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FAQs on Cnidarian Disease: Cnidarian Disease 1, Cnidarian Disease 2, Cnidarian Disease 3, Cnidarian Disease 4, Cnidarian Disease ,
FAQs on Cnidarian Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Pathogenic, Parasitic/Pest, Trauma, Treatments
FAQs on Cnidarian Disease by Group:
Hydrozoan Disease, Jelly Disease, Polyp Disease, Sea Fan Disease, Mushroom Health, Zoanthid Health Pests, Predators, Anemone Health, Stony Coral Disease,

Related Articles: Cnidarians, Water Flow, How Much is Enough,

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

In a word: Allelopathy; but there's so much more... chemically, physically, behaviorally

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>

Multiple coral health issues - allelopathy?      6/6/13
<Hi there>
I have multiple corals in some type of distress at the moment and I have not seen an obvious chemical or physical cause.  I have gone the first 10 months with zero issues, now this has popped up.  I have searched Borneman's book,  your site, and the internet and have not figured it out for myself.  Perhaps you can help.
<Let's hope so>
Tank: 46 gallon, mixed reef, about one year old.  I have about one year's experience as a marine aquarist.  Remora skimmer, carbon and media in a canister filter.  Carbon change every 2 months (most recent one month ago), water change 10% every 2 weeks (Reef Crystals).  Reef Fusion 2 part a couple times a week is the only additive.
<Do you measure [Ca] and alkalinity? Mg concentration in balance?>
 Water source is a deep private well with no chlorine or nitrates.
Fish:  Green Chromis, midas blenny, royal gramma, Firefish, flame angelfish.
Inverts: porcelain crab,
<Is this animal crawling over your corals?>
pom pom crab, cleaner shrimp, sexy shrimp (2), long spined urchin, dwarf hermits (4), various snails, feather dusters (2)
Corals:  Zoas/Palys, toadstools, xenia, mushrooms, yellow leather, bubble, chalice, Monti's, small hammer, candy canes, finger leather. All corals except those mentioned below appear healthy.
temp: 76
s.g.: 1.024-1.026
Ca: 420ppm
<Need to know [Mg]>
kH: 9
Nitrate: 0
<... need>
Phosphate: 0 (or very close)
<... your photosynthates need appreciable/measurable NO3 and HPO4... can't live w/o>
Ammonia: 0
1)  Two candy cane colonies look very unhealthy.  The heads began to look clear and saggy, with the tentacles in affected areas absent. Within the last week a neon slime has appeared in parts of the polyp.  The polyps are normally mint green, no neon at all.  At the same time, an adjacent neon green candy cane seems unaffected even though a few heads were touching the sick coral.  I have moved it away.
<I see this>
2) A largish finger leather which is nearby to the affected candy cane no longer expands much during the day.  This has been about 2 weeks.  In the past we would see this for a couple days then it would shed some mucous and come back to it's original size.  This seems different.3) A Monti undata, also nearby, has changed in appearance, becoming wrinkly and bumpy instead of smooth.  It used to be covered in visible white polyps, these have all but disappeared.
4) A Monti cap, also nearby, also had it's polyps disappear.  It used to look fuzzy, now it looks very hard.  It has kept its color, as has the undata.
5) A finger leather frag died.  This was fragged off of the main finger leather in the tank.
Possible causes:
1)  Lighting.
I changed lighting in February, from 96w T5 to 120w controllable led.  I acclimated very slowly, stating at 40% strength, increasing by 5% every few days.
<Mmm; not likely a principal source of trouble>
2)  Allelopathy. In February I fragged the finger leather as it was getting too close to the candy canes.  Fragged outside of DT, and kept frags and parent in QT until they were healed about a week. Although all these issues are on the side of the tank where the finger leather lives, I don't know why this would come on suddenly.   The candy canes were added last August, the finger leather last September. No change in their locations since.  After reading through your advice I think you will say that this is the cause.
<Could well be>
3) Parasites/disease.  I do not see anything on them.  All heads appear to be affected equally.
<I discount this as well>
The finger leather may be the culprit, but I hate to pull it out of the tank without knowing for sure.  Perhaps you have seen a candy cane coral with this appearance before? 
<Yes; due to allelopathy... chemical and physical warfare w/ other Cnidarians>
Are they capable of recovering at this point?
<Oh yes; certainly>
Any help would be appreciated.  Thank you for your time.
<Well; there are a few paths, steps you can take to alleviate the allelopathy... Read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and the linked files above... Again, you want to allow (likely by simply stepping up feeding) some NO3 and HPO4. 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>

Heteroxenia sp. & Caulastrea sp. 3/9/10
WWM Crew,
Thanks for taking time to answer a couple of puzzling issues here.
<... we ask that folks send image work of a few hundred kilobytes... you've sent 8 plus megs.>
Have a 90g reef with these corals: Neon green trumpet, pumping zenia,
<No... unless you're growing flowers>
several large hairy Rhodactis mushrooms, several Actinodiscus mushrooms, a large Cauliflower Colt, several small pieces of green Montipora and a small colony of button polyps (Protopalythoa sp.)
<These are quite toxic... to other aquatic life, humans>
The Heteroxenia has been in the tank for a year, very full & growing but has shown some STN
<... symptomatically>
over past month & now has shrunk to a small cluster with some tissue damage (see pic) The Caulastrea, is a month old, never has opened at night or any other time & shows signs of receding tissue at the base of the polyps (see pics).
All the other corals are doing well. The Heteroxenia was close to some green Rhodactis but not touching them. The Trumpet is close to Montipora and the Ricordeas (a few inches away)
Water flow is moderate with 2 Koralia 3's on an alternating timer & return pump rated at 1200 gph.
Param.s are Temp 78f, Sg 1.024, CA 400, Alk 3.0 mEq/l,
<A bit low... I'd keep 4-6 mEq/l>
Mg ~1300,
Supplements are Mg and Iodide as needed when I test it, <good> and Kalkwasser for ATO water. Saltwater changes are done 10 gal/wk.
Filtration is wet/dry sump w bio balls, 80# LR, LS bed 3-4" deep. I am using Rowa Phos
<This could be an issue... see WWM re use, implications>

to get rid of a PO4 build up in the LS LR. That has been used for 3-4 months.
I am "target" feeding about 3x week with rinsed frozen food.
I don't know what to do to "save" the Zenia nor the Trumpet. Any advice is very greatly appreciated.
Pics are attached
Doug Schmutte,
<Likely your Zoanthid here is poisoning the others. Please read here:
and the linked files above, and here:
and... Bob Fenner>

Re: Dino's, now Cnid. dis., Alk...? 6/15/09
PS: Even my easy to keep polyps are dying and the one half of the open brain is dead and receding, is this due to the Alk of about 6?
<Possibly, but this is not an unheard of alkalinity with success. The issue with such a low,
borderline, Alk is stability. I would raise this first, see what happens.>
Or the calcium of 350?
<Despite what you read this Ca level is very acceptable so long as it stays in this area.>
All other levels seem great and the pulsing xenia is doing super.
But all other corals seems to be stunted or dying.

This I want to remedy, is that the low Alk?
<Start here, then we can troubleshoot elsewhere. Scott V.>

Nitrates... Nah. Allelopathy likely 2/20/09 Hi, I would like to know what is happening to my tank. Recently my Torch coral grew a new head, and I was very happy. But after awhile, the small head of torch just slowly stopped opening. I also noticed brown stuff oozing out from it, and it stinks to high heaven. <Oooh, very bad> I figured the head was dead so I fragged it off. The next day, my Anchor coral starting dropping its tentacles. I also notice brown jelly stuff inside it's mass of tentacles. The condition just got worse so I had to throw it away. Today, while wiping the aquarium glass, I notice my Hammer coral dropping off one of its tentacles. I was trying to be positive and hope that this is not the work of brown jelly spreading trough my Euphyllias. I took out both of my hammer and washed them in some iodine solution. There was no sign of decay or rot, and no more tentacles were dropping off except for that one. Today, I also notice one of my mushroom coral "melting" away. What is happening....please help? <Obviously, something amiss here... chemical, biological, physical?> So many coral problems in a span of a few days is surely a cause for concern right? <Oh yes!> I looked up on the internet and I think it has something to do with high nitrate content? <Mmm, doubtful that this is the a priori cause here... More like an after effect> I have been pumping my fish with food to get their immune system up, and I am afraid this has caused a spike in nitrates. I tested for PO4 today and it registered 0.5ppm!! I don't even want to know what is the result of my nitrate test... <? Why?> So, I would like to know if the nitrates are causing this? <Again... I am dubious... However... I would be doing a massive water change, adding chemical filtrants, spiffing up your skimmer, increasing RedOx if you have the means to measure and do so....> I do water change every weekends, about 10%. What are the signs of high nitrates and phosphates? <?... posted> I don't see much nuisance algae growing around everywhere, and my water is crystal clear. Except for the occasional brown algae that grows on my glass. Usually a simple wipe with my magnetic cleaner should clear it up. Other than that, my fishes are still feeding fine, and my corals, (star polyps, torch, elegance, fox) just to name a few, are still opening up nicely. <... Oh... I see the likely culprit/s here... the Clavulariid, Catalaphyllia...> Or is this simply a case of brown jelly spreading trough my corals. I will try buying some Ulva or Chaeto this weekend to help in nutrient export. I fear for my Hammer coral. So far my Torch corals are doing really well, I guess it is because of the good flow they are receiving, to help wash away all the gunk. Please advice my situation? Thank you so much. <Umm, read re... Let's see... starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm  and the rest of this series linked above... then the Compatibility FAQs files for the "Polyps", "Elegance"... and others experiences re... And we'll be chatting. Bob Fenner>
Re: nitrates... No, Cnid. hlth. - 2/21/09
Hi Bob! Thanks for the advice. It's only February haha. I have plenty of time to do research on the diving in Hawaii. I woke up today to find another mushroom coral melting off ): Have changed my filter wool and carbon. Also did a water change. This is frustrating. Will monitor the situation now that I have done something about it. Just not sure if it is enough... Thanks <Read where you were referred to... Learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM... don't write. Bob Fenner>

What Could Be Wrong? (Mysterious Coral Death)  11/23/08 Hi Eric, <<Hello Michael>> Hope you are well, down in South Carolina. <<Its a bit chilly at the moment (40s), but otherwise fine>> Christmas is around the corner. Are you ready for it? <<Nope [grin]>> Well this time it is not a fish problem. They seem to be doing fine, except for two Banggai Cardinal, who don't seem to love one another, so I guess I have to remove one of them. <<Very common with this species>> But this time it is more of a "coral problem" so to speak. Well at least, I think so. I have just lost a leather coral (Cladiella sp.) And I am trying to figure out why. I don't have that many corals in my tank. I bought most of them without knowing much about them. <<Not too late to learn>> But the latest coral I added to the tank was almost a year ago, before I knew anything about WetWebMedia (phew). Since then I have come to understand that the mixture I have could cause trouble. <<Ah>> So there is "plenty of room between them. I have Galaxea, Bubble coral, Open brain, Lobophyllia, Euphyllia Paradivisa (which have grown BIG) Kenya Tree, an Acropora, Candy Cane coral (which is also expanding much). <<An aggressive and noxious mix indeed but very common among the majority of hobbyists>> But until recently everything was fine. Some time ago the leather Coral seemed to start to shrink and then it started to dissolve. <<Likely a reaction to allelopathy>> The latest test results showed the following: Nitrite 0, Nitrate, 0-1, pH 8.3 Ca, 410 Mg 1390, Phosphate 0, and Ammonium 0. I have also started to get a little bit of algae. I do a 3 gallon water change every week <<You might need to increase this>> (RO water) and top of with pH adjusted RO water. I thought the light could be the problem. I changed my HQI bulb in May, but for some reason it stopped working in July. They did not have a brand new of the one I use (250 W 14000 Kelvin) but they had one in one of their lamps that they didn't use anymore, which I was told was almost new. I went into the store today, to talk with the owner; he told me that the bulb was from February/March, so when I bought it in July it wasn't exactly new when I bought it. Could this be the culprit? <<I'm doubtful? Your problem is probably a chemical issue>> The store manager told me it could be a lack of trace elements (I do not add anything except Calcium, and occasionally magnesium, and on a rare occasion iodine). <<Your weekly water changes should take care of any trace element issues this too is not the/a problem>> I use Tropic Marin salt for water changes. <<An excellent salt mix>> I do have some bottles of "Trace Hard" and "Trace Soft" from Salifert, but I don't use them. <<And probably don't need to>> I have only used them a few times, but after I read Bob's book I have refrained from them. The manager loaned me a new bulb, to try and see if that was the problem. In a way that will be the easy solution, but the bulb costs $100. But what are your thoughts Eric? Please let me know. <<Well Michael, based on your info here all I can suggest at this point is that you add/increase your chemical filtration. Some carbon and or Poly-Filter, with a bit larger weekly water change, should help somewhat with the chemical war-fare being waged in your system>> Thanks, Take care my friend, Michael Fick <<Always welcome mate. Eric Russell>>
Re: What Could Be Wrong? (Mysterious Coral Death) 11/23/08
Hi Eric, <<Hello Michael>> Just done some more testing the Ca was wrong it is 360, and dKH is 13. <<Alkalinity is a tad bit high but should be okay with this Calcium reading>> I use Tropic Marin calcium 3 times a week (Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday) but it does seem to drive dKH a bit up. Ca level lies between 350-420 during the week. If I don't dose calcium it slips below 300. <<I see? This is a good company and good product. The dosing/these values are not what malaffected the coral>> If you would like additional info don't hesitate to ask. Michael <<I still just think you need to step up water changes and chemical filtration. EricR>>
R2: What Could Be Wrong? (Mysterious Coral Death)  11/23/08
Hi Eric, <<Michael>> Sorry for yet another email, but new things come to mind. <<No problem my friend>> I never use buffer up when I do water changes, and the buffer I use for calcium and magnesium is added in the evening when all lights are out. Michael <<No problem here as well. EricR>>
R3: What Could Be Wrong? (Mysterious Coral Death) 11/23/08>
Hi Eric, <<Hiya Michael>> As always thanks for your reply. <<My pleasure>> I use carbon every 4 weeks, which I run for 3 days. <<A good methodology? But perhaps a two week schedule would serve better>> Should I step up the water changes to 5 gallons per week? <<At least, yes? Or even go to a 10% volume change every two weeks, opposite the carbon use. Cheers mate, Eric Russell>> P.S So the temperature is in the 40 degrees. <<Mmm, is 30F now (11pm here)? Lower than normal, though we could also see 70F for a day or two after the cold front passes? But I still wish I was in Kona?>> Your are lucky, in Denmark it is minus 3 degrees Celsius right now. In the night it gets down to minus 6 degrees Celsius <<Ah yes, perpetual ice and snow now, eh? Ophold varmt min ven, EricR>>

Help! Corals are Crashing!!!  8/10/07 Hi There! <Hi Courtney, Mich here.> I am hoping you can help us since none of the 3 LFS that we have gone to have been able to. We have a 24g AquaPod with 150W 14,000K metal halide lighting system. We also rigged a 10g refugium underneath and a protein skimmer on that. Our parameters look alright - pH: 8.2, no nitrites/nitrates, salinity: 1.027, <A bit high.> calcium: 400. We do regular water changes, usually weekly and between 20%-30%. <I'm guessing you aren't running carbon either... this might help.> We have a chiller and it keeps the tank between 78-80 degrees. <Wow! A chiller for a 24 gallon tank!> We have about 8 lbs of live rock in the tank with a sand bed and crushed coral in the refugium. The tank has been operational for ~6 months now. For corals, we have a trumpet fragment, frog spawn, pink/green brain coral, leather coral, star polyps, yellow cup coral, <Holy allelopathy Batman!> and some green unidentified thing (fragment - maybe you could identify for us). <I believe it's a Hydnophora.> For livestock we have various hermit crabs and snails, a pair of maroon clowns <What? two? Not big enough for one!> in a green BTA, <And an anemone?!? Yikes!> a cleaner shrimp, peppermint shrimp, an emerald crab, <Ho buoy!> and a target goby (our goby eats anything - blood worms, krill, brine shrimp, shrimp pellets, fish flakes, etc.). Everything was doing great until about 3 weeks ago. Our brain coral has stopped inflating and is receding. Our frog spawn doesn't get as big. The green thing (for lack of a better name) use to have hairy feelers on its fingers and those are not coming out. The trumpet coral isn't inflating as much as it use to. The only things that are doing well are the leather coral (recent addition though), <Hmmm, you don't say... We have a winner! ...In chemical warfare!!!!> star polyps, and the anemone - which is positively thriving with the addition of the clowns. We changed the light bulb to see if that would have some effect but it didn't. I am attaching some before/after pics of the various corals in the tank. Also, I am wondering if this could be tied to the refugium? We put that in just over a month ago (4th July holiday) and it seems like since then stuff has started to go down hill. Can our tank be too clean? I can't remember the last time we had algae growing on the glass since the refugium has been in place. Also, our live rock was taking on a nice purple color but has since stopped. Are we not producing enough bacteria? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks! <No, is not the light bulb, the refugium or anything else you mentioned. Your system is entirely too small to contain all these chemically potent corals. A more here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/soft.htm http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=16&cat=1988&articleid=2955 Perhaps a 100+ gallon tank is in you future? You already have the chiller! Mich> Best,

Black Band Disease?? Likely poor env., perhaps allelopathy...   7/28/07 Anyone that can help, <Okay...> This is the next best thing to dialing 911 when I have an aquarium problem. <Better> I have this dark brown kind of slime that has killed my polyps and started damaging my mushrooms and now is starting to kill my hammerhead. I looked at the mushrooms and they almost look dirty. There's brown all over the small crevasses that forms the mushroom. I did some research and it sounds like the black band disease. How do I get this out of my tank? Please tell me how I can cure my tank. I have a 55 gal. In which I do monthly water changes and once a week ad a capful of Alkalinity Plus from NatuReef and another capful of Hardness Plus also from NatuReef. <... what water quality testing do you do?> I feed my corals Cyclop-Eeze mixed with a capful of phytoplankton from Kent Marine twice a week. <What do you have that consumes phytoplankton?> All the other corals look healthy and fat. Help before they all die. Thanks Elsa <You're joking? Not I take it... you've presented no useful info.. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm Peruse the articles, FAQs files... re Disease of the various "corals" you have... their "Systems", Compatibility... perhaps pattern your queries like others there. Bob Fenner>

Yep, actual photo sent.

yellow polyps... toxic sys., incompatible mix of Cnid.s  3/6/07 Hey, I had a question about yellow polyps sea mat infections. I have had a 12 gallon reef for about 6 months now and one of the first pieces of coral I bought was a beautiful piece of yellow polyps, and I have slowly been adding a frag here and there. <Dangerous in such small volumes> The yellow polyps has slowly decline of there size and numbers. Now there are only a few polyps left and everything else in my tank is doing great. tanks specs. calcium- 430 ph- 9.2 <Way too high> water temp.77 - 79 nitrites- none ammonia- .3 <Toxic> nitrates. - 20- 25 <Too high> The polyps are in strong current flow and have nothing crawl on them but a cleaner shrimp. They are about 12 inches away from a 36 watt power compact 50-50 actinic and daylight. The other things in the tank are, a piece of LPS fairly close to it. Some green sea mats , xenia, button polyps, anemone and a clam. There are no Nudibranchs. I have noticed a long red polyp/worm like thing growing near them. thank you for the time Jake Damiano <You have an incompatible mix of cnidarians in a toxic setting... Please see WWM re all the mentioned factors above and each species "Compatibility", "Systems". Bob Fenner>

Chemical Warfare?...More Like Health/Water Quality Issues   6/27/06 Hello. <Hello Jon> I have a quick question.  I was wondering if using a PolyFilter would reduce the noxious compounds my corals and anemones are releasing to the point where they would survive together.  Currently I have a Condy anemone, rock flower anemone, colt coral, frogspawn, Fungia plate, and several less aggressive soft corals (xenias, mushrooms, zoos) in a 55 gallon, none of them are touching each other.  Right now my Condy is usually shriveled up and my rock flower anemone is slightly shriveled. The frogspawn is out most of the way, but sometimes looks as if it's slightly shriveled too.  If the PolyFilter is a ridiculous idea with no chance of working, which of these is the main problem and should be removed?  I'm thinking maybe both anemones but wanted to check with you first. <Jon, sounds more like health/water quality issues more than anything else. The PolyFilter will help much in this regard.  Is your lighting sufficient for keeping these types of inverts?> Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Jon

Panicky Coral Care/Poor Acclimation Causing Problems - 03/27/2006 Hello and thank you for taking a moment to answer my question. <Gladly.> I have had my 46gal bowfront saltwater tank running for about 4 years now. I recently added a 2x96w PC fixture to increase my light. I already had (a 1x96wPC, total 3x96W PCs, more than 6WPG). <Just tossed 'em up there and turned 'em on huh?> I have a protein skimmer that's definitely doing its job, the stuff lately has been DARK green (ugh!). Two power heads provide the flow, with one being a PowerSweep (goes back and forth on its own). It has had pretty much the same livestock for the last couple of years, which are a Gold Stripe Maroon Clown, Blue Velvet Damsel, Royal Gramma, and a couple of Green Striped Mushrooms. I added, a week ago today, a Colt coral, Pagoda coral, Toadstool Mushroom Leather Coral, Bulb Tip Anemone, <Not good to mix with your corals.> and a Blue Linckia Star. Well the Star has already died, and I acclimated it using the drip method and was very careful to not let it touch the air. The Anemone is doing WONDERFUL! It's found its spot, not moved since. I have fed it 3 times since I got it, and the Clown took to it in like 3 minutes...instantly! The corals are what I'm worried about. <Ok.> The Toadstool hasn't opened at all, the Colt and Pagoda are doing alright, but I was told they are in shock because of all the light? <Too much all at once. No acclimation to new light/environment?> I didn't think there was such a thing as too much light, so I've been running my single strip PC for about 2-3 hours a day. <This is making your situation worse. These animals need time to adjust. This needs to be addressed.> However I tried moving them to the bottom of the tank with the single strip totally off, and the Colt did a LOT better, but that's not where I want it at all, so they're all back to their original spots. <Ok...this is a very bad yet common mistake. Corals are very sensitive to environmental changes. You've only had these a week and already asked them to be fine with constant fluctuations in lighting/flow. I can assure you they are not.> The Toadstool still didn't open up even when at the bottom of the tank with the others. <Perhaps more insulted than the rest.> So, while they aren't melting, or COMPLETELY shriveled up, they aren't looking like they should either. <You're currently heading toward COMPLETELY shriveled up.> What should I do? <Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm and other related links from this page http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm . Stop moving them and regulate your light cycle.> Oh and my water tests all come out fine except the nitrates were about 10ppm. I tried a water change for that without much avail. Any advise would be greatly appreciated! <You have my thoughts. - Josh>

Weak Corals and Anemones  - 01/12/2006 Hi - <Hello> Thanks so much for all of your help in the past, evidenced by the below thread of 2 years ago, among others. <Welcome> I have a 100 gallon well-established reef tank with HQI and actinic lighting, and an excellent protein skimmer.  The system uses a sump and has excellent circulation throughout with extra pumps in the display tank.  RO water is used for replenishment, and the system gets continuous water changes with my liter-meter III, about 5 gallons per day. I am going crazy trying to diagnose problems with some of my soft and LPS corals, and my rose and long-tentacle sea anemones.  For example, some of my mushrooms have died back, my frogspawns don't open up like they used to, and my anemones are pale and shrunken compared to before.  In an effort to stop the bleeding, I have, in the following order: 1. Stopped using phosphate-removal filter media and use Salifert phosphate remover instead (this is because I heard that some of the phosphate-removal filter media can be a problem <Yes, can> and I noticed these problems with my corals while I happened to be using a Kent product (little white round balls that go in filter media).  System phosphate levels are currently very low as tested with a low-phosphate kit. 2.       Stopped using Kalkwasser and am using B-Ionic instead (this is because I felt that I was inconsistent in dosing the Kalkwasser).  The calcium and KH levels were a little low, around 360 and 8. <A better alternative, agreed> 3.       Stopped using SD <Likely an acronym for San Diego... natural seawater available at the base of the U.C. Scripps pier...> sea water and am mixing salt from commercial seawater mixes like Instant Ocean.  I am trying out several and haven't figured out which one I like best yet.     <You will, in time> 4.       Started feeding more regularly with phytoplankton, zooplankton, and "silver-side" fish for the anemones. 5.       Lowered salinity to 1.025 (was around 1.026 as a recommendation from the protein skimmer manufacturer; sometimes drifted as high as 1.027) None of this has worked in the slightest.   I have ordered a calcium reactor and will install it as soon as it arrives.  I have other suspicions: 1.       I use a Rubber-Maid Brute trash barrel that I mix and store seawater in.  The water goes from that into a 125-gallon pond that is the reservoir that Meter-Liter III draws from.  That water is filtered with a micron filter and aerated before use.  I am worried because the Brute trash barrel has a horrible smell, noticed mostly when I lift the lid and especially when empty or hardly filled with water.  Have you ever noticed this and do you think that could be contaminating my seawater?   <Have not had problems with this fine line of product... I would however, take yours "down", scrub it thoroughly with rock salt... lightly bleach, rinse it with freshwater, let air dry...> 2.       I use bleach to clean my micron filters and my main overflow filter bag (in the sump).  I normally rinse them, then soak them for at least 24 hours in about 5/1 water/bleach, then rinse them off and leave them in the sun for a day before use.  Is there anything wrong with this practice? <No. I do encourage having/using multiple sets of cartridges... to allow time to air-dry... rid of chlorine... and this really extends their effective use and life-times> Could the bleach be leaching into the system and contaminating the seawater? <Possibly, but doubtful of much effect here... would kill outright if present in much concentration> 3.       I have a typical aragonite sand-bed of about 1? to 3 inches, and have not been mixing it up or siphoning it.  I just reviewed your invertebrate book and realized that I should be siphoning it.  But do you think this could be so serious as to cause my corals to weaken? <Could, yes... I would replace a good part of this every six months at this junction... a quarter or so... and the same with your live rock...> Is there anything that you can think of that rings a bell from what you read here?  Thanks again for your time and help. Carl Beels, M.S. <Certainly welcome. It is a distinct possibility that the overall "dynamic" in/of your system is losing to "aging"... leading to more/chronic allelopathy amongst your Cnidarian life... The addition/use of the calcium reactor, renewing of substrates will go a very long way to off-setting this aging/trend. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Weak Corals and Anemones  - 01/12/2006
Bob - <Carl> Thanks so much for your prompt reply and words of encouragement.  I didn't know that I was supposed to occasionally swap out live rock!!  Ok I will give it a try and keep you posted! <Please do. And not to be mysterious... the re-application of a larger mix of microbes, invertebrates, algae... and more easily soluble chemicals of use are what this "augmentation" is all about. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Carl Beels, M.S.

Does This Match my Carpet?  Allelopathy in Action (Not Inaction)  11/12/2005 Hi My name is Gal Judah and I am writing to you about a number of issues/pattern that I have noticed in my aquarium. I have a 150 gallon reef aquarium with well developed life rock, sufficient lighting and a well sustained tank environment. My first issue is that I have 3 Ocellaris Clownfish which I have had for about 4-5 months now, all were introduced at one time and get along well, my issue with them is that I have 2 Carpet anemones and 1 rosebud anemone (the carpet anemones were present before clowns were introduced) and for some reason the clowns choose not to go near them. <Happens> Secondly and more importantly I have noticed an alarming pattern to grow of corals in my tank and then a sudden crash. it seems that as soon as I get corals to grow and polyps to spread all of a sudden they just decide to die.  <<Don't think they make this decision lightly, it may be for a very good cause.  MH>> I do frequent water test and almost always find that my water conditions stay constant. I was wondering if you knew why this occurs. <Mmm, you might find you have more success with more frequent, larger water changes, using activated carbon in your filter flow path... and making sure there is space between the corals and anemones> Lastly I have had recently growing polyp in my tank. I again see the same pattern with the grow of polyp in my aquarium. They grow and spread rapidly and then in a matter of days deteriorate. So my question is what can I do to increase grow of polyps in my tank and what can I do to sustain that grow? <Mmm, a bunch... and all is posted on WWM...> Your help would be greatly appreciated and thank you for your time Gal Judah  <Please start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm.  Especially the area on Anemone, Carpet Anemone Compatibility. Cheers, Bob Fenner> 

Polyps shutting down 9/8/05 I'm having trouble with some polyp colonies in my 125 gallon reef system!  The system was set up about 1 year ago and was doing great until about 1 1/2 months ago. Around this time, most of the polyp colonies closed in on themselves. The only colonies that seem to be thriving are the yellow polyps which continue  to open wide and ,in fact, are spreading! <When one coral is thriving while others are suffering, it is a good indication that the thriving coral is actually winning a chemical battle against the others.  Water changes and carbon are often helpful, but sometimes removal of the offender is required.> I have many Ricordea in the tank as  well as some leather coral which also seem to be doing well. I do have a hammer coral that has drawn in somewhat . I do not know the scientific names of the  polyps. I bought them as frags and have been growing them out. I regularly test for calcium, ph, magnesium, Alk, salinity, and iodine. All test are in the accepted ranges. Do you have any ideas why only the polyps are suffering? thanks C.B. Hough  <Possibilities other than chemical warfare include nipping by fish or the presence of a predator (look for small snails with a "checkerboard" pattern.)  Best Regards. AdamC.>

Corals dying I was referred here from a member of MichiganReefers.com, told that you may be able to offer some advice or help. Please feel free to email me back any helpful suggestions, I am about to the point of giving up any hope.....thank you. <Mmm...> OK, about a month and 1/2 ago, I started to notice the SPS in my tank going downhill. Polyps no longer extending to max, some die-off of tips, and general unhappiness. Everything else was fine. Within 2 weeks, ALL SPS except my orange cap and green milli were showing serious distress, as well as some complete bleaching and die-off. Throw a sudden burst of hair-algae growth into this messy mix, and I am ready to beat my head against a wall!! I tested the water....more on that later.... Since then, (the last 3-4 weeks) I have lost all my SPS, except for the cap and milli, and they are now showing signs of stress. Even my mushrooms are starting to die! I had 8-10 green hairys, and dozens of beautiful blues and reds, as well as green stripes by the dozens all over the tank. I now have NO green hairys left, the blues are 1/4 their usual size, as are the stripes and reds. Even my green Rics are shrinking in size. My hammer and frogspawn are barely opening now, and mouths are usually gaped when they do open up, and the torch is almost non-existent. I also lost 3 feather dusters, a large amount of my cleanup crew is MIA, and my yellow tang croaked over the weekend. RIP..... Now here is the funny part though: crocea clam, xenia, green Yumas, green flower anemone, Kenya tree and yellow elegans leather, along with 2 different types of pipe organ, and potato-chip coral are just fine. Full extension of polyps, growth even with the xenia. And Cerith snails galore every night, all else is dying....WHY???? <Mmm, conditions favor the live group, they are successfully biologically poisoning the others...> Water param.s are as follows as of 4-10-05: 55g tank w/20g refugium, LR and DSB, sand in fuge also. Temp: 79-80 F SG: 1.024-1.025 pH: 8.1-8.2 PO: <.50 Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 10-20 Calcium: 420-440 ppm KH: 8.3-8.5 ALK: 2.97-2.99 I add every other day: 1 15ml ea. dose B-Ionic 2 part Alk/calcium I add weekly: 1 5ml dose iodine supplement Water changes have been 12-15 gal every week for 4 weeks now, IO salt used, 1.025 SG@ 80F. Please help me here.....I am at a total loss as to what may be causing this meltdown to occur. I changed nothing in my normal tank routine other than stepping up my water changes in the last 6 months, and everything was the picture of health until 1 1/2 months ago. I do not want to lose anything else, and I want my pretty tank back!! OK, an update to the dilemma that has become my reef tank. (or should I say, what USED to be my reef tank....I will politely refer to it as my coral graveyard!) As I stated in the last post, all SPS are gone. Totally. Even the hardy little Pocillopora is a goner. All the mushrooms are shriveled to the point of almost not being there. Reds, blues, green stripes and blue stripes, even the green Rics are starting to shrivel. The hammers and frogspawn have "fused" their tentacles into one mass at each head, and a few heads have vanished.\ altogether. The button polyps are still closed as are the last red zoos and the yellow colony polyps. The Yumas have not been looking very happy lately either. These will be the last straw, as they were our first corals, and I do not want to lose them. (nor does Kristie!) What I'd like to know is, how can the remaining corals be so happy and healthy and seemingly be unaffected throughout this WHOLE ordeal while the others all die? Mushrooms are supposed to be one of the easiest and hardiest of all corals to keep, yet they die while my clam and yellow elegans leather are thriving! So here is what is in the tank right now: Dead/dying: Hammers, frogspawn, button polyps, mushrooms, Rics, feather dusters, and ALL SPS. (invert MIA: emeralds, shrimp, porcelain crab), yellow tang. Alive and well: Crocea clam, xenia, clove polyps, pipe organs (2 types) potato chip, encrusting Gorgo, fish, tiger-tail Cuke, anthelia, and flower anemone. I have done 2 20g, 2 30g, and now 2 40g+ water changes which seem to have NO effect, I haven't changed the lighting schedule, feeding, or anything else other than charcoal now for the last month. All water parameters are unchanged, all within safe limits. What the heck is going on in my once beautiful tank?!?!?!?!? I am about to the end of my rope, breaking EVERYTHING down, and starting all over again. Please help me to NOT have to do this. <What you are observing, experiencing is an extreme but common case of "mixed garden reefing"... the mis-blending of incompatible marine life, particularly cnidarians... Know that the various stinging-celled life groups have a few mechanisms to "prevent crowding", resource partition... stinging, overshading, producing (sometimes in great quantity) chemicals that are toxic to other species (allelopathy)... Anemones in particular are not a good idea to mix with other Cnidarian groups... You are encouraged to read re these animals care, compatibility (much archived on WWM re this)... but the long and short of your situation is that you can hope to achieve some stasis with what you have left... by careful water changing, use of chemical filtrants, pruning... Or, get a larger (perhaps separate) tank for SPS, et al. less able to compete animals... Please do read... on WWM, elsewhere... the situation, results of allelopathic relations are all about us (common amongst plants for instance)... just more pronounced and dear in our controlled aquatic worlds. I wish you well. Bob Fenner>

Sudden Coral and Xenia Die-Off 1/19/04 My husband and I have a 35 gallon reef tank with a 20 gallon refugium.  The take contains several Xenia and cuttings we've taken as well mushrooms, polyps, and a few small LPS/SPS (Brain, Montipora).  My husband decided to install a small powerhead to the tank to help increase water flow as he thought some dead spots were forming after adding a few new corals.   <ah good> The very next day, all of the corals were looking terrible!   <coincidental I assure you... something else is amiss. Perhaps something else done or disturbed at the same time he was doing maint./install of the new PH> We've lost every last piece of xenia and aren't sure we won't lose more corals before it's over.  We've been so happy that we've had success in raising Xenia and are just heartbroken.  My husband said he forgot to rinse the pump prior to installing and noticed some white powder come off of it in the water.  We've done a water change and tested the water.  All values are in perfect range (Nitrate, Nitrite, Ammonia, Ca, Alkalinity, PH, Phosphates).   <without seeing your numbers... I cannot confirm or agree that you water is fine. I'd suggest you look hard at pH and ALK. pH should be over 8.4 by day (no lower than 8.3 at night for Xenia)... and ALK closer to 12 dKH> We contacted our fish store and they say it's impossible it's the pump that killed the corals as the power would have just been talc.  Nothing else was changed.  My husband washed his hands before putting them in the tank and the new coral he added at the same time seemed to suffer just as much as the rest of them.  Any thoughts on what could have caused this or how to correct it?  Our biggest concern is whether or not we'll ever be able to raise Xenia in the tank again.  Thanks! <do a large water change or two (50-75%) in the next week, add fresh chemical filters like Chemi-pure and/or PolyFilters... and do try Xeniids again. Beautiful corals. Anthony>

Polyp trouble Hi Bob, recently within the last two weeks I have noticed some trouble with some of my polyps mainly my green button polyps, some Zoanthids and some Palythoa. I also had a yellow finger leather die. The polyps while some are open and looking healthy some are closed and appear to be shedding or dissolving. I also had a pink and green cucumber die apparently of starvation. Are all these things related? I have heard that the cucumbers can poison the tank and the leather can also put off toxins. I have a good skimmer and the water tested OK except for a little high reading on nitrate ~ 40ppm. I have some yellow button polyps that are thriving, and a toadstool that is also doing well. Rick >> Thank you for writing... And these loss-events may well be related... If not from some original "cause", than consequent bio-poisoning as you mention... At any length, we don't have test kits (as yet, for soft coral terpenoids and short chain fatty acids) that might be implicated. However, I would do the usual: a large water change (maybe half), change out your carbon... and hold off on any livestock installation for a month or more. The nitrate, at 40ppm is not a difficulty for the mix of organisms you have now, but it may be indicative (as a view of other nutrient levels) of other substances present... not removed by filtration, biological action in your system. Bob Fenner 

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