Tank issues - looking for advice / ideas

Discussion in 'General SPS Discussion' started by BigJim, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. BigJim

    BigJim Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I am back to having tank issues that I can't explain. This is the third time in the last year and a half with the exact same symptoms. Let me know if you have any thoughts or ideas. Here are my parameters and some details.

    PO4 - .02 - .04
    Nitrate - 5 - 10 with the exception of the spike described below
    Alk - 8.2 - 8.5 and stable for 6 months
    Ca - 460 - 480
    Mg - 1460
    SG - 1.025

    Here are the first symptoms that show up every time.

    - Some coralline algae turns white and some dies off. There is also new coralline growth in other parts of the tank at the same time.
    - Sunset Monitpora turns a greyish color
    - PC Rainbow starts to show STN
    - Miami Hurricane Chalice turns a greyish color
    - Many other acros and montis begin to grey out and/or lose tissue a couple weeks after the first symptoms appear

    I have taken hundreds of macro photos and dipped many of the corals without seeing any pests. It also appears that this is a slow process of the coral wasting away and not pest related.

    The last two times this happened I had an increase in nitrates prior to the issue. Back in June I was not keeping an eye on nitrates and they had climbed to 50 when the issue began. About a month ago I accidentally knocked the plug out of my skimmer cup for a week and nitrates rose to 20. Both times I did water changes and lowered the nitrates to the normal range within a couple weeks.

    I also noticed a very quick degradation of par from my t5 retrofits after 6 months and this issue has always happened when my bulbs were 6 months old. The par for where my WD (which is unaffected) sits decreased from 350 in early November to 250 in mid December. I am thinking maybe the lower par combined with the nitrate issue may be the cause, but I really have no idea. Here is a series of photos showing how it progresses in acros.

    11/4/17
    [​IMG]pink cadillac 10417 by Big Jim, on Flickr

    11/18/17
    [​IMG]pink cadillac 111817 by Big Jim, on Flickr

    12/3/17 and I am thinking I am the master of acros
    [​IMG]pink cadillac 120317 by Big Jim, on Flickr

    12/12/17 and some white patches are appearing
    [​IMG]pink cadillac 121217 by Big Jim, on Flickr

    12/24/17 and the white areas are growing
    [​IMG]Pink Cadillac 122417 by Big Jim, on Flickr

    I don't have the most recent picture but it is even worse and now it looks like it is losing some tissue. I tried a CoralRx dip as a last resort yesterday. Maybe a bacterial infection that comes back under high nitrates and/or lower par conditions? Please let me know if you see anything I am missing. I am probably going to try another ICP test as well.
     
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  2. KidA

    KidA New Member

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    What is your lighting? What is your potassium and other trace? May be useful to run an ICP to rule out items.
     
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  3. jsker

    jsker Reefing is all about the adventure Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    I agree with @KidA
    I am thinking it more your lights and lack of trace elements.
     
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  4. BigJim

    BigJim Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I have three Kessil A360WEs and 4 T5 retrofits. I run all at full intensity for 7 hours and the Kessils ramp up and down for a couple hours. I do not test for trace elements, but the results of my last ICP test from a couple months ago are below. They have my alk at 7.0, but it was always testing in the low 8s for me even then.

    http://lab.atiaquaristik.com/share/8ef4bedb0810d74ea864
     
  5. BigJim

    BigJim Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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  6. nautical_nathaniel

    nautical_nathaniel Indecision may or may not be my problem. R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    How often do you fidget with your lights? My PC rainbow frags freaked out for about two weeks the last time I adjusted the lighting schedule.
     
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  7. tdileo

    tdileo Valuable Member

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    I am thinking low potassium, at least for the graying.
     
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  8. jda

    jda Valuable Member

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    Can we get some basics? How old is the tank. Did it start with real live rock, or dead/dry? Do you have sand - how much? Do you use GFO, organic carbon, LC or anything else to chemically lower your nitrates and phosphates. How often do you change water? How much do you change? How do you supplement Carbonate and Calcium - CaRx, 2 Part, 3 part, etc.

    Some of these answers could rule out a lot of things. For example, if you change 15% of you water every other week with a high quality reef salt like Instant Ocean, then you will not likely have low potassium. If you use a CaRx with natural media, you will not have low potassium. ...but you totally could have low potassium under different circumstances.

    FWIW - the growth is encouraging. I do not have Pink Cadillac, but some images on the web have lighter colored branches similar to what yours are developing. This might just be nothing. Without knowing any more, the only suggestion that I would make is to turn your Kessils down a bit - they are just supplementing your T5s anyway.
     
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  9. happyhourhero

    happyhourhero Burner of the Tips R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    I would like to know how you replenish Alk and Cal and if you run an ato. Do you run GFO?
     
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  10. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader Photo of the Month Award R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    The par drop, are you accounting for the initial “spike “Then drop?

    That shouldn’t be the issue though.

    Personally, I’d look at getting the alk towards 8 and keeping the nutints higher.
     
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  11. BigJim

    BigJim Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    The tank has been up for a little over two years. It is a 155 gallon tank (72 x 24 x 21). I have a Tunze ATO using RODI water with 0 TDS. I use two DI canisters due to high silicates in my tap water. I use a GHL dosing pump dosing almost 100 ml of ESV B Ionic two part daily in 12 increments. I do not use GFO and run Rox carbon passively in my sump.

    I do weekly 10% water changes with aquaforest salt. I have a shallow sandbed and vacuum it every couple weeks during water changes. I have been keeping a reef tank for 7 years and keeping sps for 5 years I usually know what I am doing but this recurring issue has me stumped. Here is a fts from just a couple months ago.

    [​IMG]FTS 102217 by Big Jim, on Flickr
     
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  12. Scorpius

    Scorpius Valuable Member

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    The only time I have seen tissue lightening on my Acro's like yours is when my light intensity was to intense. Back off 5-10% on intensity and see how they respond.

    I run my lights from 9am-8pm, but my peak intensity for my Kessils/T5's is from 1pm-4pm. The rest is heavy blues ramp up/down.
     
  13. CPL376

    CPL376 Member

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    Silly question. Are you using any ph buffer such as 8.4 by aquavitro? I was having a low ph problem once and my local guys suggested it so I tried it. all of the coralline that was on the back glass fell off. It was bad. Took several water changes to correct things
     
  14. BigJim

    BigJim Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I think my pictures in my original post probably didn't show the issue clearly. I wanted to show the progression of the issue but the issue is larger than that one acro and the progression gets much worse. It is definitely more than a bleaching issue from the lights. I also have another 30 or 40 acros that are having no issues at all, but I don't want to wait to see issues. I have some other pictures below that show the worst of the issues.

    Here is my Sunset Monti. It appears to be recovering since I took this picture more than a week ago.
    [​IMG]monti problem 010418 by Big Jim, on Flickr

    Here is the base of my PC Rainbow. There are some small white specks that could be some type of pest, but I dipped a different coral with those spots and it was gritty like sand.
    [​IMG]acro problem 1 010418 by Big Jim, on Flickr

    I forget which coral this is but you can see more of the white specks and they look like something alive in this photo. They do not lat flat like flatworms and there are no bite marks or eggs anywhere.
    [​IMG]acro problem 3 010418 by Big Jim, on Flickr

    This is my Red Planet or what is left of it.
    [​IMG]acro problem 6 010418 by Big Jim, on Flickr

    This is a Sunset Monti.
    [​IMG]acro problem 5 010418 by Big Jim, on Flickr
     
  15. ScottB

    ScottB Active Member

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    Big Jim,

    How did you come out on this? Saw your post on another newer thread and curious what has trended in your beautiful DT since then.Same? Slowly better or worse?
     
  16. BigJim

    BigJim Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I'm still having issues with SPS. The issue is with only acros, montis and my only cyphastrea. Stylos and poccis are fine. I think that is because it seems to initially impact the tissue and then the tissue seems to slowly squeeze the polyps. I only have 6 acros left and most of them are not looking good.

    I recently did another ICP test and there were some elevated metals (iron, zinc, molybdenum, nickel and cobalt), but none are crazy high. I have also been using a poly filter in the sump since not long after these issues began. I think it may have reached maximum absorption when I took this test sample though. I have taken apart every pump and powerhead in the tank three separate times now and found no signs or corrosion or rust. I removed the screen top last week thinking it could be releasing zinc into the tank. I also found an area on my canopy with a slightly rusty nail, but I am not sure if it would be enough to cause the issue. I covered it with epoxy to see if that helps. Here is a link to the ICP results. I am not sure the nitrate reading is accurate because my test kit was reading somewhere between 2 and 5.

    http://lab.atiaquaristik.com/share/96934d388d540e12b9d6

    I probably have not helped by making changes about every 6-8 weeks hoping for a solution. I am just going to go back to what worked for me in the past and hope it fixes itself. That means low nutrients, moderate light (250-350 par), high flow and no additional supplements. My LPS and zoas are doing well at least. One other thing that coincided with this issue is that my pair of clowns stopped spawning. They were spawning weekly before this issue, so maybe it really is some type of water quality issue and not a contaminant


    .
     
  17. ScottB

    ScottB Active Member

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    Sorry to hear the battle continues. If you develop a sense that it may be the metals, next step might be to ATI test your mixed salt batch and or the RO/DI water, thereby confirming the leaching hardware is in the tank.
    I use IORC salt and ESV two part bulk mix and have never seen metals besides aluminum.

    Otherwise -- and several talked about this above -- lighting changes. I have found my stick frags are much more light sensitive than my stick colonies. Even same species. Especially early on after my dipping (bayer, lugols) routine. Once I put them down low but away from corner glass they stopped losing color. A few frags did not make it.

    Sometimes we are just grasping at straws. I know I have felt that way; but we must be learning something. Hope to hear better news from you in time.
     
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