What could be killing my corals?

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Eclyps19

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Let’s get this out of the way early on. This is almost certainly not one of the common issues that cause coral death.

The big 3 are all pretty stable, ALK around 9, Calc around 480, mag around 1400. These numbers may fluctuate over time, but not by more than a small fraction per day. I have a trident testing daily and have confirmed the accuracy via manual tests. I 2-part dose 12 times throughout the day.

NO3 and P04 are a little on the high side. NO3 is usually around 35, PO4 is usually around 0.08.

Here is a link to my latest Triton ICP test results. As you can see, nothing too unusual.


I cannot for the life of me keep coral in this tank, which has been running for two years now. The only things that have thrived have been GSP, mushrooms, zoas, and a couple of torches. Everything else either dies within days (SPS), or slowly withers away (duncans, scans, my poor hammer that I had for 3 years ).

All fish are reef-safe. My cleaner shrimp is annoying at night but not destructive.

I did battle small cell amphidinium dinos on and off for about a year, but have gone mostly bare-bottom and have not seen any sign of them for probably 4 months. I mean, I’m sure there are some wandering around still, but the lack of sand + elevated nutrients has kept them away.

Another potentially important bit of information is that I also cannot grow ANY algae in this tank. Like, absolutely none. I don’t know if it’s because I have literally hundreds of tiny snails that come out every night and cover my rock work or something else, but I have never seen algae in here. A bit odd with my nutrient levels...

Now, the crazy thing is that I have a 30g coral quarantine tank set up with my exact everything. Same lights, same schedule, roughly same par, similar flow, same salt mix (HW Marine Mix Reefer), I even seeded it with a rock from my DT. Coral in this tank THRIVE. Algae in that tank thrives. Whenever something is dying in my DT, I throw it in my QT to save it. Usually that works if the coral isn’t too far gone.

Experts of the reef, I call to thee. Please, give me some suggestions. Each coral that I lose takes a small bit of my soul with me. I can’t keep doing this...
 
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zoa what

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No algae growth, I suspect some sort of metal in contact with the water....causing an algaecide effect

I'd look deeply into what, if anything, has saturated your LR. If the LR has some kind of mineral deposit in it.

Same goes for your substrate possibly having metals saturated in it.

Also if anywhere down the plumbing line any kind of copper or brass is in contact with the water volume




.
 
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Eclyps19

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No algae growth, I suspect some sort of metal in contact with the water....causing an algaecide effect

I'd look deeply into what, if anything, has saturated your LR. If the LR has some kind of mineral deposit in it.

Same goes for your substrate possibly having metals saturated in it.

Also if anywhere down the plumbing line any kind of copper or brass is in contact with the water volume




.
Would metal contamination not show up in my ICP test? I thought the same, but since my test came back with no/low levels I ruled that out as a possibility.
 

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Let’s get this out of the way early on. This is almost certainly not one of the common issues that cause coral death.

The big 3 are all pretty stable, ALK around 9, Calc around 480, mag around 1400. These numbers may fluctuate over time, but not by more than a small fraction per day. I have a trident testing daily and have confirmed the accuracy via manual tests. I 2-part dose 12 times throughout the day.

NO3 and P04 are a little on the high side. NO3 is usually around 35, PO4 is usually around 0.8.

Here is a link to my latest Triton ICP test results. As you can see, nothing too unusual.


I cannot for the life of me keep coral in this tank, which has been running for two years now. The only things that have thrived have been GSP, mushrooms, zoas, and a couple of torches. Everything else either dies within days (SPS), or slowly withers away (duncans, scans, my poor hammer that I had for 3 years ).

All fish are reef-safe. My cleaner shrimp is annoying at night but not destructive.

I did battle small cell amphidinium dinos on and off for about a year, but have gone mostly bare-bottom and have not seen any sign of them for probably 4 months. I mean, I’m sure there are some wandering around still, but the lack of sand + elevated nutrients has kept them away.

Another potentially important bit of information is that I also cannot grow ANY algae in this tank. Like, absolutely none. I don’t know if it’s because I have literally hundreds of tiny snails that come out every night and cover my rock work or something else, but I have never seen algae in here. A bit odd with my nutrient levels...

Now, the crazy thing is that I have a 30g coral quarantine tank set up with my exact everything. Same lights, same schedule, roughly same par, similar flow, same salt mix (HW Marine Mix Reefer), I even seeded it with a rock from my DT. Coral in this tank THRIVE. Algae in that tank thrives. Whenever something is dying in my DT, I throw it in my QT to save it. Usually that works if the coral isn’t too far gone.

Experts of the reef, I call to thee. Please, give me some suggestions. Each coral that I lose takes a small bit of my soul with me. I can’t keep doing this...
I am not kidding you, I have this exact same issue but my tank is only a few months old.

I have not one, but two quarantine tanks in which my NPS and LPS thrive, yet my DT, which is older than both by FAR (one QT is only about 2 weeks old), kills any coral I put in it.

Following! I sincerely hope you find an answer, then maybe I can piggy back off of you!
 

zoa what

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Would metal contamination not show up in my ICP test? I thought the same, but since my test came back with no/low levels I ruled that out as a possibility.
What metals did they test for?

My thinking is smthg is acting as an Algaecide. Since you are montoring all input, smthg pre-existing is in there....


.
 
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Eclyps19

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How big is your aquarium? What do you feed the fish each day(How would you describe how much you feed?)? What do you use for filtration and nutrient export? Are corals pale colored? Have corals that haven't done well become pale colored?
 
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Eclyps19

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In this case I think it's safe to say it's gotta be something to do with the water.
My ATO is tied to a brute bin in the basement that is filled with 0 TDS water.

About 6 months ago I did a 70% water change (which sucked because this is a 139 gallon total water volume tank) to try to dilute any random contamination that I might have...

Is there anything beyond the ICP test that could provide more info on what might be in the water?
 
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Eclyps19

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How big is your aquarium? What do you feed the fish each day(How would you describe how much you feed?)? What do you use for filtration and nutrient export? Are corals pale colored? Have corals that haven't done well become pale colored?
139g total water volume including sump.

I have an oversized skimmer and run 2 filter socks and 2 bags of carbon (that I need to replace). The socks really don’t get very dirty at all. I only have to clean them maybe once every couple of weeks. I have lots of snails in my sump and always have about 10 stuck to the socks wherever I clean them.

I use a DOS to change out about 2 gallons of water per night.

I would guess that I fed about 2 hikari-sized cubes of frozen food per day. I have 7 fish, and a few are very active eaters (especially my trigger). I switch between Rod’s classic and rod’s herbivore blend, sometimes some frozen bloodworms or squid mixed in.

Corals that die generally don’t go pale, they just lose all extensions and then suffer RTN. Acans often survive for a while but progressively expose more and more of their skeleton as their polyps recede.
 
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How about electrical current, years back had certain corals not doing good so I got my voltmeter and that was it. A powerhead was leaking all the electricity. Within a day or 2 they were back to normal.

I went out and purchased a voltmeter specifically to test this. No stay voltage in my DT, but I did find some in my QT from a bad heater!

I swear, I’ve tried everything to figure this out. Keep the suggestions coming, though, this is good stuff!
 
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What’s the temperature on the tanks. Water may be too hot for the coral.
temp is a constant 79 degrees. Maybe a tad on the warm side, but still completely in the normal range.

What’s your salinity and how do you test / monitor it?
Salinity is at 1.025. I monitor this with my Apex and just manually tested with a refractometer to confirm accuracy. ATO comes on once per hour to keep salinity stable throughout the day.
 
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Eclyps19

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Whats pH? Softies lasting longer than LPS may point to low pH. Could also be the difference between your DT and QT bc DT has more CO2 source than QT
pH fluctuates between 8.05 and 8.20 over 24h. I actually haven’t tested my QT pH. It’s in the basement so it could be a little different, but my DT is in the ideal range.
 

zoa what

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Let's revisit the LR

What "kind" of rock is it? Like Caribbean rock? River rock?

How long have you had the rock?

Where did it come from? (Possibly come from another reefer who lied or didn't disclose they used MEDS to treat the tank when they had the rock)

MY POINT: rocks can be very porous and hold onto past medications or other foreign substances

River rock could have various minerals embedded in them that a test may not detect. Like a rock that's Limestone
 
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