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MrObscura

MrObscura's Nuvo 10 When It Rains It Pours

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MrObscura

Got my icp test and have the samples ready to ship. 

 

I also tweaked my lighting just a bit by dropping red tp 5% and bumping white and green to 20% during my full spectrum portion of the day. It might not make a difference eitherway but I figured a little more white light wont hurt.

 

And while my corals are struggling my clowns seem happy since I just caught them spawning. 

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mcarroll

From a scan of this thread it looks like you tweak your lights and/or flow all the time, ever since it was set up. 

 

Even assuming you're keeping water chemistry on-point, corals are never gonna get very happy if you're always tweaking. 

 

But speaking of chemistry, I also didn't see any water test results posted during my thread scan. 

 

Can you post current results for the Big 5:  ca, alk, mg, no3 and po4

 

(If you have plenty of nitrates and phosphates in the water, your corals are going be generally more forgiving on other fronts.)

 

But you really need to settle on a light setup that YOU like (forget about some magical/idyllic blend for the corals) and stop tweaking.

 

Same goes for flow - come up with something decent and forget about the settings. 

 

If you need a second flow source (most tanks do best with two), go for it....that may help you come up with a better/acceptable setup.

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MrObscura

You must have scanned really quick lol the last page has all my params which haven't changed and have been stable. 

 

Also I haven't been tweaking lights and/or flow at all. They've been consistent for months and havent changed since any any of the struggling corals have been introduced. I've been running my upgraded return with a kps for flow and lighting is my prime running WWCs schedule. Oh, I did add a little more white light to my peak period but that was a very recent change and the only change made, long after corals showed distress. And i doubt it would effect the corals at all anyway. It was more just for aesthetics. 

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mcarroll
On 11/1/2019 at 7:02 AM, MrObscura said:

Just I case anyone wants to throw in their two cents here's a couple pics of what happens. 

 

A few coralites will suddenly lose some flesh and then the coral will stn to death or one day just rtn. You can see it clearly on the oregon torts tips and the green slimer has started near the base.  

 

20191101_055554.jpg

20191101_055710.jpg

Parameters just in case...

Alk 8.4 target and stable within a couple tenths.

Cal 475

Mag 1400

No3 runs between 16-24ppm

Po4 runs 0.04-0.08

Ph runs around 7.8-8.0 Peak

Salinity 1.026

Temp 78-79 occasionally hits 80

 

And equipment in case the OP isn't read...

 

AI prime running an hour ramp to 100% blues and violets with red, green, white at 10% for 4 hours, followed by 7 hours of just the blues and violets.

 

Flow is provided by a 326gph mighty jet return with RFG nozzle and an Aquami KPS running random mode 100%.(this is recent to increase flow, before that it was variable between 5%-100%).

 

(I read through the end of 2018 with lights and flow in flux and then skipped to the end of the thread with lights and flow still apparently in flux.)

 

Considering the error rate of the test kit, phosphate levels are pretty low. 

 

What (if anything) are you doing to keep them low?  Does your feeding schedule vary a lot or to what would you chalk up the variability of phosphates and nitrates?  To me those PO4 levels are "scraping bottom".

 

Seems like a lot of violet on your light setup, but I'm not totally fluent with Primes.....do you think this is a light setup YOU can live with?  If so, now would be a good time to forget how to program it. 😉

 

Same goes for flow...if you like it, leave it.  I will add that I think flow was part of the problem, along with nutrients.  (The two issues, along with lighting changes, all compound each other.)

 

I have some question about how much flow the RFG is delivering compared to the powerhead.....but I have no question that 5-100% variability on the powerhead = "mostly OFF". 

 

Now that it's "mostly ON" your corals should respond well!! 

 

As someone else mentioned, this kind of change can take a while to manifest in some cases (maybe months) so be patient and consider yourself lucky if you see improvement sooner than that.  (Your first/only sign of improvement might be a lack of decline.) 👍

 

If you can slightly increase nutrient levels either by easing up on export or increasing feedings (don't overfeed) that should help speed the process of recovery and adaptation.

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MrObscura

Po4 as been between 0.04 and 0.08 for some time with No3 between 16-24. Nutrients arent the issue neither too high nor too low.

 

Flow on the return is rated at 326 and the kps even at 5%(like most powerheads for some reason percentage doesn't actually represent the power) its lowest setting is 327gph. Its 50g sps present uses the 0-100 percent setting. So at minimum my tank should be getting plenty of flow. But nothing is getting battered so high direct flow also isn't an issue.

 

Running the prime and all ecotech/AI lights really with high viloets is common. So it's not lighting. 

 

I sent the icp test in because I couldn't find any other causes. My lighting, flow, and params in theory should all equate to a thriving tank. 

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Amphrites

You could try bumping PO4 up, if you bring it up slowly there's literally no harm to keeping it at 0.1 or even higher. 

I've had similar experiences with the KPS myself, when they say 357 minimum they absolutely mean it, I think at 5% it legitimately seems to be pushing 300+gph. Full-disclosure the KPS on smooth @ 5-35% is actually enough for my 20long, in tandem with my 100gph return it actually still manages to tick off stylophora and my euphyllia any time it decides to stay at 35% for too long. 

I really do think that there is such a thing as too much flow, especially in smaller systems, maybe in a 200g shallow tub with a strong back and forth wave going you can do whatever you like since the wavelength is so forgiving. I truly have not found that to be the case at all in smaller systems.

Hope you get things figured out, sorry the ICP test didn't reveal much.

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banasophia

I think maybe I just missed it, but it looks like you were sending in your water for ICP testing on November 9th... how did the results turn out? 

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mcarroll
1 hour ago, Amphrites said:

You could try bumping PO4 up, if you bring it up slowly there's literally no harm to keeping it at 0.1 or even higher. 

I third that!  ☺️

 

Considering the error rate of the kit, PO4 is literally "dragging bottom".

 

I think reducing export and/or increasing feed rate will help.  PO4 levels of 0.20 wouldn't even be too much.  Consider that 0.03 ppm is the minimum needed to sustain photosynthesis, let alone all other needs for it in a growing tank...and the tested level is never much above that.  Again, considering the error/accuracy rate of the test and all other factors, it's too close to zero IMO.

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MrObscura

Yea, just got the result today. I started a thread but forgot to post them here. 

 

Only a few things were flagged most if which being minor elements being low that wont effect anything like molybdenum.

 

Only 2 things that really stood...

 

tin at 5.47ug/l but tin is only an issue if its accompanied by other metals suggesting something is corroding. I have no other heavy metals detectable and the ton amount is rather low so who know what the source is. And I don't think it's the cause of issues.

 

The other is 1.88ug/l of copper in my rodi but its undetectable in my tank so the amounts so low that it's not even building up enough in my tank to register.  So that doesn't seem to be the issue either.

 

Ati listed everything in the green over all and didnt even reccomend any actions other than dosing the monor elements.

 

It's a real head scratcher.

 

And as far as po4 goes I'm not afraid of elevated numbers but I see no reason to aim for levels above 0.1. It serves no purpose other than fueling algae and possibly weakening coral skeleton. If you're testing detectable po4 period you should be good. 0 is an issue but if its detectable its not 0. Even hobby test kits wont show detectable levels if there are none. They're more likely to show 0 when there actually is a small amount present. Though I wouldn't be comfortable with a reading of 0.

 

And ati confirmed my levels with readings matching mine exactly at 25ppm no3 and 0.06 po4.

 

Theres far too many successfull reefs supporting a 0.01-0.1 target to believe going higher serves any purpose. Will higher necessarily do any harm? No but theres no evidence(quite the contrary) to suggest running it higher does any good.

 

I'm quite happy with my nutrient levels and I do nothing to reduce po4 or no3 other than my weekly water change. My corals clearly arent starving since i have some lps(large colony of red acans that are growing to well if anything, a hammer and a Duncan) that are thriving. Meanwhile others corals struggle...so its something more complex going on.

 

I appreciate the advice but I'm confident that nutrient levels are not the problem.

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mcarroll
22 hours ago, MrObscura said:

It serves no purpose other than fueling algae and possibly weakening coral skeleton.

That is bogus, but an understandable position as it's common knowledge. 

 

Algae blooms are related to nutrients spikes and imbalances, not nutrient levels. 

 

Not to be indelicate, but you really don't care about your coral's skeleton -- the coral will take care of that just fine, even with insane levels of phosphate.  (One study that maybe @seabass found had acros growing in something like 8.0 ppm and regardless of skeleton density they seemed totally healthy.  Maybe healthier than under "normal" conditions by some standards.)

 

22 hours ago, MrObscura said:

I appreciate the advice but I'm confident that nutrient levels are not the problem.

A Sherlock'ism comes to mind:  no matter how unlikely a potential answer seems, once you've eliminated other possibilities, it must be the answer.....or something like that.

 

I'd have to ask: what are you basing that confidence on if you don't/won't test the theory and have no other competing theories?  That would leave me anything BUT confident.

 

One thing is that your results have a 100% rate of variability, between 0.04 and 0.08 ppm, if take at face value. 

 

If not user-error, how would you explain that variation?  (I.e. does you care or feeding routine vary enough to account for it?) 

 

Lacking a good explanation for that variability, it would give me even more reason to suspect phosphate levels.
 

I'm willing to discount the ICP tests in favor of your test own results, BTW, for the simple reason that I'm not familiar with their weaknesses like I am the common tests we all use. 

 

I have no idea how they are testing phosphate, for example, or how/if their test results would be expected to compare with our tests.   That ICP results jived with your results could be simple coincidence.  (Not all test methods for a given parameter deliver comparable results, FYI.)

 

If you're using the Hanna HI713, a popular meter, here are its stats:

SKU HI713
Range 0.00 to 2.50 ppm
Resolution 0.01 ppm
Accuracy @ 25°C/77°F ±0.04 ppm ±4% of reading

 

 

If you take a hypothetical measurement of 0.04 ppm from a sample that's at 77degF, then that reading is within the error-rate (+/- 0.04 ppm) of zero....or could be presumed to be very close to zero.  By the same token, your "high" reading of 0.08 ppm may only be a 0.04 ppm in reality....which is just above the minimum for photosynthesis, which is 0.03 ppm.  (Higher or lower temps will apparently affect accuracy, presumably not for the better.)

 

If you were experiencing NO PROBLEMS in the tank then I would be inclined to agree with you and say your actual levels may really be close to the high end of what you've been testing.

 

But given your reported problems (remember: not all corals are equally susceptible, have equal flow in the tank, equal light in the tank, equal ability to hunt, etc) there's no reason to assume the best case scenario for your phosphate readings. 

 

IMO your actual levels are oscillating between 0.00 ppm and 0.04 ppm -- between nothing and very,very little -- with only the apparent reading being 0.04-0.08 ppm.   

 

Corals that are "dealing OK" with this are more established, in a better position for light and/or flow, or simply better adapted for nutrient-uptake/conservation/recycling/catching food particles.

 

Instead, take the conservative route and assume the worst on your reading, address it (since there's no downside and very little cost to dosing, and presumably corals are suffering in the mean time?) learn whether it helps (or not) and go from there.

 

Perhaps in the meantime, if this truly isn't the answer, you'll come up with another hypothesis to test.

 

Running a Poly-Filter is the only other idea I can think to give you and that's a hail-mary maneuver....not based on much of anything.   But again, like dosing phosphates, it's cheap and has no real downside, so why not?

 

You asked for it: now you have (at least) two cents.  😃

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MrObscura

I'm basing my confidence on the fact that my tank would possibly be the first in history in which dectable po4 isn't enough. Lol

 

While corals can thrive in high po4 there is evidence that it can negatively effect them and none to suggest that its beneficial to intentionally raise them that high.

 

And raising my po4 would be nutrient spike fueling algae would it not?

 

Oh and I use a red sea po4 test kit not hannah.

 

Not saying i wont try it but I'm not confident it'll solve my problems. Same goes with running some poly filter.

 

 

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mcarroll
18 minutes ago, MrObscura said:

I'm basing my confidence on the fact that my tank would possibly be the first in history in which dectable po4 isn't enough. Lol

Trying to be literal with the help, so unless you're really familiar with that many tanks pls save the hyperbole.   😉

 

There's a reason related to accuracy and precision why "detectable" may not actually be sufficient, and I've attempted to explain it. 

 

It's really just math with a "+/-" number that can be broken out as such:

4 + 4 = 8

4 - 4 = 0.   

 

8 and 0 are your possible values for a reading of "4" when the accuracy of your result is "+/- 4".

 

I've also attempted to explain that "sufficient" is 0.03 ppm at minimum since that's only the demand for photosynthesis and doesn't account for other sources of demand or other impacts (like flow, light or overall maturity) to the tank's needs. 

 

Even taking your results at face value, and ignoring testing accuracy, half of your readings indicate a level that's just barely sufficient and the other half indicate double the concentration.

 

That variability should not inspire confidence.

 

If you run tests on the same water sample in triplicate (three back to back PO4 tests on the same tank sample) do you get the same/similar results or lots of variation from test to test?

 

That's a good way to rule out at least some of that testing uncertainty......if you rock three 0.08 ppm's in a row from the same sample, your certainly level is much higher for the result than it would be for a single test result like that.

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MrObscura

 The variability in my testing is because I don't always feed the same amount. When I test lower I feed a little less, when it drops a bit I feed a little more.

 

I'm not fimilar with every tank in existence but I've but of the thousands documented online and between those and people I've talked to I've never seen one intentionally run po4 over 0.1. There are ones that just kind of run higher because that were they settled by the vast majority of thriving tanks I've come across run between 0.01-0.1.

 

Like I said you are literally the first person I've ever seen suggest po4 levels at mine could cause problems. At least in regards to being too low. There are the low nutrient people that would say it's too high but I dont agree with that at all.

 

And if there was a po4 deficiency in my tank there wouldnt be thriving Lps and shrooms would there?

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mitten_reef
3 hours ago, MrObscura said:

And if there was a po4 deficiency in my tank there wouldnt be thriving Lps and shrooms would there?

To me, I'd go with what your gut tells ya.  if all things are thriving, don't make change(s) just to accommodate one specific coral, or type of corals.  Just keep trying with cheaper sticks, like i mentioned on the result thread.  I'm fairly certain, that in no time, it'll just work.   Some people make it look easy to keep a mixed reef, but you know what routine works best for you and your tank.  

 

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Wonderboy

Not to be indelicate, but @mcarroll, you always give people so much information to utilize, and so often it's not asked for - where does your experiences come from; can we see you systems?

8 hours ago, mcarroll said:

You asked for it: now you have (at least) two cents.  😃

Who are you???

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Tamberav

Where is the tin coming from? 🤔

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Amphrites
2 hours ago, Wonderboy said:

Not to be indelicate, but @mcarroll, you always give people so much information to utilize, and so often it's not asked for - where does your experiences come from; can we see you systems?

Who are you???

To be fair I think MCarrol dropped in on this thread after reading and replying to the ICP results the OP dropped in another thread. 

Best I can tell from my own incidental lurking and digging for reef-related goodies; they appear to have been around forever, started a ton of technical and helpful threads, despite being best known for the dino-threads on R2R, and frequently drop in to annihilate threads with an absolute ton of helpful-information XD.

 

Also, just to toss it out there, most of the fear of phosphates comes from a single misrepresented study of only a few types of coral. Frankly it seems to be either entirely anecdotal or piggybacking on the ULNS-craze from a few years back.

 

Another bit to note is the UNLS craze was a higher-tech return to the mantras which made the hobby untenable and borderline impossible for decades stateside and a Stark departure from the simple-dirty German method most take for granted; you very rarely see people asking about their ultra-complex plenums w/ undergravel flow through a diatom-filter and into a fluidized sand-bed, etc into literal insanity - these days.

 

Anywho, looking at the way your powerhead is positioned I wonder if you actually have too much flow hitting the corals at the top and rear of your rockwork? These KPS are nutty in just how much water they can move, otherwise I'm out of ideas and just hope things start improving for you it's awful to have some nebulous thing keeping animals from thriving despite essentially doing everything "right" -as best as any of us can.

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Tamberav

I wish I had a reverse undergravel filter. I could not find one at a reasonable price for a 48x24 tank. They used to make one 😞

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Amphrites

I decided going bare-bottom is close-enough =p 

Although earlier-on in my reading the crazy plenum methods and their various black-magics were pretty tempting; ultimately too many crash-stories for me compared to sitting on a dirty tank with a skimmer - I think the Germans will forgive my lack of an oxidator in time too.

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mitten_reef
5 hours ago, Tamberav said:

I wish I had a reverse undergravel filter. I could not find one at a reasonable price for a 48x24 tank. They used to make one 😞

 

4 hours ago, Amphrites said:

I decided going bare-bottom is close-enough =p 

Although earlier-on in my reading the crazy plenum methods and their various black-magics were pretty tempting; ultimately too many crash-stories for me compared to sitting on a dirty tank with a skimmer - I think the Germans will forgive my lack of an oxidator in time too.

Idk if you guys have seen @Subsea‘s tank journal. He uses the jaubert plenum design, pretty awesome. 

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mcarroll
5 hours ago, Tamberav said:

I wish I had a reverse undergravel filter. I could not find one at a reasonable price for a 48x24 tank. They used to make one 😞

There were at least a couple of good options back in the day.   IMO Marineland had the best option in their "RFK" or Reverse Flow Kit for their Penguin powerheads....I kept spare sponges to the dirty ones could be rinsed, bleached and dried in a safe, casual manner.  That was in a freshwater planted system, BTW.  "Can't do planted on a UGF" my foot.  😆  It was an easy setup!  (Lighting was sooooo expensive back then.)

 

I forget the company off-hand, but another outfit had a filter called the Gemini that had an overhead unit (the workings of a power filter, from memory) and a reverse-flow undergravel filter option.

 

I'm sure there were more...but are there any now?  The RFK is gone, as is the company that made the other unit.

 

I think you'd have to DIY something with PVC parts/PVC glue these days.

 

Wait....Hagan's reversible powerheads are still on the market....A565 and A570.   Might be a fine option in 2019!  Ffrom memory, flow is much lower in reverse mode....but that should be fine for the intended application.

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MrObscura
9 hours ago, Tamberav said:

Where is the tin coming from? 🤔

No idea. 

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mcarroll
1 hour ago, mitten_reef said:

 

Idk if you guys have seen @Subsea‘s tank journal. He uses the jaubert plenum design, pretty awesome. 

Jaubert's main strike may be that it isn't too compatible with the fish-bombing quick setups that are The Norm.

 

Image result for cheers norm

 

This way of going about a setup almost necessitates things like gravel vacuuming that are anti-sand bed. 

 

(I'm not sure you could do it at all starting with dead rock....now another big part of The Norm.)

 

It's definitely possible to keep a healthy sand bed (deep or otherwise)....but perhaps not within The Norm.

 

Image result for cheers norm

 

I can't try out every technique that I think is cool or interesting, but if I had more time/resources I'd definitely try out a Jaubert system.   I may be adding sand to my 125 Gallon, but presently running bare for a year or so.  Before their consolidation into this tank the two I took down were split: one bare, one (the oldest) with a 2-3" sand bed.  Though not Jaubert, that sand bed was healthy and clean-looking even after 10 years without grooming.

 

image.jpeg.169bfae9bf81ab7822b9061fbba720de.jpeg

 

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Tamberav

I like bare bottom but the husband does not so I have sand.... which means extra work to care for it :sideeyes:

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Amphrites

I hate to contribute to the hijack and don't mean to take away from a tank as absurdly-established as that gent's, but they did end up reducing the DSB/gravel from 6 to 2" and eventually cleaning it out, from my understanding constantly-agitating the DSB also goes against the entire premise/purpose of a plenum. That said, it's hard to argue with the results and stability they achieved in their system, really fun going through it.

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