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FAQs about Acroporid Coral Environmental Disease

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: Diagnosing, 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,


New to SPS -- 05/22/09
Hello crew, Henry here.
<<Hiya Henry, Eric here>>
I have a 72g bow front with a 15g sump, Mag-12 return pump and 2 Koralia 4's, AquaC Urchin Pro skimmer, 85#'s live rock, 2" sand bed. In the sump I have Chaeto, carbon, and 50mg PhosBan. Tank has been up for 2 1/2 yrs, I have some fish and soft corals. Decided to try SPS corals, I got 2 150W MH w/Actinics. Did light acclimation, then I got a Montipora digitata. Put him high up in tank. I have had it for a couple of weeks now and have not seen any polyps?
<<Odd'¦ If happy/conditions are good, this coral usually 'polyps out' quite readily when the lights are on>>
I will attach a photo and also water specs. Please tell me, is it OK? Is there something I can do?
Water Specs: Temp - 78-80
SG - 1.023
pH - 8.4
CA - 500
PO - 0
NO - (honestly) 15 - 20
Thank You.
<<Well Henry, the picture is a bit dark to see much detail but this digitata specimen certainly does not look happy. There's a couple things I notice about your water specs that may be the issue here 'most importantly the Nitrate level. Nitrate is important to a system, but if your readings are accurate the level is too high. Strive to bring it down to the 3-5 ppm range. You don't give an Alkalinity reading but your Calcium level of 500 seems a tad bit high 'might want to let this fall to about 400 or so. Also, I prefer a more 'natural' Salinity level of 1.025-1.026. Another consideration is the PhosBan'¦ Though I have used it myself on a punctuated basis when battling nuisance algae, there are those that believe it is actually detrimental to a system when utilized continuously 'something for you to think about. As for lighting, if you acclimated the digit correctly, and especially if this is a 'green' variety, being up high in the tank should be fine'¦but'¦you might try lowering it in the tank for a bit and see what transpires. Regards, EricR>>

Montipora with Algae... Uhh, huge gaps in ones pertinent education, practices, but plenty of spending. Reef, poor maint. f'    4/17/08 Hi Crew! <Heather> I have a 120 Gallon reef with softies. I recently purchased a Montipora and added him to the opposite side of the tank away from the Leather, Colt, Xenia, Mushrooms, Anemone, <Mmm... these can all "reach out and touch someone" chemically... to varying degrees/effects> but he is above a couple of polyps of zoos. About 6 inches above. I have been reading up on these for a long time, and I have the same lighting that the store I bought it from uses (I bought it from them) t5's x 6 in the same spectrum of light they suggested. They told me this fellow is adapted to the strong lighting, so i went ahead and put him at the very top of my tank, maybe 2 inches below water surface. He was doing wonderfully for a few weeks, but now I notice that the vibrant purple has faded to a duller shade, not bleached really, just not as vibrant and I have an algae type covering growing over the coral. <Very bad> I get the same substance on my glass daily, and I brush it away with my magnetized glass cleaner. I directed a power head at the coral more but it doesn't remove the brown/orange coloured algae that seems to be stuck on. I am wondering if there is anything I can do to get rid of that stuff. <Mmm, lots...> The only other thing I can think of, is I was told by a friend that Kalkwasser was needed, <...? What do your alkalinity and biomineral tests show?> so I followed the directions on the jar and have used it twice now. I do not have a way to measure my ca/Alk levels, <!?> so I just hoped that the instructions would be right. <No my young friend> I do have a lot of evaporation in my tank, I need to top up with about a 1/4 depth of my sump daily, and I run a dehumidifier in the room as my walls were soaked, curtains soaked, and black mold formed behind them! <Yuck!> So, I wondered if it is potentially the continued added water. <"It" being the algal proliferation?> I use ro/di but I have always ALWAYS had difficulties with nitrates, off the scale nitrates, <... trouble> but my softies seemed unaffected, and "healthier" actually than when they were in the store, more vibrant in colouration, and growing rapidly. I have a refugium with Chaetomorpha, mangrove, and Caulerpa (my Foxface loves the stuff) and a DSB. I do weekly vacuuming and water changes. I was told that it is possible that the silicone my husband used to construct the sump could be the nitrate culprit, <No> and we originally had used play sand before we got the oolite sand (live and learn) but we have never been able to get every last speck of it out, and get more of it each time we vacuum. We've had the play sand out for about a year now. I am wondering which of these "mistakes" is the biggest one, and how can I fix it? <Reading> I am concerned about this algae. It is see through, and it is not like Cyanobacteria (of which I became quite accustomed to/of until I stopped feeding so very much). My protein skimmer is a problem for me, because of the very much top off needed, the protein skimmer only functions a portion of the day, because while I am at work, and the water level moves itself, the effectiveness of the skimmer fluctuates. When I used to have it in the display tank (which isn't possible anymore) it worked fantastic. Sorry for the length of this, but I see the fish store has no trouble keeping a Monti with the rest being softies, I just wanted one too! It's the plating variety. Help? Heather Allan <... you have a few issues to address. Less spending of money on livestock, more using the equivalent time studying, learning the basics of water chemistry (and test kit use), system maintenance and the husbandry and compatibility of the disparate life you list. Please look up these issues... the indices, search tool, on WWM... and begin educating yourself. Bob Fenner>
Re: Montipora with Algae  4/17/08
Hi again, I re-read what I wrote and realized several things I'd written were probably not clear. I do not seem to have any problems whatsoever with any of my other corals, all been thriving and growing heavily for about 2 years. I read your site daily, and unfortunately lose track of time ;P it's all so very interesting. I figure I've been rather lucky with the other species I have to a degree that they get along more or less. I know that a specialized tank, with one type of coral is best, like all softies, all sps or all LPSs, and anemone is not a great plan (I learned that afterwards, he was my first member to my tank, a Condy, and extremely hardy). I just upgraded all my lighting from fluorescents to the T5's about 6 months ago. I was going for halides, but the store assured me they would never have halides again and that they have everything including clams doing better in the T5's. Big Al's doesn't agree with this, but they have display tanks with wide mixes of coral types, and I wanted similar. My question I guess is this, should I give up on wanting one Monti amongst many soft coral species? <Maybe not. Generally, yes, the fewer different types of corals you have in one system, the better/easy things are all around. However, there are very few "rules" written in stone about this. If you'd like to try to keep a Montipora sp. in with your soft corals, I suggest you get a frag from a coral that is being kept successfully in a similar system as your own. If you can't find this, try a frag from any colony that's been in captivity for a long time.> I do not know what else to do about the nitrates. I have pretty much given up on that. Test kits (yes I use them, again my description wasn't clear) have been checked and checked again to be sure that my source water is free of detectable levels, but even when I have drained 90% of my water, and then refilled with RO/DI water, immediately, my nitrates are well over 80-100. <Strange, have you tested the RO/DI water? Maybe there's something wrong with your filter...> Unfortunately, this seems to be a carryover (even though I vacuum often) from when I fed my fish daily in the earlier days of many types of food. I now employ an every other day approach, and that has brought nitrates to a steady place at least. I wonder if it is the aragonite itself that is "bad", as I mentioned the silicone, it is where the problems seem to stem from, the water in the sump was always stagnant until I added algae life to it. It is not now. I thought the silicone (because it is not aquarium silicone) was adding phosphates to the tank since this is where the algae bloom began (on the silicon itself) if indeed it is algae. <For algae, and other such things, silicone is easier to "grasp" (anchor to) than glass because of its surface texture. This is the likely reason it started growing there.> I can't seem to figure out exactly what it is, other than perhaps diatoms, very prolific. The snails love it whatever the stuff is. <Many snails do love diatoms...> You guys attempted to help me before about the nitrate issue. I forget which of you guys it was (sorry) but we settled on the canister filter ceramic rings harvesting too much of one type of nitrifying cycle event. As I say, I always have undetectable levels of everything else (ammonia, nitrite) but nitrate is always the cycling problem. <Do you have a sand bed?> You said that the duller colouration and algae/diatom stuffs covering the coral is really bad. Does this mean it is dead? I notice the snails are now eating some of the stuff off of the coral, which seems to be helping. <Maybe get more snails then...> When I said I can't test, I have not been able to find an alkalinity test kit in my local fish stores (nearest fish store is an hour drive away actually) I have tested calcium, it is always high (sorry at work and do not have numbers in front of me). Does that mean I should not be using Kalkwasser? <Kalkwasser might help, but it's hard to say without knowing the numbers. Do try to order these over the internet if it's too difficult to get to the LFS.> I have read and heard from others that need it or not, you always should make it a routine to use it. I'm very confused then. It seems one person will tell me don't use additives at all, the next will tell me you MUST have them. pH is always 8.1 steady. <Kalkwasser doesn't count as an "additive" the way most reef aquarists think of additives. Additives are things like Iodine, Strontium, etc. You don't have to use Kalkwasser, but you do definitely need a source of calcium and alkalinity. This might help some: http://www.asira.org/practicalchemistrybasics> I didn't mean to sound like an ignoramus re: reef keeping, <Naw... I've seen worse. ;-)> I was at work and rather desperate when i wrote and I feel terribly now that I sounded like one of those that buy things without learning/researching first as I really hate that in others. <We all have to start somewhere.> I wouldn't say that's the case, but I am becoming desperate about the nitrate issue (which I'm guessing is the same old problem now leading to other problems) and I just can't figure out how else to rectify it besides water maintenance? <If you don't already have one, you might consider setting up a remote deep sand bed/refugium. These can help a lot with nitrates (as well as greatly improving the overall health of the system).> I do notice my fish void often and it makes a large mess in the tank, is there a way to discourage that? LOL <Heheee... not really.> As for the top off water evaporation, I removed the top to my tank when I upgraded the lighting <good idea> because I had wondered if there was an ozone effect going on in there, in a way, not letting enough natural air to it. In theory I think this has helped some. I didn't realize that the water was accumulating for a while and was dismayed to find all the mold. Oh and the question about the Kalkwasser, I was meaning without testing for alkalinity, could that have been the cause of the stony coral going awry so suddenly? <It's possible.> I realize that it was probably a dumb move on my part, but I was just so very desperate to find a fix. I really don't want my Montipora to have a sad end because of a mistake regarding my understanding of the Kalk additive. I find there is a lot of misleading information out there, or information whereby it is just barely glazed over. My fault. <Again, this should help... http://www.asira.org/practicalchemistrybasics But please do let me know if it doesn't.> So, at this point, along with more water changes I'm currently doing, what can kill off/ get rid of that algae like stuff and is it actually algae or would it be diatoms? <It sounds like diatoms to me (or possibly a mix of things, diatoms, bacterial slim, etc.). If the snails like it, you could get more of these snails. And again, a remote DSB and/or refugium never hurts.> it's a golden, orangey brown very light, sheer colouration that is usually accumulated on the glass walls of the tank and easily removed into a cloud of "dust" when swept at. <Beautiful... diatoms. Believe it or not, they're actually quite wonderful creatures (just as the snails). Of course, obviously, you can have too much of a good thing. Get your chemistry right, check your RO/DI water (before you mix it), and think about more snails and/or a remote sand bed, etc. Lots to read and think about for you.> I'm so very sorry for sounding so ignorant, really, I feel just awful. <No worries... keep learning/reading, be patient, etc.> Heather <Best, Sara M.>

Acropora decline... env. and?  -11/18/07 I have a 75 gallon reef tank that has been up and running with no problems for a little over a year. It has a 20 gallon sump/refugium, a large protein skimmer, and 2 175 watt Metal Halides at 15000K. Tank parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate, 0 phosphate. My pH is 7.9 ( a little low, <Actually, this is WAY low... the pH scale is a base ten logarithm... this is fifty some percent off from ideal...> but it is very stable and I alternate the lights on the display and the sump ), 12 dKH, the salinity is 1.023 <Also too low> and the temperature is 78 + or - 1 degree. I purchased an Acropora from the LFS <How long ago?> who had received it the day before as a shipping error and they were selling it cheap. Not expecting the coral to sit around for a few weeks at that price, I took a gamble and purchased it that day. It initially had some polyp extension, but its color wasn't the best (probably due to shipping). After a few days at the bottom of my tank it was beginning to turn brown so I moved it up closer to the lights. The brown has faded away and not he coral looks more or less white with a faint hint of purple color, but still relatively brown near the base of the branches. The polyp's are not opening up as much as before, but the tips still have that purple spot and sometimes open up ( see picture ). I placed the Acropora near the return of my Mag 9.5 and also added a Seio 600GPH and a smaller 270GPH powerhead at opposite sides ( See attached picture ). There is also a 190 GPH powerhead behind the Acropora pointed directly in the glass to try and generate some turbulence in the water. I have incorporated oyster eggs into my feeding regiment but see very little activity from the Acropora. I am wondering if his color lightening up is indicating the lighting is good or if he is bleaching or even dying due to some other factor? <Possibly> He has been in the tank for about 3 weeks now; is this sufficient time for him to be doing well or should I continue to wait it out? Could the pH be the problem? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. <Mmm, well, I would NOT keep moving the specimen... and I would address your water quality per the comments above... AND I would definitely read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/acropori.htm  The files linked above: On Acroporid Systems, Health.... Bob Fenner>

Re: Acropora decline, using WWM  11/19/07 Thanks for your prompt response. As per your recommendations, I am beginning work on a automatic top-off system to handle evaporation and I'll also use it handle the pH issue. Do you have any specific recommendations on how to raise the pH and keep it stable? <Yes... posted... Please learn to/use the search tool, indices...> Is there anything further you can say from looking at the picture about the apparent health of the Acropora currently? <Mmm, actually looks "fine" from what can be discerned... is a wild-collected small colony (likely first or second year), collected from a reef flat, likely Fijian... is really mostly "just" new... though its proximity to established Alcyoniids may be trouble here> Is the flow I am currently using good? Thanks again for the help.
<S/b fine... BobF>

Spots on My Plating Montipora - 09/15/06 Hi Bob, <<EricR here with you this morning>> While waiting for the Alf Nielsen books I need some help please... <<Good books...let's see if I can help>> Attached you will find two pictures of my Montipora, <<I see them>> A small story, I bought it in July and it was green, late in August, it changed to brown and now some small green spot can be seen on its surface. <<Environmental issues...likely related to lighting, but could also be water quality...and not necessarily because either are "bad", but only that they are "different" from whence it came>> My concern is in the light brown patches, in the center, there was some sort of deposit on it and after I used a "turkey blaster" to blow away the sediments I discovered those spots. <<See this all the time with "plating" type corals...very common.  The "spots" are a result of the sediments/sand/whatever blocking light and smothering the tissue underneath.  Removal of the sediment usually results in new growth/complete recovery of the afflicted area.  Many aquarists use the turkey baster approach as part of their weekly maintenance regimen.  Increasing water flow in the vicinity of the coral may also help with keeping sediments from settling on the coral>> What is the recommended course of action?? <<Just as you have done...the coral will do the rest>> Lugol's dip?? <<Nope>> Thanks for your help Claudio Dioguardi <<I'm pleased to assist.  Regards, Eric Russell>>

White spots on Montipora  7/14/06 Hello,    <Hi there>   I have this giant gorgeous piece of red, plating Montipora.  About a week ago I rearranged the live rock and moved the Montipora so that it is higher in the tank, <By how much?> under actinics but not directly under a metal halide.  Recently I noticed several white chalky spots and streaks.  They seem to be getting worse and spreading.  Our levels are fine <Numbers please... vague generalities result in responses of the same quality> and we've been feeing it DT's phyto and oyster eggs.  Our clowns hang out above it constantly but I don't know if that has anything to do with it.  Please help me; I can't bare to loose <Or lose?> this gorgeous piece!      Thanks,   Krissi <... likely nothing wrong here... a bit of reaction from the change in lighting... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acropori.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner, and the linked files above...>

Re: White spots on Montipora, not reading  7/15/06 It was about 5 inches from the bottom of our tank and now it is about 10 inches higher.    <Likely about doubled the effective photonic input>   Nitrates, Ammonia, Nitrites and Phosphates are at 0.   dKH is 11   pH is 7.8 (can't keep it stably above that) <Do read on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm>   Salinity is 1.024   Temp is 79   Calcium is 425   Chelated Iron is .25   Iodine is .6 mg/l <Not continuously I trust>      I don't think it is a reaction to the lighting change because the areas have not just faded, they are chalky and completely white spots and streaks amongst wonderfully healthy Montipora.  I don't know, though.  It could be.  I'm hoping that it's not some kind of infection.  Could it be caused by bubbles trapped underneath them?        Thanks,   Krissi <Not likely... It is almost assuredly the light change... though could be a chemical burn from supplements. Make such changes outside the system via new water... and read. Bob Fenner>

Marine Algae Woes  4/6/06 Hi Bob, <No his young pal Adam J. with you tonight.> Hope all is well. <He was good last time I chatted with him...though busy (aren't we all).> I got these red algae, they are all over my reek tank now. They are like little cotton clusters .I tried manual removal, black snails but they are out of control now. Is that something I should be concerned about ??? <Yes.> I realized that some of my SPS are not doing that great lately. <Astute observation.> Please see attached photo. Thank you. <Ramy before I give you advice please use the search engine in the main site re: Cyanobacteria and nutrient problems.> Ramy, Ontario, Canada.
<Good luck, Adam J.>

SPS problem!!  4/6/06 Hi there, I have a problem with my SPS, I started the tank almost a year ago. I have this algae growing now and dominating the tank ( see attachment ) The growing tips of the SPS die and then the whole piece dies off afterwards. Any explanation ?? <Not good... could be pathogenic, but much more likely environmental in its allowance/occurrence> Do you think this algae is the reason ??? Thank you. <No... this is secondary, tertiary... Most likely the root problem/s are environmental.> Regards, Ramy <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm Scroll down to the Scleractinians tray... read re SPS, Acropora Systems, Disease... Bob Fenner>

SPS problem !!    3/29/06 Hi Bob, <Ramy> I had my 150 gal running for a year now, housing only SPS and clams. Everything is fine so far except that one of my favorite Acros started showing the following : The growing tips started to break and are covered with algae. <Yikes!> I can see the polyps extending but not as much as they used to be. I haven't moved this piece from its spot for more than 5 months, same lighting conditions, great water values , nothing else is wrong. So what could have gone wrong ???? <Very likely "just" the unnatural make-up of aquariums at play here... Changing the flow (increasing greatly), introducing some smaller fishes, perhaps switching out some of the live rock... will steer your system back toward where you want it. Bob Fenner> Regards, Ramy, Ontario, Canada.

Please Help! -- Mg damage to corals? Sclera. health - 2/28/2006 Hi Crew, <Greg> I hope I am worrying needlessly, but I am concerned I might have an unknown coral predator or a water parameter problem with my 180g reef.  My main concern is one Acropora with approximately a pea-sized exposed skeleton near the base of one branch and ½' of skeleton exposed on one tip.  A brown mucous-thread-like substance covered the Acropora, with dead tissue trapped in the bottom of this mucous net.  I siphoned-off the mucous and dead tissue, cut off the dead tip of one branch, then dispensed a tank water + Lugol's solution over the remaining bare skeletal areas.  I just fear that this area of necrosis might be spreading.  This Acropora is placed approximately 8 inches from a 7' Crocea clam (which occasionally produces a similar-looking mucous-like 'net' near the byssal opening).  So I am unsure if the Acropora coating was from the Crocea or if it was produced by the coral. <Mmmm> Two days prior to this happening I did move a rock that was attached to this Acropora and one tip was broken off the Acropora.  This has never been an issue in the past as new flesh would cover the exposed skeleton within a week and new branches would form.  Possibly this initial stress is what led to the current tissue necrosis. Current water parameters: Temp=77°F, Salinity=1.024, pH=8.1, Alk=3.2 mEq/L, Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, Nitrate~1ppm, Ca=440ppm, PO4={below meas. Limits}, Silicate=0).  I did also increase temperature on my heaters from 76°F to 77°F a few days ago.  I performed a 32g water change at the same time. A little history'¦ About two weeks ago, I noticed that all of my Montiporas were becoming much lighter in color.  I was not overly concerned because they have lightened and darkened in color several times over their 2 years in my tank and they continue to grow well.  Although water parameters have always remained within acceptable ranges previously, my salinity dropped from 1.025 to 1.022 <This is a huge difference> over the course of a day just before the Montiporas changed color a few weeks ago.  A snail had stuck my makeup water float switch in the 'on' position for a day, flooding my 100g refugium and diluting the water with RO/Kalk mixture. <No fun> My pH measured 8.2 so I was only concerned about the sudden change in salinity (makeup water flows at only 10gpd).  I removed 10 gallons of tank water and slowly added 10 gallons of very high salinity water until tank salinity measured 1.023.  The following day, I repeated this procedure until the salinity reached 1.024.  All fish, corals, clams, other inverts appeared to be unstressed so I assumed that worst case, this might have induced a temporary color change in the Montiporas. <Takes a while to show... weeks, months> Since my alkalinity and pH have always remained near the low end of acceptable (pH=8.0-8.1, Alk=2.5-3 mEq/L) despite using a Kalkwasser reactor for top-off and the addition of Na2CO3 and NaCO3, I bought a Mg test kit to determine if a low Mg level was partially responsible for low alkalinity (Ca=440 ppm).  Mg measured 1,140 ppm <Close enough...> so I mixed 10 teaspoons of Seachem Reef Mg in 1 pint of RO water and dripped this into the pump intake in my refugium.  An hour later I repeated this.  According to Seachem's label, I would have needed to repeat this process a few more times to reach the desired 1,300 ppm but I noticed another Acropora (near the return line) with mucous-like threads waving from its polyps.  I was concerned that I might have changed the Mg level too quickly so I made no further changes to the tank for the next two days. <Good> I did continue to noticed these 'mucous threads' waving from the Acropora polyps at times.  This is a different Acropora than the one that is currently displaying tissue necrosis.  Could dosing Mg in this way cause tissue necrosis in Acropora? <Possibly a factor, not likely "the"> This particular coral is not in direct flow of the pump return line. One Montipora has completely bleached (although polyps are visibly extended) but I did move this coral to a lower light area of the tank when it initially began to bleach.  All other corals (4 Acropora, 1 Birdsnest, 1 open brain, 1 pineapple coral, hammer coral, zoos, star polyps, mushrooms, Alveopora) appear to be doing well.  Even the Acropora that had previously produced the mucous-like threads now appears normal.  All inverts appear unstressed as well. What should I do about the Acropora with the tissue necrosis -- is there a way to reverse this spread?   <You likely have> If the necrotic area continues to grow, I assume I should frag the coral to save the remainder -- correct? <An approach. I would move this colony to another system, or even shallow, brightly lit sump first myself> Do you think this in contagious (e.g. should I be doing anything to protect the other corals in my tank)?  Unfortunately I do not have a picture to send yet, but I can follow-up when I return home tonight if needed. Thank you in advance for your help!!! --Greg <I doubt you have a pathogen at play here. Very likely the bit of trouble you've observed is/was due to the change n spg... I would not over-react here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Please Help! -- Mg damage to corals?  - 3/1/2006
Bob, <Greg> Thank you so much for your input (or at least putting my mind at ease) -- and for taking the time to read my email.  I will continue to watch this Acropora, but no additional skeletal areas appear to be exposed tonight. <Good> I refer all of my fellow reefers to the WWM search for answers to their questions.  You and the WWM crew offer an invaluable service to aquarists! --Greg <We're very glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Montipora   1/14/06 I just purchased a dying Monti cap,<Why on earth would you want to do that, they are not easily kept to begin with.> but I think I can see some of it's polyps opening up.  The color is still orange. Is that a good sign?<Yes, didn't bleach out yet.> Also, does hair algae kill corals? <It can, prevents needed light from reaching them.> I was reading an ad and it seems this man was dying to have somebody "save" his corals due to a bloom of hair algae. The parameters are normal, 78 degrees at night and 80 degrees in the day time.  Specific gravity is at 1.025, and I do a 15 gallon water change, on a 90g tank, about every 10 days.  I'm guessing it must be phosphate.  Tank equipment includes a wet/dry filter, ETSS 500 skimmer, a 700g/hr return pump, a Danner Mag drive 9.5 to drive the skimmer, and 540w of P.C lighting. Thanks for the help so far.  My tank is looking great. <With your lighting you would have to keep them near the top of the aquarium as they do require intense lighting, preferably metal halide or HQI as a major requirement for life. Do search our web site on "feeding corals" and other related subjects.  Most will be found here.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Montipora
Thank you for the quick response. The Monti Cap is turning a darker orange than it was before. Is that a good sign? <Yes, it certainly isn't bleaching.> I also have a question about Kalkwasser. Can I drip it 24/7 using the Kent's Marine Aquadoser? It says it only replaces the water lost during evaporation.  Or is it better to use that during the night? <I'm not familiar with that product from Kent.  I suggest you contact Kent Marine for info.  In the future please reply with the original query that includes my remarks.  This just makes the editing/posting confusing.  Thank you.  James (Salty Dog)>Well, thanks again. <You're welcome>

Montipora turned brown... 01-10-06 Hey all, <Jay> I have a question regarding Montipora turning brown... I've read what seems like hundreds of questions similar to mine, and I realize that there is a pretty long list of reasons WHY Montis turn brown, but I just wanted to run my specifics by you and see what you think. I have a 90g with two 175w [Hamilton] 6500k bulbs <Here is one possibility. Low spectrum bulbs lead to more browns.> and dual VHO actinics (actinics on for 14 hours or so, halides on for 7); 46g refugium and (I think) a 20g modified wet/dry which I removed the bioballs from. These are all being supplied by an Iwaki 40rlt and a s.q.w.d. along with 2 zoomed rotating powerheads in the 90g (I've had them for over a year and a half and they still rotate, though I do have to clean them once a month or so.) The skimmer is way under rated, but my lovely big fuge takes care of my nutrient issues along with the 100 or so lbs of live rock. No ammo, no nitrites, near 0 nitrate, no phos, salinity @ 1.024-25, calcium around 400, but occasionally closer to 500. pH seems to fluctuate between 8.0 and 8.3, but I do NOT trust my pH test. dKH between 9 and 10. I also use Lugol's solution once a week <Be careful with this.> as well as strontium/molybdenum, and until recently iron as well (daily) but I went a bit nuts with it so I stopped until I get my new salt (marine environment... was using tropic marine, but I think it sucks). <Be careful and take your time switching salt.> Now, ALL of my corals are growing really well, but since getting my halides (2 or 3 months ago) I've been experimenting with some SPS. Aside from three different colors of Montipora (all branching) I also have an Acro Staghorn which is green/brown with great purple tips and an unknown Acro that was green/brown with light blue between the polyps. When I put all of these in my tank I light acclimated them for a week or two (did it each time I added one SPS) and they all turned brownish within a day or two. The purple tipped Acro got its color back stronger than ever. The other unknown Acro had a problem I'll assume was Acro-eating flatworms... won't get into that now though... and it is also finally getting its colors back. The Montipora though (brown, pinkish and purple) are staying brown. Obviously the brown Monti wont change, but I'd like to figure out what is going on with the pinkish and purple. My lights are 6-8" above the surface (need to measure...); the pink Monti is 3 or 4 inches below the surface and the purple is about 6 inches below the surface. ALL the Montipora and both Acros are growing like crazy (Acro is very quickly encrusting the rocks they're glued to as well as branching out a bit, and the Montipora have all grown at least a couple of centimeters.) I think I've managed to 'train' them to extend their polyps during the day even though I didn't mean to, and I feed the whole tank a combo of phyto/zoo plankton, Cyclop-eeze, oyster eggs, marine snow and chromaMAX (not all at the same time, usually 1 or 2 every other day or so) on top of the flake and frozen prawn daily for the fishies. Whew... that was rather long-winded. As you can see, my only 'problem' seems to be lack of color in the Montipora, and I would really love to see that purple Monti turn purple again!! What do you think? <I believe your Monti would benefit from 10K or 14K bulbs. You may also see an increase in color with the addition of activated carbon usage. This will keep the water more clear and help make up for the weak skimmer. Travis> Thanks -Jay
Re: Montipora turned brown... 01-10-06 Part 2
Cool, will start using carbon then. As far as the higher Kelvin bulbs go, do you think there will be any [noticeable] difference in coral growth if I switch from my current 6500's to 10k or 14k? Only reason I even bought the 65's were to stimulate more growth, but I don't really like the yellow tinge they give everything. Oh, and any specific brand of bulb in your opinion? <As far as bulbs go... 65K gives you fast growth, but brown color. 20K gives you good color, but poor growth. 10K and 14K give you average growth with good color. 10K tends to be a white light and 14K is a bit more blue. As for brands I suggest sticking with the bigger names such as Hamilton and Ushio. Travis> Thanks again!! -Jay

- Acropora Bleaching - Hey Guys, I hope that health is well with all, and I thank you for the opportunity to ask questions. <Thank you and you're welcome.> I had an Acropora "haimei" coral with purple tips that I bought months ago. I appeared to be doing well in my 80 gallon with MH lighting 250w 20,000k. Because I purchased a large colt coral moved the coral to another spot in the tank to prevent it from being stung and noticed that a piece began to bleach white that night. I placed the coral back to its original position, but lost in in 3 days. My question is that each time I read the forums the question is asked if brown algae existed. <Am not sure that this is more than coincidental - when corals bleach, polyps are dying which means the nutrients are going to attract things like BGA.> While the coral was bleaching brown algae started to appear, but was never there before. My question is besides moving the coral, what caused it to die off, and what is the "brown algae" and why is this question always asked? <Well, for starters, could be your Acropora was on the down-turn from day one. These animals are very finicky, and need careful acclimation to your tank and lighting. Likewise, they need very strong water flow throughout their structure in order to stay healthy. Failure to provide any of the above will result in an eventual breakdown low on the frag which then often spreads to the rest of the coral. More on light acclimation here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm As to why folks always ask about brown algae and what its significance is, I can only speculate.> I appreciate any advice and wish you the best. Thanks, Chris <Cheers, J -- >
Re: Acro Bleaching and Lighting  11/14/05
Hi Adam, <Hello again and sorry for the late reply.> Many thanks for the reply, <No trouble.> The Ph 6.6 and dKH 24 are those of the calcium reactor effluent, the tank Alk and ph are towards the top of the list. <Yes I saw that...and felt quite stupid when I did, guess I wasn't paying attention, okay so that's obviously not the problem.> Plenty of water movement, 2 x 12,000lph Tunze stream pumps pointing towards each other constantly running, no timer. I personally feel wave machines are a complete waste of money, my flow is just as random, maybe even more so than with a timer. <Yes your water flow is quite adequate and I suspected as much.> The SPS seem to pale within a few weeks after addition. I usually start them off about mid way and move em to the top. Do you think perhaps there is a lack of nitrogen/Iron/aminos or something for the Zooxanthellae? <Even with highly efficient skimmers such as yours the average reef tank usually has plenty of nutrients to go around, if you want to give the SPS something else to feed on I have had good luck with DT's oyster eggs.> After reading a few more posts I am believing that the symbiotic algae aren't doing too well resulting in the pale colours and lack of polyp expansion. It certainly is a mystery. Let me know your thoughts.  <Correct me if I'm wrong but your lighting was 14K? If so on your next bulb change I would suggest switching to 6500K or 10000K as Zooxanthellae {Zooxanthellae - MH} in my experience prefers lighting within this range, especially shallow water organisms such as Acros.> Kind regards, Lee <Adam J.> 

Montipora 06/08/05 Hi, I have been in the reef hobby for about 1 year now.  I do 10% water changes weekly, qt religiously and monitor many other parameters (I will give them to you at the bottom of this email with results from today) on a weekly basis as well.  I have had great luck with soft corals so I decided to give hard corals a try.  I purchased a Montipora capricornis (I believe that this is the correct scientific name) about 6 weeks ago.  After two weeks in qt I moved it to the bottom of my  75 gallon show tank to get it accustomed to my much brighter lighting (2-175 MH 20000K, and 4 T5 actinics).  After two weeks at this depth I moved it up to what I had hoped would be its permanent position.  About 6 inches higher.  I feed DT's live phytoplankton every other day, and DT's oyster eggs and frozen Cyclop-eeze together on the days that I don't feed DT's plankton.  The coral had great polyp extension and good color and seemed to be growing until I came home this morning (six weeks in main display, four weeks at higher location). About 5 or 6 days ago I set up a new sump system.  It is a 25 gallon high with a 5 inch sand bed (sugar size sand) for growth of amphipods, copepods, etc... It drains into a 36X 14 X 12 which has  a 4 inch sand bed in it and will act as a place to grow Caulerpa.  As usual all corals drew back some the first few days, but have all returned to their normal size, color, and polyp size.  I added Caulerpa algae to the sump two days ago and it is doing fine.  This morning when I came home the above mentioned Montipora capricornis had bleached out about 50% and had a lot of clear/brownish slime coming off of the bleached areas.  I used a syringe to blow off the slime and moved him down a few inches.  I see no signs of parasites and the other two pieces of Montipora in the tank have no signs of this.  I smelled him after blowing the slime off and it smelled like any other thing that would come out of a marine aquarium--NO foul odor.  I was wondering if you could help me figure out what this is.  I have been reading a lot of the FAQs, but most of them apply to Acro's and other SPS (for lack of a better term).  I need help,  I have attached two photos of the coral from different angles to try to help you.  I think it maybe some kind of white band disease, but I didn't think that it would be this drastic overnight.  Thank you for all of your help.  I am sorry this is a long email but I figured extra info could help.  Below are the water parameters from this morning.   pH--7.8 NH4--0 NO3--0 NO2--undetectable on Salifert's test kit Ca--480ppm Alk--2.3 mEq/L--has been at this level since the coral was introduced have been trying to raise with B-Ionic with no avail Salifert's dKH + buffer should be in Thursday to raise this on up.   PO4--undetectable on Salifert's test kit salinity--1.026 temp--80.1 << Everything looks good except your pH is way too low.. Alk like you said is pretty low.  Sounds like you got the brown jelly disease.  Which is not any fun.  the best thing you can do is break off a small piece farthest away from the brown jelly stuff and set that on the opposite side of the tank. This way if the brown jelly takes the whole colony you hopefully can start it from a frag. >> Thanks, again for your time and patience with us newbies Jonathan << good luck.. EricS >>

Rapid Acropora Death 2/8/05 I just purchased a frag of a gorgeous A. albrohensis. It shipped very well I'm assuming because even while acclimating it, all polyps were out and is still had a greenish hue to it. I acclimated it for an hour, turned the MH lights off in the tank (only 2x96W actinics) running... <All sounds good, although extended polyps are not a reliable source of "happiness" it can just as easily indicate stress.> ...and glued it down to a rock. Polyps still out. <What kind of glue, and did the glue contact living tissue? It is unusual, but have seen cases where tissue recession, or even total loss was caused by contact with glue.> Wake up this morning, and looks like a bone. No polyps anywhere, just skeleton. I quickly turned off the MH that was above it. Checked it several hours later, and maybe one polyp at base of coral.  <Two possibilities... first (and far less likely), the coral bleached. If this is the case, the coral will be colorless, but still covered in living tissue. Second, the coral died. If this is the case, you may see stringy or lacy remnants of tissue clinging to the skeleton. If you don't have a lot of Acro experience, it may be a bit tough to tell the difference, but on a dead coral, you will be able to see the rough porous texture of the skeleton.> Is this normal, and it might be fine tomorrow, or did I do something wrong?  <This isn't normal, but it doesn't sound like you did anything wrong. It could have been the stress of shipping, or it could be water quality in your tank.> Tank is 125G, 2x250W 10K MH with one 400W MH in the middle with the actinic. Like I mentioned, turned off all lighting but actinic when I put it in the tank. No MHs until the following morning, but already looked bad before MHs came on.  <All sounds good. You wisely protected the coral from possible light shock.> I recently read that peppermint shrimp might do this. I have a pair, but nothing in tank but tangs and clownfish. Any thoughts on if it will recover and adjust, or does it sound like it died?  <Peppermint shrimp will absolutely not do this. They may pick at some corals, but would only cause minor damage to an Acro. My guess is that the coral died of what is referred to as "RTN" (Rapid Tissue Necrosis) or "SDR" (Shut down reaction). In these cases, the coral tissue "self destructs" in response to stress. The stress can be caused by shipping, but is more often related to water quality problems, including the presence of other aggressive corals. Infection has been implicated as well, but this is questionable. Please feel free to write back with a list of other corals in the tank and a list of all of your test results (actual values please!), please include pH, Alkalinity, Calcium, Salinity, temperature and nitrate. Also briefly describe your filtration. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Browning Acropora Hello BAS, I've been an avid aquarist for quite some time and have read this column more faithfully than I've gone to work. There is no point in attempting this question with my LFS, as they are currently feverishly culturing Aiptasia anemones for sale (despite my unsolicited advice). My question pertains to the browning of SPS corals. I not-so-recently purchased a pink Acropora loripes despite my measly three and a half watts per gallon. I thought that if I placed the coral high enough in the water column that it would negate the fact that I didn't possess the high wattage usually required for this type of coral. I soon noticed several Aiptasia anemones of my own on this specimen, but unlike my LFS, I quickly dispatched of them with injections of Part A of the C-Balance duo. But with the bad comes the good and I also discovered a red Coco Worm with bi-lobed crowns attached to the base of the coral. The A. loripes itself has grown, which is quite apparent by its base coverage of the live rock I attached it to. My disappointment is that the color that was originally bright pink has now darkened into an almost rust color (It's been brown for over six months but still growing). Most sources indicate that the browning of SPS corals is due to inadequate lighting and an overabundance of symbiotic algae, but none discuss the reversal of this condition. For this reason I have recently up-graded to metal halides. My questions are, how do I acclimate an entire reef tank to two watts more per gallon, <It would be great if you have a Lux-meter. Start the MH's up pretty high so that their output matches that of your current lighting. Another trick is to cover the tank in several sheets of vinyl window screening to cut back on the amount of light entering the tank. Then gradually lower the lights and/or remove a sheet over the course of several weeks. If you cannot verify the difference in output, attempt to make an educated guess by referencing the work of Dana Riddle, Sanjay Joshi, and Richard Harker. They have all conducted studies on various lighting setups and lamps and they may have comparison info about your old and new systems.> and do you have any suggestions about the Kelvin of the lamps I should purchase? <I like 6,500K Iwasaki lamps and 10,000K Aqualine-Buschke or Ushio lamps.> I am a big fan of D. Knop and he suggests for most tanks with invertebrates that are found near the surface ( I have two four inch T. Maximas as well) nothing higher than 6.5K, but I have read many online magazines as well as advertisements in TFH tout 10K as the ultimate true white light. <Some 10,000K lamps are quite good, but many are just marketed and hyped well. Most 6,500K lamps could use supplemental actinics for appearance. They do have enough blue light for good photosynthesis without it, but they have so much red, yellow, and green, that to our eyes the corals may not appear pleasing.> I'd just like a little information on the reversal of browning and how it has been achieved, as I've noticed recently, even some online suppliers advertise SPS that will color up with the right lighting. <Increasing your lighting is the way to correct the situation.> Thanks, Andrea <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Something eating SPS - Montipora Anthony, happy holidays and hope all is well with you. <Adam here today.  Anthony bumped this over to me since I just dealt with this problem in my own tank.> I noticed one of my recent frags, a Montiporas Cap,  that is purple in color bleached around the edges about a quarter of an inch.  This is more then the  normal white tips from growth.  I attributed this to a drop in Alk while I was adjusting to my winter evaporation rate.   <I did pretty much the same thing.  I attributed it to water quality, did some water changes and never really inspected the coral closely.> However, I have noticed a small white spiral looking thing on the white part of the coral.  Looks almost like a very small white fan worm (at least the ends of the fan worm anyway). <The critter you saw is an Aeolid Nudibranch.  They seem to becoming quite common in the hobby, likely from frag trading.  They seem to favor plating Montiporas, but will move on to branching forms.> I also noticed a small white area on my established, thriving purple cap.  Could this be a bug or something?  Any ideas or am I  just seeing things. <The white spots are where the Nudis have eaten the coenosteum (tissue between polyps) of the coral.  Unfortunately these are very real and quite difficult to get rid of.  Manual removal is the only way to do so without significant risk of killing the coral.  You will have to remove the infested corals every day or couple of days and pick or scrub off any Nudibranchs or eggs.  It may be best to this in a bucket of tank water since the critters tend to collapse under their own weight and become difficult to spot out of the water.  After you are 100% sure you have eliminated them, continue to check your Montiporas at least weekly.  I continued to find one or two a week for about a month.> Thanks <No Sweat, and best of luck!  Adam> Andrew

- Acropora Help - hi, <Hi.> I have been trying to keep Acropora for the last 6 months now and still have no success.  I'm constantly finding that my Acropora bleach, and I'm almost positive it's not my water.  I check and even take my water to a local store who specialize in Acropora (salty critter), the staff there are some of the most intelligent reef keepers I've ever met, and every time I take my water there they tell me it's great and it's ok to try some more Acropora (I think they are just trying to sell me things, which is why I wanted a non-partisan opinion on this topic) and usually I think it's my acclimation, or water flow (which led me to buying 4 new power heads, with circular rotating heads, which they said the corals would prefer). getting back to the question at hand, in my previous tank (which was a 38 gallon with 192 watts of power compacts) I kept Acropora with no problem.  now I moved to a 72 gallon tank with 2x 250 watt metal halides, and it seems like everything is dying.  at first I thought it was because I didn't acclimate them to the lighting, so I went on starting over, and then I noticed I couldn't really keep anything alive, so then I changed the bulbs, from 10k to 14k.  still everything I put in my tank dies, except the fish which are extremely healthy (purple tang, yellow tang, and a pair of blue striped clowns).  the only thing that I have still is a colony of Zoanthids, which have turned a frosted color, and now are bordering death. so is it possible to have too much lighting with 500 watts of MH. on a 72 gallon tank? <No, but you need to acclimate your animals carefully to both the water and your lighting. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm > should I switch to 20000 k bulbs. thank you it would keep me from pulling my hair out! <The color/temperature of the bulbs has very little to do with your animal's response to your tank. Would suggest you pick up a copy of Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals and also avail yourself to the FAQs on our site so you can learn from other folks besides those at the store. Cheers, J -- >

I wrote to you about two weeks ago regarding a Heliofungia in a 90 gallon reef that acutely started to disintegrate... Now Acroporid hlth. spec. Dear Crew: <Olly> I wrote to you about two weeks ago regarding a Heliofungia <I hope I urged you to read re this genus use in captivity... Rarely lives: http://wetwebmedia.com/fungiidselfaqs.htm > in a 90 gallon reef that acutely started to disintegrate. You advised an iodine dip which I did and the plate coral actually appears to be regenerating a bit. Here's the dilemma.... four days ago a four inch Acropora frag started to lose its polyps rapidly and completely bleached. Now the mother colony does not look healthy (polyps not extending), but it does not look as bad as the frag (no bleaching so far). Nothing has changed in the tanks....lighting, flow, etc. No new fish, corals, or anything has been added to the tank in over a year. However, I did a water change about one week ago with water that had been mixed up about two weeks prior to the change. It had a powerhead and heater and all parameters were the same as the tank water. When the coral started looking bad, I cleaned all the filters and skimmer, replaced the Purigen, changed the carbon, <Mmm... may be removing too much... do you have detectable soluble phosphate for instance?> and cleaned the lights and reflectors. I know the frequency changes on the lights as they age, but I do not think both of my corals would have suddenly changed at the same time. Plus, I have other SPS that does not appear to be affected. Tank specs are as follows: Ammonia/nitrate/nitrite: 0, phosphate: 0, Calcium: 450 mg/L, alkalinity: 2.5 dKH, pH: 8.4, temperature: 78, specific gravity: normally 1.025, but a test after the corals decline indicated it was down to 1.022. I have been slowly increasing this by 0.001 a day. Tankmates are yellow tang, mandarin dragonet, two Sebae clownfish, cleaner shrimp, assorted SPS and a few LPS. So my questions: Could the change in specific gravity have caused this? <Yes> Could the two week old water used for the water change be contaminated (was in a covered tank with aeration, flow, and heat)? <Possibly> Could this be secondary to the Helio's demise two weeks ago? <Not likely related> Could the Helio and the Acropora's demise be from the same unknown cause? <Sure> Any advice on saving the coral? <Reading... http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm > Thanks for any advice. Olly <Too much to begin speculating in a broad sense here... Bob Fenner>

Stress-Related Necrosis, Acroporid Hi crew <Ian> I have been experiencing a rather unfortunate fluctuation in temp over the last few weeks. Due to extremely hot weather and the fact that my chiller packed up ( always when you need it most) the temp has gone from an average of 27deg C to about 30deg C and once to 31deg C! This is just temporary as by early evening it is back to about 28deg C. After a few days of this I managed to restrict the max to about 29deg C by creating a huge amount of air flow across the tank and halving the amount of time my Halides were on. I must add that not every day was like this. <Yes...> Anyway about a week after this happened I noticed that the base of one of my Acroporas was turning white and seemed to be spreading up the stem! (total length only about 100 mm but with about 4 branches). In a panic I removed the coral and broke off the end pieces that were still ok and placed them elsewhere in the tank. By the next morning the balance of the coral was completely white and after a week one of the pieces has also died. The other 3 seem to be doing ok so far. I also have another coral that is almost identical in size but situated near the top of the tank and this one looks fine... so far. Did I do the right thing by cutting off these pieces and was this originally a stress related problem caused by the water temp increase? <Worth trying... perhaps even better to have moved the frags to another system if available> Maybe my halving the light was too drastic? I would have thought that the coral would be able to handle this "minor" fluctuation as surely this happens in nature as well? <Mmm, likely the "blame" is/was mostly thermal> cheers and thank you for your time Ian <If this were the only mal-affected colony/organism, I would count yourself fortunate. Bob Fenner>

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