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FAQs about Trachyphylliid Corals 1

Related Articles: Trachyphylliid Corals, Trachyphyllia Reproduction Report,

Related FAQs:  Open Brain Coral 2, Open Brain Coral 3, Trachyphylliid Identification, Trachyphylliid Behavior, Trachyphylliid Selection, Trachyphylliid Compatibility, Trachyphylliid Feeding, Trachyphylliid Systems, Trachyphylliid Disease, Trachyphylliid Reproduction, Stony Corals, Stonies 2, Stonies 3, LPS Stony Corals, Coral System Set-Up, Coral System Lighting, Stony Coral Identification, Stony Coral Selection, Coral PlacementFoods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, PropagationStony Coral Behavior,

An Open-Brain polyp in captivity.

Open Brain Coral care - 4/18/03 Hi guys, <Hello. Paul here after an intense night of hockey action> Yesterday, I purchased a open brain coral (Green), after reading from WWM found that is quite hardy and suitable for most reef tanks. <Can be, but as you know, any animal no matter how hardy, needs your help. Also, it is a good habit to gain knowledge before purchasing an animal, in my opinion. You are well on your way.> Great site by the way, very knowledgeable and informative website. <We aim to please> I have a slight concern that when my Orange diamond Goby "shift" sands, or sometimes they wiggle their tail, which cause sand to get on top of the open brain coral (Green), should I be worried about that? <Yes you should. Be sure to either blow it of gently with a turkey baster or something similar to that effect. These animals do utilize a slime coating/netting that in some ways aids in feeding and shedding detritus, but I don't think it could move a good amount of sand if it were to get on it.> Or should I try to help by removing the fine live sand? <Help move the sand off with a gentle hand wave or turkey baster> The open brain coral (Green) opened up beautifully today, which is a good sign. <A good sign that it needs food <VBG> Please read through the FAQs on our site regarding care and proper nutrition. Good luck, Pablo>

Attacking my brain! (coral) Trapping bristleworms easy 3/18/03 Hi guys <cheers> Can you please identify what is the stringy white strands that is coming out from the base of my brain corals?  <Pic attached, I took it by manually creating some current to "lift" up the polyps of the corals, and this is the best shot I have out of the dozens I took.  Sorry that it is only a partial shot.> <no worries... it is quite clear. They are mesenterial filaments... they are used defensively when attacked and they contain stinging cells and digestive enzymes> The strands tend to appear at the junction where the polyp meets the external circumference of the skeleton, on the underside of the corals.  Strands tend to "trickle" down to substrate.  This happened periodically among my Scolymia and Cynarina over the last few months , but the brains appear to be acting "normal" polyp expansion/shrinking through the daily cycles.   <something is irritating or attacking it> I have bristleworms disturbing my other specimens of Trachyphyllia, <excess bristleworms indicate a nutrient export problem... you may need better water flow, less food and/or better skimming> but somehow the bristleworms left the Scolymia and Cynarina alone.  Not sure if this white strands are related to the worm incidents? <quite possible> Cynarina is about 10 in diameter (6in skeleton), Scolymia about 6in diameter (3.5in skeleton).  Corals been with me for almost a year, and have shown slight growth (measured by comparing skeleton dimensions). Thanks in advance Ed <you can remove a lot of the worms in just a week by baiting nightly with a tube that has meaty food in the center and loose packed filter floss on either end... the worms enter at night and lodge in the floss. Best regards, Anthony>

Hurtin' brain - 2/25/03 Hi Gang! <Hi there, Paul here>      I have an open brain coral that has some algae on the edges of it's skeleton. <What?>  Can I scrub this off with a soft toothbrush? <Is there flesh there?>  The edges of the skeleton are bare, but the middle still expands.<Ahhhhh. I see. Well, a lite brushing might serve well. Have you checked our FAQs? See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyphyllidfaqs.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyphlliidae.htm Additionally look at this interesting article as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyreproart.htm> It looks a little rough, but I think with some better care, it will be beautiful. <Feed it! Mysids and krill (frozen is fine) and keep the water quality high i.e. water changes> Thanks for any suggestions. <Thank you, and good luck> -Becky

LPS alert 2 - 2/8/03 Thanks for the info, Paul. <It is truly my pleasure, Scott> I just moved the new piece onto the substrate before I checked the email! <Very glad to here that. Abrasions equal doom for most of the Open Brain species> Your right I should've done some homework on this type of coral, but, as you said- it's to cool. < So hard when in store and you see something that is a must have. Just don't want to have to walk away with the possibility of it not being there tomorrow. Even with good intentions though, better to give it the best chance it could have by doing a little research. I applaud the fact that you did find us and seek our assistance. A first step at research and responsibility.> I wasn't gonna buy anything, just went to "check" out the store..& next thing I know I'm taking it outta the store! <Totally understand, and by the way, that is how I ended working here. One step at a time, next thing you know your knowledge is being put to the test for all to see and either benefit from or criticize. Very scary but an honor just the same! Keep researching and learn all you can, Scott. I applaud your efforts> Thanks for the info!! <Any time!>                                                           Scott  

Hermit Shell fell inside of Open Brain coral Anthony and or Crew, <whassup> Sorry about using the old e-mail, but I could not get my browser to work for some reason.   <OK> I have just started to read "Book of Coral Propagation" and both this web site, Bob's, and yours books have been very helpful but I have not found anything about this particular problem.  I just noticed after feeding the fish tonight that a hermit shell is inside of my Rose Brain (Trachyphyllia geoffroyi), <Hmmm... minor correction: a Rose Brain is an illegal Atlantic genus of Manicina... you can a regular Open Brain Coral from Indo likely> I sure hope the coral had a nice meal?   <agreed... but more like an appetizer> The hermit crab probably fell from the rock that is close by into the coral if I take my best guess.  My question is should I go ahead an gently try and remove the shell <yes please... it could hurt this LPS in time> or should I let the coral try and push it out?   <perhaps... try fresh figs> I know Anthony I left the door open on that last part LOL. <took a soft pass at it <G>> I have also attached two pictures for your viewing pleasure. <thanks kindly... it is indeed the deepwater (as red) Open Brain from Indonesia likely> Thanks for your help. be Smiling <will do... I'm gassy> TTFN Sean <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Hermit Shell inside of Rose Brain Thanks Anthony for the reply, I put the gloves on and was able to remove it without any problems.   <did the coral sing "Lone River"? Reminds me of a scene from "Fletch".> You can still tell where the shell was, but everything looks closed up and on the mend. <good to hear> Sorry about the wrong name on the open Brain coral.   <no worries at all... you did use the correct scientific name which is all that matters!> I used Julian Sprung's book "Corals a quick reference Guide" to ID this guy, <understood... and Julian mentions it as a misnomer. Look on the next page at the True Rose coral (Manicina)> It look like a 97% match from the pictures.   <agreed... it is simply a red T. geoffroyi> The LFS recommended the book, nice coffee table picture book, with some very abstract and general info on coral husbandry. <correct... very fine as a quick reference as it was intended. Do consider Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals for a more in depth coverage of corals> So a deep water Open Brain from Indonesia.   <yes... quite common. Keep on san bottom only... and it needs to feed 3-5 times weekly on very finely minced meats or it will die within a year or 2> I can't seem to find a match in Sprung's books.   <you were on the right page the first time bud, for Trachyphyllia. See our coverage here at WetWebMedia on Trachyphyllia too... I have a co-authored article posted here about your coral budding asexually in an aquarium. Very cool> Thanks for the help in correctly IDing this guy.  Everyone who sees the tank always ask what it is, and to think I have been telling them I have a illegal coral.   <again... not correct bud. Your coral is beautiful, very legal, and rather common. Retails for $30-50 across the country. It is the Atlantic Manicina that is protected> I guess there is more to IDing a coral then a pretty picture.  Will continue to search to properly ID the LPS.  Any more clues would be great? Thanks again for your help. TTFN, Sean
<best regards, bud. Anthony>

Has He Lost His Brain? For the last three days my open brain coral hasn't seemed to be opening up very well. It seems like it has started to reseed on one lobe of the coral. Tonight when I got home it had mostly white slime and a little brown slime oozing off of it. The other 5 lobes seem to be opening up a little bit. <Sounds like some form of infection. I wonder if it was brought about by some injury. These corals are often nibbled on by fishes, trampled on by crabs and shrimp, and sometimes have difficulty removing sand that gets into them. All of these things can lead to stress, and further decline> Is there a way to help the coral heal itself? Should I do any dips? <Well, you could try a 1 to 3 minute freshwater dip> Can feeding one lobe of a open brain feed the coral as a whole? <I think that it cannot hurt!> I think what happened is I didn't have it in enough circulation due to a slight change in the rock structure. Ever since I moved the rock around it wasn't happy. I have attached some pictures so you can see the lobe. I hope you can help me save this coral. <Well, moderate water flow is desirable for these corals...Too much flow can damage the tissue and interfere with their natural feeding processes. I'd try to increase the feeding and see if this brings about a recovery. Also, make sure that there are not tankmates "sampling" the coral...Once injured, these corals are almost "irresistible" to predators. Keep a close eye on your specimen. If you have further concerns, let us know. I'm sure that Anthony might have some more ideas if the coral does not seem to be improving. Good luck!> Thanks, Ian Roff
<And thanks for stopping by, Ian! Regards, Scott F.>

Red Open Brain being eaten Guys, My reef tank is just shy of a year old.  It is loaded with small gray shrimp-like crustaceans.  I call them "critters". About three weeks ago some of these damned critters decided that my Red Open Brain was an all night smorgasbord. They have eaten the red colored outer flesh down to the skeleton on a section that is now fully 3/8" wide.  I am angry beyond words.  I had an Eiblii Angel do the same thing, but I simply removed him from the tank. I can't remove hundreds upon hundreds of critters.  I even purchased a Mandarin Goby about a month ago to help control the critters, but he can't eat all of them. The Red Open Brain, along with my three other LPS's, all eat 4 times per week (clam, squid, shrimp, krill). Before I lose this coral, what do I need to try? <Time to "raise the bar". Will your system, other livestock tolerate a small wrasse species? Please read through www.WetWebMedia.com marine section re Pseudocheilinus choices: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudocheilinus.htm Bob Fenner> NOTE:  The brain is located on the substrate right in the middle of the tank. Sincerely, Mark Schwartz

Red Open Brain being eaten Anthony, if the coral were dying for another reason, wouldn't the flesh look necrotic in some way? <not at all... if the coral was merely suffering from attrition there would be no pathogenic species to create a necrotic symptom> My lighting is PC fluorescent.   <if that means normal output... OK. Low light for most coral, but fine for the brain if the tank is less than 20" deep> I feed all four LPS corals four times per week.   <excellent! Finely minced I hope (nothing bigger than 1/4"? Else a tear is inevitable like with anemones)> They all eat every time. (One red brain, one green brain, one tongue, and one Favia brain).  Oh yeah, I also want a red lobo and a Favites brain.  I like brain corals :-) The Favia is well off by himself  (10 inches to the nearest coral -- the tongue, plus, the Favia is up on a rock, while the brains and the tongue are on the substrate). <all good> The red brain is downstream from a tongue coral (6 inches separation).  The tongue has been in the tank the longest (10+ months).  It has also clearly grown (in width, anyway). Chemical warfare from the tongue against the red brain? <possible... but not so severe as to be primary. Bigger concerns would be a weak water change schedule (less than 25% monthly), poor skimmer performance, lack of chemical media (monthly carbon or better), aged lamps (over 6 months old)> Sincerely, Mark Schwartz <Anthony>

Red Open Brain being eaten? Not by amphipods Mr. Fenner, <Anthony Calfo with the follow-up> The tank also counts among its inhabitants a 6 line wrasse.  He has been there about 10 weeks. I have 13 fish total, all quite small, all about 1.75 - 2 inches in length, except for the Mandarin, who is maybe 3 inches, and two (Ptereleotris zebra) bar gobies who are about 2.5 inches long. 7 damsels, 2 clowns, 3 gobies, 1 wrasse. I have room for more.   <OK> If you have a "critter eradicator" of choice you would like to see me try, please let me know. <A Pseudochromis would work very well> This coral has suffered enough.  It is a beautiful pink/red color, which is why it occupies the center position in my tank.  I'll be damned if I'm going to lose it to a bunch of micro-shrimp. <you are very mistaken here Mark. The shrimp (amphipods) are not carnivorous.. they are merely scavenging the dead and dying tissue... and they are of tremendous benefit to the tank. People set up refugiums to culture as many of these micro-crustaceans as possible, and there are businesses dedicated to farming and selling these creatures to aquarists! Your brain is dying for another reason and they are just doing their job. Common causes of death with red open brains include excess light (metal halides over this VERY deep water coral... sometimes found at 80')... also feeding with chunks of food that are too large and cause an internal tear (krill, chunk shrimp, etc)... or a complete lack of feeding (this coral is one of the most food dependant requiring feeding of 3-5 times weekly, and some need daily. Dude... consider these possibilities and please enjoy or ignore the natural plankton that you have been blessed with. They are partly food for your other corals at night!> Thank you for your assistance. Sincerely, Mark Schwartz <best regards, Anthony>

Flame angel and Trachyphyllia Dear WWM Cheers, my friend> In the new year I am thinking of trying a Trachyphyllia brain coral. <very fine, hardy, low light, sand-dwelling (free-living- never place on rock), feed 3-5 times weekly minimum with minced meaty foods... long-lived> I have one that has been reserved at my LFS for 2 weeks. I am going to pick it up in the new year. However I have a flame angel in my tank. He has been resident for about 5-6 months in my tank <hmmm... I see. Very good to hear about the hold on the livestock. Goes a long way for acclimatization into captivity (rather that frequent moves on import)>> I have read that a few other reef keepers have had trouble with this species nipping Trachyphyllia. I also currently have pulsing Xenia, Favia and Caulastrea (candy cane) coral in there. <yes... all are somewhat at risk of dwarf angels in general> These have all been left alone by my flame. Is there a chance he will nip my Trachyphyllia? <no guarantee, alas> Also I might like to add that I feed my angel on granular food in the mornings. <A Very concentrated source of food... good to hear> Its called tetra prima granules (red granules). if you need to wean marine fish onto dried food, this stuff is really excellent (if you guys get it in the USA). <agreed! An excellent staple and color enhancer. I believe that this product has gone through a marketing evolution of changed names over the years. First it was called Discus bits, then color bits... now prima? Perhaps I'm mistaken. Still... Tetra makes some very good dry foods. Thanks for sharing the tip!> Here's a pic of the tank by the way. Cheers for all your help. Regards, Jim <Happy holidays :) Be chatting soon. Anthony>

Trachyphyllia Dear all, I am thinking of purchasing a Trachyphyllia brain coral in the new year. I will have installed a calcium reactor by this point to make sure alkalinity and calcium are at decent levels. I have a few concerns about this coral that you may be able to answer. My stock is the following: 2 Trumpet corals 1 Favia 1 Euphyllia Various leathers yellow polyps green star polyps Mushrooms 1 colony of pulsing xenia My lighting is 3 marine arcadia whites (9000K) and 1 actinic blue. All with reflectors. Water quality is up to snuff, with regular skimming, carbon use and Rowaphos. Can you tell me if the lighting is ok, and give me an idea on this corals placement in the aquarium. My LFS says to place it on the bottom with very low to no flow. Also how often do I need to feed it? I feed currently with red plankton, shredded mussel, and Mysis shrimp to all my stonies. Your comments are appreciated. <The care for Trachyphyllia is going to be similar to your other stony corals. If these are doing well for you, the Open Brain likely will too. Please do place this coral on the sand. Your LFS is absolutely right about this. I would go as far to say to not purchase one that you see sitting upon rock. -Steven Pro>

Open brain coral that will not open... HI- I have  a 72 gallon reef/fish aquarium with several healthy corals and fish.  To name a few I have tangs, gobies, chromes, a pair of clowns, an anemone, finger leather, flame mushrooms, star polyps, yellow leather, etc.  All are healthy and doing well.  My nitrate and ammonia levels are good, the temp is 78, the salinity is 23....I have live rock, live sand, and a good sump and separate 55 gallon refugium.  My concern is my open brain that I added bout 10 days ago- it was open and healthy in the store but will not open in my tank.  I have tried moving it, feeding it directly, etc with no success.  Any ideas?? <water flow that is too strong or rather simply directed upon it in laminar (one directional fashion is very irritating). Else a simple acclimation to new lighting. This is a sand dwelling creature... and I assume that you have placed it on the sand bottom. If it is on rock, it will likely die from an infection due to abraded tissue from unnatural polyps cycles in contact with hard live rock. Must be kept on sand. Best regards, Anthony>

Open brain coral that will not open... Hmmm- ok- it was in the sand but when bought it from the store it was on rock - I had moved it to a rock in the tank but I will try moving it to a sand spot with less current- how long does it usually takes to adjust? <that depends on if damage was done by the LFS keeping it on the sand or not. Since you have this animal appropriately on the sand already... Please do not move it (moving new/stressed coral often kills them when they could otherwise adapt) unless you must. Really... unless you have a powerhead blasting right at it, I'd advise you to leave it be. It may take a couple weeks to adapt. Do feed as soon as possible. Juice in the tank first (small amount to coax feeding tentacles to come out as if it were nighttime) and then 15-20 minutes later finely minced food. Best regards, Anthony>

Question (Bailing out Trachyphyllia) Ha! I get to ask a question posed me today by a local maintenance professional I couldn't answer. Ever hear of a Trachyphyllia Red Open Brain detaching from the skeleton and living free-floating for 6 mos. ? <Have heard of such a thing... does kind of make sense (like coral polyp bailout period) in the scheme of time/space, saving ones skin... getting "out" in bad situations... hopefully to end up some place more favorable. Bob F> Has been in tank 2 years. Craig

Red Open Brain Anthony (or WWM reefer), <Steven this morning. Anthony is a little busy and getting behind, so I am helping with some of his email.> I was reading the daily FAQ on WWM and came across an answer from Anthony that has caused me some distress. This is in regards to the "Hammer Coral with Spots!" answer. I have attached this post at the bottom. I was hoping you could set my mind at ease, or at least point me in the right direction. My concern is with the LPS polyp extensions. I have a red open brain in a 20 gal high tank with 2x65w PC's (one daylight and one actinic). I've had this coral for 8 months now and have always seen the polyps extend greatly during the light cycle (Usually 3 to 4 times its nocturnal size). I feed him 3 times a week with a home mixture of shredded jumbo shrimp, Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp. This is soaked in Zoe for 24 hours before feeding. I keep the pieces small (usually smaller than 1/8 inch) and have not seen any regurgitation of large pieces of food. Does my feeding schedule and light seem appropriate to you? <It all seems fine to me.> I realize that the brain is a different species than a Hammer, but does your advice/experience for the Hammer work for both? <The care for many LPS coral is similar.> I'm concerned that I may be leading this beautiful creature to a slow death. Tank info: 20 gal high 2x65PC's CPR Bak-Pak skimmer 2- maxi-jet 400's for circulation Emperor 280 HOB filter (more circulation and occasional carbon use) 30 lbs LR 50 lbs LS Corals: 1 - Red open brain colony of blue mushrooms colony of pulsing Xenia Fish 1 - Royal Gramma 1 - yellow watchman goby assorted hermits and a peppermint shrimp. Tank parameters: Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 5ppm Phosphate - undetectable with Salifert kit Calcium - 400ppm Alk - 3.2 meq/l Thank you in advance for any help. Regards, Mike Spaeth <Everything above seem good to me. If you are concerned that your Open Brain is panning for more light, do compare photos of healthy ones to yours or send us a digital image. No zipped pictures and nothing too large, 400 KB or under please. -Steven Pro>

Open Brain coloring Hi all, I purchased a red open brain about 2 weeks ago. I have it sitting about 12 inches from the water surface, under 2 36 watt pc bulbs, 1 6500 k and 1 blue. I feed it every other day with finely cut shrimp.  <all excellent husbandry for this species. Kudos to you for doing your homework my friend> I know that the coral needs time to adjust to the different light and water quality, and may change in appearance.  <agreed> Here is my concern. Over the past few days the red has been fading. It has green stripes that are incandescent on him that seem the same as when I purchased him, maybe even getting more numerous. Just looking for your collective wisdom. Should I be worried or wait it out and see what happens. <although a paling color is not a favorable change... I'd wait it out. You may be looking at the result of shipping duress. Have faith in the place and care you have provided and please do not move this coral under any reasonable circumstance. Simply give it several weeks to adjust.> Thanks Jon <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Open Brain coloring Thanks, You guys rock!!! <live rock...coast to coast...San Diego, CA to MA. Keep on rockin' in the free world... rock on my brother... Rock of Ages (Ok... I think I'm done now). Kindly, Anthony>

Feeding of Trachyphyllia radiata  Gentlemen, <cheers> I purchased a Trachyphyllia radiata two days ago. My question concerns feeding. I have a red open brain that clearly exhibits feeding tentacles at night,  <the deeper water variety... green is more shallow water. T. radiata and T. geoffroyi are now synonymous species> which is when I feed it (at least twice a week -- chopped clams and/or shrimp).  <almost certainly not enough food for the coral to live 5+ years (although likely enough for a couple of years. 3-5 times weekly if not daily for most> The Trachyphyllia radiata is *much* larger during the day than at night.  <it is more effectively photosynthetic (by variety not by virtue of its size)> In fact, I am amazed that the amount of 'flesh' that is exhibited by day can be successfully withdrawn into its skeleton at night. It's only been two days, but I have not seen any feeder tentacles.  <much more time is needed for many corals to acclimate to new light and water quality... be patient> At a LFS, they have an Elegance coral that must be fed by day, as it closes up at night.  <all such corals can be enticed to feed most anytime with the right food/attractant> Is the Trachyphyllia radiata the same way, i.e.,  <nit by nature at all. All of these LPS feed on zooplankton by night> I must feed it during the day while it is 'fleshy', or will it normally display feeding tentacles nocturnally, like my red open brain. <only the feeding tentacles will effectively sting and draw organismal matter. Careful not to feed large chunks of food either... very finely minced is critical else the coral will draw it in but regurgitate it later and still starve> I am anxious to make sure this specimen feeds on a good meal of clam or shrimp. <more variety in the diet too please: frozen Gammarus, mysids and Pacifica plankton for starters> Also, the clerk who sold me the Trachyphyllia radiata said that he uses a technique in his reef tank that consists of taking freeze dried shrimp pellets and soaking them in Selcon or Vita-Chem, and feeding these to his corals.  <OK> Once fully saturated, they sink quite easily and stay in place quite well. I just haven't had any luck getting the Trachyphyllia radiata to take these or finely chopped clams. I was just wondering about your thoughts on vitamin soaked freeze dried <whatever> as a food adjunct to go along with finely chopped clams, shrimp, squid, etc. FD foods are strange fare to offer and the risk of air trapping is mild but worth mentioning. Soaking the food in Selcon is an excellent idea though. Rely on thawed frozen meats of marine origin> Sincerely, Mark Schwartz <best regards, Anthony PS: if it interests you... see the following article on Trach reproduction http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyreproart.htm>

T. radiata brain coral Anthony, <cheers!> The other day I wrote in regarding my new T. radiata. I have been watching it at night, and I have noticed fine hair-like tentacles (?) coming out from it. At first I thought it was stringy feces, but I see it every night. <perhaps simply sweeper tentacles... released when stimulated by another coral nearby (guaranteed for those within say 6")> Last night I placed some finely chopped clams onto the "strings". They grabbed and pulled in the clam, but it remained tethered to the side of the coral -- it never actually tried to eat any of the clam. <hmmm... supports the sweeper (defensive not feeding) tentacle idea> I have had my red open brain for about 5 months, and I know what it's tentacles look like. I also have a tongue (plate) coral, and I know what it's tentacles look like. <understood... they are conspicuous> (Side note -- I will up my feeding frequency to 3 days per week, minimum. In your opinion, is squid any good as a food source?  <squid is reasonable... but do include crustacea in the diet... more natural/necessary as like substitutes for zooplankton: Gammarus, mysids, Pacifica plankton, shredded krill, etc)> I can get frozen clams, shrimp, and squid quite easily. My only concern is that squid can be, or actually is, rubbery.) <no worries here... protein> Exactly what should I be looking for, feeding tentacle wise, with my T. radiata? If those stringy, hair-like 'things' are tentacles, how do you recommend feeding it? They look awfully delicate. <watch your hands too... if one of those modified tentacles finds a small wound (hangnail, paper cut, etc) it will light you up like a Christmas tree. Small risk of anaphylactic shock from repetitive hits> Sincerely, Mark Schwartz <kindly, Anthony>

Re: T. radiata brain coral Anthony, I don't suppose you broke into my home and looked at my tank? :-) <yep... you are almost out of milk and there's no more minced garlic in the fridge, by the way> I noticed that as soon as the lights went off, two things happened: 1) My red open brain shrank back into it's skeleton. 2) Those long tentacles (of the T. radiata) were reaching and touching the open brain. They were spaced about 5" apart. <just familiar/experienced... The essence of an educated guess I suppose :)> I moved the red open brain out of range this morning. <very fine, my friend> You guys don't miss much -- which is good -- because I am quite sure that I have a few more mistakes left in me! <no problem... we can talk for hours> Anyway, are the feeder, not sweeper, tentacles of T. radiata similar to those of T. geoffroyi? <the two Types that you refer to are now classified as synonymous. The genus Trachyphyllia is monotypic... one representative: T. geoffroyi As you have noticed, though... two members of the (now) same species do not necessarily tolerate each other. In fact, most corals are not tolerant of a member from another colony> What should I be looking for? Appearance? Location? <just a matter of acclimation and time before it too puts out feeder tentacles. Acclimation to new light and water flow> I acquired a small eye dropper with which I can target feed Mysis shrimp and Sweetwater zooplankton. <very cool... remember to thaw food in saltwater and to feed from a distance (bursts of water scare some corals in)> Thanks a bunch. Sincerely, Mark Schwartz <best regards, Anthony>

Green Open Brain Starving Hello there, My green open brain coral that I have had for about 3.5 months has taken a drastic turn for the worse. Up until about 2 weeks ago it was opening up and looking real good. As of tonight, it looks as though I can see the skeleton all the way around it.  <this is a very common symptom with unfed brains... although they have symbiotic algae, they are one of the "hungriest" corals (they regular feeding several times weekly with VERY finely minced meats of marine origin) just to survive, let alone grow. Try mysids, pacific plankton or shred your own meats. They must be less than 1/4" in size (very fine)> My water checks good, ph@8.1, dKH@8.6, ca@400, specific gravity 1.025. My iodine level is at 0.06. <that pH needs to be higher if that is a daytime reading (drops even lower at night)> I looked all around the outside and didn't see any signs of gel or something that might be drilling into it. It is sitting about 1/3 of the way up in the tank, under 2 10000k metal halides (175w), and 2 40w florescent actinics. Don't know what's going on!!!! <although green open brains are higher light loving than red open brains (deep water), they are still a low to mid light coral. Still... yours has probably acclimated and if no paling or bleaching has occurred, please leave it where it is... a move right now might kill it (change in light: bad)> Any advice will certainly be appreciated. Thanks, Charlie Ehlers PS I started feeding it frozen Mysid shrimp at about the same time. It seemed to take the shrimp well. I only fed it 3 times in a period of 2-3 weeks. Did I feed to much? <there is the problem my friend. Not enough feeding by far. In a lower light aquarium, 3 times weekly might still not be enough food for this animal to survive (reach its compensation point). More feeding! Anthony>

Brain not Functioning I have been keeping deep water LPS corals for the past year. I recently purchased a green open brain. During the past week he is opening less and less. Also I have yet to see his sweeper tentacles. What do they look like? (like a Bubble Coral) <Yes, very similar.> System specs. Temp 78 no trace ammonia, nitrite or nitrate Calcium 420 200 watts Smartlight 55 gal tank, 20 gal sump, 10 gal Refugium ph 8.4 @ mid-day using Poly-Filter for the past few days to a week <All looks good. Do be sure to feed this coral. Frozen Mysis shrimp, plankton, or Seawater Zooplankton would all be appropriate. About three times per week.> Thanks, Jeremy p.s. do green brittle stars eat amphipods? <I would think they would be a little small for this predatory starfish. -Steven Pro>

Brain Coral Dear Bob, Steve or Anthony, <Steven this evening.> I have what a local dealer called "Wellsophyllia". Is this species kept the same as Lobophyllia? <No, you should be able to find your animal under the name Trachyphyllia radiata or T. geoffroyi.> What is the difference? I don't see it in any of my books. <Wellsophyllia is no longer a valid name and some people argue the same thing for the species name radiata. That maybe why you cannot find it.> I currently have it midway up in my tank laying flat on some live rock. Must they be in the substrate or is this ok? <No, much better/safer on the sand.> I have 275 watts of PC lighting in a 50 gal reef. Thanks for any advice, Mario <You can find excellent care instructions in "Book of Coral Propagation" by Anthony Calfo. Also in Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" and Delbeek & Sprung's first book. In general, keep on sand, feed several times weekly, moderate lighting, similar to many LPS's. -Steven Pro>

Brain Corals/Borneman's Book Steve, Thanks for the quick advice on Trachyphyllia.  <Anthony Calfo with the follow-up my friend> I have Sprung's Vol.1 and Vol 2. Is Aquarium Corals a later copyright ? <yes... much later: 2001> Thanks, Mario <kind regards, Anthony>

Re: Devils hand/devils finger *update* The brain has left it's skeleton and is almost double in size. This should rack your brain. <symptomatically it is no surprise to me on this point. Your brain <G> is under duress... and LPS corals in particular when severally stressed will often expand markedly which some aquarists mistake as a positive sign ("happy" or growth). It is in fact generally a sign of an animal panning/struggling for light (by spreading tissue and zooxanthellae out in an effort to catch more of the inadequate or waning light from deteriorating water clarity <yellowing agents from lack of carbon/water changes> or the bulbs) or lacking food (T. geoffroyi uses a mucosal net strategy for feeding which involves such ballooning). Now why, your coral has done all of this is another matter <smile>. Again... time will tell. Things will get better or worse soon <G>. Best regards, Anthony>

Feeding of open brain coral (Trachyphyllia) Hello, <Cheers, Anthony Calfo in your service> I purchased a nice green open brain coral this past Saturday. In going over the archives, I saw a recommendation by Mr. Fenner that they be expressly fed a few times per month.  <not correct... reread, my friend. He suggests twice weekly/8 times monthly: "Foods/Feeding/Nutrition: I suggest no more than twice weekly feedings of Open Brain Corals... other authors/aquarists only advise one or two times a month. Meaty foods (fish flesh, crustaceans, shellfish) or chunky size can be placed at night right on the animals tentacles. Still other writers and hobbyists apply or rely on their systems, refugiums to produce sufficient planktonic food for their Open Brains... I encourage you to expressly feed yours."> I purchased a package of frozen chopped clams. Last night, around 10:00 PM, I cut off a piece of the chopped clams, defrosted it in a Dixie cup of water from my tanks sump, and drained it through a stainless steel strainer (used exclusively for my tanks). I then gently placed the chopped clam onto the brain coral, over where the tentacles are. The clam stayed put for about three minutes before water currents finally carried it away to the bottom -- where about five or six Nassarius snails had a banquet! <first of all...make sure all food is finely chopped... LPS coral will often regurgitate large chunks of meat in the night and die of attrition much to their keepers surprise who thought they were feeding well. Secondly, simply add a tiny bit of meaty juice fifteen minutes before feeding to get feeding tentacles to come out so that the brain can sting and draw food later> The tentacles were not open when I fed it. I have noticed that the tentacles are open during the day. They come out within minutes of my turning on the lights in the morning. If they do open at night, it may be at some ungodly hour when I am not awake. I do not believe that I can feed the brain coral during the day because if I do, the fish will undoubtedly go after the clams. <fine... use the juice feeding trick just prior to the organismal feeding> The coral is not on the substrate. I have it placed in a section of my Marshall Island rock about 4-5 inches above the substrate.  <wow... most likely a very bad place. Unnatural, risks to soft tissue from daily polyp cycles and the animal also derives necessary nutrition from the microclimate on the substrate. Please place the skeleton in the sand as it no doubt occurred naturally> It is facing straight up. I placed it there to make sure that it was getting good lighting. The tank it came from at my LFS was much shallower than my tank. Did I do something wrong? Any advice on how to best go about feeding my open brain coral the frozen chopped clams?  <please do feed a better variety of meats than just clams> My plan is to feed the brain coral once per week. <I believe the coral will starve to death in time on this schedule... Twice weekly feeding minimum IMO> Your help is, as always, greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Mark Schwartz <best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Re: Feeding of open brain coral (Trachyphyllia) Anthony, Thanks for the reply. I tried again tonight and -- success!! <excellent!> It ate. I'm psyched! After it took in all the clams, there were more tentacles out than I have ever seen. It was pretty wild. <and so beautiful in a whole new dimension that many folks rarely see> I will place the clam on the substrate tomorrow morning. I will also be sure to feed twice per week, and I will make it a point to purchase other food items, chopped squid, etc. <yes...variety is the spice of life> Thank you *very* much for your assistance. <my pleasure> It's rather hard to believe that feeding a 5 inch wide green lump some clams could make me happy!? <your modesty is enviable> Sincerely, Mark Schwartz <best regards, Anthony>

Ecosystem 40m filter and water quality Dear Whomever is filling in, <Howdy> I have a 29g tank with 20# of LR, two 175gph power heads and an Ecosystem 40m, utilizing 5# of Miracle mud and some proliferate and racemosa Caulerpa. The tank is about 3 mo old now and I have 1- 3" yellow tang, 1-percula, a sand sifting star, a couple of turbo snails, and some button polyps. about 3 weeks ago, I tried putting in a Trachyphyllia (green open brain). A few days later, the coral developed a small, blackish green spot, one at a time, under the translucent tissue. It festered out to the very edge of the coral and turns the tip black with some green algae protruding. As time goes on more become visible elsewhere. I cycle my 65watt smart light on for a 10 hr period and my water quality is usually as follows: nitrate - 12ppm, Phosp - 3 ppm, <As in three parts per million? Not 0.3, 0.03? This is way too much>  Ca. - 450 mg/d pH - 8.4 SG - 1.035 temp - 76 F. Salt brand is Instant Ocean. I do a water change every two weeks. Wheeeew!!!! Now that I have that out of the way. I know that most who have used the Ecosystem filter have had pleasant results. I think my numbers are a little high though. They claim that you do not need a protein skimmer. I am a little skeptical. <The owner of EcoSystem, Leng Sy and I were diving for a week together last month in Australia... we're friends as well as associates in the same trade... we have gone over this issue. I will cc him here. IMO/E skimmers are a good idea to use in conjunction with these products/approaches for some time, in many cases... I would/do use them> Do you have any ideas on what could be happening to the Brain Coral? <Yes... could be just color/looks "adjustment" to your (different) growing/living conditions (than the wild) and no big deal. Could be a result of exposure to too much nutrient... and a problem.> Considering I use Semiconductor Grade D.I. water from my work, I am shocked that my phosphates are that high. How do you rate the Ecosystem filter? Do you think I need a skimmer? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mudfiltrfaqs.htm and where the links lead you. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Jeff Seely

Re: Ecosystem 40m filter and water quality Dr. Fenner, <Anthony Calfo with the follow up, my friend> Thanks for the reply. Yeah, the phosphates were 3.0 PPM. I bought some of that filter pad with phosphate removing resins and put them in after the mud chamber and now I test @ about 1.0 PPM. Still way too high, but decreasing. <indeed> I have always fed the tank sparingly, once a day, with Nutrafin Marine Complete. also 5 ml. of phytoplankton weekly. <do you have corals/inverts that actually eat it? Gorgonians, Nephtheids, bivalves? Else this could easily be contributing to your phosphate dilemma. Many/most popular corals prefer zooplankton rather than phytoplankton despite the marketing craze!> We have nearly perfect 17.8 M? de-ionized water, at the plant, that I use for top-off and changes. I think you are probably right about too much nutrient. I do have some green algae growth in the sand, during the tank's lit period but gets removed in the nighttime. The Smartlight's lamp is only 3mo. old. Attached is a picture of the brain and some of the visible green algae. Does it look like excessive nutrients?

<wow... this brain is bleached (as in, "has expelled a lot of its resident and necessary zooxanthellae). They bleach for many reasons. Temperature shock, excessive light, etc. Has it been fed very fine meaty foods (not chunks which get regurgitated at night) weekly at least of not daily? This is a very hungry coral that needs regular feedings...perhaps the reason for the state of duress if not. As far as your question is concerned... yes, excessive phosphates can be quite harmful to coral such as this by interrupting calcification... but would not cause the color change necessarily> Is there something I can do for that brain coral? <if the lights are not too bright, it simply needs regular foods and many months to recover> I did have a chance to read the mud FAQs (some really good discussions!). What would be your favorite hang-on skimmer for this type of application? <I don't personally rate many hang-on skimmers very highly, but have heard excellent feedback from aquarists about Aqua C models> Thank you very much for your help. jS. <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Ecosystem 40m filter and water quality (Note: Add image) Dr. Fenner, <Just Bob please> Thanks for the reply. Yeah, the phosphates were 3.0 PPM. I bought some of that filter pad with phosphate removing resins and put them in after the mud chamber and now I test @ about 1.0 PPM. Still way too high, but decreasing. <Yes> I have always fed the tank sparingly, once a day, with Nutrafin Marine Complete. also 5 ml. of phytoplankton weekly. We have nearly perfect 17.8 M?  <Is this a measure of conductivity, like micro-Siemens?> de-ionized water, at the plant, that I use for top off and changes. I think you are probably right about too much nutrient. I do have some green algae growth in the sand, during the tank's lit period but gets removed in the nighttime. The Smartlight's lamp is only 3mo. old. Attached is a picture of the brain and some of the visible green algae. Does it look like excessive nutrients? <Don't see the pix, attachment> Is there something I can do for that brain coral? <You are doing it> I did have a chance to read the mud FAQs (some really good discussions!). What would be your favorite hang-on skimmer for this type of application? <This is posted on the WetWebMedia.com site under "Skimmer Selection"> Thank you very much for your help. jS. <You are welcome. Bob Fenner><Ah, did see it. Yes to the green algae growing apparently on its margins. Nutrient, health-related. Reduce the "fertilizer" and all should clear up over time. Bob Fenner>

Trachyphyllia geoffroyi in Distress Bob, <Steven Pro this evening.> We've had a Trachyphyllia Geoffroyi for about 5 months now. Up until a couple of weeks ago, it was doing great. Over the past couple of weeks, it's been expanding less and less. At this point, when the lights are on it's very shriveled up. Everything else in the tank is doing fine. We've been putting phytoplankton in the tank, but haven't been specifically feeding the Trachyphyllia until the past couple of days. It's been expanding its feeders further at night, so we thought it was possibly just hungry. We've been defrosting frozen reef cubes (a mixture of different shell fish) and placing it right on the feeders, but it's only taken the food twice. The rest of the time, it eventually floats off or the shrimp come and get it. We've also tried moving it up off the sand and closer to the lights, but nothing seems to be helping. It's reached the point where are tangs and damsels are starting to pick at it. Is there something else we could be doing for it? <It sounds like a nutrition/feeding problem. This coral does not eat phytoplankton nor will it like big cubes of frozen foods. Try feeding defrosted, frozen Mysis shrimp and/or plankton nightly. Also, you may want to soak this food while defrosting in Selcon and Vita-Chem. Lastly, if this coral appears to die, leave it in your tank for up to two months. I cannot go into details until Anthony & I finish our article. -Steven Pro> Thank so much for any help you can provide. Kathy Fielder

Re: Trachyphyllia Geoffroyi in Distress Did Anthony mention this to you? We are keeping it kind of secret. I made a big discovery, anthocauli production in a "dead" Trachyphyllia one month after "death". I have photos and we worked up an article for publication. Every other source we could find says this only occurs in the Fungiids. When we are finished, we will send to you for review, editing, and possibly forwarding to your contacts at FAMA. <Sounds great... and Steve, you (all) don't "need" my assistance in editing, forwarding to editors... am glad to help in anyway I can though. Bob F, who hopes to see your materials also running on our sites... AND you referring people to the articles, accumulated FAQs there more.> Thanks, Steven Pro

Closed Brain Corals Hello Robert, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I must first say that your book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" has been a great help in setting up my first saltwater tank.  <his intent indeed> After reading it I had very few questions concerning the hobby. I'm in the midst of setting up the tank and I'm researching livestock.  <and you will succeed if you always research, before buying livestock... this mailbox is dominated by well-intended folks who should have taken this advice <smile>> I'm mostly going with a few fish (two pairs of ocellaris clownfish) but I've always been fond of closed brain corals (Favia sp.) and would like to get one to add to the tank. My big question is, what sort of lighting and water flow is required to keep such a coral and is this a good coral for a beginner?  <really not a beginner coral, although not impossible either. A great many need very to extremely high light (like metal halide, or VHO on shallow tanks) Currently, my tank is in the process of being plumbed but this is what it will be: 55 Gallon All-Glass w/overflow Custom Sealife 2x65w Power Compact 10000K 20 gallon acrylic sump Precision Marine Bullet-1 Skimmer 4.5" deep sand bed 65lb live rock Am I nuts here or will this be okay? <it will be tough with those light s to keep the most colorful (high light) species. If you pick a specimen that is dominantly brown in color and keep it within the top 10" of the tank, you will likely be OK> Thanks in advance for your reply. Tony Dellett <keep reading and learning, my friend. Anthony>

Re: Closed Brain Corals Forget sunglasses...you'll need a space suit! Thanks for your quick response, it spurred me on to purchase a dual 400W Metal Halide/dual 110W VHO hood.  <whoa! my friend...stop the presses! There is bright light, and then there is boiling water! Do halt the purchase if you can at this point. By any definition, 2-400 watt halides is harmful to almost any photosynthetic invertebrate that you will find in the trade. Although a Ritteri anemone and a Goniastrea brain coral may very well tolerate it... very few other symbiotic cnidarians will be able to survive in a 55 gallon tank with that kind of lighting. The other problems and complications that you will have from it are too great to list here. And the point is moot. My friend, you are an ambitious shopper OR you got some seriously bad advice from any clerk willing to sell you over 1000 watts of high intensity light for a 55 gall. You really need to choose your animals first (by exact species!) before you go and by lighting for "unknown" species needs. Now, having put the cart before the horse, so to speak, you will be forced to pick your animals to suit your light bulbs?!? For the record...bright/above average lighting for a 55gall would be 4-6 110 watt VHOs or 2-175 watt MH bulbs. Any higher wattage MH is dangerous/harmful to your charges> I suppose with this strong lighting I will have more options as to coloration and placement of the corals? <quite the opposite my friend.. do research/reference the species of photosynthetic invertebrates that you'd like to keep and let's size up their lighting needs in accordance with known husbandry...not a salesperson's need for commission or your enthusiasm to blow cash...hehe. Kindly, Anthony> Thanks, Tony Dellett

Re: Closed Brain Corals 400 watt MH fixtures follow up Actually, I'm getting the fixture used from a friend at a great price. <do be careful that these are not the common industrial light fixtures. Many cannot burn a designer (reef) bulb and you will blow up a $100 bulb in a blink. I cannot comment on putting a lower wattage bulb in said fixtures. But even 250 watt bulbs would be a stretch on a 75 gallon unless it was hardcore, shallow SPS species. 2-175 watts on a tank that will include LPS, mushrooms, etc> Am I incorrect in saying that I can put lower wattage bulbs in the hood? The ballasts for the MH are PFO and the ballasts for the VHO are IceCap 660s. <check with mfg on MH Q, the icecaps are very nice indeed...good customer service> Thanks again for the help :) Tony Dellett <quite welcome, bud. Anthony>

Decline of open brain coral Dear Bob, I purchased two open brain corals that looked in perfect health. After about 5 days one a nice lime green variety began to decline. Tissue recession, eroding flesh etc. I noticed a small worm(?) looking organism coming out of a whole in the coral. The organism has a feathery looking head (barnacle)?  <More likely some sort of "feather duster worm" (sedentariate polychaete, see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm) and not likely involved in the loss of health of your coral> Could this be the reason for the decline? <Probably not> Any help appreciated. All other corals doing fine. Thanks, Mario <Five days is too short a period of time to "judge" whether these corals are just suffering from "moving shock"... do check you alkalinity, biomineral concentrations... and consider an exceptional dose of iodide. Otherwise I would wait, try a small "wash feeding". Bob Fenner>

Sudden decline of brain corals Dear Bob, I recently e mailed you about a sudden decline of a newly purchased open brain. Not only has it died but the other one is doing the same thing and my candycanes which were in close proximity to the first brain are dead. All smell foul I removed all and did a 20% water change. So far the other corals fish etc. are fine. Water parameters are fine. What did you think ? <Yikes... think it's time to pay close attention to your water quality... DO mix up, have more reserve synthetic water ready to go... keep an eye on alkalinity, pH, biomineral content of your water... perhaps render a dose of iodide. Do contact the supplier of the Open-Brain/Trachyphyllia corals. Bob Fenner> Mario

Re: Eye Abrasion Mr. Fenner, I didn't intend to write to you so soon. I hope you don't mind my doing so. I moved my injured tang to the QT, and with the help of a friend we administered the first disinfectant treatment. Her eye looks even worse today but my hopes are high. <Mine as well> I would like to ask another question about a totally different subject. I have two open brains in my system. I had to move them out of the way when I netted my tang. To the side of my red open brain I found a cluster of what appears to be tiny baby brains!?! <Yes, possible> I'm not sure if I am right. It looks like brain rubble, but healthy looking and I swear to see a resemblance to my fully formed red brain. If they are in fact baby open brains what in the world to I do for them? Scatter them (genteelly of course) about or leave them be. Or do you think am I looking at something totally different? I would love to hear what you think. I am quite excited about my discovery. :) Carl D. <Leave them where they are for now. Bob Fenner>

Re: Hey Bob ;)(Trachyphylliid, Pomacentrus, stocking) Hey, I hope that my gratification is not getting too much for you, but again, thanks so much for your time, my friend. <"The only true gift is a part of thyself"> First, the brain coral appraisal. Not a brain coral at all (of course you knew that) <You are right... am becoming quite transparent... am glad for this> , it is a "Super Green Wellsophyllia" <one more "l"> To recap the situation with this guy, he is about half the size he was when I originally got him and his colors are not quite as radiant. . . He also looks quite a bit "harder" as before he was light and fluffy looking Is there anything that I may do right now? <Mmm, check on biomineral, alkaline content of your water... perhaps feed the colony... See coverage as per old family affiliation/classification, Trachyphylliidae: http://wetwebmedia.com/trachyphlliidae.htm> OK, new issue. In my 90 gallon (75 g plus 30 g sump) I have approximately 19 inches of fish, and the rest reef clean up crew. From my research I have about 10 "inches" more of fish to stock the tank before I can call it a completely stocked reef. Am I on? <Sort of... "completely stocked" is a subjective reality... It's not stocked till you believe it so... It is currently stocked IMHO, but you could add more.> I am also looking forward to having some schooling fish of some kind (in this case 5 small fish to finish off the stock). I did read several of the damsel articles on WetWeb. . . I was hoping for more FAQs regarding the "Lemon Damselfish" for a reef environment. <Please write them and I will post> But here's where it gets interesting -- just attempting to properly identify this guy. On FFE he goes by "Abudefduf aureous" In Aquarium Fish Magazine he goes by "Pomacentrus moluccensis." In the WWM you match what Aquarium Fish Magazine calls it.  <This is a/the fish. Maybe check the current i.d., taxonomy on fishbase.org> If this species is appropriate for what I am looking for (a colorful splash of yellow schooling fish, as I have decided not to go with the Yellow Tang (too aggressive), <Mmm this Damsel's about as aggressive, a bit smaller...> that will be hardy and easy to take care of, and like to be seen. And most of all, are they really DARK YELLOW, like the Yellow Tang?  <Check the images out on fishbase... this Damsel, like many, changes with age/growth> Or are they pretty dull? And about its identification. On FFE they don't offer a pic with this guy. The last thing I want is to order him and be stuck with a bunch of destructive goldfish! You know what I mean. <Maybe> I have other questions, but I attempt to keep them in species order so that you can properly file them into your priceless knowledge FAQ database. <Our database> Look forward to talking again in the next few days. I'm getting the aquarium stocking itch again!! Kindest regards, Rich <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Trachyphyllia geoffroyi with worms Dear Bob, I recently received an open brain coral and noticed several small holes in the skeleton. At night small worms emerge from these holes. The coral has not expanded since it arrived a week ago. Are these worms damaging to the coral? <Possibly... particularly if their other sources of foods have been removed, and/or their host substrate damaged otherwise> I have not seen holes in other LPS corals before and have several very healthy ones. <This happens... some specimens, same species are very different> I put the new coral in quarantine awaiting your response. I have added the flame angel as the last fish in my 150 gallon system. The community is doing very well: blue damsel, true percula clown, yellow Hawaiian tang, royal Gramma, sleeper goby, 3 neon gobies, flame angel, and 3 convicts. I plan (hope) <Me too... two nets... a friend helping...> to remove one or two of the convicts as they are now about 4 inches long. Both the show tank and refugium are loaded with amphipods and copepods. I assume they provide a great deal of natural food so I feed very little flake daily and live brine shrimp once a week. <Yes> It has now been a year since I started into this great hobby with the help of your book and website. <Ah, glad to help> I guess that no matter how much macro algae and no matter how "perfect" the water chemistry, filtration, and u/v are I still have to clean the glass twice a week. Is this done so frequently in the crystal clear tanks I see in restaurants, dealers, and city aquariums? <Yes my friend... and/or the folks stoop to using chemical filtrants, algae controls... which are destructive to the livestock...  Howard

Correct placement of Brain Corals I have a Green Dome and Brain Coral (Trachyphyllia geoffroyi) They only expand when the lights are low or off. When the lights are on you see more of its skeleton. Placement in the tank is close to the top. Water flow is medium. I target feed them twice weekly with Formula One and Kent MicroVert. <Your observations are important, and are definitely showing you the way... these corals don't need quite the light of SPS or clams. You might consider gradually lowering them toward the middle/lower portion of your system... regards, Lorenzo-for-Bob-who's-in-Asia>

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