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Old 07-03-2012, 04:21 PM   #1
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My Zoanthids are not doing well :(

My Zoas are closing up and not propagating well. Please look at my numbers below and tell me what you think.

Zoas are typically easy to care for, so I didn't think the bulbs were the issue (I know they're at the end of their life, but they shouldn't close up just yet (I've had other T5's last 14 months before). I've never had probs in my 10 year old 55gal reef tank with zoas, but then again it was never this hot. I use fans across the top, but it's not cutting it. I don't want to buy a chiller because I was saving up for led's, but now- since my bulbs are 11 months old, maybe I should just bite the bullet and buy another round of bulbs and get a *&^% chiller.

I have a 125 reef and here are my numbers:

72" 8-bulb fixture at 80 watts per bulb.
dKH: 8.0 - 9.0
Calcium: 410 - 430
Magnesium: 1250 - 1350
Iodine: Maintained via regular water changes
Temperature: 82-84 degrees as a max temp. (low at 80)
pH: 8.1-8.2 (reverse lighting schedule for refugium)
Phosphates: 0-0.1
Nitrates 0 for about 2yrs.
Lights 11 months old
Water changes every 3 weeks (20%)
No skimmer, never had one on my 10 yr. old 55gal which did great, but I may be flirting with disaster. My mentor never uses a skimmer on his 20yr old reef tank.

***Which is the worst offender above?
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125 gal. reef w sump/refugium & 8-bulb 640w T5's
45 gal fresh w/plants + CPF lighting
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:29 PM   #2
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Hey Mike, if your Nitrates are really 0 (Did you test or assume 0?) I wouldn't worry about getting a skimmer. With a small bioload and other filtration methods you should be fine.

Those lights are awfully old. But to be honest, if we're talking about zoas, it doesn't seem too bad. The temperature concerns me more than anything. My small 60g cube reaches 82 as a max though and zoas are doing just fine. It was on a 4 bulb T5 with 2" of clearance. I swapped them out for a radion and the temp went from 85 at the max to 82 max where it is now. I figure I'm ok at 82 so i skipped the chiller. What's the max temp in the room where your tank is? Maybe this will work for you as well?

84 seems a bit on the high side. How are your other corals doing in the tank?
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:36 PM   #3
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Thanks Rick. Other corals seem to be doing fine: frogspawn, green star poyps, hammers, tooth coral, sympodium polyps.

Yep, nitrates have been zero every test I've done every week (for about 2 years). Salifert and api tests.

Edit: The temp in the room is at 78, but it's a covered canopy. I have a fun trying to 'exhaust' the hot air out of the canopy and into the room.
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Old 07-03-2012, 05:36 PM   #4
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If you're room is 78 I think you could probably skip the chiller, and instead get some LEDs. If you can, also add a couple computer fans on the sides of the canopy to push air from the room and pull the air out of the canopy. You'll get the temp of your tank down no problem.

It's also been my experience that fleshy/softie corals fair much worse in a hotter temp than their stony coral cousins.
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Old 07-09-2012, 02:16 PM   #5
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Interesting update on a couple of things I didn't initially consider.

1.) I have been using metal clamps to connect hoses together (you know, the ones that tighten with a screw driver). One had fallen off and was decaying in my sump. I was told this would increase the iron content in my tank. Hmm, who knows, maybe. Replaced those.
2.) My phosphates and nitrates have been 0, and again I want to think about their relationship with one another. If phosphates are higher (with hair algae accompanying), then they would in essence reduce the nitrates to no readings. I figure the hair algae would act as a macro algae and not only absorb any nitrates, but also absorb any phosphates as well.

So while my nitrates have been 0 for two years, and my phosphates are reading less than .1ppm- I think the hair algae was absorbing any nitrates and doing the same for my phosphates. So...I'm going to be doing higher than average water changes and see if this helps my polyps open.

So when all is said and done- I try to do a 20% water change every two weeks. I looked at my log, and it turns out I've been doing only 1 a month. Funny how the mind plays tricks on you when you're busy. Thanks for the help AquaRick, I hope this is the issue.
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:37 PM   #6
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Glad you found out what may be wrong. Yeah i had a few metal clamps before. After a few weeks i just toss them out. Usually that's all it takes to "mold" the plastic tubing to my pvc.

Hope your zoas start perking up soon.
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