Corals are amazing wonders of nature. They seem like such simple creatures, spineless and without brains, yet they are incredibly complex and highly resilient with some species being able to regrow an entire colony from but a single cell. And once in a while one does need a reminder of just how resilient they really are.
In 2011 I suffered a horrible calamity. The thermostat on the radiator in my aquarium room failed and heated up the entire room to a scorching 40 degrees Celsius! Needless to say my reef tank did not fare so well and most of my corals died while those that survived were nothing but a mere shadow of their former selves. My poor brain coral, one of my oldest colonies, was one of the fortunate few that did survive the ordeal. It more or less bleached instantly, becoming white as chalk, and over the months that followed most of the colony died. Eventually by 2012 the few polyps that remained had managed to reabsorb their zooxanthellae, ensuring its continued existence.
For some time after its ordeal it was very sickly, but as the years passed it eventually started to regain its strength and began growing anew. In the last year alone I have seen it undergo an explosive growth spurt and come back with a vengeance, reclaiming huge portions of the colonies old skeletal remains. It did not hit me just how well it had actually been doing until I was going over my old photos and found the one above, and compared it with this new photo I took today.
This heartwarming experience has if nothing else taught me that as long as only the tiniest fraction of a coral colony remains there is still hope. Given a little time and Tender Love and Care, even the most ravaged of colonies will eventually recover and thrive once again.