Acanthasrea and Micromussa problems

Discussion in 'Coral' started by BTBarney, Aug 22, 2016.

  1. BTBarney

    BTBarney Guest

    Hello all, total reef newbie here!

    My question is about Acanthastrea and, to a lesser extent, Micromussa. I have tried a few frags of these corals, and they die pretty quickly on me. Symptoms are very consistent, with tissue receding back into the corallite, no slime or color changing, just a constant withdrawal into the corallite until there is nothing left but skeleton.

    I have a few frags (~10) of some basic beginner stuff: Zoas, birds nest, Duncans, GSP, Xenia, trumpets, Leptastrea, Favia. They seem to be doing OK, though it's hard to tell as I don't have the experience background most of you have regarding coral health. Plus they have been in my possession for exactly 2 days (thanks BAR frag swap - I didn't bring any to trade, but picked them up from Your Reef and Legendary Corals, as well as the freebie table!).

    Tank is 125g (around 100g water volume, including sump)

    I have 11 small blue-green chromies, 1 baby false percula clown, 1 neon-blue goby, 1 small pajama cardinal, and 1 small bangaii cardinal. Also, one small (silver-dollar sized) RBTA. These have been in the tank for the last few months, added little by little.

    For clean-up, I have 3 turbo snails ( I think Astrea), ~10 small hermits, ~10 Cerith snails, 2 emerald crabs, and 2 peppermint shrimp

    I run Mars Aqua LED lights at very low settings, ~10 hours /day (I'd say 20% blue, 20% white - hard to tell with the dials the way they are...)

    Tank parameters:
    Mg: ~1400 ppm (Red Sea test kit)
    Ca: ~440ppm (Red Sea test kit)
    Alkalinity: currently 6.5 dKH (I say currently because this drops about 1dkH/day) (Red Sea test kit)
    Nitrate: ~15ppm (no detectable ammonium or nitrite) (API test kit)
    Phosphate: ~0.25 ppm (API test kit)
    pH: ~8.2 to 8.3 (API test kit)

    Currently I manually dose about +1dKH of Alkalinity buffer (sodium bicarbonate, currently at work so I don't have the brand handy...) once per day. I tried getting it up to ~9dKH, but haven't been able to maintain that yet (probably due to inexperience with dosing so much). Alkalinity seems to want to gravitate to 7ish dKH no matter what I do.

    Thanks in advance for reading.... I really want to be able to keep and grow Acans - totally in love with them!

  2. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    1 more important things to list.

    What flow? List specific brands/models and % run at.

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  3. BTBarney

    BTBarney Guest

    2 Mars Aqua LEDs, the 300W kind (30" long), each running at ~20% blue ~20% white. These are stock, I haven't replaced LEDs to get better blues (420nm), nor have I removed lenses.

    I would say moderate flow, 2 returns at opposite corners of the tank and 2 powerheads near these returns. Return pump brand and flow is unknown (whole system given to me by friends moving to England), though probably high - I have been considering putting a valve on the return line to drop the flow down, as my two Durzo standpipes make the tank sound like a rolling thunderstorm....

    One PH is a Cobalt MJ-1200, listed as 295gph, and the other is a Hydor Evolution 1150, listed as 1150 gph. They are positioned opposite one-another, pushing water to the center top of the tank in cross-flow.

    When I tried the Acans and Micromussa, I had them in the bottom center of the tank (lowest light area, and protected from the direct cross-flow of the powerheads)
  4. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Ever get a PAR reading of where they're currently sitting?
  5. BTBarney

    BTBarney Guest

    Unfortunately not. I have heard that using the lenses on the MarsAqua LEDs might intensify the PAR directly under the light. I have two of these, with about an 8" gap between them, stuffed under my canopy, about 10" off the water surface. The corals were placed on the tank bottom in that 8" gap between the lights, so neither of the lights were directly over them. My guess is that at 20% blue 20% white, the PAR can't be that out of control, but I haven't measured it, so I imagine that WAG is unreliable :)
  6. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    I'm guessing it could be a variety of factor with either your constantly falling alk as well as the light it's getting in its current location. I'm actually nursing an "Acan maxima" (looks like a Scoly or possibly an Acan bowerbankeri) from Nav that I took possession of a shortwhile back. He ran his lights extremely low (his peak was 10% white and 30% blues) and had issues with maintaining his alk since he travels quite a bit and his dosing containers would run empty. In my tank it's slowly recovering with tissue that isn't receded all the way to the skeleton and is puffier than it was when I saw it in his tank. Alk in my tank is stable (maintained via dosing pumps and checked weekly at this point) and they're getting more light than they were in his tank (my peak is 65% cool white, 50% on dr and g, and 80% on blue, deep blue, and royal blue). It's sitting at ~165 on the PAR values in its current location.

    Topdown shot of the "Acan" today showing its skeleton

    Those two tiny red blobs at the 2 and 3 o'clock positions are babies. One is quite puffy and I'm considering dremeling it from the mother's skeleton.
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  7. BTBarney

    BTBarney Guest

    For maintaining a decently stable alkalinity, how would you do it as a beginner with little/no technology?

    I was thinking that I should get my ALK to 9dKH by slowly adding kalkwasser (slow drip method), measuring ALK every hour or so until I get to 9dkh. If I wait 24 hours then measure ALK again, I'll know about how much my ALK drops in one day. Repeat slowly adding kalkwassser until I get back to 9dKH. If I do this over a week or so, then I'll know my daily alkalinity consumption rate, as well as how much kalkwasser I need to get back to 9dKH.

    Then I add this much each day.

    Does this sound right, or have I missed a critical thing?

  8. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    Is the tank 18" or 24" tall? If 24" tall, 20% may not be enough light. Though it usually takes longer than 2 days to kill a coral with too low a light.

    If the flow is too high, they may retreat into the skeleton. But that should also take longer than 2 days.

    If I had to venture a guess, I'd say the low Alk level being the culprit. Having different waters at different Alk levels could impact the corals by ph shock. If the tank they came in is high Alk high ph and you put them into low Alk low ph, that could account for the sudden death.

    Kalkwasser delivers both Alk and ca to the tank. Your Ca is already on the high side so I wouldn't use kalk to raise your Alk levels.

    What salt are you using?

    You can use baking soda to raise only your Alk levels. Look up the formulas, I don't know it off hand.

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  9. travis furia

    travis furia Guest

    All of my acans are in very very very high light. Like SPS status. And I'm having issues with to much growth. My acans won't stop growing. I got 10+ heads last month alone. So maybe try moving them to different lighting and different flow? Mine like just enough flow to make them flicker around alittle. But it seems to be my light that is making them grow cuz they only grow on the light side of the coral not even growth all the way around. I have T5.

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  10. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    BRS recommended the same thing; to only use kalkwasser to maintain parameters not to get them where you want them.
  11. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    How much par are you getting? What kind of T5s and how old are they?

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  12. travis furia

    travis furia Guest

    They are technically T8s 15w 18" full spectrum aqueon. Two blobs total one on each side of a 55 long.

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  13. travis furia

    travis furia Guest

    Bought them from Petco 4-5 months back. And I didn't understand the first question about par? What is par?

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  14. Steven

    Steven Guest

    I had an issue with acans and micromussa not too long ago. I attributed it to low alk, I believe you need to get your alk up!
  15. BTBarney

    BTBarney Guest

    I'm going to get ALK under control (bicarbonate to start with, kalkwasser as I see CA drop), then try this again and report back!
  16. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    So a total of 2 18" 15w T8s? That sounds about right for LPS but far from SPS levels.

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  17. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Haven't read entire thread yet. Sorry if I am repeating here. Consistent alk is hugely important! I would reccomend a dosing pump. High 7 is ok if it stable. Fluctuation is a big no Bueno.
  18. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Ok I read it all now. People on the right track. Use soda ash or similar to raise alk to high 7s or 9 ish. You can use a single head dosing pump for that for now. I think I have one sitting around if you wanna try it

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