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Thread: RTN Scare

  1. #1
    Senior Member Flame*Angel's Avatar
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    RTN Scare

    I've had an interesting few days and figured I should post this for the benefit of others who may end up with the same problem some day.

    I got in on an order with someone going to the US for some frags. They arrived small and unmounted and a couple were DOA but I stuck the rest in epoxy blobs anyway and hoped for the best. Two more died rather quickly from the bottom up. It was so fast you could almost watch it happen. I didn't get really concerned until two frags that I had for a while now started doing the same thing.

    I knew then it was RTN (rapid tissue necrosis). RTN is a symptom that can be caused by many things. I removed and examined the dead pieces with a strong magnifying glass. No little red bugs or other signs of predators or predation. Whew! That meant it was likely a disease or pathogen.

    First I tripple dosed the tank with Seachem Iodine. Then I cracked off the affected parts of the two older frags and placed the living parts in a dip (Seachem Reef Dip coral disinfectant). Then I did a 40g water change and put 3 bags of carbon in the sump.

    It's been a few days now and I haven't seen any more signs of it so I figure I'm in the clear. When it was happening it was so fast I could see how someone could easily lose a tank full of SPS if they didn't act quickly. I figure the dip saved the frags and the iodine, water change and carbon stopped whatever was causing it in the first place. Absolutely nothing else in the tank was affected by the RTN or my treatment.

    I lost all but 2 of the 8 US frags but I think the rest will be ok. The first signs are white bare to the skeleton bases. In a matter of a few hours the white moves up and up at a very alarming rate. I saw no brown gelly, no bright white band or other telltale signs of a specific disease. This was one of the scariest things I've been through with my tank.
    Susan

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cake Fan's Avatar
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    OMG!!!! That's horrible, I can imagine you haven't had much rest. I've never heard of this before, what a way to learn. Where did you get them from? and are they going to reimburse you for the goods if not your troubles?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Flame*Angel's Avatar
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    I don't like to defame a business online (PM me). I'm not 100% sure that the place is responsible although it certainly does appear so. There's no compensation, this was a one time opportunity because someone local was going to the US for a short trip and bringing back some livestock. I understood the risk when I got involved and it turned out worse than I thought. I just won't buy from them again.

    It was a very stressful few days though. My tank is almost entirely SPS now and some pieces would be extremely hard to replace. I was horrified at the thought of losing all of them.
    Susan

  4. #4
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    Flame Angle ... This is also something I have never heard of and was wondering ... If this condition can kill so quickly would it be worth the cost and trouble to use that dip on all new SPS corals?
    Rob

  5. #5
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    Flame,
    I know how you feel and how it can be nerve wracking as I too have been through this.
    I just wanted to mention to the others reading that it doesn't only happen with new arriving corals. It can happen to stuff that's been in the tank for a long time... EVEN if you haven't added anything. This is usually caused by a pathogen or disease hitchhiking on the coral and as with Ick it won't affect anything if they are all in strong/good health. When they become weakened by stress, such as the new frags being shipped and in bags. the RTN can take a foothold and do it's ugly stuff.
    This can also very easily happen if your water parameteters are out of whack causing the corals too stress out. This is what happened to me and made me realize it was time to add a calcium reactor to my tank. I was constantly adding SPS frags to a tank that was on kalk only and without realizing it, my tank was in way more a demand thean what the Kalk was supplying and my levels were way low which cause a bunch of corals to degenerate by RTNing.
    One(old) Saltydog,
    Bottomline is that dipping everything new won't necessarily be a 100% insurance, although it won't hurt and would be a good habit to start if you want to. Also, keep those parameters inline.

  6. #6
    AC Partner MomRules's Avatar
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    OMG- good thing you are such a devoted reef Mom, Flame! All those beautiful acros you have in there! Too bad about the frags you lost, but at least you saved the rest!!! Scarey to think you can lose sps that fast, especially for those of us who have to leave our tanks for 3-4 days sometimes! Can this spread to LPS?
    Gail in Nova Scotia

  7. #7
    Senior Member Flame*Angel's Avatar
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    In the research I did through this I've only heard of it affecting SPS corals. Mind you I was searching for RTN and SPS so just because I didn't find any information on RTN in LPS doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

    I have been considering dipping all newcomers but it appears to be pretty stressful to the frags and, as Toutouche mentioned, isn't any guarantee. I'd hate to have a coral arrive fine but with some shipping stress and then die because of the added stress caused by the dip. In the future I think I'll just keep a close eye on newcomers and dip them at the first signs of trouble. If I had done this with the first new frag I suspect I may have saved the others but this was my first experience with RTN and I didn't think of it.

    The night I got the frags (at 4am *groan*) there was one that arrived bleaced but still alive. I decided to put it in the tank and see if it would recover its zooxanthalae and colour. The RTN started the next day but it wasn't overly noticeable or alarming because it was already white. Bleached and RTN are different. RTN is white but also has no flesh, the white is the bare bone. A bleached frag still has flesh and polyps, just no colour.

    Anyway, I'm pretty sure it was this one bleached frag that started everything. In the future I won't put any bleached frags in the tank. At this point all I can say is WHEW!!!
    Susan

  8. #8
    Senior Member MalHavoc's Avatar
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    RTN is an "SPS" thing. This is why every coral I buy gets quarantined.

    Eric Borneman has mentioned that dipping Acros can be quite stressful, depending on what you use. While it may be fine to use a Lugol's dip (Iodine) on something like an LPS coral, it's been his experience that doing it with an Acro will kill it pretty darn quick.

    Temperature has also been correlated to RTN. Seems that tanks running at temperatures greater than 80F have a higher risk of experiencing RTN.
    Jason Nugent
    http://malhavoc.homeunix.com/
    ReefCentral Admin

    180 gallon Oceanic with Lifereef Sump, 33 gallon with VHO, 20 gallon frag tank with MH

  9. #9
    Senior Member Flame*Angel's Avatar
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    The two SPS frags I dipped (acro and hispana) are still alive but obviously suffered some severe stress. The acro was teal with purple tips but is now brown with a bit of purple on the tips. The hispana is pretty much the same but isn't putting out polyps like it used to. However, it did stop the RTN and I'm hoping they will recover.

    The dip I used is to be iodine based.
    Susan

  10. #10
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    Cool flame

    thats scary! when quaratining sps are we talking a tank that is plumbed into your existing waterline and would you want to supply the same lighting conditions as in your main tank or is that over kill? could not the pathogen spread thru the water table? I guess I could plumb a tank into the main but when quaratining just close off a valve until the period is over how long would you quaratine?

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