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FAQs on Stinging-Celled Animal Health/Disease/Pests 3

FAQs on Cnidarian Disease: Cnidarian Disease 1, Cnidarian Disease 2, Cnidarian Disease 4, Cnidarian Disease ,
FAQs on Cnidarian Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Pathogenic, Parasitic/Pest, Trauma, Treatments
FAQs on Cnidarian Disease by Group:
Hydrozoan Disease, Jelly Disease, Polyp Disease, Sea Fan Disease, Mushroom Health, Zoanthid Health Pests, Predators, Anemone Health, Stony Coral Disease,

Related Articles: Cnidarians, Water Flow, How Much is Enough,

Related FAQs: Cnidarians 1, Cnidarians 2, Cnidarian Identification, Cnidarian Behavior, Cnidarian Compatibility, Cnidarian Selection, Cnidarian Systems, Cnidarian Feeding, Cnidarian Reproduction, Acclimating Symbiotic Reef Invertebrates to Captive Lighting,

Multiple coral health issues - allelopathy?      6/6/13
<Hi there>
I have multiple corals in some type of distress at the moment and I have not seen an obvious chemical or physical cause.  I have gone the first 10 months with zero issues, now this has popped up.  I have searched Borneman's book,  your site, and the internet and have not figured it out for myself.  Perhaps you can help.
<Let's hope so>
Tank: 46 gallon, mixed reef, about one year old.  I have about one year's experience as a marine aquarist.  Remora skimmer, carbon and media in a canister filter.  Carbon change every 2 months (most recent one month ago), water change 10% every 2 weeks (Reef Crystals).  Reef Fusion 2 part a couple times a week is the only additive.
<Do you measure [Ca] and alkalinity? Mg concentration in balance?>
 Water source is a deep private well with no chlorine or nitrates.
Fish:  Green Chromis, midas blenny, royal gramma, Firefish, flame angelfish.
Inverts: porcelain crab,
<Is this animal crawling over your corals?>
pom pom crab, cleaner shrimp, sexy shrimp (2), long spined urchin, dwarf hermits (4), various snails, feather dusters (2)
Corals:  Zoas/Palys, toadstools, xenia, mushrooms, yellow leather, bubble, chalice, Monti's, small hammer, candy canes, finger leather. All corals except those mentioned below appear healthy.
temp: 76
s.g.: 1.024-1.026
Ca: 420ppm
<Need to know [Mg]>
kH: 9
Nitrate: 0
<... need>
Phosphate: 0 (or very close)
<... your photosynthates need appreciable/measurable NO3 and HPO4... can't live w/o>
Ammonia: 0
1)  Two candy cane colonies look very unhealthy.  The heads began to look clear and saggy, with the tentacles in affected areas absent. Within the last week a neon slime has appeared in parts of the polyp.  The polyps are normally mint green, no neon at all.  At the same time, an adjacent neon green candy cane seems unaffected even though a few heads were touching the sick coral.  I have moved it away.
<I see this>
2) A largish finger leather which is nearby to the affected candy cane no longer expands much during the day.  This has been about 2 weeks.  In the past we would see this for a couple days then it would shed some mucous and come back to it's original size.  This seems different.3) A Monti undata, also nearby, has changed in appearance, becoming wrinkly and bumpy instead of smooth.  It used to be covered in visible white polyps, these have all but disappeared.
4) A Monti cap, also nearby, also had it's polyps disappear.  It used to look fuzzy, now it looks very hard.  It has kept its color, as has the undata.
5) A finger leather frag died.  This was fragged off of the main finger leather in the tank.
Possible causes:
1)  Lighting.
I changed lighting in February, from 96w T5 to 120w controllable led.  I acclimated very slowly, stating at 40% strength, increasing by 5% every few days.
<Mmm; not likely a principal source of trouble>
2)  Allelopathy. In February I fragged the finger leather as it was getting too close to the candy canes.  Fragged outside of DT, and kept frags and parent in QT until they were healed about a week. Although all these issues are on the side of the tank where the finger leather lives, I don't know why this would come on suddenly.   The candy canes were added last August, the finger leather last September. No change in their locations since.  After reading through your advice I think you will say that this is the cause.
<Could well be>
3) Parasites/disease.  I do not see anything on them.  All heads appear to be affected equally.
<I discount this as well>
The finger leather may be the culprit, but I hate to pull it out of the tank without knowing for sure.  Perhaps you have seen a candy cane coral with this appearance before? 
<Yes; due to allelopathy... chemical and physical warfare w/ other Cnidarians>
Are they capable of recovering at this point?
<Oh yes; certainly>
Any help would be appreciated.  Thank you for your time.
<Well; there are a few paths, steps you can take to alleviate the allelopathy... Read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and the linked files above... Again, you want to allow (likely by simply stepping up feeding) some NO3 and HPO4. Bob Fenner>

NEED GUIDANCE PLEASE... Read through this and decide... the clues are here   6/3.5/13
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hey Dai>
I have an ongoing issue that cannot be solved from all the opinions given to me by seasoned aquarists. I am at the point of being destitute and I hope you can help me on this. This is my 13 year in salt water keeping and this is what I have now:
1.       210 gallon reef with 30 gallon refugium and 20 gallon sump.
2.       Three 250 watts MHs with four actinic PCs ( 94W each); two XHO LED Reef Bright actinic.
3.       Octopus Skimmer rated for 250 gallon with 6 power heads; Fluval FX5 rated at 260 gallon for mechanical filtration.
4.       Water change is 70 gallons once every 1.5-2 months. Lights changed every six months.
5.       Three flame angles <angels>, one lemon peel, one purple tang, one Majestic angel, one fox face, two paired maroon clowns (just laid some eggs yesterday), one mandarin, one Pajama cardinal, one Hippo Tang, seven damsels, two cleaner and one coral banded shrimp.
6.       Various sizes of candy cane, hammer heads, green star polyps, three clams, two torch corals, one plate coral, pipe organs, toad stools.
<When you lift the lid on this tank, do you detect an odor?>
7.       Once a week, I broadcast feed with brine, Mysis shrimps along with daily green Nori sheets.
8.       Water chemistry is perfect with weekly testing. If anything a faint trace of nitrate is noted. I tested for nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, Ph, AKH, CA, salinity.
<Need values, not opinions>
9.       This tank is 1.5 years old.
<... then how can it be 13 years old?>
10.   I use RO/DI water to top off.
Most of my corals survive for 2-3 months getting really big then die within a week. The latest disaster involved two of my clams died, the candy cane is showing signs of tissue death, the plate coral withered almost overnight and all these looked VERY healthy just a week before.
All exhibit the same pattern of looking healthy then go into quick decline. The only corals that survived are the green stars, pipe organ, toad stool,
<... Sarcophyton/s are the prime suspect here: allelopathy. They're  poisoning the system for their own precedence>
 hammer heads but others just don't make it after 3 months during the past 1.5 years. Again, all died after looking very healthy and they go into quick demise. I was hoping for isolated incidence but after three tries with same outcome I think there is something wrong but I could not put my finger on it.
The CAUSES (as advised by experienced aquarists):
1.       Stray voltage.
<Nah; the other livestock would be malaffected>
2.       Poor quality of salt mix (I use LFS water mix with Instant Ocean).
3.       Toxic materials from the tank construction.
<Not likely>
4.       Toxic air in home.
<See the above>
5.       Chemicals from corals.
<Yes; the most likely>
6.       Water is too clean.
7.       Contaminated food from unknown origin.
8.       Contaminated live rocks from unknown origin.
I am at the point that I am desperate here. I would like to know what the cause(s) are for my corals demise. There is something that caused the death but the odd thing is that they all thrived then died. Last week, my plate got so big that I thought about removing him and the clams opened up so much that I though the flesh will leave the shells.
This week, all are dead!!!!!!!!!!!!
I appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks. Dai Phan
<... see, read on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and the linked files above. There are a few approaches to lessening the affects of Alcyonacean allelopathy... Bob Fenner>

Inverts. Not able to keep Cnid.s      6/3/13
Hi Crew,
I have a tank and all fish are ok including some sensitive ones like a Yellow Cubicus boxfish, Majestic and Blueface Angel but when I add any coral or anemone they die within a week. Tank has no copper, any other ideas as to why. My alkalinity is very high about 20
<What units?>

and nitrates are steady over many months at 20?
<... likely there is an imbalance twixt your alkalinity, Calcium and Magnesium... though there could be other chemical and physical issues here.
Take the long read through the Cnidarian sections of WWM. Bob Fenner>

New bare-bottom frag tank -- corals not doing too well.. Misc. Cnid.s, no bio-filt.     10/7/12
I recently started a frag tank, and it is bare bottom. There are no live rocks or sand anywhere in the system,
<Hopefully mechanisms, gear in place however to maintain water quality, stability>
so based on the advice I received from some fellow hobbyists, I decided to add some corals right away. All the parameters were perfect.
I added a few SPS, and a bunch of Zoas and other LPS.
<Mmm, these Cnidarians are not really compatible in such a setting... most SPS are quite sensitive to vacillating conditions, and Zoanthids... can be very toxic, as can several LPS>
For the first 2 days everything was great, but then all my SPS got hit by RTN one by one,
<Very common; due to "stress", including the "newness" of the system, presence of the other stinging-celled life types>
and slowly all my other corals started looking not too good. At this point, none of the Zoas are open (they have not dissolved, but will not open anymore), and most corals have lost their initial vibrant colors (minus the SPS that, I'm pretty sure, are dead) (it's been about 3 weeks -- Zoas were open fine until a week ago). Also I should point out that some of the LPS corals have started receding and their skeletons are starting to show ...
<... trouble, self-induced>
Also recently I noticed that the maze brain coral, along with a chalice had a white fungus looking film on them. I cleaned the white stuff (it smelled TERRIBLE!), and it was back the next day. When I had received the corals, I had dipped them in CoralRx
<Not a panacea>
-- now I dipped them in Lugol's hoping that'll take care of the rest of the issues; unfortunately no such luck. The white film is back again on the maze brain and the chalice, and my Zoas still aren't opening.
I have been checking the param.s on daily basis and everything is spot-on.
Can you give any ideas as to what might be going wrong?
<Yes; as previously stated above: Allelopathy...>
What can I do to fix it?
<Yes; read: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and the linked files above...>
From my research and advice I received, cycling this tank should not have been necessary
<Incorrect... some means must be applied to convert or remove toxic, accumulating metabolites>
since there are no live rocks or sand; do you think that might be the issue?
I'm out of ideas and would appreciate your help...
-- a mind boggled reefer
<You've made two very basic blunders/errors... that can easily be solved going forward. Bob Fenner>

Corals dying... iatrogenic  - 8/17/12
Hello I am in desperate need of some assistance and advice, I have a 155 gallon reef tank that up until 2 months ago was doing fabulous.  One day I was cleaning the tank and did a full service which included recharging two reactors one with charcoal and the other with a phosphate remover.
<Why this latter? Photosynthates (including corals) need measurable HPO4>
I had turned the main pump off during this time as I had added salt and wanted to ensure it was mixed thoroughly.
<? Are you stating that you mixed new synthetic in the system itself? Not a good idea>
I took ill and did not turn on the main pump at which time all my fish had died by morning. The corals appeared to be doing fine at the time, xenia, leather corals, mushroom corals .  Keep in mind the area in which I live was going through a heat wave and we had 3 weeks of 30 degree plus heat. I do not have a cooler but did float frozen ice jugs to try and bring down the temperature which hovered at about 88 for 3 weeks or more.
<Leave the lights off by day... add fans blowing air across the surface by day>
I have now restocked the aquarium with fish which appears to be doing fine, I stripped the sump and cleaned the skimmer and refilled, temperature is now sitting at about 81, salt is at 1.21,
<... too low. See WWM re spg>
 Phosphate is at 2.5,
<... too high. What is the cause here?>
 Ph. is a t 8.6,
<... too high, problematic>
 Nitrate is at 1.0 and ammonia is at 0.1/.
<... toxic>
But all my corals appear to be dying,
<Too likely so... you have an untenable set of circumstances here>
 my once xenia were 6 ' tall and are now almost shrivel up to nothing, my other corals appear to be stressed but I have no ideas why. I am running 6 T5 ho lights with 3 white and 3 actinic
<Worthless functionally>
and these I changed as well . Please help me
<Help yourself... search all the above comments, situations I've noted above, on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Re Corals dying... iatrogenic
<Leave the lights off by day... add fans blowing air across the surface by day>
Thanks for this idea

Kenya tree and star polyps help 6/5/12
<Hi Tony>
First I want to say thanks for the site it helps a lot with questions but I could not find a answer to this. I have recently moved my shark to his 1000 gallon tank <and> I turned his old home in to a reef tank upgrade.  It is a 100 g with a 20 g refuge <refugium.> I have a 400w mh
<What Kelvin temperature, how high above the water surface, and depth of your tank.>
3 t5 34w 2 are true blue 1 is 20k, a 690 gph Rio pump with Scwd and a 720 gph power head that is only on when mh is
on t5 are on 9 hrs mh on 7 hrs.
<Not enough flow here.  The Kenya Tree coral prefers medium to strong water flow.  The Rio pump, after head loss is likely putting out 400gph or less.>
 Water is good, nitrate phosphate never higher then 20 ppm,
<Preferably nitrates under 10ppm and under 3ppm for phosphate.>
 8 fish and a small amount of corals green slim Acro, brown Acro, red Monti, brown button polyps, Zoanthid, frogspawn, Aussie war fava coral, Aussie Blasto, Kenya tree, sun coral and green star polyps.
My question is my Kenya tree closed up over a month ago and this is my second try with the star polyps and both don't seem to want to open. I use carbon every other week so I don't think its warfare.
<Is quite possible depending on how many Zoanthids are present.  Faviids  are also high on the allelopathy list.>
 I'm stumped now and
don't know what it could be. I do weekly water changes and everything all my corals are good but them. 2 my new sun corals is doing great. Any advice or help would be great.
<As above and lighting may factor in depending on the Kelvin temperature and age of the 400w MH.  If the MH is a 18-20K then you have too much blue for these species of corals.  May also be why your Sun Corals are doing great as they do not appreciate strong lighting.>
<James (Salty Dog)>

malachite green question... As coral dip?    3/2/12
Hello i been searching all over your site and read a few posts on people using  malachite green as a coral dip  and the said  they saw the procedure in the faq section  please help me i cannot find it for the life of me
thank you
Jason Grasser
<Never heard of this, and would not do... too toxic. Bob Fenner>

Copper and coral 5/17/11
Hi Sara,
I'd like your input on a problem I have/had. I've had three or four large SPS branching corals that have been thriving/growing for over three years. A while back I bought a Raccoon Butterflyfish from my trusted dealer. Shortly after I placed the fish in my system along with the shipping water, the subject corals began bleaching and eventually killing the large head and two Galaxea corals. When I bought the fish, my friend, the owner was not present. I later come to find out that the owner treats his entire display system (fish only of course) with copper. My question to you is, do you believe dumping about 8 cups of this copper treated shipping water into a 5' x 18" x 18" (85 gallons) system could cause this. I'm thinking that in that amount of water, any copper in the bag would be diluted to a non dangerous level, likely just a minute trace. My dealer came over to observe what was going on and he felt there wouldn't be enough copper in the system to cause this. I tend to disagree with him and is why I am asking for your input. I have no other explanation why this could have happened other than the tainted water.
James (Salty)
<Aloha Games,
Good question. There's a lot of highly technical science journal articles on the effect of copper on corals and coral spawning, especially for Acropora species. From what I was able to gather from just briefly reviewing several of these abstracts, copper tolerance appears to vary among Acropora species. However, you can't help but notice that these studies all measure copper concentrations in ug/L. For example, one study looked at the effects of a range of copper solutions of 2 to 20 ug/L on a few different species of Acropora corals. I'll also note that marine invertebrates in general are probably intolerant (to varying degrees) of any concentration of copper higher than 10 ug/L. And I wouldn't be surprised if I found scholarly research to suggest that the tolerance is even lower among stony corals.
Ok, so, let's put this in perspective. I'm sure that copper treatment solutions vary in concentration from brand to brand and in application to application. Also, there's probably some relevance to particular type of copper solution used (i.e. is the solution made with copper sulfate or chelated copper? -- at marine aquarium alkalinity, chelated copper is less toxic to fish, but I'm not sure if it's less toxic to marine invertebrates). So we don't really know how much copper the store owner put in his system, what type of solution he used, or what dosage, etc. But let's just say, for arguments sake, that he brought the copper levels in his system to 0.25 ppm using copper sulfate solution (I believe this is considered, at least by some, to be the "target dose" for therapeutic use). As an aside, I'll note that CopperSafe instructs to maintain levels at 1.5 to 2.0 ppm with their chelated copper, which they seem to suggest is as safe as 0.3 ppm using copper sulfate solution. In any event, for all crude purposes, 1 ppm converts to 1000 ug/L, and thus 0.25 ppm converts to 250 ug/L (way too high for any marine invertebrate). However, your system is 85g and 8 cups is only half a gallon. Thus, your system would have diluted the copper treated water by a factor of roughly 170. So now we're down to a copper concentration of about 1.47ug/L (assuming yours started at 0). Would that be a concentration high enough to harm your corals? I don't know, but I would guess not (or at least, not to the extent you saw).
However, I'm sure it's possible that the store owner over dosed his system. Or maybe my calculations are wrong. Or, maybe your copper levels were already elevated, or perhaps your corals are just particularly sensitive. Who knows?
I do strongly suggest you read this nice article by aquaculture teacher and veterinarian, Roy Yanong;
>James, Sara, am going to post this to WWM if you have no objections. A couple of brief stmt.s/addenda: Some (very small) amount of copper (cupric ion, otherwise) is essential to coral metabolism (and most other life). The amount "brought in" w/ James' BF should be exceedingly little here. Strange to me, there are movements afoot (at the state Senate level here in CA) to do away w/ copper as an anti-fouling paint component... Save the... what? Ourselves AND the planet! Cheers, BobF<
Re: Copper and coral
The amount "brought in" w/ James' BF should be exceedingly little here.
<Agreed... perhaps I took too long to explain why. :-P
-Sara M.>
<Likely that bill-able hours thing! B>
Re: Copper and coral
Hi Bob,
I do not have a problem with you posting this. Awful upset about losing that large colony along with the Galaxea corals. I have two branching corals of another species and these were not affected at all. I might add that all my Shrooms wilted up to less than the size of a penny. They are still bright in color, not dead yet. I ran both a Poly Filter and Chemipure simultaneously after the event occurred although the Chemipure was always in the system. Sure beats the hell out of me, nothing added, nothing changed, no change of salt, parameters stable, SOP the same.
<Not the copper... B>
Re: Copper and coral 5/17/11
Haha, more likely just the habit of answering questions with long answers... :-/
<Ahh, this too. B>

Anemone Issue... hlth., env. 4/23/2011
We just added salt to our tank because it was a little low.
<<Hello Sabrina, more info is needed. What was the root cause of the saline/specific gravity issue to begin with? What level was measured at?>>
But when we added the salt our anemone shriveled up.
<<How was the new salt added to the display? Directly? In a solution dissolved in water?...was it done all at once or in intervals (via drip perhaps)? In the meantime read our articles re salinity, water changes/evaporation and treating water for use in marine aquaria; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spg_salinity.htm , http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm , http://www.wetwebmedia.com/watchgantart.htm http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2008-11/newbie/index.php >
Is this a bad thing? Did we kill it?
<<Again difficult to say without more information describing the behavior of the anemone, telling us what species it was would help too. Anemones (both Actinaria & Ceriantharia) in general have difficulty adjusting to closed systems and are then very susceptible to 'stressing' death through wide changes in water chemistry/environment s=including but not limited to the salinity/specific gravity. I would definitely be testing all applicable issues. In the meantime read here re: water testing http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2009-03/nftt/index.php and start here re: anemones: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm
Good luck - Adam J.>>
Anemone Issue...Coral ID...Water Testing/Changes 4/23/2011
I believe it is a slate coral.
<<Sabrina I am not familiar with the common name slate coral, from your description of it having slate and anemone like qualities do you perhaps mean a plate coral, maybe even a long tentacled plate coral (Heliofungia actiniformis)? If not could you pass along a photo or a link with a facsimile of a photo representing your pet.>>
We added more salt because we did a 25% water change because we were advised to do it once a month.
<<I'm also confused as to what you mean here, if you wouldn't mind clarifying please. You add freshwater to your display and then the salt afterward, or you add mixed saltwater, or you add saltwater and then add additional salt? The statement could be taken either way and I just want to be clear. At any rate I would again point you to and urge you to read the articles I linked you to on water changes and testing, they are a must. Personally I really prefer to avoid generalities such as once a month, as well as amounts in regards to water changes, it depends on what the targeted live stock are, their density of stocking, the size of the tank, the feeding regime and multiple other factors.>>
But when we had our water tested at the pet shop they said everything was fine but the salt was a little low.
<<Again I prefer to avoid these generalities, if it were me I would buy a test kit and test my own water at least weekly. There are very few musts when keeping marine aquaria and this is one of them. Again refer to the articles in our last exchange as well as this one http://www.wetwebmedia.com/watrqualmar.htm and any other on our site and beyond related to the specifics of the animals you keep, wish to keep.>>
But when we added salt to the tank some got on the coral and it shriveled up and hasn't unshriveled. <expanded> <<I am still suspecting an environmental issue, one that can not be pinpointed until testing and specific numbers are given, as well as identification of the animal for that matter. Adding salt directly to a marine tank typically isn't wise, it should be dissolved in appropriate freshwater long before hand and aerated at least 24-hours. If the specific gravity (and salt content) in a reef tank is fluctuating on a daily basis, it should be raising not lowering through evaporation in which case you would need to compensate through the addition of pure freshwater...for further details see the links...keep reading -Adam J.>>

Degrading Corals 1/3/11
Dear WWM crew,
<... Nick... we ask people to limit image file size... to a few hundred Kbytes... you, 10 megs... 20% of our mail capacity...>
Happy New Year! I have a 90 gallon reef system that has been running for nearly a year now with no problems. Last week my water began to get more cloudy than usual, so I did a 15% water change (RO water, of course), which cleared up my problem. Since completing the water change however, I have a much larger crisis; some of my corals are looking pretty bad!
<I see this>
I have had (what I believe to be) a colt coral (picture attached), a (confirmed) flower pot coral, and two Ricordea for almost eight months with no problems; they all have been healthy and thriving. In fact, the 'colt' coral has more than doubled in size in that time and my two Ocellaris clowns have been hosting the Goniopora since its introduction. Since the water change, the flower pot only partially opens ('blooms') my colt coral - once perky and spread out - is drooped over and clumped together, and the Ricordea is about 1/3 its typical size. When I introduced the new water during the water change, I made sure to pre-mix the salt and PH buffer in a bucket to be sure it matched what is in the tank and ran a pump for a few minutes to mix everything together.
<Fair to good, but much better to pre-mix, let sit, recirculate for a few days ahead of use>
My SG is 1.024, temp is 79-81, calcium is 490ppm,
<Really too high... and in relation to Mg, alkalinity?>
oxygen is fine (I forget the exact numbers), nitrates are 0,
<... an essential nutrient. Your corals need some>
nitrites are 0, phosphates are 0,
<And this>

ammonia is 0. I know the problem is not salt burn because the water was put into the tank with a hose (stayed in one spot) and the affected corals are spread over different sections of the tank. My lighting is a 6 -- bulb H.O T-5 setup with 3 actinic and 3 white; 354 watts total. My system also contains an open brain coral, a Derasa clam (2.5 -- 3'), two purple flat blade gorgonians, a host of green mushrooms, Zoanthus, an anemone -- unknown species - (brown with pink tips; about 3' in diameter), a green bubble
tip, a flame scallop,
<Hard to keep... Along with the Goniopora; you must be doing much right>
a feather duster, a Strawberry Conch, a Red Sea Star, and a few fish; all thriving and all present during the water change. I'm worried I am going to lose the corals in question and any advice would be much appreciated!
Thank you,
~ Nick
<Likely a combo. of disproportionate Ca conc. w/ Mg, Alk... and def. a starvation issue with a lack of NO3 and HPO4... Could be quite a few "other things"... You would likely do well to read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/CnidDisF3.htm
and the linked files above for background, as well as investigating (the search tool, indices on WWM) the central issues mentioned. Bob Fenner>

Lighting Causing My Coral Issues?/Reef Lighting 5/27/10
Hello crew!
<Hello Heidi>
I'm really having an issue in my tank and have asked on many different forums and not getting much help. So I'm turning to you for your expertise.
<We'll do our best to help you.>
I currently have a 75 gallon 48"x18"x21" tank with a 30 gallon sump/fuge. Eheim 1260 return pump, Koralia 3, Vortech MP40, AC Jr. controller, Bubble King 160 skimmer and Phosban 150 reactor for carbon/Phosban. I purchased a light fixture that was used for 1 month. I'm not sure if I can mention the vendor name of the fixture but it is a 48" 6 bulb T5 fixture with 2 Ice Cap ballasts. It also has 2 LED's for moonlights. The light has been on the tank since the beginning of the tank which is almost 4 months old now. The bulbs consist of an ATI Aquablue special, IC <Ice Cap> Deepwater, IC Twilight, Geisemann Aquablue, IC Twilight, IC Twilight and are 2 months old.
The vendor states you can put the fixture right on the tank but they do have small leg brackets that you can buy which I did. They lift if off the tank about 2 inches. My first corals were a Hammer, Torch, candy cane, Purple people eater Palys, and multiple other Zoanthids.
I started them out at the bottom of the tank and after a week put the Zoanthids up higher and the candy cane mid tank. All of the corals except the candy cane turned very pale within that week. The Torch coral would expel it's Zooxanthellae regularly. But it was already on the bottom of the tank. My lighting schedule at that time was dusk/
dawn 9am-8pm and the main lights were on from 1pm-7pm. I then raised my light by suspending it so it was 10 inches above the water and decreased the main light to 2pm-5pm. I also emailed the vendor of the light. They said all I was doing by raising the light was lighting the room. And that they had a 7 bulb fixture of theirs over a 55
gallon tank with softies such as mushrooms, leathers and Zoas at midlevel that were fine. She said that fixture was equivalent to a 400w metal halide fixture.
<I don't know if I'd go that far, perhaps closer to a 250w halide.>
I then purchased a couple more frags of Zoanthids after specifically emailing the coral vendor to ask what lighting they used. I told them what light fixture I had and they said the Zoas prefer high light and didn't see any issue. They used 400w MH bulbs. I purchased them and placed them at the bottom to acclimate. Within a few days one of the
frags was turning pale. I emailed the vendor who thought they needed to be placed higher and were losing their color because they were too low. I placed the frag higher which didn't help. The only color that is left on that frag is a very light pink near the mouth. The rest of it is almost opaque white. Last but not least is a yellow scroll coral that I placed at the bottom and then moved to midlevel. It too seemed to lose quite a bit of it's yellow color.
So you get my drift here. The kicker is that the candy cane coral which has been in the same place since day 1 is fine. No color loss, growing and eating fine.
<Doesn't require as much light as the Hammer Coral.>
It is mounted midlevel. Hammer coral has had some color return. Also, all my parameters are good. Ammonia,
nitrite, nitrate 0. dKH 9, Calcium 420, Magnesium 1500 (to keep Bryopsis away).
<I'd get this back down to the norm, 1200-1300ppm. High magnesium levels can/could cause other problems.>
Temp 79 and salinity 1.025 by refractometer.
I hope I've given you ever bit of information I know.
<Was curious as to your water changing schedule.>
Is this just the light fixture? Too intense for soft corals?
<No, not too intense at all. Problem I see is that you have three lamps that are literally wasting energy. The three Ice Cap Twilights you are using are near pure actinic and peak out at around 425nm, and using three of them limits your useful or more desirable light for photosynthesis. One for color is fine provided the other lamps are in the
10-12K range. The other three lamps you have are two 12K's and one 14K.
These alone should give you decent color. I would replace at least two of the Ice Cap Twilights with lamps in the 10-12K range and you will greatly increase your useful light energy for photosynthesis. See Ice Cap's chart here. Note the difference in light energy spread out across the useful spectrum in the 12K lamp versus the Twilight Lamp. http://icecapinc.com/t5-lamps>
I've always wanted to try some SPS and was happy to have this fixture knowing it would support that.
<It should with proper lamp selection. Keep in mind that most corals we keep come from shallow water where the Kelvin temperature is higher.>
But not at the expense of being able to have anything else. I've had another T5 fixture over a 90 gallon tank and never had any issues like this. I'm really frustrated and was even considering changing light fixtures. Guess it goes to show you that more expensive isn't always better...
<You have a good system with the Ice Cap ballasts. They actually overdrive the lamps to a higher intensity than the norm.>
I appreciate any light you can shed on this problem. (Thank you...I'll be here all week) ;)
<Me too. James (Salty Dog)>

Heteroxenia sp. & Caulastrea sp. 3/9/10
WWM Crew,
Thanks for taking time to answer a couple of puzzling issues here.
<... we ask that folks send image work of a few hundred kilobytes... you've sent 8 plus megs.>
Have a 90g reef with these corals: Neon green trumpet, pumping zenia,
<No... unless you're growing flowers>
several large hairy Rhodactis mushrooms, several Actinodiscus mushrooms, a large Cauliflower Colt, several small pieces of green Montipora and a small colony of button polyps (Protopalythoa sp.)
<These are quite toxic... to other aquatic life, humans>
The Heteroxenia has been in the tank for a year, very full & growing but has shown some STN
<... symptomatically>
over past month & now has shrunk to a small cluster with some tissue damage (see pic) The Caulastrea, is a month old, never has opened at night or any other time & shows signs of receding tissue at the base of the polyps (see pics).
All the other corals are doing well. The Heteroxenia was close to some green Rhodactis but not touching them. The Trumpet is close to Montipora and the Ricordeas (a few inches away)
Water flow is moderate with 2 Koralia 3's on an alternating timer & return pump rated at 1200 gph.
Param.s are Temp 78f, Sg 1.024, CA 400, Alk 3.0 mEq/l,
<A bit low... I'd keep 4-6 mEq/l>
Mg ~1300,
Supplements are Mg and Iodide as needed when I test it, <good> and Kalkwasser for ATO water. Saltwater changes are done 10 gal/wk.
Filtration is wet/dry sump w bio balls, 80# LR, LS bed 3-4" deep. I am using Rowa Phos
<This could be an issue... see WWM re use, implications>

to get rid of a PO4 build up in the LS LR. That has been used for 3-4 months.
I am "target" feeding about 3x week with rinsed frozen food.
I don't know what to do to "save" the Zenia nor the Trumpet. Any advice is very greatly appreciated.
Pics are attached
Doug Schmutte,
<Likely your Zoanthid here is poisoning the others. Please read here:
and the linked files above, and here:
and... Bob Fenner>

Cold Shipping Water -- 1/8/10
Yesterday I received a package of 4 frags. They were as follows: Acropora valida, Montipora capricornis, Seriatopora stellata, and Acropora tenuis. When the package came in, the water was very cold. I would say somewhere along the lines of grabbing a glass of ice water. I do not know the exact temperature of the water as my thermometer only reads to 66 but I do know that it was less than that and if I had to guess I would say the temp. was in the 40's. Would this low of a temp. kill these corals overnight?
<It certainly can, it is extremely stressful to them.>
It seems to me that this would obviously kill them but I need a second opinion. The Montipora is in bad shape, the center of it has about a nickle sized circle that was mucus and bleached out overnight. The has flesh just peeling of it about half way up. However, The looks perfect, nice and pink and the polyps were even opened up today. The jury is still out on the , it hasn't lost any of its flesh but it is brown and no polyp
extension yet. Thanks in advance, Terrence.
<I would take photos to document progression if you can, check the guarantee policy from the place they were ordered and contact them ASAP. A reputable shipper will pack these insulated, even with heat packs depending
on where they are going this time of year. It has been a fairly cold week nationwide, these should have been packed accordingly. Welcome, best of luck here, Scott V.>

Re: need coral expertise 12/29/09
Thanks for the reply.
Your link was very helpful. I noticed that one point says Cnidarians will use chemical allelopathy to shed/avoid parasites, would this be a response to a percula clownfish hosting it?
<Not likely, no>
The frogspawn started looking like that after the fish took to hosting it and the hammer followed shortly afterwards. I did move them apart a while ago but no progress yet.
Here, is a full tank shot for you enjoy!
<Keep reading. B>

Mushroom disintegrating.. coral dying.. HELP 9/25/09
I need help. My brother-in-law owned a 175 gallon reef tank. He passed away and we are left to take care of it. It is a beautiful tank. But because he took care of everything we know NOTHING.
<Every journey...>
Me and my husband did a lot of research on it and learned a great deal of things but still the tank is not how it used to be.
<These "things" take time>
We did a water change a week ago to higher the salt level (because it was too low) and we constantly check the levels of everything in the tank.
The calcium is at 360 which I know is low.
<Is fine>
We put in chemicals to higher the calcium but it is not getting higher. Our phosphate is also high and I know that if the phosphate is high the calcium will not raise.
<W/in reason...>
I do not know how to lower the phosphate. It was at 2 and we put in something to lower it and now it went down to 1. But I cannot seem to lower it to 0. How do I do this? What do I need?
<Mmm, to read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/phosphatemar.htm
and the linked files above>
I came to the tank one day(yesterday) and I see that the mushrooms (that two days ago were flourishing) are disintegrating. Out of nowhere. They are kept low in the tank. And we have mushrooms all over the tank but only one section is being affected. Today, I looked at the tank again and its spreading. Should I remove the rest of them?
<I would not, no. The one area may have been mal-affected by the chemical additions you're making... Need to mix all up with new change-water...>
What should I do with all the gooey stuff there?
<Vacuum this out to waste>
Also, we had a yellow tang that since the passing of my brother-in-law has started to look very thin. Before that I remember he was healthy and not as skinny. You can see his skeleton. All the other fish are eating well, just not the yellow tang. He was getting stuck to the filters and twice we saved him but today we came too late.
<See WWM re feeding Zebrasoma species... Z. flavescens... Need to be offered algae...>
Another thing is our hard coral are also dying. Not all but some.
<Mmm... I would contact a local fish store, if there is such, a local marine/reef club and ask that someone come and visit you... Soon! To help, show you both "the basics"... The "learning curve" is too large, steep for you not to have such one on one help here>
I need help because I do not want to let this tank go to waste. Not only did he spend sooo much money on this tank, he spent all his time and energy on it. I cant imagine coming to his house and the tank not there. PLEASE HELP
<I sense that this method, our writing back and forth, will be too slow to prevent further losses here>
P.S. - pH is at 8.3 which I was told is good. Temperature is at 80-81.
That is how he left it. And ammonia looks as if it is .50 maybe .25
<This MUST be zero...>

can't really tell, but it is def. not 0. Nitrate and Nitrite are ok. The rocks look dirty and they are not purple like I see in stores.
please help! THANK YOU
<Get out the Yellow Pages... pulp or electronic... for local mano a mano input here. Bob Fenner>

Shrinking Leather Finger Coral & Bubble Tip/No Useful Information 9/23/09
Try this zip file
<That will work, thank you.>
I have a 54gal corner bow salt tank that has been running almost 2 yrs.
It appears to me that any corals I introduce (after performing the recommended transition process) over time shrink in size or die. I use RO/DI water;
Fluval 305 filter; Protein skimmer; two small water circulators. Marine life consists of small Hermit crabs; snails; Turbo snail. Water tests indicate normal conditions.
<What water parameters are you maintaining? What are the actual test results for pH, dKH, calcium, magnesium, salinity, and nitrate. Another need to know is your lighting system, wattage, Kelvin temperature of lamps. Pretty difficult to come up with any useful help without some information to work with. James (Salty Dog)>
Any ideas?
<<Not a BTA... RMF>>

Re: Shrinking Leather Finger Coral & Bubble Tip 9/24/09
Lighting: JBJ Compact using 65W/10K Coralife white & 65W Actinic Coralife Blue
Actual test results
Temp: 79; ph: 8.4; Nitrite: 0.1;
<Nitrite should read 0.>
Nitrate: 50ppm;
<Much too high for corals/anemones.>

Calcium: 420; kH: 125.3;
salt: 1.021;
<Corals/anemones do much better at the higher end, 1.024-1.025>
magnesium: never tested
<Is very important, a major constituent of sea water and proper levels are necessary to allow calcium absorption by calcium loving invertebrates.>

<<Original query below>>
Try this zip file
<That will work, thank you.>
I have a 54gal corner bow salt tank that has been running almost 2 yrs.
It appears to me that any corals I introduce (after performing the recommended transition process) over time shrink in size or die. I use RO/DI water;
Fluval 305 filter; Protein skimmer; two small water circulators. Marine life consists of small Hermit crabs; snails; Turbo snail. Water tests indicate normal conditions.
<What water parameters are you maintaining? What are the actual test results for pH, dKH, calcium, magnesium, salinity, and nitrate. Another need to know is your lighting system, wattage, Kelvin temperature of lamps.
Pretty difficult to come up with any useful help without some information to work with. James (Salty Dog)>
Any ideas?
<Plenty, after you supplied the information I needed.
First item is that the anemone is not a Bubble Tip Anemone. The anemone is too far gone to accurately ID it, but is likely a specie that requires much more light than a BTA. Your lighting would be border line at best for a BTA and
not nearly enough light for keeping Sinularia corals (Leather Corals). These animals are badly bleached from lack of proper lighting and poor water quality/conditions.
Do read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corllgtg.htm
And here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm
James (Salty Dog)>

-coral woes- 9/2/09
Dear WWM crew
I am quite new to reef keeping and have 155 litre (34 gallon), setup. It is filtered by a Fluval 205 canister filter containing 1.5kilos of live rock rubble and some phos remover.
<You have live rock in your canister filter? I would not recommend this... better to put activated carbon in a canister filter.>
Two hydra circulation pumps and recently an extra power head for moving water through the 22 + kilos of live rock that I have. My fish stocking levels are 1 bicolour blenny, an jade wrasse and a flame back angel.
Protein skimming is by V2 400 skimmer.
I set my reef up in January and have added several corals since then and have a particular eye for soft L S P types and I do have three an torch, a hammer head and frog spawn, There were doing well and growing very well under my twin set of T5's.
My question is what causes the very quick showing and eventual break up of the head just leaving its skeleton. I use r o water and remineralize it every time.
<Many different things can cause this kind of decline of coral health. It looks like this one might be bleaching. This can be caused by failing to acclimate to lighting or poor water quality.>

I have had some problems with nitrite being are the 2 mg/l JBL nitrate are about 5
ammonia 0.1
<Whoa! Your ammonia MUST be zero
. Please replace the LR in your canister with activated carbon and, in this case, some ammonia sponge.>
phosphate 0.1 calcium 470 magnesium 1450 salinity 35 ppt and the ph 8.2I am doing a weekly 30 ltr water change. What other advice could you give me I have found a group of corals that I think have great character and I really want to keep them would a nitrite reactor be of any use for a tank of this size.
<You have very poor water quality. Please do a water change asap and change your filter media.>
with thanks
Mart (willi)
Sara M.>

Dying Corals 08/05/09
Hello Crew. Thanks for your help in the past. We have a 300 gallon system separated into two 125g tanks and a 50g sump/refugium. One tank houses non reef friendly fish and the other all reef friendly fish. We are having a problem with our corals dying. Not all, just some. Our corals are:
Tubastrea aurea, Nemanzophyllia turbida, Acanthophyllia deshayesiana, Physogyra sp.(pearl bubble), Heliofungia actiniformis, Ricordea florida, Rhodactis indosinensis, Rhodactis inchoate, Heteroxenia sp. (xenia), Caulastrea furcata, and a Sarcophyton sp. (toadstool mushroom leather coral)
These are all doing well.
The ones that are dying are mostly in Caryophylliidae family although recently have had trouble with some Zoanthus as well.
The Caryophylliidae in the tank are, Euphyllia paradivisa, Euphyllia parancora and Euphyllia ancora. They are dying one head at a time, to complete skeletons.
<Hmm...you might just have too much in one system (i.e. allelopathic troubles).>
LFS suggested potassium may be low but the test kit seemed impossible to read, so we can't really be sure. Water parameters are SG - 1.025, pH - 8.2, dKH - 8, nitrates - 5, Ca - 420, Mg - 1420 (a little high). Water temp is pretty consistent between 78 to 80. 50g water changes weekly.
System is 8 months old.
<This might be another "concern"- 8 months is still a relatively new tank as far as some types of corals are concerned.>
We were only target feeding once a week other than the Tubastrea aurea which was every second or third day. LFS suggested smaller feedings more often,
<Good advice.>
every couple days of Mysis and Phyto-Feast.
<Why phyto-feast? These corals do not feed on phytoplankton. I'd suggest some Rod's Food.>
This has not improved anything. Can you suggest anything else. Would hate to lose all these beautiful corals. Thanks again.
<Patience... and maybe some better food.>
Sara M.>

Hmm... Bleaching? (amended version) 08/02/09
I love the site, I have spent hours upon hours reading through it over the years. The reason I am writing is because from what I have read, my water parameters seem great. Yet, for some reason, my corals are struggling.
The tank has been running over five years, and has been a "reef tank" for almost two. I have always used RO/DI water.
The corals:
Pulsing xenia - seems to be doing well; I almost regret adding it
Green star polyps - also doing well
Assorted Zoanthids - small, bleached appearance
Assorted mushrooms, small, bleached appearance
Hammer coral - doing okay, but not really growing, nor very vibrant
Coralline algae also doing poor!
The fish:
One royal gramma
Two ocellaris clowns
Two yellowtail damsels
One Firefish
One Fire shrimp
One hermit crab
The set-up:
70 gallon show tank, 60"x22"x12" (actually 67gal)
100 lbs Fiji live rock
80 lbs live sand
322 watt PC with dual actinic and dual daylight (10,000k & 6,500K) (bulbs are about 4 months old)
<Hmm... this might not be enough light for coral. We usually recommend VHO or metal halide lighting for reef tanks.>
BioWheel 350 with Phosguard in one basket and carbon in the other
Proquatics 300 HOT filter filled with coarse foam (great for pods)
Two 160 GPH powerheads set up to bank of the front glass Prizm pro Delux skimmer (not the best, I know)
Two Visi-Therm heaters
The parameters:
SG 1.025
PH 8.3
Calcium 450ppm
Alk 8dKH
Mag 1350ppm
temp 79 degrees F
Nitrate >5ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Ammonia 0ppm
Phosphate 0ppm

The routine:
12 gallon (18%) water change every 2-3 weeks *note: I have also tried 5 gallons each week to no avail!
Top off with RO/DI water, Seachem reef builder added- as needed add iodine twice a week
add strontium twice a week
add Kent trace twice a week
add coral Vite once a week
add Phytoplex once a week

<All the above additives are not needed. You should be getting all these from your salt mix. In fact, you might be poisoning your tank a bit (overdoing it). Try discontinuing all these trace elements and simple increasing your water changes from 12g every 2-3 weeks to 12g every week (at least until things improve). Do good 20g water change now.>
I don't know what I am missing... any advice would be much appreciated!
<More/bigger water changes, less additives... maybe more/better lighting.>
Thomas Brown
Sara M.>

Re: Dino's, now Cnid. dis., Alk...? 6/15/09
PS: Even my easy to keep polyps are dying and the one half of the open brain is dead and receding, is this due to the Alk of about 6?
<Possibly, but this is not an unheard of alkalinity with success. The issue with such a low,
borderline, Alk is stability. I would raise this first, see what happens.>
Or the calcium of 350?
<Despite what you read this Ca level is very acceptable so long as it stays in this area.>
All other levels seem great and the pulsing xenia is doing super.
But all other corals seems to be stunted or dying.

This I want to remedy, is that the low Alk?
<Start here, then we can troubleshoot elsewhere. Scott V.>

Question about coral health... Beauty in the eye of the beholder 6/7/2009
G'day crew
<G'day mate!>
Well it's been awhile since my last query, so I reckon I must be about due for another ;)
<And here you are!>
As always, thanks in advance for the fantastic service that you guys provide.
<You're quite welcome from all of us crew, past and present.>
My question is about assumptions regarding coral health...specifically the use of colouration and polyp expansion as a benchmark of overall well being. The tendency is obviously to assume that the greater the degree of polyp expansion we have, and the more vibrant the colours of the corals are, the healthier they are.
<No, not necessarily.>
So the question is simply: "is this an accurate assumption?".
<No, not always.>
Or could this be misleading?
For example (and I am making these scenarios up on the spot to play devil's advocate)
<I like this.>
Could a poorly-placed coral which is not receiving enough light try and expand more fully in a vain attempt to expose more surface area to the light?
<Absolutely, mushrooms will often do this in low light situations, as will clams just to name a few that come quickly to mind.>
Or could some wastes which build up in coral tissues appear colourful and attractive to our eyes,
<Most certainly! Some of the prettiest corals to the untrained eyes are those that are bleached and dying.>
but be detrimental to health of the coral in the long-term?
<Of course.>
And just for the sake of clarity I am referring to corals which are in stable systems (e.g. those we observe on a day-to-day basis in our home aquariums), not those which have been recently collecting / relocated so
have shriveled or discoloured as a stress response.
<The key is knowing what the coral, or any livestock for that matter, should look like. Ideally, being familiar with how the life form looks and behaves in it's natural environment.>
Leon (Brisbane)
<Mich (Pocono Mountains)>

corals live rock losing color 3/16/2009
I have several reef and reef/fish systems. They range from 110 to 180 gallons.
I recently set up a Red Sea Max all in one.
<Nice units>
Generally I do not go for everything built units, however this system is very easy to childproof and with only one cord exiting for power
I thought it would be ideal for installation in a small office. Here is the problem, the water quality/clarity and fish health/activity are all excellent.
<This is a problem?>
The tank was set up with exceptionally beautiful live rock from my well established systems. The rock is or rather was almost 100 percent covered in thick red and purple coralline.
In addition I added some false Ricordea (Indonesia), red and blue stripe Actinodiscus, again taken from established tanks, with all growing and reproducing for at least twelve years. Finally I added a small Xenia
<Mmm, do keep this "contained" so it doesn't spread>
and a small Favia and small candy cane.
Because the Red Sea is shallow compared to my other tanks I gradually introduced them to what seems a stronger light.
Every one did well for about a month or so. Than the Xenia shrunk down to nubs.
<Likely allelopathy>
Since this is not that uncommon I did not panic. Than every coral and mushroom began to lose its color or completely bleach. The mushrooms shrank down to less than half their former size in the matter of a week.
<Or summat chemical, physical that's off>
I returned the corals to their previous homes , and with the exception of the Xenia all have come back fully
. The aquarium remained a FOWLR system the live rock remained very colorful and all the coral and shell pieces within the sand bed were turning pink with coralline.
About a week ago I noticed that all that pink in the sand bed was gone, and now I see that over last several days all my coralline is starting to turn white.
The water parameters remain excellent, the tank received weekly iodine, Kalkwasser top offs and bimonthly small water changes. I have now taken out the nicer coralline live rock and I hope they will rebound. Can you give me an idea as to what you believe is the problem. Thanks
<I cannot... based on the data presented... but I do know how I might proceed... I'd lug/use water from the established systems you mention to do water changes here... reintroduce the invertebrate livestock on a punctuated basis (something new every few weeks). Bob Fenner>

Nitrates... Nah. Allelopathy likely 2/20/09 Hi, I would like to know what is happening to my tank. Recently my Torch coral grew a new head, and I was very happy. But after awhile, the small head of torch just slowly stopped opening. I also noticed brown stuff oozing out from it, and it stinks to high heaven. <Oooh, very bad> I figured the head was dead so I fragged it off. The next day, my Anchor coral starting dropping its tentacles. I also notice brown jelly stuff inside it's mass of tentacles. The condition just got worse so I had to throw it away. Today, while wiping the aquarium glass, I notice my Hammer coral dropping off one of its tentacles. I was trying to be positive and hope that this is not the work of brown jelly spreading trough my Euphyllias. I took out both of my hammer and washed them in some iodine solution. There was no sign of decay or rot, and no more tentacles were dropping off except for that one. Today, I also notice one of my mushroom coral "melting" away. What is happening....please help? <Obviously, something amiss here... chemical, biological, physical?> So many coral problems in a span of a few days is surely a cause for concern right? <Oh yes!> I looked up on the internet and I think it has something to do with high nitrate content? <Mmm, doubtful that this is the a priori cause here... More like an after effect> I have been pumping my fish with food to get their immune system up, and I am afraid this has caused a spike in nitrates. I tested for PO4 today and it registered 0.5ppm!! I don't even want to know what is the result of my nitrate test... <? Why?> So, I would like to know if the nitrates are causing this? <Again... I am dubious... However... I would be doing a massive water change, adding chemical filtrants, spiffing up your skimmer, increasing RedOx if you have the means to measure and do so....> I do water change every weekends, about 10%. What are the signs of high nitrates and phosphates? <?... posted> I don't see much nuisance algae growing around everywhere, and my water is crystal clear. Except for the occasional brown algae that grows on my glass. Usually a simple wipe with my magnetic cleaner should clear it up. Other than that, my fishes are still feeding fine, and my corals, (star polyps, torch, elegance, fox) just to name a few, are still opening up nicely. <... Oh... I see the likely culprit/s here... the Clavulariid, Catalaphyllia...> Or is this simply a case of brown jelly spreading trough my corals. I will try buying some Ulva or Chaeto this weekend to help in nutrient export. I fear for my Hammer coral. So far my Torch corals are doing really well, I guess it is because of the good flow they are receiving, to help wash away all the gunk. Please advice my situation? Thank you so much. <Umm, read re... Let's see... starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm  and the rest of this series linked above... then the Compatibility FAQs files for the "Polyps", "Elegance"... and others experiences re... And we'll be chatting. Bob Fenner>
Re: nitrates... No, Cnid. hlth. - 2/21/09
Hi Bob! Thanks for the advice. It's only February haha. I have plenty of time to do research on the diving in Hawaii. I woke up today to find another mushroom coral melting off ): Have changed my filter wool and carbon. Also did a water change. This is frustrating. Will monitor the situation now that I have done something about it. Just not sure if it is enough... Thanks <Read where you were referred to... Learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM... don't write. Bob Fenner>

Letter for Fenner 2/9/09 Hi Bob, I hope this finds you well! If you would be so kind as to have a look at the attached letter from Dr. Randall Singer of the University of Minnesota, I would appreciate it. He's a customer of mine but more importantly is an epidemiologist and veterinarian at the U of M where he teaches and studies infectious disease in animals. He is very, very interested in pursuing infectious disease in corals and has been granted funding for that purpose. Because you are so extremely qualified, I suggested he contact you regarding the best place to commence his research in this field. If you are not in a position to assist in this regard, would you possibly make some suggestions to us regarding whom you would recommend he contact. He's extremely qualified and will make a great scientific addition to the marine biological community. Thanks a mil Bob. Please see the attached letter from Dr. Singer written to you personally on my suggestion. I hope you don't mind. Peggy www.all-reef.com Your Partner in Creating Your Dream Reef System! Unsurpassed Quality in Saltwater Fish, Corals, Clams, Inverts, and Fully-Cured Live Rock! <Thank you for your endorsement/referral Peggy. I in turn have sent Dr. Singer to some others that I'm sure can either aid him directly or refer him in turn. Unfortunately, I am a bit "long in the tooth" in terms of real science in the field (being more populist in direction the last three plus decades)... But do know others that are actively involved in Coral Biology in general, pathology more distinctly, and have sent Dr. Singer's letter along to them. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Letter for Fenner 2/10/09
Hi Bob, Many thanks for your prompt response and referrals regarding Dr. Singer (Randy). He's a great guy and is so enthusiastic about making a contribution to research in infectious disease in corals it does my heart good. He called me and told me he's already been contacted by Borneman and a couple others, so the ball is rolling. Many thanks again for your expedited assistance! I'm sure he'll make a significant contribution with his skills and background. <Ahh, Peggy... Very glad to "do my part"... and will gladly aid Randy in his endeavours going forward. Cheers, BobF> Peggy www.all-reef.com

Anthony coral help please! 1/30/09 Dear Anthony and rest of WWM crew, <James with you today. Anthony hasn't been with us for some time.> Thanks again as always for all your help, I really appreciate it, and my tank has improved drastically because of it. <You're welcome.> I have a question about some corals, and what might be causing them some grief. First, my system... Standard 29 Gal tank. Saltwater (I'd hope so with coral in it eh?) Has been going about 8-9 months now. Fairly standard heater and two small Koralia powerheads, aimed at each other from opposite ends of the tank. A Prizm skimmer HOB model with cartridge for active carbon, produces little skimmate in the cup, gunk just collects in the cone. <Are you cleaning the collection cup/reaction chamber weekly?> Thinking of changing to an Aqua-C Remora HOB skimmer.... maybe for my birthday! lol. <Would be a great skimmer for your tank.> A hang on back filter, converted, with a filter pad and active carbon. (Thinking of tossing a bit of macro algae in there.... don't know if that would work or not, there's a good 4-5 liter space before hitting the filter pad. <I would not do this.> A Coralife lighting rig, with the nightlights. It has 10,000K daylight and Then the blue actinics. I think the 10,000K are compact fluorescent is that right? <I have no idea as you did not mention the wattage.> I'm sorry, the one thing I am really clueless about is lighting, which is why I went ahead and bought the premade rig. <No problem, will get to that later.> Water Parameters - pH - 8.1-2, Alk is in the normal range on a Red Sea test kit. <Normal range doesn't tell me too much.> I've never had measurable nitrates in the tank to my knowledge, or just a really really low amount. (Very close to 0). Ammonia is unmeasurable and phosphate is about 0.05. Calcium is hovering around 450-500ppm.... I haven't added a calcium supplement in ages and I can't seem to make this go down. Some concern about a 'snowstorm' there.... so far so good. I only add reef buffer if the Alk falls way down, and it's been very stable. I do a 5gal water change once a week, with 24 hour powerhead aerated, premixed saltwater. I also run active carbon, about 4 tablespoons, changing 2 every couple weeks. Temperature ranges from 80-82 degrees. Living stuff! - 35 - 40 lbs of live rock. Assortment of 20 or so Nassarius Snails, 2 medium Turbo Snails, 3 Blue Legged Hermits, 1 scarlet hermit, and a Mithrax crab named pinchy. Two Ocellaris clowns (paired, one dominant). A Purple Firefish. Fire shrimp, and a Coral Beauty (I know, needs to be relocated, easier said than done, but it should happen soon... he's still little, no bigger than the dominant clown currently). Also a myriad of little scuttly things that come out at night... look like little carpenter bugs.... I believe these are beneficial so I'm just going to leave them be! <Likely pods and beneficial.> I feed the fish once every couple days, with a mix of Tetra Algae Flakes, New Life Spectrum, and a mix of Cyclops, mussels, and Mysis shrimp. Corals : One Colt Coral (most recent addition, in the middle), a Green Bubble Coral, (right side of tank in corner, lower third of tank) Branching Frogspawn (left side of tank towards top), Red Open Brain (on sand in corner, smaller clown sleeps here), Green Candy Coral and Red Candy Cane Coral (towards top of tank), Green Star Polyps, and then a myriad of mushrooms (hairy and non hairy), and polyps (smallish colonies right now). Also one large pink/green open brain in the middle of the tank at the bottom, seems to be on his way out. He was damaged when I bought him (didn't check... stupid), and no amount of feeding seems to be able to stop the necrosis and pulling away from skeleton, he's about half gone now. I feed the LPS corals the same frozen mix I feed the fish, except every 3-4 days. <I would not be feeding the corals this food, much too large. In your size tank, I would not feed the corals at all, just going to add to the nutrient level which can build up fast in smaller tanks causing further problems.> I plan on maybe getting a couple more mushrooms, and maybe some more polyps, but that's about it. <I suggest not buying any more corals until you can establish essential water parameters and proper lighting for growing corals.> So, on to the problems. The last few weeks, even months, the Bubble Coral has not been opening fully much, and has pulled away towards the center, off of the one half of it's skeleton. It never fully inflates, and no longer puts out the long stinging tentacles, just the little feeder tentacles during the day, with little partially inflated bubbles. Seems to be progressively getting worse. Also, the Colt Coral won't completely extend his polyps, they're out a millimeter or so, but never fully. I haven't seen the angel nip at these, except once, hasn't done it since. Should be noted that the carbon hadn't been changed for a month until today... missed that one. <Your filter media should be changed weekly.> All the other corals are blossoming, particularly the Frogspawn... he's even grown a new stalk since I got him. Now, questions... 1) Should I get stronger lights, or at least change the bulbs at this point? <Your lighting is not intense enough to keep some of the corals you have. I would go with a 150 watt, 14K HQI fixture with built-in cooling fan.> 2) Is it allelopathy stopping the corals from opening fully, or the slow decay of the open brain? <Can contribute, but your major problem here is lighting and proper water parameters. Magnesium needs to be maintained (1280-1300 or slightly higher in order for the corals to be able to absorb the calcium that is available to them, and is one reason your calcium levels are staying where they are, they are not being used.> 3) Is there any saving the Open Brain, or the Bubble Coral? <Possibly, but changes need to be done quickly to have a shot at it.> Any other suggestions on my setup, what might be going on, improvements I could make? <Yes, you need to do some reading/learning. I will provide you with some links. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm     http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stonycor.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/soft.htm  And, an index here to information we have available. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm  <Before you buy livestock in the future, do research/read, be sure you have the experience level and system requirements to keep the animal in mind.> Thanks so much.... I really appreciate the help. I'm just a medical student.... can name any muscle in the body etc etc, but am still a relative newbie when it comes to the reefkeeping :). <Reading will be your best teacher. I might also suggest buying at least one book you can use as a handy reference. The Conscientious Marine Aquarist would be a good choice.> Regards, <A good day to you my friend. James (Salty Dog)> Eric Milne
Re: Anthony, Coral Help Please 1/31/09
HI there again, <Hi Eric> Just a few replies quickly to clarify! I do clean out the skimmer every couple of days.... it works okay, but it could be better I think. <Good, cleaning keeps them running more efficiently.> Thanks for the help with the lighting rig, I checked the bulbs, they are both 65 Watt (two tubes each), blue actinic and 10,000K Compact Fluorescents. I'll go to the store again today and get myself a better rig.... expensive but it sounds like it is worth it. I'm somewhat displeased with the LFS I've been using so far.... they told me to use the wrong lights, recommended a bad skimmer, poor livestock choices (a Goniopora and an anemone were suggested as a good starter) and routine selling of damaged corals. <Another LFS more interested in selling than success. I'd be shopping on line for lights, why give him any more money for the bad advice he has given you, let alone unnecessary loss of money. I know what I would tell him but cannot print that here.> I know what to look for now, but sad when you start out as an unwitting hobbyist.... and that was after a fair bit of research. Oh well. I really appreciate your help... I only want the best for my tank, and I really do try to research in advance, but I do miss things, and you guys are really amazing with all that. I'll pick up the magnesium stuff too. <Keep reading/learning my friend.> Thanks again! <You're welcome, Eric. James (Salty Dog)> Eric

Cyano, Algicides admonition 1/13/09
Hi Crew,
I have been battling red slime for a few months and made a lot of progress but could not get it completely. It was contained in a few spots that I would siphon. Every once in a while it would flare up and I would have a real clean up to do. So I decided to try a product despite the problems people have reported. UltraLife Red Slime Control.
My tank is just a 10 gallon and I have Candycanes and some fish. Instructions were to use one measure of the enclosed dispenser ( one flat teaspoon full) for 15 gallons. I figure I have about 8 gallons so I used half of that. I pre mixed it with tank water until completely dissolved as instructed. And it did get rid of it. My tank always had a reddish hue to it and now it actually looks very clean. The fish did not seem to mind the treatment. I have a few snails and I did not notice any adverse affects. The corals did not like it. It was nothing major but I rarely see them with open mouths, usually just a few.
<I have seen this, a friend just wiped out his reef recently using a similar antibiotic product.>
But during the treatment they were all open. I left it this way for 2 days. Then I put carbon back in my filter and did some water changes and so far, after a week, all seems well and it has not returned (yet).
<It will unless the fueling factor is addressed. These treatments are a temporary fix and a poison to filtration. The tank inhabitants are threatened initially by oxygen deprivation, followed by a hit to the biofiltration. See the links below for more re this and the BGA.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Cyano Control 1/13/09
Hello Crew:
As Always I must say Great Site! Tons of information which I read daily and then some.
My tank is a 3-1/2 year old 46 gallon bow with the following:
1-2" crushed coral (which I plan to create DSB 4-6" I have the sugar sized sand but lack the confidence to create without killing my tank family)
<Ah, just add a bit at a time over a couple of weeks and you will be fine.>
50+ lbs of LR
Fluval 404 - took all components out and added Chemi-pure Elite and charcoal
<Redundant, save yourself some cash and use one or the other.>
Aqua C Roma w/MaxiJet 1200 and drain hose (upgraded about 2 months ago from Prizm)
<Good move!>
2 power heads for water movement
Coralife 36" compact fluorescent dual 96w (1-daylight, 1-Actinic)
SG - 1.023

Phos 0-0.25 (color chart)
Cal - 300
KH - 7
PH - 8.2
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate -10
Temp - 80 F
2 false clowns - had almost 3 years
Yellow Tan
g - 1-1/2 years
2 cleaner shrimp - 6 months
Several various hermits
Several various snails
Frogs spawn - 2 years (had 2 heads and now has 4)
Yellow Polyp - 1-1/2 years
Green Polyp - 2 years
Several Mushrooms - 2-1/2 years
1 Ricordea - 2-1/2 years
1 leather - 1 year
2 nice size pieces of candy cane - 1 year
I believe my tank has a Cyano problem. The back of my tank ended up covered with dark maroon color algae which I scraped off like wall paper. But it also covered much of my LR. How do I clean the LR?
<Best to just scrub in the tank a bit, siphon off what you can with water changes. Treating the cause is the real cure.>
Can I remove some LR to open up the tank a bit?
<You can.>
Should I be doing something different or in addition in order to remove the Fluval 404 canister?
<Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm
Continuing through all the linked files above will tell you more than you ever wish to know about your problem!>
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: Cyano Control 1/14/09

Hello Scott:
Thank you for the information.
<Happy to help out Tom.>
I will keep reading WWM & learning.
Do you think at some point I would remove my Fluval 404 completely and relay on my LR & skimmer?
<I would, it is of little benefit with your other filtration in place while just providing a possible detritus trap and extra maintenance.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: Cyano Control... and Scler. hlth. 01/19/09
Hello Scott: I seem to have a possible problem with my Candy Cane & Frogs Spawn coals. The Candy Cane always seemed to have plump looking heads and all of a sudden they appear hard for at least a week. The Frogs Spawn for about 2 weeks has not been fully out the tentacles are very close to the skeleton. I kept thinking that they were disrupted yet its been a while. Water has not changed as listed in earlier email. <Hmm... I don't know, but it could be a reaction to the Cyano.> Not sure what's going on. <When in doubt, do a water change.> Regards, Tom <Best, Sara M.>
Re: Cyano Control 01/19/09
Hello Sara: Thanks for the response. That's exactly what I did tonight and will keep doing them. Another thing I noticed is that my snails are not acting right. Astraea & Margarita snails seem to have slowed down and appear to be having trouble moving and some are extended. Another thing I had been doing often was blowing off the LR with a turkey baster and doing the same to the 1-2" crushed coral on the bottom stirring it up. The reason I was doing that was to allow the protein skimmer to clean the water. Is that ok? <Yes, this is even recommended. However, if your tank is not "used to" it, you might have stirred up too much too fast. Again, the only really remedy for this is more water changes...> Regards,
Sara M.

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