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Mark's 40B and 46 bow

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This a thread for both my 40 and 46 tanks, rather than maintaining two threads.


link to page 3, past the crash and coral death and recovery pics : http://www.nano-reef.com/topic/313924-marks-twin-tubs-of-coral-40-and-46/page-3


Link to tank specs: http://www.nano-reef.com/topic/313924-marks-twin-tubs-of-coral-40-and-46/?p=4339285



40 breeder


May 2014




46 bowfront


May 2014



Original 20 long -> 46 bowfront thread (now restarted!): http://www.nano-reef.com/topic/313051-marks-46-bow-upgrade-from-20-long/


I documented a crash here for much of the beginning of the thread. Lots of pictures of death and survival that might help someone someday. :) The crash ended up being caused by a mis-calibrated refractometer compounded by numerous water changes using new water that was also the wrong salinity.


ALWAYS CALIBRATE YOUR REFRACTOMETER WITH 35PPT CALIBRATION FLUID and not distilled water, even if your instructions say to use distilled, like mine did.


Jump to page 3 to skip past most of the boring stuff ... well, a lot of my stuff is boring, but how about the most boring of the boring stuff. :D


The 40 gallon was first setup in February 2012 using tap water!




Specs as of 1/17/2013


40 gallon breeder

4.5 gallon HOB refugium (detritus trap!) with skimmer

AC 110 HOB filter with GAC and GFO


Circulation via one MP10ES (new 1/16/2013) and a 450GPH nano pump blowing behind the rocks


This tank runs with a glass lid.


Main lighting is 2 AquaticLife T5HO fixtures supplemented with 2 LED strips.


(front to back)

ATI Blue+

ATI Purple+

AquaticLife Expandable LED strip (low power LED, all blue)

Reefbright 30" LED strip, Blue/White

ATI Coral+

ATI Blue+


Current fish:


Tank raised False Percula Clownfish

Flame Hawkfish

Reef Chromis


Past fish:


Flame hawkfish (died during flatworm treatment)

Dwarf Flame Angel (re-homed when it started munching on corals)

Sixline Wrasse (re-homed when it began to get super agressive)


Other occupants (rough guesses):


8 (I think) Blue legged hermits

2 red scarlet hermits

4 Turbo Snails

3 Astrea snails

6 - 10 Nassarius snails

3 Cerith snails

5 nerite snails



Here's one of the earliest images I can find of this tank. Coming from the world of planted tanks I thought a rock with caulerpa algae might be a good thing. :tears: A couple of the center rocks in this picture, plus a couple of rocks on the left are all that remain of the original live rock I purchased. Most of the rock in the tank now was bought as dry rock and added over the last couple of months as I slowly removed algae infested rocks.





I had done planted tanks for years and coming to saltwater my original idea was to try and do a planted saltwater tank with some corals. I was just beginning my research and hadn't gotten bit by the coral bug yet.


I let this tank sit fishless for 5 months. At 2 months I added a cleanup crew and enjoyed watching them and the various explosions of critters as the tank matured.


Did I mention I started out using tap water? Just before adding fish I switched to distilled ... it took that long for me to understand the magnitude of my mistake. Slowly but surely I was able to get the nutrients under control by doing 10 gallon water changes as often as I could bring home 10 gallons of distilled water. By July of 2012 I had a spectrapure RO/DI system setup and that nightmare was over.


As it stands now my tank is more a haphazard collection of pretty corals rather than anything organized. I've tried to re-scape the tank to give me some 'rooms' to work in, but that's easier said than done.




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Very nice! Can't wait to see the details.

Edited by Mr. Microscope

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Some closeups of unknown acropora purchased at a local LFS.


I've have since removed the bubble algae and flipped this around so it's laying more horizontal. The tips have a pronounced green color that is getting lighter very slowly.



This one I thought was dead for 3 weeks and then suddenly polyps were visible and it's started to encrust on the plug.



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Awesome! I'll bet green to pink on the first one and maybe a purple/green polyp bonsai on the second or light brown with blue tips.

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That LFS has 3 more frags, all identical looking and some slight polyp extension in their tank, which is a first, so I may pick up one more. I could buy exactly what I want, but what's the fun in that? :)

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Picture dump.


New frags at the LFS today, had to get a couple more acropora.


First up, a new FTS now that everything has been re-arranged.





This frag looks like acropora but had encrusted more than grown out. Any idea?




This one the LFS identified as "a blue tip acro"




This is a new shot of the mystery coral in the previous post, re-positioned.




This next one is a stylophora I picked up a few weeks ago at a LFS across town.




As far as maintenance, did my a 5 gallon water change yesterday, as well as installed a JBJ Ocenstream wavemaker with two 1600 GPH. Today I cleaned the skimmer motor for the first time, wow, need to do that more often, back to full strength now. I had also installed a stronger pump into my CPR Aerofuge (skimmer + fuge) but the flow was too strong and micro-bubbles from the skimmer were making it into the tank. Put the Hydor Pico 400 back on, which is a mere 100 gph ... going to try and get a Hydor 600 (160GPH) to see how that does.


My cyano outbreak is slowly subsiding and now that the skimmer is back to full strength I'm hoping it will be eliminated soon.

Edited by markalot

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Here's a video showing the alternating Oceanstream pumps plugged into the wavemaker.


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Mystery Acros...

As soon as you keep them happy you ll see a different coral...

I like those mystery brown sps you can get and grow them into very nice colonies.I got a brown almost white coral...After 4 months it looks like a yellow elegantula acropora(wild)...very nice.

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Mystery Acros...

As soon as you keep them happy you ll see a different coral...

I like those mystery brown sps you can get and grow them into very nice colonies.I got a brown almost white coral...After 4 months it looks like a yellow elegantula acropora(wild)...very nice.


Yea, I am liking the mystery. :) Thanks.

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Updated FTS, November 20th 2012




Unknown Chalice, purchased 2 months ago and just now starting to show some growth.



LFS birdsnest frag, finally starting to look better



What was sold to me as a Green Slimer



A couple of dogs, who would eat the coral if they could get to it. Too many cats on this forum. :)


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New frags from Pacific East Aquaculture.


Orange Sherbert Montipora. Polyps have a slight blue tint.




A WYSIWYG labeled as Dinosaur Egg Montipora but this one has green polyps.




A WYSIWYG labeled Lime Stylophora




And a WYSIWYG labeled Neon Polyp Acropora.



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something bad happened over thanksgiving weekend, most likely my fault, and most of my SPS are dying, dead, or zombies waiting to die.


I believe the root of the problem stemmed from me installing a JBJ ATO, having to change the water levels to get it to work, then not checking SG regularly to make sure it was working ok. A really stupid mistake compounded by me seeing corals in distress and doing multiple water changes without measuring SG to make sure I wasn't going to shock the tank.


Best as I can determine the first swing went from 1.025 down to 1.023 and then back up to 1.025. A couple of days later I realized what was happening after I changed water again, so I suspect another swing of SG. This time I over corrected but was measuring and the next morning my SG was 1.028.


I am assuming this is what is causing RTN and now STN on all the SPS corals and my LPS and soft corals to be unhappy.


I raised my waterlevel back up to the rim, where I can visually tell if the level is not correct, and adjusted the ATO to top off only after it drops from that level. My goal for the ATO was vacations mainly anyway, since I run with glass hoods and my evaporation is fairly slow.


An easily avoided situation. I paid money to lose money. On the bright side, if there is one, anything that survives will get a reputation as a hardy coral, for my money anyway.

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I'm sorry for the ATO related SPS deaths. :(

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I used the suction cups on the ATO float to get it near a point where it will only fill if for some reason I miss a manual topoff, then superglued it. Not having a sump makes ATO install extremely difficult, especially considering I have the Oceanstream Wave(not)Maker which alternates pumps every 20 seconds.


Thanks for the condolences, much appreciated.

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right on they are nice dogs not to often you see them and every one used to call ours a long hair chiwawa ....

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Oh shiiit! What a bummer on those corals. :angry::(


When I first got my ATO not once but twice I forgot to turn it off during a w/c. :huh:

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I have test subject, unnamed cheap frag from a LFS, to see if the tank can support SPS or if something else is afoot.


Test subject, added 3 hours ago (pretty good looking acro)



Tale of destruction ... :(


Stylophora looks like it might make it!








Green slimer!



Birdsnest hasn't gotten worse in 3 days now, but that's not saying much.



Both my Montipora's look done for.






I've got some Polyfilter in my HOB just in case something entered the tank. To go 9 months without any problems and now this ... really shakes the confidence.

Edited by markalot

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OUCH! Damn bro, sorry to see that. Are you sure it was a SG issue. 23-25-23 doesnt seem like a big enough swing to cause that. The 28 maybe..but damn..that sucks!

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OUCH! Damn bro, sorry to see that. Are you sure it was a SG issue. 23-25-23 doesnt seem like a big enough swing to cause that. The 28 maybe..but damn..that sucks!


No, I'm not sure. I have no experience with SPS other than these pieces which were all fine until they weren't. A Green Slimer and a small piece of that birdsnest are in my 20 doing well without me even paying attention to them.


The series of events started like this.


Friday after Thanksgiving (Nov 23rd) I added the following equipment:


1. Oceanstream Wavemaker and 2 1500GPH pumps

2. Grounding Probe


I changed 4.5 gallons of water while vaccing the sandbed. I'm trying to clean small areas at a time because the sand grain is course and I was lax on maintenance for months. I'm very careful to not let any much escape into the tank and I have been doing this for about a month now. Still could be the root cause, just not sure. I also added a new batch of GFO and carbon, plus a bag of Purigen because I suspected my Phosphates were higher than they should be because hair algae was showing up in a few new places.


Fast forward to November 27th, which is the following Tuesday. I notice my Pink Anthelia, which had been doing extremely well for 6 months, was shrinking and looking sick. I tested the water, nothing found other than Alk was 7.6 and I prefer to keep it above 8. Ca was 420, IIRC, and I dosed part 2 of Seachem 2 part, alk boost, to get the Alk up to 8.


Now this is key because I also did another 4.5 gallon water change with vac, but the Anthelia was looking bad prior to this water change. At the same time, unfortunately, I installed the ATO.


The next day everything started to go wrong. I had a newer green polyp stylophora that was experiencing RTN, very rapid, already nearly gone the next afternoon. This was the first ATO issue as well, but I did not measure SG first, I did a water change and then measured SG which was low at 1.024. It just got worse from there.


So as you can see it could have been a number of things, the SPS issues started after the first ATO issue. I have no idea if the Anthelia problem was related or not but it melted away quickly and I ended up removing all but a small piece from the tank. I also put a small frag in the 20 where it's not dead, but has not extended polyps yet.


Anthelia could have been phosphate reduction as I tried to run a lower nutrient system, or all of it could have been caused by too rapid a reduction in phosphates. I might have stirred up too much detritus during a water change, or both, or neither.


I did upgrade my test kits to Red Sea Pro and I know Nitrates are 0 and phosphates, right now anyway, are between .06 and .1. I had removed all filter media in the middle of the crash so I'm not running any GFO at the moment, just Polyfilter and some carbon.

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The test continues, all new subjects are looking good.


* click for full size *








I added this Zoa frag as well, just to see how it responded. Also looking good while other softies and LPS are looking very ragged ... so in my mind the existing corals are still recovering from the damage done.




The coral that lived! This blue polyp stylophora is now a favorite.




Other existing SPS continue to decline rapidly. My theory is some of these are dead already, just shedding skin. Zombie corals.






Hopefully the tank is now stable and what's still alive will recover, and the new corals will thrive. We shall see.

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I have another theory.


I may have slowly electrocuted the corals by installing a ground probe about 5 days before my Anthelia first showed signs of something being wrong. After researching it I find there is no good reason to install a ground probe as long as you are protected by a GFI circuit, which of course I am. If there is a voltage leak but it's below the danger threshold to trip a GFI when you put your hand in the tank then all the probe does is complete the circuit and allow the small current to flow ... which will slowly damage or kill. GFI fully protects us from electrocution, no need for a probe.


I unplugged and removed. Within 10 minutes both the GSP and pipe organ emerged, looking ragged but alive. These and the anthelia were both on the left side of the tank along with that damn probe.


Is this the answer? /shrug


.. to be continued

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