View Full Version : leathers, sps problems and chemical warfare

05-06-2009, 11:30 AM
As some of you know, we've been having problems with 2 of our sps, a purple birdsnest that we've had since January and it has been growing great till a few weeks ago. Now its almost all white and doesn't extended polyps. Our purple cap has also turned completely white with no polyp extension. We've only had this one for a month. We have 2 other sps and they are doing great and all other coral and the BTA are doing great

I've been trying to rule things out and haven't had much success. I know our lighting is good (4x39 HO t5) and their both high up in the tank. ammonia, nitrate and phosphate are all 0. Tank is pretty much nuisance algae free and has been for over a month so that backs up the phosphate being 0.

Calcium is 440, just started test magnesium last week and have brought it up to 1250, and alk is 9. We have a slightly more then normal night/day ph swing, from 7.8-8.2, but I thinks its always been that way so I'm not ready to change that yet (I do have a refugium with chaeto that runs on a reverse schedule) If it were more then these 2 coral with problems then I would try and reduce the swing, but at this point its not worth the added risk

I've been running out of ideas but then it hit me. Our toadstool leather is very near the affected coral. Could it be possible that its haveing a chemical war with these 2 sps, but its not affecting the softies or anything else? The guy we bought it from said after he fragged it, a nearby chalice went south quickly, but that was after it was cut. Last night I moved the leather to the opposite end of the tank just to rule it out. I've had it since February 18 and didn't start having problems till a few weeks ago

Can they emit chemicals even when their not injured? If not what else could be affecting just these 2 coral and nothing else

05-06-2009, 12:54 PM
I'm pretty sure they can emit chemicals even when not injured. They probably have grown enough recently to be close to each other, where they can sense each other and thus start the chemical warfare.

05-06-2009, 01:15 PM
Toadstools are pretty notorious for the chemical warfare bit so that could very well be a possibilty. This is a defense mechanism for them. I keep mine on the other end of my tank by itself just to be on the safe side. Moving sounds to be a good idea though. As far as the PH swing that's really not that big of a swing, I wouldn't be all that worried about it to be honest.

05-06-2009, 01:59 PM
Thank you. Do you think the sps will recover? I couldn't move it by itself but the only thing its near are way more hardy corals, (pallys and my kenya tree). I'll keep you updated and I hope that's what was causing it the whole time. It has grown a lot since I got it in Febuaruy. It was just the cap when I got it and now its close to 2 inches tall. I think the place where it is now is better for it anyways, its got a little more flow and is on the sand

05-06-2009, 03:41 PM
It's possible that it can recover, depends on how bad off it is. Any pictures that you can post of it?

05-06-2009, 04:01 PM
Here's some pics. The purple on the cap has coraline starting to grow on it so I think its a gonner but the birdsnest shows hope



05-06-2009, 04:05 PM
Corals can be pretty messed up and still bounce back. As a reference, my friend gave me this birdsnest in January because he thought it was dead:


It recovered, here is a picture of it in March:

Now it is growing like crazy.

It is a little hard to tell how bad yours is from the pictures. Are there any polyps coming out?

05-06-2009, 04:08 PM
no polyps on either. There's purple where polyps should be on the birdsnest, but no polyps

05-06-2009, 04:15 PM
:scry: I would give it some time, if polyps start poking out again, it has a chance to recover.

SPS can be weird. A good example is the fact that two of your pieces are hurting, and your other pieces are ok. I have a good friend with a 120g and he has lost about half of his SPS (probably 20 pieces or so) over the last 2 months, and he still hasn't been able to figure out why.

05-06-2009, 04:28 PM
Sps are just weird, lol. I've been debating on getting rid of them, replacing one of my Korilia 2's with a 1 and loading up on more LPS. I haven't had a problem with LPS yet. (knock on wood)

at least everything else is doing great.

05-06-2009, 04:48 PM
My friend (with the 120g)has been pretty devistated by his SPS losses. He is on permanent disablity, so his tank is pretty much all he does. The last time I was over there, he was breaking two dead monti caps off of his live rock, that were the size of dinner plates. It was pretty depressing to watch.

LPS sure seems easier, I understand why you would feel that way about dumping your SPS. I think the average person likes the look of a "softie" tank more than an SPS tank anyway. So visitors to your house would probably like your tank even more!

05-06-2009, 04:57 PM
That a bummer about your friends tank:scry:

Fortunately we don't get many visitors ;) I've tried sps in the past and didn't have any luck and gave about $40 worth away. These 2 cost me another $40 between the 2. I like the look of sps and seeing your tank makes me drool:hmm3grin2orange:
But I like lps even more and haven't lost a single one that I've bought so if these 2 don't recover I think I'll make the switch to a all LPS/softie tank. All I gotta do is reduce the flow a little. I'll try sps again when I get a new tank, but for now I'm not buying anymore

I've found locally SPS are one of those things where some people have great sucess and have tanks full of them and others can't keep any at all