Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Acro Eating Flatworms

After treating for red bugs I decided to check a pale frag that hasn't done well since I put it in the tank a couple of months ago. After pulling it out and inspecting it closely I saw a couple of brown blotches on the coral. I got the camera and macro lens out and started snapping some pictures. Sure enough the brown patches were AEFW eggs.

Although I couldn't see any of the worms on the coral I dipped in Revive and a couple came off.

I'm not sure if all of those blotches are AEFWs but the one on the left is for sure.

This coral has been tossed along with two millepora frags that weren't doing well. I never found eggs on the milleporas but I didn't want to take any chances.

Unfortunately there is no in take treatment for these. The way to get rid of them is to pull the corals out and dip every week for 6 weeks to flush the worms off. The dips will not kill the eggs so repeated dipping is a requirement. Some of my corals are encrusted on my rock so there is no way to remove the frags.

Since I don't see any bite marks or eggs on any other corals I'm not going to pull them for now. Instead I have ordered an Adorned Wrasse, halichoeres cosmetus, which is supposed to hunt AEFWs. I'll inspect regularly and hope for the best.

Red Bugs

I've had Red Bugs in my system for at least a year. Although I've had Interceptor sitting on my bookcase for almost the same period of time I was reluctant to use it. Shrimp and crabs could be killed during treatment I was afraid that I would kill my Fire Shrimp. I was also afraid that dosing the Interceptor would kill my pods and I would end up starving my Mandarin.

I finally dosed on Saturday and am happy to report that my fire shrimp survived. He didn't even look stunned by the treatment and was very active during feeding time. I have a couple of hitchhiker crabs in my system. I'm not sure if they survived and am less concerned about their survival. One lives in my fuge and flooded my floor twice...will post on this later. One, big black, harry and ugly lives in my DT. I've never seen him do more than scrape algae off rocks until the other day when I saw it eating a snail.

One 23 mg tablet of Interceptor treats about 400 gallons. I have a 72 gal tank with probably about 15 gallons in the sump, fuge, skimmer and plumbing. Lots of water is displaced by my rock - I have no idea how much. I dosed about 1/5th of a pill which should be good for about 80 gallons. The pills cut really easily with a steak knife so breaking a pill into the correct dosage isn't a problem. I used the back of a spoon to pulverize it and mixed it with water and stirred until it looked dissolved.

Befor adding I moved my collection cup on my skimmer as high as it could go. My AquaC Remora doesn't have an air intake so I couldn't disable the skimmer. It is important to let water flow through the skimmer to kill any that may be hiding in there. I normally don't run carbon but if you do it must be removed prior to starting treatment.

I added it to the tank and the fish start eating the powder but they're fine. Within an hour most of the red bugs had stopped moving. Within 6 hours most had fallen off the corals. Some were hanging from threads from the corals are moving around attached by one leg. After 9 hours I couldn't see any red bugs left on any corals. After 9 hours I dropped the skimmer cup down and added carbon to start removing the Interceptor. The following day I did a normal 15% water change.

The stuff works amazingly well and is reef safe. While I was reading about red bugs during the treatment I learned that a lot of people have reported outbreaks of Acropora Eating Flatworms (AEFW). It has been suggested that the red bugs keep the flatworms in check and once they're gone the AEFWs emerge in force and start munching on the corals. Although there is an easy treatment for the red bugs there is none for the AEFWs.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

After the Crash

My tank has started recovering from this spring's crash. For a while I could barely stand to look at my tank. Throughout the summer I thought things were recovering but I would then have an unexpected loss.

After coming back from vacation at the end of July my Green Slimer had no polyp extension. I never figured out why. I watched it start losing tissue. Despite fragging I knew I would lose all of it so I pulled it out on August 3rd.

Late August or Early September my Bird of Paradise RTNed. It was beautiful one evening and the next day after work it was gone with the exception of a few tips. I cut off three tips just a few millimeters long and glued them to a plug. Two survived and are growing well. Not a great pic.

Here are some more survivors:

Lots of pieces of this digita died. Fragged the dead pieces off but still showing some scars.

This Forest Fire Digitata was wounded but survived.

I have no idea what this acro is. A very slow grower and showed no sign of stress during the crash.

This purple stylo is the most expensive coral I've bought. Thankfully it survived.

Growth was also stunted on my blue and pink stylos. They have started growing again. Here is the pink.

My Sunset monti was unfazed by the whole ordeal.

I thought that I would lose my monti caps but they pulled through after bleaching pretty badly. The orange cap is now about 1/2" away from the front glass. I can no longer get the Mag Float between it and the glass.

The above picture also shows a smile green slimer that survived. One branch from the large colony reached a rock and encrusted to it. The tip of the branch later broke off when the colony was slightly moved. That piece survived and is now shooting up new branches.

I believe this is a Joe the Coral. It also survived. It lost a lot of color during the crash and turned mostly and army camo green. The tips are now growing quickly and are a beautiful blue. This piece has red bugs but is doing well anyway.


This pink birdsnest also survived and is growing quickly now.

This one was completely browned out and given up for dead.

The following are some pieces I've purchased over the last few months.

The flesh of this one was almost white at the LFS with a hint of yellow. It has darkened to green in my tank but retained the blue tips.

Yellow A. Caroliniana?

Tenuis? This one is curved and the picture is looking at it from the top. It's much bigger than it looks in this picture.


The tips of two others.

Perhaps a Purple Monster in the center. Green tipped birdsnest is on the right. The pink stylo that survived is on the left.

A couple of millies. The second one was getting stung by my anemone so it was recently moved. It had great polyp extension before it started getting stung. Hopefully it will live. There is also a third one that I didn't photograph.


This digitata was added recently but isn't doing well. I already fragged a few tips.

I bought another pink birdsnest. At the store it was much pinker than mine and under actinics was blue. After a couple of weeks in my system the color changed and looks exactly like my established pink birdsnest even though it is near the top of the tank. It is to the left of the cap.
From 2010_10_20

Finally, a full tank shot.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

I lost my CBB yesterday. He was literally fine one day and dead the next. Not sure what happened. He was doing great. He ate lots of Rod's food and seemed to be doing well.

A few days before he died he seemed to be out of sight more than usual. I was a little alarmed when I couldn't find him but after about 5 minutes he came out and ate well.

I was feeding him every other day. I used a turkey baster to feed Rod's food to make sure he got enough. He would stick is mouth inside the end of the baster to get the food. Perhaps every other day wasn't enough.

Yesterday when I came home from work he was no longer able to swim. he had brown splotches on him as well as some white spots on the end of little threads hanging off his fins. He was still alive but barely. I had to go out and when I came home I couldn't find him again.

I had heard of other reports of CBBs that died suddenly. Not sure what happened in other cases.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Testing the Waters

I bought two acro frags this weekend. I'm hoping these thrive.

I did notice a few days ago that my green Wellsophyllia had some skeleton exposed in the area that was closest to the dying colt.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pulled out the Colt

Tonight I pulled out what was left of my Colt coral. It looked as if it had gone beyond the point of recovery and was turning white. Indeed when I pulled it out it was getting a little oozy. Several months ago the Colt coral started to decline when I separated it from the glass and a rock so I could stabilize the rock my Green Slimer is on. It never recovered. In fact, looking back, that is about the time my tank started to decline. Could the stressed colt have been allelopathic and led to the decline of my SPS and my recent tank crash? On the bright side not all is lost with the Colt. A baby Colt is growing nearby in a spot where long ago I pulled a branch of the colt off the rock.

Monday, April 19, 2010

RIP Bluethroat

Found him dead in the HT tonight.

He was turning around and eating very aggressively. I thought he was going to make it. Last night he didn't eat though. Today he was dead. The HT never really seemed to cycle. Don't know if it was the medication or what. I was doing 50% water changes a night to keep the ammonia in check and dosing Prime. I thought maybe the ammonia was a little higher than normal yesterday but I didn't test. Just did the usual water change.

For the record I started treating with Prazi in the HT. I did that for a week and a half or so. He seemed to get worse so I switched to Metro. This seemed to be helping and was eating aggressively but still not putting on weight.

Pretty bummed out. Not only did I lose the fish but I lost a lot of nice coral trying to originally treat him in the DT.

Lesson learned.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

STN Carnage

Here's what some of my corals look like today. I hope it's done. My monti cap continues to color back up so that is a good sign.

What's left of my milli

Purple acro

Tricolor plana

Orange Digitata

Green monti cap

Purple Digitata

Friday, April 9, 2010

API Calcium Test

I'm unhappy with my API calcium test. I've only been using API for Ca and have been using Salifert for everything else. I had no issues with API Ca up to now. The Ca test was nice since a color chart isn't involved. You simply count drops until the solution changes from pink to blue.

When I bought this last test kit I noticed that my Ca had dropped quite a bit. I didn't think much about it because I hadn't tested for a week or two but thought my Ca had dropped kind of quickly. In time I forgot about this until I started having problems. I went out and bought another API Ca test and compared the results. My older kit was measuring 420 ppm and my brand new one was measuring 520 ppm. Which one was right?


After I found out I couldn't trust my API test I bought a Salifert Ca test. It measured 480 ppm. Essentially right in between the two APIs.

The APIs are now officially tossed in the trash. I'm using Salifert for everything now.

Apex Lite

I bought an Apex Lite controller and received it last Friday. After using it for a week I can tell you I love this thing. I'm using it to control temperature and to control two Bulk Reef Supply dosing pumps so I can control dosing of Ca and Alk throughout the day. I had been dosing about 50 mg of each in the morning. I'm now dosing a little of each once each hour. I'm still adjusting the dosing of each.

My Alk had been down to 7. I'm in the process of slowly raising it. It reached 9 today so I backed off the dosing so I can keep it steady at this level. Ca is a little high right now according to a Salifert test - 480 ppm. I'm easing up on the Ca a little to bring that in line.


I'm starting to think it was the fast addition of carbon that caused the decline of my SPS. I was so afraid of the Metro medication affecting my inverts that I used about 3/4 of a cup in my bulk reef supply reactor. I thought this was taking it easy but I may have stripped out too many nutrients too quickly. This would explain why I've seen carbon negatively impact some of my corals before.

I'm not totally sure what caused the crash but here are some other possibilities:
1. The metro medication itself.
2. My home made food. Unlikely but it is something that changed.
3. All the extra feedings. Trying to get the trigger to eat as well as my copper banded butterfly.
4. Change in lighting. I changed my bulbs in February. One of my corals started declining immediately. Maybe the others took time to catch up.
5. When I moved my trigger to a hospital tank I started mixing salt in a new Rubbermaid roughneck storage box. Unlikely to cause issues. Salt was never stored long and my purple digitata started declining before I pulled the trigger out.
6. I recently changed the restrictor on my RO unit to have less waste water and to produce water more quickly. TDS was still 0 out of the RO/DI so it is unlikely.
7. Too much carbon too fast.

In my opinion the most likely causes were the Metro and/or carbon. I doubt the extra food caused issues since some of my corals were coloring up nicely before disaster struck.


I'm hoping my tank has hit bottom.

I'm starting to see white edge growth on my orange monti cap again and it appears to be starting to color up again just a bit. My large orange digitata looks awful but in some spots I can see just a little bit of polyp extension. So much of the colony was covered with a bright colored algae. I don't know if it is dead under these areas. I'll find out soon.

So many of my acros have lost the tips and are covered with algae on the tips. My beautiful plating milli has lost so much tissue. I'm not sure if I should leave the skeleton or cut it back.

Pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Came home from work yesterday and saw that this milli had RTNed during the day.

My orange digitata still looks awful.

as does my purple acro colony.

and my caps.

I'll be devastated if I lose this milli that looked like this only 21/2 months ago.

and now looks like this

I pulled carbon off line yesterday, stopped the water changes and started dosing alk and calcium again. It doesn't look like anything changed over the last 24 hours. That's a good sign.