FAQs about Coral et al. Cnidarians System
Lighting, Troubleshooting, Fixing
Related Articles: Coral Lighting: what we know and what we don't
know (mostly the latter) by Sara Mavinkurve
Lighting Reef Systems:
Considerations, Organisms, Goals and Costs by Bob
For Marine Systems, Coral
Feeding, LPS Corals, True or Stony Corals, Order Scleractinia,
Propagation for Marine Aquarium
Related FAQs: Coral Lighting 1, Coral Lighting 2, Coral Lighting 3, Coral Lighting 4, & FAQs on Coral
Designs/Fixtures, Lamps/Bulbs, Quality, Duration & Intensity,
Night-Time, Makes/Models/Manufacturers, &
Lighting Marine Inverts 1,
Lighting Marine Inverts 2,
Lighting Marine Inverts 3,
Lighting Marine Inverts 4,
Lighting Marine Inverts 5, Lighting Marine Inverts 6, & LR Lighting, Fluorescent Light 1,
Lighting, Compact Fluorescents,
Metal Halide Lighting, Lighting Marine Invertebrates,
Corals, Stony Coral Identification, Stony Coral Behavior,
Light alone can be a strong factor/determinant in
your Cnidarian health and appearance, but current, many aspects
of water quality and the presence of competing, antagonistic and
predatory organisms must also be borne in mind.
Small Marine Aquariums
eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
Book 2: Fishes
eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Dead Area in Reef/Lighting - 11/30/11
Dear Bob & Crew,
<Hello Joe, James with you today.>
Again, thank you so much for your passion and wisdom- you truly
are amazing and have provided this wonderful tool for hobbyist
around the world to use! Outstanding!
<Thanks for the kind words.>
You have helped me several times with my 54 gallon corner reef
and through your guidance, the tank is looking great! The tank
suffered a serious bout of allelopathy but has been re-stocked
with much more appropriate and compatible species. Perfect
diagnosis and solution!
Perhaps you can help with the last remaining issue. There appears
to be a 'dead' area in the upper rear section of the tank
(see graphic) where no species of coral seems to tolerate. Every
coral that is placed there exhibits dramatic polyp retraction
within 1-3 days. This has been an issue since the birth of the
tank. My first guess was water flow, but this has been remedied
and I'm almost positive that the problem is light
As you can see from the graphic, the area falls within the spread
of the 14k HQI bulb (2 months old). I cannot determine if the
area receives too much, too little, wrong quality, etc. of light.
My local club has ordered a PAR meter that I will be able to
borrow soon, but as of now, I'm confused. All other areas of
the tank seem to be fine for coral growth. Most corals, in fact,
seem to 'like' being placed under the T-5s and
'dislike' the HQI. A few seem to have little
I have placed the following corals in this dead zone and have
witnessed dramatic polyp retraction followed by a full recovery
when placed under the T-5s: Candy Cane, Trumpet, Torch,
The HQI is a Coralife, clamp-on unit with a Phoenix 14,000K bulb,
positioned about 6-7inches from the acrylic lid. I have tried a
10,000K bulb with the same results.
Lastly, the lower half of the dead zone, does not seem to be a
problem. The section consists of an elevated portion of rock,
about 7 inches from the water's surface.
Any idea what the issue could be? I chose the HQI unit based on
the odd shape of the tank along with the high quality of usable
light that it produces. It's frustrating to see such an
expensive unit do the opposite of what is desired!
I did not attach a photo but will do so if needed.
<One thing that comes to mind with HQI is UV radiation. Does
the Coralife fixture have a glass lens covering the lamp?
If so, then the problem may lie with excessive lighting for the
corals you have been losing. All but the Galaxy require medium
intensity lighting. Another problem may be that most of your
corals are Euphyllia, and they are one of the worst when it comes
to allelopathy. There may be some stinging going on during the
evening hours when sweeper tentacles generally extend.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Dead Area in Reef/Lighting 12/2/11
Thank you so much for your insightful reply.
The Coralife HQI fixture has a glass UV shield around the
<OK, so no UV problem.>
I was considering raising the fixture by an inch or two. When
viewing the area, it just doesn't seem to be particularly
bright, the brightest appearing to be more towards the middle of
the tank where the HQI and T-5 light overlap more.
<Bright, in this case, refers to the relative luminosity of
the light, or how it looks to your eyes. This has to do with the
way the human eye sees. Different spectrums appear
"brighter" (more luminous) than others. Most of the PUR
for photosynthetic inverts like coral is not in the spectral
range that the human eye views as highly luminous or bright,
meaning that the light appears dimmer to our eyes, even though it
could be emitting more PUR for your coral than needed.>
Do you think that the corals are reacting simply to their
closeness to the bulb?
<Possibly, try raising the fixture, experiment.>
I agree with your suggestions on medium light corals not being
happy there but the Galaxy's unhappiness baffles me.
<That is why I brought up allelopathy, is very possible with
There are no corals within almost a foot of this area (except at
the very bottom). I would assume that these conditions would be
about perfect for a Galaxy species. Again, this coral opened up
again when placed lower in the tank.
<That should have told you something.>
I have a branching Montipora (Hodag's) frag that I was
considering placing in this area as a test. Do you recommend
doing this? In theory, this coral should do particularly well
here but I honestly have my doubts based on past results.
Thanks for your time James!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
To Cover Or Not To Cover; That Is The Question --
Hello to all with the crew,
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
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).
Since both barriers can reduce UV lighting,
<<Indeed'¦along with total output across the entire
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
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
<<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
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>>
<<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.
Lighting Causing My Coral Issues?/Reef Lighting
I'm really having an issue in my tank and have asked on many
different forums and not getting much help. So I'm turning to you
for your expertise.
<We'll do our best to help you.>
I currently have a 75 gallon 48"x18"x21" tank with a 30
gallon sump/fuge. Eheim 1260 return pump, Koralia 3, Vortech MP40, AC
jr. controller, Bubble King 160 skimmer and Phosban 150 reactor for
carbon/Phosban. I purchased a light fixture that was used for 1 month.
I'm not sure if I can mention the vendor name of the fixture but it
is a 48" 6 bulb T5 fixture with 2 Ice Cap ballasts. It also has 2
LED's for moonlights. The light has been on the tank since the
beginning of the tank which is almost 4 months old now. The bulbs
consist of an ATI Aquablue special, IC <Ice Cap> Deepwater, IC
Twilight, Geissmann Aquablue, IC Twilight, IC Twilight and are 2 months
The vendor states you can put the fixture right on the tank but they do
have small leg brackets that you can buy which I did. They lift if off
the tank about 2 inches. My first corals were a Hammer, Torch, candy
cane, Purple people eater Palys, and multiple other Zoanthids.
I started them out at the bottom of the tank and after a week put the
Zoanthids up higher and the candy cane mid tank. All of the corals
except the candy cane turned very pale within that week. The Torch
coral would expel it's zooxanthellae regularly. But it was already
on the bottom of the tank. My lighting schedule at that time was
dawn 9am-8pm and the main lights were on from 1pm-7pm. I then raised my
light by suspending it so it was 10 inches above the water and
decreased the main light to 2pm-5pm. I also emailed the vendor of the
light. They said all I was doing by raising the light was lighting the
room. And that they had a 7 bulb fixture of theirs over a 55
gallon tank with softies such as mushrooms, leathers and Zoas at
midlevel that were fine. She said that fixture was equivalent to a 400w
metal halide fixture.
<I don't know if I'd go that far, perhaps closer to a 250w
I then purchased a couple more frags of Zoanthids after specifically
emailing the coral vendor to ask what lighting they used. I told them
what light fixture I had and they said the Zoa's prefer high light
and didn't see any issue. They used 400w MH bulbs. I purchased them
and placed them at the bottom to acclimate. Within a few days one of
frags was turning pale. I emailed the vendor who thought they needed to
be placed higher and were losing their color because they were too low.
I placed the frag higher which didn't help. The only color that is
left on that frag is a very light pink near the mouth. The rest of it
is almost opaque white. Last but not least is a yellow scroll coral
that I placed at the bottom and then moved to midlevel. It too seemed
to lose quite a bit of it's yellow color.
So you get my drift here. The kicker is that the candy cane coral which
has been in the same place since day 1 is fine. No color loss, growing
and eating fine.
<Doesn't require as much light as the Hammer Coral.>
It is mounted midlevel. Hammer coral has had some color return. Also,
all my parameters are good. Ammonia,
nitrite, nitrate 0. dKH 9, Calcium 420, Magnesium 1500 (to keep
<I'd get this back down to the norm, 1200-1300ppm. High
magnesium levels can/could cause other problems.>
Temp 79 and salinity 1.025 by refractometer.
I hope I've given you ever bit of information I know.
<Was curious as to your water changing schedule.>
Is this just the light fixture? Too intense for soft corals?
<No, not too intense at all. Problem I see is that you have three
lamps that are literally wasting energy. The three Ice Cap Twilights
you are using are near pure actinic and peak out at around 425nm, and
using three of them limits your useful or more desirable light for
photosynthesis. One for color is fine provided the other lamps are in
10-12K range. The other three lamps you have are two 12K's and one
These alone should give you decent color. I would replace at least two
of the Ice Cap Twilights with lamps in the 10-12K range and you will
greatly increase your useful light energy for photosynthesis. See Ice
Cap's chart here. Note the difference in light energy spread out
across the useful spectrum in the 12K lamp versus the Twilight Lamp.
I've always wanted to try some SPS and was happy to have this
fixture knowing it would support that.
<It should with proper lamp selection. Keep in mind that most corals
we keep come from shallow water where the Kelvin temperature is
But not at the expense of being able to have anything else. I've
had another T5 fixture over a 90 gallon tank and never had any issues
like this. I'm really frustrated and was even considering changing
light fixtures. Guess it goes to show you that more expensive isn't
<You have a good system with the Ice Cap ballasts. They actually
overdrive the lamps to a higher intensity than the norm.>
I appreciate any light you can shed on this problem. (Thank
you...I'll be here all week) ;)
<Me too. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Lighting Causing My Coral Issues?/Reef Lighting 5/27/10
Thank you for the quick response!
<You're welcome, and I'm sorry I'm so late getting back
to you. Had a bout with intestinal flu.>
To answer your question I do 10
gallon weekly water changes. And to clarify....you think it's the
spectrum of my bulbs and not the intensity of the light that is causing
the loss of color to the corals.
<Improving the overall Kelvin temperature will be beneficial for
better coral growth, and your corals are likely reacting to the higher
light energy being delivered by the Ice Cap Ballasts. There are some
good points to note in this link.
I am getting growth. But losing color. Besides changing out the bulbs
is there any other issues I need to address?
<Yes, I would allow the magnesium level to fall to 1250-1300ppm and
Secondly, when you change the lamps, lower the photo period by a couple
of hours and gradually
increase by 15 minutes or so daily. Doing so should allow the corals to
adjust to the higher light intensity.>
At some point I would like to lower the fixture so as to not have so
much light spillover. But I don't want to fry my corals either.
<Not to worry, is rather difficult to duplicate the sun in light
Comparing this tank to my last one I'm just surprised that a loss
of 3 inches in tank height and the addition of Ice Cap ballasts to a 6
bulb T5 would cause me so have these many problems with the same
<Oh yes, can happen. The Ice Cap ballasts overdrive the lamps
considerably and create a higher intensity. This is the reason why we
need to slowly adapt the corals/animals to the higher intensity light
At least my fish don't seem to mind!
Thanks again for your input.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Lighting upgrade, Reef, Coral 10/22/09
I have a 65g tank with a 20g overflow/refugium, 2 Clownfish, 1 Coral
Beauty, 3 Green Chromis and 1 Lawnmower Blenny, and about 80+ lbs of
live rock. I'm looking to upgrade my current 192w CF fixture so
that I can start adding in a few SPS corals (only have a few LPS corals
at the moment). If I take the 4w per gallon rule-of-thumb, it puts me
in the 260-340w range (not sure if I calculate the sump in that
<More wattage than this would be a good idea...>
I'm concerned with a new light heating the water up to the point
that I can't control it anymore (use a small fan in the summer
which drops it 4+ degrees, don't have or need a chiller now, and it
would be hard/expensive to add one into my current setup), so I'd
like to try and stick with a T5 HO unit. So, my questions:
1. Is there a calculation to estimate how much of a temperature
increase I might expect from adding a metal halide bulb. Say, 150w per
<Mmm, not as far as I'm aware... we could try to configure
one... based on the most plausible factors... Distance from water, air
circulation, venting to the sides, top, turnover/vertical gyre rotation
Would it still be controllable with a small fan over the sump return as
I do in the summer now?
<Should help greatly>
2. Is there much of a difference with the effect on water temperature
between output on CF and T5 bulbs?
<Yes... T5 and T-lower are cooler>
3. An option for a T5HO only fixture tops out at around 234w. Is this a
big enough jump from my 192w light to make a difference with my current
(and future) corals?
<Placing the specimens closer to the surface interface is of more
importance, but yes>
It doesn't get me in the 4w per gallon range which makes me wonder
if its just wasted money.
<Better for you to study, buy or borrow a PAR meter, measure ambient
useful photonic energy with your present set up, look into means of
improving water clarity (e.g. RedOx measure, Ozone...)>
4. If 234w isn't a big enough jump, and I have to look at an
HQI/T5HO combo, is there a cap for my size of system (heating of the
water as mentioned previously and bleaching corals aside)?
<Mmm... temperature-wise? Likely a small wattage HQI (75, up to 150)
mounted a foot or more above the water (will require you fashioning a
canopy likely to accommodate the rest of the light fixturing for this
size, shape volume. You'd do well to search re lighting, light on
Thanks for all that you guys do. You've saved me some expensive
I've still made some expensive ones myself, but that's because
I didn't go to the site first to do the research! I've been
through the lighting sections, but haven't found the final answers
to my questions (although I did find others I wasn't expecting!),
but feel free to point me in the right direction.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner, San Diego for now>
T5's without Individual reflectors..not enough?
01/19/09 Crew, <Jessy here> Quick question about my 75
gallon SPS reef. I'm trying to be as patient as I can be with this
'¦but I'm getting frustrated! I have a 9 month old SPS
reef with around 5 Acros and 4 Montiporas. I run a current Nova Extreme
8 bulb fixture'¦ 8 54 watt ATI bulbs without individual
reflectors. My growth has been extremely disappointing! I see pictures
on RC of Monti caps that grow an inch a month'¦ time have
grown half inch in 5 months. Some of my sps are showing decent growth
though..My birds nest sits on the bottom and grows about 3/8" per
month(it's in low flow, most of my other corals are in high flow).
My Acros are sitting high up, all are growing at a snails pace minus my
red milli, it's grown about a Â½ inch over the last 3
months. Colors are great and all parameters are in check(minus salinity
that I address later) I'm considering upgrading to the new ATI
sunpower. It's only 6 bulbs but has great individual reflectors.
Will this be a lot more intense light than my 8 bulbs under 1 big
reflector? Last question is about my salinity. I recently purchased a
refractometer and calibrated it using the provided instructions. Last
week it measured my salinity at 1.31!!!!! I've slowly been bringing
it down and it's currently at 1.26-1.27. There's no telling how
long my salinity has been this high..I've been using a hydrometer.
Can high salinity slow growth? Thanks so much for your time and help!
Seth <Seth, don't make the mistake of going out and buying more
equipment to fix a problem with poor husbandry. Shedding more light on
your corals will only lead to more problems with algae or worse,
bleaching. 8 bulbs on a 75 gallon tank is PLENTY. I run only 8 54w
bulbs on my 150g reef and have great growth on my SPS. To answer your
question YES salinity is a HUGE problem for corals if it is as high as
it was in your tank. That could be the singular problem right there.
Since you didn't provide tank parameters I can't comment on
what "all parameters are in check" means. But, you should
also be testing for Phosphates in addition to Alk, Ca, and Mag. Get
your salinity in order and make sure your tank is healthy and
you'll see growth. Don't waste your money on new lights.
|Help with coral, ID, lambda.... 3/6/08 Hi
Crew! Donna here needing help again. A local reefer gave me a frag
of this coral about 4 months ago. She told me it was a Pink
Birdsnest <... a Poritid? Mmm, no... Looks more like a
Hydnophora species; a Merulinid...> and she had it under PC
lighting so I thought it would be okay in my tank. A 20L with PC
lights. I put it pretty close to the top. It was doing fine all
this time and then I decided to change my lights. It was under 130W
PC and I just got the Hagen Glo T5 HO 2X29W one actinic one
daylight. I did this 4 days ago and now the coral looks like this.
Am I correct in assuming the light is too strong? I moved it lower
in the tank for now until I receive your response. Thank you in
advance! Donna P.S. the pictures are reversed I couldn't figure
out how to get them in the proper order...Sorry <Mmm, I would
borrow (check with the stores about, or the local marine/reef club)
a PAR meter... Too "guessing" to gauge how much useful
light/change otherwise here. I would in the meanwhile use a bit of
shading material as discussed here:
MH Tweaking 3/31/07 Hello there, <Hi from HI> I bother
your crew way to <too> much so I will be short and to the point.
<Sort of like me!> 125G display, all SPS, predominately Acros.
Previously ran 3X400W radium 20Ks but my corals became very pale some
bleached at the tops on an 8 hour photo period 14" from the
surface. <Yikes... ever try placing your face this close to these
lights?> I downgraded to 3X250W 20K Radiums, they run 9 hours @
10" from the surface, and while the undersides and deeper Acros
show more color, the higher placed corals are still very pale.
<Mmm... have you heard of the term
"photo-acclimation"?> I don't have a single coral in
my tank I would consider "stunning" they were all
"stunning" when I bought them, however they quickly grow very
pale. <Can/could be a few "things" at play here...> I
have tried adjusting the height however it takes so long to notice any
change I feel fairly lost. <The lighting needs to "start"
higher, screened, electronically dimmed... the animals lower... however
less-intense initially... graded to brighter over a few weeks
time...> My question is having ruled out all other factors like
chemistry/flow/etc. and being fairly confident my problem is related to
Photo period/distance from water, what suggestions would you give me as
a place to start and how long would you give it to notice positive
change? <Mmm, please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm and the linked
files above> Is there something else I am missing in regards to this
pale plague? <Mmm, could be... as stated, there are other
possibilities... and you've presented no real data re actual
measures, set-up, maintenance... Not a mind reader... but do have very
strong intuition at times> Color aside the Milli's grow
.5-.75"/month, the Montis grow like weeds, even the very thick
branched Acros are growing at a very pleasing rate, they just look like
crap. <Can you define this? Or send a pic? Not of the fecal
material... Heeeee!> All frags show low/medium daytime extension and
crazy full bloom moonlight extension. <Okay> Any guidelines or
pointers would be great. The only other piece of info that's
relevant is that I did start the new 250s at about 20" and brought
them down 1" per week until they hit 10-11" <Oh! Well
that's an equine of a different hue altogether... Perhaps there is
some sort of allelopathy at play here... Again, you don't present a
stocking list...> I don't know WWM crew, getting pretty
frustrated. Thanks for your time, Jeff <Guess so. BobF>
Tweaking, pale scleractinians... 4/1/07 SG: 1.026 PH 8.3ish dKH
10ish CA 400ish <Mmm... what is your Magnesium? Easy for this to get
out of balance with Kalk use, some types of melted media in Calcium
reactors> 20G water changes every Sunday I only keep a couple of
fish (pair of black percs, pair of F. Pseudo's, Six Line. I have a
peppermint shrimp, 2Xskunk cleaners, and a pistol. Flow is achieved
with a Oceans Motions 4 way on a 4800GPH External Pump. I under skim
slightly, using a 240G rated skimmer on about 300ish gallons I run a CA
reactor and drip Kalk. CA reactor maintains about 10.2 dKH Kalk is only
about 5G per week. but holds the PH and CA steady. I have undetectable
Nitrate/trite/PO4 All water is with RO/DI with a TDS of 0 The 300g
system is split 125G display, 80G sump, 75G fuge, and a little 25g
AquaPod for a Mantis species only. <All this sounds/reads very
well/as good...> All in all I feel like I have built a good system
and I have good husbandry, I just have pale corals. I don't use any
additives at all except about 1.5ml of P. Iodide daily <Mmm, I would
add this only once a week... during water changes... This alone could
be "the" problem here... I would not add Iodine/ide/ate more
often than this unless you had good tests for, and a real need...>
or at least when I remember to. I feed the corals reef chili about 2 or
3 times per week. I have a wide variety of Acro species (maybe 12
different) plus Pocillopora, Pavona, Montipora, all of which are pale
in color. Bleachish tips, pale branches. <Mmmm...> I hope this
provides the extra info you were looking for, thanks again for your
time. <And lastly... am sure your water temperature is rather
stable... Thank you for this further information, follow-up. I would
expand your feeding menu here... including the addition of vitamins,
HUFAs (like with the use of a product like Selcon). Bob Fenner>
|Turbinaria peltata Dear Bob and Crew,
<Keep waiting for one of our reef-types to chime in...
hello!> I need assistance please. I have had a Turbinaria
peltata in my 50 gallon tank since August of 04. I have noticed in
the last couple of month some of the tissue starting to recede.
Parameters are as follows: 50 Gallon Flat Back Hex Ammonia - 0,
Nitrate - 0, Nitrite - 0, Phosphate - 0. Calcium 300/350 - Alk High
on my Red Sea Test Kit <High?> Approximately 125 lb Texas
Holey Rock almost completely covered with Coralline Algae. <...
some of this rock is unsuitable for marine aquarium use> 1 -
Yellow Tang approximately 3.5 inches long. 1 - Coral Beauty
approximately 3.0 inches long. 1 - Lawnmower Blenny approximately
3.0 inches long. Assortment of Mushrooms and Button Polyps. I have
a 300 gal/hr powerhead on lower right corner. I have a HOT Magnum
200 gal/hr in the middle upper right side. Emperor 400 on the left
side just behind the T. peltata. I set a container of Kalk on top
of this and drip it through the perforations in the top of this
unit for make-up water. Could this be a problem? <Mmm, don't
think so...> Lighting was 100 watts of 20K NO Light. I upgraded
to Coralife 260 Watt Unit consisting of 130 watts of 10K and 130
watts of Actinics. This unit was purchased this past weekend. You
can see from the picture that the coral is only 4" from the
light source. <Yes> I target feed this coral with a
combination of Mysis shrimp, Ocean Nutrition two to three times per
week. It readily accepts what I feed it. I also dose 30 ml of
DT's per week. This is mainly for my feather duster and
gorgonian. Your thoughts please, I don't want to lose this
coral. Thanks Dean <Likely the animal/colony is just adjusting
to the new lighting... but am concerned re the "high"
alkalinity... Put yourself in our place here... how high is
high?... you don't want any more than 12-15 dKH... I would be
checking the holey rock as a source of excess alkalinity... and
either moving deeper light sensitive life when switching to more
intense lighting, or partially shielding the lamps for a few
weeks... when they're new or replaced. Bob Fenner>
Blinded by the light... (06/22/03) Hi, I have read facts and
questions section and haven't find an answer to my problem. <Hi.
Ananda here today, with an idea on this one...> I have a 34 gallon
tank and was using 65 watt CSL Compact on it...I have Soft Coral which
was doing fine. a week ago I upgraded to VHO Lighting, I now have
3-24" URI VHO ( 2- super actinic, 1-AquaSun)... <Oh my
goodness... unless you *gradually* increase the lighting level over the
corals, you can light-shock them. Imagine walking from a dark closet
into the bright outdoors -- you tend to squint, don't you? Well,
you have eyelids that can protect your eyes, but your corals do not
have anything that can protect their bodies.> now the corals are not
doing as good...two is dying...I went from 1.9 watt per gallon to 6.6
watts per gallon.... What's wrong...are the VHO Lighting too
strong? <A sudden increase like that would cause problems, yes.>
I wasn't home one time when the temperature went up to 87 degree in
the tank... <Yikes! That undoubtedly compounded the problem. Not
only too bright, but far too hot...> I am now buying a IceCap
Fan.... <In the meantime, a small fan aimed across the top of the
water will help.> What do u think is the problems the Light too
strong or temperature of the water? <Both! The corals were not given
time to adjust to the bright lighting, and that followed by the
temperature spike stressed them further. I would put several layers of
screening between the lights and the tank, until you get the lighting
much closer to what it was with your CSL lighting. Then you can
*gradually* remove layers of screening -- over the course of many days
to allow them to acclimate to the extra light. Do look around on the
WetWebMedia site and chat forums for more info about doing this.>
would appreciate anything that can help thanks, Scott <You're
- Issues with Coral - Hi, I've had a 55 gallon reef tank
set up for about 10 months with everything working great. However,
recently (in the past 2 weeks), the corals seem to be slowly fading.
Here's a list of what I have in the tank and its current health
pulsing xenia--going limp over the past 4 days; fox coral--receding
over the past 2 weeks; green bubble coral--seems to be fine; encrusting
gorgonian--seems to be fine; Tubastrea--receding over the past 2 weeks
<Is this fed on a regular basis with a meaty seafood?>
frogspawn--isn't coming out as fully; candy cane coral--receding;
all of the fish (Firefish, 3 Chromis, Clownfish, Flame Angel, Royal
Gramma and Mandarin) are looking and behaving normally. I've
checked the nitrates (5 ppm), calcium (400), pH (8.0), specific gravity
(1.024), temperature (80). I can't seem to figure out what the
problem is. I've got a Seaclone 150 skimmer, an under gravel
filter, a penguin BioWheel 350 and 60 lbs of live rock. <First off,
I would suggest removing the under gravel filter and substrate in favor
of a deep live sand bed. I would remove any mechanical or bio
filtration from the penguin since you have ample live rock. You may
also want to upgrade your protein skimmer as it is a bit undersized
(regardless of what they recommend on the box).> The light is a 260
watt JBJ (2 actinic bulbs and 2 daylight) which is on from 8 am to 10
pm with a 1/2 hour dawn dusk effect with just the actinic bulbs. The
manufacturer doesn't recommend changing the bulbs until 14-16
months so I don't think that could be the problem either.
<Regardless of what JBJ says, all fluorescent lamps should be
changed at a maximum of every twelve months. 8-10 would be much better.
Even though the intensity will have dropped and the spectrum shifted, I
doubt it would be causing the problems you have described.> I'm
planning on adding a 20 gallon refugium in the next week or so which I
thought might help, but I was wondering if you have any ideas of what
could be causing this problem. I can't think of anything else.
Please help!! Thanks --Kirra <There was a similar problem with
another aquarist who, after several full range water tests, discovered
that the cord to his heater had disintegrated while submerged. Check
all your wires, and do be careful. I would run a copper test to rule
that out, then perform a large 50%+ water change. It is possible that a
contaminate has gotten in there that does not effect the fish (like
heavy metals). I would also pop in a poly-filter or two because they
adsorb all sorts of nasties. Where is your top-off and water change
water coming from? -Kevin>
Light Problem, Will the corals make it? 2/10/04 I just got a
new light fixture today, a 4x65 CSL moon-lite. I had a 2x65 Coralife
Aqualight. The new fixture came in with a dead 10,000K bulb, so on one
side of my tank I have only the actinic bulb. Will this light be enough
to keep my corals healthy for a week until the replacement bulb shows
up, or do I need to run out right away and buy a daylight bulb? I have
Xenia, Finger leather, star polyps, and Ricordea on that side of the
tank. Thanks!-Ken <your best bet is to temporarily prop the canopy
up so that the daylight bulb is centered over the tank. Actinic blue
alone will not support your corals and they may suffer light shock if
suddenly exposed to a new daylight bulb after a week without.
Acclimating Corals To A Different Lighting Scheme Hi again !
<Hi there! Scott F. here today!> Lighting question. I have
replaced 3x250 10k HQI bulbs with 3x250 20k HQI bulbs. <I use and
love 20ks, myself!> I have SPS and LPS in the tank. (mostly SPS).
What is your recommended acclimation schedule? I have heard dozens of
methods. <I can't think of a better article on the topic than
this little gem from our own Anthony Calfo. A great technique which
every reef hobbyist should learn and use! here is the link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm
Enjoy! Regards, Scott F>
Lighting Question 4 July 2004 Dear Bob and crew, <Hi
Aloke, MacL here with you tonight.> I've been going through the
exhaustive FAQs on the WetWeb website and these have proved very
helpful to me. <Good to hear.> I have a question regarding
lighting and corals turning brown. I use five 40 w fluorescent tubes on
my 90 gal tank, three full spectrum (supposedly) and two actinic.
Earlier, for two months I just used the normal day to day tubes, and
none of my corals died but I didn't necessarily see any growth.
<I know that there are brands of bulbs out there with 6,500
spectrums. Something that makes a difference is the depth of
penetration of the light. How deep is your tank, where are the corals
placed.> Most people nowadays prefer stronger MH lighting, or PC
lighting.. which I can't afford now, at least for the next four to
five months. I've heard of European tanks that run only under
fluorescent lighting successfully, and I would like to know what you
think of these fluorescent tubes. My tank houses soft corals mostly, as
I know my lighting really is not suitable for most hard corals.
<Very wise> so I'm going with mushrooms and zoanthids. I do
have a clam though (which has done quite well) and an SPS (Porites, I
think) frag. as well as a green moonstone coral. <I would think
eventually they will need more lighting. But if they are doing well
just continue to watch them. Honesty to keep the clams and SPS most
people recommend 4 watt per gallon of water.> I noticed some of my
polyps and mushrooms turned brown in my tank. While in the LFS'
tanks, they were under really bad lighting. Often a big tank had only a
single NO tube for lighting. Wouldn't the new, better lighting mean
better colours on the corals? Someone told me this had something to do
with symbiotic zooxanthellae - could you explain why this happens?
<Animals from intensely lit areas of a reef that are not supplied
with similar lighting in captivity may appear to change color as they
shed unnecessary U.V.. reflective pigments. At that point, such animals
may appear to be darkening in color, often to a darker brown or golden
color. The aquarist often associates this with a decline in health,
although that is not necessarily the case. The color change may be
attributable to an increase in the population of zooxanthellae algae,
or simply the greater visibility of resident zooxanthellae now visible
in the absence of the U.V. reflective pigments. Whether the change is
intolerable or not depends on if the coral's fundamental needs are
being met by the decreased illumination. Many corals can survive in
captivity with less surface irradiance than the optimum levels received
in the wild environment so long as the compensation point of
photosynthesis is met. We call this photo adaptation. And even without
it, supplemental feeding of the animal can be compensatory. For more on
this please look at this section of the WetWebMedia website, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm>
By the way - I live in Laos, a small country bordering Thailand, in
south east Asia. <Wonderful and so nice to meet you.> My tank has
two false Percula clownfish, two hermit crabs, about 20 pounds of LR
(so far) and I don't intend on buying any more fish... if I'm
really tempted I might get a royal Gramma, but that'll be it. I
also have a 3 to 4 inch sand bed. The tank is just over a month old,
earlier everything was housed in a 30 gallon tank. Thanks, Aloke
<Good luck Aloke>
Shocking Corals Well, I bought a compact light for my 29 gal.
reef tank today, and I think I almost shocked my corals. I have a 29
gallon reef, however, when I put the compact lights on everything kind
of suck up and shriveled. I put the two strip lights, (1) 10,000K
daylight and (1) 50/50 back on after about 10 minutes and everything
that shrunk up was looking good again. The compacts had 50/50 lights
and all the color seemed to disappear from my tank. I have relatively
low light corals, mushrooms, leathers and yellow, green and brown
polyps, watermelon mushrooms. What would I be better off using? Would
the double strip light serve me better so I can put the kind of bulb
they are used to in and take up less space? Thanks for any input.
<The various wattages would have been helpful. I am guessing you
currently have 2 20 watt normal output fluorescents and you exchanged
them, temporarily, for a 55 watt compact fluorescent. The change from
40 watts NO to 55 watt PC would be fairly dramatic and needs to be done
carefully. Everything you listed can and will adapt to brighter light
(they may even grow better), but it needs to be done slowly.
Shielding/shading some of the light or raising the PC fixtures up off
of the tank somewhat is in order. We have discussed this procedure in
changing from VHO or PC to MH's. Please look through the archives
for a more in depth discussion. -Steven Pro>
Corals Wasting Away Hi: New here but was referred to this
site by a friend. I have a DAS tank 56 gal. for about 4 years now.
Everything seemed fine, a few coral died but that is normal I suppose.
<Not really. There is some reason for it, perhaps unidentified but
there is one.> I have tangs, angelfish, gobies, cleaner shrimp, etc
everything seemed fine. I add RO water to top up, I have been changing
about 1 gal each week approx. <Rather modest amounts> All of a
sudden about 2 weeks ago, I noticed a big decline in coralline algae,
the corals also seemed to close up. <Best guess, you reached a
critical threshold with pH, alkalinity, calcium, allelopathy, etc.
Something has built up or decreased overtime and now your corals are
signaling a problem.> I run a 56 gal. DAS system, only add RO water
to top up. Everything seemed to be going fine. My four year old
elephant ear coral was a show piece. Now however its shrunk to a
mushroom. My blue mushrooms have even shrunk more! I am completely
baffled what is happening. My fish seem to be fine! I have VHO lighting
and add calcium, strontium, and CoralVite since the beginning of my set
up. I change about 1 gal of water per week, not always regularly. All
my chem tests seem to be online......always online since I started the
set up. <Without actual values I am severely hampered in helping
you.> This is the first time I have run into a serious problem. I
did have a Cyanobacteria problem at one time but cleared that up. I use
the coral supplements very limited as this can cause a Cyanobacteria
bloom. However getting back to what is happening now. I have changed 30
litres of water last night, and I am doing the same tonight. I hope
tomorrow will bring some results. I have a lot of money invested in
corals, the fish are fine. I run a Fluval filter, which I use Black
Diamond carbon. I also have a Fluval filter just for bacterial
correction. What should I do! <The water changes are a good idea. So
was testing the water, but without the results, I cannot advise you
further.> I hope this was enough info to give me some advise.
<Not really> Hope you will respond. I had a friend called
Tangster 1 on the salt water aquarium site, but he had been sick and
unable to respond. Please let me know, OK? Will really appreciate some
advise....I run VHO bulbs so lots of light........yours truly, Bev
Parker <I would be glad you help you if you respond. -Steven
Light Shocked Corals? Greeting and salutations <Hi there!
Scott F. with you today!> My problem is as follows setup: 300
Litres. Used to have 2 Actinic Fluorescents and 2 10000K White
fluorescents -Recently changed the 10000k's to 2 x 150 MH and kept
the Actinics . Power head driven protein skimmer which only does about
1 cup a week ??? Problem here ?? <Well, not a problem, per se- but
try to adjust it to pull out a couple of cups a week, if possible>
Fluval 404 Filter NO Calcium Reactor / doser My water parameters are
good although monitoring my Calcium is a problem. I use reef life
Calcium Supplements and Buffer tablets on a weekly basis. <Do try to
monitor calcium additions closely...The calcium/alkalinity dynamic can
get really out of whack if you don't test for these regularly>
My problem is that about 2 months ago I purchased a small cluster of
brown mushrooms and a tree coral . My tree coral was doing great all of
his small little feelers where coming out and grabbing the water for
food . Now 2 months later it hasn't opened up for about 2 weeks and
my mushroom coral is dying . I do 10 % water changes every week , my
lighting should be fine ...... Why is this happening to me ???????
Should I add iodine and all those other expensive supplements you find
in the pet shops ???? Werner Schoeman <Well, Werner- it sounds like
everything is in order here...However, it appears that the decline in
the corals occurred about the same time you upgraded the lights.
Mushroom corals, in particular, can be adversely affected by sudden
changes in lighting (both intensity and spectrum). Anthony has a great
article on this on the wetwebmedia.com site. Do check it out! I
don't think that you need lots of supplements....just maybe a
little patience, and some slight adjustments. Check all water
parameters for any aberrations. then I think you'll see those
corals come back! Good Luck! Regards, Scott F.> Werner Schoeman
Stressed coral - 2/12/03 Hi, <Cheers, bud> am curious
if Mr. Calfo has ever seen anything such as the acropora in the link
that I am sending. <Too often> I bought the lil bugger because I
was stunned by the color on the internet and have received it today. Is
this coral dyed? <Dude... if you thought it was suspicious or dyed,
why did you buy it before asking about it? Seriously... I don't
want to pick on you but it is a valid question. No surprise here... for
the sheer amount of e-mail we get like this, it breaks my heart to see
people that seem to forget these are live animals... not just
commodities. Research every animals before you buy it and be confident
that you understand its needs and can provide for them. Else you
support a bad aspect of the industry> I noticed polyps down around
the base of the Acro but don't see any on the branches yet but the
branches are the bright blue. <to answer your question specifically,
the coral is not dyed but it will likely be "died" soon. If
it survives, I can assure you it will be a different color. What you
are seeing is a coral that has been over-illuminated (likely by obscene
wattage halides over shallow water). In turn, it expelled most of its
zooxanthellae and the sweet colors you are seeing are simply UV
reflecting proteins. Since they cannot translocate carbon as the
zooxanthellae did to feed the coral, and since the aquarium does not
have a supply of nanoplankton, this coral will likely die within 6-10
months. It might hang on a little longer. To try top save it (in wait
for the return of zooxanthellae) you will need to have a source of
dissolved organics (even lingering nitrates in the tank may help).
European aquarists have promoted dosing of a nitrate solution (in
Daniel Knop's book and my BOCP1) or dosing with ammonium chloride.
In time with more appropriate lighting, the animal may return to a more
autotrophic existence. Sorry to be a buzzkill, dude... but it is what
it is> Polyps may be still hiding I guess but I have never seen this
color acropora before. Any clues as to being dyed or not? What type of
lighting should it be kept under and what type of water current? Please
fill me in. Thanks, Jeff <I can't say about lighting without
knowing the depth of your tank. No worries, check out the reef
invertebrate lighting article in our archives... there is rates lamps
and species groups and water depths. Best regards, Anthony>
Small Marine Aquariums
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Small Marine Aquariums
Book 2: Fishes
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Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner