Can't grow hard corals


Reefing newb
My 180 has been set up for over 10 months now. I can't seem to be able to keep any kind of hard coral alive and if it does live, it always looks like crap. Right now I have an assortment of hammers, frogspawn, two acans, a few acros and milliporas and two monti caps. All of the above look bad. I have a couple leather toadstools that do well and some different zoas that also seem to do ok in the tank. So basically softies and zoas are ok, hard corals don't do well at all. I was thinking maybe it was something up with the water so I got me a Red Sea Pro Foundation test kit and I tested my mag, calcium and alk and all three are with suitable range for corals. The magnesium is 1300, calcium at 420 and alkalinity at 7.6. From what I know, all three are in good shape. Alk is a tad on the low side but still in the 7-11 range.
All this has told me that my problem is probably the lighting.

I am using four sets of LED lights. They have three watt diodes, 40 per fixture. Not a brand name though, I got them from a buddy locally and figured they would do well for a reef. Does it sound like the lighting is the problem? If it is, I was looking at ReefBreeders value fixtures as replacements but want to be sure they can grow hard corals.
Yes, both lps and sps. Only phosphate test I have is the API and most know you rarely get a reading with it. I have no algae in the tank so I'm thinking it's low to non existent. I don't even have coraline aglae 10 months in. My nitrates always hanging around 20. I use an ASM G2 skimmer in my sump.
If you are planning on running reefbreeders, I would suggest running at least 2 t5 for growing sps on your tank.

Your mag might be an issue for coralline, but could be the lights as coralline likes more blue lighting.
You are having the same issues as before, did you get more flow?
You need to post some pictures, we are visual and will be able to help you more.
I assumed RB made good enough lights to grow hard corals. If not, I may look elsewhere. My mag seems normal and the lights on there now aren't very white. As for the light color, less than half of the 40 LEDs on each light are white. Then I have blues and royal blues and a couple UV and one red per light.

I have two WP-40's in the tank, I have tried different flow speeds and it doesn't seem to effect the corals at all. What would you need pics of, the corals or a whole tank shot? Best one I can get is with my phone and it'll give off a blueish tint to the tank but you'll get a general idea.
you could be experiencing coral warfare. hard and soft corals dont always mix. they give off a lot of chemicals to retard growth from competing corals. i have all the stuff you have plus mushrooms, colt corals and anemones in my tank but i use charcoal. what i have trouble with is acans. i cant keep them alive. everything else grows well. i have 5 teslas for lighting- 55 watts of led- the lights are great but i think they would be more suitable for a shallower tank. i think i need to upgrade to a brighter light. the colors are not as good as i think they should be. tend to lean toward the brown shades. also you could invest in a waterproof light meter, then you can find out exactly what you have for lumens in your tank at different levels. they arent that expensive. decent one will run you about 100$. mine reads 740 lumens on the bottom of the tank but i think i would do better at about 1000. i run a 265 gal [30 in deep], from the sand to the light is probably 31-32 in. i use the red sea reef foundation test kits and additives and i really like them
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I have Acans and leathers mixed and have zero issues with them. I also do a 5 gallon water change per week on the 57 so by the end of the month I've done a 40% change. No carbon, the only thing on the tank is a Tunze 9015 and a Phosban reactor.