Ricordea Yuma care and trials tribulations

Discussion in 'Soft Coral Discussion' started by Azurel, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. Azurel

    Azurel Morpharian Maffia Hitman R2R Supporter

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    This is the king of the corallimorphs as far as I am concerned there are none that can compare to the color combinations that these mushroom corals come in except for Florida ricordea.
    One would think since that they are mushrooms that they are very simple, easy and there for hardy corals to take care of. This thought would be far from the truth, with 10s of 1000 imports of this coral coming into the country they are in the similar percentages of death rate as Elegance corals.
    I cannot count how many threads have been posted on many forums about these corals and them melting for what seems to be no reason. I personally have had many a purchase go south 1-2 weeks after acclimation. In most cases it is some form of bacterial infection that seems to infect these corals at a high rate.
    There are many color forms of the Ricordea Yuma with the most sought after being the Hot red and Fluorescent pink. Both of which I have spent $1000+ over the years and have nothing to show for it other then a good thrashing from the wife. In fact the one I have had the longest just melted a couple months ago after a year in my tank but that is another story. Over the years of observation on these corals in captive systems I have gathered quite a few ideas to help with getting these corals over the 2 week hump( this is what I call it).
    In most cases of melting after acclimation it is the first 2 weeks that the infection will show itself. Sometimes longer but this has been the rule of thumb for what I have personally seen and in talking to some other Ricordea collectors.

    Ricordea Yuma enjoy the same conditions as most other corals parameters in the proper ranges that we reefers keep Ca 400, Alk 8+/-, Nitrates 0-10, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0. I have noticed that when alk drops to lower levels they tend to not expand and look as nice much in the same manner as Ricordea Florida and other soft corals.

    The 2 week hump.
    Most of the high end Yuma that we see posted on forums are usually sold over the internet unless you live in an area like California where most if not all indo pacific imports come into the U.S. These shops in the west coast get the cream of the crop when it comes to high end Yuma and allot of them end up on on-line websites. In the pictures they look great, healthy fully expanded and worthy of the high dollar price(IMHO). So we pay the cost and have them shipped over night to us and our tanks. Over the years I have acclimated them over and over the same way. Float, temp acclimate, turkey baster some water into bag over time etc.....One thing that has never really been discussed with these corals in particular is Photo acclimation which we will discuss later.

    So after we feel they have been acclimated to our water conditions we place them into our tanks. Most read on-line sites that they like really low flow, low light etc, so now they are placed in what we think is a good spot and the next day the lights come on. The lights come on and they look great and fill up and expand to show their glory. Day after day they seem to look good. We are happy with the purchase and take pics to show pics on-line to show off our new acquisition. Everybody says their Ohs and As and life goes on, so we think.

    What happens next from my experience and others I have conversed with is they start to shrivel and don’t expand like they did the first few days. Now there seems to be a clear most times and dark brown others slime that starts coming out of the mouth. Ooh NO! we think to ourselves what is happening? So we go on line to find some answers and what do we find? Not much as far as info when it comes to infections of Yuma, although I am sure you will find posts by a few Ricordea collectors like Madadi, Azurel(myself) and a few others. So far there has been no answers from anyone in the industry or hobbyist as to the answer to how to stop and save them. What are the signs of a sick or dying Yuma?
    Well first and foremost like I said they began to shrivel and spit a clear slime. If left alone they will soon be covered in a heavy slime around the base of the polyp. One thing that I noticed that had first been unknown was that these Yuma seem to all have a hole at the base of the inside of the polyp. This hole is directly across from the mouth or oral cone, It seems this infection eats a hole into the base of the Yuma from the inside out and travels into the stem and up into the polyp disk. At about this time the polyp will begin to gap open, where as the mouth expands and opens up to non-normal size and looks slack. The slime has increased and death is imminent.

    I have tried many things to try and save these corals and others have as well. One collector that I have had personal contact with Madadi has even tried human antibiotics to no avail. All the signs of his Yuma that died also showed the same signs as mine and others.

    I have dipped in SW/ Iodine, FW/Iodine, Amino acids, Furan 2, Melafix Marine, and a few others I can’t think of I am sure. None of these dips worked and the only one that has shown promise so far is Melafix Marine a Tea tree extract. I think that one of the things that is needed is a actual lab study like on the scale of E. Borneman did with Elegance corals.

    Photo acclimation? What do I mean by this?

    I have found through the years of acquiring these corals and trial and errors is that they seem to be very sensitive to lighting. Photo acclimation as I describe it is after all other acclimation procedures is placing these corals into a highly shaded area of the tank and leave them there. Here is how I have done it to the few that I have in my tank that are doing good.

    I find a place that still has mod flow, almost completely shaded from direct or indirect lighting. I place it there and leave it. As long as it shows signs of being healthy and it expanding I leave it till it stretches for light. Usually it has taken the ones I have bought about a month or so before they show any signs for reaching. One thing to keep an eye on is that they don’t bleach from not having enough light and in that case you will have to move them out a little bit more so they can get a small amount of light. But the ones I have had will begin to stretch for light and will need to be moved.

    I do not move them very far so the conditions will be about the same but lighting will increase but not by a whole lot. I then wait for them to stretch more and move again till they are in in-direct lighting. I personally have only a few that are in direct lighting or high indirect lighting and they were purchased locally.

    Although some of them seem to be bleaching at the moment from direct lighting and will be placed into indirect lighting to regain color and health. I have seen some reefers that keep them in direct lighting of MH, and T-5 but I have not had a single one that has made it long term in that lighting strategy. It is in my opinion that photo acclimation is the number one thing in the long term health and survivability of Ricordea Yuma. It seems that there is something that takes place with these corals during shipping that reduces the survivability of these corals. I have seen them online time and time again and have talked to many vendors that will take updated pics of them for me and they do look healthy but for some reason after shipping there tends to be an increase in the death rate. I have talked to these vendors and they have had the same issues with Yuma in their shipments also LFS’s many of which have quite ordering them for the very reason of having them melt on them. Which for them is a loss in sales and their livelihood. I plan to continue my quest for Ricordea Yuma and the elusive Hot red and fluorescent pink Yuma.

    If any others have anything to add lease do so, if you have saved these through chemical dips etc please let me know so I can add that to my arsenal to save these corals.
     
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  2. birdsnest

    birdsnest Active Member

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    Thx for the good info man.
     
  3. skinz78

    skinz78 Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Moderator Emeritus

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    Great info James, thanks for adding this!
     
  4. Alpha Aquaculture

    Alpha Aquaculture Designer Clownfish Hatchery

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    Azurel: I agree that it is something to do with the stress of shipping coupled with the stress of acclimating to new tank after new tank. It seems to me that they need a long time to recover, much more than the average coral. So when they are imported and then shipped out again after a few days to weeks or even months in a vendors tank this time is not enough. I have spoken with online and have flown in to speak with many vendors specifically about yumas. I have asked questions like 'how many of these yumas do you think survive in your customers tanks?' and 'what percentage of yumas die in your tanks before you sell them?' The reality I believe is that around 30-40% of yumas die in vendors tanks before even selling. This percentage jumps to 70%+ in customers tanks on the ones that survive because they are reshipped almost immediately and then have to begin the acclimation process all over again. How many times have you seen a yuma for sale with a gaped mouth and you think... That yuma has ZERO chance of surviving shipping. To make matters worse shriveled up yumas many times have brighter colors than when they are fully expanded so people buy them up thinking they are super colored only to have them die almost immediately (they are already close to death and then the shipping/reacclimating is the nail in the coffin)

    I really think that its this second round of shipping that kills most of them. I believe that there should be some sort of regulation in place that says that a vendor must keep them for minimally 6 months before they can be allowed to resell. Vendors won't do that because they are profit driven. And I hate to say it but its better for them if the yuma dies because then their customers will have more empty 'real estate' for more corals. Yumas take a real long time to recover from stress. I'm afraid that a solution for the realistic culture and acclimation of yumas will not be possible in the current climate of this hobby. Vendors are too profit driven. There are so many variables and the hobby is still so young. This one needs true scientific research. Until that time I would advise anyone allured to yumas by their beautiful colors to stay away. They probably will die. If we reduce the demand on them then the supply hopefully will also be reduced and they will stay in the ocean where they belong and can survive and reproduce.

    I do commend you on educating through your experiences and I hope you continue and more join in. How can we set up some true scientific research and regulate their importation and subsequent deaths?

    Its not that I don't like to see a beautiful yuma all puffy and pimpled... Its that I feel truly bad when it dies. We have to be honest with ourselves... Yumas should not be collected by hobbiests they should be researched by scientists until more is known.

    Yumas were my first passion when it comes to reefkeeping and because of that I stay away from purchasing them.
     
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  5. ladyreefer1983

    ladyreefer1983 Valuable Member

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    yumas dont like to be move around also...
     
  6. Alpha Aquaculture

    Alpha Aquaculture Designer Clownfish Hatchery

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    One of my best successes with yumas was this one red one that I got from a lfs that was fresh off a wild colony. I acclimated it for a few weeks in a long established 10 gallon/70 watt mh 14K, not the most stable parameters or anything. I added a hang on skimmer and the output of the skimmer with bubbles and all was being shot down right on top of the yuma. It moved quickly to escape the added flow and left some babies in its trail. I got 6 babies off that one in short time and it was a small polyp. The vendor at the lfs lost his whole colony... I still have mine 3 years later but haven't had a single baby... no more skimmer on that tank... so....


    Because I've been thinking yumas for the last 30 min typing this up it occured to me. I went snorkeling in Thailand two years ago and saw many small anemones near a break at the end of this lagoon, they were getting a lot of oxygen and bubbles from the break and were growing like crazy, I mean carpeting everything everywhere only near the break. I initially thought they were yumas. This info coupled with my best experience above with yumas got me thinking about Dissolved Oxygen levels. I also had some yumas in a 45g tank with an Aqua-C EV-180. Thats a skimmer rated for a 180g tank on a 45g and the yumas in there did very well compared to other tanks.


    Shipping really cuts down on Dissolved Oxygen. I remember reading somewhere that DO levels on the reef are supersaturated and that most tanks don't even get close to saturated nevermind supersaturation. Also I feel like oxygen content will help fight bacterial diseases. Stagnant water grows bacteria. I've been working with yumas for years and I feel like I should have thought about this before but it makes perfect sense to me right now.

    My experiences seem to show that yumas respond well to increased oxygen saturation.

    Could oxygen play a critical role in their response to shipping and acclimation?

    :)
     
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  7. WilD ReeFer

    WilD ReeFer Member

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    wowow this is happening to me RIGHT NOW i got a nice yuma about a month ago and now its all white with a gaping open mouth, word by work it looks just like you described. is there really nothing i can do ?
     
  8. Azurel

    Azurel Morpharian Maffia Hitman R2R Supporter

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    Good stuff Alpha.....I am not sure if D-O is the answer but it could very well be since you have been on a reef with them that is a critical key to the conditions in the wild......I might add an air stone or something.....I know the skimmer I have right now is double what the volume of the water is for my tank. It is 3x the size I had on the other tanks I have had.......Something to think about for sure and maybe even take a reactor chamber with some type of media and add an air stone to it toget oxygen increased....Got me thinking now......

    Wild Reefer.....I can honestly say I have never saved one with any types of dips...The best or the farthest I have gotten is with Melafix marine....But even in the end it didn't work only prolonged the demise.
     
  9. Azurel

    Azurel Morpharian Maffia Hitman R2R Supporter

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    After the years I can look at a yuma listed on a web site and for sure can tell if it is going to die shortly after shipping.....I haven't bought one in a long time I would like toget more but for the $100 I can get some sweet rics for a vendor here, plus I know they are pretty hardy.......I do know that aquacultured yumas are much more stabile and can take a little bit more varyation then wild ones.....I have a hot orange one that has not grown much but is doing great that was aquacultured.....
     
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  10. Alpha Aquaculture

    Alpha Aquaculture Designer Clownfish Hatchery

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  11. Lowsingle

    Lowsingle Well-Known Member

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    I too have tried to keep yumas over the years and have had only marginal success (I had an ugly green yuma last for many years). I have kept some of the pink and reds upwards of 6 months, but none have made it a year, which is my benchmark for success. Thus, I have quit purchasing them for now unless someone can come up with a new approach that I am not aware of. Here is a pic of my latest one....I had it for over six months, then it died suddenly as all of my yumas seem to do.....

    cheers,
    Darren

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Azurel

    Azurel Morpharian Maffia Hitman R2R Supporter

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    That was a nice one.....

    Alpha he is a member here and has posted a few times.....I haven't heard from him in awhile....Maybe I will send of an e-mail to see how things are going, We talked yumas all the time either on RC or in e-mails, he has/had some sweet stuff for sure.....I guess I misread what you said .....


    I know they don't like light changes, I upgraded my lights to a Reef Brite 24" LED bar and removed my T-5 actinics which the LEDs replaced. My top shelf orange metallic green yuma started to shrivel after 3 days. SO I turned it down to about half and moved the yuma back under the rocks so it was shaded and only getting indirect lighting from all sources......Now it seems to have come around a bit, gonna feed it some coral frenzy see if I can get it big and fat again.....
     
  13. inactive

    inactive Guest

    I'm like 0 for 21 on different yuma ricordea.
     
  14. Alpha Aquaculture

    Alpha Aquaculture Designer Clownfish Hatchery

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    There was this guy in florida that had super great succes with yumas I spoke with on RC a few years ago. He was posting them for sale and seemed to have amazing specimens. I tried to learn from him but you know how it is nobody likes to type and its hard to get info out of people. He did give me a little info. He was using 9 foot long tanks I believe and had two of them. The fed fairly heavily and caught the food in filter socks after his overflow. He told me he had three filter socks and only cleaned one per week. So they went an average of 3 weeks catching food before being cleaned. That means to me that he had somewhat of a high level of dissolved organics in his water. I can't remember much more about our conversation. I do remember I bugged him about flying in and checking out his setup because I was all about trying to master yumas at the time. He wasn't into it and I never was able to learn more :neutral:

    Do you guys feed them? When I had more I used to hand feed them and I think that helped a lot. I got some crazy pics I need to post from years and years ago of one of mine catching a live mysis in my tank. Soon... :)
     
  15. viper1972

    viper1972 Member

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    I will stick with my florida ricordea. Florida ricordea is not the easiest coral out there like everybody claims. I have had some die for no reason at all, while the one next to it gets bigger and lives forever.
     
  16. cay85

    cay85 Active Member

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    thanks for this thread. i just bought a nice orange/blue yuma and it is shrinking.
    what about aquacultured yumas? have you noticed the same problems with shipping stress and photo acclamation? pacific east has a nice orange blue yuma that they sell. maybe ask dr mac if he has had the problems, and how he has overcome them? btw i did not get mine from them, and i paid more than twice the price.
     
  17. Azurel

    Azurel Morpharian Maffia Hitman R2R Supporter

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    I have not had the same issues with aquacultured yumas.....Just have to make sure it is a true pinch off and not a cut wild one.....I have a bright orange one that has been through quite a bit and is in open direct MH lighting on the sand and is doing great. I even ripped it's foot once and it healed and didn't even notice it was ripped.
     
  18. noobreef408

    noobreef408 Active Member

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    4 for 4 baby =]
     
  19. Azurel

    Azurel Morpharian Maffia Hitman R2R Supporter

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    Yikes you better be knocking on wood.....LOL
     
  20. CoralBandit

    CoralBandit Well-Known Member

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    so far so good with me too, I have had an orange with green mouth for over a year.. no baby though. And I got a pink about 3 months ago that seems to be doing good, but not as blown up as the orange... I know that one is too early to tell. I also just got two from WWC that blew my mind but we will see. I got an aquyacultured rainbow that came from someones tank that split twice (not a great rainbow but best way to describe it) and it is in the shade... I think I will be moving all my pink and pink/greens I got from WWC to the shade today...
     
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