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Old 09-02-2012, 10:03 AM   #1
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I am Slowly Murdering my Coral

I started my first reef tank about 6 months ago. Since then I have had a lot of issue with coral.

First some tank specs/background:

57 gal tank, 20 gal sump.

0 ammonia/0 nitrite/0 nitrate/ 0.02 PO4 generally/79F temp, 8.1-8.3 pH/calcium is always high, as is alkalinity.

Lighting: 2X Aqua Illuminations SOL White. 12 hour photo period, but 2 hour ramp up and ramp down to a max of 30% white, 35% blue currently (been increasing this slowly over the last month or so).

2 MP10s set on EcoSMART and both running at around 50% of max.

Fish: 2 Percula Clowns, 2 Black Bar Chromis, 1 Anthias, 1 Royal Gramma.
Inverts: 1 coral banded shrimp, lots of hermits and snails

Basically since starting, I have managed to murder about 60-70% of the coral I have put in the tank. It started with the slaying of a couple of hammer corals early on, but over the past several months, most of my coral has just slowly faded/died. The only coral still doing well is a frogspawn, and a birdsnest. I have probably killed 100+ heads of zoa. I have some still left living, but more are dying every day it seems like. It seems like the heads get smaller and smaller, and disappear. I killed some pulsing xenia, also slowly - it did great for a couple of months, and then over the course of about 4 weeks, it just shrunk until there was nothing left. I murdered a trumpet coral and some fauvia in the same way. Looked ok at first, but then started to recede and the skeleton started showing until there was nothing left. Same with some sympodium. It looked great for awhile and then it just slowly died. My jasmine polyps did great for awhile, but here lately they are starting to look less well.

Obviously I am doing something wrong. Where to start here?

The lighting seems like it is set really low, but early on I went around in circles with this, and ended up nuking several corals within a weeks time by running the light at around 60%. So, after doing some reading about optics and renting a PAR meter I settled on some pretty low max numbers. But do the symptoms I am describing sound like lighting deficiency?? I have started to creep the light up about 3% a week over the past month or so, and honestly, if I had to venture a guess, I would say the coral looks WORSE, not better.

It is really frustrating... (not to mention EXPENSIVE!).
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:27 AM   #2
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I've been reading up in corals because I'm adding some to my tank soon as well so I'm going to follow along! What supplements do you use and what do you feed them?
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:27 AM   #3
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I'm not currently using any supplements. I feed rods reef and that's it.
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Old 09-02-2012, 03:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fort384
I'm not currently using any supplements. I feed rods reef and that's it.
You seem to be doing everything right.. I haven't used leds yet so I don't know as much as in the light. I'd try using supplements if I was in your position. I've had awesome results with AquaVitro, I use all of there products.
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Old 09-02-2012, 03:51 PM   #5
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After thinking about it, i'd agree that the lights are definitly a problem. The whole having the ability to adjust the percentage seems hard. You would just have to find a sweet spot and you havent yet. The adjusting is necessary, but i imagine the corals dont like the constant changing..however little. My advice would be to just keep on trying to find that sweet spot.

Could you get us some exact numbers as far as calcium and alk? Alkalinity is pretty sketchy. If you have it high, you get crazy growth...but if you have it too high, it could burn alot of corals. I think your next step would be to find out some exact numbers.

Sorry fort:/
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Old 09-02-2012, 03:54 PM   #6
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Adding on to the comment above this is just a thought. Maybe instead of constantly changing the light intensity, you should start moving corals and up and down and watch how they do. Zoas should definitly be near the bottom of your tank, where were they when you lost so many fort?
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:14 PM   #7
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KH 7.7 Calcium 500.

I have lost zoas at the top, middle, and bottom of the tank.
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:16 PM   #8
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KH 7.7 Calcium 500.

I have lost zoas at the top, middle, and bottom of the tank.
Calcium looks good, but the alk looks to be a bit high...

Did they shrivel up because of too much light? Thats what mine do if they have too much. My Palys dont have as large a "stalk" when they get too much. Do you add all corals directly to the sandbed when initially added?
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:20 PM   #9
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not to the sand bed, but most of them were started low.

I don't know if it is too much light or not enough light. I have no idea. The zoas in particular, are just slowly shrinking away. Just looking at it here today, the largest colony I have left has a bunch of closed up zoas on it, and the ones that are open are tiny.

My frogspawn looks better every day though.

I don't know.

I contacted AI customer service a couple of months or ago, and they told me that I ought to be able to run the lights starting at 50% and creep them up to 60-80% of max. I tried running them for about 3 days at 50% though, and the coral took a HUGE turn for the worse so I turned it way back down.
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:20 PM   #10
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How do you acclimate the corals fort? Do you buy them all from the same store?
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