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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently returned from a weekend vacation (Friday morn, to Mon eve) to find my tank in total disarray. My inverts were dying (my bubble coral is already dead, brain still has tissue but not looking good, candy cane in same state). Any suggestions on why, how, this happened, and any prescriptions? The tank probably went a total of 48 hrs (+/- a few hrs) without any attention, but looked great on Friday morn when I left, and a buddy even stopped by on Friday eve. to feed my seahorse (which is alright). I did a 10 gal water change upon arriving home, and plan to do another 5 gal today. My nitrates were a little high, but the calc., and pH were right on. Any suggestions on salvaging the remains of my brain, and candy cane? My specs are: 55 gal, at least 3 in. sand bed, 2 skimmers, 2 1200 Maxi-Jets (295 gph) moving the water around the top for good evap. rate (is that too much gph? too much current?). I add iodine regularly, and maintain my calc. level, and do regular water changes. My mushrooms and polyps aren't looking that well, but for some reason my Yellow leather coral looks unscathed if not better than when I left. Please help!!
 

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Welcome!!

sorry to hear this.

was there a power outage while you were gone. check to see what the temp is. when i lost all of my critters after a power outage it was the temp that got them. it may have also caused a limited amount of oxygen in the tank.

sounds like you are doing all you can. keep an eye on the parameters.

good luck,

G~
 

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welcome to TRT, sorry it's under such conditions!

hopefully you get it figured out. my guess woould also be a power outage while you were away.

i used to travel twice a month every month, and had 7 fw tanks. i never even thoguht twice about leaving them for 4-5 days unatended.

but now with my sw tank, i am scheduled to go camping at the end of the month from friday morning to monday afternoon, and i'm terrified to leave, especially when i read things like this :eek:

but back to your dilema, very sorry to hear abotu the things you lost, hopefully it does stop there.
 

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2 MJ1200's aren't too much flow for that tank... I have 6 in my 55 gallon. :D
Of course only 3 are on at a time since I have a wavemaker... I couldn't imagine having all 6 on at once. :eek:
Did you do anything to the tank in the week before you left? Maybe there was something that took a little while to affect you reef inhabitants, which coincidentally happened to be while you were on vacation.
Otherwise I'm stumped. Geoff and Jay have a good theory though.

David.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the concerns. Now that you mention it, I had turned the A/C off in the house because the weather was nice, and I didn't turn it back on before I left. When I returned it was very hot inside of the house, and I don't have a chiller, so the water temp could have been too high. Any ideas about salvaging the rest of my corals? I have noticed a clear membrane-type coating starting to generate over the candy cane, and brain, and possibly the bubble coral, is that some sort of repair/regeneration mehcanism? I sure hope so. Any thing would be appreciated.
 

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chopper said:
I have noticed a clear membrane-type coating starting to generate over the candy cane, and brain, and possibly the bubble coral, is that some sort of repair/regeneration mehcanism?
Classic response to stress, usually heat or physical injury. Most systems can take an extended period of 12 to 24 hours without circulation with the specimens you've described, however, the heat is entirely another issue. Unless you have a large bioload of fishes or other higher animals, I doubt a 55 gal system would have dropped the O2 tension low enough to affect your corals this way. If the temps in the house reached 85 to 90, this is what your tank temps would have been, not good for most corals, and will induce bleaching events in Acroporiids and related stony genera. The corals you mentioned will recover without any intervention on your part unless it got REALLY hot (like over 90F for more than 10 hours). Use a turkey baster to blow off the mucus and run the skimmer with a wet skimmate for a while. Make sure to keep the AC on while you're gone or get a chiller and a temp controller like the Medusa or Jalli units.

Sorry to hear about the event, hope nothing croaks.
 

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if i'm correct. its running your skimmer level a little higher, so instead of dry foam, you get wet foam, and more of it. it'll accumulate faster.. hence "wet" skimmate..

least that's how i've always understood it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think I understand. So it is almost running straight water to the overfill reservoir on the skimmer, but not quite. Is the idea to filter out all of the dead material quickly, and possibly even catch the heavier material that the dry foam cannot raise? Not that I will, but I suppose if you run it too long you would have to keep a close eye on the skimmer reservoir so it wouldn't overflow, eh? Thats what you mean by "turn it up," and, "catch up," huh?
 

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Yeah, you have the right idea... just make sure that the skimmate isn't too watery... try to adjust it so that you don't collect too much water. I've attached a picture of what watery skimmate should look like. You might get by making yours a bit more watery, but try to keep it dark and not too clear since then the skimmer will be collecting more water than skimmate.
HTH
 

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chopper said:
I think I understand. So it is almost running straight water to the overfill reservoir on the skimmer, but not quite.
This is the idea. You don't want it running so fast that you get nothing but water, but faster/higher than you would adjust it to get a truly dry skimmate. This will take out a large amount of particulate material as well as some desirable critterfood, but here the idea is to caputre the mucus that may contain nematocysts that could potentialy sting other corals in the tank, especially as you listed a Platygyra spp. as you of your specimens. Watch for midnight warfare for the next week or so...
 

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You don't mention the salinity either. Do you have an auto top off system? Could be that your salinity went up if you didn't have any top off while you were gone. I know I lose a gallon a day on cool days.

Sorry about the losses. Thats not the way to return from vacation.
 

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when running a wet skimmate, keep an eye on the salinity. you will be replacing more water, so the salinity will slowly creep down. you want to keep it as stable as possible to help the critters after their stressfull weekend.:(

G~
 

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Sorry for interrupting the thread but it seems I have always collected "wet" skimmate. I have a US Aquariums skimmer with a rio pump. I almost always have the venturi opened up all the way. Anyone have ideas how I can get "dry" skimmate and what does that look like?

On a related note, I seem to be growing a great deal of hair algae in my skimmer and there are bio-balls in it. Does anyone have any experience w/ this skimmer? I'm thinking I may have to bust it open, yank the bio-balls, and scrub out the algae.
 

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Jimmer said:
Sorry for interrupting the thread but it seems I have always collected "wet" skimmate. I have a US Aquariums skimmer with a rio pump. I almost always have the venturi opened up all the way. Anyone have ideas how I can get "dry" skimmate and what does that look like?

On a related note, I seem to be growing a great deal of hair algae in my skimmer and there are bio-balls in it. Does anyone have any experience w/ this skimmer? I'm thinking I may have to bust it open, yank the bio-balls, and scrub out the algae.
you can lower the water level in the skimmer. that should dry the skimmate out. hopefully you can control the flow through the skimmer. the bioballs are prolly in there to slow the water down so it has its extended contact time. if you have algae growing in it, it is time to clean it out. you may only be skimming the stuff that the skimmer is producing.:D

HTH,

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Can anyone give me an educated guess on if my pieces are a loss or not? I have removed the mucus as tdwyatt suggested with the baster idea, but don't have a baster so I just made a water current with my hand. It seemed alot of stuff came off, I assume that is dead tissue. Is there any hope for my corals? Does removing all of the mucusy tissue give the coral a chance to regenerate, or does that mean that the coral is dead and the material is in fact the coral itself and all is lost? Please help. I am wondering if I should try to nuture these things, or if they are completely dead with no chance to revive themselves?
 

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No problemo chopper... I'm always ready to post gross skimmate pix... :D

Jimmer asked:
Anyone have ideas how I can get "dry" skimmate and what does that look like?
Dry skimmate is a dark greenish-brown color and has the consistency of molasses (from what I've seen). I think it pretty much rests on the quality and capability of the skimmer on how dry the skimmate is produced. If you can adjust the water level in the skimmer (like Geoff suggested) that can also help produce drier skimmate, but that would depend on whether or not your skimmer has that type of adjustment.
My skimmer is the venerable SeaClone 150, so I'm pretty much stuck producing a wetter skimmate (the water level isn't adjustable). I don't think it would suffice if I had an SPS tank, which needs pristine water conditions, but it still does a fine job for what I need it to do on my softy and LPS tank.
HTH
 

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The mucus is a reaction to stimuli, whether it be due to physical pressure/touch, stinging by other corals, tissue distruction (as in being eaten by fishes or parasites), substrate on the coral (a means of clearing detritus from the coenosarc), temp peaks or sudden water quality/salinity changes. Sometimes they just do it, but it is most often in response to some physical stimulus. If they are spending metaboolic energy making mucus, they will most likely survive, although they will definitely be pouty for a week or so if the damage was severe.

Maintain good water quality and salinity, watch temps for a while, keep you alk and Ca up, things should settle down in a few days.
 
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