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Coral Issues/Questions

Printed From: Utah Reefs
Category: Specialized Discussion
Forum Name: Reef Chemistry
Forum Description: A place to discuss reef chemistry.
Printed Date: December 11 2018 at 1:56pm

Topic: Coral Issues/Questions
Posted By: kmtfishchannel
Subject: Coral Issues/Questions
Date Posted: June 12 2017 at 8:10pm
Hey guys I have some questions for you. 

Some of my corals have ether died or seem to be struggling. I'll list the corals and the issues they seem to be having. Below i'll give my tank perimeters and any other bits of info on the tank I feel is needed. Along with some photos. If i get names wrong i'm still learning. Haha (Fish all seem happy and healthy) 

Duncan Coral: (Location: Higher up on rock work) This Duncan was opening up very large and wide and now it opens but not as much as it use to. I'm not to worried about this because my 2 Clowns have started to host/play in it and so I think it is just annoyed and so it doesn't open as much. It has many many more heads on it from when I first got it and it only had 2 so It is growing. (Photo Below) 

Candy Cane Coral: (Location: Higher up on rock work) Seems to be dying the skin looks like it ripped off and has pulled up to the top. It does look like it is splitting into 2 heads (leaving 3 total) so it this normally when they split? (Photo Below)  

Plate Coral: (Location: Sand Bed) Skin looks like its lifting off of the stony base. Someday's it looks great others look like it it about to rip off and float away. (Photo Below)

Acan Coral: (Location: Sand Bed on Frag Disc) It has 2 heads on it but they don't really open up very much like when I first got it. There are a couple little tube/pipe things sticking out from the edge of it idk if that has anything to do with it. (No Photo) 

War Coral: Turned Brown/White and looks dead.

Unsure the name Last photo: Edges look like they are being eaten/broken off

List of Healthy Corals: Green Star Polyp, Mushrooms, Other LPS mushroom type corals, Feather dusters, Rose Bubble Tip, Purple zynia type coral. 

Tank lighting is only of the only changes made to the tank. Previous bulbs (ATI T5) 2 Coral Plus Bulbs, 2 Aqua-blue Special, 2 Purple Plus.     Now I don't use Purple Plus I use 2 True Actinic this is the only major change I did to the tank. 

Tank Parameters: 
PH: 8.2-8.4
Ammo: 0ppm-0.25ppm (I had a hard time reading the test on this I think it's 0ppm he fish all seem happy and healthy)
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm
Phos: 0ppm
Cal: 400ppm
KH: 5 DKH / 89.5 KH
Salinity: (Before Water Change) 1.022 (I do water changes with 1.025 salinity) 

Sorry for the low quality. Let me know your input! 

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Posted By: chuckfu5
Date Posted: June 12 2017 at 8:16pm
Check the reading on your alk again. Nothing should be alive at 50dkh.

Normal is between 7 - 12.

Are you dosing anything?

Posted By: kmtfishchannel
Date Posted: June 12 2017 at 8:19pm
Sorry typo haha 5DKH. No I'm not dosing I'm trying to dose with water changes... I will admit I don't do it as often as I should be.

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Posted By: chuckfu5
Date Posted: June 12 2017 at 8:30pm
5dkh is low. What test kit are you using?

What size is your tank and how long has it been running for?

Your corals are basically starving.   They don't have the necessary components to thrive and grow.

What is your calcium and magnesium levels at?

Posted By: kmtfishchannel
Date Posted: June 12 2017 at 8:33pm
The tank is a 60 gallon Cube not sure what my magnesium is don't have a test kit for that. Calcium is 400ppm. And the tank is been running for almost a year. I'm just using API test kits I know not the best on a bit of a budget at the moment.

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Posted By: chuckfu5
Date Posted: June 12 2017 at 8:52pm
I'd take your water somewhere and have it double checked.

Long story short I had API test kit and I was testing low for ALK. I began dosing ALK and was having a hard time raising it. I eventually burned almost everything in my tank because of a test kit.

Once you confirm your numbers I'd slowly raise your alk to 8 and figure out how much your tank is consuming in a day and dose for that level. Also your Calcium is just a bit low. Verify your numbers and dose for that as needed as well.

I know test kits are expensive but I learned my lesson the hard way and if I can save someone else's tank through my mistake it was worth it. I love my red sea kits. Easy to use and accurate.

Posted By: kmtfishchannel
Date Posted: June 12 2017 at 9:07pm
Thanks! I'll go get my water tested. 

I'll save up for good test kits. I agree I have wanted the Red Sea Test Kits. 

Any recommendations for low cost but good ways to dose Cal and Alk? Just a simple 2 part like BRS sells or something else?

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Posted By: chuckfu5
Date Posted: June 12 2017 at 9:24pm
I use fluvals additives.   Just remember you don't want to dose exactly how the instructions tell you. BRS has a calculator on their website for how much to dose to get to the desired levels.

Start low so you don't over shoot. Watch a lot of YouTube videos so you understand how everything works and how they all work together. Then the key is to dose to maintain the levels. Stability is key in the reef hobby.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!

Posted By: Mark Peterson
Date Posted: June 16 2017 at 4:07pm
From what I see, due to the stony coral population, the invertebrates(snails, hermits, bugs, etc.) and the growth of Coralline Algae, the level of Alkalinity could easily be at 5 dKH. If it really has dropped to 5 dKH, IMO that would be the reason for 75% of the coral issues. Of course this tells us that water changes alone become a poor way to keep a well stocked reef aquarium going.

The Ca level of 400 ppm is just fine right now, but will drop rapidly as Alk is raised, so prepare to dose Ca as well.

Low cost Alk and Ca? It's almost crazy to me to read this question on this forum. Certainly the importance of the Reefkeeping Tips & Quick, Easy Setup Tricks linked below in my signature line has been repeated so often that people are tired of reading it. In case you have never read it, the information compiled there is not just my own, but the combined advice from dozens of experts from around the country and from experienced local reefers. The entire Reefkeeping Tips thread can probably answer many of your questions about reef aquarium/coral care including the easy lowest cost way to dose Alk and Ca (scroll down past the list of Tips to later posts in that thread).

In fact when people hear how simple and inexpensive it is to acquire and dose their own Alk and Ca, they usually disbelieve it and end up buying more expensive products. But chemicals are just chemicals. Buying chemicals that are inexpensive does not mean getting lower quality. It means being smart about the true nature of this earth. Smile

If 75% of the issue is low Alk, what is the other 25%?
The rock used in setup. For the age of the setup the rock should not be so white with a green tinge(green Coralline Algae). Tell us, was this rock previously in a living reef aquarium but had been removed and left out to dry?

Mark  Hug
808-345-1049 (call/text for answers to all your reefkeeping questions and issues)

Reefkeeping Tips, & quick, easy setup tricks:
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Posted By: phys
Date Posted: September 20 2017 at 3:41am
Duncans are fine, Candys aren't, plate is ok, war coral is dead lookin. 

With all the other corals you list as healthy, it may be good to run carbon since several of those give off toxins. 

Double check all those parameters with another test kit. dKH should be higher, like was mentioned, you're starving the corals of what they need to have to grow and survive. Remember not to raise it too quickly!! Also, when changing lights, be sure to change one at a time. New lights will have so much more light that you may end up bleaching your corals. Always dose under what you calculate and then adjust to the level you need... until you get a good idea of how much you're using and how much you need consistently. Also double check your salinity with a refractometer, if you use one, make sure you calibrate it. Adding 1.025 to a tank and only getting 1.022 seems strange, it should rise the more you add 1.025 until you get to 1.025 for your level. 

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