View Full Version : Help keeping Coral Alive Please

06/09/2015, 05:27 PM
Hi all,

New to the forum. I've searched everywhere I can trying to get info and work out the problem I'm facing but no one seems to be able to help.

So lets start off I have a 120gallon tank setup, currently fishless due to an ich outbreak but this problem has been going since i set up the tank 8 months ago.

Skimme currently off due to being fishless and hoping to dirty up water to see if this helps.

12000 LPH wavemaker in tank

parameters are

mag 1280
cal 500
alk 9
ph 8.1
nitrate close to 0
ammonia close to 0
salinity 1.026

dosing reef A and B for the last 3 weeks hoping this would help
dosing trace once every week - week and a half for the past 2 months on and off

Lights from rapid led, 24 warm white, 33 royal blue, 6 uv but they are currently on really low on a storm x controller.

I have the royal blue set to 110/250 on the controller and white set to 110 now as well but was set to 130/250 I have no idea what these should be so ive been testing and this seems to have been teh most stable i think?

So i buy corals and within a couple weeks they fade away and die.

My kenya tree has lived the longest at a couple months randomly. but all the rest, mushrooms, and hairy mushrooms, torch coral, pulsing xenia have all died within a couple weeks or purchase, some never even fully opening, some opening them slowly getting worse over time, getting smaller and smaller then just dying.

I have stopped water changing for the past month and a week or so due to being fishless.

This problem was happening with fish and while water changing too.

I'm at a complete loss on what to try next. Any advice tips, photos wanted let me know and I'll post them up. I'm guessing its maybe around the lights? Or should i do a huge most the tank water change or what? Its starting to cost me a lot of money and really taking the fun out of it which sucks because I love this tank so much haha.

Any advice would be awesome! thank you :)

06/09/2015, 05:45 PM
I guess I don't understand why you stopped running your skimmer, you want to dirty up the water! What will that help? You are also dosing calcium when your calcium is 500. Why? I would start by doing a 20 gallon water change. Are you using RO/DI water for your water changes?

06/09/2015, 05:56 PM
Hey, sorry i should explain more. I stopped running my skimmer for the past week or 2 to try dirty up the water to see if this made a difference to the mushrooms on the advice of someone else as mushrooms like teh water a little dirty and having such a minimal load my water may have been to clean. didnt make a difference to the corals.

I'm not dosing calcium and I've pretty much stopped on the trace because my clacium is at 500, my salinity was a little low at around 1.024 so i raised it up by adding salt gadually over a couple days to raise it to 1.026 which is what made my calcium shoot from about 440 ish to 500. that was a 3 or 4 weeks ago. I have been monitoring it to make sure with what I'm adding isnt make it shoot any higher which it isnt.

water is only RO/DI water.

I will do a 20 gallon water change tonight ( i was planning to do this anyway this weekend as something to try ). This problem was happening before in the tank when i was still doing 20 gallon water changes every 2 - 3 weeks when i had fish in it. I stopped doing water changes only while it was fishless as a few people said having no load and levels testing correct I shouldn't need too. This has been a problem ever since i started trying to keep corals I just dont know what to try and I dont know anyone else into marine around my area so it makes things pretty hard as everything seems to test correct

06/09/2015, 06:21 PM
How old is your tank? Is your test kit accurate? If it is then you need to raise your mag up a little. Why there is no fish? Are they dieing with the corals too? What kind of flow? I'm not familiar with your LED but LED can be too bright for mushroom, xenia, Kanya tree....etc

06/09/2015, 06:35 PM
tank is established. has been running since start of November last year and rock was from a well established tank of a couple years from someone else. lots of isopods.

Tank is fishless due to an ich outbreak from a local shop. My fault for not quarantining I know. I've learnt my lesson there.

Fish were very happy in tank and never had an issue with a fish dying.

my test kits for mag,cal and alk are Elos test kits which are meant to be very good I've been told so i assume they are correct. cool I will raise my mag up a little to around 1300 - 1320?

flow is a dual head wavemaker on one side of teh tank blowing in different directions I have tried aiming it different ways with pretty much no effect to corals livelyhood. it is rated at 12000 LPH

The leds are on at just under 50% im assuming as they are set to 110 out of 250. they were a littel higher but i turned them down a little last night to see if this helps. I was worried they may not be on enough. I'm willing to try anything as I'm obviously doing something wrong I just cant figure out what :S haha

06/09/2015, 06:48 PM
If all parameters are correct then check to see if you have any rusting object in your tank/sump. Next check for voltage leak. If all are check out then we can narrow down to something in the water is killing the corals and the only way to cure that is restart the tank. Did you have corals in the tank before and now they just start dieing? or you just add it recently

06/09/2015, 06:57 PM
If i had a voltage leak i would feel it when i put my hand in yes? the only thing in my display is my wavemaker all my heaters are in the sump so I dont think its a voltage leak? is there any other way to check that?

Will check to confirm the rusting thing next. I don't have much in my tank though to rust but will go through to 100% confirm this :)

Has always happened. I put the first couple down to lack of experience and getting the lighting set correct and something dumb i did, but it just keeps happening over teh last couple months.

So to restart the tank am i talking full recycle of the rock and everything? Or just a full restart of the water? that would suck :( but it may need to be done.

06/09/2015, 07:05 PM
I was worried it may be my polyurethane tank lid at one stage but that would of effected my fish I would of thought as well? I did a lot of reading before hand and polyurethane seemed to be safe for tank lids. I've started questioning everything and just can't work it out.

06/09/2015, 07:08 PM
You say ammonia close to 0. What does that mean? Also I'd try some different test kits or bring a water sample to your local lfs and have them test it. Something is wrong and I'm guessing it's with your water. The fish and corals dying could be from an ammonia spike.

06/09/2015, 07:11 PM
fish have never died Dkuhlmann :) they have all been very healthy. tank is fishless due to me not quarantining and getting ich from a local store, dont worry i learnt my lesson on that one.

I dont have exact ppm on hand sorry reason for saying close to zero. ( they have never read over teh first box on teh test kits ) I will get exacts tonight. I will check to see if the LFS over here offer this service for marine.

06/09/2015, 07:24 PM
when you restart the tank that is your last measure to cure the problem so you need to eliminate all possible cause to get a fresh start. Which mean everything new. If you have sand replace it, live rock need to be cook or sell it and get new dry rock , new water...etc clean your equipment by soaking in vinegar water to make sure if there is any bacteria that kill your corals they will be eliminate. You never mention how your coral die? Is it wither or brown jelly or never open and slowly die......

06/09/2015, 07:30 PM
wow thats serious. yeah that really is a last resort.

Curerntly my kenya tree has stopped standing up hes just limped over. He isnt fully closed and doesnt really change to much from day till night. He was fine for a couple months and is my longest lasting of all corals.

my mushrooms start opening and closing for teh first week or two then jsut stop and seem to stay in a constant state of half open/ half closed and dont really change much then just slowly get smaller and smaller till nothing. mushrooms start by opening and closing then start pretty much fully closed and then just slwoly get smaller till they become pretty much nothing. my xenia opened teh first couple days then just slowly started opening less and less arms till nothing and just a blob. my toadstool is currently just sitting there, starts to extent his tenticles maybe 3 or 4 cm on a few during teh day then closes up during the night.

06/09/2015, 07:50 PM
Would anyone think taking my lid off and building something to hold my lights above the tank be a good idea? Maybe its something in the polyurathane or wood leeching into the tank? Its only an hour or so to build something to eliminate this as a problem. would then involve a big water change i assume though. I only have a few kg of salt on hand. hmmm.

06/09/2015, 09:11 PM
Well if you don't want to restart then do the triton water test. They will test for every elements in your salt water and tell you which one is good and which one need to adjust. Its very hard to pinpoint the problem if we don't know what's in the water. It could be heavy metal or some other chemicals so the triton test will answer

06/09/2015, 09:16 PM
Sorry found what youre talking about. Dont know if this is available in my area. I live in New Zealand. I will try changing the lid and doing a water change and see what happens. thanks for your help everyone :) and it does sound like something is in teh tank or something is getting into the tank. I'm hoping its something in the lid causing the problem. will let you all know :)

06/10/2015, 03:49 AM
Once again Ammonia in any concentration will cause your problems. There should never be any ammonia in your tank.

Your problem is either water issues or lighting issues, maybe a combination of both. Who knows but you need to get that water tested.

06/10/2015, 04:35 AM
Hey finally home tested ammonia, nitrate and nitrite. All tested 0. Have done a 80 litre water change. And am currently building a new stand for lights to eliminate sometihbg in the polyurethane or wood leeching into the tank.

06/10/2015, 07:05 AM
How are you measuring salinity?refractometer?

06/10/2015, 08:29 AM
Hey yep. Using a refractormeter even have a hydrometer for comparison which reads just out by 1.024. So I know it's correct at 1.026 on the refractormeter which is properly calibrated

06/10/2015, 09:29 AM
Do they sell chemi pure or poly filter pad over there? you can try to use those to absorb some chemical from your water, run some carbon. Have you try to keep lps? Are they dieing and not open too?

bull shark
06/10/2015, 10:12 AM
How did you treat the ich outbreak in your tank?

06/10/2015, 11:41 AM
any reason your dosing? I have mostly softies and a few lps in my 120 gal. and don't dose anything. I only run some carbon once in a while. maybe try doing regular wc's and leave it alone.

06/10/2015, 02:26 PM
Ich treated by moving fish to new tank. This was happening way before that. This has always happened.
I have carbon in the tank as we speak. I have been using it on and off. Will find some polyfill =)
I'm dosing trace as i thought maybe there's something they are missing. I never used to dose it and had this problem so thoght I woild try that it didn't make a difference so now it's just few and far inbetween with a bit of trace put in. I've been trying everything. I used to leave it with regular 2 week water changes of 10‰ stoll the same issue. It's very weird. New lid will be installed tonigjt anyway with just hanging lights and will see how we go I guess. Thanks for all the ideas everyone!

06/10/2015, 05:49 PM
Just had a google. is poly filter, filter wool? I use that already in my discus tank and pretty sure i have a decent amount on hand so that would be good :)

06/10/2015, 09:02 PM
You are doing things that even seasoned keepers do not do in a tank that has no coral in it.

Go back to water changes, change out the whole volume over a couple days. Test, test and re test and then get someone else to test for you.

Check everything, no you wont feel stray voltage if you have it.

You are fixing to have to turn over every rock to see if you do not even have some coral eating monster hidden in your tank that is devouring everything at night when you sleep.

This is definitely odd.

I was thinking light acclimation but now, I am not so sure.

06/10/2015, 10:11 PM
I'm just trying everything to be honest. As I jsut dont know where to turn. Reason for all teh different things im trying. These are over the space of 4 or 5 months BTW. testing each thing for a couple weeks after buying a couple more frags for cheap and just seeing what outcome I got as the standard wasnt working for me.

Tank has been apart twice with half the rock out and all teh others turned over. Nothing stray in teh tank i have seen.

Yeah I introduce corals slowly and have tried teh same types of corals at differetn levels in the tank wit the same results.

The strangest part is fish are not effected by whatever it is.

I will get some salt when i can ( its about $150 US worth where i live for the amount i will need ) so hopefully next week will be able to afford some

It's really odd :S and I'm at such a huge loss to what to do haha.

I'm hoping so much that its something to do with the polyurethane I've used and its leeching copper into the tank or something as I read some polyurethanes can do that. I just want an answer haha. which would explain why my corals die and fish live

06/12/2015, 11:35 PM
So I took the sump completely apart to find something had completly rusted in the tank. I assume this has made my iron go through the roof? Maybe a screw fell in. Who knows. But I'm hoping this is the cause. Now how do I fix it? Will running carbon and filter wool pull it out of the water? Or will I need to perform big water changes? I hope this is my problem so bad haha

06/13/2015, 05:03 AM
So I took the sump completely apart to find something had completly rusted in the tank. I assume this has made my iron go through the roof? Maybe a screw fell in. Who knows. But I'm hoping this is the cause. Now how do I fix it? Will running carbon and filter wool pull it out of the water? Or will I need to perform big water changes? I hope this is my problem so bad haha

Glad you found it, I'd do both run carbon and do several big water changes every two or three days to 100% of water volume

06/14/2015, 02:20 AM
What i hope is the issue lol. Got some red Sea salt today as well. And a new Eheim Heater. I'm changing everything up. Setting up a seahorse tank as well in a new tank so it will be a good test as well =)