Monday, March 29, 2010


My tank has declined. I've lost several small acro frags, I have a milli that is RTNing, my digitatas are bleached and a monti cap has bleached on one petal. Paul's reef ain't a happy place right now.

Here is how it happened. Hopefully others don't repeat my mistakes.

My Blue Throat Trigger went from this on January 11th

to this on March 13th

Since he was eating like crazy I concluded, along with some over on Reef Central, that his wait loss was due to internal parasites. i.e. tapeworms. The only treatment options were metronidazole or praziquantel. Since I didn't have a hospital tank set up and I knew catching the trigger would be quite the challenge I wanted to treat in my reef tank. This, as it turns out, was a big mistake.

Of the two medications Metro can be dosed into food but prazi can't. So I made the decision I would make some of my own food and then mix it with clear gelatin and metro. The hope that the fish would ingest it and the medication would not enter the water in massive quantities. For this reason I chose not to dose prazi directly into the tank.

Since I was going to add medication I decided to start running a little bit of carbon in a reactor. Last time I did this I lost some frags so I was a little reluctant to do so. However lots of people run carbon and wouldn't even dream about running their tanks without it. So I decided to go ahead and run my BRS reactor about 25% full.

After about a week of feeding the trigger had not improved. In fact he actually stopped eating. I also noticed that a purple digitata that had been growing very slowly had started to STN. At this point I decided to stop feeding the Metro in the DT and set up the hospital tank. I went out and bought a sponge filter to prepare. This was on Sunday 3/21.

I managed to catch the trigger but I had to rip out about 25% of my rock to do so. This included a rock with my large orange digitata colony. When I pulled it out I put it in a bucket of tank water while I was trying to catch the fish. This clearly upset the digitata that was already stressed since it hasn't shown its polyps since then.

AFter pulling out the trigger I changed the carbon in my reactor and filled it 3/4 full and added some GFO just in case the phosphates were high even though phosphate was undetectable with my Salifert test. I had to leave town for a couple of days and when I came back nothing had improved. My monti caps had a white coating and some of them were growing algae along with some of my digitatas. I added a polyfilter the following day to help pull out the Metro.

For the last 6 days I've been changing 15 gallons of water a day in my tank. It seemed like the decline was slowing since my forest fire digitata was starting to color back up. However today I noticed one of my millis was starting to RTN and a pedal of my monti cap had started to bleach. You can actually see light through it where it has bleached.

Since the massive carbon, GFO and water changes weren't helping and since I have had problems with carbon in the past I decided to take the reactor off line, pull out the poly filter and to stop the water changes for now. I'm not sure if things could get worse I decided to give it a try.

Through all of this my Birds of Paradise looks great, my Stylos look good and my Green slimer doesn't even look phased. My green birds nest got disturbed big time when I rearranged my tank but is holding up with somewhat less polyp extension. My green trumpet candy cane has had some recession but appears to be the only LPS affected. My Kiwi-strawberry milli has browned out.

Is it possible that the something besides the metro caused this? sure. My Colt coral has been stadily receding for months ever since I had to detach it from the glass. Perhaps it was the home made food I started feeding when I tried to fatten up the trigger. I made it with grocery store fresh seafood. Could it have been treated with something? Perhaps it was the extra feeding I've been doing since I bought my copper banded butterfly. Unlikely since nitrate has stayed at 5 although it did test at 10 one day about a week ago. Who knows. I'm hoping for the best now.