How do I get my tank to thrive rather than just survive?

itstodd

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I have a 16 biocube with Steve’s LEDs installed and I can’t seem or get my corals to flourish. They don’t die but they also barely grow. I have all softies, green stars, Duncan, zoas and a hammer. The Duncan is nuts but I think it would grow in a toilet. I do 30% water changes weekly religiously with Red Sea pro salt. Mag, calcium and alk are all good. Nitrates and phosphates never even register as measurable. I run 1.024-1.025 gravity. I matched my par reading with my LFS. Am I missing something? Iodine maybe? I also do not have any fish. I am planning on adding a couple clowns but I am trying to get a zoa garden going first (my ultimate goal). My tank is two and a half years old and well cycled. No diatoms and algae is nominal. A weird thing I noticed - the coraline algae is minimal. I am guessing because this is my first tank without live cultured rock and sand. Thanks for your thoughts
 
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itstodd

itstodd

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Wow, I would have never guessed that guys. Thank you. I do feed, just in the water column, not directly. My corals look so energized after a change. I did not think over water changing was a thing.
 

Dan_P

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I have a 16 biocube with Steve’s LEDs installed and I can’t seem or get my corals to flourish. They don’t die but they also barely grow. I have all softies, green stars, Duncan, zoas and a hammer. The Duncan is nuts but I think it would grow in a toilet. I do 30% water changes weekly religiously with Red Sea pro salt. Mag, calcium and alk are all good. Nitrates and phosphates never even register as measurable. I run 1.024-1.025 gravity. I matched my par reading with my LFS. Am I missing something? Iodine maybe? I also do not have any fish. I am planning on adding a couple clowns but I am trying to get a zoa garden going first (my ultimate goal). My tank is two and a half years old and well cycled. No diatoms and algae is nominal. A weird thing I noticed - the coraline algae is minimal. I am guessing because this is my first tank without live cultured rock and sand. Thanks for your thoughts
What trace elements do you dose?
 

FUNGI

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Wow, I would have never guessed that guys. Thank you. I do feed, just in the water column, not directly. My corals look so energized after a change. I did not think over water changing was a thing.
I would let your nitrate creep up abit also.....its all softies and they like the water a little dirty....
 

VintageReefer

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I have a 15g and the clownfish will not allow any other fish or even my hand in the tank. A pair of clowns may pick on each other when they become adults.

I would say add a few smaller peaceful fish instead. They will add nutrients to the water for corals. Cut back on water changes to 5g once a month
 
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itstodd

itstodd

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Having some nitrates and phosphates is actually a good thing especially for softies. I agree with previous posters that perhaps reducing water changes would do it.
Water change seems to be a common consensus. Thank you guys. I never thought I could be overly vigilant in water changes. In between reef tanks, I raised freshwater discus. 50% daily mandatory water changes were required. So 30% a week seemed like light lifting and easy insurance. I love this community. Much thanks to my ichthyologist friends.
 

PharmrJohn

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Having some nitrates and phosphates is actually a good thing especially for softies. I agree with previous posters that perhaps reducing water changes would do it.

I agree with the above statement. Try to keep a 10:1 Nitrates to Phosphate ratio. Something like Nitrate level=1 and Phosphate level=0.1. Also, have you measured your PAR level? LPS likes lighting at about 75 to 150 PAR. SPS likes it in the 250 range, although you may see some growth at 200. You're gonna find that balance. I would rent a PAR meter from your LFS and get a measurement. That'll give you an idea what your running. I gotta admit, back in the day I just put up some T5's and let it go. I lucked out.
 
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KSean

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Corals grow well under good lighting and stable conditions.
I am unaware of steven's light. i hope they are good. The ones i know are Kessil/Radion etc :)
Do you have ATO ? there is a $10 gravity ATO (on amazon) which uses a waterbottle and is pretty effective in keeping the salinity constant by topping off. I had two of them for my 10G nano and they kept the top off going for a week-ish. I could see that my tank-mates were a lot happier when the salinity was stable.
Also, corals grow significantly when fed 1-2 times a week. Remember, if you feed them, you should make sure you get rid of the nutrients through skimming/ water change etc.
 

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