How long can corals survive out of water?

lboud39

New member
So I just searched this and found most people asking this question with regards to rescaping and planning on taking them out. Unfortunately my situation is not the same.

Yesterday I came home to a tank halve empty. A return line from a canister fell to the floor and about 20 out of 55 gallons was donated to the rug. A majority of my corals are on the lower portion of my tank except for the more expensive things that like more light. Pretty much all of my favorite corals.

So 15 heads of frogspawn, 15 heads of hammer, two acro frags, birdsnest, and a spongodes plate were dry for an unknown amount of time. All of the euphyllia heads just looked like mush, completely void of water within. Acro and birdsnest has lost all color.

I place all of them into the water and all of them have been expelling slime. About 5 hours later some of the euphyllia heads are starting to fluff up a little, no telling about the other SPS.

I had 5 gallons on hand and put that in the tank. The worst part was that were I am Tuesday was Mardi Gras and all LFS were closed and I couldn't get water.

Does anyone have any insight or know how screwed I am?
 

Dmorty217

Saltwater Addict
I would imagine depending on how long the Sps was out of the water will depend on if they will survive or not if it was a hr or two you will have some die off but most should be ok if it was longer than that you can be sure you will lose most if not all Sps. Bill Wan had his 20,000g tank leak out all water but about 13" in the bottom of the tank... Needless to say he lost basically all of his Sps and I believe most other corals he had too. All of his fish survived but devestating to say the least
 

Timfish

Timfish
Premium Member
It depends very much on the species. Some have the ability to cover themselves with a coat of slime to protect from dehydration others do not. It also may take some time if a coral survives to fully recover and some may survive initially but the stress do them in over time. It would be helpfull if you can document what does survive and what didn't.
 

Squidmotron

New member
Oddly enough, SPS I think can be out for awhile. Because I had a similar experience to yours in an old tank and most of my SPS were fine.
 

ca1ore

Grizzled & Cynical
In their natural environment, many high light SPS corals are emersed for a part of the day due to tidal action. I'd suspect your SPS will be fine. Don't think LPS or softies will be as accommodating.
 

ReefsandGeeks

New member
Somew coral in the wild is exposed to air at low tide reguarly and survives, if that makes you feel better. Also, the coral that is reguarly exposed to low tide also happens to be the SPS that requires the most light and grows up high. I'd be worryed about bleaching form the increased light since the water didn't take out any of the light. Good luck, hopefuly you're losses are minimal and everything recovers fast
 

lboud39

New member
Thanks for the responses, in my initial searching I found the info about the SPS and some zoas being exposed during low tides.

Another question. The culprit that made the mess was a canister filter with rock rubble in it. Since it hasn't seen water flow since this happend, what should i do? Just flush the stagnate water out? take the rocks out and re cure them and let them re-cycle?
 

lboud39

New member
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1424282265.496089.jpgImageUploadedByTapatalk1424282275.829271.jpg

At home for lunch. Montipora had polyps out. It has just lost a little color. Euphillia may loose a few heads.
 

rwb500

New member
i would flush out the canister. better yet, re-evaluate if you need it at all, especially now that it is a known flood risk.

what kind of fish is that in your 2nd picture?
 

skimjim

New member
where I am Tuesday was Mardi Gras and all LFS were closed and I couldn't get water.

God wants you to give up reefing for Lent. LOL.

I dont think there is a concrete answer here. Only time will tell which ones are complete toast, which ones are damaged and will take months to recover, which ones are fine.

I could go into this whole rant on why you shouldnt use a canister, but your have experienced enough this week already.

Hope things work out.
 

k4ndyk1ng

New member
I left my corals out the tank for over a day, I was acclimating them, took them out the tank to slime up and fell asleep. I crap myself in the morning when I went to feed the fish and saw them. Put them in the tank and they recovered, one was a Monti digi
 

DivingTheWorld

Active member
One more to suggest you move away from canister filters. I've experienced a couple big leaks with them, one included a strong electrical current which knocked me out cold... As a result I've avoided them like the plague for over 20 years.
 

steventaylor702

New member
So I just searched this and found most people asking this question with regards to rescaping and planning on taking them out. Unfortunately my situation is not the same.

Yesterday I came home to a tank halve empty. A return line from a canister fell to the floor and about 20 out of 55 gallons was donated to the rug. A majority of my corals are on the lower portion of my tank except for the more expensive things that like more light. Pretty much all of my favorite corals.

So 15 heads of frogspawn, 15 heads of hammer, two acro frags, birdsnest, and a spongodes plate were dry for an unknown amount of time. All of the euphyllia heads just looked like mush, completely void of water within. Acro and birdsnest has lost all color.

I place all of them into the water and all of them have been expelling slime. About 5 hours later some of the euphyllia heads are starting to fluff up a little, no telling about the other SPS.

I had 5 gallons on hand and put that in the tank. The worst part was that were I am Tuesday was Mardi Gras and all LFS were closed and I couldn't get water.

Does anyone have any insight or know how screwed I am?
During low tide some corals are out of the water for several hours the slime coating is thier way of keeping hydrated
 

lboud39

New member
i would flush out the canister. better yet, re-evaluate if you need it at all, especially now that it is a known flood risk.

what kind of fish is that in your 2nd picture?

Neon Dottyback

I use the canister with rubble because I'm under the recommended amount of live rock in my tank. I also have plumbed a GFO reactor into the return of the canister. This is where I got my problem. The output from the reactor was smaller then the return elbow thing that hooks onto the rim of the aquarium. So I just had the return line bent and kinda using the wall to hold it up along with suction cup hose holders that you see in the second picture. I also liked having the canister for extra flow.
 

lboud39

New member
UPDATE:

Birds nest is toast. Acro frag seems to be toast but its still in the tank. All heads on frogspawn are opening except one same with the hammer. Some of the tissue is missing from the sides of the skeletal base but hopefully that will repair itself. Spongodes seems to be unaffected.

I'm running a 1/2 cup of carbon to try to catch anything harmful released. Also only running my LED strip and have T5 off. Anyone have any input wither or not I should return to full lights or let them "rest" with reduced lighting?
 

ReefsandGeeks

New member
I'd probably keep reduced light for a couple of days just in case. I don't think it would hurt to have reduced light to try to help recover, but full light MAY be bad? I'd treat it like new coral to the tank that need reacclimated to the lighting.
 

FraggledRock

New member
I left my corals out the tank for over a day, I was acclimating them, took them out the tank to slime up and fell asleep. I crap myself in the morning when I went to feed the fish and saw them. Put them in the tank and they recovered, one was a Monti digi


drugs r bad mmkay? =P
 

Mishri

Active member
I guess I don't get the logic of starving creatures to let them "rest".... :D

I would have kept normal lighting schedule throughout. Maybe others have had different experiences than I have with that.
 
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