Old Tank Syndrome? Very Sad Story.
by, 08-22-2012 at 01:26 AM (940 Views)
About 10 months ago my tank was doing great. I created a little gallery of the tank with Iphoto that is available here:
Around Christmas this past year a rapid decline started. I started to lose some corals (mostly Montipora) but everything else looked fine. Shortly there after the hair algae set in and covered all the rock and back glass. Then the rest of the SPS started dying off one-by-one.
I also noticed that all my snails keep dying as well. I tried adding some new ones but most of they died as well. 90% mortality on snails is concerning.
I tried many things to combat the decline. Cleaned all the algae off the rocks over a weekend (12 hours +) only to have it come back within a week or two.
I tested phosphates and they were low with a salifert kit. It was bugging me that the algae was growing so crazy with low phosphates so I get a Hanna checker and found my phosphates were much higher than I thought around .50 PPM. I treated with Phosphate Rx and it when down for a day or two and then shot back up. I tried GFO and that was exhausted in a couple of days. No matter how much I removed it was being put back in the water.
Over the course of trying to treat the phosphates things kept getting worse and worse. Nearly all the corals are dead now. I have a few LPS that are just barely hanging on. I'll post some after pictures but it is pretty depressing seeing where things were until now.
I was seriously considering packing it in. (and I may get there again if I can't figure this out). From all of my research the best guess is some form of old tank syndrome. So what I've down is remove all the dead coral and removed about 75% of the live rock from the tank. These rocks have been "cooking" in rubber-maid trash can for a couple months now with no light. I've been monitoring the phosphates in the can and until recently they were still high. I've been doing water changes and adding Phosphate Rx. It seems that the rock have picked-up the phosphate and leeching it back into the water. I'm not adding any food to the trash can so the phosphate must me coming from the rocks.
My plan is to keep cooking the rocks until all the phosphates are gone. I'm going to start running some GFO on the can. Then I'm going to remove the fish and what's left of the coral and replace the sandbed. I currently have a plenum and I'm going to remove that as well. I'm going to take the opportunity to fix some of the plumbing and clean out everything and fill with fresh saltwater and then add back the live rock.
I'm wondering if anyone might have some advice for me if this the best course of action. Also wondering if anyone have any ideas on what might kill snails like this. All the water parms were fine expect the phosphates. That's the one thing I can't figure is what is killing the snails?