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Old 01-11-2008, 01:30 AM   #1
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What supplements do you use?

Just wondering what supplements some of you are adding to your tank and why. My current tank is FOWLR for now, however I'm going to try some corals in a few months after I upgrade lighting. I've been adding purple up to help my rock about twice a week, Iodine for the inverts once a week, and Kent marine buffer because I couldnt get my PH over 7.4 or so. Anything I should be cautious with here? I usualy dose low because I do not currently have a calc/alk test kit(coming soon). Anything else I should be looking at?
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Old 01-11-2008, 09:20 AM   #2
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If your pH is really 7.4, do not get any coral. That is way too low. You must find out why you have such low pH. Do you have a glass lid or something over the tank? Low pH can be from poor oxygen exchange.

I TEST and dose 3 things. Calcium chloride (DowFlake) for ca, sodium carbonate (baked baking soda) for alk and magnesium hexadrate (MagFlake + Epsom Salt) for mag. I don't buy any of the premade formulas. I make all my own. http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-02/rhf/index.php
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Old 01-11-2008, 12:22 PM   #3
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I have been studying the chemistry of the aquarium to try and decide how to balance all of the levels.. I have a headache there are so many different variables and so many varying opinions.. I am trying to find the commen denominator here... A lot of people say that PWC is all you need but all salts have there pros and cons. For example I chose to use Reef Crystals but it has a calcium deficiency. And Oceanic from what I hear is low in alkalinity. So to dose or not to dose that is the question. I wonder what would happen if i used equal amounts of oceanic and reef crystals for my PWC would they balance each other out or cause a problem.. and then using 2 part solutions or kalkwasser or both TurboCA, purpleup Everyone has an opinion once all the info digests hopefully I can develop my own. They should teach a course at the college about successfull reefkeeping it could possibly a year long course
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Old 01-11-2008, 02:11 PM   #4
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I dont know if a year would be long enough
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Old 01-11-2008, 02:41 PM   #5
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Here are my thoughts.

I have had my system up and running for 3 years now. I don't add anything to my tank except food for the fish. I have a thread in the members show case right now showing pics of my tank tanken a week ago, if you are interested in seeing what I have. The rule of thumb is if you add something to your tank you should be testing for that. So if you are buffering your tank you need to be testing your PH regularly. If you are adding CA you need to be testing for it. Several of my friends who have tanks that add a bunch of things have a bunch of problems. I like to keep things simple. I do a PWC (30+ gallons) every other week. I have a lot of LR, a large fuge and a very large skimmer. I know that does nothing for keeping CA Alk and other things in balance. The PWCs are the only thing I do to keep my CA and Alk levels up. I'm not saying that I'm right or wrong but this is what has worked for me and I have seen amazing coral growth in my tank. Now with that said I will be adding a CA reactor to my system before the end of this year. I have a 55g frag tank that I have recently added to the system and I'm goign to have a lot more corals (SPS) to contend with so I'm going to take that plunge but not just yet.

For what it's worth I have recently switched to Reef Crystals.
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Old 01-11-2008, 04:49 PM   #6
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Personally... I wouldn't dose PurpleUp. It is NOT the same as dosing for Calcium and it's throwing a bunch more stuff in your tank than you need. Google the web, or search the forum about it and you'll find many many horror stories. It's a good habit to get into to not dose anything that you can't test for. I'd say, it's one of the few cardinal rules in this hobby! In addition, PurpleUp contains iodine, and if you're also dosing iodine (without testing) then you could be setting yourself up for an iodine overdose. That's a bad thing, even in a FOWLR tank.

First thing first - get those test kits and test your Ca/Alk levels and don't dose anything until you do. My guess is you're waaaaaay out of balance because of that PurpleUp. You're not in a situation of needing more additives, but less, in my opinion.
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Old 01-11-2008, 05:23 PM   #7
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I like to keep it simple. Now this is very general, but pretty accurate and easy. Soft coral will use virtually no calcium. LPS will use a little. SPS will use alot. I don't worry about the trace elements that are replenished by regular pwc's.

When a coral builds it's skeleton, the 3 major elements it uses from the water are calcium, carbonate(alk) and magnesium (I'm not a chemist, so those 3 may not be the proper technical names). I don't know the exact ratio they are used, but say if it uses 1 gram of calcium, it needs 3/4 gram of carbonate and 1/8 gram magnesium. This is why it's important to use a balanced supplement to dose. You want to add those back in the same proportion they are used. A calcium reactor will keep the ca in range and should hold alk, but it does not add mag.

The plan should be to try to keep your water as close to natural as possible, so you want about 410 ca, 9 dKH alk and 1350 mag. These are the only 3 things I regularly test for. Whatever salt you use, test a fresh batch and see what you need to adjust. Personally, I use Red Sea Coral Pro. Off the top of my head, I think a new batch tests out at 450 ca, 8.7 dKH and 1325 mag. When I get home I'll check the actually reading I have recorded for freshly mixed water. Here's a good calculator to help figure out how much of what you may need.

@Ziggy: I saw the pics of your tank and it does indeed look great. I am not doubting anything you say, cause you got the pics to back it up, but I don't understand how you don't have to dose anything. You can actually test your ca on Monday, then again on Friday it will be the same? If that's the case, why setup a ca reactor?
I think you saw pics of my tank. I lose close to 10 ppm calcium every day and I dose aprox 3/4 cup of the homemade 2 part solution of ca and alk every day. If I tested on Monday at 420ppm, by Wed I'm down to 400. I dose about 1/2 cup of mag every 2 weeks or so.
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Old 01-11-2008, 05:36 PM   #8
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The purple up was the LFS idea, they'll try to sell you anything though. Oh yeah, and my PH is hoding steady at 8.4 for the last few weeks. There is so much out there on the market and its easy to get overwhelmed by all of it. Thanks for all the input, keep it coming!
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:39 PM   #9
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In general, doing regular water changes will be all that is needed to maintain the appropriate levels of buffers and elements. As mentioned, tanks with a heavier LPS/SPS coral load can benefit from the addition of CA. I actually add CA to my SW while I am preparing it for a PWC. I do not add it directly to the tank. I would refrain from asking the LFS what "suppliments" you need to add...you will leave with a full bag and an empty wallet. Most of which is just not needed.
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:19 PM   #10
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So lando you say you add Calcium to your PWC which supplement do you use, which salt do you use and how much do you dose to bring up your levels.. Just curious for referance purposes...
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