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Coral identification and placement


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Hey Reefers!


so I have these two frags…the first green one I believe is an encrusting coral? I had it up high in my 10 gal w AI Prime 16 and close to the return…it now looks like it’s losing tissue. I put it down in the sand on the opposite site if the tank. Any thoughts? 


the second I believe is a “cats paw” SPS (stylophora)…so I have it up high in the tank (see below) it looks like it may be losing polyps now? Thoughts? 



finally, the last one I believe is a blastomussa that I got from WWC, but it has been looking increasingly white in the center as pictured. I now have it in low light (almost a shadow) and low flow. Does this seem right? 




I know this tank looks busy but I have some room up top and I just don’t know what can go up there to make room! 

thanks for the advice everyone! love this forum! 

PS- they’re not open right now bc I’m messing with my tank but I think I’m low key crushing it on my zoa garden rock on the bottom right , will post pics when they open up! 

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Can you post the most recent water test results you have?   Current conditions would be most valuable.


10 Gallon is a short tank, so it's possible that light could be a bit much for some things, depending on overall conditions.


Is flow strong enough to move a little piece of substate every now and then?


When did you get these frags, how did you get 'em (local?), and how were they introduced to the tank?


Any chance they were being bothered by a nearby coral?


Also, any pics from before they were moved?   Curious to see how the damage was "in situ".



Going just from the pics provided, it looks like they were growing well (see those tips!) but now are receding....base up, or from the rim.  


It could still be a lot of things, but that's classic low-phosphate response.   If any of your nutrients are reading 0.00 or close, then at minimum, ease up on (or eliminate) all cleaning and filtering for a bit, feed the fish well and see if that makes a difference.  


If this seems to fit in your opinion and you think the corals are in danger, then quicker route to a fix is to dose liquid nitrate and phosphate to correct whatever nutrient imbalance there is.  (Still cut back on cleaning and filtering as suggested.)  Phosphate should be corrected first.  Good target levels are ≥ 0.05 ppm PO4 and ≥ 5.0 ppm NO3.  Test a while after dosing and see how much remains of what you dosed.  If it's close to 0.00 again, re-dose to the target levels.  More than likely that will be enough for the time being, but re-test and dose as-needed at least daily until the tank starts maintaining a small reserve of nutrients on its own OR when you see clear recovery and growth in your corals again.   

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I've yet to jump on the elevated nutrient trend (it just feels so counterintuitive to the way I've reefkept for a decade,) so I'd tackle this from a different perspective.

I believe your first coral is a Chalice, and the last is a Favia (maybe another brain, though, I'm particularly rusty at IDing these.  Not a Blasto, though) and both of those are going to be lower light & flow LPS.  I would aim for getting around 100PAR at your sandbed.
Personally, I would try to supplement their recovery with meaty foods if you can get a feeding response from them.  If you don't want to broadcast feed a small funnel can be made out of the top of a thin plastic soda bottle - place this over the coral on the sandbed and baste in your liquid food or defrost-waste.

Your stylo looks fine to me.  While some of the polyps aren't extended in your photo I don't see any evidence of tissue recession. They cannot get too much flow, so feel free to blast it with your wavemaker or return.

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6 hours ago, mcarroll said:

then quicker route to a fix is to dose liquid nitrate and phosphat

Do not do this. 
If low nutrients are the problem there’s a better way to do it then adding liquid nitrate and phosphate. 

Honestly they look like corals that are adjusting to the tank. Turn your lights down for a week or so so they can acclimate then ramp it back up. 

in the future if the AI has an acclimating mode, use it. 

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Hey all,


thanks for the replies.


so there’s seems to be a difference in opinion across the reefing community as to whether dosing or feeding more is the way to go to increase po4 and no3 levels. Per my last test yesterday, they don’t seem to be a problem and I likely need to cut back on the reef roids. @mcarroll As of yesterday my levels are as follows:

temp: 79.6

sal: 1.026

ph: 8.0-8.2

ammonia: 1.0

Nitrite: .25

nitrate: 20-40 (kinda in between)

Phos: .25

Calcium: 450

magnesium: 1350

alk: 8.3


i think they’ve spiked a bit from feeding the reef roids daily for the first 5 days or so from getting my corals. My levels were at 0 about 5 days ago. 

flow does t really move substrate, it’s a small tank and I don’t want too much flow for the majority of my corals which are low flow. I could probably point the return a little more toward the stylophora as @BadCrab is suggesting it can’t have too much and doesn’t have a lot right now. And thank you for the identification…so chalice can be more of a dome shape and not just a “cup” shape?

the frags were from WWC and two LFS, but i dipped them with coral rx exactly as directed. 

don’t have any pics of my frags before going into the tank. 

The hammers and the zoas look great!


@TheKleinReef thank you for turning me onto the acclimation mode, I didn’t really see it even when I was dealing with my lunar cycle. I will def use it with new corals in the future. O should rent a par meter from a LFS. I’ll buy one when I inevitably start my large tank in the future. 

thanks guys! 

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47 minutes ago, Lakeshow24 said:

ammonia: 1.0

Nitrite: .25

nitrate: 20-40 (kinda in between)

Phos: .25

Nothing wrong with your NO4 and PO4 levels per se.  Certainly those levels aren't "low".  IMO:  👍


But I agree...at least cut back on the reefroids, like you said.  It's easy to overdo it with that kind of food since uptake rates can be low.  (see below)  👍


So that leaves the several other possibilities I mentioned...among other things.  Doesn't narrow it down much.   😬


What about that ammonia and nitrite level??? 🤯 


1.0 ppm NH4 is pretty high.  And nitrite should register 0.


If that ammonia number is accurate, it potentially means the tank is getting a significant exposure (>0.05 ppm) of toxic NH3 ammonia.


1.0 ppm NH4 ammonia at the temperature and pH levels you stated would translate to toxic NH3 levels of between 0.06 and 0.09 ppm.   0.05 ppm NH3 is considered a sublethal exposure where fish are concerned.


Can you confirm that ammonia reading?  If true, it would indicate something is pretty wrong with the nitrogen cycle in the tank and I'd do a fat water change ASAP.


29 minutes ago, Lakeshow24 said:

flow does t really move substrate, it’s a small tank and I don’t want too much flow for the majority of my corals which are low flow.

Of course the object is not to blow your substrate around. 😉 


But if the flow isn't even strong enough to move the tiniest particle of your substrate, then it's probably not strong enough to carry food particles around the tank long enough for them to be consumed by corals either.  


Obviously just a rule of thumb.  But if you want your corals to be fed, I've found it to be helpful to shoot for flow like this.  This kind of flow naturally limits formation of detritus deposits around the tanks as well.


36 minutes ago, Lakeshow24 said:

don’t have any pics of my frags before going into the tank. 

If possible, I meant from when it was "high up and close to the return" as you put it.   Before it was moved to the current spot in the photos.  (I didn't mean from before it went into the tank.)


38 minutes ago, Lakeshow24 said:

O should rent a par meter from a LFS.

Not a bad idea IMO too.  FYI a lux meter will get you in the same ballpark.  


I would recommend getting a handheld lux meter because they are handy for other things, better than apps, and so cheap...around $15.  Although you can get started with a free lux meter app on your phone.  


If you decide to rent the PAR meter, you can calibrate your lux meter with it.  Then you have an accurate PAR:lux conversion factor for your light setup for subsequent lux meter use.  (Only accurate for that light setup.)


Honestly, at the nutrient levels indicated, I think a light problem would be lower on the "list of suspects".


Get back to us on that ammonia number though!

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