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jefferythewind

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jefferythewind

@mitten_reef and @jservedio thanks for the input I really appreciate. I don't mind a good discussion, I'll you that. I love the point made that many people have success doing different things, I have definitely noticed that. It's complicated and hard to make easy broad rules to all tanks.

 

I actually think one of the big reasons I just saw this big improvement in the last day or 2 is from the water change. Before I was dosing nutrients and Alk I was just changing 16% ( 5 gallons ) every week, and I noticed that the corals seemed to like a water change, especially the orange setosa. When i starting dosing phosphate and Alk, I stopped doing the water changes. After seeing the reaction from this recent water change, I am going to get back in the habit of weekly water changes. But I'm also going to continue monitoring and dosing the levels to keep them in check. Perhaps the water changes are adding something else besides what I am testing for that the corals really need too.

 

Anyways before I make any big claims we'll see how things go. 

 

One remark to what @mitten_reef said about feeding is that recently I can't get my fish to eat and poop enough to produce these phosphates "naturally". I had 3 fish, got a forth and now thinking about a 5th, to try to do exactly what you're recommending, but it isn't an instant solution, when dosing is. 

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farkwar
1 hour ago, jservedio said:

it's 5 parts per billion, not trillion

Fair enough

 

Sound like a good amount to shoot for

 

And I do

 

I still have a little bit of nuisance algae, so obviously I need to work on that

 

Thanks for the correction, I think my brain went metric or something there

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mcarroll
23 hours ago, jefferythewind said:

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?

Most folks with *really* nice pics ALSO have a photography habit.  Those folks are running a high-end camera as well as software to dress up the photos more after the fact.

 

There are some exceptions...maybe folks with particular phones that don't do this weird effect?  (All of my recent ones have done it. 🤷‍♂️)  

 

It definitely kills easy online sharing for me.  I've even tried those stupid clip-on yellow and orange filters...they do cut down the blue....but they also tint the overall picture yellow and/or orange in the process.  🙄

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jservedio
1 hour ago, mcarroll said:

Most folks with *really* nice pics ALSO have a photography habit.  Those folks are running a high-end camera as well as software to dress up the photos more after the fact.

 

There are some exceptions...maybe folks with particular phones that don't do this weird effect?  (All of my recent ones have done it. 🤷‍♂️)  

 

It definitely kills easy online sharing for me.  I've even tried those stupid clip-on yellow and orange filters...they do cut down the blue....but they also tint the overall picture yellow and/or orange in the process.  🙄

Yes, it's definitely true that most people with really good photos are using DSLR cameras and photography is a hobby, but you don't need to - your phone can take pretty good pictures with a little effort. The easiest way for a novice to take really good photos without buying any equipment and not have them be a blue blob is to take your photos in RAW mode (all new android and iphones do this, it's buried in the camera settings). Then, in a free RAW editor (there are a ton), edit the RAW photo to change the White Balance balance to match your lights (like 16,000K - 20,000K). Some other easy tips are to wait until your lights are at their brightest point, shoot at a 90 degree angle to your glass from up close, and make sure the room is dark to prevent reflection.

 

If that's still too much, just crank up your whites up to look like your kitchen lights and just take regular photos - they'll come out alright.

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A.m.P

Nothing much left to say, here's a thread you may find encouraging and helpful pertaining to nutrient levels.

 

Oh, and I guess I will add, most reefs are inshore and even-intertidal, they regularly see massive influxes of nutrients and detritus, which would crash our systems, from upwelling and runoff.

The consensus is that, outside of a select few lab tanks, even those who heavily feed their corals *are starving them compared to ocean conditions*. (More sps than lps which can be gut loaded at least)

 

My money, on your original question, is the light was too low and you may have bottomed out your nutrients. Brs has some helpful video documentation on the par output of those black boxes.

 

https://www.reef2reef.com/ams/tank-parameters-of-some-masters.263/

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Thrassian Atoll

Just on the argument of phosphates vs no phosphates - I believe you could get a way with zero phosphate if you feed heavily all the time.  Corals feed constantly in the ocean.  In a tank, that’s not happening.  From personal experience, if my phosphates bottom out, I am getting Dino’s and probably burnt tips.  I feed at least twice a day and still have to dose phosphates and nitrates.  How often do you have to clean your glass?  How much algae are you getting on the back glass?  
 

There’s a lot that go into sps.  Flow, Light, stability, etc.  It took me 10 years in the hobby before I got it right.  I wasted more money than I want to think about not being able to keep sps alive.

 

 If I were you, I would personally save your money for a tank upgrade.  Black Friday deals are here.  Get a nice AIO or a Waterbox with a sump or something.  

 

Get a clip on orange/yellow filter for your phone and use pc express for your photos.  That’s what I take most of mine with.  This website destroys photo quality though regardless.

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jefferythewind

@Thrassian Atoll First of all that tank is getting crazy good, wow! All those corals have grown out quite a bit looking amazing! 

 

I get some little specs of hard algea on the glass if I don't clean it for a few days. I basically give it a good once over every week, but only hit the front and 1 side. The back I have never cleaned and no algea problems at all. I have 4 big turbo snails that eat quite a bit. Also 2 hermit crabs. I was amazed how fast they cleaned up these algae-covered live rocks that I added back in summer. 

 

Also, love the advice about tank upgrade, haha. We'll see how things go.

 

About my filter medium, its been a couple months now that I don't have anything in the filter beside a bag of rocks the sponge that comes with the filter. This was one of the changes I made to try to stop removing phosphates from the tank. That and stopping water changes. Really seems like the corals like the water changes though, even though nothing seems to be changing in my tests. So I am going to start doing more water changes and just dosing the heck out of nutrients. I got some coral food I have to say it was pretty drastic, as soon as I started adding it everything got a little brighter. I feel pretty confident about this new plan..

 

Thanks everyone for the help.

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Thrassian Atoll

Thanks!  Feed as much as you can without getting high nutrients and or algae issues.  Stick with the plan 

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jefferythewind

So I did the first water change Sunday and just did another last night ( Wednesday ). My previous water change schedule was once per week but it had been a few weeks since the previous water change so I figured I would give it 2 changes this week. Also have increased dosage of NeoPhos and continuing with the coral food. Things started looking better Monday and things are looking even better today!

 

The polyps started extending much better on the orange setosa and color is starting to come back to the skin. The neon green montipora has had full polyps out since Monday, and the bonsai acropora looks great during the day with the neon green polyps coming out, but those white polyps that come out of the tips at night I still haven't seen since the first few days I had it ( it have been in the tank 11 days now). I feel like the tips got a little burnt but hasn't gotten any worse since last week. 

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jefferythewind

Things continue to look better today. The orange setosa is bouncing back like it already was trying to do a month ago or so, we'll see if i can keep it going this time. After the two water changes this week the fish even seem a bit happier.

 

In another thread i was mentioning looking around at other filtration options like a sump. I think i'm going to work on putting together my own sump that will fit in my cabinet and could possibly house a skimmer. Long term project though. Biggest thing is actually the noise, the seachem is quite noisy obviously it would look cleaner without it. Also i like the idea of adding a few more gallons of water to the system. However i do agree with what @mcarroll was saying about appreciating what you have already. So im no trying to go too crazy with it.

 

Big thing im wondering about is why these water changes are so important. Ive heard lots of people dont do them, but they  all might have skimmers. Im wondering if i got a skimmer if id still need to do water changes.

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jservedio
21 minutes ago, jefferythewind said:

Big thing im wondering about is why these water changes are so important. Ive heard lots of people dont do them, but they  all might have skimmers. Im wondering if i got a skimmer if id still need to do water changes.

There's a lot more going on with the chemistry than you can test for, particulates that are too big to stay in the water column, particulates too small to be filtered with floss or socks, organics that can't be skimmed, etc. that water changes take care of and prevent it from building up.

 

Those who can go with very infrequent water changes have very mature tanks that are extremely bio diverse - they are also generally bigger tanks. I don't know anyone with a long term sustainable nano with SPS that doesn't change water at all.

 

With a nano, there is no reason not to change water. Also, until your tank is actually mature, attempting to push things by not changing water is just shooting yourself in the foot.

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mcarroll
7 hours ago, jefferythewind said:

Im wondering if i got a skimmer if id still need to do water changes.

Short answer:  

Yes.

 

Long asnwer:

They've always been considered analogous to the action that waves crashing on a beach have on seawater.  As far as this goes, there have also been considered a way to reduce the need for water changes.  

 

Not quite the same as eliminating the need.  But consider this...

 

All reefs in the wild have some water exchange happening with the open ocean – sometimes close to 100%, sometimes considerably less.  (eg some lagoon reefs; the Red Sea; etc)  

 

But there is never zero exchange, at least as far as I know.

 

It's a topic that has received scientific attention worthy of some attention:  https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C47&q=reef+water+exchange&btnG=&oq=reef+water+ex

 

Anecdotally...

 

I've gone LONG periods while doing very few water changes, only dosing DIY Recipe #2 for the most part.  

 

Water changes that were done were mostly only those required to keep NaCl buildup (from all the dosing) from driving the salinity up too high.  Overall, the tank seemed fine during these times.  

 

However I've also done a 4 month stint of doing water changes every day – the corals seemed a lot better than fine during this time.  

 

...all for what it's worth.  👍

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jefferythewind

Took some pictures. Just wanted to share about whats going on the tank. This japanese toadstool is getting pretty big! I put a "before" picture from July and a picture of it now. As you can see the green star polyps have completely overgrown that rock back there. OK so a couple issues. Looks like there is an aiptasia anemone growing at the base of the japanese toadstool. As well it looks like a thick white sponge is growing in between and on top of the green star polyps. You can see in the picture that I took with the lights off. We noticed it a couple months ago starting but recently it has gotten bigger. Can't notice it during the day when the coral has its polyps extended. I figure both are pretty benign at the moment, the green star polyp doesn't seem to be hurt by the sponge. Neither the toadstool from the anemone.

 

The bigger zoas in the picture I got before christmas last year, just a few polyps on a plug. The smaller ones I got a bigger frag over the summer but has started growing out pretty quickly. 

 

The Bonsai Acro seems to be doing OK, looks very nice with the lights on, fingers-crossed. Tomorrow it will be 14 days it has been in the tank. I'll be doing another water change tomorrow.

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ReefGoat

Your corals look great in these pictures. Maybe you're being too hard on yourself. Looks like you got good coraline growth as well! Keep up the good work! 

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jefferythewind

I have to say things are looking pretty good. It seems all the corals continue to respond well to the new plan. I've basically doubled the phosphate dose and given plenty of food to both fish and corals. I was surprised to find that the phosphates tested at between 0.08 and 0.04 on Sunday! Also not completely trusting these tests, I may have to try the Hanna tester. I feel I've got the Alkalinity more and more steady. I am actually finding that the level seems to hold for longer periods of time after the water changes. The orange setosa must have been almost dead but now seems to be trying to come back again. Here is a shot of the Duncan and the Hammer. The clown fish live in the hammer now, apparently.

 

 

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jefferythewind

Also took a pic of the orange setosa today.

 

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jefferythewind

This continue to look good. Did another water change yesterday.

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jefferythewind

Things are looking really good in the tank. The new Bonsai Acropora has definite new growth around the base where I glued it to the rock. Recent everyday the green polyps all open up real big during the day. Still not seeing thee white tip polyps at night though. 

 

Also something interesting happening here. The green montipora has been growing up the rock and now wants to grow over the top of some Zoas that have been growing down from their spot up there.

 

 

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jefferythewind

So I got up early this morning and did the tank maintenance before the light turned on and I saw the little tip polyps coming out of the new bonsai acro. It has been charging pretty much for a week straight now. These are those little things that are pretty rewarding.

 

Another fun (crazy) thing I just discovered asterina starfish in the tank! I had no idea what they were but I looked and said, that looks like a baby 3 legged starfish, and that is what it was! I read a little and apparently they have be pests to the tank, eat corals. Tonight I noticed quite a few of them so I'll have to keep my eye on them. Pretty cool though regardless.

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jefferythewind

The corals are doing well, which is a relief. I basically settled into a routine of testing/dosing Alk and dosing Phosphate and coral food twice a day. I try to keep the times 12 hours apart: 8AM and 8PM. Then I'm been doing 2 waters changes per week. The tank seems to love the water changes, not sure maybe I will go to 1 per week after another couple weeks. Here is a picture of what I am dosing. The 2-part Alk/Ca, the NeoPhos, then the 2 bottle there are from Fauna Marin. The big one says it is trace elements and the little one is like super stinky organic matter. Only get a few drops of that stuff each day.

 

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I've been trying to add more fish. The previous addition, the indigo dottyback went really well. I may have been too optimistic after that, but I came home Sunday with 2 new threadfin cardinalfish. They are pretty small. So they are getting picked on like crazy by all 4 of the fish. Mostly it is the clown fish but even the indigo dottyback take big hits at them. The first night I kept them in their own little tupperware in the tank, the second night I left them in the with the other fish, and in the morning one of them had quite a few pieces of his fins missing. I'm afraid if I leave them unattended I will come back and they will be gone. Currently I ordered a hang-on breeder box for the tank so I can keep them separated while I figure out what to do. I figure I need to let those little fish heal at least.

 

Not sure if anyone has any tips for this kind of situation?

 

I remember when I bought my Bengali Cardinalfish that I have, I actually bought 2. Put them in the tank, the next morning there was only one 1 with no trace of the other to this day. 

 

 

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jefferythewind

Fish are calming down. The person at the store suggested using a mirror to help mediate the aggression from the other fish, and wow that worked so well! Not only that but the threadfins seem to be attracted to the mirror, since I think they see more of their school over there. But the clowns were a bit freaked out by it and all the fish were curious, so if definitely deflected some attention from the newcomers. They've been in the talk all day with minimal damage. Think i will still keep them separate at night.

 

Also getting more algea. Getting a grassy bushy kind of plant that is actually kind of nice but I noticed i just have quite a bit of slimier algea appear on the glass. Especially with the new fish I am thinking I may need to keep an eye on the nutrient levels so they don't spike up. 

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jefferythewind

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So the tank overall continues to do pretty well. This image I thought was pretty decent, but after uploading it here it looks very blurry, unfortunately. The green montipora (center) is just growing very quickly all over that rock. It is trying to grow over some Zoas there but the Zoas seems to be finding their way around as well. The new Bonsai acro continues to look good and definitely is growing. Most noticeably around the base. All the polyps are coming out day and night. Thee Red Monti that I put at the top has just not really done anything too noticeable since adding to the tank at the same time of that green monti, although the color has been very nice lately. I can see that it did grow and attach itself to the rock there. The soft corals and euphylia all good. Thanks for all the help here on the forum!

 

You can see I've had to keep the new Threadfins separate. Last post I thought they were being accepted into the tank, but once the light went off they were getting beat up very badly. Pretty sure one of them almost died, it started floating sideways a bit, but that was quite a few days ago. They've both been recovering in the separation box for a few days. Eating well and that one seems to be floating straight again. So dramatic. I'm going to wait until all the fins grow back, hopefully, and then try letting them out again. 

 

Only concerns I am having are some Aptasia anemones. The LFS gave me some stuff to drop on them to kill them. Haven't tried it yet. Also there is much more algea growing now. One patch of it looks a little slimy while most of it is grassy looking. I only have 2 hermit crabs, I was thinking maybe a few more of those would help control it. Maybe some kind of snails as well. I have 4 turbo snails but they don't seem to be keeping up very well anymore. 

 

Future plans include a sump and automation. I am currently dosing twice a day and it is getting pretty consistent and repetitive. Thinking about getting a 4-way dosing pump and using one of them actually dose water, this would function as an auto top-off, since topping off the water is very regular just like dosing Alk/Ca, Phosphates and food. This weekend I tested phosphates and nitrates but still in a low acceptable range. Phospahates were at 0.1 and nitrates between 5 and 10.

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jefferythewind

I'm happy to report that after a week to 10 days in the separation box, the Threadfins recovered very well. The more damaged one is still missing about half of the tail but it is growing back nicely. The lesser damaged one already has nice glossy full fins again. The stumpy tailed one kept getting out of the separation box at night, since I left a little water space in the top to let in more flow. After the 3rd night in a row I just let them both out and took away the separation box. They were in there all day and all night last night with no more damage from the other fish. I think I really saved the Threadfins and allowed them to be part of my tank! I'm so happy about that. They are really veery nice, they swim out in the open, in the high-flow areas, not hiding under rocks or corals like a lot of other fish. If I had a bigger tank I'd think about getting a school of 5-10 of them for sure. That would look amazing.

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jefferythewind

So the corals recently look better than they've ever looked. The orange setosa at this point has finally turned around and has been regenerating polyps and bright tissue. I was able to get rid of one aptasia and i have 1 more. So now the only thing starting to worry me is the algae situation. There are some bushy green spots which are growing. There is one green slimy spot with small bubbles in it that is actually growing a little bit onto the base of the hammer coral. As well I see some reddish stuff maybe cyanobacteria not sure. Just wondering if this is a bigger problem than just an eye sore? Would it benefit from more flow?

 

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Thrassian Atoll

More flow never hurts, especially with sps.  You don’t have fine substrate either, so nothing really stopping you from cranking up the flow.

 

Looks like some hair algae and cyano.  You can blow the cyano off, more flow will help.  Better clean up crew for the hair algae.  
 

Corals looking better vs a little algae.  I’ll take corals all day.

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