Coral bleaching and general lacklustre growth

Discussion in 'Coral' started by Gipsieskiss, Sep 11, 2014.

  1. Gipsieskiss

    Gipsieskiss Guest

    BAR, I'm having some trouble keeping things alive and I wonder if you might have any advice for me.
    Here's my setup, as seen in the welcome forum last night.

    Currently running:
    Innovative Marine 38G
    + Minimax Media reactor
    + Hydor Nano Skim
    + media basket includes foam filter, charcoal, chempure, bio rocks (thought they might help)
    + Jebao wp25
    AI Vega
    + Controller
    +Currently running all at 40% between 8am and 8pm
    +Reduced from 60% in the hope to save things
    +Night time is 6% for the three blues

    Two Clowns, Goby, Damsel, Blenny
    Some cleanup crew

    Coral includes Mushrooms, Polyps, Dendro, Frogspawn, Hammer, Anenome, some purchased frags that I'm trying to grow out.

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014
  2. Gipsieskiss

    Gipsieskiss Guest

    Here are my levels over the last week or so. I use salt water and auto top-up fresh from my ZeroWater pitcher which produces zero TDS. I used to purchase Ro/DI water but had the same problem.

    I does daily with 10ml Bi-Onic 1&2 and have started dosing with trace elements in the hope of helping things out.


    From what I can see, CA and MG are low, everything else seems to be within limits. Note on the Mg, I was previously testing incorrectly and yesterday's (1000) is probably the most accurate (I wasn't adding a drop and stirring 5 times for the first stage. Doh).
  3. Gipsieskiss

    Gipsieskiss Guest

    From some initial help found in the Welcome page, thanks bluprntguy, I've found that my hydrometer reads .001-2 with TDS water so I'm running at least 1 point lean in specific gravity. I've made some salt at 1.027 (on my hydro) and am using that as top of water for the next few days and will keep an eye on it. I'll verify the hydro at the LFS tomorrow and see if I'm on the right track. Once I can get the chemistry up to the right levels, I'll start playing with the lights more. Hopefully I can save this Chalice frag that I bought a couple of weeks ago.

    My poor anenome needs help too. Ugh.

    I definitely need to work on my photography skills. It looks somewhat better in person but I wanted to post something to at least give you a picture of what I'm seeing.

    IMG_5722.JPG The Dendro seems to be OK and everything else seem to just maintain if it's not becoming skeletor. Livestock seem to be doing fine.
    That small white blob used to be a nice healthy anenome. Maybe there's still hope. IMG_5732.JPG
    Anyway, thanks for looking and any advice is welcome. My goal is to be able to start to actually grow things and create a stable, healthy, vibrant tank. If not, the 120G Shallow with a Tang for the gf go out the window. I know, that's probably the cheaper option :)

    Oh, and the only way I could get this post in was to create multiple edits.
  4. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    Stop the dosing
    Do regular 30% water changes every 7 days with a quality salt mix prepaired days in advance
    Pay the membership dues
    Stop, doing so many water chemistry tests and over thinking things

    I test nothing
    I have fish and corals that are 10 years old
    monkeybiz likes this.
  5. Gipsieskiss

    Gipsieskiss Guest

    Seems like very down to earth advice. How do you feel about Salt water from the store ?
    I actually mean sea water from the Ocean. I realize that salt mix is probably cheaper in the long run although I'm having heartburn withcommitting to an RO/DI unit that wastes so much in the process.
  6. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    I use filtered sea water and koldster-il for Fw (no waste water)
  7. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    If my property was different I might consider mixing my water. But I've been doing it my way for over 10 ain't broke so I ain't fixing it
  8. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    Others can chime in, but I think 1.027 is a little high.

    You also said you were using salt water as top off.. is that right?
    You should not be using salt water as top-off water.

    All your other params seem low, but Erin is right, you don't need to chase the numbers so much as long as you're changing out your water every week.

    Have you changed your lighting recently?
    What salt are you using?
  9. Gipsieskiss

    Gipsieskiss Guest

    I'm currently using a 1.027 to top off my tank which reads at 1.024 on my hydrometer that reads at least .001 with simple 0 TDS water and is therefore reading high. So my base reading of 1.024 with a high reader puts my tank at at most, 1.023. the idea is to slowly move it to 1.027 whhich is actually close to 1.026. Once I calibrate it and get the specific gravity up I'll go back to my 0 TDS fresh top off.

    Lighting hasn't changed although I was messing with it to try to get more growth....Salt water is from the Ocean right now although I have Salinity mix upstairs that I'm using to bring the salinity up.

    4"]I use filtered sea water and koldster-il for Fw (no waste water)[/quote]
    This I could live with. Thanks for the feedback. With regard to the chemistry tests, I wouldn't have realized that my hydrometer wasn't reading correctly.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014
  10. fastrd400

    fastrd400 Guest

    Listen to Erin (kensington reefer). Do your weekly water changes. You can use salt water bought from your lfs, I used it for years and I believe Erin does or did at one point as well. 30% weekly water changes will help get the numbers where you want them and stabilize your tank. Ditch that hydrometer and buy yourself a refractometer and salinity calibration fluid. Get your salinity to 1.025, your tank will thank you for that! Top off with only RO/DI water.
  11. bluprntguy

    bluprntguy Webmaster

    This is fine and the best way to slowly raise the salinity in your tank. I think some other people aren't understanding this for some reason.
  12. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    Chasing numbers can be a confusing task. I don't know if I totally agree with Erin about the 'no tests'. He has lots of experience, is a fish whisperer and has a wet thumb! ;) Not all of us have that talent.

    The first thing I'd nail down is the salinity. You need to get it to the correct value and keep it stable. Testing your hydrometer with FW is not accurate. I assume you have a swing arm hydrometer designed for SW. Since we are only talking about the last digit, 1.02x, off by just a little could be a big deal.

    Where are you located? Perhaps there is a BAR member close and you could have them check your water? Long term, getting a refractometer and calibration solution will be the most accurate way to test your own water.

    Assuming it needs adjustment, using SW to top off is a great way to bring it up. I think the other posters misunderstood your reason for SW top off. Of course once you reach the desired level, switch back to FW for top off.

    After we get a handle on salinity, CA and ALK are next. Your reported levels are low but can be brought up easily with the B-ionic you already have.

    One piece of info I don't remember seeing -- How old is this tank? It looks new and that could be part of the problem. Stability takes time.
    Geneva likes this.
  13. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    Ahhh OK I misread you. I thought you said you were @ 1.027 and using salt water as a top-off.

    also agree with John about tank age. Also wonder about using salt water from the ocean, as that's one variable that's different.
  14. Gipsieskiss

    Gipsieskiss Guest

    Thanks for the increasing amount of info, it's all helping to paint a good picture.
    To answer the question about the age of the tank, I've had the tank for about 8 months and I bought it, as is, from a friend who'd had it up and running for about 15 months. We broke it down and transported it in buckets.
    As you can see, some of it is maintaining, but is' just not growing as I expected it would. I was hoping to be trimming things back by now, not picking out skeletons :)
    neuro likes this.
  15. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    It will take time. 8 months is pretty young, although if transferred, that helps.

    For the really great tanks (caveat : mine is not really one of them), it seems that key is:
    1) LOTS of general maintenance.
    Regular water changes, keep parameters very stable (not the same as hitting an exact number),
    siphon crud, clean equipment, tank, sump a LOT.
    2) Good feeding practices.
    The right food mixtures, fairly often, and not too much.
    3) Focus primarily on the types of coral you want, and build your system around that.
    The lighting/flow/feed/water needs are different. Plus corals fight.
    Mixing SPS and softies is possible of course, but adds to complexity.
    For most really nice tanks, I usually see predominately one or the other.
  16. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    You might be experiencing the effects of the move. A lot of what we do as reefkeepers is keeping things constant. Moving is a real big disruption. No way to avoid it, it just is.

    Water changes with properly mixed salt (or NSW) will help dilute any nasties stirred up from the move. Only way to know if the water is properly mixed is to test. Salinity then perhaps the addition of CA and ALK. Chasing the magic salt is folly. Pick one and stick with it for awhile. I don't believe any are death to corals.

    My tank looks best when I do many small water changes. I'm talking about 3-5% per day. With your tank that's only 1G/day. I don't usually do this, I just notice an improvement when I do.

    Overall the tank looks good. There is not a jungle of algae, lots of coralline on the rocks. I'm sure we could show you pics of our tanks looking a LOT worse. :)
  17. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    12 hr photoperiod is pretty long imo. Also6% all night long? That's too much for sure IMO.
    bluprntguy likes this.
  18. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    oh man i didn't catch this one either.

    my photo period is 10am-10pm, but my leds ramp 1 hour up/down, and my MH kicks in at 11 for 10 hrs. Then it's lights off otherwise.
  19. One thing I do before water changes is to blast the rock with a turkey baster to get some of the detritus up into the water column and then slurp that out. If you are going to run lights all night, better to have lights in the sump/refugium for the nighttime period (so a reverse cycle basically).
  20. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    Mixed salt water should be done at least a day in advance of use.
    It should also be heated and have a powerhead for flow.

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