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bm5180 02-22-2009 07:24 AM

Sponges putting toxins in water?
I've had my 90 gallon reef tank up and running for just over a year now. Over the year, I've slowly added a good stock of corals, and fish. I currently have 7 fish, and probably 30 or so coral pieces. The problem that I have had for a long time now is, for one reason or another, corals just do not seem to do well in my tank. Colors are lacking, polyps go days without extending, and growth rates are very slow. However, sometimes days will go by where everything looks great and extended, then all of a sudden, pieces look like they are about to dye. Now here's the kicker, my water always test perfect, it has since the second month of setting up the tank (I've had multiple sources test it, and I test every week). Nitrate, Nitrite, Amonia, Phosphates, always 0, calcium at 420, alkalinity at 8-9, salinity 1.024, and temperature stays at 78 (system has a chiller). Two 250W metal halides, with 2 T-5's. Filter includes 120 lbs of live rock, 3 inch layer of live sand, mudd sump with alge growing, 3 filter socks in sump I change ever four days or so, an octopus protein skimmer, with a mag 12 pump for return. I also have two power heads for additional circulation.

With the system set up the way it is, and the water parimeters being where they should, I have a feeling something else is causing the problem. I have been reading that sponges can release toxins in the water. I have three sponges in my tank, a bright red sponge that is round in shape, a bright blue sponge round in shape, and something called a spider sponge (I also saw aussie sponge on line), which is orange with white markings. Polyps come out of the white. This is a beautiful piece...

Has anyone had experience with sponges that can shed some light on this? Is it possible that a sponge could be letting out toxins, which is why all of a sudden corals do so poorly. Another thing I read is these toxins are so strong that it could cause your skin to be red and irrated when you put your arm in. I have had this experience before, where my hand and arm burnt some and were red when putting it in the tank. Advice?

Pasfur 02-22-2009 07:47 AM

Interesting post. I'm curios about this as well. Can you give some details about the species of corals that you keep, which are opening well, and which are not?

Can we see some pictures of your tank? It sounds impressive!

Kellsindell 02-23-2009 07:28 PM

The tank sounds impressive indeed. as for sponges releasing toxins i couldn't tell you they do. I have 4or so in my tank and i know of many reefers saying to encourage sponge growth in the tank. They feed off nitrates and phostphates. They are great filters and considered better then macro algae, although this is from respectable reefers not personal exp.

Only things i could suggest is stronium and magnesium. you didn't list this. How often do you do a water change and how much and do you use any supplementations?

bm5180 02-25-2009 07:15 AM

Stronium and magnesium are two supplements that I have not been adding. I did buy some Kent Marine Coral Vite about two weeks, which I believe has stronium and magnesium in it. I've only added this product a couple of times so the verdict is still out on how well it works. I do water changes at least every three weeks or so, I try for every other weekend, around 15%. From what I have read, the water changes should be sufficient to replenish stronium and magnesium, which is why I have not been adding them. But at this point, I'm willing to try anything. I guess I should clearify, not all of my corals do poorly. Some do very well, I have a toad stool that is growing so fast he's starting to cover other corals. Acropora coral is something I have trouple with. The colorful tips that I saw in the local pet shop go away immediately in my tank, and the growth is very slow (with the exception of a pink birdsnest that is growing nicely). I've tried a couple of bubble corals, which both died within a week of adding to the tank. And the latest victims have been a couple of starburst corals. I've had them for months now, and were doing very well, attached and growing all over the rocks I placed them on. But two weeks ago, all of a sudden, the polyps closed and the entire piece started falling from the rock. They have since recovered and are opening up some, but not like before. This sudden unexplained change is why I started thinking maybe the sponges. I also just made an online order for 5 acro frags, looked great the first two days, then started loosing color. Its been a week now, and they are looking dull.

I'm took some pics of the tank, but I don't see how to post them on this site. Am I missing something?

cerianthus 02-25-2009 10:26 AM

Corals do go thru territorial war via many ways. One of the way is via chemical warfare. Have kept pretty much what ever sponges avail and had some different kinds of sponges which came w/ LR without mishap. I actually tried to promote the growth of sponges. Toad Stool which is doing well may the culpit by producing more pheromones which will stunt/inhibit, even kill other stony corals. What I used to do was locate softies near each other and LPS and SPS on one side or top of the tank. Since Pheromones or any toxins are protein thus skimmer would remove them eventually or just breaks down just like any other organic matter in time.
I used to have 4-6 PH in 90 G Tank to really cause turbulence w/i tank (wavemakers) believing in dispersing the pheromones as much as possible (dilute). I would expect few may go thru sloughing period (i think this is correct term) but not majority of corals.
I am not saying this is the reason but possibilities. Did you happen to log all the events of tank such as date and events, which can sometimes help you determining the possible causes, well, sometimes!!

How about trying this. I know most reefers dont use carbon but since carbon will removeall inorganic/organic substances, Add Coconut Carbon or Super Act Carbon to system to see if corals perk up as they used to.
Trying to add more PH in the tank to cause turbulence. Do one thing at a time to see which did the trick.
If not, try in combo.
BTW, have you ever check for copper. I think it wouldnt hurt to check first before anything. How about substrate. Do you happen to have deep sand bed where dead area exist producing toxic gas. Slime algae? Certain slimy algae can produce toxic gas which may irritate/kill corals.

Hope my thoughts helped you a bit and hope you find the cause(s).

conger 02-25-2009 11:02 AM


Originally Posted by bm5180 (Post 175454)
I'm took some pics of the tank, but I don't see how to post them on this site. Am I missing something?

When you make a new post/reply, there should be a little paper clip icon on the top of the area you are typing in, right next to the smiley face. Click on that, and it should pop open a window where you can upload pictures. The very top thing in the window is a button to browse, so search out the file/photo, then click on the upload button (if the file is too big, it won't let you upload it). You can upload multiple files by repeating the browse-upload sequence.

Once you are done uploading your files, click the "close this window" text at the upper right. Now, you have to actually place the photos in your post... click on the paper clip icon again, and you should see one or more files listed that you just uploaded. Just click on them, and they will be inserted in your post for all to see! :-P

bm5180 02-25-2009 07:08 PM

Pictures of tank
4 Attachment(s)
We'll see if this works. Here are a few pictures of the tank, excuse the photo quality, I need to get a new camera. The tank is built into an entertainment center in the living room. One of the pics you can see all three of the sponges I have, including the spider sponge. I fed it just before taking the pic so polyps are out. To the left of the red sponge, you will see a starburst coral, which is the one that almost died. The five frags I just got on line are randomly placed for now, as they adjust to lighting. I'll move them up in a few days or so. Still many emply places in the tank, I'm slowly filling in the holes. Thanks for the feedback. I may just hold off for a while and see if things take another downturn before I change anything.

cerianthus 02-25-2009 09:52 PM

Nice cabinetry! And coral seems OK although cant see polyps on SPS. Make sure to blow any detritus accumulating on Scroll & Monti.Hammer and Frogspawn? seems ok though could be more extended. GSP and favia? looks good too! Green Caulastrea? seems somewhat closed. Is that a closed gsp/zoa/paly b/n hammer and red sponge on the bottom? CoCo Worm are dong nice.
Is that a closed Capnella? and closed Devil Hand Leather under the PH(upper right) ? Possibly going thru sloughing period?
Cant say much since no previous pics to compare.
Nice looking tank! Still have lots space for more!

bm5180 02-26-2009 07:15 AM

Yea, I wish I could fill it up quickly, too bad these corals seem to keep getting more and more expensive. I think you are correct on everything except the devils hand (top right under the pump). That is actually a branching monti. That is one of the pieces I just received from an on line order. I'm a little dissapointed in that one, I saw an actual picture of it when ordering, and it was deep blue, almost purple. You said it was closed. When it opens (if it opens), can I expect to see a brighter color? I'm also only running my halides for 6 hours a day right now, down from 8. I read to drop the time some when you are acclimating new corals. I'm going to increase by 1 hour today, maybe with additional light they will open up.


onefish2fish 02-26-2009 07:37 AM

welcome to the forum. very nice setup.

could you post pictures of your sump please? that is, if you have one.

dont think i saw but are you protein skimming and what brand/model skimmer?

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