Inverts and Corals Keep dying...... Any Ideas???

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I was hoping some of you may have an idea of why my inverts and corals keep biting the dust. All my tank parameters are within acceptable ranges and have no idea why I am having issues keeping anything other than fish. A few months ago I had a tank crash and lost all my corals, my more delicate fish, even all my Coraline algae died. I never figured out what caused this crash but am thinking this is why I am still having issues.....

Here is what I am running on my tank:
  • 90 gal display tank
  • 30 gal sump with approx 20 gal volume
  • Vertex 180i protein skimmer
  • Apex Controller with PH Probe, temp probe, ORP Probe
  • 2 qty 200 watt heaters
  • Radon XR30w LED light (need to get another)
  • Ehiem Lifter
  • ATO top off
  • 2 Vortech MP40QD's
  • BRS GFO / Carbon Reactor
I am going to test my parameters shortly and will post my results when done.
So here are my test results:

Salinity = 1.026
Temp = 77.5 Degrees
PH = 8.21
ORP = 221
Nitrate = 5 PPM
Ammonia = 0 PPM
Alkalinity = 16 DKH
Phosphates = 0 PPM

Everything seems pretty good to me and not sure what is going on? I have my radion set to a low intensity to accumulate the most recent polyp.


Staff member
The only thing I see is your alk is way too high. Should be more like 8-10. Would that cause your problem I don't know. What are calcium and magnesium.


Well-Known Member
I think the Alk may be a false reading, otherwise the pH would probably be up there. Nevertheless, I agree: That Alk if accurate is quite high. See about dropping it down slowly to 12, then 10. pH should stay around 8-ish. An Alk that high WOULD cause shock death if you don't slowly acclimate the corals or inverts.
So I am completely stumped.... I have just now decided to try to introduce some snails and coral frags into the tank to see if this issue was resolved over the past 6 months and the snails where dead within two days and the coral frag has not opened up. "simple star polyp" my fish seem to be fine and all my tests come in quite well? any idea? I am quite frustrated that I can't seem to figure out this coral and invert problem I have.

bang guy

Staff member
What is your Calcium level?

Is your Alkalinity still high?

How did you acclimate the Snail?

Star polyps are notorious for staying closed when moved to a new system.
What is your Calcium level?

Is your Alkalinity still high?

How did you acclimate the Snail?

Star polyps are notorious for staying closed when moved to a new system.
I acclimated them with the drip system for about 1.5hrs "large turbo snails" In the past those things have been like tanks and have always done well. The first day in the morning the star polyps came out and once and when my lights turned on they never opened back up. I have one Radion XR30, need to still get another.....

I have always been worried that they may be to powerful compared to what the stores use, however I have them on a lower intensity.
What is your Calcium level?

Is your Alkalinity still high?

How did you acclimate the Snail?

Star polyps are notorious for staying closed when moved to a new system.
Oh, and the dkh was at 8.5 reading from Hanna Checker
and dkh was at 7.0 from Elos test kit "not sure why readings had a whole 1.5 difference"


Staff member
Are u using reverse osmosis water for top offs and water changes? Have you tested your water for chlorine/chloromine?

Could be changes in your city water supply causing issues.
I use Ro/Di for everything out of the BRS 4 stage plus. TDS is at zero also calcium usually is around 420.

I purchased a copper test kit just to see if somehow it got introduced, but had a zero reading thankfully.

Since I had my tank crash about a year ago, inverts or corals can't survive in the tank.....

Fish seem to be just fine.
No I never did find what caused the cash? The only thing I could think of was that I redid some plumbing to my sump and the pvc glue may not have completely dried? Not sur f it was that because the crash happened about 4 days later.

Super high ammonia spike so I did several water changes and added some amonialoc.


Staff member
My concern would be that whatever caused the original crash ( probably not the glue) is still in play to some degree.
There is a company called Triton that you can send a water sample to and they will do a comprehensive analysis. I have never done it but I think it costs around $50. It might be worth giving that a try.
So I just got some nice test kits to test for Calcium and mag, these levels where extremely high so I am hoping this may have been my issue. Oddly my Alk and PH have stayed at acceptable levels.

Mag was Plus 3000
Calc was Plus 800

It is hard to be exact since the test kits didn't test that high but think it should be fairly close. I have been dosing Kalkwasser and think I must have been dosing way to much.

bang guy

Staff member
Limewater doesn't contain any Magnesium, it must be some other additive, or perhaps a bad batch of salt.

I question how Alkalinity could stay normal with Calcium so high but I suppose it's possible with such a high Mg level.