Rescuing Dying Corals: Acropora

Recently I took in several corals from a fellow reefkeeper knowing they were all rescues.  Included in the bulk were a few Acroporas.  Rescuing SPS corals has its own challenges, and in many cases, these sensitive corals may experience a more rapid death than their LPS counterparts.

All Acropora were brown, not extending polyps, and had white marks on them.  Not shockingly, they had red bugs and Acropora-eating flatworms (AEFW.)  I treated the AEFW and red bugs with a series of coral dips.  I also inadvertently subjected the tank to a reduced temperature, which quite possibly killed the red bugs.  (Interceptor is the normal protocol for treating red bugs, but there are also several other suitable treatments.)

Rescue Acropora on 22 May 2012

Rescue Acropora on 22 May 2012

Of course, Acroporas require stable salinity, alkalinity, magnesium, calcium, etc.  Given that I have over 50 rescues right now, my quarantine tank is not exactly a healthy aquarium.  I had to focus particularly hard to make sure the other dying corals did not adversely affect the SPS.  Water changes to remove excess nutrients are crucial.  Once the pests were gone, I maintained my alkalinity at 9 dKH, magnesium at 1350, and calcium at 450.  I also performed 20% weekly water changes.

Acropora on 7 July 2012

Acropora healed up on 7 July 2012

I don’t recommend Acropora rescues for beginners as they can have more severe pests than LPS corals, are sensitive to poor water conditions, and require careful monitoring of water chemicals.  However, they can heal quickly and add a beautiful touch to the aquarium.


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