Yet another 'what's wrong with my corals' question.

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Joe31415

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I've been searching here and elsewhere on the internet for weeks and can't seem to find a good answer for what's going on.
This is a frag/invert only QT tank. Currently I have a Frogspawn, frammer, zoa, 2 cyphastreas and a pocillopora in it. I also just recently added couple of hermit crabs and a snail (but those were long after the problem started and more to deal with the appearance of algae). I noticed a few weeks ago, and the timeline is a but fuzzy, but it wasn't all at the same time, that the zoas have stopped fully opening (if at all on any given day) and the frogspawn and frammer stay almost entirely retracted. The euphyllia have maintained their color, they're just not extended. The heads used to be the size of a ping pong ball or bigger, now all I can just see a tight mass of green tips. The zoa may still be fully colored, but it's too closed up to tell.
And, for all I know the cyphastreas and pocillopora maybe be stressed as well, but if they are, they're not really showing it.

I did dip ALL corals in Coral RX before going into the tank and I've since redipped those three in Revive, later on Reef Builder (iodine) and recently CoralRX and Reef Builder one after another. No change (other than the zoa starting to come around for a few days after the 'middle' Reef Builder dip).

I have tried moving them, increasing/decreasing lights and adjusting the flow, each time giving the a week or two, but without noticing even a hint of change, I always end up putting them back where they were originally doing well.

There's only two things that I can think of that have changed since I got them. The main one being that they were moved from the LFS water to my water, the other being that the tank is considerbly more mature than it was when I put them in there, but I assumed that would make things better for them, not worse. Also, it's worth mentioning that nothing is touching them. So no CUC irritating them or other frags stinging them.

I usually rotate which params I take on any given day, typically getting to all them once or twice a week. They're typically stable and are:
pH 8.13
temp 78ish
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 10ish
Salinity 1.025
Alk 9.5
Calcium 400-500*
phosphate 0.03
Magnesium 1400

I've attempted to test iodide/iodate but it comes up as zero every single time. Even using freshly mixed salt water and adding a few drops of Seachem iodide directly to the test vial. Makes me wonder if I'm doing it wrong.

The only thing I can think of is that perhaps phosphate needs to be bumped up to .1, but I'm really not sure. Also, I do target feed them once or twice a week. Usually Reef Chili, Red Sea AB+, Sustainable Aquatics Hatchery Diet, phytoplankon/pods and most recently I tossed some mysis into the water column to see what would happen. So far, everything looks the same, though historically, they gobbled up anything I target fed them, now they, for lack of a better term, 'nibble' at it and that's it.

I did also pull the filter socks (it's an 20g AIO tank) out a week or two ago so they'd stop catching the pods and just today added some carbon to see what would happen.

The only other thing I've noticed, and it's entirely possible I just never noticed it before due to how the frag was in the tank, is that the frogspawn (or maybe it's the frammer), which has two heads, has one of the heads getting larger. The 'bottom' of the head is almost down to the plug. I don't *think* it's splitting, but maybe I'm wrong. Do splitting euphyllia release any kind of chemicals/hormones that might cause other frags to retract as well?

I can grab some pictures, but they essentially look like this: (not my picture).

I'm tempted to put them in my (still empty and 'young', but cycled DT along with the clowns that should be ready to go in. But I'm holding off on the clowns until the Gramma finishes QT so I can put them in at the same time and, well, they're not doing well and this is exactly why they're in QT.

If I get near a LFS tomorrow, I was going to get some Oyster Feast (and maybe something to bump up the phospate). Not expecting it to make a difference, but I'll certainly give it a shot. I do also have some BRS two-part and did add a small amount of Alk a while back to bump my Alk above 9 and my pH above 8. Not that it made a difference, just 'felt' like the right thing to do.


*probably more stable than that, but I'm sure switching between hanna and salifert, and probably some user error gives me that range
 
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1st I would stop continously dipping them in all the dips you mentioned, that's adding stress, unless you had pests come off after the very 1st dip. The most likely problem from what you describe is something in the water they do not like.
 
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1st I would stop continously dipping them in all the dips you mentioned, that's adding stress, unless you had pests come off after the very 1st dip. The most likely problem from what you describe is something in the water they do not like.
I didn't start dipping them, after the initial dip, until after the problems devolved. I wasn't doing it while they still looked good.

Here's a few pictures (and a video showing the flow). In the fourth picture, you can see how the head is closer to the plug. Like I said, I don't recall if it started out that way or if that's something new. Also, the last time I dipped them, just a few days ago, I did hit the with a soft toothbrush. I don't recall if those white spots (again, fourth picture down) and 'point' coming off it were there when I did that or if they're new since then.
This is exactly how they look, day and night. Before this started, this is how they'd look at night, which is to be expected, now it's like they never 'wake up'.

One other 'newbie' question. The brown 'stalk' that the heads on the euphyllia are connected to, and I know this is a silly question, is that part of the coral or just what the LFS glued them to when they fragged them?
 
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Good guys. They could have come in on the frags themselves, or rock/substrate you added, or even algae if I you added any. You will notice them pop up all over, eventually. The dip may have killed the ones on the frags.
Good, one less thing to worry about then. I'll see about knocking them off (physically or chemically) at some point. If they don't overwhelm the frag, perhaps when I move them to the DT.
 
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TLDR because this post kinda got away from me...Frammer seems to be doing better, frogspawn and zoa not so much.


So, minor update.
I picked up some Seachem Flourish and have been adding .5ml/day to the tank to see if that will help anything and have been adding a very small amount of Iodide as well.
I also removed the filter socks, did a 20% water change and added some carbon. The next day my phosphates were at .01(down from .03-.04) and Nitrates were at 0 (down from 5-10).
Not knowing if the carbon, the partial water change or the flourish drove the phosphates and nitrates down, I pulled the carbon out and kept dosing flourish. As of right now, phospates are back up to .02 and nitrates are in the 0-5 range, so I'm heading in the right direction.

But more importantly, the frammer appears to be rebounding. I set a bunch of Fish Frenzy right on top of the tentacles (big chunks too). It just sat there doing nothing for a while, but eventually...and slowly, pulled it in. After about an hour or so, it appeared to have consumed it. OTOH, the food I set right on the frogspawn just sat there and eventually blew away when I turned the pumps back on (the crabs seemed to enjoy it though).

I also noticed the tentacles on the frammer aren't quite as retracted as they were a day or two ago. Still nowhere near being fully extended, but at least they're not fully retracted either. I also noticed that it's getting bigger. In the thread with the pictures, I said that the head (the white part the tentacles are connected to, no idea what the real/correct names are) was getting closer to the plug than I remember it being. It's now touching it. I don't know if it's growing, splitting or just 'full' from a big meal. In any case, I assume it's a good sign.

Unfortunately, at least right now, the frogspawn and zoa still look the same. I'm sure they're still alive, just mad about something or another.


One other thing, like I said, I pulled the filter socks and carbon, but I'm going to put some filter floss in there. One of the reasons I pulled the socks is because the pods were getting caught in them. Plus they're kinda expensive to replace. I couldn't find a mesh sock for this tank (IM AIO), so I'm going to switch over to floss (this is what I got), and only have about half, or less, of the water entering the back go through it. I'm more trying to filter out the big chunks or food and dust from the rocks that gets kicked up than anything else.

PS @Reef Nutrition, do you know where I can find Oyster Feast in the Milwaukee area? Everyone has your pods, but the closest I got to finding Oyster Feast was one store saying they were out, all the other places I checked don't seem to carry it. I was hoping to use that, luckily the corals (or at least one) seemed pretty happy with the Fish Frenzy.
 

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It sounds like you are doing too much to the tank. PO4 at 0.03 is fine. So is NO3 at less than 5. You just need some in the tank. No one has asked about the light and I didn't see it mentioned, so what type of lighting are you using?
 
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It sounds like you are doing too much to the tank. PO4 at 0.03 is fine. So is NO3 at less than 5. You just need some in the tank. No one has asked about the light and I didn't see it mentioned, so what type of lighting are you using?
It's an AI Prime 16HD running, IIRC, one of the Saxby presets. At it's brightest, with this schedule, the par at the center of the frag rack gets to 150-170ish and drops off to about 120 towards the edges of it.
The schedule:

The tank (white lights on to take the picture):

Tank as it's lit currently (around1:30pm on the schedule):

And, while it is a young tank at only 3 months old, it's starting to mature, at least enough that there's algae (or whatever it is) growing on the rocks/glass/plastic in the tank, so it's certainly no longer pristine.
 

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If that is the PAR at the brightest, then IMO, you are at the lower end of the spectrum for light. Especially because it doesn't have that intensity for a very long photo period. My frogspawn and zoa's seem very happy at 200-220 PAR for 8 hours a day.

I would also leave things alone for a few weeks and see if the corals react positively or negatively. Unless you are experience rapid tissue loss and death, you need to make one change, and then give the corals a few weeks to respond. If you keep chasing numbers and tweaking your system, by the time your corals tell you they are happy, you will have changed two or three other things and won't know what you did to make them happy. They may even go back to being unhappy in a couple of weeks due to a recent change.
 
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I did brighten up the lights, but they quickly looked worse, so I brought them down a bit. I haven't rechecked the PAR levels, but I believe I'm still above where I was at a few days ago.

The frammer (or rather the frogspawn) that I said appeared to be rebounding, has gone back to being retracted. However, it did eat today, so that's good, but the frammer still seems to be ignoring the food and is fully retracted. The zoa is still almost entirely closed, though it does appear to be spawning a few new heads. I assume that's a good thing.

As of right now, my parameters are:
pH 8.1
Nitrates 0-5
Salinity 1.025
Alk 9.6
Phosphate .07
Calcium 414 (two days ago, anyway)
Mag 1400 (dosed it after my last test said 1100)

The Nitrates I'm testing with my API kit. I plan to pick up a Salifert kit, but BRS and my LFS are out of it. I need to check another LFS tomorrow, otherwise I'll grab it from Amazon, but I'm guessing it's close to correct.

I know I need to leave things alone and I've mostly been doing that...kinda. I could certainly be doing less, but these just seem like they're going downhill fast. At least what I have been doing has been very small changes. Nothing overly drastic. For example, I've added a few mls of Flourish over the past week or two (plus reef chili) in an attempt to bump up the phosphate, it's not that I poured in half a bottle of NeoPhos. I've also been fighting the urge to dose Nitrates, since there's very little bioload in here (other than the corals, there's 3 hermit crabs and a snail, no fish), but I'm hoping it just rises on it's own.

My parameters, I believe, are within the safe range so I haven't dosed any two-part (I really didn't need to buy that when I set this tank up) and, while I don't fully understand it, I don't think I'd have any use for kalk, at least not yet.

So, any other thoughts, I'll try just about anything. The euphyllias looked so nice when they were fully extended and swaying around in the flow. I'm happy to wait it out, but unlike most of the 'my frogspawn/hammer/torch hasn't opened in two days' posts I see, these three corals have been closed for several weeks now.

Plus, these frags are *finally* getting to the end of their QT and my QT'd fish are just about ready to go into, my still empty, DT. I don't know if something is going on with them that they should stay out of the DT (plus moving them will likely be stressful) or if they'd benefit from being in a tank with some livestock.
 

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TLDR because this post kinda got away from me...Frammer seems to be doing better, frogspawn and zoa not so much.


So, minor update.
I picked up some Seachem Flourish and have been adding .5ml/day to the tank to see if that will help anything and have been adding a very small amount of Iodide as well.
I also removed the filter socks, did a 20% water change and added some carbon. The next day my phosphates were at .01(down from .03-.04) and Nitrates were at 0 (down from 5-10).
Not knowing if the carbon, the partial water change or the flourish drove the phosphates and nitrates down, I pulled the carbon out and kept dosing flourish. As of right now, phospates are back up to .02 and nitrates are in the 0-5 range, so I'm heading in the right direction.

But more importantly, the frammer appears to be rebounding. I set a bunch of Fish Frenzy right on top of the tentacles (big chunks too). It just sat there doing nothing for a while, but eventually...and slowly, pulled it in. After about an hour or so, it appeared to have consumed it. OTOH, the food I set right on the frogspawn just sat there and eventually blew away when I turned the pumps back on (the crabs seemed to enjoy it though).

I also noticed the tentacles on the frammer aren't quite as retracted as they were a day or two ago. Still nowhere near being fully extended, but at least they're not fully retracted either. I also noticed that it's getting bigger. In the thread with the pictures, I said that the head (the white part the tentacles are connected to, no idea what the real/correct names are) was getting closer to the plug than I remember it being. It's now touching it. I don't know if it's growing, splitting or just 'full' from a big meal. In any case, I assume it's a good sign.

Unfortunately, at least right now, the frogspawn and zoa still look the same. I'm sure they're still alive, just mad about something or another.


One other thing, like I said, I pulled the filter socks and carbon, but I'm going to put some filter floss in there. One of the reasons I pulled the socks is because the pods were getting caught in them. Plus they're kinda expensive to replace. I couldn't find a mesh sock for this tank (IM AIO), so I'm going to switch over to floss (this is what I got), and only have about half, or less, of the water entering the back go through it. I'm more trying to filter out the big chunks or food and dust from the rocks that gets kicked up than anything else.

PS @Reef Nutrition, do you know where I can find Oyster Feast in the Milwaukee area? Everyone has your pods, but the closest I got to finding Oyster Feast was one store saying they were out, all the other places I checked don't seem to carry it. I was hoping to use that, luckily the corals (or at least one) seemed pretty happy with the Fish Frenzy.
Hey there!

Sorry for the late response. Here is a store that sometimes gets Oyster-Feast. You could call them to see if they can get some in on their next order.

Best Fish​

1335 N Dr Martin Luther King, Milwaukee, WI, 53212​

(414) 224-0486

If you can't get a store to stock it, try here: https://www.saltwateraquarium.com/oyster-feast-egg-tissue-mix-6-oz-reef-nutrition/. They have very affordable shipping and buy from us routinely.

Hope this helps! If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to reach out.

Best,
Chad
 
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Joe31415

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Hey there!

Sorry for the late response. Here is a store that sometimes gets Oyster-Feast. You could call them to see if they can get some in on their next order.

Best Fish​

1335 N Dr Martin Luther King, Milwaukee, WI, 53212​

(414) 224-0486

If you can't get a store to stock it, try here: https://www.saltwateraquarium.com/oyster-feast-egg-tissue-mix-6-oz-reef-nutrition/. They have very affordable shipping and buy from us routinely.

Hope this helps! If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to reach out.

Best,
Chad
That's the one that was out of it, the other places in the area don't seem to carry it to begin with. I'm there often enough, I'll keep checking.

just double checking... is this what you're dosing in your reef tank?
yes,
 

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@Joe31415, I had a hammer and frogspawn that stayed very closed for over a month after I had a problem in the tank and a dino outbreak. When I say very closed, I mean everything sucked in. They eventually started to slowly extend, and by 2.5 months, seemed back to normal.

You don’t need to feed them food. They get most of what they need from light, and any extra food floating that the fish don’t get. Since you don’t have fish in that tank, a little frozen food once a week should be plenty of food moving in the flow for your corals. IMO, you may be causing the retraction by trying to feed them to much. Just be patient, and moving them to your DT should not be to stressful unless the tank is in a different house, and even then would probably be fine.
 
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i don't think that i've ever seen anyone dose that in a reef tank.
it's a planted tank fertilizer supplement.
what are you trying to add? i'm sure there are better supplements for a reef tank.


J.
It gets mentioned here, at least often enough that I've noticed it. In any case, when I went looking for a few other posts around R2R that mention it, I see that there's Seachem Flourish, but there's also Flourish Nitrogen, Flourish Phosphorus and several others. So, I'm not entirely sure at this point if other posters were talking about "flourish" or one of the others. But I also saw a few posts suggesting I wasn't the only one confused by this.

I'm going to do water change (about 20-25%), re-test my parameters and go from there.

I had a hammer and frogspawn that stayed very closed for over a month after I had a problem in the tank and a dino outbreak. When I say very closed, I mean everything sucked in. They eventually started to slowly extend, and by 2.5 months, seemed back to normal.
I'm hoping that's the case. I do see plenty of posts about corals being retracted for extended periods of time and then resolving on their own. I was just hoping to pinpoint the issue.

At least I can still chalk it up to being very new. And, since it's just a QT, if the tank crashes, it's not really the end of the world. It'll set me back a few months but (and a few dollars) but that's about it. But that's the whole point of a QT anyway. If something goes completely off the rails, it's contained.
 

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I'm going to do water change (about 20-25%), re-test my parameters and go from there.

I wouldn't recommend doing a water change right now since your parameters yesterday looked great. I really do think you are over working this issue. Just sit on your hands for a couple of weeks and do nothing unless you see thing getting a lot worse.
 
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