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LPS/SPS Died over the weekend. . .


Cool Beans

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:tears:

 

Maybe a little over exaggerated, but something bad happened over the weekend to my office tank. Tank is a stock JBJ Nano 12g DX. Bulbs are 7 months old, 10 hour timer (verified timer still funtions). I changed the water on Friday afternoon (roughly a gallon). I just picked up fresh premixed (reef crystals) from the LFS along with some Palys (as I've done before). Only thing I did different this time was I used some forceps to scrape/rip/remove some clumps of brown polyps to make room for some new ones. I then proceeded to blow off the rocks and sucked up as much gunky stuff as possible (as per my normal routine) and filled it back up with new saltwater. The Frogspawn and Brain looked a little more stressed than usual, so I put a couple chunks of prewashed carbon pads in the back and went home for the weekend. . .I came in this morning to bone white skeletons of most of my stoney's :eek:

 

Visibly Affected Corals:

 

-Birds Nest (regular brown), total loss. It grew like a weed and was purty and sizable. . .

-Frogspawn, skeletal teeth are showing. Bits of flesh in between. . .has receeded a bit more through the day

-Hammer, same as Frogspawn. Doesn't look like it has receeded anymore. I did catch one of my cleaner shrimp picking at it today, assuming it was cleaning dead tissue off of it. . .

-Candy Cane, couple bits of entrails in the core of the 2 large heads. Funny thing, the other 2 heads that had started to receed weeks back are no worse for wear. They look no different than on Friday when I left. In another thread I pulled them to dip them in H2O2. One was slowly recovering, the other stopped receeding. . .weird

-Closed Brain, was a newer frag I had just glued to the rock work. In the 2 weeks I had it, it would eat when fed and was starting to grow down the sides of its skeleton. There is little shreds of maroon flesh here and there. . .

-Duncan Coral, didn't look stressed friday. This morning it was a bit stubby in the tentacles, where as normally it would be a bit "hairier". No loss of flesh that I have seen.

-Pineapple Tree (soft coral), it was closed up this morning. . .but not like I have seen it deflated into a mound of bubble gum. Normally the polyps are feathery and open and waving in the current.

 

Visibly Unaffected Corals:

 

-Mushrooms looked fine. They seem to have random fits of there own accord though. . .

-Zoas/Palys look fine. Everything was open, even the new Red People Eaters I introduced Friday.

-Finger Leather looks fine. Other it has started to grow weird in the last 2 weeks, it is opening and inflated.

-GSP looks fine.

-A couple peices of Anthelia that's growing back are OK. I doubt fire will cleanse the rock of that scourge. . .

 

Visibly Unaffected Critters:

 

-2 Astrea Snails are alive

-3 hermits are alive

-2 Skunk Cleaners are active and starving as ever :rolleyes:

-6 line wrasse is active and ate ever bit of food I put in there

 

Everything I have bought critter wise is alive, I noticed nothing dead as far as hitchikers go (Skunks would leave nothing but a shell anyways).

 

Now, When I say the corals looked "stressed", I mean they looked different than I have seen them before when they were "irritated". Before I changed the water I noticed the Brain and Candy Cane mouths were inflated with their "lips" pushed out. The hammer didn't look any different, but the Frogspawn tentacles were deflated and the body looked overinflated. I then changed the water and added the carbon. I just figured I did too much at once and pissed everything off, and after a weekend of my hands out of the tank it would all be cool beans. . .

 

Interesting note, it is now 1 hr 45 mins after lights out. The Ducan is "hairy" again, and whats left of the FS and HC are inflated a bit. The rest are unchanged. I'm going to knock a couple hours off the light cycle until told otherwise.

 

Something maybe related to this event happened last monday. I did nothing to the tank over the weekend. I came in that morning and the FS and HC had some receeded flesh on the main stalk. I freaked and took a sample of water up to the LFS for testing after work, results below;

 

PH - 8.4

Ammonia - .25

Nitrite - 0

Nitrate - 0

Alk - 4

Phos - 0

Mag - 1600+

Ca - 500+

Copper - 0

 

These are API test kit results except Mag which was Red Sea. I take them with a grain of salt. His advice was to basically do nothing for a week and test again (He couldn't think of anything else to do and was curious of the results). During last week I did nothing but feed the tank and by friday the recession had healed some and the FS had finished splitting a head. Friday I did my "tankly activities" and during lunch today I tested again for what tests I have;

 

Nitrate - 0

Phos - 0

Ca - 400 ish

Alk - 6

SG - 1.024 (swing arm)

Temp - ~80

 

I haven't tested the premix yet.

 

Alk has always been low. It tends to settle out at 6 and has never been an issue. I've tried raising it and keeping it up but it takes many doses of Brightwell Nano Part B. It tends to fall pretty quick. Didn't seem to stunt anythings growth so I haven't worried about it much.

 

Everything except Xenia and Mushrooms grow like weeds in my tank so I figured I would keep doing what I do. . .

 

My instincts point me to either the paly removal or maybe a nasty temp swing over the weeked. In the office there is a weekend mode which bumps it up to 80. I've been in here though to change the water on a hot weekend and the water temp was only 83 and everything looked fine. I've have no idea what the tank temp could have peaked at, but it couldn't have got that hot, could it? The only other thing I can think of is an inadverdent chemical irradiation with brown paly guts. . .but i've scrapped crap off rocks before with out issue, though not as messy as this time.

 

I have no idea. . .Any and all advice is welcome, I'm pretty sad right now. . .any information you need from me, let me know. I can have pictures up tomorrow if it will help.

 

Thanks!

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So. . .no takers, wrong forum?

 

But I think I figured it out. Unless I'm not looking hard enough online, I haven't come across too many issues like mine. . .but those I did find are spot on to what happened to me. . .

 

Basically, some palys. . .sometimes. . .have varying degrees of toxicity. Now I've heard about palytoxin and people don't mix, but I never thought about it and my tank critters :rolleyes: It would seem to be a rare event given all the advice of "just git in der' and scrub 'em off and suk out da guts!" vs the 2 instances I found of total tank losses. About as rare as people getting sick from paly toxin I'd think. . .

 

When I had removed some before, I was siphoning water at the same time. I would pluck/scrape and come right behind and suck up the residue. This wasn't a precationary measure, just convenient. This time, I plucked/scraped and deposited on a rag outside the tank. THEN I stirred up the water (and brown paly goo) before vaccuming. . .I had no idea and would never have thought. . .very stupid mistake on my part.

 

I think the only thing keeping it from being a total dissaster was the fact I noticed some distress and put some carbon pads in the tank before I left :unsure:

 

So. . .I just finished another partial water change and changed out the carbon pads. . .the old ones were covered in what I guess is dead coral flesh? The Duncan looks good now, the leather is more puffed up and the Pineapple Tree is opening. There is still flesh in the CC, FS, and Hammer. . .not sure if any of them will recover to any appreciable extent though. The Birds Nest I pulled out. . .

 

Lesson learned, the hard way. . .I think I will share this in the coral forum and hopefully prevent this from happening to someone else.

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FYI your posts are to long. Try to sum up your problem in a few paragraphs. The long post is the reason you aren't getting replies.

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I think the ammonia is a problem. If it's an established tank, there must have been some die off of some sort (maybe the left over parts of the plays?) that raised the ammonia level. SPS is more sensitive than LPS which is more sensitive than soft corals to out of balance parameters.

 

Perhaps do a large water change?

 

Hope it works out!

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MyJasmineRose

This might sound silly but it's how an acquaintances tank crashed, are you sure your office has power on all weekend? Theirs started shutting it off at night over the weekend (as a budget cut), came in Monday to lots of die off

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FYI your posts are to long. Try to sum up your problem in a few paragraphs. The long post is the reason you aren't getting replies.

 

God forbid someone actually communicated with complete sentences and properly spelled words.

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PortRoyalPirate

FYI your posts are to long. Try to sum up your problem in a few paragraphs. The long post is the reason you aren't getting replies.

 

This is ridiculous.

 

My suspicion was that some type of cleaner etc found it's way into OP's aquarium. I went so far as to look up his tank, and found that it had a cover.

 

I knew what kind of tank it was because OP has a descriptive post.

 

Coral warfare was also suspected, but again I gathered that the OP changed the water.

 

So I myself have no useful advice to offer beyond water changes, carbon and crossed fingers.

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Not palytoxin - coral doesn't have the receptors that palytoxin acts on. Die off causing ammonia is a possibility, but corals don't release all that much ammonia compared to a fish, so even a moderately established reef should be able to handle a few dying palys.

 

I suspect the much more likely scenario is a spike of temperature or a big alk spike. You mentioned that you did a water change - did you measure the SG of the salt before the WC? What was your Alkalinity before the water change? Do you keep an eye on temperature multiple times per day?

 

A big spike would be the most likely scenario due to either a sticking or faulty heater or because an Alk spike due to poorly mixed water.

 

While all your parameters seem to be in check now - what they were immediately before the WC and before the crash would explain a lot. Keep an eye on it and keep it as stable as possible.

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Thank you for the replies!

 

A power outage could have happened, but if the pump stops for more than a few seconds the surface skimmer will fall to the bottom. It is only held on by water pressure. Also, the timer would have stopped for the duration of the power outage. There has been one over the weekend since I had the tank though. Came in and the skimmer was on the bottom and light timer was off about 30 minutes (I assume the outage was also for 30 mins).

 

This past Monday morning when I came in the skimmer was still attached and lights were in sync so I don't think the power went out.

 

 

Up until the other day, I only checked the temperature every couple days during feedings. I have a floating glass thermometer in the rear chamber. It's around 80 degress. I now have a digital indoor/outdoor thermometer set up. The outdoor probe is stuck to the glass and the indoor panel beside the tank. Currently the tank temp is 79.4 and the air temp is 74.3. It also has a nifty min/max memory function. Last night the air temp low was 72.6 and the tank low was 78.8. Max temps are basically what it is now.

 

I will monitor the temps closely and see what the summer weekends are like around here.

 

As for a sticking/faulty heater, can that be checked for?

 

 

I haven't checked the premixed water. I've always used the same water from the same LFS since day one, I guess I've been lax in that regard.

 

My Alk was around 6 though. It's always been low.

 

A quick time line of events in the previous posts of mine might help:

 

The series of readings that included the .25 ammonia were from the week prior. I included them incase they were helpful. I didn't check any water parameters before I did my water change.

 

The Friday (7/11) that I changed the water and cleaned all took about an hour to finish.

 

-Ripped/Scraped/Removed about 2 square inches of brown palys.

-After about 15 minutes I noticed the Brain and Candy Cane looked weirdly stressed.

-I quit paly removal, basted the rocks and proceeded to vaccum out around a gallon of water.

-I topped off the water and flipped the pump back on.

-I noticed now everything was not happy looking, so I went to the store and bought some carbon floss.

-Floss went in and I went home.

 

I've since changed the water again last night and it didn't affect the tank so I'm pretty sure it isn't the premix. Could be wrong, but. . .

 

This thread has an almost identicle instance of massive tank loss after removing palys. I've found a few similar accounts, but this one was spookily close (unless I'm just not seeing something, or seeing more than is there). I hope I'm not breaking any rules by posting a thread to another site but:

 

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2042136

 

I appreciate the help thus far. I will perform another water change and invest in some new testing stuff. Definately monitor the temps for awhile before I do anything with the live stock.

 

How long should I give whats left of the stonies to recover before I pull them out? The Candy Cane I think is a gonner. The bit of green flesh is whitish brown now and sloughing off. The FS is receeded a bit more as has the Hammer. Everything else looks great.

 

Thanks!

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I had a similar nightmare once. I had let the tank go a for a couple weeks while I was leaving one job/starting another - kept up with feeding/water changes but hadn't taken care of the glass or anything. Once I finally had some downtime, I scraped the back wall and glass (considerable amount of algae build up), and then immediately did a water change, along with fresh purigen and chemipure elite. Over 2-3 days, all the LPS/SPS had receded/died. Zoas were closed up, but OK, various polyps looked great, clam never looked happier.

 

I think abrupt significant cleanings like that can definitely have the potential to piss a lot of things off, and should probably be done in stages, with substantial water changes in between. I left the stonys for a week or two, but there was no sign of life, so took them out as it got depressing looking at it. Water parameters never showed anything to be concerned about.



I just read that thread you linked to reefcentral, I had almost the exact same kill/survival profile, except my clams and other invertebrates seemed unaffected.

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There is no way to check for a temp spike unless you monitor it.

 

The first time I read your post I saw an Alk of 6, but missed the Alk of 4 - that's your culprit right there. Not to mention the fact you had a 2dkh swing. I am willing to bet it was the swing of alk coupled with the fact that it got to 4 dkh. Your calcium is all over the place too, but I would attribute that to the swings in Alkalinity.

 

The biggest problem you are having is stability - which you need for SPS and LPS. An Alk of 4 dkh is way, way too low and since you are using a saltwater mix that has a DKH of 10, your target should be 10. Also, if you can't maintain an alkalinity that high, you need to do more frequent water changes to keep your alk stable and if that isn't cutting it you may need to look at dosing to keep it stable.

 

And ammonia the week before... I wouldn't blame the palys for that. Also, the RC story has almost no information whatsoever so I would take it with a grain of salt.

 

In addition, while there is almost no research on the effects of palytoxin on coral, it has been observed in high concentrations in marine invertebrates (other coral, echinoderms, crustaceans, etc.) in the wild with no ill effects. Many reef animals are able to sequester palytoxin with little to no harm. While it is behind a paywall, you can see the abstract. If you still have access to your highschool, college, etc. network, you can get it for free. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0041010199000938

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This is ridiculous.

 

My suspicion was that some type of cleaner etc found it's way into OP's aquarium. I went so far as to look up his tank, and found that it had a cover.

 

I knew what kind of tank it was because OP has a descriptive post.

 

Coral warfare was also suspected, but again I gathered that the OP changed the water.

 

So I myself have no useful advice to offer beyond water changes, carbon and crossed fingers.

Just stating what I have seen being here for 4+ years. I have seen numerous long posts were the replies are TLDR.
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Water stability is a big mistake on my part. I've cut back on monitoring it since everything was looking great and growing fast. DKH is up to 8 now. Brightwell bottle says max 10ml a day, I'll keep going to till it's where it needs to be. Just finished another partial water change. Tank looks nice and crisp with all this extra attention! Kind of forget what it could look like after being lax for a time :( Hopefully this will be my only hard learned lesson!

 

So do you think this was just a case of lax husbandry followed by a vigorous cleaning that just started a cascade of shock then death?

 

On the bright side, my duncan is eating. The flesh left on the Brain is puffed up, as is the FS. The Hammer looks a little worse though, and I think I'm just going to remove the CC. This is a good opportunity to do a bit of rescaping though. I had been hesitant to touch the rocks in fear of causing. . .well, this lol. I'll save that for another thread though.

 

Many thanks for all the advice and help!

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I imagine power went out, weakest coral died sets off a chain reaction of decay/ammonia. Can happen super quickly especially if noone is there to clean it up over the weekend

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Water stability is a big mistake on my part. I've cut back on monitoring it since everything was looking great and growing fast. DKH is up to 8 now. Brightwell bottle says max 10ml a day, I'll keep going to till it's where it needs to be. Just finished another partial water change. Tank looks nice and crisp with all this extra attention! Kind of forget what it could look like after being lax for a time :( Hopefully this will be my only hard learned lesson!

 

So do you think this was just a case of lax husbandry followed by a vigorous cleaning that just started a cascade of shock then death?

 

On the bright side, my duncan is eating. The flesh left on the Brain is puffed up, as is the FS. The Hammer looks a little worse though, and I think I'm just going to remove the CC. This is a good opportunity to do a bit of rescaping though. I had been hesitant to touch the rocks in fear of causing. . .well, this lol. I'll save that for another thread though.

 

Many thanks for all the advice and help!

 

You need to be monitoring your Alkalinity daily until you get it under control. It's a miracle ANYTHING is alive right now considering you had a jump of 4 dkh over just a few days and it was all the way down at 4 dkh... a 100% increase. That's insane. If anything makes it at all, it is probably going to be a long road to recovery.

 

I would strongly, strongly suggest you don't dose 2-part to keep it stable since you are all over the place and simply use a balanced solution like Kalk and manually dose it IF you absolutely have to... If you miss water changes with stony corals, you alk will get way too low and you will have to dose to make up for it. With stony corals you simply can't neglect the tank or it'll crash as your alkalinity bottoms out just like it did.

 

I imagine power went out, weakest coral died sets off a chain reaction of decay/ammonia. Can happen super quickly especially if noone is there to clean it up over the weekend

 

I imagine you missed the part where his Alk bottomed out at 4 dkh and then spiked to 8 dkh over a few days... And his suctioned on surface skimmer was still on and the timer wasn't out of synch... wasn't a power outage.

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Just tested the premixed from the LFS. . .

 

DKH was 6 and Ca was 300 ppm. . .something is wrong, either with the water or my test kits are bad. I've got the RedSea DKH/Ca/Mg kit coming in and will proceed from there. If the LFS water really is that crappy, I guess I will start mixing my own.

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It may even just be a single bad batch, or mixed incorrectly for the salt in question (the stores near me tend to mix in 1000-2000 gallon batches for the prepared saltwater they sell). Several decent salts on the market start to have precipitate form/fall out of solution after more than the recommended mixing times or if stored for more than a few days... and some just because. ;)

 

To support a 12 gallon tank mixing your own at home would probably be a preferable approach anyways... you'll likely save time as you only really need to test the new water's parameters (outside of salinity) a few times per bucket - first time to verify the batch is OK and levels to shoot for when dosing, and then every few changes just to make sure settling hasn't occurred. Lay in a decent water source (distilled or RODI) and you should be back in business.

 

More and more I'm finding that alkalinity is just about the single most important parameter to routinely monitor... almost everything depends on it, expects it's continued presence at a specific level or dies/gets seriously pissed off when said level changes too quickly. Even more insidious is that will drop more quickly over time as your tank matures (among other factors), and everything can seem more or less OK as it starts to bottom out. Then you go and perform a water change as you're supposed to and kill everything by "correcting" a condition... in a truly Schrodinger-esque fashion.

 

Yes, I've seen this happen first-hand in my formerly mixed reef, now soft coral/macro tank. :rolleyes:

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  • 1 month later...

DKH is still a fight to get it past 9. . .as it has been, I'm not going to fight it. Everything was growing fine before, everything is now growing fine again. Everything is recovering. . .the FS has all it heads back and is getting bigger everyday. I have a new peice of Birds Nest in there for less than a week and it has new branch buds forming. . .

 

That being said, I do have new redsea test kits for Ca/Mag/Alk and will be mindful of dosing.

 

I told my reefing neighbor about this and he laughed and told me about his incidents of cleaning polpys off, and of fellow reef club members as well. . .anecdotal I know, but. . .

 

May thanks for all the help!

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