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FAQs about Systems for Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae

Related Articles: Soft Corals of the Family Alcyoniidae

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

Sarcophyton, sys.      3/14/12
I was given my little Sarcophyton on Friday 17th February on a very small thin piece of rubble. Next to it was another small piece of rubble with three Palythoas on it.
<Mmm, best to break off these Zoanthids, situate distally>

 It is just over half an inch across the capitulum and over half an inch tall. I was told I should remove the Palythoas from next to it as they were touching each other.
<Good advice>
 My partner gently pulled the piece of rubble with the Palythoas on it away from the Sarcophyton. Only it looks like the Sarcophyton had attached the side of its stalk to this piece of rubble and as a result the stalk finally broke a couple of days later.
<Not too problematical>
I have read your articles on Sarcophyton and  'The Reef Aquarium' Volume 1 and 2 by Charles Delbeek and Julian Sprung ( chapters on Sarcophyton and propagation) as well as articles on the net but I'm still unsure whats the best thing to do in terms of looking after my Sarcophyton. I have some D-D Aquascape Epoxy should I wrap it around the end of the stalk and try and stick him to a rock or should I cut below the capitulum and put a cocktail stick through and use elastic bands?
<I would just place the animal in a secure spot, hole or cleft in the rock... no epoxy, stick or band needed>

He is currently sat on his side on a rock close to the top of the tank with quite a strong water flow on him and will certainly fall off if I don't get him anchored down soon. On another note would I be able to put him straight into the sand bed
<Not sand... on or twixt rock>

to keep him upright or would the bottom of his stalk need some form of protection and if so what? (just while I sorted out a long term home for him).
<Will attach itself in time... a few weeks>
 As far as his health goes his polyps are extended and open although he has a habit of changing colour from tan to dark green and then light green and then back to tan again. This can happen over half an hour to a couple of hours.  Is this normal as I haven't read anything so far on them doing this?
Tank parameters: PH 8.1, Alkalinity 10, Ammonia 0, Nitrate <1, Nitrite <1, Phosphate, 0.03, Salinity 22.
<1.022... too low
... I'd raise to NSW strength. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spg_salinity.htm
and the linked files above>
 Water change 10% weekly and Iodine <ide, ate> added.
Tank: Aqua one AR510 75litres
<Dangerously small for keeping Sarcophyton/s... see WWM re their systems and compatibility... allelopathy>

 with 25 litre sump. Tank has been up and running since 1st February 2012 after downsizing from a 4 foot tank.
Lighting: TMC AquaRay Aquabeam 600 ultra (reef white/ marine blue combo) with Aquabeam AquaRay controller. Moonlights (marine blue bulb at 1% only) turn on at 8:30, sunrise starts at 12:30 (full lights (on 80% at the moment) at 1:00) sunset starts at 19:30 (moonlights at 20:00 - 23:00)
Hydor Koralia Nano 900 Wavemaker (900l/h)
Sump: chamber 1: down pipe with live rock, chamber 2: TMC V2 120 nano skimmer producing good skimmate, chamber 3: 4” DSB, Chaetomorpha macro algae and refugium, 5th chamber: Eheim Compact 1000 pump and space for carbon bag. Sump lighting is Aqua one 11W PL lamp (sunlight and marine blue) which come on when main tank lights are off.
sand in sump and tank: 20lbs of CaribSea Aragalive Fiji Pink Live Sand 0.5-1.5mm grain size mixed with 8kg coral sand 3mm grain size
20 kg ish of live rock in tank and sump.
2x Ocellaris Clownfish 2x Chromis Cyanea 3x Turbo Snails 2x Red Hermit Crabs 1x unidentified Hermit Crab (looks similar to blue but with brown and white striped legs)
I hope I haven't missed anything out and I really appreciate your help. Thank You!
Here are some photos in order of the Sarcophyton changing colour. Sorry the photos aren't great, the grey colour on it is actually green (I just can't seem to get it to photograph properly.
<Thank you, Bob Fenner>

full-size pic.

Re Toadstool Issues/Sarcophyton Health/Systems 4/12/10    4/15/10
Hi James
I was finally able to grab an iodine testing kit along with some Kent Iodine supplement last night. I tested the water and determined that there was no iodine present so completed the initial dosing as stated on the bottle (1 cap for ever 50 gallons).
I'll retest again tonight, but at this point can you suggest on how to proceed. If undetectable, should I repeat the above, or should I now get into the daily drops.
The SeaTest kit that I purchased indicates that the reading level should be at 0.006. Can you verify that this is correct for a reef.
<Retest until you can read 0.06, then follow dosing directions on the bottle.
You may want to retest in a couple of weeks, you may need to increase/decrease dosage.>
Sorry to bother you on this, but was unable to find a definitive answer in the faq's.
<Oops, the average iodine level in sea water is 0.064.>
Thanks for your help
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Reef Lighting Selection/Leather Coral 1/27/09 I have a Leather Coral that seems to be lethargic. Could you tell me any specific needs it might need me to provide. Also, I have a 55 gallon aquarium and am preparing to build a canopy and install metal halide lights, currently there are two 50/50 24" actinic. Could you tell me the typical wattage. I want to supply enough light for whatever I may decide to add to the tank in the future. Could the lights be a factor with the leather? <Yep. You did not state the type of lighting. Are they PC's or standard fluorescent tubes? If they are PC's we are looking at 130 watts of lighting, and is not enough light for the Leather Coral as they require moderate to high lighting. My suggestion for lighting for your 55 would be two 175w, 14K halides. Do read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm As to specific needs for growing corals, read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm Thank you very much for your advice. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Pat

Re: Reef Lighting Selection/Leather Coral 1/31/09 I've found a fixture on eBay that would physically fit my tank, but it comes with two 250 w 15k halides. Would these be too powerful? <Wouldn't be too powerful, but you may have heat issues. Might want to keep above the tank surface 8 to 10 inches. Does the unit have a cooling fan? If not, you could rig up a boxer fan to blow across the surface of the water.> Thank you <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Pat

Anemone Decline (allelopathy) and leather coral question (sys.)   12/5/08 I purchased live rock from an aquarist who was moving and it included a long tentacled anemone and clarkii clown. The anemone has done fine for about a month, moving to his own spot and staying for most of the time. The clown often feeds him from formula two and pieces of chopped krill that I place in the tank. <Ah, good> Two days ago the anemone moved two feet across the aquarium under a rock and began getting smaller, different than the usual fluctuations. He has now moved further under the rock and totally withdrawn and emitted a pile of mucous. <Needs to be moved... now> He hasn't distend anything from his mouth but doesn't open to feed or move into the light for the algae to produce food. I've read the FAQs and other answer, but can't seem to find out what the problem is. <A "lack of agreement" with some other form of Cnidarian life here... in a word, Allelopathy. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and possibly elsewhere on WWM re Anemones, Macrodactyla in particular if you don't understand enough what is happening here, the need for action.> I don't want to give up on him prematurely but don't want to risk harm to the other inhabitants. Any thing I can do to help him out or sure way to tell when he's dead (assuming the hermit crabs won't start eating him as a sign). <You don't want to wait this/that long> My second questions is regarding a small leather coral 1 1/2" long that was on the live rock. It was partially covered by algae film. I removed the film and placed in in my nano tank. It was knocked off the top of the reef by a fish or crab and fell to the rear. I left it there since I wanted to minimize stress of repeated touching and movement. Now it has grown a 1" long stalk and attached to the rock, and all feelers extend. My q is there anyway to relocate it (it is towards the back and difficult to see) or is it better to leave it alone? Thanks, Sid <If in a "very bad spot" I would move it... it cannot move itself. Bob Fenner>

New Leather Coral…How To get It Off The Rock? - 01/27/08 Hello Crew: <<Greetings Craig>> I had a quick question that I needed to ask the experts. <<Ask away…I'll go find an "expert" [grin]>> I found a guy online that is getting rid of his tank so I purchased his XXL Toadstool and Devils hand Leathers. As expected they are a little on the shriveled side since the move. <<I'll bet>> The Rocks that they are on have Aiptasia on them so before moving them into the main tank I am going to cut them off the rocks they are on. <<The Aiptasia?>> My plan is for it to be quick and painless for us all. I have the rods ready to go. The question I have is that the stalks of the toadstool's are at about 12 inches long, how far down do I cut them? <<Ah, okay… I'm guessing there are too many pest anemones to deal with on these rocks…or you simply don't want to risk their introduction? Don't cut the "stalks" of the Toadstool leather corals. Hopefully they are now attached to carbonaceous live rock…if so, it will be a simple matter to take a sharp wood chisel (don't use somebody's "prize" tool though) and "shave" a bit of the rock under the coral's base to remove them without actually cutting them. You can pick up a cheap/inexpensive wood chisel at any hardware store/home center and it should be sharp enough to do the job right out of the package. A word of caution…be sure to keep your non-cutting hand from in front/out of the path of the chisel. A slip would be nasty>> I also am not sure if I should wait until they start opening again to do it as I have read that if they are already irritated it's not the best idea to propagate them. <<Indeed…do wait a bit for them to recover before any more handling>> Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks, Craig <<Happy to help. EricR>>

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

Dislodging a Toadstool Leather...   10/26/07 What is the best procedure to remove/dislodge a toadstool leather from a rock? <Depends on what your ultimate goal is.> It is a large rock with other corals attached to it, and it's impossible to remove it from the tank. The leather is about 12" across, I love it, but it shades over other corals and stops a lot of the water flow/movement in the tank, please advice. <Toadstool Leathers (Sarcophyton) are totipotent, meaning that a part can give rise to a whole, sort of like stem cells... which can mature to any type of cell, anyway, what this means is that if you cut the leather any small piece that you remove can give rise to another whole colony. This is great for fragging and I highly recommend it. In fact the whole thing could be diced into cubes and each cube should develop into a new colony. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/softcorpropfaqs.htm But in your situation I believe you are trying to remove the leather. You can simply lop it off with a scalpel/single edge razor blade/Ginsu/dagger/machete/cutting instrument of choice with out doing much damage. However any tissue that remains on the rock will simply over time grow a new coral. This may be acceptable to you. Otherwise all the tissue will need to be removed from the rocks. The best way to do this may be with a chisel. The LR is usually pretty porous and not hard to break, though this can be a challenge while it is still in the tank. Not exactly easy, but can be done.> Thanks in advance. <You're welcome! Happy cutting! Mich>

HI in Nov., MH lighting choices for med. size sys.   3/26/07 Bob, Thanks again for the reply below.  I have 2 questions this fine spring morning.  First, it is looking like I may be traveling out to Hawaii again this year, in the last 2 weeks of November... will you be around? <Mmm, maybe... Have only a trip out to China with Pablo Tepoot... for a trade show... starting on the 15th in my book... And do try to be out on the Big Island during October... to help/volunteer at the Ironman tri... Do write as this time grows nearer> And second, regarding my soon to be established system, I am seeking some of your much sought after advice.  The tank is 36 in. long, 18 in. wide, 18 in. tall.  I don't plan on keeping anemones, nor SPS.  I do plan on keeping lots of live rock and some Lobophytum species (Soft Finger Leather). I plan on using a Hamilton Reefstar 14K HQI Metal Halide fixture. My question is, based upon this life I intend to keep... should I use the 150 watt fixture or would the 250 watt fixture be more appropriate? As always, looking forward to your reply...Mahalo. Eric <I would go with the smaller wattage... will be sufficient and not cause near the "over-driven metabolism" and heat troubles... BobF> Bob...Oh...by the way, the aquarium described in the question below is 50 gallons...not sure if you needed to know...or would have just figured it out...Thanks again...Eric <Oh... no worries. B> Toadstool sys., Percula/anemone hosting 12/18/06 Hey everyone! <Greetings, Mich here.> Sorry if I ask too meany <many?> questions.  <little, nasty, or number?  I'm guessing you mean number.> I know you are busy! <How did you know?> But who else am I going to go to?...The LFS...? <Hehehe ...there are some ones out there.>      I have an LTA. I was wandering how rare it is for p. clowns to host these? <In the wild only four species of clownfish are typically observed with this anemone, the Percula Clowns (Amphiprion percula) is not one of them.  However in an artificial environment, artificial things happen.>   I also have a green toadstool. I know, shouldn't be together. It came on a VERY small pc of rock. Too small to weight it down upright, and too small to wedge into the live rock without hurting the coral itself. I've tried super glue gel. Didn't work so well. <Yes, I have experienced this frustration also.> So I resorted to a rubber band (natural color). <Good solution!> Will there be any trouble with this being in the system? <No.  This should not cause problems.  The rubber band will dissolve with time.> Hopefully it works for a while! <It should.> The poor thing probably has fallen 5 times in a month! <and can't get up!> It is pretty secure now though. <Did it get Life Alert?> Thanks so much for your help! <You are quite welcome.> By the way, the clownfish anemone page on the chat forum isn't working! <Oh, thank you for this, will notify.> <<On WWF? On WWM; what is the URL? RMF> Keep up the good work! <We'll do our best!> Hope to meet you all one day! <It's always nice to put a face with a name.  Remember aquarium conferences are fun!  -Mich>

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

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

Bali Green Sarcophyton ... sys.   03/9/06 Hello to all. <Hello Mike.> Two questions for you guys. First, I just got a new Bali Green Sarcophyton that's about the size of a small fist and came attached to a very small piece of rock.  My tank is 150g, 24" deep, and is lit by two 250MH.  I tried acclimating him in the lower 6" of the rockwork, but the tiny rock he's attached to won't let him stay put without being knocked or rolled over.  I tried wedging him in a crevice but that seemed to irritate his skin.  He is currently sitting upright in the sand a few inches away from the rockwork. Is this animal suited to be in the sand or does he need to be glued in place on a rock? <I'd glue in place.>  Now for my unrelated second question.  My ORP reading is between 435-445. <Higher than needed.> My ozone generator hasn't really been on since the first week or two after I got it (I've had it for two months).  I have everything plumbed into the basement - water goes from the tank to "splitter" sump.  About 300gph of the raw water is sent to my skimmer (which is connected to the ozone generator) then into the 30g refuge then into the large return sump. The other 1300gph goes straight from the "splitter" to the return sump.  I currently have the probe in the return chamber of the last sump, that's were I'm getting the dangerously high readings.  When I place the probe in the "splitter" sump (before the water gets to the skimmer) my readings a in the high 200 - low 300s.  Which one of these readings should be trusted? Everything I've read suggests putting the probe down stream from the skimmer, but I not sure how the readings are so high without the ozone generator firing. IF it's needed - ammonia, nitrite, nitrate =0, calcium=480, alk=10, temp=77, salinity 1.025. <The probe should be in the display tank, preferably away from the return for a true reading.> As always, Thanks for the help. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Re: Bali Green Sarcophyton   03/9/06 James, Thanks for the quick reply. <You're welcome.> I can't see a way of getting the probe in the tank while still having the generator going through the skimmer; the probe lead just isn't long enough to get to the basement. <Ahh, yes.  Is this a combo unit, controller/generator all in one?  If not, you could run a power cord from the controller down to the ozone generator in the basement.> Would having it in the first sump where water is received directly from the tank be a close substitute? <Be your only choice.> If not, any suggestions would be a huge help. Thanks again. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Re: Bali Green Sarcophyton   03/9/06 Yes, unfortunately a single unit. So am I to assume that the lower ORP reading from the water coming directly from the tank is more accurate than the higher reading from the water just before it returns up to the tank? <Yes, that should give you the true reading of actual conditions.  James (Salty Dog)> Leather Corals comp., health, sys.    2/17/06 Hi there... Thank you for the wonderful insight into marine aquariums. I had a question about Leather Corals. I have a 55G tank set up primarily all for Sarcophytons, 12 total. My Ph is 8.0, ammonia .25, <Should be zip> Nitrate and Nitrite both 0 on an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kit. The tank has been set up for a year with a chiller keeping it at 78. My question is for the past two weeks All of the leather corals have closed up. <See the ammonia?> No new corals or fish have been introduced and my green star polyps, woods hole polyps, and anthelia have been fine. <They're winning...> I did a 10 Gallon water change, with R/O water. Specific Gravity is 1.023. After the water change two of the smaller leathers opened up. Should I be concerned of a toxin in the water or is this natural for leathers to all close at the same time.   -Thank you for your response. <I would be concerned... start using (continuously) activated carbon... and fix the root cause of the ammonia source... and all may live together for some time forward. Bob Fenner> Sarcophyton becoming covered with algae  - 02/16/2006 To the WWM Crew <Fl?io> The Sarcophyton is in my 500 litres tank about 2 months ago. In this period of adapting time it expands his head and only 1 or 2 mm of his polyps maybe every two or three days. All these times it produces the peculiar protective thin film. <Yes, good> Since about one week, it his always closed and the film is becoming yellow with diatoms and on some areas I could see thin filamentous algae. <Not good> Near the Sarcophyton (10 cm) I have a Hydnophora that is ok. <Too close... I'd keep this and all other stony corals at least 15 cm. away...> The lights are 6 NO fluorescent and 1 actinic. Do you think that it is better to remove the coral to another position, far way from the Hydnophora ? <Yes, ciertamente> Too much light for the soft coral? <No> The NOs are 30 cm above it. Do you think it will help to gently remove the algae after the change of place if it were the case? <I would wait... hopefully the Sarcophyton will shed this in time> Thank you very much for your site and your precious help. Fl?io <Welcome. 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/product/prod_Display.cfm?http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_Display.cfm?pCatId=753 2. green: " http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_Display.cfm?pCatId=2051" 3. green polyp: " http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_Display.cfm?pCatId=2320" Thanks, Anita <<Welcome, EricR>>

Colt coral too big 1/23/06 I have a Colt coral in my reef tank. This coral has gotten huge, the size of a small beach ball, I would like to add more corals to the tanks but I cannot find space due this Colt. What are my options, with out damaging the Colt? Thanks for your help, Dallas <This depends on how you define damage!  Your options really come down to three things:  Get a bigger tank, give the coral away or fragment the coral.  Fragmenting this coral is as simple as snipping off branches with scissors, although mounting this extremely slippery coral can be a challenge.  Loosely lashing it down with several wraps of fishing line works OK, as does "bridal veil" or other similar synthetic mesh (I am a big fan of the plastic mesh carrying bag that comes around frozen turkeys).  Simply use any of these materials to hold the coral against some small pieces of rock until they attach.  The mesh or fishing line can then be snipped away.  Best Regards.  AdamC.> Dying Pink Toadstool?  11/18/05 Hi WWM crew...I have recently become a SW hobbyist (2 mths now and I adopted a 10yr old tank) and came upon your site by way of Reef Sanctuary. I love all of the information I have gathered from your site, but I have been unable to get an answer as to why my toadstool is failing. I understand they are hearty creatures, but being a newbie..... Let me give you some background the best I can: 75gal tank, 80lbs LR, 2in LS substrate, Yellow tang, 2 damsels, 2 striped catfish, bi-color blenny, hermit crab, Pink Toad Stool, Mushroom rock (also not doing well), Flame Scallop and a variety of numerous tubeworms and feather dusters.  Plan to add more after I get the hang of it!  Water Parameters: NitrAtes 40ppm (down with H2O changes from 100+ppm) <Need to aim for getting, keeping this below 20 ppm... Whatever the causes here, this may be THE reason for you stinging-celled life's lack of vitality> NitrItes 0 Amm 0 pH 8.2 Sal 1.022 <I'd raise this up, keep it near natural seawater strength, 1.025> Temp 76 Doing weekly 10-15% water changes after 'blowing off' the rock and siphoning the 'yuck' out. Additives and food to the tank are Oceanic Natural Sea Salt. Bio-Calcium, as needed. <... what are your readings for pH, calcium, magnesium?> Kent SuperBuffer. Coral Vite, <Drop this, garbage... likely a source of nitrate here> tsp weekly. 1 drop Lugol's Solution, weekly. DT Phytoplankton, <Not necessary, or advisable> 1 capful every other 2 days. Emerald Entree, 1/2 cube every other day. One 3"X2" sheet of Nori daily. New bulbs - 1 Coralife Actinic 48" Blue and 1 Florescent 48" 40Watt 10,000K bulbs. Running lights 8 hours a day. H39 system Mechanical and Biological Filter and sump with 3 powerheads.  Ok, I have attached some photos as the toadstool has deteriorate a bit in the last few days. Note the base of the Toadstool and it is leaning over. <I see> Although from what I have read, it seems that it will be ok. But my questions are, why is the base getting so skinny and shedding so much? <In two words: "water quality"> It doesn't seem to be thriving so I moved it higher up in the tank to be closer to the lamps and water flow. I used gloves and carefully pried it away from the LR to move it to a better location. Should I frag it? <I would not> I'm at a loss. I have not been able to find anything written anywhere about this strange happening. Please help!!!! I hate to see my new 'babies' suffering! Thanks so much,  Cheryl <Do consider the above changes/suggestions... the DAS H39 system Mechanical and Biological Filter... is puny, and should be added to in all aspects of filtration... and for now I'd add some activated carbon in your filter flow path. Bob Fenner>

Lighting Question 10/25/05 Hello There, <Howdy> Awesome site! Didn't find what I was looking for, so thought I would ask. I was thinking about changing my current light strip from a 36" single tube fluorescent to a twin strip fluorescent. My budget will allow me to do so. I currently have a 46 gallon bow-front only 10 lbs of LR, some dead corals, and some fake decor too. I currently have an Aqua-Glo 30W bulb (18,000K). I was thinking about adding a Marine-Glo, a very blue spectrum bulb. However, I'm not sure I need it. I wouldn't mind adding a leather coral, or something to that affect, along with a couple of feather dusters. Do I need to go the route of a twin bulb, or will the one I have do? <You will want more light... of useful wavelength, strength, quality...> Also, after seeing the cost of lighting, I was thinking of modifying my hood to accept a 36" shop light setup from some hardware store. The cost of doing this would be 1/3 the cost of buying a pre-fabbed light, and I'm handy enough to handle it. Is there any reason that I could not do this with aquarium fluorescent bulbs? <Mmm, principally issues with the fixture rusting, dropping ferrous material into your water...> Thanks for the info. Jim <A few places you should read... Alcyoniid Systems: http://wetwebmedia.com/alcyonsysfaqs.htm  Marine Light/Lighting: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 

Mixing cnidarians 7/29/05 A year and half into my first tank (37 tall) I find myself ensnared   in beginner "garden reef" syndrome. <Almost a universal experience> Noxious combo #1,512: Sinularia and Sarcophyton higher up, Discosoma   and Zoanthids near the bottom. And thanks to a spontaneous frag   trade, I inherited some quickly-growing frags of Pachyclavularia,   Capnella, and Xenia. Finally there's a medium-sized Montipora that   hitchhiked in on the Sarcophyton rock. <Heeeee, well put> Right now the corals are all well spread apart but I know this mix   won't last forever. In fact the small Pachyclavularia frag just   started kicking the butt of the Sarcophyton the other day.   Sarcophyton closed up like a tulip and the only polyps that would   extend were a few on the opposite side of the star polyps. That   lasted four days; I performed two 10% water changes, changed out the   carbon, but to no avail. So I moved the polyps, and lo and behold, in   a few hours the Sarcophyton was back to normal. <Yes... not the storybook teevee presentation of the "peaceful reef" eh?> For the long term plan I have two questions, 1 specific, 1 general. Specifically: The Sinularia is gigantic. I want to remove it. The   problem is that his stalk is like 3" wide and he's attached to the   two largest pieces of rock in the tank. Any advice on removing? <Can, could cut, move about all, or more all, including the bits on the rocks and have regenerate, sell, give away...> I don't want to release horrific waves of toxins into the tank...but   the rocks are such a substantial part of the tank that removing the   rocks would be difficult. How strongly are these attached to their   rocks? <Very... tearing is not a good idea. Best to sever with a sharp single-edge razorblade (outside the tank...) rinse, remove to another system/s...> Can the base/stalk be detached from the rock without cutting   much tissue? Or do you have to slice under the rock a little?. <Can try... with a chisel, grooved side down... but almost always better to cut the Alcyoniids> Could I harass it enough to encourage it to loosen its grip? <Not a good idea> Maybe working   at night would be better, since it's half the size then. Any other   suggestions? <Take your time, enjoy yourself, come out dive/adventure traveling with me/us> Generally: I have to decide which ones to keep. I'm happy to part   with the Sinularia and Zoos, but that leaves Xenia, Capnella,   Sarcophyton, mushrooms, star polyps. Like so many others I love my   Sarcophyton, I'd like to keep it, frag it. I guess I could run a   Sarcophyton-dominated tank, but I'd like to keep at least a *few*   other corals. I do also like the Xenia a lot, and the star polyps   (which I now know don't mix well with this Sarcophyton). As long as I   leave the shrooms and star polyps in the mid-to-bottom part of the   tank, can the rest stay on top? <... almost feel like I'm chatting with a youngster asking for more candies...> My rock arrangement has sort of upper   level and lower level terraces. I know situations differ widely with regards to setup, particular   specimens, maintenance regimen, etc., so... 37 gallon tall -- to be upgraded to a 75 or 90 55 lbs LR 3" DSB OrbitUSA 2x65 PCs -- to be upgraded with the bigger tank, T-5s maybe? AquaC Remora 3 Maxi-Jet powerheads Whisper power filter (for carbon) 2x Ocellaris Royal Gramma feather duster, cleaner shrimp, peppermint shrimp, ~25 snails, a few   hermits Thanks for any advice. John <John, you've "got it bad"... perhaps a job in a store or public aquarium... Get the larger tanks... Yes, plural. Bob Fenner> Alcyoniid systems 7/22/05 Hello.  First off, like everyone else, I must give praise to the reef gods, so, thank you for the great site, and you have helped me some much in the past. <Glad to offer help, and say hi to this reef god for me ;)> Is it possible to have to much water movement in your tank? <Depends on the species kept.  There is *usually* such thing as too much laminar flow, and usually not enough random/turbulent flow>   I currently have 4 powerheads (maxi-jets 2x1200 [with rotating heads] and 2x600) all hooked up to the WaveMaster, all crammed in a 72g tank.  When all the powerheads are on at the same time the corals seem to be somewhat pounded by current, but most seem to like it, and the only things that don't seem to like it are the leathers. <Powerheads are always horrible for water movement.  In GPH, you don't have nearly enough flow for a tank that size, and the flow you do have is laminar.  I would completely revamp your system of water movement.  I would use a closed loop manifold, if I were you> They do fine, eventually, it seems like everyday they shed, and its rare to see them with their polyps out, and when they come out it is only for about a day or two (for reference the problem leathers are. devil's hand, finger, green, and a frag of some leather, not sure what it is)  Could all this be from too much flow in the tank? <Likely they are bothered by the strong laminar flow.  Try to at least aim the powerheads at the glass or at each other, to produce turbulent random currents>  Sorry for the length of this e-mail, but thank you, you guys always help me out of a jam. <Anytime - M. Maddox>

Drop in pH, Colt coral suffering 7/20/05 James, <Larry, sorry for the long delay.  Been out of town.> Sorry, I meant to include sg and didn't.  It is at 1.023 (a little low, <1.023 is fine.> I plan on gradually bring it up a bit).  I didn't mention, but the water change is a regular part of my maintenance schedule although it was overdue.  Alk is 7 dKH (per the FasTest kit).  While the alk is low,<Not dangerously low.> this has been a typical reading on this tank for as long as it has been running, I occasionally get alk to 8.4, very rarely as high as 9.8.  Calcium (per Seachem test kit) is at 400 (which for this tank is very good).  I do provide a weekly iodine addition. <Sea Chem's Reef Builder will raise your alk safely.> I can't give you a watts per gallon, I've never figured it out that way.  The tank holds 240 gallons (with another 100 in the sump).  Lighting is 2 x 175 watt MH pendants (65K) and 3 x 6 foot VHO bulbs (2 actinic white, 1 actinic).  The halides are suspended about 5-6 inches from the top of the tank.  The colt is towards the end of the VHOs, off to the side from one of the pendants, about 21 inches down from the surface of the tank.  Water flow should be more than sufficient, the return from my gravity fed sump is via a 2000 gph Iwaki MD-100. <Your wattage is only 1.75 watts per gallon.  Not near enough to keep any light loving inverts alive for any length of time.  The flow rate should be somewhere up around 2400 gph.  Try adding a couple powerheads to increase the circulation.> I tested the pH again this morning, still at 8.0.  I added a second dose of Seachem's Reef Builder this morning, will continue checking/working with the pH.  Is there anything else you would recommend to help stabilize/revitalize the colt?  <Lighting my friend.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks again! <You're welcome> Larry

Coral Hey guys I'm new to the site and the hobby but already have found both very rewarding. In any case I have what maybe a stupid new guy question but I'm gonna ask anyway. I was wondering if I could add a few Leather Coral Gold Crown Toadstool soft corals to my FOWLR tank. The tank setup is 120gallons with a CPR wet/dry and a CPR BakPak hang on skimmer, I have about 100lbs. of live rock, and the lighting is provided by two compact fluorescents (not sure of the wattage). I also have two little power heads for some added water movement. The livestock in the tank is two tank raised O. clowns and two yellow tail damsels, and I will be taking the lionfish out of my hospital tank in a week or so (just got him the other day). Well any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.  <Paule, you will need at least 4 1/2 watts of lighting per gallon to keep leather corals. Good circulation is required, around 10x the tank volume. James (Salty Dog)> 

Lighting/Toadstool Hi guys, Thanks for all the great advice you've provided in the past. I have been doing some research regarding Toadstool Leathers lately. I would like to add one to my tank, but I wanted to be sure that I have enough lighting to provide for one. I'm running a 96w PC setup on my 46g bowfront. Currently we have only a few mushrooms and zooanthids. I would like to place the Toadstool on a small piece of LR in the sand on the bottom of my tank. The sand bed is approx 18" from the surface of the water and 21" from the PC lights. I was planning on starting out with a toadstool that is ~4" tall. I have read in numerous sources that these Toadstools enjoy medium light and medium flow. Do you believe that my current setup would provide enough lighting for this toadstool to flourish? I would be supplementing its diet with Cyclop-Eeze as well. Thanks once again for your advice!  <Mike, you are only around two watts per gallon and you need to be at least four watts especially with the depth of your tank. James (Salty Dog)>

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

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

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

The Amazing', Color-Changin' Sinularia! I have what started out as a green Sinularia. It has turned into a yellow Sinularia. Is this because of too much light / too little light or something else? Thank you. <Well, hard to say...Color changes in corals are thought to be partially the result of the zooxanthellae concentrating in the coral tissue in different areas, etc. They are certainly a response to different lighting schemes...Usually, under more intense light, corals tend to become darker. On the other hand, different spectra of lighting can result in different color responses by the coral. For example, I had a Capnella that was a creamy color with light brown/greenish polyps under 10,000k Aqualines. When it was acclimated to 20000k's, it took on an entirely different coloration: An almost turquoise color, with deep brownish-red polyps...It almost looked like a different animal! The point is, corals can change coloration for a variety of reasons. As long as there is still good polyp extension and the animal appears otherwise healthy, I would enjoy the colors! BTW- do acclimate corals to any new lighting regimen slowly, to avoid "shocking" them. Take Care! Regards, Scott F>

Sarcophyton question Anthony (Bob, Steven, your input would be welcome too!) - while I have your attention on the subject of corals, here is a photo of my leather coral, which I am quite worried about. I moved it from my old 29g tank in May and it has not fared well. It was formerly about 8 inches deep under 96w 50/50 PC, and it is now about 10 inches deep under 2x175w 10000k MH and 130w 7100k PCs (this is a 48" 72g RR bowfront). I acclimated it slowly, starting at 2 hrs MH/day and worked up to 10 hrs over the course of a month. It has not been moved. It has also not opened since the move -- it just lingers like this with a few polyps extended during the day. Water movement is moderate and random -- I can see the coral sway ever so slightly every few seconds. <many Sarco, although very hardy, are quite finicky about polyps extension. Some retract for months indeed when disturbed. Still... I suspect something more. Inadequate flow is a common cause... do experiment with stronger random flow here... especially if you have been noticing that the mucus tunics on the crown have not sloughed regularly or quickly (1-2 days)> Water parameters (Salifert + digital pH): 80 degrees, pH 8.25, SG 1.026, Alk 3.4 meq/l, Ca 420 ppm, Iodine 0.06 mg/l, Mg 1380 mg/l, NO3 2.5 mg/l, PO4 0.03 mg/l, no NH3/NO2. Tank is skimmed with an AquaC EV 120, and I passively use GAC. <all very fine> I know Sarcophytons are slow to react/adapt, but 3 months seems like enough time for the situation to normalize as much as possible.  <agreed> I have tried blasting with aquarium water from a turkey baster to remove mucous or sloughing tissue,  <hmmm... perhaps an indication of the suspected inadequate flow... if the slough came of naturally in 24-48 hours you would not need to baste... do consider> as well as a weak Iodine solution once. I have not seen any obvious parasites.  <understood... and little worries for parasites (unless you bring in wild coral to the tank without QT. If so, look closely at the base for burrowing hydroids are feel the base (gloved hands only) to see if there is a hollow feel (some cowries and crabs will hollow a leather out from the inside> Is there hope? <absolutely. If worse comes to worse we'll cut it open and propagate it to spur growth and spy for predators. Still... may just be water flow. 9 of 10 aquariums are too weak in flow. Kindly, Anthony> Thanks in advance for your advice! Ed Marshall, Austin, Texas.

Sarcophyton....toadstool leather On 8/11/02, I added a small 3" or so toadstool leather to my 10g. I figured it would be a good hardy coral to go with my small Pachyclavularia (green stars) and small mushroom rock (Discosoma).  <Yikes! all three are hardy indeed but a 10g is too tiny for all three unless you are doing frequent water changes. Discosoma and Starpolyps are very aggressive and release many noxious elements into the water... almost as much as leather :) > As it grew, I had ambitions of moving it to my soon to be 46g reef, and finally to a 180g.  <awesome!> It came not being attached to a base and this was my first problem. Super glue gel and a rubber band did not do well, and the time for my vacation came (I figured it would be thriving by then) so I placed it on a rock and supported it with smaller rocks around it. I came home and noticed that some of the polyps had finally extended. But on closer inspection, I also noticed that part of it had sagged down through a rock crevice. Since then, it has been a struggle to try and bring the whole coral back to health. More polyps are finally extending, however, the whole capitulum will not open up like it was at the LFS.  <try stronger water movement as well as more frequent water changes to dilute the products of allelopathy/aggression> Today, I noticed some of the section that was down in the rock had become "cheesy" so I removed as much as possible.....also some of the polyps have gotten darker. I am including a picture so I can possibly get an answer as to how it looks and what I might be missing. <yes... dangerous. Good move to remove/siphon necrotic areas> Tank parameters include: 10g tank, maxi-jet 400 PH and Penguin mini....no filter media, 1" Southdown, 12 lbs. liverock, 32w SMARTLAMP PC lighting. I have been running some carbon in the HOB filter and doing weekly 10-15% water changes.  <much bigger water changes are needed here without heavy carbon use or skimming. Noxious elements from coral aggression build up quickly as you have noticed> If more lighting is needed, I can pick up another 32w pc kit over the weekend.  <I'd invest in a bigger tank instead as soon as possible> The other two corals are thriving.  <they are more aggressive <G>> Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Ryan A. <best regards, Anthony>

Leather coral I have a question regarding soft corals. I was thinking about adding a species of leather coral to my 55 gal tank, but am unsure of it compatibility with the other tank residents. System and livestock are as follows: 55gal with protein skimmer, wet/dry filter, some live rock, crushed coral bottom, one 40 watt 10KK fluorescent, two 55 watt 50/50 10KK PC bulbs, two adult yellow tangs, one adult yellow tailed damsel, a clarkii clown (1.5"), a LT anemone, and two emerald crabs each about the size of a quarter. Chemistry is Ammonia:0, Nitrite:0, Nitrate:25, Ca:400, SG:1.022, Temp:82, pH:8.3. Would a leather coral do alright in the system or should I leave this system as is? Thanks for any help you can offer. <As a group, Leathers are hardy, tough animals for aquarium use. Your system, physically and biologically should be/do fine with this addition. I would go ahead with the addition. Our sites input: http://WetWebMedia.com/alcyoniids.htm Bob Fenner> Ron

Please Help! RE: leather coral Well I went out and bought myself a leather coral and for the first 4 or 5 days it looked great...even better than it did in the pet store. Then all of a sudden I got up one morning and the polyps were not extended, but it did this sometimes and so I thought nothing of it. Also there were a few glossy patches as if it were going to shed it's skin...again myself thinking this is normal. Then a whole day went by...nothing...after a couple of days there were a few white patches which increased in number as time went on. I thought it was dying and was about to remove it, but then suddenly yesterday all the white blotches were gone, although there were still a few glossy spots, but no shed skin yet. Also before the coral was acting funny, at night when the lights were out, I would see very thin and long several centimeters) threads extend from it and wave in the water as if they were there to gather microscopic food particles or plankton in the water, but they would not be there when the lights were on. Well I noticed them again early this morning leading me to believe that the coral may be alive still. Another observation is that on the base of the coral is a slab of rock/calcareous purple algae which has and additional two leather coral bodies about the size of pea. These two specimens have been acting normal and extend their polyps (which is only about 10 or so) everyday, and appear to be quite healthy. This kind of made me rule out any problems with the water or chemical warfare with my LT anemone, since I would think they would be affected as well. I would greatly appreciate any help you can offer on the matter. Thank you. Ron <Good observations, reporting... It may well be that this Leather/Sarcophyton is fine, just "settling in"... Do keep an eye on your other livestock for signs of negative chemical interaction/s here... be ready for a good-sized water change, and possibly employ some activated carbon in your filter flow path... Are you feeding the Leather? You might try this as well as vitamin and iodide administration to the systems water. Do read over the soft coral FAQs on our site here: http://WetWebMedia.com/alcyoniidfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Please Help! RE: leather coral I'm going to do a 10% water change today just because it's time to do it, but I'll also have another 50% on hand in case I see trouble brewing. <Good planning> I have activated carbon in my wet dry filter, but it's about a month old so I'll be changing that out today as well. Since having the Sarcophyton I've added one dose of iodine and a dose of Strontium/Molybdenum, but the was like 2 days after having it.  <Do test for the iodine/ide... these animals can really use up a bunch... I would add the recommended dose till you got a reading for some concentration the next day... and adjust the dosage thereafter for whatever interval you apply same (likely weekly)> Also, the coral has shrunk a bit too, but there doesn't seem to be any decay that I can notice. One bad thing that I forgot to mention was that there is some Cyanobacteria patches in the tank. I've done a pretty good job in removing it, when it does pop up, but I'm not sure if it's presence had an effect on the Sarcophyton or not. <Yikes... yes. Do what you can to eliminate the causes/allowances for this Cyano. My input: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> One last thing, I have some orange algae that seems to be coming up on some rocks. I'm not too familiar with this kind and was wondering if you have ever come across it.  <Very likely other species of BGA> Just to give you a little more insight into the aquarium, I also have purple and white calcareous algae as well as some red, green, and brown microalgae that grows on the rock. If you can think of anything I should be concerned about I would really appreciate it. Thanks a lot! <Do take a close look at the base area of the Leather... during the day, and night (with a flashlight)... there is some possibility that a parasite or predator may be at work here as well... generally worms of sorts. Bob Fenner> Ron

Re: Please Help! RE: leather coral Here's another chapter in my ongoing leather coral saga. I think I may have found a possible cause for the coral not being too happy. Yesterday evening I caught one of my emerald crabs scraping at it's base. I don't think the crab is actually trying to eat the coral because he just takes a few scrapes and moves on to the live rock which has much more appetizing algae. The problem is that it scrapes the base looking for algae, but also scratches the coral as well, leaving white flesh exposed. I don't really want to have to get rid of the crab because it does an excellent job in keeping the algae in check, but I also don't want to loose my coral because of a $5 crab. If I had a separate system to put the crab in I would, but I live in an apt and barely have room for the 55 gal one. Any options you can throw at me are greatly needed. Thanks. Ron <I would wait a few weeks and see if the Mithrax comes to realize the Soft Coral isn't palatable. Bob Fenner>

Re: Please Help! RE: leather coral yea he doesn't like it very much...he gets very excited with the algae on the rocks but when he scratches the leather he's not too enthused about it and leaves soon. The only thing is that he must forget and comes back to see if maybe the taste has changed. Well time will tell, and I'll keep you updated. Thanks for all your help. <You're welcome. Have seen this "conditioned non-response" occur with this, other crab species. Patience. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: Please Help! RE: leather coral Good news on the Sarcophyton! Earlier this evening a few polyps were pushing up under a layer of skin. After a hour or so more were pushing up. I took a turkey baster to provide a little extra current, which blew the layer of skin of. I then used a net and removed it from the tank. About 1/3 of the polyps have come up so far and the number is increasing. If those white patches had not have went away, I was afraid I was going to have to sacrifice the Sarcophyton in the freezer. Thank you for your help. You have been an enormous help in all of this. <Ah, good to hear of your success my friend. Bob Fenner> Ron

Re: leather coral Thanks for the help. Some pet stores have the tendency to lie about computability in order to make a sale, so I opted for an unbiased expert opinion. <Good idea... would ask more than one, two sources for anything important. Bob Fenner> Ron

Colt Coral I recently did a 20% water change to my 55 gallon tank that has been running now for around a year to drop my nitrate levels (which were way high). After doing so I noticed that my huge colt coral 12" high with many branches does not seem to be opening up as it did before (even with the high nitrate levels).  <Many soft coral groups actually "enjoy" higher nutrient levels...> My water parameters are great now and all my other corals are doing fine and are wide open. The colt does not show any signs of bleaching or any other blemishes or cuts but it just doesn't seem to be opening like it was. I do remember on my initial purchase it took it 2 days before it opened up but it has been roughly 5 days now and when I think it is starting to show signs of opening it closes right back up. Any ideas or should just wait it out. <Just wait> Experience tells me to leave it alone and keep my hands out of the tank but since it was such a great piece I'm a little nervous about losing it. Thanks <A forty percent change in water is too much in one go... do consider making more frequent, gradual changes... using other mechanisms at continuously removing, using nitrates (et al.) nutrients in your system. Please read through these FAQ files: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/no3probfaqs.htm and beyond. Bob Fenner>

Re: Leather coral Mr. Fenner, Thank you for the quick reply and for referring my email to Mr. Calfo. He was so kind to respond in great detail about my concerns for my finger & toadstool leathers. <Yes... he is a treasure to our interest, the species, planet> In my last post I made the mistake of saying that I use an AquaC skimmer on my 125 reef. I use that skimmer on my 75 gallon FOWLR system. On my reef setup I use a RedSea HOB skimmer. I have it setup on the sump. Mr. Calfo spoke of how much skimmate I should collect daily. I was shocked by how little I do clean out. This is something I will look into correcting ASAP. <Mmm... a concern with large, many soft corals present... they can produce amazing quantities of materials that want removing expediently> You asked it I feed meaty foods to my leathers and the answer to that sadly is no. Another problem I shall correct right away. Another question was if I give the proper amount of Iodine to the water. I do dose bi-weekly to keep a consistent reading of 0.05ppm. <I would change this administration to once a week... and aim for twice the concentration then> I hope that is the best readings. I will read your information on Alcyoniids as soon as I finish this letter. I wanted to thank you first for all of your help! I will update soon if that is alright. Happy holidays and new year. Amy <Thank you for the update. Bob Fenner>

Placement/Acclimation of Finger Leather <<JasonC here - Bob is away diving.>> My finger leather coral has problems. I put it in my 55 just over a week ago. Within a day its polyps began extending but then it retracted again and wilted in a day. I then moved it lower in my tank thinking maybe I was blasting it with light. I've got 6 watts per gallon from actinics and "full spectrum" (full spectrum is relative) daylight pc's. It wilted even more on the bottom so I moved it to the top in some strong current 3 days ago. Some of it's polyps came out but then it again retracted. At least it isn't wilting this time. All my other soft corals are doing fine. I have two Condylactis' about 20 inches away and star polyps 15 inches away. The closest invert in a colony of mushroom corals about 8 inches below it. There are some sps that came on the live rock within a few inches of the Leather but I wouldn't think that would do battle with it. My levels are all good except my nitrates are at 5 ppm. Any ideas? Thanks for the help. -Dan Jacksonville, Fl. <<you might just want to give it some time. A week really isn't a long time and it needs a while - two weeks to a month to adapt is usual. Sounds like you found a good spot for it - good current is very helpful. Cheers, J -- >>

Devils hand/devils finger *update* I'll break down the change in lighting: I did have 0ne 96 watt pc fluorescent, and 4 VHO actinics originally I added two 10,000 Aquasun VHO's and took away one of the actinics. I also had all of the lights turn on at once and off at the same time, then I added a 3 stage timer. with a 1/2 hr variance between lights, starting with turning one 1 actinic, then the compact fluorescent, and last the two Aquasun's and the two other actinics. Hmmm, guess it sounds more drastic written down then it does thinking about it,  <yes...indeed it is> but the corals that are damaged didn't start until about after 1-2 weeks post lighting change,  <not at all uncommon (the time-frame). Those animals that will shock need not respond on command or overnight. They may try to compensate for days or weeks before extreme symptoms occur (detachment, expelling zooxanthellae packets, etc). Did you notice these presently afflicted corals closing up/retracting conspicuously early in the interim? Still may not be the case... but food for thought: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm> and that was close to a month ago and other then all the brain meat which still looks perfectly healthy (minus the separation from the skeleton) and reacts fine seem to still be failing. <alas...perplexing and fascinating at the same time> What are the chances that damaged corals will come back from this kind of stress? <quite good if it doesn't "bleach" (expel zooxanthellae)> I'll keep you posted on the activities. <interested to hear it, my friend> BTW: I had met a new hobbyist in marine aquaria yesterday and told him to pick up your books and your web address for a source of information instead of relying on our local retailers. There's a few of us that call you guys the Einstein's of the hobby LOL <ahh, yes... the hair in Bob's ears has often reminded me of Einstein's eyebrows. We are in agreement <G>. Thank you very kindly for the referral... do pass the word along about this site and archives. Always eager for aquarists to learn and hopefully contribute! articles, experiences, etc!)> Thanks for all the help, you have no idea how much it is appreciated. <with kind thanks, Anthony>

Re: Devils hand/devils finger *update* Hi Anthony. Thanks for the reply, I have been really banging my head against the wall on this one. I was adding tropic Marin re-mineral my to my water, the last light/flow change was over 3 weeks ago >Hmmm... not long ago at all for such a change to contribute to the symptoms we are seeing. Does this mention imply that the changes were before the symptoms began with the coral. And how severe was the change... admittedly lighting is generally a great stress (say fluorescents to metal halides or the changing of very old bulbs (fluorescents over 10 months, halides over two years old)> I have been adding one tablespoon of iodine per week (potassium iodine concentrate) <reasonable indeed... I prefer small daily better but many great tanks run fine on weekly or not at all> Water changes of 15 gallons every 14 days of R/O water no supplement of strontium as of yet, thinking about going and getting some today, did supplement calcium about 40 days ago to bring it up over 400 <hmmm... one heck of a stretch without calcium supplements. No complaints though with reactor keeping the levels anything over 350ppm> I heard seltzer water or club soda can be added to bring down the DKH as long as it's done without dropping the ph to rapidly. <eh... really just treating the symptom, not the problem... a skewed dynamic is still at the root of the matter> Feeding every 3 days with a combination of chopped shrimp, spinach and other items found in a recipe my wife found online. Everyone seems to be enjoying it very much. <more than enough for some coral... probably not enough for many LPS but still good overall if it is a meat based diet (marine origin meats) and unlikely attrition is the problem then in such a short period of time... something more dramatic at hand, no doubt> The green brain survived a mishap about 8 months ago in a smaller tank where one of our local pet stores suggested adding to the reef ammo lock 2 to cut down on green algae that I had a problem controlling and it killed all but the brain and one other coral. <wow... crazy advice indeed! Unfortunately, nothing stands out right now as definitely causative outside of a stark change in light. Interesting?! Anthony>

Re: Devils hand/devils finger *update* Here's a small update on the problem, wondering if you have any more information to offer me. <Anthony Calfo with the follow-up> The Green open brain has separated 2/3 off the skeleton but it remain puffy and eating. <Argghhhh! not a good sign. Usually not pathogenic though... most often a physical parameter (nutritive or elemental deficiency, stress from flow/light etc.)> The devils hand and devils finger have decreased in size, turned a deeper purple in color and the devils finger has beige and white appearing where the fingers meet the main body. The devils hand also separated from the rock it was anchored to and so did my green tree, I re-attached them as I would a frag and the green tree seems to be doing o.k. <have you been doing regular water changes, supplementing with calcium to your reactor, using enough iodine (and arguably some strontium)?> I was wondering if the co2 from my calcium reactor might be causing a problem, if I was putting too much into the system.  <very unlikely and easy to confirm... depressed pH below 8.3 during peak daylight or a noticeable rise in pH on a tested sample of water after 12 hours aeration> One reading that I have that is high is my DKH, seems to be around the 16 range,  <indeed on the high end... be careful here> but again, all my other reading seem to be fine. Calcium dropped to 350 2 days ago, but I will do another test tomorrow. PH did rise for a few days but is back down today, just finished testing it. <rising pH does not indicate a CO2 problem. Have you been feeding your corals? Yet another reason for detachment. If the fish in the tank do not get fed much or at all, then the smallest polyped corals like your leathers that feed by absorption with suffer from attrition. The LPS like your open brain need to be fed weekly...really several times weekly bordering on daily with shredded meaty foods. Else they hang in for months towards a year and then die of attrition. The brain coral in particular is heavily dependant on feeding... it is thought to be satisfied (need for carbon) with about 2/3 from photosynthesis...the rest is derived from direct organismal feeding> By reading a lot, I've found that the corals and fish and such that shouldn't be doing well are doing fine and the hardy ones seem to be hurting. <hmmm... are the hardy/hurting ones the older ones by chance? (4 months or older?). Would lend support to the lack of feeding theory... just a guess.> Thanks, Scott Allen <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Devils hand/devils finger *update* Hello guys, just another update and something to ponder. The devils hand puffs up slightly, but it very slow if it is recovering at all. It's been over a month since the green open brain has left it's skeleton, and it is still doing fine, no color loss or anything, eats fine, and moves around the tank a bit. Guess it likes the idea of being an invert.  <yes...interesting> No idea what to expect anymore. The hobby is so full of surprises. I preach about you guys and your web page and books constantly at the local fish store, even the staff have looked information up and ordered books to carry. <with our kind thanks to you!> The only thing I cannot seem to get right is my water hardness. I have a Hagen kit and am not 100% sure how to convert the number it gives to a comparable measurement for your site, but it looks like my water hardness is and has always been around 18 dKH, if accurate then it is rather high. < Do test distilled water and your tap water to see if you get believable readings (tap lower than tank and distilled extremely soft)> using the Hagen instructions, I get 320 mg/l (ppm) and I thought I should divide that by 17.9 to get the DKH. I have tried a lot of water changes, ph is normal but my alk still won't go any lower. <have you confirmed that the source water isn't naturally high and mitigating the condition?> all other levels are in proper range. Thanks guys :) <still not terrible... especially for fast scleractinian growers <G>. Best regards, Anthony>

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

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