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FAQs on Calcium, Supplements involving Calcium, Dosing

Related Articles: CalciumThe Use of Kalkwasser by Russell Schultz, Understanding Calcium & Alkalinity, Live Sand, Marine SubstratesReef Systems, Refugiums

Related FAQs: Calcium, FAQs 1Calcium, FAQs 2Calcium FAQs 3, Calcium FAQs 4, Calcium FAQs 5, Calcium FAQs 6, Calcium FAQs 7, & FAQs on Calcium: Rationale/Use, Calcium Measuring/Test Kits, Sources of Calcium, Calcium Supplements, Chemical/Physical Interactions, Troubleshooting/Fixing, & Calcium and Alkalinity, Calcium Reactors, & Calcium Reactors, Kalkwasser& FAQs on: The Science of Calcium & Alkalinity, Importance, Measure, Sources, Use of AdditivesTroubleshooting/Fixing, Products,

All such additives are far best utilized pre-mixed with make-up or change water. If they must be applied directly to an occupied system, this is best done through a sump, slowly, with high water agitation. DIY admixtures? Can be done... do the math... and experiment... Go slow... Oh, and remember these compounds propensity for "falling out of solution"... "Shake well before using"

Calcium Chloride/Calcium And Alkalinity 12/12/09
I'm just learning of the problems that can arise from supplementing a reef tank continuously with Calcium Chloride....in this case Seachem's Reef Advantage Calcium.
<This product is best used short term to rapidly increase calcium levels.>
This product has worked incredibly in my smaller systems, yet now that I am 6 months into a 150 gallon sps reef, I'm noticing a few things that are entirely irregular. Firstly, my salinity has crept up to 1.028. I've always been diligent about 1.025 specific gravity water changes and freshwater top off, yet I'm not understanding fully how calcium chloride plays a role in this spike.
<Calcium will not raise specific gravity.>
Secondly, without supplementing calcium for over 3 weeks, my levels have stayed at 480 and not come down to my desired 420 level.
<Magnesium must be at the proper level (1280-1300ppm) to allow the calcium to be utilized by calcium loving inverts. Magnesium is a major element of sea water.>
All the while, alkalinity is depleting almost as fast as I can correct it; from 9dkh to 6 the next evening.
<High calcium levels can cause this drop.>
I recently purchased a calcium reactor and am ready to install it, but I'm afraid of what may happen if these levels don't stabilize. I've corrected specific gravity over a 6 day period and brought it down to 1.025, but want to be assured that I'm doing the right thing in setting up the reactor. Should I wait a while and keep dosing Seachem's reef builder alkalinity powder or set up the reactor and start dripping slowly.
<I would concentrate on getting the magnesium level up where it belongs.
Your corals will be able to absorb more calcium when the magnesium level is maintained. Is exactly why magnesium is always a part of calcium based treatments for osteoporosis, it increases bone density.>
I would never ask my LFS for help (unfortunately they're in the business of selling livestock, not saving it), and too many conflicting opinions would be bouncing off me from fellow reefers. Please help!!!
<You might want to take a look here.
Thank you
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> 

Slacker Ca dosing question
Ca Dosing Question - 6/5/09

Good afternoon crew.
<Good morning Keith!>
I have what I hope is an easy question.
<Witticism fails me this early, but imagine something sharp here.>
I have a small reef tank, 20 gallons to be exact. I have a couple of false Perc clowns, a watchman goby with his pistol shrimp buddy and a CUC of 6-7 snails and about 6 hermits. For corals I have zoos, button polyps, xenia, 3 mushrooms, a torch coral and a candy cane coral frag. I have about 20 lbs of LR and aragonite sand. Parameters are at ph 8.3 SG of 1.024, ammonia and nitrite 0, nitrate undetectable on test kit (color stays base color) and phosphate untraceable as well.
<I am impressed....difficult to maintain small aquariums so well. Do be aware your inhabitants may not 'get along' so to speak...search WWM for information on allelopathy.>
I use Red Sea Coral Pro salt and RO water and my Ca was at 420 and dKH 9. Consistent for 6 months since I started using this salt. I ran out of this salt and I ended up buying a different brand that dropped my Ca down to about 340 and my dKH to about 12 after about a month of water changes.
<Still good in my book>
Unfortunately I started working more and also acquired a second job and got a little lax about testing...but never water changes...and here I am.
<Provided you know what the consumption of essentials in your aquarium is, this is not necessarily an evil- though with your small tank a tiny change in metabolic properties could be big in terms of water quality.>
I was able to pick up my normal brand when a different store I found stocked it locally so I know I can get the ship back on board, but I was wondering if I should do a larger WC change more often, or stick to my normal weekly 15% changes and add liquid calcium or a two part solution while the parameters even out? My first concern was the gradual approach for the sake of the livestock which is why I thought maybe the liquid calcium would be best. After the first WC with my normal salt I am back to about 380 ca and dKH of 10. I test this often now :-)1.5 ml of Kent liquid calcium raises that to 400 and dKH lowers to 9-10. Also is there a best time of day to check Ca and dKH where they are "truest"? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<Since the parameters you're at are fine, if not natural SW, I would just do the normal weekly WC with the new salt and let things gradually work their way back up. In a tank as small as yours I'd be worried about goofing up the ion concentration by adding too many chlorides, etc. while trying to adjust an acceptable set of parameters.>
<Hope this helps, Benjamin> <<He's back!? RMF>>

Calcium, opinions re the use of reactors AND Kalk  8/22/08 Att: Anthony Calfo <Mmm, Antoine is no longer "here", nor associated with such services as far as I know. You may be able to reach him at ReadingTrees.com, but...> After reading your excellent article on calcium and alkalinity, I have one clarifying question. If you have a calcium reactor, do recommend additionally dosing with calcium hydroxide "Kalkwasser"? Or do you suggest using one method exclusive of the other? Charles <I happen to know his (and my) opinion/stance on this topic: We both agree with this practice... have seen many professional (including Daniel Knop) folks utilize both reactors and Kalk... Bob Fenner>

Quick Calcium Question? (And a Start On The Road To Enlightenment?) -- 02/06/08 Hi people. <<Greetings, person>> Howzit? <<Hanging in there'¦>> As always, thank you for your help over the years. <<Quite welcome'¦is quite the collective effort here>> Quick calcium question. I have a month old 72g reef that is using 40g of 5 month old reef water (upgraded the size of tank ). When taking care of the 46g reef I had trouble getting calcium over 400. Dosed as needed. <<A common, and commonly misunderstood, situation>> Never stayed above 400 for very long. <<Did you ever check the magnesium level?>> When I set up the 72 I used the same salt, same makeup water, DID NOT DOSE with anything. Just made up about 40g of new reef water. Now, a month after running, the calcium is just above 500. <<You did state above that you brought over 40g of water from the old system'¦was likely 'saturated' with Calcium from the dosing>> Alk is 9.1. <<dKH I presume? Is best to be near the bottom end of the acceptable scale here, as you are>> I know ALK and calcium are dependent on each other <<Not so much dependent as are mutually exclusive of each other'¦but I think that is what you are getting at>> so do I just dose alk slowly until the calcium drops? <<Mmm, no'¦ In fact, I would let the Alkalinity drop a bit further (closer to 8 dKH) to try to preclude a precipitous event>> Is 500 okay? <<Higher than desired in my opinion'¦but should be okay for the short-term if you don't do anything to boost Alkalinity>> I do have clumpy sand which I stir every Sunday when doing the water change. <<You possibly have micro-fine crystalline precipitation occurring (too fine to see). Be sure to check/adjust/maintain your Magnesium level to preclude a more overt reaction as a deficiency of this ion may facilitate precipitation of Calcite (Calcium)>> Is clumpy sand harmful?? <<Only in the sense that it impedes the movement of infauna, as well as efficacious bacterial colonization, and subsequently the biological functions of the sand bed>> Hint: As of now I have no calcium needing animals, just trying to get that coralline. <<And another important reason to ensure a 'balance' of Calcium, Magnesium, and Alkaline elements'¦perhaps a large water change is in order'¦>> It will be a SPS and a few LPS tank. Got the Hamilton 2x250, so the plans are there. Last question...do I want to keep it at 500 so that when I do get some SPS's there's plenty? Or do you just always want to shoot for 450? <<Though popular among so called 'SPS keepers' to keep Calcium levels greatly elevated, I don't consider it necessary, nor is it often particularly easy to accomplish safely. Mimicking NSW levels as closely as possible for all Alkaline/Bio-mineral content is my suggestion. At the least, you need to have a thorough understanding of their role and relationships to one another. Please start reading here and follow the links in blue for further information: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm >> Please enlighten me. <<I hope to have made a start>> Thanks. <<Regards, EricR>>

Calcium/Dosing 10/5/07 First off, thank you for all the help you guys give to us ignorant hobbyists. <Not ignorant, just not educated enough in this hobby.> I'm very new to the hobby and this is my first time writing a question, but I've already spent countless hours on your site, and reading "The Conscientious Aquarist." Great book by the way. <Bob thanks you.> Anyways, I inherited a VERY dirty 120g tank and took about 50% of the original water (all the fish in it died after 1 hour of transport). It has a huge wet-dry trickle filter (already replaced bio-balls with live-rock 2 months ago), about 45 lbs live rock (plan on getting more), I added 1 Snowflake Eel, 4 damsels, 1 Arrow Crab, <This guy is probably gone by now with the eel present.> One Zebra Hermit Crab, 1 Scarlet Hermit Crab, about 10 Blue-Legged Hermits, and about 6 Turbo Snails (was to be more but they've been dying off. <More than likely not enough food in such a new system.> I'm assuming its due to my nitrate issue). Ammonia - 0, nitrite - 0, nitrate - 80 (gone down recently from over 160!), <Your test kit is probably reading total nitrogen and not NO3.> pH 8.8, phosphates- 1.0, gravity- 1.022. Despite the levels, all the fish seem to be doing fine (except for the snails R.I.P.). I just bought a 5 stage R.O./D.I. that will cure my phosphate problem <As far as water going into the tank, yes.> so my only problems now is nitrates and pH. I age the water in 3 separate closed 6 gallon tubs each with their own airstone for 24 hours. The pH at this time is 7.4 (nitrates 0). I then add 3 cups of Instant Oceans and after another 24 hours the pH is at 8.8! I have done multiple tests and always the same. Is this normal for synthetic salts? <Instant Ocean will not read that high, could be your test kit.> Should I use an acid buffer for all my change water and if so what kind? <Absolutely not. Not something for a newbie to play with, could cause more harm than good.> For my nitrate problem I've added a ton of denitrating chemical media, I do a little more than a 15% bi-monthly water change, and I have a large hang-on turbojet Berlin skimmer. Am I doing anything wrong? <Yes, adding the De-Nitrate. Need to fix the source of the problem. Do read here and related files above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm> Suggestions to better my set-up? <Do read here for starters. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/marineMaint.htm> I apologize for the length. I just want the best for my fish. Thank you so much for the help! <You're welcome. In future queries, do cap all proper nouns which include names of fish, inverts, etc. Makes our job easier if we do not have to edit before posting. Queries that require editing usually get picked last to answer. James (Salty Dog)> -Phil

Calcium Additives/Cloudy Water 10/6/07 A couple of days ago I added Seachem's Reef Calcium and Reef Advantage Calcium at the same time. Since that moment of adding these supplements two days ago, I have had a cloudy tank. This is the first time in a long time that I have added calcium supplements to my tank. My next step was to add Seachem's Reef Builder buffer product. I have stopped all supplement additions due to this cloudiness. Luckily, this addition of Reef Calcium and Reef Advantage is the only change I have made to the tank, so I do not have to worry about another cause of this cloudiness. I do not believe of a coincidence with another cause. I have kept reef tanks for many years and have never had any problems, except for algae. I have NEVER had any problems with cloudiness. In the past I had used Kent products and this is the first time I have used the Seachem line of products. It's frustrating and depressing, I have really appreciated the clarity of my tanks over the years.  Four questions for the possible cause of this cloudiness. 1. Could it be because I haven't added a calcium supplement for so long and now am deciding to do so? <No.> 2. Could it be that I added these 2 chemicals at the same time? <Possibly.> 3. Could it be that I have not yet added the Reef Builder buffer. <No.> 4. Could it be the use of the Seachem products? Remember, I had only used Kent products in the past. <No, I use their products with no problem. I'm wondering what your alkalinity level was before you added the calcium. A high alkalinity level could cause this reaction. I'd give SeaChem a buzz and get their view on this.> As with many other problems I have read about, it seems the next step should be a water change. <Do a alkalinity test, see where you're at.> Thanks for any help you can provide. I do appreciate your site, it has made all of this much more interesting and enjoyable. Thanks once again. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Dosing/Overdosing - 03/04/06 Hi all. <<Howdy>> I have a problem and it is concerning me.  I am trying to get my coralline to grow faster so I've been treating my water with Seachem Reef, Buffer, Calcium, and Plus. <<Mmm...are you sure you need all this?  Have you performed water tests re?  The Reef Calcium alone will help with coralline growth.>> I was using Calmax by WM research till it ran out now I'm using the Seachem products.  Only have a small Hammer Coral and some Green Button polyps.  I added the Reef Calcium, Reef Plus and Reef Complete today and a few hours later the water is becoming more and more cloudy white. <<Indeed...likely an overdose/mixing of too much alkaline material.>> The ALK tests high and cal says 440.  I assume this has something to do with precipitation <<yes>> but I was hoping I could do something to fix it now.  I just got a Long Nose Butterfly and I'm concerned for him. <<Perform a large partial water change and only dose (according to the manufacturers recommendations) the Reef Calcium going forward.  Continue to do frequent partial water changes to maintain your alkalinity, magnesium, et al.>> Thank you for all your help! <<Regards, EricR>> Calcium Hungry Tank - 05/21/06 Dear Crew, <<Hello Jim>> I am a (moderately) experienced reefer of 5 years and have a lot of hard coral in my tank. Porites Pavona Several Caulastrea 2 Euphyllia 1 Merulina 2 cup corals 1 Acro frag <<I see>> The tank is 130 gallons and is lit by halides.  I have a calcium reactor running but it seems to just replenish magnesium and carbonates (which is fine). <<I imagine it is also adding calcium...though maybe not enough to keep up with demands.  Or perhaps a matter of better "tuning" the reactor.  Have a look here and among the indices in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcreactors.htm >> I am struggling to keep this tank fed with Kalkwasser additions.  I currently top off 2 litres of 2 teaspoons Kalk and its very hit and miss. <<Mmm a bit much, I doubt all the Kalkwasser will dissolve in this volume of water...try backing off to roughly half what you're using now>> I currently mix a bottle up at the start of the day and dose with a peristaltic pump in the evening but it only gives me a 30ppm increase (this is done by lots of shaking of the bottle). Sometimes if I'm in a rush there is no calcium addition at-all (I add the Kalk and leave the bottle standing). Do I shake the bottle up and poor the slurry in direct? <<This can be done...start with about 1/8th of a teaspoon mixed in cold RO water, and make adjustments from there.  The idea is to add as much as you can without increasing pH more than two tenths of a unit (e.g.- 8.2 to 8.4)>> Or shake the bottle up through the day and top off the clear solution through the pump? <<This is much how a Kalkwasser reactor works (easy enough to DIY), and perhaps your best answer here>> Thanks Jim <<Welcome, EricR>> Best time to add calcium   10/2/06 Crew, <Mark> I have a 60 gallon DAS tank with 65 pounds live rock and 110 pounds live sand. We also have a hammer coral and a xenia. When is the best time to add my calcium, iodine and strontium? Right now we add these in the morning but my wife would like to not have the cloudiness from the calcium so I am curious if there are any ill effects if I added these at night after the lights go out? Also we currently use Purple up liquid calcium. I add 7 ml a day. <Calcium is best added when the tanks pH is at its lowest. This is usually hours after the lights have been off and can be determined with a quick ph test or monitor. I suggest using a two part liquid calcium system as these will give you easy control over your calcium and alkalinity.> What are your suggestions? <Concerning dosing iodine and strontium you need only add these when testing dictates. You may be holding at acceptable levels with regular water changes, and might actually do harm/waste money by dosing without testing. Please test for anything you add to your tank. Testing may not be the most fun aspect of our hobby (for most people), but it can save your tank as well as you wallet.> Thanks, <You're welcome, wish you the best! Emerson> Mark

Dosing Question -- 2/8/07 <Hi Scotty, Brenda here tonight> First of all, let me say you guys are the best!!! <Thank you!> Now, I searched the forums and got some of my answer to this question, but need you to finish it. <I'll try> I add part 1 and part 2 of the Oceans Blend calcium and alkalinity supplement.  I have added over 48 ml in the last 72 hours, but my test kit is showing no increase in calcium (stays at 350ppm).  My pH has been rising, even though I have added an equal amount of part II (alkalinity).   <I need actual results of pH> I do not have an alkalinity test kit yet (will get one soon), so I have no idea to see where that is, and am basing any decision I make on an unknown. <Yikes!  Please stop!  You will also need a Magnesium test kit.  Mg should be in the 1300 -- 1500 ppm range for everything to balance properly.> So my question is should I continue with both parts until my calcium gets to 400 ppm. <No> Should I use one for a few doses without the other as a way to balance out the pH?  Or should I just sit tight and let things get settled? <Sit tight until you get some more test kits.> Best idea is to listen to what you guys <or gals> have to say. <Never dose calcium, alkalinity or magnesium into your tank until you know what your levels are.  Please read for a better understanding:  www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/nov2002/chem.htm   www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-04/rhf/feature/index.htm www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/oct2003/chem.htm www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-03/rhf/index.php#3   Also, here is a calculator to help you with dosing.  It sure makes my life easier:  http://home.comcast.net/~jdieck1/chemcalc.html > Scotty, NY <Good luck Scotty, and be patient!   Brenda>

Tropic Marin Bio-Calcium Just a quick question if I may. I haven't discovered much discussion on this site or otherwise on the product "Tropic Marin Bio-Calcium." Have any of you folks used this product and what is your take on it?   <A very fine product from an exemplary company> I have a 20 gallon and I'm looking for a decent product to maintain/increase calcium without the least amount of headache (e.g., Kalk would seem to be a far more labor intensive undertaking). From what little I've read, the Bio-Calcium seems like an easy solution. You simply sprinkle it into the tank as directed/needed. <Mmm, better to sprinkle it into make-up water... Not directly into an up and going system> Naturally, you'd need a buffer for use as necessary. The only negative I've picked up with respect to the Bio-Calcium is that it tends to increase a tanks salinity over time. Not a big negative, just one to be aware of.  <This is not a practical matter... folks will hopefully be doing enough water changing...> In sum, if the above doesn't sound like a good direction to go, what calcium/buffer combo could you suggest for a small tank such as mine. Any particular brand/line? Thanks, I appreciate your observations in advance. Jon, Tulsa, OK <Our various input on this issue is posted, archived on WWM... Bob Fenner>  

Slurry Method - Calcium dosing 8/1/03 Gentlemen/Ladies: I in the past have been having issues with keeping my calcium level above 220 ppm this while utilizing the slurry method as directed by Anthony. <seems unlikely with any form of Calcium trying to leave such a low range. Indicates excessive use of Ca or ALK in the past and a need to do larger water changes to dilute the imbalance in the system to get the TDS on a more even keel> I had been until recently stirring one tablespoon of Kalk into ½ gallon of RO/DI water and dumping it directly into the (265 gallon) display daily (lights off). <that's a lot of Kalk... but perhaps still OK if you have a very (!) large bio-load of corals and other calcifying animals... else you are precipitating out excessive Kalk and that would explain the low CA> To remedy the low calcium issue I purchased a 4lb container of Tropic Marin bio-calcium (expensive) and basically poured it all in over two weeks. <Aieeeeeeee!> Just before I ran out of the bio-calcium I purchased 16oz Kent (liquid) calcium and poured about most of that bottle in over the last week while doing several 5% water changes. <OMG... please stop, my friend. This is a train wreck. The dosing is excessive by any measure... and the water changes are staggeringly too small. You have a precarious situation here with way too many ingredients added way too fast. Cease all dosing... do 2 to 3 50% water changes in the next 2 weeks... and then resume dosing with safe levels of Kalk or a balanced two part mix like Ocean Blend or B-Ionic> Magnesium tested a little low (1170) <That mag level is fine my friend... its arguably high if you obey the rule to keep Mg 3X your Ca levels for proper balance> and I've been supplementing to get it back in the 1300 range and that is taking awhile. <will be easier when Ca is 350-425 ppm> It seemed as if there was a calcium sink in my tank that would not allow calcium to go up <correct... your water changes have been too light in the past and dosing has been too heavy. You were simply feeding the chain reaction> but now I've coaxed it up to about 380 ppm as of last night. Id rather not use the bio-calcium or the Kent liquid to maintain my calcium levels. The slurry method doesn't seem like it will work since more than two tablespoons of Kalk spikes the ph larger than 0.2 (0.25 to 0.3). <2 TBN is an obscene amount of Kalk for a 265 gallon tank> It clouds the tank terribly for about 1 hour but the lights are off and that keeps it from being an eye sore but I'm worried about the stock. <correct> Corals are not huge calcium hogs; I have a toadstool, frogspawn, bubble coral, xenia and various mushrooms. Stock seems unaffected by the Kalk dosing. <hardy indeed> There is about 300lbs of live rock and 50 or so snails of various kinds. Is my only option to go to a calcium reactor? <you just need a better grasp on the Ca/ALK dynamic. No mention of ALK here... but because of the low Ca, I'd presume your ALK was high.> Or now that I have the calcium up now will it maintain that level easier with just the slurry method? <correct with some large water changes> Have I provided enough information?  Any thoughts would be appreciated. Regards, David <as per above... no worries. But please do resist the knee-jerk dosing of large quantities of anything. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Slurry Method 8/1/03 Anthony, Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I'll clarify a few issues. <excellent, my friend> Alkalinity ranges from 2.5 meq/l to 4.5 meq/l. (I new I had forgotten something) At the moment (two days ago) it was 4.0 meq/l. <that's a pretty wild range... and the higher end of it is indeed likely to depress Ca naturally. It is somewhat unnatural in aquaria to have/keep both levels high concurrently. A sort of mutual exclusion. Its more like keeping one low-med while the other is high... and that's all right. I suspect you've read the article we have here on WWM "Understanding Calcium and Alkalinity". The hi-lo game is rudimentarily explained therein> I've never precipitated calcium (i.e. snow storm) <on the contrary bub... we have all precipitated calcium as insoluble calcium carbonate (chalky residue in sump, on sand/unseen. But I do realize you've never had a snowstorm... yet the two things are not the same. Or rather, the latter (snowstorm) is the severe shift of the equation. But you can be assured that the heavy dosing of Ca you've done has precip'ed Ca in a slow feed of the reaction as evidenced by the low Ca levels despite garden shovels full of calcium products. The only way this wood not be true is if your test kit was simply wrong and the Ca is in act sky high. I trust/believe you've verified the test kit as accurate though> My water changes are 8% twice per week. I've heard, smaller more frequent water changes keep a system in balance and overall make things run better. <yes... very much agreed... but 8% is very weak IMO. Really needs to be much higher to dilute the untestables and testable undesirables, plus replenish depleted desirables> I've now been doing this procedure for the last couple of months. My normal procedure months on end has been to get up every morning (well most mornings anyway) and mix up a tablespoon of Kalk in 1/2 gallon of RO/DI water and pour directly into the tank. Ph will spike from 8.35 to 8.6 and then settle down to the 8.5 range just before lights off. <be sure to test your pH from the Kalk after about an hour... not minutes after... the real measure of the spike> Next morning 8.35 again. Alkalinity has never been under 2.0 or over 4.5 meq/l and I test it quite a bit. I felt it unusual that with my calcium dosing habits and my alkalinity to both be on the low end of the spectrum? <this is a very common problem and one that we/I hear about often... the "see-saw" effect. Really... take my advice: this is about oversaturation from excess supplementation over time without adequate dilution. As recommended before... 2 to 3 50% water changes in the next 2 weeks and you will be back on par. Read the archives on this subject and you will find people that have begrudgingly done this to the T and wrote back claiming success> I'd say for the last 5 months my calcium as averaged in the really low 200 mg/l and the alkalinity in the 2-3 range. Over that same period of course I've noticed some coralline disappear off the back glass. <seems almost inconceivable for the light demand for calcium in the tank and the generous supplementation> Just over the last couple of weeks, maybe three have I really been trying to push the calcium up with these other products. The bio-calcium pushed the alkalinity up to 4.5 but is now back down to 4 which is acceptable. I started wondering about other causes and so last week I bought my first magnesium test kit and tested and found it to be a little low to what you might find in the ocean but from what you say is still ok. <quiet correct... aquarium husbandry is finessed differently than NSW. We must employ slightly lower temps, SG and sometimes pH> As I mentioned earlier the Calcium level as tested last night was 380 mg/l. That seems sufficient to me as long as the alkalinity stays at or below 4?? <agreed> Could the Kent Kalk I'm using be less pure than what it should be? <I do not/would not use Kent Ca (previous concerns/experience) but do not think it is your problem here> I have several containers of it! <Jack Kent says thanks> I guess in hind-sight I should have worked my calcium up slower (don't want a train wreck) but had been so low so long I wanted to get it up sooner. don't say it) <heehee... no comment> I still wonder if a calcium reactor would be beneficial here or do you think the Kalk is my best bet in the long term? Thanks David <I sincerely think/agree that a calcium reactor is a very fine addition and will make your Ca/ALK supplementation routine much easier/ Still... it cannot correct an imbalance or dilute a problem. You cannot escape the large water changes here. Best regards, Anthony>

Dosing Ca & Supplements Hi WWM crew, <Hi!> My Berlin reef tank is 6 months old now... have a few fish and corals in it and I'm constantly replacing evaporated water with kalk+vinegar. The tank is 100gal and daily evaporation is about 1/2 gal. As you can see this isn't enough to keep Ca levels above 400 range with Kalk, especially as I added some LPS corals 2 weeks ago... <DO test calcium and carbonate alkalinity and determine your usage and from that, your dosage.  Don't guess,> Should I go and buy some calcium chloride to extra elevate my Ca levels? What's the best dosing method? <The best article on the best method is right here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm   Anthony wrote this recently just for this occasion!> As I also dose strontium and iodine once per month, I would like to know if it's ok to mix them into my Kalk solution (just once per month of course), as this way I wouldn't need another dosing equipment.  Thank you, si-reefer <The strontium may be, but both of these can be dosed directly to a high current area of the display as easily. Again, I recommend testing before dosing.  Follow Anthony's advice for supplements if needed.   Craig>

Misdosing 2-part calcium Here's the scenario...90 Gallon tank, 20gal sump... lot's of hard corals, a few soft corals...many inverts... etc...>www.slabe.net/Reef.htm <http://www.slabe.net/Reef.htm>  for a 3 month old pic (many more hard corals than pictures shows)  I control Calcium/Alk with a two part system. <scanning down through the body of your message, I see several problems... read on> Two Dosing pumps dose B-Ionic <by dosing in this manner, you are doomed from the start. The Calcium portion of this clear supplement must be shaken vigorously before every single dose. In a clear graduated cylinder you can barely see the striation of components separating when left undisturbed as they are in your dosing vessel. The net result is that you are not dosing the balanced 2-part supplement in a balanced ratio/mix> and another dosing pump tops off tank via a float switch with Kalkwasser water. <the addition of Kalkwasser (or any extra Ca or ALK agent) skews the balance of your "balanced" two part liquid even if you were dosing them properly.> >I use three Dosing pumps... >1 - B-Ionic Part 1 >1 - B-Ionic Part 2 (Calcium) >1 - Make-up Water w/Kalk I dose 10 teaspoons of B-Ionic Part 1 every morning followed by 2 teaspoons of B-Ionic Part 2. The make-up water is a 10 gallon tank with approx. 2 teaspoons of Kalk for every gallon of water. <huh? Why the strange mix of reagents... what made you pick these numbers, bud? No worries... the gist of it is this: if you have a tank that through large water changes if nothing else begins with reasonable balance in the Ca/ALK dynamic... then the proper dosing of a balanced 2-part mix will continue a balanced relationship by supplementation. No Kalkwasser or buffer needed. Just lots of expensive 2-part liquid <G>. I personally prefer Kalk and buffer or Kalk and a reactor... but they are more work than the 2-part mixes admittedly> For some reason, the Alk is at 7.0ish and the Calcium is at 420... but according to my Aquacontroller, the pH is varying quite a lot (from 8.15 to 8.45 during a daily cycle). <no surprise as per dosing habits above... easily corrected too. Large water changes to dilute and then resume proper dosing> From everything I read, that's quite a variance and should be buffered more. <agreed... it would be nice to see ALK at 4-12 dKH and pH no more of a swing than .2 down from 8.4 minimum daytime pH> Two weeks ago, I was only dosing 6 teaspoons of Part1 and I increased by 30% thinking that more Part 1 would do the trick... >wrong... the alk levels didn't budge... Please help.... Christopher Slabe...Cleveland C-Sea Member <best regards, my friend. Anthony>

Calcium forms Hello WWM, First of all I would like to greet you a Happy new year!!! Happy 2003. <and to you in kind> I would like to know how to dose Calcium Gluconate to my reef tank to accelerate coralline algae growth. <Seachem's Reef Calcium has an eye dropper and is a straight dose> Do I mix and drip it like the  calcium hydroxide? <nope... and don't count it as a source of calcium for your corals either... use 2-part or Kalkwasser for that> I'm going to buy some Calcium Gluconate to a chemical warehouse near my place, <OK... but I wouldn't want or know how to tell you to dose it by concentration. You can do the math once you get your hands on a sample.> its also the place where I bought my KI and calcium hydroxide, its a great quality and purity and it does its job well Ca, Alk and pH except for the slow growth of corallines on my live rocks. <understood> I also want to buy some buffers there but I don't know what kind of carbonate and bicarbonates should I buy? <most buffers are overwhelmingly sodium bicarbonate. A little borate and carbonate is also mixed in> Right now I'm using baking soda but I've read that it should not be used in to long run and can also help to grow red slime algae? <not true... did "they" explain how this is so? No worries at any rate... their are compositional recipes all over the internet (check big message boards like Reef Central, Reefland, Reefs.org, etc) for recipes. Even some for the 2-part liquid mixes too> I know I should buy stuff that are meant for aquariums but I think they are just the same. <agreed... they are the same ingredients. But I like paying for the screening of QC and the convenient dosing recommendations as per known concentrations> And one last thing, I wanted to know how to dose Kalk with the slurry method. <this is discussed at length in our archives here on wetwebmedia.com (keyword search from index page on google). It is also debated nicely on reefcentral (browse their search feature just the same). And it is in my Book of Coral Propagation> I've red that the Kalk should be mixed in a cup of cold RO water and then pour it in the tank. <correct> How about the undissolved Kalk? <none... you will have begun conservatively and work ed up to a known useful (and soluble) amount of dry reagent> do I let it settle first? <nope> I use a digital pH meter from Mettler Toledo for measuring the pH of the tank so I think I am well equipped to use the slurry method that involves testing for pH. <yes my friend... the digital pH meter is necessary for this application> I really don't like the dripping method. <agreed... its too tedious and your import of calcium is limited by evaporation and the amount of Ca in a supersaturated solution and NOT by the actual demand in the tank. Dripping is a poor way to dose in the long run> My tank's pH is at 8.4/8.6 and that is 8.4 by day and 8.6 at night. Is there something wrong with my tank? <bizarre! Do you have a refugium that is lit at night?> I know they should be vice versa. <correct> Thank you very much, Ken <best regards, Anthony>

Snowstorms Ca/Alk <it seems highly unlikely... are you confusing a simple temporary clouding of the water with the catastrophic "snowstorm"? A "snowstorm" is a sudden and severe crystalline precipitation of calcium carbonate that looks literally like snowflakes polluting and aquarium an is quite dramatic! Your calcium/carbonate levels plummet within 12-24 hours and it can be fatal to many, most or all livestock in the tank at times. When you say "snow storming" this implies to me that it happens to you regularly and such a thing is nearly impossible within weeks (gross neglect would be necessary). We should be clear on this term first.> Ah. Perhaps I am overestimating the significance of the crystallization I see. I used to see just a puff of white when I poured the stuff in that resolved in 5 seconds. Now I see crystals (like snowflakes ) that cloud about half the tank for about 5 minutes, then go away. The only chemical derangement has been the chronically dropping KH that DOES correct when I add a bunch more buffer. So maybe what I see as a snowstorm really isn't very important. It hasn't killed anything. Thanks :) <excellent my friend, and yes...agreed (and glad to hear it too!). An easy mistake when you haven't seen the other side (thankfully) to know what it looks like. Try diluting your supplements in a larger volume of seawater before dosing or add slower to reduce the cloudiness. In the meantime, do consider the two-part supplements. They are a little bit more expensive but work so very well! Kindly, Anthony> Tracy

Calcium too low I have a 72 gal. reef tank with a 1.5 inch sand bed w/canister filter. I can't seem to get my calcium up past 250. PH @ 8.0 in morning and 8.3 during day. Alkaline stays around 3.5 via use of Kent Super dKH. <This may be the source of your control difficulty. This product is likely precipitating out your free calcium.... either use their other supplement products to maintain both biomineral content and alkaline reserve, or switch to another line, or... go to using a calcium reactor for both> Phosphates stays around .02 and I have no problem with unwanted algae. I've been using Turbo Calcium to increase CA levels via makeup water.  <Oh...> I have mostly soft corals and a few fish. All live rock is covered with coralline algae and does grow on glass. I bought the small Aquadoser 1400 by Kent .  <Hmm, likely your healthy corallines are taking up a bit of the calcium here... any idea of your magnesium level?> I would like to start using Kalkwasser via use of makeup water to drip in tank. My evaporation rate of 1/2 gal. a day. How does one determine how much KW to drip in?  <Actually... there are rules of thumb... but best to "just experiment" with a given solution strength...> Do I drip a 1/2 gal. of KW at night to keep up with evaporation?  <If the solution is dilute, yes> How much KW do I mix in a separate 1 gal. container to add to doser?  <Use a set of plastic measuring spoons here... start with a half teaspoon and see what this results in the next day. And don't stir the water and Kalk too vigorously in mixing together... Bob Fenner> Need your advise please. Thanks.

Dosing Calcium Hello Bob, How are you today? <Fine, busy as always> I have been reading the FAQ's on Calcium, as I am now thinking of the best way to increase calcium in my tank. I have updated my web site and it includes all the background information I have on the setup of the fish tank: Please see http://www.cia.com.au/winone <Guess the "maintenance" section is a "work in progress"> What I was thinking was using a small dosing pump (the Dupla model) to dose SeaChem's "Raises Calcium" product at say 25ml per day over a 24-hour period. The dosing pump would look after how much liquid to put into the tank. With this idea, there is not much equipment needed and it is relatively simple to run. The other method is to get a Ca reactor and all the equipment needed and start adding Calcium using a Ca reactor. PH probe + controller, reactor tube and CO2 bottle and all the rest of the materials needed. <Mmm, don't necessarily need all this... I don't run a probe, controller with mine... just have set-up "about right"> I worked out that I could dose the SeaChem product for 3 years before the Ca reactor would become cheaper. I spoke to a SeaChem employee and they told me that the animals can use the Calcium in the "Raises Calcium" product far easier then the Calcium coming from Kalk. The efficiency of the SeaChem product was much more efficient then Kalk. Is there any truth in what he told me? <Does, raise calcium easier, more directly... but what about pH, other biominerals?> I suspect you can imaging what I am going to ask you? Which is better? <Both work... one is cheaper, easier to use in the short term...> What is the long term effects of using the SeaChem product? <Mmm, can spell a loss of other biominerals, alkaline reserve by simply dosing in over weeks, months, w/o checking, augmenting these other materials> Do you know of anyone that has maintained Calcium using this method and was it successful? <Yes> Many thanks for your time. It is much appreciated! <You're on the brink of discovery my friend. A bit more reading, reflection. Bob Fenner> Warmest regards Lucien Cinc

Dosing Solution Hi Bob, I am a Mechanical Engineer working on a dosage problem with my solution. I am making a gallon of solution of Kalk. to drip into my Saltwater tank. I would like to leave the gallon of solution below the tank in side of the cabinet. The approx. amount of drops that are going into the tank is 7ml/min. (.166 ml/sec.) Using this amount I have designed a way to dose into the tank without leaving a gallon of solution on top the tank to be siphoned. If I had a sump I wouldn't be in this situation. My questioned is if I dose into my tank every hour using the above amount(7ml/min.)= 420ml/hr. will this amount have a negative affect in the tank? <Mmm, for how big a tank? This is a bunch of material if saturated for a typical hobbyist system... might overflow it even... And, you don't want to apply the Kalkwasser during the day... at least probably not. Are you infusing carbon dioxide? Do you plan to utilize a pH controller or some other automated metering device with the supply? Please read the following "Kalk FAQs": http://wetwebmedia.com/kalkh2ofaqs.htm> I know that Kalk. has some kind of residual effect I am not to sure.  I may perform a test but I figured I would ask for your opinion first. Thanks, David Garcia <I would study first. A few, very important effects... potentially and really toxic. There are other, better ways of supplying calcium, hydroxides/pH stability, other biominerals... Bob Fenner>

Re: Dosing Solution I have a 45 gallon tank the Bio load is not very high I only have Live Rock and 1 Starfish. I also use a EcoSystem w/ a "PROTEIN SKIMMER". I know Eco proclaims not use a protein skimmer however, it is beneficial to remove some waste. <Agreed... though Leng Sy (the owner/manager) is a friend, indeed an advertiser/sponsor of our principal site (WetWebMedia), I am of the same opposing opinion> I may use a buffer type chemical like the Kent A&B. The only problem I have had in the past is I could never get my Calcium above 350 PPM.  <This is likely fine... you can read about why this... and alkalinity mentioned below are likely challenged, limited in your system on our site> and my Alk to be stable. I would add these chemicals two or three times a week, maybe I should lower the dosage to once a week and see if that will work. <There's more to this then simply changing the dosage interval. Read on. Bob Fenner>

Calcium Delivery Change Hi Bob, Hope all is well with you. I would appreciate your input regarding my plan to change calcium supplements from a powder form (Tropic Marin Bio Calcium) to a two part liquid form (Kent Tech CB). The powder does increase the calcium level as advertised, but is somewhat of a mess to deal with. If one adds it directly to the tank, <I would NOT do this... pre-mix it and drip into a sump, into a powerhead discharge...> I find the white powder "snowing" all over the livestock, as it takes a bit to dissolve. If added to my sump, there is no snow in the tank, but it runs havoc with my pumps, with this strong solution of calcium leaving the sump and depositing on the pump impellers, eventually shutting them down (the ca level in the tank is at the appropriate level). I plan on adding the 2 part liquids directly into the tank where the current from the return pumps are the strongest. Is there a protocol you would follow in making the switch from powder to liquid?  <Both products, approaches do "about what they're supposed to", but do agree that the two part is far less messy, more complete... I would keep the TM product handy for boosting just calcium... with the pre-mix approach... and just start utilizing the two part series in its place initially.> It worries me that the calcium itself is probably different, and that it is coming from different companies.  <Good to be concerned, but no problem here.> Outside of the pump problem (and deposits of calcium in the sump, on the heaters etc.), the tank is healthy, and in excellent shape. If this is going to cause more problems (or any for that matter) I may just stay with the powder until the budget will support a calcium reactor. Having to breakdown the pumps for cleaning every two weeks or so ( for a soaking in vinegar) is making me think a change is in order. Thanks. Have a good day. Steve <Thank you for your well-thought out, written mail... I assure you these products are "mix-able". Bob Fenner>

Re: Dosing Calcium Hi Bob, >I have been reading the FAQ's on Calcium, as I am now thinking of the best way to increase calcium in my tank. >I have updated my web site and it includes all the background information I have on the setup of the fish tank: Please see http://www.cia.com.au/winone <Guess the "maintenance" section is a "work in progress"> yep, I have not finished it yet. >What I was thinking was using a small dosing pump (the Dupla model) to dose SeaChem's "Raises Calcium" product at say 25ml per day over a 24-hour period. The dosing pump would look after how much liquid to put into the tank. With this idea, there is not much equipment needed and it is relatively simple to run. >The other method is to get a Ca reactor and all the equipment needed and start adding Calcium using a Ca reactor. PH probe + controller, reactor tube and CO2 bottle and all the rest of the materials needed. ><Mmm, don't necessarily need all this... I don't run a probe, controller with mine... just have set-up "about right"> >I worked out that I could dose the SeaChem product for 3 years before the Ca reactor would become cheaper. I spoke to a SeaChem employee and they told me that the animals can use the Calcium in the "Raises Calcium" product far easier then the Calcium coming from Kalk. The efficiency of the SeaChem product was much more efficient then Kalk. Is there any truth in what he told me? ><Does, raise calcium easier, more directly... but what about pH, other biominerals?> The claim is that the PH is un-effected by the "Raises Calcium" product. It also includes some other goodies like Magnesium + Strontium. <Hmm, pH is affected, albeit indirectly. The materials binding with the feeder stock, and/or ones in your system that determine pH go in/out of solution with this products use.> >I suspect you can imagine what I am going to ask you? Which is better? ><Both work... one is cheaper, easier to use in the short term...> >What is the long term effects of using the SeaChem product? ><Mmm, can spell a loss of other biominerals, alkaline reserve by simply dosing in over weeks, months, w/o checking, augmenting these other >materials> >Do you know of anyone that has maintained Calcium using this method and was it successful? ><Yes> >Many thanks for your time. It is much appreciated! ><You're on the brink of discovery my friend. A bit more reading, reflection. >Bob Fenner>

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