Need help with numbers from the experts!

breutus

Don't ask me, I'm wrong.
So I’m having some die off with my SPS mainly. And am needing help/thoughts/opinions.

long story here but if you can spare a few minutes I want to provide as much detail as I can ?

For those that don’t know, I have a 180g mixed reef, total water volume is roughly 300g. Since the tank was established I have struggled with low nitrates, this has been tested through various test kits, they are typically less than 1ppm.

Recently, about a month and a half ago, I installed a much larger GFO reactor, as I still dealt with high phosphates. They typically hovered around .06-.09 but I was changing media often so decided to get one of the big guys. Since it’s introduction phosphates have dropped to .02-.04 and nitrates have gone to completely undetectable on any kit. this could possibly be part of the problem so that’s why it’s mentioned.

But also I have been dealing with a reef tank that is well stocked and growing heavily up till a month ago. So I have had to dose large amounts of alkalinity and calcium to keep up with the growth. But about two months back my calcium started dropping and I just could not keep it up. Currently dosing 100ml a day and it still won’t rise above 340. I have done multiple large adds of it as well to try and boost the numbers directly. I realized it had been a while (couple of months) since I tested magnesium and I know it can factor in, so I tested it yesterday and it was 1250, it’s low but not crazy low, but since it can effect calcium precipitating into the water I mixed up some mag and will spread out the dose over the next few days to get it back up to 1350ishy

I know I could really use a calcium reactor to keep up with it better then dosing, I just haven’t been able to get it all together yet, as we all know money is tight (just missing controller and ph probe now)

with all this said, In the last month I have lost several large pieces of SPS including Monties, digitas, Acros, and now even my anacro is starting to loose color and polyps not coming out. So something in the tank is wrong.

im going to list all my numbers so you have an idea

salinity 1.026=35ppt STABLE

alkalinity 9.6 STABLE

Calcium 340 stabilized here for a few weeks now, but moved from 420 to 330 over a 2 month period, started increasing dosage heavily a month ago.

magnesium 1250, 2 and a half months ago when I tested, it was 1300

phosphates .02-.04 depends on the day. Has been this since days after installing new reactor. Prior it was .06-.09 depending on how fresh the media was.

nitrates 0, undetectable prior to installing new reactor they hovered between 0.2-1.0

am I dealing with a calcium issue killing things or did I take away the corals only nutrient with having such low nitrates and now lowering phosphates even more?

any help would be nice. Im so sad with some of the colonies I’ve lost.

PS my LPS seems mostly uneffected, maybe some slight color loss but I might be stretching that. My zoas never grow fast and all seem normal. Fish are happy and healthy .
 

breutus

Don't ask me, I'm wrong.
8.11 during its lowest in a 24 hour cycle, 8.24 during its highest in a 24 hour period, all on digital continuous test, pinpoint usually shows the same when I check it.
 

djswift

Member
I doubt that the low calcium is killing your corals. You will need to work to get your calcium up by whatever method you are using, but your PH and alkalinity are fine so it shouldn’t be causing any major issue that would kill off coral. Is there a reason that you are running the GFO so aggressively? It doesn’t sound like the phosphates were slowing your growth prior to the new reactor. Are you having other issues like algae growth? If not, I think I would dial back the GFO. Your corals need some nitrates and phosphates to survive, and your problems started with the addition of the new reactor.
 

breutus

Don't ask me, I'm wrong.
Yes I was having excessive Algea growth which stopped when I could keep my phosphate below .06ish but most of all in the smaller reactor keeping it at .08 average, I was going through GFO every 2 weeks, that’s outrageously expensive. In the new reactor it’s lasting drastically longer.
 

breutus

Don't ask me, I'm wrong.
Update, my calcium was not as low as originally though, it was a bad test kit. Had it tested and it’s showing 450. So it’s not low calcium.

mag has been brought up to high 1300’s as well

i less convinced either of these is what’s causing the sps loss Or the color lacking in any of the lps…
 

griss

RC Mod
Staff member
RC Mod
Have you tested for stray voltage in your tank? I recently started having cyano problems and stony corals looking horrible. After a couple weeks of twice weekly water changes, changing out the filter sock more often and changing GFO/Carbon more often, things were not getting any better. On a whim, I tested for stray voltage and sure enough, that seemed to be the problem.

I narrowed most of the stray voltage down to the Sicce pump on my skimmer and the MaxiJet providing water to the media reactor. Since replacing those two pumps, things are starting to look much better.
 

breutus

Don't ask me, I'm wrong.
Have you tested for stray voltage in your tank? I recently started having cyano problems and stony corals looking horrible. After a couple weeks of twice weekly water changes, changing out the filter sock more often and changing GFO/Carbon more often, things were not getting any better. On a whim, I tested for stray voltage and sure enough, that seemed to be the problem.

I narrowed most of the stray voltage down to the Sicce pump on my skimmer and the MaxiJet providing water to the media reactor. Since replacing those two pumps, things are starting to look much better.

I haven’t recently and will check again because it’s worth it the look!

I do have a HQ ground probe in the sump though. And being things died in the frag tank and main tank which are floors away from each other it would seem unlikely.
 

griss

RC Mod
Staff member
RC Mod
I haven’t recently and will check again because it’s worth it the look!

I do have a HQ ground probe in the sump though. And being things died in the frag tank and main tank which are floors away from each other it would seem unlikely.

Gotcha. I was just throwing out the idea. You never know, after 36 years in the hobby, I hadn't thought about stray voltage until I eliminated all other sources of the problems I was having,

Good luck figuring it out.
 

kharmaguru

Premium Member
Some more spitballing. Anything changed as in added new coral or had a wrasse die? I'm just throwing out maybe flatworms, red bugs, black bugs. Introduced by additions or allowed to flourish by the death of their population control.

Personally I think phosphate under .1 isn't anything to worry about but I think you should get your nitrates up to 3ppm If you can. I don't think nutrients are the issue though since your LPS would likely be more annoyed.
 

breutus

Don't ask me, I'm wrong.
Not sure why I haven’t been getting notifications for this post sorry guys!

so ICP test showed almost everything as good, very low on phosphates and a little low on some trace elements. I’ll post the results here after this!

So what have I done, and how is the tank. I raised nitrates by dosing sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate mixture and raised phosphates in the tank by adding fish and feeding even heavier. Along with taking my scrubber offline. I’ve managed to get nitrates up to between 3-5 and phosphates are back up to 0.07ish. I’ve also started dosing trace elements in my calcium and alkalinty daily dosing. Using tropic marin k/a in them.
The tank had bounced back as quickly as it started to deteriorate. And looks wonderful right now! I really think the main problem was I just let nutrients get to low with the addition of the new GFO reactor and the better supply chain with the new pump!

I’m looking to have a slash night at my house on the 23rd of June so hopefully everyone can come and check it out!!


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