SPS Before and After Pictures, Need Advice From the Experienced

Tuffloud1

New member
Hello,

I have had my tank up and running for about 11 months now.

I started with reef saver rock, have used my own RO DI water from the beginning.

Here is a break down of what I am running.

90 gallon corner overflow
2 AI Hydras
Jebao DC-9000 on full blast (GFO and carbon reactors running inline)
GFO
Carbon
Filter socks changed out every 2-4 days
2 WP-25s
1 WP-10
Vertex Omega 180i Skimmer (skimming wet)

Temp 77.5 - 78
PH 8.05 - 8.2 (dosed Alk at night brings it up to 8.2 then drops during day)
Calcium 425 (stays solid)
Alkalinity 8.5 - 9.1 (usually stays very solid)
Salinity 1.025 (stays solid)
Nitrate 0
Phosphate 0

The problem I am having is with color.

I really am having a hard time understanding the differences in opinions out there. I see numerous "tanks of the month" where these amazing SPS tanks have owners stating that they "keep nitrates and phosphates at 0 for great color", yet the advice I am receiving is the polar opposite - "your colors are horrible because you need to up your nitrate".

So when people say "more nutrients", do they mean "more nitrates", more "phosphates", "more feeding", MORE WHAT!

I am failing to understand why nitrates would help SPS, it is my understanding that "nutrients" are simply bio-available food that you freshly put in the tank. The building of nitrates is the end result of the nitrogen cycle, not really sure why we would want to build that up in a tank.

I've had others tell me, you need to "find a balance" with nitrate and phosphate - if there is more phosphate than nitrate (even if both levels are reading 0), then algae will build up. So by raising nitrates up, it will keep algae in check as long as phosphate is lower than the nitrate. This information is from my LFS.

Anyway, I would really appreciate an expert SPS hobbyists advice on what they think is going on in the pictures with the growth and lack of coloration.

I attached some before and after pictures of when I placed them in the tank new a few months ago and now.

The pictures are horrible, I apologize, but you can see how color is faded/terrible, however the frags are still encrusting and growing. All the polyps are only coming out at night.

Some of the pictures make the the frags seem completely white, however they are not THAT bad as in the picture, the LED's really make it difficult to take pictures.

I was extremely conservative in my feeding, using Reef Chili once a week, and feeding my fish 2 times a day with selcon soaked mysis and pellets.

Fish are - Goldhead Sleeper Goby, Flame Angel, Fire Fish, Anthias, Lawnmower Blenny, Royal Gramma.

Any help, advice would be much appreciated, thank you for your time.
 

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rovster

New member
I would say lower intensity if lights and feed more. This is a good situation for some Pohls Xtra or acropower.
 

1MP3R1AL

New member
Feed a lot more, export same fashion. At least that's what I do. I have a 30g and feed at the very least 3 times a day. I feed the fish it seems every time I walk past them. Skim like crazy.
 
Don't confuse me for an expert. :)

To me more nutrients means more food in the water. SPS may live in a low phosphate and nitrate environment but there is constantly food floating by for them to grab. Our tanks tend to be free of any food and SPS can starve and go pale if not fed either coral food or food from a lot of fish crapping in the water.

Feeding a lot means almost frantic export to make sure nutrients don't build up to high.

There are numerous ways to run a reef tank, and I honestly don't know the one answer that will make things successful for you, or me. I feed and export heavily and it seems to be working.
 

Tuffloud1

New member
what is your lux/par at water line? can you post a tank shot please

I am starting to think that par measurements when using led's mean nothing or the Apogee MQ-200 is worthless for led's.

Everyone says that I am running my Hydras too low based off the par I am getting with the Apogee which as it is comes in at 100 under the center brace at the top of my rock structure. The Bonsai is at 150. The green one is at 250.

I just got back from my LFS that has a beautiful 110 gallon sps tank running 2 Hydra 52's. They let me test their tank with my par meter. My par readings are right in line with theirs, except at the sand bed theirs reads 100, where as mine reads 70 at the sand bed. This is to be expected though, because theirs are the 52's, mine are the regular. NOTHING in their tank is sitting in anything above 250, MOST are at 150.

Their Bonsai colony which I got my frag from is at the same exact par level as mine.

They tested their nitrate in front of me. It's at 20 ppm. No joke.. I don't get it and they have no algae. They do run gfo like me.

Anyway, here are the tank shots, this is in the middle of ramping down for the night. Sorry, I didn't want to tweak everything in my Apex to get it back to daytime. I can't just flip a switch.

I have no idea how to take pictures of an aquarium with led lights. I used my wife's expensive Nikon camera and these pictures don't look at all how it looks in person.
 

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Tuffloud1

New member
Here is another, I just can't get this camera to look anything like what it does in person.
 

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+20 percent correction for most LED as the Apogee under reports blue. They have a correction graph on their website.

You need to correct the white balance on the images before posting. Our eyes don't see blue nearly as well as other colors but the camera captures all the blue so the images end up blue. :D
 

Tuffloud1

New member
+20 percent correction for most LED as the Apogee under reports blue. They have a correction graph on their website.

You need to correct the white balance on the images before posting. Our eyes don't see blue nearly as well as other colors but the camera captures all the blue so the images end up blue. :D

Thanks for the info.

So here is what it says on their website.

LED Type

Error [%] for Apogee Quantum Sensor
Cool White -4.2
Neutral White -6.1
Warm White -9.9
Blue (448 nm) -10.7
Green (524 nm) 5.8
Red (635 nm) 4.7
Red, Blue 2.7
Red, Green, Blue 3.5

Does the minus mean to subtract that percentage or add to your par reading?

How in the world do I apply this say to a reading of 150 when I am running each color on different intensities? Not only that, but there are more of certain led colors than others on these fixtures. Seems like a lot of variables.
 

ajcanale

New member
I haven't looked at the entire thread but based on the first few series of pictures I'd surely bet on a lack of nutrients being the issue.... expressed polyp extension + very pale colors makes it pretty obvious.
Good news is that I think you can easily fix it by feeding a food appropriate for sps. I use Rod's coral food dissolved in water and supplemented with a couple drops of amino acids and a drop or two of selcon. Oyster feast works great as well.

all IMO.
 

Tuffloud1

New member
I haven't looked at the entire thread but based on the first few series of pictures I'd surely bet on a lack of nutrients being the issue.... expressed polyp extension + very pale colors makes it pretty obvious.
Good news is that I think you can easily fix it by feeding a food appropriate for sps. I use Rod's coral food dissolved in water and supplemented with a couple drops of amino acids and a drop or two of selcon. Oyster feast works great as well.

all IMO.

I started feeding Oyster Feast, Rod's and Reef Chili. When you say a couple of drops of amino, what exact product is that that I can add to food in such a manner?

I would love to hear how much of what and how often you all are feeding including tank size and how heavily stocked with fish.

This will give me an idea of what to shoot for.
 
Thanks for the info.

So here is what it says on their website.

LED Type

Error [%] for Apogee Quantum Sensor
Cool White -4.2
Neutral White -6.1
Warm White -9.9
Blue (448 nm) -10.7
Green (524 nm) 5.8
Red (635 nm) 4.7
Red, Blue 2.7
Red, Green, Blue 3.5

Does the minus mean to subtract that percentage or add to your par reading?

How in the world do I apply this say to a reading of 150 when I am running each color on different intensities? Not only that, but there are more of certain led colors than others on these fixtures. Seems like a lot of variables.

This is why I use 20% as a good blended correction. So a PAR reading of 100 is actually 100 + 20 or 120.

All of the white LED's have a lot of blue in them, plus you probably have mostly blue LED's anyway, so 20% seems to be the best factor.

LED's can grow SPS and you can have nice colors, the picture in my avatar was taken under a Maxspect Razor, but it's much harder to achieve success and at the proper intensity the tank will look dim to the eye due to the lack of a strong green peak. I found the for healthy SPS I had to run no higher than 300 PAR up top and I fed Reef Roids every 3 days.
 

Tuffloud1

New member
This is why I use 20% as a good blended correction. So a PAR reading of 100 is actually 100 + 20 or 120.

All of the white LED's have a lot of blue in them, plus you probably have mostly blue LED's anyway, so 20% seems to be the best factor.

LED's can grow SPS and you can have nice colors, the picture in my avatar was taken under a Maxspect Razor, but it's much harder to achieve success and at the proper intensity the tank will look dim to the eye due to the lack of a strong green peak. I found the for healthy SPS I had to run no higher than 300 PAR up top and I fed Reef Roids every 3 days.

And you switched to the ATI module, how is that working for you compared to the LED's?

When you say no higher than 300 on LED's, is 300 after or before the 20 percent correction?
 
And you switched to the ATI module, how is that working for you compared to the LED's?

When you say no higher than 300 on LED's, is 300 after or before the 20 percent correction?

300 before the correction.

I love T5's. Cranking near 500 PAR up top without any problems.

I'm running 20 nitrates, < .08 phosphates and the coral in my avatar is darker but still has great color.

jSLz5z.jpg
 

Tuffloud1

New member
300 before the correction.

I love T5's. Cranking near 500 PAR up top without any problems.

I'm running 20 nitrates, < .08 phosphates and the coral in my avatar is darker but still has great color.

jSLz5z.jpg

That coral looks beautiful.

How often do you have to change out those bulbs and how is your electricity bill compared to the led's?

Do you think there is a big difference in coloration between the t5 and led?
 

Wazzel

New member
LED and T-5 are different. You never mentioned your LED settings. There is a long thread on hydra setting in the gear forum. You should check it out. Lots of folks sharing experience and settings.
 
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