What am I missing?

Creggers

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 14, 2020
Messages
403
Reaction score
513
Location
Baltimore
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Folks,

I'm over a year into by dream tank build and as far as coral goes, it's been an frustrating ride to say the least. I have been running the tank essentially coral-less while allowing the Alk / Cal to adjust and level out some. My tank cannot support anything outside of softies and I'm at my whitts end. I'm sending off an ICP test from triton again cause all of my levels are where they need to be. I stopped doing my weekly water changes and have since adjusted to bi-weekly as I wanted my NO3 / P to climb a bit as they were largely zeroed out constantly.

I got my order of 'starter' coral and everything almost immedagily started showing signs of stress except the Zoas / Leather / Mushrooms. it's been maybe a month and i'm pulling out any coral with a calcium skeleton as they've all died. The one thing that kind of freaked me out is i had a goni that I got from a friend and I looked at the frag today and its totally dead and it was the 'survivor.'

Is there anything that would make my corals die like this you can think of? I'm impatient as I was hoping I found some success with more than the softies out of this batch, but as a result I'm tossing in the towel and turning to R2R for help...

NO3 - <1
PO4 - <1
Ammonia - 0
CA - 450
Alk - 9.5
Mag - 1500

(all of these levels are pretty consistent and they never swing more than 5% either direction)
 

KrisReef

10K Club member
View Badges
Joined
May 15, 2018
Messages
12,573
Reaction score
28,658
Location
ADX Florence
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
What test kits do you use for P - NO3?

Please post a picture of the tank.

What light, pAR if you know that,
Lighting schedule and folks will help you pull your hair out and find a solution
 

kevgib67

10K Club member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 16, 2022
Messages
10,781
Reaction score
55,453
Location
Canfield, Ohio
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Those nitrate and phosphate levels should tick off even your softies. Get phosphate up to.05-.1 and nitrates up to 10-15. I’d rather have those numbers a little higher than a little lower.
 

landlubber

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,371
Reaction score
1,231
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
nutrients are coral food.
somewhere along the way people got tangled up in ultra low nutrient systems (ULNS) and missed the part where its up to the hobbyist to replace those missing nutrients with some form of non-photosynthetic coral food.
i bet if OP's system was hanging at 5-10ppm of phosphate and 10-15 of nitrates and the journey becomes easier.
 
OP
OP
Creggers

Creggers

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 14, 2020
Messages
403
Reaction score
513
Location
Baltimore
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I borrowed my friends par meter and the levels range from 75 in darkest to ~450 in hot spots. I have all my frag racks are at around 200. The flow in the tank is handled by two Neptune wave pumps and there's a lot of turbulent flow.

I dealt with some algae of all kinds which is why I got into the weekly water changes. My sand is still 'ugly' but I'm giving it (and my pocket) a rest.

You can see my chalice loosing flesh, and my Aptasia OUTBREAK.
IMG_3894.jpeg IMG_3893.jpeg IMG_3892.jpeg IMG_3891.jpeg IMG_3890.jpeg IMG_3887.jpeg IMG_3889.jpeg IMG_3888.jpeg IMG_3897.jpeg
 

kevgib67

10K Club member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 16, 2022
Messages
10,781
Reaction score
55,453
Location
Canfield, Ohio
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I borrowed my friends par meter and the levels range from 75 in darkest to ~450 in hot spots. I have all my frag racks are at around 200. The flow in the tank is handled by two Neptune wave pumps and there's a lot of turbulent flow.

I dealt with some algae of all kinds which is why I got into the weekly water changes. My sand is still 'ugly' but I'm giving it (and my pocket) a rest.

You can see my chalice loosing flesh, and my Aptasia OUTBREAK.
IMG_3894.jpeg IMG_3893.jpeg IMG_3892.jpeg IMG_3891.jpeg IMG_3890.jpeg IMG_3887.jpeg IMG_3889.jpeg IMG_3888.jpeg IMG_3897.jpeg
Conches , nassarius snails and a diamond watchman goby and you will have a beautiful clean sand bed.
 

Formulator

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 14, 2024
Messages
638
Reaction score
571
Location
Saint Louis, MO, USA
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I only run my ap9xs at 50% strength. Should I kick it up a notch or two?
1716519390450.png
I would, but I run halides so will let someone with LED experience chime in. Aside from intensity, am I reading correctly that your lights are only running for like 5 hours/day at that 50%? That would be a problem…
 
OP
OP
Creggers

Creggers

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 14, 2020
Messages
403
Reaction score
513
Location
Baltimore
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I would, but I run halides so will let someone with LED experience chime in. Aside from intensity, am I reading correctly that your lights are only running for like 5 hours/day at that 50%? That would be a problem…
It runs for 8 hours. I’m thinking I extend it a bit but the intensity is going to remain at least till I borrow the par meter again
 
Last edited:

Formulator

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 14, 2024
Messages
638
Reaction score
571
Location
Saint Louis, MO, USA
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
It runs for 8 hours. I’m thinking I extend it a bit but the intensity is going to remain at least till I borrow the par meter again
For comparison this is what my PAR map looks like running a halide/T5 combo that grows pretty much anything I put in there. Not saying you need to emulate this, but it is an example of a system that grows SPS, LPS, and softies successfully.
IMG_3724.jpeg
 

bBurn18

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 13, 2023
Messages
40
Reaction score
25
Location
Saint Louis
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
If you let your nutrients get very low, its possible that brown matting in your sand bed is dinos. They release toxins into the water and may be causing issues. I went through the same thing and almost all SPS were lost. Softies were largely unharmed.

Have you ever considered taking a sample of the brown stuff and looking at it under a microscope?
 

Lavey29

10K Club member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
11,957
Reaction score
12,831
Location
United States
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
It runs for 8 hours. I’m thinking I extend it a bit but the intensity is going to remain at least till I borrow the par meter again
I agree with the info you have already received. Your corals are slowly starving to death due to bottomed out nutrients. Run lights at least 10 hours with a one hour ramp up and ramp down. Strong turbulent flow might be ok for some SPS but it's not ok for LPS or soft corals.
 

landlubber

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,371
Reaction score
1,231
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
when i consider the lack of nutrients and now see the substrate photos i think you should strongly consider tracking down a microscope so you can rule out dinos.
They can wreak havok on your coral growth
edit: @001 beat me to it.
 
OP
OP
Creggers

Creggers

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 14, 2020
Messages
403
Reaction score
513
Location
Baltimore
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
If you let your nutrients get very low, its possible that brown matting in your sand bed is dinos. They release toxins into the water and may be causing issues. I went through the same thing and almost all SPS were lost. Softies were largely unharmed.

Have you ever considered taking a sample of the brown stuff and looking at it under a microscope?
I had Dino’s when I initially established the tank, I don’t have a microscope but the algae covering my bed appears to be of a different form.


I agree with the info you have already received. Your corals are slowly starving to death due to bottomed out nutrients. Run lights at least 10 hours with a one hour ramp up and ramp down. Strong turbulent flow might be ok for some SPS but it's not ok for LPS or soft corals.
On the light front I’ve upped the time to 12 hours with a ramp on each side of an hour.

I have my high flow and low flow areas as I wanted the tank to be mixed. The frag rack(s) get steady moderate flow.

when i consider the lack of nutrients and now see the substrate photos i think you should strongly consider tracking down a microscope so you can rule out dinos.
They can wreak havok on your coral growth
edit: @001 beat me to it.

Im thinking I need to get a microscope from someone to identify if these are Dino’s or not. I’ve reduced my water change schedule as to let the nutrients build up
 

moosevandyke

Never a dull moment in keeping a reef tank.
View Badges
Joined
May 11, 2021
Messages
203
Reaction score
154
Location
Fort Collins
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I had Dino’s when I initially established the tank, I don’t have a microscope but the algae covering my bed appears to be of a different form.



On the light front I’ve upped the time to 12 hours with a ramp on each side of an hour.

I have my high flow and low flow areas as I wanted the tank to be mixed. The frag rack(s) get steady moderate flow.



Im thinking I need to get a microscope from someone to identify if these are Dino’s or not. I’ve reduced my water change schedule as to let the nutrients build up
Not sure on the fish count but feeding more is a good way to slowly ramp up nutrients in the system.
 

Sisterlimonpot

Effortless Perfection
View Badges
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
4,146
Reaction score
8,355
Location
Litchfield Park
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Are you tracking trends and stability? A lot of times what I tend to see when people get bogged down in the "my numbers seems right" is that it boils down to stability, does your temperature climb during the day and drop off at night? Are you dosing something all at once instead of spreading it out in a 24h period? When you do waterchanges are you changing parameters so much that it's shocking the natural state of biology? These are just examples of what it could be.

It's good to have a snapshot of parameters, but that doesn’t tell the entire story, I would focus more on trying to put my finger on what's fluctuating.

And if it were me, I'd get the N and P up a bit higher than what's recommended as acceptable here.
 

Formulator

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 14, 2024
Messages
638
Reaction score
571
Location
Saint Louis, MO, USA
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I had Dino’s when I initially established the tank, I don’t have a microscope but the algae covering my bed appears to be of a different form.



On the light front I’ve upped the time to 12 hours with a ramp on each side of an hour.

I have my high flow and low flow areas as I wanted the tank to be mixed. The frag rack(s) get steady moderate flow.



Im thinking I need to get a microscope from someone to identify if these are Dino’s or not. I’ve reduced my water change schedule as to let the nutrients build up
Out public libraries rent microscopes in St. Louis. Might be worth checking if you live in a major metropolitan area.
 
OP
OP
Creggers

Creggers

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 14, 2020
Messages
403
Reaction score
513
Location
Baltimore
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Are you tracking trends and stability? A lot of times what I tend to see when people get bogged down in the "my numbers seems right" is that it boils down to stability, does your temperature climb during the day and drop off at night? Are you dosing something all at once instead of spreading it out in a 24h period? When you do waterchanges are you changing parameters so much that it's shocking the natural state of biology? These are just examples of what it could be.

It's good to have a snapshot of parameters, but that doesn’t tell the entire story, I would focus more on trying to put my finger on what's fluctuating.

And if it were me, I'd get the N and P up a bit higher than what's recommended as acceptable here.

My N/P readings are taken before the water changes which is why they’re ballpark.

I utilize a trident with a dos so it’s fairly steady and even when I do a water change it’s never a large swing as my salt is pretty close to the parameters I keep steady.
 
Back
Top