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FAQs about Soft Corals of the Family Nephtheidae 1

Related Articles: Soft Corals of the Family Nephtheidae, The Soft Corals of the genus Dendronephthya Soft Corals, Order Alcyonacea

Related FAQs: Nephtheids 2, Neptheid Identification, Nephtheid Behavior, Nephtheid Compatibility, Nephtheid Selection, Nephtheid Systems, Nephtheid Feeding, Nephtheid Disease, Nephtheid Reproduction/Propagation, Soft Coral Propagation, Alcyoniids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids, Xeniids, Soft Corals/Order Alcyonacea

Scleronephthya. Beautiful, but hard to keep in aquariums (presently)

Scleronephthya Hi Bob, <Omar> Very good site, has helped me on numerous occasions in this contradictory hobby! My question, I have a Scleronephthya in my aquarium that I have had for 4 months, it is upside down in a cave/overhang, near a powerhead providing rotating flow. I feed it live phyto daily (mix of 3 species of phyto) and Cyclop-eeze once a week, which it seems to 'enjoy', I have seen it consume the whole copepod on occasion. I bought it as 1 coral, I now have 3 new baby ones so the cave is being filled with the coral, the original has put out new branches and is getting bigger, can I take frags of this coral?? <Yes... but I would wait a few more months> Also after having such a positive experience with this coral I should like to try my hand at a dendro, how much more difficult are they, what must I do differently for dendro?  <About the same> Thank you for your continuing help and advice Regards Omar <Please do monitor what you're doing, share with others... in an article or two... with photographs. Bob Fenner>

Non-photosynthetic Neptheid 2/27/05 I acquired this soft coral a couple days ago. I'm hoping it's not Dendronephthya, maybe Scleronephthya. Can you ID it? <it sadly is a non-photosynthetic Neptheid. Dismal survival in captivity> Then I can look up its requirements here. If it needs to hang upside down, how important is this, and what is the advantage?  Thanks for the help. Darren <do look up info (little as there is) on the successful keeping of Dendronephthya and like kin. It's really an awful group... most we do not know how to keep or what they eat. Those that we do know we still can't feed well if at all (bacteria, floc, specific plankton species). I strongly encourage you to keep a large fishless refugium with a DSB, and feed live plankton (phyto and zoo-). Anthony>

Chili coral wont open... keep upside down with good flow! 1/11/05 I have a Chili coral in my 60G LR/LS reef tank that won't open up. <this most always occurs from lack of water flow: not enough or not enough of the right kind. Also... the animal must be kept upside down to survive naturally long term> I have had it since May of '04. Tank Parameters are: Ph: 8.2 Salinity 1.0225/1.023 Temp 77-78 Calcium 350-400ppm all others (nitrate, nitrite, ammonia) minimal/barely readable. Feed PhytoPlex and zooplankton 2x per week. <hoping for a fishless refugium too... this would be a great benefit for many reasons> The coral used to open up every night, until it ejected the spicules from one branch. As per advice from I don't remember where, I cut off that piece. This was in August. it didn't open after that for a few days only, but after that it was business as usual. Then I moved. I put all the livestock in buckets one day, then set up the tanks next day or the day after. When I took "chili guy" (as I call it) out of the bucket, it was open, and remained open for several days after being put in the tank again, I figure it was hungry, yes? Anyway, then it closed up and hasn't opened up again since. I moved Thanksgiving weekend. I have it in a cave, with a powerhead directed at it and attached to a rock with rubber bands so it hangs upside down in the cave. <do be careful about laminar flow like this... its unnatural for most corals and can be fatal in time. Turbulent flow would be better> (The rubber bands only touch the rock it came with so as not to split it) Is there anything I can do to save it? <manipulate the powerheads to create a better flow pattern around the coral. Do a keyword search here on our website for an article called "goodbye powerheads" for a better long term solution> even though it is just a red lump, it has yet to eject any more spicules, so I think I stopped that from spreading. My Fianc?s cousin gave us a book and said that there is something in the book that we could try-something about dipping chili guy in freshwater for 30 seconds, then in a strong iodine solution. <little or no purpose for doing this... no pathogen is indicated, and frankly... the brief dip would do little to help it if there were> I think this is supposed to shock it into "resetting" itself (like it's a computer?!) <ahhh... no.> If anyone knows that exact formula, that would be great, as I cannot find it in the book, "Reef Secrets." Thanks for all your help! <trust me, mate... its all about finding the right kind of flow. Do try feeding thawed frozen (or dry in slurry) Cyclop-eeze as a better zooplankton offering. Anthony>

Sick Neptheid 11/8/04 Hey gang, Top 'O the Day from Denver, Anthony, <hey bro... good to hear from you :)> I snapped a shot of that "Mash 4077th" tree coral you helped me with a year, or, so, ago. I thought it was doing a natural fission a while back & didn't really think about it, is the pic clear enough to tell what's going on here, it looks like a mess of necrotic tissue to me...is this what natural fission looks like? Thanks my friend, Scott <hard to say for sure... but this pic/symptom is very reminiscent to me of a coral that overgrew itself but did not have enough water flow in and around it. This can occur because the water pumps haven't been cleaned for a while and have tired/slowed down... or... because the tank never had enough of the right kind of flow to support a large colony from go, but could support a frag to grow up to this point. Either way, strong water flow (increase here) is a key. Maintaining high Redox through aggressive skimming, small daily iodine doses and perhaps some ozone a would likely do the trick. Best of luck/life! Ant->

Green Nephthea hardiness and where to place in a tank- 2/3/04 Hello crew.... quick question on neon green Nephthea.  How hardy? <Always depends.... but easy to moderate with muted lighting and foods stuffs> I have an aqua c skimmer and 4X65 watt pc in a 75 gallon aquarium (1 50/50, two 10,000 daylights, 1 ultra actinic). <Should be fine. Place 1/2 to 3/4 up> Regular water changes. <Should always be doing that anyway. Not a feature of a tank but a responsibility> I am going to a frag swap in a few weeks and someone there is supposed to save me a frag. <great to hear of such responsible reef keeping.> where should I place this coral in my tank (top, middle, bottom)<again, 1/2 to 3/4 is ideal. Some say phytoplankton is a good food for Nephtheids but I have recently heard a little zooplankton is also a beneficial foodstuff. Do some reading and research and see what you find. I don't target feed mine per se, but maybe it benefits from the feedings of my other corals. Good luck ~Paul> Thanks for your assistance. Kenya Tree Coral "laying down" and riding low in the saddle Hello one and all :) <are you talking to the crew... or all of my multiple personalities? Hmmm... at any rate, we all say Hi!> I was hoping you could steer me in the right direction again. I have a 3 yr old, 125 gal FOWLR with a few different Tangs, <not thrilling to hear "several" tangs in a 125, but OK as long as you have no large species (Naso, Sailfin, etc)> shrimps, starfish. 130lbs live rock 500 watts CF lights (390w of 8800k daylights and 110w of Actinics) 3"-4" deep fine sand substrate 2 Mag 12 pumps moving the water thru a sump Berlin Turbo skimmer <hoping this unit works well for you... do consider the feedback in the archives if not> 30 gal refugium with 25lbs live rock and Halimeda 55w 8800k daylight and 25w actinic with 2 powerheads for water movement Water info: temp:78-80 s.g. 1.025 ph 8.2 calcium 390 nitrates: 5ish alk 7.7 dKH  ( I am guessing that this is part of my problem)  It was at 6.3 a few days ago. I have been adding a little Reef Builder the past few days. Would Capnella be very sensitive to low Alk? <yes... possibly so. There is precedence with other corals (Xeniids prominently)> I add a few drops of Iodine each week Tech CB each week...if needed I buffer my deionized water with Kent Superbuffer. I aerate plain water for a day and then mix salt and aerate for another day, then buffer if needed. <all good> I had not been checking the Alk of the deionized water before I used it, just ph. I am thinking this is how my Alk became so low. <correct> I just purchased the deionizer a few weeks ago and have a little learning curve I guess. I am not sure if a deionizer remover chloramine, so I use Prime also. <deionizers are my fave water treatment mode... very pure water. Not wasteful either... re-constitute (buffer) accordingly> In the refugium I have had several Feather Dusters, Button Polyps, Yellow Polyps, and Xenia elongata, all doing great. Although the Xenia and the Polyps are stretching towards the light. I have ordered a  10000k daylight bulb to replace the 8800k and  a 50/50  6500k/actinic bulb to replace the pure actinic) So I thought I would try a little coral. I researched a bit and decided on the Kenya Tree Coral. Seemed like the tank and I could handle it. I put the Kenya Coral in the main tank though not in the refugium with the rest. <it is a good and hardy species> I recently added the Capnella Coral to my main tank I asked the LFS what lights and wattage they had been keeping it at, so I would have a better idea where I should place it in the tank. <very good> He said they had 2- 175 watt MH lights. I have 500watts of compacts, 390 watts of it is 8800k daylights and the other  110 watts are actinics. He said this would be fine and I should just put it midway in tank. <agreed> I asked if I should start it near the bottom of the tank and move it up slowly over time and he said I should be fine in the mid/upper tank area. So, that's what I did, put it in the mid tank area.   It seems a lot more stretched out than it did in the store. Doesn't this mean it needs more light?     <possible, yes> But, at the same time, the tips almost look like they are turning a bit white.   <Hmmm> Isn't this burning from the lights?   <not if stretching concurrently... light shocked coral often retract or bleach en masse> Maybe I should just stick with the fish!!!!! <no.... not that bad <G>. If the coral was torn slightly from an established position, that alone would make it act sapped. It may also simply be a slow acclimation. Some corals take weeks before looking "happy"> The little fella has been in the tank for about a week and has not really opened up much. Maybe I should wait a little longer before I assume there is a problem....Whattaya think? <do be patient... and resist the temptation to move it... very stressful on a coral. Better to sit and wait> It fell over on the 2nd day and landed upside down on the sand for most of the day I thought I had it anchored good enough...oops.....now it is glued down). I would think that would be a bit traumatic for the little guy. The polyps will poke out a little but have never opened up at all. It sometimes looks like it is deflating and tips over on its side. In general I would say that it is not doing well. I was adding a bit of Zooplex every few days until I read that it may be fine without any supplemental feeding . And since its polyps have never opened I figure it would not get any anyway. I was considering placing it in the refugium with the others (polyps, xenia, feather dusters) since they all seem like they are doing well. But I see no reason why I should not be able to get all of this squared away and I would love a few " hearty" corals in the main tank. I am all ears for any suggestions you might have. <no worries... you are on the right track> I am terrible at putting thoughts on paper, I hope you can make sense of all of my rattling on. I am sorry this is so long. I know you folks have lots going on.  Thank you (again) in advance   Dennis    <all good... best of luck! Anthony>

Cauliflower Coral Problem? A nice cauliflower coral (i.e. several 'clumps' on one rock) was added to my main tank (after a suitable time in a QT... four weeks)  four days ago. It opened fully straight away. Today several of the clumps are detached from the rock and lying on the substrate. This is, I take it, a bad sign! <Falling off of the rock may or may not be a bad sign. Check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nephtheids.htm for a proper identification of your "cauliflower coral". Hopefully you will not find this coral on the above web-page because most of those are non-photosynthetic and do poorly in captivity. Dendronephthya sp. are commonly called cauliflower in the trade, and they are non-photosynthetic.> Everything else in the tank is blooming to the point that a much larger tank is now ordered before space becomes a problem (especially for the leather which has more than doubled in size in four months). <Excellent! Unfortunately if this coral is non-photosynthetic, it will likely starve to death in your tank like thousands of others commonly imported. You can feed them phytoplankton of all sorts as well as other fine plankton substitutes.> Should I remove the cauliflower, or at least the detached bits (all of which are fully open on the sand), and what might be causing it. The only major change is the coral is now under T5 lighting rather than 'ordinary' tubes, but I have placed it low in the tank to start with. <I would not remove the detached bits unless they begin to deteriorate. In the mean time try placing them on small rocks for them to attach to. Let's hope it's photosynthetic! -Kevin> Thanks, Brian

Soft Coral and Royal Gramma questions. Thanks for that. No it's not Dendronephthya sp. <Good! The word cauliflower scares me> Actually we don't see those too often in the U.K. (or at least not in the shops I visit, which is quite a range), which is a good thing. <Yes it is> My coral is most like the Capnella, but without the 'trunk'. The polyps are more 'fluffy' and are very low down, touching the rock, the 'trunk' being only a centimetre or so tall, and completely hidden by the polyps. Anyway I'll do as you say and attach the pieces to small rocks. Apart from falling of the main rock they look healthy enough, and are fully open. <Excellent, I hope you end up with a few extra colonies from this.> Thanks again. Excellent stuff as always! Brian P.S. Any views on small shoals of Royal Grammas. Everything I've been told says only one Royal Gramma per tank, and then I see one of your colleagues mentioned how good a small shoal looks. <Hmmm... who was that, I'd be happy to swing this question to them also> Indeed, this sounds great. What constitutes a small shoal in a 5' x2'x2' tank with LR & DSB in sump (plus skimming). <Grammas hang out in and close to the rocks so you will need plenty of live rock for them. A tank your size with ample live rock could support a nice group of 5-6 individuals. They're very cool, especially when they hang out in a cave upside-down.> Other inhabitants ... 1 yellow tang, 1 small blenny, 2 common clowns. Presumably a shoal of grammas would all have to be added at the same time. <I would. Good luck! -Kevin>

Tree coral sad? 3/10/03 I recently started adding calcium, strontium, and iodide to my tank.  While adding these nutrients one day, my tree coral suddenly closed all of its polyps.  It now lays there kind of limp all day and shrinks at night like it normally did.  What did I do wrong and how can I fix it? <with little else to go on, I'd say that perhaps one of the additives was added too fast or a bit too much. Or, the event may not be related at all. In such cases, when in doubt, "do a water change". Be patient... and be sure not to move stressed corals in the tank (causes more stress or worse). Be sure to test all of your water quality parameters too to be sure they are on spec. Best regards, Anthony>

Corals Id.ed Hey Gang!  How you doin'?   <as good as a Beerless man can be> I just purchased my very first tank inhabitant. There are several Green 'Shrooms and what looks like a soft coral  of some sort (leather?) that I wonder if y'all could let me know what it is. <yep... AKA Kenyan Soft Tree Coral (perhaps Capnella... it is a Neptheid at any rate)> In the picture, it looks like another type of coral down at the bottom of the rock that everything is attached to, LFS said it might be a SPS type of coral (?) <yep... looks very much like the beginnings of a Montipora species. Unclear photo and small size make the ID unreliable though. It could also be a Porites sp. It is an SPS at any rate> The pic was taken about an hour after placing the rock into  tank. I placed it about 5" off the bottom of the tank  & turned off the 8800K lights to run only  the 50/50, 65 watt PCs. I reckon the question is what do you think the other corals are that came along with the 'Shrooms? Thanks for the help. Your friend in Denver, Scott <best regards, Anthony>

Ailing Lemnalia? <Cheers, Jim... sorry for the delay> Have been visiting your web site for awhile. I find it very useful and now I have a question. I have a pair of Lemnalia (one yellow, one purple) for approximately 6 months, both are attached to the same substrate and are side by side. <in the wild this if often not a problem... in closed aquaria it usually is in the long run (competition/aggression/succession)> They were both doing well with good expansion of the polyps until approximately one month ago. <do be careful here about gauging success, bud. Most corals can look good for the first 6-10 months while starving before signs of attrition show> The purple specimen is not expanding as well as the yellow one. I have noticed a "Bubble" like swelling on the purple specimen, <very interesting... not feeding related, I suspect> at more than one level and at different times. Sometimes it is not there.  It does not seem to move and appears to disappear at times. <perhaps a defensive behavior... sensation of other corals nearby> The yellow specimen adjacent to the purple is doing  well. I have included a picture with this e-mail. The "bubble" involves the center stalk of the specimen at the base. Any help would be greatly appreciated.   Jim L. <Lemnalia are only weakly symbiotic at best. They require an extraordinary amount of food that is difficult to provide (nanoplankton, phyto, bacteria and the like) If there are corallimorphs (mushrooms) or LPS corals (hammer, octopus, torch, bubble, elegant, etc) in the tank... these soft corals will likely fail in well under 2 years from the unnatural aggression (allelopathy). You will also need a fishless refugium with plant or algae matter to produce natural plankton to feed them. Bottled foods will not work (particle size is too large). Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Ailing Lemnalia Anthony, Thank you for your response. <my pleasure!> I do have a large Pagoda near by (The Lemnalia) which has been there also for approximately the same time as the Lemnalia.   <all coral can be aggressive to another, but Turbinaria are not bad as corals go. Starpolyps, colt coral, mushroom anemones, Galaxea, Euphylliids... these are bad boys> On closer observation the "bubble-like" swelling appears to be  a part of the tissue of the Lemnalia as I believe what I observe to be some Ca++ spicules.   <understood and observed in your picture> ( Actually brought to my attention by my wife!!!) <good eye!> There  is no contact between  the pagoda and the Lemnalia. <that means nothing... most coral aggression is from shedding chemicals, nematocysts and the like... silent warfare. None have to touch. Even just the buildup of these compounds in a tank that only gets monthly water changes, monthly carbon or less, and weak skimming (weekly product, not daily)... all caught up within a year or two. Bad things begin to happen then from the toxic soup> other hard corals include a Scolymia and a Favites upstream from the Lemnalia. <again... not severe species, but still they are LPS which can be hostile in the big picture> I feed periodically (1x-2x/week) with Kent phytoplankton, Marine snow and occasionally coral life target food.   <all are a waste of money for this application in my opinion. Much has been written in he archives on this topic. Particularly phyto supplements. Very few coral eat phyto and even less are common species in our tanks (gorgonians and Nephtheids)> I have included a picture of the specimen. Other corals include three large Sarcophyton (one of which is dividing recently) perhaps about the same time as the purple Lemnalia  showed signs of not doing so well., large  yellow leather, green star polyps, devils hand leather, colt coral , recently added orange Scleronephthya, several different kinds of mushrooms. <indeed some VERY noxious species in the last list. Simply maintain good/aggressive nutrient export: weekly water changes, daily skimmate, small weekly changes of carbon, etc. And why did yo bring an aposymbiotic Neptheid (The Scleronephthya) into this tank?!?! Good heavens have you made your job harder. It will almost certainly starve to death in time (might take 1-3 years... but still far short of its potential lifespan). One cannot easily feed such corals in a tank of photosynthetic corals without overfeeding. Please consider setting up a species specific tank for this coral and tank both Lemnalia with you. At least set them up in a small refugium where you can target feed better. This would be best downstream from a primary Seagrass refugium to provide real phytoplankton and epiphytic matter> The only coral that has really come into close physical contact with the Lemnalia are several yellow polyps. Could these be the cause? <the bigger picture as per above> Seasons Greetings and thanks for your insight. Jim L. <with kind regards, my friend. Anthony>

Soft Corals Hi guys have a question regarding soft corals. Starting a reef tank and going with mainly soft corals. <excellent! You will have far greater long term success by keeping more specific groups of coral like this. Mixing Mushroom anemones, Small polyp stonies, Large polyp stonies and soft corals in the display is very challenging in the long run... not to mention unnatural> Have been reading and researching and came across in "Corals a quick reference guide" by J. Sprung a group of corals referred to Finger Leathers, but of the Paralemnalia species. I can not find much info on these, can find about Sinularia but not Paralemnalia. Would like to find more out on these corals b/c they look interesting. Please lead me in the right direction. Thanks, Bryan <You can find better information about corals at large in Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" book. But the short story on Paralemnalia is that it is categorically not recommended for beginners or young aquariums. They are difficult to keep by any measure. They are weakly symbiotic at best and require a lot of food. The problem is that we don't fully understand what they eat and what we do know (nanoplankton) is quite difficult to produce. If you intend to keep Paralemnalia, my advice is to set up an upstream fishless refugium (likely unlit in cryptic zone fashion) and let the  system mature for a year or more before attempting this species. When you are ready to propagate it... give me a call <G>. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Kenyan Tree Coral, Capnella Color Here is a picture of the coral when I first got it 4 months ago. It was a tan color. It sits about 6 inches away from the top of the tank under ( 4) 95 Watt VHO lights. ( 2 Super Actinic, 1 Aqua Sun, 1 Actinic White) A week or two after I got it I noticed that the top parts of the coral turned a bright yellow and the trunk stayed tan. What would make it turn that color or is it support to look like that? The water parameters in the tank are all good. PH 8.5 ALK 9.8 Mag 1350 Cal 350 SALINITY 1.025 Temp 78-80 <I think it looks fine! Could be a color variant. Polyp extension looks okay. No worries. Scott F.>

Lobophytum behavior Hi! I have a couple of questions about a coral that I acquired Saturday. It is a Lobophytum (Devil's hand).  <a very hardy coral that feeds little or none organismally... most all by symbiotic activity and absorption> Although I have several coral books including Borneman's, I still can't quite tell what it's supposed to look like other than short, stubby, fat branches.  <that about sums it up!> I am particularly concerned about what I can expect in terms of polyp extension.  <don't expect much... although, hardy... most are quite sensitive to moves and being touched by hand. Some with forgo extending polyps for up to several months (!) easily. No worries at any rate... they do not extend their polyps much because they really don't need them to feed. Hence the reason it is so hardy... it does not need to be target fed organismally> This is a pale green morph and apparently the polyps are brown. But the polyps are very short like very short beard stubble. Does this sound about right to you guys?  <yep... and be grateful when they are extended... if you fuss in your tank a lot (several times weekly) then don't expect to see them much> If not, how long is a reasonable time to wait to for full polyp extension? <literally 3 months> I also acquired a flavissimus butterfly.  <nice butterfly... but I am really (!!!) hoping that you don't have or wont put a single tang, damsel or clown in the tank with it... this species is easily outcompeted even without aggression from tankmates. You need a very passive tank for this animal to survive more than juts a year or two> The butterfly can see his reflection in the side panel of the tank so he's spending lots of time swimming up and down looking at himself. How long? He swims up and down for hours. Is this a bad thing?  <stress... perhaps not reflection. Do notice if it does this when the lights are dim or out too (that would kill the reflection theory). Pacing is often from inadequate water flow (usually too little as seen in Powder Blue and brown tangs and Nasos commonly). Other stresses cause this too> Do I need to do anything?  <examine/consider as per above> I keep reminding myself that it's actually good for birds to see reflections of themselves. . .I hope it's good for the butterfly. <nope... quite the opposite even if true: conspecific aggression and heightened stress levels> Keep up the good work boyz!!! David <thank you, my friend. Anthony>

Chili Coral Bob, I recently purchased a Chili Coral - Alcyonium species from an online site.  Since then it had remained droopy and will not stand up.  If I position the rock it is attached to so it is standing up it droops back down in a few hours.  All water parameters are within acceptable levels, water current over the coral is medium, and the tank is lighted by VHOs.  Is this a sign that the coral is unhealthy, or is this normal for this species during acclimation?  If so for how long is this behavior acceptable? <<Hi Shannon! This is Craig Watson. Bob is away at the MACNA conference, so I'll help you with your Chili coral. Did anyone tell you that your Chili Coral opens at night and will deflate some during the day? Check it at night after it's had time to adjust and see if it doesn't look better. Chili corals open up and inflate nicely if left undisturbed in a moderately strong current to keep detritus and film from building up on them. The polyps are white or sometimes yellow and contrast nicely on a usually red background. They deflate during the day and don't look like much unless they have a nice cave or really shady spot with diffuse light where they will sometimes open during the day. VHO light is just fine.   Sometimes they are slow to acclimate if disturbed or moved, so try to leave it on the substrate. Leave it for a few days and check it at night.  Let me know what you find. Best of luck, Craig>> 

Coral question and clam identification? Water quality in 55 gallon tank. PH 8.4 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Calcium 340ppm Alkalinity 9.8 dKH Salinity 1.025 Temp 78 - 80 Lighting 1-Actinic 95w VHO 1- Aquasun 95w VHO 1-Actinic 30w Coralife 1- 10,000k 30w Coralife <Okey-dokey> This piece of coral is about 6 inches from the top of the tank and has looked like this for a few days now.  <lighting is somewhat weak for this Neptheid (AKA "Kenyan Tree Coral"), but unlikely to elicit this response> It was about 12 inches from the top a few weeks ago and looked good when I moved it but now it looks like this.  <perhaps a just acclimating> Is this normal or is it to close to the top of the tank?  <definitely not too close... in fact, this beautiful coral will turn turquoise under a bank of VHO blues (2-4 lights)> Also can you please identify this type of clam for me. It has a brownish look to it although it looks a little different in the picture. Thank You. <I would need a better picture to be sure but you may have a very interesting clam here! Tridacnids are rather easy to identify but yours looks like it could be a hybrid of two species known to hybridize. The mantle is conspicuously like a T. squamosa... but the shell does not have the characteristic worn scutes of a T. squamosa, and instead looks worn and ribbed like a T. derasa. Still the picture is not clear enough. A close up of the shell and mantle separately would help if clear. Best regards, Anthony> 

Detached Finger Leather It's a long story, but my reef helper came over today and proceeded to remove my finger leather from its live rock before I even knew what happened! (Obviously, time for a new helper. Removing it was totally unnecessary.) At any rate, the leather came off cleanly, no tears.  <very good to hear.. but tough species anyway> My questions: Should I reattach it to some live rock with rubber bands, or just let it sit and reattach itself?  <please don't bother... let it attach naturally and encourage good water movement around the base until it does> Its base is pretty scarred.  <leave the spot of removal free to light so that residual tissue grows new stalks within months... your helper did you a favor if you don't mind the propagation!> Any chance of it releasing toxins in my tank? <guaranteed but they always do. Normal carbon, PolyFilters and/or protein skimming will be fine> Thanks, Jim <kindly, Anthony>

First Coral Follow-ups <Greetings, good sir... Anthony here again. Got both of your follow up messages and for convenience I'll reply to both with this one. With regards for Bob's recommendation for Tree corals... it is conditionally true. Alas... not all of the specifics on invertebrates could be included in one book volume...thus, the generalization. Specifically, the Nephtheids ("tree coral family") include some reasonably to very hardy animals and some of the most extremely difficult animals to keep alive across the board. The distinction is essentially drawn along the lines of symbiotic (photosynthetic) versus aposymbiotic (filter feeding tough guys). The hardy tree corals are usually brown with shades of green and usually Nephthea or Litophyton species. The difficult Tree corals are colored magnificently (Pink, White, orange, etc) and usually belong to the genus Dendronephthya and are called strawberry or cauliflower corals in the trade. Please look up this last genus on WWM at http://www.WetWebMedia.com/dendrofaqs.htm. If we are still talking about the same colored tree coral and not a brown Litophyton like Tree coral... my advice would be to save your money on your local consultant until he learns a bit more, and buy Eric's, Julian's or my book> Could make some recommendations- If were pick out some other mainly colorful corals myself to start with. please be specific if you don't mind. I was paying a guy who is studying to be a marine Biologist <probably a sincere and nice guy... just needs to learn more before he starts handing out advice... let alone charging for it> and the mushroom and the tree coral were the first things be brought out.  <one out of two was a great choice> He said they would be fine. He told me to move the tree coral out of the current. I don't think I'll be using him again. Thanks for the info! < I would love to recommend some corals for you but there are so many to pick from. If you want to, look on the net and through some references. I'd suggest you make a top twenty list of corals that attract you. Don't be surprised that most of the ones colored anything beyond brown, green or yellow will be temporarily out of your league or more work than you and I would probably care to do to keep them. No worries though...there are still hundreds of hardy and colorful ones left to pick from that are extremely low maintenance (lower than a freshwater aquarium!) Ballpark would include all colors of mushroom anemones, almost all leather corals and all colors of zoanthid. Avoid most LPS and SPS corals for 6-12 months. And don't take any non-photosynthetic ones even for free (especially your Strawberry coral)! heheh... looking forward to hearing from you. Kindly, Anthony>

Sudden decline of finger-leather Bob, << not Bob, by Jason C, practicing to be Bob when he goes diving later this month. >> I want to thank you for all of your work with the site. I enjoy reading it on a regular basis, and have learned a great deal. It seems that you get a lot of mail, so I usually check through all of the appropriate FAQ's before sending a mail, but I fear I may not have the time for that with the current problem. << no worries >> When I looked at my tank about 30 minutes ago, I found that the finger-leather that I have has all of the polyps retracted, and looks slightly darker in spots. (Only had it for about 2 days -- was doing great until now) My button-polyps don't look so hot either... some closed/darkened, but nowhere near as bad as the finger. << they do this, sometimes for days, not necessarily bad. >> I did do a partial water change today among other things. << as part of your normal routine? >> Here is what I did/have/current chem.s etc. Setup: Tank has been cycled and running well for about 3 months, working on a slow stocking: 90 gal acrylic tank Berlin HOT protein skimmer (powered by RIO 2500) Fluval 404 canister filter Another Rio 600 for surface circulation 4 X 96 watt power compacts, although only running 3 currently (keep temp down, and other reasons) 125# live rock Inhabitants: Button polyps Finger leather 2 colonies of mushrooms 3 damsels 2 yellow tangs 1 scooter blenny 1 purple Dottyback (Pseudochromis??? new to the hobby and trying to learn taxonomy of stuff) 1 copperband butterfly 1 peppermint shrimp Various snails/crabs, some other things that must have come in on the rock ... possibly cowries, don't know for sure, and several "I don't know what it is" things Action today: 1: 10% water change (had been about 2 weeks since last one. NOTE: I thought I had more pre-mixed stored water on hand than I did, so I had to make up a couple gallons to complete the water change) 2: re-directed flow of a powerhead in a different direction (had been pretty turbulent by finger, now not) 3: Added 30ml of b-ionic 2-part solution (30 ml of each part 1 and part 2) 4: cleaned algae off tank (acrylic 90) 5: Cleaned protein skimmer Water parameters: Temp 80 deg. Salinity 1.023 Nitrite 0 Ammonia 0 Nitrate 2.5 ppm PH: 8.2 Alkalinity 2.2 Phosphate 0.1 Calcium over 400 I do have a problem with little tiny bubbles in the water (not sure it's from the skimmer... possibly over-photosynthesis from algae bloom that is now coming under control). Don't know if this matters, but I'm new to this and don't know what does/doesn't matter yet. << all looks good, no worries about those bubbles >> Any ideas of what I can do to save the finger and/or button polyps? << quite likely that the finger leather doesn't need saving, it's just making an adjustment to your environment. These corals often withdraw all their polyps to slough off a mucus coat, created for any number of reasons. Again, it is most likely acclimating to your tank and you'll see it out again in a couple of days. Have had a leather coral of mine stay closed for over two weeks - looks fine today. Patience is the key. >> I'll take a look through the FAQ's and see what I can find, but if you could also respond when you get time, I'd appreciate it. Thanks Matt << my pleasure - cheers - J-- >>

Finger leather Hello Bob, I'm having a problem with my Tonga green finger leather. For the last 3 days it has not opened up at all. I checked my water to see if that was the cause, but all checked well. Nothing else in my tank is having a problem and I don't think anything could have stung it. It almost looks like it has gone into hibernation! What type of disease am I dealing with and how can I treat it, if at all. thanks, ce. <May well be "nothing"... but resting as you state. Do you dose iodide? What sort of readings do you have? Do you pulse it weekly? I would... What sort of alkalinity and biomineral concentrations do you have? Please read: http://www.WetWebMedia.com/softcorf.htm Bob Fenner>

Re. finger leather Bob, Me again regarding my Tonga finger leather. Yes ,I dose iodide as needed and my level is at 0.06. The alkalinity is at 9.9(salifert test kit), Ca. @410, Mg @1300. What do you mean by "pulse it weekly"? <Supply enough iodide to get a reading the next day. Bob Fenner>

Re: help with a red coral I've seen the Dendronephthya before and I thought that it was mostly white with red spicules... <Nope... comes in many colors... almost all I know of. Some pix on our site where I sent you> I guess that's only one species? <Not even this. Many colors per species> My coral is the opposite of the picture on your site. I wouldn't have purchased it if I knew it was what I refer to as 'carnation coral'...I guess I'll be calling the store and asking them to take it back... <Mmm, good idea IMO... also to research purchases ahead of acquisition. Bob Fenner>

Re: help with a red coral Good evening or day... I didn't buy the coral 'completely blind', my tank has a somewhat odd setup. I only light half of the tank and I was looking for something to put on the dark half of the tank. I thought red or orange colored organisms generally required less light.  <Yes> This coral was the first red one I've seen in the past 6 months or so at the local fish store. I haven't taken it back yet because it really looks beautiful in my tank.  <And they do tend to "die slow"...> The little red coral that was like 1 inch high and 1-3/4 inches wide in the tank at the store is now like 2 inches high and 3-1/2 inches wide and still expanding. At the store the spicules (is that what they are called?)  <Yes> were not even visible...it looked more like a sponge-type organism than a soft coral... <Perhaps it is.> now the spicules are almost always all open. Do you have any idea on how quickly it can degrade and die? <Days to weeks> It looks so happy right now... Thanks for your time- Ann <Good luck... I do suspect that the "touchier" Nephtheids are dependent on a mix of dissolved organic carbon AND nano (very small) plankton (as well as current, oxygen...) for their nutrition... and that hobbyist set-ups are too skimmed, too new, bereft of enough of these materials to support them. Perhaps you will be the person to figure out the "magic" recipe for their captive care. Bob Fenner>

Re: help with a red coral I think I may have figured out what it is. I found some information on the GARF web site that looks like what I have (only their picture is of a yellow coral). The close up of the projections that I was calling spicules looks like what comes out of my coral. They call it Neospogodes. <Neospongodes, a genus of the family Nephtheidae...> Do you know anything about this coral...the little write up at their site said it is photosynthetic... <It's not "A" coral but a genus... Please make a trip to a large local library... a rundown on how to do literature searches: http://WetWebMedia.Com/litsrchart.htm> I don't see the pointy projections mixed in with frilly projections like on the Dendronephthya. Thanks again- Ann <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Red Chili Coral I have green algae growing on my chili coral. What can I do to get rid of the  algae? >> This is a serious situation... that you should try to redress quickly... and best by providing competing photosynthetic life to deprive the green algae infesting your soft coral. I would place some Caulerpa or Halimeda spp. in your main tank near a bright spot (it doesn't have to be near the soft coral), and/or better in your sump or refugium (if you have or can rig up same) and provide a light there. Bob Fenner

Re: Scleronephthya Hey I just got my new TurboFlotor installed you were dead right that thing is insane. It sucked out a half a cup of sludge out of my tank the first night I had it running. My anemone looks great after I installed this. The Scleronepthyas is doing great as well. When I place live brine (adult or baby) it perks up pretty quick, even during the day. At night I slowly squirt the baby brine on its stem with a plastic syringe. It is eating and is stuck to its rock. Well I appreciate all of your advice the last couple of weeks and I am glad I bought the TurboFlotor.  Thanks Everett West >> Ah, my favorite type of input... positive results. Amazing, eh? Thank you for the message. And, you're welcome. Bob Fenner

Scleronephthya Hello again Thanks for your help with my red algae problem. I went ahead and bought  a hang on TurboFlotor to replace my sea clone skimmer. I also bought 2 money  plants and cut back the fish food.  On Friday I bought a violet Scleronephthya soft coral from FF. I read  that this coral does not need light and eats baby brine shrimp. However, my  books do not tell me how much light this species can tolerate. I placed it  at the bottom of my std size 75 gallon tank with 5 40 watt fluorescent bulbs.  It is at full size at night and shrinks during the day. Just now I thought  to move it under a ledge of live rock as a precaution. I was not able to do  this because in 3 days this coral had attached itself to the hole in the live  rock that I placed the trunk into. Should I leave this coral where it is or  put it in the shade. I am unsure because the coral connecting itself to the  LR seems to be a good indicator of its health and correct placement.  Thanks Everett West >> I wouldn't move your soft coral... they can tolerate, but as you note, not use bright lighting... (the genus Scleronephthya do not have endosymbiotic/photosynthetic algae in their tissues)... These are not easy animals to keep... but do pump large quantities of water in/out of their bodies in the wild as you state...

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