First of all, I want to thank all of you for your advice and suggestions. It is a huge help, though I wish one of you could wave the magic wand and say WELL THERE's YOUR PROBLEM!
As for the salt, I really find it hard to believe that it is causing the issues. This is supposed to be the best stuff you can get, and I just spent a good deal of time looking for some negative reviews and couldn't find any. I also bought this bucket on the same day that Jonathan bought his from the same supplier, and he got fabulous growth with it. That being said, I plan to order a Mg
test kit tonight and see where that leaves me. I know that my Calcium generally tests at the very high end of the scale. Hopefully the Mg
is right there with it, but it is worth checking it out.
I think with the very few specimens of coral that I have left alive, I shouldn't really have to be dosing anything so long as I keep up on the water changes.
I also started up the RO
tonight and will mix up another round for another water change. I will try to do several days in a row of water changes and see what happens. Unfortunately I am only setup to be able to do a ~20% max water change at a time.
As for the refractometer, I just tested it with 0 TDS RO
water and it was spot on. So I don't think that is my issue, unfortunately.
Thanks Randy for the tip on acclimation. Your procedure sounds far easier than mine, and maybe that will help me be successful.
As for the question about coralline growth, the pics are when the tank was first started up, so there wasn't much. I have a ton of coralline growth on the back wall of the tank, and the live rock is also starting to get some good growth on it as well. Also, the sump is completely covered in coralline.
I have a Bubble Magus skimmer that seems to perform well. I empty out the collection cup twice a week, and it is usually between coffee and tea in color.
I feed rods reef usually about 6 out of 7 days, so there ought to be plenty of nutrients in the water. The flow seems to be adequate as I don't really get anything collecting on the sand bed, and again my nitrates stay pretty consistently at or near 0.
What I do know is that all the tinkering with the light levels the last 3 weeks or so has not had any positive effect. I just got home from work and I swear the coral looks worse again today than it looked yesterday. Seems like my zoas are all just slowly disappearing, and probably only about 20-30% of them are ever open at any given time. The only 2 specimens that seem to be thriving are the birdsnest, which has grown a new arm and probably an inch or so in 4 months, and my frogspawn, which started off rough, but after 5 months or so I have a new head on it and it opens up fully every day. The acan seems to be clinging to life, but is definitely not thriving. The fauvia and trumpets completely died, as did the xenia, 2 hammers, and a sympodium specimen. My jasmine polyps were doing great and starting to completely cover the rock I had them on, but as of late I am noticing less and less of them each day too. Sigh.