Nothing "Hard" Survives in my Tank!!!

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paulgriffin971

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I'm going to be as detailed as possible so you see what I'm dealing with. This issue has been going on for almots 3 years, cost me at least $350 in frags, and it's getting OLD!! EVERYTHING that I've tried to grow that is not soft coral related slowly turns splotchy white over about 7-10 days and then DIES! My parameters have been spot on for months. The only adjustments have been to the PH which swings in any given day from around 8.0 in the early morning to 8.2 at late afternoon. Hopefully someone can take a look at the information and pictures and at least tell me somewhere to start because I'm about done trying anything else but softies. EVERYTHING that is "hard" coral related eventually gets white splotches on it and then dies just like this--and these two frags are exactly 7 days old:

IMG_5148.jpg

IMG_5149.jpg



My Tank:
Red Sea 625XXL 3 Years old
165 gallons total volume
3 x Red Sea ReefLED 90's
Coral Life Skimmer--the big one
Biopellet Reactor for 150 gallon tank.
Bulk Reef Supply GFO/Carbon Reactor
Neptune Apex
2 x Neptune WAV pumps located on the back wall of the tank (see picture below)
Neptune DOS pump and I'm dosing 10ml Ca and 12 ML Alk total per day, and around 1ml each hour per the APEX program (Seachem Fusion 1 and 2)
I use the Red Sea 10 micron mesh filer bags in the stock location
30 gallon water changes on the 1st of every month using Reef Crystals salt
Here's what it looks like:

IMG_5151.jpg



Water Parameters--steady for the past several months:
Mg 1380
Ca 600
Alk 12.1
PH 8.2
Phos 0.15
Nitrate 5.0
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Temperature 78 night / 79 day
Salinity 34 to 35ppm


My Lighting Schedule:

Screenshot 2022-08-04 at 12.35.46 PM.jpg



Here's what I've tried during prior "attempts" at all of the hard coral frags going into this tank. This isn't a one time deal, it's what I did during each attempt at the several different frag tests that went in over the course of about 2 years:

Salinity Acclimation-obviously
Lighting Acclimation--obviously
Adjusted Flow--up down all around--nothing mattered
Adjusted lighting--at one time I went to 90% on the lighting to see if that what was doing it, but nope--softies stayed fine, hard coral bleached and died. Same thing when I went down to where I'm at now....50%. Same thing when I went from 10 hours a day down to about 6.
Adjusted ALK from 8 to 11 then up to 12 where I'm at now.
Kept Phosphates below 0.10--sometimes .30, sometimes .05 (Also--some of the LFS's I've bought the frags from sometimes have Phosphates up at around 1.0)
Lowered temperature to 77 degrees
Raised Temperature to 80 degrees
Tried dosing Red Sea elements Iodine, Trace, Iron, Potasium and NoPox using the Red Sea chemistry wizard for a mixed tank. About 2ml per day of each element and 6ml per day on the NoPox.
Tried dosing Magnesium
Tried dosing Reef Roids
Tried dosing Red Sea AB+
Adjusted feeding time for fish
Tried Chemiclean when I had a cyano outbreak in the spring a year ago
Tried shopping at different LFS's in the area
Kept aptasia at bay with a copper band--I have exactly 2 aptasia in the tank as of today
Changed fish food--went from flakes to frozen, etc.
Sent off an ICP test and everything came back in the green except for Ca which was at 620ppm


So, with all that said----HOW the HECK are all of you people getting your hard corals to no so much thrive, but even SURVIVE?!
 
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PigDaddyF15E

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Sorry to hear about your frustration. I had a favia, 2 syphastrea, and a duncan all melt in the last two months while a monti and styloceniella are thriving......

As to your problem....I'm no expert but:

A. Have you rented a PAR meter and taken samples of all your points that you want to put coral? Might be too much light...might not be enough. Just picking or using someone else's "recommended" settings is only a ballpark figure as each tank is unique. Without actual measurements you can't really just say "well..this or that coral is doing just fine". IMHO.

B. ICP test? Maybe you have something in your water?

C. Alk..many different opinions on this one...but I see quite a few people strive for 7-11....I'm shooting for 9.

Just my two cents worth....
 

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Sorry if i missed it but what is your full stocked fish list ? any angels in the tank?

I have the same issue as you and i am fairly certain its my coral beauty nipping at them .

The other similar thing i noticed is you have red sea lights same as mine. I have wondered if this was an issue for me ? or could be for you as well ? maybe not the best lights for growing SPS ? someone with success and Red Sea LED lights can chime in and correct me hahaha please tell me its not the lights and its me haha
 
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Crustaceon

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I think I have the answer here if I can get one bit of information. When you do a water change, do you temperature match the new water with the display water? Kind of a silly question but if there's even a 4 degree-ish difference of water temp when you dump it in, that can cause problems, especially with sps. Either way, I think your best course of action might be to drop a montipora frag on the bottom, no dipping, no acclimating and just leave the tank alone for a few months aside from the consistent 2-part dosing.
 
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paulgriffin971

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Thanks all. Here's the answers to your questions thus far:

Fish stocking list. Yeah I have alot of fish, but my nitrates are always below .5 and phosphates below .20 max. Everyone gets along and the skimmer takes about 1.5 weeks to fill at a max air/water tune (bubbles at the neck)
1 Neso tang--2 years old
1 BiColor Angel
1 Copperband
6 Chromis
6 blue/yellow tail Damsels
4 Azure Damsels
1 pajama cardinal
1 foxface--3 years old
1 hippo tang (a Dory) 3 years old
3 Tamato clowns
3 bristle urchins--those ones that take the dead snail shells and wear them on their head
1 brittle starfish
1 red fiji starfish
1 lawnmower blenny
1 flame angel
1 6-line wrasse
6 turbo snails
About 50 hermit crabs
Not sure how many Astraea snails
4 three-stripe damsels

As far as the as mixing, yes I use a cobalt heater in a brute tub when I mix the salt--set temp at 80 degrees so is balances the tank right at 78-79. I have NOT tired zero water changes. My thought is that if something was buidling up in the tank, it would be removed by the water changes. I ALWAYS use RODI water I make via a filter with new cartridges every year.

PAR levels--yes borrowed a PAR meter and found 70-150 at the bottom of the tank depending on what level the light was set at. The LED's have a blue/white adjustment only, and before them I had a huge 400 watt maxspect light. I thought for sure it was lighting, but nope, put the Reef LED's on and same issue--regardless of the spectrum/intensity.
 
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Dburr1014

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Thanks all. Here's the answers to your questions thus far:

Fish stocking list. Yeah I have alot of fish, but my nitrates are always below .5 and phosphates below .20 max. Everyone gets along and the skimmer takes about 1.5 weeks to fill at a max air/water tune (bubbles at the neck)
1 Neso tang--2 years old
1 BiColor Angel
1 Copperband
6 Chromis
6 blue/yellow tail Damsels
4 Azure Damsels
1 pajama cardinal
1 foxface--3 years old
1 hippo tang (a Dory) 3 years old
3 Tamato clowns
3 bristle urchins--those ones that take the dead snail shells and wear them on their head
1 brittle starfish
1 red fiji starfish
1 lawnmower blenny
1 flame angel
1 6-line wrasse
6 turbo snails
About 50 hermit crabs
Not sure how many Astraea snails
4 three-stripe damsels

As far as the as mixing, yes I use a cobalt heater in a brute tub when I mix the salt--set temp at 80 degrees so is balances the tank right at 78-79. I have NOT tired zero water changes. My thought is that if something was buidling up in the tank, it would be removed by the water changes. I ALWAYS use RODI water I make via a filter with new cartridges every year.

PAR levels--yes borrowed a PAR meter and found 70-150 at the bottom of the tank depending on what level the light was set at. The LED's have a blue/white adjustment only, and before them I had a huge 400 watt maxspect light. I thought for sure it was lighting, but nope, put the Reef LED's on and same issue--regardless of the spectrum/intensity.
2 different types of angels. Seen any nipping? They can nip even when your watching and not even know it.
 
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paulgriffin971

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Yes my LPS are fine. My acans are toward the middle of the tank at right-center. I feed them with pellets and mysis/brine shrimp. The one polyp that was about the size of a dime has grown into 4 heads the size of a quarter in the past year.
 
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paulgriffin971

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The alkalinity and calcium are very high.
Can very high calcium levels cause anything? Mine has always been far above 500 or so and that's using API and red sea testing kits. Whne the tank was new, ALK was aorund 9. Now with the 2 part dosing it stays between 11 and 12 on any given month.
 
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jrmailo

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It’s hard to see in your pictures but do you have coralline algae growing in your tank?

edit: ie, Is your back wall covered in coralline? Do you have them growing on your glass that you have to scrape them off every other week or so?
 
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paulgriffin971

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I have coraline--sort of. It's a greenish color with white crystals throughout. the back glass is coated with what looks like pretty good sized salt crystals. I get a pretty good amount of parrticipate in the sump overflow box of what looks like sand but I think it's the rock, calcium crystals, and/or the initial coraline.
 
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paulgriffin971

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It’s hard to see in your pictures but do you have coralline algae growing in your tank?

edit: ie, Is your back wall covered in coralline? Do you have them growing on your glass that you have to scrape them off every other week or so?
Here's a couple pictures of what I've got going as far as corraline is concerned:

IMG_5159.jpg
IMG_5165.jpg
IMG_5166.jpg
 
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paulgriffin971

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Also, here's a few pictures of what my other soft corals are looking like. The frags in the rack are one day old--I just bought them yesterday and wanted to try and acclimate them for yet another attempt

IMG_5154.jpg
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jrmailo

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Here's a couple pictures of what I've got going as far as corraline is concerned:

IMG_5159.jpg
IMG_5165.jpg
IMG_5166.jpg
I do not see a significant amount of coralline at all especially when your tank is 3 years old. Coralline growth is a good indication of whether you can grow/keep SPS corals alive.

I would avoid purchasing anymore SPS frags until you are actively see coralline algae in your tank.

Given the lack of coralline, I would suspect that your issue lie somewhere your level (or stability) of alk/ca/mg.
 
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jrmailo

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I have coraline--sort of. It's a greenish color with white crystals throughout. the back glass is coated with what looks like pretty good sized salt crystals. I get a pretty good amount of parrticipate in the sump overflow box of what looks like sand but I think it's the rock, calcium crystals, and/or the initial coraline.
I see a lot of precipitation but rather little amount of coralline growth.
 
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