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Alk, Cal & Mg

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Well @ajm83 as I've got good confidence in your knowledge I guess it's best I bring this to your attention...  As well as whoever else is able to contribute....

I'm good with numbers generally, however as I've only a nano (no sump) tank and this involves salts/chemicals I'm just a tad cautious.

Equipment I've got; kamoer 3 channel doser/GroTech lll + iv (whichever is best suited to use)
 Coral box dosing containers 3x 1.5L.

Chemicals;
Sodium bicarbonate,
Calcium chloride dihydrate flake,
Magnesium chloride hexahydrate flake,
Magnesium sulphate

 

Test kits;
Hanna alk,
Hanna cal

(I've not got any test kit for Mg or a Ph reader as yet)

Basically I need to put this all together and get the numbers right for requirements needed.

So, shall I get the Mg test kit and Ph reader before I do anything?
Or, shall I just raise the Alk as it's currently dropped over time (only doing weekly water changes) to about 5dKh.
FYI cal sits between 450-500 depending when I test.

I know I need to dose slowly and I to a powerhead, just not sure on the amount (in ml) which is seen as slow?  Considering this is to only raise levels to required values.

I believe it's best to aim for the level of current salt being used so not to just be chasing numbers!

There are some questions I've not mentioned, however they can come as and when I remember lol

Thanks in advance,


A.

ajm83

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Reply #1

Hi mate, that's very kind but I'm by no means an expert compared to some of the others on here! Most of my knowledge is from reading others posts or (more often) making mistakes myself  :grin:

Personally I'd pick up the mag test kit and PH reader before dosing anything, because you need to get mag in order before you can stabilise alk and calcium. PH pen is not so critical but useful to have anyway.

Once you've got that, take your readings, decide your targets (e.g. 8 dKH alk, 440 cal, 1350 mag) and then if mag is low, visit this site:

Reef Chemistry Calculator

Put in your aquarium size, select the powder you have, then your mag reading and the target you want.  Don't increase it by more than 50ppm a day. So if it's 1200, then do 1250 target for the first day. 
Mix up the suggested amount with some RO water and dose it a little at a time into a powerhead's flow.

When you've reached your target for mag, then you can either mix up all the stock solutions and start dosing, or you can do the same as above but with calcium and alk (again, don't change them too rapidly though!).

For the stock solutions, you have all the stuff for Randy's 2 part recipe #2, guess you're going with that?  An Improved Do-it-Yourself Two-Part Calcium and Alkalinity Supplement System by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com

It gives some good starter doses in the second part of the article.

Some suggestions:

1. Don't let the dosing tubes go into the water, it will cause precipitation and clogging in the pipes. I made this mistake last week and caused a bunch of acros to strip because alk got clogged and therefore did not get dosed.  Also cut the bottom of the lines at an angle
2. Calibrate the doser, and double check it afterwards
3. Leave 30 mins between calcium and alk doses
4. Get one of these to hold your dosing lines https://www.h2oaquatics.co.uk/water-flow/bubble-magus-dosing-pump-tube-holder
5. For the first week or so, test the params every night at the same time, then at least once or twice a week.

Last Edit: Aug 8, 2018 4:24:38 pm by ajm83

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hotashes

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Reply #2

Hi mate, that's very kind but I'm by no means an expert compared to some of the others on here! Most of my knowledge is from reading others posts or (more often) making mistakes myself  :grin:

Personally I'd pick up the mag test kit and PH reader before dosing anything, because you need to get mag in order before you can stabilise alk and calcium. PH pen is not so critical but useful to have anyway.

Once you've got that, take your readings, decide your targets (e.g. 8 dKH alk, 440 cal, 1350 mag) and then if mag is low, visit this site:

Reef Chemistry Calculator

Put in your aquarium size, select the powder you have, then your mag reading and the target you want.  Don't increase it by more than 50ppm a day. So if it's 1200, then do 1250 target for the first day. 
Mix up the suggested amount with some RO water and dose it a little at a time into a powerhead's flow.

When you've reached your target for mag, then you can either mix up all the stock solutions and start dosing, or you can do the same as above but with calcium and alk (again, don't change them too rapidly though!).

For the stock solutions, you have all the stuff for Randy's 2 part recipe #2, guess you're going with that?  An Improved Do-it-Yourself Two-Part Calcium and Alkalinity Supplement System by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com

It gives some good starter doses in the second part of the article.

Some suggestions:

1. Don't let the dosing tubes go into the water, it will cause precipitation and clogging in the pipes. I made this mistake last week and caused a bunch of acros to strip because alk got clogged and therefore did not get dosed.  Also cut the bottom of the lines at an angle
2. Calibrate the doser, and double check it afterwards
3. Leave 30 mins between calcium and alk doses
4. Get one of these to hold your dosing lines https://www.h2oaquatics.co.uk/water-flow/bubble-magus-dosing-pump-tube-holder
5. For the first week or so, test the params every night at the same time, then at least once or twice a week.

Cheers mate, noted.  What makes you think I would choose recipe #2?  I had #1 in mind for some reason ha ha.  I think it's because Randy mentions more aquarist choose #1.
I got a salifert Mg test kit today and will take readings.
So get Mg to correct level and then sort Alk and Cal.  If I mix my stock solutions they have long shelf life yes?

This is just so confusing......


A.

ajm83

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Reply #3

Cheers mate, noted.  What makes you think I would choose recipe #2?  I had #1 in mind for some reason ha ha.  I think it's because Randy mentions more aquarist choose #1.
I got a salifert Mg test kit today and will take readings.
So get Mg to correct level and then sort Alk and Cal.  If I mix my stock solutions they have long shelf life yes?

This is just so confusing......


A.

Yeah recipe #1 is a slightly better choice for most, because it raises the pH (slightly!)
Only thought you were doing recipe 2 because you bought sodium bicarb rather than sodium carbonate.  It really doesn't matter though, cos you can bake it in the oven to make carbonate if you want anyway. 😎

These recipes don't 'go off'   👍


Quote from: Randy Holmes-Farley
Quote from: jenreefer
Is there a shelf life for either ca or alk after it is mixed?

They will last longer than the container you put them in.  🙂
Last Edit: Aug 10, 2018 9:08:03 am by ajm83

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hotashes

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Reply #4

Yeah recipe #1 is a slightly better choice for most, because it raises the pH (slightly!)
Only thought you were doing recipe 2 because you bought sodium bicarb rather than sodium carbonate.  It really doesn't matter though, cos you can bake it in the oven to make carbonate if you want anyway.

These recipes don't 'go off'   


They will last longer than the container you put them in. 

Ha ha the man with a link *grin*

I'm guessing it's best to make stock solutions for just alk and cal? Or mg too?  (As it doesn't get used as often).

Whilst making the initial mix to bring alk up to target level, do I just us 500ml and half the calculated recommendation carbonate?  So I don't need to mix such a large amount?


A.

ajm83

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Reply #5

If you've got the space to store it I suppose you might as well make them up in batches, save yourself a bit of time later on?

When I did this recipe, I used 3x 5 litre water bottles.  I think from memory Randy's recipes use US Galls (3.8 litres) so that fits nicely in there.

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Asco1104

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Reply #6

All the advice is very good, get your mag up first then calcium and alk. I leave 15 mins between doses to avoid chemical mix up.

I would swap the bicarbonate out for carbonate, my ph went from a average of just under 8 to 8.14 and a dailyswing of .25 rather than .31


Tim

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hotashes

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Reply #7

If you've got the space to store it I suppose you might as well make them up in batches, save yourself a bit of time later on?

When I did this recipe, I used 3x 5 litre water bottles.  I think from memory Randy's recipes use US Galls (3.8 litres) so that fits nicely in there.


Cheers bud, had seen this option using the big water bottles somewhere.  Just my tank is only 50L nano.... Do you still suggest use the water bottle?  Or just use the coral box containers I have already?

I can always use the water bottles to just store the made up solutions, then just use them to top up the coral box containers as and when!

Sorry to be a pain, it just all confuses me a little lol


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hotashes

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Reply #8

All the advice is very good, get your mag up first then calcium and alk. I leave 15 mins between doses to avoid chemical mix up.

I would swap the bicarbonate out for carbonate, my ph went from a average of just under 8 to 8.14 and a dailyswing of .25 rather than .31


Tim

Hi Tim, thanks for chiming in.  How quick do you suggest I bring my levels up?  Considering my tank volume!

I will bake the bicarbonate and have carbonate, make sense?

Does Ph in reef tanks generally fall or prone to rise?  Considering I've only been doing water changes till now.  I know Co2 has an impact on Ph, but as a ball park figure.  I ask this as I've currently not got a Ph meter so may be at risk of not knowing.

Thanks.


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Asco1104

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Reply #9

Alk no more than .4-.6 a day
Calcium 40ppm a day
Magnesium 60ppm a day

Ph naturally rises and falls through a 24 hr period
When the tanks lights are on photosynthesis happens using up co2 and so your ph goes up, lights go out and photosynthesis slows so co2 levels go up making ph go down.

Yes you can bake bicarbonate to make carbonate but I think you got yours from bioaquatek so the cost is minimal and wouldn’twaist my time but that’s just me

If you can split your alk dose of 24 doses one a hour it will really help stability and stop any ph spikes.


Tim

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ajm83

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Reply #10

Ph naturally rises and falls through a 24 hr period
When the tanks lights are on photosynthesis happens using up co2 and so your ph goes up, lights go out and photosynthesis slows so co2 levels go up making ph go down.

Yeah, here's the graph from my seneye

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hotashes

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Reply #11

Yeah, here's the graph from my seneye


As its only a nano I'm learning on, I've not got my Apex hooked up to give me consistent Ph readings, so it's trial and error for me right now *doh* *help*




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hotashes

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Reply #12

Alk no more than .4-.6 a day
Calcium 40ppm a day
Magnesium 60ppm a day

Ph naturally rises and falls through a 24 hr period
When the tanks lights are on photosynthesis happens using up co2 and so your ph goes up, lights go out and photosynthesis slows so co2 levels go up making ph go down.

Yes you can bake bicarbonate to make carbonate but I think you got yours from bioaquatek so the cost is minimal and wouldn’twaist my time but that’s just me

If you can split your alk dose of 24 doses one a hour it will really help stability and stop any ph spikes.


Tim

Thanks, understand Tim. 

So do I take my levels shortly after my weekly water change to see how much I need to raise them by?  Or can I take them now and get on with it?
I usually do 20% (10L) WC weekly on sat/sun either or.

Then, once I've got an idea, can I just mix 1L of alk, cal and mg into my coral box dosing containers.  Then start raising levels independently until required levels are reached, then once set leave a week with no dosing and see how much levels drop so I know how much do dose daily/bidaily etc.


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Asco1104

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Reply #13

This is what I do, mix you fresh water and test that for alk, cal and mag.

Now that is your base line and what you need to buffer your tank too.

Test on day one at a set time then on day 3 test at the same time, then take away the second test number by the first then divid it by 3 wich will give you your daily uptake.


Tim

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hotashes

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Reply #14

This is what I do, mix you fresh water and test that for alk, cal and mag.

Now that is your base line and what you need to buffer your tank too.

Test on day one at a set time then on day 3 test at the same time, then take away the second test number by the first then divid it by 3 wich will give you your daily uptake.


Tim
Cheers Tim, do you suggest I find the table/graph which will advise of how much ml of each element will be needed to raise in increments on bio aquatek thread?


A.

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