At a Loss... Skin Thinning and Tissue Loss

Goneaway562

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This might be a little long but figured I'd give all of the information so I can get some great feedback. I have had my Red Sea Reefer 425XL (~100g) up for 2.5 years now. My parameters over the past two months have been the following:

Salinity: 1.026-1.027 (Calibrated Refractometer)
Alk: 7.7-8.3 (Trident, tested 4-6 times daily no more than a 0.1-0.2 swing a day)
Cal: 390-430 (Trident, tested 2-3 times daily)
Mag: 1300-1350 (Trident, tested 2-3 times daily)
NO3: ~3 (NYOS, has always had a little color, checked weekly)
PO4: 0.05-0.12 (Hanna, checked weekly)
Potassium: 380 (Checked mid May)
Temperature: 78-79 (Has peaked to 80 from 78 within a few hours)
Ph: 8.1-8.5 (Use a CO2 scrubber on the skimmer)

The issue I have been having is tips starting to die off on some acropora while others seem to thrive. I have also noticed some thinning skin around the bases on some as well. The two main culprits I have narrowed it down to is my temp swings of roughly 2 degrees in a day (note that this has happened occasionally if it is hotter outside, but I have since dialed it into 78-79 with a blower fan), or the use of some BRS ROX carbon (1/2 cup) that I hadn't used in quite some time. At first I thought the problem might've been low nutrients, but I do have some bubble algae and my glass gets dirty after about 1-2 days and has always been like that but I did dose a little bit of Brightwell Neonitro. I don't run any GFO, just filter floss, a fuge with chaeto and rubble rock, and a skimmer 24/7. Flow is provided by two MP40's running at 85% reef crest, an MP10 at 100% reef crest, and a Red Sea Reefwave 25 at 100% reef crest. Lighting is provided by a G4 XR30 Pro, G4 XR15 running AB+ and an Aquaticlife T5 hybrid.

Here are some pictures showing the issues I am having as of the past month or so. Any comments/help would be great. I can also provide other information if needed.
JuliusLightning.jpg
Hawaii!.jpg
GARF.jpg
Flamethrower.jpg


The colony below seems to be unphased by the recent problems seen above.
Heartbreaker.jpg
 
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Kattkrazie

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That first pic looks like textbook low N&P with high alk tip burn. How confident are you in the Trident alk tests? I was experiencing random burnt tips about 2 years ago and my fix was easy. I was runnng alk from 8.3 to 8.9 and I dialed down my doser until alk dropped to 7.3. So for the last few years, my alk has ranged from 7 to 7.7 and I can't remember the last time I've had a burnt tip.

Have you done an ICP test lately? Do you dose any trace elements? High potassium can cause burnt tips as can high zinc. I know you said you tested potassium in May which looked good (unless you've dosed traces since then).

Your parameters look good so I'm curious what an ICP would show.
 
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Goneaway562

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That first pic looks like textbook low N&P with high alk tip burn. How confident are you in the Trident alk tests? I was experiencing random burnt tips about 2 years ago and my fix was easy. I was runnng alk from 8.3 to 8.9 and I dialed down my doser until alk dropped to 7.3. So for the last few years, my alk has ranged from 7 to 7.7 and I can't remember the last time I've had a burnt tip.

Have you done an ICP test lately? Do you dose any trace elements? High potassium can cause burnt tips as can high zinc. I know you said you tested potassium in May which looked good (unless you've dosed traces since then).

Your parameters look good so I'm curious what an ICP would show.
Thanks for the response. I am fairly confident in the Trident tests as I spot check it to Salifert every few weeks and it is normally pretty spot on. I currently have it set to target 7.9 but will probably lower it to 7.5 or lower as you mentioned. Seems like more issues the higher I go. The weird thing is I have bubble algae and some hair algae still growing that has been here this entire time so I do have some nutrients but I suppose they could be out competing the coral.

The last ICP test was in March 2021 and everything looked the same as what I wrote above. Only thing low was iodine which always comes back low and I don’t dose for since it is consumed quickly. I just recently picked up some Potassium by Brightwell and dosed 15ml (about 1/3 needed to raise by 20ppm) so I don’t think that has had any effect yet nor would it since it tested 380 again today prior to dosing.

I just received the ICP test and plan to send it out tomorrow as I’m curious as well. Just really stumped on a few of these because everything seems to be in order.
 

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As you know, your setup and parameters are pretty ideal for acropora, so we may have to look beyond the obvious.

The happy colonies have obviously been with you a while and the trouble seems to be with the frags.
How long have they been in your care?
Any chance that they are wild and not aquacultured?
How much do you know about their source environment?

Tissue loss at the tips and base could have separate causes. Stuff around the base (for me) rings pest alarm bells. AEFW or white bugs. What is your dip?

Trouble at the tips as @Kattkrazie says is often ALK burn/low nutrient/high light. Or nippy dwarf angels. You could also check for a PAR hotspot. Funny things can happen with LED overlap along the glass sometimes.
 
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Goneaway562

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As you know, your setup and parameters are pretty ideal for acropora, so we may have to look beyond the obvious.

The happy colonies have obviously been with you a while and the trouble seems to be with the frags.
How long have they been in your care?
Any chance that they are wild and not aquacultured?
How much do you know about their source environment?

Tissue loss at the tips and base could have separate causes. Stuff around the base (for me) rings pest alarm bells. AEFW or white bugs. What is your dip?

Trouble at the tips as @Kattkrazie says is often ALK burn/low nutrient/high light. Or nippy dwarf angels. You could also check for a PAR hotspot. Funny things can happen with LED overlap along the glass sometimes.
Hey Scott,

The happy colonies I have are anywhere from 6 months to 1 year old now at this point. The newest frag I received on May 25th and all are aquacultured from either local hobbyists, Battlecorals, or Epic Aquaculture so for the most part I know I am getting reputable pieces.

As for the base issue, some could partially be due to me touching the frag when placing them in the locking frag rack, however I am not going to rule out any potential pests. I dip in Melafix for 5-7 minutes using a turkey baster, then visually inspect the frags before anything goes in. With that said, I do know that stuff could still get by unfortunately and I'll be on the lookout. Only other thing I can think of that might be doing this would be a couple peppermint shrimp I got to help with aptasia since I have seen them near the frags before.

As for the tips, I have since set my target alk to 7.5 on the Trident and will be lowering it. The PAR at the glass when I rented a meter was around 350 but like you said, there could be some hot spots and I may need to check again.

Thanks for the pointers and suggestions as I feel like I have been going through the motions of ruling stuff out and these help immensely.
 
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ScottB

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Hey Scott,

The happy colonies I have are anywhere from 6 months to 1 year old now at this point. The newest frag I received on May 25th and all are aquacultured from either local hobbyists, Battlecorals, or Epic Aquaculture so for the most part I know I am getting reputable pieces.

As for the base issue, some could partially be due to me touching the frag when placing them in the locking frag rack, however I am not going to rule out any potential pests. I dip in Melafix for 5-7 minutes using a turkey baster, then visually inspect the frags before anything goes in. With that said, I do know that stuff could still get by unfortunately and I'll be on the lookout. Only other thing I can think of that might be doing this would be a couple peppermint shrimp I got to help with aptasia since I have seen them near the frags before.

As for the tips, I have since set my target alk to 7.5 on the Trident and will be lowering it. The PAR at the glass when I rented a meter was around 350 but like you said, there could be some hot spots and I may need to check again.

Thanks for the pointers and suggestions as I feel like I have been going through the motions of ruling stuff out and these help immensely.
How soon after introduction did you see the necrosis?

I keep peppermints for a layer of pest control as well. At least I think I do as I never see them.

Bill and Adam both have pest control/eradication processes that are admired and modeled by many. Not all hobbyists though are managing for white bugs (tegastes acroporanus I think) with milbemycin oxime. If you see a repeating pattern of tissue loss around the bases, you might look into Interceptor.

Meant to also ask about dwarf angels. My coral beauty loves to nip new frags, never old colonies. Of course, she is the only one that knows the trap is for her.
 
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Goneaway562

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How soon after introduction did you see the necrosis?

I keep peppermints for a layer of pest control as well. At least I think I do as I never see them.

Bill and Adam both have pest control/eradication processes that are admired and modeled by many. Not all hobbyists though are managing for white bugs (tegastes acroporanus I think) with milbemycin oxime. If you see a repeating pattern of tissue loss around the bases, you might look into Interceptor.

Meant to also ask about dwarf angels. My coral beauty loves to nip new frags, never old colonies. Of course, she is the only one that knows the trap is for her.
For the few newer frags, I noticed the necrosis about 2-3 weeks after receiving them so it didn't seem like shipping was really the issue. I also noticed my more established stuff had issues around the same time.

That's good to know about peppermints but I'll still keep an eye on mine.

I will have to look into white bugs and see if I can get my hands on interceptor. This might be the perfect opportunity to move my inverts over to my soon to be connected frag tank while I do an interceptor cleanse.

As for dwarf angels, I do love them but don't have any because of the nipping problem. That seems to always be the case. I had a sixline that was a terror and was the only fish who wouldn't take the trap....
 
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Goneaway562

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Just reviving this thread again. I bought some interceptor which comes in the next few days. I have noticed some sort of white bug crawling on a few of my acroporas late at night so I’m going to do a treatment and wanted to make sure I’m doing it correctly.

Essentially 3x the recommended dose, mix in rodi really well then dose with both carbon and air on skimmer removed.

Wait 24hrs, hook skimmer up and put fresh carbon in system. Do 25% wc.

Then repeat on the 7th and 14th day.

Does that sound right? Thanks in advance @ScottB ! Hopefully this doesn’t harm my bonfire growout frag, however you probably already have the contest in the bag.
 

ScottB

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Just reviving this thread again. I bought some interceptor which comes in the next few days. I have noticed some sort of white bug crawling on a few of my acroporas late at night so I’m going to do a treatment and wanted to make sure I’m doing it correctly.

Essentially 3x the recommended dose, mix in rodi really well then dose with both carbon and air on skimmer removed.

Wait 24hrs, hook skimmer up and put fresh carbon in system. Do 25% wc.

Then repeat on the 7th and 14th day.

Does that sound right? Thanks in advance @ScottB ! Hopefully this doesn’t harm my bonfire growout frag, however you probably already have the contest in the bag.
If you see a bug crawling on live flesh, then consider it a predator. Dead flesh, it could just be a pod.

Yes, that is the right protocol. The pro aquaculture guys do it every 6 months regardless. All the ones I follow do anyway.

If you can't catch the shrimp now, you will be able to after a few hours in interceptor. They just go limp but generally recover when moved to clean water.

As to Bonfire, my system is going through some noise right now. I broke my CaRx and the transition back to 2-Part has been a little noisy. You just never know. That first month of growth was mind-blowing though I have to say. The colors are good too but I don't get much PE -- just bone growth.
 
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Goneaway562

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If you see a bug crawling on live flesh, then consider it a predator. Dead flesh, it could just be a pod.

Yes, that is the right protocol. The pro aquaculture guys do it every 6 months regardless. All the ones I follow do anyway.

If you can't catch the shrimp now, you will be able to after a few hours in interceptor. They just go limp but generally recover when moved to clean water.

As to Bonfire, my system is going through some noise right now. I broke my CaRx and the transition back to 2-Part has been a little noisy. You just never know. That first month of growth was mind-blowing though I have to say. The colors are good too but I don't get much PE -- just bone growth.
Definitely crawling on live flesh so it’s time to take action. Thanks for the tips! I’ll be interested to see how it goes and how everything responds.

Oh no! That’s never good…. I want to eventually transfer to CaRx but once I get more colonies it’ll be justified. Your growth was nuts the first month. Mine has great color and pe but it’s just getting fat which is exactly what my other frag of it of 6 months did at first before it started to table.
 
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