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What am I missing???

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jsol12 View Drop Down
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    Posted: September 28 2015 at 12:00pm
Ok, I have gotten really frustrated. My tank is about 6 months old now, the fish are doing fine, but the corals are another story.  I've had some zoas and palys that have done fine, blastos and a duncan that are ok but haven't really grown and color has faded a bit.  I've killed any SPS that I've tried, and most of the LPS I've tried lately, including a hammer and kryptonite candy.  I have 10 T5's that were new with the tank.  I started with a mix of live and dry rock, live sand, and a refugium with rubble and chaeto.  My temp has spiked to 80-82 a couple times when I haven't gotten the fan on early enough..I have since got the heater on backup and just run the fan all the time.  I think water parameters have for the most part stabled out; yesterday's results: SG 1.025, pH 8.2, phos 0, nitrate 0, Mg 1400, Ca 400, KH 9.2.  I feed frozen food daily, and recently got Benepets reef food too.  So, what in the crap am I missing that I can't keep stuff alive??? I want to add to my sparse tank but don't want to throw any more money away.
150gal/25gal sump Red Sea Max S650, started 3/28/15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hogie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 28 2015 at 12:42pm
6 months is fairly young in the salt world. From my experience, a tank starting from dry rock is harder and takes a little longer to stabilize so that SPS like them (particularly with Alk) until it's about a yr old although it can be done. 6 months is normally when things start to flatten out so by a yr it's good.

How deep and what size is the tank? I don't see a problem with the lights (you say your bulbs are 6 months old?) Also, what's your bio load? How many fish in the tank?

Above 80 degrees is pretty warm and can kill SPS and LPS as well. For sure want to get that flattened out and brought down. A fan is a good idea. (I have a fan on one of my tanks as well that is combo halide T5. I found that if I run the fan all the time, when the lights are off, it drops the temperature down low enough that the heater turns on. So, if I only run the fan when the light is on, the heater doesn't come on and it saves on electricity and saves $$ yet my temp says between 76 and 78.5)


If you really want to do SPS (and let's be honest, I for sure would too!) I would try starting with some of the harder ones. Orange Digi, birdsnest, moni cap, etc. They're a little hardier than some of the others and once they're doing good, move to some of the others.



Edited by Hogie - September 28 2015 at 12:54pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aceofspadeskb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 28 2015 at 12:47pm
Do you have any algae growing in the tank?  If not, a phosphate reading of zero is actually a bad thing and will definitely take its toll on LPS corals.  How well does your chaeto grow?

Also, is this your first tank?  If so, I'd recommend against a mixed LPS/SPS tank.  Experienced hobbyists can pull it off, newbs(like me) can't.  You're basically toeing a line between not too much nutrients(SPS) and not too little(LPS).  I ended up killing any SPS I put in the tank and severely limited any LPS growth/color in the process.

Are you running GFO?  I had very similar issues running too much GFO.  How about other equipment?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adam Blundell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 28 2015 at 1:23pm
Pictures?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcoss Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 28 2015 at 2:03pm
Oh dang, so your original stuff is doing somewhat okay but new stuff keeps dying? Long shot, but if so, are you adding your corals all at the bottom to give them time to acclimate to the light. I understand corals all have different light requirements, but I would always start them at the bottom and move them up as they adjust. 

If I were to add a coral right now to my tank, half of it up high and half of it on the floor, the top most coral would likely suffer. I only know LEDs though and have learned that they are super destructive to corals.

Another thought: do you have any fish that enjoy corals, like a not reef safe wrasse? Could be something eating some and could be why other corals are okay.

Lastly, tanks are so unique. I have a tank that is "spot on" with numbers that does okay, another tank that is semi spot on that does better. 

Marcos

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jsol12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 28 2015 at 2:50pm
It's 150 gal, under 2 ft deep and lights are 4 inches from water surface.
Fish so far are:
flame angel (never seen him nipping at anything)
midas blenny
3 green chromis
2 clowns
royal gramma
carpenter flasher wrasse
longnose hawk 
sleeper goby

I don't have any equipment running other than a skimmer.  It's hard to tell on chaeto growth, it's at least the same as when I put it in, maybe a little bigger.

I have been starting the corals at the bottom.  I heard the kryptonite like pretty low light and they were already near the bottom when they were dead/dying so I moved them under a shelf and the 2 heads that are left aren't dead, but they're not recovering either.
150gal/25gal sump Red Sea Max S650, started 3/28/15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcoss Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 28 2015 at 3:01pm
No flow besides a return? Most corals need good flow.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcoss Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 28 2015 at 3:02pm
Also, stray voltage you may not feel will do what are describing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote badfinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 28 2015 at 3:46pm
You should probably check for copper. Also what brand is your light fixture? I have my ATI fixture 12 or so inches from the water and still grow sps on the sandbed
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jsol12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 28 2015 at 4:16pm
My tank is a Red Sea setup.  Sorry for confusion, I do have a return plus 4 flow pumps that are all part of the tank, plus I added one more circulation pump to the tank.
150gal/25gal sump Red Sea Max S650, started 3/28/15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote badfinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 28 2015 at 5:02pm
Those red sea aquariums have some serious light to them, when the aquarium ran the 65gallon version they had 2 of the 6 bulbs turned off just so they can get lps to color.

I would check your copper still, maybe your rock is leaching some.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote badfinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 28 2015 at 5:03pm
What are you dosing? Alk, cal? Aminos?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcoss Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 28 2015 at 5:07pm
Have you compared your test results with other tests? Zero nitrates seems kind of odd to me with daily feeding. Unless you have some sort of reactor or massive amounts of live rock. But your tank is also newer. 

By the way, I am just throwing stuff out it could be. It could be one thing or a combo of things that are creating the perfect storm of coral death. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jsol12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 29 2015 at 9:14pm
I have had someone else test my water with the same results. I got a test for copper today and it was zero. I dose calcium, mag, and alk as needed, and just got some coral vite today for trace elements. Yes the Red Sea lights are a lot, I've been running 6-8 out of the 10.

I can't ever get photos to load because it keeps saying I already loaded one with the same file name.

Today it looks like my blasto isn't doing well, so I'm still at a loss since it seems the only questionable thing now has been temp fluctuations and that has been resolved. What is stray voltage? Argh this is so frustrating!!
150gal/25gal sump Red Sea Max S650, started 3/28/15
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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 01 2015 at 6:48am
PO4 at zero is going to cause issues. It's difficult to keep PO4 at zero but if a product (GFO or AA) was used from the startup of this tank which has continually kept PO4 at zero, I suggest that as a possible cause for the issues.

I doubt that a Red Sea tank so new could have a stray voltage problem. That happens when the electrical wire insulation gets old and cracks, exposing bare wire to the water. If that were happening, all coral and fish would be having problems, not just a select group of animals. To test for stray voltage use a volt meter with one lead connected to ground and the other lead in the water. A reading above 40 volts indicates inappropriate stray voltage.

A pic of the tank is worth a 1000 words. Please keep trying to upload a pic of the tank. Try using a pic from a computer after changing its name. One way to get a phone pic in to your computer is to email it to yourself. I don't know if this helps any.

Something that has not been mentioned by anyone above is the dry rock. Using old, dry rock that was once alive but died when left out of water, can create serious issues that can take a year or more to resolve. It's the dead, decomposing animals, including a ton of bacteria that were growing in LR, even deep in the center of the rock (Live Rock is actually semi-porous), that can later prevent some animals from thriving. The dead rock leaches a mix of pollution into the water which, for reasons not completely understood, irritates many coral animals. The easiest way to resolve the issue is to run the water through a product called Poly Filter by www.poly-bio-marine.com. Replacing the rock with other LR from a healthy tank, or with sterile rock like Utah Rock, Marco Rock, etc. is, of course, another good solution. I'm not saying it's definitely the dead rock (I'd need to see the tank, or at least see a pic of the tank), but this would not be the first time in 20 years that I've found old dead rock to be the reason for the problem.

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Mark  Hug
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lyscer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2015 at 7:59am
a couple more questions:

1. What is your lighting schedule?
2. What are the 4 power heads? Many people recommend 30x-50x turnover in the main tank for SPS.
3. Do you run carbon? Didn't look like it from the info above but wanted to double check.
http://aquarium-pump.com/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcoss Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2015 at 8:59am
I've read a couple of well documented cases that had stray voltage causing death to more sensitive corals, etc., without issues to others.  

Furthermore, a brand new tank could have a manufactures defect and have a frayed wire without ever touching water. Or, a wire could simply be pinched in a door jam, zip tie, etc. and be cut. :) I'm certain that someone has damaged a wire unintentionally. Anything is possible in an aquarium. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jsol12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2015 at 10:56am
Ok, so I guess I'll have to go out and get a volt meter now to continue the detective work!

Powerheads according to the Red Sea site (these numbers mean nothing to me!)
13,600 l/h (3600gph)
main system pump with 4x 2150l/h (570gph) circulation pumps
Then like I said I added another circulation pump that is 3170gph

I do have carbon, it is SeaChem Seagel.  I also tried Prodibio once about a month ago because I was having a bad cyano outbreak that wouldn't go away

I'll keep working on pics
150gal/25gal sump Red Sea Max S650, started 3/28/15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lyscer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2015 at 11:21am
I would say that your flow is good. 36x with just your circulation pumps. How quickly do your SPS die once you add them and what does that process look like?
http://aquarium-pump.com/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bstuver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2015 at 11:46am
You can use photobucket.com to upload pics it works great.
Jackie Stuver

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