Looking for advice on parameters for acropora

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teethdoctor23

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A bit of background, I’ve been successful at keeping a variety of LPS from torches to Goniopora, all doing very well and have been splitting/producing new polyps regularly. I have decided to jump into acropora as my coraline algae growth has been great over the past couple months, as my parameters have been very stable, keeping Hannah in business checking my parameters almost daily.

The issue I’m having is that I find my acropora growth has been extremely slow. I have one Mille that’s been encrusting well, however all of my tenius and other acros have basically stalled out. I have good/decent polyp extension and coloration but little to no growth at all. Nothing is dying, but nothing is growing. I have had these frags for about 1 month now, and I’m thinking I just need to continue to be patient, as I know some frags do nothing for months before taking off. The tank is very young as well, only 6 months old, which I believe is a contributing factor as well.

parameters:
Alk: 8.5
Calc: 435
Magnesium: 1350
Nitrates: 12.1
Phos: 0.06
Salinity: 1.025
Temp: 77-78
pH: 8.0


Using a bubble magus protein skimmer, AI Hydra 26 running mostly blues with 10% whites and 3% reds and greens on a 12 hour cycle with 3 hours ramp up/down. Plenty of random flow with polyps constantly moving.

Something I’m wondering is whether to try and get my nutrients down to match my Alk, or raise my Alk to match my nutrients. Or don’t chase numbers and just be patient, which has been my approach so far. I’ve also been considering adding a Refugium to increase my nutrient export and raise my pH, to potentially increase coral calcification. Thank you everybody in advance.
 
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Timfish

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Your parameters are fine. 1 month isn't very long, I'd reiterate your advice to be patient. Here's some stuff to watch/read while you're being patient. :D

Note how slow and variable depending on light spectrum the growth is.


"Coral Reefs in the Microbial Seas" This video compliments Rohwer's book of the same title (Paper back is ~$20, Kindle is ~$10), both deal with the conflicting roles of the different types of DOC in reef ecosystems. While there is overlap bewteen his book and the video both have information not covered by the other and together give a broader view of the complex relationships found in reef ecosystems

Changing Seas - Mysterious Microbes

Microbial view of Coral Decline

Nitrogen cycling in hte coral holobiont

BActeria and Sponges

Maintenance of Coral Reef Health (refferences at the end)

Optical Feedback Loop in Colorful Coral Bleaching

DNA Sequencing and the Reef Tank Microbiome

Richard Ross What's up with phosphate"

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teethdoctor23

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Your parameters are fine. 1 month isn't very long, I'd reiterate your advice to be patient. Here's some stuff to watch/read while you're being patient. :D

Note how slow and variable depending on light spectrum the growth is.


"Coral Reefs in the Microbial Seas" This video compliments Rohwer's book of the same title (Paper back is ~$20, Kindle is ~$10), both deal with the conflicting roles of the different types of DOC in reef ecosystems. While there is overlap bewteen his book and the video both have information not covered by the other and together give a broader view of the complex relationships found in reef ecosystems

Changing Seas - Mysterious Microbes

Microbial view of Coral Decline

Nitrogen cycling in hte coral holobiont

BActeria and Sponges

Maintenance of Coral Reef Health (refferences at the end)

Optical Feedback Loop in Colorful Coral Bleaching

DNA Sequencing and the Reef Tank Microbiome

Richard Ross What's up with phosphate"

15 Answers
So just to be clear, you feel like the nitrate/phosphate and Alk levels are fine? I see a lot of talk about higher Alk levels with higher nutrients and vice versa
 
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Timfish

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So just to be clear, you feel like the nitrate/phosphate and Alk levels are fine? I see a lot of talk about higher Alk levels with higher nutrients and vice versa

There's lots of opinions about nutrients. Watch Rich Ross' video, towards the end he gives PO4 and Nitrate levels for his system which are way out of "acceptable". I've got ICP test for one my systems I'll dig up. Nikko Reef in Palau is another intersting read, as one of the most pristine reefs in the world it shocked researchers when they measured ~5.5 dKH.
 
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ninjamyst

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Have even more patience =P. 6 months old tank and 1 month having acros is a very very short term frame to assess maturity and stability of your tank. You already gave yourself the right advices. Start a build thread if you haven't already and document the growth! There are people that struggle to even keep acros alive in their established tank so you doing something right.
 

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Not many if any acros grow in a months time lol.. I’d say it takes about 2 years to get a fist sized colony out of a frag if that helps.. these things grow painfully slow haha!! Once they get a certain size they will grow faster thou..
 
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Timfish

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So just to be clear, you feel like the nitrate/phosphate and Alk levels are fine? I see a lot of talk about higher Alk levels with higher nutrients and vice versa

And FWIW, trying to get faster growth probably isn't the best for corals. Especially with small frags as they have a higher mortality rate than larger corals.
 

90's reefer

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There's lots of opinions about nutrients. Watch Rich Ross' video, towards the end he gives PO4 and Nitrate levels for his system which are way out of "acceptable". I've got ICP test for one my systems I'll dig up. Nikko Reef in Palau is another intersting read, as one of the most pristine reefs in the world it shocked researchers when they measured ~5.5 dKH.
Interesting as average ocean alk is 6.5. I run 7 and never had an issue if it dips into the 6's.
 
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teethdoctor23

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And FWIW, trying to get faster growth probably isn't the best for corals. Especially with small frags as they have a higher mortality rate than larger corals.
Understood, I’m just looking for encrusting at this point, of course. I figure as long as I’m getting polyp extension and no change in coloration I’m in good shape to wait it out
 

Crustaceon

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You parameters are fine. It really is a case of acros sometimes taking months before deciding to grow upwards. Mine would typically encrust for a few months first. As mentioned, it'll probably take around two years to have fist-sized colonies from typical 1" frags.
 

Timfish

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Understood, I’m just looking for encrusting at this point, of course. I figure as long as I’m getting polyp extension and no change in coloration I’m in good shape to wait it out

That's about the best we can do most of the time. Unfortunately growth and color can't be relaibly used to determine health of a coral. Over time most reefers develop an "eye" for some of the subtle indicators IN THEIR SYSTEMS but due to the adaptability of corals to an environment what works as in indicator of a problem in one system might be totally off base in another system. Besides being patient also try to avoid complacency. When things look great and seem to be stable is when you need to be expecting problems to pop out of nowhere.
 
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Ashish Patel

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Your parameters are perfect.. i find milies and tenuis are the more diffcult compared to other acros. I feel they either acclimate or die but need really high flow, good spread of light, and a mature system helps them not RTN.

I would suggest trying these as your first acros (WWC yellow tip, paletta pink tip, pink leomade, green slimer. red planet, or anacropra) IMO these all look better bc you dont need fancy shades and blue lights to view all those fake colors from the website. I thought all acros where same level of care but its big difference. The ones i recommend are so adapted to swinging parameters/light/flow.
 
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