Poor SPS Coloration, ICP Test & Pics Included

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry by Randy Holmes-Farley' started by Rickyrooz, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. Rickyrooz

    Rickyrooz Acropora Nut

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    Randy,
    I am having trouble with about 40% of my acropora's, the colors have slowly faded in the past three months, the skin looks thin, recently the polyps are retracted and some have no growth in the past 7 months.

    Battle Corals Banana Caroliniana
    February 27, 2017
    Feb 27 2017.JPG

    September 9, 2017
    September 9 2017.jpg

    ATL Shades of Fall
    February 27, 2017
    DSC_0159.JPG

    September 9, 2017
    CZ5A0670.JPG

    I sent a water sample from August 21st to ATI ICP and the results are below.
    Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 11.46.31 PM.png
    Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 11.46.46 PM.png

    Tank Specs:
    120 Gallon reef ready Perfecto Glass Aquarium (48”x24”x24”)
    30 gallon breeder sump/small refugium with chaetomorpha algae (36”x12”x16”)

    Water Movement Equipment
    One Jebao DCT-6000 Pump (1,056 - 1,585 GPH, 42 watts)
    Two Jebao PP-15 Powerhead (317-3,962 GPH, 12-35 watts)
    Loc-Line return hose (0.75”)

    Lighting Equipment
    Two Lumenarc III mini Stealth Pendants (14.5”x14.5”x7”)
    Two 250 watt 20K Hamilton DE Metal Halide Bulbs (8 hour light cycle)
    Two 250 watt LuXcore Dimmable Electronic Ballast
    One LET Miro-4 retrofit T-5 48” lighting 2x54watt (12 hour light cycle)
    Two ATI Actinic 54 watt T-5 Bulb
    Two SB Reef Lights Actinic LED Light Bar (7 hour light cycle)

    Water Quality Equipment
    Neptune Apex Aquacontroller Gold (pH, ORP, Temperature & Conductivity)
    6 Stage Bulk Reef Supply Reverse Osmosis with Two DI Filters (75 GPD) & booster pump
    SKIMZ SM-163 Protein Skimmer (19 watts)
    AutoAqua Smart ATO Micro Auto Top Off System
    Jebao Stand Alone Dosing System (4 Pump)
    Two Eheim Jager 150 watt Heater (13”)
    One Eheim Jager 200 watt Heater (15”)
    100 lbs. of Live Rock (Fiji, Tonga Fusion, Kaelini & Pukani)
    Chaetomorpha algae


    Additives
    Aquaforest Reef Salt Mix
    Calcium Chloride (Randy's Two-Part)
    BRS Soda Ash (Alkalinity Buffer) (Randy's Two-Part)
    Mag Pellet (Magnesium Chloride) (Randy's Two-Part)
    CVS Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) (Randy's Two-Part)
    Potassium Chloride when needed
    Seachem Strontium Chloride when needed
    Seachem Reef Trace when needed
    Seachem Reef Plus when needed
    Seachem Flourish Phosphorous when needed
    Seachem Flourish Iron when needed
    Kent Marine Lugol’s Iodide when needed
    Bulk Reef Supply ROX 0.8 Activated Carbon ran in a mesh media bag

    18 Fish
    1 Geometric Pygmy Hawk (Plectranthias inermis)
    1 McCosker’s Flasher Wrasse (Male) (Paracheilinus mccoskeri)
    1 Melanurus Wrasse (Halichoeres melanurus)
    1 Mystery Wrasse (Pseudoceilinus ocellatus)
    1 Chevron Tang (Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis)
    1 Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flaviscens)
    1 Desjardini Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma desjardini)
    1 Blue Eyed Tang (Ctenochaetus binotatus)
    1 Tail Spot Blenny (Ecsenius stigmatura)
    2 Talbot’s Damsel (Chrysiptera talboti)
    1 Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto)
    4 Azure Damsel (Chrysiptera hemicyanea)
    2 Springer’s Damsel (Chrysiptera springeri)

    Inverts
    1 Scarlett Skunk Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinesis)
    4 Pincushion Urchins

    Nitrates were around 25 to 50 ppm according to Salifert so I was dosing vinegar to lower my nitrates. ICP shows 19 ppm my latest Salifert test shows 10 ppm. Could dropping my nitrates from such a high value within a month to a month and a half period cause the polyps to retract? One thought is I added the LED strips in March, now that we are in the summer and longer daylight hours maybe the corals were overexposed with light as my tank is next to two windows. During the winter months the colors look better during the shorter sunlight periods. Also, the tank is bare bottom. I feed mostly pellet food, could that be starving my corals?
     
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  2. 2una

    2una Well-Known Member

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    Tin ?? pump/magnet/hose clamp inspection time ?
     
  3. Big E

    Big E Well-Known Member

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    You have a few metals that are high along with other elements that are also on the high end.
    I would stop all the dosing of any trace elements, additives and get back to a standard baseline when you've had success in the past.

    How long have you been using AF salt? Didn't you use to use IO or RC in the past? I remember your older setup was beautiful.

    With whatever salt brand you trust I'd do 10% water change daily for consecutive days 5-10 days in a row.
    If you're going to do the water changes I'd take the activated carbon off short term to allow some dissolved organics to stay in the water.

    The NO3 is high(may not be a problem), but you're already addressing that...........carbon dosing shouldn't be an issue unless you deplete nitrates. But you also have chaeto.......Imo pick one or the other. Is the chaeto stalled right now? Could be due to limited PO4.

    Turn off the LEDs for now.........I've seen excessive 450nm inhibit some Sps when run too long or too high of an intensity. I'm sure your standard lights have plenty of that level. You can work the LEDs back into your lighting regime later once things recover and evaluate at that time.

    Have you been dosing Lanthanium chloride? Remnants of that are not good........they need to be captured in a filter sock or other means.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  4. Rickyrooz

    Rickyrooz Acropora Nut

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    Thanks BigE,
    I started Aquaforest Reef salt in September of 2016. I had success in the past with Instant Ocean but I stopped using it because the alkalinity is very high and when I would perform a water change I would have to turn off my dosing pumps for a day or two to allow the alkalinity to drop back down to 7.5dKH. I do like Tropic Marin Pro Reef salt but I stopped because the price was twice as much as Instant Ocean, I now have a local fish store that offers an affordable option. I'll pick up a bucket this week and start slow with the changes.


    Previously my phosphate levels were limited which is why I added the Seachem Flourish Phosphorous to my arsenal but I stopped dosing that a month ago as my P04 levels are stable at the moment. Cheato growth has been stalled for a good three months, I even took a cheato reactor offline because that stopped growing after a few weeks of use. Possibly competing with the algae in the refugium but I assumed the iron was limited and dosed Seachem Flourish Iron for a few weeks. The ICP test shows iron is higher than NSW so I stopped dosing iron. I do notice the green corals are more of a metallic green after the iron additions.


    I agree with you that the LED's may be too bright for the time being since the corals are stressed and I will turn them off and just use the metal halides and T5's for the time being.


    ATI also tested my RO/DI water which came back high in silicon (202.3 ug/L) and zinc (1.88 ug/L). I replaced my RO pre filters and both of my DI resins for the next ICP test hoping the silicon and zinc will not show up again in the source water. I am assuming the lanthanum is from the salt mix or still remaining in the tank from 6 to 8 months ago when I dosed lanthanum chloride to lower my phosphates; possibly some of it was never removed via the portion skimmer and water changes. I will add a filter sock today and retest the water in two weeks to see if anything is making a difference.


    Do you think I should try TLF's Metasorb to reduce the heavy metals? It is one of the few medias that removes Aluminum, Cadmium, Cerium, Cobalt, Copper, Dysprosium, Erbium, Europium, Gadolinium, Gold, Holmium, Iron, Lanthanum, Lead, Lutetium, Manganese, Mercury, Neodymium, Nickel, Samarium, Scandium, Selenium, Silver, Terbium, Ytterbium, and Zinc from saltwater.
    [​IMG]


    I also looked into the poly-Filter but it does not removed as many trace elements as the Metasorb claims to do.
    From their website:
    Does Poly-Filter® remove "Trace Elements" from freshwater or marinewater?
    NO!! In synthetic seawater the American Society of Testing & Materials states "Barium, Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Lead, Silver are the only added trace elements occurring in substitute ocean water" Standard D 1141. ASTM further states "Trace element occurring naturally in concentrations below 0.005 mg/L are not included". In other words naturally occurring impurities are not considered. The sodium chloride adds iron at 0.255 - 0.398 mg/L concentration to synthetic seawater mixes. Ref. Morton Salt's Purex Analysis. Many of the other listed trace elements concentrations are below the part-per-billion detection range via Atomic Absorption w/Graphite Furnace. Simply, those other 40_ trace elements presence can't be detected or proven under modern EPA Methods of Analysis. Poly-Bio-Marine, Inc.® published a study showing Poly-Filter's® effect upon Copper , Zinc, Iron, Lead, Mercury, Cadmium + Trihalomethanes Sept. 97 FAMA.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Rickyrooz

    Rickyrooz Acropora Nut

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    I am not sure where the Tin is coming from either. Possibly metal from the sliding drawers inside my wood stand are rusting and chipping into my sump? Could it be from the pellet food? The Jebao pumps are relatively new within the past year the return pump was replaced and the powerbeads are 6 months old. Maybe the heater is leaching tin as I do feel a shock when I have an open cut on my finger while working inside the tank. I did a CoralVue (ICP-Analysis) test on August 15th and it also showed elevated levels of tin but much higher than the ATI results. CoralVue's readings are in PPM not BBP. 0.03ppm of Tin converts to 30 ug/L.

    120 Gallon Tank Report 8-15-2017 Part 1.jpg
    120 Gallon Tank Report 8-15-2017 Part 2.jpg
     
  6. Big E

    Big E Well-Known Member

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    I don't know why people have trouble with IO and high alk. The change is minor after a water change. I use IO and can keep my system at any level I choose based on the amount of 2 part I dose. I never have to mess with it once set. RC is quite a bit higher, so maybe with that it's more difficult.

    Yes, if you're going to switch salts go slow, less than the regime I mentioned. This calculator will help.
    https://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/Calculators/EffectiveWaterChange.php

    TLF metasorb-- Looks like a good plan

    I mentioned everything that put my feelers up on possible issues and it wouldn't surprise me if more than one thing was the cause of your problems.

    LEDs-- You may want to consider attaching a dimmer once you go back to using them. I would wait till the corals recover. You will get better feedback on if the LEDs are a cause for concern. I mentioned this because I've seen the over use of the 450nm strips cause issues in enough Acropora dominant tanks that use them for supplementing. On most occasions they have been ReefBrites.

    That's a lot going on there...........you had a refugium and an algae reactor? Those algae reactors can work too good and you end of having to dose iron and nitrates as you have experienced.

    Carbon dosing is going to stall algae filter growth. Bacteria is always first in line and why I say to choose one or the other. The growth could also be stalled due to the ratio between NO3 and PO4 being off.

    You're an experienced reefer so you already know this but expect a slow recovery time 2-3 months. I only mention this because people tend to get anxious and don't give the system time to recover before they are making more changes and causing instability and stress.

    The basic goal now should be to just simplify things and let the system balance into an acceptable level.
     
  7. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Expert Contributor Article Contributor

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    The tin might be an issue, as might elevated potassium. I'd stop dosing potassium.

    The Polyfilter web site should be taken as not very convincing of what is does and does not bind from seawater.
     
  8. inh

    inh Member

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    I also have been using AF pro biotic salt. I did a ATI water test as well. The tin levels are off the charts on my results. At this point the only thing it could be coming from is the salt.

    I am going to do the coral vue test just to compare results. Just Incase there was some fluke with the ATI results.


    Everything in my tank as of late has been doing really great. Which makes me question the accuracy. Would be interesting I others with the ATI are getting high tin results.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  9. Rickyrooz

    Rickyrooz Acropora Nut

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    That makes me feel a little bit better about my equipment. The CoralVue test also showed elevated Tin levels, much higher than the ATI results, 30 ug/L vs. 18.48 ug/L.
     
  10. inh

    inh Member

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    Just to give you an idea what my tin levels looked like. Again everything looks great in my tank. IMG_0053.jpg
     
  11. inh

    inh Member

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    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  12. Rickyrooz

    Rickyrooz Acropora Nut

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    Your nitrate, phosphate and iron levels are much lower than mine. What does ATI show your alkalinity is at? Since my levels are higher I should probably raise my alkalinity to 9dKH to help the stress levels of the corals.
     
  13. inh

    inh Member

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    About that... Don't laugh.
    upload_2017-9-13_6-34-53.png

    Yes, my alkalinity is low. I have been slowly fixing that. Its over 7 now. Once it gets to around 9/10 I will cut back on the dosing. About to fire up a calcium reactor, hopefully that will never be an issue in the future.

    What made me question the validity of their test was the salinity. I have a refractometer and a Milwaukee refractometer. Both show perfect 1.026 on my salinity.

    With a good grow light over the refugium, I have never had to worry about nitrate or phosphate. I can't recommend growing algae enough.

    I did a 30g water change shortly after doing this test (without the mp40 in the tank). I will do another 30g this weekend. Still using AF probiotic salt. I am going to send in the coralvue test sometime shortly after that. Ill let you know what the results look like once I get them back. I plan on doing the triton test sometime before the end of the year. Just to do a comparison in results.
     
  14. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Expert Contributor Article Contributor

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    FWIW, iron need not ever be detectable to have way more than NSW. None of the hobby methods can test low enough to say if it is needed.
     
  15. Rickyrooz

    Rickyrooz Acropora Nut

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    How long was your sample in the mail? My salinity was spot on. I have tried all of the refractometer calibration solutions and I find Aquacraft the best because it has the dropper style top and does not evaporate like the bottle with the open cap tops.
     
  16. inh

    inh Member

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    Great question, I don't know. Tracking number never gave any info. I sent the sample in around mid July. Got the results back Sept 5th.
     
  17. Rickyrooz

    Rickyrooz Acropora Nut

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    Oh wow I would try that again. I received my results within 10 days of sending my sample. I am curious to see how your salinity reads next time.
     
  18. skim

    skim Well-Known Member

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    How old is the tank? Are these newer Corals you are having problems with? Is the lighting the same and how old are the Tubes and Bulbs?
     
  19. inh

    inh Member

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    With this kind of extension its hard for me to say its an issue. Am I wrong?

    IMG_6010.jpg
     
  20. jda

    jda Well-Known Member

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    Learn how to use Muratic Acid to lower alk in freshly mixed saltwater. Muratic needs handled appropriately, but it is not death-in-a-bottle or anything. Gallons * dKh drop * .123 = mls of Muratic acid to use in an already-mixed batch. You can test alk before and after and tweak your dosage. You will need to sufficiently aerate the fresh mix to blow off the buncha CO2 that you just created and bring the PH back up - this could take a day. This is really easy, but does add an extra day to the process. This way, you can use whatever salt you want and make it your own.

    My own personal IO mix is a whole 50G bag in a 44G brute all the way to the top with 2 tbsp of dowflake. Mix. Heat. Add 20 mls of Mutatic. Mix for a day. Test PH. Use.
     
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