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Old 02/28/2018, 05:28 PM   #1
RobZilla04
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Sticky Water / Coral Recession / Nutient Levels

A lot covered here so I'll summarize then go into detail. Today my water had a sticky residual feeling. I removed many SPS frags to dip them in Coral Rx as over the past month or two they've been taking a dive. Pics from before the dip:







Levels as tested yesterday:

SG: 1.026
pH: 8.1
No3: 10
Po4:.08
Cal: 422
Alk: 8.4
Mg: 1400
Temp: 80.0

As for my log for the time frame in question, mid Dec I removed a chaeto reactor as macro growth had stopped. Early January I began dosing Vibrant to try to rid some nuisance red turf algae and a few patches of what appeared to be bryopsis. I began with ml 2 doses weekly for three weeks, each 10ml. Then went to half the dose once a week.

First week of January GAC was placed into the sump in a media bag.

End of January No3 & Po4 read 1 / .02. Alk at the time was running 8.6 - 9.3dKH.

Hard to remember exactly when the tissue loss began, but by the time I realized No3 & Po4 had bottomed out I researched a quick fix. I started dosing Reef Energy A/B to try to nurse the SPS back to health and increase No3 and Po4.

Mg had also dropped during those two months to low 1100's. That was corrected via dosing.

All regular maintenance and cleaning was done throughout that time. Water changes were every 4 weeks (a system I had been doing for nearly 6 months). This month I've done two WC's to again help try to correct whatever is plaguing my system. Reef Crystals and IO salt.

Carbon dosing in the form of Vodka/Vinegar/RODI solution is minimal (6ml daily in three doses).

UV sterilizer run nearly 24/7.

Lighting is two Viparspectra LED & T5HO retro kit. The T5's haven't been used in a month after thinking that the intense lighting was causing coral damage. Also LED's were turned down significantly for the past month or so.

Back to today, in my last ditch effort to help the corals pictured, and others that look similar, I dipped them and replaced.

Typing all of this I am starting to realize I "did" a lot when it probably wasn't advisable. All other coral have been thriving and growing (LPS, monti, zoas, hammers & torches, trumpets).

Lots of info I know but anyone willing to assist I would greatly appreciate input. If you've read this far you might as well chime in....


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Old 03/01/2018, 03:03 AM   #2
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Is it possible that you added too much carbon? you also have a UV which stripped the water even cleaner. When I first got into carbon and GFO, they cleaned my water too fast and made it too clean, it caused the majority of my sps to bleach and die off, the rest of my corals remained unaffected. Was this the first time using Granular Activated Carbon? What do you mean by sticky water exactly?


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Old 03/01/2018, 04:12 AM   #3
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Thanks for replying. I've use GAC in the past. More specifically Chemipure, but stopped when those bags became expensive and didn't keep water clarity for more than a couple of weeks. Hence the addition of the UV Sterilizer. From there I added it back in as an extra measure of water purification in the form of cheaper bulk GAC from Amazon in a mesh bag.

As for the sticky water, after taking my hands out of the water and drying them with a clean towel, they had a sticky feeling. The same kind you would get after handling cotton candy. Although not necessarily to the same degree. Still not something I've noticed in my water in the past.


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Old 03/01/2018, 05:19 AM   #4
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I would say that the UV would be enough to keep water clean, I would only use carbon in case of emergencies (sticky water), once the sticky water is dealt with, I'd remove the carbon and just run the UV and see if you're getting the water clarity you want, that way water isn't too clean so the sps are able to recover and get the color back.

I'm not too familiar with Carbon dosing in the form of Vodka/Vinegar/RODI, is it possible that this may be causing the the 'sticky water'? When did you first begin to notice the sticky water? Do you run a skimmer?


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Old 03/01/2018, 05:31 AM   #5
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This is the first instance I noticed the sticky water. Might not be that big of a deal. I'm more concerned with the coral health.

I've got a Bubble Magus Curve 5 in a 90g system. Carbon dosing is minimal at only 6ml spread over three doses daily.

Only mechanical filtration at this point is a Poly Filter. I typically used filter floss as well but just ditched it at the last change a couple of weeks ago.


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Old 03/01/2018, 05:42 AM   #6
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Do you have any algae problems at the moment? I know you mentioned having some in the past which is why you were using Vibrant. Honestly, I would just remove the carbon, perform a water change, and I'd run the chaeto reactor again, it's possible that the display tank algae was out competing the chaeto.


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Old 03/01/2018, 06:03 AM   #7
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Just a few small patches of red turf and the usual film on the glass after a few days.

I'm afraid the nutrients are too low to support the chaeto...? Last two times I cleaned it before taking it off line the reactor chamber was full of brown nasty sludge and slime on the side walls. Not sure the chaeto was actually assisting. As you mentioned the DT macro was likely out competing it.


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Old 03/01/2018, 12:55 PM   #8
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Yes, I agree the levels might be too low, removing the carbon might allow levels to go a bit higher , thus allowing chaeto growth, I personally like chaeto because it doesn't completely starve the tank of nutrients like carbon does, it's cheap, and a natural way to lower phosphates levels, thus helping with any algae. How often do you feed, what do you feed, how often do you do water changes, and how big are water changes ? Your tank is 90 gallons correct?


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Old 03/01/2018, 01:33 PM   #9
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Sounds like a carbon-induced bacterial bloom, probably clogging the feeding pores of the sps. A filter sock might help. And stop carbon dosing for now.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.
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Old 03/01/2018, 02:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Sounds like a carbon-induced bacterial bloom, probably clogging the feeding pores of the sps. A filter sock might help. And stop carbon dosing for now.
Thx already pulled the GAC, will cut off the organic carbon source as well. Going to back to simple is the best option for a while with reduced light. Hopefully they will recover.


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Old 03/01/2018, 08:32 PM   #11
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I'd probably keep the GAC running, since it'll bind organics. I wonder whether the "stickiness" is from a surface film. I'd make sure there was a good rippling action on the water surface. I agree with cutting back on the organic carbon dosing.


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Old 03/02/2018, 04:18 AM   #12
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I'd probably keep the GAC running, since it'll bind organics. I wonder whether the "stickiness" is from a surface film. I'd make sure there was a good rippling action on the water surface. I agree with cutting back on the organic carbon dosing.
Plenty of flow on the surface in both the DT and sump. I've got no buildup on the surface in either. This theory could make sense though as I removed the blue/white filter floss media and ran no mechanical filtration for a few weeks. That would help explain the sticky water.

As for coral deterioration that started around the same time as the Vibrant dosing and/or the addition of GAC. Those were around the same time December/January.

Gonna leave both out for a while and see how things settle. If I need to go back I'll introduce one at a time and keep a close eye out.


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Old 03/02/2018, 06:22 AM   #13
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quit dosing and stick to IO water changes till your corals start growing again


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Old 03/04/2018, 07:06 AM   #14
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Good news the recession on the sps I dipped had stopped.

Bad news there is still some algae growth on the branches where tissue has thinned/shed. What is the best way to get that algae off without further damaging the piece? Will new tissue grow if there is any algae on the branch?

One piece has plenty of polyps extending quite far, just not much tissue. The white skeleton is exposed and again algae, although thin, is over nearly 75 percent of it.


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Old 03/04/2018, 11:53 AM   #15
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I've had algae grow on some sps before, my emerald crab usually takes care of it though.


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Old 03/04/2018, 01:47 PM   #16
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Physical removal would be one approach for the algae. If the coral is doing well enough, you could ignore the algae for a bit to see what happens. You might be able to kill it with some GFO or the like.


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Old 03/04/2018, 05:27 PM   #17
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Thx good options. The CUC blue leg hermit crabs show interest but not enough to eliminate it.

I'll check back after a few days.


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Old 03/05/2018, 03:57 PM   #18
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Test results from today

Cal 445 Hanna
Alk 8.6 Hanna (trying to get down to low 8's / high 7's)
Mag 1350 Red Sea
No3 15-20 Red Sea
Po4 .1 Red Sea & Salifert

Makes sense as I see some fuzzy algae coming back on the back glass. Odd thing is the SPS look to he losing tissue again, especially at the tips.

I've already turned off T5HO. Dropped LED to 30 blue and 2 white for intensity. Only 10 hours a day. Everything else is fully extended and loving life.

What gives?

Gonna get back to carbon dosing to manage No3 and even cut down just a bit.


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Old 03/05/2018, 07:01 PM   #19
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I'd work on lowering the phosphate level. The carbon dosing should help at least a bit, although the tank might need some GFO.


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Old 03/05/2018, 08:09 PM   #20
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I think your nutrient levels are fine. Stability is the key and I don't think reducing them will help. Are you starving them for light? With higher nutrient levels you can increase intensity of lighting and get strong growth.


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Old 03/06/2018, 04:22 AM   #21
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Quote:
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I'd work on lowering the phosphate level. The carbon dosing should help at least a bit, although the tank might need some GFO.
I'm getting in to the "swing" problem. Get them down to <.05 and then there is too much light / Alk is too high. Then back the other direction <.05 and the algae creeps in.

Just trying to find the sweet spot and how to stay there. Learning something new everyday though. Thank you.

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I think your nutrient levels are fine. Stability is the key and I don't think reducing them will help. Are you starving them for light? With higher nutrient levels you can increase intensity of lighting and get strong growth.
As I mentioned they were much much lower so I cut the lights way down. Now that they are up I don't want blast the lights right back up. These SPS certainly are tricky, tricky, tricky <----- Cue RUNDMC intro.


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Old 03/08/2018, 04:18 PM   #22
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Well things are getting worse. More SPS frag tissue recession from the top down. Alk is now 8.0, nitrates 10/15, and phos .1

Some trumpet corals now seems to have developed an algae or something along the top edges. Water it is seems to be destroying the poly heads. I can try to get pix if necessary for ID purposes. I'm setting up for another WC this weekend but at this point I don't know that it will make a difference.

Anyone got ideas/suggestions?


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Old 03/08/2018, 10:48 PM   #23
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I'd probably stop all feeding and do some 15-20% water changes. Some fresh carbon might help, as well. I'm not sure what's happening, but the algae might be releasing chemicals that irritate the corals.


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Old 03/09/2018, 02:44 AM   #24
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+1 on water changes.


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Old 03/09/2018, 04:17 AM   #25
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It's baffling me because the algae will grow on health coral tissue. I had activated carbon in a mesh bag (high flow area) for a while and thought that might be irritating the corals. Also thought maybe the Vibrant bacteria blend combined with slight organic carbon dosing was causing the irritation.

Stopping feeding is an interesting thought.

Water changes are easy but as I am finding out, they aren't doing much.


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