By Bob Goemans
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Bob Goemans corresponds with Jan Wilson-Chalon (North Wales U.K)

Jan Wilson-Chalon (North Wales U.K) writes...

Hi Bob,

I hope you can help me, as I have attached a photo of the Coral. Its Catalaphyllia jardinei, which separated itself from its skeleton yesterday, and the flesh has gone into a more shaded area of the tank. Will this survive or do I remove it from the tank, to avoid my tank becoming contaminated.

The shop I have dealt with for years has closed and I am struggling to find an outlet that knows what they are talking about. I've had 3 occasions of poor service in the remaining shops. I rang one of them to see if they had a Sea Hare, - yes they said, so I went on a 35 mile round trip to find it was a Sea Cucumber. I asked in another shop for a male Mandarin, they thought the one they had was, it was not when they looked it up in a book to find I was right! My 3rd experience was of a shop that had some corals newly arrived and they were looking up the pictures in a book and completely guessing at what they were. So you can see I need good advice from someone who knows their stuff. Please, can you help?

Kind Regards

Jan Wilson-Chalon

North Wales U.K

Bob replies...

Dear Jan,

Thanks for your letter, and am saddened to hear about the local shop problems in your area. But when finding a good shop, continue to give them your business. And if needing, chat with their management as to what improvements you think might make them even a better shop. They need to know, and if they want your or other hobbyist business, they will heed your suggestions if reasonable and feasible. If not, their business will fail, sooner or later.

As for the problem with the Elegance Coral, they have certain environmental conditions that if not met, the large polyp will 'leave' the skeleton in hopes of finding a better location. It's almost like an anemone that continues to move until it finds a location where water movement and light suits it. Generally, since these corals come from turbid conditions in the wild, they prefer low to moderate light (about 3 watts/gal) and gentle water movement, which would be just enough to cause its large polyp to sway gently in the current. And since they come from somewhat muddy areas, it does not mean it will do well in aquaria that have poor water quality. In fact, if any of these conditions, i.e., light, water movement, or water quality, are different from its surroundings where collected, the polyp may withdraw from the skeleton and try to find a more suitable location.

Therefore, one or more of these reasons has caused your specimen to seek a new home! Those can be rectified, but won't put the polyp back on the skeleton. And since the polyp is sensitive to abrasions, allowing it to touch rocks or sand/gravel is detrimental to its health. Suggest placing the loose polyp in a plastic basket where gentle currents can flow through its open mesh/woven sides and where lit from preferably fluorescents in the range noted above. To help it re-grow/calcify again (new skeleton), which can happen if cared for properly, occasional (once per week if accepted) direct feeding is also recommended with vitamin enriched zooplankton foods.

Again, the reasons for separation are one or more of the above reasons. Those you can correct as needed. But, the chances of successfully regenerating its skeleton and saving the animal in its present condition are slim. Nevertheless, possible, just keep it from becoming irritated by poor environmental conditions or fish picking on it, and try the direct feeding.

Hope this helps,


Jan Wilson-Chalon (North Wales U.K) writes...

Hi Bob,

Many thanks for your prompt reply.

I will pop this coral into a protected environment. I did try moving it

into the light but it moved back to a shaded position, and have since left

it alone as I don't want to aggravate it. This coral has lived in the same spot since purchase about a year ago, and wonder if it has been disturbed by any thing in the tank. The tank is a 100 of your gallons, masses of rock and only the following other than corals are residing in it (apart from any hitchhikers).

2 Mandarins

1 flashing wrasse

2 possum wrasse

1 blenny

1 chromis

2 cave goby

3 cardinal

1 sea cucumber

1 abalone

Hermits and snails

I have not added anything new for some time, but I did loose a boxfish, the body I have never recovered, a few days prior to this incident. I have turned the skimmer on 24/7 since and carried out a water change and added activated carbon for 3 days. I normally only skim for a few hours early each morning. Someone said iodine may be a problem. In your experience will this be a factor?

I'm continuing to try and find a good outlet, as I don't mind traveling, after all my tanks (I have 3) are important to me and I don't want to sacrifice all my hard work for poor advice.

Many Thanks


Bob replies...

Hi Jan,

Thanks for the follow-up, and the boxfish could be part or the entire problem. Depending upon species, they have a toxic mucus that when aggravated/dying, can detrimentally affect the health of other fish in the aquarium (sometimes killing all other fish in the system). Depending upon species and its size, care must be taken when choosing these animals and the care they are given. Furthermore, if missing in the aquarium, every effort should be made to find it. Leaving it dying/dead in the aquarium is not the way to go even if it's necessary to disassemble some of the rockwork. Nevertheless, their toxin usually does not affect inverts, but there are too many unknowns here to say it did not.

As to your use of skimming and activated carbon (GAC), I would suggest always using skimming around the clock, or at a minimum throughout the night, as that is when carbon dioxide is at its highest level. And as for GAC, small amounts left in the system, preferably in a canister filter, for about six weeks is how I use it.

When it comes to iodine, very accurate hobbyist test kits not readily available, so there is a lot of guesswork when measuring this important element. And yes, overdosing may also be a factor with this coral. Even though a few different brand test kits exist I don't recommend hanging my hat on their results. Consider them a guideline. And when testing for iodine it is important to know whether the test result is total iodine (iodide + iodate), or that of only iodide. When the aquarium's iodide level reaches 0.04 ppm, no further iodide should be added until it falls below this level. If the test kit being used reads total iodine, do not add further iodide treatments until the level falls below 0.5 ppm.

And no matter what brand is being used, suggest cutting the recommended dosage in half and dividing that amount into equal amounts and applying them three times during the recommended dosage period, e.g., if 12 drops was recommended every week, would use only 6 drops and apply 2 every other day. As with anything that will be put into our aquariums, questions should first be asked as to how it would interact with what's already in the aquarium. In fact it would help to at least know the general makeup of the product before using it. If you want much more on iodine, let me know.

Hope this helps,



Coral Separation

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