Elegance Coral Syndrome Diagnose and Treatment with Fresh Water Dip

OrionN

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Elegance Coral, Catalaphyllia jardinei, is a LPS that is very beautiful easy and is one of my favorite LPS. Since early 2000, it was well known by reefers that Elegance coral is easy to care for, unless it contracted Elegance Coral Syndrome (ECS), a universally fatal disease with no known cure.
Elegance Coral Syndrome was coined in 2006 by Eric Borneman, a pioneer reefer who unfortunately no longer involves with reefing world, to describe this infectious disease of Elegance corals. He discussed about Elegance corals and this disease in detail in January 2008 issue of Reefkeeping, an online magazine published by ReefCentral.com. A link to this article attached below.
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2008-01/eb/index.php
In this article, Eric recorded his observation of this disease as follow:
  • Colony’s oral disk first start to swell
  • Unexpanded fringe tentacles
  • Coral secrete opaque white mucus like web
  • Feeding response decline
  • Tentacles no longer “sticky”
  • Coral’s tissue eventually shrinks and coral dies
Eric also did contagious experiment and proof that this disease is indeed contagious, thus cause by infection. He also tried but fails to identify the pathogen and did not come up with any possible treatment. By 2008 virtually all imported specimens were infected with this disease and he recommended that we should no longer attempt to collect or keep Elegance corals because survival rate were dismal.
I don’t have as much experience as Erick, but in addition to Eric’s observation, I have the following observations:
  • Coral initially have localized evidence of disease on oral plate, which then spread to other parts.
  • Coral secrete mucus as a response to infection
  • Coral worsen with high light exposure and seem to improved, temporary with lower light level
  • Coral looks better in AM, worsen as the photo period progress.
I cannot help with draw parallel with Pinched Mantle Disease, a condition that I know very well. I like to experiment with treatment of ECS, but did not have a chance until recently. One of my friends, @alton a member here on Reef2Reef, bought an Elegance coral that ended up with ECS. As a last ditch effort to keep this coral alive, I recommended 15 minutes FWD. Alton’s Elegance did great and is on its way to recovered fully. I advised Alton to use 15 minutes FWD only for his Elegance coral since the soft tissue layer of Elegance coral is fragile and thin. Pre and post treatment of this Elegance coral attached below.

Pre treatment


Post treatment


Another picture a week later


Alton’s Elegance is on its way to recover fully. I will ask Alton to keep this thread update. I know that ECS have no known cure. If FWD is indeed a cure for ECS, this is a big step in helping us keep Elegance corals, a very beautiful coral, in our reef tanks.
I would like any reefers who have Elegance corals that were infected with ECS, and want to treat them with FWD, please post pre and post images of the corals, and keep update. Hopefully we can come up with a cure for, up to now, an incurable disease of a beautiful and hardy coral.
 
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Elegance Coral

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@Elegance Coral
I like your opinion of this.
When I first started in the hobby, ALL of our corals were collected by natives in small boats with no SCUBA. Which means they were all collected in the shallows. This is when elegance corals were considered bullet proof, and may have been the most common coral in the hobby. As our hobby grew, and stocks in the shallows became scarce, we moved to SCUBA trained collectors and began collecting from deeper and deeper waters. This is when we started seeing problems with elegance corals.

In 2005 I started researching this problem. I spent thousands of dollars and countless hours on this project. I did my own experimenting, and talked with everyone I could, from all over the world. Collectors, exporters, shop owners, marine biologists, basically anyone that had experience working with these corals. I posted the results of my research online for everyone to see.

One of my first observations was their sensitivity to light. As you noticed as well. This was also backed up by a marine biologist I spoke with that was doing research on Indonesian collection. She told me they were collecting elegance corals from 60' to 100' depth. These corals would appear perfect while sitting on the bottom, but by the time they made it to the boat, they would all be showing the over inflated polyp symptom. She also contributed this to changes in light exposure.

I believe this was the root cause of our problems back then. With the sudden increase in PAR, the zooxanthellae began producing O2 at an accelerated rate. This abundance of O2 began to oxidize the corals tissues from within. After this exposure, the coral is subject to infection from a wide variety of opportunistic microbes.

In the middle of all this, Australia announced that they would begin exporting corals. I predicted then that the Australian elegance corals would not suffer the same degree of mortality, simply because their corals had not been over collected and there would be no need to collect them from greater depth. This is exactly what we saw when Australian elegance began arriving in the country.

Eric Borneman believed there was one infectious microbe responsible for the whole problem. I disagreed, publicly. People from all over the country sent Eric specimens of their dead corals to analyze. I told everyone then, that he would not find his one microbe that's responsible for the problem. Eric found exactly what I said he would find. A host of opportunistic microbes infecting the coral. Which is what we find in any damaged, dead, infected, decomposing, tissue.

Julian Sprung reported success by treating these corals with antibiotics. Which makes sense. I've thought about experimenting with this, maybe trying cipro, but I stopped doing my research once Australia started exporting and the problem diminished.

If you fall and skin your knee, applying antibiotics will help fight off infection, and help the wound heal. Those microbes are not what caused the problem though. The fall caused the problem. The microbial infection is secondary. Which is what I believe we see in these corals.

I have never tried to dip a stony coral in fresh water. I've done softies, like zoanthids, but never stony corals. I would assume, that if you could keep the coral alive through the bath, the fresh water would act similar to an antibiotic. Killing off many of the marine microscopic organisms that infect the coral. It seems to have worked, or at least helped, in your case.

I have brought many corals through this problem. I have a CD somewhere with lots of pictures that look just like the ones you posted. In my experience, once the coral gets over the initial infection, like the one above seems to have done, they begin a loooooooong road to recovery. As long as the corals environment remains clean, and there isn't any major changes, the coral should continue to improve from this point. Don't expect anything to happen fast though. I had to take photos a month apart, and compare them over time, to see the slow improvement the coral was making.

HTH
Peace
EC
 
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OrionN

OrionN

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EC,
What did you do to help coral through this problem?
It is an infection, proved by exposing healthy long term captive specimen to coral with ECS, the healthy coral will get ECS.
Up until now, all my Elegance with ECS never survive. I don't have enough sick Elegance to continue to do trials on this. I will do what I can, If I see a Elegance with ECS, I will buy it and continue to try to treat it.

I was hoping that the Mods would see it fit to put a sticky on this thread so that it will get the exposure, but so far it have not happen.

Anybody who read this thread and feel that it is worthy, please notify the Mods and ask to have it sticky please.

I hope that all of us with Elegance that have ECS will try this and post results, pre and post treatment image, and write a few line about the corals and how it was treated.

I will ask @alton to post regular update on his coral so we all can see how it progress.
 
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OrionN

OrionN

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ECS does not develops de novo in your tank, so unless your coral was exposed to it, it is not ECS.
I would look for other things as casue. Too much light? Chemistry off?
 

Elegance Coral

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EC,
What did you do to help coral through this problem?
I'm not sure if I can post this here, so if the mods need to delete it please feel free and accept my apologies.

That link shows at least the early days of my research. I am actually embarrassed by some of the theories I had 13 years ago. I've learned to experiment and research my theories BEFORE I go public with them. LOL

It is an infection, proved by exposing healthy long term captive specimen to coral with ECS, the healthy coral will get ECS.
I agree there is an infection involved. I just don't believe it was the cause of the problem we were experiencing back then. This isn't like malaria, where we can point to one microbe, and say this is the organism that causes the symptoms to develop in an otherwise healthy corals. In our case, what we have is a host of organisms feeding on dead or damaged tissue. Once this begins, the army of opportunistic organisms can overwhelm a corals defenses, and begin feeding on healthy tissue. We see this with brown jelly infections in coral, and this is how healthy corals confined in a glass box with an infected coral, become ill.

The first symptoms to show up in these corals were the over inflated polyp, and withdrawn tentacles. I have produced these symptoms reliably, repeatedly, and with multiple individuals, simply by exposing them to excessive light. Upon exposure, the polyp would swell within minutes, and deflate within an hour or two, once exposure was removed. IME, the severity, and length, of the exposure determines the likelihood of survival.

When Australian elegance began arriving in the US, I repeated the light exposure test on these corals, but could not produce the same symptoms. Everyone at the time was reporting much better results with these corals, so I stopped researching the problem.

I don't know how bad this problem is with these corals today. I know a wholesaler that routinely frags and sells Australian elegance, and reports great success with them. However, I would be shocked if some of these corals weren't falling ill to some type of infection. It happens with clams, anemones, and virtually everything else we keep.

If I were to start doing research on ill elegance corals today, I'd probably start similar to the way you did with anemones. I'd try antibiotics, and maybe medications to target protozoan infections.

I have done research not to long ago into breeding elegance corals. (a project I've worked on, off and on, since the late 80's) I lost a spawn of larvae to a protozoan infection. You can see it here in this video.
Peace
EC
 
Legendary Corals

Willu

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Elegance Coral, Catalaphyllia jardinei, is a LPS that is very beautiful easy and is one of my favorite LPS. Since early 2000, it was well known by reefers that Elegance coral is easy to care for, unless it contracted Elegance Coral Syndrome (ECS), a universally fatal disease with no known cure.
Elegance Coral Syndrome was coined in 2006 by Eric Borneman, a pioneer reefer who unfortunately no longer involves with reefing world, to describe this infectious disease of Elegance corals. He discussed about Elegance corals and this disease in detail in January 2008 issue of Reefkeeping, an online magazine published by ReefCentral.com. A link to this article attached below.
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2008-01/eb/index.php
In this article, Eric recorded his observation of this disease as follow:
  • Colony’s oral disk first start to swell
  • Unexpanded fringe tentacles
  • Coral secrete opaque white mucus like web
  • Feeding response decline
  • Tentacles no longer “sticky”
  • Coral’s tissue eventually shrinks and coral dies
Eric also did contagious experiment and proof that this disease is indeed contagious, thus cause by infection. He also tried but fails to identify the pathogen and did not come up with any possible treatment. By 2008 virtually all imported specimens were infected with this disease and he recommended that we should no longer attempt to collect or keep Elegance corals because survival rate were dismal.
I don’t have as much experience as Erick, but in addition to Eric’s observation, I have the following observations:
  • Coral initially have localized evidence of disease on oral plate, which then spread to other parts.
  • Coral secrete mucus as a response to infection
  • Coral worsen with high light exposure and seem to improved, temporary with lower light level
  • Coral looks better in AM, worsen as the photo period progress.
I cannot help with draw parallel with Pinched Mantle Disease, a condition that I know very well. I like to experiment with treatment of ECS, but did not have a chance until recently. One of my friends, @alton a member here on Reef2Reef, bought an Elegance coral that ended up with ECS. As a last ditch effort to keep this coral alive, I recommended 15 minutes FWD. Alton’s Elegance did great and is on its way to recovered fully. I advised Alton to use 15 minutes FWD only for his Elegance coral since the soft tissue layer of Elegance coral is fragile and thin. Pre and post treatment of this Elegance coral attached below.

Pre treatment


Post treatment


Another picture a week later


Alton’s Elegance is on its way to recover fully. I will ask Alton to keep this thread update. I know that ECS have no known cure. If FWD is indeed a cure for ECS, this is a big step in helping us keep Elegance corals, a very beautiful coral, in our reef tanks.
I would like any reefers who have Elegance corals that were infected with ECS, and want to treat them with FWD, please post pre and post images of the corals, and keep update. Hopefully we can come up with a cure for, up to now, an incurable disease of a beautiful and hardy coral.
This looks really similar to my elegance coral which is recovering as well. When I first noticed this was happening, I dipped with coralRX full strength which did not seem to help with the regression of the coral's health. I had read up on H2O2 dips and FW dips but I was afraid of further stressing out the coral and so I moved the coral into a location of lower light and flow while keeping stable parameters and it eventually turned around after a month or two. The recovery photos you posted look exactly how mine looked when things were starting to get better.

Here are some pictures of regression to recovery in order. And the last pic is how it looks today.

1570829390801.png
1570829517641.png
1570829575440.png
1570829598420.png

1570829628143.png
1570829899387.png
 

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