Need Help - SPS

Discussion in 'General SPS Discussion' started by AndyD, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. AndyD

    AndyD Member

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    Hi there. I could use some help and suggestions.

    My Tank:
    Its about 4 months old (yes its kinda new)
    225 gallon
    125 sump (large fuge with Kessil H380)
    Radion Gen 4 pro's Set to AB+

    Running Triton Method and have been using ICP tests to back up water parameter testing.

    Using Apex system including DOS for tank monitoring.

    PH hovers at 8.0
    Alk is fairly stable at 8.5 dkh
    Mag/Calc 1350/450
    I cannot get any phosphate or nitrate readings using Salifert's test kit.
    Using TropicMarin Salt
    Fish: (one of each) Yellow tang, purple tang, cleaner wrasse, hippo tang, purple fire fish, and flameback angel.
    The tank is full of 1" frags of all kinds

    Issue:
    SPS (acro's and Monti's) arent doing well. They are surviving but not thriving.
    Acro's had an initial issue when I used too much GFO to get Phosphates down. That shocked them. That was 2 months ago. Caused most, if not all Acro's to pull their polyps in. Time has passed and I have done some water changes but they really havent fully rebounded.

    Recently (past 2 weeks) the monti's have started to show some stress. Polyps are not extending much and some bleaching. Even my green birds nest is looking a little bleached (it was thriving and doing great).

    My initial (and anecdotal) thoughts:

    1. Nitrates are too low -- starving the corals
    -- I have started to feed twice a day for the past 2 weeks. Also adding more fish. They are in QT now doing TTM.
    2. Triton DOS chemicals are somehow an issue (not sure how...but a possibility)
    3. I had 2 large blocks of MarinPure in the sump. I pulled those out about a week ago. I suspected they may be eating too much Nitrate.

    -- Final thoughts: When I first add my sps corals to the tank, they took off and grew rapidly. Encrusted and colors where popping. That did not last but about 2 months. Something went wrong and I am scratching my head. I did a 15% water change 3 days ago (nothing changed) and plan a possible 2nd water change of the same volume tomorrow. I also plan on doing another ICP test.

    Any thoughts are welcome and thanks in advanced.
     
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  2. Flippers4pups

    Flippers4pups Fins up since 1993 R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Tank is very young for SPS. your are correct with N03 and P04 being low or 0.

    You need them up around 5-10ppm for N03 and 0.02 for P04.

    You can dose N03 with potassium nitrate or sodium nitrate.

    P04 with seachem's phosphorus.

    Once those levels are up, it may take a few weeks to see improvement. Hang in there.
     
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  3. ycnibrc

    ycnibrc STAG HORN DOMINATE REEF R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Turn down your skimmer for 2 weeks but still let it bubble sps need some nutrients in the tank to feed. Now a day the skimmer is too efficient of stripping water of everything. You can feed more 2 or 3x don't dose nitrate and phosphate let the food create natural nitrate and phosphate for your tank. After 2 weeks you should see your sps improving.
     
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  4. DesertReefT4r

    DesertReefT4r Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Flame Angel could be nipping causing lack of PE. You have a very light bio load for tank size and are feeding pretty light imo. Add more fish, feed more, you can also decrease the lighting time and intensity of the fuge light to slow down nutrient uptake by the macro algae. If you started with dry rock 4 months is young and may not mature enough for sps.
     
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  5. AndyD

    AndyD Member

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    Thanks for the reply’s.

    Should I reduce the photo period on my fuge too? I think I have it on for 8 hours (reverse lighting).
     
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  6. AndyD

    AndyD Member

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    I started with live rock that was cured. It’s all live rock and even some was Florida rock (which I DO NOT RECOMMEND!). Gorilla crabs and bad isopods!! I did deal with the isopods, but still have the crabs. However, the beneficial bacteria/life has almost outweighed the negatives.

    I digress. The flameback has been a model citizen. He’s a great algae eater.

    Thanks for the suggestions! I am going to turn down the skimmer and up my feeding.

    Should I wait until lights out and broadcast feed some coral foods? When the lights go out the polyps do extend.
     
  7. Chaswood79

    Chaswood79 Active Member R2R Supporter

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    Are you still running the gfo?
     
  8. AndyD

    AndyD Member

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    No. Haven’t ran it since. I don’t think I’m going to need it.
     
  9. jda

    jda Valuable Member

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    Stop anything that you are doing and just wait. Running organic carbon, GFO, etc. can set back the cycle. Adding nitrate or phosphate can disrupt the cycle. You need to just let nature do it's think unmolested. Take the approach that anything that you do to interfere or speed this up will need repaid on the back end probably two-fold.

    Just change water, keep your fuge running and keep your big-3 on point. Feed a reasonable amount of fish well. Do not worry about anything else.

    Soon, when the coralline is popping up everywhere and starting to be a nuisance, then your acros will start to take off... this can take between six and twelve months. There is no getting around this - you need to live through the ugly algae periods, the time, etc. just like everybody else did. Resist the temptation to do anything since you are likely not helping.

    What you are really after is a super stable cache of bacteria in the rocks and sand that will both chew up ammonia and nitrite, but also nitrates. Also, a diverse population of microfauna. The bacteria can form quickly enough to process ammonia and nitrite, but the last part of the cycle can take a long time. By using organic carbon, you starved the bacteria of food to develop and you have taken nature out of the loop to control this yourself. By using GFO, you can starve the bacteria and other microfauna (pods) of building blocks needed to grow and populate.
     
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  10. gtrider

    gtrider Active Member R2R Supporter

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    for what it's worth.. i have a 65g with a 30g sump/fuge with calpera and a octoc 130 skimmer.. tank is 7mo old.
    i have about a dozen SPS frags that are all doing great.. monti, acro etc... i added the first frags around 4mo
    the only thing i do is weekly 10% water changes. i've been keeping track of alk, cal, salinity, po4 and nitrate.
     
  11. AndyD

    AndyD Member

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    I hear ya. I think my problem is the large volume of water and so few fish. My skimmer is a beast too. I have a lot of corals that soak up nutrients quickly. They are pretty much competing with my macro algae for food and nobody is winning.
     
  12. AndyD

    AndyD Member

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    FTS and the sump before it was finished and running back in June

    DD66F835-ABC0-4DEE-8E61-7790862539C9.jpeg

    4DCF02F3-6397-421D-A038-DF478FB66ABE.jpeg
     
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  13. gtrider

    gtrider Active Member R2R Supporter

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    sweet tank. i have a single radion xr30 gen 4. who built the tank itself? it looks similar to my coast to coast custom.
    yeah it seems like you prob dont need to run carbon / gfo. your water is prob super clean.
    my po4 is at .74 .. yes .74 on my hanna. no idea how but it seems to be working. my nitrate is under 1ppm .. hard to tell exatly what because im using a cheap testing kit for that.
     
  14. AndyD

    AndyD Member

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    It’s a custom Planet Aquarium. 24 tall x 6’ long x 30” deep
     
  15. Gregg @ ADP

    Gregg @ ADP Active Member

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    I’m glad you brought up coralline.

    It’s the great reef tank bellwether.
     
  16. Scrubber_steve

    Scrubber_steve Valuable Member

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    With the PO4 test, use a second vial with untested water in it & then compare the test water colour to it. You'll most likely notice the test water will be blue in comparison, & at about 0.03
     
  17. DesertReefT4r

    DesertReefT4r Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Nice fish room and tank! Just give it time. Large tanks can take a bit longer to get up to speed, more volume for the life ane bacteria to have to fill. I agree that once you see coarlline popping up at a consistent rate your tank can support sps. My tank started in June is just showing coralline growth in the last few weeks, added 2 sps frags and so far so good.
     
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