View Full Version : Hard corals dying.. Need help

06-30-2014, 02:11 AM
I believe I have a single celled organism destroying my coral. I've tried many treatments of various kinds over the last several months with no effect.

Attached are videos and pictures of the pest taken with my microscope.. any suggestions are welcome! I have lost at least half of my hard corals and even some LPS at this point.











06-30-2014, 10:17 PM
HI Steve, I'm sorry to hear that your SPS are dying. I looked at your photos and I do not believe that the single celled thing you filmed is the culprit. (Sweet video and photos though!!).

To me this looks like algae that has taken hold now that the tissue of the coral has died. I could be mistaken of course, I am not a marine biologist, but your corals look just like the ones that died off in my tank before. they get green algae growing on them, and then as time goes on they turn into other kinds of algae like coralline.

I'll keep tagging along.

In the meantime, a few questions would help narrow down the problems with your SPS.

1)What temperature?
2)What lighting are you using, and how deep is the tank? what is your photoperiod?
3)What are your water parameters, PH, Calcium, magnesium, and specific gravity?
4)Are you using RO water?
5)How much circulation are you using?
6)How is your skimmer operating? size, total system gallons?
7)Could anything have gotten into the water by mistake, cleaners, kids playing near it etc?
8)When was your last water change? what salt do you use?

I hope things work out for you, SPS dying is always depressing and it can be so many different variables.

Good Luck - MM

07-01-2014, 02:50 AM
Thanks for the reply.. I'll fill in details, plus an update on my researching this problem.

1)What temperature?
My tank stays at 76.6, sometimes going up a degree due to sunlight hitting the tank in the evening. It is in the basement with west facing windows, so gets blasted for a bit. I'm going to install blinds at some point :neutral:

2)What lighting are you using, and how deep is the tank? what is your photoperiod?

I'm using Radions Gen2/Pro. The tank is 22" deep I believe, lights on at 9AM and off at 6:30pm in an attempt to reduce the growth of this stuff, spectrum shifted toward blue
Sump is large (4ft x 2ft) a reverse photo period, filled with cheato

3)What are your water parameters, PH, Calcium, magnesium, and specific gravity?

pH ranges between 8.15-8.3. My pH probe has been giving me some odd readings as is my conductivity probe, but no reason to think things are off as my LPS is mostly looking fine (hammers, frogspawn, torch)

Calcium is 420-440
Mag is around 1400 (trying to rid myself of hair algae on a few rocks)
SG is 1.025 to 1.027
these are range values from over the past 2 months

I use an Apex controller to dose and control tank parameters

4)Are you using RO water?

I use a 3 stage RO. Fresh inserts and tests 1-3 ppm (tap water is near 200ppm)

5)How much circulation are you using?

The tank and sump volume add up to around 250-300g. I am using a Waveline DC 12000. Usually running full, but the power controller is sometimes really hot so I ramp it to 50% (need to solve that issue too)

I have a vortech MP40 on one side and a Jeabo WP40 on the opposite end of the 7ft tank.. seems like a lot of flow but also appear to be some dead spots, though I do have to have low flow areas for the LPS

(BTW.. I do NOT recommend the Jeabo pumps... 2 died on me and this last one will lock up needing me to spin the blade to get it started)

6)How is your skimmer operating? size, total system gallons?
I have an Aqua medic turboflotor 5000 shorty/compact protein skimmer..manual states its good for up to 400g. I have few fish in my tank. It pulls dark skim, but very little per day.

7)Could anything have gotten into the water by mistake, cleaners, kids playing near it etc?


8)When was your last water change? what salt do you use?

I've had blooms of this single cell stuff for about 2 months, so frequent, large water changes. Last one was a week ago, roughly 50g. I've been using "Salinity" salt the past 6 months or so, before that Reef Crystals or Instant Ocean


Over the past year I`ve dosed the tank with interceptor and treated corals with Bayer Complete to eradicate redbugs (which I now think I never had... learning curves are great fun) and AEFW, which I definitely had. The AEFW are gone.. Ive scoured over my SPS with a small handheld microscope and have seen neither eggs or the worms in over 2 months.
During that process, I lost my shrimps and all pods (which may have controlled the current issue I`m having possibly). Now that I have done many large water changes, I think I can re-introduce them.

07-01-2014, 02:58 AM
Today I decided to compare the stuff I believe is killing my corals to the slime that is coming back..AGAIN. I thought it was diatoms, but I did a lot of internet searching today and it turns out they maybe a type of Trachelomonas, a type of Euglena (protozoa).
I sucked out a bit of the slime and put it under my scope...sure enough, the same crap that is seeming to be killing my coral.

I brushed it off my corals and glass yesterday.. these are pics from today showing 1 day of growth on the corals and also what it looks like under the microscope at up to 400x

Other than adding pods and deritovores, does anyone have suggestions...:question:

BTW: I have tried numerous dips, peroxide and antibiotics

Anyone have pods for me in Calgary:question:

Slideshow of tank images showing affected areas 1 day after cleaning pest off:

Piece of slime at 40x (VIDEO):

At 400x (VIDEO):

07-01-2014, 04:01 AM
Might you have a voltage leak from something? I had a bad heater years ago which was the source of mysterious fish and coral deaths. The Euglena might just be growing and feeding on the already dead and dying coral tissue.

07-01-2014, 05:30 AM
Reading through your post i think you may have forgot a few very important parameters such as nitrate, phosphate and alkalinity. If you are experiencing algae or cyano blooms it could be that your nitrate and or phosphate is too high. If you are not testing for these its possible. My next suggestion would be to test alkalinity. If it is too high or too low you could start seeing your sps loose tissue on their tips and it doesnt take long to see algae take over the dead area. This is just my suggestion if you are not testing these parameters to start asap. It will definatley help you in trouble shooting what is going on with your water. A good range to keep your alkalinity is anywhere from 7dkh to 10dkh+. For reference i really try to keep my tank on the lower side at around 7.5 to 7.8dkh because i have experienced tip burn at higher levels. Good luck hope this helps a little