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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


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>


Coral Killing Worm??   12/23/13
<Steph; you're about an order of magnitude over our stated file size>
This worm type thing has just made itself visible over the last couple days. Not quite sure what it is and just so happens to be wrapped around in the trumpet colony (about 15+ heads) that very suddenly began dying and are dying very quickly....very close to being 100% dead now. It looks like it was eaten down to the skeleton! At least it does to me....
<Mmm, not from this organism>
Any clue what this thing is?? It is about the thickness of a strand of hair and tan & black striped and quite long...about 3-4 inches so far. My leather coral which was a neighbor of the trumpets is nearly on its side today and I am wondering if this thing started to mess with it. Don't want to go sticking my hands in there to get the dead trumpets out without knowing this thing wont hurt me haha.
<Could be a type of (Sedentariate Polychaete) spaghetti worm... >

See attached pictures. Thanks kindly for your assistance & Happy Holidays!
<Thanks. Something else going on here... a lack of nutrient, allelopathy likely... Write back w/ the history of stocking, the gear employed (esp. chem. filtration), any water quality test results... Bob Fenner>

re: Coral Killing Worm??   12/24/13
Were you able to see the picture? Is it that the picture was too large or was it too many pics?
<... the total file size. See where you find how to write us if concerned>
My tank is a 29g biocube with a history of high nitrates :very high 80+ at times:
<I encourage you to read on WWM re ways/means of controlling NO3>
 and am FINALLY putting in a skimmer this wknd also my bulbs are probably just about 9 months old..also about to upgrade to LEDs finally.
My Favia frags died then my trumpets started going!
<... at least water quality to blame>
 My Ricordeas, mushrooms, softies & Zoas have been beautiful.
<... these last three poisoning the others when stressed. Read here:

and the linked files above... esp. for the Zoanthids, Alcyonaceans... One can keep such a mish mash together, even in small volumes, but the systems must be homeostatic (stable) AND optimized... Yours is not...>
The mushrooms are dividing like crazy.
I have a plate that is bigger than ever and looks good & another baby plate growing from a colony of Zoas. Pair of clowns, 6ish Astrea Turbo/Trochus Banded mixture with one or two Nassarius remaining.
My last hermit bit the dust as well (was 9 months old). The funny thing is that the hermit died right on the trumpet colony base close to where that worm is coming from. I also have some micro brittle stars, bristleworms, lots of feather dusters, colonial hydroids, etc hitchhikers. My 5ish month old Scooter Blenny also disappeared last week. Literally disappeared.
Still no sign of it.
Unsure what Allelopathy means. Battling some Cyano now. Things aren't going great in there. I had ignored it a bit because I was just getting ready to upgrade and was hoping once that occurred things would straighten out but cannot upgrade now as my significant other got laid off last week. So, for xmas i will be buying myself a used AquaticLife 115 & either the new bulbs or a retrofit LED kit. Also about 3 months into my Purigen & ChemiPure so about to switch those out. And im running a small fuge in the back.
Im getting ready to really overhaul this mess of a tank!
Incase you are able to view just one photo I have included one. I am not sure how to resize and such.
re: Coral Killing Worm?? Take 2    12/24/13

Sorry - forgot to add the photo. Also, I was using a lot of Prime during the last week since the scooter blenny disappeared....incase he is decomposing in there!
<Not a viable method to resist pollution. B>
re: Coral Killing Worm?? Take 2    12/24/13

<Don't write: READ>
No? I thought it would help keep any possible ammonia from being toxic...aside from a couple extra water changes that is. So, I shouldn't use the Prime?
Does the worm look like a Spaghetti Worm to you? I know I have Googled them & they aren't usually striped like that? I apologize for my ignorance here.
Im excited to get things back on track. Slowly but surely.

Flatworms On Hammer Coral - 03/21/06 I just recently received a small hammer coral from a fellow reefer.  The whole thing including the plug would fit inside of golf ball.  It's very small. <<Indeed>> I just noticed some small brown flatworms on it today.  I didn't know what they were until I tried to pick them off with a pair or tweezers.  The problem I'm having is that the flatworms are on the tentacles and every time I try to pick them off the tentacles retract.  I can't siphon them off or I'll damage the coral.  I want to get them early before they infest my tank. <<Likely too late, they have probably already spread.  Quarantine could have prevented this.>> What can I do?  I really need your guy's help, I can't think of anything.  Thanks in advance for all your help. <<You can try giving this coral a temperature and pH adjusted freshwater dip, though be aware this process is not without peril (do a search on our site re for more information...you can start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm).  Regards, EricR>>

Coral Hitchhikers - 01/13/2006 Hello, <Hi Eric.> I have a 120 gal. reef tank set up for 1 year. I recently have noticed roundish, green spots "moving" around my torch and mushroom corals. what are they, and are they harmful? <Sounds like you've got some flatworms there friend. Read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/flatworms.htm and follow through the links.> Thanks for any help, Eric <Gladly. - Josh>

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