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Old 08/13/2019, 11:57 AM   #1
brad
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Tank crash with bacteria bloom

Just over 2 weeks ago, my 270 gallon tank looked great, low nutrients and had been stable for years. I got back from a frag swap, and may have picked up some bacteria or other containment - or the time is just coincidence.

The next day, I thought the tank looked a little cloudy, but decided I just need to scrape acrylic.

The day after, for 2 weeks, the tank looked like milk - I couldn't see anything at all. My skimmer pulled out ridiculous amounts of skimmate - far more than I thought I had organic material in the tank. I've been cleaning it twice a day, but gallons every day end up on the floor, and most is going down the drain. Probably 50 gallons of skimmate thick enough to clog a quarter inch hose in about 12 hours.

Now the tank is clearing. I still can't see everything, but all the fish are alive and no worse for wear. But all the coral is distressed, and I fear most or all it is dead or dying. That still doesn't explain 10% of the amount of gunk I've skimmed out.

Obviously, I had to have had some sort of water chemistry problem before this happened. But not something that showed up as NO3 or phosphate, probably some sort of carbon accumulation.

In almost 20 years of reef keeping, I've never seen anything like this. This is by far the biggest tank downturn I've seen that didn't involve obvious equipment failure.

How can I prevent this in the future? Should I be adding bacteria somehow? Someone on another forum suggested I had a monoculture and introduced something that thrived in my tank.

Is there anything I could have reasonably done to save my coral once this started?

Is there any way to test for this?


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Old 08/13/2019, 02:07 PM   #2
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profanity removed No real way to prevent or test for whatever happened in your tank..

I don't really buy a "monoculture" diagnosis

Good luck


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Last edited by bertoni; 08/13/2019 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 08/13/2019, 06:30 PM   #3
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I am not sure what happened. Something might have trigger a spawning event. If you have a microscope, a check of a water sample might be interesting. What was added to the tank?


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Old 08/13/2019, 06:54 PM   #4
brad
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Originally Posted by bertoni View Post
I am not sure what happened. Something might have trigger a spawning event. If you have a microscope, a check of a water sample might be interesting. What was added to the tank?
I do not have a microscope, but agree it would be interesting.

Whatever it was is too big to be a spawning event. I've removed approximately 50 gallons of thick skimmate and visibility is maybe 10 inches.

Very similar to times I've overdosed vodka - except I doubt you'd get this much pouring a whole bottle in.

Frags added were 2 goniopora, 2 chalice and 1 fire and ice zooanthids. I haven't seen them, but would be surprised if any of them lived. It could be a complete coincidence this happened after adding the frags.


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Old 08/13/2019, 08:13 PM   #5
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Probably silly to even ask as your obviously experienced but have you double checked your tanks temperature with a highly accurate thermometer? I use a Cooper temp tester its lab quality & good to within 1/10th of a degree. I don't place any trust in any digital readings i see until ive checked their accuracy with the ol Cooper. Does the water feel the normal temp you are used to feeling when you put your hand in? The Frags you added don't sound at all like they could be causing this is why im asking. I like the microscope idea probably would tell you what you need to know if its a bloom out of something & not a hi temp issue or a auto doser that went bonkers etc...


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Pavona, Montipora. Acans, Cyphastrea, Blastos, Leptos, Chalices, NPS, Gargonians. Ricordea & purple green mushrooms.Clownfish,Watchman goby,clown goby, yellowtail damsel,Royal gamma, Cardinalfish.

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Old 08/13/2019, 08:49 PM   #6
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Well, I'm going to guess a bacterial bloom. I am not at all sure what triggered the event. It might have been something as simple as some large animal dying for some reason.


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Old 08/14/2019, 08:02 PM   #7
brad
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Originally Posted by Oldreeferman View Post
Probably silly to even ask as your obviously experienced but have you double checked your tanks temperature with a highly accurate thermometer? I use a Cooper temp tester its lab quality & good to within 1/10th of a degree. I don't place any trust in any digital readings i see until ive checked their accuracy with the ol Cooper. Does the water feel the normal temp you are used to feeling when you put your hand in? The Frags you added don't sound at all like they could be causing this is why im asking. I like the microscope idea probably would tell you what you need to know if its a bloom out of something & not a hi temp issue or a auto doser that went bonkers etc...
I use an analog thermometer and run cool - around 26C. I doubt it is highly accurate, but being analog, it is extremely consistent. A spike to 27C would not cause this, although going above 30C would. Given around 400 gallons of water, the temperature does not change quickly.

I dose 2 part from clear jugs - if either pump went faster than the other, I'd see, and I'd probably notice if both went too fast. But I am curious as someone else suggested this on the other forum - how could a doser cause this? I have had doser's dump the full container in at once, it ****ed off my corals (I don't think I lost any), lots of immediate time with big water changes, then a few weeks before everything was stable again. But no where near this level of destruction, and no cloudy water.


Visibility is greatly improved today, from about 10 inches yesterday to about 3 feet today, and while I can't see across the tank, I see the middle from both sides. Unfortunately, what I see is not pleasant. I won't be surprised if I lost every hard coral in the tank (lots of huge Acropora, birdsnest, montipora, many small frags) and some of the hardier toadstool leathers melted, but clove polyps, mushrooms and gorgonias are mostly fine.


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Old 08/14/2019, 08:04 PM   #8
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Well, I'm going to guess a bacterial bloom. I am not at all sure what triggered the event. It might have been something as simple as some large animal dying for some reason.
A large animal, such as a deer or moose, dying in the tank might explain this. Every coral and anemone dying together doesn't seem like a 10th the mass to fuel this.


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Old 08/14/2019, 08:43 PM   #9
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everything you describe sounds like carbon overdose.


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Old 08/14/2019, 09:07 PM   #10
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Have you tried carbon filtering and maybe a 100 micron sock along with the skimmer?


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Pavona, Montipora. Acans, Cyphastrea, Blastos, Leptos, Chalices, NPS, Gargonians. Ricordea & purple green mushrooms.Clownfish,Watchman goby,clown goby, yellowtail damsel,Royal gamma, Cardinalfish.

Current Tank Info: Nano Reef tank, Nano Soft corals tank
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