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FAQs about Caryophyllid Coral Disease, Pests, Predation 9

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

FAQs on Euphylliid Disease: Caryophyllid Disease 1, Caryophyllid Disease 2, Caryophyllid Disease 3, Caryophyllid Disease 4, Caryophyllid Disease 5, Caryophyllid Disease 6, Caryophyllid Disease 7, Euphylliid Health 8, Euphylliid Health 10, & Elegance Coral Disease/Pests,
FAQs on Euphylliid Disease by Category: Diagnosing, Environmental (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments 
FAQs on Stony Coral Disease by Category: Diagnosing, Environmental (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments   Caryophylliids 1, Caryophylliids 2, Caryophylliids 3, Caryophylliids 4, Caryophyllid ID, Caryophyllid Compatibility, Caryophyllid Systems, Caryophyllid Selection, Caryophyllid Behavior, Caryophyllid Feeding, Caryophyllid Propagation/Reproduction, Stony/True Coral, Coral System Set-Up, Coral System Lighting, Stony Coral Identification, Stony Coral Selection, Coral Placement, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, Propagation, Growing Reef Corals, Stony Coral Behavior,

Shrinking Hammer Coral/Euphyllia Compatibility 7/16/10
Dear Crew,
Thanks so much for your dedication!
<You're welcome.>
Thanks to you, my reef tank is thriving, minus one specimen: a hammer coral. First of all, here is the tank information.
I've tried to include as much relevant data as possible for an accurate diagnosis.
54 Gallon Corner Reef

Rena Xp3 Canister 350 gph (sump coming soon)
Bak-Pak Skimmer
150 Watt 14K HQI
65 Watt PC 10K/6700K
2 Maxi-jet's w/Hydor Flo
RO water, pre-buffered
Tropic Marine Salt
B-ionic daily
2 gallons changed twice weekly

SG 1.025
Temp 80-82.5 degrees F (running warm during the summer months)
pH 8.4 (p.m. reading)
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0 (although undoubtedly present in tank)

DKH 11
Calcium 340 (running unusually low)
Magnesium- Still need to buy the darn test kit!
1 Torch
1 Hammer
1 Frogspawn
2 Bubble Corals
1 Candy Cane
1 Galaxy (isolated)
Green Star Polyps
Button Polyp/Yellow Colony Polyp (very small colony)

Fish and Inverts:
Midas Blenny
Royal Gramma
6-Line Wrasse
Lawnmower Blenny (small)
Small feather duster
Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
Misc. snails and tiny hermits
The tank was set up as a FO for 3 years and as a reef since January. The hammer was one of the first specimens and over the past 3 months it has exhibited obvious signs of polyp shrinkage. The attached photo was taken 1 month ago and the coral has decreased in size by about 20% (coral appears on the left side in photo).
I have never witnessed any tank inhabitants sampling any corals and do not think that allelopathy is the cause (you may disagree!). I also do not think that the low calcium level would be the cause. My best guess would be an issue with too little or too much light or water flow. The specimen is placed about 18 inches under the HQI bulb and is fed a mixture of Mysis, NLS pellet, and various blended marine meat (although it does not appear to eat much compared to my voracious bubble corals). In addition, I've noticed that it, along with my Frogspawn almost completely withdraw their polyps at night and do NOT accept food unlike the other corals. I attempt to feed these two during the day.
My apologies for the long email. I do know that you prefer to have too much info. as opposed to too little. Again, thank you SO much for your generosity.
You truly have helped thousands of hobbyists and we appreciate everything that you do!
<Your Torch, Hammer, and Frogspawn Corals are all Euphyllia species and are aggressive in terms of allelopathy. The Hammer Coral, in my experience, is the most difficult of the three to maintain with all three being moderately difficult. I believe the Hammer Coral is likely losing the allelopathy war. I would move the Hammer Coral 6 to 8 inches away from the other Euphyllia species you have in your system. A note on magnesium....magnesium is a
major element of sea water and should be maintained at 1200-1300ppm. Low magnesium levels hinders stony corals from absorbing calcium to varying degrees depending on the actual magnesium level in your system.
An example is if your calcium measures 400ppm and your magnesium measures 650ppm, only 200ppm of calcium is actually available to the corals. You may also want to read here and related articles/FAQ's found in the header.
Thank YOU!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Joe W.

Torch Coral 5/31/2010
Hi gang, just back from Longboat Key Fla.
<Ahh! A few of us were t/here last year diving>
Had a great time and will post some pics later. Since I got back it appears something has happened to my Torch Coral. It grew from 5 heads to over 15 and was doing great. When I got back, 3 heads are dead and 3 or 4 are not expanding. The rest of the heads seem o.k. The only thing I did different was to turn off the skimmer for the week I was gone. Fish were fed every other day. There is a large Yellow Fin Damsel in there and once in awhile he nips at it but nothing terrible. I don't know if he would eat them?
<Might a little... if hungry... but sufficient to kill so much in such a short period of time?>
or, if the water being "dirtier" had a negative effect. All water parameters are good. The Frog Spawn is real good and all the leathers are doing fine. Any ideas??
<Likely the Leathers duking it out with the Euphyllia... Use the search tool on WWM w/ the term "compatibility" and read the cached views...
Allelopathy is my best guess:
Bob Fenner>

Dead Hammer Coral 5/31/2010
I had a breakdown in my tank and lost my 2 HUGE hammer corals, and 2 smaller frogspawn. Tank overheated up to 93 deg. anyway,
<Mmm, my gen. comment here... IF what one has is valuable, personally or financially, I would NOT run resistant heaters w/o a separate controller... See WWM re>
very upset about my loss but its been a few weeks, I thought it might come back and after a couple days it got a film over the top that looked like a fungus covering it. it eventually disappeared and now I am transferring everything into a new aquarium setup. Can I keep the skeletons?
<Oh yes>
It has a bad smell to it but has not seemed to affect my other inhabitants.
<Mmm, you might want to remove, bleach... rinse... See here:
and the FAQs file above.
Bob Fenner>

Frogspawn Tissue Recession... reading 5/8/10
Hi Crew,
I just finished reading Anthony Calfo's Reef Invertebrates book
<... I'm the co-author>
for the first time -- a fantastic resource! But, unfortunately, I haven't made it to his Coral Propagation book yet, so I was hoping to get some insight from you all on some trouble I'm having with my branching frogspawn.
<... have you read...? Obviously not, as you too have not complied w/ our requirement of limiting file sizes for graphics...>
It's been living happily in my tank for about 3 months with no trouble until about three weeks ago, when I noticed that one polyp had lost a single "section" of tentacle, exposing the corresponding section of the skeleton (septum?) underneath. I suspected that it may be from too much flow in my SPS-dominated tank.
I continued to monitor this, but did not notice any worsening of the condition until today, when I discovered that another tentacle had disappeared (not directly adjacent, but 2 septa(?) over from the first missing tentacle. Additionally, I noticed today that the polyp that lost the tentacles also appears to have lost some of the tissue and baring a white skeleton along that branch, extending across a good part of the whole colony. I don't know how long that's been that way. I've also noticed recently that, while the colony still does "inflate" (extending polyps/tentacles) a fair amount, the average inflation size has been less over the past couple weeks or so. it gets bigger than shown in the pictures I've attached. I haven't noticed any brown jelly or slime from the coral.
I have seen a few brown flatworms crawling on the frogspawn, but never more than 5-6 at a time, and I've never seen any other flatworms in the tank, so I haven't treated the tank to get rid of them.
<Not likely flatworms>

As far as the rest of my tank goes, none of my other livestock has exhibited
any similar problems. The rest of my corals are SPS (Staghorn Acropora, millepora, Montipora digitata, Montipora capricornis, etc.), and my fish are: 1x bluespotted Jawfish,
<Misplaced here... won't live well or long... See WWM re Opistognathus rosenblatti>
1x ocellaris clownfish and 1x royal gramma.
There is also a peppermint shrimp (I've seen them eat Euphyllias in the past!), cleaner shrimp, and bumblebee, Trochus, Nerite and Nassarius snails. The tank is 39 gallons (24x20x20" cube) with a 12 gallon sump with a small Chaeto refugium/5" DSB. My tank is lit by a 150w radium 20k halide supplemented by 2x24w ATI Blue Plus actinic T5HO bulbs (I should note that I have replaced each of these bulbs within the last 3 weeks, including moving to the 20k radium from a 14k bulb, but I did take steps to acclimate the
corals to the new lights over about a week). For flow, I have a Vortech mp10 (set to 100% reef crest mode) and Tunze 6025 powerhead, with a Tunze 1073.020 return pump. My skimmer is a Bubble Magus NAC3. There is approximately 40lb. of live sand and 60lb of live rock in the tank.
My specific gravity is 1.024, with a temperature between 80-80.5F.
Ammonia/nitrite are 0, and my nitrates/phosphates are undetectable, but I do have a fair amount of hair algae, so I suspect these parameters are not legitimately 0. My Ca is 420 and my Alkalinity is 7 today (though it has swung between 6.5 and 8.5 over the past week -- I suspect this as a possible
issue here). I'm not sure what my Mg is, but based on the my last test and subsequent dosing to correct it, I'd estimate it is now between 1250 and 1350.
Is there anything I can do at this point? I'm usually not someone who aggressively treats these sort of things, but based on my research, I'm concerned that this may go downhill quickly. My plan is to move it to a
lower-flow area of the tank. Is there anything else I should do? I've attached some pictures.
Thanks in advance!
<Oh yeah, read: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and http://wetwebmedia.com/carydisfaq2.htm
and the linked files above. You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Frogspawn Tissue Recession 5/8/10
Dr. Fenner,
<Hey Josh! Just Bob please. I have no doctorate>
Apologies are owed on two fronts -- first, my apologies for the large files. I had read the rules the last time I had submitted a question, but admittedly, it had been some time, and I should have reviewed them again before submitting this one. Second, I knew that you were the co-author of the Reef Invertebrates book -- in fact, it was reading the Conscientious Marine Aquarist book that led me to read the Reef Invertebrates book in the first place. I think I was just getting crossed-up based on the fact that Mr. Calfo is the author of the Coral Propagation book. In any event, I just wanted to apologize for my oversights.
<Ah, no worries. Am (and getting to be more so!) persnickety out here in Egypt... the Net is slow and maddeningly intermittent... Spent a couple of hours in none less than McDonald's on their pay for "McNet" this afternoon, skipping a day of diving et al... trying to catch up... Am having to forego a few hours of sleep every AM...>
Regarding my frogspawn issue, first, there does not appear to have been any sort of coral competition that has led to this tissue recession, so far as I am able to observe.
<Ahh, these events can be insidious in their moda>
I'm skimming and running Seachem matrix activated carbon. Skimmer production has been steady, not unusual or elevated. The frogspawn is well away from any other corals. It is situated at the bottom of the tank, away from the direct light from the 20k halide bulb.
Regarding the flow, I positioned it so that it was far away from direct flow from my powerheads, but it still seems to get strong currents around it, frequently resulting in tentacles "bent over" the side of its skeleton (such that it looks like the tentacles may be in danger of being sawed off from the polyp by the sharp septum).
<Good points, input. I would definitely "aim" the current away or alternatively, more this Euphyllia to a less motive area>
As far as the Caryophyllid FAQs on disease/pest/predation, I did read through many of them yesterday before sending my email to you. It was reading those that indicated to me that it could be an urgent situation.
Unfortunately, my reading of the FAQs did not indicate to me whether this tissue recession was the type and extent that would require a dip, or whether it might just be the result of the fluctuations in alkalinity or predation (e.g. peppermint shrimp, bumblebee snail), which would more easily be resolved by maintaining stable water parameters/low stress and allowing it to recover. Many of the FAQs with tissue recession similar to mine seem
to be handling issues, which I don't suspect here based on the length of time I've had it.
<I see... and yes to their being a few categories of probable cause here>
On a side note, re: my Opistognathus rosenblatti, I had actually read your article on them when you sent it to me several months ago.
It was very helpful. The fish been "king of the sandbox" in my tank for about 6 months
now. Over the winter, the tank was staying at 78.5F pretty consistently, so I wasn't as concerned; however, now that the weather has begun to warm up, the tank is averaging up around 80-80.5F. I've just recently taken steps to try and cool the aquarium with larger/more efficient fans/better ventilation. If that doesn't work, I will be purchasing a chiller.
<Ah, good>
Thanks again for any advise you can offer, Dr. Fenner.
<Thank you for your thoughtful, respectful response. BobF>

hammer coral in trouble, need to ID the culprit. The aquarist 3/22/10
<Hello Alex>
I am looking for advice on my hammer coral. I got him about 2 weeks ago.
Seems like he had a little shipping damage to one of the heads.
<Mmm, more than a little>
He seems to be pulling away from the area little by little. Now overnight I found this on him.
I have attached the photo so you can see, its the head on the left. At first it looked like a brownish looking gel on the skeleton, but in matter of a few hours it is now covered with some white powder. I have no idea what it is. How should I proceed from here? The other two heads seem to be in good shape. Should I try feeding him shrimp directly to his mouth? I am afraid of stressing him out at this point so I want to proceed with caution.
<Umm, this specimen/colony is outright dying... You've provided no useful information re the system, lighting, filtration, water quality, other species present, foods/feeding... Let's have you read a bit... Here:
and the linked files above... where you will likely answer your own questions. Do write back w/ data if you'd like a more substantive response.
Bob Fenner>

Re: 05/02/10 Euphyllia hlth. mostly -- 02/14/10
<Hello Ryan>
Let me know if this photo helps.
<Mmmm, looks dead to dying to me>
Nitrate>50 PPM
<This is 5 - 10 times too high. The major concern here>
<This should be zero. Have you double tested this result?>
Phosphates 0
<Some is required>
Salinity 1.21
<1.021? This is too low. Should be 1.025 - 1.026>

Temp 74.5 F
<Would raise this as well to 78-80>
Canister filter with GFO
<A probable source of nitrates if not cleaned twice a week, and the GFO is not something I would be running here>
<As well?>
<I'm not sure what this is... maybe it is too early in the morning for me....>
<Yes, Ryan, this does help a lot. As noted above your problems are water quality and chemistry. Do be aware, that this is a calcifying organism and requires that calcium, alkalinity and magnesium are correct as well as the
others noted above. Please read here:

05/02/10 Euphyllia Compatability mostly
<Hello Ryan>
I have a questions about my Euphyllia glabrescens "Torch Coral".
For the last 6 months it looked fine, clown fish even stated using it as a host. Lately its tentacles have become very short and are simply staying retracted. No other problems with any of my corals. I just can't seem to figure out what the problem is.
<Mmm, Clowns can irritate corals such as this if their advances are too 'enthusiastic'>
Water chemistry has been a little off, <? This> but nothing major.
<Any numbers here? After a statement like this surely you expected me to ask such a question?>
I have over 15 other different corals both leather, LPS, anemones etc.
<This too....>

None of which are having any problems. I simply cannot figure out what is wrong.
<Reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompfaqs.htm >
Please help if you would like photos I can send. Thanks for your help in advance.
<You have at least three possible causes that I have identified here, could be one or a combination of these...>
Ryan Irvine

Bubble coral detaching from skeleton 1/02/10
<Hi there>
I need some assistance with my Bubble Coral, I hope you can offer some advice :)
As you can see from the attached photo it is almost entirely off its skeleton.
<Yes... trouble>
I have only had the coral 3 days. The shop wrapped it in wet newspaper for transport
and I suspect it was severely damaged in the process.
<... it was shipped, moved w/o water? Why?>

I have since done a lot of searching and now know the tips about ensuring they handle the coral only from the base, and give the coral a small shake to deflate the bubbles before transport etc
<Shaking gently is fine>
My question is, Will my bubble coral recover? and is there anything I can do to assist?
<I doubt it and yes>
The coral is inflating/deflating albeit in its elongated position and is feeding - I have been giving it a pea sized piece of raw scallop flesh at night
My water parameters are - Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, Phosphate 0, Calcium 440, SG 24, PH 8.1, KH 161 (or I think about 9 DKH?
unsure of the conversion)
<Easy enough to do the division...>
I hope you can offer some advice - and that the news will be good.
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/caryophyllids.htm
the linked FAQs files above, particularly Health/Disease, Systems, Feeding...
Bob Fenner>

Question about really sick Euphyllia 12/2/09
<And you, Salud!>
I have a Euphyllia parancora with 12 heads that looks just like in the photo.
<I take it this is not your image then and won't post>
I know it's not what people expect to see when they hear Euphyllia.
I'm not going to ask whats wrong as I'm quite sure I know it was my own stupidity that cased the nitrogen cycle to crash and restart.

This was almost 4 weeks ago.
Once I understood what was wrong I did daily water changes of about 20% of the water volume each day for 2 weeks and it has saved everything in my aquarium except a few Montiporas and these Euphyllias. Today I don't add anything except water and salt and the water quality at the moment is:
temp = 26 C
salinity = 1.024
pH = 8.0
NO2 = 0.05
KH = 7.8
NO3 = 0
NH3/NH4+ = 0
MG = 1400
Ca = 450
The Euphyllia parancora doesn't show any tissue damage, no brown jelly and the skeleton is not visible through the polyp anywhere. It has just lost it's color and refuses to expand. One week ago most of the heads had small bumps where the mouth is and if anything moved the corals they opened the mouth and let out some white "smoke"
I'm asking for an educated guess of what happened in the Euphyllia when the nitrogen cycle crashed?
My guess is the symbiotic algae died while the coral itself survived.
<Could well be>
But I might as well be miles of in my guess. Also do you think it has a chance of surviving or is it starving to death at the moment?
<Can be saved... What are you feeding? Have you dosed an iodide/ate product? I would>
Best regards,
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/carydisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

SV: Question about really sick Euphyllia 12/2/09
Thanks for the fast answer. The Euphyllias used to pick up a few mysis or Artemia when I gave it to my fishes but as it is now nothing will stick to the deflated tentacles and the mouth is really hard closed.
<Please read the Caryophylliid Feeding FAQs files; where you were referred last>
I haven't dosed any iodide as I thought the salt and the frequent water changes would give me enough (I use Red sea coral pro salt) but will start dosing tomorrow.
One thing I noticed since yesterday is that a few of the smallest polyps seems to have inflated the tentacles a little. A few millimeters closest to the mouth is now 2-3 mm thick instead of 1 mm as on the larger polyps.
<A good sign. These Scleractinians can recover having just a bit of live tissue... BobF>
Best regards,

SV: Question about really sick Euphyllia
I just noticed you didn't post the image online. The photo is taken by me and is a little part of my Euphyllia so if you think there is any educational value in showing the image the please feel free to use the image as much as needed.
<Oh! Sorry for the misunderstanding. Will append. The way the wording occurred to me, I considered that the image had been lifted from elsewhere. Thank you for clearing this up. BobF>
Best regards,

What is this bubble on my frogspawn? 10/11/09
My Frogspawn seems to be healthy however it has developed a rather large bubble on it. I have researched quite a bit however I am not able to pin point the problem, if it is indeed a problem.
<Mmm, please do send image/s along with such questions>
My local reef stores just keep suggesting water changes, implying my chemistry is off or bad husbandry. My water chemistry as well as filtration is all proper for a healthy marine aquarium. Also of all the photos posted online, I have yet to see anything like it. By the way I have a 75 gal.
with power compact & T5 lighting.
Kayla Bowden
<Expansions of tissue are not uncommon in Euphylliids/Caryophylliids. I would not be concerned if all else were/is fine with your system/livestock. Bob Fenner>
No worries here. RMF

Re: What is this bubble on my frogspawn? 10/11/09
Did you receive the photos of the bubble? I wasn't sure if they went through or not. If you saw the pics, and still stand by your response then what a relief.
I am glad there's nothing wrong with it!!! I thought it may have been reproducing?? Thanks for the speedy response!!!
Kayla Bowden
<Please see WWM re the family, Behavior, Health... BobF>

Frogspawn coral problems 8/24/09
<Hello Jessy here>
Just wanted to ask a question regarding my frogspawn coral.
I've had problems with ammonia from what could have been caused by a bad batch of salt - everything seemed to cope except the frogspawn, which was very sensitive.
It stopped eating shortly afterward, and although I changed brands of salt, the ammonia dropped to zero straight after, it doesn't seem to be able to recover properly. Still not eating and polyps on some of the branches often shrink up or withdraw. Can this coral survive on photosynthesis alone for long periods of time?
<This coral does not need to be fed at all. It can live very happily without being fed directly, I've had frogspawn go from 3 heads to 50+ heads and never fed it once.>
I have noticed that although I have had no recession some of the tentacles shrink up, turn bright green and start breaking off. I am worried this could be harmful to other fish and corals should they eat them by mistake.
<This is not harmful, its parts that are damaged from whatever water quality issues you've been having most likely. Just make sure if you see one landing on a surrounding coral you take a turkey baster and blow it off. They will sting other corals.>
Also there is very high flow in the tank but my bubble coral is a very happy coral -is this a factor in its recovery? All other corals in this mixed tank doing very well - no problems at all.
<High flow shouldn't be a big issue if your bubble coral is happy in the same tank.>
Water param.s are:


What can I do as I'm very worried about this coral?
<Looks like your parameters are okay. Just allow it some time to recover and adjust to the change of salt. Don't try and force feed it. It will be fine if your tank is healthy>
Also would like to know your impressions of Tropic Marine (thinking of using) and Tetra Marine (recently switched to) and in your mind after Seachem (not available here) what would you say is your preferred salt?
<I've heard great things about Tropic Marine although I've never used it myself. I've never used Tetra Marine either. I've never heard any problems with Instant Ocean or Red Sea Coral Pro salt.>
Thank you so much - I value your advice tremendously
<Regards, Jessy>
Many thanks
<If you do write in again, please take better care with grammar and sentence structure. I had to fix a lot of errors to make it presentable.>

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