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New to ZEO, tank still establishing, checking that my approach is OK

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  • New to ZEO, tank still establishing, checking that my approach is OK

    Hi all,

    I have a newer tank and I am having some trouble. I had SPS in the tank as early as mid October and they did great, they were growing and encrusting, but they have gone downhill since late November/early December. I believe that my problems are rooted in a fish loss that I could not locate and the fact that i used primarily base rock instead of live rock.

    I have a Triton ICP analysis from late December if you would like me to post that as well. I will also try to post some pictures of the corals a bit later.

    Here are the tank questions:

    1. Gross water volume of your complete system (incl. sump etc.) - US gallons / UK gallons / liter
    RedSea Reefer Display: 92 gallons, Custom Sump: estimated 18-20 gal Total volume: 110ish gallons

    2. Net water volume (incl. sump etc.) - US gallons / UK gallons / liter:
    Unsure, 95 Lbs rock added to display approximately 90-100 gallons total?

    3. Are you using a CaCO2 reactor or other technique

    4. Are you using a PO4 reactor (how long, how long ago, etc.)

    5. Are you using Ozone

    6. Are you using UV

    7. What skimmer are you using (type, rated water volume)
    Reef Octopus, eSsence 130 - Heavy Bioload - 75 Gallons; Medium Bioload - 120 Gallons;
    Light Bioload - 160 gallons

    8. What are your actual PO4 and NO3 levels
    PO4: .175 (Hannah ULR meter)
    NO3: 3 ppm (Nyos test kit)
    Note: PO4 was around .05 from August to December. I belive the spike came from a wrasse that died (and I could not find) combined with faulty automatic feeder that dumped too many pellets. This caused PO4 to spike to .25, and No3 to spike from <1 to 5ppm. I have been using coral snow, and water changes to try and slowly bring both back down.

    9. What are your actual Ca, Alk and Mg levels
    Ca: Trident - 495, RedSea 450
    Alk: Trident - 7.2, Hannah 7.3
    Mg: Trident – 1324

    10. What filtration method do you use (refugium, DSB, Miracle Mud, etc.)
    Skimmer, Zeovit, MarinePure Block (8x8x4 (had to cut it to put it where I wanted it.

    11. Type of light (Watt, color temp, how old, etc.)
    Atlankik Orphek (Gen2) x 2 runs on a custom setting right now. See chart below.
    2 x 54w T5 HOs, ATI Blue plus spectrum bulbs, on from 1330-1615

    12. What corals do you keep
    Currently Zoas, LPS, SPS (SPS are unhealthy)

    13. Tissue color (light or dark)
    Dark – browning, not colorful – STNing on SPS

    14. How long has the tank been running
    Started August 1, 2020

    15. Why do you want to use the ZEOvit system
    Effective nutrient control & ability to manipulate colors

    16. Any supplemental dosing (type, amount, why, etc.)
    BRS 2part & magnesium to maintain levels

    17. Live rock (how much, how old, etc.)
    80lbs base/dry rock started Aug/2020 (soaked in R/O water for 2 months and monitored for Po4 release, found none. 15 lbs live rock that have been in tanks for over 25 years, about to add another 30ish lbs from an established tank (20+ years in a tank).

    18. Any present problems
    SPS STN montis, acros, LPS (some) are receding, zoas & cyphastrea look healthy

    19. Problem description (tissue loss tips, tissue loss base, diatom bloom, algae, etc.)
    STN is dying from the base up. LPS look terrible and are receding

    20. What test kit do you use (how old, recently switched, etc.)
    Mixed. Trident primarily for Alk, Ca, Mg. Hannah for Po4 and sometimes for Alk. Nyos for No3, Tropic Marin for No2 & No3 occasionally, Salifert for potassium. All within expiration dates.

    21. Present dosing, amounts and intervals (ZEOvit, ZEObak, ZEOfood, ZEOstart, ZEOspur2, etc.)
    ZEOvit: 1 L, 90% replaced every 8-10 weeks (run in a Skimz ZAR 127, flow level 3, agitation every hour)
    ZEObak: 4 drops Wednesday and 4 drops Sunday
    ZEOstart: .45ml morning and night, daily
    Sponge Power: 4 drops daily
    Coral Snow: 5ml approx. every 1.5 weeks.

    Have, but not currently dosing:
    ZEOfood Plus– I discontinued after a cyano bloom in October
    Coral Booster
    Coral Vitalizer
    Pohl’s xtra

    22. Other water parameters and water stability (salinity, temp, etc.)
    SG 1.026 Apex and Refractometer
    Temp: 76.7-77.9 daily swing (Apex and separate thermometer & inkbird temp controller)
    PH: 8.11-8.35 daily swing

    23. Which salt brand do you use
    Started the tank with Tropic Marin Pro but needed more and could not locate any, so I have been using RPM blue box since September 2020.

    Thank you in advance for any input.

  • #2


    • #3
      Triton Sample taken on 12/15, analyzed on 12/23


      • #4
        Welcome to !

        From your description I can not see anything really problematic except the PO4 level which is really high. Can you tell something more about the cycle of the system ? Have you used ZeoVit since the beginning and cycled the system with the 14 day cycling method ? It would also be interesting to know if you have sand in the system or if you run it without a sand bed.

        Is the
        PO4 level of 0.175 in mg ?

        Please also post a picture of your sump.



        • #5
          Thank you for the response.

          I did cycle the tank, but I used the KZ guidance since I had not found the forum yet.

          po4 is in ppm, converted from the ppb reading that the Hi736 reads out.
          Ive tested my po4 several times over the past 2 days, and it appears that my po4 is dropping rapidly. I will Continue to test 2-3 times daily since I do not trust that i get all of the reagent from the hannah packet into the vial.
          Here are the latest readings:
          1/7, 8am .175 ppm
          1/7, 10pm .15 ppm
          1/8, 830am .07ppm

          Yes I have used KZ ZEOvit from day 1.
          I did follow KZ guidelines for the 14 day cycle - I had not found this forum or the recommendations on here yet.
          Yes I do have a sand bed. It averages 1-2 inches deep in most places and it is the Tropic Eden Mesoflakes (2.7mm grain size) - approximately 70LBs. I thoroughly cleaned the sand and soaked it in R/O D/I water for 4 weeks (wanted to check it for PO4), then dried it, prior to starting the tank

          Here are pictures of the sump. I cleaned the zeo reactor on 12/26 when I swapped zeovits. The flow seemed very limited, so I felt like it needed to be cleaned. In hindsight, maybe I should have only cleaned the pump and left the reactor body alone. I did save and use 10% of the old material.

          My fish/bio load is somewhat heavy:
          1 purple tang - approximately 2-2.5"
          Yellow Corris Wrasse - 4"
          2 lyretail Anthias - 2"
          3 Green Chromis 1.5-2"
          1 Pintail Fairy Wrasse - 4"
          2 OC Clownfish 2.5-3"
          1 court jester goby - 1"
          1 Green Mandrian Goby- 3"
          Longspine Urchin
          Cleaner Shrimp
          Croal Banded Shrimp
          Fighting Conch
          approx 60 various snails

          last, I started the system using rox carbon,, before i read here that that is too aggressive for zeovit. I changed over to BRS lignite in October. I was running the carbon in a reactor, but last week i put the carbon into a bag and it is sitting in the sump near the zeo reactor.

          thanks again!

          Last edited by VA ZEO; 01-08-2021, 09:51 AM.


          • #6
            Thank you for the additional information. As PO4 already starts to decrease I would not do anything special to speed up this process.

            Lets continue dosing as follows:

            ZeoBac – 4 drops 3 x weekly
            ZeoStart – 0.4 ml 2 x daily
            SpongePower – 4 drops every other day
            CoralSnow – 4 ml 2 x weekly
            CoralVitalizer – 8 drops 2 x weekly

            If PO4 is solid low and corals doing better you can additional dose Xtra, Booster & Food.

            Run 1 liter ZeoVit in your reactor with a water flow of ~ 100 US gallons per hour – replaced every 6 weeks.

            My experience with the carbon you use is limited so I can not really say much about it but 0.4 liters passively flown in the sump would be the right amount replaced every 4 weeks.

            The Ca level is to high, let it drop to ~ 400 and keep it there as solid as possible.

            Once the system has stabilized I would recommend to remove the BioBlocks step by step slowly.

            As PO4 starts to come down I would expect that your corals slowly start to recover so I would give them some time now.

            Vacuum the sand from time to time while doing the weekly regular water changes to remove the sediments from the deeper sand layers.



            • #7
              Thanks G. Alexander.

              I'll make the dosing changes and follow the schedule and recommendations that you have planned out. Also, I will report progress or changes as they start to occur.

              Thanks again!


              • #8
                just reporting to keep myself on track.

                I have implemented your suggestions and the system seems to be returning to the desired parameter ranges. More importantly it seems that the STN on my SPS has slowed/stopped on Acros and even reversed on some things like my Montiporas. My micromussa still looks stressed and deflated.

                Po4 is down to .01
                Nitrate is down to .5-1 ppm
                Alkalinity has remained stable between 7.15 and 7.25 depending on the time of the test.
                Calcium is remaining elevated, despite 20 gallons of water changes.

                When should I start dosing the xtra, Booster and food and at what levels?

                Last - I am transitioning back to Tropic Marin Reef Pro salt, my last 2 water changes were 50%/50% TM Pro and RPM. Next water change on Sunday will be 75% TM/25% RPM. I also plan on switching to seachem Matrix carbon until I can get KZ carbon.

                thanks again for all the help.



                • #9
                  Hello Devin, glad to hear things are turning around. You can start to dose additional products to improve coloration once your corals start to get lighter tissue because of the nutrient reduction while they show healthy growth. If you already have those products you can start to dose then at this stage as follows:

                  Booster – 2 ml 2 x weekly
                  XTra – 2 ml 2 x weekly
                  ZeoFood – 2 drops 2 x weekly

                  I can not say anything to the carbon you plan to use as I never used it but basically not all kind of carbons are working well in nutrient poor systems as they can remove elements to “aggressive” within a short time. If you like to give it a try I would recommend to start slow using just 1/3 of the recommended quantity.

                  Please also check the K+ level as it is important, should be ~ 380 mg.



                  • #10
                    VA ZEO Out of curiousity, for your Zar reactor, you mentioned you're using the 0.9L option. Is that flow enough or did you end up doing the 2x option on the unit?