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Old 04-03-2014, 11:11 PM   #31
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Okay, So I've been going roughly six weeks doing this same thing. And my results have been quite interesting.

First, possibly due to "overskimming" one could say I'm running an "Ultra Low Nutrient System". I think the lack of nitrates/phosphates as I've indicated before show this to possibly be true.

Additionally, I found a couple threads over on reef central about this:

Calcium/Alkalinity & PH, SPS color... - Reef Central Online Community
The Dirty SPS Tank Club - Reef Central Online Community

TL;DR on those threads, a.) high alk in low nutrient systems can be stressful. b.) Low nutrients == no food for corals

So here's what I've done:

1.) Back off my ALK down to between 7-8.
2.) Kept calcium around 420 or so

Water changes:
I did a 5 gallon water change on 27 FEB, then again on 27 March.


1.) 1/3 cube of Marine Cuisine frozen once a day, at the same time, I target feed all of my corals with Reef Chili from BRS. (fwiw, I do two scoops, which is 2x the recommended dose of what one should do every 2 or 3 days)

2.) Once a day when the daylights are off and tentacles are out, I'll drop in 5cc of phytoplankton or thawed cyclops in the current and let the tank feed itself.


Significantly better growth and colors have improved dramatically. In the last 6 weeks, once acropora has encrusted appx 1cm on the rock it is on and it has gone from a "blah" brown on its tips to a really nice blue.

Nitrates & Phosphates are still not detectable.


I am pretty sure my city water contains chloramines, so I was adding some prime to my RO top off water. Well, that was stupid, since it caused most of my Chaeto to die off....that was a two week or so experiment, so the remaining chaeto is coming back.


I have two tanks that have been in the same situation, both about 23-24 gallons of water volume. About 3-4 weeks ago in my nano cube, I was trying to rescue a new ric from my pistol shrimp when I knocked my T5 fixture into the water...and my arm was in the tank. Luckly, I was wearing rubber gloves up to my armpit, and my wall plug tripped. Nothing died (including me), so move on and be thankful.

Anyway, I borrowed a RapidLED Onyx (I had a 4 bulb T5 fixture), and the changes have been even more astounding. Check this out:

A wild acro that didn't do to well for me. This is one (of the many) pieces I was able to save. Colors are terrible, right?

It was really starting to color up nicely with this experiment, but the LEDs over the last 3 weeks have made a huge difference. I'm just shocked, honestly. (the one on the left). It was beat up by a mili on the frag rack a couple weeks ago, but it is coming back nicely.

Here's a FTS. I need to rearrange so the red brain doesn't fight with the hammer.

So I guess so far this has worked really well for me. I'm going to go back to 5 gallon water changes every two weeks, I think. Other than that, I might look into LEDs again for my small shallow tank. I'm really shocked at the amazing results over the last three weeks in my nanocube

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Old 04-03-2014, 11:56 PM   #32
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I have a couple of Onyx fixtures over my frag tank and I am also very pleased with the hard coral growth. I have a couple of frags that did so so under regular LEDs, but have grown significantly better under the Onyx fixture. Maybe many other factors as well, but even our DIY LED at my office, which is also full spectrum, is growing hard corals pretty fast. I can't say for sure, but full spectrum doesn't grow corals any slower than other LEDs. As to the real difference, somebody should set up a test. And not by a LED manufacturer.

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Old 04-04-2014, 12:15 AM   #33
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The update is really appreciated and Im glad the advice of everyone worked for you. All those information are precious and useful for those encountering similar problem.
"Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion". George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

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Old 04-04-2014, 12:15 AM   #34
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That's awesome you figured it out. Those brains are killer btw
20 Gallon SPS reef
29 Gallon FW "fat catfish" tank
20 Gallon Long Dart Frogs "Zig" and "Zag"
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Old 04-04-2014, 12:40 AM   #35
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Indeed, it is really impressive. As I've lamented to you at the LFS, Greg, my first go-round with LEDs wasn't too good. But it was a DIY fixture from RapidLED, and things just went...badly.

I'm running an 8 hour light cycle and have the LEDs 16 inches above the water. I've seen a small birdsnest frag on the top of my tank encrust about 1/4" off of its plug in the last three weeks.

It feels good to sort of feel like I've "figured out" how my tanks want to behave now.

In the tank I included photos of in my first posts (Mr Aqua 12 Long), I strongly believe the lack of nutrients were the main issue, but I do see an upgrade to an Onyx Fixture on that tank in the future soon. My colors are way better by over-feeding, but I can't ignore the results in my nanocube from the LEDs.

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