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sadie

calcium and KH

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sadie

my pulsing xinias were spreading and doing awesome until a few weeks ago.  I noticed my calcium has slowly gone up and my KH has slowly gone down.  When I look back at my journal, they were healthy and happy with the KH at 9.9 and my calcium was 465.  My KH is now 8.4 and my calcium 480.

 

The only other thing that has changed is I am trying to raise my Phosphates and Nitrates,   I started around late Aug and on Sept my Phosphates was maybe a little higher, but def .03 by 10/3 and it has stayed at .03.  My Nitrates are still at 0 so I ordered NeoNitro, but haven't started using it yet.  Not sure if I shout get my KH lower before trying to raise my Nitrates.

 

 I'm going to assume it's the low KH and high Calcium. (I know, never assume), but assuming it IS that, how do I get my KH back up and my calcium a little lower?

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jservedio

No, your calcium and alkalinity haven't changed much, are still well within acceptable ranges, and they changed very slowly - this wouldn't even bother acros and that isn't why your xenia is doing poorly. Zero nitrates is absolutely a reason why any coral will do poorly. You need to get your nitrates to detectible levels and keep your phosphates detectible. 0.03ppm of phosphate is good, but it doesn't give you a whole lot of wiggle room so you probably want to get that higher, too - especially since as you make nitrates available to your system, your phosphates will likely also start to drop if your tank is nitrate limited.

 

Just like zero phosphates, zero nitrates can lead to all sorts of issues with dinos and chrysophytes in addition to your corals starving.

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sadie
34 minutes ago, jservedio said:

No, your calcium and alkalinity haven't changed much, are still well within acceptable ranges, and they changed very slowly - this wouldn't even bother acros and that isn't why your xenia is doing poorly. Zero nitrates is absolutely a reason why any coral will do poorly. You need to get your nitrates to detectible levels and keep your phosphates detectible. 0.03ppm of phosphate is good, but it doesn't give you a whole lot of wiggle room so you probably want to get that higher, too - especially since as you make nitrates available to your system, your phosphates will likely also start to drop if your tank is nitrate limited.

 

Just like zero phosphates, zero nitrates can lead to all sorts of issues with dinos and chrysophytes in addition to your corals starving.

I also bought NeoPhos ( my levels were 0 when I ordered it), so maybe I will use both the NeoNitro and NeoPhos,  I did the math already for the Niotro, to bring it up .5 I have to add 1 ml.  (I have a 16 gal)  I am going to go slow.

 

thanks!!

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sadie

OH, and I AM having a problem with dinos (I think it's dinos)  I just ordered a microscope to find out exactly what kind of algae i am dealing with.

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Clown79
3 hours ago, jservedio said:

No, your calcium and alkalinity haven't changed much, are still well within acceptable ranges, and they changed very slowly - this wouldn't even bother acros and that isn't why your xenia is doing poorly. Zero nitrates is absolutely a reason why any coral will do poorly. You need to get your nitrates to detectible levels and keep your phosphates detectible. 0.03ppm of phosphate is good, but it doesn't give you a whole lot of wiggle room so you probably want to get that higher, too - especially since as you make nitrates available to your system, your phosphates will likely also start to drop if your tank is nitrate limited.

 

Just like zero phosphates, zero nitrates can lead to all sorts of issues with dinos and chrysophytes in addition to your corals starving.

This ^

 

Definitely not alk or calcium. Xenia is a soft coral. A major fluctuation would effect stony corals but not xenia.

 

No to low nutrient levels will effect all corals, especially softies 

 

If you have dino, not only will you need to get nutrients, particularly phos much higher but you need to add biodiversity like seeding the tank with pods and feeding phytoplankton to get thrm reproducing.

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sadie
56 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

This ^

 

Definitely not alk or calcium. Xenia is a soft coral. A major fluctuation would effect stony corals but not xenia.

 

No to low nutrient levels will effect all corals, especially softies 

 

If you have dino, not only will you need to get nutrients, particularly phos much higher but you need to add biodiversity like seeding the tank with pods and feeding phytoplankton to get thrm reproducing.

I did add pods a bit ago, made a hotel and everything, but I didn't see any difference, just a lot more algae.  I fed, and continue to feed my tank phytoplex.  Maybe it's old and I should just get rid of it.  I started feeding the Red Sea Energy plus A&B. I plan on doing that 1x a week.  I also feed reef roids, mysis shrinmp, blood worms.  Not all at once, I mix it up, feeding about every day to every other day. 

 

Hopefully with adding the NeoNitro and NeoPhos things will turn around.  I guess time will tell.

 

thanks 

 

 

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mcarroll
13 hours ago, sadie said:

The only other thing that has changed is I am trying to raise my Phosphates and Nitrates,   I started around late Aug and on Sept my Phosphates was maybe a little higher, but def .03 by 10/3 and it has stayed at .03. 

Unfortunately that means the conditions have only been minimally acceptable (0.03 would be your absolute minimum level ideally....now you'll want to be targeting a higher level  ≥0.10)...and it's only been there for 2-3 weeks.

 

9 hours ago, sadie said:

I also bought NeoPhos ( my levels were 0 when I ordered it), so maybe I will use both the NeoNitro and NeoPhos,  I did the math already for the Niotro, to bring it up .5 I have to add 1 ml.  (I have a 16 gal)  I am going to go slow.

You'll want to hit somewhere in/above the range of 5-10 ppm for NO3.

 

For both NO3 and PO4 I would recommend testing 20-30 minutest AFTER dosing to see if there's any left in the water....often the first doses get used up immediately.  If that happens and you see less than the amount you dosed – re-dose to your target level.  Then re-test again in 20-30 minutes.  Repeat testing and dosing until you have the target residual level you are shooting for (≥0.10 ppm PO4; ≥5-10 ppm NO3) after that 20-30 minute wait.  

 

Then test and dose up to those levels daily and avoid letting levels get back to zero at all costs.  You want to see cyanobacteria and/or green algae growing and dino's disappearing.

 

If corals or cleanup crew appear to be affected, run a high-quality activated carbon to eliminate toxins until all signs of diners are gone and other life has become well established.

 

6 hours ago, sadie said:

just a lot more algae.

Can you post one or more pics that show the tank now?  Please use a flash or turn on white lights so the pictures turn out viewable.  (Blue light leaves algae more or less invisible.)

 

6 hours ago, sadie said:

I fed, and continue to feed my tank phytoplex.  Maybe it's old and I should just get rid of it.

Unless it's smelly or past an expiration date, it's probably as good as it gets.  At minimum it's a(n indirect) source of nitrates, phospahtes and trace elements.

 

6 hours ago, sadie said:

I started feeding the Red Sea Energy plus A&B. I plan on doing that 1x a week.

I'm pretty sure this is an amino acid/carbon dosing scheme.....the opposite of what your tank needs IMO.  Carbon dosing will promote and exacerbate the existing nutrient defficeincy of the tank overall.  The minor addition of nitrogen and trace elements will not be helpful either in your situation.

 

6 hours ago, sadie said:

I also feed reef roids, mysis shrinmp, blood worms.  Not all at once, I mix it up, feeding about every day to every other day. 

Feeding is good, but I would minimize or eliminate the fine particulate food.  The lions share of that will go to waste/go uneaten.  

 

Focus on feeding your fish, and feeding them as well as you can.  I would sell your remaining reef roids to a friend, along with the blood worms....maybe the mysis too, but they are more acceptable.  I would start over with a marine oriented mix targeted at your fish (eg San Francisco Bay Brand's Saltwater Multipack) and select noting smaller/finer than flake food as supplement. Your fish will be feeding your corals like crazy.

 

6 hours ago, sadie said:

Hopefully with adding the NeoNitro and NeoPhos things will turn around.  I guess time will tell.

The benefit of dosing nutrients vs waiting for the effects of more feeding to kick in is that dosing is both precise and immediate.

 

This means that any and all damage or declines happening as a result of nutrient deficiency will be halted.  It means that damage that was going un-repaired can now begin to be repaired.  It means that species that were unable to reproduce will now be able to.  Et al.

 

Unfortunately it doesn't mean that any of the damage caused up to this point will be healed....some things may have gone too far and might still succumb to the damage already done.  Some things can be expected to take months to recover, and might not look the same as before even at that point. 

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sadie

Here is a picture of mu tank yesterday around 4:30.  I would have blown all that stuff off earlier in the morning.  Sometimes I do it again at night.  The second picture is from today about 10:00am.  It usually looks better when lights first come on, then it gets worse as the day goes on.

 

I moved some of my coral around.  At first I didn't care if my GSP spread all over my main rock, they are one of my favorite and I like the look of huge patches.  But then I figured I might change my mind and be sorry later, so I did end up gluing it to a tonga branch.  I also moved my xinia to a different spot thinking it might like it better, but obviously that's not the problem.

 

 

FTS 102020.JPG

FTS 102120.JPG

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sadie

 

6 hours ago, mcarroll said:

For both NO3 and PO4 I would recommend testing 20-30 minutest AFTER dosing to see if there's any left in the water....often the first doses get used up immediately.  If that happens and you see less than the amount you dosed – re-dose to your target level.  Then re-test again in 20-30 minutes.  Repeat testing and dosing until you have the target residual level you are shooting for (≥0.10 ppm PO4; ≥5-10 ppm NO3) after that 20-30 minute wait.  

I tested this morning and it looks like BOTH my Phos and Nitrates were 0.

 

I added another dose of each.  after about half an hour the Phos may have gone up, but it wasn't even ,03.  I'm not sure if I want to repeat dosing though, (Not doubting you) It's just that the very first words on the bottle are "This product may be stronger than you have used.  Go slow until you understand how it works!"  I think I will retest around 6:00 tonight (it said to wait 24 hrs after first dose) and see where it is.  

6 hours ago, mcarroll said:

I'm pretty sure this is an amino acid/carbon dosing scheme.....the opposite of what your tank needs IMO.  Carbon dosing will promote and exacerbate the existing nutrient defficeincy of the tank overall.  The minor addition of nitrogen and trace elements will not be helpful either in your situation.

yes, I think you are right it say it's an organic complex of dissolved and suspended carbohydrates, amino acids, fatty acids and vitamins for coral growth and coloration.  When I added it, my RFA LOVED it.  My red one has been looking a little sad lately.  After I added (at half dose) the AB+ they're tentacles got nice color and longer then I have seen in a bit. They didn't stay like that, but it was nice to see them looking better if only for a bit.  It's funny, this one RFA does the same thing when I add the NeoPhos and NeoNitrate.

 

 

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Clown79

If you have dino's, stop the AB+ until they are fully gone. It won't go bad in the fridge for a while.

 

Dino's flourish with new water, amino's, and vitamins.

 

So you really want to stop waterchanges, stop vitamins/amino's.

 

Dose phytoplankton for the pods, get nutrients up, change floss more often, drop photo period, get rid of all media like phosphate or nitrate medias.

 

Use activated carbon only and chsnge weekly. So use less but change more often. This is to prevent toxins that dino carry that can effect livestock 

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sadie
1 hour ago, Clown79 said:

If you have dino's, stop the AB+ until they are fully gone. It won't go bad in the fridge for a while.

 

Dino's flourish with new water, amino's, and vitamins.

 

So you really want to stop waterchanges, stop vitamins/amino's.

 

Dose phytoplankton for the pods, get nutrients up, change floss more often, drop photo period, get rid of all media like phosphate or nitrate medias.

 

Use activated carbon only and chsnge weekly. So use less but change more often. This is to prevent toxins that dino carry that can effect livestock 

I stopped doing WC about a month ago.  I only did the one dose of the AB+ and it is in the fridge so that's good.

I guess I could change the filter floss everyday.  It probably needs it from me blowing all the stuff around.

 

It's kinda weird that my xinia are shrinking, but now I have some zoas coming back.  they melted away about a month or 2 ago and I almost threw out the little rock they were on, but just decided to keep it.  The other day I noticed 2 little polyps popping up, today there was 4.  Coral are so weird.  I hope when my xinia come back my zoas don't shrink again.

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mcarroll
8 hours ago, sadie said:

I'm not sure if I want to repeat dosing though, (Not doubting you) It's just that the very first words on the bottle are "This product may be stronger than you have used.  Go slow until you understand how it works!"  I think I will retest around 6:00 tonight (it said to wait 24 hrs after first dose) and see where it is.  

I definitely encourage you to listen to you gut.  But not just so you can defer to a vague warning on the bottle!  😉

 

In seriousness, as long as there are proper dosing instructions (ie they tell you the product's concentration in some manner) there aren't going to be any surprises – we don't really care what the concentration is in the bottle, just when it's in the tank.  

 

Just make sure you understand what you're doing/what we're talking about....and ask (more) questions if you don't.  Hard to go wrong that way.  

 

But if you understand, then proceed with confidence....we're trying to stop or prevent damage to all of your photosynthetic organisms as well as promoting the general health of the tank, so half-measures can be just as good as doing nothing.  Every time PO4 returns to zero, it's a new opportunity for damage to photosynthetic machinery...and all the other bad side-effects too.

 

Consider that you are maintaining minimum PO4 just like reefers maintain minimum alkalinity levels.  We're not doing anything more exotic than that. 👍

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mcarroll

Um....just looked online...is there anything more than this printed on the NeoPhos bottle?  (What's online is not adequate to calculate a PO4 dose. That is actually just carbon-dosing instructions.  The online info for NeoNitro is similar.)

 

Quote

Instructions and Guidelines

Shake product well before using. Do not overdose. Results will be most significant when the system is being dosed with MICROBACTER7 on a daily or bi-daily basis.


1. Using accurate test kits or calibrated digital testing devices, determine phosphate and nitrate concentrations in system. It is assumed that the phosphate concentration in the system is below detectable limits for the testing method being employed.


2. Apply NEOPHOS as directed below to attain a phosphate concentration of ~0.02 ppm.


3. Allow 24-hours to elapse; re-test nitrate and phosphate concentrations. If concentrations remain unchanged, then the system is likely carbon-limited. Dose with REEF BIOFUEL at the rate of 1-ml per 25 US-gallons and allow 24-hours to elapse, then re-test phosphate and nitrate concentrations. Continue daily dosing with REEF BIOFUEL until phosphate or nitrate concentrations begin to decrease, indicating that the rate of carbon input to the system
matches the rate of phosphorus- or nitrogen-input, respectively.


4. If nitrate concentration decreases without addition of REEF BIOFUEL or use of KATALYST, phosphate concentration in the system will decrease. Continue dosing with NEOPHOS to maintain phosphate concentration
of ~0.01 - 0.02 ppm until nitrate concentration falls to within desired range (suggested 3 - 5 ppm). Thereafter, dose with NEOPHOS as required to maintain desired phosphate and nitrate concentrations.


Note: If at any time, dosing with NEOPHOS results in a prolonged increase of phosphate concentration without gradual decrease as nitrate is taken up, system is likely carbon-limited (remedied by the application of REEF BIOFUEL or KATALYST to the system). Refer to Steps 3 and 4, or to our website (NEOPHOS "Technical" page).

There has been more than one strength of NEOPHOS that has been sold, so please refer to the number of gallons treated on the bottle.

Sounds to me like you're on-track, but if you want help calculating the dose, let us know what instructions are on the bottle.

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sadie

yes, on the bottle it gives you an equation tank capacity x the ppm increase desired x 3.785 for the NeoPhos.

 For the NeoNitro it say tank capacity x ppm increased desired x .1261

 

I figured I would raise them up .5 at a time (didn't know if bringing it up too fast would hurt anything)

 

When I did the math last night I got for the Phos I would add .06 ml and for the Nitro I got 1 ml.  but I just did the math again and got a totally different # for the Phos I got 3.02

For the Nitro I got the same 1.00

 

I tested them this morning and the Phos still looked like it was 0, but the nitrates maybe went up to 2.  It def had some color. 

 hmmm, it's been way too long since I was in school, though I'm usually really good at math.  How much of the Phos should I add?

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sadie

here is recent picture (sorry the white lights went off), but I think the algae is getting better.  I only blew it off once today.

 

 

FTS 102120 all 3 fish.JPG

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mcarroll
1 hour ago, sadie said:

tank capacity x the ppm increase desired x 3.785 for the NeoPhos.

On 10/20/2020 at 6:27 PM, sadie said:

I have a 16 gal

16 * 0.10 ppm * 3.785 = 6.056 mL to dose by my calculator.

 

1 hour ago, sadie said:

For the NeoNitro it say tank capacity x ppm increased desired x .1261

16 * 10 ppm * .1261 = 20.176 mL to dose by my calc.

 

Everyone needs a sanity check on their math sometimes.  Especially when it's all new!!  👍

 

1 hour ago, sadie said:

FTS 102120 all 3 fish.JPG

That looks mostly like cyano to me....should self-disappear once you get nutrients balanced out correctly and stabilized.  Not bad!!

 

 

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sadie
9 hours ago, mcarroll said:

That looks mostly like cyano to me....should self-disappear once you get nutrients balanced out correctly and stabilized.  Not bad!!

I ordered a microscope so I will know for sure.  If things keep progressing like they are, it might be gone by the time I get my scope.😄 I  wouldn't mind though.  

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jservedio
9 hours ago, mcarroll said:

That looks mostly like cyano to me....should self-disappear once you get nutrients balanced out correctly and stabilized.  Not bad!!

I think you are right about the sand, but that's definitely not cyano on the rocks up top.

 

13 minutes ago, sadie said:

I ordered a microscope so I will know for sure.  If things keep progressing like they are, it might be gone by the time I get my scope.😄 I  wouldn't mind though.  

I know a lot of people recommend a microscope to positively ID it and sometimes get a species, but no matter what it is (and it can be multiple things), the treatment is always exactly the same! The only time you get lucky is if you have the free-swimming dinos and can just slap a UV sterilizer on the tank to kill them at night - but they will still come back if you don't fix the underlying problem of nutrient imbalance (or complete lack of nutrients).

 

I hope it wasn't an expensive scope or you have kids who will enjoy using it once you spend 3 minutes looking at your dinos, cyano, or chysophytes!

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Clown79

I've gotten a lot of use out of my microscope.

 

You can identify many things, even coral parasites.

 

Its pretty cool

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sadie
1 hour ago, jservedio said:

I hope it wasn't an expensive scope or you have kids who will enjoy using it once you spend 3 minutes looking at your dinos, cyano, or chysophytes!

it was $25, not too cheap not crazy expensive.  Have no kids, but my husband and I keep talking about things we want to view.  We were drinking our coffee this morning and I'm like- spiderwebs! 😄  We have a list going.

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Clown79
4 hours ago, sadie said:

it was $25, not too cheap not crazy expensive.  Have no kids, but my husband and I keep talking about things we want to view.  We were drinking our coffee this morning and I'm like- spiderwebs! 😄  We have a list going.

I'll be honest, i find it really cool viewibg things under the microscope.

 

I have taken things out of the tank, water, algaes, coral slime just to view it 

 

I found out i had phallister parasite only because of the microscope. I would never have known what was attacking my corals without it 

 

It can be super fun.

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sadie

I tested this morning and I think my Phos was still 0 and my Trates were still 2.  I was nervous of adding the dose all at once so I did half what the math said.  I put 3 ml of NeoPhos and 10 of the NeoNitro.  I just tested and I swear my Phos is still 0, but my Nitrates have gone up to 5 so I did another half dose of each.  I will test again in the morning.

 

When i get my levels where I want them, how do I KEEP them there?

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mcarroll
On 10/22/2020 at 9:36 AM, jservedio said:

I hope it wasn't an expensive scope or you have kids who will enjoy using it once you spend 3 minutes looking at your dinos, cyano, or chysophytes!

General curiosity is the #1 reason to have a scope to go with your reef tank.  I'm shocked you don't have one!!  <*nudge*>

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mcarroll
23 hours ago, sadie said:

it was $25, not too cheap not crazy expensive.  Have no kids, but my husband and I keep talking about things we want to view.  We were drinking our coffee this morning and I'm like- spiderwebs! 😄  We have a list going.

The guy that wrote the first marine aquarium handbook back in the 1850's (Gosse) also wrote a really cool book on microscopes.

 

It's a guided tour in words of his "viewing adventures" with his microscope.  Well-organized.  Very cool.  Lots of ideas for your scope.

 

You can download his Marine Aquarium Handbook and the microscope book for free from Archive.org.  I think they are linked in my Aquarium History article too, where I elaborate a little on this tangent.

 

For what it's worth, he started with hair.  Different kinds.  Then scales.  Then feathers.  (All related.).  

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mcarroll
14 hours ago, sadie said:

I just tested and I swear my Phos is still 0, but my Nitrates have gone up to 5 so I did another half dose of each.  I will test again in the morning.

Unfortunately, half-measures in this situation are almost as good as doing nothing.  

 

Zero is zero.  Damage, die-off and/or "pest" algae dominance continue.

 

Not a good plan.

  1. Dose up to 0.10 ppm.  
  2. Re-test in no more than an hour to see if there is still any PO4 in the water.  
  3. If it's zero again, make another full dose up to 0.10 ppm.  
  4. Re-test again in no more than an hour.  
  5. Dose again if the test indicates a need.  (I've never seen anyone need more than a second dose, but you want to be sure.)

After you have locked in 0.10 ppm like this, then you can probably get away with testing and dosing once a day to keep it there.  (You'll know based on the test results.)

 

Preventing PO4 from returning to zero again is crucial.  Consider the "clock" to be reset back to zero on your progress if it happens.

 

So...you keep phosphates up the same way you keep alkalinity up.  Test and then dose.  

 

For PO4 it will be every day until you figure out what the tank's daily demand is.  Then you can dose without testing so frequently.

 

Speaking of which I think your alkalinity tests got glossed over earlier in the thread.  

 

It sounds like you will need to keep tabs on alk and be ready to make minor adjustments.  You probably won't have to dose daily for a while though as demand shouldn't be very high now and will only grow as your corals grow.  If demand for alk is low enough and you still want to do water changes, just dose your water change water up to your target levels of NO3 and PO4 before adding the new water to your tank.  You don't want your water change to lower nutrient levels.

 

In the long run the tank nutrients WILL balance out and you should be able to scale back your nutrient dosing and just rely on feeding your fish.  Just don't hurry to get there.

 

 

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