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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, my wife LOVEs the "tree" corals as she calls them. I want to know the top key to success. I want to do well not as far as propagation, but keeping alive and colored. Slow growth is fine. The caps I have do fine, I have a pink Pocillipora that is not bleaching but not polyping for me. I have a 150g (5x2x2) and has a 40g sump with a reefocto nw200 skimmer, has a small refug built in sump. My lights are 4 110w VHO's and 2-175w halides. Also do weekly water changes at least 20g
 

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As i said in your other thread, if your pocillopora is not extending its polyps something is off - and acros likely won't tolerate it. How much flow do you have? What are your EXACT (not they're all good) parameters? Calcium and Alkalinity? Do you dose for either of those?

Montis are among the easiest sps, so I'm not surprised they're fine, as are poccilloporas. Acros are a whole different ball game.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Parameters

I guess I have to be honest and say I have always been the wing it reefer. Never had any issues. Nothing major anyway. So I dont have exact parameters....I do add calcium and alk supplements. I have 3 of the old model Koralia 4's.
Thanks
Dave
 

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If you plan to do sps - you really can't run it that way. Acros in particular are VERY sensitive. Any swings could cause an entire colony to bleach in literally less than a day while the rest of your corals are fine.

Do you test for calcium and alk? If not, you'll need to start testing for at LEAST these: salinity, pH, alkalinity, calcium, nitrates, nitrites, ammonia. I wouldn't even attempt acros without them. Phosphates would help, as well as magnesium. Also, do not rely on your lfs to test your water - they usually use dip strips which are very inaccurate. Some will say anything to make a sale.

Finally - do you have an ato? I also consider this a necessity as acros require very stable conditions. You can also use lime water in your ato reservoir to keep alk and calcium up, while at the same time having stable salinity.
 

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Successful Newbie Perspective

Successful Newbie Perspective

I have been keeping SPS now for about 6 months and decided that I am sick of the "weed like corals" and decided to move to SPS. I purchased two high end frag packs for 700. Since then I purchased an addition 1500 in frags some from Jason Fox at the Lansing swap.

When I acquired them I put them all on frag racks in the 180 under T5's. Initially every single one of them either turned brown, bleached or would not extend polyps. There were some mornings that I woke up and some high end ORA frags would be completely gone. So instead of giving up I took action.

After maintaining my 180 reef for slightly over a year with everything thriving I had a hard time deciphering what was wrong. Primarily I would test Nitrates and Phosphates and according to API they were both undetectable. I did water changes 10% weekly. Had a Kalk sturrer,ato, gfo, carbon reactor with no problems. Looking a little deeper my ALK was around 7, calc 380 and Mag about 1290 ph stable in the 8's. Everything on the surface looked good. After losing another one I started Vodka dosing and purchased the BRS two part bulk kit and used the calculator on the site to bring the aforementioned parameters up to suggested sps values. Before that I also added a filter sock and tuned my skimmer better. After a few weeks the brown turned to color and branches started to pop out. Another thing I did was lower them. Apparently the T5's were too much light or they were not acclimated. The final piece of my "turned around success" was to add a biopellet reactor.
So to sum up my success is as follows:

Proper parameters: consistent temp,ph,alk,meg,stro,ph,iodine, and calc
Low/undetectable: nitrates and phosphates (make sure you have good test kits)
Proper par lighting for the species. For example my sentosa and red dragon hate high light and flow
Flow very important and often over looked for the breathing, cleaning and the way the corals receive nutrients and growth. Not two K3's in a 120 but like two vortech or tunze. When I removed my K pumps and added two MP40's to the sps frag tang they all changed rather quickly. I don't know what the relationship is but I noticed the enhanced color with flow.
Dip and inspection - we all have things in or encapsulated systems. Minimizing the risk of parasites is a must with SPS. I use coral RX for all my frags and mag glass for bugs. I even dip between my tanks at home. Prevention vs. reaction.

Again I am not a scientist or marine biologist just some guy with street smarts and what was listed is what has worked so far. Good Luck
 

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Hey Dave, if the wife likes the "tree corals" you better make it work man, it's alot easier with wives who work with you :)

You already have the right mindset as far as willing to be patient.

I love seeing someone rolling with the halide/vho combo....that rocks.

The one thing you mentioned that sets alarms off to me is that you add ca and alk supps but don't test. While you go thru your learning curve keep in mind that it's not a good idea at all to add anything without testing.

I'd suggest getting a few test kits. Lamottes for alk, salifert for Ca, mag and No3. For phosphates only a hanna will do. See if anyone in your area has one. Make sure your using a calibrated refractomer also. I would suggest keeping a log of your testing. As you go you will get into the swing of what your tank is doing AND you will see how your coral reacts to diff parameters. The "proper" parameters will vary from reefer to reefer. I like to run 8.5 alk. The key is keeping everything consistent.

Start with easier, cheaper sps like poci, birdnest, digi. Get in a routine and stick to it and you will find success...

Hope this helps.
 

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Successful Newbie Perspective

...After maintaining my 180 reef for slightly over a year with everything thriving I had a hard time deciphering what was wrong. Primarily I would test Nitrates and Phosphates and according to API they were both undetectable. I did water changes 10% weekly. Had a Kalk sturrer,ato, gfo, carbon reactor with no problems. Looking a little deeper my ALK was around 7, calc 380 and Mag about 1290 ph stable in the 8's. Everything on the surface looked good. After losing another one I started Vodka dosing and purchased the BRS two part bulk kit and used the calculator on the site to bring the aforementioned parameters up to suggested sps values. ...
What are the suggested SPS values for these parameters you are obtaining now?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Test kits

Ok so I just ordered test kits from AquaCave. Got a Redsea Multitest kit, with ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph, and Alkalinity tests. And I got Saliferts Calcium, and Magnesium kits. Hopefully will find out where my levels are and report back asap. Next question is anyone have a easy DIY for a gravity feed ATO or selling a Ato for a decent price?
Thanks
Dave
 

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First.. a mature tank is a MUST.

Second... SPS = stabilty promotes success

Third... everything said above

Last... Patience

Once you understand your tank, do NOT "f" with it! Pick a system and stick with it. DSB, SSB, bare bottom, plenum (now I'm just showing my age), but pick one and then wait for stability before trying SPS. Do your best to ignore the "system du'jour". It a primrose path to hell...:no:

To give you an idea, I run a succesful SPS tank (at least IMO) and I recently tested my tank parameters for the first time in almost three years. Then again, I have been running a SW Tank since '02, first SPS not added until mid '03. I downsized three years ago to a 92 gal to save on electricity. I'm not recommending this, but if you do not understand how to keep a stable system, your SPS WILL die. Even with the best of efforts, you're gonna lose a few along the way. We only THINK we understand reef systems, nature can be a cruel Mother.

Hope this helps and good luck...

This is my current tank, it's a mixed reef with everything from shrooms to LPS to SPS. I like it, you may too...
 

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First.. a mature tank is a MUST.

Second... SPS = stabilty promotes success

Third... everything said above

Last... Patience

Once you understand your tank, do NOT "f" with it! Pick a system and stick with it. DSB, SSB, bare bottom, plenum (now I'm just showing my age), but pick one and then wait for stability before trying SPS. Do your best to ignore the "system du'jour". It a primrose path to hell...:no:

To give you an idea, I run a succesful SPS tank (at least IMO) and I recently tested my tank parameters for the first time in almost three years. Then again, I have been running a SW Tank since '02, first SPS not added until mid '03. I downsized three years ago to a 92 gal to save on electricity. I'm not recommending this, but if you do not understand how to keep a stable system, your SPS WILL die. Even with the best of efforts, you're gonna lose a few along the way. We only THINK we understand reef systems, nature can be a cruel Mother.

Hope this helps and good luck...

This is my current tank, it's a mixed reef with everything from shrooms to LPS to SPS. I like it, you may too...
Hahah....plenum. Been there, done that :)

Nice set btw.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
sps

Hey my tank is a newly upgraded tank, by that it was a running 75g for at least 2yrs, then I moved up to a 150g but only added about 80lbs of sand and some dry rock. So I would assume it is seasoned. But am still going to take everyones advise and test my tank and go from there.
Dave
 

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It isn't the rock that needs to be seasoned so much as the tank itself and especially the keeper:)

There's a lot that happens in a tank in a year, the initial "cycle" takes a short time, but the real cycle takes much longer.
 

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It isn't the rock that needs to be seasoned so much as the tank itself and especially the keeper:)

There's a lot that happens in a tank in a year, the initial "cycle" takes a short time, but the real cycle takes much longer.
Yup... and everytime you add something, take something out, change something, or otherwise just stick your hand in the stinking tank, the cycle changes.

For example, If you add a fish, that fish will have to eat, and you will have to feed it... then it will "make waste" and something will have to clean it. Welcome to reef biology 101 :eek:rder

That part is pretty much a no brainer... the part everyone overlooks is that as coral and fish grow, so do the demands they put on the tank. They don't magically get bigger. They absorb nutrients from the water and in order to continue to grow, they need available nutrients in the water. That's where dosing and water changes come in. Export bad nutrients, and import good!

Keep everything balanced, and everything will be happy :victory:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sps

Hey *****, I LOVE your tank....what lighting are you running on it?

And everyone who has been helping thanks for all your advice. Another quick question, most of all of you guys say I should move to T-5's. I am planning to replace my halide bulbs, tenatively. I am still kinda thinking I might want to upgrade to 250w's but if you think the 175w's with new bulbs will be fine, I will stick with them. But still not sure on the t-5's. I have ARO ballasts running 2-110w bulbs each. I cant seem to find out if they would support t-5's. And honestly dont know if I can afford to upgrade to t-5's at this time, but not sure I want to spend money on new VHO bulbs.......oh the dilema!
Dave
 

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Hey *****, I LOVE your tank....what lighting are you running on it?
First, thanks!

I'm running a single 400W XM20k MH in a Lumenarc reflector with actinic supplement (2-24", 1-36"). MH runs 4 hrs/day. Actinics run 12 hrs/day
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sps

Could I be running my Halides too long? I think mine run for about 8hrs a day, but again I only have 2-175w on my 2'deep 150g. and they sit 15" off water
 

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I belive that 6-10 hours a day for metal halides is ideal. I run my 250 hqi about 9 hours a day and the t5's about 12, its seems to be good for me. But the longer you run them odds are its gonna increase the rate of algae growth, so be sure to have a efficient clean up crew. Also keep the fish to a minimum, the more fish you have the harder it seems to keep your parameters consistant, like ammonia/nitrares. as others metioned patience is the key, along with regular water changes and consistantly testing your water. keep a close eye on alk and calcium if those fluctuate to much it will result in disaster, My calcium jumped to 600ppm + and my alk dropped to almost undetectable :secret: lets just say my corals declined rather quickly. But its back to normal know and everything is regaining health. good luck and its always a plus when your wife is into sps, expensive but amazing!!
 

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I belive that 6-10 hours a day for metal halides is ideal. I run my 250 hqi about 9 hours a day and the t5's about 12, its seems to be good for me. But the longer you run them odds are its gonna increase the rate of algae growth, so be sure to have a efficient clean up crew. Also keep the fish to a minimum, the more fish you have the harder it seems to keep your parameters consistant, like ammonia/nitrares. as others metioned patience is the key, along with regular water changes and consistantly testing your water. keep a close eye on alk and calcium if those fluctuate to much it will result in disaster, My calcium jumped to 600ppm + and my alk dropped to almost undetectable :secret: lets just say my corals declined rather quickly. But its back to normal know and everything is regaining health. good luck and its always a plus when your wife is into sps, expensive but amazing!!
Do you know what caused your calcium to get so high and your Alkalinity to drop so low?
 
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