SPS Experts: Can you figure it out?

OP
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Sorry to her about your losses, but I can relate to the mystery SPS deaths. I ran into the same issues twice in two different tanks. Same thing as you, everything is fine, then slow losses, then a bit of recovery, slow losses again, etc. The only things I have done that seem to have ended those cycles was to install 2 new stages of chloramine removal in my RO/DI, and run a treatment of chemiclean. I looked into my City's water report and found they add chloramine at times to help purify the pipes. It would make sense to me that chemiclean is an antibiotic and can help if there is bacterial infection within the SPS. Just my .02$, hope you can recover.
Oh yes, this was my first hypothesis several years ago. Every year in October I would see a decline and I wondered if it correlated with when the city shocked the system. I added a dual stage RO system with dual DI, a sediment filter, and two additional chloramine blocks to make a total of a 9 stage RO/DI system.
 
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What is your alkalinity? No3?
Are you using gfo or Carbon dosing?
Alk is usually stable around 8, but I've had alk swings in the past that have caused a drop from 11 to 5 and spikes from 4 to 10 without a single death. I think people wrongly blame alk swings for the death of corals when really it's a combination of factors. Do swings cause stress on corals? Absolutely. But if the corals are already healthy and have the resources to handle that environmental stress, there shouldn't be large die offs just from an alk swing. I've experienced enough swings to demonstrate that personally.

Anyway, Alk is in the 8's, NO3 is in the teens to lower twenties, GFO and carbon is used, always has been on this tank. No carbon dosing with the exception of a small amount of biopellets that hardly do anything. I've always tried to maintain consistency in these areas, so I personally don't feel they're to blame since they were the same during the prime of my Acro health.
 
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If this is bacterial, which seems entirely plausible, I have seen Dr. Tim himself mention that over time, certain bacterial strains in a tank will dominate, there's no way around it. This is why products like his, or MB7 etc are supposed to be dosed in a somewhat regular fashion. Have you tried heavy dosing something like MB7 for a month or two to see if you can get the good bacteria rolling again?
I have not. I worked in a micro lab in college and got my degree from the school of microbiology and plant pathology. I can see how certain species can become dominant, but I don't know if I would agree that dosing a certain strain over and over again is the answer. "Everything is everywhere and the environment selects" is one of my favorite quotes from micro. Plus there are plenty of mature tanks out there that have been running for years without having to dose any strains and have tremendous success. Maybe there's a case that those tanks have a solid community established in them, but I'm not sure I buy into having to regularly dose bacteria to keep the tank healthy... Sounds like a great business pitch though
 
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Out of curiosity, how big is the sterilizer? How old is the bulb? And what is the flow rate coming through? If it is not plumbed in there is no guarantee that it is killing everything that is in the tank.
She's big, the Emperor Aquatics 150 watt sterilizer rated for up to 1,600 gallons :oops:o_O My tank is roughly 150 gallons total volume, the bulb was installed this spring and is still pretty new.
 
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I kind of came to the conclusion that it's "bacterial" too. Using quotes because I think that's a really broad answer. I still have a monti-cap and some zoanthids and an anemone in my old tank doing well but every tenuis I put in just dies. Mixed bag on other species. I just couldn't take the financial losses anymore so am doing a reset and will soon "sanitize" the old tank and start it again. I also have UV on the old tank, just fyi, made no difference on this issue, solved some others though.
Yeah, I know there's equally a chance that it could be protozoan in nature. I also used to be able to keep clams alive. I had several that were happy and growing for years, then I added one about 4 years ago from a LFS and I lost all 4 of my clams in the same month. Haven't been able to keep a clam alive since, though I try every year or so. That was the first time I had a hunch that there are now biological factors in my tank that prevent me from keeping certain species, which is a real bummer. The longer I deal with this, the more enticing hitting the reset button becomes so I can start keeping species I really enjoyed in the past.
 

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I have not. I worked in a micro lab in college and got my degree from the school of microbiology and plant pathology. I can see how certain species can become dominant, but I don't know if I would agree that dosing a certain strain over and over again is the answer. "Everything is everywhere and the environment selects" is one of my favorite quotes from micro. Plus there are plenty of mature tanks out there that have been running for years without having to dose any strains and have tremendous success. Maybe there's a case that those tanks have a solid community established in them, but I'm not sure I buy into having to regularly dose bacteria to keep the tank healthy... Sounds like a great business pitch though
Hehe. Your last sentence, he touches on. Whether or not you want to read is up to you, but I'll provide a link:


A quote from him in the thread:

Lastly, any scientific data or test results you can share of your product?
Funny thing about scientific data and the aquarium hobby - when it is produced by the inventor (me) no one (in the industry) believes it. I have 3 peer-reviewed published scientific papers (over 20 years ago) showing who the actual species of nitrify bacteria are in aquariums (they are not Nitrosomonas europaea and Nitrobacter winogradskyii). I published these results first in the World and they have been confirmed many, many times over. In the microbiology world this is settled and I am recognized as an expert in the field and give invited talks around the World at scientific conferences for aquaculture, public aquaria and water filtration. But in the home aquarium field I get hobbyists all the time telling me that my results are wrong (of course, they do not provide any data of their own) and I am just trying to sell you bacteria.
Anyway, it was just an idea, I hope you get it sorted out :)
 

Chaswood79

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Yes I run GFO. I only change it out when I see PO4 start to rise toward my 0.12 threshold.
Do you notice losses around the time you change gfo?

More importantly
Do you think Jimbo will have a better season this year?
 
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Hehe. Your last sentence, he touches on. Whether or not you want to read is up to you, but I'll provide a link:


A quote from him in the thread:



Anyway, it was just an idea, I hope you get it sorted out :)
I appreciate the links! I will certainly read through this thread. I wouldn't be a good scientist if I wasn't cautious and pessimistic about any claims of a product that's difficult to quantify the success of. I'll be sifting through it tonight for sure, thanks!
 
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She's big, the Emperor Aquatics 150 watt sterilizer rated for up to 1,600 gallons :oops:o_O My tank is roughly 150 gallons total volume, the bulb was installed this spring and is still pretty new.
Very nice. And what is the flow rate on it and is it plumbed in or separate?

I also have a background in Marine Microbiology (I just received my Masters in May) and I am leaning towards biological as well. It may be transferring by dying tissue breaking off which is why the UV may not be very effective. However, something must be causing stress to let a disease take hold which is where I’m lost as well. You clearly have the skill and know-how to grow beautiful colonies so I would think it’s probably a more obscure cause. I’ll do some thinking and in the meantime I’ll pay attention to other suggestions.
 
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Do you notice losses around the time you change gfo?

More importantly
Do you think Jimbo will have a better season this year?
I don't really notice any losses to be honest. I also usually change out carbon at the same time I change out GFO, and usually everything looks pretty good/normal after that maintenance period.

As for Jimbo, as an Aggie fan I always hope for the best, but expect the worst. We had low expectations when we bought tickets to the LSU game this past season and every overtime was living on that mantra. Considering he has to face Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, and Auburn.... 3 of those teams are ranked in the preseason top 5 and 4 in the preseason top 10? Eeesh, even at his pay rate I don't envy him and his challenges!
 

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If it's bacterial, run a full treatment of Chemiclean. It's reef safe and should knock down any active infections. I know a few high end dealers that treat their tanks every 6 months regardless of health.
 

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I recently and well I guess currently have something similar going on, random deaths when everything else has been stable and growing. Also another frag tank with the same corals, water, etc is doing great. I think I am going to dose chemiclean to see if that stops it.
 
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Very nice. And what is the flow rate on it and is it plumbed in or separate?

I also have a background in Marine Microbiology (I just received my Masters in May) and I am leaning towards biological as well. It may be transferring by dying tissue breaking off which is why the UV may not be very effective. However, something must be causing stress to let a disease take hold which is where I’m lost as well. You clearly have the skill and know-how to grow beautiful colonies so I would think it’s probably a more obscure cause. I’ll do some thinking and in the meantime I’ll pay attention to other suggestions.
It is being fed with a Jebao DCP 5000 and the power ouput has been lowered to its lowest setting, which is roughly 900 gph according to the internet.

I appreciate the help! If I go through with the restart option, I'm trying to think of the most effective dip for the corals I want to keep ;Bookworm
 
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If it's bacterial, run a full treatment of Chemiclean. It's reef safe and should knock down any active infections. I know a few high end dealers that treat their tanks every 6 months regardless of health.
It's been a while since I've dosed chemiclean. It's worth a shot I suppose!
 

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Does this only happens to one colony at the time, and a few days/week it shows up on a different colony?
 

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It is being fed with a Jebao DCP 5000 and the power ouput has been lowered to its lowest setting, which is roughly 900 gph according to the internet.

I appreciate the help! If I go through with the restart option, I'm trying to think of the most effective dip for the corals I want to keep ;Bookworm
That seems like the flow should be low enough on that size. My only explanation is it’s not all passing through the sterilizer. As for the dip I like Brightwell KoralMD. I have a friend who works at WWC and that’s all they use.
 

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Be sure to check all magnets in the tank or sump. I had a similar thing happen around Christmas last year, and it turned out to be a rusting magnetic probe holder. I removed it did some water changes, and everything recovered well... It does sound like short of some metal in the tank, it is likely bacterial... I hope you are able to cure it as your tank is amazing!
 
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