SPS slowly bleaching out

Discussion in 'Corals' started by Kizmar, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. Kizmar

    Kizmar #derpface

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    My little Green Stylophora frags are slowly bleaching from the bottom up and I'm not sure why. I had my R/O water tested and my tank water tested and there's nothing going on with the water chemistry that would cause this.

    I've had these frags for several weeks and they've looked healthy until now. They've been on the same frag shelf, the same distance from the light the whole time. As far as I know there are no variables that have changed.

    This is also the only coral that seems to be having issues. The rest look healthy.

    Any suggestions?

    green_sps_bleaching.jpg
     
    Kizmar, Jun 15, 2012
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    little_fish Moderator

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    SPS corals can be very touchy, and they often dont do well in new tanks. I had the same problem with a lot of my SPS frags until the tank matured quite a bit.

    But off hand, i would say you have a small nutrient issue which is causing the hair algea to grow but its not high enough to really test for but it still is bothering that coral.
     
    little_fish, Jun 15, 2012
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  3. Kizmar

    Kizmar #derpface

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    So... it might help to mention that the water test at the LFS did find magnesium to be in the high range, and kH & pH to be in the low range. Both slightly outside of the respective ends of the scales. Something the LFS guy said shouldn't be an issue now, but I should take measures to level those out (this was 4 days ago). I have made the necessary changes since.

    The mangesium is my fault. I was half dosing aquavetro ions in between water changes and obviously that's not needed until I have a much larger population of corals. They said that should level out after a couple water changes as long as I stop using ions.

    The kH/pH wasn't low unlit recently. Not sure why that's changed, but I'm now dosing aquavetro eight.four to bring those back up to where they should be.

    Could either of these be the cause of the bleaching? Could either of these also be the cause of the hair algae as well?
     
    Kizmar, Jun 15, 2012
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    fastrd400 It wasn't me! Moderator

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    Short answer, yes, they could be a cause for the issue you are having. So now, you have to be careful dosing the Aquavitro. Are you able to test your alkalinity at home?
     
    fastrd400, Jun 15, 2012
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  5. Kizmar

    Kizmar #derpface

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    Yeah I have a test kit with a full range of tests I can do. I'm not planning on dosing the ions at all and I'm keeping a close eye on kH & pH right now.
     
    Kizmar, Jun 15, 2012
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    Smitty

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    And make sure your sps corals are getting good flow around their base also.
     
    Smitty, Jun 16, 2012
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    Kizmar #derpface

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    Well, my other SPS is starting to bleach out as of this morning.

    I did a water change yesterday and I'm wondering if the container I'm mixing up my saltwater in is causing issues... it's not a "food/water" rated container. When I mix it's in that container for 24 hours or more. I've been using the same container the whole time though... /shrug

    I just checked kH and pH. kH seems fine, pH is 8.0-8.1, but the lights have only been on for about 2 hours. I'll test pH again in a couple more hours and see if it levels out closer to 8.3.

    If anything, I would have thought the water change would have improved the water levels (by getting the magnesium closer to where it needs to be).

    Still trying to figure out what's changed in the last couple weeks that would cause this.
     
    Kizmar, Jun 18, 2012
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  8. Kizmar

    Smitty

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    I'm sorry to hear that bro, I recently started losing some of my sps's for no reason also. What is your alk level at now, and what type of lighting do you have?
     
    Smitty, Jun 18, 2012
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    d2mini VIP Member

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    I've found that SPS need a lot of flow and you really have to keep tabs on your Alk. Fluctuation is bad and so is low Alk. Shoot for around 8-11 dkh. Same with Calc but in my experience Alk has been most important. Mag tends to fluctuate the least and is usually the least of your problems. But as little fish mentioned, there is just something about a mature tank that really helps SPS. I've had some sps in a tank early and they stay the same size forever. Then after a year all of a sudden they start growing like crazy. Other sps always do well. Some are definitely easier than others. Monticaps are hard to kill. I had a green ora stag that grew like crazy. But then some Millipora took quite a while to get going. And once your sps to get going, expect them to start sucking calc/alk like crazy. You will need to supplement.
     
    d2mini, Jun 18, 2012
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    Kizmar #derpface

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    Going by my tester... kH is around 170, and the range is 150-190.

    As far as lighting:
    - I have 2 AquaUFO LED lights
    - and one Marineland Reef Capable LED over my frag rack
     
    Kizmar, Jun 18, 2012
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  11. Kizmar

    Smitty

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    How is your temp also, I think mine had an issue with the higher heat we've recently had. Your alk and lights seem fine. But like mentioned, they need lots of flow too.
     
    Smitty, Jun 18, 2012
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    Kizmar #derpface

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    The tank has risen a couple degrees (from 76.5-77 to 79) over the last week or so... you might be on to something there. I figured as long as it was below 80 that I was OK. The timing is definitely there... I don't know why I didn't connect the dots.

    I threw my fan on the tank and opened up the stand where the sump is to get it breathing more.
     
    Kizmar, Jun 18, 2012
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  13. Kizmar

    Kizmar #derpface

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    It might be a little soon to say this... hopefully I don't jinx the situation... but I think it was the temperature. Smitty might be my hero.

    Over the last 50 minutes... I got the temp back down to 77. The flesh color came back to the blue/purple SPS. I didn't realize how light it had actually gotten over the past couple weeks. I wish I would have recorded the color change, it happened while I was standing there. :shock:

    Some of the polyps that were retracted have come back out now. Unfortunately there are a couple small spots where the skeleton is showing. If it recuperates, will it ever fill that spot back in?
     
    Kizmar, Jun 18, 2012
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  14. Kizmar

    Smitty

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    I'm glad everything is recuperating...the missing polyps will grow back in the spaces that's bare.
     
    Smitty, Jun 18, 2012
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    Kizmar #derpface

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    So far the temp is holding at 77 with the sides off the stand and a fan blowing on the tank. We'll see how things go the next couple days. Hopefully the SPS's can pull through this.

    Should I push for 75 or 76 or is 77 safe?
     
    Kizmar, Jun 18, 2012
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  16. Kizmar

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    It's not really the temp itself -- anywhere between 76 and 80 is fine. It's the temp changes. Your tank was probably dropping and rising a few degrees within a 24 hour period. The fluctuations are what can damage corals. It's important to keep temps as stable as possible -- fluctuations of a degree or less over 24 hours is ideal (but that can be difficult to achieve). If your corals are used to being in cooler water and within a couple days the tank jumps up a few degrees, that can harm them.
     
    Bifferwine, Jun 18, 2012
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    Kizmar #derpface

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    Well, the small SPS is still hanging in there with a few polyps left on it's two little branches.

    The medium SPS is pretty much totally bleached out. I haven't 100% given up on it yet, but changes are it's a goner.

    The largest SPS hasn't gotten worse since yesterday. It's still got a couple small spots where the polyps are totally retracted or gone.

    Temp is holding at 76.5-77. Still dosing to keep kH & pH at the level they should be since the water change.

    Is it normal to have to dose for kH (and/or pH)? Is this something I should expect to continue doing from now on, or is there something causing this drop that I need to fix?
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
    Kizmar, Jun 19, 2012
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  18. Kizmar

    Smitty

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    With sps's, you do need to dose alk regularly, but ph is something you shouldn't need to dose regularly.
     
    Smitty, Jun 19, 2012
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  19. Kizmar

    Kizmar #derpface

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    Aren't they pretty closely tied together? What are people using to dose just for kH?
     
    Kizmar, Jun 19, 2012
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  20. Kizmar

    d2mini VIP Member

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    i doubt it's a small temp fluctuation giving you problems.

    The more sps you have the more you will need to dose. Water changes alone wont do it.
    I use two-part solution from bulk reef supply to dose alk and calc. But of course don't dose if you dont need it. Shoot for around 9-11 dkh and 450 calcium.
     
    d2mini, Jun 19, 2012
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