View Full Version : New Dendro. Need some advice/help

10/31/2014, 12:01 AM
I bought my very first piece of coral the other day (inherited a 20 gal tank with some LPS and mushrooms three months ago). I bought a six headed branching Dendro colony for $10. Seemed worth it. Well, shipping was rough! Not sure what the USPS was doing but 2 day shipping turned into 6 day shipping, and I haven't gotten the Dendro to open yet. This is what I have been doing, please correct me where needed and shoot some advice my way!

I just put it in the tank on Monday after acclimation. I didn't mess with it the first day and all and the second night I pulled it out and put it in it's own container full of tank water, then used some Coral Frenzy to stink up the water and hopefully bring the dendro out. After about an hour I added some mysis shrimp to the container, trying to get some to rest on the heads. Nothing really. Second day at the same time at night I tried again, I noticed a lil orange creeping up the skeleton, but nothing substantial. Now on the third night I did the same, and it looked like one or two of the heads came up the skeleton further than I have seen so far, and I'm not 100% sure but I could swear I could see the mouths of those heads open inside the skeleton, just no tentacles had extended yet. That's where I am at right now.

I know branching dendro's are hard and can be tough at times, but I really love the look of them and i think if I can get it to open it will be my favorite piece, even though it's very small compared to my current favorite, 40 headed Duncan.

Help guys? Advice?

10/31/2014, 11:37 AM
First need to identify what species you have exactly. Some that are being sold are of the colder water type and will perish in a reef tank. Pics?

10/31/2014, 11:59 AM
No pics at the moment, but I will say it was a reefs2go pickup, and am 100% certain it is a branching dendro. I've seen the same type of frag on here from others that bought from reefs2go.. For example...


same exact thing, but more heads on mine. Got free shipping, paid 2 dollars a head one free head. Figured I couldn't go wrong lol For an update, the head poked out on a couple of the branches... Two are still barely visible. No tentacles though, just the budding head. Tried feeding, but it made it just shoot back into the skeleton. Not sure what I should do at the moment, probably will just let it be until tonight and feeding time.

10/31/2014, 12:39 PM
I bought those "dendros" from reefs2go and they're not dendros. They're tubastrea. Sun Coral. They were the only thing in my shipment from reefs2go that didn't die immediately, but they never opened once, despite isolating them and trying to target feed, and they're dead now.

Reefs2go are crooks. Unethical, coral-killing crooks. Avoid.

10/31/2014, 12:56 PM
Branching dendro's and suncoral are mistaken for each other all the time. So while I have no idea what you got in your shipment, everything I've researched and my comparison of sun coral vs. branching dendro leans toward this being the branching variety of dendro. It is not a fathead, and so very much different and difficult. But I don't see any reason to think it is a sun coral. This thread covers it well


10/31/2014, 02:34 PM
Branching dendro's and suncoral are mistaken for each other all the time. So while I have no idea what you got in your shipment, everything I've researched and my comparison of sun coral vs. branching dendro leans toward this being the branching variety of dendro. It is not a fathead, and so very much different and difficult. But I don't see any reason to think it is a sun coral. This thread covers it well


This is the only dendro on the reefs2go site. This is clearly the "fathead" dendro that is pictured. What I got, and what you got, is nothing near that.

When I complained to them and sent pictures, they wrote me back and said "looks like we sent you a sun coral".

And then they sent me the exact same thing again. It is not a dendro. Reefs2go are crooks, and should be run out of business. Regardless of ID, what they show on their site is not what they sell. It is unethical. I hope you have better luck, but in my experience with the corals they're selling, they are never going to open. They will slowly, but surely, disintegrate and die. The two pieces they sent me had a total of seven heads. 6 are completely gone, the 7th is not dead, quite yet. In the 4 months it's been in my tank, I've seen the head partially protude exactly once. Took the opportunity to attempt to feed it. Attempting to feed it seemingly scared it back into its shell, and it has stayed there since.

10/31/2014, 02:38 PM
This is what they sent me. I'm sure you got the same thing.

10/31/2014, 02:41 PM
And the first shipment. L-R: picture on their site, after opening shipment, in my tank.

10/31/2014, 03:53 PM
Agreed entirely, that's what I got. And by telling you it is a sun coral, then maybe you are correct. However they also had the fourth picture on their site, that looks exactly like our pieces, but a branching variety of dendro's. I was not expecting the fat head dendro they had pictured, as I knew they would send the branching from research. Maybe they are selling a piece of sun coral as branching dendro. Any for sure way to tell?

10/31/2014, 04:20 PM
Holy **** those are some starved corals.

10/31/2014, 04:41 PM
Do you really think they are starved? Or stressed as all hell from shipping?

10/31/2014, 05:10 PM
They are starved, without question. When they are starved they will shrink into the skeleton. When they are REALLY starved, they'll shrink back so much that you'll eb ble to see the skeleton in the middle (like yours).

Here's what a healthy sun dendro should look like:

10/31/2014, 05:54 PM
Do you have a link for it? I was under the impression that they are shrunken in due to stress of shipping. I agree though, if starved they have the same appearance. However, if you search for "branching dendro" you will find many pieces that look exactly like the ones in this post when they aren't open. So? It's strange how these lil guys have so much differing information. I'm not saying you're wrong, but that is what I have gathered from research, that could very well be wrong.

10/31/2014, 06:52 PM
huh, that's odd. Maybe I linked wrong. Here's another try:

Here's the URL: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2011/12/corals_album/IMG_2138.jpg

Here's a link to the article:

I am POSITIVE that it's not shipping stress. These guys are super hardy, and they don't really get stressed much by shipping. In fact, they're usually open and expanded after shipping since they're in the dark for so long.

10/31/2014, 09:56 PM
its tough to try to determine what type of Dendro/Tubastraea from a picture of a single polyp that is closed.

The picture from the 3rd post could be anything from fistulas to a polyp of a Cladopsammia gracilis, or even a dendrophyllia arbuscula (doubtful).

I took a quick look at the reef2go site under the pics for the Australia Dendrophyllia. With all due respect to that vendor the pics with the extended polyps look like fistulas (fatheads - short/translucent tentacles large polyp) BUT the pic of the retracted looks definitely like Cladopsammia gracilis. IMO - the pics are not of the same species of coral.

Cladopsammia gracilis is actually a Tubastraea sub-species - (check WORMS). From my experience they tend to be pinkish in colour (not definitive as colour is not an species identifiers for this family and you can get crazy colour morphs from time to time). When the polyps are retracted there is no apparent epidermis(skin) visible. It has both encrusting (plocoid) and branching growth. Where it branches - the new polyps branch out at an angle towards the axis of the base of the branch. The polyp growth is fairly irregular.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7498/15493644130_034946ebcc_s.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/pB7YBm)Cladopsammia gracilis1 (https://flic.kr/p/pB7YBm) (sorry borrowed this from the reefbuilder article - didn't feel like taking a pic of it in my tank)

Steveabg - the pics of your shipment definitely look like cladopsammia.

These are difficult corals to keep / to get to open up - they seem to like colder water but have been kept successfully, albeit uncommon, in a regular reef setup (77F). Quite often you will get the tentacles just poking through. I recommend feeding with frozen brine initially because the brine will catch with the barely exposed tentacles. I don't know if its a particularly good idea buying frags of this species - the colonies are tough enough.

As for "branching dendros" - i really only know of one other species of dendros that get sold regularly in the hobby - arbuscula. This is an example:

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8258/8603335199_4027a34d70_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/e7fkPv)IMG_5556 (https://flic.kr/p/e7fkPv)

It has a very distinct orange skin - this is a pic showing semi-retracted state.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2797/13208351834_8ec3204a2c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/m8bfQ3)IMG_1710 (https://flic.kr/p/m8bfQ3)

The branching tends to be regular - usually in 2's or 4's.

To confuse things there are branching Tubastraea species (only 1 of the 6 species don't branch - coccinea).

Here is an example:

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8107/8603302309_4b841cf2fc_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/e7fb3r)IMG_5562 (https://flic.kr/p/e7fb3r)

If i have time i have a few different species in my tank - will take some pics.

10/31/2014, 10:12 PM
just for good measure here a are a shots of some fistula

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7516/15493390747_c331875064_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/pB6FhF)IMG_6248 (https://flic.kr/p/pB6FhF)

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3942/15654869926_3d18198a52_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/pRniqs)IMG_6247 (https://flic.kr/p/pRniqs)

as for getting them to open try this

1) put them in to an area with strong flow - this may prompt them to open.
2) if not - put them in a Tupperware box filled with tank water - use a smelly prompter food to try to induce them to open (like an angel fish food with lots of particulate).
3) if you see the tentacles come through to any degree use frozen brine to see if the tentacles will stick to the food
4) repeat

11/01/2014, 12:22 PM
Yeah, it would really be easier to ID if they would open. The shipping methods they use at Reefs2Go are horrifying. My shipment arrived second day, but it was packed with an ice pack, everything was freezing. They ship everything in a tiny amount of water, wedged in with big pieces of styrofoam, so everything is pressed against the bag. I ordered 5 frags, got 4 bags of death, and these. They apologized, reshipped, and it was worse the second time around.

11/05/2014, 12:35 PM
About three months ago I picked up some pink tube coral from my LFS. I was having very little success getting him to open up. One night while doing the tupperware technique with some chopped up mysis, a white worm that was stuck in the plastic pipette I was using came out of the tip and just so happen to land in the middle of a polyp. I guess it was the wiggling action of the worm that made the polyp open its mouth and grab the worm. Needless to say, I went to my culture for more worms and spent the next hour try to get a worm in the center of each polyp. Now, two months later the colony opens up every night for its feeding of worms. It is even sprouting new heads. As are the other tube and sun corals in the tank being fed white worms.