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My tank is fubar

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chuckfu5 View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 27 2017 at 7:20pm
Performed a water change yesterday....2 gallons. Tank is 13.5

Changed from an old bucket of Aquatic Dreams brand to reef crystals.

DKH and calcium have been running a little low. After the water change I tested calcium and DKH. Calcium was good but DKH was at 6 so I dosed Kent's part b. Have been dosing one tsp a day and upped to 1.5 since I wasn't seeing much of a change. Also added Kent's coral vite like I do every weekend.



Today I get home and my meteor shower has bleached, Montipora is bleached, my gold wall hammer is not expanding and my anemone mouth is gaping open....tank does not look good. Tested everything and it all looks ok. DKH is at 7.

What should I try to save everything?


Also I got some advice to vacuum my sand so I did this for the first time. Tank has been going for about 4 months.


Edited by chuckfu5 - February 27 2017 at 7:33pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcoss Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 27 2017 at 7:28pm
Are you certain your alk test is correct? I haven't read your other posts but alk burns can look like that. Isn't your tank new ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chuckfu5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 27 2017 at 7:34pm
4 months. I had the water tested at aquatic dreams a bit ago and it measures the same as my test kit.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reefboy4life Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 27 2017 at 8:04pm
I would make sure and put in some fresh carbon
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bstuver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 27 2017 at 11:42pm
Whats your mag reading? I know when I switched to the orange box from the purple box of reef crystals my mag went way up.
Jackie Stuver

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote phys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2017 at 3:00am
Interesting... how long after you did the water change did you add alk? Always treat a water change as basically a dosing of calcium, alk, and mag since usually it has higher amounts in it than your regular water. Unlessss you were to match your current parameters with your salt's.

What was the temperature difference between the new water and tank? Sometimes if it's too cold, it can cause a shock. Also, did you make sure your salinity was spot on? Switching to reef crystals and having a higher salinity can cause your kh and other parameters to jump even more so.

What kind of bleaching was it? Is there still flesh on the corals or are they just skeletons? How much of the sand did you vacuum?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Krazie4Acans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2017 at 7:50am
Did you blend some of the old and new salts for this water change or just go straight from one salt to the new salt? Going straight from one salt to another can cause shock in corals as well as dosing. Each salt has it's own levels of not only calcium, alk and magnesium butalso many other trace elements that each manufacturer adds to "balance" their salt. Switching too quickly from one salt to another is stressful to the tank.

I generally recommend that when switching salt you mix 1/4 new salt and 3/4 old salt to the first water change. Then the next one do 50/50 on the salts and then 3/4 new and 1/4 old and finally all new. This reduces the stress and allows the system to acclimate to the new salts parameters over time.

I would suspect that the bleaching is alk burn from the water change with new salt, and then alk dosing. A good rule of thumb when trying to raise alk is do not raise it more than 1.25dKh in a 24 hour period or there is a high risk of alk burn. Dosing that small of a tank should be done in very small amounts spread out over the day to prevent spikes. The spike may rebound quickly as the water mixes but the spike of the initial addition of the compound can be harsh and hard for corals to deal with.

Are you using a dosing caluclator (like the one on BRS's web site) to determine how much to safely dose? I would recommend that as it will help reduce alk swing issues as you try to adjust your levels.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chuckfu5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2017 at 9:14am
I do not have a magnesium test kit. 

Yes I went straight from the Aquatic Dreams brand salt to Reef Crystals.

I performed the water change and then tested Alkalinity and it was still low so that's when I dosed.

I am dosing all of my alkalinity in the morning and Calcium in the evening but have stopped everything until I figure out what is going on.

New carbon was added Sunday with the water change.

Same temperature and salinity as the tank.

Looks like the montipora is the worst.  It has expelled almost all of its algae and now almost completetly white.  My meteor shower appears to be losing tissue and my xenia is a white ball now.

My wall hammer looks fine but is not expanding and all zoas are closed and not opening.

I will use the dosing calculator from now on, thanks for the info on that.

I vacuumed about a third of the sand in the tank.

Any ideas on what to do?  Water change, nothing.....?  I have a lot of money invested and don't want to lose everything.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Krazie4Acans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2017 at 9:31am
If it were me I would test Alk and Mag again to see where they are at now that it's had a day to stabilize.

If Alk is low then I would use the calculator and break the recommended amount up into about 3 doses throughout the day. Make sure that the dosing liquid is added slowly to a high flow area where it can mix with as much tank water as possible before getting back to the display area of the tank (I'm kind of assuming that this 13.5 gallon tank is an all in one with some filtration in the back). If there is no sump or back compartment then take a few cups of the tank water out and mix your dosing amount into that and slowly add it back to the tank to help reduce the alk and ph spike.

If Alk is high then there are a couple of options. First is to do small water changes each day to slowly bring it down (this assumes that the new salt has a lower alk than your tank when fresh mixed) or do nothing and let the alk slowly drop as it is consumed by the system. This option is probably the best as it gives the most time to let corals acclimate to the changing level over time.

I wouldn't change anything else at the moment. That includes anymore vacuuming, media changes (unless some of the corals start losing more tissue as you will need more carbon then) etc. Making lots of changes to the tank right now will usually make it worse. I have a suspicion that the damage to the three corals is most likely already done and the best thing you can do is to stabilize the water parameters and make slow adjustments to get the numbers in the correct range.

I hope that helps.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2017 at 9:55am
Here is another part of the story for anyone that may not have seen it.
I agree with what has been said , except,
Originally posted by chuckfu5 chuckfu5 wrote:

DKH and calcium have been running a little low.
That statement is only half correct. Calcium was always good. In the other thread it was reported as 380-400 ppm. That is perfectly within range, so not a problem. On the other hand, 
Alk was at 5 dKH a week ago and there is no telling how long it had been at that critical level. Only within the last few days had it come up to 6 dKH but that's still a critically low level of Alk.

Sorry, but I believe that the Alk needed to be raised to 8 dkh within a few days after discovering it was at 5. Instead, it appears that both Alk and Ca dosing were continued unchanged. If I am reading the story correctly, it wasn't until the last few days that Alk dosing has been increased by half and Ca dosing has been stopped, right? Sorry, but I wonder if it was just too little too late.

Think of the low Alkalinity problem like this:
A person is sealed in a box where the Oxygen level is critically low. The person is slowly suffocating. A tiny bit of fresh air is pumped into the box, but it's not enough. The person continues to suffocate and soon dies. Cry I believe the animals were already on the edge of existence because of low alkalinity and the shock of changing salt mix may have just taken them over the edge. 

I aerate newly mixed salt water before pouring it in to the tank. Pour the water back and forth a couple times from one bucket to another. Without that aeration, new salt water, even if the salt mix is unchanged, may cause a small shock to the animals.

There is a good chance that the coral can recover if flesh still covers the skeleton.
What is the Alk level now? 
What is the Ca level?

Aloha,
Mark  Hug



Edited by Mark Peterson - February 28 2017 at 9:58am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chuckfu5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2017 at 12:37pm
Calcium was being dosed as well 1 tsp per day.  I did not change that and it was maintaining around 380 - 400 when testing.  

DKH level at yesterdays testing was at 7 DKH.

I aerated the salt mix for over 24 hours with a powerhead.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Krazie4Acans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2017 at 12:56pm
I don't believe that calcium is your issue here but continuing to dose it isn't a problem either.

The real problem here is the low Alk and trying to get the alk back in line. 7dKh is at least a livable level now but it should probably still be brought up closer to 8 over the next day or two.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Krazie4Acans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2017 at 12:59pm
Originally posted by Mark Peterson Mark Peterson wrote:

Originally posted by chuckfu5 chuckfu5 wrote:

DKH and calcium have been running a little low.

Low in that statement could mean low for the target range that he is aiming for and not what is an ok range in general.

If his target is 450ppm then his statement is true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bstuver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2017 at 2:07pm
My guess is because your alk was that low and you don't know for how long the corals just took a dive days later and you probably thought it was because of raising it or the salt change. When I am not paying attention to my alk params and they have gotten that low it took several days maybe even a week before I saw the decline in corals.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sabeypets Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2017 at 3:23pm
*A 4 month old system of any size is still maturing and the system draw on nutrients/elements is simply not there yet. There is something wrong in the set up to have alk issues already. 
*A stable environment is the most important parameter!
*I dont recomend doseing a system this small. The parameters will not be stable.
*A good SALT and WATER changes are all that are needed on a system this small to keep parameters in check.
What does the ALK and other elements test on new saltwater you are adding? 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chuckfu5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2017 at 4:25pm
I'll check the new salt mix when I get home.

What should I do to try to save my animals now?
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|*I dont recomend doseing a system this small. The parameters will not be stable.

I agree with Shaun, if you're keeping up on a good water change schedule, you shouldn't need to dose.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote phys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2017 at 7:57pm
Keep everything stable. That's the best solution right now. You should see your alk stabilize now that some of your corals aren't taking it in, so be sure to test. If you do dose, dose small. Often when my tank is low (6dkh), I raise it up to around 9 over the course of a week but I do it on a dosing system so I don't have to play with it every day.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2017 at 8:26pm
I agree with Shaun. There could easily be something wrong with the setup. In the other thread linked above, chuckfu5 tells us that the tank is packed with coral. I looked at all his posts since last year. In the last few months he has been requesting all kinds of coral, including lots of stony coral. In my looking at previous posts, I also saw a thread where I had stated my concerns with what I saw going on with this tank, beginning with the use of all dry dead LR. Unfortunately, my observations and concerns regarding how chuckfu5 was proceeding were not well accepted, almost criticized. Unhappy

If the animals can be saved, I agree with Shaun, water changes are the best and safest way. I would suggest 2 gal water changes every other day for a week or more**. I would be sure to use the Aquatic Dreams salt mix that was used previously. These water changes should help parameters reach and stay in the proper ranges as well as provide the other elements to which this tank had become accustomed.

Shaun mentions another item that has probably had a part in creating this issue. That this 4 month old tank is still going through a maturation/growth process. We might actually hope that chuckfu5 slows down and stops adding coral, especially SPS coral. Of all stony coral, SPS are the most sensitive to the normal changes that happen in new systems and when parameters get out of range.

Aloha,
Mark  Hug

** IMO, salt mixing does not require 24 hours. Save the effort and just pour it back and fourth vigorously a few times before pouring in to the tank.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2017 at 8:44pm
Oh and two more things. 
The vacuuming of the LS also added to the problem. This new sand bed was just beginning to do it's job properly and then got all messed up. Sorry.

I want to offer a reminder of what I said in chuckfu5's thread last month about Xenia, that Poly-Bio-Marine Poly-Filter is the best product I have ever used for dealing with the pollution that begins to seep out of dry dead LR. It may even be that now at 4 months of decomposition inside the rock, seepage has reached a high point. I believe this is another contributor to the dying coral issue.

Sorry, I don't like giving all this bad news, but I do like to see healthy thriving reef aquariums and happy hobbyists. Smile

Aloha,
Mark  Hug
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