So...I can't keep SPS!

Kingston

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So I know this topic has been addressed in the past by different people. Well it's my turn now and yes, I am going to slowly comb through the other threads but I will also appreciate any additions here....

Equipment:
My tank is 96'' x 30'' x 30''
Just a little over a year old
Marco and Moani dry rock
Caribsea sand bed about 3'' deep
Custom aquarium seamless sumps (3 tubs and a 4th for ATO)
Filter socks
Reef Octopus 300Ext skimmer at 3 power level currently
40W pentair UV sterilizer
2 gyre pumps set to random and 2 tunze pwerheads.
4 kessil 360s and Aquatic life hybrid with 8 T5s

I have about 15 fish: 7 tangs, 2 sand sifter gobies, a few small wrasses, 1 foxface, 2 clowns, copperband butterfly, pyramind.

Tank Parameters:
7 stage BRS RODI with TDS meter reading 0 TDS
Sal: 1.026 Hanna
Temp 77-77.5
Alk: 8.5-8.9 Hanna
Cal: 420-450 Hanna
Mg: 1395-1425 salifert
Phos: 0.13 ( was in the 0.03-0.08 range for a while but over the past 2 or so months its been up). Hanna ULR
Nitrate 10-25 salifert
Salt mix: Tropic Marine pro reef , 2 weekly 20% water changes
Doing Reef pro part A and B for ALK and Calcium

The problem:

First set of coral added 6 months ago, mostly LPS , Zoas with one Acro...Acro died. Turn brown. LPS are still alive, not growing impressively but may be normal, except fifth element blasto that has 3 extra heads already.
4 months ago added a pack of beginner corals. All slowly died. some turn bleached white and then eventually brown. Others just start turning brown from the tips. I last surviving one has just started turning brown 3 days ago and dying very fast.
I placed them at different levels on the rocks to cover different Par levels.
Another pack of beginner corals added about 3 months ago have all died.
Only surviving SPS at the moment is a green birdnest and monti cap from my 3 months ago beginner pack.

I did a PAR testing before introducing coral and my range is 150 at the bottom on the tank to 450 at the highest rock scape.

I just bought Ophek LED bars, planning to add to supplement but not sure if that is the problem.
Also planning on adding a refugium. just waiting for chaeto

I am open to advice and recommendations....Thanks
 

dedragon

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First hi, sps was super hard for me too and i had the same thing happen until like 2 years ago with sps. still learning too. my worry is alkalinity, how often do you test and how much is alk swinging daily and weekly? 20% water changes twice a week is also a bit rough on corals, changing it to 10% increments can help with water parameter swings.
 

PBar

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Dear colleague,
sps are not very difficult to keep them alive for some period of time. Grow and colour are another hisTory.

If you spot rather quickly that they are not fine... then indeed you might have an issue.

In my person opinion, since I quite skeptical regarding hobby tests, before adding any sps into a new tank, I would do one ICP test. Just to have a general view of the parameter.

Next to that, could you please share one picture of the full tank?
Normally, it is quite helpful for us...

Cheers!
 

Dragonsreef

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Parameters are within acceptable ranges for sure, but how often are you testing for alk? Alk swings can easily kill lps and sps. Also i would highly recommend getting an icp to check for unwanted metals. They can be silent killers that dont show up with normal testing.
 
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Fritz

Barnabie Mejia

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+1 on testing the Alk to see the swings that are happening daily and document that for future adjustments.

In my experience, I was having a hard time with SPS in my tank and I was running 1.026 salinity. my good friend Jesse recommended that I go down to 1.024-1.025 range because 26 is very close to the upper limit and if for whatever reason the ATO cant keep up, you salinity will be fluctuating a lot... ANYWAY that change made a huge difference in my tank having SPS in it. not saying that is the issue, but it just happened to help my tank out in the situation.
 

homer1475

Figuring out the hobby one coral at a time.
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Way upstate NY
Just a little over a year old
Marco and Moani dry rock

Here is the issue. Once my tank hit about 2 years, SPS just took off. It's really about biodiversity. Young tanks that are started with sterile dry rock, just cannot support SPS life regardless of what the parameter of the water are.

Do an @AquaBiomics test and you'll see the difference between a young tank that was started with dry rock, and one that can support SPS.
 

Tuffloud1

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I test Alk 2x a week. Wednesday and Saturday
PO4 once a week on Saturdays
NO3 every 2 weeks on Saturdays before water change
You definitely need to test a couple times a day, morning and after light cycle to get a feel for your swing.

Keep a log, lots of apps can do that for you.

You’re alk shouldn’t be swinging more than .3 or so from day to day.

I try to keep mine from swinging more than .2.

It is typical to have lower alk at the end of your light cycle and higher in the morning. That swing is fine as long as it isn’t over .3 or so and it does it consistently.

Alk stability is key, all your other parameters look fine.

I would also suggest testing PO4 once per day to get a feel for what it’s doing as well as NO3.
 
Reef Chasers Aquaculture

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Just one tiny remark, all advices were correct and helpful and probably “true”.
However, maybe we should be a bit careful with some strong statements (just to avoid mixing sufficient and necessary condition).

-My current tank is bare-bottom, pure dry rock... and full sps. Possible... but not the easiest way.
-Hobby test: perform 3 times the same test... I wouldn’t be surprised if you get at least one different result. Depending on the brand... all 3 :)

Anyway, as most of you already said:
- test alkalinity everyday at the same time during a few days to see the swings.
- ICP test.

Remember, full tank pictures are always helpful
Good luck!
 

ReefGeezer

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I agree, your tank might not be that mature... biodiversity wise. Lower N&P will help some until the tank matures to a point where the biomass can manage it.

You can increase biodiversity by adding some live rock; getting a sand booster from a mature tank; ordering some Garf Grunge; dosing a bottled bacteria product, or creating a fuge with live rock rubble/macroalgae and add pods. There is some risk associated with each of these approaches though.

The other option is to wait and build up to the high end SPS corals. Leather/toadstool and other soft corals and scallops/clams do a great job of processing nutrients and adding to diversity. Adding some of those in that big ole tank will help. Sponges and tube worms that grow in the dark areas under the rocks help also. Many times live rock contains a lot of these organisms.

Generally, LPS corals will grow in a less mature tank. Birdsnests and Montipora will too. You might concentrate on adding more of those until the tank matures.

The slow growth of your existing stony corals could be due to the elevated N & P in your system. Seems like mine did best when N was 2-5 ppm and P was low, but present, at like .01 to .05 ppm. I think that as the tank matures, higher levels are ok.
 
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Kingston

Kingston

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First hi, sps was super hard for me too and i had the same thing happen until like 2 years ago with sps. still learning too. my worry is alkalinity, how often do you test and how much is alk swinging daily and weekly? 20% water changes twice a week is also a bit rough on corals, changing it to 10% increments can help with water parameter swings.
I test Alk twice a week. Sorry, my water change is 20% every 2 weeks, not twice a week.
 
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Kingston

Kingston

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Dear colleague,
sps are not very difficult to keep them alive for some period of time. Grow and colour are another hisTory.

If you spot rather quickly that they are not fine... then indeed you might have an issue.

In my person opinion, since I quite skeptical regarding hobby tests, before adding any sps into a new tank, I would do one ICP test. Just to have a general view of the parameter.

Next to that, could you please share one picture of the full tank?
Normally, it is quite helpful for us...

Cheers!
 
OP
Kingston

Kingston

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Dear colleague,
sps are not very difficult to keep them alive for some period of time. Grow and colour are another hisTory.

If you spot rather quickly that they are not fine... then indeed you might have an issue.

In my person opinion, since I quite skeptical regarding hobby tests, before adding any sps into a new tank, I would do one ICP test. Just to have a general view of the parameter.

Next to that, could you please share one picture of the full tank?
Normally, it is quite helpful for us...

Cheers!
This is from Feb 5th. I will take a new one and post it tomorrow.
 

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