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jefferythewind

What is wrong with this green acro?

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jefferythewind

So my tank has been set up over a year, and I am starting to get a lot of really good signs of an established tank: feather dusters, choraline algea everywhere. About 6 weeks about I bought some small frags: 2 zoas, an orange setosa, 2 montiporas and 1 green acropora. At about the same time I purchased a hammer and a dunkin (euphilia). From before I also have some green star polyps, japanese toadstool, a zoa, and some green mushrooms. I have to say, everything looks pretty good... except the green Acro.

 

I will put some pictures here of the other corals so you can see they are all dong well. The orange setosa, which I was reading can be very finicky, is doing great and has already grown quite a bit. The green montipora has also grown very nicely. There is something going on with the red montipora but color is still good and seems to be getting through it. All the zoas are great and everything else looks good. 

 

Now about the green Acro, I was reading that Acros need light so I put it toward the upper half of my tank. It looked OK for a few weeks and they the tips started fading and got white first and then seems to get brown with some algea or something. Check out the pictures. a few days ago I detached it from the rock it was on and put on a much lower rock and moved it toward to side of the tank in the bottom. I am just afraid it was too much light, although I have a 165w viparspectra and I have it only at 30 blue and 2 white (both or out of 100). I don't want to starve it of light so I am just trying a little less light to see if that helps.

 

My nitrates are right about 5 and alkalinity has been pretty steady at ~9.8. Calcium and Mag seems stable. I do weekly 16% water changes IMG_5735.thumb.JPG.b6390386fba3540acb44e2b268031121.JPGandclean/change the filter floss every week. No skimmer.

 

Does this look like light burn to you or is it something else?

 

Thanks for the help!

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Thrassian Atoll

Looks like burnt tips to me.  Usually happens when alkalinity is too high and nutrients are too low.   What’s your phosphates at?

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jefferythewind

Yeah the phosphates is the only test kit that I haven't bought yet. I have just been testing Nitrates, Alk, Ca, and Mg.Nitrates seemed actually a bit high a few weeks ago, maybe 10 - 20, but a couple days ago they were definitely closer to 5. @Thrassian Atoll What do the phosphates tell you? Is it possible to bring my alk down or should i look for a new salt or something?

 

PS I just checked the Alk right now and I got ~ 9.1

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Thrassian Atoll

Get yourself the Hanna Ultra Low Phopshate or phosphorus kit.  I try to stick to below 9 Alk wise, usually 7.5-8.5.  In my experience if phosphates hit zero and my alk is above 8 I see burnt tips.  
 

Nitrates matter but I don’t think as much as phosphate.  If you have lower alk and low nutrients you might not see issues like high alk and low nutrients.  I have found a good balance for me is phosphates around .05 and nitrates around 5 and alk around 8.

 

  I dose neonitro and neophos to keep them there because my system sucks up nutrients.  Hopefully adding some more fish soon will help.  The biggest thing is making sure there are no large swings in a day.  

 

Stability is definitely key with acros.

 

I think too much light would pale out the entire acro and not just burn the tips.

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jefferythewind

Thanks for the great input @Thrassian Atoll. I read the same thing about Alk in a frag box article just now, saying how Alk at 7.5 is best for acros. My question is, my system seems to have higher alk right now with the way i do things. Like i said i just do the water changes weekly and no dosing at all. how would I attain a nice stable lower Alk level? From what I read dosing only helps to raise the alk level.

 

Just did a little research and it looks like last time i bought salt I opted (not knowing) for salt with higher levels of alk/ca/mg. Now i am reading the Tropic Marin salt has Alk in the 7.5-8 range. I think i am going to buy some of this and start mixing it in to see if i can lower the alk to 8 or a bit less.

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Thrassian Atoll

Yeah, I am using tropic marine reef pro.  That’s an option along with Red Sea blue bucket and Fritz blue box.  I prefer the tropic marine.  You could probably do 20% water changes each week for a few weeks and see where that gets you alk wise.  Don’t drop it too fast.  

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Thrassian Atoll

Also, If you get the phosphorous test kit and you do have zero phosphates, you can try raising that too without lowering the alk too much and see if that helps.  That acro might not heal for months though.  As long as no more recession happens, I would say that’s good.

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jservedio
11 hours ago, Thrassian Atoll said:

I think too much light would pale out the entire acro and not just burn the tips.

Yep - if it were light bleaching everything on the top of the colony would be super pale and the bottom would still look normal. I agree it's probably burnt tips, but another thing to check for is something nearby attacking it since they all appear on the same side. Also, if it is a new acro, it could be a couple of unrelated things. If it was shipped, if it was bouncing around the bag, the tips take the brunt of that force and sometimes die back like that for a bit. If it was just glued down and you were rough handling it, again, the tips can take some damage. I get this all the time cleaning my tank because I can't really fit my hand between the glass and acros without bumping them and end up constantly damaging and fragging them by accident.

 

I'll parrot what Thrassian Atoll has been saying - don't make big changes fast, stability is far more important than any slightly off parameters. Alkalinity of 9 dkh is perfectly acceptable and there is nothing wrong with that at all. While some of us with acros prefer a slightly lower alkalinity, many do not and 9 is absolutely within the ideal range. If your phosphates are undetectable or at or below 0.2ppm, you will definitely want to bring it up a bit, but bring it up slowly over the course of several weeks and try and do it naturally first.

 

Dosing phosphate and nitrate directly to the tank should only be done if you can't maintain a healthy level naturally, because doing it naturally through feeding is unquestionably better. When you raise your N and P through feeding and fish poop, you are getting a lot more than just N and P - you are getting all kinds of other complex organic molecules from detritus that your acros and other life can directly utilize and will benefit from.

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jefferythewind

@Thrassian Atoll Yes I did get the phosphate test kit and salt, I am waiting for them to arrive. I will just start using the new salt for the weekly water changes and monitor the alk and phosphorous levels. I have to say this whole process has been very slow, the good parts still look pretty decent on the Acro. We'll see how it goes.

 

@jservedio Thanks for the input. I agree I will go everything gradually. There was some handling but I actually got this frag from a local reefer so the handling wasn't too damaging, it actually looks perfect for a couple weeks after adding it to the tank. It has been kind of a slow burn over about 6 weeks to get to where it is in the pictures. I will start using the new salt and test for phosphates when it arrives. My Nitrates are not zero so I wouldn't assume the phosphates to be zero... but we will see.

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mcarroll
On 9/10/2020 at 3:34 AM, jefferythewind said:

I read the same thing about Alk in a frag box article just now, saying how Alk at 7.5 is best for acros.

That's hooey – don't go making big changes over this.

 

Acros don't live in a different ocean from other corals.  😉

 

On 9/10/2020 at 12:52 PM, jefferythewind said:

My Nitrates are not zero so I wouldn't assume the phosphates to be zero... but we will see.

I get your thinking, but it just doesn't work like that. Test and you'll know. 👍

 

A better (safer) generalization would be that since nitrates are low, phosphates could be zero.

 

You mentioned that nitrates were higher before.....what happened to bring them down?  (And how high was "high"?)

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jefferythewind

Hi @mcarroll, @jservedio, and @Thrassian Atoll, so my phosphate test kit finally came today. Also I tested the Alk and Nitrates several times last week and also today. The alk and nitrates have read all exactly the same. Alk was 9.0 last week and before the water change, now its 9.2 (after water change). Nitrates read right about 5 exactly every time. So phosphates are in fact zero. I got the Aquaforest test kit. The water needs to turn slightly blue to show how much phosphate you have, and the water stays completely clear, no blue at all.

 

This is great. I feel like I am making progress. So if I understand correctly, all my troubles will disappear if I can get the phosphates to increase slightly.  Is this correct? But how can I do that? There was mention of increasing feeding the fish. I have been feeding pretty heavily lately, they eat quite a bit, but still only feeding once a day. Should I get some products to feed the corals, like coral food? I've seen stuff from polyplabs and aquaforest looks interesting. Do I need another fish? Currently I have 2 clown and one Banggai Cardinal. 29 gallon tank. 

 

Also I should mention the acro still looks about the same, hasn't gotten too much worse but hasn't gotten better.

 

I should also mention that I usually run carbon, should I stop?

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Tired

You can just directly dose phosphates. Coral food can also help, and many corals like it. 

 

But first, take the carbon out. It can remove nutrients. It's good to add if you suspect something funky has gotten into the tank, or if your corals are riled up for some reason, but doesn't necessarily need to be run all the time. 

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jefferythewind

@Tired, thanks for the input! No I don't think there is any particular reason to use carbon. I will take that out and see what happens.

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mcarroll
29 minutes ago, jefferythewind said:

So if I understand correctly, all my troubles will disappear if I can get the phosphates to increase slightly.  Is this correct? But how can I do that?

That may be slightly overstating the case, but yes.  😉

 

Whether they increase slightly or a lot isn't the big a deal either, for what it's worth.  Having zero is the only real problem.  (In more mature tanks, this can be a lot less true since lots of nutrient recycling goes on.)

 

Just to pile on...

 

30 minutes ago, jefferythewind said:

Should I get some products to feed the corals, like coral food? I've seen stuff from polyplabs and aquaforest looks interesting. Do I need another fish?

I would not necessarily be looking to make any big additions.  

 

What are you doing to reduce nutrient levels?  Like water changes.  Anything you can think of that might count though.  Stop doing those things as much as possible.  

 

Consider dosing (e.g.) ESV B-IONIC to maintain calcium, alkalinity, etc. instead of doing water changes for a little while just to see what happens.

 

Otherwise, just continue to feed your fish well.  If you feed them more, don't make it a lot more.  

 

BTW, feeding them more than once a day is a good idea even if you were only feeding the same overall quantity.

 

If you stop doing everything that's removing nutrients for a week or two and STILL don't see phosphates register on a test (it's probably a very faint blue, so only do testing if highquility light conditions), you could also consider adding liquid phosphates.  Dose to 0.10 ppm if you do.  Maintain that level as you would maintain your alkalinity.  Test and dose daily until you get your daily dose dialed in.

 

(If things were worse and corals seemed to be actively declining, I'd suggest dosing liquid PO4 immediately.)

 

40 minutes ago, jefferythewind said:

I should also mention that I usually run carbon, should I stop?

It wouldn't affect phosphates, but still yes, stop.  Use it as-needed instead of continuously.

 

 

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jefferythewind

@mcarroll thanks for the great tips. That is really interesting. I was actually thinking to myself that perhaps the water changes was too much. I've been on a schedule of 5 gallon water change every week. Should I go to every 2 weeks or just stop all together? 

 

Just a little more history, so this tank has been set up for over a year, but at last year Christmas the tank was just starting out and I got a case of green aquarium water. It took me a couple months before I really figured out how to fix the issue. I bought a UV filter and installed it, but i didn't know it wasn't actually turned on for like 6 weeks while I waited for the water to clear up. Meanwhile I started changing my maintenance to try to clean it up manually. I started the weekly 5 gallon water changes. I started with filter floss and even a polishing pad, and also with the carbon. That helped a lot but eventually I figured out how to use the UV filter and then the water was all clear in less than 2 weeks after turning it on. Anyways, since that time I've continued with the weekly water changes, filter floss and carbon. I guess now I need to ease off a bit on all the cleanup.

 

Do you think I should take out the filter floss along with the carbon? I clean out and change the filter floss every week during the water change. I always find it very full and dirty after each week. I was assuming I was helping the tank with this. Of course we enjoy the crystal clear water that we get with the current maintenance pattern.

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Thrassian Atoll

What is the lowest that phosphate kit will read besides zero?  

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Thrassian Atoll
22 minutes ago, jefferythewind said:

@Thrassian Atoll Hi, next level above zero is 0.01 for P04 and 0.003 for P.

That’s pretty good.  I was not familiar with that kit and I know some of them, the lowest number it will read is higher than you would want your phosphates to be.

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jefferythewind

OK well I have removed the carbon and the filter floss. I will hold off on water changes and monitor the levels in the water. I can see now how this is gonna be like surfing, finding the sweet spot, trying to stay there. 

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Tired

Yep. The good news is, once you figure out the schedule of feeding and water changes that works best for your tank, it doesn't tend to change too much. 

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