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Old 10-06-2011, 03:45 PM   #1
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Crashed reef tank

Thought Id start a thread and ask for some advice/help. Have had tank up and running for over a year. Tank was moved about 7 months ago and did lose some coral and a few fish during the move but it did stabilize and again begin to thrive.

Here is my build thread:
Tank build - newbie again... need thoughts

Here is a shot of the tank prior to the move:


In the past 4 months I have lost every SPS and LPS. My zoanthids, palys, leathers etc.. have been fine. My Clam has thrived and looks as good as ever. Fish all have been healthy. Ever since I have noticed problems I have not added a single item with the exception of snails last night to hopefully help combat some algae issues.

At first it was the Stonies that began to die then the LPS.... All the while I tested the water.. everything tested fine. Even took water sample to a LFS to verify my results. I have always used RO/DI water. Water changes etc.. I did nothing differently than normal. The only thing I can think of that caused this crash was the two things I did change. I replaced my bulbs over a 3 week period. I also changed salt. I assume one or both of these caused my crash. I don't understand however why things continue to slide down hill. About 3 weeks ago I encountered an algae bloom. This type of algae is nothing that I have seen before. If feels exactly like cotton balls. Looks similar (other than color obviously) too. It has grown on the sand and live rock. My two tangs don't seem to care for it. The few snails I did have also do not seem to want it either. I am still wondering what is causing the algae. I have not over fed (in fact I am probably underfeeding if anything) I have also slightly reduced lighting in hopes of combating this. Again all my tests are great..

Salt: I decided to switch from "Oceanic" because it was always so high in calcium and it was difficult to maintain constant ALK. I went with the LFS recommendation of "OceanPure". Now I think I will switch back to "oceanic". I made the switch slow... smaller water changes over maybe a months time.

Lights: I called up Reef Geek and asked them for a recommend based on what I had in my tank. They sent me ATI blue plus and purple plus bulbs. I changed a couple bulbs out every 5 days or so. Things were great for a couple months or so.

Other ideas: Like all of us, I would occasionally add a coral or something I bought.. perhaps I introduced something that killed everything off?

Anyway I am at a loss. I have no idea what to do next. It is depressing to have a very established tank thrive even after a move.. then BAM... watch things slowly die off. As bad as it was the tank still was at least presentable.. now with the algae its is becoming an eye sore. HELP!

taken today.
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Old 10-06-2011, 04:10 PM   #2
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Man, the tank in the "Before" shot looks fantastic. I am a begginer here so I am afraid I won't be much help but......

Everything I have read say the ATI lamps are the best. I can't imagine that would be the problem.

I have read posts on other sites that talk about a major problem with a certain salt manufacturer. Big argument going on trying to decide if it is the manufacturer or user error. From what you describe, I would guess something was in that salt that shouldn't have been. That is pure speculation though on my part.

I feel for you man. It is pretty clear you do your homework and provide a ton of care for you tank. Hate to see that happen to you.

If no one else chimes in, see if you can get in touch with either Mr._X or ccCapt on this site. Both of them are top notch and I trust anything they tell me.
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:09 PM   #3
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I am no expert but have had the algae experience..a few thoughts.

That algae is hair algae which tends to explode due to too much light. As well, using tap water and working your salt can cause it as well. OUt of curiopsity, when was the last time you changed your filters in to RO/DI unit? It could be that some of the tap water "nasties" got through the filtering and is semi-contaminating your water.

Hair algae is a pain especially in the quantities you have in that pic. THe best thing to do, if you can, is to carefully pull the algae off each individual rock and agan, if you can, use a clean toothbrush to scrub it off....GENTLY as obviously you don't want a cycle spike if you happen to get a little too enthusiastic in the algae eradication. Once you get the hair algae down to a workable level your CUC should take over. From observation, Scarlet hermits and Nassarius snails tend to be the best eaters.

Cutting down on the hours of light will also help but you have to get the amount under control first.

Is the tank placed near a window anywhere? I had the same problem and it was only a window in a door that faced a screened in porch...very diffused light. I had to put a drapery style lined curtain over the window.

Keeping fingers crossed for you.
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:17 PM   #4
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^
This isn't my first rodeo with algae at all.. I've dealt with algae before over the past 20 years of keeping salt water tanks... So I know most of the common algae causes.. This tank has been in the same spot for the past 7 months... no direct sun light. RO Filters were changed out about 4 months ago.. DI resin about 2 months ago - color hasn't changed yet. No ammonia or phosphate issues. I expected some issues from dying coral but not this. Plus no issues have shown up in water tests. I have also removed any coral that was obviously on its way out. And this algae seems different than hair algae... but perhaps its a type of hair algae.. again it feels like cotton. Not slimy at all. I have been removing small amounts of at when I am in the tank each week. I added 12 Nassarius snails last night.

Thanks for crossing your fingers for me.... One thing Ive realized about this hobby is that no matter how long you have been doing it.. you can be humbled real quick. Lately Ive been wondering if it wouldn't be best to start from scratch again..
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:34 PM   #5
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FantasyReef Databases-Viewing item "10 Step Plan for Nuisance Algae Control"

A nice checklist for getting rid of hair algea.
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melosu58 View Post
It is a good checklist - thanks.. however There isn't much there that I haven't addressed. Im also as much as anything trying to figure out what caused the crash months ago... and looking for thoughts on the salt & lights as a possible cause.

Not sure about blacking out the tank for a week with a healthy clam and other zoas etc.. One interesting thing is that my sump has no signs of ANY of this algae and the Cheato growth has been consistent through everything. My skimmer is skimming wonderfully etc.. etc... etc... I suppose I could add a few crabs.. Perhaps a couple crabs would help...
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:46 PM   #7
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could you have a moster coral eating hitch hicker that is eatign your corals? its totally possible oen of your fish also turned against you
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Gti_Leo View Post
could you have a moster coral eating hitch hicker that is eatign your corals? its totally possible oen of your fish also turned against you
Im 99.9% positive its not a fish. Ive had problem fish in the past and would always see any issues fairly quickly. And like most of us I watch my tank a lot.. I have not to date seen any of my current fish picking on any coral. As far as a monster... Also doubtful that I have a monster based on similar thoughts as to why the fish aren't the culprit. It was also all of my stonies and all of my sps... when Ive had a monster or a fish issue in the past it seemed to only affect one type of coral.. not everything in the tank... A disease of some sort or a pollutant (that wouldn't show up on water tests) that got into the tank sound to me like more realistic possibilities.
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:36 PM   #9
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As I said earlier, I am a newbie and you have years of experience yourself as well as some very experienced people chiming in here. Having said that, I can't help think it is a polutant of some sort. Something that wont show up in the standard tests that are being done. If it were me, and I could find the stuff needed to do it, I would set up an experiment. Come up with a small container and put a frag (from an outside source) in it. Mix new water using the salt mix you suspect but don't bring in anything from the existing tank. See what happens to the frag. If it has the same trouble, it points the finger at something in either your salt or you RO/DI water. You could carry it a step further by doing two at the same time. One uses your RO/DI water and the other uses some from a friend or LFS. Just make sure you use the same salt in both test.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:14 PM   #10
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^ not bad ideas.. Im not set up to run that test very easily however. My gut tells me it is the salt.. Thats kind of what I have been thinking and didn't want to say anything here until a theory or two were tossed in. I guess one test would be to see how things go over the next few weeks as I change back to my old salt mix. I would just like to go back in time and not change anything.. NOTHING was broken yet I had to mess with things.. UGH.
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