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FAQs about Stocking/Selection of Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae

Related Articles: Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae, Cnidarians for Small Systems by Bob Fenner,

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

Alcyonaceans may not mix in a given setting with Scleractinians. An unidentified Acropora species in S. Sulawesi. 

Yellow Fiji Leather clarification; stkg./sel.      9/15/15
I wrote previously about the fact that I am in the planning stages for a new 200gal reef setup, and it seems I'm going to be bothering you semi-regularly over the coming weeks and months lol.
<Not a bother>
The trouble that I am running into is that your site is so long lived and wonderfully comprehensive that I am finding conflicting information on many species regarding care and compatibility, and other sources have similar conflicts in information.
<One... must learn enough.... including related material; to understand underlying science, decide for themselves>
This is I'm sure due to the fact that some responses were given over a decade ago and this wonderful hobby continues to grow and change, and our understanding of these animals and ability to properly care for them changes and improves over time.
<An example please; ahh, I see below>
If it's not too much of a bother, I would like to send a series of emails (so the responses can be individual
places in their proper categories in the future) seeking to clarify my understanding before purchasing my tank and equipment so I am properly set up for the eventual inhabitants at the beginning and far down the line.
<Ahh, fine; please do>
My first question is regarding the Yellow Leather Coral. I believe the one I am referring to is the Sarcophyton elegans, though certain passages on WWM have led me to question if that is correct.
<This IS the most common name applied to this species; and having seen and collected it many times in Fiji, read the "corals" (including Alcyoniids) of the region; am pretty sure that S. elegans IS the species most found there that is "yellow">
Is this a peaceful, hardy, friendly coral, or a doomed allelopathic nightmare?
<Peaceful; about mid-scaled... Hardy; unfortunately not very... often dwindles, dies mysteriously in captivity. My best, only real advice is to seek out a colony/piece that HAS been living a good long while in captivity; vs. buying a wild collected colony>
It is repeated many times throughout the site and elsewhere that Sarcophytons are notoriously allelopathic, but
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blupipfa.htm  has a response that includes "could allelopathy be the issue here? <Unlikely, the yellow leather coral is a rather peaceful coral.>"
Regarding their hardiness (and/or lack of it?) there are such responses as "I recently ordered my fourth yellow Fiji leather coral. <Am sure you know... this is not often a hardy species for aquarium use> .....<Bob Fenner>" (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyonselfaqs.htm ), and on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyonDisFAQ3.htm  they are described as "touchy and delicate, not for a beginner."
Then on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyonidfaqs.htm they are hailed as "hardy and easy to keep." Perhaps the issue lies in an identification issue? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniidfaqs.htm contains the response "Why so hard? Why is the Yellow Fiji leather on the restricted list? I just bought one from my local store not realizing this! Am I really going to
have a hard time with it? The person at the store said they where hardy!
Thank you, Erik Van Vogt >> I had to check the Restricted List myself... I agree with YOU, this is a very hardy Sarcophyton, and gorgeous to boot...
Will send word up to the folks upstairs regarding this...This is a tough species... I rate it near the top, if not THE hardiest of soft corals. Bob Fenner>
RE: Why so hard? Hi, Bob; I noticed your comment here but we have found that S. elegans has a fairly poor record of success in most hobbyists tanks. If you have any info to pass along, we would be very receptive to hearing it. John Caskie, Flying Fish Express >> Really John? Not the ones I've come in contact with, as a collector, writer, visitor... are we
talking about the same animal I wonder? Otherwise known as the Sarcophyton "KA4-ALC-31", like in Nilsen and Fossa, v.2 p. 158? If we (FFExpress) are losing these, we should switch suppliers... Walt Smith's live and live...
<<RMF finds there is a very real difference in identification here... the brilliant yellow S. elegans from Tonga is
definitely not an aquarium-hardy species, whereas the yellow Sarcophytons from Fiji are quite tough>> Bob Fenner"
So....are the Tonga and Fiji varieties different species or just regionally divergent?
<This I don't know>
Is the Fiji "THE hardiest of soft corals" or "not often a hardy species for aquarium use" and to be avoided?
<Not hardy; or at least as hardy as the more standard S. trocheliophorum offered as such in the trade
Low risk of allelopathy or terpene warrior?
<Less than the grey/ish, tan/nish ones; but still... if challenged>
I truly love this beautiful coral, and if it can be kept peacefully with the proper gentle handling and excellent lighting and
water quality, it stays near the top of my list. If it is almost certainly doomed or the bane of its fellow corals, I'll leave this one be.
I apologize for the length of email necessary to cover the passages that had caused confusion, and thanks as always for your patience and information!
<No worries re length. Take your time to express yourself completely.
You're likely familiar with the general statements re keeping soft, hard, esp. SPS corals "together"... this can be done, but takes time, patience; starting w/ more easy going species first, small colonies. A keen eye on preserving high, consistent water quality; the regular use of iodide-ate, pre-mixed water.... Bob Fenner>

Sarcophyton species & sizes 6/30/09
Hello all, and thanks in advance for letting me bug you yet again with another question. I have a newly-set-up 34-gallon Solana nano that is still cycling, so I'm in the planning stage as far as livestock is concerned. My question is: Do all Sarcophyton species get very large, or are there some (or even one) that stay a reasonable size for this tank capacity?
<Mmm... well... the most commonly available species can/do get huge... much larger than most all hobbyist systems... They can be "slowed down", even dwarfed... by not much feeding... starting with small specimens, cuttings...>
I read in your account of "Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae" that S. glaucum gets to be 12" in diameter. Is this the "cap" or the stalk?
<The capitulum>
Would this be a small enough size to stay in a 34-gallon tank, if it was the only coral (aside from a couple of Zoanthid colonies)? And is there a way to I.D. this species just visually, without resorting to slides and/or
<Mmm, not able to discern small specimens to species myself period... See Phil Alderslade's name... on the Net in re to>
Thanks in advance for your help. I hope I haven't peppered you to death with questions. As always, your help is invaluable and much appreciated.
K. Gabriel
<There is a broader concern than size per se with keeping this genus, more generally the family... chemical allelopathy, no matter the mass... Please see WWM re this, techniques for limiting its effects:
and the linked files above>
The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.
--Flannery O'Connor
<The "truth" is merely the accepted opinion of the immediate majority; and many people consider themselves the majority, both immediate and general.
The truth does not change at all, only our perception of "it". BobF>

A few questions... all answered on WWM... work with us... Xmas soft coral sys...    1/23/07     Hello again, I have a few questions that I haven't been able to find on your site.  Will a Christmas Tree Coral be ok in a 30 gallon tank with 65 watt lighting? <See WWM re Alcyoniid Systems. This is not enough intensity for your viewing pleasure/appreciation... but, this species (Studeriotes... is not photosynthetic... And I want to add... is not generally aquarium-hardy...> I had 5 turbo snails that did great for a few weeks (went crazy and was eating tons of algae) then all the sudden 2 dropped dead out of nowhere and the other 3 aren't moving and aren't eating anymore. I read that sudden chemical changes can hurt these guys do you think that's what happened and will the other 3 get better in time or will they just slowly die off? <Might be coincidental... what do your water tests tell you?> I have a 3 gallon tank for my desk and have a small polyp in it and was wondering if there are any inverts that will do well in a tank this small? Thanks again, love your site. <Then use it. Bob Fenner>

Dyed Kenya coral   12/31/06 Hi <,> i <I> wondered if you thought that this was a dyed coral? it <It> is being sold as an orchid kenya <Kenya> tree. thanks <Thanks>  for your help -Branden tucker <Tucker> <Mmm, did you send a pic with this? Not here... Have seen dyed Kenya Tree Corals... Bob Fenner>

Yellow leather coral  - 03/13/2006 I have recently purchased a yellow Fuji <Mount?> leather coral when it was place in the tank it appeared healthy but has since appeared to be declining I have it in a 120gal reek system with several other soft corals that are doing very well I have the leather place high in the tank with moderate to strong water flow the lighting is a 260 watt compact fluorescent that I have on a timer for about 15 hr per day the water quality is good but it does not appear to be improving any suggestion I have lost a xenia but all of the corals appear healthy including a colt coral that is thriving please help. dale Berkley <... this may be a Sarcophyton elegans... not easily kept. Use the Google search tool on WWM... see elsewhere re. Might even be an artificially dyed specimen (lucky you!). Bob Fenner>

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/pr oduct/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: " htt p://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_Display.cfm?pCatId=2320" Thanks, Anita <<Welcome, EricR>>

Sarcophyton elegans ...  Alcyoniid (non)selection  1/18/06 Hello. Briefly, 90 gallon with mix of fish, inverts, soft corals, and some SPS. Everything does great... I am propagating and selling to a great LFS. I recently ordered my fourth yellow Fiji leather coral. <Am sure you know... this is not often a hardy species for aquarium use>   The first two arrived in brown water so dead and didn't even try to put in tank.  The third didn't look so hot but it didn't smell, and the water was ?clean? upon arrival.  In two hours, it was melting and disintegrating and smelled horrible.  I promptly removed it.  My experience has been that these corals are a nightmare though I see pics of them in peoples tanks and apparently they can do great!  I've seen them at a LFS in person and they looked horrible so I order them through a company giving a guarantee.  They are very reputable.  This last time, I processed one and it had been in there about two weeks.  It's not dying (it seems so but I mean when those things decide to go, they go ) but it's not doing great either.  Holes, brown spots, shriveled, shedding.... I got permission from the seller to work with it- in other words would my warranty stand and they said yes, just try to save it.  I ran by them attempting to cut away bad spots and giving iodine baths.  They said those are good things. <Are generally good stop-gap measures> I am no expert, so I took a brand-new, clean razor blade and cut away bad spots.  I have given several iodine baths- 10 drops to one quart.  It seems rejuvenated at times.  Some yellow even growing back where I cut away at hole and brown stuff.  However, one ?ruffle? (is it capitulum?) <The whole top, yes> is especially looking really good in comparison to the rest.  Clean, clear, yellow, not shriveled.  Lately it has even had bumps on it as of I will see some polyp soon.  Can I , could I, should I cut this part and give it an iodine bath and attempt to attach it to something else and let it be apart from the rest that is not doing so great? <Worth trying... but as stated, this species just doesn't "make it" often...> With what do I attach and do you have any suggestions.  I really would like to enjoy this coral....or is it like the mandarin...?leave it alone.?  Please help me. Oh, Salt 1.025 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 10 (My skimmer is not functioning right now, awaiting a new needle wheel)...but I am faithfully keeping up a 15 gallon water change weekly. -Water warmed, aerated, matching salt, pH 8.3-day, 8.1 night KH 9-10dKH Ca 350ppm Under 2 MH 175 watt, and 2 96 watt pc 50/50-though I keep it from being under the direct blast of the light.  It is also in good flow to help remove sloughing.    <I would only try this species if you have an extra tank, money and patience. I am unaware of what (if any) "magic" there is to keeping it. Bob Fenner>

Coral Confusion… Paralemnalia... AdamJ's go Hi Crew, <How's it going Steven?> I am confused and in need of a little help. <That's what I'm here for…well confusion related to aquaria, not sure I'm much help in other areas.> I have a 250 gallon FOWLR that I have been adding a few corals for variety. <So we've upgraded from a FOWLR to a semi/simple reef then.> I am finished adding since I wanted to maintain a focus on fish and keep a sparse collection of "easy" corals. <Okay.> My current coral list is as follows:  1 rock with 4-5 very nice red, blue, purple small - medium Actinodiscus, one rock with 3 medium sized hair Rhodactis, one rock with two medium/large green Rhodactis, one medium Colt coral leather Cladiella, one medium Spaghetti leather Sinularia, and one Giant cup mushroom 10"  Amplexidiscus. <Those are all easy to care for, but watch out for those small 'Shrooms thy can catch slow moving fish such as gobies and cardinals.> Recently I found a company called Reefer Madness which offers a very nice selection of corals.   <Am familiar with it.> I think they have a joint collaboration with Walt Smith <Sort of, they used to rent out an area of Walt Smith's LAX location and ship out of there but to accommodate the growth of the company have recently bought their own warehouse in the industrial beach city of Torrance, California.> and seem very knowledgeable and very helpful on the phone. <Nice people.> I ordered two corals from them as follows:  (1) Psammarcora contigua beautiful SPS with the brightest neon green I have ever seen, <You're getting in to the demanding stuff. And careful these shallow water organisms do not mix with the corals you already have (especially the Sinularia and the acquisition mentioned below) long term.> and a Paralemnalia (Hairy Tree Leather).  Both specimens were shipped like no online supplier I have ever dealt with.  Huge box packed with individual large specimen bags full of crystal clear water, heat packs, and lots of Styrofoam peanuts to keep the bags stable in the box.  The corals looked great right out of the bags. <Cool.> I spoke to one of the owners of Reefer Madness and he gave me the info. on the corals before I purchased explaining that he personally picked the specimens from the ocean, <…Or Wholesaler.> what type of lighting they were in at his holding facility, their care requirements, etc.   <Very good practice.> As you might have noted from my original list of corals I had prior to this purchase, they are all photosynthetic and only require supplemental feeding, which I do once to twice per week according to what they need (phyto, zooplankton, or meaty pieces for the Giant cup).  I believe the info. on the Psammarcora contigua is correct in that DT's phyto would work well once or twice per week along with high light.  What I am confused about is the Paralemnalia leather. the company said it is highly photosynthetic and would only need supplemental feeding.  I looked on WWM to find several (more than two) Crew members with contradicting information on this species.  Some Crew members say that it is weakly photosynthetic at best with a poor captive survival rate, while others say it is a good choice and highly photosynthetic.  FWIW Liveaquaria.com lists it as gaining most of its nutritional needs from photosynthesis.  Is it that within this species, there are some which are photosynthetic, while others are not? <Often this genus, Paralemnalia, is confused for "look-alikes" which are not photosynthetic, but if what you have is in fact a Paralemnalia sp. then you should find the care to be quite similar to your Sinularia. As far as feeding the phyto dosing large amounts weekly or biweekly is okay. Though this leads to a tendency to do it "too-much" leading to liquid pollution. The best way to feed phyto, if you do it at all, is on a continuous methodical drip. Of course an even better way to generate food for your coral is via a fishless refugium.>   Maybe someone here can put this one to bed for me. <Let me know if you need further clarification.> Thanks for your dedication and help. <Anytime.> Steven   <Adam J.>

Coral Confusion… ... Paralemnalia... BobF's go Hi Crew, Hope all is going well and thanks for your great volunteer help you offer this hobby. <Welcome> I sent an email a few days ago from another computer which has not been addressed, so I will re-send. <Okay> Questions: I recently purchased a Paralemnalia leather (hairy leather).  I have read contradicting statements on WWM regarding whether or not they are photosynthetic.  Some say yes a good choice, while others have indicated marginally at best and not a good choice.  On Drs. Foster & Smith they indicate that this species is primarily photosynthetic and only in need of supplemental feedings. <Mmm, not very photosynthetic... needs to be fed> I purchased them based on the advice of one of the owners of Reefer Madness, who was very helpful and also indicated this was hardy and photosynthetic. <Good folks IMO... but Paralemnalias are not easily kept> I am confused, is this species photosynthetic or not? <Is not much... can be more/less depending on acclimation/setting, auxiliary feeding> This coral came along with a Psammarcora contigua and when I ordered the Paralemnalia leather as a medium they indicated they were out so they offered to send two good sized smalls, which I agreed to. I was told that the two Paralemnalias rocks could be glued together and they would grow together.   <Mmm I would place them distally, in the hope that differing conditions...> Instead of gluing them together, I glued them to the same rock in my display, but left the rocks they were attached to separated by a couple of inches.  When opened their branches are less than 1" away and eventually they will be touching. is this okay since they are of the exact same species. <Not really... better that they were of the same genetic make-up...> The reason I did not join their base rocks was because they are actually a little bit different in color, one is teal and the other is kind of rose color.  Will I have problems with them this close and should I move them? <I would move them> Thanks for your help on this.  And many thanks for what you do. Best regards, Steven <Please read here: http://search.msn.com/results.asp?a=e44a7d1edf2ab77f1c37cb562cde7f6169f9a885 573f8d068f23f3971fbe47a0&RS=CHECKED&Form=HM&cp=1252&v=1&q=is+paralemnalia+photosynthetic%3F Particularly the first piece by Charley Delbeek. Bob Fenner>

To add or not to add... Alcyoniids, Cnidarian compatibility Hi Crew I am a long time reader (2+yrs), first time writer. <Welcome> I have a 90 gallon reef, 33 gallon divided sump Caulerpa growing in divided area (refuge if you will) <Okay> CPR overflow 60lbs live rock 135lbs of aragonite 2x250w halides 2x40w actinic fluo ASM G-2 skimmer powered by Sedra 3500 pump( works great!!) Rio32HF return pump. 10-12x turnover rate I use activated carbon and change it every week I also add iodine, strontium and some sea-chem reef builder every once in a while. Never really had a problem with calcium, I think 360 is fine for my tank. 10% water change each week. lightly stocked fish (I think) small yellow tang, Foxface, yellow belly damsel, cleaner wrasse (bad choice I know but has lived for 6 months and readily accepts any food I offer), 5x green Chromis, royal Gramma, scarlet cleaner shrimp, peppermint shrimp, hermits(25) snails(7) Condy anemone ( also bad choice I know, looking for a new home for it as we speak) For corals I have: fluorescent green(25) green striped(4) red speckled(5) lavender(5)and hairy mushrooms(3) Xenia(4"stalk) Pipe organ that is on the way down the crapper:( Clove polyps that haven't really opened fully for about a month until today, but I am not worried because they are rapidly producing new polyps Green star polyps a fragment of candy cane coral a fragment of branching frogspawn I have 2 questions 1. Do you think it would be okay if I added a small fragment of a finger leather (2-3")and a small Sarcophyton (1" cap) or would this just be asking for major unwanted/unneeded chemical warfare in a already successful system? <Not likely a problem started small> 2.The Candycanes sweeper tentacles have not extended fully lately, I think. I have checked periodically during the day and night and the most I have ever seen them out is about 1/4" when I first got the coral (about 4 months ago) the lights would go out and the coral would let out its tentacles soon after and they would be up to 3" long. Nitrites-0 nitrates-20 ph-8.3 amm-0 cal-360 alk-11dkh The coral still looks very healthy and has very slowly started to split, <Perhaps due to stressful conditions> the only thing I could possibly think of why it is doing this is because it is too close to the frogspawn? <Maybe> It was about 2 inches away from it for a little while but I moved it today to about 8" away and will see if that makes a difference. Any questions/comments/concerns would be greatly appreciated thanks, Adam <I would wait, see here re #2, go ahead with the alcyonacean additions. Bob Fenner>

Starter coral Hello. <Hi there> I have a 10 gall nano reef tank that I have just started!!! When the water checks out fine, what kind of coral  should I  start out with??  I really like the yellow leather coral, but I don't know if that's a good pick for a starter nano. Oh, I'm running it with 8 watts per gall  a Rio 600 and a Skilter 250. Thanks     <A ten gallon is too small for a Leather/Sarcophyton soft coral... I encourage you to try mushroom "corals" (Corallimorpharians) to start with... maybe someone you know has some that have grown, split up, and will trade you some? Bob Fenner>

Sarcophyton elegans question Dear Bob et. al., <Steven Pro this afternoon.> How do you do? <Pretty well, thank you!> I purchased a Sarcophyton species 2 days ago and it is not doing too well. There are 2 attached to a rock and it is drooping. Will it take several days before it blooms? <It may take several days for it to adapt to the new environment (lighting, water quality, circulation, etc.) and not unusual for it to keep the polyps retracted.> I also have a toadstool leather which is behaving the same. <Another new coral?> Perhaps they are sensitive to movements. I did move it to accommodate the Yellow leather. <This is probably it. Moving corals in general is a bad idea. They must expend energy to adapt to the new conditions.> FFExpress mentions that it is only to be kept by expert aquarists. Why? <You would have to ask them.> I could not find much information on it from your website. Other sites say that they're hardy. <Most Sarcophytons are very hardy, the exception being the yellow Sarcophyton. These are sensitive to being touched.> Please advice. Best, Mimi =========================================================== Water parameters are good. 0-5 range on the Nitrates, Nitrites, 0 Ammonia. 380 Ca, 78-80 F for Temperature, Alkalinity at 4 meq/l, pH 8.2, Specific Gravity at 1.023. 15% weekly water changes. <All sounds good> Inhabitants: 3 blue damsels, 2 juvenile ocellaris, Green open brain, H. Crispa, Toadstool leather (which is also drooping) and colonies of yellow and brown button polyps. 20 gallon tank, <This is a too crowded for a 20. The leather corals all get huge and put out a tremendous amount of noxious chemicals in a effort to kill competition and grow. You are going to have problems with this number of corals in such a small tank. You weekly water changes help, as does the use of activated carbon, but eventually and quickly these soft corals are going to be climbing out of the tank.> 20 lbs. Fiji LR and 2" LS. Hang-on-back filter with BioWheel, 155 gph powerhead, 100 watt heater, 2 X 55 watt PC's, 7100K and 10000K actinic lamps. Photoperiod 12 hrs. <Sincerely, Steven Pro>

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.   <Ahhh... 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>

Green Sinularia Hello Are these hardy or delicate do they need lots of light <unlike most Sinularia finger leathers which are very easy to keep... Green Sinularia are somewhat to very sensitive to handling and water quality (especially avoid high temperatures and touching the coral with bare hands... use gloves or only touch rock base). They may burn or change color under bright metal halides, although 20K Radium brand MH are very good for this species. Otherwise, 2 VHO blue and 2 VHO daylight bulbs would keep them very well. Their polyps are too small to be fed organismally... don't waster your time with DT's on this coral. Do consider reading Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" book or my "Book of Coral Propagation" for more detail on this and many other corals. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

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