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Old 06-02-2005, 09:51 PM   #1
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Can't figure out my calicum test very frustrated please help

I've been trying to get ready to convert my FOWLR to reef tank. Everything seems ready, but I've been unable to get an accurate calcium reading. I've tried both the Salifert calcium test kit and an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kit, but I keep getting results that measure extremely high and way off the chart. All of the test kits that I've seen require the user to add the testing solution drop by drop (and gently shake the test tube in between drops) until the water changes color, but the color of my water in the test tube never changes colors until I'm well over the test's possible Ca levels. In my opinion, these results are definitely wrong. I have never added calcium supplements to my tank and use R/O water with Instant Ocean salt. I've also tested KH and received a reading of 7 dKH. I've asked my lfs to test it for me, but they will only test ph, nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia (I think they don't want to have to sit there and do the drop by drop). Can anyone think of way for me to get an accurate Ca reading or what I'm doing wrong with my tests? Are there any other types of test kits out there that are simpler to use? I'd be willing to pay the extra money for a test kit that will relieve me of my frustrations.
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Old 06-02-2005, 10:48 PM   #2
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Salifert is usually quite accurate. It could be you have a bumb test kit although I rarely ever hear about it. "Operator error" can be a common one as well.

Which version do you have, the new or the old and are you performing the full test (2 ml, 1 scoop 8 drops) or the ½ test (1 ml, ½ scoop, 4 drops)?

If the new one, add your two ml of water to the vial, then one level scoop of the purple crystals (regent 1), then 8 drops of the liquid (regent 2) and gentley swirl the vial until the color is an even pink. Do not shake it.

Fill the ml marked slim syringe with regent 3 being sure to use the extension nib. Add drop by drop until the color changes to blue.

Anything different there?

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Old 06-03-2005, 12:24 PM   #3
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When using the extension nib, you need to make sure that you fill the syringe until the black line hits the top mark (not worrying about the air bubble line, leave that air in the tube). When you're test turns colors then you need to read where the black line is (again no regard for where the air line is).

Does any of this change your result?
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Old 06-05-2005, 12:48 AM   #4
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I have the new version of the Salifert test kit. I tried it again using the 1/2 test method and came out with a result of 540. That seems pretty high. Does that seem normal, considering I've never added any supplements to the water? What's the best way to lower the level of calcium in my tank?
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Old 06-05-2005, 02:09 AM   #5
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if you have aragonite or crushed coral substrate then that result is likely to be correct, i wouldnt add any supplements, it is almost impossible to get ca levels back down from too high.
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Old 06-05-2005, 10:52 AM   #6
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If you were using oceanic salt i would say that can be normal...
Test you new salt water the next time you mix some up and see if its the salt mix.
Your alk is a little low..
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Old 06-05-2005, 01:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bodie
Does that seem normal, considering I've never added any supplements to the water? What's the best way to lower the level of calcium in my tank?
Take a sample of your water to the LFS, chances are pretty good here that you have a low Mg problem. Low alkalinity with a higher than normal Ca with no supps added to the tank is the most common reason.

Please post the specs of your freshly mixed SW after it's had 12-24 hrs to mix with a powerhead. It will help determine if the saltmix is the cause or possible remedy. Usually water changes are the best means of correcting water chemistry issues like this.

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Old 06-06-2005, 01:38 PM   #8
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I have live sand as a substrate and I've been using Instant Ocean salt mixed in R/O water. I noticed that jayfish mentioned, "i wouldnt add any supplements, it is almost impossible to get ca levels back down from too high." Do the rest of you agree with his assertion? Are water changes the only way to fix the problem and lower the calcium level?

I will definitely have to test the Mg level. If it is low, how can I raise it and will that help resolve my problems?
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Old 06-06-2005, 11:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bodie
I noticed that jayfish mentioned, "i wouldnt add any supplements, it is almost impossible to get ca levels back down from too high." Do the rest of you agree with his assertion? Are water changes the only way to fix the problem and lower the calcium level?
Not necessarily. It is not the only way but it is the best way. If the Mg levels are off, no amount of dosing will correct the levels until the Mg deficiencey is corrected. If off and corrected, the other levels will quickly fall into line. Water changes will correct all 3 issues (alk/Ca/Mg) for the most part.

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I will definitely have to test the Mg level. If it is low, how can I raise it and will that help resolve my problems?
If deficient you will need a magnesium chloride additive. Small corrections can be made with epsom salts but are not recommended for large corrections. If you do not buy a test kit, make sure you get the SW you use tested as well as the tank water to see if it's part of the problem.

Cheers
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