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Old 09-17-2002, 11:47 PM   #1
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Kalkwasser use in a reef tank

This thread was split off since it was going in a different direction. -Mark

I will address the kalkwasser supply problem.
Living in the country should make your life easier. Folks in the country make more pickles than city folk so your local grocery store should stock pickling lime. I use Mrs. Wages but Ball (the canning people) also make it. It is the same thing as kalkwasser which is Calcium hydroxide. Being food grade it is fairly pure. Make your kalkwasser (if you use it) out of this. It will save you many $$ so that you can buy Ca and Alk test kits to test for it.

Mark
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Old 09-18-2002, 10:27 AM   #2
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Hi Mark,

The information you have provided regarding pickling lime (calcium hydroxide) use in lieu of Kalkwasser is a great tip. And, you can bet this substitution would save lots of money.

While on the subject of calcium hydroxide, I wonder if you and other members of A.A with experience would be willing to discuss dosing with hydrated lime to promote coralline algae growth.

Sue
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Old 09-18-2002, 12:58 PM   #3
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The key to success in keeping Ca levels above 400 while dosing kalkwasser (lime water) is evaporation.
Lime water should be used exclusively to replace evaporated water. Therefore, the amount of lime water available to add is proportional to the amount of water evaporated. Some things you can do to increase evaporation are:
-Leave the top uncovered
-Place fan(s) in the light hood
-Use a sump with an open top
-Place a fan in the sump area

Limewater should be dosed slowly. Drip systems are marginally successful. I recommend a dosing pump and level switch.
Mix your lime water using 1 tsp/gallon cold water. Mix vigorously for a short time. Allow it to settle out and dose the clear liquid. You should mix no more than you can use in 3 or 4 days. Some folks add a 1-3 tsp/gallon acetic acid (white vinegar) before adding the lime to increase the amount of carbon available to convert to calcium carbonate. This will increase the amount of avaialble calcium you are adding.

That's it for now...

Mark
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Old 09-18-2002, 01:12 PM   #4
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Thank you, Mark, regarding your excellent guidelines for using lime water to encourage coralline growth. The procedure obviously needs to be done with care.

I really appreciate your input!

Sue
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Old 09-18-2002, 01:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliGal

While on the subject of calcium hydroxide, I wonder if you and other members of A.A with experience would be willing to discuss dosing with hydrated lime to promote coralline algae growth.
I go through a LOT of hydrated lime to maintain Ca and ALK levels. Mrs. Wages is supposed to be of better quality than Ball's.

I do NOT recommend this, but I use Agricultural Lime and I have not had any noticeable problems. I KNOW it's not as pure as food grade because I notice more precipitate at the bottom of the bucket.

If Commercial KALK powder is not available I believe Pickling Lime is a good alternative. If you have a small Ca/ALK load I'd suggest sticking to the Commercial Brands like Kent rather than save just a few bucks a year. On the other hand if you go through a pound a month then Pickling Lime could represent substancial savings.

Coralline benefits from good Ca and ALK levels. Having these levels very high does not help and is a considerable risk unless you are very experienced at controlling your tank parameters.

I maintain Ca at 420ppm and ALK at 2.5 Meq/L and this has worked for a long time. Kalk can easily maintain these levels. I used to try for the higher levels (Ca 500ppm and ALK 4.5 Meq/L) and frankly, it's not worth the effort or the risk. There is absolutely no noticeable benefit other than practice taking the pumps apart to remove the Calcium carbonate.

I drip Kalkwasser (Limewater) 24/7 about 5 gallons a day.

Guy
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Old 09-18-2002, 01:53 PM   #6
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Hi Guy,

Thanks for the added input on this subject. You certainly have offered more to consider regarding this practice. Definitely (and why I have not begun dosing), proceeding with the use of hydrated lime should be done with caution and diligence.

You mention that you use Kalk 24/7. Is your primary objective with this practice about generating coralline algae?

Sue
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Old 09-18-2002, 04:47 PM   #7
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Why do ya'll have the really good discussions while I'm at work? Don't any of ya'll work? Geesh!
The only thing I would like to add, is that there are many benifits to Kalk that haven't been mentioned.
1) Kalk causes phosphate to precipitate out of solution.
2) Kalk adds nothing that accumulates, therefore is very difficult (if not impossible) to overdose
3) If dosed at night it will help stabalize the overnight ph
4) Kalk is a balanced solution and reduces the need for buffers to make adjustments to ALK
5) It is probably the cheapest form of CA and ALK supplamentation available, even if you use the expensive stuff from the LFS
6) Kalk does not cause sediment binding (cementing) of sand beds

Kalk is not just for coraline growth, Kalk is just a CA and ALK supplament, there are many CA consumers in the tank other than coraline, and all will benifit from Kalk addition. It is a common occurance that when using Kalk the coraline will take off, perhapes this is due to the reduction of CO2 that is caused by Kalk. I think it was Mark that said one time, Kalk chews up the CO2. I know that after I began dosing with Kalk, many years ago, I was unable to keep any type of macro algae in my tank, micro algae didn't do so well either.
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Old 09-18-2002, 08:53 PM   #8
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Caligirl - I have nothing to add to what Reefrunner said. I do NOT add it for Coralline. Coralline is a pain to scrape off the glass. I have hard corals, leather corals, Xenia and a pair of Squamosa clams. That's why I dose Kalk.

I have a refugium that is lit opposite my reef. That's why I dose 24/7 instead of only at night. If I did not light my refugium opposite my reef then I would only dose at night to help stabilize the PH.
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Old 09-21-2002, 10:16 PM   #9
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Well folks you prase kalk (aka calcium carbonate) so much I figured I would give it a try.

It took me most of the afternoon but I found a grocery store with pickling lime and grabbed me a bag.

1lb for $1.05


Any way I let it sit for a few hours and put a small tube in the jug. I tied a knot in the tube so I get a steady dripping action. I took a PH, alk and calcium measurement before I started so i will take another set of PH, alk, and calcium measurments over the next week or so and see what effect I get.

I was SHOCKED to find my calcium reading was very low. (<300ppm) but my alk was good at 3.0 and PH looked to be around 8.3 a few hours after lights on. I have no real growth other than some undesirable algae so I dont know how much my PH would really fluxuate due to oxygen and co2 levels.
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Old 09-26-2002, 06:33 PM   #10
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Well I am a few short days into my kalk usage and I wanted to share how the test readings are progressing

Calcium tested today at or around 350 so that is a significant impovment from a reading well under 300 earlier.

Alk measured at 4.0 vs the earlier reading of 2.0

Ph tested at or near 8.2 today 6 hours after lights on. I have taken a few tests at 6 hours PRE lights on and I have gotten tests in the 8.1 range so the PH is not fluxing that much.

For a system with approx 80-100 gal of water I have been dripping 1 gal of kalk starting at 3 hours pre lights out and drips till empty. Not sure how long its taking as its empty before 7:00AM
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