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Old 02/17/2010, 01:53 PM   #1
travis32
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How do I tell if my coral is dieing? (Pics attached)

O.k. I'm attaching pics. Looks like my previous post is going by the wayside, so I'll redo this with pics this time.

I just need to know if my large coral (possibly a leather? ) is dieing or not. The reason I think it may be is it is getting black / brownish rings around it's branches. Usually at most 1 ring per branch and not all have the ring. The ring is about a hairline in width.

As far as lighting I have a corallife 10k actinics light. 4 Ushaped 65watt bulbs. The person I got the light from said it was rated for a 90 gallon tank and I'm using it on a 55 gallon.

I'm attaching 3 pics, 2 different views of the coral I'm wondering about, and one of some very healthy hair mushroom corals (they look very healthy to me). Just for the fun of it.

The tank has been up a around 10 days now, the coral and rock came from a tank that has been established for 2 years, and the xenia and button polyps, and hair mushrooms, and purple mushrooms all seem to be doing wonderfully so far.

So just wondering if I should be concerned about the black rings. I really don't want this coral dieing and then crashing all the corals in the tank if I can avoid that!

You can't see the rings in these pictures very clearly, but they are very thing rings and very noticable when looking at the tank.


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Old 02/17/2010, 03:50 PM   #2
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Not sure about your corals but "The tank has been up a around 10 days now" is way too early to add creatures to your tank... My guess your tank is cycling, probably from what ever sustrate you added, and the corals aren't to happy about that. Test the water then post the results.

I wait months before I add to a new tank.


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Old 02/17/2010, 04:24 PM   #3
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The Corals were "given" to me with the rock. From a guy tearing down his 75 gallon to get ready for installing a 180 gallon and he didn't want the rock or corals in the new tank. He had other plans for it. So, I took them.. On the other side of things. I used RO water (from my own RO system) and established crushed coral, and purchased the live sand. I feel so far everything is going well other than this one coral.

I haven't tested the water yet, as I expect it is cycling and still getting established yet. I agree it was too early to insert them, but, the price was right... Free...

The polyps, and mushrooms seem to be doing awesome though. So, I guess, time will tell if things spike or not. I'll have to order some test kits first.


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Old 02/18/2010, 01:10 AM   #4
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Respectfully, you way ahead of yourself. Free or not, these animals will die under your care if you dont buck up. First of all the system is only 10 days old, it isnt cycled and under no circumstances should you have corals in there. You need to buy a decent set of water test kits, wait out the cycle, remove the live stock (as after 10 days i doubt youve even started your ammonia spike yet) and be patient. I dont mean to come across like a c#ck but people jump into this hobby, ignore advise given to them and beautiful creatures die. There is a wealth of info on here, read, read, and read some more..


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Old 02/18/2010, 05:42 AM   #5
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If the rock came from an established system, it's likely that there will be little to no cycle at all. Unless the rock was out of the water for a significant amount of time, the rock will be populated with the bacteria needed to handle the nitrogen cycle. Can you run the tests for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?


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Old 02/18/2010, 06:12 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Cozmo4 View Post
If the rock came from an established system, it's likely that there will be little to no cycle at all. Unless the rock was out of the water for a significant amount of time, the rock will be populated with the bacteria needed to handle the nitrogen cycle. Can you run the tests for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?

Wow!! Not so much. OP please listen to the other posters above the last one. They are not trying to upset you. They are only trying to help you avoid later issues.


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Old 02/18/2010, 06:17 AM   #7
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The only thing you can do at this time is just keep an eye on them. If you know someone that has a tank up and running then you may want to get them to that tank for a couple weeks. Now by looking at the photos your leathers look ok, open, thats the biggest thing with leathers. When they arent happy they will wither away down to nothing. I hope you are one of the lucky ones and dont loose your corals. Take your time and let your tank season I promise you will be rewarded with a beautiful tank. I would for sure get a good test kit before adding anything else. Good luck!


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Old 02/18/2010, 06:44 AM   #8
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You have PM.

If the leather continues to decline, take a sharp pair of scissors and cut off bad tissue. Bad tissue is black, brown or snotty looking in the tank. THis might be siphoned off too, if you are fearfull of cutting your coral up. Most corals create mucus when taken from the tank- this isn't bad and should be considered normal. I recommend that you DO NOT CUT CORALS IN THE DISPLAY tank if at all possible. Take a bowl of reef water, cut off bad tissue, use a couple drops of iodine in this bowl, then put the coral back into your tank after a soak for a few minutes in the iodine/reef water.

xenia is a good water quality indicator. I think mushrooms would grow in the back of a toiliet, however LOL.

Good luck, keep posting and reading


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Old 02/18/2010, 06:47 AM   #9
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Wow!! Not so much. OP please listen to the other posters above the last one. They are not trying to upset you. They are only trying to help you avoid later issues.
No to get too far off track from the OP's original question, but for clarification, the denitrifying bacteria is contained on the rock and substrate, not in the water to any significant degree. This is why tank transfers can be done with little to no cycle in the new tank. If he transferred rock from an existing system with some sort of bioload, there should be enough bacteria present to avoid and significant cycle in the new tank. I stand by my statements based on personal experience and science. Not trying to be argumentative, but you came at me pretty good on this and I believe that I'm correct on this.


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Old 02/18/2010, 08:41 AM   #10
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Like I said the rock came from a 2 year old system. The corals were in the original aquarium water for the 25 minute trip back to my house. The rest of the rock was in 5 gallon pales (still moist, but not in water) for 25 minutes.

From there, I rushed them in the house and directly into the tank as fast as I could without damaging anything.

This morning the mushrooms were all closed. The light is on a timer, so I'm assuming it's in response to the light.

I appreciate the advice, and no, I'm not upset at anyone that goes off on making it sound like I'm ignorantly torturing animals. I would have taken them all out right away if they all looked like they were all droopy, closed, whithered, what have you. Where I would have put them, not sure yet, maybe the local pet store would "hold them" for me.

The previous owner would have just killed them all as he had no intention of caring at all about them. They were relatively wealthy and had no qualms about spending a few thousand to set up a brand new tank with all new stuff. They weren't keeping the fish or anything. I refused to take any fish, or I would have gotten those next to free too.. I knew the bioload of fish would be too much at this point.

At best, I tried to rescue the corals. If they die, they received the same fate they would have in the previous owners possession. So, I do care, and do want things to work, and apologize if the methods offend some.

I did own a 29 gallon SW tank a few years ago, no corals though just fish and some rock for filtration. The fish thrived for around a couple years until I had to move out of my appartment. So, I"m not totally brand new, though it may look like I am because I tried to rescue live things too soon.

I'll be ordering test kits today. And post as soon as I have test results! Thanks for the feedback. I'll closely monitor everything! And post pics if I see changes.


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Old 02/18/2010, 10:06 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Cozmo4 View Post
If the rock came from an established system, it's likely that there will be little to no cycle at all. Unless the rock was out of the water for a significant amount of time, the rock will be populated with the bacteria needed to handle the nitrogen cycle. Can you run the tests for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?
Absolutely agree. With the rock coming from an established tank any cycle that the "new" tank goes through would be minimal if at all...assuming the OP did everything correct.


There are several other things that could be at play here that is causing the corals stress, and admittedly I don't much experience with soft corals.

I would pick up a basic test kit ASAP. That's the only way to know what's actually going on here.


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Old 02/18/2010, 10:54 AM   #12
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first of all he speaks of crushed coral substrate....right off the bat this increases pH which may be stressing the animals. Second, if the person "didnt care" and was wealthy, then the tank probably wasnt cared for. Cozmo, you are correct in a sense. If you were in charge of the previous setup and knew the parameters of the water then surely it would be a safe bet to transfer the rock out, but we dont know the parameters. IVe seen some takes at "rich" peoples houses that looks like someone grabbed the dirtiest sand and water from the worst part of the LI sound. This man needs good advice not arguements about whos methods are the best. It is what it is...he has the corals so now lets help him fix the situation. Like other posters said, GET TEST KITS TODAY!!!! post your parameters. Next, some use CC but i suggest get rid of that crap. Great for cichlids not so great for reef. How much LR do you have for this 55 gallon? Is it all from his 75? if so was it enough? some people think its ok to have a 75 gal tank with 20-40lbs lr becuase it is expensive, but it is not. There are many pieces to this puzzle that we have not seen yet. We are all detectives in our own right, give us the evidence give us some time and we will help you find the answers.

Yes though cozmo, transferring YOUR OWN (or from someone you trusts) stuff to a new tank should leave little to no cycle but he said himself the people were dumping this tank to start a new one, there has to be a reason, algea blooms, phosphate problems (which leaches into the rocks). Ich? we all know these things occur. Lets give him the best advice possible, without hurting peoples feelings, but lets get this guys reef running like we would have ours.

Remember we were all noobs at one time. In fact there was just a thread on here about our biggest noob mistakes, and there were some pretty crazy ones, but most of these people learned from them and ended up with beautiful slices of ocean in their living rooms. Anyone who says they never made a mistake, was impatient, killed a coral or a fish due to some ignorance about the hobby is not telling truths.

All-in-all post your tank stats asap with water parameters amount of LR and live sand, and to be honest IMHO get that Crushed coral out!


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Old 02/18/2010, 12:02 PM   #13
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O.k. I have roughly 75 pounds of live rock. I actually gave away around 15 to 20 pounds because I ended up with too much.. Imagine a 55 gallon tank with 95 pounds of live rock.. There wasn't room for fish... Within 2 days I got rid of the overstock of rock (gave it away.)

The family I got it from has a kid that's going into marine biology. He claims (obviously I don't have any proof of this other than the rock corals) that he didn't want the existing coral strategy in his new tank.. He had xenia all over the place. And the xenia is doing great in my tank -- so far..

I won't be able to test the water until tonight. I'll post as soon as I do. Let you know the results in a while. The rock came with miniature starfish, snails, some tiny crabs, and all those seem to be doing fine. Some even made it into the sump.

Anyways, I appreciate the candor and the attitude! I'm here to have fun and enjoy and ultimately learn from my fumblings!


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Old 02/18/2010, 12:21 PM   #14
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By using cycled rock, you may not go through a cycle. But I think the problem is with the water. You didn't use any of the old water it used to live in. The coral is probably trying to get acclimated to it and/or your water parameters are not optimal.


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Old 02/18/2010, 02:15 PM   #15
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ok well thats not bad for your LR cetainly post your params and let us know! What about the cc are you going to leave that in there?


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Old 02/18/2010, 03:09 PM   #16
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The substrate - 60 pounds or so of crushed coral and 25 pounds of live sand from a pet store made up around 2 inches of substrate across the whole bottom fo the tank and around 10 pounds or so in the sump. 7 or 8 pounds of CC and 5 pound bag of live sand. and then I put a couple live rock pieces in there. The sump is only 14 gallon at best, so I didn't want to over fill it with sand and rock and not have room for water flow.

Evaporation is around 1 gallon in 24 hours. Some days it's a full gallon or more, some days it's around half a gallon. I'm not sure what the variance is on evaporation. But, I have noticed some days when I get home from work and the sump is low, and other days it's not as low as the day before. I have lines marking how full to fill it, so "full" level remains relatively constant. I don't plan on changing out the crushed coral. Unless it's necessary. It's mostly crushed snail and crab shells and intermixed with some sand.

Then a half inch to inch layer of live sand on top. I thought that would be a pretty good substrate for fish and bacteria.. I know there's lots of methodologies. A few years ago I spent over $100 on live sand for a 29 gallon tank. Some said that was overkill and not necessary at the time. I may add more sand in the future (not sure if that's a good idea on an established tank). At this point in time, I like how it looks.

Though the sand is turning light brown now, and one spot is a deep dark red. A friend of mine told me I should scoop the red stuff out if I don't want my tank covered in it.



Last edited by travis32; 02/18/2010 at 03:11 PM. Reason: spelling.
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Old 02/18/2010, 03:13 PM   #17
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Crushed coral leads to erratic changes in pH as well as nitrate problems. there are many people who post on here that they eventually took it all out. It is your tank after all so certainly make your own decision, but you are heading down a path that a lot of noob's do and most of them recognize their mistake and have to rectify it.


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Old 02/18/2010, 03:21 PM   #18
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I hate my crushed coral and swtiched it out for sand mainly because my sand sifting critters couldn't sift it and I got really disgusting diatoms all over the place. I know for a fact that if the rock came from a GOOD existing system, your tank will be fine. I just did this myself less than two weeks ago with my mantis tank.

Regardless, but to ID, I think the first and last pictures of the coral are Green Singularia. Not sure about the middle. I think the Singularia looks pretty good besides those few brown spots. Like captstinky said, just prune it up a little and get rid of the dead material. It should recover nicely. =)


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Old 02/18/2010, 06:59 PM   #19
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I have test results and well, either I'm dodging bullets or things are going well..

Nitrates: 0
Nitrites: 0
Ammonia: 0

These all tested clearly zero. Even the ammonia showed no trace of anything above zero. Granted the next level above zero on the test was .2. So could there be .1 maybe, but, if it's there, it's a trace amount.

PH: 8.2
Alkalinity: 3.0

According to the test kits my alkalinity should be 4.5 (roughly speaking). And based on the comments on the coral well, I guess this only goes to make sense.. Is there a chance that more sand on top of the coral would help? I'm not sure I really want to sift through my tank to dig out the cc. I'd have to disturb the sand and pull out all the rock and put the corals through more shock.. Seems like a lot more disaster compared to adding some ph buffer on occasion. The test kits said that cc will mess with alkalinity initially and should taper off once the carbin / calcium ions, etc, stabilize after some water changes.

So far based on what every one has said adding pre cultured rock in the quantity I added and my filtration used so far, is taking care of all the toxicity other than the ph.

Which is why the corals are most likely stressed. They don't like the low alkalinity. I'm not disputing what you guys say, just stating what the test kit said for alkalinity.

I was scared there was more wrong and I had majorly screwed up. So far my biggest mistake is using cc.. I'm not sure how I can remedy that without starting comnpletely over. Maybe in the future if I go to a bigger tank or something I would do that different.


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Old 02/18/2010, 08:14 PM   #20
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Assuming that you alkalinity measurement is in meq/l, 3.0 is good. That's the equivalent of 8.4 dkh...perfectly within range. Most maintain their alk around 8 or 9 dkh.

The biggest concern with crushed coral substrate IMO is that a lot of gunk can build up in it. That can cause nitrate issues over time. If you vaccuum it well every so often, you can avoid those problems with cc. It's not ideal, but it certainly won't prohibit you from building a beautiful reef as long as it's kept clean.


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Old 02/18/2010, 08:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cozmo4 View Post
If the rock came from an established system, it's likely that there will be little to no cycle at all. Unless the rock was out of the water for a significant amount of time, the rock will be populated with the bacteria needed to handle the nitrogen cycle. Can you run the tests for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?
^this is absolutely correct ! perhaps those of you preaching the opposite might care to enlighten the rest of use on how you came to the conclusion that this system is in a dire state????
as for the original posters question your corals look fine that is a finger leather correct ... it is waxing or sloughing old tissue and detritus this happens with all leathers from time to time!!


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Old 02/18/2010, 10:50 PM   #22
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Thanks dudley. some of the hair mushrooms are whithering and dieing. Not a lot, only 2 or 3 at this point out of a 8 to 10. Hard to tell where one ends and one starts.. The alkalinity test said it should be 4.5 for a reef tank. meq/l. And yes Cozmo your assumption is right.

I think the "fear" if you will dudley, is A) I'm new to corals! and B) this is a new tank and well, I am not sure how to tell a coral'ss health. Hence the original question.


I'm hoping the hair mushrooms are simply still adapting to their new home and will eventually even out in their health.

I don't plan on adding anything but maybe some snails and shelled criters to help with algae control. though, I may wait another week before adding anything else at this point.


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Old 02/19/2010, 08:17 AM   #23
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dudley if you read most of the posts in their entirety you would realize taht no one is trying to preach that his system is in a dire state. Just that he did not present enough information to us to help him out. He started this thread on the 17th at 253 and did not post his tank parameters until yesterday at 8pm. People were just trying to play a guessing game as to what was wrong with his tank. Yes in theory taking LR and LS from an established tank is a great way to skip a cycle its no different than moving your tank, but without knowing the state of the original tank how could we say "yea everything is all good". Without the full spectrum of what his systems measurements were how could we as hobbiests tell him truthfully that his system is in great shape? It just doesnt work like that. He is a noob and needs some advice. I do agree that there is no reason to scare the gentleman but to tell him he has no issues with his setup without knowing his information is irresponsible. I challenge you to show me proof that just looking at a fwe photos is giving you enough evidence that his tank a. wasnt going through a cycle and b. was in great shape. I feel you wont be able to do that. We have all made mistakes and we have all gotten advice from this board that is why we are all here. So if everyone went away with a rosey feeling that their methods are perfectly ok, then what is the point of asking the question? He asked because he wanted our opinions.


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Old 02/19/2010, 08:36 AM   #24
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agreed. And all of them have been educational! o.k. 2 things I realized.. Parameters and tests are probably a good indicator of conditions... (my bad for not having test kits sooner) and I felt I had most likely screwed up and wasn't sure how to fix my mistakes. turns out my mistake was assuming that there's something significant wrong.


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Old 02/19/2010, 09:01 AM   #25
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what type of kits are you using travis?


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