Help me understand my SPS crash

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Llorgon

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As the title says, SPS in my tank were doing well until they weren't. Help me understand what I did wrong... well I think I know where I went wrong, but I want confirmation.

Tank is 75 gallons with sump and refugium. Mostly SPS frags and some euphyllia. It's a bit over a year old now.

I've never had great colour with the SPS, always very pale or brown. A few weeks ago I noticed the elkhorn and forest fire were looking a bit off. I did my regular weekly 15 gal water change, had dinner, went for a walk and my pacman frag completely RTN'd. Next day a few other frags did the same.

When I tested my water my nitrates were at 0. I began dosing nitrates and got them up a too high and phosphate went to 0. Pretty sure this was where I went wrong in not paying attention to the phosphates while dosing nitrates.

I've corrected the phosphates and have been continuing my water change schedule and allowing nitrates to drop although they aren't dropping much at all.

Current params are:
Temp: 78
Salinity: 1.025
Alk: 8.5
Cal: 470
Mag: 1245
Nitrate: 25
Phosphate: 0.07

Problem is, I am still seeing tissue loss in my SPS frags, not all, but the majority have at least some tissue loss, what was green is brown and the forest fire and elkhorn haven't really recovered much at all.

I've ordered an ICP test kit so hopefully that will tell me if anything else is causing my issues.

PXL_20220713_012621801.jpg PXL_20220713_012627564.jpg PXL_20220713_012637566.jpg PXL_20220713_012641945.jpg
 

billyocean

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You can cut any good tips off and glue them to a plug to try and save some. .07 phos and 25 nitrate isn't too bad..just don't panic and slowly bring down nitrates if you want to. The zeroing out is probably what got them.
 

Screwgunner

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5 gallon water changes are all you need 15 is to much change . The reason to change water is to regulate nutrients the best you can. Sps do not tolerate big swings in chemistry in your water so you need to find a way to keep everything stable. Before you try to keep sps!
 
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mtraylor

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Your current parms look good to me. The nitrates and phosphates and alk are all on point at the moment. Your problem from the read is your inability to keep the parms stable. Yoyoing your nitrates and phosphates to zero will cause problems. In review of you pic. Your phosphates and Nitrates have been out of whack causing an algae issue which is why im sure you have been trying to treat them in some way.

If you have phosphates under control you really dont need to panic about high nitrates. Bring them down slowly. Do you have a sump and a skimmer in the sump? If so. What kind and how often do you run it?

Brown corals can be a combo of lots of things. Most of the time its a stability issue and lack of nutrients. Lighting also plays a role. My guess is if you get the parms steady and under control. Then you will be on target for some beautiful corals.

You may have lots of them. But I like to start with the basics. Do you have a cleanup crew? If not then you need to get allot of snails. they will help with the algae issue you have and help stabilize things for you naturally while you get them under control.
 

((FORDTECH))

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Your current parms look good to me. The nitrates and phosphates and alk are all on point at the moment. Your problem from the read is your inability to keep the parms stable. Yoyoing your nitrates and phosphates to zero will cause problems. In review of you pic. Your phosphates and Nitrates have been out of whack causing an algae issue which is why im sure you have been trying to treat them in some way.

If you have phosphates under control you really dont need to panic about high nitrates. Bring them down slowly. Do you have a sump and a skimmer in the sump? If so. What kind and how often do you run it?

Brown corals can be a combo of lots of things. Most of the time its a stability issue and lack of nutrients. Lighting also plays a role. My guess is if you get the parms steady and under control. Then you will be on target for some beautiful corals.

You may have lots of them. But I like to start with the basics. Do you have a cleanup crew? If not then you need to get allot of snails. they will help with the algae issue you have and help stabilize things for you naturally while you get them under control.
What I’m confused about is Browning corals especially SPS is 99% of the time due to high nutrients yet OP is claiming they keep going low so what is really happening my guess is his nutrients are swinging all over the place way high and Way low
 
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Llorgon

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You can cut any good tips off and glue them to a plug to try and save some. .07 phos and 25 nitrate isn't too bad..just don't panic and slowly bring down nitrates if you want to. The zeroing out is probably what got them.
Ok. I assumed it was the zeroing out, but I wanted to see if there may have been something else I missed.
5 gallon water changes are all you need 15 is to much change . The reason to change water is to regulate nutrients the best you can. Sps do not tolerate big swings in chemistry in your water so you need to find a way to keep everything stable. Before you try to keep sps!
I'll give smaller water changes a try. I thought 15gal for 75gal+sump tank would be fine. Maybe I was doing tooany water changes.
Your current parms look good to me. The nitrates and phosphates and alk are all on point at the moment. Your problem from the read is your inability to keep the parms stable. Yoyoing your nitrates and phosphates to zero will cause problems. In review of you pic. Your phosphates and Nitrates have been out of whack causing an algae issue which is why im sure you have been trying to treat them in some way.

If you have phosphates under control you really dont need to panic about high nitrates. Bring them down slowly. Do you have a sump and a skimmer in the sump? If so. What kind and how often do you run it?

Brown corals can be a combo of lots of things. Most of the time its a stability issue and lack of nutrients. Lighting also plays a role. My guess is if you get the parms steady and under control. Then you will be on target for some beautiful corals.

You may have lots of them. But I like to start with the basics. Do you have a cleanup crew? If not then you need to get allot of snails. they will help with the algae issue you have and help stabilize things for you naturally while you get them under control.

As far as I know, this is the first time I've had the big shift in nutrients. Mostly when I test nitrate was around 2-4ppm and phosphate around 0.03-0.05.

I've been having some cyano issues lately, but I haven't added anything chemical wise. It started about the same time as the corals looking unhappy. So most likely due to the nutrient issue.

I do have a sump with a skimmer and refugium. I think the skimmer is the reef octopus 110 and it runs 24/7. Refugium light is the tunze submersible one. It runs opposite of the display lights. There's some caulerpa in there that doesn't seem to want to grow...

I've got cleanup crew of various snails. Mostly astrea and cerith and one fighting conch. They seem happy as there's always new batches of eggs on the glass.

What I’m confused about is Browning corals especially SPS is 99% of the time due to high nutrients yet OP is claiming they keep going low so what is really happening my guess is his nutrients are swinging all over the place way high and Way low
Browning was probably not the best to describe it. I would get green, but not much else for colour in the SPS. Blue, red and any other colour was never as vibrant as when I picked up the frags.
 
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billyocean

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Could be a par issue on the coloration. Might want to run some carbon for a bit if you aren't. This would help things that might be in your water ypu can't test on as well as clearing up your water..which leads to better par. Like mentioned....stability is key. Your parameters can be a wide variety but as long as they are stable..it's fine as long as any change is slow.
 

mtraylor

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Ok. well you got all the good stuff. For your water top off. How do you top the tank off. Do you have you an ATO? Do you have RO/DI at the house?

I think if you stay on top of the parms as we suggested. Things will get allot better. At least test once a week. Like on the weekend. Make it a habit. Once you get things steady, you can ease off a bit. But during crucial times the more the better.

I personally have not used a submerged light for refugium.....but from the sounds of it. Its not doing the job. I would get a cheap light and hang over the refugium. cheapest is 6500 LED or cfl from home depot and a clip on to hold the bulg. It will grow algae all day long. Or get one of those cheap 20 dollar led's to sit over refugium. Thats what I do.

This will not help your situation per say...but you may want to get rid of the calurpa down the road. It can go asexual and mess up tank. If you can find chaeto. Its better choice.

For the other colors. Here are some things that might help.
1. Test your Potassium and dose if needed
2. Test your Iodine and dose if needed
 
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Llorgon

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Could be a par issue on the coloration. Might want to run some carbon for a bit if you aren't. This would help things that might be in your water ypu can't test on as well as clearing up your water..which leads to better par. Like mentioned....stability is key. Your parameters can be a wide variety but as long as they are stable..it's fine as long as any change is slow.

Possibly. I upgraded lights about 6 months ago to radion xr30 blue, running ab+. I tested par with the seneye par monitor. Not sure how accurate it is though. Once things are happy again I'll see if I can borrow a more accurate par monitor.

Ok. well you got all the good stuff. For your water top off. How do you top the tank off. Do you have you an ATO? Do you have RO/DI at the house?

I think if you stay on top of the parms as we suggested. Things will get allot better. At least test once a week. Like on the weekend. Make it a habit. Once you get things steady, you can ease off a bit. But during crucial times the more the better.

I personally have not used a submerged light for refugium.....but from the sounds of it. Its not doing the job. I would get a cheap light and hang over the refugium. cheapest is 6500 LED or cfl from home depot and a clip on to hold the bulg. It will grow algae all day long. Or get one of those cheap 20 dollar led's to sit over refugium. Thats what I do.

This will not help your situation per say...but you may want to get rid of the calurpa down the road. It can go asexual and mess up tank. If you can find chaeto. Its better choice.

For the other colors. Here are some things that might help.
1. Test your Potassium and dose if needed
2. Test your Iodine and dose if needed

Water top off is with the tunze ATO. ATO reservoir is a food grade dog food container. That is a recent change. I cleaned it out with vinegar and hot water. I figured it couldn't be worse than the home Depot storage container I was using before. I did add carbon just in case it was something from the container.

I have a ro/di unit. Filters were changed recently as 3 weeks ago. I usually test tds once a month.

The light for the refugium is the tunze 8831 refugium light. It grew gha like crazy when I first setup the tank, but not getting much in the way of macro algae growth.

I've heard of that with the caulerpa. I got a small bag of it for free from the guy I bought the frags from. He loved the stuff, but chaeto does seem safer.

I have a pack of the red sea coral colours. Haven't used it yet since I don't have test kits for them yet.
 
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Screwgunner

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Those are the numbers to keep .
A skimmer is used so you do not have to do so many water changes plus if you have a small bio load . Plus you have a refugium. If it is working good you can almost get away with out water changes . Let it go see how fast your phosphates climb per day . Don't let it get over.1
My tank is just over a year now at around one year the uglys hit me hard lost some sps and a couple zoas and a staghorn. Now that I am over that it seems my tank has become more stable . I do not do water changes . I add reef builder daily to keep alk. Up . And trace once aweek. Now that I have my routine down it stays where I want it. Now I have to worry about the baby fish in my sump!
 
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Llorgon

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Those are the numbers to keep .
A skimmer is used so you do not have to do so many water changes plus if you have a small bio load . Plus you have a refugium. If it is working good you can almost get away with out water changes . Let it go see how fast your phosphates climb per day . Don't let it get over.1
My tank is just over a year now at around one year the uglys hit me hard lost some sps and a couple zoas and a staghorn. Now that I am over that it seems my tank has become more stable . I do not do water changes . I add reef builder daily to keep alk. Up . And trace once aweek. Now that I have my routine down it stays where I want it. Now I have to worry about the baby fish in my sump!

I definitely need to get my refugium working better it seems. Question on not doing water changes, do you ever vacuum the sand bed? What trace elements do you dose and how often do you test them?
Have you checked for aefw or other pests? Yes it could be a nutrient issue that your corals were on the pale side; but if they were pale and brown, it usually has another stress factor that is causing stress to the sps.

I checked today and didn't notice anything. All the corals I have are from the same hobbyist who ended up shutting down his tanks. He didn't have any known pests other than aiptasia.
Sounds like a lighting issue!
Could be on the colour side, I think I have the radions set at 75% right now.
 

((FORDTECH))

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What happens is you get it
Yet another coral down it seems. It was fine last night and woke up this morning to this...
What happens is you get it and auto top off malfunction which raises or lowers your salinity or some kind of an alkalinity spike but this happens 34 weeks ago and you don’t see any kind of affect to your tank right away then 34 weeks later stuff starts to die and you don’t even think about it this is happened to me so many times that now I started writing down every instance like this so I can look back and say yes four weeks ago my auto top off dumped an extra 20 gallons into my 250 gallon system causing a salinity change four weeks later now I have an issue
 
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Llorgon

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What happens is you get it

What happens is you get it and auto top off malfunction which raises or lowers your salinity or some kind of an alkalinity spike but this happens 34 weeks ago and you don’t see any kind of affect to your tank right away then 34 weeks later stuff starts to die and you don’t even think about it this is happened to me so many times that now I started writing down every instance like this so I can look back and say yes four weeks ago my auto top off dumped an extra 20 gallons into my 250 gallon system causing a salinity change four weeks later now I have an issue

Sounds like you're speaking from experience. I've gone back through my notes on the tank and been trying to come up with anything a month or two ago that could have caused it and I can't think of anything.

I did another water change today, albeit a smaller one. Params before water change:
Temp: 78
Salinity: 1.025
Alk: 8.8
Cal: 460
Mag: 1245
Nitrate: 20? Hard to tell between the shades of pink. I have a Hanna checker coming next week.
Phosphate: 0.037

After water change:
Temp: 78
Salinity: 1.025
Alk: 8.5
Cal: 450
Mag: 1320(dosed to bring up)
Nitrate: 10-20
Phosphate: 0.03
 
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