Do colorful corals mean you have stressed corals?

BRS

Do you believe that some of our corals produce the best colors when stressed in our tanks?

  • YES

    Votes: 71 12.6%
  • NO

    Votes: 225 39.9%
  • NOT SURE

    Votes: 211 37.4%
  • MAYBE

    Votes: 51 9.0%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 6 1.1%

  • Total voters
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mindme

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The answer to the question in the OP is very much: NO.

I very loudly want to scream that.


I don't think people are experiencing this in their reef tanks, especially not long term.

This isn't just caused by "stress". And the question is presented in a way that misunderstands what is going on. It's caused by heat and this is a way for them to cool off a bit. It seems to be a specific response to a specific condition, and I doubt people are having those conditions in their tanks in general.

With 1 exception and that is the new growth on corals. This explains why the edges of the growth are often so colorful and pretty. And yet the best way to get this color is NOT by stress, but quite the opposite - excessive growth which would only occur due to lack of stress.
 

oreo5457

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image006-5c574614a0b6ea38b28bdd38f9be8438.jpg

I got asking myself if it was possible that what we call "ideal parameters" could actually be designed to cause stress. But it seems to me that if that was true, we wouldn't have colonies growing enthusiastically and living long lives. Stress over time is generally detrimental to life. So, just guessing of course, I think most of the color we see in our aquariums is from us selecting for those colors, not forcing those colors.
Well you bring up another point..What is the REAL color?
I love when people think " natural light" is the ideal lighting when in fact the oceans natural uncontrolled environment is FULL of stress.

ALL protective pigments cost energy to construct and rarely if ever contribute energy.



Sun stresses your skin, you get pigments .
Sun stresses terrestrial plants they get pigments.
People have the same "argument" in planted tanks. People ask why their plants aren't red but growing great.
I tell them because they are happy!
Anyways some stress us benefits regardless of the cost.
 

hart24601

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It’s an interesting concept, of course it becomes murky as we define what exactly is a stressed coral - such as production of pigments to combat UV or strong illumination they would experience in the wild - and then the even more difficult item of the subjectivity of “best” color. This varies wildly between people in the hobby, some run very white daylight tanks where you don’t see much if any fluorescence, while others run the exact opposite. Their preferred color is going to vary a great deal. Stressors can certainly alter color color, but do we know if all these stressors are bad for coral health? While exercise certainly stresses me, overall it provides more robust health. Now of course humans and coral are extraordinary different, but I think our knowledge of coral in many areas is really not sufficient to draw many conclusions.
 

oreo5457

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It’s an interesting concept, of course it becomes murky as we define what exactly is a stressed coral - such as production of pigments to combat UV or strong illumination they would experience in the wild - and then the even more difficult item of the subjectivity of “best” color. This varies wildly between people in the hobby, some run very white daylight tanks where you don’t see much if any fluorescence, while others run the exact opposite. Their preferred color is going to vary a great deal. Stressors can certainly alter color color, but do we know if all these stressors are bad for coral health? While exercise certainly stresses me, overall it provides more robust health. Now of course humans and coral are extraordinary different, but I think our knowledge of coral in many areas is really not sufficient to draw many conclusions.

Simplistic but a start.
Better.
 

KrisReef

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In our tanks the "stress" of Blue spectrum lighting will often causes corals to look amazing!

In the wild, (a long time ago), I observed that vibrant electric-blue colored porities coral colonies would noticeably fade if disturbed. Fragments collected from these same colonies at depths between 15'-35' would fade, often loosing the electric look before they were brought to the surface, or within a day or two after collection. Similarly, "faded" looking colonies were present in the collection area and fragments collected from these pre-faded colonies did not show any additional fading upon collection. No obvious correlation between depth, water circulation, water temperature, size of colony could be used to attribute why some colonies were glowing electric-blue while neighboring colonies, often only feet away so that temperature, depth, light exposure were essentially the same.

I always thought the electric-blue colored corals must be happier, healthier, or otherwise in better shape because I liked the color better than the faded coral. What the color difference really coincides with for the coral is a question I would like to have an answer to.
 

oreo5457

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In our tanks the "stress" of Blue spectrum lighting will often causes corals to look amazing!

In the wild, (a long time ago), I observed that vibrant electric-blue colored porities coral colonies would noticeably fade if disturbed. Fragments collected from these same colonies at depths between 15'-35' would fade, often loosing the electric look before they were brought to the surface, or within a day or two after collection. Similarly, "faded" looking colonies were present in the collection area and fragments collected from these pre-faded colonies did not show any additional fading upon collection. No obvious correlation between depth, water circulation, water temperature, size of colony could be used to attribute why some colonies were glowing electric-blue while neighboring colonies, often only feet away so that temperature, depth, light exposure were essentially the same.

I always thought the electric-blue colored corals must be happier, healthier, or otherwise in better shape because I liked the color better than the faded coral. What the color difference really coincides with for the coral is a question I would like to have an answer to.
Many coral species exhibit color polymorphisms caused by stable differences in CP and FP expression (Kelmanson and Matz, 2003; Klueter et al., 2006; Oswald et al., 2007; Gittins et al., 2015). In Acropora millepora, the pigment concentration in the tissue of different morphs is strongly correlated with the number of gene copies with a particular promoter type, indicating that color polymorphism in reef corals is caused by the differential expression of multicopy genes (Gittins et al., 2015). We have proposed that the balancing selection driving the evolution of color morphs could be due to the benefits from photoprotection offered by the pigments in niches with high levels of light stress and the trade-offs associated with the productions of large quantities of pigments in the absence of light stress (Gittins et al., 2015). Such a balancing selection may allow different color morphs to persist within a population and increase the range of niches that can be occupied by a species across the steep light gradient that structures coral reef communities.
 

David S

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Purely anecdotal, perhaps others can corroborate, but yes I definitely believe stress can bring out better colors in corals, prior to their ultimate demise.
However, IME, it occurs only with SPS, particularly Acropora.
Let me give two examples:
Years ago I had a Pink Lemonade, a WWC Ninja Acro, and I believe it was a Cornbred "Fire Lemonade" or something similarly named.
Essentially, they were, regardless of naming conventions; a Pink Lemonade.
They happened, by coincidence, to be near each other in the tank, so it was easy to compare them.
In fact, the actual Pink Lemonade and the Ninja looked identical to each other, while the "Fire", quite frankly, looked more subdued.
Over time, as the frags grew into mini colonies, the overall coloration did not change. Until one day, I noticed that the Cornbred Fire acro had taken on a more intense coloration compared with the other two.
Within days though, all three died, due to an Alkalinity spike I had been unaware of.
I always suspected the swing stressed the coral into exhibiting the increased coloration.
Then there was an Angry Birds Acro:
Over a period of a few years it developed into a nice mini colony, but I could never get the polyp extension/coloration that this acro is famous for.
Until, one day it was there, in all its glory. I hardly had time to celebrate when it began to STN.
I suspected that whatever caused the polyps to shine also led to the death of the coral.
OK, now I'm thinking about the Acros that I've bought at Reefapalooza and other frag swaps.
If you've bought any at one of these events it is for one reason only; they looked GREAT.
And yet, once you place them in your aquarium, after a few days how do they look?
If your like me, not as good. It may take weeks or months to attain a similar coloration- if your lucky.
The wisdom on this is that Acros are finicky etc. but consider the stress they are put through by the Vendor as he travels and prepares his exhibit.
This has to stress the corals, but I believe it, at least temporarily, it causes an increase in polyp extension and coloration.
What about Acros, received through the mail? (Assuming they have not been unduly stressed due to weather conditions).
Again, in my experience, they look pretty darn good; at least as good or even better than the photo, in spite of the fact that they have suffered obvious stress.
In most instances, at least temporarily, they lose the polyp extension, within a few days after removing them from the bag and they become accustomed to the tank.
 

Ef4life

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I have a red monti cap in my tank, I never seen it a brighter pink/red than before stuff went downhill
 

burningmime

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Zeovit has a whole line of products designed to reduce the xooxanthelle in corals to give a more pastel look. I think that's probably a much safer way to "stress out" the coral since it hopefully will only affect that and not other parts of the coral tissue or get in the way of coral growth too much.
 

Spiffy

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Wow, why are we buying all this technology, precisely, to take the stress out of the tank for all inhabitants by creating stable environments only turn around and intentionally stress them?... Not for me, thanks
 

kutcha

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i think a test of this would be interesting have two tanks setup on the same system so you know the parameters are the same, get two identical frags of multiple SPS put one of each frag in the control tank and have the other tank as the stress tank were you ramp up light as one test then ramp down light as another and maybe ramp down the flow and ramp up the flow in the other see what changes if any there are.
 

oreo5457

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The answer to the question in the OP is very much: NO.

I very loudly want to scream that.


I don't think people are experiencing this in their reef tanks, especially not long term.

This isn't just caused by "stress". And the question is presented in a way that misunderstands what is going on. It's caused by heat and this is a way for them to cool off a bit. It seems to be a specific response to a specific condition, and I doubt people are having those conditions in their tanks in general.

With 1 exception and that is the new growth on corals. This explains why the edges of the growth are often so colorful and pretty. And yet the best way to get this color is NOT by stress, but quite the opposite - excessive growth which would only occur due to lack of stress.
Herein, we provide evidence that during the earliest stages of environmentally induced bleaching, heat stress and light stress generate distinctly different pathomorphological changes in the chloroplasts, while a combined heat- and light-stress exposure induces both pathomorphologies; suggesting that these stressors act on the dinoflagellate by different mechanisms. Within the first 48 hours of a heat stress (32°C) under low-light conditions, heat stress induced decomposition of thylakoid structures before observation of extensive oxidative damage; thus it is the disorganization of the thylakoids that creates the conditions allowing photo-oxidative-stress. Conversely, during the first 48 hours of a light stress (2007 µmoles m−2 s−1 PAR) at 25°C, condensation or fusion of multiple thylakoid lamellae occurred coincidently with levels of oxidative damage products, implying that photo-oxidative stress causes the structural membrane damage within the chloroplasts. Exposure to combined heat- and light-stresses induced both pathomorphologies, confirming that these stressors acted on the dinoflagellate via different mechanisms.

 

Andy D

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This thread got me thinking about the crazy colors of corals we have in our reef tanks and especially those, Easter like, pastel colors we see in acropora. Some of the colors we see is because we use particular settings on our lights to bring out or be able to "see" those colors, aka blue lighting. But in the following video, looking at corals in the wild, the discussion is geared at coral bleaching and how the response of the corals to this bleaching is producing coral colors like they have never seen before. So what about it our tanks?

Watch the video and let's talk about it!

1. Do you believe that some of our corals produce the best colors when stressed in our tanks?

2. What are ways we as hobbyists may be "unknowingly" stressing corals to produce better color?


**Disclaimer: You should not stress your corals for better color**

04.jpg
Stress should only bring out potassium related colours eg pink purple as this is how corals and plants react to stress, just my 2 p
 

Reef and Dive

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For acropora I agree for most cases.
That’s a subject for which we blind ourselves from science.

Many fluorescent pigments are meant to PROTECT the coral from light.

Many articles relate intense pigmentation to stress and much less symbionts.

This is an example of color scale relating to coral health in nature:

3F4586D2-6D63-41AB-AAC3-2F1F76E17E34.jpeg

When acropora corals are pre-bleached they tremendously intensify their colors and they are much brighter (Zeovit-like).

That also must not create a confusion with corals that naturally show a solid color (Acropora yongei p.e.). But those alien intense tenuis colors are clear signs of stress: and they do not show these alien colors in nature, except under stress or pre-bleaching conditions.

Unfortunately, there are even studies that demonstrated higher growth for many corals under stressful conditions, another bias we have great trouble understanding: for us if they are growing fast they must always be healthy.

It is about time we listen a little to science and not just about our personal beliefs (no matter how many thousand years we have in the hobby).

IMPORTANT: I’m not saying we shoudn’t try to color corals. I do recognize we do put them under some stress to get a “nicer” look (amount of UV, excess light etc).

My point is that we should stop this colective misbelief that INTENSE BRIGHT COLORS = CORAL HEALTH. Because many times it actually means the opposite...
 
BRS

Have you ever grown your own live aquarium food?

  • YES and it was a success (tell us in the thread)

    Votes: 64 22.2%
  • YES but I couldn't sustain it long term

    Votes: 42 14.6%
  • NO, I tried but couldn't

    Votes: 10 3.5%
  • NO, I have never tried

    Votes: 169 58.7%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 3 1.0%
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