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dnadrifter

Calling Duncan Experts (mine aren't doing well)

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dnadrifter

Hi All,

 

So my 7g tank is about 4 months old,  and is doing okay, but not stellar as of late.  No fish.  Only corals. Limited feeding the last month.

 

Softies and SPS are doing great, but my LPS has suffered.  Of primary concern are my Duncans specifically two of them I really liked.  In retrospect I think it was a combination of too much light with my new AI Prime and losing control of alkalinity.  The larger one has been closed up for probably a month and the brown stuff in the photos started probably 2 weeks ago on it, and has now spread to the other.

 

My alkalinity had always been around 9 with the water changes I was doing, but I stopped checking it as often and then suddenly it was in the 6's and water changes weren't doing much (even with Reef Crystals).  I had added quite a few corals at once with some fairly large chunks of LPS and I think I underestimated alkalinity uptake.  I started doing water changes everyday and realized I wasn't really getting anywhere as the tank was using between 0.5 - 1 dkh a day.   I raised it over the course of about 5 days with bicarb, and am now dosing Tropic Marin's All for Reef for about 5 days.  Its not dialed in yet, so still using bicarb to keep it up.  Aiming for between 9-9.5.

 

Below are some pics of the duncans.  The one with two photos is before and after a Revive dip.  (didn't think that would help much but it always seems to be something people recommend)   From looking around it looks the most like brown jelly disease, but all the posts I find say how quickly it takes the coral out in a matter of hours/days.   The large duncan has had it for over two weeks.    Most recent test parameters below.  Ricordeas, Acans, Blastos, Chalices, and Lepastrea that wasn't blasted with light doing fine.   One torch not looking great, but hasn't melted.  My best guess is that the duncans and torch are eventual gonners, but am hoping that with some stable parameters they might have a chance.

 

Did the alkalinity issues potentially weaken the duncans and then were susceptible to BJD?  Any thoughts that I am not considering or advice.  

 

Salinity:  1.026 (Hanna with very recent calibration)  (always been super stable, 1.025-1.026)

dkH:  Currently at about 9 trying to stabilize (Hanna)

Nitrite: 0 (API)

Nitrate: 3 (NYOS)

Phosphate:  0.03 (Hanna)

No Ca or Mg measurements. 

 

_P2A4283_editv1_800px.jpg.fc0692984093eb5bf6b6c28e666ac054.jpg

 

_P2A4287_editv1_800px.jpg.d8ba08fafe024e4a8587a9424c2f4b70.jpg

 

_P2A4281_editv1_800px.jpg.414500fc72927a38e852fdb4fb06ca29.jpg

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Tired

The brown stuff just looks like cyano or something similar on them. If you gently remove it with a pipette, does it come back? 

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dnadrifter

It blows off, but comes back.

 

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Poison Dart Frog

Can you change the flow in the tank? I had some Duncans close up for 2 weeks or so then moved them to an area of different flow (lower, but more turbulent) and they opened up roughly a week later and have been okay since. 

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mcarroll
17 hours ago, dnadrifter said:

(didn't think that would help much but it always seems to be something people recommend)

😬 Trust your gut more.  Second guess "things people [on the internet] recommend" more.

 

Dipping something without having a real reason is almost always a bad idea...dipping is always risky.

 

Similarly, moving a coral without having a real reason is almost always a bad idea.

 

So moving the coral in order to dip it for something that you were literally only hypothesizing about is double bad...maybe a triple bad.  

image.png.201c1061ad6e21225e6091dcaff89b7d.png

😉😜

 

Under the circumstances, I think I would stabilize the tank using one of the standard two-part formulas that work directly/instantly and are well-understood.  Save the AFR, which depends on biological breakdown to work, for later.  (It will keep, so it will still be useful.)

 

Your nutrient levels are already quite low (too low, IMO...dosing PO4 would probably perk up your corals quickly)...removing the AFR from the equation should take little pressure off of that supply to the benefit of your corals.  

 

Until you're seeing better test levels (e.g. ≥0.05 ppm for PO4; ≥5 ppm for NO3) don't do anything to lower nutrients...avoiding water changes, remove any excess filtration like GFO.

 

Dimming your light by 20% for a week or so wouldn't be the worst idea either, since you mentioned that you suspected that to be playing a role.  (I agree....it relates to the already-low levels of po4, which are presently right at the minimum needed to sustain photosynthesis.)

 

If you can get some Seachem Flourish Phosphate (or similar) I would dose up to 0.10 ppm for at least a week or so.  Double check the level after you dose by testing about an hour later...sometimes the tank will gulp down that first dose if it's been deprived for a while.  If you need to, re-dose to the same level (0.10ppm)...and re-test again in another hour just to be sure.  Unlikely you'll have to re-dose even once, let alone twice....but you do want to assure there's a "reserve" in the water until things recover.

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dnadrifter
22 hours ago, Poison Dart Frog said:

Can you change the flow in the tank? I had some Duncans close up for 2 weeks or so then moved them to an area of different flow (lower, but more turbulent) and they opened up roughly a week later and have been okay since. 

I could, but it doesn't seem like that is the culprit.   The three are in different areas and  they are all doing poorly.

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dnadrifter
7 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Your nutrient levels are already quite low (too low, IMO...dosing PO4 would probably perk up your corals quickly)...removing the AFR from the equation should take little pressure off of that supply to the benefit of your corals.

Really appreciate the reply.  Will see if I can find some seachem flourish tomorrow locally. I think you are right about removing the AFR for now getting things under control with a normal two part.    I chose the AFR because I would only need one doser, but didn't realize how it worked until the dkh barely moved after I dosed....then looked it up.

 

Besides the light just being too much I think, it also increased the algae substantially which likely took alot of nutrients out as well.  Around the same time I think I recall also feeding the corals less as my nitrates were about 15, and I was kind of shooting for between 5-10.  Anyway, it seemed that while the phosphates and nitrates were low, they were zero and I had seen 0.03 stated as a good phosphate level.   (I know this is bit subjective though and there has been a move from ultra low systems to higher levels)

 

The setting the light is at right now should, per BRS, give 100 PAR at mid and bottom depth.  Exact same light, tank dimensions, and height above water.   It is already significantly turned down from where it was previously.

 

Anyway, will give the PO4 a try and can hopefully pick some up tomorrow.

 

I neglected to mention that my TDS had crept up to 3, but it is hard to believe that could be the problem.  It is possible it could be chloramines though as I have been using the "RO/DI buddy" and after watching some videos it appears normal carbon blocks don't last long for chloramines and normal DI resin doesn't do anything.   Never the less I just received a better RODI system from BRS.

 

I was planning on doing water changes with the better water to eliminate potential chlorine / chloramines from the water, but I hear you regarding the W/Cs also reducing the NO3/PO4.   Thoughts on which is worse evil right now?

 

Lastly, is it possible the brown stuff is just decaying flesh from the corals?  The more I look at it, the more that seems to be the case on the worst ones.

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mcarroll
2 hours ago, dnadrifter said:

0.03 stated as a good phosphate level.

That's a good absolute minimum level for a new tank...not a maximum.   (There doesn't really seem to be a practical maximum. My po4 and no3 are something like 2.0 and 100, respectively and I have no major algae other than coralline...and corals are happy.)

 

2 hours ago, dnadrifter said:

I neglected to mention that my TDS had crept up to 3, but it is hard to believe that could be the problem.

Not your problem here – your gut was correct.

 

Chlorine is a problem for your RO membrane.  It is not a real problem for your reef.  (And measure your DI's output water for chlorine before you go assuming anything....a low-range Cl test kit is cheap.)

 

2 hours ago, dnadrifter said:

The setting the light is at right now should, per BRS, give 100 PAR at mid and bottom depth.

100 PAR is about 5000 lux....barely at the compensation point for photosynthesis for most critters...so "okay".  Closer to 200, up to 300 PAR, would be a little more ideal IMO. 

 

Before you take your numbers to the bank though, get a light meter and stop guesstimating your levels.  A basic lux meter like I use (a model LX-1010B) only costs $10-20...sometimes even less.  You can even download a lux meter app to your smartphone, but sometimes they aren't totally straightforward to use....post a question if you seem to get weird results.

 

2 hours ago, dnadrifter said:

Thoughts on which is worse evil right now?

Of the three, PO4 is really all that matters at a crucial level.  (Chlorine was covered above.)

 

2 hours ago, dnadrifter said:

Lastly, is it possible the brown stuff is just decaying flesh from the corals?

More than likely it is dino's that they are ejecting (ie symbionts) as the corals slowly bleach to protect themselves from photosynthesis-induced damage.

 

Less likely, but possible, is that it's pest dino's (ie. not symbionts) or cyano brought on by the very-low nutrient levels...in particular the po4 levels.

 

Again, supplying PO4 is the answer in any of the three cases.

 

 

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dnadrifter

Thanks for such a detailed response.   Will report back.

 

On the negative side, can't help but feeling I just wasted $200 on another RODI system.  😩

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Tired

Could always sell it to someone to get most of your money back, or keep it as a backup in case this one fails. 

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dnadrifter
2 minutes ago, Tired said:

Could always sell it to someone to get most of your money back, or keep it as a backup in case this one fails. 

Yeah.  I will probably just keep the new one.  I already have it mounted and it also should be about 4x faster.  Been trying to convince by brother to start, so I might just keep the small one for him, as I am not sure how big the market will be for a used $60 RODI unit with a questionable carbon block, especially after shipping.

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dnadrifter
On 7/29/2020 at 3:39 PM, mcarroll said:

If you can get some Seachem Flourish Phosphate (or similar) I would dose up to 0.10 ppm for at least a week or so.  

Local LFS had the Brightwell NeoPhos.    Just wanted to check to make sure this is okay given it says not to exceed 0.04 on the bottle.

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dnadrifter

Just took a whole bunch of test readings.

 

NH3/NH4: 0

NO2: 0

NO3: 0-1  (more intense than 0, less intense than 1)

PO4: 0.02

dkH: 8.1

 

I purchased some bionic 2 part today, although now I am reconsidering.  it only dropped 0.3 dkH since yesterday after dosing all for reef.  This is easily the smallest change I have seen and seems I am zeroing in on stability.  

 

As above, should I can dose NeoPhos.   Should I just feed a whole bunch of reef roids to try and bring NO3 up a bit?

 

 

Update 1:  Added NeoPhos.   Started slow by adding what should have been 0.02-0.03 per back of bottle.  Got a reading of 0.06.   Pretty good.   Will add another 0.04-0.05 and suggested by mcarroll.

 

Update 2:  Now at 0.08 ppm.   Will check again tonight

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Tired

Reef roids seem like a good bet. It may be worth seeing if the ailing corals will eat directly. Put a tiiiny bit of diluted reef roids around them to see if they'll react to the smell and open up. 

 

Do you ever feed them? LPS like to be fed.

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dnadrifter
11 minutes ago, Tired said:

Reef roids seem like a good bet. It may be worth seeing if the ailing corals will eat directly. Put a tiiiny bit of diluted reef roids around them to see if they'll react to the smell and open up. 

 

Do you ever feed them? LPS like to be fed.

I do, but I slowed way down when my nitrates were at about 15 ppm.   In retrospect, shouldn't have.   I fed pretty heavy last week and the duncan in the best shape did have a feed response but don't think the others did.

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Clown79

I had issues with my duncans staying closed in my 25g. It lasted for over a month. 

 

I moved them to my 20g where they are mid tank to the side in a low/moderate light area. Under 1 ai prime with the highest setting at 80%

 

They also get turbulent flow.

 

Since the move they have opened and are finally getting better.

 

Lps don't need high par. 150 is considered the highest. 

 

I think there may be a combination of things going on here.

 

Iighting, alk fluctuations, and low nutrients.

 

I use neonitro and it helped raise my nitrates.

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dnadrifter
20 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

I think there may be a combination of things going on here.

 

Iighting, alk fluctuations, and low nutrients.

I am targeting the last two as I am hoping the lighting is under control at this point.   One of the duncans that was right under the light back when I had them with more power seems that it absolutely loved it with the most extension I had seen on it.

 

yeah, kicking myself for not grabbing some of the nitrate dose solution when I was at the LFS.  Really didn't expect it to be less than 1 today.  I really didn't want to have to dose this much though....my original plan was to keep it as simple as possible.   hmmmm

 

Stupid hobby....sure does suck you in.   My wife today, was basically, "so we are spending how much to keep Jabba alive (kids named him Jabba)?  It isn't even an animal now that I am thinking about it."  The huge BRS RODI system didn't help.

 

Thanks for responding.

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mcarroll
6 hours ago, dnadrifter said:

Local LFS had the Brightwell NeoPhos.    Just wanted to check to make sure this is okay given it says not to exceed 0.04 on the bottle.

Shouldn't be an issue.  The bottle instructions seem to be tailored for carbon dosing and "ULNS".  All you need is the dosing concentration to allow you to compute the dose you need.  If it has that, you can ignore the rest.

 

Eh...

 

Am I missing something or is the dosing info actually lacking on the product instructions?!?  

 

Usually Brightwell has them on the Tech page, but I don't see anything about concentration or dosage rates here: https://www.brightwellaquatics.com/products/neophost.php. Am I just up too late and I'm missing it?  Maybe Brightwell isn't the greatest choice after all...the products composition is almost certainly fine, but there's no good reason to introduce guesswork at this stage.

 

5 hours ago, dnadrifter said:

Update 1:  Added NeoPhos.   Started slow by adding what should have been 0.02-0.03 per back of bottle.  Got a reading of 0.06.   Pretty good.   Will add another 0.04-0.05 and suggested by mcarroll.

 

Update 2:  Now at 0.08 ppm.   Will check again tonight

NO3 is fine down low where it is as far as your corals are concerned – coral cope VERY WELL with low nitrates.  Other things trying to grow in the tank will appreciate a little more in the water, but right now that's not a priority IMO.

 

You need to get PO4 consistently up into the target range....your #1 priority by far.  Looks like you're well on your way...  👍 No need to drag your feet though...you should be enforcing this minimum PO4 level (for now) with the same vigor as you enforce minimum alkalinity levels.  👍

 

 

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mcarroll
2 hours ago, dnadrifter said:

"so we are spending how much to keep Jabba alive (kids named him Jabba)?  It isn't even an animal now that I am thinking about it."

Just being funny about the fact that you're feeding an animal "plant nutrients"?

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dnadrifter
5 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Just being funny about the fact that you're feeding an animal "plant nutrients"?

Just being funny, well trying to be funny, that since the kids named it, it was is like a pet.   When the reality is, it is probably closer to having a pet plant, than a pet animal.  Therefore spending hundreds of dollars to save a plant.

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dnadrifter
5 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Am I missing something or is the dosing info actually lacking on the product instructions?!?

Dosing instructions were there.   There just wasn't a lot of information about what was in the bottle exactly and how it worked.  And there were a lot of warnings about not going over 0.04 and also about using other products in addition.

 

Seems fine though....will be checking throughout the day the first couple of days to figure out what is going on.   If only the phosphate test was as easy as the alk test.

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Clown79
29 minutes ago, dnadrifter said:

Just being funny, well trying to be funny, that since the kids named it, it was is like a pet.   When the reality is, it is probably closer to having a pet plant, than a pet animal.  Therefore spending hundreds of dollars to save a plant.

Corals are classified as animal not plant.

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dnadrifter
37 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

Corals are classified as animal not plant.

Really?  Guess there was a reason I went into chemistry and not biology.  Will have to look that up and refresh myself on the different classifications.   It does help my justification for spending money however.  

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dnadrifter

Guess I was thinking about the the photosynthetic zooxanthellae.  So it is actually worse I would be killing a plant/plants and an animal.   Is each polyp considered an animal or the collection of polys considered an animal...or maybe it depends on if we are talking about LPS, SPS, etc.

 

Regardless, thanks for the correction and education.

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Clown79
56 minutes ago, dnadrifter said:

Really?  Guess there was a reason I went into chemistry and not biology.  Will have to look that up and refresh myself on the different classifications.   It does help my justification for spending money however.  

Ya. They have similarities to plants by biologically are animals.

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