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Rescuing Dying Corals: Caulestrea

I was given this “Candy Cane” coral and was told it had “brown jelly disease”.  Although I’ve seen plenty of corals with “brown jelly”-like substances, I haven’t had the mass contagion and mortality that some reefkeepers claim.  I viewed this coral as a good challenge.  Without having a microscope, I knew I was taking a huge risk.  Note the damage and “brown jelly” on the four polyps on the left.

March 14, 2012

Of course, there was nothing I could do for the polyps on the right, so they were fragged off.  The other four polyps looked awful.  I dipped them in both Coral Rx and Lugols (separate dips) to check/treat for anything.  I also use a pipette to gently blow off all “brown jelly” I could, without damaging the rest of the coral.

The coral would not take any food for several weeks.  Instead, I resorted to just blowing off the “brown jelly” and maintaining water conditions.  Only recently did it fully recover.
May 20, 2012
I can’t say for sure that this was the typical “brown jelly disease,” but it was nasty to deal with.  It left the coral quite ill for some time.  I tried to keep the coral clean of algae and detritus buildup.  Once it started eating, the road to recovery was very quick.  I do recommend caution as many aquarists have experienced massive die-off in their aquariums from taking in corals like this.  Make sure to use activated carbon before trying a coral like this.
See other rescues here.

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