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FAQs about Propagating Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae

Related Articles: Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae

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

coral... soft, holey, why?      3/23/18
<Is there a full moon? 12 megs of files? Why?>
can you tell me why this coral has a hole in it? it seemed to be splitting in 3 heads lol seems healthy and colour is good as you can see in pics I've read it could be cloning it self is that right all other coral in tank are doing well also thanks
<Either very good conditions or something/s stressful can bring on such schizogyny (reproduction by asexual splitting). Might be that the Anemone below is mal-affecting your Sarcophyton... You do use carbon... are aware
of their propensity for terpene production? Bob Fenner>

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

Question, Soft Coral Farming; sys. filtr.    11/28/11
<Hello there>
I'm planning a small scale coral farm (mostly as a fun side project and maybe to help with my marine aquarium addiction) and I have a question about Biological filtration, I was wondering what you guys think would the better option, a remote Deep sand bed, live rock and refugium, just Live rock or some combination of all?
<The combination for sure... as large a DSB as you can provide for natural nitrate reduction and food production, the culture of macro-algae et al. in the as-large-as-possible refugium for nutrient take up and foods provision, some other type of non-mechanical (as to avoid foods removal) biological filtration (like a smallish fluidized bed), and maybe periodic/saltatory skimming (on every few hours for an hour...>
I'm planning on doing soft corals
<Mmm, then periodic use of chemical filtrants likely... or rotation/separation of genera, species, individual cut up (fragmented) colonies... to reduce allelopathogenic effects>
 and the total water volume is roughly 350 gallons. I've scoured the internet for information and found that opinions vary as they so often do and read a few books and opinions seem to vary there some what too so any help or advice you guys could offer would be very much appreciated. Thank you for your time.
<Welcome... Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm
and the linked files above, for further input/background. Bob Fenner>

Reef Problem: pH Control in a Reef Aquarium. The Frustration of Chasing Numbers. 11/23/2010
<Hi Johnny.>
First, I would like to say thank you for all the information I have gotten over the past year from this website!
<Glad you find it useful.>
I have a question. The pH in my reef system will not stay above 8.1.
The PH is stable at 8.1 (does not fluctuate at all'¦ even at night). However, I still can't help but to think there is something wrong here.
<Hmm.... a rock solid stable pH in the 8's... If only I could have such problems..:) >
My water perimeters appear great.
SG: 1.025
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0-trace
Temp: 80'F
Calcium: 425-450
Alk: 10dKH
Magnesium: 1350
PH: 8.1
Total Gallons: 120
<Those numbers look good.>
I am currently running a calcium reactor. However, there is a massive amount of aeration surrounding the output as well as in the tank. I also turned off the CO2 reactor and waited a day and still got the same results. I have an odd tank arrangement. I have three 30 gallon cubes and refugium 'tied' into one another
via the sump.
'See pictures: http://s182.photobucket.com/albums/x105/yellingtuna/saltwater/
' Photos are slightly out of date, but still fairly accurate.
<Interesting setup.>
I am well stocked; however, I am also well filtered.
Stocking includes:
2 Perculas (mated)
2 False Perculas (mated)
1 Maroon
1 BTA Anemone
1 Curly Cue Anemone
2 Damsels
1 Six Line wrasse
1 Blenny
1 Goby + Shrimp
Many different Corals + Clam
150lbs live rock
Deep Sand Bed
Protein Skimmer
<Reasonably stocked.>
So, do you guys have any idea on what could be keeping the ph at 8.1? Is this something I should worry about, or am I just thinking to deep?
<I think you are thinking too deep. You have a nice stable pH. stability is better than hitting an exact number. Particularly if it is only 0.1 from the desired ideal.>
The fish and coral all seem to be doing great.
I also have one more question. I recently fragged one of Toadstool corals (never fragged this type of coral before). The frags seem to be doing fairly well. However, the mother coral refuses to stick out her tentacles. There is also a small dark film on the side that I took the frag from.
<Could be healing, could be an infection.>
She seems fine otherwise. How long should I wait before getting worried? Could the dark film be an infection? If so, what should I do about it?
<Give it another week or so, if you see no improvement, give the coral a dip in water and Lugol's solution.>
Thanks in advance!
<My pleasure.>
Johnny L.

Fragging a Leather coral -- 2/3/10
as always thank you for previous advice, my tanks are thriving because of you.
<Me too!>
I am interested in fragging my leather coral but every article I have ever seen only refers to taking off a small piece of it and starting it somewhere else. I have one that is 24" in diameter <wow> and it sits on three separate rocks (well grew onto them) and its way to big to enjoy or fit in my display tank
I want to frag the whole thing into 30-40 small 1" pieces, is this acceptable?
<Yes, but I would do pieces at least double this>
I have read many forums about how to cut them and using iodine dip to cure them before placing it back in the tank. I have a separate 30 gal tank that I will put 1/2 of the pieces into and the other 1/2 back into the main coral propagation tank,
<Hmmm, this could cause you problems -- these corals are toxic to other life, and there will be a lot of 'open wound' areas here>
to accommodate for to much slime being released into one water stream. Both tanks have good water quality.
<Not for long. Be sure to skim aggressively and use carbon if you do this>
Another question is about the deep tissue body pieces? Because its so massive and I will only be wanting a 1" wide by 1" deep piece to frag, underneath it will be a mass of tissue with no surface facing. Is this tissue able to regrow?
<Should, yes>
What about the stumps left on the 3 rocks, will that regrow or just corrode the water?
<Probably both>
On a separate subject, I have read a few articles posted here about other people having the similar problem with green star polyps that I am. They are opening very nicely everyday, but my colony has been slowly fading away
(for over 3 months now). The purple matting they grow on seems to be slowly receding.
<Hmmm, lets not forget you have a 2 foot Leather Coral in there so allelopathy is a definite possibility here, or the Octocorals is not 'getting' something>
I have 170 total water volume and do about %5 weekly water changes with RO/DI water. I drip Kalk and run a continuous PH monitor that stays at 8.3(ish)
My nitrates are about 4ppm and no detectable phosphates.
<This is essential for life. Could be what is missing here. It is thought that these corals absorb some nutrients from the water stream, and if your system is too 'clean' then certain species will not thrive>
I do the following tests
Iodine 5 (doing slight dosing to raise)
Magnesium 1100
Calcium 350 (trying to increase my Kalk trip slowly to make this up)
Alkalinity 2.9 (been adding bicarbonate carbonate)
Salinity 1.025
<All Good>
I run 2 250MH and 2 100 PC Acetates on my main display (neither of the corals above are in the main display (75gal)
<Yes, but all are sharing the same system water?>
I run a 400MH on my 60 frag tank (hooked to the same water) running on alternating timing to maintain PH
And 65w PC on my sump (runs 18 hours a day)
I have many other corals (xenia, SPS, LPS, Duncan's (doing wonderfully)) in this water.
<Yes, I would 'fix' your lack of phosphate here first, but you have quite a mixture of corals here and it is inevitable that some will not do as well as others>.
Thanks for any help,
Attn: Simon -- Re: 03/02/10 Fragging a Leather coral
<Hello Gary>
Wow, after reading so many articles about lowering phosphates and now someone is telling me to increase mine? Its funny!
<This is essential for life -- it should be kept low (a 'trace'), but not removed completely>
How do you recommend I do this? Increase my fish feeding schedule, or will the coral slime actually help with this?
<Hmmm, are you using GFO? I would cease if you are, if not then yes -- increase feeding if you can as long as water quality does not suffer or you start to encounter algae problems. 'Tis a balancing act>
Also, in reference to the comment about 'skimming aggressively' to watch for the slime produced. I got a pump/bullet skimmer rated for a 300gallon tank on eBay for cheap, so I bought it even though it was way too big for my tank.
<I would still be wary of slicing such a large Leather up and placing in the system, but'¦>
I actually had problems the first few months because of removing too many things from my water column (i.e. iodine and magnesium started dropping rapidly)
<The skimmer will not remove Mg, and iodine drops naturally, quickly>
and I had to dose then turn it down a bit.
I can crank it all the way up to make up for the slime being produced.
<I should, temporarily at least>
The only downside is I will have to begin aggressively testing and adding supplements again.
<Like what? Your skimmer will not remove calcium et al>
When I skim this much, can I just increase my freshwater Kalk drip to make up for the extra water lost or does the skimmer remove salt also?
<Mmmm, the skimmer will remove organics in the main and will leave the rest alone, but the 'wet' part will contain salt water. Test the salinity, and replace lost salt water with new salt water. No need to change your Kalk drip.>
Thanks again for the help,
<No problem>

Toadstool propagation - 05/31/08 Hello all.....again! As always, I have searched your site for my answers before directly asking you! I know you all are busy. None the less, am still left with a few questions. I have a green toadstool leather that I have had for about a year and a half. It has been in good health, less growth than should be expected, but good color and the polyps extend often. I have noticed that an area of the base (1/2" from the very bottom) is a very dark brown. <Happens> I don't believe its black necrotic, but certainly irritated. Another half inch up is a hole that is also dark brown from some sort of tube worm that the toadstools base sometimes rests against. I can snap off the tube worm, and possibly change the direction of water flow to keep the base from the lump of live rock on which it rests. The toadstool has grown over the plug and attached itself (very well) to a very large piece of live rock. I am moving in about 8 months and would like to attach it to a smaller rock to make the move easier. My questions are, should I do as I said, breaking the tube worm, change the water flow and leave it alone? Or can I frag it with success. <Either, both might be done> I have heard/read that the green toadstools are not as easy to frag as the brown ones. <Mmm, about the same... the S. elegans (yellow) is really not easy...> Can I cut the cap off, and cut again just below the brown area on the base to hopefully get two toadstools? <Sure> If this is the case, can I cut up the remaining healthy parts of the base with good results? <Ditto> I will be able to remove the rock and place it in a bucket to do my surgery. <Good... I'd do this cutting out of the water entirely> In four gallons of water, how much iodine should I add, or should I at all, (referring to the water I will conduct the surgery in). <Mmm... rinse the whole cuttings thoroughly, use about ten times the stated dosage...> And after a good rinse in the bucket water, can I just place them back in the display? <Much better to leave elsewhere for a few weeks... will be very slimy... can cause troubles> I have a good skimmer and run poly filters. Another question. My poly filters turn dark brown after only a week or two. My parameters are all good. Maybe too good, I get no readings of nitrates or phosphates. Could this be from the huge amount of Chaetomorpha algae in the refuge? <Yep> Not sure how this could be, but could I have too much of it? <Keep cutting it back...> It completely fills a 30 gallon rubber made container. <If the water can get around, through... no problem> Whew...sorry for all the questions!! Thank you much! Rob <Welcome. Bob Fenner>  
Re: toadstool propagation 6/1/08
Bob! Thank you so much for responding! It is an honor when you reply! (Not to discredit others, I know all earn there place!). You are a GREAT credit to the hobby and to the life of our natural reefs! <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words> I did the cuttings. I got three good pieces plus the head. I was hasty and put them back in the tank after a good rinse. <Mmm... do keep a close watch on your other livestock> I should have waited for your reply....I will just keep up with more than usual water changes, and make my skimmer run a little more wet. Will keep you posted. <Thank you for this> I'm not sure if I understood, is it the excess Chaeto causing the early demise of the poly filter, or is it the reason I am getting no readings for nitrate and phosphate? <Likely both> Thanks again, I will be in touch with my results! I am excited, was my first time propagating! Thanks again, Rob <Welcome Rob. BobF>
Re: toadstool propagation   6/7/08
Hello Bob, &&Updating/bugging you again! The fragging of the toadstool seems to have gone well. I cut the head off, and got three healthy, but small&nbsp;&nbsp;pieces from the stalk. There is an area of deterioration on the head, a pie shaped area about a quarter of the whole size. I will keep an eye on it and frag it again if need be. <Good> I was able to just rest the pieces on rubble, they get a fair amount of current. If they do not attach like this, I will use other means. <Tying with thread, skewering with plastic toothpicks...> I found what may be a hydroid where the toadstool was attached before. Could be a cause for its behavior, causing it to slump against the rock creating areas of damage. <Ah, yes> All other corals are doing fine even though I should have placed the toadstool frags in another container. The only one that seems to be effected is a green finger leather. It has skinned over, but other wise looks okay. It is the farthest away from the frags, and the funny thing is, a piece that fell off of it a month or two ago is doing fantastic! Full polyp extension and noticeable growth. In fact, a red Sinularia that has been the same size for quite some&nbsp;time is sprouting new fingers! I swear within a week its grown&nbsp;1/2 an inch! Pretty odd! <Likely all (stress) related from the Sarco> I will continue with heavy carbon and water changes. <Good> And the main reason I am writing today! I purchased a new pH test kit because I was running low on the last. Tested it today with the new kit, and it reads .3 lower! <Yikes! This is a BUNCH... base 10...> The new kit is a Red Sea test kit. Just a note for other readers to check and double check there parameters. Don't trust just any kit, I had a hydrometer that read 1.025&nbsp;that tested &nbsp;against another one reading 1.028. If anything seems odd in your tank, it may be something to check into! And no&nbsp;test "strip" I have used reads very accurate. I believe this may be a cause for many of our problems! Thank you again. Rob&nbsp;
<Welcome. BobF>

New Jawfish Sick; Treatment Options? - 05/31/08 Hi, WWM Crew Member! <Scott, you got the common progenitor> After a lot of planning and waiting, I'm just now adding the first corals and fish to my new 20G tank (pictured). The trouble is, things aren't going well. My new Yellow-Headed Jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons) arrived yesterday, but due to an issue with the shipping company, the box ended up sitting in full Arizona sun for about an hour before I got to it. Here's the acclimation protocol I followed: 1. Drip acclimation, effectively quadrupling the water volume over a period of 45 minutes. 2. 10 minute freshwater dip, pH buffered but only slightly aerated, with 0.5ml/G Methylene blue added. 3. Transferred directly into tank (though I hand-caught him for fear of net damage, but he slipped out, and it took me about 15 seconds to get him into the tank). Here are my tank's parameters: SG: 1.025-1.026 pH: 8.3 (daytime) KH: ~9 NH3/4+: 0 NO2-: <0.1 (was zero; I suspect it was because of one of the rocks I added) NO3-: 20ppm (working on reducing) I skipped the QT this one time only, as it will be the first fish in the tank and the only one for the next month at least. This provided the additional benefit of a nice, deep mixed substrate, and the chance for her to acclimate and become established long before I move my bicolor blenny in. <Might not get along> However, I soon realized my new Jawfish was in trouble. It just lays at the bottom (not on its side), and isn't attempting to build a burrow like I expected it to. Attempts to give it a couple divots in the sand for encouragement haven't made a difference. <Too beat for now> It continued to behave this way throughout the night, despite the nightlight I provided. I do have a tightly-conforming eggcrate plus fishing-line crisscrossed along its top for jumping control, but she seems disinterested in jumping or moving much at all. Upon closer inspection, petecchial hemorrhaging is evident along her body, and possibly at the back of her caudal fin (which appears frayed, with a little mucous present I think). The juncture between her body and pectoral fins also seems excessively red, but I don't have a good reference for it. I've attached a picture of her; you may have to zoom in a bit to see them, but there are red dots along her body at the tail. I'm concerned this may be a bacterial infection taking advantage of her weakened condition, but I don't know what to do about it. <Nothing> I feel moving her to a QT tank would be potentially lethal, but leaving her alone could also be deadly. <Better to leave in place> If helpful, I'd like to administer a treatment bath for it, but I don't know what drug or dosage would be effective. What would you do in this situation? <Try to be patient> Right now, I'm trying to disturb her as little as possible, hoping she may recover on her own, but I want to do everything I can to help her. She's still alert to my presence, but still no interest in burrowing, investigating her surroundings, or actually fleeing my approach (she just looks at me and scoots back a bit). She doesn't use the PVC I put in for her to hide in (I hoped she'd feel safer in it). She also refused frozen Mysis shrimp this morning (not surprised). Is this my fault? She's so sick; I wish she were still in her ocean home so she wasn't hurting. Please help me help Mandy (as in mandible, as in Jawfish)... any advice is sincerely appreciated. Do you know of a good technical/veterinary text or formulary for these sorts of treatments? <There are a few recent titles... one by Bob Goemans et al. by Microcosm/TFH and another by Gerald Bassleer under his co. imprint...> My wife is an experienced veterinary technician, and is good at applying such information, but I don't know if it exists for small ornamental marine aquatics... I haven't seen such a text. Thank you so very much for all your help, --Scott Baker <Your wife can search for Nelson Herwig's compendium re aquatic materia medicae and Ed Noga's "Fish Disease; Diagnosis and Treatment". Bob Fenner>

Colt Coral Reproduction, and Scorpionfish sel.    2/11/08 Hi all, I have two quick questions for the you experts of marine knowledge, I have a large Colt Coral under a 250watt MH bulb that has been dropping branches like mad, probably 7 or 8 in the last 5 days, these small branches have begun attaching to rocks all around my tank, is this just normal healthy reproduction of this coral? <Mmm, not likely "normal"... Something is prompting... this is a species survival mechanism... in the face of adverse conditions...> Also the LFS recently got a beautiful 4" white devil Scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis diabolus), which I have had a lot of trouble finding information about. If you guys have any good info on these fish, like hardiness and size/temperament of them, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Dan <What little I know re is posted on WWM... Is a beauty and sturdy aquarium species... and quite venomous! Also... a capacious maw inhaler of fishes, shrimps... Bob Fenner>

Coral propagation, Alcyoniids  01/22/2008 <<Hello, Andrew here>> can I use super glue gel to attach a colt coral to a rock <<The super glue method does not work with colt corals due to their slime. To attach to rock, I would suggest either using plastic bands or cocktail sticks and skewer the coral to rock. Both methods work very well indeed>> <<Thanks for the question. A Nixon>>

Re: Sinularia hlth., repro.   4/13/07 Hello Bob and Crew! I had another concern to run by you today. My Sinularia sp. coral is having a possible issue again. I don't know if you remember what happened before or not but my Sinularia coral had a small branch that developed a white (ish) area on it. We both agreed that it was most likely stung and infected. I had cut the infected branch off and it is almost completely healed now and doing great. Now, however there is another branch doing it and this time I know it wasn't injured. Could this be some form of reproduction? <Mmm, possibly> I know some corals will drop branches and those will attach to substrate and grow. Have you seen/ heard of this type of coral doing that? <Yes> The "infected" area seems to spread around the arm to be dropped and thins out an area until it breaks off. At least it seems so, when I was cutting the arm off of it the first time it just broke off, then I cut the rest of the light area off. What would you recommend I do with this coral? Thank you as always for your time and consideration. Take care, Brian <Have heard/read of this "dispersal mechanism"... a version of "fragmentation", asexual reproduction... Does it portend something "missing", "overly-stressful" in this colony's environment? Bob Fenner>

Re: Sinularia hlth., repro., Lysmata repro.  4/14/07 Hello Bob, Thank you for your timely response. I have been doing weekly water exchanges of 35 - 40 gallons until the new filter gets in (the tank is 90 gallons). The water parameters are great, and there is nothing irritating the coral that I know of. I have seen no predators in the aquarium, nor any signs of predators. The fish that are in the tank leave it alone, that's why I was leaning towards asexual reproduction. It seems that the tissue turns white around the area that will break off, then polyps disappear (in the white area) and the tip that is breaking away from the colony stays colored up and full of polyps. I have been measuring the area every day and will continue to keep an eye on it, I will also try to get a good photo, but its hard to where the coral is placed. I suppose just watching it to see what happens is about all there is to do in this situation? <Mmm, that or moving it> Also, do you know the time period that "Cleaner shrimp"  Lysmata sp? carry their young for, or how long the young take to become free swimming / roaming? <Temperature dependent to a degree, but overall reproduction can be about weekly under "good" conditions...> I believe that is the correct spelling, if not I apologize. Thank you for your time and consideration as always, and take care my friend. Brian Crenshaw <Will do. BobF>

Toadstool detaching from live rock... Frag it!  2/12/07 <Greetings, Mich here today.> My toadstool is becoming unattached to its rock, as if it is ripped or torn. Is there anything I can do to save it? <Yep! Frag that bad boy!   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/softcorpropfaqs.htm  > I not sure but could be poss. that the water current was to strong. <Possibly.> Since then I have readjusted the toadstool and power head. <OK.> The toadstool polyps still comes out as if it is still trying to live. <Yep it should, it is a hardy coral.> Is it best to leave it alone hoping it will reattach or to completely remove it from the rock or will it die? <The first two choices are options.  It shouldn't die.  But if the area looks necrotic I would cut it off and start with a fresh, clean cut. If the stem is long, chop of a couple pieces and raise some frags!  Use a rubberband and attach them to some small pieces of live rock.  You can do it!> thanks in advance <You're welcome!  -Mich>

Umbrella Leather Giant...Fragging Potential.  1/27/07 <Hello TJ, Mich here today.> BlueWater email - TJ I have been reading the blog about care recommendations for soft corals and leathers.  Thanks for some good ideas. <Glad you have found it helpful!> Now to my problem - I have a umbrella leather that has prospered in my reef aquarium for a couple of years.  It is healthy and still growing. <Most excellent!> It has now a trunk about 2 in diam and head about 6 in. diam.  The problem is that the trunk is almost 12 in. long - attached across a large flat rock - up an adjacent rock then standing almost to the surface. <Not a problem, a potential.> I cannot find out recommendation for shortening it       - Can I cut across and re-mount to another rock?? <Exactly, just frag it!>       - Will the remaining trunk develop a new head?? <I would take the stalk and chop it into small cubes, each should redevelop.       I cannot remove the rocks as other anemones are attached on side and bottom.       Any suggestions. <A straight edge razor and some fishing line to sew the cubes on to some rubble rock, then share your frags with fellow reefers!  Good luck!  -Mich> Terry Joslin BlueWater & Assoc.

Missing frag   1/12/06 Hello Crew <Wayne> I fragged a colt coral the other day.  I had trouble securing the frag to a small piece of live rock.  I came home from work today, and the frag was gone.  I moved the LR as best I could and couldn't find anything.  Is it possible it was eaten?  Possible suspects... Volitans Lion Harlequin Tuskfish <Here's the primary suspect> Condy Anemone Would any of these 3 eat the colt coral frag? <Yes, the wrasse> If you say no,  I'm going to remove all my LR and find it.  It must be in the tank somewhere. Wayne <Agreed... I am a fan of sewing through such soft coral frags... or netting completely over them to keep secured. Bob Fenner>

Mushroom Leather Troubles...Reproduction   7/18/06 Hey everyone <Marc> I have a mushroom leather that I have had for around 4 months and I noticed today that a small tear (around ? inch long) has formed over the last 24 hours in one section. The coral has almost all its polyps extended except for this one area. Is this of concern or should I just let it go and see what happens. I have not moved the coral recently and all other corals seem to be going well. I have also checked to see if any fish have bothered it (I do have  flame angel) but all seems OK there. Is this normal behaviour or a sign of a problem. I have reasonably good water flow of around 15 - 18 times in a 4 x 2 x 2 tank. <I'd wait and see.  Without a pic, I'm guessing the coral is propagating itself.  If so, this piece will eventually fall off and can be glued to a piece of live rock to form another colony.  Do send a pic if possible for a more accurate identification of the problem, if any. James (Salty Dog)> Cheers Marc

Sarcophyton leather toadstool (and the near death of my tank)  - 04/16/06 Hello, <Hi, Leslie here with you today> Maybe I'm an idiot but I learned a important lesson this week, thought it would be a good idea to share this with people.   <I doubt that . Admitting and sharing our mistakes so others can benefit from them is a very honorable gesture. Thank you! > I took my leather toadstool out of the tank and thought I would propagate it by cutting it in half.  Well when I cut it open a massive amount of " juice " came out (no big  deal)  I rinsed it off with saltwater and put it back into my tank.  Well within 5 minutes my fish were going nuts, my Kole tang turned so pale he was almost white and was instantly covered with spots, my Clownfish was breathing very heavy, my Bubble Tip Anemone looked completely dead and my finger leather closed completely.  Needless to say I freaked out and did a quick search on Sarcophyton being toxic to fish, yup found out the extract can kill your fish in 30 minutes.  I quickly went to the LFS I work at (no one that works there knew this was a deadly procedure) and picked up 15 gallons (55 gallon tank) of water and did a quick water change (and dumped the toadstool).  My bubble tip immediately looked completely normal, the fish resumed breathing normally and other than an ich outbreak everything was fine the next day.  Anyway just wanted to let people know that if you are going to do something like this make sure you have a really good carbon filter that moves a lot of water quickly, and I would definitely not attempt doing cutting one up in your tank.  Found it interesting that everything that I read about propagating a leather said nothing about it being toxic, found out that there are actually 50 toxic chemicals in a Sarcophyton leather toadstool (after the incident of course).  Like I said, maybe I'm an idiot but I just wanted to get this out there so people don't repeat my mistake. <You made a mistake. I know for a fact you are not the first and you will not be the last. We all make mistakes. It seems to be the theme for today's queries. I have certainly made my fair share. An idiot most likely would not have acted as quickly as you did to resolve the problem. Your quick thinking and action hopefully saved the rest of the creatures in your tank. Fingers crossed that they recover from the ich. I don't do any propagating myself but most of the folks I know that do use separate propagation tanks.>   Thanks. <Thank you for sharing your story. Best of luck with your tank, Leslie>

Fragging Sinularia - 10/22/05 Hey hey, I hope you are all well. <<Currently doing some diving with the Bobster in HI...so yes, very well thank you.>> The "problem" is with my 60(UK) gallon bow fronted reef tank. In the tank I have 3 Leather corals on one rock, 2 Sarcophyton and 1 Sinularia between them. <Mmm...will soon get crowded...>> The "problem" being that now the Sinularia has started putting on some serious growth it is coming into contact with the Sarcophyton either side, the largest of which is 8 inches across and cast a shadow over the Sinularia. <<Not surprising...the Sarcophyton can easily reach two feet in diameter.>> How would one go about propagating/moving it into another location? <<Mmm, sharp scissors are probably your best bet...though a new razor blade can work too.>> How would I get it to attach to the new location? Reef gel? Rubber bands? <<Best to "sew" the fragments to bits of rock using light monofilament, in my opinion.>> I am only 15 and it seems quite a daunting task, any help would be appreciated. Thank you very much in advance, Will. <<Not all that difficult Will...a keyword search on the net (or this site) will likely find some step-by-step instruction. EricR>>

Sarcophyton Propagation techniques 9/30/05 Kind regards to my American friends from the UK <And to you!> My question relates to Sarcophyton propagation. I have read the previous links on this site that have proven most helpful. However my dilemma is this.  My Sarcophyton toadstool is now mammoth - I have it as a show piece in a 24x24x24" tank, where it has attached itself to a very large piece of live rock ( the only piece in this tank, which is half covered with star polyps ). It has a very broad base approximately 4-5" in diameter and the crown is about 18" in diameter. It has the most beautiful polyp extensions. <Congrats on your outstanding success with this animal!  As successful aquarists, corals that outgrow our systems becomes a serious problem.> What I would like to do is remove the crown and transfer it to my 250g (UK size) reef set up. The toadstool has been undisturbed for over 3 years and was a very small specimen when I first had it. Because of its size the bottom of the aquarium is shaded and preventing the star polyps from spreading. <Sounds like a reasonable plan.  However, as you seem to be aware, the sheer size of this animal presents some problems.  You will be exposing a large area of damaged tissue, releasing a  tremendous amount of potentially noxious tissue fluids, and will require a lot of space for the fragment(s).> I also have concerns that the new crown will never grown back as spectacularly as the original mother specimen ( is this true? ). <In time I am sure it will, although it may be a bit funny looking for a while.> Also what is the best method of removing the crown  - the live rock is extremely heavily to remove from the aquarium. <I would suggest only removing the rim of the crown and leaving the central part to re-grow.  This will leave some polyps with the stalk to help it heal and hopefully reduce the risk to that part of the animal.  After disturbing the animal so that it contracts, this can be done in the tank if the animal is too large to remove.  The resulting ring of tissue can then be cut into segments, each of which can be attached to substrate.> It seems from what I read that the crown should remain in the same system until it has healed and attached itself to a new medium.. Because of its size and the lack of space in the old aquarium once cut I would like to remove it. <You can exchange a large portion of water between the tank a day or so before you "operate".  This will bring the water chemistry close enough that it should not be a problem.  Do try and match the lighting as closely as possible.> When cut should the damaged area be left up turned to expose it to the water flow?  <Yes.  The damaged area should be provided with a fair amount of turbulent water flow.> Finally how can I minimize mortality? <In addition to the steps outlined above, I would suggest running carbon for several days after the event as well as a couple of 10-20% water changes in the first week or so.> Thanks for a great site, look forward to your response. Thanks, Warren  <Glad to!  Good luck and best regards, AdamC.> Re Leather Corals 10/25/05 Thank you very much.  I have been searching and still haven't been able to find anything on attaching corals step by step. <Mmm, maybe take a gander at Anthony (Calfo's) "Book of Coral Propagation"...> I have a nice rock I would like to place the coral on and it has a hole in it and there is quite low flow in this area, would it be possible to place the trunk in the recess and try to let it attach naturally so as not to stress it anymore? <Worth a try> Also would the original parts of the coral re-grow in place again? <Very likely so> Thank you very much for your time again,  Have fun diving Will <Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Problems Attaching Sinularia - 06/11/05 Hi There, I was hoping you wouldn't mind answering a quick question about Sinularia. <<Not at all.>> I have read the Coral Propagation Book (fantastic by the way) <<Agreed!>>, and have tried just about every method of grafting (green) Sinularia I can find.  The frags never die, they just pull off and float away.  some of these frags have been attached 4-5 times by different methods up to 2 months from when they were cut from the parent colony. <<Yes...one of the more difficult corals to reattach to a substrate.>> Here's a break down of the methods used.  Natural Settlement: after 4 weeks frags are still sitting in place but not attached. Toothpick: after a few days tissue rips off the toothpick. <<Too much water movement?>> Superglue: Doesn't stick to the tissue at all and if it does the coral peels itself off after a day or so. <<Pretty much useless for this particular application, yes.>> Wedge in drilled hole: black tissue forms at the hole and frag breaks away. <<Yikes>> Rubber band: compresses tissue too much - necrosis - no attachment. <<Have experienced same.>> It may sound like the current is too strong, but I have tried very low current as well. I am fairly sure current is not the cause. Hmm...too much water flow would have been my first guess too.>> What we are using for substrate is small blobs of concrete that are cured in water for 4 weeks.  Could the concrete be the problem? <<Is possible.  If not fully cured, the high pH of the substrate may be irritating the coral and keeping it from attaching.>> Would the coral prefer a smoother surface such as river pebble? <<Wouldn't use this...stick to a "marine" source.>> Or is there something else about this substrate that the coral is rejecting? <<As previously stated.>> Sarco's love the blobs and attach within a week. <<Different corals may/will react in different manners.>> I have about twenty good healthy parent colonies that are crying out to be farmed but until I crack the method I cannot see the point in going ahead. <<Try this...obtain some cured live rock rubble, and using a sewing needle and fine monofilament fishing line, "sew" the frags (securely but gently) to the live rock.  Place in a shallow container and put the container in your prop system where it will receive "light" current.  It may take some experimentation on your part to find the right amount of "sewing" needed to do the job.  Once the coral attaches, cut and remove the mono.>> Thanks for all your great work, Greg <<Hope this helps.  Regards, Eric R.>>

Problems Attaching Sinularia - 08/13/05 I read this thread and I know the perfect solution for the problem!  I had the same problem with my Sinularia.  I tried all the things people said to try and ended up putting a rubble live rock on top of my Sinularia.  It finally attached itself to it in about 4 weeks.  I didn't know how to tell Eric R. in the thread about it so I thought you might be able to get the advise to him.   Thanks! Sarah <<Advice received, thanks much Sarah.  EricR>>

Colt coral fragging..... too much? 11/30/04 I have a frag of colt or finger leather coral that I got at about 3 inches tall and it is now about 6 inches tall and has about 6 "branches" on it. My question is can it frag itself (naturally - no help from me, they just pinch themselves off and drop to the bottom) too much?   <yes... branchlet dropping is common with age/time> It frags pretty large pieces considering its own size... some pieces are 2 1/1 inches tall! the main coral looks good - large, fluffy and thick -  looks nice (but kind of butchered from the large frags it is dropping!) but I'm concerned I am doing something wrong to make it frag so much (it has had about 10 frags in the last month).   <may just be maturity> Can to much water flow, lack of minerals, etc cause it to frag so much?   <more suddenly and less successfully if so. Yours does not sound stress induced to me> everything in my tank looks great.. I have a yellow toad  that I had in a Nano previously not doing well that is huge now. Everything seems to be growing at a good pace and looks healthy.  Can overfeeding cause it to grow frag so much?   <eh...> I think I might be feeding to much - my tank is swarming with amphipods and mysids - and maybe copepods - cant tell  exactly what they are.   <excellent!> Anyway, I appreciate your help in letting me know if there are any environmental things I can be doing to cause it to drop so many babies or if it is normal. <relax and enjoy, my friend. And do trade those frags to a LFS, club or fellow aquarists. Anthony>
Re: colt coral fragging..... too much?? 12/9/04
yikes... ok now the coral is dropping the branches it recently fragged..... like the top part of a branch fell off before - NOW it is falling off at the stalk!  This just doesn't look right.  I got it as a frag from a guy who bought the main  coral from GARF.....  any suggestions on what I can look for to be causing it to chop itself up so much~ <Although I agree with Anthony's earlier comments on this issue, I also agree that it sounds like you may have a problem.  In my experience, this is most often the result of severe stress, usually from shipping.  Please send along the results of all of the water tests that you perform.  Ammonia, Nitrate, pH, Salinity, Alkalinity and Calcium should be included.  The good news is that these daughters generally have good survival if the stress is corrected and you can keep them from blowing away.  Dropping them into a container full of rubble on the bottom of the tank works well for the smaller ones and lashing with plastic mesh works well for larger ones.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Propagating a leather Hello and sorry but I can't really find the  complete answer that I need before I decide to do something with my toadstool  leather.       First I need to let you know that I have a 40  gallon reef tank. Current residents include a fox coral, a pipe organ, toadstool  leather, sun coral, Kenya tree coral, many mushrooms, yellow button polyps, green  button polyps and some Ricordea mushrooms.     I also have two Percula clowns, a brittle starfish,  a peppermint shrimp and a clean up crew of snails and crabs.  I have had  this tank for almost a year.  This is my first tank and I am learning a  lot.  I have sadly killed an open brain and a plate coral.     My problem is the leather.  It has grown about  seven inches tall and you can't really enjoy looking at the top ( which to me is  the coolest thing about it) because it is sooo tall.  I have read a lot  about toadstool leathers.   Even though I would like to try to cut the  bottom half off to make it shorter, I have heard that doing this could cause the  leather to give off enough toxins to kill even the fish in my tank. << I would cut it.  If you can take it out of the tank and cut it in a bucket that may be better, but either way I'd cut it. >> People have  given me mixed opinions about this and since it is very important to me, I  wanted to ask the WWM crew because you have the most experience. << I cut leathers all the time. I never worry about it. >>     If this can be done, I would like to cut across the  bottom and lower the leather in my tank.  I just need to know if it is  possible to do and if it will harm my other corals and fish. << This usually works to give you two leathers, be sure to put both pieces in some moderate flow to help with the healing process. >>     This is a wonderful thing.......a coral reef  tank.  I love them even more than my fish.  I started small so I know  there are many more fantastic tanks than mine.  But it has been a great  learning experience and it may cost a bit more than fish only but it is worth  it.  Your website has helped me in every step I have taken since I  started.   Thank  You Debbie Knight <<  Blundell  >>

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>

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  >>

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>

Loose Sarcophyton attachment - 3-03-03 <--Neat> Dear sir, <Paul will do> May I just comment on your website,<Sure> it is one of the most helpful that I have come across yet and the tips that I get from your letters always seem to work and I have now advised all my fishkeeping friends about it. <Thank you kindly. That is the reason we do what we do. Saving animals one aquarist at a time> Anyway, I bought a soft coral the other day (Sarcophyton), it stands at about 4 inches tall and it came on a small piece of rock which only half of the 'foot' had a hold of. It is a healthy coral and opened almost straight away when it was introduced to my tank, but today when I was doing a water change and cleaning the tank, I accidentally gave it a knock not too hard) but enough to knock it of the rock. <Ahhhh....done that before> I examined it and the foot seems to be fine so I attached an elastic band on the rock and wedged the foot of the coral underneath, the elastic band LOOKS tight but it doesn't feel too tight. <OK. I would watch it as sometimes seems they can slip out via current or other animals may also loosen it> It has now shrunk in size and closed completely. <Somewhat expected as the kind of disturbance you generated by "tearing" (albeit accidentally) it off of it's perch is a bit shocking. Analogous to pulling hairs from one's region (of extreme sensitivity)......kind of like that....you get my drift...> Will it re-attach itself to the rock this way and if so how long should I wait before removing the elastic band? <Well, at minimum I would leave the coral placement where it is and check in about 2 weeks for it to attach. May take less time but I would wait. If there is problem with it attaching you could always take a piece of thread or monofilament (thin fishing line) and strike a needle about a 1/2 inch above the "foot" and attach it to the rock again. After about two to four weeks it should attach and then just cut the line and pull out. Anthony Calfo's book "Book of Coral Propagation Vol. 1" details many other tried and true methods of attachment for this coral and many many others. I highly recommend this book if you have the means. Worth every cent in my experience. Hope this helps.>    

Attaching "Sinularia flexilis" Hello! <Hi there, Paul at your service> I recently purchased a "Green Finger Leather" ( Sinularia flexilis) from my LFS. It is quite nice and it has been adapting on the bottom of my tank.<Very good> The tank is 24" deep. I would like to place him now near the middle of the reef in some moderate water flow, but how do I attach him? <Oh, well, many forms to use here, epoxies safe for aquarium use like Aquarium Systems Holdfast product, Cyanoacrylate based super glue gels (many to choose from here) check your local home improvement store for Cyanoacrylate based gel glues. Also, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, they use a product called Z-SPAR. Look around for it. It is a marine epoxy sometimes found at boat stores and home improvement shops around the world.> I fear that he will be knocked off his perch by either the water current, crabs, star fish, or whatever else I have in there. <totally understood> I can not remove the Fiji rocks from my reef without upsetting the whole reef! <Also u Thanks, <No worries. Paul> Jeff
Re: Attaching "Sinularia flexilis"
Hey Jeff. I may be out of town this weekend so if you can send the original question ASAP that would be grrrrreat! I may get to it at latest Monday. I am so sorry about the missing text. Sheesh, what a rookie maneuver on my part. Take care! P.S. For the most part, regarding your question, I believe you would not need to remove rock even if you were to use Super Glue Gel or something to that effect. I put a little on my finger and dab the spot where the coral will be placed, and then put a little on the piece of rock for which the coral is attached. Then combine the two and hold in place (underwater) for a minute or two. Also, there are Epoxy sticks that can be used such as Aquastik or Holdfast See here: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/sc_view.cfm?siteid=6&pCatId=3771 or do a search on Google for other e-tailers. Also, we use at the Monterey Bay Aquarium a product called Z-spar Splashzone epoxy from a company called Z-Spar. It can be found in the Western Marine catalog (online) You will never have to buy epoxy again though as it is $99 bucks and should last you your life time. You can pass it on to your kids!!! Hope this helps!

Gluing Corals with Cyanoacrylate - 2/23/03 Hey Gang!  How's it going? well I hope. <Things are well indeed, Scott. Paul in the hot seat today> I need to attach a toadstool leather to a piece of live rock. This coral has a small piece rock attached to the base of the coral itself, however, trying to keep the piece "wedged" in the rockwork is proving to be a futile effort. <totally understand!> I picked up some superglue gel with intentions to attach the coral to a stable rock. <Good> Now for the questions; even though the Cyanoacrylate gel is thicker than normal super glue, it's still thin. How long do I leave it in the freezer to thicken it up? <No need to do so.> When it comes to gluing the coral to the rock, what to do? take the rock out of the tank, dry a section where glue is placed, then apply glue & hold coral in place for 25-30 seconds? <Many methods can be applied here, but I personally put a little drop on a gloved hand, smear it on the rock where the coral is to be placed, then put a drop or two on the bottom of the rock with the coral on it, and attach the two together and hold in place for 30 seconds or so. No need to take any rock out of the aquarium in my experience. For the rocks with larger corals, I use an epoxy that can be found just about anywhere. Look for it in aquarium retailers and e-tailors. Same method. mix it together, then put a little on the rock where the coral is to be placed (yes, while the rock is underwater) and place a small piece on the rock with the coral on it, then place the two epoxied pieces together and hold in place for a minute or so. No problems. Done!> Then place back in the tank? <No need to take any rock out of the water> I haven't done this kind of thing before, so, I'm a little nervous about the experience <Nothing to worry about. Check out Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation Vol. 1. Everything you need to know about corals, coral placement, and propagation can be found ,in all their glory, in one place.> I'm fixing to learn! <You're well on you way!> Thanks for the advice.  <My pleasure>        Scott in Denver <Paul in sunny San Jose>

Fragging/Pruning Sarcophyton Toadstools HI folks, thanks for the great service you provide; if the answer to this is somewhere on the site, I'm afraid I couldn't find it, so here goes:  I have a 46 bow front running for about 1  1/2  years. Two of my first critters were a green and a gold Sarcophyton, each about the size of a quarter.  Now the green is about the size of a salad plate, and the gold is as big as a dinner plate and growing rapidly. I'm thrilled they're so happy, but soon they'll fill the tank, literally.  I've heard there's some way to "prune" them; I just have this one tank or I'd try to propagate them.  I might be able to give or sell "cuttings" (if that's what you'd call them) to the LFS, but I have no idea how to go about it and sure don't want to risk hurting them.  I'd appreciate any advice you could offer.  Thanks very much! <I recommend Anthony's book as it is provides all this info in detail. You wave the toadstool down and lift it out onto a clean cutting board (plastic is best). Using a very sharp razor knife, excise the outside edge/margin completely around the outside, if a large specimen, an inch or slightly more, and return the toadstool to the display. The outside ring can be cut into 1" pieces and allowed to attach to rock rubble.  Plastic containers covered with wedding veil work well keeping the new frags in place. Good luck! Craig>

The Doughnut technique- trimming down an overgrown leather Dear Crew, <cheers, Howard> One of my toadstools is now 14 inches in diameter. (a small scrap glued to the rock two years ago) It is shading other life and I want to either remove or trim it. <no worries... can/will be done> I can't use Anthony's method of taking it out and cutting around it because it firmly attached by a 4 inch diameter "trunk" to a very large piece of rock which contains other life. Can I safely cut about a 2 inch strip off the circumference working under water in the aquarium with a scalpel?  <although not "ideal"... it certainly can be done in the aquarium. Ensure strong water flow for the parent afterwards... use extra carbon/chemical filtration media and aggressive skimming for the ensuing week or more... and do an extra water change or two in the following week> Or, can I just cut the entire top off and let it re-grow from the trunk? <also can be done... but much more risky> Also, I would like your opinion on whether I may have too much live rock coverage. All exposed rock has with pink and purple algae. I wonder if having a half of the visible surfaces of the rock covered with mushrooms, polyp colonies, and corals (and therefore no algae) is diminishing the natural filtration of the rock system? <tough to say... and to some extent can be reconciled with strong water flow throughout the system (assuming your reef is built off the back glass (4" ideal) and not leaning against the back aquarium wall (stifles flow through the reef). Our goal is 10-20X tank turnover in water flow. At any rate... the amount of animals covering the rock is a bigger problem with aggression/allelopathy than stifling rock biotic activity> Howard <be sure to share those propagated cuttings with local aquarists/stores! Kind regards, Anthony>

Toadstools run amuck Thanks for the advice, and I got Anthony's book which is great.  My problem is that the toadstools are so well attached to the reef that's there's no way to remove them without re-doing the whole thing and I'm reluctant to risk that because the live rock is balanced pretty carefully and to disrupt it would mean also disrupting other corals.  Am I correct in assuming that it's a bad idea to trim them while in the tank because of releasing toxic substances?  If so, I'm between a live rock and a hard place and may just have to let them take over the tank!  Any more ideas? <Well, you have a couple choices....let them go and take over (if they have the room) or trim/frag them with slightly more required dexterity and a longer, sharp razor type knife. Either way the parent would be returned to the system and release some slime in response to being cut, just more *in* the system then outside, that's all. I would run a canister with a bunch of carbon to help with that.  Good luck either way!  Craig>

Budding Leather Bob, How's the new year treating you so far? Hope all is well with you and your family. Well, on to my story. I was pruning back some of the Caulerpa from my main tank the other day, when low and behold, I found two little buds (not beer bottles! ha!) at the base of my Sarcophyton leather! Well, my question.... how fast do these suckers grow?  <Highly variable... under "proper" or propitious circumstances, very quickly... in adverse ones, seemingly not at all...> I could've sworn that the "parent" Sarcophyton grew around an inch in the last two months!  <Yes, possible... or just expansion...> Should I think about relocating them now while they're small, or should I wait until they start to look crowded?  <I'd wait till they're an inch or more in diameter> I was thinking of putting them in the sump to grow them out, then give/trade with a fish friend for something else. Thanks in advance for your advice. <Good idea. Please do read through the Chatforum input: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ re Anthony's input on soft coral culture. Bob Fenner> Khoi

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