Sps questions/concerns


Reefing newb
Hey all. My tank is over two years old. Have never kept sps's before have always wanted too. So about a week ago I decided to get a few easier to keep ones. From what I was told anyways. Just some info on my tank to maybe help someone answer my question easier. It's a sump less 20 gallon long I do run a protein skimmer. I don't dose anything I do however do weekly around 12% water changes with instant ocean maintaining a specific gravity of 1.025. My parameters as of yesterday were as follows:
Salinity 1.025
Temp:79 never fluctuates more then half a degree at the most
Ph 8.1
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates under 10 ppm judging by the colour
Calcium 440
Phophates 0
Thats all I have tests for at the moment. I run my Moonlight LEDs for 14 hrs a day and both Daylight and Moonlight for 11.5 hrs a day. Basically I'm thinking it might be bleaching but from what I've read there is a ton of causes that could make that happen not just lights. I believe it's a type of Montipora digitata. At night it glows red and looks fuzzy. Even when the Moonlight are off and I look at it with a flashlight the brown on it looks dark and fuzzy like all the polyps are out. However during the day it doesn't have that fuzzy look at all. I acclimated it with 15 mins of temp acclamation, followed by 1.5 hrs of drip acclamation and had it on my sandbed for 2 days before raising it to acclimate it to my lights. If I'm leaving any info out please feel free to ask. Here are some pics.

shot from last night (phone cam doesnt do the colour any justice)

first day i moved it up from acclimating it to my lights

shot from today a little over a week since ive had it i beleive

THe frag is glued onto a small piece of LR that does habve a tendency to move a bit since its not sitting on a flat surface so maybe its just under different lighting it appears to look different. Fact is i dont really know what im looking for and would love a more trained eyes opinion. Also the very tops of the frag at the points are white. Hard to see in the pics. I also have it under high indirect flow and its pretty high up in my tank considering my tank is only 12 inches deep. I read magnesium and alkalinity are also key factors when working with sps. Should i maybe start testing for these? Or is my weekly water change regiment enough to keep those trace elements stable. Any tips or advice are greatly appreciated. I really want to start getting into different varities of sps but want an easier one to flourish before i go buying any more. I also bought a monti cap. IT looks great to me. Then again i dont really know what im looking for on those either. Just juding by the red colour.
The one thing I didn't see that you tested for is Alkalinity. Alk is VERY important. Should be between 7-10 dkh.
I'd rate Alk as the most important, then calcium right below it. Magnesium changes very slowly and should be kept around 1250. If it drops too low it will inhibit the water's uptake of Alk and Calc and they will precipitate out.
Also, 11.5 hours is a long photo period if this is full strength and not slowly ramped up and down like some LED fixtures can do.
The coral could definitely be under light stress especially if you didn't slowly acclimate it to this lighting schedule.
White at the tips could be new growth but hard to tell from your pic.
Thanks Dennis. I will make a point to go get those tests this weekend. My lights are not dimmable so what you said absolutely makes sense. Now to get it used to my schedule should I put it back down lower in my tank or maybe cut my whole lighting schedule back then gradually increase it. Would be a pain in my butt since my lights are programmable but cannot save multiple settings. Also is alkalinity a trace element found in most salt mixtures or is it something I need to dose, if it's low that is. Dumb question I'm sure.
All trace elements are in your salt. You would never dose anything that is not in your salt.
Now whether or not you need to dose will be dependent upon your tank's uptake of each of these elements.
Usually a young tank with very few coral will be ok with water changes, but as things start growing the tank will begin to consume more and more.
An easier way to control alk and calc in a low demand tank is to use Kalkwasser in your ATO. This worked for me for about a year. Then i finally had to start dosing as my tank was consuming far more calcium and alk than full saturated lime water could provide.

As far as your lights, i would probably move that guy back down and into the corner of your tank. See if if things start to improve after a few days and start slowly moving from there. If he starts to not look so good again, move him back.
Thanks Dennis I appreciate it. So judging by my pics alone it does seem likes it's losing its colour right? It's not just me. I will also move it down and hope for the best! Thanks again! Will update this in a few days.
I would say yes. I wouldn't believe it's growth and more along the lines of dirty water. If it was red before and now brown, I would say water and less lights. These bad boys don't require very intense light. Here is a picture of what i see is the supposed color?
Thanks Mario. So less light. I'm not sure how I can correct dirty water when it's really showing no signs of dirty water though. My Nitrates are below 10ppm and I do weekly water changes. Never missed one. Everything else in my tank is looking great. Probably the best I've ever had it. Also it was never red under daytime lights always brown from the day I bought it. I don't know why but under my blue moonlights it glows red. I lowered it to the sand for now see how that goes. Any ideas what else I could do? Maybe it appears more brown then pinky red because my white leds far outnumber my blues. I've noticed since I put those leds on everything appears a little duller. I even went as far the other day to put my t5s back on just to see the difference and everything looked more colorful under the t5s. I'm assuming it's cause of so much white light since blues and other led colours are what make corals color pop!
Low alk can also have an affect on color.
My nitrates are around 4ppm though, and a couple of my higher end sps still turned brownish on me.

btw, that's a birdsnest coral up there, not a stag. ;)
Your ppm on nitrates is stable 10? I see a lot of particles free floating in your tank and some build up of algae on glass. The coral looked a little distressed with slime coat... maybe you just moved it. I would try to get some more doc out of the tank with running the skimmer a little wet? I run filter floss (pillow stuffing) in my bubble trap to help with fines, but I know you are sumpless.
The second picture your referring to I'm assuming Mario. Those are microbubbles right after I clean my skimmer it does that for a few hrs. If you take a look at my showcase pics that's not a common occurrence in my pics. And yes for the past 3 months since I moved my nitrates have read below 10 ppm judging by the colour on the chart. I do have algae on the back of tank, barely any in my opinion considering I've never cleaned it before. I've always been sceptical of those api test kits though. I test my water 2-3 times a week and it's always read the same. I'm going to be in need of a new kit soon so maybe will read different. Hope I'm not coming off as offended cause believe me I'm not I really appreciate your guys input. Just sometimes it's hard to tell on here from some of the threads I've read. :)
Nope no offense taken. Thicker skin and not reading into anything is key. Stupid words always come out wrong or out of context. Just here to learn and help as well hopefully everyone else. Every tank is different and requires different attention. I just state what works for me personally. Good luck and if you need more frags let me know. I don't mind given them away, I'm sick of high priced corals anyways.

.... New movement..... breaking down the walls to cheaper corals one frag at a time....
I agree 100% mario thanks for your input. I just ordered those test kits D2 thanks. Im only posting this picture cause i have never been good with these colour charts i normally need my gf to give me a second opinion since i lack seeing colours apparently. And she isnt here right now. Plus mario got me wondering lol .To me this looks like around between 5 and 10 ppm. Just did this test 15 mins ago. I find under different lighting it looks totally different to me though. Guess thats what 15 years of welding will do to your eyes.
Also does the white light to blue ratio make any sense of how corals will look. I really dont know that much about lighting but that was my initial assumption as to why it looked more brown to me then red. But when the blues are on it glows more red. The marineland reef capable leds are no where near the top of the line lights by any means they have 23 white leds and 4 blues. Going to be getting a wider spectrum in the new year.
Based on that pic id say you are pretty close to 5ppm.
Light spectrum will definitely have an effect on your coral colors. Its not the only factor though.
I had one or two colors of sps in my tank change just going from the gen 1 radions to the radion pros, pretty sure due to the UV spectrum.
Thanks Dennis i know you got a good eye judging by your pics. ;) i assume that the 2 corals that changed colours under the new radions changed for the better though right?