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TANK CRASHING CORALS DYING HELP PLEASE


downhill_biker
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i noticed one of my 3 cleaner shrimp was dead this morning, others fine, then i noticed this afternoon 3 corals were dying from RTN, and now they are completely gone, and a couple more are starting. the RBTA is taking a walk, and the other anemone doesn't look good. the water is somewhat cloudy too, not super cloudy, but looking from the side i cant really see all the way through.

 

background:

i had low ca and alk, so i brought those up over the last couple days, with normal kalk dosing and ca and alk buffers. the fish were in QT until yesterday, when i put them back in display.

 

today i checked all params and did a water change, and changed all filter media and carbon.

 

Ca:420

Alk:12

pH:8.2

Copper:0

Phos:0

Nitrate:0

Ammonia:0

Nitrite:0

 

Temp:highest 83.5 today, now 81

 

Please help me, i hope i can save my tank, if it crashes i am going to have to leave the hobby, can't afford to restock.

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the two large turbo snails look bad too. they are laying on their sides and exposing their foot. i dont know what is going on but please help. the only thing that would make sense to me would be something that would take out all inverts, like copper. the fish were in QT with copper, but i was very careful when moving them, and the tank is testing with 0 copper.

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Off the top of my head, I'd say get some polyfilter and run it in either in your sump or a in HOB with good flow. If you've got something in there that's causing problems, it should pull it out.

 

Is your skimmer going crazy?

 

Maybe do a massive water change, say 75%.

 

HTH

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Since is seems to be affecting everything I would have to say that it sounds like a temperature problem. 83 is deffinitely the cut off, go over that and you will see things starting to die. What kind/brand thermometer are you using to check temperature? I would definitely get a box fan to throw over the tank/sump. Cloudy water is often a sign of some form of bacterial bloom that may or may not be associated with the temperature. An easy way to fix that would be a UV Sterilizer. If changing the carbon doesn't clear up the water then I would definitly say that its bacteria clouding the water. I have had bacteria blooms in the past never loast anything from them though. If it were me I would be focusing on the temperature issue try to get that at or below 80, and make sure your thermometer is giving accurate readings

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thanks guys. the poly filter is in the canister and hopefully that helps. have water ready for 30 gallon change, but cant do it because i have to go to work.

 

it isn't affecting everything, just inverts. the fish are fine. the temp currently is 81, but even 83 is normal. i have my tank go up to 83 all the time, why all the sudden would that be an issue? i have a rena flow through heater, and use a digital thermometer, a in sump glass thermometer, and also double check with an external pocket digital thermometer, they all are within a half a degree of eachother. also i have a 36w uv sterilizer on the tank and have had it there for a while, so i dont think that a bacterial bloom is very likely.

 

the alk was at 7dKH and i raised it over the course of 48 hours to 12dKH.

 

took water to LFS and they got the same readings, practically perfect water in every way, no copper, and great quality. they were stumped so i am hoping it was a toxin and the polyfilter will remove it, along with the water change.

 

thanks everyone.

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Wow, my money is on that alk increase. That's a really huge swing to do over 48 hours. IMO, an increase of that size should be limited to maybe 1 point of dKH per day or two, taking a total of a couple of weeks to complete.

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maybe your UV is dead?

 

My thoughts on those is that you make a sterile environment by killing the bacteria, and if that stops the animals have become accustomed to the sterile environment and the surge in baddies could make them sick. It's like daycare. Kids eventually just become carriers of sickness, but at first they get sick all the time :)

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Could it be that the cloudy water is a bacterial bloom that is using up all the oxygen. The organisms that are least efficient at getting oxygen out of the water are affected the most. Something caused the cloudy water. Start with that problem.

 

Also, high temperatures causes less dissolved oxygen in the water. That could be another problem. Lower the water temperature to closer to 79-80 (stable is most important), and increase surface agitation with a powerhead. Turn up your skimmer to make more bubbles. Even add an airstone for a couple of days to see if that helps.

 

Other than that, I would say use carbon (moderate amount), and change every 4-5 days. This is more effective than using a lot and leaving it in for long periods.

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how can i know if it is bacteria? i know, or am fairly certain that it isn't air. my skimmer puts off tons of bubbles and the entire top of my tank is open, as well as the sump. i have a fan on the display and the sump, and have 2 koralia 4's pointing up at the surface from opposite ends. there is so much surface movement, i just don't see how it could be oxygen.

 

the uv is working. i checked.

 

i guess i will just play the waiting game and see if the poly filter and the water change did it.

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Not AIR, I am talking about dissolved oxygen. Fish/animals can't use the oxygen in the air, they need to have the oxygen dissolved in the water. Oxygen is added to the water wherever there is a surface. The more surface, the more oxygen exchange. That is why I suggested bubbles and surface movement.

 

The amount of oxygen that can dissolve in water decreases with water temperature. Salt water already holds less than fresh water, then when it gets warm, there is much less dissolved oxygen. That is why it is a fine line between 80 and 83 degrees. The higher temperature for sustained periods of time may use up all the dissolved oxygen that is in the water, and the animals "suffocate" in the oxygen poor water. That can kill coral, and cause snails and shrimp to die. I believe shrimp have no hemoglobin, which helps move oxygen around in our bodies, and I am not sure about snails. They would be some of the first animals to be affected. Fish with hemoglobin would be able to take the last little bit of oxygen out of the water.

 

As far as how to KNOW if it was a bacterial bloom... The only way to do that is to take a sample and use a microscope to see if you can identify any bacteria. To me, cloudy water can be either a bacterial bloom, or an algae bloom. If it is not green, then it is not algae. The point is moot at this point. Is the water still cloudy? If no, then you should be better. If yes, then you need to find the cause. If there is some uneaten food hidden somewhere? Do you add sugar (or some other carbon source like vinegar or alcohol)?

 

For your situation, filter floss and carbon are your best bet.

 

I had a similar bacterial bloom about 1-2 months ago. I turned off the pumps to feed my coral, and forgot to turn them back on before going to bed. I woke up to a cloudy white tank, and dead animals. I lost a cleaner shrimp, urchin, and the two big fish (yellow tang, and fox-face rabbitfish). The smaller fish (clowns) were not happy, but lived. I was lucky that all my coral survived, but the xenia was not happy for a couple of days.

 

All it took for me was to filter the water for a couple of hours, and get the powerheads and skimmer working again to have the tank clear up and the water oxygenated again. The remaining fish perked right up once the water started flowing again.

 

Good luck. You will recover. If you come to the BBQ next month, I will give you some coral frags so you can start recovering from your loss.

dsoz

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thanks for the info. i am trying to figure out what the problem is, and you guys are definitely helping with ideas. i will take a water sample tomorrow and look at it under the microscope to see if it is a bacteria, however the water seems to be a little clearer now.

 

so far i am looking at a huge loss, i just want to try and prevent it from being a total loss. so far the clams and the oregon tort are alive, and those are some that i am most concerned about. lost both the green and pink birdsnest, the frogspawn, several other acros, and all of my softies look bad, 2 red riccordea yumas, green ric, orange/green ric, and blue ric, all still there, but not looking good, RBTA floating around the rocks and losing a few tentacles, but i am hoping that if some of it can stay alive it will bounce back. i also will be watching water quality as i know death can cause major cycles.

 

and thanks so much for the offer for more coral frags. people like you make me want to stay in the hobby, even though right now i am heartbroken over the deal. i dont know if i will be coming to the BBQ, but maybe i should make sure i come, to meet some awesome people that care like you. just so frustrating when everything is going so well, and i get "dream" corals with awesome colors, and something like this can wipe them out.

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update: oregon tort gone, blue tip acro gone, all acros gone, pink bird still pieces of flesh flapping in the wind...but basically gone, clams not looking good, anemones better, now holding onto rocks, xenia black, hydrophora on its way. water is clearer, but still cloudy. started air bubbler in the sump to help with oxygen. tested water and still seems good.

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Is there anyone near you that can hold anything that is still living? I know many people will "babysit" corals for other people. Ask some people in Eugene if they would be willing to do that for your anemones and clams.

 

When your tank does stabilize, then you would have something to return to the tank.

 

dsoz

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I would say just keep doing those water changes. Even small every other day water changes may be a good idea until things start to stabalize. Were you having any problems at all with your inverts and corals before you started to up your alk? In the future I would just leave it to water changes to adjust params that seem that far off. Either that or adjust them really slowly.

 

Good luck and keep us posted.

 

Garrett

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i thought i was raising the alk slowly, i didn't have a reference. i posted on reefcentral and they said to do it slowly, but didn't give me a time frame. i figured that i could raise the calcium in a couple days if it was low, so why not the alk.

 

i have a 12 gallon nano tank set up that will hold some of the corals, but for right now i am going to leave them. the clams are opening up, and the anemones are too. no more corals are dying, but 90% are gone. the others look fine and haven't gotten worse. i have the tank running though just in case. i am worried that if i moved everything over the light wouldn't be enough for the clams and anemones, its just a 65w compact over the tank.

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Patience. Nothing good happens fast in a reef tank.

 

At this point, I'd just wait it out. Let things stabilize for a week or three, give the system a chance to balance out and the critters time to mellow.

 

How do you maintain your Ca and alk levels normally?

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kalk. i dose it nightly and seems to work pretty well, until i had a snow storm about 2 weeks ago, and precipitated all of my ca and alk, and was trying to get it up after that. i also use separate ca and alk buffer to make small adjustments.

 

i will let things take their course for a few weeks. hopefully i am done losing corals, it is heartbreaking, but if i can save the RBTA, condi, and 2 clams, then i will be happy. i have 3 corals still alive, and 1 more that can possibly bounce back.

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