a sump/refugium with continuous light and some Caulerpa...  Alternatively, you might try the general chemical filtrant route, with either High Retention (a brand name of TMC) carbon, or Polyfilter in your filter flow path... and see if there is a positive reaction to removing the phenols, scatols, short-chain fatty acids being produced, released by your other life in the system that I consider may be mal-affecting these animals. Be chatting. Bob Fenner

Goniopora corals bob, I recently bought a Goniopora and am having problems with it sprouting out. I figured it could be a ph problem, what can I do? >> I wish against all wishes, the trade would leave off offering this species (Goniopora stokesii, Flowerpot Coral)... they almost all die within a month of collection... Do I understand that you are having problems by it NOT "sprouting out"? The cause could be pH... you don't mention what your is... It could also be lighting, circulation, alkalinity, a lack of biominerals, other organisms in the tank...  You could and should, investigate a bunch more before devoting funds and the life of new livestock to risk... Read before buying...  At this point, if you'd like, get answers to the above questions, and I'll do my best to help you, and the specimen. Bob Fenner

Re: Goniopora corals bob, thanks for responding so quickly, I really appreciate it. I have a 75 gallon saltwater tank full of clown fish wrasses and coral encrusted live rock. I do realize that I have over populated my tank by have 14 fishes but my lighting is very good. I have both a 20,000k and 6,000 k actinic. my ammonia is low and I have been committed to water changes every week with deionized water. also, I have been adding calcium substitute. I know I should be reading more before buying but in the store this creature looks very attractive. all I pictured was my clown fish swimming in it. it was definitely an impulse buy. the worse type of purchase. also, I bought live rock from Tampa bay saltwater in Florida it seems very good. they have adds in the big fish magazines do you know anything about them? I do not. I am writing from Methuen, Massachusetts, so I hope I am not disturbing you at a busy time. also, anenomes? do they live long? are they hard to maintain? >> Steven, much to say... anemones are not easy to keep... in the wild some have been known to live decades... Your Clownfishes would only make a one way trip into the Goniopora... I do know the folks, at least some of them, who own/operator Tampa Bay. Very nice, competent, honest people who put our a very good product. Bob Fenner

Mr. Fenner, I read your article on large polyp coral yesterday in FAMA. Nice job! I was wondering if it is very smart to have soft, small polyp, and large polyp as in your article in the same system? Every so often my Caryophylliidae family will have a specimen start to "detach" from it's stony base. The polyp will be fine.. it just comes off over a week or two. I even had a Elegance that was totally detached, but still lived for over 6 months on its own. Always fully open and looking great... The only reason it died was it finally got washed under the live rock somewhere, I couldn't locate it to a light source... What would cause the detachment? Thanks again! Steve >> Thanks for writing... a few reasons have been cited for this detachment... Shock, stress in general... maybe some sort of reflex defensive mechanism here, eh? The animal floats off and hopefully lands in some place where it can start biomineralizing again. Or maybe it's a lack of circulation, improper lighting, the presence of some disagreeable types of life (see your comment above, mine below)... Or maybe there is some sort of infectious and/or parasitic infection/infestation at play... Towards the last bit, in the trade a hypotonic dip in a double, triple dose of malachite green really helps... REALLY to save the 30-40% of Caryophyllids usually lost at this stage... ten minutes or so dip is all it takes... have seen this procedure save hobbyists' specimens as well. Mixing hard (large and small polyp) and soft corals... though not touted often in the press... is found throughout the "natural world"... and can be done in captivity with planning... in spacing specimens initially, proper filtration, and maintenance... Should we say more? Bob Fenner

Hello I have a Rose Coral for about 3years and in the past 3weeks it has lost it's color any thoughts? Lorelei >> Hmm, either your lamps (as in lighting) are "getting old" phase shifting/lumen depreciating, and/or something is amiss with your water chemistry (check alkalinity AND calcium concentration) and/or some other organism is working your rose coral woe... A big water change, some lamp replacement, bicarbonate/carbonate addition and maybe a pad of Polyfilter in your filter flow path.... and things might be better. Bob Fenner

I am planning to purchase a branched flower pot for my 55 gal. reef tank. I  was wondering what I needs to successfully maintain it? how much lighting  would it need? and where should it be placed (level) with approx. 65lbs. of  live rock. >> This is not an easy species/genus (Goniopora), though way-too popular in the trade... they live in muddy, high nutrient waters in the wild... in relatively bright lighting... Rather than tell you more, please do consider a more fitting aquarium species... maybe a Euphyllia... I would like to steer you from a likely easy loss. Bob Fenner

Corals are starting to die off. Some of my corals are starting to die off. My tank has been set up for 9  months now. I tested my water and all are within normal limits. Any  suggestions on how to stop the die off before I lose everything. >> Yikes, need more info. How old are your lights? What sort? What types of corals? What do you supplement with? What is your water testing out like... as in real values? What animals are most mal-affected, can you describe what you're seeing?  What are your maintenance practices?  Barring any other action do execute a large (like half) water change, place a unit of carbon or two... depending on the size of your system... in your filter flow path... And get back to me with answers to the above so I can REALLY help. Bob Fenner

I am not sure what is happening? I have a problem with some of my corals. they are a green open brain, an elegance coral, and the other is I believe what is know as a swollen brain. the last is only partial open and will not completely open. The elegance coral was open and completely fine but now will not open at all and the green one has only opened very little once in months it now looks like it may be dying the mouths are open and have a brownish look to them. I have also noticed that the frog spawn and grape are now not opening as fully as they once were. I have done water changes and noticed this makes a difference for a few hours then back the way they were. I have been reading the reef aquarium by Julian sprung and Charles Delbeek, vol two. could this condition be what they refer to rapid tissue necrosis and if so what do I do. also the water condition seems to be everything ok, so is this a bacteria of some kind. also my lighting is a new power compact with 500 white daylight and 500 actinic. any suggestions are greatly appreciated as to treatment. >> Hmm. Well, the condition you mention could be labeled "tissue necrosis"... this is not a cause... a disease per se though. What is at the root of your stony coral decline? Likely a chemical anomaly... and here, probably either an additive "mistake" (too much biomineral at the expense of low alkalinity), or a bad biochemical war going on between other invertebrates... like soft corals or corallimorpharians.... Of note, and another co-factor might be your "new lighting" you mention... How new? What did it replace? Over how much time was if phased in? I would first check your alkalinity... if pH and Calcium are okay... Bob Fenner

LPS & SPS Hello Bob,  I've been researching the various types of Corals and have come across something that I just can't figure out. I'm hoping that you can better explain than my LFS. I keep reading about Large polyp stonies, small polyp stonies, hard corals, and soft corals. What is the difference between LPS, and SPS how can you tell them apart, and what are some examples. How do you differentiate between what is a hard coral and what is a soft coral. I can tell that Acropora is a hard coral, but the elegance and grape bubble types don't look like they are hard at all. Likewise with soft corals there are Anthelia which look soft but the finger leathers which look hard. It obviously must not be whether the coral is in fact hard or soft. Please help me before someone gives me an off the wall reason that are start to believe. Thanks. Also I would like to thank you for the info on Okinawa. My wife and I have decided to move and will be learning how to scuba dive shortly after arriving. I'm sure that my three years scuba diving in Okinawa will help me get a job dealing with marine life. Adam Schrage  >> Good to hear of your moving plans... you won't regret it... The designation of Large, or Small Polyp Stony for the true or stony corals (Order Scleractinia... formerly Madreporaria) is indeed unfortunate... they are all stony corals... having a hard, calcium carbonate based skeleton in which their corallites (polyps) are attached... indeed the skeleton is made by them. But there are families of true/stony corals that have both LP and SP... The designation more or less arose (who can remember these things in retrospect?) as a more or less (I'd say less) useful designation between "easier to keep" (LPS, like Fox Coral Nemanzophyllia, Open Brain. Trachyphyllia) and "harder to keep" SPS (like the Staghorn family, Acroporidae, you mention). Soft corals (the scientific distinction is made by their relegation to a different Order, the Alcyonacea) have a few other discerning characteristics, but definitely lack the stony corals rock hard bases... though as you state, many have substantial internal frameworks made of siliceous and calcareous spicules (looking like hooks, clubs... much of which are used to distinguish the species). If you'd like to see and download a complete run-down of where these animals and the rest of the stinging-celled animal group they're classed with fit together, there is a survey piece (on the phylum Cnidaria) posted at www.wetwebmedia.com Hey, maybe while you're in Okinawa you can make a photographic catalog of all the members you find there! Bob Fenner

Help with brain coral "emergency" Thanks for your help, the brain coral is actually looking the best out of all the corals I brought back. My other question is about a leather coral I brought back on the same trip. It is my first leather and I am kind of nervous. It has not opened up to anywhere near what it was when I bought it. It is on the bottom of my standard 55, my lighting is 333w of VHO. How long should most leather's take to open and would you suggest putting it closer to the light? I was nervous about exposing it to too much light right away. Eventually I would hope to have it near the top of my rock structure. Any suggestions with this one would be appreciated. Thanks, Ehren Crumpler >> I wouldn't move the leather (soft coral, Sarcophyton genus) at this point. The lighting should be fine. Some don't open for a few days after moved. Is there a way to direct current (water movement) to the animal? I would aim a power head in its direction. The lighting is fine. If it starts to look even worse, I would move it out of the present system. Bob Fenner

About six weeks ago I bought a Yellow Scroll/Cup coral (Yellow Turbinaria) from you. It seems to be slowly going downhill. Near the edges, parts of it have receded with algae growing on the skeleton. Other areas seem to be bleaching, leaving the white skeleton. Could you offer any insight into keeping it? My average water parameters are: Temp - 80 PH -8.3 Nitrate - <10 Ca - 380 kH - 8 PO - .2 S.G. 1.023 I have tried moving it, but usually it gets medium to strong water flow, and bright light from 4X55watt PC's and 2X40watt VHO's. I need some help here! Thanks, Andrew >>Glad to help. The genus Turbinaria is one of the most popular of the stony corals used in the hobby, due to their beauty and general hardiness. The most common species imported/sold is T. peltata, but all species have about the same requirements. Moderate to bright lighting, brisk circulation (including some arrangement to "blow off" collected silt on the colony, esp. with "cup" shaped specimens), and some purposeful feeding (a few times of week with small plankton or equivalent prepared food); otherwise they are hermatypic. Your parameters and set-up look fine to me... The recession, algal growth are definitely bad news. I trust your other reef life is okay... If it were mine, and I had another tank to move it to, I would. Something (not to be mysterious here, I just don't know) may not be "right" in the present situation/system. If you have adequate lighting and filtration in a hospital/quarantine tank, I'd give the iodine/simple sugar treatment a try. A teaspoon per ten gallons of dextrose/glucose and five times the usual dose of Iodine (in whatever aquarium-use format), re-add the iodine in a week. Last of chances, if you don't have another system, hospital set-up, I'd leave the specimen be, and hope for the best (i.e. don't move it any more). Bob Fenner>>

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