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FAQs on Calcium, Supplements involving Calcium 7

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

Related FAQs: Calcium, FAQs 1Calcium FAQs 2Calcium FAQs 3, Calcium FAQs 4, Calcium FAQs 5, Calcium FAQs 6. & 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,

All biomineralizing life (including algae) require calcium (and alkalinity)...

excess Ca in reef tank       1/14/16
<Hello Alex>
I’m wondering what could cause excess Ca (greater than 500) in my 34 g. red sea max?
<Some present soluble and/or added source; natch... tis an element>
I know I’m a little behind on H2O changes, never add any Ca containing supplements, top off w/ distilled water. Other param.s are pH=8.4 , KH=6.85, Mg-1275. Fish are doing fine, but corals not doing well at all.
<Might be your test kit is off rather than their being too much Ca.... I'd be checking this/that first; otherwise water changes w/ gravel vacuuming to remove and rebalance>
<W. Bob Fenner>
Re: excess Ca in reef tank     1/15/16

Thx so much for quick reply. I'll do water changes for sure, but already used API and Salifert test kits which match readings.
<I see>
I have fine aragonite rather than gravel so reluctant to stir up the dust clouds.
<Vacuum gently... you want to remove the finer material here... Likely along w/ the reductive nature of such beds, the source of the excess Ca here>
Also use LFS sea water for changes; doubt they'd mess w/ the chemistry.
<Mmm; I was a retailer for many years.... DO mention your anomaly to them. BobF>
Re: excess Ca in reef tank     1/15/16

Will do and thx again !
<Welcome. B>

Magnesium and Calcium Levels 6/1/2011
<Hello Aidan>
Firstly have to say brilliant site and service.
<Thank you Aidan.>
My tank specs are as follows, a 125gallon 1 and half year old mixed reef with some soft corals but mostly LPS such as Trumpets, Brain, Trachys etc.
I also have 5 Maxima clams in various sizes from 2" up to 6".
My water tests are Salinity 1.025, Alk 11 dKH , Calcium 380 , Mag 1200 Nitrate and phosphate are undetectable due to Biopellets and Phosban.
I use bailing lite to maintain Alk, calc and mag. With the last two months my readings have being very consistent since I increased my Alk part of supplement to 200ml per day. Previously I had a reading of 6.5 / 7 dKH.
<The later is actually a better range.>
Since then even though my calcium and magnesium readings are steady, they are on the low side.
<Maybe just a tad on the calcium but near ideal. Magnesium and calcium should be maintained on a 3/1 ratio.
My question is should I leave well alone or try to increase these.
<I'd like to see the calcium somewhere between 400-425.>
Is the high Alkalinity suppressing these and would I have to reduce the same to increase calcium and magnesium, I would like your advice to get the best growth and stability in my tank.
<Higher than necessary dKH levels can cause calcium precipitation. Better to have left at 6.5-7 dKH.>
Thanks in advance.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

too much CA, insufficient reading   8/26/08 Hi All I added a liquid Calcium additive to my marine aquarium and it is now too high around 640ppm. how can I lower it? <Dilution is your best solution here> time and a water change seem to have had no effect. <Check your checker... your test kit/s> dKH 7, ph 7.9. I have discarded the additive and plan to use Kalk when I get this under control. thanks again. Jim <... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/maintindex.htm scroll down... Calcium, Calcium and Alkalinity, Calcium & pH. Educate yourself. Bob Fenner>

Water Parameters -Ca/Alk 5/24/08 Hi crew, <Hello.> Had a question about my water parameters. <OK> I took some tests on my water parameters and wanted to go over a few things with you guys. I always and forever have 500 Calcium in my tank. After doing some investigating I realized that the salt I use has some Calcium enhancement which is why I never had to battle with Calcium (actually its a bit high in my opinion). <It is, very high.> Anyway, my Alkalinity is 7DkH. I wanted to get this a bit higher. <Yes> I took a test of my Ph today I would say around 1PM (lights were on for about 2-3 hours) and the results were between 7.8-8.0. The colors were very close to each other and it was hard to tell. My girlfriend said it was more like 8.0. Regardless, I was aiming for the 8.3 area. I picked up some Seachem Marine Buffer. Supposedly, this stuff raises to a target Ph of 8.3 while steadily increases Alk. I figured this is perfect considering I just wanted to raise them both a bit. I used the suggested dosage. <OK, sounds fine.> My question is, after reading about supplements, I only hear people complaining that they are just constantly dumping solutions into their tank to raise a parameter and then have to go back to rebuff another and it's a catch 22 cycle that I don't feel like getting involved with. <Not an issue when done correctly, with testing. Some people blindly dump stuff into their tanks for days at a time and then test. Until you reach a balance on what your tank requires you will need to test frequently.> I started reading up on Calcium Reactors and it appears that these are basically an Alkalinity Reactor. <More or less, yes.> I actually have a Calcium Reactor that I have laying around that I just cleaned up. I was thinking of hooking this thing up but I am worried that this might make my already high Calcium shoot up. I don't want to end up with Calcium deposits all over my equipment (one of my newb mistakes that happened once for dosing "Purple Up" and not testing my Calcium before hand) I do, however, wish to benefit from the higher Alk that the reactor would provide. What is your take on this? <Calcium reactors are great, just expensive. If you have one I do encourage you to use it. The problem being that your Ca/Alk will need to be in balance first, the calcium reactor will not change this. With such a high Ca reading you may have trouble raising your Alk. You may need to switch to a different salt if it is whats causing the high Ca. For more information regarding this check out Anthony Calfo's marble analogy: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm > Thanks <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

Water Parameters 5/27/08 Okay, thanks Scott. I was already looking into getting a new salt. <And/or source water, you will have to test your Ca/Alk to see what you get.> So when do you think it is safe to install this Ca reactor? <Anytime you have a need for Ca/Alk supplementation. You can install it now, running it at a lower capacity whilst you get your numbers in balance with supplements/water changes and then use the reactor to keep it there.> I have a MTC mini-calcium reactor. I'm going to change the salt ASAP. I'm going to keep dosing the Seachem. Thanks for your help. <Welcome, Scott V.>

Ca Salt Mix Help   2/24/07 I noticed about two months ago that the calcium levels in my tank started to drop (from 380s to 310s). I do weekly 20% water changes, and I've had trouble keeping alk above 8 as well. <Mmm... this sounds very familiar some how...> Both alk and calcium are low. I assumed that I had an increased demand for bio minerals in the tank.. just a couple of softies and coralline. As such, I just purchased Aquarium Systems Reef Crystals - attempting to switch from Tropic Marin - and made up a batch of Reef Crystal. I aerated the RO/DI water for a day. Buffered with Reef Builder, and let it aerate another 12 hours. <Good> Mix in the salt and let that sit another day. The first batch of Reef Crystals measured up: SG: 1.023 PH: 8.43 dKH: 11.2 Cal: 320 <... weird... low Calcium. Wait... how much Reef Builder did you add? This is the most likely cause of Calcium loss here... read the label... a level teaspoon per ten gallons of water is about all I'd use... never more than twice this> I was concerned that the calcium was so low with a product I thought would be closer to the 400 range. I used a Salifert and Aquarium Systems calcium test and confirmed the calcium number three times. I concluded that maybe the buffer I used might have driven down the calcium <Yes... my guess as well> so I made another batch of Reef Crystals in a different bucket without any buffer and got a calcium reading of 325. I am very confused. <Mmmm... this is about the sixth report this month of troubles with the formerly tried and true, steady formulations of Aquarium Systems salts... I would write the company directly re this... Perhaps have your LFS test this bag...> Both calcium tests are about 1 year old. I suspect the Tropic Marin was having low calcium readings before ever going in the tank as well. <Really? Now... I would definitely test this as well... if you have any left. Perhaps "it" is your test kits> I know these are both fine salt mixes so I must be having some issue in the mix process??? <Not from what you relate> I add the salt to the water not the other way around. I've done the same process for a year without low calcium readings. One of the mix buckets is spotless and the other has a few white crystallization patches on the inside. The only commonality is the power head, pump, and air stone which have some crystallization on them from adding too much buffer several months ago. Any thoughts? <Yes... either the mix/es (not the TM though...) or your test gear> I am completely puzzled. Do the calcium test go bad in only a year? <No> Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. <Test the testers... have your best store make up a small batch... Write AS if inherent trouble, please report your findings back to me/us. Bob Fenner>

High Calcium Levels 2/22/07 Hi...crew, <Hello Mike> I have a 54 gallon corner bow reef tank that has been up and running for about 9 months now. My problem, for which I haven't been able to find an answer to, is this. I seem to have a very high level of calcium. It's over 600 on two different test kits. Despite this high level of calcium I have very little coralline algae growth. My LFS thought I might have low levels of magnesium but I tested it and it is extremely high over 1500. Any thoughts about what's going? I'm using a RODI unit and buffering the top off water. Also, for what it's worth, my lighting is a 250w metal halide with a 20k bulb on for 12 hours a day. Thanks for taking time to read this and thanks for such an outstanding website. <A few questions Mike.  What brand salt are you using, which brands of test kits did you test with, and, are you presently dosing calcium and magnesium?  And, for the halibut, do you read any calcium level on your RO water before mixing the salt?  James (Salty Dog)> Mike

Reef tank problems Calcium, Alkalinity, Magnesium 2/20/07 Hello, <Hi Bryan, Brenda here> I have a 90 gallon saltwater tank that has been set up for almost eight years. For the first seven years I used 4x96W PC with actinic/white bulbs and never had any major problems. My tank had a lot of mushrooms, polyps, xenia, leathers and a few hard corals like cup corals/pagodas. Then I switched to 250W MH lighting with 14K bulbs. Over the course of 18 months I lost almost all of my coral. I found out that my calcium and alkalinity were really low (due to the MH lighting I guess). <No, Not the lighting.> I had been dosing just Kalkwasser up to this point, which apparently wasn't enough to meet the needs of my reef. <Are you testing for Magnesium?> I have since started using B-ionic two-part solution. This has helped my calcium and alkalinity to some degree but I cannot seem to keep the Ca over 380. My Alk is usually around 3.8 to 4.2. I had acquired some new corals awhile back (polyps and Montipora) and they are starting to look washed out and the polyps aren't opening up much now. My tank has very little coralline and what is there looks really washed out. I'm not sure what the problem is, but I'm about to give up on MH and go back to PC since I never had trouble before. My MH lights are 8 inches above water surface and I run them 10-11 hours a day. Do you think my tank is getting too much light or not enough? <Not a lighting issue> The bulbs are only a few months old (ordered from Hamilton). Why can't I keep my calcium above 380? I've even been doing double doses of B-ionic and it doesn't seem to make much difference on the Ca levels. I started adding Fiji Gold on top of Kalkwasser and Bi-ionic. My sand bed is only about one inch deep and is kind of old. Is there a possible buffering problem? I do 7-10 gallon water changes every 5-10 days using r/o water. <Sounds like you are low on Magnesium.  Purchase a Magnesium test kit.  Magnesium should be in the 1300 1500 range.  Here is an article to help you understand the importance of Magnesium, and its relationship to Calcium and Alkalinity.   http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/oct2003/chem.htm  > Any thoughts would be appreciated. -Bryan <Any time Bryan!  Good luck!  Brenda>

Obscenely high calcium   2/20/07 Hello WWM Crew,   I have been using your site for 6 years now <Whew, tempus fugit; time whips> and I thank you for your effort to keep my animals alive. I can always find what I need by searching the e-mail caches and articles, until now.   I have a 125g reef (180g total system volume) that I took down for 6 months while we built our home. I kept the corals in a jetted bathtub in the sun for that period of time. Shortly after setting it up again, I did a bad thing. After 10+ years in the hobby I thought I had idiot-proofed myself with all I've read and experienced; apparently I'm not there yet.   I overdosed turbo calcium...to 1400. <Yeeikes!> I was thinking about something else and put in a heaping cup. I now know what a snowstorm looks like. I figured I had a couple water changes in the future to solve it, but no. I started out by doing 3X50% water changes and when that only got it down to 800 I did a 100% change.   The day after that change my calcium was at 600. Three days later, today, my calcium is at 740. So it's rising. <Interesting> During that 100% change I siphoned and mixed up all the aragonite substrate just in case some of the calcium precipitated out of solution and stuck in the sand. <Good move> I mixed it with my hands and the siphon very thoroughly. I rinsed the live rock in saltwater before replacing it, too.   I can't find anyone at my LFS or aquarium society who has heard of calcium so high or the anomaly of rising calcium. I use Instant Ocean, not Reef Crystals to mix my water.   My alkalinity is at around 8dkh but it fluctuates lower. <I'll bet... in fact... I would raise this... the best way to precipitate out the remaining excess Calcium... and do get/use a Magnesium test kit... these two processes will rectify the situation here in good time> Obviously I can't keep alk up with calcium this high. I had tried to drive the alk higher so the calcium might be driven lower. <Oh! Good... how?>   As you can imagine, some of my SPS are not happy with rapid tissue necrosis. Coralline algae: not happy and receding. LPS: very happy and growing well for some reason. The local fish store was accommodating enough to take a few of my favorite SPS until I get this figured out. <All can/will likely straighten itself out in time... Life is slow/er to respond to the insult, correction... expect a lag... sort of like auto traffic; Iraq and the U.S. economic collapse>   Any ideas that would help me finally solve this 2 month dilemma?   And no, my Salifert test kit is not inaccurate. The fish store came up with the same test result.   Thank you,   Dan <The Magnesium (cheap supplementation with Epsom Salt, over time...), and the single part or equivalent of two-part alk/Alk. earth supplements (carbonates, bicarbonates... perhaps with a little borate)... Time going by... Bob Fenner>

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

Low Calcium... lack of chem. understanding...   2/1/07 Hello all.  Attached (I hope - I am learning about computers as well as reefing) <Good. I see it> is a spreadsheet in Excel format.  I hope you can open it to help me with my question: low calcium.  I have done a lot of reading about calcium and alkalinity and the process may even be evident in the spreadsheet. <It is> My calcium level rarely goes over 235meq/L. <Mmm, yes> At one point I was using too much buffer in my top off water which would explain it (marbles in a jar), <Yes> but I have since mended my ways, let the alkalinity drop, but with no improvement in the calcium level.  I use a calcium reactor (effluent 280meq/L) and for a while tried Kalkwasser for my top off, but the tubing became regularly clogged. <... a few comments to be made at this point... the Kalk needs to be made and delivered differently... likely... at night time/in the dark... or for now, not at all...>   For the last two weeks I have been adding a Kalkwasser slurry (1 tsp/pint RO/DI shaken not stirred) added to the sump at the return pump inlet first thing in the morning when the pH is lowest. <Better to do during the dark/night...>   The pH jumps up 0.2, then climbs slowly with the lights on, rarely reaching 8.2 by lights out. <This is okay> My tank is a one year old 65 gallon with a 17 gallon sump, 150Wx2 10K MH, 4-5" DSB, in-sump skimmer (LifeReef) producing a cup of tea-green skimmate daily, weekly 10% water changes with aerated, buffered RO/DI and Tropic Marin ProReef salt.  No refugium yet - on order.  There are 10 small fish (1.5-2.5"), three small struggling SPS (1") frags, a large Savona (5") and scattered softies and mushrooms.  There is a pretty hefty encrustation of coralline on the live rock (94#) and back wall. Water parameters are:  ammonia:0, nitrite:0, nitrate:0, 79-80 degrees, s.g. 1024 and calcium, pH and alkalinity per spreadsheet (Salifert).  What am I missing? <Mmm, too many variables being manipulated at once mainly... along with a lack of basic (pun intended) chemistry... Can you visualize the chemical species you're adding, the simple ionic and covalent reactions you're "doing" here?> Should I turn up the CO2/output on the reactor (I worry about excess CO2/algae/low pH)? <I'd "practice" here... with a measure of effluent pH... down to 6.8 or so during the day/light hours> I can't increase the amount of Kalkwasser or the pH will jump too much, <I'd cut out the Kalk period for now...> unless I add more then once daily.  Please advise.  Like all, I am most appreciative (and addicted to) you patient answers to our questions.  Best, Hugh. <Please re-read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Cyano in Ca 800ppm??? Not likely 1/4/07 Happy New Year to my friends in fish! <Hopefully not *in* fish!>      I am having one heck of a time developing coralline algae growth. <If you don't have any to start with, you won't get it in the end either. Do you have at least some on the rock?> I have had the live rock for 1 1/2 years. I have a 125G pentagon shaped tank that is 27" deep. I have one 96W 10,000K bulb and one 96W actinic in my power compact that are on for approx. 12 hours each. <That's a lot of light if this is FOWLR. Try 8-9hrs.>      My dKH hovers around 10, my pH is fine at between 8.2 and 8.4, <Have seen coralline make an easier go in 8.6 or so until development is accelerated.> but my calcium is off the chart at around 800! <Woah! You must have dust EVERYWHERE!> I have been told by the LFS that the high calcium level is the reason why I am growing Cyano instead of coralline algae. <I'm not sure about that... Cyano usually doesn't do well in high concentrations (or precipitations, in your case) of Calcium, like 420+ Also, Cyano is a strong flow hater.> My bad...I was dosing without monitoring. <Bad! Lay down! No TV for you tonight!>   I realize that coralline can be the same color as Cyano, but I can remove it from the rock with a toothbrush, so I think that it is Cyano. <If it *is* Cyano, then the coralline will not compete. Usually, red coralline is just as tough as any other encrusting algae, but you should make sure you actually have red Cyano before scrubbing... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cyanocontrolfaqs.htm but I digress. We need to get to the bottom of your over the top Ca levels. If you use tap water and the "just wait" method of chemical removal, then you need to test your premix when you do a water change. I would recommend an RO/DI or at least an inexpensive DI ($30 online price) to purify your tap water.>   Please let me know if the high calcium is the reason for my failure to develop coralline and my success in growing Cyano. I would appreciate your advice to get me on the right track to developing the good stuff. <Don't think so, but let's start with trying to replicate the reef eco-system a little more closely first: 400-460ppm. Then read these: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlineidfaqs.htm I think you will find a few blurbs about coralline's preference for actinic.>      Sincerely,    Mitch Poris <Graham T.>

Calcium and more...   12/28/06 Hello Crew, <Zoilo... are you aware that there is a genus of Cypraeids, Zoila...?> I been using B-Ionic for almost a yr now, and I just found out that this is not good for long term use?. <Mmm, according to whom? Is fine IMO/E>   So, the plan is to switch to Tropic Marin calcium... reading the instruction it says that I have to sprinkler it on top of the water in the sump.  But then again , I have read (on this site of course) that it is not advisable to follow that instruction for it will or might damage the pumps, and the calcium powder will not completely dissolve... should I just dissolve this first in fresh or salt water ? <Best to dissolve all such materials in/with new seawater, allow to mix, store for a few to several days ahead of use> then pour it directly in the sump or in the tank? How will you guys rate the performance of this product (Tropic Marin Calcium)? <Is a good product, but really is only "half" of the B-Ionic product...> I know they're great in their salt ($$$) but I have no idea on calcium. Also will this be a good or bad move? <Myself? I'd use B-Ionic... and perhaps add some of the TM calcium product if this were too low...> I used to drip Kalk when I first started this hobby (about a yr ago) but seems like my sand gets compacted and gets really hard so I stop using it.  Do you know what's causing this and how will I prevent it. <Yes... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm and the linked files above>   I would really like to use Kalk If I could only prevent this from happening. Does anyone try this new or maybe I should say top of the line Chemi Pure "Elite" that just came out ? <I have not> it says they add something to it to reduce phosphate, nitrate and Cyano problem?   <A chemical filtrant of some sort... are the ingredients listed?> Another question, on Clown Fishies,  I have a pair of True Perculas...do they really have a habit of wiggling their tails in the sand? <Yes> and do they ever sleep? <Mmm, yes... in a manner> seems like they're always moving their body even in lights out or anytime I check my tank in the middle of the night.  Also, does anyone have any plan of getting a Midas Blenny? I have one myself (8mos), and I tell you,  this is the most amazing fish that I have ever owned...what a character & what a great addition to your reef. <The genus Ecsenius are indeed curious, intelligent animals> Thanks again for this great site ... the patience & understanding. HAPPY HOLIDAYS. Nemo1 <And to you and yours my friend. Bob Fenner>

Lowering Ca  - 12/07/06 Thank you for your quick response. Is there anything I can do to lower Calcium levels? I use Instant Ocean reef mix, and don't use any additives currently. Daniel <Mmm, oh yes, dilution, interaction with alkaline materials... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/CalciumFAQs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Best time to add calcium   10/2/06 Crew, <Mark> I have a 60 gallon DAS tank with 65 pounds live rock and 110 pounds live sand. We also have a hammer coral and a xenia. When is the best time to add my calcium, iodine and strontium? Right now we add these in the morning but my wife would like to not have the cloudiness from the calcium so I am curious if there are any ill effects if I added these at night after the lights go out? Also we currently use Purple up liquid calcium. I add 7 ml a day. <Calcium is best added when the tanks pH is at its lowest. This is usually hours after the lights have been off and can be determined with a quick ph test or monitor. I suggest using a two part liquid calcium system as these will give you easy control over your calcium and alkalinity.> What are your suggestions? <Concerning dosing iodine and strontium you need only add these when testing dictates. You may be holding at acceptable levels with regular water changes, and might actually do harm/waste money by dosing without testing. Please test for anything you add to your tank. Testing may not be the most fun aspect of our hobby (for most people), but it can save your tank as well as you wallet.> Thanks, <You're welcome, wish you the best! Emerson> Mark

Calcium Supplementation in a Small Tank - 09/03/06 Hello. <<Howdy>> I've read in your articles that with frequent water changes supplementation of calcium, strontium, magnesium and other trace elements is not necessary in salt water tanks. <<Many times this is true...but it is highly dependent on the amount of calcium assimilating life in the system and the frequency/volume of the water changes>> I am thinking of slowly changing my FOWLR tank into a reef tank. Would the above still be the case in a reef tank or is supplementation required when you begin adding corals? <<Will depend on the quantity and the species...but it is easy enough to perform water tests to determine a need for supplementation>> Just to give you some info on my tank it is a 10 gallon with 15 lbs of live rock and 50 watts of power compact lighting. <<Ah, I see...a tank this size rarely if ever requires supplementation as it is quite simple and inexpensive to perform adequate water changes to keep up with mineral demands>> Thanks for your time. <<Quite welcome.  EricR>>

SeaChem Calcium Supplements   8/16/06 Hi there!!! <Hello> I have a question regarding two SeaChem calcium products, Seachem Reef Complete and Seachem Reef Calcium.  The latter one is a polygluconate base calcium.  I have read somewhere that calcium chloride can mess up water chemistry in the long run.  My question is, is the SeaChem Reef Calcium the same thing as calcium chloride?  Just says polygluconate on the bottle so Am not so sure. <This is from the horse's mouth;>    Reef Calcium is a concentrated (50,000 mg/L) bioavailable polygluconate complexed calcium intended to maintain calcium in the reef aquarium without altering pH. Polygluconate complexation confers several benefits: it increases the bioavailability of the calcium, it provides a rich source of metabolic energy to help maintain peak coral growth, and it prevents calcium precipitation/alkalinity depletion. Polygluconate contains no nitrogen or phosphorous, thus it is biologically impossible for it to lead to algae growth in a properly maintained reef system. Reef Calcium may be used alone to maintain calcium but will provide enhanced levels of coral growth when used in conjunction with an ionic calcium supplement (Reef Complete, Reef Advantage Calcium). Reef Calcium is intended to maintain calcium levels; if calcium becomes seriously depleted one should either perform a water change or use an ionic calcium supplement to restore the depleted level of calcium. <If more info is desired, I suggest you go to the SeaChem site and contact them.  I'm also thinking this calcium is a chelated form and you need to ensure your test kit will read this.  Correct me here Bob, if necessary.  James (Salty Dog)>

Anemone System/Calcium Levels/Faulty Test Kits - 08/14/06 Hello There; <<Howdy!>>    We are looking into converting our 92 gallon FOWLR tank to a more invertebrate type tank, specifically bubble tip anemones. <<Mmm, indeed creatures best kept in a "species specific" system>> We've been researching lighting, compatibility, feeding, and water quality. <<Excellent...have you been through our articles/FAQs?   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/bubbletipanemones.htm >> Our LFS gave us a Nutrafin calcium tester as well as magnesium tester so we can start tweaking our levels as we learn more about what we should know to adequately care for these guys. <<Hmm...balanced and excellent water quality is a must, but I think you should concentrate more at this stage on ammonia/nitrite/nitrate and getting/keeping all at "zero"...the calcium and magnesium will balance/be supplemented adequately through frequent water changes.  An "anemone" system will not have need for high levels/usage of these>> We happen to have beautiful coralline growth on all of our live rocks as well as what I assume to be "mini" bright-orange tube worms, so we imagined our calcium levels wouldn't be too bad. <<Are likely fine, yes>> Well, to our surprise, our calcium levels were well over 700, we stopped at 760 as to not waste our newly purchased test kit. <<I seriously doubt this is correct...I would try a better test kit (Salifert, Seachem) and see what you find>> My question is; is too much calcium bad for the anemones, and also just out of curiosity how do you think we've managed to have such an overwhelming calcium level to begin with?  Any information you can give us is greatly appreciated. <<An elevated calcium level shouldn't bother the anemone, but I honestly think your test kit is in error.  Try one of the brands I suggested and retest...likely the reading will be/is much lower...I would also obtain a kit to test your alkalinity to validate the calcium reading as these two components are mutually exclusive (please read here for better understanding: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm)>> -Thanks <<Happy to assist.  Regards, EricR>>

High Calcium Low pH  7/15/06 Hi, <Hello> I have a question I hope you may be able to help me with.  I tried searching your database but couldn't locate an answer there.  I have a new 120 gallon saltwater setup.  The only things in it right now are 120lbs of Caribbean live rock and 120 lbs of live sand.  I use R/O water and Kent's Sea Salt to mix the water.  The calcium reading I am getting is almost 600 <Way too high...> with a pH of some were between 7.8 and 8.0. <A bit low... and not surprisingly... the overly high concentration of biominerals is depressing (precipitating) the alkalinity...>   A couple of weeks ago approximately 2.5 gallons of Kalkwasser solution was inadvertently put into the tank in about 6 hrs. <...> (The adjustment on the Aquadoser was rolled the wrong way accidentally.)  I'm not sure what the calcium reading was before this but the pH has never been above  7.8 since <... yes> I began testing it just after the live rock cured in May.  The exception being when I tested it just after the Kalkwasser incident when it was at 8.4,  but it quickly dropped down again within a week (not good I know).  I am adding Seachem's Marine buffer to try to raise the pH put am seeing little affect after 4 days of use.  Is the high calcium level preventing the pH from going up (I know calcium and alkalinity go hand in hand and alkalinity affects the pH somewhat)? <Oh yes> Also is that calcium level dangerously high or is it OK for now unit it comes down over time.  The coralline algae has taken off with it at this level and is gradually lowering the calcium level  at it uses it, the level was at 660 just after the accident with the Kalkwasser. Thanks in advance for you help, Brandi    <You need a bit of practical chemical knowledge, understanding... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm and the linked files above... You'll soon know what went on, your possible courses for improvement. Bob Fenner>

Calcium will not rise. Calcium/Alkalinity   7/8/06 I have a 100 gallon SPS reef aquarium that has been set up for a few years. Recently I have been having a great deal of trouble maintaining   my calcium and alkalinity level. I have around 30 colonies of SPS coral and many of them are starting to look pale, like they are   bleaching. I had been keeping the calcium at around 420ppm by adding Kent Marine Liquid Reactor every few days, along with some Kalkwasser   with the RO replacement water. However, within the last month the calcium has fallen to 360ppm. No matter how much calcium supplements I add the calcium level will not rise and maintain. For the past week I have been putting in 3-5 times the recommended dose of calcium, along with LARGE quantities of Kalkwasser. Right after adding these additives the calcium will be around 400ppm but within six hours it is   back down to 360. The alkalinity will be around 9 or 10 after the additives, will sometimes include Kent Marine Coral Builder, but about   six hours later is around 7. The coralline algae, which did grow extremely fast is now looking pale, just like my coral. What should I do? I really have no clue what is going on and why the levels keep dropping. So for the length of this email, I just wanted you to know the whole situation. Thanks for you help. <Andrew, do read here first, and get an understanding of calcium/alkalinity relationship to one another.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm You mention nothing of water changes, are they carried out on a regular basis?  Is strontium and magnesium being dosed along with iodine?  Excess CO2 in the make-up water can cause this also.  Do aerate the freshwater 24 hours before mixing the salt.  Then let the mix stabilize for 24 hours before using.  James (Salty Dog)> Andrew  

Tank Problems/Sketchy Info...Look To The Water Changes - 06/18/06 Dear Crew, <<Chris>> Just when I thought I was getting the hang of things, disaster strikes. <<Uh-oh>> I have a light fish load--a sleeper goby, a yellow tang (small) and a cleaner shrimp.  I just found the shrimp dead, and I am very surprised since it seemed okay as recently as this morning. <<Was there some sort of trauma/environmental issue involved?  May be nothing more than "old age" here>> My pH is a consistent 8.5-8.6, and I'd  been dosing twice a day with calcium to get levels up to normal (it had been hovering around 180 but even with twice a day dosing only went up to 220). <<Mmm, though not deleterious in my opinion, your pH is a bit on the high side with no clue/explanation as to why.  And what is your alkalinity reading?  Be careful that you don't mal-affect/disrupt the balance between your alkalinity and calcium by dosing the calcium product only.  It is best in my opinion to "dose" calcium and a buffer (alkalinity) together as a two-part system unless making a "one-time adjustment" (monitored with a reliable test kit) at which time a calcium chloride or calcium gluconate supplement is effective>> Anyway, I also added a nice Zoanthid at the same time as the goby, about two and a half weeks ago.  I'd written earlier that it never fully opened like it had in the store.  You suggested moving it lower in the tank (it had been near the top).  Since doing that a week or so ago, the Zo's are slowly disintegrating, and even the pods that were opening are no longer. <<Likely something environmental other than your lighting at play here>> This is pretty bad--I don't know what to do or what information I could offer that could explain things.  Many thanks... here are my specs for your review--please let me know if there are any other specs which would help with a diagnosis. Tank: 37G high w/ 10G sump and skimmer Lighting:  130W CF Water (RO):  Salinity .022 / pH 8.5-8.6 / Calcium 220 / LOW nitrates / Temp 83-84 <<Okay, a few things to mention here.  Firstly...STOP dosing!  On a tank this size it should be a simple matter to keep the water elements in appropriate concentration/balance with simple water changes (20% twice monthly).  Are you buffering your RO water before adding the salt mix (can be done easily with plain baking soda)?  Do you let the mix stabilize a "minimum" of 24-hours before adding it to the tank?  What brand of salt mix are you using?  Perhaps a change to one of the more consistent mixes (in my opinion) would help...Instant Ocean and Tropic Marin get my top votes.  Your salinity is a factor as well and may be a contributor to the demise of the Zoanthids...increase this to natural seawater levels (1.025-1.026 s.g.).  Next..."LOW nitrates" is of no help...what is the specific reading?  Anything much over 5ppm is likely also a contributor to your coral/invert's failing health.  Again...water changes will help with this too.  Lastly, the water temp, while at the upper limit, should not have been a direct problem if the animals were properly acclimated.  But that's not to say you shouldn't do something to bring it down a bit...you don't have much "buffer zone" here if something should drive it up further>> My water temp is obviously high.  I don't have air conditioning and keep the room dark all day long to avoid sun-heating.  I'm sure this is a cause, but is it THE cause? <<Hard to say...maybe just a/the catalyst>> If not, what else could it be? <<Likely a combination of things as I've alluded>> I know a chiller would help but would a room air conditioner be an option? <<Indeed, yes!  As would adding a small fan to blow across the water's surface for some evaporative cooling>> Thanks again for everything. <<Always welcome>> Sadly, Chris Los Angeles, CA <<Chin-up mate!  Buffer your RO water, verify the efficacy of your salt mix, increase the salinity, perform a large initial water change followed by frequent partial water changes as outlined, and reduce water temperature by a few degrees and you'll likely see an improvement in overall tank health rather quickly...though it may be too late already for the Zoanthids.  And not to pour salt on a open wound...but this tank is way too small for the continued good health of the yellow tang.  Please do consider trading it back to the store for a more suitable inhabitant.  EricR, Columbia, SC>>

Question on Substrates part 3... actually calcium 5/31/06 What it the fastest way to raise calcium levels? I've been using ESV B-Ionic but my levels are still below 200ppm. I do monthly water changes, 20 gal at a time. I have a 135 gal tank. <<You can use calcium chloride products like "Turbo Calcium" but do be sure that the calcium stays in balance with the alkalinity.  You can also use more B-Ionic, especially if the alkalinity is also low.  With levels that low, I would also verify the results on another test kit.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Kalkwasser Reactor versus Calcium Reactor - 05/26/06 ** High Priority ** ** Reply Requested When Convenient ** Please help. <<I shall try>> I am getting bombarded with "best practice" suggestions.  I've read that some run both units (Kalk reactor/calcium reactor) -- using the elevated pH effect of the Kalkwasser addition at night to offset the reduction in pH caused by CO2. <<This is one approach.  I have/use both reactors...but mine are in operation 24/7>> Others suggest getting either unit to supplement calcium levels. <<If I could only use one, it would be the Kalk reactor>> Others maintain that Kalkwasser is the better option with noting but benefits provided it is administered correctly (i.e. limited to night only when pH levels are usually depressed) <<I disagree on the application.  When using a Kalkwasser reactor in conjunction with an auto top-off unit there is little (if any!) danger/more benefit to letting it operate "'round the clock" in my opinion>> I have started using a Kalkwasser stirrer with a dosing pump to add all my RO top-up water to the tank at NIGHT ONLY. <<Truly no need for this hassle...hook it up and let it operate 24/7>> I have been naively adding 2 tablespoons of Kalkwasser to the unit every 2 weeks and leaving it to run on an automatic float switch. <<Mmm, is this per the instructions with the unit?  You likely need to add more than this for a two week period>> Now I have just been told that this is dangerous and can stuff up pH levels and in the long term drop alkalinity!!! <<Not when used merely for top-off/evaporation replacement...as long as you are "dosing" small amounts on a frequent basis and not waiting till you need to add a gallon of water to top up the tank>> I am totally bewildered -- please advise what is best practice when using Kalk Stirrer? <<Just as I've stated...but feel free to write back to me if you need further clarification>> And would you advise that I look at getting rid of the stirrer and replacing it with a calcium reactor instead? <<Nope...use both if you have them>> Or is having both units better? <<I think so, yes...but is not a necessity>> Regards Rayven Durban, South Africa <<Cheers, Eric Russell...Columbia, South Carolina>>

Calcium Hungry Tank - 05/21/06 Dear Crew, <<Hello Jim>> I am a (moderately) experienced reefer of 5 years and have a lot of hard coral in my tank. Porites Pavona Several Caulastrea 2 Euphyllia 1 Merulina 2 cup corals 1 Acro frag <<I see>> The tank is 130 gallons and is lit by halides.  I have a calcium reactor running but it seems to just replenish magnesium and carbonates (which is fine). <<I imagine it is also adding calcium...though maybe not enough to keep up with demands.  Or perhaps a matter of better "tuning" the reactor.  Have a look here and among the indices in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcreactors.htm >> I am struggling to keep this tank fed with Kalkwasser additions.  I currently top off 2 litres of 2 teaspoons Kalk and its very hit and miss. <<Mmm a bit much, I doubt all the Kalkwasser will dissolve in this volume of water...try backing off to roughly half what you're using now>> I currently mix a bottle up at the start of the day and dose with a peristaltic pump in the evening but it only gives me a 30ppm increase (this is done by lots of shaking of the bottle). Sometimes if Im in a rush there is no calcium addition at-all (I add the Kalk and leave the bottle standing). Do I shake the bottle up and poor the slurry in direct? <<This can be done...start with about 1/8th of a teaspoon mixed in cold RO water, and make adjustments from there.  The idea is to add as much as you can without increasing pH more than two tenths of a unit (e.g.- 8.2 to 8.4)>> Or shake the bottle up through the day and top off the clear solution through the pump? <<This is much how a Kalkwasser reactor works (easy enough to DIY), and perhaps your best answer here>> Thanks Jim <<Welcome, EricR>>

WWM Question on Substrates part 3 4/16/06 How much turn over do you recommend for a tank? Is that filtered or just movement? <<For a reef tank, turn over of at least 10x the tank volume is ideal.  Some aquarists use 20x or more.  Those figures apply to the amount of water movement within the tank.  This can be provided by return pumps, powerheads, power filters, etc., but in-sump protein skimmers don't count.>> What about Aragamite or Aragamilk? <<These products are nearly useless for maintenance of calcium and alkalinity since like aragonite sand, they are practically insoluble at normal reef tank pH.  Best Regards, AdamC.>

pH and Calcium supplements 4/10/06 What product do you recommend to raise pH and calcium levels? <<Be sure you understand and test for Alkalinity.  pH measures how acidic or basic the water is.  Alkalinity measures the buffering capacity of the water, or in other words, the ability of the water to resist changes in pH.  Both are very important, and alkalinity is widely under-appreciated.  In any case, Kalkwasser is very useful in supporting pH, Alkalinity and calcium.  It is cheap and easy to use.  Grocery store pickling lime can be substituted for cost savings.  B-Ionic by ESV, C-Balance by TwoLittleFishies and TechAB by Kent are all two part preparations (one part calcium, one part alkalinity) that work extremely well and are extremely convenient to use, but are somewhat expensive.  There are recipes for "home brew" two part additives floating about the internet, but are probably best followed only by those with some chemistry background.  Last, but not least... you can use commercially available dry calcium and alkalinity additives. They are cheaper than two part additive systems but require a bit more care in their use.  Tropic-Marin makes a great dry product called BioCalcium that adds calcium and alkalinity in one product.  Any of the above can work very well.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>>

Calcium Additives For Marine Aquarium - 03/15/2006 I have a 55 gallon tank recently setup with 25 LBS live rock, CPR dx6 protein skimmer, cs150 CPR overflow. I have 2 inches of live sand and other sand for substrate. No fish yet. I also am using RO/DI water for water changes and maintenance. I am looking into calcium and its effects. Your site is great and a little overwhelmed by information. My question is Kalkwasser, which is the best supplements to use? <Unless you fully understand the effects of Kalkwasser, you would probably be better served by another choice. The Kalkwasser would change your chemistry "ball game". Can you suggest which way to go with using Kalkwasser or just straight calcium products and which has had more success. <Too much to try and cover in e-mail. Try studying here   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm and the related links above. Bottom line though, if you feel uncomfortable with it don't use it. A good frequent water change schedule (with properly prepared water) would be best. Eliminates the need for much of these.> Thanks Cary <You're welcome. - Josh>

High Calcium and Nitrates in a Reef Tank - 3/8/2006 Hello, <<Hello Adrian.>> HELP!  I'm facing few problems with my saltwater reef-fish 55-galon tank.   1) High calcium level.  It's ~600.  I tried the baking soda method but no help.  I used the red sea and another brand of test kit to test the calcium level and both yield similar result. <<What salt mix do you use? Are you adding calcium?  Try doing several water changes using Instant Ocean, or another high-quality salt mix.>> 2) High nitrate.  It's ~100.  I already reduced the quantity of food.  Hopefully that will bring it down.  Do you know any other quicker way?  I'm already changing 15-20% of water biweekly. <<Test your source water.  If it has low/no nitrates, change the water more often to bring it down.  Also, look into refugiums, covered on WWM.>> 3) Red algae on rocks.  I see patches of red algae everywhere sometimes even on the sand.  See attachment.  I read articles on your site and the algae sounds like bacteria. <<Likely Cyanobacteria/BGA.>> Hopefully reducing the quantity of food will minimize or get rid of this problem.  Do you know any other way? <<Physical removal, limiting nutrients through food, and adding a refugium are a few that come to mind.  Read on WWM.>> 4) Hair-like plant/things on rocks.  See attachment.  The plant is few millimeter long, yellowish/beige.  What's it?  And how to get rid of it? <<Your picture is unclear.>> I checked the water condition: Ph 8.0-8.3 Nitrite, 0 Ammonia, 0 Alkalinity, high (good according to the kit) Specific gravity, 1.024 Temp, 77 degree Nitrate, ~100 Calcium, ~600 Thanks, Adrian <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Dosing/Overdosing - 03/04/06 Hi all. <<Howdy>> I have a problem and it is concerning me.  I am trying to get my coralline to grow faster so I've been treating my water with Seachem Reef, Buffer, Calcium, and Plus. <<Mmm...are you sure you need all this?  Have you performed water tests re?  The Reef Calcium alone will help with coralline growth.>> I was using Calmax by WM research till it ran out now I'm using the Seachem products.  Only have a small Hammer Coral and some Green Button polyps.  I added the Reef Calcium, Reef Plus and Reef Complete today and a few hours later the water is becoming more and more cloudy white. <<Indeed...likely an overdose/mixing of too much alkaline material.>> The ALK tests high and cal says 440.  I assume this has something to do with precipitation <<yes>> but I was hoping I could do something to fix it now.  I just got a Long Nose Butterfly and I'm concerned for him. <<Perform a large partial water change and only dose (according to the manufacturers recommendations) the Reef Calcium going forward.  Continue to do frequent partial water changes to maintain your alkalinity, magnesium, et al.>> Thank you for all your help! <<Regards, EricR>>

Calcium - 2/28/2006 Hi, <Hi Dan> this is my first time submitting a question and hopefully you can help.  <We'll try.> I've read a lot about raising calcium off your website but I still feel like I am running in circles.  I have been experiencing trouble in maintaining a healthy calcium level.  I will give you some background and where I currently stand.  I have a 7 month old 120g reef tank with somewhere around 100 lbs or so of rock (approximately 40 lbs live and 60 lbs base).  My corals include: Xenia Toadstool Frogspawn Zoanthids Mushrooms Orange Fungia Candy Cane I think the Frogspawn, Fungia and Candy Cane are the only ones requiring calcium. Anyway, my calcium was really low (200 ppm) even though I was using B-ionic two part calcium.  I started experiencing calcium precipitation which I think was due to using Kent's super buffer for two weeks prior to the B-ionic in order to get the ph up.  I was measuring the alkalinity and my reading was around 5 meg/l but at the time I thought it was a dKH reading (DOH!).  I kept adding the super buffer because I was trying to get the alkalinity between 8 - 10 dKH.  I quit using the super buffer once I realized the reading was in meg/l and started with the b-ionic and that's when the precipitation started.  I cleaned up the mess and started using Kent turbo calcium and nothing else except weekly water changes.  I use Instant Ocean salt mix. The highest the calcium reached was 380 ppm.  I was adding 3/4" teaspoon of turbo twice a day which seems like a lot.  I tested the instant ocean before adding it and it was reading 360 ppm so my 380 reading wasn't much higher than the salt mix.   I stopped with the weekly water changes about two weeks ago to see what would happen and the calcium has slowly been falling and that's with the continued use of the turbo.  My ph is stable (8.3) and my alkalinity is 3 meg/l.  I have since been adding the turbo (still ¾ teaspoon twice a day) and super buffer once a day (trying to get the alkalinity up again).  My magnesium is 1200.   So, do you have any ideas on what could be causing my calcium levels to fall? <First, I would compare dKH readings with another test kit.  I'm thinking your dKH is higher than what you indicate as high dKH levels will cause calcium to precipitate.> Do you have any recommendations on getting the calcium to a healthy level?  <Well I'm not a race car driver so I don't like the Turbos, superchargers, etc.  I'm also not impressed with the two part additives, you never end up using equal amounts of each.  I've been in this hobby 35+ years and the best calcium/alkalinity combo I've use is Sea Chem's Reef Advantage Calcium and Reef Builder (both in powder form).  Anyway, another area to check is the dKH of your make up water.  If this is high it will add to the precipitation of the calcium. Do concentrate on getting the dKH balanced and then work with the calcium.  In a healthy system you shouldn't have to add buffer on a regular basis.> Some people have suggested the salt mix as being a problem but I see too many people have success with instant ocean. <Not the problem.> Also, I have only been using the turbo and super buffer together (adding about an hour apart) for a few days so it may be too early to know if it will make a difference.  <You should never add buffer and calcium together within a 24 hour period (powder form that is). The buffer can cause calcium precipitation before it stabilizes.  Do buffer, then 24 hours later do calcium, or vice versa.> Let me know if you need more information. Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Dan
Re: Calcium problem  - 3/1/2006
Thank you for your quick response. <You're welcome.> I'm going with your suggestion and purchased the reef advantage and reef builder (both powder form).  I performed a 15 gallon water change last night and will check the calcium and alkalinity today.  What are your suggestions in using the products? <Same as on container> Can I add a serving of each, once or twice a day until my levels are ok?  <As below, would not dose both products together, do one, then 24 hours later the other if necessary.> Thank you, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Dan  
Re: Calcium problem   3/3/06
Thanks again. <You're welcome, Dan.> Last night, I tested the alkalinity and calcium to see if I could notice a difference with the Seachem products. The alkalinity has moved from 3 to 4 meg/L but the calcium has dropped from 280 to 250ppm.  The magnesium level is 1190 and PH is 8.26.  I will continue adding the supplements on a regular schedule.  My question regards the rock.  I've noticed lately that I am starting to get many purple coralline algae spots over most of the rocks. <Good.>  Is it possible for the rocks to be depleting my calcium faster than I am supplementing? <Sure, you need to supplement for the needs of the tank, some will require less, some more. Dosage levels on the bottle are just a starting point.>  Thank you. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Dan Carstarphen, ASA, MAAA

Calcium at 780  - 02/27/06 Yes, LFS verified it today.  Inherited a 29 gal Eclipse 3 that was FO that had sat in a garage for 2 weeks last summer.  Started reading and have not stopped.  Ordered from GARF.org, janitor special, 10 lbs Garf Grunge, 2 lbs Garf Grunge Plus. <... drop this stuff> Received on 7/21/05 and that is when this journey began.  Used Seachem trio, complete @ 2 caps/wk for 2 mo.s, carbonate and reef plus 1 cap/wk.  Stopped using the Ca when the snails started to proliferate and I started get Ca snowstorm from a cap of carbonate.  Have still added 1 cap of Reef Plus/wk since last July. Found your website and have spent endless enjoyable hours perusing it and learning.  Reef tank is now 7 months old, the red-legged hermit crabs slowly met their demise after several months, probably from lack of food.  As I will be moving this Fall, I have kept the tank pretty primitive, 10# base rock, 5# live rock, one of which has a dozen green pimple mushrooms.  Now have a dozen red Gracilaria and 7 green cup macroalgae growing, 1 Nassarius, a dozen Cerith and red turban and Nerite snails (after handpicking a couple hundred small baby snails out of the tank).  It appears I have coralline algae starting and I am very excited and decided to start testing the water parameters, ugh!  As of today:  SG 1.0225, PH 8.0, Alk, 180 ppm, nitrate, nitrite 0, Ca 780, whew!  LFS told me not to worry about the Ca level, but I am concerned, <Me too... dilute over time... through water changes...> as there is not much in the tank to use it up.  I did buy two yellow watchman gobies a week ago and they are simply terrific little fish and seem to be right at home.  Bought RMF's Conscientious Marine Aquarist and the new Reef Invertebrate books and am devouring them now.  I feel I am headed for trouble with the Ca being so high and not much of a bioload to use it up.  Should I be concerned with trying to lower the Ca? <Not overly... just dilute...> At this point I am very happy with the tank and if the coralline algae grows, that is all I ask.  BTW I have not experienced any bad algae blooms since I started.  Any help you can give would be appreciated....Dave in NYS <You'll do fine by stopping the GARF garbage, making partial water changes over time. Bob Fenner>

Calcium, Alkalinity, and pH question    2/17/06 Hello WWM crew, I want to thank you for tanking time <Heee> to help me out.  After searching extensively to find an answer, I opted to beg for your advice!   My problem is this:  My calcium level is in the 550 range, which is  getting much higher than what i would like. <...!> I am guessing that it is effecting my Alkalinity since it is reading at about 150 ppm (measured from a  dip test strip...I know, not the best in measure but I'm getting an alkalinity  kit.).  My pH is currently at the "fair" mark for a reef tank at about  8.0.   I don't know how my calcium got that high, I used Oceanic salt, <Ding ding ding! Winnah!> which i was told was usually a little higher in calcium. <And inconsistent at that> I did supplement using  Seachem Reef Complete only twice in 1 1/2 months.  I also put 45 lbs of  base rock in from Reefer Rocks. <... also a likely contributor> It was supposed to maintain alkalinity and  pH, could it also be giving off calcium? <Oh yes> I don't know where the calcium  came from, but my question is this: What should I do to get my calcium count  down and my alkalinity up before my problems get far worse? <... posted on WWM... First off, switch salt mix brands...> Also, I have  tried Seachem Marine buffer 8.3 to get it back up, and that was to no  avail. <Don't "worry" re pH, or try to adjust at this point>   Was it just precipitating out with the calcium? <Mmm, yes> What can I do  to keep my tank from crashing?   <Read...> Does calcium and carbonate precipitate hurt  fish or corals, or does it just cause a snowstorm?   <Can, yes to both> Would it be safe to  use Seachem Reef Carbonate to restore what is lost? <... One approach... but dilution would be my first wave/approach> I really  appreciate your time, any help is greatly appreciated!   Thanks  again! <Read so you understand what you're doing, your choices here... on WWM re pH, alkalinity, calcium... Bob Fenner>
Re: Calcium, Alkalinity, and pH question  2/18/06
Hello again WWM, <Hello DHD> Ok, so after reading all the questions asked to you in the FAQ's pretty extensively, I changed 20 gallons out last night, which by water volume is about   20% or so.  Would have loved to have done more, but my equipment didn't permit it.   My Ca came down to about 500 ppm as my eyes could see.  After  testing alkalinity, it seriously helped bringing it up to approximately 10  dKH.  Is my alkalinity likely to stay up for long given the Ca level, or is  this still unbalanced? <Wouldn't expect it to go down much now.> If it is still unbalanced, I'm guessing calcium is going to win right? <Yep> I plan on doing several more water changes to dilute it out more.  How  does a couple more 20 gallon changes sound over the next week?  <Sounds good to me.> I  appreciate your help, and I read the FAQ's well even before I E-mailed you, <Bless your heart.> I  was just simply trying to get the best possible course of action from the  professionals if you know what I mean. <Understand.> Being in the hobby only a year, I  was hesitant to do anything without first seeking direct advice. <Do continue reading my friend, you will learn much about this hobby.>  Any more  input would be great!   Thanks again WWM! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Calcium levels   1/30/06 Dear WWM crew, <Cindy> Sorry to bother you again.   I followed your advice to get testing kit for alkalinity, calcium, and phosphate. Here are my water parameters following a 5 gallon water change: specific gravity?/salinity  125 <1.025???> pH      8.3 ammonia .25 nitrite  0 nitrate .20 phosphate  2.0 KH   179 <17.9dkh or what??> calcium    480-520  tested 4 times I am very worried about the high level of calcium. <No need to be.> I use Instant Ocean Salt Mix.  The only additives I have used in this tank is CoralVite-very sparingly-2x a month.  I have been investigating what could be causing this high level.   The sound you hear is me kicking myself...When doing water changes I have not been aerating or aging the new water before adding it to the tank.  I NOW know better.  I suspect this is causing my high calcium levels. <No> My fish and mushroom/Zoanthids all look great and no one is showing any signs of stress (but what do I know?? I can't even be trusted to make up their water correctly).   Should I do small water changes to bring the calcium under 500? <I'd just do your normal 10% weekly water changes, keep your dKH between 8 to 12 and calcium levels should lower gradually.> I will follow the directions in CMA (just arrived yesterday) regarding water preparation from now on.  I purchased a powerhead, heater, Rubbermaid container and saltwater storage jug today. <Sounds good.> Thank you for all your help.  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Cindy
Calcium levels   2/2/06
Dear WWM crew, <Cindy> Sorry to bother you again.   I followed your advice to get testing kit for alkalinity, calcium, and phosphate. Here are my water parameters following a 5 gallon water change: specific gravity?/salinity  125 <1.025???>   sorry-1.025 is correct pH      8.3 ammonia .25 nitrite  0 nitrate .20 phosphate  2.0 KH   179 <17.9dkh or what??>  179 ppm calcium    480-520  tested 4 times I am very worried about the high level of calcium. <No need to be.> I use Instant Ocean Salt Mix.  The only additives I have used in this tank is CoralVite-very sparingly-2x a month.  I have been investigating what could be causing this high level.   The sound you hear is me kicking myself...When doing water changes I have not been aerating or aging the new water before adding it to the tank.  I NOW know better.  I suspect this is causing my high calcium levels. <No> My fish and mushroom/Zoanthids all look great and no one is showing any signs of stress (but what do I know?? I can't even be trusted to make up their water correctly).   Should I do small water changes to bring the calcium under 500? <I'd just do your normal 10% weekly water changes, keep your dKH between 8 to 12 and calcium levels should lower gradually.> I will follow the directions in CMA (just arrived yesterday) regarding water preparation from now on.  I purchased a powerhead, heater, Rubbermaid container and saltwater storage jug today. <Sounds good.> Thank you for all your help.  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> I was so confused about KH testing results.  I have since read so much about this I have Pop Eye Disease.  Now I am only slightly confused.  My testing results were actually 179 ppm or 10 dKH.  I apologize for the confusion, the LFS told me 179 and I wasn't sure what they were talking about and they were not able to clarify (imagine that). Thank you for your time and patience. <You're welcome.> I have learned so much from this site. I missed getting to see Bob and Anthony in action in Dallas last weekend at the DFWMAS meeting. From all reports it was excellent and everyone felt they learned so much. <Good to hear. There may be another time Cindy.  James (Salty Dog)> Cindy

Calcium products Hello, <Hello James, nice name.>   I was just going to order a  Seachem calcium product.  I am confused as there is reef advantage calcium, reef calcium and reef   complete.  They all seem to do the same thing.  Which one should I use?  I already have an AquaMedic Kalkwasser stirrer but need to top   up the calcium level now and again and I also need to add calcium to my new water. <Reef Advantage Calcium is a ionic blend of calcium that also contains the needed supplements of magnesium and strontium.  Reef Calcium is a polygluconate based product used to maintain calcium levels.  It enhances growth of corals, coralline algae, etc.  The Reef Calcium will have little effect on actually raising the calcium level.  Reef Complete is basically the same as Reef Advantage but in a liquid form.  Hope this helps.  James (Salty Dog)> Kind Regards, James.

Reef Calcium conundrum, Captive-prop'ed BTA  12/9/05 I have a question for you...imagine that, I have a 55gal w/ 4" DSB that I've started with a few zoo's frags, some Kenya tree, and a Ricordea. I just got a wild hair and decided to test my alkalinity and calcium levels. My calcium came out to a whopping 560ppm and the alkalinity to about 180ppm. I've been using B-ionic 2 part calcium/alk. supplement and Kent's SuperBuffer dKH weekly as my source water is extremely soft (about 10ppm).  I am seriously considering putting in an anemone (BTA to go with ocellaris clown---I love anemone/clownfish systems!), but don't want to do so until I'm sure my water quality is just right...not to mention that I'm at a loss as to where to find a captive produced clone in my area (N. CO) I have about 60 lbs. LR and about 15 lbs. coral skeletons. I'm not sure if these levels are OK and if I should stop/scale down my dosing? Any help? Oh, also, what is your opinion on using bleach to clean out QT tanks/equipment?...I've always used vinegar, but was recommended to use bleach...Thanks, Branon. <If your levels and water quality are rock-solid and stable, you're probably fine, assuming other parameters are met (lighting in particular). Your LFS should be able to procure a captive-cloned BTA for you, or you may be able to find one via internet mail-order.  Good on you for demanding captive prop'ed livestock. Bleach is definitely better than vinegar for sterilizing equipment. You can dilute it 1:2 or 1:3 bleach: water and spray it with a spray bottle (KEEP IT OUT OF YOUR EYES, OFF SKIN, FAVORITE BLUE JEANS, ETC) on large stuff like tanks. Just be sure to rinse everything very thoroughly. Lastly, try to buy the most basic bleach, without perfume, etc. Happy Holidays, Lorenzo>  <<It helps to keep a bit of dry sodium thiosulfate on hand, can be found online through chemical supply houses at incredibly cheap prices!  Marina>>
Re: Reef Calcium conundrum...  12/13/05
Thanks for the advise re: the bleach, I'll definitely be making the switch. Thank you also for the encouragement to buy captive propagated specimens...sometimes it is so tempting to buy the WC stuff at the LFS, but I just keep telling myself I'll be happier in the long run. <And so will the rest of the hobby, and the livestock too!> However, I'm still not sure about the dosing ??? (I know, I asked way to many questions in that last e-mail...sorry.) Should I continue at current levels, stop, reduce, or what? <If you do make any changes, do so very gradually. Some folks say, when it comes to aquariums, anything that happens fast - is bound to be bad.> Also, will these softies, and maybe a GSP and/or xenia be alright with a BTA? LTA? <It is ALWAYS a risk, to mix corals with anemones, no matter the size of the aquarium. But stick to generally hardy species, keep fresh carbon in a power filter, and keep the whole environment stable, and it's certainly possible.> Thank you. Branon. <You're always welcome, Zo>

Calcium additions 12/8/05 Mr. Fenner, First, I'd like to say I'm a big fan, I have enjoyed reading both your Conscientious Aquarist book and articles for some time now. I currently have a 24 gallon nano cube aquarium, up until this time I have only a limited experience with dosing and do not feel very comfortable with it. However, I have begun keeping more stony corals and realize their need for sufficient calcium.  <And Alkalinity! Calcium and alkalinity should always be added in a balanced fashion. Kalkwasser is one of the best ways. In many cases, simply using Kalkwasser to replace evaporation will meet all of the needs for calcium and alkalinity. Other options include two part additives like B-Ionic or C-Balance. Two part additives are very convenient and easy to use, but are relatively expensive. Calcium reactors are also an option, but are not practical for such small tanks.> I would feel most comfortable with a crushed coral/aragonite substrate to provide both a buffer and calcium source for my tank, but I currently have an established tank with a thin LS substrate.  <Crushed coral is a poor choice for many reason. Fine grained aragonite is better, but no calcific substrate will meet all of the needs for calcium and alkalinity. They simply cannot dissolve fast enough, even deep in the bed.> I have read as much as possible but am still confused by the seemingly endless options before me. What I am considering is establishing a considerable aragonite DSB in my refugium or possibly mixing the substrate directly into my LS. Am I getting this all confused or will either of those solutions work? Sincerely, Derek Rooney Silver Spring, MD <It is quite easy to get confused!  While there are many benefits to DSB's (I recommend them, especially in refugia), including some modest support of Ca and Alk, they usually cannot meet all of the needs of the corals. Kalkwasser and two part additives are your best bets. Lots of information about their use is available at WWM and elsewhere on the web and better brands include excellent instructions for their use. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Making Calcium 8/3/05 Hi Crew, You guys are doing a great job to keep this hobby going. Keep up the good work. This is my first mail to WWM and I am thinking how to put this "silly" idea of mine. Let me try. Im from a country (Maldives) where buying of Kalk and other marine aquarium related items are a big problem due to lack of stock at the market. <I have visited your country... mainly the Ari Atoll> So I read WWM a lot and came up with this idea of making my own Kalk. Since you (WWM) guys have given lots of information on how to make calc reactors, I tried to make one of my own but failed to complete one when I couldn't get a CO2 cylinder. Then came up with this new idea. We get sand and dead coral for free from the beach, but to dissolve them to water will take ages. So I thought I would try something soft like the shell people use to feed the parrots. Its squid shell I think which have lots of calcium. <Yes> Question 1: Do you think that it is possible to make calcium from this shell? <Possibly> Question 2: If so, will that calcium is good  enough to give  calcium for my 70g tank with lots soft and some LPS? <Should be> Question 3: I know I will have to do the math on how much to give, but can you give me a rough suggestion on how much to add. <Mmm, I would try whatever means you have in mind to "melt" the carbonate, see the resulting concentration (and pH) of the solution, drip in and see what happens (by testing) to the water quality...> Oh, I forgot to tell you how Im going to make my calc. Im thinking of putting little pieces in water and keep it for like a week and then pour that water to tank. I know its hard, but you see I have done it and it worked. At the end of the week I found there were couple of pieces that didn't dissolve, so I shook the bottle for a while and it became soluble which gave me lots of calc. But I don't know whether its the "real" calc, as far as I know its white and raised my Ph high. <Should be fine doing this> I hope you didn't lose your patience in reading this mail of mine, cos its bit long, if so Im very sorry about it. Thanks Ahmed <I think you have hit upon a very good idea, practice. Bob Fenner> Water Quality on Water Changes 8/2/05 Hello, I have what I hope will be a quick question.  In regards to the water used to perform a water change to my reef aquarium, I was wondering if I should be adding calcium to that water while it is being stored. <Mmm, not likely, but...> I currently am storing it in a 30 gallon tank with a power head.  I add the RO/DI water, salt and PH buffer and was not sure if I should also be adding calcium to that as well.  Thanks for your help. <Depends... on how much calcium you want/need... most all salt mixes have "extra" biomineral content... if you find (by testing) that your system is deficient (usually 350 ppm calcium is a good minimum), you can bolster new water... in a few ways... These are discussed in places on WWM... can be searched... Bob Fenner> 

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