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Leather Coral Loving "Dirty" Tank

George Monnat Jr

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Last December, Mitch gave me a Leather Coral. I think it's a Yellow Fiji Leather Coral (Sarcophyton elegans). He said it wasn't doing well in his clean tank and thought it might do in my dirtier one (I have mostly corallimorphs). It appears to be doing well, now.

New Leather Coral on 18 December 2012 (one day after introduction)


Same Leather Coral on 22 January 2013


My tests and RCA's show zero phosphate, ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels, but they can be masked by stuff sucking it up. I tend to feed heavily for all my crustaceans, but they're really a giant CUC. I run a big skimmer and a GFO RX, too.

The cyano and bubble algae are still growing, too, but I'm slowly winning that battle. Just came back after being out-of-state for a full week, and the cyano had exploded. But that's another story.

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This is an interesting concept. I've heard nonstop since I got into the hobby that soft corals like "dirty" water and hard corals like nutrient poor water with lps falling in the middle. Yet...of every tank I've seen in person, the best looking, brightest colored, and largest zoa colonies and soft coral pieces I've seen have been on the sandbed of heavily dominated sps tanks with super clean water. What I read and what I observe done seem to line up.


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