My 4ft Peninsula Tank Journal

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Gedxin

Gedxin

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I've been pushing out this update over and over in hopes that things would turn around and I would have some better news to share. Things haven't improved though, so I guess it's about time I shared some updates.

My switch to using my T5s (2x blues 2x actinic) as my 'primary' lights has led to a mass bleaching/STN/RTN event throughout the whole tank. That's really the whole story in a nutshell. My params have been reasonably stable throughout the last few months, so I'm attributing the SPS deaths to the lighting changes. Happy to hear thoughts all-around, but that's my best 'educated' guess. More on this later.

I'm not even gonna name some of my higher end pieces that have just melted away, it hurts my pride/wallet too much. My lovely BB Draw Jopper colony was one of the victims, and thankfully fragging it has worked and I've been able to save a few pieces scattered throughout the tank.

PXL_20230111_001807798.jpg

Cyano takes over in any dead spots, really strange honestly as I only see Cyano in the tank where things have died.

No other photos to share as it's just been too depressing to document deaths. Many started with a STN at the base (for like 2-4 days) and progressed in to a RTN over 24 hours. I've lost at least 5 pieces, with a few other currently STNing at the bases.

More info on lighting:
Prior to moving to T5 primaries my peak par during the day was ~400 at the top of my rocks. Difficult to say 'how long' I had that peak par going, but it wasn't less than 2 hours. My T5s were supplement and going for 6hrs each with that 1-2hr overlap in the middle of the day.

I wanted more 'coverage' for the tank, so my dumb dumb self figured if I just reduced my LED output and put the T5s on together this would be the perfect combo. Dec 7 I started the progression of migrating from LED primary to T5. Immediately I reduced Led output on the 7th, and over the next 2 weeks (ending on Dec 21) I started to gradually close the gap of the T5s being on together. I initially started at only 4 hours on with a 30min overlap, then 1hr overlap two days later, then 1.5hr overlap another 2 days later. I measured par at 350 at the PEAK of the day and that was only for ~1hr. I figured this was going to be cake if I just kept my par in check.

Well, the "Oh !*@#, something's wrong" moment came a few days before Christmas - I noticed bleached tips on a few pieces. Too much light? Certainly seemed that way. I reduced LED output some. The bleached tips proceeded over the next week and I continued lowering LED output. Early Jan my BB Draw starts to STN and a few others as well, with nearly all pieces showing signs of tissue regression or complete stalled growth. At this point my peak par is <270 so I'm just completely baffled at the continued downturn.

Today, I don't really know where things stand. The T5s continue as my primary at 6hrs on with 5.5hr overlap. LEDs are ramping up/down 3+ hours on other side of those - with a total photo period of 11hrs. At least two SPS pieces are still showing signs of their bases STN'ing.

I'm banging my head against the wall for trying to make this T5 switch. I regret immensely, but at this point I feel I'm a bit in the sunken cost fallacy. If I were to revert my changing I feel I risk introducing another bleaching event. Alk consumption has continued throughout this process, albeit at a slower rate (I suspect because my LPS pieces haven't shown much stress at all.)

So yeah, that's where we are today. Super disappointed I'm my own worst enemy.

Photo of STN that's started from the base. This is a today photo. STN is about 1-2 week's on this GC Acroberry.
PXL_20230119_205123654.jpg
 

nuxx

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Where to start? I suppose stating the mantra “nothing in reefing happens quickly” is the best way to begin this update. About two weeks ago I noticed a few of my acros getting excessively white tips. After close inspection (something my wife would say I do a bit too often), and comparing growth progress photos, these tips did not appear to be regular ‘growth’ tips, but rather were burnt tips. Why? Well, I could think of any number of reasons due to me making changes.

Over the past two months I’ve:
  1. Added three additional lights (Radion XR15 G6, AI Prime 16HD and 30W Led.)
    1. Increased light intensity, shooting for ~400 par at top of rocks (up ~50par from previous)
  2. Switched from AFR dosing to Kalkwasser nightly dosing with AFR supplement.
  3. Replaced refugium grow light with AI Fuge.

Too much too fast. About 5 acros showed obvious stress with burnt tips. To make things more complicated I have a large golfball sized turbo snail that rubs/slides against just about everything. A few acros have what I can only describe as snail shell burn with parts that have been what appears to be “scraped off.” I also lost my OG Green Torch recently, the flesh just slopped off it over a 24hr period. Thankfully not terribly expensive, but I’m sad to lose it.

What do? Short answer: SLOW DOWN. I’ve backed off 20% on my lights. I reduced Kalkwasser dosing to 50%. This has hurt my pH stability, but I think my alk reaching ~10 (up from 8.1 in about 2 weeks) didn’t make things happy. I stopped all AFR dosing and will focus on water changes to replace trace elements in the near-term (AFR can come when it’s obviously needed.)

My Alkalinity dKh over the last 90 days:
s_F3111B64F8ADF3BF41C8EDA2000F9D23DE8E8CFAD38E38107E0E1A1349321C5A_1666155676761_Screen+Shot+2022-10-18+at+9.53.26+PM.png

You can see the immediate alkalinity increase after turning on Kalk 8/23. I feel I should have slowed my ascend over a much broader time range. Live and learn. You can see over the last 10 days my alk has been slowly dropping (I’ve adjusted it to about .1 dKh/day).

I’ve recently added a CO2 scrubber, hooked up to an air pump terminating to an air stone in my sump. This has resulted in a decent increase in pH. Graph below tracks my pH, air stone was added on 10/15.
s_F3111B64F8ADF3BF41C8EDA2000F9D23DE8E8CFAD38E38107E0E1A1349321C5A_1666156691951_Screen+Shot+2022-10-18+at+10.16.54+PM.png

So what have we learned? I need to just take it easy. Things will grow in their own time, and I must make fewer adjustments over longer periods.

Will follow up with some photos tomorrow! I’ve really loving the Brad’s Jaw Dropper colony and how it’s responding to high par. Some pieces in the tank couldn’t care less about the swings, they’re cruising.

In other news, my wife and I welcomed our second child in to the world, a baby boy. I'm off work for the next few weeks, and coincidentally am expecting 10 new fish to arrive either Thursday or Friday. Stay tuned for some fish shots!

Obligatory baby photo tax:
PXL_20221017_204752273.jpg

Awesome we just had twin girls 2 months ago.

They finally started waking up just once a night a week or two ago and now sleep the entire night. Just happened out of nowhere and now we don't feel tired all the time anymore.

The feeding every two hours makes work hard though...
 

jhuntstl

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Man, I'm so sorry. =( It sounds like you adjusted slowly and methodically to the T5s. It's hard to believe that could be the issue. What are your Ns and Ps? I feel like I've gotten away with a lot keeping mine higher.
 
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Gedxin

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Man, I'm so sorry. =( It sounds like you adjusted slowly and methodically to the T5s. It's hard to believe that could be the issue. What are your Ns and Ps? I feel like I've gotten away with a lot keeping mine higher.
I appreciate the condolences. My nitrates and Phosphates have spiked a little, but it doesn't seem high enough to cause a mass bleaching event? Here's the last 90 days.

My pH monitor needs to be recalibrated, so I haven't really been paying attention there.

last90.png
 

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Sorry to hear Gedxin! Been there, felt that and it's rough.

Sps are so finicky and once they are ticked the reaction can be delayed so sometimes it can be hard to pin point if something is currently off or if it's still a reaction from "x" event.

Recalibrate that ph probe. I know the general thought is don't chase ph and I'd agree with that to a certain point but I do like to accurately monitor it. Just about every TN event I have experienced that had somewhat of an unknown event, correlated with very low ph numbers at night. 7.7 is my tanks death threshold, I go below that for more than a night and it's guaranteed issues with TN for me. Whether it's some type of bad bacteria or just a stressor in my system I'm not sure of.

In my mind, a change of light could shock and stunt sps growth which might surppress your ph during the day, allowing it to drop lower than usual at night. Not saying ph is the cause but something that I've noted during TN events, usually ones from the base up for me.

If you know your PAR is sufficient I'd stop making lighting changes for now. I'd also try to focus on getting those alk and nutrient parameters more stable. They look like they are bumping around a bit too quickly and too much IMO. I'm sure that's from the event and trying to adjust to the tanks new uptake but those could be enough to start up another event with prestressed sps.
 
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Gedxin

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Bleaching from the base up continues and has now impacted roughly 50% of my acros. :loudly-crying-face: I 'fixed' my pH issue 1/28 and recalibrated, long story short the air pump I was using to push CO2 scrubbed air wasn't working properly. I'm generally able to keep it above 8 at night now. The only real issue I see is my nutrients are still a bit higher than what they've been in the past (they're now at ~12 nitrate and ~0.1 phosphate.) My Alk has been reasonably stable around ~8. I'm throwing my hands up and just accepting the losses as they are. I think attempting to make any changes (unsure what to do other than more water changes) will only upset the other acros that have somehow managed to survive.

Screenshot 2023-02-10 at 4.09.55 PM.png


Screenshot 2023-02-10 at 4.12.39 PM.png

Screenshot 2023-02-10 at 4.13.12 PM.png

Calcium is at 450, Mag is 1380.

I haven't taken a photo of the mess for a few weeks now, it just hurts a bit too much to document the decline.

Thoughts and well wishes appreciated.
 
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Petcrazyson

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Acros will be acros :rolleyes: don’t have actual experience with acros, but like you said I think it be best not to touch too much the issue(s) at hand, and cause more further problems. Like you already know Acros NEED stability and slight changes affect drastically. Tagging @FarmerTy and @SunnyX maybe they can help, they know a lot about sps and acros especially Ty. I wish I could but don’t know much about acros, but like @Mschmidt said, I do wish things get better for you. Best wishes @Gedxin . Don’t give up!
 

jhuntstl

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Bleaching from the base up continues and has now impacted roughly 50% of my acros. :loudly-crying-face: I 'fixed' my pH issue 1/28 and recalibrated, long story short the air pump I was using to push CO2 scrubbed air wasn't working properly. I'm generally able to keep it above 8 at night now. The only real issue I see is my nutrients are still a bit higher than what they've been in the past (they're now at ~12 nitrate and ~0.1 phosphate.) My Alk has been reasonably stable around ~8. I'm throwing my hands up and just accepting the losses as they are. I think attempting to make any changes (unsure what to do other than more water changes) will only upset the other acros that have somehow managed to survive.

Screenshot 2023-02-10 at 4.09.55 PM.png


Screenshot 2023-02-10 at 4.12.39 PM.png

Screenshot 2023-02-10 at 4.13.12 PM.png

Calcium is at 450, Mag is 1380.

I haven't taken a photo of the mess for a few weeks now, it just hurts a bit too much to document the decline.

Thoughts and well wishes appreciated.
Stay the course. I would not make any changes and likely accept this as a the path of a maturing acro tank. I stumbled upon my graveyard the other day. I got a bucket outside I chuck them all in. It can be depressing when you start to add it up. Thankfully it hasn't had an addition in a while.

I think we both went on a similar path. A quick transition into acro/sps dominant, a compulsion to upgrade our equipment and improve our method as we learned more. While I'm not a big believer in stability...I do think in a young acro tank, it's likely a good ally. And I mean that across the board. Lighting, flow, nutrients, pH, dkh, mag, etc, etc. We tend to make many changes as we grow with our new tanks. For better or worse.

What I've found is with each failure, I creep more towards success. It's painful to see them go, but if you're like me...you'll be desensitized soon enough. =) Find your routine and stick with it. You can make small tweaks along the way, but ideally you have a good foundation that you can stick with now.

I would look into your RODI, test for stray voltage, quadruple check for pests, and maybe do an ICP. If none of these cause any alarm, keep on chuggin along.
 
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Gedxin

Gedxin

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Ever figure this out? Sorry to see this…
Honestly not really. I've changed a whole lot of nothing the past few months and some acros are thriving with significant noticeable growth while others/new acros are continuing to STN. I've dipped in CoralRx, Coral Revive, as well as Iodine. The only real halt to STN I've had success with is fragging a piece, while some frags survived and have begun to recover, others have continued to die. I picked up a few acros from a local reefer and half are growing well, the other half are very slowly STN'ing.

I do have red bugs on a few of my smooth skinned acros. Can't find any bugs on other pieces, especially a few that STN'd, also I never saw any bugs on them while they slowly died.

Nitrates have been 0 for over a month unfortunately, even with dosing liquid No3. My refugium does too well I guess.

It's a bit of a mystery what the underlining issue is, but I guess Ive still got a few things to work on.
 
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Smite

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Sorry to hear that, Gedxin. I'll dig through my reef cabinet. I want to say I have some interceptor stashed away. you gotta take those suckers out to get a better judge of what's actually going on. You may have corrected some issue but the red bugs are keeping some pieces in a weakened state continuing your TN issues.

If your fuge is working that well I'd take that as an excuse to feed more. That helps everything across the board in my opinion.
 
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Gedxin

Gedxin

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Sorry to hear that, Gedxin. I'll dig through my reef cabinet. I want to say I have some interceptor stashed away. you gotta take those suckers out to get a better judge of what's actually going on. You may have corrected some issue but the red bugs are keeping some pieces in a weakened state continuing your TN issues.

If your fuge is working that well I'd take that as an excuse to feed more. That helps everything across the board in my opinion.
Thanks for the offer! I'm at an impasse with treating interceptor. I have a ton of snails, hermit crabs, like two gorilla crabs (dang), a club mantis shrimp (double dang), copepods, and a cleaner shrimp. It would be a massive effort to get things I want to keep out of the tank. I bought Bayer's the other week and most of my acros are on plates/pegs that let me remove and dip, so I'm continuing that before anything as drastic as interceptor. Dipping CoralRX has removed some bugs, but I suspect their eggs have stayed and I see them again in a few weeks. Next is trying Bayer's. I think you're having success with...potassium chloride if I recall correctly?
 

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Yeah potassium chloride has been working very well for me and so far seems just as gentle as bayers.

I did experience some invert issues and pod die off when I dose interceptor in my last system. First 2 doses went fine but the third really killed some stuff off.
 

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