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jefferythewind

29 High

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jefferythewind

I've got a 29 gallon high tank.

 

Filter: Seachem 75

Light: Viparspectra 165W aqua light

Heater: Eheim

Power head

 

I first set up the tank in Sept 2019, so It is over 1 year old now. First setup was just 2 clown fish and soon after that I got a big anemone and a green star polyp coral along with hermit crabs, snails and 2 cleaner shrimp. I started the tank with all dry rock, as the lady at the store recommended it.

 

 

 

So I didn't know anything about keeping reef tanks before I started, I wasn't even sure that we were going to do corals or not. Anyways, I was not testing the water at all when I started about for many months after that. I was just blindly doing weekly water changes.

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Looking back, it was way too early to add an anemone. Needless to say the Anemone died before Christmas. I guess I don't even have a good picture of it. We bought 2 Bengali Cardinals before christmas, on the next morning after we bought them one of them was gone with no trace. I think they killed and ate it.  Then over Christmas vacation, we came back after only 4 days or so and I had a breakout of the green aquarium water!

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I should add that right before this happened I added a zoa and a red digitada to the tank, then it turned green like this and it took at least a couple months to clear up the water. Eventually I figured out how to use the UV filter that I bought, and that fixed it pretty quick. But the tank was going like this for a few months, I never really gave up on it but had no idea what to do. Tried to filter the heck out of the water and do lots of water changes. After the water cleared up I found that the corals were still alive. The green star polyp was doing very well and zoa was alright. The red digitada was alive but the skin had browned and some polyps were no longer alive. It was around that time that I really tried to learn more about how to properly care for the corals. This brings us to about May this year. The red digitada ended up dying. 

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My tank still didn't have much spontaneous growth in it, since I started with all dry rock. Someone on this forum pointed that out. So I went out and go some linee rock from a guy advertising on the local classifieds. It had lots of stuff growing on it so I put it in the tank. It had some mushroom corals which were basically completely white and not very good looking. That was cool to start adding to the tank. At this time I started reading about water testing but still didn't really understand it. I bought a red sea pro test kit for Alk, Ca, and Mg. I started testing be didn't really know what I was looking for. Alk was always pretty high I remember. Maybe 9.5 most of the time. Apparently I had a salt with pretty high Alk. So I figured OK, whatever, I'll buy some more corals.

 

This bring us to early summer 2020.

 

I reached out to a local reefer who was selling quite a few things and bought this japanese toaadstool coral. From another local person I bought a green Montipora, red montipora, orange setosa, green Acropora, 2 frags of Zoas, a head of a Duncan and a Hammer. Again, looking back it was probably a little too early for me to jump in with all these SPS corals, especially the green acro. Anyway it was a learning experience. I reset my tank for the new corals. By this time the green star polyp had already starting taking over the entire rock it was on, so I put that over the side by itself with the japanese toadstool. This following picture is right after I bought the corals. You can see the green acro there was still looking good. Also the original zoas that were the second coral I bought had starting expanding off their frag plug as well. 

 

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So I was still just doing water changes and tessting Alk, Ca, and Mg, and Nitrates periodically but not really sure what to look for. Nitrates were non-zero, usually around 10 or so. Alk was always 9 or slightly more. 

 

I noticed that the colors started fading from what they were when I bought them for basically all the corals. Then I started to get "burnt tips" on the green acro, so thats when I put up a post on this forum asking for help. Interestingly during the time of the post the orange setosa started deteriorating rapidly as well. Finally I started testing Phosphate, and found my phosphate was zero. A few community members helped direct me how to go about dosing and I started dosing Neophos. It took a little while to get used to this and I went through a few phosphate test kits and a whole bottle of Neophos pretty quickly, but I think I've been controlling the phosphate level pretty well now for a while. We definitely want it to be non-zero, and I try to keep it about 0.1. To do that now I add 5ml ( 1 cap full ) everyday and it seems to keep the level pretty steady. 

 

Shortly after that I started paying more attention to my Alk. Started reading, and understanding the importance of keeping Alk steady.  And I realized I couldn't keep the Alk up above 8 anymore just doing weekly water changes. Also because of the low phosphate I decided to stop with the scheduled water changes and I started dosing Alk and Ca. I've been doing it for over a month now, it was a learning curve but for the past couple weeks I've had the level pretty good I think. Now I dose Alk/Ca manually twice per day, about 3ml each time. It keeps the Alk right at about 7.8 when I test at night before the dose.

 

I ended up losing the green acro and the orange setosa was badly injured but it is still alive. Although I can't tell which way it is going. I have to say since dosing the Phosphate all the colors of the tank have deepened and brightened a lot. Now I have started with some coral foods. I also throw in some Acro power every week.

 

About a month or 6 weeks I picked up a neon green montipora type coral with black polyps, forgot the name. At the same time we got a new fish, and indigo dottyback, bringing the number of fish to 4: 2 clowns, 1 bengali cardinal and this new indigo dottyback. And last weekend I went to the store for supplies and picked up what I am pretty sure is a purple bonsai acropora. I figured I have my Alk/Ca pretty well controlled, Mg is fine whenever I test it, Nitrates are around 5 and Phosphates are being dosed and stay around .1. I wanted to try another acro. (my wife doesn't know why I like them so much.) Anyways it is a beautiful little frag, I hope it does ok. I will probably be asking for help from you all pretty soon to help me keep this new Acropora!

 

Here is a shot of the purple bonsai and a global picture of my setup. There is alot more to say, of course, but that is all I have for now.

 

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jefferythewind

So, I need to ask for a little help. Things are not looking great in my tank. For the last week and a half or so the orange setosa, which was injured but seemed to be recovering, stopped recovering. Usually the polyps would come all the way out ever day, but they started just coming out partly or not at all. Starting this week another fairly new neon green monti (forgot name) its been few days now and the polyps are pretty much completely retracted all day. Also, not as concerning, I have a regular green monti which is always really good, and still looks decent, but noticed a few very small brown spots on it, between the polyps. OK, and of course I have the new acro which now I'm worried again something is wrong with the water. The normal acro polyps come out during the day but those white tip polyps that come out at night haven't come out since the first and second night I had it in the tank.

 

Differently from my last big issue, now I am constantly monitoring Alk, Ca, Mg, Nitrates and Phosphates. The Alk I am sure has been pretty well controlled, especially over the last week. Phosphates are doed daily and the lowest I've tested over the last 6-8 weeks is 0.05, but its usually right at .1, if its low I give a little more to boost the level. Nitrates are always 2.5 ~ 10 range. Ca is always ~430 and Mg something like 1440. I feel like I have a good control on these parameters. So I am a bit disappointed and at a loss for what to look for next as what the problem could be. 

 

I should add that my soft corals and euphylia all look really pretty good, good growth. The duncan seems to start growing quite a bit, the GSP, zoas, and Japanese toadstool are all fine. Seems to be an issue with the SPS only. This week I had started small doses of some new coral food, so last night I didn't put any more in and I am going to try a water change this afternoon, since it has been a few weeks since I have changed the water.

 

Anyways, please any comments are help to try to uncover the problem is greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks!

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debbeach13

Is this the same tank that you previously said had a 300w vipraspectra plant grow light? If it is how long ago did you change the light? I can not offer any help because I do not have any SPS. Hopefully a member with SPS can offer some insight. You have hung in there through some tough situations. I hope things turn around for you soon. 

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mitten_reef

Alk number? ¬†You provided all other numbers, but only said along the line of¬†alk under controls. what‚Äôs ‚Äúwell¬†controlled‚ÄĚ?

I don’t know what’s going on with the monti’s. Pics would be nice.  

Acros are finicky bunch. I killed my first handful. It’s the rite of passage, lol, some other people might say otherwise.  


 

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jefferythewind

@debbeach13 Hi, no this never had any other light on it. 

 

@mitten_reef Last night when I measured the Alk it was at about 8.2. I have to say recently it has been very consistent when I test every evening at  8 oclock. Lowest ive seen in a while is around 7.8 and highest just about 8.5. my target is 8.5. I dose twice a day about 3 ml each time.

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jefferythewind

Well things here are looking better today. Yesterday I did a 4 gallon water change and for the past couple days I've been dosing extra Phosphate since it is the only thing I could think of to do, since to be honest a couple of the phosphate tests were definitely less than .08, and depending on how you interpret the color there could be a possibility the Phosphate dipped below 0.04, which @mcarroll mentioned on a different thread could be the critical level for low phosphates. Anyways, not sure if it because of the water change or the phosphates things look better. Going forward I think I will get back into the habit of a weekly water change, and I will increase my daily phosphate dose and see how things go.

 

P.S. I know my pictures look like crap, i know it is common with these LED lights to thing kind of super blue over exposed affect. Its hard for sharing online. How do you all get those nice beautiful pictures of your corals?

 

PSS Last weekend I switch my filter location to the side position, as you can see in the picture. It perfectly fits on the side an puts a nice flow all along the top of the tank, it is really a much more natural position for the filter. Don't know why I didn't think of it sooner.

 

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farkwar

There is no critical low level for phosphates

 

None

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jefferythewind
Just now, farkwar said:

There is no critical level for low phosphates

 

None

What about zero?

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farkwar

The ocean is zero

 

 

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jefferythewind

That can't be true, there is science with actual non-zero measurements all over the place.

 

for example here is one study where the first figure show real data point, mostly all non-zero.

 

https://www.nature.com/articles/42915

 

Also you have this:

 

https://reefsuccess.com/2018/08/27/phosphate-deficiency-promotes-coral-bleaching-and-is-reflected-by-the-ultrastructure-of-symbiotic-dinoflagellates/

 

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farkwar

The ocean is zero phosphate

 

 

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jefferythewind
58 minutes ago, farkwar said:

I do a 20% water change virtually everyday, my corals should all be dead.

What kind of corals do you have? And do you test for phosphates in your water at all?

 

I'm not trying to be negative, I appreciate any info, just trying to learn how to care for my tank. This issue that I've noticed definitely affects the corals differently. I had a bigger problem before but my soft corals and GSP, Euphylia don't seem to be affected by this particular problem. I don't have much SPS but the Acropora and Orange Setosa seem to be affected the most.

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farkwar

Waste of time

 

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farkwar

Delete

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jefferythewind

Well from my understanding is that phosphates too high of course is toxic, but zero isn't good because some corals ( not all ) require phosphates for some process and if they dont' have the phosphate it causes damage. If you could show me the same corals I have that are having problems doing fine in a zero phosphate environment then I could say we have proven something.

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jefferythewind

I have heard stories about people doing 100% water changes, and I have to say after the water change yesterday the tank is def looking better today.

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farkwar

Pearls before swine

 

 

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jefferythewind

Thing is I am not just googling, but reading scientific articles that say there is phosphate in sea water. You're just saying things with no evidence.

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farkwar

Nm

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jservedio
19 hours ago, farkwar said:

There is no critical low level for phosphates

 

None

This is just wrong from a basic biological standpoint. Life simply can't exist without phosphorus.

 

19 hours ago, farkwar said:

The ocean is zero phosphate

You have a source for that bold statement? Surface readings of phosphates range typically from about 0.005ppm for low-nutrient areas like reefs and can be an order of magnitude higher in areas with more upwelling (like around the Galapagos). Take a read through the Chemical Oceanography book if you want.

 

There are a myriad of reasons why modern thinking on reef tanks suggests to keep phosphate levels over 0.03ppm (most suggesting 0.05ppm - 0.08ppm). Your tank isn't the ocean.

 

 

Jeffrey, as long as you keep things stable, including keeping your nutrients stable (you don't want phosphates bouncing between 0.04 and over 0.1 - they should be stable just like everything else) things will keep looking up. As the tank continues to mature, it'll be easier to keep stable - particularly nutrients.

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farkwar
1 hour ago, jservedio said:

Life simply can't exist without phosphorus.

I know that

 

And yet, even though it's not in the air I breath, I am still alive

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farkwar
1 hour ago, jservedio said:

0.005ppm

5 parts per trillion

 

Is homeopathic

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mitten_reef
19 minutes ago, farkwar said:

5 parts per trillion

 

Is homeopathic

that's 5ppb (billion), not trillion.

 

Anyway, been sitting on the sideline on this back and forth.  here's my two cents

 

phosphate is important, yes, we all agree on that.

 

managing phosphate beyond active removal, like managing alkalinity, seems to be a recently-developed ideas/concepts (same as managing N level).  There are tanks that dose N & P, vs doing heavy-in/heavy-out (feed/filter).  some people feed "just enough" and supplement N&P.  Do I agree with it? not really, more work to monitor extra dosages and levels to worry about when N & P are essentially waste byproduct (also, why needlessly spend more $ on 'pure' supplement?).  Does it achieve the same end goal? most likely. 

 

Low phosphate is also commonly accepted as related to dino issue among other things.  that's a different topic altogether.  

 

there are too many ways to skin the cat in this hobby - there aren't many wrong ways to do things (and things die quickly to tell you that), but there are many many ways to be successful, and even more varying levels of success.  just make sure you know what you're doing and why you're doing it.    

 

@jefferythewind, what's your filtration system?  any chemical N&P remover (chemipure blue, purigen, phosguard, etc)?  Those should be the first thing to go, when you're struggling with maintaining nutrients in water column.  i.e. do you have anything other than filter floss in your HOB filter? 

 

tagging @Thrassian Atoll since he was helping you over on the other thread.  

 

   

 

 

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jservedio
35 minutes ago, farkwar said:

I know that

 

And yet, even though it's not in the air I breath, I am still alive

Yes, because you eat. And in your aquarium your corals eat as well, but the food available to them is a miniscule fraction of what they have available in the ocean. The zooxanthellae in your corals' flesh allow the coral access to the dissolved nutrients in the water column.

 

33 minutes ago, farkwar said:

5 parts per trillion

 

Is homeopathic

Your math is wrong, it's 5 parts per billion, not trillion. Also, that 5ppb of phosphate is essentially unlimited and unchanging - as fast as corals and critters uptake phosphate, the changing tide ensures it's perfectly stable and always available. As the lights turn on in your tank and photosynthesis kicks on, a heavily stocked tank can easily chew through 0.1ppm of phosphate in a day or less, plenty of tanks go through more. As phosphates bottom out, you are doing damage to your corals: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5441187/, entirely ignoring the fact that those conditions are ripe for dinos and chysophytes to flourish.

 

Edit: Sorry Jeffrey, I hate arguing in a build thread - but I hope what I put above at least helps put a little bit of explanation to the why it's important to keep detectible nutrients in your tank. The logic behind keeping above something like 0.03 or 0.05ppm (or really whatever, while still being within reason) is that our test kits aren't sensitive enough to get much lower and it gives you a bit of a buffer since our tanks are closed systems and have the ablity to bottom out.

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