Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Lost My Brain

Over the last few weeks I've watched my beautiful rose colored open brain coral slowly die. As soon as I brought it home I noticed that part of its skeleton was exposed. I blogged about this back on April 28'th. I was worried then because I read that corals with such injuries rarely recovered. However, this one was doing really well. Here is how it looked one month ago. It was fully expanded and doing quite nicely.

This, as it turns out, would be the best I would ever see this coral. As I was battling my nitrate problem the health of this coral declined. I noticed that the area of exposed skeleton was expanding. First to the right side and then to the left.

Here is how it looked on July 10'th.

The green area at the far back is the are of original exposed skeleton. You can clearly see more exposed skeleton on the right side. You can also see some on the in the middle of the left side. The exposed skeleton became overrun with the red algae that you can see behind the coral on the sand bed. I blew it off with the current from a power head.

I knew at this point that this beauty wasn't going to make it. I didn't realize how quickly it would die. One week later, yesterday, it looked like this.

The only flesh remaining was on the section closest to the bottom of this photo. Here is a close up view.

I thought it was odd to see the stringy webby material all over the last remnants of the coral. I hadn't seen that before. I read about this today and it matches the description of Brown Jelly Disease. A highly contagious bacterial infection that attacks LPS corals. Some articles I read pointed out that it can spread quickly and finish off a coral in a day. Indeed, when I came home from work today all that remained was a calcium skeleton. A paper weight.

Incidentally, for the last week or so, my green open brain coral has refused to open. It's as if it senses the disease in the tank and is cowering in fear. I hope this guy lives. Here is how it looked yesterday.

So far there is no exposed skeleton so I am holding out hope. I've increased the current across it as recommended.

In other grim news, my torch coral doesn't look good either. It is no longer expanding completely. My red scooter blenny is also MIA. It was looking thin last time I saw it. After I bought it I realized it was a member of the dragonet family. Like it's cousins, the Mandarins, they are supposed to be difficult to keep because they only eat live food they find on the live rock and sand bed.

Looking on the bright side, my Xenias are still doing well. Pulsing away seeming oblivious to the the demise of their tank mates.