Snails dying, corals bleaching

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pixelhustler

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Something strange is happening in my tank. Snails are slowly dying (lost my 4th one today) and corals are showing random bleaching and tissue death with no apparent pattern. Corals that we’re doing well suddenly go downhill very quickly. Zoas that grew like weeds are closing and some even dying. I only have LPS and softies.
The only major changes are a spike in alkalinity while I was tuning my DoS (from 8.75 to 10.25 over 4 days) but that happened a few weeks ago and it’s now pretty stable. It does fluctuate from 9.5-10 and calcium from 450-500 as I have my DoS adjust based on Trident readings. I also introduced a GFO, which more or less coincides with the first issues I experienced but it’s been about a month now and my phosphate is stable.

I do a 20% water change weekly and my parameters are:
Salinity 1.025
Alk 9.5-10
Ca 450-500
Mg 1280 (working on increasing it to 1350)
Phosphate .08-.12
Nitrate 25 (could this be it? It’s a bit high but it’s been like that for the past year)
Nitrite 0
Ammonia 0

A bit over a month ago I largely neglected phosphates and they were over 1.00, then I introduced a GFO and stabilized them to .08-.12 and over a month later a bunch of corals are struggling. My current tank has been running for 2 years. Any ideas on what could be the culprit?
 
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Dolphins18

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This may be the unpopular opinion in this case but is my idea and what I've seen in situations using GFO, 1 po4 is high yes (makes sense if using well water) but it's not terrible for all corals, and it provides a steady growth of algae for those snails (even if you can't you see it, its growing). GFO dropping po4 that fast usually means a decent amount was used, some call it stripping the system etc etc, but in your case some are still present. Regardless, all that algae the snails had a constant supply of food which was diminished with the po4, along with much other micro life.
For corals, GFO causes a rapid swing and change in their enviroment, they do use po4 for food as well, to a small extent.
Don't pull the GFO, but maybe pull half or 1/3 of. I used it when I ran well water, there are other causes of po4 but that is a major one, and I hated using it. It's fine but take extreme precision and very subtle changes to adjust correctly. If po4 needs to be controlled, a fuge/scrubber is a better option imo.
I'd almost certainly say GFO is your culprit, I use 1/10 of the reccomended dosage to begin dialing it in, and I hope not to ever need it again.

Man I need to start checking the dates on these things...lol
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Google gfo + coral bleaching


you need to reduce your light intensity immediately as step one


only re ramp when issue fixed


remove all gfo and deal with algae alternatively. Don’t resume gfo for two months

spot feed all corals for eight weeks plus increased partial water changes above steady state and remove your cuc you can access before more die. Put back some, when fixed,

phosphate detailing is not required in reefing. Paul doesn’t. Once started on that path few will veer so begin by 1/4 attempt if you must in two months of feed heavy and physical exchange work reefing. with the increased and sustained weekly partial water changes, you’re mitigating contaminants while searching for them if your topoff water is verified like Jekyl mentioned.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Need full tank shot


certain unspoken details such as # of fish per unit of area in the pic matter in troubleshooting and help you choose the degree of direct feeding the hungry corals want


don’t toss any gfo bleached corals they can come back. Lowering light intensity is most important first cpr move.
 
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pixelhustler

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Thanks for all the helpful responses. Ended up sending an ICP test to triton and there were traces of copper (and other heavy metals) below what a Hanna copper checker can detect. They were very low but still present, and I believe they were leaching from my new apartment which has very old pipes. What confused me originally is no matter how many WCs I made nothing seemed to improve. In retrospective I was increasing the concentration of metals in my tank. Once I changed the DI resins, added 2 more stages of filtration to my RO unit (now 7 stage), made a few large water changes and added Cuprisorb everything improved. I will now pay very close attention to my RODI filters, especially the DI, run Cuprisorb permanently as I know my water is tainted with metals and send an ICP every 6 months to make sure everything is looking good.
 
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