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FAQs about Acroporid Coral Social 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, Environmental (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, 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,

Easily lose to more stinging stony corals, many soft corals, even gorgonians, Anemones...


Struggling with SPS 7/21/2009
I am a long time SPS keeper and have a great deal of success over the years - until now. I setup a 1000L tank approximately 9 months ago (from the stock in my 4x2x2) and have seen a progressive slide in the health of my corals over recent months. I have provided my tank details at the bottom of the message and also attached a photo showing one of my corals. It is hard to describe but the corals are showing signs of mucus production, minor recession of the tissue, a mould/fungus like covering. This appears to be affecting older parts of the colonies more than new growth. None of my LPS are showing any signs of stress in fact a recent bit of damage to an elegance healed up nicely in two weeks without an issue.
<Perhaps a clue>

I am at a loss. I thought I had a fairly well setup tank but I am now considering pulling it down as I cant get on top of the issue. Thank you for any help you can provide.
System Type: Mixed Reef
Display System:
Strike up Date: Oct 2008
Display Tank: 6 x 3 x 26inch. Cross braced and euro braced
Display Lighting: 3 x 250w MH. IceCap Electronic ballasts and Lumen Bright reflectors 20k bulbs
Stand: 50x50 Galv Steel
Hood: 50x50 RHS
Sump: 110x60x45 cm Sump
Refugium: Compartmentalized in sump
Refugium Lighting: 2 x Double HO-T5's 10k bulbs
Support systems:
System Water: NSW
<Another set of possibilities>
Display Water circulation: 2 x Iwaki MD70's driving eductors in closed loop format, 1 x 15000 LPH closed loop pump through base of tank, Tunze Wavebox, 2 x 6000 LPH Koralia copies plus waiting to order a Vortech Return Pump: Laguna 11000 LPH
Skimmer: Turbo 1200mm Tall Recirculating Beckett Skimmer driven by a 7200
LPH pump
Evaporation Top Up: Iwaki dosing pump controlled by Aquatronica
System Control: Aquatronica. Controls:
Auto water change (15 L per day)
Metal halides
HO-T5 lighting
Calcium reactor
Top Off
Water leak sensor
Monitors - RedOx and pH
Chemical Support:
Calcium Addition: Turbo Single Stage Calcium Reactor
Alkalinity Addition: Turbo Single Stage Calcium Reactor
Other Chemical Maintenance: Minor additions for calcium and Alk where there is an imbalance
Current Water Chemistry: Stable, very little variation
pH: 8:00 - 8.3
Alk: 8.5 - 9 dKH
Nitrates/Nitrites: 0
Calcium: 425 - 440ppm
Magnesium: 1200 - 1300ppm
Phosphates: <0.03
Temp: 26 degrees C
<Nothing "jumps out" on your list of gear, measures... The best guess, and this has no real level of confidence, is maybe some sort of "cascade event" from/twixt your Cnidarians... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

SPS Burnt Tip Question 4/26/09
Hi Guys,
Can you tell me if the images in link indicate burnt tips?
If not, what could it be?
Tips are bubbling and are soft. Color and Polyp extension look OK.
<Does appear to be "burnt">
Tank Parameters:
Calc 385
Alk 9.5 dKH
Mag 1400
Lighting is 54 watt T-5 bulbs overdriven with IceCap Ballast.
Not all corals are affected.
<Mmm... the one likely possibility is allelopathy... Please read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: SPS Burnt Tip Question 4/26/09
Hi Bob,
<Hey Mark>
Chemical warfare, I'll look into it.
<Is one of a few possible guesses at this juncture>
All other corals seem to be fine at the moment.
I also posted on Reef Central SPS forum. Some fellow reefers experienced the same thing. Nobody has an idea what to label it.
Consensus was, it's not "Burnt Tips" or RTN/ STN.
A few suggested lowering ALK to around 8?
<Mmm, a good idea... more to the point is the question of how or what caused your Alkalinity to become so high?>
Thanks for your help.
<Welcome. BobF>

Help with SPS - 05/01/08 Good morning Crew. <<Evening now 'hello Andy, Eric here>> I hope you're all doing well. <<Speaking for myself, yes 'thank you>> I hope you can help me. <<I shall try>> I have recently started to focus on SPS corals and am experiencing some problems with a few of my additions. I have a 110g display (48" x 30" x 18"). Lighting is 2x250W HQI (12,500K and 14,000K--I'm currently experimenting with bulbs, but haven't made any changes during the time that these problems arose). <<Okay>> I employ a 30g refugium with Chaetomorpha (reverse daylight cycle), about 12lbs of LR, and a 5" DSB. <<Excellent>> My Chaeto grows very well--I thin it every 2 weeks. <<Mmm, yes 'is doing as it is intended 'but continuous vigorous growth may indicate an "excess" of organic compounds. Merely an observation'¦>> Circulation is 2 x Koralia 3s and 2 x MaxiJet 1200s, plus a Little Giant 1,325 gph return pump. Filtration is via a wet-dry filter and a Coralife Super Skimmer that pulls about a cup of dark green skimmate every 2 days or so. <<Hmm, hard to gauge this output (I do not think much of these skimmers)>> I run carbon in the sump that I change out every other week, and I also run a bag of PhosBan in the sump that I change out every month or so. My numbers are as follows: specific gravity is 1.0265; ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are 0 ppm; pH is a steady 8.3; calcium is 450 ppm; magnesium is 1,125 ppm (a little low--I'm working on this with Brightwell Aquatics Magnesium-P); phosphate is somewhere between 0-.015 ppm (Salifert test kit--these are difficult to read); and alkalinity is 3.5 mEq./L. All mixing/top-off water is RO/DI with a TDS of 0 ppm. My tank inhabitants are (I'll leave out the fish, since I don't think these problems are fish-related): <<I see>> SPS: 1 very nice purple Acro millepora; 1 frag Acropora that my LFS calls "Marshall Island Acro"; 2 frags purple tipped Acro (don't know the name 'problem coral--see attached pic "Acro bleaching.jpg"); 1 very nice piece of Montipora capricornis or Merulina ampliata (WWM Crew thinks it's a Monti cap, but others on Reef Central think its Merulina--it does have 1" sweeper tentacles at night--see attached pic "monticap 2.jpg"); <<Note the thin valleys spreading fanwise from the center'¦I think this might be Merulina scabricula>> 1 medium Montipora capricornis (problem coral); 1 branching Acro (again. . . ); and 1 neon green tipped Acro (again . . . see attached pic "neon acro.jpg"). All the SPS are placed in the upper half of my tank, about 20" from bulb to coral. <<If they weren't "acclimated" to this placement under the lighting, this may well be the/part of the issue>> LPS: 2 Trachyphyllia (maroon and neon green); 1 nice piece (5 polyps) Caulastrea; and 3-4 polyps Blastomussa merleti that I had given up for dead but have started to take off. Softies: 2 very nice and thriving Capnella; 1 very nice and thriving Dendronephthya; 15 or so various Corallimorphs placed throughout the lower portions of my tank away from LPS and SPS (several green and purple Rhodactis, one Ricordea, several Green Hairy). <<Some quite noxious neighbors to the Acroporids>> I realize that the Corallimorphs are not compatible with the SPS and LPS. <<Depending on "ratios" 'it can be managed>> They were my first inverts, and I plan to sell/give new polyps away as they split. Okay, so here are my problems. Most of my SPS are doing very well, show full coloration and full polyp extension, and are growing. I feed them every 3 or so nights with Eric Borneman's famous fish food and DT's Oyster Eggs. <<I am a big proponent of feeding your inverts well (and vertebrate life too!), but you must also take steps to allow for the added nutrients to the system 'and broadcast feeding corals adds a LOT of nutrients. I see you employ carbon and PhosBan, but I would also suggest adding the use of Poly-Filter with these 'preferably in a small canister filter. I also think your skimmer is not performing as needed and your tank and its inhabitants would greatly benefit from an upgrade to a quality piece of gear>> The two Marshall Island Acro frags, the polyps of which are fully extended at night, did something very strange when I introduced them to my display. I drip acclimated them in my sump for 2.5 hours. They were a deep maroon color, with a fully encrusted, emerald green base. I placed them in semi-shaded areas of the tank to minimize any light shock (they were under 400W SE 20,000K bulbs at the LFS and 108W of 10,000K HO T5s in my QT) with plans to slowly move them into full light over time. <<Ah'¦very good>> Within 30 minutes of placing them in my display, however, the emerald green bases completely faded and portions of the frag turned a bland cream color. <<A reaction to your water chemistry and/or noxious chemicals from the soft corals/Corallimorpharians>> I spoke with my LFS and it said that this quick fading was really unusual, but I assure you it did happen. <<I believe you>> As I said, these frags do have completely extended polyps at night and seem to be regaining the maroon color they originally had, but I am wondering why this happened and what I might do in the future to prevent this from happening. <<Mmm'¦is hard to say for sure 'but my thought is, a reaction to allelopathy>> The attached picture shows you what these corals look like now. <<Yes, I see>> My LFS said it could be subtle differences in alkalinity between the LFS system and my tanks, <<Would need to be more than "subtle" I think 'and even then, not likely with good/slow acclimation as you describe>> but this even did not happen in QT so I am leaning towards a conclusion that it is somehow related to my lighting (although I haven't ruled out possible allelopathy, but with carbon, good spacing and the fact that my other SPS are doing well, I don't know about this). <<Could be any or all these things 'differing species collected from differing niches of the reef can react'¦well'¦differently. There is also the chance these specimens were "already damaged" before you acquired them>> The second problem is with one of the Monti caps. I've noticed over the past few days that it is slowly bleaching from the base up. It is green and cupped, and I lose about 1/16" of color per 24 hours. <<A bad sign>> The edges appear to show signs of growth, but obviously something is amiss. <<Indeed'¦fragging the healthy portion away from the base is likely in order here>> If you need a picture, I will send one but I hope/think my description of the problem should suffice. <<It does>> The other Monti cap is doing great, has developed deeper, brighter coloring and has grown about 1/2" since I got it about 1.5 months ago. I was considering whether an iodine dip using a coral dip product by Brightwell Aquatics might help, but have read mixed feelings about such dips here on WWM. <<Can be beneficial as a prophylactic treatment 'but also has some risk, in my opinion>> Any thoughts on what is going on with these corals? <<As stated>> Thanks so much.
<<Happy to assist. EricR>>

Nice SW Sys., too many incomp. Cnid.s   1/16/07 Hi WWM Crew. You've given me great advice in the past. I hope you can help me now. I'll start with my equipment and parameters. 75 Gallon mostly SPS 1 Tunze 6100 and 6095 controller Berlin skimmer rated up to 250 gallons wet dry trickle filter 2 250W HQI 15K 2 PC Actinic 125W Specific Gravity 1.025 Ammonia 0 Nitrate 0 Nitrite 0 PH 8.4 DKH 11 Calcium 450 2 A. Millepora                              2 Monti Digitata Superman Monti                         Spaghetti Leather Yellow Branching Porites            Galaxea Acropora Blue Tort                     Pavona Chips Acropora                          Turbinaria Tri Color Acropora                      Green Frogspawn Pectinia                                     Button Polyps Pagoda cup                              Green Star Polyps Candy Cane Coral                     Orange Monti Cap Yellow Sun polyps                      Pocillopora Christmas Tree Coral                 Chili Coral Blue ridge Heliopora                   Pulsing Xenias Brown Hairy Mushrooms <Yowzah... a bunch/myriad of competing Cnidarian species> Blue Hippo Tang 2 Tomato Clowns Blue Damsel Kole Tang Fairy Wrasse Wow I think that's it. My problem is with my Superman Monti two parts of it are turning white. I know that's a bad sign. I have no bleaching on anything else. The Superman Monti's neighbors were the GSP and Button Polyps would either of those have anything to do with its color change? <Could very well, yes> Also my Chili Coral doesn't extend its polyps like it used to. <This Nephtheid is not easily kept> It is under a ledge receives little to no light <No problem with the lack of light here... is non-photosynthetic> and has great flow. If you have any advice or suggestions on either of these problems please help. Thanks again guys. Omar <Time to move some of these colonies really... there is too much really non-compatible life types crammed in here... Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcomp2faq.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Chemical Warfare?  4/6/06 I mentioned in my last email that my SPS started showing signs of stress. Their tips started dying. I have a doubt about my anemone, do you think that it can secrete allelopathic substances that can affect the SPS? <I believe that it is entirely possible, which is why I discourage mixing corals and anemones in most systems.> I looked up the archives but I am not sure if this is right or wrong. <I think that the theory is right.> It has been in the tank for 6 months now and once in a while, I lose one or two of my SPS for the same reason, either dying tips or bleaching , but mainly the tips begin to die. <Could certainly be allelopathic competition, or some lapse in environmental conditions.> Do  you think it is the anemone? The water chemistry is great, calcium is above 400 and heavy skimming all the time with Euro-reef skimmer, water changes every 2 weeks !! I am confused and I need your help. Thank you. P.S. It is a red, long tentacle anemone. Regards, Ramy Ontario, Canada <Well, Ramy- in the absence of other possibilities (such as environmental lapses), the only theory that I have is that the anemone could be an issue, unless you're looking at some type of disease affecting the coral. My advice is to "specialize", and keep only the coral or the anemone...Hope this helps. Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Montipora capricornis damaged or diseased <I would move it or The Polypoid animal to the lower left...> Hi Bob. Thanks for your reply. Are you talking about moving the Duncan directly below the Monti Cap, or are you talking about one of the corals on the sandbed? <The polyp like animal to the lower left... as prev. stated> (I attached the picture again) If you're talking about the Duncan, <Don't think the organism (the green bit) is a Duncanopsammia is it?> I have moved that to the sandbed already. It was my first attempt at a frag and I'm happy that it was successful! :) So, would you trim off the dead tissue from the Monti Cap or leave it alone? Thanks, Pam <I would leave it as is... IF circumstances are favorable, it may well repopulate this bit of carbonate skeleton. B>

Re: Montipora Capricornis damaged or diseased... not reading Ok...Thanks Bob. I was told that the green coral you're looking at, is a Aussie Duncan. I am only going by what I was told....doesn't mean they weren't wrong. I attached a close up shot of that coral (my mother colony) if you're curious on it's ID. I bought it as a single head in July (2nd picture) and the other picture is what it looks like today. I fragged one head off of it, which is what you saw next to the Monti Cap. It's definitely a LPS with a hard skeleton, not a soft coral. As I said, it is down away from the Monti now, and on the sandbed. Thanks again. I'll leave the Monti as is, and hope that it re-populates over the dead area. Pam <We're not communicating... the animal you show is a Duncanopsammia, but is not the same as the one next to (the left of) the Montipora. Please, don't write... READ where you were first referred to. B>

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