dip the mother colony and fragments in an iodine-based solution, such as ReVive
Coral Cleaner by Two Little Fishies mixed with tank water, for 5 minutes or more to
discourage infection. In most cases, excessive fragging sessions will stress out and kill
the coral, but if it is done appropriately, frequent fragging seems to trigger the “flight
or fight” mechanism in Echinophyllia specimens. Faster reproduction of new polyps
has been observed, but they grow farther apart, due to the “base” tissue’s inability to
keep up with the coral’s accelerated reproduction rate. The coloration and health of the coral did not
seem to be affected.
Many corals in the Echinophyllia genus were disregarded in the early days due to miscollection
and poor handling by collectors and the species’ inability to travel long distances without resulting in
brown-outs. Because of their thin and fragile skeletons, it is crucial to handle them carefully by their
bottoms to prevent laceration of their sensitive tissues. They are known to be abundant producers of
mucus, so it is also extremely important to pack these corals with plenty of water when preparing them
for transit, as many specimens end up overpolluting their own water. Creating an inner “jacket” consisting of an open-top bag with slits cut, allowing them to be constantly soaked, can also protect their
delicate skeletons from fracture and minimize puncturing of the outer bag. Adding a small amount of
carbon pebbles to the bottom of the bag helps keep the transit water pure.
When handling wild imported specimens, it is best to cut away any exposed or dead portions of the
skeleton to prevent aggressive algae from settling on the surface and eventually overgrowing the adjacent living tissues. Loose skeleton flaps hanging onto the colony by just the tissue should be removed
to prevent any further tearing of the tissue. Echinophyllia corals are also susceptible to the infamous
“brown jelly disease,” which is caused by an aggressive species of protozoan that feeds on living tissue.
It is highly contagious and also affects species of other genera, and extra care must be taken when
handling affected specimens. To prevent “brown jelly” from further spreading in the water column,
carefully remove the colony without “spilling” it and rinse the coral aggressively in fresh RO solution.
Affected areas void of flesh and with the skeleton clearly visible should be cut away, with cuts being
generous as if amputating an infected area of flesh. Temperature can also be an important factor con-