How can my system be to clean??

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ShawnSaucier

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Hi all,
I’ve been in the hobby for 17+ years. Currently having issues with my system and getting frags to survive.
my system:
187g Reef Savvy display
45 Synergy Triton sump with Refugium
Skimmer Reef Octo Elite 200sss
Return Ecotech L1
2x MP 60’s running at 30%
Approximately 130 lb of rock and 2 1/2” live sand
RO/DI for top off
Dosing: Triton Core 7
Lighting is 3x XR30 Blue units running at 65% @16” above the water line.
0 waterchanges
Fish: 1 Large Zebra Moray (30”+)
Med/large Regal Blue Hippo
Large Bird Wrasse
Medium Scribbled Rabbit Fish.
Large Mystery Wrasse
Coral beauty
Medium size Maroon Clown pair
A handful of smaller fish..

Other than feeding daily and emptying the skimmer I have done nothing to this tank. Actually I was feeling guilty for not noodling with it as much in the last year. In 2019 ( fall) I decided to redo the whole aquascape with new rock. I let the tank cycle for 3 months and then added some left over frags I had kept and all of my fish. Those frags have done fine, but anything I’ve added since has had a limited lifespan, usually just bleaching out. I’ve run several ICP tests with nothing out of the ordinary results. Usually just add a bit of iodine or strontium. But I can’t get my no3 up to save my life. My fish are fat, fed until they stop eating every day, eel 2 times a week 3-4 large shrimp. I clean my skimmer every 2 weeks with the cup coated in sludge and green/black soup (1/2 full or empty, up to your interpretation). Refugium lights are on a 8 hr cycle with a ton of nasty macro algae’s growing in with the chaeto and other purchased macros.
I feed homemade frozen food that is a mix with some fresh , other frozen, bottled or freeze dried food. All enriched with Selcon and a mixture of Hikari pellets and ROE. I broadcast feed.
So I am not really sure how to move ahead. I don’t really want to add more fish, I think my current ratio is good for this size tank.
any recommendations???
 
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Righteous

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As an experiment, try running with your skimmer top off so it doesn’t capture anything, but still provides O2. Watch your corals closely for a couple weeks, maybe take some pictures. If you’ve got a tank that’s “too clean” you should see improvements in color, growth etc within 1 month.

And I’m not suggesting you run skimmer-less for good, but it’s an easy test, and fairly gradual (unlike trying to dose things or other drastic changes). Just monitor your nitrate and phosphate during this time.

I’ve found in my tank I really did have too clean a system. My nitrates were always undetectable, and phosphates never too bad, but I ran GFO occasionally to keep it in check.
Since running a skimmer experiment myself I’ve now taken to dosing ammonia. This keeps my nitrogen levels in line, around 1-2ppm nitrate, and corals are no longer pale.

Your setup sounds extremely close to mine, especially with the very low nitrates. Early on I tried dosing aminos and stuff like acro power and reef roids without much success.
 
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ShawnSaucier

ShawnSaucier

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As an experiment, try running with your skimmer top off so it doesn’t capture anything, but still provides O2. Watch your corals closely for a couple weeks, maybe take some pictures. If you’ve got a tank that’s “too clean” you should see improvements in color, growth etc within 1 month.

And I’m not suggesting you run skimmer-less for good, but it’s an easy test, and fairly gradual (unlike trying to dose things or other drastic changes). Just monitor your nitrate and phosphate during this time.

I’ve found in my tank I really did have too clean a system. My nitrates were always undetectable, and phosphates never too bad, but I ran GFO occasionally to keep it in check.
Since running a skimmer experiment myself I’ve now taken to dosing ammonia. This keeps my nitrogen levels in line, around 1-2ppm nitrate, and corals are no longer pale.

Your setup sounds extremely close to mine, especially with the very low nitrates. Early on I tried dosing aminos and stuff like acro power and reef roids without much success.
I’ve got reef roofs, chili and other coral foods in my frozen food mix also. What is strange is that the corals from my system before the change of aquascape are pretty much fine. A couple montis, gonis, euphellia, bta’s , favia, ect.
So anything new doesn’t last. Currently have the skimmer off and did a big harvest out of my fuge. Will wait the week and test. See what happens.
 
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elysics

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If it doesn't get better or happen again, the first thing i'd do is reduce or totally shut off the lighting time of the refugium.
In the mean time i would actively dose PO4 to at least maintain 0.03 and observe changes from there. Better to observe a downward trend from slightly higher than now, than a downward trend from 0 to death.
 

Leo_ian

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PO4 is untraceable and NO3 .25
Tested with Red Sea test kit and Triton ICP
WAYYYY too low. belive me when i say it, phosphates should be minimum 0.25, and nitrates at 5. corals need both to colour up and grow. you will see great improvement. feed more or add more fish. what are your "smaller fish"? maybe a couple of leaf fish would suit your tank currently
 
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ShawnSaucier

ShawnSaucier

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Both your nitrate and PO4 are too low. Your corals need PO4 to survive. your existing corals have adopted to your low nutrient over time. if your doing thing to
I haven’t done anything out of the ordinary. To be honest, lately my only interaction has been to feed daily, clean the skimmer bi-weekly and add water to ATO. I also use a Turkey Bastet to stir my sand. I feed pretty heavy and the fish have a bit of weight to them. I’ve taken the skimmer off line for the moment and pulled about 4lb of macro from my fuge. Gonna monitor for the next week.
 
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ShawnSaucier

ShawnSaucier

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WAYYYY too low. belive me when i say it, phosphates should be minimum 0.25, and nitrates at 5. corals need both to colour up and grow. you will see great improvement. feed more or add more fish. what are your "smaller fish"? maybe a couple of leaf fish would suit your tank currently
Believe me, I know. I’m actually shocked as I assumed that I might have been 180 degrees in the other direction and may have been due a small water change. I don’t really want to add any more fish, currently looking to remove two some how. The Coral B. And Bird wrasse. I had assumed the eel would have helped keep a healthy bio load as it has gotten so big.
 
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Kfactor

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I’m my tank my corals are always Pail and don’t do to good . I bottom out my po4 and no3 and got a alga problem and beat that . For the life of me I can not get my po4 up it’s always at zero I even dose for it and dose no3 . No3 is around 2 now but my corals just don’t do good they survive but Not thrive .
 

bcarl77

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I fight the same issue. I have been dosing Tropic Marin's Plus NP and just starting to get some measurable phosphate. I have lowered my skimmer so it does not collect anything and turned off the filter roller. May even get a little crazy and skip my water change too.
 

laverda

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I haven’t done anything out of the ordinary. To be honest, lately my only interaction has been to feed daily, clean the skimmer bi-weekly and add water to ATO. I also use a Turkey Bastet to stir my sand. I feed pretty heavy and the fish have a bit of weight to them. I’ve taken the skimmer off line for the moment and pulled about 4lb of macro from my fuge. Gonna monitor for the next week.
If your refugium grows that much algae, you might want to reduce the light cycle on it. I know I can control my nutrient levels by how long I light my ATS. I ran it 24/7 when I first set it up and once the algae took off everything dropped to zero and my coral were not happy. Killed all the algae in my refugium as well.
 
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