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Old 06-16-2008, 05:25 PM   #1
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Calcium too high

I've got a 155g tank with about 90lbs of live rock, no corals, 2 paired clowns, 1 6 line wrasse, 1 yellow gobey, and 3 yellow tangs. My calcium is high and I can't seem to get it down. About a 9 months ago I started dosing calcium to prepare for corals but after 2 months of the required dosing, I found my calcium to be 550+. So I stopped dosing and did my normal 20% water changes every 2 months (tanks been established for 4+ years, those are my normal change cycles)....come December, after 3 months of no dosing and wc's, my calcium is still 500+. Now I do a 50% water change and no dosing. Still high.....4 months and 3 water changes later, still 500+ calcium level....I'm frustrated. I use an R/O system for my water (allbeit I haven't changed the cansiters in a long time), I use Oceanic Salt Mix for my salt and use the required buffer/am-quell (sp?) to get the levels correct. Saltwater Aquarium Salts: Oceanic Natural Sea Salt Mix

I haven't tested my tap water or water from the R/O unit for calcium, but what could be causing my calcium to stay so high? I figured after 3 or 4 water changes it would have come down quite a bit, but nothing yet.

Any ideas?
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Old 06-16-2008, 06:23 PM   #2
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Calcium of 500 isn't a terrible thing though it is high especially for a system that doesn't have a demand for it.

You may want to get a new CA test kit and compare your results. You could have a kit that isn't giving you accurate readings.
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Old 06-16-2008, 06:32 PM   #3
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Well I thought of the old kit thing and had my water tested the past 3 wc's with 2 lfs and came up with the same readings.

I know 500 isn't all that terrible but I've tried to put some basic hardy corals in and they all seem to die off fairly quickly. Alkalinity is right where it should be as well.....it may get slightly low (off by 1) but never a dramatic drop in any of my levels in my tank.
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertfah View Post
Well I thought of the old kit thing and had my water tested the past 3 wc's with 2 lfs and came up with the same readings.

I know 500 isn't all that terrible but I've tried to put some basic hardy corals in and they all seem to die off fairly quickly. Alkalinity is right where it should be as well.....it may get slightly low (off by 1) but never a dramatic drop in any of my levels in my tank.
A couple things...

With Oceanic salt, you're going to have Ca levels in the high 400s from what I hear. So 500 isn't too far off from what you're doing your PWCs with. Have you tested your PWC water just before you add it to the tank?

"Alkalinity is right where it should be"... and that number is...?

Regarding the hardy corals dieing off quickly... what corals were they? And what are your nitrate levels? If you are only doing a 20% PWC every 2 months, I'm guessing your water parameters are not really where they should be for corals. Probably just fine for FOWLR, as you mentioned... but maybe not for corals. What are your other numbers? (pH, salinity, temp, nitrates)
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt_Nelson View Post
A couple things...
What are your other numbers? (pH, salinity, temp, nitrates)
Sorry I didn't post them the first time, but I was at work and couldn't do it. Give me 30 minutes and I'll get those numbers posted....
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Old 06-16-2008, 08:19 PM   #6
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Ok here are my results as of now:
ca2 (Calcium) - 500
KH (Alkilinity) - 7.4
pH - 8.0
NH3/NH4 (Ammonia) - 0.25
NO2 (Nitrite) - 0ppm
PO4 (Phosphate) - 0
NO3 (Nitrate) - Between 5-10

My RO water tested 0 for Calcium
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Old 06-16-2008, 08:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
I use Oceanic Salt Mix for my salt and use the required buffer/am-quell (sp?) to get the levels correct.
Did you test a freshly mixed batch of sw for ca? Oceanic is very high in ca. I wouldn't be suprised if a new batch tested to 470 or better.
Exactly what required buffer are you using? Does Oceanic actually recommend you add a buffer to their salt?
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by cccapt View Post
Did you test a freshly mixed batch of sw for ca? Oceanic is very high in ca. I wouldn't be suprised if a new batch tested to 470 or better.
Exactly what required buffer are you using? Does Oceanic actually recommend you add a buffer to their salt?
I use a buffer called Alkaline Buffer...been using it since day one (about 8+ years ago)...it raises the ph and Alkalinity to the correct levels based on dosage and what not. Not too sure if I should even be using it anymore, but as I said, I started using it 8+ years ago so I didn't want to stop (but I will if it's not necessary).

I didn't see anything on Oceanics site about using buffer or not.....
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:50 PM   #9
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You probably do need to buffer Alk with the Oceanic. I stopped using it for that reason. pH was always low (8.0 ish).
What is your lighting system composed of? What type of lights were the corals that died under before you got them?
How did you acclimate the corals?
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Old 06-16-2008, 11:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by cmor1701d View Post
You probably do need to buffer Alk with the Oceanic. I stopped using it for that reason. pH was always low (8.0 ish).
What is your lighting system composed of? What type of lights were the corals that died under before you got them?
How did you acclimate the corals?
I have a Orbitz Power Compact 72" light with the following bulbs:
2 - Compact Fluorescent Square Pin Bulbs
SunPaq Daylight
10000ºK 96W

2 - Compact Fluorescent Square Pin Bulbs
SunPaq Dual Actinic
420/460nm 96W

and 6 Lunar lights built in.

This is the lighting I had when the corals had died. I drip acclimated the corals for about 1 hour or so when I got them.
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