View Full Version : coral of the week { Sarcophyton elegans } yellow leathers

12/13/2000, 06:05 PM
Week number three. Coral of the week Sarcophyton elegans (yellow leathers). this coral is pictured on page 163 of the book Corals a quick reference guide by Julian Sprung. Every week I will post a new coral and I want you to post everything you know about this particular coral. Everything from common names, how hardy they are, water temp, water flow, lighting, water parameters, fraging, spawning, related corals, scientific names, feeding, best ways to ship, etc. Post your pictures for identification. Please tell us about your system so others can duplicate your success. Also email me for request on which corals you would like to see in this section.


12/13/2000, 06:40 PM
Yeah! One of my favorite corals!

Mine is roughly 4-5" below 300W of VHO lighting 12 hrs a day. It receives what I would consider a medium, random current. My temp runs between 80-83. My alk is 4.6 meq/L, pH 7.9-8.1 (trying to bring it up), and Ca 430 mg/L (not that Ca makes a dif). I feed Kent Phytoplex every night (only because I can't get DTs and I just recently learned that I can get ESV spray dried)

It's taken a good month for mine to become accustomed to captivity. It wouldn't leave its polyps out at night like the rest of my softies until about a week ago. Now it is fully extended all the time and seems very happy:)

I know I read somewhere that Walt Smith said that these corals wouldn't/don't tolerate the higher temperatures recommended by Ron Shimek, but I find that to be inaccurate based on my experience.

I have noticed a correlation between expansion of this coral and the alkalinity level of the water. When I initially introduced this coral to my reef my alk was depressed and the coral didn't seem to expand well. Upon stabilization of my alk (at 4.6 meq/L) by means of my Ca Reactor the coral now remains open and expanded 24/7.

I wish I had a pic of this coral, because IMO it's one of the most gorgeous corals you could add to a reef tank!

12/13/2000, 06:52 PM
Damn it! When will we examine one of the corals that I have. I want to contribute, I really do! ;) Although I don't have this coral, I will add that it is a very attractive leather (especially when growing side by side with a bright green leather (which I do have!)), although it seems to be more sensitive to water conditions than most other leathers.

An observation to support Candian's observation: My brother-in-law has this coral in his tank. He raised his DKH from 9 to 11 a few months ago, and the yellow leather is experiencing the same benefits Canadian mentions. It may be due to some other change my brother-in-law made, but then again it may be all about the alk.

12/13/2000, 10:44 PM
Unfortunately no pictures yet...

I've had one for 1.5 years. It's in a 40 "breeder" on top of the rock about 5" below 170 watts of PC and NO. Current is random and moderate-heavy. It is the most impressive softie in the tank by far. In the time I've had it, it has at least doubled in size (or expansion anyway) to about the size of a cereal bowl, perhaps larger. It will need a larger tank soon. The new 90 will be perfect. I've thought about trying my hand at fragging it, but the coral just looks too good to do that to it!

Current params are approx. Temp: 78, pH: 8.0-8.1, NO3: 3-4ppm, Alk: 2.8-3.0, Ca: ~400. I feed Tahitian Blend cryo every 3 days and occasional marine snow (don't worry, I got it free!). Scrape diatoms every 3 days into tank.

Interstingly, I can't predict its "shut-down" time. Sometimes it stays open well into the night. Other times it closes at lights out. Every 3 months or so it will stay closed for a day or two and "clean" itself by forming a skin over it which is removed by the current. I was very worried the first time it did this!

Judging by the "low" lighting under which I am having success with this coral, I would recommend it as a very good coral for the beginner or "lower-tech" hobbyist.

[Edited by Geez on 12-13-2000 at 11:18 PM]

12/13/2000, 10:51 PM


I have had this leather for about a month. It does very good but took a while to acclimate. It is about 6" off the bottom under a true 10k 175w mh. Alk is 14dKH, Ca is 495, tmp is about 80, ph is 8.3, Ammonia/nitrites/nitrates are 0. The tank is a 125gal lit with 2 175 10k's, 2 5' actinics {1 50/50 and 1 actinic03) and 2 40 w NO (2 50/50's). The fish in the tank are very, very, very sparsly fed. I do regularly feed Tahiatin Blend. I have a Ca reator and I use Tech-I and just recently am trying Coral-vite. Thats about all I have. Thanx!!! Dennis

[Edited by NaH2Ofreak on 12-13-2000 at 11:00 PM]

12/13/2000, 10:58 PM
a beautiful coral, adds so much color to a reef. Here's the pic guys!

[Edited by lori344 on 12-13-2000 at 11:05 PM]

12/14/2000, 08:41 AM

12/14/2000, 08:52 AM
Hi all, I picked one of these up a few weeks ago and love it. It acclimated quickly to my tank (at the time a 29g lit by a 175w 12000kMH). I also can't predict it's turn-off time, differs almost every day. I recently moved that tank into a 65g tank and it handled it very well. I had a problem regulating the alk in the tank, it dipped & I panicked adding a bit too much buffer I think...my alk took off to 20dKh! The ONLY coral in my tank (not that there's 100's:D) that handled it very well was the yellow leather, it still came out every day fat & happy. In the 6weeks I've had it it's almost doubled in size. Alk back down to a normal 13dKh, calc around 350, temp 83-85 daily, moderate flow in the tank lit by 1x175w MH & 100w NO. I agree that mine seems to argue it's reputation as a "higher-light" coral. Beautiful coral imo...


12/14/2000, 09:55 AM
The pic isn't very good. I need to buy a real camera ;)


I have the coral in a "hot-spot" and it gets a lot of flow.

This coral sprouts buds from the polyps on the underside of the coral.

[Edited by KW on 12-14-2000 at 10:03 AM]

12/14/2000, 10:03 AM
great time to do this coral.. I have one, have had it for about 6 months now in a 110 w/4x96 watt p/c... It has been doing great on the bottom of the tank, however I just replaced all of my light bulbs and now it hasnt opened for about a week now? Any thoughts? How long is the longest that anyone has seen it closed up? Sometimes I do see little nubs on it like it is thinking about opening, only to have them go away the next time I look at it.. I love it when it is out.. but at this point, I am getting a little worried..

12/14/2000, 10:32 AM

How big is that thing?! It looks 'humongous'!:)

12/14/2000, 10:41 AM
Here is mine,
It likes lots of light, he is under a 250W 10k HQI bulb. He dosn't have too much current, I would say its medium. When I first got it I had PC's and I thought it was cool, now It looks unreal with the Halides. I've had it for about 5 months now and It has grown a lot. Polyps stay out most of the time at night too.


12/14/2000, 06:26 PM
This one is at the bottom of my 75g with ecosystem filter(and DSB) and 400w iwasaki pendant.


12/14/2000, 07:01 PM
These corals are from two of our club members tanks (Rich & Bill):


3 yellow leathers in this photo:


12/14/2000, 07:56 PM
My Sarcophyton elegans (about three weeks after my move)

Um.. could some one tell me how to correctly post a pic.

12/14/2000, 11:42 PM
bring up the pic.... right click it and bring up "proporties: then copy and paste proporties (the url) to your post. then.... put img in front of the url and /img at the end. But add [ ] around your img and /img. walaaa a pic. I'll e mail you instructions, cause if i type the exact formula in this post it will treat it as a pic and will show an X pic

12/14/2000, 11:54 PM

Like this:

[ img]The URL for your pic here[/img]

Just lose the space in the first img tag and you're done.

12/15/2000, 07:34 AM

I think it's about 10" or so.

12/15/2000, 11:46 AM
Here's a pic of mine:


12/15/2000, 12:48 PM
Tanks for the help!

[Edited by tszetela on 12-15-2000 at 12:56 PM]

12/15/2000, 02:09 PM
I have a question. What would make a yellow leather turn gold/brown? I bought one about 2 months ago. I acclimated it slowly to the 400 watt bulb it now sit under. It starter at the bottom of the tank and raised it 6" every week. It now sits about 14" directly under a 400 watt Iwasaki 6500K bulb. It looks very healthy and has great polyp extension. All water params are normal. It started out a nice yellow and is slowly changing to a golden brown.Any ideas? Bob

12/15/2000, 02:37 PM

Because different corals come from different locations, I would guess that your Leather isn't fond of the REALLY bright light. Some of these Leathers are from Fiji and some are from Tonga I believe. I would guess that what you're seeing is increased growth in zooxanthellae in the tissue. Apparently this is common among Green Toadstool Leathers when they receive REALLY bright light.

12/15/2000, 02:53 PM
I guess that makes sense. I did my homework and read that they need a lot of light and water flow so I put it in a position to get both. It's only been 2 months so I'll see what happens. Thanks, Bob

12/15/2000, 04:30 PM
The leather that is always called a yellow leather in my area, does not look anything like these ones!! It has a Toadstool look to it, is not really yellow everywhere, golden brown in most spots. At the LFS that i work at, a few of them came in our last shipment but were labeled "green leather". These did very poorly! The only corals that "melted", all of them too.
What im saying is stay away from a yellowy toadstool.

12/15/2000, 07:55 PM
Well here's mine too:) it's a Tonga yellow frag off the same mother as Q's i have mine about 4 inches under the surface in pretty high random flow. the lighting over it is 220w VHO actinic and 175 10k MH it receives 14hrs of actinic and 12 hrs of MH i feed my system pretty heavey a huga asortment of dry, frozen and fresh foods. Everyday this coral is looking better and better http://webdesign.domaindlx.com/mikeo/bytor/dec_00/1_small.jpg tank parameters are alk 4.0meq cal 440 ph 8.2 to 8.4 temp 84F and amm0 nitrite0 nitrate 5

12/15/2000, 09:36 PM
My first photo post! (sniff..) I'm so happy.. and it only took two hours away from my study time for my final tommrow at 8am. Oh well what is more important, my reef or... what was the other choice again?

This is about one month after I moved and split my 90 into a 90 and a 120. The yellow is currently in the 90 (18h x 24d x 48w)under two 50/50 vhos and two no atinics.


Tanks again to Canadan and Lori for making this all possible!

[Edited by tszetela on 12-15-2000 at 09:46 PM]

Vins Fins
12/15/2000, 11:00 PM
mine is about 2 years old now.

12/16/2000, 01:48 AM
Hi all,

Here's my copy:


Here's another one with a bud: