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Old 08-16-2012, 11:19 PM   #1
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Frogspawn shriveling and dying—Oh, no!

Hi all,

I'm new to reef aquariums, and my frogspawn is the first LPS coral I've gotten (so it's important to me!). It looked great for the first two weeks or so—8 heads—but has since gone downhill. I first noticed the tentacles on two heads retracting gradually after I split the skeleton so it would fit better in my tank, and the individual tentacles were flattening out and shriveling. After about a week, the tentacles started to die off of those heads, leaving just the skeleton beneath (plus little white "hand" thingies poking out of the middle of the heads, which you can see in my pictures—these are how the frogspawn filter-feed, right?). I originally thought something was eating them and got rid of two camel shrimp. Since then, though, four more heads have gone in the same way over about three weeks! There's no color change when the tentacles shrivel up, either.

I'm including some pictures: You can see that one of the heads is in the process of losing its tentacles, and the other head's tentacles are retracted. They're in the sand right now because that's basically the only place they haven't already been. I've tried moving the frags all around the tank, but I've mostly stuck to relatively well-lit and strongly-circulated areas. I'm feeding my corals Phyto Feast everyday: 40 or so drops in a 28-gallon tank.

This doesn't look like the pictures of brown jelly disease I've seen, and I don't see any "bugs" on the coral.

If anyone can offer advice, I'd be FOREVER grateful! Maybe I'll send you a frag someday if they recover.

Here's my tank info.:

28-gallon JBJ Nano Cube

Salinity: 1.024
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: ~0
Chlorine: 0
Alkalinity: ~350
pH: 8.3
Calcium: 460 (I've been dosing, and brought it up from about 360)
Temperature: 80 (I know this is a little hot; I've ordered a fan)

I dose with B-Ionic's Calcium Buffer System daily to keep the calcium up, and I do a 5-gallon water change every other week.

2 return pumps on a 30-second wave maker delivering 266 GPH
2 Hydor powerheads on a 30-second wave maker circulating 425 GPH
The lights are 150-watt power compact lights, on for 8 hours a day, plus LED moonlights, on all the time.

I don't have any activated carbon in the tank currently.

I've got 2 clownfish, a Melanurus wrasse, a goby, 2 fire red shrimp, and emerald crab, and assorted hermit crabs and snails, plus some zoanthids and some 'shrooms.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:06 AM   #2
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What type of flow are they in?

I've never had one but im pretty sure frogspawns enjoy low to medium flow.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:17 AM   #3
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Looks more like a torch than a frogspawn from the pic.

But regardless what caught my eye reading is when you said you broke it in 2 to fit your tank better? How did you break it exactly?
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Old 08-17-2012, 02:00 AM   #4
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It looks like a green torch to me as well...but doesn't matter, they all respond to about the same conditions, moderate flow, moderate lighting. I will bet your phosphate levels are higher than you think they are. I would knock off the Phytofeast, as this coral is primarily photosynthetic. I think the feedings of this brew is causing some of the problem. Looks like there are a few heads of LPS that have died back. Get the LFS to use a sensitive phosphate test. It has to be under .05 for most hard corals. It should be under .1 in my opinion for anything to grow well. I get a lot of push back on this, but I think 80 is on the high side for most captive corals. Mine don't like getting too warm and they show it.
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schism
Looks more like a torch than a frogspawn from the pic.

But regardless what caught my eye reading is when you said you broke it in 2 to fit your tank better? How did you break it exactly?
I too would like to know how exactly you fraged the coral even though they are one of the easier ones.. what about second piece is that one doing well ? I too have nuked my frogspawn but the tank hit 90 degrees and even then i didnt loose them all and the last one looks like its soon to go..
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:23 AM   #6
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how long has your tank been set up and what kind of lighting do you have, RODI water?
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Old 08-17-2012, 05:01 PM   #7
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Hey, thanks for the great responses so far!

To answer some of your questions:

The frogspawn are currently in moderate flow, and I've been moving them between moderate and high flow areas in the tank to see what helped.

When I first got the coral, it was a single branch splitting into 7 heads, about 8 inches long in total. My LFS person told me to just cut the skeletons about 2–3 inches below the heads to frag them. Is this an okay method, or not? And is it possible that my fragging them so early caused them to start to go downhill?

I just ordered phosphate, magnesium, and alkalinity test kits, so I'll know soon whether my levels are too high or low. I'll take your advice, Gregcoyote, and cut way back on the Phyto Feast; hopefully this'll help.

The tank's been running for about five months, and the lights are 150-watt power compact lights, on for 8 hours a day, plus LED moonlights, on all the time. I don't have an RO/DI system; I just use tap water and Prime.

Thanks for these replies—some really good leads here! Any other ideas what I might try to save this frogspawn?
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Old 08-17-2012, 05:44 PM   #8
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sorry but power compact lighting was never intended to support corals, they are a supplement to stronger lighting like MH or T5's or for a fish only tank. Your Frogspawn will never survive with that lighting, you need T5's, LEds or MH for Corals. Added to the fact that you are using tap water, you do not have a system to support anything but fish only. Sorry, not trying to be harsh but trying to save you money and save some corals. With tap water, there are so many chemicals, pollutants and heavy metals in the water stream. Does you house have copper piping, than there are trace copper in your water supply also. To be successful in the marine hobby, you need good lighting and RODI water supply. Take the money you will spend on corals that will not survive and invest it in a RODI unit and the proper lighting. Good luck
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Old 08-17-2012, 06:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holygral
sorry but power compact lighting was never intended to support corals, they are a supplement to stronger lighting like MH or T5's or for a fish only tank. Your Frogspawn will never survive with that lighting, you need T5's, LEds or MH for Corals. Added to the fact that you are using tap water, you do not have a system to support anything but fish only. Sorry, not trying to be harsh but trying to save you money and save some corals. With tap water, there are so many chemicals, pollutants and heavy metals in the water stream. Does you house have copper piping, than there are trace copper in your water supply also. To be successful in the marine hobby, you need good lighting and RODI water supply. Take the money you will spend on corals that will not survive and invest it in a RODI unit and the proper lighting. Good luck
I could not agree with this more. Sorry, but he is right on. I did not realize you were using tap water and compact fluorescence. Both will prevent hard corals from surviving. Don't buy anymore corals until you fix this first, it will be a waste of your money.
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Old 08-17-2012, 06:12 PM   #10
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Hey, thanks for this advice.

Here's the nano tank I have—compact fluorescents and all: 28 gallon Quad Nano Cube | JbjNanoCubes.com

They market it as pretty much a self-contained mini-reef system; is that basically just false advertising, then?

I had no idea these lights wouldn't be sufficient—WOW, I'm regretting going with the nano right now...

Is there any way to make this setup work other than taking out the existing lights and putting in LEDs or a halide bulb or something?
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