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Coral Carbon Crisis part 2

Posted 09/06/2010 at 10:37 AM by Mmckibben

Start at part 1!


A. Materials

1. Fresh BIC ball point pen
2. Nylon Mesh Disc 1/2" OD 5 Micron Opening 37 Micron Thread Diameter 1 Percent Open Area (Pack of 100)
3. Small funnel
4. Red Sea Turbo CO2Bio System
5. 4* Red Sea CO2 Refill
6. American Marine Inc Pinpoint ph Monitor
7. Celestron Digital Microscope kit
8. All Glass 36 gallon bow front corner aquarium
9. DIY aquarium stand
10. CPR hang on refugium, small
11. Add on DIY protein skimmer
12. CPR Accela BakPak Replacement Pump
13. CPR Replacement Collection Cup Assembly For BakPak, Dual BakPak & AquaFuge PS Refugiums
14. Refugium light
15. 2* 300 gallon per hour pump
16. 250 galloon per hour pump
17. 12 Feet of 1 in tubing
18. Aqua Euro USA EU-1/13 HP Titanium Chiller
19. Black acrylic
20. 2* 90º FPT* Insert Elbows
21. 2* Loc-Line 1/2 inch Ball Socket* MPT Connector
22. 2*Loc-Line 1/2 x 1-1/4 inch Ball Socket Flare Nozzle
23. SCWD wave maker
24. Magna Float
25. Current USA SunDial HQI Pendant 1x150W 10K HQI / 2x32W Dual SunPaq Actinics
26. Distilled water
27. Instant Ocean Reef crystals
28. Reef Nutrition Roti Feast
29. Reef Nutrition Phyto Feast
30. 2.5 ml Syringe
31. 20 pounds of coarse coral sand
32. 30 pounds of fine Aragonite sand
33. 37 pounds live rock
34. There are millions of invertebrates that came on the live rock, many of them are microscopic. Common species are bristle worms, copepods, sponges, aiptasia, ect.
35. Chaetomorpha sp.
36. 6*Clibanarius sp.
37. 2*Nassarius sp
38. 1*Cerithium sp.
39. 2*Strombus spp.
40. Lysmata amboinensis
41. Montipora Capicornus
42. Seriatopora Guttatus
43. Duncanopsammia Axifuga
44. Favites sp.
45. Caulastrea Farcata
46. Propalythoa sp.
47. Actinodiscus sp.

B. Procedure

1. Leave the average pH of the aquarium at a normal level of 8.1 for 6 days; in this time perform the following tasks.
2. Prepare the plankton net, timer, and ph probe for testing.
3. Position the ph probe in a spot of your choosing. The ph probe will remain there for the remainder of the experiment.
4. Add one ml of phytoplankton, and 1 ml of rotifers.
5. Let the plankton dilute into the aquarium for 5 minutes.
6. Place the plankton net in the water so that the largest opening is against the current. Note that every sample taken during the experiment will be done in this spot, and position.
7. Once the plankton net is placed in the aquarium, start the timer.
8. Remove the plankton net once the timer has reached one minute.
9. Let the remainder of the water still held in the plankton net drain out.
10. Cover the bottom of the plankton net.
11. Add one ml of fresh distilled water to the plankton net.
12. Place finger over the top of the plankton net, and then shake gently for thirty seconds.
13. Remove the water using a sterile syringe.
14. Add one drop from the syringe to a Petri dish.
15. Place Petri dish so that the drop is centered in the lens of the microscope.
16. Count the total amount of phytoplankton, and zooplankton present in the drop of water.
17. Clean the Petri dish.
18. Repeat steps 14 through 17 ten times.
19. Add the plankton counts from all ten drops. Divide this number by ten to get your average plankton count per drop.
20. Repeat steps 6 through 19 after 30 minutes.
21. Record data
22. Record ph of the water when this sample was taken.
23. Clean tools with distilled water
24. Take a photograph of every coral, and the aquarium as a whole. Make notes on coral polyp size, coloration, and signs of death; note step 31 for this reaction.
25. Repeat steps 2 through 24 once in the morning, once in the evening, and once at night for each day of the experiment.
26. The following steps are to begin on day seven
27. Use the turbo CO2 Bio System, and protein skimmer to regulate the ph of the aquarium; you do this by increasing of decreasing the amount of bubbles produced by the CO2 system, and protein skimmer. Turn the CO2 system of at night to prevent a larger pH drop than needed
28. The ph drop to should be .1 less than the old ph. Both of these ph are averages, since ph will change throughout the day and night.
29. To find the average ph for the day, use the equation: (morning ph + evening day ph + night ph) divided by three.
30. Drop the ph by .1 again, and again every 4 days until the corals begin to die, or you reach a ph of 7.5.
31. Symptoms of death are: bleaching, or loss of tissue in SPS corals; loss of tissue, and the secretion of a “slime” in LPS, and soft corals
32. Let the ph rise back to normal levels, this will hopefully save some tissue that will regenerate.
33. Record, and analyze data.
34. Reach a conclusion.
35. Monitor the corals health until all loss tissue has been regenerated.

C. Variable Groups

Control: The ph of the aquarium will remain at normal levels for first six days of the
Experiment. Measure the dependant variables with the aquarium inhabitants under these normal conditions.

Experimental Group: The same aquariums inhabitants will be studied once the ph
starts to drop. Measure the dependant variables.

Independent Variable: The ph of the aquarium water.

Dependant Variable: The average plankton count, coral coloration, polyp size, and
other visible health changes.

Constant variables: The water chemistry, no new inhabitants, no new equipment,
same day light hours, water flow, same food, and other general
habitat characteristics.


The data showed a drop in pH of about .1 every 4 days. At the beginning of the

experiment there was only a minuet change in plankton per drop, but by day 14 the

plankton per drop went up by about 1 per drop. The polyps on this day were about 2/3 the

original size. This trend slowed down by day 18, only rising by about .4. On day 22 the

plankton had raised by around .8. This is also the day bleaching began in the Motipora

Capricornis, and the other corals were only 1/3 their original size. The over all increase

by day 22 was 10%. This means the corals were consuming less plankton.
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Total Comments 2


  1. New Comment
    Mmckibben's Avatar
    sorry, graphs won't load.
    Posted 09/06/2010 at 10:38 AM by Mmckibben Mmckibben is offline
  2. New Comment
    Looks like you have put a great deal of time into this and it's made me realise my occasional nightime pH drops may be reaching levels where my corals are suffering. I would like to see the pictures you have taken, see some data, hear more about each species' health and their recovery. Nice work though!
    Posted 09/06/2010 at 04:23 PM by Shoreline Shoreline is offline

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