Bleaching Corals

Discussion in 'Additives' started by Scottrotton, Jun 20, 2016.

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  1. Scottrotton

    Scottrotton Member

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    Hi All,

    Had my tank for nearly a year now, had a couple of corals that are doing very wel and others that seem to slowly bleach over time. I noticed the patern, softies doing well, some LPS no so well, slowly bleach and takes me a while to see because it happens over time, also there not opening as much.

    heres some background.


    LIGHTS
    Started with a AI Prime over my tank which is a CADE hl600, swapped out for a cheaper ocean revive t247
    Blue channel running around 30%,
    White channel around 17%


    Dosing
    NOPOX @ 5ml per day
    0 Nitrates, small film appears on my glass over the course of a week which i like to keeps o i know there are some nitrates in the tank.

    seachem fuel (ammino acids)
    dose 2 time s a week

    WC
    25 litres water change per week on average

    TEMP
    Temp around 24-26 mark apart from summer, when it rises i don't have a chiller yet

    Tests
    Calcium 430
    Nitrate 0
    Alk 7
    ph 7.8

    I dont really test for anything else,


    Im thinking its because my ph and alk are too low, ive read that nopox can reduce PH, i dont intend to stop as i find it the easiest way to manage nitrates. Im thinking i should dose kalkwasser in an auto top off, has anyone had success doing this?

    Any other suggestions
  2. Franklin Dattein

    Franklin Dattein Member

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    There is nothing overly suspicious, but some small things you could improve, in order of priority:
    - Lights are on the low end.
    In general, I wouldn't use less than 50% intensity, unless there is a reason for it.

    - Temperature
    Aim for a temperature variation no greater than 1C.

    - ULNS:
    Softies and SPS don't thrive in Ultra Low Nutriente Systems. Also, it "forces" you to lower alk to 7, to avoid SPS burnt tips, which also allows pH to drop. This issue is worse on small tank, where volume won't help to slow things down.
    You can fight pH, with kalk, O2 absorvers, etc but IMO this is wasteful. I would rather increase Alk to 8, maybe 8.6 and monitor pH and burnt tips.
    You can also lower NoPOX to allow for some nutrient buildup and/or increase amino dosing.
    Unless your goal is SPS, I wouldn't aim for a ULNS.

    - Target feeding
    Some of my LPS only thrive on ULNS when I target feed them. Acans, Lobos and Gonis in my case.

    I hope it helps.
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  3. Scottrotton

    Scottrotton Member

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    My lights a pretty powerful, i don't have a par meter but just the brightness of it compared to my red sea max and other systems I've had i turned them down from because ti was bright for the eye, maybe ill buy a seneye for the par, alk and temperature sensor so i know exactly what im dealing with when it comes to light.

    I believe the nitrates reading is false because i'm growing algae still, once i lower the dose the algae increases whilst still having non detectable nitrates.

    I have no SPS at all and dont intend to, so will increase alk and see what happens, whats your preferred method to increase?
  4. Franklin Dattein

    Franklin Dattein Member

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    Par meter is cool, but I would rather experiment with the light first, increasing it a bit every day. It will save a lot of money.

    If lights are annoying your eyes, I suggest you explore alternatives like different LED lenses or a reflector that doesn't leak too much light or a schedule that increases intensity while you are away from home.
    Dialing it to please the eyes, will usually result in a intensity that doesn't please the corals.

    What brand of tests are you using?

    My preferred method to raise Alk and Ca is two-part dosing, more specifically Randy's recipe, because it is cheap and I already use it to maintain these parameters with dosing pumps.

    Have a read about the relationship between CA, Alk and Mg and the many methods to supplement it. The most important thing is to go slow, preferably less than 0.5dKH/day for Alk.
  5. Scottrotton

    Scottrotton Member

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    Yeah i understand the balance between the 3, Red sea have a good video i watched many moons ago.

    Mixture of red sea and Salifert.


    Thanks for the opinions will have a think, i dont trust my dosing pump
  6. MagicJ

    MagicJ Moderator

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    I agree with @Franklin Dattein on the lights - I don't know anything about your particular lights, but running the whites/blues at 17%/30% would appear to be too low.

    You describe them as 'cheaper' so I would take a guess and say that they are lower quality diodes and probably aren't driven at a very high current.

    Are the LED's controllable? If so, and you don't like the look of the bright LED's, have a 'high noon' where the whites are increased to a much higher level for a few hours when you're not at home.
  7. Scottrotton

    Scottrotton Member

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    not sure how you can agree without knowing anything about the lights so I should give you some more information.

    The lights use

    bridgelux diodes.

    They arent controllable without a hack but they are one of the most popular of the cheaper brands, the light quality is excellent, the reason why they dont cost 4 x the ammount is the lack of features, i only have 2 channels to play with.

    Ch1 Blue / Actinic
    Ch2 White / The rest of spectrum

    There are many successful refeers using these lights in a similar sized setup to mine but this one in particular documents his videos well.

    He has a JBJ 45 Gallon, Slightly smaller than mine but relativley similar dimensions , in his video he mentions hes running at about 50% Blue but in a later video goes on to say some of his corals bleached because it was too powerful so he dropped to 30%




    The difference is he is hanging is 2 feet over the tank, i dont have that ability so mine are on the included stands roughly 8" above the tank. so even running at 30% i feel it may be to strong.


    I didn't buy the lights because i needed all that power but the dimensions of the light gave my tank excellent spread without breaking the bank which is the only reason i got them really.

    I know i should base my setup on what someone else has but without a par reader thats pretty much all i can do and use my own limited knowledge but ive only been doing it 4 years and changed lights only 4 times.
  8. Scottrotton

    Scottrotton Member

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    IMG_20160620_190818.jpg
    Here is currently how it looks over the tank so you can see the spreax
  9. Scottrotton

    Scottrotton Member

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    • Channel One: 8x 470nm, 16x 450nm
    • Channel Tow: 6x 420nm, 2x 520nm, 2x 660nm, 6x 10000K, 8x12000K
    • Input Current: AC85-264V
  10. chimaera

    chimaera enjoy the little things

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    My first thought was Nitrates, even with what you say about algae growth etc. I had issues with LPS when I was running biopellets and 0 readings, only when I started to dose nitrates did my LPS pick back up.
  11. MagicJ

    MagicJ Moderator

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    Fair call, but in my defense, I was at work and wasn't able to do too much research. And, I have been playing around with LED's for reef tanks for 10+ years and would like to think that I might have obtained/retained some knowledge over that time.

    The main problems with the cheaper LED units are:
    • they use cheaper brand diodes and, more importantly, they use the cheaper bins - when the diodes are made they test them and then sort them based on the measured characteristics. With expensive LED's you know what you are getting - with cheaper LED's you don't. A LED might look blue but that doesn't tell you very much.
    • cheap LED's are inefficient i.e. they require much more current to produce the same level of light (lumens)
    • cheaper units use active cooling to reduce heat
    • cheaper units use 'current reduction' drivers to produce the dimming effect rather than pulse width modulation (PWM) with constant current drivers
    Now, these cheaper LED's may be more than adequate for a lot of people and that is fine. And, corals will always need some time to acclimatise to new lights no matter what they might be.

    I run high quality CREE LED's @ 1A (1,000mA) 20cm off the water surface and don't bleach my corals. From what I have been able to find, the t247 utilises 550mA drivers - at 50% you are driving these at around 300mA - the light may look bright to your eyes but I doubt it does to your corals.

    The light we produce with LED's is nothing like that produced by the sun so, with proper acclimation, corals will adapt to different light levels.

    I am not dismissing the use of these lights - but, from my experience, running the whites/blues at 17%/30% would appear to be too low for the long term health of your corals.

    And, that just happens to be the same as my response earlier today :)
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  12. Scottrotton

    Scottrotton Member

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    Haha great thanks for the extra, BTW i wasn't trying to dismiss your first comment, just wanted to provide you with more information.

    Thanks for taking the time to look into it, maybe ill just bite the bullet and get the AI twenty six HD, do you have any recommendations for LED lighting under $800 for 60 x 60 x 60?
  13. Scottrotton

    Scottrotton Member

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    How are you dosing nitrates? maybe something ill look into. im current dosing Fuel by Seachem but i dont think it contains nitrates, just amminos
  14. Franklin Dattein

    Franklin Dattein Member

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    On the topic of bleaching corals with high intensity LEDs, there is a lot of BS floating around and you have to watch these reports with skepticism.

    In the past, it was very common to hang multiple 400W Metal Halides, at no more than 20cm from the water column and corals wouldn't bleach. Corals are also under sunlight and no LEDs will ever be that intense.

    Therefore, corals won't bleach because LEDs are allegedly too intense. It is much more likely to be something else, like not slow enough light acclimation, fixture with poor spectrum(unlikely to be your case), etc.
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  15. MagicJ

    MagicJ Moderator

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    I am still in the DIY mode, although the benefits are getting smaller as more and more manufacturers incorporate the light spectrums that have been used by the DIY'ers for a number of years.

    @daveH has been pretty happy with his new MaxSpect Ethereal units -

    https://reefbuilders.com/2015/06/09/ethereal-led-gorgeous/
    http://thereefuge.com/threads/look-what-just-arrived.14285/
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  16. daveH

    daveH Team Leader

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    The Maxspect Ethereals are an absolutely brilliant light. They have a great light spread that would really suit your tank size and you really can't beat them for spectrum and controllability with the wifi app.
    They're not the cheapest out there but certainly compete with the best.
  17. Scottrotton

    Scottrotton Member

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    I think im getting one tomorrow or the weekend, can you tell me have you compared the to the AI 26 HD, similar price and feautre but the maxspect has an amazing design.
  18. daveH

    daveH Team Leader

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    The A1 has red and green leds in the clusters whereas the Ethereal has them as an RGB central cluster which is individually controllable after the main lights go out which can be adjusted to give an excellent moonlight effect.
    Besides all that they are the coolest looking lights on the market.
  19. chimaera

    chimaera enjoy the little things

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  20. Oceanarium

    Oceanarium Member

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    Seachem equivalent is flourish nitrogen, I understand it is; KNO3 and ammonium.
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