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If It Looks Like This At A Fish Store, Think Before Buying

Bleached Coral

In defense of local fish stores, good help can be hard to find.

When I arrived at a customer’s home, they told me that they had added a new coral to one of their aquariums. Corals generally do very well in the aquarium, so I was looking forward to seeing it.

I went upstairs to take a look, and when I saw the coral, my first thought was that something had gone wrong in the aquarium. So I looked at the other corals, and saw that they were all doing very well, so something must have happened during transport or acclimation, because the coral had bleached out, and its mouth was gaping wide open.

Bad news is never fun to deliver to anybody, especially when it involves a new purchase. I shared my observation with him and pointed out what I saw…

…and he told me that they had bought it like that two days before.

A fish store sold that coral… they either knew it was bad and sold it before it died, or they didn’t know that it was a dying coral. Neither case is good.

If a coral looks like the one in the picture, think before buying it.

The vast majority of corals are not white, unless they have expelled their zooxanthellae algae (bleached out), which they depend on for photosynthesis as part of a symbiotic relationship.

The gaping mouth at the middle is another clue as to the health of the coral. It’s more than just an open mouth, but it looks similar to a plastic bag being stretched too far to the point where it opens.

If you are considering a purchase at a local fish store and want a second opinion, ask your ReefTechs technician, and we will share our observations with you.

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