Invert PEST!! What to do?

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Drifty

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Aug 15, 2010
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Greetings All!
I have had these things for years but I suspect they are not good. I think they came on Live Rock.
They have migrated to 3 tanks(my fault) but the 36 gallon they originated in (started almost 3 yrs ago) has gone south!
I have lost 2 coral beauties and a Rust Dwarf Angel to, I think, Toxic water conditions. Right now, I cannot get the nitrites, nitrites down and ammonia is also present.
I have changed water 15%,2 days later 25%, again 15% next day and 30% 2 days ago. Nitrites and nitrates are still present. I changed the filtration media(canister type) and Zorb charcoal stuff(technical term) to no avail. Have added Prime at 2x dosage. Yikes! I broke up the sand and all of these I could see, making a mess of the water for a couple hrs thinking to kill them off( I did this after the 2nd h20 change)
So...the fish store says add 10 lbs live sand. I dunno. It seems when they spawn(?) they ALL do. High BIO mass and not enough bacteria? What to do? I have 2 denali cardinals, a percula clown and a dwarf Lion(recent)
Couple few hermits(red leg I think) and 2 long time resident bristle worms. Also some finger like kind of sponge that looks worse the wear lately. BTW, when readt to spawn(?) a long thread emerges ,looks like a flagella?
Thank you!
worms1.jpgwormse.jpg

wormse.jpg worms1.jpg
 

greech

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May 13, 2009
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Graham
Are they thread like? Tough to make out but they look like digitate hydroids. Do they live in casings or sand tubes? Whatever they are, they are not the cause of your water quality concerns unless they are constantly dying.

Are you using tap water? How often do you clean your canister? How long have your parameters been like this? If it has been an extended period, your rock (do you have live rock in your system?) may have "soaked" in nutrients and it may take a while (and a lot of saltwater) to get things back in line. Do you have a sump or just the canister? Don't disturb the sandbed anymore as this is likely the cause of you seeing ammonia. How deep is you sand?

I don't see how live sand can be the answer here.

Sorry for all the questions but have to start somewhere. We'll get it figured out though.
 

XanAvaloni

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Nov 13, 2009
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I'm sorry Drift but I cannot see anything in those pictures. Try this: back off to where the camera can focus properly. Then take the resulting pic and run it through Photoshop Expressions or some other cheap/free paint program and crop it down to the area where the pest is pictured. Maybe then we can get some idea what it is and how it relates to Current Unpleasantness afflicting your tank.
best of luck...
 

Drifty

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Aug 15, 2010
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Are they thread like? Tough to make out but they look like digitate hydroids. Do they live in casings or sand tubes? Whatever they are, they are not the cause of your water quality concerns unless they are constantly dying.

Are you using tap water? How often do you clean your canister? How long have your parameters been like this? If it has been an extended period, your rock (do you have live rock in your system?) may have "soaked" in nutrients and it may take a while (and a lot of saltwater) to get things back in line. Do you have a sump or just the canister? Don't disturb the sandbed anymore as this is likely the cause of you seeing ammonia. How deep is you sand?

I don't see how live sand can be the answer here.

Sorry for all the questions but have to start somewhere. We'll get it figured out though.
tall
Hi! 36gal bowfront;don't do the canister as frequently as I should ...but at least every 6-8wks. Have about 20lbs of live rock-long lived-coralline algae covers ~50% Using RO water w/ new filters ,to mix my own. occasionally buy store made water...cheap enough.The toxic parameters are recent The critters start out as tiny white pores(?) gradually add sand to form a tube....when mature enough, a thread extrudes for a day or so(2-3x longer than tube) and BAM! stuff all over(stuff is a technical term,right?) Stuff looks like a tiny star which is motile. Also, after several of these explosions, a scum forms on surface with bits of sand swirling around in it?I manually strain it off till my back gets to me! Have 30lbs live sand. From below the sand line, can see the 'worms' thwmselves,like an ant farm! Once they reach the surface, they use sand to build a cylindrical home, like feather dusters.
Spoke with a different store, said I may have changed TOO much water and should wait a week to see if bacterial bed catches up. BTW, found 2 dead bristle worms 4-5 days ago-but one large one still ticking. The cardinals,clown and Lion are doing well (as far as I can tell-look good and eating) I also cut feeding to 1x a day as opposed to 2 -spirulina brine shrimp and live Ghost shrimp for dwarf Lion.
Maybe a corliss wrasse to cut down population of these wormy lookin things?
Thanks alot for the help!
Drifty
 

Drifty

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Aug 15, 2010
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I'm sorry Drift but I cannot see anything in those pictures. Try this: back off to where the camera can focus properly. Then take the resulting pic and run it through Photoshop Expressions or some other cheap/free paint program and crop it down to the area where the pest is pictured. Maybe then we can get some idea what it is and how it relates to Current Unpleasantness afflicting your tank.
best of luck...
Sorry bout the pic----you can't see anything at all? What you should see are a bunch of open ends of cylinders of sand...blurry,I know. THOSE cylinders are built by the creatures and proliferate at an amazing rate. From the front, below the sand surface, I can see the 'worm'(like an ant farm tunnell but alive-once above the surface, buuilds itself a cylindrical home,similar to feather duster.
If you cant see at least a blurry pic, i think its on your end....pics taken w/ Blackberry at the clearest magnification I can manage and still tell what I'm seeing. Sorry.
Drifty
 

greech

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It's kind of hard to do too large of a water change. The number of bacteria free floating in the water is inconsequential to the number on and within the live rock and sand. If you did a huge water change and left rock exposed to the air for extended periods or your water didn't match up (would have to be a fairly big variance), you could have done some damage but other than that too large or too frequent water changes are not the cause of your spike. From your pics, it looks like you may have a decent amount of hair algae and/or cyanobacteria (tough to see). Obviously this is from the nutrients but it is also not helping as it will collect detritius and also reduce the functionality of your live rock. If it were me, I would remove one or two rocks at a time during each water change after you have drained some water. Take a high powered pump and blow the crap out of them (literally and figuratively :)) and scrub the algae off with an soft brush. Clean the canister, keep it clean and keep fresh GFO and carbon in it (don't overdose GFO though). Also keep up with as many water changes as you can do being sure to match SG and temp each time. The ammonia is still troubling as that implies something is decayed/decaying in your system or you are overstocked (I'm thinking the latter is the culprit). So far I have seen you mention 3 angels (all died), a pair of clowns, a number of cardinals, a wrasse and a lion fish. I don't know how many fish you have now, or how long your clowns, cardinals and wrasse will last with a lion in a 36 gallon, but I would thin the heard while you are trying to get things back on track. At least remove the lion.

I am almost positive that you have some type of chaetopterid or spionid worm. I have some myself but not near the number you have nor are none present in clusters like yours. Mine have never caused a single problem. I would start with that article and go from there. There are other Reef Keeping articles on worms as well. Wet Web Media would be another good place to research the species of worm you have.

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-05/rs/index.php
 
Last edited:

SubRosa

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Definitely an invert, definitely not a pest.
 

the wizard

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Jan 28, 2010
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Definitely keep doing water changes. Not getting the nitrites down and ammonia presence will cause more losses.
 
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