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Old 10-04-2005, 12:22 AM   #1
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Calc/alk parameters ?

Ok, with the addition of corals I have started to monitor calc/alk a little closer.

Calc started at 375 and over last week I have raised it to 450 mg/l with Coralife calcium supplement. I think this level is about ideal since I have a mix of both hard and soft corals. Toughts?

Alk seems a bit high though at 5.0 meq/l

I bought some B-Ionic (have not used it yet) and packaging states ALK should be between 3.0-3.75 meq/l

I assume only way to lower alk safely is through pwc or just over time since packaging only talks about raising it?

PH measure between 8.2-8.4

Corals seem to be doing great, but it is early yet.

Is this a case of:

1. leave well enough alone?
2. Start the B-Ionic treatments to maintain current levels?
3. Do a larger pwc and recheck to see is ALK comes down then start the B-Ionic?
4. Something else?

Any help appreciated.

TIA,
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Old 10-04-2005, 12:33 AM   #2
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Oh, one other ? another LFS recomended using the Sea Lab blocks once I get all parameters within tolerance. Claimed they slowly release what is missing to keep all parameters in line over time. Swear by them for thier accounts they only service periodically.

One challenge I do have is adding anything daily as I am on the road with work frequently. Unfortunately, aquarium is nice to look at for rest of family, but my hobby when it comes to maintenance
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Old 10-04-2005, 12:49 AM   #3
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I don't know the chemistry fully, but the alkalinity is the buffering capacity of the water, which helps maintain a stable pH. If it's a little high, I would imagine that the pH may be affected. Would I bother with a water change? Depends on your tank's behaviour. If it does looks alkalinity rapidly or relatively fast, then perhaps you could leave it and let the level fall through natural processes.

On calcium, I would be monitoring your calcium levels. It's a vital part of the coral life and needs to be within range. By testing your calcium levels daily you will gain a greater understanding of the rate at which your calcium levels deplete which in my view is invaluable information. This will also allow you to be spot on whenever the level goes too low.

Your level seems to be fine in my view. I try to keep mine at around 350. From what I have learnt, having a higher calcium level isn't too bad, but excess above 550 can cause problems.

Frankly, you have to choose what level you want your calcium and alkalinity at, remembering that the availability of carbonate is very dependant on having the proper pH and alkalinity, so it is important to keep both within the appropriate bounds however.

Keep in mind also, things like temperature and other things happening in your tank can cause your readings to be misleading so ensure you do multiple tests at regular, irregular intervals if that makes sense.

If you really want to be keen, get an electronic reader and set up a drip system to keep the ideal levels.
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Old 10-04-2005, 12:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afilter
Oh, one other ? another LFS recomended using the Sea Lab blocks once I get all parameters within tolerance. Claimed they slowly release what is missing to keep all parameters in line over time. Swear by them for thier accounts they only service periodically.

One challenge I do have is adding anything daily as I am on the road with work frequently. Unfortunately, aquarium is nice to look at for rest of family, but my hobby when it comes to maintenance
On this, unless I can see repeated consistent results with good explaination of how this product works, I doubt I can ever trust it. Again I don't know chemistry that much, but I find it difficult for the product to know what is depleting and at what rate. For instance in my tank, the calcium levels don't fluctuate anywhere near as much as the KH levels do.

Does it provide good explaination and/or proof of how it works?
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Old 10-04-2005, 08:36 AM   #5
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I would do nothing other then test daily like flanque states. Monitor tank and see how much it uses and then use additives as needed. In the beginning I was only dosing calcium daily and alk maybe once or twice a month. As my tank matured and things grew I had to dose more alk. Now I add both daily and test once a week. I know guys who use Oceanic Salt and never have to add calcium they just dose the alk.
If you cal is at 450 and your alk is high then there is no need to add anything, monitor the levels and when you see then starting to go down then add the cal a little at a time testing to see how much is needed to keep the levels where you want. 380 to 450 is the accepted range for calcium so do not get crazy trying to keep it right at 450 all the time.
Never heard of that block additive before?
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Old 10-04-2005, 10:22 AM   #6
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I'll second seaham again. Test and keep a log of your readings. If you have a lot of corals and other inverts that are using up the CA in your tank you'll need to replace that. A 2 part additive is, IMO, the easiest way to go in the begining in order to get everything balanced. Once you have your system balanced with the levels you want and you can account for a steady schedule then a single part additive or even a calcium drip can help keep levels steady.


For some good reading, check out this article. I found it to be extreemely helpful when I first added some softies to my tank.
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/nov2002/chem.htm
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Old 10-04-2005, 10:50 AM   #7
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Thanks all, I will start tracking my test readings.
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Old 10-04-2005, 02:22 PM   #8
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what i've done, as well as logging my readings, I also log what I added as a result of my readings. IOW, if I read low CA, I record the CA reading as well as how much CA buffer I add to the tank.
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Old 10-04-2005, 05:34 PM   #9
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One challenge I do have is adding anything daily as I am on the road with work frequently. Unfortunately, aquarium is nice to look at for rest of family, but my hobby when it comes to maintenance


After I got my Ca and Alk in balance, I set up a drip system with B-ionic and it has worked very nicely for 8 months now. Your signature shows that you have a sump, which is perfect for this set-up. Kent manufactures a IV style drip bottle in several sizes. I use the 1400ml bottle for the drip... actually, you need two of them, one for the Ca and one for the Alk. Don't mix the 2 parts together, you must drip them from 2 separate bottles. I fill the 1400 ml bottle with RO water and add 210 ml of the Ca solution. I then set it to drip once every 45 seconds or so. This will allow it to drip for one week (adding 30ml of Ca solution per day) before it runs dry and I have to fill it again. Do the same for the Alk component-- in a seperate 1400ml bottle add 210ml of the Alk solution and set up a 45 second drip. I have a 72 gallon display tank with a 35 gallon sump with a pretty heavy population of corals and I've found this drip rate and Ca/Alk ratio to be perfect. My Ca is pegged at 430 every time I test it and is always in balance with Alk. I also have a 2.5 gallon bottle set-up with a once per 10 second drip of straight RO water to replace the water that evaporates. Of course, your drip rate and Ca/alk concentrations will vary depending on system volume and bioload. It will take some experimenting to get it just right but once you do, life is a lot easier.
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Old 10-04-2005, 08:26 PM   #10
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I agree with all above but keep in mind a balanced Ca/Alk is more important that having them at peak levels. I don't dose anything and my Ca is 420-425 and Alk is 2.5-3 meg/L with Oceanic salt. I have noticed a bit more Ca usage lately but I have more stony corals now.

It does not have to be complicated.
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