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FAQs on Stinging-Celled Animal Compatibility 9

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

Related FAQs: Cnidarian Compatibility 1, Cnidarian Compatibility 2, Cnidarian Compatibility 3, Cnidarian Compatibility 4, Cnidarian Compatibility 5, Cnidarian Compatibility 6, Cnidarian Compatibility 7, Cnidarian Compatibility 8, & By Group 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 ,

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

Mushroom killing bacteria?      8/21/17
Hi Crew! I am at a total loss, I need help.
I run 2 tanks, my main 75 gallon display tank (established 3.5 years) and a newer (7/8 mth) 55 gallon 'frag tank'.
I am a big mushroom enthusiast, but also keep a variety of other soft corals, Zoanthids, lps and a couple small easy sps (birdsnests, montis).
<Mmm; you likely have heard/read that Zoas and Shrooms often "fight" chemically; more than most stony corals>
You'll hate to hear this but I have never been big on testing, I simply rely on frequent small water changes via drip, and constant observation for anything looking 'off'. I have a low fish stock in both (maroon clown, starry blenny, azure damsel, pink spotted watchmen and an unknown Anthias in the 75, and a small clarkii clown and azure in 55).
<I'm of the same "practice">
Up until recently both tanks have thrived, very minimal coral or fish loss over the past few years. Everything has always seemed very stable and well balanced, no issues with algae and in fact immediately before my current
issue my display tank looked the best it ever had.
But we all make mistakes, and I always learn from them, but in this case I think it's too late. I know I should have been quarantining everything and I have learned and now have a quarantine tank set up but as I said, too late.
So on to my issue. A few months ago I purchased the coral contents of a fellow reefers tank with plans of fragging and reselling the corals. The vast majority were Euphyllia (torches, hammers, frogspawn, as well as a favia, large brain and some others) I placed them all in my frag tank, except one large plate that I didn't have space for that went into my display.
<The Euphyllias rank near the top for allelopathy amongst Scleractinians...
Oh how I wish you'd slowly acclimated the new to the established as gone over here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
Within 24 hours the brain and plate both looked ill
<Losers to the mentioned combatants; classical>

and eventually started melting, and were covered in the dreaded brown jelly. Never having dealt with brown jelly before it was a great learning experience. I promptly removed both corals but the brown jelly didn't take long to affect the other Euphyllia (i suppose since they were not well established and under stress). I saw no ill effects on any corals in my main tank, assuming because they were well established and healthy. My attempts at fragging off dying pieces, treating in a separate tank with furan 2, dips with revive, rinsing in fw etc all failed. In the end i lost
the vast majority of Euphyllia that I had purchased, aside from the frogspawn which never seemed effected.
<More reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/envdisphysiof.htm
A few weeks later and all the Euphyllia in the frag tank were gone besides the frogspawn, and everything seemed back to normal, so I resumed my normal practices. I fragged some Rhodactis mushrooms in the frag tank,
<... Yeeikes; not in the tank; not this soon>

and to my surprise they melted. I have never had issues with fragging any mushrooms in the past. At the time I did not think it could be related, (and am still not sure it is) maybe I had just 'butchered' them or they weren't well established, so I simply decided to hold off on any fragging for a while. At some point I moved some mushrooms into my display, considering them quarantined and healthy. Weeks went by with no issues, now the nightmare starts.
A few weeks ago I lost one of my prize Rhodactis in my display. It had been doing amazing and was growing rapidly, and then didn't open fully for a couple days, then suddenly melted within hours. Since then many healthy
mushrooms (some that I have had for at least 3 years) have just suddenly melted away.
<A familiar "cascade" event>
Some first detach from the rock then disappear, some start expelling their guts then begin oozing from their mouths till they melt away, the odd one simply begins oozing from an outside edge then melts. These are healthy mushrooms, not recently fragged or damaged in any way. I have learned to syphon them out now as soon as i see it beginning, but I need to find a way to stop this!
<For now; just time going by: NO CHANGES>
So far it has only affected Rhodactis and Discosoma, I haven't lost a single Ricordea, or any other type of coral for that matter. The mushrooms that die are all in random places in the tank, it doesn't necessarily travel from one and then directly to it's neighbour. I even accidentally damaged a hammer coral while moving it (it and an anemone were getting dangerously close to each other ) and it has recovered quickly and without incident.
I've done large water changes and added carbon with no luck, just in case it was allelopathy.
<Ah, good>
I apologize for the long story, but I feel all details are necessary.
<They are; no worries>
Please help guide me, what steps should I take next? I have spent 3.5 years building my mushroom collection, this is devastating to me. I am normally very good at researching and problem solving on my own, but I feel I have
hit a dead end.
<IF you have other well-established systems to move some stock to, I would.
Otherwise, no further additions or fragging here for a few months>
The last thing I would like to note is that the only other major change I had made around the time this started was that I began feeding Reef Roids to the tank, although I am sure this is merely coincidental.
<Agreed. Bob Fenner>

Question for Bob Fenner. Poss. Cnid. interaction/hlth. issue     5/16/17
Hello Bob!
I have a situation where my Green Slimers have lost all of their surface Green color over the course of about a month. All that is left are the polyps.
Also, My green caps are starting to do the same thing.

<Yikes... no fun. Something missing or too much here... a few possibilities... W/o further reading, would like to know the usual water quality parameters, test results... about your set up, particularly use of any chemical filtrants... maintenance routines; foods/feeding...>
The Frogspawn, Hammer and Zoas do not seem to be affected. and are open and seem happy.
<These "more stinging" Cnidarians may be winning at the expense of your losing SPS>
I also have a large plate coral, that has lost its vigor (use to have over 100 conical type polyps extended 1/3 of an inch all the time) that now has its mouth open most of the time (does take meaty foods) and is holding its purple color, just very little polyp extension. It also seems to be affected in some way.
Any advice on what might be causing the loss of Green color?
<Again; and more directly: I suspect allelopathy here; secondary... brought on by some unbalance/s in the system, allowing more aggressive stinging-celled life to be chemically, possibly physically outcompeting the small polyp stonies here>
Overall tank
parameters are in range, Calcium is 500,
<This is a little high. I'd let drift to 400-450 ppm max.>
DKH is between 8 - 9.5, Mag is
1400, Nitrates are 30, but it these have been typical values for past year.
It is a 40 gallon tank, no skimmer, few fish, change 25% of water weekly, using Red Sea Coral Pro Salt.
<No use of a phosphate filter? No use of iodide-ate?>
<I'd have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and beyond in this ppt presentation series. There is an article version as well; linked above. Review what is stated there re avoiding allelopathy, what can be done now. It may be necessary to remove, even frag the living, healthy parts of the "losing" colonies and move, raise them elsewhere. Bob Fenner>

fish and corals; comp.     4/9/17
<Hi there>
Rich here.
Wonderful site! Full of much needed info. I have a question that may have already been answered, but sometimes it is daunting to find the exact topic in your enormous vault of information. I have a 180 FOWLR and inverts that has been running successfully for four years. Three Sicce voyager 4's for circulation in the display tank, a Fluval underwater filter for extra aeration, circulation and water polishing, Tunze protein skimmer and
PhosBan 550 in sump.
<This last... you know that all chemosynthetic life requires "some" soluble HPO4?>
Lighting is two 32" Reef Breeder V1 Legacies.
The inhabitants are an 8 inch Hawaiian Naso Tang, 2 inch Flame Angel, 5 inch Red Headed Solon Wrasse, 4 inch Melanurus Wrasse, 2 Percula Clowns, a 3 inch Cleaner Wrasse and a 4 inch Dart fish (lost the other two over the years). I have three cleaner shrimp, about 15 hermits and about 70 various types of snails.
Everyone is peaceful, getting along, so I do not want to add any more fish and upset the balance. I was talked into adding some easier, LPS corals to add some color by someone at my LFS, and have been successful so far over the last five months with everyone doing fine.
But recently I realized that I committed the classic mistake of not researching the corals like I had done with the fish to determine compatibility not only between corals, but also the fish. I would like to list the corals I added so you could tell me if I have added potential problems or if I may be OK with these. May main concern is the health and safety of my fish.
Two live rocks with anthelia
Two Zoanthid colonies
Some trumpets
A small Favia Brain coral
A small Goniastrea Brain
Twelve heads of Duncans
A 6 inch Acan Lord Ultra Colony
A 7 inch Dragon Soul Colony
I was planning on adding one last item; a 7 inch Mummy Eye chalice. I am trying to leave adequate space, at least 5 inches between all of these.
Thought the Angel might be the biggest threat to the corals,
<Yes; but just possibly... individualistic>
but it has shown no interest yet. Nitrates stay at 2 to 3 PPM, PH 8.2, KH 11, Calcium 420, temp 76 degrees, salinity 1.024. Should I rethink this and remove any of the corals? Thank you for your advice.
<I think you are fine here; including the Chalice addition. Again, you should have some (thousandths of ppm at least) detectable phosphate. Bob Fenner>

Chemical warfare?     7/3/16
Good afternoon all and thank you for your time. I have a 7 year old 60 gallon saltwater tank. I have a skimmer, live rock, a goby, a clown fish, a cleaner shrimp, some snails, many purple mushrooms. I added a Kenya tree coral about 4 months ago. He was happy for 2 months and is now mostly slumped over. Is this due to chemical warfare?
<Could be>
I used to have many, many corals, gsp, Duncan, hammer, Zoas, they flourished and then they all gradually died off over the years. So I've just had the mushrooms for a while now and they have taken over half of the tank.
The Kenya is on the other side.
I added a coral beauty a week ago, acclimated him over an hour. On day 3 he developed a cloudy eye. Could this be related to the coral issue?
<Yes... and a few things/actions you might consider to keep your system more "balanced" in favor of all macro-life there. Regular/weekly water changes, the periodic use of carbon (am a fan of Chemi-Pure... switching out an older unit every month... leaving two in place. You might want to read Re ORP/RedOx, get involved in measuring such as an indicator of your system's viability... Oh, and DO read re how to go about acclimating any NEW Cnidarians... HERE: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm >
Thank you for any insights,
<And I'd thin the herd re the Corallimorpharians here... trade them in. Bob Fenner>

Please help. Cnid. allelopathy in a new, large sys.       5/26/16
Hello Mr. Fenner,
<Hey Dai>
I hope you can point me in the right direction. I have a 265 gallon reef tank that I set up 4 months ago. I have sump/refugium, 4" carbon reactor, 6" media reactor with media pellets, 8" skimmer. Lights are 4 Hydra 26 HDs.
Nitrate /phosphate is zero

<Mmm; stop here: You know that all bio-mineralizing life requires "some" NO3 and HPO4? W/o these basic chemical nutrients all your "corals" will be very stressed/starved>
and the water is within reef parameters. The tank has 3 sections. Left is Zoas, center is 100 plus heads of hammers/frogspawn, and the right is 18" green leather and 4" green toadstool.

Everything was fine with Zoas multiplying, hammers sprouts tiny babies but within the past 5 days, some of the hammer heads just died leaving stalk white skeletons.
<The "losers"... to either the Alcyoniids or Zoanthids>

I bought a 60 gallon so this weekend I can put the finger/toadstool in it.
I hook up the FX6 filter (400 GPH) with carbon to address chemical warfare since Monday. I think the reasons on the demise of the hammers are :
1. Chemical release from leather/toadstool.
2. Media reactor strips all nitrate/phosphate which hammers do need to grow.
<Definitely a/some factor>
So my plan is:
1. Move the toadstool/green finger to the 60 gallon.
2. Discontinue the FX6.
3. Discontinue the carbon and media reactor (all in one pellets).
<Sounds good>
The Zoas are thriving with new heads forming every week. I love to have a garden of hammers and while some people grow these like weeds, I can't keep them alive. Before dying, they thrive then die next day. Is my diagnosis and plan of action correct? Thank you Mr. Fenner. Dai
<I do agree with your plan; is what I would do, try at this point. IF no improvement, I would move the Euphyllias elsewhere. DO PLEASE READ AND HEED my acclimation protocol for introducing any/all NEW Cnidarians... by mixing water to/fro twixt the main-display and isolation/quarantine system. HERE:
Bob Fenner>
<<Note: next time mention triple-dosing iodide-ate>>
Re: Please help

Thank you Mr. Fenner. So you are saying maybe it is the Zoas that are affecting the hammers as well ?
<Might/could well be; yes>
In that case should I move the hammers to the 60 and leave the toadstool/finger in the main tank?
<Yes; a better plan... Plus I'd triple dose all (both systems) with iodide-ate... every three days, three times>
Or just leave them in the main tank for now? I bought the 60 for the leathers specifically. Is it OK to run the 4" carbon reactor?
<Can't say from here. I would NOT use such on a newish system period>
On another topic. I think the" all in one pellets" give people the false sense of security.
<Oh yeah; the/a "western ethic"... trained to be good consumers... "Buying" something... but sans understanding, often false notion/s>
The dealer touts as " zero nitrate and zero phosphate" so people go crazy thinking they don't have to do water for a year. But while this is true, it is hurting corals because it is stripping of the essential nutrients that corals need.
<Yes... even other media/sources tout that the world's reefs are "nutrient free" when in good shape. NOT the case. They are nutrient concentrated; with the life there scavenging most all available. NEVER zero nutrients in the water>
If you have to rely on these 'miracles" to get nitrate/PO4 to be zero then that person needs to evaluate his technique of husbandry.
<Very well stated>
Thank you and I look forward to your guidance. Dai
<And I to your further sharing. BobF>
Re: Please help     5/27/16

Ok, so this is the plan. Move the hammers to the 60. How much of new water to old water ratio be?
<About half>
If the old water is not good (chemical warfare, no nutrients) then may be start with 100% fresh water?
<Not I>
You talk about triple dose 2 tanks but I am not familiar with the medication. You mean every three days, I dose the tank 3 times a day and for how long? Is this the iodine coral dip?
<See WWM re. B>
Thanks! Dai
Re: Please help... Euphyllias, hlth.       6/3/16

Hello Mr. Fenner
<Hey Dai>
The 60 gallon is getting ready as I had to order a new tank. In the mean time my hammers are dying so I need to get them out of my 265.
<I'd move NOW; with a good deal of their present water>
I have a 50 gallon tank and freshly prepared water (a week old) that I will put in that tank with 40% old water and 60% new water.
<Oh! Good>
I will move all the hammers into that 50 gallon until the 60 is ready (likely by this weekend). The 50 just have HOB filters, T5 so do you see any issues with this plan?
<I do not... I WOULD triple dose w/ iodide/ate after the move... possibly more as a dip, along w/ a simple (hexose) sugar enroute>
I have run an external filter FX6 (400 GPH) to get rid of the chemical warfare but the hammers are still dying. Thank you for your reply. Dai
<Cheers! BobF>

Allelopathy Inquiry      5/11/16
Dear Bob & Crew,
Thanks again for your time and experience!
<And you for sharing Joe>
Another question today on the fascinating topic of allelopathy. I am gradually changing my 155 reef to all stony corals. Like many, I have witnessed the problems of allelopathic chemicals in a closed system. I first noticed these in large Eunicia sp. and lastly, in a colony of large hairy mushrooms. The remarkable fact is that many corals proved more or less adaptable to these chemicals, even within the same species!
I have since moved these soft corals but am still noticing some loss of heads in some Euphyllia species, most notably, hammer corals. I'm sure that some chemicals remain in the system despite water changes, skimming, and carbon (which doesn't remove much of these toxins IMO).
<Yes and yes>
Moving the corals to the far side of the tank, away from where the mushrooms were, helps the problem. I'm baffled because it seems as though the hairy mushrooms are still in the tank, noticing that the loss of heads is always on the left side of the corals (the mushrooms were on the left side of the tank)!
I do have a Rose bubble-tip anemone that resides on this side (unaffected by the toxins I might add). It is a 8" specimen and I have had many of these in the past with little evidence of allelopathy.
My question is, are bubble-tips known to produce toxins like some soft corals?
<Wild Entacmaeas more than domestic, cultured; and less than other large Pacific Anemone species
It would explain why the left side of some LPS corals in the tank and closing up and dying.
I might also add that interestingly, no SPS corals seem to be affected.
Thanks so much!!Joe
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Allelopathy and Assimilation       10/30/15
So, as per the usual, I have stocked my tank with to <too> much to quickly. In the interests of keeping all inhabitants stress free I need to strategically remove some of my most offensive residents.
<You are wise here>
I had received a previous indication from your all knowing resource that my bubble tip anemone was most likely a victim of allelopathy. I have enclosed a photo of my derasa clam also because I have noticed his exhalant siphon is, not gaping, but not strictly a slit either. And he awakens in the morning normal but by close of, Kessil led, lights is slightly more open. This behavior appears despite stable, testable, water parameters, of 1.025 salinity, 0 ammonia or nitrites, slightly elevated nitrates of under 15 ppm, high end, 8.5 alkalinity, 400 ppm calcium,
<And Mg w/in proportion I take it>
8.0 ph, 78 degrees F. Also there seems to be some white mucus strings that appear on his exclusive live rock. The frag in the picture was removed to try and accommodate said clam. Could these be secretions from corals that irritate him as they increase over the course of the day?
<Mmm; maybe... best to look at under a microscope.... send the images along>
Or should I be investigating for a different offending hitchhiker? He occasionally opens and closes and readjusts. Should I change his position?
<I would not... this animal is capable of re-orienting itself>
So, in terms of coral allelopathy does the size of the colony matter?
For example is a small frag of green polyps less noxious than a whole rock of them?
Is an individual coral colony subject to differing degrees of allelopathy?
Does a coral always secrete noxious byproducts as a function or strictly in stress response?
<No; not always>
Does this suggest also any rearrangement in the tank creates further problems between species?
<Not necessarily; no.... there are differing mechanisms... mesenterial filaments of different types can/do "reach" out a distance... the longest (Galaxea...) about a foot... and chemical secretion exists in concentrations that are a function of distance>

I have read and continue to about the types of coral aggression but am trying to pinpoint those most likely to exude chemical constraints versus those that overgrow or use sweepers. The 65 gallon tank does use Chemi-pure and said anemone lurks and hides nearly upside down, off to one half of the glass box, but still just seems discontent. He, rose bubble tip anemone, shares his glass box with soft corals, xenia, small finger leather, small green polyped leather coral, a green Zoanthid frag, (5)red mushroom Corallimorphs, lps coral frags of Duncan and Acanthastrea(sp),a rock or flower anemone, and derasa clam. The softies stick to their side of the 65 gallons with the lps situated higher and off to the opposite side but understood this is no expanse.
<Is there.... a chance that you have separate systems to isolate the LPS from the SPS, the Entacmaea anemone by itself?>
That said, apologize for the details, but I'm unsure as to which organism is likely causing the bubble tip anemone and clam the most unrest.
<See WWM, other references works of worth.... like a RedOx scale with Fluorine at the top, there are known "super" organisms.... some Zoanthids; some Corallimorpharians.... that rank near the top... Galaxea is a topper physically>
Should I try first excluding the rock/flower anemone?

As this would seem to cause chemical trouble to the bubble tip?
<See above>
These creatures have existed for a few months without incident but not flourishing either. I'm trying to adjust before irreversible discontent. Your input is so appreciated.
<Time to think.... study, and ACT ASAPractical. Bob Fenner>

Coral Calamity In Over My Head; Pocillopora (?) comp.        8/22/15
I love you guys, and I tend towards panic and indecision in regards to my tank.
<Don't catastrophize Ivy! Or at least try not to>
So I appreciate all the help you provide. My tank is currently a 65 gallon mixed reef with 0 ammonia and nitrites, 5-10 ppm nitrates, ph 8.2, 78.5 degrees F, 45 pounds live rock, ample protein skimmer, hob filter, and multiple powerheads. I have 2 cleaner shrimp, 5 tiny hermits, 4 Nassarius, 2 Astrea, 2 margarita snails, a pair of clownfish and various soft corals. I have some green star polyps, xenia, mushrooms, whisker (Duncan) frag, and, gasp and sigh, what I reckon to be an sps Pocillopora, misrepresented as an assorted leather cauliflower. My questions are regarding this guy, am I in way to <too> deep to provide for his needs?
<The Pocillopora I take it; the stony coral? Your set up should support this species, and if it can be situated away from the more noxious tankmates (Polyps, Xenia, Shrooms); it should do fine... I'd situate it nearer (2/3 up) the top>
I have two Kessil 160s for lighting. The coral looks great. It is tan with green polyps that extend fully throughout the day. This is day four and I will return the little guy if he cannot survive the current lighting intensity but he is awesome. I have him on the sand
<.... can/will you send along a pic of this Cnidarian? Shouldn't be on the sand>
on one side of the tank where I have the led intensity about 75% to try and accommodate his needs. The other corals are adjusting to the leds at maybe 30%. The lights adjust from blue to white light, is this a preference issue or is it pertinent to corals needs?
<Preference; the blue is non functional; just for looks>
Also if there is a particular additive or supplement that would be to his benefit please advise.
<See WWM re>
Also I have a wonderful yellow fang blenny, could you tell me his resting procedure?
Specifically does he burrow in sand or go in a cave?
I closely monitor the tank and he seems to want to "rest" by lying vertically on the glass sides of the tank, is this normal?
<Not unusual>
This is after hours of foraging behavior. Finally while I am being a pest, is there a way to supply his diet of weird little rock creatures, plankton or copepods, that I can purchase and add to the tank?
<Refugium; oh I see below>
I am currently without a refugium but am trying to provide for his dietary needs, without dumping in dead organisms from a bottle.
<Frozen/defrosted are VASTLY superior>
Your patience and tolerance is admirable. My next question is whether I can add three Naso tangs and four majestic angelfish to this tank? Don't they stop growing to adjust to tank size? I kid, I kid.
<I hope, I hope. Bob Fenner>

Help! Something eating my corals in the middle of the night!       2/12/15
Hello! First I want to say thanks for all the information you guys provide, it's helped me get through a lot of sticky situation. I need your help once again. For the past several days I have looked all over your site and the rest of the Internet for an answer and have not been able to find one. This started about a week ago when I noticed my mushrooms that were close to the sand bed just completely vanishing overnight. Mushrooms that were close to the sand bed were BEAUTIFULLY opened all day and next day in the morning COMPLETELY gone and all I saw was slime covering where the mushroom used to
be and some mushrooms just the outside ring was left but the entire center was gone. First it happened to about 10 Ricordeas from literally one night to the next, then it happened to a huge colony of red and blue mushrooms.
On the 3rd day I decided to remove all sand and investigate, found nothing.
I decided I would put the alarm clock about 2 hours after lights shut off to investigate. I did this and the only thing I found was A TON of little round white and brown snail.

<Mmm; don't think they're the immediate cause. What other Cnidarians are here?>
Tried looking on internet but I believe may be some type of Nerite snails, I don't think they are the problem because they were EVERYWHERE and not on top of any corals and I figured they can get to all corals not just the ones near the sand. Next night (after removing all my remaining mushrooms) now it was a few Acan, chalice, and Favia frags that were also on sand bed.
<Mmm; these too should not have out-warred Corallimorphs>

They are literally half eaten and all i see is a slimy residue and the skeleton underneath. I have since moved these corals to a higher location and they are doing fine now. I took another coral and put it on the sand bed right before I turned off the lights and sure enough by morning it was covered in slime and skeleton was all that was left. Please help! I don't know what else to do! There is still some sand left and I really don't want to remove ALL my sand but I will if I have to. Thanks.
<Well; such an overnight problem (vs. a little over weeks time) and w/ the Shrooms presenting as you state... Am guessing this is/was some sort of "melt down" prompted by a challenge to the Mushrooms... Did you do something the day ahead of the event? Like add a supplement, medication, algicide or such? You may gain solace and useful input from reading re other such events; here: http://wetwebmedia.com/toxicwipeoutf.htm
and the "same advice" listed there. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help! Something eating my corals in the middle of the night!       2/12/15

Thank you so much for the quick response! I also thought that maybe it was a series of events from maybe the mushroom toxins but I'm starting to rule that out because during the day all these corals that are waking up dead and covered in slime are nice and opened during the day and at night they're gone..
<... more like a chemical battle... Allelopathy>
Plus the ones that were affected were moved up and are doing well and others that were doing well up top, I moved down and were eaten that night.
I did see a couple of Asterina stars which I forgot to mention. Can you please clarify which is the bad Asterina vs. the good ones and do they eat all types of corals?
<You can just look this up on WWM... the indices, search tool on every page>
So far it's been mushrooms, Acans, chalices, Favia, and all have been on the sand bed. Wall hammers, wall frogspawn,
<...?! You didn't mention these Euphylliids in your orig. email... Read about these as well>

and Acroporas are unaffected. Any other ideas?
<Reading. BobF>
Thanks again

Re: Help! Something eating my corals in the middle of the night!     2/14/15
Hello again! I have spent the ENTIRE SEVERAL DAYS reading and I can't figure out what this could be.
<My guess/conjecture is the same as I've stated: There ARE predators of cnidarians; fish, crustaceans, molluscs, worms... but this is MUCH MORE likely an allelopathogenic effect. The Euphylliids "winning" and the Corallimorpharians losing... There's not much living material/tissue to these animals (mostly water)... once toxified they phagocytose... self-digest at the cellular level>
All corals are doing great now ever since I decided to get EVERY CORAL off the sand or anywhere near the bottom and I put an egg crate and lifted it up with pvc to about 2 inches from the sand to putt all my frags on. After about 2 days seeing that I did not have not even 1 more loss I decided to do another experiment.
<Ohh, I do like this>

I got a maze brain frag, and another typed of Favia frag that were both doing great and sat them down on the sand and I shut off the lights and waited with a red flashlight in hand. Sure enough my sand started attacking the coral. I can't explain what I saw but it was like micro little white specks rising from the sand onto the coral. The best way I can explain is that it's like a slimy/hazy cloud of little tiny micro white specks rising from sand onto the coral. This is the best pic I could get.
<Sorry to state, I can't make out much here>
Please explain what this is because in 15 years of reefkeeping I'm at a loss. If you try and look at the bottom of the coral u can see the specks.
The only way I was able to take a pic is turning on my blues. You can see towards the bottom right of the pic. Not all the way in the corner of the pic but just to the left of the corner. Thanks in advance.
<Well; maybe "something" in the gravel is at play here; I don't know what it is though. I would put your data, pix on the various "reef bb's" and see what other folks speculate. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>


Mandarinfish Bleaching? Untenable mix of Cnid.s in a small volume      1/21/15
I love your site and have read the threads on Mandarinfish but not sure it applies to my Mandarinfish. We have a 29 Biocube that has been reef established with live rock and sand for 5 years. We added just a few fish in the last couple of months. Yellow tail damsel, 2 ocellaris, 1 Mandarinfish. We bought the Mandarinfish 5-6 weeks ago and we have bought 3 additional bottles of copepods in that time to make sure he has plenty. He is fading and the lateral lines are showing on his back but he doesn't look like he is starving to me, however, I obviously am no expert.
<Doesn't appear overly thin; but I do see the whiting out in the anterior
His color is dramatically fading in the last week. He did have a stressor  about 1 week ago. We found him in the sump and had to net him out. He did take a few days to recover from that but after 36 hours, he was swimming around picking pods as usual. He pecks about every 4-8 seconds so I assumed there were/are enough pods for him. Does he look like he is starving?

I am getting another bottle of pods tomorrow and have picked up some Chaeto to seed again too. Please help me figure out what is causing this and what I can do to help/save him. We just love our little guy.
We are dealing with a little bit of Cyano,
<This is another stressor>

with the addition of the fish, I overfed :( We are currently correcting that.
Candy Cane Coral
Frogspawn Coral
Leather toadstool
Trach brain
LTA anemone
<Yikes... and the anemone mixed with these stony and the Sarco in such a small volume... You'll need to do more to counter the allelopathy going on here. Do read: http://wetwebmedia.com/CorlCompArt.htm

and the linked files above>
All coral are frags and small except the Acan
PH 8
Salinity 1.025
Phosphates 0
<Your photosynthetic life requires some>

Ammonia 0
Nitrates 5-10 (a little high right now)
<The reading for now; and patience. Bob Fenner>

Re: Mandarinfish Bleaching?      1/21/15
I love you; thank you!
I'm so glad he isn't starving. I will read and
correct whatever I need. We have ordered your book and are trying very hard to be conscientious aquarists. We are setting up a 90 gallon and will transfer anything that is not compatible.
Thanks, again.
<Ah, welcome. BobF>

Re: Mandarinfish Bleaching?      1/22/15
Hi Bob,
I'm April's husband Chris (love your site too!) and we're working together
tonight to separate out some of our corals/anemone in a refugium to create a frag only tank to counter the allelopathy issue.
<Ah, good>
We've been reading the
resources you've provided and the concept is well spelled out in that we do appear to have created a "chemical soup" from the corals and anemone in a small tank.
<Yes; quite common w/ such "coral garden" approaches>
April was giving you a list from memory and I was hoping to
get you help in how to divide up the corals between the two
locations...basically split the list in two (or does it not matter which in
particular go where, just reduce the number in the tank).
<Does matter... Not knowing your background, but if you have had much chemistry: Like a RedOx listing of elements more/less likely to "steal"/"get robbed" of electrons, there are very aggressive species (e.g. the Halogens, Fluorine...) in the way of allelopathogenic species (e.g. Galaxy Corals, Oculinids) and on the other end of the scale "losers" like the Alkaline Earths (Ca, Mg...) in the way of Stony Corals things like Pocilloporids, ... with a range/scale all in-between. Of what you have the Euphylliid and polyps are top dogs, along w/ the anemone...>
Here is the full
Candy Cane Coral
Frogspawn Coral
Leather toadstool
Trach brain
LTA anemone
Majestic Anemone
Daisy Polyp
Short stem Goniopora

Again, most of these are fairly small frags with the Acan being the biggest
at 7"x4" and the Trach is about 4 inches long.
We want to deal with the allelopathy quickly for the mandarin and then
decide what to do with the corals (new tank or sell) as we continue to read and research more.
Thanks so much.
<I'd trade out the Anemones immediately; as they are the very most incompatible organisms with all else here.
Bob Fenner>

Sponges. Redux, toxicity of some to Scler.     12/11/14
Morning Bob! I was wondering if I could pick your brain about chemical warfare and corals.
<Not much left, but go ahead>
I'm presently contending with a scenario where water parameters are spot on and stable yet Euphyllia that once thrived are now receding at a rapid rate. Upon removal the bases of 90% of the colonies were found to be encrusted with numerous sponges.
<Oh, yes! You did see my resp. on FB I hope... this mal-interaction IS VERY important in the wild. Discounted in general in captivity as most folks are careful in extracting "wild corals" to not include these sponges>
Sponge tissue was scrubbed off and colonies were given an iodine dip.
Now how to contend with the remaining sponges that have set up shop amongst the rock?
<Hopefully they are not toxic, or as allelopathogenic varieties>
Possible that the sponges are part of the problem here?
<Some; yes...>
Am I losing my mind?
<I hope not>
Thanks Bob!
Jon Tarutis
<I would use a BUNCH of units of Chemi-Pure in the filter flow path... if necessary in time, break the corals close to the rock they're attached to, remove all corals, bleach the rock.... Bob Fenner>

LPS Allelopathy Reactions      6/11.5/14
Dear Bob & Crew,
Thanks again for the great dedication to aquatics!
<And you for your kind words>
Sorry for the length but I want to make sure that you have all the details.
I have a 155 gallon mixed reef tank which is doing very well aside from one fact. Many of my LPS corals only exhibit about 30% of the regular polyp extension. This has been occurring for about a year. Lets give you the
basics first:
pH 8.4- 8.6 (due to dosing Kalk)
SG 1.025
Temp 77.1- 77.4 F
Alk 8.6
Calcium 420
Mag. 1350
Nitrate 0 to 5ppm
Nitrite 0
Ammonia 0
<Phosphate? Some of this and NO3 is essential>
Several Montipora digitata
Several Montipora capricornis
A few unknown encrusting Montipora
Medium Pocillopora damicornis
2 small unknown Acroporas
Medium Porites cylindrical
Large Birdsnest
3 colonies of Green branching Hammer corals (about 70 heads total)
Large silver branching Hammer (about 30 heads)
Trumpet corals (about 15 heads)
Duncans (about 20 heads)
Med. colony of Green Star Polyps
Rose Anemone
Yellow Colony Polyps (not many)
Dragon Eye Zoanthids (medium colony)
Med/Lg Caribbean Eunicia
Fish: Currently None
<? Okay>
3 Kessil 350W's at 90 watts each
4 80 watt T-5's (3 white, 1 blue)
PAR readings are about 800 at surface, 500 midway, 100-300 near bottom
Water Motion:
Eheim return at 1300 gph (this one adjusts and have it at about 900 gph)
2 Hydor Evolutions at 1500gph each on wave timer, 10 seconds each side.
<All right>
The hammers and trumpets are the effected corals. Have also tried Frogspawns with the same effect. I have experimented with lighting and water motion and I do not believe that these are the issue. I had many of these corals in my previous 54 gallon and had full polyps extension.
I am currently conducting experiments by removing certain corals to see if allelopathic reactions are the cause. I have a nano set up with the hammers, GSP, some Zoanthids, a rose anemone (moving to the 155) and an unidentified leather coral and the hammers exhibit full polyp extension (has been up for 7 months).
My gut tells me that the Eunicia is the culprit in the 155.
<Could well be. IS a dominant player in the wild>
I have temporarily moved it to the nano to see if the hammers there are effected and if the hammers in the 155 regain polyp extension. Have not noticed any changes for the past week. Do the allelopathic compounds linger in a system after the culprit coral is removed?
<Yes; for weeks... to months at times>

I have conducted 2 25% water changes in the 155.
I'm guessing that it will take time for the hammers to extend again but I'm not sure that the Eunicia is to blame. Any suggestions?
<To keep experimenting as you're doing... Have you looked into the use of Ozone, measuring RedOx as a principal guide to water quality? Much allelopathogenic effect can be thus reduced>
Thanks so much!!
<Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Lemonpeel Angel Hybrid; in/comp. w/ corals  4/12/14
Hello, Crew! Always great to use your site as a reference guide. I am considering a Lemonpeel/Half Black Angelfish for my 60 gallon reef. How
often does this fish go after coral?
<Less if this were a larger system>
Is there a specific type of coral that it likes to nip?
<More fleshy, more tasty>
How big is the damage to the coral?
<Minor to complete>
I can't find a ton of information on this particular fish. So any advice is appreciated. Thank you!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Trying to figure out why my wellso Folded brain coral and Favite brain coral are dying      11/29/13
Hi Team
I have a 96 gallon tank that I bought fully stocked this summer (after following your advice…thank you!) At date of purchase (12 weeks ago) it had 34 SPS and LPS corals, two 6" crocea clams and several fish.  I also had an existing 20 gallon tank with a beautiful 8 year old Favite coral and some other leather corals. I moved the new tank 30 miles using a detailed checklist from your site.  The new tank started off as well as could be expected. I change 10-15% of the water weekly or biweekly, a habit that seemed to work well on the old tank. 
8 weeks ago I moved the coral from my old tank into the new tank using a drip acclimation method over several hours.
<I'd encourage all to take a few months with such moves... twixt established systems... moving a cup or so of water back/forth daily or more often... to acquaint all>

 7 weeks ago I noticed a nitrate spike (from 0 to 25)
<Perhaps a reaction series....>
 so I inserted some Kent Nitrogen Sponge into  a VIA Aqua Media Reactor. The nitrates declined to nil.
<... the corals need measurable NO3, HPO4... NPK>
About the same time my calcium and alkalinity started to drop;
<Aye ya....>

 over the past 7 weeks they have hovered around Calcium 340 and Alkalinity 7 kH. To increase these chemicals I added some B-Ionic two part calcium and alkalinity buffer. Since then I have been unable to increase Calcium and Alkalinity (despite 2-3 doses per week). Worse, my brain corals started to bleach.  About 2 weeks ago I concluded that the B-Ionic was not doing the job so I switched to Kent Liquid Calcium but still can't increase the parameters. In the meantime the brain coral continued to bleach and is nearly gone.  The same thing happened to a Wellso Folded brain coral.     Most of the other corals and clams seem OK (but I lost some trumpet, frogspawn and hyrdropora immediately after the move).
<... do you have the smaller tank still set up? IF so, return the original corals to it>
Other important facts to consider. 8 to 5 weeks ago the temperature fluctuated between 73 and 80 due to some electrical problems related to home construction but since then (last 4 weeks) the temp has been stable at 80-81.  The old tank was full of live rock crusted with red coraline algae. I moved some of that into the new tank and some into the sump. I thought I needed to keep a light on the sump to maintain the coraline algae growth  but this seemed to cause a red hair algae explosion.
<Trouble; and/or evidence of other trouble/s>
 I bought Bob's algae book, killed the sump light and increased water flow with a new power head.  Since then I have been siphoning off the hair algae during the water changes using my fingers to scrape it off the rock.
Thanks to these measures and the stable temp, the Cyanobacteria seems under control (though I know I need to stay vigilant).
My tank parameters (consistently since inception unless otherwise noted) are as follows: PH 8.4, kH 7 (low of 6 and high of 9), Ammonia 0, Nitrate 0 (high of 25), Phosphate 0,
<Again... you want, need N,P,K... same as plant/garden fertilizers>
 Calcium 300 (low 270 and high 340), and Magnesium 1440.  The new tank has LED white and blue lights but I don't know the wattage. They are on 8 hours per day. I run a Coralife Protein Skimmer and am scraping black stuff out of the cup weekly.  I use de-ionized water (tap water run slowly through an Aquarium Pharm filter) and have been adding 10 gallons of freshwater weekly to replace water lost to evaporation. I buffer the freshwater with Kent Superbuffer Dkh. 
My questions 1) should I simply stop dosing the calcium and alkalinity?
<I would continue to do what you deem necessary to supply these (and Magnesium)... do read, re-read on WWM re>
 2) if not, what could be causing the brain corals to bleach?
<Allelopathy in a word. Likely brought on by a combination of move, thermal swing, but principally the moving of the 20 gal. organisms>
Thank you for always being there to answer my questions.
<All may settle down in time, as it is; but I'd move the small system organisms out for now. Bob Fenner>

Reef Tank - Some corals dying, others are great....     8/14/15
I did send the same email Saturday night with subject: 90 Gal Reef Water Troubles.  The past couple times that I have emailed y'all, it hasn't taken this long to respond.  So, just in case, here is another email.  Thank you! 
<Thank you for re-sending and this pertinent note re: We do have other reports of lost incoming; and have noticed this year that too much is being "auto swept along" as junk by our paid for spam software... I review all before deleting>
Good evening!  I will start with some information about my tank. I have a  90 gallon saltwater tank with a 29 gallon refugium with sand and Chaetomorpha and Halimeda algae, Reef Octopus 150 skimmer, NextReef MR1 Phosphate Reactor with media,
<.... first suspicion>

Corallife 150 watt
20 k - radiums, 2x Tunze NanoStream 6025's, 2x smaller power heads, 1x Quiet One 4,000 return pump,
<Has this product given you good service?>
 a 3"sand bed in most areas, about 70 lbs. LR, 5x Nassarius Snails, 1x Super Tongan Nassarius Snail, 1 Turbo snail, 1x Large Cleaner Shrimp, 1 Green Mandarin (eats all foods offered and has substantial Copepod population) ,  1 Hoeven's Wrasse, 2x Ocellaris clowns, 4x Bartlett's Anthias, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Kole Tang, Caulastrea Furcata(Candy Cane), Tubastrea(SunCoral), Tubiporidae(Pipe Organ),  Briarium(GreenStarPolyp),  Zoanthid colony,  Actinodiscus Mushroom,
<The last three are supreme/sublime sources of allelopathy at times>

Blastomussa Wellsi(Blasto),  Echinophyllia Aspera(chalice), Acanthastrea Lordhoweensis (Acan), Euphyllia Ancora (Hammer), Plerogyra (Bubble), Klyxum (Colt), Xenia sp. (Pom Pom xenia).
<And these last two>

Most everything is frag size  except the Bubble and Colt corals.  I feed Spectrum Pellets once a day, PE Mysis that is rinsed prior to being fed, and Nori sheets every couple  of days.
This past month has been eventful with my reef tank.  I'm just going to date and catch you up on the important things.
7/5 - Acquired a Echinophyllia Aspera (chalice) frag.  Not even 48 hours goes by and the frag has RTN. 
<It's newest, weakened... an easy target for an established system... BETTER by far to isolate (quarantine) and DO the mixed water acclimation gone over here:
the linked files above for Scleractinians>

7/10 - 29 gallon refugium cracks from top to bottom.  Lost 30 gallons of water.  Transferred all the sand, algae, and sand critters to a bucket with a heater and small circulation pump.  Display tank circulated with 2 Tunze pumps.
7/11 - Heater apparently got too warm in the bucket and  killed all amphipods, copepods, brittle stars that were in the bucket
from the cracked refugium.
7/12 -  New refugium ready for use.  I
transferred the sand and algae from the bucket into the new refugium. 
Hooked up the protein skimmer and phosphate reactor to help clean out the debris. 
Refugium and Display Tank are not connected yet!
7/13 - At the end of the day, I am finally able to connect the display tank to the refugium.  I also add some ChemiPure and activated carbon because  I don't want the stressed corals to chemically harm each other.  I also  repositioned my ballasts.  According to a PAR meter, once submerged 6" into the water it read 25 - 28.  Maybe disconnecting and repositioning
ballasts a better connection was made possibly stressing the corals. 
Could this even be possible?   I should also note, the same day we took the PAR meter back to the club member and he used it exactly how I used it and the readings he got were correct for his lights.  I am planning on buying a new LED light fixture.
7/19 - A brown algae/film has
started covering the top of the sand bed.  The Hammer coral is shedding
mucus and is contracted.  It also develops a bubble in the mouth of the
polyp.  The Zoanthus colonies are contracted (closed and reduced in
size).  The Sun coral and Bubble coral are the same too.   Completed a 20
gallon water change.
***During this I did not have test kits for PH, NH3/NH4, NO3, and NO2***
7/21 - Brown algae/film covering bottom already.  The glass has this film on  it too.  Half of my Zoanthid colony is gone.  The Hammer, Bubble, Sun corals still look bad but aren't worse.
7/24 - Brown algae/film worse on top of sand bed.  Corals are in the same condition.  No improvements.  Completed 20 gallon water change.
7/28 - Brown algae/film present again.  Corals are in the same condition with no improvements.  Zoanthid colonies are gone now.  Completed a 20 gallon water change.
7/30 - Brown algae/film is already present again.
8/3 - Completed a 20 gallon water change.  The Sun coral is flaking away now and the skeleton is exposed. 
8/7 - *Test kits arrive*  Here are the results:
  Salinity:      1.024
  Temp:         81.5 F  (Removed canopy to allow for better air flow)
  PH:             7.9
  KH:             8.5
  Ca:             370 ppm
  Mg:            1180 ppm
  NH3/NH4:  0
  NO3:           5 - 10 ppm  (Closer to 5 ppm on color chart)(The test is a little tricky to read)
  NO2:           0
  Phosphate:  .35 ppm
8/10 - 20 Gallon water change.
 Brown algae/film present.  The Sun coral is now 80% gone.  The Hammer has not shown improvement.  Nothing shows improvement even when a water change is done.  Here are my test results for today and this is about 6 hours after a water change:
  Salinity:        1.024
  Temp:           79.9
  PH:                7.8
  KH:                8.8
  Ca:                390 ppm
  Mg:               1200 ppm
  NH3/NH4:     0
  NO3:              5 - 10 ppm  (Closer to 10 ppm on color chart)
  NO2:              0
  Phosphate:    .31
*The brown algae or film is also present in the refugium*
Also, all my other corals that were listed are doing great.  They don't show any signs of being affected by this traumatizing month.
I could really use some ideas on what might be going on with the tank.  Some of my own thoughts are maybe I need to get rid of a fish to lessen the load, add a few new cured live rock pieces, maybe add a new bag of live sand to the tank and refugium.   Just brainstorming a little....
<Likely (though not sure) the addition of the new/Echinophyllia triggered a cascade effect amongst your other Cnidarians... don't have to be in close contact... and the use of a HPO4 contactor exacerbated the situation... some groups warring w/ others...>
Thank you so  much for taking the time to read through all this.  I've read through this website, looked at forums, books, asked local marine aquarium club members for advice.  There has to be something I'm missing.....my corals  don't necessarily grow, but just stay the same. 
<Ahh; a very useful clue. Do please read the article cited, systematically those linked above>Addition:  I do let my saltwater mix for a few days with a heater and circulation pump as well. 
If it matters any, I use Red Sea Coral Pro Salt.
<Is fine>
  Also, the Colt coral is now smaller than it usually is and the polyps aren't as expanded.  I forgot to mention too that over the past four months, the pipe organ coral slowly lost all of it's polyps.  It was about the size of a softball.  I have a second colony of pipe organ that is not losing polyps, but not growing either. 
<Bob Fenner>

Re: re: Frag Blastomussa Wellsi... allelo    7/15/13
Update. After a few days the frag split and it looked like a pie with a wedge removed. It took a few weeks for it to heal. I did try a second frag but that one did not cut clean and you can't even tell what it is.
<Give it time>
 But it is alive so will just wait and see.
A couple other things happened in my tank. My candy cane had one head that was bent a bit down and then started to look as if the flesh was pouring down. It was tear drop shaped and stayed like that for a couple weeks. I snipped it off and it looks like I now have a candy cane frag. I have a Platygyra for about 2 years. Never saw it eat so I don't feed it. And I never saw any tentacles. It started to recede and about half of it died away. I moved it to a new spot and it has come back nicely and has recovered around half the loss.
One evening about a half hour after lights went out I looked in my tank with a light and the Platy had long tentacles flying around. Never saw this before but it explains why my open brain has been deflated at times. Just sharing, am
<Thanks for this follow-up. Bob Fenner>

NEED GUIDANCE PLEASE... Read through this and decide... the clues are here   6/3.5/13
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hey Dai>
I have an ongoing issue that cannot be solved from all the opinions given to me by seasoned aquarists. I am at the point of being destitute and I hope you can help me on this. This is my 13 year in salt water keeping and this is what I have now:
1.       210 gallon reef with 30 gallon refugium and 20 gallon sump.
2.       Three 250 watts MHs with four actinic PCs ( 94W each); two XHO LED Reef Bright actinic.
3.       Octopus Skimmer rated for 250 gallon with 6 power heads; Fluval FX5 rated at 260 gallon for mechanical filtration.
4.       Water change is 70 gallons once every 1.5-2 months. Lights changed every six months.
5.       Three flame angles <angels>, one lemon peel, one purple tang, one Majestic angel, one fox face, two paired maroon clowns (just laid some eggs yesterday), one mandarin, one Pajama cardinal, one Hippo Tang, seven damsels, two cleaner and one coral banded shrimp.
6.       Various sizes of candy cane, hammer heads, green star polyps, three clams, two torch corals, one plate coral, pipe organs, toad stools.
<When you lift the lid on this tank, do you detect an odor?>
7.       Once a week, I broadcast feed with brine, Mysis shrimps along with daily green Nori sheets.
8.       Water chemistry is perfect with weekly testing. If anything a faint trace of nitrate is noted. I tested for nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, Ph, AKH, CA, salinity.
<Need values, not opinions>
9.       This tank is 1.5 years old.
<... then how can it be 13 years old?>
10.   I use RO/DI water to top off.
Most of my corals survive for 2-3 months getting really big then die within a week. The latest disaster involved two of my clams died, the candy cane is showing signs of tissue death, the plate coral withered almost overnight and all these looked VERY healthy just a week before.
All exhibit the same pattern of looking healthy then go into quick decline. The only corals that survived are the green stars, pipe organ, toad stool,
<... Sarcophyton/s are the prime suspect here: allelopathy. They're  poisoning the system for their own precedence>
 hammer heads but others just don't make it after 3 months during the past 1.5 years. Again, all died after looking very healthy and they go into quick demise. I was hoping for isolated incidence but after three tries with same outcome I think there is something wrong but I could not put my finger on it.
The CAUSES (as advised by experienced aquarists):
1.       Stray voltage.
<Nah; the other livestock would be malaffected>
2.       Poor quality of salt mix (I use LFS water mix with Instant Ocean).
3.       Toxic materials from the tank construction.
<Not likely>
4.       Toxic air in home.
<See the above>
5.       Chemicals from corals.
<Yes; the most likely>
6.       Water is too clean.
7.       Contaminated food from unknown origin.
8.       Contaminated live rocks from unknown origin.
I am at the point that I am desperate here. I would like to know what the cause(s) are for my corals demise. There is something that caused the death but the odd thing is that they all thrived then died. Last week, my plate got so big that I thought about removing him and the clams opened up so much that I though the flesh will leave the shells.
This week, all are dead!!!!!!!!!!!!
I appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks. Dai Phan
<... see, read on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and the linked files above. There are a few approaches to lessening the affects of Alcyonacean allelopathy... Bob Fenner>
RE: NEED GUIDANCE PLEASE... reef maint./oh, Cnid. incomp.
Hello Mr. Fenner,
This tank is 1.5 years old but I started salt water keeping since 2000.
This is my latest tank. In my previous 120 gallon, the Kenya tree grew so fast that they are totally out of control.
<... read where you've been referred... re alcyonacean compatibility/allelopathy>
Strangely, in this new tank they are shunted. So from what you tell me, I should ditch Instant Ocean mix and ask for higher quality?
<Not necessarily, no>
 The smell is bad from the dead clam but others don't cause immediate vomiting. There is no smell when the lid is open. I will read up on your diagnosis. Dai
<Real good. BobF>

Ricordea Florida all "jumping ship"? Old-enough set up, changed lights, added Xeniid...    4/24/13
Hello I have a soft coral reef aquarium where I have had some (when I say some I mean tons) Ricordea florida in. They have been very happy for 3+ years and have created many babies all over the tank as they meandered their way around it. One and a half months ago I got a new Ecoxotic Panorama LED fixture. I started with it set low and slowly increased the light to get everyone hopefully accustomed. All my other soft corals and mushrooms are happy. My Ricordea all appeared content until about 3 days ago... The two "originals" were the first to start. First they made all this mucus at their base and let go. Now all their "kids" are following suit. No water parameters have changed at all. I added a new waving hands Xenia,
<This could be "it", or even the Corallimorpharians>
 but it wasn't even near them.
<Doesn't have to be. Chemical allelopathy can be profound, even in a large system>

I have moved the "originals" and a few of their oldest "children" to my refugium to see if they will reattach but seem disinterested.
<Have to be in an entirely different system>
:( Could this still be light stress even though I've had the light over a month and slowly increased the light over the first month I had it?
<Not at all likely the lighting>
 Is there some sort of Ricordea mass exodus occurring here?
<Yes; a survival mechanism for cases/circumstances when there's a need to move elsewhere (too much of something or not enough)>
Is the apocalypse at hand and only the Ricordea know?
<Heeeee! A possibility. At their scale and from their "point of view", yes>
  Thanks for your help!
<See WWM re Xeniid and 'Shroom compatibility and allelopathy. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ricordea Florida all "jumping ship"?     4/24/13

Thanks for your reply. So would it makes sense then that they were fine
with my pulsing pom/pom Xenia and they are not ok with the waving hands?
<Could be either, both or even neither involved here... "Cascade" events where something happens w/ established systems, mixes of Cnidarian groups are quite common... w/ concurrent winners and losers. BobF>
Re: Ricordea Florida all "jumping ship"?     4/24/13

guess best way is to try removing suspects until one is found. I moved my "original" Ricordeas to my 30G quarantine which luckily is set up right now holding my friend's fish while he moves.
<Ah, good>
 So they're at least protected while I use their "children" as guinea pigs... Anything that, other than trying to figure out / remove the "naughty" one, that I can do to help the Ricordea heal/be happy again?
<Oh yes... check, raise RedOx, dose iodide-ate... B<>
Re: Ricordea Florida all "jumping ship"?  Teased Shroom beh. (predictable)     5/5/13

So this is weird. I removed the "adult" Ricordea florida and was all set to start trials of removing this and that to figure out who is making everyone mad... and then all the jumping stopped.
<Not weird>
The "adults" reattached to some rubble in the quarantine and now that there hasn't been any jumping for a week I moved them back and everyone appears happy again. Which brings me to a theory that I want to jump off you.
About 2 weeks before it all started there was one big Ricordea near the top of my live rock, I didn't want it there - wanted to put the Xenia there actually, teased it off
<? How?>
and moved it to some rubble in the refugium awaiting gifting to a friend (human not Ricordea friend :P). The cease in jumping also coincides with the gifting away of said naughty Ricordea. Can Ricordea communicate distress to one another and actually stimulate their "kids" to jump ship?
<Of a certainty, yes. Bob Fenner>

Oceanic 46 gallon high saltwater aquarium... Induced Cnidarian allelopathogenic troubles      11/28/12
Hello WWM Crew, my name is Jerry, and this is my very first time stepping outside the box and asking for help and or opinion. My setup in question, is an Oceanic 46 gallon high saltwater aquarium with lots of life.Ive read that 24" is the maximum depth for a 250watt mh bulb.
<Mmm, not really, no... for what purpose/s?>
With that said,i currently run a 14k 250 bulb on one side and a 13k 175 watt bulb on the opposite side,both bulbs manufactured be Aqualine.In addition I also have 1 30 watt led and 1 10 watt led in the 450nm spectrum,with 2 T12 30 watt 420nm fluorescent by Coralife.Do I have enough light to support and sustain life in a tank thats 24" high and 37" long and 13" wide?
<Depends; mostly on what that life is... the only real "way" to know is to try and see... One can use PAR/PUR meter/s to measure the useful light at depths... The reality is that this is likely sufficient "light/ing" for most all life one would want to keep>
My issue is im not seeing lots of growth,but some growth.Am I not patient enough?
<There can (very likely) be other factor/s than light, lighting limiting growth of aquatic life...>
We have 60 plus pounds of live rock,4 clowns,1 yellow tang,1 blue tang,
<... both these Surgeons need more room than this volume>
2 green tips anemones,one yellowish carpet anemone approx 4" in diameter,
<Uhh... anemones often do very poorly mixed together, especially in small volumes as yours>
pink tipped elegance,several types of zoas,mushrooms,frogspawn,
<... Trouble... allelopathy very likely an issue here... Do read here:
and the linked files above re the Compatibility of all the Cnidarian groups you list having>
the zebra clam and a flaming scallop.
<... don't really live in captivity... Look up the name of this Pen shell  on WWM and read>
The one and only coral accelerating down hill is the daisy polyps or pipe organ.For the past couple months its shown no significant growth,and is beginning to slowly crumble with fewer and fewer polyps each day.Is it the lighting causing this coral to not thrive?
<... not likely; no. Your jamming all this life together willy nilly is the root issue here>
My tank is just approximately 1 year 4 ths old.My skimmer is for a 220 gallon with ozone,venturi style,with a 20gallon sump below.My uv light is in a seperate housing fed by a slow flow powerhead and then just simply returns to the sump,very simple setup.My wife thinks i spend too much time watching,nothings going to happen is her thought,but the fish have always been healthy and so far we have only lost one fish,the dwarf angel,approx 4 months ago,and all of our livestock were small when we purchased them,again speaking of the fish only.Everybody has grown an inch ot two.The Coral Beauty had a small white growth on its lips,so we removed the fish and put the fish in quarantine,and was able to find info on your forums that had identified the growth as a bacterial infection,we treated the fish,unfortunately several days later the fish passed.The gt anemone originally was just 1,but split into a second specimen as time went on.I have a traditional style overflow basket as well.Several power heads made by Koralia are scattered in the tank.I maintenance this tank in the evening,lots of removable pre filters scattered throughout the filter system that I remove and clean on bi daily basis.Any suggestions on my lighting question would be appreciated,
<Search, read on WWM...>
any additional info on my set up,good or bad,would be appreciated as well.Btw,i do not at this time have any type of drip or feeding system incorporated into this setup,including a calcium reactor. Small water changes,supplements,and trace elements with 20 plus elements added,and the proper food for all animals.The tangs feed off two sources of algae growing freely in the tank,and its on two rocks that are in front of two small powerheads,they have to work to get the food,but,keeps the food plentiful at the same time,i know if I allow them to graze on those rocks all the time,they will eat all of it,lol.Thank you for any help you may have to offer.Jerry
<... please review your writing, send through a grammar checker, fix before sending it on to us. Bob Fenner>

Coral Toxins (allelopathy)    11/26/12
Hey there Crew:
My tank has been up and running for close to 3 years and I am loving it! 
I have a simple question today for your immensely useful and resourceful brains.  I'm sure the answer is not a straight forward one but I am looking for a push in one direction.
               My tank has for the most part been healthy and doing well.
I have however noticed over the course of the last few months that adding new pieces of SPS or LPS corals has been often met with less than desirable results.

 Several heads of either Hammer, Torch, edges of Chalice and to some extent Acro frags have died or retracted.  The LPS heads often look like brown film begins to cover them and eventually they just slough off. 
               My tank is a 125g, all parameters are always stable and in line.
               Sg - 1.025
               Ca - 420ppm
               KH - 8-9
               Temp - 78-80
               Phosphates - close to 0
               Nitrate/ite - 0
<The usual statement here re the need for some NO3, HPO4 w/ photosynthates...>

               PH - 8.4
               I use actinic t5 bulbs x4 with HID Halide 150w 14k x3 spot type bulbs.  These are replaced every 6 months and 1 yr respectively.  I have plenty of random flow with mp40s and a great skimmer in a Deltec sc 2060.
               My fish stock includes
hippo tang- 6"
Fowler Tang - 6"
Watanabei Angel - male 5", female x2 - 2.5"
Tomato clown x2 - paired and hosting BTA
Tomini Tang - 3"
Yellow Tang - 4"
2 bar Rabbit Fish - 3"
               All fish get along great and are healthy and happy and have been together for about 2 years.
               So to my question at hand.  I am wondering how much of an effect my Corallimorphs or my rather large (in my opinion) BTA are having on these SPS and LPS corals.
<Could be quite a bit... to moderate>
  I can easily remove the rock containing the large hairy mushrooms which started as one and now number about 8, including the one my tuxedo urchin carries around after it got dislodged off the rock.
The BTA can't go, to <too> large and attached to a large piece of rock and has the clowns etc.  I have pictures of the 2 but am really just wondering if you could see this as being the possible source of my problem.  I have begun to use Units of ClearFX Pro
<http://www.bluelifeusa.com/CLEARFxPRO-450ml >
to see if I can notice any change.  I was not using any carbon prior to this.  The BTA is about 10" across during daytime hours, the Shrooms are all around 4-5".
               Thanks for the help as always,
<I'd adopt an isolation (system, aka quarantine) and mix water back and forth protocol for any/all new Cnidarian purchases, to ease allelopathy...
See WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Info on coral Compatibility    11/19/12
Hi Bob
Thanks really appreciate your answer regarding my Elegance Coral, I have removed it from my tank. (didn't want to kill or further stress the animal)
Read the link U have provided me regarding allelopathogenic... ref. from my previous Email
"I have other corals that seem fine (Magnificent Anemone, Zoanthids, Mushrooms, Trumpet, Finger Leather Coral, Toadstool Mushroom, Xenia, Flowerpot, Frogspawn, Orange Sea Sponge) "
"<Mmm, well, these aren't all corals, and many are dangerously allelopathogenic... Not compatible. Could be an/the issue w/ your Catalaphyllia. Umm, read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and the linked files above, till you grasp the gist...>"
My Question is that, If I have maintained a safe distance between the coral as they don't touch or get in contact with each other, even then it can be a issue to keep them in one tank.
<Oh yes; still a very big potential issue. Anemones can/do move at times hazardously, corals can/do grow onto each other, have "fighting bits" that extend to keep their space, and some produce prodigious amounts of toxic chemicals to accomplish the same. Best not to "disturb" all by keeping the system stable, optimized, keep to a regular maintenance routine; not add other Cnidarians>
Also My LFS says; problem starts when any of your stinging Coral, or Anemone dies until they are healthy and acclimatized to your tank,  no problem,
<Usually the case; though far from always>
Pls guide me through this Compatibility issue.....
<Go back, read where you were referred to; the linked files above... by group, that include the life you have here>
 I also know if the anemone dies it badly pollutes the water, but so far he's doing fine. I have it for 7months now initially it was bit bleached (white) but with regular feeding it has shown up its colour (purple/brown/yellow tip)
<Keep reading! Bob Fenner>

Crew..... Mixing Cnid.s      8/5/12
Dear WWM,
   I would really appreciate your opinion with this one as it wasn't well represented in the FAQs I felt. I have a reef tank with growing corals, Galaxea, Open Brain, Orange Sun, Duncan, Candy Cane. All are doing well. I would like to add a coral from my favorite genus Euphyllia to this (Probably Euphyllia ancora, or Euphyllia glabrescens). However, these are aggressive species, and I don't want to drop a nuke into the tank. Should I wait until I can set up another system? With aggressive water changes could
I keep the allelopathy from being harmful?
<Do the usual "Boris Karloff" mixing of some water twixt your new/isolation/quarantine tank and the main display of a cup or so back and forth daily for a few weeks to introduce the combatants... and see if they'll get along consequently. BobF>

Re: Gorgonian/cleaner shrimp question, now stkg. Cnid.s in a 38 gal. w/ a BTA     7/29/12
Hi Bob:  Thanks again for your advice.  I have given away the flowerpot and the zoos, which from reading WWM seemed to be the most likely conflict with the anemone. 
<Tis so>
  My BTA had an almost immediate reaction, bubbling much more than usual and staying out until the moon lights came one,
<Ah good>
which he (it) does not typically do.  I would like to get a couple of new corals and would appreciate your suggestions as to what would work with a BTA without creating havoc.  To recap: I now have a 38 gallon with a mated pair of clownfish, a BTA, live rock, live sand, aqua Maxx hob skimmer, aqua clear filter (50 gallon), 2 shrimp, some hermits, snails, a couple of very small clams, a couple of mushrooms, a  troubled gorgonian and one AI sol super blue led unit  which is suspended above the tank.  I do weekly water changes of at least 10% and dose ESV calcium and 1 drop of Lugol's once or twice a week.  Salinity 1.025, water temp 78-80 degrees, ph 8.4, calcium 380,PO4 0.  Most of the info i have found suggests what corals don't work, so i was hoping for guidance on what will, with the BTA and with my lighting.  Thank you.
<Actually... in this size/shape system I would stick w/ what you have Cnidarian wise. Wait till you have more room to start mixing these disparate species together; or until the Entacmaea is elsewhere. Bob Fenner>
Re: Gorgonian/cleaner shrimp question

I will follow your advice again - thank you - I am planning on getting a larger system, (I know everyone says when faced with the prospect of having to confess to you to having an anemone in a relatively small system, but I really am) .  Thanks again and thank you for such a fantastic resource.
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Coral compatibility/Allelopathy 4/22/12
Hi crew!
<Hello Jennifer>
I have a 55 gallon with a 30 gal refugium that is 7 years old. I am just getting into acquiring corals but was wondering if there is a coral compatibility chart?
<Mmm, not so much compatibility but degree of allelopathy effects.>
I have seen one for fish and inverts. I obtained a green Sinularia about 2 months ago. It was in the QT for 3 weeks and was doing great.
I put it in the main tank about 10 inches away from a green star polyp that I have had for years. The green Sinularia shrunk. I've read that they will do that for a short time as this is part of their "growing" period. But this went on for about 3 weeks. Last night I moved the Sinularia to the other side of the tank and this morning it began to unshrink and it is looking better than it has for weeks. Could it have been the green star polyps?
I've read that they are very aggressive and then I have read that they are the least aggressive.
<Can depend on the species as there are several species of Star Polyps. As far as allelopathy is concerned, some of the worst offenders are Sarcophyton, Lobophytum, Euphyllia, and Lemnalia species. Some good choices for allelopathic compatibility would be Xenia, Briareum, Dendronephthya, Anthelia, and Capnella species.>
Thank you...as always you guys are the best!!!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Sudden fish/invert die off... Cnid. allelopathy cascade event      3/5/12
Hello WWM,
Thank you so much for this great resource, I've learned so much by browsing through this site--you perform an invaluable service.
Unfortunately I couldn't find the help I needed directly and am in the midst of what I would consider an emergency, hoping to salvage what life I can.
<I hope so too>
Late last year I began setting up a marine aquarium to get back into and get my kids interested in the hobby.  They now each have their freshwater setups, and I have my FOWLR that I was ready to spruce up with a couple "easy" coral now that the dust had settled.  I had a fair amount of experience starting about 15 years ago with a successful set of marine aquariums that I kept until I began raising a human family, but very little experience with coral.
Things seemed to be going very smoothly until I tried to cross the line into mixed reef territory.  Within a few days, I suddenly encountered a problem which has just devastated my two month old aquarium with an almost instant overnight die-off.  I’m looking for advice and help in identifying the culprit (beyond just me).  Here is the setup:
29 Gallon all-glass, FOWLR cycled in Jan 2012.
DIY 30" wide 4" x 6" internal overflow/refugium w/ 2-1.5" bulkheads 10 gal sump containing live rock "skeletons"
"Touchy" Red Sea Classic in sump Protein Skimmer/Rio 2500,
Rio 2100 return pump (Mag 7 upgrade still in box),
<I'd get this out, ditch the Rio>
Coralife PC fixture with 2-96W lamps (one 10k bulb) actinic for other side in the mail
30 lbs live rock,  5 bunches of red Gracilaria algae,
3 Camel Shrimp - (in refugium),
5 Red Legged Hermit Crabs (1 in fuge),
1 Cleaner Shrimp,
2 Margarita Snails,
2 Astrea Snails (1 in fuge),
2 Banded Trochus Snails,
1 Nassarius Snail,
1 Bumblebee Snail,
1 Hawaiian Feather Duster,
1 Yellow Watchman Goby,
1 Bicolor Angel,
1 Royal Gramma,
1 Pajama Cardinal,
1 Dragon Eye Zoanthid Polyp Colony Frag (~50 polyps), added 2/29/12 from Petco
1 Mushroom Leather Coral (4-5"), added 2/29/12 also from Petco
2 Zebra Dartfish, added 3/2/12
T=79-82F, pH=8.2, NH3=0, N02<0.25, N03=10-30ppm, SG=1.024-5, Ca=420
<I'd get/use a kit for Mg as well>
When the two coral were first added on 2/29 the leather opened up on the first day, and most polyps on the Zoanthid opened.  I changed locations the next day to put the leather higher in the tank and the Zoanthid fragment in the substrate.  I noticed the base of the leather had what appeared to have lots of garbage from previous home or possibly necrotic tissue.  The leather closed up and only a few tentacles began to re-extend.  Nitrates measured about 20 ppm before adding the coral but had risen to around 60 when I tested while floating the soon to be added Dartfish a few days later on 3/2.  I did a major water change before adding the fish, replacing 20 gallons (~65%), but nitrates still measured about 20-25 ppm.  I did a 4 gal water change later that day. pH meter readings have stayed within 8.15 and 8.25 with a slight nighttime drop.  I supplemented with a capful of purple-up and a shrimp molting inspired me to add a drop of iodine (Iodion).  The one drop may have mistakenly become a dozen or more drops when I opened the flip-cap while holding the bottle over the tank allowing a portion collected in the cap to spill.  How bad is this?  Could it cause a major fish/invert die-off?
<Not likely real trouble, no>
I conjecture that either my attempt at feeding newly hatched brine or irritation from stirring up the substrate (or just shock) caused the leather to begin sloughing off skin. 
<The Zoanthids>
This happened almost continuously for a couple days.  I used a large coral feeding turkey baster to blow off the dead skin and try to remove the waste from the system.  On the morning of 3/4 the leather appeared to still have some loose skin but nearly all of its tentacles were extended.  The Zoanthid polyps were in equal quantities, closed, open, and partially open.
My fish however, were clearly stressed and I noticed that all of my snails had fallen off of the glass.  I got one margarita to re-attach but that was short-lived.  Upon further inspection I found my cleaner shrimp dead in the corner and I began worrying about whether the leather had given off a toxin assuming it was stressed.
<Both it and the Zoas>
  I can't find anything that says what type of toxin this might be and whether this can affect the fish/crustaceans, or if it only impacts other coral as growth inhibitors.
<Oh, there's a great deal of literature detailing the allelopathogens of both these groups of Cnidarians... a huge number of terpenoids and more>
While watching the tank shortly after turning on the lights, the Royal Gramma all of a sudden spasmed from halfway across the tank and drove itself into the corner laying motionless upside down.  I quickly used a 5 gallon bucket half full of new saltwater from previous day as a makeshift quarantine tank, but the gramma did not appear to be alive anymore.  I also removed some of the snails and crabs to the quarantine tank, added a capful of Amquel, an airstone, and some activated carbon and hoped for a recovery.  A couple of the snails which initially crawled on the wall of the quarantine bucket released about an hour later.    In the mean time I scrambled to add some activated carbon to the main tank by wrapping a couple small handfuls in cheese cloths and tying them off in front of the return pump outlet.
I also removed the leather coral to another 5 gallon bucket with some older water and a very large Acropora skeleton that came out of the tank when the coral went in (hoping it is hosting some bio bacteria).
I know many are, but I thought the dragon eye Zoanthid that I bought wasn't one of the toxic variety, but since I wasn't sure I eventually removed it from the tank as well (to the bucket with the leather and Acropora skeleton).  This Zoanthid appears to be a common variety with a brown to brick red center portion that has a light blue "pupil" in the middle and green "eyelashes".  The fragment looks like a slice of pie about four inches long.  A few of the polyps were clearly damaged in the picture I took while it was at the store.
My bicolor angel
<Needs, needed more room than this>
got removed to quarantine mid-day along with one of the zebra Dartfish
<Social species>
 just before a major water change.  The watchman goby and the other Dartfish were still alive but headfirst together in a tight crevice between the sand and the live rock.  The water change replaced 25 gallons (~80%).    Around midnight the bicolor angel was alive in the quarantine bucket but swimming erratically, sometimes sideways and upside down.
This morning the angel had passed and the zebra Dartfish had taken on the poor swimming behavior.  The pajama cardinal in the main tank seemed somewhat ok, but still not interested in food.  I could not locate the watchman goby or zebra.  The Featherduster radiole had also become wrinkled/curly and slow to respond to light changes. It no longer points into the current.
I am at work today but will be home soon, not optimistic that anything will survive this ordeal.  I'm obviously crushed by these losses, what should I do?
<What's that refrain from the bloated Billy Idol song? "Start again!!!">
  Was this a palytoxin poisoning
<In part, yes>
 or iodine overdose or something else.  Was it the leather or the Zoanthid colony. 
<Both; a combo>
If any of my fish survive this ordeal, should I put the leather and Zoanthids back in after being in a bucket for a day, or is that just asking for trouble.  Is the carbon contaminated--should I throw it out or can it be re-activated?
<... they need/ed to be slowly acclimated to each other>
Again, thank you for your expertise and help, you can trust that it is greatly appreciated.
--John F,
<Let's see... Could have you look up on WWM using the string: "Zoanthid or Soft Coral Allelopathy, Cascade Event"... or, let's have you read here first: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and the linked files above... including Compatibility FAQs and where they lead you for Alcyoniids and Zoanthideans. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sudden fish/invert die off
Thank you very much for the suggestions, I am working through the search results and volumes of recommended reading, and have learned alot.
<No such word>
  I learned some key terms which I hope to help me continue my search, and have learned that my horror story isn't as uncommon as I originally thought.   A one liner I read said that if a Zoanthid and Sarcophyton (my situation exactly) are suspected, it is the Sarcophyton that is the more likely culprit. 
<Can/could be either one or both>
Based on this I've been trying to figure out how best to "neutralize" the Sarcophyton terpenoids. 
<Mmm, the best is the steady acclimation mentioned before... otherwise, large, frequent water changes, some chemical filtrants...>
Unfortunately I don't have a degree in organic chemistry, and my searches have turned up more explanations of what has probably happened than explanations of what to do next.
<The more one looks, the more there is to see>
With the exception of the shriveled Hawaiian feather duster which has ejected itself from its tube (and still spasming on the substrate), all others were lost.  :-(  Along the way I did two ~85% water changes and removed the dead snail/crab shells, fishing out detritus with a brine shrimp net.  I hung activated carbon bags in the water flow path, and ran an ozonizer into an airstone (Enaly OZX-300U) for about a half hour (no ORP meter, so decided maybe not the best idea). 
<If you know the output in mg of O3/hr....>
I've skimmed a fair amount of gunk from the tank as well although the skimmer never really worked consistently.   I had hoped the tank might have been better considering how long my watchman goby held out and considering the feather duster was still (marginally) alive.  I tried adding a margarita snail to the tank to see if it was still toxic,
 and it let go of the glass within a few minutes.  I would prefer to not dry the tank and bleach everything out, but think this may be the only option?
<The best likely... otherwise leaving empty for a good long while>
My reading also suggests that elevated temperatures might aid in the evaporation of the terpenoids, any idea how high would be needed?
<Mid 80's F.>
  I have now raised the tank temp to 84 and trying to go a bit higher.  Would love to be able to salvage my rock without killing the whole tank.
<Change all the water out for now, re-fill>
 I'm surprised it was so persistent because I thought this chemical warfare was a reasonably common or even regular occurrence within a reef tank and the carbon "deals" with it.
<No, it does not entirely>
 Am I wrong?  If so, any other products I should try, maybe just more carbon, or is it all futile and going to take longer than a bleach and re-cycle anyway?. 
<Up to you... I'd just change the water...>
It sure would be
nice to not have to wait out a cycle again.
Thanks again for all the help. -- John
<Welcome. BobF>
Re Everything keeps dying and we don't know why 3/10/12

Hi James!
<Hello Laurie>
Thanks so much for your reply. First of all thank you so much for the information on the Zoanthids and Ricordea.
<You're welcome.>
I didn't realize that would be a problem.
<Can be, yes.>
I think the best thing is to send the Ricordea back to the store until we get a bigger system since it currently sits in what should be an optimal location in the tank. I've waited a few days on purpose to see how the new snails would do.  Good News!  They are still alive.  Well, 3 out of 4 are still alive. I can't find the 4th but that doesn't necessarily mean he's dead.  I left them in the tank that night figuring I would wake up to find them all being cleaned up by the crabs and Nassarius, especially since one of the Nassarius attacked a Margarita not long after I put them in the tank.  Instead they were quite content ON THE ROCKS!  It's a miracle.   Now I'm not sure about the voltage.  We unplugged everything and about every 30 minutes plugged in one electrical component to see if there was any reaction. I turned on the recirculating pump first, then the heater, the protein skimmer pump and then the next morning the powerhead.  It has now been a full week and everybody seems happy.  I'm so confused. Anyway, to answer your questions:1. Yes, our tests do match the LFS.2. The bacteria issue was discovered by a process of elimination. When there seemed to be nothing else to try (change of filter media, SeaGel, lighting adjustments, etc...) I happened to come across an article discussing the role of algae in the absence of good bacteria. We had actually reduced the presence of the bacteria by scrubbing the rock weekly, trying to get rid of the hair algae and there was no way/opportunity to replenish.  So we added a horrible smelling dose of bacteria and bingo, it solved the problem.
 Now if I could just do the same with this slime.
<Was not aware of any slime/Cyanobacteria, do search on our site.>
3. We have checked for voltage and did not get a reading, but I do realize it may not be constant, so the possibility is still there. So I'm still nervous about adding new creatures.  4. We do have the GFCI outlet and we have all components plugged into a surge protector/timer. 5. We get our water from either the LFS or we buy RODI filtered water at the grocery store since our LFS isn't so local at 45 min away.
<Be less expensive to buy your own RO filter.  I've found and use a unit for 100.00 that works exceedingly well.  Take a look here.  http://premiumaquatics.com/aquatic-supplies/AFX-BUD-RO100.html
 Overall, I'm thrilled about the snails but still pretty anxious about adding anything.  I think we'll wait a while and enjoy what seems to be happy.   Thanks, again and if you happen to think of anything else, we're all ears!
<May want to be sure no toxins are used around the tank such as Windex, etc.  James (Salty Dog)>

Polyps not opening 1/31/12
So here is what's happening... A 90 gallon reef with 2x 175W metal halide and 2x 96w PC bulbs, lots of live rock, small sand bed(2in max), sump with skimmer and chiller... the problem is some polyps have not been opening fully for some time now...(About 3 months) The other corals (Blastomussa, Euphyllia, Lobophyllia, Caulastrea, Favia, Trachyphyllia, etc etc etc...) are all growing and acting "healthy and normal"... Any ideas?
<...? As to cause? What are these "polyps" as in Cnidarian group, classification>
I conduct a 20-30 gallon water change with RO/DI water every two weeks, and as I said before, the rest of the corals, fish and inverts are thriving... The light bulbs are up for replacement, but everything else seems ok... The polyps in question are spread throughout the aquarium at different heights, once again unsure of what is affecting these guys.
Water test results:
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 20-40ppm
<Too high... see WWM>
Phosphate: 2.0ppm
<This too...>
Calcium: 440ppm
pH: 8.4
KH: 10
Salinity(SG): 34ppt (1.025)
Temperature: 78.8 degrees F
The tank is not overfed(according to the owner), however it is heavily stocked...
<Mmm, then likely some form of allelopathy at work here. Read:
and the linked files above>
The nitrates and phosphates have been on the rise over the last few months(since the defeat of the hair algae plague) ... We are discussing vodka dosing or a nitrate reactor as the owner does not want to reduce the fish population...
<... one approach>
Another item I thought would be worth mentioning is that the owner informed me he has not been dosing additional elements (iodine, strontium, calcium) for a while now... If you could offer any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it.
(PS I will send a picture this evening when I have a moment near a computer)
<... Learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM... Read where you've been referred. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine is important.... More mysterious SW reef losses... Coral allelopathy poss. 1/12/12
Dear WWM,
I recently added Euphyllia and Duncanopsammia to my reef tank. The first days went well, yes I know, I should have quarantined. I have only Euphyllia in the tank and several fish: 4 Green Chromis, 3 Black-Bar Chromis, 1 Tri-color Fairy Wrasse, 1 Percula Clown, 1 Striped Damsel, 1 Watchman Goby, 1 Royal Gramma. Well, with perfect water for no reason the fish started to die. First it was just two missing Chromis which I don't have a covered tank so I thought they had been spooked in the night and jumped, but I wasn't concerned. The next day the Gramma looked awful and wasn't eating. I left one set of lights off and did a water test. The next morning he and two of the Black-Bar Chromis were gone. I was worried now but everything else seemed okay and was eating; had good color; breathing normally etc. nothing was picked at each other and my invertebrates looked great. Last morning the Wrasse and Clown were gone.
<... I don't like this>
The goby didn't look good at all and I began to panic. I set up a 10 gallon with fresh mixed water and some of the rock from the main tank. I wanted some bio. filtration so it wasn't completely from scratch. Well, he is looked better now but should I move the other fish too?
<If there's room>
I didn't think that Euphyllia usually fought with allelopathy
<Au contraire!>
and usually went with sweeper tentacles is this untrue? I have had a nice Bubble Coral with no problem and love the Torch and Duncan but like to have fish too, what would you recommend?
<Recommend? Perhaps the use of a good activated carbon, large water change>
Could I add Frogspawn?
<Not directly, no... Are you familiar w/ my olde ppt pitch on allelopathy:
Please comb through... esp. the part re quarantine/acclimation... the mixing of water back and forth>
I'm not mixing Soft Corals and LPS so I thought I was safe,
<Ah no>
should I just focus on Euphyllia and get rid of the Duncans? I guess the one thing I have learned is have a quarantine/hospital tank on hand and I will not make this mistake again.
<Read... then we'll talk/chat. Bob Fenner>
Re Coral Allelopathy 1/12/12

Dear WWM,
So it was suggested that I read the ppt about Allelopathy. After reading it I have several questions. The three corals I have are fighting.
The fish had to be removed and I was wondering when they are likely to settle down.
<A few weeks generally...>
They are all LPS and two are Euphyllia. The other being Ducanopsammia. I would like to add another Euphyllia but with turmoil already going on I am waiting. Should I just get out of the hobby?
<Up to you>
I mean, I love it but I don't want to be acting as a slaughter house for the fish or corals. Everything was going well and I thus far have gotten everything running more smoothly until now. I like all the corals but should I just get rid of all and start over?
The first coral I had in the tank was a Bubble and it has grown and looks great. All of them do. I try to read the answers to all the questions I have on your site but then with this all the FAQs seem to be about people who had 'reef garden syndrome'. Do I have this?
<Mmm, yes>
I was trying to avoid Soft Corals and SPS. I have decided Euphyllia are my favorite so if I need to get rid of something I would prefer to keep them. I wanted a Frogspawn at some point, when could I get it? Thanks, Bryce
<Just newcomers need to be acclimated per the ppt... and accompanying linked files above. BobF>
Just some questions. Cnid. allelopathy ongoing 1/16/12

Dear WWM,
Well, I thought about it and tossed the idea around for the past week and decided I want to stay in the hobby. Even though things are still rocky
I intend to pull through them. So here is my first question. My three corals seem to be doing better after the allelopathy started and eating.
The Bubble Coral and Duncan are looking good but I have some problems with the Torch. I mashed some fish into a paste that I put in the water above him and it quickly broke apart and little pieces rained on him. His tentacles acted as though he was catching some of the pieces but I am worried that really didn't get any. I have tried feeding 2X3mm pieces but they always end up on the sand later. I try to dose with Kent ZooPlex twice a week but is this enough assuming he catches a few particles?
<May well be getting a good deal of nutrition just through chemical exposure>
I know there is some sort of smaller food in the tank because I have found tons of these small shrimp like creatures in the water around the rock work. I don't wish to mix any Soft, LPS, or SPS corals but would love to add Euphyllia ancora.
This wouldn't be for several weeks but how long would the allelopathy last?
<Highly variable sometimes just days, others, months>
Would it subside within two weeks with frequent water changes?
<Could, yes>
Should I just be content with the three corals I have now and hope they reach a large size to make up for the bare spot?
<Oh yes; very possible>
The tank is 55 gal. All water tests have checked out. The fish are staying in my quarantine tank at the moment. When would it be safe to reintroduce them?
<... mix the water... a few weeks>
The fish that are in the tank are Yellow Watchman Goby, Blue Green Chromis, and Four Stripe Damsel.
I intend to get a Percula Clown, and Royal Gramma later. What is a good show piece fish to add to this?
<Survey, go over WWM re the species you list, the "Compatibility FAQs" for each for ideas>
I had a Coral Beauty Angel for a while but it refused to eat no matter what I put in the tank. I am giving up on Angels for now but wondered if there was anything you could recommend. I say that because when I do my own research it seems that I get fish that should eat and be happy but the situation ends in disaster. I know my tank is small so Butterflies, Tangs, Triggers, Eels, Large Angels, Idols (ha ha what a joke, better left in the ocean), and Lion Fish are out of the question, so what about some sort of schooling fish?
How long should I quarantine the fish before adding them?
<... depends on the species, their condition... Please see WWM>
I feel like four weeks is maybe long enough and I know people that only do for about one week. Thanks for all you do, have a GREAT day!
<Great! BobF>

Question about coral <Cnidarian> allelopathy 1/11/12
Hi WWM Crew,
I have read your sections on coral allelopathy, and I found them very helpful. I have had some issues in the past which I suspect to be caused by allelopathy. I am designing a system to house various reef animals, that would not normally do well together, in separate tanks, all plumbed together. So while I do not need to worry about direct contact and sweeper tentacles, <chemical> allelopathy is still a primary concern.
My question is this: What corals or other animals should I avoid if I wish to minimize the chances of chemical warfare hurting my delicate corals?
<Posted... some groups of Cnidarians much more so than others... but w/ careful addition (less to more toxic/stinging), taking ones time, mixing water during quarantine... Please read here:
and the linked files above>
I know that leather corals are the obvious group to avoid.
What about corralimorphs and palythoas?
<Both potentially more allelopathogenic than "average">
you have written that they can pose major problems for SPS, but is that just because of direct contact, or because of chemicals they release which can affect the whole system?
and what about my 12" RBTA?
does it release chemicals which may harm delicate corals (that are not within reach of the tentacles)?
<Yes; but much more so Cnidocyst involvement. See WWM re mixing Actinarians w/ other Cnidarian Classes>
Thanks! Your advice is crucial to the design of my reef system.
<Best advice... "take your time"... develop a written plan... add organisms/colonies in a conscious fashion... through mixing waters back and forth from quarantine and the main/display systems... Bob Fenner>

Die Off, reef... 1/9/12
Dear WWM,
Sorry to keep questioning you but something new came up. My 55 gallon tank seems to be going through a mass extinction.
Over the past two days I have lost five fish. It is well past cycled as it has been running and stocked for well over four years. Water tests show that my Calcium has decreased by about 60 ppm. I lack a test for KH or Mg. I recently added two new stony corals to the system and five fish.
<What coral species? How acclimated, introduced?>
The fish I chose were: 1 Fairy Wrasse, 3 Black Bar Chromis, 1 Watchman Goby. I was most concerned about loosing <losing> my goby due to an aggressive Royal Gramma and Percula Clown.
However, the Goby looks great and I lost my Gramma and the Clown is currently checking out. The night before I lost two Green Chromis; and tonight two of the Black Bars decided life wasn't worth living, or something was wrong. I don't think this is a water chemistry problem because my corals all look really good. Bubble fully inflated with good color, Duncan both looking good, and Torch is also well.
<These are likely the source/cause of loss>
The Torch and Duncan both ate a tiny piece of fish last night! My feather Dusters and Serpent Star are also healthy. The fish I am loosing are considered hardy and aren't being picked on to death. They seem to loose most of their color and then overnight die.
My clown was feeding well last night and this morning he looks horrible. I was thinking maybe if the fish were being stung by the Euphyllia sweeper tentacles
<Perhaps... more likely killed through chemical allelopathy>
because I have no idea what is going on. I have been battling some Cyano
<Or this>
lately and did another offensive on it last night which was successful. Also, when I received the Bubble coral it had two 'strange round discs' on it. I was looking online when I bought my Torch and Duncan and noticed for the first time what Zoanthids look like.
<... can be troublesome>
I then found out that they don't like to play nice with other corals. There are currently 14 now. Can I remove them from the rock and sell them or something because they do have nice little green centers.
<See WWM re... can be dangerous>
Thanks for everything.
<Welcome. B>

Corals in the same family being kept in close proximity 10/27/11
I did a search, did not find a definitive answer
Can I keep my hairy mushrooms, Discosoma, Rhodactis, and Ricordea in close proximity?
What about different species of Acans?
<Often can>
I know most LPS corals will attack each other.
<And most Euphylliids...>
It seems SPS corals do get along very close together as long as they are not touching
What about different Zoa's for example if I keep two color morphs of Palythoa close together, or two smaller Zoas close together, or if you keep one Paly and one smaller stain close
<IF conditioned/acclimated>
I know about chemical warfare and sweeper tentacles....and it is advised to keep corals as far apart as possible. But now days people want to have a full reef and I have so many exotic expensive! frags I've collected that I want to keep close together on a Eshopps frag rack and am worried.
One last question it seems that some of my corals are being eaten by a Longspine urchin that was behaving very well when he was smaller. Now I'm seeing branches of Acropora going white overnight, could it be the urchin?
<Might be. Bob Fenner>
Re: Corals in the same family being kept in close proximity 10/27/11

I feel like im at a club and a hot girl is teasing me when I read your e-mail!
<How 'bout a drink? And/or reading on WWM re Cnidarian compatibility? B>
Re: Corals in the same family being kept in close proximity 10/27/11
haha! thanks for the info
<Welcome Dinesh. B>

Update on Algae and Coral (allelopathy) 10/18/11
Hi Bob and Crew,
I've been following the daily faqs pretty much daily for some time now and always appreciate the great updates and the contributions from all the crew.
I came across this article today regarding updated research in Fiji about the chemical warfare between various forms of algae and sps corals and thought I'd pass it on.
<Thank you>
I found the similarity between the processes described in the article occurring in our reefs and what happens when we have a cyanobacteria or algae situation in our tanks very informative. I also enjoyed the description of the Rabbitfish "quivering" in anticipation of eating the noxious algae.
<'It's certainly a novel finding,' says John Bruno, a marine ecologist at the University of North Carolina, "
Nah... not novel at all. Have written and read re this phenomenon for decades>
Thanks again for being that great resource for all of us.
<Thank you, Bob Fenner>

sps/softie advice... comp., plus anemone... rdg. 10/9/11
I have a question.
I have a couple of beautiful sps/Acro frags which are located on one side of my 46 gallon bow front, it also has a small colony of polyps in the center of my tank. Today I added a leather toadstool softie to the side of the tank with nothing on it.
I have read in some places it's ok to keep sps and softies together and in others its not, which is it?
<Generally better to not mix>
Also my anemone
<And worse this>
has gone into hiding as of today (though still eating and his bubble tips looks good he has kind of hid upside-down and under a rock which is unusual for it) could this be because if the toadstool?
<Yes... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/alcyoncompfaqs.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/AnemCompF5.htm
Thank you in advance.
<Please learn to, use the search tool, indices on WWM. Searching, reading ahead of purchasing will save you money and troubles. Bob Fenner>

two fish dead from same or different issue(s)? Anemone/"Coral" incomp. 9/25/11
Hello! Thank you for taking a bit of time to read about something that has been racking my mind this week. My husband and I have recently gotten back into the hobby after a stressful getting-out-of-the-hobby experience 2 years ago. The new tank is a small 30 g cube with LED lights and is 6 months
<Ok; welcome back!>
The inhabitants have been in the tank for 3-4 months and include one tank bred black clown (a juvenile), one algae blenny (a juvenile)
<Mmm, depending on species the last will require direct feeding in time... this volume won't produce sufficient foods>
and after lots of research and observation, one scooter blenny that eats frozen like a champ. Last week we introduced a long tentacle anemone.
<Mmm, may well eat your blenny and Scooter>
Unfortunately, as the anemone buried its foot it must have caught itself on a piece of rock-- once we noticed the rip in it's side it was removed form the tank. The clown never took to the anemone-- she has a staked out territory in the middle of the tank next to a frogspawn. This week, the scooter blenny and clown have died.
<... perhaps related to the Anemone, maybe interaction w/...>
The scooter went first-- his body condition seemed nice and fat including both his head and abdomen. He ate every day until I found him one afternoon stiff and in the grips of a hermit crab. I found this particularly
upsetting since I have made every attempt possible to ensure he ate his frozen everyday (and he did), while also including adding bottled copepods for his grazing pleasure. He wasn't going to starve on my time. We immediately did param checks and nothing out of the ordinary was seen (nitrite and nitrate
0, ammonia 0, ph normal *sorry, I don't remember this one exactly*,
salinity 1.021-1.022, temp 80) .
<Mmm, fine for the fishes listed; not so for the Euphyllia or anemone>
Not soon after the clown started acting "funny". She moved out of her normal territory and started exploring new areas of the tank, and stopped being as aggressive as before (she was a hermit crab bully and a finger biter). We had changed the flow of the tank to help accommodate the new anemone (the flow changes from one side to the other via a computer controlled valve on a regular interval) and we had originally blamed her new behavior on the new flow pattern. After a few days, the clown moved to a
hollow in the sand and was having what seemed like little clown seizures-
<Good descriptions of bad behavior>
she would swim fast and erratically but without purpose. A white gooey substance started to cover her body. I did not want to stress her further since we had our hands in the tank quite a bit during the anemone issues so we did not remove her. She never showed symptoms of breathing quickly, but she did lie in the sand and became lethargic and died shortly afterward.
The gooey white slim was at its peak at this time. From what I can tell, her demise sounds like Brooklynella
<Mmm, highly unlikely... timing-wise and the fact that the fish was (stated) tank-bred>
but it would not explain the scooter blenny's death. He had none of these symptoms. (erg) Note of interest: this summer we were having issues with the tank creeping up to 85 degrees.
<Do leave the light/s off during very hot days>
Now that the weather has cooled off, the tank is stabilized at 79-81. I understand that Brooklynella does not enjoy a warmer environment--- would this have held a current infection at bay while she seemed fine?
<This wasn't "Brook">
Otherwise, is this a disease that would have hitchhiked on the anemone?
<It was in part the anemone>
Corals have been added to the tank gradually, but there was at least 45 days between the last coral and the anemone. No new fish or crabs have been added in 3 months.
<Good data reporting>
The remaining fish in the tank is the algae blenny. I would have chosen him to be the most susceptible to disease since the first week we had him he took a trip over the overflow, down to the sump and on to and under the filter pad. I went to retrieve the "dead" fish when I realized where the new fish I had just bought had gone only to find a ZOMBIE fish under the filter pad. He lost his fuzzy eyebrows in the process and is no longer sociable.
He hides when anyone is near the tank and makes observing feeding habits a little difficult since he won't come out to eat if he can see you. His belly is always round and fat, so I believe he is eating well but it is much harder to observe him.
<Will become more outgoing w/ time>
My concerns are: Will my algae blenny be able to fight these issues off?
<It should now that the anemone has been removed>
Will he play host to any parasites/fungus even if he isn't affected?
<Not an issue>
What can I do to increase his chance of survival?
<Mmm, read/understand what has gone on here. VERY likely what your system experienced was a situation of "warfare"/allelopathy twixt the newly introduced anemone and the extant Cnidarians/"Corals"... the unwitting non-combatants, your fishes, suffering for being caught in "cross fire">
If he does die ---or---- does not die, how long should I wait until adding a new clown?
<A few weeks>
This is one of the most important questions I have, I do everything possible to ensure the living creatures I have are not unnecessarily put in harms way: If the scooter blenny can host the disease, but not be affected, can this be transferred to any new inhabitants or will the disease die off?
<The root cause/issue here was environmental; I am almost certain of it...
With understanding of stocking technique... placing small colonies only of Cnidarians, less stinging-chemically active ahead of more so... mixing water twixt the established system and the one you're isolating the new in... You should be fine. IMPORTANT that you read, comprehend what is posted here: http://wetwebmedia.com/CorlCompArt.htm
or the .ppt version, or here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
I have read a minimum of 40 days so the disease can die off (I am 100% fine with this), but am unsure if it is ok to add new coral to the tank during this time. I would like to introduce a tank propagated rose anemone before adding a new clown.
Whew... ok... well that's all the questions I have for now. Thanks for your input!!!!!!
<Thank you for writing so well and completely. A pleasure to deal w/ folks who are concerned and intelligent. Bob Fenner>

Reef Decline- Totally Stumped/Frustrated 6/22/2011
<Hello Joe>
Thanks again for your commitment to the hobby. You've helped thousands of aquarists over the years including me. Outstanding.
<You're welcome.>
This is probably the most frustrating email that I've sent you- I truly need some help on this one. My apologies for the length as well pic size. I know I have a bit more KB then you'd like but felt this was necessary.
My 54 gallon reef has gone from a gleaming jewel to a lump of coal over the past 4 months and I'm stumped as to why. Here is the info:
54 Gallon Corner Tank
Rena xp3 Canister Filter
Bak-Pak skimmer
HQI 150w w/Reeflux 10k bulb
1 24w ZooMed 10k T-5
1 24x ZooMed 6500k T-5
Maxi-jet 220 w/Hydor flo
sg- 1.025
Ph 8.4
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
Calcium 420
Mag 1200
photoperiod T-5's for 9 hrs, HQI for 5 hours
Salt- Kent (previously Tropic Marin)
Supplements- Seachem Reefbuilder and Magnesium, Tropic Marin Alca-balance (calcium)
Water Changes- 5 gallons weekly, have been doing 10 gallons weekly for the last 2 weeks
<I would suggest adding a sump to your system. It will provide a much higher O2 exchange and increase your total water volume.>
Current specimans <specimens>:
Med. Bubble Coral (See pic- dying/shrinking)
<Highly allelopathic, especially in smaller systems such as yours. These corals should not be placed on rough surfaces such as your coarse substrate. Their "skin" is very prone to cutting/tearing and is easily irritated on rough surfaces.>
Lg. Caulastrea curvata (See pic- was positioned close to HQI, moved to bottom, still not looking good, too much light previously perhaps?)
<Indirect bright light and moderate current suit these corals the best.
They seem quite sensitive to direct metal halide/HQI lighting and strong water flow.>
Med. Caulastrea furcata (doing wonderfully/eating and growing)
Med-lg. Branching Hammer Coral (seems to be doing fine)
Med. Yellow Colony Polyps (doing fine)
Med. Finger Leather Coral (doing fine buy will be moving to a friend's system)
<Another highly allelopathic coral that does not belong with other corals in smaller systems.
Problems as you are having often are the result. Same goes for the Euphyllia species such as your
Bubble Coral.>
Tiny GSP colonies- (never grew much but surviving)
Midas Blenny (doing fine)
Royal Gramma (doing fine)
Misc. snails and tiny hermits (about 4, all fine)
NLS pellets for fish- about 5 for each fish daily
Shredded Salmon, Mysis, and crushed NLS once weekly It seems like I've tried everything to remedy this slow decline to no avail.
I've increased my water change frequency, added additional Purigen and carbon to the filter, increased water motion. Using logic, the following MUST be one of the problems:
1) Light- Is it possible that there is too much light for some of these corals?
<Yes, notably the Caulastrea.>
The hammer and Furcata receive direct HQI and T-5 light and seem very happy. The Curvata does not- it's polyps over time, have shrunk considerably.
<Attempt to shade this coral from direct bright light.>
The same with the bubble. The bubble used to bask in the light and expand wonderfully (see pic). I did a bulb change around the time that things started to go south from a Coralife 14k to a Reeflux 10k upon the crew's recommendation. The effected corals seemed to decline after the bulb change.
<I believe allelopathy is playing a role in it's demise and likely from the Leather Coral.>
2) Water Flow. This has been very tricky. The canister is running 350gph, the powerhead w/Hydor flo is 220, with some additional minor flow from the skimmer.
To me, this seems very minimal but when I added another Maxi-jet 220, many of the corals closed up some and seemed blown over. I also experimented with a Koralia 750gph as well as a maxi-jet 1200, both of which were way to powerful. Again, I used the current flow set-up for many months with success.
<Corals do not appreciate laminar flow and do much better with wavemaker style currents, a pulsing to and fro motion.>
3) Temperature: The tank has been ranging from 80-82 degrees due to the summer heat, but nothing drastic.
<Should be fine.>
4) Predation: 100% sure that nothing dangerous in the tank exists. Have had it up and running for 2 years as a reef with no evidence, not even Bristleworms.
5) Source water: I don't think that this is it but it could be. I use Culligan 5 gallon jugs refilled at the grocery store.
6) Allelopathy: This would be my best guess but this tank is NOT overstocked. It is very minimal. In fact at its peak, I additionally had a medium sized toadstool leather, a large Torch coral, and several Zoanthid colonies (see pic) with no evidence of suffering from allelopathy.
<Some corals are more resistant to allelopathy than others.>
I have systematically removed the most likely toxic culprits (see before and after pics for comparison) minus the finger leather which will be gone in 2 days. In addition, I've increased carbon usage, and increased water change frequency. I did frag the finger leather at one point, which I suppose could have triggered something.
This may be another clue: I brought back a small GSP colony from a frag swap last week and placed it in the tank. The polyps opened and looked wonderful the first few days but now are barely coming out.
<The Leather Coral is likely the culprit here.>
I will be moving the tank to my new home next weekend and would like to make a fresh start. Any suggestions for getting this tank on its feet again?
<As above, and I would use Chemipure Elite rather than carbon or Purigen.
The Elite removes phosphates.>
I am thinking about adding a variable flow powerhead for additional controlled flow.
<Better to invest in an inexpensive wavemaker.>
I am also considering ditching the HQI and instead using 4 T-5's.
<Is worth a try, you can always put the HQI back on line if no improvement results. And, do not expect overnight results to any of the improvements you wish to implement.
I also suggest a more efficient skimmer to help cope with allelopathy. Carbon will do little in this regard, the toxins are still in the water.>
I do not think that we're looking at a foreign toxic compound such as copper because a few of the corals are thriving.
I used to feel like a pro aquarist and now I feel like a failure. I have a vast library of all the great texts (Borneman, Delbeek & Sprung, Tullock, Wilkerson, Dakin, and of course Fenner) and have spent a ridiculous amount of time on WWM.
I'm no slouch in the aquatics department but if the proverbial proof is in the pudding, folks would look at my tank right now and think I haven't the slightest clue. Is this tank inherently flawed? I feel so mentally drained but I'm still willing to do whatever I can to get my beloved tank back up again.
<Problems can happen to experienced aquarists as well. One thing I have noticed in your side by side comparison photos is that the newer pics appear to have a greenish yellow tint to them.
If these were taken under the same conditions, then you likely have water quality issues as well. Good test
readings are not necessarily indicative of good water quality, just good chemistry. May want to read here and related
articles found in the header. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/watrqualmar.htm>
Any help would be appreciated!!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

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