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FAQs about the Behavior of Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae

Related Articles: Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae, Soft Coral

Related FAQs: Cnidarian Behavior, Soft Coral BehaviorA Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae, Alcyoniids 2, Alcyoniids 3, Alcyoniids 4, Alcyoniid Identification, Alcyoniid Selection, Alcyoniid Compatibility, Alcyoniid Systems, Alcyoniid Feeding, Alcyoniid Health, Alcyoniid Propagation, Soft Coral PropagationSoft Coral HealthDyed CoralsSoft Coral Propagation, Nephtheids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids, Xeniids, Dyed Corals

What are your Alcyoniids trying to "tell" you?

PowerPoint on Allelopathy    1/18/17
Good evening,
I have a green leather toadstool with patches of white opaque areas on the "face" that the polyps extend out of. It is opening and extending its polyps as it would normally and seems in good spirits despite the white patches. My first guess is that it is trying to "shed" as leathers will do, but I am more concerned for the safety of the other corals in the tank. If
you upset the leather it can secrete toxins so I want to keep it as calm as possible. Will send pictures if you like.
<Please do; well cropped... a few hundred Kbytes>
I remember reading that you had a PowerPoint on allelopathy but I can't find it for the life of me. Would you mind directing me to the link? If you have any suggested reading for me I would appreciate it. Thank you so much for your insight and your wonderful website. I've spent literally hours getting lost here.
<Don't think we have such a ppt... I put away most all... and have for twenty years.>
S pozdravem / Best regards,
Taylor Thrasher
<I suspect you're right re the Sarcophyton shedding... which they do almost continuously, then shed a bunch at times. I encourage you to triple dose iodide-ate, turn up your circulation, aeration; refresh you chemical filtrants (Chemi-Pure and PolyFilter are faves here... and keep your eyes on your other livestock for signs of stress. Bob Fenner>

Toadstool leather splitting or problems?       11/29/15
Hi All,
Thanks for all of the times you have helped me. I hesitate asking questions on the various reef websites' open forums because I always receive conflicting advice. I'm grateful to you pros for helping us.
I have had this leather for 3 years. It started as a tiny frag in my 10 gal nano. He thrived and has been in my 220 gal for 6 months now. I noticed a few days ago a tiny hole in him right in the center of the coral and is now like a year <tear> drop. At first I thought that it was my emerald crab, but after removal the hole changed shape from round to teardrop and seems bigger. No necrosis, just a clean hole . Pic attached. What do you think? Problems, pests or splitting?
<Looks like a tear to me; sans repair; and no problem>
The polyps extend beautifully all day. The coral is happy. Here they are recessed. See pic.
Thank You!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

5 year old Sarcophyton and Lobophytum not opening     9/15/15
Hi Crew
I have messaged before reference my Sarcophyton and Lobophytum not opening up completely.
<Mmm; many possible inputs here>
It is a well-stocked reef tank with the following parameters (150 gallons)
Parameters are
<A little high; I'd keep under 400 ppm>
Mg 1300
Alk 9.8
Nitrates 10-20
Phosphate 0
<Needed... sigh... see (READ) re Alcyonacean nutrition on WWM>

Lighting is 160 watt T5 with reflectors (and the leather opened up fine under these a few years ago)
I have two very large (large orange sized) hammer corals and Euphyllias in the tank that are due to be fragged soon due to size. Proximity to the leather is about 6 inches apart.
<And allelopathy with these>

I have recently upped water changes to 25% every week. Ozone is on as a background dose
<Ah good>
and I run a PhosBan
<Ditch this or reduce the amount of media to very little>
and nitrate reactor on the tank along with carbon.
Inhabitants are
Dwarf angels (flame and fireball) get on fine. no pecking as I can see Regal tang, yellow tang
Banana wrasse and a small goby and maroon clown.
I have eliminated other reasons (I think) for the leathers closing up and am coming to the conclusion the LPS Euphyllias are releasing chemicals to cause them to close up.
<A large possibility; yes. Along w/ the lack of HPO4>
Any other ideas chaps? Could fragging and selling off the
buds reduce this chemical warfare?
<Doubtful to no... need to be further separated (at least a foot), GAC used, perhaps the 03 kicked up>
All other corals are doing fine apart from these two leathers. The lobo opens up as does the sacro with 10% polyp
extension..like its sick.
<The reading. Do you need help using the search tool (on every page); or indices? Bob Fenner>
RE: 5 year old Sarcophyton and Lobophytum not opening

Hi Bob
<Heya again Jim>
Many thanks for the reply.
A bit of feeding will be applied to the corals...my bad but due to work I didn't even consider this. The phosphate reactor uses fluidised Rowa .
From your response are you saying the sacro/lobo corals need some phosphate to thrive?
<.... the reading.... ALL chemo-photosynthetic life needs soluble phosphate. In fact, remember your H.S. bio. and poss. college biochem. classes re ADP, ATP.... oxidative decarboxylations? ALL life needs phosphates>
It was put on the tank to starve out a horrible Cyano outbreak, <Other means... and after use, other ways of providing... READ mate; I don't have the time (or patience, desire) to re-key.....>
your thoughts here are valuable. I shall get some zoo plankton food and trim back my Euphyllias as soon as possible to give the guys a chance.
<Ah, good>
Many thanks for the advice.
<As many for your sharing. BobF>

Toadstool Problem??     9/13/15
Hey, I have a Green polyp Toadstool leather (been in tank 2wks.), It is in my 180 w/ 30 Gal Sump, water parameters reading:
Ammonia 0
Nitrates 0

Nitrites 0
Phosphates 0
<And this; necessary. SEE/READ on WWM Re>
Salt 1.023
<Too low>

Temp 78F
Tank has been up and running for 2 months
<Too soon>

Its under 3 AI Sol Blue the run about 8hrs. Daytime Lights only go up to about 30%
<Blue are worthless functionally>
Flow is moderate to high w/ 2 Vortech MP40 at end of tank
I bought Plug at Petco and it was blowing it the flow nicely at the store.
First day it was slumped over in my tank but the next day it had perked up back straight. since then…In the morning when the lights come on it expands its polyps for a few hours then it retracts them for the rest of the day (around noonish). It has been doing this for the past week and half.. I have read that it might be trying to shed but it doesn't have a waxy/shiny coating. I do have a 4” wall hammer frag about 10” away?
<S/b fine>
I feed fish a lot, since Lamarks angel likes to eat all the time
I though about my crab but haven’t witnessed them munching out.
Since this behavior of the leather is repeated every day I thought maybe lighting?
<Not likely>
maybe flow? maybe shedding? or just give it time to adjust to its new home? If so, how long?
Thanks for the help
<The reading. Bob Fenner>

toadstool; repro. beh.      12/25/14
One quick simple question for you guys. Love your site. My toadstool has grown to an impressive 16 inches and is now dropping small tear drop pieces which i collect and attach to rocks. My question is my toadstool nearing the end of its life?
<Mmm; no; this is simply one means of extending itself into space and time>
And how long will this phenom last?
<Weeks to months. Many folks take this behavior as a prompting to frag Sarcophytons>
It seems quite healthy. Thanks Chuck in San Diego
<A fab day here today weather-wise. Bob Fenner>

Toadstool Mushroom/Behavior 5/9/12
Thank you Mr. Dog!
wwm: You're welcome Jennifer.
That all sounds like great news...one of the Toadstools has fallen over but I will leave it alone.
wwm: You want to keep it upright.
I will change out one of the actinics for a daylight this weekend. What is your opinion on UVL 454 T5 bulbs? My LFS recommended I change out an actinic for that.
wwm: The Ultra Blue 454 lamp is made of 85% 454nm and 15% 420nm spectrums and is very close to actinic. I would choose this bulb as a replacement when your actinic needs to be replaced but not to replace an actinic.
I do have a couple of other coral questions. First, I have a Montipora frag and read on WWM to leave it on the bottom for a couple of weeks to acclimate to the lighting and then move it to the middle of the tank. Does this sound accurate?
wwm: That's all going to depend on the lighting it came from and the lighting used in where it's going.
Also what would be the signs this coral is failing to survive?
wwm: Polyps failing to open for an extended period would be one sign.
The other question is I have read that Duncan's need to be near the bottom or at the middle of the tank. Mine is on a plug in the sand, should I move it up on to rock?
wwm: I'd leave be if it's growing and looking good where it is. Duncan's can adapt well to changes in light intensity and spectrum.
I've had the Duncan for 5 weeks now and it has already grown 2 more heads.
wwm: Great.
It appears happy.
wwm: Is it smiling? :-)
Last question, what is your recommendation for dosage and frequency of Lugol's iodine on a 55 gal?
wwm: One drop per 10 gallons of actual water. You will have to guesstimate your volume.
Thank you again James!
wwm: You're welcome Jennifer.
Toadstool Mushroom/Behavior... what?  5/9/12
Hi crew!
wwm: Hello Jennifer
All in all everything is going very well with my 55 gallon with 30 gal refugium.
wwm: Great to hear.
I do have a couple of minor questions. 1. I want to affix some corals to live rock. I bought Super Glue gel containing Cyanoacrylate and JB Weld WaterWeld (comes in a tube like HoldFast) at Home Depot for this project. I've read that the SuperGlue can be used underwater in the main tank but it does scare me. Some of the live rock can not be moved without causing a whole lot of problems. Is the SuperGlue ok to use on corals on rock and corals on plugs?
wwm: Yes, use it all the time.
2. I have a few corals that came on plugs. For aesthetic reasons I would like to remove them from the plug. Is this advisable?
wwm: I generally trim away the unwanted area of the plug.
The corals in question are mushrooms, Duncan, and green eyed cup coral. 3. The toadstool mushroom I have seems to be having problems standing up. First of all, I've read conflicting ideas of tank placement. I put it mid level of the tank and within 2 weeks it appeared bleached out. I have 4 T5s (2 Aqua Sun and 2 Actinic). I moved it back to the bottom and the stalks appear to be getting longer and now one of them has fallen over. I've attached before and after pics. I am currently running activated carbon and protein skimmer and did a water change to ward of allelopathy.
wwm: I'd leave be for a while. Likely a change in lighting intensity and/or spectrum that is causing this. Corals and their Zooxanthellae react quickly but adapt slowly to changes in their environment. I would replace one of the actinics with another Aqua Sun. Actinic lighting is useful for coral growth but they have a lower lumens per watt than the Aqua Sun lamps or any lamp in the 10-14K range. Is best to go with a 3 to 1 ratio with your present lighting system thereby increasing the PAR level in your system.
Please let me know if you need more information from me. Thank you!
wwm: You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)
Re: Toadstool Mushroom/Behavior 5/10/12
Hi James!
wwm: Jennifer
Ok, good information on the bulbs..thank you! I've never noticed polyps coming out of the Montipora. It came from a tank that was about a foot deep and under VHO (don't know specs) in the LFS. Perhaps I should move it up to the middle of my tank.
wwm: I would and also read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acropori.htm
I don't know if the Duncan is smiling or not but it seems to wave whenever I walk by:) Also I will step up the Lugol's (only doing 2 drops per week). Thank you again Mr. Dog and I will back in touch again...you guys are the best!!!!!! Seriously I would have given this hobby up years ago if it hadn't been for WWM. Thank you so much!!!
wwm: You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)

Sinularia Puzzle/Sinularia Behavior 7/12/11
Hi crew
<Hello Jim>
I have go a 150 gallon 6 foot system with two Sinularia leather corals in it. One of the Sinularia has been shrunk for about 2-3 months now.
It is not necrotized and shares the tank with two Euphyllias a Caulastrea and two Sarcophyton leathers. All corals have ample space and are not touching.
<Sinularia corals are very toxic, and they do not have to be touching other corals to do harm. Long polyp corals such as your Euphyllia are especially sensitive to Sinularia poisoning (allelopathy).>
I have tested my water parameters and they are thus Ca 400, Mg 1300, KH 9.5, Nitrates 5-10, Phosphate 0.05-trace. pH is fairly constant at 8.3. I have variable flow and run 3 T5 80w bulbs (1 actinic).
<I'm going to guess that your tank measures 72" x 18"W x 28" H. If that is correct, three 80 watt T5 lamps is not enough lighting with your tank height and length. I am also assuming the lamps are staggered due to the 58" length of the lamps versus your 72" tank length.
The actinic lamp doesn't do nearly as much for photosynthesis as say a 12K lamp and I would replace this lamp with another similar to the other two you have. Desired color pop can be achieved with inexpensive LED strip lights.>
I do a 10% water change every week and run a steriliser and a skimmer rated twice the tank volume (Turboflotor 3000). All other corals seem fine and Coralline algae grows well and the Sarcos seems fully extended along with the LPS corals. I am running PolyFilters and carbon to check for any other water borne problems and have a calcium reactor to maintain Alk and Ca.
<The PolyFilters and carbon will help much in reducing allelopathy effects and is likely why your LPS corals are doing well.>
I have recently changed the bulbs on the tank but the Sinularia was closed up before this. Could the length of time its been shut mean its on its way out? Should I just be patient?
<I would try moving this coral to another location, preferably higher up in the water column and in a higher flow area to aid in flushing off the shedding tissue.
Leather corals generally will not open if the shed tissue isn't flushed away.
These corals are susceptible to parasites so you may want to inspect the
coral closely for any signs of unwanted guests that may be causing problems. I do suggest beefing up your lighting, especially if your tank is indeed 28" high.>
I have heard of these corals shutting down for up to 8 months? Is that just a myth?
<I haven't heard of periods that long. Bob may comment on this if necessary.
Suggest reading here if you haven't done so already.
Many thanks
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

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>

Leather Toadstool base 5/10/10
I have a problem with my Toadstool Leather which doesn't seem to want to extend its polyps anymore, looking on here and the net it doesn't seem to be going through a state of shedding a layer. It used to extend and have a diameter of around 6 inch. The only thing that has changed in my system since this started happening is I added a canister filter with Live Rock Rubble, Seachem Matrix Carbon and Salifert Phosphate Killer
<A mistake... these and other chemosynthetic life need some soluble phosphate to live>
and a UV Sterilizer. I also moved my powerheads from the side of my tank glass to the back but have not changed the direction of flow it was merely to move them more from sight. My parameters are Ammonia 0.0, Nitrite 0.0, Nitrate 0.0,
<And NO3... these are essential nutrients>
PH 8.2,
Phosphate 0.00, S.G. 1.022.
<Too low...>
I add Salifert All In One once a week and do 40% water changes monthly. All my other corals are flourishing which includes 2 types of mushrooms which are multiplying, Green Star Polyps, Clove Polyps, Button Polyps, Zoanthids and Mouse's Ear Coral.
<Some of these are too likely poisoning the Sarcophyton as well... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and the linked files above>
That's it for the background now to the full extent of the problem. As I said it doesn't seem to want to reveal it polyps anymore although it does rise up and isn't drooping. The main worry is that it has a ring/band of brown around the bottom of it from where its attached to the rock to about 1/2 an inch up. To describe the brown ring is quite difficult, its browny green reddish and seems as if its kind of flaking or could possibly be rubbed off. Like I said other than it not extending and this problem around its base it looks very healthy. I just want to rejuvenate it as it is my main attraction and I would hate to lose it. Thanks for hearing me out and any help would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
<Read, soon... be ready to remove this animal. Bob Fenner>
Leeds, England.

Waxy build up on yellow Fiji leather coral... species, env. issues 5/10/10
I recently purchased a Sarcophyton elegans
<Of Alcyoniids, a difficult species in general in captivity>>
and had it shipped overnight from an online seller that specializes in corals. I have heard that this species is hard to ship and somewhat difficult to take care of.
<Ah yes>
I acclimated it using the drip method and it has been in my 55G tank for 3 weeks now. It immediately started to produce a waxy build up, part of the acclimation process I would presume?
<Yes... a natural occurrence>
It has also only shown polyp activity once since I have had it. My question is: Is that a normal amount of time for this build up to be present before sloughing off and is it wise or recommended to use gentle mechanical agitation to assist in the removal of this waxy covering.
<Is a/too long a while to "build up"... gentle agitation... directed pump, increased circulation might be a good idea. Not too vigorous though>
Below are the levels and features of my tank:
55G tank with 65lbs LR 45lb live sand
Coral placement: 7 inches from top of tank
Water flow: direct current to coral of medium flow
Lighting: 2x 54W actinic bulbs, 2x 54W 12K daylight bulbs, moonlights
Temp:78 degrees

Leather Coral/Behavior 5/4/10
I added a canister filter the other day to my system just for some phosphate and carbon media as I had an elevated phosphate and hair algae problem. Phosphates are now zero.
The problem is my Leather Toadstool is not opening as it was before, it used to be a center piece with its polyps fully extended. Is this because I have added this media and will it return to its former glory. What can I do or will nature takes its course.
<Leather corals do shed their outer skin from time to time and the change in water chemistry likely triggered this event. All should be well in a week or so.>
<Ditto. James (Salty Dog)>

Green Polyped Leather Coral Eating? Possibly more beh.  11/23/09
I sure have learned much from your site, thank you! I have a 65 gallon reef tank that has been running over a year now. Everything in the tank is growing and happy. My question is in regards to the latest addition, a
green polyped leather coral. This coral is about two inches tall with a three inch crown. Its base is tucked into a crevice of live rock and it reaches out into medium level water flow. This coral is about 18 inches
from multiple lights. To get to the point here, we noticed a lighter shade "splotch" the size of a dime on the crown when the polyps were not extended. I guessed it was damaged before I purchased it and began to keep an extra close eye on it. Anyhow, this "splotch" would be in a different location throughout the day (when lights not on), every day. The coral extends small green polyps a few hours into the day light cycle and seems to be on a normal schedule of extending polyps during the day and closing up at night. When the polyps are extended the "splotch" goes away completely. Anyhow, very interesting.... late night and early morning we observe the coral and noticed that out of the "splotch" extends two six inch long, thin as a tread netting system. It is so cool! These long thread lines have around twenty smaller threads fanning out like a flag or really a fine toothed comb. The smaller threads are about 2 inches long.
When a small, tasty particle drifts into the thread net the thread is pulled in. It is amazing how it doesn't get all tangled up. I would need a really, really good camera to pick up the thin net. So, now the
question. Is this how the green polyped leather is eating or is there a crazy creature living inside the coral?
<The former>
I have not found any information on leather corals extending a thread-like net system to eat. What do you think?
<They "do this", but could also be reacting to the presence of other Cnidarians... competing with them>
The coral has been in the tank 4 weeks now and seems very content. The closest neighbors are a large hammer coral located 8 inches
away and a nice trumpet coral located 5 inches to the other side. These thread nets are catching food, do you think they sting too?
<Mildly. Alcyoniids, -arians (these "sorts" of soft corals) are more chemical competitors.>
Can't wait to read your response! Thank you, Wendy
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/alcyoncompfaqs.htm
and search WWM with the term "coral allelopathy", and read particularly re Euphylliids in this regard. Bob Fenner>

Ahhh -leather coral hlth 5/17/09
Hey guys,
<Josh here.>
I had bought a yellow umbrella leather a couple months back, and it seems like it is shrinking! It's polyps never open anymore and its always flopped over on the sand.
I need help!
<Andrew, I need more information from you, so I can try to determine the issue. Please reply with specific parameters of aquarium, aquarium size, and aquarium stocking list.
Josh Solomon>

RE: Ahhh 5/18/09
Okay sorry,
I was in panic mode, so here are the parameters:
Size--40 gallon breeder
Nitrate- 0 ppm
Nitrite- 0 ppm
Ammonia- 0 ppm
pH- 8.2
Calcium - 450 ppm
Reef complete
2 Actinic T5 Fluorescent lights
2 Full Spectrum T5 Fluorescent light
***lights are on at least 10-12 hours a day***
My stocking list is:
2 Ocellaris Clownfish
1 Firefish Goby
1 Coral Beauty
Large branching frogspawn (huge colony)
Sand Polyps
Sun Polyps
Green Button Polyps
Colt Coral
Metallic Green Star Polyp (huge colony)
Cabbage Coral (Sinularia) x 3
On a side note the umbrella leather is far away from potentially dangerous corals (frogspawn and star polyps) it has its own area, ample space and no other corals are touching it, a lot of water movement and a lot of light.  My other corals are thriving. My biggest piece of Sinularia just asexually reproduced so the water must be fine for them. It tries to stand itself up but the stalk is getting so small that it can't anymore. The crown tries to open up but it flops on the sand. I'm worried. this guy was expensive were I live. It has been fine for the first 3 months I had it. It opened up everyday to its bright white polyps and the crown and stalk were huge, now it is tiny.
<None of your parameters seem like they would be causing this decline in your corals. Please search on wetwebmedia.com using the Google search box for the word " allelopathy" and read up. That is what comes to mind when reading about the large number of leather corals you have, that all seem to be having the same problems.>
I hope this is enough info for you.
Thank you.
<Your welcome
Josh Solomon>

Soft Coral tank 01/12/09 Hello, I was wondering why some of the my soft Corals shed so much. I have inquired here before regarding my Toadstool and although it is o.k. it seems to want to shed a lot along with another Toadstool I have and my Cabbage Coral. Here is what I have in Corals;2 Toadstools (one Brown, one blond) Green star polyps (growing like crazy), I colony of Brown button polyps (open, but not in full "bloom") 1 Colt coral (always looks good, full and tall), 1 Cabbage coral (on one rock but two colonies, assorted mushrooms (doing well, spreading). I have 4 HO T5 lights, 2 actinic and 2 10,000k plus 2 PowerBrite strips (nice shimmer). Mag = 1280-1320, Calc = 400-420, Alk = 9-10 dKH, Temp = 80 degrees and SG = .025 <Salinity would be better at closer to 1.026.> I guess the two main concerns I have is about the Toadstools and Cabbage, especially the Cabbage. The Cabbage has a pattern of half of it shuts down to shed and the other half looks beautiful then the beautiful bunch closes down and the other bunch finishes shedding and looks great. This goes on CONSTANTLY. It is well over 1 year old and is spreading (but not like I have heard it would) and there is new growth. The Toadstools are shedding every 1-2 weeks. <wow> I inquired earlier about toxins and have added Chemipure elite but that didn't seem to change anything. I have a skimmer in the sump and all parameters are good. What would be your assessment of the constant shedding and any remedy is appreciated. <Interesting... well, leathers tend to shed to rid themselves of external irritants. Do you have any algae or other corals stepping up onto their space? Best, Sara M.>

Re: Soft Coral Tank 01/13/09 No offense Sara but I did not purposely mention that nothing is bothering them as I thought anyone responding would not give such a simplistic answer. Of course, there all type of people and some may overlook a simple thing like crabs walking over them, however that does not explain the constant shedding. I took painstaking effort to describe my issues if someone else could give me a more useful explanation of what may be going on in the tank it would be appreciated. <Good Sir/Madam-- I'm sorry if my answer to your question did not give you enough information. Shedding once every 1 to 2 weeks is just not all that unusual for Toadstool leathers (i.e. for Sarcophytons). These leathers just seem to shed more for some reason. Thus, I just don't think you need to worry about the Toadstools. As for the Cabbage coral, it sounds to me like you have two individuals that have grown together and are now "stuck" together, something like "Siamese twins." This might likely explain why they are shedding all the time. One of the corals might be constantly trying to outgrow or shed off the other one. They're stuck together and irritating each other and both trying to shrug/shed off the other, which ends up actually slowing them both down since they're "wasting" so much energy shedding. This explanation is what makes the most sense to me. However, I didn't want to say this was the case until you confirmed for me that there weren't any other obvious irritants. The irritants aren't always things we can see (they can be chemical too). I hope I've given you enough information now. If someone else would like to add to my input here, they are welcome to. Best, Sara M.>

Re: Soft Coral tank, Alcyoniid shedding... beh., hlth.  1/14/09 Yes, yes....this was my thinking about the Cabbage as well. I at first dismissed it because they were so close together when it was smaller I thought it was one colony but as it grew larger I can see the distinction. Thank you for the reply, have a great day! <Cool... a great day to you as well! -Sara M.>

Sinularia behaviour  12/9/08 Hi Bob (and crew) I am a bit puzzled with the behaviour of this coral. I had also written to you guys and got a response. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/softcorlidfaq2.htm I read up the faq on this and related but did not get anything concrete. If I missed any link please point me :) I got this finger leather a month or so ago. I will try to explain how it looks the best I can in the absence of a high res pic. It has encrusting base of and has branches growing up which in turn have finger like mini branches. <This is "natural"> It has polyps that are totally retractable around 1cm in size. <This also> polyps are concentrated more towards the fingers and much less on the base. Looking at the polyps size, I think it has plankton as a staple diet (even saw it capture one piece of Cyclops Eeze). It got detached from its original rock while handling/positioning in the tank. Since it had partially encrusted some pebbles I stuck the pebbles to another rock to secure it. It is positioned 8-10 inches from my 150W 14K MH. All polyps open well. It has started to encrust the big rock as well now. However, the part which is encrusting has the branches flatten out now. <How much current, light?> Due to this flattening, some of the fingers touch the nearby live rock. When lights go out, the coral contracts and is straight once again. No mucus shedding from last 2 weeks (it she mucus once when added to the tank and once a few weeks after). <Comes and goes...> Is this regular behaviour or is my coral telling me something? <Maybe a bit of both... This and most other Alcyoniids ("leather corals") need moderate light, water movement... you are providing? Oh, I see this below> All tank water parameters are fine. No direct current on the coral. I do run an 18 watt blue tube throughout the night for moonlight. It was 1 inch away from a Palythoa colony <Oh! This is likely trouble> and looked like both were trying to reach each other but I moved the Palythoa away. <Good... takes time to recover> I feed any of the 3 below to the tank in general and do NOT target feed THIS coral. 1. Selcon enriched Cyclops Eeze (freeze dried variety) soaked in Selcon first and then in tank water 2. The above and ocean nutrition nano reef coral food. 3. A mix of home made food. I use Cyclops, ocean nutrition nano reef food, prawns, fish, freeze dried shrimp and krill. This is run through a blender till i get a paste. I freeze this and then crush the cube in the water to disperse the food in the water column. Only a small quantity the size of 2-3 peas twice a week. Will the leather ingest this? <If it's small enough, not too much current to brush it off the polyps> I also have a large number of pods ranging from 1 mm to 2 cm that seem to be everywhere. Will the coral eat any of them? <Mmm, likely not... too vigorous to get caught... but worth having in any case> Cheers Ranjith <And you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sinularia behaviour   12/10/08 Hi bob Thanks for the response. The flow is around 6k LPH from a Vortech turned at 50% The pump is 4feet away. Light I'd 150w 14000k at 10" above. Water column above is 8" and light is 2" above the water. <This all reads as fine> Problem is, I only have a lion and a clown both of which get target fed. Corals are also target fed polyp by polyp. I do feed Cyclops 2 times a week. Is this enough for the leather to get some feeding? Cheers Ranjith <Mmm, maybe not... is there sufficient chemical feed here? In particular, do you utilize a chemical filtrant to remove soluble phosphate, nitrate? Do you have sufficient biomineral content? Proportionality twixt Ca and Mg? The next more common source/cause here would be negative interaction between this colony and other Cnidarians. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and the linked files above re. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sinularia behaviour  12/11/08 Hi Bob, <Ranjith> What did you mean by �is there enough chemical feed�? I do a bit of chemical filtration here using activated carbon. But am certain it's effect is almost gone. Plan to replenish it in the weekend. Should I get Chemi pure? <Mmm, actually sort of the opposite... I was wondering if you had any measurable phosphate and nitrate... Many folks remove too much of these essential nutrients> Sadly my test kits for CA and MG are also in transit from premium aquatics. However I do dose 3 grams of powder CA from Red Sea every night and my Alk is at 3-3.5 approx. I do run a skimmer (AquaC EV 180) the skimmer only just finished the break in last weekend. > I use bio filtration of live rock and in tank DSB (4� to 5�) and nitrates are always hovering around 5ppm approx. <Ah, good> > I read through the link you gave. I see no such signs (reduced polyp extension, shrinking, shedding mucus, burning etc) ONLY cause for worry is it is extending perpendicular rather than vertical. > The only inhabitants in 100+ gal (sessile inverts) are 2 Palythoa colonies, 1 mushroom colony, 1 moon coral, 1 leather coral (item under discussion). Fish are a 6� lion, a 4� skunk clown and one 3� mud crab (desperate to get this out). > Could it be possible I glued it in such a manner that it is tilted to one side and thus is starting to bend over on that side? <Mmm, no, not likely... these animals can easily grow to right themselves> I see NO loss in turgidity. Do leather corals ever grow �out� rather than up? <Yes> > Cheers > Ranjith <Over time, this animal should improve. Bob Fenner>

Colt Coral Retracted 01/08/2008 Hello everyone, <<Hello, Andrew here>> I don't know if I am premature with this question or not but here goes. I have a colt coral in my 14 gal. bio cube. I did a 30% water change and some re-arranging of some of the rock on Saturday and ever since then the colt has "retracted" and isn't standing tall as normal. Did the stirring up of thing in the tank put nutrients afloat and it is feeding or what would you think? Water parameters are all great with just a tad of phosphate that I am working on now to get to 0. <<It just sounds like it was unhappy with the tank arranging, nothing I see to worry about, keep water parameters excellent>> Your help is appreciated. Leon Guzdzial <<Thanks for the question, A Nixon>>

Toadstool beh., sys... Marine-Max 12/30/07 Hello, I have read a lot of info from your site about toadstools shedding and re-blooming. Mine of course does that but my question is this; I started using Marine-Max and ever since the toadstool is shutting down allot more than it used to. 2-3 days down opens for 2-3 only and then repeats the process. It used to stay open for weeks at a time. Water quality is as near perfect as one can get and salt is 23. Any thoughts are appreciated. <Start with raising your salinity to 1.025, yours a bit low. Otherwise, if your water parameters are actually “near perfect” and your flow, lighting and feeding are all adequate (these can contribute too), then perhaps the new additive needs to be looked at. It may be a coincidence and your toadstool may just be acting like a toadstool, but try laying off the Marine-Max a few weeks and see what happens. Happy reefing, Scott V.>

Text messaging ???s... Sarco... Hello crew! I am making my attempt to stock corals again. I've decided to stock only soft corals, as they are fairly hardy and aquacultured specimens are readily available! My hobby having less of an impact on the environment is good news to me.? I've read throughout your site that keeping one type or family is recommended. Anyway, a new fish store opened up, so I decided to drop by (about 3 weeks ago).? I spotted a beautiful Sarcophyton that the owner claimed was an "umbrella toadstool" because the polyps had frills on them.? He said it was aquacultured which appeared valid, as it was growing on a reef plug.? The crown was flat and polyps were extended and waving in the water flow.? There was a little nick in the trunk (about 1/2" long)? but it looked firm and consistent in color--I assumed it was from handling.? He had it placed under metal halides which were above the tank a considerable distance.? He claims it was cultured under compact fluorescent. <See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniids.htm and the linked files above...> Well,? I know? it may still be adjusting? but my Sarcophyton? has refused to extend its polyps (pic attached).? It did once after the lights went out, but that's it.? I have not moved it? an inch from where it was placed and it gets moderate to high intermittent flow from a powerhead that has a rotator on it.? I noticed it? is finishing? the process of "shedding", the crown has folded up considerably, and there is a tiny bleached? spot on the corner of the crown (maybe 1/4inch in? diameter).? Otherwise, it has not gotten smaller, wilted, or expressed any? other signs of deterioration.? Just to be safe, I added some fresh carbon and have been dosing iodine daily (turn off the filter and skimmer off for a half an hour to allow absorption).? Actually the nick in the side has filled in quite nicely and the polyps?look?like they are trying to come out...as if it has Goosebumps.? I'm thinking I should just be a bit more patient; however, I wanted to be certain I wasn't overlooking any issues I need to address. The tank is 45 gallons, has about 40lbs of live rock, and about 5" deep layer of aragonite substrate. I have 192 watts of PC lighting and an AquaC? Remora skimmer.? Temp 78-80, ph 8.2, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, and nitrates 10ppm.? Inverts include: 1 yellow CBS (Stenopus scutellatus), 2 small blue hermit crabs, and two Hawaiian feather duster. Also, I have a bunch of Stomatellids (even more? since there are babies everywhere)? and Nerites hitchhikers.? Fish are two Ocellaris, a black cap Basslet (my favorite, don't tell the others), and a yellow tail damsel.? Again, thank you so much for sharing such vast information!? I refer this site to all the reefers I bump into. Danny
Tampa, FL
<Keep reading. And not texting... Bob Fenner>

Sarco. t.... Texas style

Toadstool Leather Coral, beh.  10/29/07 I bought a Toadstool Leather and the about 30mins after I acclimated it it was fully open. But the day after it was open in the morning but throughout the afternoon it started to close up it took a couple of hours for it to close up. Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 0 Ph 8.3 Salinity - 1.021 Phosphate - 0.5 Calcium - 500 (bit high) Is it normal for the coral to do this ? <<Kane: It can take a few days for a Toadstool to acclimate to your tank. Even then, there are times that a Toadstool will retract its polyps for awhile. The only parameter you should consider increasing is Salinity (Specific Gravity). Natural Seawater averages 1.026 as measured with a refractometer. Best of luck, Roy>>

Leather Coral... Needs a Cleaning    8/22/07 Greetings WWM crew, <Hi there, Mich helping out tonight.> I started a 29 gallon reef in march (bio cube) and have had a wonderful time learning from all the information you have on your site, <Wonderful to hear!> but I am getting worried about my brown leather coral that I've had for about 2 months. I know that it can take quite some time for them to go through their shed cycle, but it's been two weeks and I am getting worried. I attached a picture of the growth on the top of it, which has never happened before. <I would go in there with a turkey baster and try to blow of some of this accumulation.> my tank is as follows in order that I added them: 1 1/2 inch sand substrate <More, over 3 inches; or less, around a half inch; would be better. This in between amount is less than desirable.> about 30 lb. live rock 6 snails ( 3 of them have orange shells... I.D.?) <Pics?> 2 yellow tail blue damsels 2 percula clowns 1 small Bubble Tip Anemone <Yikes! In a 29 gallon? Be careful! These guys like to wander. And it they get sucked in to an overflow or otherwise maimed it can have devastating effects on your livestock.> small colony of green-stripped mushrooms 1 brown leather coral 1 small open brain coral 1 Firefish <Your at/over your limit with fish> 1 torch coral 1 orange ball sponge <Careful with this as well, if it decides to up and die on you it can take out a good portion of your system.> they were added every two weeks. temp 79 salinity is 1.022 <A bit low... better 1.023 to 1.025> Ph 8.4 ammonia 0 phosphates 0 If you could ease my worries or tell me how to fix this it would be greatly appreciated! <Turkey baster or perhaps the temporary placement of a power head. Cheers,

Leather Coral... beh.  4/26/07 Hey crew, <Hi Artie, Mich here.> I have a leather coral (looks like a cactus), he has been deflated a couple days now. The water tests come back ok. <Vague, not helpful.> He is a green color now. Is it dying or just resting? <Leathers shed a mucus coat every so often, perhaps this is what is happening.  More here and related links in blue:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniids.htm   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniidsii.htm Also my yellow polyps don't look fully open.  The mushrooms and torch are just fine. Do you think I have a problem? <Likely some significant allelopathy.> Do I need to add special chemicals to maintain my corals? <Frequent water and occasional carbon changes would be the best.> I feed them Cyclop-eeze, Mysis, brine and Selcon. I feed the anemone krill shrimp every 3 days. Is this enough? <Yes, plenty.> Thank You <Welcome,  Mich> Artie

Clownfish & Toadstool Questions   3/7/07 Hi there! <Hello, Brandon here tonight.> Since I'm new at this, I'll apologize in advance for any mis-steps I make... <No worries, we were all new at this once.> I actually have 2 questions.  1) I have a pair of True Percula Clownfish that I added to my 24g Nano about 2 weeks ago. <Might get a bit cramped as they get bigger.  I would look at a larger tank.>   They've been doing great, aside from a bit of bullying from the only other fish resident - a Royal Gramma.  However, this morning, I snuck downstairs at 5am to see if I could find where the clowns "sleep" -- and to my horror, one was apparently stuck against the skimmer.  I immediately freed the clown and monitored for about 15 min.s.  Seemed to recover quickly.  I replaced the skimmer, only to find it stuck there AGAIN about half hour later.  I'm not sure if I should just remove the skimmer altogether for his safety, or perhaps move the nearby thermometer - which it might be trying to "host?" <The answer is neither.  I had something similar happen once.  I had to temporarily house four Maroon Clowns together.  Well, needless to say things got ugly.  The odd man out got beat up, and to the best of my knowledge, too tired to live.  I found him on the strainer grate to my overflow.  Luckily, I had gotten another tank running by then.  I took him to a quieter more peaceful tank, and he has been fine ever since.  I would try taking out the Gramma aggressor and then seeing what happens.>    Question #2)  I have attached a pic of my toadstool that was fine when I bought it 2 weeks ago, polyps extended on 2nd day, seemed happy.  Then, for the past few days it shrinks up and turns green, no polyps extended at all.  If you can see from the picture, there are a series of brown polyp things attached at the base of the toadstool/rock.  <It is most likely getting ready to shed.  This can take weeks.  I waited patiently (Quite patiently) for three weeks for one of mine to finish this process.  There is also a possibility of allelopathy from neighbors.  Try running carbon and poly filters in your flow path.>   Could these be hurting the toadstool? <Possibly.  You could try to move them to another rock.  I can't really tell from the image what they are though.  Possibly Corallimorphs.  I would get a sharp razor blade and try to cut them off of the rock, then use super glue to attach them onto another rock.>  FYI, it is midway up the tank, MH lights (250w), moderate flow, spg 1.026, temp. 78, PH 8.1, Ammonia=0, Nitrites=0, Nitrates=0.  <Sounds good to me.  What about Alk?> CA is a bit high at 495. <This is a little high.  If you are dosing, cut back some.>  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!   <I hope this helps.  Would it be possible to get a better picture?  Brandon> Thanks!!  :-)

Mushroom Leather Problem? comp. beh. 2/18/07 <Hi, Rob. GrahamT here.> I've had 2 mushroom leather coral in my 90gal tank for about a month now. They seem to have been doing fine until I introduced a Condylactis anemone the other day. <Hmm...> Their polyps have been retracted.   They had some brown/green slime on their stems until I removed it per posts seen on your site. Now they have tiny white spots on their "heads". One is leaning over badly. So far I've responded by adding carbon to the tank, directing one of the MegaFlows jets at it, and making sure my skimmer is working the best it can. I can rub off the spots, but did so only to check. Should I get them all off? <Are they slime or tissue?> The coral is on a rock structure toward the middle of the tank and the anemone is on the gravel at the bottom. He greedily eats food, <Don't overdo this. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/condyfdgfaq.htm > but he's kinda hiding next to the rock structure with the coral on it. <Condys can really stretch out, in addition to being adepts at allelopathy. I do have a client that insists on housing a Condy with his softies, and he has no problems at all. Sometimes, Sarcophytons will not extend polyps for long periods, but the timing here is a factor that concerns me. Carbon will help, the skimming will help a lot, too. If you can move them away from each other, this will help too. Don't forget that Alcyoniids in general look pretty dismal before a shed. ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyonbehfaqs.htm ) > My water quality has tested good <well, not good ;) >, Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite are below   my test kit's ability to measure, PH 8.3, Alkalinity high <High?>, SG 1.024.   I suspect a Phosphate issue (I don't have a test kit), however because I've been getting lots of green hair algae. <Phosphates alone would not cause discomfort as observed. They are also unlikely to be the sole food for your hair-algae. I would consider that the algae are simply utilizing nitrates faster than they can register on a test kit. I would get another nitrate test kit for a second opinion, however...> I added a phosphate/silicate absorber and bought a reverse osmosis setup yesterday to provide higher quality water changes (I've just been using my on tap filter up until now). <Good for you! You will love the stability this brings!> I've been pulling it out as fast as I can and am hoping the better quality water changes will help. <Will not hurt.> Thanks for the help! <Welcome!> PS I kinda think it's the anemone, but two other things have happened recently: A button polyp coral somehow appeared on a piece of live rock close to the mushroom leather, and my blue stripe tomato clown (huge) took a few nips at the mushroom leathers, knocking their small piece of live rock down off the structure. I responded by attaching the piece with a rubber band so it wouldn't fall. They appeared uninjured, though startled, and i haven't noticed him bothering the coral since then (a week or two). <Now that you mention it, that *MIGHT* have an affect on your Sarco.! Sheesh.> I'm including a photo so you can see exactly what I'm talking about.   Not very sharp, but best I could do. the other one has worse spots and is leaning over. <Give this time, don't hesitate to remove any dusty deposits on the skin, but don't worry yet. As for the anemone, you may not have any problems here, if you can keep 5-ish inches between the individuals. -GrahamT>

Leather corals that don't open Hello, <Hey Brian, JustinN with you today.> I want to start by telling you how much I have learned from your site.   <Glad to know> My question is about my leather corals.  I have a 75 gal tank with power 4 65 power compacts 2 10,000k and 2 actinics.  I have 2 Sarcophyton leathers and a toadstool that seem like they only open about once per week lately.   <Ok> I also have a branching frogspawn, xenia, colt, cabbage, and mushrooms.  They are not touching each other and have some distance between them.  All the others seem to be doing well but the leathers are not opening much.  Any ideas why they may not be opening much?   <There could be a coral competing allelopathically with your leathers. All but your Xenia are fairly noxious stinging celled species.> I am adding Lugol's iodine once per week, and using buffer and Purple Up. <Are you testing for iodine, calcium, and alkalinity levels? If you are adding these blindly, this could be a cause of the problem as well. -JustinN> Thanks,

Shriveled up Toadstool (Image resized)...Normal Shedding...Hopefully   1/11/07 Hey guys just wondering, been trying to read up on this, here is my toadstool on the 23rd of last month: <Hi Jeff, Mich here.> For the last 3 days it has been shriveled up. All other corals are fine and my red BTA is wonderful. All lights/heater/fans are on a Aqua Jr so it is very stable temp is 80.0 - 80.3 constantly PH is 8.35-8.40 ORP is 375 all other parameters are fine Fish load is 13 fish, (1 Naso, 2 Purple Tangs, Regal, Flame Angel, Potters, Banggai Cardinal, Royal Gramma, Diamond Goby, 2 False Percs and 1 Maroon in the BTA, mandarin) It is a standard 6*2*2 180 lights are 2 *250 HQI MH with 4 * 80w T5 and 2*80W actinic. System has been very stable and most livestock including the toadstool is from old 90 system everyone outgrew. Water change is 15% every 2 weeks. Any ideas what I should be looking for? He is all shriveled up and hung over. <This may be part of a normal shedding process.  Sarcophytons tend to withdraw and generally look pretty sick and unhappy just prior to a shed.  It can be quite alarming and make you question if there is something drastically wrong with the system.  It may take a couple of days and don't panic if you see a layer of tissue coming off the surface.  This is normal.  After the shed the Sarcophyton should return to it's full glory, larger and healthier than before.>    Thanks Jeff
<Welcome!  -Mich>

ID, beh., sys. Sinularia?    12/9/06 Hey everyone! <Hi!  Mich here.>      Back with another question! <And another answer hopefully.> And sorry for my English, I'm a carpenter! <No apologies, my friend.  Use the tools you have available i.e. spell checker.> I have, what I think to be, a Sinularia flexibilis. It is brown/dark red with many fingers. Its about 7"s tall.  From day one it was sagging even though its polyps were extended. <It is OK for it to sag.  Sinularia are quite tolerant of various lighting and water flow.>      I have moved it several times. For better lighting and different flow patterns. <OK>   No change. <No change necessary.>      That is until I upgraded my lighting system. I used to run 520 watts of power compact lighting. Now there are two 12k 65 watt PC.s a 65 watt actinic and two 20k 175 metal halides. The actinic is overlapped on a reverse cycle running at night. Will this hurt anything? <Your display tank should have several hours of darkness, you are not lighting 24/7 correct?>      My tank, 75 gallon, live DSB with tons of critters, 104#s Tonga live rock. pink and chestnut c algae doing very well. My other algae problems went away after the lighting change! <Very nice.> There is a 20 or so gallon refuge/sump with live sand and Chaeto on reverse light cycle. <Good.> There are all kinds of amphi/copepods everywhere. Some snails that I didn't purchase as well.  (they may be breeding, I see a new little one every so often!) And a ton of white brittle/serpent stars. <Very good.> No fish. I have a red open brain, fed every other day along with a large LTA. A green toadstool and my Sinularia. <OK>     No mechanical filtration, a DIY skimmer, working well. I run carbon and PolyFilter continuously (To combat my dreaded garden reef!) Three power heads pointed in each others path plus the fuge return. <OK>      S.g. 1.026, alk 10, calcium 420, Mag 1500, ph 8.1, no nitrate (with my test kit) or phos, temp 79. Has been established for about a year now. <OK>      There are a pair or gold banded shrimp, some blue legs (which I regret) <Could relocate to the sump.> some black turbo snails, and a grey and brown cucumber.       All the coral are doing well. Including the huge brown LTA. Full polyp extension and great color.       Well, after the lighting change, the Sinularia started to stand (I did acclimate the tank to the lighting). My problem/? is: Where the polyps on the lower part of its structure used to be, there are very white spots. <I'm guessing this is related to position change.  The area is now shaded where it used to receive light.> On the upper portion of the coral, the polyps still extend like they used to.  What is this? <I believe lack of light.> What can I do? This began to happen a few weeks before the lighting change. I do 10% weekly water changes. It is still growing fairly rapidly. This is not the normal shedding of skin. <Hmmm, now I'm confused.  Just the white areas are shedding?  Is the Sinularia getting hit by any direct currents, other corals etc?  Sounds like something could be irritating this area.> It does, however, shed its skin once every week to two weeks. Is this normal? <Normal for Sinularia to shed, but every this seems quite frequent to me.>   Thank you so much for your help to me and to all!! <Welcome!  It's a collective labor of love.>   Greatly appreciated <Thank you for your kind words. -Mich>   Rob Re: Sinularia? Sys., beh.,   12/9/06 You guys are on top of things!! You answer my questions very quickly!! <Just call us "Flash".>   To answer your questions:      The whole coral is shedding, not just the white spots. <Good. That is actually better than just the white spots.>      It gets random strong current, but not directly hit by laminar flow. <Good.>      It is not far from the top of the aquarium now, so it gets full exposure to the lights. Seems to be doing best in this location. <OK, The whiteness could be caused by the coral shading itself, if this is truly the case it should be alright.>      The toadstool is the closest coral. Its about 8"s away. But the Sinularia is the first coral in the path of the return pump, so I don't think its coral comp. <Should be OK.>    The spots appeared about a month and a half ago. I noticed it is starting to spread over a whole finger. <Is it on the trunk or just one branch?  I would expect to see some degree of lightening on the trunk if the coral is now erect.  The branches above would shade the area.  If it is just a branch, I would cut off the affected area from the primary colony.  Not sure what the problem is, but if you remove it, the colony should hopefully be spared.  You could try moving the new frag to another area and see if you see improvement, or if you are uncomfortable with that remove it from the system all together.>        And about the lighting, the actinic runs over night and then shuts off giving the tank about four hours with no light. <I think you should increase your period of total darkness.  You can have the actinics extend beyond the halides both in the morning and night, but 20 hours of lighting is too much.> Should I leave the actinic off? I don't need that spectrum with 20k halides, I just liked to look at the tank after the main lights went off. <As do I, but the diurnal inhabitants need some time to rest and the nocturnal residents need some time to play.  Do a little reading on this subject.>   Thanks again for your help! <Quite welcome. -Mich> Rob

Finger Coral Doesn't Open - 10/21/06 Hi, <<Hello>> I have a 265l marine/reef tank; in it I have 25kg live rock.  My water readings are: SG 25 <<1.025…I assume>> Nitrate 10ppm <<A bit high for a reef tank…try to keep below 5ppm>> Nitrite 0 Ammonia 0 Calcium 400 Livestock is: 2 purple Firefish 2 percula clowns 1 regal tang <<This tank is too small for this fish>> 1 yellow tang 1 brittle star 9 fluffy mushrooms 1 bubble coral And 1 finger coral The finger coral every couple of weeks does not open fully is only partially open.  Is this normal? <<Maybe>> I feed plankton to corals once a week, my lights are 2x white-t5s and 2x blue-t5s.  The bubble coral and mushrooms are fine both growing but the finger coral opens full then stops.  Is this normal? <<You indicate this is a "temporary" recurring condition so there may be nothing wrong here at all.  You can try moving the finger leather to a new position in the tank...perhaps it wants/needs more light...perhaps it is too close to another coral (the bubble coral has long sweeper tentacles it deploys at night <usually> that could be harming the finger coral)>> Sorry to be a pain, Craig <<No worries mate.  EricR>>

What is on this leather? 9/18/06 We are having a discussion on our local forum. There appears to be a worm or a sweeper tentacle on this yellow Fiji leather (Sarcophyton sp). <Does appear so to me as well> Some of us were under the impression that leathers fought for territory via chemical warfare, and didn't have sweeper tentacles similar to LPS. <This is my impression, recollection as well... And a cursory look/see in my library at hand and the Net shows this as well> Many of us believe it to be a Digitate Hydroid. Please check out the video and tell us what you think. VIDEO < http://www.sykesweb.com/210%20Tank/video/yellow%20fiji%20leather.wmv> Thanks!! -Chuck Jordan <Could be this as well... and even another possibility... some form/species of filter-feeding Polychaete worm. I would send this video to folks at Colleges that have invertebrate zoology departments for their guesses/input. My first guess would be the hydroid. Bob Fenner>

Droopy Chili Coral Bob, <<Actually, JasonC today... greetings.>> I recently purchased a Chili Coral - Alcyonium species from an online site. Since then it had remained droopy and will not stand up. <<You would too if you lived your life hanging upside down...>> If I position the rock it is attached to so it is standing up it droops back down in a few hours. <<These need really good water flow, and best mounted hanging upside down in order to thrive.>> All water parameters are within acceptable levels, water current over the coral is medium, and the tank is lighted by VHOs. <<Lighting will matter little for this coral - they are non-photosynthetic and require regular feedings.>> Is this a sign that the coral is unhealthy, or is this normal for this species during acclimation? If so for how long is this behavior acceptable? <<Not for too long... consider upping the circulation and remounting it. Cheers, J -- >>

Leather Waste Product 5/3 How’s it going Crew? <Wonderful – how are you?> I have a quick question.   <Sure, shoot!> I noticed on my green polyp leather and my skinny finger leather that there are these clear hair thin tentacles coming out of their polyps.   <Probably just a waste product, no need to worry.> They are sensitive to the touch because they immediately retract back into the leathers. <’Tis true.> I had noticed this since I have had them, and that has been 4 months.  They seem to be really healthy with great extensions and noticeable growth.   <Seems all good then.> Is this just a method of feeding or do I have a problem?   <No, I think you are just fine.  However it always pays to be extremely observant!> Thanks guys.   <No problem, have a great one, Jen S.>

Finger leather coral has green algae growing on it    3/24/06 Greetings to all. Nice forum here. You all have an abundance of information that is sometimes overwhelming. <All in good time> Never the less, here goes. I have a 55 gallon reef tank with the following: 55 lbs of new live rock (purchased in the last week or so), aragonite sand approx. 2 to 3 inches deep. lighting is a Current 265W power compact with lunar lighting. The skimmer is a Red Sea which works quite well. Filters include 1 Emperor 400 with regular filter pads and the gray containers are filled with de-nitrate media. A Magnum 350 with Purigen and topped off with De-nitrate. 2 Aquaflo powerheads with sponge filters. Inhabitants are: <... I would have waited a few more weeks to add these, after the live rock settled in> 1ea Lemonpeel Angel, 1ea Coral Beauty, <A fifty five is really too small for even one Centropyge of these species... and two are not compatible> 1ea Sailfin Tang, <Will get too big...> 1ea cleaner shrimp, and 1ea Pink Face Goby. Inverts are: 1ea Finger Leather, 1ea BTA and 1ea feather Duster. Last week I added 20 lbs of "cured" (so I thought) Fiji live rock. All my readings prior to adding the rock were salinity 1.025, ph 8.0, KH 8.0, Calcium 500, Ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0. Temperature is between 77.0 and 78.0. Now the readings are pretty much the same but the Nitrate is 80+. <Yikes, but not atypical of new LR> I did 3 water changes. 2ea 5 gallon and 1ea 25 gallon over the course of 4 days. The Nitrate still stays up there. The fish are fine. The BTA is in hiding and is not outstretched like it normally was. The Feather Duster is fine. The Finger Leather has withdrawn it's polyps and shrunk down. Not fully, like at night though. So there is some difference between night and day extension. Now today I noticed what looks like the whole thing is being covered in brown algae. <Possibly, but much more likely it is shedding its cuticle... happens> Not a dense covering but looking like it is discoloring it. My LFS said just hang out and wait for the media to do it's job. I am concerned for the Finger Coral. Should I wait or do something else? <Siphon off this material once it becomes loose... keep feeding extra low... until your nitrates are under 20 ppm. Bob Fenner>

Sarcophyton sp ... beh.   03/9/06 I just bought a liverock with Toadstool Mushroom Leather Coral, Green on it.  The first night it open up very nicely.  However, the next 3 days it is closed and shrunk quite a bit.  I have tried to read and research not only on your site but others on the net. I have added Phyto-Feast LIVE Food for Filter Feeders and Kent Marine Lugol's Solution 2 days ago and it is still not opening up.  I tested the water and it looks fine, no ammonia, pH 8.2, temperature 78, no nitrite, less than 20 nitrate, sp at 1.023 and I have good water circulation (I actually have pointed the powerhead toward leather).  I believe it is shedding and I can see the mucus on the branch (got the info. from your website). Should I be concerned?  What I need to do or add to help?  How long before it open up again?  Are there signs that I should look for to see it is getting better or worse? <The leather is shedding the mucous layer and the change in water parameters is what more than likely triggered this.  All should be fine in a few days.> Thanks so much in advance for your help. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Loi Huynh

Finger Leather Coral Behavior, Health  1/26/06 Hello all, thank you in advance for helping me with this one. <OK> Your site is WONDERFUL. <Thank you.>   I came home tonight only to find my 4 year old green finger leather had found my intake tube to my filter. <Mmm, wonder how that happened, not a mobile animal.> Much to my disbelief, most of the fingers were sucked up into the tube. I turned off the power to the filter, and carefully dislodged the coral. What a mess!! My beautiful "showpiece" is nothing more than dangling, damaged white fingers. When it was healthy it was at least 12-14" tall, now only about 5"tall. I think it is a survivor, because when I fed the tank, its polyps opened up. Oh, I only hope. Now, my question, it has many dangling, damaged appendages. Do I do anything to these to speed up the healing, or leave them alone? Should I move the leather, or leave it in my 125g system? I have put sponges over the strainers for now, just in case ( even though it has been fine for many years). I did change the carbon, and added a poly filter. Please help me with this. I have never seen something so pathetic, I am really feeling for this coral.  <Stephanie, carefully trim the damaged areas with a sharp pair of scissors and the coral will heal itself.  Don't believe you will lose it.>Thanks in advance.  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Stephanie.

Green toadstool leather coral only opens at night 01-19-06 Hello, <Steve> I have a green toadstool leather coral (Sarcophyton glaucum) that only extends its polyps after the lights go off.  The polyps are completely open in the morning, and then they close up within 30 minutes after the lights come on.  I have searched around the website, and haven't seen this issue addressed.  Is this common? <yes> I've kept these leather corals before, and typically, they stay open during daylight hours (in fact, this specimen used to stay open during the day). The tank has been set up for almost 2 years.  Water parameters: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate < 5ppm, Specific Gravity 1.026, Calcium 380ppm, dKH 9, Temperature 80-82F, lights 4W/Gal PC.  All other occupants of the tank are fine, which includes live rock, a few fish, a few inverts, and a mixture of soft & LPS corals. <Your coral is showing typical behavior.  Most wild corals will only extend their feeding tentacles/polyps during the night.  They do this to protect their polyps from predators. They also extend their polyps at night because that is when the food is there. During the evening plankton blooms occur and many of the "critters" corals feed on become active. So, it only make sense for your coral to spend its energy to collect food when the food is there. To get your coral to open during the day, make sure you do not have a polyp nipping fish and feed your coral when the lights are on. Travis> Thanks, Steve

Mushroom / Leather question  12/24/05 Hi Crew, <Steve> I am going to pester you again with a few questions.  Basics:  250 gallon with 250 lbs. of live rock, DSB, wet/dry, refugium with Chaeto, protein skimmer (producing lots of daily skimmate), 20X flow rate (random/turbulent), PO4 .1, Ammonia/Nitrite 0, Nitrate 2.5, pH 8.3, salinity 1.024, temp. 80 - 81 F.  Fish consists of Naso (lipstick) 7", Chrysurus angel 5", Chevron 3.5", Zebra moray 30", Fiji Bicolor Rabbitfish and Longnose butterfly.  None of the fish show any interest in the mushrooms or the recent leather. I recently added a few items to my main display.  One is a Finger Leather Coral that was at my LFS.  I did as mentioned here on WWM and noticed tank placement which was about 15" from the light, flow which was turbulent, and color which looked almost white (kind of like a bleached coral skeleton). It was quite erect with nice form and about 5 - 6 inches tall with many fingers.  I was able to simulate all parameters; with the exception of the light... they had metal halides, whereas I have PC's (about 2 watts of 10K white/actinic per gallon).  I have only had him about 24 hours (I know still early), but I tried to compensate for the lack of lights and added more time to the corals photoperiod, and set the coral as high up in my display as possible (about 6" from water surface).  The coral in my tank is definitely not as erect, and probably about a good 3" shorter (not as extended) than at the LFS.  Do you think eventually it will acclimate to the lower lights and extend and become erect?  Any suggestions? <A day is too short a time to tell... I give you very good odds this animal will adjust, do well in the setting you describe... give it time... a week or so to acclimate.> The second item I added is a Giant Cup mushroom of about a good 10+ inches in diameter.  Again noticing the characteristics at the LFS it was nice and firm looking, slightly cupped upward.  In addition, it was around 12 - 15" away from regular fluorescent lights and minimal water movement.  The only good place in my 250 gallon display that had minimal flow was about 12" from my PC's.  So far it has expanded to about 7" in diameter but is draped downward over the rock it is attached to.  Any suggestions here?   <More time going by...> Other question regarding the Giant Mushroom is what is the best way to feed him small meaty pieces and how often?   <Twice a week or so> I would think that as soon as I let go of the small meaty pieces with my tongs, they would float away, but I am sure there is a good technique.  My other mushrooms in the tank of which consist of Green hairy mushrooms and Red pimple Shrooms, I target feed Sweetwater Zooplankton once a week with a syringe/baster type of instrument for aquarium use.  LFS says not to intentionally feed mushrooms, but I don't believe this.   <Me neither> I appreciate your comments and in case no one has said it yet.. Merry Christmas and thanks for all you do. <Welcome my/our friend in fish. To you and yours as well. Bob Fenner> Best Wishes, Steven

Leather Coral Irritated by Mushrooms?  12/5/05 I have a toadstool leather coral (Sarcophyton sp) that has had his polyps completely closed up for the last 5 or 6 days.  <Not unusual.>  I don't see any necrotic tissue or changes to his body, and none of the tank occupants have been picking on him.  <Good signs.>  The only change in the tank is that a small pink mushroom (quarter-sized) has grown to the point where it slightly brushes up against the base of the leather coral. Would this potentially be irritating the leather coral?  <It may have initially, but shouldn't cause any problem long-term.> All other occupants of the aquarium (fish & corals) are doing well, and no recent changes have been observed in the water chemistry.  <What about water flow, temperature, etc? Perhaps a splash with new water or fresh top-off water...>  I realize many other issues could cause the leather coral to close up, but I wanted to know if the pink mushroom is a potential problem...  <I doubt it. But if the leather doesn't open for 5-6 more days, consider moving the mushroom (don't move the leather or you won't see it open for even longer). Cheers, Zo> Thank you, Steve in Denver 

South African Reef site and Leather coral issue 8/22/05 Hi Bob <Anthony Calfo here with input as well.> Thanks for a truly amazing website. I'm writing from a very wet, cold and gloomy Cape Town, South Africa. <Thanks kindly. And... did you know that you have a new online reefing community in SA? Fab for making contacts and fellowship locally. Do check them out at: http://sareefkeeping.com/forum/index.php > To make matters worse, this morning jus before leaving for work, I noticed that my leather corals have all developed a white pasty looking substance on their bases as well as the their tops. Prior to that they hadn't fully opened since Saturday (I did a tank clean and scrapped most of the nuisance brown algae off live rock and the glass). I had a recent algae boom and I suspect it was the change of diet from marine mix to shrimp. I also fed more regularly and in bigger doses so my nitrate levels have probably spiked. No new of this is very concerning... leathers are hardy, also do not respond or organismal feedings with any such large food/prey as you have offered (no harm either)... and you may just be looking at the tunic of waxy shed metabolites or mucous from irritation.> I did a bit of research on your site and I suspect that those spots are necrotic. <Hmmm... only if the tissue is dissolving.> Is this the  cause of this sudden illness and if so are my poor corals doomed? <Hard to say without a picture and more information. It may still be just mucous> What can I do to save them ... they were all perfect a few short days ago. <If these corals are new (days/weeks old... you may just be acquainting yourself with the natural tunics they shed.> Please help. Regards. Daryl <Do try to see if there is a local reefer in the SA link above that can visit and visually inspect your coral, mate. Much easier than us diagnosing from here (USA) sight-unseen ;) Best of luck! Anthony>

Small threads from my yellow Fiji ?? 8/15/05 Hello all, and thanks for the great site ! I notice after the lights go out, my yellow leather throws out threads 10 or so inches long and pulls them back in as if it were feeding this way ?? I thought that the polyps were where and how they fed. I have taken pictures but the threads are too small to show up. They are like feathery lengths of hair that go in and out. Is this normal ? Will these hairs sting other corals ?  Please help !!  Thanks for everything. <These adventitious threads are indeed capable of stinging other life... are a mechanism for providing space... eliminating competition for same. Do keep your other sessile invertebrates out of this zone. Bob Fenner> Toadstool Coral 7/27/05 Hey gang, I have a toadstool coral and got it over 5 months ago.  It has been doing very well opening up everyday and looking health, but this past two weeks it has not been opening fully and instead of standing upright it hangs lower than usual. <Perhaps a "wake up call"... to check your water quality> I have not changed anything nor added any new fish.   My water quality has been consistent for the past 5 months.  Any ideas of what is going on? Thanks  Walid <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniids.htm and the linked files above, where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Lobophytum not extending polyps 6/15/05 Good afternoon crew. I have had a medium size Lobophytum for about 7-8 months now and I have noticed that although the  secondary siphonozooid polyps are constantly present I have only seen a few of  the larger autozooids when the coral was adjusting to its current position, and have yet to see them again. Should I be concerned or could it be that Lobophytum is not dependent on the autozooids under certain conditions? All water parameters test normal Ammonia and Nitrite: O ppm, Nitrate: 2ppm, pH: 8.2(morn)8.3(night), Calcium: 410 ppm.  Thanx <'}}}>< <This is a common occurrence with Lobophytum.  It is so common in fact that I have heard the comment that these corals don't have autozooids!  You don't report Alkalinity.  Although it is probably unrelated, please do test and maintain proper alkalinity.  In my opinion, it is the most important parameter to measure in a reef tank.  Anyway... back to the point.  The most common cause of your problem is lack of current.  Lobophytum in general appreciate very brisk turbulent current.  Total flow in the range of 15 times the tank volume (or more!) seem to do the trick. Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Sweeper tentacles, soft corals, cabbage question Dear crew, <Richard> I have two separate cabbage corals in my tank, and both have recently been seen extending long, filamentous tentacles. In each case, the point of origin appears to be a pore-like opening on the very edge of the body. The tentacles resemble spider web in their size and appearance, and consist of a central thread, with numerous, regularly spaced threads coming off at a right angle to the main one. At the longest, I estimate them to be 22 inches long. <Yikes> My wife and I witnessed one of the cabbages snagging a ghost shrimp, and the shrimp was rapidly entangled in the tentacle, which retracted to draw the shrimp to the edge of the cabbage body. When we returned some four hours later, the shrimp had vanished. <Yes> The resident SW manager at the LFS told me quite definitively that such things don't happen in soft corals. After extensive Googling [if that's a verb] here and elsewhere, I have found no definitive information. Can you please shed some light here?  Thanks, Rick <Yes... in the hobby press, these structures are broadly called "sweeper tentacles" and serve as both a defensive and feeding mechanism... Please read here: Marine Depot Newsletter - Aggression. Bob Fenner> 

Re: cabbage question Bob, Thanks for the reference---an excellent article. I was aware of sweeper tentacles, particularly in stony corals, but had been under the misimpression that they were for combative purposes. <Mostly, yes... resource partitioning> It didn't occur to me that they might be applied to a hunting purpose. I find it somewhat disappointing that I could be told so emphatically that such behaviour didn't exist. I have been well-served in this respect, though: another source of information has revealed itself to be one on which I should not depend. At least in this instance, it did not cost me money, or a creature its life. As always, a doffing of the snorkel, and my sincere thanks. Rick <Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Leather not opening I have an 80 gallon with 400W metal halide. The tank has been running for 2 years but recently (1 month ago) moved it to a new location.. saving water in the move. Everything is going great except over the last day or so, my leather has decided not to open. I've seen it close before, but its usually as a result of the cleaner shrimp getting too close...but it always opens within a short time. All parameters check out... and all the other corals/fish/inverts are having a blast. Everything I've read here tells me to just wait it out, but I guess I'm looking for some reassurance. Any suggestions? thanks, and your site is excellent! <I would "just wait this out"... very likely this Alcyoniid will open soon. Bob Fenner>

Leather Coral I bought what I believe to be a finger leather last Saturday. As soon as I placed it in my tank, the polyps were fully expanded within an hour and it was looking great. The next day, it was also looking good. Now, ever since Monday, I have not seen the polyps emerge and it has a glossy sort of slimy look to it. There was a bit of slime that I gently blew off. From reading the FAQs, I realize that it may take a few weeks for it to open up again, but should I continue to clean this slime off? It also looks like there's a brown algae forming on the slime.  <Leather corals "molt" to some extent and this is what your leather is doing. Let it be and it will soon expand.> Also, should I be feeding it, or will it not eat if the polyps aren't extended? <No need to feed until polyps are out.>  I feed my mushrooms and polyps brine shrimp with Zoe mixed in with it. Will this be good for the Leather as well?  <I like a variety myself. I use DT's Phytoplankton (live) and Cyclop-eeze Marine Plankton (frozen form in pump bottle). The Cyclop-eeze also benefits small fish such as Percs, Dottybacks, etc. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for the help - much appreciated.  Andrew Khalil

Leather Coral Not expanding Thanks for the tips. Today, I noticed that the bottom of the base was also slightly deflated. Is this also normal? <Yes> Other than that, I guess I'll leave it alone, All I did was move a powerhead so it get a mild current to wash off the slime and the small amount of algae that was growing on it. In your experience, how long will it remain like this? <I'm thinking five to six days. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks

Soft Coral Viagra? Hi Crew, <Greg> I have attached a picture of my hairy toadstool in hopes you can help me with a little problem it has been experiencing lately… Yes, it is embarrassing to admit, but my coral appears to be experiencing some type of "erectile dysfunction". <Heee!> The photo is indicative of its typical appearance recently (for approximately the past 2 months). Is polyps do extend fully at times and retract fully at other times. It also appears to stand more upright in the mornings (before the lights are on), when its polyps are fully retracted. <Not unusual... am doing my best not to segue into a cheesy ad... a natural cyclic behavior> I have attempted to feed it phytoplankton and mysids but it does not appear to absorb such foods, so I have relied mostly on photosynthesis for its energy. The homemade food I feed my fish contains some Marine Snow as well.  <Worthless> Water parameters: Temp=77F, Salinity=1.0235, pH=8.1, Alk=5 dKH, Ca=420 ppm, NH3=0, Nitrite=0, Nitrate<5 ppm.  My tank is a 180g with a 50g refugium (DSB, L.R., Feather Caulerpa, Red Gracilaria) on a reverse photoperiod.  Main lighting is 4X65W actinic PC + 4X65W 10,000K PC (13 hrs actinic, 10 hrs 10,000K) and this coral is placed midway down in the tank (6” air + 9” water depth from lights).  Can you provide any suggestions regarding what could be wrong with this coral? It maintained a very upright appearance for the first 3-5 months in my tank. I have tried providing more light (it was previously placed at the bottom of my tank) but this has not helped. Your help is greatly appreciated! --Greg <IMO/E you're doing fine... stay the course and your Alcyoniid will be more turgid, more often with time. Bob Fenner>

Finger leather coral molting behavior Hello WWM Crew,                                    1/1/2005     I was hoping that you might be able to help me and in a hurry too. I will give you the best description of the coral as best as I can. I have a finger leather that seems to be dying but I'm not sure. Well on some of the tips of the coral there are little clear bubbles. On one side there is a thin layer of film that could just peel off.<The leather coral is more than likely "molting". They do shed from time to time.> The entire thing is drooping onto the rock that supports it.<They will droop also during this stage.  In a couple days it should look great with a slightly lighter color>     I would greatly appreciate the help and any suggestions you may have for me. Try to reply in a hurry. I fear the worst for my finger leather. Thank you.     From, Elizabeth

Toadstools not opening up I made some changes to my reef and now my green finger leather and 2 toadstools aren't opening the changes were 1) added a large finger leather 2) increased lighting from 8 hours of MH to 9hrs for 1 week then now its 10 hours MH and 12hrs actinics 3) added a green Monti cap and a 2 more Acro frags no corals are touching each other. leathers are 3 or more inches apart from other corals. they were not moved prior to the changes I did a 20% water change and used carbon but they're still not opening. param.s: Ca 420ppm Alk 10 dKH Amm 0 Nitrate 0 Nitrite 0 Ph 8.0-8.3 I'm suspecting they don't like the longer photoperiod what should I do? wait for them to acclimate or what? << Sounds like you've read a lot and thought of everything.  I think the photo period is good.  The corals may be releasing some toxic compounds.  No matter what it is, my advice is to do nothing and just wait for them to acclimate. >> <<  Blundell  >>

Clown and a Sarcophyton home - 12/6/04 Sounds like a sitcom doesn't it? <Could be...> Upon your advice on a recent question I got a Sarcophyton to surrogately host my Ocellaris in lieu of an anemone. <Mine took to my Sarcophyton immediately> My question is where should I place him? It basically looks like mushroom and was not attached to any rock when it came so do I place it on rock, bury it in the crushed coral bed or what? <Place it on a rock with the some Ross' super glue gel after two weeks acclimation with the coral in you sand bed (crushed coral in your case)> Second question...I have also acquired a Ocellaris (the one mentioned above, not a second one) and he is about 2 inches or so in length, I noticed this morning that it appeared that my Coral Banded was stalking him and sure enough, when the clown got close he tried to snatch him with those big long claws of his. I did a lot of reading and while I know each individual is different, attacking him seems atypical. He didn't succeed in catching the little clown, I was just wondering if I should be concerned or not? <Being that your shrimp already seems to be on the prowl you most definitely need to remove the shrimp (maybe a trade-in for a Cleaner Shrimp - Lysmata amboinensis) For what it's worth, the coral banded has been known to eat small fishes so this is somewhat typical behavior. Thanks for being part of WetWebMedia.Com ~Paul> Thanks a lot... Kenn

Coral looks glossy and sheds - 11/22/04 I have a quick question for you, I looked through your web site and couldn't find the answer I was looking for. I have a leather coral in my tank I purchased 2 weeks ago, everything seems to be doing fine, tentacles come out at night to feed. <What coral are talking about exactly? Have you been able to identify it? Sounds like maybe  Sarcophyton but really it could be anything> Then over the last few days there's a glossy coating covering the leather, at first just a patch or two of the gloss. The base is shedding, is this part of the shedding process? <Sort of. the shed should come from the head area of a Sarcophyton (if it is indeed a Sarcophyton) This tends to happen during growth periods, nutrient build up, stress listed as a few reasons for this. You could just use a soft toothbrush to help the remove the excess.> Or some kind of defense from one of my anemones stinging it?? <Let me just say make sure there is a lot of room between other corals and anemones........period! Like 5-8 inches or more. Hope this helps. Let us know if something changes (again try to identify the coral before you purchase it but it would definitely help us in diagnosis) Thanks for participating on WetWebMedia. ~Paul> Thanks in advance. Thank You, Chad Horne

What is Happening to My Sarcophyton? - 8/19/03 I bought a mushroom leather a few weeks ago. It was doing really good and was expanded all the time. After one night, when I got up, I've noticed that there was a lot of new stuff in the skimmer cup. The coral looked a bit different. It wasn't expanded anymore (has not been for the past 3 days now) but what is worse is that there are more and more white dots appearing on the surface of it, as if it was sick... I'm attaching some pictures, hopefully you could identify what is going on. What should I do with it?  Thank you, Luke <without more information we cannot say much, my friend. No water quality param.s... an assumption that these corals did not go through a proper 3-4 week QT at home before going into the display (risk of a disease or parasite now in the main tank). Hmmm... do read more in our archives please at wetwebmedia.com. Start on the home page and then navigate your way through the archives... click marines, then non-vertebrates life... then corals/cnidarians, etc. Best of luck. Anthony>

- Floppy Leather! - dear WWM crew , <Howdy, Kevin here> I have a problem with my leather coral, I'm not sure what kind it is .  When  first brought it home it opened nicely. It was mid way in the tank laying on a rock. I know it probably should be standing but it was doing fine.  Someone  in my family decided to move it and it slummed over for a few days. <Ooooh, random family members with hands in the tank, you should put a stop to that!> We moved it back to the original position and it opens a little, but not like before.  Water seems to be fine all others corals great too.  Any ideas ? <This is completely normal. Upon introduction it may open like it did at the shop, but then it will act funny (half open, slumped, closed, etc) for the next few days-weeks as it acclimates to its new surroundings.> How long can it go without feeding? <No worries, just supplement your tank with some phytoplankton a few times per week. It should be fine. Good luck! -Kevin>

-Limp Colt Coral- Hello WWM,  <Hi there! Kevin here tonight>   I recently purchased a colt coral from my LFS. The coral seemed to be in  good shape at the store. It was upright, no broken or limp branches, and no secretion of stringy material. When transporting the coral it secreted a purple film into the bag (which I have read on some websites is normal). <I've never seen purple mucus be secreted by these guys except in dyed specimens... The mucus should be clear/whitish> I floated and slowly acclimated the coral to the aquarium. I rinsed the coral off in a separate container filled with aquarium water (to remove excess mucus) <These guys are REALLY slimy huh!>. Once in the tank the coral just seemed to become limp and lean over towards one side. It seems to be moving its branches a little.  There was a slight smoky secretion from the base of the colt however, that has now stopped. I have a 75gallon tank with compact fluorescent lights (actinic and regular). My water shows virtually zero nitrates. My ph is around 8.2 and my salinity is between 1.023 and 1.024. I use only RO water. My supplements include strontium, calcium, iodine, iron, and magnesium. I feed every other day live microplankton. I have the coral by itself on one side of the aquarium. Is it normal for this coral to become limp? Should these parameters and supplements be sufficient for this coral? Your help is much appreciated. <Don't expect a newly introduced coral to look normal as soon as it's tossed in the tank. It can take days/weeks for it to fully open up if the water chemistry, lighting, and water movement are not what it was used to. It just needs time to acclimate. I'm sure it will be fine, these are tough as nails and before you know it you'll be slicing and dicing once it gets gigantic! Also, the purple slime worries me a bit, if the coral is any color other than brown it's been artificially dyed, and a very common color that they use is purple. Again, these guys are extremely hardy and will probably tough it out until the dye goes away, but you should question your source if this is the case... Good luck! -Kevin>

Toadstool not opening - 3/10/04 Hello, I have had a toadstool leather coral in my 90 gallon tank for about 2 weeks and today I noticed that it was not open and the color seems to be a little green/yellow on the surface. <Nothing to worry about just yet. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniids.htm and please use the blue links at the header for additional questions and answers> All other animals in the tank are doing great but I am concerned with the leather. <They do this from time to time> Water info is as follows.  Nitrates = 2.5, ammonia = 0, nitrites = 0, PH = 8.3, Other tank inhabitants = 2 small clowns, 25 hermit crabs, 20 small snails, 1 green open brain, 5 small blue mushrooms and one rock covered with polyps.  Can you tell me what the toadstool is doing? <Sloughing organics growth floc. Can take up to 3 weeks for some to shed. Use a soft bristle toothbrush to give it a hand and stimulate the coral. Read the above links. Don't touch it or move it for now. ~Paul> Ken

"Fuzz" In A Leather Coral I have a finger leather that has been doing quote well but recently I have noticed some problems. Just about two weeks ago it closed up and covered itself in a clear slime coat. From what I understand this can be normal. After about two days maybe three the coat began peeling and the coral has finally shed its entire coat and the polyps are again out and looking well. <Yep, a very normal process that helps the coral shed bacteria and other potentially harmful materials> While I have been watching this process happen, I noticed that there are a couple of fingers on the underside of the coral that are very small and near the base that have what looks like white fuzz on them (almost looks like small cotton swabs or cotton balls pulled part). This fuzz seems to be growing up the fingers that do not get direct light or as strong of current since they are on the underside of the coral and near the base. Any ideas on what this is (disease, normal, etc) how to treat / remove it etc? Thanks for your help. -Jonathan <Well, Jonathan- without a picture, I'm just guessing. It could be simply some sloughed mucus or other material trapped in the branches of the coral that is decomposing. If you are so inclined, maybe you should try to gently dislodge the material with brush of water. Do keep a close eye on the coral and let us know if it begins to decline in any way. We'll take another look at that point. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F.>

Colt Coral Fungus Hey.<Hey Brendon, MacL here> I have a colt coral that has a fungus on one of its branches. It's been there for about two days now, hasn't spread or shrank. I've had the colt for about a week and the first two days it was doing fine. Then it shrank to about half its original size and then got this fungus. Do you know what this is and how I should get rid of it. <There are several things it could be but my suggestion would be to either buy some coral reef dip or make some. I personally have good results with Seachem's coral reef dip.> I asked this in the chat forums but no one seems to know what this is. <There are some specialized frag and coral websites, www.fragexchange.com comes immediately to mind. If you think it might be better to cut the bad stuff off or try to frag the coral and save what you have left of it.> Thanks for any suggestions.  <Good luck Brendon, if possible a picture might be very helpful.>

Colt With Fungus follow-up Thanks. I'll look into the Seachem. <Its one of those products that I like to keep on hand.> The colt is doing well now, it's starting to grow back to its original size and the fungus has lessened. <Soooo glad to hear that Brendon> Thanks again. Your site is great. <I'll pass that along and thank you so much, MacL>

Shrinking Colts Hello Crew. <Howdy!> It has been a while and I have tried to find some information on this issue, but have not been able to. I have a 58 gallon reef tank that, for the past 12 months, has had two magnificent colt corals in the middle. They actually started out as one, but split about 8 or 9 months ago. I have two clowns, both of which have been in the tank for about 13 months, and one of which all of a sudden started sleeping in one of the colts around 4 months ago - or so I noticed it. Recently, both colts have shrunk considerably and, regardless of what I do, are not improving. My water parameters are very good, I have been adding calcium and iodine and my temperature has been stable. All my other residents of the tank are doing well. Do you have any idea what could be causing this problem. Could it be the clowns. Any info would be appreciated.<It could be the clowns irritating them and in that case you would probably need to move the clowns to another tank. Also when was the last time you changed your light bulbs? Cody> Thanks Scott 

Shrinking Colts II Cody, thanks for your response. Actually, I forgot to mention that I changed my bulbs last week, but it had been about 13 months since they were changed.<Hmm, this will probably help. I would also check around their bases for any hard lumps. There is a type of snail that can actually dig in there and slowly eat the coral from inside out. I would check out our web site for more info on this and other possibilities that I'm just not thinking of. Cody> 

He's Into Leather! Guys, thanks again for all of the help, can I ask one last question? I just got a great shipment from FFE which included (yes I took the plunge, could not resist), a yellow Sarcophyton. <One of my favorite corals!> He has been in the tank for 4 hours and is showing signs of life (slowly taking form, yellow polyps seem to be extending slowly :)), but here are my questions: I know these guys suffer from shipping, I did dip him in solution for a few minutes, if I do start to see damage, should I cut it out with a razor blade and dip, or leave it alone? <I would consider carefully excising the affected section, and dipping the coral if this was a serious problem. If there are no obvious signs of damage- I'd leave the coral alone!> I also have SPS, do I have a concern with toxins (I know they can sting, but I am worried about environment contamination), I do use carbon (water change might help too, they are in a 55 with two halides and VHOs), and I know this might help, I just want to make sure I do what's best for the leather (outside of having left it Fiji) and for the SPS. Thanks <Well, the Sarcophytons are well known for shedding a surface layer of dead, waxy tissue and mucus from time to time, which can cause problems for both the Sarcophyton and your other corals if there is not sufficient current in the tank to carry this material "out of harms way". Use of activated carbon or PolyFilter is highly recommended to help remove some of the allelopathic compounds from the water, along with general good husbandry.  With good care, these corals can grow to an impressive size in a very short time. Enjoy this coral! Good luck> PS. That Queen I thought I was going to lose is making progress everyday, I swear I will never feed store bought oysters again!  :) came close to :( <Well- you learn something new every day! Keep up the good work! Regards, Scott F>

Soft Corals 3/28/03 Good day WWM Crew, <cheers, mate> I have a Toadstool Mushroom Leather (Sarcophyton) and a Thin Finger Leather (Sinularia) and I just want to ask about some observations I made: 1 ) I have noticed that every morning when I wake up, before any lights come on, that both of these guys have long sweeper tentacles waving all over the place. Do they use these to feed, or are they just used to keep other livestock at bay? <the latter if that's what they truly are... purely defensive> I have noticed that their tentacles and polyps are out in the morning before lights come on, but when I get home from work (5:00 ), the tentacles and polyps are retracted and stay retracted the remainder of the evening. I'm not sure why this is. <because these soft corals feed very little organismally. More so by translocation (of nutrients from photosynthesis) and absorption. Some nanoplankton too... but they really cannot eat any large plankton or prepared foods> It seems to me that the light would stimulate their polyps and tentacles. <not really... the tentacles are a very small part of the photosynthetic tissue overall> 2 ) Do they have to have their tentacles and/or polyps out to feed? <nope> 3 ) I also have some Corallimorphs ( Actinodiscosoma ). I believe they are called Green Fluorescent Mushrooms. How do these feed? <all of the above: organismal, absorptive plus perhaps by mucous too> I have never seen any kind of tentacle or polyp. Most of them are also "folded up", instead of laying flat. What does this mean? <they've been watching depressing news coverage> Note: I just got these corals this past Saturday. <time needed to acclimate for certain> 4) I have been feeding all of the above including a bunch of Palythoa (Green Button Polyps) a frozen algae. I can't remember the name, I think it's Reef Treats. It's not just frozen algae, but has many meaty foods such as brine shrimp, Mysid shrimp, sea urchin, squid, clams, oysters, and scallops. <Ahhh, yes... the fine meaty fare is better here> Anyhow, I realize these are filter feeders, so I soak the food in garlic and put in a small blender and use a turkey baster to target feed the corals and coral polyps. I have only fed them twice since I have had them.  Is this a good practice, or is there something better to feed? <truly depends on the species. Some like more phyto- than zoo-plankton> As always, thanks Charlie <best regards, Anthony>

Happy Toadstool? The color of Leather 3/27/03 Hey Gang! I trust everyone doing well!  Anthony ,this Toadstool Leather is the "normal" beige color when the polyps are retracted, when  all polyps are extended, its a sort of a "frosted" white color, (quiet beautiful!), is it a happy looking coral" Thanks for all of the advice y'all give on this site, my tank looks great!! (gotta give credit where credits due!)   Scott in Denver <thanks kindly, great to hear from you Scott... perhaps I'll see you soon. Visiting the Marine Showcase sometime in the coming months. Bob was just there a few weeks ago... I do hope you got a chance to see him. Kind regards, Anthony>

Toadstool Leather 11 Aug 2004 Hello all at WetWebMedia, <Hey Dimitri, MacL here with you today.> I have some questions about a recently acquired Leather Toadstool specimen. I bought this coral on Sunday from an LFS, and its polyps remained closed up until this morning. From what I have been reading it must be a normal thing given it takes time to acclimate. I now can see it is shedding off some skin/wax and some of the polyps are visible - beginning to extend. <Definitely normal and the shedding is normal as well. You can gently help this along with a turkey baster and gently blowing off what its shedding.>  I am sending a picture because I wanted an opinion as far as its position in the tank goes. <No picture made it.> I placed it roughly in the middle of the tank (tank height is 29 inches) since this is what I was told by the LFS guy (either top or middle). I glued the coral (piece or rock that came with it) on the side of a pinnacle that I have created in the tank. Even though he was standing up right now he's facing the side of the tank. Should I move him again? <Until he's standing upright and not stressed any more I would not move him. Let him get settled and be okay then you can move him. These corals need to be able to adjust to the water conditions.> I am inclined not to but you can't see the crown/head/face of the coral if it remains like that. Is this going to affect its health on the long run? <He will perk up I am sure and generally they grow towards the light although if the coral is getting enough light he will just grow in that position. The main thing is let him adjust to his water parameters BEFORE you move him.>  Will he turn the other way and start rising after he gets acclimated? <He can't physically turn but they can grow towards the light.> The coral is indirectly exposed to the output of water pump (Iwaki 40RLXT) so I think he's getting enough water flow. <Sounds like a good place for him. I would let him adjust and see what he does before I do anything with him.> Also, is it normal to get green coralline algae from PC's? I have a fixture of PC's - and some florescent -overall wattage 290. I get lots of green coralline and then some pink starts growing on top of the green. <Coralline is a very good thing whichever the color.> Is this normal? Tank is 1,4 yrs old.  I have recently started stocking it with coral - all corals are doing fine) <Wonderful and sounds like a lovely tank!> polyps, mushrooms, Ricordea, rain, pagoda, trumpet, etc.) Your advice/opinion will greatly be appreciated. Thank you, Dimitri

Distressed Leather?  I was wondering if you could help me. To give the general info first, I have a 55gallon tank. 2 x 400 GPH filters one at either end of the tank. Protein skimmer (getting lots of dry foam and getting at least 2-3cups a week). I have 130 watts of (50/50) light on a 12hr cycle, and another 80watts (daylights) on a 14hrs cycle (extra 1hr before and after) to simulate a bit of dusk and dawn.  Water Info:  Specific Gravity: 1.024  Temp: 79  KH: 12  PH 8.3 (evening measurement, never have time during the day)  Ca: 400  Iodine: 0.6  Nitrate, Nitrite: 0  Ammonia 0 - 0.25  <Wooahh! Do re-check this! Ammonia should be undetectable in a healthy, established aquarium!>  Phosphate: 0.3 (Can't seem to get this down despite many water changes)  <Do check on your source water. Perhaps the RO membrane needs changing. Do revisit your feeding habits. Are you getting any liquid from frozen foods into the tank when feeding? Are you using lots of dry foods? Both of these can cause phosphate readings. As a remedy, you could also try chemical filtration media, such as Poly Filter, or, you could use one of the "Phosphate-removing" products out there, such as Rowaphos or Phosban. These are only "band aids", of course>  The water is all RO+DI, 10% water changes per week. Water is prepared 72+hrs in advance and checked for temp, KH & PH before adding. I add Iodine, Strontium and Calcium, and Reef Builder (Alkalinity Buffer) to the water on scheduled intervals.  <Sounds fine.. Do test to confirm the need for the additives used>  I purchased a toadstool about 2 months ago. For the first 2 - 3 weeks it opened during the day and seemed to be doing quite well. One of my red claw hermits took a liking to climbing it and sitting on top, and after that it stopped opening up.  <A common reaction to continued irritation>  It still seems firm enough to stand on it's own, but it is covered with a green/brown substance, and hasn't opened in at least a month.  <Hmm...Sounds like it might be algae growing on the coral. A good indicator that something is not right here. These coral do retract their polyps periodically, and shed a waxy coat. However, remaining closed for extended periods of time could be a sign that something is not right...Do review basic water conditions here.>  Is there hope or should is this coral dead? Thanks, Derek  PS: Have attached 2 pictures, hopefully they are clear enough to see.  <Well, Derek- the pictures were a bit blurry to me. As far as sticking by this coral- I would not give up just yet. It is quite possible that it may return to it's former glory. Increasing water flow over the coral may help stimulate it and assist it in completing the "shedding" process of the aforementioned waxy coating. Do keep any eye on things, maintain high quality water conditions, and stand by the animal as long as it looks otherwise healthy. Good luck! Regards, Scott

Yellow Leather Question Hello again! I have a quick question. I bought a yellow leather several months ago, and it seems to be doing OKAY, (not great by any means) but it was the color of a crayon and now it's the color of a glass of lemonade! It's so ugly! <Probably adjusting to your lights. This may or may not be an indication of a problem. Generally, Yellow Leathers require a great deal of lighting. They are also sensitive to being touched.> Do you think it was died, or is he just extremely unhappy about something? <It is not dead yet, and may not be unhappy, just changing to accommodate its new environment. If your tank is setup properly to maintain a Yellow Leather, you may not have a problem.> The lady I purchased it from was told by the supplier that it's not getting a certain nutrient it needs to retain the color? <Sounds bunk to me.> I have a Gymnothorax funebris, so I feel like it there should be plenty of scraps to provide a fairly varied diet to the corals along with the recommended doses of Kent Marine ChromaPlex. <I am not so sure this is a reef tank after your comments about the Eel. Please search through www.WetWebMedia.com for the key terms "Yellow Sarcophyton" and generally about reef tanks, lighting, and care of corals.> Thank you so much for you time and help. I love your site and always find a ton of helpful information! April <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Leather toadstool Hi Craig/WWM crew,<<Hi Jun!>> How are you guys doing? <<Sunny side up!>>Got a question. My leather toadstool (stalk) looks like it's shrinking. I've had this leather for over 2 weeks now. The crown and all the tentacles seems to be doing fine (tentacles are all out, I mean extended). Is this a sign of impending death for the coral? It is placed on the substrate of my system (have not moved it).  <<Hmm, is the rock/branch it's on big enough or is it overgrowing it? If your water, light, circulation is adequate it should be okay. They can turn, aim, move about quite a bit. AAMOF, mine is looking a little limp in the stalk in the grow out tank and I'm going to check it too!!! I think it might be the light so I'm going to give it the light it had before. When yours was at the LFS, what type of lighting did they have it under and how far from the light was it and how deep? You want to approximate that.>> And also, I impulsive bought a flower pot coral without reading about it first. I know shame on me. <<Uh oh...>>Anyway, I read all your FAQ's regarding this coral (flower pot) after I bought it. Because of all those horrifying stories regarding this kind of coral, I'm afraid to put it in my main tank. I put the coral in my QT and its not opening at all. With the infectious disease that it might cause (necrotic tissues and such), I am not planning on moving it in my main tank. Is this horrible or what? <<perhaps more necessary than horrible? Perhaps there is a club in your area with a member able to keep such corals?>>( I am going to research everything first before I acquire anything for my aquarium. I learned my lesson)  <<Do spread the good word>>  And lastly, I bought a cleaner shrimp 2 days ago and I found it dead yesterday (not even 24 hours). My water parameters are good, Ammonia 0, nitrites and nitrates are 0. What happened? Are cleaner shrimp very difficult to keep? Thanks again...Jun A. <<Ah yes, not difficult to keep, difficult to acclimate. Must be done very slowly exchanging water over several hours to avoid shock/stress. There is more on this at WWM. Craig>>

Re: leather toadstool Hi Craig Thanks for your prompt response. I really don't know what kind of light their (LFS) using (from the looks of it, its actinic but not as intense as my lighting). I have 4 96W URI VHO. The leather was situated at the bottom of their (LFS) tank (about 14-18 inch deep). My 90 gal tank's dimension is 36x24x24. Is the reason maybe that the toadstool is reaching for more light (stalk is fully extended) at my LFS and that my lighting is more intense that it doesn't have to be fully extended.  <<Maybe not. Maybe the added depth of your tank has him panning for more light. I would wait a bit and se how it reacts after only two weeks, if this continues I would probably move him up a couple inches and take note of any differences.>> Thank you for your advice regarding the shrimp's inquiry. Now I know what the problem is (I think). My acclimation process. I only put the bag in my tank for 20 min then put the shrimp directly into the tank without acclimating the poor crustacean with my tank's SG (man!!! I need to kick myself hard for this. I should know better, I read your acclimating process). Thank you so much for pointing out these stupid (am I allowed to use this word?) mistakes. What am I going to do without you guy's assistance/help and knowledge. Thanks again. Have a good day guy's.........Jun A <<Pretty common Jun. You will check the WWM next time, right? Have fun, Craig>>

Capnella "flopping" Dear Guys, Hope you  had a great holiday season.  I can't find anything on my situation in your archives.   <appreciate you looking... abroad, this dilemma falls under the category of Nephtheids deflating with most attention drawn to the aposymbiotic cauliflower corals> I have a large Capnella that has been doing well.  It has taken, however, to laying down on the substrate, often with different branches in different directions.  I thought perhaps it was attempting to attach, <at best a reproductive strategy... more likely duress> but it frequently changes where the branches are. Sometimes it goes upright again.  The polyps are open and otherwise it appears great.  However, my clam does not appreciate being draped.  Everything else is fine; parameters good.  Is this a problem or not?  Pam S. <likely a sign of stress... is there a very noxious coral nearby (within 6") like Colt coral, a Euphylliid (haller, octopus, torch, bubble), mushroom anemones or Starpolyp? Else, have you been weak on carbon use (not even monthly let alone weekly)... same neglect on water changes? I'm suspecting a noxious accumulation in the water from husbandry or allelopathy or both. Do send a picture if possible. Best regards Anthony>

Leather toadstools..... I have a leather toadstool I bought about a week ago and its still slumped over and closed. it also has a white slime coat hanging off of it. it still has its color and I have a good current passing through it so the slime coat is coming off, but I need to know if its slowly dying. what do I do???? thank you <You can "gingerly" pull at the slime coating to see if it's loose enough to slough off... and remove. This material is "natural"... but should be taken out. If the animal, water "smells bad" it is likely a good idea to remove the specimen. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/soft.htm and the links, FAQs beyond. Bob Fenner> Joel

Leather Coral I recently bought a leather coral and it has been healthy for the past week. it has been under metal halides and it has been doing great for the first week but today it has been all shriveled up and I don't know why. Do leather corals always do this to excrete something or is it getting too "tired" of being under metal halides? <Good observation, speculation... Leather Corals, soft corals period, do go into later stages of shock/adjustment to being moved... new conditions. Sometimes these are predictable, explainable events like "shedding"... often due to a lack of alkalinity, biomineral, feeding, iodide, vitamins, chemical competition in the system... maybe a parasite or predator bothering it... Please read through the Alcyoniid FAQs archived on our site here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniidfaqs.htm and closely observe your specimen, system further. Bob Fenner> -Thanks -Matt

Leather coral hi I have a leather coral that keeps tipping its self so it is leaning against a rock I have only had it for a few days the coral opens up but only tiny polyps are showing can the rock it is leaning on hurt the coral at all what should I thanks your help is really appreciated <Please read through the soft coral sections (articles and FAQs) stored on www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

New Aquarist Questions I have a Hippo, Sailfin and a Royal Gramma. I have 1 coral - A Hairy Leather. Everything was find with the hairy leather until...... I just fed the fish some blood worms and the Leather curled up like it was dying. It has come back to its usual form 5 minutes later. So I am turning to you for your expertise - any idea what is going on here???? <normal sensory response... some corals retract for minutes...others for days. No worries> Can you recommend a 3rd and 4th frozen food for these guys. 1. Formula Two 2. Spirulina Formula <3.Nori/Laver Seaweed and 4. Mysid shrimp/Pacifica plankton (tiny krill)> Thanks, Brad <You are quite welcome! Anthony>

Leather tipping (if the service is bad, don't give them a dime!) <Anthony Calfo in your service> I have a large leather (Sarcophyton) that is approximately 8 inches tall and for the past couple of weeks it has tipped all the way over to for a 90 degree angle with the rock that it is attached to. And over the period of the day it will straighten back up vertically. There is no determination or fowl smell on the leather. The water conditions are perfect and the only other coral that I have is a flowerpot sitting pretty close to it. I have 330 watts light for 110 gallon that is about 2-3 ft tall. They are a mixture of 10k and Blue actinic lights. Wondering if there is too much light hitting him cause he is about 6 inches from the top (just cause it is so tall). <not even close to being possible, my friend. In fact, if your fluorescent lamps are over 10 months old, I can assure you that inadequate light is contributing. As much as I like VHO fluorescent lamps, repetitive studies have shown that the useful life of such fluorescent bulbs is 6-10 months. That is a large part of the reason why metal halides are considered to be more economical. Sarcophytons grow largest under daylight colored metal halides> What could be the problem? Anything (worrying too much)? <if the behavior coincides with a day/night cycles (tipped at night) then it is rather normal. But if tipping by day, look for burrowing organisms around the stalk (hydroids, snails, crabs, etc)> 2nd question: I have read that you can cut the leathers to make new leathers pretty easily. Where do you cut the leather to do this?  <really tough to answer in short... but generally around the crown, perhaps a projecting lobe and preferably a piece with polyps. A quarter-sized division from the edge would be simple and safe> I read that it would be better to do it in a bucket or another tank and not in the show tank. Is this a true statement?  <absolutely... very important in my opinion> Should after you cut the leather should you do a Fresh water RO dip to help heal that cut? <never use RO water on any living aquatic marine creature...too pure and not buffered. Will kill more often than not. Just rely on good water quality and a little bit of iodine in the water (reef dose) as an antiseptic and to raise Re-Dox> Just more curious on how this great coral can do this and what it could do to the leather if performed. <Sarcophytons are one of the easiest corals to reproduce. Done correctly, it is very safe for the division and donor. Hmmm... do check out this WWM link <wink>: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bkcorlproprev.htm> Thanks. CV <thanks kindly, Anthony Calfo>

Colt Coral & Skunk Clown Good evening Anthony or Steve! I have a rather large Colt coral that my pink skunk clownfish has suddenly fallen in love with. I've had the coral for 4 or 5 months and the clown never noticed it until recently. Now the clown very rarely leave the coral. For the most part (which amazes me) the coral seem to be fine with this and sometimes it seems to be irritated (closed up on some branches that the clown is loving on). Is this normal <It is normal for clownfish to accept surrogate anemones in home aquaria.> and why all of a sudden did the clown fall in love? <It varies. Sometimes it takes weeks to months for a clownfish to take to a natural host anemone.> He/she is the only clown! Should I move the clown or the coral? <This unnatural behavior may be doing damage to the coral. It will depend on your particular animals, but moving the clownfish maybe in order if the Colt is staying closed for days at a time. -Steven Pro>

Wrasse Follow-up with a Coral Question Hello there, <Good morning.> I think I solved the mystery. The wrasse was just hungry! I have been feeding sparingly as I am still in the initial month of stocking and had clearly underestimated this fish's appetite. This evening I fed it some large krill and it wolfed them down whole until it was bulging and calmed right down. <Glad to hear it.> On another note, a recently introduced Lobophyton keeps skirting after a day or so of opening (fully and apparently very healthy). It has now done this three or so times i.e.. Open for a day, closed for three/four days. I have tried to move higher/lower and into current and out but don't seem to get him settled? Should I just leave him in "a" position for a few weeks to see if this works or keep moving? Any other thoughts? Tank stats below. <Please stop moving him around. I know it is difficult to resist that urge to do something when things do not look right, but forcing a coral to keep adapting to changing light is a very good way to kill it. Patience is the ultimate virtue in this hobby.> Many thanks, Jordon <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Leather Toadstool Hi Bob and crew, <Steven Pro in this morning.> I've got an interesting problem here...I've thoroughly researched your site and no one has really described this problem. I picked up this leather coral about 4 weeks ago ....(its the skin colored version, not the bright yellow one...the top of it resembles a mushroom cradle). I know its suppose to close up initially and reopen its polyps after 1-2 or maybe even three weeks. Well, that it did according to research. However, it closes up about 3 days after full expansion for another 3 days...then promptly sheds its mucous layer again and return to its previous glory (actually, sometimes it appears even bigger and more polyp expansion which really confuses me). I know this may not be a good thing even though it looks better and better each time. The better and better looks have reached its limit though since it has repeated this process more times then I can count. What is going on here guys? <Normal growth process, nothing to be worried about.> Here's the info on my tank. 40 gallon....super filtered (2 wet dry AquaClears and a Filstar XP1 external canister filter, working protein skimmer and a 402 powerhead along with another smaller powerhead...one on each side. water changes every 2 weeks very low nitrates 0 ammonia 0 nitrite good calcium and alk levels live rock with good coralline algae growth inhabitants are 2 false Perc clowns and a 2 in. yellow tang. corals : Green star polyps, several lavender tipped mushrooms, 1 large purple mushroom, green moonstone, a small maze brain, a small but rapid growing colony of xenia, 2 purple Capnellas and finally the leather itself. All corals are spread nicely apart with good distance between the aggressive and non-aggressive corals. <Agree, you have some pretty quick growing invasive corals. Is a bigger tank in your future?> I also run some carbon in one of the wet/dries. <Good, will help to counteract some of the allelopathy, chemical warfare between corals.> The only thing that is near the leather is a small pink and green cucumber but that thing never harms anything. The Leather is in a moderate to high water flow area half way up the tank. Finally, lighting is 150 watts of power compacts (50/50). Hope you guys can help just like you've had in the past. P.S. I would like to add a small flame angel into the tank....what do you guys think? <It is a rather hit and miss proposition. All of the Centropyges are capable of munching on some of your corals, just that some choose not to. Also, the Yellow Tang may not tolerate a Flame. Flame's are rather cryptic and not well prepared to defend themselves against a Yellow Tang's onslaught. -Steven Pro>

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