Mr. Saltwater Tank TV Friday AM Quick Tip: Give This Coral A Cleansing Flow


Leather corals expand and contract drastically over the course of a day. While they are contracted, they appreciate a little cleaning courtesy of your powerheads.

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Comments for this article (23)

  • Jim says:

    see this is why I like Mark
    You learn new this all the time
    the stuff LFS don’t tell you

  • Bryan Scardina says:

    Hey Mark,
    I have a large yellow fiji leather (about 16″ in diameter) that always looks happy with the exception on when I had a coral beauty that was nipping at it until recently. A few days ago all of the polyps were closed and it was drawn in. It stayed that way for 2 days. Now it looks fine. Would it be unusual for it to take 2 days for it to shed its old skin?

  • Bryan Scardina says:

    Sorry. I got rid of the coral beauty a long time ago. The coral was drawn in a few days ago for 2 days.

  • Greg says:

    Now that is a great tip! Glad to know that expanding and contracting is normal because I started to panic a little when I would see them closed…thinking that something was going on. Mark, Do other corals do this as well, such as mushrooms? Sometimes, I find my mushroom closed up into a ball and I’m wondering why.

  • Paul says:

    I think Mark should set up a live cam on his tank so we all can look in from time to time!!

  • Matt says:

    Not so sure about that… I heard he cleans his tank au natural !!

  • Don’t tell everyone Matt!

  • Harlan Mondrow says:

    AuNatural?
    That means he only uses RODI right?????

  • Matt says:

    HA! Absolutely Harlan … only the finest 😀

  • Harlan…that’s right. I highly recommend everyone try it at least once!

  • Tom says:

    that’s great advice Mark but what can I do for my flowerpot? Looked great for more than a month but now doesn’t even open up?!?!

  • tara says:

    Is that for finger leathers too?(This might be a dumb question)

  • Alexander t says:

    Thanks Mark, after 15 years in reefkeeping i’m new to leathers and this is the reason im not seeing the PE i want! moving them in the morning.

  • Greg says:

    I have a question for fans of red mushrooms. I have a rock that I picked up at a LFS that had 5 red mushrooms attached; 2 were big and 3 were small. Well, 2 weeks have gone by and the 3 small ones separated from the rock and now it appears one of the big ones is separating. I cannot figure out what the problem is? Rock sits on bottom of tank in sand. I check all my parameters and here they are:

    10 Gallon with 20% water change every weekend (too much?)
    1 HOB run w/Marineland Charcoal
    1 Koralia Powerhead
    EVO Quad Clip 3W Timer Ready LED Aquarium Light Nano Marine Coral Reef
    20x 3W

    Temp 79*
    Ammonia- 0
    Nitrates- 0
    PH – 8.0
    Salinity 1.025
    Alkalinity – 4
    Phosphates – 0
    Magnesium – 1380
    Calcium – 440

    Any suggestions? I’ve tried the put them in a cup with gravel thing to try to get them to reattach, but to no avail. they will not attach. What can I do?

  • Pierre Bouic says:

    Hi Greg well I’m a borderline reef junkie and even though its not my job to do so I can answer some of your questions. first 10 gallon is near to Nano tank size so 20% is too much, Nano’s are very easy to upset with 20%, so try 5% as it won’t give big parameter swings for corals, next Magnesium should not be more than 1288, your Alkalinity is low at 4 (sea water is 7-10 dKH) but reef tanks need a little more 9-12 dKH in reserve. At 4 its strange as weekly 20% water changes should have your reading higher. If you are adding any of your dosing chems together it can lower your Alkalinity. If you use dosing pumps it won’t but manually adding things together or soon after each other can change parameters. Eg. excess magnesium will deplete carbonate hardness especially if added together, excess strontium depletes carbonate alkalinity and so on. Add all chemicals on alternative days and in your case with no sump a little at a time. If these levels are true it could be the cause of your mushrooms detaching as they want out of there. Test kits are also to blame for high or improper readings so check your methods are good, or not past the dates of use. 2 days since mark put this one out so he mite not always answer your question. Re-attaching mushrooms won’t happen with water movement or on gravel, you need small rocks in a container. I’ve used a floating fish breeding trap secured with a big magnet glass cleaner( careful if your tanks acrylic not to scratch) so its in your main tank & it has slits in the side to let small flow happen & is under your lights.

  • Greg says:

    Thanks for the response Pierre, but you freaked me out at first…No offense what so even, but I would like to have another person confirm what you said, because everyone has different parameters in which they work and I have never seen the parameter numbers that you suggested…Ok, can someone please tell me, in dummy terms lol, how to calculate alkalinity, because something does not seem right. For instance, I just checked my alkalinity now and it took 7 drops to change the color of my test. What do I multiply/divide/etc., etc.?

  • Bryan Scardina says:

    Greg, I have a dose pump which helps me keep my alk at around 9 dKH. Magnesium should be between 1200 and 1400. Can’t tell you how to calculate your alk without knowing what test kit you use. I use salifert test kits which produces more precise readings than some other test kits. I also recommend going with smaller water changes. I do 10% weekly myself. I do agree with Pierre, your alk shouldn’t be that low if you are doing 20% wc weekly. What salt do you use? You might consider changing salt. There are plenty of good salts out there. You just have to find one that works for you.

  • Greg says:

    Hey Brian, I use the Seachem PH and Alk test and Coralife Marine Salt. I believe I may be testing my Alk wrong. I think there is more to it….the test tells me to add up the drops (each drop measures .5meq/L) until you reach a change of color, I got 7 drops, and divide by 2. This is 3.5…I think I am missing a step (chemistry was never my strong suit, lol). I will begin lowering my water changes right away though.

  • Bryan Scardina says:

    meq/L is different that dKH which is what I use. According to my test kit 9.3 dKH is equal to 3.30 meq/L. That being said your alk is probably good. The suggested range for meq/L is 2.86-4.29. As far as the mushroom go my guess is that they do not like something. You may try changing the water flow. I know mine don’t fully extend when there is too much flow. I have mushrooms all over my tank. They will detach and reattach somewhere else in the tank. My first guess would be to move the mushroom rock to another location in the tank. Do you have other corals that are not doing well?

  • Greg says:

    All my other coral are doing great. I have 2 leathers, a branching hammer, kenya tree, a few different zoas, a hairy mushroom (Rhodactis), yellow polyps, and a plated montipora, which all are fully extended or open on a regular basis.

    The 1 exception is my candy cane…it used to expand its tentacles at night, but ever since it got covered with algae (had a problem recently with hair algae, which has since been fixed), it hasn’t extended and does not look great, but I’m working on him for recovery

    As for my Alkalinity according to the suggested range, my meq/L is 3.5

    I’m gonna try moving the mushrooms again. I’ve been trying to keep them under a little shade now and lower flow to see how that works…they may be just pissed because I have been moving them a lot

  • Kevin says:

    Good morning, I use my I-phone to watch your stuff, when you open up your web site on the web and your box that wants your information floats around where you can’t close it and watch the video. Have you thoughts of making your information mobile friendly?

  • Greg says:

    By the way, Brian, you were right…I figured out, by a conversion chart, that my alkalinity is actually around 9.5, that 4 is the meq, not the total alk

  • Bryan Scardina says:

    Yea, your alk is good. Try moving the mushrooms lower in your tank where they will get less water flow. I’m sure they will be ok.

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