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FAQs about Stony Coral Behavior

Related FAQs: Cnidarian Behavior, Stony FAQs 1, Stony FAQs 2, Stony Coral Identification, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, Propagation, Stony Coral Behavior,

Related Articles: Stinging-Celled Animals, Phylum Cnidaria, LPS Corals ( Caryophylliidae, Fungiids, Oculinidae... ), SPS Corals ( Acroporidae, Pectiniid Corals, Pocilloporid Corals ), Coral System Set-Up, Coral Placement, Coral System Lighting, Stony Coral Selection, Growing Reef Corals, Stony Coral Feeding, Stony Coral Disease, Propagation, Growing Reef Corals, Water Flow, How Much is Enough,

corals ejecting pearl-like material  1/1/13
Hello and happy new year!
I have a new Euphyllia Glabrescens in a 10 gallon quarantine tank for the past week. It’s under a 96W power compact light. Yesterday evening when leaving for some new year’s festivities, I noticed both polyps with mouths gaping huge, releasing strings of wispy mucous with dozens of white, tiny pearl-like particles into the water. Looking into the mouths, I could see dozens more of these particles inside the polyps, as can be seen in the photos. I placed a bag of carbon, but being on my way out didn’t have time to do a water change thinking I would do it this morning. However today the coral looks absolutely normal with no signs of what it ejected anywhere in the tank. Either it broke down in the water, or the coral retracted it!?  Now I have in the past seen various corals release brown waste/perhaps Zooxanthellae, and other times mesenteric filaments, and video footage of coral spawning. This doesn’t seem like any of those, and as far as I know corals are not egg layers, so what do you think this is?
Thank You
<Mmm, yes; stress-induced release of planulae... Do search on Google or such with the string "stony coral ejecting planulae". Bob Fenner>

Re: corals ejecting pearl-like material  1/1/13
Thanks so much, Bob!
Funny, I had tried searching but found no explanation, and didn't think this was a reproductive event because these particles were too large to be gametes.
<Mmm, well, eggs are big/ger, not spermatozoa though>
Now, searching the term "planulae" there is lots of info to read!
Interesting that E. Glabrescens is hermaphroditic and can eject planulae while the other Euphyllia species broadcast gametes. Learn something everyday, Thanks again!
<Ah, welcome. BobF>

Learning to use WWM, coral colour change from dealer... 8/8/11
I have another question for you. I just bought two corals from the LFS. One is a pulsing Xenia the other a plate coral. The plate coral was a greenish gray at the store but when I went to check on it most of it had turned a golden color so I'm wondering if it's a problem with the flow...
<Or more likely differences twixt your and the store's lighting>
And also the Xenia won't open does it like low or high flow.
<... posted>
I'm still trying to learn all this I'm only 15 and it's kinda hard to find help.
<Please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM:

To Cover Or Not To Cover; That Is The Question -- 12/16/10
Hello to all with the crew,
<<Hiya Beth>>
Haven't written in a while what with one thing and the other but I've a few questions.
Question 1: I have been running Power Compacts (2 10,000 K daylights and 2 Actinics along with blue LED's) on my 125 gallon (6 foot) reef tank for years with no issues however, the colors of corals I can keep seem to be limited to green or tan and random purples.
<<Hmm'¦ You don't give the wattage, but even if these are 96w PCs, I expect this tank could use a bit more, regardless of the stockings'¦and in the 10,000K range versus Actinics>>
Any other colors I get brown out. Reading multiple articles has led me to wonder if this is related to the high nutrient levels I maintain (deliberately as this is a lagoon type set up), which would contribute to a higher Zooxanthellae population per coral
<<One of several factors to consider>>
or to the fact that I have a double barrier between the lighting and the tank (moisture protecting plastic strip below lights and a glass canopy on tank to reduce evaporation).
<<Another contributor>>
Since both barriers can reduce UV lighting,
<<Indeed'¦along with total output across the entire spectrum>>
and corals color up as a protection against UV light,
<<A factor, yes'¦but in of itself, not the 'whole story' re coral coloration>>
would it make sense to remove one or both of those barriers?
<<In my opinion'¦yes. Removal of the 'plastic strip' will increase light penetration. Removal of the 'glass canopy' will increase light penetration and arguably, gas exchange>>
Do you think this would increase the colors on for example, my Acans or Favia? (both a rather bland grey or tan with color only at the oral disc)
<<Can only help in my opinion, considering the type and intensity of your current lighting system. But as eluded earlier, lighting is not the sole answer to coral coloration. As you mentioned, nutrient control can be a factor'¦along with nutrition/feeding and the availability (lack of) of key amino acids. Water chemistry is also a player here. An imbalance/shortage of bio-minerals can also cause some corals to lose color/intensity, in my experience>>
Question 2: I have an elegance coral who appears to be doing quite well but I have questions related to its feeding. I currently feed a little bit of whatever I am feeding the fish. This could be Formula 1, Formula 2, Plankton, Marine Cuisine, etc.., quite varied and something different every day but not much of it. I thought that this would be a bit more along the lines of how they eat in their natural environment but noticed in your posts frequent suggestions for larger, meatier feedings twice a week or so.
<<This is mainly if the coral 'is not' getting what it needs from your daily feedings. If the coral is feeding and doing well now, I see no need to change your methodology>>
Since I do maintain a high organic load (no skimming and very little true filtration, just random water movement), and since it does appear to be doing fine, should I just continue my current practice?
<<Sure'¦for the reason just stated>>
I do 30% water changes every 3 weeks or so and am not concerned with over feeding so much. The elegance, along with the Wellsophyllia, Acans, anemones, and Favia, appear to eat everything I give them and never regurgitate so I thought I was doing ok.
<<If this is the case then yes, I would agree>>
Other possible contributing factors:
PH: 8.3 ish (varies from 8.1 to 8.3
Nitrate: 10-20 ppm
<<Some Nitrate is important to both health AND coloration. These levels are likely fine for the biotope/livestock you have, though striving to keep it toward the lower end of this range may prove best>>
Alk: 9 to 11 dKH (I do have to buffer every week or so).
Calcium: 400 avg.
Phosphate: 0 but using API and have had other forums state a not very accurate test kit
<<Might I suggest a Salifert or Seachem kit then. Or if you want to get really accurate, one from Merck or Hach>>
Temp: 78
SG: 1.024
<<I would raise this to NSW levels (1.025/1.026)>>
Thanks as always for your advice and work.
<<Happy to share>>
<<Poor coral coloration is often a combination of factors in my experience. Try 'clearing the path' so to speak, for your lighting as discussed'¦and maybe lower those Nitrates just a bit (add a skimmer or some chemical filtration) and see what that does. Adding a couple more 10K PC bulbs would also help, in my opinion. You could also look in to some of the amino acid supplements available'¦and/or add some Selcon to your feeding regimen. Eric Russell>>

stony coral... nutr., school question 11/28/10
What exactly makes coral grow? What are the nutrients acquired <required> from <by> Zooxanthellae?
<Principally alkaline reserve and alkaline earth elements in proportion... along with the major and micronutrients found in natural seawater... along w/ PAR of sufficient intensity, duration... water currents. Bob Fenner>

Coral Growth 11/17/10
<Big J>
The foreground coral has actually spread to the back glass of my tank.
There are two very large bases on the glass and small fingers are starting to emerge. I thought it seemed a bit unusual. Have you witnessed this in your travels?
<Not on glass (!) but yes to many stony corals being polymorphic. Will attach a pic of size of a fave (Porites rus) in its "type locality" on the Big Island here... Note it "comes" in columnar, knob-like and laminar morphs. B>

Coral Splitting? 3/15/10
Hi Bob,
<Big J>
I have a Caulastrea (Candy Cane) where the skeleton is actually splitting down the middle. This happened over a period of three days. The original appearance was uniform, more like a ball. Wondered if you have ever witnessed anything like this. See attached pic.
<Neat... have seen a bunch of Cnidarians doing this sort of breaking up over the years... in captive and wild settings. Nice Demoiselle BTW. Cheers, BobF>

Re: Coral Splitting?
The Yellow Tail Damsel is not camera shy for sure, very nosy.
<A good quality I'd warrant. B>

Carbon dosing or Too Much Light? (I definitely don't think the latter here) -- 04/08/09
<<Greetings stranger>>
Have a good question about my 75 gallon sps reef.
About 7 weeks ago, I upgraded my lighting to a 7/54 watt T5 Aquactinics Constellation. I successfully have acclimated my corals (this fixture can cook sps on the sand bed of a 75, just didn't want to be forced to place corals high). Anyways, I've also been carbon dosing (vodka) about 1 ml of 80-proof per day in order keep phosphates and nitrates extremely low.
<<I do this myself from time to time'¦but is not without risk (I managed to wipe out $700 worth of fish when a GFCI tripped overnight after dosing'¦ and lost another $3,000 or so in corals in the ensuing months as the system tried to regain its "balance"). I hope you have some redundancy built in to your system to keep water flowing through the sump should a circuit/pump go off/out>>
Before I continue here are my parameters:
Temp: 80-81.5
Salinity: 1.25-1.26 (refractometer)
Calcium: 440-470 (API)
ALK: 8-9 (API)
Nitrates: 0 (API)
Phosphates: 0 (Salifert)
I do a 10 gallon water change every 7-8 days. I have a Remora-Pro with a Mag-5 that gets the job done (not amazing, but seems sufficient for my small bioload). I have a ton of flow (turnover is 45 times per hour).
The problem I'm having is with color. My corals look pretty good (a lot of color) but...they are starting to get very light in color. Not bleached, but if they were to get much lighter, they would start looking bleached.
I have two theories.
<<Let's hear them'¦>>
It's either too long of a photoperiod with this fixture (4 bulbs for 8 hours, all 7 for 4.5 hours),
<<Nah'¦ If anything this is too little. I prefer a good 12-hr photoperiod'¦more closely mimics that of the tropics where these animals are collected>>
or my tank is nutrient starved and is dying for a little phosphate and nitrate.
<<I think this to be much more likely, especially considering the carbon dosing>>
I'm thinking this is the key.
<<Is a good place to start>>
When I go to my LFS, I always get frustrated because his colors are better than mine with sub-par lighting. But his tanks have nuisance algae. Not tons of it or even enough to be an eye sore, but its there. He obviously has nutrients in his tank.
Mine is barren of nuisance algae, completely.
<<This seems to be the common goal of many/most hobbyists'¦even though a bit of algae is normal on the reef'¦and even of benefit re food/habitat for many of the smaller beneficial organisms in our tanks>>
I've heard people on Reef Central (that have great sps tanks) say that when nutrients are too low colors will fade, too rich and they get too dark or brown out corals. What do you think?
<<I am in agreement'¦and this is often a balancing act depending on the efficiency of your filtration and your husbandry practices. I've known of reef hobbyists who actually 'dose' Nitrate (generally in the form of Ammonium Nitrate) to keep their corals 'colored-up.' I would try dosing the carbon on a limited schedule and see what effect this has on your corals. It may take some time and experimentation to find the right combination of frequency and dosage. Or boost your feeding schedule/volume and see how this affects things'¦am sure your livestock will appreciate this last for sure>>
Thank you for your help!
<<Do let me know what you discover'¦ Regards, EricR>>

Re: Carbon Dosing or Too Much Light? (I definitely don't think the latter here) -- 04/09/09
Will do. I'm going to dump a can of flake in the tank right now....see if I can get some phosphates and nitrates going...haha.
<<There ya go!>>
Will let you know. Thanks for your help.
<<Cheers, EricR>>

Weird substance on Galaxea Coral 11/14/08 Hello crew, Once again thanks for the very help and wonderful website. It has been a while since my last question and for the last year this meant that everything was fine in my 75 gallon tank (no news-good news!). However I recently started seeing some weird "stuff" around my Galaxia and can't seem to be able to identify what it is (I've attached a pic attempt to help identify). It seems to be a sort of white mucus/jelly substance that wraps around the edges of the coral. It doesn't extend above any polyp but starts right at the edge. I've had some polyps dying at the base of the coral and this substance has been wrapping around the dead skeleton. <Mmm, yes> I initially wasn't concerned with the polyps dying as it was a very slow process (1-2 polyps a month) and only affected the polyps at the base of the coral in non-directly lit areas. I assumed this was the coral getting used to the lighting as the well lit areas started to expand and multiply to a neighboring rock. <Is in a sense> I started to get worried when I saw this substance. As additional info I noticed that on the backside of the rock/coral this substance attached to glass and started crawling over the glass filaments. There's a continuous string from rock to the glass. I've been told by my LFS that it may be the coral regenerating and expanding but I'm not really convinced by this. <Their explanation is accurate. Very common for Oculinids, most all Scleractinians to "reach" in such a fashion, over previous skeletal material> I hope this information is sufficient for an identification. I also have side question on my PH swings. I've noticed that my PH swings from 8.4 at peak (lights turn off) to 8.1 (lights turn-on). Is this too stressful for the tank? <Mmmm, not likely a problem... is a big swing, but w/in range of optima> Thanks a lot for the help. Diego
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Smoke (from the coral... a fire in the sky...) 08/23/08 Hello, My friend Marc posted this video up on Reef Central and I thought that you guys would be the smartest plan of attack to ID it. There is ?smoke? coming out of this coral and he doesn?t know what it is. This is the second time it has happened. The inside of the Monti ?blob? is hollow as he states in the video so really anything could be living in there. I truly think something is spawning, but do you have any notions? <Hmm, I agree. Something is spawning. My guess would be a bivalve living in/under the coral (which is not unusual). Once I was fragging a Faviid of mine and was a bit shocked to find several (decent sized) bivalves living inside it (no parts of which I had never seen). I took them to Ron Shimek and he told me they were indeed living bivalves (err... not so living by the time he saw them, but had been living in the coral). So, apparently, it's not uncommon for them to be living in/under corals, even if we can't see them. And if they are there, I assume they have an outlet/inlet to the water and that they must spawn somehow. Thus, that's my "educated" guess.> http://melevsreef.com/video/smoke_part2.wmv Jessica <Best, Sara M.>

Weird Tank Happenings, For Good Or Bad? (All Sounds Good To Me)... Scler. beh. - 01/19/08 Hey "guys" it's actually been a while this time!! <<Hi there Ryan!>> I've had some odd things going on in my tank recently. <<Oh?>> Mainly, my corals are changing color, it's quite interesting, to me anyway. <<Changing…how so?>> Here are my tank parameters and specs that have remained unchanged for months. Ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, phosphate 0 (per Salifert), calcium~400, alk 10 dKH, temp. 80, SG 1.026, Mg a little low at 1150. My lighting is 2- 250 watt XM10K MH supplemented by 130 watts of actinic T5's. Turnover rate is about 56 times per hour on a 92 gallon tank with a 30 gallon fuge/sump. <<Yowza…a high energy zone indeed! (and not to be interpreted as a bad thing)>> This tank is mainly setup for SPS corals. <<Excellent>> So here's what's happening. My blue/green Acropora tortuosa has changed from green and blue to a really strange bluish red with ice blue tips. My green slimer has changed from totally dark green to a red, I'm not kidding, it's actually turning red. <<Odd…and very cool>> My Favites brain changed from green and brown to neon green and yellow. <<Neat>> My Favia which is red, has been showing rapid growth, splitting it's mouths to create more "polyps" and expand. Pocillipora has gone from dark green to a more pastel colored greenish yellow. Most interesting to me is the Acropora granulosa that has changed from kind of a bleached green to a red color. <<Hmm, here seems to be a trend here…(red)>> As you can tell things are changing to a red hue. <<Ah yes!>> I have other Acroporids that have remained unchanged, which makes me even more confused. <<Not a concern I think>> It was suggested to me that my tanks nutrient level has decreased allowing the corals to change to a color that absorbs less light (not an exact quote). <<I can't say exactly what, but yes, this is essentially correct…though not necessarily a result of a "decrease" in nutrients>> I was wondering if you had any ideas of what could be happening here? <<I'm sure you are aware that many of the corals we keep develop their coloration based on the parameters of their environment. I believe that (some of) your corals are simply reacting/adjusting to available foods/feedings, bio-minerals, soluble Nitrogen products, lighting…and oh yes, water movement! This happens in all marine systems (natural and captive), and you seem to have happened upon a combination of elements and husbandry practices that are intensifying/changing your corals in a very positive/pleasing manner. The fact that "all" your specimens are not reacting is not unusual…different strokes…>> I would also like to add that I have Cyanobacteria which I've had for a year or more, so I am not nutrient free. <<Indeed…and if you were these changes would be different…and likely not so pleasing. Reef organisms "require" many of those elements upon which we spend much effort and money trying to "strip" from our systems. The key is not total elimination, but rather, finding a "balance" of elements that meet the needs of our desirable organisms without allowing "uncontrolled" proliferation of undesirable organisms (e.g. - nuisance algae, Aiptasia anemones, Cyanobacteria, etc.). The presence of a small measure of these "undesirables" does not mean failure as a reef keeper…and certainly is no cause for panic/drastic measures that often cause more harm in the long term (e.g. - dosing antibiotics). But I digress…[grin]. Do also consider these changes may in no small part be due to the heavy water movement in your tank which allows the corals to more effectively feed and shed metabolites, as well as increasing access to the "available" organic nutrients and other needed elements such as oxygen>> Thank you for any ideas, Ryan <<Happy to share. Eric Russell>>

Question on Mushroom Coral and Candy Cane Coral... a Fungia, not a Corallimorph 11/21/07 Hi, <Hi Sammy!> I have this mushroom coral for 2 weeks now. <You have a Fungia, occasionally called a mushroom coral, not a Corallimorph, which is more typically called a mushroom coral. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fungiidae.htm > It seems to bloom only when the lights are totally off. <Yes, this is not atypical.> Here are photos of it with the light on, with only a flashlight, and lights totally out. <I see.> I currently have it half way down the water column with medium water flow. Should I move it down onto the sand <Yes, but be aware, these corals ARE MOBILE. Yes, that right, they are capable of moving, even capable of climbing! And their mucus can be quite toxic. So the Fungia need to be kept at a distance from other corals.> or in a shadow from the light? <In the light is fine.> Is this normal? <Yes.> I also have a candy cane that is doing the same thing. <This is normal. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/faviidae.htm > When I bought this coral, it was quite bleached. It is not starting to get some green coloring. <Good.> I have seen candy cane corals opening in full light at the LFS. <Yes, some gradually accommodate.> But mine will only open when the lights are off. <Again, not unusual.> Is this related to that fact that it was bleached? <Not necessarily.> What is the best thing I can do for this coral? <Feed it at night when it is open, finely minced pieces of meaty foods.> Move it to a very low light location? <No.> Here are photos of the candy cane. <I see.> Flash shot with lights off. <Came out pretty well for just being illuminated with a flash light!> Thanks for your help.
<Welcome! Mich>

Pavona/Montipora identity questions... 10/23/07 Hello crew, <Chad> I bought a nice piece of plating metallic red/orange Pavona this weekend and I'm wondering if it has the same potential growth rates as a plating Montipora. <Mmm, no. The Acroporid has a much greater growth rate potential> The polyps are quite large and I have read that they do not need additional feedings, is this true? <Not IMO... I would purposely feed all captive Scleractinians> I have a 250 MH lamp (10,000 K) shining on it. I believe both the Pavona and Montipora came from Tonga. <Possibly, yes. Both genera are collected from this island nation> The Montipora was sold to me as a "Superman morph" that has not morph yet since being out of the ocean. <Interesting terminology> To be honest I'm not sure if it is even a Montipora once I saw some of the polyps come out. This is an encrusting piece that is purple with purple polyps but the polyps look exactly like miniature start polyps. They even have the white dot in the middle of them. Do you have any idea without a picture what this could be? <Not really> The encrusting flesh is not as soft as the star polyps but very similar being purple and encrusting but hard like Montipora. Thanks for any additional information you can provide. I have done plenty of research on the internet but to no avail. That is why I seek council from the best. Thanks, Chad <Perhaps a set of J.E.N. Veron's "Corals of the World" for Xmas... Bob Fenner>

Question...if you have time. Corals, zooxanthellae relations, respiratory physiology 1/9/07 Ok, it is a long thought process and I might have to do it in a series of questions with each answer if that is ok..... <Okay> If the Zooxanthellae in a coral, through cellular respiration uses carbon dioxide and light to produce sugars, is it then producing oxygen as a bi product? <Yes> If so, does...or even better...can the Zooxanthellae consume oxygen out of the water column while cellular respiration is at bay (at night)? <Again, yes> Also, does coralline algae use cellular respiration? <This is so... both the "forward and reverse reactions... of photosynthesis"> Is there any other contributors present in a reef tank that produce oxygen (aside from the obvious macro/micro)? <None in appreciable quantities> It could just be yesterdays news, but I have formulated some hypothesis trying to find the fundamentals of carbon dioxide and it's role in the reef aquaria and would value your opinion on the subject. <Is an extremely rate-life limiting matter... and a source of "happy balance" twixt, among" pro- and eu-karyotes on this planet> As always, thanks for your help. Justin / Dr. J <Always fun to speculate. BobF> The big question polyp extension 01-08-06 Hi guys and thanks for a great site!!!! <Hello and thank you.> Here is my run down of my tank specs: Size 36x24x25 Lights 250 de Helios 12500 14 inches from water with two VHO 110watt actinics. With 140 pounds of live rock Two sea swirls connected to a sequence dart with not much head pressure Precision marine calcium reactor Salt 1.025 Calcium 380 Ph 8.4 - 8.25 Temp 79.5 - 78 Now everything seems to be doing great fish and coralline is doing well. Corals are showing growth but there is not much polyp extension. There is tons of extension at night it is crazy of the difference between night and day. I have a milli that has nice fuzziness but not like it is at night. I have a plana Acro table that has good ext at night, but occasionally puts them out in the day. One of my Acros has never extended a polyp in the day.... Is the problem that they are still acclimating because they are still pretty much 1.5 inch frags? I have the dart dialed back a little should I raise the output a little. I am guessing it probably has about 2000 gph with the head pressure and all. Is it bad for the coral to be occasionally passed over by the sea swirl with direct force for a second or so? I do not want to rip the polyps of the coral when flow hits them directly for a second or so. Because there seems to be a lot of flow coming out of the outlet..... I hope I am not sounding paranoid just new to SPS. Thanks so much and I hope I made sense with my question. <You are witnessing nature and evolution at their finest. Your corals will extend their polyps to feed at night because there is more food in the water column at night. There is also a polyp protection factor to consider. At night there is far less of a chance that a coral nipping fish will swim by and graze on the coral's polyps. If you want to see their polyps during the day your will need to start feeding your corals, during the day, this will make it worthwhile for the coral to extend its polyps. Travis>

Turbinaria coral strange behavior 2/27/05 I have been searching the internet for an idea of what is happening to my Turbinaria... I have had it for a year, and it has been doing fantastically until last week when it started to develop this bubble. I did have to move it very slightly closer to the lights recently, and nearer my branching anchor. Is this polyp bailout? <it definitely does look like polyp bailout... how ironic too, I use a pic similar to this in one of my presentations describing how light shock or aggression from a nearby coral (like your VERY noxious/aggressive hammer Euphyllia) can cause this> Could it be getting stung by my anchor? <easily so at night with modified sweeper tentacles on Euphyllia that can reach 10"> I called my LFS and they had no idea what it could be and suggested I dip it. <yikes! no... please don't stress the coral any more... the LFS is mistaken here> I appreciate any help you can offer. Great site, and thanks! Kevan <best regards, Anthony><<To add my dos centavos here... DO move one or the other of these colonies. RMF>>

New corals and new lights affecting old corals? Hi crew, hope all is well. With your help, I have upgraded my 90 gallon tank to 2x250 HQI Ushio halides + a 96 watt 50/50 PC. Berlin skimmer, closed loop, and reservoirs also. After I upgraded, my "old" corals ( green star, a flowerpot, and a bleached BTA) responded very well- all were opened fully. In the last 2 weeks, I added an Acropora, a small SPS(?) plate coral, a fist sized birds nest coral, and a disc coral with several polyps. All of these are doing very well. Just last night, I added a medium sized bubble tip anemone and a clown fish- they are both very happy, and were symbiotic in less than 10 minutes of introducing them. Soon after I added the Acro, plate, disc with polyps and birds nest, my older corals have remained only partially open. My flowerpot has 3 small featherdusters on it. << Well two things here. First of all flowerpot corals are terrible aquarium corals, and I wouldn't be surprised if it slowly dies. In fact I'd be surprised if it lives and grows. But in regards to your other previous corals I think maybe the lighting upgrade is just too much too quickly. Give them some time, and if you can slowly increase that light. >> My water chemistry has remained constant- salt- 1.024, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate. pH is 8.1, alk is about 11, I rely on 10% weekly water changes to keep my calcium up. Why are my old corals pulled in? << I think they are stressed from the changes, it may take a few weeks. >> If it is because of the new corals, will they get used to them in the near future? Your advice is more than appreciated. I'm sending a pic of the BTA and clownfish I bought a little over 24 hours ago. << I think giving them time is best, and also slowly raising the lighting. >> James, Prov, RI << Blundell >>

Acros only open at night 11/26/04 Hi all, <cheers> I have read every thing I could find on your site and I still can't get the answer I am looking for. First let me tell you about my setup. My 55 gallon tank has been running for 18 months with DSB, remora skimmer, 15X circulation, PC 260 watts (lamps 5mths old), mech. filter for charcoal and lots of live rock. My measurements are 1.024,0,0,0, ph 8.35, pH .05, temp 80, cal 400 and alk 8.5. All test are double checked by my LFS once a month. I have a clown, flame angel and a hawk fish, all since the beginning. My corals are lots of mushrooms, zoos, one Xenia and on the top Acros, pink birdsnest, trumpet, plate and a brain coral. All corals have a good separation. I feed the fish a large variety of frozen foods. The corals I feed a cocktail of Phycopure and Cyclop-eeze or DT's and for the larger coral I feed bits of fish food like Mysis. On Sunday I stir the top of the sand bed, clean my skimmer, 10% water change and run test. I have no algae problems, lots of coralline algae and everything is growing and happy. In fact, at least once a month, I have to pull some of the corals and give them away. When I first got the Acros, they opened during the day for 2 weeks but for the past 4 months the Acros open only at night. I see lots of them in other tanks that are open during the day. I have tried to entice them with food during the day but it does not work. <hmmm.. since they do not feed organically very well/heavily... this is not a principal influence (feeding). More likely water flow is the culprit. And the change from behaviors on arrival is simply their acclimation (or even suffrage if the flow is too low or way too high)> However, they eat well at night. I have to believe that my Acros are getting all they need. I know that I could use more light but they are at the same level as the birdsnest and if it is growing, I don't think that light is the problem. <agreed> Do you have any ideas? <lots... the Pittsburgh Steelers should try to run Jerome Bettis again this week and give Duce at least another week to rest> If you think it is the lights are VHO ok? <very fine lights and good color. I like the URI brand best. Change any brand VHO by 10 months> MH just put out too much heat. <Ahhh... actually not my friend. It really is a misinformation. VHOs as close to the water as they need to be if effective (less than 3") are also hot. And either lamp style can easily be cooled with a single muffin fan (9 watts) and a well-designed fixture. MH are a better value by far in the long run considering lamp life, trueness of color, intensity (bang for your buck on light produced per watt), etc> PS I owe you all a big thanks. I have saved a lot of money. Fan vs. chiller in the summer, proper equipment selection, etc. Thanks <very welcome my friend. With kind regards. Anthony>

Coral excrement or brown jelly - 9/8/04 Hi- I'm new to the hobby, and absolutely love the site. Thanks for all the work you put into this. <It is our duty to pay our knowledge and experience forward.> Here is my question: I started my tank about three months ago. <New one> It's 46 gallons, 50# live rock, 2-3 inches live sand. It has two 250-watt 20K metal halide lights and one 40 watt actinic. (I suspect I was oversold on the lights, but I want to get a clam down the road). <You have plenty of light. I have a 250 watt PFO on my 20 gallon with four clams> The protein skimmer is a Cyclone BakPak 2, and there's also an Eheim filter. <Sounds brilliant> We started with 1/2 dozen each blue-legged hermits, and two types of snails. After a month, we added two perculas and a feather duster (my personal favorite), and three emerald crabs. After about another month, we added a cleaner shrimp, a hammer coral, and a frog spawn coral (we put these guys at opposite ends of the tank). <Excellent choices for your size aquarium> My question is about the frog-spawn: both corals cleared QT looking great, <Quarantine? Excellent!!!!!> and seemed happy in the big tank (full extension, good color). About a week later, the frog spawn opened it's oral disk and spewed an inch-long gob of brown mucus. <Likely a stress induced zooxanthellae slough caused by water chemistry and lighting adjustment. No need to worry much> I immediately assumed brown jelly, <Whoa!!!> siphoned the goo out of the tank, and removed the coral back to QT. <Not a good idea as you will stress the animal even more> I gave it a 30-second fresh water dip, and a 3 minute iodine dip. <I would not continue this practice as there is no scientific evidence that supports that this iodine and freshwater even make a difference in the treatment of brown jelly. I would do one freshwater dip before the coral goes into quarantine and that is it.> It wasn't happy and released all it's mucus once it was back in the tank. <Again, this supports the theory of stress induced adjustment.> I thought it was a goner, but 10 days later, it looked well enough to be released from QT. Within an hour of being back in the main tank, it spewed again. <This is an adjustment or acclimation to lighting and water. Anymore movement will cause decline of this coral. We recommend placing the coral at the bottom of the tank and slowly adjust (move) the coral to its final resting place within the tank after a few weeks of acclimation. Be sure to research where your corals come from in the wild to create likely living requirements. Your frogspawn and hammer require less lighting than SPS so I would place these corals lower in the tank.> This time, the volume was much smaller, but it did the same thing: it opened it's mouth, ejected goo, and then closed it's mouth. It is back in QT, but before I molest the poor thing any further, I was wondering if maybe it was just making coral poop. <More or less.> Both times this happened, it was the day after a feeding day. <Exactly! If "things" go in then it has to come out.> By the way, I obsessively check ammonia levels every other day in both tanks, and all other parameters at least weekly. <Excellent. In a new tank I recommend every day or so and weekly later I have had trouble keeping the temp down, and it's been 80-82. <No worries. I keep my tank at 78 to 81 depending on the heat of the day. Which has been really hot here in the Bay Area as of late. Unbearable come to think of it!> I know this can be a contributor to brown jelly. Otherwise, water quality has been good. <Sounds like you are on your way. You have excellent husbandry practices. Keep in mind the tank is still in a period of adjustment for a few more months. So feed lightly, keep a water change schedule, and I would not add any supplements if you can help it. ~Paul> Thanks for your help!

Catalaphyllia Elegant coral excretion 6/16/04 I am sorry to disturbing you, <no trouble at all my friend> but I would truly like to know, if this was spawning occurrence of Catalaphyllia jardinei. Right after releasing brown eggs (?) most of them ate maroon clownfish. Regards, Aleksander <the excretion was... well... excrement. You now have the scoop on elegant poop :) And it is very common for reef animals to eat excrement as it is frankly nutritious. Many microcrustaceans like some copepods have to make multiple passes though various digestive systems before they are adequately broken down for digestion. All good. Anthony>

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