I'm depressed with the progress of my tank... What's going on???

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Phyber

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Water changes suck. Get your phosphate to .08 and nitrate to 2-5 minimum. Your corals are starving!
I always heard that sps thrive on clean water. I was told a few years back to stay up on water changes and equipment cleaning and all that jazz... Now it seem dirty tanks with no water changes are the rage.....why the sudden shift?

I always thought that soft/lps thrived on dirty water and sps liked it clean.
 

Justin Aretz

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I wonder why so many of us seem to have issues keeping nutrients?

You'd think, judging by the advice to stay on top of husbandry, it'd be easy to have elevated levels but apparently not.

Is this just a "newer" tank thing? Do the senior reefers have these issues?
In my experience, the new tanks will be deficient until all the over feeding and dirtying catches up. Once the tank saturates, you’ll now be fighting them back down. That lack of stability and all the changes to the tank stress the corals further. Just be steady on raising them slowly, and definitely step back from the water changes. Quite frankly, you can match your alk all day but it is still not an ionically balanced solution.
 

Nerdist Aquarist

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I wonder why so many of us seem to have issues keeping nutrients?

You'd think, judging by the advice to stay on top of husbandry, it'd be easy to have elevated levels but apparently not.

Is this just a "newer" tank thing? Do the senior reefers have these issues?
I think it's the better of two evils. Easier to add nutrients than it is to remove them!
 

Justin Aretz

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This may sound strange but try these couple of things;
Add .5ml of peroxide to tank everyday for next 2 weeks at lights out. Add chemipure blue to tank. I sense false salinity.
Take a water sample to a trusted LFS and see what reading they get for salinity ( This one at times gets the best of us)
You have nothing to lose but to gain and see over the next few days if these worked as suggested to many- IT HAS !
Please elaborate on what this does? You’ve lost me
 

vetteguy53081

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Please elaborate on what this does? You’ve lost me
Post dino, it keeps the nutrients in balance and actually perks up corals whch have suffered. Since post Peroxide treatment for dino and adding .5ml oer 10 gals, My corals, mainly softies have exploded with growth and color keeping any cyano and dino at bay and my glass cleaning requirements have gone from 2-3 days to weekly.
 

ducki

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i feel your pain, because similar stuff happened when i restarted/upgrade and i am still in depress mode because of algae issues now. all sps died out on me.
below is a list of things that I have understood from my problem.
1. dry rocks takes ages to mature, to be ready for sps...
2. dry rock lacks bio diversity/bacteria to keep everything in balance. I seeded this tank with raw prawn only.
3. undetectable nutrients is no no in a new tank, especially with strong light. I had ati 8x54w running. My alk at constant 7-7.5 but still cannot grow sps, they eventually bleach and die.
4. over feeding tank to try have readings show up on test kit. I was going fallow during this stage which didn't help. cyano turn up quickly.

now.. after a year or more when all the rocks are more matured... still does not look like my old live rocks yet with thick coralline algae.
6. battling hair algae, because tank has turned into a nutrient sink due to the previous over feeding to raise nutrients.
7. use vibrant to kill hair algae, now battling green cyano as a result of vibrant. I believe tank is unbalance or lack of bacteria to out compete cyano.
8. minimal feeding on fishes, phosphate constant 0.08ppm and nitrate 25ppm. currently dosing nitrifying/denitrifying bacteria daily to increase bacteria strain.

my tank is almost 2 yrs now, and i'm still in depression mode.

i am not sure if all that helps, but i think its good to understand where i went wrong and learn from it.
i don't want to give in to this depression and give up on reefing, but fight it out.

p.s i think skimmers are too good these days, getting nutrients out very well.
 

Mrfantasy

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Stats first:
  • 65 gallon display (36"w x 18"d x 24"h), 20 gallon sump. ~65g water volume after rock, sand, etc.
  • ~40# dry rock, ~40# Caribsea live sand
  • Salt: Reef Crystals, 20 gallons changed once every two weeks
  • Water: BRS 4 Stage RODI unit made with my well water
  • Filtration: Reef Octopus Classic 110 skimmer cup cleaned every few days, BRS felt filter socks swapped about every 3 days, BRS carbon in a bag with every water change
  • Flow: Ecotech MP40 on reef crest mode
  • Lighting: 36" AquaticLife Hybrid (two ATI Blue+, two ATI Actinic) running 10 hours a day, and two AI Prime HD's running the BRS AB+ programming for 12 hours a day
  • Water Parameters:
    Sal: 1.026
    Temp: 78*f
    pH: 8.11 average, 8.02 min/8.26 max per Apex
    Alk: 9.6 (Salifert)
    Cal: 480 (Salifert)
    Mag: 1395 (Salifert)
    Nitrate: Undetectable (Salifert)
    Phosphate: Undetectable (Salifert)
  • Dosing: Apex Dos, set to 24 hour schedule for Alk and Cal. I use BRS 2-Part and was dosing about 9ml/day of both to maintain levels.
  • Livestock: fed twice a day via Eheim feeder with API Marine Flake food. LRS Reef Frenzy about twice a week.
    3x Clownfish
    1x Banggai
    1x Yellow Tang
    1x Firefish
    2x Cleaner shrimp
    Various turbo, nassarius, margarita and astrea snails

My tank has been running since June 2019. This is my second time reefing, and I have been diligent with a religious water change schedule and controlled livestock feeding. Despite my wife's wishes, I took my time in cycling the tank and waiting before adding in the first fish and corals. My first round of reefing was like many; I had a ton of soft corals and a plague of xenia. I had decided this time I was going to have more selective interests in what I want; which is a healthy mixed reef tank.

I can't keep zoa's alive. I'm not sure what happens to them, but they just disappear. I've bought several frags of different kinds, and moved them all over the tank to no avail. They usually stay closed up and then disappear. My LPS seem to be doing great though, my elegance, torch, acans, scoly, etc. all show good extension and feeding tentacles at night. My derasa clam looks great and shows lots of visible "new growth" on it's shell. HOWEVER, my sps frags are giving me fits. When I buy them they all seem great in color and tissue coverage. But within a few months in my tank their colors have washed away to either white or now brown. A staghorn went from a bright neon green and purple to white. A brilliant acro went from slimer neon green to pale brown despite still having great polyp extension. My Hollywood Stunner went from a deep rich purple and green to a pale pink and green but is still growing and eating well.

I've tried increasing my water change volume/sessions, doing no water changes, feeding more and feeding less. Some sort of red and/or green cyano seems to take effect when I slack up on husbandry. I usually have to clean the glass every two or three days as the buildup makes the tank hazy but there's no real accumulation.

I thought my problem was my water levels so I got the DOS to maintain more consistent levels, which it has done great at, but I can't see the impact on livestock. I thought that my original lighting (just the two AI Primes) wasn't enough for my livestock, so I added in the t5 hybrid and the sps' seemed to start losing color faster (not sure if that's actually related or not, but worth mentioning). I do notice with these lights that everything just looks more bland and washed out, yet bright in terms of volume, compared to when I just had the Primes which yielded better color, just not maybe enough PAR? I thought I was trying to keep the tank "too clean" so I started skimming way dry and ignoring water changes for about a month which caused some sort of algae outbreak.

One thing that I DO know, is that this isn't an "easy" hobby. I also am a beekeeper and generally if the hive has a queen, some comb, some nectar stores, you're going to be fine. But this isn't that sort of "autopilot" hobby. BUT, am I just doing something wrong? Am I running the wrong equipment? Is this just how corals go??

Pictures are worth 1000 words...
Tank today:
1573083064889.png

1573083108499.png

1573083150496.png

1573083320809.png

1573083525007.png

1573083563427.png

1573083581648.png

New tank syndrome. Be patient and Feed it. Coral don't live off water alone.
 

Belgian Anthias

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What is considered to be " perfect conditions"? In a closed system!

Undetectable means also: " I can not follow what is going on". Nitrate and phosphate are main indicators, the messengers. Nitrogen and phosphorus availability is not known when "not detectable". It depends on what is added daily and on the bio-load if this may be considered normal.

When your bee's start to die off and it is not "varroa" probably you will blame the environment, the use of pesticides etc.., but one does not know exactly unless it can be confirmed.

In aquaria, if it is going wrong, in most cases the messengers are blamed and the "battle" is started making it impossible to obtain any confirmation of what really is going on. The cure may be worse as the de disease.
Do nitrogen and phosphorus kill? The lack of it or and a high unbalance in the availability of building materials may cause problems, in combination with so many other things as viruses and diseases. Battling some marine pathogens may be more difficult as battling " varroa", maybe not possible, meaning start over again.
How the tank was cycled? Was battling " nuisance" started before the tank was cycled? Was the skimmer active from the beginning? What happens when the skimmer is silenced?

An anemone may produce a lot of organic waste in a very short period.

I am "old school" and still propagate the use of a bio-filter. This way the nitrogen availabilty can easily be managed.
 
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Belgian Anthias

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Undetectable nitrate and phosphate can be an issue with higher alk levels. I would either try to increase no3 and po4 a little bit or let your alk level drop to a level closer to natural seawater(7dkh). No3 and po4 being low can also induce a dino bloom. So there's another reason the keep a little nutrients in the tank. I shoot for a slight pink tinted on my salifert test kit for no3 and 20-30ppb phosphorus on the Hannur ulr phosphorus checker.
Do you mean if the alk level is lowered this may solve a possible nutrient problem.? How?
Is a dino bloom caused by the limited availability of nitrogen and phosphorus? Symbiodinium are dino.
 

Justin Aretz

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Post dino, it keeps the nutrients in balance and actually perks up corals whch have suffered. Since post Peroxide treatment for dino and adding .5ml oer 10 gals, My corals, mainly softies have exploded with growth and color keeping any cyano and dino at bay and my glass cleaning requirements have gone from 2-3 days to weekly.
I understand why you’re doing it, but what scientific basis does this follow? Genuinely curious
 

Rchamp03

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Stats first:
  • 65 gallon display (36"w x 18"d x 24"h), 20 gallon sump. ~65g water volume after rock, sand, etc.
  • ~40# dry rock, ~40# Caribsea live sand
  • Salt: Reef Crystals, 20 gallons changed once every two weeks
  • Water: BRS 4 Stage RODI unit made with my well water
  • Filtration: Reef Octopus Classic 110 skimmer cup cleaned every few days, BRS felt filter socks swapped about every 3 days, BRS carbon in a bag with every water change
  • Flow: Ecotech MP40 on reef crest mode
  • Lighting: 36" AquaticLife Hybrid (two ATI Blue+, two ATI Actinic) running 10 hours a day, and two AI Prime HD's running the BRS AB+ programming for 12 hours a day
  • Water Parameters:
    Sal: 1.026
    Temp: 78*f
    pH: 8.11 average, 8.02 min/8.26 max per Apex
    Alk: 9.6 (Salifert)
    Cal: 480 (Salifert)
    Mag: 1395 (Salifert)
    Nitrate: Undetectable (Salifert)
    Phosphate: Undetectable (Salifert)
  • Dosing: Apex Dos, set to 24 hour schedule for Alk and Cal. I use BRS 2-Part and was dosing about 9ml/day of both to maintain levels.
  • Livestock: fed twice a day via Eheim feeder with API Marine Flake food. LRS Reef Frenzy about twice a week.
    3x Clownfish
    1x Banggai
    1x Yellow Tang
    1x Firefish
    2x Cleaner shrimp
    Various turbo, nassarius, margarita and astrea snails

My tank has been running since June 2019. This is my second time reefing, and I have been diligent with a religious water change schedule and controlled livestock feeding. Despite my wife's wishes, I took my time in cycling the tank and waiting before adding in the first fish and corals. My first round of reefing was like many; I had a ton of soft corals and a plague of xenia. I had decided this time I was going to have more selective interests in what I want; which is a healthy mixed reef tank.

I can't keep zoa's alive. I'm not sure what happens to them, but they just disappear. I've bought several frags of different kinds, and moved them all over the tank to no avail. They usually stay closed up and then disappear. My LPS seem to be doing great though, my elegance, torch, acans, scoly, etc. all show good extension and feeding tentacles at night. My derasa clam looks great and shows lots of visible "new growth" on it's shell. HOWEVER, my sps frags are giving me fits. When I buy them they all seem great in color and tissue coverage. But within a few months in my tank their colors have washed away to either white or now brown. A staghorn went from a bright neon green and purple to white. A brilliant acro went from slimer neon green to pale brown despite still having great polyp extension. My Hollywood Stunner went from a deep rich purple and green to a pale pink and green but is still growing and eating well.

I've tried increasing my water change volume/sessions, doing no water changes, feeding more and feeding less. Some sort of red and/or green cyano seems to take effect when I slack up on husbandry. I usually have to clean the glass every two or three days as the buildup makes the tank hazy but there's no real accumulation.

I thought my problem was my water levels so I got the DOS to maintain more consistent levels, which it has done great at, but I can't see the impact on livestock. I thought that my original lighting (just the two AI Primes) wasn't enough for my livestock, so I added in the t5 hybrid and the sps' seemed to start losing color faster (not sure if that's actually related or not, but worth mentioning). I do notice with these lights that everything just looks more bland and washed out, yet bright in terms of volume, compared to when I just had the Primes which yielded better color, just not maybe enough PAR? I thought I was trying to keep the tank "too clean" so I started skimming way dry and ignoring water changes for about a month which caused some sort of algae outbreak.

One thing that I DO know, is that this isn't an "easy" hobby. I also am a beekeeper and generally if the hive has a queen, some comb, some nectar stores, you're going to be fine. But this isn't that sort of "autopilot" hobby. BUT, am I just doing something wrong? Am I running the wrong equipment? Is this just how corals go??

Pictures are worth 1000 words...
Tank today:
1573083064889.png

1573083108499.png

1573083150496.png

1573083320809.png

1573083525007.png

1573083563427.png

1573083581648.png
Stats first:
  • 65 gallon display (36"w x 18"d x 24"h), 20 gallon sump. ~65g water volume after rock, sand, etc.
  • ~40# dry rock, ~40# Caribsea live sand
  • Salt: Reef Crystals, 20 gallons changed once every two weeks
  • Water: BRS 4 Stage RODI unit made with my well water
  • Filtration: Reef Octopus Classic 110 skimmer cup cleaned every few days, BRS felt filter socks swapped about every 3 days, BRS carbon in a bag with every water change
  • Flow: Ecotech MP40 on reef crest mode
  • Lighting: 36" AquaticLife Hybrid (two ATI Blue+, two ATI Actinic) running 10 hours a day, and two AI Prime HD's running the BRS AB+ programming for 12 hours a day
  • Water Parameters:
    Sal: 1.026
    Temp: 78*f
    pH: 8.11 average, 8.02 min/8.26 max per Apex
    Alk: 9.6 (Salifert)
    Cal: 480 (Salifert)
    Mag: 1395 (Salifert)
    Nitrate: Undetectable (Salifert)
    Phosphate: Undetectable (Salifert)
  • Dosing: Apex Dos, set to 24 hour schedule for Alk and Cal. I use BRS 2-Part and was dosing about 9ml/day of both to maintain levels.
  • Livestock: fed twice a day via Eheim feeder with API Marine Flake food. LRS Reef Frenzy about twice a week.
    3x Clownfish
    1x Banggai
    1x Yellow Tang
    1x Firefish
    2x Cleaner shrimp
    Various turbo, nassarius, margarita and astrea snails

My tank has been running since June 2019. This is my second time reefing, and I have been diligent with a religious water change schedule and controlled livestock feeding. Despite my wife's wishes, I took my time in cycling the tank and waiting before adding in the first fish and corals. My first round of reefing was like many; I had a ton of soft corals and a plague of xenia. I had decided this time I was going to have more selective interests in what I want; which is a healthy mixed reef tank.

I can't keep zoa's alive. I'm not sure what happens to them, but they just disappear. I've bought several frags of different kinds, and moved them all over the tank to no avail. They usually stay closed up and then disappear. My LPS seem to be doing great though, my elegance, torch, acans, scoly, etc. all show good extension and feeding tentacles at night. My derasa clam looks great and shows lots of visible "new growth" on it's shell. HOWEVER, my sps frags are giving me fits. When I buy them they all seem great in color and tissue coverage. But within a few months in my tank their colors have washed away to either white or now brown. A staghorn went from a bright neon green and purple to white. A brilliant acro went from slimer neon green to pale brown despite still having great polyp extension. My Hollywood Stunner went from a deep rich purple and green to a pale pink and green but is still growing and eating well.

I've tried increasing my water change volume/sessions, doing no water changes, feeding more and feeding less. Some sort of red and/or green cyano seems to take effect when I slack up on husbandry. I usually have to clean the glass every two or three days as the buildup makes the tank hazy but there's no real accumulation.

I thought my problem was my water levels so I got the DOS to maintain more consistent levels, which it has done great at, but I can't see the impact on livestock. I thought that my original lighting (just the two AI Primes) wasn't enough for my livestock, so I added in the t5 hybrid and the sps' seemed to start losing color faster (not sure if that's actually related or not, but worth mentioning). I do notice with these lights that everything just looks more bland and washed out, yet bright in terms of volume, compared to when I just had the Primes which yielded better color, just not maybe enough PAR? I thought I was trying to keep the tank "too clean" so I started skimming way dry and ignoring water changes for about a month which caused some sort of algae outbreak.

One thing that I DO know, is that this isn't an "easy" hobby. I also am a beekeeper and generally if the hive has a queen, some comb, some nectar stores, you're going to be fine. But this isn't that sort of "autopilot" hobby. BUT, am I just doing something wrong? Am I running the wrong equipment? Is this just how corals go??

Pictures are worth 1000 words...
Tank today:
1573083064889.png

1573083108499.png

1573083150496.png

1573083320809.png

1573083525007.png

1573083563427.png

1573083581648.png

I have essentially the same setup and parameters. The only difference is my tank is coming up on 2 years. Do let your tank get a little more dirty and just give it some time. It will be great.
1573223109896.jpeg
 

Reef Recked

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Im having the same issues! nitrate and phosphate undetectable even after 6 weeks with no water change, I was going out of the country so did a 15% WC, came back to a huge dino outbreak and my two acros dead and all my corals very unhappy (tank is only 11 months or so old). Im currently dosing phosphate and nitrate to try and get my levels up and have gotten them to N03=3 and phosphate fighting against me and will sometimes get up to .01 but still mostly undetectable. also have increased my feeding and turned off my skimmer but kept my chaeto in sump. My corals are somewhat coming back but still not 100% yet. Following along!

I hope you can get it figured out!
 

vetteguy53081

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I understand why you’re doing it, but what scientific basis does this follow? Genuinely curious
Its a method used in the 80's to condition water effectively and cost effectively and after treating for Dino and cyano with peroxide realized this truly works,
 
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Phyber

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Its a method used in the 80's to condition water effectively and cost effectively and after treating for Dino and cyano with peroxide realized this truly works,
But this is not something that we should do to increase our nutrients, correct? Just a fix post-cyano?
 
OP
Phyber

Phyber

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Im having the same issues! nitrate and phosphate undetectable even after 6 weeks with no water change, I was going out of the country so did a 15% WC, came back to a huge dino outbreak and my two acros dead and all my corals very unhappy (tank is only 11 months or so old). Im currently dosing phosphate and nitrate to try and get my levels up and have gotten them to N03=3 and phosphate fighting against me and will sometimes get up to .01 but still mostly undetectable. also have increased my feeding and turned off my skimmer but kept my chaeto in sump. My corals are somewhat coming back but still not 100% yet. Following along!

I hope you can get it figured out!
Do you feel that if you had avoided that last WC that you'd be farther along?
 

Reef Recked

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Do you feel that if you had avoided that last WC that you'd be farther along?
I do, My corals were doing better i had just finally started getting nitrate readings at 1-2 and hadnt had time to test or take care of it much before i left so did the water change and turned my skimmer on while i was gone and i think it set me back and im having to start all over. My corals and anemone were all almost completely retracted so thats why i decided to dose nitrate and phosphate to try and get some in the tank and keep them alive. im also not running carbon at the moment cause the last time i did it fed the dinos but pretty much all of my dinos are gone so im going to start a 1/4 dose of carbon most likely this weekend.

But this is just my feeling im no expert!

and ill probably try vetteguys peroxide idea, he always knows what hes talking about!
 

Scdell

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ULN is a tough row to hoe. It's a fine line. You have to know what your doing. That takes experience. Usually at a cost before you get it.
 

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