FAQs about Identification of Soft Corals of the Family
Related Articles: Soft Corals of the Family
Related FAQs: Alcyoniid
ID 1, Alcyoniid ID 2, Alcyoniid ID 3, & Cnidarian Identification, Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae,
Alcyoniids 2, Alcyoniids 3, Alcyoniids 4, Alcyoniid Selection, Alcyoniid Compatibility, Alcyoniid Systems, Alcyoniid Feeding, Alcyoniid Behavior, Alcyoniid Health, Alcyoniid Propagation, Soft Coral Propagation, Soft Coral Health, Dyed Corals, Soft Coral Propagation, Nephtheids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids, Xeniids, Dyed
Photo usage 2/19/18
Hi Bob (or to whom it may concern):
Dr. Tim Wijgerde is publishing a new study titled "Epizoic acoelomorph flatworms
inhibit growth and expansion of the soft coral Cladiella sp." that will soon
appear in Advanced Aquarist. He came across a photo hosted on WWM that he would
like permission to use in his paper. Let me know if it's possible for him to use
the following photograph (with
accreditation to wetwebmedia.com):.
<This is my image and I do grant free use of it here.
<Make it known if you want the full size file.
Re: Photo usage 2/19/18
Thank you Bob! I'll credit to you and WWM in the paper.
<Real good Len. Cheers, BobF>
Salt Water Identification Assistance
Hoping you guys can help ID a new found presence in my aquarium.
Thanks! Chad H.
<The whitish bit? Have cropped, spiffed about as well as I can... appears to be
a bit of octocoral... likely a soft coral of some sort. You could excise. Bob
Tyree Leather Question; ID, hlth. 9/6/13
First to start, I was told when I purchased this toadstool it was a
Tyree Neon Green Leather. I have attached photos, do you believe it is
<Will have to guess what you're after here... Was SteveT paid
some money, or paid himself some for lending his appellation to
this sort of phenotype Alcyonacean? Can't tell from here. Could be>
I have looked at others online and notice slight variations in the polyps.
<Oh! There's all sorts of dissimilarity here to be expected; due to
recent experiences, conditions in locus>
Are others mis-classifying similar leathers?
<Doubtless; consciously and not>
Or was mine mis classified. I only have one not great picture of it when
it was open.
The real question is should I worry it has been closed for 3
<Oops; have you read on WWM re such? I would... Alcyoniid beh. FAQs>
The other corals
<... Umm, and re Allelopathy... how was this animal
introduced here? Read on!>
I have (all on separate rocks) are open and healthy. When I was attaching
the frag, I unfortunately had to touch the leather a few times.
The first day, it was on the sandbed
<.... this species grows attached to rock; not on substrates>
opening within 20 minutes, after attaching on day 2 it closed and hasn't
reopened. Is it just reacting, possibly shedding from handling? Does it
still look healthy despite being closed?
<Macroscopically (which doesn't count for much); yes>
My parameters are:
<Uhh, keep reading... All chemo-autotrophs need measurable NO3, HPO4 and
more... Something the folks making the big bongo bucks selling
novices chemical filtrants, gear seem to want to neglect mentioning.>
KH- 180-200 on strip test
PH- around 8
Thanks for your time
<You'll thank me/use much more after reading, more fully understanding
what's going on here; and better, what can be done to "make things
Do you see what I see?
|Re: re: Tyree Leather Question
Ah my mistake. I know Steve Tyree has his name attached to many things in
this industry, but I thought Tyree green toadstool was a specific name for a
specific type of toadstool.
<Likely is; I don't know what is meant by "specific type"... Have seen
something similar listed as "ORA" "type">
In my reading over the past few days I have seen that leathers are usually
the aggressor, or at least the victor in chemical battles.
<Indeed they are; though all such life wars in various ways, degrees>
I thought this could be the issue so I did a water change yesterday and
I run activated carbon, but I can change it out just incase.
I have also read that toadstools will cover themselves with a mucus or waxy
like substance from time to time.
<Kind of a continuous behavior... build-up, and shedding>
There seems to be some debate as to what exactly this is a response to. I
didn't have much time to get my baseline observation of how mucus covered or
wax covered it appeared while it was open, so I don't know if this is one of
those cases. I had hoped it would come through in the pictures I sent, all I
have is my camera phone and it always wants to focus on the glass specks and
not the corals.
I introduced the toadstool by float method over approximately 25 minutes.
<... please read where you were referred to... this SOP is NOT useful for
I also introduced an Australian hammer coral over the same period. Both
corals are approximately 1 inch diameter. The toadstool being 1.5 to 2
inches tall. The hammer is doing great.
<Euphylliids/Caryophylliids generally "rank higher" on/in allelopathogenic
I have green star polyps, orange and green Zoas, green
<... and see WWM re these, Compatibility FAQs>
the toadstool and hammer coral, and 2 trumpet corals. I have read Zoas can
sting touching corals, but are they usually a threat via water column?
<Can definitely be>
Also, none of the corals touch or are even on the same rock.
<Doesn't exclude their negative interacting>
I also have a healthy maxima clam. A yellow watchman goby, and paired tomato
I realize it isn't a perfect world where you can just tell me the
exact answer, but should I remove a coral, change my carbon, or
just wait and see.
<To read. B>
Tang ID / Coral ID & Advice 5/29/13
Hi Bob, Crew:
It's been a while since I've written, the last time you may recall a few
years back resulted in a Chloroquine Phosphate experiment in a 300
gallon display. I am hoping you can help me identify two species in a
tank I have recently adopted.
The first, the Tang appears to me to be a Zebrasoma species, I am
leaning toward veliferum; however, the tail markings are not consistent
with what I read on your site. Can you ID the species and tell if it is
a juvenile or adult?
<It is as you state; not quite an adult... grows to more than plate size
in the wild; turns dark>
Secondly, we have a problematic / unhealthy handful of what appear to be
I moved them toward the top of the tank nearer to the MH lighting and in
an area of increased flow about a week ago. Most were near the bottom
with weak flow prior. Can you help me ID the species or at least confirm
I am headed in the right direction?
<Don't need much flow; but do have other specific needs... is there
measurable NO3, HPO4 here?>
As you can see from the image,
the animal is not happy. The 125 gallon tank has been in place about 60
days with good, stable water parameters being 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, No
traceable nitrates and S.G. of 1.025-26. 3-150 Watt MH (10,000k), 8
actinic florescent, with 12 hour photo period. I have targeted with
iodine, strontium, and calcium alternate with carbon in the sump /
refugium overflow chambers.
<... [Ca], [Mg], alkalinity? Other Cnidarian life present?>
I have included an overall view of the reef so you have a point of
reference. The (Sinularia) species in question is right of the Kenya
Tree near the top right of the image. It was moved from the far left,
bottom where the red mushrooms are now.
<These are likely winning out over the Alcyonaceans... see WWM re them
(compatibility FAQs) and allelopathy>
I do not believe the tank is overcrowded; although, there is a wide range
of SPS, LPS, and soft coral. Everything else appears happy, healthy.
Thank you for your input!
<Read on! Bob Fenner>
I bought this as a frag and was hoping you could help me identify it is it a
<Is an Alcyoniid>
surely it is not an sps as my nitrates are not always undetectable and I
don't think I could support sps? Thanks for the help.
<I would be moving it (distal to) from the GSPolyps. Bob Fenner>
Coral ID and attachment
Hi crew! A neighbor was getting rid of his tank and was going to
throw out this coral so I rescued it. It is in my QT and I am
wondering if you can ID it?
<A soft coral species of some sort... perhaps a Sinularia,
Litophyton species Read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/CnidIndex1.htm
the last tray...>
Also it was not attached to anything (no rock, shells, plugs) and
I am trying to get it to attach to this piece of live rock I
have. It has a nice crater like hole and the base of the coral
fit nicely into it. Assuming all goes well with the coral and it
lives how long will it take to attach to the rock?
<Several days to a few weeks>
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
|Re: Coral ID and attachment 3/29/12
Hello Mr. Fenner! Thank you for the quick response. After
looking on WWM it appears to be a Sinularia. Thank you for the
ID...you guys are the best!
It would have taken me days of scouring the website to ID it. I
will now determine if it is something I can keep. Thanks
<Ah good. Cheers, BobF>
New Coral, ID 4/28/11
Hi WWM crew:
I am hoping you might be able to help me ID the coral in the
attached photos. I had a tough time getting a good picture of
this coral (of course, I can get good photos of all others).
This coral grew from nowhere on the rock it is one. It must be
some sort of an octocoral, but just cannot tell anymore than
Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!!
<Is a small Sarcophyton sp.. Will be getting MUCH larger in
time. Bob Fenner>
|Re: New Coral 4/28/11
Thanks Bob! Thought so but the small ones do look different that
the larger ones.
<Mmm, see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniidsii.htm
for the genus. BobF>
coral identification problem 1/19/11
Sir or Ma'am,
I have been searching for the identification of this coral for
<Mmm, I don't think this is a coral... not an Alcyonacean
or Scleractinian definitely>
I have posted pics of it several times on reef central and no one
seems to have a good answer.
If you guys can help it would be greatly appreciated.
<From the gross shape, "tentacles" I suspect you
have a Pennatulacean here... a Sea Pen. Bob Fenner>
Re: coral identification problem
<Welcome Jonah. Please send along any further ID, pertinent
husbandry info. you gather. BobF>
Re: coral identification problem 2/14/11
Posted this again on RC and some suggested pulsing leather. That
sounds like what I was told by the guy I got the frag from.
<Mmm, had to look this up myself... Pulsing soft corals are
Xeniids, Leathers Alcyoniids... I don't see an explanation of
taxonomic affinity... Is this supposedly a Sinularia sp.? You got
Re: coral identification problem 2/18/11
Ok. Just heard back from the guy I got it from. Pumping
UNKNOWN Hitchhiker shroom 9/26/10
Good day to you and lots of greetings from Cyprus!!!
<Ah, have visited your island... back in 96... with the Hash
Been on the web for a while now searching for this mushroom
growing day by day (was just a tiny piece and I didn't know
what it was until it started rounding itself) but haven't
found anything. Any ideas what kind it is?
Many thanks in advance!
<An Actinodiscus/Discosoma of some sort. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: UNKNOWN Hitchhiker shroom 9/26/10
Hey Bob thanks for your prompt reply buddy! If you come over some
time again I'll buy you some beer ;o)
<Antonis! Thank you!>
I cannot find it on the net anywhere even with the description
you gave me
<Your specimen (thus far) is badly "bleached out"...
and will change in structure and form and color with improvement
in health, growth. BobF>
Re: UNKNOWN Hitchhiker Shroom 9/26/10
Ohhh I see, well let's see what turns out to be then .
Water parameters are:
<Yikes... need more HPO4 and definitely more NO3... These
animals are partially chemoautotrophic>
temp: 25 degrees Celsius
And it's under a 150 w halide that's why it grown so well
in just one month! It was a 1.5cm piece and now it became like
that and still growing:)
<Ah good. BobF>
Alternate ID? for "UNKNOWN Hitchhiker Shroom
I saw this message from the dailies, "UNKNOWN Hitchhiker
Shroom 9/26/10" and would like to offer the guess of a small
Sinularia dura instead of an Actinodiscus/Discosoma. The oblong
white spots could be sclerites seen through the tissue, with the
prominences around the outer margin and on the surface being
polyps. Obviously a less blurry picture would help.
<Interesting. Thank you for chiming in Brandon! Will accrue
your guess w/ mine. BobF>
Re: UNKNOWN Hitchhiker Shroom 9/29/10
Bob matey, just found this on the net! Could it be one of these
Looks a LOT like mine I think!
<Mmm, this link is coming up for me... are you thinking
something like this:
Re: UNKNOWN Hitchhiker Shroom 9/29/10
How about now, can you see the attachment?
<Ah yes... the soft coral Sinularia dura. B>
Re: UNKNOWN Hitchhiker Shroom
It's almost exactly the same(colour, light coloured irregular
stripes, polyps). Might be?
<Could be. B>
Coral I.D. (an Alcyoniid, me thinks) --
We are wondering if you could help us with a coral
<<I shall try>>
This was sold to us as broccoli coral -very easy care, filter
feeding and needing no light.
<<Mmm, I want to make clear here--'very easy care'
most always NEVER applies to marine organisms described as
'filter feeding and needing no light.' With very few
exceptions most all these type critters, and especially the
azooxanthellate corals, are very difficult to maintain for any
length of time--even by 'experienced' hobbyists. Most
starve, wither and die in weeks to months. But the good news is,
I don't think that is what you have here. I think what you
have is an Alcyoniid--perhaps a Sinularia or even a Cladiella
species (and looking 'unhappy' when this pic was taken).
Though it is hard to be certain from the pic and the physical
state of the specimen. Have a look around here and the associated
links and see what you think:
What little information we can find on these is very conflicting
and we can't seem to find a similar picture (especially in
<<If it is what I think, color can vary--generally
tans/light browns to pinks, greens, even
Is this the correct species?
<<See my previous comments re>>
What care and placement would you recommend?
<<See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyonfdgfaqs.htm
And here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyonsysfaqs.htm
We also read they may be toxic, is this the case?
<<Everything on the reef fights for survival/real
estate--these organisms have developed a very effective means of
'chemical warfare' to this end. But to be more direct,
yes, these organisms are toxic--and this 'toxicity' is
only compounded in a closed system. Do research our site for the
word 'Allelopathy' to gain a better understanding and to
learn about means of mitigation>>
Thanks for your help!
Courtney & Dan
<<Is my pleasure to share'¦ Eric
Thanks for all your help. You guys saved my Fungia (on hard substrate
until I read your site). It's doing great now, tentacles expand
quite fully almost 24/7.
Anyway, I have what appears to be a blue-gray Lobophytum. This guy is
one of those low, stalkless colonies with ridges/rumples, similar to
the large pic of the blue Lobophytum on your Alcyoniids page. Polyps
are white, small
(maybe 3 mm long? 1 mm diameter? I'm really bad at judging these
things), and retractile. However, the only problem is... it's not
soft! Is it just encrusting a lump of rock, or what? There's not
much thickness showing at
the edge of the colony, though. This is a frag, I believe, of one of
the rumples on a larger colony. From my reading on your site and
Borneman's book, I've figured out they're supposed to be
pretty stiff for soft corals, but this feels just like a stony coral!
There aren't any calyces, just little tiny pits that the polyps
retract into. What is this thing? I would kind of like to know before I
put it in my reef tank so I can know where to affix it. I can attach a
pic if necessary.
<Please do send along a couple of well-resolved images. Bob
Green Nephtheidae ID? 1/8/10
First I should say thank you for creating a website with such
good useful information. Thank you, I am sure I speak for many in
<Thank you for your kind words!>.
I have had what I think is green Nephthea for years <I
don't think so>. It was bleech <bleach>
white when purchased from the local store in Michigan. Over time
it developed a very nice fluorescent green color. No one seems to
agree on an ID. I have been told green Sinularia <yes> and
green Capnella <no>,
but it still looks like green Nephthea to me even after reading
the website information on Nephtheidae. Pictures are taken about
30 inches from the T5 lighting. The main colony close to lights
does not have as bushy of an appearance and is much more
What is you opinion? Anything else I should know about it? It
grows easily and is easily fragged, so I assume it isn't very
rare. <my opinion, Bill, is that this is indeed a
Thank you in advance for your help!
Coral Frag ID ...Possibly Devil's finger?
I just sent an email to WWM last night, but I don't believe
it had a return email address, which I just realized (sorry about
<Mmm, I don't see it/this in our "sent
folder"... either your name or a Subject title the
I bought this coral from my LFS back in Nov. of 2008 from a
"rescue" basket of broken frags. It did not look like
it was doing well, but for only a few bucks I thought I'd try
to save it. The LFS did not know what it was and after searching
around for a while now I have not been able to come to a
<Mmm, is an Octocoral, an Alcyonacean... likely an Alcyoniid
of some sort>
I thought it might be a Devil's Finger coral, but it
doesn't look quite the same.
<Maybe not yet>
Its currently under 130W of CPF lighting in a 29 gal tank, which
it was just moved to last night (thus why it is not fully
expanded). It was previously under 34 W of regular fluorescent
lighting in a 5.5 gal tank. I realize this is why it hasn't
grown, but it is now under better conditions to flourish. Any
help with Identification would be greatly appreciated.
<Mmm, please read here:
and the linked files above... and try to be patient, wait a few
months... to see what this turns out to be. Perhaps a Sarcophyton
species... could be another genus. Cheers! Bob Fenner>
Green Sinularia? 10/28/09
< Hello >
About 8 months ago I purchased a "Green Sinularia" from
an online company.
Thing is, I'm not so sure it is what they said it was.
< It does appear to be a type a Sinularia or possibly
Paralemnalia sp.? >
Here are some pictures of it and was wondering if you could tell
me what it is and how to care for it.
< Standard reef conditions apply here. With lighting moderate
to high, and water flow moderate to strong. >
I have metal halide lighting
< 75W? 150? 250? >
and 2 x 600 gph power heads pointed forward from opposite corners
to create random current.
< Water flow could be part of your problem as well as
lighting. 2 x 600 gph in a 90 works out to roughly 13 X turnover
which I consider to be a little on the low side. Aim for closer
to 20X's turnover. >
From what I have read, Green Sinularia like to have good water
movement but not directly, however if I do not keep the power
head pointed at it, it kind of closes up. Since I have had it, it
has never really sat up right
like I have seen in pictures, but rather slumps downward. I have
a 90 gallon tank, with two hang-on Aqua-C Remora protein
skimmers, the power heads and a heater for equipment. While this
coral has grown since I've had it, it doesn't appear to
be in the most optimal conditions. Thank you so much for your
< I would consider adding another power head to up the water
flow and slowly move it closer to your lighting. It could be as
simple as repositioning it.
Please begin reading here
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/softcrlsysfaqs.htm GA Jenkins >
Oklahoma State University
Undergrad Senior in Zoology
Critter Identification -- 08/26/09
I have recently acquired a candy cane and have found what appears
to be a soft coral amongst the heads.
Can you have a look to see if you can ID it please as I have
looked through the site and a couple of books I managed to get my
hands on but cant find anything similar.
It measures approximately 10mm across and the polyps protrude
about 2-6mm (tips are feathery), the top is dome shaped and the
stalk looks like that of an aiptasia.
<It is hard to discern from the photo, but I would guess
family Alcyoniidae, and Genus Sarcophyton.>
Apologies for the quality of the photo but its the best i could
<Do a search on Sarcophyton and see if it might look similar,
but I am afraid that is the best I can do from that photo,
perhaps another crew member will chime in.>
Thanks in advance for your help and the great informative site
that you provide.
Coral ID 10/8/08 Hi all, <Hi Bryant, Mich
here.> This is my first post to the people at WWM, so in
advanced I give my thanks and say great job on the site. I enjoy
your site very much and it has helped me many times in the past
since I am rather new to being an aquarist :) <Glad you found
us!> I have had this coral for a couple months already.
<Best to know what you're getting for before assuming
care!> When I purchased it, the coral was tiny and about the
size of a golf ball. I bought it being told it was a toadstool
leather. <Is a Sarcophyton.> After a while of looking
around online I saw that some toadstool leathers have longer
tentacles than others. I just figured that mine had shorter ones
than the others and I did not pay it any mind. Recently, about a
week ago, the leather started sprouting little flowers, or
polyps. Hopefully you can make them out in the photo that is
attached. In the end I am curious to see what type of coral I
have and if it is looking healthy where it is. <It is looking
healthy.> After looking around I noticed that it needs
moderate light (at the moment it is at the bottom of my 55g reef
tank with 4, 54w T5's) I also read somewhere today that
leathers should not be placed near Zoanthids. If this is true
then I have to move it. <Sarcophytons exude many chemicals
that can inhibit the growth of many other corals.> Either way
I look forward to what you have to say, and once again I thank
you guys for the awesome job you are doing. <Welcome>
Bryant <Mich> By the way, if you want higher resolution
images let me know, I took this one with my phone and it is a
little blurry. <Is fine.>
| An Alcyoniid at least. RMF
|Leather Coral ID, Lobophytum -- 4/24/08 Hi,
<Hello Dave, Brenda here!> Could you please help identify a
coral I received yesterday? I bought a coral on a internet auction
and it arrived with an extra coral that I know nothing about, I
have attached a picture and I would be really grateful if you could
help me identify it and give me some advice as to where to place it
in my tank as I have quite a bit of live rock, t5 lighting and 3
powerheads. Also what food would I need to feed and does it need
target feeding. It appears to be a Lobophytum to me. This is
commonly called a devil's hand and/or finger leather coral. I
have not target fed this coral, I let it eat through the water
column. More information found here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniids.htm and here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/soft.htm > Many thanks, Dave
<You're welcome! I hope this helps! Brenda>
Leather Identification 04/23/2008 Dear Crew,
<<Hello, Andrew here>> I am trying to identify a
leather I purchased at my LFS. I was wondering if it was a
toadstool or something else. I have been looking for a toadstool
for awhile but 3 LFS keep telling me that they are hard to
identify and they just trust what they are told from the
wholesaler. <<Ahhh yes, this is a Sarcophyton
Alcyoniidae>> Please let me know what you think. Thanks,
Jason <<Thanks for the question Jason. Good day. A
Re: Leather Identification 04/28/2008 Dear A. Nixon,
<<Jason>> Do you think that the 5 grouped together is
going to be a problem as they grow or should I separate them now
and place them around the tank? <<I would split and spread
out around the tank>> Thanks, Jason <<Thanks for the
follow-up, regards, A Nixon>>
|Coral ID 03/30/2008 Hi everybody, This is
Sam from India... <<Hello Sam, Andrew today>> Hope all
are doing great out there! Well, I recently got this soft coral
shipped, which was in the box for two nights, but has made it quite
well, was a bit wounded, but seems fine now. I know that it is a
leather coral, but I wanted to get a proper identification from the
experts. Can you ID this coral's genus, species would be even
better! As, then I will have better understanding of its needs.
Please see the attached picture, the coral had come three days ago,
when it came in it was totally shirked and dark in color, now it is
a little larger and turgid. Basically, I don't know how it
looks when the polyps are fully extended. So, knowing the species
will help compare images for indication on health! Also, looking at
the image what do you feel about its health and condition, how
large does it extend it polyps? Also, how much time does and
average soft coral take to molt? <<Ahh yes, a leather finger
coral by the name of Lobophyton. Looks in a nice condition, and
will look even better when it extends out>> Thanks in
advanced! Cheers, Sam
<<Thanks for the question. A Nixon>>
|Leather Coral ID, Lobophytum, 1/01/08 Hi WWM
Crew! <Hello, Brenda here> Please help me correctly ID this
coral sold to me as a Finger Leather Coral. <It is a Lobophytum,
commonly referred to as a Finger Leather, or a Devils Hand
coral.> Much appreciated. Kind Regards K.
<You're welcome! Brenda>
Leather ID, Sinularia flexibilis -- 1/01/08 Hi WWM Crew!
<Hello, Brenda here> Please help me correctly ID this coral
sold to me as a Green Medusa Coral. <It is a Sinularia
flexibilis. I have not heard of this coral being referred to as a
Medusa.> Much appreciated. Kind Regards K. <You're
Re: Leather ID, Sinularia flexibilis --
1/03/08 Thanks for all your responses and answers. You've
been a great help. <You're welcome!> Would you agree
that this is more like the Sinularia mollis? <They are both
very similar, and it may be a Sinularia mollis. See here:
http://www.reefpedia.com/index.php/Sinularia and here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniidsii.htm > Either way, is
there a common name which doesn't resemble a snake headed
monster? <There are a few, see common names in the first link
above.> Thanks again.
<You're welcome! Brenda>