HELP! Losing LPS to bacterial infection?

Les Poissons

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Looking for help/suggestions… I’m losing my LPS one after another. The losses started 2-3 months ago with a plate coral that came in damaged and an Acan from the same shipment, and the issue has been gradually been getting worse and moving faster ever since.


Now I’m losing corals that have been established and growing for six months or more. So far it seems to be mostly limited to corals that are on the sand or low on the rocks, and LPS only (acans, favia, goni, alveopora - just retracted today, cyphastrea). Some other nice favia and leptastrea not yet affected. Euphyllia, chalice, and various SPS higher up on the rocks not yet affected. Zoas not affected.

Parameters have been fairly stable and are currently as follows:

ALK: 7.9
CA: 430
MG: 1400
NO3: 4.8
PO4: 0.07
SAL: 1.025
PH: 7.9
Temp: 77.5 F

10% water change weekly. No change to salt. No change to lighting schedule. No change to flow. ICP test doesn’t show any major deficiencies or contaminants. Sent away a water sample to AquaBiomics on Tuesday but it will likely be weeks before I get results.

Thinking maybe it’s a bacterial infection. No visible signs of pests. Started pulling the affected corals for a daily cipro bath yesterday. Pics below. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Some of the affected corals:
IMG_4046.jpg

IMG_4048.jpg

IMG_4175.JPG

IMG_4180.JPG


Some of the same corals before:
IMG_4187.PNG


Unaffected (yet) corals in the tank:
IMG_4176.JPG

IMG_4173.JPG

IMG_4179.JPG

IMG_4177.JPG

IMG_4171.JPG
 

LiLinka

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If it’s bacterial issue like brown jelly start dipping them in an iodine based dip. Seachem. And lugols are great options. You could also dip with revive as an extra measure to knock off any pests. If both of those don’t work an ICP test wouldn’t be a bad idea.
 

Lavey29

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You need higher Nitrates for LPS at least 10. They could be slowly starving to death for months and now show the outward signs of decline. What is your par?
 
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Les Poissons

Les Poissons

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If it’s bacterial issue like brown jelly start dipping them in an iodine based dip. Seachem. And lugols are great options. You could also dip with revive as an extra measure to knock off any pests. If both of those don’t work an ICP test wouldn’t be a bad idea.


Thanks for the response. As mentioned I recently had an ICP test done. Nothing out of order in the results. I’ve also tried iodine dips on the acans without success. Probably should have included that in my original post.
 
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You need higher Nitrates for LPS at least 10. They could be slowly starving to death for months and now show the outward signs of decline. What is your par?
About 125 on the sand in the middle, but several of these are in more shaded areas…probably 50-75 par. The way it has suddenly started spreading more makes me think bacteria, but I can definitely get the nitrates up. The alveopora has been getting worse by the hour today and it was perfect yesterday.
 

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About 125 on the sand in the middle, but several of these are in more shaded areas…probably 50-75 par. The way it has suddenly started spreading more makes me think bacteria, but I can definitely get the nitrates up. The alveopora has been getting worse by the hour today and it was perfect yesterday.
Have you checked all your equipment for rusted parts? I found my LPS really responded when I decreased flow. If you have primarily LPS you want 20x gph with your powerheads and return pump combined. Certainly there are bad bacteria that can attack your corals. See this more often with euphyllia. I have done ciprofloaxin dosing of my whole tank several times with no noticeable side effects and positive results for bacteria. You can try this but I would get nitrates up. Maybe bump par slightly. Dose some aminos for them
 
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Have you checked all your equipment for rusted parts? I found my LPS really responded when I decreased flow. If you have primarily LPS you want 20x gph with your powerheads and return pump combined. Certainly there are bad bacteria that can attack your corals. See this more often with euphyllia. I have done ciprofloaxin dosing of my whole tank several times with no noticeable side effects and positive results for bacteria. You can try this but I would get nitrates up. Maybe bump par slightly. Dose some aminos for them
Very little equipment that could rust and all of it checked out fine. I’m trying to hold off until my AquaBiomics report before I dose the tank with cipro, but I’m continuing cipro baths for the affected corals. No additional spread so far, but no improvement in the affected corals either. Using neonitro and extra feeding to get nitrates up. They actually had been closer to 10 until I added a new Ultra Reef skimmer a couple weeks ago. That thing is awesome and was immediately more effective (and silentl) compared to my old Red Sea skimmer. The problems with the LPS predated the skimmer change by several weeks, so I don’t think it’s related.
 
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Les Poissons

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Today I decided to step things up a little and cover more bases. I did a Bayer dip for 15 minutes and then included flatworm exit in one of my rinse dips before the cipro bath. Killed and stunned a decent number of little critters hiding on the frags, but a bunch of these little guys made it through and were in the bucket at the end. Some sort of flatworm? They are really tiny, like the size of a grain of salt. Could these be the source of my LPS issues?

 

Lavey29

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Today I decided to step things up a little and cover more bases. I did a Bayer dip for 15 minutes and then included flatworm exit in one of my rinse dips before the cipro bath. Killed and stunned a decent number of little critters hiding on the frags, but a bunch of these little guys made it through and were in the bucket at the end. Some sort of flatworm? They are really tiny, like the size of a grain of salt. Could these be the source of my LPS issues?

Certainly possible, Google euphyllia eating flatworms. There are some predators you can add to the tank or flatworm exit to but need to be cautious because dying flatworms release toxins.
 

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Looking for help/suggestions… I’m losing my LPS one after another. The losses started 2-3 months ago with a plate coral that came in damaged and an Acan from the same shipment, and the issue has been gradually been getting worse and moving faster ever since.


Now I’m losing corals that have been established and growing for six months or more. So far it seems to be mostly limited to corals that are on the sand or low on the rocks, and LPS only (acans, favia, goni, alveopora - just retracted today, cyphastrea). Some other nice favia and leptastrea not yet affected. Euphyllia, chalice, and various SPS higher up on the rocks not yet affected. Zoas not affected.

Parameters have been fairly stable and are currently as follows:

ALK: 7.9
CA: 430
MG: 1400
NO3: 4.8
PO4: 0.07
SAL: 1.025
PH: 7.9
Temp: 77.5 F

10% water change weekly. No change to salt. No change to lighting schedule. No change to flow. ICP test doesn’t show any major deficiencies or contaminants. Sent away a water sample to AquaBiomics on Tuesday but it will likely be weeks before I get results.

Thinking maybe it’s a bacterial infection. No visible signs of pests. Started pulling the affected corals for a daily cipro bath yesterday. Pics below. Any suggestions? Thanks!

So how could you confirm that this is a bacterial infection? I looked on Amazon and found that you can buy Petri dishes with medium for home use.

Maybe you could pull a few of the affected coral, swab and see if anything develops. Then post pictures so we can figure out the next step.

My only concern here is if you chase the bacterial infection theory for the next two weeks, and that isn't the problem, you've lost two weeks in the fight.
 
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Les Poissons

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So how could you confirm that this is a bacterial infection? I looked on Amazon and found that you can buy Petri dishes with medium for home use.

Maybe you could pull a few of the affected coral, swab and see if anything develops. Then post pictures so we can figure out the next step.

My only concern here is if you chase the bacterial infection theory for the next two weeks, and that isn't the problem, you've lost two weeks in the fight.
That’s why I tried the Bayer dip and flatworm exit today. I’m not sure I can “confirm” a bacterial infection, but the AquaBiomics test should tell me if the bacteria in my tank as a whole is outside of normal parameters. Interesting post from them related to brown jelly disease in Euphyllia possibly being caused by acrobacter and treated with cipro: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/e...ic-treatments-for-brown-jelly-disease.782438/

I have tried to rule out everything else. I have acans that are thriving and adding polyps inches away from where other acans were that are now dying. No major parameter swings, lighting changes, or flow changes. No contaminants that I can identify. No rust, no stray voltage. Maybe some nuisance hermit crabs, but it’s hard to explain the linear progression across the tank if they’re the cause. Given the lack of success with the cipro baths I’m not convinced it’s bacterial, but unless it’s a microscopic pest I don’t have any better ideas.
 

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My input, whenever I run into mysterious issues with LPS before, I used hydrogen peroxide at dip strengths suggested in Justin Grabels guide (just google) it works amazingly well and the hydrogen peroxide dip strength that LPS can handle is super high (at the top of the list) so it usually helps with anything bacterial. If it is BJD you’d need to act fast to isolate and probably would also suggest dosing the main tank with Cipro. Chemiclean is an alternative that works too ime.
By the way I believe what you found in the microscope video are ciliates. If they are the size of a grain of sand, that matches ciliates better than flatworms. Also flatworms tend to hold more of a consistent shape! Ciliates are complex protozoans that live in the substrate, they are normally benign, they feed on bacteria and algae, but when starved can potentially attack coral zooxanthellae for a food source.
 
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Dom

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That’s why I tried the Bayer dip and flatworm exit today. I’m not sure I can “confirm” a bacterial infection, but the AquaBiomics test should tell me if the bacteria in my tank as a whole is outside of normal parameters. Interesting post from them related to brown jelly disease in Euphyllia possibly being caused by acrobacter and treated with cipro: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/e...ic-treatments-for-brown-jelly-disease.782438/

I have tried to rule out everything else. I have acans that are thriving and adding polyps inches away from where other acans were that are now dying. No major parameter swings, lighting changes, or flow changes. No contaminants that I can identify. No rust, no stray voltage. Maybe some nuisance hermit crabs, but it’s hard to explain the linear progression across the tank if they’re the cause. Given the lack of success with the cipro baths I’m not convinced it’s bacterial, but unless it’s a microscopic pest I don’t have any better ideas.

I'm not familiar with AquaBiomics test. I'll have to do some reading. The link you've provided should be a good place to start.

But within the Nitrifying bacteria colony, Nitrosomonas and Nitrosococcus convert ammonia into Nitrite. Nitrobacter, Nitrospira, and Nitrococcus convert the nitrite into nitrate. So the presence of some bacteria is normal.

If it is bacterial and you treat with an antibiotic, how will it affect the nitrifying bacteria colony? Will the antibiotic lead to an ammonia spike?
 

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@Les Poissons

So I read the article connected to the link you've provided. And one thing that jumps out at me (I probably should have read the article before replying to your message):

"Although it's often repeated on the internet that adding antibiotics to your tank will kill the good bacteria, I hadn't seen any evidence of that."

What would that evidence look like?

I can understand that there are different degrees of resistance by bacteria to antibiotics, but the presence of antibiotics in a tank and not having the nitrifying bacteria colony affected is something I would need to understand better.

In my mind, antibiotics usually mean death to bacteria. It is why doctors will recommend probiotics in some form after a regiment of antibiotics.
 
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Les Poissons

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@Les Poissons

So I read the article connected to the link you've provided. And one thing that jumps out at me (I probably should have read the article before replying to your message):

"Although it's often repeated on the internet that adding antibiotics to your tank will kill the good bacteria, I hadn't seen any evidence of that."

What would that evidence look like?

I can understand that there are different degrees of resistance by bacteria to antibiotics, but the presence of antibiotics in a tank and not having the nitrifying bacteria colony affected is something I would need to understand better.

In my mind, antibiotics usually mean death to bacteria. It is why doctors will recommend probiotics in some form after a regiment of antibiotics.
I share some of your concerns despite reading several reports of cipro dosing not hurting the tank. For now I’m sticking to cipro treatment outside the tank. It will be 3-4 weeks before I get the report back on the bacterial profile of my tank and if it’s relatively normal or atypical. Until I know more (or unless I start losing significantly more coral) I’m going to be very cautious.

I may give a hydrogen peroxide dip a try as well if nothing improves, but i don’t want to do too much at one time. First I need to see if yesterday’s Bayer dip might have made any difference.
 

Lavey29

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I'm not familiar with AquaBiomics test. I'll have to do some reading. The link you've provided should be a good place to start.

But within the Nitrifying bacteria colony, Nitrosomonas and Nitrosococcus convert ammonia into Nitrite. Nitrobacter, Nitrospira, and Nitrococcus convert the nitrite into nitrate. So the presence of some bacteria is normal.

If it is bacterial and you treat with an antibiotic, how will it affect the nitrifying bacteria colony? Will the antibiotic lead to an ammonia spike?
I've used ciprofloaxin in my tank multiple times with positive results and no noticeable side effects but I do wonder if it attacks good bacteria also as it targets the bad.
 

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Quoting the abstract for a research paper on ciliates associated with coral disease.
“Incidences of coral disease are increasing. Most studies which focus on diseases in these organisms routinely assess variations in bacterial associates. However, other microorganism groups such as viruses, fungi and protozoa are only recently starting to receive attention. This study aimed at assessing the diversity of ciliates associated with coral diseases over a wide geographical range. Here we show that a wide variety of ciliates are associated with all nine coral diseases assessed. Many of these ciliates such as Trochilia petrani and Glauconema trihymene feed on the bacteria which are likely colonizing the bare skeleton exposed by the advancing disease lesion or the necrotic tissue itself. Others such as Pseudokeronopsis and Licnophora macfarlandi are common predators of other protozoans and will be attracted by the increase in other ciliate species to the lesion interface. However, a few ciliate species (namely Varistrombidium kielum, Philaster lucinda, P. guamensis, a Euplotes sp., a Trachelotractus sp. and a Condylostoma sp.) appear to harbor symbiotic algae, potentially from the coral themselves, a result which may indicate they play some role in the disease pathology at the very least.”

another research paper referencing ciliates and disease with indo corals

“A unique coral disease has appeared on several Indo-Pacific reefs. Unlike most known coral diseases, this one is caused by an eukaryote, specifically Halofolliculina corallasia, a heterotrich, folliculinid ciliate. This protist is sessile inside of a secreted black test or lorica. It kills the coral and damages the skeleton when it settles on the living coral tissue and secretes the lorica. Thus, the disease was termed Skeleton Eroding Band (SEB).”
 

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