What have I done in my frag tank? - this isn't good... strage and sad

andrewkw

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I spent about 6 hours today cleaning up my frag tank, this included arranging the corals, removing pest algae with tweezers, gluing frags of pom pom xenia and zoanthids that had grown to eggcrate and powerwashing eggcrate. The temp did drop a few degrees and I turned on the return for a bit in between. 76 degrees when it normally runs 79-81.

The only other thing I did was use a bit of epoxy - I had a really bad experience with epoxy more than 10 years ago and have been hesitant every time I've used it since. I mounted a bowerbanki frag to a rock and attached one other coral.

I have 100s and 100s of corals in the frag tank. 80% are soft corals but there are acros, and lps. Whatever I have done has almost wiped out my 6+ colour chalice. I feel sick just typing this. A piece I have been slowing growing out on a tile. There is still flesh around the eyes but everything else is basically gone. I removed it and put in my display tank as a last hope. It may end up being the only coral I lose. By far my most expensive and favorite. Other chalice corals are also looking stressed, as is the bowerbanki and my baby hammers are also not looking good. EVERYTHING ELSE is looking 100% normal. Pom Pom xenia is pulsing, even some of the fresh cut ones. Most zoas and palys are open. Acros have polyp extension. Even bubble tip anemone is bubbly.

NO3 which to be fair I do not test regularly reads 0 or very close to 0 which is unusual as this frag system has no skimmer, but also no fish. I do target feed heavily. P04 is also reading 0.00 but there is algae so there 100% is phosphate in the water. Live rock is the primary filtration in the system. It just amazes me that pretty much everything is fine except my prized coral.

It has to either be from fragging but I frag a lot and never have toxins in the water caused an issue.
The epoxy it is a well known reef brand for corals, no point naming the brand as I don't want them blamed. It cured fine, and I used a relatively small amount in approximately 100g water volume. I knocked something off the eggcrate. I mostly powerwashed some hard algae - it's some type of hair, not byopsis and not feathery hair algae. It's tougher and can be pulled off with tweezers but there was a bunch. Some sponge and coraline. I'm just at a complete loss over what I did. I am hoping at least one mouth survives and I can grow it back over years :(
 
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andrewkw

andrewkw

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Blastomussa is also affected :

9AF10648-C1D3-4439-A5E0-FEB051FC230C.jpeg


This is how the chalice looked before it lost tissue. I just thought it was a bit of reaction from the slight drop in temp and lack of flow. If I could only go back in time and move it to display before I did all this....
 
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andrewkw

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A few clearer pictures. Add cyphastera to the list effected. Which is basically all the LPS in the tank. There is a tiny lepto that seems uneffected and a similar encrusting lps also okay.

IMG_9578.JPG


IMG_9584.JPG

IMG_9585.JPG


The other 2 chalices look like what the rainbow one did hours ago. Stressed out like crazy, almost like they have been stung but no tissue loss.

IMG_9581.JPG


The small cyphastrea frag has lost all tissue except the polyps. The bigger one is starting to lose it as well.

Meanwhile :

IMG_9583.JPG


IMG_9582.JPG

IMG_9586.JPG


I am 50% at a loss and 50% devastated from this loss. I have been babying that chalice for almost 6 months.. Last time it was target fed.

IMG_9516.jpg
 

JoshH

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Could it be some kind of toxin as you mentioned earlier? Are you running any carbon for any contamination? I'm so sorry for what's happening right now in your frag tank, really upsetting to see so much work almost go up in smoke over a short time period.:(
 
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andrewkw

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I did add some brand new carbon, unfortunately no reactor on this system - I guess I could pull one off another tank but I just put it in a media bag over the drains.

Toxin possibilities include : xenia, zoanthids / palys / algae / sponges or the epoxy. I've never heard of anything like this happening. Nor have I experienced anything like this. My previous epoxy issues more than 10 years ago was epoxy that did not cure causing the bulk of my fish to suffocate and die. That was the only time I ever considered quitting the hobby. Now this is no where near as bad. Even losing my favorite coral, I've only had it for 6 months and for a few hundred dollars I could probably get another one. Not money I'm looking to shell out but the point is nothing irreplaceable has died.

Still I pride myself on having healthy systems and this version of my frag tank has worked out well save for this. It's a simple simple system. Live rock for filtration. T5's for lighting and a few random powerheads. I also use a black box over the SPS since it's just a 4 bulb unit. I've produced hundreds of frags over the last year. To have something like this happen over seemingly nothing is very disheartening.

Edit : I thought of one more thing it could be. I added about 40 new frag plugs again these are "fully cured" plugs from a reputable company, but it was a new pack. I have added more then this before without issue. Approximately 100 gallons total water volume.
 
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Rilo

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I've only had this happen once horribly to all my corals. The reason was me rearranging all the corals and constant toxins being shot out from the coral and not being removed since I didn't have a protein skimmer at the time.

Sorry to hear what happened with your coral. I hope you get it figured out.
 

Will Wohlers

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I'm guessing the temp swing had something to do with it. Possibly toxins stressing them out then the temp swing so quickly was the finisher. That chalice will recover. Don't sweat it. You didn't lose the piece completely just a slow setback. We've all made mistakes in this hobby and paid for it. Don't beat yourself up and look on the bright side of things. Your chalice will one day be even better just gonna take more time them you hoped for.
 

LukeWolf

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Sorry to hear of your troubles! All I can guess is some sort of toxin like the others are saying. I am almost sure your chalice will come back. I’ve had corals come back from and almost completely dead skeleton. Yours doesn’t look all that bad. Best wishes!
 
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andrewkw

andrewkw

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81 degrees to 76 is a big drop in 6 hours, IMO this is likely the cause of at least some of your issues.
81 is the peak. I'm not quite sure what the temp was but I will check later today what the temp was when I started. For instance now it's 78.5. The chalices all look worse, but none are completely wiped out. I am only concerned with the one in the worst shape. The BTA also moved a bit which is unusual but probably nothing to read into. It's only been in the frag tank less than a month.

Still can't believe it. I thought nothing of cleaning up the tank yesterday. I was a tiny bit concerned about the epoxy but that's it. Not to repeat myself but I am still shocked things turned so bad so fast from so little.
 
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andrewkw

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78.5 is the temp now which should be a good indication of what the temp was when I started and dropped to 76. I'm also feeling a little less distraught and a little more accepting now. Hopefully a bit of the chalice will survive. The other corals are just frags of corals I have so if they recover great, if not I'll frag them again in the future. The bowerbanki that was epoxied is also still not looking great, but has not gotten worse. I may move to display tank.

I didn't think to do this yesterday but I put an ammonia alert badge in today just to check. I'll probably never know what happened, just one of those things, but I feel like it was either the epoxy, I blasted something off the eggcrate be it either sponge or chemical, or the toxins from so many frags - I have done similar things in the past and never had issues.

It's just very strange that only lps are effected and not the few acros, pocillipora or porites I have in the tank. - Now I just need to decide what I can do to improve the tank and try and prevent a similar thing from happening. For starters I'll limit myself to 25 new frags per day. Maximum time to leave all pumps off will be 2 hours - I know this is longer than most but I routinely (weekly) turn off the pumps for close to this amount of time due to heavy target feeding.

I'm thinking of adding a skimmer to the system, even if it's just a cheapo one I can run while fragging. That and the next time someone has media reactors on blowout I'll pick up 1 or 2 so I can run carbon and gfo when needed.
 
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andrewkw

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So I never did figure out what exactly happened. Although I've been removing a lot of macro algae lately and had a similar but not as serious problem happen last week. I did not turn any pumps off or leave anything out too long for fear of something similar. LPS just looked unhappy but are bouncing back quicker. Frag tank is slowly in the process of a soft reboot. It's really mostly just for coral holding and needs a good cleaning.

Anyway the chalice above has been hanging out tucked away in my display tank. Here it is now after 5 weeks recovery :

IMG_4523.jpg


What a relief! And this got me to put it on display instead of tucked away in my fish room. I'm not really keen on tiles in display but it's looking great, even if its in a tricky spot to photograph.
 

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