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FAQs on Calcium, Supplements involving Calcium 6

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 7. & FAQs on Calcium: Rationale/Use, Calcium Measuring/Test Kits, Sources of Calcium, Calcium Supplements, Dosing, Chemical/Physical Interactions, Troubleshooting/Fixing, & Calcium Reactors, & FAQs on Calcium Reactors: Rationale/Use, Selection, Installation, Operation, Media, Measuring, Trouble-Shooting, By Makes/Models, &  Calcium and Alkalinity, Kalkwasser & FAQs on: The Science of Calcium & Alkalinity, Importance, Measure, Sources, Use of AdditivesTroubleshooting/Fixing, Products,

And where would urchins be w/o something to grind their Aristotle's Lantern against? Hmmm?

New Setups And Calcium - 07/27/05 Having read pages of your dialogue with other reefers, before I ask you anything, I have to thank you for all the stimulating advice/discussion. <<We're happy to help...>> I just completed a wooden stand designed to support a 55 gallon tank over a 75 gallon tank.  Over the next month I will set up a refugium in the 55 to gravity feed the 75 main display (80 lbs. of rock) and filter the entire arrangement with a small 20 gallon sump (approximately 24") under the 75. <<Great!...love the fact you're adding a large (respectively) 'fuge.  Would like to see a larger sump (you'll eventually wish you had the extra space...for media reactors, etc.), but I'm glad you're not doing it the other way around.>> My original plan was to install a plenum and DSB (6") in the fuge using the method prescribed on your website, and a DSB (5") in the main display with sugar sized aragonite sand.  I am aware of the benefits that can accompany good water circulation, bugs, and detritivore kits in conjunction with a DSB. However, this will be my 1st tank. <<So glad to see you're doing some research.>> I have a few questions.  First, is this too much DSB? <<Not in my opinion.>> Second, is there anything that I can do while setting up the plenum and DSB in the 'Fuge that might induce the release of more calcium into the system from the aragonite in the substrate? <<Other than not rinsing the "fines" (these will dissolve more readily) from the sand, no.>> Or is there any other substance that I could scatter in the DSB substrate that might be naturally dissolved by the normally occurring gasses/processes in the DSB resulting in the release of more calcium? <<The aragonite sand is already your best option.  Why all this concern with calcium at this stage?  Your tank will have plenty of calcium from the salt mix/aragonite in the system during the cycle period.>> Third, what method of dosing calcium would you recommend for a beginner with this kind of system? <<Frequent partial water changes...really!  Until the tank is stocked and you have an idea (through testing) of the demand on your system for calcium, etc., frequent partial water changes will supply what you need.  If your testing determines you need to supplement calcium, the two-part additives work well for small dosages (gets expensive otherwise), else you might consider Kalkwasser or adding a calcium reactor.>> Thanks again. <<Regards, Eric R.>>

Sky high calcium problems? 7/7/05 Hi, I read the FAQ about high calcium but didn't see anyone with as high as I have.  I bought a 40 gal setup from a friend with coral and fish etc. Brought it home, put coral in a diff aquarium I've had setup for years and fish into quarantine tank.  Since the aquarium had been dry for a few hours while in transport I filled with salt water for the inevitable die off, with all living things that i could take out) left out.  Then gave that a week, drained it then refilled, and then tested water after another few days of settling.  The calcium was measured at 1275mg/l !!!!!! I didn't trust the test so i went and bought 2 diff types of ca tests, they told the same measurement!  How is that even possible? < I'm not sure.  But if it is possible it is almost certainly toxic.  I'd doubt those readings.  Are you sure?  Okay I know you are sure lets just fix it. > (two tests used liquid, the other used liquid/powder combo) I didn't add anything but salt water to the aquarium.  < Magnesium is often that high, but not Calcium. > I think my friend majorly overdosed calcium or something and it must be precipitated out into the sand and coming back into the water...other parameters are nitrates 0, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, pH 8.6, Alk low-normal.  Should I continue to do full 40 gallon water changes until it is better? < Well one 80% or 90% water change should fix it overnight. > or is there someway of lowering the Ca concentration? < Replacing water is the only thing to do.  If there is some sort of powdered calcium in the substrate (which is hard to believe) than the entire sand needs to be rinsed clean. > I'm afraid of even putting anything living into this tank until the Ca levels are much lower.  < I agree.  I would also test alkalinity as that is more important than calcium and may lead to ideas regarding this situation. > I'm assuming levels that high would harm anything alive?  Please offer any advice you can. Thank you for your time, < Change that water and rinse whatever it is that is adding that calcium. > Amy <  Blundell  >

- Calcium/Alkalinity Replacement in Top Off Water - Hi WWM Crew Great site, the source of all my aqua knowledge, thanks. I have experimented with the various options of dosing calcium - two part calcium/buffer and Kalkwasser. The results seem fine, however I have not tried a calcium reactor due to limited space and funds. My question is - would it be feasible to run CO2 through a air stone in a 60 litre plastic container (in the garage) of suitable freshwater with a substrate of either coral sand or aragonite. <Hmm... I'd say probably better to build a Kalkwasser reactor this way. Calcium reactors are typically used with water fed from the tank. They run continuously so it's not really practical to feed constantly with freshwater.> My theory being the low ph (due to CO2) would dissolve Ca into the water (as does a Ca reactor). <Well... another item of issue here would be recirculation within the container. If you're set on a calcium reactor, there are many plans on the web for building one from PVC... have seen many designs build for less than $50 in parts. Calcium reactors are actually pretty simple, and you sound motivated enough to build one. Would check on Ozreef.org first.> The result would be calcium rich water ready to be used for top off. The Ph can easily be raised by normal aeration before going into main tank. <Normal aeration will raise the pH only so much - the action behind calcium reactors creates carbonic acid - driving off excess CO2 will only do a modicum of good.> Would this be good practice or is it to easy to be any good. <Consider your options.> thanks Greg <Cheers, J -- >

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>  

Calcium Good morning crew. Real quick question. I couldn't find a specific answer to my question on the site, but I did learn an awful lot about calcium/alkalinity relationships in the process. I currently supplement the B-Ionic two part solution. However, I wanted to jump start my coralline growth and read that Seachem's Reef Advantage (dry form) was excellent in doing just that. My question, if I wanted to use the Seachem's for a while, would I need to stop using the ESV calcium component, or use less in combination with Seachem's? Always learning, Eric <Utilize your test kits here... dose with the SeaChem product, but check to see that your balance of alkalinity/calcium is not drifting too much. Bob Fenner> 

Understanding Calcium... really understanding it 5/17/05 Hey Anthony, <howdy!> Ok, so from my understanding the slurry method is only used to replace daily calcium use.  <Hmmm... to be clear here: every(!) calcium supplement should only be used to maintain a safe average calcium level in the system.> Which method would you use to raise calcium levels to the desired levels of 350-450ppm if I'm thinking of adding hard corals in the near future? Nilesh <I fear you are missing the point overall my friend. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm and explore the links atop the page(s). Best of luck! Anthony>

Dosing Ca HI Do you recommend using Reef Builder or Reef Carbonate along with the Reef Advantage? Or will the excess carbonate throw off my other parameters like pH and ALK?  <You may not have to add anything else. Just check your dKH and try to maintain between 8-12dkh. I would use Reef Builder if needed. James (Salty Dog)> 

Calcium Hello,  <Hello Saurav> Thanks for all your help you guys are great.  <You're welcome>  I wrote you guys before because I was having problems with high ALK and high Ca. I changed from Oceanic to Instant Ocean salt and with water changes the level reduced. I am interested now in getting SPS corals. I think I have to start dosing Ca, my number at 420 will reduce I think with more water changes as it has. By the way my ALK is 3.5 meq/L and pH is 8.4. Do you recommend I start dosing Ca?  <I would maintain 400ppm>  If so what do you recommend to dose with. I have a 55 gallon tank and Kalkwasser seems to be meant for larger tanks and Ca reactors are pricey. What do you think of Kent Marine Liquid Ca? If you do not think I should start dosing now at what Ca level will it be appropriate time to start dosing?  <As above>  Also will SPS corals, as far as lighting goes, will do ok in my tank particularly Acropora and Montipora? I have 265 Watts of power compact lighting. Thanks again!  <Personally I like SeaChem's Reef Advantage (dry form). It also includes magnesium and strontium, two important elements. It does not have a caustic ph like Kalkwasser and will not deplete alkalinity. As far as keeping monti's and Acroporas or flower pot corals, your lighting would be a bit on borderline, most other corals you could keep. James (Salty Dog)>

Fish Stores in San Francisco Hi, <Hello there> It sounds like you guys are from the bay area. I live in San Francisco. I get most of my livestock and supplies from 6th Ave aquarium but am starting to feel skeptical. Their prices are great but some of their advice resulted in minor catastrophe. What are your favorite stores in the bay area? <Will have to ask Chuck Rambo re... or Sabrina... or Paul Mansur... they are all from the general area, not me> I have a SERIOUS problem with Calcium (level is at 720, pH is at 8.0 but I see no precip when adding buffer). I just read that Oceanic salt can cause this so I am off to Nippon to get some water. They use sea water and I have a 12-gal tank. Do you think this is wise? Thanks a bunch! <... something is off here... first, I would "check the checker"... this test kit/device is likely off... I would be very careful with such a tiny system in terms of matching well-seasoned, pre-mixed water of similar quality...> Annie San Francisco <Bob Fenner>

Calcium problems Hello crew, Researching your site has been somewhat of a help, but with my problem there has been no real answer. My tank is four months old and my problem lies with keeping my calcium at or above 350ppm. I have recently been dosing Kalk slowly at night for various reasons; raise calcium, lower, stabilize alkalinity and raise the ph. The alkalinity has stabilized from 14 to 10 and my ph is at 8.2-8.3, but the calcium has lowered from 350 to 300 today. I am aware of various scenarios regarding calcium precipitation, just not 100% on them. I also have a calcium reactor but was not relying on it until my calcium was higher.  <Mmm, I'd be firing that reactor over now> My tank inhabitants are only snails, brittle stars and fish, but calcareous algae and the optimum conditions are my first goal before adding more delicate corals.  Thanks, Dante <Dante... don't know what else you have "in" the tank substrate, rock wise, but don't wait on hooking up, turning on the reactor... In all likelihood the simple addition of the carbon dioxide alone will solve your low/er calcium issue. Bob Fenner>  Calcium level at 580 Hi there, First of all, thank you for your time answering my question. I have a 120 gallon reef tank and it is a relatively young tank(4 months). I started using a combination of Kalkwasser doser (around 1/2-1 teaspoon/day) and Kent liquid calcium (2 caps(10ml) every day) along with Kent ProBuffer dKH(6 caps each day(30ml)) one and a half months ago. Before I used this method, my calcium level is 440 and I never checked it again until now. I was really surprised when my test kit read 580. I don't have any alk test kit that measure the precise amount but I have the ineffective one from red sea marine lab. My alk reading shows high but it didn't give me any precise measurement. I uses pinpoint PH monitor and it shows a steady reading from 8.1-8.3. Please tell me what should I do now, I have lots of mushrooms, zoos, and polyp corals along with several fish. There are no sign of distress from my fishes and corals. My corals are fully open every day. Will this high calcium effect my fish and corals if I keep dosing like this. <Calcium levels this high are not good. Stop dosing calcium right now and wait for the level to come down to 380-400, then continue dosing at a reduced rate. You will soon find the proper dose to maintain calcium at 380-400.>  I'm planning to stop using liquid calcium since I read in your website that it's not good for long term use, but how about my Kalk, do I need to stop this as well until my calcium is back to normal level? Please tell me what I should do. and 1 more thing, what's the best PH for keeping xenia and polyp corals.  <The pH you are maintaining is fine for these corals. I believe the inexpensive calcium test kits have a difficult time accurately measuring the calcium ion we are concerned with. I think the Hach or LaMotte kits are much superior in this regard. James (Salty Dog)>

R/O water treatment part2  2/22/05 One follow-up question: If I use B-Ionic, is there any reason not to use it to treat the ro/di water in the Brute, before that water is used to make synthetic seawater or to top-up the tank? Thanks, Tom <B-Ionic and similar two part additives are shipped as two parts because mixing them will result in a useless insoluble precipitate. For this reason, they must be added separately (I even suggest several hours apart), and cannot be mixed in make up water. Also, you could add one or the other part to your make up water, but IMO, this would be complicating a very simple process. Hope this helps. AdamC.>

Something wrong with "articles" web server? The last couple of days, I have tried to access various articles on the web site (tonight I wanted to read the article on Kalkwasser).  When I click on the link, I get the "header", including the title of the article, but no text.  I tried to access several different articles, and tried from 2 different computers.  Each time, the header appeared but no article. Could the webmaster look into this? Thanks! Ken Baker <Thank you for this note, reminder... we are unfortunately perennially behind... in getting to actual writing of variously needed content (writing, photography, graphics), but still need to "place" ongoing accumulations of "FAQs"... A pledge to you... if you will write article inserts, to help you sell these to the print and online 'zines. Bob Fenner, one of dozens of volunteers who are the WWM crew.>

Re: something wrong with "articles" web server? Bob--thanks for the reply.  Just so I understand--you're saying that there are titles for future articles in the listing of available articles, NOT an issue of articles that exist that for some reason have come "un-linked" from their hyperlinks and are lost in cyberspace? <Yes my friend. Thank you for making this clear> Thanks for all you and your dedicated team do.  My immediate research has to do with how to best dose calcium without going the ca reactor route--my aquarium is in an open space between kitchen and family room (great for viewing from both sides) but the cabinet underneath is completely full with skimmer, sump, and small chiller.  There is no room for ca reactor and it's not the kind of thing I want on the wood floor next to the stand.  The least unsightly of the bunch is the chiller, so I may be able to move that outside the cabinet if I can find a reactor that will fit in the space that frees up. Thanks again Ken <Ahh, perhaps the next system. The best alternative for the majority of systems, aquarists are "two part" solutions... either home made or store bought... that include in one part, the actual alkaline earth materials (mainly calcium and magnesium... perhaps with a touch of Strontium), the other the alkalinity component (carbonate, bicarbonate/s...) and other material for keeping all in solution... Much more "complete" than Kalkwasser et al., and much safer, easier to use... There is much "difference of opinion" on this topic (even on WWM!) as you will likely see... it is obvious that you are able to discern fact... and make up your own mind. Bob Fenner>

- New PinPoint Calcium Monitor - Hello guys, have any of you used the new Calcium Monitor from Pinpoint (retails for $249)?  <This item is very new and unfortunately they don't send me new products for testing so no... I haven't used it.>  Any ideas on how long the probe will remain accurate (just the replacement probe is $199)?  <No idea at all, but like any monitor probe, I would suggest that you clean it often. Many probes go south prematurely because folks leave them in one spot for as long as they last. But man, that is an expensive probe. Think of the number of calcium tests you could buy for that... knowing the calcium level from minute to minute seems excessive, perhaps even obsessive/compulsive to me, although I'm sure there are some out these who've already snatched these up. I'm going to stick with my titrations.> Thanks,  Franz <Cheers, J -- >

Calcium Query? Hi guys, My tank is running beautifully, but I have a question about calcium.  Stats: 40 gallon Temp: 78 pH: 8.5 KH: 8dKH Gravity: 1.024 Ammonia: 0 mg/L Nitrite: 0 mg/L Nitrate: 5mg/L Phosphate: 0.25 mg/L Cu: 0 mg/L Ca: 300 mg/L My tank is almost 6 months old (Day 178).  I have 40lbs of Live Rock, clownfish, 3 PJ cardinals, 1 Coris wrasse, dwarf lionfish, 2 cleaner shrimp, xenia, moon coral, red mushroom, 2 feather dusters and some hermits and snails.  I mix my saltwater for at least 24 hours with aeration and heater. I use Kent Sea Salt and Kent OsmoPrep with RO water. I was originally (3 months ago) using RO water and Kent sea salt then realized that I should be using some supplements to raise my calcium levels, which were 320 mg/L at the time.  I was told by my LFS that the OsmoPrep would raise my calcium, so I have started to add to with every water change (10% every 10 days or so). I have done several water changes with the OsmoPrep and my calcium levels are still dropping slowly, almost 10 mg/L a month.  My question is, Should I be using a calcium supplement as well as the OsmoPrep? Or should I be using another supplement rather than OsmoPrep that will raise my calcium and the trace elements I need to use RO water?  Thanks guys, Troy  <Troy, Kent Marine does instruct the user of Osmo Prep to add Kalkwasser or a liquid supplement for reef aquariums, so obviously the calcium present in the product is not enough for reef systems. James (Salty Dog)>

Specific calcium method Sat, 05 Feb 2005 Hello, I would like to start out by saying that you provide an extremely valuable site for information. I have read days and weeks worth of information here and it has been a tremendous help.  I have read a huge amount on calcium but I am looking for (and maybe this is unrealistic) a "this is how you do it" answer for keeping calcium levels stable. I have not really found a step by step answer, in other words if I go with the Kalkwasser, how do I set that up and figure out how much to dose and how often, for example, is that done continuously or a weekly thing etc. if I go with a two part solution what is it, how is that dosed, and how much. I know that I could probably get some of these answers on the bottles but I don't want to just buy the different things so that I can read the directions. Is there any advantage with one or the other? If there is some place that I could be directed to I would be more than happy to read all the information but I just can't seem to find the specific info that I am looking for. I tried to ask the LFS owner (all saltwater store) about the Kalkwasser and she said that it was a pain in the behind and that the delivery system is always getting clogged and it is expensive. (my checkbook has already stretched farther than it ever dreamed it could, so at this point I am quite willing to spend the extra money and not skimp now, I want to do it right, and not mess things up just to save a little money, does that make sense?) She sold me the Reef Advantage from Seachem and said that would be fine. I have read that this would be fine to raise it, but not to maintain it, that in the long run that is going to cause more problems (calcium chloride?) and that is not what I want. I have used it only when my calcium dips below 400 (380). When I do add it, I mix with RO water, dissolve then drip into the stream from the powerhead. I know that my reef tank is only going to demand more as time goes on, right now I have soft corals, and bubble, hammer and the like, I want to get a clam eventually but LFS said that my calcium would have to be absolutely 425 always, and I don't think that I am ready for a calcium reactor. I am sorry I am trying to keep this short. Real quick specs here: 75 gallon, 150 lbs live rock, Rena Filstar XP3 canister, a second one was dedicated to RowaPhos for removing phosphates, turned off at the moment, 4 power heads, two that sweep,  New AquaC Remora Pro, awesome, (bought this because I could not get my nitrates down from 50, tetra test, just bought Salifert, trying everything I can to get the nitrates down, now down to 25) PH was constant 8.0 tried for a while to use Seachem Reef Buffer, never moved from 8.0 (got new Corallife Aqualight Pro light, *absolutely awesome*  left glass lids open, PH now around 8.1 to 8.15 (lights, lid made the difference?) Nitrites <.03   Ammonia 0   salinity 1.025   PO4 .03   alk 2.97 (DKH 8.3) still can not understand why there are two listings for alk/dKH on my test sheet (Salifert) this has steadily went down, dKH gone from 11.5 to 8.3 over several months. Calcium range over several months has been 375-425 most recently hanging around the 410-420 range, doing a mix of Reef Advantage around once a week or a little longer to keep it there. I absolutely, without fail, do a 10% water change weekly with RO water from LFS. I add 2 caps of iodine every Monday, 1 1/2 caps Essential Elements after every water change, Phytoplex  1/2 cap every Tues. & Sat. was using Coral Vital on a regular basis, but then one day it completely freaked out my old skimmer, tank white with bubbles for days, and now I am afraid to use it. 7 fish, yellow tang the biggest of the bunch, two shrimp, 2 crabs, several turbo snails, bumblebee snails and a few other small ones that I don't know the name of, one sand sifting sea star. Feed Formula Two flakes in the morning, frozen Mysis shrimp in the evening, to the fish and the cup coral. I think that about covers it, I again apologize for the length. I just have two concerns, calcium maintained and nitrates. Also, I have noticed that I usually do a gallon of RO water to top off, since the new light has been up, every other day or so. I would like to do a refugium but I have a whole other set of questions on that, I will save that for another day. <I will try to answer the two questions you have concerns with.  Maintaining calcium levels with the least hassle would be to use SeaChem's Liquid Calcium.  For economics (money saving) buy the larger bottle.  This product is very good at growing coralline.  I personally do not like the two part mixes since every time I've used them the alkalinity would always go sky high.  Unless you can buy individual bottles of part one and part two, I would stay away from them.  All you need is the liquid and alkalinity buffer.  There is no automatic way of dosing to maintain a certain level.  Every tank is different depending on calcium using animals.  The only sure way is to test every other week and maintain.  Dosing Kalkwasser is cheaper since a bottle of it goes a long way, but like your LFS says, it is a pain in the behind.  As far as nitrates go, maintain the suggested 10% water change weekly and clean your skimmer weekly, very important.  Watch your feeding.  Feed sparingly a little at a time until the fish lose interest.  You may want to put Chemi-Pure in your canister filter.  It will take organics out that a skimmer will not.  I've been using it with excellent results.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you, your help is greatly appreciated. Rhonda

Re: Specific calcium method Sat, 05 Feb 2005 Thank you for getting back to me so quickly.<Good morning Rhonda, and your welcome.> I may be misunderstanding something here. I see that the Reef Advantage has calcium chloride but I also have the Reef Complete liquid and it has the exact same ingredients, one being powder one being liquid. Or is there a completely different Seachem liquid calcium? Do I need to worry about the chloride over the long haul, and if not is there any advantage with one over the other when it comes to liquid or powder? <The product I'm referring to is called Reef Calcium.  It is in a calcium gluconate (polygluconate) form.  It will not raise your ph where as Kalkwasser, administered to fast, can drastically raise the ph of the system.  The advantage of reef calcium is that there is no hassle i.e. mixing, dosing etc.  I have used Kalkwasser in the past and found that pumps and powerheads have a shortened life.  After six months use, an impeller in a pump was completely covered in a calcium skeleton.  Kalkwasser is the cheapest way to go for that matter.  I guess the choice is yours.  I really don't think chloride based calcium is going to have any detrimental effect in the long haul.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you. Rhonda

Our method of adding calcium - 2/2/05 I absolutely love this site.  <Awwww. Thanks. We love it too. A valuable resource for information.>  You are awesome... I currently have a 240 with some softies and some mushrooms. I use Ocean's Blend two- part system for calcium.  <As good as any I guess>  Should I do this everyday or watch the levels?  <Watch the levels. I suspect that since you only have softies in the tank that the calcium level is likely stable>  Is this even a good way to get good levels of calcium?  <Well.....my favorite is......ready for it.......a water change! That's right.....a water change....>  Because I want to setup a 90 gallon that is mainly SPS and clams... Reading through your site a reactor is the way to go.  <A good consistent source of calcium with less daily fussing over the tank, but the absolute easiest way is to maintain the overall water quality by changing the water regularly. Keep an eye on the levels. As soon as they start to drop you could change the water 10-20 percent. Of course it really depends on how fast and drastic the change is. Sometimes a water change isn't enough>  But I don't really want to spend the money.  <Understood. Well, saltwater aquariums is not exactly the cheapest hobby, but a water change might be your best bet, second to Kalkwasser in the freshwater makeup solution>  Will the two part system be enough for SPS with the addition of eco-systems reef solution?  <Yes, likely>  Thanks you so much.... <Hope this helps. Any of the above would/will work. Now, which is the most cost effective and the easiest for you to administer. Also, is the proper application for your needs. If a drastic change is needed then the two part is a good bet or if the levels drop due to lots of coral and clam use. One of the more stable ways and easiest to administer is the reactor. Lastly you can use water changes and Kalkwasser in the makeup water if you like to fuss a little bit more but it is tried and true. I add nothing to make tank but makeup water (daily) and seawater (water change) I have an all SPS and clam tank. Sorry for the long drawn out answer but wanted to clarify. Thanks for being part of it all! ~Paul>

Correcting High calcium, Low Alkalinity 1/22/05 Thanks.... you mentioned a large water change, how large should I go my tank is a 46 gallon... <one or two 50% water changes in the next 7-10 days to get back to par before adding ESV> ...and it looks like I will get another yikes from you, I have used Oceanic since I started this tank. <Yikes! Hmm... in the sense that they are able to achieve the much touted "high calcium" levels by... er... cheating on the buffers (flat Alkalinity). That's not necessarily a bad thing. Some people favor this... others struggle with it (ahem). ;)> What brand do you suggest? <Tropic Marin is the best quality hands down... and IO is the best value brand sea salt IMO> I have read horror stories about IO that people have to dose their top off water and there mixing water do bring up the balance to match there tank water. <In my greenhouse of eight thousand gallons... I'd buy IO in 8K gallon mix pallets. Now that I only have a three thousand gallon fish room, I use less salt. Heehee... to say that I have had a good experience with IO quality and QC over many tens of thousands of gallons of water in the last 10+ years would be an understatement. Its a good salt my friend... they are the industry standard> So basically then by me dosing just the ESV 2 part mix, will not bring my readings of CA 420ish, pH 8.3, and dKH 10 - 12? <it will... once you start with the same ratios, however low that might be. But if your ratios are off to begin with (as they are now... skewed by your sea salt)... the liquid going into the aquarium will not make the corrections... it is not omnipotent... just balanced. You have to pay more for the former ;) Anthony> 

Best calcium to dose with?  I have 3 tanks set up right now, 2 reef of 390 gal and 455 gal as well as the fish only tank that is 96"Lx72"Hx32"w  I have been using Kalk for several years now in these tanks, yet still no coralline algae growth to speak of, in the 2 reef tanks the pH is 8.2-8.4, dKh 13, ca 450, No2 not detectable, No3 <10 Po4 not detectable NH3/NH4 not detectable, pumps are the same size on both tanks 2400gph I have 2 Huge protein skimmers that produces quite a bit but drains into waste line, I have a Kent COM450 RO w/ DI that makes my water, 4 (400wMH) above each tank. I still have a problem with Cyanobacteria every now and then but my HUGE population of blue leg hermit crabs seems to  keep it somewhat at bay. Now the Question.... There is a pet store near me that specializes in salt water that said I may need to change my calcium dosing methods????? he mentioned a 2 part I think called ionic or something like that, was a Part "A" and a "B" both being a liquid... What would your suggestion be to the best calcium to use? BTW most all of my coral (excluding that elusive Xenia) does very well, especially the elephant ear mushroom that I got when it was just about 2" across, now it is about 18"....would appreciate your input.<There are some sea urchins that do gobble up coralline.  Do you have any urchins? James (Salty Dog)> thanks Bryan <<Huh? Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/CalciumFAQs.htm and the Related FAQs in the series (links at top). BobF>>

Calcium and Urchins 1/11/05 No sea urchins in the tank I find them to be quite destructive on the corals. <this is a common and mistaken reputation of urchins because the wring urchins are usually purchased (rock boring short spine species, pencil urchins, etc.). The best Urchins are Diadema... totally reef-safe, nimble, do not eat much or any corallines, superb algae grazers, etc> So what in you opinion is the best type of calcium to dose with, excluding calcium reactors... <common calcium hydroxide... its time-tested and true with more benefits than any other form of calcium. Read more about it in our archives at wetwebmedia.com> had a bad experience with them once.. do not what to have that again. <its sounds like you knee-jerk react too easily my friend. Just because you've been given bad advice about urchins and calcium reactors, doesn't mean they are bad themselves. Calcium reactors are the single best and most reliable way to dose calcium and raise alkalinity in reef aquaria> Bryan <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Calcium and Urchins 1/12/05 Antoine to JamesG To help a bit on that question and for your future reference, mate... your urchin guess was a bit of a long shot, Most urchins are quite useful (critical on the reefs for algae control and  useful in aquaria). A few of the mismarketed species are cheap and abused... pencil urchins lean carnivorous (grazing benthic animal matter more than algae), and a few of those short spine black urchins (Echinometra and the like) are rock boring! And yes... graze corallines. But a bevy of others are very useful and reef safe... not the least of which is Diadema for tanks big enough to let one grow out. Their problem is/was lack of corallines though... and one great, reliable solution is Seachem's liquid calcium (polygluconate). It is... heehee... useless for coral growth IMO, but (!) it is simply outstanding for growing coralline algae rapidly. You have my promise that most aquariums that gets a 3 month dose of this cheap calcium will be swimming in calcareous algae! FWIW Anthony :)

My crazy "reef" system (Calcium concern) Bob (or whoever is answering today) <A few of us> Let me describe my current status of a 55g I have set up.  It relies very heavily on plant life (macros) <Mmm, macrophytes are not "plants", but algae> in an in tank refug, has two 4' utility fixtures overdriving 2x t-8 bulbs. Plus two 4' utility fixtures behind point forward to light up the in tank refug (an egg crate crammed in there about 3" from the back glass). Back tubes are 4100K <This temperature/incandescence is too low... should be 5,500 Kelvin minimum> 3300 lumen, top tubes are t-8 6500k and actinic. I have Chaeto, Caulerpa profilera plus some grape and a red grape.  substrate is silica play sand, rocks are silica/lava/quartz type base rocks. <Am sure you've read admonitions re silicates and aquariums> I also have an external sump/refug with a DIY filter box with crushed oyster shells as filter media and some red landscape lava rocks at the entrance/exit.  A mag 5 provides ~ 5x water flow between the display and sump/refug. <Neat, sounds like a good DIY system> Tank has a yellow tang (1 3/4 years), firefish, two wild caught gobies, watchman gobies, two "Nemos" and anemone (both about 1 year). Corals include button, zoos, yellow and green star types , frogspawn, a green leather, a pinkish/brown star polyps, several green Ricordea, open brain (~ 1.5 years), a purple gorgonian, and a dark green hard coral with small polyps.  All corals are opening nicely with nice polyp extension.  the dark green hard coral has experienced nice growth including several of my accidental frags. I do no water changes just replace the evaporative water. <Not indefinitely> I use straight untreated tap water in all my tanks. but I do use cold water ran for a minute from a faucet used many times daily. Ph is ~8.4 just before light off and under 7.8 just before lights on.  (aquarium phar***** test kit). Whew!!!! now for my question.  I added the crushed oyster shells to get my calcium up.  the 55g and my 20l I use for macro algae culture both and 250-300 ppm calcium with the red sea test kit (measures 50ppm steps).  I got a SeaChem (sp)  test kit and then added the crushed oyster shells.  calcium rose over 6 weeks or so to 400ppm in the 55g. And has stayed there for at least 6 months.  But the 20L macro tank with the same percentage of evaporation and same substrate, has remained at under 300ppm Ca. <The algae are taking up the alkaline earth materials.> It seems to me that at least some low level of calcium buffering is being provided by the shells.  What do you think? Bob <See above. I wouldn't be concerned with the 300 ppm. Calcium if your system's are doing what you want them to. Bob Fenner> Calcium test kits? Dear WWM crew,   Was curious if anyone there had experience with this brand of kit. According to the dating on the package the reagents are within their shelf life, but when I add the first step with my saltwater I get no color change to blue? << And you are sure you should?  Hmmm, I doubt it has gone bad. >> Any help or a recommendation for a different kit would be much appreciated! << I don't think you can go wrong with a RedSea test kit. >> Thanks In Advance <<  Blundell  >> Test Kit Discrepancy 12/16/04 Hey folks, I'll cut right to the point (sort of). I have a Lamotte Ca test kit. I have two Salifert Ca test kits. The Lamotte indicates something like >800 ppm. The Salifert shows less than 200 ppm. Now I just realized today, after months of using the Lamotte kit that it measures CaCO3 (calcium carbonate) which isn't the same as just free ion Ca (right?). <Well, I will be totally direct... maybe.  Sort of.  Is your LaMotte test kit a harness kit or calcium kit?  It sounds like it is a harness kit which would measure all hardness metals (Ca and Mg mostly) and give you a result AS IF all of the hardness was from calcium.  I would trust the Salifert, especially since they agree with each other.  It is also possible that one of the reagents is bad.> Ok. I previously bought a Salifert Ca test kit when I started getting the really high Lamotte kit readings. This (the Salifert) should just measure Ca ion concentration, right? I thought the Salifert was wrong when I started getting readings of 190 ppm over the past couple of weeks. So, I bought another Salifert test kit. I got the same readings as the first Salifert, which is OK and sort of a relief for me to know that at least the kits are accurate with respect to each other. <Salifert test kits are know for good quality, but also for subtle, hard to see color changes.  I can usually see the color change best in bright natural sunlight and often get verification from my wife.> I started to throw out the Lamotte Kit when I read that it measures CaCO3 not Ca, which would make the readings seem substantially higher, right??? So maybe the Lamotte readings of 800+ are actually OK since it's not just measuring Ca by itself. <The kit is probably fine, but it is not measuring what you expect it to.> Is there a formula to determine the amount of Ca (in ppm) from CaCO3 reading or a table to cross reference the readings? Should the CaCO3 be around 900 or so? Is my thinking outta whack? BTW, my alkalinity is 12 dKH (Salifert test). Thanks, Randy <There may be, but you would probably have to measure the Mg and subtract which would probably defeat the purpose.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Calcium too high - 12/13/04 Good morning, <Hey> I'm having a some trouble with my calcium levels in my 10 gall nano tank. I just cant drop it down to 420 ppm. <Where is it at?> I add the maximum recommended dose every day and it still doesn't drop. <Dose of what?> My tank has been running for 1 month and I had it at 420 before but then it went up. What could this be??? <Could be a lot of things. Have you looked through our FAQs on Calcium? See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Calcium.htm and here is a topic that needs understanding http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm. Do regular water changes with good quality RO water and a quality salt mix. Try a Halimeda algae as well. This tends to use up a lot of calcium in its growth process. ~Paul> Thanks for your time

Ca too high? Hi Crew, I have been attempting to raise my calcium level for several months but I could not get above about 400 ppm, using my Hagen test kit.  I use a Nilsen reactor to dose Kalkwasser for all makeup water and I have been adding Seachem’s Reef Advantage Calcium occasionally also.  My alkalinity typically remains low as well (~ 3-4 meq/L), so I dose with baking soda and occasionally with Seachem’s buffer. << Just raise your alkalinity and don't worry about the calcium. >> Last night I discovered that my Hagen Ca test kit was empty so I just purchased a SeaTest kit and, to my amazement, it just reported my Ca level to be 570 mg/L!!!  Does this sound possible?  << Absolutely. >> With the low alkalinity (currently 2.5 meq/L) I can understand that Ca could possibly be at an elevated level but 570 mg/L sounds unbelievable high. << Not unheard of at all.  I've had tanks with Ca over 1000 mg/L. >> I had also assumed that my Ca level was low because, although my aquarium has been established for nearly 2 years, I have been unable to grow coralline algae in any significant quantity.  I was just beginning to see some increase coralline growth but then it turned white and began to flake off. << Usually more of a problem with alkalinity, or maybe even lighting. >> Here are my tank stats: 180g tank + 50g refugium (DSB + Caulerpa & Gracilaria), Temp=78F, Salinity=1.024, pH=8.1, Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, Nitrate=2 ppm, PO4=0.02 ppm, about 10 small SPS corals + 5” squamosa clam for Ca demand, several fish. What do you recommend?  Should I attempt to dose more carbonate or am I in danger of precipitating all my Ca?  Maybe I should dilute my tank water by 50% and re-test (multiplying test results by 2)?  Water change???  What do you think? << This is so simple you won't believe it.  Do nothing!  Your tank is fine.  People strive for Ca that high.  Stop adding things and just do nothing for 8 weeks. >> Thanks for the help! --Greg <<  Blundell  >>

Calcium too high? Hello WWM Crew, I read your archives for hours looking for a problem similar to mine before writing because I am sure you are extremely busy.  I found some that were close, but not exactly the same so here it goes.  I have tested my calcium ever since the tank was set-up which was May of this year.  Recently (the past month or so) the levels have read about 640ppm.  I wasn't sure if the test kit (SeaTest) had gone bad so I bought another one today (Salifert) and tested the water.  Same results as before, Calcium above 500ppm.  I tested the Alk (Salifert) and test results showed 2.63 meq/L, and the test kit recommend 2.9.  The kicker is that I have not used a calcium supplement (B-Ionic 2 part) for about two months now.  The only supplement being added to the tank is EcoSystem Reef Solution and I emailed those folks and they said it did contain some calcium but, not enough for a tank with LPS/SPS or clams. The coralline algae is growing like crazy, even on the glass, thermometer, heater, etc.  I have done water changes of about 25 gallons (100 gallon tank) with RO/DI water two or three times and the levels will not go down. << Great, stop trying to lower them. >> I use Instant Ocean salt and I understand that the salt has calcium in it as well, but enough to keep raising calcium levels in the tank?  I have four LPS corals, a couple of softies, 120 lbs live rock, and nine fish (gobies, tang, clowns, Chromis).  Please let me know how I can bring the calcium level back down to an acceptable range. << Here is what you should do.  At least what I would do.  I'd start adding or dosing a buffer solution.  Like one half of the B-Ionic solution.  It will really help to raise your alkalinity, allowing more coral and coralline growth, bringing down your calcium. >> One more question, I recently added the large CPR AquaFuge to my tank and added a Caulerpa algae pack (looks like feather) to the refugium with Kent bio sediment and a few pieces of live rock.  It has been running for a week now and I have left the refugium light on 24/7 because I read that the Caulerpa would not go sexual this way.  Is this true? << It may be true, but I still just leave my lights on at night. >> Mine seems to be going sexual (turning white and gooey) and dying off.  Are there other algae species you would recommend? << Caulerpa racemosa, the kind that is unfortunately called "grape" Caulerpa. >> It doesn't seem to be growing for me and I hear it is a relatively hardy species. Sorry about all of the questions, but after these are answered I will have a little bit better understanding of what is going on in my tank (a never ending battle it seems).  Please let me know if you need anymore details in order to make an accurate assessment. Thanks For Your Great Website, Luis Curro     <<  Blundell  >>

Ca too high? continued Thanks for the response Blundell!  Earlier today I did dilute a sample of tank water 50% with RO water and repeated the Ca test.  This time the reading was 465 ppm.  So there does appear to be some variation with this test but, in any case, it sounds like either reading should not be cause for concern. << No, no reason to worry at all. >> I did just buy Seachem Reef Calcium since I read on WWM that this has delivered good results at establishing coralline algae.  I guess I will just wait to use it now though. << Good idea. >> Since my Nilsen reactor is connected to my top-off water (via a float switch and a solenoid valve to my RO filter), do you see any problem with leaving this connected as-is? << No that sounds fine. >>  I am assuming this should not overdose my tank with calcium - correct?  Lastly, I have never had a pH reading over 8.1, even with 100% Kalkwasser makeup water.  Does this indicate a root cause I should be trying to identify or should I just continue dosing (or increase dosing) buffer? << Well I don't think you can really over dose buffer.  Okay, you certainly can.  But most people neglect this area and just add too much calcium.  I think you are fine, and if your reactor is adding calcium and buffer it will add them in a balanced portion... which is what you want.  So I think everything is fine. >> --Greg <<  Blundell  >>

DSB & Calcium Hello WWM, <<Hi there>> I have two questions the fist being. I have a 90 gallon reef tank that has been set up for 9 months. I have about an inch of live sand as a base. I was wondering since I have quit a bit of live rock and soft corals, is it too late to add a DSB? Everything in the tank is starting to look really good and would not at this point want to mess it up. I'm not sure if moving all that rock with corals attached would cause havoc on them or would it be worth the risk from the long term benefits? Also If I use sugar sand can I pour it over my live sand that is a little more course? <<Fishkeeping is subjective, so the answers to these things depends on who you ask :P I have had no problems with deep sand beds. Thing is, they DO need to be maintained (water testing needs to be done regularly, so you can foresee any pH etc, problems and remedy them) You don't want your sand bed to become supersaturated with organics without your knowledge. There is plenty of opinion in forums here about DSB's, read on! If you have a sump, you can put your Deep Sand Bed there. That way you will not have to mess up your reef structure: this is beneficial for a few reasons: the ease of installing it, maintaining it, an removing it if you change your mind further down the road. Another idea is if you have enough open space at the front of your tanks rockwork, you can try adding the sand at the front of the tank only, and just letting it drift back in between the rockwork. If you add sugar sand, you will not need as deep a bed, three to four inches should be more than sufficient, and you can stir in gently into your older sand. Once you do add the new sand let it sit, do not disturb it unless it's necessary. It will take a while before the new sand bed becomes a nitrate reducing machine, so be patient. I prefer the idea of putting it into a sump, though. Just seems easier.>> Second question is about my calcium levels. They seem to be quite high around 550 with Alkalinity at around 3.0 -3.5. I was trying to get coralline to grow I might have over done the Calcium a bit. Even after three water changes using Tropic Marin salt the levels have not come down much. I was using Seachem's Reef Complete & Reef Calcium. But I have not added any of those supplements for over a month? <<First, you might want to try a different calcium test kit, just to verify your previous results. And take a water sample to your LFS so they can test it also, and compare results with yours. Your alkalinity is too low. Is your pH also low? Is your pH stable? Does your tank have good circulation? All things must balance. Please do some more water changes, to lower your calcium to approx 400-450 max, and use your products to keep your Alk and pH stable, if necessary. And, as always, do so gradually.. Please make sure of your test results before adding anything. You should use good test kits, and you should be as precise as possible when doing them. Keep a written record, and remember that a relatively new set-up such as yours can show normal fluctuations. Just be sure they are accurate ones, so you can react accordingly. Keep on testing :) -Gwen>>    Thanks again for your help! <<Welcome>>

- Time for a Calcium Reactor? - Hi, I am currently setting up a 120 litre marine fish only aquarium. It will have a sufficient protein skimmer, an external filter, double T8 marine lighting and an external heater. I am using Kent marine salt. Is it essential for me to put regular calcium additives in the water, or worse, buy a calcium reactor. I am worried as I am on a relatively low budget. <For a fish only system, you can likely get away with semi-frequent calcium additions. Cheers, J -- >

Calcium Gluconate 1012/04 Hello, I sincerely appreciate the work you guys are doing. <Thanks!  We sincerely appreciate that you appreciate it!> I have a question about calcium gluconate.  I presume it dissociates in saltwater to calcium ions and glucose or some other sugar. <It does dissociate, but I believe that gluconate is metabolized by bacteria.> If calcium levels are sufficient, could 't you just dose glucose if you are trying to stimulate coralline growth? <Hmmm... you could, though I am not sure how direct the effect is.  The use of simple organic carbon sources (sugars, methanol, ethanol, gluconate, etc.) may provide some direct energy to corals and coralline algae, but the larger effect may be the bacterial growth that is stimulated.  The increased bacterial growth reduces inorganic nitrogen as well as phosphate.  Since phosphate poisons calcification, reduced phosphate increases calcification.  Some "magic potion" products (think of those with cute little cartoons of the mustache and flipper festooned company owner along side of wild claims in their ads) are thought to work this way.> (I note Moe and others using organic sources of carbon for denitrification, not for coralline growth <Indeed.  Methanol fed denitrators have been around for along time, and the notion of ethanol (usually vodka or grain EtOH) is being rehashed on the message boards as we speak.  The long term efficacy and safety of these strategies is questionable.  If denitrification is the goal, natural methods like deep sand beds work well.  Even coil denitrators can work very well without the need for organic carbon input.> perhaps vitamin C or acetic acid would do the same for corallines?) Many thanks!  Charles Matthews MD  <Craig Bingman wrote an excellent article on the use of acetic acid to extend the solubility of Kalkwasser.  He showed the balanced chemical equations for the metabolism of the acetate that proved that the net alkalinity was not different than the use of Kalkwasser alone.  I believe that he also stated (if not demonstrated) the same for gluconate.  FWIW, Vitamin C, or any of its forms (ascorbic acid, etc.) along with any other anti-oxidant is a poor choice since their use can result in significant drops in redox.  Many aquarists have noted a poor response to additions of large amounts of vit C or ascorbic acid.   The bottom line is that "tricks" like inorganic carbon additions are not necessary when other aspects of system design and husbandry are optimized.  However, their may be a place for conscientious and thoughtful experimentation!  Best Regards!  AdamC.>

Calcium Gluconate follow up 10/14/04 Thanks for your thoughts, Adam!   <Always a pleasure!> I'm still unclear about whether the addition of calcium gluconate to seawater differs chemically from adding glucose to seawater, since c.g. will dissociate (ignoring the minor calcium issues? Charles  <I am not 100% sure of this either.  There is no question that the gluconate will be safely broken down.  The net effect on any process is likely to be negligible.  My big concern with this as a source of calcium is the lack of alkalinity.  If you are otherwise maintaining alkalinity and/or wish to add some source of simple organic carbon, then by all means go for it.  Hope this helps.  For the definitive answer, check the chemistry forum at reefcentral. AdamC.>

Re: Add CaCl to water change? Thanks Steve. <You're welcome. Sorry this follow-up is late.> I have tested the fresh saltwater a couple of days after mixing and get 320ppm Ca @ SG 1.024 with a Salifert test kit. <Odd, it ought to mix up more like 380.> When I do a substantial water change after building Ca in the tank to around 380, it always drops because the fresh saltwater is more dilute in terms of Ca. <Yes, that would happen if adding 320.>Is there another brand of synthetic salt that is higher in Ca? <IO should be. Perhaps you should contact Marineland at their website and ask their opinion. I recently switched to the new Oceanic brand and have been very satisfied. Many feel that Tropic Marin is the "gold standard." I do run a calcium reactor, but as you know, that is more of an alk generator than a Ca generator. I also buffer the RO/DI water with Super Buffer before adding salt. It would make life more simple if the synthetic salt had more Ca in it. <adding Seachem Ca would be quick & simple.> What concentration of Cl is too much? <I am not aware of any specific numbers on this.> It looks like I need to add about 240g anhydrous CaCl2 to 200 gallons to raise Ca to 400ppm. Regards, George. <Over time, I think you can keep your Ca up by adding a bit to your change water. You could also try the other two brands I mentioned. Oceanic is also usually priced very competitively and is available at most Petco stores. Do contact Marineland. You could also start a thread on our Chat Forum to see if others are experiencing this problem. Hope this helps. Steve Allen.>

Calcium test kit accuracy 10/03/04 I have read several of the FAQ's on calcium, and still have a question.  I have a 125g that I started Sept. 1.  I added 125lbs of un-cured LR on Sept. 11.  Euro-reef skimmer (in sump), fluidized bed.  A lot of my LR has a white coating on it - like a crust.   <assuming you have adequate water flow for curing rock (20X+ turnover of the tank?), this may simply be decay from hard curing rock> My calcium readings are off the chart (>500ppm).   <this seems very highly unlikely after even a few hours (without precipitating). Much more likely that you are getting a misreading from your test kit. Even new kits can give false readings. Do take a water sample to a friend or the LFS for a test of CA on a different type or brand of test kit> I read about the possibility of a "snow storm" and it is scaring the crap out of me.   <no worries... you would have to be/have been adding obscene amounts of Ca> I changed 19gallons of water today, using DI water - <yikes! now that is dangerous. Never, ever use/add raw DI or RO water. Always aerate for 12+ hours then buffer 2+ hours in advance of salting or using for evap water> calcium is still off the chart.   <I see... all the more reason after using demineralized water to believe that this is a misreading on your test kit> I have only added Bi-onics only once. Today I just added the Alkalinity part (part 1) in the hopes of driving the calcium down. What to do? <I'm as certain as I can be from here that you have a bogus test reading... test again my friend. Anthony>

Saltwater Mix Deficient in Calcium (9/29/04) For the last 2 months, I have been doing weekly 40% water changes using Instant Ocean at SG 1.024, which produces a Ca concentration of 320ppm. <I would have expected higher.> Obviously, if I exchange this with water from my tank, which has 380ppm Ca, the final Ca concentration in the tank will be less than 380ppm at the moment the exchange is completed. In order to get the Ca concentration back up, I have to add Ca in excess of the daily dose that satisfies consumption. I asked this once before and the answer I got was that CaCl2 should not be dosed on a long-term basis. I understand that adding CaCl2 to the tank over a long period can cause problems with excess Cl, but how does that relate to using it to adjust the concentration of Ca in fresh saltwater for exchanges? <CaCl2 not the best way to go here either, for the same reasons.> For instance, if CaCl2 is always added to increase Ca concentration of fresh saltwater from 320ppm to 400ppm, the Cl concentration of the tank will never exceed the concentration in the fresh saltwater, or am I missing something? <But that level in the replacement water will be higher than the desired Cl range for the tank.> If not CaCl2, what is the best way to increase Ca in synthetic salt mixes that produce lower than desired Ca concentrations out of the bucket? Thanks, George. <The high-tech expensive way that people with high-Ca-consuming corals is a calcium reactor to keep the Ca in the tank up. Another option is to just add the Instant Ocean and then check the tank's Ca in a day or so and add a two-part supplement like b-Ionic to achieve and sustain the desired Ca. Probably the simplest thing to do: If using RO or RO/DI or DI water, be sure to buffer before adding the salt. I like Seachem's Reef Buffer or Reef Builder. After the salt is added and the water stabilizes, then bring the Ca up with Seachem's Reef Advantage Calcium or Tropic Marin's Bio-Calcium. BTW, how soon after mixing do you test the Ca? I'd give 24 hours to stabilize before measuring. Hope this helps, Steve Allen.> Can switching salt cause calcium problems? I have spent most of my day reading all of the posts re calc/alk to get my head around this. First some background .. I recently (2 days ago) had to switch from Marine Environment to Instant Ocean (ME no longer being imported to OZ). Previous ALK was 10 dKH (JBL test kit) and Ca (sera) .. for the past two days my ALK has been 12dkh and calcium 340 (same kits). Other than the coralline algae the only other obvious calc user in the tank is a Catalaphyllia. pH is 8 - 8.2 My question is  .. should I be concerned? << Or those levels different from before?  They seem fine to me, and I wouldn't worry. >> Do I dose with a calcium chloride supplement or do I do a 100l (approx 500L) tank with Natural sea water? << I wouldn't add any straight supplement.  If I did add something I would add a two part solution, but probably wouldn't do that either. >> I know you must get tired of such questions but I don't know what to do .... the calc chloride supplement will bring up my calc but stuff up my ionic balance. << Yep, probably wouldn't do it. >> Sincerely and thankfully Grant <<  Blundell  >>

pH, Alk ok, Calcium too high 8/31/04 Have spent hours reading your articles and just want to say thanks for Anthony's one on elementary understanding of Calcium and Alkalinity.  The calcium in my 150 gallon tank is at 600. (Red Sea test). I used to dose daily with liquid calcium as instructed on the Kent bottle. Stopped that back in July when the calcium was over 1200! anyway, alk is 4 meq (11 something dKH) and ph is 8.2. So is water change the only way to get calcium down? Since July we changed 60 gallons, then 50 each two weeks. This is more that the recommended typical water changes and I am concerned about whacking out all the biology just to get control of calcium. The tank has about a dozen corals, 11 fish, and a bunch of snails. 100 lbs rock and 160lbs sand (3" deep bed). Lesa <Your first step should be to verify the results you got with a new test kit (different brand).  It is very unlikely that your calcium could have reached 1200 without precipitating out of the water.  I would also verify your alkalinity result.  Calcium supplements should only be used in conjunction with alkalinity supplements in order to keep them in balance.  If you verify that your test results are correct, then water changes will help.  Be sure to choose a quality salt mix.  Lastly, supplements should never be added according to the directions on the bottle, but rather according to the results of your water tests.  This leads to my favorite Fennerism: if you aren't testing for it, you probably shouldn't be adding it!  Best Regards.  AdamC> Low calcium problems. Hi crew, << Blundell here. >> My new 120 gal tank has been running for a month now. I believe the N cycle has been completed - ammonia, nitrite and nitrate all seen to rise and then drop to zero.  There are about 200 lbs of live rocks that were once covered by brown algae but now these were cleared and replaced by green macro algae which were developing fast. << Sounds good, but I'd still go slow. >> One aspect of water condition that still is not under control is the dropping Cal.  Some common boosting means  have been tried such as adding Kalkwasser, calcium chloride and change of water. << I would try adding a calcium liquid supplement.  Two part solutions are Kalkwasser aren't really meant to increase calcium, but to keep the balance. >> Only the latter two were effective albeit very temporarily - Ca went up a little bit but could not sustain for more than a day. The rate of dropping was about 20 ppm per day. << Wow that is an accurate test kit. >>  PH was stable at about 8.1 - 8.2, alkalinity was a bit high at 11 dKH and Ca today stands at about 260 ppm. << Good info to add, that helps.  First off, I'd say a large water change is a big helper.  Also liquid calcium and don't add any buffer (Kalkwasser). >> I have tested the magnesium to be at 1200 ppm. I would like to have your advice on what further I can do. Some additional information for you - (I) I have tribased pelletized carbon and PH rock in from HDL in my sump.  (ii) some of the live rocks seem to erode as I saw some holes formed. (iii) the only livestocks are a handful of small fishes which seemed ok Regards Philip <<  Blundell  >>

Low calcium problems continued Dear Blundell, << Yes. >> Thanks. << No prob. >> I've tried liquid Ca, measured a subsequent rise in concentration but found it dropped again the next day. << Hmmm, odd.  Definitely a balance problem.  I would still think a water change could be a bid help. >> Since my tank is in an office environment, I begin to suspect whether the excessive CO2 during working days is the culprit. << Boy that is hard to believe.  I guess it is possible, but still that would have to be a lot of CO2. >> On a Saturday morning, without doing any supplement addition on Friday, Ca recovered from 240 ppm to 320 ppm.   Would it be  poor ventilation resulting in high CO2 content in the air that caused the problem. << I would either do a water change, or do nothing.  Seriously wait, and see if it works out.  If it is a CO2 or gas exchange problem, then increasing your surface water movement/circulation can really help. >> Did you have similar experience with your other clients? One more phenomenon is the proliferation of turf algae in the tank  which could be caused by the abundance of CO2 in the water.  Please advise if this assumption is valid. << Excess nutrients, or as important lack of nutrient removal.  In this case a large protein skimmer can help with both gas exchange and nutrient removal. >> Could ozone injection into the sump be effective in curing the Calcium depletion . << Wow that is going out on a limb to get an expensive piece of equipment.  I wouldn't go for that. >> Regards Philip <<  Blundell  >> How do I get my calcium up? Hello, << Good morning, Blundell here. >> Thanks for all of the info that you provide and thank you in advance for answering my question. I have a 55 gal SPS Coral and Clam reef, all water parameters are excellent except calcium.  I am currently using ESV B-Ionic (daily) at the maximum dose and I can't get a calcium reading above 320 on a Salifert test kit and a secondary reading of approx. 300 on a less accurate kit.  (I figured that I have a total of 40 gal of water in my 55 gal with refugium.= 40 ml of ESV daily.)  My corals are growing like mad and obviously using up the ESV product.  I do not add other chemicals to the tank, as I do frequent water changes using Tropic Marin salt. I know that the logical thing to do would be get a calcium reactor, but, I am leery of the gas cylinder that must be used (leakage).  Also, I don't want to start drip dosing Kalk as that would probably throw everything out of whack.  Is there anything else that I can do to bump up the calcium and still use the ESV product?  << Absolutely.  First, test your alkalinity!  Many people who have this problem you are describing end up fixing it by simply using half of the ESV product, and not adding alkalinity.  You need to get them balanced first, then add them in equal proportions.  If they are already misaligned then by adding both parts won't really help.  Well it helps, but you would be better off getting the levels on the right track first. >>  ESV seems to keep everything in good balance.  My LFS suggested Aragamilk or liquid aragonite, but, I'm not too sure that they would do the job. << Hmmm, well I would rather use some liquid calcium instead of the liquid Aragamilk. >> Other info: Filtration:  Fishless Refugium with skimmer, approx.  85-90 lbs live rock & DSB Fish:  a few Clown Gobies and 2 Dartfish Critters:  Various snails, 2 cleaner shrimps and few tiny hermits Feeding:  Frozen Cyclop-eeze for corals and a few flakes for fish (sparingly on the fish food) Any additional info that you can provide would be most appreciated. Thanks Again, Cheri <<  Blundell  >>

Reef Water Chemistry - pH and Ca high 8/1/04 Hi--I have a 175gal tank with about 350lbs live rock. <as an aside... seeing that you have a nice beefy supply of live rock here (very fine at 2 lbs per gallon), I wonder if you have the rockscape built so that no pieces are touching the vertical walls? If so, its a common mistake and one that significantly impedes water flow around and through the reef. It causes problems in time as detritus accumulates in inaccessible places. Do consider if this is a problem> Have not successfully been able to keep coral yet--they do not like my water, but fish are well. My question is about a high pH reading (8.8 tonight--has been around 8.2 - 8.4) and a high Ca reading 480ppm. <pH is likely a non-issue... ideally it should be 8.4-8.6. The Calcium is getting scary high though. I suspect too that because of it, your alkalinity is flat or low (under 10dKH). Regardless... it is this way because the source water is mineral rich, or you have misdosed (excess or imbalanced) supplements. Please do look into our archives for the article called "Understanding Calcium and Alkalinity" and follow the related links on the page> Ammonia, Nitrates and    Nitrites are all 0. <you will want to allow a small amount of nitrates (5-10 ppm) to linger in the future for optimal coral health and color> Our alkalinity kit hasn't arrived yet, so don't know about that. We are doing the Kent Marine Tech CB (part A&B). Do you know what could have caused the pH spike? <if you do not shake the 2-part supplements vigorously before every use, they can be dosed imbalanced. Or... if your chemistry was not balanced before you started using the 2-part supplement, then the imbalance was simply carried along (the 2-part mixes cannot magically correct and imbalance... they ARE balanced and need to be finessed relative to your chemistry and what your tanks daily demands are)> I skipped adding the CB solution today because Ca is so high. <very good> Is this harmful? <necessary> What other tests do you recommend? I also tested for Copper and that was at 0. Thanks! Janet <do get a good reef book on hand my friend. It will be money much better spent rather than killing another coral. Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals is excellent for livestock/pictures... and if I may say so, my Book of Coral Propagation has a very easy to understand section (most of the first half of the book -450 pages) on Reef Husbandry, water quality, etc. Best regards, Anthony Calfo> - Spontaneous Calcium Carbonate - Hi, Hope all is going well there. <Last time I checked...> I have a question about stored water. I have a 55 gallon Rubbermaid container that I use to store water in for water changes.  When full this usually lasts about 7 weeks.  After buffer and salt are added and mixed I usually keep a powerhead in the water running continually.  I have read that this can cause the water to lose carbonates and form calcium carbonate, and that after mixing water for about 2 days the water should go in dark storage. <I, on the other hand, have not heard this. Calcium carbonate is typically formed by the addition of CO2 gas directly into saltwater and a bed of aragonite which is the primary way calcium reactors work. Is the pH of your water dropping - is there some other factor which is leading you to believe this is actually happening?> My water container sits out on my screened in porch and I keep the can covered. I have no other place to keep it.  In the summer the water temp gets into the 90s and I am scared that if I discontinue the constant aeration the water will go stagnant. <You are correct... I'd keep up the aeration.> Please advise me on what to do.  thanks, James <Cheers, J -- >

Calcium supplements for Coralline Algae 7/13/04 I've ever read and if I'm not forgot, Cliff W. Emmes also mention that CaCL is better to use rather than CaOH, it was said that CaOH will spike ph to very high value, but CaCL will not spike ph. Which one is correct? <do check/look for the copyright of the literature that you found that in, my friend. I strongly suspect that information is 10-20 years old. We have learned a lot about calcium supplementation since then. Calcium Chloride does raise calcium without raising pH... but does so at the expense of imparting Chloride ions that accumulate in time and can wreak havoc with water chemistry. You could not do enough water changes practically to dilute this impending problem. Again... CaCL is to be used as a temporary fix for low calcium. The fact that CaOH raises pH is in fact a benefit (and a big one at that). Dosed at night when pH naturally falls, Kalkwasser neutralizes acids that would otherwise be a burden on Alk. This is how CaOH supports high Ca and high alkalinity.> you said that I must choose better calcium, can I skip to CaOH or use the commercial product like Kent marine liquid calcium? <liquid calcium products are most always Calcium Chloride. Since most hobbyists leave the hobby in less than a year or two <sigh>... not enough people appreciate the risks of the long-term CaCL use.> But I prefer you suggest me a DIY calcium solution, as commercial product will cost a lot of money in long term. <a calcium reactor is your best long-term solution... but simply calcium hydroxide is fine or better in the meantime (other than tedium of dosing manually... but for this, please do a search for "Kalk slurry method" in our archives with the google.com search tool on our home page at wetwebmedia.com> What will happen if Mg is not that high? <you will notice poor coralline algae and macro algae growth for starters> I've been given by my friend a Kent marine reef starter kit which include Kent marine strontium plus molybdenum, Kent marine liquid calcium and Kent marine iodine. <FWIW... I do not have very high regard for Kent marine products> I've read also that strontium is very important for coralline algae, <yes... there is strong anecdotal evidence of this (Spring/Delbeek, Wilkens, etc.)> it is also state in the Kent marine brochure that their strontium product will promote coralline algae, so is that correct that strontium is so important? How about iodine and what is the useful of iodine? <iodine is very important for many forms of marine life. I recommend small daily doses of iodine> Thank you very much. Hengky. <please do make use of our extensive archives my friend... you could answer a lot of these questions yourself by taking the time to read and you'll learn so much more in the process. With kind regards, Anthony>

- Kalkwasser Reactor vs. Calcium Reactor - I'm trying to decide between a Kalkreactor or calcium reactor for my new tank setup. It seems to me that their are advantages/disadvantages to both methods. What worries me is the lower pH with a calcium reactor, but I've read of some successes using the two together to balance the pH. <Calcium reactor can be run by itself without adversely affecting the pH of your tank - and likewise, Kalkwasser has a rather high pH - either one run alone and without proper adjustment could cause trouble.> Any thoughts on which method is better, or if using them together is ideal? <I prefer the calcium reactor if choosing only one - the calcium reactor can also supplement trace elements which Kalkwasser will not do. In the ideal world, it is better to run them both together.> Also, is it true that fresh Kalkwasser must be mixed every morning and added to reactor? <Not that familiar with these products - have never used one, so I really don't know what the SOP for the unit is. Is my guess/understanding that no, you'd leave the stuff in there to mix.> Thanks! <Cheers, J -- >

- Thanks, Now More Questions - calcium, algae... thanks for the info j- <My pleasure.> another quick question! all the algae in the tank was gone in one day as the angel had a ball after i added it! so now am wondering, i just started to add liquid calcium to the tank it is by Kent, it said to add 1/4 teaspoon a day up to 1 teaspoon a day everyday depending on what specimens i had! <Hmm... best to follow these directions - more is not always better.> will i have a calcium problem if i do this everyday <At the levels you are adding, quite possibly.> {can you measure calcium amounts? <Yes, there are several test kits available to the hobbyist.> and do you need to? <Based on your haphazard method of adding calcium, you should.> if so where can i go to get this? <At your local fish store.> and since i run chem pure will this do any good or will this suck up all the calcium in the chem pure! <No, I don't think ChemiPure will do anything to the calcium you are adding.> i was under the impression that adding calcium to the tank would help the shrimp molt and turbo snails grow bigger shells. is this true? <Not exactly - through natural chemical processes, there is almost always free calcium for your snails to use and in typical snail fashion, they use it very slowly. The shrimp does not need calcium to molt.>  and the different algae would show up! <Really just the pink and purple encrusting algae, coralline and the green algae Halimeda. Other green, brown, and red algae are more like plants and don't require calcium as much as other things like potassium, phosphate, and nitrogen.> by the way it is so sweet to watch a cleaner shrimp go to town on cleaning my blue angel, i like the cleaner goby, but the much thorough job is being done by the shrimp, it makes me just want to stay at home just to watch this beautiful work of art! am sorry i said just one? but here is another couple 1. i want to feed micro stuff to my scooter blenny, can i buy this ghostly food somewhere? <Scooter blennies - Dragonettes - need live food, which typically only comes from large, well-established tanks. You will be hard pressed to keep this fish alive if this is not your situation. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm > and i am interested in taking home school to increase my knowledge about the wonders of this beautiful hobby we are so blessed with, i want to do it right , so is there a course i can take through email or something? <Better to start investing in some books - start with Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert Fenner.> once again am with everybody else this site rocks... <Cheers, J -- >

- Bringing up the Calcium - Hello crew.  Question for you on my 40 gallon Breeder Salt Water Tank. Having Trouble raising my calcium.  Measurements in my tank are amm, nitrite, nitrate 0.  PH 8.3 (day), 8.2 (night), calcium 325, Phosphates .1, KH 300 ppm per test strip. <For starters, do try and get hold of something more accurate than test strips.> I am kind of new at measuring KH and dKH.  My Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Freshwater Test kit says you have to divide the KH # by 17.9 to get the dKH number.  By this standard my dKH is 16.5, that seems rather high though. For kicks I used the freshwater test kit to measure my salt water number and came out with 12, this is probably not right though.  Please let me know if I am doing something wrong here. <Well... typically there are different tests for fresh and saltwater.> Anyhow, I read several of the articles regarding calcium on this site.  Most were answered by Anthony.  Anyhow, my KH is probably too high and that is why I can't raise my calcium. <It would be a limiting factor.> He mentioned doing weekly 25 % changes to help this problem.  Would bi weekly 10 to 15% water changes do the trick also? <It might help, but there's no sense in rushing the process.> Just so you know I have been trying to raise this using Kent A and B. <Hmm... two part mixtures are by their nature balanced, which means calcium and alkalinity are supplemented equally. I'd try using something else like Kalkwasser which is a calcium-only addition.> I use Reef Crystals as my salt mix.  Thanks in advance for any answer you can give me. Tom <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Raising Calcium - Kalkwasser 6/9/04 Thanks for the reply J.  You guys know your stuff.  Have answered a lot of questions just by doing searches on this site.  I will try using just Kalk and monitor my PH to make sure it does not get too high on me.     <good to hear mate, Kalkwasser (Calcium hydroxide) is the most effective and beneficial form of calcium dosing IMO. Best regards, Anthony>

Calcium Question Hi Gang <Hello, Ryan with you today> I have a 90 gal reef tank whose calc wont get above 350. I drip Kalkwasser just about every night. I have 2 questions. i have a sump/refugium below the tank and I would prefer to drip into that. <OK>in the last compartment/return area I have my carbon/Chemipure and my PolyFilter. Will this react unfavorably with the drip??.<I would refrain from dripping here> I don't have a calcium reactor, is it time to get one? <If you want this hidden from view, likely yes. It's an easy DIY project if you're handy.> ?I eventually want to get a clam so I need to get calk up. alk is near 4, dKH 11.5 (Salifert) my ph runs a little low 8.0-8.3 and I cant seem to get that up either. I do 10% water changes weekly. I have very few corals so far, so I don't think I have too much in the way of calc drain by animals, although I have a ton of coralline all over the back glass. <Sounds healthy to me! You're on your way to a successful reef. Good luck, Ryan> 

- Calcium Additives - Hello....question here on calcium levels....Yesterday afternoon, I checked my water parameters with Salifert Kit and the readings are as follow: Calcium = 380, KH = 11-12 , ph = 8.2.  So i figured i needed to up my calcium levels a bit to 400 or so.   I dosed 1.5 ml of Kent's liquid Calcium into my 10 gallon nano reef.  On the bottle, it says to dose 5 ml to every 50 gallon but I figured that i would calculate the math and dose 1.5 ml since i have a 10 gallon.  A few hours later, i rechecked the calcium levels and it went down to 365-370. <Wouldn't be so hasty... would wait a little longer to test.> KH and PH still the same as stated above.  How come my calcium level did not budge at all. <I have a hard time saying anything good about Kent products except that they have nice, colorful labels. Typically weak concentrations... made to separate you from your money. Would suggest you use a two part additive system like ESV B-Ionic.> I believe that I have added enough liquid calcium for it to go up.  Very confused about this.  What is your thoughts on this??? <Think that a calcium level of 380 is pretty good - you'll be hard-pressed to find a real reef anywhere in the world with a calcium level at 400 ppm.> Anyway, moving on with my maintenance... the next day, i did a 10% water change (approximately 1 gallon), and checked my parameters a few hours later.  Parameters are still the same:  Calcium 365-370, KH 11-12, and PH 8.2.  So, instead of using Kent's Liquid Calcium this time around, I used Tropic Marin's Bio Calcium... This time, my calcium went up to 400, so I was happy. However, my KH also went up to 14-15 range (scratching my head). <Why? Read the ingredients... I'd be willing to bet that the Tropic Marin product contains buffers which balance the additive. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm > PH still the same at 8.2... Is there any kind of buffer in Tropic Marin's Bio Calcium??? <Would be a safe bet - read the label.> I think this has happen to me twice.  The last time was when I used it to raise my calcium levels and my KH also went up.  How is this possible??? <Think about it for a minute.> And how is it possible that Kent's Liquid Calcium did not raise my levels at all??? <Because perhaps there's not much actual calcium in the bottle?> This has also happened to me a few times.  Kent Liquid Calcium = no change, whereas, Tropic Marin's Bio Calcium = Change but also change in KH. <Sounds like the Kent product is a waste of money.> Oh, and the water that i prepare every week for water changes has parameters of : Calcium = 380, KH = 10=11, PH=8.2 at a spg of 1.24 (refractometer) using IO salt only (no additives whatsoever).  Again, all parameters are tested via Salifert kits.  Thank you very much...hope you guys can help me on this. <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium in Tiny Town - Hi There!!!  I have been reading the faq's on calcium and water changes but can not find anything related to my problem.  Hopefully you can answer my question directly....I have a 10 gallon nano reef and has been up for almost a year now.  I keep my calcium levels at 400 - 410 (tropic Marin Bio Calcium) and my alkalinity at 10-11 dKH (all my parameters are tested using Salifert Kits).  My question is....every time I do a water change (about 10% once a week which is approximately 1 gallon), my calcium levels drop about 30 to 40 leaving me with 350 to 380 (Instant Ocean salt).  After every water change, i would have to add like 1 to 2 teaspoons of tropic Marin's bio calcium directly into the main tank to get it back to 400-410 depending on how low it dropped after the water change.  What to do??? <Buffer your freshwater before you add the salts - likely your makeup water is low in alkalinity and depletes the buffers in your salt - the resulting addition to the tank pulls down the calcium.> Should I add calcium to the 1 gallon premixed water (i just prepare 1 gallon every week for water change) to get it up to 400-410 before adding it into my main tank??? <I'd add buffers - if you've been doing your reading, then you know these two are connected.> That means i would have to test my water for the appropriate calcium level every time i do a water change before putting it into the main tank. <Test the freshwater once for alkalinity - I think you will find some interesting results.> I believe Instant ocean salt does not give a high calcium when mixed. <No, it doesn't... it provides adequate calcium, but not high levels of it - this is available in their Reef Crystals brand.> So far, this is the best method that I can think.  I am not gonna go the Kalkwasser route because i am not a big fan of it so try to stick with me on the supplement i am using. <Your tank is small enough that Kalkwasser could be real trouble.> Cheers <And cheers to you, J -- >

Calcium for LPS - 4/30/04  As you have been told a million times before, WWM is the BOMB <Da BOMB> and there'd be a lot more fish in heaven were it not for your sagely advice. Thanks! <Our pleasure>  I have a 75 gallon with a 30 gallon DSB sump that is nearly a year old. The tank consists of several reef safe fish (clown, fire fish, coral beauty, gobies and a tang), as well as several polyp types (sea mat, glove polyp) and a soft coral (have never been able to identify it, but it looks like polyps, bright golden-white in color but with 12 petals instead of the usual 8 on each polyp - the petals look like little round white nubs), and a candy cane coral that was recently added. I also have about 85 lbs of really good live rock and a lot of macro algae growth in the sump (looks like hacksaw blades), <Caulerpa serrulata> the tang doesn't touch it <Won't touch most Caulerpas as they are usually quite toxic>  I do weekly water changes of 5 to 10 gallons using RO/DI water, my parameters are perfect, the fish are doing great and the polyps and soft coral seem to be growing and doing well. Somehow, when acquiring the candy cane, I didn't make the connection that this is a stony coral. <Large Polyp Stony coral or LPS>  I do not have a CA reactor. <Don't need one per se. If you had a many LPS or SPS then maybe>  The candy cane seems to be much happier in my living room than it was in the LFS (better lighting in my tank), <I am sure it is happier>  .. but I want to continue to ensure its happiness.<Good methodology>  I do not plan on stocking the tank further and will not be adding any other polyps or corals. Should I be looking into a CA reactor? <Nope>  Or should I just test the water and add CA as needed? <Test the water and do a water change if calcium is depleted>  Or should I just not worry about it and continue with regular water changes? <Yeah, I like this idea better>  Also, on a completely different note, I am leaving for vacation in a few months (Orlando - Discovery Cove!!!) <eeewww. Discovery Cove, in my experience, was a rip off. I was extremely disappointed. You get little in return for the cost. I invested in diving instead and now have unbelievable marine animal encounters that are more fulfilling than anything that Discovery Cove could offer. Get certified and spend your vacation dollars on a worthwhile vacation endeavor someplace more exotic than Orlando with lasting memories of seeing a different world than one we are used or one that is simulated for us in Disney World. But........you will have a good time in Florida for sure. Look into diving!!! You won't regret it.>  .. and I plan to have my family come by and help with feeding (premeasured amounts) and top off (should only need to be done once or twice over the 10 days we are gone). Although the DSB is teaming with life, the grain size of the sand is in the 1mm range, and there are not a lot of larger meaty pods to get sucked into the pump and put into the display for continuous feeding (there does seem to be a lot of bristle worms, are they eating the pods?). <Possible but more than likely they are feeding on any left over foods>  I was considering adding a Mysis starter pack, you know, 25 or so live Mysis shrimp, to the DSB in the hopes of culturing live food that would hopefully get sucked into the display regularly. <I like this idea. I do the same. I buy mine from http://www.aquaculturestore.com/index.html >  Would this mess up the DSB in any way? <nope. Be sure to feed>  Would the Mysis absorb essential coral elements in the water for their shells and stuff? <Not enough to do any harm>  Is it a bad idea? <To the contrary, a great idea>  Am I crazy? <Not at all>  Any other advice you could give me regarding vacation settings? <Sounds like you got it covered>  Thanks again for all your help! <No worries.....~Paul>

- Purple Rock not so Purple - Hi Folks, Once again, spending a late night browsing your great site. I am in need of some quick advice.  I have a 250 FOWLR with about 280 lbs of live rock.  I would like the rock a bit more purple but cannot seem to keep the level above 300 with my Tropic Marin Salt.  I do 15% weekly water changes and supplement tropic Marin calcium.  I do not like to use powders but will if need be. Any recommendations as far as brand? <Yeah, I'd go for the two part additives... specifically the ESV - Bionic.> Do I even need purple rock? <Sounds like you do... really just an aesthetic decision.> I have angels, a Naso and some wrasses. Help me out if you would, Thanks a ton, Matt <Cheers, J -- >

Trying to increase Ca 3/22/04 Thanks! Started by adding CaCl2 a couple grams at a time to 500L and did not see an increase in Ca. Was afraid to add too much because of Cl issues but then ran across a Web site calculator ( http://www.andy-hipkiss.co.uk/index.htm? http://www.andy-hipkiss.co.uk/cacalc.htm) that said I needed to add a minimum of 40g in order to get close to 400ppm Ca. How much Cl is too much? If I need to add 40-60g of CaCl2 to 500L, is that too much Cl? I understand that I should not add CaCl2 to the tank over a long period of time in order to avoid Cl accumulation, but can I us it as a routine component of my fresh saltwater recipe (Instant Ocean) in order to raise Ca to 400ppm before a water change. Instant Ocean has been running 320-330ppm right out of the bucket at SG=1.024. Regards, George. <As per our earlier discussion, you can use as much CaCl2 as you need to bring the Calcium up to 400 or so in the tank without concern for accumulating too much Cl-. Just make the adjustment over several days to a couple of weeks.  Once you have achieved the desired level of calcium, the use of a normal routine (calcium reactor, Kalkwasser or two part additives like B-Ionic) along with water changes will keep you calcium and alkalinity in line.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Trying to increase Ca 3/25/04 Okay, thanks for your patience. Based on what you have said and getting back to my original question, adding CaCL2 as a standard ingredient to my fresh saltwater recipe is acceptable because it will never increase Cl concentration beyond the 20g/150L that is necessary to adjust Ca in fresh saltwater to match tank Ca of 400ppm before a water change. Thanks again, George. <Hi George.  I think I missed the point of what you were planning on doing.  I would recommend against adding CaCl2 to your water change water.  I would supplement directly to the tank until you get the desired calcium concentration.  At that point, I would maintain Ca and Alkalinity in the tank in a balanced fashion (Kalkwasser, calcium reactor, two-part additive).  If you maintain Ca and Alk this way, the slightly low Ca in your salt mix should have minimal impact if you do typical regular water changes.  Hope this helps.  Adam> Trying to increase Ca 3/25/04 Sorry for a stupid question, but won't doing water changes with fresh saltwater at 320ppm dilute and depress Ca levels in tank that starts out at 400ppm? I am running a reactor and dKH=11 (pH=8.2). Regards, George. <Definitely not a stupid question, just a result of my lack of clarity.  I did not mean to imply that water changes would help raise the Ca and Alkalinity, but rather that in addition to all of their other benefits, they are an important part of maintaining the correct relative concentrations of ions, particularly in cases like using CaCl2 for short term calcium supplementation.  Best regards.  Adam.>

- Heater Scale Deposits - Dear Crew: Thanks for the great site. I am new to marine aquaria. I have two large tanks, 75G and 125G, which I maintain similarly and are 9 months and 6 months old, respectively. Both have 300W submersible heaters. I found a heavy scale on the heater of my 125 a few days ago.  How long it has been there I am not sure but there is no similar scale on the heater in the 75G. Here is a picture of the scale in the 125G: It is orange-brown and has spalled in places taking away with it the decorative glass-stenciling. I am interested in what caused the scale to form because I am trying to track down the cause of a prolonged micro-algae or phytoplankton outbreak in this tank. <They are not related.> The calcium levels in the two tanks are similar (around 500 ppm) but the temperatures are different: about 75?F in the 75G and 83?F in the 125G. Possibly the higher temperatures or longer "on" times could have promoted scale formation in the 125G, but I was also considering another possibility. I thought that the scale formation might be due to my having left a floating glass-cleaning magnet in the tank for two-weeks. <Nah... doubt that. The scale is simply just the product of a high calcium level and the temperatures of the heater right at the surface of the glass.> I had seen other people leave them in their tanks but I took the magnet out after the algae or phytoplankton outbreak because I thought iron might be leaching from it. <Not all magnets are made of steel...> I had difficulty controlling the outbreak but eventually managed through water changes, improved skimming and use of a canister filter. Do you think that increased iron levels could lead to a runaway algae outbreak and produce the scale on the heater? <No... that is just calcium and very normal for just about any accessory attached to a marine tank and not regularly cleaned.> Respectfully, Karl <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Addition Questions and More - Dear WWM, I recently purchased the 2 part B-Ionic solution (1 gal. ea.) additive for my 240 gallon saltwater system. I have over 200lbs. of Fiji rock mixed with a smaller amount of Tonga branch live rock. <Very nice.> I have a few soft corals growing on the rock although my tank is intended for fish only with live rock. For filtration I run an oversized trickle filter (no bio-balls) with standard foam media pads that are cleaned twice weekly, separate sump with deep sand bed & more live rock. Instant Ocean salt mix is used and my current readings are: Specific Gravity: 1.026     using refractometer kH: 10.2    Salifert test Alk: 3.66   Salifert test Calcium: 320   Salifert test pH:  8.0   Sea Test My question is, with my hardness and alkalinity pretty much within range, should I just use the # 2 portion only? <No... is a balanced formula and both parts should be added - just reduce your dose by 10 mg or so and go into maintenance mode.> My pH is a little low as far as I can tell, so how do I raise pH and calcium without raising the carbonate hardness and alkalinity with this product? <Hmm... I'd be looking for reasons for the pH to be low - perhaps measure more than once in a day - even in systems this large, the pH will shift from high to low over the course of the day. Certainly, with your alkalinity in the useful range, you shouldn't be having pH problems per se. Perhaps it is time to add an algae sump and light opposite of your tank lighting - to balance out pH.> In the future, can I just purchase the # 2 formula only to keep calcium levels higher within the 400 - 450 range? <No. Would not do this and would use Kalkwasser in this case, if all you want to do is maintain calcium - would also help bring up the pH a little, mixed Kalkwasser being around a pH of 12.> My local fish supply store only sells it as a 2 part formula together. It would seem that using Instant Ocean keeps desired levels of kH & Alk. in check but not Calcium & pH. <Could be your source water is dragging down the buffers in the salt - all other things being equal, IO salt is very consistent, including bringing the pH to 8.4 unless your water is acidic. You might want to test there, perhaps buffer before you add the salt.> By the way, the readings above were taken 1 day after a 20% water change which is performed once every two weeks. Interestingly enough, these are the same readings I got 1 day before doing the water change on my tank. I am interested in adding more calcium to my system to help the purple coralline algae re-generate growing on my rock. <Don't go too crazy - the coralline will come along on its own and in the meanwhile you'll spend a fortune in calcium supplements. A little bit of moderation will go a long way.> I posed this question to the folks over at ESV a week ago and they haven't responded, so I have not added either formula yet. Also, I recently received and added six 10 ounce units of Boyd's Chemi - Pure from Doctor's Foster & Smith that I laid flat on the egg crate shelf below the trickle plate in my wet/dry filter. As the directions tell you to do, I rinsed each of the bags lightly after removing them from the plastic jar while moving the media around in the bag until the amount of dust appeared to tail off under the faucet water. Well, I must have got an extremely dusty lot because even after rinsing these six bags for several minutes each, they still gave off enough dust to make my water turn light grey and 3 days later I am still rinsing my filter pads that turn absolutely black after just a day! Is this normal? <Not in my experience.> The poor sponges growing in my sump and wet/dry have become covered in this junk and I have attempted to blow them off with a turkey baster as best I can without dislodging them. <This dust will move on its own.> Luckily, my fish and soft corals don't seem to be affected by the minute dust particles at this point. I remember using this stuff years ago and don't remember it being this dirty. Last night I took them all out and re-rinsed them all and they gave off so much black dust it was like they never were rinsed at all! <Perhaps old inventory - would contact Boyd's directly.> Obviously, I will do a more thorough job next time, but would the fact that the package they came in sat out in 25?F weather for a day effect them in a negative way that would make them give off dust, or I just got the bottom of the barrel mix? <Do believe the latter.> It's the only 2 possible reasons I can think of. Thanks! Joel <Cheers, J -- >

Reef Calcium from Seachem 2/19/04 Personally I don't care too much what the stuff is. It comes from Seachem so I trust it's quality, I test for what I add to the tank, and the stuff really gets the coralline algae growing as evident in my tank and a friends tank that I helped start up. <very much agreed!> So I guess my question is just to clarify your answer. No offence intended , I am just curious as I like to learn. Kev <none taken at all... thanks for the clarification. Anthony> Copied from SeaChem's website . Seachem FAQ ...A: No. This is a faulty assumption based on the premise that Polygluconate is the same as glucose. Polygluconate is not a sugar any more than cellulose is a sugar (it's a polysaccharide).... Q: What exactly is calcium Polygluconate? A: In chemical terms, it is a complex of ionic calcium and Polygluconate. The end result for the hobbyist is that you get a more stable, more concentrated form of calcium than can be found in Kalkwasser solutions (175 times greater than KW). It provides a unitary source of calcium and carbon which has no impact on pH and is more bio-available and readily absorbed by calcareous animals. For those who are even more curious, read on ... Polygluconate is a long chain polymer of gluconic acid (the polymerization occurs under high heat during product production). This creates essentially a long carbon backbone with numerous hydroxyl groups that can participate in complex formation with ionic calcium. In a complex the lone pair electrons on the hydroxyl oxygens are shared between the oxygen and calcium, essentially bonding the two together. When two hydroxyls participate this neutralizes the +2 charge on the calcium, creating an overall charge neutral species. In a chelate there are many more bonds from the same molecule to the calcium such that the calcium is surrounded (like a claw, "chelate" is Greek for "claw" btw) and is held much more strongly owing to the multiple interactions. Because cellular tissue is essentially "greasy" it does not like to allow charged species to pass through it passively (e.g. oil and water don't mix). Thus the requirement that special enzymatic mechanisms be present to transport the required cations across the cellular membrane. By masking the charge on the calcium, the calcium Polygluconate species is able to passively enter cells through osmosis. The cells and hence the organism as a whole doesn't have to "work" as hard to get the calcium it needs. The resulting benefit to all of this is that because the calcium complex can be more easily used one can either get enhanced growth at the normal calcium level of 400-420, or one can maintain calcium at 370-380 and not encounter any declines in growth (while still seeing growth, just not as rapid as at the higher levels). This is because the level of calcium complex that is present at the prescribed dosing is essentially equivalent to a much larger level of ionic calcium in terms of how much can be used within a given time frame.

Medical grade calcium carbonate 2/17/04 Hi, can I use medical grade calcium carbonate in my 75 gallon reef aquarium? Thanks, Adam <hmmm... check the chemical assay for impurities (what types) and then, what are you using it for? Its not soluble for marine use (supplementation). Instead, are you looking to simply use it as a substrate... or as Ca reactor media?>

Calcium problem 2/16/04 Hi I'm having a huge problem with calcium. I have some red sea calcium mix which I have been adding ever Monday, Wednesday and Friday but it still hasn't got the calcium above 300 (although my alk has been fluctuating between 15dkh and 16dkh for the past few days). So I started adding about two cups a day yesterday. I ran a test yesterday and my calcium was went up to  330. Today I ran a test and the calcium was at 270!!!! I'm really stumped about this and would love your help. Thanks,  Kevin <we have an extensive archive of FAQs and articles on many such subjects if you'll take the time to read, explore and learn my friend. Do be sure to explore the many links at the tops of the pages: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm

- Ocean's Blend - Hi, I would like to consult you regarding Ocean's Blend. I realized there a number of people using this product and I would like to ask for your review about this product before I buy it. Thanks. Jim <Well, Jim, I'd never heard of the product before now, so I looked it up on the Internet. Seems to me to be at the least a calcium additive... who knows what else is in it, they certainly don't say much. Personally, I'm always skeptical of miracle-in-a-bottle type claims, but that doesn't mean I'm right. I suggest you give it a try and get back to us - let us know how well it works, or not. Cheers, J -- >

Trying to increase Ca  Greetings. I have a very lightly stocked aquarium (only one small SPS and a couple of medium LPS, all are well) and I have been trying to adjust water quality in anticipation of adding more SPS. Net system volume is 500L, pH = 8.24, 11.5 dKH, 340ppm Ca. I aerated a sample overnight and pH only changed from 8.24 to 8.27 so I guess that does not indicate a CO2 problem.  <All of those values sound fine except for the slightly low calcium. There is nothing wrong with a pH of 8.2.>  I'm running a calcium reactor and I have been dosing a couple grams of calcium hydroxide as slurry each day in hopes of seeing Ca climb. So far, it seems as though I am only matching demand. Does that sound reasonable? Is that about one should expect from so few animals, although there is a lot of healthy coralline growth (rocks only, I keep it off the glass)? Do I need to buffer more to get the pH a bit higher? Thanks, George.  <No need to worry about your pH. It really is fine, and definitely don't add buffer. The reason your Ca isn't rising is because both Kalkwasser and your calcium reactor add Ca and alkalinity in a balanced fashion. Without getting into the background chemistry.... your alkalinity is already a bit high relative to your calcium, which limits the amount of calcium that can stay in solution. If you use some CaCl2 (Kent's Turbo Calcium is a readily available form) to raise your calcium to around 400 and then go back to your normal routine, it should stay there. Your alkalinity may fall a bit, but that is fine. HTH! Adam>

- Encrusting Algae and High Calcium Help - After reading your forums, I am in trouble, and I can't figure it out.  First off I have a 75 gallon tank, with a mix of 20 lbs of live sand and 20 lbs of crushed coral, about 40 lbs of live rock (well sort of live), A Marineland (?) Magnum 350 pro with 2 bio wheels, a Red Sea hang on Prism Skimmer, 2 Rio powerheads, and 24" of airstones.  The tank is about 3.5 to 4 months old.  I have about 16 or so hermit crabs, a couple of lobsters, algae blenny, Foxface, sand sifting goby, 2 convict damsels, and a cleaner wrasse.  I feed them a cube of frozen brine shrimp and about a half a teaspoon of flake food twice a day. <A quick word of caution to you about your lobsters: they are not to be trusted. Although they may make interesting pets, they are predatory and will eventually kill a fish or two of yours. I kept a lobster many, many years ago only to find my Royal Gramma one morning neatly cut in half along the color line. Not realizing the obvious, I let the lobster stay. Several days later I saw my clown trigger frantically swimming around the tank with the lobster clamped onto the poor fish's tail. Needless to say, that was when the lobster went back to the store. When it comes to lobsters, this is not a "chance" but an eventuality.> My Calcium is between 520-540 ppm.  Yes, that's correct!  I have stopped adding liquid calcium weeks ago, change water, weekly, and yet it has still to drop.  Any clue WHY the calcium is staying so high? <No, but it won't go down in a week... especially given the lack of things that would consume it. Would continue to change slightly more water than normal on your regular schedule. It will go down in time.>  PH is around 8.3, after it dropped to 7.8 earlier in the week. This is after adding Kent pro*Marine pKH, buffer.   Another thing that is happening is I have a green type material covering growing all over the coralline, killing it slowly.  Now this is not green algae, as its hard, and even the snails and starfish cannot remove it. <It is still algae.> I took out an old coral skeleton, which contained this green growth, and scrubbed it with a toothbrush, and later a diluted bleach and water mixture.  I made only a slight clearing of the material off the coral piece. <Yeah... leave it out in the sun for a while... the stuff is likely already dead.> Phosphates are around 1-2 ppm, Ammonia, Nitrite are at 0, nitrate is around 10-15 ppm.  I also notices the water as a whole has a slight greenish tint to it. <Could be an effect of the glass of the tank.> My canister filter uses the water polisher filters that turn green and slow down to a crawl within two days once inserted into it. <Is the nature of canister filters... when I ran a Magnum filter oh so many years ago, I had four cartridges, one always in the filter, one soaking in bleach, one drying out, and one being rinsed and ready to replace the cartridge in the filter - about every three days.> My lights (Which is a CustomSeaLife 48" 65 x 2 10k daylights and 65 x 2 actinic lights; and a 48" 50/50 florescent) are on around 14 hours a day.  After reading FAQs here, I will cut back to 12 hours.   I'm at a loss as to what is growing in my tank, as far as this green growth and the fact I cannot get my Calcium to drop.  Do you have any suggestions? <Just as listed above - the green encrusting algae isn't really anything you can do anything about. Just guard against over-feeding and try to get the phosphate down.> Help! John P. <Cheers, J -- >

Calcium source 1/14/03 What's the difference between Caribbean beach sand, aragonite and limestone? <Caribbean beach sand is probably mostly calcium carbonate that is produced from the breakdown of calcareous algae, coral rubble and the eating habits of parrotfish.  Aragonite is calcium carbonate formed by precipitation in the ocean.  Limestone is calcium carbonate (often one of the above sources originally) that has been compressed and hardened by geologic action.  The ever popular Southdown "Caribbean play sand" is probably aragonite.  Real beach sand would likely contain a whole host of contaminants.> If different, is the limestone sand dangerous to the marine aquarium inhabitants (caustic)?  I want to use a DSB, but can't find an affordable source of calcium based substrate. <Limestone sand would indeed be quite caustic, but it can be "cured" by repeatedly soaking and rinsing with plain fresh water.  Once the pH of the soak water is no longer higher than about 9.0, it should be safe to use.  If you can find a source of aragonitic play sand (Southdown or Yardright), it is probably a better option.  HTH.  Adam>

- Maintaining Calcium - I am beginning a 72g FOWLR tank with 90 lbs of live rock, a 5" DSB, hardy inverts and relatively small, non-aggressive fish. I have pouring over information about the benefits of using Calcium reactors and Kalkwasser to help stabilize pH and promote coralline growth. My question is this, is it necessary for me to purchase these dosers for my tank that will have simply live rock (for now) and possibly whatever growth that will come from it? <No... if there are no corals or clams in your future and coralline algae is your only concern, I would use one of the two-part systems, like ESV B-Ionic.> If not, should I still supplement the tank w/calcium and calcium carbonate w/o the use of the equipment? <Mmm... a good salt may make supplements unnecessary, but a little calcium addition now and then wouldn't hurt.> Any other suggestions would be helpful. Thank you -Brian <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Advice - Hello WWM crew!! I need a little advice, and a little reassurance please. You guys have been sooooo helpful in the past. You have gotten me through some troubled times, but it seems everyday is a learning experience with this hobby. I have 55g reef and my calcium level is low; 300ppm to be exact. I have been using Kent tech cb two part buffer system with good success for about a year now. A couple of weeks ago I tested my cal level and it was low. I went to my LFS and had them test the level thinking it was a faulty test reading on my part. It was not, and was told by the LFS that I should double the amount used of the tech cb. I was using about 15ml of each and they said in their experience you should use double. So I used 30ml of each for a week and re tested. My alkalinity was also a little low but is now 9.8 dKH. 30ml of each definitely improved on the alk but had no effect on the cal level whatsoever. I then proceeded to double just the  amount of part A for a week to raise cal levels. <Shouldn't do that... always add both parts in equal measure. You can increase the amount of calcium you dose, but should always add an equal amounts of both parts.> Still no luck. The calcium level again is still reading around 300ppm with little or no improvement. I once again inquired with my LFS and they suggested using the turbo calcium I have to boost the levels. I am scared of this stuff, and what I have is pretty old. I dissolved a teaspoon in my treated top off water in a bottled water container and dripped it into the tank last night. Still no change in the cal level so I repeated the process early this morning and still have no improvement. Is it possible that the turbo calcium is too old and has no effect? <No, don't think so.> That is my thought anyway. The big question is. Should I get some new turbo cal, or use something different to raise my cal level? <Perhaps consider some Kalkwasser or even a calcium reactor.> I feel if I can get it to 400-450ppm then the new formula on dosing of the tech cb will maintain it properly. <400-450 ppm calcium is an artificial construct in my opinion... the calcium levels on the reefs of the world are considerably lower... closer to yours.> Thanks for any advice you can give. By the way all other readings are good in the tank. Ph is 8.3, alk is 9.8 dKH, nitrate barely readable, no ammonia. The tank is not loaded and the corals do not seem to be in decline. I have a big frogspawn, lobo brain, small maze brain, small elegance, Caulastrea, two different small polyp colonies, and several different kinds of mushrooms. Including a large toadstool. <Hmm... wouldn't be overly concerned with getting to 450 ppm of calcium with these corals.> Sincerely, Mark <Cheers, J -- >

Calcium Polygluconate Maybe you all can help me? <will try> I have just started a 90g reef.... , 100lbs of south pacific fresh rock... nearing the end of the cycle.40G sump and 40g above tank refugium. <a fine start> I am topping off with Kalk about a gallon and a half a day. Now, lets say that alk is ok, yet ca a little low... Should I use the gluconate type of calcium to boost it( I am interested in this type of product over other for its beneficial effect on coralline)   <it will only benefit corallines IMO... little benefit to stony corals, better to focus on Kalkwasser use here> Now having said that, How would one also incorporate a Kalk slurry into the mix as describe in BOCPG! ( in accordance with a Kalk drip)   <Kalk slurries are only necessary for systems where the daily need for calcium can no longer be supplied through Kalkwasser used for evaporation top off. Your system has not demonstrated this (high) demand yet. No worries> I know that these are somewhat vague and will be subject to aquarium chemistry parameters, but for those who are not using any sort Nilsen or ca reactors, what do you all suggest....along the lines of the above. Thank you in advance. <continue exactly as you have been... except with a little more Kalkwasser perhaps. Let test results be your guide. Best regards, Anthony>

- Calcium Testing - Crew: I just received my first calcium test, as I am preparing for some coral additions.  The test instructions say to add a certain amount of RO or Distilled water during the test.  Do I really need this kind of water? <If the instructions say so, I would follow them.> I currently use filtered tap water for top-offs and filtered, aerated for salt mix.  What is the need for the pure water? <So that impurities don't throw off the test. You should be able to pick up a gallon of distilled water at the grocery store.> Thanks, Rich

- Calcium Additions without Testing - I've left you guys alone for over a year and a half but I cannot hold out any longer.  I am writing in respect to my 110 gallon reef tank.  It has been running for 9 months with LR and a sump with no Bio material, just a filter sock as well as a Euro skimmer from All Seas Marine.  All was going well, daily A&B and the polyps were really extended on my corals.  After reading on your site about accelerating coralline growth, I purchased some Seachem Reef Calcium and dosed accordingly in place of the A&B.  There was no clouding at all but then I looked hours later and the water is completely cloudy white for the last 24 hours.  Not the calcium precipitation kinda white, just white. <Think you id it right the first time - quite likely calcium precipitation.> The skimmer is working and producing a greenish waste and the corals and fish still look well, just really cloudy.  I have had in place carbon as well as Marc Weiss' phosphate and silica magnet and that is it.  Any idea on what could have happened. <Yeah... you've been adding calcium without testing your alkalinity and calcium levels - very important that you do so rather than working solely off the directions on the bottle.> Thanks for any help!!!! <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium for Water Changes - Hey there Crew, Just want to say thanks for all of your help.  I'm well on my way to turning my tank into a reef, but I do have a question about calcium.  I'm currently using Instant Ocean salt.  I've read that when mixed, the calcium measures around 325.  I've been reading through your site, reef central, etc. for many weeks now.  I know the calcium should be between 350 and 450 and the DKH between 8 and 12, but how do I get my make up water to these levels? <Typically, you don't. You do need to buffer RO/DI water if you use that for mixing, and may or may not have to for tap water [you should test]. Either way, calcium supplementation should take place in the tank, so any additive you used would go in at that point, not in change water.> Would I use two part supplements, Kalkwasser, or what? <I would recommend two part mixes like ESV B-Ionic, that would be a good place for you to start. Make sure you get good test kits too.> Would it be worth the cost of these supplements or should I just switch to Reef Crystals or Tropic Marin? <Well, if you have the money for Tropic Marin, I can't tell you not to use it because it's what I use, but Instant Ocean is a fine salt and really worth using. Regardless, once your tank is more full than empty with calcium-needy livestock, your demand for calcium will outstrip the supply of any salt on the market, so you will have to rely on some form of supplementation. I'd suggest saving for a calcium reactor for the long haul.> I'm so close and I know this is probably a stupid question, but I would appreciate your help. <Not at all stupid.> Thanks <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Problems - I have a question. <I hope I have an answer.> My tank has been having trouble with the calcium concentration.  I have been testing it lately and it wont get above about 200ppm.  I add Kalkwasser almost daily.  I do not yet have an alkalinity test, but I do add the buffer to keep that stable. The tank does not have any SPS corals that would be using the Ca so fast. <Not typically.> What gives? <Hard to say specifically.> Any ideas? <Yes, get that alkalinity test... I suspect your alkalinity is likewise low, but the test will tell for certain and without it you only have half of the picture. Adding buffers blindly is likely to produce a result you don't want, but without a test, there's just no way to know. Address your alkalinity issues with the test kit information in hand, and then start to work on calcium... which, if you don't have any heavy calcium consumers... why are you worrying about it?> Thanks! -D <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Problems, Follow-up - Well I was wanting to buy some other corals and I am also wanting to make sure the bubble I have is getting enough for its skeleton to grow.  I also have some coralline algae that is starting to grow.  These are the main reasons I am wanting to raise my calcium levels.  Thanks! <Fair enough. Get that alkalinity test and we'll talk. Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Question - I'm sure you guys get so many questions about calcium that your heads could just explode! <Oops, too late, just exploded. ;-) > Well, here's another one for you.  My friend and I are looking at getting into corals.  I have a 29 gallon tank and a 10 gallon tank tied into a 10 gallon sump (total gallons 45).  I MIGHT be adding a 55 gallon tank to that system as well.  My friend has a 75 gallon tank. Neither of us are feeling to good about doing Kalkwasser.  Neither of us are really wanting to spend $450 (or more) on a Calcium Reactor at this time.  As long as we didn't have a ton of corals, wouldn't using a two-part liquid supplement for our calcium be cheaper than buying a Calcium Reactor? <Not in my opinion. You will spend more on two part-ers.> The two part calcium that Kent sells can be bought for as little as $20 for 2 gallons. <That's because their stuff is crap - did I say that? - if you spent the cash on a good additive like ESV, I assure you, you'd wish you had bought a reactor in a year or two and miss out on its other benefits.> If I did my math right, that would last my 45 gallons of water almost a year (give or take depending on my load). <I think the two part would go away a little quicker than that - typically requires daily doses.> I doubt either of us will get into SPS too much if at all.  We would probably stick with soft corals. <Well, then you probably could get by with two-parters.> But we also might look into getting a clam. <Oops, then you might go broke using two parters.> We have both read as much as we can on your website and others, but still feel lost in the whole calcium arena.  My last question to you is this.  If we were to use the 2 part calcium, would our tanks have a calcium problem if we were to go on a week vacation (or even a 3 day vacation)? <Depends on what you term a 'problem' - would your calcium levels go down, yes - would that cause a problem, probably not anything you couldn't bring back to normal. When calcium runs out, the organisms that use it simply stop growing.> Thanks for all the help you can give us.  I hope you have a good week!  Steve <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Flakes - Hello, First of all, thank you very much for all your help with my new hobby.  Your site is great! <I'm glad you find the site useful.> I seem to have created a snowstorm in my FOWLR tank. Calcium readings are low (200). However, I began adding a 2 part liquid calcium a couple of weeks ago, per the instructions.  In the past few days I have noticed that whenever the gravel is 'kicked up' by water changes, cleaning the glass, etc. there is lots and lots of white flaky particles that float upward. I can only assume that these are calcium/carbonate flakes. <Quite likely - are you also testing for carbonate hardness?> They were not present prior to me adding the liquid calcium. My question is, if I start aggressive water changes will these 'flakes' eventually dissolve? <Not any time soon, but yes, eventually.> Is there any other way to correct this? <Check the brand of calcium you are using, make sure you shake it really well before adding it.> Thanks, Jeff
<Cheers, J -- >

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