Does high nitrate cause browning of SPS?

Discussion in 'General SPS Discussion' started by DracoKat, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. DracoKat

    DracoKat Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I am trying to figure out how to get my SPS to color up in my 75g tank. They are all rather dull brown and green. I'd like some help to figure it out. Other than the blah colors, they're all growing and polyps are extended beautifully. My Softies and LPS is doing amazing, bright and growing.

    The only thing that I see is "wrong" with my tank in my testing is my Nitrate is high at 40ppm. it wasn't always this high, it went up when I added my auto feeder. I cut this back thinking that's the culprit as nothing else has been added to the tank. Additionally I am upping the water change to bring it down more. (I believe the autofeeder is the cause)

    Nitrite-0
    Nitrate- 40
    Phosphate- .25
    Calcium-470 (dosing)
    Alk- 7.8 (dosing)
    Mag- 1600 this spiked recently)
    Ammonia is 0
    Salinity .025
    PH- 8.0

    Lighting is 4-ATI Bulb (2 blue+, Coral+ Purple +) and SBar Actinic.

    30 gal sump, running skimmer at night and recently installed Carbon reactor (about a month ago). Macro (including chaetos) always grow, then die on me (you'd think with nitrates, they'd do well).

    I was supplementing with this https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/coral-system-500-ml-package-korallen-zucht.html
    But after over 3 months of not seeing any changes, I stopped it.

    Can someone help me with coloring my SPS? Do I need better lights, if so, which ones?
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
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  2. DracoKat

    DracoKat Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Oh, wanted to add.. I haven't seen my SPS's true color since I got it almost a year ago. I am grasping at straws to get it to color up now
     
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  3. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Reef Squad

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    Yup. Nutrient reduction in most cases and sometimes more light is needed depending on the species.
     
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  4. jmp21677

    jmp21677 Well-Known Member

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    The phosphates could be causing the problem. I recently dropped my phosphates from .10 to .04 and I'm just now seeing better color. So at .25 this will effect sps colors
     
  5. bif24701

    bif24701 Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Yup, reduce NO3 to about <5ppm and PO4 to ~.03

    How old are your bulbs? How long do you run the lighting? Have any idea the PAR levels for your system?
     
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  6. DracoKat

    DracoKat Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    The bulbs has been replaced about 3 months ago. I am not sure of the PAR, I need an extra hand to help me read it and I have no one readily available, and when I do, I forget to ask them to help, lol. The SPS are mid-high range in the tank.

    I cleaned out my gyre and now it's pumping more flow, so I hope that helps a bit.

    I'll up the water change and figure out ways to reduce the nutrients more. will GFO help?
     
  7. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Reef Squad

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    Yup. Gfo for the Po. Go slow with it.
     
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  8. DracoKat

    DracoKat Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks, I'll add it to my carbon reactor :)
     
  9. jmp21677

    jmp21677 Well-Known Member

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    Make sure to dose less than what the pkg says on the GFO. I killed several sps colonies with GFO
     
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  10. DracoKat

    DracoKat Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks for the heads up! I would not have known this
     
  11. bif24701

    bif24701 Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    How much flow do you have? Gyre in a 30 should be good. Does the sand shift around some?

    Water changes have this weird effect where they can fix almost any problem. It's a old concept apparently marking a come back. Starting with 000-001 TDS water, a good salt, and done on a regular basis it will improve the water in the system. Personally I change ~100 gallons on my total 300 system every two weeks, sometimes each week when no one is looking, sshhhh.
     
  12. DracoKat

    DracoKat Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Hope this video helps with the flow idea?

    I am upping the water changes more often :)
     
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  13. jmp21677

    jmp21677 Well-Known Member

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    Your polyp extension looks good and unless the lights are deceiving me the colors look pretty good as well. I'll bet if you get that PO4 down it will take care of the rest
     
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  14. DracoKat

    DracoKat Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    The colors were more pink and blue on some of them. I want it back lol
     
  15. Donovan Joannes

    Donovan Joannes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I think it depends on intensity and spectrum your lights are running. I have quite high phosphate (0.25ppm) but no browning. My SPS are darker in color but retained it's original color. My nitrate is below 3ppm by the way.
     
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  16. Flippers4pups

    Flippers4pups Flipping it since 93 R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Look at it this way (with a caveat, too much of anything can be detrimental) the more nutrients,(NO3) more production of zooxanthellae, thus darkening of color. More and it goes brown, more and it expells its excess zooxanthellae, more still and it shuts down and tissue starts to die.

    This elevated nutrients (NO3) "browning" can be offset by a couple of things, first one alkalinity. By use of higher alkalinity we can cause the coral to grow a little faster to use up the sugars produced by the zooxanthellae in the corals tissue. Second is increased par from the light source. A little higher par can slow down the zooxanthellae a little causing the color to improve. Third is increased flow.

    Now all of this is in layman terms. I'm sure Dana Riddle could explain in more depth than I could.

    Too much of anything above can cause corals to go south quickly, so with that said, here's a good read:

    https://www.reef2reef.com/ams/tank-parameters-of-some-masters.263/

    I personally run higher NO3 15-20 ppm, not any higher than 20ppm and PO4 at a trace. My alkalinity I strive for 8-9. Par at 200-250.

    Sanjay runs extreme NO3 and higher alkalinity with a ton of flow (Oh and a ton of light!) and gets exceptional growth and color. Me, that's a little risky for my blood!
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
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  17. DracoKat

    DracoKat Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    @Flippers4pups thats in layman terms? For whom?! Lol! I need to read that again slowly. Chemistry was my worst subject:oops:

    So the gist I got out of all this in this topic.. lower nitrates to below 15/20-closer to 0. Lower phosphate to below .5

    I believe my PAR is Ok though I can't vouch it.

    I added a small bit of GFO to my reactor and turned the skimmer on to 24/7 (it was only at nights). Upping water changes and I should be ok?
     
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  18. Flippers4pups

    Flippers4pups Flipping it since 93 R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    @DracoKat, from what I've been reading, keep your NO3 higher than your PO4.

    Like 5-10ppm NO3 and PO4 at trace. Not NO3 0ppm.

    If your NO3 is at 0 and you have elevated PO4, your chances of having nuisance algae out break can happen.

    Most SPS corals do best around 200-250 par.

    Watch stripping your water of nutrients. Too fast and they will starve and bleach.
     
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  19. DracoKat

    DracoKat Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    thank you! I am understanding better :)

    You all have been helpful and patient with me, thanks!
     
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  20. Flippers4pups

    Flippers4pups Flipping it since 93 R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Your welcome!
     

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