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Considering Switching to Zeovit Method - One Year Old Tank - Can't Grow SPS

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  • Considering Switching to Zeovit Method - One Year Old Tank - Can't Grow SPS

    Hi folks,

    I've heard great things about the Zeovit method and I think I'm ready to switch, but before I do, I wanted to post a bit about my tank and see if anyone here has any recommendations or considerations for me before I switch. Here's a short background of my tank. Any thoughts or help would be greatly appreciated!

    I’ve done a fair amount of research over the past year, and from what I can tell, my water parameters, lighting, nutrients, etc etc. are all in-line with what a successful reef tank should have to let SPS thrive. I’ve done ICP tests (results below), gone through the whole ugly stage – I’ve even had a 1 month period where my SPS actually thrived and grew. However, over the past 6 months I cannot seem to keep SPS alive for more than a few months before they turn white and die. I’ve purchased over 20 frags now (monti’s, birdnests, acros, etc), and they’re all dead or dying. I’m hoping that switching to the Zeovit method could solve things. I have a lot of time, energy, and passion invested in this tank and I want nothing more than to have a thriving SPS system.

    Tank Background/Info

    The tank is 165g 5x2x2 Red Sea Reefer 625XXL and has been up for just over a year.
    I started it with completely dry, dead Reefsaver Rock from Aquacave. (Beneficial bacteria could be an issue - starting with completely dry rock, no live rock seeding?)
    For sand, I went with Topic Eden Misoflakes – I have roughly a 1.5 inch sand bed.
    PO4 is sometimes a bit high – I’ve had it range from 0.015 up to 0.10 (Hanna ULR checker)
    NO3 rock steady at 4ppm (Red Sea test kit)
    Alkalinity – this is an interesting one. I have a GHL KH director that seems to be quite accurate. My alkalinity will range anywhere from roughly 8.5-9.8 in any given few week period. I have no idea why (my only thought is the aragonite sand breaks down) but my alkalinity actually increases often times over a few week period. I understand this defies logic since I don’t dose anything, but the numbers don’t lie, and I have confirmed them over and over again with a Hanna Alk tester – they always line up. I’ve included a chart below of Alk for visual purposes so you can see.
    Calcium – 460-470; doesn’t budge and doesn’t drop – I don’t dose anything for calc
    Magnesium – try to keep it around 1350; it drops here and there so I dose it back up – lowest it gets is 1250.
    Lighting is hybrid LED/T5 with 3x XR15W G4 Pro Radions and 4xT5 (2 Blue Plus, 2 Coral Plus). More on lighting setting below (I’d be surprised if lighting is the issue, but this is one area that I keep coming back to)
    For flow I have 2 Maxpect XF 250 Gyres running anywhere from 20-40% at any given time.
    Return pump is Vectra L1 at roughly 50% power
    Bubbleking Mini 160 protein skimmer running 24/7
    Refugium completely full of chaeto and sea lettuce algae. (I don’t usually trim this – I probably should). H380 Kessil light on 8 hours at night over fuge.
    No algae issues in display tank
    No filter socks
    pH ranges from 8.0-8.3 like clockwork throughout the day
    Temp goes from 78.0-80.0 each day (no chiller, but it rarely, if ever, gets above 80.5)
    Water Changes every week (sometimes every 2 weeks) of ~15% with Tropic Marin Pro Reef salt
    Auto top-off 4-stage Spectrapure RODI. Registers 0 TDS consistently. My tank is pretty far away from my RODI so I have about 50 feet of tubing that runs to the tank. I flush the RO system for 5 minutes every time before adding fresh water so that I don’t get TDS creep
    Dosing – I haven’t dosed anything except for a bit of Magnesium in over 6 months. Calcium stays right around 460 and doesn’t budge. Alkalinity stays steady / rises.
    Coralline Algae – There is a good bit on my two gyres and my magnetic glass cleaner. There’s also some on my rocks, but it’s not caked on there like I see in a lot of tanks. Not sure why it hasn’t taken off yet – might be another hint as to why SPS won’t live/grow.
    Other corals – I have a few zoas that I have had for over 6 months. They are doing fine and are colorful, opened up, etc, but they have not grown at all – no new polyps whatsoever. Any reason why zoas would look perfectly fine, but not grow at all? Maybe another clue as to what’s wrong with my tank?
    I had a few clams sitting on the sand bed – one died after about a month, the other after about 3 months.
    Fish – I have a bunch of fish in there – all happy and healthy and none that would be picking at SPS, so I’m confident that’s not it
    Food feeding: Pellets 1x daily; Frozen mysis shrimp 1x daily
    Absolutely no sign of pests, so I’ve ruled that out
    Lighting:

    Settings are done via ecosmartlive.com on the Coral Lab SPS AB+ setting. Three (3x) XR15W G4 Radions sitting roughly 10 inches from the surface:

    Lighting:




    General Tank Parameters:




    Alkalinity:

    This one has me quite perplexed. It really bounces around and I’m not sure why. Unclear how it can possibly increase, but it definitely does (for example, there were no changes to tank and no water changes between Jan 5 - Jan 17 and it increased from 7.8 to 9.8):




    ICP Results:

    https://www.triton-lab.de/en/showroom/icp-oes/73865

  • #2
    Hello sgrosenb, welcome to ZeoVit.com !

    From the test results I can not see anything causing such a big problem, just missing the salinity in the test result table. As some main parameters are relative high I would recommend you to double check salinity with two different instruments first.

    I do not believe switching to ZeoVit will resolve the problem, there must be something else.

    Can you tell us something more about the rocks you have used, have not experience with them, do other reefers use them without any trouble ?

    Please also post a picture of your sump to give us a overview of your technical equipment and the materials you have used. To me it sounds like anything in your system is leaching any kind of harmful substances, there are many sources so lets first see if we can find anything.

    G.Alexander

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by G.Alexander View Post
      Hello sgrosenb, welcome to ZeoVit.com !

      From the test results I can not see anything causing such a big problem, just missing the salinity in the test result table. As some main parameters are relative high I would recommend you to double check salinity with two different instruments first.

      I do not believe switching to ZeoVit will resolve the problem, there must be something else.

      Can you tell us something more about the rocks you have used, have not experience with them, do other reefers use them without any trouble ?

      Please also post a picture of your sump to give us a overview of your technical equipment and the materials you have used. To me it sounds like anything in your system is leaching any kind of harmful substances, there are many sources so lets first see if we can find anything.

      G.Alexander
      Thanks so much for the warm welcome to Zeovit! I appreciate your help in my finding out what is going on with my tank. It would make sense to me that something is leeching.

      In terms of the rock - I think the rock is somewhat common among reefers, but I too keep coming back to it as a potential problem The specific rock I purchased is here: https://www.aquacave.com/reef-saver-...live-rock.html. It is also known as "Marco Rocks" I believe. I think that Bulk Reef Supply BRS sells a very similar, or maybe identical, rock as well.

      A few notes about the rock: Supposedly it is 100% natural calcium carbonate limestone-structured aragonite dry rock. It is 100% dead, so I did not cure it at all. After doing some research, it seems as though some people do cure it, as it may leech phosphates - but this seems very debated in the reefing community. Also - I did NOT seed the rock at all when I started my tank, so I really started the tank with 100% dead rock and sand. Just in the paste week I got a very small piece of live rock from a reputable source to possibly help seed the tank (albeit a year after I started my tank!).
      Maybe this is an issue that my tank hasn't been seeded with the proper bacteria/sponges/etc?

      For salinity - I can confirm that I checked it with both my Apex salinity probe and my handheld refractormeter and both come out to 1.026 or 35ppt.

      One other note - I do battle phosphates a bit. I tr to keep them down below 0.1 ppm (which they usually are), but they have crept up to as high as 0.25 ppm before. When they were that high, I used some Brightwell Phosphat-E to get them down. I didn't mention those notes in my first post so wanted to mention it.

      Attached are a few pictures of my sump. Note that I rarely pull any of the sea lettuce or chaeto out, so maybe I should start trimming that and discarding it sometimes. I just trimmed it before these pictures.

      Thanks for the help - I am really hoping to get to the bottom of this so that my tank can flourish!
      Attached Files

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you for the pictures and the additional information, from the sump pictures I can not see anything problematic but to be honest the pictures are not really good.

        Have you used any kind of different materials than PVC and Silicone, different hoses or pipes or any kind equipment which might leach anything ?

        What I find weird is the situation that corals where doing well before and than the problems started. Something has happen while this time, maybe you remember if you have done any additional change before ?

        G.Alexander

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by G.Alexander View Post
          Thank you for the pictures and the additional information, from the sump pictures I can not see anything problematic but to be honest the pictures are not really good.

          Have you used any kind of different materials than PVC and Silicone, different hoses or pipes or any kind equipment which might leach anything ?

          What I find weird is the situation that corals where doing well before and than the problems started. Something has happen while this time, maybe you remember if you have done any additional change before ?

          G.Alexander
          That is what I find odd too. Unfortunately I cannot think of anything that I changed with my tank over the past year that could cause any changes. I didn't add anything to the tank, and didn't change any equipment. The corals were only doing well for about a 1-2 month period, but it was enough for some of them to grow nicely and color up. If I remember it correctly, it was right after the "ugly" stage when the algae disappeared, maybe 2-4 months after I had my tank up.

          In terms of tubing, the only tubing I'm using is PVC that came with the Red Sea Reefer 625 XXL tank, as well as some nylon vinyl tubing from Bulk Reef Supply for my return pump (tubing here: https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/braid...-the-foot.html).

          Do you think that it could have something to do with beneficial bacteria (or the lack of it) that could have been there early on after the tank cycled, but is gone now, that could have caused the tank to perform well for a short period of time, and then once it diminished, the corals started dying? I added some Dr. Tim's One and Only back then, as well as some Algae Barn OceanMagik. I haven't added anything bacteria-related since then which was about 9 months ago. I also did not seed my tank with any other live rock, so it was all 100% completely dead rock and dead sand.

          One other item that is odd that I'll point out - My alkalinity does indeed rise on it's own, but for the first few months it was dropping on it's own and I was adding Bulk Reef Supply Soda Ash to maintain the level. I find it very odd that alkalinity dropped per usual for a while, and then started rising on its own. I think the timing of this might have been close to when the corals started to die, but I cannot say for sure.

          I have attached a few pictures of my sump that hopefully look a bit better.

          Thank you so much for helping my try to figure out what is wrong. As I said at the beginning, I can't think of anything that I changed that would have caused this, but I could be forgetting something, so feel free to suggest anything I might be missing or could have forgotten.

          Thanks,
          Scott
          Attached Files

          Comment


          • #6
            It's a pity that I also feel puzzled that the phosphate rises and the abnormal changes in Kh. The display hose in the destination URL does not seem to be suitable for seawater, and in my image, I'm not sure. If you have a chance, it might be good to replace it with a silicone hose.

            If it is me, I will try to take some of the rocks in the sump, soak in Ro / Di water, 2hr, and test the PO4 level

            Dry Rock (The product brand seems to be good, I have no experience, but I think it should not be the main source of high phosphate levels, just my personal opinion)

            Sand uses dry sand, and this part should not be the main source of phosphate problems. But when you change the water, siphon the sand, which is fine. It may also be possible to find something.

            In my area, the addition of certain bacteria may gradually cause "corrosion" of rocks, which leads to an abnormal rise in Kh. (This is just my impression, I'm not sure)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jacky View Post
              It's a pity that I also feel puzzled that the phosphate rises and the abnormal changes in Kh. The display hose in the destination URL does not seem to be suitable for seawater, and in my image, I'm not sure. If you have a chance, it might be good to replace it with a silicone hose.

              If it is me, I will try to take some of the rocks in the sump, soak in Ro / Di water, 2hr, and test the PO4 level

              Dry Rock (The product brand seems to be good, I have no experience, but I think it should not be the main source of high phosphate levels, just my personal opinion)

              Sand uses dry sand, and this part should not be the main source of phosphate problems. But when you change the water, siphon the sand, which is fine. It may also be possible to find something.

              In my area, the addition of certain bacteria may gradually cause "corrosion" of rocks, which leads to an abnormal rise in Kh. (This is just my impression, I'm not sure)
              Thanks for the input. There seems to be some debate in the hobby as whether this rock leeches phosphate or not. I like the idea of testing it by putting some in a bucket. But to be honest, phosphates, while somewhat high, don't seem to be my main problem. It seems as though something other than high phosphates is at play here.

              Comment


              • #8
                This sounds very similar to an experience I had a umber of years ago and personally I feel if the tank is only running approx a year, and using dry rock, there is still a way to go for it to be considered anywhere near mature and it probably lacks in biological function.

                I wouldn't go the Zeovit way just yet, I would try using DVH Biogro 123, (give it some research) it will introduce essential bacteria and it will prevent a mono culture from slowing down essential functions within the biological cycles.

                You have a great setup/equipment and it would be great to start seeing the results it can bring. Keep us updated please!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by k_mac View Post
                  This sounds very similar to an experience I had a umber of years ago and personally I feel if the tank is only running approx a year, and using dry rock, there is still a way to go for it to be considered anywhere near mature and it probably lacks in biological function.

                  I wouldn't go the Zeovit way just yet, I would try using DVH Biogro 123, (give it some research) it will introduce essential bacteria and it will prevent a mono culture from slowing down essential functions within the biological cycles.

                  You have a great setup/equipment and it would be great to start seeing the results it can bring. Keep us updated please!
                  Thanks k_mac - I agree. The thing I'm leaning towards most is the lack of bacteria / seeding in the tank as to what is holding me back from success with SPS. One other thing I also didn't mention is that I have a bubble tip anemone that seems to be fairly happy, as well as a few zoas that are colorful and happy (but they are not multiplying at all - they've been in the tank for about 6 months). Any thoughts on why zoas would be fine (but not grow), an anemone would be fine, but SPS all die? Does that tie into a leeching problem or a bacteria problem or something else? I'm just trying to piece it all together.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Biology is a important part if it comes to SPS maybe there is a additional factor also, difficult to say. You can only try to rule it out, so I would try to add “biology”. Some live rock, some sand from another system, some old ZeoVit material would all be good sources.

                    G.Alexander

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by G.Alexander View Post
                      Biology is a important part if it comes to SPS maybe there is a additional factor also, difficult to say. You can only try to rule it out, so I would try to add “biology”. Some live rock, some sand from another system, some old ZeoVit material would all be good sources.

                      G.Alexander
                      G. I have a question, I always talk about "biology", but I can't explain more specifically what is "biology". Can you tell me more, thank you

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I can not see any reason for your sps problems except maybe one.

                        You mention you do not harvest your macro algae in you fuge. How much stock you choose to believe in this is up to you but here goes. Some claim that algaes can release growth inhibitors into the water. Some also claim algaes can become sexual/asexual. If you were removing some weekly I would say maybe this is not your case, but you are not. I would start with removing some weekly as some of it may be leaching something into your water.
                        Here are a link you might want to read, admittingly I have not read the entire thing but it is a thread about this topic. Go to post 23 on page 2 for links about algae poisoning.
                        https://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f...-190856-2.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jacky View Post
                          G. I have a question, I always talk about "biology", but I can't explain more specifically what is "biology". Can you tell me more, thank you
                          Hello Jacky, biology is a combination of biological processes in the aquarium itself and the corals. Those processes are very complex and I am not able to explain them in a couple of words beside that I am not a biologist.

                          If you like to get a deeper view inside, this book might be interesting:

                          https://www.amazon.de/Biology-Reefs-.../dp/0226301680

                          A really good source of information is posted by Gary over here:

                          https://zeovit.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=76

                          I think this does not answer your question but basically I do talk about bacteria and their processes. Let me give you a example, if you add a SPS coral in a fresh system with perfect water parameters the coral will not survive as the biological base is not developed, those are bacteria and microorganisms which do process nutrients and other unwanted substances also the coral itself does need bacteria to stay alive.

                          G.Alexander

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by G.Alexander View Post
                            Hello Jacky, biology is a combination of biological processes in the aquarium itself and the corals. Those processes are very complex and I am not able to explain them in a couple of words beside that I am not a biologist.

                            If you like to get a deeper view inside, this book might be interesting:

                            https://www.amazon.de/Biology-Reefs-.../dp/0226301680

                            A really good source of information is posted by Gary over here:

                            https://zeovit.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=76

                            I think this does not answer your question but basically I do talk about bacteria and their processes. Let me give you a example, if you add a SPS coral in a fresh system with perfect water parameters the coral will not survive as the biological base is not developed, those are bacteria and microorganisms which do process nutrients and other unwanted substances also the coral itself does need bacteria to stay alive.

                            G.Alexander
                            Thank you very much G. for your explanation, and thank you for the link provided. I really like your example, it really made me understand, and this is also my idea. It's like fresh salt water. Although the data is perfect, sps may not survive because of too many factors, such as bacteria, microorganisms, etc.

                            thank you very much

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi there,

                              I am just following up on this thread from a while back and wondering if maybe now the Zeovit Method might be a good option. Since my last post in February, I have replaced all of the rock that I started the tank with 100% Live Rock directly from KP Aquatics. The rock never left water and was transported directly from the ocean to my tank. That was back in April. Since then, I have been able to keep my SPS alive, but they are not growing at all. They aren't dying, but they have truly just sat in my tank, good color, good polyp extension, but almost zero growth. I have a good bit of coraline algae growing on my glass, but not much that is growing on my rock. Also, I have an odd phenomenon where my alkalinity actually slightly increases and never declines, along with my calcium. It is odd and I can't explain it. My magnesium declines very slightly, but appears to be replenshed with weekly water changes. My alkalinity has stayed steady at 7.9 dKH for the past 4 months with absolutely no dosing. I don't add anything to the tank - just weekly 10% water changes with Tropic Marin Pro Reef salt. I also feed Reef Roids every week or so as well. Water parameters are ideal - NO3 8ppm, PO4 .05-0.1, Calcium 480, Mag 1320, Alk 7.9, all ICP tests that I have come out nearly perfect. RODI water 0 TDS. Lighting ishybrid LED 4x Radion G4 Pro and 4x T5 Blue Plus.

                              Any thoughts on why my corals aren't growing, why my alkalinity isn't dropping, or if you think Zeovit could help my tank? Attached are a few pictures

                              Comment

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