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Related FAQs: Cnidarians 1, Cnidarians 2, Cnidarian Identification, Cnidarian Behavior, Cnidarian Compatibility, Cnidarian Selection, Cnidarian Systems, Cnidarian Feeding, Cnidarian Reproduction, Acclimating Symbiotic Reef Invertebrates to Captive Lighting

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Can't Keep Corals. Please Help/Growing Corals 9/7/11
<Hello Hunt>
Here is the background on my tank, specks and routines Red Sea max 250, 65 Gallons (Set up March 2011)
<Just got one of these myself, nice system.>
2 Vortech MP10's
JBJ auto top off
Running only the three 10,000k t5's
2 12" blue stunners
1 24" blue/violet mix stunner
1 10k 12" stunner
<The stunner LEDs do not do much for coral growth, but geared more toward color pop. In reality, the three T5s are providing the only light your corals can use and is not quite enough. In terms of coral growth, if the light is within the active spectrum of the chlorophylls in the Zooxanthellae algae, which fall between 400-550nm and 620-740nm, then there will be nutrition provided for the coral to grow. And, most shallow water corals do not benefit from wavelengths below 450nm. You would have been better off leaving the original T5 complement and adding one or two Ecoxotic stunner lights. I'm quite sure there is enough space in the hood to do this as these LED strips are less than 1/2" deep. Take a peek here.
Some corals will also require additional nutrients and in looking at your parameters, your system is pretty nutrient free. Consider using a product called Phyto-Feast produced by Reed Mariculture or another similar product to provided these nutrients.>
Light cycle goes as follows: 9am blue and blue/violet stunner comes on, 10am 10k stunner comes on, 11am mains come on and 10k stunner goes out. reverse at night starting at 9pm.
Just hooked up Neptune's Apex lite with 3 Bulk reef supply dosing pumps for Alk, cal, and Mag about 3 weeks ago.
Running Chemi-pure Elite and an extra bag of Carbon
<The carbon isn't necessary when using Chemipure.>
Live stock:
2 Ocellaris clowns
1 Six Line Wrasse
1 Yellow Eye Kole tank <Tang> 3.5"
<Your tank will be too small for this fish in time.>
1 Coral Beauty 3"
1 Starry Blenny
1 Sand Sifting Starfish
<Likely will starve to death in this system.>
rock with Zoanthids
frospawn <Frogspawn, and this is an aggressive
coral in terms of allelopathy and likely causing some problems.>
<Moderately aggressive.>
Alk - 12.2
Mag - 1440
Cal - 420
Phos- 0
Nitrates - 0

ammonia- 0
salinity - 1.025
ph - 7.9-8.1
temp - 79.5-80.3
I do a weekly 5 gallon water change, never miss it.
This tank has been up since end of March and started out well. Almost an instant cycle, started out with live rock and live sand. In the past two to three months we have had nothing but problems minus the fish. All of our corals are dying and cannot figure out why (small Birdsnest, long tentacle plate coral, pagoda cup rock, digitata frag). Par *had* been a little rocky to start and I attributed some corals dying to that. Lost a different birds nest due to Alk swings.
<Would not cause loss of corals. I'd relocate the Frogspawn and see if conditions improve.>
I had been using reef fusion two part dosing from the beginning. Then I purchased the Apex lite and dosing pumps to start adding Bulk Reef Supply 2 part solution so that I can keep everything super stable. Despite trying to make all the parameters more stable and get my tank on "cruse control" [Mr. Saltwater Tank] it seems as though nothing is working. I had the plate from the start of the tank, first one I bought, and the pagoda was in for at least two months, both were doing great and then just started to literally decay. I have coral rx'ed everything that went into the tank and had even had to take some out to re-dip to see if it would help but nothing. I did notice that there were some worms on the bottom of the plate and pagoda when I took them out for a dip.
At that point I was lost because I didn't know if it was the bugs killing things or the parameters. I had also found Zoanthid eating Nudibranchs on which I dipped to kill and have not seen them since. Now, in the past three days, my Frogspawn, which has been the best and healthiest coral I have, has lost two of its five heads completely. And it was lost quickly, first one was there when I went to work and gone when I got home and same for the second one.
I guess my question is what the heck, I have heard that people do way less and have parameters that change a lot more that have no problems, and I feel like I am going above and beyond and I got nothing. Could there be a big bug problem or am I doing something wrong?
<Lighting for one, nutrition, and better selection of corals in terms of allelopathy.
Although the RSM is 65 gallons, the foot print isn't all that large and with Euphyllia corals such as your Frogspawn that are capable of shooting out powerful sweeper tentacles up to one foot in length doesn't give your other corals much breathing room. This event generally occurs in the evening
while you are sleeping.>
Any help would be great. My wife loves the tank when its going well but I think she has had about enough and I don't want to give it up so I'm sort of desperate. Thanks in advance. If you need anymore info on the tank or situation let me know,
<As above and do read here and related articles/FAQs found in the header.
A good investment would be purchasing a book titled Aquarium Corals by Eric Borneman.
James (Salty Dog)>

Degrading Corals 1/3/11
Dear WWM crew,
<... Nick... we ask people to limit image file size... to a few hundred Kbytes... you, 10 megs... 20% of our mail capacity...>
Happy New Year! I have a 90 gallon reef system that has been running for nearly a year now with no problems. Last week my water began to get more cloudy than usual, so I did a 15% water change (RO water, of course), which cleared up my problem. Since completing the water change however, I have a much larger crisis; some of my corals are looking pretty bad!
<I see this>
I have had (what I believe to be) a colt coral (picture attached), a (confirmed) flower pot coral, and two Ricordea for almost eight months with no problems; they all have been healthy and thriving. In fact, the 'colt' coral has more than doubled in size in that time and my two Ocellaris clowns have been hosting the Goniopora since its introduction. Since the water change, the flower pot only partially opens ('blooms') my colt coral - once perky and spread out - is drooped over and clumped together, and the Ricordea is about 1/3 its typical size. When I introduced the new water during the water change, I made sure to pre-mix the salt and PH buffer in a bucket to be sure it matched what is in the tank and ran a pump for a few minutes to mix everything together.
<Fair to good, but much better to pre-mix, let sit, recirculate for a few days ahead of use>
My SG is 1.024, temp is 79-81, calcium is 490ppm,
<Really too high... and in relation to Mg, alkalinity?>
oxygen is fine (I forget the exact numbers), nitrates are 0,
<... an essential nutrient. Your corals need some>
nitrites are 0, phosphates are 0,
<And this>

ammonia is 0. I know the problem is not salt burn because the water was put into the tank with a hose (stayed in one spot) and the affected corals are spread over different sections of the tank. My lighting is a 6 -- bulb H.O T-5 setup with 3 actinic and 3 white; 354 watts total. My system also contains an open brain coral, a Derasa clam (2.5 -- 3'), two purple flat blade gorgonians, a host of green mushrooms, Zoanthus, an anemone -- unknown species - (brown with pink tips; about 3' in diameter), a green bubble
tip, a flame scallop,
<Hard to keep... Along with the Goniopora; you must be doing much right>
a feather duster, a Strawberry Conch, a Red Sea Star, and a few fish; all thriving and all present during the water change. I'm worried I am going to lose the corals in question and any advice would be much appreciated!
Thank you,
~ Nick
<Likely a combo. of disproportionate Ca conc. w/ Mg, Alk... and def. a starvation issue with a lack of NO3 and HPO4... Could be quite a few "other things"... You would likely do well to read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/CnidDisF3.htm
and the linked files above for background, as well as investigating (the search tool, indices on WWM) the central issues mentioned. Bob Fenner>

Dying Corals 08/05/09
Hello Crew. Thanks for your help in the past. We have a 300 gallon system separated into two 125g tanks and a 50g sump/refugium. One tank houses non reef friendly fish and the other all reef friendly fish. We are having a problem with our corals dying. Not all, just some. Our corals are:
Tubastrea aurea, Nemanzophyllia turbida, Acanthophyllia deshayesiana, Physogyra sp.(pearl bubble), Heliofungia actiniformis, Ricordea florida, Rhodactis indosinensis, Rhodactis inchoate, Heteroxenia sp. (xenia), Caulastrea furcata, and a Sarcophyton sp. (toadstool mushroom leather coral)
These are all doing well.
The ones that are dying are mostly in Caryophylliidae family although recently have had trouble with some Zoanthus as well.
The Caryophylliidae in the tank are, Euphyllia paradivisa, Euphyllia parancora and Euphyllia ancora. They are dying one head at a time, to complete skeletons.
<Hmm...you might just have too much in one system (i.e. allelopathic troubles).>
LFS suggested potassium may be low but the test kit seemed impossible to read, so we can't really be sure. Water parameters are SG - 1.025, pH - 8.2, dKH - 8, nitrates - 5, Ca - 420, Mg - 1420 (a little high). Water temp is pretty consistent between 78 to 80. 50g water changes weekly.
System is 8 months old.
<This might be another "concern"- 8 months is still a relatively new tank as far as some types of corals are concerned.>
We were only target feeding once a week other than the Tubastrea aurea which was every second or third day. LFS suggested smaller feedings more often,
<Good advice.>
every couple days of Mysis and Phyto-Feast.
<Why phyto-feast? These corals do not feed on phytoplankton. I'd suggest some Rod's Food.>
This has not improved anything. Can you suggest anything else. Would hate to lose all these beautiful corals. Thanks again.
<Patience... and maybe some better food.>
Sara M.>

Garlic 5/18/08 Garlic and Corals-Recipe for Trouble? Hi All: Can one of you tell me if garlic is toxic to corals? Thanks, RB <Interesting question. As far as I know there is no documented toxicity issue with garlic and corals. The theory behind the use of corals is that Allicin, the chemical compound found in fresh garlic, has long been known to have some anti-parasitic properties. Although I do not consider it an effective "cure" for parasitic maladies, it may be It is thought that this stuff works with fishes because it may mask parasites' chemoreceptors with its partially sulfurous chemical signature. There is, however, no apparent danger to corals or their symbiotic algae. Besides, you are typically adding garlic extracts via food, and much is probably processed by the fishes. However, I would not overdo this stuff, as it does cause protein skimmers to accumulate an oily film in the collection cup, and acquire that wonderful garlic aroma (which is actually preferable to my skimmer's typical smell). If you're going to use garlic, use per the manufacturer's directions, and simply don't overdo it. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Coral Extension 04/07/2008 Hi Crew, <<Hello, Andrew today>> First off thank you for the great web site as I work at a locally owned pet store and in the fish department I am continually referring customers to your web site for set up and random questions that we at the store don't know the answer to. <<All sounds great>> Now I find that I must take my own advice and ask you a question; <<Ok>> I have a 29 gallon oceanic bio cube set up for saltwater for just about a full year now and for the past 2 or 3 months none of my few corals that I have are extended. My tank set up and parameters are as follows in the 1st filter chamber I have a custom built protein skimmer that runs on a lime wood diffuser, in the 2nd chamber layers of sponges decreasing in size then occasionally some activated carbon. <<Ensure maintenance is strict with all these sponges. Wash weekly, change sections monthly, and wash filter media in used tank water>> I have about 25 lbs of live rock in the tank and about 20 lbs of live sand. As for lighting I replaced the power compact lights about 4 months ago and about 2 months ago added 2 of the current usa PowerBrite high output 50/50 LED strips in the hood as well. The photoperiod is 13 hours with 30 minutes of just the actinic and the LEDs on either side of the day light. <<Suggest dropping the lighting period. 8 hours per day is more than enough>> My water parameters to me all look fine ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are constantly 0, ph is 8.2, calcium is 460 ppm, KH is 8 dKH, my salinity is a little high at about 1.026, <<That's ok at 1.026>> and the temp is kept at a constant 80.2 degrees. My only fish inhabitants are 2 tomato clownfish and 1 Foxface Rabbitfish , I know he will get to big I have a 80 to move him up to, and I have probably 5 hermits crabs and a piece of newly added dragon's breath. My corals are only a purple mushroom, a branching hammer coral, a closed brain, and some star polyps, if I remember correctly they are white (see its been that long since they have been open). The supplements that I add on a weekly basis are API Strontium, Iodine, I add calcium or purple up as needed to raise the calcium levels and I also add Coral Accel. <<Corals are probably white due to bleaching. Maybe change the location in the tank, up higher. Stop adding all the trace elements and only add what shows as a deficiency on a test kit. Certainly stop adding Purple up, iodine and Coral Accel and Strontium. Trace elements will be replenished via water changes, 10% per week. Calcium, well, that depends on the uptake, and your test kit will tell you if this needs to be added or not>> My corals that I had haven't opened up like I said in about 2 or 3 months and the star polyps, which are new because I thought the others were dead, haven't opened up at all. They are at about mid level in the tank with the exception of the brain which is on the sand. <<Does the brain let out tentacles at night after lights off? Could be suffering a lighting deficiency here>> My mushroom actually decided that it wanted to jump off of my rock and now I suspect that it is dead. Is there anything that you can possibly think of that might be causing all of this? <<Lighting is one possibility as you don't mention how many watts are on the tank. A chemical overdose is another stronger possibility from the elements you have been adding, hence stop using them>> Steven <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Sick mushroom coral and bubble coral... no reading, use of WWM    2/19/08 I've had my mushroom coral for a month and it was doing fine - always spread out and looking happy - up until yesterday. Yesterday when I looked at my tank the mushroom and the small rock it sits on had fallen off the bigger rock they sit on and fell face down in the sand. <Oooh> I picked it up as soon as possible and put it back on the rock. Its been a bit shriveled ever since, and now it is completely shriveled up and looks like it has a tear in it with lots of tiny white things in the tear. <Not good> My bubble coral has also been ill for about a week. Some parts of it look fine whilst others are shriveled and also look torn, and it usually has one of its mouths wide open. Am I supposed to be feeding it? <... Yes!> I don't know what it eats. <My friend... why are you writing us? This is posted. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/caryfdgfaqs.htm > What do you think is wrong with it? I did a water change yesterday and I don't think the salt was fully dissolved when I put the new water in and both the bubble and mushroom gave off a cobweb-like substance. Would that have had anything to do with it? <Keep reading. Learn to/use the indices, search tool on WWM...> I add marine snow <Worthless. Worse than worthless... Of no nutritive value whatsoever> and calcium to my water, and use a sand with extra calcium in it. But I have not been able to measure my calcium levels as my LFS hasn't had any in since I bought the bubble coral. My water parameters = Ammonia - 3.6, Nitrate - less than 5, Nitrite - less than 0.1, pH - 7.5-8.0, copper - 0 <... keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Snow storm... Phosphate removal rxn on Cnid.s    1/3/08 Hi Crew, Small 10 gallon saltwater tank. I bought a filter pad that is made for reducing phosphates. I was able to cut out two pieces to match my filter. I put in the first one almost 8 weeks ago and it did a good job. I hardly have any hair algae left. The water was not going through so easily so I just replaced it with the second pad and I noticed white flecks coming out of the filter. By morning I had what looked like the aftermath of a snow storm. The part of the tank directly in front of the filter was covered in white. Sand and mushrooms and candy canes. <Mmm, these need some soluble phosphate...> The mushrooms were closing up. I contacted the seller and after convincing them it was not pods they said it may be some of the phosphate remover from the pad. <Maybe> How important is it to remove from the tank. <I would> They did not think it was much of an issue other than to remove from the corals. I rinsed it well before I put it in the tank so I do not know why this pad was different than the first being that they both are from one big pad. <I don't think "it" is the pad per se, but a reaction/series from the pad... the life...> Anyway the main concern is will it harm anything by staying on the sand. Thanks <I would remove the new pad. Bob Fenner>

Coral Health and Lack of Info - 3/24/07 I'm having a problem with a couple of my corals. <Ok, I'll see if I can help.> The Euphyllia ancora and Euphyllia divisa that I have don't seem to be expanding as they did a few weeks ago. They seem a little pale and not as large as a few weeks ago. <But still expanding?> I've tried moving them around the tank but no change. <How long did you allow between moves? Most corals will stay in a retaliatory state after being moved, for typically at least a day or 2.> I also have a Pulsing Xenia that is acting up. The Xenia will not expand in the main tank but will in my refugium. Do you have any ideas on what I might try. Everything else in the tank is thriving. <Everything else? How big of a tank is this, and what other coral species do you have? Sounds like allelopathy to me.> I feed the corals with live baby brine shrimp, <Aquatic potato chips -- replace this with Mysis shrimp. Even when brine shrimp are gut loaded, their nutritional value is extremely low.> Phyto-Feast and Roti-Feast. Water quality is as follows: pH-8.04 Salinity-32 Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate & Phosphate-Undetectable Calcium-392 Alkalinity-3 Magnesium-1300 Iodine-.07 <Aside from the lack of information to thoroughly surmise the problem here, nothing jumps out at me. Likely the issue is an incompatible mix of coral life, chemically and physically competing with each other for space in your tank. Hope this helps! -JustinN>

Corals shrinking and dying   10/8/06 Hello, love your FAQ site! < Lots of good information! > I have a 20g long reef with a home-made 5g refugium. Lighting is 150 HQI 14000k SunPod mounted via the supplied legs on tank. Tank has been up about 5 months.  Water param.s seem good: 0 nitrite 0 ammonia <5ppm nitrate 400ppm calcium 0 phosphate.  Have had a candy-cane, a small mushroom frag, and a xenia in the tank for a couple months, and all thriving and growing.  A couple of weeks ago, the xenia started shrinking, then the mushrooms shrunk and some died. The candy-cane is now looking stressed and not extending well. < Have you checked the water for discoloration or Kelvins? It does sound like light is the problem. Maybe the water is filtering it? Drain some water into a bright white bucket and compare the color, water versus bucket. If it is discolored, the temporary use of some activated carbon will strip the Kelvins out. > All inverts (blue-leg hermits, sand star, queen conch, emerald crab, Nassarius and Astrea) doing great.  Have been changing 5g water every couple of days, started feeding Kent Zooplex the other day, hadn't been feeding corals, but there's lots of  copepods, etc from the refugium.   No change in condition. < Be sparing with liquid foods. > Wondering about light, is this too much for a 12" depth, have a 29g I could transfer to. < That would be a wonderful idea. Maybe upgrade to a twenty gallon refugium? > Just having trouble putting my finger on the problem. Any ideas? < The only other possibility I can think of as I type is if the salinity were out of whack. Have you tested salinity using a calibrated refractometer? If it were too high, not only would the corals react in this manner, amazingly enough, elevated salinity can also filter light! Just a thought... RichardB  > Thanks, Jim Giddings

Coral Health/Feeding 7/27/05 Hello crew, <Hey, Mike G here> This e-mail is more for my peace of mind so please pardon my ignorance as I am a new to this hobby/obsession (3 months) and just want to make sure I understand what I have been reading and am doing things right.   <The mark of a good hobbyist> I have a 54 gallon tank <A nice beginner size> 150 watt MH light w/ 2 65 watt blue actinics <very nice.> ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 0, PH 8.3, calcium 450, alkalinity 6.0, water temp 79 degrees <Your parameters are all in order> Fluval 304 filter <I doubt this is necessary. In fact, some would argue it is merely a Nitrate Factory.> protein skimmer <I'd keep this and ditch the filter.> I have a giant mushroom, orange Ricordea (who never stays in one spot), and the newest addition is a branching hammer.   <A nice assortment.> I currently have no fish and some crabs and shrimp.  I plan on adding other LPS corals such as bubble, frogspawn, etc.  The guy at my LFS informed me that the corals I have would be fine with just moderate lighting, addition of iodine once a week (I use Lugol's), and DT's phytoplankton every other day.   <Sounds about right. Phyto is really unnecessary here.> I have been reading your site for the past 3 days and from what I am reading, the addition of phytoplankton for the corals that I have and am going to get is pretty much useless.  Correct?   <Yep.> I am going to begin feeding with Mysis shrimp tonight and will probably feed the hammer 5 times a week and the mushroom and Ricordea once a week.   <Be careful, great water conditions coupled with strong light and heavy feedings will result in many, many "baby" corals magically appearing.> Any additional information is greatly appreciated and I thank you for your help and knowledge. <Actually, it seems as if you did not need my help. You're off on the right path. Kudos for starting out right!> Danielle <Mike G>

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