Inverts keep dying

mpderksen

New member
While all 7 fish have been healthy for almost a year with no losses, I seem to have real trouble with various inverts.
I've had a tuxedo urchin, abalone and turbo snail that seem to be doing well, long term. But I have lost 2 Emerald Crabs, a cleaner shrimp and a banded coral shrimp. Not all at once, since I have added only one each time I lose the first. Also most of my snails from Reef Cleaners seem to die off within a few months, so I have to keep ordering. I have no hermits that could be eating them.
The latest to disappear was the coral banded. He was in there around 4 months, and molted twice in that time period, which looked like a healthy sign. My cleaner shrimp in my nano tank molts monthly and still doing great, and I use the same water and change schedule (but 2 completely different tanks isn't really a comparison).
I don't believe any of my fish actually eat inverts, but the list is below, just in case. My parameters seem reasonable, although my Ca is a bit high at 470.
Do inverts just have short lifespans or should I be looking for something that affects them and not the corals and fish in the tank?

Livestock:
Blue-Green Chromis
Spotted Cardinalfish x2
Maroon Clown
One-Spot foxface
Dwarf flame angel
Kole tang
 

meidinad

New member
Agreed. What are your tests looking like? If you have coral how are they doing? Inverts, being more sensitive, and great clues as to water quality.
 

mpderksen

New member
I'll do a full set in the next few days. Recently, SG did drop a bunch to 1.022 for some reason, and I brought it back by using 1.025 water in my top off until it came back over a week. But that's an isolated incident.
I'm also re calibrating my Apex pH meter, since it seems to be 7.7-7.9 throughout the day, but I didn't have the calibrants at tank temp when I set it up. New packets are in the sump now.
My Alk is around 8-9, and Ca is 470. Both are controlled by 2-part added each night on a dosing pump. I'll be the rest of the numbers soon and check back.
 

GilliganReef

New member
Are the shrimp disappearing or you are finding them dead in the tank? Because if you dont keep your cards fed. They will eat your shrimp at night. Are they going missing a day after a molt?
 

tkeracer619

Premium Member
I would get a treated polypad, the kind at your lfs that changes colors to indicate the type of contaminate.

They live a lot longer than 4 months but that is how long snails take to die when they have been collected, shipped, kept, and acclimated incorrectly.

You may try a different source.

How are you acclimating them?
 

mpderksen

New member
Both emeralds showed up dead. Shrimp were just gone, but not close to a molting that I can remember. The tank is fed with auto feeder 3 x each day with New Life Spectrum pellets and I put in Nori most days, and PE Mysis most evenings.
How critical is the range of Mg for inverts? Off to test now....
 

mpderksen

New member
Okay, here we go:
SG 1.025, refractometer and hydrometer, both
Temp 77.3°F, Apex
PO4, 0.00, Hanna
Ammonia, nitrites & nitrates, none detected, API
ALK, 8, API
Mg, 1440, Red Sea
Ca, 600+, max range of HANNA
ORP, 487, Apex
pH, 7.77, Apex (just calibrated with temp compensation activated)

Dosing B-Ionic 2-Part, alternating every 30 minutes, for 4 doses total. I lowered the Ca pump from 30 sec each cycle (2:00 total, or 2.2 mL/day) to 10 sec, for a total of 0.55 mL/day. I increased the Alk pump from 1:00 each (~4mL/day) to 1:15, or ~5mL/day.
The Mg baffles me. How can my level be HIGHER than my fresh salt water? When I test my fresh water @ 1.025, I get about 450. I'm using Instant Ocean Reef Crystals. So how can the DT have a level that's higher than what goes in during a water change?
I'm not chasing ORP or pH, but they aren't where I want them either.
I have a mixed tank that has some softies: Zoas, a leather, Ricordia. LPS include a Duncan, hammer and torch. A few small SPS, the Monti cap and one of the digi look especially healthy. Everything looks really great, even though I am not seeing much splitting or growth. Possibly the lighting, which is a RapidLED fixture.
I do have some fungus growing on the rocks. It's like a brown cyano that creates bubbles, and blows off easily with a small powerhead.
Honestly, I don't QT the snails and inverts. I get the snails from ReefCleaners and follow their protocol of floating the bag for 15-30 min, then removing them into a strainer and just dump them in. This is the same thing I've done with snails from the LFS.
For crabs and shrimp, I drip acclimate, since I know salinity changes matter.
All have lasted at least a few months, so I doubt it's that. The coral banded that just went missing has been in the tank since Thanksgiving and molted at least twice that I can remember. The last time was a few weeks ago.
The tank has a reef octopus 110INT, cleaned about twice per week and pulls dark skimmate. (Tangs will do that, right?)
So what am I missing?
 

tkeracer619

Premium Member
It's like a brown cyano that creates bubbles, and blows off easily with a small powerhead.

dinoflagellates are toxic to snails.

Are you rolling your salt buckets? Your tank mg measures what your fresh sw should measure. I'm wondering if your salt has settled which is why you are getting funky test results.

Thanks for the detailed post, it helps try to pick out what could be going on. You need to tackle the dinos, this could be one of the causes.
 

mpderksen

New member
No mixing my salt buckets. If I do have the dreaded dinos, then should I consider starting a Kalk program to raise the pH? The article by Randy seems to indicate the higher pH is a viable way to go.
 

tkeracer619

Premium Member
Yes, kalkwasser is definitely helpful. Only do water changes to replace the water you use to suck the dinos out. A blackout is also helpful.

Roll your buckets around before opening them, sometimes the different size salts settle in shipping the same way the crumbs are always at the bottom of a bag of chips.
 

mpderksen

New member
Yes, kalkwasser is definitely helpful. Only do water changes to replace the water you use to suck the dinos out. A blackout is also helpful.

Roll your buckets around before opening them, sometimes the different size salts settle in shipping the same way the crumbs are always at the bottom of a bag of chips.

Kalk seems easy enough. I read a bunch of threads on it, just never done it. But a few questions before I go changing things:
Do I shut down the dosing pump for the Alk at this point, or leave it on once I start Kalk?
Why do you say not to do water changes? I would suspect that a larger change would be preferred for water quality.
This stuff popped up only in the last few weeks, and I'll get a quality (as in not iPhone) picture first to confirm before I chase something that I haven't described correctly. Unless my description was so obvious to experienced people that it would be unnecessary. I thought, from some research, that it might be a fungus. But I NEVER dump in treatments or change parameters recklessly.
 

mpderksen

New member
Oh, and I have 15 gallons of RODI water in a brute. I'll mix it to 1.025 and test the Mg BEFORE I use any of it next weekend. I typically only do full testing every other water change on the DT prior to the change. I'm doing 10 gallons weekly, while the remaining 4-5 are for my 25 gal nano upstairs.
 

tkeracer619

Premium Member
Yeah we definitely need a pic of it before you go chasing things but your description 8/10 times is dinos.

Reason for no water changes is they might be feeding off something in your salt mix and it seems that stopping water changes reduces the nutrients available for them.
 

wrott

New member
It looks like plain old cyano. It's probably fish killing shrimp, and snails did not acclimate or starved or fish killed these too. Did you add the angel or foxface recently? I've seen it in my tank, angels and foxface will go after inverts. I'd try 1 or 2 turbo snails, and keep an eye on them. Since your corals are doing well, it's not your water, and dinos would make a huge snotty mess everywhere.
 

mpderksen

New member
It looks like plain old cyano. It's probably fish killing shrimp, and snails did not acclimate or starved or fish killed these too. Did you add the angel or foxface recently? I've seen it in my tank, angels and foxface will go after inverts. I'd try 1 or 2 turbo snails, and keep an eye on them. Since your corals are doing well, it's not your water, and dinos would make a huge snotty mess everywhere.

It's very odd to me that it's on the lower rocks, not in the sandbed or up high. The one turbo I have has been around since the GHA outbreak. Finally solved that crisis at Christmas.
For those of you following along I have a confession. I suspected that perhaps I had the plugs reversed for my 2-part, which would explain the Ca being off the charts, and the Alk/pH low. It was worse than I thought! When I got the Apex, I was my typical cautious self and wrote the programming with the Log turned on, but the dosing pumps not actually plugged in. Last thing I wanted was to wake up the first day and find empty bottles and a dying tank. Well, I NEVER remembered to plug them in! The controller has been triggering the outlets, but nothing is running! I can't explain the high Ca or Mg, but it certainly clarifies the Alk situation. At this point, the Alk part is going to run, and I'll closely monitor everything to make sure it doesn't go crazy. My guess is that, as the pH and Alk levels rise, the Ca will fall into line. One thing at a time. Only then will I plug in the Ca dosing pump.
The disappearing shrimp is a mystery, but I plan to get another fish and shrimp, so I'll have a few months of QT before they need to go in.
 

tkeracer619

Premium Member
Well often some of our problems are things we simply just overlook. I agree that it just looks like cyano. Admitting our mistakes often takes some courage so thanks for being honest. Hopefully this helps you get your water chemistry sorted out.
 

mpderksen

New member
Well often some of our problems are things we simply just overlook. I agree that it just looks like cyano. Admitting our mistakes often takes some courage so thanks for being honest. Hopefully this helps you get your water chemistry sorted out.

No point in posting a request for help and then not being honest or following the advice of people that have more experience. When I started the hobby 7 years ago, my tank was super awesome until Aptasia took over because I didn't even know what it was. There's always more to learn, right? This is my third tank, and the first with SPS. Loving it and getting better all the time. Losing a shrimp is trivial in the big picture.
 
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