Corals are dying despite stable parameters?

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ams0509

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Thanks again guys! So I guess to summarize here's the plan:

1) Determine why my refractometer is reading 1.023/1.024/1.025/1.026 when the actual reading is likely lower.
2) Raise my salinity to 1.025 and try to keep it consistently at 1.025.
3) Reduce my water changes two every other week to try and raise my nitrate and phosphate from 0/0.
 
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the orange lid or purple lid fish mom?

My LFS also uses just plain Jane purple lid salt, and he swears by it, and In fairness, his tanks looks very nIce, but he 100% doses his tanks with his apex. Because I have a smaller tank, 80g total volume, I went with expensive stuff (tropic Marin). I pay $150 a bucket but it lasts a long time and it keep me at 8.5 DKH, 440 cal and 1350 mag without dosing. And with 10% weekly WCs, I stay stable in those numbers. But until the OP mixes his own water, he will have to play the 2 part dosing game.
What should I dose to increase the salinity/calcium/magnesium of what I buy from my LFS? Is there a product/family of products you recommend?
 

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What should I dose to increase the salinity/calcium/magnesium of what I buy from my LFS? Is there a product/family of products you recommend?
Your salinity/calcium/mag is fine where it is for now. They'll all go up when you raise salinity, and you're consuming functionally 0 of all 3 right now. Consider looking into another light as well. Your 3 action steps in the previous post are a great start
 

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Just a suggestion, I was chasing my tail with salinity as well. I had salinity/conductivity probe, refractometer (and 4 calibration fluids) and they all provided different results.
Finally I got this and happy sailing since:
1712017220676.jpeg

It is large hydrometer.

As for starter corals GSP (on its own rock) is nice. Also devil hand coral as well, when all the polyps are out you have great water parameters. If polyps are retracted something is off.
Both can take the beating.

NO3/PO4 does need to come up, feed the fish more (I feed 4 times a day) or sparingly use some quality coral foods.

Good luck,
 

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Your salinity/calcium/mag is fine where it is for now. They'll all go up when you raise salinity, and you're consuming functionally 0 of all 3 right now. Consider looking into another light as well. Your 3 action steps in the previous post are a great start
I agree about not chasing numbers. Lots of great advice here for you to extract. Looks like you’ve got a handle on the next steps.

Get r done and happy reefing!
 
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Just a suggestion, I was chasing my tail with salinity as well. I had salinity/conductivity probe, refractometer (and 4 calibration fluids) and they all provided different results.
Finally I got this and happy sailing since:
1712017220676.jpeg

It is large hydrometer.

As for starter corals GSP (on its own rock) is nice. Also devil hand coral as well, when all the polyps are out you have great water parameters. If polyps are retracted something is off.
Both can take the beating.

NO3/PO4 does need to come up, feed the fish more (I feed 4 times a day) or sparingly use some quality coral foods.

Good luck,
Funny you mention that I was just looking at different ways to measure salinity and saw the tropic marin was recommended
 
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ams0509

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I agree about not chasing numbers. Lots of great advice here for you to extract. Looks like you’ve got a handle on the next steps.

Get r done and happy reefing!
Thanks again! I guess really my only remaining question is what I should use as a second dose to increase the salinity of water I buy from my LFS?
 

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Hi There!

I started my first reef tank (Biocube 32) in December 2023, and after it finished cycling in January 2024, have stocked it with two clownfish and over the next couple of months added corals in the below additions:

1) 1 Branching Hammer Coral and 2 Green Hairy (Frilly?) Mushrooms
2) 1 Pink Finger Leather Coral
3) 2 Zoas (1 Rasta, 1 AOI)
4) 1 Neon Green Pavona Coral

The hammer coral had not looked great (wasn't opening up) for a couple of months and recently died, and the 2 mushrooms are looking near-death as well. I think you can probably argue that some of the specific corals I started with were probably not the best starting corals, but I think I've generally done a good job trying to keep stable parameters in my tank. I do a 20% water change every weekend, and do a full water test the following morning. I tested my water today and had the below parameters (I use the Salifert test kits and a refractometer that I re-zero every time):

Salinity: 1.023-1.024 (Specific Gravity)
Phosphate: 0.00-0.03 PPM
PH: 8.15-8.30
Alkalinity: 8.9 DKH
Magnesium: 1110-1140 PPM
Nitrate: 0-3 PPM
Calcium: 350-360 PPM

I have also paid to have my water tested at my LFS on the same day as my testing twice and had similar/the same results. Looking back at my testing results from the past 4 months, all my parameters have consistently been within these ranges with the exception of Calcium, Magnesium, and Alkalinity, which are occasionally slightly below the recommended range. When that happens, I dose my tank with Seachem Reef Fusion 2 at the prescribed dosage. I would prefer that my corals do not continue to die, but I cannot figure out for the life of me why I haven't been able to keep healthy corals. What is everyone's thoughts? What else should I be doing?
You need stabilty! You say your parameters are good except the big 3, what?
You cant have stabilty unless the big 3 are stable.
If you do not have an ato get one.
Get you SG stable first
1.026 -1.0265 is easy with an ato.
The ocean is 1.0264 regardless of what others say. Its easy to look up. Average ocean alk is 6.5.
Pick a number say 8 and keep it within 7.5 to 8.5 target 8. It not that hard to do. I have run alk at 7-7.5 for years.
Target calcium at 420-450
Mag at 1300-1400.
No3 <5
Po4 <.1
With 0-.03 po4 you alk should be less than 8.
How much alk dose your tank consume in a day?
If you dont know you cant keep it stable.
Test alk at say 9am. Do not dose anything and retest the next day at 9am.
This will tell you how much alk your system is using. You start there and dose accordingly.
Get temp stable 77-78
Get a Tropic Marin hydrometer and a 500ml cylinder to test SG.
This takes the guess work out of SG measurements.
Reduce waterchanges to 10% every 2 weeks to start.
This helps stabilty when your no3 and po4 are low.

I really hate to see people struggle. When the basics are followed reefing is not that hard.
I have been at this since the 80' and am retired.
Check out my build threads and pm me if your interested in becomming a successful reefer.
I love R2R. The problem is you get so mamy opinions you will get confused.
Their are many ways to run a system but you must do the basics first. Once you understand the basics reefing becomes simple.
 
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Ziggy17

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Thanks again! I guess really my only remaining question is what I should use as a second dose to increase the salinity of water I buy from my LFS?
ask them at what temp are they reading when they are at 1.026 at their store. Whatever their water temp is, match theirs in your tank. It’s probably 78 degrees. Just make sure your tank matches what their water was when it was 1.026 and you should be fine. If you’re running your tank 1 degree or 2 colder than theirs, that would explain the change in SG.

Make sense?
 

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ask them at what temp are they reading when they are at 1.026 at their store. Whatever their water temp is, match theirs in your tank. It’s probably 78 degrees. Just make sure your tank matches what their water was when it was 1.026 and you should be fine. If you’re running your tank 1 degree or 2 colder than theirs, that would explain the change in SG.

Make sense?
Spefic gravity will not change enough from the calibrated 77° of the TM by 1-2°. They have charts that tell the difference.
 

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Thanks again guys! So I guess to summarize here's the plan:

1) Determine why my refractometer is reading 1.023/1.024/1.025/1.026 when the actual reading is likely lower.
2) Raise my salinity to 1.025 and try to keep it consistently at 1.025.
3) Reduce my water changes two every other week to try and raise my nitrate and phosphate from 0/0.

I left the cap off my calibration fluid for most of the day once. It took me weeks to realize that the issues in the tank were salinity related. Got a new bottle and my calibration was way off.

You could also make a 10% water change instead of 20% weekly.
 

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Its called salt.
lol yeah sorry I’m tired. I’m more saying one of the other replies said the instant ocean salt is low on calcium and magnesium and I was wondering if I should use a different brand in a second dose to increase the % of calcium and magnesium in the water. And if so what brand is recommended
 
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ams0509

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You need stabilty! You say your parameters are good except the big 3, what?
You cant have stabilty unless the big 3 are stable.
If you do not have an ato get one.
Get you SG stable first
1.026 -1.0265 is easy with an ato.
The ocean is 1.0264 regardless of what others say. Its easy to look up. Average ocean alk is 6.5.
Pick a number say 8 and keep it within 7.5 to 8.5 target 8. It not that hard to do. I have run alk at 7-7.5 for years.
Target calcium at 420-450
Mag at 1300-1400.
No3 <5
Po4 <.1
With 0-.03 po4 you alk should be less than 8.
How much alk dose your tank consume in a day?
If you dont know you cant keep it stable.
Test alk at say 9am. Do not dose anything and retest the next day at 9am.
This will tell you how much alk your system is using. You start there and dose accordingly.
Get temp stable 77-78
Get a Tropic Marin hydrometer and a 500ml cylinder to test SG.
This takes the guess work out of SG measurements.
Reduce waterchanges to 10% every 2 weeks to start.
This helps stabilty when your no3 and po4 are low.

I really hate to see people struggle. When the basics are followed reefing is not that hard.
I have been at this since the 80' and am retired.
Check out my build threads and pm me if your interested in becomming a successful reefer.
I love R2R. The problem is you get so mamy opinions you will get confused.
Their are many ways to run a system but you must do the basics first. Once you understand the basics reefing becomes simple.
Thank you! Seems like what you say has been the general consensus and is going to be my plan moving forward. I bought the tropic Marin prior to your post and am going to work on increasing my salinity. I’m also reducing water changes and slightly increasing feeding
 

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lol yeah sorry I’m tired. I’m more saying one of the other replies said the instant ocean salt is low on calcium and magnesium and I was wondering if I should use a different brand in a second dose to increase the % of calcium and magnesium in the water. And if so what brand is recommended
Dont add salt to the tank, just top off with saltwater until you measure 1.026 with your calibrated refractometrr.
 

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lol yeah sorry I’m tired. I’m more saying one of the other replies said the instant ocean salt is low on calcium and magnesium and I was wondering if I should use a different brand in a second dose to increase the % of calcium and magnesium in the water. And if so what brand is recommended
Again the basics. I use esv 2 part and esv magnesium. Simple to use.
As an example my new system had ca at 390 and mag at 1280 from the salt I mixed up
I dosed the esv ca of the 2 part to bring it up to 420.
I used the mag to bring it up to 1320.
Simple and easy.
Mag will not move much.
First you need your SG stable.
Pic a salt to bring your lfs water in range.
 

Devisissy

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Just a suggestion, I was chasing my tail with salinity as well. I had salinity/conductivity probe, refractometer (and 4 calibration fluids) and they all provided different results.
Finally I got this and happy sailing since:
1712017220676.jpeg

It is large hydrometer.

As for starter corals GSP (on its own rock) is nice. Also devil hand coral as well, when all the polyps are out you have great water parameters. If polyps are retracted something is off.
Both can take the beating.

NO3/PO4 does need to come up, feed the fish more (I feed 4 times a day) or sparingly use some quality coral foods.

Good luck,
Didn't I suggest that? I am senile. Anyway get one of these. Then CALIBRATE your refractometer to it. Once a month do this and you will be right as rain.
 

Ziggy17

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Get you SG stable first
1.026 -1.0265 is easy with an ato.
The ocean is 1.0264 regardless of what others say. It’s easy to look up.
The average is 1.026 there is no such thing as “the ocean” unless you are specifying a particular body of water.

I hate it when science and fact get in the way of a good rant…


3EC38969-0253-4C4A-82A9-1B7D2D3CA6DE.jpeg
 
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