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LucidGoblin
08/09/2017, 03:54 PM
The white areas starting showing on the bottom branches of the acropora. I thought these sections weren't getting enough light, so I upgraded, considered one or two branches a loss, and hoped for the best. The dying continued. What was doing it? Not enough flow? Adjusted it. Not enough food? Fed it every other day. Water parameters? All spot on. And still, every week, I'd wake up to another glaring white branch on my $150 acropora. So much for that.
Then, today, I see it. That cool looking asterina that I've seen crawling around on the back glass was clamped down on one of the acropora branches that had started showing white. It was obviously busy. After a little research, I'm almost certain that I have found the culprit. It is now a keepsake. Another lesson learned from the world of reef keeping. It's a dangerous world in there.

kinggeorge818
08/09/2017, 04:02 PM
I didn't know that those star fish could kill acros!


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Pife
08/09/2017, 04:37 PM
Hate to break it to you but that starfish is not eating your acro.

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lynchmob3000
08/09/2017, 04:40 PM
I have millions on my glass in the mornings! They don't seem to bother sps unless a piece is starting to melt


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w3bbo
08/09/2017, 04:52 PM
There are hundreds of types of Asterina. only a few are suspected of eating coral.

jda
08/09/2017, 05:12 PM
It is nearly certainly just eating the fresh algae (even if you cannot see it) from the already-dead place. You need to look elsewhere for your issue.

LucidGoblin
08/09/2017, 05:19 PM
In the research I did in determining whether or not this starfish could be the culprit, I ran across this article: http://www.garf.org/Star/starfish.html The article describes the sudden appearance of white patches at the base of the coral with a sharp edged patterns. This is exactly what I observed.
There is probably more than one of these starfish in the tank, but I've only seen this one. If I spot any more, I will remove them. If the acropora continues to degenerate, then I'll know something else is killing it. For now, I'm sticking with this starfish as the prime suspect.

Pife
08/09/2017, 05:54 PM
In the research I did in determining whether or not this starfish could be the culprit, I ran across this article: http://www.garf.org/Star/starfish.html The article describes the sudden appearance of white patches at the base of the coral with a sharp edged patterns. This is exactly what I observed.
There is probably more than one of these starfish in the tank, but I've only seen this one. If I spot any more, I will remove them. If the acropora continues to degenerate, then I'll know something else is killing it. For now, I'm sticking with this starfish as the prime suspect.Can I see pictures of your other thriving acros in this system?

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LucidGoblin
08/09/2017, 06:35 PM
I only have two other acros in the tank (actually frags from one big piece). They show no signs of damage and are doing well. If it was the asterina killing the green acro, then is it possible that it only eats a particular kind acropora? When trying to determine the cause, I also thought the underside of the green acro wasn't getting enough light. But the white areas have very defined borders, not gradual bleaching. Whatever happened, I will probably give to my LFS to see if he wants to frag it for a little in-store credit.

Bill Nye
08/09/2017, 07:42 PM
Seems like those acro are brown and looking a little rough. What are your nitrates and phosphates at?

LucidGoblin
08/09/2017, 09:03 PM
Brown? They look rather purple to me. Admittedly, there is a little color loss where some branches aren't getting hit fully by the lights (A80 Tuna Blue Kessil LEDs), but their color hasn't changed much from the day I ordered them from liveaquaria.com. The smaller piece does have a few rough spots, maybe because a LTA lives nearby. As for nitrates, they have tested at 0 with a Salifert kit for the last year. The phosphates I'm not sure about, I will have to test them and post results.

LucidGoblin
08/09/2017, 10:44 PM
My phosphates are about .003, and it appears the poor green acropora is still turning white. So, I guess the starfish wasn't the culprit. Whatever it is, its happening faster. A disease, maybe? Everything else in the tank is thriving, and I don't what to do. I give up. The coral is toast. Like I said, I give whatever's left to my LFS guy.
By the way, I've decided to go with leather corals from now on. They're cheaper, hardier, and come just as many colors and shapes as SPS corals do. Am I right?

reefmutt
08/10/2017, 01:39 PM
By the way, I've decided to go with leather corals from now on. They're cheaper, hardier, and come just as many colors and shapes as SPS corals do. Am I right?

No.. not even close. Well, wait.. yes cheaper and hardier but there are practically no corals more varied in terms of colour and shape than acropora.
But by the same token, few corals are more finicky..
Looking at the photos of your other two acros (whichcould look better but don't look terrible, to me) I see various types of polyps.. clove and green star.. not the best tank mates for acros.
To really have success with acros, you would probably have to make some significant changes to your tank's inhabitants...
If you already have softies in there, as well, it's possible the green acro is reacting to toxins emmitted from other corals in the tank..or maybe there's a different predator in there.
At any rate, to avoid fru$trations, it is probably a wise choice to stay from acros with your current set up..

jda
08/10/2017, 07:52 PM
If you want to stick with acros, look for captive stuff like from ORA - Humilis is not an easy coral and would probably need best-of-breed lighting and lots of it. Are those aquacultured or wild colonies - if so, then they are harder than frags. Something like ANT Insigns is an easy Acro to keep - if this struggles, then I would decide if you wanted to reboot to acropora dominant and ditch the softies, or just forget about the acropora.

You can also go with the SPS weeds like montis, birdsnest and stylophora. They are REALLY easy and lots of SPS folks ban them or have no-entry rules now.