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Write-Up Wednesday: Halloween Leptoseris

Combining a striking orange body and yellow-green eyes, the Halloween Lepto delights anyone who looks upon this SPS coral. Besides the unique color combination, the halloween Lepto also grows in an ridged encrusting pattern that makes it even more of an eye-catcher.

My frag of Halloween Lepto

Unlike other high-end SPS that are known to be delicate, the Halloween Lepto is an easy keeper requiring only moderate light and moderate to low flow. My frag of Halloween Lepto shown in the photo thrived under only four T5 bulbs at the bottom of a 21” deep tank. I’ve also found the coral to be very forgiving as it spent three days upside down after it got knocked off a rock. The coral has also recovered from multiple chemical attacks from neighboring corals.

Rounding out the reasons why the Halloween Lepto is a must-have coral is the fact that specimens are nearly all aquacultured. Extensive aqua culturing have driven down the price of the coral from over $100 USD a frag to under $50 USD. I love my Halloween Lepto and haven’t met anyone who doesn’t love their specimens as well.

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Mr. Saltwater Tank TV Friday AM Quick Tip: The pH Trap of Saltwater Tanks

One big mistake people make in the saltwater tank world is to chase numbers. And one number people chase the most is pH.

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Mr. Saltwater Tank TV Friday Am Quick Tip: Leaving? Add This To Your List

Headed out the door for a vacation or extended trip? This tip is one piece of advice I can give you before you go. (My complete advice can be found here)

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Terrible Advice Tuesdays (T.A.Tues): Coral + Bleaching = Dead

Terrible Advice Tuesdays (T.A.Tues): A coral that has turned white is dead and should be removed from your tank.

The rest of the story: First things first. A coral that has turned white (called bleaching) is not a good thing. The bleaching is a sign of stress and stressing your corals is bad.

And, just because a coral is white, that doesn’t mean you should immediately consider it dead. Corals can bleach out and sometimes recover. That being said, how do you know if the white coral is dead or not?

For soft and LPS corals the answer is easy: as long as there is still flesh or a single polyp alive, the coral isn’t dead. Take for example zoanthids. As long as there is still a polyp visible (even if it is closed up), the coral is still alive.

For LPS coral, if there is any flesh on the coral, the coral isn’t dead – at least not yet. A LPS coral that is losing flesh and exposing its white skeleton is not happy. It might dying off and it might just be damaged. I’ve seen LPS corals completely bleach out, yet still retain their flesh and recover to become beautiful corals once more. A great example is my aussie gold torch coral (see picture at the right) that bleached out completely and I was able to recover it back to its original golden yellow sheen as shown in the photo.

For SPS corals, if you can see any polyps on the coral, then the coral is at least still alive and may recover. A SPS coral that is white and doesn’t have any polyps is dead in my book.

When it doubt, leave the coral in your tank for a week. If the white part of a stony coral turns grey and algae takes over, consider the coral a goner. For soft corals, if all the flesh of the coral is gone, not surprise here…it is dead. Remember: white coral = not a happy coral, but not necessarily a dead one.

Mr. Saltwater Tank TV Friday AM Quick Tip: The Easiest Glass Cleaner For Your Tank

Even if you think the news is mostly negative these days, it can have positive effects on your saltwater tank

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Terrible Advice Tuesdays (T.A.Tues): Nuisance Algae Control Method Kills Corals?

Terrible Advice Tuesdays (T.A.Tues): 3 days of darkness will harm your corals

The rest of the story: 3 days of darkness is a method used to control nuisance algae. The idea behind it is simple: without light, algae dies. Also simple is how you perform 3 days of darkness: just turn your lights off for 3 days.

Once you turn the lights back on, you’ll be amazed to find that your corals are perfectly fine! Think about it: out on the reefs in the ocean is it a perfectly sunny day 365 days a year?

No. There are plenty of days when the sun doesn’t shine and sometimes doesn’t shine for days on end. Your corals can handle the 3 days of darkness no sweat. Of course if you have a coral that is dying then the 3 days of darkness might do it in and if it doesn’t survive 3 days of darkness, it probably wasn’t going to make it anyway.

And as a precaution I recommend you ramp up your photoperiod once you turn your lights back on. Probably not needed and it doesn’t hurt to be safe.

Finally, if you are relying solely on 3 days of darkness to fix your algae problem, here’s some bad news for you: the algae is going to come back sooner or later because you haven’t fixed the underlying issue on why you have an algae problem. 3 days of darkness can be part of the solution for fixing an algae outbreak, but it is not a lasting solution.

Profiling A Reef Junkie

Remodeling a house for a tank, drilling holes through walls…all normal behavior for a reef junkie. This behavior may seem odd to non-aquarists, but to reef junkies, they wouldn’t have it any other way. My friend Mike fits the reef junkie description perfectly and here’s how he lives the reef junkie life.

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Terrible Advice Tuesdays (T.A.Tues): The Easy Way To Get Rid of Mushroom Corals

Terrible Advice Tuesdays (T.A.Tues): Eradicating mushroom corals requires simply cutting the top of the coral off. With the top removed, the base will die.

The rest of the story: Whoever said that must have fantastic luck or be completely delusional.

The only way I’ve ever successfully eradicated mushroom corals from a tank is by cutting the top off, then completely covering the base with epoxy. If the smallest amount of the base is left uncovered, it will regrow a new top and the coral will start growing again. I’ll also add enough epoxy such that I cover an extra inch (1″) of the rock around the base of the coral to make sure it doesn’t somehow find light and start growing again.

Other mushroom eradication methods I’ve tried include supergluing over the base, which doesn’t work as the coral will slime. The slime makes the glue not stick and fall off. Kalk slurry bombs also are ineffective as the slurry won’t stay in place long enough to kill the coral. Injecting the coral with a kalk slurry takes skill and luck as the coral usually retracts quicker than you can inject the kalk slurry. Finally, while you can completely remove the rock the mushroom coral is on, but sometimes that rock is a central part of your aquascaping and can’t be removed.

Update: Several readers informed me they’ve had luck with the aiptasia/majano wand for mushroom removal.

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