Help me understand my SPS crash

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MBruun

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I was using a large (75 liter) black container bought in the local hardware store (think it is called a mason tub). From now on I'll always use plastic approved for food storage.
I had to leave the water without disturbance for like 30 min to see the film.
It was just asinspiration for looking elsewhere for the cause, since for me it was not measurable by ICP test or something hapening over night. It came slowely and became worth the more water changes I made.
I dumped all my rockwork and started completely over
 
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ycnibrc

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Your water is contaminated with some kind of bacteria if u leave your sps they will die. If u have a friend dip your corals with lugos solutions and have him keep it for u. The flesh of your sps infect the water and it will infect the rest of your sps.
 

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^This

I was just about to say you might have a bad pathogen/bacteria like Acrobacter, etc. You could send a sample to Aquabiomics to see.

I am going through the same right now and I believe it is due to this as well. I started Cipro a couple days ago and already see improvements.

If you have exhausted all possibilities then I would recommend treating the tank with Cipro along with a UV sterilizer after the treatment.
 

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Your water is contaminated with some kind of bacteria if u leave your sps they will die. If u have a friend dip your corals with lugos solutions and have him keep it for u. The flesh of your sps infect the water and it will infect the rest of your sps.
oh man... I thought this was a troll post. That sounds like a really bad time.
 

kwirky

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What I’m confused about is Browning corals especially SPS is 99% of the time due to high nutrients yet OP is claiming they keep going low so what is really happening my guess is his nutrients are swinging all over the place way high and Way low
I've kept acros in ultra low nutrience, 0 nitrate due to light feeding, for months without death but coupled with low par, very blue lights, and no pest algae in the tank (fluconazole treatment). They didn't really grow, and turned brown to try to maximize all the nutrient uptake they could. They weren't healthy though, it's not something I'm doing any more, after figuring out how to better integrate maintenance that matters in my lifestyle.

As for op: I've experienced the same loss if acros due to nitrate and phosphate problems left unchecked then corrected too quickly. If you keep pest algae at bay (ie: scrub rocks close to frags with tooth brush to keep algae at bay), slowly bring down your nutrients, they can eventually come back.

When things are going bad for me, i need to test a few times a week for a couple weeks to see what sort of trans is happening, and monitor changes to chemistry caused by changes to husbandry. Then when i feel like I've stabilized at a good place i need to test weekly, until the corals fully recover and reach mini-colony size. While they're frags, they're sensitive, so testing weekly ensures if something is awry, i catch it.

Finally, schedule "on call" time to handle problems once a week. There may not be problems once you stabilize, but I've found that if i pack my personal schedule while my tank is in an compromised condition, I'm not able to make corrections when the need arises, due to lack of time. I test mid week so that if i see something awry i know before the weekend that I'll be spending some if my weekend on more tank maintenance than usual. My spouse likes the advance notice, too.
 
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Llorgon

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Your water is contaminated with some kind of bacteria if u leave your sps they will die. If u have a friend dip your corals with lugos solutions and have him keep it for u. The flesh of your sps infect the water and it will infect the rest of your sps.

^This

I was just about to say you might have a bad pathogen/bacteria like Acrobacter, etc. You could send a sample to Aquabiomics to see.

I am going through the same right now and I believe it is due to this as well. I started Cipro a couple days ago and already see improvements.

If you have exhausted all possibilities then I would recommend treating the tank with Cipro along with a UV sterilizer after the treatment.
Interesting thoughts on the bacteria. Could explain why I am also seeing the same thing in my smaller tank. I'll have to see about Cipro, not a lot of fish medication readily available in Canada.

I guess I will have to order the aquabiomics test. Annoying that it's $150 here...
I've kept acros in ultra low nutrience, 0 nitrate due to light feeding, for months without death but coupled with low par, very blue lights, and no pest algae in the tank (fluconazole treatment). They didn't really grow, and turned brown to try to maximize all the nutrient uptake they could. They weren't healthy though, it's not something I'm doing any more, after figuring out how to better integrate maintenance that matters in my lifestyle.

As for op: I've experienced the same loss if acros due to nitrate and phosphate problems left unchecked then corrected too quickly. If you keep pest algae at bay (ie: scrub rocks close to frags with tooth brush to keep algae at bay), slowly bring down your nutrients, they can eventually come back.

When things are going bad for me, i need to test a few times a week for a couple weeks to see what sort of trans is happening, and monitor changes to chemistry caused by changes to husbandry. Then when i feel like I've stabilized at a good place i need to test weekly, until the corals fully recover and reach mini-colony size. While they're frags, they're sensitive, so testing weekly ensures if something is awry, i catch it.

Finally, schedule "on call" time to handle problems once a week. There may not be problems once you stabilize, but I've found that if i pack my personal schedule while my tank is in an compromised condition, I'm not able to make corrections when the need arises, due to lack of time. I test mid week so that if i see something awry i know before the weekend that I'll be spending some if my weekend on more tank maintenance than usual. My spouse likes the advance notice, too.
I definitely corrected too quickly and over corrected as well. Combine that with some over feeding while on vacation and I have tons of gha to deal with.

On the plus side, I came back from vacation today and haven't seen more tissue lost in the few SPS I have left. Unfortunately there is more tissue loss in the 25g and I will probably lose some larger colonies which is a real bummer. Always tough when you have 2 tanks and both aren't happy.
 
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Llorgon

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I've had some time to think about next steps while I was away from the tank. The thought of shutting it all down definitely crossed my mind, but I still have 15 hammer and frogspawn frags in the tank and I think I am going to double down on the euphyllia since they seem to have survived. Since the small tank is seeing the same thing happen I think I will move the rock and corals into the big tank and use the 25g as a frag tank to QT new frags

I have 6 SPS left in the tank. 3 have partial tissue loss, 2 have no tissue loss and still have colour and one has lost all colour, but no tissue loss. I will keep those and move them to higher par/flow area as I slowly adjust the tank to be more suited to Euphyllia and LPS that have survived.

My immediate plan of attack on the tank:
Ordered a new gravel vac. One I am currently using is 10+ years old, who knows that might be causing issues.
Order some MB7
Order some live phytoplankton and some pods (I heard this can help with nutrients and algae)
Keep scrubbing rocks and manually removing gha
Add some more CUC
Once the big tank is staring to look better I will slowly start moving corals over from the 25g.

One question I had, how bad would doing a dose of fluxRX be? just as a reset point? Kill a bunch of the gha then work on keeping it away with the above. Or just stick with the above and leave out any chemicals.
 

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I've had some time to think about next steps while I was away from the tank. The thought of shutting it all down definitely crossed my mind, but I still have 15 hammer and frogspawn frags in the tank and I think I am going to double down on the euphyllia since they seem to have survived. Since the small tank is seeing the same thing happen I think I will move the rock and corals into the big tank and use the 25g as a frag tank to QT new frags

I have 6 SPS left in the tank. 3 have partial tissue loss, 2 have no tissue loss and still have colour and one has lost all colour, but no tissue loss. I will keep those and move them to higher par/flow area as I slowly adjust the tank to be more suited to Euphyllia and LPS that have survived.

My immediate plan of attack on the tank:
Ordered a new gravel vac. One I am currently using is 10+ years old, who knows that might be causing issues.
Order some MB7
Order some live phytoplankton and some pods (I heard this can help with nutrients and algae)
Keep scrubbing rocks and manually removing gha
Add some more CUC
Once the big tank is staring to look better I will slowly start moving corals over from the 25g.

One question I had, how bad would doing a dose of fluxRX be? just as a reset point? Kill a bunch of the gha then work on keeping it away with the above. Or just stick with the above and leave out any chemicals.
I just did a dose. I think its pretty reef safe. I'm only 24hrs in...
 
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JCOLE

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I've had some time to think about next steps while I was away from the tank. The thought of shutting it all down definitely crossed my mind, but I still have 15 hammer and frogspawn frags in the tank and I think I am going to double down on the euphyllia since they seem to have survived. Since the small tank is seeing the same thing happen I think I will move the rock and corals into the big tank and use the 25g as a frag tank to QT new frags

I have 6 SPS left in the tank. 3 have partial tissue loss, 2 have no tissue loss and still have colour and one has lost all colour, but no tissue loss. I will keep those and move them to higher par/flow area as I slowly adjust the tank to be more suited to Euphyllia and LPS that have survived.

My immediate plan of attack on the tank:
Ordered a new gravel vac. One I am currently using is 10+ years old, who knows that might be causing issues.
Order some MB7
Order some live phytoplankton and some pods (I heard this can help with nutrients and algae)
Keep scrubbing rocks and manually removing gha
Add some more CUC
Once the big tank is staring to look better I will slowly start moving corals over from the 25g.

One question I had, how bad would doing a dose of fluxRX be? just as a reset point? Kill a bunch of the gha then work on keeping it away with the above. Or just stick with the above and leave out any chemicals.

I would hold off on the Fluconazole at the moment. It will not do anything for bad bacteria if that is what you have. I won't use it again in any of my systems with Acro's anymore. It kills the cell walls of algae and in therefore I believe also attacks the algae within the corals(this is anecdotal). It does kill Bryopsis though.

I would only suggest Fluconazole if you have a very healthy system and that would only be for a Bryopsis plague. GHA is easily managed by controlling your nutrients and a good CUC. If your corals are dying/stressed from a bad bacteria, etc then Fluconazole will more than likely kill them.

Personally I would slap a UV on there and run Cipro. Wait a month or so and see if things improve. Down the road run Fluconazole if absolutely needed.

PM me if you want to know more about Cipro, etc.
 
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Llorgon

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I would hold off on the Fluconazole at the moment. It will not do anything for bad bacteria if that is what you have. I won't use it again in any of my systems with Acro's anymore. It kills the cell walls of algae and in therefore I believe also attacks the algae within the corals(this is anecdotal). It does kill Bryopsis though.

I would only suggest Fluconazole if you have a very healthy system and that would only be for a Bryopsis plague. GHA is easily managed by controlling your nutrients and a good CUC. If your corals are dying/stressed from a bad bacteria, etc then Fluconazole will more than likely kill them.

Personally I would slap a UV on there and run Cipro. Wait a month or so and see if things improve. Down the road run Fluconazole if absolutely needed.

PM me if you want to know more about Cipro, etc.
I'll have to search around for Cipro. All the fish medications are banned in Canada so you either have to get it from a vet or see if you can find some on ebay/online and hope that it doesn't get stopped at the border.
 
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Llorgon

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Here is what the tank is looking like today. Needs a glass clean and another rock scrubbing. I'm seeing more Coraline growth. Even have some starting on the rocks!
 

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Llorgon

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Here's the tank after a couple days of scrubbing rocks. It's starting to look a bit better. There's tons of gha in the refugium and it's starting to choke out the caulerpa. I removed a cup full of gha tonight.

The 2 remaining SPS that have no tissue lost seem to be doing ok. The euphyllia are still unhappy. I might try moving things around this week. The one octospawn I put on the rocks seems to be liking it.
 

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mfollen

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Get a ton of Mexican turbo snails while you dose phyto and bacteria. I have had good experience with fauna marin and biodigest. Be ready to siphon out mass snail turds once a week once they get going.

You need a reset of the microfauna. I’ve ridden tanks of hair algae and turf algae, it should be done right via predation and competition and it will take time.

Two other potential issues:
How are you measuring salinity? Do you have a second means to verify/test against?
How low does ph go in the morning?
 

cooltowncorals

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Here is a thought, where did you get your rock from? Is it full of phosphates?

I got live rock from a guy running a Fowler years ago and had super high phosphates for 5 months. Would test see it low like .02 but gHA would be growing endlessly everywhere with that much GHA feel free to assume your available phosphates (from feeding) and from rock are much higher than your test kit shows (fwiw carbon dosing much easier than trying to grow macro imo and you can dose nitrates with carbon to limit phosphates). The GHA is using up the excess phosphates when they become available so they test low but you are supplying way to much with that much GHA

Please Remember all tanks are growing some hermit crabs and snails are eating it if you are totally out growing their consumption something is off to much food not being eaten or something look at that

I’m going to go against the grain here a bit.

stop doing water changes for at least one month

you use an ATO so you shouldn’t have any salinity swings

First focus on your doser and test your alk and calcium every two days at the same time of day to figure out your dose use the same test kits the same way every time (even if you have small user error and you calcium is 440 instead of 430 no big deal)

then spread your dose throughout the day

for example if you dose 20ml of alk per day do it 5ml every 6 hours so tank alk is stable all day not 8.2 to 7.8 slowly over 24 hours then spiked back to 8.2

get both calcium and alk stable for two weeks this way then start checking every week

After a week if you have dropped over say .2 alk raise up your daily dose by using BRS calculator to figure out how much (catch up dose divided by 7)

The problem with your huge water changes is if you are doing 15 gallon water changes every week is you are most likely causing to much quick change

for instance your alk goes from 8.4 to 8.1 right now cause your salt mix was alk 9.0 and your tank was at 8.0

then your calcium goes 450 to 430 right now

these are major swings like buying a coral from a store and putting in your tank

for your next monthly water change after you have kept major stable for a month test your tank for the three major

then test your water change water then make them match

also make sure the temp is the exact same

then do a water change

I just get the sense things are not as stable as you think

the ocean is so much water it can not change quickly to get sps to grow and thrive your only goal is to keep things stable all the time

if things move to often you won’t get growth if they move to often some more things can RTN or slowly die

it’s possible you have something else going on like bacteria but I would guess one coral had a bad reaction to N and P moving fast or from constant changes and

then you started chasing the problem and every time you change something, a light setting, an power head schedule, move a coral from one spot to another in the tank rearrange rocks, ect, ect. You are not providing a stable environment.

think about it like this if you planted a tree in your backyard in a pot and then every couple days moved it from direct sun to shade to partial shade to direct sun and you watered it ten gallons today 1 gallon tomorrow ten again then no water for a week then ten gallons again and constantly changed how many nutrients were available for it to grow what do you think would happen to this tree?

Think stability I feed one cube and one sheet of nori everyday and dose ab+ Daily Once a week I do a second cube and feed anemone and coral I do different kids of cubes but I put in approximate the same amount of Phosphates most every day

lots of hermit crabs (one per gallon plus some snails) to eat the food the fish don’t

when I buy a coral from the store it sits alive for 1-3 months then it starts to explode in growth

pick a setting you like find a home for corals and then stick with it
 
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Llorgon

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Get a ton of Mexican turbo snails while you dose phyto and bacteria. I have had good experience with fauna marin and biodigest. Be ready to siphon out mass snail turds once a week once they get going.

You need a reset of the microfauna. I’ve ridden tanks of hair algae and turf algae, it should be done right via predation and competition and it will take time.

Two other potential issues:
How are you measuring salinity? Do you have a second means to verify/test against?
How low does ph go in the morning?
I hope the place I usually order snails from gets Mexican turbos in soon. I did notice last night that tons of snails come out at night. Definitely a hitchhiker of some sort.

I guess I should order some pods too to go along with the phyto.

Salinity has been measured, calibrated and remeasured. I have a refractometer and hanna salinity checker.

I'm honestly not sure about ph, my apex has refused to connect to fusion for the last month and a bit so I can't see the probe readings. It's on my list of things to investigate when I get a free weekend.... From what I could remember though it wouldn't usually go below 8.
Here is a thought, where did you get your rock from? Is it full of phosphates?

I got live rock from a guy running a Fowler years ago and had super high phosphates for 5 months. Would test see it low like .02 but gHA would be growing endlessly everywhere with that much GHA feel free to assume your available phosphates (from feeding) and from rock are much higher than your test kit shows (fwiw carbon dosing much easier than trying to grow macro imo and you can dose nitrates with carbon to limit phosphates). The GHA is using up the excess phosphates when they become available so they test low but you are supplying way to much with that much GHA

Please Remember all tanks are growing some hermit crabs and snails are eating it if you are totally out growing their consumption something is off to much food not being eaten or something look at that

I’m going to go against the grain here a bit.

stop doing water changes for at least one month

you use an ATO so you shouldn’t have any salinity swings

First focus on your doser and test your alk and calcium every two days at the same time of day to figure out your dose use the same test kits the same way every time (even if you have small user error and you calcium is 440 instead of 430 no big deal)

then spread your dose throughout the day

for example if you dose 20ml of alk per day do it 5ml every 6 hours so tank alk is stable all day not 8.2 to 7.8 slowly over 24 hours then spiked back to 8.2

get both calcium and alk stable for two weeks this way then start checking every week

After a week if you have dropped over say .2 alk raise up your daily dose by using BRS calculator to figure out how much (catch up dose divided by 7)

The problem with your huge water changes is if you are doing 15 gallon water changes every week is you are most likely causing to much quick change

for instance your alk goes from 8.4 to 8.1 right now cause your salt mix was alk 9.0 and your tank was at 8.0

then your calcium goes 450 to 430 right now

these are major swings like buying a coral from a store and putting in your tank

for your next monthly water change after you have kept major stable for a month test your tank for the three major

then test your water change water then make them match

also make sure the temp is the exact same

then do a water change

I just get the sense things are not as stable as you think

the ocean is so much water it can not change quickly to get sps to grow and thrive your only goal is to keep things stable all the time

if things move to often you won’t get growth if they move to often some more things can RTN or slowly die

it’s possible you have something else going on like bacteria but I would guess one coral had a bad reaction to N and P moving fast or from constant changes and

then you started chasing the problem and every time you change something, a light setting, an power head schedule, move a coral from one spot to another in the tank rearrange rocks, ect, ect. You are not providing a stable environment.

think about it like this if you planted a tree in your backyard in a pot and then every couple days moved it from direct sun to shade to partial shade to direct sun and you watered it ten gallons today 1 gallon tomorrow ten again then no water for a week then ten gallons again and constantly changed how many nutrients were available for it to grow what do you think would happen to this tree?

Think stability I feed one cube and one sheet of nori everyday and dose ab+ Daily Once a week I do a second cube and feed anemone and coral I do different kids of cubes but I put in approximate the same amount of Phosphates most every day

lots of hermit crabs (one per gallon plus some snails) to eat the food the fish don’t

when I buy a coral from the store it sits alive for 1-3 months then it starts to explode in growth

pick a setting you like find a home for corals and then stick with it
ok. Lots here!

Rock is dry rock from a LFS.

Last water change was Aug 24th. So still have a ways to go to hit that month mark, but I can give that a try.

Alk and Cal have been pretty good for stability. At least when everything was growing and alive. I have been testing weekly and adjusting accordingly. I did notice the water changes made big swings though. Mag on the other hand has been all over the place. I have been dosing 5ml/day mag and it still drops week over week. Which seems odd? But I agree, there is some definite tightening of param values to be done there.

So, when I do a monthly water change, how much of a water change should I be doing?

I feed half a cube of frozen a day and add some nori, but I have been skipping the nori some days to get the tang to pick at the rocks more. I have the AB+ as well, but I haven't found a good dosing schedule for it yet. I added it weekly for awhile then got a bunch of cyano so I stopped and have been dealing with it ever since.

I'm hesitant on hermits. Last time I had hermits in my small tank I ended up with all hermits and no snails...
 

cooltowncorals

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Yeah they want their shells it’s like free housing lol.

get the small hermits blue and red legs tiny ones shouldnt be able to eat to many snails mostly detritus and algae the huge turbo snails eat a ton as well but they tend to knock things over

most people aim for 20 percent water change for the month so 15 on a 75 gallon tank with a sump sounds perfect to me

Remember algae and coral need the same thing to grow some nitrate some phosphates you put things in your tank that eat algae but nothing that eats coral to create an environment that looks like only coral grows

algae just grows faster and likes excess of both corals dont love excess like the algae does
 
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