No coralline - what is wrong?

markus902

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Hi everybody,

I am into my second year of reefing and have still no coralline growth. Here my story: I started out with a 4 gallon pico (dry rock and life sand) cube which I cycled and that was the only time I had 2 or 3 purple spots show up on the rocks then I had a diatom bloom. The purple spots disappeared after a couple weeks. Once that was established, the diatoms were gone and I got some green algae (green coralline???) that have a teal or blue color under actinic light and added some coral, the some mushrooms did well and a candy cane had slow growth. I didn't do any testing at that time but the SPS test frags obviously died. I didn't have fish, so it was most likely PO4 starvation.

After 6 months I took the same rock and added a little new rock into a 20 gal and went bare bottom. I got testing equipment and am in much better shape now. Parameters are stable but I still don't have any coralline. I got a monti cap to grow well now and tried a green slimer as a starter acro, which looks good so far. Still no fish, but I dose KNO3 and PO4 and feed the LPS 3 times a week. Here my parameters.

Ca 410 to 440
Alk 9.5
Mg 1350
Temp 78
PO4 12 to 35 ppb (Hanna ULR)
NO3 around 5
pH 7.8
Light 2x Kessil A80

Does anybody have suggestions what I could do to get coralline going? Please don't say seeding, I already scrubbed snails and got 2 rocks covered in coralline. Those coralline only bleached a little when I put them in, but now they are recovered and evenly purple. They just won't spread.

Thank you.
 

Fish Think Pink

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Hi everybody,

I am into my second year of reefing and have still no coralline growth. Here my story: I started out with a 4 gallon pico (dry rock and life sand) cube which I cycled and that was the only time I had 2 or 3 purple spots show up on the rocks then I had a diatom bloom. The purple spots disappeared after a couple weeks. Once that was established, the diatoms were gone and I got some green algae (green coralline???) that have a teal or blue color under actinic light and added some coral, the some mushrooms did well and a candy cane had slow growth. I didn't do any testing at that time but the SPS test frags obviously died. I didn't have fish, so it was most likely PO4 starvation.

After 6 months I took the same rock and added a little new rock into a 20 gal and went bare bottom. I got testing equipment and am in much better shape now. Parameters are stable but I still don't have any coralline. I got a monti cap to grow well now and tried a green slimer as a starter acro, which looks good so far. Still no fish, but I dose KNO3 and PO4 and feed the LPS 3 times a week. Here my parameters.

Ca 410 to 440
Alk 9.5
Mg 1350
Temp 78
PO4 12 to 35 ppb (Hanna ULR)
NO3 around 5
pH 7.8
Light 2x Kessil A80

Does anybody have suggestions what I could do to get coralline going? Please don't say seeding, I already scrubbed snails and got 2 rocks covered in coralline. Those coralline only bleached a little when I put them in, but now they are recovered and evenly purple. They just won't spread.

Thank you.
Coralline needs same things as other corals, and like other corals does take a while to get going. I was impatient and did seed, but took about 5+ months until really got going (sump photo) in sump and display tank. "Just won't spread" may just mean you need patience... this hobby does test my patience
 

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reefinnewb

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My tank is 3+ years old and now finally starting to get solid coralline on the rocks. It's always been on the back wall. It was my switch to Kalkwasser from 2-part and lowering the PAR on my lights. Now my rocks are all very purple.

Be careful what you wish for!! Before long you'll be scraping all the time and cleaning your pumps more than usual. Not to mention, the more you have the more ALK / CALC you'll be needing.
 
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markus902

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Like others have mentioned above, also stability though. Just as how you mentioned you had a few spots then they disappeared with the algae bloom. There had to have been in change in nutrients for that algae growth.
Yes, a snail died in the 4 gal tank and I didn’t notice for a while
 
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markus902

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Thanks for the input so far, I guess I just have to be patient. It’s just so tough to see people literally doing nothing and having crazy growth. I don’t mind scraping it off, but it looks so cool.

The only thing I Might address is bringing up the ph a little with Kalk. It’s sitting day and night at 7.8. I anyway have to start some Ca dosing eventually. But I still hope I won’t have to wait until year 3 as mentioned above.
 

MaxTremors

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Hi everybody,

I am into my second year of reefing and have still no coralline growth. Here my story: I started out with a 4 gallon pico (dry rock and life sand) cube which I cycled and that was the only time I had 2 or 3 purple spots show up on the rocks then I had a diatom bloom. The purple spots disappeared after a couple weeks. Once that was established, the diatoms were gone and I got some green algae (green coralline???) that have a teal or blue color under actinic light and added some coral, the some mushrooms did well and a candy cane had slow growth. I didn't do any testing at that time but the SPS test frags obviously died. I didn't have fish, so it was most likely PO4 starvation.

After 6 months I took the same rock and added a little new rock into a 20 gal and went bare bottom. I got testing equipment and am in much better shape now. Parameters are stable but I still don't have any coralline. I got a monti cap to grow well now and tried a green slimer as a starter acro, which looks good so far. Still no fish, but I dose KNO3 and PO4 and feed the LPS 3 times a week. Here my parameters.

Ca 410 to 440
Alk 9.5
Mg 1350
Temp 78
PO4 12 to 35 ppb (Hanna ULR)
NO3 around 5
pH 7.8
Light 2x Kessil A80

Does anybody have suggestions what I could do to get coralline going? Please don't say seeding, I already scrubbed snails and got 2 rocks covered in coralline. Those coralline only bleached a little when I put them in, but now they are recovered and evenly purple. They just won't spread.

Thank you.
Coralline needs a PH of 8.1 to 8.3 to start growing. I wouldn’t necessarily chase that, but if you really want coralline thats something that will need to be fixed.
 
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markus902

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Coralline needs a PH of 8.1 to 8.3 to start growing. I wouldn’t necessarily chase that, but if you really want coralline thats something that will need to be fixed.
I guess we are getting somewhere here, I will fix that. Although there are certainly people that have coralline with pH 7.8?
 
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Darren in Tacoma

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I guess we are getting somewhere here, I will fix that. Although there are certainly people that have coralline with pH 7.8?
A reef tank that is green, so to speak, is more demanding than a mature reef tank. People who have big, beautiful tanks with low ph or really high nitrates or whatever didn't start that way. They just evolved into that. I think the fact that you started with dry rock as opposed to live rock put you on an extended time line. Everything takes longer to achieve when you start with dry rock. The best you can do is to get your parameters into ideal ranges and keep it as stable as you can. Part of stability is water chemistry and the other part is biological. Get some fish in there and get some bacteria growing and watch those phosphates and nitrates and I bet things will take off.
 
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markus902

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Great, that gives me something to work on. I will add a sump this weekend, then we try some air bubbles and maybe Kalk. About adding fish, I have tons of amphipods and brittle stars, they always eat the food super quickly. What would the advantage of fish be over them?
 

Doctorgori

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Thanks for the input so far, I guess I just have to be patient. It’s just so tough to see people literally doing nothing and having crazy growth. I don’t mind scraping it off, but it looks so cool.

The only thing I Might address is bringing up the ph a little with Kalk. It’s sitting day and night at 7.8. I anyway have to start some Ca dosing eventually. But I still hope I won’t have to wait until year 3 as mentioned above.

Coralline needs a PH of 8.1 to 8.3 to start growing. I wouldn’t necessarily chase that, but if you really want coralline thats something that will need to be fixed.
yeah I wanna second both and go on to say dripping kalkwasser seems to help. You also might wanna keep your eyes peeled for the different types. I’ve even seen green and a brick reddish.
Once it gets going you will see it in your alk demand that’s for sure…..
 

Darren in Tacoma

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Great, that gives me something to work on. I will add a sump this weekend, then we try some air bubbles and maybe Kalk. About adding fish, I have tons of amphipods and brittle stars, they always eat the food super quickly. What would the advantage of fish be over them?
Well, not saying that you must have fish, but biodiversity is a good thing. It is good for our planet and it is good for a reef tank.
 
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