Can't keep acros, what am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'General SPS Discussion' started by mstockmaster, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. aarbutina

    aarbutina Well-Known Member Partner Member 2018

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    I hear you. I think it is the KISS method in action. Keep it simple stupid. Small water volumes down scare me my fist serious reef tank was a 15 gallon with a 250 watt MH over it. I grew a T. giga (this was when you could still get them) from maybe 3 inches across to 12 inches across in a 15. I barely tested my water and if I did I would just test calcium and throw some kent turbo calcium in there. I may have also been running a Kalk stirrer so that could have helped. But that tank was so much less complex than my current tank and things would grow. But I also did set that tank up with actual live rock.... (brining it all back). There are some pictures of that tank over in by build thread.
     

  2. aarbutina

    aarbutina Well-Known Member Partner Member 2018

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    But this brings me back to my theory. It isn't the biodiveristy matters. What does a SPS care if there is a sponge of a worm or a mini star in the tank. All the SPS cares about is food, light, and minerals (to simplify). What if a mature tank is actually a tank in which the fight to colonize every inch of rock but the micro fauna has come of a stale mate. All of the population of happy and co existing. In a tank that is full of available surface, I would think it is possible for all of these other organisms to be fighting it out of their own homestead. Our the sensitive SPS just ending up as the collateral damage in this battle. It just a thought but it does seem reasonable, given my own experiences and the experiences that many many other people have been having lately.
     
  3. XNavyDiver

    XNavyDiver Insightful answer loading... please wait. R2R Supporter

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    1. I haven't the foggiest.
    2. One would think, but if that were solely the case, then acros would have been thriving in my tank months ago.
    3. Interesting way of thinking of it. Is that another way of expressing balance or equilibrium? "With balance comes stability..."

    Thank you for your thoughts, as I've stated before, I'm defiantly no expert. I'm just trying to wrap my mind around this acro thing. I'm still struggling to keep them in my tank (it's really the only reason I started this tank). I've kept all my vital (alk, cal, mag, no3, po4) parameters steady for months now as per board advise, but acros continue to vex me.
     
  4. BigJohnny

    BigJohnny Well-Known Member

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    chemipure elite contains gfo, so yes you are running po4 absorbants!
     
  5. madweazl

    madweazl Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Doesn't it leach metal(s) as well?
     
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  6. mstockmaster

    mstockmaster Well-Known Member

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    True, but I'm pretty sure they'd be exhausted by now. Either way I'll pull them tonight
     
  7. mstockmaster

    mstockmaster Well-Known Member

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    The only thing I've ever heard of gfo leaching into a tank is phosphate after it is exhausted. It's iron oxide, not much else it could leach.
     
  8. aarbutina

    aarbutina Well-Known Member Partner Member 2018

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    I hear you they seem to be vexing a lot of us.

    To the second point I guess I was trying to say that for growth I thing that these are the things that the corals care about, but that isn't to say they other external factors can't do them harm. If you like of them like a plant in your garden... give them light, water and nutrients and they can grow, but if you hit them with a herbicide they die, but if you didn't have any herbicide in your garage there is not chance for the herbicide to kill them. Obviously I know that corals aren't plants, I am just using as an analogy to make my point. Its not that that coral in your tank don't have everything they want an need to grow, it is something external that is actually killing them. I am just trying to think outside of the box here. The fact that so many people have the same issue with the same symptoms and no one has come up with a rational of why this is occurring is interesting. But, the story is always the, my SPS are dying, my parameters are all normal, triton shows nothing is wrong, I used dead rock. So what is the um-measurable magic thing that eventually happens that results in people finally being able to keep the corals they have struggled with for years.

    I think in a way it is an expression of balance of equilibrium, the real question is what is is an equilibrium of? What is it about the dry rock that results in an extended breakin period.
     
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  9. g5flier

    g5flier Well-Known Member

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    Thank you very much for the compliment! All I know is when I read the similarities between what happened to a very well known and successful reefer (Mike P) and when I implemented his theory into mine it totally 100% worked and still is. My corals are doing much better with some live rock and SPS is encrusting and growing. Whats happening in your frag tank is amazing, going to have to try this at some point. Thank you for sharing it!
     
  10. madweazl

    madweazl Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Disregard, this was in reference to MarinePure vice ChemiPure and specific to aluminum; I don't know the differences between them.
     
  11. aarbutina

    aarbutina Well-Known Member Partner Member 2018

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    It would be interesting to see (if there was a way to) if there is a correlation between the number of post on the various forums like this one, and the movement from people starting tanks with true live rock to starting with dry rock.

    Maybe those folks over at BRS could do a BRS investigates.... take three identical setups and build one with live rock, one with dry rock, and with with no rock and see how long it takes for each to come to a place where they can support the growth of SPS. Heck if some one want to provide me this the equipment I will run the experiment.
     
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  12. Richards_reef

    Richards_reef Well-Known Member Partner Member 2018

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    It's funny to me that people say manufactured dry rock can cause these problems. I've had brs reef saver dry rock (40lbs), and some macro dry rock from the lfs (40 lbs), and a single piece (softball sized) of actual live rock. I've been able to keep anything. Granted before I put it in my tank I soaked it in bleach for a day, dried it out for a day, an h202 soak for a day, then a plain tap water soak for a week. Maybe it was how I added it, Idk.

    Also to note, I did use leds before and nothing really grew just kinda survived. Once I put t5s on the tank I could already see the growth and color improvement in a week. I do know that leds can grow healthy corals but for me it was my limiting factor. If you have the money and time to experiment, I would suggest trying to add a different light source, even just 2 t5s with your leds just to see.
     
  13. aarbutina

    aarbutina Well-Known Member Partner Member 2018

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    How old is your tank? When did you start adding SPS? How long after adding SPS and having them just survive did you switch from your LEDs to T5?
     
  14. madweazl

    madweazl Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    There are many successful SPS tanks that have been started with "dead rock" that are young as well. I brought the subject up on one of my local forums after the article on Mike's tank was posted. Most of the responders with SPS tanks actually used dead rock without issue.

    My experience has had some ups and downs. I started the 75g with dead rock and had great luck with a few SPS at the 4-6 month mark just to watch a few of them die. One acro and a monti cap survived but I was never able to figure out exactly what caused the issue. The tank is right about 18 months old now and I went SPS dominant about five months ago. I've had one RTN while I was out of town a couple of months ago and had another start to do the same (in the same location about two weeks ago that I was able to stabilize (pictured below). The only items I can pinpoint as possible causes were salinity (dropped from 34 to 32ppt during a water change where I forgot to account for the volume of the reactor and skimmer when I did maintenance) and some changes to the lighting color and intensity. The Copps undata is always the first thing to show signs of stress (not sure how it is doing but was recovering when I left on this trip) but both times it has done this, my Triton results failed to show anything alarming (latest results here).

    [​IMG]

    Edit to add: My rock was also BRS reef saver and I did nothing to it prior to placing in the tank. Two pieces of Fiji live rock (5-6lbs of the 55-60lb total used) were also placed in the tank at start up.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
  15. Richards_reef

    Richards_reef Well-Known Member Partner Member 2018

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    OK this is a long one to answer. Had a 150 for 2 years started with 40lbs macro rock from the lfs, 40lbs of sand and no sps in this tank just softies and lps. This tank was run with just leds (2 different major brands during the time) . Nothing grew just survived.

    About a year after this tank was set up I also set up a 30gallon bare bottom frag tank. I took a couple pieces of rock from my main display and used them in the frag tank (same cleaning ritual as described earlier for the rock). The first month of the frag tank I used leds, then a 2 bulb t5 fixture was given to me for free, so I said heck with it I'll throw it on. Everything I put in that frag tank after this point took off while the main display still just survived. Almost immediately after I noticed the growth and color improvements I started adding SPS to my frag tank(after a month and a half to 2 months after starting the tank). Out of I think 5or6 sps I lost only one(don't know why) the rest took off.

    At the 2year mark the 150 sprung a leak and I decided to tear it down. All the coral I had left and put it in the frag tank and fish into a 40gallon quarantine until I could get another tank. All the rock I bleached and h202 soak and dried for a month, and during this time I gave half of it away.

    The most recent tank is a 75 gallon. I took the left over rock and used it on top of ordering 40lbs from brs(same cleaning practices). The tank was set up back in March and the day I set it up I used prodibio start up. I added my fish the next day. The coral I added over the next 3 weeks. So in a period of 3 weeks I added evening to this tank. I originally started this tank off with leds but after a month found a 4 bulb t5, and everything has been doing fine and growing rapidly since. Yes sps included. The only casualties I've had in this tank was 2 fish and 1 coral that wasn't doing well when I bought it.

    I wish I set up a thread about my systems so I could just show you everything lol.
     
  16. aarbutina

    aarbutina Well-Known Member Partner Member 2018

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    There are many many variables, obviously and I am certainly not trying to say that I have the answer, I am just posing a theory. To this point a tank with truly dead rock would be no different than my frag tank with zero live rock. There is not significant biology present that is colonizing the space. I my thinking the situation that is bad is "dead rock" that is not completely dead, or systems where there is mostly dead rock and then some amount of live rock is added to seed the system. Just taking a quick look at your build thread for you 75, it looks like the rock work is relatively devoid of life. Please don't take that as an insults it is not intended to be. It is what is expected for starting a tank with dead rock. You will get some algae and you will get some coralline but all of the other micro flora and fauna will not be present. They would have to hitch hike into the system and with that being the main mechanism of entering the tank it is going to take an awful long time and a whole lot of differnt hitchhikers to have anything that looks like you would see in the ocean. That all being said your experience and die off event may truly be linked to something else. Just the same as if I spiked a ton of alk into my frag tank that is currently doing well, I would kill a bunch of stuff.

    Again I am just trying to use some outside the box thinking and throw out a theory that I haven't heard before. But since there are so may variables involved we need to try to compare apples to apples instead of apples to acros.
     
  17. aarbutina

    aarbutina Well-Known Member Partner Member 2018

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    Thanks for the reply Richard. Like I have said, there are many many variables and not every situation is the same. In my theory your system is no different tank a tank with zero rock.... there is not other biological life present. It is possible that the LEDs you were using just weren't cutting it. Or the settings on the LEDs weren't right. There are so many setting with those darn things it is difficult to know what to do sometimes. T5s and MHs are KISS, you set them and forget them. You know you have a spectrum that has proven to work and has long as you have them set close to around the right high you know you aren't going to burn most things up.
     
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  18. madweazl

    madweazl Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    It took quite a while for the rock to come around; it took about 13 months before the coralline really took off on the rock and about the same time, the pineapple sponge started to disappear and get replaced by much larger colonies of fluorescent green sponge. I'm sure the next year will bring even more change though it will be less and less visible on the outside. I'll be setting up the 150g in similar fashion with mostly dead rock and some Tampa based rock, though in larger quantities this time around (roughly 25% live).

    My statement wasn't in regard to my own tank though, it was in regard to the responses from other reefers when I posed the article. I wasn't linking the article with my die off event, I just found it an interesting topic for discussion over there.
     
  19. Richards_reef

    Richards_reef Well-Known Member Partner Member 2018

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    I agree with everything your saying. I do have a ton of life in my system, even though I intentionally fried it twice. Not as much as if I would have went with straight live rock but I also eradicated any of the pests in the process (always had 1 softball size piece of real live rock that I didn't bleach) . Every system is different. My point was basically that I don't understand why people have problems with dry rock, and that my problem wasn't the dry rock it was my lighting. Hopefully I'm helping someone out there.
     
  20. XNavyDiver

    XNavyDiver Insightful answer loading... please wait. R2R Supporter

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    Well speaking for myself as someone who started his tank with dry rock and LEDs, this was the first time I've ever started a tank in this fashion as the last tank I had was back in the 90's with real live rock and VHO's. My last time around I didn't measure things like alk cal mag as sps corals were not anything I had in the tank.
    The timeframe in my mind for when the tank would sustain sps corals I think was way off to start.
    But the good news is, I've inoculated the tank twice in the last couple of months with GARF Grunge and now the tank is starting to level out nicely. The tank and refugium/sump is crawling with life. I've got a few dozen sps frags that have been doing really well, and everything seems to love the lighting so far.
    I'm gonna get some tester acro frags in a few months. I don't know how they'll do, but judging by how this tank has progressed and matured, I'm optimistic. I think the AB+ settings on the led lights are a great spectrum.
     
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