Montipora Cap going grey, brown, dark...any ideas?

Dreamin_Reefer

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I've read that low potassium levels can gray out caps.
This happens in my zeo tank- they consume k like crazy. my rainbow monti goes fairly unaffected, my undulating montis will go light gray if I start dropping, especially the parts getting the most light.
 
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Z Burn's Reefing

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Quick update: the monti has stopped digressing. However, no noticeable recovery either. I am hoping the series of small water changes I did helped reset the tank and improved the water quality. It is encouraging it is holding steady, although, it still looks terrible, but is alive (no necrosis). Will report back next week. I have gone back to my normal weekly water change routine. I have not moved it or adjusted lighting/PAR. I really can't move it any lower, it is as low as it can be on my rockwork. I still don't feel it is a lighting issue, but water chemistry issue. Baffling though as everything else continues to thrive, grow, and show good color. Trying to restrain myself from doing too much for just one coral, when 90% of other corals look good. Just so frustrating that in my past tanks monti caps grow like weeds, lol. This observation also leads me to think "pests." I have been watching and observing the tank with a flash light at night...nothing so far, no nudis, etc. I will take the "pause" in its decline as positive and see if it can come back. Someone mentioned to give it time...so will give it another week before trying anything else. Perhaps it is a potassium issue...not interested in dosing, but am hopeful the 10+ small water changes over the course of 10 days would help replenish that some.
 

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I have had issues with montis graying out in the past and it ended up being a big potassium deficiency. I would check that if you have a test kit available. If that's not the case send out a icp test and see if anything else is way out of range.

Potassium was something I never checked when I first started growing sps, and now I check it bi weekly to see if I need to dose a little to bring it back in line. Grab a salifert test to have on hand, they're really easy to use and cheap.
 

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When only this coral is suffering I would not think it is a water quality issue, more likely a flow - light or pest issue. Have you looked at it while the lights are out? Maybe the problem is Monti eating nudibranchs.
I've had the same problem, isolated on a regular Monti cap. Since I've removed the infected part of this coral the problem was solved.
Good luck on finding the issue!
 

Dburr1014

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I agree , but this coral specifically got the same PAR since day 1
When you have coral in trouble one of the first things that can help is to lower intensities of the lights. It will help in recovery.

Thread 'When to lower light intensity as a reef tank CPR move' https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/when-to-lower-light-intensity-as-a-reef-tank-cpr-move.799817/


 
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I have had issues with montis graying out in the past and it ended up being a big potassium deficiency. I would check that if you have a test kit available. If that's not the case send out a icp test and see if anything else is way out of range.

Potassium was something I never checked when I first started growing sps, and now I check it bi weekly to see if I need to dose a little to bring it back in line. Grab a salifert test to have on hand, they're really easy to use and cheap.
Monti still alive but clearly still struggling. ICP sent in today. Having trouble finding a salifert potassium test kit. Where did you get yours from? I think I need to rule out whether potassium is low or not.
 

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When my green plating montipora is having chemical warfare with nearby corals it turns brown.. the moment I move it away from the other coral - it goes back to bright green.

Plating montipora love as much light or flow that you can ever offer - therefore it's not a too much light or too much flow question.

Another thing to check is potassium levels: monitopora loses colouration and becomes kind of pale/lethargyc when potassium drops. They deplete potassium levels really quickly - so I dose approx. 20ppm of potassium each month.
 

Dreamin_Reefer

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Monti still alive but clearly still struggling. ICP sent in today. Having trouble finding a salifert potassium test kit. Where did you get yours from? I think I need to rule out whether potassium is low or not.
Salafert is backorder everywhere, something to do with a supply chain/shipping hazmat issue I believe I read.
I had inconsistent results with red sea, and exaqua k tests. I just ordered a fauna marine kit to try and will let you know what I think once its in.
 

thatmanMIKEson

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When you have coral in trouble one of the first things that can help is to lower intensities of the lights. It will help in recovery.

Thread 'When to lower light intensity as a reef tank CPR move' https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/when-to-lower-light-intensity-as-a-reef-tank-cpr-move.799817/


why punish every other happy coral with reduced light for one upset coral, you take the chances of going from one ticked off coral to a tank full, plus alkalinity is likely to increase due to decreased overall coral growth if not closely monitored.

if it's not pest related and it's the only coral effected I wouldn't worry about it corals come and go no sense disrupting your happy system for a montipora! frag and move it hope for the best with water changes other than that don't go crazy over it...
 
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ICP test came back....any thoughts on whether the problem measurements may be related to my monti cap issues? Was hoping potassium would be low, but seems to be ok...wondering if I should dose fluoride...I've never dosed that before in my 15 years of reefing...looks like I could feed the tank more as well.


Screenshot 2023-12-08 at 8.19.32 AM.jpg



Screenshot 2023-12-08 at 8.22.31 AM.jpg


Screenshot 2023-12-08 at 8.23.38 AM.jpg
 

Borat

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ICP test came back....any thoughts on whether the problem measurements may be related to my monti cap issues? Was hoping potassium would be low, but seems to be ok...wondering if I should dose fluoride...I've never dosed that before in my 15 years of reefing...looks like I could feed the tank more as well.


Screenshot 2023-12-08 at 8.19.32 AM.jpg



Screenshot 2023-12-08 at 8.22.31 AM.jpg


Screenshot 2023-12-08 at 8.23.38 AM.jpg
I am not a great expert in ICPs - but I see nothing that requires attention/dosing.. Plating montipora is one of the hardiest corals - and grows like a weed in my tank.. That said - I saw instances where it turns brown for reasons of chemical warfare.

Are you able to move the monti to another location at all? If you are - I would try to move it elsewhere, to a higher flow and higher par (and away from prior neighbours)...
 
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I am not a great expert in ICPs - but I see nothing that requires attention/dosing.. Plating montipora is one of the hardiest corals - and grows like a weed in my tank.. That said - I saw instances where it turns brown for reasons of chemical warfare.

Are you able to move the monti to another location at all? If you are - I would try to move it elsewhere, to a higher flow and higher par (and away from prior neighbours)...
Yea, I think I am there now...I am going to pull it, dip it, and inspect it more closely...then will move it. If it doesn't start rebounding, maybe just toss it.
 
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Pulled the coral. This is a pic of the underside. Trapped underneath was some bubble algae (I didn't know I had - towards top of pic) and what appears to be a feather duster of sorts (middle area). Not sure if either of these two things could have been causing my issues. Clearly the feather duster was doing a number on the bottom as you can see a ring where coral had receded. Didn't see anything else of concern (nudis, bugs, etc). I decided to clip off the best looking parts of the coral and glue down those pieces on a new plug and will see how it goes. Coral is now 1/4 of the size. Will give it another month and if still looks terrible, may just toss it. Appreciate all the help. Will report back how it goes.

IMG_6898.jpg
 
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Nothing is worse than with the OP creates a thread like this but never finishes it out. It just provides no value to future reefers that use the search function. So here is my attempt to wrap this up and present the results.

1.) I did not change PAR, flow, or location - kept everything the same.

2.) I dosed potassium and increased it by 50 ppm...although the measurement was not severely low on the ICP, I wasn't about to trust just one ICP test... and after doing some research, I felt that there was no harm in raising it by 50 ppm from baseline, just in case it would help. Too many of you said low potassium could cause this to not at least try and raise it.

3.) After pulling the coral and examining it (see post and pics above), I cut off the good remaining pieces (wasn't much left unfortunately), and tossed the rest of the coral with the feather duster and worms in the trash...just in case that was the main culprit for the coral's sudden downturn.

4.) I did a series of water changes (small, 5% max), daily, for 7 days, then stopped all changes and let things ride.

Results:

Original picture when the coral started going south:

(looks faded, no polyp extension, color is muted, almost grey in appearance, tissue thinning and STN'ing)
1.jpg


Here is the coral after saving a few small pieces, not much hope at this time:

(tissue is alive, but still muted, no polyp extension, but this was the healthiest tissue left on the original piece)
2.jpg


Here is the coral today. Growth has returned (can't see the plug anymore), polyp extension has returned, color is making good progress. It's just too bad its a 1/3 of the size of the original frag.

3.jpg


I can't say if the potassium was the issue, the feather dusters, or whether the series of water changes were responsible for the improvement. It's just what I tried and it seems to have worked.

Thank you again to all those who provided insights and shared your experiences.

Once again, this has taught me to never give up on a coral...
 

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Thanks for following up. My green Plating Monti color turning grey is the first indication of low K. A reading of 382 should be sufficient but is at the low end IMO. I like to keep it around 410. You did a lot of water changes before the ICP so it might have come up by the time of your sample. The coral would take some time to color back up with the increased K.
 

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