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View Full Version : Tank of Doom, help please.


szl
06/20/2017, 10:04 PM
So I started off in the hobby with a small 30 gallon tank 2 years ago. Zoas were growing, SPS were not dying and growing a bit and I wasnt dosing or testing for anything.

After a few months of success I upgraded my tank to a custom 72Lx24Wx18H. This is where my downfall started.

I am just over one year into this tank and it has been nothing at all but a disaster. SPS are dying over and over and over. Every time I think I have figured out the problem, I put some new SPS frags in and they die in a day or two, sometimes a few days.

I live in a major city with many people with in 10 minutes of me having reef tanks, so i dont think its source water.

I have gone to hell and back trying to figure out the problem and I have had no luck at all...

My tank has the following equipment. Gyre 150, Nyos 160, 2x MP40 QD, 8bulb 60" ATI Sunpower, 2x 48" reefbrites, vectra M1 return, 25g refugium.

My params have been so stable yet nothing helps. For the sake of keeping it short, my tests have been spot on every time.

I keep my temp between 78-79 using Apex. I run my Radions from 11-11 and my t5s from 12-4. All the corals I buy are from friends and they have identical parameters/set ups.

A list of things I have tried so far...
-Had multiple experienced people come by to see if they can spot a problem. No one saw any issues
-Restarted the tank TWICE thinking the problem was water quality. Once was out of sheer desperation the second time I replaced all my DI cartridges and filters and added an extra carbon (chloramine blaster) and second DI stage.
-Tried running carbon and gfo
-Tried not running carbon and gfo
-Tried Red Sea Coral Pro, Aquavitro Salinity, Aquaforest Salt.
-Sold my Radions for reefbrites.
-Raised my light fixture very high.
-Borrowed a light fixture from a friend to make sure mine wasnt screwey somehow
-Replaced bulbs on light fixture.
-Added a refugium.
-Bought 3 different test kit brands.
-Bought 3 different refractometers.
-Brought my water to friends houses and stores to test.
-Replaced my RODI filters monthly
-Sent water to Germany to have the triton test.
-Replaced substrate
-Drained tank completely to make sure there was no metal in the tank I was overlooking.
-Tried ESV dosing, tried Aquaforest 123 dosing.

The things I havent double checked or have theories about.
-Marco Rock. Is it possible that the Marco rock is leaching something into the water? I know people say it leaching po4, but my po4 has been undetectable for months. Could it leach anyhting else?
-Sump. I bought a used trigger systems sump. I read online that acrylic cant or wont leach **** into the water, but could this be the source of my problems if the old owner ran copper.
-Tank its self. Is there a way to tell if maybe the company I ordered the tank from used silicone that isnt reef safe? Although when I got the tank it smelled like vinegar which is something that people say the reef safe silicone smells like.
-Tank is to new for SPS?

Anything else that anyone can think of? I am at a complete loss. I see reefer buddies of mine with far worse husbandry than I succeed and I just keep failing over and over and its draining my soul (and wallet) :(

swk
06/20/2017, 10:13 PM
Seems like a lot of changes for a year. Maybe stop swapping everything around. Leave the thing alone for 6 months or more and see what happens?

jda
06/20/2017, 10:21 PM
Well done on the post. Very detailed. I would like to know how the SPS die... fast, slow, bottom up, all at once, etc. Also, what kinds you have tried - if you killed some Acropora, then that might be OK, but if we are talking about montis and birdsnest, then that is different.

I would start by running the T5 for 8 hours on/off with a light timer. It is a solid, reliable light so that will take out lighting as variable.

I am not a fan of Marco Rocks, but I have not heard of them leeching any heavy metals, but I guess that it is possible.

Stop the granular carbon, GFO, ESV, AF or any other things. Not necessary and will eliminate another variable.

Vinegar smelling silicone is not cured yet. Some cure with ammonia, some with vinegar. Some types have mold and anti-fungal stuff in them which is NOT reef safe, but I would think that a tank manufacturer would know the difference.

Don't sweat the acrylic.

Here are my questions:
What salt are you using?
Do you have coralline in any quantity?
What is your actual PO4 number. Have you used a Hannah Ultra Low Checker? If not, what was the PO4 from your triton test?
Can you post the whole triton test?
Will your fuge grow chaeto?
Have you checked your wet sides for corrosion?

One more suggestion, get a Polyfilter, use it and see if it turns any color.

I am sure that I will come up with more later. Sorry.

MichaelW
06/20/2017, 10:38 PM
The above post is spot on... Just combine it with the post above that and keep it this simple, "variable free" way for a longer period of time without changing anything.

You sayibg all sps have been dying in a day or 2 of adding so this really seems like something must be going on though. I men like my coral qt i can set it up one day and add acros in it the next and keep them alive for their quarantine period. Tank just is about 10 gallons with 20 gallon sump. Heater, ato, return pump, small power head, light. Its just a cheap led because its only for a little while.

Lsufan
06/20/2017, 10:59 PM
Do u have any other corals in the tank & its only sps that die? With the sps dying within a day or two of putting them into your tank really makes it even more difficult because that means a lot of the usual problems like stability, starving the corals, lighting & to a lesser extent flow probably aren't your issues.

I wouldn't think any of your theories would be it eighther. I highly dought it could be your acrylic sump. I don't think it would be the silicone on the tank eighther. The problems with all silicone, with or without mold inhibitors is insufficient cure time. Some types like most with mold inhibitors are more toxic when they aren't fully cured. Once they are cured they are fine. I dought a manufacturer would have shipped actank that wasn't fully cured, but even if they did it is definitely cured by now. It's not likely & I wouldn't think they would be a issue, but it is possible it could be the rock causing issues.

I think the first thing I would do is what jda mentioned & get a polyfilter so u can cross that off the list. I would also take swk's advice & just try to keep it as simple as possible & let the tank do its thing for a while.

If ubanswer the questions jda posted all I will add is if u have any other corals & what else is in the tank.

szl
06/21/2017, 02:09 AM
Well done on the post. Very detailed. I would like to know how the SPS die... fast, slow, bottom up, all at once, etc. Also, what kinds you have tried - if you killed some Acropora, then that might be OK, but if we are talking about montis and birdsnest, then that is different.

I would start by running the T5 for 8 hours on/off with a light timer. It is a solid, reliable light so that will take out lighting as variable.

I am not a fan of Marco Rocks, but I have not heard of them leeching any heavy metals, but I guess that it is possible.

Stop the granular carbon, GFO, ESV, AF or any other things. Not necessary and will eliminate another variable.

Vinegar smelling silicone is not cured yet. Some cure with ammonia, some with vinegar. Some types have mold and anti-fungal stuff in them which is NOT reef safe, but I would think that a tank manufacturer would know the difference.

Don't sweat the acrylic.

Here are my questions:
What salt are you using?
Do you have coralline in any quantity?
What is your actual PO4 number. Have you used a Hannah Ultra Low Checker? If not, what was the PO4 from your triton test?
Can you post the whole triton test?
Will your fuge grow chaeto?
Have you checked your wet sides for corrosion?

One more suggestion, get a Polyfilter, use it and see if it turns any color.

I am sure that I will come up with more later. Sorry.

Thanks for the response.

I did run t5 only for a while and still had the same issues. (forgot to mention it in the original post)

I have killed all kinds of sps. Montis, Acros etc, currently acros r dying but montis and birdsnest r living though not growing. Originally the tips were dying, now its the base up. They die very quickly, its just like the whole thing sheds its skin off.

Currently I am using Aquaforest Reef Salt.
I had Coraline but since I restarted I havent had any. It was from my original tank though, since I transfered the rock.
I have the Hanna Checker and my po4 is .024
I have had lots of trouble getting any macro algaes to grow however recently I noticed some growth on some halymeda (spelling?)
Ill check the wetside for corrosion but I dont think thats the issue since it was happening when they were brand new.
I will grab a poly filter tomorrow, great idea!

szl
06/21/2017, 02:11 AM
Oh I forgot to mention, I have lots of zoas, but no real growth on them but they look ok, some lps that havent been doing so hot, and a couple of small torches.

szl
06/21/2017, 03:21 PM
I added a polyfilter, how long should it take to change color?

jda
06/21/2017, 03:27 PM
A couple of days. Don't be disappointed if it does not change color... but if it does, then you know that you had some metals.

codydemmel4
06/21/2017, 03:39 PM
Post some pictures of everything.

I had something similar where I tried to do all kinds of things to fix my problems.( can read my threads, I was very frustrated) The thing that fixed it all (knock on wood as it has only been a month or so) was taking everything offline besides the basics.

Light ( I have the same as you but 80w), flow, good skimmer, cheato and 2 part dosing, while feeding the fish a lot, along with a weekly water change.


What is the TDS coming out of your DI? When you see a coral declining, are you fragging it at all or just letting it die?

But it would probably help a lot if you posted pictures of your tank, along with the dying corals and your triton test.

rbp 4 135
06/21/2017, 03:54 PM
Have you checked for stray voltage? Some reefers report problems with that, although I've had stray voltage before and corals/fish were fine for quite awhile before I even noticed the problem.

When bio-pellets and carbon dosing were new and gaining popularity I started a system around them (bio-pellets) that consistently measured 0 for Phos and nitrate. I would kill sps within a few days (fist bleaching then RTN). Feeding more and reducing bio pellets brought up the nutrients and adjusting alk down the NSW levels solved the problem immediately.

Would suspect your alk is close to NSW based on the salts listed above, but I would try to get some nutrients into the system.

jda
06/21/2017, 04:21 PM
I have thought about this some. ...since I most am seeing tips and slow death, I think that this is just a typical non-mature tank thing. Most tanks that don't grow coralline well won't grow SPS well, IME.

Stop everything but feeding the fish, and weekly water changes. When your coralline takes off, you have pods everywhere and the dark parts of your rock are covered with sponges, then you should be in a good place.

With the marco rocks, this can take more than a year. They are full or organics and bound phosphate and are not ready to contribute to a healthy reef for quite some time.

I would just chill out, relax and let whatever happens, happen for the next two or three months. Then, measure your N and P and see where you are at. You might get dinos, cyano, hair algae and just let it be - well, you can physically remove the hair algae. The N and P need to climb to come down. Once the N hits zero, then the anoxic bacterial zones are established and you can deal with the higher P if you still have any - you probably will with the dead rock. Then, GFO or a fuge is a good idea.

If you absolutely need to speed things, up live rock from the ocean can help. Pacific is best. It denitrifies better than anything, IMO, other than the sand. The sand just needs time.

szl
06/22/2017, 11:11 AM
Hi guys, I appreciate all the suggestions.

I have checked for stray voltage, nothing.

JDA, if I take LR from friends of mine who have established tanks would that be ok?

szl
06/22/2017, 11:31 AM
Here are my triton results.

Heavy Metals

Hg 0 g/l 0,1 g/l -0.10
Se 0 g/l 0,1 g/l -0.10
Cd 0 g/l 0,1 g/l -0.10
Sn 0 g/l 0,1 g/l -0.10
Sb 0 g/l 0,1 g/l -0.10
As 0 g/l 0,1 g/l -0.10
Al 9.27 g/l 2 g/l 7.27
Pb 0 g/l 0,1 g/l -0.10
Ti 0 g/l 0,1 g/l -0.10
Cu 4.128 g/l 0.1 g/l 4.03
La 0 g/l 0.1 g/l -0.10
Sc 0 g/l 0.1 g/l -0.10
W 0 g/l 0.1 g/l -0.10

None of the heavy metals are out of the normal range.

Macro Elements

Na 10078 mg/l 10700 mg/l -622.00
Ca 405 mg/l 440 mg/l -35.00
Mg 1426 mg/l 1370 mg/l 56.00
K 381 mg/l 400 mg/l -19.00
Br 69 mg/l 62 mg/l 7.00
B 4.739 mg/l 4,5 mg/l 0.24
Sr 7.596 mg/l 8 mg/l -0.40
S 812 mg/l 900 mg/l -88.00

Sodium and Calcium were on the low end of the normal range.

Li-Group

Li 498 g/l 200 g/l 298.00
Ni 0 g/l 5 g/l -5.00
Mo 5.422 g/l 12 g/l -6.58

Lithium is high, but from google research that is fairly common.

I-Group

V 0 g/l 1,2 g/l -1.20
Zn 2.333 g/l 4 g/l -1.67
Mn 0 g/l 2 g/l -2.00
I 8.011 g/l 60 g/l -51.99

Iodine was low (but not dangerous), but have since corrected.

Fe-Group

Cr 0 g/l 0,1 g/l -0.10
Co 0 g/l 0,1 g/l -0.10
Fe 0 g/l 0,1 g/l -0.10

Ba-Group

Ba 87 g/l 10 g/l 77.00
Be 0 g/l 0,1 g/l -0.10

Barium is high, not sure where it comes from.

Si-Group

Si 0 g/l 100 g/l -100.00

Nutrient Group

P 11 g/l 6 g/l 5.00
PO4 0.03366 mg/l 0.01836 mg/l 0.016

jda
06/22/2017, 02:36 PM
JDA, if I take LR from friends of mine who have established tanks would that be ok?

It depends. Is the live rock free of phosphate and bound organics?

jda
06/22/2017, 02:50 PM
That test looks fine. I am sure that you know this, but if not... don't sweat Lithium... there is nothing that you can do about it even if it were an issue.

UTCReefer
06/22/2017, 05:36 PM
Check your Salinity again, maybe switch what you are checking it with too

szl
06/23/2017, 10:02 PM
Check your Salinity again, maybe switch what you are checking it with too

Hey thanks for the suggestion, but I have 3 different refractometer and have tested at mutliplr.other people's homes. I'm certain my salt is good

reefinder
06/25/2017, 09:51 AM
do you have some pics of the corals and the system I would like to see it in please

reefinder
06/25/2017, 09:54 AM
I don't know if I missed it as well but what's you bioload how many fish etc

nemodan
06/25/2017, 10:27 AM
Beside all what was said, that I agree 100% with TOO MANY changes and COOL yourself and let the tank evolve, The only variable you have not changed is the TANK.

My simple suggestion, after all the good counseling you already got, will be :

- Take some of your rocks and sand (unless is BB) , transfer them to your old 30 G tank, if you still have it, and see if you have again a healthy reef.

If you do not have the 30 G. Go an pick a brand new 10-20 G and do the experiment on it. Use some of all the equipment you have. Make it simple.

I started my SPS adventure in a 13 Shelf-stile all glass tank. I let it mature 1 MONTH !!! . after the Brown algae of the cycle went off, I added ~ 10 Acro Frags. All survived and grew. I used at that point PETCO ocean water. And only changed 3 G every weekend. For that volume it was cheap to buy the Petco Ocean water.

I will go that route to see if there is something that came with your tank....wathever. As that is the only thing you havent changed yet.

Just though about it. This is only a suggestion.