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jefferythewind

What happened to this coral?

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jefferythewind

Hi, I have had this tank set up for almost a year, and I have had this coral in the tank for almost 5 months. I have to say the tank has had its ups and downs. Shortly after introducing this new coral, I had a crazy green phytoplankton bloom and it took my a while to figure out how to get it under control. I ended up increasing the volume of my regular water changes and finally got rid of all the green water with a UV filter. The tank looks really healthy recently for the past month. During the time with the green water I couldn't see the corals. Now I've noticed this hard coral doesn't look very good, looks like a lot of it has died and the area between the little bulbs not a very nice color. 

 

I'm also just attaching pictres of 2 other corals, both of which are doing well and growing. So I am wondering what could be wrong with this thrid one ( the hard finger like one ).

 

Its a 29 gallon tank with a Seachem 75 gallon filter with floss, a polishing pad and carbon. I do weekly 5 gallon water changes. Salinity is at 1.024. I have a viparspectra light. During the phytoplankton bloom I reduced the light a bit, not sure if this type of coral needs more light.

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Clown79

What are your parameters, alk, ca, nitrate, phos.

 

That's a montipora digitata. It does need light. Browning out can be due to lack of light and nutrient issues.

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jefferythewind

Well I still don't have any of the tools to check my water parameters besides the salinity. So I guess that is my next step. Would you recommend any particular testing kit?

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jefferythewind

Also, the light have has a blue channel and a white channel. Recently I've had my white channel almost all the way down and the blue channel at 20 out of 100. White channel was only at 1 out of 100. Yesterday I turned it up to 2. The person who I normally ask at the store said you don't need too much white light, but could it be too low?

 

 

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Tired

Any non-strip test kit, except API, should work reasonably well for you. API is notoriously inaccurate. 

 

What kind of light is it? 

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jefferythewind

Interesting when I search for test kits the first thing that comes up is API test kits.

 

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Tired

API is popular because it's less expensive, but it's not very accurate. Invest in something better if you want to keep corals.

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Clown79

I wouldn't say Api isn't accurate.

 

I've tested it against hanna, salifert, and red sea. The only difference in the results is that api gives even numbers so for example if alk is 8.8, api will read 9.

 

For alk, I prefer hanna. Easy and quick.

Phos, definitely hanna

Mag salifert, red sea test always gave me various results.

 

Ammonia, nitrate, ca- I have used salifert, red sea, and api- pretty spot on same results.

 

None of them are 100%. Human error is often involved.

 

Testing is more of a tool for stability.

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jefferythewind

OK well I will purchase a test system for alk, ca, nitrate, phos, as you suggested, and I will try to update with the numbers once I get them.

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jefferythewind

Hi All, So I picked up the "Foundation Test Kit" from Red Sea. It comes with ALK, MG, and CA tests, which I was reading are most important for reef tanks.  As I said before I keep the salinity at 1.024. I did 2 tests of each from the test kit and averaged the results.

 

MG 1420

Alk  10.1

CA  395

 

Sorry I left the units off, hopefully its clear what the units are. What do you think of these levels. It seems maybe the Alk is too high and the CA is low? Thanks.

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debbeach13
On 6/4/2020 at 2:53 PM, jefferythewind said:

Its a viparspectra, pretty sure the size is 300W. It has the timer built in.

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073XNB79Q?ref_=ast_sto_dp

That light looks like it is for indoor plants not for a reef tank.

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Clown79
51 minutes ago, debbeach13 said:

That light looks like it is for indoor plants not for a reef tank.

Ya it looks like the version for plants not aquaria

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jefferythewind

Hmm, it Looks the same but mine is called Aqua Light System, see picture.

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mcarroll

Assuming that you have the Viparspectra reef light, then your settings are probably about right.   Blue up to the right level, and then just enough white to make it look good to you.....target something like 20,000K color.

 

Get a lux meter off eBay or amazin for $7-$20 so you can take an empirical reading of the light levels in the tank.

 

On 6/4/2020 at 10:45 AM, jefferythewind said:

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FYI, that coral looks pretty good to me now....seems like the dead spots are old and have been grown over by Coraline algae.  You can tell the coral has been through the ringer by all those patches though.

 

IMO the tank is probably more or less fine now.....so tread carefully if you set about making changes.   Get that light meter, for one thing.  If you raise lights, do it by no more than 2,500 lux per week IMO.

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jefferythewind

Thanks so much for the update. I did get a test kit. I did try adding some light, and tried to increase feeding slightly. It seems my changes were catastrophic for this little coral. So I backed the light back down. It is at 20 on the blue channel and 2 on the white channel. I had gone up to 5 on the white channel. I went back to feeding once a day. Making those changes also cause my green grass coral to completely retract for a couple of days. I really have no idea what exactly happened but seems pretty obvious it is because of those changes that I made.

 

Anyways, its been about 2 weeks now things look back to "normal". You can see that little coral is basically all wiped out, although is still alive. The other soft corals look decent. The fish, shrimp, crabs and snails are fine. The snails actually had babies, they all come out at night. So to me the tank seems healthy all except for this coral, which seems to be on its way out. 😞

 

I picked up the Red Sea Foundation test kit. It tests KH, CA, and MG. Here are the specs as of yesterday, they have been pretty much the same since i started testing a few weeks ago.

 

Salinity 33.5 PPT

KH    9.8

CA   400

MG 1460

 

Anyone with some experience please let me know fi these need adjusting or if I should look elsewhere and get other testing equipment. 

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Tamberav
19 minutes ago, jefferythewind said:

Thanks so much for the update. I did get a test kit. I did try adding some light, and tried to increase feeding slightly. It seems my changes were catastrophic for this little coral. So I backed the light back down. It is at 20 on the blue channel and 2 on the white channel. I had gone up to 5 on the white channel. I went back to feeding once a day. Making those changes also cause my green grass coral to completely retract for a couple of days. I really have no idea what exactly happened but seems pretty obvious it is because of those changes that I made.

 

Anyways, its been about 2 weeks now things look back to "normal". You can see that little coral is basically all wiped out, although is still alive. The other soft corals look decent. The fish, shrimp, crabs and snails are fine. The snails actually had babies, they all come out at night. So to me the tank seems healthy all except for this coral, which seems to be on its way out. 😞

 

I picked up the Red Sea Foundation test kit. It tests KH, CA, and MG. Here are the specs as of yesterday, they have been pretty much the same since i started testing a few weeks ago.

 

Salinity 33.5 PPT

KH    9.8

CA   400

MG 1460

 

Anyone with some experience please let me know fi these need adjusting or if I should look elsewhere and get other testing equipment. 

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Knowing your phosphate and Nitrate levels are also important. If they are very low, then your alk is likely too high. If they are not low, then alk should be fine.

 

 

The tank looks very 'sterile' to me and not really ready for SPS. I don't see algae or coralline growing or even any little creatures like feather dusters and sponges or such. You said your tank was set up for a year but if you told me it was set up for 2 months. I would have believed that too.

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5*Chris

I might have missed it, but do you have any thing other than the HOB moving water? 

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jefferythewind

@Tamberav Thanks so much for the commentary. That's what I was starting to figure, that I need to check phosphate and nitrate levels. I will get that test kit next. I would love to hear more about your comment about the tank being sterile. Starting the tank out last year I had the lights on much higher. I had an anemone and a feather duster that died, at different times. The feather duster died during a time when I got green aquarium water algea growing. The whole tank turned green. It took me about 2 months to finally figure out how to use the UV filter. During that time I also starting using fine filter media and carbon. So I turned the light down to 20 blue, 1 white early on. The water was green so I couldn't see anything in the tank. Like I said, it was about 2 months that the water was completely green. I started doing bigger water changes too. Its a 29 gallon tank and I change a full 5 gallons now every week. It used to be more like 3 every week to 10 days. Now I have just filter floss in the filter and I am still using carbon. The water looks clear. There is a little soft algea that grows on the glass that I wipe off every day. The snails also eat that too.

 

@5*Chris  I have the Seachem 75 fillter and a AquarClear 50 power head.

 

Thanks for all the help.

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Tamberav
16 minutes ago, jefferythewind said:

@Tamberav Thanks so much for the commentary. That's what I was starting to figure, that I need to check phosphate and nitrate levels. I will get that test kit next. I would love to hear more about your comment about the tank being sterile. Starting the tank out last year I had the lights on much higher. I had an anemone and a feather duster that died, at different times. The feather duster died during a time when I got green aquarium water algea growing. The whole tank turned green. It took me about 2 months to finally figure out how to use the UV filter. During that time I also starting using fine filter media and carbon. So I turned the light down to 20 blue, 1 white early on. The water was green so I couldn't see anything in the tank. Like I said, it was about 2 months that the water was completely green. I started doing bigger water changes too. Its a 29 gallon tank and I change a full 5 gallons now every week. It used to be more like 3 every week to 10 days. Now I have just filter floss in the filter and I am still using carbon. The water looks clear. There is a little soft algea that grows on the glass that I wipe off every day. The snails also eat that too.

 

@5*Chris  I have the Seachem 75 fillter and a AquarClear 50 power head.

 

Thanks for all the help.

Younger tanks, generally less than 1-2 years, more so started with dry rock tend to have: More algae blooms that come and go, extreme nutrient swings, and less biodiversity. SPS are more 'picky' and can be more tricky in newer tanks and those started with dry rock. 

 

There is a whole world of microbial life happening in our tanks and on a real reef that we can not test for. Alk/Mg/Ca/No3/PO4 are just the surface.

 

If you can grow good coralline algae, that at least can show that calcification is happening. If you have sponges and featherdusters growing in the dark areas then we know there is enough food/plankton to to sustain them. These things are good visual indications that easier SPS may also do well.

 

 

 

 

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jefferythewind

@Tamberav I just bought a feather duster about a month ago and it seems to be doing OK. Do the sponges and feather dusters you are referring to grow spontaneously or do we have to add them to the tank? I seem to have slight coralline growth but really not that much. There is a little that has grown on the power head. I have to say the soft corals are growing. 

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Tamberav
8 minutes ago, jefferythewind said:

@Tamberav I just bought a feather duster about a month ago and it seems to be doing OK. Do the sponges and feather dusters you are referring to grow spontaneously or do we have to add them to the tank? I seem to have slight coralline growth but really not that much. There is a little that has grown on the power head. I have to say the soft corals are growing. 

Have to be added via live rock or they can hitchhike on coral plugs. I am not saying it is necessary, just that these are kind of 'natural' indicators. Some people are able to grow SPS in a brand new 3 month old tank with dry rock, but most of us would struggle! 

 

Soft corals and LPS seem to be much more forgiving in younger tanks and often people will start with those for awhile until the tank is flourishing. 

 

Also with SPS I generally put them on the bottom for the first week while they acclimate. A change in lighting can fry them sometimes, especially LEDs. They also need good flow, particularly when they grow larger since their own branches/size will block flow. 

 

It is good you at least have some coralline showing up on the powerhead, it generally starts there first.

 

 

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jefferythewind

@Tamberav This is all great information. Do you think there is anything I can do to promote the "flourishing" that you are referring to? The tank is a year old, I'm wondering why it doesn't look like a mature tank yet? What am I doing wrong in my routine maintenance that is causing this? Could it be too much filtration? These are some questions I have.

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Tamberav
2 hours ago, jefferythewind said:

@Tamberav This is all great information. Do you think there is anything I can do to promote the "flourishing" that you are referring to? The tank is a year old, I'm wondering why it doesn't look like a mature tank yet? What am I doing wrong in my routine maintenance that is causing this? Could it be too much filtration? These are some questions I have.

Can't have what isn't added. 🙂 As you add more corals, stuff usually finds its way in. Some people buy pods and try and find worm/brittle stars and so on to try and control what they add. Others buy a bit of quality live rock to seed their tanks. 

 

The filtration sounds okay, as long as you are not using too much carbon. 

 

If you don't have a powerhead, I would add one of those too. Nice catch @5*Chris

 

Worth noting is that SPS is a digi, and while they are considered easier sps, I find them to be more picky than say a red monticap or a sour apple/green birdsnest. 

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Tired

You could see if anyone will mail you a couple handfuls of sand or some bits of rubble from a super-established tank. You need to add more creatures, is the bottom line. Biodiversity promotes stability, and biodiversity comes from both providing good critter habitat, and having said critters in the first place. Dry rock doesn't have them, so all your critters come from frags and other small things added to the tank, which introduces them very slowly and will never add some of them.

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