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Suspected Sediment Smothering damage to brain coral. Brain coral, approximately 8 inches in diameter with a outer ring of damage or disease. Coral found in area with otherwise healthy coral. I believe this is a case of sediment smoothering. See notes for interpretation.
Clean, tropical, well circulated marine waters. For coral health, conditions must allow for the symbotic relationship between algae and the coral.
Initially I thought this was the beginning of the dreaded white band disease, but on every photo I saw of white band, the disease also was present in most areas of the coral. In addition, white band disease does not necessarly destroy the grooved fabric. After a bit of research I discovered an article in an aquarium magazine that described sediment smothering which can result in tissue deteriorattion. The article said .."Fine particulate and organic flocculent material (detritus, silts, etc.) is easily borne into the water column where it can settle on coral surfaces. The mucus covering of corals, while generally helpful in removing such debris, is also a sort of sticky trap for such materials. While corals feed on organic particulates, excess can be problematic for several reasons. First, accumulations of particulate matter prevent light from reaching the coral surface in the local area of settlement. This can result in bleaching. Second, particulate material can smother the tissue, resulting in local hypoxia (a deficiency of oxygen reaching the tissues) or anoxia (hypoxia that causes damage)', http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2002/4/c....