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Why is my cycled tank not growing coralline?

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dustinc

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As the title says, why is my cycled tank not growing coralline algae and acros? System info below...

Tank: 120 Gallon Standard
Lighting: (2) Kessil A360x & 4 ATI T5 Blue+ Bulbs
Filtration: RO Elite 150-INT, 25 watt UV, & Filter Roller Sump
Dosing: 23ml of Tropic Marin All for Reef Daily (B-Ionic as needed to keep parameters in check until I find the right daily dose of All for Reef)

Alk - 8.7
Calcium - 470
Mag - 1430
pH - 7.75 (Neptune pH probe calibrated yesterday) 8.15 (salifert test)

My suspicion is potentially pH, but I’m not confident in the testing. When I open a window for a few hours, the pH will rise by .5 - 1.0 total, but that’s about the extent of rise, so not sure if it’s CO2 related or not. This weekend we were out of town and the pH on the probe raised quite a bit, and can attach a screenshot of that if interested.
 
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Fishko

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Did you “seed” you tank. I was also not growing coralline until i scraped a shell that had it with my finger and saw the “dust” come off. My rock now has a lot of specs growing. Acros should encrust first before you start seeing growth upward. Whats your phos and nitrate at?
 
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dustinc

dustinc

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How long has it been running?
Filled with water on February 4th. Started with dry Marco rock and dosed with MicroBacter7 & Dr. Tim’s One and Only and is bare bottom. Started adding fish at the 2 month mark and everything has done extremely well with no losses and not adding any more fish at this time. Just passed 5 months running with water.
 
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dustinc

dustinc

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My current tank took about 6 months to visually see it on objects other than on the live rock. It actually grew in the sump and in the return hose from my sump before growing in the display
I added a couple aquacultured acros as well and they don’t seem too hot.
 

ReefHomieJon

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Filled with water on February 4th. Started with dry Marco rock and dosed with MicroBacter7 & Dr. Tim’s One and Only and is bare bottom. Started adding fish at the 2 month mark and everything has done extremely well with no losses and not adding any more fish at this time. Just passed 5 months running with water.
All I did was buy snails with purple on their shells and eventually it took off
 

plankton

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I hope your pH as measured by calibrated pH probe is wrong so buy inexpensive pH high test kit and get second opinion on pH as that is way too low for marine tank.

regarding coralline algae as measure or stability of tank yes good measure but after you seed could still take couple months to take hold.

get pH stable then seen tank with coralline algae.
 

fishguy242

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hi ,pic's would help,esp. arco's,check ph at same time of day every time ,params are good,phosphate will stop coralline growth,should be seeing on bare bottom by now,ph?? which to believe??lil change normal,with your #'s ph should be in 8.15 at peak in middle of light cycle..i would recalibrate ,high/low/high ..7 and 4 ,n check po4 ;)
 
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Tamberav

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Filled with water on February 4th. Started with dry Marco rock and dosed with MicroBacter7 & Dr. Tim’s One and Only .
You answered your own question. While not impossible...it is more difficult to grow acros in a young tank when you start out with dry rock and bottled bacteria. The ocean is the most diverse ecosystem on the planet and it's not going to be found in a bottle.

My 5g was started around the same time but with KPA live rock and is growing some coralline and a variety of easier SPS since the end of the cycle at 3 weeks.

The KPA live rock is full of life from sponges to tunicates and filtering worms... coralline and tons of bacteria and plankton and I am sure it is the backbone to my pico's success.
 
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dustinc

dustinc

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Did you “seed” you tank. I was also not growing coralline until i scraped a shell that had it with my finger and saw the “dust” come off. My rock now has a lot of specs growing. Acros should encrust first before you start seeing growth upward. Whats your phos and nitrate at?
I have seeded the tank twice with the Purple and Pink Helix (once 2 months ago and once 2 weeks ago). I’ve also added several trochus snails with coralline on their shells and several frag plugs with coralline. The color faded on the frag plugs with coralline as well. My phos is at .15 and nitrate I haven’t checked in a while.
 
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dustinc

dustinc

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I hope your pH as measured by calibrated pH probe is wrong so buy inexpensive pH high test kit and get second opinion on pH as that is way too low for marine tank.

regarding coralline algae as measure or stability of tank yes good measure but after you seed could still take couple months to take hold.

get pH stable then seen tank with coralline algae.
I definitely agree. I’t very strange. I’ve had the pH on the probe drop to 7.58 before, but not sure how that’s even possible with Alk/Calc being in acceptable ranges. I also do weekly 10% water changes as well.
 
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dustinc

dustinc

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Staring with dry rock tends to make it harder to get a tank established. I would recommend adding some live rock to seed the tank. Once coralline algae is in the tank and spreading the tank is ready for stony corals
I understand this and have always used live rock in the past, but this is my first bare bottom and dry rock tank. I setup going directly by the WWC/BRS hybrid directions.
 
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dustinc

dustinc

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hi ,pic's would help,esp. arco's,check ph at same time of day every time ,params are good,phosphate will stop coralline growth,should be seeing on bare bottom by now,ph?? which to believe??lil change normal,with your #'s ph should be in 8.15 at peak in middle of light cycle..i would recalibrate ,high/low/high ..7 and 4 ,n check po4 ;)
Phosphate at .15. I just recalibrated a few days ago. That’s been the frustrating part.
 
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dustinc

dustinc

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You answered your own question. While not impossible...it is more difficult to grow acros in a young tank when you start out with dry rock and bottled bacteria. The ocean is the most diverse ecosystem on the planet and it's not going to be found in a bottle.

My 5g was started around the same time but with KPA live rock and is growing some coralline and a variety of easier SPS since the end of the cycle at 3 weeks.

The KPA live rock is full of life from sponges to tunicates and filtering worms... coralline and tons of bacteria and plankton and I am sure it is the backbone to my pico's success.
I definitely understand that the tank is still in baby stages and live rock is a much better source of diversity. I went step by step with the BRS/WWC hybrid method and they state at about the 4 month mark it should be ready for acros. I’m at 5. I understand also that every tank is different, but just want to get a grasp on what to look for as well.
 

Shinister

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I have seeded the tank twice with the Purple and Pink Helix (once 2 months ago and once 2 weeks ago). I’ve also added several trochus snails with coralline on their shells and several frag plugs with coralline. The color faded on the frag plugs with coralline as well. My phos is at .15 and nitrate I haven’t checked in a while.
It took my tank about 4 months to see spots on the back glass and i started with live rock. I had the same issue with my ph readings. It read 7.9 when my Red Sea ph test kit read 8.1. I bought a Hanna Ph tester and it was 7.9. Not sure if this makes a different but I calibrate my ph probe with tc on and manual calibration.
 

92Miata

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I have seeded the tank twice with the Purple and Pink Helix (once 2 months ago and once 2 weeks ago). I’ve also added several trochus snails with coralline on their shells and several frag plugs with coralline. The color faded on the frag plugs with coralline as well. My phos is at .15 and nitrate I haven’t checked in a while.

My new tank went up right around May 10th with *all dry rock (one 2lb or so piece of live - and its 15 year old marco rock that was sitting in a box, and then put in my rain barrel a couple months ago - maybe that sucked out some phosphate) . I added half a bottle of ARC pink and half a bottle of ARC purple on about June 1. My back panel is significantly covered with 1cm corraline spots at this point.

The other half of those bottles went into my wife's tank. Hers has been up since the beginning of the year, and still has very little corraline coverage. The major difference between our tanks is I'm running barebottom and have significantly higher flow (and correspondingly significantly lower phosphates/nitrates) - same tank, same skimmer. I have more light. Her tank has a bunch of healthy fish, btas, etc, so its not a "tank is in bad shape" thing.

I noticed significant spotting when my phosphates started getting down into the <.1 ppm range. I think higher phosphates significantly slow coralline growth.

Edit: I had some alk issues early on because of a bad box of salt (also like 15 years old) - so my alk has come up from about 5.6 to 8.4 over that same month where phosphates dropped from .35 to .08. So, may also be driven by that.
 
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dustinc

dustinc

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My new tank went up right around May 10th with *all dry rock (one 2lb or so piece of live - and its 15 year old marco rock that was sitting in a box, and then put in my rain barrel a couple months ago - maybe that sucked out some phosphate) . I added half a bottle of ARC pink and half a bottle of ARC purple on about June 1. My back panel is significantly covered with 1cm corraline spots at this point.

The other half of those bottles went into my wife's tank. Hers has been up since the beginning of the year, and still has very little corraline coverage. The major difference between our tanks is I'm running barebottom and have significantly higher flow (and correspondingly significantly lower phosphates/nitrates) - same tank, same skimmer. I have more light. Her tank has a bunch of healthy fish, btas, etc, so its not a "tank is in bad shape" thing.

I noticed significant spotting when my phosphates started getting down into the <.1 ppm range. I think higher phosphates significantly slow coralline growth.

Edit: I had some alk issues early on because of a bad box of salt (also like 15 years old) - so my alk has come up from about 5.6 to 8.4 over that same month where phosphates dropped from .35 to .08. So, may also be driven by that.
That’s all understandable. That’s what is so weird to me. My tank is bare bottom and I’m running 4 MP40s in the setup and they are churning some water. Have added 4 total bottles of the coralline and literally cannot find a spot except what came in on the frag plug.
 

Tamberav

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I definitely understand that the tank is still in baby stages and live rock is a much better source of diversity. I went step by step with the BRS/WWC hybrid method and they state at about the 4 month mark it should be ready for acros. I’m at 5. I understand also that every tank is different, but just want to get a grasp on what to look for as well.
Acros? The video of theirs I pulled up says to add tester corals of softies/LPS and SPS at that mark.

 
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