Why i Buy Near Death Corals From LFS's


Premium Member
I commonly grab browned out or bleaching SPS from my LFS for the simple reason that i know the collectors harvest only nicely colored corals so i figure the chances are high that the ugly dying coral was eye catching to the collector at the time he harvested it. I bought the monti below (4"x3") 2 weeks ago and it was faded rusty red, very light in color well on the way to bleaching with zero PE and the LFS dumped it for $20- after having it sit idle for a month.
It's been sitting on the bottom with zero PE ever since but has slowly shifted color to a pinker hue so i was happy thinking i might end up with a nice 'pinkish' monti. Turned the lights on today and i see PE at last and to say i'm pleased with the color of the polyps is an understatement :celeb1:. Pic taken under 250W radium only with no touch ups other than cropping and resizing.
In short, if you get the chance to score a cheap SPS that isn't in good shape due to your LFS not being able to keep them healthy long term think about taking a chance on the coral because no collectors harvest ugly brown or bleaching SPS. No idea what the monti is as i have only ever had a brown cap years ago.



Premium Member
that's too cool. Glad you give some dying corals a chance to thrive again.

Thanks mate, yep someone has buy all the ugly stuff so it might as well be me lol. Here's a Pocillopora damicornis which was brown and bleaching from the base up, me - ' i'll give you $20- for that dying piece of s***' - LFS guy happy to be rid of it as it was days away from going in the bin - 'sold'

2 months ago


Fragged it as only the last inch was alive on the branches and made a little mini colony with some branch tips i stuck in a bunch, today it looks much better.



New member
Wow, biggles! That's an amazing change! I'm going to have to start trying this. I've never thought of doing it before.


Premium Member
Give it a try crn005 because none of those crappy unhealthy looking SPS languishing in the LFS tanks slowly dying deserve such treatment and i can assure you they will reward your efforts when you save them. I doubt any collector goes out thinking, hmmm i might harvest a bunch of dying poo brown SPS today as they sell like hot cakes lol.


Premium Member
nice job!!
got any more before and after?

Thanks Matt, the tank is only 3 months old so i haven't bought too many corals to this point, only have a choc brown acro colony that has spent two months lightening up and finally has fluoro green developing around the base - i posted a pic in the ID forum but he's taking a long time to color back up. I did just reward the monti with a custom made sweeping rock shelf i just spent the last hour building and mounting him too. :)




Nice recoveries! Might think about a QT though, sometimes they look bad for a reason.

Yes that's a good point and i spend a long time inspecting a crappy coral for the reason it's in that state. The pocil was easy and i see it all the time, it had 2 small hairy crabs eating it's polyps from the ground up so i knew it would be an easy fix once they were removed. The monti was clean and simply sick of sitting in poor water conditions.
I think i will setup a QT as you wisely suggested though because my reef has now reached a stage where i need to get serious about such things as a lot of SPS will be going in there over the next few months. I appreciate the polite manner you pointed out my silliness in not using a QT btw :thumbsup:


Active member
Cool structure.
Looks like you have a few nice corals in the tank.
You might have to give us a fts!


Love The Fish
No problem Andrew, after all when they start brown it makes them that much prettier in the end. Keep up the good work.


Premium Member
I'm in the middle of removing the sand bed to replace with a larger grain so excuse the weird bottom. Tank doesn't look this blue but using an iphone makes it hard to capture true colors. Everything is wild as i don't have access to frags with proven track records in reef tanks here in Aus, as an example, my SCC was a small branch straight from the ocean. Most stuff is still coloring back up after the obligatory sulk period - i imagine my corals on day one in my reef 'hey what's going on this aint the GBR, everyone turn your colors down !' lol

Sump with LED frag section.






New member
I do the same, I bought this browned out acro that was looking like death. I set it in the back of my tank so i would not see it and hoping that someday it might look decent or ill frag and give away. Needless to say this 7 inch colony has new blue growth and red polyps. Yea buddy to soon to tell though.

Like a box of chocolates


New member
I like to do this as well! :)

Unknown Digitata down on its luck. Given to me for free by LFS that was going to toss it out last October.


Same digi today..


Here's an Austera that was also struggling at the LFS last fall..


The Austera today..



Premium Member
Thanks for the kind words Matt. Browned out SPS are indeed like a box of chocolates jfuka78 - never know what you're going to get but chances are it will be yummy lol.
Wow kien, those two corals are awesome and great examples of the hidden treasures languishing in our LFS's, thanks for the pics - that digi before and after is insane :) Love the little crab protecting his Austera colony.


New member
That monti sir looks like the flowerpot monti, its yellow, with purple polips and purple rim here is mine

Great job for saving those corals



Premium Member
Thanks Sana, time will tell with how the monti develops but if it ends up looking anything like yours i'll be a very happy reefer. I'll grab a couple more dying SPS next LFS visit and post before and after shots once i perk them back up, hopefully more reefers will start 'rescuing' these hidden treasures - they were all beautiful on the reef when collected so you really can't lose if you take one home and save it. :)


Ultimate Reefer
Nice tank Biggles! I love the rockscape. :thumbsup:

I also do this occasionally; although I look at the coral shape and structure and only go for certain browns like those that could be millis etc.


Premium Member
Thanks sahin, i put a lot of thought and time into my aquascaping as it really does contribute to the wow factor once you place the right corals in the right place to accentuate your overhangs and arches. I bought the browned out acro i asked an ID for from Jason Frick yesterday purely for the cool branch structure, it didn't have anything else going for it lol. :)

What a stunningly colored colony lol.......