“Stability” swings

10galtank

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Hello, all

My tank undergoes a new set of parameters quite frequently. I understand there is change in reef tanks, but a new “stable” set almost each month or so? This leads to coral irritation, algae issues, and headaches for me. My tank is 2 years old, 30 gallons, 3 fish. To my knowledge, long term stability is key in reef keeping, however, with what seems to be a new set of values every month, this goal is hard to reach for me. For example, my ALK two months ago was 8.5dkh all month, NO3 stayed around 5-10ppm all month, and PO4 was around 0.15-0.2ppm all month. Last month, my tank balanced out at 9.6dkh all month, NO3 of about 15-16ppm all month, and PO4 of 0.45ppm all month. So far this month, my tank started out with a ALK of 8.9dkh then jumped to 9.4dkh, NO3 is around 10-16ppm, and PO4 is jumping around 0.34-0.21ppm.

I dose AFR daily as alk, mag, calc, and TE supplements and also dose amino acids. I feed one cube of mysis shrimp through the day. My maintenance, feeding, and all other external factors have maintained the same throughout this tanks life.

As stated, these sets of new parameters almost every month plays a huge factor in the health of my corals. Although they stay stable for the month, my corals hate when they change the very next. I have lost many corals, fought many algae issues, etc. ***in order to be on top of these changes, I do tweak and adjust my dosing to make sure my ALK levels never get through the roof, or way to low. Other than that, no methods I have tried have ever helped me maintain a relatively stable set of parameters throughout time— I always always always seem to get a completely new set every month.

I am in search of an answer on how to hopefully find a *true* balance of stability in my tank, and an answer to maybe why this is happening scientifically. I am not hunting exact numbers, just parameters that don’t like to flip flop on me every month or so.
 

Doctorgori

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I’m not sure what alkalinity tolerance corals actually have, my guess is nobody does…Seems I’ve killed corals with a 1dkh swing, but then again they seem happy and gleeful if that change was because it was a water change…
I got nothing…
OTOH when it comes to temp swings, nailing a 1F change is outright folly …I don’t see stability here as any big deal over 24hrs (within reason)
 
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10galtank

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I’m not sure what alkalinity tolerance corals actually have, my guess is nobody does…Seems I’ve killed corals with a 1dkh swing, but then again they seem happy and gleeful if that change was because it was a water change…
I got nothing…
OTOH when it comes to temp swings, nailing a 1F change is outright folly …I don’t see stability here as any big deal over 24hrs (within reason)
Temp never has seemed to bother me. I do not monitor it and have not noticed ill effects from not doing so. I just keep my heater at 77-78 on the dial
 

Lavey29

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Do you do weekly water changes to keep your system in balance? Maintain consistent salinity? Magnesium is the buffer for alk and cal. Are you maintaining proper Magnesium levels?
 

Doctorgori

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Temp never has seemed to bother me. I do not monitor it and have not noticed ill effects from not doing so. I just keep my heater at 77-78 on the dial
Yeah with a small tank temperature can swing with room temps…so you gotta use a heater…
I don’t usually bother with a heater on larger systems; more risk tank it’s worth
…Of all the params you mentioned I’d guess it’s alkalinity that corals are most sensitive to. I can’t imagine widespread bleaching if you suddenly dosed Calcium up from 400ppm to 450 …whereas if you dosed your alk from 9dkh to 12dkh all of a sudden, who knows.
 

crazyfishmom

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I have noticed issues when the swings are sudden but not when gradual. For example, I overdosed alkalinity once and it shot up to 11 from 8.5 dkh. I then did the dumb thing and tried to bring it down quickly. Many corals were very upset. I did it again a few weeks later, but this time I just let the tank naturally come down over time and everything was fine. I’ve seen similar stories by others here.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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I know I said this already in your other thread, but I think you are blaiming instability without sufficient cause.

Alk is the main stability concern, and it is not hard to keep alk adequately stable. A slow change of 0.5 dKH is not a problem.

Drifts in N and P do not seem to be an issue, as long as they do not get too low.
 
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10galtank

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Do you do weekly water changes to keep your system in balance? Maintain consistent salinity? Magnesium is the buffer for alk and cal. Are you maintaining proper Magnesium levels?
I do weekly 10 gallon in my 30 display. Magnesium levels are dosed in conjustction with the AFR, it’s an one part solution.
 
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10galtank

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How big are your water changes. Salt (dry) might need to be mixed (as it can settle) before you mix it with water.
10 gallons in a 30 display. I have been using pre-mixed water from my LFS for the whole duration of this tank.
 
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10galtank

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I know I said this already in your other thread, but I think you are blaiming instability without sufficient cause.

Alk is the main stability concern, and it is not hard to keep alk adequately stable. A slow change of 0.5 dKH is not a problem.

Drifts in N and P do not seem to be an issue, as long as they do not get too low.
Right. That other thread is too dead, need more voices. Maybe can find someone who is dealing with similar.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Right. That other thread is too dead, need more voices. Maybe can find someone who is dealing with similar.

Lol

It’s dead because it was answered. You just did not get the answer you were wanting to hear.

I’ll leave you to get more answers.
 
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10galtank

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Lol

It’s dead because it was answered. You just did not get the answer you were wanting to hear.

I’ll leave you to get more answers.
Roger that. You only said “things appear fine” when I am telling you that they are constantly leading to problems. Don’t you think if the instability was so fine then I would just leave it be?
 

Katrina71

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Why not just do water changes without dosing anything and let it truly stabilize.
 

Lavey29

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I do weekly 10 gallon in my 30 display. Magnesium levels are dosed in conjustction with the AFR, it’s an one part solution.
30g is like 20g with rocks. So 10g water changes a week is like 50%. That is far to much change out for routine maintenance. I would cut to 5g a week.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Roger that. You only said “things appear fine” when I am telling you that they are constantly leading to problems. Don’t you think if the instability was so fine then I would just leave it be?

I had multiple posts commenting there. Not going to continue to say the same advice over and over. I do not believe instability is the issue, although I did advise on the to stabilize alk more if you wanted to.
 
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