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MadReefer19
09/17/2017, 05:06 PM
Hi All,

I had a few questions around this and just wanted to know the best way forth. I currently acquired a few pieces of acropora and added them to my SPS only tank (these were the only SPS in them...)

They were beautiful bright colours however over the past few weeks they turned brownish with limited polyp extension and I would like to get them to really pop like they did when I got them.

My tank is 47" x 17" x 10" (deep) and is mainly used for frags. No fish or inverts in the system.

I currently have the following:

- ATI Unit - 8 x 80 w T5 tubes, this is situated about 25" above my tank.
- RW8 wave makers x 2 - Intermittent pulsing flow

All parameters are steady with phosphate and nitrates near to 0. Calcium about 490, Magnesium about 1300 and KH about 9.4.

I have a few questions about my current setup and ways to improve on it and my SPS's look.

* Lighting - Is my lighting currently too high from my tank? Considering how shallow my tanks is? What is the best spectrum of lights to use for maximum colour and growth? For how long should my lights run for the day?
* Flow - Is intermittent flow suitable? Should I add more wavemakers or is 2 enough?
* Dosing - I have purchased Red Sea Colours, I am not needing to dose calcium, however can I dose these chemicals either way to get the colours to brighten up?

Your assistance would be appreciated. :)

bif24701
09/17/2017, 06:11 PM
That's really high, why so high? I suspect it will still provide proper PAR but do you really want to mounted so high?


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sfdan
09/17/2017, 08:41 PM
Well based on the fact the corals are browning, my guess is there isn't enough PAR. 25" over the tank is also quite a lot. I think the usual height for a light fixture like that is probably somewhere between 6-10" over the water line. Lower those lights down, way down.

As for spectrum, as long as you are using a style of bulb designed for reef tanks, you'll have more than enough PAR with that many T5s. Just a matter of color preference for you. If you search on RC you'll find no shortage of threads where people post their T5 combinations.

You could dose all the trace elements in the world, and if you don't have the proper lighting, your corals aren't going to have the best colors. Personally I don't dose trace elements and my corals are plenty colorful, but I wouldn't tell you trace elements don't do anything, I don't know. I do know that outside of anything else, having the proper lighting and keeping your Alk/Calcium stable at the proper levels are more important than any trace elements.

nashorn
09/17/2017, 11:42 PM
How old is your tank? Typically a SPS tank takes almost a year to mature and be stable.
Do you have coraline growing on your live rock?
To me that another sign your tank is ready for sps.

Color will come back what you want is the Frag to encrust.
No dosing needed yet. Are you using kalk in your top off?

slavetonet
09/18/2017, 01:11 AM
That is a myth about sps tank takes almost a year to to stable.
2 months is more than plenty IMO.

jda
09/18/2017, 10:10 AM
Considering that the full nitrogen cycle is not done in two months, this is anything but a myth that stable tanks take time.

Do you have rock and sand? They help keep things stable. Bare frag tanks are not all that easy and even the best folks struggle with stability in these.

Keep an eye on the salinity, temp, calcium and alk. Water changes can supply the rest - you don't need to dose anything to have colorful acropora.

Wazzel
09/18/2017, 10:22 AM
Two things jump out at me. The first is your lights are really high. I am not a T-5 user, but I have not seen any T-5 lit tank with the lights over 12" off water. They should be lowered a bit. Your corals are probably being under lit.

The second is you do not have any fish, which means unless you are feeding you tank your corals are lacking food (Starving). You could feed your tank, but if you have fish and feed them your corals will also get fed in the process.

Both under feeding and under lighting can cause corals to loose color and not grow.

James404
09/18/2017, 10:25 AM
Agreed, 24" is way too high for a T5 fixture, and since there are no fish, your probably very low on nutrients and starving your corals.

MadReefer19
09/18/2017, 03:22 PM
The light intensity is really strong. My tank is really shallow so that's why I placed it higher. I have dropped it to about 12" so I will see if this is better. My tank is about 170 litres and has over 640 w of light. I'll try this and see if there is any improvement.

My tank is about 3 months old. I am currently running seachem matrix and carbon. I have no live rock currently. My tank is rather bare.

No fish yes. I am dosing Seachem Fuel every 2 days to keep the corals fed.

Not sure what else I need to change.

sfdan
09/19/2017, 12:30 AM
The wattage per gallon doesn't really matter, except for maybe when you are concerned with overheating the tank. All that matters is what the PAR value is where the corals are going to be, and with your light fixture it probably needs to be somewhere between 6-12" above the waterline to be at the right level. Imagine putting a 20 watt light over a 1 gallon tank. Just because you have 20 watts per gallon doesn't mean the light is bright enough for SPS.

This tank you are building sounds very non-standard to me. Normally you have a tank, you put in live rock, you cycle it, you put in fish, achieve stability with those fish (feeding, nutrient export, etc), then you start putting in SPS and try to achieve stability with those (dosing, lighting, etc). I'm not sure you *need* live rock or *need* fish in your SPS tank to make your corals thrive, but I think they help. And with such a young, bare tank, you are really ramping up the degree of difficulty, and figuring out why corals aren't thriving is going to be hard... there are a lot of potential causes.

I actually have a tank similar to yours, and that is my SPS QT tank. When I get new frags from suspect places I spool up a bare 10 gallon tank with strong T5 lighting a lot of flow. The SPS corals survive just fine in this tank for the multi-week period I'm inspecting them, but I know they don't thrive and often will lose some color. Once they go into my main tank they recover it, but my main tank is a much more "normal" tank with live rock and fish and stability.

ssgss gogeta
09/19/2017, 12:56 AM
I assume with no live rock you have this as a frag tank and corals on racks and plugs?

If so do you have a sump and what's in the sump? If no sump what method of filtration?

My 2 cents

- LIGHTING get a par meter and see if your in the 300-600 range that's enough for sps anything lower your in trouble anything higher coral will more than likely need to be built up to it.

- FLOW those two wave makers are rated plenty enough for your tank, how are they positioned? Random flow is always best without a coral being directly in front of the flow.

- DOSING is required when natural environment and water changes can't keep up and even then it's sketchy if what your dosing other than alk or something similar is being useful or the correct dose for your tank. It becomes trial and error.

My suggestions
- keep actual fish and feed them to help balance the ecosystem
- get a par meter if you need im sure if you ask here you may find someone close by that is willing to loan you one
- before dosing anything you should be able to test for it otherwise dont dose it
- if you are constantly having your hands in the tank stop
- give it time
- do you have before and after photos of corals for us to see better what your talking about.


For reference my only current tank a 15g sps nano which just hit 4 months old and most of these corals were browned out when I got them.

https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20170919/31f80b323b231771b30990aa69a305d3.jpg



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bif24701
09/19/2017, 09:59 AM
That is a myth about sps tank takes almost a year to to stable.
2 months is more than plenty IMO.



A lot of factors play into this. You and I could have a tank ready for SPS in a short time but not folks whom just getting started. If you have to ask then your one of the ones that should wait. Most of this is getting the system stable that includes livestock additions, equipment changes and adjustments. Setting up the first coral tank you know there is a lot of those changes going on. I set up a new than and put my corals in it three days later. Transferred some LR and corals and later fish. I had everything set up before hand, all light settings and mounted, equipment all bought installed and set. Most piece together a build as they go and that creates change. I have no problem advising newcomers to be more patient in the beginning.


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MadReefer19
09/20/2017, 04:48 AM
The wattage per gallon doesn't really matter, except for maybe when you are concerned with overheating the tank. All that matters is what the PAR value is where the corals are going to be, and with your light fixture it probably needs to be somewhere between 6-12" above the waterline to be at the right level. Imagine putting a 20 watt light over a 1 gallon tank. Just because you have 20 watts per gallon doesn't mean the light is bright enough for SPS.

This tank you are building sounds very non-standard to me. Normally you have a tank, you put in live rock, you cycle it, you put in fish, achieve stability with those fish (feeding, nutrient export, etc), then you start putting in SPS and try to achieve stability with those (dosing, lighting, etc). I'm not sure you *need* live rock or *need* fish in your SPS tank to make your corals thrive, but I think they help. And with such a young, bare tank, you are really ramping up the degree of difficulty, and figuring out why corals aren't thriving is going to be hard... there are a lot of potential causes.

I actually have a tank similar to yours, and that is my SPS QT tank. When I get new frags from suspect places I spool up a bare 10 gallon tank with strong T5 lighting a lot of flow. The SPS corals survive just fine in this tank for the multi-week period I'm inspecting them, but I know they don't thrive and often will lose some color. Once they go into my main tank they recover it, but my main tank is a much more "normal" tank with live rock and fish and stability.

I get the logic around the lights and the watts per gallon. I will need to see if the PAR is in the required margins as I am currently not sure. I do think I looked at this as if it would be very easy, because my tank was only a few days old before I added the corals, it was very bare, no live rock or anything else. I used Seachem Stability but I should of set it up a lot longer in advance.

I will make some changes as I am currently on using Seachem Matrix rather than live rock but I think I should be using live rock as well and get some fish.

MadReefer19
09/20/2017, 05:06 AM
I assume with no live rock you have this as a frag tank and corals on racks and plugs?

If so do you have a sump and what's in the sump? If no sump what method of filtration?

My 2 cents

- LIGHTING get a par meter and see if your in the 300-600 range that's enough for sps anything lower your in trouble anything higher coral will more than likely need to be built up to it.

- FLOW those two wave makers are rated plenty enough for your tank, how are they positioned? Random flow is always best without a coral being directly in front of the flow.

- DOSING is required when natural environment and water changes can't keep up and even then it's sketchy if what your dosing other than alk or something similar is being useful or the correct dose for your tank. It becomes trial and error.

My suggestions
- keep actual fish and feed them to help balance the ecosystem
- get a par meter if you need im sure if you ask here you may find someone close by that is willing to loan you one
- before dosing anything you should be able to test for it otherwise dont dose it
- if you are constantly having your hands in the tank stop
- give it time
- do you have before and after photos of corals for us to see better what your talking about.


For reference my only current tank a 15g sps nano which just hit 4 months old and most of these corals were browned out when I got them.

https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20170919/31f80b323b231771b30990aa69a305d3.jpg



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Yes it is a frag tank. I had a large number of colonies arrive at once, about 17.

I have a sump, consists of skimmer, filter floss, heaters, bioballs, Seachem Matrix, Seachem Carbon and return pump.

Lighting - I will find a PAR meter and then test it out, I do think that it is in the higher rating but will need to test to confirm.

Flow - They are on opposite ends of the tank, 1 to the right and 1 to the left and they are on strong pulse mode.

Dosing - Parameters are stable, I am yet to test parameters that apparently encourage certain colours to show on SPS such as Potassium, Iodine and Iron.

Your tank is amazing!!! I will get some fish to help with pest control so its a win win and a few pieces of live rock. Lights are lowered no to about 12" so things should start to show an improvement soon.

sahin
09/20/2017, 05:34 AM
Two things jump out at me. The first is your lights are really high. I am not a T-5 user, but I have not seen any T-5 lit tank with the lights over 12" off water. They should be lowered a bit. Your corals are probably being under lit.

The second is you do not have any fish, which means unless you are feeding you tank your corals are lacking food (Starving). You could feed your tank, but if you have fish and feed them your corals will also get fed in the process.

Both under feeding and under lighting can cause corals to loose color and not grow.

This.

I think your lights are a little high for my liking. I'd get a PAR meter and check that most of the acros are getting min 250 PAR. Any millepora or shallow water SPS should get more.

I'd get some fish into the tank. A few small ones and maybe one of the smaller tangs like a tomini/kole etc.

MadReefer19
09/21/2017, 02:58 PM
Ive lowered them now to less than 12". Waiting to see the results however corals are looking a lot better.

I have lost a few frags to RTN/STN. Some are losing flesh and others have good polyp extension. So looks like conditions are right for some and not for others.

Lighting seems to be check and flow seems to be check. So now need to get some fish and liverock.

Anything else anyone would suggest?

stevejrnc
09/21/2017, 09:59 PM
That's a great light fixture you have and with it being a shallow tank
I really don't think I'd blame that on your sps browning out keep adjusting it until you find where you like it
I've Been there before several years ago
I was always looking for the mechanical reason behind sps browning
Fact is a lot of time on newer tanks like yours browning is just going to happen
Once you get it all dailed in and your tank becomes established & stable
You'll be coloring them up

Bpb
09/22/2017, 06:51 AM
Honestly I don't know if I'd jump on the "lights are hung too high" crew so fast. I use an 8 bulb sunpower over my 90 gallon at 10" off the water. Meaning I have. 34" from lights to substrate.

With a 10" deep tank and the lights 24" up he is at the exact same distance, with probably more par since he has less water to attenuate light. I have no issues with color or growth either at this height.

As far as spectrum goes. I agree with the others. Use a mixture of blue and white bulbs from a reputable brand and growth and color differences will be negligible. Color is so subjective, what you feel to be the best color would be different from me or anyone else. Tweak your bulbs to deliver the color and overall ambience you personally like.

Just don't make the mistake of getting on BigR corals or Jason Fox's websites and saying "what do I do to get THOSE colors" because those pictures are all taken under strictly blue LEDs with some heavy filtering and digital correction. You won't achieve those colors by running strictly blue LEDs. Corals need an array of pigments in order to develop different colored fluoroproteins and chromoproteins. The pics on those websites are just for show. I don't imagine they look like that ALL the time


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mike810
09/22/2017, 09:18 PM
I'd look at water quality before your lighting. Your tank is only 10" tall, I'm sure you're still getting plenty of par even with the lights at 25" above the water line. My tank is 24" tall and I have the fixtures more than 12" above the water line and still get 400-600 par mid tank (ATI Hybrid 8 bulb). I believe you said you recently put them in the tank and over the course of a few weeks, they browned out. Acros will do that especially if they were shipped but even if there were transferred locally, they can still brown out. I could buy local only an hour away from me, put it in my tank and have it brown out. It will color up over time but I don't sweat it as long as my water is rock steady and not fluctuating at all. How are you testing and how often are you testing? People will always say their parameters are good but they actually fluctuate daily.

sfdan
09/23/2017, 01:29 PM
When the light is closer to the waterline, there will be a lot of light hitting the sides of the aquarium and reflecting back into the tank. This is especially important for light levels further down in the tank. When the light is further above the waterline, more light goes completely outside the bounds of the aquarium and is lost. I can't say if that effect is more significant than the absorption of the light in air vs water, but it will certainly be a factor. Of course with such a shallow tank it might not be as important, buts its really hard to estimate. Borrowing or purchasing a PAR meter would get to the bottom of this very easily.

MadReefer19
09/24/2017, 01:02 PM
Honestly I don't know if I'd jump on the "lights are hung too high" crew so fast. I use an 8 bulb sunpower over my 90 gallon at 10" off the water. Meaning I have. 34" from lights to substrate.

With a 10" deep tank and the lights 24" up he is at the exact same distance, with probably more par since he has less water to attenuate light. I have no issues with color or growth either at this height.

As far as spectrum goes. I agree with the others. Use a mixture of blue and white bulbs from a reputable brand and growth and color differences will be negligible. Color is so subjective, what you feel to be the best color would be different from me or anyone else. Tweak your bulbs to deliver the color and overall ambience you personally like.

Just don't make the mistake of getting on BigR corals or Jason Fox's websites and saying "what do I do to get THOSE colors" because those pictures are all taken under strictly blue LEDs with some heavy filtering and digital correction. You won't achieve those colors by running strictly blue LEDs. Corals need an array of pigments in order to develop different colored fluoroproteins and chromoproteins. The pics on those websites are just for show. I don't imagine they look like that ALL the time


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I have lowered them now as well to test the theory out. Some SPS in the tank have really good polyp extension. However, others have browned out and some are even losing some flesh.

I have 3 cool white lights and a variety of blue and actinic lights to give a good spectrum.

I definitely agree with you, I have been able to take some stunning pictures of some really average colours but due to the way the picture was taken it looked 10x better than it was so I know what you mean. I know to that SPS require a lot of care so I want to get them stable and then start to work with elements that encourage certain colours.

MadReefer19
09/24/2017, 01:23 PM
I'd look at water quality before your lighting. Your tank is only 10" tall, I'm sure you're still getting plenty of par even with the lights at 25" above the water line. My tank is 24" tall and I have the fixtures more than 12" above the water line and still get 400-600 par mid tank (ATI Hybrid 8 bulb). I believe you said you recently put them in the tank and over the course of a few weeks, they browned out. Acros will do that especially if they were shipped but even if there were transferred locally, they can still brown out. I could buy local only an hour away from me, put it in my tank and have it brown out. It will color up over time but I don't sweat it as long as my water is rock steady and not fluctuating at all. How are you testing and how often are you testing? People will always say their parameters are good but they actually fluctuate daily.

Lighting is about 10" above the corals now so we will see if this shows improvement over the next few days.

I ordered these corals from Bali so they arrived in beautiful colouration but then after a few days it browned out and some of them had their flesh peel off.

I am testing calcium, magnesium, KH, SG, nitrates, phosphates and ph. I test them every 2 - 3 days. Parameters are steady at the moment so I am thinking it could be due to the system being so new.

MadReefer19
09/24/2017, 01:26 PM
When the light is closer to the waterline, there will be a lot of light hitting the sides of the aquarium and reflecting back into the tank. This is especially important for light levels further down in the tank. When the light is further above the waterline, more light goes completely outside the bounds of the aquarium and is lost. I can't say if that effect is more significant than the absorption of the light in air vs water, but it will certainly be a factor. Of course with such a shallow tank it might not be as important, buts its really hard to estimate. Borrowing or purchasing a PAR meter would get to the bottom of this very easily.

I am trying to get a PAR meter now to test it out so hopefully I get 1 soon. My light unit is 45 cm wide so is my tank so the unit fits perfectly over the tank. Is there any particular duration that the lights should run on the tank? How many hours in a day?

SpSChief85
10/28/2017, 06:54 PM
I am trying to get a PAR meter now to test it out so hopefully I get 1 soon. My light unit is 45 cm wide so is my tank so the unit fits perfectly over the tank. Is there any particular duration that the lights should run on the tank? How many hours in a day?I have a 8 bulb ati with 6 blue+ 1 coral plus and 1 purple + and 2 actinic sbars. I have my fixture 15" above a 80g deep blue 48x24x16 my new frags are about 27" from the fixture and getting around 350 to 400 par. With this setup I get 300 par easy 30" from fixture. I think the browning out is due to your frags being new to the system... it's been over a month since your last post... do you have any success yet? Any pictures? Let us know how things are going

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pisanoal
10/30/2017, 07:33 AM
Lighting is about 10" above the corals now so we will see if this shows improvement over the next few days.

I ordered these corals from Bali so they arrived in beautiful colouration but then after a few days it browned out and some of them had their flesh peel off.

I am testing calcium, magnesium, KH, SG, nitrates, phosphates and ph. I test them every 2 - 3 days. Parameters are steady at the moment so I am thinking it could be due to the system being so new.

I'm definitely not an SPS expert, however there is a video where Jason Fox talks about his coral system and collection etc. Pretty neat video if you can find it on youtube. But he mentions that maricultured corals are very difficult to keep colored up in our aquariums because of the nature of the maricultured system. Basically these are acros that are usually brought from deeper down and put in just a couple feet of water. They get BLASTED with sunlight, way more PAR then we could even imagine of getting in our tanks. The colors that they get this way can be very hard to keep. So if these corals are Bali Maricultured pieces, there could be some answers there.

Just a thought.

awaxdee
10/30/2017, 09:16 AM
Good info

OceansMotion
10/30/2017, 10:26 AM
I believe just like many others have said, the lighting is fine. However stability is the key. Everything from kh, ca, mg, ph etc. flow is also very important, just make sure itís not direct flow. I always go for indirect. A friend of mine had a calcium reactor and his tank was very stable and a beautiful tank. His calcium was over 600 but the alk was stable around 8.
Feeding the coral is also essential. Coral have a symbiotic relationship with an algae (zoox) and they use photosynthesis and feed the coral. However a coral will benefit by having extra food. I donít worry about a coral browning out because I like to make sure itís healthy first and encrust over before I like to try for color. Itís better to have a not enough light than way too much imo. You will be fine.
Also +1 for the post about JF. Iíve seen that and itís so true. Heís a smart guy and knows his corals.


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