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concert_tom
09/04/2017, 12:07 PM
So, I've had a tank running for a little over two years now. It went through a move back in February but didn't skip a beat for the next two months.

I started noticing issues towards the end of April, and it got pretty bad starting in June. I did a lot of testing (ph, alk, calcium, nitrate), did some big water changes (30%), read about cleanliness of water affecting light penetration and tried to adjust my lighting accordingly. Most of all I've tried being patient, continued my normal maintenance schedule with water changes, but I just increased the gallon total and observed changes, if any.

At this point I'm at a complete loss for what to do, essentially all of my SPS have died in the past two months (a few remaining polyps on 2 or 3 frags), and I've had many LPS issues as well (half of my hammer coral and frogspawn heads have died).


Here are my current parameters:

Salinity 1.025 (refractometer)
ph 7.5 (salifert)
ammonia .15 (salifert)
Nitrate 0 (salifert)
Calcium 464 (hanna)
Alk 7.9 (hanna)
Phosphate .002 (hanna phosphorus, I don't believe this one)



Average Parameters before the Coracolypse


Salinity 1.025 (refractometer)
ph 7.8
ammonia 0
Nitrate 0
Calcium 435 (hanna)
Alk 7.25 (hanna)
Phosphate .18 (hanna phosphorus)


I believe my calcium and alk currently being higher are just due to the smaller amount of living coral to absorb those elements, I could be wrong though.



What do I do? I'll take any and all advice, please don't hesitate to ask me for additional information.

concert_tom
09/04/2017, 12:12 PM
I thought my tank info was saved to automatically show up at the bottom, guess not.



93g cube, radion gen 3 pro (40% max), omega vertex 150 skimmer, brs dual carbon/gfo reactor, 2 mp40's (peak at 75% lagoon mode), 50lbs pukani, 40lbs carib sea aragonite

bertoni
09/04/2017, 03:35 PM
Ammonia at 0.15 ppm is dangerous, particularly considering the likely error limits of our test kits. I would dose some Prime or Amquel ASAP. It's possible that the kit has failed, though, so I'd get a second opinion before worrying too much. Prime is easy to dose and inexpensive.

pH at 7.5 sounds like a measurement problem. The house would have to be very high in carbon dioxide or the tank would have to have poor aeration to make that possible. I'd check the water surface for any signs of a film, and make sure that the skimmer was working well.

For diagnosing the problem, I might add a PolyFilter, which will turn blue in the presence of copper. Are there any soft corals in the tank? Sometimes, they release toxins as a form of chemical warfare.

Vinny Kreyling
09/04/2017, 04:39 PM
Agreed, There should never be ammonia in a reef tank.

concert_tom
09/05/2017, 09:38 PM
Ammonia at 0.15 ppm is dangerous, particularly considering the likely error limits of our test kits. I would dose some Prime or Amquel ASAP. It's possible that the kit has failed, though, so I'd get a second opinion before worrying too much. Prime is easy to dose and inexpensive.

pH at 7.5 sounds like a measurement problem. The house would have to be very high in carbon dioxide or the tank would have to have poor aeration to make that possible. I'd check the water surface for any signs of a film, and make sure that the skimmer was working well.

For diagnosing the problem, I might add a PolyFilter, which will turn blue in the presence of copper. Are there any soft corals in the tank? Sometimes, they release toxins as a form of chemical warfare.

hmm, I guess I never considered that small amount of ammonia to be dangerous. I usually don't have any at all, it's only showed up in most recent test, and that was months after my issue started. I'll retest that for sure.

I've had relatively low ph for the life of this tank, 7.6 7.7 was pretty normal, even when I dosed Kalkwasser it only ever bumped up to 7.9 or so. I do need to readjust my skimmer, it removes quite a small amount into the cup, but my tank runs relatively clean so I never thought much of it. I do have a little bit of film floating in the display, but I even have my returns positioned to agitate the water more and I recently removed my filter socks in hopes of created more oxygen exchange.

No soft corals.


Thanks for the help, I'll retest, adjust the skimmer and report back tomorrow. I'll start making some new RODI for a water change too, Hurricane Harvey set me back a bit on my regular schedule.

bertoni
09/06/2017, 04:25 PM
Okay, we'll see how the ammonia shapes up. I might try some fresh activated carbon, too. How often is that changed?

concert_tom
09/08/2017, 10:34 PM
Sorry for the delay.

I rechecked my ammonia and ph, got the same result. I dosed Prime yesterday, haven't rechecked the ammonia levels since dosing. I also just did a 20gallon water change today (about 22% water volume), so any ammonia threat should be minimized, just not the cause of the ammonia.

Okay, we'll see how the ammonia shapes up. I might try some fresh activated carbon, too. How often is that changed?

I just changed the carbon/gfo about 3 weeks ago, I'll swap it out the carbon tomorrow, it can only help.

bertoni
09/09/2017, 04:21 PM
Okay, that's interesting. If the ammonia doesn't drop quickly, I'd look into whether the kit has failed.

concert_tom
09/10/2017, 12:37 AM
Okay, that's interesting. If the ammonia doesn't drop quickly, I'd look into whether the kit has failed.

Man, I honestly just can't tell if there's a difference. If you've used the salifert ammonia test kit, you know the low end colors (0 and .15) are barely different.

Looking at my result today, I think it looks the same as my others results, I just can't tell if the shade I'm looking at is white, or slightly off-white. So I very well may not have an ammonia issue at all. I've only just started using these Salifert testing kits (when my .15 ammonia reading showed up). I had previously been using the API kit.

bertoni
09/10/2017, 02:31 PM
Okay, well, I'd just keep up the Prime for a week, just in case the ammonia level is real. If the kit doesn't change by then, I'd assume it's just very sensitive, and that the ammonia level is actually zero. Dosing Prime should be easy, so I think being very cautious is worth it.

GTR
09/11/2017, 05:36 AM
Don't most test kits show total ammonia so after dosing Prime you would still get the same reading?
I know that's the case with API ammonia.

bertoni
09/11/2017, 03:12 PM
I am not sure whether the Salifert kit will measure bound ammonia or not. The SeaChem kit allows the user to determine how much ammonia is bound, if that's of interest. In any case, the ammonia should fade over time, since bacteria can consume the bound ammonia.