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Old 08-11-2011, 04:18 PM   #1
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Sick Purple Whip Gorgonian Coral

Hello everyone!

Before I state my coral issue, I need to let everyone know that I am an assistant trying to help my boss with his coral issue. I'm sorry I do not have all of the specifications but I will do my best to make this as clear as possible. Thank you all so much for your help.

Recently my boss bought a Purple Whip Gorgonian. He thinks he might be having problems with it. He sent me an email and picture stating the following:

"
I just bought a purple Gorgonian from the aquarium store. I think I may be having problems with it, because in the store it was all purple, and at home it is all covered by white fuzz. If I reach in and touch the Gorgonian, the fuzz retracts, but this it comes back out again. I texted the aquarium guys, and they said this meant it was dying? "

I understand that the "fuzz" he's referring to are probably the polyps...

So my questions to all you enthusiasts and experts is :

How do I know if this gorgonian is covered in algae? What would be the signs?
And is there a time of day or night when the polyps would be retracted?
Does this Gorgonian look sick to anyone??

To me, i think his Gorgonian looks quite healthy upon my internet research findings but of course, I don't know anything about aquariums’.

Thank you for all of your help.
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:09 PM   #2
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I belive you are correct. The "white fuzz" he describes are the polyps and they are reacting to contact with a foreign object / organism by retracting at his touch to protect themselves. If he had algae growing on it, the type you'd most likely see is cyanobacteria (cyano for short) white is typically a thick dark green to dark red slime. You'd probably see that on the rockwork before being on a coral.

I bet your boss bought the coral while it was closed up and not yet established in the aquarium store, and thought that was how it was supposed to look. Now it's actually happy and established, but looks completely different because of the polyps being extended to feed. I'm pretty sure that gorgonians are obligate filter feeders who rely on the current to bring them suspended food (e.g. micro plankton).
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:22 PM   #3
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That sounds like good advice, could I also suggest that your boss observe the behavioural changes in the coral when the lights are turned on or off. In my experience sick corals will not open and close as they normally would when under lights. Difficult I know as he didn't know much about them but most people could see a difference if you pay close attention.
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