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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.
Some background on my system.
Display tank 34G, 14 months old.
The water parameters are
Temp 26.5 degrees C
<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?>
Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
2 x Capnella Tree Coral 1 healthy the other having problems
Several Corallimorphs most doing well and multiplying except for brown &
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
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
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
<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
<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>>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Devil's Hand Leather and Kenya Tree...
Health... re: allelopathy/intro., HPO4, filtrant, reading
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
Other info: 0 Nitrates, 0 Nitrates, 7.8 Ph,
30 gal refugium, 48" "SunPod" Halide system.
Only other corals are a small bunch of Zoos and some small Xenia
<These too could be to likely are involved
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
Thanks for the quick response, Bob. Yes, I added the corals in
The leather and the Xenia went in together, followed by the polyps a
<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
<You have read where I sent you? Do you understand the logic of this
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).
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.
As always, I appreciate your time and the point-outs to the other
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
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 Fiancés
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.
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>