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Old 11-21-2004, 10:59 PM   #1
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PH, Alk, Ca readings: Any advice?

My tank is on the tail end of the cycle. LR went in on Wednesday (11/17).

On 11/19 I tested the following:
PH: 8.0
Alk: 9.6
Ca: 420
Ammo 0
Nitrite: .1 (This has been consistant for a week or so)
Nitrate: 2

On 11/21 I tested the following:
PH: 8.0
Alk: 9.0
Ca: 360
Ammo: 0
Nitrite: .1
Nitrate: 3

From what I understand I need to get my Ca up to 450-500 and my alk should get closer to 8 (is the falling Alk going to lower my already borderline low PH? Most of the tank has tap with Instant Ocean, 20% water change with the premix from the LFS. Since they sell only IO from what I can see my best guess is that they are using it too?).

I know these things are all tied together but I'm not sure how much I can bring up the Ca without having to do major adjustments to Alk. What's the best way to get the PH up without bringing up the Alk any higher? What readings do you generally shoot for on your Ca/Alk/PH?

TIA,
Phyllis
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Old 11-22-2004, 02:51 AM   #2
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Just my quick $.02...but it looks to me like your Ca/Alk are in good balance. Attempting to alter either on it's own would throw that out of whack (not good).

Not only are they in balance, but their overall level looks ok also. There's no reason to push for extremely high levels unless your tank is consuming great amounts of Ca/Alk. Continue to monitor your Ca/Alk. If you tank is using Ca/Alk, you should start to see BOTH dropping.

At that point, the idea is to raise BOTH by using some sort of balanced additive system (Kalk, for example). This will raise Ca/Alk together in a balanced way.

Ph is ok as well. Don't go messing with it. You'll also find that you can get Ph fluctuations if you measure it in the morning vs. evening. I bet you find the Ph much higher measured in the evening. Regardless, you're in the right area so I would leave it alone.
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Old 11-22-2004, 10:49 AM   #3
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Brad has the right answer. Alk range should be 8-11 dKh...so you're on the low end of acceptable. If you were raising Ca, you'd want to raise Alk as well.

however since you're still in the cycling phase, I'd hold off a couple of week.s

Also did you mix your SW with tap water or R/O water? I had some weird Alk/Ca issues trying to use tap water (our water here is 8dKh outta the tap, clean of phosphates and nitrates). I just couldn't keep things stable or balanced, so I changed to R/O and it's made a big difference.
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Old 11-22-2004, 11:34 AM   #4
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I am assuming that since my Ca dropped 60 points in 48 hrs my LR must be using it (is my assumption correct?). That's actually what led me to start measuring it. I will make sure to up my Alk as I up my Ca (to keep them in balance). I don't want my LR to suffer while the cycle finishes. Now to go off in search of info on Kalk *scurries away*

My tank was originally mixed with Tap water. On Wedensday I did a 20% wc with store bought (RO/DI salt premixed) water. I used IO salt at home and am guessing that is what was in the premixed as well. I think that's the only salt the LFS sells.

Thanks for your thoughts and input!

Phyllis
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Old 11-22-2004, 01:48 PM   #5
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When I used IO, I never got Ca above 360 straight out of the bag.

If you are just finishing your cycle, I would not worry too much about the Ca/Alk levels. Most salt mixes are pretty balanced out of the bag. I think IO is pretty much the most popular due to it being easy to find. When I used it, I had softies, zoo's and some leathers and never had a problem.

I did not start trying to mess with Ca/Alk until I got some LPS's and SPS's going. Even now, I don't have a lot of hard corals co my Ca levels don't deplete very fast. Some switch from IO to Oceanic since it will give you 420+ Ca out of the bag.

HTH
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Old 11-22-2004, 01:52 PM   #6
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IO salt has lower calcium and higher alkalinity than a lot of experienced reef keepers like...and often they swap to Oceanic.
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Old 11-22-2004, 03:33 PM   #7
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Sorry to get off topic a little, but is Oceanic a good choice? I often hear that experienced reefers like Tropic Marin. Which seems like a better choice?

I only ask because it seems like Tropic Marin is easy to get and many lfs carry them. Oceanic however, I've been to a few lfs that haven't even heard of the brand.
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Old 11-22-2004, 03:43 PM   #8
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IMO, Tropic Marin is a great choice. I have read alot of good things about it. I just can't get that in my area. Oceanic just came here. I used to ask the LFS's about other salts and they would just ask why I would ever want to use something other than IO??
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