Erk's Attempt at a Reef

Discussion in 'Member Tanks' started by erk, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. najer

    najer Valuable Member

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    I don't really use it but friends that do run less and change it more often.
     
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  2. erk

    erk Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    Well, I figured out what was killing my tank. For some reason the Pin Point pH probe cracked. Not sure how or why, but it cracked and seeped chemicals into the tank and either caused a short in the tank or something. Going to run carbon and do a series of water changes to try to get things back in order. Glad to finally figure out the issue, but so sad that it took this long. Another item I will reconsider how I run in the tank. Might put it in the return line.
     
  3. NY_Caveman

    NY_Caveman "Put your gold money where your love is” R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Hospitality Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Ugh! Nice catch.
     
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  4. erk

    erk Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    It's been over a month since I found the cause of all my troubles. I lost all my SPS due to it. Also lost a lot of LPS as well. Softies looked kind of bad for awhile. I left the tank alone during this time. Did some water changes and ran carbon. Finally did some deep cleaning. The coraline algae growth is impressive. The remaining corals are rebounding. I placed a couple new frags in the tank. Couple SPS and LPS. They are looking really good and calcium consumption is on the rise.

    Need to get back into the habit of water changes and regular maintenance. I plan to purchase some new SPS to start restocking the tank. I don't plan to replace the pH probe. I will remove the pH readings from my control software when I do an update.
     
  5. erk

    erk Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    Been a while since I updated this thread. Things haven't been great with the tank. I purchased some SPS and LPS thinking the tank was ready to go. Turns out that was not the case. Lost the majority of the new coral. Things didn't start out so bad, but after a little over a week, the coral started heading down hill. I had an ATI ICP test, so I sent that in. That was in mid July. The results came in while I was on vacation. Thankfully there was only one element out of place, and that was PO4. The bad part was that it was grossly out of whack. Came back as .95 ppm. The March test had it at .06 ppm.
    I purchased a Hanna Phosphorus checker and started running the GFO. NO3 is at ~2 ppm, so no way to use Redfield Ratio to reduce PO4 without dosing NO3. After a month, I am now at .27 ppm. Still 10x where I want to be, but progress! I'm on the way to being able to keep SPS again!
     
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  6. erk

    erk Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    PO4 is now down to .169 ppm. I plan to get it down to ~.05 ppm, then order an ICP kit to verify that the PO4 is low and everything else is in order. Then I can begin thinking about adding more coral.
     
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  7. erk

    erk Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    Update on PO4. Down to .117 ppm.

    Noticed I have some bubble algae cropping up. I removed what I could see and added 3 small emerald crabs. Hopefully they can keep what I remove under control.

    Bought 5 talbot damsels to add some action to the tank. They are currently sitting in the acclimation box. Probably won't release them for the next couple days until I see them eating well. The LFS was housing them with aggressive damsels that did some damage.
     
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  8. erk

    erk Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    Since PO4 is near .1 ppm, I decided to order the ICP test. If my phosphate levels are done around .06-.05, then I'll send out the ICP test to verify. I will also remove all GFO and try to go back to my simple ways of reef keeping.

    Something I've noticed in the last couple months of having less coral is the amount of life on the rocks. It is incredible the amount of life that has cropped up. Difference types of alga, worms, sponges, and tunicates. The sponges are very cool. I am seeing yellow and blue types growing.

    I need to shoot some more fish pictures. The lubbock's wrasse has really matured into a beautiful male. He is also surprisingly aggressive.
     
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  9. NY_Caveman

    NY_Caveman "Put your gold money where your love is” R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Hospitality Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Funny, I had been taking pictures of coral and fish in my new build. Lately I find I am photographing my live rock. LOL
     
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  10. erk

    erk Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    PO4 reduction has seemed to stall recently. Stuck above 0.1ppm. I've decided to add a reactor for the GFO rather than rely on bags of GFO. Hopefully this should get me the last few hundredths of a ppm that I need.

    Added a random tenius, setosa, and birds nest to test the tank. The tenius has good PE, but that is it. Growth edges look thin. The setosa is the same way. The seriatopora was a bit better, then I put it into direct light like a dummy and burned it a bit.

    LPS are happy, to say the least. I'm hoping the ones on the hairy edge rebound completely.

    Toadstool, gorgonians, and zoas have exploded in growth over the last couple months. I need to trim the gorgs a bit.
     
  11. erk

    erk Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    PO4 is now at 0.055 ppm. I've added a platy and chalice to the tank to gauge if the tank is ready. I'll be taking the GFO reactor offline for the next week to see if the PO4 stays at or below 0.055 ppm. I'll send in an ICP test if it holds. And if everything stays put by the time the results are back, I'll look at getting some acros!
     
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  12. erk

    erk Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    Well, I tested PO4 on Wednesday (I test alk and PO4 Wednesday and Saturday) and it doubled to .12 ppm since I took the GFO reactor offline. I worried this might happen. Almost immediately the lone acro I have in the tank as a test frag started losing flesh. I restarted the GFO reactor and the rate of tissue necrosis has slowed but not stopped. I think the relatively high PO4 levels meant the rocks may have absorbed some of the PO4. New plan is to run GFO for a month, then remove it and see if PO4 rises again. I need to get back to that sweet spot where input and consumption are balanced. This is why I love reef keeping. Never a dull moment.
     
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  13. erk

    erk Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    This past weekend I renovated my lighting. I was noticing the T5 bulbs were dimming and I had just replaced them. I also didn't like the look of my Lumia 5.2s. The color just didn't look right. So I replaced the T5 ballasts with Fulham Workhorse 5s. Then I replaced the old Lumia 5.2s with new ones. After troubleshooting wiring problems for two days, the lights are up and running great. Color looks so much better and PAR is back up to where it was when I first started the tank. I took some tips from the BRS WWC tank reviews and raised my lights far higher to get better coverage and I like it a lot.
     
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  14. erk

    erk Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    I think I finally figured out the main source of phosphate in the tank. I finally pulled my neon green toadstool because it was looking horrible. It had slowly rotted away in its core. I was hoping it would eventually bounce back. Unfortunately it reached a point where it was obvious it wasn't going to recover. Didn't think it was the main source of the PO4, but ~3 days after removing it, the PO4 dropped from .083 to .061 ppm. I'm wondering if the dying toadstool was also releasing other toxic chemicals into the water that was affecting the stony corals. Only time will tell.
     
  15. NY_Caveman

    NY_Caveman "Put your gold money where your love is” R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Hospitality Award Build Thread Contributor

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    It could have. May want to run some carbon if you do not regularly.
     
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  16. erk

    erk Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    I was debating whether or not to do this, but I think you are right. Better to be safe than sorry.
     
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  17. erk

    erk Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    Stopped by the LFS and saw they had some scissortail gobies. Have always wanted a few of these for the top of the tank. So I grabbed them up. They had been there for about 2-3 wks, so should be well adapted to captivity now. I also grabbed a couple cheap frags to try out in the tank. Existing corals have been looking better and better this week, so figured why not.

    After I finished adding all the new stuff, the T5s went out and I liked the look so much, I snapped a quick FTS. I recently trimmed the gorgonians as they were getting too big. I've got an aiptasia problem. I'm assuming the peppermint shrimp I had in the tank to take care of the problem is gone. The lone shrimp did a good job of keeping the aiptasia out of the DT. Guess I'll need to grab a couple more or consider a file fish or something.

    FTS.jpg
     
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  18. erk

    erk Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    Tank was looking really nice tonight, so I decided to snap some photos. These are the ones that I thought looked the best.

    FTS.jpg
    This image of eagle eye zoas is my first attempt at focus stacking. It actually worked well. There are a couple artifacts, but otherwise it came out great.
    eagle eye zoas.jpg
    acan1.jpg
    chromis1.jpg
    I got this guy probably near a year ago and he was skinny and tiny. Now he is the boss. Every night at dusk he goes on a rampage and just starts flashing at the other wrasses.
    lubbock1.jpg
    lubbock2.jpg
    talbot1.jpg
    talbot2.jpg
    tang1.jpg
     
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  19. Jomama

    Jomama Marine fish monthly R2R Supporter

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    Love it, thanks for sharing
     
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  20. erk

    erk Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    I've decided to start dosing NO3 to try and reduce PO4. I know I am NO3 limited from my ICP tests, but I don't regularly test. I'm starting slow, dosing 0.5 ppm NO3 per day. I test PO4 and alk every Wednesday and Sunday. If I don't see PO4 dropping, I'll increase my NO3 dosage to 1 ppm.

    I've begun this route because from the research I did, it seems the primary fix for this situation is to dose NO3. The situation being NO3 limited with excess PO4. I don't have a ton of excess PO4 in the tank, but from what I can tell, the mechanisms I employ to control these nutrients are not able to keep up. I will continue to heavily feed the tank as I always have. Don't want to wind up in a nutrient limited situation again.
     
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