Diatoms/Dinos Killing SPS Corals

Deltec

NigeltheBold

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
89
Reaction score
29
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I've finally been having some decent luck with SPS frags over the past several months. I've seen growth in my bird of paradise, purple stylophora and Hawkins echinata, as well as some encrusting in a couple of acro frags.

Unfortunately, over the past week or so, some brown stringy/filmy stuff has started to creep onto the corals, and it looks like it's choking-out some of the branches on my bird of paradise and Hawkins. I'm not sure what to do... I've tried adding GAC, skimming wetter than normal, doing water changes, and even dosing peroxide in the morning and evening. The brown stringy stuff doesn't seem bothered.

20220421_125901.jpg
20220421_125908.jpg


My nitrates are at about 5ppm, my phosphates are at .03ppm, salinity is 1.024, alkalinity is 8.1 and calcium/magnesium are in the ideal range. I'm not sure what the brown stuff is feeding on. I run a UV sterilizer in my sump 24/7.

My only guess is that my water has a little bit of silicates in it. The last water test that I sent off to ATI said that my RO water had 4000ppm of silicon. That was back at the beginning of March. I've since changed my RO filters and membrane, so hopefully that's helping. The tank water only had about 220ppm of silicon at the time of testing. I'd like to send another sample in soon, but I've been very busy.

Do you think the brown stuff is feeding off of silicates, or something else? What can I do to save my corals?
 
AquaCave Logo Banner

MnFish1

10K Club member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 28, 2016
Messages
16,223
Reaction score
16,761
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I would suggest that the coral tissue itself is having a problem - and the 'brown stringy stuff' is taking over the areas that are not doing well. Do you see any evidence of coral pests/parasites/worms, etc?
 

AlgaeBarn

Marine Aquariums Made Easy!
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 14, 2013
Messages
2,274
Reaction score
3,327
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
Location
Denver, Colorado
I've finally been having some decent luck with SPS frags over the past several months. I've seen growth in my bird of paradise, purple stylophora and Hawkins echinata, as well as some encrusting in a couple of acro frags.

Unfortunately, over the past week or so, some brown stringy/filmy stuff has started to creep onto the corals, and it looks like it's choking-out some of the branches on my bird of paradise and Hawkins. I'm not sure what to do... I've tried adding GAC, skimming wetter than normal, doing water changes, and even dosing peroxide in the morning and evening. The brown stringy stuff doesn't seem bothered.

20220421_125901.jpg
20220421_125908.jpg


My nitrates are at about 5ppm, my phosphates are at .03ppm, salinity is 1.024, alkalinity is 8.1 and calcium/magnesium are in the ideal range. I'm not sure what the brown stuff is feeding on. I run a UV sterilizer in my sump 24/7.

My only guess is that my water has a little bit of silicates in it. The last water test that I sent off to ATI said that my RO water had 4000ppm of silicon. That was back at the beginning of March. I've since changed my RO filters and membrane, so hopefully that's helping. The tank water only had about 220ppm of silicon at the time of testing. I'd like to send another sample in soon, but I've been very busy.

Do you think the brown stuff is feeding off of silicates, or something else? What can I do to save my corals?
Have you tried dosing phytoplankton? I'm assuming it's all over the tank and not just focused on the rocks with SPS?
 
Nutramar Foods

Tonycass12

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 18, 2020
Messages
796
Reaction score
1,226
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Traverse city
Looks like dinos. And your already getting RTN on the birdsnest. IME birdsnest corals are the first to go in a dino outbreak. If I were you I would turn off the skimmer and skip waterchanges until they are gone. That will help your nutrients creep up a little bit more and the dinos should start to dissappear. Waterchanges tend to make them much worse.

As for that birdsnest I would start blowing them off every chance you get and snip off the dead parts so the RTN doesn't progress further.
 
OP
N

NigeltheBold

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
89
Reaction score
29
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
The birdsnest was doing very very well until the tips started getting coated in brown stuff (presumably dinos). I don't think the tissue damage started until the dinos started covering the tips. I don't see any evidence of coral parasites/worms but I've never seen them before, so I don't really know what I'm looking for, I guess.

It's so counterintuitive to let nutrients rise... I know corals need some phosphate and nitrate to thrive, but I'm nervous to let the water get dirty/nutrient-rich because I don't want to see an algae or cyano outbreak. I guess it's all about balance! I'll try running the skimmer a little less and maybe remove the Brightwell Purit that I have in my sump. I also have a refugium with a decent amount of chaeto and gracilaria hayi. Should I try removing some of that to help boost nutrients in the tank?
 
OP
N

NigeltheBold

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
89
Reaction score
29
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
The birdsnest was doing very very well until the tips started getting coated in brown stuff (presumably dinos). I don't think the tissue damage started until the dinos started covering the tips. I don't see any evidence of coral parasites/worms but I've never seen them before, so I don't really know what I'm looking for, I guess.

It's so counterintuitive to let nutrients rise... I know corals need some phosphate and nitrate to thrive, but I'm nervous to let the water get dirty/nutrient-rich because I don't want to see an algae or cyano outbreak. I guess it's all about balance! I'll try running the skimmer a little less and maybe remove the Brightwell Purit that I have in my sump. I also have a refugium with a decent amount of chaeto and gracilaria hayi. Should I try removing some of that to help boost nutrients in the tank?
 
Nutramar Foods

Tonycass12

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 18, 2020
Messages
796
Reaction score
1,226
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Traverse city
The birdsnest was doing very very well until the tips started getting coated in brown stuff (presumably dinos). I don't think the tissue damage started until the dinos started covering the tips. I don't see any evidence of coral parasites/worms but I've never seen them before, so I don't really know what I'm looking for, I guess.

It's so counterintuitive to let nutrients rise... I know corals need some phosphate and nitrate to thrive, but I'm nervous to let the water get dirty/nutrient-rich because I don't want to see an algae or cyano outbreak. I guess it's all about balance! I'll try running the skimmer a little less and maybe remove the Brightwell Purit that I have in my sump. I also have a refugium with a decent amount of chaeto and gracilaria hayi. Should I try removing some of that to help boost nutrients in the tank?
I run my nutrients between 15 and 25 in an sps dominant system with a good size birdsnest colony. Letting your nutrients drift up a bit is going to help way more then it will hurt.
 

AlgaeBarn

Marine Aquariums Made Easy!
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 14, 2013
Messages
2,274
Reaction score
3,327
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
Location
Denver, Colorado
The birdsnest was doing very very well until the tips started getting coated in brown stuff (presumably dinos). I don't think the tissue damage started until the dinos started covering the tips. I don't see any evidence of coral parasites/worms but I've never seen them before, so I don't really know what I'm looking for, I guess.

It's so counterintuitive to let nutrients rise... I know corals need some phosphate and nitrate to thrive, but I'm nervous to let the water get dirty/nutrient-rich because I don't want to see an algae or cyano outbreak. I guess it's all about balance! I'll try running the skimmer a little less and maybe remove the Brightwell Purit that I have in my sump. I also have a refugium with a decent amount of chaeto and gracilaria hayi. Should I try removing some of that to help boost nutrients in the tank?
Pruning back your macro can definitely help! With as low as your nitrates are now, it was probably going to be time to do it pretty soon anyways :)
 
CLICK TO VIEW LIVESTREAM
OP
N

NigeltheBold

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
89
Reaction score
29
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I've got an update. I tested again today, and my phosphates are at .04ppm according to the Hannah checker. Nitrates may be slightly higher than before, but I think they're somewhere between 5 and 10ppm according to the salifert kit (hard to tell at those levels).

The dinos are getting a bit worse every day (see pic of return head). And I think I'm seeing some cyanobacteria starting to grow on my wavemaker. There's also some red bubbly stuff on the surface of the water on one end of the tank (see pics).

I'm going to try dosing some phytoplankton. My LFS carries Phyto Feast, so I'll give that a shot. Any other recommendations while I'm there? I can pick something else up if anyone can think of something that could help.

20220424_114127.jpg
20220424_114100.jpg
20220424_114108.jpg
 
Deltec

How much percent of space do you think your corals take up in your aquarium?

  • Up to 10%

    Votes: 28 20.3%
  • 10% to 25%

    Votes: 32 23.2%
  • 26% to 50%

    Votes: 39 28.3%
  • 51% to 75%

    Votes: 29 21.0%
  • 76% to 90%

    Votes: 4 2.9%
  • 90%+

    Votes: 6 4.3%
Aquarium Specialty
Top