Back in January my Acropora decided to die. It made my whole house smell like rotten fruit in a matter of hours. This can be the first time I can truly say that my tank has crashed (and from what I hear from other reefers, it will probably not be the last.) I did twice daily water changes to try and save as much of my reef as possible, however within 72 hours my beautiful ORA Mandarin was dead, my Accro was dead, my Pincusion urchin was dead, my plate Montipora lived for another two weeks, however it soon died. Any hopes for any SPS or frags in my tank soon vanished because of a hair algae outbreak following the nitrate spike from the crash.
To keep the rest of my coral from dying I sold my Finger Leather (since i am afraid that part of my tanks problems have been chemical warfare from my Finger Leather,) and have let the tank rest for the last 3 months only adding a rather large crew of snails, cleaner shrimps, hermit crabs, brittle starfish, and a Diamond Goby to clean the sand. In this time I have kept only my remaining Pom Pom Xenia, a large Cabbage Leather, a large Pavona Cactus (i know its an SPS but it is one of the easier to take care of.) And my orange Ricordia Mushroom.
I have began dosing vodka, I know that most people believe that it is more voodoo than chemistry, however I talked to my Science Prof at school, and he explained that the vodka gave the beneficial algae a source of food that did not add phosphorus to my tank and therefore it was actually better than most other types of dosing. I have also been dosing 2 part (Kent Marine Nano) on a weekly basis as well as doing a 25% water change weekly and adding freshwater to combat evaporation every other day. Since the death of my ORA Mandarin I have not fed any frozen food or shrimp, nor have I been feeding the tank as much, therefore I have been able to keep my nitrates down.
Because of the vodka dosing my nitrates have fallen to almost 0 and I now have a tank that is clean enough to be an SPS tank, however I have recently decided that I really like the somewhat easier to keep (if not just as expensive or more, LPS)
I traded my Pavona Cactus today for a Hammer (Euphyllia Ancora) and have been for the past few weeks stocking up on different common mushrooms (Actinodiscus sp.) These make a great addition to my Rhodactus Mushroom already in the tank (for a month or so) which has been hosted by our clownfish Stripes. I have also bought a quite tall colony of Xenia, and will attempt to make it grow up the back wall of the tank.
In all my reef tank is starting to look much better, and not so much like a crash survivor. Around the first of April I will have more posts as I decide which way this tank will go.