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    Riddle me this? Phenomenal coral coloration - but two very different systems. Why/How?


    Posts : 99
    Join date : 2013-05-07
    Location : Thousand Oaks

    Riddle me this? Phenomenal coral coloration - but two very different systems. Why/How?

    Post by ericpkeith on Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:33 pm

    I am absolutely stumped over coral coloration. Not only can't I reproduce some of the phenomenal coloration I've seen, but I've seen it in two very different tanks:  

    There is a 150 Gallon display tank at Aquarium City in the SF Valley that runs 3x 400 watt 6500K MH with 4x 55 watt a lot of light.  It also has a hell of a lot of circulation but less than pristine water quality (I see cyano and hair algae here and there).  The corals in this tank are crisp and bright, with consistent coloration throughout. No bleaching and no dull spots.

    Then...I visited SoCalCorals in Ventura and the corals had some the the most vivid and distinct coloration I've ever seen, definitely as good if not better than Aquarium City. The owner is running what looks like mostly 55 watt T5s and some Radion LED arrays...none of which appear overly bright. What I can say for certain is it's nowhere near the intensity of the display tank Aquarium City. It didn't have an excess of water circulation that I could see but the water quality appeared pristine; you couldn't find signs of cyano or troublesome algae anywhere.

    So here are two fairly different tanks with not much in common other than some excellent coloration that most of us wish we could emulate. Honestly, I'm not yet getting half the coloration they have with the same corals. For example, my Halloween Millepora is way too brownish compared to the remarkable pink and yellow it expresses at SoCalCorals. The purple millepora that I got from Aquarium City "was" an awesome metallic purple with hints of red and blue. Now, in my tank for a few months, it has settled to a nice purple but not nowhere near as vibrant.  So what's up???

    My best guess, assuming everything else being equal, is that my lighting mix is not there yet.  At this point I'm upgrading some of my LEDS to OSRAM Dragon Diamonds (equivalent to the best CREES) that I plan to solder in. I'm adding some 6000-6500k along with few 4000k to bring out some reds and greens. I'm not worried about the loss of blue (my current LEDS are 14000k) as the Osrams put out nearly twice the amount of light at the same current, so I'm esitmating better color with no loss of PAR.

    Comments? Can you help?

    DKH: 8-10
    Calcium: 350-450 ppm
    Magnesium: 1200-1350 ppm
    Nitrate/Nitrite is non existant
    I do have some Po4 issues but immeasurable most of the time.
    Circulation: plenty
    Lighting: 25x 14000K 3-watt LEDs, 5x 3-watt royal blues, 4x 3-watt Ultraviolet

    Anyone feed their SPS? How about engineered products like Reef Roids?

    Posts : 1727
    Join date : 2012-02-21
    Age : 26
    Location : Simi Valley

    Re: Riddle me this? Phenomenal coral coloration - but two very different systems. Why/How?

    Post by MxReEfEr92 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:52 am

    Stability is the key " SPS = stability promotes success" an all swing from 8-10 is huge as well as calcium swing from 350-450. These parameters must be stable and have very and I mean very little fluctuation. My alk swing is .1-.2 kh and my calcium swing is probably less than 5ppm. And just because you have low po4 Most of the time dosent mean those few times you do have problems, isn't effecting the corals. In my experience with nano tanks, a dosing pump, po4 removing media and routine exact water changes are the only way to successfully keep harder more sensitive corals. Just think, we are trying to re-create the ocean, and the ocean (where corals are thriving) has the most unrecordable fluctuations. You also need to consider all of the trace elements you are loosing that are not appart of Ca, KH, Mg. You need K, Fe, and I as well. I'm sure if you talk to Aaron his tank is very stable and he has either a calcium reactor or dosing pump. I used to try and find the cheapest way to do something and I have seen so many others do the same but in the end the only success I have seen is to pony up and get the right equipment. To be a successfull hobbiest in this hobby it is not cheap or easy and everyone will have their own .02 cents but I speak from my personal experience and the experience of others around. I talk to some of the big names in this hobby on a regular basis and keep mostly up to date on cutting edge equipment and husbandry. I hope calistyele will chime in because he has IMO the best SPS growth in a nano that I have ever seen in my life. Right now his colors are a bit dull but he is battling a bryopsis issue right now so his Mg is sky high to fight it off. Once he gets them back to normal he will be a strong competitor for reef centrals nano tank of the year.

    In progress 54.6 gallon LeeMar Starfire | 2x Ecotech Radion XR30w Gen 3 Pro | Ecotech Mp40wes +battery back up | ATB Mikro Skimmer | Full APEX w/ AFS PM2 ALD VDM WXM| Tunze 3155| NextReef MR1 Reactor
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    Posts : 684
    Join date : 2011-07-27
    Location : Oxnard

    Re: Riddle me this? Phenomenal coral coloration - but two very different systems. Why/How?

    Post by Crusty Old Shellback on Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:18 pm

    No matter how close you think a tank is to each other or the ocean, each is it's own little eco system and will respond differently to the same things.

    I had two systems up and running at the same time but with completely different results. Both tanks were run using Natural Sea Water. Both tanks got a 50% water change every few weeks. Both systems were dosed with seachem products at the same raito. Both tanks were run on MH ligts.

    My 72G bow front would grow orals like weeds. Everything from Softies to SPS. Great colors and growth.
    My 400G tank only seemd to grow Softies and LPS. SPS would not grow in the tank and the others were slow growers.

    So it's hard to say tha formula XYZ will always work on tank ABC. Each is going to be different and react differently.

    Posts : 99
    Join date : 2013-05-07
    Location : Thousand Oaks

    Re: Riddle me this? Phenomenal coral coloration - but two very different systems. Why/How?

    Post by ericpkeith on Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:06 am

    Thanks for the info, I really appreciate it. My tank is growing very well (have not lost a single coral or fish for that matter) but I've been doing this hobby/addiction for quite some time and feel like I could make it all thrive, with colors that really pop. Though I do have some good color such as my Red Monti cap and an orange Setosa that looks as good as anything I've acros and milles are just dull...and I can't seem to fix it.

    This said, to a fault, I've allowed my parameters to drift quite a bit. A big reason for this is my focus was more on lighting and circulation than anything else. It wasn't until I added a dosing pump and JBJ ATO that I've been able to keep repeatable/stable parameters. And yes, colors are slowly improving.

    It would be great to talk to another nano-tanker whose running some really colorful SPS...especially the hilariously named ones like, Oregon Torte, Strawberry Shortcake, Pink lemonade, raspberry sherbet, and - of course - the bank-breaking rainbow stag. If the colors are vivid, like the best 1080P HDTV, I'll be the first to take notes like it was instructions on how to print money.

    Thanks again -

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    Re: Riddle me this? Phenomenal coral coloration - but two very different systems. Why/How?

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