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FAQs on Stinging-Celled Animal Compatibility 1

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 2, 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,

A note to scientific folks here re aquarium hobbyist use of the term "coral"... this is often applied to disparate groups of cnidarians... even hydrozoans like milleporids and Stylasterines! Don't let this semantic conglomeration throw you... e.g. sometimes gorgonians are called "corals", other times not.

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Successfully discovering, determining, picking out the best species, specimens for under 40 gallon saltwater systems.
Book 1: Principles, Algae, Invertebrates

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Massive Coral Infusion!  8/26/05 I'm feeling unsure about my tank. <Well, we all get that way at times! Scott F here with you today!> I have a 46 bow with Prizm skimmer, and Fluval 304, around 40 lbs of live rock, and 3 bags of aragonitic live sand. I have been slowly adding coral ( 8  or so pieces so far) until today I added 12 more. ( LT Plate, 2 short Tentacle Plates, 2 Wall Hammers, 1 Branching Hammer, 1 Branching Frogspawn, Ricordea Mushrooms, Bullseye, Flowerpot, Green and Purple Star Polyps, Elegance Coral, 2 Brains, Acropora, Bubble Coral, Leather and some more Shrooms). <Wow! What was the rush, my friend? Adding these corals all at one time was not one of the better moves you could make...Also, you added a mix of very aggressive LPS corals, soft corals, and Acropora in a relatively modest sized tank! Not a great recipe for long-term success, IMO. I'd try to "specialize" in one type of coral in this tank. For example, if you like "Large Polyped Stony Corals" (LPS), stock with mostly LPS. If you are seduced by Acropora, stay with "Small Polyped Stony Corals" (SPS). There is a lot of allelopathic competition going on in this tank!> I was told I probably shocked my tank by adding 12 at one time ( I thought you could only shock with fish). <Well, remember, corals are living animals, too, they take on food and eliminate waste, adding to the "bioload" of the system. This is a tremendous amount of life to add to any system at one time.> I guess I was wondering if I messed up my tank and if not how much should I be feeding? <Well, I wouldn't say that you "messed up", but I would suggest that you take some corrective actions by specializing, as alluded to above. As far as feeding is concerned- it's dependent upon the animals that you keep, and their specific needs. Yes, some of your corals will benefit from feeding, so research their dietary preferences and feed accordingly. I guess the one general rule of thumb is to feed carefully, taking care not to leave excess amounts of uneaten food in your system to decay and degrade water quality.> How beneficial would a refugium be? <Refugia are beneficial to almost any system. In addition to providing additional biodiversity and processing of organics, the many animals and plants that thrive in a refugium can provide natural supplemental food sources for your fishes, in the form of larvae, plankton, etc.> I was thinking about a 40 gallon refugium.( I also have a Purple Tang, Diamond Goby, and Lion.. I plan on taking out the lion because of his waste production) <Good idea.. And I would consider removing the Tangs as well, as your tank is kind of at the "lower limit", size-wise, for keeping this fish on a long term basis. The 40 gallon refugium is nice, because it effectively adds to your system's overall water capacity, and provides greater environmental stability.> Oh, yeah- I have Coralife PC( 2 96 watt bulbs). <A good light source, but if you intend to keep the more demanding SPS corals, you may want to increase the lighting accordingly. As for the future...Study the animals that you have, make some decisions about what direction you want to go, and do consider specializing. You really can't "have it all" in a tank of this size, so slow down and consider trading your unwanted animals for those that you want to keep. In the future, embrace quarantine for ALL new animals-even corals, stock carefully, make sure that your skimmer is producing skimmate regularly, and apply common sense husbandry (i.e.; water changes). Also, use of chemical filtration media (activated carbon and/or Poly Filter) is a good idea, as it will help remove some of the nasty allelopathic compounds being produced by your corals. Steady as she goes! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Cnidarian interaction, Anglish  8/24/05 I have a question and a surprising discovery  the first is all my  levels are perfect <?> but i cannot get my Zoanthids to spread, they are not dying  at all they are a lot bigger in size but are not spreading their colonies out everything is perfect awesome light about 250 watts CF on a 29  gallon tank my mushrooms have tripled in size <Here's your answer... the Corallimorpharians are suppressing the Zoanthids> in about 3 months and are  going to be fragged but my zoos are not doing anything i feed Kent's phyto max  every 3 days  along with golden pearls once a week, any ideas?  Second  i have 10 gallon tank i use to experiment on corals with my yellow polyps went  from a colony of about 30 to just five left so i got mad and put them in a tank  that was void of live stock but i forgot to turn the heater up from 72  degrees  i did feed them even though i wouldn't look at them as i have  stuff stacked around it surprisingly after about 2 months i went back to that  tank to pull their rock out to use as a rock to break up and frag with there are  about 100 of them in the tank so i called a marine biologist i know and he  looked them up for me they grow best at around 70-71 degrees as they will not  tolerate the heat of most normal reef tanks (my display is at 78 at night to 80  during my photo period that probably explains why so many people just have them  vanish.... thanks and take care.......Luke <The personal pronoun "I" is capitalized... "awesome", "perfect" and not providing scientific names... are subjective evaluations... not useful. 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>

Rose Bubble Anemone 7/25/05 Hi, <Lovely day today?> You guys have been so helpful in the past, hope you don't mind me asking another question. <Not at all :)> My set up is a 5 ft tank, with MH lighting and significant water movement. <Not too specific there, but ok> I've got leathers, fan corals, cup corals, mushrooms, green carpet anemone, and a NEW Rose Bubble Anemone . ALL seems to be doing well, except for the Rose. <*sigh*.  I'd be hard pressed to think of a more unnatural mix of creatures from completely different geographic and reef locations.  Please, PLEASE don't put anemones together with coral, and it's not a good idea to keep two anemone species together.  If you want my opinion, return that anemone, and the carpet or the coral as well> When I got the Rose 3 weeks back, it was about 2 inches in diameter.  I placed it in a prime location in the tank, <?> and was doing well for the first 2 weeks.  In that time, it grew about 50% in size.  Suddenly last week, it moved to another location to the side of the rock. Anemones move 'cause they do not like the existing location, but moving to a shady location? <Newly acclimated animals do not "grow".  They may expand themselves, trying to gather more light, but they won't start growing until completely adjusted and their energy reserves have been built back up.  If it's moving, it's not happy, and it probably just ended up in a shady location.  If it can still stick itself out towards the light, it should be fine> I left it there till 2 days ago, when I rotated the rock so that it is facing up towards the light again.  However, it seems to be "hiding" in the stone, showing only partial tentacles, as if it were avoiding bright light. <How was it acclimated?  If it came from a dealer (with usually inadequate lighting) it's probably suffering from light shock.  These animals need to be acclimated slowly to new lighting conditions over days/weeks, not hours> I tried feeding it commercial anemone food 2 weeks ago, but it did not seem to like it.  My older green carpet anemone easily consumes the commercial food. <What is commercial anemone food?  You should be feeding finely shredded seafoods, like shrimp, fish, scallops, crab and the like> One other point is, I've got 2 clown fish with the green carpet, but the rose does NOT have any clowns. <Good - just what a stressed out anemone doesn't need is clownfish hosting in it.  BTA's are only a natural host for Maroon clownfish, anyway - your other clowns likely won't move> I heard of cases where after long periods of darkness during shipments, anemones avoid light when they reach the tank as they are not able to adjust. <See above> Should I continue to move the anemone towards light, or just leave it? <Leave it alone> Should I but it a pair of clowns?  What should I do? <Clownfish are not beneficial to anemones, at least not in captivity, they would only stress it further.  For now, just leave it alone, and let it move to where it wants> Jason <M. Maddox>

Coral Compatibility 07/01/05 Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a 2.5 year old 55g reef tank, w 80lbs LR and 260w PC lighting. I also have the AquaC Remora skimmer and a 4" deep sand bed and use only RO/DI water. For the most part everything has gone well, with this site to thank! <We're glad to be a part of it!> To keep nitrates in control, I just added a refugium w/miracle mud and Chaetomorpha and a new detritivore kit from Inland aquatics, which has been up and running for about a month.  Water parameters are very good and things look much better but some corals are still closed up, specifically the Pagoda, Finger Leather and Star burst Polyp.  The only left that I can figure is that I must have a chemical fight going on with the corals. <Very likely...> Are there any problems with the following co-existing? Finger Leather Coral, Pagoda Coral, Star burst Polyp, Torch Coral, Brain Coral, Bubble Coral, Hammer Coral, Mushroom Coral, and Acropora.  Not sure what else to do here. <Well, this is a pretty interesting mix! The Torch and Leather Corals are extremely aggressive. The Mushroom Corals really have no place in this mix, coming from much deeper on the reef than Acropora. Also, rethink the Acropora in this tank. The allelopathic compounds being produced by the other corals will create great problems in the long run, particularly in a tank of this volume. Study the corals that you really want to keep, and develop a stocking plan that incorporates corals that come from similar environmental niches and conditions.> Any suggestions? Thanks <As above- I'd think about the corals that are "must haves" in your book, and figure out which of the other corals you like will work with them. Do check out the resources here on WWM, and in books like Anthony Calfo's excellent "Book of Coral Propagation", or Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals". Both are excellent guides to identification, selection, and care of corals. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Corals At War! (An Unnatural Mix of Coral) Hello all, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> First off, thanks for your website... it rocks!!! <Excellent! Glad that you like it!> I am asking about my 55 gallon reef tank.  It is in very good health for a 2 year old tank and everything is well (for the most part).  I have 4x65W PC lighting, 2 Dual Daylight and 2 Dual Actinic that I run for about 11 hours per day.  I change the bulbs about every 9 months or so. <A good habit to have..> I have healthy fish (2 Tangs, a Blenny, a few gobies, 2 mated clowns and a few Chromis).  Most of my fish are over a year old and I do not intend to add any more since they are happy (very little aggression - a quasi-peaceful tank if you will).  I have slowly added specimens and my protein skimmer is fully functional so this patience and water clarity I hold responsible for their health.  I have been diligent not to overstock my tank and do frequent water changes (~10% every 2 or 3 weeks) because I realize my bioload is heavy (I have many corals). <You're doing okay!> I have many soft corals and 5 LPS and 2 SPS.  My Galaxea, Trumpet, Tongue, and Hydnophora are all healthy and growing like crazy.  My tank looks great! <Great to hear...That is a potentially problematic mix of corals in a relatively small tank. Allelopathic compounds are no doubt being released by these corals, which is problematic in this sized tank if you don't keep at your diligent water change/maintenance/protein skimming schedule.> (I also have 4 other reef tanks that are doing awesome).  By the way, I have about 90+ lbs of live rock and about 2 inches of live sand as my biological filter). I don't use a trickle filter. I have a few questions: 1) I have a piece that I got from a friend that has a Spaghetti Finger Leather on a sort of conical rock.  Around the perimeter, was the light brown version of Goniopora which COMPLETELY died off several months after I got it. <Not an uncommon occurrence with this coral, unfortunately> I let the leather keep growing where it was and 5 months later, the Goniopora came back!!! It is growing like mad. I was very surprised to see it come from "nowhere." <Cool!> My first question is twofold. a) My Leather has never grown large.  The fingers are small and extend only a fraction of a cm.  I have had this coral for over a year and it's size has not changed.  I want it to expand.  Now that the Goniopora is growing around the leather (again) will it kill the leather? <It is possible, as these are strongly aggressive corals. Of course, Sinularia species are very aggressive, as well. To be quite honest, I think that you need to really re-think your overall stocking plan of corals for the long term in this tank. A smaller tank like this is tough to manage with an unnatural mix of aggressive corals like this...Specialize!> b) What can I do to get the Leather to expand?  It has looked the same with and without the Goniopora present. <Well, you actually answered your own question. You can't have 'em all in this tank. You really need to think about what kind of corals you want to keep, especially in a smaller system such as this. Someone needs to go.> I have been waiting for it to grow but it doesn't;  it looks healthy, but does not grow large.  I have thought about cutting the Leather like a pizza pie and let it heal for a while and then take the frags and rubber band them to small rocks, hoping the frags will grow better than the "mother." <Not in this situation. The "chemical warfare" occurring in this tank will not go away if you keep this mix. These are corals that are not found together in nature in such proximity, so the odds of success with this mix in captivity are really small.> HOWEVER, I like the rock as it is with the Goniopora circling the leather. I really want the leather to grow with longer fingers and have better polyp expansion with everything else the same.  Also, my Devil's Hand Leather is small and behaving the same way (without the Goniopora). <But with the Hydnophora, etc...Do rethink this mix again!> Both are about midway in the tank... I want my Leathers to grow.  Can you advise me on this? <Again, I'd "specialize" in one type of coral: soft corals, LPS, etc. In this sized tank, an unnatural mix such as this is a real problem.> 2) My Pagoda Cup has two strange air bubbles.  Everything else is fine; the polyps are healthy.  How can I make these bubbles go away and are they a problem?  What should I do? <If they are somewhere on the surface of the coral, you could gently brush them a way.> 3) I have a Hammer coral that has 4 branches/polyps (the pink variety). One polyp got damaged in transportation and is dead.  A second polyp is not looking good;  it is not expanding and the tissue seems to be receding.  My question is two fold again (sorry): a) Should I remove the dead polyp branch or should I leave it - a healthy polyp is right next to it - could it grow back,  I mean could the healthy polyp spread to the dead one? <Do watch for the dreaded "Brown Jelly" infections for which these corals are known. If it makes you feel better, you could remove the dying branch for isolation/observation.>   b)  As far as the "sick" polyp, it still expands somewhat during the day but the adjacent polyp which is very health seems to be over crowding it.  Should I cut the branch off or treat it some how for the recession? <If you're only talking about a single polyp, it may not be too problematic. If it's an entire branch of polyps, then it's far more serious.> I realize I am asking a lot of questions, so thanks for listening. Cheers, Karlo <My pleasure, Karlo. Again, I think if you try to keep more compatible species together...The real recipe for long-term success, IMO. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

My Darned Sebae Anemone Hello Crew, <Hi there> I've perused your FAQ's for a couple of weeks now- and what a wealth of information! This is by far the best informational site... and I've referred many a person to it for general reference and troubleshooting. Great job! <Thank you> I've tried my hand at saltwater fish tanks for a couple of years now, on and off (only because I've moved so many times, from the Bay Area to San Diego and then back again), and I'm starting on slowly introducing invertebrates into my new tank. It's now been set up for a little over three months. Anyway, please allow me to give you the specs on my tank: 55G saltwater tank (water from the LFS) Fluval 304 canister filter (running w/ Activated Carbon, ceramic bits, & phosphate sponge) 192W Coralife lamp (92W full spectrum, 92W Actinic) Bak-Pak 2R+ Skimmer Fluval 3 underwater filter (for water movement in the lower 1/2 of the tank) AquaClear 50 powerhead (at the top of the tank) 70+ lbs LR 30 lbs LS A couple bunches of Caulerpa racemosa <Illegal now in SF and SD BTW> ~20 snails (including 1 "Conch snail") 1 mandarin goby 1 yellow tang 5 (assorted) damsels 2 skunk cleaner shrimp 2 brittle stars (one I bought, other little guy was introduced with a mushroom coral) 1- 5" rock w/ mushroom coral (there's about 7-8 on it) 1 toadstool leather coral (about 2 & 1/2" in diameter) 1- 4" Galaxea coral <A tremendous "stinger" as you're likely aware> 1 sebae anemone EVERYTHING except the anemone is happy. I have the actinic on an hour before and an hour after the full spectrum light is on (actinic on from 1pm - 11pm, full spectrum on 2pm - 10pm). After that, the moon lamps are on until the next light cycle. I do partial water changes weekly (~5 gallons, siphoning the detritus off of the bottom). Here are the water specs: Ammonia: 0ppm nitrates: 10ppm nitrites: 0ppm pH: 8.5 alkalinity: 280ppm Ca: 350 mg/1 The anemone was nice and full when I got it... and the LFS guy said that they had the animal about 3 weeks prior to the sale. It was a nice, light brown, with purple tips. Actually, only the tentacles nearest the mouth were more of a yellowish color. <Previously dyed likely> I referenced your site and thought that it might have been lacking some Zooxanthellae from these tentacles... <Yes> and I know my lighting is a bit on the low side, <Yes> so I placed the anemone at the top of the tank. <Not a natural place...> It didn't like it. Maybe it was the high water flow. It deflated, and "spit" out the contents of it's gut. I pulled out the brown substance and left it where it was. <Good. It will move itself> The next day, it had moved from the top of the tank all the way down to the substrate. It has only fully opened twice since then (stays open for about a day, then deflates for 2 days). I know not to attempt to feed it if the gut is out and the tentacles are deflated... so I've only attempted to feed it 3 times since I've acquired it (frozen silversides, defrosted of course, live brine shrimp on a different occasion, live plankton w/ liquid vitamin mix on another). Most of the time either the other fishes steal the food, or the shrimp steal it. I've had it about 2 weeks now... should I return it? Do you see problems in my set-up that could be causing the animal distress? I am hesitant to move it around... I know that it will find a place that it likes eventually. This animal is playing with my emotions! Oh, and the other creatures in the tank have been moved to accommodate the motility of the anemone... since the anemone is on the substrate now, the Galaxea is at the top (middle) of the tank, toadstool is left mid-tank, mushroom coral rock is right mid-tank, and the anemone is on the substrate, in the middle. None of the corals or anemone have touched one another. <At least not physically> It's been two days since the anemone was last full and happy. Should I be patient, as this could just be a "Sebae" trait, or is it doomed? <Not doomed... but should be moved, removed from this system> Sorry this was so long. I wanted to make sure I got any and all factors affecting this animal's health in this message. I hope you can help my Sebae! Thanks, Karen <Thank you for writing so well and completely. You are experiencing a "classic" case of Cnidarian incompatibility. Your 55 gallons is just too little a volume to contain all the types of stinging-celled life you have. Alike to chemical allelopathy in plants, where there are types of "chemical warfare" with delimiting growth, germination, the Corallimorph and Galaxea here are poisoning the losing Sebae/Heteractis... Really, the only solution is its removal. Bob Fenner> 

Co-habitation... with a Ceriantharian? Hi, <Howdy> I love your site and "The Conscientious..."  Thanks for all the great info and excellent attitude.  You guys are a rare source of "straight" info--with no sales pressure! <Welcome> I have a 35 g. tank with a medium (6-inch) tube anemone <Yikes... Cerianthus? These are dangerous to keep with other life, particularly in small quarters> and a newly added colony of Green button polyps on a small branch of live rock.  The coral is 3 days old and opening for light, but I have noticed a few white marks on the polyps when open.  Reading your site has ne concerned about a negative biochemical situation between these two animals. My questions: 1.  Can these 2 animals live together?  I am willing to entertain a special setup to make it work. <Not really. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tubeanem.htm> 2.  If they cannot, how much time do I have to remove the tube save the coral (if indeed this is a biochemical warfare issue)? <Not much> 3.  Would it be possible to keep a rose bubble tip anemone with polyps and other soft corals (and with the tube if I get positive answers to my first 2 questions)? <... please read...> What I am hoping is to keep some soft corals (a small number, I know my tank is on the small side) and also an anemone/clownfish duo.  Can it be done?  Again, special equipment, to a degree, is OK. <Not with the Tube Anemone> All the best and keep up the great work, Dave <Keep collecting those data points, you'll do fine. Bob Fenner>

It's A War Zone Out There! - 04/29/05 Hi there, < Hello Andrea! > I was just wondering if any one could possibly give me a few pointers on some corals I have and if (at all) they are compatible or if I have an allelopathic war going on. < Allelopathy will be present in most every reef tank, in varying degrees. > The system comprises of a 100g corner tank 90cm deep, with one 400w 10000k halide and a 100g sump with bio balls, magic mud and Caulerpa prolifera. Fish, mollusks etc. 4 x Anthias 1 x Blue tang 2 x Fire scallops 1 x Giant clam 2 x Blood shrimps 2 x Cleaner shrimps 1 x Stichodactyla 2 x Sea apples < Yikes! Be aware that harboring Sea Apples can have grave consequence to your other tank inhabitants. Along with the fact that they rarely live for more than a few months while slowly starving to death. > Soft corals etc. Lots of xenia 3 x Sinularia 1 x Sarcophyton 2 x Cladiella 2 x medium colonies of Parazoanthus 2 different Discosoma sp., one green one orange/brown, both with nodules. SPS 1 x Hydnophora 2 x small frags of Montipora 5 x different Staghorn frags LPS Turbinaria Euphyllia (torch and anchor) Heliofungia Tubastrea < You definitely have some heavy chemical aggression present in your tank. All too common with the "reef garden" type setup you describe. > I’m setting up a second tank and was wondering which of these I should separate off from one another completely. Some of the animals are large and could be fragged to inhabit each tank. < My recommendation would be to house the soft corals in the second tank. The Euphyllia and Hydnophora all require lots of open space around them. Put them in whichever tank allows you to arrange the other corals to give them a wide berth. > Best wishes Andrea < And in kind, Eric R. >

Coral Compatibility Hi folks, <Hello Brian> I've got a pretty tame set-up going - 50 gal w/75 lbs. LR. Only corals are two mushrooms, two polyps, a devil's hand and a toadstool mushroom leather. Everything seems perfect, water parameters are great. Only fish I have now are two false Perculas. I've got a pretty standard clean-up crew, too. So, I'd like to get a bit more exciting and LFS has a beautiful green bubble but I've got reservations about mixing with my softies and/or mushrooms based on what I've read... So my question is, can I do this?  <Brian, I will direct you to the coral compatibility FAQ site. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlcompfaqs.htm.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for all the great advice on the site. <You're welcome>

Mushrooms & SPSs Making Excellent use of WWM Hello Bob & Crew, I was going to attach a picture of the species of mushroom that I have, but I found it on FAQs about Corallimorphs 3, the first picture of Purple Mushrooms. The questions is... can I not mix a rock of these mushrooms with SPSs in a 110 gal tank ?? I like the mushrooms a lot, but the optimum health of the SPSs are the priority. <As long as they don't touch each other, especially any sweeper tentacles. James (Salty Dog)> I really appreciate the advice, you guys are the best!!  <Thank you> 

Coral Compatibility, Toxicity, Excitability Dear Adam, < Hey there. > I'm sorry to keep bothering you, but I can't help it. I'm very grateful for your advice and tolerance! I have one of those personalities that is not content when there is no change. So, after falling in love with some hammer and frogspawn corals that I saw and reading the articles and FAQs on WWM, I feel comfortable with transforming the tank to an LPS reef. The question is what do I do with my Capnella and Xenia?  < They will do very well in the same tank. I would just be sure to leave 6 inches or so between the corals so they don't fight. >  My understanding is that since most soft corals exude a lot of toxins and LPS corals do the same and have sweeper tentacles this will lead to toxins accumulating in the system which will lead to problems 2+ years down the road, assuming the corals are spaced adequately apart to prevent problems short term.  < Yes but if you do a water change once a month you will be fine. Sounds just like my tank. >  But Capnella and Xenia are pretty harmless so they will present no danger to the LPS. I know the Capnella is very sensitive. If Caulerpa even get within 3" of it, it fails to open, but not so the Xenia elongata! They grow intertwined with Caulerpa racemosa!  < Yes, Xenia will grow over anything. > " Can the Xenia remain?  < Yes, no problem. >  I don't understand why I won't have problems 2+ years down the road with just the LPS? Won't they continue to exude toxins even in the absence of softies?  < Again, all corals release some amount of some toxin. But if you run carbon, have a skimmer, or do water changes, you will be fine. >  Won't these accumulate in the system? Are they just immune to other LPS toxins? This was the logic that I originally followed when I chose to house Capnella and xenia exclusively. I have a 100G acrylic tank that I am in the process of setting up as a FW planted tank and now am wondering if having an LPS tank and a Capnella/xenia tank is better than having an LPS/Capnella/xenia tank and a FW planted tank...  < Don't worry about it. With proper attention and care you will be just fine. > Thank you, Narayan < Blundell > 

Coral Compatibility 3/8/05 Hi Mr. Calfo! <cheers, my friend... please call me Anthony... or handsome... or Antoine! <G>> I just ordered the book you co-authored with Mr. Fenner (Reef Invertebrates). I realize there might not be much in it about coral compatibility and allelopathy...  <actually none at all... this first book covers all non-Cnidarian creatures. After "Reef Fishes" volumes, we will do Corals, Anemones, Jellies, Hydroids, etc> ...and will eventually get "Coral Propagation" (budget thin now with all the spending involved in starting a reef tank...) <no worries... thanks kindly> A reply from MikeB pointed out that mixing types of coral was not the best idea. So I started to read a bit about it on WWM, which lead me to write to you now. Very difficult to completely sacrifice a category of coral, they all have their appeal... I'm sorting out the soft corals as they are my "less favorite" but I'm still crazy about Polyps, SPS and LPS (maybe LPS being my favourite after all). <this is difficult for long term success... mixing such unnatural groups of animals like deep water Corallimorphs or Zoanthids with shallow water SPS corals. There is no one standardized water parameters that will satisfy all optimally> I'm under the impression that if you are to try mixing coral types, soft corals are the worst part of the combo, is that right? <although they can be noxious... there are bullies in all Cnidarian groups. You really are best to focus on keeping a specific group, or species from a more natural biotope/niche> What about polyps? Are they to be considered like soft corals for that matter? <can be very aggressive to the point of being a nuisance. Zoanthids encroaching upon SPS is common> I know if I would be wiser I would not mix at all, but is there not an acceptable middle-ground that could be reached? <compensate with weekly water changes, constant carbon use... best of all: ozone use> What combos would be less "counterproductive" (LPS+SPS, Polyps+LPS, ...)? By taste, I would lean toward a predominance of LPS with some spots of Polyps and SPS. I give you here the list of corals I'm interested in. If you could give me a hand, I would appreciate very much. My system will be: 90 gal (48"x18"x24"deep) + 30-40 gal fuge with 4" sugar-fine aragonite DSB in both. 1x 250 watts 10000k MH in the center of the tank + 2x 96w actinics. <all very fine> Polyps: -Starburst Polyp (Pachyclavularia sp.) -Pumping Xenia (Xenia spp.) -Pipe Organ Coral (Tubipora musica) -Snake Polyp (Isaurus tuberculatus) <be careful with that beautiful star polyp... it is invasive and one of the most aggressive corals money can buy> SPS: -Acropora Coral, Neon (Acropora spp.) -Montipora Coral, Branched (Montipora digitata) -Stylophora Coral (Stylophora spp.) LPS: -Candy Cane Coral (Caulastrea furcata) -Fox Coral (Nemanzophyllia turbida) -Green Eyed Cup Coral (Mycedium sp.) -Lace Coral (Disticophora, Purple) -Pagoda Cup Coral (Turbinaria) <your coral selection overall leans towards bluer lighting. Seek 10k K to 20k K lamp combos> One unrelated question: will a yellow tang pick on a pulsing xenia? <there is a small chance, but not much more than other "safe" reef fishes> Many thanks! Regards, Dominique Capelle <best of luck/life to you my friend. Anthony>

Bristle worm compatibility
 Hello, <Hi there> I have a 10 gall nano reef tank, and I was reading on your killer site that Bristle worms show no harm to corals of any kind only decaying corals that are fading away. <Mmm, I would say, "most"> But I did not read anything on clams. Are they safe as well? <Actually... about the same situation... there are incidences of large or many small Polychaetes "attacking" both cnidarians and Tridacnids... that didn't appear ill, dying> Because I don't want to kill these cool looking worms when I read that they are great for my little ecosystem along with my pods. Thanks for your time! <In such a small tank, I don't think you'll have a problem... but this size system is also too small for a Tridacnid IMO. Bob Fenner>

Carpet anemone and green star
 Hello! I have been reading the FAQs trying to find some info. I recently bought a green carpet anemone. It was very sticky when I bought it but has lost much of its stick. I have it in a tank with two types of green star polyp (I think one is Briareum and the other is Pachyclavularia) some mushrooms, a small colony of Zoanthids and two clownfish. When the lights are off the anemone opens up and looks fine. When the lights are on the anemone shrinks down and its mouth is partly open. All tests are in the perfect ranges, pH 8-8.6, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, calcium 425, KH 11. Nitrates are slightly higher then I would like but not too bad (waiting to get a new test kit as the one I am using is old and may not be giving me correct readings). I have 6 watts per gal of PC lights. What could be the problem? Could it be chemical warfare from the green star? I have read that they can be aggressive. The anemone is nowhere near the green star. Everything else in the tank is doing fine. Please help!!!  <Six watts PC per gallon? A lot depends on the depth of your tank. These anemones are difficult to keep with all conditions good, and they do much better under halide lighting.  Even with a shallower tank, 6 watts/gallon really isn't enough for these guys to thrive for any length of time. Please read, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemlgtgfaq3.htm. James (Salty Dog)><<This is little doubt, a case of chemical incompatibility between all this Cnidarian life... the size of the system is not stated, but all the water gets mixed about... I would remove this anemone, post haste, to another system. Bob Fenner>>

Monti Feeding II
 Hello Crew,<Hey,> On the following response to a question that I asked I am a little confused. I have read on your site that Phytoplankton is not very useful with SPS corals. <There are pro's and con's to using this product. Basically, there could be better food sources out there, such as refugiums. But, in a bind DT's can get the job done if used correctly. Let me stress the word CORRECTLY.>  So I question the recommendation of DT's Phytoplankton. I have found BioLife's Coral Plankton and the SPS's seems to eat it (Polyps Expand), I am not sure about the particle size of Cyclop-eeze and will also add the DT's if it is eaten. Otherwise, I look at it as algae food. I do like to feed as much of a variety as possible since I do not want to get into a refugium. Also this is becoming a SPS tank eventually (my favorite) however I do have BTA's with very happy Clowns and one Galaxea, is this a problem? Thank you for all the help!  Rich <Rich, the BTA will be a problem eventually and so will the Galaxy coral. They will sting and bother the SPS corals. The problem with feeding food for the SPS corals is that people generally feed too much to the tank. This then causes a spike in water quality and degradation of the corals. I would remove the BTA and the Galaxy coral to another tank if you want to keep the SPS corals long term. Also, use what ever phytoplankton you decide that works best in moderation. Good Luck. MikeB.>  

Turbinaria coral strange behavior 2/27/05
I have been searching the internet for an idea of what is happening to my Turbinaria... I have had it for a year, and it has been doing fantastically until last week when it started to develop this bubble. I did have to move it very slightly closer to the lights recently, and nearer my branching anchor. Is this polyp bailout?  <it definitely does look like polyp bailout... how ironic too, I use a pic similar to this in one of my presentations describing how light shock or aggression from a nearby coral (like your VERY noxious/aggressive hammer Euphyllia) can cause this> Could it be getting stung by my anchor?  <easily so at night with modified sweeper tentacles on Euphyllia that can reach 10"> I called my LFS and they had no idea what it could be and suggested I dip it.  <yikes! no... please don't stress the coral any more... the LFS is mistaken here> I appreciate any help you can offer. Great site, and thanks! Kevan <best regards, Anthony><<To add my dos centavos here... DO move one or the other of these colonies. RMF>>

SPS and soft corals
I am planning to upgrade my 55 gal reef to 155 gal. The 155 gal will be 72'x28'x18'. I already have good success with pc lighting, my soft corals are doing great, had them for 1 year. Will it be possible to have some SPS corals together with the soft corals ?  <Not a problem> A couple of questions here, I purchased 3 HQI Geisemann, 250 watts, 13000 k, 1 bulb per 2 feet. Will that be sufficient?  <Excellent choice of lighting>  Will that affect the growth of the soft corals?  <You will want to gradually introduce them to the more intense lighting by gradually increasing (daily) the photoperiod. Start with a hour and add 1/2 hour daily till you reach your desired photoperiod.>  Where shall I place the soft corals, probably towards the lower part of the tank ? <I believe they prefer the lower third of the tank.>   How will I acclimatize them to the new lights ?  <As above> My collection includes : mushrooms & 2 finger leathers (planning to get rid of if I will keep SPS )  <Why?> 2 Favia brains 1 plate coral 2 star polyps 1 sun polyp (I heard they release some toxins, is that right ? ) <Not to my knowledge, they do not like direct light though.> 1 clove coral 1 Huge colt coral 1 Xenia Please tell me your opinion about any incompatibilities between my collection and SPS. Thank you. Ramy Banoub <I don't see any compatibility problems, just use normal care allowing them not to touch each other. James (Salty Dog)> Allelopathy and sand anemones Dear Crew <Jim> I have had some sand anemones creep into my tank on live rock. <Sand... Googled... are these Aiptasia?> My Tank has been set-up four years with a massive profusion of live rock and is 6ft x2ft x1.5feet. My tank is a mixed garden reef with the following stock :- 2 colonies Caulastrea 1 Montipora (grown 2-3 inches in 6 months) 1 hammer coral (growing well) 1 torch coral 2 Turbinaria (scroll coral) 1 not opening with polyps 1 Porites soft corals 1 colony of Sarcophyton (massive) 1 colony cabbage coral Zoanthids and star polyps of various types My question is can these sand anemones cause allelopathy against my less defended LPS corals, they are around 1 inch in diameter (not near corals at moment). <... Yes... as can/do your soft corals and the stonies...> I am considering removing them to my refugium is this wise? <Better than having them more proximal to your other Anthozoans, yes> Also I have this fish stock 1 maroon clown 1 yellow tang 1 Pseudochromis 8 green Chromis 1 scarlet Hawkfish 1 flame angel 1 Midas blenny Is this too much for a mixed reef garden such as mine along with said coral stock?. <Sounds fine for this size system, other listed livestock> I am considering de-stocking some corals because of allelopathy concerns; although I do take regular cuttings from the Sarcophytons to the LFS. Best regards, Jim <Good idea... know that much of allelopathogenic properties are diminished by long-residence among species... in other words, that most all detrimental effects are greatly lessened by the life "getting used to each other" over time... New livestock will have a much harder time "making it" in your well-established system. I would be "fragging" to help pay for my habit! Bob Fenner>

Re: allelopathy and sand anemones
Thanks for the reply <Welcome> Just to clear up a few points. These are sand anemones not Aiptasia (similar tentacle shape but fatter and with Zoanthid in the tissue). <... do you know a/the species name of this Actinarian?> On reflection I won't be de-stocking the stonies. But I am going to be heavily cutting back on the soft corals. They grow so profusely I actually snip the whole head of the Sarcophyton off then fuse it to living rock lumps with elastic bands over a few weeks. <Okay> I also didn't mention the mushrooms I have which to be honest are becoming a nuisance as I am aware of their potent toxicity in a closed reef system. I will be fragging them shortly too. <Okay> I am actually starting up my own aquatic business here in the UK shortly so will keep you posted on events. Your website could be invaluable to my success,  please could you send me details? <... details? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/svccosaqs.htm and the links above, where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner> 

Crowded tank, woozy corals 2/4/05
 Hi, Thanks for such a good website. <thank you... please do tell friends about us too> I have a 28gal bow nano, 3in sand, plenty of rock, pc lighting, good flow, and good water quality. Recently while moving another tank I put the coral 2 frog spawn frags, large star polyp rock, Sarcophyton (toadstool), mixed Zoanthids, and I think that's it. <Yikes! FWIW this is a very aggressive mix and tough to pull of in such a small aquarium long term. Euphylliids, Zoanthids and Sarcophyton are some of the most noxious corals in the sea. Do compensate with large weekly water changes and daily use of carbon (also change weekly). Else you will have serious problems with allelopathy in time> Well I put them in my tank for holding. Yeah it is a little crowded but nothing is touching. <touching is the least of your problems, my friend... unnatural levels/concentrations of chemical allelopathy will begin killing these corals in time> But two small (silver tip xenia I think) frags that were already in the tank have since shriveled and the tips are turning white. <many possible reasons (do see our extensive archives at wetwebmedia.com for more info on this group of corals). Beyond this weak coral getting poisoned by the above named crowd... low pH (below 8.3 by night... higher by day) or low Alk (under 10 dKH), Xeniids suffer at times> The only other time that I've seen them like this is when I first got them from a friend who over stocked is tank with fish and had a nitrate problem but all my water parameters are ok. I supplement with b-ionic only, 5gal water changes every 2 weeks. Should I dip them, use iodine, Strontium? or what. <weekly 10-5 gallon water changes would do this tank good and also ease dependence on supplements> The other corals are coming out in two days.  Thank you very much <whew! best of luck, Anthony>

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

Ich, anemone compatibility, BioBale
 Hi Guys, <Jason> Thanks for your time, your website is incredibly informative! I'm relatively new to the hobby, having only started my first 30 gallon saltwater tank a little over six months ago, and I can't seem to learn enough. <Me neither!> My tank's current residents include a false percula clown, a sailfin blenny and a domino damsel who is residing in a long tentacle anemone. I also have a serpent star, a brittle star, two peppermint shrimp, an emerald crab and somewhere around fifteen hermit crabs. My lighting is a 2x65w Orbit lighting system, and for filtration I have a BakPak skimmer accompanied by a Whisper 30, <Good> a MaxiJet powerhead with a sponge filter attached, 3 inches of sand and 30lbs of live rock. I have had some trouble with the BakPak where the path to the path to the output valve gets clogged (my suspicion being that the BioBale is responsible)... <Me too... you can remove this (I would)> ... causing the skimmer to overflow and dump onto the floor. This was very disappointing and makes me leery of sustained use of this particular skimmer, do you know of anyone else having problems with this unit? <Often hear of same... have told Suk Kim (owner of Creative Plastics Research) re.> Anyhow, all of my tank's inhabitants were doing very well for a while, most surprisingly the anemone who I was a bit apprehensive about taking on but has nearly tripled in size since purchase. Well, my poor little fish came down with a case of the Ich recently and I had to move them to a hospital tank that I had just set up and treated with copper. The hospital is pretty small, as I wasn't really sure of what I was getting into and the people at the LFS were less than helpful (apparently they are fine with over stocking my tank with incompatible fish (my first inhabitants) but quite testy with answering questions when problems arise). The hospital is only a 5.5 gallon tank and currently houses my clown, blenny and damsel. I've been keeping an eye on the levels and they tend to be ok and the fish seem to get along. Would it be wise to upgrade the hospital tank to something larger in mid treatment (I didn't think so, and I really want to be cautious here because the fish haven't been eating much (or at all) since being put in the hospital).  <This size system is too small to treat all your fishes... AND they ALL need to be treated... taken out of the main tank as you've done...> Also, I have never seen the blenny eat either the flake food or the shrimp pellets that I feed the other two fish, will he get by in the hospital?  <Not indefinitely... and this fish does NOT eat these foods much if at all> There is little algae growth for him to munch on and I am not sure what to supplement his diet with while he is being treated. Also, I was curious if getting a cleaner shrimp might deter future Ich outbreaks.  <Will indeed help>  I've read that they've been known to clean Tangs and some other species, but would they do my clownfish or damsel any good? <Yes> Do they eat parasites when they are free swimming or still dormant in the sandbed? <No, just on host fishes> My next question is about coral and anemone relations. I've seen it written often that you should not mix the two, but I have not found much justification for this printed in literature. <Mmm, they have aggressive mechanisms... stinging cell structures, digestive dominance... to prevent competition for space, light, food in the wild> My LTA has his foot firmly planted in the sand and I was interested in growing some small button polyps on the uppermost reaches of my live rock. I understand that anemone movement can potentially knock over corals, but my anemone appears happy and unlikely to move, and my intuition is that the polyps should not be as sensitive to the anemone's movement as something larger and more branchlike anyhow. <I would hold off adding other stinging-celled animals to this size system> Lastly, I was just curious if using my hospital tank as a refugium for better filtration when it is not needed for sick fish is a good idea and if there are any good tutorials on setting one of these up around.  <Ah, a good idea... much archived on WWM re> Thanks again for all the great work!  Jay <Glad to share. Bob Fenner> 

Coral aggression/allelopathy 1/11/05
 Hi Anthony, <cheers> Thanks for your advice on my torch.  You said I have quite a mix of  corals (that might cause WW 3 in my tank).   <yes... this is common too - the dreaded "garden reef" tank with an indiscriminate mix of corals. It leads to excess stimulation of unnatural species to produce chemical warfare so to speak> Does your book address the correct mixing of corals? I ordered it 2 days ago, due in tomorrow).   <Book of Coral Propagation yes -  in various places (re: biotope tanks, need for natural groupings by family, monospecific culture for coral farming, etc.)> If  not, can you recommend any books that do?   <there are lots of papers on plan/algae and coral allelopathy... do dive into the science section of your local university libraries as well as a keyword search of the topic online. Very interesting reading> Call me old fashioned, even  though I'm 27, but I like print a lot more than the internet. <agreed> Do you have any personal reviews for "The book of Coral  Propagation"?-:) <there are a variety of reviews on Amazon.com, some big message boards, etc.> Thanks again for your help. James <always welcome... best of luck! Anthony>

Battling corals 1/11/05
I have searched and posted on the forum for this, got no answers. <OK> My tank- 90 gal, 135 lbs LR, 2 x 250 HQI Ushio 10K halides + 1 96 watt 50/50/PC,  G-2x skimmer, 2000 gph closed loop( adding an additional 1800 gph pump with SCWD soon),  77.5 F, 1.024 SG, 0 Amm, 0 trite and trate, 9 alk, 375  calcium. <all fine> My branching torch coral is placed about 5 inches off the bottom, got it 2  months ago.  1 month ago, I noticed one tentacle was extremely bloated, and  I found another tonight.  It has been doing OK since I got it, but has  never been as extended as it was in the display tank at the LFS.  All my  other SPS, LPS, encrusting, and plate corals are doing very well.  What is causing this?   <the sensation of competitive species of coral in the tank. It can be tempered by more aggressive chemical filtration (Chemi-pure or Poly-filters) and/or ozone use... all good> Also- is there any known amount of calcium in a 2 teaspoon to 1 gallon Kalk  solution?   <do check the reef chemistry forum at reefcentral.com... lots of good info on types of Kalk there in Randy's archived answers and directs to articles> I have 2 new SPS placed high, is it safe to assume that if the polyps are fully extended (they are), that they are content? <not an indicator... only one of water flow, not "happiness"> Sorry to add the last 2 questions, but they have been bugging me-:) Thank you so much for your time, it is appreciated! James <you've described a wicked assortment of unnatural tankmates my friend... please do consider being a little more focused with species selection by family or biotope for starters and you will enjoy better long term success. Else, the escalating levels of chemical warfare/allelopathy will be a source of continued frustration for you in the future. With kind regards, Anthony> Corals 3/20/04 Hello, I have a 100 gal tank that I am adding corals to. I have added a finger leather, a torch, a long tentacle plate (very beautiful), sunburst polyps and an open brain.  I have two 220 watt pc for lighting.  My question is can I add another plate to the system (other side of tank?). <You certainly could, but long tentacle plate corals are very poor aquarium survivors.  They will often look good for a couple of months and then die.  Our systems don't provide the tiny planktonic food they need to survive.> Also, what other corals do you suggest that wont wage war on the ones I already have?  I would like to go with softies but don't want to start any problems. <Torch, hammer, frogspawn, Blastomussa, and open brain all top the list of most sensitive.  Leathers, colts, Zoanthids, and mushrooms top the most aggressive list.  This doesn't mean you should not keep these corals together, but rather be observant.  If most corals are doing well, but one is failing to expand or thrive, it maybe chemical aggression.> I currently have a dual BakPak skimmer, two Fluval 404's and two 802 powerheads for enhanced circulation. I have a refugium on order and plan to have it soon. any ideas?  All corals in tank are doing fine and would like to keep corals now more than fish. Thanks, Erik in Reno <Sounds good.  I am a fan of refugia, and your animals should benefit from it.  I am not a fan of canister or power filters for reef tanks for many reasons including nitrate accumulation and the fact that they are often neglected.  Best Regards.  Adam>

WAY too many mushrooms!
 Hi Bob, If you have time, I have a question I'm hoping you can aid me in answering :-) I have a 600g reef tank that has been taken over by larger blue mushrooms (100-500) and large Aiptasia (100+ easy). Was thinking of adding either a Raccoon or Copperband Butterflyfish to take care of all the mushrooms and Aiptasia.<I don't believe the butterflies are going to bother your mushrooms as far as eliminating them> Are these the best choice of fish to handle this task? Or do you have a better suggestion? Any is welcomed :-)<As far as the Aiptasia goes, you will find what your looking for here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aipfaqs.htm> James (Salty Dog) Main reason I'd like to rid my tank of the mushrooms and Aiptasia is that I'd like to start adding SPS and do not wish to be dealing with the mushrooms and Aiptasia after adding numerous frags. The population will just continue to grow and threaten the corals. Will the Butterflyfish remain peaceful with my current stock of fish? <No problem> I'm more concerned about my current fish and shrimps than the Butterflyfish, but to realize the cleaner shrimps may 'disappear'. The leather corals would be an acceptable loss and if needed I could move the Gorgonians and Blastomussa corals to my holding tank. I do realize I'll need to take out the Butterfly prior to adding the SPS and ensure I keep the nutrients low. Catching the fish may take some time thou; been there, done that :-( I have massive amounts of live rock and do not wish to destroy the aquascape I've created; therefore scraping is not an option I want to take :-( Thanks for you time and any suggestions you may have, Sincerely, Tony De La Cruz Current stock: Anthias   Bartlett   Lyretail Wrasses    Read Velvet    Leopard    Exquisite Cardinalfish    Kauderni    Spotted    Orange Lined    Longspine Green Chromis Canary Deep Water Damsel Gold Assessor Basslet Kole Yellow Eye Tang Yellow Tang Yellowhead Jawfish Pseudochromis Fridmani Many Cleaner shrimps (Lysmata amboinensis), these I fear Butterfly will eat :-( Various leather corals Gorgonians Blastomussa coral Pearl bubble coral

Corals Vs. Anemone... First, let me start off by thanking you for this wonderful site.  I have learned so much about saltwater aquarium from your site.  Many thanks. <And thanks to you for the kind words!> My question is regarding an aggressive Maroon Clown.  I searched the previous post and did not find any information.  I have a Maroon Clown which has been paired with anemone in a 75 gallon tank for the past year or so.  Within the last month or so, the anemone has moved his location in the tank. I have recently notice that the clown has started to attack my Torch and Hammer corals which is within proximity (very close) of the anemone.  In attempts to relocate the anemone to another location, I used a small power head, thinking this would push him back in the other direction.  This did not work. <Not a good idea...You really want to avoid handling the anemone unless the situation is absolutely grave, IMO> The clown is suffering damage from the attacks on the corals. I do not think the corals will continue to be able to withstand the abuse.  If you could offer any suggestions, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks George <Unfortunately, these are highly aggressive corals; even hobbyists can be "stung" by touching one of these nasties. Since keeping these corals and anemones together is not advised, I'd make a decision as to which of the animals you intend to keep for the long run. Remove the corals or the anemone...It's your call. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Urchin now eating corals? I have a diadem sea urchin I've had for years and recently he has been munching on some of my new soft corals. (pulsing xenias and a type of tree coral). The corals where healthy otherwise, but I've seen the damaged parts he munched on. Not something I expect from a Diadem. I've had him for years and he has gotten along fine w/ the mushrooms, bubble coral, anemones, et al. << Indeed a little bit odd.  I'd say he is running out of good algal food, and this is his next choice.  I would feed him some Nori sheets, or maybe even ask a friend to take it for a while. It may be a case where it is starving.  I've never seen any urchin eat soft corals in the aquarium. >> <<  Blundell  >>

Anemones and the lighting they need
Dear crew, <Hi> I have a twenty gallon tank that I would like to put at least two or three anemones in it and a few assorted hard and soft corals. <I see a major issue here -- first, your tank is considered on the small side. In a healthy environment, anemones can get quite large. One anemone may take up a large portion of your tank leaving little room for corals which it will not eventually sting. Secondly, I advise against adding more than one anemone to a smaller sized aquarium. Anemones will often battle each other for space, lighting and good. Usually when anemones battle, none of them survive. With that said, I would stick with one anemone for your 20 gallon tank.> I know that my 15 watt lights will need to be changed, but to what kind of lights and to how many watts do I need to have a healthy aquarium? <To start with, lighting only plays a small role in a healthy aquarium. Many other factors are equally important - Water quality is a huge issue. Before adding the anemone make sure everything is in order and where it is suppose to be. Anyway, 2x 65wt Power compacts would make excellent lighting for your 20 gallon (depending on the dimensions of the aquarium). You can often buy retrofit kits at almost any local pet store or online to setup the lighting exactly how you need it to be.> Thank you for your time. <No problem. On a last note, if you are still considering an anemone, I would look for a bubble tip anemone (E. quadricolor). These often do the best in captivity.>   thank you again, <Take Care, Graham.>          Sven

Corals and Anemones? (Almost) never together 2/5/04
Dear WWM crew, <howdy!> Thanks in advance for the help.  I am running a corner tank (custom made) approx. 50 gals.  I am running 3 CFs, one 10,000K daylight 50-50 and two actinic 50-50's all 65W for a total of 195W.  I am running a Fluval 303 with biological and chemical media attached to a UV sterilized processing between 50-75 gal/hr.  I recently added a refugium ( a 10 gallon aq. capacity is about 7.5 gal and a sump about 3.5 gal.  I'm using an overflow box to get the water from the tank to the sump and it free flows from the sump to the refuge. and a quiet one 3000 pumping at about 400 gph.  The refuge is about 2 weeks old, Q1. How long and when should the refuge be lit?   <depends entirely on the needs of what is growing inside (just like light over displays). Anything you read about 24hr illumination applies only to Caulerpa, which you need to understand well if you are going to use... many merits and dangers with the genus. Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria are better/safer macroalgae IMO to be lit on a simple 12hr photoperiod (reverse of display if you like to help with pH stability> I had some problems with Cyanobacteria so I backed the lighting off of the main tank.  I am running the two actinic from 10am - 6 pm and the daylight from 11am to 7 pm. <Cyano is not about lighting my friend... it is entirely about nutrients. That is what feds/fuels Cyano... and its caused by many things: quality of source/tap water, overfeeding/overstocking, poor skimming (less than 3-5 dark cups minimum weekly), and most commonly - a lack of adequate water flow (10-20X) which allows detritus to settle and feed nuisance algae> The main question I have is this.  I did some drilling on my stand to run the hoses for the refugium and I lost my yellow tang.  I thought he had died from stress, but my Condy anemone is getting huge.  Could he have eaten a silver dollar sized tang.   <yes... possibly> His base is about the size of the palm of my hand and he stretches from about 10-12".  He seems to be getting to big for the tank.  Will he eat other fish?   <they can indeed. And please take note to read further about the perils of mixing anemones with corals. It should almost never be done in my opinion (beyond being an unnatural mix with most sp.> I recently (1 month ago) bought a Sebae anemone, white w/purple tips.   <Oh, no... mixing anemone species is arguably even worse. Arghhh. These anemones simply are not commonly found mixed in/on a reef with corals... and even when they are, the condition of confines in an aquarium with motile stinging cnidarians (anemones0 with sessile ones (corals) is a recipe for disaster in the long run. Please reconsider> I know this isn't good but he seems to be doing OK and my maroon has taken to him.  He is between golf and baseball size.  He has taken up residence under a ramosa shell I have in the tank.  He wasn't eating very well but I have read some of your articles and will change my feeding regime.   <OK> I have a Goniopora coral, the Condy, a Sebae, and Xenia in the same tank.  Can/Will they get along?   <The fact that your young tank also has a Goniopora in it tells me that you are getting staggeringly bad advice on buying decisions... or you are not taking good advice from your LFS, my friend. I say this to help you... there are several red flags going up here that earmark your tank for an all too common disaster in the near future. Fish/coral losses at very minimum> The Condy is slowing growing and is getting pretty close to the Goniopora.  Will he sting in and kill it.   <Yes, possibly. It is one of the problems with mixing anemones with corals as mentioned above> He has already harmed the Xenia?  How far apart should they be and any info you can provide will be nice.   <10" is the minimum distance to keep between most corals to start with> I just found your website today and spent about 4 hours here.  My wife is ready to kill me. Thanks, Dave <read on my friend... and buy flowers <G>. Anthony>

Need your expert suggestion....
Hello and thanks for taking the time.........Question is.... in a 120 Gal. tank 48 L X 24 W X 24 High  <one of my all-time fave shaped tanks>  with 4-6 inches of LS.....  <excellent>  progressive stacking of rocks....  <be sure to avoid stacking rocks against any walls... this will dramatically improve water flow and reduce nuisance algae growth>  with inhabitants such as Trachyphyllia  <this genus must be nestled in the sand... never on rock. Be sure this is so>  (all sorts of brain coral and moon corals...one or two clams and softs like xenia, Sinularia, Zoanthids, leather, colt, Sarcophyton, mushrooms maybe a pagoda cup and possibly one or two SPS just because, what would be the ideal lighting arrangement utilizing metal halides and / or fluorescents....  <Ugghh... with such an unnatural mix of corals from all over the map, I do not know where to begin. For long term success in an attempt at keeping this motley crew, let me strongly encourage you to do weekly water changes (10-20%), change carbon weekly instead of monthly or use ozone full time, and make sure the skimmer (or two) are working superbly>  I am partial to the blue appearance mainly because of the way it makes certain corals fluoresce but not too blue if you know what I mean, also want the best for growth rates as far as photosynthesis is concerned...I will purchase whatever arrangement you suggest and thanks again for your time and brain power. Anthony Pastorelli NYC Fireman  <my sincere advice is to swap out some corals and focus on a more natural mix of corals with like needs. Open brains and high-light SPS corals could not be much further apart from each other on a reef. Noxious soft corals mixed in really throw a monkey wrench into the equation. There is no one lighting system that will satisfy all of these creatures. Still... if you twist my arm for a recommendation, 2 x 250 10k K Halides gets my vote for the compromise. Anthony>

Gaggle of Anemones 4/28/04
 I have a 125 gallon tank with a pretty big long tentacle anemone a rose, and a Sebae and two little Condys and a carpet. <yikes... what an unnatural mix!> They aren't near each other except the Condy and long tentacle <that means little in such a small volume of water and with motile stinging animals like your anemones against the sensation of "chemical warfare" conducted against each other. They will seem to get along for some months... maybe even a couple of years. But statistically your chances of making this work are near zero for the long term. Please do reconsider> but I was wondering if they do touch what exactly happens and what about touching other corals such as my hammer? <oh, no... corals too. Ahh... please do read more in the WetWebMedia.Com archives about stocking, compatibility and allelopathy (keyword searches an simply navigate the menu> I also heard if one seems to be dying although there not you should remove or risk killing the whole tank. <this really is a dreadful way to run an aquarium with living organisms. Putting it in a stressful environment and then pulling it before it kills others. Anemones are really a dubious group regarding sustainable harvest. They naturally can live many decades (some with theorized "immortality" in the sense that they have NO definable lifespan) and tragically never live more than months or a couple of years because ill-advised aquarists put them in such mixes as yours.> I understand I'm sure I have to many anemones in there but I have an attachment to all of them. <please make the conscientious choice and keep only one species per tank, and do so in a system that specifically meets its needs (hard substrates, soft substrates, lagoon with grasses, etc). Most of all... please, please, please research the needs of all living organisms before you buy them and throw them into potentially harmful or unnatural mixes> Is this possible to keep. <no> thanks <sigh... best regards, Anthony>

Get Your Coral Straight
Thanks for the advice... will go with better husbandry corals....  <excellent to hear my friend>  so does this mean that large polyped stonies (brain, moon, hammer) and soft corals (Sarcophyton, Sinularia, Zoanthids, leather) can't or shouldn't be kept with each other?  <it is commonly done... and will work for some years, but is not without sometimes considerable challenges to coral health/husbandry. I think you will enjoy far greater success with a more natural selection of like-needs species>  what I had come up with was 2 175 watt 10k MH and 4 110 watt VHO  03 of them being actinic and one being 6500 k ...Was just concerned about keeping the fluorescence of the LPS as I have read in your book of coral propagation that if you have less than sufficient light the corals will turn brown or release their ZOO  <yes... true for some corals. Other corals its the opposite. Its really a case by case basis. Its one of the reasons why you hear so often that you have to pick your exact list of corals (by species... not just by group/type) before you pick your lights. Red brains need UV to maintain their reflective color it seems, but other corals will darken under excessive UV, for example>  I am not even sure the SPS I like is really SPS it is usually found in my LFS and they have it listed as Pagoda cup coral.  <Ahh, yes... its a LPS (Turbinaria), and a good, hardy one at that. Excellent choice>  It is shaped as a cup and has long polyps that come out of the cup.. maybe LPS ?cant find a picture of it in your book (cause there are no pictures) and Eric's book doest show it either.  <actually does... page 319, left-center picture... a shaggy, healthy piece of Turbinaria peltata>  any way being that the tank will have 19 inches of water after the sand bed will the lighting I suggested be sufficient to support (Brains, moons, Zoanthids, Star polyps ,hammer and softs like xenia, Sarcophyton, Sinularia and maybe some leathers ? The skimmer I bought is the Euroreef CS-8 4 external,  <outstanding skimmer!>  after I fist spoke to you on the water flow I bumped the pumps up to 2 dolphin 2000 each one driving opposite side of the tank on a dual outlet manifold. also used as sump return pumps. Sorry to bother you so much just want to do it right once...Ya  know...Thanks a million.  <sounds very good my friend... best regards, Anthony>

Bicolor Buccaneer Bites 'em!!
>WWM crew, >>Aye, matey, hallo thar! >Are there any Corals that I can keep with a Bi-color angel? I removed all my Xenia because he started eating it. He does not touch the Zoanthids and Polyps. Are there any other corals I can keep that he will not nip at? Thanks, Chris >>Bicolors are a touchy lot, me laddy.  Nay, I must say, there are none proven to be nip-proof whence under the lips of angels.  Lo!  There are those that be better than others - SPS corals shall refuse to walk the plank unless prodded forth, whilst LPS corals will turn tail and head for the briny deep as fast as we turn flags, Arrgh.  Ye can expect your wee angel to give all sorts a try, a nip, and a taste.  Clam, brain, any and all may come under scrutiny, only a few may pass muster.  Arrgh!  Marina, the Salty Maiden of the Seven Seas.
Bicolor Buc - Did he Have a Go?
>Thanks for the feedback Captain Hook! >>Argh, matey, that's CAPTAIN-ETTE!  Hee, thanks for putting up with my fun.  I've had my fish for the night, so my swashbuckling is over for the evening, as my belly is quite full. >I suppose the Zoanthids which [are] all over my rocks are poisonous, and that's why he never nips at them? >>Zoos can indeed be poisonous, and that isn't to say that he may not have *already* had himself a taste or two.  It'll be a process of elimination, and confirmation that fish can't smell, seeing as how he went to town on those Xenia.  Marina

Super Green Star Polyps!
Good Day - <Hiay! Scott F. here today!> OK - I've searched but cannot find the answer among your previously answered questions so here goes; I have an established tank 2+ years and have had little to no problems. It is a 45 tall (I know tall isn't the best but it's what I'm stuck with) LR/LS set-up and I have it stocked mostly with Octocorallians and fish. I purchased some star polyps about a year ago and they are growing out of control - stinging my Xenia and Colt corals to death. Is there any way to stop/slow the growth of the Star polyps? I have tried to redirect them only to have them grow over anything I put in their path and onto the adjacent corals. I have tried to "peel" them off of the rock with no success. They are a very bright green and look like moss or grass during the day but they are growing out of control. If I leave it alone, they will eventually cover everything in the tank. Any suggestions? <This is a problem that many hobbyists would like to have! I have always liked GSPs, but they can become a problem if left unchecked. I would have tried many of the same tactics that you did. In particular, I like to "passively propagate" actively growing corals like GSPs and Xenia by simply putting some rubble in the "path" of the Star Polyps, letting them "overgrow" the rubble, then removing the rubble and replacing it with a new piece or pieces (and, this will help you supply our fellow hobbyists with their own GSP starter colonies!). If you are impatient, then more radical methods are necessary, such as removing the rock or rocks on which the GSPs have set up shop, or regularly excising them with a razor blade (a tedious process, but seemingly the best way to go in your case). You really might consider propagating this beautiful coral and supplying fellow hobbyists and fish stores! When life gives you lemons, as they say....!> Thank you. J.T. Craddock

Corals to keep
 Hey don't worry about the lateness <I do, I hate to make people wait. but thanks> I have a question you mentioned that I couldn't keep stony corals can you give me a quick list of the corals I could keep I want anemones, fans, brain corals, sponges... would this be possible, I bought the 155 gallon tank what else can I have <I just think that you are going to have to be careful with what you put into your tank unless you go to halides and a high wattage.> <Let me give you some guiding sites here real quick.  Start here Alejandro you'll be reading some great information http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stonycor.htm, good luck MacL> thanks a  to Alejandro

Everything and the kitchen sink 2/28/03
 Can you mix soft corals with hard corals and can my saddle carpet and bubble tip anemone live in peace with my Brain star coral ,Yellow leather coral, and my bubble pearl coral? <Ahhh...no. Read more about why here: www.WetWebMedia.com   Best regards, Anthony>

Slow coral growth
 Mr. Fenner, First, I apologize for the length of this email in advance :) <No worries, take your time/bandwidth> I am writing because I am frankly stumped over why I have had mediocre luck with corals. First, my tank parameters: * 30 gallon system, 35# Fiji rock, 4" DSB, Prizm skimmer, occasional filtration w/activated carbon * 6.5 WPG of PC light, 6500K <Wowzah, this must be a bright tank> * Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate unreadable; SG 1.024; pH 8.4 (very alkaline tapwater!); Calcium 450ppm; Temp 78F <What is alkalinity reading?> * Caulerpa racemosa & Halimeda growth <Overpowering growth, or just a little?> * Corals: sm. Galaxea, sm. Favites, colt, sm. Sarcophyton, pagoda, bubble, sm. Sinularia, yellow polyps, star polyps, assorted mushrooms. <All in a thirty gallon system?> * Livestock: 1 sm. tomato clown, 1 blue damsel, 1 bicolor blenny, 1 six-line wrasse, 1 pacific cleaner shrimp, 1 peppermint shrimp, 1 sm. queen conch, 1 infernal sand-sifting star (thanks, LFS); several Featherdusters, serpent stars, snails (Nassarius, Trochus, margarita), and a few blue leg hermits. The tank has been set up for 8 months, with corals for 6 months. I have observed negligible growth in several of my corals with reputations for fast growth, and I lost a beautiful red/green open brain that slowly receded over a period of 3 months. (After trying it 3 different locations with variable lighting to try to bring it back, it has been moved to my roommate's tank as a last-ditch effort). The Sarcophyton has not grown at all (3" diameter, 3" stalk), and is actually showing some degradation at its base. Honestly, if you've ever seen a tree that has been visited by a beaver, the Sarcophyton is beginning to look something like that. The bubble, Galaxea, and Favites have not grown at all, and the Galaxea is showing some tissue loss on the coenosteum. I've read that the pagoda grows slowly, so I'm not surprised to see a lack of growth from it. Happily, the colt has shown some growth, and the polyps and mushrooms are finally starting to reproduce, but I would like to see some growth from the others! I feed brine shrimp twice per week, and suspension feeder food once per week. I also feed the bubble a bit of shrimp once per week. The tank is set up such that aggressive corals cannot reach others - no necrotic tissue is evident on anything. Although this may be incidental, I have observed that coralline in my tank bleaches in direct light. Too intense? <Yes, likely... and/or a mismatch with too much biomineral (calcium) and too little alkaline reserve, or too little magnesium...> Thanks in advance for all your help, Jason <What is most likely is a incompatibility issue between some of your stinging-celled life... the mushrooms most likely are chemically, perhaps also physically interacting with the soft corals you have... and vice versa... the "chewed" appearance of the latter may also be due to some unwelcome predators... likely Polychaetes or snails... I would check for these during the night with a focused bright small flashlight... or a baited trap in the front corner of the tank at night... Much more to postulate. Have you read over our site: www.WetWebMedia.com? Please peruse, perhaps using the Google search tool there for key terms... and we'll be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: how about those corals and sponges?
65 gallon tank w/ ecosystem.. all levels excellent The new fish are very happy ... only fish ... restocking after huge die off 2 Firefish Magnifica 3 Neon Gobies Oceanops 4 Chromis Viridis More live rock has introduced 2 more crabs (light brown and spotted). Already had 2 Mithrax, many snails, and hermit crabs The great Red Skunk Shrimp I ordered was DOE. Added Red Grape Kelp. Added GE Chromaline 50 bulbs Increased aeration Still have massive amounts of stringy thick brown algae on the substrate. Would like to add a Percula or 2 and a Paracanthurus Hepatus... maybe a flame angel? <I'd sub a different Tang for the Algae, hold at adding any more fishes with these. See the WetWebMedia.com site for Tang selection> Would like to add a coral, or sponge, or something to add color. I am staying away from anemones for fear of my inexperience per your advice. I have read extensively the site and don't see anything listed as easy for beginners as far as the corals or anything else that could add interest and color to the environment. <Mmm, will have to make up such a list... perhaps you will help in compiling same. Look at polyps, Corallimorphs for now> My daughter is autistic and absolutely fascinated with this venture. If you can point me to a few items that I can try and maintain within my system I would like to read up and study them a bit so that I can try and decide on later additions. <Look to local sources, of people propagating soft and hard corals as your selection criterion here.> The great Red Skunk Shrimp I ordered was DOE. My daughter really liked him so we may try this again. Next time I will order the large one as I believe the crabs would have done it in anyway. Thank you Bob, Trisha Montez <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Shy for a Star..
 -polyp Hi, I have questioned you once before and *once again* am back with another question (thank you for your help!). <Today you get to talk to me, Steven Pro. Bob is out of town for the time being and Anthony Calfo and I are helping out.> I was reading your site (which is SO helpful) because among all the things there are to learn on it I am having trouble with my star polyps. They won't come out most of the time and it seems mostly to coincide with how good the quality of water is in the tank (I am just really a beginner and unfortunately sometimes I get a little nitrate/nitrite .05 to .10 ppm, try to keep it to a minimum but I think I tend to overfeed once in a while). Now the purple "carpet" under the polyps seems to be sort of wanting to fall of the original rock and is leaving empty spots on it. On your site I saw you mentioned to someone "There is likely a negative interaction between your Anemones and polyps... I would institute monthly use of a chemical filtrant (like activated carbon) in the filter flow path". I am not using any carbon in the Fluval 404 we have and we do have one approx. 6 in wide anemone and one that is small about 2 in wide maybe, plus two small what I believe are sand anemones (mushroom anemone?). Could there be some kind of reaction going on beside not having the best water quality always? <There are always chemical interactions/warfare going on between the corals we keep. Using carbon in the Fluval is a good idea. Be sure to clean once per month and change the carbon.> Also the sand anemones also seem to not maybe be liking everything, they have detached now from the rock they were on when I purchased them and have sort of fallen to the sandy/rocky bottom. The other anemones are doing well it seems. My tank is 55 gal with about 80 lbs rock and one actinic and one "power-Glo" light, <You seem pretty low in terms of lighting. I have a 55 too and I use four 40 watt lamps (double what you have) and I am too low for some corals and anemones.> a skimmer, bubble bar, power head and 404 Fluval. I do add iodine and other supplements sometimes (once every week?). <I hope you are feeding the anemones, too. Several times per week is best.> Yes I know I should have a set schedule but I'm still figuring out what it should be. I do a water change about 5 gal every other week. <There is much for you to read about anemones here http://www.WetWebMedia.com/anemones.htm> Also while I have you (just one more question I promise.. at least for a while!) what can you tell me about teddy bear crabs? The LFS had one and was going to throw it out but I took it home. I made a Plexi-glass separate box with air holes for it as they said it would destroy reefs and eat fish (but it's SO cute). <A separate small tank is probably better.> Thank you so much!!! Melinda - pathetic at this point but hanging in there hobbyist

Compatibility Questions
Greetings! I have a question about compatibility. Here are the following inverts & corals in my tanks -Open Brain -Frogspawn -Brown Star Polyp -Long Tentacle anemone -Finger Leather Do you see any conflict with the above? Obviously the LT Anemone could pose a threat if too close or begins to wander, but other than that, are there any chemistry/toxin issues to consider? <Basically, there are always chemical warfare concerns. Hence the need for good protein skimming, use of activated carbon, water changes, etc. Nothing out of the ordinary in your grouping.> Thanks for your response. P.s., my current plan is to add some more soft and LPS corals. Any problems there? -Adam <No, seems normal. -Steven Pro>

Anemone / Coral compatibility
 Hi Bob (or WetWebMedia crew), <cheers> I currently have a green carpet anemone in a 30-gallon tank.  <holy cow... a tight fit even in the short run. These anemones get a couple of feet across in diameter and are extremely aggressive. They need quite a lot of light (high intensity fluorescents or metal halide) and almost daily feedings to survive. Else they will hang in for a year or two before finally starving to death> Is it possible to add hardy soft corals to this setup (leather, colt, mushrooms, button Polyps, star polyps)?  <under no circumstance would this work in a 30 gallon. Quite frankly, anemones and corals are almost never to be recommended together... it is an unnatural mix in most cases and the ensuing chemical aggression in the water will cause great duress to all.> I've read that many of these animals will sting each other.  <absolutely... they are best kept in a species tank> Is there a way to tell if corals are compatible with each other?  <its best to group corals in tanks by family or group. Like... soft corals only... LPS only or SPS only. Mixing groups can be quite challenging... especially in a small tank like a 30 gallon. Be sure that you have a skimmer that produces dark skimmate every single day and that you change your carbon weekly> I've read that you should keep corals 8-12 inches apart,  <pretty good> yet a lot of pictures and pet stores have corals practically sitting on top of each other.  <most pet stores also have their tanks overstocked but do daily water changes to compensate... catch the drift :) > Is it safe to place members of the same genus closer together? <in some cases yes> Another question... should I avoid star polyps? I've read they can overtake an aquarium over time? Is there a species that won't spread so rapidly? <they can grow fast... but many species do. Almost any coral you pick will out grow a 30 gall in a year. Simply learn some good coral propagation techniques to control growth> One last unrelated question... is Hawaii the best state to live in to go scuba diving on a regular basis?  <beautiful... but the water is cool and coral development is not a good for this northernmost coral reef. Much good diving in the Caribbean from Florida. Better diving by simply traveling from your home randomly out to the Red Sea and Indonesia.> I'm currently land locked in Illinois, but would like to move to a place where I can scuba dive easily. The only other place I know of in the US with a coral reef is the Florida Keys, but I don't really want to live in Miami. <all depends on the kind of diving you seek. Sponges and Gorg.s in Atlantic, many stonies in Hawaii but few soft... a plethora beyond that. What of living in Puerto Rico?> Thanks for your time and rapid response, Jeremy G. <best regards, Anthony>

Coral competition
<Anthony Calfo in your service> I have a few questions regarding competition for space in my aquarium. Which coral will win out over all for the space between an SPS coral growing next to a colony of polyps?  <cannot be said in fairness categorically as each species is different. But in gross terms, Zoantharians (mushroom and Zoanthid button polyps) are VERY aggressive and will often tame SPS corals. However, please do remember that corals forced to live close and combat are not necessarily win vs. lose. Sometimes both will suffer and or die after many weeks or months of being forced to compete> The polyps are Zoanthids and the SPS coral is an Acropora that is growing branches. The Acropora is spreading out at the base as usual, but it is getting close to the polyps.  <hard to say for certain... the rule is that no coral should be allowed to touch. Please frag the Acro to tame its growth or consider a "firewall" of rock/rubble for control of either animal. More about this in my book on coral propagation. Please do advise me if you need excerpts> I also have 2 small SPS corals that I glued onto the same small rock. Well as you can imagine they have both grown into fine looking specimens;  <ah, yes... a common problem> however the base of one is growing onto the base of the other. They are both great looking corals and I do not want to break either of them off. What should I do?  <they need to be separated. Even when they appear to be getting along, one will die "mysteriously" after some months from the silent chemical warfare> One is a brown and white Acropora with a thick base and thick branches. It's base is being grown onto by a Montipora capricornis. The Montipora is growing into whorls and looks awesome. Which will win the fight?  <the Montipora is going to get smoked like salmon by the Acropora...heehee> Any advise?  <yep... buy a bigger tank, add a refugium for frags, place corals with consideration for long term growth/adult size and/or be more willing to frag corals to control growth of close specimens. Best regards my friend, Anthony Calfo>  Thanks!!

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