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downhill_biker View Drop Down
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    Posted: October 21 2010 at 2:33pm
Alright...I am calling on all brains to help figure out my tank's problem.

Around the time of the Reef Tour my tank started to decline. At first it was a blue carpet anemone, then corals, and it has progressively been getting worse. At this point I have about 3 corals alive in my tank...out of over a hundred...

Here is what I know:

Temp has been stable, at 78 degrees. My controller and glass thermo both agree on this. Temp hasn't varied more than a quarter of a degree.

Salinity is 1.025. I have checked with hydrometer and refractometer both.

pH has been between 7.8 and 8.25.

You can see history here:
http://www.reeftronics.net/curtis-j/rke-history

You may notice that temp dropped off yesterday, that is because I was cleaning the sump and probe was in a cup of water.

Ca: 440-480
dKH: 10-12
Mg: 1500
Ammonia: 0
Nitrates: 0
Copper: 0

Other than that nothing has changed. No algae blooms, no bacterial blooms. I am just so confused. Last night I took all the sand out of my sump just because that was the only thing I could think of.

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Ryan Thompson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ryan Thompson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 2:57pm
I'm guessing here but here are some ideas.

Number 1, fish. I blame fish for a lot of issues when parameters are in good condition. Especially algae eating fish.

Number 2, I think your magnesium too high personally. I don't like to see mine north of 1400. 1300 to 1350 is where I keep mine. What are you dosing for magnesium?

What salt is being used?

I will post more later when I can
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aquaristnewbie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 2:57pm
What livestock do you have in there?  I am sure you know what may or may not eat corals but maybe something was munching down on them and you just never caught the culprit.  Unlikely but just a thought.
55 gallon fresh
14 gallon biocube reef
Millcreek Utah

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 4:36pm
My first thought is to ask if you do anything to reduce PO4?

How do the coral die?

How long has the tank been going and do you have a pic somewhere?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote downhill_biker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 5:22pm
Good questions here.

First I dont think it is fish, I have had coral dying in my display tank upstairs and also my frag tank downstairs. Both are in the same system, so share common water, but not common lighting or inhabitants. That also kindof rules out a worm or other parasite that could be killing them.

I should clearify that I am having all types of corals dye. Acans, SPS, Welsos, zoas, frogspawn, hammers, duncans, ect. I have checked several times for parasites such as flat worms or red bugs and found nothing. I also don't think that they would all be dying.

With the LPS the corals are kindof recessing tissue and eventually dying off. This is the normal way I have seen them dye. With the SPS there was several ways they died...pretty much every way possible...Some would RTN (very few), some would bleach out then drop off tissue, and some would lose tissue starting from the tips.

Magnesium "could" be the issue, but honestly I have kept it this high for a very long time and it has been very good for my tank. Many others keep it this high...Like Tyree, Jared Butler, Marine Aquatics. It is said to help reduce the rate at which coralline grows, and since coralline takes in calcium at something like 3x faster than coral, it helps reduce the ammount of supplementation.

I am using Instant Ocean Salt. I switched after things started to go downhill. Months after. I was using Reef Crystals before. The Reef Crystals were a good batch, I know that since I was using the 10 buckets I bought for the last year and a half.

I have several things to reduce PO4. My filtration system until last night had a 100g deep sand bed, refugeum with cheato, grape calerpa, feather calerpa, and mangroves. Reverse lighting of display tank. I also use filter socks (changed daily), carbon reactor, and purigen in a large reactor.

The tank has been set up for just over a year, here is a pic, although I haven't taken any recent ones. Mike Savage has the most recent, he took them at Reef Tour.



I should also include that about 2 months ago I lost the bluejaw trigger and the chevron tang, about 3 weeks apart.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ryan Thompson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 6:09pm
Did you change lighting at all? I mean ANY tweaks of any kind?

Electricity is another thing I'm thinking right now. Especially since a tang died
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote downhill_biker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 6:14pm
Originally posted by Ryan Thompson Ryan Thompson wrote:

Did you change lighting at all? I mean ANY tweaks of any kind?

Electricity is another thing I'm thinking right now. Especially since a tang died


Nope. I thought maybe the bulbs were old, but I had corals dying in both tanks, upstairs and downstairs and the ones downstairs were fairly new. I replaced the bulbs unpstairs a couple days ago.

Stray voltage...last night when I was taking out the sand bed and doing water change I kept getting the crud shocked out of me. I checked voltage and it was around 19v and would spike up to 45v at some times. But...now there is none. I think I got something wet that shouldn't have been. I am getting a 0 reading no matter how I try. I also have grounding probe.

All thoughts are welcome. I just want to figure this out so I can have corals again, FOWLR tanks suck...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ryan Thompson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 6:20pm
When did you install the grounding probe? I'm still betting stray electricity. Especially if a grounding probe is used. I've read too many horror stories with grounding probes. You have now completed the circuit and made it so the electricity has somewhere to go.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote downhill_biker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 6:23pm
Really? I have had the grounding probe the entire time I have had the tank setup. I have heard lots of debate on grounding probes, but I thought the general consensus was that they were good. I have had it the whole time, but electricity may have started leaking recently. It may be grounding now, through the probe, but last night when I was barefoot in a puddle of water I may have been a better curcuit than the probe...This is something to look into. Can you link me to any info that would suggest against the grounding probe?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ryan Thompson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 6:43pm
I don't have any links. Just search reefcentral. I'm not an expert on the subject by any means
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote downhill_biker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 6:48pm
I will see what I come up with. I will look more into it and when I get time I will test the voltage without the grounding probe. I will find out what is making the voltage...if anything....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SGH360 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 8:10pm
Any thing drop by accident on the tank? some sort of chemical? it can happen specially when cleaning the house using cleaning supplies near the tank
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nick801 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 8:43pm
When your ready for some frags I'll hook you up with some for free =)

you've always been great to deal with so I'll return the favor
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote badfinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 9:11pm
I was thinking stray voltage too.. but ya curtis, hit me up when you need some frags
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CapnMorgan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 9:13pm
I also have plenty to get you started again, including the stuff I got from you!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote downhill_biker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 9:38pm
Thanks guys!!! You are amazing for sure. I love the people in this club.

As far as dropping a chemical in the tank...Yes, this could have happened, for sure, but it wouldn't stay in there for months on end. My corals would die overnight and not take weeks to die...at least as far as what I've seen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jwoo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 9:43pm
Are you using any airborne cleaners? Fragrances? Even in the next room over? Maybe those air fresheners that spray stuff into the air every 2 hours or so?

None at the moment
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote downhill_biker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2010 at 10:57pm
No not using any automatic air fresheners or anything like that. Good thought though. Once the Oregon game (they are handing UCLA their arses) I will check the voltage issue.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote downhill_biker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 22 2010 at 12:18am
So, turns out I two grounding probes, neither are in my tank.

I tested voltage, got a 0 reading.
I realized my carbon reactor pump wasn't put back in the tank after cleaning sump last night. So i plugged that in and set it in the water, and it shocked the crap out of me. I left it on, in the water, and tested, got a 0v reading. Pulled it out of the water and tested directly on the pump and got 50v. Anyone know what is going on here? As of now that pump is definitely not in the water, or plugged in.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 22 2010 at 8:01am
I don't completely understand the explanation but the usual problem is a break in the insulation on the wire where it goes into the pump.

If the water is grounded anywhere in the system, the voltmeter will always register zero volts and you will not feel a shock. The water can also become grounded if a ground wire to anything in the water is able to have contact to the water through a crack in the insulation.

If the water is grounded, perhaps only when you remove that "broken" wet pump from the water while it's plugged in, it will zap you, especially if you are touching something that leads to ground. Standing barefoot or kneeling in a puddle of water or on wet carpet is the best way to feel the buzzzzz.LOL

Normal ground voltage is 10-40 VAC. Not DC(direct current), but AC(alternating current) In this situation, the way I would check for ground voltage would be to unplug everything that has any chance of touching the water. Then, with someone watching the voltmeter for any change, I would plug in each item to see if one of those items is the culprit.

Since you have had two grounding probes, I doubt it is stray voltage if there is any. Electricity takes the most direct route from the broken wire to the grounding probe which is typically in the sump as well, so it's not like it was electrocuting coral or fish. Ouch (FYI, to do the job properly a grounding probe MUST be used with a GFCI.)

So you are not using any Phosphate remover of any kind?
How long have you used the Carbon Reactor?
How often is AC(activated carbon) being used in this tank? What brand?
How long have you been using Purigen? Do you recharge and reuse it?


Edited by Mark Peterson - October 22 2010 at 8:04am
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