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Great growth on all SPS and in a couple weeks dyin

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IronMonkey View Drop Down
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    Posted: July 29 2016 at 8:04pm
Hello all,

My SPS are all having a horrible time all of the sudden. I'm just about to get all new readings on my tests, and I will post them here. I have had a horrible time in the last few weeks and things are getting worse. My SPS that were growing like gang busters are either receding at the base, losing tip flesh or losing all of their flesh overnight. There are some that are not showing issues, but a large number are doing this.

My most recent tests were:

Alk 8.73
Mag 1420
Cal 445
Sal 1.026
Temp 78.2
Phosphate .02

Im running nitrite and phosphate again right now and will post.

I haven't added any new GFO or Carbon in about 1.5 months, and haven't dosed anything for about the last two months. About two months ago I brought a Calcium reactor online. I did have a low alk swing when I was tuning the reactor in for about a week and a half the alk got down to about 7.0. That was 2.5 weeks ago.

I am posting here because I have been just trying to keep everything stable to see if it snaps out of it, but it is getting worse.

Does anyone have any thoughts about what other questions should be asked. What other tests are interesting. Or is there anyone that diagnoses for hire? I'd happily pay for help on this (hourly money or undying friendship LOL).

Thoughts? Questions?

Thanks,
-Adam
Mixed Reef : 210G, Radion XR30Pros, Apex Gold, Vortech MP40QDs, GEO CR818 calc reactor, Apex DOS, Reeflo Dart pump, Vertex Alpha 200 skimmer, XF250 Gyre, twin Tunze nanostream 6095
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcoss Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 29 2016 at 8:26pm
Sorry to hear man! What is your ph (the reactor could be messing it up if it's not tunned right) ? Also- are you using Hannah Checkers?

Ps. I saw you on a delta flight to Seattle a month ago. I was going to say hi but you seemed to be in a rush to sit down. :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IronMonkey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 29 2016 at 8:33pm
PH is sitting at 8.12 at night with lights off and 8.21 during the day.

I canned all the hanna checkers and have been testing with Red Sea and Salifert on each of the tests.

You SHOULD have hollered at me, there was nothing fun in Seattle, was just there for the day for business so seeing a friend would have been much better LOL. I was probably lost in my own world there.
Mixed Reef : 210G, Radion XR30Pros, Apex Gold, Vortech MP40QDs, GEO CR818 calc reactor, Apex DOS, Reeflo Dart pump, Vertex Alpha 200 skimmer, XF250 Gyre, twin Tunze nanostream 6095
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IronMonkey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 29 2016 at 8:35pm
Just got all new readings for today. 


Ca 450
Kh 9.2
Mag 1520
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 5-10ppm
Sal 1.026


Edited by IronMonkey - July 29 2016 at 8:37pm
Mixed Reef : 210G, Radion XR30Pros, Apex Gold, Vortech MP40QDs, GEO CR818 calc reactor, Apex DOS, Reeflo Dart pump, Vertex Alpha 200 skimmer, XF250 Gyre, twin Tunze nanostream 6095
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IronMonkey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 29 2016 at 8:36pm
I keep wondering if my lights are too bright. What is the best way to test for that? The Apogee says about 280 Par near surface and 75 at the bottom of the tank.
Mixed Reef : 210G, Radion XR30Pros, Apex Gold, Vortech MP40QDs, GEO CR818 calc reactor, Apex DOS, Reeflo Dart pump, Vertex Alpha 200 skimmer, XF250 Gyre, twin Tunze nanostream 6095
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IronMonkey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 29 2016 at 8:37pm
Nitrate was higher than I thought originally... color changed to the 5-10ppm range.

There is a chance that the color is actually 10-20 ppm now that I let it sit for longer.


Edited by IronMonkey - July 29 2016 at 8:43pm
Mixed Reef : 210G, Radion XR30Pros, Apex Gold, Vortech MP40QDs, GEO CR818 calc reactor, Apex DOS, Reeflo Dart pump, Vertex Alpha 200 skimmer, XF250 Gyre, twin Tunze nanostream 6095
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote phys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2016 at 2:12am
not sure... what has changed and what have you done recently, even before you noticed things? Sometimes temperature swings, KH (seems like a big factor in my experience), and light changes are pretty big factors. Keep things stable and possibly do some water changes.. sometimes theres stuff in there that you don't test for. What's your TDS? Could be some junk in your topoff/change water.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IronMonkey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2016 at 9:26am
I'll check the TDS on the RODI system, it got new filters and media about 2 months ago. Other changes really have not happened outside of taking down the two part dosing system and bringing up the calcium reactor. That certainly didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped, but it has been stable readings now for about 3 weeks.
Mixed Reef : 210G, Radion XR30Pros, Apex Gold, Vortech MP40QDs, GEO CR818 calc reactor, Apex DOS, Reeflo Dart pump, Vertex Alpha 200 skimmer, XF250 Gyre, twin Tunze nanostream 6095
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2016 at 9:27am
Yeah, I am with Phys. I too think there may be some toxin combined with a change in tank chemistry and temperature and maybe even lighting(since you questioned it). Even temporary issues with any one of these parameters, especially when other parameters are at the edge of the acceptable range, can put coral into trouble.

How much of your coral is SPS? 
What other coral are in there?
May we see a pic of the tank?
What were the Alk and Ca before starting the Calcium Reactor?
Was lighting changed, even slightly, in the last month or two?

Just FYI, AC(activated carbon) can get saturated/exhausted in about 2 weeks. For SPS especially, AC should be changed regularly every 2-4 weeks.

There is a difficulty with having Alk and Ca perfectly stable. The animals get accustomed to the perfect stability and may have issues, even delayed issues, whenever it strays from perfection. Confused Huh? What I'm saying is, rather than trying to keep Alk, Ca, Mg, PO4 pollution, and N pollution at ideal numbers, simply make sure the numbers don't go outside the acceptable ranges. Allowing Alk to go down to 7 dKH, when the bottom of the range is 8, causes coral stress, especially with SPS. Do you know the acceptable ranges? Feel free to ask.

Acceptable ranges can also be an indirect source of trouble when conditions outside the tank have an influence. Confused What?
Smile I do not run my systems at 78 degrees, especially in the summer. In the wild, water temperatures can be in the low to mid 80's, but for various reasons, in the long run the coral animals in our tanks don't do well above 80 degrees. At a base temperature of 78 it's so very easy for tank temperature to spike into the 80's. Even one temp spike into the 80's can send SPS into a tailspin. Summer weather can be disastrous to our tanks.

What to do in the summer? 
Remove/unplug the heater and let the tank run at normal room temperature, in an air conditioned room of course. Embarrassed All coral can do just fine at 70 and even a little below that. Sure, growth is not as strong at lower temp, but preventing death issues like we are seeing here, is well worth the slower growth. When I do plug in a heater, I set it to keep the tank at a base of 74-75.

Feel free to ask questions.

Aloha,
Mark  Hug

P.S.
I'm available for in-person evaluation/consultation for small fee or trade. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2016 at 9:35am
Using DI water rather than RO water can also be a source of problems for two reasons. 
1. Like I said above, too much "perfection" can lead to trouble when conditions vary from perfect.
2. Saturated DI resin releases the impurities it had collected.

Animals can handle just a few things being temporarily out of whack and can actually get accustomed to dealing with things that swing, as long as they swing within an acceptable range.

Aloha,
Mark  Hug


Edited by Mark Peterson - July 30 2016 at 9:38am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2016 at 9:40am
BTW, I share PO4 remover and AC with hobbyists, because I buy it in bulk for my own use, always making sure I have extra on hand.

In between times when I'm not online, I may be reached at 808-345-1049

Aloha,
Mark  Hug


Edited by Mark Peterson - July 30 2016 at 9:42am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IronMonkey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2016 at 10:18am
Thanks all, I will get some pictures asap and post them here.

I have changed the lighting in the center part of the tank, I reduced it by 5% basically at the highest part of the day (about a 3 hour span) down from 45% to 40% on a Radion XR30 Pro. The two side Radions were not changed.

I do weekly water changes of 30 gals (about 245 gals of total system volume) and have done so since the tank started, and I change the media every 3 months in the RODI system (long before any color change happens in the media). I have heard of so many having trouble with AC changing too frequently that I haven't been changing it as often as I used to. I used to do it every two weeks, but slowed to 4-6 weeks. Sounds like the preference would be to do it more often?

Ranges, yes, I'll tell you what I "think" and you can correct as necessary. Kh range is seems to be ok from about 8.0 to 9.8, Ca seems to be from 400-450ppm, Mag seems to be fine from 1300-1550ish, PO4 needs to be .05 and lower, salinity I am not aware of a range apsect, I try to stay at 1.026.

As far as temp goes, 78-79 is what the tank is cycling between with the heaters off and the AC of the house regulating everything. I had thought of adding a chiller but have not done so yet. Even with a fan blowing across the sump lightly I can't get the tank temp to match the room ambient temp of about 72. Not trying to, but 78 is about as low as it will go.

Before the calcium reactor, the Ca was running about 435ppm and the Kh was about 9.1 always. I dosed two part through an Apex DOS and turned that off to bring the reactor online.

The tank is about 75% SPS and 25% LPS and "other". I will add pics as soon as the light comes on for the day. My normal cycle is about 8.5 hours with only about 3 hours being in the highest PAR setting, it ramps up and ramps down through that 8 hours.

Thank you for all the things to think about and look for. Will keep at it.

-Adam
Mixed Reef : 210G, Radion XR30Pros, Apex Gold, Vortech MP40QDs, GEO CR818 calc reactor, Apex DOS, Reeflo Dart pump, Vertex Alpha 200 skimmer, XF250 Gyre, twin Tunze nanostream 6095
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote badfinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2016 at 10:31am
Have you recalibrated your PH probe?

if you are running a calcium reactor and its summer so windows are shut sitting at 8.12-8.21 is great but if your probe is off then you may be sitting lower and need to get some fresh air to the tank.

Do I think this is it, no but its a possibility
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IronMonkey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2016 at 5:44pm
https://youtu.be/IJJ7sDcAK04

Above is a link to a youtube video that shows the current status of the tank. The iphone takes weird video under LED lighting, this is about an hour away from full light that runs from 10k-14K-20K. I'll get out me DSLR and see if I can get some better pictures, but this should give you an idea on what I'm talking about.

Thanks,
-Adam
Mixed Reef : 210G, Radion XR30Pros, Apex Gold, Vortech MP40QDs, GEO CR818 calc reactor, Apex DOS, Reeflo Dart pump, Vertex Alpha 200 skimmer, XF250 Gyre, twin Tunze nanostream 6095
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reefer4Ever Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2016 at 7:21pm
My .02 and that is this looks like an alk issue from fast swings. I'm sure many more will chime in with their thoughts. If the recession continues frag things up above others below wh I changed ever the case maybe to try and save them. I also had some issues when I changed from dosing to my calcium reactor. Nevertheless you have a gorgeous tank.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote phys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2016 at 10:52pm
I'll have to agree with the above, too many kh swings mixed with an addition of the reactor. Try to keep things stable and clean without too much swingin. 78F isn't too high, that's fine, just watch it to make sure it doesn't go too high. Your ph may also be an issue but without knowing how it's changed, can't say too much there. Those Should be able to be tracked easily with the apex.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote phys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2016 at 11:01pm
Try to bring down your nitrates a little bit, They're not high but it could exacerbate the other issues. The birdsnest dying like that is pretty indicative (in my experience) of kh swinging. Once everything is at the proper levels (kh~9, cal ~ 430, mag ~ 1300), then keep it there while everything tries to come back. You may lose a couple things if they've already started but like others said, try to frag a bit and set them aside to regrow.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BADM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2016 at 12:39am
+1 to Alk swings
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 01 2016 at 10:33am
Some may disagree. What I see with this particular reef system, it's very possible that Alk swings may very well have been the catalyst. Yet Alk may not have caused a problem if the tank had been running cooler and AC had been exchanged more frequently. One other thing that was asked by Marcoss but I cannot find where it was answered - did tank water pH possibly go low at some point in the attempt to tune in the Ca Reactor?

In my experience, running the tank at a lower temperature(72-75) has two very beneficial effects. It slows animal metabolism and improves oxygenation. These two good effects combine to slow the speed of bad things happening and/or stop bad things altogether.

It's my opinion that hobbyist complaints with AC probably come about because the hobbyist uses too much AC. Depending on the quality and where it is placed in the system, about 1/2-1 cup/50 gal, replaced every 2-4 weeks is a very good thing and causes absolutely no issues. A quantity of AC larger than this creates a situation of too clean - too fast. A fallacy among newer hobbyists is to think that "if some is good, more is better."

Along this same line, it's very important to know the commonly acceptable low and high limits of the following:
Specific Gravity  1.022 - 1.028
Temperature  70-80 F (as mentioned above, the low side of this range is a better target)
Alk 8.0 - 14.0 dKH (as low as 7.0 in carbon dosed systems or systems with less "filtering" equipment)
Ca  350-500 ppm
Mg 1200 - 1400+ ppm
PO4   0.02 - 0.08 ppm

For more than 10 years, I have not tested these items in any of my own tanks or my clients tanks:
pH  7.9 - 8.4 (if Alk, water movement and gas exchange are good there is no need to test pH)
NO3  5 - 25 ppm  (properly set up biofiltration negates the need for testing / watch fish behavior)
NH3  0 - 0.5 ppm  (same as above)
NO2  0 - 1 ppm  (same as above / watch coral behavior)

The ideal level for any one reef tank is going to differ from other reef tanks, but keeping things somewhere within the above ranges is what I have found to be acceptable in most cases.

10% weekly water changes. Ermm This opens up a whole new situation that could have set this all into it's downward motion. Has the same exact salt from the same bucket/box been used for the last 2 months? If not, please explain. For that tank, I would recommend less frequent water changes for good reason, that I would be happy to explain.

Aloha,
Mark  Hug


Edited by Mark Peterson - August 01 2016 at 10:47am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hogie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 01 2016 at 11:08am
For an SPS tank, water changes are essential. A 10% weekly water change is fine and recommended. Like everyone but 1 said above I say Alk swing. In my experience, that's what it sounds like, especially if a frag is complete white and flesh-less overnight.
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