The Ups and Downs of My Red Sea Reefer 350 (Mostly Sticks)

crownsbroyal

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HI, I have yet to post a build thread on this site but I figured now was the time. I have had this Reefer 350 set up now for a little over a year. It was an upgrade from a Red Sea Max c-130 that I outgrew. I have been in reefing on and off for the past 13 years. I will post a picture if my RSM 130. Since I upgraded to the Reefer 350, I have gone through alot of ups and downs with the tank. I have had some very low lows during this time. Surprisingly the move from the small tank to the reefer went pretty smooth and I did not loose anything. A little but about the equipment that I am running. The tank is for the most part stock aside from the manifold that I have on the run from the return pump back to tank. My return pump is an Ecotech Vectra M2. My flow is created with 2 MP40s that I have on each side of the tank causing the dreaded headphones look, which I hate. (I am on the fence about going to a gyro type pump so I can eleminat this look but I have so much ecotech equipment that I am hesitant) I have 2 gen 4 Radion XR30 Pros with diffusers that provide the light. In the sump I have a Reef Octopus Elite 150sss which I love. I also just recently started running an Aqua UV 25 watt to help with a litte ich I noticed (which is now gone). I also have an Apex WiFi that runs my system with a triton to give me my reading of ALK, CA, and MAG. I use a cheap jebao 4 channel doser that I only use only 3 channels to dose a balling method of Aqua Forest components 123. My current coral stock is a mixed reef with a heavy emphasis on SPS. My fish list is a little pair of black Storm clowns, a yellow belly hippo tang, a white tail bristletooth tang, Pintail fairy wrasse, leopard wrasse, potters angelfish, Yasha goby/candycane shrimp pair, African Midas blenny, purple firefish, a sunburst anthias and a large cleaner shrimp.

The lows began around January of 2020. That is when I started noticing some strange white spots on my fish. At first it looked like standard ich but as things progressed and fish started dying it became apparent that it was some sort of Marine Velvet Strain. (It seriously looked more like ich at first). I was doomed, I lost fish so fast that by the time I was able to put together a hospital tank I only had a few fish left. Yes, I did not quarinine fish before I added them to the tank which of course I should have. I unfortuanatly just decided to gamble and not go that route. However I do not really have the space to have a QT system and my wife does not allow me to have another tank set up. I had some real beauties that I lost...... Pink Margin Super male wrasse, Potters angel, copperband butterfly, Red Sea Purple Tang, and a great pair of Onyx Clowns to name a few. My only survivors were a Yellow Belly Hippo Tang, a Purple FireFish, and a Yasha Goby which I put in a hospital tank with Cupramin. The Hippo was looking horrible and I didn't think it would make it but miraculously it managed to recover with little remaining damage. I will post a picture of how bad it looked during quarantine vs how it looks now, it really is amazing. The ironic thing about all this is that the fish made it through quarantine and returned back to the tank just as we humans were all entering QT due to COVID. Going forward, I still do not have a QT tank set up but I only buy fish from divers den or other similar QTed fish. I know this is not ideal but as I stated earlier I am not able to set a QT system up.

The next low began when the fish went back in. During the fallow period I was trying to put in some food to the tank because I know the corals need to have the nutrients. However, I really struggled with that and as such my corals started to seriously RTN and die off. Strangely this mostly happened with the introduction of my 3 fish back in the display tank and not as much prior. I lost almost all my SPS in that time period. I was doing Triton water tests to see if it was something in my water but I could not figure it out. My results did come back showing issues with metal in the water but I was unable to figure out where that was coming from. Ultimately what seemed to work for me was dosing a little bit of Witch Hazel into the system. That seemed to stop the RTN and my tank slowly began to recover. I found the info on Witch Hazel helping RTN somewhere in a forum or Facebook and it really seemed to work for me. A side note on Which Hazel, I am currently not using it but I am thinking of starting it back up again. I noticed that when dosing it also gets rid of any cyno in the systemn which I have always been having a minor issue with.

At this point things seem to be going OK, (knock on wood) and my corals seem to be doing much better. I have slowly started to work on my SPS collection with several frags and i am hoping to grow these out. I am still trying to get better growth out of my SPS (aren't we all) and I seem to not get as much par as I am hoping out of my Radions. Maybe someone can help me with that. The middle of the tank does not seem to get much par, maybe around 180ish. even the spots under the light get in the 3s. Maybe its because of the diffusers? I have them running at 95%.

I will post some pictures next........... Lets see how this build thread goes.........
 
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crownsbroyal

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Here are some shots of my prior RSM C-130

39DA7592-F992-4B0D-96EF-E4599F6AFF67.jpeg
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CrazyCrab

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For me SPS growth has been tied to higher nutrients and high pH like 8.4 all day long. You will have inches per month. But its difficult fast growth = lots of ALK changes and consumption along with all other trace elements like potassium. Low potassium will kill them fast too.
 
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crownsbroyal

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For me SPS growth has been tied to higher nutrients and high pH like 8.4 all day long. You will have inches per month. But its difficult fast growth = lots of ALK changes and consumption along with all other trace elements like potassium. Low potassium will kill them fast too.
Interesting, my PH typically swings daily from 8.3 at the end of the day down to 8.08 or so after the night. How do you keep yours so high?
 
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crownsbroyal

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Ok, well I just bought the Hanna Nitrate tester as I never had readings on my regular test kits when testing for nitrate. I did the test today (wow I felt like quite the lab tech) and I got a reading of 0.19 ppm. I am going to test phosphates later to see what that is at. I assume that is too low to get optimal coloration from my sps, is that right? Should I try dosing nitrate? Should I feed heavier? Should I add another Fish? I feel that I might be on the edge of having too many fish at this point and I am afraid to alter the balance with everyone currently getting along for the most part. I don't want to feed too much as I don't want my hippo growing too fast to outgrow the system. I feed one time a day, mostly LRS or sometimes a mix of the hikari mysis and algae cube. So I guess that leaves the dosing option, I am a bit worried doing it and what it is going to do to the tank.

As a side note, I did get a new clam and a frag of Disney JR. Lets hope they do well. I'll try to get pics of them later. I have been having some struggles with clams lately, I lost my Crocea clam a few weeks ago.

Also, every now and again I notice some cyno popping up that I usually can syphon away. Is it possible that is it happening due to extra low nitrates?
 

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