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Old 01-10-2011, 03:46 PM   #1
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Coral (mostly zoas) issues in new reef tank

Hi all,

Started a question/thread yesterday and received lots of advice, thank you very much. But although we got the temperature of the tank settled, there was varying opinions on what may have happened to all of the new zoas, original polyps and a couple other corals in my somewhat new 30 gallon tank. It's probably 2 plus months old and we just started transferring corals from my smaller tank (nano 12) and from my son's tank (55 gallon) both well established and purchased some frags from a new coral source. The frags were stunningly gorgeous...at THEIR place and haven't done well at mine, but even more curious is the fact that now my old polyps won't do right either.

These are the specs:

Tank - 29-30 gallon - 2 plus months old - biocube
MH - Had 14,000 light now 10,000 light (possible too much light?)
salt 1.025
amm/nitrate/nitrite 0
calcium 420
mag 1200
pot. I THINK 1400
Water temp 78 degrees

Even more odd is the polyps in my son's tank now won't open and they were gorgeous, too. Leads me to believe although the lighting in my tank may be the issue, perhaps what my son is doing chemical/feeding wise could be an issue?

Have put four layers of black screening on the top of the tank right now. Attached are pictures of the various corals I'm struggling with. The frogspawn was beautiful in my nano...it withstood two major crashes and did good for almost a week in the biocube but now looks like it is dying. I do have quite a bit of the red bubble algae (see photos) as well. The leather, brain, mushrooms are doing well. Xenia, not so good either.

HELP!! Thanks SOOO much!
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:52 PM   #2
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Question few more photos

Various button polyps, colt, xenia, frogspawn, zoas, etc. that are NOT doing so well.

I'm going to order a 20,000 K bulb...do you all agree?

Forgot, my sons feeds Dr. G's to corals twice weekly and uses chemicals by Reef Results Marine
1. Calcium Carbonator
2. Phosblaster Super Nuker

as needed per test results.

Suggestions? Thanks SOOO much!

Laurie Mae
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:06 PM   #3
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stop using any coral food, and also stop using those supplements. they are not helping anything. truly light shock btw.
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:28 PM   #4
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I would agree with Doug that it is most likely a case of light shock - the screen should help a lot. Also the 10,000K vs. 14,000K is a huge variation on the color spectrum and thus has a lot to do with coral appearance. 20,000K on the other hand is going to be much bluer, so will also affect the coral appearance. The other thing I would question is flow rates; how are flow rates in the new aquarium vs. the old aquariums.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:54 PM   #5
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Thanks for the answers....are you saying the 20,000 bulb is not necessarily what to do? Need to know before I spend the money. Will the corals eventually get used to the light? The couple I purchased the frags from had very strong MH lights...why are they reacting so poorly in mine? I can understand the xenia, colt, frogspawn, etc. but still shocked they did so good for a week or so. I can understand (now, lol) the difference in the 10 & 14 K lights but everything shriveled up big time, too much light or the switching of bulbs?

There was more flow in the nano...I had an extra pump giving out additional flow and that was in a 12 gallon. Think I need something more on the biocube?

Doug, if we don't feed the corals what do they eat? Also, do you think the supplements he is adding are hurting the corals? The couple we purchased all the zoas from stressed chemicals...they had the brightest zoas I've ever seen. Said something about magnesium, calcium, iodine, potassium (which we already added of course) but also stronium (or something like that?)

I miss my beautiful little tank. I hope these all don't die now! Any reason to not move my fish in here at this point?
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:55 PM   #6
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ohhh, also, am I right about the red/brown bubbles being bubble algae? How do I get rid of it?
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:36 AM   #7
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corals are photosynthetic. they get their food from light. i think the supplements you are adding are hurting the corals by dirtying the water. the corals aren't eating them. zoas don't even utilize calcium. they are a soft coral and have no use for calcium.
i mentioned the 20k lamp because the higher you go in color temp, the less PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) you will have. it's an essentially weaker lamp.
as for any macroalgae, excessive nutrients is the cause. water changes and manual removal is the answer.
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:41 AM   #8
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Talking ahhhhh!

Thanks! You're a gem, Doug.

Will make the light change, no feeding, etc., and see what happens to the poor corals. Maybe they'll perk up!

Appreciate all the help from you and everyone. I'm sure I'll be around lots!

Have a wonderful evening!

Best,
Laurie Mae
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:13 AM   #9
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I can't really offer any different advice than you've already been given - lay off the feeding, and give the little guys time to acclimate to the new light.

As far as calcium/magnesium/alkalinity supplementation... most likely you don't need it, but it all depends on what the results of those tests show. If you have a calcium level around 400ppm, magnesium around 1200ppm and alkalinity between 8-12 dKh - and you can keep it around those levels by just doing water changes, then you don't need supplementation for those things. While it's true that the zoanthids don't use up much calcium, you might have other things (like coraline algae) sucking up those elements. That was the case with my tank before I had many corals in it - I had so much coraline algae, it was depleting those elements faster than I could put them back in with water changes. So I had to supplement. So the cal/alk stuff you're adding may or may not be required - it just all depends on how much your tank is using.

Regarding the Bubble Algae, here's a good article:

'Bubble' Alage: Selected Descriptions, Controls and Comments by Horge Cortes-Jorge, Jr. - Reefkeeping.com

I've found that Bubble Algae is a tough one to get rid of, even in low nutrient tanks. Best thing to do is remove the rock from the tank and get as much of it off as you can. If you can't remove the rock (that'd be my tank) the next best thing to do is manually go after it when you do water changes. Scrape the bubbles off with your siphon hose when you're doing a water change. That way, when you break the bubble, all the spores get siphoned up and don't spread through your tank. I'd attack it fast and often to try and nip it in the bud before it gets a foodhold. I watched mine for quite a while thinking it would go away by itself. Nope.
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:39 AM   #10
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Wink nutrients over kill

My son just came in from work and he's the one always messing with the tanks. I let him know the consensus is too much feeding and chemicals...he just nodded. As we talked he indicated that when he asks at the LFSs they are always suggesting this and that. Dohhhh! He should know, he worked at three of them when he was a teenager! It's all about sales sales sales!

I look forward to watching the little guys recuperate once they are able to be in much cleaner water. Thanks for the parameters...will be testing often.

The bubble algae started in my nano 12g and moved into my 30g biocube on a large rock. MOST of it is on one large foundation rock, but it has soooo many corals/frags on it now, it may be hard to take out, but we will either do so or handle it with the water change this weekend. It did jump to the frogspawn since moving to the larger tank.

I'm a tad discouraged as my nano was gorgeous and everything thrived in it. (son hadn't started dosing so much!)

One final question...my son feeds various things to the fish, mysis shrimp, blood worms, marine snow...but just small amounts. Is that OK? And also, is it OK to now move my fish from my 12g nano to the 30g tank even if corals aren't doing well there?

We had intended to make the nano a LR tank with fan corals and a couple of horses as his daughter LOVES them.

Again...thanks! Sorry so many questions.
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