HELP! New frags not opening, possible bleaching.

monicalooze

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My tank is six months old and just made took the plunge into adding coral. I added a toadstool, a couple mushrooms, a clove polyp, a green nepthea, a candy cane and two zoa frags.

I added the zoa frags a week ago, they opened a bit at first, but since then, they have been closed. One tiny polyp has tried to open, but yesterday I noticed what could be bleaching happening on one of the polyps. Until now, all the other corals have been seemingly healthy. The only anomaly is today the toadstool is closed, and it hasn't been until now. I have no idea what's wrong.

Tank specs:
Waterbox Cube10
Running the BRS Ai prime nano lighting schedule with the whites turned up a bit because it's more visually appealing.

Parameters:
pH: 7.8
Alk: 9.4 dkh
NO3: 0ppm
PO4: .04ppm
Ca: 480ppm
NaCl: 35.3ppt
Temp: 78

Thoughts?
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footgal

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First, thank you for providing all the background info and pictures. I really appreciate that! So your zoa is definitely having some issues, let’s figure it out :).

They’re on your sand bed so I doubt that they’re bleaching since I can’t imagine the par down there being more than like 150.

I think that looks closer to a bacterial infection or even fungus. Since it only seems to be affecting the one polyp, I’d cut that one off (if you’re not comfy with doing that please let me know and I can walk you through it) and do some dips to help the rest of the polyps. Iodine dips are always good.

Are you dosing your tank with anything? Trace element solution, amino acids, iodine, etc?
 
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monicalooze

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Thanks for your response. I thought about cutting it off for that reason. I've never done it before. Would you just use an Xacto knife?

I'm not dosing any trace elements currently. What specific dip brands/trace elements would you recommend? I dipped it in coralRX + acclimated according to Tidal Gardens instructions before adding it to my tank.
Would the fungus have come from my tank or come in on the frag? Should I be worried about the other frag that also isn't opening?

thanks so much for your prompt help.
 
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monicalooze

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I should also mention I'm having very minor issues with diatoms on the glass but it's a really thin film and seems to be getting better. I DO dos phyto. I forgot about that. Don't know if it matters. And the last measurable alk swing I had was several months ago.
 
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monicalooze

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Ah one more detail: I DID have it on the rock about five inches from the sand bed then I noticed the issue so I moved it down. Sorry that is certainly relevant! I'm also renting a par meter today or tomorrow to dbl check everything out.
 

footgal

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I love using this pack and you can buy all three in the big bottles which lasts me a long time (70 gallons of display and I have to get new ones every 5ish months). Iodine is very important for zoas to be happy and that’s in the Seachem Plus (red) bottle.
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Sometimes fungus just happens, there’s spores everywhere. It’s just making sure that your zoas are healthy enough to not get infected (like fish and ich). Iodine helps fight it which is why I recommended an iodine dip (I prefer Lugol’s since it’s cheaper but there are special reef iodine dips you can do).

Yes, cut the polyp off with an exacto knife or razor blade. First cut the “mat” between the bad polyp and the healthy ones then just scrape the bad one off. This method protects the healthy zoas from accidentally getting hurt :). Please make sure to use proper PPE and a ventilated room, as zoas produce palytoxin which can be dangerous. I’ve never had a problem (fragged zoas hundreds of times) while using a ventilated room (like a bathroom with the fan on) and protecting my eyes with goggles or by holding the zoas a few feet away from my face. Leave them in the sand bed afterwards and hopefully they’ll open up in a couple days! Good luck!
 
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monicalooze

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I cut that polyp off. I ordered the supplements as well. The only other thing I'm worried about is that the other zoa frag I added at the same time has also been very tightly closed. It started to open the first day but has been closed for the entire week. Thoughts on that? It doesn't have any strange coloration. It's the one in the background. Any insight would be appreciated.
I love using this pack and you can buy all three in the big bottles which lasts me a long time (70 gallons of display and I have to get new ones every 5ish months). Iodine is very important for zoas to be happy and that’s in the Seachem Plus (red) bottle.
F1545396-0400-48B0-A838-66D5F4E1A4B5.jpeg


Sometimes fungus just happens, there’s spores everywhere. It’s just making sure that your zoas are healthy enough to not get infected (like fish and ich). Iodine helps fight it which is why I recommended an iodine dip (I prefer Lugol’s since it’s cheaper but there are special reef iodine dips you can do).

Yes, cut the polyp off with an exacto knife or razor blade. First cut the “mat” between the bad polyp and the healthy ones then just scrape the bad one off. This method protects the healthy zoas from accidentally getting hurt :). Please make sure to use proper PPE and a ventilated room, as zoas produce palytoxin which can be dangerous. I’ve never had a problem (fragged zoas hundreds of times) while using a ventilated room (like a bathroom with the fan on) and protecting my eyes with goggles or by holding the zoas a few feet away from my face. Leave them in the sand bed afterwards and hopefully they’ll open up in a couple days! Good luck!
 

footgal

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I cut that polyp off. I ordered the supplements as well. The only other thing I'm worried about is that the other zoa frag I added at the same time has also been very tightly closed. It started to open the first day but has been closed for the entire week. Thoughts on that? It doesn't have any strange coloration. It's the one in the background. Any insight would be appreciated.
It could be a lack of essential elements like iodine. You did mention that you just moved it down so it’s possible that the par was too high. Inspect them closely under a flashlight, if there’s a thin green film, that’s algae. It will keep zoas closed. Dip a toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide (regular 3% from CVS) and gently scrub the zoas. They should open a couple days after that if that was the issue
 

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How about just move it to a shady spot? Under a rock's shadow or in a dim corner would work. Then just leave them alone for a few days and see what happens.

Alternatively, you could enable acclimation mode on your light and reduce everything by 20% or so. Have it ramp up over a month or, even better, get that PAR meter and get things dialed in.

I've found that ALL 32 types of zoas that I have do well in lower (70-ish PAR) light, but not all zoas like higher (100+ PAR) light. Better to err on the side of caution and dial it down or find them a shady spot.

A dip is never a bad idea, but don't go hacking the frags up just yet. Just give them time. I've had zoas stay closed for weeks and then pop open and look great, like nothing ever happened.
 
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monicalooze

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It could be a lack of essential elements like iodine.

You did mention that you just moved it down so it’s possible that the par was too high. Inspect them closely under a flashlight, if there’s a thin green film, that’s algae. It will keep zoas closed. Dip a toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide (regular 3% from CVS) and gently scrub the zoas. They should open a couple days after that if that was the issue
What on earth is happening now? Closed zoa expelling brown stuff???
 

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Acclimation and them pooping is the brown stuff normally means too much light. Turn down ur blues must the time people don’t under stand light and par. I would put into a shady area and lower all ur led levels by ten percent.
 

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Your Nitrates being 0 could also be the issue. Zoas and most soft corals like and need some nitrates and phosphates. Your phosphates could come down just a little (though they’re not too high, I’d shoot for 0.03) and then try to get your nitrates up to around 5ppm. Also, as others have said, some zoas are just finicky and can take weeks to open up. So long as they’re not melting, just give them time. I would move them to slightly lower light and then just leave them alone. I’ve found that doing tons of dips (without a definitive goal or aim for treatment) and moving them around a bunch is just going make them take longer. So, lower light, try to get nitrates up, and give them time.
 
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