Help me understand my SPS crash

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Llorgon

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Seeing as this tank is still having issues, yet another sps is slowly losing tissue from the base up and my 25g is showing similar signs on a few of the sps in there. The only similarity between the two is the salt. So I ordered some fauna marin pro reef salt and I will give that a try.

I may also try dosing some of the coral colours and see if that helps things any since a few of the trace elements seem to be low.
 
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Llorgon

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Tested my water today

Temp: 78
Salinity: 1.026
Alk: 8.9
Cal: 470
Mag: 1260
Nitrate: 11.7
Phosphate: 0.205

Pretty consistent with last week. Which is good, now I just need to get the gha under control. I added 1ml of all 4 coral colours today. I'll slowly increase the dosage and see how things go.
 
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Llorgon

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Unfortunately, I can see more of the remaining SPS have lost more tissue since yesterday. The forest fire which had been recovering some and generally looking better is one of those hit now. With the exception of when this all started, most of the tissue loss seems to come overnight. I've looked over the tank multiple times with lights off and I don't see any sort of pests on the SPS.

Since I must be missing something, here is a list of everything on the tank I have looked into.

I must be missing something, here is what I have gone through:

ICP test - nothing jumps out as being the cause of SPS death. Some low trace elements, but from talking to water chemistry people on r2r nothing that should be causing these issues.

At home water testing - minus some nutrients bottoming out at the start of this, no major swings, everything controlled by dosing and has been stable. Nutrients are staying consistent going on 3 weeks now.

Stray voltage - Checked with my multimeter and my neighbours, no stray voltage.

Temp - controlled by Apex, checked by 2 floating thermometers and the temp gauge on hanna checker, it's right where the apex was programmed to keep it which is around 78.

Salinity - Checked by hanna checker and refractometer. Calibrated both and checked again. 1.025-1.026

Flow - no change to return pump settings or wavemakers, bumped the octopulse 2's up to 90% max from 85.

Lighting - Maybe this is the issue? 2 radion xr30 blue, 40% brightness, 100% intensity. I can't remember par readings, but I got these frags in Jan or earlier and I was seeing growth in them.

RO/DI - 0 TDS, checked as of last week. Filters replaced in june.

ATO - No issues with it, I did change my ATO reservoir from plastic home depot storage container to food safe dog food container. Washed with vinegar and hot water before use. That was in early June.

Water changes - 10-15g weekly using red sea salt. Issues started after a water change and also saw similar STN in my 25g after a water change. The red sea salt is halfway through the bucket. Recently tried tropic marin pro reef on Tuesday and saw a dead coral on Thursday.

Salt mix station - brute plastic garbage can, cleaned out every few months when stuff builds up. My mixing pump and heater are about 2 years old and seem fine. Hose to siphon water is probably 10 years old. Maybe that?

Dosing - red sea doser and red sea foundations powder for Alk, cal and Mag. I have found that I have been having to dose a lot of mag and having a hard time raising it. Currently dosing 5ml/day of mag. Where as when things were growing I was dosing 3ml cal. I only dose those 3 things.

Feeding - frozen mysis, calanus and one other I am blanking on the name. I also through in some pellets from time to time. Feed this tank the same as the 25g and hasn't changed for a couple years. I feed once or twice a day, add nori for the tangs.

Filtration - liverock in the tank, carbon in the sump, protein skimmer, poorly growing caulerpa in the refugium. Refugium is on reverse light schedule from the display lights. Filter floss is changed as needed.

Fish - all seem fine, 2 clowns, longnose hawkfish, yellow tang, blue eye kole tang. All happy and healthy. No new additions since May.

Invertebrates - various snails, no noticeable deaths, lots of eggs on the glass, all seem healthy and happy.

Pests - Nothing I can see on the corals, there are Aiptasia though.

Coral and placement - SPS are on the rocks, euphyllia on the sand in the corner of the tank, space invaders on the other side. Never seen any stinging from either going on at night. Both are far enough away from the SPS. Whatever is causing issues is hitting the SPS, the space invaders has lost tissue as well, but it doesn't seem to be getting worse. That was more back in July when all this started.

General equipment check - All seems to be in good working order. No rusting or exposed magnets that I can tell.
 
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((FORDTECH))

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Unfortunately, I can see more of the remaining SPS have lost more tissue since yesterday. The forest fire which had been recovering some and generally looking better is one of those hit now. With the exception of when this all started, most of the tissue loss seems to come overnight. I've looked over the tank multiple times with lights off and I don't see any sort of pests on the SPS.

Since I must be missing something, here is a list of everything on the tank I have looked into.

I must be missing something, here is what I have gone through:

ICP test - nothing jumps out as being the cause of SPS death. Some low trace elements, but from talking to water chemistry people on r2r nothing that should be causing these issues.

At home water testing - minus some nutrients bottoming out at the start of this, no major swings, everything controlled by dosing and has been stable. Nutrients are staying consistent going on 3 weeks now.

Stray voltage - Checked with my multimeter and my neighbours, no stray voltage.

Temp - controlled by Apex, checked by 2 floating thermometers and the temp gauge on hanna checker, it's right where the apex was programmed to keep it which is around 78.

Salinity - Checked by hanna checker and refractometer. Calibrated both and checked again. 1.025-1.026

Flow - no change to return pump settings or wavemakers, bumped the octopulse 2's up to 90% max from 85.

Lighting -
Let me tell you something that I think you’re not understanding things that you do today you will not see the consequences for 3 to 4 weeks. I’m not sure if you understand what I mean by that when your nutrients drop to zero today tomorrow you’re not gonna see a problem you were going to see a problem in 3 to 4 weeks this is why it’s so hard to understand what’s going on because what happened yesterday is not what you’re seeing today it’s what happened 3-4 weeks ago so by you saying for the last three weeks everything‘s been stable that does not mean much for the damage that you did 4 weeks ago that is still about to happen you need to keep stability for months and ride it out and then see what happens three months from now
 

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I agree with @((FORDTECH)) that the acros may continue dying due to the stress of bottomed out N & P from several weeks ago. To confirm this, I would get an inexpensive, hardy acro and see if it thrives now that parameters are in check. If it lives, you probably have your answer.

If it also dies within a month or so, I would get an Aquabiomedics test done to check for coral pathogens. You may have introduced a pathogen from basically anything you added when the issues began. That's all I can think of since you've left no other stone unturned. Keep us posted. This is mind-boggling.
 

JCOLE

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Do you have a UV sterilizer? If not, then I would highly recommend putting one on the system. It will help with your algae and will also help if you have a parasite, bad bacteria, etc that are causing issues with the corals.

Also, your Caulerpa could be doing poorly because of your Iron level. In your ICP your Iron level is 0. Iron plays a big part in photosynthesis and algae development in both plants and corals. I would start dosing an Iron supplement such as Red Sea part C.

When you implement both of these things then give it 3-4 weeks before noticing a difference. It will not make a difference overnight but will ultimately help in the long run.
 
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Llorgon

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Let me tell you something that I think you’re not understanding things that you do today you will not see the consequences for 3 to 4 weeks. I’m not sure if you understand what I mean by that when your nutrients drop to zero today tomorrow you’re not gonna see a problem you were going to see a problem in 3 to 4 weeks this is why it’s so hard to understand what’s going on because what happened yesterday is not what you’re seeing today it’s what happened 3-4 weeks ago so by you saying for the last three weeks everything‘s been stable that does not mean much for the damage that you did 4 weeks ago that is still about to happen you need to keep stability for months and ride it out and then see what happens three months from now
I get that it will take time before things start bouncing back. I'm more concerned that nutrients bottoming out isn't the only cause of my issues. I noticed the same thing happening in my 25g and it hasn't had the nutrient swings and has been running stable for a couple years now. It was the tank I could have anything grow in.
I agree with @((FORDTECH)) that the acros may continue dying due to the stress of bottomed out N & P from several weeks ago. To confirm this, I would get an inexpensive, hardy acro and see if it thrives now that parameters are in check. If it lives, you probably have your answer.

If it also dies within a month or so, I would get an Aquabiomedics test done to check for coral pathogens. You may have introduced a pathogen from basically anything you added when the issues began. That's all I can think of since you've left no other stone unturned. Keep us posted. This is mind-boggling.
Those aquabiomedics tests are pricey here in Canada. I actually got all the coral in this tank from a fellow reefer who was shutting down his system. I doubt I would have had anything introduced as even the most recent fish addition was from his tank, but it's definitely possible something wasn't an issue in his tank that was in mine.

I will see if I can find a hardy acro frag locally and give that a try.
 
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Llorgon

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Do you have a UV sterilizer? If not, then I would highly recommend putting one on the system. It will help with your algae and will also help if you have a parasite, bad bacteria, etc that are causing issues with the corals.

Also, your Caulerpa could be doing poorly because of your Iron level. In your ICP your Iron level is 0. Iron plays a big part in photosynthesis and algae development in both plants and corals. I would start dosing an Iron supplement such as Red Sea part C.

When you implement both of these things then give it 3-4 weeks before noticing a difference. It will not make a difference overnight but will ultimately help in the long run.
I don't have a uv sterilizer. I'll have to see how I can fit one in. I don't have much room in the stand.

I have started dosing the red sea colours once a week. Starting slow and seeing how things go. Hopefully it helps with the macro algae and then it can outcompete the gha.

Did my weekly water test. Definitely seeing less growth during this recent downturn as all major elements went up. I've lowered my dosing again and I'll test again next week.

Temp: 78
Salinity: 1.026
Alk: 9.1
Cal: 490
Mag: 1410
Nitrate: 7.8
Phosphate: 0.144
 
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I know nothing about sps really, just added an acro to test out my water stability, lighting and whatnot for this coral. But from what I'm understanding from this thread is since it takes so long to see differences in the corals you may not want to make too many changes over night if a coral worsens. You may have already fixed the issue but because you don't see an overnight improvement you may then undo the fix if more changes are made.

In my rookie opinion if you have stable water parameters no need to really do a water change, it's useful to calculate how much alk is consumed by corals over a 3 day period then offset that number by dosing but figuring out exact water volume can be difficult. I believe a uv sterilizer would really help with the algae you are concerned about and when that's better just turn down its flow and let it fry any unwanted bugs. It you don't have space under the tank you can always attach it to the outside of the tank. It doesn't look as tacky as it sounds

If you find yourself moving the corals around may be better to let them rest in one spot for a couple weeks to let them adjust to the spot.

It can be very difficult to not tinker around inside the tank and I've been told a few times to stay out of my tank. If you get to a point where you feel you have done everything reasonable to do then I would just get parameters where you want, test 1-2 times a week establish a routine of maybe one 5 gallon wc a week or even every other week.

If your lights are working, corals are settled in, water is stable over time and in good condition then I would assume you would then just need to sit back, observe and just give it time before any other big changes. I believe ive heard corals can actually be resiliant to maybe not the most ideal paramters as long as they have time to settle in and get comfortable and things stay consistant within the system. I'm not positive but isn't changing your salt a pretty big change for livestock?

Sorry Im not one of your experts here but was reading through this and just wanted to throw out my humble opinion.
 
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MBruun

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I had to start all over a few year ago, and the reason was the bucket I used for mixing saltwater before WC. It was made from plastic that somehow leaked I-don't-know-what and slowly killed my sps corals.
I spended months on ICP test and whatever I could imagine was the cause and did a lot of water changes.
New corals died within a month and older corals died one by one and coralline algeas stopped growing on my rocks, but grew on glass and pumps.
I found the cause by mixing saltwater in both the one I've used for around two years and a new hard plastic bucket approved for food storage. While the powerhead was on there was no difference but leaving the water for like 30 min, a grey oil-like film was generated on the surface of the bucket I've used for mixing
 

Rmckoy

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I don't have a uv sterilizer. I'll have to see how I can fit one in. I don't have much room in the stand.

I have started dosing the red sea colours once a week. Starting slow and seeing how things go. Hopefully it helps with the macro algae and then it can outcompete the gha.

Did my weekly water test. Definitely seeing less growth during this recent downturn as all major elements went up. I've lowered my dosing again and I'll test again next week.

Temp: 78
Salinity: 1.026
Alk: 9.1
Cal: 490
Mag: 1410
Nitrate: 7.8
Phosphate: 0.144
Comparing tests from last week .
Is it possible the issue is instability ? Mag is 150ppm lower . Even alkalinity is close but not the same . Could be the time of day test was performed ..
phosphates have increased a lot .
do you have any phosphate media such as rowaphos ?
When I had a massive sps issue I was advised from here to lower phosphates . Temp: 78
Salinity: 1.026
Alk: 8.9
Cal: 470
Mag: 1260
Nitrate: 11.7
Phosphate: 0.205
 

Rmckoy

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I get that it will take time before things start bouncing back. I'm more concerned that nutrients bottoming out isn't the only cause of my issues. I noticed the same thing happening in my 25g and it hasn't had the nutrient swings and has been running stable for a couple years now. It was the tank I could have anything grow in.

Those aquabiomedics tests are pricey here in Canada. I actually got all the coral in this tank from a fellow reefer who was shutting down his system. I doubt I would have had anything introduced as even the most recent fish addition was from his tank, but it's definitely possible something wasn't an issue in his tank that was in mine.

I will see if I can find a hardy acro frag locally and give that a try.
Where in Canada are you ?
For decent prices and quality corals I would recommend @Fragbox Corals
 

Dburr1014

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I read page 1 and 3.
Back on page one of was mentioned that 15 gallon water changes are not necessary.
I see page 3 you are still doing 10~15 gallons. 20% is a lot.
This could lead to some instability.
Have you tried smaller changes? Have you tried no water changes for a couple weeks?
Why are you doing such large changes on an sps system?
You should drop down to 5% a week or even skip a week or two and don't do such a large change unless it's an emergency.
IMHO
 
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Llorgon

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I know nothing about sps really, just added an acro to test out my water stability, lighting and whatnot for this coral. But from what I'm understanding from this thread is since it takes so long to see differences in the corals you may not want to make too many changes over night if a coral worsens. You may have already fixed the issue but because you don't see an overnight improvement you may then undo the fix if more changes are made.

In my rookie opinion if you have stable water parameters no need to really do a water change, it's useful to calculate how much alk is consumed by corals over a 3 day period then offset that number by dosing but figuring out exact water volume can be difficult. I believe a uv sterilizer would really help with the algae you are concerned about and when that's better just turn down its flow and let it fry any unwanted bugs. It you don't have space under the tank you can always attach it to the outside of the tank. It doesn't look as tacky as it sounds

If you find yourself moving the corals around may be better to let them rest in one spot for a couple weeks to let them adjust to the spot.

It can be very difficult to not tinker around inside the tank and I've been told a few times to stay out of my tank. If you get to a point where you feel you have done everything reasonable to do then I would just get parameters where you want, test 1-2 times a week establish a routine of maybe one 5 gallon wc a week or even every other week.

If your lights are working, corals are settled in, water is stable over time and in good condition then I would assume you would then just need to sit back, observe and just give it time before any other big changes. I believe ive heard corals can actually be resiliant to maybe not the most ideal paramters as long as they have time to settle in and get comfortable and things stay consistant within the system. I'm not positive but isn't changing your salt a pretty big change for livestock?

Sorry Im not one of your experts here but was reading through this and just wanted to throw out my humble opinion.
You are correct. I am sure the stability is an issue. And changing salt is a big change. I changed salt since issues would come up after water changes and I was wondering if something was up with the bucket of salt I was using.

I did have a routine, 10g water change once a week on the 75g. Originally I was trying to go monthly, but I noticed the corals were getting pale by the end of the month. Doing this I was seeing some growth, but admittedly not great colour.

The 25g for 3 years now I have been doing 5g water changes. Within the last year and a half things really took off. I was even able to add some corals dying in other systems to the tank and they recovered nicely. I am now seeing the same die off as the big tank.

I think for now I am just going to let things go the course and then reevaluate what I want to do with the tanks if and when things start to improve.
I had to start all over a few year ago, and the reason was the bucket I used for mixing saltwater before WC. It was made from plastic that somehow leaked I-don't-know-what and slowly killed my sps corals.
I spended months on ICP test and whatever I could imagine was the cause and did a lot of water changes.
New corals died within a month and older corals died one by one and coralline algeas stopped growing on my rocks, but grew on glass and pumps.
I found the cause by mixing saltwater in both the one I've used for around two years and a new hard plastic bucket approved for food storage. While the powerhead was on there was no difference but leaving the water for like 30 min, a grey oil-like film was generated on the surface of the bucket I've used for mixing
What were you using to mix salt? I have one of the plastic brute garbage cans I see people use. It's about 3 years old. I use a 5 gallon blue water cooler jug to store RO/DI water. It's about 4 years old. My hose for filling/emptying water is 10+ years old.

I haven't noticed any film in the bucket. I do wonder if I need a new hose though.

I have noticed no coraline growing on rocks in both my tanks... it is growing on the glass and pumps.
Comparing tests from last week .
Is it possible the issue is instability ? Mag is 150ppm lower . Even alkalinity is close but not the same . Could be the time of day test was performed ..
phosphates have increased a lot .
do you have any phosphate media such as rowaphos ?
When I had a massive sps issue I was advised from here to lower phosphates . Temp: 78
Salinity: 1.026
Alk: 8.9
Cal: 470
Mag: 1260
Nitrate: 11.7
Phosphate: 0.205
Phosphates went up with vacations. The people who were checking in on the cats/fish over fed a bit. It could be instability, but I have a hunch it's something else just due to the fact that my 25g which has been stable and going strong for a few years now is going through the same thing. But on this tank, the instability isn't helping and something I need to dial in.
Where in Canada are you ?
For decent prices and quality corals I would recommend @Fragbox Corals
I'm in BC, I've ordered from Fragbox a few times. I'm going to wait awhile and decide what I want to do going forward. SPS might not be in my skill level at this point in time.
I read page 1 and 3.
Back on page one of was mentioned that 15 gallon water changes are not necessary.
I see page 3 you are still doing 10~15 gallons. 20% is a lot.
This could lead to some instability.
Have you tried smaller changes? Have you tried no water changes for a couple weeks?
Why are you doing such large changes on an sps system?
You should drop down to 5% a week or even skip a week or two and don't do such a large change unless it's an emergency.
IMHO
Probably not wrong in this aspect. I talked to another user who ran into something similar and said they did 3 big water changes and things turned around for them. But each water change things seem to get a bit worse. So I think I am just going to sit and monitor now. I may try adding some phyto as I was told that could help with the gha.

It's very frustrating as both my tanks are having the same issues. Losing a bunch of corals right now. Not fun.
 
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Rmckoy

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I'm in BC, I've ordered from Fragbox a few times. I'm going to wait awhile and decide what I want to do going forward. SPS might not be in my skill level at this point in time
New dawn aquaculture is i believe in Alberta .
They also have very nice corals judging by their website .
I’ve personally never ordered from them
 
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Llorgon

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New dawn aquaculture is i believe in Alberta .
They also have very nice corals judging by their website .
I’ve personally never ordered from them
I've heard good things about them as well. Haven't tried them. I'm going to wait until at least the LPS look happy again before adding anything though.
 
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