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Old 09-04-2003, 11:59 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Augusta, WV
Posts: 12
low ph and calcium problem

My ph will not go above 8.1 during the day and goes down to 7.8 at night.
I can't get the cal to stay above 400. It ranges between 340 and 380.
I have tried adding 5 parts baking soda and 2 parts washing soda to bring up the ph but the only change is in the kh.

The tank started out with a cal of 420 and has slowly lost it over the past 5 weeks.

I went from 2tsp to 4 tsp of kent Kalkwasser in 2 gal of RO/DI make up water dripped every night. Has not helped bring up the cal.

I also have green hair algae on some rocks that is about 4 to 6" long . I do see other plant like algae starting to grow.

Tank info:
The tank has cycled and is about 5 weeks old.
180 gal AGA reef ready 230 lbs mixed fiji / caribbean of live rock, 2" of special grade reef gravel, 30 gal sump/ refugium with 4" of sugar sized reef sand, turbofloater 1000 skimmer, mag drive 1800 pump, two 802 power heads.
Neptune aqua controller II . Custom sealife lighting fixture that has two 96 watt PC actinic and three 175 watt MH. I burn the PC 14 hours a day and each MH is set for 12 hrs total.

First Critters: one lawnmower blenny, two emerald crabs, and three small hermit crabs. Yeah I know I need more clean up critters but I want to get the tank stable.

I use IO salt and RO/DI water

Water tests:
Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, nitrates 0, phosphates 0, Ph 7.8- 8.1, Cal 340-380, Kh 13, SG 1.022, Temp 78-82

I have done two 10% water changes. The last one was on August 31st.

Thanks Koijoy

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Old 09-04-2003, 04:39 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: maryland
Posts: 82
i have about the same problem but i dont have any clean up critters is that a must to have! and some times my ph will drop for no reason. i wonder why?
sounds to me that you have a great tank!
how much does that controler help out you when it come to you water quality.
i am thinking about getting one?
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Old 09-04-2003, 05:06 PM   #3
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At 5 weeks, there are still going to be many ups and downs that should not yet concern you but there are a few things you need to do.

1. Stop using the kalkwasser to raise the levels or you will just end up with a mess. Kalkwasser should only be used to maintain levels once correct. You should check the Mg levels in the tank to ensure they are 1300-1500 ppm. This will often be part of the probl;em. Once the Mg is correct, adding a powdered of liq CaCl will help bring up the Ca to the 420 ppm area. Once inline, they can again be maintained with the kalkwasser.

2. With the alk at 13 DKH, your problem will not be solved with additives. You need to concern yourself more with surface aggitation in the tank for proper gas exchange. The mag 1800 will be about 1400 GPH @ 4' and 1130 @ 6' + the two 802's at 400 GPH each totals about 2000 GPH for the tank. For 210 gal of tank that is just under 10x volume. So the culprit is most likely surface aggitation.

Stop using the powdered soda mix.

10% water changes will not really help much either. Larger more frequent changes are what's needed. I would also suggest checking the saltmix to see how well balanced the chem levels are there.

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Old 09-04-2003, 07:22 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Augusta, WV
Posts: 12
I will get the Mg test kit asap. This had crossed my mind
The tank top is open to the air. I have the fixture about 1" off the top of the tanks top edge and egg crate down each side of the fixture to prevent jumpers.

I thought that with the flow of water splashing into the overflow boxes and the splashing in the sump return I would have enough water/air
I will direct the water return and power head nozzles closer to the water surface for now and buy one more power head.
Does water surface movement effect light getting to corals?


I bought the Aqua II to help make my life a little easier.
The only control it does right now is on the lights. It is also used as a reference for Ph, redox, and temp.
later down the road I will use it to control other things like Co2, temp and alarm conditions.

I use an ORP monitor on my koi pond and would not be with out it.
It's a quick indicator of conditions and also helps me when I need to use pp to help clean up or knock out parasites.

Thanks for the replys

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Old 09-04-2003, 09:03 PM   #5
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Having an open top and a sump does help alot. What you have in place right now will not hamper that but IME, good alk readings and low ph is almost always from lack of water aggitation and/or too much ambient CO2 in the room.

Originally Posted by Koijoy
Does water surface movement effect light getting to corals?
Not in the least.

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calcium, low ph

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