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Coral and anemone response to LED fixture going bad

Discussion in 'Saltwater Hardware' started by Donya, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. Donya

    Donya Crazy Crab Lady
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator

    Jul 23, 2004
    Likes Received:
    I have some interesting observations from my reef tank that I wanted to share. For the last few years I've had an AI prime LED on the tank, which served me well until this month. A couple weeks ago, it died in a very frustrating way by subjecting my fish to a periodic lightning effect in the dark for who knows how long until I finally walked into the room and frantically unplugged it. However, it's what came before and after that meltdown that's the interesting part.

    In the 3-4 weeks leading up to the AI Prime blowing out, my bubble tip anemones and corals were getting progressively more sulky. I also started to have an Aiptasia population bloom that I just couldn't seem to get under control. I thought it was probably because I must have been slack on maintenance or something, but nothing seemed to make a difference and the corals just kept closing up more and more. I have a few BTAs, and they all started avoiding light, slithering into crevices, hiding behind filter tubes, etc. One literally crawled under a rock and disappeared (died I presume; never did find it again). In retrospect, that behavior from the anemones should have been an immediate heads up to me that it was light related, but the light looked absolutely fine to my eyes. The fish and other inverts didn't seem to care either.

    After the fixture blew out, I swapped to a Fluval reef strip LED fixture that I've grown corals with before. Wouldn't you know it, with the other fixture on for a couple weeks, all of a sudden everybody is happy and the Aiptasia are getting beaten back with little intervention from me. There must have been some kind of abnormality in the light from the AI prime, maybe a spike in some part of the spectrum or flickering I couldn't detect that was upsetting the corals and anemones but none of the other animals. The onset of problems was fast enough that I don't think it can simply be the natural decrease in brightness that LEDs experience after many years of use. Plus, if it was just too dim, the anemones would have been climbing up to get more and wouldn't have been trying to literally escape to the darkness.

    So, now I know that if my corals all start sulking and nothing else works, it could be something going wrong with the light that I literally can't see, and that none of my other animals care about. One more thing to add to the list of mysterious possible issues to debug when corals and anemones start acting weird!

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