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Dying Physogyra

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MikeS

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May 23, 2004
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Location
Wyoming
Hi

Went on a trip and my heater failed in my absence...got home to a 67 deg F tank. All my corals were pale, but most are recovering quickly, except my purple pearl coral (Physogyra). It is almost totally bleached, and has suffered considerable tissue loss. My guess is the low temp killed off the zoanthelle, but I'm at a loss to explain the tissue damage. All my water parameters are fine...0 ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate, pH was a bit low at 8.1, Ca and Alk also a bit low at 340ppm-0.7meq/L. I did a precautionary 20% water change, got the temp slowly back up to 80 deg F. Ca, Alk, and pH have all fallen back into more normal levels. I'm also maintaining iodine at 0.06ppm, as I've had luck with this in the past when dealing with an injured green bubble coral. I'm wondering if there is anything else I can do (or not do) to help increase this corals chances of survival.

here's a few photos...first is the damaged coral, second is the healthy coral before....

Thanks...

MikeS
 

Anthony Calfo

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Feb 19, 2004
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Location
Pennsylvania
stress to corals and other animals in the tank... increased mucus production... subsequent increase in bacteria to consumer mucus, etc. One big unhappy ball of wax :(

No worries though... go easy on the lighting: keep the same photoperiod and distance of lamps off the water, but put some shade cloth (hardware fabric, fiberglass window screen, etc) atop the tank ( a couple sheets). After a week pull one sheet, after another the next sheet.

For the next month, feed these corals heavily to support them until their zooxanthellae recover. Be careful not to use too big particle sizes (no chunks of fish for those LPS... finely minced or naturally small prey like cyclop-eeze, mysids for the larger polyps).

Skim aggressively and do some hearty water changes too to knock down the DOC levels.

Do let us know how it works out too my friend.

best of luck,

Anthony :)
 

NaH2O

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Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Oh Mike - sorry to see this. Good luck on nursing it back to health. Be sure to post updated pics as it recovers.
 

MikeS

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May 23, 2004
Messages
1,654
Location
Wyoming
Thanks for the advice....how many layers of screen do you recommend? I have a VHO/PC light combo...1x110w 12000K VHO + 1x110w actinic VHO + 2x55w 50/50 PC (5500K/Actinic). 12 hour photoperiod.

Would regular coated wire window screen work? I have alot of that laying around the house...

My other LPS look pretty good right now, the pearl definately took the worst of it. It looks a bit better today, it's trying to open, and the sick, recedeing tissue areas seem to be "sealing" up a bit against the skeleton, I can even see a bit of color (mostly blue and green) around the polyp mouths.

The softies and clam were apparently unaffected by this...

Thanks again...

MikeS
 

MikeS

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Joined
May 23, 2004
Messages
1,654
Location
Wyoming
oops...forgot to mention...

The sweepers on the pearl coral are not extended at all...what would be an ideal way to get it to take food? I do have some cyclopeeze, and some spray dried phyto as well...

thanks

MikeS
 

Anthony Calfo

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Feb 19, 2004
Messages
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Location
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two sheets of screen will be enough in this case I suspect

for how cheap the plastic screen is, play it safe and don't use the coated metal fabric (fear of corrosion from salt spray/creep)

As for the pearl being the only one looking stressed now... I recall you said all the corals looked pale? If that is still the case, stick with the screen method above to be safe.

For feeding the pearl bubble... they are zooplankton feeders... phyto is of small help here. Look to see if the pearl puts its modified feeding tentacles out at night or some minutes after a small amount of meaty juice from thawed frozen fish food is added. If so, feed the cyclop-eeze... else you will have to rely on feeding by absorbtion for some more days until the coral resumes normal feeding behaviors.

Anthony
 

MikeS

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Joined
May 23, 2004
Messages
1,654
Location
Wyoming
Thanks again....

I didn't have as much coated screen as I thought, so I ended up picking up some grey fiberglass window screen at Home Depot on my way home from work...I'll use 2 layers of that...

Yes, the other LPS were faded a bit too, but nothing like the pearl coral...and the other LPS have already begun to show color improvement...the clam and softies showed no fading at all...but I'll still do the screen thing....

I'm still puzzled on the tissue decay shown by the pearl coral...none of the other LPS showed this at all...any insights/guesses into what may have caused this?

Thanks again for your help....

Mike
 

Anthony Calfo

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Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Messages
1,183
Location
Pennsylvania
the tissue recession is a simple matter of tolerance... individually or by species (the former more likely). Understand that when things go sour,"somebody" has to be the first to show signs of stress.
If this very needy/hungry coral (only satisfied by less than 80% from zooxanthellae under the best of circumstances) has not been target fed by you or from a very heavy fishload 3-5 times weekly minimum... then it has been slowly starving over time and was simply a weak specimen.

Its not uncommon in fact to see bubble corals hang in for 18-24 months before dying "suddenly" in an aquarists tank where it gets no weekly target feeding.

Just one example.

Bottom line... somebody had to be the weakest/first to show signs/worst.

Anthony
 

MikeS

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May 23, 2004
Messages
1,654
Location
Wyoming
thanks for the advice....I placed 2 layers of the fiberglass screen on top of the tank...

I'll take pictures to track the corals recovery (or demise) and update later...

thanks again...

Mike
 

MikeS

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Joined
May 23, 2004
Messages
1,654
Location
Wyoming
Removed the final screen today....the pearl coral has made an astounding amount of progress....The polyp as a whole is smaller because of the tissue loss...but the decayed areas seem to have completely healed. Actually it is now 3 seperate polyps instead of a single one, because of the tissue decay. All three look great, they are fully extending, feeding well, and their color has almost fully returned....I'll post some photos when I get a chance...

Just thought I'd update and say thanks for the tips...

MikeS
 
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