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Old 12-19-2012, 07:08 PM   #1
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Help with SPS color.....pics

Well I said I was going to start another thread to find the cause of my problem well here it is! Here is a complete run down on my 55g Reef tank. I need help getting colors back in corals. I have included pictures below along with a list of equipment and test results. All tests were done today; all tests that could be calibrated were before tests were done so everything should be accurate. SPS were placed in tank July and some in August put them on bottom of tank in sand bed for 1 week then started moving them up every few days till I glued/epoxy them down. All SPS are growing most have covered frag and started growing on rock not really growing upwards. The Frogspawns were my indicator that light might be a problem because the branches under other branches have more color. I have notived polyp extension at night but not during the day. Light cycle is shown below with lights. Hydor’s run min-max on a 2sec interval. I do a 5g water change on Sun and one on Thurs. I make up my water once a week in a 20g Brute, with a heater, power head and air stone. I mix 10g at a time of Kalk 2tsp per gallon for top off water that’s added at night over a 7 hour period kicks on for 9min every hour and is added to chamber with skimmer. I also add 23mL of Vinegar runs for a few minutes a couple of times throughout the day. I change out GAC and GFO every 2 weeks. I feed a variety of foods every other day frozen Brine Shrimp, Mysis, Flake, Pellet, a frozen mix of several types of fish and Selcon. When I feed frozen I feed 1 cube. Every 3rd day I add one spoonful of BRS Reef Chili for corals. I vary that one day I do it in the evening and the next time I do it at night around 11pm. I change bulbs out every 12 months it’s time next week. I add 1 cap of Microbacter 7 every week. I think too much PAR might be a problem but could be something else as well. So I am looking for help trouble shooting the cause. Please feel free to ask any questions especially if I have forgotten anything. Sorry for the long write up but I really want to fix this and have the beautiful SPS some of you have.

Tests
Temp 78
Salinity is 35ppt ALC Refractometer
PH 8.1 Handheald Digital MW
Calcium 450 Red Sea Pro
Magnesium 1480 Red Sea Pro
Alk 9.56 dkh Hanna HC
Phosphate Hanna ULR HI 736 reads 14 which converts into .04
Strontium 2 (never can get it any higher) Salifert
Iodine .06 Red Sea Pro
Iron 0 Red Sea Pro
Potassium 410 Red Sea Pro


Equipment
55g Aquarium
20g Aquarium for sump
2 Hydor Koralia Controllable 4’s
Hydor Koralia Wavemaker 2 with Day/Night Sensor
Current USA HOT5 Nova Extreme Pro 48” 6x54w
1 ATI True Actinic
2 ATI AquaBlue Special
1 ATI Coral Plus
2 ATI Blue Plus
1st set of lights on at 9:30am till 7pm
2nd set comes at 11:30am till 8pm
Warner Marine MF181 Skimmer
1 Phosban Reactor 8tbs of BRS GAC ROX .08
1 Phosban Reactor ¾ cup BRS HC GFO
Mag Drive 3 Return Pump
Finnex 300w Digital Heater in Sump
Salt SeaChem Reef
1 50mL BRS pump adds 1g of Kalk over 7 hours at night
1 1.1mL BRS pump adding 23mL Vinegar a day (bring it down 2mL from 40mL per week since Nitrates are 0)
Various Macro’s in Sump along with 4” sand bed
4” sandbed in DST
65lbs of live rock

Fish Livestock
2 Green Chromis
1 Maroon Clown
1 Six Line Wrasse
1 Royal Gramma
1 Diamond Gobie













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Old 12-20-2012, 07:41 PM   #2
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WOW not even a 2 cents worth?
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:59 PM   #3
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Frankly, maybe everyone is stunned. I mean usually people are like "my levels are good" perhaps it's too much info?! Lol

I am sure some one with more experience then I will have something to say
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earlgrey23 View Post
Frankly, maybe everyone is stunned. I mean usually people are like "my levels are good" perhaps it's too much info?! Lol

I am sure some one with more experience then I will have something to say
Right! I was kinda thinking the samething as I was posting it. Usually people don't give enough info and I have posted it all looking for help. LOL
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:14 PM   #5
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It may just be simple overfeeding. It really sounds like it. Your tank is very well outfitted with lights and filtration. Try shelving your flakes and only feeding 1/2 a cube of frozen food and half of the dry food you normally use for a few weeks.

It could also be to much light. You can try cutting back your midday lights by two hours, though I think it's likely high light "mixed" with available excess food in the system. SPS corals show their best colors under strong light and nutrient poor water.
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:10 AM   #6
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How could it be overfeeding? Nitrates are 0 phosphates are .04 no algae in tank
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:11 AM   #7
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All food has fillers that suppose to keep everything together and give it shelves life. Flakes has more of it, I used new life spectrum and omega one. Even the frozen cube that you put in the tank has stuff we don't want that could be causing your problem, I usually thaw the frozen stuff in a container then drained the unwanted liquid out. I also dose with vodka only and do not use vinegar. Hope my 2 cents help!
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:02 AM   #8
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Have you tried moving the frags up or down? I had/have issues similar with my SPS under my Radions. I lowered the intensity on them and have had improvements. The interesting thing is everything besides lighting matches my system besides not having the alk problem that I do, down to the reef chili. I would try to move a coral and see how it reacts.
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Old 12-21-2012, 12:27 PM   #9
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Im betting on light being the issue here, placement may need to be messed with on many the frags but i would start by moving them down.

Also how old are your bulbs? Just looking at your bulb setup it looks like you have a good amount of blue lighting. Blue light will penetrate deeper so its entirely possible they are getting cooked.

Start by moving a few frags down and see if there is a noticeable change in color in a couple weeks. Doing a nice large water change will also help balance out trace elements that might have gotten out of wack. Not hard to do when dosing.
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:25 PM   #10
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It is time to change out my bulbs they are 10 months old I am ordering them next week hoping BRS has a after xmas sale. Some of the corals are actuall on the bottom of the tank. I am thinking of changing my light cycle once I get back in town after xmas when I can watch the tank to see if they are to bright. I am going run 2 bulbs for 2 hours then run 4 bulbs for 4 hours the cut back to 2 for 2 hours and see what happens. Water changes I change out 5g twice a week so trace should be in balance. Sunday I did my 6 month tank cleaning and changed out 15g
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
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It is time to change out my bulbs they are 10 months old I am ordering them next week hoping BRS has a after xmas sale. Some of the corals are actuall on the bottom of the tank. I am thinking of changing my light cycle once I get back in town after xmas when I can watch the tank to see if they are to bright. I am going run 2 bulbs for 2 hours then run 4 bulbs for 4 hours the cut back to 2 for 2 hours and see what happens. Water changes I change out 5g twice a week so trace should be in balance. Sunday I did my 6 month tank cleaning and changed out 15g
Im betting a bulb change would really help. May have to shorten the photo period a bit when you first get them and slowly increase it.
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:27 AM   #12
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Wow and wow. That was awesome to read. I would recommend a bulb change at 9 or 10 months instead of 12. 12 is good if you run your lights for shorter periods. Also, pH might be brought up a little. Most SPS do best at 8.2-8.4. Also they like moderate to strong flow.
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Old 12-22-2012, 03:32 AM   #13
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What is your Kelvin for the light bulbs? I would try move closer towards 20000K.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:02 AM   #14
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I have a few more questions:

How long have your parameters been stable at these levels?

How long have you been losing colour? (Fast change, gradual change?)

Were the corals browned when you got them or normal colors?

I might go against the grain here and suggest that your water is lacking in nutrients. Zooxanthellae require nutrients to survive, in addition to proper light - like almost any photosynthetic organism.

From reading, I'm guessing that your zoox are "starving" due to the light nutrient load. At balanced levels the zoox provide colour. Too much light or too little and they tend to bleach. Too high of nutrients and they tend to brown, too few nutrients and they tend to wash out - like you're seeing.

Since you're seeing reasonable growth, you can assume the coral is healthy for now; the zoox isn't able to form population densities rapid enough to show colour. This limits UV protection to the coral itself though and could lead to a bleaching event if you tinker with the lights.

Slowly add livestock or cut back on your carbon dose until you can sustain .25 or .5 ppm of NO3 and maintain around .03 ppm of PO4. Perhaps an amino acid supplement for corals could help.

Another though could be to slightly lower the calcium & Alk levels to attempt to decrease coral growth - reducing the hosts energy consumption. But I would think you would rather maintain growth levels.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:14 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the info and questions. I am not totally sold on it could be the bublbs needing changing. But it could be. The Frogspawn has looked like this for about 6 months. The kelvin ratings are Aquablue Special is 12k, Blue Plus 20k, Coral Plus 15k. When I do change out the bulbs I was thinking of going with 4 ATI Blue Plus, 1 Coral Plus, and 1 Purple Plus. That is actually what ATI recommends in a 6 bulb fixture. Last night the PH was 8.2 in tank I pointed the power heads a little more towards the surface Wed night. Tank has been stable for a year now. I got the SPS corals in July or Aug and they have gradually turned like this. They were vibrant colors when I got them.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:54 AM   #16
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The Frogspawn is a good indicator, judging by timeframe, and the fact that LPS often require higher nutrient levels that could support the theory & rule out bad bulbs. Do you ever target feed it? Target feeding could be a way of incrementally adding nutrients to benefit your corals.

Judging by the ULNS you're running and the gradual washing out of colour, not bleaching, RTN or STN, I would say you're close to where you want to be. If you look at Zeovit users, they drive their tanks to ULNS like yours to set a stable baseline then incrementally add product to increase growth and coloration. Seeing that your elemental levels are in check, I would work on giving your coral more "food".

Changing your spectrum could have some effect, and I would maintain a good amount of true actinic as the UV light provided is shown to help coloration as the zooxanthellae act as a UV block to the coral tissue but changes should be gradual and monitored for bleaching or necrosis.

With any fix, stability is key. Rapid change is bad and the results you want to see are often slow. This is more important because you're quite close to where you want to be already. I would begin by introducing an Amino supplement and target feeding LPS a small amount weekly & go from there.
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:16 AM   #17
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From reading all of this information and looking more closely at the pics I have a different perspective as to why the SPS are not doing well. This tank looks to be heavily populated by LPS and Softies. SPS do not like the chemical warfare that goes on with softies. Your information on the tank seems to show that you are doing things right but the husbandry is off a bit. Xenia that you have in the tank likes all that food you feed, they love having stuff in the water column to pull out. I've had SPS systems for many years now and for the most part I do not feed the corals anything. The amount of energy it takes a coral to pull something form the water column (other than CA Mg ect) and process it exceeds the return they get.

In this hobby less is usually better when referring to adding things to the water. I do PWCs every other week and have Kalk in my top-off water.

I dont know if that has helped much but that is my observation.
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:29 PM   #18
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I am hoping for a dremel tool for Christmas and if i get it next weekend i am pulling some rock and grinding Xenias away, lol! That has been a plan for a few weeks!

Over the last few days i have been adding Red Sea Energy A&B but i have stopped for the time being. I am going back to basics. Skimmer, lights, live rock. No carbon, no gfo, no additives and see what happens
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:31 PM   #19
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Well, when sps brown I've read that it's from too much zoo. And limiting food and increasing light will solve that issue. In terms of losing color, the ones that are losing color are the ones in direct light. The issue is def the lights. Nutrients might play into it, and increasing feedings might help with your upcoming bulb change. I would rule out chemical warfare due to the corals effected being the ones in direct light. Also, in my tank I have a mixed reef that is fully stocked with no problems. If this is something you suspect, I would increase distance between the different types of coral and increase carbon filtration...just doubt this as an issue.
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:38 PM   #20
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Over the last few days i have been adding Red Sea Energy A&B but i have stopped for the time being. I am going back to basics. Skimmer, lights, live rock. No carbon, no gfo, no additives and see what happens
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