Sun Coral Dying? Help?

Discussion in 'LPS Corals' started by sonam, Nov 2, 2013.

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  1. sonam

    sonam Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
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    Hello all.

    Received this sun coral as a gift a few months ago and it has been doing well up until about a week ago.

    It would open daily and we did target feed it when it fully opened.

    About a week ago it stopped opening and is now beginning to look pretty bad.

    [​IMG]

    Water parameters:
    Ammonia: 0
    Nitrite 0
    Nitrate 15ppm - see note
    Calcium 440
    Alk 8.4
    Ph 7.8
    Mg 1280
    Temp 78 - 80 depending on time of day and ambient temperature.

    Am pretty new to this hobby - (we have had issues with nitrates running between 15 and 20ppm despite weekly water changes - recently upgraded protein skimmer to try and work on that.)

    The system is a 90 gallon we purchased at 3 years old - it has been stable - the nitrate level coming down very slowly with some diligence in water changes and the addition of a refugium about a month or so after getting the system (it was fish only on purchase. )

    Lighting Marineland Reef Capable (not impressed with these but invested too much to replace them now but considering replacing the T5s that came with the tank. )

    Other corals are doing well (torch, trumpet, ricordia, mushrooms) with the exception of another gift - an astromellussa. We did lose a war coral frag early on but others have all done well.

    I am beginning to wonder if the flame angel has been nipping at their tentacles. I see it do that sometimes.

    Though water parameters aren't perfect (nitrates still between 10 and 20) this coral did well for months under those conditions.

    The only other change is the addition of two mandarins - both of whom are eating well off the liverock (we waited until we had a good copopod population both in the fuge and display before getting the fish.)

    Any help or advice welcome.
     
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  3. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    I suspect you need to be more diligent about feeding it. You should be enticing it to open to feed rather than waiting until it opens to feed it. Being that it has no zooxenthellae, it's completely dependent on the feedings you provide, lighting plays no part in providing nutrition. Consider using a half liter plastic bottle cut in half, enclose the coral and feed 3 times a week min.
    Based on your chemistry values I do not see an issue, the nitrate level should not kill the coral.
     
  4. oldfishkeeper

    oldfishkeeper Giant Squid

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  5. Va Reef

    Va Reef Giant Squid

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    FWIW I feed mine daily. As corailline said, you should not be waiting for it to open up. Especially because they most often open up at night when you may be asleep.

    I usually feed 3/4 cube of Mysis after turning off the flow and basting it with coral frenzy to entice it to open. This usually take 5-10 minutes for every polyp to open.

    HTH
     
  6. sonam

    sonam Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

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    Thanks to everyone for the advice. Will try prompting it to open!
     
  7. oldfishkeeper

    oldfishkeeper Giant Squid

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    Let us know how it goes!
     
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  9. Greg@LionfishLair

    Greg@LionfishLair 3reef Sponsor

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    FWIW, you can "train" them to open up at whatever time you feed them by being consistent. Actually, IME, once they get used to you feeding them, they will often open anytime you have your hand in the tank.
     
  10. Va Reef

    Va Reef Giant Squid

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    Yup, I usually top off before I feed them, so now when I top off they show feeding response. lol
     
  11. sonam

    sonam Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

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    So far it seems to be helping. The polyps have at least started opening and some tentacles have been showing the past few days. Not out of the woods yet but there is hope - and it does appear not feeding was the problem.

    Thanks to all for the help!