View Full Version : LPS deflated question

03/22/2017, 05:23 PM
I have several LPS in my aquarium. Over the past couple of days my two acan frags, my cup coral frag, and my duncan frag became deflated. My trumpet coral and my hammer remained puffy and healthy looking. I have had my cup coral and duncan for several weeks and both always looked healthy since day one. I recently purchased the two acan frags and both appeared healthy for 3 days before deflating. The duncan has now made a complete recovery while the cup and acans still look deflated. My first thought would be lighting but being that the duncan and cup have been under this light for weeks leads me to believe otherwise. All of my softies remain normal and healthy. Tested ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and all 0. I did turn down my lighting just incase. Any ideas why this happened? Could it be chemical warfare between my lps? I started running carbon just incase.


Reef Bass
03/22/2017, 09:29 PM
Seeing as how it is your hard corals which are grumpy, what are your alkalinity, calcium and magnesium levels? How is your salinity? Are you measuring with a calibrated refractometer?

03/23/2017, 08:56 AM
thanks for the reply. I have never tested for alk, calcium, etc. what test kit do you recommend? I am testing salinity with an istant ocean hydrometer.

03/23/2017, 10:29 AM
It's difficult to be successful with corals in the long term without testing alk, Ca, and (at least sometimes) Mg. Swing arm hydrometers give you precise, repeatable results, but aren't necessarily accurate.
I would order from DFS, Bulk Reef Supply, or similar:

35 part per thousand standard solution for calibration
dKH (alkalinity) test kit
Calcium test kit
and probably Magnesium test kit

I use cheap API dKH and Ca kits. Others may recommend Salifert for alk, Ca, and Mg.

Reef Bass
03/23/2017, 06:52 PM
+1 for the above.

Yes, I use Salifert. I also like the Elos calcium test. The colors are very vibrant and it's easy to see the change.

Hard corals build a skeleton which requires making use of available compounds in the water with which to do so. When key compounds become depleted, the coral can't get what they need and their health declines.

For softie tanks, water changes alone can be enough to replenish things lost to coral metabolic activity. And for larger tanks with just one or two small stony corals. But in a small tanks levels can drop more quickly, so monitoring them and supplementing when appropriate is crucial for long term health and growth.

One of the common talents among reefers with awesome SPS tanks is their ability to keep their water dialed in. LPS are more forgiving and tolerant of variances, but keeping alk, ca and mag in bounds is still important. Other factors are important too, but if these key parameters are not correct, it is very difficult to keep hard corals healthy.

My tank is mixed - SPS, LPS and zoanthids and palythoas. I prefer my alk at 8 dkh, ca at 400-450 and mag at 1300+. I use dosing pumps which add specific amounts of supplements 4 times a day based on what I've programmed in my controller. Not saying you should be doing that, just giving you an insight into how I've chosen to deal with depletion of critical compounds in my tank based on my fondness for hard corals and the size and quantity in my tank.

03/24/2017, 03:11 PM
I forgot I had an API test kit which includes calcium and dKH (is this test accurate at all?). Calcium was at 340 and dKH at 6.

Reef Bass
03/25/2017, 07:05 AM
Yeah, those numbers are too low. Even if those are not your exact numbers, they are in the "unacceptably low" ballpark. Check your magnesium too. With the relationship between alkalinity, calcium and magnesium, it is likely low as well. Without sufficient magnesium, alkalinity and calcium can't be used properly by coral.

Be careful raising your alk. Do it slowly, like no more than 1/2 point per day.

You can purchase alkalinity, calcium and magnesium supplements or you can DIY them using sodium bicarbonate for alkalinity, calcium chloride for calcium and a blend of magnesium sulfate and magnesium chloride for mag.

03/26/2017, 10:11 AM
Whats the easiest way to dose? is there a product i can just add every so often? whats recommended?

BTW the acans do open at night to feed but are still deflated

Reef Bass
03/27/2017, 09:00 AM
When water changes no longer keep your alk, ca and mag in a happy range, one needs to dose, generally daily. "The best solution" depends on your demand. Light demand could be handled by manually dosing Kalkwasser. Moderate demand by manually or automatically dosing 2 or 3 part. Heavy demand is "most easily" handled with a calcium reactor. Figure out what works for you and your tank.

B-Ionic is a popular 2 part solution many people use. It can be dosed manually or automatically. Dosing mag is also necessary but not with the frequency or quantity of alkalinity or calcium supplementing.

Here's a sticky thread on dosing from the SPS forum: dosing (http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1179702)

03/28/2017, 10:29 AM
thank you reef bass for all of the great help. I really would like to avoid dosing so I will try one more tactic before I do. I have been using instant ocean as my salt but just purchased reef crystals. I am hoping that changing to a more "coral" oriented salt will help keep my levels up. Also I will commit to more frequent water changes.

03/28/2017, 01:17 PM
with only a 40G tank, do 10G water changes weekly for a month and see how your levels improve. get good test kits and keep monitoring salinity, Alk, and Ca at a minimum.

Reef Bass
03/28/2017, 06:08 PM
You're welcome. I understand not wanting to have to dose. Figure out what works for you and your tank. Best of luck.

03/29/2017, 02:54 PM
For decades I relied on water changes to take of the ca/alk/mg in my tanks and my results were acceptable to me, my coral survived. I got to a point were I wanted my coral to thrive--grow, branch, multiply... Two changes made all the difference for me, adding an ATO and dosing. I dose manually a couple times a week.

Dosing kind of freaked me out at first, seemed like I needed to become a chemist. Then I watched a couple of videos and realized "no problem, I got this". I recommend BRStv--check out their video on dosing. I got there 2 part dosing mix and mg dosing mix. Simple, easy and affordable and now my problem is finding room for my growing, thriving LPS.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do and have fun

03/31/2017, 04:49 PM
So I did the water change and not much changed. One of the Acan frags has slowly started to look better over the last week. The other I decided to move to the sandbed to see what happens. Within 15 minutes of moving this acan frag my cup coral frag opened up (it has been closed since I introduced acan)! The acan was placed 5 inches upcurrent from the cup coral. I assume that the acan was letting off a chemical which was disturbing the cup. interesting.

Reef Bass
03/31/2017, 06:55 PM
Until you have moved the needle on your alk up more than just one water change worths, you are not likely to see much change.

FYI, Acanthastrea lordhowensis have been reclassified into the genus Micromussa. So they are now Micromussa lordhowensis. I still often slip and refer to them as acans, but that is no longer accurate.

I've kept M. lords for years and have never witnessed them affecting corals downstream with the release of toxins. I'd bet money the issue is something else. Maybe the cup is getting sufficient flow now not having the acan blocking flow upstream.

Now if that were a leather coral upstream of your cup, I'd say you could be right, though generally the volume of our tanks is so small that the entire tank is saturated with toxin, not just a small plume downstream of the secreter.

If you are concerned about toxins being released, run carbon to absorb them, and of course, water changes.

03/31/2017, 08:35 PM
Thanks, I do run carbon. It just seems like an odd coincidence. my cup coral was always open and happy since day one. a month later I add acan and the next day the cup closes. now for two weeks cup coral has been closed and then literally within minutes of moving the acan from immediately upstream it opens right back up. I obviously know and understand that you are an authority on the topic compared to me but it seems like an awful strange coincidence. anyhow i really do appreciate all your help and advice.

Reef Bass
04/01/2017, 07:47 AM
You're welcome. I agree that is an odd coincidence, but I'm not so sure it indicates causality.

For me, one of the great things about reefing is the perpetual learning. After more than a dozen years I still get spanked by my tank (metaphorically) occasionally, though these days it usually involves alk fluctuations caused by operator error (me). As frustrating as it can be at times, embracing and overcoming the challenge can be a good education.

Here's a macro shot of one of my lords from a while back:

And my avatar is a macro shot of a single polyp of another Micromussa lordhowensis I had.