View Full Version : Might need help preventing a crash here...

02-13-2012, 04:38 PM
Quick (ok... not so quick) back story: About a month ago my skimmer's pump failed while I was out on travel. I picked up a replacement skimmer and parts to build a new sump (the new skimmer was much larger than the old one) to replace it. When I got back in, I performed a 20% water change and began assembling a new sump. Five new corals were introduced at this time - Scolymia, Pagoda, Cyphastre, Acan, Acro -- all small or frag sized -- they were not quarantined, but they were dipped in Revive for a sufficient amount of time - before being introduced . I ran a broken-in emergency skimmer (courtesy PMASI) while the sump was designed and assembled. I implemented the new sump/skimmer about 14 days ago (process took about 3 hours - kept the powerheads on for half of it and raised the temp of the house to the upper 70's before starting) and refreshed the carbon/gfo. In replacing the sump, I performed a 25~35% water change.

About 9 days ago I came back home from work to find that all of my Montipora danae colonies had completely RTN'ed and my capricornis were beginning to RTN. Within 2 days all Montipora colonies tank-wide (including digitata) had died. I have been conducting 10% water changes every two to three days and so far the only other coral that seems to be effected has been my hydnophora which seems to be STN'ing from the base ( I have fragged this to several pieces and moved these pieces a frag tank - the frags seem to be doing well so far. Many of the other sps and plating/encrusting corals are very pale, but no tissue losses yet.

Fish (clown, dwarf angel, melanarius wrasse) are behaving normally

Inverts (astreas, nessarius, serpent star, cleaner shrimp, feather dusters, croacea clam) all are behaving normally - one snail has died this past 3 weeks though - the first in a long time.

pH is a little high... swinging from 8.3~8.6 throughout the day (readings via probe, confirmed with API kit, normal swings for this tank though)

Salinity: 1.025 (refractometer) - steady

Nitrates/trites/Ammonia: low to undetectable (API test kit)

Phosphate: lowish/normal - .05 (Hanna)

Alk: 10dkh (Red Sea)

Calcium: ~450ppm (from memory) (Red Sea)

Mag: Usually around 1250 (untested)

These readings were taken before the multiple water changes due to the RTN, but after implementing the new sump.

Cyano is springing up everywhere this week as well, probably absorbing nutrients from the tissue loss of the monti's...

LPS corals (Favia, Acans, Frogspawn, Fungia) seem unaffected

Other SPS corals (Seriatopora, Acros, Porites (?) ) are all much more pale.

Lights (t5-ho - mostly Blue Plus/Figi Purple/GE 6500) were replaced in June - ~8months use when this started.

No serious temperature flux recorded (according to reefkeeper charts)

Not certain what the cause might have been from a newly introduced coral carrying a disease (all the new corals do not seem to be effected so far), from a quick drop in nutrients (more powerful skimmer, 20% and 30% water change, and refreshing the GFO simultaneously), an alk or some other chemical spike that went unnoticed, or possibly a contaminant from the new sump/skimmer (despite rinsing)... Considered a contaminant in the top-off or mix-up water, but no problems in the recently set-up emergency frag tank or my nano (which also houses Montipora)... I doubt that I will ever know for sure, but my guess is that it probably had something to do with the stress of running skimmerless for essentially a week and a half and then the sudden water quality change.

The information I am seeking now is damage control... What to do during/after an event like this... Like I said before I am performing frequent water changes and I am also skimming aggressively (wet skimming - about 6-8 ounces of tea-colorered skimmate per day). I'm running GFO and Carbon. Is there anything else I can do besides waiting it out?

02-13-2012, 05:55 PM
Is this a homemade sump? What type of silicone was used and how long of a cure time? The Rtn can be caused by the aggressive filtering you are doing as well. I would frag the corals and try to save as much as you can

02-14-2012, 09:54 PM
Yes, the sump was home-made from a brand new 29 gallon tank. I used acrylic panels for the baffles (low water pressure on either side of the baffles due to nearly the same water level from chamber to chamber - they mostly serve as chamber dividers - didn't need the luxury of cut glass). I used 100% silicon sealant. No mention of any sort of anti-microbial properties on the tube. Cure time was 6 days.

02-14-2012, 10:08 PM
What type of silicone used? Brand and such.

02-14-2012, 10:59 PM
Here is the closest stuff to what I used (GE 100% silicone Sealant 2.8 fl oz)


02-14-2012, 11:21 PM
My tube has essentially the same red label and information on the front, it just says 100% Silicone Sealant in place of "Lexan - Sheet and Other Plastic"

My stock number is GE510 (nothing came back in search results - even on GE's website)
UPC is: 77027 00510 3

02-15-2012, 02:58 AM
For ge510 nothing came back as you stated, but the link you posted is ge57. I would call ge and ask them if there is any difference between the two. Ge57 is aquarium safe.

02-15-2012, 11:22 AM
Waiting to hear back from GE now... I suspect it is the same product as the ge57, just with a new title (the rest of the label reads exactly the same)

As of this morning it looks like the tissue loss has stalled or at least slowed to a large degree... It's been 2-3 days without any additional visible tissue loss from the Hydnophora (about 2.5 - 3 inches radiating from the center of the of the 5 inch mini colony has died). All hydno frags are well.

All sps still pale in color... might be seeing some color returning on the two Green Slimer mini-colonies, but can't confirm. No die off on any acro so far...

I'm going to move a potential source of allelopathy tonight - a piece of frogspawn that is in contact with what I believe might be an encrusting form of either Montiopra or Porites (yellow color makes me suspect that it is not Montipora)

I'll perform another small water change tonight.

02-15-2012, 11:35 AM
I found a materiel data sheet on the product ( I think)... I'm not chemically inclined enough to know if any of the following is microbial inhibitors.... I'm *guessing* that the hazardous chemicals are converted or changed during the curing process...


Siloxanes & Silicones,
Dimethylpolymers w/ Methylsilsesquioxanes
Treated Fumed Silica
Treated Filler

Here is the data shet (PDF)

Still no word from GE, but it looks like the GE57 stock number also matches the UPC code on the silicon that I bought...


02-15-2012, 09:36 PM
My second assumption of what happened is that you might have "over filtered" the water all at once with the new sump and so on, causing the corals to freak out with the sudden change in water quality. Seems like the silicone isn't to blame

02-16-2012, 12:08 AM
Yeah - that could very well be it - I'm wondering why the Monti's were hit so hard in particular... Do they have a history of being more sensitive to changes in water conditions? I always thought that the opposite was true...

02-16-2012, 06:42 PM
Could stray voltage be an issue?

I picked up a multimeter yesterday and my sump reads between 3 and 4 volts... Every time I unplug one of the pumps/powerheads the voltage is reduced by .5 volts (there are 3 pumps)... With everything off it still read 1.5 volts (and with the probes removed just loose int the air read .5 volts, so maybe there is a calibration issue?)

Is 3-4 volts a "good" number (everyone says that "0" is ideal, but I can't even get that when testing thin air)?

By my own admission, I am electrically stupid and after researching on the 'net for an hour, I can't find one good idiots guide for testing this stuff...