View Full Version : What's wrong with my montipora?

10/02/2012, 07:18 PM
I've had this coral for about six weeks and everything was okay. My LFS said they had it for about 2 months before I bought it. Two weeks ago a section in the center turned grey and seemed "fuzzy" with a lot of mucus. I tried to blow the excess mucus off with a baster, and that seemed to remove both mucus and coral tissue, leaving a section of bare skeleton behind. I decided to take some pictures and watch it to see if it worsened before I pulled it out and cut off the good sections. Everything was fine for two weeks, and then yesterday I noticed the same thing was happening again. A grey section with a lot of mucus, seeming to spread from the already bare section. I did not blow it off this time, and this morning the tissue seems to have come off on it's own.

My water is RO/DI, Nitrate between 2 -4 ppm as per the Red Sea Test Kit,
Phosphate between 0.36 - 0.64 (closer to 0.36) as per the Red Sea Test Kit, Ammonia between 0 - 0.25 as per the API test kit, Salinity at 1.025. My ph was low (around 7.9), but back up to 8.2 after I added Reef Buffer. The tank has CF lighting and good, medium flow. I'll see if I can figure out how to post the pictures.

10/02/2012, 07:27 PM
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8048887518/in/photostream

10/02/2012, 07:39 PM
This was yesterday. I'm not entirely sure if the white section is bare skeleton or just bleached tissue, but I suspect it's skeleton.

10/02/2012, 07:45 PM
Here is a close up. You can see the "grey, fuzzy" area. I have Borneman's coral book and this doesn't seem like RTN. Any help would be appreciated. I have had bad luck in the past with cutting up diseased corals, so I would like to avoid that. I have also had poor results with doing coral dips, but I'll do whatever I have to in order to keep the coral.

10/04/2012, 10:26 AM
Can anyone help?!? I really don't know what to do...

10/04/2012, 11:58 AM
I would immediately frag the healthy pieces off and toss the white and fuzzy grey portions. The white areas are already dead and the grey area is as good as dead. Fragging it may stop further decay.

10/04/2012, 12:03 PM
+1 on fragging and water change, you need to reduce ur PO4!! Do u have the specifics on ur lights?

10/04/2012, 12:31 PM
What is your Cal and Alk. I wouldn't even worry about ph. You can get into a world of trouble trying to maintain ph with buffer.

It looks like your water quality can't be too bad because you have lot of coraline growing.

I agree on fragging off the good part.

10/04/2012, 01:33 PM
I'd frag that!

10/04/2012, 02:05 PM
Well first off having PO4 between .36 and .64...thats just a huge range.

Secondly your water parameters would help like alk, mag and calcium. Phosphates arent good for SPS but if its steady and not jumping all over the place, it shouldnt be that damaging to your coral

mussel and hate
10/04/2012, 03:57 PM
What is your Cal and Alk. I wouldn't even worry about ph. You can get into a world of trouble trying to maintain ph with buffer.

It looks like your water quality can't be too bad because you have lot of coraline growing.

I agree on fragging off the good part.


The lush coraline growth is evidence of calcification, so phosphate probably isn't out of hand. I'd guess that the detectable ammonia level is due to the decaying necrotic montipora tissue rapidly being consumed by the grey slime(bacteria?) and that ammonia becomes nitrate... Do you test regularly? If so, what are typical values for PO4 and?

As others have suggested, I think you ought to test your Alk. Low Ph and buffer dosing makes me suspicious.

I recommend you siphon off the slime and tissue from the affected area then remove the specimen from the tank for a topical treatment with either lugols or diluted H2O2.

Frag it.

Take a frag to the LFS where you got it. They should be willing to hold if for you. If the decay continues in their tank it's not your water chemistry ; ) If the one at the store survives and you lose your frags/remaining colony you can retrieve it when your confident.

10/10/2012, 02:14 PM
Thanks for the feedback and sorry it took so long for me to get back to you!

Tests run after fragging coral:
- Alk is very low 2.35 MEG/L (red sea test kit)
- Calcium is quite low 435 (red sea test kit)
- Magnesium is low 1280 (red sea test kit)
- PH is 7.8, this tank is ALWAYS around 7.8 which is why I was trying to use the reef buffer. You guys and gals have me convinced that I should not be doing that, but what should I do to help out the ph?
- nitrate is 1ppm (Red Sea test kit)
- ammonia is 0ppm
- Phosphate is 0.36ppm (Red Sea test kit). This has actually slowly been going down over the last couple of water changes over the last couple of month. I have a phosban reactor that I will set up as soon as I order the remaining plumbing parts I need to get this number down farther along with more water changes.

So, obviously I need to do some dosing for Alkalinity, Calcium, and Magnesium. I have some Seachem Reef Builder, is that OK to use to get the Alkalinity up? What would you suggest for calcium and magnesium dosing? What is the best way to do the dosing? Would you recommend something besides Seachem Reef Builder?

Again, thanks for the help. I still have a lot to learn about SPS corals obviously.

10/10/2012, 03:02 PM
For alk, I just use baking soda. If you have an ato, just put some in there but not too much. You dont want to raise alk too fast. I would do that first. You dont wanna raise your alk more than 1 point a day.

Your calcium would be fine for now and maybe some mag would help.

For calcium and mag, I use Seachem products but stay away from fusion ones. They made my corals completely freak out and my LPS expended so big, it looked like they were going to explode.