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FAQs about Soft Coral Environmental Disease

FAQs on Soft Coral Disease: Soft Coral Health/Disease/Pests 1, Soft Coral Health 2, Soft Coral Health 3, Soft Coral Health 4, & By Family: Alcyoniid Health, Alcyoniid Disease 2, Alcyoniid Disease 3, Alcyoniid Disease 4, Alcyoniid Disease 5, Alcyoniid Disease 6, Alcyoniid Disease 7, Alcyoniid Disease 8, Alcyoniid Disease 9, Alcyoniid Health 10, Alcyoniid Disease 11, Alcyoniid Health 12, Alcyoniid Health 13, Alcyoniid Health 14, Alcyoniid Health 15, Alcyoniid Health , & Nephtheid Disease, Xeniid Disease, Xeniid Health 2, Xeniid Health 3,
Soft Coral Disease by Category:
Diagnosis, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Infectious/Parasitic, Pests, Treatments

Related Articles: Soft Coral


Soft Coral Problems       8/29/16
I've been having a consistent problem with some of my corals and was hoping you might be able to give an opinion on possible causes.
<Let's see>
Some background on my system.
Display tank 34G, 14 months old.
10g sump

Led lighting
The water parameters are
Temp 26.5 degrees C
SG 1.026
Nitrite/Ammonia 0
Nitrate <1
Phosphate undetectable
<Maybe an/the issue. Some organic HPO4 is essential to all life>
Nitrate and phosphate managed with Red Sea NOPOX manually dosed into the sump.
<Why? That is, what is your perception here?>

PH 8.2
Alk 9dKH
4 fish
Percula Clown
Banggai Cardinal
Yellow Assessor
Bicolour Blenny
Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
2 x Capnella Tree Coral 1 healthy the other having problems
Several Corallimorphs most doing well and multiplying except for brown &
white striped.
2 x Zoanthid colony not doing so well

Hitchhikers that came in with live rock.
Brittle Starfish several
Red & White Linckia starfish small. Has lost legs and regrown them. Some of legs still moving around tank now with new head.
Crabs. I've removed many small crabs (approx 10) others may be in the tank yet to be detected.
Pistol Shrimp probably in the tank somewhere I hear loud pops in the night.
The Problem! The Zoanthids, 1 of the Capnella and the brown and white striped mushroom are all refusing to open and I fear are slowly dying off.
<STOP the "Red Sea NOPOX manually dosed into the sump.">

When I first placed them in the tank they all did well initially for maybe 2 weeks. When they showed signs of not fully opening I have moved the coral to a new spot. On moving the coral the coral temporarily improves for about a week and then does the same again starts to show signs of distress. I move again and same deal.
With the exception of the Zoanthids, I have the same or very similar species of coral in the same tank that are healthy.
The unhappy Capnella is standing upright but all its branches are only slightly extended. It's not fully retracted.
The brown and white morph coral actually multiplied from 1 to 4 polyps and 3 have totally died with the 4th now so small it will soon be dead.
The Zoanthid colonies only 50% of the polyps are opening.
Do you have any ideas what maybe causing the problems?
<All sorts of speculations. For now as stated above>
Is there some hitchhiker that's annoying the coral that's taking a few nights to find its food source when I move them? Or maybe it's common for unhappy coral to temporarily improve when moved?
The skunk cleaner shrimp is not the culprit as he's a recent addition after the problems had been observed.
Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
<Let's review in a couple of weeks. Bob Fenner>

Soft coral issue   3/23/11
Hi all
I am noticing a troubling issue when doing water changes. I match the PH specific gravity and aerate the water before putting it into the main tank temperature too obviously.
<Mmm, I am a constant harper, encourager of folks doing as you state AND then storing new water for days to a week ahead of use>
I have noticed my toadstool, and Sinularia have closed after every water change.
<Not uncommon behavior>

Also they haven't opened much for about 2 weeks or so now. I understand leathers shut down sometimes to get rid of toxins and particulates.
<Yes; this is so>
Parameters are thus
KH 10.5 Mg 1300 Ca 370 (pm reading)
PH 8.3 Nitrates 5ppm PO4 0.01
Could you give me some advice as to why this could be?
<I fully suspect some aspect of the new water, salt mix, a combo. of the two... pre-mixing and storing new water does much to allow interactions twixt chemical species... to make the overall product less harsh, more stable.

Do please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/watrchgtechs.htm
and the linked files above as you find time>
I do have Caulastrea and some Euphyllia LPS stonies in the tank along with some polyps and feather dusters.
<<Mmm, there might be some degree of chemical allelopathy going on twixt the Euphyllia in particular; perhaps even a "cascade effect" prompted/brought on with the water changes, the Stony and Soft Corals interactions>>
Many thanks
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Devil's Hand Leather and Kenya Tree... Health... re: allelopathy/intro., HPO4, filtrant, reading   4/2/09
Hello all -
Can't seem to find a definitive answer in all the FAQs, so I'm firing off a direct question. I recently added a Kenya Tree coral to my 100 gal reef tank. My Devil's Hand leather coral is now less extended and the little hairy polyps are retracted.
<How was the new Soft Coral "introduced?"... Best over a period of weeks, with some quarantine water added to the display system...>
Almost simultaneously, I had an accidental over-feeding and my Phosphates went up to a .5 reading. I immediately did a water change, reduced feeding, added "Phos-guard" in my sump,
<I would not do this last... All life we're interested in requires "some" soluble phosphate. See WWM re and the use of chemical filtrants for such>
and increased skimmer flow. My question: Is the Leather having an adverse reaction to the new Kenya, or is it more likely just coincidental and merely a reaction to the elevated Phosphates?
<Likely a degree of both, along with the removal of required HPO4>
Other info: 0 Nitrates, 0 Nitrates, 7.8 Ph,
0.023 salinity,
<Too low>
500+ Calcium,
<Too high>

30 gal refugium, 48" "SunPod" Halide system.
Only other corals are a small bunch of Zoos and some small Xenia clumps.
<These too could be to likely are involved allelopathogenically>
Thanks for the help,
<Read here as well: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Devil's Hand Leather and Kenya Tree  04/02/09

Thanks for the quick response, Bob. Yes, I added the corals in stages.
The leather and the Xenia went in together, followed by the polyps a week later.
<Mmm, need more time apart than this>
After another week of observing no adverse effects, I added the Kenya. I did not put any QT water in first, because I never mix water from the two systems.
<You have read where I sent you? Do you understand the logic of this procedure?>
If I understand your point though, you are suggesting adding a little of the QT water and then watching to see if anything reacts, before putting the new addition in the main tank, right?
<Ah, yes... to have all "get used" to each other... ahead of actual physical introduction>
I'll put that in my bag o tricks for next time.
I also understand your Phosphate discussion... I try to keep it at trace levels (about .25 ppm).
<Ahh! Good>
The calcium reading is decreasing. It was off the charts a little while back because the tank had been running for months with no inverts (I added 4" of live sand, 140# of live rock about two months ago). I am also in the process of slowly raising the salinity (target 1.024-25) to find a happy mix between the fish and the coral.
<Very good>
As always, I appreciate your time and the point-outs to the other links.
I had missed those somehow.
<Welcome Dan. BobF>

Sick Neptheid 11/8/04 Hey gang, Top 'O the Day from Denver, Anthony, <hey bro... good to hear from you :)> I snapped a shot of that "Mash 4077th" tree coral you helped me with a year, or, so, ago. I thought it was doing a natural fission a while back & didn't really think about it, is the pic clear enough to tell what's going on here, it looks like a mess of necrotic tissue to me...is this what natural fission looks like? Thanks my friend, Scott <hard to say for sure... but this pic/symptom is very reminiscent to me of a coral that overgrew itself but did not have enough water flow in and around it. This can occur because the water pumps haven't been cleaned for a while and have tired/slowed down... or... because the tank never had enough of the right kind of flow to support a large colony from go, but could support a frag to grow up to this point. Either way, strong water flow (increase here) is a key. Maintaining high RedOx through aggressive skimming, small daily iodine doses and perhaps some ozone a would likely do the trick. Best of luck/life! Ant->

Newly Acquired Soft Coral  12/30/2005 Hi Anthony: <Will cc him...> I haven't written for a while but I have a mystery (?) that maybe you can help with.  I have been working on improving the marine systems at a LFS in our area.  Things are coming along slowly but steadily.  Today the owner and I were talking about restocking the soft coral tanks that we have renovated. He is reluctant because it seems that most of the time when he places a shipment of softies he comes in the next day to find the tanks completely cloudy.  (He generally gets mixed lots of 25 pieces selected by the wholesaler, not transshipped. if that has any informational value).  I have never had this experience, so don't know what to tell him.  All that I have read about in this regard is reproductive events, but I'm not sure that they would occur on such a scale. <Not likely. Probably just a situation of inadequate circulation, filtration... possibly with inadequate acclimation (mixing, addition of shipping water... should be avoided> Since you have handled so many shipped coral, any advice or leads would be appreciated.  I'm going to make sure that we are acclimating properly, but would appreciate any input you might have. Thanks for all the advice in the past (and future!!).  Take care, Greg. PS, any further word on V2 of the NMA?  I'm drooling over here!! <laugh> <I wish. Bob Fenner>

Ammonia spike killing corals 2/3/05 I have a 70 gallon reef aquarium I have 60 lbs of live rock and a 4 inch sand bed. My tank has been going for a year now with no problems I made this change because I want to increase my biological filtration. I was using a Bak Pak 2R Berlin method. I recently bought a AquaClear pro series wet/dry filter its a pro 75 with a Rio 2100 return pump. I took my Bak Pak off and installed my wet/dry filter my tree coral and my leather coral are dying. <this is likely  a water quality or stress issue... not any filter flaw> I checked. My nitrates are 0 my nitrites are 0 my ph 8.4 alk good ammonia is 1.0 ppm. <yikes! The high ammonia is the problem from uncycled or incomplete nitrification/bio-filtration. Continue to do large water changes until this comes down to 0.00 ppm> I change 10 percent of my water using RO water once a week my protein skimmer is built in seems to be collecting ok my bio balls are in filter has been going now for a week very concerned don't know what to do can you help me <much large water changes my friend (say 50%) until the ammonia subsides. Anthony>

Chili coral wont open... keep upside down with good flow! 1/11/05 I have a Chili coral in my 60G LR/LS reef tank that won't open up. <this most always occurs from lack of water flow: not enough or not enough of the right kind. Also... the animal must be kept upside down to survive naturally long term> I have had it since May of '04. Tank Parameters are: Ph: 8.2 Salinity 1.0225/1.023 Temp 77-78 Calcium 350-400ppm all others (nitrate, nitrite, ammonia) minimal/barely readable. Feed PhytoPlex and zooplankton 2x per week. <hoping for a fishless refugium too... this would be a great benefit for many reasons> The coral used to open up every night, until it ejected the spicules from one branch. As per advice from I don't remember where, I cut off that piece. This was in August. it didn't open after that for a few days only, but after that it was business as usual. Then I moved. I put all the livestock in buckets one day, then set up the tanks next day or the day after. When I took "chili guy" (as I call it) out of the bucket, it was open, and remained open for several days after being put in the tank again, I figure it was hungry, yes? Anyway, then it closed up and hasn't opened up again since. I moved Thanksgiving weekend. I have it in a cave, with a powerhead directed at it and attached to a rock with rubber bands so it hangs upside down in the cave. <do be careful about laminar flow like this... its unnatural for most corals and can be fatal in time. Turbulent flow would be better> (The rubber bands only touch the rock it came with so as not to split it) Is there anything I can do to save it? <manipulate the powerheads to create a better flow pattern around the coral. Do a keyword search here on our website for an article called "goodbye powerheads" for a better long term solution> even though it is just a red lump, it has yet to eject any more spicules, so I think I stopped that from spreading. My Fianc├ęs cousin gave us a book and said that there is something in the book that we could try-something about dipping chili guy in freshwater for 30 seconds, then in a strong iodine solution. <little or no purpose for doing this... no pathogen is indicated, and frankly... the brief dip would do little to help it if there were> I think this is supposed to shock it into "resetting" itself (like it's a computer?!) <Ahhh... no.> If anyone knows that exact formula, that would be great, as I cannot find it in the book, "Reef Secrets." Thanks for all your help! <trust me, mate... its all about finding the right kind of flow. Do try feeding thawed frozen (or dry in slurry) Cyclop-eeze as a better zooplankton offering. Anthony>

Not Enough Info to Help Hi, <Hello, Ryan with you today> I'm concerned about my Devil's Hand Coral and my starfish. I'll start with my starfish. It was perfectly fine, but then I came back after a weekend away (I have an automatic feeder) and the tips of two of it's legs were missing and it had a sore on it's main body, I thought it must have gotten into a fight or gotten stuck in the filter or something. I have 2 clownfish, 1 yellow tang and a blue damsel. Is there anything I can do to help it, or should I just wait for it to regenerate on it's own? <I'm not convinced that you have the type of tank a starfish is going to prosper in.  They need large, established reef systems with lots of room to graze.  If this isn't your system, I'd return him to where you purchased.> I'm also having problems with my new Devil's Hand Coral. This is my first coral, so I don't know if what it's doing is normal or not. The way I put it in my tank made it sink off to the side of the live rock. It sunk over so far that it detached itself from the live rock and fell into the sand. I picked it up and put it back on the rock in a way that it was secure. Now it's covered in some sort of white film that's also attached to the rock. I don't know what to do, is this just how it reattaches itself? If not what should I do? <You should include some details about your system so that I may help.  What type of lighting are you using?  What are your water parameters at this time?  You coral is going into shock, and is excreting a mucus to protect itself.  Please update your question with the pertinent information I requested, and we'll do our best to get these animals healthy.  Thanks, Ryan>
Devil's Hand Coral and Starfish
<Ryan on the follow-up> Actually, I think I need a larger tank (mine's only 30 gallons) and more experience before I work with starfish and these corals, so I gave them to a friend of mine who has a 150 gallon tank that she's had for years. Thanks for your help <No problem.  It's nice that you made the correct choice for the animal and the owner.  See ya, Ryan>

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