RANT 1 : Rising army of the living dead
Keep sps long enough and bump your head enough times and somehow an opening line like that seems appropriate. How is that not true ? Sps with stn are essentially the living dead , Sps with RTN are the dead - dead . STN is an abbreviation reef keepers use to describe a coral that is slowly dying ( slow tissue necrosis ) and RTN quickly dying ( rapid tissue necrosis ) . What is concerning is the high rate at which these incidents are increasing , seemingly . I'd be too afraid to divulge my thoughts on the matter ( why such a high increase in these incidents seem to be prevailing ) but let's look at reasons we've encountered down here .
• low phosphate
• low phosphate
• low phosphate
( yes I said that thrice )
• skewed bacterial ecology
• alkalinity swings
• rapid swings in salt level
• stupid reasons ( eg : tank exploded , spiteful sister unplugged the heater and tank froze etc )
The truth of the matter is really , there are more reasons coral can go into stn than what there are stars in the Milky Way Galaxy . A few months ago I had a lightbulb moment , you know when you changing a T5 globe and make contact with an exposed end cap cable and send 43 thousand watts of electricity through your body , well anyways it had nothing to do with coral . It's this bloody PPAP tune messing with my head . Let me try again.
" a few month back " ... I was chatting to my friend Dominique Naidoo ( his name does not go all bold cos we not FB friends - go figure ) , and he said some stuff , as he usually does and either he said or I realized , possibly both , that no matter the trigger cause of the STN it ultimately terminates in the bacteria in and on the coral dying and or getting infected by other non coral dwelling bacteria . Point is , too few of us think about bacteria when corals go into stn .
So some background , for years we thought of corals as animals that contained photosynthetic algae within them called zooxanthella but today the understanding is that while this is true they also have layers of bacteria that live on and in them too , as well as types of other algae , other types of bugs like protist and even fungi. This entire happy party now referred to as a Holobiont . But have the teenagers not taught us that the peeps at the party get out of hand when there's way to much " jin and juice " , ( Snoop Dog aka Snoop Lion ) or in this case vodka ( aka carbon dosing ) , for those that didn't know , " now you ( about to ) know " , ( Puff Daddy aka Notorious BIG ) vodka breaks down into a carbon / sugar source that feeds / accelerates the growth of bacteria that can reduce the concentration of inorganic nitrates and phosphates .
The realization that corals are teeming with bacterial populations of different types all playing different roles yet all intrinsically interconnected and resulting in the well being of the actual coral that we aim to keep happy and enjoy should be brought more in focus . The complexity amplified by the inter and codependency of the zooxanthella and the coral ( polyps ) too . So back to my beans on phosphates ....
I have no beans with phosphates , either real hi or real loooooooooooow . There are many aquariums that blossom under both conditions. I should mention though I'm kinda leaning towards discussing my sentiments more to sps aquariums here .... There is a low - no - zero - phosphate must go - vibe , kinda going on the world over right now and the super brightly coloured sps reef tanks support that motive , and it should , because why would you want a drab brown tank when it could look like your niece went mental with her nursery markers over your tank , and no brothers and sisters , it's not " unnatural " .
But no phosphates , in principle is a bad idea , firstly a zero phosphate level is only an academic construct , in reality it can not exist , like traveling at or faster than the speed of light , the universe can simply not allow for this . There is always phosphate . Phosphate complicates our understanding of it as it is complex and can exist in many forms , and not just as forms of phosphate but in ' stuff ' as well , like oak trees and spinach and Pop Eye Sherbet .
As sleep sets in let me try and catch the basis of what I'd like to say next time ... Phosphates as dissolved inorganic phosphates should be low and phosphates as particulates should be high ( food ) . Screwing with phosphates , by reducing it completely , and screwing with bacteria to reduce phosphates can ( note : not will , " can " ) screw up your corals .