SPS, the thrill of victory the agony of defeat

roninmagik1

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So i'm coming back from a tank crash and almost giving up on the hobby. I thought i was in a good place, and went frag hunting. Got some frags from Cornbred Corals, whom i have to say, was fantastic, I got some really good prices off Ebay auction, and the frags were in great condition and so everything is looking good. This is the thrill part, i was happy and expecting the frags to do great in the tank. (see them below, pink lemonade digi on the left, inner core acro on the right, and in the middle was a freebie, sour apple birds nest, which turns out, is my favorite one, it's tiny and a vivid green, and i really really hope it pulls through!)

IMG_5957.jpg



48 hours later, enter my current phase, agony! They're not happy, i'm getting no polyp extension, and they just seem to be closed up and i'm worried it's just a matter of time before they die!! = (

Today after reading up on barebottom tanks, i sucked out 90 percent of my sand, and i'm hoping that will help. My general theory is that i had a bunch of sand that was unhealthy, wasn't getting much turnover, so it was just solidified and holding in pockets of nastiness as well as holding in excess nutrients.

I also did a big water change, about 10 gallons on a 40 breeder, so a 25% water change.

Finally, i tested my alkalinity, and it's at 10.4. From what i've read, it's not so much the level as much as it is, keeping it stable, so i'll test every day this week, and hopefully it's stable at around 10.4

Temp stays at about 78 degrees, and salinity i keep around 1.025.

That's it for now, this will either be a journal of the death of my frags, or if everything works out, i'll update with a 1 month progress pic! = )

Any advice or words of wisdom appreciated, i'm sort of tapped for cash, so hopefully stuff i could do inexpensively if anything!
 
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dwair

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Removing all the sand will cause months and months of biological filtration instability. I agree with lowering your alk to 7.5-8.5 range might help but I honestly have no idea since you removed the majority of your biological filter.
Yea.... BRS found this out the hard way. Removing your sand bed was potientially very very bad
 

ScottB

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Sorry. I am all questions:

Was this a full reboot after the "crash"?

How many months ago did you restart?

What is your PO4 and NO3? With that high ALK, you better have a lot of both.

What was the ALK level that those animals were living in before you got them?
 
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roninmagik1

roninmagik1

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Removing all the sand will cause months and months of biological filtration instability. I agree with lowering your alk to 7.5-8.5 range might help but I honestly have no idea since you removed the majority of your biological filter.
Yea.... BRS found this out the hard way. Removing your sand bed was potientially very very bad
Oh boy, i had not counted on that, i figured it would be a dramatic change, but a change for the better, and then after a day or so, it would stabilize. The live rock is what i thought of as the "filtration system", i figured the sandbed was more of a decorative thing. =(

It's too late to go back, so i'll do the best i can with the situation at hand! Thanks for the advice!
 
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roninmagik1

roninmagik1

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Sorry. I am all questions:

Was this a full reboot after the "crash"?

How many months ago did you restart?

What is your PO4 and NO3? With that high ALK, you better have a lot of both.

What was the ALK level that those animals were living in before you got them?
Was this a full reboot after the "crash"?
Not a full reboot, but pretty close, I had a baby, which was life changing and also caused me to have zero time for the tank, so practically everything died. I got my act together, and cleaned up the tank, removing some rockwork, cleaning all the remaining rockwork with a brush to get rid of the algae. I also added a sponge filter, and another powerhead for better flow.

How many months ago did you restart?
The restart happened about 2 months ago. In those 2 months, the algae cleared up, and everything that was left alive, started to flourish.

What is your PO4 and NO3? With that high ALK, you better have a lot of both.
P04 and N03 - unknown, im ordering a test kit which should be here tomorrow, right now, all i have that i can test is Alkalinity.

What was the ALK level that those animals were living in before you got them?
Good question, i got them from Cornbred Corals, so i'll ask. =)
 

ScottB

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Congratulations on the baby! Got sleep?

Most of the vendors share their basic params. I tend to run my systems very similar to the core vendors I work with and they are largely the same. It removes a lot of transition/acclimation risk. If you were in Europe/Middle East, running +10 ALK would be very common but lower numbers are more common in USA vendors IME.

Stony corals are much more particular about parameters -- but also require a calm, steady, mature biome of bacteria and microfauna. Some folks around here can manage it faster/better than others, but most won't or shouldn't spend big on stony corals within the first 8-12 months. Just sharing to help you manage expectations a bit. Soft corals and even some LPS are much more forgiving. For an extended discussion on the subject, you can read up in this thread. It is a fascinatingly nerdy and insightful read.

As to polyp extension, look for that an hour or two after lights out to see if they are opening more fully then.

As to measuring nitrates/phosphates:
Most of the nitrate test kits will get the job done OK. But for phosphates, there is only one good kit: Hanna ULR phosphate. Kinda of a pain to use, but the best we have in the hobby.

Now get some sleep!
 

Bfragale

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Good morning and congratulations on the baby!

the first thing I would do is get a complete set of testing kits. You won’t known where you stand until you can have a clear understanding of what your
Parameters are. Like mentioned above, I would start with softies and maybe some hardy LPS before you jump into sps. You may have better results in a young tank.
Also, lighting, flow and consistency are important. Your alk is a bit high, But if it’s consistent then it could be ok. But you will want to test alk no3 po4 magnesium Calcium temp ph and salinity (at the minimum).


with a recent sand bed removal, you should be testing often and watching for swings and wait until your stable before adding any new corals.

Give A little patients and most of all, have fun with it. Good luck
 

DivingTheWorld

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IMO, removing the sand will be easier for you in the long run. But as everyone else has said, it can cause some short term issues with biology! Best advice I can give is to give your tank some serious time, say 6 months before you try to add any more sps. And no more big changes between now and then. Just do your weekly water changes and wait for your tank to mature.

One thing you mentioned stuck out like a sore thumb though...sponge filter? Maybe you can tell us what you use for Flow, Filtration and Lighting? IMO a sponge filter is useless unless you're trying to raise fish fry. SPS, especially acros require very clean water. This is NOT to say lack of Nitrate/Phosphate. This means heavy import and heavy export, lots of flow and excellent filtration.

And yes, test test test. In Particular Cal, Alk, Mag, Nitrate, Phosphate need to be known and tracked.
 
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roninmagik1

roninmagik1

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Congratulations on the baby! Got sleep?

Not much sleep, but parental superpowers kick in and allow you to do alot on 4 hours. =)

Most of the vendors share their basic params. I tend to run my systems very similar to the core vendors I work with and they are largely the same. It removes a lot of transition/acclimation risk. If you were in Europe/Middle East, running +10 ALK would be very common but lower numbers are more common in USA vendors IME.
I didn't even get a chance to email Cornbred Corals, but i figure as mentioned, they would run in the more common range.

Stony corals are much more particular about parameters -- but also require a calm, steady, mature biome of bacteria and microfauna. Some folks around here can manage it faster/better than others, but most won't or shouldn't spend big on stony corals within the first 8-12 months. Just sharing to help you manage expectations a bit. Soft corals and even some LPS are much more forgiving. For an extended discussion on the subject, you can read up in this thread. It is a fascinatingly nerdy and insightful read.
I read the entire thread, and it made me rethink everything i was doing, thanks for this link!!! I've had my tank up for a long time, but i really took a step back and rethought my basic choices which lead up to my current situation!
As to polyp extension, look for that an hour or two after lights out to see if they are opening more fully then.
I checked and although very little, i did see some polyp extension on one of the frags, which was heartening!

As to measuring nitrates/phosphates:
Most of the nitrate test kits will get the job done OK. But for phosphates, there is only one good kit: Hanna ULR phosphate. Kinda of a pain to use, but the best we have in the hobby.
I got the API Reef Master kit, and my nitrates are in the 0 to .05 level; alkalinity is high but stable at 10.3; price checking for the Hanna phosphate kit, i use Hanna for testing alkalinity, and although it was expensive, i'm glad i spent the money, its easy and precise.

Now get some sleep! Good advice, and good night! =)
 
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roninmagik1

roninmagik1

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Doing all those massive changes at once probably did not help....
i'm usually pretty good about taking my time when making changes, the water change and sand bed removal were hasty for sure, i'm trying to take my time and not rush any more changes!
 
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roninmagik1

roninmagik1

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Good morning and congratulations on the baby!
Thanks very much! j =)

the first thing I would do is get a complete set of testing kits. You won’t known where you stand until you can have a clear understanding of what your
Parameters are. Like mentioned above, I would start with softies and maybe some hardy LPS before you jump into sps. You may have better results in a young tank.
Also, lighting, flow and consistency are important. Your alk is a bit high, But if it’s consistent then it could be ok. But you will want to test alk no3 po4 magnesium Calcium temp ph and salinity (at the minimum).
My tanks actually been around for a while, but im not sure how sps worthy it is, as after looking at things, im lacking in some areas; i do intend to fix things slowly before getting any more sps! Fingers crossed, i'm hoping these few frags i have somehow pull through!


with a recent sand bed removal, you should be testing often and watching for swings and wait until your stable before adding any new corals.
So far, tested for nitrates and alkalinity, i think i'm good. Nitrates are in the range of 0 to 5 ppm, and alkalinity although high has been stable for the last 4 days at around 10.3

Give A little patients and most of all, have fun with it. Good luck
thanks!!!
 
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roninmagik1

roninmagik1

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IMO, removing the sand will be easier for you in the long run. But as everyone else has said, it can cause some short term issues with biology! Best advice I can give is to give your tank some serious time, say 6 months before you try to add any more sps. And no more big changes between now and then. Just do your weekly water changes and wait for your tank to mature.
Agreed, i'm trying to follow the slow and steady route!

One thing you mentioned stuck out like a sore thumb though...sponge filter? Maybe you can tell us what you use for Flow, Filtration and Lighting? IMO a sponge filter is useless unless you're trying to raise fish fry. SPS, especially acros require very clean water. This is NOT to say lack of Nitrate/Phosphate. This means heavy import and heavy export, lots of flow and excellent filtration.
This one is probably going to raise a few eyebrows.
Flow - i have a jebao powerhead rw4, and a sicce powerhead; for filtration/flow, a sponge filter connected to an old school air pump and a bulkreefsupply external overflow which goes to a filter sock below, and then water gets pumped back up to the tank. It's a good amount of flow for a 40 breeder i think, although the filtration it's sorta rigged haphazardly. Lighting is a generic ebay led lighting, i run both the whites and the blues at about 60%, and it seems to do the job, although before these sps frags, it was just lighting a few anemones, some zoas and some softies, whose names i can't remember.


And yes, test test test. In Particular Cal, Alk, Mag, Nitrate, Phosphate need to be known and tracked.
I'm testing Nitrate and alk, and working on getting the rest of the tests going on a regular basis!
 
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roninmagik1

roninmagik1

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Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply and offer advice! After reading that thread that ScottB mentioned, "why can't i keep sps", i'm giving alot of thought to having good bacteria in my tank, and i realized that my copepod population isn't as good as it used to be, i used to have tons of critters and over the years, they've declined. i'm considering either getting some live rock to re-seed my tank, or buying supplements, and also supplements for my copepod population. it's been years, but i remembrer i used to love turning on a flashlight at night, and looking at all the cool critters in the tank. Another thing, is that i only have a few snails and crabs, so i'm thinking maybe i need to replenish my clean up crew. i'm taking it slow, but figure if i can get my tank to a happy place with all these basic things, then it'll do the sps frags good! man, what a journey of reconsidering everything these little sps frags have sent me on! =)
 

ScottB

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Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply and offer advice! After reading that thread that ScottB mentioned, "why can't i keep sps", i'm giving alot of thought to having good bacteria in my tank, and i realized that my copepod population isn't as good as it used to be, i used to have tons of critters and over the years, they've declined. i'm considering either getting some live rock to re-seed my tank, or buying supplements, and also supplements for my copepod population. it's been years, but i remembrer i used to love turning on a flashlight at night, and looking at all the cool critters in the tank. Another thing, is that i only have a few snails and crabs, so i'm thinking maybe i need to replenish my clean up crew. i'm taking it slow, but figure if i can get my tank to a happy place with all these basic things, then it'll do the sps frags good! man, what a journey of reconsidering everything these little sps frags have sent me on! =)
It is my belief that if you stay in the hobby long enough and keep studying, you are going to:
a) change your thinking on several things
b) improve. gradually.
c) still make some mistakes, but learn and fully understand those mistakes.
 

Pedoconfuego

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Good advice so far. Hope it all works out. Maybe using some bacteria supplement will help you through this period of instability from sandbed removal. Even though I am not a big fan of using them they can help in some situations.
The digi looks ok but the inner core looks like a fairly fresh cut frag. The tiny speck in the middle is something I would let fall in my sand and die, not mount to a frag plug and give away as a freebie but I guess that’s what some vendors like to do now. And it’s a birdsnest, a fast growing coral, which should be cut at a decent size and seeing a frag that small would turn me away from any vendor selling or giving them away as freebies. I know I sound rude but thats like a days worth of growth on one branch of a birdsnest colony.
 

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