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Old 04-10-2008, 07:07 PM   #1
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Kalkwasser supplementing

I don't have a whole lot of Corals absorbing calcium so a need for a lot of supplement is not necessary. I am using reef crystals tested calcium at about 370ppm I want to get it up to about 400 or more for optimum coraline growth and to help out my favia brain coral. I bought a 2.5gallon Kent Aquadose pretty much a plastic jug with an IV drip line. I am using it to help minimize the work of topping off due to evaporation.

The 2.5gallon jug drips into my return pump zone of my sump/fuge I have it on a slow drip like 1drip per second.

I added some Kent Kalkwasser powder 3 teaspoons to the 2.5g of RO/DI water in the jug. The directions stated 1/8teaspoon to 2teaspoons per gallon of water. about 1/4teaspoon to 5teaspoons max for the jug. With the 3 teaspoons I added and a slow drip I am wondering what this will do to my calcium.

I will be testing Calcium/Alkalinity every 2 days to see where I am at. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I could not use any Kalkwasser next time or more depending on how it turns out.
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:34 AM   #2
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Kalk is NOT used to raise ca and alk, it's used to maintain those levels.

First, get your levels up where you want them and then you can add a little kalk to your top off water, IF NEEDED. Those new corals you got won't really use much ca or alk out of the system. PWC's will probably be enough to keep the levels up.

The way I suggest you raise your levels for calcium is: get some Kent TurboCalcium (calcium chloride pellets), take 1 cup and add it to 1/2 gallon of RO water and mix. It will get pretty hot. This is the only mixture you will ever need to raise calcium.

To raise your alkilinity: get some Arm&Hammer baking soda. There are 2 ways to do this depending on your pH. I will give you the method that's good for most tank with a normal pH range, as opposed to a tank that has a typically higher pH (8.4 or better). Take 1 1/8 cup of baking soda, spread it out on a cookie sheet and put it on the over at 400deg for 1 hr. Baking it drives out the extra co2, so you started with sodium bicarbonate and ended with sodium carbonate. Mix the baked baking soda with 1/2 gal of RO. You have to shake it alot as it is takes a while for it all to dissolve. You now have the only mixture you will ever need to raise your alk.

Now, use this reef chemistry calculator to figure out how much of each mixture you need to add to raise it to the desired levels. The product for ca is Kent TurboCalcium and the product for alk is Randy's 2 Part recipe 1.

I swear by Randy's 2 Part solutions. It is the only thing I dose my tank with. Here is his entire article on making your own sloutions.
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Old 04-11-2008, 12:06 PM   #3
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very cool calculator and thanks for the article. So its best to get the calcium in my mixed water for my PWC up to 400 first and add that water during PWC And over time the water from PWC will increase the CA in my tank. When there is Corals absorbing CA in my tank Kalkwasser is needed to prevent it being depleted. So if I start screwing my Calcium by adding TurboCA are the odds good that my Alk will be affected and having to supplement that? I don't want to become a mad scientist just bump up my CA a bit. I guess I will give the TurboCa a try and test ALk/CA often to see what the effects are. Looks like I will have to get a magnesium test kit as well if I start messing with things. Just want to get it figured before I add some serious corals to the tank.
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Old 04-11-2008, 12:56 PM   #4
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You want to raise the levels in the tank. Dose directly into your tank (not the sump). It will take a really long time and lots of big pwc's to raise tank levels if you only bump up the pwc water.
When you have the proper levels in your tank, you can use kalk to maintain those levels....but, too much of a hassle IMO. Overdosing kalk can lead to major problems with pH. I find it much easier to just dose equal parts of each solution, as needed.

I've met and talked face to face with a few of the hobby's top experts about salt brands. The brand of salt recommended was Instant Ocean! But, before they use it, they raise the alk, calcium and mag levels with the recipes I mentioned. I asked why IO, answer was it's good salt, cheap and easy to get the levels up where they should be before adding it to the tank. Depending on the size of their tank, they maintain alk and ca by either a ca reactor, kalk reactor or simply daily dosing.
Not sure why I don't do it like that....lol.
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:46 PM   #5
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Agree with cccapt... unless you've got some big SPS tank, or a frag farm, your easiest (least likely to mess up) method will be 2-part solution to maintain Ca/Alk levels. I'm another that has gotten my levels where I want them with TurboCa and the alk part of a 2-part, and now just dose daily with 2-part. And of course I use TurboCa to bump the Ca level of my Reef Crystals PWC water up to my tank level (400).

While the commercial 2-part solutions are expensive compared to kalk, there are several DIY recipes out there using bulk ingredients that work just fine for a lot of folks, as cccapt linked to.
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Old 04-11-2008, 02:33 PM   #6
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Bulk Reef Supply - Bulk Reef Supply
Bulk Reef Supply - Bulk Reef Supply
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:46 PM   #7
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I was kinda hoping to avoid daily dosing what happens if I am gone for the weekend? I bought the 2.5g jug for dripping my top-off water due to evaporation. I didnt want to mess an ATO device. If I always mix my PWC to 400ppm CA by adding TurboCA everytime eventually the tank would always be at 400ppm CA. So really why the 2-part soulution? that is to replenish the calcium/Alk absorbed from corals correct doesn't Kalkwasser do the same thing as a 2-part solution its definately easier for me. I just add the kalkwasser to my 2.5g jug I refill the jug every 3days or so. Can I add the 2-part solution to the jug.. I am thinking they are the same thing, what am I missing
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:23 PM   #8
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It's really good your asking questions before messing with reef chemistry. I like to keep everything simple. I suggest you step away from the kalkwasser...lol. It may seem like a simple solution, and it does work, but you must know how it works and how much to use.
When a coral builds it's skeleton (LPS or SPS) or coralline grows, they consume elements in the water. The 3 main being calcium, alkalinity and magnesium in proportionate amounts. It is always x amount of ca, y amount of alk and z amount of mag. The proportion doesn't change. For this reason, if you need to supplement, it's best to use a balanced solution that add those elements back in the same proportion. Kalk will maintain ca and alk and mag has to be done seperately. The 2 part solution gets dosed in equal amounts (1/4 cup of each for example) and part 3 of the 2 part is a mag supplement.
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I was kinda hoping to avoid daily dosing what happens if I am gone for the weekend?
OK, let's step back. The corals currently in your tank will use very little ca. So first off, you know the ca is 370 in your tank. Let's figure out how much is being used every day. Test today, test tomorrow...is there any change? Keep testing until you determine how much your tank consumes. Once that is known, you decide how to supplement. Easy 2 part, or figure out how much kalk to add to your top off. It can't be dosed directly into the tank. So you need to determine, based on the tanks consumption and the amount of evaporation, how much you should use.
Quote:
If I always mix my PWC to 400ppm CA by adding TurboCA everytime eventually the tank would always be at 400ppm CA.
Let's do some math. ca level at 370, 20% pwc at 400 = 376 now. Assuming ca is maintained at that level and in 2 weeks another 20% pwc. 376 ca, 20% pwc at 400 = 380 now. Another at 380, 20% pwc at 400 = 384. You'll get there eventually.
Quote:
So really why the 2-part soulution? that is to replenish the calcium/Alk absorbed from corals correct doesn't Kalkwasser do the same thing as a 2-part solution its definately easier for me.
With the 2 part it is known how much, exactly, to dose to maintain your levels or raise them. You can raise ca from 380 to 400 in 1 dose with no problem. You can't dose enough kalk fast enough to raise ca that much, plus it will no only raise ca, it will raise alk, and since kalk has a pH of about 11 (I think, it may be higher), adding too much too fast can cause major problems.
The beauty of the 2 part is once you get your levels right, you dose equal parts of each ca and alk.
Quote:
Can I add the 2-part solution to the jug
No. You can not mix both of the 2 part solutions together and you can't add kalk to either.
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Old 04-12-2008, 01:09 AM   #9
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That was a great post cccapt. Absolutely great.

One thing about your setup fijiwigi that jumped out at me. And since I don't do kalk, I'm not sure if this is normal...

Is it normal to dose kalk into a top off drip feed? My thinking is that as the warmer temps start coming around, you're going to want to increase your top off (evaporation) drip rate to make up for the additional evaporative losses. But yet you haven't increased your calcium load. By making your calcium/alk makeup dependent upon your evaporation losses, it seems like it'd be hard to keep that consistant. Again... I've only read about kalk and don't use it, but it seems like you'd want to drip it separately from your makeup water if you were dead determined to use it. Anyone have an opinion on that?

I use a 2-part (c-balance) and I don't see myself moving away from it. The only reason I dose at all is that after a few months of coralline growth, it started turning white. That's when I did my first calcium test. It was around 320 so I realized I was going to have to do something about it. If I didn't want the coralline growth I have, I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have to dose daily. Guess I'm one of the few that don't mind scraping it off my glass!

From everything I've read, if you have high calcium usage, kalk is the way to go. But you don't... and with the lighting you have now, you won't. Don't get me wrong... if you find something that works for you, that's great, and we all want to hear about it. But I think we're just afraid of what *might* happen since kalk is a pretty powerful additive. It doesn't take much to mess things up good.
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Old 04-12-2008, 01:53 AM   #10
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So I am still left with the question of what to do if I am gone for 3days. Lets say I have a lot of Calcium sucking corals for arguements sake. Do you over dose the 2-part to plan for the time being gone or just let the tank's CA drop and then recover it after the 3 days?


I understand there is a relationship between Calcium and Alkalinity etc... And it is not as simple as just adding some CA and calling it a day. But Do you believe that If I only add TurboCa to my PWC to increase my Calcium from 370 to 400ppm for each PWC that it would satisfy my current needs of just bumping up the Calcium to help push the Coraline growth and make my Brain happy and thriving??
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