Puzzled about SPS Health/Coloring

reefs4life

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Manhattan Reefs
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Hey guys, so relatively recently I got into SPS and I mean really into SPS. I can't say I have had the greatest luck with them as my colors have been off and I am trying to understand why. I have 150 gallon cube which is very established, almost 6 years in the making but got SPS heavy since quarantine. I was able to get a lot of high end pieces but for some reason I just can't get the colors to come in as they're supposed to. Most recent parameters show everything is in check.
- I use Red Sea Coral Pro salt for water changes
- Tank also runs a MTC Procal Calcium Reactor in which I keep an average pH between 6.55 and 6.65
- Skimmer is a SWC 300
- Lights are 3x Pacific Sun Black Python 160w, only blue and white LEDs, both LEDs running at 100% with overall output of 60%.
Recent parameters are:
pH between 8.05 to 8.3
Calcium 418
Alkalinity 8.16
Magnesium 1245
Nitrate 0.25
Phosphate pretty much 0

Any input on what could be the issue? I've pinpointed the lights being a potential issue but being that I should be buying a house soon, I'd like to hold off on new lights since I will most likely be upgrading.
 

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bob
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def stop gfo if you are close to zero nitrates are low too
not saying it can’t be done but i find it harder to color up with really low numbers
also stability is more important than the actual number
i also find colors vary in different tanks
 

Odysi

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Imo you definitely need a boost in nutrients. Aim for around 5-10 ppm nitrate and .03-.09 phosphate. The acros need nutrients. Also take into account that sometimes it takes times for sps to color up in your tank. How is the flow in the tank? Like said before start cutting back on gfo let the nutrients come up slowly and see how the sps do. What type of par are you get from the lights? If the sps is getting atleast 250 you will be good to grow them. If you want those crazy tenius colors your talking over 400+ par.
 
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reefs4life

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Alright so general consensus seems to point to the idea of decreasing my nutrient export which will result in me cutting out GFO for now. I failed to mention that I am also running a biopellet reactor. Any thoughts on that? I'm afraid nitrates will spike without it.
 

CMD_2020

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U don't need to run both...there are studies that actually say running both can crash a system. You definitely want more nitrates and a little bit of phos. I keep my phos at .03 and nitrates at 15. Stop your pellet reactor and perhaps run your gfo half the day and see where it lands ya. Or just feed more. Your sps should color up Immediately once there are more nutrients. When it comes to nutrients, either reducing or increasing, it is best done slowly. Closely monitor your params during the process and make sure it's consistent.
 

reefer4eva

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Nutrients are too low..I have my nitrates almost at 30 ppm Which I gradually got it to that by adding
Seachem flourish nitrogen and I basically maintain 30 ppm with a very good skimmer.my 60 cube doesnt have any live rock in it and my whole aquascape is made out of ceramic so it utilizes more area for bacteria.i never ever used GFO or carbon..i know alot of members on here have there own methods and each works for them as mine works for me.i can tell you one thing my sps colors are always popping!!
 

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reefs4life

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Manhattan Reefs
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So I took out my GFO and I turned off my skimmer for a bit. I was wondering about GAC, is that ok to run? I always thought it was good to control chemical warfare, thoughts?

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delv

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Not be contrarian, I'd keep your export as is or bump it up and just start feeding and dosing more. Monitor your levels and increase feeding to the levels you want and continue. See if that yields any results in your colors/growth. I would continue this until I found the feeding/dosing amount and associated tested nutrient level that gives you what you like best.

My tank uses the most Alk (I interpret this as calcareous organism growth) when I am feeding and dosing well. When I put in less and my levels drop I use less Alk.

Make sure you go slow and keep up on algae growth.
 

delv

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Also, play with Iron, It gets sucked up super fast but I've seen it produce a noticeable effect on greens and shimmer. Remember, nutrients on parts of the reef can be consistently very low with marked influxes of nutrient input (upswells of nutrient dense water...aka feeding). Maybe try to emulate that model...if your system is built to accommodate.
 

evoIX_Reefer

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You have to find a happy medium as mention by delv. If you prefer not to feed more if you have a nice packed tank of fish, you can up nitrates by feeding a little heavier and monitor it. Also, for PO4 to increase it. I use polyp lab booster and coral frenzy. It jumps my phos by damn near .1 in one serving. I don't even try to overuse it and use less than half the recommended amount. Either way, find ways that work for you to increase it.

I wouldn't do anything fast in this hobby. So if you took GFO offline, do it slowly. Run it for only a few hours a day to see if you can get po4 to rise slowly.

GAC as long as you don't use over the recommended then I have never seen any bad side affects besides crystal clear water in any threads ever seen. I personally would never run without GAC. But like everyone else, everyone has different methods and no method is "wrong" if your tank is thriving the way you do it. Hence, every tank is unique and things work for some and not for others.
 
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