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Old 02-04-2014, 02:38 AM   #1
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Low Calcium?

Hey guys. I have been getting low calcium test results for the last week now, and am not sure what to do.
Normally my calcium has tested at around 420-460. Recently moved my setup to a new tank a few weeks ago, with new lighting. Corals have deffinitely shown some new growth since the move, but I think the extra growth has meant they are using more calcium.
I am doing weekly water changes of 5 gallons on my 38 gallon tank. I saw a small ammonia spike after the move, panicked, and did about 20 gallons of water changes in 4 days, which was just over a week ago. Took my water to my lfs, and my spike was not there (gotta love API test kits). Last water change was yesterday (Sunday). My calcium tested at 360 yesterday before my water change, and between 340-360 tonight, just over 24 hours later. Yikes!
As I am a total noob with reefing, I need help. Obviously, I need to raise my calcium levels back up, but what should I use to do this with?

Current specs (I know you'll want em)
38g IM nuvo, running filter floss, purigen and carbon. Protien skimmer and ato running. Currently using all API tests.
Ammo >.25 (tested 0 at lfs with hagen tests)
Nitrite 0
Nitrate >.5
PH 8.1
Salinity 1.024 (premixed from lfs)
Phosphate 0
dKH 9
Calcium 360

Current stock:
2 occ clowns
1 fire shrimp
2 hermits, about 10 assorted snails
1 coco worm
Frog spawn (grown a 3rd head since I got it)
Favia frag
Rainbow acan ( growing a new head, about 5-6 total now)
Gonipora flower pot (grown from 4 heads to at least 8 or more)
Xenia
Colt coral
Green sinularia leather
Green star polyp
1 ricoreda florida
A handful of different zoa/paly frags, most with 10+ polyps, growing new polyps every week.

Help. What should I do to get my calcium levels back up? My coco worm is spending more time in its tube than normal, but other than that, everyone seems very happy.
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Old 02-04-2014, 02:41 AM   #2
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Have you tested the water you get from the lfs? If its going in low that would explain your results.
With the corals I see listed i dont see that they would be consuming a large amount of calcium, especially in one day.
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Old 02-04-2014, 02:47 AM   #3
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I have not, but I will do so. As it has normallly tested around the 420 range, I guess I assumed my water from the lfs was fine.
I didnt think with the corals I have, my calcium would test so low so quickly, especially with all the massive water changing i have done in the last 2 weeks.
I will test my lfs water in the morninng and see what I come up with.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:11 PM   #4
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with a 38 g tank I'd just get a liquid calcium suplement from the lfs to raise it. 350 isn't that bad really, I wouldn't stress. Most of your coral are pretty slow growing so they'll take calcium pretty slow I'd assume. I bet its the source water.

The only other thing is if your magnesium is really low you could be getting some calcification when the calcium and alk react with each other. You'd see signs of this somewhere though like on your pumps or something. Do you have any calcuim build up anywhere?

I've had my calcium drop to 300 with no ill effects on my tanks so don't stress...
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:54 PM   #5
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You will need to dose. It's your frog spawn. Once my frog spawn started to grow, it went crazy. I was dosing like 8ml of cal a day to keep up and still had trouble keeping it up.

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Old 02-05-2014, 06:56 PM   #6
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Sorry, my tank is between 24 and 28gal. I also dose magnesium. Remember, whatever you dose, if there is a test for it, buy it, and if no test, follow the directions. Good luck.

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Old 02-10-2014, 02:57 PM   #7
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Thanks guys!
So, I have been doing a little testing, and discovered that my LFS water is low in calcium also (either that, or my test kit is not accurate). I get water from 2 LFS stores (whichever I happen to be closest to when I need it). The salinity of the water I used for my water change yesterday was lower than normal, and the calcium was 360.
I honestly have no idea which water is which, I keep about 15 gallons on hand at most times, just in case, so I can't narrow it down to which store's water I use.
I have decided this is probably not a good thing. I am going to stick with ONE store for water, and am seriously considering just mixing my own salt water. If I do go that route, what is a decent salt to use? I have access to IO, IO reef crystals, and Red Sea salt. Would prefer to pay less that top dollar if I can avoid it, but want my corals to do well also.

Also, I am going to get a liquid calcium to help, what is a good brand to go with? Is Kent's ok? I have a Petco close to home, and that is the brand they have, or I can hit up my LFS for probably more options.

Lastly, I am using API test kits, including Calcium. I still need a Magnesium test, so I am thinking I might upgrade and buy a better kit. How does everyone like the Red Sea kit for dKH, Calc, Mag (not sure what if anything else that kit comes with)? I hear a lot of mixed reviews on all kits, just want something decent that I can trust a little more than API. I am going to be adding some more Zoas, Acans, and a couple more LPS over the next several weeks and want to make sure I am keeping on track with things.

Thanks so much for all the advice I get here, you guys are always awsome!!!
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Old 02-10-2014, 03:02 PM   #8
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Oh, and if/when I do start mixing my own water, I will be doing about 4-5 gallons at a time to make sure I am using fresh mix for water changes. What kind of pump should I go with to mix in a standard 5gal bucket. Can I get one that will mix the water, and can then be used to pump the water right into the tank?
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Old 02-10-2014, 03:06 PM   #9
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Cheap power head will work fine to mix wc water. It's probably better that you mix your own so your trace elements stay more stable
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Old 02-10-2014, 06:25 PM   #10
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I agree, I mix my own so I know exactly what I am getting.

I use instant ocean for my fowlr and reef crystals for my reef tanks and it works out very well. I have switched back and forth between several brands but always come back to the I/O. I found the red sea didnt mix as well for me even though it is a recommended salt mix. I also am using some kent right now and that is also ok.
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