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ajmckay 11-10-2008 12:35 AM

Any ideas on coral behavior?

I seem to have somewhat of a problem. Here's what happened last Thursday:

My 29 gal was in need of a water change (it had been 2 weeks) and I was going on a long weekend vacation on Friday. Now normally I would mix the saltwater about 2 days in advance, but I didn't have the time, so I mixed it and allowed it to set for about 2 hours. I used my remaining RO/DI water and filled the other half with tap water (which I have done many times before with absolutely no ill-effects and I treat it with a chlorine/chloramine remover that I've used many times) and let it sit for about 2 hours. Then I topped it off with a cup of boiling water to match the temp (and match the S.G.).
I added it to the tank and all seemed well, but I came back a few hours later and my Blastomussa polyps had retracted. I thought it was strange and they were still retracted on Friday afternoon! I came back today (Sunday) and 3 days later they are still retracted! I haven't noticed any color changes, but they're definitely retracted tightly. Everything else seems fine.

Does anyone have any resources, help, or suggestions? This is my first ever issue with corals, I didn't buy the corals, they were hitchhikers, but seemed to be doing well! I haven't done anything yet because I don't want to screw anything up, but i've spent a little while doing some research on the internet but there's not much on this species.

Here's the tech stuff:
29 gal
fluval cannister filter (I rinse the sponge weekly, at the same time as the water changes)
S.G. 1.022
PH 8.3
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0-.05
2 percula clowns (doing great)
Coralife Aqualight T-5 lighting
650 total GPH flowing through the tank
82 degrees (i'll probably be lowering that though)
Peppermint chrimp
a few small aptasia near the polyps
possibly a peanut worm

Pasfur 11-10-2008 06:07 AM

I'm not familiar with the exact species, but it is not at all uncommon for a coral to close for several days, especially when exposed to some stress factor. It is possible that contact was made with the aptasia, which has a very strong sting, and this caused the polyps to close. The exact reason for the polyps closing will probably never be known. Personally, i would do a complete set of tests and continue to observe the aquarium carefully. The polyps will probably open in a few days.

okiemavis 11-10-2008 07:26 PM

Sounds like it was upset by a temperature change, or even just by having water dumped on it (they like low flow). It should open up within the next few days...

Kellsindell 11-10-2008 07:36 PM

They both answered with what i was going to say, but to add to it, what's your dkh at?

Oh and can we get a pic to see if there are any tell tell signs in it?

ajmckay 11-11-2008 12:03 PM

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. They made me feel much better. As of yesterday they seemed to be opening up a little bit (not as much as what they were before the water change, but more than they were on Sunday). Also, I would love to tell you my Dkh, but I don't fully understand that term yet, or how to measure it. I can tell you that my pH is 8.3 and my alkalinity is high.

As for a picture, I will be sure to post a before/after tonight.

Pasfur 11-11-2008 06:50 PM

Alkalinity is often measured in DKH. It would be useful for you to convert your reading to DKH for the purpose of using the common unit of measure.

Cody 11-11-2008 07:17 PM

I agree with the others. My GSP often close up for a few days, at random. It is usually caused by some sort of change in their enviroment.

ajmckay 11-11-2008 07:57 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks for the update...

I use a Red sea basic test kit and it only says "low", "Medium", or "High" alkalinity... On a positive note mine has always been "High". I'll do some more research to find out what the translations into DHK are though.

Okay, here is a pic of the Blasto from about 5 minutes ago...

Kellsindell 11-11-2008 09:01 PM

They don't look too bad, and i'd change kits for at least alk if i where you. you need a better mesurement if you plan on being more exact and knowing when you begin to get borderline.

ajmckay 11-14-2008 10:45 PM

They seem to be doing a little better now... Many of them have opened up to the point where the little tentacle-ish things are coming out... (Sorry I don't know coral anatomy, but the purple outer edges are "puffier" and open, and then these skinny little short tentacle thingies wriggle around.)

I did notice this morning a little green speck next to one of them, could they be budding? Would that be a reason why they would close up for a week?

Also, does anyone know anything about the care and feeding of the Blastomussa? Any tips on how to make this coral flourish would be greatly appreciated. A good web link would be nice at least.

So far I only know that they are a moderate light, low to moderate flow species. I have it about 1.6 ft away from a 300gph powerhead, but at an indirect path. Do you think this is too much flow? I've tried stopping the pumps and feeding it some mysis, but nothing really happened. I also have it at the top of my tank about 6" away from my dual T5 aqualight. I plan on getting a 175 watt MH sometime, so I can move it down a little.

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