Still frustrated, confused, and depressed! HELP PLEASE

cncguy

New member
So here are some pics one from 11-20-14, and one from today. It was suggested to just leave it be for 2 months with a pic before and after, but I forgot I already had some earlier pics. Same as before, things are just slowly getting worse somehow. My colt coral as you can see has gotten significantly smaller, GSP isn't spreading, the leather towards the top is getting worse, and I have no idea why. I'm getting ready to dump some money into an MP40, all new bulbs, new CUC, and some live rock to see if that would help. Or should I just call it quits? Been fighting this for years with no success! Only thing I can seem to keep happy are the anemone and fish. Parameters as of 2 days ago are:
temp: 78.3
spec grav: 1.024
ph: 8.3
ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5
Calcium: 460
Mag: 1500
Phosphate: 0
Checked stray voltage at 12.6
90 gal DT, no additives (for a month), run GFO, 6X54 T5 and 48" stunner strip, 20gal sump with rock, sand, and a chocolate chip starfish, RO NWB110 skimmer, 2 X 1,400gph koralias, RO DI water, Reef crystals, 20% bi weekly WC.

Frogspawn- fine, but not growing
Shrooms- have never multiplied
Palys- never multiply, or look very happy
Leather- was decent, but hasn't been happy for a couple weeks. Slumped over, and not extending much
Pineapple tree- slumped over half the time, and not growing
Trumpet- Ok (i think), but not growing
Colt coral- definitely shrinking

Any more suggestions? previous vinegar dosing seemed to help with the algae problem. Metal contaminants somehow?(just grasping at anything(poly filter?)). My next move is to remove the live/dead sand out of the sump, and remove my DIY rocks that have been in there for probably 2 years, maybe causing problems? Can the Haitian anenome be polluting somehow? The clown loves him though. I could keep going, but I'll stop and see what suggestions I can get. Come on guys, HELP please!!!!
 

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Whiterabbitrage

New member
Most of the corals you named like the water a bit dirty. My shrooms, leathers and palys seem to like a bit of phosphate.
What is your Alk level? Do you keep it steady? Your Mg is very high. That isn't helping matters. What do you feed your corals?
Get some more input from experts, but be patient! Also when you start to tweak things, do not change more than one thing at a time! Important!
Your tank will be fine with a little tweaking. So chill out. Patience!
 

tmz

ReefKeeping Mag staff
Premium Member
chocolate chip starfish / Protoreaster nodus, known to eat corals. Not considered reef safe.

What's the alkainity?

1500 magnesium is ok >IME.

PO4 at zero if it's a true zero may be an issue. Food can help that if it's the case.
 

cncguy

New member
Sorry, the starfish is in the sump. I found out real quick, they like GSP!!!!! Alk was 8.3, not sure how I forgot that!!!!
 
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cncguy

New member
My Alk is always the same when I check it, I do not feed the corals, how do I bring the mag down, and I do understand the patience, but it's been YEARS
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
You may have allelopathy going on---ie, the softies spit and annoy each other and touch off the stony corals. They don't like each other and conduct chemical wars. To stop this, run a sack of carbon and change it out monthly. [Carbon saturates, and leaks the stuff back in.]
 

cncguy

New member
Ok, will do on the carbon Sk8r, I'll put some in today. Would it be better to put in a sack in the sump, or mix with the GFO in the reactor?
 

tmz

ReefKeeping Mag staff
Premium Member
Mag depletes slowly. Again 1500 isn't going to hurt anything. I'd let the PO4 drift up into the measureable but sub 0.1 ppmrange if it were my tank.

Polyfilter may be worth a shot, if you suspect metals.
 

cncguy

New member
I don't necessarily suspect metals, but there's got to be something obvious we're missing right? I know people with lot simpler tanks, but thrive. I'm just totally bummed that I spend so much time and effort, and still seem to fail!!!!!! Does anyone think the live rock, CUC, new bulbs and MP40 could help? My theory on the MP40 is to stir stuff up more, and maybe make the corals somewhat happier?
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
I'd put a sack right in the water flow. Mixing it in gfo might loose some dust as the iron particles tumble. Just as a note, corals battle for position: stonies do it with tentacles and stingers, usually, while softies, lacking those, spit downcurrent. Arranging corals in a 'mixed' reef so that the aggressive spitters are last in the current flow, with a bag of carbon next, and so that clean water comes out of the pump aimed at the more sensitive corals---but so that no coral is in reach of the stony tentacles---is a game of coral chess.
 

billdogg

Active member
I'm with Sk8r on this. To the point where I keep separate tanks - one for softies, one for stony corals.

IMHO, Allelopoathy is the most frequently overlooked/discounted problem a mixed reef aquarium can face. You can't see it, you can't test for it, but something just isn't right.

If you run carbon it will help. I would suggest using it in a reactor by itself rather than mixing it with GFO. Although it will work in a mesh bag placed in an area with good flow in your sump, it is nowhere near as good as using it in a reactor. They require different flow rates and get used up at different times so there is a lot of waste if you combine them.

hth
 

tmz

ReefKeeping Mag staff
Premium Member
how do I bring the mag down

Water changes with a low magnesium slat mix is the only way I know and that takes a long time with small water changes preferred.
 

tmz

ReefKeeping Mag staff
Premium Member
Two ways to look at the problem. Corals have to much of something they don't like or which may be toxic to them at high levels or too little of something they need.

On the too much side:
nitrogen ,phosphorous and the major elements are ruled out if the posted test results are accurate;

free metals, toxins, etc. could be an issue from the tank and equipment or the surrounding air;

I doubt alellopathic compounds are the root of it but it's possible ; I've kept leathers with sps and a variety of other corals for a very long time in tanks much more crowded than yours without issues unless they touch or a piece of skin shed lies on another coral or a leather gets really sick and rotten. GAC may or may not effectively remove the allelopathic compounds which are usually large complex molecules.

On the too little side:

Major elements noted look good;

PO4 at zero concerns me.

Vinegar use and/or heavy skimming could deplete organics the types of corals you have need. They are more heterotrophic than sps and rely on taking up some organics from the water and less on photosynthesis.

Other elements like potassium, iron etc may be deficient, though that's highly unlikely with regular feeding and water changes.

A third possibility is predation of some sort.
 
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tmz

ReefKeeping Mag staff
Premium Member
My theory on the MP40 is to stir stuff up more, and maybe make the corals somewhat happier?

Flow is good .As for stirring stuff up that really dependends on what's stirred up. It could be harmful in some cases.
 

Mpal771

New member
I'd put a sack right in the water flow. Mixing it in gfo might loose some dust as the iron particles tumble. Just as a note, corals battle for position: stonies do it with tentacles and stingers, usually, while softies, lacking those, spit downcurrent. Arranging corals in a 'mixed' reef so that the aggressive spitters are last in the current flow, with a bag of carbon next, and so that clean water comes out of the pump aimed at the more sensitive corals---but so that no coral is in reach of the stony tentacles---is a game of coral chess.
This post re coral placement should be on the home page! It takes years to learn this on your own
 

Dan_P

New member
I will be provocative and say you do not have a "problem". Some of your coral are growing less robustly than you would like. I would read up on the health and nutrition on each of your species and confirm you are giving them what they need. Read up on the causes for limp corals.

Also, check back over the time line of your aquarium and see if you stocked something or did something new a week or so before the corals started to look less extended or limp. If you are a neat freak and a tweaker, there just might be something in your animal husbandry technique that is accidently depriving your corals.

I would change nothing until you did your homework and got to know your coral like your best friend.

Dan
 

cncguy

New member
will poly filter take out the free metals and toxins? Is there a way to check for them? My thoughts on the MP40 stirring things up, were that my bare bottom always seems to have stuff on it. Only takes a couple days to accumulate again after a cleaning, and hoping a 'under toe' could eliminate that? That was also my theory on a bigger CUC, as right now I have about 10 snails, and a crab, and was thinking a pre-built crew from LA may help?

Dan P, my concern is they're not growing, and even receding, especially the colt being the most obvious. Nothing grows, not even the GSP!!! Could old bulbs do this?

And some people advise not to dose anything if parameters are all good, any thoughts?
 
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