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Old 01/09/2018, 10:00 PM   #1
Leggett
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Sps corals die within a week of adding

Hello I am looking for some advice on my friends tank.

Firstly his tank is a Red Sea reefer 450. It is running a Tunze 9004 skimmer,algae reactor and dosing Red Sea Nopox 4ml per day. The corals he can keep in his tank are just soft corals a Maxima clam and a gigantic Rbt anemone. Any Sps corals we add die within a week.

His perimeters are as follows

Ca:470 (Red sea test kit)
Mg:1150 (Red Sea test kit)
Alk: 12 (Hanna Checker)
Nitrate:0 (Red Sea test kit)
Phosphate:0.5 (Hanna checker)

Nothing is dosed to the tank apart from the Nopox. I have checked these results with my test kits and they match what his are reading. Also he sent a triton test off with nothing serious showing apart from the high alk and not perfect Calcium and Mag.

The lighting over the tank is x2 Radion gen 3 pros running the Ab+ schedule and 70% intensity. Lights are mounted 15" off the water line with standard Tir lenses. The flow is x2 Mp40s.

What I am thinking is that his Alk is way to high and nutrients very low which is starving any stony coral he puts in (Lps fade away over time and retract).

Sorry for the essay but I wanted to list as much info as I could. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated


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Old 01/10/2018, 09:54 PM   #2
tripdad
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As your question seems to be lingering here I'll give you my 2 cents, for what it's worth. I think your problem is that very few people keep alk that high so when you buy a coral your probably moving it from a lower alk system to your high alk system. SPS hate alk shifts, especially large ones. Try keeping your params closer to your coral sources numbers. This helps keep the transition from their tank to yours as easy as possible.


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Old 01/10/2018, 10:58 PM   #3
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What tripdad said would be my guess to with the info available. Do u know what the alk is where he has been getting the corals? It could very well be a 4 to 5 dkh swing when they go in his tank.


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Old 01/11/2018, 03:55 AM   #4
nay
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1st problem is alk swing
2nd with alk that high you cant keep ur nitrate at 0 you are starving your sps(feeding amino acid might help a little but i would drop it slowly to 8-9)


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Old 01/11/2018, 07:31 AM   #5
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Agree with above..
But I’m looking at your n and p.
N-0 .. ok p- .5.. is this a typo? Do you mean .05? If so, your system could be nitrate limited and besides bringing alk down, you may want to back off on the nopox a bit..
If it’s really .5 then your system is most certainly nitrate limited and not only the shock of the alk swing but also the shock of going into super high po4 laden water is probably what’s doing the damage..
I think you need to address the alk situation and your nutrient reduction practices.. imo, both are way too aggressive at the moment..


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Old 01/11/2018, 09:59 AM   #6
jda
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Low nutrients are OK if your tank keeps them there on it's own. Low nutrients when using NoPOX is not good.

I don't mind having alk that high in my frag tank, but I dose no GFO, organic carbon, etc. and just have a fuge and change water. This works since there is always enough N and P for stuff to live and to drive the equilibrium, but I am not stripping it too low artificially. I do keep the alk in my display near 7.5, but it will flux from 8 down to 7 as stuff grows and I have not jacked up the CaRx.

IMO, you cannot use organic carbon to get the nutrients too low if you are using LED. This just does not seem to work for nearly anybody. The folks who successfully drive N and P artificially low mostly use T5s and MH which appears to work fine for most - the Zeo folks do this.


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Old 01/11/2018, 04:39 PM   #7
Leggett
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Thanks for everyone's advice. The Alk where we buy our corals from are about 9. My alk in my tank is 8.6 and I have given him some frags to test, so I can see why most of you said about the alk swings. Would this still be an issue though with good acclimation? He drip acclimates all his corals over the course of a few hours.

Thanks


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Old 01/11/2018, 04:43 PM   #8
Leggett
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Oh also how would we bring this alk down? He has tried water changes with a low kh salt. He was using red sea coral pro which has a high alk, but he has tried water changes with the red sea salt(blue bucket) which has an alk of 7.7. The alk hardly goes down.


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Old 01/11/2018, 05:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leggett View Post
Oh also how would we bring this alk down? He has tried water changes with a low kh salt. He was using red sea coral pro which has a high alk, but he has tried water changes with the red sea salt(blue bucket) which has an alk of 7.7. The alk hardly goes down.
You can use hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid) to lower the alk of freshly made saltwater. But dont add it directly to the aquarium. Also keep in mind it is a very strong acid, so it will corrode and burn metals and organics, including skin, so always wear gloves.

An easier way is to get small batch of low alkalinity salt mix and use that until you reach desired level. This will still take time. If you replace half of your tank water with 7dkH saltwater, alk will drop to ~9.5dHK.

Also you Mg is very low, I am surprised you can maintain alk that high. Normally I would expect it to precipitate. I would try to raise Mg to around 1350ppm before trying to correct Alk. Alk can behave strangely when Mg is low.

Finally are you positive your nitrate is at 0 ppm but phosphate is at 0.5ppm (not 0.05). Those are not numbers you can keep SPS alive with high alk. Ideally you should have 1-2ppm nitrate and Phosphate between 0.1 to 0.04 ppm .

In short term, you can use GFO to reduce phosphate to desired value (like around 0.05ppm) after that remove GFO and stop dosing NOPOX. Wait for several days and check if nitrate and phosphate are stable. I agree with the JDA's above statement that low nutrient tanks dont work very well when you achieve low nutrient levels by carbon dosing. They tend to work better if your tank natural tendency towards that (I need to dose amino acids to prevent nitrate going too low, and I need to periodically over feed to prevent phosphate going to low). Also there need to be balance between nitrate and phosphate, you cant have one high and one low. Either both needs to be low or both needs to be high (relatively high for SPS standards but still low).



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Old 01/11/2018, 05:30 PM   #10
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Is your p .5 or .05?
So , you are saying that the alk is that high and no buffering additives are used at all??
No Calce/alk additives at all?
Does he test ph?


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Old 01/12/2018, 06:18 AM   #11
x2uranium
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Instant ocean regular will bring it down to roughly 8
Also double check your salinity. Sometime my refractometer goes wonky.


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Old 01/12/2018, 08:00 AM   #12
Leggett
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I can confirm phosphates are 0.5 not 0.05. He was doing the ballin lite method when first set up but this was about a year ago. Since then no additives have been added due to the high alk and not having many corals in the tank.

Thanks to everyone who has posted advice it is much appreciated

I will keep you all updated on the progress and hopefully he can start keeping sps soon once we have addressed the issues.


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Old 01/12/2018, 05:22 PM   #13
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Sounds like he let the balling dosers get waaaay out of control..
Several large (like 60%) wcs would probably do the tank and the ionic balance some serious favors.
May even help the p but really the only thing that’s going to help that is reducing the carbon dosing..
Good luck!


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Old 01/13/2018, 08:29 AM   #14
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Alk and po4 are high and mag is low. Soft corals also release a lot of chemicals into the water that sps dont like. A tank already full of softies may not do well for some sps. Run carbon in a reactor to poliwh the water and remove the chemicals the corals release.


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Old 01/13/2018, 06:23 PM   #15
marinelife
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What is your temperature and does it stay steady?


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Old 01/14/2018, 10:32 AM   #16
row12
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I was having similar issues with the SPS in my tank dying 2 weeks after adding them. I finally decided to send a sample to triton to find out that I was misreading my phosphate levels at .202 instead of .02. The sample also showed excess heavy metal (tin). Since then I've been doing large water changes and everything is doing really well again. I highly recommend sending a sample to triton!


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Old 01/14/2018, 12:32 PM   #17
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Correct, the alk being that high and using nopox is likely culprit, but Matt was on to something far more important, the Redfield Ratio, balance of nutrients. Nopox is a carbon source, that mainly eliminates nitrates, but not so good with phosphates. As you have continued to dose, you have likely bottomed nitrates out, which will absolutely cause havoc on the reef as far as sps goes. I would discontinue use of NOPOX, and begin using GFO, introduce slowly, as it will pull your PO4 down quickly. If you continue the use of low nutrients in the tank, once balanced, I would suggest bringing that alk down to NSW values, like under 8.0dkh Cheers


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Old 01/14/2018, 03:12 PM   #18
marinelife
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Quote:
Originally Posted by row12 View Post
I was having similar issues with the SPS in my tank dying 2 weeks after adding them. I finally decided to send a sample to triton to find out that I was misreading my phosphate levels at .202 instead of .02. The sample also showed excess heavy metal (tin). Since then I've been doing large water changes and everything is doing really well again. I highly recommend sending a sample to triton!
Who did you use to get the triton test kits?


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