Need help understanding my struggles

CedricAL

New Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 11, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
1
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Birmingham
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Hi fellow reefers,

I started a reef tank 1.5 years ago, and now that I understand a little better how everything work, I would like some opinions from people knowing a lot more than me, about what I am doing wrong.
My main concern is the lack of growth of most corals I have and the death of some corals I bought. I test several parameters on a weekly basis (described later in the post) and they have been stable after few hiccups in the first 6 months. I have had a green favite corals that bleached couple times at different locations in the tank, recovered every time until it did not anymore. As well as a green birdsnest that bleached and did not recover. A BTA that thrived for 8-9 months, split in two, one of them kept shrinking until it died, the other is still alive but a lot smaller.
However, I have a Favia plug that has been doing great and doubled in size, two encrusting montipora that are growing OK and doubled in size as well, a blasomussa that has 1 head and is getting bigger slowly.
As some of you might seen on the picture, I struggle to keep the tank completely clean as I have purple patches on my rocks and a little on the sand that I believe is cyano, and hair algae started to spread more than before lately.

Some seem to do OK while other died. And even the ones that are fine don't seem to grow so much, which is why I am wondering if I am not missing something important and I am asking for help today.

As far as my setup, this is what I have:
It's a 45 gallon tall tank, with a 10 gallon sump (that includes a socket filter, a protein skimmer SCA-301, a chaeto that barely grows, a heater @78F and bioballs).
My return pump is a 1050 gph that I run at 75% speed (Orlushy DC-4000). I also have 1 wavemaker- a Hyger 1600 gph that I run sin wave and a cheap powerhead 480gph.
My lights are a pack of Orbit Marine IC-Pro 24-36" that runs 2hrs on Sunrise settings (76% blue, 0% white, 30% red and 9% green), 5:30 hrs on Daylight (90%B, 30%W, 15%R, 15%G), and back to Sunset (same settings as sunrise) for 2hrs.
I have 9 small fish (chromis, clowns, gobby, cardinal) and a little clean up crew ( 5 Astrea snails, 5 Cerith snails, 1 peppermint shrimp and 1 tiger pistol shrimp)
As you can seem only few corals that are still mostly on the plugs.

My parameters:
Specific gravity - 1.025
Amonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 6ppm
Calcium - 400
Magnesium - 1350
Phosphate - varies between 0.05 to 0.15 from one month to another, usually because I feed more or less or the protein skimmer gives me trouble
alkalinity - 9.3 dKH

I do water changes of 5 Gallons every 1/1.5 week and only dose Red Sea foundation B for alkalinity with a little jebao dosing pump.

I think I went through pretty much everything, I hope someone here will enjoy spending some time reading this and I would be glad to discuss what I might be missing!

Tank.jpg
 
Nutramar Foods

davidcalgary29

2500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 24, 2020
Messages
2,569
Reaction score
3,149
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Peace River, Alberta
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Where are the corals that are thriving located on your aquascape? Are they located in the same area of the tank? If so, perhaps you have lighting issues. Do you know what your PAR levels are for the different areas of your tank?

You might want to keep a reefing diary. The history that you create might be helpful in determining which practices give you the greatest levels of success.
 
OP
CedricAL

CedricAL

New Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 11, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
1
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Birmingham
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
They are not all located at the same place. the two monti are on top of the left arch (I measured 230 PAR there), the blasto is on the sand in front of the same arch (around 60 PAR), and the favia is sitting on top of the structure to the right (140 PAR).
So far through this year I changed the location of the corals, moved the powerheads or adjusted the lught depending of the extension/opening of the polyp and color. But I haven't changed my practices much.
 
AquaCave Logo Banner

Idech

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
1,632
Reaction score
1,339
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Canada
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
If you haven’t I would do an ICP test. You might be surprised. I just did and found out I had elevated nickel in the tank and not enough of 8 important elements.

Like you, I’m not having much growth in my tank except for mushrooms (after a year).
 
OP
CedricAL

CedricAL

New Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 11, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
1
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Birmingham
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
If you haven’t I would do an ICP test. You might be surprised. I just did and found out I had elevated nickel in the tank and not enough of 8 important elements.

Like you, I’m not having much growth in my tank except for mushrooms (after a year).
Indeed, I have never done this. I am looking into it and I'm going to get one done.
 
www.dinkinsaquaticgardens.com
OP
CedricAL

CedricAL

New Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 11, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
1
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Birmingham
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Weird your rock is still white no Coraline in 1.5 years.

Have you tried introducing live rock for biodiversity
It is also one of my worries. I started with only dry marcorock from BRS and dry sand, as it was my first tank I wanted to minimize the chances of having pests.
However, I introduced a bottle of purple coralline algae after 4 months. Following this, all my rocks became a little purple, but it all died off after 2 months (I assume at this time that the swings I had during the first 6 months killed it). I have some green coralline algae patches, especially in the sump, but barely no purple/pink.
When I introduce snails and plugs, they have coralline on them, and my snails all have coralline on their shell now, which is a mystery to me.
 

moz71

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 25, 2018
Messages
1,348
Reaction score
1,278
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
If your parameters are stable now and still having problems now would be a good time for an icp test. Stability is number one killer and sounds like everything else ok except the unknown. People get surprises on what’s in water though an icp test. Fish and snails alive and thriving is a good sign but no coraline is not good at this point. Don’t add anymore until get that test at least to rule out.
 
AquaSD
OP
CedricAL

CedricAL

New Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 11, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
1
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Birmingham
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
If your parameters are stable now and still having problems now would be a good time for an icp test. Stability is number one killer and sounds like everything else ok except the unknown. People get surprises on what’s in water though an icp test. Fish and snails alive and thriving is a good sign but no coraline is not good at this point. Don’t add anymore until get that test at least to rule out.
Thank you for the feedback, I ordered a test kit, once I got the result back I'll post them here.
 
OP
CedricAL

CedricAL

New Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 11, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
1
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Birmingham
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I just received the ICP test results. I’m not very familiar with the trace element target values, so to anyone who knows: your help will be greatly appreciated!

38F13BFC-23CB-41AC-A7C6-5C08678ED974.png AD7AD0D9-C7D2-49DC-A0B9-2982B04F4037.png
 
Last edited:

How do I get smarter in the hobby?

  • Experiment with reefing

    Votes: 229 56.4%
  • Read books

    Votes: 158 38.9%
  • Subscribe to magazines

    Votes: 73 18.0%
  • Read Reef2Reef

    Votes: 308 75.9%
  • Talk to other reefers

    Votes: 230 56.7%
  • Watch YouTube videos

    Votes: 259 63.8%
  • Listen to podcasts

    Votes: 101 24.9%
  • Other

    Votes: 34 8.4%
Cherry Corals Polyp-Palooza Live Sale!
Top