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Rescuing Dying Corals: Acanthastrea Part I

Acanthastrea corals (usually called, “acans”) are one of the most popular corals in the hobby due to their amazing color, wide availability, and ease of care.  Lately, the online forums have been filled with colonies dying for various reasons, and I’ve noticed the same at local fish stores.  There doesn’t seem to be one major culprit, so this phenomenon is likely just due to the high volume in the hobby.  So, this post starts a series on Acanthastrea rescues since I’m the one who ends up with all the sick ones!

I received this coral in January 2012 as a freebie.  No one thought it stood a chance.  The tissue between the polyps was mostly gone, most polyps were gone, and the remaining tissue was rotting.  The whole coral stunk almost as bad as dying Xenia.  Although a few of the polyps looked okay from the outside, there was obviously no tissue inside the polyp.  I was stumped as to the cause.  My only real guess is that the coral was in water so bad it was just rotting away.

Acanthastrea, January 8, 2012

Acanthastrea, January 8, 2012

I didn’t have a band saw at the time, so I did the best fragging it with bone cutters as I could.  I’m pretty sure if I had had a band saw, this coral would’ve had more of a chance.  Since most of the tissue was bad, I cut the bad tissue off in between all the polyps.  I then superglued around each individual polyp to increase my chances of success.  I figured if they all still had dying tissue around them, then that would decrease water quality further, and increase the likelihood that each polyp would die.  I also had to superglue some of the tissue since most of it was no longer connected to the skeleton.  I dipped it in Coral Rx to see if any pests came off, but I didn’t notice any.

Acanthastrea, January 10, 2012

Acanthastrea, January 10, 2012

Most of the polyps I expected to die, did die.  Only the left side of the picture above survived.

Acanthastrea, February 6, 2012

Acanthastrea, February 6, 2012

The acan is now one of my most voracious eaters, and it keeps its tentacles out most of the time.

Acanthastrea, August 14, 2012

Acanthastrea, August 14, 2012

After ten months, the acan has started splitting and growing babies.  This will be one stunner of a coral!

Acanthastrea, October 7, 2012

Acanthastrea, October 7, 2012

Just as healthy as could be!  Don’t give up on any coral.  There’s always hope.

Acanthastrea, October 7, 2012

Acanthastrea, October 7, 2012

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