Something Eating My Leather Coral


New member
I was repositioning a couple of my corals and saw this hole developing on the underside of my xlarge leather coral. Other than this the coral is doing extrememly well. It has grown tremendously in the 9+mos I've had it and polyp extension is as good as I've ever seen. Tank params are fine. Ph ~8.2, Nitrate = ~0, P04 = ~0, Ca+ = 450ppm, KH = ~3.5meq/l

Anyone have any idea what might be causing this hole? I want to remedy the problem ASAP so as not to loose the coral.




New member
maybe it's a rotting fungus or bacterial patch? how deep does it go? a very deep hole signals a parasite or coralivore.

most ime (hobby-wise) eat from the inside/out. ones that eat outside first are very fast eaters. you wouldn't have much of a coral left after a day or so.

the ones that eat inside/out can be dug out. usually, you cut at the opening/hole and you can either dig it out (very gross) or siphon it out with a strong turkey baster/siphon (only somewhat gross). a sharp exacto knife or surgical scissors are very good here. extreme infections may require completely lopping off the head to root out the parasite/coralivore.

then flush the area/cavity and i usually dose certain iodine supplements, more as an antiseptic-type of application than anything else. best to do this all outside of the tank in a separate holding bin with the tank water (during a waterchange is optimal). that way water parameters are identical and the coral sometimes doesn't even register it's been transplanted. moving it always submerged limits the stress.

otoh, if it's just a topical infection or fungus, i'd lightly scrape it away while siphoning the fungus or bacteria out. much like cleaning an infected wound. you can then up the flow a little to try and limit the chance of "re-infection". the iodine supplements are also applicable here. (i tend to prefer lugol's and kent's Tech I)

it looks more like a simple topical "infection" but that's only a guesstimate from that picture. hth


New member

this looks alot like a bristleworm has lunched! I had a problem with them on my Scleronepthya, coming out in the dark and almost hollowingout the main stem. The cure was to move the coral into another tank with a wrasse. It is now recovering.

There are a host of small parasites that can cause similar damage. Do you have any wrasses or a Chelmon rostratus in the tank. Both go after worms, but the Chelmon may also go after soft corals.