Elegance Coral Syndrome - Anything new to be said?

rkpetersen

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Thirty years ago, when I had my first reef aquarium, I bought one (and only one) Elegance, and it lived for the entire 4 years I had that tank. Started off large and grew even larger, over 16" expanded, and it stayed expanded all the time, greedily grabbing bits of food and stuffing them into its multiple mouths. It was amazing.

But then I had to then leave the hobby, for work reasons. I just got back into it. A lot has changed, mostly for the better. I've had a 100g tank set up for about 6 months, keeping many animals successfully (so far) that would have been nearly impossible back then. But I'm already on my third elegance, which is dying just like the last two.

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This is pretty obviously ECS, a condition I had not heard of when I bought the first Elegance for this tank. In fact nobody at the local store mentioned it either, they were more than happy to sell me the coral. It wasn't until the second supposedly hardier one from Australia also took ill and died for no good reason that I actually did some online research and quickly encountered this miserable condition. The third (currently dying) one is supposedly Australian too. Articles on ECS (particularly Borneman 2008) suggest that this malady is due to an environmentally persistent infectious agent. However, as Borneman himself points out, he did not culture a specific organism and then produce the same disease in a healthy coral by infecting it with that organism. Without doing this (satisfying Koch's Postulates), all the evidence, even his microscopic findings, is just circumstantial and could be secondary infection. I mean, this disease could even be viral, and you won't prove that without sophisticated isolation and culture techniques.

So my question is this - Is there ANY progress being made with this condition? Do we have any more knowledge than we did 9 years ago? New information on the causative organism? Are we even sure it's infectious, could it be an undetected toxin? Any effective treatment? Role of other factors, like lighting and water flow? Duration of environmental persistence of the causative agent in the absence of elegance corals?

I suspect the answer to all of these questions still is: We don't know. Googling it brings up little. Searching this forum, the last time someone asked about this, there were no responses at all. But it's worth a shot asking again. That last question, in particular, would be nice to have answered, for those of us who might one day want to keep this gorgeous coral again.
 

A Toadstool Leather

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Buy the aussie elegance corals. People have had more success with them than ones sourced from indonesia. I have heard they can be quite hardy
 

BoomCorals

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Buy the aussie elegance corals. People have had more success with them than ones sourced from indonesia. I have heard they can be quite hardy
I'm not totally sure this is true. IME the Aussie have fared no better than the indo. The OP even has had at least two aussies die on them.
 

Gablami

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My first and only elegance is an Aussie and it has been doing great for almost a year. I did some research, and read that you want to get an Aussie elegance that has been fragged, so you see the cut edge. That way you know it's a mature colony that was harvested. Indos are frequently thought to be harvested smaller and are not as hardy. I also feel like some LFS and wholesalers will call an elegance an aussie even though it is an indo. Just something to be aware of. Best of luck to you...don't give up!
 

Michael Llabona

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I am very confident Aussies are better. Aside from Elegance syndrome problem. Indo are considered deep water vs the Aussie shallow water species. The shallow species are more suitable for the home aquarium unless people are willing to light acclimate very very slowly. People say to stay away from the cone shaped skeleton because its a good indicator that it's probably Indonesian. Look for the cuts. I bought my Aussie from Cherry Coral over a year ago during a live sale. They have good reputation.
 
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rkpetersen

rkpetersen

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Buy the aussie elegance corals. I have heard they can be quite hardy
As mentioned in the post, the last two including the one dying in the picture were allegedly Australian. So, if that's true, and if there is indeed a disease organism responsible, they became infected in my tank (probably) or earlier.
 
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rkpetersen

rkpetersen

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People say to stay away from the cone shaped skeleton because its a good indicator that it's probably Indonesian. Look for the cuts.
Interesting. None of the 3 that have died on me had been cut, and all had the cone-shaped skeleton. It is possible that the two that I bought that were sold as Australian were, in fact, not.

Borneman, I recall, hypothesized that the first elegances out of Indonesia were the easiest for the collectors to obtain, cut off of reef walls and flats. These (like the one I kept 30 years ago) consistently did very well. As this easiest source for the biggest and hardiest elegances became depleted, they began collecting them from other locations, mostly unattached or loosely attached, and it's these that do not do well in aquaria, developing ecs and otherwise not thriving.
 

BoomCorals

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Interesting. None of the 3 that have died on me had been cut, and all had the cone-shaped skeleton. It is possible that the two that I bought that were sold as Australian were, in fact, not.

Borneman, I recall, hypothesized that the first elegances out of Indonesia were the easiest for the collectors to obtain, cut off of reef walls and flats. These (like the one I kept 30 years ago) consistently did very well. As this easiest source for the biggest and hardiest elegances became depleted, they began collecting them from other locations, mostly unattached or loosely attached, and it's these that do not do well in aquaria, developing ecs and otherwise not thriving.
Truth be told it's possible the ones I had picked up as Aussies weren't actually Aussie either. I'll have to try from one of my more reputable sources to find one.
 

Gablami

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Yes, the skeleton on mine is the opposite of "cone-like." It is flat and elongated. Another non scientific way to look at it is price. True aussie's are generally double or even triple the price of indo (at least in my area). Sadly, the indos are as a whole, more colorful, but the aussie's last.
 

A Toadstool Leather

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As mentioned in the post, the last two including the one dying in the picture were allegedly Australian. So, if that's true, and if there is indeed a disease organism responsible, they became infected in my tank (probably) or earlier.
I think a disease is a fairly good explanation for its demise if it truly was austrailian. However there are plenty of factors that can lead to a coral's demise including shipping. We cant know for sure. However it would be interesting to know what exact disease is to blame and perhaps how to prevent it.
 

Opus

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If you want to try again, I suggest contacting Cherry Corals. They should have several that have been being fragged for years.
 

M007

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The easiest way to distinguish between Indo and Aussie Ellegance is the skeleton. Cone or pointed is Indo, wall or branching is Aussie. Transit damage is the death of most Ellegance. Before you buy ensure the flesh of the coral overlaps the edges of the skeleton. Any recession or missing flesh is cause for concern, this applies to most Euphyllia type coral.
 

BoomCorals

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The easiest way to distinguish between Indo and Aussie Ellegance is the skeleton. Cone or pointed is Indo, wall or branching is Aussie. Transit damage is the death of most Ellegance. Before you buy ensure the flesh of the coral overlaps the edges of the skeleton. Any recession or missing flesh is cause for concern, this applies to most Euphyllia type coral.
Ah that makes sense then. I was getting indos sold as Aussie. :rolleyes:
 

A Toadstool Leather

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The easiest way to distinguish between Indo and Aussie Ellegance is the skeleton. Cone or pointed is Indo, wall or branching is Aussie. Transit damage is the death of most Ellegance. Before you buy ensure the flesh of the coral overlaps the edges of the skeleton. Any recession or missing flesh is cause for concern, this applies to most Euphyllia type coral.
I never even knew elegance corals could be branching. Must be easy to frag then. I wonder why some corals are branching and others single polyps.
 

M007

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I never even knew elegance corals could be branching. Must be easy to frag then. I wonder why some corals are branching and others single polyps.
To tell you the truth, neither did I until last weekend. I'm going to be bringing home a Aussie Ellegance that has a tree trunk like base with multiple heads. Very excited as I have only seen this type of growth pattern in torches and frog spawn.
 

bigdan3489

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This was my first coral (newbie impulse buy) Aussie elegance. I have had it now for close to 2 years and has survived all sorts of newbie mistakes. It is by far the hardiest coral I have.
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Fishf00d

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Here is mine that I got off of a fellow reefer last year. It just keeps growing and growing. It needs more room but I don't want to give it up and I'm not in a position to get a larger tank. The 1st two pics it is actually closed up. It gets twice that size. You can see it squished into the corner of the tank.

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TravisParsley

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Mine is 2.5 years old. This one lost about 1/10 of its tissue a month after introduction. I believed it to be bacteria related, and weak from lack of food. The tissue recession stopped after a few water changes and flow adjustments. It has blossomed since then and is doing great and very healthy. This is an indo species I believe. I think shipping has a lot to do with their traditional failure rates. I had two attempts before this one that died after 2 months. Those were introduced into a very early immature tank, were in the sand, and had fish nipping - thus retracted tentacles. I think this being raised far above the sand, high on rocks near a pump (low setting) - reduces bacterial risks. Its in a lower flow, half bright, half shaded area. A good sign is if they feel sticky.
 
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