Brown or white?

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Well as briefly discussed on Jessica's substrate cleaning thread, I have been having problems with a couple of SPS corals.
When I bought them, the LFS said "If they go brown move them up towards the light. If they go white move them down."
So this one started off dark green 3 weeks ago and I had my Vertex Illumina set at 50% so I figured I would placed the corals half way up and see what happens. They were fine for the first couple of weeks and the polyps were extending as far as I could see.
After a while I noticed a change in colour, a loss of the green and the polyps closing up despite seemingly good water parameters.
The thing is the first colour I saw was what I would call brown albeit a light tan colour not dark brown. So of course remembering the LFS I increased my lights to 60%. The 'brownness' continued so I moved the coral(s) up to a higher level. Then within a couple of days I realised that parts of the coral were turning white! I did a bit of reading on various forums and on TSB someone had said that the light tan colour was not browning as they would normally go dark brown like (his words) a turd!lol Anyway a few people reckoned the tan colour was OVER exposure to light not under exposure. It dawned on me that the Vertex sits a lot lower than most as it is on the brackets not hanging on wires. The light is approx 6" off the waters surface and the coral was on the top level of the Riff ceramics. So I then moved it down lower but it started to appear more brown.
However, I then realised the brown was algae/diatoms coating the surface and when I blew this away with a turkey baster the majority of the coral is indeed white!
However, as can be seen from the photos it is now very confusingley both brown AND white at the same time.
I dont know if I have killed the corals (there is another with the same symptoms) and it serves me right I guess for jumping in at the deep end. But I figured I had to start somewhere or I'd never gain the experience. :-[

The first 2 photos are the coral now and the last 2 before.

Mike

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Reply #1

Looking at the pictures, I can vaguely see some polyp extension? If so, then they're not dead yet, so all's not lost. Your lights have been reduced now, so they should start to regain their zooxanthellae, just give them time. In the meantime you might target feed plankton with the flow off, let the cloud drift around the colony so the polyps can properly feed.

SPS aren't my strong point though, so I'd double check with Mayo at RC, he's got a tank packed full of SPS, he really knows his stuff. I'd trust what he tells you more than me.  :-[
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Steveanem

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Reply #2

Looking at the pictures, I can vaguely see some polyp extension? If so, then they're not dead yet, so all's not lost. Your lights have been reduced now, so they should start to regain their zooxanthellae, just give them time. In the meantime you might target feed plankton with the flow off, let the cloud drift around the colony so the polyps can properly feed.

SPS aren't my strong point though, so I'd double check with Mayo at RC, he's got a tank packed full of SPS, he really knows his stuff. I'd trust what he tells you more than me.  :-[

Thanks I have dropped Mayo a line will see what he says.
@Rod in answer to your question I have not been as thorough with water changes as I should in the beginning but have started to change 1x 20 litre (nearer 17 when measured with jug!) salt bucket every third day to try and get on top of it.


Steveanem

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Reply #3

@i-CONICA there are a few guys on TSB reckon its dead mate!  :'(

Mike

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Reply #4

Oh noes!

I swear I could see some polyp extension, but if there's not, and they all reckon it's dead, then I guess it's gone. :(

At least they weren't big colonies, and you've obviously learnt from this, if anything, what a dead SPS looks like, I've not had SPS for that long, and you've got more experience than me with them now as you've seen what they look like dead.

What are your other SPS like? Have you got any other same species colonies in the tank?

ps. we need some of those TSB members over here! I'll have to speak to mayo, I'd like him here too...
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RodsAquatics

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Reply #5

With sps you really need a calcium reactor, ph monitor, and keep magnesium levels up. If you do weekly water changes you can keep these levels in good condition changing 15-20%. Sps also require a lot of flow and not too many nutrients, just plenty of minerals. Going the first route I mentioned is expensive to start off but is cheaper in the long run. Also try to get a good refugium going in your sump as this will help nitrate levels which sps are intolerable of, and it also keeps oxygen levels up and ph more stable if you stagger your lights. Also I really enjoy a good established refugium for the copepods that it will grow, I can go on vacation and not have to worry too much about food as it is a constant natural food source
Rod
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Steveanem

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Reply #6




you've got more experience than me with them now as you've seen what they look like dead.

(This made me laugh out loud it's hardly testament to good reefkeeping abilities to say I've seen them dead!lol)

What are your other SPS like? 2 very small frags also bleached I'm afraid-although I have one that seems to be happy. The tri-colour monti was going pale but seems to be colouring back up since I reduced the lights down)

  Have you got any other same species colonies in the tank? (No).





Steveanem

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Reply #7

With sps you really need a calcium reactor, ph monitor, and keep magnesium levels up. If you do weekly water changes you can keep these levels in good condition changing 15-20%. Sps also require a lot of flow and not too many nutrients, just plenty of minerals. Going the first route I mentioned is expensive to start off but is cheaper in the long run. Also try to get a good refugium going in your sump as this will help nitrate levels which sps are intolerable of, and it also keeps oxygen levels up and ph more stable if you stagger your lights. Also I really enjoy a good established refugium for the copepods that it will grow, I can go on vacation and not have to worry too much about food as it is a constant natural food source
[/quote

Thanks Rod I was going to go down the dosing route rather than having a calcium reactor having already bought a dosing unit and containers. I just didn't figure I would need it yet with only a handful of corals in the tank. I have got a nice middle section in the sump which I would like to have as a Refugium just as soon as I get hold of some cheato and a light. I want to encourage pods as eventually I would like a mandarin fish and yes I like the idea of a sustained food supply. Would the centre section work for pods-would it matter that its gotta go through the pump ie mashing up the pods?

Steveanem

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Reply #8

@I-CONICA am I doing the 'quote' wrong as my bit above is in same font as Rods bit???

RodsAquatics

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Reply #9

Steve- my main refugium system is in the middle. When they have babies several of them can pass through the return pump unharmed, but if any larger ones do get chopped up I'm sure the fish love that as well. I have a mandarin in my aquarium with the 10gal refugium and I have never had to add pods to my tank to feed it. If you get chaeto to grow well some LFS's will trade other foods or cleaner packs for it. If you ever get any tangs or vegetarian fish they will eat it too
Rod
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