Corals arnt looking too hot..

Discussion in 'New to Saltwater & Reef Aquariums? Post Here' started by Bthomas, May 14, 2018.

  1. Bthomas

    Bthomas Active Member

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    I'm new to all this so please forgive me.. I added a few frags to my tank a week ago and most of them still havnt opened/dont look good.
    I have 3 mushroom frags one is doing fine, open and happy, the other 2 not so much..
    2 zoa frags that still havnt opened much at all, a monticap frag that started to pale out so I moved it to the sand bed today (not sure if that had anything to do with lights or not), and a hammer that seems to be doing fine..
    All these corals went through a 76 day quarantine where they were looking alot better then they do now.
    Tank params seem to be in check:
    Salinity - 1.025
    Nitrate - 5
    Calcium - 415
    Alk - 8.8
    PH - 8.1
    Tank is about 4 months old
    Im running carbon and gfo in a reactor and using filter socks
    Weekly water changes
    I've tried different locations for the mushrooms with no luck but havnt tried moving the zoas around much.
    Anything I'm doing wrong? Any advice? [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  2. mcarroll

    mcarroll Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Notably PO4 test results are missing.

    GFO use and the "slimy brown algae" in most of the pics suggests the PO4 might be extremely low or zero.

    Corals could be suffering directly from PO4 limitation.

    Unfortunately, corals may also be suffering from dino toxin's, if those are indeed dino-strands.

    Here's where to start:
    1. Remove the GFO and any other "extra nutrient removers" like bio-blocks or carbon dosing systems, etc
    2. Add activated carbon, either in a bag or a reactor. Use 1/4 the recommended amount. Change it at 4x the recommended frequency. (Often, this means a quarter cup per hundred gallons, changed out weekly instead of the usual 1 cup/monthly.)
    3. Work through the info and links in the first post here: Dinoflagellates – Are You Tired Of Battling Altogether?
    4. You're on the right track with posting questions – keep it up!! :)
    Work hard on #1 and #2 first as they are for the safety of your and your animals.

    Worry about 3 and 4 afterward. :)
     
  3. Maacc

    Maacc Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Mcarrol is spot on here. Following the above should have you in good shape in just a few months.
     
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  4. Bthomas

    Bthomas Active Member

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    I was thinking Dino as well because it is long and stringy in spots. I did not know it came with toxins tho.. I was using the gfo because of the algae, which I have in a reactor mixed with carbon at the moment.
    It started as green hair algae but in the last week or 2 has turned into this brown slimy stuff.
    I've tried testing p04 with api but have trouble reading the results. It always does look very low/non existent but I thought that was common to get low readings with large amounts of algae consuming it.
    I will remove the gfo and go to just carbon changed more frequently like you said.
     
  5. Bthomas

    Bthomas Active Member

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    More questions:
    Do I need to worry about anything regarding the possible toxins?
    Should I be trying to remove any of this algae manually?
    Should filter socks stay in place or no?
    If I'm understanding correctly, removing the gfo and using carbon changed weekly should eventually take care of things?
    Anything else I should do for the corals to ensure they pull through?
     
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  6. ihavecrabs

    ihavecrabs Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    You got some great advice above on PO4.

    Toxins, not likely, especially if you are running carbon.

    That algae is normal for the age of the tank. Put the clean up crew to work, but don't by so many they clean everything up and starve.. That leads to more algae

    Filter socks are a personal choice. If you are going to run them, keep them clean!

    Anything else.. I'd start testing PO4 with a quality kit like Hanna, Salifert, or red sea to name a few.

    Keep up the questions when you have them! Good luck!
     
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  7. RobZilla04

    RobZilla04 Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Looks like you've got a case of cyano going on there. Four months is really immature for many corals. As mentioned previously GFO run 24/7 is not really a good idea. You need phosphate and nitrate test results to know what is going on with the water chemistry beyond the big three (Cal, Alk, & Mg). pH really isn't worth chasing as in most cases it drives the Alk number into chaos. Best to toss the pH test kit. Even carbon is only used to "polish" water or collect impurities if you suspect there is something in the water that you cannot remove through other means.
     
  8. mcarroll

    mcarroll Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    This bit of your tank's history might be a good sign.....we could be looking at hair algae with cyano. That means the hair algae is on its way out...just needs a little help.

    But it could be all three....the strands across the corals are quite suspicious. And with the GFO usage on such a new tank dino's seem likely.

    It won't take too much effort to prove out what it is...there are some tests in that Dino post. )Do you have at least a toy microscope?)

    The nutshell version: shake up a sample in a vial and just leave it under light.....only dino's will regroup into a little snotty mass. Diatoms don't swim. Hair algae will stay hairy. ;) Cyano stays cyano, but should bubble in hydrogen peroxide. There are some more tests to narrow it down better and further, but that's the quick version.

    They are apparently very similar to palytoxin, so yes.

    They seem to affect everything from microbes to higher animals (like us).

    Some folks even notice a smell that apparently accompanies the toxins.

    Thankfully activated carbon is apparently VERY good at removing these toxins from water....hence the recommendation on it.

    Remove the phosphate limitation.
    Dosing phosphate fertilizer is usually recomended to make an immediate correction, followed by adjustments in your processes to make sure enough food is going in to match current requirements and to make sure nutrients stay fairly balanced for the foreseeable future. Keep some N and P fertilizers on hand until you have LOTS of normal algae and LOTS of coral growth. (You should also have LOTS of cleanup crew grazing down that algae, so don't forget to scale them up and help them out too as time goes on and green algae grows!)

    Add activated carbon to assure no toxins are building up, as mentioned already.
     
  9. Bthomas

    Bthomas Active Member

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    Will dosing phosphate fertilizer encourage more nuisance algae to grow? I want to get rid of all algae not add more..
    Adding more clean up crew is problematic because I'm quarantining all coral and inverts for 76 days so it would take at least that long before I can have any more in there..
    I'm removing the gfo today and changing the carbon. I also have a Hanna phosphate checker on the way so I can get accurate readings
    I don't own a microscope but here are some more photos of the algae if this will help any[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  10. mcarroll

    mcarroll Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    No you don't. ;)

    You Want Algae
    I know you don't want algae taking over the display.

    But that's a far different proposition than eradicating all algae, or having none.

    To put it as simply as possible: No algae = No reef

    Say "Yes" to algae.

    But "No" to big algae blooms.

    Thankfully saying "No" is easy
    No more big spikes of nutrients = no more blooms of algae.

    When you add fish or corals (but especially fish) add them one at a time....two at most.

    That's all it takes. No more algae blooms.

    If you're really consistent with feeding, that's a big plus as well. If you can't be consistent, don't hesitate to use an auto-feeder. (As always, don't overfeed.)
     
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  11. Bthomas

    Bthomas Active Member

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    Understood.
    So would it be a good idea to go ahead and order some phosphate and nitrate additives or wait to see exactly what my phosphate readings are?
    Do I need to dose nitrate and phosphate together even with nitrates being around 5
     
  12. mcarroll

    mcarroll Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    No need for more nitrates in the water now, but yes to ordering both and yet to adding po4 now.

    You won't be adding much and there's no downside even if we're wrong about all the other stuff....even your PO4 test says effectively zero. Not good. :)

    Dose up to 0.10 ppm and don't let it return to zero....play each dose by ear though since you haven't confirmed much yet.

    (Did you already try any/all of the tests? I can't remember.)
     
  13. Bthomas

    Bthomas Active Member

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    I have not done any testing to figure out the type of algae no (don't own a microscope and havnt read through the rest of that post yet).
    I also havnt tested phosphate in a long time so I guess I'm concerned that it may not be at zero so therefore adding more would be bad..
    I don't want to cause the gha to come back
     
  14. RobZilla04

    RobZilla04 Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Those pictures a few posts up are of cyanobacteria not algae btw.
     
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  15. ihavecrabs

    ihavecrabs Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I'm with @mcarrol on this.

    Start testing PO4 and NO3 religiously to start. I went through this same algae and cyano/dino in my new tank as well.

    Once things mature and your system stabilizes, you can back off testing so frequently. Until then, if your PO4 bottoms out, you will likely get the cyano and dino back with a vengeance. If you let it get too high, algae takes over.

    Best thing to do is keep both in acceptable ranges for your desired livestock and keep algae in check with a CUC.
     
  16. Bthomas

    Bthomas Active Member

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    Just tested nitrate again today before my water change and it was between 2-5 so it does seem to be going down..
    I'll have the phosphate Hanna checker in a few days along with some nitrate and phosphate additives so I can start testing that and dosing as needed..
     
  17. Danh Ngo

    Danh Ngo Active Member

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    It is dinos, add active carbon and manually remove it as much as posible.
    Carbon will remove toxin. Normal Cyano and brown dont have air bubble, from your picture I can tell, it is dinos
    Raise Nutrient, cut back photoperiod
     
  18. mcarroll

    mcarroll Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    So testing phosphates ought to be among your list of other testing priorities so guessing can be eliminated and you can get to work! :) :) :) :)

    Keep in mind that we're not guessing on the PO4 though, we're inferring from the evidence we know from your tank so far.

    PO4 might not be low, but then you are back to a total mystery as to the algae and what's going on with your corals.

    I wouldn't wait on adding PO4 myself since there's no downside even if it turns out not to be low currently.

    The potential downside or risk if you wait and if our inferences are correct is that corals will continue to decline and dino's will continue to be promoted over other algae. (The presence of cyano and possibly green algae in your mix means that things may recover very quickly if not allowed to decline further to the point that they are gone.)

    All you're doing in the course of dosing is adding 0.10 ppm of potassium and phosphate (KNO3) – that's it. Practically nothing in the scope of what you're likely to be adding every day in food. But importantly you're applying only those two elements strategically at a time when there appears to be a need for it. (It only seems like "a lot" or "extreme" or whatever cuz of how we're programmed to be soooooo anti-nutrient. Check out Aquarium Chemistry: Phosphate And Math: Yes You Need To ...)

    BTW I forget if we covered it, but how has your CUC been? Pods too. What's in your CUC?
     
  19. Bthomas

    Bthomas Active Member

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    My clean up crew is still pretty light.. 6 trochus, 6 Astrea, 2 turbos and about a dozen hermits.
    I havnt added any pods but I did see some in the tank at one point but have not seen any for awhile..
    I have around 20 dwarf cerith, a couple larger cerith and a couple nerite ready to come out of quarantine on the 23rd.
    Anything you recommend that I should add?
    Like I said quarantining everything for 76 days makes it hard to beef that up quickly..


    I will start testing religiously and dosing phosphate just as soon as the stuff I ordered gets here.. In the meantime do u think it would be best to move the corals back to quarantine?
     
  20. mcarroll

    mcarroll Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    This is a "tell" of dino toxins at work. Take a good loon around the tank and be sure....if you have no pods, you almost surely have dino toxins.

    FYI, if you haven't looked at the dino's thread much yet, there's also info there on getting a scope. A $10-$20 toy scope is all you need (a nicer one will be MUCH nicer tho), so get one locally or online asap. Until then, the circumstantial evidence continues to amass. ;Pompus :D
     
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