Please Help - Corals are not looking well - All Parameters are normal

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saltyfilmfolks

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No. Skimmer is probably fine.

To be perfectly honest , it’s a new tank. (Every one hates to hear that, yes).
But the processes beyond the nitrogen cycle and what we test for are mind blowing.

So little stumbles along the way , Esp early on in a tanks life, can be more major setbacks. Like too much light or an alk overdose overfeeding etc, can make ya feel like it’s all gone wrong because quite simply , it’s just not as stable becuse it’s young.

Honestly I’m surprised there’s a nem doing so well in there at that age.(looking at the rock)
But it’s also a sign the tank is actually pretty healthy and on the right track.

“It is just frustrating when there isn't a problem jumping out at me to let me know what's going on....”

It’s much more subtle imo., good things and bad.
 

spiraling

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Just a thought - but if you are suspecting problems you may want to do more water changes and / or a triton test. I found out one of my pieces of equipment was contaminating the tank, even though all my paramaters were spot on and I kept losing coral. It was also a newer tank. Time, getting rid of the bad part, and a LOT of water changes seemed to fix mine. YMMV
 
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h2oh2o

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Just a thought - but if you are suspecting problems you may want to do more water changes and / or a triton test. I found out one of my pieces of equipment was contaminating the tank, even though all my paramaters were spot on and I kept losing coral. It was also a newer tank. Time, getting rid of the bad part, and a LOT of water changes seemed to fix mine. YMMV
What is a Triton test?

I was thinking the same thing about something in the equipment.

One thing I forgot to mention was I have 2 Marineland HOB penguin filter(I know these are not ideal for a reef tank) and I put 1 bag of ceramic rings and bio balls in the extra compartments of each filter. Should I remove these?

Honestly I think it's the lighting as well. When I only had 1 250w in the middle everything seemed to be better. See pic below of before.

As you can see the torch and nem looked so much better
 

spiraling

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Only change one thing at a time or you will be chasing problems around. If you think its light then try that for a few weeks but leave the filtration. Water changes never hurt. Check all of your equipment for any rust, which is bad.

Triton - or other brands - are ICP tests that check things like tin, aluminum, lead, nickel, etc. Its a chemical analysis of your water.
 
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h2oh2o

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Only change one thing at a time or you will be chasing problems around. If you think its light then try that for a few weeks but leave the filtration. Water changes never hurt. Check all of your equipment for any rust, which is bad.

Triton - or other brands - are ICP tests that check things like tin, aluminum, lead, nickel, etc. Its a chemical analysis of your water.
Sounds good. How do I got about performing the Triton test. Do I need to take my water to my LFS?
 

vetteguy53081

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Start off simple and keep it simple FOR NOW. Go slow and allow tank to be STABLE. Stability is part of success chain. Feed sparingly at first, monitor readings and do add liquid bactyeria boosters such as Fritx-zyme turbo 9ooo, Dr. Tims or similar.
If unsure of skimmer performance, simply turn it down a tad. Again go slow, and no need to buy each time you visit a store. Do visit several stores and get ideas, make wish list and see what is out there for future planning.
 

Pelagic One

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Sounds good. How do I got about performing the Triton test. Do I need to take my water to my LFS?
You would actually need to purchase the Triton ICP test kit from your favorite online supplier (i.e. Bulk Reef Supply, Marine Depot), unless your LFS stocks the Triton ICP kit themselves, fill the included vials with your tank’s water, then send it back via the included prepaid shipping envelope. The samples are then sent to Triton Lab in Germany, where the water is analyzed and your results are posted on a secure website accessible only by you.

Check out more info here: https://www.triton-lab.de/en/products-services/icp-oes/the-triton-icp-test-kit/

Other than Triton, another German company called ATI offers an ICP test kit, as well. ATI’s kit includes three vials for your tank water samples, and a single vial for your source water sample (RO/DI or municipal tap water). I recently ran an ATI ICP analysis, and was glad to confirm my RO/DI and older storage/mixing barrel isn’t leaching any silicates, or anything else bad.

http://atiaquaristik.com/en/?one_page_portfolio=icp-oes-analyse

https://www.marinedepot.com/ATI_Lab_Test_Kit_for_ICP_OES_Complete_Water_Analysis_Water_Test_Kits_for_Saltwater_Aquariums-ATI-UZ21850-FITK-vi.html

Both companies also offer dosing additives; so knowing the exact water parameters assists in balancing your dosing to your systems requirements. They both seem to recommend periodic, quarterly water tests, which makes sense given the investment and sacrifice we all make for our tanks.

Welcome to R2R, by the way...enjoy the ride!
 

Flexin

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Honestly, I would hold off on a triton test, since the tank is new there are too many things still trying to balance. It's too early to chase those parameters. Let the tank stabilize with good habits for a few month. What to do, keep up with water changes (weekly-bi weekly), vacuum your substrate monthly, get a turkey blaster and get rid of debris on the rocks, before changing the water. The hobby takes time and nothing happens good quickly. Be patient and hold off on adding anything else. And find a setting for the light and stick with it a few months. It take time for the corals to react if the change is not major. And honestly, you don't want major changes. Just let the tank age and lesson learned on adding certain corals early.
 
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h2oh2o

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You would actually need to purchase the Triton ICP test kit from your favorite online supplier (i.e. Bulk Reef Supply, Marine Depot), unless your LFS stocks the Triton ICP kit themselves, fill the included vials with your tank’s water, then send it back via the included prepaid shipping envelope. The samples are then sent to Triton Lab in Germany, where the water is analyzed and your results are posted on a secure website accessible only by you.

Check out more info here: https://www.triton-lab.de/en/products-services/icp-oes/the-triton-icp-test-kit/

Other than Triton, another German company called ATI offers an ICP test kit, as well. ATI’s kit includes three vials for your tank water samples, and a single vial for your source water sample (RO/DI or municipal tap water). I recently ran an ATI ICP analysis, and was glad to confirm my RO/DI and older storage/mixing barrel isn’t leaching any silicates, or anything else bad.

http://atiaquaristik.com/en/?one_page_portfolio=icp-oes-analyse

https://www.marinedepot.com/ATI_Lab_Test_Kit_for_ICP_OES_Complete_Water_Analysis_Water_Test_Kits_for_Saltwater_Aquariums-ATI-UZ21850-FITK-vi.html

Both companies also offer dosing additives; so knowing the exact water parameters assists in balancing your dosing to your systems requirements. They both seem to recommend periodic, quarterly water tests, which makes sense given the investment and sacrifice we all make for our tanks.

Welcome to R2R, by the way...enjoy the ride!
Thank you for the info!! I will look into this if things do not start to get better within a month or so...
 
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Seminoles76

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Appreciate it. The nem is about 2.5 times that size when happy. Also the torch used to be about 2 inches, waiving, and happy.

Just don't know what to do at this point.

Do you think the skimmer might be an issue? I have been pulling out a lot of green goodness. Do you think I might be pulling out to much?
I would say if your skimmer is way over rated like people tend to do, it could very well be adding to your problem....especially if your Nitrate and Phosphate tests are correct. Based off the absence of algae in your tank, with the exception of the light dusting on your dry rock, I would say I tend to believe the test kits.
I would look to get confirmation on the NO3 and PO4 tests, either through a LFS or different test kit. If the readings are correct, I would up the feeding substantially until you either see readings on the kits or start to see some more algae growing. In my experience, dry rock starts with over skimming can leave you with low nutrients until about the five to six month mark. I also started with dry rock with an oversized skimmer and had zero readings of NO3 and PO4, and that was with heavy frozen and pellet feeding. I had no readings on the kits and zero algae growing besides a light dusting like you have. Things didn't stabilize until I actually started dosing nutrients into the tank. As soon as I started dosing nutrients everything started rebounding.
I also agree with the other posters in that I would add some bottled bacteria such as Microbacter 7 or Dr Tims. I would double down on the bottled bacteria if that sand was dry from the start like your rock was.
I would also add that if the tank is truly nutrient deficient then your amount of light could be compounding the problem of unhappy coral. Hope you get it figured out and things start looking better for ya.
 
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h2oh2o

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I would say if your skimmer is way over rated like people tend to do, it could very well be adding to your problem....especially if your Nitrate and Phosphate tests are correct. Based off the absence of algae in your tank, with the exception of the light dusting on your dry rock, I would say I tend to believe the test kits.
I would look to get confirmation on the NO3 and PO4 tests, either through a LFS or different test kit. If the readings are correct, I would up the feeding substantially until you either see readings on the kits or start to see some more algae growing. In my experience, dry rock starts with over skimming can leave you with low nutrients until about the five to six month mark. I also started with dry rock with an oversized skimmer and had zero readings of NO3 and PO4, and that was with heavy frozen and pellet feeding. I had no readings on the kits and zero algae growing besides a light dusting like you have. Things didn't stabilize until I actually started dosing nutrients into the tank. As soon as I started dosing nutrients everything started rebounding.
I also agree with the other posters in that I would add some bottled bacteria such as Microbacter 7 or Dr Tims. I would double down on the bottled bacteria if that sand was dry from the start like your rock was.
I would also add that if the tank is truly nutrient deficient then your amount of light could be compounding the problem of unhappy coral. Hope you get it figured out and things start looking better for ya.
Thank you. Do you think I should cut out the halides all together and just run 2x54w T5s until things start to improve?
 

BillyP

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Sounds good. I am going to go with that same schedule
Actinic first , Actinic +10k , MH, actinic 10k , actinic.

I am using Single End Mogul style bulbs. I thought the glass around the bulb helped with the UV light whereas the Double end needed the protection? I hope not otherwise I need to check for skin cancer.

Will the Nitrates and Phosphates raise over time or is there anything I can do to try and stimulate this? Or should I?
You can add NO3:pO4-X from Red Sea to try and raise the parameters a little in your aquarium. But to be honest about your problem it might have just been a bad batch of salt, very unlikely, but it happened to me before. Try doing a water change, even though your parameters are low doesn't mean that you can't do a water change. Also, test your salinity, of you are not too consistent with topping your aquarium off, and didn't check it in a while. Just to be safe. Even though some might look fine, others may show signs of stress because of the salinity.
 

Seminoles76

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Thank you. Do you think I should cut out the halides all together and just run 2x54w T5s until things start to improve?
I would keep the lighting the same as it is for now. The route I would go is to assess if your readings are correct. If they are correct, I would go with increased feedings until you start to see readings on the kits and or some algae other than the dust algae that you have now. An option would be to cut the Halides back some as well, but I have always faired better when changing one thing at a time. R2R also has people with crazy amounts of knowledge so I'd keep hitting the forums up like your doing.
 
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h2oh2o

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You can add NO3:pO4-X from Red Sea to try and raise the parameters a little in your aquarium. But to be honest about your problem it might have just been a bad batch of salt, very unlikely, but it happened to me before. Try doing a water change, even though your parameters are low doesn't mean that you can't do a water change. Also, test your salinity, of you are not too consistent with topping your aquarium off, and didn't check it in a while. Just to be safe. Even though some might look fine, others may show signs of stress because of the salinity.
I will have to look up what I used again but it wasn't instant ocean. It was a brand I never used before from Petco. TBH the salt probably wasn't the best as it was the best bag I could find. All other salt bags where opened, hard, etc. I have been doing weekly water changes with Instant Ocean Reef Crystal's. I topped off my water last night with salt water instead of fresh water because I feel the Salinity is to low.

I am going to look into nitrate and phosphate dosing. I have a feeling that I might have had a mini cycle, even though it's almost 2 months. I might try and add a little more live rock as well.
 
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h2oh2o

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Also, I might turn my skimmer off for a week or so as well. It's a modified 30 gallon nano skimmer but this things pulls out some nice skimmate pretty quickly. It might be slowing down the cycling process?? Just a thought
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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You can add NO3:pO4-X from Red Sea to try and raise the parameters a little in your aquarium.
I'm not sure what you are suggesting. NOPOX will reduce nitrate and phosphate.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Also, I might turn my skimmer off for a week or so as well. It's a modified 30 gallon nano skimmer but this things pulls out some nice skimmate pretty quickly. It might be slowing down the cycling process?? Just a thought
I'm not sure what you mean by cycling, but if you mean you want a rise in nutrients then it may be useful, but normally that would not be my choice to raise nutrients. I'd either feed more or dose nitrate and/or phosphate.
 
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h2oh2o

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I'm not sure what you mean by cycling, but if you mean you want a rise in nutrients then it may be useful, but normally that would not be my choice to raise nutrients. I'd either feed more or dose nitrate and/or phosphate.
The cycle the tank should go through at the start. I feel it hasn't gone through the full cycle yet. It might have had a mini cycle. I have 90% dry rock so its questionable. I did have a pretty big Diatom outbreak about 4 weeks ago so anything is possible.

How do I go about dosing nitrates and phosphates? I feel like this could be a deadly game for me to play....
 

Seminoles76

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The cycle the tank should go through at the start. I feel it hasn't gone through the full cycle yet. It might have had a mini cycle. I have 90% dry rock so its questionable. I did have a pretty big Diatom outbreak about 4 weeks ago so anything is possible.

How do I go about dosing nitrates and phosphates? I feel like this could be a deadly game for me to play....
Continue watching ammonia closely if you feel your not completely cycled. Bottled bacteria will help establish your bacteria population if you do see an ammonia reading. I recommend adding some bottled bacteria such as Dr. Timms, microbacter or bio spiral even if you don't have an ammonia reading. It will help establish the bacteria population which will help if you start increasing your feedings. I also wanted to clarify that i was recommending increased feeding assuming that you were cycled. If you are not fully cycled, increased feeding will hurt your situation by elevating ammonia levels which you obviously don't want. Again, what I would do is add bottled bacteria and then slowly start to increase feeding to get the corals some nutrients. Monitor parameters closely. I would avoid dosing nitrate and phosphate at this point.
 
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