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FAQs on Stinging-Celled Animal Compatibility 2

Related Articles: 'Coral' Compatibility: On Reducing Captive Negative Interactions Cnidarians  by Bob Fenner, ppt. vers: Cnidarian Compatibility: On Reducing Negative Cnidarian Interaction Parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,  by Bob Fenner Cnidarians, Water Flow, How Much is Enough,

Related FAQs: Cnidarian Compatibility 1, Cnidarian Compatibility 3, Cnidarian Compatibility 4, Cnidarian Compatibility 5, Anemone Compatibility, Coral Compatibility, Zoanthid Compatibility, Mushroom Compatibility, Soft Coral Compatibility, Cnidarians 1, Cnidarians 2, Cnidarian Identification, Cnidarian Selection, Cnidarian Behavior, Cnidarian Systems, Cnidarian Feeding, Cnidarian Disease, Cnidarian Reproduction, Acclimating Symbiotic Reef Invertebrates to Captive Lighting

Coral wars... featuring a DMZ (demilitarized zone).


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Livestocking Pico, Nano, Mini-Reefs; Small Marine Aquariums
Successfully discovering, determining, picking out the best species, specimens for under 40 gallon saltwater systems.
Book 1: Principles, Algae, Invertebrates

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: Coral Aggression  - 07/30/06
I' m not sure where to start, bro... (aside from typo... Turbinaria). Is your list addressing physical (contact) aggression... or chemical (noxious)?    The sorting would change somewhat.    Regardless... your list, honestly, is bunk either way bro. Corallimorpharians are at the bottom and they need to be at the top by any definition. They can (and do) burn back most every other Cnidarian... are extremely noxious... and nothing eats them.    Xeniids flat bottom... Galaxea near very top.    Alcyoniids near top for chemical but not contact    Faviids near top for contact but not chemical    Gorgoniids rather high on chemical but rather low on contact (excluding Erythropodium... just brutal)    I applaud you effort here, but I'm not sure how realistic this list is. Or at least you have to define the param.s better.    Then there is the reality of the real problem at hand: crowding of unnatural numbers and species of corals in most aquaria that make any such list rather moot. There is a dynamic that occurs in tanks where a potentially less "aggressive" coral can/will still dominate the tank to the point of inhibiting more aggressive species for having been in the tank earlier and having greater biomass (aquarists see this often after an aggressive coral is removed form the tank and then an attempt to reintroduce is made)    Anth- <Mmm, do agree with Antoine's comments, corrections. BobF>

Re: Coral Aggression  - 07/30/06 Thanks again, Anthony,   What started out was just to be a list as titled based on chemical aggression.  I have no where near the knowledge of corals as to chemical, physical, etc. aggression to develop anything like this at this time.    I might be interested in doing this sometime, but will be on the back burner for now.  I'm still trying to complete another article for the CA mag.  Bob said it needed improvement, and I'm trying to read in between the lines looking for info missing or info that needs to be added.  I've also been working on a draft reviewing the new Freedom Filter.  I have had this filter running about three weeks, but feel additional time is needed to make a fair evaluation.  Then, in the meantime, I'm working with Freedom Filter on improving the efficiency of surface nutrient removal of their unit.  And, along with that, mother was moved into a nursing home and not doing very well, and is becoming very demanding in her needs  Example... they do not have toothpicks at the nursing home and she wants me to bring her a box.  This is a 30 mile round trip with gas at 3.24/gallon for a 50 cent box of toothpicks.   I really appreciate the insight you have given me on the coral aggression.  I was way off in left field, maybe in the bleachers.   Regards, James
Re: Coral Aggression  - 07/30/06
no sweat bro... again, it really is a wonderful idea/intention. You may be able to make something practical of it...    Stating a focus on chemical issue, you can now proceed with a list that has the caveat of spatial minimums in the tank to reduce physical aggression (I'll say 6-10" bare min. between Cnid.s... and even that does not allow for a year of growth with many without pruning)    Proceed now with a Google scholar search ( http://scholar.google.com) and explore some papers on chemical aggression and allelopathy. You'll notice right off the bat that it is most severe in Octocorals and Marine algae.    Actually... if your list is going to be quantitative and its say a top ten... there will not be a single stony coral on that list.    Alcyoniids are tops... right up there with Corallimorphs... Gorg.s not far behind.    Xeniids are bottom of the barrel... Nephtheids are a mixed bags (that family has some of the weakest and some of the most brutal/noxious alike)    If you will all non-Cnid.s to the list... sponges and ascidians sit on top.    Do carry on with this line of thought and establish some parameters for species you will cover and some detail on how you are defining "aggression" for your reader.    Please do make this an article too... post on WWM, pitch to CA Mag... somewhere/anywhere to share :)    kindly, Anth-

Cyano & Corals/Anemone?   7/25/06 Thank you for all the valuable advice over the past few years. < Bob and the crew are great! > Just a quick question. With reference to previous notes... and to sum it all up since I'm not attaching those notes... basically, I have a little bit of a Cyanobacteria problem. < Being one of the first forms of life on the planet, it can be a bit resilient and pesky. > I'm using 40watt fluorescent, 16x water flow, and I think I might actually be underfeeding? < What is the spectrum of the fluorescent? If it has too much red and/or yellow spectrum, this could be contributing to the Cyano. Are you feeding frozen foods? If you are not rinsing the frozen foods well, the juices contribute heavy amounts of phosphates. Also, check to see if your prepared foods have fish meal in the first five ingredients. This too can encourage phosphate levels to rise. The phosphates encourage the growth of Cyanobacteria. > Anyhow, I have a new sump with a refugium and I plan on using some Miracle Mud and some Caulerpa.  Actually, you guys keep recommending something else which I will use instead of Caulerpa... but the scientific name of it has slipped my tongue for now, I'm sure I have the email somewhere. < My favorite is Chaetomorpha. It never goes sexual, and is less likely to leach or crash. >   Anyhow, if I upgrade to power compact/metal halide lighting and introduce an anemone or a soft coral... one at a time over months...   Will this assist in competing for nutrients to eventually starve out the Cyano???  This would be in addition to the Caulerpa algae. < It should at least retard the cyano's growth. But you would be wise to correct the nutrient problem before switching to higher powered lighting. > If/when I am introducing a soft coral and or anemone, should I ensure that the Cyano problem is completely solved??? < As much as can be, yes. > Will Cyano in my tank harm new additions with respect to corals?  Or will they help in the fight against Cyano? < Slow growing corals, or ones in inadequate water flow may suffer from the encroachment of the Cyano. The rapidly growing corals may help somewhat, but generally speaking, they do not utilize the same nutrients the Cyanobacteria crave. > I'm looking for an easy to keep soft coral as my first one. < Investigate the Sinularia species, they are very hardy and make great "starter" corals. >   I'd also be interested in knowing what type of anemone my false percula clowns would most likely enjoy. < They would most likely prefer a carpet or Ritteri anemone, but these are not always the easiest to keep in captivity. Even though it is not a natural choice for the clowns, I would investigate a long tentacle or possibly even a bubble tip anemone instead. The latter two are much hardier than the former two. > If it makes a difference, I'm assuming that my clowns are wild and not captive bred... as they are quite territorial < A clown by any other name would smell the same! Good luck! RichardB > Regards, Dave Brynlund

Re: Leathers, allelopathy in general  6/27/06 Bob, <Scott> For our type of system what sort of regime would you recommend to combat said allelopathy?  I'm not a huge fan of carbon because I can't tell when it's cashed.  Would running PolyFilters or Purigen on them constantly be sufficient? <Mmm, not really... or more accurately, not to my satisfaction. How to start here... Best to have very large (how big?) systems, begin with small colonies, cuttings, of "less noxious" species, groups, and have "grow up together"... being diligent re water changes, cleaning skimmer/s... other aspects of maintenance... and settle on not adding much at later dates...> Is there a way to scientifically or approximately determine the toxicity of a particular coral? <Very good questions... as gauged by my inability to proffer reasonable, complete responses... There are some groups... e.g. Zoanthids... that are near the top of such a "toxicity scale"... and a further example, amongst corals, Oculinids (e.g. Galaxea), Catalaphyllia which are "high" on such a rating... but no "RedOx" or KH/KOH scale equivalent as far as I'm aware. Perhaps someone will chime in seeing this posted... Maybe you could/would query Eric Borneman, Anthony Calfo re...>   It all seems so vague, makes it difficult to sell and stock appropriately. <I concur> Sure I can read that a coral is "mildly toxic" or "extremely toxic" - but what does that really mean to me - or the person who wants to buy it and is wondering if it will go well with their other corals? <Wish I could refer folks to more science here. Biotopic approaches with organisms collected "with" as in "right there" would be ideal (this is not likely to happen in any short while)... Keeping "all softies", "no anemones", "SPS" only... is one approach... Being careful to introduce only one or a few small pieces/colonies at a time, after isolating/quarantining them, perhaps mixing water twixt their systems is of advantage...> When you have a Trigger that runs over and bites a Clownfish in half it's easy to learn from that and say "Well gosh, guess we won't do that again".  It's not so easy when it's some random mushroom rock oozing out a bunch of toxins to take out some random leather in the tank below.  Do you have any suggestions for getting a better grasp of different levels of allelopathy? Scott <I strongly suspect there is more known re these issues... in the scientific press... Or a fount of possibilities for an erstwhile investigator/writer to pursue. Bob Fenner>

Re:  Chemical Warfare?...More Like Health/Water Quality Issues  6/27/06 James, I really don't think it is water quality issues. I have many corals which are doing really well and all my tests look ok.  My lighting is definitely sufficient: 2 x 175watt MH 10K and 4 x 55watt PC (2 actinic 2 10X).  Will a PolyFilter remove any of the noxious chemicals these corals may or may not be producing?   <Yes, if not available, Chemi-Pure works well also.> Why does my problem not sound like "chemical warfare"? <The shriveled up anemones made me wonder if your water quality and lighting was up to par.  Obviously, it is.> What are more typical signs? Jon, is best not to mix anemones with corals, is unnatural, as they are not usually found together in nature.  Ensuing chemical aggression is always taking place, and  a good protein skimmer is a big plus here along with continued use of chemical filtration to help clean up the toxins.  It is  best to group corals by family or group, such as soft, LPS, and SPS.  Another drawback is the size of your tank, which is small  for grouping corals of different families together especially with anemones present.  Do read FAQ's here on coral compatibility. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlcompfaqs.htm You might also want to check out Anthony Calfo's "Book Of Coral Propagation" and/or Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" as both books have information dealing with coral aggression. If it were me, the anemones would be going.> Thank you <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Jon

As Anthony Would Put It: The Mixed Reef Garden  - 05/13/2006 Hey gang, <Marc...> I have a 120 gallon reef tank and I am interested to know if it would be possible to keep a mushroom leather in the tank with SPS corals such as Acropora and Montipora. <Not a good mix long term.> I have a majority of LPS corals already. Are there any tricks to do this and still have some success <In the short term, chemical filtration and carbon can help.> or should I just bite the bullet and go for a SPS dominated tank. <Your choice but not both.> Also do the toxins released by the softies have any impacts on the fish in the tank <None of concern.> <<Mmm, actually... can be of great concern. RMF>> as well as the corals? Thanks <Anytime.> Marc <Adam J.>

Something's eating my corals!!!     I have a 75 gallon reef tank and for a long time I had 5 fish (Gramma, clown, dart fish, Banggai cardinal, solar wrasse) plus donut coral, large star poly colony, red open brain, frogspawn, torch coral, mushrooms, green Lobophyllia, and a green radiata.  The wrasse died on March 14th ( I believe I inadvertently scared him when I put a long-handled sponge cleaner in the tank and he swam into the glass and died. :-(  After that, on the 17th I bought a yellow Tang.  Everything was going well.  On April 8th I also bought a ridge hammer coral.  On the 16th of April I started to note that the polys of the ridge hammer were starting to go missing.  By the 20th there was an inch of polys gone so I returned to the LFS who thought maybe it had a protozoan infection.   <Mmm, maybe> The next morning I woke up and went to feed the fish and to my absolute horror, my beautiful neon green lobar brain was missing tissue and some of the skeleton was showing and it was perfect the night before.  I started to think that it wasn't an infection but rather that something was actually eating my corals.  The Tang? <No, highly unlikely> Never heard of that before but it was the only thing new in the tank.  But tonight I saw one of my hermits on the coral.  I checked out your site and saw where you actually don't recommend crabs for that reason. <Mmm, hermits are actually anomurans, "false crabs", but this is my/our gist by and large, yes> The strange thing is that I've had these corals since October 2005 and had the crabs for at least 2 years prior to that and the corals were never bothered. <If they are involved, the hermits are very likely simply opportunistically feeding on impugned, dying corallites>     So is your best guess that it's the crabs? <Mmm, no> If so, why now? Is it possible that it's the Tang? <Not really> If it's the crabs should I get rid of all of them? <I would not> Will my green lobar coral ever recover if I remove the offending party? <Should. Now, what I really guess is happening... and what you might have done to reduce this situations arising. Do develop and strictly adhere to an isolation/quarantine process for your new fishes and corals... The die-back here is most likely "environmental" in nature... the new Euphylliid causing a cascade of allelopathogenic chemical responses from the other Scleractinians (likely the wrasse loss was somewhat related here as well). The new more adverse chemical dynamic here is resulting in the more/most sensitive species being mal-affected... barring some action on your part, I/we could actually make a list for you of the organisms to be similarly mal-influenced next, in turn... I would institute a series of water changes and avail yourself of chemical filtrant use. Please see WWM, the Google search tool with the terms "coral allelopathy"... and read the cached versions. Bob Fenner>     Thank you,     Toni

Chemical Warfare?  4/6/06 I mentioned in my last email that my SPS started showing signs of stress. Their tips started dying. I have a doubt about my anemone, do you think that it can secrete allelopathic substances that can affect the SPS? <I believe that it is entirely possible, which is why I discourage mixing corals and anemones in most systems.> I looked up the archives but I am not sure if this is right or wrong. <I think that the theory is right.> It has been in the tank for 6 months now and once in a while, I lose one or two of my SPS for the same reason, either dying tips or bleaching , but mainly the tips begin to die. <Could certainly be allelopathic competition, or some lapse in environmental conditions.> Do  you think it is the anemone? The water chemistry is great, calcium is above 400 and heavy skimming all the time with Euro-reef skimmer, water changes every 2 weeks !! I am confused and I need your help. Thank you. P.S. It is a red, long tentacle anemone. Regards, Ramy Ontario, Canada <Well, Ramy- in the absence of other possibilities (such as environmental lapses), the only theory that I have is that the anemone could be an issue, unless you're looking at some type of disease affecting the coral. My advice is to "specialize", and keep only the coral or the anemone...Hope this helps. Regards, Scott F.>

Corals/Anemones/Compatibility    4/4/06 Hey;  <Hey what?>      I have been reading your site now for about two years and now  dove head first into the coral part of reef keeping. My tank is set up as follows 30 gallon aquarium with a sump rated for a 55 gallon Berlin Turbo Skimmer 1 20k Avalon 400W 2 15 W Actinics My Question to you's is this, I have a candy cane coral and a Sebae anemone, will the two tango chemically in the tank?  <Not recommended mixing corals with anemones.>  Will I have any significant problems with the whopping 14W's per gallon that I am supplying the tank with the creatures that I am trying to make comfortable? <No, pretty hard to outdo Mother Nature.>    Should I place the Candy Cane or the Sebae at greater depths? <Shouldn't need to.  You should slowly acclimate them to your more intense lighting.  All found on WWM.>    Thanks  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>    Joe

Coral Compatibility - 03/29/06 I really enjoy your site and frequently go there as a resource as I am new to this hobby. <Thank you.>   My question revolves around Compatibility issues of certain corals.   <Okay.> I have Eric's book along with another on corals.   <Well I can't comment on the other book since I don't know what it is, but E.B.'s book is awesome, I'm sure it has been helpful to you, it sure has helped me.> My tank specs are a 75g with 140lbs live rock 6 inch DSB, inhabitants are yellow tang, <You are borderline on the minimum tank size for this specimen, I prefer 100 U.S. gallons for this surgeon.> small ocellaris, diamond goby, T. crocea clam and various cleanup crew (peppermint shrimp, sally lightfoot <Watch the crab'¦'¦'¦'¦'¦'¦..I had a bad experience.> , black cuke, snails & hermits) This tank is skimmed with an Aqua Remora Pro <Good skimmer.> and a 10% w/c bi-weekly <A Good practice.> and had 2 x 150 w MHs and 2 x 125w pc. <Sufficient lighting for most Zooxanthellae supporting animals.>   water flow is provide by 2 820gph Seio powerheads. <Moderate flow.> There is no sump or refugium presently. <Look into hang on refugiums, such as those made my CPR.> There is a lot life in the rock for a tank that has been up and running for only 4 months. <You have a lot of fish for only a 4 month old tank.>   Corals currently are a 5 branch Euphyllia divisa, pulsing xenia (small) 8 polyp Caulastrea, Lobophyllia and 2 very small (1") Sarcophyton sp. <Fairly good choices.> These are all placed with a good distance between all.  So far everyone looks happy and healthy. <Cool.> I was wanting to add  a couple new corals and was wondering if I could add a small Montipora digitata and a small pulsing Sinularia or are these going to cause a chemical war outbreak? <The Montipora may be okay short-term, but mixing it with the xenia and other softies (Sarcophyton, etc. .) long term is not the best idea. Yes they will suffer from chemical warfare as well as suffer from direct contact from impeding growth. Short term though many aquarists get away with it though'¦but I like to plan for the long-term.> What about polyps or mushrooms? <They would be okay with your current mix, but if you are set on the Montipora they will cause the same interaction issues I mentioned above.> Could these be added to add colour? or am I asking for trouble? <See above and continue to read WWM.> Lorna Secunda <Adam J.>

Thanks for Saving My Corals... LFS Mistake, WWM to the Rescue, Exallias! - 03/25/2006 This is only the second time I write to you (first time was regarding Euro-reef skimmer advice) but read your website religiously.  My entire system has been built, more or less, on your advice.  <Very cool, mine too!> I just wanted to send a note of gratitude.  I recently visited my LFS to purchase some fish.  Came home with a Kole Tang, Mandarin Goby and a Leopard Blenny (Exallias brevis).   System is a 175G reef tank, 200 lbs of LR and refugium that has been up and running for over a year - all parameters test normal (Mandarin should be fine - I hope). <As long as there is enough food for him in there.> No problems ever. The Blenny was sold to me as a "totally reef safe" specimen that only eats algae. <VERY common - if they just used the books they sell in the store...> I was not familiar with this specimen so I had to look him up on your site before adding him to my reef system. <Very good practice!> Lo and behold - a coral eater!  Immediately brought him back to the store and referenced your "write-up" on this fish.  LFS' owner was defiant, his response: "Depends on who you ask (regarding the fish's coral eating habits)..."  I researched other websites regarding this fish and it is clearly a coral eater, yet the LFS owner refuses to acknowledge. Anyway I am so happy he didn't enter my tank (LFS took him back) <Glad that he let you return him!> and just hope this LFS owner was just trying to save face with me and does not try to sell the Blenny as a reef safe fish to someone else.  Buyer beware!  All my corals are thriving and growing and I don't know what I would have done had this Blenny ruined my system.  <Wonderful and you're very welcome.  One of the reasons why everyone here does what they do and enjoys doing it!> As a side note, this guy had about 8 Mandarins in his store - I figured I had to try and save at least one of them.  <I think we all have this weakness at one time or another!> Much gratitude fellas.  <and girls too!  Have a great one, Jen S.>

Zoanthid comp., star polyps...  3/15/06 Crew- <Craig> Any idea why the waxy mats of star polyps become brittle over time in my system? <Mmm, nutrition, water quality, allelopathy... the top three guesses for categories> The base of the polyps (mats) seem to lose some of their ability to adhere. I have used several different colonies of different species, <Negatively interacting with each other...> but all have exhibited similar tendencies. The colonies will drop trailers of polyps, but super glue has been the only way to get them to stick to rubble when I frag them. All water testing has not turned up anything suspicious, and I have tried various locations, lighting, and current with no significant differences to note. <Mmm, around the world where one goes diving, you never see but one species/colony in one close area...> Could bristleworms be blamed? <Not likely> How about their tankmates like SPS, Ricordea, and Zoanthids? <... Re Zoanthids: http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i1/blane-zoanthids/zoanthids.htm> Never have other corals been within 6" of any polyp colony, and sweeper tentacles are not able to reach where I locate my star polyps. I understand most people have "trouble" keeping them from growing too much. Have any of you ever experienced what I have been regarding star polyp colonies? <Don't have to be that close... are interacting chemically... There are a few things one can do to forestall the more-ill-effects of these negative interactions... Start all colonies small, about the same time, keep up water changes, use of chemical filtrants... Ultimately though, this becomes a narrower, more tenuous balancing act. Bob Fenner> thanks Craig

Coral compatibility  - 03/11/2006 Hey everyone,      First of all, awesome site! Best info source on the net for my new hobby.  But to the point.  I currently have a 29 gallon tank, 3 inch DSB, around 50 lbs of live rock.  I'm running a PowerSweep 280 (or something like that), pushes right under 300gph.  I'm using a small power filter for carbon purposes.  Will be getting a metal halide lighting system (175 watt metal halide and 2 x 24 CF actinic blue, and some led moonlights). <Nice!> Currently I'm using the Fission Nano-skimmer but seeing how it's way too sensitive to changes in water level and I can't stop evaporation I'll be upgrading it soon enough. Current occupant:  1 mandarin goby (very large amphipod and copepod population in the tank so he's doing well, nice and plump), 1 Condy anemone (purchased before I did any research, but even without the lighting system I need, he's hanging' in there) <Hopefully won't consume your Mandarin...>   1 freshwater molly.  Then the usual algae control critters, 1 sand sifting starfish, <Please read re...> 1 green serpent star (will be getting rid of him soon) and a few blue legged hermits, a few scarlet hermits and several Astrea snails.  Tank parameters run normal, ph 8.2 constantly, nitrite, ammonia always 0, and the nitrates run around 10 ppm which I hope to counter with the addition of a mud sump system in the near future. <Good> Hardness/Alkalinity runs about 300 according to the cheap test strips and calcium stays about 450ppm.  Phosphates are too high (around 2.0ppm) but hasn't seem to effect the livestock negatively. <Won't... if "done" gradually> But now for the part I'm sure your waiting for... my questions.  I've been researching various corals to include in this set up and don't want to make any compatibility issues.  My main focus is on the Zoanthids, specifically the blue variation.  My concern will be what corals I can safely put into this system, I'm partial to the Sinularia sp. (finger leather-green) , green branching frogspawn, blue or red mushrooms, bubble corals, and am willing to take suggestions you have towards soft corals and polyps/mushrooms that may be better suited towards having Zoanthids in the same tank. <Much posted re Zo compatibility on WWM... All these can go together... with a growing incompatibility with time/growth... With good maintenance... water changes, the periodic use of chemical filtrants, the addition of the algae/mud filter, better skimming as you mention... But you would have "more time", a greater window of reaction possibility if the system were much larger>   I would like to add a smaller breed of seahorse (just one) to the tank later on, <Mmm, not with some of the stinging-celled life you list... Again, please see WWM...> but probably no more fish, just more inverts. Of these particular corals which do you think will do best with the Zoanthids and current occupants in the tank? I would prefer to keep the stony corals out of this set up, I'm saving those for a larger system, possibly when I convert one of my 55gallons to another reef set up. <Good to read, understand> (so addicting, do they have AA style meetings for people like us?) <"Hello, I'm Bob... I've got a fish problem"... "Hello Bob"> Any feedback or suggestions are greatly appreciated.  Keep up the great work and the great site, You guys have saved me a lot of headache and financial problems with this wealth of knowledge you offer. Thanks, Adam <You're well on your way Adam... proceed cautiously, and with a bit more knowledge. Bob Fenner>  

Anemone help... BTA, comp.   3/4/06 Hi crew.  This is my second attempt to get through to you.  Fortuitously it allows me to give further update (included below).  Any advice would be greatly appreciated. <Okay>      Hi and thanks for such a great site!  I have been scouring you site for a description and answer to my problem.  We have a 72 gal reef tank set up for 8 months now.  We have 356 watts of PC lighting.  1/4 of that is actinic.  We have about 1200 gal/hr flow via sump and powerhead.  Our skimmer is a SeaLife systems unit that only produces about 1/2 cup a week.  The tank has about 75 lbs of live rock and about 2" of gravel bed.  We have the following critters:  1 Yellow Tang, 1 Flame Hawkfish, 1 Royal Gramma, 2 Purple Firefish, 1 Blue Devil Damselfish, 2 Pajama Cardinalfish, 1 Spotted Mandarinfish, 3 Bar Gobys (16 bar Gobys?),1 Maroon Clownfish, 1 Cleaner Shrimp, 4 sand sifting starfish, numerous snails and Hermit Crabs.  Our corals are a Torch, Blastomussa wellsi, Open Brain, Xenia, Trumpet, Toadstool Leather, Mushrooms, and Zoanthids.  All are spaced at least 6" apart and have distinct territories to grow.   We do monthly 20% water changes, and tank parameters this week were Ph=8.2, nitrite & nitrate=0, ammonia=0, Ca= 450, salinity= 33 ppt.  Water temp varies between 80-82 or 82-84 daily (2 degree change at most).  We supplement with weekly Ca, Mg, Fe, Lugol's, and buffer.  I feed the fish every other day frozen Formula One and seaweed.  Twice a week I feed the corals Cyclop-eeze.    <So far, so good>   My problem arises with a Bubble Tip Anemone.  I have had it for about 7 months now and it has done poorly. <In a word: allelopathy> I upped the light and tried to feed it small pieces of shrimp, blended Cyclop-eeze and shrimp, and most recently food pellets.  The problem is twofold.  Firstly the anemone has not had its tentacles out in months.   <Very bad> It now looks like a butt hole (sorry so graphic, but I'm an ER doc and that really is what it looks like). So it takes a long time for it to react to any feeding.  Next, my clown which has bonded with it from their fish store days (my wife couldn't let them be parted- now we know better) constantly takes food out of the anemone and deposits it on the rock beside it (making it impossible to feed). <Put a colander, strawberry basket or such over while feeding to exclude the clown> About its behavior: from day one it attached itself to a cool rock with holes and crevices about the size of its foot.  It hasn't moved until my most recent salvage attempts 4 days ago.  Prior to this, it allowed me to move it's rock as I added to the tank without any apparent effects.  Lately as my attempts to feed and give it more light have failed, I went seeking advice at one of my LFS who have seemed rather knowledgeable (although I take everything they say with caution).  Having tried the above, they recommended trying to partially shade it (causing it to "stretch out" toward the light).  I took a small flat piece of live rock from another part of the tank, and made a ledge above it to partially shade the BTA.  After work that day the BTA had moved over about 2 inches to get out of the shade.  So then I figured it might really need more light. <Mmm, no... not a light issue> I angled the rock slightly and turned it around so that it would have good exposure approx 12" from the light source (see enclosed picture).  I tried to feed it a pellet (the bump on the anemone) but it didn't seem to react at all.  The next morning it was gone!  After an extensive search I found it apparently alive and well at the bottom of the tank attached to a rock and in a very shady spot. Since that time it has moved around a little but always staying attached to a shaded rock at the bottom of the tank.         Help!  I want this guy to survive, and if it means taking him back to the LFS so be it.  He has no sign of tissue necrosis yet, and it has been such a slow process.  Does he have any chance in my tank, or am I just exposing the rest of the bunch to danger?  Also, without tentacles, is he really a danger to the other inhabitants?  Thanks for your advice and an awesome website!  P.S. I bought Fenner's' and Borneman's' books on WWM's recommendation which have been a great resource also.  Steve <This animal needs to be elsewhere... the present system has its "winners", the other cnidarians, and the losing anemone. Your best chance at saving its life is to place it in another system that has no other stinging-celled life. Bob Fenner>

Compatible (sic) corals   3/2/06 Hi, I wrote a while ago about other mushrooms and such that would be compatible with my anemone and green striped mushroom, but sadly the anemone died soon after and then we found out it had been dyed/bleached.  So my new question is are any of these following things compatible with the green striped mushroom. Red mushroom, green button polyps, green star polyps, xenia. <All cnidarians are to an extent incompatible, but these should do fine here... with adequate initial spacing, good maintenance...> I like them all, and we have an 80g w/live rock, live sand, yellow tang, clown fish, 2 Firefish, and a coral beauty. Oh yeah, the snails and crabs too. Currently there is only 1 green mushroom. I change 10g weekly, have 260 watts of new lights (compact fluorescents) add iodine, buffer when needed, strontium/molybdenum, my calcium is at 460 w/out adding any supplement (wondering if it's because I have a big piece of coral from florida that a guy gave me) everything else is close to zero, except nitrates are at 40ppm, can't seem to get them down. But the mushroom has been doing great since day one, about a month ago. Also, heard that iodine is like putting chlorine in your tank and you should use iodide instead, is this true? <To an extent. Best to rely either on commercial prep.s or use Lugol's IMO/E. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help. Kathy

Possible allelopathy problem   2/9/06 I recently added a small colony of xenias, a small colony of Zoanthids (about 10 polyps) and a couple of  assorted mushrooms to my 29 gallon tank.  I noticed today my RBTA seems a little bit less expanded then normal.  Could I have an allelopathy problem? <Unlikely, just be sure none of the colonies are touching the BTA.> I know my tank is rather small, <Yes, too small for keeping anemones.> but the colonies are also all very small and I have been following directions I have seen you give others for good water quality.  I do weekly water changes of a little less than 5 gallons (should that be more?)<That's fine.> I also change the carbon in my Emperor 400 every week.  Ammonia, Nitrate and Nitrite are all 0 and pH is about 8.3-8.4.  If there are any suggestions you may have I'd really appreciate it a lot. <I'd start by reading here, understanding requirements/needs for keeping anemones.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm> Thank you so much. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> <<This is very likely a case of increasing allelopathy. RMF>>

Repeat Customer, Coral compatibility   2/2/06 Dear Adam J. <Hello.>         Thanks for the help with picking  out the Lobophyllia. It looks great in my tank. <Awesome.> Just to refresh your memory I  have a 20 gal. nano reef with a CPR BakPak skimmer, an Aquaclear 200 box  filter, a rotating 160gph powerhead and 130 watts of PC lighting. 10000k  daylight bulb and one actinic bulb. <Actually I remember, you sent in photos as well correct?> I now have 30-40lbs. of live rock a small  clump of star polyps (about 3") that has doubled it's size since I last  emailed you (about a month ago). <Great.> A clump of Daisy Polyps Clavularia sp.  that has spread about 3" in 3 directions in the 2 months I've had it. I also  have 3 mushrooms; one large hairy (4") and 2 small mushrooms in the genus  Actinodiscus. I think.  And of course the Lobophyllia. I also have 2  ocellaris clowns and a yellowtailed blue damsel. <Keep an eye on the damsel.> And about 9 Blueleg hermit  crabs and a small snail that masqueraded as a hermit crab.     I found 2 beautiful coral fragments on frags.org. (  Have you had any experience buying from this site?) <Personal experience; no, but I have heard mostly good reviews about them.> One is a clump of green and  orange daisy polyps. An the other is a lavender blue Montipora  Digitata. The they are both listed as 1-2". I know the daisy polyps will be  compatible with my other corals (would it be possible to place them next to my  other daisy polyps or is this asking for trouble). I do not know if the  Montipora will be compatible although I'm pretty sure it is. <The Monti leans more toward the shallow water spectrum in term of what you have now, they are labeled by the hobby tem SPS, they like intense lighting (your about borderline) and lots of water flow. Calcium and alk needs are also quite important with these critters.  It would be okay with your other sessile inverts. Short term but the mixing of these types of corals long term is not advisable.> If it is were  should I place it in the tank? <High as possible.> The daisy polyps I currently have  are  slowly creeping up on the Lobophyllia. Will the lobo be able to hold  them off or will I have to pull them away from it. I would fragment the encroaching polyps and place them somewhere else.> I also have a 29 gal.  eclipse tank. It gets about at least 4 hours of sunlight every day. Would  it be possible to put daisy polyps in there? <Possibly, maybe fragment those polyps that were encroaching on the lobo and place them in there, see how it goes.> Also would some variety of Acanthastrea be possible in the 20 gal.? <Yes they are pricey but quite hardy, about the same care level as your lobo.> Thanks for your help, <Anytime.> MDM    <Adam J.>

Dying invertebrates... mis-mixed cnidarians, others losing   1/18/06 Hi, I've got a 40g tank with several different types of corals in it (an Acropora, Zoanthids, Lobophytum, Sarcophyton, Goniopora, and a few others), <... trouble... incompatible... toxic interactions... in too small a volume> which I think may be causing me problems. A few days ago the Lobophytum started looking droopy (though the Sarcophyton looks ok), and the Acropora is losing colour. And just yesterday I had two Brittlestars and a coral banded shrimp die within a few hours of each other. Is it possible that the invertebrates died because the corals are fighting a chemical war? <Oh yes> The only other possible causes I can think of, apart from some household toxin getting in there somehow, is that I have been keeping carbonate hardness up using baking soda for the past few months - could that have killed the invertebrates? <Not likely, but not impossible as a contributing cause> The fish seem totally fine, but I'm doing water changes and adding new carbon in an attempt to keep the remaining invertebrates alive. Thanks for your help. <Please... take the time to search each of the above... on WWM... the Google tool... re Compatibility, Systems... Bob Fenner>

Re: Dying invertebrates... allelopathy amongst cnidarians   1/18/06 Thanks for the response, I would be very happy to find the answer to the following question myself except my internet is down at home and I would rather not do it at work and things are dying. <...?> As I said in the original I have Acropora, Zoanthids, Lobophytum, Sarcophyton, Goniopora, and Corallimorphs: the Lobophytum is dead so I have taken that out, and the Acropora is nearly dead so I am going to take that out - are there any other glaring incompatibilities that you can see? The Corallimorphs and Zoanthids have been thriving. Thanks again <...? All of the above... Zoanthids, the Poritid, mushrooms... all are toxic to a degree... much more "winning" than the Staghorn, soft corals... Want to save your system? Read re... on WWM... and quickly. Bob Fenner>

Butterflies Are NOT Free! (If You Love Your Corals, That Is!)   1/13/06 Hail Wizards of The Wet Wonder World, <Yikes! What a title to live up to! You'll just have to settle for mere mortal Scott F. today! LOL> I come seeking council on the wisdom of adding a butterfly to a mixed reef system. <Ahh...a fun way to go!> My little slice of the ocean is 110 gallons and a mix of mostly LPS, softies and a handful of SPS. I am considering one of the following Butterflies for purchase: Yellow Long Nose, Raccoon or Copperband. I have read as much as I could find and know it's a crap shoot, as there are both success and horror stories to envy War and Peace for word count. <Absolutely. If you are aware of the risks and are willing to accept the potential consequences, it's a risk worth taking, IMO. Butterflies in an established reef tank are a spectacular sight!> Fully understanding this gamble, my question is to you what of my sensible invertebrates are most at risk. In a dream world the Button Polyps, Zoos, Star Polyps and Tubeworms that grow like weeds in my system would be first target, but your opinion would go a long way to aid my final decision. <Well, the aforementioned animals ARE likely targets, but your fish might take a liking to that rare Acropora or your prized colony of Montipora Capricornis! Hard to say, really. > Though fish can not be removed, any picked on corals can, and I can easily arrange new and healthy homes for them. To sum up, I'm just trying to envision which coral type will be the focus of further reef development with a Butterfly on board. SPS, LPS, or Softies? Thanks a bunch KRH <Great question; one for which (of course) there is no one guaranteed answer! If it were me, I'd be concerned about the softies with the Raccoon in particular. Anemones with all of them, and some SPS with the Raccoon and the Copperband. Of the three species that you mention, I've seen the greatest degree of success with the Longnose. I personally kept a Longnose for years in a mixed reef with no problems, save the odd peck at a coral now and then. Does this mean that you'll have great results? Nope! But if you are set upon having a Butterfly in your reef, the Longnose (Forcipiger flavissimus) and the "Big" Longnose (F. longirostris) are the ones to try, IMO. It's a tough call, really-if you value your corals. Me, I love fish more than corals, so I'm willing to accept some "collateral damage". Are you? Hope this helps! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting and Coral mixing questions Gentleman, <And a few gentle ladies> Love the Wet Web Media website but was having problems logging on to ask questions so I figured I would take this approach. I have a 90 Gallon reef setup with a 25 gallon refugium (I realize that it is a little small but am planning an upgrade).  Essentially I have two questions for you.  First, I have mostly soft corals with very few hard but would like to go with some SPS.  Currently the tank has the following animals: 1 very large Hammer (12" high, 14" long, 6/8" deep) 1 medium Frogspawn 3 colonies of Star Polyps 1 large Toadstool (8" in diameter) 1 small colony of Zoanthids 1 large Finger Leather 1 medium Green Tree Leather 1 small colony of Red Sea Xenia 1 small colony of unknown Xenia 1 small Clam 1 small Galaxy <Keep space around this... a good six inches> 1 small Blastomussa 1 small Kenyan Tree 1 Large colony of roughly 50 Mushrooms 1 6" diameter Merulina 1 medium Maze 1 small unidentified brain 1 small encrusting Montipora a dozen mixed fish <Wowzah!> My question is, is what would I need to remove/trade to change over to a SPS tank in your opinion? <I would not add these here period> Secondly, I have a PFO VHO setup that has 440 watts of lighting.  I am wanting to upgrade to a PFO MH setup with 2 175 watts fixtures.  I also have a 130 watt power compact setup I was thinking of adding in addition to the MH.  Are the MH's going to be too much with my current setup and or enough lighting if I went with a SPS reef? <Should be fine. I would wait on this switch out... till you have your other tank> Do I need to add the PC's to either reef setup or is this overkill? <Could add... I would if I had otherwise not in use> Last, what Kelvin rating would you recommend for the MH's for each setup? <Tenk Kelvins> I know there is a lot of questions but I certainly appreciate you time, energy, website, and attention to these questions. Have a great Holiday! Sincerely, Greg Watts <Success to you in your new and existing systems/adventures. Bob Fenner>

Inappropriate Anemone Mix, Actually Just Mix In General - 12/15/2005 Hi guys/gals, <Ground control to...I mean Hi Tom.> I have a 2.5 x 2 x 1.5 foot marine tank, I know this is quite small in comparison with other hobbyists tanks, but so far doing  well, (been running for about 7 months.) <Good.> I have a large piece of Xenia, Sun Coral (which I'm feeding Liquid Life marine plankton). I have had him for about a month and never seen him out to feed? <Please do search our FAQ's on this. There's much you'll need to do/attempt to begin this process. Also does not help to have the unnatural mix (Soft and Stony).> 2 Black Clowns a Mandarin, Boxing  Crab, Large Blue Leg Hermit (who is a pain in the ass) and a brittle star. All parameters are fine. I have recently purchased a Bubble Tip, a bit disappointed that the Clowns still ignore him after a week, he did move to a different place after a day but has not moved since, which I take as a good sign. <Maybe. This REALLY doesn't help your unnatural mix. Hard enough to keep in small tanks, throw in the other corals and you're asking for trouble.> He comes out big in the day, but his mouth opens up large, and hangs out every other day? <OK, take this as a bad sign. The mouth "gaping" is stress related.> Can you enlighten me on this, and is there anyway to get the clowns to notice him, the lights I'm running are twin ballast Interpet T5's, daylight and Triplus, (is this enough?) Also can't get bubble tip to eat, is he using light? <OK, you've broken a few "rules" here and it seems you are starting to see why they exist. Aside from compatibility, you've not researched what these animals need, how they need it and what you should/shouldn't expect. The Clowns will probably ignore the anemone (not even the natural wild relationship), but at this point, hope they don't try. This will make things worse on the anemone. I advise you to return the anemone and focus your effort on the Dendrophylliid. The Mandarin would also be better off else where, likely a very short life in your tank.> Many thanks, Tom. <You should find all the clarification you need in the FAQ's. Whoever is selling you these should not be trusted on their advice. Sorry I don't have better news. Best of luck. - Josh>

Competing Corals In a Small System!  12/15/05 Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. back today!> You guys have an invaluable website.  Thank you for all the information you have available for people in the hobby.  My tank information is as follows: 29 gal. tank with 25 lbs. live rock, 1" fine sand bed, CRP Bak pak skimmer, Marineland canister filter with bio-wheel cleaned weekly), 3 PH's in tank to circulate water attached to a wavemaker.  I perform 10% weekly water changes using Instant Ocean Salt.  pH 8.1 to 8.3, salinity .025, temperature consistently 75-75 degrees, ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, phosphates are all 0.  Tank up and running since 9/1/05.  Tank inhabitants are:  1 Bubble Coral, 1 Frogspawn, 1 Hammerhead, 1 Pink Sinularia (which I'm not sure is a natural color or is dyed), 1 Brown Toadstool, 2 Goniopora frags, 1 Xenia frag (which does pulse), 2 Ocellaris Clownfish, 2 Cleaner Shrimp (that crawl all over everything -- very irritating), and 6 snails.  Everything was doing great, fully extended until I introduced the Toadstool and pink Sinularia to the tank about 2 weeks ago. <Not an uncommon occurrence...These guys emit lots of powerful chemical compounds that can irritate and damage other corals.> I have since read that both Toadstools and Sinularia both can let off stinging cells.  It seems all the corals I really like are the aggressive ones.  The 2 Goniopora are only half extended now, and the Sinularia seems to be limp most of the time, which is supposedly an easy coral to grow.  What would be your suggestion, or what would you remove from this tank to remedy the situation.  I can always take back the corals to my LFS for partial credit.  Thank you very much for your words of wisdom which are greatly appreciated.  Have a Merry Christmas!  Bonnie <Well, Bonnie, you have great taste in corals. It's just that the ones that you are keeping are utterly incompatible in small systems! I suppose that I'd start be reconsidering the Sinularia and Toadstool (Sarcophyton). The Sinularia is problematic for many other corals, and the Sarcophyton simply gets huge! In addition to basically taking over the tank with its sheer size, the allelopathic compounds that it emits can damage other corals. On the other hand, there is a strange complimentary tolerance with Xenia and Sarcophyton: They do okay together. Again, I'd implore you to reconsider the Sarcophyton- it simply gets too large for this tank. The Frogspawn and Bubble Corals are extremely aggressive to other corals, which will be disastrous in such a small tank. If it were me, I'd limit my corals to the Xenia and maybe the Goniopora. However, Goniopora are surprisingly aggressive in their own right. The other option is just the Frogspawn, which can grow to a nice size and make for a spectacular display. Think about the long-term goals for your tank, and what you want to accomplish! Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Allelopathy in Corals - 12/07/2005 Hi there <Hi Katiek.> I have spent last 2 weeks reading your articles on corals etc. And now I have a question myself. I recently added a Favites species to my tank. <Cool.> It is about 3cm away from my Zoanthus (small polyp version, with fluorescent pink). <Not cool. Way too close to each other.> It is now preparing to start a war (well, I can see long tentacles pulling out after lights out form the edges of the coral). <Mesenterial filaments.> Now, what happens if I ignore the situation? <Well something is going to lose the exchange, and my money is on the Favites, as they are less aggressive. Its mesenterial filaments are probably out more in defense than offense.> I have been in understanding that zoo corals are harmless until I read your articles. <Correct quite aggressive.> My tank is quiet heavily populated and happy so far (some corals have doubled in size within 3 month), would not want a disaster to strike while I'm away for Christmas. <Well you'll need to move one or the other. I'd move the Zoanthids as they're far more tolerant to such things. Be careful where you put them as you can run into this situation again. You should try to allow about 6" between corals if possible. Also try to match the Zoanthids new location to their current one (i.e. lighting levels, flow Etc.). Any advise? <Just the above stated.> Thank you and kind regards Katiek <Quite welcome. - Josh> 

Coral Selection and Placement in the Nano Tank  12/7/05
Dear Mr. Fenner,  <Actually you get Adam J tonight, Bob is still out having lots of fun diving and hopefully getting some cool new pictures.> I have a 20gal.long nano reef. I have just started adding corals, so far I have a very small clump of green star polyps (about .5") I'm hoping that they will spread fast. <Oh yes they do, to the point o being a weed at times.> One fist sized clump of clove polyps (Clavularia sp.) That I added two weeks ago and are looking great (polyps fully extended and appears to be spreading already). <Cool.> One unidentified type of hairy mushroom that is about 3" in diameter and appears to be splitting. <I would attempt to identify it, some mushrooms get quite large and are 'fish traps' '¦.yes they eat fish.> And three small Ocellaris clowns. <You're at your limit for fish already.> I also have about 30lbs. of live rock and some Blueleg hermit crabs.  The filtration consists of one Aquaclear 200, (200 gph.) and one CPR BakPak 2 Protein Skimmer with a Rio 600 and preskimmer. <Watch the Rio pump they aren't of the best quality in my opinion, I would consider witching this one out for another brand, such as a MaxiJet. I believe the MaxiJet 900 or 1200 is compatible wit this skimmer.> The BakPak is working great and consistently getting about 1/3 cup of skimmate. I have a rotating powerhead that circulates 160gph. The lighting is a Coralife compact fluorescent lighting fixture (130 watts 2, 65 watt bulbs one actinic and one daylight). Okay now to the question. My LFS has a beautiful and healthy Lobophyllia and a beautiful and healthy bubble coral (Plerogyra sp.) I was wondering if it would be possible for me to have either one of these (not both). <With your lighting either one is an okay choice, however I would lean toward the Lobophyllia as the bubble has sweeper tentacles that can measure up to 6', and these will sting anything they touch. So the Lobophyllia would drastically limit your future sessile inverts in such a small tank. As for placement the bubble can be placed anywhere in your tank with moderate current, the Lobophyllia is best placed in the substrate.> If it would be possible were should I place them in the tank. My water is near perfect. And the live rock is teeming with invertebrate life. This would be my first stony coral. Thanks for your help <Welcome.> MDM <Adam J.> 

Lionfish/Puffer question 11/27/05 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have two requests. I have searched your site to determine if lions and puffers will eat corals. <Lions-no, puffers-yes.> I have an established 55 gal tank with beautiful live rock and sand and have a Foxface. I have some mushrooms, bubble coral and xenia in my aquarium already. The mushrooms and xenia are reproducing like crazy. I know the Foxface will be all right, I'm just wondering about the corals.  Could you please recommend a lion and puffer? While the Volitans is beautiful, I am more inclined toward the fuzzy dwarf lion. I really like the dogface puffers. But, I am considering either the porcupine or stars and stripes puffer. <Puffers are not reef safe. You tank isn't large enough for any of the ones you have mentioned either.> I want to be responsible and make sure that my aquarium will house these fish without any problem. <Stick with the dwarf lion. ~PP> Regards, Fawn 

Yellow Eye Kole, mixing cnidarians, calcium/magnesium admonition/advice  11/15/05 Hi Bob, <Carrie> This is just a personal thank you for your help since I have started a reef/fish tank. You do not need to post this on wet web if you don't like anything I have written as far as discovering new things if you don't agree with them. <Mmm, we post all> First, thanks for the good advice about the Anthias! (3 squam. in a 150 gallon.... sparse populating of females per your suggestions).  Turns out they are the blue-eyed not lyre tail. I hope the blue eyes are hardy......I know you receive a TON of mail and this may not jog your memory!  I have a unique question about the yellow eye Kole tang. I had a blond Naso (traded for a chiller with a guy who needed a big one) and I like my Kole BUT, I wanted to do kelp all in my system.....like a self contained system, and I know they eat the stuff off of rocks with their little scrubby mouths, but will they go after kelp?  <Many types, yes> I know the Ulva growing on my live rock is doomed, but as long as he doesn't touch the actual upwards growing kelp, I will keep him.  What do you think oh wise one!? <Mmmm, have got my hand up, blocking the Stooges poke!> Okay, switching tracks and you may even opt to put this paragraph in another subject of wet web. My EX-boss who starves fish to death and recommends the dumbest fish combos in the world and then says "I've been doing this for 20 years, has starved our dragon wrasses to death (I was only there 2 x's a week). <... hard to do... but can be> Told me I could take home a red donut  <Ahh, the coral I take it> <<Not the other type, I hope!>> because I told him if he "puts it in the back" he will neglect it to death. So I have a 1/2 flesh donut, I have fed Mysis, daphnia too, any other suggestions? <Many... posted... Mussid Feeding...> I read the strontium/Moly. helps with the attachment to the skeleton. Kent's says every 4 days.....well in a healthy specimen, yes, but could a cap a day (in a 60 gallon which would probably be more like 50 ACTUAL gallons.. recommended dosage is 1 cap every 4 days per 50 gallons) help it along faster, or is it possible to OD? <Is> What are your suggestions on nursing it back? <A bit of iodide/ate (Lugol's) in the food, once to the water weekly... Same with a vitamin/appetite stimulant prep.> Grab a cup of coffee, we aren't done yet!  Here is another odd situation... I cannot for the LIFE of me keep the star polyps. I narrowed it down and suspect that iodine seems to make the one where I worked retract. That is the only thing I can think of. I have a small rock of green and they have been inside since Thursday,... it is Monday today. Any suggestions? <Water change, Polyfilter, activated carbon...> It is mid level with 6500 Kelvin, 500 watts (fixture from Home Depot, all you wet Webbers who want corals and don't want to add a chiller and MHs!.....This item is $39.00 uses 65 W. of power and emits 500 watts from Lights of America! Over 90 lumens....do not get the lower wattage, the lumens are not high enough, and NO you cannot use their bulbs in any other fixture but lights of America) Enjoy your new corals with a cheap set up!) We found our Gonioporas (I don't have one the store does.... even after I tell my ex-boss NOT to order them) liked it, our leathers preferred it over the MH! And MAN if you have a Pagoda Cup....it will LOVE you for those lights! Go figure! Anyhow, the star polyps..... what is the deal? <Likely allelopathy, not iodine> Seems my colt coral frag and my Kenya tree frag are not happy either. Must be a commonality I am not getting. I seem to have better success with the "hard" to take care of corals! <Cnidarian incompatibility...> Here is another cut paste paragraph.. Thanks for being so kind. My time is of the essence... as is yours... I do not have a picture, sorry BUT the Florida live rock I have, embedded here and there are what looks like a mini Goniopora (flowerpot) BUT not the long flowers, instead brown fuzzy extensions when "open", make them look like fuzz balls. They are embedded 1/2 way in the rock, about the size of a little crazy ball. They are alive and doing well.....just wondered if those are moon polyps. I know, I shouldn't even ask you w/out a pic, but I figured since they were on most of the rocks, it would seem familiar to you. <Not w/o an image> By the way, the feather starfish I accidentally acquired back in June is still alive and doing great!!!! He loves daphnia, Cyclop-eeze and Kent Zooplex. You don't have to put this paragraph on wet web, I would NOT endorse them to anyone unless they are crazy like me. He did lose a lot of arms in the beginning, but only one in the past month. I have talked to other owners of them and they said as long as they are in a reef, then they should be fine.. make sure you FEED the reef though..... not the notion of once a week or you will kill them.  <Agreed> One more thing...really!  My green Zoanthids went brown and pulled in their tentacles after their last move....long story. (connection with the other softies?? <Maybe> But they were fine even when I couldn't keep the star polyps) They are alive, but not that cool green...would the stro/Moly help them or is it another time will tell?  <The latter> I will be happy to share my findings with you.  OH great tip!!!! TO SAVE YOU MONEY!!!!!! Get a hairy mushroom.... when they shrink up a little like 1/4 to 1/3, add calcium and watch them open again.. really saves me money on calcium testing! ALSO, DO NOT PUT IN CALCIUM UNLESS YOU TEST YOUR MAGNESIUM!!!! <Ah, yes> (that was for the folks reading this, not you Bob!)  GREAT recipe...... 1 "2 quart" 1/2 gallon size of Epsom Salts to 1 gallon of distilled water.... there is your magnesium! Only like 1 1/2 teasp. per 40 gallons! That upped my calcium by like 100 pts! So when the hairy mush is looking small, add the magnesium first! (remember, magnesium makes calcium available wet Webbers) If that doesn't work THEN add calcium. And at that point test your calcium! Thanks Bob and I really do appreciate your patience and time!! <<Whew.. take a breath, girl!>> Carrie :) <Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Yellow Eye Kole... Cnidarian compatibility, Ritteri...  11/16/05 Bob, <Carrie> Hi thanks for the reply. I did a 10 gallon water change on my 60 gallon, added Polyfilter, and added carbon. Here is what I really would love from you. My ex-boss seems to think that my Zoanthids are not the problem in my tank, but another LFS who knows about corals said they can be dangerous as far as chemical warfare on other corals. <Yes> I have placed an order with Live Aquaria on Saturday and I will be getting 2 aquacultured Montiporas tomorrow at 3 p.m. (Tuesday) I want the best conditions for them and I would like you to maybe wade through my corals (most are frags of a couple of heads or inches) I will pull the chemical warfare causing monsters! I have: *3 types of trumpet/candy cane corals (one green, one "purple/green, and the brown with green center each having only 3 to 4 heads) *Yellow Polyps (maybe a dozen on a branch) *Several different type of the stemmed Zoanthid (4 frags have like 6 to 10 polyps each) *Several different type of the flat mat Zoanthids (Maybe like 20 to 30 on 3 different rocks) *Pagoda Cup Coral (I love and doing great) *Red Donut.... charity case, but with your help I am sure it will improve *Colt Coral (6 to 7") *1 Purple fuzzy mushroom......they said it was hairy.....not! *2 Green hairy mushrooms (I plan to frag at each split and keep the population to 3) *2 Green mushrooms given to me for a trade *1 1/2" frag of a light blue Acropora (bleached out from stress I assume) *1 1" Kenya tree.....seems to not be doing good *1 Rock of green star polyps that wont come out. *1 Small speck of a purple mushroom and 1 quarter size purple mushroom *1 HUGE and stationary Heteractis Magnifica....LOVE this thing!!! I have 2 different species of clowns living in it and I plan it to be my center piece in my 150 gallon so you can't talk me out of it! Sorry, to be stubborn, but unless he spews out poison to kill everything, I really want to keep him. <Am hopeful all this mis-mix can/will "growing up together" learn to get along, tolerate each other... There is a distinct possibility that the Heteractis magnifica will detach at some point... real trouble not if, when it contacts other cnidarians... hopefully someone will catch this quickly... Remember this pre-admonition> NOW, I never really wanted to go down the mushroom route, but I DO suspect them! I will remove whatever I need to keep the Montipora digitata. The little frag that got lost that I had did great, but that was BEFORE the 2 green quarter size mushrooms. Tell me what you would suggest. <More tanks... separating a good deal of this life into general "soft", "hard/stony", and anemone tanks...> I am going into a 150 gallon next week and I have someone that had pom pom xenia for me, but I would choose the xenia over other items if they would harm the xenia. I looked over wet web and thought that a chart of compatible corals would be GREAT instead of wading through all the emails.... What do you think? Or do you know of a web site? <A great idea... but don't know how we might make a multi-dimensional representation... that is, how to display the many "this goes with this semi-okay", "but now with these"... not a simple Cartesian plane> My favorites I really would like to keep are one hairy green mush, one purple fuzzy mush, my het. mag., colt coral, Montiporas, candy canes and trumpets, and Kenya and hopefully the Acropora. I don't need any of the other mushrooms and would lower my Zoa collection to my 3 "mats on rocks", seems they are not as dangerous as the stemmed zoa's...am I right? Take Care Bob! Carrie  <Not as dangerous, toxic, but still so... Perhaps your employer would like/prefer for you to gather, assemble disparate opinions re these organism mixes from the various BB's? Bob Fenner> 

Tank in decline... Allelopathy amongst groups of cnidarians  11/13/05 Dear crew, <Steve> First off, thank you so much for all that you do for the aquarists of the world, I personally am forever indebted to your wealth of knowledge and information on this website. With that said, I'll continue on with my problem.  I'm in a bit of a quandary here with my 55 gallon reef tank. I house mainly LPS and some softies.   <Hard to do together in such small volumes> Over the last couple of days I've been noticing that my corals have been acting "strangely", I.E. not opening up all the way, and their coloring has been a bit "off". Over the last two days I've observed what looks like the polyps are coming off of the skeletons on my trumpet corals.  <Not good> The skeletons are becoming more exposed and a very noticeable white ring is visible around the bottom edges of the polyps. I'm also noticing the same sort of behavior with my open brain coral, which appears to be receding as well. My star polyps appear to be bleaching, and MOST of my Zoanthids are opening. <Winners, or least losers> Other corals such as my xenia, and Fungia seem to be unaffected and acting normal. My gorgonians appear to be fine, as do my mushrooms and Ricordea. Whatever it is, it seems to be mainly affecting my LPS corals. I've just finished running the usual battery of water tests which yielded the following results: Specific Gravity = 1.026 Temperature = 78 to 80 Ammonia = 0  Nitrite = 0 Nitrate ~ 5.0 PPM Calcium = 450 PPM Lighting has been at 260 Watts Power Compact since the start of the tank over a year ago. I have changed the bulbs within the last two months, replacing one bulb a week. I use an AquaC Remora skimmer, and about 80 lbs of live rock for filtration, as well as a sack of carbon in the skimmer return box that I change along with around 10 gallons of RO/DI water every week. Bio-load is low, <Umm, you've got to count the stinging-celled life...> with only a coral beauty angel, a clown percula, and a scooter blenny, along with a sand-sifting starfish, and a Tridacnid clam at the top of the tank. None of these fish appear to be affected. My one idea as to the source of the problem is this; I witnessed my bubble coral stinging a couple of my Zoanthids the other day and thought that perhaps the Zoanthids were losing the battle and releasing toxins into the water which were slowly poisoning the rest of the crew in the tank. Is this possible? <Oh yes> I've since moved the bubble coral farther from the Zoanthids, and I'm thinking maybe I should get rid of some of these guys, as they're spreading like wildfire anyway.   <I would> Another mishap occurred about two weeks ago when I discovered that my little 1 watt moon light which was fixed (or so I thought) on my canopy had fallen into my tank and shorted out,  <?! Ooops!> thus releasing stray voltage into the tank. I removed it as soon as I noticed it. Could this be the source of my heartache and coral loss? <Definitely> I'm getting ready to do a water change, and thinking maybe I should invest in some poly filters? Any advice? <I would> It's really heartbreaking to see all of my beloved critters suffering like they are. Once again, Thank you all so much! Steve C. <Much to state here... basically the items you mention are real trouble... I would revisit, revise your "stocking plan" entirely... start trading out the mutually exclusive varieties. Notes on these groups/species compatibility are archived on... WWM. Bob Fenner> 

System Setup questions... macroalgae, Cnidarian choices 11/6/05 Hi there crew, Great job on the site, you guys keep it up!!! On to the question, I have a 75 gallon tank (79 lbs LR, <1" of fine aragonite) with a 10 gallon wet dry going to convert to a LR sump and take out bioballs in time. I have a Sea Life Systems skimmer and wet dry, rated for a 125 gallon tank. Ok, on to what I am going to get... I am going to get an Aqua C Remora Pro w/ Mag 3 pump, a Hang on tank Refugium (5 gallon) and put 20 lbs of Arag-Alive Fiji Pink Sand, and 6 lbs of Marine BioSediment as substrate (in the fuge') Live rock rubble, and Chaeto, do you suggest any other types of macro to go along with my Chaeto? <Mmm, nope... not in this size, type of set-up> I have 440 watts of VHO, 2 actinic, 2 white 4 48" 110 watt bulbs actinics on for about 11 hrs each day, whites for about 9. I also have about 1100 gallons per hour in water movement, (tank has cycled... completely) Right now in the tank I have a T. crocea I believe, a Yellow leather coral, and a soon to be returned carpet anemone! Now, I've had an idea about my lighting situation, I would like a tad of an upgrade, so here it is.... I have a canopy where my 4 lights are, and the bulbs are only about 2" from the surface of the water, so no space for halides there, so instead I am going to cut a sizeable hole in my canopy so that the light from this fixture https://host100.ipowerweb.com/~marinean/shoppro/metal_advancedhang.htm  <<This is a secure site - https = secured site (hypertext transfer protocol secure) - one may have to be logged in to view, have not verified. MH>> will be able to shine into my tank. The hole will allow the MH light to shine through into my tank, however I am slightly worried about the MH burning my VHO's which are across the canopy, and if I removed part of the canopy, the lights would be in direct contact with the MH, a worry? <Possibly, yes... metal halides get very hot... need to shield from the other lamps, canopy...> The corals I will start with are: -1 Yellow Leather (already in) -1 Candy Cane Coral -1 Plate Coral -1 Brain Coral -1 Button Polyp -1 Colony Polyp -1 Hairy Mushroom -1 Bullseye Mushroom This list is for starters, do you see any problems in the list? <Mmm, just the usual garden mix allelopathy issues... and the Yellow Sarcophyton not being easily kept... positioning/distancing colonies, taking care with husbandry/maintenance to dilute interspecies conflict effects... should be fine> As soon as I get rid of the carpet anemone I will be starting to stock the corals, unless suggested otherwise by you. As of now my param.s are: pH: 8.2 - 8.4 Nitrate: 5 - 15 (I keep em' a little high for my clam) Nitrite: 0 Ammonia: 0 Alkalinity - 12 dKH Calcium: 450 Temperature: 78 - 81 Salinity: 1.025 I try to dose my tank as little as possible but instead do a weekly 10 gallon water change with Reef Crystals Sea Salt. Thanks for you overview/review/comment/criticism Have a great day, Clare <Thank you for writing so clearly, well, and sharing in general. Bob Fenner> 

Allelopathic Effects of Different Anemone Species - 10/24/05 Hi Guys, One of my friends has recently had a major crash in his aquarium. I believe toxins released into the water by soft corals (specifically Sarcophyton and Sinularia sp.) and his anemones (keeps both Heteractis crispa and Entacmaea quadricolor) may have played a role in this crash.  <I don't know of any corals that can wipe out fish. A dead anemone can definitely cause this.>  His tank is 4'x2'x30" and contains around four sizable soft corals (largest is the Sinularia sp. which is around 15cm. The anemones are both around 25cm diameter. Can be up to 30cm when fully extended. As well as a number of other invertebrates and a number of fish. The tank has been set up for around two years. Thus far with no significant problems. Do you think that it is possible that the allelopathic effects of the anemones and soft corals could have contributed to the crash? Details about the crash follow: 1. All crustaceans were fine with no apparent negative effects (including Coral Banded Shrimp and several hermit and normal crabs) 2. The sea urchin seemed to be totally unaffected 3. All fish died in the tank within a period of three hours. Were fine at lights on (around 9am) and everything was dead by lunchtime (around midday) 4. Some of the Acropora sp. seem to be a little less healthy, but there have been no deaths thus far in hard or soft corals or clams (the tank also has two Tridacna squamosa) Another possibility that I thought may be a contributing factor is the black sea cucumbers he has releasing a toxin into the water? However the cucumbers seem to be in perfect health. He has a total of three in his tank. (I think this is an excessive number due to their toxic nature, but that is just my opinion) Any suggestions you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I would also like some references regarding the allelopathic nature of some invertebrates, I have seen a number of mentions of allelopathy in marine creatures on your website, but no proper references. I have suggested my theory to my friend, but unfortunately he seems to think I am insane, and I would like some evidence to back me up if possible. :)  <Hayley, I'm guessing the cucumbers are responsible for the crash. A dead anemone will definitely cause this also. Here is a link for you to read that also lists several references at the bottom. Marine allelopathy. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks heaps for your help!!  Hayley Sydney Australia  <You're welcome>  

Frustrated... challenges of mixing Cnidarian groups  9/30/05 Dear Mr. Fenner & Staff, It's been a long time since I had to write to you for advice. After finding WWM I have learned many things and have almost completely changed my set up over the past year. I have a 90 gallon tank with (4) 96 watt bulbs. (2) actinic (2) 10K, protein skimmer, 20 gallon refugium with macro algae. My calcium 350 alk 4.0 and all other parameters in check. I also do a 10 percent water change every two weeks. My question is why is it that I am not able to keep the so called simple animals living. Like for example my mushrooms and zoo's. I really do like the way they add color to the tank but they slowly disappear over time? <Mmm, well... let's take all the details one at a time, and see if we can find out. First, I would switch out (one at a time over a months time) the two actinic lights for two more "whites"...> While all the other soft corals are doing well. <Ahh! Do understand that all this stinging-celled life is not very compatible... and that with one "group" (the soft corals) "doing well", likely they are depressing the vitality of other groups (the mushrooms and Zoanthids)... chemically> While looking at the tank every one thinks it's looks great. I myself am completely frustrated as to why I am not able to successfully keep them alive. I was thinking about up grading my light, But I'm not sure if that would help out the mushrooms but the zoos might prefer it. <Will help all... but... see below> Any advise would be greatly appreciated before I go tear my whole set up down and start over. PS. Next time around I will know not to add any Xenia to the tank, They grow like weeds!! Thanks once again. <There are a few things you might consider doing to "make your system more of an "even playing field" in terms of water quality. Increasing your percentage water changes, and/or frequency will help, as would improving your skimmer efficiency, adding ozone if you'd like, the simpler addition (periodically) of chemical filtrants, likely activated carbon... and bolstering the initial health of new cnidarians by acclimation, quarantine in a tandem system that you move the main tank water to during water changes... to condition the newcomers. Also, please do take a read through WWM re Cnidarian group compatibility. You will find that many folks have similar experiences... with the "garden" approach to reef system stocking. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Coral Compatibility  9/23/05 Guys here it is.. <Adam J with you tonight.> -135 Gallon -2x250W MH -2x24W T5 -ASM G4x Skimmer -60 Gallon Sump (Includes 20 gallon refuge) with Chaeto and Caulerpa (fern type [probably going to remove] and leafy type) -5 Gallon (Copepod Factory) Fuge. Using Chaeto with a miracle mud base and a nice slow flow (gets fed with Phytofeast) -2 Seio 620s in tank -1 Mag 9.5 return -1 Mag 9.5 closed loop going to SCWD feeding 2 sides of a manifold. -140lbs of liverock -120lbs of aragonite -Poly Filters used regularly <Sounds like an efficient set-up.> pH 8.3 Nitrite 0 Nitrates 0 Ammonia 0 Ca 420 KH 8.8 PO4 0 SG 1.024 <Quite acceptable.> Livestock: 1 Blue Tang, 1 Purple Tang, 1 Purple Firefish, 1 Red Firefish (these are cool fish), 1 FAT Mandarin Goby, 2 True Percula Clowns, 2 Pajama Cardinals, 1 Crocea Clam, 1 Derasa Clam, 8 Turbo Snails, 10 Bumblebee Snails, 20 Assorted Hermit Crabs, 8 Astrea Snails (In Sump,) 1 Orange Sea Star (It stays away from the clams, but if I ever catch it munching clams. <To be safe you should attempt to I.D. it.> Its going to the sump), 1 Torch Coral (about 3 heads now), 4 Small Zoo Colonies, 1 GSP colony (isolated and so far has not spread off of its island), 1 Purple Slimmer, 1 Green Slimmer, 1 Bali Acropora, 1 Blue Cali Tort, 1 Pulsing Xenia Colony, 1 Green Sinularia, 1 Orange Encrusting Montipora, 1 Rainbow Micro,  & Tons of Pods My long-term plan is to focus on some more zoos and mostly SPS corals. Given my current stocking is this going to be a problem? <Those two may not be compatible long term, actually that goes for a lot of your coral, such as the Xenia, the GSP and Zoa's given time their growth will encroach on the slower growing stonies such as your Acro. And even before they actually overgrow their tankmates there are other things to consider such as 'chemical warfare', I would run carbon frequently on some type of chemical filtration.> I love the zoos and would like to be able to keep them and maybe add a few more unique zoos to the mix.  I believe my flow is strong enough for a tank this size.  I currently feed Formula 2 pellets, frozen Mysis shrimp (soaked in Selcon), frozen Cyclop-eeze (soaked in Selcon), Nori, and occasionally some frozen formula 1 (about 1-2 times/week).  Is this a pretty good feeding plan?   <Its sufficient, has a good variety, that's the key.> These are all pretty N00b questions, but I have had the tank for about 6 months now, and things are going very well and I don't want to mess up the environment for everything that is currently living in the tank, and want to ensure the long term health of the system.  I already removed all the mushrooms I had in the tank (see reading helps) <Eventually you'll have to decide the direction of the tank, more of a shallow water bio-tope (for the stonies) or mid-range to deeper reef crest (the Zoa's).> Thanks again, Shane <Anytime Adam J.>

Re: Need an intervention...marine addict... Cnidarian allelopathy... some general stmt.s I've been waiting a long time to make  09/13/2005 <<<I do plan on adding a few fish to this tank over time.... considering a filamented flasher wrasse, royal Gramma, Fridmani Pseudochromis, cinnamon clownfish, and neon blue goby as well as (possibly) an elegance coral, a Kenya tree coral (aquacultured), a short tentacle plate coral, an orange sea star, and one or two feather dusters. See any challenges/problems/compatibility issues with any of those I mentioned? <All sorts>>>> Bob- <Eric> Thanks for your reply to my long-winded inquiry. If you have the time or interest, can you please elaborate on <all sorts> in regard to compatibility issues with my 40G evolving reef tank? I suspect you're speaking in reference to the aggressive coral mixes, true? <Yes my friend... sorry for the flippancy of my response... A very important, and not often or well-chatted over topic..> Shall I just limit this tank to one coral of this aggressive family, given it plenty of room and retain the other half of the aquarium for more docile/friendly corals, feather dusters, etc.? Also, did you see a problem with the fish I mentioned? I value your advice, as it strikes me as much more sage than what I get at my LFS and in my own e-research. Everyone has a different perspective...and my LFS, while relatively knowledgeable, also has to stay in business. :) Thanks, Eric <I thank you for the prompting here... Believe me, this issue of incompatible mixing is always important, always present, an issue, and sometimes critical in maintaining life... A few things... 1) First things first... as with many aspects, endeavours of humans... important to place the less, least hardy, stinging, chemically repulsive species, colonies of organisms first... As with a RedOx table, there are species known to "win" opposed to others ("losers") that need not only to be placed later (a few weeks or more), but perhaps not at all in the same volume (sometimes size matters little...). 2) Secondly... "start small"... little/r colonies of cnidarians are less toxic, adventitious in terms of toxifying a system, other species... 3) "You gotta keep 'em separated"... as you state, placement can be very important... many cnidarians can "learn" to ignore each other with time, growth... but there are types that must have a "demilitarized zone"... of your and/or their making... this space varies by species, family, individual colony. 4) The importance of buying healthy, acclimating carefully and quarantining/conditioning new arrivals... Allowing time for your new livestock to "get used" to your water quality, conditions, NOT in the main/display tank can be crucial... they are "leaking" chemicals from being moved, sloshed about, exposure to differing light, water movement, water quality... Leave newbies apart from simply placing in your main system... for a few weeks... changing water with the main system... a few times... 5) Use chemical filtrants, expedient skimming, ozone... removing "organics" in a "mixed garden reef system" is very important when new life forms are being exposed to each other... Many approaches to doing this... Do it. Again, thank you for this opportunity to make these points. Bob Fenner>  

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