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FAQs about Acroporid Coral Disease Diagnoses

FAQs on Acroporid Disease: Acroporid Disease 1, Acroporid Disease 2, Acroporid Disease 3, Acroporid Disease/Pests/Predators 4, Acroporid Health 5, Acroporid Health 6, Acroporid Health 7, Acroporid Hlth. 8, Acroporid Hlth. 9, Acroporid Hlth. 10,
FAQs on Acroporid Disease by Category: Environmental (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest (see below), Treatments 
FAQs on Pests of Acroporids: Montipora Munching Nudibranchs, Flatworms, Red/Black "Bugs" Acropora Munching Copepods,

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

FAQs on Stony Coral Disease by Type: Brown Jelly Disease, RTN,

Common issues are inadequate/too short acclimation from shipping, being moved; particularly light acclimation.

A lack of nutrient (no measurable NO3, HPO4)

Problem with my aquarium
Hi Bob,
<Ralph>
My wife Susan and I had the pleasure of meeting you and chatting for a while at, what I think was, your last visit to House of Fins in Ct. At the end of the conversation you presented me with your card and said that I could contact you directly at any time.
<Sure>
I need some help. My 120 gallon reef has been doing great until a couple of months ago when some of my corals first started dying. It started with a Montipora Digitata that was growing along fine. Over the course of about a month it died completely. Much of the tissue just sloughed off in patches. Most recently, my Acroporas have been growing (white or blue tips, etc.) but as they grow, the growth is covered with algae effectively killing the new growth off. Just Wednesday I noticed that that it appears that the sloughing off is occurring on them too.
<Mmm; to introduce ideas at this junction... something limiting possibly, something/s toxic perhaps.... biological or not
>
There are some Acros that are doing OK though not exhibiting the growth rate they were. Another Montipora is doing well. I have a large Deresa Clam that is growing like crazy.
<Good clues>

The thing that is growing the most is Halimeda, both the large dime sized "leaves" and the smaller version. Also, shaving brushes are growing really well too.
<This too>
The lights are AI Blue Sol - four of them spaced over the four foot length. These are the units I touched on with you on the WetWebMedia forum where I asked your opinion on the yellowing lenses. I know your answer, the AI people say there should not be concerns. Replacement lenses run $15 each (regularly $25 but they are helping me out because I would need to buy 32 of them) so I would like to make sure I
really need them.
<Mmmm; I'd be checking their output (PAR/PUR) before laying out the cash>
The tank has been up and running for the better part of 2 years and has been meticulously maintained.
Most recent measurement:
Salinity: 1.026
nitrate: .75
Alkalinity: 3.75
Calcium: 375
Magnesium: 1360
pH: 7.9 at night, 8.1 during the day (Kalkwasser used as make up water)
<You do have some/measurable phosphate and potassium in ratio I hope/trust>
The tank has a deep (4") sand bed with all the critters. There are a large number of Trochus Snails, many of them are tank bred. I have a large Protein Skimmer and run activated carbon in one of those towers through which water is pumped.
Bob, I am worried. I would hate to lose it all. I am watching my beautiful system deteriorating before my eyes and am at a loss as to where to go next. Is it possible that the strong growth of Halimeda and the other Macro Algaes is stripping the water of all the nutrients that the Acros need to survive?
<Possibly an influence... but you do have Ca present... I'd remove about half and see>
Based on your answers on WetWebMedia I picked up some ReefPlus and began dosing it. I imagine it will take some time for things to recover if the problem was the lack of nutrients supplied by the ReefPlus.
<Yes; in time>
Do you have any suggestions or comments that might help me save my corals?
<Yes: First and foremost moving them elsewhere. To another established setting. Whatever the root cause/s of their mortality, morbidity here, they are highly likely system-related>
Sorry about the long email.
<No worries. BobF>
Ralph Napiany (and my honey Susan)
Re: Problem with my aquarium

Hi Bob,
Thanks for the quick response. Phosphates measure .06 (Hanna digital electronic tester). I do not know about measuring potassium but assume the ReefPlus will be a good source over time. I will trim the Macro Algae tonight and see what happens.
<Real good. Do keep me/us informed. BobF>
Thanks for your help.
Ralph

Strange bubble like blisters on Acropora corals        2/19/15
Hey WWM crew.
<Adam>
I’m hoping one of your resident Acropora experts would be so kind as to take a look at a couple of images for me and tell me if this is something they’ve seen before, or if they have an idea of what might be causing it. The basic details with photos are in a reef central thread here: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?p=23518368#post23518368 <http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?p=23518368#post23518368 > (I’m asylumdown).
<Okay>
Not sure if you guys go on there with any regularity,
<No... bb's I deem too much a waste of time; didn't participate over the years WWM had their own... Too much "noise"; unqualified opinions>
so if you need me to send the pictures directly with a more detailed synopsis I can.
<Yes...>
At first I thought it was Neoplasia, but the warty, bubbly growths don’t really seem to calcify. I’m wondering if I’m looking at a bacterial infection of some sort, or since this only seems to affect Acropora, if I might be witnessing the effects of allelopathy?
<Possibly>
The tank is 375 gallons overall, has mostly Acropora and Montipora for SPS, though there are a couple colonies of Seriatopora, one VERY large elegance coral, a medium (about the size of a softball) wall-type frogspawn, and a basketball sized colony of branching frogspawn with about 50 heads. The only corals I’ve ever had issues with are the Acros, all my Montiporas are growing so fast I can barely keep my alk in acceptable ranges.
Thanks,
Adam
<Could be these Euphylliids, Caryophylliids involvement, or something to do w/ water quality as stated in the thread... Can't tell w/ the info. provided. Bob Fenner> 

Acropora tricolor; hlth. concern         5/8/14
Hello Mr. F
How are you?
<Fine Andrei. Thanks>
I need one more advice from you: is the tricolor Acropora in the attached imaged in trouble or growing. I am worried about the white parts towards the top. It is pretty much under a Led fixture which has reached it's 6
weeks acclimation period and it is now up to 60 % ( EcoTech Radion ) .
Please let me know your opinion.
Thank you,
Andrei
<... well; can't quite make out in your pic (Crop/resize before sending?); but could be allelopathy, lack of something, too much of something.... OH! Have just split up most of the Cnidarian disease FAQs files. READ here: http://wetwebmedia.com/AcroDisDiagF.htm
>

White spot of digitata. 3/26/12
<Evening Giancarlo>
So, looks like there is some sort of white spot on this digi. I've had it for about 4/5 months,
its been growing fine, and kept its color since day one. Tank parameters are: cal - 410 dropped from 440 about 3 weeks ago Alk was at 3 meq/l 2 weeks ago but test kit finished, and I have not gotten a new one yet.
<You need to get one, Alkalinity fluctuations are an issue with SPS corals in general>
ph - fluctuates around 8.1 salinity 1.024
<Get this up a bit, 1.025-1.026>

amm - 0ni - 0 na - undetectable Phos - 0.00 (Hanna checker) but there is plenty of algae growth in my sump
<Although you are reporting zero phosphates and nitrates, there is some nuisance algae in the pic you shared. Make sure you are reviewing your maintenance and phosphate controls. Not necessarily causing this specific issue, but as it relates to keeping a SPS dominated tank which appears to be your goal>
Mag - 1300iodine 0.02temp sits around 78 degrees hits about 79 when M/H is on. I had another digi, that was affected by this white spot, so i had cut off the area where the white spot was hoping that would be the end of it, soon enough it seemed like it became more aggressive and took over the entire piece where there was no direct light. i eventually put it in my qt tank, where it died but my q/t does no have proper lighting for sps. Anyway here is a picture of what started about a day or two ago, if anyone has any idea what i could do i would really appreciate the help, my main concern is if this will spread to other colonies, I don't have any other digi's, but i do have plenty of other sps that i am worried about. I run a bit of carbon, and gfo, skimmer is a nac 7 rated for 180 gallons, my system has about 100 gallons total of water (including sump). There are 5 fish in the tank, i have read that soft corals like mushrooms and whatever can have an adverse effect on sps,
<Allelopathy, which can be a concern, but the mark is too specific. The chemical warfare would affect the entire coral and impact general health>
if this is the verdict i will remove all coral that is not sps related.
The area where the spot developed does not get direct light.
<A few thoughts come to mind for you to consider. 1. A pest of some sort, perhaps a crab or something more nefarious! The mark is very specific in shape and out of the light. 2. Damage from another coral. Is there anything nearby such as LPS that may be stinging it? at night? 3. Fish picking at it, please list the fish you have. To your other point, you mention this has only happened to M. digitata and not Acropora species, this suggests the digitatas are the specific target. Please respond to some of the above questions and we will see if we can get a more definitive answer>
Re: White spot of digitata. 3/27/12
Thanks for the quick response! So i have ordered a Salifert Alk test kit, just Canadian postal service takes their sweet time when delivering things. My maintenance schedule is basically 15 gallons w/c every week.
I rarely ever miss a week, it is basically automated so i have no issues staying consistent with those (salt is red sea coral pro). I was having a big issue with algae, (just recently transferred everything into this tank, and i have used about 20 pounds of dry rock), it started off much worse including Cyanobacteria and diatoms everywhere, but the diligent water changes have completely rid all signs of Cyano, and all other algae is steadily reducing. If you have any other suggestions for maintenance i would love to hear it.
The damage you noticed on the digi was from another sps, one piece has grown and started to eat away at the digi. so i had to move the piece. The digi has healed up most of the branch
that was eaten away except that tip, i was told it would be best to cut off that tip with the algae so new flesh can grow, would you recommend this?
<A good suggestion and I have done as much as well>
My fish consist of 2 clown fish, 1 fairy wrasse, 1 yellow watchmen goby, and 1 flame angelfish. The Angelfish starting picking at a Pocillopora colony i had, so i decided to give it to a local reefer (the Pocillopora, i still have the flame angel), besides that i had not seen it pick at anything else except for a Stylophora but it happens very rarely, and the style. seems to not have had any ill effects.
<The Flame remains a highly suspect citizen!! To that point, my experience with Angels and SPS is that they do not actively try and eat the coral, they are very curious animals and once they settle in on a spot, they can pick it to death.>
I have two emerald crabs, and about 6 hermit crabs one being the electric blue, and the others being the red scarlet crabs i believe (all red stay fairly small). Other livestock includes one tuxedo urchin, and one long spine urchin, though i am not sure on the exact species, it had white bands around the spines when it was younger. I also have a single cleaner shrimp, and literally 1 Trochus snail.
Sometimes i do hear a snapping noise from the tank, some people have suggested a pistol shrimp, from the past year i have not seen anything, but maybe there is some sort of pest in relation to that noise?
<Likely a Pistol Shrimp or a Mantis Shrimp>
Nothing is relatively close anymore, to be able to sting it.
My dosing consists of SeaChem reef advantage calcium, and reef builder, but i do it manually which becomes a problem with consistency. I am a little hesitant to implement a calcium reactor because of all the stories i have heard over the forums where people have huge spikes in Alk/calcium ending up with huge problems.
<Due to poor calibration and maintenance, they can work just fine. Using dosing pumps to administer the 2-part is also a great idea and very easy to control>
If you have any suggestions for a reliable means of having consistent parameters, again i would appreciate the help.
I hope this info helps, people on my forum suggested Monti eating Nudibranchs? though i don’t see why it would only effect the digitata, and not the Montipora species i have, and i have read that their eating characteristic they have, usually are around the base of the colony moving upwards as they eat the flesh, though i have not completely dismissed this suggestion.
<Digitata is a form of Montipora, so it is possible that they might attack it but they are much more frequently found on the plating Montiporas and the M. spongodes. The Nudibranchs are very small, but, if you turn off your water flow and used a turkey baster on that spot, you should be able to see them come off if it is indeed Nudibranchs. That being said, I agree with you that one would normally see them attack from the base and crevices of the coral as they hide in those areas from would be predators>
One last bit of info about this frag, there are barnacles living in the piece, at least what i believed are barnacles through research. It looks like half a mini feather duster worm, which comes out and fans the water and goes back into this hole it created in the skeleton. I didn’t think this was an issue but again i don’t want to dismiss anything so i thought it would be best to mention that.
<Outside of environmental causes, that is things such as water quality, or a fish picking at it, I cannot give you a definitive answer to what is causing it. I would suggest that if it appears to be growing, expanding, and not healing over, to frag that branch off , and then cut that frag above the damaged area. You will have no pieces that are now affected. You can glue it next to the main piece and they will grow together and you will not know the difference ultimately. If you were to take it out to frag it, I would also suggest a dip in a product like CoralRx or similar just in case any pests are present.>
Thanks for your help
<You are welcome, Bobby>
Giancarlo

Re: White spot of digitata.    4/17/12
Hey bobby, just thought id give you an update on the digi.  Basically it has fully healed up.  I've kept up with my 15 gallon weekly water changes. But I changed the carbon and upped the amount I use.  Anyway all is well.
Thanks again for the help,
<You are very welcome and glad to hear it all worked out!>
Giancarlo

Acros dying 8/29/11
Hello WWM crew,
<Jeff>
I have been an obsessive reader of you sight <site> for many months and the information you provide has helped me through the many ups and downs of this hobby. I am having problems and cannot seem to find an answer on your sight to my specific situation. I am having trouble keeping any "SPS" colorful and alive. Numerous trips to my LFS has resulted in the advice of "just wait it out and see what happens" I cannot stand to have another living thing die on me so I turn to you for help.
<Ok!>
The short explanation of my problems is that every SPS frag I bring home starts out seemingly very healthy and colorful and over about a month they slowly lose coloration, end up bleached, and eventually overnight will shed all its tissue. My LFS recommended that I test my water every day to see if there are any fluctuations and the numbers were stable over a full week.
My last test was CA 425, dKH 9.3, Mag 1350, Nitrate 0.2, Phosphate, Ammonia, and Nitrite undetectable,
<Mmm, well, SPS (and most all other chemoautrophs/synthates) need some soluble phosphate and more than 0.2 ppm of NO3. Are you using chemical filtrants?>

Ph 8.2. All tested with Salifert kits. These number were all verified by having the LFS test my water.
My system profile- 100 gallon display, 40 gallon sump,
Lighting- 2x 250 watt single end metal halide on electronic ballast, XM 20k bulbs, and simple retro fit reflectors. Halides run only 7 hours (seems short to me but was actually advised 5 hours by my LFS), lights hung 14 inches above 24" deep tank (seems too high but advised by LFS to hang at 16), no glass shield on halides, T5 actinic for aesthetics only, led moonlights.
I have about 100 lb. of live rock and 100 lb. of sand, skimmer, GFO run in a reactor changed monthly, carbon in a mesh bag floated in sump and changed every other week, ATO with RO for evaporated water, weekly 10% water changes. Flow is from return pump and Vortech mp40 with a turnover of about 40 times per hour. Tank and corals are fed every other night using Eric Borneman's recipe.
Some other info. Four months ago, despite quarantining all livestock, I had an outbreak of Oodinium. I tried treating all fish in a hospital tank but ended up losing all of them. I left my tank fallow for 4 months to try to eliminate as many of the parasites as possible. I now have 2 clowns, a yellow tang, and a neon goby in the tank and doing well. Is there any chance that having no fish for so long might have caused my corals to suffer?
<Mmm, yes... a possibility... their feeding would add some needed nutrient here>
Could it be a lighting issue?
<Can you borrow a PAR meter?>
Compared to the recommendations on your site I feel like my lights aren't low enough and on for long enough. I went on my LFS's advice and it doesn't seem to be working out for my SPS.
<Again, the meter, and possibly mounting such frags up high, on rock...
nearer the lights>
All my LPS (hammer coral, 2 torch corals, 4 Acans), my Zoanthids, and Ricordea have done well and look healthy and colorful.
<Oooh... the Euphyllias and Zoanthids may be a large contributing cause to your mortality here. Are you familiar w/ allelopathogenic effects? Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/CorlCompArt.htm
and as much of the Related mat.s linked above as you deem prudent>
It's just my SPS that have suffered. I have lost 2 Acros and one Montipora cap over the last few months, with the most recent being this morning. I only have 2 Acro frags left and a digitata and they are all either slightly bleached or browned out. It is very upsetting that I continue to lose these wonderful living things. I am a little frustrated with the wait and see approach of my LFS so I turn to a higher source. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for you time.
Jeff
<Well... let's re-cap: Likely your lighting is fine but I'd borrow/use a PAR meter to check. Your system is lacking at least the essential nutrients mentioned... And definitely there's likely an issue w/ your SPS losing out to your established LPS. There may well be more, so I encourage you to peruse here: http://wetwebmedia.com/acrodisf7.htm
"and the linked files above". Bob Fenner>
Acros dying 9/22/11

Hello WWM
crew,
<Jeff>
I have been an obsessive reader of you sight <site> for many months and the information you provide has helped me through the many ups and downs of this hobby. I am having problems and cannot seem to find an answer on your sight to my specific situation. I am having trouble keeping any "SPS" colorful and alive. Numerous trips to my LFS has resulted in the advice of "just wait it out and see what happens" I cannot stand to have another living thing die on me so I turn to you for help.
<Ok!>
The short explanation of my problems is that every SPS frag I bring home starts out seemingly very healthy and colorful and over about a month they slowly lose coloration, end up bleached, and eventually overnight will shed all its tissue. My LFS recommended that I test my water every day to see if there are any fluctuations and the numbers were
stable over a full week.
My last test was CA 425, dKH 9.3, Mag 1350, Nitrate 0.2, Phosphate, Ammonia, and Nitrite undetectable,
<Mmm, well, SPS (and most all other chemoautrophs/synthates) need some soluble phosphate and more than 0.2 ppm of NO3. Are you using chemical filtrants?>
Ph 8.2. All tested with Salifert kits. These number were all verified by having the LFS test my water.
My system profile- 100 gallon display, 40 gallon sump,
Lighting- 2x 250 watt single end metal halide on electronic ballast, XM 20k bulbs, and simple retro fit reflectors. Halides run only 7 hours (seems short to me but was actually advised 5 hours by my LFS), lights hung 14 inches above 24" deep tank (seems too high but advised by LFS to hang at 16), no glass shield on halides, T5 actinic for aesthetics only, led moonlights.
I have about 100 lb. of live rock and 100 lb. of sand, skimmer, GFO run in a reactor changed monthly, carbon in a mesh bag floated in sump and changed every other week, ATO with RO for evaporated water, weekly 10% water changes. Flow is from return pump and Vortech mp40 with a turnover of about 40 times per hour. Tank and corals are fed every other night using Eric Borneman's recipe.
Some other info. Four months ago, despite quarantining all livestock, I had an outbreak of Oodinium. I tried treating all fish in a hospital tank but ended up losing all of them. I left my tank fallow for 4 months to try to eliminate as many of the parasites as possible. I now have 2 clowns, a yellow tang, and a neon goby in the tank and doing well. Is there any chance that having no fish for so long might have caused my corals to suffer?
<Mmm, yes... a possibility... their feeding would add some needed nutrient here>
Could it be a lighting issue?
<Can you borrow a PAR meter?>
Compared to the recommendations on your site I feel like my lights aren't low enough and on for long enough. I went on my LFS's advice and it doesn't seem to be working out for my SPS.
<Again, the meter, and possibly mounting such frags up high, on rock... nearer the lights>
All my LPS (hammer coral, 2 torch corals, 4 Acans), my Zoanthids, and Ricordea have done well and look healthy and colorful.
<Oooh... the Euphyllias and Zoanthids may be a large contributing cause to your mortality here. Are you familiar w/ allelopathogenic effects? Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/CorlCompArt.htm
and as much of the Related mat.s linked above as you deem prudent>
It's just my SPS that have suffered. I have lost 2 Acros and one Montipora cap over the last few months, with the most recent being this morning. I only have 2 Acro frags left and a digitata and they are all either slightly bleached or browned out. It is very upsetting that I continue to lose these wonderful living things. I am a little frustrated with the wait and see approach of my LFS so I turn to a higher source. Any
help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for you time.
Jeff
<Well... let's re-cap: Likely your lighting is fine but I'd borrow/use a PAR meter to check. Your system is lacking at least the essential nutrients mentioned... And definitely there's likely an issue w/ your SPS losing out to your established LPS. There may well be more, so I encourage you to peruse here: http://wetwebmedia.com/acrodisf7.htm
"and the linked files above". Bob
Fenner>
Re: Acros dying 9/22/11

Mr. Fenner,
<Jeff>
Thank you for responding to my questions. Your response and the links gave me quite a bit of helpful information. It took me a while but I got my hands on a PAR meter and I was hoping to get your opinion on my readings.
Numbers directly under the bulb at the surface are 367, midway down around 150, and about 75 at the sand. Most of my Acropora are placed at a par value around 150, the highest being 200 and the lowest being 120. I have a Montipora digitata at 120 and a capricornis at 180. Would these levels be enough to keep SPS corals alive and colorful?
<Yes... a bit low on the M. cap. side, but anything in the hundred plus range is of use>
If not, would lowering my lights be a good idea? From what I read those numbers seem a bit low. I know that there is no specific number for keeping Acropora alive and any numbers you might provide would just be a guess as to the needs of specific corals but any advice you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
<I myself wouldn't change the position of the lights, but would place future animals per the "chart/graph" of your PAR reading/understanding going forward... i.e. less-intense light needing organisms in the low PAR areas>
I have taken steps to decrease the allelopathy that was likely occurring in my tank. I have increased my water changes to 20% per week, increased my use of carbon, and have been more diligent about my maintenance. I am also letting my nitrates and phosphates rise slightly as you recommended to provide the corals with the nutrients they need.
<All good moves>
I have a hammer coral that I would like to move to a place further away from any other corals but it has begun encrusting on the rocks. Would it damage the coral if I were to remove it from the rock once it has begun to encrust?
<Not likely if this colony is in good shape. You likely know that extracted
(wild) corals are removed this way>
I have read all the information in the links you provided and am hopeful that I can take all the necessary steps to solve this problem. Again, any advice or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time.
Jeff
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
Re: Acros dying 9/22/11
Mr. Fenner,
<Jeff>
Thank you for responding to my questions. Your response and the links gave me quite a bit of helpful information. It took me a while but I got my hands on a PAR meter and I was hoping to get your opinion on my readings. Numbers directly under the bulb at the surface are 367, midway down around 150, and about 75 at the sand. Most of my Acropora are placed at a par value around 150, the highest being 200 and the lowest being 120. I have a Montipora digitata at 120 and a capricornis at 180. Would these levels be enough to keep SPS corals alive and colorful?
<Yes... a bit low on the M. cap. side, but anything in the hundred plus range is of use>
If not, would lowering my lights be a good idea? From what I read those numbers seem a bit low. I know that there is no specific number for keeping Acropora alive and any numbers you might provide would just be a guess as to the needs of specific corals but any advice you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
<I myself wouldn't change the position of the lights, but would place future animals per the "chart/graph" of your PAR reading/understanding going forward... i.e. less-intense light needing organisms in the low PAR
areas>
I have taken steps to decrease the allelopathy that was likely occurring in my tank. I have increased my water changes to 20% per week, increased my use of carbon, and have been more diligent about my maintenance. I am also letting my nitrates and phosphates rise slightly as you recommended to provide the corals with the nutrients they need.
<All good moves>
I have a hammer coral that I would like to move to a place further away from any other corals but it has begun encrusting on the rocks. Would it damage the coral if I were to remove it from the rock once it has begun to encrust?
<Not likely if this colony is in good shape. You likely know that extracted (wild) corals are removed this way>
I have read all the information in the links you provided and am hopeful that I can take all the necessary steps to solve this problem. Again, any advice or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.
Jeff
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Green SPS Color Fading 9/28/10
Hi there,
<Hello Matt>
Was wondering if you could help me, I've got lots of Acro's...blues staying strong, purples staying strong, but my green cap and green Acro suharsonoi and granulosa are fading bit by bit daily just recently. Had these corals for a year or more. Any ideas what is going on? Is there a lack of iron or something else going on?
<You've given me nothing to base an answer on. No water parameters, lighting, size of tank, other coral species present in system, etc.>
Thanks for your help,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
-Matt
Re Green SPS Color Fading/Acroporidae Health 9/29/10
<Hello Matt, and thank you for updating me.>
salinity: 1.025
temp 77-78
ammonia 0
nitrite 0
nitrate 0
phos 0

calc 440
Alk 10dkh
Mag 1300
<pH? If using an aluminum based phosphate remover and pH is running 8.0 or lower, aluminum can be leached into the system which corals do not take kindly to. Better to use an iron based remover such as RowaPhos.>
all stable.
3 250watt 20k halides
135 gallon tank, 160 gal system
all stony corals - some white and indo xenia
ASM G3 skimmer
calcium reactor
carbon/Phosguard media
medium fish load.
Another fellow farmer suggested I test for and add Lugol's solution if necessary. I used Salifert iodine test and added recommended dose of Kent's Lugol's solution. My theory is I've noticed my Xenia colonies growing very large...since they are fast consumers of iodine, possibly they are competing for all the iodine in the tank leaving very little for the Sps to utilize? what would u <you> say on that?
<I have heard reports that Lugol's solution enhances Xenia growth and excessive iodine levels can also be detrimental in some corals. I have not found any documented proof where iodine plays a role in the success of Xenia.>
Have you ever experienced a dulling or paling of green color in Sps coral before?
<Acropora corals are likely the most susceptible corals that will react to any changes in lighting, temperature, and water parameters. They are also susceptible to rapid tissue necrosis or sloughing, and this may be what you are experiencing. You may want to relocate to an area of higher water movement and see if this helps. Reading here will give you more information on the Staghorn Corals. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acropori.htm>
Much appreciated,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Matt

Struggle to keep hard corals: Acropora mysterious deaths 5/13/2010
Hi Tim here.
<Hi Tim.>
I have searched WWM for help but can not find anything definitive for my problem. My tank has been running for a little under 3 years now it's 5'x2'x2' w/sump and refugium, skimmer but no reactors. Total volume around 700L (185 Gallon I think?)
<Yes.>
we have a small fish load and a variety of SPS, LPS, Soft, Mushroom and polyps all of which are doing great. Water parameters are good with the occasional slight rise in nitrate, we have excellent circulation from a Vortech MP40w wave maker and we have 2x 250w (20000K) halogens.
<All sounds good.>
Our problem is we can not seem to keep any Acropora. We have tried several times but every time they die. Can you please help
<Four things immediately come to mind based upon your description. First, how are your salinity, calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium levels? All of those need to be at 'reef' levels - 1.024 - 1.026, calcium of 400 - 500 ppm, alkalinity dKH 10 - 12 and magnesium 1200 - 1500 ppm. Further, there needs to be a good amount of water movement and nitrates really need to be below 10ppm. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acropt3.htm Second, You do have some soft corals. These could be releasing toxins in the water. Some sort of carbon filtration is highly recommended. Third, your lighting. You have 2 x 20K halogen (halide?) bulbs. You may want to try keeping the corals lower in the tank to start, or you may want to consider changing one of your bulbs to a lower Kelvin - 10K - 14K Finally, we cannot rule out some sort of pest or disease. Have a read here and see if anything looks like your Acropora when it died. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corldisart.html >
Thanks very much
<My Pleasure.>
Tim
<MikeV>

Acro Damage - Need a second set of eyes 1/5/10
Good Morning,
<... what is it about asking people to limit their attached file size that isn't clear? Perhaps the request isn't sufficiently prominent?>
________________________________

Noticed this unfortunate damage last night when I got home from work...
I have had this piece for over a year, since it was a little frag about 1/2". My first thought when I saw the discoloration and splotchiness, was OH NO AEFW!
<Don't think so>
After calming down and taking closer examination, I realized two things, this damage occurred in less than a 24hr period, the piece was perfect on Sunday when I did tank maintenance, and second I always dip all new arrivals religiously and observe with a magnifying glass.
<Good technique>
I think it would be extremely aggressive for a pest to do this much damage in a single day, but stranger things have happened. I also remembered I changed my lighting schedule on Sunday and increased the MH by 1.5 hours (accidental, intended to only increase 30 minutes!)... This piece was high up on my rock and just off the axis of one of my XM10K bulbs.
<Mmmm>
Sorry the pictures aren't better, I removed it, dipped it in TMPCC
<Won't help>
and put it in my frag tank before taking this picture, hence the sliming. I observed in a white bowl after dipping for 10mins, and didn't find anything, but it's easy to miss things. Looking for more opinions. The light colored discoloration, seems to overlap in alot
<... no such word>
of places and be much larger than bite marks that I have seen from FW's.
What does everyone think? Lighting Cycle Damage/Bleaching or Pests?
Thanks so Much,
Landen
<Something direly amiss; and not the last. Am almost tempted to ask you to CAREFULLY turn off your MHs, take the lamps out and examine them for a crack... Bob Fenner>
Re: Acro Damage - Need a second set of eyes 1/5/10
A little further information for consideration...
<Okay>
Went home at lunch and did further examination. No signs of eggs, FW's, or anything else. I took the coral out of the frag tank and examined it under direct sunlight with a magnifying glass, and I flushed it with a turkey baster again.. Nothing showed up!
I did discover that my Alk is very low at 6.5-7 for some reason, and I am wondering if the reason for the discoloration is stress related from the Alk combined with the lighting change.
<Might somehow be related events... the bleaching "eating up" the Alk.
BobF, soon B>

Re: Acro Damage - Need a second set of eyes 1/6/10
Bob,
<Landen>
Thanks so much for the reply! Sorry about the size of the attachments, meant to send the scaled down "internet versions" and ended up attaching the full resolution...
<Ahh! Though our mail-server of the last few years has bigger "storage", we do come close some days to overwhelming it... and having incoming mail bounced... Hence the concern>
I followed your advice and checked the bulb directly above it, and the one to the side of it. Unfortunately didn't find anything that I can see with the naked eye, also there were no signs of condensation in the bulb. Will keep a close eye on it.
<Please do>
I agree, something is amiss, I have since moved it to my frag tank for further examination.
<Good move>
All water parameters are spot on with the exception of Alk, I don't know if there is anything else I can do other than keep a very close eye on things and wait. If this isn't pest related, at least I can breathe a little easier.
<There are a "myriad" (large, diverse, even unknown) of "chemical, physical and biological" factors for which there are no tests, little known, that can/do affect aquatic life...>
Also, I think I remember this site had a Donate button just below the "Admin Index" and "Cover Images" links, does this still exist?
<Oh yes>
Will look further, maybe I overlooked it somewhere. This team is a phenomenal source of information, and deserves all the support and funds it can get.
Landen
<Thank you for your kind words. Happily, no one on the Crew works for money here (there is little to go about); the funds being spent about half on our on-line magazine (for adding content), helping/subsidizing folks to get dive-certified, dive-travel, attend hobby, business and some scientific conferences. Cheers! BobF>

Bleaching Acropora Troubles -- 06/10/09
Hello Crew,
<<Greetings Dave>>
I am in need of some trouble shooting assistance.
<<Okay>>
Over the past several weeks I have had several of my Acropora corals bleaching at the base of the coral.
<<Mmm'¦>>
On most, the tops of the corals still appear to be showing new growth.
<<Several possibilities... An Acro predator maybe'¦aggressive stinging corals (sweeper tentacles) positioned too closely'¦or maybe lighting, etc.>>
I have lost a small blue Acropora and another small frag of Montipora appears to be almost completely bleached. I have had most of these Acropora for about a year.
<<Hmm'¦ Perhaps you have inadvertently introduced a problem organism. Or maybe this is the culmination of a building problem (e.g. -- allelopathy)>>
I propagated the colony of Acropora that had the most damage a few weeks ago and they seemed fine for about two weeks. Then the tissue at the base started to recede again.
<<Not uncommon in my experience'¦ It can be difficult to save such colonies that have begun to decline>>
The bleaching appears to be spreading to other SPS corals now such as my green and pink birds nest. Please advise, I don't want to lose all of my SPS!
<<Mmm'¦ If not a predator (e.g. -- fish, Nudibranch, crustacean) then perhaps this is a bacterial/microbial complaint. A prophylactic dip and movement to a quarantine tank may be in order>>
I have looked for some type of predator and have not seen any red bugs, flat worms, etc. There is also no brown slime from any of the effected corals.
<<A predator can be difficult to espy'¦especially if nocturnal>>
I am puzzled because I have not changed my weekly husbandry of the tank and the colony that has the worst bleaching, has actually grown onto the glass.
<<But have you tested your water param.s to exclude a buildup of nitrogenous compounds as the culprit?>>
I have several large LPS corals including a seven inch maze brain that have been in my tank for over 7 years with no problems.
<<Unfortunately with this hobby, sooner or later something begins to tip/upset the 'balance.' Obviously 'something' is different/has changes in your system>>
I also have two healthy clams, Whisker, Trumpet, Frog Spawn, Acan, Bubble, Favia, Scolymia, and Dendrophyllia corals that are doing great
<<Bacterial infestations among corals can often be Family/Genus/Species specific'¦as are many coral predators>>
I hand feed most of the LPS corals and have been using Oyster Eggs the last few days to see if it helps with the SPS bleaching. My 125 gallon reef has been established for nine years now.
<<Ah, excellent'¦and congrats!>>
I have 6 six-foot VHO bulbs, three Actinic (454 bulbs) and three AquaSun.
<<This likely isn't the issue'¦and a change isn't going to save your corals at this point'¦but I think your 'shallower' species of coral would benefit from change to a 2 -- 4 ratio respectively here, to increase the amount of 'usable' light>>
The actinic lights come on an hour before and after the main lights. Temp is between 78
- 80 degrees. Water flow is handled by two main pumps 1800 and 1200 GPH. They are controlled via two SCWDs and four returns. I also have two other powerheads for dead spots, 800 GPH and 300 GPH. I don't think water flow is an issue here.
<<Does not seem so, no>>
I have a 45 gallon ADHI refugium with some Chaeto and Halimeda algae and a Red Mangrove plant. 30 gallon water changes are done weekly. I am using an Aqua FX RO/DI system for RO water.
<<Have you tested the output lately? Perhaps a pre-filter/membrane/DI resin change is in order>>
I always premix and pre heat the saltwater days in advance.
<<Very good>>
Salinity level is at 1.025; pH 7.8;
<<Not 'bad''¦but I would increase this above 8.0 for some added 'wiggle room.' Any drop from this point would be dangerous'¦and could be happening at night when the lights are off, even with the refugium>>
Nitrates and Nitrites are at 0.
<<Ammonia? And'¦have you validated/used fresh test kits?>>
Alkalinity is a little on the low side. I have been using baking soda to bring it up by adding to a high flow area in the sump.
<<Okay>>
I am also using activated carbon via a Magnum filter and use a Berlin XL skimmer.
<<I would suggest the addition (at least for a while) of some Poly-Filter to the Magnum>>
I also have automatic fresh water top off for evaporation.
<<Do check that RO/DI filter>>
The only change I can think of is that I replaced my bulbs about three months ago. I changed the actinic lighting from super actinic to the 454 actinic which has a more blue spectrum rather than purple.
<<I don't think this is an issue'¦ The Actinic lighting is more for you/you sense of aesthetics anyway. Any good full-spectrum or Daylight or 10,000K bulb will provide plenty of short-wave lighting for the corals needs. Utilizing Actinic lighting is not a problem'¦just be sure to provide enough full-spectrum light. Hence my suggestion to increase the number of AquaSun bulbs vs. Actinic bulbs here>>
Should I try to cut back on the lighting?
<<if you are thinking photo-shock could be the problem'¦I think it is a moot point after three months. Keep providing 12-14 hours of light per day>>
Other than that, I have been doing my weekly maintenance as always.
<<If an imbalance of the system is not the issue, then you have likely 'introduced' a pathogen or predator>>
Water change, clean pre filters, change carbon and trim up the Chaeto algae in the refugium when needed. Please let me know if there is something I am missing or should try. Your time is always appreciated.
<<You sound like you have a handle on the maintenance, and are very familiar with your system (should be after nine years, eh). I'm afraid, I don't have a silver-bullet for you here. These issues do just turn up sometimes. A small change/imbalance may have tipped the scale in a pathogens' favor'¦and they are usually swift and severe with often little to be done other than watch and wait. If the affected corals are small enough and/or not encrusted on large rocks you might be able to save some with a proprietary coral dip (Tropic Marin has a pretty good one) or maybe just an iodine dip...along with a move to a clean quarantine system>>
Thanks,
Dave
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>
Re: Bleaching Acropora Troubles (More than Acro woes now) -- 07/27/09

Hello Again Crew,
<<Hi Dave'¦Eric here again>>
It appears that the dying coral issue is a pathogen.
<<And how have you determined this?>>
The issue has now affected just about every coral in my tank.
<<Mmm>>
Just about all of my Zoanthids are closed up and shrinking off the live rock, including some species that were spreading across the rock at a very fast rate. My Lobophyllia has receded along with my Scolymia. The two types of branching Hammer coral are also closed up. Every coral in the tank looks as if it has lost significant color and the tissue is flat instead of raised and meaty. Before the corals die, they all seem to start off with a thin brown diatom looking film on a small part of the coral and then spreads till it eventually kills the corals. The fish seem to be unaffected and healthy. I have tried surfing the web for info on tank wipeout, but they all seem to reference the fish all dying and not the corals.
<<I suppose it possible that a very high concentration of some type of bacterium could be the problem. Though I'm not sure I'm convinced that this is a pathogen'¦affecting ALL your different coral species but not your fishes. The 'film' you mention may also simply be an opportunistic organism/alga that is feeding/replacing necrotic tissue caused by some Allelopathic/water quality issue(s)>>
In my 12 years of reef keeping, I have never seen anything like this.
<<Indeed'¦ Most diseases complaints are specific to a genus/species'¦in my experience>>
I have corals in the tank that I have had for over 7 years. I'm at a loss here.
<<Perhaps that maturity/growth among a mix of noxious species is what is at play here>>
I have checked every water parameter that I can think of; ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, pH, ALK, phosphate, TDS...none of which are out of range.
<<There are many aspects of water quality we don't, as hobbyists, have the ability to test>>
The tank, make up, and fresh water top off are all well within range. I have been doing 40 gallon water changes weekly and have even done a 70 gallon change last week, none of which help the matter.
<<I wonder if something has changed with your source water that you are not aware of. A couple decades ago I lived in the UK for a few years. I experienced a couple of whole-tank wipeouts with my budding reef system. Come to find out the local council was treating the tap water every few months with a compound (supposedly non-toxic to humans) to kill freshwater shrimp living/breeding in the water lines (yeah'¦taught me to filter my source water). I'm not saying someone is poisoning your water'¦just pointed out that you don't/can't always know what is or is not in it>>
I have replaced all the RO filters except the membrane.
<<I think this too may be warranted/worth a try here. If this is a bacterium issue, it could well be growing on/introduced via the membrane>>
The digital TDS meter on the RO system showed zero before and after I swapped the filters.
<<Remember, such readings are only a general guide>>
I have been cleaning the skimmer daily and swapping out the carbon weekly with no help either. I have not strayed from my weekly regimen that I have been doing for 9 years now. Is there anything I can do here?
<<Short of removing, dipping, and placing the corals in a new/fresh environment'¦likely very little. You could consider Iodine dosing (Lugol's Solution) as an attempt to hinder the pathogen, though used in this manner it may have little to no effect t be honest'¦and has its own dangers if mis-applied/abused>>
At this point I can't afford to lose all my corals.
<<I do sympathize>>
The quarantine tank is only ten gallons and will not hold a third of my corals. If I need to setup a new tank to save them, I will... please advise.
<<Perhaps you need to weigh the cost of the corals (replacement) versus the cost of a large enough quarantine system. Do also be aware'¦ If this is indeed an incidental introduction of a virulent pathogen, just removing (temporarily) and treating the livestock may not be enough'¦you may be faced with breaking down the display, discarding sand and rock, and cleaning/sterilizing tank and equipment. Drastic measures for sure'¦ And I will ask Bob if he sees this to add his take here>>
If the issue is a pathogen, where does the pathogen reside?...in the water, on the rock, on the coral itself, in the sand?
<<Maybe all the above>>
I don't believe that it resides in the water judging by the water changes I have been doing.
<<What leads you to this conclusion I wonder'¦ You are not changing out 'all' the water at once (and even if you did, bacteria would still be present), and if the source of the contamination (again, if indeed this is the issue) is your source water or storage vessel'¦well then'¦>>
I also have an outbreak of Asterina star fish that has gotten out of control.
<<Hmm'¦perhaps a clue here>>
If I have to break the tank down, I would like to get rid of these hitch hikers at that time. Their numbers are far too great for manual extraction. I have been pulling them out with tweezers for months. I have found that could tap water seems to kill them within a few minutes.
<<As it would most any marine invertebrate>>
If I had to break down the reef, my plan of action would be to relocate the original tank to another room first. Then set up the new tank in its place. I would then give all live rock a cold fresh water dip to hopefully rid the rock of the star fish and any pathogens.
<<If a pathogen is involved'¦this may not be enough to kill it. It's up to you to decide how much of a gamble you're willing to take, but in such an instance I would be incline to 'replace' the rock/substrate with new>>
I also realize that I would lose most, if not all beneficial bacteria as well, but I cannot afford a repeat of the same problem.
<<Then reference my previous statement>>
I would let the rock cycle in the old tank
<<To be reinfected?>>
and put the corals in the new tank after an iodine dip with just a glass bottom for the time being. My question to you is, can I use all new makeup water and none of the original tank water?
<<Not without maturing/seeding heavily from another 'healthy' system>>
I don't want to use the old water for fear of contamination.
<<Agreed>>
I wanted to add my existing 45 gallon refugium to the new tank...will there be enough biological matter from the refugium to avoid the new tank cycling?
<<If a pathogen is present then this too is contaminated. Everything must be either thoroughly cleaned, treated and quarantined (as in the coral dips), or discarded'¦no exceptions>>
The current tank is a 125 and I was looking at a 210 gallon.
<<A nice upgrade'¦and the 125 would make an excellent sump or refugium re'¦once all cleaned up>>
Please let me know what the best plan of action would be to setup a new tank and if you think I should salvage the old tank, or setup a new one.
<<The old system 'is' salvageable as discussed re cleaning (with bleach) and replacement of rock and substrate, macroalgae, etc. (based on the assumption of a pathogenic complaint)'¦ A 'new' system may seem like the best way to go, but it will still need to be cycled'¦something that can be done while the livestock is in quarantine for observation of the problem's continuance>>
Thanks,
Dave
<<Happy to share'¦ Good luck, and please do keep me posted of the outcome. EricR>>
R2: Bleaching Acropora Troubles (More than Acro woes now) -- 07/28/09

Hi Eric,
<<Hiya Dave>>
Just a few more questions.
<<Sure>>
I most likely will upgrade to a newer tank if going to all the trouble of breaking it down and cleaning it.
<<I see>>
The word "bleach", when associated with a reef tank scares me =)
<<A normal reaction'¦ Just be sure to use "pure' bleach'¦as in without added scents or other modifiers. Rinse everything with copious amounts of clean water. And where possible, soak bleached gear in a container of water and add a dechlorinator like Sodium Thiosulfate, then rinse again afterwards>>
You mentioned to discard the sand and rock...can the rock be bleached/disinfected and reused?
<<As a last ditch effort, perhaps'¦but better to just let it dry 'completely' if you are determined to reuse it>>
...or even left out in the sun?
<<Better>>
I have about 200 pounds of live rock and some really nice pieces that I would like to keep if possible.
<<Final decision is up to you>>
Also, will the snails and crabs I have in there be an issue?
<<A good question'¦ I suppose they could be carriers/transporters of bacteria just like anything else>>
...should I iodine dip them and quarantine as well?
<<A short dip in a mild Iodine solution may work'¦be sure to use clean saltwater rather than freshwater here'¦else they likely won't survive the dip for sure>>
Lastly, if I place the existing corals in a quarantine tank with all new makeup water, will this have an ill effect on the corals?
<<As in fresh from the make-up barrel? Indeed it can'¦ Fresh-made seawater is very aggressive and still chemically active. Give it a day (good) or two (better) to mature a bit'¦also, adding some 'seed water' from a 'good' established system can give it a bit of a jump-start>>
As far as the water source goes, I have well water and don't think the parameters would fluctuate like public water.
<<Ah but I beg to differ'¦ Something as seemingly harmless and beneficial as a heavy rainfall can indeed affect the quality of your well water depending on the activities/industries around your area. If you're not doing so already, I urge you to add deionization as a last stage to the RO filter you use to filter water for your reef system>>
I had it tested last year for everything they could test for and all was well.
<<That was then'¦ Do consider the problems you are experiencing with your reef may stem from your well water if your water treatment equipment/protocol is not up to snuff>>
The Aqua FX RO system is not even a year old yet, but I will replace the membrane on the RO system for arguments sake.
<<On most municipally treated water systems a good RO membrane (if flushed periodically) should indeed last for years. But on a well system this can be more variable and harder to judge. The TDS meter is a good 'guide' for this, but only measures the amount of solids'¦not the composition. There may also be compounds present that don't register on the meter. If/when in doubt'¦replace the membrane>>
I'm just trying to figure out the best way to go about the move. If I setup the new tank with new live rock and sand in the display as well as the refugium, this will take a few weeks to cycle.
<<Yes>>
Mean while, I would discard or bleach the rock and place the corals in a quarantine tank with all new makeup water.
<<Yes>>
When the new tank is finished cycling, I would then put the corals back in as long as they appear healthy. Does this seem to be a feasible plan to you?
<<It does>>
Thanks again for all your help!
Dave
<<Happy to assist'¦ Good luck mate, EricR>>

Bleaching Acros   6/7/08 Hi guys, <Mmm, and gals> I have a 90g reef, the setup is: The tank has been up a year, it has 110-125lbs of live rock, an outer orbit 2x150w halide with actinic t5's, pH is at 8.2, Alk is at 9dkh, calc 410-450, nitrates 0, nitrites 0, a 30g fuge with a PhosBan reactor, <... might be removing too much...>  protein skimmer and calc reactor, the fuge has some GARF grunge <... just old broken up rock...> in it, as for livestock, I have a few tangs, a couple damsels, a maroon clown, and assorted crabs/snails, and now to the problem, my sps are all bleaching, no matter the placement in the tank they bleach, and I can't figure out why they are doing this, I tried placing them on the bottom of the tank so they can get accustomed to the lighting, and that didn't work so I tried moving them up a bit and that didn't work either, you guys are the experts, what do you think I should do? I'm stumped. Thanks, Rob <... something/s not right here... How long has this tank been up, running... What is new? Water quality supplement use? Addition of livestock-wise? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/CnidIndex2.htm  the second to bottom tray... on SPS... Acroporids in part., health/disease. Bob Fenner>  

Suffering Montipora capricornis 5/6/08 Greetings, I have a Montipora capricornis that has taken a turn for the worse and I'd like to solicit your thoughts. Three photos are attached... one of the top, one of the bottom, and one for comparison taken prior to the onset of the current condition. Coral was acquired from fellow reefer about 4 months ago. The symptoms began appearing about a month ago, have gotten progressively worse, and include what appears to be a bleaching condition as well as dark areas at the fringes and underneath. Tank environment is: 110g tank, 55g sump, 40g refugium in separate vessel with 5" DSB, live rock, and Chaeto, 8 x 54w T5 lighting (4-10K, 1-14K, 2 actinic and one reddish spectrum lamp) AquaC EV-240 skimmer, 200lbs live rock, Phosphate reactor running Phosban, and another running carbon. Circulation is provided by two Koralia 3 power heads and two Mag 12 return pumps running below capacity given small overflow (1-1" line and 1-3/4" line to sump) Water changes are 10% weekly using RO/DI water. Fish in the system are 2-percula clowns, Foxface Rabbitfish, Royal Gramma, Neon Goby, Flame Angel, Melanurus wrasse. Inverts are two sea stars, crocea clam, coral banded shrimp, various snails. Corals include a half a dozen Xenia's, a number of Capnella imbricata's an Alcyonium sp., Pachyclavularia, several Zoa and Paly colonies, Encrusting Gorgonian, <Are any of these nearby/adjacent to the Montipora?> two Trachyphyllia's, Galaxea, Heliofungia (yes I know, not the best choice), Caulastrea, Favia, Euphyllia divisa, Blastomussa merleti, Lobophyllia, Scolymia, Acropora, an encrusting Montipora, another Montipora capricornis, and a couple unidentified sea pens/rods. PH ranges from 8.0 at night to 8.4 during the day, Salinity is 1.026, ammonia and nitrite are undetectable, nitrate is about 20, calcium runs around 350 mg/l, with Alk at 3.5 mEq/l. I dose one of the commercially available two part solutions for CA and Alk. Placement of the coral in question in the tank is about half way up and in a high flow area with closest other coral (the Euphyllia and Acropora) being 3"-4" away. Lighting is on for 12 hours/day. Do you sense that the whitish look is in fact bleaching? <Yes> Is the dark areas tissue dying off or algae growing on it? <Both> All other corals seem to be doing well with no visible problems. I did replace some of the lamps at about the same time as the symptoms started which may explain the bleaching if that is what it is. <Yes> I did try to acclimate the system to the new lamps with reduced photo periods and raising the pendant mounted light fixture up an additional foot for a few days. What are your thoughts on what I am experiencing? Any other info that would help you understand conditions? Thanks, Russell <... What you relate seems to be okay... I do think there might be a combination of light shock and allelopathy going on here. At this juncture, there is little to do but hope. I would not move this colony. Bob Fenner>

Acropora whiting out in under 12 hours 03/16/08 Quick question as I run out the door -- I bought a really nice piece of aquacultured Acro last night from my LFS and in under 12 hours it whited out. Almost completely. This coral was a big frag from their main display tank. They ragged the coral years ago and the Acro frags never sold. They've been in their frag tank for about 2 years now. They had it under 400W halides that were about 4 feet from the tank above. I have a tank that's roughly 30 inches deep so the Acro went on the bottom under my 175W halides (tank is a 50G tank, by the way) to acclimate it to my light. <Were the 400W MH double ended or mogul base? What K rating? ...how about your 175W? Even though their lights were of higher wattage, there might not have been much a difference in light intensities (due to bulb and spectrum differences, etc.)> It was near nothing that could sting it. No fish in the tank that pick at SPS corals. My 90G tank is doing fantastic and I somehow regret not putting it in there -- but this probably would've happened either way. <These things happen. Corals can be finicky like this sometimes. The good news is that if it's just bleached and not dead, it can recover pretty quickly. I'd suggest feeding it well, DT's oyster eggs if you have them.> Something has to be amiss here. Nitrates -- 0 Nitrites -- 0 Ammonia -- 0 Phosphates -- ~0 Salinity -- 1.025 Calcium -- 470ppm Alkalinity -- 8dkh pH -- 8.2 Temperature -- 84 I bag acclimated the Acropora like I've done with every coral I've ever bought. 45 minutes in the bag to temperature adjust and then into the tank. I can't imagine that that was the problem as I've never lost a coral yet. <Well, again, if the coral has only bleached, it's not lost yet.> This rapid die-off is really, really worrying me that something else is amiss in the tank. Is there any chance to save the coral? I'm going to do some pretty large water changes today and tomorrow to see if that helps anything, but I would bet that the coral might be completely gone by the time I return later in the afternoon. <So, wait, are we talking about die-off or bleaching? If it's just bleached, all you need to do is feed it and if all else is ok, it should recover. If it's RTN, then there's likely nothing you can do at this point (unfortunately). But either way, I wouldn't beat yourself up too much over it. Your parameters look right and you did acclimate. It's possible that some allelopathic concern could have triggered RTN (again, if that's what this is, not just bleaching). Do you have a lot of leathers/anemones/etc. in the tank? Honestly though, sometimes these things just happen no matter how careful we are.> - Jon <Best, Sara M.>

Acropora growth/polyp extension... Photo-acclimation, allelopathy?  -- 03/13/08 Hi crew, thanks for all your help in the past. I hope you can lend some insight to my present difficulty. Basically, I have three small (1") frags of SPS. One is a blue tipped Acropora, one is a pink Birdsnest, and the other is a neon green/yellow Acro or millepora. I got them from a fellow reefer where they were doing great as part of a large colony. Since I put them in my tank, two months ago, I have not seen any polyp extension or growth, and in fact I think the blue tipped Acro is at least somewhat bleached. Here's the gist of my tank: Equipment: 34-gallon, 24" x 15" x 22", 150W metal halide HQI (14,000K bulb), <Yikes... did you happen to use a tool to measure incipient light quality, quantity twixt the system where they were and where you placed them?> Aqua C remora HOB skimmer, Koralia 2 powerhead (~650 gph with a wide, diffuse jet). Tank is about 5 months old, and most of my livestock came from my previous 60-gallon. Livestock: Flame angel, ocellaris clown, royal Gramma, green Chromis, cleaner shrimp, a few snails, tuxedo urchin, tiger sea cucumber, a few LPS, a few Zoas, <Uhhh...> a bit of xenia. Lots of live rock, a half inch of sand, no sump or filter other than the skimmer. Specs: pH 8.2, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0-10 (depending which test kit I use), dKH 6-9, Ca 380 to 440, PO4 0.0, temp 80-83. I do 10 gallon water changes every two weeks with natural sea water from Scripps. <Ahhh! I also live in San Diego> Top off with tap water or purified bottled water. I use Seachem marine buffer and Fiji Gold live rock supplement, both at about half the recommended dosage, in my water top offs to provide calcium and alkalinity. <A good practice... as natural water is deficient...> I target feed all the corals (except the xenia) every week or so with frozen zooplankton (Cyclop-eeze mixed with other microscopic species). All my corals are doing great except the SPS. I have not once seen any polyps and haven't seen any growth. I think all my levels are good and though my set-up is simple I thought it would be effective for growing SPS (the tank will one day be only SPS and clams- I'm moving everything else into another tank). There is lots of flow, albeit from only one powerhead and the overflow from the skimmer, the flow seems pretty random, and there is almost no algae in the tank other than what grows on the glass, coralline algae, and a few strands of Chaetomorpha that are always stuck to the urchin. I also tried using carbon for a few days and didn't notice a difference. Lately I added a "surface skimming overflow box/bubble eliminator" to my skimmer to help remove the surface film and increase the efficiency of the skimmer. To the return portion of the box I added a small clump of Chaetomorpha as a wannabe tiny refugium. I'm even considering drilling my tank and adding a sump/refugium to help produce food and remove any nitrates, though this would be a last resort. Is there something I'm missing? Thanks for reading and, as always, I really appreciate the help. Scott <Mmm, two large possibilities loom... either photo-acclimation issues or simple allelopathy... Read re both: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm  and  http://wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm  and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Acropora dying 10/17/07 <HI Craig> Hi everyone, I am currently at a loss for what is going on with one in particular coral. It is a blue Acropora millepora that i have had for quite sometime now. In the last few days it just started dying from the bottom up. The rest of my corals are doing great so I don't know what could possibly be happening. It has good water flow, it is in the upper half of the tank so i don't think it is being deprived of light, and i feed the corals three times a week with DT's and oyster eggs. Let me give you a run down of the water parameters/system overview. pH- 8.2 ammonia- 0 nitrite - 0 nitrate - about 5ppm dKH- 9 calcium- 420 temperature- 76F at night and 78F in the day lighting- 1x 250watt double ended MH 20K, 2x 65watt actinics. tank size- 36gal HOB SeaClone skimmer Fluval 305 canister filter Hydor Koralia power heads (one of the 4's, two of the smaller sized 2's) and a MaxiJet 400 I haven't added anything to the system in a few months. This coral was having nice growth and good polyp extension until four days ago i noticed a little dead tissue around the base of the coral. Once i saw this it went very quickly downhill. I fragged off the tips that still had some life in them in hopes i could grow it out again but had no such luck. The frags now are fading as well. Last night i went on a Acropora predator hunt and only came up with a few Stomatella snails that i haven't seen before and what looked like baby emerald crabs. I didn't get a good look at the little crabs because they scurried off like cockroaches when i flicked the light on to see. Hopefully one of you charming fellows can give me some insight as to what could have happened. Thank you guys in advanced and keep up the great work you guys do over there. <Sorry to hear about this trouble. With out personally seeing the corals I can only speculate. RTN (Rapid Tissue Necrosis) is a Acro disease that causes the tissue to quickly die off of the skeleton. The causes can be viral, a pathogen, environmental stress like a spike in temperature, or from an aggressive species messing with it. The second thing is Acro Eating Flat Worms (AEFW). These little pests are very small and the exact same color as the coral they are feeding on. They feed from the base up. Because the tips you fragged where healthier and then succumbed to the same fate it is possible that you have an infestation. Again, purely speculation, but they do feed from the base up. Keep an eye on the other SPS corals in the tank. If they show signs of the same symptoms they should be removed to a Quarantine tank and treated with Flatworm Exit as a precaution. Diagnosing this problem is very difficult with out first hand knowledge. Try searching RTN and AEFW within WWM FAQ's. Your water parameters are well within reason, so a pathogen or predator is the probable cause. HTH-Rich aka Mr. Firemouth>

Bleaching Montipora - 06/14/06 Hi Crew, <<Hello Mohamed>> A LFS has an orange Monti with orange polyps but the one side is white as if it is bleaching, like a patch.  The white portion still has the orange polyps.  It is been like that for 3 days.  Will the polyps be dead if it was truly bleaching? <<No, not necessarily...though the polyps often bleach as well.>> Will this Monti recover its colour with good lighting? <<Loss of pigmentation (bleaching) could have been caused by any number of stressors, with an "excess" of lighting being my first guess.  But yes, it is quite possible this coral can recover with proper acclimation/care>> Will it be safe to buy this Monti before it goes to someone else? <<Not possible/enough info for me to say...tis up to you to decide on this gamble my friend>> Thanks, Mohamed <<Regards, EricR>>

Purple Spots on Acropora yongei  3/10/06 Hello. One of my corals (I think it is A. yongei) has been developing a number of small, purple spots. It does not look like the tissue is sloughing off in these areas, but I can't see any polyp extension either. This coral has been in my tank and doing okay for over 2 years. I did change from 175W to 250W MH, but that was over 6 months ago and this symptom just started to show up about a month ago and is progressing slowly. There does not seem to be a pattern, high or low on the coral. All other SPS and LPS species in the tank, including other Acropora, look normal and are doing fine. Water parameters are good. Please see attached. Thanks. <A very nice pic of a very nice specimen. I do believe this is "just" coloration returning to the colony... Beautiful. Bob Fenner>

Acro Suffering Algae Hello Folks- <howdy> I have a beautiful Acro that has a brown film algae develop on the tips. At first I thought nothing of it but it has now spread from on or two tips to about 6 or 7 . It seems to be only on the tips and spread to a few corallites near the tips and not down the whole stalk. I moved the coral away from any direct current but that has not helped. I am worried that it may be the beginning of the end for one of my favorite pieces. (tried water changes)....Any ideas ? Is this a common occurrence ?. (BTW no other across in the tank have any problems including the frags of this colony) Dan <without a picture of better description, I'm not much help here. For a diatom or other brown algae growth to be encroaching live tissue, you would/should be reporting receding flesh/tissue of the Acropora. In such cases, the tissue is sometimes even long since denuded and its the corallum that is being settled. If this coral had direct laminar flow before, that may have been the problem (unnatural water flow which pummeled healthy flesh into giving way to brown algae). Do send clear full-frame picture if you can. Thanks kindly, Anthony>
Acro Suffering Algae II 3/1/04
Thanks Anthony, I have attached two pictures. I have yet to master this (**^$^% digital camera. <Hmmm... yes, helpful. The color and apparent texture of the algae remind me of a Dinoflagellate infection instead of a diatom algae. Do check you pH and Alkalinity. Dinos like this often show up when the aforementioned are flat (under 9dKH and under 8.3 respectively). Aggressive protein skimming and daily use of Kalkwasser alone can eradicate this pest. DO let us know if it helps! Anthony>

Acropora bleaching? Hi guys, 'hope you're all well. <Anthony and Steve here in San Diego with Bob... drinking beer and answering e-mail. Yep... we're very well <smile>> one of my across, dark purple valida is starting to whiten, no peeling off just white. Is this due to a loss of light as it has now grown nicely and maybe overshadowing its base. Also it's been quite hot these last few days and the temp gradually reached 83. <many possibilities for bleaching... light shock (water change, new carbon after absence, etc), lack of nitrate/nitrogen/feeding, and of course temp as suspected. If increase was 3 or more degrees in 24 hrs, then it is a real candidate> Could it be a lack of a certain vitamin or maybe even strontium. <not likely> All parameters are great, the tank is 2 years old and the valida is the only of my across which is giving me trouble. Any info would be great, thanks. <my regrets, but not enough info my friend. Do consider the above possibilities> Stefi/London <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Acropora bleaching question
Anthony, thanks for the response. I wasn't doing the QT for just a few days. It was meant for several weeks. That is how I have always acclimated my corals and has worked well.  <Ahhh... I misunderstood. Thanks you and kudos to you for the good technique> It allows me to gradually acclimate their lighting to what their position in my main tank is. I'm sorry if you got the impression that I was just putting it in there for 2 days. . . <no...thank you, my friend. The limitations of e-mail :)> Still not sure what would cause it that would cause the entire tank to go milky white and stink. Very possibly the little Heliofungia that has been in there for awhile.  <indeed some rotting tissue> This tank is fairly stable as it is my coral acclimation tank. Oh well, thanks for the input and yes I agree with your assessments about stress. Now I'll just have to slowly nurture this back to health in my qt tanks. Jim <yes... corals are amazingly resilient! If there is any tissue still left, it will likely survive. Good water flow and feedings are the key for now... lighting not so much. Kindly, Anthony>

Acropora emergency I can't stand it.  I just can't stand it.  <sigh> You've been helping me with some lighting issues, which I really appreciate, but I'm starting to think it's not the lighting.  My biggest problem is that I can no longer seem to keep Acropora alive. <so many possibilities> I had two pieces for a couple of months before a water circulation problem (blown pump) killed them.  I had acclimated them, and they seemed otherwise healthy, so I replaced them with another piece, but stupidly didn't acclimate.  It bleached within a week.  OK, I thought, my fault, and for the replacement to the replacement, I've gone the whole nine yards, with the screen method, to acclimate.  Everything's been fine for a week...and today I get up to find the bases of several of the branches are bleaching. I've checked most of what I can think to check: am,>ni, nitrate all zero; Ca at 500; <lets stop here. We may have a water quality issue. Either your Ca test is inaccurate (500ppm Ca is dangerously high if even possible in most tanks without a precipitation of Alkalinity)... Or... your alkalinity is on the floor! I can almost guarantee you that if you test your Alkalinity/hardness that you are well under 10dKH. Quite frankly... I won't be surprised if you are under 6dKH! Very dangerous and could easily foul Acropora and other SPS. Target 8-12 dKH and 350-425ppm Ca but not the high en of both simultaneously. Use a LFS or another test to compare your kit's accuracy of a water test> with a chiller, the temp stays at 78 24x7.  If you recall, I had 20K 250W>MH lights when I got the piece, but switched to 10K for a couple days due to other issues; I've put the 20K bulbs back, but with the heavy screen it's had, I didn't think that would cause the piece to start bleaching, especially literally overnight - I looked at it last night, it was not bleached at all (believe me, I've been checking 5 times a day).  I have noticed that the polyps never really have extended, but I thought it was due to the move and have been waiting it out. <the switch was indeed stressful... but I am wondering if this isn't really a problem with skewed Ca/Alk dynamics or consistency> Is there anything I can do to save this piece?   <we need to ID the cause before we can say whether to pull the coral or not> I'm sick of watching Acropora bleach.  Other corals (mostly LPS and soft) all seem fine - <more tolerant> including a large branching Hydnophora excesa (I believe - it's a fuzzy-looking green branching SPS), which has done fine from the beginning. <it is one of the worlds hardiest corals... I have seen them propagated by literally running them through a band saw!!!> Any ideas?  Or am I just going to remain an Acropora killer?  Arthur <no worries... we will figure it out in due time. Anthony>
Re: Acropora Emergency
An update; I performed a few moderate water changes over the last two days, and have swapped out the equivalent of 60% of the original water.  The new reading for Ca shows around 420, but I'll let it settle for a day before reading it again.  Alk is still 11.  Things seem a little "perkier", but they always do after a water change - probably a good indication that my skimmer just wasn't cutting it. The Acropora emergency is over - it's bleached over 75% of the piece, so I expect it'll croak.  RTN stinks.  I'll go back to daily Ca checks for a while until I get some stability. <Sounds fine now, sorry about the Acro. Test calcium and Alk and then let it run for four days with no supplements. Test again and divide difference by four. That is what you should dose of calc  and Alk supplements daily.  11 Alk and 420 calcium is just on the high end of optimum for both. They could both come down a little with no problem.> I've already purchased the Remora Pro (today), so at this point, over the last 2 months, I've replaced or added: the chiller (1/4 HP), canister filter (Hagen 404) leading into a UV sterilizer (CSL double helix, to help fight Ich - won't be permanently on), lighting (from 4x110W VHO to MH), and now the protein skimmer (Remora Pro).  The last thing I'm going to do is convert the sump to a refugium (when I can remove the in-sump skimmer I have and get the room back).  For a 75 gallon tank, I have to believe this is getting close to optimum conditions- I suppose I could always add a Ca Reactor, but that isn't going to happen soon (not if I want to stay married :)).  If I can't get some stability now, I really *will* consider changing to guppies...:) Thanks for the help... Arthur <Hmmm, sounds like my house.... Do have fun!  Craig>

Acropora Tissue Recession Hey Crew! <Whassup?!?> I am not sure what to do with my Staghorn Acropora.  <grow it, frag it, trade it... get more Acroporas> Its about 5in diameter purple branching and showing steady growth from the axial corallites. Everything seems normal however there is very slow tissue recession at the base.  <a common symptom... many reasons for this... inadequate water flow, static posterior lights (as from focused pendant halides instead of nicely reflected horizontal mount bulbs or bulbs on tracks), disease (rare)>  There appears not to be any peeling of tissue at all; just seems like every week when I look at the white band at its base its getting wider. I guess its losing about an 1/8 inch weekly. Odd to me because I have had the "Rapid" variety before and it definitely is not showing this. Furthermore I have purchased other Acropora on the net that looks to have some old recession that has since been grown over with new tissue on top of the dead parts.  <good to hear... but please be sure to QT all new animals... fishes, corals, crustaceans, mollusks...ALL! 2-4 weeks minimum to reduce risk of transmitting disease> When I originally received this internet bought Acropora I thought they ripped me off by sending me a Trojan horse to destroy the rest of my corals, but after close observation, the recessed parts are not expanding and is showing good polyp extension.  <at any rate... Trojan horses only work if you let them into the castle, right? Please always quarantine all livestock, my friend. It is proper and responsible if not respectful to the living treasures we keep> Does this mean that some Acroporas may begin to recess then just as quickly stop and begin new growth? <so many reasons for healing and receding. Cannot be summarized as such> Also I have a Stylophora pink...again its showing good growth, but there are spots of some kind of algae with fibers that seems to be spreading, although very slow....what should I do about this.  <Hmmm... very indicative. Stylo's also require massive water flow. I'm wondering what your flow is? The old rule of thumb at 10X turnover is pathetic and antiquated for modern reef tanks. I myself am running about 2400 GPH in a 50 gallon. It is dispersed in random turbulent patterns. You'd never guess it to be that high by looking at it... but the corals know! Do consider> I have placed this Stylophora at the end of a powerhead for better circulation and I occasionally will use my hand to fan away the algae. <Arghhh... please no linear flow (in front of the PH). Such reef corals need strong surge or random turbulent flow. Few reef corals will tolerate linear/laminar> Regards, Dennis <best regards, Anthony>

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