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Thetravelguy

Help? Loosing a hammer and unsure about how to fix water quality

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Thetravelguy

Hey guys. So I’m really unsure what is happening in my tank. A month or so ago I had a torch melt almost overnight. Since I have lost both montipora and I have a couple zoas that are refusing to open. I have another hammer that has gone downhill extremely fast and I will loose it unless I can change something.  My devils finger leather has been shriveled for two weeks. 
 

my gsp is growing fast and I have a frogspawn that split from one head to four. I ha e another hammer that seems to be doing extremely well. Most other zoa seem to be thriving. My candy cane looks so so and my acans look good. 
 

I do weekly roughly 12% water change (3/4 a 5 gal bucket on a 32 cube, you so the math?). I check my levels a couple times a week lately. 
 

I use RODI water from my own system. 
 

I do NOT dose anything currently but I may need to start? 
 

filtration is fairly basic with filter floss and some bio all’s and chateo in chamber 2. I was previously running phosguard and Purigen until this week, seeing if it made any didference. 
 

 

my water levels are as follows

 

Temp-78/79 

SG- 1.025

 

MG- 1350 

CA-370 

KH/Alk- 8.3

 

ammonia- 0

nitrite -0 

ph -8.0 

nitrate- about 10

phos- .50

 

 

i have no idea where the phosphate is coming from but even running phosguard. My calcium is low but is it low enough to produce the results I’ve been seeing? 
 

id really really appreciate some insight here, thanks! 

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ajmckay

Hmm seems like a tough one...  Got pics? May help or may not.

 

Here are my thoughts.

- were/are these corals newer or longtime citizens? If newer are they all from the same place?

- were/are they particularly small?

- any pests that you can make out? Did you do a dip or I inpect carefully before adding them? I once had a barnacle that decided to set up shop on a frogspawn and it took out 2 heads.

- have you observed anything from the tank harassing them?

- have you tried moving them? Flow could be too high/low, light also if you've got them in particularly bright areas.

 

 

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Thetravelguy
24 minutes ago, ajmckay said:

Hmm seems like a tough one...  Got pics? May help or may not.

 

Here are my thoughts.

- were/are these corals newer or longtime citizens? If newer are they all from the same place?

- were/are they particularly small?

- any pests that you can make out? Did you do a dip or I inpect carefully before adding them? I once had a barnacle that decided to set up shop on a frogspawn and it took out 2 heads.

- have you observed anything from the tank harassing them?

- have you tried moving them? Flow could be too high/low, light also if you've got them in particularly bright areas.

 

 

Thanks for the reply! So the hammer, torch (gone) and devils finger were all from the same local reefer that is reputable, and I can see that that may raise red flags. But I’ve had all  for several months. So it doesn’t seem likely that it was something from that reefer does it? 
 

I could try and get a picture for sure! 
 

I did not dip but like I said it came from a reputable place. I’ve never dipped 🙈. I know I should. 
 

I have since moved the hammer thinking it may be a flow issue. That has not helped. If anything it made it worse. It was in a medium flow area about halfway up the tank. It is now in the sandbed. Devils finger hasn’t moved. 
 

no pests that I can detect. My stock list is 2 clowns, a watchman goby and a six line. Cuc is a variety of snails (astrea, cirth, turbo) a few hermits if any are still around (ive been taking them out when I see them as they’ve been preying on the snails) and 3 emerald crabs. None of them seem likely and non bother either coral. 
 

this is why I’m at such a loss! I’m hesitant to add anytbibg new until I can figure out what the problem may be. 

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ajmckay

When you say "Melt" do you mean something like this? (Just a random video - not mine)

 

 

If so, then that's not good news.  Unfortunately it can happen sort of randomly but usually coincides with some type of damage. 

 

If it's not BJS then my money's on an emerald crab... At night of course.   Go in there late at night with a red flashlight and see what you can tell? 

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Thetravelguy

Sorry for the somewhat poor quality. I never managed to really perfect the coral taking picture thing. 
you can see even my candy cane is quite withdrawn. 
 

The hammer has a large hole in the middle. 

CA52AE3E-032F-4297-B1B6-19C697B9EE31.jpeg

0874392F-06BB-4EFD-ACC9-3639B74236E5.jpeg

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Thetravelguy
1 minute ago, ajmckay said:

When you say "Melt" do you mean something like this? (Just a random video - not mine)

 

 

If so, then that's not good news.  Unfortunately it can happen sort of randomly but usually coincides with some type of damage. 

 

If it's not BJS then my money's on an emerald crab... At night of course.   Go in there late at night with a red flashlight and see what you can tell? 

So this is what my torch did! It was gone in almost 24 hrs. My hammer is not doing the brown jelly thing but the skeleton is very visible and it’s extremely receded. 

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ajmckay

The torch almost looks like it's being irritated.  Is there a torch nearby?   

 

The frogspawn doesn't look good at all. Generally this doesn't happen overnight and if the center is gone then that's definitely not good.   You definitely need to figure out what's going on of the rest of your coral could follow suit.  They may already be starting to.  Note that just because the other corals look fine right now doesn't mean there isn't an issue.

 

Things that could cause this are:

- salinity swings over time.  Do you use an ATO?  A stable salinity is super important in a reef environment

- Temp swings.  Are you experiencing any temp swings?  Don't rely on your heater's thermostat.  Get a digital thermometer that's accurate AND a backup glass thermometer.  Don't use a swingarm or sticker.  Check and record the temperature like 5-10 times through the day and night.  Is your tank near a heat vent or window?

- Check all your equipment for damage.  A leaky heater or pump can leech toxins into your tank

- Have you fallen victim of LARS?  Lazy ass reefer syndrome (lol) is an actual thing.  Delaying maintenance or skipping it altogether can have consequences for your tank.  It doesn't look like you're experiencing algae or anything.

- Check on the corals at night.  I'm still suspect of those emeralds.  You feed them regularly?

- Any changes recently to the tank?  New livestock, new equipment, did you start or stop dosing anything or change your light timing or intensity? 

- I typically don't test pH but sometimes if something's wrong I will.  I'll also test it during the day and at night after the lights have been off for a while.  Does your tank have good gas exchange?  Is the water surface exposed to enough fresh air and do you have some surface agitation for gas exchange?

- Is there the possibility of external contaminants getting in?  Do you wash and rinse thoroughly before putting your hands in the tank?  Do you or anyone else spray chemicals nearby?  My tank is near a table and I have to make sure everyone knows if they need to clean the table to spray the sponge the wipe because spraying the table directly could cause contamination.

- Your water parameters seem fine to me - sometimes higher nitrates can cause corals to not be happy.  

 

I guess just observe the crap out of your tank for a while, noting your observations.  Maybe you'll stumble on something.  

 

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NoOneLikesADryTang

Your phosphate is really high. Like snoop dogg high. 
 

When did you last change your RODI filters? Any idea what the TDS Is coming out of it?

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Thetravelguy
8 hours ago, NoOneLikesADryTang said:

Your phosphate is really high. Like snoop dogg high. 
 

When did you last change your RODI filters? Any idea what the TDS Is coming out of it?

I know and I have no clue why! So my rodi unit is almost new. Purchased in October maybe? I have produced less than probably 80 gallons of clean water with it. 

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Thetravelguy
10 hours ago, ajmckay said:

The torch almost looks like it's being irritated.  Is there a torch nearby?   

 

The frogspawn doesn't look good at all. Generally this doesn't happen overnight and if the center is gone then that's definitely not good.   You definitely need to figure out what's going on of the rest of your coral could follow suit.  They may already be starting to.  Note that just because the other corals look fine right now doesn't mean there isn't an issue.

 

Things that could cause this are:

- salinity swings over time.  Do you use an ATO?  A stable salinity is super important in a reef environment

- Temp swings.  Are you experiencing any temp swings?  Don't rely on your heater's thermostat.  Get a digital thermometer that's accurate AND a backup glass thermometer.  Don't use a swingarm or sticker.  Check and record the temperature like 5-10 times through the day and night.  Is your tank near a heat vent or window?

- Check all your equipment for damage.  A leaky heater or pump can leech toxins into your tank

- Have you fallen victim of LARS?  Lazy ass reefer syndrome (lol) is an actual thing.  Delaying maintenance or skipping it altogether can have consequences for your tank.  It doesn't look like you're experiencing algae or anything.

- Check on the corals at night.  I'm still suspect of those emeralds.  You feed them regularly?

- Any changes recently to the tank?  New livestock, new equipment, did you start or stop dosing anything or change your light timing or intensity? 

- I typically don't test pH but sometimes if something's wrong I will.  I'll also test it during the day and at night after the lights have been off for a while.  Does your tank have good gas exchange?  Is the water surface exposed to enough fresh air and do you have some surface agitation for gas exchange?

- Is there the possibility of external contaminants getting in?  Do you wash and rinse thoroughly before putting your hands in the tank?  Do you or anyone else spray chemicals nearby?  My tank is near a table and I have to make sure everyone knows if they need to clean the table to spray the sponge the wipe because spraying the table directly could cause contamination.

- Your water parameters seem fine to me - sometimes higher nitrates can cause corals to not be happy.  

 

I guess just observe the crap out of your tank for a while, noting your observations.  Maybe you'll stumble on something.  

 

No torch in the tank anymore. But the leather I doubt is being stung. It’s closest neighbors are paly and Xenia. 
 

i do not use an ato but my salinity has been pretty rock solid stable at 1.025-1.026. I check several times a week :). Same with temp! I keep an eye on it as it is next to a sliding glass door. 
 

km pretty on top of my weekly water changes. At most it’s pushed off a couple days but never too long

 

 i won’t be foolish enough to claim external contamination isn’t a possibility. It is a biocube with a closed lid but it is right next to the table and you never know what is floating around in the air. 

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ajmckay
5 hours ago, Thetravelguy said:

No torch in the tank anymore. But the leather I doubt is being stung. It’s closest neighbors are paly and Xenia. 
 

i do not use an ato but my salinity has been pretty rock solid stable at 1.025-1.026. I check several times a week :). Same with temp! I keep an eye on it as it is next to a sliding glass door. 
 

km pretty on top of my weekly water changes. At most it’s pushed off a couple days but never too long

 

 i won’t be foolish enough to claim external contamination isn’t a possibility. It is a biocube with a closed lid but it is right next to the table and you never know what is floating around in the air. 

Sorry I meant trumpet not troch lol...  apparently it was past my bedtime.

 

I suppose if you have a covered tank you're probably not losing much to evaporation.  Well I'm out of ideas for now....  Good luck! 

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ReefGoat

Does your rodi have a tds meter. I recall a thread a while back about someone burning up rodi filters really fast. Like 30 gallons fast. I forget what they finally figured out. It was either something with the membrane or they didn't have enough pressure coming out of their homes lines into the unit. I'll try to find it. That rodi would be the first place I'd start looking. 

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mcarroll
On 1/13/2021 at 10:08 PM, Thetravelguy said:

my water levels are as follows

 

Temp-78/79 

SG- 1.025

 

MG- 1350 

CA-370 

KH/Alk- 8.3

 

ammonia- 0

nitrite -0 

ph -8.0 

nitrate- about 10

phos- .50

Numbers seem good....you can probably stop using the extra filtration.

 

On 1/13/2021 at 10:08 PM, Thetravelguy said:

My calcium is low but is it low enough to produce the results I’ve been seeing? 

Calcium and Magnesium levels do not seem to matter much – hight or low.

 

15 hours ago, Thetravelguy said:

i do not use an ate

Stop not using an ATO. 😉

 

Unless you're topping it up every day, your salinity is varying too much.  

 

Even topping up only every day can allow a lot of variation in salinity, depending on the setup and local circumstances.

 

15 hours ago, Thetravelguy said:

It is a biocube with a closed lid but it is right next to the table and you never know what is floating around in the air. 

Risk of contamination AND the rate of evaporation should both be quite low in a covered tank.

 

Your pH seems pretty high for a covered tank though.  Are you testing in the morning?  What do you get for pH if you test immediately after the lights go out at the end of the day?

 

On 1/13/2021 at 11:55 PM, Thetravelguy said:

So the hammer, torch (gone) and devils finger were all from the same local reefer that is reputable, and I can see that that may raise red flags. But I’ve had all  for several months. So it doesn’t seem likely that it was something from that reefer does it? 

I think something is being overlooked here...this is the only real clue, so IMO it points to the actual explanation.

 

Either there's something peculiar about that reefer's system, or there's something peculiar about YOUR system in comparison with his.

 

The first thing that comes to mind for me is lighting...perhaps one of you have MUCH brighter or dimmer lighting than the other?

 

Differences in nutrient levels, pH, flow, etc are also possible culprits (or co-culprits) but IMO much less likely offenders than light.

 

 

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Thetravelguy
On 1/15/2021 at 12:53 AM, mcarroll said:

Numbers seem good....you can probably stop using the extra filtration.

 

Calcium and Magnesium levels do not seem to matter much – hight or low.

 

Stop not using an ATO. 😉

 

Unless you're topping it up every day, your salinity is varying too much.  

 

Even topping up only every day can allow a lot of variation in salinity, depending on the setup and local circumstances.

 

Risk of contamination AND the rate of evaporation should both be quite low in a covered tank.

 

Your pH seems pretty high for a covered tank though.  Are you testing in the morning?  What do you get for pH if you test immediately after the lights go out at the end of the day?

 

I think something is being overlooked here...this is the only real clue, so IMO it points to the actual explanation.

 

Either there's something peculiar about that reefer's system, or there's something peculiar about YOUR system in comparison with his.

 

The first thing that comes to mind for me is lighting...perhaps one of you have MUCH brighter or dimmer lighting than the other?

 

Differences in nutrient levels, pH, flow, etc are also possible culprits (or co-culprits) but IMO much less likely offenders than light.

 

 

Well I’m positive the lighting is quite different but should be comparable in quality, if that makes sense? My lights are more than capable of growing the coral but most certainly is different than others tanks I’d assume... 

 

ph and salinity have had no swings.m best I can tell, and I’ve been checking several times a week at this point. I have not tested ph at different times of day. 
 

I lost the hammer a couple days ago. I took it out so it wouldn’t spoil the whole system. my leather and candy cane are not looking too hot. I really need to figure out what this issue is 😩

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NoOneLikesADryTang

Sorry to hear about the hammer.

 

Do you have any livestock that might have developed a taste for coral? I know you said you had emerald crabs - I wonder if it's one of them? I had one munching on zoas, that got fed to our mantis. I've seen other people report their emeralds eating hammer. 

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Thetravelguy
4 hours ago, NoOneLikesADryTang said:

Sorry to hear about the hammer.

 

Do you have any livestock that might have developed a taste for coral? I know you said you had emerald crabs - I wonder if it's one of them? I had one munching on zoas, that got fed to our mantis. I've seen other people report their emeralds eating hammer. 

I mean I’ve tossed around that idea. I never have seen them at it, in fact I very rarely see them at all. But a few weeks ago I did add two additional emeralds so I mean, it’s possible. Would they go after snails? Or is there another deadly crab that can be mistaken for an emerald? Because I have found many snail shells and am constantly feeling like they are disappearing 

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Thetravelguy

Ok today some of the corals are looking marginally better. Candy isn’t as retracted into its skeleton but extended a bit. Leather looks like it’s at least attempting to be happy. I took some quickie pictures. 
 

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Thetravelguy

By the by, I have an iPhone 12 max and the camera on that is pretty great. No clue why these pictures look like I took them with my 1999 Kodak point and shoot 

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NoOneLikesADryTang
1 hour ago, Thetravelguy said:

I mean I’ve tossed around that idea. I never have seen them at it, in fact I very rarely see them at all. But a few weeks ago I did add two additional emeralds so I mean, it’s possible. Would they go after snails? Or is there another deadly crab that can be mistaken for an emerald? Because I have found many snail shells and am constantly feeling like they are disappearing 

Emerald crabs are opportunistic eaters, so if they don’t have enough algae to eat, they could potentially go after snails or corals. I wouldn’t rule them out as your culprits yet. 

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Thetravelguy
12 minutes ago, NoOneLikesADryTang said:

Emerald crabs are opportunistic eaters, so if they don’t have enough algae to eat, they could potentially go after snails or corals. I wouldn’t rule them out as your culprits yet. 

 

29 minutes ago, NoOneLikesADryTang said:

Emerald crabs are opportunistic eaters, so if they don’t have enough algae to eat, they could potentially go after snails or corals. I wouldn’t rule them out as your culprits yet. 

Ok fair enough. I don’t have a startling amount of algae on my rocks, mostly just on the glass. I guess it’s possible they are hungry. I’ll get some seaweed squares. 

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ajmckay

Glad it seems to be faring better.  I agree the pic looks better. 

 

It looks like you moved it to the sand, any other changes or observations from your end? 

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Thetravelguy
14 hours ago, ajmckay said:

Glad it seems to be faring better.  I agree the pic looks better. 

 

It looks like you moved it to the sand, any other changes or observations from your end? 

No that’s the only one. However my tds meter came today and my “filtered” rodi water measured at 52 😱 so there’s a problem right there! I’m off to buy 20 gallons of water from Walmart to do a major WC 

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NoOneLikesADryTang
1 hour ago, Thetravelguy said:

No that’s the only one. However my tds meter came today and my “filtered” rodi water measured at 52 😱 so there’s a problem right there! I’m off to buy 20 gallons of water from Walmart to do a major WC 

I'd be willing to bet that's where your phosphates are coming from. What rodi unit are you using? 

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Thetravelguy
1 hour ago, NoOneLikesADryTang said:

I'd be willing to bet that's where your phosphates are coming from. What rodi unit are you using? 

Oh I’d put money on it. Absolutely. 
it’s one I got on Amazon, I’d have to go look at the name. It definitely was on the cheaper end of the spectrum, like $80. The reviews were good. I think the filters just ran through really fast. I’ll be looking for a new one

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ajmckay

BRS have pretty good units, at least I really like my 5 stage from them.  A water treatment guy who used to hang around here recommended the brand Spectrapure, apparently they specially treat their membranes and the systems aren't really more expensive than any other.

 

Good lunch figuring out your water source

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