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FAQs about Health/Disease of Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae 1

FAQs on Alcyoniid Disease: Alcyoniid Health 1, Alcyoniid Disease 2, Alcyoniid Disease 3, Alcyoniid Disease 4, Alcyoniid Disease 5, Alcyoniid Disease 6, Alcyoniid Disease 7, Alcyoniid Disease 8, Alcyoniid Disease 9, Alcyoniid Health 10, Alcyoniid Disease 11, Alcyoniid Health 12, Alcyoniid Disease 13, Alcyoniid Disease 14, Alcyoniid Disease 15,
FAQs on Alcyoniid Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environment, Nutritional, Pathogenic (Infectious, parasitic), Predator/Pests, Social, Trauma, Treatments

Related Articles: Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae

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

Sick toadstool coral - parasite? Hi Crew, <Hey Matt> My toadstool coral appears sick. Please see attached pic. He closed up last week, and hasn't come back out since. <Not unlike a toadstool to do this, but.....> There are what appears to be bite marks on its flesh.  <Possible stinging, poisoning, or is a clownfish taking up residence in it> There is a Clarkii clown in the tank that has began living in the coral the last few months as though it were an anemone. <I see> Is it possible that he is responsible for the damage? <Yes. Clownfish do bite to stimulate the anemone at times. Check out our forums and ask around in there for more specific information. Keep an eye on the toadstool however, as it has been noted there are some mollusks that burrow into the crown or stalk of this coral and feed from the inside out. May look unsightly, but keep your water quality up and clean out the wound with a syringe or turkey baster and I feel the coral will make a full recovery. Sarcophyton corals are extremely hardy and resilient.> Or is there some other forces at work? <Possible. These corals are also known for closing shop for a few couple of weeks and shedding floc (chemical build-up, digested foodstuffs, etc.) during growth periods. Keep an eye on it and send us an update. Keep a journal if possible. You know, something to reference at a later time just in case you see something like this again. I just thought of something......... I remember Sally Joe over at Graford working to connect clownfish to Sarcophyton corals. Do some research on their site before calling them as they are with limited abilities, trying to save money. (Aren't we all) If you can't find anything specific to your situation then give Lionel a call. I am sure he can relate some stuff he has seen or has heard discussed around the shop. www.garf.org -Paul> Everything else in the tank is doing great. <Glad to hear> Cheers,  Matt
Sick toadstool reply - 7/31/03
Thanks for the reply - I'll check it out right away. <Very well> The coral has actually got quite poorly ..... it is now drooping over, actually bent (kinked) in the middle .... although it is trying to extend the polyps a little bit.  <This is actually a good sign. Is the clown still using this coral as a home? If so, I would remove the coral if possible. Keep the harassment to a minimum. Again if it is extending polyps (even if only partly) then there is hope. > I moved him to a position in the tank where he'll get a bit more water flow across him, <Careful> in hopes it might resuscitate him or something ..... though it hasn't made any difference.  <Keep an eye on it. Give it time and keep high water quality through a regular water change regime. Don't fuss with it much or move it around. Give it time> I'll take a look at that site and hopefully some one there will be able to help.  <Well, in my original email, I meant to do research and identify the interaction of corals and clownfish. More to help and identify if others have had any observations of bites taken out of their Sarcophytons by resident clownfish. There, unfortunately, is no magic recommendation to suddenly turn this corals health around. Water changes and remove every possible hazard as best you can is a good path to recovery. More help in the form of ideas is better though. Good luck -Paul> Cheers,  Matt
Toadstool recovery - 8/7/03
Dear Paul, <Yep, yep, yep> You asked me to keep you updated about the toadstool coral. <I did. Thanks for coming through, Matt!> Well, the last week or so he seems to be getting better. <Yeah. Very good to hear! I did a little research and the yellowish markings around where the damage took place is just a reaction from the coral (kind of like bruising.) Heals really quick. the actual chunks missing could be caused by a coral sting or a bite from a fish. (at least the damage looks consistent with my findings)> Although he hasn't opened up fully again, he is none-the-less opening up a lot more <A resilient coral indeed>.... I'd say he's opening about 60%. The only conclusion that I have come to, based on both my "notions" and on what other folks have said or suggested is this. The Clown took up residence in the coral. Clowns sometimes bite at anemones to 'stimulate' them. Why they do this I do not know, but apparently they do. So, when my mushroom shrunk up, as they naturally do once in a while (I am told), the clown started to bite what he thinks is an anemone in an attempt to make his "anemone" expand again. <As stated in our previous conversations> I just added 2 and 2 together and got 5!!! <Math is funny!> Assuming that the bite marks were damage and this was what caused it to contract ...... rather than the coral contracted and this is what caused it to be bitten. <More the latter, probably.> Now that it is starting to expand again, and I am assuming that there was in fact nothing wrong in the first place, I have relocated the toadstool to its original location - which no doubt will make it contract for the day. But in the mean time, in the last few days, when the coral was opening up again, the clown once again took up residence in it. <Yep. Need to keep an eye on this if not straight away remove the coral or the clown.> I am now fairly confident that the coral will open up again, and the minor damage caused by the clown will heal quickly and fully. <Absolutely.> Thanks for your input. I'll let you know if and when it has returned to its former glory - will send you a pic then of coral and resident clown. <Very good. Did you ever get a chance to talk with Leroy or Sally Jo Headley of GARF? they are very interested in this kind of surrogacy. Thanks for the update. This is a valuable email. Take care - Paul> Cheers,  Matt

Another Toadstool question - 11/10/03 I have a common toadstool coral.  The stalk is about 5" tall  and 1" in diameter.  About 10 days ago, while I was cleaning the glass, the magnet came loose and hit the stalk of the toadstool. <Ouch> Since that time, it has what appears as a "bruise" on its stalk which seems to be getting larger. <Keep an eye on it. Don't panic and don't move the coral>  The coral is bent over at the bruise point and doesn't seem able to stand upright. <just wait> For the first week after the accident, the polyps were closed and I didn't think it was going to survive. <A very hardy coral. Maintain water quality or maybe even increase water changes. Leave the coral be for a while.>  Now, it's polyps have opened, but he is still bent in half. <Give it time>  Is there anything I can do for it? <Leave it be. It may recover to an upright position and it may not. Either way it will likely survive the ordeal. You should see the "abuse" my several Sarcophytons have to endure (meaning cuttings for propagation) - Paul> Thanks

Collapsing Coral And Rising Nitrate  Hi,  <Hi there! Scott F. here today>  I talked to ya'll last week. I now have finger leather that looks like its insides have been sucked out of it. It is just lying there almost flat and is a brownish color. It had been looking so good.  <It might be history...Not to be too premature here, but it may be beyond salvaging at this point. You could potentially try cutting out any salvageable parts of the colony and placing them in on rubble to re-attach... The reason for this collapse is not entirely understood. Eric Borneman, in his book "Aquarium Corals", suggests that salinity variations, physical trauma, or injury may play roles in this condition>  Now I never did find that thing that was on my mushroom leather that you thought might be some kind of Nudibranch.  <Hmm...the "thing" might have been the source of the "trauma"?>  Also there is something on my rock that I have just noticed in the last few days. It is shaped kinda like a mushroom, they are really small, the stalk is so small I can hardly see it and the round top is a lot smaller that a dime maybe the size of the tip of a small persons finger. I can't tell the color of the stalk very well but it appears to be kinda a brownish color, the round top has little things standing up all around its edge and these and the top is clear. If my shrimp or fish get close to them they suck themselves back into the rock and you can't see the at all, you wouldn't even know there had been something there.  <Hmm, I'd love to see a photo and I could attempt an ID on this animal>  I did another 10% water change and vacuumed Sunday, my nitrate is still high around 60 I can't seem to get it to go down and stay everything else seem to be ok.  <Well, consistent water changes over time, combined with solid husbandry techniques (skimming, use of chemical filtration media, etc.) over time will do the trick. Initial, larger changes can help get things started>  I really need some help and I hope you guys can tell me what to do. Like I have told you I am just starting and I love my little ocean friends and want to really take care of them.  <Keep reading up on the WWM site concerning nutrient control and export techniques, and you'll see the water chemistry factors improve>  My sail fin tang ate out of my hand the other day; I thought that was really cool.  <Gotta love that!>  If I could just get my leather healthy and nitrate under control and these other things.  <Hope I gave you some places to start!>  Thank so very much, Teri  <My pleasure, Teri! Let us know if we can be of further assistance! Regards, Scott F>

Sick (Dead) Toadstool? 3/13/04 Hi all, <Hi Kevin, Adam here. Sorry for the slow reply.> I have spent quite a bit of time looking for an answer to my question but have not run across a specific answer to date. On Feb. 19 (2 weeks+ ago) I received a rock with several Xenia groupings, two types of mushrooms and a toadstool.  In bringing the rock home the toadstool seemed to have shed a waxy outer layer and the Xenia appeared 'burnt' in areas.  The toadstool extended polyps for a couple of days and then appeared to go dormant and slouch over. <All sounds quite normal after being moved.> The Xenia disintegrated several days later and I cut them back quite close to the base rock.  Since then the Xenia have started sprouting new arms throughout all of the areas that were cut back but the toadstool is inactive and the stalk is slowly taking on the colour of a bruise.  I enclose two photos. <The coral doesn't look good, but as long as it doesn't start turning to mush or losing tissue, I would tough it out.  These animals often take many weeks to recover from insults.  If it stays in this state for more than a couple of weeks, despite water changes, etc., I would consider moving it to another tank.  I have seen several cases where Sarcophytons suffer for months despite every effort only to quickly recover after being moved to another tank.> Parameters are: SG        1.024 Temp     77 PH         8.2 Amon     0 NO3       0-trace Phos      0-trace Alk         4.5 Calc       300 (attempting to bring up) The tank is a small 38 gallon with approx. 75 lbs. live rock, 12 times volume turnover per hour, 96 watt actinic (13 hrs) & 96 watt 10K (12 hrs). Dosing with strontium & iodine. <I would withhold the Sr and I for a couple of weeks.  These are both easily overdosed and the experience of many aquarists who never supplement them proves that with regular partial water changes, they are not necessary.> Is this toadstool gone?  How long should I wait to further signs of life?  Thanks for the great resource.  Kevin <I would perform a couple of 25% water changes, hold the Sr and I and see how it does, but don't give up yet!  Best Regards.  Adam>

Sufferin' Sarcophyton? (Leather Coral Staying Closed) I have a Toadstool with pretty long "tentacles" and I have had it for maybe 3 months.  It always came out really nice, then within the last 3 weeks it has not come out at all.  I have other Toadstools with no problem and other corals in my tank that are doing fine.  Do you have any suggestion what could be wrong.  I have a 55 gal tank with 4 65 watt power compacts. Thanks, Karen <Karen, I'm assuming that you're referring to a "Toadstool Leather Coral", Sarcophyton. If this is the coral that you're referring to, I wouldn't worry too much just yet. These corals are well-known for their behavior of "closing up" for periods of time while they shed a waxy organic coating. Sometimes, they can remain closed up for many days. Given good quality water conditions and proper lighting, they will often re-emerge to their former glory. Just make sure that the tissue is still firm and not necrotic. In fact, I just experienced this phenomenon for the first time myself on a two-year-old specimen that I purchased from IPSF. If this is really a cause for concern, do run a check of your basic water parameters, and consider the possibility that some environmental factor might have suddenly changed. Or, there is always the possibility of allelopathic competition (i.e.; "chemical warfare") with another coral nearby. Hopefully, it will simply be another case of the "sloughing" phenomenon discussed above. Keep an eye on things, and don't give up. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Necrotic Sinularia damage? I have a 3.5” tall Sinularia that that has grown large enough that it has started to rub on a small chunk of rock that sticks up next to it. Where the tissue is rubbing, there is a small black spot appearing, maybe 3/8” long by 1/8” high. The location of this occurrence is about ?” up from where the coral attaches to the rock. <yikes... the black necrosis can be quickly threatening to the coral and perhaps other corals in he tank. o address by cutting/pruning off the excess coral promptly> After perusing the archives, I have found two approaches to take here. 1) Cut the base of the coral, above the damage, straight through and reattach to a new rock. 2) Try to excise the bad material and watch to see if the coral heals ok. What is the current thought on this type of problem? <the latter at first and the former if necessary to follow> Thanks for you time. Don <best regards, Anthony>

Will my leather coral pull out of a high temperature incident? HI, I accidentally turned my tank up to 30 degrees centigrade for about 12 hours several days ago. Since then, my leather coral has been drooping and developing holes and it seems to be getting worse rather than better. << Not surprising, but unfortunate. >>Do you think its dying and if so should I remove it as soon as possible? << I would frag a few of the larger branches, in hopes of saving it.  I wouldn't just throw it out, as I think many leather corals can make remarkable come backs. >> Thanks <<  Blundell  >>

Distressed Leather? (Removing An Aiptasia From a Leather Coral) Greeting WetWeb Crew! <Hi there! Scott F. here tonight!> Kudos to you all, for the time and effort that is put into this site. It helps people like me to better enjoy and appreciate this great hobby. <We're thrilled to be here for you...We have as much fun answering your queries as we do playing with our fish!> I've been reading your site now for about a year and have a 90 gallon marine tank for almost as long. My question is about a beautiful new mushroom leather coral I just purchased -Sarcophyton. The crown is about 4 to 5 inches across and is attached to an approximately 2 inch thick "stalk", about 3 or 4 inches long. On the very bottom the stalk is a piece of rock about the size of a quarter. Wedged in-between this piece of rock and the coral are a couple of nasty Aiptasia. Eeek!! If I am very careful, with a sharp scalpel, or Exacto-knife, could I or should I slice a very thin layer of the coral just above the rock, taking the Aiptasia with it? <I have experienced a similar occurrence with a Sarcophyton, and was surprised how easy it was to remove the Aiptasia without damaging the coral. The base of the Sarcophyton is surprisingly "tough", and you can practically scrape the anemone off of the coral without damaging it.> If so, what treatment should follow? <My best advice is to simply maintain very good water quality after this "procedure"> I have read in Anthony's Coral Propagation book that these corals are quite forgiving. I value your advice. What do you think?   Thanks in advance,  Brenda. <They are very forgiving! As Anthony and others have implied, you can practically run 'em through a blender and end up with a new coral. However, they do deserve the highest level of care we can offer, so try to be careful when conducting this "operation". Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Sufferin' Sarcophyton > Hi y'all, > << Hi, Blundell here. >> > In a 6-month old reef tank I have Zoanthids and a Sinularia that are > thriving (twice pruned, still monstrous), but my Sarcophyton elegans > is not feeling well at all. > The problems started when I had to move S. elegans in order to remove a > rock in hopes of catching a suspected mantis shrimp (false alarm, as it > turned out). Anyway the rock was replaced and the coral returned to its > former position but has never forgiven me for it. In my haste to > capture the "mantis" I was a bad aquarist and did not use gloves though > I tried not to contact the coral directly. > (The Sinularia is quite massive when fully extended but even then its > closest branches are 6-8" away from the Sarcophyton.) > OK, now it's been a month since the rock move and the coral remains > discolored and slightly necrotic in places around the edges. It does > open during the day, though not as fully as before, and interestingly, > the polyps only extend on the portions of the coral that are > discolored. << I would increase the water flow around the coral. >> I > have administered a 10-minute Lugol's dip (in aquarium > water). This seemed to cheer it up just a little. I have been trying to > trim and/or siphon off necrotic spots in situ -- the bad spots are only > about 1-2 mm across and I don't want to move the coral again unless I > have to. << Yes, I would wait and not try to do too much. >> > So my next move is probably going to be a freshwater Lugol's dip -- in > case of parasitic infection. There are one or two brownish areas on the > stalk but I don't know enough to declare them Planaria .. or anything > else... with any certainty. << I don't think I would do the dip.  That > seems quite stressful to me. >> Yes...it was. After sending my last message, the next day the coral seemed worse. So I'm sorry to say that I tried a pH- and temp-adjusted dip. The next day (this morning) the coral was in shock and seemed possibly dead. Grey flesh, completely closed up. However the tissue was not soft at all but quite firm. Coral rigor mortis? << It is possible the tissue is contracting, and you can feel the corallites. >> I think the whole animal is dead but in desperation I fragged the whole thing and placed the frags at different locations in the tank. << Not a bad idea. That is what I would do. >> Will monitor. An earlier frag I had taken is still doing fine, BTW. > Any advice? << I would certainly do some fragging.  It is amazing how > often a mother colony dies off in our aquariums, but thankfully the > cuttings in the same tank go unaffected.  I would certainly do some > fragging and share with friends. >> I'm enclosing before and after > photos. > Thanks once again -- John > <<  Blundell  >> Thanks for your input. I should have waited a day...once again haste makes waste in the aquarium. I suck! << Don't worry about it, I make mistakes all the time, just advising what I think I would do.  Hope things get better. >> - John <<  Blundell  >>

Yellow Sarcophyton not looking good - 4/16/03 I am at a lost as to why this coral is not doing well in my tank. <Lots of reasons... not the least of which may not be your tank at all but something that occurs with Sarcophytons Let's take a look.....> Any advice is appreciated. <I will do my best. Paul at your service> My tank is a 20 gallon micro reef that has been running for about 3 months. I've been in the hobby on and off for quite some time. The lighting for this tank consists of 100 watts of 5500k metal halide and 40 watts of actinic. Water parameters are as follows: salinity 1.023-1.024 at 77 degrees F. PH 8.0-8.1 Alkalinity 3.0-3.5 meq/l. Calcium 410-430 ppm. Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate levels at '0'. Water circulation is good. <Well, I'll take good as meaning that there is a slight moderate flow over it. Hehheh =)> The tank has about a 3 inch layer of substrate on the bottom , 25 lbs. of live rock and a good protein skimmer. The other corals in the tank; pulsing xenia, green star polyp, Blastomussa, Ricordea mushroom, and 3 clams are all doing very well. <Sounds like an awesome tank> I've had this yellow leather for about 3 weeks. <Yellow corals are sometimes known to be the least hardy in the Sarcophyton species but still a pretty hardy coral in my experience> The 1st week it was doing well, but since then it has not been a happy camper. During the day it is not extended, instead it is shriveled and blotchy looking, and appears to be shedding. <this is very normal for a Sarcophyton to not open and extend its polyps, then shed a mucous coat. This shedding is thought to help keep contaminants and detritus from building up on the crown as well is sometimes related to growth.> I've tried various lighting intensities and played around with water current. I also recently ran carbon for about 24 hours. <Not a bad idea to run carbon most of the time in my opinion. I am thinking just "let it be" "let it be" (great song) Let it go through the shedding process and give it up to two weeks to a month in some cases to come around. Use a soft tooth brush occasionally to keep nuisance algae growth from taking over the coral and to help with the shedding.> Nothing so far has made a difference. I should also add that 10 percent weekly water changes ( natural sea water) from local pet shop, are performed on tank. <Wonderful!> This coral is not being harassed by any of the other inhabitants. <Sounds like you are a very observant and a very Conscientious Marine Aquarist. I have many of the various Sarcophytons in my tanks and have noticed this behavior a great many times and I employ the same technique of waiting and lightly scrubbing the crown occasionally. Usually my corals will come around about a week or two later. Sometimes less sometimes more. If everything you tell me is true, I think your coral will be fine provided the coral itself is just not stressed from collection but even with that it will probably recover. Give it time, that is what I would do. I would do my best to not move or muck with it any further as you could be stressing the coral further. These are very hardy corals for the most part. (especially the captive bred/propagated type.)> I think I've covered everything. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks, Chris. <Leave it be and keep me informed of any changes, mate. Paul> --- Chris Reynders

Sick colt coral 3/2/03 Good evening, What would be happening to my colt coral, Tuesday it was large and very healthy looking. temp. 79degs,nitrite 0.00, nitrate 20, ph 8.2, salt 1.24. Having not changed anything. Skimmer running all the time, collecting some. check out pics and reply please!!!! <the coral looks irritated... but it could really be anything from a minor catalyst to impending self0destruction or infection. There are many factors to cause this. If you've had the coral for ore than 6 months, but have no refugium or little algae growth... it may be starving from the lack of phytoplankton. Or... another coral nearby might finally be winning the silent chemical war... any mushroom anemones, Starpolyps or LPS coral nearby? When in doubt, do a water change and consider all aspects of husbandry that may have strayed or changed. Anthony>

Lobophytum Issues - 4/11/03 Greetings guys <Hiya. Paul doin' my best>... I have a new Lobophytum (purchased 3/23/03) in my tank. Up until tonight it had been expanded nicely, and a beautiful golden/pink/brown color, with polyps coming out whenever I checked on it. Tonight, within about an hour, this coral shrank to about half it's original size, and turned an equally beautiful shade of purple. <Does happen if something mucked with it or touched it recently. Are other corals near? Fish? Sometimes does happen. Since you sent this a few days ago, has the situation changed at all?> The only thing that has changed in my tank is that on 4/6, I began to drip Kalk to help raise my calcium levels. <Could have something to do with it being so low and then going up, but likely would have noticed a change in the coral relatively soon after the addition of Kalk not a few days later. How are ya' doin' on your water changes?> I've been using B-Ionic (60 ml/day, each part) for a few months. The tank was started on 10/4/02 with live rock. I began to add fish and corals on 2/16. They consist of two clowns and a yellow tail damsel. The other corals are a small candy cane, and some green star polyps. Water param.s tonight: Temp - 80.2 pH 8.2 SG 1.025 Ammonia 0.0 Nitrite 0.0 Nitrate 0.0 Phosphate 0.0 Calcium 310 <LOW!!!!!> KH 9 <A little low> A little more background - I'm skimming with an ETSS 800 Gemini with an Iwaki 55RLT. Water is turned over by a T4 (about 1100 gal/hr) plus 2 300 gph power heads pulsed on and off randomly. Any thoughts about the devils hand that so radically turned? <Hard to say> Is this a recoverable situation or have I lost it? <very likely not lost at all. Water changes, time may be all the difference. Let me know what you find, and how it turns out> Thanks in advance. <Look to hear from you soon. Thanks for your question and sorry for the lack of a definitive answer, but hard to say. I would not want to put it all on the Kalk. My Lobophytum will sometimes change appearance and shape after tank cleanings, or if something touched it (darn hermits) etc. Keep an eye on it and let me know if it returns back to normal. Pablo> D.T.
Lobophytum follow-up - 4/11/03
Thanks a lot for your reply. <Sorry for its lateness> Since I wrote to you in a panic that night, the lobo has changed for the better. <Well, I figured it would> Just before I went to bed that night, I peeked in again, and thought that it seemed to be a little fuller looking, but didn't want to get my hopes up. The next morning, it was looking 95% better, and last night it's back to it's old self. <Yeah either something bumped it (from a snail on up) It's polyps are out and looking good. <Very well> It is next to a candy cane coral, and the fish do have access to it. <Hmmmmm> Maybe a sweeper from the candy cane touched it? <Could be. I would keep an eye on it if you think there might be a problem.> I don't know. In the rec.aquaria.marine.reefs group, a couple of guys said that their Lobophytum do a similar thing once in a while, but then come back to normal. <I, too, have had similar experiences.> I'm relieved. <Cool> Thanks again for your reply. <My pleasure and sorry for its tardiness> I enjoy your site and trust your answers. <Thank you for your question. Paul> Sincerely Dave Town

Sarco's acting funny... Hi I have a toadstool leather coral that I bought about 4 days ago. Since I placed it, it has been retracting and coming back every few hours. <First off, never expect a coral (especially a Sarco.) to behave normally in the first week or so as it acclimates to the lighting and the new environment.> Now it is out, but the edge has started to turn white.  it's where it looks like it has been cut. <That rock flower anemone looks mighty close to it, could it be getting stung by it?> The store told me to put it in indirect lighting, and low in the tank.  Does it need to be moved, or just get used to the lighting? <I'd move it away from the rock flower. You'll need to give it time to acclimate to the lighting again.> Right above it is a green mushroom coral and on the left a rock anemone.  could it be that it is to close?  I am sending a picture to show where is , Any advice would be a big help. <Good luck with it! -Kevin> Thanks Corey

Leather Coral feeling poorly! 6/11/03 Hi Anthony, Hope you and all the crew are well! If you don't mind I have need of your advice again. <cheers, Jenny... good to hear from you> If you remember I asked you a while ago about the hard cancerous patch in the centre of my toadstool leather coral. It had been caused by my two percula clowns constantly swimming and living in the corals polyps. You didn't think at the time that it would be harmful but now there seems to have developed a big deep hole in this calcareous patch and the coral is very unhappy. <interesting... and indeed in need of address.> There are also yellow spots/small patches appearing in places on the coral, these show up clearly because the coral is hardly extending it's polyps now where as before they were always out. The coral is also shrinking in size and I wondered if there is something I can do to stop this determination. <clearly the coral and clowns need to be separated. I personally have never liked clowns in a reef aquarium... they often take even less suitable hosts like LPS corals and kill them. Yet... if you are attached to the clowns, we might simply pull the leather and hope they take a cave next> Everything else in the tank appears to be fine and the only parameter that is not as it should be is the ongoing phosphate problem I have always had and that is gradually diminishing with regular RO water changes. I don't think this is the problem though as this coral has lived happily in this environment for a very long time. <agreed... re: such hardy leathers & phosphate> I think the clowns have caused the damage and am thinking of trading them in but wondered This coral can be revived. <yes... easily> Have you any suggestions that might help? <worst case scenario, the necrotic patches can be cut out with a razor or scalpel> There have been no new additions of either fish or inverts to this tank in the last 6 months and it gets regular water changes of about 15% every 2 weeks. <all good :) > Many Thanks - Jenny P.S Do you know when the new book is going to be dispatched? I'm really looking forward to it arriving! <yes... very soon my friend. They have trucks scheduled to begin shipping it in the US the last week of this month. Hoping you'll see your arrive by airmail to UK early July <G>! Kind regards, Anthony>

Leather coral troubles - 4/5/04 Hello- I tried posting this first, but no response..... My leather coral (looks like an upside down mushroom) had been drooping for about a week when I realized that he wasn't going to make it back to upright. I have had him for about a year and a little yellow goby had lived with him the whole time. The goby would perch on top and survey the tank. <this is a Sarcophyton correct?> Anyway, yesterday I took a glove and moved him to get a better look and saw that he was going necrotic on me. <Hmmmmm> I immediately took him out with some tank water and added some iodine all into my girlfriends Tupperware and cut off most of his stalk, which was decomposing. I sewed him up to a rock and he actually looked better with polyps a little extended. <Good move in my opinion> It seems that although the polyps are still extended the death is still spreading. Should I cut him down more? <Hard to say without seeing it but if the necrosis seems to be spreading then cut it about a 1/2 inch above the necrotic area> There were no parasites in his stalk. <Weird. Sounds like one to me> All water parameters are all good. Everything else in the tank is all good, from pulsing xenia to clams... Oh yes, there are no corals next to him or even close to him. <Excellent. Look through our FAQS on our site if you haven't already> The closet inhabitant next to him was a sponge that was about 4" from his base. <Well, never know. Sponges can be aggressive as well but probably not the issue though> thanks, <Good luck ~Paul> Miguelito Arias

Ripped Finger Leather stock Bob and/or Crew, Thanks for all the great work you do. I have gained a lot of knowledge through reading through the Q&A and the daily Q&A on the web site. However I was not prepared to come home from work and find that my finger leather has ripped. The two stocks have some what, not completely, ripped apart.  <by what action? Important to know.. water quality, age (natural branchlet dropping), imposed attack, etc> The finger leather was on a small frag of rock which I left it on and put it in the substrate, I probably should have attached it to a large rock now in hind sight.  <no biggie> One stock of the finger leather is attached to the rock I set it next to, the other is now kind of just dangling there. Picture attached but it is not clear and the battery just died in my digital camera.  <alas... no help: not clear> For the stock that is dangling should I cut it from the other stock and find a good rock for it or is there something else I should do.  <do cut with sharp scissors or a razor. Then simply stitch with a needle and nylon thread to another rock. Keep handling to a minimum (latex gloves recommended)> The finger leather has grown quite a bit since I purchased it about 5 month ago. As always thanks for your insight and help. TTFN Sean <heehee... ready for my Book of Coral Propagation yet <smile>. With kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

Colt coral combustion! Good evening gentleman! A strange thing happened this evening involving a colt coral and I want to get your thoughts... Tonight I noticed that a colt coral in my tank looked deflated around the main stalk. Further observation showed that apparently the branches were separating from the main stalk.  <Ahhh, yes... self destruction. Not always as bad as it sounds... sometimes like now perhaps it appears to be strategic. A stress induced strategy of propagation. Animal dissolves at forks in the branches and frags drift to a (hopefully) better spot> Polyps were still extended and it really didn't look that bad. It just looked a little unhappy. When I picked up the coral to check it out, several of the long beautiful branches simply floated away in the current across the aquarium. After my wife stopped screaming (sheesh) I picked up the coral and gave it a closer examination. The "nose" test showed that the coral is not in a state of overall decay and neither are the branches. In the middle of the main stalk, at the point where the branches begin to separate from the main stalk, there was a necrotic ball. I scraped it out very easily and the hole that it left looks very clean.  <hmmm... could simply have been an infected spot from minor damage/attack/nibbling> I am planning to mount the loose branches and sew the main stalk back to its' base.  <excellent... the best method for attaching this creature> I am surmising that the necrotic spot in the center of the stalk was caused from sediment deposit in that area.  <indeed possible, but a sign of poor water movement in the tank of so> I am led to believe this because there was lots of sand in this spot. What do you think?  <agreed... a likely possibility> Should I just optimize water conditions and let this incident go?  <yes... with close observation and improved water flow> Do you think the branches will make it through this traumatic experience? <easily yes> Possible mitigating factors: B-ionic was started a month ago.  <a fine product... be sure to shake vigorously before each use (calcium part stratifies and imbalance of dosing can occur with such liquid products> I add about 60 ml.s a day before the lights come on. The coral was moved at about the same time the B-ionic was started. ammonia- Always 0 nitrite- Always 0 nitrate- Nearly 0 Ca- 280 <definitely a bit low... get into the 300s approaching 400ppm Ca. Kalkwasser will be fine> dKH- about 7.4 ph- 8.0-8.4 lights- 420 watts of VHO. Bulb are a year old and I have ordered new ones. Current configuration: 1 50/50, 1 Aquasun, 1 actinic. Circulation: approximately 1300-1400 gph. <also... colt coral are one of the few coral believed to feed well on phytoplankton. Do consider a planted refugium or liquid supplement to feed this coral for optimal health> Thanks for your time and energy! Dave <our great pleasure. Anthony and WWM>

Leather Coral Hi there! My leather coral has been in good health - showing nice polyp extension and a fair amount of growth as well. Recently the polyps have contracted and the coral has remained like that for a number of days now. Everything else in the tank still seems to be fine - is this normal behavior? <Yes, it is not unusual for leather-type corals to remain closed for a while and shed a waxy layer.> If so, how long can I expect it to continue - or do I need to be concerned? <In a couple more days all should return to normal. Watch out for that waxy material. You do not want it to fall and settle on another coral. It is rather noxious.> Your insights will be greatly appreciated. <You can search for additional information using the Google search tool on www.WetWebMedia.com> Thanks, Hilton
<You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Green Finger problem (?) Hey Gang, how you doin'? well I hope. <very fine with thanks> I finally got some clear pics. of a green finger coral  in hopes that someone might be able to diagnose the base of this beauty, I don't have any experience on what the appropriate course of action should be. <a very common problem with "colored" leather corals. They are very sensitive to handling. Please avoid touching them with a bare hand at all times. Handle only the base or tissue with gloved hands otherwise> Its been in my tank for three days, and the base looks worse by the day. <it is highly infectious although looks mild here so far> It looked nice at the store (a little frayed at the base) though I probably shouldn't have purchased,  but, I reckon hind sight don't apply here. Thanks for the Your friend in Denver, Scott <simple solution here. Have a VERY sharp razor blade or scalpel ready. A needle with clean nylon thread (or fishing line) ready and waiting to stitch too. A piece of small rock or rubble as well. Move 3/4-1" above the highest necrotic area of the base of the stalk. Cut clean and fast through the animal. You must wear gloves and keep the procedure down to a minimum time of handling. After the cut, look at the exposed trunk and be sure that you cleared the soft and necrotic area... if so, run a stitch or two through the base (no more than an inch from the bottom) and tie it off to a piece of rock. Return it to the exact same place it was in the tank and do not touch it for weeks. Maintain strong water flow and very aggressive skimming in the tank. Small daily doses of iodine may be therapeutic for the tank too (not extra iodine... just your weekly dose broken down to daily). Best regards, Anthony>  
Re: Green Finger problem (?) Thanks for the info, it will be easier for me to perform this, "MASH 4077" style surgery, out of the water. Will these be ok? <yep... it all takes mere seconds> Just one clean cut, eh. <correct> Is the corals tissue tough to cut thru, like muscle? or, will it be like a hot knife thru butter? <rather in between... the tissue is quite soft but infused with calcareous spicules> (just paged my head nurse to the emergency room, stat!) Wish me luck, we're goin' ............Thanks, Scott   <Banzai! Or is it bonsai? Both I suppose. Best of luck! Anthony>

Past & Present, Green Finger Coral - 7/14/03 Hello & top of the day! <to you as well my friend> Anthony, I hope you don't mind seeing progressive photos of a green finger coral you helped me "fix" back in January of '03. <a pleasure to see> Do you remember the "Mash 4077th" emergency surgery you talked me thru? <yep... I do recall... carving out the necrotic area at the base as it were> As my very first coral, this beauty has nearly doubled its size twice over! The series of pictures began in mid January & ends 7-13-'03 (the pic with the shrimp on it!) <much appreciation for sharing, mate.... do need to ask you to send non-zipped files, and shrunk in size for us to view/post (low-med res jpegs)> Every time I look at the coral, I want to call ya and say thanks for teaching  me all you have in the course of this tank. What better way than to let you see for yourself how the coral is doing! Many thanks, again for your knowledge & willingness to share with the hobby. Peace & incense, Stormbringer. <its truly redeeming and inspiring to hear my friend. Keep on truckin! Anthony>

Colt Sickness Dear Mr. Fenner: I was hoping you could shed some light on a problem I have regarding my colt coral. My 125 gallon aquarium has been set up for at least a year now and was doing wonderful! I have a colt coral that has grown beautifully, but around 2 months ago I did a water change of about 25-30% and it has not expanded as much as it used to. <Best to use pre-made, stored replacement water...> Then on top of it not expanding nearly as much, it is now getting white on several branches, not exactly pasty though. Recently I bought a Sarcophyton elegans and it was placed near the colt coral, say 6 inches or so apart at least. <This could be a/the problem...> In your Questions and Answers page they mentioned something like my situation and said it could be chemical warfare between the two.  <Yes> Obviously my colt is losing the battle badly now! I know lighting isn't an issue because it expanded beautifully before. Any thoughts on what my next steps are for my colt coral? <At least physically space them more... and add activated carbon to your filter flow path> My nitrates and ammonia are zero, PH is 8.3, and my Salinity is 1.024. Should I sever the white branches and hope for the best in another area? <Not just yet... do you have another tank to move the Sarcophyton to?> I will appreciate any advice you can give me and I thank you in advance! If I left any information additional information out that you would need, I would have no problem providing it. Thank you very much, James <Do at least move the two apart, use a chemical filtrant for organics. Bob Fenner>

Colt coral ?'s Hello Mr. Fenner, I hope today finds you well rested, fed, and lively. Oops, I'm talking like you're one of my many pets, or children, or something. <Woof!> My colt coral is weird (for lack of a better term). Let me start off by saying I love this coral. It is tall and proud, and I thought ready for some propagation. I think I jinxed it though b-cuz as soon as I started trying to decide where to cut, I noticed an area that was turning whitish. This area comprises about 5% or less of the entire animal, and does not appear to be sloughing off. Also, it does not appear to bother the animal as it is still looking quite majestic and has full polyp extension. <Might be worthwhile to go ahead with the propagation exercise and discard the apparently mal-affected area.> My H2O tests OK, the only number I'm not sure of is the alkalinity. It is about 9dKH. <This is fine... would be better at 12-15... but no problem> I added some super buffer (alkalinity booster) to bring it back up to acceptable levels (I was told it should be 12-15 dKH) <Oh!> Is this something that commonly happens with colt corals, or should I be concerned for the animals health.  <Happens, but I would be concerned...> Also, should I be doing any concentrated feedings for this animal. <Yes... at least once a week, twice is better> I was told by the LFS that it got most nutrition from the PC lighting. On that note, I've got 4X55w PC. I think this is enough. <Mmm, I suggest whoever told you this try to get all their nutrition from standing underneath 4X55 watt PC's> On a different note, I'd like to culture some purposeful macro-algae in my tank but am having a bear of a time locating any locally (Sacramento, CA area).  <What? There's a few great stores around there. Do you participate with the local marine club? Here's their link: http://www.marineaquarist.org/ Contact them, ask for names, addresses, directions, advice... there are folks who have a bunch of Macroalgae going themselves in their membership... Mention my name (ho boy!)... as they put up with my visits regularly> If there is anyone in the area who has an abundance I'd love to take a little off their hands. I remember on previous systems having to prune that stuff back weekly. Thank you very much for your feedback. You're a true asset to the marine/FW hobby. <Glad to be here. Bob Fenner> Jason Harris

Help (soft coral injury) last night I stupidly moved my new Sarcophyton to a place which I thought would be a better spot I woke up in the morning and it was leaning against a rock and the part that was against the rock had being worn away is this normal? <Normal? Worn away? No> its only being an 1hr or so but should the coral have opened already or could it be dead? <Likely not dead.... maybe move it back to where it was. Bob Fenner>

Leather coral Mr. Fenner, I started building a reef setup about a year and a half ago. I only started stocking my coral in the last six months. I tried to learn to create a stable environment before I took a stab at stocking the coral I want. <A wise move> I have a 125 gallon reef w/ 40gallon refugium and 25 gallon sump, AquaC skimmer and four MJ powerheads on a wave/light timer. All is going well. My water is doing wonderful with the help of my Knop Ca reactor. Ammo. NO2 & NO3 are all zero. I have 150lbs of live rock and a 4" DSB that is very active. <Outstanding> I have as of right now a frogspawn, hammer (no where near each other), red and blue mushrooms (no where near anything that they could sting) two open brains and some pulsing xenia. My next move up was keeping some leathers. I bought a finger leather as well as a toadstool. I have heard how it can take quite some time for them to acclimate to a system after transport. The two I have mentioned I have kept for two months now. They are mid way in the rock work, getting a moderate to strong (at times) water flow. I do make sure to have a good food source for them, and dose with DT often. They are under 384watt PC lights on 12hrs a day. To be blunt they look like death warmed over. I have attached a picture of my toadstool leather. I have been told not to move them because it will cause it to have to acclimate all over again. It made sense so I stepped back and let them get use to the tank. I am feeling like a failure at giving the care these corals need to do well. Could just suggest any course of action I could take to help these leathers? Or should I sit back and let them be. <Mmm, two months is way long enough for these soft corals to "recover" from shipping. Do you add iodide to your water at all? You mention phytoplankton, but do you feed any meaty foods to these two? I would.> Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope the attachment will be clear enough for you to decipher. Take care <Please do read through the scant materials posted on WetWebMedia.com re Alcyoniids (including the FAQs) and respond re the feeding and Iodide questions. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>
Re: Leather coral
<Hmm, actually your photo/Sarcophyton looks okay. Please refer your situation to our Chatforum: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ Anthony, are you here? Bob Fenner>

Another Sarcophyton Question. General Health hi Robert I have had a leather coral for about 3 weeks now and its polyps have partly extended but they look no where near as good as the pictures I see of leather corals on the internet my water levels are all good am I doing anything wrong <Could be... that the animal is just new... could be food, competition, parasitic issues... likely alkalinity, pH, biomineral involvement. Please read over the stinging-celled life sections on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Sarcophyton woes Hi Bob! <Anthony Calfo in your service> I have had a toadstool leather (appears to be Sarcophyton trocheliophorum) in my 55 gallon tank for about 2 months. It has been happy and healthy as far as I can tell, in fact it is looking better than it did at the fish store! I recently noticed white spots on the trunk. Some are smaller than a dime and others are larger and more oval. I have used a turkey baster to blow off some loose skin in the area, but these spots appear to be spreading. This morning I blew off some algae that was growing at the base and underneath it the trunk was completely white. I took it out of the water and gave it a smell test and everything smells fine, no rotten egg smell.  <and the tissue isn't necrotic/eroding?> I also noticed that the white spots appear to turn light brown, and I can blow this off to reveal the white spot underneath. There aren't any of these spots on the top of the coral and the polyps are opening fine. I have read all my books and searched the internet, but I can't find anything that really describes this.  <could be the equivalent of a mucosal tunic (shedding/sloughing waste compounds through growth)> It does not appear to be moving across like a front, nor it is it moving rapidly. I noticed the first spots probably about 2-3 weeks ago. Each spot appears to be an isolated spot. Nothing else in the system is affected. Here's the lo-down on the tank: 55 gallon with wet/dry filter, replaced bioballs with live rock. 4 55 watt PC's 2 actinic 2 daylight Ph 8.2 NH3 0 NO2 0 NO3 <5ppm KH 7-8 Ca 400 <do get your Alkalinity up higher...your at the bottom for reef invertebrates...aim for 11-12 dKH> Livestock: 2 cleaner shrimp 3 peppermint shrimp 1 yellow tang 10 blue leg and scarlet crabs 10 Astrea snails 1 serpent star pulsing xenia Sarcophyton elegans Trachyphyllia geoffroyi 2 hairy mushrooms 5 red mushrooms 2 unidentified encrusting corals The open brain sits directly under the leather in question, probably about 5 vertical inches between them. Could there be any chemical warfare going on?  <Wow! An important factoid...yes, in fact beyond allelopathy (chemical warfare) you brain can easily reach your leather in the dark of night. You may simply be looking at the mucosal symptoms of burns from the brains night tentacles> The 2 cleaner shrimp have also taken to hanging out on the underside of the leather, could they be picking at it while I am not looking? If I move this coral into my quarantine tank, the lighting in that tank is way low. I think 15 watts regular florescent on a 10 gallon tank. Will this be a problem? Will the shock of moving this coral do more harm than good??  <yes... please move the brain or leather laterally instead (not higher unless gradually. Your brain is stuck in the sand bottom isn't it? Otherwise, there is a very good chance it will die within the year on rock placement> Help Bob, what do I do??? Thanks Leslie <an easy solution. Happy reefing. Anthony>

Leather Coral infection Anthony, Working late nights again I see.  <yes... back from a trip and feeling guilty at having left our friend Steve high and dry solely with e-mail duty <smile>> Thanks for the advice. I will try cutting in place and supplementing with iodine as you recommended.  <excellent... it really is a simple and safe maneuver> Running some AC for a few days after the cut would probably be helpful too?  <absolutely...although there is a minor concern of light shock to improved water clarity (yellowing agents) if carbon has not been used for a while (4+ weeks... a bad habit)> Just curious, but do you have a guess as to what caused this damage, (bad water quality, fish/crab nibbling,...)?  <so many things it could be.. although water quality and aggression from another coral (even if not touching... called allelopathy. Commonly from hostile LPS corals like Galaxy, Hammers, bubbles and the like)> Also, thanks for the plug on your book.  <no... thank you for tolerating the shameless nature of it <wink>> When my wife and I were looking to buy a good coral book, your book and Borneman's was recommended. We went with the one with the pretty pics. We're suckers for nice color reef photos. :-)  <understood and agreed... as I am too <G>> But you can never have too many books, and now that we've satisfied our pics Jones, we'll be looking to get your book as well. Thanks! <thank you... best regards, Anthony>
Leather Coral infection
WWM Crew, How's everyone doing?  <very well... thank you, with hope that you are the same> I have a question regarding my leather toadstool coral. A few days ago, I found a damaged area at the bottom edge of his crown. At first it looked like something took a little triangular cut out of it. That cut has grown larger since, and the tissue is very dark around that area. The rest of the coral looks fine, with polyps still fully extending. I've included pics of the top and the infected area on the bottom (sorry about the quality).  <the coral is in overall excellent health> I read in Borneman's book that these corals are fast healers and cutting the infected area off, accompanied by a short FW dip would effect a cure. I just wanted a second opinion.  < I concur and have written rather extensively about propagating/cutting this species in my book as well (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bkcorlproprev.htm)> The coral is firmly attached to 2 largish pieces of LR, and removing the whole thing for the "surgery" would be a lot of work. I just wanted to know if I should leave it be and hope for it to get better, or if cutting away the infected area is the best thing to do. Thanks in advance. <cutting would definitely be best and recommended. Wave the polyps down (fully retracted) and go in with a very sharp pair of scissors and cut a notch out of the crown 1/2 to 1 inch beyond the dark necrotic area. With reasonably good current and protein skimming in the tank... you may not have to remove the animal for dipping. Normal daily iodine doses for the tank in general can be therapeutic as well. Best regards, Anthony>

Toadstool Leather Plaque Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I have a Toadstool Leather that has always done very well in my aquarium. However, recently I noticed an outbreak of something on the upper part of the “stalk” part of the specimen. It looks like small deposits of a plaque-like substance. It is white in color and porous to the touch. It can be rubbed off but it leaves a white “scar” on the flesh. The Toadstool still stands up straight, but it hasn’t opened its’ little tentacles since I noticed the outbreak. I haven’t been able to find any information that addresses this problem. Please help. Kelli <somewhat general symptom... could be several things. If superficial... could be an incidental sponge or other invertebrate taking residence. If indented, then my suspicion is that it is not pathogenic but rather pest (fish bites, segmented worms, flatworms, etc. nipping and causing necrotic patches). Do observe polyp extension normalcy... if retracted uncommonly for its nature (leathers can have polyps out day and night) pay attention to that photoperiod for a predator. Look closely even with a magnifying glass for camouflaged flatworms. Best regards, Anthony>

Sick looking leather Hi, thanks for answering my previous question on lighting my 54 G tank. The article really helped and I have decided to go with more lighting to be on the safe side <with leathers this is usually fine is done gradually> but anyways about my question during the move for the 20 gallon tank my leather coral has been acting up even though my water quality is great.  <although they are very hardy, many leathers are quite finicky after a move. Some don't extend polyps for 2 months or more even! The polyps are hardly necessary for feeding... they do not feed organismally... most all food is derived from light and absorption. No worries here... the important thing is to have put it in a good place and be patient: don't touch or move it. Maintain good water flow and be patient> It started off looking fine and would flower during the day but recently it has been slowly shrinking lower to the sand bed and also will during the morning and early afternoon develops these black lines that you will be able to see it the attached jpg. <not very clear from image unfortunately> I was wondering if you have an insight as to what the problem may be and how I may possibly deal with it. Thanks for you time, Dave and Callie <regular water changes and iodine supplements are stimulating as well... time may be all you need here. Kindly>
Re: Sick Sarcophyton
Hi Anthony: I think I finally found the problem.  <hot dog... no really... I could go for one of those "Nathan's" Coney Island hot dogs> I found a 2 inch bristle worm at the base of the mushroom coral and promptly threw it away.  <should have had fun with it and rolled/rubbed it all along your nekid torso> Hole count on the coral is now up to about 7 or 8,  <that's gonna leave a mark...ouch> most of which are the diameter of a pencil in size. Two holes are large, like the size of a quarter. Is there anything else I can do  <you mean, like spackling?> help nurse this coral back to health other than providing patience and good water?  <in all seriousness... you are correct. Mostly patience and good water quality. Good random turbulent water flow on the holes for a quick heal... cutting out any necrotic areas if they develop... aggressive skimming... maybe a tiny bit extra iodine to tweak RedOx and perhaps be antiseptic> I would like to set up a reef q-tank someday, but I'm at a loss over proper yet inexpensive lighting for a reef-quality q-tank. <actually... shape is no problem. Shallow tanks (16" or less like low 30 gallons or smaller) will be fine with standard output fluorescents! The problem is in display tanks of 24" and deeper when the same fluorescent lights only penetrate 12" at best.> Thanks again for all of your help and wisdom. And might I add that you diagnosed the problem correctly right off the bat. Impressive. I wish I had a strawberry blonde nymphomaniac to offer as payment! <that makes two of us!> Well, I'm off to the store to get a bristle worm trap. Better safe than sorry... Thanks, Jim <actually, bud... don't drive yourself too crazy. Some small bristle worms are very beneficial to the live sand. Its just the big beefy ones that you need to keep an eye out for. Really... they rarely cause much damage and are slow at that. No hurry and do leave some... seriously. Anthony>

Re: Sick Sarcophyton Anthony: <yessah> Here's the photo I promised you. (Yes, the ruler is on the outside of the tank!  <a very thoughtful and helpful "measure"...heehee> Note my humongous cool clam on the right.)  <since you have felt compelled to mention the size of your clam unsolicited I must warn you of any future temptations to buy a red sports car <G>> You know what? I think you might be right about the predator thing. I will have to check in the wee hours of the night. I have checked casually before, but saw nothing.  <not surefire, but rather common with the very edible species (all the rage with the predators for its super buzz sarcophenes)> Then it dawned on me that the coral did tip over one day last week laying in the substrate and I straightened it out when I got back in town. It is attached to a small piece of live rock but the coral is now huge -- very top heavy. It's possible something went munching on it then because the timing is about right.  <or could have sustained a small wound or suffocated (anoxic) patch that turned to a slight infection after the fall>  I can't imagine my Mithrax ate it but maybe they did; they do sometimes hang out on top of it although I haven't seen them use it as a recliner for over two months now.  <These "emerald" crabs are VERY omnivorous like most crabs as they get older. Even catching and killing fishes. Harmless when small though> At any rate, the holes have stopped spreading! No more flakes of tissue hanging! The wounds now look like they are scarring over. If the problem is a hungry critter and I remove the critter, how long until my coral heals itself?  <more likely to pinch off fragments (cool) on its own for the trauma as seen in your photo (called "branchlet dropping") foreground. A matter of just a few weeks before polyps cover over new> Hopefully looking at the photo you don't think its necrosis. <indeed... it does not look necrotic or infectious at all. For the size of the coral, it could even be natural branchlet dropping> Lastly, what do you recommend for feeding practices (you only wrote "Hmmm.....")? Continue on soaking with the Reef Solution?  <if I don't have something good to say... sometimes I say nothing at all. But more specifically, I'm not sold on such supplements as a rule. Even when compositionally accurate... freshness & potency are often issues over fresh made or naturally cultured foods (as with zooplankton in an upstream refugium)> I live in an area with poor quality LFSs; they don't carry much in the way of food. Eventually, I'd like to get to the point where I grow my own live food in a refugium. <yes, exactly!> I'm definitely going to buy your book, my friend. One, to thank you for your help but also because I need a good coral book.  I am truly appreciative... please pass what you learn on to others in kind> I am forever grateful for your articulate advice, and I really enjoy your wittiness. You and Steven Pro have both helped me a lot over the past four months when I found you. Like I said, the LFSs around here are weak, so I am very thankful for this cyber group and forum. Your response times are awesome!  <its easy to reply fast... what else is there to do sitting naked answering e-mail?> What else can I do to help? <send strawberry blonde, pale completed nymphomaniacs please> Jim
<Anthony Calfo, truly in your service>

Sick Sarcophyton Me again, <I'm still me too... how cool is that!> As hard as I try to wean myself away from bugging you guys so much, I find your advice indispensable and value your expertise much more than any of my local LFS's. or even a lot of the stuff I read in print, for that matter. <we can be very convincing I hear... lets hope at least half of it is true <G>> My reef tank has been doing great, water quality was good, and everybody was happy, but it came to my attention that my food selection was poor (SFBB Marine Cuisine, algae). In an effort to prevent poor nutrition problems in my animals that never appeared to exist (you read that right !), like a dummy I started soaking the food in Ecosystems Reef Solution in the recommended dosage on the bottle -- one capful daily per 50 gallons of water. (The Reef Solution was recommended by my LFS). <Hmmm....> It's one and a half weeks later, and my mushroom coral has developed holes in it.  <quite possibly/likely unrelated> When the first hole developed about four days ago, I thought it was starting to propagate. I couldn't be that lucky. Two more holes then appeared. The holes are pretty much clean around the edges, i.e., no discoloration with very slight tissue decay. The first hole is now about the size of a dime, the other two about the diameter of a pencil eraser.  <spotty sounds like predation for sure. Many possibilities: crabs or snails brought in small now large and burrowing from the inside out of the leather, a fish that has suddenly taken to nipping and causing wounds, indeed others...> I'm afraid it looks like necrosis, what do you think?  <dissolving tissue? yes> I'm going to try and send you a picture later today once I get my digital camera. <very helpful> I did a 20% water change this morning. All water chemistry is good: KH 11, Ca 450, pH 8.2, NO3 0, PO4 0.1, Temp 78F. Lighting is still good quality; MH and actinic lamps are only 5 months old. Tank has a six line wrasse to eat predators.  <six-lines eat some small predators like worms and tiny snails... but even then not all predatory species. They also don't eat hydroids, crabs, larger pests etc. Please don't rest too easy with only a six-line> I normally do a 10-15% water change once a week using good techniques that you blessed before. <yes, excellent!> What do I do now to cure it? Change water again in several days?  <weekly is more than enough> Cut away around the hole/affected parts?  <quite possibly> Be patient and hope for the best?  <definitely not> Fresh water dip? Medicine and what type?  <probably not either... but stringer water flow would be nice as long as it is not laminar. Do provide strong random turbulent flow> Quarantine? I don't have a q-tank; it's on my to do list.  <always the best choice> All of my other corals look great (hammerhead, finger leather, bubble, star and button polyps, mushrooms) -- are they in danger from the Sarcophytons condition? <hard to say, but some necrotic infections can spread easily. That's why QT is best> I feel awful. The Reef Solution treatment is the only thing I've done differently, so that has to be the cause. <not at all.. can be coincidence with the occurrence/expression of something else (like a predator imported small and now grown to damaging size> Thanks, Jim <lets see that picture, and do look for predatory activity in dark night on this animal. Best regards, Anthony>

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