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How to successfully keep SPS Corals!


Paratore
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I looked through our SPS thread and couldn't find thread like this so I thought it would be a good one for all of us new guys looking to get into SPS and even for some of you more experienced reefers out there! This is a thread for you to share what you do to be successful. Please tell us your dosing, lighting type and schedule, what levels you shoot for, all the way to the frequency of your water changes, aquarium size, and everything else in between! Please only post your specs and info if you meet the following requirements.

1. You are successful at growing most/many types of sps corals.
2. You have been successful for an extended period of time. (more than a year at least)
3. You are successful at producing the BEST colors from your sps corals. (no brownies) 
4. You have successful colonies of sps corals and not just frags.

Don't get me wrong. I know new people can be successful but in this particular thread I am looking for those with the criteria above that will share their experience for all.

Also if you will please share a photo of your sps aquarium and some advice you have for people looking to join the world of SPS corals! The best way to learn is through others mistakes, so please share! 


I know there are tons of you on this forum with amazing SPS tanks so please let us know how you do it! :icon_bow:  :icon_bow: 

Edited by Paratore
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As most of the people will agree it is all about quality lights, flow, parameters, and stability.

 

Those are the basics though, I want to hear what some set ups look like. What kind of lighting they run, what they dose, what they use for flow, basically how they run their system.  :)  Kind of just create a bank of SPS knowledge for people looking to get into the SPS world so that they can be prepared as possible and have the best fighting chance at a successful SPS reef :)

 

Everyone says that you just need flow, good lights, and stability but never elaborate on how they have achieved those things in their own reefs.

Edited by Paratore
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I have to agree with everything that's already been said... I can break down my whole tank what I feed, when I feed it etc etc etc... Honestly it really means little to nothing because like most things in this hobby what works for me more than likely will not garner the same results for someone else.

 

Everyone's tanks are different and we all have our individual husbandry styles, the things we all have in common is we stay within a range of acceptable water chemistry and we all try to keep things as stable as possible.

 

Honestly I've seen tanks that look good with some of the most whacked out water chemistry and super dirty water ever... but one thing we all strive for is stability. I don't think that can't be stressed more.

 

Chasing numbers will usually result in failure, everybody's tank will have a sweet spot and finding that sweet spot (the actual numbers) for one's individual tank is what you should strive for.

 

 

As for my tank... I don't know all the numbers as far as water chemistry because I tweak my tank based on what I see it doing. (something you acquire when you've been doing this for like 20 some odd years lol). The only thing I test is my alk, cal and mag.

 

I run an 8 bulb ATI powermodule for lighting, I'm fairly lazy when it comes to do any water changes and I run no GFO, 1 cup of carbon for 2-3 day every month or so the take any yellow out of the water passively in a bag.

 

My tank is roughly 165 gallons of total water volume.

 

I feed my fish Hakri Marine Plankton blend.

 

My corals I feed the following twice per week.

 

10ml Oyster Feast

10ml Red Sea Reef Energy a&b

10ml Aquavitro Fuel

 

I also add 12ml of Acro Power once per week, only at night. (I can explain this later if you're curious)

 

I run filter socks I change once per week and I skim fairly heavy with a modified Reef Octopus XP-2000 with a DC pump and I have a Aquamaxx S-2 calcium reactor.

 

ATI_Contest_zpswa8n1qvi.jpg

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Nice FTS ;)

 

IME Stable alkalinity, good light and good flow will grow SPS. That is the basics. 

 

If you want to start hoping for greater colors, better growth rates, etc there is a lot more to it. Then you can start getting more into the chemistry and feeding regiments. But until you have good light, good flow and stable Alk, there is no reason to look into anything else. 

 

As for my experience with corals about 15 years, succsess with sticks about 7 years. (I have colonies that are 7 years old)

 

My tank is a 120g, with another 25g in the sump. 

 

I dosed Brightwell 2 part of years, and switched to a CA reactor because 2 part was getting to expensive. I was up to 150mL per day of 2 part.

 

I dose 1mL of vodka 8 times a day via dosing pump. I used to do it all in one shot, but set up the dosing pump when I went on vacation. Dosing vodka with a syringe (test kit) daily is very easy. (I do not run GFO because I dose vodka)

 

I run a protein skimmer. 

 

I run carbon.

 

I dose 10mL of 3 different ammino acids two times a week. I turn off my skimmer during dosing or 12 hours. 

 

I use two different Jeabos for water movement ones is a WP40 the other is a RW8 I think. They go on and off during the day and are sometimes both on together. I feed heavy and I think more random flow is better for clearing nutrients. 

 

My return pump is split through a SCWD (I'm the guy that still uses those!) and one side has a flow accelerator. 

 

I do not do water changes very often. Maybe twice in the last 4 months. I moved back in Septemember and did them for awhile why the system settled, but now that it is I will taper down. My last system had not had a water change in 2.5 year until I started getting ready to move. 

 

I'll get a shot up of my tank later. 

 

HTH

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Echo echo echo....

I strive for stability in these areas:

Alk, Temp, Calcium, Lighting, Salinity, clean clean clean top off water.

I test about once a month, or when corals aren't looking amazing. Any adjustment should be small. Large changes in almost anything can be detrimental to SPS.

 

My tank is about 157 gallons ish.

Regular maintenance:

 

I hand dose daily, same time, same amount. I do it the same time I feed the fish, so it's pretty easy to remember. This tank I have is about 18 months old, my last SPS tank was about 7 years old when I took her down...always dosed by hand.

 

I make my own Calcium from Leslies Pool calcium, and my Alk from baked Baking Soda.

 

Strong alternating flow.

 

ATI 8 Bulb powermodule.

8 bulbs run for 8 1/2 hours a day, 2 actinic bulbs run for 14 hours a day.

The lighting has so so so much to do with the color of the corals.

 

I also skim pretty heavy.

 

I run a smallish refugium with about 5 different types of macro.

 

I do not change water regularly. When I do a bunch of fragging, I will usually change about 5 gallons of water....so I guess that equates to changing about 5 gallons every 2 months. In my last tank I changed alot of water, and the corals did fine too!

 

I run carbon...about 3 cups changed monthly. I run Rowaphos when my Phosphates start to climb.

 

Pics can be seen on my thread below. Cheers and good luck.

Edited by Mandinga
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I have a kessil a160w and I have to jaboes rw4s! It's all about stable alk and that random flow! Aminos as well sps loves them! I dose bright stone aquatic 2 part! I'd try a few cheep ones before you buy anything spendy! Try like a cheep stylophora I'd cut a frag no charge for you to try out! Haven't had good luck with it in my tank!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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If you want to be successful, do your reading, there is tons of info out there.

 

My advice and something I did when doing some research is to go through the "tank of the month" threads on R2R or reefkeeping.com. There is a reason most have achieved this and as you read you will see some commonalities between tanks. Ultimately everyone has a slightly different approach but the fundamentals are the same. Find what works and what you can do with your budget/space/time constraints and develop a plan from there. Good luck!

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There no right answer to this question. Every one says stability and yes I agree but I could find a beautiful tank that's not stable all the time. Some tanks would crash over the swings while other tanks won't even hiccup. We still don't have solid evidence on keeping sps so nobody can tell you anything. We have basic information just like everyone said.

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Good points. Another thing that has not been mentioned and this goes for corals in general, it also depends on the sps you have. Corals that have been maintained in tanks for years are in general going to be hardier than the wild colonies. They have "learned"to adapt to condiitions that are typical of a enclosed environment. 

 

As much as we try we are never going to match exactly the conditions of the ocean.

 

I remember getting a wild strawberry shortcake from Jody (TECO) in a group buy. He is always very careful and waits until frags are well healed before shipping which is why I like buying from him. However even with all the care of letting the frags heal and acclimating pretty much everyone's colonies RTN'd. 

 

I got a mini colony from another reefer who was taking his tank down and that one did well and tolerated alk, mg, calcium and temperature fluctuations when other sps did not.

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  • 8 months later...

I also add 12ml of Acro Power once per week, only at night. (I can explain this later if you're curious)

 

 

 

Interesting, is that because of algae control? I dose during the day time because it's when photosynthesis and growth take place.

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I have to agree with everything that's already been said... I can break down my whole tank what I feed, when I feed it etc etc etc... Honestly it really means little to nothing because like most things in this hobby what works for me more than likely will not garner the same results for someone else.

 

Everyone's tanks are different and we all have our individual husbandry styles, the things we all have in common is we stay within a range of acceptable water chemistry and we all try to keep things as stable as possible.

 

Honestly I've seen tanks that look good with some of the most whacked out water chemistry and super dirty water ever... but one thing we all strive for is stability. I don't think that can't be stressed more.

 

Chasing numbers will usually result in failure, everybody's tank will have a sweet spot and finding that sweet spot (the actual numbers) for one's individual tank is what you should strive for.

 

 

As for my tank... I don't know all the numbers as far as water chemistry because I tweak my tank based on what I see it doing. (something you acquire when you've been doing this for like 20 some odd years lol). The only thing I test is my alk, cal and mag.

 

I run an 8 bulb ATI powermodule for lighting, I'm fairly lazy when it comes to do any water changes and I run no GFO, 1 cup of carbon for 2-3 day every month or so the take any yellow out of the water passively in a bag.

 

My tank is roughly 165 gallons of total water volume.

 

I feed my fish Hakri Marine Plankton blend.

 

My corals I feed the following twice per week.

 

10ml Oyster Feast

10ml Red Sea Reef Energy a&b

10ml Aquavitro Fuel

 

I also add 12ml of Acro Power once per week, only at night. (I can explain this later if you're curious)

 

I run filter socks I change once per week and I skim fairly heavy with a modified Reef Octopus XP-2000 with a DC pump and I have a Aquamaxx S-2 calcium reactor.

 

ATI_Contest_zpswa8n1qvi.jpg

 

The  Aquavitro Fuel has copper in it that's not a problem huh for anything else? That would worry me but I know some people run some copper

 

 

 

EDIT :)

 

 

I just wanted to add I use Zeo for mine in the past always did good.

 

 

But like someone mentioned not everything is going to work for every body and the reactions of every ones tanks will not be the same.

Edited by StayPuff
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Interesting, is that because of algae control? I dose during the day time because it's when photosynthesis and growth take place.

At night the polyps of corals are out for feeding. This allows them to get to the Amino acids better. Many corals feed at night. 

 

I do the same and also turn off my skimmer that night. I do this 2x a week but at a higher dosage then Chris does. 

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What amino's are you dosing at night?

 

sent from a Samsung note 4

Myself I dose Red Sea's Reef Energy A and B as well as Seachem's Vitro. I dose 20mL of each 2x a week. 

 

I turn the skimmer off during dosing, turn off one of the powerheads completely, and turn the other one down. 

 

Seems to work well. I noticed a difference when I stopped for a couple weeks so I started again. The difference was specifically in polyp extension of my montipora and millepora's. The other corals do seem to like it as well. Whether the feeding response is more then normal or not is hard to say but it appears to be greater to me. 

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  • 3 months later...

Man bumping up my thread from a year ago! Feels like a life time ago. But I think learned the trick of sps since then :) lots of patience and dead sps got me here lol.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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