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Ok, so I have had some issues with zoas turning brown.. curious if anyone else has dealt with this and what can be done about it other than just avoiding zoa colonies.

Also worth noting that it happens to literally every single colony I have put into my tank over the years (Fire and Ice, Eagle eyes, and radioactive dragon eyes)

All are separate colonies and have been in the tank for different periods of time (F&I 2 plus years, Eagle eyes 2 plus years, radioactive dragon eyes 1 year)

Everything else I have ever put into the tank is doing well and growing (elegance, trumpets, frogspawns, plates, brains, chalice, RBTA)

Any help would be appreciated.

Mg: 1320

Ca: 460

Alk: 7

Sg: 1.026

lighting: LED 14,000K

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Thanks for the quick responses.

 

They did not turn brown all at once due to being added at different times, but they did gradually turn all brown.... also they seem to eventually just sort of fade away?

 

With respect to the PAR rating... Not really sure... but the zoas have been placed in different locations in the tank (high, mid, and low light levels) All with the same result.

 

The only difference when in different spots are the way they are shaped... reaching for light in the lower portion of the tank, mid-top of the tank the skirts will sort of curl inward.

 

I actually have not checked nitrates in quite some time as I only have 3 fish in the tank (fiji damsel, small yellow tang, and a perc clown) but I just went ahead and checked while writing this post and they are running between 10-20 ppm.

 

One thing I can not check is PO4 because I don't have the test kit for it... but I would assume that I would have a lot more algae problems with high PO4.

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I would bring my nitrates down and maybe bring my alk up to 8 over the next week or so. High nitrates can cause coral (even softies) to morph colors. High nitrates can tolerate high alk. If you get to an ultra low nutrient system then I'd bring the alk back down. But if you're keeping nitrates higher (I'd try for 5ppm if you're only doing softies) then I'd try to keep alk closer to 8dkh.

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Thank you for the advice... I was a little surprised to see the nitrates so high.

 

I will get these back down and see what happens over the next few months... and start to slowly raise the Alk.

 

Any chance the colors return or kind of a lost cause at this point?

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I've had coral morph colors a few times. It's completely feasible that the zoas will get better color once the water parameters are a little better and stable. I've had some beautiful zoas turn an ugly brown/green, then back once I stabilized everything. I've also had some corals morph then never come back. At the least it'll be interesting to see what happens over the next few months.

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I did a little rearranging yesterday to allow for better flow and hopefully that will help keep the nitrates down.

 

I'm trying to find something that raises alk, but keeps other levels stable.

 

Someone recommended Eight.Four by Aquavitro because it will raise alk and buffer Ph at 8.4 once that is reached.

 

Does anyone have experience with this?

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I've used all of the line up of Aquavitro. It's really good stuff. I've not checked pH while doing it so can not say...I currently use ESV

 

I am hopeful rearranging and not allowing for any dead flow spots helps. I would look at borrowing the club par meter of you are a paid member and measuring some PAR throughout the tank.

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Tested my levels daily since this post and all my levels are stable but nitrates are still reading high... Even after my most recent water change.

 

Mg: 1320

Ca: 460

dKh: 7.7

SG: 1.026

Ph: 8.2

Nitrate: 20 ppm :(

 

I usually do 10-15% water changes weekly.

 

What amount would you suggest I start with to get those back under control?

 

I.e. what percentage of a water change would be safe to not fluctuate the Mg, Ca, Alk levels greatly but also still decrease nitrates significantly?

 

I was thinking either 10% changes 2-3x per week to get on top of things or possibly a 30% change weekly until levels are stable.

 

After all the testing this last week... I agree I think nitrates would be the culprit since nothing else has really changed too much.

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Is this in your 75gal?

 

I have a 75gal mixed reef that I have had issues with a few times (because of mass fish death due my own "calculated" risks). My normal schedule is 20gal water change every month and that keeps things balanced with 2 part dosing. The last 2 times I've had die-off (due to marine velvet) and my nitrates skyrocketed, I did 20gal each Saturday with 5 gallons on Wednesday. If you change too much water too fast you'll have issues with the tank trying to adjust to too many changes. It may take quite a bit of time to get your nitrates back down, and it's frustrating, but sometimes taking a little extra time is exactly what the tank needs to get adjusted.

 

I used to hate when people said this to me, but it really makes sense after 18 long years. "Nothing good happens fast in this hobby"

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Yes sir... its the 75 gallon.

 

I have not had anything die (yet) but maybe thats what is happening to some of the zoa's causing a climb in the nitrate? Not sure.

 

So what you are saying is... you changed a total of 25 gallons per week in your system or per month? 20 Saturday and 5 Wednesday?

 

I figured that 10 gallons per week would get the job done, but it doesn't seem to be the case.

 

Also, I changed around some rock work which obviously releases some detrius into the water... Could that increase my nitrates for a short stint as well?

 

Checked nitrates read about 20

Had to rearrange rocks and did 10 gallon water change

Checked nitrates this week and they read about 20

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Your parameters look to be pretty close to your target aside from the nitrate. It's going to take several 20g changes like Ryan stated to get them down, under 10. Figure that's about 25% of your volume so they'll go down by 5 but then increase a little each week between the changes so you'll probably only realize a long term drop of maybe half the 5, so 4ish water changes to get to about 10.

 

Fwiw I have done a 35g change in my 100, which is almost exactly a 1/3 of my water volume with no ill effects but each tank is different so If start smaller at first and take it from there. I don't response anything that's terribly picky in my tank.

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Yes sir... its the 75 gallon.

 

I have not had anything die (yet) but maybe thats what is happening to some of the zoa's causing a climb in the nitrate? Not sure.

 

So what you are saying is... you changed a total of 25 gallons per week in your system or per month? 20 Saturday and 5 Wednesday?

 

I figured that 10 gallons per week would get the job done, but it doesn't seem to be the case.

 

Also, I changed around some rock work which obviously releases some detrius into the water... Could that increase my nitrates for a short stint as well?

 

Checked nitrates read about 20

Had to rearrange rocks and did 10 gallon water change

Checked nitrates this week and they read about 20

 

Moving rocks around can kick stuff up but it's already in the tank so it shouldn't affect nitrates that much. It can some but not a lot. Not like the anaerobic bacteria in a deep sand bed getting kicked up. THAT you definitely don't want.

 

My normal routine is a 20gal water change once a month. But when I had my nitrate spikes I went to doing 20gal every Saturday (4 times monthly), with a 5 gallon every Wednesday. So a total of 25gal each week, 100gal a month. With my sump that's an estimated 31% water change each week. Like Kent said above, with those numbers (estimating that your sump and displacement are close to the same as mine) your nitrates will drop 25% with each weekend change, and 6% with the smaller water change. If your nitrates are at 20ppm, after the first large wc, you should be able to test again and see your no3 be somewhere around 15ppm. They will start to climb almost immediately depending on bioload from animals, your feeding schedule, and consuming bacteria established in the tank. Let's estimate 1/2ppm/day. After your first change, you're at 15ppm, then 4 days pass (assuming you do the Sat/Weds) you are back at 17ppm, then a 6% wc takes you to 16ppm. The following Saturday wc (no3 is at 17ppm again) takes you down to 13ppm. So on and so forth. It should take 4 possibly 5 weeks to get you down to single digits. Then you watch then closely and find a feeding/water change schedule that keeps you in the range that you (and the animals) are happy with.

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