Zach's 120 Gallon Reef Resurgence - SPS/Mixed Reef - Build Journal

Discussion in 'Member Tanks' started by zachxlutz, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Quick photo for you guys... This Pink Sand Dollar Porites has had some serious growth and polyp extension lately!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017

  2. mdbannister

    mdbannister Ahh...the Reef Life Staff Member Team R2R R2R Excellence Award SCMAS Member Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    That looks happy!
     
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  3. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Quick and dirty FTS:

    [​IMG]

    Things are looking MUCH better lately.

    DINO BATTLE: The dinoflagellates have all but faded and fade more and more every day, although a few patches of cyano have popped up but seem to come and go... Not a problem for now. The NO3 and PO4 levels are, fingers crossed, starting to hold steady at 2-5 ppm and .06-.07. I'll have to dose, I'm sure, but the tank is starting to find equilibrium.

    CORAL: I mounted up a few of the frags that were still on the frag rack a few days ago. Pretty happy with the coral placement so far. NEED MORE! The corals are all looking happy with color and polyp extension returning after our battle with the dinos.

    DOSING: I've been dosing 40 ml live phytoplankton daily along with 4 ml of Acropower. Nothing else is going in the tank but food at this point. The coral are clearly growing, it's evident but the system just isn't using any appreciable amount of alkalinity or calcium. Still holding off for the alk to drop below 8 to start dosing.

    LIGHTING: After watching a few of the new @Bulk Reef Supply videos and doing some more research, I decided that I would raise up the T5 fixture, as I feel like I was blasting too much PAR into the tank with my nutrient levels and it lowered my PAR readings from 500+ at the top of the liverock to around 300-400.

    REFUGIUM: Growing macros like wildfire. Pods, worms, snails and all sorts of life shows up more and more. Everytime I look in the fuge (nightly... it's fun!) I see something new.
     
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  4. mdbannister

    mdbannister Ahh...the Reef Life Staff Member Team R2R R2R Excellence Award SCMAS Member Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Looks good! Stuff is growin'!
     
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  5. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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  6. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Does your system have a "copepod reactor"? Mine does!

    [​IMG]

    http://i.imgur.com/WyTlqcU.gif - Not sure how to post a .gif file on here to see.

    I haven't been running any GFO in this reactor, but it's been kept online with water slowly flowing through it and it's filled to the brim with copepods! It pulls from the manifold leaving the return and dumps back into the refugium... Really neat to see!
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
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  7. codydemmel4

    codydemmel4 Well-Known Member

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    how is everything going and how is the dino battle?
     
  8. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Yikes. It's been a while...

    Things are looking good-ish. Last night, I had an OCD moment, well... an OCD couple of hours and got things looking a bit better.

    08/15/2107 FTS:
    [​IMG]

    The dino problem is pretty much gone, a little cyano here and there and some brownish slime that coats the overflow boxes, etc. I've been manually removing it and keeping the rocks somewhat blown off. None of the algae issues are affecting corals at the moment.

    I've got a serious red wiry hair algae problem though. It's spreading and I'm hoping that my latest fish addition will solve it. I've got a Kole Tang and a Diamond Goby in QT for about 2.5 more weeks. I'm hoping that adding these two fish will help keep the rockwork free of algae and the sandbed turned over and shimmering white. We'll see.

    I finally brought alkalinity and calcium dosing back online (07/15/2017) at the daily rate of .2 dkH alkalinity and 1.39 ppm calcium. Parameters are holding steady at 8 dkH/430 ppm.

    Growth seems fair. Coloration seems fair. It's mostly apparent in photos, which I should take more of.

    We're approaching the 1 year mark! I'll have to put together a photo essay and one year review soon!
     
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  9. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I finally broke down and tested the nitrates and phosphates. I hadn't tested or dosed KNO3/PO4 in about 2 weeks because I thought I had found equilibrium and was letting the tank handle it's own nutrients. The film on the glass had all but stopped in the last few days so I knew I was due to check.

    PO4: 25 ppb/ .077 ppm (Hanna ULR) - A little higher than I was expecting, but no action needed.
    NO3: 0 (Red Sea Pro Nitrate) - This had the tiniest hint of pink, but not enough to register on the scale. Lower than I want.

    I dosed 23 ml of KNO3 to bring the NO3 up to 4.97 ppm. I think this should help bring the PO4 levels down a bit as the tank consumes the added NO3. I was a bit hesitant to dose, given the nuisance algae growth in the tank. I'll monitor the apparent growth of the algae and decide if I want to continue dosing KNO3 again. I'd really like to move away from dosing inorganic nutrients to the tank. I'm hoping the new tang will help alleviate the algae and add a bit to the bio-load.

    I've also been doing a 5 gallon water change every other day for the past few days in an effort to cycle out some of the old tank water without doing massive water changes. I'm going to do a big water change this weekend and then continue the 5 gallons every other day for a while. I've been a bit slack on water changes throughout the tank's life, especially when I was dosing the Red Sea trace elements. I'd like to get it on a more consistent water change schedule now and see how that works. I'm sure it's the way to go, most great tanks I see stick to a strict water change schedule.
     
  10. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Calling @mcarroll and others!!!

    Still struggling with what appears to be dinos amongst other things... ugh.

    Dinos on the live rock, sand bed, etc:
    [​IMG]

    I brought the phosphate levels up for several weeks by dosing Activate (phosphorus) to a goal of 0.10 from 6/16/17 - 7/13/17. This seemed to solve the dino problem and after I stopped dosing I was able to see that the phosphates were sticking around in the water for longer and longer. I let things get a little slack as I saw other algae patches pop up, namely green hair algae and red wiry turf algae (Gelidium?).

    Knowing that the goal of this experiment was to add to the biodiversity of the tank and allow the dinos to be outcompeted, I thought I had reached an equilibrium. I didn't want to continue dosing KNO3/PO4 to the system as the green and red algaes were beginning to grow a little quick for my liking.

    Gelidium? + spots of dino, etc:
    [​IMG]

    GHA/Gelidium/Dinos:
    [​IMG]

    I started religiously testing the nutrients again and what do you know... the NO3 levels had bottomed to nothing, zilch, zero. The PO4 levels had held steady at .05-.1. I began dosing KNO3 again and targeting 5-10 ppm. A few days of this and the dosing brought my PO4 levels down again. Basically... I'm back to dosing both KNO3 and PO4 to the tank, I've got dinos, green hair algae and red wiry turf algae.

    UGH.

    I've got a Kole Tang and a Diamond Goby ready to enter the tank in about 2 weeks, I'm hoping the tang will help with the GHA/Gelidium but at this point, I'm really not positive anything is going to get this tank pristine and clean!
     
  11. mcarroll

    mcarroll Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    0.10 ppm PO4 ought to be your minimum (≥ 0.10 ppm) until this is all a distant memory. That level has proven to suppress any blooming tendency they have.

    The good thing is that there's nothing wrong with levels that high! :) You just have to mange NO3 and PO4 more like you manage alkalinity – keep minimum levels in mind that you dose up from vs trying to suppress levels of either one.

    Once the recovery is back under way, and as long as you take your time with increases, you can raise feeding rates until dosing won't matter as much and maybe you could even stop. (feeding rates ≠ feeding quantity) Automating some of your feeding would be a great idea to maximize stability by spreading feedings out throughout the day. Again, this is not intended to increase overall feeding....let an auto-feeder do part of what you're doing already. If you do want to increase the total quantity of food going in, do it as gradually as you can.

    I'd want a nice crop of algae – real, healthy, fuzzy green algae!!!! :) – growing before I worried about cutting off the P and N supply though. Try to let your CUC do most of the management....well-fed algae should be very edible. :) :)
     
  12. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Thanks @mcarroll

    Welp, we're back on the dosing train! FULL STEAM AHEAD!

    After dosing nitrate back up from 0 on 08/15, I've had to dose up the phosphate as well. As soon as I dosed the nitrates back into the system after bottoming out, the phosphate was being quickly used up. Last night I checked and it was 0.0 aka zilch on my Hanna ULR. I've dosed it up to .1 daily to every other day since 08/17. I'm not sure if I'm seeing results yet but I'm going to keep it up... The tank obviously needs the nutrients.

    I'll increase the feeding schedule on the eheim a bit, again.

    Oh... don't worry there is a crop of algae popping up but I'm afraid it's going to be a nightmare to remove once the dinos are gone. It's red wiry algae. If the Kole tang doesn't eat it, I'll explore a sea hare and/or a tuxedo urchin. If it's not one thing, it's another!
     
  13. mcarroll

    mcarroll Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    @zachxlutz as long as you can continue daily testing, I would add 1 mL onto your dose every day until you come back to test and get 0.10 ppm. No dose needed. Then scale back to a maintenance dose the next day, according to whatever test results dictate.
     
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  14. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    That sounds like a great plan to keep my nutrients from dropping too quickly. Thanks... I'll report back. Just did my first maintenance dose! Not sure I'm seeing any benefits from the dosing yet but it's only been 6 days. I feel like the dinos died back quicker than this last time. Hm.
     
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  15. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    While we deal with this dino issue, I've been thinking about the last few fish to pick up and add to the tank... Here we go:

    Current Fish List:

    2x Wyoming White Clowns
    3x Bartlett's Anthias
    1x Magnificent Foxface Rabbitfish (biggest fish in the tank)
    1x Bluestripe Fairy Wrasse (Temminckii "Threadfin")
    2x Leopard Wrasse (one male, one female)
    1x Kole Tang (in QT for 1 more week)
    1x Diamond Goby (in QT for 1 more week)

    Future Fish:
    1x Yellow Clown Goby (cute! possibly concerned about polyp nipping though)
    2-3x Pajama Cardinals (I'd enjoy watching them breed)
    2-3x Firefish (looking for some more smaller fish to fill in the gaps)
    1x Tailspot Blenny (or similar blenny-type algae grazer)
    1x Yellow Tang (or similar tang that would work with the existing Kole tang)

    Total fish:
    18-20

    What do you guys think of my future fish stocking plans? Thoughts? Changes?
     
  16. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Dinos under a microscope!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I've posted in another thread to find the ID. I'm hoping the nutrient control regime works on this strain.
     
  17. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I've been continuing to blow the dinos off the rocks and sand off whenever possible. I'm not sure if I'm really making any progress yet though. I've dosed 21.1 ml (.81 ppm!) of phosphorus in the last 11 days and every day I check the phosphates the levels are between 0 ppb and 12 ppb (0.00-0.037). I've been upping my dose each time but keep coming back to super low phosphates! I can't believe how nutrient limited my tank is! Should I pull more of the macros out of the refugium? I hesitate to remove it for some reason. There is a lot of room left to grow in the refugium area... I don't think the macros are limited by anything but nutrients. My pH has been rising considerably in the last few days... leading me to believe that the additional nutrients are increasing photosynthesis in the tank thus raising the pH. I'll continue to report in.

    On another note, I picked up a Neptune ATK ATO kit to replace my cobbled together DIY ATO solution. Very nice piece of kit and it's working very well so far. I want to pick up one more float switch to install in my ATO bucket to automatically shut off the ATO and notify me when it's time to refill.

    Equipment Cabinet:
    [​IMG]

    Neptune/Jebao/Skimz Controllers:
    [​IMG]

    ATK in the sump:
    [​IMG]

    Right side of sump, showing all dosing equipment and containers:
    [​IMG]
     
  18. mcarroll

    mcarroll Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    It takes a boatload of N and P to break down the leftover detritus from old dino cells!!! :)

    Gravel vacuuming during a water change should help by directly removing at least some of the dead dino's.

    Otherwise, keep upping the dose until you see signs that most of that detritus is broken down. (Either your macro will start growing (faster) or you'll notice N and/or P start to accumulate.)

    Personally I'd take out the macro until the nutrient situation feels more under control. At this point it's working against you more that it's helping. (A short term maneuver.)
     
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  19. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Again, thanks!

    I've been working on blowing the dinos off of everything including the sand, rocks, powerheads and overflows. It seems like when I blow things off my foxface is swimming around eating the debris blowing around in the water... Hopefully, this is a sign that the dinos are losing toxicity and becoming palatable? I double checked the phosphate last night after I dosed and it actually came up to 0.43ppm. This was a few hours after I dosed. I didn't check nitrate at the time, but I'm wondering if it has bottomed out as well, it's been two days since I've tested. I'll check that tonight and double check my phosphate numbers... I'm really hoping I've gotten to the point where phosphate isn't dropping to zero within 24 hours, as it previously has.
     
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  20. mcarroll

    mcarroll Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    .43 ppm does seem high, but as long as you see it being used up the way you have been seeing it and there are no ill effects in the tank just keep on going and try not to worry about the particular number it's hitting. (Good to know for general purposes though – I'm glad you tested it!!)

    There's nothing wrong with holding the dose where it is for a day or few just to monitor if you don't want to take your dose higher for a little while, or you can keep increasing if it's still returning to zero. Either way. :)
     
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