Crab's is about ready to throw in the towel.

OrionN

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One thing you can do, if have not done so already is to switch salt to IO and do water change 50% once or twice. I would not do anything more than that until you have more information.
Good luck.
 
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OrionN

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Liquid Vibrant will end that hair algae and cyano.
Hydrogen peroxide should work also. Dose peroxide at night. Should clear in 3 weeks.
1ml per 10gals
IMO, you should not do this. Cyano and hair algae is not what cause your problem. Rather it is the result of your problem. Wait until you solve your problem then try to take care of them.
 

Dkeller_nc

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Crab -

I scanned through this whole thread, hopefully I didn't miss anything critical. Here are a few observations:

1) From the picture, it doesn't look like your Salifert titration for alkalinity is correct. The color should be pinkish, not lavender (orange is over-titrated). Based on the color from your picture, and realizing that room lighting, color balance in cameras, and monitor calibration all can shift color, I'd guess that your alkalinity is about 10 dKH. The best way for you to cross-check this is to take a water sample to a competent LFS. If you don't have one of those, a fellow hobbyist would be a good alternative. Take your water sample to him/her, and ask them to test the alkalinity without making any comments about the proper end-point (so you don't bias his/her's procedure). Compare your results - if they're within 0.5 dKH, then that's probably not the issue. But I suspect you're going to get substantially different numbers.

2) The smell of "cat pee" from your RODI system is highly suspicious, and definitely sounds like your DI resin is breaking down (you might notice that fresh DI resin does have a bit of a "cat pee" smell). Alternatively, it's possible your water softener resin is breaking down, which is overwhelming your carbon cartridges in your RODI system in short order, with the result that some of that material is making it out of your system into your product water. Fresh RODI should have no detectable smell whatsoever. If it does, something is wrong - period.

3) Make absolutely, positively certain that whatever way you control your Hydras hasn't gone hay-wire and you're unintentionally pushing way more intensity than you have in the past. I've read more than one troubleshooting thread where this has been the case. Personally, and if it were my tank, I'd cut the intensity from the LEDs in half for the meantime until you get the issues corrected. High lighting intensity, low nutrients, and unexpectedly high alkalinity is a classic set of conditions that would cause the symptoms that you've noted.

4) Speaking of which, 8 ppb phosphorus is gigantically too low for SPS, particularly if there was a sudden change for about 40 or 50 ppb phosphorus. Though typically, the symptoms of a nutrient crash for SPS is gradual loss of color, followed by overnight RTN/bleaching.

5) From the standpoint of really nailing down your specific gravity, I would again suggest taking a sample of your water to a LFS or other hobbyist. Refractometry standards can definitely be "off", even new-in-the-bottle. Moreover, the ATC bi-metal strip in an inexpensive manual refractometer can be substantially off, and refractive index changes rather strongly with changes in temperature. There's multiple ways to back-check this in addition to getting someone else's opinion with their instrument. One way is to get an inexpensive conductivity meter and standards made for measuring seawater and compare to your refractometer. The absolutely bullet-proof, no ifs-ands-buts-or-maybes is to do a density measurement with an accurate scale and a class-A volumetric flask.
 
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Crabs McJones

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Crab -

I scanned through this whole thread, hopefully I didn't miss anything critical. Here are a few observations:

1) From the picture, it doesn't look like your Salifert titration for alkalinity is correct. The color should be pinkish, not lavender (orange is over-titrated). Based on the color from your picture, and realizing that room lighting, color balance in cameras, and monitor calibration all can shift color, I'd guess that your alkalinity is about 10 dKH. The best way for you to cross-check this is to take a water sample to a competent LFS. If you don't have one of those, a fellow hobbyist would be a good alternative. Take your water sample to him/her, and ask them to test the alkalinity without making any comments about the proper end-point (so you don't bias his/her's procedure). Compare your results - if they're within 0.5 dKH, then that's probably not the issue. But I suspect you're going to get substantially different numbers.

2) The smell of "cat pee" from your RODI system is highly suspicious, and definitely sounds like your DI resin is breaking down (you might notice that fresh DI resin does have a bit of a "cat pee" smell). Alternatively, it's possible your water softener resin is breaking down, which is overwhelming your carbon cartridges in your RODI system in short order, with the result that some of that material is making it out of your system into your product water. Fresh RODI should have no detectable smell whatsoever. If it does, something is wrong - period.

3) Make absolutely, positively certain that whatever way you control your Hydras hasn't gone hay-wire and you're unintentionally pushing way more intensity than you have in the past. I've read more than one troubleshooting thread where this has been the case. Personally, and if it were my tank, I'd cut the intensity from the LEDs in half for the meantime until you get the issues corrected. High lighting intensity, low nutrients, and unexpectedly high alkalinity is a classic set of conditions that would cause the symptoms that you've noted.

4) Speaking of which, 8 ppb phosphorus is gigantically too low for SPS, particularly if there was a sudden change for about 40 or 50 ppb phosphorus. Though typically, the symptoms of a nutrient crash for SPS is gradual loss of color, followed by overnight RTN/bleaching.

5) From the standpoint of really nailing down your specific gravity, I would again suggest taking a sample of your water to a LFS or other hobbyist. Refractometry standards can definitely be "off", even new-in-the-bottle. Moreover, the ATC bi-metal strip in an inexpensive manual refractometer can be substantially off, and refractive index changes rather strongly with changes in temperature. There's multiple ways to back-check this in addition to getting someone else's opinion with their instrument. One way is to get an inexpensive conductivity meter and standards made for measuring seawater and compare to your refractometer. The absolutely bullet-proof, no ifs-ands-buts-or-maybes is to do a density measurement with an accurate scale and a class-A volumetric flask.
Thank you for the suggestions
The cat pee smell was coming from the brute trash cans, and only in the mixing saltwater side. The RO side didn't smell at all. I've double checked the hydras with a par meter, i'm getting around 300 at the corals.
I have an ICP test going out in the mail today, going to hold tight until that comes back. No changes until then.
 

Dkeller_nc

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Ah - yeah, new saltwater can have a bit of sharp smell when the salt's first added to the RODI. From a chemistry perspective, I suspect that's a bit of sulfite/bisulfite. It's normal, but it's one reason I don't use mixed-within-30-minutes new saltwater, no matter what the manufacturers recommend.

I would still recommend investigating the potential questions around the specific gravity and alkalinity, since that doesn't (necessarily) result in changes to your tank.
 
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Drew in Texas

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Crabs,

From one old reefer to another... Our hobby is much the richer for your experience and sage advice. Many of us have benefitted from your wisdom. It would be an immeasurable loss were you to throw up your hands and walk away.

You've been through this before with velvet and who knows what else. We all have. I feel your discouragement at not being able to figure this out. It's sooooo frustrating. I'm kinda in the same place. Out of nowhere a gorgeous torch sprang up in my 150. No idea where it came from. One of those 'AWESOME' moments we all love. An internet glitch kept my lights on for about a week before we noticed they weren't shutting off. That was long enough to send both my torch and my huge encrusted hollywood stunner into a death spiral. Torch croaked pretty quickly, but it's been agony watching that gorgeous 14" completely encrusted stunner die a creeping, day by day death. THIS time, the rest of my corals are doing great, but that stunner was my biggest and my favorite.

I've tried everything I know what to do, what my local guru's have suggested and what I've read on R2R and BRS to try and save it. Every day it's lost a little more color and a little more skeleton is showing. It hurts my heart and my reefer pride that I can't do ANYTHING other than watch it die.

Hang in there my friend. Sometimes the cycle of life and death is frustrating - maddeningly so - and we feel helpless at our utter inability to alter this natural, and unstoppable phenomenon. I'll suffer along side you, mourn our losses together and celebrate with you when we successfully have new life thriving in our tanks.
 
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PSXerholic

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Would high ph cause any of this? It can sometimes get as high as 8.51
But it normally sits around 8.2 to 8.4


I posted a summary of my findings and recommendations on my Facebook profile on June 13th.
Much more stuff in the timeline of interested for anyone.

However I copied and pasted the content of this particular post also here on R2R in my built thread under the link below, directing to the post!

It's not the high PH, it's the low PH that may indicate a corbonic acid issue or in general a harmful carbon imbalance in the system affecting the symbiotic relationship.


Also very important to understand is this here : (copy and paste from a FB post on 9/11, oops just realized what this date means :-(

Hold my Beer.......
RTN/STN explained……….


Unbelievable that I did not find this document earlier which basically greatly supports the theory myself and many other hobbyists always had, and explains what I have found under the microscope during my STN/RTN journey in the beginning of this year.

It also supports the reasons why the natural treatment with Witch Hazel works or at least supports as a Tank treatment
I was always very suspicious about what is going on during the TN issues in the Tissue itself. I found a lot of activity and saw phases of TN under the microscope how the TN progressed in a variety of physical activities deep inside the tissue and underneath or in the gel layer, the Mucus layer.
This is where this article describes in a very nice way actually what’s going on in the Coral mucus layer and why bacteria are the reasons for our dying corals! It may upset one or the other Product Manufacturer, but the outcome of these scientific researches and summarized in this report I linked, is self-explanatory and every Reefer should read this. At least try it, lol.
In a nutshell,
The Mucus layer contains a large variety of symbiotic bacteria, that protects the Coral host from infection of pathogenic bacteria by producing antibacterial agents and antibiotics, that do restrict the growth of pathogenic bacteria on the Coral tissue. Basically it is it’s self defense mechanism!
Unfortunately this symbiotic bacteria self-defense mechanism is extremely negatively affected by increased Co2 levels in the water as well increased temperatures!
Also everything else in the Aquarium environment that fluctuates too harsh will have similar negative effects such as chemistry changes etc.
Especially changes on the Carbohydrate household seem to significantly affect this mechanism as we see it after Alk swings.
If you want to go right to the point, read page 16 or Chapter 1.4.4 at least.
However, the entire article provides a very interesting summary of the Coral Tissue and it’s functions as far it’s explored for now……
Simply click the PDF download button.
https://www.semanticscholar.org/…/d20a850fc1b89d4b7cfd4f036…
 
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SPR1968

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I’ve just spotted this thread Zach, and I’m sure your head is spinning, but I would certainly get plenty of Activated Carbon bags in the system to try and remove any contaminants which I believe you did a few days ago so hopefully this will start to help. I would run carbon 24/7 and possibly in higher amounts to start with in a position we’re all the water flows over it to try and remove anything that might be harmful in there

I believe your doing regular water changes, is your RODI system 4 or 6 stage. I know here in the UK for example the 6 stage is for chloramine removal, but we don’t need that in our area so I just use the 4 stage but it may be worth checking depending on the water quality if your not using the 6 stage already.

The ICP test should reveal a lot of information but it’s just what to do in the meantime as your test numbers look fine. Water changes are always a good idea provided the new water is the same/similar parameters and doesn't keep sending the parameters out of line at every change which could make the corals worse.

Hang in there, and just a few thoughts that may help you sort it out.
 
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Crabs McJones

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@Crabs McJones , btw. Recalibrate the probe with single use calibration fluids! The readings you have look suspicous to me ;-)

And then find the lowest PH in the morning without use of Kalkwasser or limewater !!!
If it helps, when I got the Apex i used the single calibration packets that came with it. I haven't calibrated in a while, but I need to clean the probe before I recalibrate. Any tips on PH probe cleaning? Can you soak them in vinegar?
 

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Don't worry about the cat pee smell. I have that exact same smell in my mixing container, and I've seen it reported elsewhere. It's not ammonia (otherwise our pee would smell the same) Cat pee smell comes from a pheromone that's a breakdown of an amino acid (it also shows up in some wines). The smell is most likely from some bacteria. Freshwater containers typically have a more musty smell, also probably from a different bacteria. Both are totally normal and reported by a lot of people with no ill effects.
 

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I’m sure you will get to the bottom of this , don’t give up, your long time buddy mates will be at hand, like you they have the experience. I’ve only been in the hobby just over 3 years and still learning. I know someone mentioned about QT tank, has yours got anything in it like Frags or even more coral and how are they looking, if they fine you could use it in an emergence as the water in there could be fine and you could move what coral you can if the situation gets worse, into there, until you resolve the problem.
Good luck
 

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Thanks for the info. I tried chemi clean on the cyan and didn't work. I have taken some rock out and sprayed with peroxide and it did clear them, but it came back. What percentage strength on peroxide to dose
 
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MnFish1

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If it helps, when I got the Apex i used the single calibration packets that came with it. I haven't calibrated in a while, but I need to clean the probe before I recalibrate. Any tips on PH probe cleaning? Can you soak them in vinegar?
unless there is something 'calcerous' on it - I would just use salt - and a wet cloth. Vinegar is a strong acid - I guess I dont know if it could hurt the probe or not
 

MnFish1

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Don't worry about the cat pee smell. I have that exact same smell in my mixing container, and I've seen it reported elsewhere. It's not ammonia (otherwise our pee would smell the same) Cat pee smell comes from a pheromone that's a breakdown of an amino acid (it also shows up in some wines). The smell is most likely from some bacteria. Freshwater containers typically have a more musty smell, also probably from a different bacteria. Both are totally normal and reported by a lot of people with no ill effects.
Is it more a 'mold' smell or a 'cat pee' smell lOL - I have had a 'musty' smell in my water container - but never an ammonia smell
 

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Do not use vinegar to clean a glass-junction polymer pH electrode. Vinegar is a "weak acid" (in the sense of the word from Chemistry - not whether it's concentrated enough to burn you) that has the potential to damage the junction. That's not because of the fact that it's an acid, it's because in its neutral state, acetic acid can cross the junction and contaminate the gel electrolyte in the probe.

A 0.1N solution of hydrochloric acid is the appropriate acid to clean a pH electrode so long as it's not exposed for more than about 30 minutes.
 

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Thanks for your comment. Wasnt really needed. I'm not going to give up. The ICP test will go out tomorrow and when the results come back I'll take the appropriate course of action. Not touching the tank until then. Worse case scenario my fish go in a holding tank in the basement and the 75 upstairs gets a re-boot. I have a source to replace all my coral if need be. I really hope it doesn't come to that, but if it does I have a source to replace what I've lost.

Thanks :)

Crabs
YES!! No giving up allowed, sir!!
 

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Crab -

I scanned through this whole thread, hopefully I didn't miss anything critical. Here are a few observations:

1) From the picture, it doesn't look like your Salifert titration for alkalinity is correct. The color should be pinkish, not lavender (orange is over-titrated).
I know on the Salifert test it says to titrate it until pink, but Jim Welsh and I believe Randy have said they titrated based on pH and the end point was the lavender color. Why are you suggesting it should be pink (seems obvious), but now I'm confused.
 
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