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FAQs about Pectiniid Corals

Related Articles: Pectiniids, SPS Corals

Related FAQs: Stony/True Coral, Coral System Set-Up, Coral System Lighting, Stony Coral Identification, Stony Coral Selection, Coral PlacementFoods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, Propagation, Growing Reef CoralsStony Coral Behavior, SPS Identification, SPS Behavior, SPS Compatibility, SPS Selection, SPS Systems, SPS Feeding, SPS Disease, SPS Reproduction,

At right: an Oxypora lacera in an exhibit in Hawai'i's Waikiki Aquarium.

Coral warfare       8/9/15
I have a chalice coral, which has grown from about 2 inches across when I purchased it to about 15 inches across today. Unfortunately, it has grown to the point where it is overlapping with my Platygyra (about 7 inches across). I am hard pressed to move either coral as they are both well attached to the rock work and trying to move them would cause a major
disturbance in the tank.
<... life is.... a series of compromises>
The Platygyra is defending itself and is clearly coming out the winner.
The portion of the chalice that is next to the Platygyra has started dying off although the rest of the colony seems fine.
My inclination is to leave things as they are. The chalice has plenty of room to grow in other directions and the Platygyra seems to be able to defend itself. What do you think?
<Can be done... happens "in the wild" "all the time" as we may well presume>
Can I leave it be or do I need to take more decisive actions?
<Can leave... whatever kinds, degrees of chemical and physical warring (allelopathy) occur, they will habituate amongst the life, system here... likely w/ small repercussions>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

chalice coral help; need data     4/13/13
Thanks everyone in advance!
<Welcome Kate>
I have scoured the internet, and cannot seem to find information regarding chalice corals bleaching from non light related issues.
<There are a few other general "cause" groups... some pathogenic disease, parasites, lack of nutrient, pollution, allelopathy, other environmental issues>

I have over 20 chalice colonies in my tank, and bleaching began on one chalice and has subsequently spread to almost every other chalice in the tank. Lighting has not been an issue, because the placement of the corals have not changed in months, and the lighting has remained consistent.
<Mmm, I'll add "as far as you're aware">
The bleaching spots seem to be random throughout the corals, and do not cover the entire coral. Besides the bleaching, the chalices have an extremely swollen appearance, and this is way above the normal inflation that is seen with healthy corals.
<Useful clues>
The tissue has slightly receded on some of the chalices, but most of the newly affected ones have absolutely no skeleton showing through, and just appear extremely puffy and translucent.  I have read that there can be certain bacterial and protozoa infections that can cause bleaching, but no real information on how to distinguish the causative agent, or even what treatments to pursue. Any suggestions  would be appreciated.
<Ahhh, need to know more quantified facts re this system... measures for PAR/PUR at depth re your light, whatever you measure for water quality; your maintenance procedures, the presence of other livestock here, foods/feeding, supplementation practices, the general set up... e.g. whether you use contactor/s and chemical filtrants, what you have been doing, not-doing differently the last few weeks...  Have you scanned through the marine disease area on WWM?:
Do so: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
The second tray down and further.
Bob Fenner>
Re: chalice coral help... three tanks involved... lack of nutrient, or?      4/15/13

Thanks for your quick reply! I will attempt to give you as much information as possible. The tricky part is that currently there are 3 systems that are all experiencing the same problem,
<... what is/are the commonality/ies here? The water likely... have you changed... brands of salt mix, your MO for prep.? Has the municipality done something overt to your source water... or you to the RO, whatever treatment you employ?>
and none of them are plumbed together, so I will attempt to give you the common traits between all of the tanks. As for pur/par, I do not have exact values or readings (I know, rather useless information on my part), but the tanks are lit by either metal halide or leds. I have had bleaching in relation to light before with corals, and the extremely swollen appearance of the tissue is something I have never seen before. The tissue on the chalices are so swollen that they look like wellso brain corals, or other similar corals. One system does have quite a lot of fish, along with an oversized skimmer and gfo for filtration.
<Remove this... see WWM re "rust" use; the need for appreciable HPO4>
The other two systems are coral only with live rock, and no fish. I do have either a diatom or Dinoflagellate outbreak going on in a couple of the tanks, but not the third one. The dino/diatom (not sure which one and can't seem to distinguish the two based upon observation alone) is not covering the whole tank or anything, but I have noticed some of the slimy brown bubbles here and there, and brown tint to the glass every few days. I do not know if this is causing the coral problem, but only the chalices seem to be affected, and I have multiple other lps and soft corals. Now, you mentioned another possible cause could be allelopathy, and that did definitely stick out to me. The only real change in my tanks has been the addition of multiple chalices, not 5 or 10, but probably 30. I made sure that none of them are actually touching each other, or that their sweepers are able to touch another coral, but they are all still in less than 50 gallons of water per tank. I have not run carbon in at least a year, because I only used it when I saw any nitrate spike, etc. So is there a possibility that the corals are attacking each other with their slime or whatever?
<Yes; but in all three separate systems at once? Strange>
Could carbon take care of it?
<Might well help. I would employ this and the product PolyFilter in your flow path>
If allelopathy is the cause, what are the chances of recovery for the corals if tank conditions are improved?
<... depends on how badly, how much cascade effect the biochemistry is eliciting>
Some other little tid-bits of information about tank practices and changes that have happened in the past month or so would be the addition of vitamin C tablets (yes, the ones used for human consumption).
<Usually Ascorbic Acid is fine... but just in case, I'd hold off w/ any further addition>
 I heard they were good for corals and fish, so I added a tablet in each tank one time, and never since then. I also hooked up and used a sulfer <Sulfur/Sulphur> nitrate reactor on two of my tanks.
<Ahh, this could do it for sure... see WWM re... too much change, even in the "right direction/s" can have this effect>
 I used it for one week on two tanks to try and get rid of the last 5-10 ppm nitrates
<... all chemophotosynthetic life needs "some" NO3... I would NOT reduce NO3 to zip. SEE/READ on WWM re>
 that I had, and then I stopped because I couldn't really find much information about them, and the whole acidic water thing did kind of freak me out. Also, I do have chronically low ph, staying around 7.85-7.9.
<... could be the reactor as well... READ re Ozone use, RedOx on WWM... you're ready>
Granted, the ph has been the same level for 3 years, and I am still trying to correct that, but I am assuming that is a whole other issue.
Hopefully there is enough information to help with a diagnosis, but if not, I will try to get any additional information that you may need.
<... time for you to spend more time reading, understanding, and less purchasing. B>
Re: chalice coral help      4/16/13

Thank you Bob!
Slow down and read, seems like the best advice for any problems in a reef tank :-)
<Ah yes... in the meanwhile pull the GFO, stop the Vit. C....>
I will get back to your site and work from there. Hopefully I can figure something out before I lose my corals; race against time, and taking my time all for the same problem! Quite the catch-22 Im in right now!
Thanks again!
<Welcome. BobF>

Coral ID...Chalice Coral - 06/23/12
Hi all at WWM,
<<Hey there Simon>>
Could you please identify this coral for me and hopefully point me in the right direction for some information about it as I'm very interested in it as it’s just become available to buy. There has been a lot of discussion about it but no one seems to be able to correctly ID it locally.
<<Looks to be a “chalice coral” of some kind. Likely a species of Oxypora or Mycedium. Give those names a search on the NET and see what you think>>
Thank you once again.
<<Happy to share… EricR>>

Coral ID 7/28/10
Hi: I sent this on Saturday (July 24) but it may have been lost in somewhere in the intertubes. I was hoping you might be able to confirm the ID of this newly acquired coral. My guess is Pectinia lactuca from photos in Borneman's book. Do you agree or disagree?
<I do agree>
I have it medium-low in a 75g under 175w 14000K halides, with moderate flow. As you can see it's under similar conditions as the Plerogyra behind it. If it is Pectinia lactuca, this seems to be what Borneman suggests.
He does not suggest a feeding regimen. Do you have any suggestions?
<Mmm, well... Pectiniids are Zooxanthellate, to very large degree dependent on photosynthesis for their nutrition... Keeping water quality optimized and stable, providing for (and not totally removing) necessary
macro-chemical nutrients is about the best approach to their nutrition>
I have fed it Cyclop-eeze and induced its feeding tentacles to emerge.
<Additionally they all do feed at night with long, near-transparent tentacles. Some aquarists do, some don't... feed theirs that is. These corals are at their best being offered some fine-particulate meaty foods on an occasional basis. Bob Fenner>
Thanks for your time!

Chalice has become completely different color than when purchased... -- 11/12/09
Dear WWM Crew,
Hope all is well with you guys tonight!
<Thank you, yawn (!); now the AM and am trying to improve awareness... Patterning in>
I have an 85 gallon reef with the following water/lighting parameters:
Temp: 78F
Ph: 8.2
Alk: 9 dKH
Calcium: 440
Nitrates: <5 always, but mostly undetectable
Phosphates: 0
Magnesium: 1380
Add 2 drops Lugol's solution weekly
10% water change weekly with Tropic Marin Pro Reef salt mix.
Lighting is one 150w 14,000k HQI double ended Hamilton Metal Halide bulb with 2 96W VHO lights - one super actinic.
Tank has a refugium with Chaetomorpha.
<So far, so good>
A couple of months ago, I bought a "designer" Emerald Mummy Eyed Echinophyllia Chalice coral via a very reputable mail order house. The coral was healthy (and emerald with red eyes!) when it arrived. It struggled in my tank for several weeks, and showed some signs of recession in a few spots along the edges. I thought I had acclimated well, but the coral seemed stressed for the first month or so. After moving it around a bit, it has finally settled in well on the bottom of my tank, towards the center in the front.
I have it on a flat piece of live rock to avoid the tissue settling into the sand and irritating the coral.
The recession appears to have halted, the tissue is now nice and puffy, and the coral really appears to be stable and on the mend. But the problem is, this coral now looks nothing like what I purchased! The eyes are still bright red, but the surrounding tissue is no longer emerald. It is a brick red or almost a muddy brown in color. I know I moved the coral around initially to find the spot is seemed to respond to best, but could this have caused the color change?
<Mmm, just being moved about, shipped... new conditions. It may well improve with time, good care>
And, is the color change permanent?
<How to put this? The only permanence is change as the saying sort of goes.
The short answer: "No, not permanent". Can change>
I did call the store where it was ordered from to inquire what their lighting was for this animal. It was MH lighting although I cannot remember the Kelvin rating on it - I think it was 20K.
<Mmm, surprising. Most culture facilities, folks in the trade, keep these/Scleractinians under 12-14K lighting>
I have been hoping that over time, as the coral continues to adjust and recover, it will color morph again, as these corals so often do. Please let me know your thoughts. I am not 100% happy with the color of the piece now.
On another note, a little over a week ago, I got a beautiful gold chalice that I have in the lower middle of the tank. It was drip acclimated for two hours. It looks very healthy - no bleaching or recession, but the tissue has not really expanded fully. It is not puffy and full looking. Do you feel this coral is still acclimating to its environment, or that this is a sign of stress I need to address?
<Likely mostly acclimation>
Thanks in advance for the response!
Laura Rothbaum
<Do you feed these stony corals? Please see the Net re Pectiniid nutrition.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Chalice has become completely different color than when purchased... -- 11/12/09
Hi Bob,
Thanks so much for your reply.
Yes, I target feed these corals 3 times a week with a mixture of phytoplankton and Cyclopeeze. I know the phyto is too small for them, but I use it as a "base" to put the Cyclopeeze in and target feed the entire tank every other day with the pump/skimmer off for about 30 minutes.
<Good practice>
I can visibly see the chalices taking in the Cyclopeeze. If you have any other preferred food sources for these guys, let me know.
<You may have just tipped my balance in getting off my duff and compiling notes into a mini-omnibus on Cnidarian foods/feeding/nutrition. There is much to say, state plainly... among other things to dispel the notion that feeding phytoplankton is of value. BobF>

Re: Chalice has become completely different color than when purchased...  11/13/09
Hi Bob,
<Friend Laura>
If I have played any role in you writing on the subject, I am glad, as I voraciously read anything I can find that you have written!
One of the things about the hobby that is so frustrating is the conflicting information one finds on any given subject.
<Ah yes... the a priori "cause" (promulgation) for my and friends developing WWM... As you will appreciate, knowing summat about a field, and prizing its place in human affairs, the Net is (presently) the best route for "making what is important known"... Unfortunately it is just as readily a vehicle for mis and dis-information>
If there is anything you can do to clarify that (i.e. feeding phytoplankton to corals is or isn't of great value), please do! We try so hard to do what is best for our animals, and would like to think the information we are relying on is accurate.
Thanks again,
<And significant, meaningful... Have put this writing project on my A list. Cheers, BobF>

Help with coral ID -- 08/14/09
Hi Bob,
A friend gave me the coral in the attached pic, but I am having a Dickens of a time ID'ing it. I'd appreciate any help (family, genera, etc) that you all can provide.
<A Pectiniid of some sort: http://wetwebmedia.com/pectiniids.htm

Echinophyllia... allelopathy? -- 03/22/09
I have an Echinophyllia (spelling?)
chalice coral. I've had it for about a year now and was doing wonderful until recently. Nothing that I am aware of has changed aside from switching out lamps about two months ago. I have noticed these tiny little worm type things protruding from it when I feed the corals and the pump is off.
Otherwise it looks normal. My other chalices do not seem to have these worm type filaments coming off them. They are white very slender and at first I thought they may be sweeper tentacles but have since reconsidered. I took a turkey baster and attempted to blow them off but they don't budge.
<Mmmm... maybe hydrozoans>
So since then I cut a small piece off the coral and there were tons and tons of them. literally hundreds. I have tried to find any recourse about pests that will only bother echinos but no luck. On a side note I have 4
other full colonies of chalice and none of them display these. I have both aspera, Oxypora, and lilyphytons (spelling?).
<Mmm, all but this last>
I tried to take some photos of this but my camera is terrible. I have attached a pic of the best quality I am able to provide. Also a Tank shot so you can see everything else is thriving...
Tank parameters are SG 1.023
<I'd raise this... 1.025-1.026>
phosphate nitrite nitrate are all very low. CA at 420-450 DKH 9 Temp is between 76 and can get up to 80 some days. 300 Gallons + 40 w/ sump.
heavily stocked running de-nitrate, Phosban,
<And not use these chemical filtrants. See WWM re>
and carbon sometimes. 40 gallon water changes bi monthly. I have been adding Probio biotpim and bio clean also in an effort to get the phosphates to .03
<Good... and/but at cross purposes with the Phosphate remover>
I would appreciate any help.
Thank You,
<I would improve the environment here... and not try a biological "cleaner". Bob Fenner>

Re: Echinophyllia... allelopathy?   3/23/09
Thanks for the relay. I went and looked at every picture of hydrozoans I could find.. and these do not compare to what I have. They look like worms and you cannot make out a head or any legs on their slender bodies.
<Okay... a close-up pic or two would be nice if you could send along.>
They are white with a slightly off color line down them. They are about 5/8" to 1/2" long and all come out at once of the mouth of the Echino.
<? The mouth? You mean the individual polyps?>
I am not sure if they are indeed the feeding tentacles??? I'd be happy to mail a piece of the coral to you if you want a sample...? then you could see for your self.
<Mmm, not practical... am out diving in a couple days. Try a large size file with the best macro lens on your digital camera... and spiffing this up. Bob Fenner>

Re: Echinophyllia... allelopathy? 3/23//09
My camera isn't too great. What do you mean improve the over all quality of the environment? More water changes to get things low instead of using filter media? I was under the impression that changing large qty
of water causes a 'shock' to the whole tank every time we do that... Or is it better to change 40G like every weekend if time permits?
Also the SG of 1.025 or 1.026 can be done.. Should that be a permanent change or just for a while..? Everything I've been told (probably incorrectly) was to keep it at 1.023-1.024 but 1.025 is the highest possible it should ever be.
<These issues are covered on WWM... please avail yourself of the search tool, indices. B

Can You Please Help Me Identify This Coral? 03/22/08 Dear Sir or Madam, We purchased this beautiful coral from a local merchant and was told by one employee that it was a Blastomussa and by another that it was a Pavona. <Haha, wow, that's quite a difference of opinion! It is not either of these.> Both of which to us it does not look like. Can you please tell us what it is? <It's impossible to accurately ID without a close look at the exposed skeleton, but it looks like a Pectinia sp. to me. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pectiniids.htm> Best regards,
Marc & Belinda Barry
Sara M.>

Coral Identification... Echinophyllia 12/28/2007 Hello Crew <Hi Claire, Mich here asking forgiveness in my tardy reply.> I was wondering whether you would be able to identify this coral for me. <Is hard with just a photo... but I will certainly try.> I was thinking either Oxymora lacera, or Echinophyllia aspera ... or I could be completely wrong and it is something totally different? <I think it may be an Echinophyllia. The corallites in Echinophyllia typically occur at many different angles and are often raised and bumpy. The corallites in Oxymora are generally more patterned and regular.> Thanks for any help you can give me. <Hope this helps! Mich>

Candy Cane... Uh, no... and other nonsense from not reading WWM   7/10/07 Hi Crew, The attached was sold to me as a candy cane. It does not look like my other candy canes which have branches. Is it a Favia? <Mmm, no... wrong family... But right Class! Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pectiniids.htm> Recently I got some corals from 3 different people and put them in my tank. Now there is ick. <...> First my neon gobies got it and my clown goby. I removed them and treated with copper but the neons died. >...< The clown looked very bad but now is clear and is eating. I still have a Gramma in the display and a cardinal. The Gramma has it and I did not catch it yet. <The last is the operative word> But he is still eating. The cardinal is still clean. I understand that if I do not remove all then they are hosts. <Bingo, double Bingo today!> But if the cardinal does not get it and the others recover and I do not remove the cardinal will the clown and Gramma get it as soon as I return them to the display or will they have gotten immune? Thanks <... Drizzard, drazzard, drizzerd drone, time for this one to read... See WWM re all this... the indices, search tool. Bob Fenner>

Echinophyllia care, Berghia Nudibranch in main display  - 09/03/06   Hello once again.  I have a couple of questions for you.  I recently purchased a 3" purple and red Echinophyllia which I had researched before the purchase, and believe needs to be placed in bright light with moderate flow, correct? <Mmm, within defined terms. Please see here: http://www.google.com/custom?domains=www.WetWebMedia.com&q=echinophyllia&sitesearch=www.WetWebMedia.com&client=pub-4522959445250520&forid=1&ie=ISO-8859-1&oe=ISO-8859-1&cof=GALT%3A%23008000%3BGL%3A1%3BDIV%3A%23336699%3BVLC%3A663399%3BAH%3Acenter%3BBGC%3A99C9FF%3BLBGC%3A336699%3BALC%3A0000FF%3BLC%3A0000FF%3BT%3A000000%3BGFNT%3A0000FF%3BGIMP%3A0000FF%3BFORID%3A1%3B&hl=en> The coral appears to look the same day and night, which doesn't seem right to me ( doesn't seem to "swell up" during the day).  I don't have a picture of the coral but it looks like a plating variety, similar to a plating Montipora with more "bumps".  I have it about 12" under water directly beneath a 250 watt metal halide light.  Is this too much light?   <... Mmm, you state you "recently" acquired this colony/animal... takes a while to adapt (weeks...)... shouldn't be exposed to much more light than it was... See WWM re photo-acclimation of Scleractinians>     My other question is, on the website www.saltyunderground.com it says you can put Berghia Nudibranchs directly into your main display which conflicts with other things I've read.  They suggest 8 per 100 gallons.  I have plenty of Aiptasia, what do you think of this idea? <Is done "all the time"> I have a clown fish, blue flavivertex Pseudochromis, Kole tang, cleaner shrimp and a bubble tip anemone. <Not a good idea to mix with stony, soft corals...> My thought was that by adding 8 to my tank a couple would hopefully survive long enough to reproduce and get rid of the Aiptasia. <"So many foxes, so many rabbits"...> I know the Aiptasia are a result of too many nutrients in the water but I do a 10 percent weekly water change and feed corals and fish lightly, and don't know what else to do to keep them from reproducing (remora pro protein skimmer). <... see WWM re>   I have a 90 gallon tank with a 20 gallon overflow, would a bigger protein skimmer help...what would you suggest? <That you read>   Euro-reef models seem to be getting cheaper and I was thinking about getting a RS model rated for 135 gallons.  All my tests read 0 for anything bad, but believe this is a result of my "Aiptasia filter". <You are wise here> Would adding some macro algae help compete for nutrients? <Mmm, yes> I guess that was more than a couple questions.  Thanks for your help and your website, Ryan. <Keep using it. Bob Fenner>

Pectinia sp. slime 7/10/05 Thanks for fielding my question. <Welcome> Recently, my Pectinia coral experienced some shock.  It fell from it's perch midway up my 140gal tank (28" tall), mixed tank 2x400MH and 2x 110w VHO, all other tank parameters are perfect.  I moved it to a new place, because I could not get it to stay in it's original place.  Some of the internal skeleton was showing from where pieces broke off.  Some of the damaged began to slime... a lot.  And now the slime has covered a lot of the rock with bubbles attached to the slime streamers.  None of my other coral are declining because of this, but it looks like I have a serious case of Cyanobacteria, which I do not think it is.  I have had that before!!! I have been sucking the slime off the rocks while doing small water changes all week and plowing the slime off the rocks every night, so my skimmer can do some of the work.  My protein skimmer is running full time and skimming dark green waste.  New carbon in the sump. It looks like my Pectinia is recovering after a week of this.  It is a beautiful coral under actinic lights.  Is there any thing else that I should be doing? thanks you for your time. cde <I would check your alkalinity, calcium levels, bolster if low, add the activated carbon to your filter flow path... and dose with an iodide solution. Bob Fenner>

Pectinia paeonia propagation 6/29/05 Mr. Fenner: I love your website, it is a tremendous resource. I was hoping to get either Anthony Calfo, or Eric Borneman's opinion on the possibilities of fragging Pectinia Paeonia. <Anthony here with bells on... earring too... a tight lil purple dress. Its a good day.> I have read your page on the Pectiniids, and realize that there is little demand, and a slow growth rate for these corals. But is it possible to propagate these the same way as SPS  fragmentation?? i.e., breaking into smaller pieces and supergluing them to "plugs"? <Yes... similar> Or does this coral require an LPS method where the skeleton must be cut, and the tissue allowed to grow apart? <Not at all... the latter being too slow/conservative> My concern arises with the mouth shaped orifice located deep within the flutes of the coral... Thank you. Ben Ward <Pectinia can simply be sawn without care or caution to include a mouth with every frag. Use a masonry saw blade... preferably a wet saw (cooling the blade... less tissue damage). Cheap DIY tile cutting saws work fine here. Just rip into fast clean sections. We just did a fab demonstration of this at IMAC. Go to theimac.org and you will see DVDs of it for sale in a few weeks (cheap too). Maintain good water flow on the divisions... and be sure to make lateral or lower moves, but not higher, when returning the frags to the tank. Best of luck! Anthony>  

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