What’s killing my corals?

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rawnold

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Hi all, early last year I got into adding corals to a very very established tank.

TLDR version : 2 torches, a head off a 3rd torch and all sps corals died. Now my frogspawn that was always super healthy has dropped one of its polyps and was left with bare skeleton. I hear this happens as a last ditch effort of survival. What could be causing all the stress?

Params -
nitrate - 20 - 30 PPM
Ph - 8.0
Calcium - 400
Alk - 8.4
Mag - 1350


a deeper look:

Everything was going good for a while, everything was super healthy!

until I lost a torch, let’s call it torch #2

since then, any SPS I had have died, and I have lost another torch, this one is torch #3.Both torches were gone to brown jelly, #2 was over a week. #3 was a beautiful cotton candy and was gone in less than 3 days.

everything else in the tank is doing fine, but euphylia and sps seem to have big issues in my tank tho.


I decided I was going to stop purchasing torches and sps and just focus on growing the corals that are doing okay. At least until I see some type of growth and progress then maybe give it another try.

Then a few months back my first torch I ever bought, torch #1, a 3 header that was doing great for almost half a year developed bjd on one of its heads. Sucked the jelly out and the torch lost that head but the other 2 heads survived.

Then yesterday a polyp on my frogspawn that has been closed pretty much since the torch #1 BJD incident a couple months back, drops. As in the frogspawn let it go, leaving only the bare skeleton on the frag. The polyp still looks alive since it’s not deteriorating. The polyp is currently sitting on the sand and the frogspawn frag was left with 1 healthy polyp, I ripped off the dead skeleton since it was just ugly.




Now I am really frustrated since euphylia are my favorite coral and I’m pretty much losing them!





Worth noting,
- the issue with my frogspawn polyp closing started right after the torch #1 lost a head to BJD. Maybe it affected this polyp?

-all my LPS are plumpier than ever

- I am always hands on the tank, upgrading equipment and trying to make the best possible environment for the inhabitants. But pretty much any changes I made to the tank were in effort of trying to save something that was dying.

I have changed flow by adding two power heads and 2 RFGs (not all at once) I did this to try to better the flow for my sps they ended up getting worse and dying anyways. lighting changed (added 2 ati blue t5s) did this in case lighting was not sufficient , upgraded skimmer to a reef octopus 150s for better filtration all within last year. I even tried dosing nopox over a few weeks thinking high nitrates were my problem here and when my nitrates got to the 2-5 PPM levels, there was no apparent change in the well-being of the corals, everything kept on doing how they were doing. The good stayed good, and the bad stayed bad.


a week ago or so, I found this nasty rusty blade buried in my sand. it was a bittersweet feeling cause I thought I may have found the root to my problems. Now I am seeing there is something else.

4195D3CE-38A8-4C6B-8CF5-F247BBBD9C89.jpeg C1721C31-5E60-4838-A2E3-8A8CE2F3C880.jpeg 75D7415D-5A78-4D12-9926-C68935BE326A.jpeg
 
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rawnold

rawnold

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Also worth noting, I do not have any questionable inhabitants that could be eating the coral. Unless a clown or a tang developed a taste for corals.

livestock -
Yellow tang
Tomini tang
4 clowns
1 damsel
1 firefish
1 six line

lots of snails and hermits,

loads of bristleworms, pods etc. the tank was running for 15+ years before I took over it


e - only real pest I’ve seen in my tank are vermitid snails, they grow on pretty much everything in there, from the rocks to the frags and even the skeleton of corals. But I’ve read that they really don’t do much to bother corals other than that slimy mucous they use to catch food. Could this be killing my coral?
 

ZoWhat

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You testing for PO4? Thats the most critical test other than checking salinity.... IMO/IME

PO4 is like fat in our human diet.... we all need a lil fat content to stay healthy but eating large amts if fat will eventually getcha. Same with PO4, cirals need about 0.1ppm to eat and stay healthy, high amount close to and above 1.0.... dangerzone

Spend the $50 and do an ICP test

 
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rawnold

rawnold

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You testing for PO4? Thats the most critical test other than checking salinity.... IMO/IME

PO4 is like fat in our human diet.... we all need a lil fat content to stay healthy but eating large amts if fat will eventually getcha. Same with PO4, cirals need about 0.1ppm to eat and stay healthy, high amount close to and above 1.0.... dangerzone

Spend the $50 and do an ICP test

out of stock but definitely something I always wanted to do. and it completely slipped my mind up until now, so thanks!!

also, never test for po4, did not think it was so critical. I will go and get a test kit today to see where I am at
 
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HuduVudu

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You can NOT move alk or calcium. Not even a little. You should be reading the same alk for an entire month it should never ever move ... NEVER. Some corals are more senstive than others and LPS generally do better because you can feed them to help recovery (if they are the type that take direct feeding).

Even the smallest instability will cause problems. The worst part about all of this is that coral won't show signs of stress until it is too late. In fact you could have killed your coral and it will look Ok for a week to two weeks. Also, often times the shock is not recoverable. There will be literally nothing you can do but watch the coral slowly die.

There is a reason this is tough, but from my experience this is why. Even a .2 dKH move will cause grief.

My 2 cents
 

Lavey29

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You can NOT move alk or calcium. Not even a little. You should be reading the same alk for an entire month it should never ever move ... NEVER. Some corals are more senstive than others and LPS generally do better because you can feed them to help recovery (if they are the type that take direct feeding).

Even the smallest instability will cause problems. The worst part about all of this is that coral won't show signs of stress until it is too late. In fact you could have killed your coral and it will look Ok for a week to two weeks. Also, often times the shock is not recoverable. There will be literally nothing you can do but watch the coral slowly die.

There is a reason this is tough, but from my experience this is why. Even a .2 dKH move will cause grief.

My 2 cents
Huh? Nothing is ever totally constant. Even with precise dosing there are slight fluctuation up or down.
 

damsels are not mean

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Nope, mine doesn't move.

When it does my corals suffer.
yes it does


You testing for PO4? Thats the most critical test other than checking salinity.... IMO/IME
alk is wayyyy more critical then maybe pH due to oxygenation

I think you found the smoking gun here... With the blade removed I'd do several 4-60% water changes and try to siphon out the area you found the blade for any residue.
 
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Freenow54

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Mentioned that you changed the lighting. Did you use a PAR meter? Or are they preprogramme? I just bought an Apogee with attachments for over 1000 so I can set the lighting as near as perfect as possible. I have ben through too many questionable losses. Need to eliminate as much as possible. All I got as to advice was to water change did nothing so now science
 

bruno3047

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Also worth noting, I do not have any questionable inhabitants that could be eating the coral. Unless a clown or a tang developed a taste for corals.

livestock -
Yellow tang
Tomini tang
4 clowns
1 damsel
1 firefish
1 six line

lots of snails and hermits,

loads of bristleworms, pods etc. the tank was running for 15+ years before I took over it


e - only real pest I’ve seen in my tank are vermitid snails, they grow on pretty much everything in there, from the rocks to the frags and even the skeleton of corals. But I’ve read that they really don’t do much to bother corals other than that slimy mucous they use to catch food. Could this be killing my coral?
When was the last time you washed your gravel?
 

Freenow54

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I would approach doing ( cleaning the substrate ) with extreme caution. I always wondered about doing it, as I did it in my freshwater tank every week. It was near impossible to do in my saltwater, as moving rocks with corals on them made me nervous. Also there are all sorts of living organisms in the sand. So I passed. As it happened I had a flood. Long story short. I had to move the tank to replace the flooring. I took 2 thirds of the water out . Moved the tank about 3 feet as carefully as I could. Was afraid of the shear reaction causing the tank to burst. I put the same water back in. Well my tank nearly crashed lost a few coral. It has recovered now. I still have to move it back after a month and a half. Pretty nervous about doing it. I had all sorts of weird, and wonderful things coming out of the sand. I must have released something toxic
 

bruno3047

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I would approach doing ( cleaning the substrate ) with extreme caution. I always wondered about doing it, as I did it in my freshwater tank every week. It was near impossible to do in my saltwater, as moving rocks with corals on them made me nervous. Also there are all sorts of living organisms in the sand. So I passed. As it happened I had a flood. Long story short. I had to move the tank to replace the flooring. I took 2 thirds of the water out . Moved the tank about 3 feet as carefully as I could. Was afraid of the shear reaction causing the tank to burst. I put the same water back in. Well my tank nearly crashed lost a few coral. It has recovered now. I still have to move it back after a month and a half. Pretty nervous about doing it. I had all sorts of weird, and wonderful things coming out of the sand. I must have released something toxic
You need to get yourself a large gravel washing tube from Petco. I think they cost around $15 for a 36 inch long tube, which is the size I would recommend for any tank up to 24 inches high . What it allows you to do is to wash the gravel and siphon all the water out of the tank while you’re doing it. You might have used one when you were running freshwater tanks. If not, there’s plenty of videos on YouTube showing you how to use one effectively. It just entails churning the sand/gravel in the tube while you’re siphoning the dirty water out of the tank. Get yourself a big plastic tub for $10 or so from Home Depot to catch all the dirty water. That’s definitely the way to go. Forget about the fauna. You need to clean your tank of all that crap. Guaranteed, the water you remove will smell like death and you’ll probably end up saving your tank. Good luck.
 

bruno3047

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I would approach doing ( cleaning the substrate ) with extreme caution. I always wondered about doing it, as I did it in my freshwater tank every week. It was near impossible to do in my saltwater, as moving rocks with corals on them made me nervous. Also there are all sorts of living organisms in the sand. So I passed. As it happened I had a flood. Long story short. I had to move the tank to replace the flooring. I took 2 thirds of the water out . Moved the tank about 3 feet as carefully as I could. Was afraid of the shear reaction causing the tank to burst. I put the same water back in. Well my tank nearly crashed lost a few coral. It has recovered now. I still have to move it back after a month and a half. Pretty nervous about doing it. I had all sorts of weird, and wonderful things coming out of the sand. I must have released something toxic
This is the one I bought. It saved my tank. Good luck.

 

Freenow54

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You need to get yourself a large gravel washing tube from Petco. I think they cost around $15 for a 36 inch long tube, which is the size I would recommend for any tank up to 24 inches high . What it allows you to do is to wash the gravel and siphon all the water out of the tank while you’re doing it. You might have used one when you were running freshwater tanks. If not, there’s plenty of videos on YouTube showing you how to use one effectively. It just entails churning the sand/gravel in the tube while you’re siphoning the dirty water out of the tank. Get yourself a big plastic tub for $10 or so from Home Depot to catch all the dirty water. That’s definitely the way to go. Forget about the fauna. You need to clean your tank of all that crap. Guaranteed, the water you remove will smell like death and you’ll probably end up saving your tank. Good luck.
Funny you mention that. When I look for things on the internet I always get adds pop up on my home page. Big brother is real. I used a large siphon tube with a drill driven pump but too large for my salt tank, and as I found out later not totally effective. However I saw one for very reasonable money that works like a skimmer, with a venturi action. About $30. Maybe I will try that
 

Jekyl

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Here is what I have to deal with on my older tank. I tried but no room. If you have a picture I could be wrong
20211127_111557voltage 1.jpg
Time to start selling mushrooms to local reefers or your lfs on trade in
 
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