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Old 09-30-2003, 10:12 PM   #1
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is my Montipora healthy

Hi, I've made my first venture into sps corals. I recently put a small Montipora digitata in my 20 long tank. The tank is about 14 inches deep and the coral is about in the middle under 2x55 watt PC lighting (1 10k and 1 actinic bulb) My question: How can I tell if this coral is healthy and happy. It still has its pink color after about 2 weeks except the tips are kinda white. I don't really see any polyps extending but I have heard that some Montipora have polyps so small they can't be seen. The water params seem fine pH=8.0-8.3, temp=81-84, alk=8dkh, Ca=410mg/l, 0 nitrates, 0 ammonia. Also, a thin film of algae keeps growing over the coral giving it a brownish appearance, a snail will clean it off and in a few days it grows back. I just don't want the first sps to die on me. I know my lights are kinda low for sps but in a couple of weeks I am upgrading to 175watt MH and 2x55 PC actinics but for now....help! Thanks
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Old 10-01-2003, 05:02 PM   #2
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How can I tell if this coral is healthy and happy.
As long as you see good polyp extension, notice at least a little growth each month, don't see "bleaching" (coral turning white) or RTn - rapid tissue necrosis - where the flesh literally peels off, or pulls away from the skeleton, you should be fine. Mostly you are looking for good polyp extension & coloration.

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the tips are kinda white
Keep an eye that this doesn't become extreme, but white *tips* (or tips that are a different color than that of the main skeleton) are common, and a sign of growth.

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I don't really see any polyps extending but I have heard that some Montipora have polyps so small they can't be seen.
Any chance you can post a pic of the coral? I've never seen a M. digitata that doesn't extend it's polyps.

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Also, a thin film of algae keeps growing over the coral giving it a brownish appearance, a snail will clean it off and in a few days it grows back.
This is of great concern, and will quickly kill the coral if not corrected. What type of water flow is in the tank? Sps require moderate to strong water flow, preferably not laminar (one-direction). They need good water flow/current to continually remove any slight algae from their polyps/tissue.

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but in a couple of weeks I am upgrading to 175watt MH and 2x55 PC actinics but for now....help!
A few weeks, even a few months under decent PC lighting shouldn't be an issue.

Good luck!
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Old 10-01-2003, 07:57 PM   #3
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here is the best pic I could get....
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Old 10-01-2003, 07:58 PM   #4
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This one is more of a close up I think...
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Old 10-01-2003, 08:03 PM   #5
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This one shows tank placement....I have a maxi jet 900 shooting from one back corner to the middle and a powersweep 224 (190gph) in the other corner. Maybe this coral just wasn't meant to be.
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Old 10-01-2003, 08:45 PM   #6
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Maybe this coral just wasn't meant to be.
Whoa .... don't give up on it! Actually, the placement is good, and it definitely has good color. I don't see the polyps either, but I certainly don't see any bleaching or RTN. Does that pic show the true color of the coral? Most Monti's I've seen lean more to the "orange" side of the color scale (unless they are brown, purple, or green). Almost looks more like a Porites to me....

Could very well just be a species variation I've never seen. 8)

Hopefully someone else will jump in here too.

Best of luck with it - it's a beautiful piece!!
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Old 10-01-2003, 09:01 PM   #7
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Is it possible that what I have could be a Distichopora...It never really occurred to me that I may not have gotten a Monti....I just saw a pic of the Distichopora species here http://www.justphish.com/saltwater/c...03/distich.jpg It looks alot like my "monti" I'm just trying to figure this out lol.[/url]
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Old 10-01-2003, 09:16 PM   #8
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Well ... your coral looks a lot like the coral in the pic you referenced, but I don't think that coral is a Distichopora. Distichoporas branch their fingers one on "plane". Hmmm....how do I make that make sense - like this picture:



It does have the coloration of a Hydrocoral though, one way to tell if it is, is by the appearance of very fine "hairs" rather than polyps.

Now I'll be searching through all my books for the rest of the night, LOL.

I'm still going to lean toward either a Montipora or a Porites, and I still think it's more likely a Monti than a Porites.

I'll keep looking!
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Old 10-01-2003, 10:24 PM   #9
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Looks like a Stylaster spp. (a close relation to Distichopora). Unfortunately, if its being covered in a film algae it is most likely already dead.
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Old 10-01-2003, 11:08 PM   #10
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It doesn't look like a monti to me.
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