SPS STN — Parameters or a Pest?

AlaskaMatt

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I’m having an issue with several of my SPS dying off. It starting with a couple of Acros slowly turning grey and dying off from the base up and lately it’s expanded to some of my montis as well. None of my other coral are showing any signs of distress.

Here’s my parameters for the last several months of testing:

Nitrate/Phosphate/Alkalinity: Hannah Checkers
Ph(except the most recent test was with a Hannah checker)/Cal/Mag: Salifert tests

08/12/2023
Salinity: 1.0255
Alkalinity: 6.9
Phosphate: .27
Nitrate: 16.9

08/19/023
Salinity: 1.0255
Alkalinity: 7.4
Phosphate: .18
Nitrate: 10.2
Magnesium: 1350
Ph: 8.15
Calcium: 470

8/26/2023
Alkalinity: 7.1
Phosphate: .15
Nitrate: 5

9/02/2023
Alkalinity: 7.2
Phosphate: .21
Nitrate: .9
Magnesium: 1320
Calcium: 460
Ph: 8.15

09/09/2023
Alkalinity: 7.6
Phosphate: .19
Nitrate: 0.0

09/16/2023
Phosphate: .23
Nitrate: 0.0
Alkalinity: 7.1
Ph: 8.15
Salinity: 1.0265
Magnesium: 1290
Calcium: 460

09/19/2023
Phosphate: .12
Nitrate: 3.2

09/24/2023
Alkalinity: 7.9
Phosphate: .13
Nitrate: 4.7

10/03/23
Alkalinity: 7.9
Phosphate: .13
Nitrate: 4.3

10/22/2023
Alkalinity: 8.5
Phosphate: 0.04
nitrate: 7.7
Magnesium: 1200
Calcium: 440
Ph: 8.15

10/29/2023
Alkalinity: 8.3
Phosphate: 0.06
Nitrate: 0.0
magnesium: 1125

11/12/2023
Alkalinity: 8.1
Phosphate: 0.06
Nitrate:0.0

11/25/2023
Alkalinity: 9.4
Phosphate: 0.00
Nitrate: 4.3
Ph: 8.15
Magnesium: 1080
Calcium: 410

12/03/2023
Alkalinity: 8.5
Phosphate: .10
Nitrate: 0.0
Magnesium: 1260

12/09/2023
Alkalinity: 8.6
Nitrate: 8.2
Phosphate: 0.00
Magnesium: 1410

12/17/23
Nitrate: 0.0
Phosphate: 0.0
Alkalinity: 8.8
Ph: 8.0
Calcium: 440
Magnesium: 1410

12/23/2023
Nitrate: 1.7
Phosphate: 0.02
Alkalinity: 9.0

12/30/23
Alkalinity: 8.8
Phosphate: .15
Nitrate: 0.0

01/07/24
Alkalinity: 8.2
Phosphate: 0.04
Nitrate: 0.0
Calcium: 440
Magnesium: 1410

01/20/24
Alkalinity: 8.9
Phosphate: 0.03
Nitrate: 6.4
Salinity: 1.028 (recalibrated)

01/28/24
Alkalinity: 8.2
Phosphate: .26
Nitrate: 2.5
Ph: 7.7-8.0 (Salifert)
Magnesium: 1380
Calcium: 460

02/04/2024
Alkalinity: 8.2
Phosphate: .06
Nitrate: 13
Ph: 7.78

My current dosing is as follows:
10.5ml AFR
.33ml NP Bacto Balance
Brightwell Phosphate and Nitrate as needed (last week was 7ml nitrate/0ml phosphate)

My total tank volume is about 35 gallons

IMG_3685.jpeg

You can see base of the Acro above my PC rainbow starting to turn grey

IMG_3768.jpeg

Here’s that same coral a week later

IMG_3766.jpeg

These bugs are crawling all over it. Look kind of like normal amphipods

IMG_3773.jpeg

Here’s a closeup of one of them. I pulled out a month and 2 acros and these bugs were covered all over them. I don’t know if they were dying so they were getting eaten or if they were getting eaten and then dying.

IMG_3627.jpeg

IMG_3630.jpeg

Here are a couple more affected coral. These pictures were taken about a week ago. Since the. The Acro pictured has all but nearly disappeared so I ended up fragging it and the red monti is about 70% faded away (just discolored and dull not yet dead)

Let me know what you think — I realize my parameters haven’t been perfect and I’ve had a heck of a time trying to keep my nitrates and phosphates stable but alkalinity has more or less been on the money.

I appreciate any input you may have. Thanks in advance everyone!
 

DanyL

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You had quite a few Alk swings, but the fluctuations from the past month or so are more subtle, and while isn’t good - I wouldn’t attribute what you’re experiencing right now solely to it.

However, swings this big in phosphate alone can cause RTN/STN.

If it were a pest, the damage would usually look more random than the uniformly bottom-to-top tissue narcosis you’re experiencing here, which is a common sign of parameter swing.

Also the fact that it affects your montis as well suggest that it is indeed related to the fluctuations you’ve been dealing with.

My suggestion is - keep your nutrient management in a way slower phase than this, spread it across weeks worth of micro adjustments.

Right now what I would do is to keep watching and acting fast to any sign of stress, pulling any colony that starts to RTN/STN, cutting dead tissue and dipping in iodine.

If you see a mass loss - consider a whole tank treatment with cipro, though please read about proper use and disposal of cipro, don’t play around with it without doing so.
 

Kasrift

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Agree, not a pest. Those are munnid isopods. The ones on the bottom of the plug look like sphaeromatidae isopods.
 
OP
OP
A

AlaskaMatt

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Thank you both very much! I can understand now that my phosphate jumps are not ok. To be honest I’m not really sure why it’s happening the way it is and testing once a week obviously isn’t working for me at the moment. I’m learning phosphate and nitrate doesn’t seem to be as linear as I though — with the more I dose sometimes seems to build up and explode — which is why I was shocked to go from .04 to .26 in a single week without changing anything and dosing 2ml of Brightwell Phosphate daily for 3 weeks. I had no idea it could just shoot up like that.

I’m turning down my fuge lights and expanding the ramp up and ramp down time to try and minimize the time at 100% intensity. Also I’ll throw in an extra test midweek to make course adjustments earlier.

Wish I could just set my N and P on a doser and adjust once a week but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
 

Kasrift

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Thank you both very much! I can understand now that my phosphate jumps are not ok. To be honest I’m not really sure why it’s happening the way it is and testing once a week obviously isn’t working for me at the moment. I’m learning phosphate and nitrate doesn’t seem to be as linear as I though — with the more I dose sometimes seems to build up and explode — which is why I was shocked to go from .04 to .26 in a single week without changing anything and dosing 2ml of Brightwell Phosphate daily for 3 weeks. I had no idea it could just shoot up like that.

I’m turning down my fuge lights and expanding the ramp up and ramp down time to try and minimize the time at 100% intensity. Also I’ll throw in an extra test midweek to make course adjustments earlier.

Wish I could just set my N and P on a doser and adjust once a week but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
For what it's worth, I'd never dose anything without testing daily for two weeks to set a baseline for what it is doing to the tank.
 

RockBox13

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Your SPS are dying because your alkalinity and pH are too low. Waiting two weeks to dose something is ridiculous. Get your dKH up to 10-12 right away. If you don’t know how much to add, let me know what you’re using and I will calculate it for you. Just to note for others, this is now the 3rd SPS tissue necrosis problem I have seen in the last couple of weeks along with others associated with Cyanobacterias/Dinos and nuisance algae. The one common variable in all of them is low dKH and pH. I’ve done thousands of tests on hundreds of tanks over a lot of years.
 

Borat

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I’m having an issue with several of my SPS dying off. It starting with a couple of Acros slowly turning grey and dying off from the base up and lately it’s expanded to some of my montis as well. None of my other coral are showing any signs of distress.

Here’s my parameters for the last several months of testing:

Nitrate/Phosphate/Alkalinity: Hannah Checkers
Ph(except the most recent test was with a Hannah checker)/Cal/Mag: Salifert tests

08/12/2023
Salinity: 1.0255
Alkalinity: 6.9
Phosphate: .27
Nitrate: 16.9

08/19/023
Salinity: 1.0255
Alkalinity: 7.4
Phosphate: .18
Nitrate: 10.2
Magnesium: 1350
Ph: 8.15
Calcium: 470

8/26/2023
Alkalinity: 7.1
Phosphate: .15
Nitrate: 5

9/02/2023
Alkalinity: 7.2
Phosphate: .21
Nitrate: .9
Magnesium: 1320
Calcium: 460
Ph: 8.15

09/09/2023
Alkalinity: 7.6
Phosphate: .19
Nitrate: 0.0

09/16/2023
Phosphate: .23
Nitrate: 0.0
Alkalinity: 7.1
Ph: 8.15
Salinity: 1.0265
Magnesium: 1290
Calcium: 460

09/19/2023
Phosphate: .12
Nitrate: 3.2

09/24/2023
Alkalinity: 7.9
Phosphate: .13
Nitrate: 4.7

10/03/23
Alkalinity: 7.9
Phosphate: .13
Nitrate: 4.3

10/22/2023
Alkalinity: 8.5
Phosphate: 0.04
nitrate: 7.7
Magnesium: 1200
Calcium: 440
Ph: 8.15

10/29/2023
Alkalinity: 8.3
Phosphate: 0.06
Nitrate: 0.0
magnesium: 1125

11/12/2023
Alkalinity: 8.1
Phosphate: 0.06
Nitrate:0.0

11/25/2023
Alkalinity: 9.4
Phosphate: 0.00
Nitrate: 4.3
Ph: 8.15
Magnesium: 1080
Calcium: 410

12/03/2023
Alkalinity: 8.5
Phosphate: .10
Nitrate: 0.0
Magnesium: 1260

12/09/2023
Alkalinity: 8.6
Nitrate: 8.2
Phosphate: 0.00
Magnesium: 1410

12/17/23
Nitrate: 0.0
Phosphate: 0.0
Alkalinity: 8.8
Ph: 8.0
Calcium: 440
Magnesium: 1410

12/23/2023
Nitrate: 1.7
Phosphate: 0.02
Alkalinity: 9.0

12/30/23
Alkalinity: 8.8
Phosphate: .15
Nitrate: 0.0

01/07/24
Alkalinity: 8.2
Phosphate: 0.04
Nitrate: 0.0
Calcium: 440
Magnesium: 1410

01/20/24
Alkalinity: 8.9
Phosphate: 0.03
Nitrate: 6.4
Salinity: 1.028 (recalibrated)

01/28/24
Alkalinity: 8.2
Phosphate: .26
Nitrate: 2.5
Ph: 7.7-8.0 (Salifert)
Magnesium: 1380
Calcium: 460

02/04/2024
Alkalinity: 8.2
Phosphate: .06
Nitrate: 13
Ph: 7.78

My current dosing is as follows:
10.5ml AFR
.33ml NP Bacto Balance
Brightwell Phosphate and Nitrate as needed (last week was 7ml nitrate/0ml phosphate)

My total tank volume is about 35 gallons

IMG_3685.jpeg

You can see base of the Acro above my PC rainbow starting to turn grey

IMG_3768.jpeg

Here’s that same coral a week later

IMG_3766.jpeg

These bugs are crawling all over it. Look kind of like normal amphipods

IMG_3773.jpeg

Here’s a closeup of one of them. I pulled out a month and 2 acros and these bugs were covered all over them. I don’t know if they were dying so they were getting eaten or if they were getting eaten and then dying.

IMG_3627.jpeg

IMG_3630.jpeg

Here are a couple more affected coral. These pictures were taken about a week ago. Since the. The Acro pictured has all but nearly disappeared so I ended up fragging it and the red monti is about 70% faded away (just discolored and dull not yet dead)

Let me know what you think — I realize my parameters haven’t been perfect and I’ve had a heck of a time trying to keep my nitrates and phosphates stable but alkalinity has more or less been on the money.

I appreciate any input you may have. Thanks in advance everyone!
How young is your tank?
 

Kasrift

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Your SPS are dying because your alkalinity and pH are too low. Waiting two weeks to dose something is ridiculous. Get your dKH up to 10-12 right away. If you don’t know how much to add, let me know what you’re using and I will calculate it for you. Just to note for others, this is now the 3rd SPS tissue necrosis problem I have seen in the last couple of weeks along with others associated with Cyanobacterias/Dinos and nuisance algae. The one common variable in all of them is low dKH and pH. I’ve done thousands of tests on hundreds of tanks over a lot of years.
Sorry, but that isn't a completely true statement. I'm not going to say that to you are wrong as people can find success with different alk levels, but 7.5 is fine and it's where I run my tank.

The dip to 6.9 is definitely low though. It's a fine line and I feel 8.5 to 9 is a good safe zone to shoot for so that fluctuating parameters don't overkill or under dose the alk levels.

Also from my reading, higher alk definitely grows acros faster, but their skeletons are weaker/less dense due to rapid growth. WWC just mentioned this on one of their YouTube videos.
 

DanyL

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Thank you both very much! I can understand now that my phosphate jumps are not ok. To be honest I’m not really sure why it’s happening the way it is and testing once a week obviously isn’t working for me at the moment. I’m learning phosphate and nitrate doesn’t seem to be as linear as I though — with the more I dose sometimes seems to build up and explode — which is why I was shocked to go from .04 to .26 in a single week without changing anything and dosing 2ml of Brightwell Phosphate daily for 3 weeks. I had no idea it could just shoot up like that.

I’m turning down my fuge lights and expanding the ramp up and ramp down time to try and minimize the time at 100% intensity. Also I’ll throw in an extra test midweek to make course adjustments earlier.

Wish I could just set my N and P on a doser and adjust once a week but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Nutrients can be a little tricky to master at first, but once you get the idea it gets easier.

What you need to remember is that nutrient levels are reactive to many parallel processes that involve them, wether it being consumed by corals, algae, bacteria or by equilibrium processes happening with your rocks and sand.

It is often the case where you dose N/P and it disappears the day after, or significantly dips, and naturally you’ll think that it isn’t enough so you may also increase the dose, but the culprit here is that once you cover the consumption portion, equilibrium steps into place and at certain moment the amount of phosphates bound into your rocks will be enough and from there on it’ll start accumulating and raising in the water column.

For this reason, it is important to keep a close eye on both Nitrates and Phosphates when changing one or the two.
Personally I test every 2 days when I introduce a new change to the system, and keep testing until it stabilizes then move to weekly tests.

Your SPS are dying because your alkalinity and pH are too low. Waiting two weeks to dose something is ridiculous. Get your dKH up to 10-12 right away. If you don’t know how much to add, let me know what you’re using and I will calculate it for you. Just to note for others, this is now the 3rd SPS tissue necrosis problem I have seen in the last couple of weeks along with others associated with Cyanobacterias/Dinos and nuisance algae. The one common variable in all of them is low dKH and pH. I’ve done thousands of tests on hundreds of tanks over a lot of years.
This was already addressed by @Kasrift, and I agree with him.

While Alk fluctuations can indeed cause STN/RTN, they weren’t significant nor fast enough here to be concerned about.
PH isn’t a good indicator here too, he had a single dip, which can be caused due to many other reasons like dosing anything acidic near the test, testing at night or even as plain as a user error. So nothing here to attribute to the RTN/STN neither.

As for higher vs lower Alk - if that was true, corals wouldn’t exist at all, because the Alk at the sea is around 7dKH, not to mention the many reefers that keep their tanks at these and even lower levels for decades.

Personally I keep my alkalinity between 8.0 to 8.5 dKH and been doing so for 16 years on 2 separate SPS dominant tanks and RTN/STN are rare and unusual events with an explanable reason in my experience.

Moreover, and like many other reefers observed- I’d argue that keeping a high Alk is in fact degrading structural growth of the skeleton, resulting in an abnormally thing and brittle branches, require high nutrients to compensate for the higher skeleton growth rate, which in turn result with poor coloring of the coral.
 

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I think it’s a lot of things combined. Most of your parameters are bouncing quite a bit. Try to minimize movements on all parameters and get your salinity down. Phosphates/nitrates are mostly ok, but the big jump down in phosphates along with a couple alk spikes/dips are more likely culprits. I had a big alk spike that cause STN on most of my frags and I lost 75% over two months. It just didn’t stop. I probably should have tried cutting more of them, but as frags it was already small.
 

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Sorry, but that isn't a completely true statement. I'm not going to say that to you are wrong as people can find success with different alk levels, but 7.5 is fine and it's where I run my tank.

The dip to 6.9 is definitely low though. It's a fine line and I feel 8.5 to 9 is a good safe zone to shoot for so that fluctuating parameters don't overkill or under dose the alk levels.

Also from my reading, higher alk definitely grows acros faster, but their skeletons are weaker/less dense due to rapid growth. WWC just mentioned this on one of their YouTube videos.
In my personal experience of growing Acropora for nearly 20 years, having done thousands of water tests on hundreds of saltwater aquariums, having many people including professionals and some actual sponsors of R2R right now willing to back up results going back into the Archives on forums like this one and others and with the pictures to prove it, my opinion is most certainly correct for a number of other reasons as well. One thing I note is that tissue necrosis is coming from the base up and not from the tips down. Also, the op doesn’t mention the Acros expelling zooxanthellae or bleaching before the necrosis begins. Why would this tank probably be experiencing a higher rate of acidification and bicarbonate being converted into carbonic acid, especially during this time of year? Low alk & low pH/high alk & low pH/low alk & high pH How should you respond and with what if anything? Who remembers when Bio-Pellet reactors ruined so many stable reef aquariums with SPS corals about 13-14 years ago? Why are the magnesium levels changing so dramatically and what effect would a Mag level of less than 1100 have on test results? What does that say about the test results and were the tests even done in duplicate or triplicate?

Okay, let’s start here then.

What is the Acceptable pH Range for Reef Aquaria?

The acceptable pH range for reef aquaria is an opinion rather than a clearly defined fact, and will certainly vary based on who is providing the opinion. This range may also be quite different from the "optimal" range. Justifying what is optimal, however, is much more problematic than that which is simply acceptable. As a goal, I'd suggest that the pH of natural seawater, about 8.2, is appropriate, but reef aquaria can clearly operate in a wider range of pH values. In my opinion, the pH range from 7.8 to 8.5 is an acceptable range for reef aquaria, with several caveats. These are:

  • That the alkalinity is at least 2.5 meq/L, and preferably higher at the lower end of this pH range. This statement is based partly on the fact that many reef aquaria operate quite effectively in the pH 7.8 to 8.0 range, but that most of the best examples of these types of tanks incorporate calcium carbonate/carbon dioxide reactors that, while tending to lower the pH, keep the carbonate alkalinity fairly high (at or above 3 meq/L.). In this case, any problems associated with calcification at these lower pH valuesmay be offset by the higher alkalinity. Low pH primarily stresses calcifying organisms by making it harder for them to obtain sufficient carbonate to deposit skeletons. Raising the alkalinity mitigates this difficulty for reasons that are detailed later in this article.
 

billyocean

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In my personal experience of growing Acropora for nearly 20 years, having done thousands of water tests on hundreds of saltwater aquariums, having many people including professionals and some actual sponsors of R2R right now willing to back up results going back into the Archives on forums like this one and others and with the pictures to prove it, my opinion is most certainly correct for a number of other reasons as well. One thing I note is that tissue necrosis is coming from the base up and not from the tips down. Also, the op doesn’t mention the Acros expelling zooxanthellae or bleaching before the necrosis begins. Why would this tank probably be experiencing a higher rate of acidification and bicarbonate being converted into carbonic acid, especially during this time of year? Low alk & low pH/high alk & low pH/low alk & high pH How should you respond and with what if anything? Who remembers when Bio-Pellet reactors ruined so many stable reef aquariums with SPS corals about 13-14 years ago? Why are the magnesium levels changing so dramatically and what effect would a Mag level of less than 1100 have on test results? What does that say about the test results and were the tests even done in duplicate or triplicate?

Okay, let’s start here then.

What is the Acceptable pH Range for Reef Aquaria?

The acceptable pH range for reef aquaria is an opinion rather than a clearly defined fact, and will certainly vary based on who is providing the opinion. This range may also be quite different from the "optimal" range. Justifying what is optimal, however, is much more problematic than that which is simply acceptable. As a goal, I'd suggest that the pH of natural seawater, about 8.2, is appropriate, but reef aquaria can clearly operate in a wider range of pH values. In my opinion, the pH range from 7.8 to 8.5 is an acceptable range for reef aquaria, with several caveats. These are:

  • That the alkalinity is at least 2.5 meq/L, and preferably higher at the lower end of this pH range. This statement is based partly on the fact that many reef aquaria operate quite effectively in the pH 7.8 to 8.0 range, but that most of the best examples of these types of tanks incorporate calcium carbonate/carbon dioxide reactors that, while tending to lower the pH, keep the carbonate alkalinity fairly high (at or above 3 meq/L.). In this case, any problems associated with calcification at these lower pH valuesmay be offset by the higher alkalinity. Low pH primarily stresses calcifying organisms by making it harder for them to obtain sufficient carbonate to deposit skeletons. Raising the alkalinity mitigates this difficulty for reasons that are detailed later in this article.
So why would that mean raise the alk or dkh to 10-12...and "right away" no less? Just curious why that high of an alk would solve the problem when say...8 would be fine?
 

Kasrift

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In my personal experience of growing Acropora for nearly 20 years, having done thousands of water tests on hundreds of saltwater aquariums, having many people including professionals and some actual sponsors of R2R right now willing to back up results going back into the Archives on forums like this one and others and with the pictures to prove it, my opinion is most certainly correct for a number of other reasons as well. One thing I note is that tissue necrosis is coming from the base up and not from the tips down. Also, the op doesn’t mention the Acros expelling zooxanthellae or bleaching before the necrosis begins. Why would this tank probably be experiencing a higher rate of acidification and bicarbonate being converted into carbonic acid, especially during this time of year? Low alk & low pH/high alk & low pH/low alk & high pH How should you respond and with what if anything? Who remembers when Bio-Pellet reactors ruined so many stable reef aquariums with SPS corals about 13-14 years ago? Why are the magnesium levels changing so dramatically and what effect would a Mag level of less than 1100 have on test results? What does that say about the test results and were the tests even done in duplicate or triplicate?

Okay, let’s start here then.

What is the Acceptable pH Range for Reef Aquaria?

The acceptable pH range for reef aquaria is an opinion rather than a clearly defined fact, and will certainly vary based on who is providing the opinion. This range may also be quite different from the "optimal" range. Justifying what is optimal, however, is much more problematic than that which is simply acceptable. As a goal, I'd suggest that the pH of natural seawater, about 8.2, is appropriate, but reef aquaria can clearly operate in a wider range of pH values. In my opinion, the pH range from 7.8 to 8.5 is an acceptable range for reef aquaria, with several caveats. These are:

  • That the alkalinity is at least 2.5 meq/L, and preferably higher at the lower end of this pH range. This statement is based partly on the fact that many reef aquaria operate quite effectively in the pH 7.8 to 8.0 range, but that most of the best examples of these types of tanks incorporate calcium carbonate/carbon dioxide reactors that, while tending to lower the pH, keep the carbonate alkalinity fairly high (at or above 3 meq/L.). In this case, any problems associated with calcification at these lower pH valuesmay be offset by the higher alkalinity. Low pH primarily stresses calcifying organisms by making it harder for them to obtain sufficient carbonate to deposit skeletons. Raising the alkalinity mitigates this difficulty for reasons that are detailed later in this article.
Season 4 Ok GIF by The Office
 

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So why would that mean raise the alk or dkh to 10-12...and "right away" no less? Just curious why that high of an alk would solve the problem when say...8 would be fine?
Because you want to stabilize pH at the 8.3-8.4 level and have it stay there with enough capacity to keep it there and resist any temporary increase of acidification due to increased CO2 if say the power goes out or a cord gets unplugged or due to increased nitrates if something were to die unexpectedly and unseen like a snail or whatever. I look at the Cal/Alk/Mag situation how basic nutritional deficiencies affect animals including humans. If an extra amount of calcium is taken in through your digestive system that isn’t too excessive, it’s dealt with through the process of your body expelling waste. If there is a deficiency in the amount of calcium that you take in on a consistent basis including other factors like Vitamin D/calcitriol and magnesium, you would have negative impacts starting right away.
 

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So raising the alk will raise the ph? Does it matter what alk additive you are using? For instance..could you be at an alk of 8 by using soda ash or kalk and have a ph of 8.4/8.5 without having to go to such a high alk?
 

RockBox13

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So raising the alk will raise the ph? Does it matter what alk additive you are using? For instance..could you be at an alk of 8 by using soda ash or kalk and have a ph of 8.4/8.5 without having to go to such a high alk?
You’re correct. A long time ago I wondered why SeaChem sold Reef Buffer and Reef Builder and learned more about the carbonate/bicarbonate and why one or the other might be depleted more quickly and the importance of minimizing the acidification and other problems from decomposition of excess food and detritus. The study of the soil microbiome and balancing the beneficial fungal to bacterial ratio leads to better growth of my plants. It also stressed the importance of the presence of beneficial bacterias in abundance to outcompete bacterial diseases of plants that start in the soil, just like certain coral diseases or dinoflagellates that start from substrate or rock.
 

billyocean

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You’re correct. A long time ago I wondered why SeaChem sold Reef Buffer and Reef Builder and learned more about the carbonate/bicarbonate and why one or the other might be depleted more quickly and the importance of minimizing the acidification and other problems from decomposition of excess food and detritus. The study of the soil microbiome and balancing the beneficial fungal to bacterial ratio leads to better growth of my plants. It also stressed the importance of the presence of beneficial bacterias in abundance to outcompete bacterial diseases of plants that start in the soil, just like certain coral diseases or dinoflagellates that start from substrate or rock.
Ty
 

RockBox13

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Of course! I challenge anyone to give me a complete newbie setting up their first tank who will take my advice and they will be growing coralline algae faster with no incidences of dinoflagellates or green hair algae than people with way more “experience” setting up their second or third reef tank. All without any extra equipment or expensive filtration or controllers of any kind.
 

Kasrift

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Capitulation!!!! Abandonment of science, I win again!
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I stand by my statement which was you aren't wrong, just people have found success at different alkalinity and I don't think that is the OP's issue. Stability definitely was an issue.

As for the whole alk/ph argument, you are probably right and have many more years of reefing than I. But if we are going to drop some science, I'd love to invite @Randy Holmes-Farley into the conversation as to whether higher alk always equates to higher ph and is all that important.
 

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