What am I doing wrong

I admire those of you who can keep a reef tank. I have tried for over 3 years spending thousands of dollars just to see my new coral close up and never truly open. I need some help. Here is what I got.

150 Gallon aquarium
crushed coral substrait
75 of live rock taking up about 30% of the aquarium.
2 power heads (100 GPH)
1 power head (300 gph)
wet/dry filter with bioballs
1050 gph pump connected to the W/D
three 400w 14000k metal halide light sitting about 6 inches from the top of the aquarium.
Large protein skimmer
Kent RO/DI

15 Mushrooms, Was 3 inches in diameter now one inch or less
2 leather coral, was about 6 inches in diameter, now less than two inches
1 Long Tentacle Plate, tentacles were 5 inches long, now 1/2 inches long
2 fish which have lived in the tank for over a year despite me never feeding them
I have a couple of other corals but I do not know there names. They are doing about the same.
30 hermit crabs, many have died
30 snales, down from 250

I do not use any additives. but have tried iodine, magnesium, strodium, reef builder, Kalkwasser by seachem and kent. no luck, I use instant ocean salt and have recently switched to coralife. I do water replacements every week. I tried more often and less often. It does not make a difference.

lights are on for 6 hours a day. I went to 8 hours and that did not help so I went back to 6 hours.

Water temp. is 78

No nitrates/nitrites/pho4
Calcium is 500
ph is fine
alk is fine
spg is 1.023

All the corals are still alive after 1 year but they have never truley opened up much less grown. I look at your all pictures you have on this site and am amazed. I looked at the picture of the "1oo gallon reef Hope you enjoy".This is how my coral looked befor I put them in my aquarium. within 6 months they shrival up and/or die. I have added Anemones but they die in about a month or less.

I need help. Any Idaes?

First off, welcome to Living Reefs. I am no expert on corals but here are a few of my thought on your situation. I am sure a more knowlegable member will chime in later.

How old are the bulbs in your lights? They need replaced about every 12 months.

It could be the location you are placing your corals. Some corals do better closer to the light and some do better farther away. I know the shrooms don't like direct light.

Current can also be an issue. Some corals don't like direct and some need direct flow.

Another thing is that some corals need to be fed. Try adding a liquid invert food.

I would recomend finding an informative book that tells you idea care conditions for corals and finding your corals to know what to do. I say this because you say you have a leather and my book has 3 different leathers in it so it helps to know exactly what you have. It can be hard to properly identify corals with a picture alone.
It sounds like you have too much light, the corals you named off are a low light coral. Are they placed at the bottom of the tank, and shrooms in shaded areas? I'm sure the salinity is'nt the prob but I would bring it up to 1.025. You probably got a bigger prob if a anemone is dieing within a month. How old are your test kits? If there more than a year old they might need replaced. Have you tested for copper
Be careful with additives too.Its easy to over dose those,which can cause a crash.
Slowly bring your salinity up to at least 1.024.I personally keep mine at
1.026.Do you use a hydrometer or a refractometer to test salinity?If your using a hydrometer you might want to check its accuracy.I have seen them be off by as much as 5 points either way(high or low).
In short
Dont dose anything unless your testing for it and its low.
Double check your salinity(im betting this one is the problem)If it to high or to low,adjust it slowly.
I thank you.

I cange my lights every 6 months, My new lights are 3 weeks old.

I will cange my 400 watts to 250 watts and see if this helps.
I will also increase my SG to 1.025 and see what happens. I never had it this high. I use a digital SG.
Hello! From Mesa, eh? FINALLY a fellow Arizonan on here!

I would start by saying that you probably would benefit from adding more live rock, at least 1 to 2 lbs per gallon. I agree the the post above that that seems like a lot of light, maybe try raising the lights up higher and moving the corals down? That seems like a good suggestion to me, thanks Bobby.

What kind of water do you use? Do you use tap water for your water changes or do you use RODI water?

Like Jerm said, most corals need to be fed something, whether it be plankton or chunks of seafood. If you do not feed some of them, they will either die or just whither away, which is what sounds like has happened to many of yours.

I'd skip adding any more additives, like Yote said, adding something you don't need can kill things just as easily as not adding something you do need.

What kind of fish do you have?

For now, I would not add any more animals to your system until you figure out what is going on. Something is obviously not right.

I dont think I can add much more live rock. My estimates may be a little low.

I measured the distance from the top of the water to the bottom of my bulb is 4 inches.

My mushroms are 12 inches from the light.
My leather corals are about the same.
My brown Zoanthids are 10 inches away and have done well.

It will take me a while to look up all the corals but I don't have many.

I do my water changed using a kent RO DI/SI water. The same with fillings when the water level gets low.

I have never feed my corals. I thought the corals live off the lights. This my be why my corals are they are dying or just withering.

I have two fish, an damsel and a yellow tang. Although they are beutiful, I like the looks of corals. (when is a stores mini reef, not mine}

I thank you all so far. I am going to the store today to buy 7 different types of corals. This way I will know what type of lighting, water current and feeding they need.

since I have never fed any of the corals, this has to be the problem. I have tried everything else.

I will try this and let you know what happens next week.

I'd recommend not buying anymore until you find the problem.... it's an expensive risk to keep adding new additions without knowing why the others are not thriving.

As for the live rock - you can defintely add much more. I have more pounds of rock in my 46 gallon than you do in your 150. Don't worry about the tank - it can hold much more weight then you would even imaging. I would recommend in a 150 to have atleast 300 pounds of rock or more.
I agree -- I have 120 lbs of live rock in my 55 gallon tank. Live rock will help immensely with filtration. I also second Adrastos' opinion to NOT buy any more corals until you figure out what is going on with the ones you have... How about you try feeding the ones that you have and see if that helps them instead of buying more? You should also research the corals that you are thinking of buying before you buy them, different species have very different needs and you want to be sure you can provide for those needs beforehand instead of dooming them from the start. Very few corals can survive off of light alone.
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One problem you deffinitely have is too much light for the distance the corals are from the light. You need to raise your 400w mh at least 18 inches above the water to start and maybe more when you see how the corals react. It seems like the corals are experiancing over illumination. it is not clear if they have expelled their Zooxanthellate, or have suffered from to much uv from the lights. Also you do not indicate the oxygen levels, pH and Alkalinity. welcome and do not add any more animals to the system until you get your difficulties under control.
Wow, What a great site. I thank all of you for your welcomed suggestions and comments.

I started out with a 30 gallon gallon aguarium several years ago. I was told it was impossible to have a reef system so go with at least a 55 gallon.

Because I wanted a reef system I purchased a 55 gallon. Sand and all. I was then told to get a bigger protein skimmer and remove my vho lights and purchase a compact strip light. This I did, still nothing would grow.

I was then told to purchase all the different type of test kits and all the additives to correct my problmes. This I did also. Chasing test results with additives drove me crazy, but the reef aquarium is what I wanted.

After a year of doing this, I could maintain my coral but nothing would grow.

I then moved to a bigger house and had to get a bigger aquarium. 150 gallons is what I needed. Thus $5500.00 later I had the dream set up. Everything I needed, Metal Halide lights, Chiller, Large protein skimmer, wet/dry filter, Large pumps, live rock. I did the research and had what it took to make the dream reef aquarium.

I then purchased a total of 260 pounds {sorry, I thnk I said 100 pounds in my prior reply} of live rock and $600 dollars of corals. Still nothing would grow. I purchased bigger pumps, small pumps, 250 watt bulbs, 400 watt bulbs, 10K, 14K, and 20K bulbs. Bigger skimmers, changed fish food and salt. Nothing helped so I gave up after my wife was on me about the money and my kids laughed at my uguly "investment".

Then I thought I hit the jack pot. Just one more minor investment. A cleaner package, $379.00 for shrimp, snails, starfish, and crabs. This would clean up the DEBRIS. Now I was back to chasing test results as I fixed the problem. The aquarium store had me on the right path. New corals. Soon, most everything died off and I lost hope.

That was 1 year ago.

Visting an aquarium store last week and seeing their beautiful reef tanks, It was hard leaving not spending any money. It was all I could do. What was I doing wrong. I had to get some help. After doing a search, I found this site. Let me write a post and see if anyone could help.

Feeding? What do you mean feeding? Corals don't eat. I have the books. It reads Lights, pumps, filters, additives, test, skimmers, ect. Nothing about feeding. My coral book has great pictuers and talks about lighting and water current, water conditions. minerals, Nothing on feeding?

I grabed my son who stated, "not this again", headed to the aquarium store. Upon teling them about replys from this site, the lady looked at me like i was an idiot. She stated, "you have to feed the corals or they will starve to death". I wanted to tell her it would have been nice to know this several years ago. She sold me three items, Live micro brine shrimp, Photofeast, and a fozen block of Coral-protein meat. I got home and did exactly what the direction said. I fed my corals. Within several minutes, most of my coral were shivered up and I had all this extra food floating around. Great I just killed all my corals. In frustration I turned off the lights and went and played with the kids.

This morning I turned on the lights. My coral were now opened. But wait, My mushrooms had these fuzzy things on them and my bubble coral had a open area in the middle. Within 3 hours of turning on the lights, The corals just looked different, They seem to be extending from the rocks.

I feel like an idiot as now I know what the cleaner package was for. It was to eat up the Debris from the feeding of the corals.

I thank all of you for your help and suggestions. I have no doubt this is the problem. $27.00 for coral food vs 7 years and thousands of dollars on un-needed products. I will keep you posted.

God Bless