There are a few of us in Huntsville-Madison area. I am sure that some of us can give you some assistance.
What seems to be the problem? I see that you have been in SW hobby for 2 months. Has your tank cycled completely? It would be helpful if you can provide us with a few more information such as some water parameters like NO3, NH3/4, NO2 levels, etc. What corals and other inhabitants do you have?
Water params are temp 82, salt 1.025, ph 82, ammo 0, nitirte 0, nitrate 0, dkh 17, cal 440. right now i have a pair of clownfish, 4 hermit crabs 4 snails, and some corals. the corals are a sarcophyton (not doing well), 2 mushrooms (don't seem to be doing well), a pipe organ (? comes out sometimes), 3 tulip anemones (seem to be ok), german blue digitada (i think its ok), a zoa colony (not doing well), and some star polyups (seem to be doing well). all this is in a 55 gal with a 20 gal sump (i have chaeto in the sump), lighting is a T-5 fixture with 2 tubes (10k daylight and a blue actinic). I have 2 maxi-jet 1200's for flow in the tank, one of which has a rotator on it.
Your dkh is very high. I suppose you are trying to bring it down since I recall that you were asking some questions about high alkalinity to Randy a few weeks ago.
Since a lot of people and shops keep their alkalinity around 8 to 10 dkh, any coral you get from them and put in your tank with a high dkh needs slow and careful acclimation. If you skip the slow acclimation, some corals, such as leathers and GSP, may get shocked and refused to open up for a long time. Zoanthids do not like a sudden alkalinity spike, either, and may refuse to open up fully.
Sometimes a leather such as sarcophyton takes a long time to get used to a new environment. It should start showing some polyps eventually, but it may take a month or longer in relatively new tanks (I have a few friends who went through it.) Most leathers periodically look shrivelled. They slough off their outer layer of skin (some people calls it algae tunic) to get rid of the algae and dirt collected on it. They should soon recover and look fine.
You seem to have enough flow. Your water parameters look all right except for the high dkh. I cannot tell how much light you have. T-5 bulbs come with different wattage. Do you have enough light for the corals? If you have enough light (at least 4 to 5 watts per gallon for your softies as a rule of thumb), I think with patience your corals will start to open up and look pretty.
It's good to meet another reefer in our area!
Zoanthids and Sarcophyton can take awhile to adjust and settle in. Even then, Sarco's may withdraw their polyps for a day or two while they slough off old "skin".
The mushrooms should be at the bottom of the tank and/or in some shade (mine do well underneath overhanging live rock).
Your alkalinity (17 dKH) is quite high, and I'd recommend to stop adding buffer (if you are) until alk is around 11 dKH or so.
If the only flow you have are two maxijets and your sump return, you may want to add a little more eventually, but low flow is probably not contributing to whatever problems you are having with corals right now.
If your tank has only been up a couple of months, you may have added too much too quickly, but everything should come around eventually. I wouldn't add any more coral till then though.
Generally speaking, you need about 15 to 20 times the tank volume for the flow (some people wants a lot more for SPS's). A 55 gallon tank should have 825 to 1100 gph of water flow. Maxijet 1200 x 2 is something like 295 x 2 (590 gph). Taking a head loss into consideration, your return pump should have 700 to 900 gph (something like Mag 7 or 9.)
ok well guess i need a bigger mag pump have a mag 2. as for the light guess thats lacking a little too its 54watts x2 and individual reflecters so i'm guessing i'm running somewhere around 120-150 watts? as for alk not sure how i'm going to get it down i was using treated tap water and it has an alk of 7 dkh, now i've started using bottled spring water for topoff but its real slow coming down on the dkh. not using any buffer right now just seachems calcium to keep cal in the 400's.
I am afraid that spring water may have enough minerals to keep alkalinity from coming down quickly. You should use RODI water or distilled water. Have you gone to Coral Reef Aquatics between Athens and Madison? John Newby (owner) sells RODI water at a reasonable price (about the same price as a store bought bottled sping water.)
No haven't been there, didn't know that store existed, i'll have to check him out. Ro/di filter system is just out of my budget right now but if he's selling the water that would be great. I've got a plastic drum that will hold 20 gal maybe i can use that until i can do better.
You should give John a call (604-9773) to make sure he has enough RODI water stored up before you go. Someone may clear him out before you get there. I have seen it happen. He is open only on weekends between 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm right now. He has a very nice shop and the prices are good, too.
You need more light for sure if you wish to keep your corals alive and thriving. Two 54W T-5 bulbs are not going to be strong enough for a 55G reef tank even with good reflectors. You definitely need more flow, too.
The price of a good RODI unit has come down a lot. I bought mine from an eBay shop. A number of good 6 stage filters are priced at $95.00 (buy-it-now price) but they are going for a lot less. The running cost has been low, too, since Huntsville-Madison area has pretty decent water (medium hard water). As you might know, making your own water with a RODI filter is a lot cheaper than buying bottled water in a long run.