Zoa's are dying and don't know why

Griepp06

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so I introduced my first zoa frag from a local store and was given 1 more by a local club member 4 and 3 weeks ago. they just look they are melting away day by day. 3 weeks ago I was given a green rhodactis frag as well by a different club member and that has already disintegrated so much one day there was nothing on the frag rock. I don't want to get any more over fear that I am just killing them. My tank is a 38 gallon with 20 lbs. black Hawaii live sand and 3 lbs. of live rock from LFS and 26 lbs. of dry rock from LFS. Tank has been up since June 1st and had a major nitrate spike up to 100 PPM a few weeks ago after adding the live rock since I didn't know I needed to clean it or anything like that. got that under control now. there are 4 fish, 3 hermits, and 3 small snails in there currently. I am running 2 30" T5 non HO. 1 is blue the other is white for 8 hours a day 2 hours in the morning and 6 hours in the afternoon/evening then the HOB fuge light turns on for 8 hours over night. I have a HOB skimmer and a HOB filter that has Chemi-pure elite in it for phosphate and nitrate control as there is no room for a sump and HOB is more familiar to me. Been getting my RODI and saltwater at LFS weekly for top offs and weekly 5 gallon water change. PH is at 7.8, salinity is at 1.025, alkalinity is at 9.5, calcium is at 562, phosphate is .38, nitrate is at 12.8.will add pictures of how bad they look later on but any ideas what I have been doing wrong? feel free to ask any questions that I didn't think to answer already
 
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Griepp06

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the tank is 36" the T5 light bar is 30" and it is 8-10" above the water so and I don't know what the actual par is. I want to rent a par meter from LFS to find out. I just started dosing .15 ml of vodka every night that started on Wednesday to get nitrate under control and doing a water change tonight. is calcium being that high an issue?
 
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Griepp06

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Griepp06

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these are the pictures of the 2 Zoa's that i was talking about and my tank as a whole. the other frags i was given from the local club are not looking as bad but i guarantee they aren't exactly thriving if i cant keep simple Zoa's alive.
 

A2dahlberg

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I'm a noob but from my tank EVO 13.5 it looks like the tank isn't cycled yet. Your rocks are so nice and white. From my experience once you start growing anything in the tank algae wise that's when I started putting in my corals. I have about 28 corals all together and always looking for easy simple corals to add. That and the lights might be a little strong for them, if they are the Zoas (at least mine did) turned inside out. Like an umbrella. Just my 2 cents.
 

Nate Chalk

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I'm a noob but from my tank EVO 13.5 it looks like the tank isn't cycled yet. Your rocks are so nice and white. From my experience once you start growing anything in the tank algae wise that's when I started putting in my corals. I have about 28 corals all together and always looking for easy simple corals to add. That and the lights might be a little strong for them, if they are the Zoas (at least mine did) turned inside out. Like an umbrella. Just my 2 cents.
Agree here. I think your tank needs to mature a little. How did you approach cycling?
 

A2dahlberg

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So my tank went from white, to brown, then to green. I put my first corals in between brown and green. Then I got a bright idea that I wanted to replace a few big rocks, so now 1/2 my tank is back to green. I would take the rocks out and scrub the crap out of them and put them back in. I did that for about 6 months. Just keep with it don't let these coral dying discourage you and do thing slow, like super slow.
 
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MarshallB

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Tank is new, you will go through ups and downs that first year. Phosphate is high if its .3+. Don't stress too much about the nitrate unless it jumps up to 100ppm again.

As far as the frags, put them on the sand and the lowest point possible. They look pretty high up, it could be as simple as getting blasted with too much light too soon.
 

MaxTremors

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A couple things I would suggest. First, your light schedule shouldn’t be broken up like that. You need to run a solid photo period. I would personally run a 12 on/12 off schedule with your fuge light running on the same, but opposite, time schedule (12/12). I also wonder if your lights are adequate for corals, but that’s not the cause of you’re current issues.

As far as your parameters, your calcium is a little high (are you dosing anything?) and your phosphates are fairly high. Again, I wouldn’t expect either to be the cause of your issues. Have you kept a log of all of your test results? And if so, besides your nitrates, have they been fairly stable (specifically your phos and alk)?

A couple other questions. Have you added any additives whatsoever to your tank? Was the tank and filtration new or used, and have any medications (specifically any copper based) ever been used in the tank? Are there any kids that could’ve put anything in the tank? The reason I ask is that it’s highly unusual that with the parameters you listed that corals are melting. Corals don’t really care about whether a tank is cycled or not, I started a new tank in Jan and had a few hardy corals in it from day one (way before any fish or CuC). I don’t recommend people do this, but my point is that there is no truth that you need to wait 3-6 months to add corals if you can keep your parameters somewhat stable.

There is a reason you’re not having success and from the info you’ve provided I don’t see anything that really stands out as the obvious reason. Your parameters aren’t great, but they’re not horrible, certainly not bad enough to be melting mushrooms or zoanthids. Think hard about anything you may have added or introduced to the tank, or any possibility of contamination. Also, what kind of fish are in it and how long have they been in there? If no other possible cause can be found, I would recommend getting an ICP test.
 
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Griepp06

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@MaxTremors in the first week I put some ich treatment in the tank but stopped that after 2 days since the original clown died and that has been the only medication that ever went in the tank. Don’t have kids so nobody small to throw things in there. I started dosing all-for-reef then realized my calcium was getting pretty high but I only doses 1/4 of an oz/day for 4 days and that ended 2 weeks ago. I keep track of all the parameters I mentioned on Aquarimate and it gives me a graph and with the exception of that 100ppm spoke on nitrate it’s essentially flat lined on everything.
 
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MaxTremors

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@MaxTremors in the first week I put some ich treatment in the tank but stopped that after 2 days since the original clown died and that has been the only medication that ever went in the tank. Don’t have kids so nobody small to throw things in there. I started dosing all-for-reef then realized my calcium was getting pretty high but I only doses 1/4 of an oz/day for 4 days and that ended 2 weeks ago. I keep track of all the parameters I mentioned on Aquarimate and it gives me a graph and with the exception of that 100ppm spoke on nitrate it’s essentially flat lined on everything.
What Ich treatment did you use and does it contain copper. This is likely the source of your problems. There are some products that will absorb (cuprisorb), but I don’t know that they are fully effective. I would run that after doing a 100% water change (put any fish in a bucket, change all water and then add the fish back). It may be that even this doesn’t get all of it out, in which case you may need to get rid of your rock and sand and start from scratch (or just not keep inverts), but I would try the water change and cuprisorb first (after doing this try another cheap frag and see what it does before taking the drastic step of starting over). Unfortunately a lot of fish medications don’t make it 100% clear that the product is deadly to corals and inverts and that it can be difficult if not impossible to completely remove. I’m hoping that since you only used one dose that you’ll be able to get it out (or at least get the levels low enough) and be won’t have to start over. I would suggest getting a copper test kit (again assuming the medication contains copper) so you know how effective the removal process is.
 

MixedFruitBasket

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Melafix is made from Melaleuca leucadendra, weeping paper bark trees not tea trees. It does have toxicity I just don’t know what it’s affects are on coral.
 

MaxTremors

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@MaxTremors i used API’s melafix which from everything I am finding on the bottle and on their website is derived from Tea trees and has no copper. I’ll still do a copper test just to be safe.
That is good that it did not contain copper. But, as stated by @MixedFruitBasket that medication can be toxic. IMO, there is no such thing a reef safe medication for fish parasites, you never want to use any of these medications in your display tank. If you want to treat a fish, put them in quarantine. It might be a good idea to quarantine all fish going forward. I think your course of action should still be a 100% water change, and if that doesn’t clear things up (try a cheap frag after the WC), then order an ICP test.
 
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