Adventures in keeping a sps reef

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Llorgon

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Couldn't find anything to up phosphates last night which was super annoying. The joys of living in a smaller town... I did find one place that had some phosphate supplement in the next town over so I'll be rushing over there on my lunch break today.

My plan is, to add some of the phosphate supplement to the ATO that way it will add some of it each time it runs. Then I set my auto feeder to 3 times a day. Between those two and if the people checking in on the cats can add some nori I think nutrients should stay above zero.

Tested water again last night, Nitrate is down to a clear 25ppm now. Still high, but coming down. Phos was at 0.028, up a bit from yesterday.

The effected corals are still unhappy. The elkhorn continues to lose colour and has more and more white/parts taken over by the cyano. Theres a couple small holdouts of green left on it so I am hoping it can make a comeback. The forest fire polyps are still thinning with more and more white at the ends. Not as bad as the elkhorn so I am hoping it can recover. The monti is pretty white. I can see a few polyps with the blues on, but I doubt it will make it. All other SPS seem unaffected so far.
 
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Got back from vacation today. Fish are fine, but corals took a hit. LPS are looking fine, but SPS aren't very colourful and I've lost a couple more frags. Really bummed about that.

Fish are doing well so at least there's that.

To add to it, my skimmer cup overflowed and got gross smelly water all over the bottom of the stand. So that was fun to try and clean up.

Also found a few aiptasia so there's that.

Tested my water and here's the params
Temp: 78
Salinity: 1.025
Alk: 8.5
Cal: 455
Mag: 1290
Nitrate: 25
Phosphate: 0.09

Alk and cal went up from before I left so uptake has gone down. Mag is still going down. It was 1350 when I left.

Nitrate and phosphate is high. Was hoping to see some growth of the macro algae in the refugium, but nothing so far.

Prepping water to do a water change tomorrow. Hopefully that will help turn things around a bit.
 

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Did a water change on Saturday. Sucked out most of the cyano and it hasn't come back yet, at least not to how it was before. I am seeing more gha growth on the rocks though

LPS seem to be doing fine, but the SPS still aren't great. Seeing some more dead tissue on some. The Elkhorn and forest fire do seem to be slowly recovering. Pretty bummed about the SPS in general. This really set them back.

Tested my water again last night
Temp: 78
Salinity: 1.025
Alk: 8.5
Cal: 470
Mag: 1245
Nitrate: 25
Phosphate: 0.07

I don't seem to be getting much use out of the refugium. I would think the caulerpa would be growing like crazy with the nutrients, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
 
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Current shots of what the tank looks like. Hoping the SPS can make a comeback.

I ordered a ICP test to make sure nothing else is out of whack.
 

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Well the tank is having some issues lately. I think the cause was nitrates going to 0 then phosphates going to 0.

I've had my nitrates and phosphates at detectable levels for 2 weeks now although my nitrates have been on the high side.

of the 23 SPS frags
4 haven't lost any tissue, but have lost their colour
6 have RTN'd
8 are losing some tissue in places
5 appear to be completely fine other than not having vibrant colours.

All LPS in the tank are doing fine.

Params as of yesterday were:

Temp: 78
Salinity: 1.025
Alk: 8.5
Cal: 450
Mag: 1320(dosed to bring up)
Nitrate: 10-20
Phosphate: 0.03
 

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Well the tank is having some issues lately. I think the cause was nitrates going to 0 then phosphates going to 0.

I've had my nitrates and phosphates at detectable levels for 2 weeks now although my nitrates have been on the high side.

of the 23 SPS frags
4 haven't lost any tissue, but have lost their colour
6 have RTN'd
8 are losing some tissue in places
5 appear to be completely fine other than not having vibrant colours.

All LPS in the tank are doing fine.

Params as of yesterday were:

Temp: 78
Salinity: 1.025
Alk: 8.5
Cal: 450
Mag: 1320(dosed to bring up)
Nitrate: 10-20
Phosphate: 0.03
Zero nutrients will definitely have that impact at times. If you can keep your parameters in that range though and make sure they stay that way, whatever will survive will survive and then you should be on a good path forward. I went through a similar event a while ago after a move and lost 6 or 7 pieces. Now things are stable and happy again. Frustrating part of SPS as when things go wrong you won't know until they start going up in smoke.
 
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I'm being much more diligent with my water testing now to keep params more stable. Hopefully the losses stop soon. I woke up yesterday to yet another sps losing tissue. Seems to have mostly hit the best growers which sucks more.

I have an ICP test kit ordered so I am hoping that comes soon and I can be sure nothing else is up with the water quality.
 
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Tested water again today. Used the new Hanna checker for more accurate nitrate readings.

Temp: 78
Salinity: 1.026
Alk: 9
Cal: 470
Mag: 1290
Nitrate: 8.5
Phosphate: 0.015

Alk has been creeping up since all the issues started. Dropped my dosing from 15ml/day to 12ml.

Still dealing with cyano. It stayed away for a week and a bit after my last water change and now it's back...
 

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Be careful adjusting your Alk… it’s creeping up because the corals are consuming less of it. Certainly don’t want to cause a downward swing, then need to adjust up again. The up and down will cause more issues. However I don’t think going from 15 to 12ml a day will be a large problem. Just keep an eye on things as you adjust.
 
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Be careful adjusting your Alk… it’s creeping up because the corals are consuming less of it. Certainly don’t want to cause a downward swing, then need to adjust up again. The up and down will cause more issues. However I don’t think going from 15 to 12ml a day will be a large problem. Just keep an eye on things as you adjust.
I'm hoping to be able to slowly lower the dosing until I get it back to staying around 8. But that's a good point. I don't need more issues with the tank!
 
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Tested water before going on vacation again tomorrow. Nitrate and phosphate have dropped which I wasn't expecting since I upped my feeding amount. Some of the corals are looking a bit better. There.is some green again on my one montipora. It's light and only a bit, but it's there!

Should I dose some phosphates to try and bring it back up? I am seeing more gha growth in the display and macro algae growth in the sump.

Temp: 78
Salinity: 1.026
Alk: 8.9
Cal: 460
Mag: 1260
Nitrate: 6.7
Phosphate: 0
 
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Back from vacation... Not by choice mind you. It started off well and then went to ****. The agency my wife was working at lost a big contract and laid everyone off. Then the car died, had to have it towed to the dealership and the 64kw battery is dead and needs to be replaced. That was Wednesday and we are still waiting for them to find us a loaner. So there went the other half of our vacation...

Now for the tank. Fish are still alive, so that's good. Still dealing with cyano on the sand on the left side of the tank. Stirring the sand seems to kick some of it up and help remove it into the filter socks.

The LPS corals seem to be doing alright, but most of the SPS are either dead or missing large chunks of tissue. The Elkhorn is looking more green though so I guess that's a plus?

Since coming home, there is tons of gha on the rocks. I've been trying to scrub them with a toothbrush and let the filter sock catch the pieces. I'm hoping once I have a car again I can find someone with chaeto since the caulerpa isn't doing much.

To add to the fun, apex seems to be refusing to connect to fusion. I unplugged and plugged in the apex, reset it, reset the wifi and still won't connect.

It's been a couple weeks and still no results from Triton on the ICP test. I'm hoping it comes soon.

Tested my water today
Temp: 78
Salinity: 1.026
Alk: 8.9
Cal: 460
Mag: 1230
Nitrate: 11.5
Phosphate: 0.264

Really having issues with the mag. I'm dosing more of it than calcium and it still drops each week.

I'm thinking I might focus on adding more LPS for awhile and hold off on more SPS until the tank stables out more.
 

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Well today I removed a bunch of algae and all the dead frags from the tank. Really got me bummed out.

I've been in this hobby 7 years and I've yet to grow much of anything from a frag to a colony. Seems like I just keep running into issues or things just slowly fade away.

I'm really not sure where to go from here. Do I double down on the euphyllia in the tank and move more towards LPS tank, keep trying SPS, give up and find a new hobby?

Honestly the thought has crossed my mind to have someone maintain the tank for awhile just to get it going on the right track...but that feels like giving up...
 

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Still having some issues with the tank. Picked up a bucket of tropic marin reef pro salt and did a small water change with it. Unfortunately I lost another frag this morning. It was fine yesterday and this morning it was completely white.

Really sucks.
 

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have you tried lowering your lights?
really only blues and very dim so the corals survive but doens't fuel de algae?
stop searching for growth for a while and let the tank get balanced.
 
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have you tried lowering your lights?
really only blues and very dim so the corals survive but doens't fuel de algae?
stop searching for growth for a while and let the tank get balanced.
I have not tried lowering my lights. Something I could definitely look into. Would the lights be the cause of suddent RTN and STN?
 
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I have not tried lowering my lights. Something I could definitely look into. Would the lights be the cause of suddent RTN and STN?
sorry for my english, by lowering I meant dimming.
RTN is complicated to pinpoint a cause, but STN if preceded by browning could be caused by too much light.
In cases when everything is going south I believe is good to go simple and try to make things first survive and later on we try to adjust for better growth and color.
nowadays we have instareefs in instagram and youtube where everything works right from the start... I have always struggled specially in the beggining.
in your tank I believe you will need to work for maybe two months, like blowing that ciano everyday, scrubbing this algae 2x a week, and be religious with water changes and keeping alk stable, preferably between 8 and 8.5 dkh, and don't put nothing new except maybe CC, I really believe after doing this you'll see things getting better
 
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sorry for my english, by lowering I meant dimming.
RTN is complicated to pinpoint a cause, but STN if preceded by browning could be caused by too much light.
In cases when everything is going south I believe is good to go simple and try to make things first survive and later on we try to adjust for better growth and color.
nowadays we have instareefs in instagram and youtube where everything works right from the start... I have always struggled specially in the beggining.
in your tank I believe you will need to work for maybe two months, like blowing that ciano everyday, scrubbing this algae 2x a week, and be religious with water changes and keeping alk stable, preferably between 8 and 8.5 dkh, and don't put nothing new except maybe CC, I really believe after doing this you'll see things getting better
I'm not getting the browning of the corals. I have had these frags since Jan, I was having growth. If it was issues with the lighting, would it take this long to show up? In my experience if the lighting is off things die off within a month. Before I got the radions, my old lights had lost a lot of power and even at 100% I was only getting max 200 par at the very top of the tank. I added a couple cheap SPS frags(before I knew the lights were bad) and they only lasted a month tops.

Alk, cal and somewhat mag have been stable throughout all of this. I have had to lower dosing amounts as things crept up after the growth stopped, but from weekly testing they are all staying pretty much the same. Originally I had some issues with nitrate being 0 then phosphate being 0, but I have those steady going on 3 weeks now and still seeing issues.

And yes, unfortunately gha took over when the nutrients got out of sync so definitely some work there.

Also started seeing the same thing in my 25g which has been running for 2+ years and was growing everything.
 
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