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Old 03-12-2008, 10:10 AM   #1
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Red face Problems with corals

Hi all:

It's been a long time since I have been on here.

I have a 125g sw tank. Under the tank I have a Wet/Dry system with skimmer. Metal Halide 75w 10k lights, 175 lbs live rock. this set up is around 4 years old.

I have a bubble tip anenome and 3 mushrooms. I have several other fish as well.

My problem is I cannot keep coral living in my tank. I will place them in the tank and within 3-4 weeks they either melt away or just plain die out.

There is no nipping or biting from the other fish I cant understand what is going on.

I am told to use this set of chemicals or that set of chemicals. Usually the information is either opposite of each other. Change your water every month, don't change it. Use this chemical, don't use it. It is frustrating.

I would really like to get into a nice coral reef system but its expensive and sad when everything dies off. :-|

How do I get a nice reef systems going? What chemicals if any. Do I sell everything live in the tank and just start over.

Help, Is there a SW doctor in the house?????

Thanks,

Obmanta
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Old 03-12-2008, 10:36 AM   #2
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I am no reefer, but can you tell us what other critters you have in the tank? PWCs are vital in replacing all the trace amounts that your corals will need (try doing a PWC every 2 weeks or 3 instead of once a month). Each coral has different needs, like feeding, lighting and flow.
Can you tell us about your lighting? Photoperiod? Feeding methods? Water tests?
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Old 03-12-2008, 10:45 AM   #3
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Wink

You need to list your parameters - Temp, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Calcium, Alkalinity, Phospate, Copper (?), pH, Specific Gravity, Salinity, and or Magnesium levels. It's hard to say without knowing at least some of these. I would also like to know about your salt brand, sand bed, flow,
do you use carbon, how often you empty skimmate, and your photoperiod.

Update your post and I will watch for more information.
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Old 03-12-2008, 11:25 AM   #4
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125gal tank, 175lbs LR
CPR CY194 sump w/skimmer, Lighting: 48" 2 x 175w, 10k bulbs

1 Pacific Blue Tang,
2 Pecula Clown,
1 green Cromis,
1 Large Velvet damsel,
1 green starfish (not brittle)
1 Mono (acclimated)
1 foxface
1 bubble tip anenome
3 mushrooms












Actually, I haven't been keeping up on the levels at all lately.


I keep the MH lights on for about 6 hours daily
I am using crushed coral.
I never empty the skimmer cup, I allow the fluid to return back into the tank. I probably clean the cup once a month.
I use 4 pumps in the tank. 2 for water flow, one for return, one for the skimmer.

I just feel the need to start over.

I'm frustrated, and I can tell from your questions, I am not doing a good enough job to keep up with the tank.

Thanks,

Obmanta
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Old 03-12-2008, 11:42 AM   #5
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1. Never empty the skimmer cup and let it overflow back into the tank?? I guess I don't really understand why you even have a skimmer then. The whole point of the skimmer is to remove the nasties from your water before they become even nastier... to put it simply. If all that gunk is just being collected then returned, you might as well just remove the skimmer. (I don't recommend that though - I'd actually recommend simply emptying the cup every couple days.)

2. You need to know where your water parameters are - all of them that Dennis210 listed. I probably wouldn't go out and buy a copper test, but you need to be aware that copper - in tiny amounts - is fatal to corals. If your tank is second hand, and you don't know it's history, it's possible copper was used in it in its "prior life." I have a feeling your water parameters are totally out of whack as it sounds like you've added chemicals here and there, and also because of #1 above. Nitrates are probably fairly high due to #1 and the crushed coral substrate. It's going to cost some $$ if you don't have any test kits (and not the strip kind), but it's the first step to getting corals living in your tank.

3. 6 hour photo period seems pretty short for corals. But I'd doubt that is your main problem.

4. Let us know how you make your salt water - are you using tap water? Grocery store water? LFS water? And are you mixing using a refractometer or hydrometer? Also... how often are you doing a water change, and how much?

I'd suggest a get a good "overview" book on corals and how to keep them happy, such as Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" book. A lot of good info in there about requirements to keep corals healthy.

Oh... and also read up on this forum and keep asking questions! But get us those water parameters, start emptying your skimmer cup, and that will be a good start.
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Old 03-12-2008, 11:58 AM   #6
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Thanks Kurt.

Well, Now I really feel stupid.

As far as water goes, when I change it, I usually am using tap water, When I get my water from LFS it usually has the salt already mixed in. I have heard both sides of you should or should not do regulat ware changes. So I have flopped to both sides of the argument. Not sure what is right or wrong.

I did buy the SW tank from another person several years ago and the skimmer cup had a tube attached to it, it was only large enough to get back into the wet/dry system. I thought that was how it worked. Not a bright light bulb here.

I have a hydrometer.

So, if I understand correctly, check all of my chemical levels, find PH level, salinity level. Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate.

What about the HW lighting? or should I worry about what is in the water first and then worry about the lighting?

Thanks again all,

Obmanta
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Old 03-12-2008, 12:19 PM   #7
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I have a 125 gallon reef tank. The corals and fish are up to 10 yrs old in it. Two problems I see. 1) Tap water should not be used in a reef tank IMO. All tap water is not the same. It ranges from decent to bad all over the country. Working for the water dept in my county I know what they put in the water. Your fish might handle it but corals are not. Tap contains heavy metals, ammonia, chlorine, Chlorimines and many other toxic compounds that would be harmful to corals. 2) Stop adding chems to the tank. Frequent PWC`s is all you need to do to add the necessary trace elements to your tank. Maybe a small exception would be calcium because some salt mixes lack the proper amount. I use Oceanic Salt mix and I dont dose for anything. I have never used tap water either and I would suggest you get an RO/DI unit for your water needs. Like I said I have some corals and several fish over 10 yrs old. Is it because I dont use tap and dont dose supplements. Might not be the whole reason but I think it a big part. Also I saw where you said " Usually the information is either opposite of each other. Change your water every month, don't change it." I would suggest you do frequent weekly PWC`s. It`s been good to me.
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Old 03-12-2008, 02:05 PM   #8
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Just a couple additional questions...

In thinking more about your post, I realized you have an anemone in there. I would expect that to show signs of stress before corals, so it's strange that it's doing OK. Or is it? What color is it and what/how often do you feed it?

Also, what specific types of corals have you tried to add, and where did you locate them in your tank?

The original tank owner probably had that skimmer overflow tube routed to a bucket or something. That way they wouldn't have to dump the collection cup as often.
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Old 03-12-2008, 02:36 PM   #9
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It is a large orange anenome. The 2 peculas are in it all of the time. It sits in the same place all of the time. It is at the top left hand of the tank. I actually do not feed it all that often. There are times when it enlarges itsself vertically. It is always open and very pretty.

I have tried the pulsing zenia (seems to melt away within 3 weeks)
leather
some coral cups
Other coral that I cant remember the names both soft and hard.

I have placed corals both at the bottom of the tank and at the top of the rock, no difference in the placement it seemed.

In thinking about the responses I have received I think I will try to do the following.
Unless you guys say different.

1. Change the crushed coral to all sand.
2. Perform a 50% water change during the process of #1
3. Change my plumbing (found rust running from a bracket into my wet/dry system)
4. Begin weekly chemical testing
5. Water changes.
6. Try to find the correct salinity and PH for the Fish and corals I have left

thanks all for your help and please continue to post here for suggestions.
I will try to get a picture of the existing setup I have Tank and Wet/Dry system for your suggestions.

Thanks,

Obmanta
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Old 03-12-2008, 04:10 PM   #10
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Those 6 ideas would be great. On no.1, I would maybe change 1/4 at a time. On No.2 just 25% PWC. No. 3 use SS. No. 4 buy a good quality SW test kit. No. 5 10-15% weekly PWC`s. No. 6 is fine. JMO
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