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Low magnesium and calcium?


meganmay17

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meganmay17

So to start off I have a 11 gal mixed reef tank that has been up for about 2 years with 7 different types of euphyllias, they're all only one or two heads. I have noticed my euphyllias flesh has started to recede off their skeleton and just get shorter and shorter. Tested my water and researched, maybe I possibly need to raise my calcium and magnesium more to help their growth but i want more opinions on what exactly i should do. 

All. 10.1dkh ; calcium 426ppm ; phosphate .10ppm ; magnesium 1230 ; salinity 1.024 

I do water changes once a week with red sea coral pro. 

All the coral I have other than the euphyllias: chalice, galaxea, zoanthids, yellow finger gorgonian, rose bubble anemone, a few yuma mushrooms, gsp, 2 small goniopora and a mini maxi carpet anemone. 

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mcarroll
13 hours ago, meganmay17 said:

All. 10.1dkh ; calcium 426ppm ; phosphate .10ppm ; magnesium 1230 ; salinity 1.024 

You could dial in Mg closer to 1300 ppm, but IMO those numbers are otherwise fine.  What's the tank's temperature?

 

13 hours ago, meganmay17 said:

All the coral I have other than the euphyllias: chalice, galaxea, zoanthids, yellow finger gorgonian, rose bubble anemone, a few yuma mushrooms, gsp, 2 small goniopora and a mini maxi carpet anemone. 

Of all those corals ONLY the Euphillias are having issues?  

 

Further, ALL of the seven Euphillias are having issues, not just one/some of them?

 

How old are these frags?  Could they have been damaged before you got them, or during handling while they were being added to the tank?

 

One other possibility seems like coral warfare....softies vs hard coral.  Do you use activated carbon?  How is the tank filtered?

 

Another possibility is poor flow.  Are these frags not in the best flow areas?  Is overall flow not strong enough?

 

Any chance of posting a tank pic and/or some closeups of the frags with the problem?

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geekreef_05

Hi there, 

 

Great stuff. Your reef sounds nice for 2 years. How long has it been stocked with coral? The paramaters are generally good.

 

However  with euphollia, they like Mg between 1400-1500, especially goni's and torches. Your Mg levels are super low for them. 

 

The other thing is they like to eat. Poly labs food is key, it was designed for LPS corals. Coral animo is something they will also benifit from

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meganmay17
13 hours ago, mcarroll said:

You could dial in Mg closer to 1300 ppm, but IMO those numbers are otherwise fine.  What's the tank's temperature?

 

Of all those corals ONLY the Euphillias are having issues?  

 

Further, ALL of the seven Euphillias are having issues, not just one/some of them?

 

How old are these frags?  Could they have been damaged before you got them, or during handling while they were being added to the tank?

 

One other possibility seems like coral warfare....softies vs hard coral.  Do you use activated carbon?  How is the tank filtered?

 

Another possibility is poor flow.  Are these frags not in the best flow areas?  Is overall flow not strong enough?

 

Any chance of posting a tank pic and/or some closeups of the frags with the problem?

From what I've researched euphyllias do prefer more mag. 

The temp stays at 79, never had problems with the temp.

I've noticed my gorgonian has been shedding but I've seen that's normal for them sometimes. My euphyllias open beautifully and are bright and colorful so other than the receding tissue from the bottom yes everything else is doing fine. 

No damages, the most recent euphyllias I added was my torch about 4 months ago. Still opens up great but again I've noticed the tissue around the skeleton has been receding as well. 

No carbon, it's a tideline all in one so the filtration is what it came with which is just a pump essentially, the whole tank gets enough flow and movement I'm very sure of that.

 

No closeups sadly, I'm at work but I do have a pic of my tank. The peach hammer at the bottom seems to be taking the worst of the issue and has pretty much no obvious flesh on its skeleton anymore other than when it opens like that. 

 

Screenshot_2024-03-19-15-28-38-032.jpg

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meganmay17
2 hours ago, geekreef_05 said:

Hi there, 

 

Great stuff. Your reef sounds nice for 2 years. How long has it been stocked with coral? The paramaters are generally good.

 

However  with euphollia, they like Mg between 1400-1500, especially goni's and torches. Your Mg levels are super low for them. 

 

The other thing is they like to eat. Poly labs food is key, it was designed for LPS corals. Coral animo is something they will also benifit from

The first month I had it, I put that anemone in, I know not recommended but I saved her from melting away at the lfs I work at 😅 its had coral in it since the first month or so. The green with purple tips frogspawn was the first one I put in there 😂😅

 

I def have researched a bunch and seen they do prefer more mag. For such a small tank tho all the supplements are pretty concentrated, I just don't wanna throw my alk out of wack if i start doesing magnesium. 

 

They do get fed pretty well, because I only have two pom pom crabs in there, they get most of the attention when it comes to food. I feed benereef by benepets, cyclopods by hikari, and a few other things. I cycle between those a few times a week. I also does fuel by seachem once a week and another allinone amino acids once a week as well. So they're color is great but theres no use in that if they wontgrow 😅

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meganmay17

Added some closeups of a few of my euphyllias, the tissue when I got them was at least half an inch to an inch down the skeleton. 

Close to lights shutting off so they're not completely opened in the photos.

IMG_20240319_210624.jpg

IMG_20240319_210633.jpg

IMG_20240319_210642.jpg

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mcarroll
18 hours ago, meganmay17 said:

From what I've researched euphyllias do prefer more mag. 

I haven't heard that...I'd be curious about any theories as to why that would be.  Seems like they are a stony coral and they use the same biological process as others to secrete their skeleton.

 

Mg levels aren't very crucial to skeleton formation, the main "use" a coral has for dissolved Mg.  Basically, there's a ton of Ca and Mg in the water, so levels never get low enough to be an issue.  

 

Of the things we dose for, alkalinity is the one that is barely soluble by comparison...200 ppm Alk vs 400 ppm Ca vs 1300 ppm Mg is all that seawater can hold.

 

If alk gets too low (often around 100 ppm, or 6 dKH, but it depends on other conditions), our corals will often show it, and even visibly suffer from low alk.  (Alk also relates to water pH and coral photosynthesis though, so it's a little more complicated to say what aspect of things is causing the suffering.)  

 

Besides the fact that they don't figure into other tank-wide processes like alkalinity does, Ca and Mg will *never* get down to the equivalent lowness (50% of target)....200 ppm Ca and 650 ppm Mg even if 100% of the available alkalinity were used up in the process.   If we imagine they did get than low somehow, there still may not be an issue for corals if all other factors were "ideal"....Ca and Mg would still mostly be used by the corals for skeleton formation and mostly nothing else, and there's still LOTS of Ca and Mg in the water, even at those massively depleted levels.

 

18 hours ago, meganmay17 said:

My euphyllias open beautifully and are bright and colorful so other than the receding tissue from the bottom yes everything else is doing fine. 

Any chance you think it might just be growing the "stem" longer, and perhaps the amount of tissue has remained about the same?  (Mostly a difference of perspective....could still appear like it's losing tissue but really it's just added more skeleton.)

 

Just a thought.

 

18 hours ago, meganmay17 said:

No carbon, it's a tideline all in one so the filtration is what it came with which is just a pump essentially, the whole tank gets enough flow and movement I'm very sure of that.

That's something to consider then, if you end up out of ideas.

 

18 hours ago, meganmay17 said:

No closeups sadly, I'm at work but I do have a pic of my tank. The peach hammer at the bottom seems to be taking the worst of the issue and has pretty much no obvious flesh on its skeleton anymore other than when it opens like that. 

 

Screenshot_2024-03-19-15-28-38-032.jpg

At least from a distance things don't look so bad!  🙂 

 

Honestly, in spite of the apparent tissue loss, the coral polyps look healthy on the closeups you posted too...not pale, etc.

 

Galaxy corals are known for stinging things up to 12" away with sweeper tentacles....how has yours been behaving?

 

IMO consider adding some activated carbon – it can be placed anywhere in a media bag and it will work.  Whatever you get, use 1/4 the recommended amount for your tank but change it 4x as often as recommended.   It's the same quantity in the long run, but you keep the portion in the tank fresher and (therefore) more active...important/helpful for issues like this.  Also look up soft/hard coral warfare.  👍

 

Last, thinking about that little coral up front you said was getting the worst of it (and is also furthest from the lights), what's the situation with the tank's lighting?  If possible, light measurements would be interesting to know.  Otherwise what light and how it's setup?  🙂 

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meganmay17
11 hours ago, mcarroll said:

I haven't heard that...I'd be curious about any theories as to why that would be.  Seems like they are a stony coral and they use the same biological process as others to secrete their skeleton.

 

Mg levels aren't very crucial to skeleton formation, the main "use" a coral has for dissolved Mg.  Basically, there's a ton of Ca and Mg in the water, so levels never get low enough to be an issue.  

 

Of the things we dose for, alkalinity is the one that is barely soluble by comparison...200 ppm Alk vs 400 ppm Ca vs 1300 ppm Mg is all that seawater can hold.

 

If alk gets too low (often around 100 ppm, or 6 dKH, but it depends on other conditions), our corals will often show it, and even visibly suffer from low alk.  (Alk also relates to water pH and coral photosynthesis though, so it's a little more complicated to say what aspect of things is causing the suffering.)  

 

Besides the fact that they don't figure into other tank-wide processes like alkalinity does, Ca and Mg will *never* get down to the equivalent lowness (50% of target)....200 ppm Ca and 650 ppm Mg even if 100% of the available alkalinity were used up in the process.   If we imagine they did get than low somehow, there still may not be an issue for corals if all other factors were "ideal"....Ca and Mg would still mostly be used by the corals for skeleton formation and mostly nothing else, and there's still LOTS of Ca and Mg in the water, even at those massively depleted levels.

 

Any chance you think it might just be growing the "stem" longer, and perhaps the amount of tissue has remained about the same?  (Mostly a difference of perspective....could still appear like it's losing tissue but really it's just added more skeleton.)

 

Just a thought.

 

That's something to consider then, if you end up out of ideas.

 

At least from a distance things don't look so bad!  🙂 

 

Honestly, in spite of the apparent tissue loss, the coral polyps look healthy on the closeups you posted too...not pale, etc.

 

Galaxy corals are known for stinging things up to 12" away with sweeper tentacles....how has yours been behaving?

 

IMO consider adding some activated carbon – it can be placed anywhere in a media bag and it will work.  Whatever you get, use 1/4 the recommended amount for your tank but change it 4x as often as recommended.   It's the same quantity in the long run, but you keep the portion in the tank fresher and (therefore) more active...important/helpful for issues like this.  Also look up soft/hard coral warfare.  👍

 

Last, thinking about that little coral up front you said was getting the worst of it (and is also furthest from the lights), what's the situation with the tank's lighting?  If possible, light measurements would be interesting to know.  Otherwise what light and how it's setup?  🙂 

Other than other forums and people who have hands on experience I'm not sure as to why they prefer more mag. Or why people say they do. I need to do even more research lol 

 

Sadly I know it's not the stem getting longer, they haven't grown or popped new heads, they just gain more color. The only thing that has given me and growth results are my zoas but that's no surprise 😂 

 

I'm very proud of all my euphyllias cause yes they're bright and beautiful but I def know in the long run if it keeps going how it is i know they will die eventually... 

 

My galaxea doesn't let off super long sweepers like some others I've seen, I've assumed because I target feed often they don't need to? 😅 He's also a little guy in the back, the closest euphyllia is the purple one which is also my biggest. 

 

I have a red sea 50 using about a fifth of the intensity it can output so I'm pretty sure he gets enough light. The splatter is in a bit of shade and has done better than the peach one 😅 

 

I'll def think about adding carbon tho! It's another option for sure. I'm gonna try raising my magnesium slowly to see if it does help. I've learned reefkeeping can be some experimenting. I have such a small tank so there's clearly less room to mess up but I know different coral deplete different elements quicker than some and IF magnesium is one the ones euphyllia uses then i imagine i should be dosing it for a tiny tank full of them 😂 we shall see 🤷🏼‍♀️ maybe ill come back on here in a few months and let you know how its going! 

Thank you for the info and ideas ☺️ I really appreciate it a bunch! 

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mcarroll
21 hours ago, meganmay17 said:

I have a red sea 50 using about a fifth of the intensity it can output so I'm pretty sure he gets enough light. The splatter is in a bit of shade and has done better than the peach one 😅 

If you're a coral, you can have two problems with light....too much light, or too little.  

 

You may be surprised by how little is acceptable on the "low" end.

 

You may also be surprised at how little is "a lot" to a coral.

 

Only 5,000 lux (around 90 PAR) is required to make them happy.  

 

And it only takes going over 15,000 lux or so (200-300 PAR) to start causing stress for some corals....maybe even lower if other conditions aren't ideal.

 

Both levels are pretty low relative to sunlight (100,000 lux/2,000 PAR).  Corals tolerate higher irradiance levels via stress and adaptation. (Which includes eliminating a lot of light energy as heat...which is why some corals in more extreme circumstances bleach during the hot season, as their ability to adapt and deal with light stress is overcome).  

 

In contrast, photosynthetic clams will generally tolerate ANY amount of light, and it's common for them require up to 30,000 lux minimum.

 

From Red Sea's website...

https://g1.redseafish.com/hardware/lighting/reefled50/

image.thumb.png.6efe8e19d12e8fabf4475de40b773d28.png

The middle color range – from blue to orange – is what they term "reef safe" and it goes from 100 PAR at the bottom to 600 PAR at the top.   (See the link for the graphic with the proper scale and legend.)

 

I'm guessing your tank is about half as deep as their 20" reference – around 10" high.

 

That means that even things on the bottom of the tank could be getting up to around 300 PAR (around 20,000 lux).

 

That's a ton of light at the bottom – things at the top would be really blasted by around 500 PAR (30,000+ lux).  

 

IMO that explains why your stony corals aren't doing that great, and why there's a difference in some vs others.  Look at their locations relative to the lighting hot spot....corals less in the hot spot are probably doing better than the ones IN the hot spot.  (Soft corals have different light tolerance levels IMO....plus they may be using chemical warfare against your stony corals on top of this lighting issue.)

 

Your tank has good dissolved nutrient levels (especially phosphate) and runs relatively cool at 79ºF – so IMO that's why your corals are hanging on, not doing better, but also not doing worse.  

 

Using some activated carbon might take some pressure off of your stony corals (if the softies aren't playing nice) and might let em grow a little!  

 

But checking your light levels (can't go by "20%" settings) would be highly advisable since that light is VASTLY overpowered for a tank this small.  Take the intensity levels down some more if they turn out to be on the high side in spite of what the settings indicacate.

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