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FAQs about Soft Coral Pests, Predators

FAQs on Soft Coral Disease: Soft Coral Health/Disease/Pests 1, Soft Coral Health 2, Soft Coral Health 3, Soft Coral Health 4, & By Family: Alcyoniid Health, Alcyoniid Disease 2, Alcyoniid Disease 3, Alcyoniid Disease 4, Alcyoniid Disease 5, Alcyoniid Disease 6, Alcyoniid Disease 7, Alcyoniid Disease 8, Alcyoniid Disease 9, Alcyoniid Health 10, Alcyoniid Disease 11, Alcyoniid Health 12, Alcyoniid Health 13, Alcyoniid Health 14, Alcyoniid Health 15, Alcyoniid Health , & Nephtheid Disease, Xeniid Disease, Xeniid Health 2, Xeniid Health 3,
Soft Coral Disease by Category:
Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Infectious/Parasitic, Treatments

Related Articles: Soft Coral


Nudibranch?    3/2/17
<14 megs? We only ask a few things; one is that folks limit their file sizes...>
I have a 65 gallon reed tank that is flourishing. I have very little problems and all of my corals and inverts are doing very well. The only fish in the tank is a mandarin goby. It is also doing well.
<..."often cited as Tritoniopsis or Tritonia. They commonly come in with leather corals which is their pre.....">

In the last week, my newest addition (had been in tank about 2 weeks with no problems) a 4 inch blushing leather coral, started to fail.
<Bingo; and BINGO was his name oh!>
One of its lobes died off. So, I moved it to a higher light zone. Slowly but surely it died off one lobe at a time. It has completely disappeared as of about 3 days ago. Today, I saw what appears to be a large Nudibranch. I took a picture. In your opinion, do you think this is the culprit? It actually looks a little bit like a blushing leather in coloration. I wonder
if it was smaller before eating and went unnoticed until the leather was gone. Now it is cruising the tank looking for more. Anyway, I can't find a similar picture anywhere to identify this Nudibranch. Have you seen one like this before? Do you know what it is?
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nudifaqs2.htm
Andy Brenham
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Tritoniopsis elegans?  5/8/11
Is this the dreaded Soft Coral-Eating Nudibranch?
<Appears to be, yes>
Before I kill the thing, I'd like to make sure. it's about half an inch long. Very pretty, with blue tips on its edges.
It looks just like the Tritonidae, however it has blue tips. I haven't seen them with blue tips. Came in some coral.
Thanks, in advance, for your expertise.
<Welcome. Please see BillR's site here: http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/triteleg
Bob Fenner>

Worm ID: That's No Worm, That's Trouble with A Capital T: Tritoniid Nudibranch - 1/26/10
Hi Crew, Hi Mr. Fenner,
<Hello Claire, Lynn here this evening.>
I hope you all are feeling well.
<Thanks, just like the old song, I'm feelin' alright!>
I have a problem.
<I'm sorry to say that judging from the photos, you do indeed.>
A few days ago, during the night, I paid attention to a worm (looking like a slug) on the glass of the aquarium. I took a picture, but I did not send it, as I got only the ventral face.
Yesterday night, I remarked that two curious "critters" were on the rock of my Cladiella (closed for the night).
<Never a good sign, but helpful for ID purposes.>
I succeed to take an "acceptable" shot today and my questions are:
1)What kind of worm is it (I did not succeed to identify it myself from the WetWebMedia site)?
<Unfortunately, it's not a worm. It's a predatory Nudibranch, most likely Tritoniopsis elegans (family Tritoniidae). These little guys are very pretty but unfortunately eat soft corals like your little Cladiella. Have you noticed any damage to this, or any other softies?>
2) Is it a pest,
<When it comes to soft corals, yes indeed.>
..and if yes, how to eradicate it (I never saw it in the tank before,
<Hopefully they'll be out and about again tonight. If so, I'd opt for physical removal. You might want to try suctioning them out with a turkey baster. Be sure to have a net handy though, just in case one gets away. Please see the following link for more information (be sure to go through all associated links at the bottom of the page as well): http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet/triteleg
Google Tritoniopsis for the many WWM FAQ's re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm >
..but I suppose that there are a lot of creatures I never remarked too) ?
<Yep, there's a whole other crew that emerges when the lights go out!>
Thank you for your wonderful help and patience,
<You're very welcome and good hunting!>
Kind regards,
<Take care, LynnZ>


Re: Worm ID: That's No Worm, That's Trouble with A Capital T: Tritoniid Nudibranch -- 1/27/10
Hi LynnZ,
<Hi Claire>
Thank you for answering so fast.
<Well, I knew that if I were in your situation, I'd want to know right away!>
I have in my aquarium one very big Elegance Coral, one Goniopora, one anemone, a baby Bubble Coral, the Cladiella (the victim here) and two rocks with on each one a little colony of mushrooms (one colony of green mushrooms and one colony of green striped mushrooms), two false Percula (hosting the anemone) and two yellow Coris (yellow Wrasse).
<Sounds pretty.>
I did not notice any damage to any of the corals, but what I noticed is that the skimmer went amok today (perhaps because we had a power surge of 45 minutes yesterday). Everybody is looking fine, fully open and closing at night.
I hope that I will succeed to get rid of these beautiful pests tonight, when the actinic is the only light. I do not like the idea to trash living creatures in the toilets, but if I get the idea, I do not have any other choice.
<Unfortunately, that does seem to be the case here. This sort of situation always presents me with a moral dilemma. I have a very hard time destroying (or recommending the destruction of) anything that only through man's interference, has made its way into our systems. The way I see it, whatever the animal, it contributed to the balance of an ecosystem in the wild, so to destroy it because it has suddenly become inconvenient to our artificially skewed systems is just abhorrent. That's why most of the time I recommend that people try to find new homes for unwanted organisms instead of destroying them. One man's pest can be another man's treasure, so to speak. Unfortunately, in cases such as yours, the choices are limited. Those beautiful little Nudibranchs eat soft corals and that's it. If you left them in the display, they'd reproduce, go through the food supply, and all would starve to death. Removing them to their own tank, without corals, would end the same. The only real option for keeping them alive (since they cannot be returned to the wild) would be to keep them supplied with all the corals they could eat, which could become very costly. Without that option, the best and kindest thing to do is to put them down as humanely as possible. Please see the following link for more information re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm >
And Thank you for the links - I am reading them now.
<Super. There's a lot of good information in there.>
Take care,
<And you as well>

Re: Worm ID: That's No Worm, That's Trouble with A Capital T: Tritoniid Nudibranch -- 1/28/10
Hi LynnZ,
<Hello Claire>
The Nudibranch who was on the photo was eliminated yesterday, I'm afraid to say that I did it the right moment I saw him on the Cladiella (before receiving your mail) with less humanity that it is described in the link concerning euthanasia. I took him off with tweezers and it was very hard because he was literally glued to the rock of the Cladiella.
<I bet!>
But I write you about your ethical considerations which I entirely share. It's the reason why I try to construct a little Indo-Pacific biotope including species non predators to each others. But of course, when you introduce a piece of live rock in your tank coming from the sea, you never know which inhabitants laid eggs there before.
<Exactly, or what's hiding out within the rock. You just never quite know what little surprises you're going to get. Most of the time, the organisms are good/beneficial; other times, not so much. At that point, you just have to weigh the risks and make the call to leave in place or remove.>
I'm happy when I see one of my two blue-legged Marshall hermits wandering naked after molting to find another shell without predators willing to eat him.
<Wow that is a predator-free zone!>
And I think a lot of people should have your wonderful sense of ethics concerning the living creatures.
<Thankfully, there seems to be many, many hobbyists out there like you that do share those ethics. Truly, it gives me hope for the future of us all.>
Take care, and thanks again,
<It was my pleasure, Claire, and thank you.>

Something eating soft corals 2/29/08 Hi again. I have a question that is driving me crazy. I have looked on your site as well as goggled it. What could be eating my corals? I have a 10 gal tank that I use as a quarantine tank. About a year ago my brother quit saltwater because he said that too many animals were dying on him. So I received many of his LR, the pieces that had "character." There are about 2/3 rock and 1/3 water in this tank. I have cycled some fish through the aquarium without problems. Christmas I bought two mushrooms, one bumpy the other smooth, brown with purple highlights, looking at it at the proper angle. The bumpy one disappeared soon after introduction to the QT. I looked all over between the rocks and behind, could not find it. Thought that I just did not look good enough. A month later an anthelia, two stalks on a small rock was given to me for free. Two days later it is gone. Just the small rock was left. Looked for it again as I was told sometimes they just let go and float around looking for a better spot. Nowhere. I have a colt coral that I fragged and put into this aquarium. Sewed it onto a rock that I drilled a hole into. It was about 1 1/2 inches long. 3 days later It is gone, not a trace and this time I looked well. Last night it was all there and this morning 9 hours later not a trace. I am at my wits end. What do I look for? <Perhaps a predaceous worm of size, a crustacean... coming out at night... place a flashlight near the tank (one with a red filter if you can), and take a look periodically. Alternatively, rig or buy a trap (detailed on WWM) and try baiting/trapping out whatever this might be> The aquarium has the one brown mushroom, about 2" across, some sponges, and two small anemones (about 1" high) that I purchased with a LR. They have not moved ever. No snails or fish. I once cut a plastic pop bottle and put it together inverted for a crab trap. Put a bit of salmon into it, but all it caught overnight was a few bristle worms and some small shrimplike thing. I took it out because the water inside the bottle stunk, and I did not want to pollute the tank. The odd time I come home late and the QT's lights are out so I peek at it with a red light. Have never seen a crab, however little bugs seem to scurry away from the light. What would you recommend? Thanking you in advance. Dietmar <Trapping... Bob Fenner>

Coral eater... prev. corr. Hi, I have a sailfin tang, 3 Firefish, one false percula, orange Anthias, and a two black spot yellow fish (I was told this fish will eat the bristle worms). I have 10-12 hermit crabs. They have been recently hunting my snails and taking over their shells. I am not sure which one of these is eating off my leather coral. My white finger leather coral with has been losing its small fingers. I can see most of them being nipped off. I had one Firefish and then I introduced two more fire fishes. The one that was already there is chasing the other two. The two victimized Firefishes have their tail and fire fin torn off. But they still come out once a day to get their food. Can anyone let me know which one of these could possibly eat corals? Regards, PraKash
Re: Coral eater   2/3/08
Hi, Just want to add, the two spot yellow fish was yellow wrasse. Regards, PraKash <Halichoeres chrysus? Not likely a culprit... but H. hortulanus might well be... What species is this? Bob Fenner>

Re: Coral eater  2/4/08
Hi, I have Halichoeres chrysus. Could the fire fish be eating my corals? <Microdesmids rarely chew on Cnidarians> Also can the hermit crabs be a predator? <Oh yes. B> Regards,

Pods eating coral - Coral eating pods..? I was reading the Q&A forums trying to find out if pods were eating my xenia. The fish store that I shop at says that pods only eat dead or dying things. I have noticed, however that a few people seem to think the pods are eating xenia and Zoanthids. I have a similar story. First I had a small finger leather, that looked like it was ripped off it rock. I came home from work to find it floating on the bottom of the tank. There was a lot of "flesh" left on the rock, as I inspected the situation, I noticed several big pods eating the flesh. I tried to replant the leather but it disappeared over the next day or so. My hours of work don't allow me to keep a close eye on things so I don't know exactly what happened to it. As the leather disappeared, a colony of xenia began wilting.  Upon inspection of the sick xenia I noticed that the pods had regrouped to the Xenia. I thought that it could be that conditions weren't right causing the xenia and leather to die and the pods were just taking full advantage. My pH was low 7.7 so I adjusted my power head to get more top water movement. However ,there is another colony of xenia 2 inches away from the one that died. There are no pods on it and it seems to be fine. If the water conditions caused the leather and the first xenia colony to die, why not the other xenia. It doesn't seem to be a coincidence that things are dying after the pods start to congregate. I thought I was just paranoid of some sort of pod conspiracy, until I started reading the Q&A. Is it just coincidence or could something be going on? Gary  <IF, they are pods, they are not going to eat live coral. Your LFS is correct is saying they eat dead material, fish poop, waste, whatever. You may have another critter in there causing the damage. James (Salty Dog)><<RMF disagrees... whatever group of crustaceans these "bugs" are part of, they may indeed consume cnidarians that are compromised... and maybe ones not so... It may be that the "other" Xeniid colony was "aware", or just "different" in its tastiness, response... to these critters>>

Colt coral decline - 11/17/04 Good afternoon~ <Good afternoon to you too> My boyfriend has a good size coral reef tank.  In it he has a Soft Coral that I believe is a Colt Coral.  It is light pink and looks spongy and has little "feelers" coming out of it when it is open.  Recently we have noticed that gashes are on him. <Hmmmmm.> it looks like a fish has bitten him in about 6 different spots.  We know that it was not a fish though. <How do you know? Enlighten me if you would? This is information I might need to make a diagnosis> The "bites" eventually turn the finger a darker color pink and it can eventually can be pulled off. <Not sure what you mean here? Do you have a picture you could send?> Do you think this Soft Coral is "sick"?  <I can tell you there is definitely something wrong. There is just no enough information here to tell you what it might be, to be honest> Why do you think these "bites" keep appearing all over it? <I would look at night and see if something is no predating on the coral. Snails, crabs, Nudibranchs, worms, coral aggression and yes, maybe even fish> What can be done? <Leave it be until you have firm diagnosis, which is something we definitely don't have. What kind of fish are in the aquarium, other inverts, corals near by? What are the water parameters, lighting anything else that might help me diagnose the issue.> Is it better the cut the finger off right when you see a new "bite" or is it better to left the finger turn dark and let it just hang by a tiny piece and then pull it off. <I think the latter is better. Let the coral rid itself of the area> Please.  Any information would help.  This soft coral doesn't look very happy with these "bites". <I am sure it doesn't. Please send more information and a picture if you can. It will certainly help me to extract potential issues and give a more accurate diagnosis. ~Paul>   Thank You.

Acoel flatworms - so-called "Planaria" 2/24/04 I attached a picture of my Umbrella Leather. I think the red/rust spot on it are flatworm (Planaria)! What do you think about it? <you are correct... Acoel flatworms> If it's Planaria, do you recommend the Flatworm Exit product from Salifert? <I would never recommend it or anything like it. No such product has been demonstrated to my satisfaction to kill one nuisance invertebrate while not harming some others of like kind but desirable.> I read a lot of thread on RC and almost people didn't have any problem with this product. <does the product list its ingredients? If not, I'm not inclined to use or recommend any products if unknown composition on the live creatures in my care> Thank you very much. And thank you for your website, it's very useful. <do address the real problem (rather than treating the symptom) here my friend... inadequate water flow most likely. Seek 10-20x minimum and avoid laminar flow from powerheads (make them converge to produce random turbulent at least). We have a lot of info on Acoel flatworms in the archives and FAQS here at wetwebmedia.com. And no worries... without treatment, these flatworms are still harmless and naturally wax and wane. Anthony>

Toadstool first aid and propagation - 2/11/04 Hello. I have a medium sized toadstool leather that up until recently has looked great (see attached). <Great picture> A couple of weeks ago it drooped over (more than it was already drooping) and it quit extending it's polyps until a couple of days ago. <It is now extending polyps again?> I was checking out the tank just now and noticed a fungus-y looking material at it's base. <more info here>  I picked it up a took a sniff - whew - quite stinky!!! <Yuck. Know the smell.>  And yes, there is a split in it's column near the base.  <Interesting. Maybe a predatory mollusk making a home here complete with a food source. although spotty, sounds like predation for sure. Many possibilities: crabs or snails brought in small now large and burrowing from the inside out of the leather, a fish that has suddenly taken to nipping and causing wounds, indeed other possibilities here as well> My question is: Is any part of the leather save-able?  If yes, can I use a regular sized very sharp Exacto knife for the surgery, and can I use a regular sewing needle with clear nylon thread to attach it to it's base? <Yep. Simple solution here. Have a VERY sharp razor blade or scalpel ready. A needle with clean nylon thread (or fishing line) ready and waiting to stitch too. A piece of small rock or rubble as well. Move 3/4-1" above the highest necrotic area of the base of the stalk. Cut clean and fast through the animal. You must wear gloves and keep the procedure down to a minimum time of handling (maybe even cut in place). After the cut, look at the exposed trunk and be sure that you cleared the soft and necrotic area...(or for predator) if so, run a stitch or two through the base (no more than an inch from the bottom) and tie it off to a piece of rock. Return it to the exact same place (if not cut in place) it was in the tank and do not touch it for weeks. Maintain strong water flow and very aggressive skimming in the tank. Small daily doses of iodine may be therapeutic for the tank too (not extra iodine... just your weekly dose broken down to daily). You could propagate the tunic as well (the coral head) if you like and cut it like a pie, although I don't expect you are wanting to do this> Let me know and thanks in advance!!! <Good luck ~Paul>

Predator in my Sarcophyton - 2/13/04 Hello again. <Hello Annette> Thanks for the response. <Thanks for asking>  Well, I did it!!  I opened the leather to find a hole that traveled up through almost the entire base. <Sounds like a predatory mollusk. Can't remember the name offhand but there is info out there on predators of soft corals>  Based on other readings on WWM, I believe that this is not normal. <Correct> What should a normal, healthy leather look like on the inside? <Firm with rough interior (due to spicule formation)  Also, I did not see any noticeable predators inside, <Look a bit more. Very conspicuous> so I am unsure of the cause <Almost sure that a predator is the culprit here>....what can I do to prevent this from happening again? <Find the predator and/or quarantine all incoming animals for two to four weeks. Thanks for your inquiry. ~Paul> Thanks for all your help. Annette

Distressed Leather? (Removing An Aiptasia From a Leather Coral) Greeting WetWeb Crew! <Hi there! Scott F. here tonight!> Kudos to you all, for the time and effort that is put into this site. It helps people like me to better enjoy and appreciate this great hobby. <We're thrilled to be here for you...We have as much fun answering your queries as we do playing with our fish!> I've been reading your site now for about a year and have a 90 gallon marine tank for almost as long. My question is about a beautiful new mushroom leather coral I just purchased -Sarcophyton. The crown is about 4 to 5 inches across and is attached to an approximately 2 inch thick "stalk", about 3 or 4 inches long. On the very bottom the stalk is a piece of rock about the size of a quarter. Wedged in-between this piece of rock and the coral are a couple of nasty Aiptasia. Eeek!! If I am very careful, with a sharp scalpel, or Exacto-knife, could I or should I slice a very thin layer of the coral just above the rock, taking the Aiptasia with it? <I have experienced a similar occurrence with a Sarcophyton, and was surprised how easy it was to remove the Aiptasia without damaging the coral. The base of the Sarcophyton is surprisingly "tough", and you can practically scrape the anemone off of the coral without damaging it.> If so, what treatment should follow? <My best advice is to simply maintain very good water quality after this "procedure"> I have read in Anthony's Coral Propagation book that these corals are quite forgiving. I value your advice. What do you think?   Thanks in advance,  Brenda. <They are very forgiving! As Anthony and others have implied, you can practically run 'em through a blender and end up with a new coral. However, they do deserve the highest level of care we can offer, so try to be careful when conducting this "operation". Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Sarcophyton Struggling with Bicolor Blenny Hi Anthony <cheers, my friend from Norway!> I have 2 questions that I need an opinion on.  First I have a 6 inch diameter Sarcophyton, and all is not well.... it's just looking a bit beat. Extensions sometimes good, sometimes bad, and there doesn't seem much life in the centre.  This might have 2 causes - inadequate flow, <this is the most common cause by far, yes. Is your tank getting 10-20X turnover minimum? Please do improve it if not. Aspire for 20X if possible> and it's become one of the favourite perches of a bicolor blenny. <Arghhh... yes, dreadful. Irritating to the coral, although some adapt in time. But blennies really are dubiously reef safe. Many will nip corals in time.> It's awful cute to see it's head peeping out but I can't believe it's helping.   <agreed... on both counts> I have adjusted flow so there is some amount dropping down over and onto it.  Tank specs - 30 Gallons, 75 degrees C, 1.025.  Ammonia, nitrite 0,nitrate 5 -10. Ca 350, alkalinity 11, pH 8.0 (won't go up).  Lighting by 2 10000K T5's , coral sits in 3 - 4 inches water.  2000 litres per hour total movement - 2 pumps + skimmer outflow.    <not bad at all... maybe more adjustments of the delivery of the flow are all that's needed. Avoid laminar flow... try to get good random turbulent flow> I don't think it's the system as some frags are sitting next to it and thriving!  Would iodine addition be of any benefit to it's health, or do I just have to live with the bicolor? <if you are not doing large weekly water changes, then yes... small daily doses of iodine will be helpful if not necessary IMO> Incidentally I am attaching the frags to milliput disk about 3 inches across.  Is this too big.   <no worries> My feeling is I want something the frag can grow on, but right now it's not pretty. <understood... the choice is dependant on how you are trading/distributing them. Different needs for different types of shipping/customers> Question 2.  I have a 7 gallon acrylic that I am going to plumb into my 55 as an upstream refugium.  I will have a double outflow.  I wan to use it for pod growth and biodiversity, so will have thin layer sand, layer of live rock frags, then maybe Chaetomorpha  on top, with a small PCompact (13 W) to light it.  Will it work?   <it sounds very good... although you will probably need to boost the lighting. And do try to adjust the water flow to get the Chaetomorpha tumbling always> I'm assuming a slow flow, maybe 20 gallons an hour, so I'm thinking will I need 20 or 25 mm (metric land) pipe for the outgoing water? <oh, no... please. This is a common mistake. Refugiums with slow flow become cesspools and do not produce well. They need good water flow... nearly as much as your reef. Try for at least 10X> cheers, Wayne Oxborough in Norway. <with kind regards, Anthony>

OK, Who's eating my new Finger Leather Coral? 4/22/04 Hi Crew, Searched around the FAQ's and haven't had much luck. Would appreciate some help with this dilemma.  <will do our best> I just bought a really nice looking finger coral from my LFS about 3 weeks ago. It has been doing great in my system, but began noticing that it was looking a little smaller than I had remembered. This leather is pure white (like hard boiled egg) with brown polyps.  <pure white is not natural... you have a bleached animal that was stressed when you bought it my friend. Struggles you are seeing now may very well be the first signs of serious attrition or weakness to infection> I began to notice scalloped cut a ways (bite marks??) along the periphery of the coral and began to worry that someone was eating my new coral. <perhaps> Here are the usual suspects: Sparkey the Firefish - unlikely Nemo the clown (yep, Nemo, young kids really ruin the fun of naming fish, don't they??) - unlikely Bobo the clown (now there's a name) - unlikely Astro the Yellow Tang - not sure, but probably not Hermit Crabs - Hummm - don't know; I do have a rather aggressive one that is rather large - possible <do know that no hermit crabs are truly reef safe. They are all rather tricky in the long term> 3 large giant Turbo Snails - these guys made quick work of gobs of Caulerpa - won't think so Bristle worm(s) - set a trap for a couple nights; got nothing! - not likely <indeed, they are overrated as predators> I pulled the LR with the coral affixed from the main tank and put in my unpopulated quarantine tank.  <I do wish this coral had gone into QT first for a solid 4 weeks on arrival. So many problems with pests, predators and diseases could be skirted if folks would obey this fundamental rule of animal husbandry. QT everything without exception!> Noticed a day or so later that there was some slug or Nudibranch looking creatures positioned around the coral. <yikes! Now this is a valid suspect> These guys (3 or 4 spotted so far) are pretty neat looking; very white, with projections coming from their backs that were topped with what look like snow flakes. Are these the dudes that are eating my finger leather?? <yes... quite possibly. The tassels on the back are cerata that evidence that they are carnivorous Nudibranchs. We have pics of these in our Reef Invertebrates book and you can see so many more online at the SeaSlug forum. More too in our FAQs and archives if you will take the tie to browse there> Not sure what to do. Should I remove the slugs and put the coral back in the main tank?  <remove the slugs yes... but please (!) do not move this coral again in such a short period of time. Its a good way to stress and kill it. As it stands, it has been through no less than 4 different systems in the last month (perhaps more): wild to at least one wholesaler, then to your retailer, then to QT. No more moves please. Do let the coral stabilize for the next 4 weeks in QT> Should I remove the aggressive hermit? <a good idea to be safer in the long run, yes> What about the slugs? Suggestions please. <QT without exception for all new livestock in the future and you will spot these before they infect your tank> As always, I truly appreciate your help, comments and suggestions. Rick <best of luck, Anthony>

Leather trouble (yellow) 11/15/03 I have a great looking Sarcophyton elegans. It has developed a very bright yellow are ( spot) and some very bright yellow around the lower edge. I've done a 5 min. Iodine bath. Have any ideas what it is? <The animal overall looks good... the patches are points of irritation. Could be hydroids or another coral on a rock nearby burning it, could be worms at night gnawing at it... could be fishes (like tangs or dwarf angels) nipping at it... many possibilities> Did I treat correctly? <no harm... but it does not look pathogenic at this point to me (as such helped little by the iodine)> Thank you. Chris
<best of luck, Anthony>

Please help ASAP:  Mushroom Leather I have never used the site for a problem but I have one.<I'm all ears!!>  I have had my tank for about 2 months now.  I got it from a guy that was moving out of state, he had it for over a year.  This is my first saltwater tank.  It is a 72 gallon he said about 100lbs. of live rock and coral.  I also have a Tomato Clown, Sailfin Tang, Coral Beauty and Neon Dotty Back I hope spelled all them right.  Well I had a man who moves tanks and has a shop the move my tank and set it back up.  He said it had some bad red algae and added chemicals which cleared up this problem.<what chemicals?>  We went through a few little scares at least I was, my pump went out and I didn't even know it but I knew my fish weren't acting right.<agreed.. lack of oxygen in the system.. the fish tend to stay near the top of the aquarium>  Anyway that was the first week and things were going really great, I love watching my fish and things I still don't know all there names.<you will in time>  We did a partial water change when we set it up and a friend and I did one last Sunday.  My nitrate had been high around 60 with the last water change it came down to about 30 or 40.<good, I would probably do another water change to get the nitrates down to around 20> Ok that was just a little history on my tank.<it helps.. believe me :)>  My problem is Monday evening I noticed my mushroom leather looked kinda a brownish color on the bottom of the stalks. Well last night I noticed on the left stalk (it looks like two stalks Siamese twins like) has a notch/cut out piece that is little over ? inch high,about1/8 inch wide and 1/8 inch deep.  When I first stared looking at it closely it looked like this little piece was lying right below the notch like it had been torn out.  Well that's not the case because the notch started moving and crawled along the junction of the stalks to the to of the stalks right below the mushroom's umbrella (I guess is what you would call it) It looks a whitish color about the same size as the piece notched out of the stalk and has tiny tiny white things sticking out from it more on one end than both ends.<I believe you might have a leather eating Nudibranch.. best to remove him/her ASAP!!> I have been reading all I can on caring for my animals and I really won't to take care of them and I am not sure what this is.   The only thing that have added to the tank a shrimp and I bought him from the guy's shop that moved my tank for me. That was 2 weeks ago. <It's probably a Nudibranch that found its way into your aquarium via LR... or maybe even by the coral itself lol...remove it before it finishes of your coral> Do you have any idea what this is?<above>  Is it something I need to get out of tank?<yes>  Please help ASAP. Thank You, Teri

Coral Eating Crab (8-2-03) Hi, I've just noticed my red-legged crab eating/nibbling on my soft coral. The crab is about the size of Blue-legged hermits, but it's red and has one claw quite bigger than the other. I thought those crabs were reef safe...? :-( <They are supposed to be reef safe.  Watch him some more to make sure he is actually doing damage, then if he is take him out. Cody> Thanks,

Sick toadstool coral - parasite? Hi Crew, <Hey Matt> My toadstool coral appears sick. Please see attached pic. He closed up last week, and hasn't come back out since. <Not unlike a toadstool to do this, but.....> There are what appears to be bite marks on its flesh. <Possible stinging, poisoning, or is a clownfish taking up residence in it> There is a Clarkii clown in the tank that has began living in the coral the last few months as though it were an anemone. <I see> Is it possible that he is responsible for the damage? <Yes. Clownfish do bite to stimulate the anemone at times. Check out our forums and ask around in there for more specific information. Keep an eye on the toadstool however, as it has been noted there are some mollusks that burrow into the crown or stalk of this coral and feed from the inside out. May look unsightly, but keep your water quality up and clean out the wound with a syringe or turkey baster and I feel the coral will make a full recovery. Sarcophyton corals are extremely hardy and resilient.> Or is there some other forces at work? <Possible. These corals are also known for closing shop for a few couple of weeks and shedding floc (chemical build-up, digested foodstuffs, etc.) during growth periods. Keep an eye on it and send us an update. Keep a journal if possible. You know, something to reference at a later time just in case you see something like this again. I just thought of something......... I remember Sally Joe over at Graford working to connect clownfish to Sarcophyton corals. Do some research on their site before calling them as they are with limited abilities, trying to save money. (Aren't we all) If you can't find anything specific to your situation then give Lionel a call. I am sure he can relate some stuff he has seen or has heard discussed around the shop. www.garf.org -Paul> Everything else in the tank is doing great. <Glad to hear> Cheers, Matt
Sick toadstool reply - 7/31/03
Thanks for the reply - I'll check it out right away. <Very well> The coral has actually got quite poorly ..... it is now drooping over, actually bent (kinked) in the middle .... although it is trying to extend the polyps a little bit. <This is actually a good sign. Is the clown still using this coral as a home? If so, I would remove the coral if possible. Keep the harassment to a minimum. Again if it is extending polyps (even if only partly) then there is hope. > I moved him to a position in the tank where he'll get a bit more water flow across him, <Careful> in hopes it might resuscitate him or something ..... though it hasn't made any difference. <Keep an eye on it. Give it time and keep high water quality through a regular water change regime. Don't fuss with it much or move it around. Give it time> I'll take a look at that site and hopefully some one there will be able to help. <Well, in my original email, I meant to do research and identify the interaction of corals and clownfish. More to help and identify if others have had any observations of bites taken out of their Sarcophytons by resident clownfish. There, unfortunately, is no magic recommendation to suddenly turn this corals health around. Water changes and remove every possible hazard as best you can is a good path to recovery. More help in the form of ideas is better though. Good luck -Paul> Cheers, Matt
Toadstool recovery - 8/7/03
Dear Paul, <Yep, yep, yep> You asked me to keep you updated about the toadstool coral. <I did. Thanks for coming through, Matt!> Well, the last week or so he seems to be getting better. <Yeah. Very good to hear! I did a little research and the yellowish markings around where the damage took place is just a reaction from the coral (kind of like bruising.) Heals really quick. the actual chunks missing could be caused by a coral sting or a bite from a fish. (at least the damage looks consistent with my findings)> Although he hasn't opened up fully again, he is none-the-less opening up a lot more <A resilient coral indeed>.... I'd say he's opening about 60%. The only conclusion that I have come to, based on both my "notions" and on what other folks have said or suggested is this. The Clown took up residence in the coral. Clowns sometimes bite at anemones to 'stimulate' them. Why they do this I do not know, but apparently they do. So, when my mushroom shrunk up, as they naturally do once in a while (I am told), the clown started to bite what he thinks is an anemone in an attempt to make his "anemone" expand again. <As stated in our previous conversations> I just added 2 and 2 together and got 5!!! <Math is funny!> Assuming that the bite marks were damage and this was what caused it to contract ...... rather than the coral contracted and this is what caused it to be bitten. <More the latter, probably.> Now that it is starting to expand again, and I am assuming that there was in fact nothing wrong in the first place, I have relocated the toadstool to its original location - which no doubt will make it contract for the day. But in the mean time, in the last few days, when the coral was opening up again, the clown once again took up residence in it. <Yep. Need to keep an eye on this if not straight away remove the coral or the clown.> I am now fairly confident that the coral will open up again, and the minor damage caused by the clown will heal quickly and fully. <Absolutely.> Thanks for your input. I'll let you know if and when it has returned to its former glory - will send you a pic then of coral and resident clown. <Very good. Did you ever get a chance to talk with Leroy or Sally Jo Headley of GARF? they are very interested in this kind of surrogacy. Thanks for the update. This is a valuable email. Take care - Paul> Cheers, Matt

Coral Slugs eating away I posted a message at 'About Saltwater Aquarium' and was referred to this site ("Try sending the pics over to wetwebmedia.com and ask Bob Fenner and the boys they might be able to help").   <Anthony Calfo in your service> Anyhow, here's my original post, I hope you guys can help.  Thanks in advance! <our great pleasure> "I purchased a Sinularia coral about two weeks ago.  It's looked fine for the first few days but then started closing up.  I changed it's position in the tank a few times but noticed yesterday that it was getting smaller and portions appeared to be deteriorating. Well, upon closer inspection I saw something eating away at the coral which looks like some sort of slug (I've seen them once before eating my Colt coral).   <Correct... the same "Tassled" (cerata) Nudibranch (Dendronotacea)> I pulled out the rock to remove the slug and found a total of SIX, just eating away (coral is about 1/3 to 1/2 of it's original size). Anyhow, I was wondering if anyone here can identify these slugs (or whatever else they might be).   <how specifically? Not at all possible by photograph to species... perhaps not even to genus. Suborder given above> Here are the pictures: One last favor / question: I attached a picture of the coral (when it was healthy).  When I purchased the coral, the LFS said it was a Sinularia BUT NOT a Finger Leather Coral.  I would like to narrow down the identification a bit further.  It looks like a Blushing Finger Leather (Cladiella) but I just don't know.  Any help would be great." <Hmmm... for the record. The taxonomy has all changed for some of the Alcyoniids. The tall branching colt corals we knew as Cladiella were moved to "Alcyonium" then (now) to Klyxum. Your coral as depicted appears to be a true Sinularia but may in fact be a legitimate Cladiella>

Sarcophyton question Anthony (Bob, Steven, your input would be welcome too!) - while I have your attention on the subject of corals, here is a photo of my leather coral, which I am quite worried about. I moved it from my old 29g tank in May and it has not fared well. It was formerly about 8 inches deep under 96w 50/50 PC, and it is now about 10 inches deep under 2x175w 10000k MH and 130w 7100k PCs (this is a 48" 72g RR bowfront). I acclimated it slowly, starting at 2 hrs MH/day and worked up to 10 hrs over the course of a month. It has not been moved. It has also not opened since the move -- it just lingers like this with a few polyps extended during the day. Water movement is moderate and random -- I can see the coral sway ever so slightly every few seconds. <many Sarco, although very hardy, are quite finicky about polyps extension. Some retract for months indeed when disturbed. Still... I suspect something more. Inadequate flow is a common cause... do experiment with stronger random flow here... especially if you have been noticing that the mucus tunics on the crown have not sloughed regularly or quickly (1-2 days)> Water parameters (Salifert + digital pH): 80 degrees, pH 8.25, SG 1.026, Alk 3.4 meq/l, Ca 420 ppm, Iodine 0.06 mg/l, Mg 1380 mg/l, NO3 2.5 mg/l, PO4 0.03 mg/l, no NH3/NO2. Tank is skimmed with an AquaC EV 120, and I passively use GAC. <all very fine> I know Sarcophytons are slow to react/adapt, but 3 months seems like enough time for the situation to normalize as much as possible.  <agreed> I have tried blasting with aquarium water from a turkey baster to remove mucous or sloughing tissue,  <hmmm... perhaps an indication of the suspected inadequate flow... if the slough came of naturally in 24-48 hours you would not need to baste... do consider> as well as a weak Iodine solution once. I have not seen any obvious parasites.  <understood... and little worries for parasites (unless you bring in wild coral to the tank without QT. If so, look closely at the base for burrowing hydroids are feel the base (gloved hands only) to see if there is a hollow feel (some cowries and crabs will hollow a leather out from the inside> Is there hope? <absolutely. If worse comes to worse we'll cut it open and propagate it to spur growth and spy for predators. Still... may just be water flow. 9 of 10 aquariums are too weak in flow. Kindly, Anthony> Thanks in advance for your advice! Ed Marshall, Austin, Texas.

Hole in my mushroom leather I have a large mushroom leather In my 125 gallon reef. Yesterday I noticed  that half way down the stalk of the coral, there is a hole about the same  diameter as a quarter. The hole itself runs toward the bottom of the coral  about 2 inches deep, and up the coral about 1/2 inch. Today, the coral  extended its polyps and seems to be acting normally. I have several other  leathers, none of which are damaged in any way. Live stock in the tank  consists of; one purple tang, one yellow tang, one yellow tail blue tang,  one blue box fish, one yellow Coris wrasse, one six line wrasse, three  cardinals, two peppermint shrimp, one banded coral shrimp, four emerald  crabs, one arrow crab, and many different types of corals. The hole is on a  side of the coral that is closest to a rock. No corals are close to the  leather at all (at least 8 inches away in all directions). I do have a  small case of flat worms, but I did not think they would damage corals. Do  you know of any animals that could have inflicted this damage? By the way,  my water parameters are always perfect.  >> Hmm, a mystery... Well, as you allude to... could be the bristle worms getting rambunctious... Is the hole symmetrical? not obviously a sore? This could be (but doubtful) a type of scission... a splitting of the animal, a type of asexual reproduction... My best guess, most likely culprit is the Arrow Crab... Stenorhynchus... as these get bigger, they can become trouble... I would pull it and see if the nibbling ceases. Bob Fenner who remarks that even Mithrax Crabs may nibble at soft corals.

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