Advanced Reefer

I am trying to find a few useful hints to increase color, how to find common issues/tips and anything you would advise or learned throughout the years!

Can you share your thoughts on what you notice from SPS when too low of nutrients (brown out or pale with pigment lines), reason you believe for little to no polyp extension, what you believe is response with little to no flow, how do you tell when an SPS doesnt like the PAR or flow and any other tid bits? Do you often see color loss within the first few weeks before they begin to acclimate and color up?

My issue, color loss (look a little pale and losing colors at the tips such as JF Fox Flame no longer has yellow tips and all red but see growth from increased encrusting). I see growth based on them encrusting but losing a bit of high color pigment to dull/paler but still has some color to them.

Par for all of them range between 250-330. Flow has been increased dramatically and see all with polyps swaying. So not sure if its requesting MORE flow, less PAR for some. Need those tips.

So right now my tank:

Alk - 8.3-8.8dkh shifts throughout the week and have to adjust dosing atleast once a week if numbers on a steady increase or decrease that week. Shifts between 4-5 mL a day. Eshopps doser only doses by mL, no timer so not able to do .#mL

CA - 429-450 small shift between the numbers throughout the week. 1:1 with alk finally

PO4 .029(currently)-.06 within a week time frame (only run GFO and GAC 12-14hrs a day) fine tuning lower time if I need to increase PO4 and increase time if PO4 begins to rise and not time to replace.

Mag - 1330-1370

NO3 - undetectable if I forget to dose. Trying to increase doseage to get to 5-10ppm. Feeding twice a day and not seeing an increase without overfeeding and causing more issues.
Started with .4 increase daily. Saw some NO3 last week and forgot to dose a day or two and checked yesterday and was back down to zero/undetectable on a salifert kit.

I dose Iodine 2-3 times a week. Only a drop and starting to switch back to a bit more frequent water changes to see if I can get trace elements put back into the water more frequent. (~Once a month or every 3-4 weeks to 2-3 times a month)


Manhattan Reefs
i’m no sps guru but i think i went through the same thing as you last year
i used to dose neonitrate and i still use gfo
i really think it just takes time for them to color up
and for your tank to settle and mature
my colors were always pale and i tried to copy everyone else’s plan
then one day i just noticed them getting color and pe and growth on the tips
prob most important is don’t have alk swings
they always stunt my growth or i’ll get rtn on a frag 2 weeks after an alk swing
now i have the trident and love it .
i know it’s not necessary but it keeps my alk monitoried daily
my tank can handle phosphates and nitrate swings but alk always causes problems for me
now i run
calcium reactor
no fuge
hydra52 hd and t5s
now nitrates 2-5
phosphates 0.04-0.1

let me know if i can help but i’m no expert still trying to figure this sps stuff out
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Advanced Reefer
I appreciate the huge reply and type of information I am looking for.

When people mention ALK swings. What is the type of swing referencing? Is 1 dkh in 24hrs too much? Say after a water change it raises my dkh by 1. Would that cause an issue or are we talking about 7-9dkh in 24hrs.

What should a new and growing SPS reefer looking to watch for?

I dont have an apex so wont be going the trident route. But I am eyeing a KH Guardian to constantly monitor my ALK. Make sure what I am seeing in my checks between 24hrs -72hrs is accurate down to a few hrs a day.


Advanced Reefer
I used to have the same problem with SPSs when I had a tank and like @BYU mentioned alk swings are terrible for SPSs and also nutrients levels have a lot to do with coloration.

@BYU those are really nice looking pieces.

Sent from my SM-A205U using Tapatalk


Manhattan Reefs
i used to try to keep my alk very steady
after the trident i realized when you test it’s only a value at that point in time
my alk swings every day from 8.0-8.8
i think those are acceptable for my tank but i used to go from 7.7 then if i don’t test for a while one day it jumped to 10 or vice versa
nutrients are the next factor
most of us have good flow and most lights on the market now can handle sps
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Advanced Reefer
Would you recommend dosing anything in particular outside of the 2part, mag? Trace elements (which brand) iodine? Iron? Strontium? Potassium?

Feeding phyto or red sea ab+, oyster feast?

What to you seem like a waste and what have you experienced that caused a good change?

**Not everyone will see the same results so take advice and experience with varying results.**

With disclaimer being said, it's always nice to see what others are doing differently and gone through thr many snake oils.


Advanced Reefer
Manhattan Reefs
I think BYU covered most of the information perfectly but i will share my experience.
As he stated keeping Alk stable is the most important thing. Trident is one of the best purchases you can make. The second thing most important thing is nutrients. For the longest time i would try to keep my phos at nitrates at 0 and i would always end up losing acros. I ran my tank for pretty much the past three years with no GFO. My phos was running around .25-.30 and sps were colored up great and had minimal loss of acros. Since my tank was running very stable the past 3 years i decided to mess with the gfo again to see if i can get better color. Currently my phos is around .06. I started dosing nitrates to keep them around the 10-15 range. I do see better pe and slightly better color since doing this.

That being said i would try to get your nitrates out of that 0 range.
You can dose ESV nitrate. I have been using it and it works well. You can also just feed more, add more fish to start with oyster feast.

I do not dose any other elements then the ESV A&B.


Advanced Reefer
I was hoping you would chime in bonomo.

Again, good info and what I was looking for.

I have kept my tank alk stable from 8.2-9.0 with 80% of the time in a closer gap. If I saw alk kick up to 9, i would let it naturally lower and decrease dose until back near 8.7 then try to stablize again. Same for dropping to 8.2. Would increase alk slowly until i saw 8.7 then decrease dose.

I normally test same time of day with few exceptions within a few hours of that time.

3-4x minimum.

So looking at the numbers given, I think I am spot on based on current knowledge of testing.

Maybe KH guardian will be my xmas present to myself.

PS5 or KH Guardian?



Advanced Reefer
Why do I feel like I am running in circles?

I have kept my tank parameters fairly stable. There are very minor swings that I correct but still within range. I mean DKH swing .7 or .8 away from its normal 8.7 and I slowly bring it back down or slowy raise it back up.

Nitrates are finally showing up on my salifert kit and PO4 has bottomed out but I've caught it within 24-48 hrs (forgot to set gfo on timer) and put it back up using good ol' polypbooster and reefroids. So remove and replenish.

Either way, question is there are a few frags that show growth, encrusting but have lost a lot of it's color.

While others, red dragon, green slimer, pink lemonade, my millis are still showing good color (not amazing but good).

Question is:

Do your new frags tend to brown out or lose some color while acclimating or you have the touch and able to keep all SPS color and then even better brighten them up even more?

Tank is now...7 months old. SPS have been in maybe 4-5 weeks now.

Again, encrusting so growth is happening, 90% of them have good visible PE but color is nowhere near where I got them.

I believe flow in the tank itself is good. Nice flow on PE. As well as lighting should be 200-350 across the board.

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