View Full Version : help with monti...

04-02-2011, 11:08 PM
i cant quite figure this out and havent had any luck on other forums.

i've been having problems with the montis' in my tank. it started with my cap and then a digi frag i had bleached over the period of two days.


quick rundown: 125 gallon, 40 gallon sump, 3 X 250 MH, 4 X 80 T5HO, two korallia 4's, one korallia 3, return pump is a mag 18 w/ SCWD, use kati/ ani for w/c and top off, ATO, use reef crystals

i thought it could be because i've been having pH swings from 7.8 (a.m.) to 8.4 (p.m.) secondary to low alk, but none of my other corals (sps, lps, softies), inverts, or fish are showing any signs of distress.

my ca usually runs around 440, but today when i tested it was a bit low.
ammonia: undetectable
nitrite: undetectable
nitrate: undetectable
pH: 8.4
ca: 380
dkH: 7
SG: 1.025
temp: 80.2

so since it's only affecting my monti's i'm wondering maybe montipora eating nudibranch? i havent seen any, and havent added any new corals in a while. i realize that eggs could have come in with a monti a while ago, but like i said i havent seen any nudi's.

i'm going to start dosing two-part in the morning. i've never had calcium problems before, so this is the first time having to dose. what are your thoughts on this? i know this was a long post, and there's a lot that could be going on. i'm wondering if i ought to just frag off the living parts of the monti cap and dip them in (?) before putting them back in the tank. thanks in advance for your suggestions.

04-02-2011, 11:56 PM
Those are pretty big ph swings. In my experience, one of the first signs of water quality issues are colors fading on montiporas. Montiporas generally are less hardy than acropora, I have experienced montipora crashes with no sign of stress on other sps corals. Do you have a fuge to light when the main tank light is off? That helps stabilize your ph. You might want to reduce how long you light your tank, leave a few bulbs off, do a 20 - 30 % water change, and make sure the montiporas aren't getting pounded with direct flow while your experiencing this issue.

04-03-2011, 09:51 AM
Have you made any changes? think back - lighting, power head, added fish, moved corals, ect? also - what is your magnesium? holding mag. steady will help hold alk & cal. steady.
when did your pH start the large swing? Has it always been this way?

Not much help - just some thoughts. I'm sure others will chime in -

04-03-2011, 11:38 AM
i do have a light over my fuge, lighting chaeto (that doesnt seem to be growing anymore) on an opposite schedule than my display lights.

there actually have been huge changes to my system, right before this started to happen. the reason i didnt mention this before is because people on several other forums wanted me to have these nudibranch's so bad that they totally discounted these changes and have subsequently convinced me i have them.

i have a 6' 125. i used to have two 36" fixtures (one 250 MH, two 96 PC in each). i wanted to upgrade the lights to a 6' fixture w/ three 250 MH and four 80 watt T5HO. this was a problem because my tank had a single cross brace. i broke the tank down, took everything out, and tried to fit a double cross braced trim on it, but it didnt fit. so i had to go back to the single cross brace. during this whole ordeal i had all photosynthetic animals in a 36" breeder tank with one of the old 36" fixtures on it. i ended up using the three halide fixture over the center brace by building a canopy and raising the light 12" from the trim. i also made a triangular heat shield over the cross brace with a reflector from an old fixture given to me by a good buddy. (this ended up working really well. the brace takes on no heat and the center halide still lights the shadow that was there when i was running the two 36" fixtures).

the monti's were fine in the temporary breeder tank. it didnt start taking a dumper until i had the 125 back up and running. this is also when i started noticing pH swings. kati/ani deionizers (the type of water filter i use) inherently can lower pH, but i've never had this problem before and when i test my freshly mixed saltwater the pH is 8.4.

i've been told on other forums that the reason people are so stuck on me having a montipora eating nudibranch is that the whole coral would be bleached, not just certain areas. but again, i have inspected said corals closely and have yet to see any nudibranch or cluster of eggs on the coral or around it's base.

you reckon i ought to break off the dead parts and hope that the tissue regression stops there? maybe give the newly fragged pieces in a (?) dip.

04-03-2011, 11:00 PM
Definitely frag off at least a few healthy pieces and give them a dip. A few months ago my montis all took a similar turn for the worse (patches dying, colours fading). I saved what I could, dipped, and did a few water changes and they turned around. Sorry I can't be more specific about the problem and solution.

04-04-2011, 10:43 AM
that's what figured i'd have to do. there's just too much death for me to expect this thing to really turn around. i've never dipped corals before. what should i use? lugols?

i still have to figure out the pH swings, though. there is plenty of surface agitation in the display so i tend to think this isnt a matter of C02. if this had started after i put the canopy on the tank then i would consider C02, but it started before i built the canopy and i was just using MH #1 & 3 on the new fixture.

could this be a magnesium deficit? i havent tested for Mg yet, i'll have to pick up a test kit later today. it just occured to me that with my Ca being a tad low, which is something i've never had problems with, maybe the calcium is bonding with the free carbonates in the water column. what are your thoughts on this?

again, i really appreciate the help folks. i've had this tank up for over two years without any problems and i just cant, for the life of me, figure this out.

04-04-2011, 02:10 PM
Hi, I have struggled with low pH for a few years. Our problem is co2. To find out
Take a glass of aquarium water, test this water. Then set it outside agitating it.
I used an air stone. Let it sit outside for an hour or so and retest the pH. If the
PH raises then you have a co2 issue. We combat it by pumping fresh outside air
To the skimmer & to the surface level of th DT. Some just open s window to get fresh outside air. as far as parameters - everybody's tank &
Personal Preferences differ. I like to keep the mag around 1400-1450, alk 9-10 dkh
& cal 420-440. Normally I adjust the parameters in the listed order. As most, our pH is
Worse in the evening or if we have company. About 1g of kalk is auto dosed during the evening
To 1-Add makeup water & 2- add alk & cal. 3 - helps with the pH .

04-04-2011, 03:25 PM
Eric I have a small bottle of coral Rx I got from one of the meetings you could have if you want to pick up, i had zoa eating nudi's. and it did a good job at killing them if that is your problem. But either way its yours if you want it.

04-04-2011, 03:51 PM
mike, that's a good idea. should i do this in the morning when pH is low? because if i test it now, it will be 8.4.
rostr02, thank you very much for the offer. i might take you up on that. i will let you know by the next meeting if i'm interested. that's awesome.

i guess my game plan will be to test the mag tonight. i will post the latest parameters later today to see what the consensus is. thanks again for all your help

04-04-2011, 08:46 PM
Where are you located? I have samples of coralrx

04-04-2011, 08:47 PM
Not that dipping a coral, and putting it back into the tank will solve the problem. But of course dipping the frags and moving them out elsewhere would be good.

04-04-2011, 09:27 PM
i live in shadyside.

i went to elmers to get a mg test and supplement, but they didnt have either. the tissue is regressing pretty quickly.

04-04-2011, 10:00 PM
Not that dipping a coral, and putting it back into the tank will solve the problem. But of course dipping the frags and moving them out elsewhere would be good.

so much of this coral has pooped the bed that fragging it is its only hope (if it even has one). its a real shame, too, because this was a beautiful piece. i got it from that frag swap in columbus last year for a killer deal.

heres a pic of the monti cap taken a few minutes ago:


when i first got it a few pieces broke off in transit and i just jammed them in a piece of rock. they were looking a little shifty for a while, real faded, after i changed the lights an'at but in comparison to the mother coral they look much better:


maybe this whole ordeal was just a shock from the light change? the mother coral is lower in the tank than the frags. one of the frags did bleach completely, though. so much changed in the tank in a short period of time: new lights that are 9" higher than before, pH problems, alk problems, etc.

even if this is a light related problem, i still have to frag and figure out the pH swings.

04-04-2011, 10:22 PM
here's a better angle to see the death:


04-05-2011, 10:35 AM
I just went thru an almost exact die off with my sps and think I found the cause. I had about eight months on my rodi filters and started having problems. Did a few big water changes and it wiped out several nice sps colonies. Thought I was crashing and it ended up being chloramines.... I noticed when filling a bucket in kitchen sink that my tap water smelled like the YMCA pool and went down and tested fresh rodi topoff and it showed free chlorine... That was with a pool test strip. I found chloramine is chlorine and ammonia bonded together and I was basically sending my tank into new tank cycle every time I topped off with the amount of ammonia I was adding. And them doing forty percent water changes was decimating my sps.

I am now recovering after replacing filters and running a half pound of carbon in two seperate reactors. I would recommend testing new water stop water changes and run some heavy carbon.

04-05-2011, 10:42 AM
oh and my flesh was actually peeling. It would come off in little sheets. Still had polyp extension and color but was just peeling off skeleton an inch or so a day

04-05-2011, 03:52 PM
bmiller: i know for sure that i need to regenerate my kati/ ani. i'm going to order the chemicals tonight so hopefully they will be here in a few days. ive never done this before, but the instructions are easy enough to understand. the thing is: its just monti's that i've had trouble with; my other sps are doing good.

04-05-2011, 05:55 PM
man if its not one thing, it's another... i went to empty my skimmer cup because yesterday i noticed it was pretty full and when i opened my cabinet i saw that it was overflowing. it was a sexy full cup of thick skimmate and for whatever reason it just got dumped back into my tank.

04-05-2011, 06:40 PM
Wow, u are having bad luck. But don't worry things will turn around for u

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04-05-2011, 07:27 PM
Wow, u are having bad luck. But don't worry things will turn around for u

Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk

for sure. these are the things that happen when you try to simulate the ocean in a glass box.

04-06-2011, 07:17 PM
ALAS! i have figured out the source of all my tank woes. i figured it out when i came downstairs to 30 some odd gallons of saltwater on the floor and a brackish water tank (thank you tunze osmolator). so as i'm cleaning up the pond in my dining room, and thanking the good Lord for GFCI's it occurred to me that the only reason my tank could be taking such a dumper is an act of God.

for two years: no problems at all.