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Old 08-22-2007, 02:08 AM   #1
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reef chemestry

1st ill start off with my situation

ph 8.0-8.2 (its really hard to tell the difference between such subtle shades of brown... methinks ill pick up a better version tomorrow... but it cant be below 8 since i added buffer a few days ago and nothing since)
dkh 11.2
meq/l 4.0
calcium 400ppm
magnesium 1200ppm
amm/trite/trates 0ppm

2nd ill ask the question

After reading a reefkeeping article on simplified reef chem, I am still rather befuddled by the relationship of my current parameters. With my calcium, magnesium, and ph where they are, i shouldnt be getting much precipitation. This is good, and I know those parameters are right in line with keeping my coral happy. However, they can be supplimented to raise their levels higher, and I would like to do so, but I am afraid of adding anything right now because I seem to add, test, add test, and see the results I would expect... all except my alkalinity continues to rise. Shouldnt it fall at at least some comparably constant rate as calcium? It seems like... 1)i add calcium, 2) both calcium/alk rise, 3) calcium falls but alk stays where it is, 4)add more calcium when needed, causing calc to go back to its good level but pushes alk further into the 'high' end

Also as far as pH is concerned, is adding calcium and/or magnesium going to cause pH to rise or fall? What exactly does cause pH to rise or fall?

what am I missing here?

Anyone care to weigh in?

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Old 08-22-2007, 08:28 AM   #2
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What are you using to supplement the alk and ca? Adding a ca supplement shouldn't affect the alk. Both alk and ca get used up by corals etc in equal proportion....which is why you should be using a balanced supplement. Excellent article here http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-02/rhf/index.php
Ca and mag won't affect ph, but depending on what you use for alk, it can raise your ph.

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Old 08-22-2007, 10:33 AM   #3
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I agree with cccapt. It might be from whatever supplement you are using. Holmes-Farley's Two Part additive seems to have raging success across the hobby, but there are also 2 part supplements on the market (Like B Ionic) that would be better than simply dosing a powder.

I don't dose anything to my tank, so hope I'm not wrong on any of that.

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Old 08-22-2007, 01:08 PM   #4
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I dont dose anything either. Try to attain your supplement goals by doing frequent PWC`s first and then if you have to, supplement what is needed.
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Old 08-22-2007, 07:09 PM   #5
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Im doing sort of a little experiment right now. I dont have (relatively) a lot invested in my tank as far as corals go and I have a wide range of hardy-ness in corals. I want to see if I cant get away without doing water changes. With my fuge/sump my nitrates have been locked in at 0 and without needed to get any 'trates out, i need to put trace elements back in. Well see how that plays out.

...but thats besides the point...

My suppliments include:
seachem calcium advantage which raises ca, mag and stronium
seachem magnesium which just raises mag

and the loguls soultion but thats not really part of this

cccapt mentioned ca and alk get used in equal amounts, which is what I thought, however after frequent testing this doesnt seem to be my case and I wondered if there was maybe something I was missing.

I really dont have much of a load, so my ca doesnt drop very quickly, but my mag was low to start (1080... via reef crystals) so I've been supplementing that to try to get it up to 1270. Other than that my ca was at 380 and I wanted it up more around 425 just to do it (i know 380 is fine but I like the idea that my reef is as true to life as possible... for the time being)

I have not supplimented alk which is the strange part, however the other day I did see my pH was low(er than usual) so I tossed in some marine buffer. That I know says it will raise alk levels, so thats probably where that came from.

so I should start to see my alk come down at some point if Im not mistaken? As long as adding ca and mag wont raise the alk, I guess that puts my concern to rest.
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Old 08-22-2007, 10:44 PM   #6
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This is a great article that spelled the whole alk/ca thing out great to me...


I don't have much to add onto what's already been said. I'd be wary of doing any sort of "experiment" on your tank chemistry, even with nothing in the tank. If you get your balance out of whack too much, you'll be chasing your tail for a while trying to get it back balanced out.

Regarding the Seachem Calcium Advantage, you might dig more into that stuff. One of the descriptions I read about it referred to it as a "buffered Ca supplement". That would imply to me that it has some buffer (for alk) in it to start with. The Seachem site doesn't mention this, but they do mention that it won't raise your pH like other Ca additives. My experience is limited, but I'd think the only way they could do that is to add a buffer. If it is buffered, that, in addition to the newness of your tank, could explain maybe why you're not seeing any decrease in alkalinity.

Hats off for testing your Ca and Alk while doing your test, rather than just dumping stuff in and hoping for the best. But are you testing for Iodine, since you're dosing Lugol's? I believe a buildup of that is not a good thing.
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Old 08-22-2007, 11:10 PM   #7
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I have not been testing for iodine, i've only been dosing 1/2 the recommended amount (it says 1 drop per 25 gallons every week) thats 6 drops for me... i only add about 3 drops into the sump every 7-10 days. i suppose it wouldnt hurt to take it in and get it tested.

interesting thought on the seachem calcium... that could possibly be it. im going to add a small dose of calcium (theres plenty of room for it to raise) and see what the alk does.
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Old 08-23-2007, 08:45 PM   #8
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ok I tested the alk after adding the ca and it did not raise, and the reading is actually less than what it was last time (about 10.8/3.8)

Is there a reason why my magnesium reading wont increase past 1200 no matter how much I put in? I dont get it. Im afraid to add anymore... it must be going somewhere.

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