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Old 03-31-2009, 07:15 PM   #1
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sick and dying corals

I am relatively new to reef aquariums. I figured i would start off by using a 12g nano cube. I have had it for 5-6 months now. About two weeks ago my corals started looking sick. My star polyp has since died, and my torch coral is getting worse by the day. I regularly test ph, nitrite, nitrate, ammonia, and calcium. Everything is normal with the exception of a ph that drops occasionally. I do partial water changes every week/week and a half or so. I add iodide and trace elements and calcium when needed. I cant figure out what happened. Because my tank has many inhabitants, i am diligent with water changes and waste removal. My cleaner shrimp has also lost its appetie and is much less active. Several snails have died as well. Please help!

My inhabitants include:
false percula clown
bi-color blenny
royal gramma
cleaner shrimp
emerald crab
several margarita snails.
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Old 03-31-2009, 07:18 PM   #2
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Since you mentioned pH, what is it normally at, when does it drop, and how much does it drop? Stop adding iodide and trace elements. If you don't test for it, don't add it. My hunch is the iodide, which many corals do not tolerate well unless carefully dosed/mixed/diluted.
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Old 03-31-2009, 07:20 PM   #3
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What kind of supplements are you adding? PWC`s is all you need for trace elements with the possible exception of calcium. I`m thinking the iodine is the problem also.
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Old 03-31-2009, 07:47 PM   #4
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The PH is normally at 8.2-8.3. When it falls, it usually falls to 8.0, although it has dropped to 7.8

The supplements were kent iodide, kent essential elements, and kent calcium, all liquid formulas.

I will stop adding anything and keep to my water changes. Also, what would you reccomend for keeping the PH at a proper level? Currently i am adding a powdered buffer that keeps it at 8.3 when it falls. Should i keep using that?
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Old 03-31-2009, 08:41 PM   #5
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Do me a favor and check your PH right before the lights go out. Do it the same time every time and let us know what your reading are. BTW what testing brand are you using?
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Old 03-31-2009, 08:42 PM   #6
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How about if you stop the water chnges if no sign of NH3, NO2?
It could be overdosing but im leaning toward too much of water changees at once, If you drain 50% of water, are any coral/polyps, etc exposed to air? The weight of water of extended corals will rip the tissues from their skeleton and learned that star polyps can close up for weeks when such drastic changes took place. Such drastic changes should be avoided. How about 10-15% at one time. If needed to, can do small water changes more frequently.
Hope this helped.
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Old 03-31-2009, 08:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semibfy View Post
How about 10-15% at one time. If needed to, can do small water changes more frequently.
I agree
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:16 PM   #8
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Do me a favor and check your PH right before the lights go out. Do it the same time every time and let us know what your reading are. BTW what testing brand are you using?

Sounds like a plan. I am using API testing products for all my tests.
PS, tonights reading of PH is 8.2
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:22 PM   #9
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How about if you stop the water chnges if no sign of NH3, NO2?
It could be overdosing but im leaning toward too much of water changees at once, If you drain 50% of water, are any coral/polyps, etc exposed to air? The weight of water of extended corals will rip the tissues from their skeleton and learned that star polyps can close up for weeks when such drastic changes took place. Such drastic changes should be avoided. How about 10-15% at one time. If needed to, can do small water changes more frequently.
Hope this helped.
I do water changes about every week and a half. I usually do a 15-20% water change. I have never done 50%. When i change the water, the water level never gets low enough to expose anything, so I doubt thats the problem. The polps just slowly closed up and never came back out. It wasnt a sudden thing. When they close up for weeks, do they come back out, or just die? Thank you for the information!
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Old 04-01-2009, 01:21 AM   #10
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I was scratching my head too... wondering where that 50% number came from. Your water change schedule is just fine, and isn't the problem.

I'm also going with iodine OD - the gradual accumulation of it will cause the gradual demise of the corals. I'm guessing that there's iodine in the kent essential elements, so with the addition of the iodine to that, you're doubling up on something that in most tanks doesn't even need to be dosed. Water changes will take care of it. Here's a good article on iodine...

Chemistry and the Aquarium

I assume you're adding calcium because your levels are low? (Again... the don't add it if you don't test for it thingie.) If they are, then I'd suggest using a 2-part alkalinity/calcium solution. The formulation of the solution is such that both parts are used equally by the growing corals and you don't end up with a alk/cal imbalance from just using calcium alone. Low alkalinity from high calcium levels can also mess with your pH, but using a balanced 2-part mix (like C-balance, B-Ionic, etc) will keep your alkalinity where it should be and possibly keep your pH more stable. Of course... that assumes you actually need to dose for calcium.
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