Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Supplementing With Kalkwasser 4

Related Articles: Calcium, The Use of Kalkwasser by Russell Schultz, Understanding Calcium & Alkalinity, Kalkwasser, Calcium Reactors

Related FAQs: Kalkwasser 1Kalkwasser 2, Kalkwasser 3, & FAQs on Kalk: Rationale/Use, Calcium Measuring/Test Kits, Sources of Calcium, Calcium Supplements, Mixing/Storing Kalkwasser, Dosing Kalkwasser, Kalk Reactors, Kalk Automation, Alkalinity Interactions, About Kalk Use & Other Supplements, e.g. Magnesium, Troubleshooting/Fixing, CaCl2 (Calcium Chloride)/ Pickling Lime Use, Calcium and Alkalinity

What a cutie! A juvenile filefish in N. Sulawesi.

Kalkwasser help needed   11/5/11
I currently run a 125 DT with a 50 gallon sump. I have a mix of softies, LPS, and SPS however, I have recently taken a liking to more SPS (since my Majestic doesn't pic at them) and have been adding more and more of them. I currently sit at (SPS) 4 plating Montipora (3 red 1 purple), 1 Birdsnest, and 1 blue Acro. (LPS) Chalice, 4 large colonies of starpolyps, and 2 large heads of Hammer. (Softies) 3 giant hairy mushrooms which are fun to feed, 1 toadstool over 5 inches, a couple of Kenya trees (don't really care for them), and a couple groups of pumping xenia and a RBTA.
<This mix may pose incompatibility issues in future; particularly the Anemone>
I also have a large purple gorgonian. I think that's about it off the top of my head. Anyways on to the question. I recently started having low Alk (7) and ca (360) even with regular water changes. PH was holding steady at 8.3 though. So I thought I would give Kalk a try. I mixed about 1-1.5 tsp per gallon into my ato. My ato is gravity driven as the line runs into another room and is attached to a float valve in the sump. The bulb floats down and adds water till its full. Pretty fail safe. The problem, the water in the ato is cloudy and has formed a thin but yet semi hard film at the top of the water.
<Mmm, yes. The Kalk>
When the water drips into the sump the ato water seems to solidify into a white snow flake and then float to the top of the water in the sump. Nearly the entire surface is covered in this area of the sump with this semi solid white substance. Testing daily as I am worried. Ph holding steady at 8.4, Alk holding at 10, and ca holding at 420. This film forming at the top of the water in my sump and ato doesn't seem right. Need somebody to point me in the right direction. What is this film?
<Mainly Calcium>
I lose about 1.5 gallons a day in evaporation. Long but I thought necessary.FYI I raised all my levels before I switched to Kalk. Thank you so much for your help! You are the best! Oh and I am aiming for the least maintenance intensive method.
<I'd look into a calcium reactor...>
That is why I went with the ATO. Fill it up and walk away for a week.
Thank you! Regards,
<Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

RO/DI water 11/30/07 Hello <hello Steve> I found many sections on aerating and buffering newly made RO/DI water for water changes and makeup water. My question is if I'm adding Kalkwasser to a gallon of water to drip into my system does this also need to be aerated and buffered first? If RO water has a low PH wouldn't the high PH Kalkwasser offset this? <Your question is a good one. pH is lower after coming out of a RO unit because many of the "minerals" that would buffer pH have been removed. Once the water flows from the RO to the DI unit it has ALL the minerals removed, leaving pure water. This water has 0 TDS and is a very "soluble solvent". This means it is eager to absorb any mineral content that it exposed to. Therefore, mixing it with Kalkwasser (Calcium Hydroxide) will immediately have a reaction. The pH will soar up to 9.0 and the hardness will soar to 8-12DKH. This is good for a Saltwater tank as it adds calcium and buffer to the tank. As far as making it goes, add your dry powder to your 1 gallon jug, then shake very well so that you dissolve as much as possible. Then let settle so that you go from cloudy water to clear water. The only thing you want to add to the tank is the clear water. Then just drip that in overnight each day or as necessary (depending on your rate of evaporation) Hope this helps-Rich.. aka. Mr. Firemouth) Thanks Steve

Dosing kalks... SW maint., understanding...  -- 10/04/07 I am so appreciative of your site. Its an amazing amount of info. Thank you for this. I realize you must be so busy so I will try to be brief. I have 135g reef tank now for six years. It is currently sumpless, but I will have a sump set up in a couple of weeks. Everything has to be mail ordered where I live, the pet stores here don't carry saltwater products) I had to order the calcium hydroxide from our local shoppers drug store. I have 100 lbs of live rock, 1 clarki anemone fish, saddle back clown both 4years old, various mushrooms, a few crabs, cleaner shrimp and one large Green/Pink( Stichodactyla haddoni) Haddon's anemone that has been with me for 6 years. He is currently stressed. I don't have much livestock because for the last year I have been battling hair algae. Now I have the red slime or BGA. I clean most of it out during water changes but its back and bad 2 days later. I was working away and my tank, I ashamed to admit has been neglected. Am awaiting the arrival of a protein skimmer in a few days.(180 gal sea life) Right now my lighting is too low. Normal output florescent bulbs. New 6ft Odessa power compact arriving in 2-3 weeks. My question is about adding calcium hydroxide. I am now doing a 20 gal water change every week, for the past month. Can I add the calcium hydroxide to my water change at 2tsp per gal. It seems like a lot to me but a fellow reefer from here does it and it works for him. These are my current testings; PH 8.1 (midday) low right? <Not much> KH (alk) 80-90mg/L the color seems to be in between these two, low right? <A bit> Ca 380 NO3 12.5 PO4 couldn't get an accurate read turned very light yellow instead of blue but I suspect it is to high. <Too> I must also ask about my sand bottom. its only about 1-2 inches deep. When the tank was set up the rock was placed directly on the glass and then the live sand added to the front of the aquarium. I gather from your info on this site that this is a problem. So should I remove all the sand and replace or just add more on top? <I'd just add more on top... will mix with time> Should I tear down all the rock being as careful to all that's growing on the underside as possible, and vacuum out the detritus that must be at the bottom and back of the aquarium? <For what purpose?> I must also tell you the clarkii fish constantly stirs up the sand with his tail into 4-6 inch hills so it is never smooth. I like the look of this but I suspect you will tell me this is a problem. What will happen if he has more sand to "play" with? Thank you so much in advance for answering our questions that must after a while seem so repetitious to you. Cindy <Don't exactly follow what you're looking for here... I would read re Cyano/BGA... consider adding a sump/refugium... with a DSB there... The Kalkwasser can be added... at the dosage you list... likely forever, along with regular water changes with a good synthetic... But you'd be better off using a two-part supplement... Again, covered on WWM... I would read for now: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm Bob Fenner>

Kalkwasser, pH, dKH...And the Need for Understanding - 04/14/07 Hi there, <<Hello>> I'm quite new to this hobby and have been reading your fantastic site since I started 7 months ago, having taken over from my teenage son who lost interest when he couldn't stop algae problems. <<I see...well then, welcome to the hobby>> I have a 20 gall (UK) reef tank (I know, too small, working on getting a bigger one) with 3" LS substrate and 25lb of LR with lots of lovely coralline.  A few soft corals that are all doing well and some acropora that I think are ok.  Parameters temp 80F, SG 1.025, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 12, phosphate 0.015, Ca was 280, Alk was 2.8, but pH 7.7 at night and 8.0 just before lights out (2 actinics and 150w MH in an over tank unit). 15% weekly water changes using Instant Ocean and RO water. <<Hmm...nitrate is a bit higher than I like (would prefer 3-5 ppm), and I'm surprised at the Ca reading considering the weekly 15% water changes...you should probably verify the accuracy of this test kit>> I was advised by my coral supplier to use Kalkwasser which reading your site you would seem to endorse, so I bought a peristaltic dosing pump and some Seachem Kalk to use with my RO top up water. <<Indeed many here do endorse the use of Kalkwasser, myself included.  But it is not to be used without caution/some understanding of the product as it can be easily abused...especially on a small system like yours>> I lose about 1.5 litres a day to evaporation so last night I set up the drip system to add my Kalk over about 7 hours.  I now have a pH of 8.3 which is great (but if previous form with pH buffering continues it will fall back to 7.9) but a KH of 13! <<Hmm...>> Have I done something wrong? <<Don't know...  Kalkwasser is intended as a calcium supplement primarily...and when used properly, has added dividends of boosting pH and helping to support alkalinity (mainly through the "burn-off" of organic/acidic molecules).  Though at the high end of the scale (assuming this reading is dKH, since you don't specify), this KH reading is not "bad," but it is important to know here what the calcium reading is as well, the two should always be considered together>> Should I add more Kalk every 1-2 days as top up? <<Mmm, no...in fact I suggest you stop with the Kalkwasser altogether until you gain a better understanding of the chemistry involved/marine water chemistry as a whole.  Please start reading here and among the links in blue at the top of the pages:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm  >> I have plenty of water movement, a venturi driven skimmer which should help water aeration), or have I got a CO2 problem? <<...?  Why would you think you have a CO2 problem?>> All corals and fish look healthy except for a Pacific Green Button Polyp which has been fine for 6 months but now buttons won't open properly and are rather brown instead of green. <<And likely an unrelated issue>> Sorry for the length of this email and all the questions but you guys are the best so I'll do whatever you say. <<Honestly mate, considering the size of the system and the stock list involved, you really DON'T NEED TO DOSE KALKWASSER.  As already eluded, the 15% weekly water changes are the best vehicle for keeping/are more than enough to keep your water chemistry "balanced" in this small tank.  If test results seem to be indicating otherwise I would first suspect the efficacy of the test kits.  Fresh kits might be needed...or "better" kits might be needed.  I suggest kits from Salifert or Seachem as good quality "middle of the road" kits...or you can go "high-end" with LaMotte and Hach, maybe even Merck.  If the test kits prove good, then look to your salt mix/mixing protocol (start reading here and beyond:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seah2omixing.htm)...perhaps even trying a different batch/lot/bucket of salt mix.  Bottom line here is you don't need Kalkwasser additions with this tank.  I do encourage you to read up on its use and the dynamics involved and make your own informed decisions...but for now, the frequent water changes with a properly prepared quality synthetic mix will save you much headache/possible disaster.  And no worries re the length of your query...the more info we have the better we can help>> Roger in the UK <<Cheers, EricR...who lived/kept an 80g reef in Ipswich for 3.5 years back in the late eighties/early nineties>> Calcium Hydroxide turns gray in reactor 01-03-05 I've been using Prestochlor brand Calcium Hydroxide (for swimming pools) in the place of Kalkwasser for several months - recommended by several local reefers.  The reef looks great!  However, I have noticed that the solution gradually turns gray over the course of a week in the reactor (noticeably gray instead of white when it mixes at the end of the week).  Is this normal? <I would assume it is normal for that product. It sounds like an oxidizing reaction, possibly of the impurities in the mixture.>      The bag says 68% Calcium Hydroxide and 32% inert ingredients.  It takes a lot of Kalk for the tank (250 gallons), so this is a MUCH CHEAPER option than Kalk and it mixes well... but I want to make sure I am not endangering my reef long term.   e <There is a chance you are introducing heavy metals into your aquarium by using this product. I too save money where ever possible in this hobby, but I would definitely need to know what the "inert" ingredients are before I would trust it around my tank. Travis> Thanks for any information!       - Doug Kalk & Nano   3/11/07 Hi There, Karl from the UK here again. :O) <Brandon from the US here today.> I was wondering if you could help me out with some Kalk advice? <I am willing to try.> I am currently at week 3 of cycling my 12g nano system.  No live stock at the moment - just 7 kg's of live rock (Fiji) - I plan to go completely fishless/shrimpless/crabless.   <I have had better success cycling with some live stock.> I am just going to add about 8 cerith snails and maybe 2 nasserius <Nassarius>. <Nassarius snails are interesting little critters.  I have five of them.  All I ever see are antennae until I put food in the tank.> I am lighting the tank for about 2.5 hours a day and now beginning to increase the "daylight" slowly.  I have measured my pH and this is hovering around 7.7 - when the lights come on this goes up to about 7.9. <Measure it again a few hours after the lights have come on.  It seems like it takes a little while for it to raise.  I would also say that I would try a different test kit.  7.7 is really low for nighttime.  Mine runs about 8.0.>   I really want to try and shoot for 8.3 - as I plan to keep Pulsing Xenia and want good coralline growth.  My other params are as follows: SPG:  1025 Ca: 410-420ppm Alk:  4 meq/l Temp: 25c <This is why I said to try a different test kit.  With this much calcium, your pH should be higher.> When I make up my water I circulate this with airstone + power head for about five days.   <This is a bit of over kill.  The water can sit over night, and it is considered aerated.> When I first add Reef Builder to this, the pH is at about 8.25, but after a few days of aging this goes down to about 8.05. <This could be because you are letting it sit so long.> My make up water is made to the following parameters: SPG: 1025 Ca: 420ppm Alk:  A little over 5 meq/l My top/off (evap) water is RO/DI buffered with Seachem Reef Builder to about 4.75 meq/l.  I am currently turning my tank over about 15x an hour, although <Kind of low, but as long as you don't want corals like Acropora, or Montipora, you should be O.K.> I might add a Mini Jet to this setup too. <You know what they say, you can never have too much flow.> My question is this, I am really keen to dose Kalk to my system for all the benefits (phos, improved protein skimming and mainly to keep my PH up at around 8.3).  What would be a good starting dose on a 12g system.  I am happy with my Ca levels, so do not want to drive these up to much - simply maintain them and support alk.   <You can maintain them with water changes.> What would be a pretty safe starting dose on my system?  I understand that Reef Builder does not immediately raise pH, but does tend to bring it up to 8.3 over time.  Would Reef Buffer be a better bet than Kalk, although I am very keen to try Kalk - have read/heard so many good things about using this. <Kalkwasser is a great thing.  It will buffer the water for you, keep your Ca in check, and give you a really high Alk.  My point is, I don't see a need to get drastic yet.  You seem to have everything in order.  I would really try a different test kit at this point.  But since you asked, I feel compelled to answer.  If you want to dose Kalkwasser, see here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/kalkh20faq2.htm.  This should tell you everything that you need to know, Including Anthony's slurry method.  I apologize if I could not tell you exactly what you wanted to know, but I am a firm believer in the fact that most if not all parameters can be kept in check with regular small water changes.> I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks to all the wetweb team for all the great work & support that you do! <Thank you for the kind words.  Brandon.> Best Regards, Karl McNally Kalkwasser & Nano Reef     2/23/07 Hi There, <Karl> I was wondering if you could help me out with the following? <Will do my best> I am currently cycling a 15 gallon Nano (Orca TL-450).  I currently have about 3kg's of live rock in there and plan to add another 3kg's in about 2 weeks.  Overall, I plan to let the tank cycle/stabilize for about 2 months before I add anything. <Good (slow, determined, intelligent) approach>   There is also sugar sized sand on the floor, but just enough to cover the bottom 1/4 of an inch at the most. I plan to keep soft corals - zoanthid, metallic xenia, Kenya tree <Mmm, will get too large...> and only one fish - a Midas Blenny. <Good choice> I gave up keeping a 30g system about five years ago, as I could not get a grip on my algae problems (hair, Cyano...).  I swear I nearly had a nervous breakdown due to the algae... :O) <Yikes> This time round, I am not going to rush a single thing,  I have purchase a three stage RO filter & added on a DI cartridge to that.  Got digital TDS, ph meters and purchased a refractometer.  I am using Red Sea Coral Pro salt, as this states that it has elevated calcium and buffer levels in it critical for the reef environment.  Do you know anything about this salt (good/bad)? <Is fine to have (almost all such synthetics) do... "more" available calcium... You can read our various remarks re brands, posted on WWM> My question is this, I have read about all the benefits of Kalk (coralline growth, phosphate precipitation and Ph).  Once I have tested for Ca and deemed it necessary to dose Ca - do you think it would be a good idea (dangerous) to dose with Kalk in such a small tank? <I would NOT use Kalkwasser in such a small volume myself... as you state, it's too likely to cause issues than provide help... and I see you address alternatives below> Or do you think it would be better to use something like C-Balance or just allow for weekly water changes to handle the Alk/Ca needs? <Yes, and yes... you will find, once all is up, going, stocked... with testing... that there is little "cause" to add much of anything here... with simple maintenance, water changes, feeding... Should you find that you want to adjust for alkalinity and biominerals, I would do so with a good "two part" system/product like B-Ionic...>   The two reasons I am keen on Kalk is that I am terrified to have another algae issue, and I want to have really good Coralline algae growth. <Mmm... do look into SeaChem's fine line... adjust for added alkaline/earth materials in your change-out water if you deem desirable> Would it be better to use a product called Purple-Up for coralline and just do 25% water changes weekly? <Likely just the latter> I plan to keep my tank parameters as follows: Spg: 1.025 Calcium: Above 400 Alk: As close to 12 as I can get Temp: 25C I also plan to cycle my tank with the lights off - so I do not encourage bad algae to grow.  Is this advisable - good for coralline algae growth? <Mmm, yes> Once cycled, I plan to add 15 turbo snails and maybe some Trochus as part of the cleanup crew. <I would eschew use of snails as well... or if using, keep their number much smaller... perhaps two total>   This should be enough in a 15 gallon tank - shouldn't it? <Too much IMO> I am sorry if this comes across like the Ramblings of a mad man! :O) <Mmm, not at all> But when I gave up on my last tank, and returned what livestock had not been smothered to death by algae - it broke my heart!  I have been waiting five years for my partner to allow me to try again, and all this time thinking about things that I did wrong and how I could do better it in the future.  The one thing I will have this time is a little PATIENCE!   I look forward to hearing from you - whoever it may be. Best Regards, Karl <Be chatting, reading my friend. Bob Fenner>

Kalkwasser/Calcium Reading 1/22/07 Hello how is everyone doing. <Hi, so far, so good.> Pretty crazy here in Ohio with the snow and everything. <Brrr> I have a 125 gallon reef tank and I have read just about every article on Kalkwasser mixing and dosing. I am currently using one method which involves a quart of RO water, half teaspoon Kalkwasser and 15 ml of distilled vinegar. However, ever method that I have used I have not seen any satisfaction with. What I mean is when I test the Kalkwasser with my pinpoint calcium monitor( and yes it definitely perfectly calibrated) I get calcium readings of 180 or 200 ppm !!!! I do not know if I am not reading into some hidden water chemistry or I am doing  something wrong. The calcium in my main tank is at 328 ppm right now only do to dosing calcium chloride (aka: liquid calcium) I have a calcium reactor with new media and it is only there to keep dKH levels stable. I cannot keep calcium levels up without using excessive calcium chloride. The tank does not have a   top, and the filtration methods are a wet and dry, Tunze protein skimmer and refugium. Please help Thank you Water parameters PH 8.0 Ca 328 DKH 10 Sal 1.25 Amm 0 N 0 Nitrate 0 ReDox 355 Phos 0 <I'd try getting your dKH down to around 8-8.5.  Higher alkalinity readings can cause calcium to precipitate.  Secondly, try mixing the Kalkwasser without the vinegar and see if your readings don't go up.  Vinegar is an acetic acid and may cause erroneous readings on your meter.  You may also want to try reducing the vinegar to 10ml.  James (Salty Dog)>

Kalk skimmer injection / Phosphate removal? 1/18/07 Crew- <Craig.> Just doing some reading in the Marine Reef Aquarium Handbook by Dr. Robert J. Goldstein < http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/002-2180612-6836823?%5Fencoding=UTF8&search-type=ss&index=books&field-author=Dr.%20Robert%20J.%20Goldstein> : http://www.amazon.com/Marine-Aquarium-Handbook-Complete-Owners/dp/0812095987. Excellent book. The author suggests running the Kalk drip line directly into the skimmer injector, as this process precipitates phosphate in the skimmer effluent. <This is talked about in circles every now and then, and usually results in someone reminding the others that there is no direct removal of phosphates. Phosphates themselves aren't surfactants. They are the eventual result of dissolved organic compounds that eventually form the in-organic phosphates that algae and other forms of life utilize.> The author claims this method is several hundred times more effective than other methods. <Have not read this one... Maybe Bob would like to add a double-bracket to this one... but I think the normal dosing of Kalk is still very beneficial to skimmate production.> <<Is generally. RMF>> This book has largely been mostly dead-on in its material and independently verified by a triangulation of numerous other sources. Can we verify this tactic? <We? ...or you? I think that would be a great experiment for you. I am currently involved in the development stages of a very exciting project with bio-element supplementation with Rick Oellers that takes most of my critical thinking time. I recommend it!> Additionally, can anyone describe the precipitated phosphate? Running the drip line into my skimmer does produce considerably more skimmate, but the effluent appears white and I am wondering if I am just skimming particulate calcium carbonate suspended in the solution. Need/want pictures of what I am talking about? <No need, I know exactly what you are referring to. Am not sure about actual composition of skimmate with this characteristic, but if you do some searching on "saponification" you will better understand how Kalk and skimmers work together. HTH -Graham T.> cj

Bob, I need to print a correction    1/21/07 Ooops. I was just reading a reply of mine to the fellow that asked about directly dripping Kalk into his skimmer, and while my reply to him was not garbled, my explanation of what I'm doing with Rick was a little off. I said I was involved in: " biotelemetry supplementation " when I *meant* to say bio-element supplementation. Dang. I have to say, I am curious to know more about this biotelemetry supplementation. Sounds very deep. -G <Will try to find and post this next to. B>

Kalkwasser Dilemma   8/30/06 Hi, < Hello! > I have been searching your site for days but can not find the answer to my question. I am dosing Kalkwasser using a diy drip system consisting of a 5 gallon gas can, with two holes in the top.  One with air tubing that only goes into the can about an inch or two, air is pumped into this line to pressurize the can.  The other hole has rigid tubing that goes into the can and stops about 2 inches from the bottom, the Kalkwasser is pushed out this line and drips into the tank regulated with a valve to control the drip speed. < Cool set up! > My Dilemma, when the can needs to be refilled there is still two inches of Kalkwasser mix at the bottom that does not get pushed out.  I have been just adding more R/O water to the can and adding additional Kalkwasser, mixing, and letting settle. < Not really a good idea. > I am concerned that this may be causing a problem. < Now you are on to something! >   Should I be emptying out the leftover mix? < Yes. The by-product that is left behind is very undesirable. > When I poor the new R/O water in, there is a lot of friction and vigorous movement in the can, could this be causing co2 to mix with the Kalkwasser that is left at the bottom? < Probably not as much of an issue as the sediment that is left behind. Discard all old Kalkwasser before mixing new. > Please help. < I hope I was. RichardB > Tim Robitaille Reef Disaster...Gamble Didn't Pay Off - 07/29/06 I'm kind of hoping Anthony Calfo can reply to this, but I'll take any help you guys can offer.   <<I'm afraid our friend Anthony no longer fields queries on this site...has moved on to other endeavors.  Let's hope I can be of some service>> I've officially got a disaster on my hands.  I need to make some tough decisions.  Here's what happened.  My reef tank is four years old.  For the most part it has done extremely well over the last three years.  Amazing amounts of coral growth in this tank over the last 3 years.   I could go into details about the tank, but honestly it really doesn't matter at this point. <<...?>> I went on vacation for a week and as I always do I left my tank with a very slow drip feeding it RO water. <<As in, nothing to "meter" the water?...dangerous'¦>> It evaporates about 2 gallons a day so a slow drip doesn't keep it completely topped off, but it does replace most of the evaporated water. <<Understood...but still risky.  As with topping-up with a Kalkwasser drip, it is best to feed the water from a container of limited volume to lessen damage from an "accidental" over-fill, this usually means a container of no more than a few gallons.  Obviously this doesn't work in your situation where you're absent for an extended period...which is where a well designed, reliable top-off device excels>> It has always been close enough. <<I'm getting a feeling this time it wasn't...>> I've done this many times on vacation and it has always worked out all right. <<Russian Roulette>> This time it didn't!  I'm not sure what happened, but it was obviously feeding water a lot faster than I thought this time.  Long story short...I came home to a freshwater tank and a very wet floor. <<Yikes!>> It smelled pretty bad!  It smelled bad enough in the house that my kids started crying.  My wife wasn't real happy either! <<I can imagine...>> Amazingly she's letting me keep the tank! <<Yay!>> So obviously most everything in the tank died. <<Yes...sorry to hear>> All my mushrooms, polyps, xenia, and SPS corals are dead.  Surprisingly the fish survived... as well as several snails and crabs. <<Can be amazingly resilient to "gradual" change>> My dilemma is whether I should trash everything in the tank and start all over with new live rock and substrate or should I actually try to salvage the existing rock and substrate. <<Can be salvaged with a good scrub/curing...but will never be as before.  Best to treat as introduced dead/dry rock, in my opinion>> I already totally disassembled the tank.   Scrubbed all the live rock in clean salt water to get all the dead mushrooms, polyps, etc. off the rock...no use in leaving them there to rot! <<Much in agreement>> I cleaned the substrate in fresh saltwater and then set the whole tank back up with fresh saltwater.  The protein skimmer has been filling all the way up every day. <<Much dead biota "deep in the rock" that could not be scrubbed away.  The rock is curing, though it will be devoid of much of the living biota that cured fresh rock would retain>> It seems to be doing its job better than ever before. <<Much more for it to process at the moment>> The smell is gone! <<What of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate?>> Surprisingly I already have pink and purple coralline algae growing on the rocks again, so I am assuming that if the coralline algae survived then a lot of other life survived in that rock as well. <<Don't think I would make that assumption..."some" life may have survived, but I would consider this rock as "severely damaged">> It has only been 7 days since the disaster. <<I would cure this rock another three weeks, testing the water as you go, before trying to re-introduce any macro-organisms>> Not surprisingly, I've got some green and brown algae growth too, but it actually appears to be going away slowly. <<Normal algae succession...the tank is cycling>> Should I try to make this work or is this a battle not worth fighting? <<Up to you mate.  The rock can be cured, the tank re-cycled, but much if not all emergent life from the rock will be gone>> Here is what I am thinking.   Keep doing water changes and let that protein skimmer do its job for several weeks and then add some GARF grunge to add all the little critters back to the tank.   Wait till the rocks start looking pink and purple and then try growing some coral again.   Is this just wishful thinking?  Will this work? <<Is plausible, yes.  But rather than the GARF product, I suggest changing out about half the rock for "new" rock.  Preferably sooner than later to let it cure with the rest>> I just don't want to waste my time if this is a doomed tank now. <<Not "doomed" at all my friend...just not as "diverse" as it was/could be without the addition of new live rock>> Am I better off trashing everything and ordering some new live rock and substrate? <<Would be "better", yes...but not an absolute necessity>> Jeff Hutcherson     <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Kalkwasser Calculation Quandary - 07/24/06 G'day Crew... <<Cheers John>> I have a fairly young AquaPod 24 gallon invertebrate system which seems to be suffering from depressed pH. <<Oh?>> Water parameters are mostly OK, with alk holding steady at 5.5 meq/l, <<A "tad" high>> Salinity 1.025, calcium 380 ppm and magnesium ~1350 ppm. <<Sounds good...>> Temperature swings from 78-80 with the light cycle (2x32 watt PC, the stock AquaPod lighting system). <<Not a problem>> I am using Tropic Marin reef salt.  Two gallon water changes are performed each Sunday and Thursday. <<Okay>> System set up includes a 4-inch aragonite DSB and 15 pounds of LR. Stock list is 3 sexy shrimp, five Trochus, 12 Strombus, 12 Nerite sp. and 10 micro-hermit crabs from IPSF.  Also amphipods from IPSF and copepods from Ocean Pods are literally swarming! <<Cool!>> Must be into the third or fourth generation by now.  A clump of Chaetomorpha the size of a softball is tucked away behind the LR and I harvest a piece the size of a golf ball every other day for nutrient export. <<Excellent>> Feeding is minimal, just a pinch of Reef Carnivore or Reef Herbivore sinking pellets alternating once every three days. <<Mmm.. this may be fine, but do ensure you are feeding enough/often enough else the hermits may turn to your snails/each other for food...not to mention scouring all emergent life from your live rock>> The pellets are always consumed within two hours.  My latest addition is prompting my question.  Two weeks ago I added one Xenia elongata from DFS.  The colony is composed of at least 20 polyps and a daughter colony of 9 polyps is beginning to bud off the pedal. <<Neat!>> Tony the Tiger would say it's GRRREAT! <<Indeed...>> But it doesn't pulse much at all. <<Probably still adjusting to the "new digs">> At night the polyps retract until they are less than an inch tall, and when the lights come on they expand to be 4-5 inches long. <<Sounds fine, normal>> The colony is located 12 inches below the 32 watt daylight bulb, and I haven't moved it since it was introduced.  When elongated the low current flow has the polyps gently swaying, and they hold their digits wide open all day long.  Reading Maestro Anthony's opus leads me to suspect I need to boost my pH (currently swings from 8.0 in the morning to 8.2 at the end of the photo-period) somehow. <<Mmm, possibly...but speaking in a broader sense, these pH parameters are quite acceptable>> So, I am reading and re-reading the paragraph on page 185 which suggests calcium hydroxide slurry of 1/16th of a teaspoon per 100 gallons of system water daily to raise the pH. <<Okay>> Doing the math, in my 20 gallons of system water, that would be...1/80th of a teaspoon? <<Hmm...if we both have figured this correctly, yes>> Staring in trepidation at my unopened jar of Kent Marine Kalkwasser Mix my obvious question is just how in the world can I measure such a small amount of powder accurately? <<With an electronic gram scale and conversion charts possibly.  But no need to go to such trouble.  Simply add the 1/16th teaspoon to a cup (by volume) of water, "whisk" as described by Anthony, and then while the Kalkwasser is in suspension quickly pour 1/5th of the slurry volume (100g divided by 20g = 5 = 1/5th by volume) to another container for addition to your tank...discarding the remainder.  The use of kitchen/cooking measuring cups should make this rather easy to accomplish>> Yours in apothecary anxiety... John <<Regards, EricR>>

Kalkwasser reactor problem    7/13/06 Hi! <Hello there> I got a custom made <Non-commercial...> Kalkwasser reactor one month ago. So far I am very pleased with the impact on the water chemistry. I have not noticed any magnesium depletion at all so far and I am ready to react to that anyway by adding magnesium in the new saltwater reserve... <Good> The reactor keeps my calcium to around 400ppm and the alkalinity between 7 and 7.5. My Ph goes up to 8,43 by day and down to 8,25 by night. <Fine> I even use my Neptune Jr. and the fans connected to it to prevent Ph from going below 8,25. When it goes below that value the fans start and cause significantly more evaporation, therefore more Kalk enters the tank and pushes the Ph up. <Okay> If you can give me some advice here regarding the autonomy of the reactor. The first time I filled it and added calcium hydroxide, I used 10 big tablespoons of Kalk. The reactor worked for 4 days. On the 5th day, I had to add more powder because the Ph was going down and the calcium as well. I then started to experiment by adding different amounts of powder. I tried different things between 2 and 30 tablespoon. Always the same result: must add more powder after just 4 or 5 days. <... this may be "it" for this given tool, the size, make-up of your system...> I thought I would have at least 2 weeks of autonomy with such a reactor. <Depends...> That's what people report with reactors that are smaller than mine in comparison to the size of the system (if I remember well the reactor is around 30 L and my system is 300L-325L net). The mixing pump runs 2 minutes each hour and the osmolator stops for 15 minutes each time to leave time for powder to sediment and prevent it from entering the system undissolved. What surprises me most is that there is no relation between the amount of calcium hydroxide powder I add and the length of time the reactor stays efficient. Can you give me some advice? Am I doing something wrong? <Doesn't sound/read "wrong"... just doing what it is "made" (engineered, constructed) to do... You might want to experiment with another source/grade of Kalk...> If I can't work it out, I think I will try and buy a Deltec or an Aquamedic stirrer. They both use a stirring rod instead of the common magnetic stirrer or maxi-jet pump. I don't know if it would improve anything to change the reactor. <These units will require less "fooling"... be more autonomous...> The Deltec is twice the price of the Aquamedic and seems quite similar. Do you have any idea if it's worth paying the double for the Deltec? <Is a better unit IMO...> Here are two pictures of my present reactor: Thanks!
<Bob Fenner>


Dosing Kalkwasser - 06/29/06 Hi Crew, <<Hello Mohamed>> I have been using Kalkwasser occasionally and calcium chloride mainly to maintain my calcium levels.  I have learned by reading, thanks to the book by Anthony Calfo, that there is much more benefits in using Kalkwasser than any other calcium supplement. <<That comment will likely draw debate in a crowd of reef-keepers, but I admit to being a big fan of Kalkwasser>> I plan to build a Kalkwasser reactor in time and use mainly Kalkwasser to maintain calcium, and calcium chloride to increase levels when required, but I require some help. <<I'll see what I can do>> Kalkwasser will be added via a drip to replace evaporated water. <<A common and acceptable practice>> I use +-15 litres DI water to replace evaporated water per day. <<Mmm, how big is your tank?  I replace about this much (maybe a bit more) on a 500g system (total) via an automatic top-off device plumbed through a DIY Kalkwasser reactor>>    If I do not add calcium for a week, my calcium drops from 450ppm to 320-360ppm. <<Not all that bad, really>> I add 105 to 125ml of Calcium chloride to maintain calcium at 400 - 450ppm and 25ml buffer to maintain alkalinity at 8 - 10 dKH. <<You don't state why you are you trying to keep levels so high?  Calcium and alkalinity are mutually exclusive.  Trying to drive them to the "upper limits" can drive one or the other down...sometimes with drastic results (snowstorm).  I'm not sure this is what's happening in this case, but a calcium level of 360ppm-400ppm and alkalinity in the 7-8 dKH range will be easier to maintain in my opinion, and will likely serve your tank fine>> I need to use Kalkwasser to do the same but how does one know how much to use per week to maintain my calcium levels? <<Through testing/experimentation>> Can I use the assumption that I can start with the same amount as the calcium chloride or will I require a larger quantity of Kalkwasser? <<Not an issue if you are dosing through evaporation replacement.  The make-up water can only "absorb" so much Kalkwasser.  Use enough to make sure the make-up water is "saturated" and set the drip rate to match your evaporation rate...or better yet, implement an automated top-off system>> If Kalkwasser is dripped to replace evaporated water 24/7 will this increase my PH to an alarming rate? <<Not in my experience...the saturated Kalk water will be added slowly enough to preclude this>> Say my reef requires 150ml Kalkwasser per week and I add 300ml Kalkwasser to a reactor (drip to replace evaporated water), will this increase or maintain my calcium level? <<No way for me to really say...depends on how heavily stocked/the consumption rate of your system.  Testing with a reliable test kit will be about the only way to know>> Will this increase my Ph and alkalinity to an alarming rate? <<Not in my opinion but do have a read through our FAQs re Kalkwasser, and follow the related links at the top of the page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/kalkh2ofaqs.htm>> Thanks, Mohamed <<Regards, EricR>>

Dosing Kalkwasser II - 06/30/06 Hi EricR, <<Hello Mohamed>> Thanks for a speedy reply. <<I hope it was useful>> Answer to some of the questions.  The aquarium is not that big +-800 litres with sump. <<I see...but still "large" by most hobbyist's standards at 210 gallons (give or take)...and will likely be fine with the replacement of evaporation with water saturated with Kalkwasser at the rate you indicated>> The evaporation of +-15 litres is average due to the room being quite warm and aquarium temperature being kept at 26 - 27 degrees Celsius. <<That's not bad, in my opinion...my tank fluctuates between 27-28 degrees Celsius (80-82 degrees Fahrenheit)>> The heat from the lights contribute a bit as well. <<Indeed>> I do not have a snowstorm; my calcium and alkalinity are within range but will like to maintain it at a high level. <<Understood...my point was that maintaining both at the "high end" can be a difficult juggling act>> I have a heavily stocked aquarium from softies, LPS and a few SPS. I have a bit more space for quite a few SPS and with room for them to grow to a large size. <<Neat>> The demand for calcium is going to increase from current therefore I will like to maintain my calcium and alkalinity at a high level. <<The Kalkwasser will help with this>> Thanks Mohamed <<Cheers my friend, EricR>> - Adding Kalkwasser 6/27/06 - Hello, I would like to start adding Kalkwasser to my 125 gallon reef. My evaporation rate is pretty consistent at 1 gallon a day. I already use DI water for water changes and top offs. I add a power head to the tub an airline and a heater for 24 hours first, then add the buffer, then salt the water 24 hours later. I am able to raise calcium levels to around 350 but it drops off quickly. My reef has 2 leather corals 1 torch and 1 hammer for now and a few fish. The leathers are doing great but the hammer and the torch have not grown to much. I think it is because I can't maintain my calcium at the proper levels. I would like to add some more expensive corals but I think i should get my calcium sustained first. <If I were you, I'd also be testing my alkalinity.> I know I am supposed to drip in Kalkwasser at night over a 12 hour period. I would like to order the Aquadoser from Kent. How can I know if I am adding it fast enough or too fast? <Test.> I drop per second is still to fast to drip in 1 gallon in 12 hours. Can the Kalk be dripped right into my sump? <If you want.> The tank is in my living room so it is better if I keep things under the stand. I have 2 children and 2 on the way. I will try to keep my reef as long as my wallet allows me to...hehehe...See ya <Some additional reading for you: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alkalinity.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm Cheers, J -- >

- Adding Kalkwasser, Follow-up 7/2/06 - Hello, Thanks for the tremendous service you provide. I recently e-mailed with a couple of questions about adding Kalkwasser. I just tested my water again and i discovered that my pH is a bit low (7.8) and my Alkalinity is about 9.8 DKH, Nitrate reads less than 10ppm. no measurable levels of nitrite. I think this drop is due to the fact that I use DI water and have been doing 30 gallon water changes every week for my 125 without adding any buffer. <Very likely.> Well I added my buffer tonight after lights out. I am using Kent marine pro Buffer DKH. My current level of calcium is about 300ppm. Should I wait to stabilize my PH first before i start raising my Ca levels? <Yes, stabilize your alkalinity and you'll stabilize your pH at the same time.> I currently have a Torch Coral, Hammer Coral, 2 Leathers with about 150 lbs of live rock. I also have a clump of stubborn hair algae that is bubbling and starting to die off. Maybe that's why my Nitrate levels are so low. I only have a Volitans lionfish and a Naso Tang in the tank along with a few shrimp and stars. I am a bit leery about adding the Kalkwasser with my PH levels so low... Can you help??? <Suggest you re-read those articles I sent you last time. Stabilize your alkalinity first, worry about calcium and Kalkwasser later.> Thanks   <Cheers, J -- >

- Adding Kalkwasser, More Follow-up 7/5/06 - Thanks J, <My pleasure.> I read the articles and they were very informative... It's been a couple of days and my alkalinity is about 11 DKH and my Ph is about 8.0-8.2... <Excellent.> Thanks Dude... <No worries.> Have you ever used Reef Crystals?... <No.> This is the second water change I am doing with this stuff and I get a white precip on everything, in the mixing tub, pump heater airline all covered white. I thought it was from adding the buffer (Kent Pro DKH), but the last time I got the precip. I was all out of buffer. It is occurring after the day after the salt has been added to the DI water...why? <My guess is that your source water may already be pretty hard, although you'll have to test this to confirm. I've had other brands of salt do this, and often just depends on how quickly it is mixed - over a couple of days vs. all at once.> and more importantly is it OK to use? <Yes, although you may want to use a turkey baster or powerhead to clean the dust off the rocks, etc.> Thanks for your patience... <Is my pleasure, really and I need practice, just got a new puppy.> See ya <Cheers, J -- >

Dosing Kalkwasser/Inadequate Feeding/Falling pH - 06/02/06 Dear crew, <<Greetings>> Thanks for doing us all an invaluable service.  Your time and effort with this site is greatly appreciated. <<Ah, thank you for these words>> I have a 30gal reef, 20gal sump, with AquaC Remora Pro and a 10gal refugium with Chaetomorpha. <<Very nice>> Lighting consists of 2x96 watt10k/actinic, and 65 watt 65k lamps.  My ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates 0, alk 10, cal 325, pH 7.9.  I have about 4" DSB in my main tank and 6" in my sump. Substrate is CaribSea Aragonite Seaflor Special Grade Reef Sand Grain size 1.0 - 2.0 mm.  I employ 5gal weekly water changes with RO and salinity is kept about 1.025.  Calcium is usually maintained around 400 using Seachem's reef complete. Circulation is about 20x using a MAG 7.5 connected to a SCWD and a Rio 600.  The last few months I have been getting more and more hair and BGA algae.  I have a pajama cardinal and a royal Gramma.  I have an emerald crab, red and blue legged hermits, and a serpent star.  I also have some narcissus, <<Nassarius>> turbo, and Astrea snails.  I feed 1 cube of Mysis shrimp or bloodworms every other day and do not drain the packing juice. <<You need to feed a better selection in my opinion.  The brine shrimp and bloodworms are fine as a "supplement", but neither should be fed as a staple diet.  The bloodworms, being a non-marine organism, are lacking in those elements needed by your fish...and the brine shrimp is sorely lacking in "any" real nutritive value (mostly water).  Please feed marine-based foods such as frozen Mysis/plankton/krill and a quality pelleted food such as New Life Spectrum>> Lately I started using Kalkwasser hoping for the benefits.  I use the slurry method using about 1/8th tsp every 2-3 days. <<Hopefully you have an electronic meter to monitor pH as you dose...strive to add enough to raise the existing pH by two-tenths (e.g. - 7.8 to 8.0)>> Now my pH has dropped to about 7.8 to 8.0 and it has never done this before. <<Mmm...how do you measure pH?  If using a test kit, perhaps it is time for new reagents.  I would also stop dosing the Seachem product and see if this affects you pH>> Even when I first started to use Kalkwasser it only elevated my pH. <<It would/is expected to do so, yes>> So now I'm unsure what to do to raise my pH back up other then trying to change about half of my water to try and get back to par. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <<Do the water change, stop dosing the Seachem product (the Kalkwasser should handle your calcium needs), renew your test kit, and read here, being sure to follow the associated links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm >> Thanks Mark <<Quite welcome, EricR>>

Raising dKH   6/1/06 Hello WWM Crew, <Hello Colin> This is the first time I contacted you with a question. Your great site has provided me with tons of useful knowledge. My livestock and I wish to say a most sincere thank you. <You're welcome, and thank you for the kind words.> Now then, on to business. My tank is a 125 gal mixed reef, which I consider to be quite healthy. All my parameters are well in the norm, and my bio load is quite low. I'm more into corals than fish. I recently began using Kalkwasser with my top offs. I've followed the instruction, and setup a slow drip system using minimal amounts until I can determine the ideal amount to maintain my calcium levels. My question is basically how Kalkwasser will affect my dKH? My dKH is down to 8 from 9 or 10. I'd like to have it a little higher. Can you please explain in simple terms, a safe way to raise my dKH. I'm concerned a buffer might work against the calcium I'm constantly adding. Am I way off here? <Colin, I use Sea Chem Reef Advantage for doing this.  Have not seen any lowering of CA in doing this.  Levels of 8-12 dKH are quite acceptable.> Thank you much, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Colin Deveau

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>>

Kalkwasser reactor setup... Tank Automation - 05/18/06 Good evening Crew (Guys AND Gals!) <<Hello!...morning now>> First off, I want to thank Bob for all the help with the pond construction last year.  We made it through the winter (including a few below 0 DEG days) with no problems and the water is still crystal clear so far this spring!  THANK YOU! <<Am sure he will be delighted to hear>> I do have a question about my on going 200 GAL Marine setup (~450 GAL total volume). <<Okay>> My family and I are going on a 10 day trip this summer and our previous "Tank Sitters" have moved away and there is really no one we trust to come into the house to take care of it in our absence. <<Pity...is so much better to have someone "look in" from time to time>> So I am trying to automate everything for that time. <<Even so, still might want to have "someone" stop by just to make sure the breakers haven't tripped/something gone awry>> In essence, I have auto feeders, am going to turn off the skimmer, cut the lighting down to about 6 - 8 hrs a day (keep down the heat), <<Mmm...at the expense of your photosynthetic organisms...>> and design/implement an Auto-Top Off Kalk Reactor which is where the question arises. If you have a minute, can you look at this drawing depicting what I am thinking of doing: <<You bet>> http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y195/navajo001/kalk.jpg As a quick explanation, the RO barrel will stay topped off via float switch.  The Tunze Osmolator will sense the water level in the sump and "kick on" when the level drops and turn on the pump to feed RO water from the RO barrel to the Kalk Barrel which, in turn, will overflow into the sump before the skimmer.  I am planning it this way in order to (HOPEFULLY) keep the Osmolator pump from stalling due to pumping Kalkwasser) <<Indeed, keep the Osmolator pump in the make-up water barrel.  There's one thing I would change here...have the effluent from the Kalkwasser reactor feed directly to the settling tank.  The Osmolator is a great unit (use it myself) and very reliable, but feeding the Kalkwasser to the same vessel that houses the optical sensor is problematic (speaking from experience).  The Kalkwasser will form a slight film on the surface of the water where the effluent discharges.  This film will coat the sensor keeping it "wet" even after the water level falls, thus rendering your "automation" moot.  It's easy enough to clear the sensor with a quick rub of a wet finger (or a short soak in vinegar for extended buildups), but who's gonna do that if you're not around, eh?  Best to move Kalkwasser effluent...this will also extend the life of your skimmer pump(s)>> The Osmolator Pump will be on a battery backed-up Timer, <<...?  Why a timer?  The pump needs to be "available" when the senses a drop in water level>> as will the Kalk Mixing Pump (Running maybe twice a day for 10 minutes) so that they will operate independently of each other, giving ample time for the Kalk to settle before it is pumped into the Sump <<Of little concern...really>> It seems that I am missing a BIG design flaw in this setup and cannot figure it out.  Can YOU see any problems? <<As already stated>> As always, you guys/gals are the BEST and I/we really appreciate the time and effort you put into helping our passion (Hobby doesn't quite cover it).  I hope, some day, to be able to assist you in this endeavor. <<Thank you Tom...and if you're serious about "helping out" and have the capacity/time/background...give Bob a shout re at this address>> Thank you for your time, Tom (The Tool Man) <<Quite welcome my friend.  Eric Russell>>

Re: Kalkwasser reactor setup ... Tank Automation II - 05/19/06 Hey Eric!  Thanks for your reply. <<Quite welcome>> Just wanted to clear a few things... <<Sure>> I see now that the picture (once posted) looks terrible.  Sorry about that. <<No worries mate>> But anyway,  As far as placement of the effluent, I was planning on putting the Osmolator Sensor in the settling tank.  That will be the fluctuating" level since the 2 upstream tanks are gravity overflows. <<Ah, yes...should have sussed that out from the diagram.  Should be fine then...but for the effect of the Kalk on the skimmer pump>> I agree with you about not putting it before the skimmer though.   How about in the refugium portion since it is in the middle? <<Is fine...is where mine is>> Also, we have found a likely victim (HA!) to come in every couple of days to make sure the floors aren't wet, breakers tripped etc. <<Yes, if nothing else to "put out the call" is something goes amiss>> They aren't comfortable with any maintenance, etc., but are willing to "keep an eye" on things and feed the outside Koi for us. <<You will rest easier for this, trust me>> As for turning down the lighting, I only have a few "Leathers" right now but I see your point there too.  Will likely just leave the lighting as is. <<Excellent>> No real reason to change it since it's working right now, right? <<Agreed>> THANKS for the tip about the Osmo sensor "slime".  Will add that to my weekly maintenance "to-do" list. <<Indeed...as you are aware, everything will work fine even with  months of neglect...till that ONE day you're not around...>> And last, but not least, the timers for the Osmolator and the Kalk Stirrer pump.  My reasoning was that you wouldn't want to chance dumping unsettled Kalk powder into the system so I figured that if I kill the Osmo pump for 1 hr at a time twice a day while having the Kalk stirrer run for a few minutes that will give it time to settle again before being pumped into the tanks. Example: Osmolator pump turn off at 12:00 PM.  Kalk Stirrer kick ON from 12:15  PM - 12:25 PM, then Osmolator back ON at 1:00 PM.  Am I over thinking this? <<I think so.  Your concern is unfounded really, in my opinion.  The Osmolator will sense a water drop of 1mm...this equates to very small amounts of top off water at any one time.  And if you've ever used/read about Anthony's (Calfo) "slurry method" for dosing Kalkwasser, well, I think you would realize what little concern you have here.  And while unlikely, the timer just adds another layer/gadget/gizmo to go wrong when you're away>> Thank you for the time, and Yes I AM serious about actually putting my typing where my mouth is in the near future and volunteering to help you fine folks out.  I am stuck traveling a LOT right now so don't feel I would be able to pull my (considerable) weight yet.  But soon! <<Ah, good my friend>> Thank you for your time and all you do for the hobby! Tom (The Tool Man) <<I consider it an honor that Bob lets me help out.  Regards, Eric Russell>> <And am honored to have such friends here. RMF>

Question on Substrates Follow up 4/25/06 Which would be better, a algae turf scrubber or a photosynthetic refugium? <They both have pros and cons and I have used both with good success.  A refugium is cheaper and easier to set up, but in my experience a turf scrubber is more fool-proof.> What method would you recommend to dose Kalkwasser? <A slow drip at night time or full dose in the morning before the lights come on are preferred because they offset the normal drop in pH at night.  Kalkwasser should be mixed ahead of time and allowed to settle before use, and only the mostly clear liquid should be used.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Phosphate question   3/10/06 Hi all.  I have been reading about phosphates at wetwebmedia.com.  One of the suggested ways to reduce phosphates is to :  "Raising pH like with Kalkwasser... to 8.4-8.5 to precipitate out the phosphates for good." <Can be employed, yes> Now, I have very high phosphates (off scale with Salifert test kit) but I wanted to test your suggestion.  I took a water sample (about 40 mL), starting pH was 8.15 and added 1 drop of 1.0 M NaOH. <I would not use sodium hydroxide (except to clean dirty ovens)> the pH raised to about 8.75.  Maybe there were a couple of small crystals formed, but no major precipitation.  I tested the water and the phosphates are at about the same level.  I them lowered the pH back to 8.08 by adding 0.02 M HCl, retested and got the same results. Questions: 1) Have you done this and have it work in a tank? <Have not used the chemicals listed... well, have used Hydrochloric in other applications. The reference refers to Kalk...> 2) What is the insoluble phosphate species that is supposed to form? <Calcium phosphate [Ca3(PO4)2].> 3) Wouldn't this be a reversible process? <All processes are reversible... but the energetics, chemical species in a marine aquarium discount this> 4) Is the precipitation supposed to be a slow process (i.e. hours?) <Nope... almost instantaneous> Thanks for your time. R., Romero <Please try the Kalk, Calcium Hydroxide... Bob Fenner>

Hard Water in FOWLR   3/10/06 Hi again,  <Hello Mordy> I would like to start dosing Kalk into my 125 FOWLR to help keep my PH up and phosphates down. Problem is that my CA level is 525 and Alk at 15 dKH. (This is how Instant Ocean mixes up with my water as well) So firstly, should I use Kalk? The only calcium user in my tank is the coralline (I think), and second, should I be working to lower the hardness of the water (how?). All my top off water runs through a three stage DI unit.  <Why would you want to dose if you have a 525 reading.  It is abnormally high considering you are not dosing at present.  May want to double check with another test kit as Instant Ocean does not provide 525ppm of calcium.  I'd also do a calcium test on the freshwater coming out of the DI unit.  You also do not mention what your pH reading is at present.  The dKH can be lowered by using Sea Chem's Acid Buffer (freshwater product).  Only do a half dose, no more than once per 24 hours until your dKH is somewhere between 8-12.> Thanks again for your invaluable help, past and present.  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Mordy

Several questions about clownfish, Kalkwasser, human pregnancy  - 03/05/06 Hello wise wet pet peeps, <Okay> I sent in a question about 6 months ago but I don't know how to find the answer. <We respond directly to all, post most all> I searched using a bunch of keywords but didn't find anything. So I guess my pre-question is if my question(s) are answered how do I find them on the wetwebmedia website? <Mmm, I'd search (Google on WWM) by key terms> How do I know if they are answered at all? <If we get it, we respond... Have had troubles with incoming however off and on> But here are my current questions. Question 1 is about a clownfish. I have been thinking about an anemone for about 6 months but every time I do research I realize it is not a wise thing to do so I have given up on that dream. One day I will set up an anemone tank. Something to look forward to. I have a 90 gallon tank with metal halides and power compacts, a very good protein skimmer, good current, and great water quality. I do a 5 to 10 gallon water change twice a week. Everything in my tank seems very consistently happy (although I have had a bit of bubble algae since almost day one) (I have a couple tangs, couple clowns, royal Gramma, shrimp, snails, hermits, red and green brain, hammerhead, mushrooms, polyps, cabbage, trumpet, leather, clam). The tank is a year and a half old. I have 2 ocellaris clowns that are tank bred. The female tried to host in a flowerpot that was thriving for about a year. After about 2 months the constant kamikaze dives by the female clownfish killed it. Now the clown is going after two other corals in my tank. A green brain and a pagoda. The brain doesn't seem to mind it too much but the pagoda is not a happy camper. I moved the pagoda but the clown found it quickly. I have a 2nd similar tank at my office and the clownfish there tries to use a green brain as well. I'm wondering will the brains survive? <Perhaps> Is there any other coral that will withstand the clown's hosting attempts better that I can put in my tanks? <Likely a/nother Euphylliid> Question 2 is about Kalkwasser. I drip this every other day or so and on the alternate days I use the A/B combo mix. I've read about the dangers of KW on human lungs and I'm wondering if there is an alternative? <...?> Why doesn't someone develop a sort of alka seltzer like dissolving tablet that can be dropped in the dripper so there is no powder "smoke" to be inhaled? <Good idea> It is quite hilarious that all of us reef nerds have learned to hold our breath long enough to prepare a KW drip! Question 3 is about human pregnancy and a reef tank. I have had 3 miscarriages in the last year and a half and I am wondering if there are any areas of reef keeping that have been linked with prenatal problems. <... not as far as I'm aware> I've done research and can't find anything on this topic. I have been wearing gloves (FYI). I am also wondering about the dangers of Kalkwasser pertaining to this subject? <I hope not> I appreciate your response on the 3 questions above. Sorry for the lengthy prose! Regards. <Bob Fenner>

For Bob: down on Kalk dosing? - 2/28/2006 Hello Bob! <Hi Dylan> Saw your presentation at the most recent PSAS meeting.  Very interesting and informative, and I'd say one of the better ones I've been to! (Although in missed Calfo's, in case he's reading over your shoulder.  :P) Anyways, you made several references to the "Kalk habit" in a fairly negative tone during the presentation, but didn't really explain that much. <Not much time... but was given to "peppering" my pitch to fill time...> I was wondering if you'd be so kind as to do so? <Glad to. The use of Kalkwasser is problematical, given the "average" human nature of aquarists in allowing, driving systems to out of balance situations with Magnesium and alkalinity principally. This stated, with "adequate" water change outs, and/or some cursory testing and adjustment through simple supplementation, this can be a rare occurrence. Put another way, the addition of calcium, bound up with a hydroxyl (or oxide) to the exclusion of a source of other alkaline earth matter, materials for off-setting reserve of carbonate, bicarbonate (borate and a bit more), results in ones system, slanting, sloping toward a chemical make-up that is less and less useful to biomineralizing life. By serial dilution, addition of these materials through water changes (more synthetic than natural), and/or measuring/adding same through chemical supplementation, folks will avoid this shortfall/shift. However, human nature being what it is, many folks find themselves with systems that "drift" to imbalances... more calcium, out of ratio with Mg, and dwindling alkaline reserve. The real point is: if you're a "heavy" Kalk user, you want to be regular in your good-sized/percentage water changes, use a calcium reactor, two part supplementation in addition... or "pH buffer" product/s> Not trying to start any more arguments or holy wars (lord knows we got enough of those from you passing through already), but I'm really curious. Thanks, Dylan <Thanks for asking. Bob Fenner> Refugium Substrate/Dosing Kalkwasser - 02/18/06 Hi Crew, <<Howdy>> Still reading and learning on a daily basis here - kudos to you all on the provision of such a fantastic resource. <<Thank you, a collective effort.>> 55 Gallon (200 litre) main tank (cube), Miracle Mud ecosystem sump, 150w MH - almost ready for salt water - yippee!! <<Yea!!!>> Main Tank substrate (aragonite) to be ½" or less deep (aesthetic rather than functional here & more natural than bare bottom for livestock I think). <<Me thinks so as well.>> I'm confused on grain size but thinking of CaribSea Fiji Pink (0.5-1.5mm grain size) ideally non live (cheaper & I'll have LR anyway so life/bacteria should colonize) but might be "live" (bacterial only) depending on what I can find in the UK, would this be a suitable choice regarding composition and particle size?  Or should I go finer? <<The Fiji Pink will be fine.>> Would this substrate need a rinse at all or just straight in after LR (positioned directly on tank base)? <<For a new setup rinsing is not necessary.>> It seems from my reading that it will settle & the fine aragonite "dust" will be beneficial anyway. <<Agreed>> In this thin sand bed I plan narcissus snails <<Nassarius>> or similar, how many should I aim for (55 gal tank 24" cube ½" deep bed)? <<I'd start with a dozen or so.>> Connected to this is my choice of substrate for a 2nd refugium (to be added at a later date).  Am I right in thinking that the MM/Chaeto fuge would be quite good for copepod, phytoplankton and zooplankton production? <<Yes>> In which case would I be better selecting a larger particle size for the 2nd fuge substrate to encourage bio diversity - amphipods etc. or would something similar to the Fiji Pink be more appropriate (probably going to be 4-5" deep here) & concentrate on copepods etc? <<I think the Fiji Pink would serve well here also.>> Main sump is Miracle Mud with Chaetomorpha, I understand that some people light 24/7 (mainly Caulerpa growers to hold in stasis) however Anthony Calfo (fantastic coral prop book by the way! - great resource for us learning reef keepers/moist gardeners) recommends a more natural photoperiod & I agree - would a 10-12 hour lighting duration be appropriate here?  (mud bed is 11 ½" x 10" lit by 20w PC spot lamp @ 6500k) <<Indeed...on a cycle opposite that of the display tank to assist with pH elevation.>> I plan to install lots of LR - would 1 - 1.5 lb per gal be about right bearing in mind the miracle mud/Chaeto filtration? <<I think you could/should get by with less, especially considering your addition of the refugiums.  Less rock will actually look better and give your fish room to swim.>> Views seem to differ regarding the lighting of LR whilst it is curing, my LR will be shop cured (however I understand some further curing/die off is likely). <<Yes...unless the rock has been at the shop for some weeks/months you will likely experience a cycle.>> In this instance collective wisdom seems to indicate that LR should be cured lit, is this likely the best approach? <<Subjective...but I ran my lights over mine while curing.>> When the tank is up & running I'm probably going to run the MH lamp for 8 - 10 hours per day and 7-8" above the water line if you think this is appropriate, would this lighting duration be suitable for finishing off the cure of the LR? <<Would be fine...I'd increase the light period to 10-12 hours once you begin stocking.>> I use RO/DI water for my water changes and top off, water change water is heated & aerated for 24hrs before being buffered, another 24hrs before being salted & generally sits about for another day or two before use so should always be nicely aged. <<Excellent!>> I tend to split some of this off for top off after its been buffered (before salted obviously!).  For the new tank I plan to install an auto top-off with a reservoir (20-30 litres) would this reservoir need to be aerated/stirred continuously or would it be ok just sitting? <<Should be fine without aeration.>> (1.5 litres or thereabouts top off per day) I'm assuming it won't need heating. <<If added in small increments throughout the day it will be fine.>> I am also considering a weak Kalkwasser solution for top-off or would this be better dripped at night? <<I prefer to add Kalkwasser through the use of a Kalk-reactor in conjunction with my auto top-off, but using a nightly drip is quite acceptable as well...I say use whichever is most convenient for you.>> I'll be in touch for you to cast your eyes over my stocking list soon if that's OK. <<I look forward to it.>> Many thanks, Chris <<Cheers Chris... EricR>> Small Marine System maint., Kalk use  2/14/06 Hello,            I've been  searching the WetWebMedia site, but I haven't been able to find what  I'm looking for. Hopefully this question hasn't already been   addressed.            I have a six  gallon nano with about five pounds of live rock, a baby Percula, <Too small a tank...> a baby  Puncticulatus, an Astrea snail, green pipe cleaner looking macroalgae and about an  inch and a half deep aragonite sand bed.        I would like to add Xenia Elongata,  but my pH is too low. So I was wondering, (if I'm very careful) do you  think I can raise my pH via Kalkwasser? <Could be done... but dangerous in small volumes... I'd look to two-part solutions here... Like B-Ionic>        My present water values are as  follows: ca 290, alk 13 dKH, temp 76, sg 1.025 pH 8.1-8.2        Kalkwasser seems perfect to get my  pH and calcium up without raising my alkalinity, but I'm not sure if it's  too much for my tiny tank to handle.          The tanks been up and running for  about seven months and I have been doing 15% water changes  with demineralized, aerated, buffered Instant Ocean water. <Good practice, technique>         I really appreciate all the  work you and the crew have put into the web site, It's helped me and others  tremendously, I can't thank you  enough.                 <This is enough. Cheers, Bob Fenner>                                                                                            Sincerely,                                                                                              Greg

Migrating to Kalkwasser ... and hopefully reading - 01/24/06 Gentlemen and Ladies - How are ya? <Fine> I need some advice. After reading some FAQs I began  using ESV B-ionic 2 part Alkalinity & Calcium solution (manual dosing) and now would like to use Kalkwasser because of ease of use. I constantly forget to dose. I  currently have a aqua medic auto top-off water system which includes a pump, float switch etc. I feel like it would be an easier setup for me if my top off water was mixed with Kalkwasser and fed through my system through the dosing pump triggered by evaporation. Are there any drawbacks to this approach? <A few... posted on WWM...> What should I be on the lookout for, I understand PH can be an issue how do I control this? Am I not considering something. I mainly have softies/LPS and some fish and its a 60 gallon tank. I am running a Euro Reef skimmer in a sump and have attached 15 gallon refugium with Chaeto and an 8 inch DSB. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks <Please... read... before... writing. Bob Fenner> Re: BTA Mystery, Kalk expl.    1/19/06 Bob - Thanks for your consideration. I will refresh my lighting, adjust my dKh and Ca gradually, and test my magnesium and adjust 3:1 and stick with the larger shrimp pieces. <Very good> I was a bit surprised about your comment regarding Kalkwasser. I got the impression from WWM that it was the superior method despite the inconvenience and the concerns over pH when added to fast. I will use CaCl to improve the situation. Thanks again. Dale <Mmm, not to be mysterious or misunderstood here. There are a few dozen of us "here", with quite divergent opinions on some subjects. With diligence, Kalk/wasser can be used to advantage (IMO of course), but in actual practice it is too easy to fall into lazy habits with it... in actuality poisoning ones systems to a degree... As opposed to superior results to be had with calcium reactors (for folks with large enough systems/organism collections, money enough... or home-made units... many clubs have get-togethers to fashion) or simple commercial or home-made/DIY "two-part" solutions. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Kalkreactors   1/7/06 Hi - <Hello there> I have a 100 gallon reef and was thinking about setting up a calcium reactor, but while shopping noticed Kalkwasser-reactors.  I have been using Kalkwasser in my RO replenishment water bucket, primarily because I understand that it precipitates phosphates. <One thing that can do>   For that reason, it seems that a Kalkwasser-reactor would be better than a calcium reactor, in particular if I have had trouble containing phosphates.  Do you agree? <Mmm, no. A calcium reactor does much more, and more safely than any use of Kalk... it is the simplest, easiest and safest way to provide alkaline reserve, biomineral and carbon dioxide... in a steady-state, continuous basis. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Carl Beels, M.S. Calcium Hydroxide turns gray in reactor 01-03-05 I've been using Prestochlor brand Calcium Hydroxide (for swimming pools) in the place of Kalkwasser for several months - recommended by several local reefers.  The reef looks great!  However, I have noticed that the solution gradually turns gray over the course of a week in the reactor (noticeably gray instead of white when it mixes at the end of the week).  Is this normal? <I would assume it is normal for that product. It sounds like an oxidizing reaction, possibly of the impurities in the mixture.>      The bag says 68% Calcium Hydroxide and 32% inert ingredients.  It takes a lot of Kalk for the tank (250 gallons), so this is a MUCH CHEAPER option than Kalk and it mixes well... but I want to make sure I am not endangering my reef long term.   e <There is a chance you are introducing heavy metals into your aquarium by using this product. I too save money where ever possible in this hobby, but I would definitely need to know what the "inert" ingredients are before I would trust it around my tank. Travis> Thanks for any information!       - Doug First time Kalkwasser user  - 01/03/2006 Hello again everyone! <Good day!> I just have a quick question on dosing Kalkwasser. I will be using Seachem's Kalk and I understand that I have to put 2 tsp per gallon if using pure water (aka RO water).  I already purchased  Kent's Aquadoser (since I like the drip method),  but this container will not fit the whole gallon of water in it and I will drip this (in the sump) at night at 1 drop per second.  My question is , what should I do with the remaining water, should I pour it back in the Aquadoser container the next day (AM) or wait again until lights out at night and continue dosing ? Also I will drip this in the sump if this is ok (?). I have a 72g reef and I like to switch from liquid calcium supplements (B Ionic) to Kalkwasser due to many advantages that I can get from it.  Pls advise, Thanks in advance. <When I used Kalkwasser I mixed it up in a gallon container.  In doing this you have to wait about 24 hours for the residual Kalkwasser to settle on the bottom.  The Kalkwasser is not going to completely dissolve.  Then you can siphon or carefully pour the solution into another container for use in your doser.  You are going to have to monitor the ph closely since overdosing can dangerously increase the ph level, start with small doses and do monitor the calcium level as well.  You may want to read FAQ's from other aquarists that I've posted a link for.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/kalkwasser.htm James (Salty Dog)> Nemo1 Re: First time Kalkwasser user  - 1/6/06 Thank you for your response.  I tried to open the link you've sent me, but I got a message that this link is not avail. <Sorry, probably hasn't been written yet.> I'm still confused with the left over mix of Kalkwasser,  should I still continue to use this or disregard the rest of it?. <Don't reuse, discard.>  How long can you stock mixed Kalk?. <Really no time limit.>  Also, is it ok to drip this in the sump? <Yes, but keep it away from the pump intakes.  The downside of Kalk is that you will get a buildup of  it your pumps in due time (at least that's always been the case for me).  If possible I'd drip into the tank.> Thanks again for your help.<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Nemo1     Kalkwasser Automation...Coral Feeding - 12/28/05 Hey Crew, <<Hey Jennifer!>> Happy Holidays! <<And to you...>> My 50 Gallon SPS reef tank is doing well.  I dose B-Ionic 2 part   DAILY!!  I drip ESV Kalk nightly for evaporated water...  This has been becoming difficult, as I am a touring musician. <<Mmm, you could possibly get by on the drip only...and even do this "'round the clock"...thus eliminating the need to have to start the drip nightly.>> Should I get a reactor or Kalk reactor on such a small reef tank,   or can you suggest other options so as to minimize the daily   maintenance to the system??? <<Maintenance is part of the hobby.  Automation can be helpful to a point, but is no substitute for your own daily observation of the system to ensure all is well.  But saying that, if you have an automated top-off system you could easily add a Kalk-reactor to facilitate leaving the tank for a couple days at a time.  Anything more than a couple days and I suggest you find/orient someone to come check on the tank to perform necessary maintenance/feedings...or resetting that tripped breaker <grin>. >> Thanks for your time.  Also, SPS doing ok, but growing slowly.  I understand many factors are involved.  Besides water motion/quality, lighting, what else helps??  Feeding? <<Feeding is very important in my opinion.>> If I feed I get phosphates and brown stuff on the sand.  My Phosphates are generally around .03-.04... <<Don't be so afraid of a bit of algae that you are depriving your tank by not feeding.  There are measure you can take to limit this (all found on WWM) while still providing the nutritional requirements of your charges.  Very few, if any, corals are truly and completely autotrophic...SPS corals need to feed...>> Thanks! Jennifer  NYC <<Regards, EricR>> Re: Kalkwasser Automation...Coral Feeding - 12/29/05 Hey Eric. <<Hey Jenna>> Will my ALK go to high if I drip Kalk all day? <<Mmm, not so much a concern for Alkalinity as for pH...you will need to experiment/start out slow until you can determine the maximum you can drip without boosting your pH too high.>> If I do, do I still need to dose B Ionic? <<If you are performing frequent partial water changes (20% bi-weekly) I think you can do away with the supplements.>> What should I feed the SPS and clams? <<Do you have any fish?  One of the best foods for SPS corals in my opinion is the food you feed your fish...after it is processed by the fish.  I also like Cyclop-Eeze (the frozen offering), Selcon, and vitamin supplements (Boyd's is my fave), as well as the pack juices from the frozen cubed fish foods...though the latter is feared by some aquarists as rocket fuel for algae growth.  Another food which I have yet to try but hear very good things about are the oyster eggs offered by DT's.>> I have gotten so many answers to this question, but I trust you guys! <<We appreciate the vote of confidence!>> Thanks, Jenna
<<Regards, EricR>>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: