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TripleTrouble

Green Monti Cap Stressing Me Out

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TripleTrouble

Hey everyone...my tank is now ~5 months old About six weeks ago, I fell in love with this month cap at my lfs, so I bought it and since then it's been the bain of my existence. 

For two weeks it did well. Was nice and dark green with good polyp extension. After that, it was all down hill. I've been doing tons and tons of research of everything that could be wrong...lighting, nudi branches, poor flow, water params, etc. Before I get into the details, at this point I think I narrowed it down to either

1) potential phosphate "poisoning" due to over feeding my tank (which I've since corrected ~ 2 weeks ago) and/or 2) high salinity which I've since reduced and am still reducing (* below). 

 

Lighting: I have a kessil A80. I acclimated the monti to the lighting for a week. My lfs runs Kessil too. I run a 12 hour dawn til disk and my light doesn't go above 80%. The piece is towards the top of the tank about 20 inches from the light. 

 

Schedule:

6:00 AM 5/5

9:00 AM 15/15

1:00 PM 50/60

3:00 PM 50/80

5:00 PM 30/30

6:00 PM lights out

 

Flow: upgraded return pump and a Hydor Koralia nano. 

 

Current water params:

nitrate: 0

ammonia: 0

phosphate: 0.25 (just got phosphate kit so not sure what it was when I was over feeding)

dkh: 8

Mag: 1500

calcium: 420

Ph: 7.8

salinity: 1.027* (was at one point 1.029)

Currently have been dosing a few drops of Acropower 2x per week. 

 

My lps (hammers, torches, acans, Candy cane, mushroom and zoa) all have been doing fine with great extension. That said, there's a colony of orange zoa that haven't been opening as much as they were when I first got them (around the same time as the Monti).  

 

Also, one colony of GSP had expelled its zooxanthellae and "bleached" to almost pure white, but since I've been more careful w the feeding and have been doing weekly 1/2 water changes, the color has been coming back. 

 

I included a few pics below of the monti. Open to any advice you may have. Do you think it's a gonner or should I still give it a shot to nurse it back?  I can still see some pale green color and small polyp extension here and there. 

Any advice to help the process along? 

Also, open to advice on lighting schedule for anyone w a Kessil A80.  

 

Picked up another monti frag (red) last weekend to see how my current reduced feeding regiment is working for sps. 

 

Thanks

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TripleTrouble

By the way. I turned my lights on to take this pic which is why everything else in the tank seems a bit retracted. 

IMG_0262.JPG

IMG_0266.JPG

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seabass
4 hours ago, TripleTrouble said:

potential phosphate "poisoning" due to over feeding my tank (which I've since corrected ~ 2 weeks ago)

It's corrected and 0.25 ppm?  It's still like 10 times higher than it should be.

 

4 hours ago, TripleTrouble said:

salinity: 1.027* (was at one point 1.029)

As you are diluting your water, the parameters are dropping too.  You'll have to adjust your dosing to maintain stability.  Actually, I'd like to see specific gravity down to 1.026 (verified with a calibrated refractometer).

 

I have a rule of thumb that serves me pretty well.  That's not add any new livestock (except cleanup crew) while you are dealing with a problem, or changing parameters.

 

I can't tell how far gone it might be, so I'll aim my comments at changes I'd recommend.  Lower the specific gravity to 1.026.  Target alkalinity and calcium at the same value as a newly mixed batch of saltwater.  That way, the parameters remain stable when you do water changes.  If you aren't dosing two part solution to replenish consumption and maintain stability, start.

 

Bleaching is often due to changing the lighting to a higher intensity.  However, by looking at the pics, I wonder how much PAR it's actually getting.  That's only a 15W light: https://www.nano-reef.com/forums/topic/378524-par-for-kessil-a80/

 

What is the temperature of the tank?  Is it stable?

 

I would use some phosphate reducing media, like Phosguard to slowly lower phosphate down to 0.01 to 0.02 ppm.  I'd also try to raise nitrate up a couple of ppm.

 

I would upgrade the lighting, or at the very least, slowly crank up the intensity and add a second light.

 

Once you adjust your tank parameters and can maintain stability, and increase your lighting, then I'd consider trying SPS again.

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GraniteReefer

Put the light closer, my kessil a80 will only grow Xenia from 6 inches away at 100% intensity and I would say it's lacking, also maybe don't start dosing like the last guy said.  I say that because dosing involves an understanding of water chemistry and having not even grasped salinity properly I think it's asking a lot of the OP to test, evaluate, and design a dosing regime.  Do water changes to reduce the phosphates and stuff people will recommend chemicals, filters, miracles in a bottle, I believe in nature dilution is the solution. Montis didn't take off for me until the tank was a year old(when I figured shit out maybe) so don't stress In the meantime

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TripleTrouble
4 hours ago, seabass said:

It's corrected and 0.25 ppm?  It's still like 10 times higher than it should be.

That's the reading I get on my API kit. One down from 0. I know API is not a great test, but I was desperate and that's all my lfs had at the time. I'm upgrading to Salifert. 

 

 

4 hours ago, seabass said:

Lower the specific gravity to 1.026.

That's the target. 

 

4 hours ago, seabass said:

Bleaching is often due to changing the lighting to a higher intensity.  However, by looking at the pics, I wonder how much PAR it's actually getting.  That's only a 15W light: https://www.nano-reef.com/forums/topic/378524-par-for-kessil-a80/

I've read that post in the past. My light in the pic attached was only at 40%. Ill aim to ramp up my schedule over the next few weeks to 100% and see what happens. I know a lot of people hate on Kessil. Maybe I should have done more research or waited for my reviews on the light before I purchased it. It seemed like a good option due at the time due to overall package/performance for my tank size and controllability. Thanks for the input, nonetheless. 

 

4 hours ago, seabass said:

What is the temperature of the tank?  Is it stable?

Stable 78 degrees. 

 

4 hours ago, seabass said:

I would use some phosphate reducing media, like Phosguard to slowly lower phosphate down to 0.01 to 0.02 ppm.  I'd also try to raise nitrate up a couple of ppm.

I'm using ChemiPure Elite with Purigen and filter pads.  I changed the ChemiPure Elite media yesterday. I've looked into phosguard. What's your opinion on using it without a reactor? I don't have a sump so looking for a phosphate solution that works well, but pereferably one that won't bring me closer to my wife serving me divorce papers due to yet another "thing being on her kitchen counter"  If that's the only way, then what is meant to be will be :)   

 

Side note on the salinity issue. I buy my water from my lfs. Had a problem once when the "new guy" mixed water. I blame me for not testing the water before I did my water change. Before that I never had a problem so I took it for granted. It was a stupid mistake and one I've learned from. 

2 hours ago, GraniteReefer said:

Put the light closer, my kessil a80 will only grow Xenia from 6 inches away at 100% intensity and I would say it's lacking, also maybe don't start dosing like the last guy said.  I say that because dosing involves an understanding of water chemistry and having not even grasped salinity properly I think it's asking a lot of the OP to test, evaluate, and design a dosing regime

Thanks @GraniteReefer  what is your light schedule? 

I hear you on the dosing. I'm not looking to get cray at the moment, however I was considering (as mentioned above) starting to add some two part.  Minimal for now.  You'd advise against?

 

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seabass
1 hour ago, TripleTrouble said:

That's the reading I get on my API kit. One down from 0. I know API is not a great test, but I was desperate and that's all my lfs had at the time. I'm upgrading to Salifert.

The API phosphate kit is fine for a freshwater planted aquarium, but it's practically useless for a reef tank (especially a SPS tank).  Salifert is better, but it goes from 0 to 0.03, so you can't really determine what the value is.  With that test, you want the slightest tinge of blue; when you can't decide if it matches 0.1 or 0.03, phosphate is too high.  I use a Hanna ULR Phosphorus Checker.  It has a digital readout so comparing color charts isn't required.  Also, it's incremented in 1 ppb phosphorus (which is 0.003 ppm of phosphate).

 

1 hour ago, TripleTrouble said:

I'm using ChemiPure Elite with Purigen and filter pads.  I changed the ChemiPure Elite media yesterday. I've looked into phosguard. What's your opinion on using it without a reactor? I don't have a sump so looking for a phosphate solution that works well, but pereferably one that won't bring me closer to my wife serving me divorce papers due to yet another "thing being on her kitchen counter"  If that's the only way, then what is meant to be will be :)

ChemiPure Elite has almost no GFO.  It can help maintain phosphate levels but does almost nothing for reducing them.  Phosguard is perfect for not running it in a reactor (it's GFO that you should have a reactor).

 

Here, watch this video on two part dosing:

 

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seabass
1 hour ago, TripleTrouble said:

Thanks @GraniteReefer  what is your light schedule?

For an under powered light, I'd just run it for 10 hours at 100%.  If you like the transition of ramping it up, try ramping it up for the first hour, then 100% for 8 hours, then ramping it down for the last hour.

 

Adjust the light schedule and intensity gradually.  Your tank has been running on almost no light.

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Clown79

Phosguard is fine being used in an Aio  or hob filter.

 

You just need to monitor the levels while using phosguard because you don't want to strip  the tank. You will need your salifert kit @seabass explained the reason Api isn't efficient for sw. 

 

Chemipures are fine but really not as efficient as running a good carbon and separate media.

 

I found it more cost effective and seen improvement using carbon and phosguard over the chemipures.

 

The lighting situation. As I understand your schedule  It looks like peak lighting (50/80) is only on for 2hrs from 3-5? That seems short. 

In nature corals get high intensity lighting for 6-7hrs. 

Most run peak intensity between 4-8hrs

I'm assuming 50/80 is the colour percentage?

 

I would slowly increase duration of peak to at least 4hrs and slowly increase the actual percentages.

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TripleTrouble
9 hours ago, Clown79 said:

Phosguard is fine being used in an Aio  or hob filter.

 

You just need to monitor the levels while using phosguard because you don't want to strip  the tank. You will need your salifert kit @seabass explained the reason Api isn't efficient for sw. 

Lfs by my job had Phosnet in stock so I picked some up w a media bag. Based on the calculations it seems I would need ~ 1 tablespoon of it for my tank size. 

They also had Red Sea test kit so I picked that up as well. Any thoughts between Red Sea and Salifert (ordered Salifert but hasn't come yet). 

 

 

9 hours ago, Clown79 said:

The lighting situation. As I understand your schedule  It looks like peak lighting (50/80) is only on for 2hrs from 3-5? That seems short. 

In nature corals get high intensity lighting for 6-7hrs. 

Most run peak intensity between 4-8hrs

I'm assuming 50/80 is the colour percentage?

@Clown79 50 is color and 80 is intensity. So 50% white at 80% intensity. 

 

Point taken on the lighting program, I'll ramp up the schedule over the next few weeks and see what happens. 

14 hours ago, GraniteReefer said:

Put the light closer, my kessil a80 will only grow Xenia from 6 inches away at 100% intensity and I would say it's lacking, also maybe don't start dosing like the last guy said.

@GraniteReefer what level do you keep your color % when running at 100% intensity? Do you max out the white or keep blues?

 

 

Thank you all for your input. I really do appreciate all of the feedback. 

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Clown79

You're best to get the blue to 100% and whites to 40 or 50%

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seabass

I highly suggest lowering the fixture and adding a second light.  You can get a link cable so they both operate on the same settings.

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TripleTrouble
8 hours ago, seabass said:

 

I highly suggest lowering the fixture and adding a second light.  You can get a link cable so they both operate on the same settings.

 

If I'm going to do that I'd first sell the light and buy something different. It's difficult to grasp that the light is so underpowered that it's inappropriate for a monti cap in a 5 gallon tank. 

11 hours ago, Clown79 said:

 

You're best to get the blue to 100% and whites to 40 or 50

 

The Spectral Controller has two control elements. Color and intensity. The lower the color percentage the bluer the light.

For color: 0 = bluest, 100=white (no blue). I've been "ramping the white" to 50% max. 

 

Seems like that's appropriate. Will focus on getting intensity up. 

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seabass
4 minutes ago, TripleTrouble said:

If I'm going to do that I'd first sell the light and buy something different. It's difficult to grasp that the light is so underpowered that it's inappropriate for a monti cap in a 5 gallon tank.

I was looking to see how big your tank was, and didn't see it.  I guess I was assuming it was a larger tank (like a 10 gallon).  So it's only like 16.5" x 8.75" x 10.75"?  While two fixtures might still be ideal, maybe you can get by with just one.  I'd still lower it some and continue to slowly increase the intensity and adjust your schedule.

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truepercs

If you must use API the phosphate kit it should read 0... even at that reading the aquarium will have phosphates.  If nitrates are zero you may also lose color on the monti, there should be some Nitrates in your aquarium.    API kits are not very accurate.  0 is not zero.  

If some Nitrate shows up on the test it may be enough. You will find out what works best with your tank regarding levels of Nitrates.  Your other coral will benefit from the Nitrates.

 

Keep track of your readings...

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TripleTrouble
5 hours ago, truepercs said:

If you must use API the phosphate kit it should read 0... even at that reading the aquarium will have phosphates.  If nitrates are zero you may also lose color on the monti, there should be some Nitrates in your aquarium.    API kits are not very accurate.  0 is not zero.  

If some Nitrate shows up on the test it may be enough. You will find out what works best with your tank regarding levels of Nitrates.  Your other coral will benefit from the Nitrates.

Thanks @truepercs  I wound up returning the Red Sea kit I purchased on impulse and ordered a Hanna Test Kit. Expect it to be delivered tomorrow. 

 

I added less than the directed amount of PhosNet into a media bag on Monday evening (1/2 a tbsp) and I plan on testing using API tonight. Hopefully it's zero. More accurate test to come once I get the Hanna kit. 

 

 

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truepercs

I use red sea nitrate pro kit, and Hanna phosphorus checker.    Phosphate remover can really reduce phosphates fast. I over did it early on.... some of my monti's paled, it wasn't until I read a bit on Phosphates/Nitrates that helped...  Took 6 weeks of stability to come back.  We want low nutrients to prevent algae, etc... however when they are zero coral color will fade.  New tanks are difficult ;)

 

My tank is new...  Recently I have gone from checking parameters each day to every 2-3 days as it appears to be dialed in and more consistent now.  If something is heading in wrong direction I will check every day until it is normal.  At one time when I was trying to make sure my Alk was stable I was checking morning and evening... 

 

For new tanks testing and understanding your water parameters is key especially if you add additional sps.  

I started checking Alk and Calcium  then added Magnesium... After issues I added both Phosphates and Nitrate check to my routine.  After six months of almost daily checking (I did not check every parameter each day...Alkalinity -yes every day) you really start getting a handle on what your tank is doing (parameter wise) .  By eye if my alk were to slip into the 7's  I know which coral would react.  If nitrates are low,colors begin to pale and my torch and frog spawn are not happy.  Numbers are not everything but you don't want them jumping all around, make any changes slow... If the monti is pale it will take some time to color up even if your numbers are on.

 

I am still having troubles with one of my caps.  Idaho grape, everything read it is a very forgiving coral.  It's growing great but not very colorful.  He may like a bit more nutrients in the water.  At this point I am not making any changes  just trying to keep the numbers in check where things have been working for me...  Hopefully it will come around, the tank is new...  

 

Good luck! yes it can be frustrating ;)   

 

 

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GregEmmitte

80% is entirely too high for a kessil and a monti at that depth. I don't have mine over 70% and my clam is mid level and my Kessil is 10" above water

Phosphates will brown them. 

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seabass

Greg, which Kessil are you using?

 

I based my comments on other threads, and not personal experience.  Therefore I would gladly yield to someone with actual experience.

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GregEmmitte

A360we 

This is the email I got from kessil when I first got it

IMG_3816.PNG

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seabass
5 minutes ago, GregEmmitte said:

A360we 

I see, but the A80 isn't near as powerful as that fixture.

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GregEmmitte

This is true.

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