Help Tank A Mess And Dying Coral!

Gabrielle BK

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HI! So I'm still pretty new to the saltwater aquarium hobby. I've had my first tank for a year now but it was bought off of Craigslist so I never have actually set up a marine tank and cycled it. Anyways, I've been gone for the summer and had someone take care of it, and came back to dead coral. I'm assuming this is mainly water parameter problems? I think I lost my frogspawn and a couple other sps, but I still have one frogspawn that is half dead. It is closing up and calcifying almost (3rd pic)? How can I save it? I also lost two of my anemones (I had one that split twice). What could be the cause of that?

However, my zoas/palys (i'm not actually sure what they are they came with the tank, and I knew nothing going in and still am not sure what all the species are of coral) have been going crazy. I uploaded pictures but basically the colonies have doubled in size and are growing on multiple rocks. Should I be fragging to stop it from spreading further? I'm turning to youtube right now to figure out how. Also, the ones in the second picture look different from one another? Like there are some that are smaller and green in the mouth and tenticles, but then some are all black. Does this mean they're dead?

In terms of water parameters, the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate were ok I think (like 0ish-0-40). The phosphate though is what is really concerning as it was kind of high. I have always had freshwater tanks, so this is something I never considered harmful, but will it kill my fish? I know it will cause all the algae in the tank and probably kill my coral?

I did a small water change a couple days ago and am going to do another today. I'm afraid of shocking the system, so should I do a larger water change or no?

So ya my tank is a mess and there is so much to do to fix it. Any help on where to start to salvage and make sure I don't lose any fish or more coral would be amazing!

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Jesterrace

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Okay, need to get a few things from you.

1) What filtration method are you using? (ie HOB, Canister, Sump)

2) Are you using RODI water?

3) How much and often and what are you feeding? (ie Frozen, Pellets, Flakes)

4) What do you have in there for clean up crew? (ie snails, hermit crabs)

All of these things are big factors in what is going on in your tank right now.
 
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Gabrielle BK

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Okay, need to get a few things from you.

1) What filtration method are you using? (ie HOB, Canister, Sump)

2) Are you using RODI water?

3) How much and often and what are you feeding? (ie Frozen, Pellets, Flakes)

4) What do you have in there for clean up crew? (ie snails, hermit crabs)

All of these things are big factors in what is going on in your tank right now.
I have a sump with a protein skimmer.

No, just regular tap water with conditioner added.

I alternate between pellets and frozen mysis shrimp every day. I also add in some Marine Snow for the corals every 4 days.

I had snails and hermit crabs. They were with the tank. Not sure how many there are though. I did buy 12 trochus snails but they all got eaten by my urchin or my wrasse would flip them and they died.
 

Jesterrace

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Tapwater is a big part of the problem. You are adding minerals to minerals and creating algae superfood. This is why RODI is so strongly recommended for marine tanks. Outside of the clean up crew issue (can be a problem with a Halichoeres Wrasse) the only other thing I can think of is if you use a filter sock in your sump.
 
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Gabrielle BK

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Tapwater is a big part of the problem. You are adding minerals to minerals and creating algae superfood. This is why RODI is so strongly recommended for marine tanks. Outside of the clean up crew issue (can be a problem with a Halichoeres Wrasse) the only other thing I can think of is if you use a filter sock in your sump.
I do have a filter sock, but yes I do need RODI. I have had my water tested and there is 'no' phosphate or nitrate, but there could always be trace minerals that can't be picked up on with a basic testing kit.

I guess I'll just keep doing what Im doing with water changes to see if that improves it slowly. Something must have happened that caused the spike and killed my coral while I was gone.
 

Jesterrace

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The filter sock should be changed at a minimum of every 3 days. I can't tell you how much of a difference that one factor has made on my tank. I was changing it every 4-6 days before and my tank was covered with hair algae. Many phosphate tests are inaccurate so that doesn't surprise me, nitrates can be consumed by Phosphates so that wouldn't be surprising, nor would it surprise me if the kit in question had the 3 letters API on it (IMHO the worst of the bunch). As for what happened to the tank, the issues with tapwater aren't always readily apparent. Sometimes it takes time for the metals/solids in there to build up and do damage. The good news is that it's possible to turn things around at this point, it's just going to take some dedication and effort on your part. Do you have an RODI system on order or access to RODI water?
 
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Gabrielle BK

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The filter sock should be changed at a minimum of every 3 days. I can't tell you how much of a difference that one factor has made on my tank. I was changing it every 4-6 days before and my tank was covered with hair algae. Many phosphate tests are inaccurate so that doesn't surprise me, nitrates can be consumed by Phosphates so that wouldn't be surprising, nor would it surprise me if the kit in question had the 3 letters API on it (IMHO the worst of the bunch). As for what happened to the tank, the issues with tapwater aren't always readily apparent. Sometimes it takes time for the metals/solids in there to build up and do damage. The good news is that it's possible to turn things around at this point, it's just going to take some dedication and effort on your part. Do you have an RODI system on order or access to RODI water?
Ok, I will try changing the filter sock every other day! I don't have any access to RODI water right now... I'll make a trip to the fish store to see if they have a system to buy?
 

Jesterrace

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You can or check and see if they have RODI water you can buy from them directly until you get your own system.
 
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