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FAQs about Pocilloporid Corals Health

Related Articles: Pocilloporids, SPS Corals,

Related FAQs: Pocilloporids 1, Pocilloporids 2, & FAQs on: Pocilloporid Identification, Pocilloporid Behavior, Pocilloporid Compatibility, Pocilloporid Selection, Pocilloporid Systems, Pocilloporid Feeding, Pocilloporid Reproduction/Propagation, & Stony/True Coral, Coral System Set-Up, Coral System Lighting, Stony Coral Identification, Stony Coral Selection, Coral Placement, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, Propagation, Growing Reef Corals, Stony Coral Behavior, SPS Identification, SPS Behavior, SPS Compatibility, SPS Selection, SPS Systems, SPS Feeding, SPS Disease, SPS Reproduction,

Bird's nest coral     5/23/14
Hello experts ! good afternoon...
<Howsit Kaustav?>
This is a mail asking for some advice which I am sure is very surprising for you ! I have got a birds nest coral frag ca 3 weeks ago as shown in the attached pic. It is sitting on the top half close to the surface of my 33 gallon tank. I have 2 x T5 (marine and actinic blue from Juwel) and a 24inch magenta/blue LED Stunner from Ecoxotic. The water parameters are not fully ideal but my LPSs and a lettuce SPS seem to do ok...
I can see the polyps of the bird's nest extend except on the top of the branches that faces the light. Not sure if I see some bleaching (the frag is cream coloured)
<Appears to be bleaching... stressed...>
but it appears very bright in the pic attached. The polyps seem to be coming out uniformly on all other sides. This location also has good water movement which is probably not direct on the coral.
Now is this somewhat normal behaviour and should I expect the frag to grow from the under and sides ?
<Mmm; not normal/healthy behavior; no>
Or should I put it at a lower level for overall polyp extension (given the choice I would rather not as I do not have a ledge that can take the plug)
? Thanks a ton for your help....br Kaustuv
<Well... could be simple allelopathy at play here; or ongoing effect of being handled/moved... A lack of Fe, Mg out of balance with Ca, alkalinity... Have you searched, read on WWM re Scleractinian, Po
cilloporid health, systems, feeding....? Bob Fenner>

Birds Nest Coral, env./hlth.      4/5/12
I've searched your wonderful web site, but have been unable to find the answer to this question. I have a 55 gal salt water aquarium that has been running approximately a year. It's stocked only with a variety of corals (soft, LPS, and a couple of SPS) and invertebrates. I run a refugium with a protein skimmer 24/7 and T5 lighting. The tank parameters have been nearly perfect. Temp 78, Sp gravity 1.026, calcium 400,

 kH 9-10, and phosphates, ammonia, nitrates all zero. My tank and live rock are covered with coralline algae and all species are thriving except a small birds nest coral.
The birds nest coral sits in the top third of the tank.
<I'd move it down lower>
 I believe I may have had it in too high of water flow when I purchased it 3 months ago. It soon started to develop coralline algae on a few of the tips and the base of the coral. I've moved the coral into an area of less water flow. The top half of the coral looks very healthy with many small new spikes beginning to grow and I can see the small polyps covering the surface.
However, the bottom half is thick coralline. Will this coralline algae continue to grow and smother the top half of the coral?
<Can't say>
Should I leave it alone or should I frag the top half off and start anew? The current base provides nice stability, so I don't want to break it apart unless its necessary. I appreciate your help on this question.
Thank you,
Joan Maten
<I'd just move the specimen lower... vertically... Bob Fenner>

Pink Birds Nest with some sort of algae growing on the tips 9/23/11
Hey Crew,
I have a pink birds nest coral that has been in my tank for 3 months and showing stunning color and extremely fast growth during that time. Three days ago I upgraded the powerhead that was operating in its vicinity to a magnum 6, almost tripling flow in that area. The powerhead is controlled by a wave maker, but the flow was pretty much directed at the birds nest.
<Mmm... I would re-direct this... this genus, these species of stony corals don't live in situations of such high water movement>
Yesterday, I noticed that the beautiful whitish/pinkish growth tips are turning brown and there seems to be some brownish flesh blowing in the current (only noticeable on close inspection). From the looks of it, it was diatoms or some similar algae. At first I thought it was dead polyps, but this doesn't appear to be the case. It only inflicted the tips, and mostly on the side of the coral that's facing the powerhead. I always thought more flow was better for sps corals,
<Mmm, no; not so w/ all families, species, colonies>
but could the increased intensity of flow somehow leave the coral vulnerable to algae?
<Yes indeed>
This seems counter-intuitive....
Levels are NO4 <3>=0 , PO4=0,
<... need some/detectable nitrate and soluble phosphate>
ALK=9 dKH, Calcium=440, magnesium=1400
No other corals are touching or even near the birdsnest (only a Stylophora frag and an Acro frag (ample spacing provided). No other area of the tank appears to be inflicted with similar-looking algae. It's kind of like a brown dusting on the tips, and it comes off with a soft bristle tooth brush, which I've used for two days now. I first noticed the algae the morning after adding the new powerhead. Seems like quite a coincidence considering it was stable up to that point.
Thanks in advance for your help, and sorry that I cannot provide a picture.
I will try to upload one later this afternoon if it's necessary.
Underneath the "algae" the coral appears to still be healthy. Good color, polyps look like they're extended, but it's hard to see the smaller ones near the tips.
<I wish you were out here w/ me in Fiji... Easy to show ecoclinal variation by water movement, light availability, siltation extent and more... Bob Fenner>

hermits eating Birdsnest 4/21/10
Hey there Crew!!!!!
What would all of a sudden make hermit crabs infest and devour a 6 inch by 5 inch Pink Birdsnest?
<Hunger, awareness, perhaps a "weakened" state sensed re the Seriatopora>
This Birdsnest has been in the same place for 2 years and was doing awesome until 3 days ago. All of a sudden dozens of hermit crabs started eating it. I took out all the hermits that were eating it, any other hermits I could see at the time and did an iodine dip on the coral and put it back in the tank. The next morning it was infested with 15 hermit crabs again. I know hermits are omnivorous and will sometimes eat corals.
<Oh yes>
This tank is 180 gallons, established for over 2 years. I test for 14 different parameters and they are all within acceptable range. The tank has probably 50 or more SPS corals in it and the crabs aren't bothering anything but this Birdsnest. What might the Birdsnest have acquired to all of a sudden make it a magnet for hermits?
<Mmm, can't tell for sure, but "something" changed re making it attractive as a food item>
No other corals or fish have been added to this tank in over 3 months.
I've done a microscopic analysis on the dip water to see if anything came off of the coral and didn't find anything that would point to the cause. There was very little detritus, no algae spores, no worms, parasites or eggs that I
could detect. I've done analysis on problem corals before and found detritus and algae to be a primary cause of what is generally referred to as RTN with a secondary cause the bugs that tend to populate in the detritus causing the loss of coral tissue. I've never seen RTN without finding one or more of the problems previously mentioned. I even did an RODI dip on a branch and didn't find a single thing in the RODI water under the microscope. I'm just perplexed. I've never seen herds of hermits all of a sudden attack and kill a particular coral like this. Any ideas on
what would cause them to do this? I'm attaching a picture of my poor Birdsnest. I moved it to another tank without any SPS in it until I can frag what I can of it and pray I can salvage a branch or two.
Any information you could give me would be appreciated so maybe I can prevent this from happening to any of my other corals. I will continue to remove all the hermits I find. You guys are awesome!!!!
Thank you,
Sandra P.
<Other than my usual warning/admonition re the use of "Hermits", I don't know what changed here. I salute your promptness, actions in effort to save this colony. Bob Fenner><<Mmm, might have been weakened by the GSP below it...>>

Pocillopora Question, not enough info - 10/8/2009
Hi Scott V/WWM Crew,
Hope you're well!!!
I have a question that's been bothering me for a while.
I've recently (2weeks ago) purchased what i believe to be a Pocillopora verrucosa coral. I would have attached a picture, but my photography skills are rubbish :-). Anyways, it was brownish before and now its pinkish with white tips. Are the white tips a sign of growth or trouble? There also seems to be some brown matter on the tips, producing bubbles? Is this an algal problem? I do have some brownish hair algae growing in areas of the tank. I do like this specimen (and the little coral crab living in it!) and would love to see it thrive.
All levels, PO4, NO3, Alk etc are normal/zero.
Your thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated!!!
<Hey Adriel! Unfortunately, judging simply by description might be questionable at best, or detrimental at worst. Please do provide us a picture or two to look over, as well as the actual numbers from your tank
testing. The brown matter on the tips producing bubbles does sound like an algal problem to me, but again this is quite hard to judge without an image to base upon. -JustinN>

Re: Pocillopora Question 10/9/09
Hi Justin N/ WWM Crew,
<Hello again!>
I've tried to get better pics as enclosed, but my camera isn't with me and these were taken on my mobile phone.
<Understandable, thank you for the pics.>
Apologize for the trouble. I'm not sure if they're clear enough for you to help.
<At a glance, it does appear that there may be some algal growth occurring on the specimen... Most SPS appreciate lively flow, perhaps there's just not quite enough circulation in the tank at this time? The pink coloration with white tips to me would more likely indicate a sign of growth than a problem of health -- mostly because the coloration has improved. I would attempt to remove as much of the algae as possible from this specimen, and look into increasing overall turnover rate within your tank. Good luck!

Re: Pocillopora Health -- 10/09/2009
Hi JustinN,
Just wanted to say Thanks!
<Glad to help!>
The coral is in the path of an EcoTech MP10, 10 inches away, thought that it would be enough, but I think I'd better get it a bit closer. This is my first time keeping SPS, thus a bit concerned.
Thanks a ton!!!
<The concerns are understood -- SPS keeping is a very different world from LPS and Corallimorph keeping.. The EcoTech MP10 is a quality product, but how big of a volume of water is it circulating? Might be beneficial to add some ancillary movement into the tank -- SPS very much appreciate the brisk
movement (though typically don't prefer the direct blasting constantly.)
See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/spscorals.htm
http://wetwebmedia.com/pocilloporidae.htm and http://wetwebmedia.com/pocilloporidae2.htm and the related links above.

Coral question 01/12/09 Hi, I hope you can tell me what is going on with this birdsnest frag I just got. <It looks to be bleaching and dying.> I know it is hard to see but there are 2 places where the coral appears to have a brown maybe dark green area. <Looks like algae.> One is on the bottom right tip that looks broken, the other is on the nearest middle left branch. On the second one it starts on the tip of a broken area but appears to go through the inside of the coral & through it to a small branch on the opposite side. I am not sure what it is but it seems to be traveling from some injury, parasite, or algae to the inside of the coral. I am wondering if I should throw it away? <Not yet... it's not completely dead yet.> Remove the area? Treat it? <I would just leave it alone for now. Check your water parameters, make sure all are what/where they should be.> I got several other frags at the same time but none of them show signs of this. <Frags of what? Acroporids are very sensitive corals... "Bird's Nest" especially.><<... this is a Pocilloporid. RMF>> Don't want them in the display tank until I get a handle on this. <Do check your parameters.> Thanks Tina <Best,
Sara M.>

Re: coral question... Frags... Seriatopora... 01/13/09 Sara M, thanks for the quick reply. I also got 2 very small Monti frags, 1 green thin branch birdsnest, <Yes, and let me say, I'm sorry how in my last email I called this an Acroporid... I was a little tired, I meant to say "Pocilloporid" (which are what Birdsnest corals are).> and 1 small blue Gomez. These all have good color, the green thin branch has had polyps out non stop even in the bag & the Gomez has opened at night. I got them last Tuesday. I acclimated them over a 5 hour period & placed them low in the tank as not to shock them. The one I wrote you about is supposed to be a "rainbow" birdsnest. It has been this same color since I first opened the box. My tank stats are: Ammo 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 2.5, <Hmm... do try to get your nitrates down to 0.> alk 2.8, ph 8.2, salinity 1.025, temp 78, calcium 420, phos 0. Tank is 90g with 250 W 14K metal halide light. 175 lbs live rock, 4" sand bed, Magnum 350 (for carbon), 4 Koralia pumps, & Aqua C remora protein skimmer. I was going to wait a full week (today) to move them 1" higher, but now wonder if maybe I should move the rainbow lower? <Possibly, or higher... this depends on what kind of lighting it was under when you bought it. Do you remember?> Also, except for the thin green birdsnest (it has green polyps on 1/2 of the ceramic plug, I am pretty sure all these were fragged very recently. I think I have just discovered why ORA frags are worth the price !!! Is there anything I can do to help this birdsnest recover? <For now, if all your other corals/frags are doing well, I would just be patient and wait for the coral to adapt. Sometimes frags just don't make it for whatever reason. Other times they suffer a lot after being fragged and moved, but recover eventually. You'll probably just have to wait and see what happens with this one.> Thanks again Tina <De nada, Sara M.>

Re: coral question, now NO3 01/13/09 Hi Sara M <Hola Tina> Sorry, one last question. Last summer I was having problems with nitrates. After a water change they would be at 10 & then creep up to 20 after about a week & then I would do a water change & they would go back to 10. I asked WetWebMedia for help with this & it turned out my canister filter was the cause, but in the reply I mentioned wanting sps corals & that I knew I couldn't get them until my nitrates were at 0, in the reply I was told that I was not supposed to try for 0 more like 5. <There very few concrete "rules" about these things. Truth is, you might be able to keep some SPS corals with nitrates at or below 5, but there might be others who just won't tolerate it. In either case, even if some of your SPS frags might tolerate the nitrates, they likely won't be as healthy as they would be with nitrates at 0.> In the display tank I have 2-4" clams & unless I have been reading your site wrong I thought they needed some nitrates for food, so I assumed when I was told to keep the nitrates closer to 5 that the sps would use some nitrates for food also. <The thing is that what you're measuring with your test kit is "excess" nitrates. The nitrates that the animals might be metabolizing won't stay in the water column and so won't show up in tests. So you want your measurable nitrates to be as close to 0 as possible since what you're measuring is not any and all nitrates, but excess nitrates. Does that make sense?> I have been using the display tank water for the hospital tank thinking the sps would use the nitrates. So if they don't like nitrates & the clams do need some nitrates, then am I wrong in thinking the sps will never mix with the clams, or is it just the birdsnest corals that won't tolerate the nitrates? <Please see above. Your tank will *always* have nitrates. What you don't want is excess nitrates.> Confused again! lol <I hope this helps.> thanks a bunch Tina <De nada, Sara M.>

Stylophora bleaching 1/2/08 Thank for all you guys do. Think how many aquatic lives you have saved! <Thank you> I am an experienced reef-keeper with numerous systems, at home and at the school where I teach. I am hoping you can shed light on the common occurrence of single SPS coral bleaching in a tank that has many other healthy inhabitants. In particular I am most puzzled by the bleaching of a six year-old Stylophora in a well established 140 gallon setup (including sump) that was recently moved vertically in the tank (T5 lighting). This coral survived a temperature perturbation (three years ago) that killed most other corals. The Stylophora was recently moved to an area in the tank at the same vertical height but with reduced flow. Is bleaching possibly influenced so dramatically by flow rate? <Could be an influence> The tank's water chemistry is "near perfect" and is one of the healthiest systems I manage. Should I move the coral? <If badly bleaching, yes, I would... If REALLY badly bleaching, I would frag, discard the dead parts> He really is a beauty and I would love to try and save the tissue that still has Zooxanthellae (about 10%). <Agreed> The only other change to the system is that I recently started feeding a frozen food called Emerald Entrée for my poor tangs and other herbivores that are hungry in a tank that has no visible algae at all. The frozen food is over six months old. <Mmm, if kept frozen, this food should be fine...> Thanks you for your time, Trevor <Do move this Stylophora... it may be that some other biological cause is at play here... that won't be replicated in the new setting. Oh, and do send along images in cases like this for evaluation of conditions, possible useful input (e.g. re allelopathy). Bob Fenner>

RTN Theorizing 12/24/08 Hi Crew, <Hello Jason. Minh at your service.> It's been a long time since I've had to write you with a problem. That's good! Unfortunately, one of my beautiful and large Birdsnest just underwent rapid tissue necrosis (RTN). It happened frighteningly fast; in less than a day the grapefruit-sized coral went from healthy to half dead! <I'm sorry to hear about your loss.> While my particular cause is unknown (I suspect encroaching mushroom corals, but unsure), I noticed something interesting. The death progressed along the branches of the coral, not simultaneously. In fact, it spread from base to tips (oldest to newest growth). I understand this is a common pattern. In an attempt to save as much as possible, I broke off branches that were still alive and discarded parts that were totally bleached. <Rapid Tissue Necrosis (also known as apoptosis) is a cellular reaction in corals initiated by various stresses such as bacterial infection, temperature, UV radiation, allelopathy, etc. In this particular case, the encroaching mushroom is a very capable culprit.> More interesting: the frags that had some dead tissue still on them proceeded to degrade in the same manner. Those that were comprised only of living tissue appear OK. <If the tissue on a fragment is undergoing apoptosis, it will continue to degrade until the fragment is dead. I would suggest for you to quarantine any remaining healthy fragments in a separate tank to isolate the cellular reaction. This would allow for the highest survival rate of your Seriatopora guttatus while reducing any risk of exposing other healthy SPS corals to this condition.> This is very puzzling. If this condition was caused by a biological or chemical agent attacking the coral flesh, one would expect that it would either be localized (killing a small area) or all over (killing patches at different places on the coral simultaneously). The fact that the progression moves very predictably along the branches implies, at least to me, that it is innate behavior of the organism, not the result of attack. Perhaps it is an evolved survival mechanism; a last-ditch effort to abandon the skeleton and grow anew somewhere else on the reef more amenable to the coral's health. In our tanks, of course, that would not happen thanks to lots of factors, but possibly on the reef? This may explain why the frags without dead patches survive: the signal to eject never reaches them, so they persist. Do you know of any research in this regard? Thoughts? <Although I have seen broadcast reproduction occur in a similar manner, and some rare instances in captivity, the behavior of tissue necrosis appearing in a predictable band pattern indicates a classic case of apoptosis. This cellular reaction could be triggered by allelopathic attack from a neighboring soft coral. Further reading on this subject is available in an excellent article by Eric Borneman, "The Coral Health and Disease Consortium: New Information on Coral Disease." Link: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-03/eb/index.php.> Thanks! Happy Holidays! Jason <Likewise to you and yours. Cheers, Minh.>

Bleached Birdsnest 7/18/08 Hey crew, hope you are all doing well on this fine Thursday. I have recently received a small frag of Birdsnest Coral. This is my first attempt at keeping sps and all the research I have done so far about keeping this type of coral, leads me to test in my tank. The frag I received was pretty bleached. I don't really know what bad looks like compared to really bad, but green polyps come out of the frag. <Green? Likely not so healthy... with opportunistic algae growing on these parts> It still seems like its alive, is it? <Can't tell from here...> The frag is about 1 and 1/2" tall and has a few little branches off of it. The whole exoskeleton is white, until you look close and see the green. The tank it came out of was a custom 24"x24"x24" with heavy duty MH lighting. I am currently running T5 HO in a 60 (30"x18"x24"). Does this little guy have a chance in my tank to live or get color back and grow? All my perimeters are to spec. Thanks for your help. Spencer Hall <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/poritidhlthfaqs.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Reef question hi I have a birds nest hard coral and it is white at the roots << Is it white where it is attached to the rocks, or the entire underside of the coral? >> I'm wondering if it multiplying or dying and how can I help it.<< I wouldn't think that it would go white and expose the skeleton when it is multiplying, so I'll say it isn't happy. >> and also I have a toad stool it is doing great but I have a problem with it is slumped over how can help it is happy though please send back thank you for your help << How much, and what type of lighting do you have. Birds nest in general are very high light corals and should be treated like other stony corals. >> << Adam Blundell >>

Pocillopora Problem? Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I bought a frag identified as Pocillopora damicornis from ETropicals about 2 months ago. It was advertised as a green Pocillopora, but when I received it, it was a pale brown color. <Not uncommon when newly received...> I placed the coral approximately 5-6 inches from the water surface, and the tank receives light from 2x 96 watt compact fluorescents (1x 10000K and 1x ultra-actinic). The coral has its polyps extended for the majority of the photoperiod (about 12 hours a day), and sometimes keeps its polyps extended well after the lights go off. <Good!> I was initially worried about this coral, since I would see my Peppermint shrimps seemingly grazing on this particular coral. It almost looked like it was trying to pick at the polyps. I have 4 (approx. 1 inch) Peppermint shrimps in my tank. I read on your site that they may pick at corals, but usually not to harm them (they're rather doing their job and cleaning stuff off of the corals). <I'd get nervous seeing them around my Pocillopora, too. They usually are harmless, but anything is possible, you know?> I make sure that I put in some supplementary food that they are able to eat, and they have been doing it much less. <Excellent. I wish I could have said the same for my Sailfin Blenny, which constantly snacked on my Pocillopora, until I relocated him!> Since being placed in the tank (with moderate indirect, turbulent current, and full exposure to the current light setup), the coral has slowly changed color from the light brown to a fluorescent green. <Awesome!> I figure this was a good sign, since it appears more now of what it was initially described. However, I just noticed today that there is a small patch (about 1 mm x 1mm)on of the branches of the coral that seem to have lost tissue. It is not completely white, and still has some brownish hue to it. The polyps in that small area is either retracted or no longer there. I'm worried that this could be the start of something bad. Water parameters are: S.G. of 1.023-1.024, Ammonia and nitrite is 0 and nitrate is 5-10 ppm. Calcium is 360-400, and pH varies from 8.3-8.6. The aquarium has a 3 inch live sand bed, and the aquarium is a 55 gallon bowfront with 30 lbs of live rock. The system is about a year and a half old. I have been having problems with my lighting recently, with the PC bulbs visibly (honestly) losing intensity in about 2 months time. Could the coral tissue be receding because of inadequate lighting intensity? <I suppose it's possible, but I doubt it, in this case. sounds to me more like a localized response to some sort of trauma (maybe munching?). Keep a close eye on this colony. Not to overly freak you out, but these corals can decline quickly if they suffer significant tissue damage. It may not be a bad idea to "frag" some of the coral if it begins to decline, in the hope of salvaging some of the colony..> I also recognize that this could be a bacterial infection (since I did not dip this coral prior to placing it in the tank...I know...bad form). <Well, you've learned!> I will be upgrading the lighting to 4 x 96 watt PCs in about a week coincidentally, since I plan on keeping SPS's in the future. Sorry that this is exhaustingly long-winded. Your advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!!! Fil <Well, Fil, at this point, I'd just keep observing the colony carefully, and if the entire colony starts to decline, do consider salvaging what you can. On a happier note- I can say that I have witnessed this phenomenon in my own specimen, and it has always rebounded just fine! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Sick Stylophora 1/7/04 Hello, I've had my 29 gallon running for about 5 months now. It was an upgrade from a 20 gal. and I've added a lot of different corals lately. <hmmm... easy on the "a lot"... this is a tiny tank for corals, unless you plan to frag several times monthly. Even a few corals will outgrow this tank in 1-3 years> I don't know much about what goes good together or where they go, but I've been able to use your site and Bornemann's book as reference for all my inquiries. I recently bought a Stylophora which I got a deal on since it wasn't looking very healthy. <please read and understand why it is critical to quarantine all new livestock... particularly ones that look sick. Else you will infect your tank most likely in time with something unsavory> Almost a day or two after it was placed in the tank I noticed around the base of the living tissue that something had eaten away the material which was previously there. <for starters, this coral needs very strong turbulent (not linear as from a power head stream) water flow. 20-30X tank turnover minimum> I remember there being more of this algal stuff where there is now a white band. I didn't think much of it. A day or two later, I noticed it had increased very slightly. I read up in the Borneman book about what is known as White Band Disease. I'm afraid that maybe that is what I have. <not likely... this coral just looks starved to death over time> For a remedy, it suggested to try using Lugol's dip or propagate a healthy chunk off of it. <the coral is too pale... looks starved. I'd leave it be and focus on water flow, light and feeding.> Are you familiar with this disease? <yes, somewhat> Do you think this is what I have? <cant say from pic quality... but again, its unlikely> What recommendations or questions do you have? <do read the articles here at wetwebmedia.com on QT and check out Steve Pros recent article on the same at reefkeeping.com> Sincerely, Brant

P. damicornis problems 4/24/08 Hi guys, Your website has helped me with my own tank a countless number of times but today I come to you with a question from on the job. We currently have been having problems with a Pocillopora damicornis culture. The tank has had lots of what looks like hair algae but a little washed out for quite some time now. All nutrient (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and phosphorus) levels are negligent <Negligible I think you mean> (probably since the algae are sucking up anything extra). <Yes... often a/the case> This has made maintenance a pain but really hasn't caused any major problems. About 10 days ago, however, we had a few colonies (maybe about 5) quickly decline in the southeast corner of the tank and just a few days ago in the northwest corner (so complete opposite ends). The only reason I can think that it may be localized in these two corners is because of more stagnant water conditions. <And perhaps less useful light... do you have a PAR meter?> I believe it may be brown jelly, would this infect P. damicornis? <Mmm, could.> It starts at the base and can take over half of a colony in a matter of hours. The tissue kind of goes up and then sloughs off leaving just a skeleton behind. <I would remove to elsewhere, any colonies showing such. Immediately> I wish I would have taken pictures of this to show you and I will if it continues. If this is indeed what it is, I know you have said to add Lugol's solution or another source of iodine to the tank, but what I cant find is how much. <Is a given concentration, not how much per se... You need an iodine/ide test kit> Also, my boss would like to know ways in which it can be introduced ( I have several theories but she would like an unbiased opinion before I tell you more details of our culture methods, my thoughts on the situation, ect'¦). <No such word... is etc... a contraction/shortening of et cetera res... Latin for "and other things"> A few other details: after the first occurrence, I added activated carbon to the inline filter (something I believe should be there all the time) but it is a very small amount for the tank size (a couple cups for a main tank and sump total volume of about 250 gallons). It was about 5 days or so (its all logged so I can be exact down to the hour if need be) between outbreaks. Also, when taking out the first few, tissue got blown around the tank and touched other coral colonies which up to this point have been unaffected. As always, thanks for any ideas/advise, Carl <Have you seen the small, near the same color Nudibranch that causes trouble with Montiporas? I encourage you, your boss to contact Morgan Lidster of Inland Aquatics here. In Terre Haute, Indiana. Bob Fenner>

Re: P. damicornis problems 5/1/08 Hi Bob and crew, Thank you for your timely response, and I apologize for this one being so delayed. Soon after I sent the past e-mail, I realized that this was just a case of RTN. Any colony showing signs was removed immediately. The most probable cause was extra stress. I cringe to say that it was most likely due to the addition of several new invertebrates (sponges, gorgonians, anemones, crabs, and snails) that were not quarantined. <Erk!> I personally did not feel that any of these should have gone into a culture tank, perhaps with the exception of the snails and crabs, and certainly not before they were quarantined. <We agree> I thought this was very poor practice for a research facility. I spoke up about adding sponges that could potentially release toxins and anemones that could substantially increase the nutrient load, but my voice was not heard (I am unfortunately very low on the totem pole). <The curse of a government or other large bureaucratic job...> They were added for filtration (personally I think they are putting more in than they are taking out), and will not be used for any experimentation. RTN started 9 days after all the invertebrates were introduced. I have to ask, do gorgonians tend to release any more allelochemicals than SPS corals would? <Oh yes... some species can to a huge degree> The good news is that there have been no more fatalities although I would not say we are in the clear yet. Thanks for all the advice! Carl <Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

Pocillipora struggle 12/19/07 Hi crew, I have a 75g reef tank. My most recent addition is a Pocillopora frag. When I got it from the store, it looked great. The polyps all had really good extension, and it was nice and fuzzy. In about a week it had turned to this. The polyps come out more when the lights go off for the night, but not nearly as much as they did at the LFS. http://s160.photobucket.com/albums/t171/NirvanaFan01234/12-18-07/?action=view&current=DSC00032.jpg <Okay> It was under metal halide lighting at the LFS. I have 440 watts of VHO lighting. I was told this would be enough lighting. The frag is currently about 6" from the surface of the water. All of my other corals are doing very well. The Pocillopora is the only one that is showing signs of any distress. Do you have any idea on what could be wrong? Is there any hope to save it. <How long have you had this frag?> My current stats are: Specific gravity - 1.025 ammonia, nitrite, nitrate - 0 magnesium - 1200ppm calcium - 400ppm alkalinity 8dkh <These are all fine> My test kits are getting old, so I think I am going to have the LFS test them to double check them. I have tried moving the frag up, down, into low flow, into medium flow, and even into high flow. Nothing seems to be working. Thank You in advance, Joe <May just be adjusting... There is much, likely TOO much to refer you to indirectly on WWM re Scleractinian health... but perhaps perusing the FAQs files on the families will awaken something to your consciousness... Otherwise... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Dying Green Birds Nest Coral... poisoned 11/4/07 Hello, I'm getting a little desperate on my new aquarium. I have a 50 gallon tank that's been setup for about 3 months now I rushed the process by buying about 10 pounds of live sand from a well established refugium at a fish store near my house and filled the tank about half way up with coralline algae covered live rock (figured I'd take a few short cuts so I could stock it sooner) I had a recent outbreak of Ick that I couldn't get under control with fresh water dipping <This is not a sure cure...> and the fish store down the street from me sold me a small blue bottle of ich cure made by Aquatrol, Inc. I was told this was completely reef safe <... no> which was very important to me since I have started collecting coral frags I currently have a very small Zoanthid colony a single Ricordea some star polyps and a green birds nest coral (this one is my favorite it's about the size of a quarter) my tank currently has 2 circulation pumps and a hang off the back protein skimmer I add PurpleUp daily <Not a fan...> with top offs of Kalkwasser I've started adding Seachem Reef Iodide to try to save my birds nest but to no avail. After adding the ich cure to my tank every 24 hours for 3 days I had one Astrea snail die and my birds nest turned completely white I thought it was completely gone but a few days later the polyps re-opened as green as ever unfortunately about half of them are now gone and only the top branches are still showing signs of feeding. Water Parameters: PH 8.3 Ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 10 KH 9 Calcium 450 salinity 1.023. Is there anyway I can save my favorite coral? my only fish include a fat green mandarin and a 3" copper band butterfly My lighting is the T5 HO Nova Extreme 36" with the 2 10k's and the 2 460nm actinic's with 3 moon white lunar lights (should I keep these on 24/7 <No...> I was told to but it seems odd) any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank You, James <Sorry to state James, but you've poisoned the system... and are continuing to do so with the "Purple Up"... I would "punt" and add a pad of PolyFilter... to remove most excess, cut the use of the coralline booster... and hope. Bob Fenner>

Pink Bird's nest coral hlth. 4/11/07 Hi, <Hello there> I have a question about my pink bird's nest coral. I purchased it around mid-January and was told to keep it in the bottom 1/3 of my 50gal reef (250W 10,000K HQI metal halide + two 96W actinic PCs). <Is/was this similar to what this colony had been exposed to?> I noticed some tissue recession on the bottom of the coral where it was shaded and moved it up to a spot about 2/3 up the aquarium, with fairly intense light. My thinking was that it wasn't getting enough light near the base. It shows new growth at the tips of the coral, <What they do> however I've recently noticed that the tissue still appears to be receding near the base of the coral. The decay stopped in some spots that were more visible. I'm wondering if this is a slowly progressing necrosis. I've attached a picture that shows the original boundaries of decay with white arrows and the new edges with black arrows. I've heard of fragging some stony corals above the sites of tissue necrosis in order to save them. That's not really something I want to do to this piece though. Is there something I should do to treat the coral? Thank you, Edmund <Mmm... not much is my response... Does appear to be mostly healthy... Do you feed this? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/corlfdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above... There may be other factors not mentioned here at play (e.g. allelopathy, avitaminosis... an imbalance of biomineral/s...). Bob Fenner>

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