Close to giving up on SPS

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I know you know what you're doing, and everything you mentioned looks just fine. You have a big tank, so I understand why you're running a calcium reactor. If it were me, and it isn't, I'd get rid of the reactor to raise up your PH, start dosing Kalk (especially at night with your dosing pump), and 2 part. I think you may be amazed at the results. I think there is going to be a big move away from calcium reactors in the next couple of years. I have two of them in the junk pile. Yes, they can work, but the suppressed PH is never optimal. Just my 2 cents. Wish you the best of luck. Hang in there!
I've wrestled with the suppressed PH thing for a while. I've tried running an air line directly to the skimmer from outside and that did nothing. So a couple of months ago I removed the air line and have been dosing kalk for the last couple of months. I monitor it with a Reef Factory PH meter and the kalk is slowly been increasing my PH. My PH reached 8.34 today and the low this morning was 7.98.
 

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Thanks buds. Going back to the basics. Large water change followed by weekly changes. Think I'm going to change my gyre for an MP40 and move a couple of the Nero 5s to the back panel to really provide some interesting flow.
Oh and the Gyres ... those guys...

I have two mounted on top from my other mp40s. The gyres demand a cleaning atleast and i say this nicely, atleast once a month to keep them nice and strong. Maybe clean your pumps monthly to keep that flow nice and robust.

Again this just goes back to maintaining consistent husbandry.
 

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Your results look good. I did notice some Tin in your results. Have you checked to make sure you don't have a rusting magnet or something dripping into the tank? Would be worth a shot to find out the culprit.
 
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I second and third the idea of water changes and halt all of the dosing. Do not turn off flow other than for feeding or maintenance. Make the flow pass through the thicker growth too. Try a CO2 scrubber on the skimmer if you want Ph to rise. I used Kalkwasser and its effect on Ph was negligable even with 6 liters per day evaporation. I use a DaStaCo and my Ph is 8.2-8.3 with scrubber. I gain 0.3 and its stable and easy. Go for a full tank photo too. It would help to see what the big picture is.

One more thing. Perhaps an IPC test on your virgin salt water just to make sure that all is good out of the bucket. I settled on Red Sea Coral Pro as the one that most consistently tests to the specs on the bucket for Ca/Mg/Alk. I do not do any adjusting to fresh mixed water. I did not have good results doing that. If its a really large water change, i have to aerate with a skimmer pump and CO2 scrubber to match the Ph in the tank. Without scrubber, new water will not go above 8.1 indoors. I learned that by knocking out half of my snails in a few hours and creating an outbreak of Ick with a sudden 0.2 shift in Ph.

I do some very minor dosing but its kind of by eye. If my shrimp are filled with eggs I might add a half dose of iodine and strontium (inexpensive gray bottles from Aqua Medic) and find that they molted overnight. If I'm not seeing a growth line at the edge of acropora I'll give a small dose of Mg for three days and observe. I use about a third of the recommended on that. If my Tripneustes urchin is not fluffy with tentacles flowing, I'll pull out the test kits and might prepare a larger than weekly water change. I dose nothing regularly but rather by a perceived need based on observations. It sounds haphazard but testing always shows good Ca/Mg. As things progress, I'm sure I will try some finer elements for color, but slowly.
 
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I second and third the idea of water changes and halt all of the dosing. Do not turn off flow other than for feeding or maintenance. Make the flow pass through the thicker growth too. Try a CO2 scrubber on the skimmer if you want Ph to rise. I used Kalkwasser and its effect on Ph was negligable even with 6 liters per day evaporation. I use a DaStaCo and my Ph is 8.2-8.3 with scrubber. I gain 0.3 and its stable and easy. Go for a full tank photo too. It would help to see what the big picture is.
Do you recirculate your skimmer through your c02 scrubber? How big is your reactor? How long is the media lasting?
 

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I have over 30 years of keeping saltwater tanks and at least 25 of those in reef keeping, but I am now at a loss. My SPS have been dying off 1 by 1 over the last 4 months. I'm so frustrated and frankly close to throwing in the towel. So I thought I would open this up to the reefing community as see if we can try and solve this before I crack!!!

My tank is a 3 year old Red Sea 625xxl. It has 3 Radion XR15's and an Aquaticlife T5 with 4 58w bulbs (2 blue plus, 1 coral plus and 1 purple plus). Radions are Gen 4 and the T5 bulbs are replaced annually. The LEDs are on for 11 hours on AB+ and the T5's kick in for 4 hours during the peak light. Water movement is 4 Neros 5's and a Gyre which runs for the same 4 hours as the T5s. Also the return pump. It has a mix of live rock and dry rock (added after) The tank also has a shallow sand bed (visual and for wrasses).

Perameters:

PH - 7.9 low to 8.2 high
Salinity 34.5ppt
Temp 76.4 to 77
KH 8 -8.5
Calcium 437
Mag 1410
N03 4.9
P04 0.06 does drift to 0.1 without GFO


I had a Fauna Marin ICP Total Test done recently and attach the results. I have modified some of the traces since (Flourine in particular).

It looks like a bacterial infection to me and I can only think of 3 events that may have caused/triggered this. I wonder also if I have made this worse as I have been dosing more bacteria (Biodigest) in the last couple of months to try and get the good bacteria up.

1) About 3 months ago I had a solenoid on my calcium reactor fail and the contents of my C02 bottle got dumped into my thriving SPS tank. This dropped the PH to around 4 and I was only alerted by the reactor alarm going off because the gas bottle was empty. Now I have PH Monitoring in place.......

2) I bought some mariculture frags. I dipped them before placing in the tank. A couple of these went first.

3) The ICP attached identifies issues with the RO water, but not anything that is affecting the tank water analysis. Unless I am missing something.

Another area I've looked at is predation. I can see no pests. I have a dwarf parrot but I think it would be obvious if that was munching down coral. Although I think he might be nibbling the nana from the pictures.

I've attached some pictures.

Help much appreciated before I loose the plot!!! IMG_3554.jpeg IMG_3551.jpeg IMG_3509.jpeg IMG_3508.jpeg IMG_3502.jpeg IMG_3501.jpeg IMG_3500.jpeg IMG_3503.jpeg IMG_3495.jpeg IMG_3510.jpeg IMG_3498.jpeg IMG_3484.jpeg
I've had a
I have over 30 years of keeping saltwater tanks and at least 25 of those in reef keeping, but I am now at a loss. My SPS have been dying off 1 by 1 over the last 4 months. I'm so frustrated and frankly close to throwing in the towel. So I thought I would open this up to the reefing community as see if we can try and solve this before I crack!!!

My tank is a 3 year old Red Sea 625xxl. It has 3 Radion XR15's and an Aquaticlife T5 with 4 58w bulbs (2 blue plus, 1 coral plus and 1 purple plus). Radions are Gen 4 and the T5 bulbs are replaced annually. The LEDs are on for 11 hours on AB+ and the T5's kick in for 4 hours during the peak light. Water movement is 4 Neros 5's and a Gyre which runs for the same 4 hours as the T5s. Also the return pump. It has a mix of live rock and dry rock (added after) The tank also has a shallow sand bed (visual and for wrasses).

Perameters:

PH - 7.9 low to 8.2 high
Salinity 34.5ppt
Temp 76.4 to 77
KH 8 -8.5
Calcium 437
Mag 1410
N03 4.9
P04 0.06 does drift to 0.1 without GFO


I had a Fauna Marin ICP Total Test done recently and attach the results. I have modified some of the traces since (Flourine in particular).

It looks like a bacterial infection to me and I can only think of 3 events that may have caused/triggered this. I wonder also if I have made this worse as I have been dosing more bacteria (Biodigest) in the last couple of months to try and get the good bacteria up.

1) About 3 months ago I had a solenoid on my calcium reactor fail and the contents of my C02 bottle got dumped into my thriving SPS tank. This dropped the PH to around 4 and I was only alerted by the reactor alarm going off because the gas bottle was empty. Now I have PH Monitoring in place.......

2) I bought some mariculture frags. I dipped them before placing in the tank. A couple of these went first.

3) The ICP attached identifies issues with the RO water, but not anything that is affecting the tank water analysis. Unless I am missing something.

Another area I've looked at is predation. I can see no pests. I have a dwarf parrot but I think it would be obvious if that was munching down coral. Although I think he might be nibbling the nana from the pictures.

I've attached some pictures.

Help much appreciated before I loose the plot!!! IMG_3554.jpeg IMG_3551.jpeg IMG_3509.jpeg IMG_3508.jpeg IMG_3502.jpeg IMG_3501.jpeg IMG_3500.jpeg IMG_3503.jpeg IMG_3495.jpeg IMG_3510.jpeg IMG_3498.jpeg IMG_3484.jpeg
I believe your setup as far as lighting is not to blame. The good looking parts of the coral show they generally thrive. The detail about the CO2 disaster is where I think things may have gotten detailed. With the tank down at 4 this became a blitz on the health of the coral and their bacteria. Ultimately this looks like any other serious challenge with ionic balance, no matter how one gets there.

I recently had a similar situation and have narrowed my issues down to progressive trace element overdose. Once the ions are out of alignment the typical chemistry isn't conducive to life. Oddly the ICP tests didn't lead me to this, I just went back to the basics.

So what I mean by back to the basics: Make sure you have strong flow as others have stated. I replaced with gyre flow heads for this reason. Drop the trace elements and focus on alkalinity, calcium and magnesium. Avoid major changes, swings or other additive remedies.

This of course makes the assumption these corals aren't actually all sick which is a different issue. Perhaps the drop in alkalinity brought in a disease that would otherwise not taken hold. The only case I have had with disease was remedied by removal, leaving only the healthy portions.

I do hope you can work this out.
 
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Your results look good. I did notice some Tin in your results. Have you checked to make sure you don't have a rusting magnet or something dripping into the tank? Would be worth a shot to find out the culprit.
I had a good look and noticed my Tunze fan had some rust which may contribute to the elevated levels. I've now removed this.
 

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Do you recirculate your skimmer through your c02 scrubber? How big is your reactor? How long is the media lasting?
I don't recirculate. Its just sitting on the corner of the sump close to the DaStaCo effluent tube. See photo below. That's a 1 liter jar. Take off the lid and stick the hose on the tube. I bought three jars and a 3250 gram bag of media to refill all three at once. Its not used up when its all purple on the outside because there can be lots of good media underneath. One can be very conservative by not changing until the Ph starts to drop (its very slow) or just suffer a bit of waste. Placing it close to the ceiling can extend its life 20%. The price is coming down with popularity. More media will not boost Ph further, but just last longer and take up more space. They make a 4 kilo filter too. My tank is 200 gallons of actual water volume. I love the thing. I recommend getting it up to 24/7 use over several days. I put it on full time right off, lost a few snails and the urchin was stressed. Not many snails, but it was definately the Ph rise. The result after several weeks of 8.3 with good Ca/Mg/Alk is wonderful. Good growth and nice to ridiculous polyp extension. Today, my pinky the bear acro had a one inch long feeder sticking out.

ati-carboex_bg.jpg
 
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I second and third the idea of water changes and halt all of the dosing. Do not turn off flow other than for feeding or maintenance. Make the flow pass through the thicker growth too. Try a CO2 scrubber on the skimmer if you want Ph to rise. I used Kalkwasser and its effect on Ph was negligable even with 6 liters per day evaporation. I use a DaStaCo and my Ph is 8.2-8.3 with scrubber. I gain 0.3 and its stable and easy. Go for a full tank photo too. It would help to see what the big picture is.

One more thing. Perhaps an IPC test on your virgin salt water just to make sure that all is good out of the bucket. I settled on Red Sea Coral Pro as the one that most consistently tests to the specs on the bucket for Ca/Mg/Alk. I do not do any adjusting to fresh mixed water. I did not have good results doing that. If its a really large water change, i have to aerate with a skimmer pump and CO2 scrubber to match the Ph in the tank. Without scrubber, new water will not go above 8.1 indoors. I learned that by knocking out half of my snails in a few hours and creating an outbreak of Ick with a sudden 0.2 shift in Ph.

I do some very minor dosing but its kind of by eye. If my shrimp are filled with eggs I might add a half dose of iodine and strontium (inexpensive gray bottles from Aqua Medic) and find that they molted overnight. If I'm not seeing a growth line at the edge of acropora I'll give a small dose of Mg for three days and observe. I use about a third of the recommended on that. If my Tripneustes urchin is not fluffy with tentacles flowing, I'll pull out the test kits and might prepare a larger than weekly water change. I dose nothing regularly but rather by a perceived need based on observations. It sounds haphazard but testing always shows good Ca/Mg. As things progress, I'm sure I will try some finer elements for color, but slowly.
I did a 30% water change Saturday and it seems that all of the coral that was exposed during the change are looking not too healthy today!!! They look very light. So I checked P04, N03 and Alk. P04 was 0.14, N03 5.1 and Alk had dropped to 7. I've turned up the Dastaco to raise this back to 8 over the next couple of days.

I'm not dosing any trace elements. Just Kalk and carbon/GFO to keep nutrients under control.

I had an airline from outside attached directly to my skimmer and I found this made little to no difference. Adding Kalk has got me up to 8.3 (apart from when I did the large water change (7.95).

I've also added a Tunze stream 3 for some additional flow. I'm going to move a couple of the Nero 5's to the back wall as most of my flow is from one end of the tank to the other, but my corals have built walls over time that block the flow. I'll add a picture of the whole tank tomorrow.

Another thing. I have a scarus quoyi dwarf parrot fish and it has taken to having a nibble on the sps since the problem started. I don't think it started the problem, but is an opportunist feeding on the zooxanthellae once the coral is sick.

One really weird thing about this is that you can almost see flow from one of the Nero 5's matching the sick corals on one side of the tank. It looks like the flow from that pump has blown out some acid and burnt them. Strange.
 
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I've had a

I believe your setup as far as lighting is not to blame. The good looking parts of the coral show they generally thrive. The detail about the CO2 disaster is where I think things may have gotten detailed. With the tank down at 4 this became a blitz on the health of the coral and their bacteria. Ultimately this looks like any other serious challenge with ionic balance, no matter how one gets there.

I recently had a similar situation and have narrowed my issues down to progressive trace element overdose. Once the ions are out of alignment the typical chemistry isn't conducive to life. Oddly the ICP tests didn't lead me to this, I just went back to the basics.

So what I mean by back to the basics: Make sure you have strong flow as others have stated. I replaced with gyre flow heads for this reason. Drop the trace elements and focus on alkalinity, calcium and magnesium. Avoid major changes, swings or other additive remedies.

This of course makes the assumption these corals aren't actually all sick which is a different issue. Perhaps the drop in alkalinity brought in a disease that would otherwise not taken hold. The only case I have had with disease was remedied by removal, leaving only the healthy portions.

I do hope you can work this out.
Thanks mate. I agree with the ionic balance, but I feel that there is some kind of sickness in the system. I tried fragging healthy sections and none of those survived :disappointed-face:.
 

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Nibbling is never good. I launched a large experiment with soft corals and aggressive fish. It was only nibbling but everything suffered immensely. Its not the immediate trauma but the constant defense response from harrasment that causes the bigget problems. Polyps close and stay closed for defense. The corals weaken and either get shoddy or just die off. Plus, no clean up crew in that tank. Everything was on the menu. Cleaner shrimp too. Everything except for vermatid snails. No wrasse, no trigger, no angel, no moray, no butterfly would touch them. I ended the experiment because of the vermatids. Thousands of them. It looked like a sick porcupine.
 

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Thanks mate. I agree with the ionic balance, but I feel that there is some kind of sickness in the system. I tried fragging healthy sections and none of those survived :disappointed-face:.
I suppose I've never seen a full tank of different SPS end up with the same sickness all at the same time so I jumped directly to chemistry as that's something they all have in common. I've also seen this happen with my own tank when dKh went to around 12 over night. I would be super interested if you are able to turn this around in the future.

One comment I would make is PAR level. I run LED kessil's and I can bring the light down 20% of the tank or if one is struggling move lower to ~150 par. If the bacteria is struggling I've seen moderately reduced lighting can help slow the death and give them some ability to recover. You've done this for a long time so you know any recovery will not happen quickly.
 
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I second and third the idea of water changes and halt all of the dosing. Do not turn off flow other than for feeding or maintenance. Make the flow pass through the thicker growth too. Try a CO2 scrubber on the skimmer if you want Ph to rise. I used Kalkwasser and its effect on Ph was negligable even with 6 liters per day evaporation. I use a DaStaCo and my Ph is 8.2-8.3 with scrubber. I gain 0.3 and its stable and easy. Go for a full tank photo too. It would help to see what the big picture is.

One more thing. Perhaps an IPC test on your virgin salt water just to make sure that all is good out of the bucket. I settled on Red Sea Coral Pro as the one that most consistently tests to the specs on the bucket for Ca/Mg/Alk. I do not do any adjusting to fresh mixed water. I did not have good results doing that. If its a really large water change, i have to aerate with a skimmer pump and CO2 scrubber to match the Ph in the tank. Without scrubber, new water will not go above 8.1 indoors. I learned that by knocking out half of my snails in a few hours and creating an outbreak of Ick with a sudden 0.2 shift in Ph.

I do some very minor dosing but its kind of by eye. If my shrimp are filled with eggs I might add a half dose of iodine and strontium (inexpensive gray bottles from Aqua Medic) and find that they molted overnight. If I'm not seeing a growth line at the edge of acropora I'll give a small dose of Mg for three days and observe. I use about a third of the recommended on that. If my Tripneustes urchin is not fluffy with tentacles flowing, I'll pull out the test kits and might prepare a larger than weekly water change. I dose nothing regularly but rather by a perceived need based on observations. It sounds haphazard but testing always shows good Ca/Mg. As things progress, I'm sure I will try some finer elements for color, but slowl
Some pictures of the tank. Full view and then in two sections. I've also included some more pictures of the corals that are suffering. Is doesn't look like predation to me as the coral either seem to melt away from the top or from the very bottom. See images. The millipora is particularly strange as it is only one area that is suffering and the rest looks super healthy with full polyp extension.
 

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Mark Novack

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Open, lots of pump power well distributed. How is the sand bed? Well aerated? Could there be a hydrogen sulphide pocket? When everything else fails, a good deep cleaning might be helpful. A sandbed replacement can turn things around sometimes. Take it out in 4 quarters over a month and replace with new after the bottom gets clean.
 

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It took you 30yrs to discover Acros are the work of the Devil himself?

I wouldn't put a $500 acro in my tank if someone gave it to me for free.

They're just future disappointments where less than 5% last long term.

They can't even stay alive under the care of Mother Nature and God Almighty himself in the wild.

...like balancing yourself a board on a beach ball 24/7/365

Go all LPS....
 

thatmanMIKEson

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They can't even stay alive under the care of Mother Nature and God Almighty himself in the wild.
If it weren't for man, God would have no problem at all, it worked for millions of years just fine.

Then some genius invents the gas powered engine, wait even better lets put boat engine exhaust in the water, yeah.....
 
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