View Full Version : Help with SPS death.

02-15-2008, 11:52 PM
I'm am at the end of my proverbial rope, and I need as many suggestions as you can offer me to try and get things right again.

The quick version of my tank's history;
- Set up in late November, moved all my livestock over from my 24g cube.
- By the beginning of December all of my SPS, and most of my LPS were dead, RTN, or just wasting away. This death also included all but two of my clams. All fish and inverts survived.
- Ran the system until January without any frags. I saw a bloom in GHA and made changes to the system.
- Added frags in January, saw growth and color changes for quite some time
- Early February; removed some rocks with GHA, and added more rocks to the sump, began to see RTN.

All the most recent RTNs were frags from the same source until a couple of days ago. Now the RTN is not discriminating. Some frags RTN from the base, and others from the tips. Today there is no polyp extension on any SPS frags still living.

Parameters from the 11th;
SG: 1.025 (today)
pH: 8.1 (before lights on, same as lights on though)
Ca: 420 (today)
Mg: 1190
dKH: 7, cusp of 8 (today)
Phos: 0.01
Nitrate: 0ppm (today)
Nitrite: 0
Amm: 0
temp: 80.1 (today)

The tank has approximately 60g total volume. I guess that I have approximately 60lbs total of rock in the system. I am currently trying to add in more live rock to the display.

- I try for 1-2 7g water changes a week with Ocean Pure Pro salt.
- I feed a small amount everyday, mostly for the chromis.
- My bulbs are all relatively new, within the last 2-3 weeks.
- My lighting runs 11am-8pm, 1x 175w MH SE XM 15K bulb and 2x actinic PC bulbs.
- I skim heavily
- Flow is a Snapper pump divided into a calfo manifold. I also have a hydor koralia 1 in the system in case of power failure.
- I run a kalk reactor, I run my top off water through it.
- I run a Ca. reactor, new media added in December.
- I also run a phosban reactor with phosban, and I run carbon as well (both changed out recently)
- I only use RO/DI water

I am also not seeing any coraline algae growth in this tank at all, either on rocks, or on the glass. I miss keeping SPS and I really want to try and sort this out asap.

So suggest away please!

02-16-2008, 12:45 AM
When you put the new rock in was it curred?
Your temperature does it stay a constent 80 or does it fluctuat. How much?
Your Mag is a little low .

Ya Dude
02-16-2008, 01:51 AM
a 24g tank is pretty hard to keep consistent water parameters
zero fluctuations is the key too success,maybe not so many water changes would be better or a bigger tank.I would always go with the bigger tank advise,its more self satisfying


02-16-2008, 04:07 AM
a 24g tank is pretty hard to keep consistent water parameters
zero fluctuations is the key too success,maybe not so many water changes would be better or a bigger tank.I would always go with the bigger tank advise,its more self satisfying


My tank is actually 28g display and a total of approx. 60g. I have already done the large tank route and a smaller tank now best fits my lifestyle. Why would you suggest less water changes?

When you put the new rock in was it curred?
Your temperature does it stay a constent 80 or does it fluctuat. How much?
Your Mag is a little low .

The new rock was dry rock and it went right into my sump. Yeah I'm aware of the low mg, I'm slowly trying to get it up, it seems to be taking forever! :lol: Do you think low Mg. could trigger the RTN?

The temp changes between 79.6 (the lowest I've seen) to 81.9 (the highest I've seen).

Ya Dude
02-16-2008, 04:16 AM
I wouldnt worry bout mag as so much as temp. and salinity fluctuations.Thats why I mentioned the frequent water changes.Maybe just do one larger one every 2 weeks to let the water stabalize.2 in one week could be too much for a small reef tank

02-16-2008, 04:17 AM
I also received this PM with suggestions;

hey i have been reading your post on problems with sps.
i notice that you have black sand?
im not really sure on the chemcial composition ...
i would remove it and run a bare bottom or very light layer of calcium based substrate.
the reason i say this is because most black sands are highly composed of silica... silica is a major component in micoalga and other microorganisms biological makeup.

- I actually run a bare bottom system. The black sand I think you are referring to was from my old tank which I tore down in November.

the water changes also... i wouldnt change that much every week.... i rarely change the water at all in my tank.... maybe a few gallons a month.. adding new salt can change the conditions in the water rapidly
even if there only small amounts.

- I've always had better success with SPS growth and keeping GHA in check. However, I will see what happens if I go say every two weeks between a 7g water change.

testing for chemicals such as nitrates and phosphates can be useless... chemical reagents go bad so quick that they dont give accurate readings...as well the hair alga is sucking up so fast you cant specify where it is comming from. make sure they are new tests .. and that always airtight..

- There is no more GHA, just a few pieces, so I think I have beat it.

its always fun to go high tech with calcium reactors and phosphoban and kalk mixers....

try removing them.... and go tot he very basic.. carbon ... and just plain additives (bottle liquid).

- I can certainly take them offline and see what happens. Can you explain why a liquid additive would be a better choice?

from there you can start to determin what is wrong.
maybe even use a different salt. its easier to find something wrong when you have a minimal set up... compaired to and elaborate one.
then you can always add them slowly.

my thoughts ...
hope everything gets better

- Thank you for your suggestions, it is quite a bit to think about.

On another note I forgot to provide the original links to the tank journals;

Current tank; 28g Long (http://www.canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=34944)

Previous Tank; 24g cube (http://www.canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=32184)

02-16-2008, 04:31 AM
Catherine, if i were you I think I would leave the tank alone for a while (as hard as that is to do).
I don't know what fish you have but minimal feedings, no water changes (just top off), dose a 2 part as needed, keep your hands out of the tank :razz: ,keep it very simple and let the tank age and settle a bit.

Low Mg will inhibit coralline algae growth but i don't think it would make your sps die

Of course you might not want to listen to my advice my tank isn't doing great right now :redface:

*edit*Looking at your parameters I'm wondering if maybe you aren't getting a bit of precipitation and that is why the mg is so low. It might be worthwhile to take the calcium reactor and kalk off line and find out exactly how much alk and cal you are actually using in a day

02-16-2008, 04:51 AM
Keeping my hands out of the tank isn't a problem. I loath the dry skin that comes after having my hands in the tank. I can definitely stick with the no hands in the tank policy. :D

I'll keep working with the Mg, at the rate I'm going it will probably take until the end of the month to get it up where I want it.

Can you tell me more about precipitation? I thought precipitation was always white. I don't see any white though. Can precipitation not be white? I'm going to go google precipitation, but I figure that you would probably know :D.

My kalk. reactor has actually been offline since the 11th. I just realized I never put it back offline once I reloaded the kalk. powder, oops! I'll take the Ca. reactor offline too. How would I go about figuring out my daily usage? Would I just measure the parameters every day and then average out the differences?

Just because I'm curious; if my reactors are dialed in properly, and I am seeing a consistent set of numbers for Ca and dKH without precipitation wouldn't that mean that I'm meeting the daily usage? Does that even make sense? I think I'm confusing myself :D

So here I guess is my plan for the next while, tell me if I've got something wrong;
- Return my water changes to 1x7g/week. For clairification, the 2x7g/week water change was when I combatting the GHA.
- Continue to raise my Mg. Should I still do this while I'm trying to calculate daily usage on Ca, and Alk.?
- Take reactors offline
- Measure daily consumption of Ca, alk, and mg?