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Old 04-03-2005, 12:33 PM   #1
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Calcium Questions: Pleading Ignorance!!!

I give up...I finally realize I know nothing about Calcium...and now I need to know.

I was hoping calcium would not be problem in my 3 month old tank...but it is. I have a 4 inch DSB...which I thought would help keep Calcium levels up as there is a lot of fine Argonite sand, that should dissolve into calcium over time. Perhaps the Hypoxic Layer nitrate reducing layer of the DSB hasn't established itself, thus I am not getting any calcium addition to the tank from the Argonite yet.

I had been using Instant Ocean for salt...I know this was a problem. I have since switched to IO Reef Crystals...and I am still not getting a Calcium over 360ppm. Is there another salt I should consider?

I was encouraged by a LFS to use the B-Ionic 2 Part Alkalinity/Calcium compenents. I have been for a month adding every other day or so: 5ml of the Alkalinity component, as that is maintaining itself at dKH of 10 (which as I understand is fine...right?), and I have been adding 10ml (max dose based on the 1ml per 4 gallons in a 40 gallon tank) of the calcium component. Can I add more Calcium than the 1ml per 4 gallons...and can I add more calcium component than alkalinity? If I increase the Calcium component I am adding, should I increase the Alkalinity component by the same ratio? How fast can I increase the Calcium by?

I am hoping to get some corals in the tank..but I want to get the calcium over 400ppm before starting with them.

Thanks

WC
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90 Gallon Fresh Water Planted w/ CO2:
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40 Gallon Breeder Salt Water: 4 inch DSB (2/3 Agaramax & 1/3 Sea Flor), Bak Pak 2R Skimmer w/ BBX, 2 x JBJ PHs, Coralife Lunar Aqualight (2x96w), 30lb Base Rock and 40lbs of Live Rock.
Inhabitants: Purple Firefish, Pygmy Angel, Lawmower Blenny, 2 Cleaner Shrimp, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, Pistol Shrimp(HH), 1 Emerald Crabs, 3 Porcelin Crabs(HH), varying amounts and varieties of hermit and snails.

3 Gallon Eclipse:
1 Goldfish (won free at a fair...cost $50 in equipment)
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Old 04-03-2005, 01:36 PM   #2
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The per 4 gallon rate for a 40 gallon tank is already more than you think. You need to calculate how much water volume is lost due to the sand bed and decorations and fish. You probably only have about appx 30 gallons of water because of your sand bed and 70# of rock. If you increase ca you will need to proportionatly increase the alk component(I would think). Your salt should be giving you 400 to 440ppm by itself. That's what our coralife salt gives.
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Old 04-03-2005, 02:48 PM   #3
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Re: Calcium Questions: Pleading Ignorance!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteCloud
I am not getting any calcium addition to the tank from the Argonite yet.
And you never really will. The disollution of the sandbed will aid only marginally in buffering. It will not contribute to the Ca and not really do much once scleractinians are added.

Quote:
I had been using Instant Ocean for salt...I know this was a problem. I have since switched to IO Reef Crystals...and I am still not getting a Calcium over 360ppm. Is there another salt I should consider?
Bit of a dogs breakfast there. Each salt has a difference balance of alk to Ca. IO salts in general are typicallt lacking in Ca from the get go. Tweeking the levels of Ca before using it will help regain the balance in the main tank. What salinity are you mixing the salt at?

Quote:
I was encouraged by a LFS to use the B-Ionic 2 Part Alkalinity/Calcium compenents.
Is this the ESV brand or a knock off?

Quote:
...If I increase the Calcium component I am adding, should I increase the Alkalinity component by the same ratio?
No, the alkalinity is already too high based on the current Ca readings. Increasing the alkalinity even more will hamper your efforst of getting the Ca level up. I would actually suggest you let the alk fall down towards 8 DKH while at the same time increasing your Ca.

Quote:
How fast can I increase the Calcium by?
The main danger with these additives is the alkalinity (buffer) componenet. It also impacts pH. Increasing the total daily addition of Ca above the manufacturers recommendation is not a danger if done correctly.

An alkalinity of 8 DKH would give a balance of about 415 ppm Ca. You will end up needing about 130 ml of the #2 component (if ESV) in the end. Never add it all at once but you can easily break up the additions over a weeks time. You may end up needing some alkalinity additions once the alk gets down to the 8 DKH range as the heavier additions of Ca will push down the alkalinity.

Overall, if you where to add 10 ml of Ca in the AM and 10 ml in the PM, your levels should be good after about 7 days. As I said, monitor the alkalinity and add as needed. If alk is needed add that first, wait an hour or so and then add your first 10 ml of the Ca componenet. Then later in the day dose the second 10 ml portion of the Ca.

Cheers
Steve
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Old 04-04-2005, 05:49 PM   #4
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Steve,

Thanks for the reponse!! It clears up much!!

Yes...I do use the ESV product...and I will stop using the alkalinty product...can you buy just the Part 2 Calcium separately?? Would you recommend another easy to add calcium if that is all I need??

I like you idea about the 10ml/day...I will start that today!

For salt I think I may try Tropic Marin Reef PRO...and hope for better luck!

Thanks for clearing up my misconceptions of the DSB adding to calcium!

WC
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90 Gallon Fresh Water Planted w/ CO2:
7 Brilliant Rasbora, 6 Harlequin Rasboras, 3 Dwarf Neon Rainbows, 1 Red Tailed Shark, 2 American Flag Fish, 4 Skunk Botia Loaches

40 Gallon Breeder Salt Water: 4 inch DSB (2/3 Agaramax & 1/3 Sea Flor), Bak Pak 2R Skimmer w/ BBX, 2 x JBJ PHs, Coralife Lunar Aqualight (2x96w), 30lb Base Rock and 40lbs of Live Rock.
Inhabitants: Purple Firefish, Pygmy Angel, Lawmower Blenny, 2 Cleaner Shrimp, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, Pistol Shrimp(HH), 1 Emerald Crabs, 3 Porcelin Crabs(HH), varying amounts and varieties of hermit and snails.

3 Gallon Eclipse:
1 Goldfish (won free at a fair...cost $50 in equipment)
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Old 04-05-2005, 11:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteCloud
can you buy just the Part 2 Calcium separately?? Would you recommend another easy to add calcium if that is all I need??
Some brands do, I'm not sure on the ESV though. You can easily buy a stand alone liquid or dry CaCl additive so you don't use up the ESV so quickly. A small amount of Turbo Ca from Kent would do nicely. 1/3 of a teaspoon dissolved into RO water and added twice daily as mentioned before.

Cheers
Steve
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Old 04-06-2005, 01:26 PM   #6
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Is it really necessary to have a Ca level over 400 not knowing what corals are going to be in the tank? As long as it is balanced, a Ca level of 360 would be fine for softies and such. I know when I used IO, this was all I ever saw.

I switched to Oceanic to get a Ca level of 445 out of the bag for the simple reason of less or no dosing. My Ca depletion is still slight so it has worked for me.

Seems like there is a lot of posts where people want to dose this and that to get levels to a certain area only to find that it is a new tank where SPS's would not be recommended or no hard corals will be in the tank. Is this a lot of work when it is not needed? I have read posts here before stating a balanced Ca/alk is more important than that magical Ca 450 number that some strive for.

Steve S. please correct me if I am off base I know for tanks dominated with SPS/LPS, additives will most likey be necessary but why do all the work when no hard corals are in the tank? I know the LFS here suggests dosing all sorts of things but I have never done what they say

Sorry for the ramble but please let me know if my thinking is wrong
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Old 04-06-2005, 04:05 PM   #7
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Wow! Great thread. I've been lucky in that my staring Ca level was high, I guess. I'm using Reef Crystals and I added a dilute Kalkwasser mix to my 5 gal topp of water. My Ca is now pretty easy to maintain between 400-420 during a week. I have LOTS of coralline algae, Halimeda, and lots of little colony polyps that hitched in on the LR, so I know there is a demand for Ca in my sytem.

This thread goes in the permanent collection, though.
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30 gal standard 55 lbs LR, 60 lb live sand, 10 gal sump/refugium. Urchin skimmer, mag7 pump, 3 x 96W PC combination 10,000K/actinic bulb, 2 blue LED moonlights
SG 1.024, temp 79.5, pH 8.4

Livestock I added:

1 skunk cleaner. 12 hermits: red, scarlet, blue. 15 or so assorted snails. Discosomas, Ricordia, Rhodactis mushroom corals, chaetomorpha (sump), 1 feather duster, Montipora digitata, Montipora capricornis, Montipora hispids. assorted zoos, Xenia, Kenya tree coral, green Sinularia, green star polyps, branching hammer coral, bubble coral, Devil's hand leather. Yellow chromis, purple firefish.

Hitchhikers: the usual suspects :crabs, bristles, urchin, mantis shrimp (now in exile in mantis tank)

List of possible/likely newcomers:

Feather duster. PJ cardinal, Bangghai cardinal, Firefish goby, Clownfish, Neon goby, Yellow watchman goby, Orchid dottyback. Various corals.
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Old 04-06-2005, 04:32 PM   #8
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I have 3 3-4" acros, a few acro frags, a 3-4 headed Lobo brain, 5-6" candy cane, 3-4" orange monti cap, 1" orange monti frag, some Monti digita, multi headed hammer and a softball size fragspawn. I don't do a lot of water changes and my Ca stays at 420 with alk at 3-3.5 meg/L. I had some awesome corraline plating going on my LR and the glass would need to be cleaned once a week.

The corraline on my glass is now dead since I exposed it all to air whan I moved the tank but I expect it to grow back soon enough.

I used to dose kalk before I switch to oceanic but I wanted to see how quick the Ca was used up so I stopped that.
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Old 04-06-2005, 10:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ellisz
Sorry for the ramble but please let me know if my thinking is wrong
I wouldn't necessarily say wrong persay but I do have a slightly different point of view.

Maintaining a good balance between alk and Ca is definately a goal no matter what you keep. Animals dependant on the chemistry cannot properly deposit CaCO3 into the growth otherwise. It's not strictly related to scleractinian corals alone. You'd be suprised how much healthier and active inverts are when you do. I have always been an advocate of maintaining NSW levels as often as possible no matter what range you shoot for. While 360 ppm Ca is not a "deal breaker", the lower limit of NSW is closer to 380 ppm. The problem with the lower Ca is the alk cannot possibley be balanced against it. It makes it rather difficult for snails and crustaceans alike to form proper and consistant shell growth. It will also make them quite sluggish.

Personally I maintain my alk at about 2.5-2.6 and my Ca around 410-415 ppm. There is no need for exact numbers by any means. Merely be in the right "range" of balance is sufficient. Higher than NSW is completely uneccessary and should be avoided. It may create faster growth but in doing so you will most times end up with malformed skelatal growth. Often being reedy and brittle.

Cheers
Steve
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Old 04-06-2005, 11:43 PM   #10
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Thanks for the info Steve. The one reason I switched to Oceanic salt was due to the levels it had over IO. My numbers are close to what you shoot for(Ca 420 - Alk 3 meg/L) and I get this with no dosing. I do 10-15 gal water changes every 3-4 weeks. I know Oceanic has had it problems but the current bucket I have is giving me great numbers.

Is it a coincidence that most LFS promote IO but then tell you to suppliment it Seems like a racket to me

I just hate to see things made complicated when it does not have to be.

Thanks again.
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*100 gal prop tank plumbed into main system w/ 2x96 PC lights and 1x150 MH,
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