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FAQs about Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae 4

Related Articles: Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae

Related FAQs: Alcyoniids 1, Alcyoniids 2, Alcyoniids 3, Alcyoniid ID, Alcyoniid Selection, Alcyoniid Compatibility, Alcyoniid Systems, Alcyoniid Feeding, Alcyoniid Behavior, Alcyoniid Health, Alcyoniid Propagation, Soft Coral Propagation, Nephtheids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids, Xeniids, Dyed Corals

Sarcophyton sp. N. Sulawesi. 

Sick leather A. Sinularia       9/21/18
Hello crew!
<Hey Cath!>
I've got a leather A. Sinularia that has, up until a couple days ago, been healthy and happy for the last 3 years. It had three big branches and it's on one side of the aquarium with not much else around it beyond some Ricordea and mushroom coral that have been in the vicinity since the aquarium was first set up. Only recent change was three weeks ago with the addition of a couple snails, a new pacific cleaner and a small Pocillopora frag that I'd placed on the other side of my 72G tank. Problem started a few days ago when I noticed once of the branches didn't seem to be as extended as usual. Took a close look at it today and there's a couple fingers that have turned dark brown at the tips. One of the three main
branches has condensed it's size significantly while the second doesn't have it's polyps extended as normal and has a single brown tip. There's still one of the three branches that seems 100% healthy and normal.
Initial research online makes me wonder if it's a bacterial infection of some sort possibly from the most recent introductions.
<Would be my guess too; stress of some sort (chemical, biological, and or physical) setting off an allelopathogenic reaction... the soft coral losing>
Question is, what's the best way to save it - I've seen suggestions like cutting any brown tips off and
dipping the coral (in something like Revive). My concern with dipping the coral is that I'd need to somehow detach the leather from where it's attached to the wall of the aquarium. I'm worried that may further stress it.
<I share this concern and would not be snipping and dipping just yet. Instead, I urge you to double to triple dose iodide/iodate w/ whatever preparation you use>
I've also read flow can help and I could possibly reconfigure things so my gyre pump provides more circulation around it.
<I agree re increased flow>
Even if I can do all of the above, is there something I should be doing to treat the entire tank?
<The I2 treatment is my "go-to" here>
I have a variety of Euphyllia who at least at this point seem fine but I did find a dead pulsing xenia which may be related.
<Oh. Yes>
I'm including a couple photos of the coral as well as an overview of the tank (before it started to get sick)
Once again, I can't thank you guys enough for being here when I've run out of places to turn for answers.
<Please do keep me/us informed of developments, your actions. IF it becomes expedient to snip to outright frag this Sinularia, DO so outside the system, AND place the specimen in another established tank for recovery for a few weeks. Bob Fenner>

Leather Toadstool Coral Problem... no data/reading   6/12/08 Good day! I have a leather toadstool coral, I just bought it last Friday and its doing fine. But last Sunday I notice a red patch in the side of its head and now it looks like a peeling skin and the polyps are not fully extend. My water is ok, <... what does this mean?> is this normal for my coral, by the way this is the only coral in my tank. I hope you will reply soon, thanks and God bless! <Which god? Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm about the middle... on Soft Corals, Alcyoniids... health, systems... Bob Fenner>

Copyright owner   3/19/07 Dear  Sir: <Takahiro-san> My name is Takahiro Nakazawa  of Tohoku Pharmaceutical University in Japan. I  am going to present new chemical constituents isolated in Minabea sp. in the 127th Annual Meeting of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan. In this presentation, I want to show a photo of Minabea sp. appeared in the web site. Therefore, I would like to obtain the permission to use this photo. photograph:  Genus Minabea <I do grant you free use of this photo. Please make it known if you need a larger scan, different format. Bob Fenner> Dear Sir: Thank you. So, please send to me the photo scanned at about 600 dpi by JPG file. <Will either of these do? Bob Fenner>

Bought Kenya Tree Coral  - 11/11/06 Bob/Crew   Hi.   Well after installing my sump and plumbing on my 125 gallon reef 8 weeks ago everything has went well. Tank is 72"L 23"H 18"W with 2 Mag drive pump's 1200 gph 2 continuous   overflow's 800gph going through 1 1/2" pvc piping and a model 4, 36"x13-3/4"x19" sump.   Sump is for tank's up to 240 gallons   1 Week after my sump was running I did my water tests everything was as listed.   All Salifert test kits   Amm 0   Nit 0   Nitrate 0   Salinity 1.024   Alk 3.5   Calcium 400   Phos 0   Im not using Kalk Im afraid it will crash my tank within a year. So I was told. <More to "it" than this>   Temp 79 at night, 80 while all lights are on never over 80.   I also do 5 gallon water changes every Sunday.   I also do water testing every other day.   So I came across a 3" Kenya Tree Coral. The pet store had it for 6 week's nobody wanted it so they were tossing it. <Time to find another store. Yeah, that's exactly what I mean> No fear Brian's here I saved it they sold it to me for 20$. So I have had this ONLY coral 7 weeks now and its doubled in size looks good so far. Im just wondering what I can keep with this coral. <... so you read/searched WWM re?> I read all the Q/A's on keeping coral's only to confuse me more. <... keep reading> It's not that I don't know what Im doing its the going about it right and not mixing corals. The lighting is 8,55 watt metal halide <No> Hamilton lighting 4 day lights 10K 4 actinic 10K nice light it hangs 12" above tank.   The light is 4ft long centered in the middle. With less light on the end's for light sensitive   coral's. I like this look.   My live stock is.   175lbs of Kaelini  live rock   1 Sail fin tang 7"(Zebrasoma desjardinii)   1 Sail fin algae blenny 5"(Not worth a s*** eats flake food only and its ugly)   1 Royal Gramma 2"(My fav fish)   1 Fire fish 2"(Nemateleotris magnifica)   1Yellow tang 4"   1 Cinnamon clown 1"   1 Flame angle 3" (Centropyge loricula)   Am I over stocked on fish? I would like more. <Well... you could fit something/s in here sideways... small...>   I feed Nori soaked in Selcon twice a day and flake food twice a day.   I also feed Baby brine, Live Brine Shrimp and PhytoPlan every other day mixed with tank water and Selcon.   There's also 5 Star fish 2 are Brittle Sea Stars. 1 Burgundy Sea Star. 1 Green Brittle Sea Star. 1 Green Serpent Sea Star. Yikes hope you got that!! I feed my star fish twice a week <Keep an eye on that Ophiarachna...>   small chunk's of fish and squid so they don't eat my small fish also soaked in Selcon. <Why are you soaking your small fish in Selcon?>   And a Algae attack pack which includes   15 Scarlet Hermit Crabs   30 Mexican Turbo Snail's   35 Red Tip Hermit's   Im hoping I didn't over due my clean up crew but Im in a wheelchair you said make sure I have a good clean up crew to keep my 3" Sand bed clean. So far so good according to my water test's.   Sorry for the long e-mail and the dumb questions just don't want any trouble a year or two down the road.   Thank you for your time and great web site.   Happy tank's   Brian, Wisconsin. ;o) <Hey Bri! You're doing fine. Bob Fenner>

Finger Leather Question  02-05-06 Clear Day Hello, <Over cast day, so what?> I searched your database for an answer to this but I couldn't see a specific answer. I hope you can help me out. <We'll see> I have a Finger Leather that has been doing well for the last 3 months it has been in my tank. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the tip of one of the fingers looked white/beige (it is usually orangey) and over the last two weeks it seems that the entire finger is dying (or dead?). <Maybe> The one finger is now kind of wilted and  beige to brown looking and it has almost reached the base or main body of the coral. All the other parts of the coral look great and everything else in the tank is doing great. My question is what do I do about this necrotic finger? Can I simply cut it off with a scalpel? <Could> If so, is there anything else I need to do? <Yes> If not, is there anything I can do?? <Yep> Thanks in advance for your time and the great service you provide. Pete <Read here: http://www.google.com/custom?q=finger+leather+help+necrosis&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com The cached versions... Bob Fenner>

Leather/Xenia Shrinking   1/30/06 To whom ever, <Mike G> I have been searching the FAQs and don't think there is an answer (tank info below). Over Christmas, I left my tank in the hands of a family member, who took the pre-sized frozen food portions in the weekly pill case out of the freezer for the week, but continued to feed the rotting food.   <I assume that most every fishkeeper has a horror story of a similar sort.> Secondly, right before leaving my Auto top-off stuck on and added two gallons of fresh water to the tank.   <It just gets better and better.> Finally, my heater stuck stock on (now I'm thinking a surge of some sort) and sent the tank from 76-77 to 82, and that night down to 73 before I put the new heater in.   <Bad day. Really, really bad day.> Needless to say everything is now thriving/spreading again (mushrooms, zoos, gsp, the too many fish) except my leather and xenia which were good for 4 months prior.   <Xenia are notorious for suddenly doing poorly/melting away for either no reason at all or from previous stresses.> The leather is now about half the size, with no melting or white tissue, just slumped over and a little shriveled looking.  The three connected xenia stalks have reduced to small white bumps on a rock.  Is there any hope for them?   <Well, there's always hope, I'd like to think.> If so what measures can I take to improve their odds. <Keep water conditions stable/close to what they were doing wonderfully in before the day of doom. Not much else you CAN do.> I have done several water changes slowly returning PH, Temp & SG to normal, But two weeks later no improvement, but not dead (the leather) or completely gone (the xenia).  How long can they persist this way before I should remove them?   <Until they're dead, they can still bounce back. Leathers and Xenia are notoriously hardy corals once they're in good water. Keep the conditions stable and you should se an improvement.> Thanks. (Last x-mas it was three fish dying for some reason, same care giver) <Time to invest in a tank sitting service?> [My tank:  2yr old Sumpless 44gal Corner Pentagon (By product of my past hobby, wife&kids and Finding Nemo Movie), internal refuge w/ Chaeto, and DIY spray inj/air stone skimmer (2 liter pop bottle of brown tea/mo), Ca=390, <A touch low... should be ~400, 425> DKH=11, Amm, Nitrates & trites~0, Phosphates are too high <0.5 (water source) <Considered RO/DI water? May also help the melting softies in the long run.> but not any higher than always (need a more precise test kit (CHEAP/accurate recommendations?)) <Not usually two synonymous terms... Salifert is wonderful for accuracy.> (Thanks by the way! last year removed Bio-Wheels nitrates went from constant 20 to zero in two days) <Very nice.> SG=1.025, PH=8.3(low before lights on), don't test/add trace elements <Try adding a two-part Cal/Alk supplement such as B-Ionic or C-Balance. Would help your Calcium levels, give the corals something extra.> 8gal water change (tap water) 1/wk <I'd recommend a switch to RO/DI water - tap really isn't great for reef tank purposes.> About 4gal evap auto top-off/wk. Tank is 1/3 full with live rock & 4in deep sand bed (I know it doesn't leave much water (this tank is for growing inhabitants for a 125gal in a year or so, wife didn't know she would rekindle the itch)).  2 oscillating power heads, one more feeding skimmer , and an eclipse hang-on w/ removed filter cartridges for current (border line violent water flow). Two cartridges with carbon and PolyFilter changed alternately every week.  Four 15W 10k NO Fluorescent Bulbs 3in from surface 13hrs/day w/ 3-4hrs natural sun light in morning (all corals are less than 6in from surface) <Still not much light - would recommend upgrading to at least PCs. Much better idea in the long run.> Fish: Flame Angel, Pair Yellow Watchman Gobies, Engineer Goby, Pair Neon Gobies, Pair Percula Clowns, Royal Gramma. <I'd say you're a touch overstocked there.> Inverts: Brittle Star, Pair Cleaner Shrimp, Couple Dozen Cerith and Nassarius Snails, 8 Blue Leg Hermit Crabs. Corals: GSP, Red & Green Mushrooms, 1 Ricordea (sp?), Hairy Mushrooms, 4flavors of Zoos, 3"Leather, Xenia, Some quick spreading brown/white small star looking polyp gift of the live rock gods (spreads with white thread like growths, help IDing this one would be great) <Have a picture? Best of luck, Mike G>

Re: leather/Xenia Shrinking   1/31/06 Thanks, Xenia disappeared.   <Bad news.> Leather looks like it does before shedding, but seems to be more inflated today.   <Good news.> I have read Seachem's Reef Plus is good, might an additive like this if used moderately help? <Seachem is a wonderful brand - I'd assume it would be alright, though, really, I'm not a fan of adding anything more than you can test for. A two-part additive such as C-Balance would be a far wiser purchase, in my experience.> Additional Question: Is there a good place to get PC sockets, my hood is home made, also do you know if they can be driven by a workhorse 4 ballast? <Hmm... I'm not the one to talk to re: ballasts, but I do know that Coralife makes decent PC sockets. I'm sure other companies such as Custom Aquatic would offer them for sale, as well.> As far as the mystery polyp I have included two pictures.   <Not attached... send again?> One shows its coloring a little better, the other shows the white strands it uses to spread, they spread under rocks and places void of light to pop up just about anywhere.  I just want to make sure it isn't something that might take down my tank or start a war with some of my other corals.  Thanks, I appreciate your time and input! <You're very welcome. Good luck! Mike G> Green Toadstool - 01/28/06 Dear EricR- <<Hello Anita>> Thanks for your reply. <<Welcome>> I don't know if my protein skimmer is skimming aggressively.  Well, what I have is a Sea Clear System II 50g acrylic tank that I got with a package deal from Ocean Rider.  This is will be a seahorse tank, but Leslie told me to ask you because she didn't know about Toadstool Leather corals. <<Ok>> The tank came with a Venturi protein skimmer + air pump.  Is that enough to know if it is skimming aggressively? <<Mmm, no...but the skimmer should be pulling "about" a cup of dark skimmate from the tank daily.>> My tank has the filter in the back, and there's a chemical filtration cup there too, so I'd get something small enough to fit in that cup. <<Ok>> I was going to get a Poly-Filter pad, which is what Pete Giwojna suggested, <<An excellent product.>> but when I went to my LFS, they only had these huge sheets of it, which I didn't think I'd need that much.  Should I have gotten that? <<Yep...can cut to fit...and the product requires replacement periodically (color-change indication).>> So, do you think the green-polyp or green toadstool leather are corals I could try? <<Assuming your lighting, filtration, and other tank inhabitants are suitable...I think you'll do fine with these choices.>> They are seemingly rare because I couldn't find them in any LFS in my area...so, that's my reason for ordering on Live Aquaria. <<Not so rare.  What's more likely is the on-line vendors carry a larger inventory.  You're LFS could probably special-order them if you asked.>> Thanks Anita <<Regards, EricR>>

Toad Stool Corals...Customer Service? - 01/25/06 Dear WetWebMedia: <<Hello Anita...EricR here>> I have a coral question if you wouldn't mind. <<Not at all.>> I've ordered on LiveAquaria.com several times & I've always thought they have good service. <<Ok>> There's 3 varieties of toadstool leather they offer the plain brown one, a green one & a green polyp aquacultured one.  I'm interested in either of the green ones, but on all of the pages for the toadstool leather they say some kinds can release toxins into the tank. not any specific one. <<All of them actually.  This is the result of allelopathy (chemical warfare) that is always present both on the open reef and in our reef tanks.  Some corals are more noxious than others, but all will compete for space.>> So, I called Live Aquaria 2 times about this.  The first time, the lady told me that this green polyp one does release toxin & that I shouldn't keep toadstool leather in my tank. <<Huh?!  Did she bother to explain why then/to whom they were selling them?  What a strange response...baffling...>> The second time I called another lady told me that there's no problem with any of the toadstool leathers as long as I remove the skin that it sheds, because that's what is toxic. <<(sigh...)  Where do they get these people?...>> About removing the skin is it something that's hard to do? <<I think you misunderstood (through no fault of your own I'm sure).  The "shedding" referred too, while it can be used to irritate/attack neighbors is generally a function for releasing (shedding) waste/metabolites and also serves to remove encrusting/attaching algae.  The shedding of this slime/mucus layer is normal and will be done by the coral with no help/interference required from you (aside from good water flow within the aquarium).>> Do I have to go out of my way to notice it shedding its skin? <<No, the "skin" will usually be dispersed, or picked up by the overflow.  A good skimmer and carbon use will help mitigate any negative effects of the compounds.>> And if I notice, can I pull it off, or would I need to wait for the whole thing to come off? <<Best to leave it to come off on its own (again...helped by good water flow).  If you notice it in the tank after release from the coral do feel free to scoop out with a net.>> Does it come off in several pieces, thus making it harder? <<Many times, yes.>> I really like the toadstool leather coral (I'm a beginner) & I know a lot of people who haven't had problems with them. <<Allelopathy is usually a time-bomb waiting to explode...in other words...the effects will become telling over time.  Aggressive skimming, use of carbon/chemical media, vigorous water flow, and frequent water changes all go far to help with this.>> Can I still get the green toadstool leather corals? <<Probably...do read up on their care and keeping.  A Google search on our site/the net re Sarcophyton and Alcyoniids will turn up much good info.>> I'd prefer an email reply instead of a reply posted online.  this is just because you have so many posts & replies that I doubt I'd find it <<We reply directly as well to all queries.>> Here's the links for the 3 toadstool leather corals: 1. brown: " http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_Display.cfm? http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_Display.cfm?pCatId=753 2. green: " http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_Display.cfm?pCatId=2051" 3. green polyp: " http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_Display.cfm?pCatId=2320" Thanks, Anita <<Welcome, EricR>>

Colt coral too big 1/23/06 I have a Colt coral in my reef tank. This coral has gotten huge, the size of a small beach ball, I would like to add more corals to the tanks but I cannot find space due this Colt. What are my options, with out damaging the Colt? Thanks for your help, Dallas <This depends on how you define damage!  Your options really come down to three things:  Get a bigger tank, give the coral away or fragment the coral.  Fragmenting this coral is as simple as snipping off branches with scissors, although mounting this extremely slippery coral can be a challenge.  Loosely lashing it down with several wraps of fishing line works OK, as does "bridal veil" or other similar synthetic mesh (I am a big fan of the plastic mesh carrying bag that comes around frozen turkeys).  Simply use any of these materials to hold the coral against some small pieces of rock until they attach.  The mesh or fishing line can then be snipped away.  Best Regards.  AdamC.> Question about Xeniid and colt coral... no info. of use We have had a Colt coral for 4 months and a Xeniid coral for about 2 months both doing very well.  All of our water samples test excellent.  In last couple of weeks the colt coral has not been looking real good and just sagging.  Then yesterday the Xeniid began to not look good and today we noticed little clear blisters on the stalks.   All other corals are doing very well and these are the only soft corals we have.  I have read everything I can fine, but nothing seems to address this specific problem. Any ideas or suggestions? <... you have provided insufficient information for a meaningful response... I would re-read the Pulsing and Alcyoniid Soft Coral FAQs, articles again, send along tank set-up, history, water quality data... Bob Fenner>

"Medusa" question <<Xenia Hello, <Hello Heidi>  12/21/05 I was recently reading up on a  "soft coral" I have seen named as a medusa. I know this isn't the correct name,  but you have a picture of this tree like creature and the name of it was  Xenia (is that correct?) <Without seeing a pic of yours I couldn't say for sure.> Well here's my problem, I think mine is dying.  It was doing great for a few months, and  it seems as though its arms are  turning white. Its hand like features do not open any more. what exactly should I  be feeding her?   My water conditions are all perfect, and all the  ranges are pin point on what the test kit says it should be. Please let me know  if there's anything I can do to help my "tree" come back to life. I am at a loss,  and would like to see her live and thrive, but things aren't looking so good at  the moment. any information would be greatly appreciated. <Heidi, this does occur in the wild.  Xenia will go through a massive die off, then reappear and repopulate.  In the home aquarium sudden changes in temperature can also trigger this but I don't believe it is common occurrence.  Try feeding the Xenia Cyclop-Eeze.  Most of their food is produced internally by photosynthesis but supplemental feedings (weekly) does help.  What type of lighting do you have?  Four to five watts of light per gallon is usually enough to sustain the xenia.  Do you do 10% weekly water changes? A weekly iodine supplement will help too. In any event, if die-off occurs, don't scrub the rocks.  During water changes vacuum up the area they were in.  Usually in a couple months you should see them re-appear.  There is a good article on xenia in the January 2006 issue of Tropical Fish Hobbyist.> Thank You again, <You're welcome.  Heidi, in future queries please do cap all letters that require it.  Saves us much time if we don't have to edit the email.  James (Salty Dog)> Heidi Tamm

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> ID question... Hello again.  <Justin here in for Bob who's in the Galapagos> I hate to pester you, but I wonder if you could help me. I have a few frags in my 10g nano, ( http://members.shaw.ca/ellen.anthony/March2005170.jpg ). On the left is what was sold to me as a Xenia (but doesn't look like any other photos I can find), which is very tall. Is it reaching for light or just like that? The 10g is lit with two 20w Coralife 50/50 mini-CF lamps.  <Yes this is a xenia type soft coral, they are photosynthetic and do not eat anything that we know of that we add to the tank. The general consensus is that they filter-feed plankton and other nutrients from the water to supplement the photosynthesis. Do enjoy it and be careful, they grow like weeds under good light and may shade all your other corals. you can frag them fairly easily and seal them off. Good luck> We're not dosing the tank or anything, all params are normal (ammonia, nitrate, nitrite =0; pH=8.2; temp 79). We do weekly 10-15% water changes using Red Sea salt mix. Warm regards, and thanks again! Matthew <No problem enjoy this incredible tank.> <Justin (Jager)> 

Sclerites in soft coral 2/9/05 I have a purchased, what I believe is a Sinularia Sp. leather (it was called "lettuce leather" in the store).  <It may be Sinularia... or more likely a Lobophyton. Either way an Alcyoniid> It has started growing little white "spikes" out of its' flesh.  <These are sclerites.. normal> The best way to describe them is that they look like avian pin feathers. I can pick them out and they will regrow.  <Yikes! Yes... that's the point> They are hard calcium, almost like a shell.  <Calcium... BINGO - you win the hairy kewpie doll!> I can provide a picture, if need be. <Not needed... no worries> Do you have any idea what these may be? <the skeletal components of octocorallia> Thanks again for your wonderful website and all your help!   P.S. I searched your site and couldn't find anything, if it's on there, I must not be using the correct terminology. Thanks again Cheri <A fellow Steeler fan in tour service :) Anthony>

Leather coral attached to multiple rocks 1/5/05 Hi, there, I would like to commend everyone at this site for such an informative and readily available source of support for reef keeping. I read it almost daily, but this is the first time I've written. <Thanks for the kind words!  Glad you have benefited.> My question regards a finger leather coral I purchased about 3 months ago. It came attached to a small fragment of live rock, but the coral has grown significantly in the past months, which is great. I had expected it to move off of the fragment, but instead it has fused to a larger rock without releasing the small one. This has created a sort of gap underneath the coral, which looks like an arch. Is there a way to get it to move fully off without damaging it? Does it hurt to have it stretched like this? Thanks! Mike <This is totally normal and of no concern unless you need to re-arrange.  If you need to move the coral, or would like to make a fragment, you can cut through the coral tissue with a razor blade to free up the original small rock.  The chunk of tissue will almost certainly grow into a new colony.  Best Regards. AdamC.> Coral stalk attaching to a new rock I have a leather finger which has been doing well now for some months. When I last wrote you about 6 months ago it was having some issues with a white fuzz on the lower finger extremities and those that were not getting the best of light due to shade competition etc. Well after about a month of the fuzz taking over and eliminating the lower fingers the leather returned to form and has never looked better. The upper fingers multiplied and split as well as thickened up. I now face another small problem. Recently as the leather which is attached to some live rock at a right angle (Imagine a steep face of live rock the base of the leather is attached to this face and then curves 90 degrees to point upwards) in a small little opening. When the leather was smaller and growing the little shelf in the face seemed like a perfect place for the leather and it was thriving, but as the leather has grown larger and thicker and heavier the right angle section has begun to droop. While the leather still looks fine on its extremities about two weeks ago it began to touch the base of the shelf about 3 inches or so from the base of the leather where it is attached to the face of the rock originally. I noticed some growth on the leather, what looks like the leather attaching to the shelf where the new contact has taken place. Is this ok? << Yes, no problem. >> The main concern here is that while it looks like the leather is reattaching in its midsection to a new point of contact on the rock, the original point of attachment and base seems to be deteriorating. Will it release and die off? Split naturally? << Yes split naturally and give you more coral.  This is a good thing. >> I am concerned and while the upper extremities of the leather currently look fine I am worried that the very deteriorated original base may cause problems. Is this normal? Does it happen in the wild? Should I worry? << No worries, very common and normal. >> -Jonathan Moving a Sarcophyton 10/14/04 I have a 5" tall Sarcophyton that is about 1.5" across at the base. It has overgrown the small rock it was propagated on and about half of its base is now attached to a very large rock that I do not want to move. I wish to relocate it to another area in the tank. What is the best way to separate it from the rock? Will it tear easily away or will it have to be cut? Thanks, George. <It can be cut or simply pulled away.  If you pull it, I would gently "tease" the tissue away from the rock with fingers or the tip of a plastic knife.  In either case, you are unlikely to remove every shred of tissue and there is a fair chance that some baby Sarco's will sprout!  In either case, the risk to this very hardy coral is tiny. Good luck!  AdamC.> Propagating Yellow Sarcophyton elegans 8/11/04 Hi, Crew my name is Raul Silva and from Caracas; Venezuela so excuse my English for the beginning. <no worries my friend... it is a pleasure to hear from you!> I have a yellow Sarcophyton (elegans) and I'm thinking to propagate it, but I've been reading that it is a not so easy to propagate as many other Sarco's, <this is true like many other "colored" (green or yellow) leather corals. They are sensitive to being cut with a knife> so my question is if its possible to propagate with high rate of success, <it can certainly be propagated... but never with the same high rate of success as common brown species of Sarcophyton or Lobophytum. Only attempt small cuts on the crown or foot of the stalk with specimens that have been captive and strong for more than six months. The parent coral should also have been left in the same place undisturbed for that period of time minimum because recently moved corals are usually stressed and they are poor candidates for propagation> I order the Anthony book but still not arrived, any advise ?? thanks and regards from Venezuela. Raul Silva <after you cut a small disk or lobe (one inch/25 mm) off of the top of the leather, it is best to try to let it attach naturally on some rubble in a shallow cup full of rubble submerged in the tank. Attempts at gluing or tying down the coral with thread can often invite and infection. Best of luck! Anthony>

Propagating Yellow Sarcophyton elegans II 8/11/04 Hi, Anthony... its a real pleasure to hear advise directly from you, <I'm very happy to help, my friend> and I can't wait for the arrival of your books (I buy the coral propagation one and the other you wrote with Bob). A friend and I have a web (www.reefven.com) in were we are trying to upgrade the level of knowledge here in Venezuela and also to commercialize products and animals, at fair price (difficult here) <yes... I understand that it is very expensive for you to import reef products. This will get better in time as the hobby grows in your country> so I know you have a coral farm... is it that possible to buy corals from you? any idea how to do it?   <alas, no... I have recently sold my coral farm so that I can write books and travel and pursue other endeavors in our hobby and industry. I may get back into it one day though. Soon perhaps <G>.> Thanks my friend... its a pleasure to talk with you. <the pleasure is mine... I hope to see you in your beautiful country one day :) > Raul Silva <with kind 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.>

Re: 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  >>

Large Toadstool Leather - Split Stalk My toadstool leather coral has been with me for almost two years.  I purchased it as a baby just over two inches tall.  Now, the toadstool stands a little over 14 inches tall and only has a few more inches to grow in my 125 gallon reef tank. << Great, that is what the hobby is all about. >> My problem is that I recently damaged the leather by moving it...when gripping the stalk my finger split it about 1.5 inches wide about 2 inches up from the base.  The split looks like I cut it with a razor, almost perfectly straight (horizontal). << Okay >> My question is, if I want to do my best to safe this guy, do you recommend any special "first aid"? << Yes, add iodine (debatable, but I think it works) and make sure their is lots of water motion near him.  Now here is another idea.  Why not complete what you started and just cut right through him?  You can cut them right through the stem and usually the stem grows a new head, and the big head you have will attach to a new rock.  This is a common fragging technique. >> Thanks, << By the way, don't tell Calfo I used such poor terminology here. >> Scott. <<  Adam Blundell  >>

"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> 

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>

Detaching Leather Coral From Live Rock 3/19/04 Hi,  I recently purchased a leather coral which came attached to a rock.  What is the recommended procedure for detaching it from the rock and reattaching it to a submerged rock in my tank?  I have searched your site but can't seem to find what I am looking for.  Thanks in advance,  Dave <The best way is to let it attach itself first and then cut it from the rock it came on with a razor blade. It can take a couple of weeks for it to attach well enough to do this.  I would recommend against removing it and then trying to re-attach.  The very best option would be to leave it on the rock it came on and figure out how to incorporate it into your existing aquascaping.  Best Regards.  Adam>

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>

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 Pix of Capnella Bob, <Mary> I see from your website you have some photos of Capnella imbricata. Are you able to supply hi-resolution electronic files of these images for printing purposes.  If so what do you charge for the use of your images? <Will forward your request to Jason Chodakowski who handles such matters> I'm working on a college textbook to be published by McGraw-Hill (Dubuque) entitled: Smith: Organic Chemistry, 1/e by Smith. The author has requested a color image of Dendrobates histrionicus. Mary Reeg Photo Editor <No "poison arrow" frogs here. Bob Fenner>

Colt coral placement in a 60 gallon - 2/16/04 Hi Guys, <Hello> Where would you recommend placing a Colt Coral in a 60 Gal tank (48x15x20 H).  I have live rock a 260 watt PC.  Could I place it in the sand or would it be better to super glue to a piece of live rock and place it in the middle part of the tank. <I like the idea of placing it nearer the middle of the tank. Would likely be a more natural placement for it. ~Paul> Thanks,

Predator in my Sarcophyton - 2/13/04 Hello again. <Hello Annette> Thanks for the response. <Thanks for asking>  Well, I did it!!  I opened the leather to find a hole that traveled up through almost the entire base. <Sounds like a predatory mollusk. Can't remember the name offhand but there is info out there on predators of soft corals>  Based on other readings on WWM, I believe that this is not normal. <Correct> What should a normal, healthy leather look like on the inside? <Firm with rough interior (due to spicule formation)  Also, I did not see any noticeable predators inside, <Look a bit more. Very conspicuous> so I am unsure of the cause <Almost sure that a predator is the culprit here>....what can I do to prevent this from happening again? <Find the predator and/or quarantine all incoming animals for two to four weeks. Thanks for your inquiry. ~Paul> Thanks for all your help. Annette

Leather corals Hi, Great website, I use it all the time.   <Good to hear!> Got a couple of questions regarding my leather coral.  I have had this particular leather for about 4 years and it is large ( 9 inches across at the top).  About 2 weeks ago my pH dropped to about 7.8, effectively shutting every coral down.  I fixed the pH problem and all my other corals have recovered fully except this leather and its numerous offspring.  They have been shut down for two weeks and algae is growing on the top.  Anything I can do here or do I just wait it out?  It has closed down when I first got it but that was because of the move. <Leathers are hardy corals, which will, as you most likely already know, produce a waxy coating which will eventually be shed off. The fact that algae is growing on the top portion of the coral tells me that the coral most likely has a protective coating over it which the algae is growing on. The pH was probably the cause of this. As long as you continue to have stable water quality and provide the leather with a good environment, it should recover fine.> My other question is the true identity of this leather coral - it has long tentacles that are usually extended all day and night.  I can't seem to find which genus or species this coral belongs to- the LFS can't seem to come up with an answer so I am hoping you can.   <Most corals classified as "leathers" belong to the Genus Sarcophyton or Sinularia. Of course, there are corals which have a similar appearance to these genus's and therefore often get mis-classified. I really couldn't be certain of the genus or species without seeing a picture of the coral. Corals are difficult to identify without an image of the coral in question.> Thanks for your help <No problem. Feel free to ask us any aquarium related questions you may have and continue to do as much research as possible :)  Take Care, Graham.> Rob Mancabelli

Leather coral proximity 2/2/04  HI, How far apart do leather corals have to be (Sinularia and Lobophytum)? The guy at the fish store says they can touch, grow together and be fine. I know they produce a lot of chemicals, but I cant find very much info on how close they can be to each other.  Thank You  <Hello. I always recommend against allowing corals to physically touch. I would leave at least 6" between them if possible. I have seen them in physical contact many times, but chemical aggression is likely being aggravated, even if more visible signs aren't present. HTH. Adam>

Sarcophyton (leather coral) 1/11/04 Hello Anthony! <cheers Thanassis> A week ago I bought a Sarcophyton sp. (Please see attached picture). Its basis was a small piece of carbonate material (it was more pieces of this material). I placed it on a piece of a flat LR and glued its base with special glue on the LR (before I do this it felt twice from the LR while expanding itself). It is now 40 cm below the water surface and I have a Giesemann lighting system with 250 W HQI bulb and 2 blue actinics 30 cm above the water surface. <very nice lights... but this leather will grow to reach the surface in less than 3 years. Amazing :)> The display aquarium is 70 gallons. I also placed a clear frame on the top of the tank with 10 pieces of coarse plastic window screen above the new coral to filter light and I remove one every two days. The coral seems to get slowly acclimated, it shrinks during the night and extends during the day, especially when the lights are on (from 05.00 pm till 01.00 am) and most of its polyps are fully extracted. <no worries> I was told by a friend that soon each polyp will extract something like a flower (sorry, I do not know the respective word) , is this so? <yes... you are quite correct my friend. And please know that Sarcophytons and Lobophytons are sometimes very very slow to fully express polyps. Its not a sign of bad health either... they do not use their polyps for capturing large plankton and as such simply do not need them out so soon/much after a stress. Hands in the tank are also very irritating to these corals. Daily hands in the tank might mean that polyps do not come out for months> As told before, I glued the coral to a piece of LR, but it is not standing with its stem upright, but its stem is sidelong to the LR. Will/can  the coral change position later? <it will orient itself in time with the new lighting> Is there the possibility to attach itself on the piece of LR, where I glued its small basis? <it will attach itself in time, yes> I have some Discosoma on the substrate. The leather coral gets close to them (5 cm) when it expands during the light period. Should I place the Discosoma away from it? <yes... all mushroom anemones like the Discosoma are very irritating to most other corals. They do not look it, but they are very aggressive/noxious> Last question: I have a bristle worm in my tank. It is about 10 cm  long. Is this a threat to my leather coral? <hmmm... perhaps, but a small risk in general. Still, I would suggest removing such large worms> Best regards and thanks !!!! Thanassis, your Greek friend <with best regards in kind, Anthony>

Not-So Tiny Bubbles.. Where's Don Ho When Ya Need Him? >Hi Crew, >>Hello. >I have a small leather coral "frag" growing on a aragocrete plug. On the top of the plug there is some bubble algae (Valonia?) growing. I have taken the plug out of the tank and scraped of the bubbles, but they return. How can I safely remove the algae without harming the coral?  Thank you for any ideas you may have. >>That's a tough one, and I'm inclined to suggest actually chipping away the bit of the plug where it's growing.  That, or consider the animals that eat it (the dreaded Mithrax crab).  Don't burst the bubbles, I believe this spreads them.  Also, please use our Google bar at the bottom of our home page and search Valonia.  Marina

-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 smokey 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>

Low lighting for Toadstool - 12/17/03 as far as lighting goes.. currently I have 2 watts per gallon.. and I have a open brain and a few Ricordea mushroom rocks.. <Seems like this may be an indicator but even if you had enough light, all animals need time to adjust to the environment. I would try to add a minimum of another 3 watts per. Happy Holidays ~P>

Toadstool Droop - 12/16/03 hello WWM Crew, I purchased a toadstool leather about 4 days ago.. ever since than it has been leaning downwards on the rock its attached to.. <No real issue here. It does need time to acclimate to your water chemistry and lighting. Please give it time. Leave it in place and try not to move it. Keep up with the water changes> I was told by my LFS to leave it alone and see what it does.. its polyps come out even once in a while but its hanging..<Means nothing. Give it time.> the top is facing the bottom of the tank..<Leave it be it should straighten out. In the meantime, please read through our FAQs and articles on these particular corals. Very hardy and tend to adjust to various water parameters and lighting over time.> I did all the usual tests and everything is fine..<How about lighting??? Although they tend to adjust to various lighting, it may just take some time to make the adjustment> all the other corals seem to be doin fine.. can u help?? <nothing to "help" here really. Just need to give it some time. ~Paul>

Sinularia sp. questions 12/14/03 Dear Bob: <Adam here today.> I have been trying to find out some detailed info concerning a product I am  planning on ordering.  It's common name on the website is a Lime Green Leather. Gerald at IPSF tells me that it is a Sinularia sp. <Coming from IPSF, I would comfortably trust the ID, and kudos by the way for researching before buying!> Should it be  supplemented with anything special?  Is it totally photosynthetic?  Are there any other  special concerns for this coral?  Why am I having such a tough time finding specific info on the Sinularia sp.?  I have found very basic info on it, but  nothing detailed enough to make me feel comfortable with the husbandry of it.  I  just want to be totally ready prior to purchasing!   <Care for all Sinularia's is pretty similar.  They all will tolerate a wide range of conditions, but generally appreciate moderate light and current.  It is photosynthetic, but all corals do need to get some nutrition other than from photosynthesis.  Sinularia will do fine on the dissolved organics present in all reef aquarium systems without any special additions.  In general, Sinularia should be among the least demanding of all corals to keep, so if your system is designed to meet the needs of corals in general, the Sinularia should do just fine.> Thanks in advance! <Glad to help.  Adam> Steve

Toadstool Leather shrinking 12/5/03 First let me say you have numerous articles on this but none seem to be my case. <OK> We got a large leather toadstool about 3 weeks ago and it did fine for 2 weeks and then stopped opening. Looks like a bare baby's but! <would that be with or without diaper rash? Er... never mind> Water tests fine. V <heehee... ya, know... folks/friends always say that... but we cannot help you as well without also being privy to those readings to confirm "fine"> HO lights same as the environment that it came from. Anyway, after reading your other posted articles, I have found out that it could be doing this for a number of reasons. I did fish out a 10" bristle worm 2 days ago and suspect it may have been the culprit. <weakly irritating at best> All other corals are multiplying and happy. My question is: Should I let my "Fishman" put it back in his tank where it was fine or wait it out to see if it will recover? <moving corals excessively in the first week is a surefire way to kill them. Please simply leave your leather in place and let it adapt. Many leather corals will take days or even weeks to express full polyps. They are very hardy but finicky> This piece was very expensive and it is hard to know what to do with it to save it. Lesa ~ Houston, Texas <have patience my friend... I suspect if you keep your hands out of the aquarium, it will look fine in days. Anthony>

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>

- Mushroom Leather Oddness -  Hi Again,  Thanks for the information. Since I wrote you, I can NOT find this little creature anywhere and the stalk of my leather where the notch is looks more like a crack now. <Are you sure it was a 'creature' and just not a piece of the stalk that had come loose? Perhaps attached a little while by a thread and then later lost entirely...> Where has this thing gone. <Who knows.> Do you have any ideas on how to find it now? <Not too many... just non-fun ideas like take the tank apart, but I'm not sure what that would really accomplish.> Also I have another leather-finger type I believe, which when the guy set it back up he said it wasn't doing well and he didn't think it would make it. Well I have been watching it and it just lays there, I am not sure but it looks like the bottom half is all green and brown hard looking. <I would agree with the person who helped set you up, I don't think it's going to make it.> But I have noticed the on the end that has the fingers some real real small little white and bushy stuff is waving around from them. Is there anything I can or should do with this guy? <Make sure your water quality is as good as it can be.> I have another one like this that stands up and the fingers just seem to reach up towards the top on my tank, the fingers are touch the things that wave around that comes out of my mushroom leather when it opens up. <Uhh... I'm not sure I understand.> Is this a problem, I had to depend entirely on the guy who set my tank up for placement of things. <Sounds to me like you should be depending on this person. I strongly advise you to start reading... inform yourself. Start with either Mike Paletta's New Marine Aquarium or Bob Fenner's Conscientious Marine Aquarist. If you get past those and want to know more about corals, pick up Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals. All the while you can also browse the Wet Web Media site where there are many articles and FAQs replete with information for you.> Oh yes I am going to do another water change. I still have not figured out how to find or get onto y'alls site to talk with ya'll at the time I am writing. <I'm guessing you are talking about the forums... only a few people who respond at Wet Web Media also post on the Wet Web Fotos forum... but there are many people there who would be happy to answer your questions.>  Thanks again,  Teri  <Cheers, J -- > 

On The Road To Recovery! Teri here again.  <Hi Teri! Howzit?> I am still doing frequent water changes and the film on top of my water is still a problem, I can not seem to find out what is causing it.  But I am wondering if it could be my skimmer.   I had just got this tank a short while back about 2 or 3 month ago and I had to replace the pump the same week I got it.  The skimmer doesn't seem to be skimming anything because I have not had to empty the jug that it drains into.  Do you think that this could be my problem and do you think the skimmer is not working correctly? <You're good! Yep- I'd say that this is a definite possibility- your leading candidate...> Good news is that my finger leather the one that was healthy when I got my tank but then started turning brown/gray and looked like it was flat well you get the picture it looked real bad.  It has turned around and is it's correct color and is filled out again and starting to stand up again and I am so happy it didn't die.  I Am still keeping a close eye on it. <Cool- I thought it was a goner!> The leather that was in bad shape when I got it is trying to sprout some new little things I guess it is trying to hang in there and I sure hope it makes it.  It appears to be a fighter and I am trying to do all I can to help it.  <You'd be surprised how tough those corals can be...If it's showing new growth, the prognosis is excellent!> Anyway, I just wanted to ask what you thought about the skimmer and could you tell me what would be a good skimmer.  72 gallon tank with live rock (about 100 lbs.) live sand, corals,  Sailfin tang, neon Dottyback, coral beauty, tomato clown.  I didn't know if would need to know this are not to answer the skimmer question but I thought more info is better that not enough. Thanks Again, Teri <Well, Teri- glad to see things are looking up! If it were me, I'd start thinking about a more effective skimmer, like one of the Aqua C EV series. They are terrific skimmers that are very productive! In the interim, you do want to play around with your existing skimmer a bit, to see if it can yield some product...It should! Have fun tweaking, and keep us informed about your corals and their recovery! Regards, Scott F>

Sick Toadstool?? - 11/4/03 I have a toadstool coral for about 7 months which did very well.  The past few months it has not been opening, it shrunk and the trunk remains wrinkled and yellow coloring. <Hmmm...well......this is somewhat normal as they do retract and go into a growth period from time to time. Basically not opening up for a few weeks and shedding a few layers.>  My water readings are perfect. <How old are your lights? Any other changes??>  I have 2 brain corals, colt coral, fox coral and star polyp which are all doing ok. <Any touching? Do you use carbon? This could be an allelopathic issue between corals>  I have a blue hippo tang, a yellow tang, and a small calm clown.  My only problem recently has been bristle worms which I have been trying to catch. <Unless they are very large these are deemed somewhat beneficial at smaller life stages.>  Please help as the toadstool is not totally dead. <I am sure it is not. I would not move it unless there is coral nearby (within a couple of inches. Add carbon to your set-up if you do not already. Give it some time>  I wish there was something I can do to make it the way it used to be. <How about time?? Did you read through our site regarding Sarcophytons? A good place to start is the articles and FAQs on this coral. -Paul>    

Please help ASAP:  Mushroom Leather I have never used the site for a problem but I have one.<I'm all ears!!>  I have had my tank for about 2 months now.  I got it from a guy that was moving out of state, he had it for over a year.  This is my first saltwater tank.  It is a 72 gallon he said about 100lbs. of live rock and coral.  I also have a Tomato Clown, Sailfin Tang, Coral Beauty and Neon Dotty Back I hope spelled all them right.  Well I had a man who moves tanks and has a shop the move my tank and set it back up.  He said it had some bad red algae and added chemicals which cleared up this problem.<what chemicals?>  We went through a few little scares at least I was, my pump went out and I didn't even know it but I knew my fish weren't acting right.<agreed.. lack of oxygen in the system.. the fish tend to stay near the top of the aquarium>  Anyway that was the first week and things were going really great, I love watching my fish and things I still don't know all there names.<you will in time>  We did a partial water change when we set it up and a friend and I did one last Sunday.  My nitrate had been high around 60 with the last water change it came down to about 30 or 40.<good, I would probably do another water change to get the nitrates down to around 20> Ok that was just a little history on my tank.<it helps.. believe me :)>  My problem is Monday evening I noticed my mushroom leather looked kinda a brownish color on the bottom of the stalks. Well last night I noticed on the left stalk (it looks like two stalks Siamese twins like) has a notch/cut out piece that is little over ? inch high,about1/8 inch wide and 1/8 inch deep.  When I first stared looking at it closely it looked like this little piece was lying right below the notch like it had been torn out.  Well that's not the case because the notch started moving and crawled along the junction of the stalks to the to of the stalks right below the mushroom's umbrella (I guess is what you would call it) It looks a whitish color about the same size as the piece notched out of the stalk and has tiny tiny white things sticking out from it more on one end than both ends.<I believe you might have a leather eating Nudibranch.. best to remove him/her ASAP!!> I have been reading all I can on caring for my animals and I really won't to take care of them and I am not sure what this is.   The only thing that have added to the tank a shrimp and I bought him from the guy's shop that moved my tank for me. That was 2 weeks ago. <It's probably a Nudibranch that found its way into your aquarium via LR... or maybe even by the coral itself lol...remove it before it finishes of your coral> Do you have any idea what this is?<above>  Is it something I need to get out of tank?<yes>  Please help ASAP. Thank You, Teri

Colt Coral - formerly "Cladiella" species I have had a piece of Colt Coral - Cladiella species in my tank for approx. 6 month. <now to be called "Klyxum" as reassigned by Alderslade (2000, I think)> It was doing very well until recently. Over the last week - week 1/2 it has been closed. I have check the water quality which is fine and all other livestock are doing well. It does receive regular nutrients of micro-plankton 3x week. <I'm hoping this is from a refrigerated product or live from a reactor. If from a warm (room temp) bottle, I suspect you can do a lot better here> Today I noticed a couple of branches buried under the sand (my clown fish has a tendency to fan its tail in the sand to move it (sand) away from the anemone). I moved the sand away from the coral, digging out its branches to find that they were decayed and had fallen off. Once the sand had been removed from the coral, I noticed some tearing on the main stalk. I am concerned that infection may set in and would like to do what I can to save my coral. Any suggestions? Thanks for your help! <the necrotic areas are cause for concern as such infections can spread rapidly (even to other corals). You may want/need to cut out decaying areas to save the most of the colony. Loose frags will need to be stitched to a new rock/rubble (they are too slow to attach naturally). Removal to a QT tank may be best of all. Anthony>

Successful Leather coral move 10/20/03 Folks, just a quick thank you for your advice about my leather coral which had grown over three pieces of live rock, making moving it to a new tank difficult. I separated the rock and leather as suggested, leaving what can only be described as a 'smear' on one piece. the leather is now in full 'bloom' in the new tank, <excellent to hear> and the smear is covered in polyps (after only three weeks), even on the sections where it is so thin the underlying coralline algae can be seen through it. <yes... they are amazingly regenerative and easy to propagate. Great fun :)> thanks again, Brian <always welcome... happy Reefing. Anthony>

Necrotic Sarcophyton elegans Yellow Leather 10/15/03 Part of the leather is now turning white with brown patches.  It is also smaller and less yellow overall.  it is also still slouching and doesn't look very good.  Help!!! <there is not much to be done here, alas... S. elegans is notoriously delicate and difficult to handle. As you stated in the last e-mail, this is a causality of not researching before you bought. You also made the mistake of not quarantining this as all new livestock should be (2-4 weeks). The concern here is that infections progress rapidly in colored leathers... and run the risk of being infectious to at least some other soft corals in the tank. Really a hard lesson here for you, mate. At this point (evidence of progressive necrosis), you need to remove the coral to a QT tank with the knowledge that the stress might kill it (faster) but with the belief that leaving it is a greater danger. Please be sure to read up on QT or inverts on the website... a nice article by Fellman. Best regards, Anthony>

Sarcophyton elegans (Yellow leather) under PC lights 10/14/03 I recently made a purchase before researching.   <grumble, grumble...> I bought a yellow leather.  I currently have 130wts of pc light and the leather is 3-4in under the lights I wondered of this would be enough light since he is so close to the lights.   <hhh... no worries. Not so bad at all. This coral will be fine here because of your wise placement of it in shallow water> Since I put the leather in the tank he seems to be slouching and shedding some white material.  I don't know if this is common or if it is not enough light.   <unrelated> Also the polyps are not coming out.  I have only had the leather two days but still am worried.   <no need to worry... this is a very sensitive leather coral species. Do refrain from physically touching or moving it ( a sure way to kill it). Simply leave it in place with very good water flow and wait for it to adapt (weeks)> What do you suggest feeding him (phyto).  I hate when I don't research first. Thanks in advance, Jeremy <very few corals actually eat phytoplankton... and many of those that do like some Alcyoniids eat very little at that. In this case, rely on a good fishless refugium for producing natural plankton and go easy on the bottled supplements (generally fuel for nuisance algae). Best regards, Anthony>

Yellow Toadstool not opening - 10/08/03 I need help with a yellow toadstool leather coral. Since I bought it hasn't opened. <Not unheard of. Did you read our FAQs about acclimating animals? How about a read through our FAQs on Sarcophytons (toadstool leathers?> At least I don't think so. How would a yellow leather "open". <Extracted tentacles on the crown of the coral> It doesn't seem healthy at all, compared to pics I've seen on the net. Here is my setup: 55 gal 2x 96watt PC (1x10k,1xActinic) <This is not quite enough light in my opinion. Could use more> 8 hour daylight cycle <10-12 is more akin to the environment of most corals> Sump 10 gal, bio-balls <read about our opinion on bio balls here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bioballfaqs.htm> SeaClone 100 Skimmer <Ummmmmm...... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimbestof.htm read the FAQs on skimmer selection. I wouldn't expect much out of this skimmer to be honest. Reviews are not good> 1/10 HP Chiller <Nice.> 1 rotating powerhead for circulation <Need a bit more in my opinion. Usually 10 to 20 times the tank volume is usually the order of the day> Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 20 ppm Ph 8.2, S/g 1.022, temp 77F Not testing Calcium, Alk, Phos. Can you give me some pointers as to its rescue and care...  <Sure. Firstly, new specimens in ideal conditions do take time before opening and acting (as they were). They need time to get used to the lighting intensity and regime, placement, flow, water parameters, other inverts, etc. So this takes time. Next thing to be aware of is that it is not uncommon for these corals to retract from time to time for up to a month to remove a slimy coating. (due to growth and to remove compounds amongst a few other reasons). Let it be for a while. Don't move it and see what happens. No need to feed per se. Just wait a bit longer (depends on how long you have already been waiting) then if this does not seem to work then we need to look at some other possible reasons. Lots to read on this coral. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm (lots of info on coral placement and lighting) and more specifically here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniids.htm (on toadstools) Good luck -Paul>

Toadstool questions - 10/08/03 Thanks for the quick response! I have a couple of questions from your answers: <No worries. I figured as much> 1. When you say "This is not quite enough light in my opinion", I would like to know what in your opinion is sufficient for lighting? <Well for starters I have two grow out tanks designed with Sarcophytons in mind. One ten gallon and one twenty gallon. On the ten gallon I have 8 watts per gallon (if you subscribe to the oversimplistic argument of watts per gallon.) On my 20 gallon I have 7 watts per gallon. I experience very good growth and health of my Sarcophyton cuttings> Another set of 2 96-watt PCs or even a 175-watt MH to spot an area of the aquarium? <I like either choice. What ever is cheaper for ya. The metal halide is a very cost effective choice in the long haul. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm> Having 3.5 watts per gallon ((96*2)/55) as I have read should be enough. <If anything, then barely. PAR intensity just won't be there, in my opinion> Given your experience, and the 55 gal tank with the yellow toadstool leather, what would be an appropriate but economic light level or total wattage? <Stated above> I am specifically looking for an answer conducive to a future upgrade in my lights. <Very good. I like a 5 WPG to 7 WPG light source, in my opinion. Again, if you subscribe to the watts per gallon point of view> 2. I have just ordered an Aqua-C Urchin, should be here tomorrow. Would that be fine? <AWESOME choice!> 3. I added a 300 GPH power head opposite the rotating one, flow has improved severely. <Very good.> 4. Did buy a small green carpet anemone yesterday, don't know if it was wise though. Would the anemone require more lights than presently installed? <Well in my diving experience in the South Pacific (Palau) I noticed these in the area of 40 to 60 feet. I did not have a spectrophotometer on me at the time, but I believe it is mostly blue light that is prevalent at that depth. So light may not be an issue. Feeding and tank husbandry is much more important. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/carpetanemones.htm Now you know what's coming next right? These are not readily available in captive bred form so.....well........have a hard time condoning the purchase of these. In any event, I wish you luck though. I have seen these kill stingrays and fish that land on them. They do get large, if they live long enough. Horrible way to die!> 5. I had been thinking about removing the bio-balls gradually, about 30% increments weekly. This would give me space to add a 4 or 5" sand bed and a couple of live rocks with a light (a refugium methinks). Is this positive, <YES!!!> I only have a small blue west Atlantic tang, and I am not that much into fish. <I feel ya there, brutha!> How would I be able to arrest the splash coming from the overflow box (2x 1" hoses)? <Hmmmmm......not sure. Without seeing how you are set up per se....Try some custom plexi baffles or something to that affect? Some splash guards from plexi or glass or some sort of plastic should do the trick. I am sure you can figure something out> 6. It has now been about a month and 1/2 since we got the leather, and it tried to open once, but I made the mistake of not having enough movement and it got covered in slime, well I moved it to the top shelve thinking it wasn't getting enough light, and then to the middle thinking it was getting too much light. When I moved it I use thongs, and I thing I squeezed too hard, as a bit of the coral dissolved or broke off. Its final resting spot, for about the last month, is in an area where it gets seeped by the rotating power head. Is this OK? <Not necessarily. Uh....just leave it be, my friend> Would this constitute a constant change that it couldn't get used to? <Yep> Otherwise time will tell. <Unfortunately the hardest part> Also I will try the daily small iodine regimen. <No need in my opinion. If you don't test for it don't dose it> I'll shut up and sit back for the answers now, I still can't understand how in the world can a group of people that know so much about this subject, help others so readily, and so unselfishly. <For the betterment of many!> You guys should really think about what you do with pride! <Thank you. We do appreciate the kind words.> You have the courage to do it for free, and the dedication to do it right! <Just a small part of the community. So many others also contribute from the forums to the books to you, the users of such information> Imagine NASA engineers spending their free time tutoring physics and engineering students from high school, for free, and with dedication... Just my perspective. <Some do just that. Glad to be affiliated with such fine people> Most humble regards! <Good luck. -Paul>

Playing With Leather (Coral) Folks, <Scott F. here today!> I'm gradually moving living rock from my old, smaller, tank into a 5 x 2 x 2. About two months ago I succumbed to a beautiful L shape plate of LR, which I put in my small tank as a temporary measure. Today I came to put it in the new tank only to find that my huge leather coral has spread its base onto the LR. The leather had previously taken over a huge piece of LR and so, with its original base, now has a hold on quite a mass of rock! <Ahh...an interesting "problem", huh?> Unfortunately if I put it in the tank like this the leather has to either hang upside down or part stick out of the water. Is there any way I can get it off the L shaped piece of LR? Thanks. Brian <Well, my recommendation here may not make me too popular with leather coral fans, but I'd approach it one of two ways: You can gently "pry" it off of the rock with SLOW gentle pressure under it's base, or you could use a sharp razor blade and excise it cleanly from the rocks. Either way, if performed carefully, the procedure will not harm the coral, and it will make a full recovery. If you really don't want to cut or pry the coral, I'd use a small hammer and chisel, and chip away enough of the rock to keep the leather below the water line...Good luck- I hope that one of these approaches works for you! Regards, Scott F.>

Playing With Leather (Coral) -Pt.2 Thanks Scott, <You're quite welcome!> I think it'll have to be the 'razor blade' method. Helpful advice, as always, much appreciated. Brian <My pleasure! I wouldn't be too concerned about using this technique on your leather. These corals are remarkable for their toughness and ability to withstand "imposed propagation" techniques, such as cutting. Have fun, and save any excess tissue from the procedure; you might even end up growing another coral from this tissue! Regards, Scott F>

Distressed Leather Hi I purchased a toad stool five days ago and it has not opened since it left the store . <Not uncommon for this species. They do retract their polyps periodically to help rid their surfaces of algae and detritus; often this is in response to some sort of stress (such as being moved to a new environment)...> water is fine as far as ammonia, nitrite, nitrate is 20PPM did a 10% water change anyway calcium is high 520 gravity is at 1.021 and I am slowly raising it. Temp is 76- is this to low? <The temperature is fine> I do have a long tentacle anemone and another anemone that is purple with green tips both about 15 inches away from toad stool. <Hmm....> I just read its no good to have two anemones together <Nor is it a great idea to keep anemones with corals in a mixed tank. Lots of folks do it, but it really is not the best approach, IMO> I have a bubble coral about 12 inches away and candy coral 6 inches away and some hammer coral. <All possess fairly powerful allelopathic capabilities...> The toad stool looks like it is shedding some skin from its base. <I'd keep a close eye on the coral, and maintain excellent water conditions. I don't think that your coral is finished by any stretch...> Sometimes the skin is dark the anemone is a light peach color almost white and it seems to be releasing mucus ,looks like smoke <Quite possibly, you are witnessing the release of waste products. Keep a careful eye out to make sure that the animal is otherwise healthy. If this is the case, there is little to worry about..> I have a 72 gallon bow tank ,Eco System refugium sump ,Aqua C 120 skimmer , 2 400 gph power heads but only keep 1 on otherwise polyps wont open completely, and a drop in chiller, I use RO water, Instant Ocean salt , iodine , strontium, (Reef Builder , Reef Advantage Calcium , and Reef Plus as per GARF's bullet proof reef) <A proven methodology...> Fish : 2 clowns , diamond goby , lizard goby (LFS has different name for this each visit) , cleaner and peppermint shrimp , 5 Chromis , zebra damsel, arc eye something? <Hawkfish, maybe?> and a hippo tang. Nothing is over 2 inches except the diamond goby. <Sounds like a nice mix of animals> Sorry this is so long. Please help. Thank you Manny <Well, Manny, I would not be overly concerned about the current condition of the leather. As mentioned above, this is rather normal for this species. However, you need to consider the potential problems that can arise by keeping anemones and corals together. Not a good mix for the long run. Do keep up with regular water changes and excellent husbandry techniques. If the tissue on the leather coral becomes "cheesy" or begins to decompose, it may be necessary to intervene by excising the affected area, but I don't think that will even become necessary...Keep observing, and hang in there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Cabbage Mushrooms I bought a rock??? with a bunch of cabbage mushrooms on it.  I have noticed that it is on some kind of plate and recently the plate, which has fissures on it, seems to open a little bit and has finger like things in the fissures.  I am enclosing the best pictures I could get.  You have free reIgn to do what you need to try to determine what they are. I am stumped.  Maybe you can help me identify. <Looks like the soft coral Sinularia dura, family Alcyoniidae. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniidsii.htm> Your site has given my plenty of advice and information and I figure that I might as well go to the best.  So I am sending this to you.  Maybe you and/or someone that checks your site can figure out what this is. Thank you for all you do and keep up the great site so amateurs like me can try to learn more. Carol Dunham
<Glad to be of assistance. Bob Fenner>

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 params... 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. <Oooo, 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>

Corals & Water Flow (8-2-03) My finger leather coral looks like a wilted plant after I turn off the water flow.  Right after I turn it back on, it goes to the normal - erect position. Is this normal for corals?  Thank you,  Luke <Yes, water flow is very important for coral and it is normal for some coral to shrink.  Cody>

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

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