Goodbye SPS

K7BMG

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I started my First 126G reef this year back in February.
Went Triton and the BRS/WWC hybrid 4 plus month start up.
One month back finally got my first corals,
Blasto
Small Monti
Zoa
Brain
And a hammer
Everything to my surprise was doing great
Two weeks ago my tank sprung a leak.
Had to tear it all down put it in a smaller tank no sump ETC.

I guess that's life, Bought a new 137G tank and currently building the stand.
Basically starting from scratch.

PS. If your wondering the weird tank size, I believe in honesty, I don't care about the false hood size by the MFG's
I calculate it out and that's what it is.
 

DEWreefing

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I have been luck so far a tank full of sps and multiple swings due to kalk, calcium reactor malfunctions, you name it I have done it. I have a 200g tank I think saves my butt. My alk went from 9 to 14 in 2 days freaked out and dumped in a bunch of calcium to drop the alk. Should have just waited it out and let it drop slowly. We all make mistakes that's how we learn. I lost 2 sps colonies due to that issue. 1 bird nest and 1 tri color valida
 

reefwiser

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This is the worry I have with the current coral ban. Hobbyist have to get into SPS pretty fast and many times the challenge is more than they are really ready for. With the price of LPS going thru the roof hobbyist are forced into more advanced corals that can have real issues with keeping them.
 

MPS

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Yep. I feel ya. I just lost two monti-cap colonies. They went from great to gone over night. If it wasn’t a challenge, I think this hobby would get boring. I plan to take a step back, figure out where I went wrong, fix it and try again.
If it’s any consolation, I can’t seem to keep a freshwater tank healthy. Blows my mind.
 

PeterG

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Hello R2R. Just wanted to whine a bit to my fellow reefers that “know the feeling”. I’m done with SPS. I’ve been loosing corals over the last several months. Once I think I have it fixed another coral bleaches. I just can’t keep acros and birds nests alive. I don’t get it and I’ve had enough! I don’t have the patience for these types of corals I guess. I just want to say for those of you that have great looking acros....I’m so jealous.
Brain, As others have said, I also feel your pain. Only been in reefing for about 2 yrs and felt I had “beginners luck” as my Birds Nest and Green Slimer were doing great as was my Monti and my Meteor Shower and War Coral. Then reality set in with RTN and then STN on the survivors. My Hammer and Frogspawn and mushrooms are all doing great.

I followed all the suggestions on R2R on diagnosing my issues with SPS including sending my water out for testing and renting a PAR meter. All to no avail.

I’m gonna give it another go with SPS at some point but for today I’m content enjoying the LPS, softies and a tank full of happy, healthy fish. Doesn’t hurt that my wife’s favorites include Cespitularia and Xenia as well as the various Euphyllia.
 
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Brian Saxby

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Brain, As others have said, I also feel your pain. Only been in reefing for about 2 yrs and felt I had “beginners luck” as my Birds Nest and Green Slimer were doing great as was my Monti and my Meteor Shower and War Coral. Then reality set in with RTN and then STN on the survivors. My Hammer and Frogspawn and mushrooms are all doing great.

I followed all the suggestions on R2R on diagnosing my issues with SPS including sending my water out for testing and renting a PAR meter. All to no avail.

I’m gonna give it another go with SPS at some point but for today I’m content enjoying the LPS, softies and a tank full of happy, healthy fish. Doesn’t hurt that my wife’s favorites include Cespitularia and Xenia as well as the various Euphyllia.
I did the same. Rented a par meter. Cool little tool. Learned a lot from it...like “oh that’s why that one turned white over the last 3 weeks”.

Sent water out for ICP as well. Came back with a big ‘thumbs up’.
 
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Brian Saxby

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So reading these post I’m really leaning on this last murder session was probably due to alk swings. So let’s talk alk and WC for a sec

My goal tank numbers 9.5/450/1350. Drop in alk is about .5 dKH after 5 days (.1 dKH daily). Would I rely on 10% WC to bring alk back to 9.5? If so would that mean there is an instant spike of .5 dKH. Would this be considered stable?
 

WallyB

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How about Repurposing /upgrading them SPS skeletons into "Frankenstein Cyphastrea" like Leishman does

7D47E6CA-A815-4339-8738-9B36F1A32DCF.jpeg
I love this idea and how your Cyphastrea Garden looks.
I actually started a cyphastrea collection and have over a dozen different types on plugs. I don't want the cyphastrea invading/encrusting main rocks, so was thinking tiny rock piece islands.
Great idea for my dead sps (which I keep as reminders of past mistakes)
 

WallyB

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So reading these post I’m really leaning on this last murder session was probably due to alk swings. So let’s talk alk and WC for a sec

My goal tank numbers 9.5/450/1350. Drop in alk is about .5 dKH after 5 days (.1 dKH daily). Would I rely on 10% WC to bring alk back to 9.5? If so would that mean there is an instant spike of .5 dKH. Would this be considered stable?
Water changes is a Hot Topic for me since I just automated Daily Water Changes, and am focusing on ALK (Dosing with Water Changes).
So, so let's focus on ALK (which I think is most important and usually the SPS Killer due to Spikes). Next biggest Killer for me has been Phosphate Drops/Swings.
Remind me, what is your tank size (Gals)?
And your IORC salt mix is giving you what ALK? (Always check each NEW bucket since Batches Vary).

The math is simple (proportions) and a weekly Water Change ALK spike of 0.5 dKH is fine.
 
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Brian Saxby

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Water changes is a Hot Topic for me since I just automated Daily Water Changes, and am focusing on ALK (Dosing with Water Changes).
So, so let's focus on ALK (which I think is most important and usually the SPS Killer due to Spikes). Next biggest Killer for me has been Phosphate Drops/Swings.
Remind me, what is your tank size (Gals)?
And your IORC salt mix is giving you what ALK? (Always check each NEW bucket since Batches Vary).

The math is simple (proportions) and a weekly Water Change ALK spike of 0.5 dKH is fine.
Tank is a 180 gallon bow with a 40 breeder sump. 205-210ish gallon total volume. I check dKH on the new salt mix every WC. In the summer with the barrel in the garage here in south Alabama I run the mixing pump until I get the dKH down to 10.2. Water precips pretty quick. The barrel temp in the garage is about 86-92 degrees depending on the day and time. Calcium in the new mix is usually 480 ( tank is 450). I bucket 5 buckets. Haul them inside and let them sit at room temp until it reaches 78(tank temp). This takes about 4-5 hours. Then I test the new water again for salinity and alk. All alk, cal, and mg tests are salifert. Salinity is a Milwaukee.

Phos are steady at .02 -.04 (Hanna). Nitrates at a steady 5-10(Nyos)

I am not dosing anything in the tank at all. I am only running 1 Cup of BRS Rox GAC in a BRS reactor.
 
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_JoeD

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So reading these post I’m really leaning on this last murder session was probably due to alk swings. So let’s talk alk and WC for a sec

My goal tank numbers 9.5/450/1350. Drop in alk is about .5 dKH after 5 days (.1 dKH daily). Would I rely on 10% WC to bring alk back to 9.5? If so would that mean there is an instant spike of .5 dKH. Would this be considered stable?
.1DKH drop per day is nothing. That would not murder your SPS
 

WallyB

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Tank is a 180 gallon bow with a 40 breeder sump. 205-210ish gallon total volume. I check dKH on the new salt mix every WC. In the summer with the barrel in the garage here in south Alabama I run the mixing pump until I get the dKH down to 10.2. Water precips pretty quick. The barrel temp in the garage is about 86-92 degrees depending on the day and time. Calcium in the new mix is usually 480 ( tank is 450). I bucket 5 buckets. Haul them inside and let them sit at room temp until it reaches 78(tank temp). This takes about 4-5 hours. Then I test the new water again for salinity and alk. All alk, cal, and mg tests are salifert. Salinity is a Milwaukee.

Phos are steady at .02 -.04 (Hanna). Nitrates at a steady 5-10(Nyos)

I am not dosing anything in the tank at all. I am only running 1 Cup of BRS Rox GAC in a BRS reactor.
Wow. Things sound great with what you are doing. Especially having your N&P at those lower levels.
Again, I'm no SPS expert but one Expert SPS grower that I visit says he likes to keep Phosphates between 0.04-0.06. (and you are right there at your High End)
Maybe you just need more fish to get Nutrients into your system (Fish Poo). Since When nutrients are LOW, SPS get sensitive to Higher Light. (So acclimation to Lights becomes more important. Starting SPS at Bottom of Tank and raising slowly to higher Light). Espeically light sensitive SPS like Deep Water Acros.
 
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Brian Saxby

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Thanks Wally.

My lighting issues in the past was due to the t5s being too high therefore not producing enough light. Lost some there. I slowly lowered the fixture and then slowly ramped up the time and then lost some there. Corals are like people I guess. Can’t make everyone happy

I really like the idea of more fish. Love the fish!!
 

Jimmy Long

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SPS is not easy, and that's why people say it's not easy. I can't tell you how many birdsnests I've killed before I got the hang of it. Consistently is key for sps, constant parameter swings are just too hard on sps corals. I also have killed TONS of anemones before i got my tank right. I literally probably killed 1k+ in nems in the past few years, I don't give up though, why? I love seeing my two maroons enjoy their nems. Don't give up if you truly love the hobby.
 

WallyB

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Thanks Wally.

My lighting issues in the past was due to the t5s being too high therefore not producing enough light. Lost some there. I slowly lowered the fixture and then slowly ramped up the time and then lost some there. Corals are like people I guess. Can’t make everyone happy

I really like the idea of more fish. Love the fish!!
Let me ask one more question since I am an EXPERT at killing SPS. I know all the ways :(

How did yours die? Bleach overnight to nothing but white skeleton? Slowly die from bottom up? Burn from tips (white at tips)? Or slowly loose color, then PE and just fade out?
 

Anupam

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Well I guess I could post parameters and problems. Maybe we as a group could narrow it down. I really just wanted to whine a bit to some folks that feel my pain.

I do 10% WC weekly. Total system volume is 220g

9.6 dKH before WC. 10.2 after. 10.2 has been a pretty steady number after WC.

1350 MG

450 Ca

Nitrates hang steady at 8

.02-.04 phos

No dosing only run GAC. 1 cup of BRS rox. Change once a month. I do have kalk but don’t run it yet.

Equipment is top class. Ati sunpower 6x80. Cheap led bar for ramp up and down. Lifereef skimmer. Tunze ATO. Apex controller. 2x mp40s set at 80% reefcrest on antisync

Lighting schedule is 8 hr full bright. 12 full cycle.

Refugium in sump by the weekend. Just waiting on my chaeto. Set to opposite light cycle.

Tank is an upgrade from a 75. So some rock was from it. New sand and more rock cycled back in October.

Powder Blue tang
Purple tang
Kole tang
3x banggai
3x dartfish
2x oct clowns
Yellow prawn goby
Midas blenny
4x chromis
Blood red shrimp
Peppermint shrimp
Skunk shrimp

Normal hermit and snail cleanup.

Several hammer corals
Couple of Zoa frags
15 or so sps frags now. Lost maybe 5-6.

I think my problem now is the WC spikes causing instability. I really don’t know. Open to any suggestions!
I wonder why you are letting Alk fall prior to the next WC. Keep that stable through dosing and WC won't be a problem.
 

stefanm

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Why are you running GAC full time, seems to remove a lot of trace elements, I've had RTN in acros within a few days of having a bag of GAC in my sump, also digitatas which are quite hardy for me start to look dull.

As for water changes, why not do small daily water changes this will help with stability.

What got my tank from surviving to growing ( won't say thriving yet) was firstly auto dosing, I have some macro algae that is calcareous, this helped get my alk, calc and mag consumption equal. Also I have 17 fishes in 300 litres fed three times daily, 11 have been with me for only a month, I only run chaeto in my fuge for nutrient export and a couple of macro algae's in my display (hitchhikers)

I'll be getting some more SPS in a few months, right now quite LPS heavy (12 in total 6 are large colonies) some zoas, gsp(somewhere) a leather and a superman rhodactis. Actually quite happy with what I've got now, only SPS are Monti caps and digitatas, definitely hardy.
 
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Brian Saxby

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Let me ask one more question since I am an EXPERT at killing SPS. I know all the ways :(

How did yours die? Bleach overnight to nothing but white skeleton? Slowly die from bottom up? Burn from tips (white at tips)? Or slowly loose color, then PE and just fade out?
Funny you actually listed every way I’ve killed one. [emoji23]
 

sghera64

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@Brian Saxby , I did not read through every single post here (TLDR), but has anyone asked if you have access to an experience reefer in your physical community? R2R is a great virtual community, but allowing an experience reefer to "look under the hood", and one who allows you to see their system can be an information rich environment even the R2R gods can hardly match.

Combine the diversity of experience, education, failures, successes and reefing styles of R2R with an physical reefer and you will be hard pressed not to succeed.

FWIW, I did see some posts say, other eluded to, "ramping up" your reef prowess. I tend to agree. I have a 17 year old system and it seems what ever I put into it, it survives (including dinos, cyano, GHA. My son said he saw "Nessy" in there, but that just can't be, the tank water is too warm for a Lockness monster type). I have LPS, SPS softies, clams. My SPS are not expensive or anything to write home about. Now, I share all this because in my experience, alk swings do not affect my corals much. My alk might swing from 125 - 180ppm CaCO3 (or 7 - 10.8) and back down again over a 1-2 week period. It goes up faster than down because I can raise it quickly by over adjusting my CO2 reactor and it takes the corals a while to pull it back down (more quickly at first). Again, my system is 17 yrs old and "young" systems might be far more sensitive.

I have noticed that WC' will cause some of the LPS to look more splendid for a day, then the tank seems to have a more negative bounce. I have a large macro fuge so I tend to do large water changes only a few times per year. I'm not using Triton. I test the basics myself (Ca, Alk, Mg, I, K, N, P). I have a lab do ICP-OES about 2x per year just to monitor funk (Sn, Mo, Fe, Mn, Co, U/Pu strictly for energy use , Au/Ag- -that'd be rich), which inform my WCs.

The way my system arrived where it is was a lot of early-on neglect - - because I was not around much due to work. The system had to "fend for it self. I started with Water / Sand / Rock. Then fish, then some hardy SPS (torches, zoas), clams. After I got time, I bought some real cheap (likely means real hardy) SPS. They slowly sprawled out. After 3-5 years, the system seemed to be ready to handle almost anything.
 
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