Hey everyone, this is my first post to the forum and its going to be a long one.

I've recently experienced something some of you might find interesting and useful and I thought I'd share it with the board. Approx. 2 months ago I had a minor case of SPS bleaching/die off/RTN. The tissue necrosis was not that rapid, maybe 0.5 cm loss per day from the base up, with small scattered bleached patches here and there on infected corals. This was a primarily SPS tank that was doing very well, then one day I noticed my montipora had some white splotches.
Upon closer inspection, approx. 10 other SPS colonies were infected to varying degrees (all acros and montis). There were only two suspect factors I could think of... 1. A few days earlier I had thoroughly stirred the sand and also blew detritus off the rocks with a powerhead. I thought I might have inadvertantly sparked some sort of bacterial bloom 2. My rose anemone had been bothering a yellow sinularia for about 3-4 weeks, and the damage was getting progressively worse during those last few days.

I've lost two other successful/established SPS tanks to RTN over the last 5 yrs. and I had no intention of losing this one. It is like having a family member die in a way. Not quite, but those of you who have gone through it know what I mean.

I pulled the sinularia out of the tank and placed it in my new 75 gallon refugium which was still unplumbed and separate from the main system. I began running 50 mg/hr ozone as well as 5 cups of carbon and two polyfilters. I also performed a 50% water change the day after I noticed the die-off. These rapid "countermeasures" were successful. I avoided any sort of chemical dips or antibacterial treatments since these have failed me in the past.

By day 3-4 the die off had stopped and the corals began to visibly recover within 2 weeks. That was 2 months ago, and all the tissue has since regrown and the tank is doing very well.

Now here is where it gets interesting...Two nights ago I finally got around to plumbing the refugium to the main tank. I had kept that suspect sinularia in the refugium for about one week and then gave it to a friend, and I wondered if there might be any residual toxins in the leftover water. I took a chance and hooked everything up. Wouldn't you know it, today I examined my corals and the same montipora that was the first to become affected last time was bleaching again. What
is particularly fascinating is that the bleaching is in the exact same place as before and there are two weird white blotches identical to last time!

I know the drill, and just finished the exact same routine as before (water change, etc.). I am not too scared this time, and actually a bit relieved. I am fairly certain it is the sinularia to blame, and it puts my mind at ease knowing what the cause is (hopefully).

I thought this would help some of you. I know many others with these soft corals that have no problems, but in this case I think it was definitely to blame. Also, the toxins appear to stay in the water for a long time without breaking down, which is kinda scary. Those chemicals were in the refugium for two months and they apparently harmed the corals within
48 hours of reintroduction. Depending on how brave I feel, I might attempt to cause a third bleaching event sometime in the future through the introducton of damaged or unhealthy sinularia cuttings. I think it would be great to be able to say with certainty that this species can cause probelms in SPS tanks. I know there is already a lot of anecdotal evidence out
there, but a lot of this stuff is still up in the air.


Ed Mueller

"should have stayed for the sunset... if not for me..."


Advanced Reefer

Could you post a pic of that sinularia and pics of your acroporas that were affected.

If you don't have a pic of the sinularia, could you describe it or find a pic of one online.




Experienced Reefer
Hope this helps
I think I saw somewhere in the new book from Eric Borneman has this topic covered about some relation of sinularia and RTN, but I could be wrong. I used to have this pink sinularia in my 120gal tank and I lost one acropora with RTN which happens next to this coral. Since I saw that post I moved the sinularia to my 29gal soft coral tank. I also have the sinularia dura (cabbage coral ???) but so far it has not bother my SPS. HTH. Sean


This is the closest looking pic I could find, mine was pretty large (three main stalks - each about 8" in length with many "fingers").

I don't have any photos available of the acros, but there were about 8 different species plus the m. capricornis. In some acros the tissue actually died and began to recede up from the base. Others developed odd shaped bleached areas randomly over their skeleton. I will take some pics and upload them...


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