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View Full Version : No Growth in 1.5 Years - What Gives?


Solitaryensis
07/10/2017, 02:30 PM
Hi Everyone,

About a year and a half ago I started an IM 10 gallon and then about 6 months ago transitioned over to an IM 30 gallon. I have not had a single coral death in that time but oddly enough, none of my corals have grown much, if at all. My corals maintain great color and great polyp extension and otherwise look healthy but just no growth. For example, the first coral I added a year and a half ago was a single head of frogspawn and it is still one fat, healthy head today. My GPS doesn't even grow!

I have been in the hobby 10+ years and stumped. All my params check out fine. I don't dose anything but do regular water changes with IO every 1-3 weeks. Lights are AI Hydra 52. AquaMAXX HOB skimmer.

Any thoughts?

MreasyC
07/10/2017, 02:41 PM
IME It's dosing. Just by adding kalkwasser to my IM20, my growth has really spiked. although that should not make a difference for softies. Also in a 10g you basically MUST do a 1/2g water change every week. They are getting enough nutrients to survive but not grow


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Solitaryensis
07/10/2017, 02:47 PM
IME It's dosing. Just by adding kalkwasser to my IM20, my growth has really spiked. although that should not make a difference for softies. Also in a 10g you basically MUST do a 1/2g water change every week. They are getting enough nutrients to survive but not grow


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That was my hunch but since my alk and calcium checked out fine, I was stumped (obviously I am not measuring for all trace elements but assumed water changes were replenishing enough). And all I have are LPS and softies in the tank.

MreasyC
07/10/2017, 02:49 PM
That was my hunch but since my alk and calcium checked out fine, I was stumped (obviously I am not measuring for all trace elements but assumed water changes were replenishing enough). And all I have are LPS and softies in the tank.



The water change regiment is actually more important. The LPS will have a lot of trouble without adding calc/alc. when you say "fine" what level is that?

Solitaryensis
07/10/2017, 03:46 PM
The water change regiment is actually more important. The LPS will have a lot of trouble without adding calc/alc. when you say "fine" what level is that?

Calc has been about 450 and dKH between 9 and 10.

C.Eymann
07/10/2017, 04:53 PM
Calc has been about 450 and dKH between 9 and 10.

How stable are those readings between w/c w it h no dosing? Also, what's your pH hang around at ?

Solitaryensis
07/10/2017, 06:08 PM
How stable are those readings between w/c w it h no dosing? Also, what's your pH hang around at ?

PH hangs our around 7.8-8. Admittedly, I don't test as often as I should. The above numbers are the general average taken before my 1-3 week water changes. Assuming for arguments sake that I happened to get some good tests but my numbers otherwise fluctuate dramatically, would you expect to see unhealthy corals, low polyp extension, death, etc.?

Solitaryensis
07/10/2017, 06:09 PM
PH hangs our around 7.8-8. Admittedly, I don't test as often as I should. The above numbers are the general average taken before my 1-3 week water changes. Assuming for arguments sake that I happened to get some good tests but my numbers otherwise fluctuate dramatically, would you expect to see unhealthy corals, low polyp extension, death, etc.?

Also, besides the euphyllia, I don't have SPS or corals that are high calc demanding.

OoNickoC
07/26/2017, 09:39 AM
Maybe try pulling air into the tank form outside with a lift pump orakimmer intake and check the Mag level. Low ph and mag could be culprits.

ReefWreak
07/26/2017, 10:20 AM
Since this was bumped anyway, my thoughts:

I've had an Aquamaxx skimmer now for about 2 months. It's a beast. It sucks the water clean. That might be your problem. LPS and softies (you mentioned a euphyllia coral and GSP) need nutrients in the water to grow, and particularly euphyllia probably appreciate some food now and then, so you might want to consider feeding it small bits of meaty foods like frozen mysis shrimp. I know after feeding my trumpet corals directly, they budded like crazy and spread everywhere in my old tank.

I don't directly feed anymore because my tank is mostly SPS, but SPS grow fine in those conditions, however my LPS don't. The only LPS coral I have that grows is a GIANT plate coral, which gets a lot of food because it's right under where I feed the fishes, so errant food sinks and lands on it and it consumes it, and it has grown from tiny to GIANT in 3 years (it's way too big for my tank now).

Something to consider, maybe you're already feeding, which if you are, I have no idea why they're not growing lol.

NanoReefWanabe
07/28/2017, 12:22 AM
I find it hard to believe you are getting those numbers with instant ocean salt... without supplementing and dosing IO is a FOWLR salt... even switching to RC I imagine you would see better growth... go to a better salt than both those and you will likely experience better growth altogether...

hokejka
07/29/2017, 09:46 AM
Ide be careful with reef crystals. They killed my LPS. 2 bags of them were mixing to 13 pKH. Switched to redsea blue tub and the remainign survivign lps have restored beautifully. Idk how u guys run keep lps at such high alk

kupadupapupa
07/29/2017, 11:18 AM
I had the same problem in my 125. I had corals in there for over 7 years and they barely grew while others didn't grow at all. I never got it figured out and eventually just got rid of them and downsized.

Cheapreef
07/29/2017, 12:28 PM
Ide be careful with reef crystals. They killed my LPS. 2 bags of them were mixing to 13 pKH. Switched to redsea blue tub and the remainign survivign lps have restored beautifully. Idk how u guys run keep lps at such high alk

How much water are you changing to make any real difference in Alk? Anything under 1DKH raise on a water chang is fine even with SPS. I run my ALk at 8.5ish and change 10% every week with RC, It raises he ALK to Approx 8.9DKH. That is on my RSR nano (25gal total) If your doing massive water changes you would need to buffer your alk down but for a regular 10% if would hardly effect your levels.

hokejka
07/29/2017, 08:36 PM
How much water are you changing to make any real difference in Alk? Anything under 1DKH raise on a water chang is fine even with SPS. I run my ALk at 8.5ish and change 10% every week with RC, It raises he ALK to Approx 8.9DKH. That is on my RSR nano (25gal total) If your doing massive water changes you would need to buffer your alk down but for a regular 10% if would hardly effect your levels.

You are 100% correct. It should be ok with regular water changes/ if there are enough corals to soak it up.

I was doing large changes of about 30% a week to vacuum out the sand bed (dealing with algae and cyano) so the alk quickly went up to mix amount and I had no idea what was happening to corals. I figured it out after 75% of the lps died. :/ I was unaware the alk would have that effect or that buffering it down was a thing. Learned the hard way. just something to keep in mind.

LQT
07/30/2017, 07:59 PM
I'd suggest testing your Alk and Ca every other day at the same time each test day straight for the one, two or three weeks between water changes (whichever duration you choose). Record your results. My guess is the instability of your parameters of the big three, Alk, Ca and Mg between water changes is not giving your coral the stability they need to thrive.

After testing, if you find that your parameters are in fact stable, which I find hard to believe without dosing, then you could consider other variables, like nutrients and feeding.

Either way, be methodical in your approach to troubleshoot your issues. It'll make the hobby more rewarding as you learn more about your tank and fix issues as they arise. :)

krkosiba
08/01/2017, 02:13 PM
If in fact you are getting those kind of #'s for parameters I would be tweaking light settings for sure. What may seem asethetically pleasing may not be best for coral growth.

Solitaryensis
08/01/2017, 02:23 PM
I find it hard to believe you are getting those numbers with instant ocean salt... without supplementing and dosing IO is a FOWLR salt... even switching to RC I imagine you would see better growth... go to a better salt than both those and you will likely experience better growth altogether...

I tested freshly mixed water last night and got the same numbers (except of course 0 nitrates). I also tested before the water change and still getting the same numbers. It's a fairly small tank so I suspect I should be able to keep things pretty stable with bi-weekly water changes.

Solitaryensis
08/01/2017, 02:26 PM
If in fact you are getting those kind of #'s for parameters I would be tweaking light settings for sure. What may seem asethetically pleasing may not be best for coral growth.

I suspect lighting could be one part of the equation. I am getting pretty bad shadowing on the sides and have been slowly turning up the lights but no matter where the corals, my growth isn't good.

As far as I can tell, nitrates seem to be the only parameter that isn't doing well but I suspect I'd see some die-off as a result.

krkosiba
08/01/2017, 02:33 PM
Is this an sps dominated tank? If so and your lighting is too low on percetange that could be why you aren't getting much growth.

Solitaryensis
08/01/2017, 02:44 PM
Is this an sps dominated tank? If so and your lighting is too low on percetange that could be why you aren't getting much growth.

No sps at all

krkosiba
08/01/2017, 03:52 PM
Well if all your parameters really are in check I still am leaning on lighting. If you love the hydra maybe retrofit it w some T-5's. I think coralife makes an inexpensive HO 11" T-5 figure. It would also eliminate shadowing.

Stickboy
08/01/2017, 08:29 PM
I have a similar situation, only with "some" of my corals, and oddly enough, it's the "easy" ones. I have great results with everything I've put in the tank, but can't get my GSP or mushrooms to grow to save my life (mushrooms are EXACTLY the same size as they were 2 years ago). Zoas are great. Polyps are great. Euphalia is great (a few different types). Even have a brain coral growing. Have some sort of unidentiified anemone that I got with the tank 2 years ago that I cant get to stop growing. But can't get the "weeds" to do anything. And I'm weird in that I "like" GSP... Guess that's why it won't grow for me.

ReefWreak
08/02/2017, 09:07 AM
Well if all your parameters really are in check I still am leaning on lighting. If you love the hydra maybe retrofit it w some T-5's. I think coralife makes an inexpensive HO 11" T-5 figure. It would also eliminate shadowing.

Ironically, as we're all armchair quarterbacks here, I'd go with he's more likely to stunt growth and/or harm/bleach his corals by getting some massively bright lights like a Hydra on the tank. The T5s might help since they're more distributed, though I have a number of corals that like the shadows of my tank and being out of direct light.

I have a similar situation, only with "some" of my corals, and oddly enough, it's the "easy" ones. I have great results with everything I've put in the tank, but can't get my GSP or mushrooms to grow to save my life (mushrooms are EXACTLY the same size as they were 2 years ago). Zoas are great. Polyps are great. Euphalia is great (a few different types). Even have a brain coral growing. Have some sort of unidentiified anemone that I got with the tank 2 years ago that I cant get to stop growing. But can't get the "weeds" to do anything. And I'm weird in that I "like" GSP... Guess that's why it won't grow for me.

If you can't get mushrooms to grow, you can feed them. They're just little anemones. If you give them meaty food directly, they'll spawn and split and make a mess of your tank in no time at all!

NanoReefWanabe
08/06/2017, 06:05 PM
Water changes will never bring your readings to a fresh batch levels... nor will they ever bring your tank back to standard levels... typically a tank would have calcium 440 alk at 9... after a will those values would drop to 400 and 7.5ish (hypothetically) doing a water change is not going to reset those numbers to the starting point unless you change it 100% of the water... there is a dilution factor... your 30% water change may only bring your calcium back up to 420 and the alk to 8... another week goes by your values drop yet again... this time calcium goes to 370 (corals are bigger consuming more etc) and alk drops to 7.... and dio on and so on... so first to be getting those crazy good numbers from IO and not dose I don't see how it is possible... where I used IO I had to 3 part dose to get to reef levels and then maintain daily with kalk to keep up with basic lps and sps but primarily softy dominated tank

Skyjacker07
08/09/2017, 09:48 AM
It's hard to see them not growing, it has to be something you're doing; I run a jbj 28g with stock lighting, a hob-1 skimmer; I dose nothing and do weekly 5g water changes using instant ocean reef crystals. I haven't tested parameters in quite some time. Since getting my coral everything has tripled in size over a period of 9 months.

Skyjacker07
08/09/2017, 09:49 AM
When I first put the coral in.
https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20170809/b72de3be5169709c8f828a0399473b21.jpg

Here's about a week ago. https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20170809/7719b660c218e8ab60538fef9671c47b.jpg

ReefWreak
08/09/2017, 10:32 AM
It's hard to see them not growing, it has to be something you're doing; I run a jbj 28g with stock lighting, a hob-1 skimmer; I dose nothing and do weekly 5g water changes using instant ocean reef crystals. I haven't tested parameters in quite some time. Since getting my coral everything has tripled in size over a period of 9 months.

I just wanted to say, your tank looks great, and has shown great growth in 9 months. An excellent exemplar tank for keeping things relatively simple; regular water changes, skimmer, stock lights, moderate flow. Thanks for sharing!

What are you feeding, and do you direct feed the corals?

Skyjacker07
08/09/2017, 10:41 AM
I just recently started feeding the coral, when I added the bta a couple of weeks ago, before it got everything from water changes and feeding the fish e/o day. Now I feed reef roids mixed with oyster feast every 3 days. I have noticed a huge difference I. Doing so; my acans are fatter and started to get larger, and my zoas continue to multiply.