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FAQs on Marine Water Supplements 3

Related Articles: Marine System Additives, Marine Maintenance, Understanding Calcium & Alkalinity, The Use of Kalkwasser by Russell Schultz,

Related FAQs: Marine Supplements 1, Marine Supplements 2, Marine Supplements 4, & FAQs on Marine Supplement: Rationale/Use, Science, Measuring, Using, Troubleshooting/Fixing... Products/DIY & Brands, & Biominerals, Iodine

Too much available nutrient "spells"... algae.

If there is no test kit for it, don't use it  11/28/05 Hey crew, <Hi Ed.> not kissing up but I love your site and view it every day. <Thanks for the compliments.> I was wondering if you or anyone you know have had any experience with Marc Weiss Coral Vital and Coral Vital DSB. <Personally, I must admit I have none. Though I must say that I personally know quite a few reputable aquarists who have point blank told me they aren't fond of these products at all. I won't go into too much detail in this aspect but lets just say this line of products is questionable at best.> I have tried the Coral Vital DSB and after using it for 3 weeks along with my regular water changes my nitrates and phosphates have all gone to 0. I have always had problems with nitrates @ 20 ppm or so. <I prefer a natural approach with weekly water changes, lots of water flow and algae scrubbers/refugiums.> I was told by a commercial marine maintenance company that my 160 lbs of live sand and my 150 lbs of live rock might need the boost of the Coral Vital DSB product to help perk up microbes that might be weak. <Not to sound like a broken record but I prefer more conventional methods like those above along with patience and time of course. Now if they sold those last two in a bottle that I would buy. Seriously though I live by this rule, "If you can't test for it, don't add it to your tank.> Just wondering if anyone had any experience with these products and what the WWM crew thought of these products. <Can't speak for everyone of course, but I would skip them.> thanks Ed in West Texas. <Welcome, Adam J.> 

Mixing Kalkwasser With Other Additives - 11/10/05 Hi. <<Hello>> Very quick question.  I can't find a definitive answer anywhere.  Can one add iodine and strontium to the Kalkwasser mix to dose all at the same time?  Sorry, I am not chemist. <<Neither am I, but I would not do this.  Kalkwasser is very caustic, no telling what affect it will have on the other compounds.  Better to dose separately in my opinion to insure you preserve the integrity/benefit of the other compounds.>> Thanks <<Regards, EricR>>

The Ultimate Additive? 10/28/05 Hello gentlemen, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today...Not a gentleman, by most definitions! A Fish Geek, yes!> I want to let you know that your site taught me everything I know about fish. <Wow! That's pretty cool to hear! I wish it would teach you how to capitalize the letter "I", however- cause it's taking me a long time to edit this! LOL> <<Thank you!  Marina>> However I have a problem, I realize your time is valuable but you have no idea how much trouble you will save me if you would just explain one thing to me. My 215 gallon tank has about 300 pounds of live rock, I have a Frogspawn, Torch, a lot of different kinds of polyps, mushrooms, and a few of hard corals. For years, I've been using B-ionic the two part formula. And nothing else. However, I have a feeling that something is missing, because none of my corals have grown or changed in the last two years. <Interesting....Probably some easy solutions here.> My calcium is about 400; I don't know about iodine or any other minor elements. Can you please summarize the best products on the market that I can use to provide my corals all of the major and minor elements they need to thrive? Also, more importantly what should be the dosage of these products?  I learned that following the dosage on the bottle will always overdose the tank. I would really appreciate a detailed answer, because I have been asking everyone at my local fish stores, and all they care about is selling me their products, not helping me. <Well, let's look into a few thoughts here. First, the mix of animals that you're discussing are rather "competitive", from a "chemical warfare" standpoint (look for the definition of "allelopathy"). These animals are extremely "aggressive" as corals go, and they may be releasing chemical components that inhibit each other from thriving in the limited space of an aquarium.  Think about the proximity to each other, and the mix of animals from different environmental niches in the confines of the aquarium. Also, Torch and Frogspawn corals are "hungry", requiring feeding to thrive for extended periods of time.  With regards to supplements, I have a simple philosophy, which many of us here at WWM share: If you are going to add something to the water, you had better be able to test for it. In other words, don't just dump vague (or even specific) mixtures of elements and "nutrients" into your system because things don't look right! All you may be nourishing are nuisance algae! Test for things like iodine, strontium, etc. if you suspect an issue with them.  In the end, the very best "supplement" that you can add is freshly-made seawater with a good quality salt mix. Not only do most modern salt mixes contain pretty much every major and minor trace element required for marine life to thrive, but the habit of regular frequent water changes will help dilute metabolic waste and allelopathic compounds in this system, benefiting the animals greatly.  Step up your water change schedule (in both frequency and quantity), and see if things "perk up" a bit in your system. Also, regular use of activated carbon or Poly Filter can help, as well as aggressive protein skimming. Give these simple procedures a shot before considering lots of additives. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Tank Volume Capacity + Water change routines, lighting measures  9/21/05    Hi WWM crew, <Vince> I am a long time reader but first time writer. Firstly, thanks to you guys, I have a thriving mini reef aquarium which has enabled me to fulfill this long time desired ambition. <Congrats!> I would greatly appreciate if you could answer my questions which I could not find definitive answers for in your archives. Question 1. When calculating tank volume for lighting, should only the actual water volume in the display be used. i.e. total space water volume capacity - 20% for contents displacement, or should the total space volume of the display area be used to determine the theoretical watts required per gallon rule ? <The watts per gallon "rule" is a real "groaner" for me (and others)... much more would need to be formulated to give such a guestimate utility... like the depth to photosynthetic livestock, dissolved color... much more to it/this> Question 2. I currently have a calculated 250 litre water volume tank with Aqua C EV 180 skimmer & 20 x tank volume water circulation. I won't go into my tank inhabitants as I would embarrass myself knowing you guys would definitely reprimand me for overstocking. Current water parameter readings are Nitrite 0 , Nitrate approx. 5 -10ppm , PH 8.4 ,  Salinity 1.024 , I don't have an accurate phosphate reading but judging by the minimal nuisance algae growth present I will assume it is within acceptable levels. I do a 50 litre fortnightly saltwater change plus input approx. 3.5 litres a day of RO/DI top off water equating to a total of 200 litres or 80% of water volume changes a month. Given the thriving state of my tank inhabitants I am reluctant to change this routine but I would like to know, if, in your opinion, I could cut down to a monthly 50 litre salt water change instead of each fortnight. <I would not> This would bring the total monthly water change down from 80% to 75%. <Mmm, the "top-off" water does not count as water change...> Given the fact that I am a little overstocked with inhabitants but the filtration seems capable of dealing with the volume presented , do you think I would have to add additional trace elements if I go down to a monthly 50 litre saltwater change routine ? <I would not start "fooling" with such... unless you could/would/will measure for each element, compound... To put this to you concisely: I would not change your current routine>   I guess I am trying to get experienced opinions of cost versus effort. I.e. if I have to add additional trace elements but it only adds up to the cost of salt then I would benefit from only having to perform 1 water change a month instead of two. Looking forward to reading your answers / opinions.     Regards Vince <More being gained by the two week change-outs my friend. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Marc Weiss Combo Vital Hello Mr. Fenner, My wife & I have a 100 gallon reef tank, and we were browsing around the local saltwater store this past weekend, and saw something we needed to ask you about. We saw this Marc Weiss Combo Vital that is supposed to explode the colors on your rocks, and reef life when added, but we have not seen any comments on it lately. So we were wondering if you knew anything about it, or do you even recommend it. I do thank you Mr. Fenner, for your time. Sincerely, Dan Simpson <Short answer, I would not use this product. In general am very negative re products that don't list their ingredients. This one capitalizes on the short term benefits of simple sugar addition... IMO like many popular "diets" for humans... Not worthwhile. Has detrimental effects in the long haul... Put your money into real supplements, maintenance, addition of useful adjuncts in the way of gear. Bob Fenner> Marc Weiss Combo Vital Mr. Fenner, thank you very much for the reply.  I agree with you, if the ingredients are not listed, how do you know what's in it? <In the age of modern chemistry, such analyses are simple, have been done, the results broadcast... a similar/identical product was marketed in the UK as "cactus vital"... by the same person...> You have cleared things up, for us.  We do you various supplements, but they are Kent Marine supplements, and all of my corals & anemones are doing really good. So, in short, the Coral Vital will not go in our tank. <I wouldn't use it either as stated> You have a great day Mr. Fenner, thank you so much. <Will do... at the IMAC do in Chicago as I key. Bob Fenner> Dan

Coral Food and Supplementation Hello,   I have two questions. Sorry.  You guys are very informative and your website rocks. 1)  My question is about supplementation and food for corals and invertebrates.   I have the following animals in my tank. Corals: Green Bubble Candy Cane Mushroom Zoos Kenya tree Invertebrates Feather Duster Hardware 46G Bowfront 30-40 lbs of LR 2 96W PC Rena Canister Filter Fluval 404 Filter -  with Bio Material only Aqua C Remora Internal MaxiJet for additional flow I have been looking for some good advice at what to feed my corals and invertebrates.   There are about 4 LFS within 30 mile radius from my house. Each time I go to them for questions they always try to sell me stuff.  Which after reading your site, I realized that I don't really need them.   One of the LFS told me that since I have my skimmer running 24 X 7,   I need to constantly replenish my trace elements, thus selling me the Reef Solution, and Coral Vite solution.  As for food, they sold me Krill, silverside, Marine Snow, Kent Filter feeders.  I just had enough from them.  I also went to them with the question of Iodine. I read that mushrooms needs a supplement of iodine and again they tried to sell be the Lugo Iodine.  Even after I told them that the Reef Solution already contained Iodine and No, I do not have a test for Iodine yet.  I am tired of going to my LFS store with the feeling of being taken advantage of. <I can sense this> After I started going to your website, I stopped asking them questions and started to go to the LFS knowing already what I need.   So could you please point me to the right direction as to a brand of supplements and food you recommend? <... you need, test kits... for whatever it is you believe you're needing to add... I would get/use something for alkalinity and calcium and leave all else out here... Along with water changes, careful feeding, you don't need, nor likely want more.> I feed my Green bubble coral silverside and chopped squid.  Frogspawn, Zoos, Candy cane, Feather Duster I am not sure that filter food brand to give. <Best to add a live sump, aka a refugium to this set-up, and rely on this as a principal food provider for your filter feeders. Many other benefits as well...> 2) Question I have a feather duster that lost its crown last week.   I have not removed the tube in fear that the worm may still be alive.   At the same time I am afraid that is the worm is dead then the tube may decomposed in my tank thus creating a bioload nightmare from hell. <Not to worry... In a system of your size, make-up, no big deal> I have hermit crabs in my tank and the hermit crabs has not jumped on the tube yet.  Thus is my indicator that the tube is still alive.  I know that the hermit crabs will know that the tube is decomposing thus they will try to eat it.   I am I correct with these assumptions?  Or should I try to grab the tube to check if the worm is still alive? thank you Louie <I would leave it as is. Keep reading, chatting with other hobbyists... and maintaining a skeptical mind... you'll do fine. Bob Fenner> Mixing Buffers, Calcium - 06/10/05 Evening crewmembers. <<Evening Eric...Eric here.>> I apologize in advance for such an ignorant question.  The ability to learn is addictive. <<No need to apologize for asking a question...the ignorance is in the NOT asking.>> Searched the site and probably overlooked something here.  I like to use Seachem's Reef Advantage Calcium.  The directions state to mix in freshwater, then add to the tank.  However, I always buffer my top off water (DI water) with Seachem's Marine Buffer and Reef Builder, previously heated and aerated of course.  The buffer states on the bottle not to directly add to any calcium, magnesium, or strontium products. <<Yep, am familiar with this product.  The intent is for you to not mix with other additives in a small dosing container such as what you are using to dose the calcium.>> Am I asking for trouble dosing my calcium by adding it to my already buffered top off water?  If so, how should I approach this? <<If I understand...you're buffering a supply of top-off water and then taking a small amount of this to mix/dose your calcium...no worries mate, continue as you are.>> Currently my calcium is 410ppm, alk is 11 dKH, pH 8.2. <<I would let the calcium or the alkalinity fall a bit.  The two are mutually exclusive and you are flirting with the upper end of the range for both.>> Thanks once again, Eric <<Regards, Eric R.>>

AnthonyC Opines re Kent Products Thanks for this, Bob :) Jack Kent's "fab" reputation notwithstanding (gone now from Kent Marine - sold it off, yes?)... there is a perceived quality issue for this brand in chatter among hardcore aquarists/fraggers/farmers that I've known through the years. My own experience with many of the products in the line (principally supplements) has yet to contradict it. I find them to be mediocre... for whatever that's worth. :p Add to that their mudslinging habits in advertising, and the entire brand is just unsavory to me. With some many other competitive brands, I tend to just find another like product. Very happy with Seachem for example. Seem to be outstanding quality. Good presence in the trade. Some significant R&D on products before releasing as I recall/have heard. And no nasty advertising campaigns targeting competitors ;)

Help with Additives for Soft Corals, WWM Hello Crew, <Howdy> I just recently introduced some soft corals into my system and am in need of some advice as to how to obtain the proper water readings for healthy corals and control of green hair nuisance algae that I have a lot of. <Mmm, this is posted on WWM> 55 gallon Tank and top off water from SpectraPure 5 stage RO/DI filter (Cartridges and RO membrane replaced Jan 05) EV 120 protein skimmer pulling out gunk requiring cleaning 3 times per week 2 clownfish only. Feed them once per day only 55 lbs live rock Additives: Kent Liquid Reactor (2 capfuls daily) 1 inch of CaribSea Aragonite substrate Problems: 1. Worsening problem of nuisance green hair algae growing over live rock 2. Water parameters not at appropriate levels or test data not revealing nuisance algae readings Water Parameters (I do 5 gallons a week water changes) 8 degrees dKH (Tropic Marin Kit) <1 mg/l Nitrates (Tropic Marin Kit) 8.0 PH (Fastest Kit) 0 Ammonia (Salifert Kit) Phosphates 0 (LaMotte Kit) Calcium 227 (LaMotte Kit) <Too low...> I know I need to boost the PH, dKH and Calcium readings for my soft corals (mushrooms, xenia, yellow polyps) but I do not know how. I am inexperienced with additives. <Posted...> Also, I can't understand why I have so much green nuisance hair algae because my phosphate and nitrates readings are good. Could my skimmer be taking out "good" things in the water that is causing low PH, dKH and calcium ?? <Mmm, add another dimension (time) to your understanding... these nutrients are being taken up/scavenged by the algae> Any advice you could offer would be much appreciated ! <Read... Only go going over enough disparate/related material will you gain a good understanding of what you need to know, become an educated consumer. Bob Fenner> Question on Additives for Reef Tank Hello crew, <Lynne> I recently added the following soft corals to my FOWLR 55 gallon tank. Yellow Polyps Green Star Polyps Mushrooms Pulsing Xenia sp. Orange Colonial Coral <All at once?> My tank and top off water is filtered via SpectraPure 5 stage PH 8.2 -8.3 Ammonia 0 Nitrates .05 Phosphates 0 (LaMotte test kit) Alk 12 dKH Instant Ocean Salt 10 % water change weekly I just bought a LaMotte test kit and tested my Calcium, unless I am misinterpreting the directions my reading came out to be only 227 ppm. <Happens> The only "additive" I use now is daily capfuls (per label directions) of Kent Liquid Reactor. <Okay> Is there any additive I should use in addition to Liquid Reactor Buffer or to replace Liquid Reactor to get my PH and Calcium levels that would keep my corals healthy and growing? <Yes... posted on WWM> Thank you for your help! <Thank you for helping yourself. Bob Fenner>

Reef Supplements 4/14/05 Dear Anthony, I visited one of the better local fish stores in my area yesterday and asked him about using Iodine in my reef tank. He told me he never uses Iodine in any of his reef tanks it only encourages the growth of algae. <That's simply not true my friend. Or rather... iodine does not cause algae, but any of a number of nutrients can cause algae if abused> He also stated that his only real concerns are Alkalinity, Calcium & Magnesium. <They are necessary to monitor indeed> I have re read the section in your book and looked up Magnesium on this site but it doesn't seem to be a main topic. Should I take his advice and get a Magnesium test kit? <It is best to test and keep Mg at about 3X Ca> He has the best reef tanks that I have ever seen so he must be doing something right. Thanks again for your advise and opinion! <Iodine is not necessary to supplement if you do regular (weekly) water changes as they inevitably do at the LFS (daily/weekly sales, good husbandry, etc). No worries :) Anthony> 

B-ionic supplement Good evening (or rather morning) crew.  As always, you guys are second to none!  My tank is only 4.5 months old........slowly getting things in place.   I've learned not to rush anything.  I've been meaning to raise my calcium levels up over 400ppm so I can begin adding corals and such.  I've read many a good thing pertaining to ESV's B-Ionic two part calcium supplement.  My calcium is in the 330ppm range and my alkalinity is 11dKH.  With regards to the two part system, do I need to add both the alkalinity and calcium parts in tandem with each other to effectively raise my calcium?  Haven't found anything in the FAQ sections about this. I wouldn't want to add both, just to see my alkalinity skyrocket.<Eric, that's exactly what I don't like about the two part supplements.  I've used this before and I've found I rarely used the alk supplement.  Bad thing is you have to buy A & B, unless that has changed.  My favorite is SeaChem's Reef Advantage Calcium (dry form).  I emailed ESV specifically about this, but have not heard back (gee, I thought the customer was supposed to be important!).  I have not yet started to add anything as of yet.  Thank you for any thoughts or suggestions. <You're welcome, Eric.  James (Salty Dog)> Always appreciative, Eric Should I add nitrate to my reef tank? My water consistently tests 0 nitrates. I have a crocea and a couple of soft corals. I read in Anthony's book that there should be some level of nitrate, and recommends preparing a solution of sodium nitrate and using it to raise the level to 2ppm. Since the "state of the art" is always evolving, I want to make sure that recommendation is still appropriate.  < I think that is a terrible idea. I'd prefer to just feed my tank before adding nitrate. >  I've searched around the web and can find "laboratory grade" sodium nitrate from Sargent-Welch in small quantities at a reasonable price.  < A local chem. shop should have this item in stock. But again, I wouldn't do it. >  I've not had any luck in finding it at garden supply stores. Now I just need to hope that ATF isn't tracking sodium nitrate purchasers!!  < Take a look at your fish load and feeding schedule. If you are feeding once per week, maybe feeding 3 times per week would accomplish what you are looking for. > Thanks Ken Baker < Blundell > 

Live Concrete? (Live Sandbed Going Solid) What would turn live sand into cement? Cindy <Well, I've seen this happen in systems where lots of Kalkwasser or calcium additives were used with little circulation and no sandbed surface agitation. Not exactly concrete, but hard just the same! Hence, one reason that a little bit of stirring at the surface is not a bad thing. Regards, Scott F.> 

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

Supplements Had a question.  I just purchased the Kent marine Zoe which I have been told is vitamins for salt water fish.  And I also purchased iodine concentrate by two little fishies name brand.  My question is: Is it safe to let both soak in the frozen brine shrimp before feeding?  Is mixing the Zo?and iodine together safe? <No, the addition of an iodine supplement should be monitored with a test kit. Too much iodine in the system is not good.>  Would it be beneficial? <If the instructions on the Zoe bottle indicates you can mix with food, then follow the instructions. If not, you may want to email Kent Marine with that question since I do not know the ingredients of this product.>  The fish that I have are as follows: 1 false percula clown, 1 orange tail damsel, 1 yellow watchman shrimp goby, 2 skunk cleaner shrimp, 8 Mexican hermit crabs, and 3 snails?  <James (Salty Dog)>

Supplementing Calcium reactor 2/9/05 I was reading the latest FAQ on RO/DI. My question is if I'm running a calcium reactor do I need to use Kalkwasser with top off water like you mention? <Likely just a small amount of buffer after aerating> Thanks TB <Just let your test kit readings for Calcium and Alkalinity dictate this... that is the only measure that matters. Anthony>

Alternative use of 'Stability' (refugium design, use) Being a chronic over feeder I am naturally having issues with keeping nitrates in check.  I have recently begun using SeaChem's Stability and I have decided to dose it by adding directly to the tank according to directions but every other day instead of dosing the tank directly I inject it into the sand bed (DSB w/ plenum) to try and establish a larger colony of anaerobic bacteria.  This is all provisional upon the anaerobic bacteria getting enough nitrite flow of course.  I am planning on adding an 18 gal sump with a refugium for my 55 gal tank in the not too distant future so this is really just a short term fix ... 'er experiment.  Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you; Tracy <Please search www.WetWebMedia.com re Refugiums... Bob Fenner>

Supplements <Hi Mike> Hello Crew, Thank you for your vast knowledge!. My setup: 50g FOWLR tank 3 years old, 10g sump, with protein skimmer. (2) 175 watt MH 10,000k. Current livestock: a Percula Clown, a Yellow Tail Blue Damsel and a Royal Gramma. Also an E. Quadricolor. Current habit: 10g water change weekly using RO water, Coralife salt, and 1/2 tsp of Reef Builder aerated and aged 1 week. Current Parameters: Amm/Nitrates/Trites/Phosph: Undetectable. Calcium >500 (I know, working on it.) Hardness is low. (Working on it too). SG 1.023 Ph 8.3. Temp 77. Question: I need to know if it is necessary to add Iodide and Strontium to the tank.<If you change 10 gallons per week religiously, that should supplement the trace elements/calcium being taken out of the system.  I've been doing that for quite some time.  I prefer Reef Crystal since it is enriched with a little more of the trace elements that are being absorbed.> My reasoning is to grow coralline algae and promote the health of the anemone. If it is preferred to add to the system, is it ok to add the weekly dose to the change water? I am planning to add it to the change water at the beginning of the week and do the water change at the end, so I am also asking if it will be ok in the change water for the week.<I would add it to the tank after you've made your water change.> Thanks you for your help, Michael

Supplements and natural sea water Hello, I have a problem I have my 155 reef running with some soft polyp corals, brains, featherdusters and some more corals. They have about a week already everything looks good but my gorgonians died. I haven't added no supplements and the water was from the ocean but cured for a couple of weeks. << Gorgonians often need lots of filter feeding. >> Yesterday I bought liquid calcium from Kent Marine and in the directions it says to add 1/4 of a teaspoon per 50 gallons tank capacity each day depending on the animal load. What should I do I through 3   1/4 teaspoons and I don't think it seems quite reasonable to throw every day this but that is why I am asking you? << Well for now, and with ocean water, I wouldn't add any supplements at all. >> what should I do and what supplements should I be adding now please help me I don't want to lose my corals. << Add nothing to natural sea water. >> What about Kalkwasser and strontium and magnesium? << Nope, don't use them. >> please help me. Another question I am feeding my corals with a Coralife liquid target food for invertebrates and with a syringe I target feed all of them once a week and also I give my anemones this is this ok? << Yes this sounds like a good idea. >> Any suggestions? << Feeding, water changes, and lots of light is the best thing you can do. >> Thank you <<  Blundell  >>

Additives for a 16 gal hello,      I have just finished cycling my new 16 gallon cube reef tank.  I am planning on having about 15-20 pounds of live rock in the tank along with a couple of softies, mushrooms and maybe an LPS. << The tank won't finish cycling until well after the live rock is added. >> I am just a little confused about which additives to use.  I currently do a 2 gallon (12%) water change every week of filtered seawater I get from my LFS.  I also have CaribSea sugar sized aragonite which I hear helps keep the calcium levels and ph levels up as well.  I would like the corals to stay healthy as well as having nice coralline growth but I don't want to add something I am already getting from the water changes.  any help would be appreciated. << Easy, don't add anything.  Seriously you won't need it. >> <<  Blundell  >> Clownfish Aggression Query Part 3 <Ryan with you today> I just put in the same chemicals I have been putting in for two years, Immuno-Vital 1cap twice/ wk. <Once a month is fine>, Natu-vite 3 ml twice / week, LIFO 2 drops / day, reef former 4 oz. twice/ wk. with strontium added to it, 1 drop per ounce, iron 3 ml twice / week, 3 ml iodine twice/ wk. , 2 oz. y2 kzyme twice/ wk, and 1 cap of bromactine once a week. <Whoa...quite a collection you're got going!  The reef former is vital, but I fear you're overdoing a few...Frequent water changes would replenish many of these nutrients naturally...See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seah2omats.htm> My water test come back perfect every week <Broad statement...real readings are far more useful> and I stay up on the RO water when my levels get low. I do everything I'm supposed to do plus more. I think my water is ok but maybe the store has been telling me to add all these so they can sell them. <Possibly...Some rely on chemicals to avoid doing water changes.  It's the wrong way to maintain a tank in my opinion...and a far more pricey way to get the same/poorer results.  You'll need to access for yourself exactly what your RO water needs- You can do this by sending it away for testing.  May save you in the long run.  Good luck, Ryan> Travis Dosing a tank ... say what? I have a 55 Gallon reef tank with only anemones, fish, frogspawn, torch, star polyps, feather dusters, live rock and sand.  I currently does the tank with Superbuffer-dKH, Marine Snow, and Liquid Gold Pro Plus.   My dosing schedule: every 2 weeks I use super buffer every other day I use Liquid Gold Pro Plus every 4 days I use marine snow What else should I use to supplement the tank with? << Well I don't use any of those products.  It is important to remember that you should only be adding things that you are testing for and are low on.  The one thing I would recommend using is any type of buffer in your top off water.  Otherwise I don't add anything. >> <<  Blundell  >> To Dose Or Not To Dose...(2-Part Supplements) Dear crew, after posting this question on another site I decided to go to the pros for an answer. I have a 2 yr old 55 gal mostly soft with a few LPS reef tank, that is starting to lose some of its coralline algae on the rocks, and I was wondering if it's time to start a 2-part dosing regimen between water changes. <If alkalinity/calcium levels are out of whack, two-part solutions are an inexpensive way to counter...> I would like to also do this as I run carbon in my CPR refugium 24-7 and would like to keep up on trace minerals. I am one that does not like to supplement if not necessary, but think this might be a good thing. <I am not a fan of dosing lots of supplements, but two-part calcium/alkalinity supplements are generally inorganic and are "clean"...Just follow directions and test to determine dose and necessity> Given my tank inhabitants, though, I'm not sure if I should follow the C-Balance instructions and dose every day, or go for every other day or even weekly. <Remember the mantra that we stress here on WWM: If you're going to dose something, be sure to test to determine the need.> I faithfully do monthly water changes with I.O. salt and my levels with Red Sea tests stay around: cal- 400, alk. 3.2, and ph 7.8. <The parameters seem quite reasonable-within generally accepted "normal" ranges. However, the pH seems a bit low...Did you measure during "lights out" or during "daytime" in the tank? There is a natural day/night fluctuation in most systems. If the "daylight" pH is 7.8, you need to find out what the cause might be.> How should I go about this? I am very cautious about adding stuff to my tank. <I certainly appreciate your cautiousness. Again, my best advice is to only dose something if testing determines a need to do so. Coralline growth is dependent upon more than just calcium- there's magnesium and other parameters that effect it's growth. Do a little reading on the requirements for its growth, and do additional testing to further determine your dosing requirements. If you can, get a copy of Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation", which addresses dosing and the calcium/alkalinity dynamic in great detail and is very informative! Keep that cautious attitude towards dosing. You're on the right track! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Aragamilk and low pH Hi, my name is Peter. I used a buffer Aragamilk in my tank yesterday and my ph is lower then the day before. << It is only a sort of buffer.  Meaning it is suppose to increase calcium and alkalinity, although without being able to dissolve many people question its usefulness. >> I use test strips and before( according to colors) it was higher before I used that product. please help my xenia is not looking very well today. I got Aragamilk from my local store to increase my ph , but actually it is lowering my ph. I do not know what to think ? << I would add either Kalkwasser (which increases calcium and alkalinity) or probably better yet is to just increase the buffer part of an additive.  Like adding one half of the B-Ionic supplements.  I should ask here, since you didn't state; what is your pH?  Maybe it isn't that low and you shouldn't be worried.  Maybe it is so low that you need to do a large water change. >>           PETER <<  Blundell  >> Reef Aquarium - part 2 Jim: So far I have found that my calcium and alkalinity are off the scale.  I have been following the recommendations of GARF and using Seachem additives. These are as follows:  Reef Complete, Reef Calcium and Reef Plus at 2-1/2 tablespoons twice a week, and Reef Builder and Reef Advantage calcium at 1 tablespoon to each gallon of top-off water.  I am now waiting for these levels to get back to normal and then will add Reef Builder and Reef Advantage calcium as needed.  I had also been using Reef Plus.  Upon the recommendation of Blue Sierra in Issaquah, WA, I was told to use Lugol's solution instead of the Reef Plus.  I am so confused.  What is  your thought on additives.  I also bought some good test kits for calcium, alkalinity and phosphate.  Incidentally, the phosphates were just a trace.   Also, I had a Red Sea prism protein skimmer which I do not think was working very well.  I got a new one and the foam is building a lot.   I do not use tap water.  In the area where I live all of the water is from wells and is very hard and full of chlorine.  I have not yet purchased a RO outfit so I have been using bottled distilled water.   I did a 10 gallon water change two weeks ago and did another this week.  The stringy stuff seems to be dying down a little.  I also bought about 30 hermit crabs.   Another problem that I am now happy about is an infestation with Planaria (red flat worms).  None of them are on the coral.  I have been siphoning them off daily and they are down to very little.  I sure was not anticipating all of this when I set the aquarium up.  I would like to say things could not get any worse but then I guess they could.   I would appreciate your feedback on the additives.   Thanks Jill >>>Hello again Jill, Your problems are small, and yes things could get MUCH worse! :) First, you might consider a larger water change, say around 20% or so. You say the "growths" are subsiding, so maybe you have he problem licked. Personally, I use B-ionic and don't mess with any other additives. You certainly don't need as many as it sounds like you're using. The Kent product work well too, but most folks stick with the B-ionic. Good stuff. :) Some wrasses eat flatworms (sometimes) such as six line and four line wrasses. Cheers Jim<<< Supplements, coralline algae and carbon 9/20/04 Hello WWM Staff,  My name is Jim. I have a 90 gallon reef tank that is 8 months old. I have a UV, Protein skimmer and wet/dry (Removed bio balls).  I use the following Seachem supplements as per GARF website. (3) TBS Reef Plus 2X week (3) TBS Reef Complete 2X week (3) TBS Reef Calcium 2x week (1) TBS Reef Advantage Calcium makeup water 2nd and 4th weeks (1) TBS Reef Builder makeup water on the 3rd week. My Question is. I am having a tough time getting coralline algae to grow. My LFS sold me Seachem Reef Kalkwasser. They told me that would bring down my Phosphates and help grow coralline. <Hmmm.. did you test for Phosphate?  Did they?  What was the result?  What are your Ca, Alk, Mg, Po4, Salinity, temp, lighting and water movement.  All of these will affect coralline growth.  What is your water change routine?  All of the listed additives are perfectly fine, but they should be dosed according to the demands of your tank (determined through testing), not a "standard recipe".> The problem I have is I'm not sure if I should stop adding the calcium supplements listed above and use the Kalkwasser in there place and in what amount? <If proper water changes are carried out (20% a month or so), Kalkwasser is usually the only supplement needed.  It will supply calcium and alkalinity in a balanced fashion.  All other "trace elements" will be supplied through water changes.  If you make the change to Kalkwasser, do be sure to continue to measure Ca and Alk to be sure you are meeting your tanks needs.> Also do u suggest using any Activated carbon in a reef tank. Thanks for your help! <Carbon helps keep the water clear and will remove the noxious defensive chemicals produced by corals.  I personally don't use carbon often, but it has it's place.  Please do use small amounts and change it frequently rather than large amounts left for long periods.  Also, rinse it well before use.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Supplements, coralline algae and carbon follow up 9/21/04 Thank you for the quick reply. I do a 10% water change twice a month using Marin Topic salt. If I am reading your reply correctly I should do away with all those products and stick to water changes and Kalkwasser? <In my opinion, yes.  Tropic Marin salt is excellent and with your water change schedule, it will provide all you need.  Calcium and alkalinity are the only exception, and Kalk should take care of those just fine.  The bottom line rule of thumb... if you aren't testing for it, don't add it!  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Additive Choices (9/10/04) - Mystery Answerer I just re-setup a reef after a move. It has been up for about 4 months. It is a 75 gal tank with a 20 gal refugium. I use a Red Sea skimmer pretty aggressively. <Good. Hopefully producing a nice quantity of disgusting dark skimmate.> I have two 175w halides and an actinic tube running 12 hours per day. The tank also has a 3" aragonite sand plenum and about 70 lbs of mixed man-made and Fiji live rock. I use only de-ionized water. It has 7 fish ( all I have plans for ) and I am just beginning to add corals. My question is this..... up until now I have used a daily rotation of SeaChem additive products in my replenish water, and feed only frozen brine and veg.. mix foods once a day. <Some fish require multiple feeds per day. Also, brine shrimp have very little nutrition in the and should not be relied upon as a staple food. Mysis are much better. A wide variety of diet is vital.> I went through the normal diatom algae bloom about 3 weeks in. But the blooms ( or ones that look very similar) still continue to surge in varying degrees about once a week. I really thought it would have calmed down by now. <Have you checked your nitrates and phosphates (aka fertilizer)?> My local shop and I have discussed it and one of the things I did not purchase from them were the additives... I went internet to save cost. When it came up I used the SeaChem brand they said they thought this might be one of my issues because it is sugar-based. <Which particular supplement are you referring to?> And one thing is true, I back off the additives and things seem to get better. Then I begin again and within a day or two another bloom begins. Are sugar based solutions typically this strong at feeding blooms, or am I just going through an unusually long period of working it out of the tank..... suggestions/ opinions please? < My first suggestion is to check the above-mentioned parameters. I would also recommend stopping the supplements. Most tanks do not need supplementation beyond just calcium and alkalinity (if there are a lot of calcium-consumers in there) if you are using a good quality sea salt for regular water changes. Daily supplementation of miscellaneous substances is definitely unnecessary. You should only supplement things that you measure. Iodine could be one of these if you have shrimp, but as noted, most tanks (even reefs) do not need an aggressive regimen of supplements. If you have calcium-hungry corals a two-part liquid Ca/Alk supplement (such as b-Ionic) or Kalkwasser (see related FAQs) should be plenty. Measure these regularly to be sure you are keeping them within the optimum range. Do a 10% weekly water change (or check WWM for Scott's even more frequent schedule) and you will get all the other elements you need, with the possible exception of iodine.> Thanks, Mark <Hope this helps.>  Crewmates: I confess. I am the mystery answerer about additive selections.  It was late and I was tired and forgot to put my name on it. Steve Allen.

Precipitate (9/5/04) Hello, <Hi. Steve Allen tonight.> Twice now I have added 1 tsp of Sea Chem Reef Builder <That's 4 times the dose recommended on the label of 1 tsp per 40G.> to my 10 gallon tank of "Water Change Water" after I aerated and added salt. <You should put the buffer in first, before salting.> After a day the tank gets cloudy with a fine white powder. <Something precipitating most likely carbonate.> The fresh water consists of RO and I use Coralife Salt. Can you tell me why this is happening, or is there something I need to test for? The alkalinity tests at 4.5 meq/L. <Not exceedingly high, but high enough that you should be able to get to the target (>3 mEq) by using 1/4 teaspoon as recommended by the manufacturer. And add it before salting and wait a few hours to add the salt.> Michael <Hope this helps.>

Supplement Questions (9/6/04) I have few questions on Marine Supp. <shoot> When I got my tank setup about 2 1/2 years ago I got some used Kent supp (All Kent product. Tech M, Tech I, E E, Strontium...). I do not know how old they are and Kent told me they could last 4 years, so I was keep using them. I noticed my system ph is getting lower after I put Knop-c calcium reactor during this time I also restarted dosing marine supp (I was not monitoring my pH much until I put my reactor and did not dose marine supp to my tank for few months as I was too busy...) <With a good regimen of water changes, most supplements are not needed if you do not have a large calcium consumption.> I shut off CO2 but it was still lowering my pH - I thought this should increase ph... <straight CO2 lowers pH> (I put buffer to raise ph to 8.1 and watched over 1 day it drop to 7.5) so I shut off my reactor but it is still lowering my ph (now from 8.1 to 7.8) Could one of my old supp cause this problem? Should I change these supp? <Hard to say, but if it's more than a couple of years old, it seems like a smart investment to buy new ones.> I am planning to work with Knop-c calcium reactor slowly starting today so I might send you email about this if I could not figure out. <Do read more about calcium supplementation. Excellent articles/FAQs on WWM and elsewhere. Do you have corals that really need the quantity of Ca that a reactor produces? It might be better to leave it off and monitor/supplement alkalinity and calcium with a two-part liquid until the system is stable. Perhaps the reactor is malfunctioning. You should be testing Ca and alkalinity when using this instrument. Don't do anything drastic. Your goal is to stabilize the system.> Thanks, Chris Kim <Hope this helps. Steve Allen.>

SeaChem additive questions 9/5/04 Hello WWMCrew, I am about to re-order my additives for my marine tank mostly soft corals, I would like to know what to buy.  If I got SEACHEM REEF PLUS, and SEACHEM REEF STRONTIUM, do I need to get SEACHEM REEF IODIDE as the reef plus already has iodide in it. Thank you in advance Chris  <While I do hold SeaChem products in high regard (Somewhere between Kent and Coralife on the low end and ESV and Boyd on the high end), I don't think any of the above products is necessary for your system.  IMO, the only additions that are necessary are those required for proper maintenance of Ca and Alkalinity.  All other elements can be supplied in adequate quantities with regular partial water changes.  Adding trace elements without testing for them can lead to overdose.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Testing & Supplements (9/5/04) Hello, I am interested in starting a reef tank and am wondering what test kits I'll need or what items needed to be tested.  Also, after adding the reef builder, reef complete, reef calcium, and reef plus (Seachem products) would I still need to add invertebrate foods meant for coral or is that included in the previously mentioned SeaChem products? Thanks for the help,  Aaron <Hello Aaron. Steve Allen answering tonight. I can tell from your questions that you would benefit from more research before you get started. No, there is no food in any of these mineral supplements. Seachem makes quality products. What you need to supplement with depends on what you have in the tank. Many tanks need calcium supplementation, but a regular regimen of water changes with quality salt (such as  Reef Crystals, Instant Ocean, Tropic Marin and Oceanic) often means that there is no need to supplement anything else. It is crucial to measure ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, at least during cycling. Keeping an eye on phosphates is useful for controlling nuisance algae. It is a good idea to monitor calcium and alkalinity in reef tanks. Iodine and other things are questionable, but it is always a good idea to supplement only things that you are measuring and finding to be low. Again, regular water changes should generally preclude any need to monitor or supplement most trace elements.   I strongly recommend that you read up on reefkeeping. WWM is a great resource, as is www.reefkeeping.com. I would also suggest you consider the following books: "The New Marine Aquarium" by Michael Paletta, "Reef Secrets" by Alf Jacob Nilsen & Svein Foss? "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner, and "Natural Reef Aquariums" by John Tullock. Hope this helps.> Lights for a 29 gal Hi I am interested in starting a reef aquarium and am wondering about the lighting needed.  It is a 29 gallon 30 " x 12 x 18 high. << I have that tank. I currently have two 150 watt 20k halides. >> It currently has 25-30 lbs of live rock, a yellow tang, domino damsel, and a maroon clown.  << Wow sounds just like my tank.>>  I was looking at getting a power compact fixture that sits above a tank.  I am looking at a model that hold either one or two 65 watt bulbs. << Two is a minimum. >>  The single holds one 65 watt 10,000K /460 nanometer actinic and a 1 watt "Lunar Light".  The other one holds two power compact bulbs 65 watt a piece.  One is a 10,000/6700K and one is a 420/460 nanometer actinic with the same "lunar light.  The dual also comes with a switch to have dual control on the lights. << Much better, but still too little light for stony corals. >> If it helps the fixture is called a "Satellite Compact Fluorescent Fixture".  Would this be enough to sustain some "cool" coral life and allow it to grow well? << Yes, but with careful selection. >>  If so which ones.  Would it be more economical/better to get a normal plastic hood top that holds three 20-30 watt bulbs? << No, the compact system is much better. >> With the one that sits above the tank would I still need a cover? << No, but it is nice to clean a cover, and not have to clean the bulbs. >> If so I know it would have to be glass but wouldn't this reflect some/all of the light? << Yep, it is a trade off.  I'd probably not get a cover. >> Also what supplements and test kits would I need to sustain coral life successfully and possibly propagate the coral for friends, or even better profit? << None. >>  Also what foods would you suggest to feed coral? << Golden Pearls, Cyclop-eeze, and live phytoplankton. >>  Thank you so much for your patience, expertise, and an awesome website. Sincerely, Aaron.   <<  Blundell  >>

Supplements and lights for a new 29 gal I thought that you need to supplement reefs with calcium or strontium and make sure that calcium, nitrates etc, stay at a certain level.<< Well not nitrates!  You don't want any (or at least very little) of them.  As for calcium, strontium, magnesium... yes you do want them at a certain level.  That is tough.  If you don't have animals that utilize those elements, then you NEVER need to add them.  If you do have animals using those elements, then you do need to add them.  I add them by water changes, or liquid supplements.  But make sure you are testing their levels first, otherwise you don't know how much to add. >>  Metal halide lighting is a little expensive for me, how much did the fixture in your 29 gallon cost? << Okay, but don't tell my wife.  I think it was about $300 for the ballast, two bulbs, two brackets, home-made reflector. >> How often do you have to replace the bulbs? << Most people say like every 8 months, but I go at least 12. >> Also you said I couldn't  keep most hard corals, could I keep open brain coral? << Up high, yes.  Also, I'd directly feed it.  But that is still low light to me. >>  Also, what other corals can I keep with the power compact fixture I described? << Mushrooms, leathers, Cladiella, zoanthids, star polyps. >> Lastly, how often should the bulbs be changed in a P/C Fixture? << Hmm, every 12 months?  Not sure on that.  I go a long time with mine (like 18 months). >> Thanks a lot Aaron <<  Blundell  >> Reef Water Chemistry - pH and Ca high 8/1/04 Hi--I have a 175gal tank with about 350lbs live rock. <as an aside... seeing that you have a nice beefy supply of live rock here (very fine at 2 lbs per gallon), I wonder if you have the rockscape built so that no pieces are touching the vertical walls? If so, its a common mistake and one that significantly impedes water flow around and through the reef. It causes problems in time as detritus accumulates in inaccessible places. Do consider if this is a problem> Have not successfully been able to keep coral yet--they do not like my water, but fish are well. My question is about a high pH reading (8.8 tonight--has been around 8.2 - 8.4) and a high Ca reading 480ppm. <pH is likely a non-issue... ideally it should be 8.4-8.6. The Calcium is getting scary high though. I suspect too that because of it, your alkalinity is flat or low (under 10dKH). Regardless... it is this way because the source water is mineral rich, or you have misdosed (excess or imbalanced) supplements. Please do look into our archives for the article called "Understanding Calcium and Alkalinity" and follow the related links on the page> Ammonia, Nitrates and    Nitrites are all 0. <you will want to allow a small amount of nitrates (5-10 ppm) to linger in the future for optimal coral health and color> Our alkalinity kit hasn't arrived yet, so don't know about that. We are doing the Kent Marine Tech CB (part A&B). Do you know what could have caused the pH spike? <if you do not shake the 2-part supplements vigorously before every use, they can be dosed imbalanced. Or... if your chemistry was not balanced before you started using the 2-part supplement, then the imbalance was simply carried along (the 2-part mixes cannot magically correct and imbalance... they ARE balanced and need to be finessed relative to your chemistry and what your tanks daily demands are)> I skipped adding the CB solution today because Ca is so high. <very good> Is this harmful? <necessary> What other tests do you recommend? I also tested for Copper and that was at 0. Thanks! Janet <do get a good reef book on hand my friend. It will be money much better spent rather than killing another coral. Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals is excellent for livestock/pictures... and if I may say so, my Book of Coral Propagation has a very easy to understand section (most of the first half of the book -450 pages) on Reef Husbandry, water quality, etc. Best regards, Anthony Calfo> No Substitute For Good Husbandry (A "Mystery Additive"?) Hi Bob, <Actually, Scott F. in today> I was wondering if you have any information about "Geo Liquid". I am using it in my fish tanks for more than 4 years. It was recommended to me by my local retailer when I had some problems back then. Since then, it seems to come more and more onto the shelves in the pet shops here in Australia. I never could really figure out what's in it and how it works. I find the information sheets quite blurry in that regard. <I have heard of the product myself, read about it, and I have similar feelings. Some of the claims made about the product are...well- a bit extraordinary...> Recently, I talked to someone about it and he told me that it is designed to condition the water. Our water (it comes from a neighboring shire) is treated with chloramine as an disinfectant which consists of free chlorine and ammonia. Regarding our city council it is non existent when the water reaches our system  but they do add free chlorine on the way. However one or the other is in the tapwater and has to be removed. Until recently, I thought Geo Liquid was ideal, but I am no longer sure about this, although I am raising catfish fry in a ~5l tank with daily water changes of 2-2.5l daily and they are doing great. <It's amazing what good husbandry can do! No additive can substitute for a little effort on behalf of the hobbyist> I find Geo Liquid very convenient because there is no need to measure the exchange water or the treatment as you have to do with other chemicals. <I hate to talk badly about a product that I have not used, but I am usually very skeptical about products that make such extraordinary claims...You might want to check out the WWM Chat Forum to see what other hobbyists may have experienced with this product> Cheers, Silvia <All in all, Silvia- it sounds like your good husbandry techniques are every bit as effective as the product that we're discussing here. I truly believe that there is no substitute for "getting your hands wet" and doing water tests, observing your fishes carefully, and using sound husbandry techniques. I'm sure that this stuff has worked for you, so I guess the only real harm is that reliance on this product-on ANY product, for that matter-can keep an aquarist from engaging in more proper-and beneficial husbandry efforts...Best of luck! Regards, Scott F>

Misdosing Supplements 7/20/04 hello I have a 110 reef tank I am dosing ESV  my problem is levels are 500 (Calcium), KH is 10.2 alk 3.66 nitrates 5 ppm ph 8.0 is anyway to get back in check <the calcium is dangerously high and the pH is approaching dangerously low. You have been misdosing the supplement my friend without testing to keep it in check. Your best bet is to do a very large water change (50% at least) to dilute the imbalance and only resume dosing when you get these numbers down to safe levels. Please take the time to read the article "Understanding Calcium and Alkalinity" in our archives and follow the other helpful links> could this cause problems I have piece of hammer coral it doesn't seem to like it used to also I some green button polyps that never open I also one Cynarina sp the mouth is deteriorating could this be hi calcium I have all corals about 6 years my lighting is VHO 03 an metal halide two 250 watts 10k thanks for your help Paul <its difficult to say if this is the cause of your problems, but I can say it is risky and not recommended. Please do bring the parameters into balance. Calcium 350-425 ppm, Alk is fine around 10 dKH and pH 8.4-8.6 please. Anthony>

- Additives & Testing - Hi, I could not find all the answers by searching the web. I am planning to setup a marine tank with fish, invertebrates (shrimp), live rock and Caulerpa? <Ok.> I have found information for live rock which requires calcium. What additives will I require for the above setup? <Some form of food for the shrimp... calcium as you mentioned. A source of light for the Caulerpa. Perhaps some iodide/iodine from time to time, but not often... suggest you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/suppleme.htm > Is there a chart etc with this type of information? <Not exactly - there is a lot of variation from system to system, so that a chart doesn't always cover all situations. Please read that article.> What type of testing will be require for the above setup? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm  - beyond that, perhaps calcium and alkalinity tests.> Thanks Mohamed. <Cheers, J -- >

- Additives & Testing, Follow-up - Hi, Thanks for the help this far. <My pleasure.> I read the requested information and still reading. <Good.> Please correct me. From what I read this far I will have to test for ammonia, nitrates, nitrite, carbonate hardness, calcium and ph. <Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH should be an important part of your test kit. The calcium and alkalinity tests can wait until you're a little farther along. Not super important at this early stage.> I think this is all the tests needed. The additives I will need from time to time are iodine, calcium, carbonate hardness builder. The additives I am unsure of, will I require (Essential Elements) a trace mineral supplement or (Kent Zoe) a vitamin & supplement by Kent marine or none of them. <Trace element supplements are best accomplished by regular water changes... the vitamins are best added in food.> Another additive that was recommended by a pet store is Strontium & Molybdenum by Kent Marine that provides strontium, magnesium, potassium & molybdenum, do I need this product for my setup? <Probably not at this early stage.> Thanks Mohamed. <Cheers, J -- >

Iodide and magnesium <Hi Peter> Have one coral at present but want to get more and intend getting a starfish in future, have some Caulerpa on live rock. Should I test for/add iodide or magnesium? <I believe its always a good idea to test for things you put or add in your tank. Most of these chemical are added in the water but as you continue to add corals you are going to need to start considering adding additional supplements.  Then you would definitely need to test.  I'm assuming you've already got the ammonia, ph, nitrate, nitrite, test kits?>  Do you think these inhabitants would use up/need more than regular (fortnightly) water changes would provide? <Right now I think you are okay, but as you add more corals this might change.> I am purchasing calcium and alkalinity test kits/supplements. <Sounds like you are definitely on the right track Peter.  Good luck, Mac>

- Supplements - Hi, must apologize this is like my millionth question this week. Have had salt water tank for 6 weeks now since nitrate cycle completed and I have never had to learn so much so quickly. Have had two major tragedies and many deaths but have been learning from mistakes (bit late for my murdered friends though). Am determined not to give up though every one I know is convinced its gone beyond an obsession! Is this normal? <What "is" normal? I'm certainly not a good judge of that.> Does everything settle down and become routine eventually as I keep promising family it will? <Perhaps... depends on the lessons you are learning.> So anyway my current dilemma is supplementation, I have been doing weekly 1/3 water changes (due to problems) but would like to scale this down to fortnightly or monthly (being as its winter and I collect my own natural sea water!) I have what I think is a brain coral of some sort (looks like a maze with the crests tan/brown and the rest a fluoro green colour) which seems happy opens every night a damsel which is only little but a bully all the same another similar sized black/white striped fish and two anemones also three black with red rims Nudibranchs a few of snails hermits etc some live rock ok so other than feed fish I have done nothing else but attempt to maintain pH, spec grav and nitrite levels at 8.2, 1.025 and 0 respectively. Now this seems to be accomplished I would like to add some more fish and corals and a starfish (have small ones but want blue Linckia) what should I be adding to the water in the way of calcium, iodine/iodide, food for coral and inverts? <At this level, probably nothing other than regular water changes - if you are feeding your fish on a regular basis, then some of the excess food and fish wastes will make it to your corals. I would recommend, as a good way to properly feed your obsession is to pursue creation of a personal library. Some local source material will better help you identify your captive charges and likewise their needs. I'd start with Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals and Bob Fenner's Conscientious Marine Aquarist. Even our own web site is loaded with articles and stored questions like this that will help you educate yourself.> It is all extremely confusing!!!!!!!!!!!! <Do what the door mouse said, feed your head... start reading.> Do I even need to add iodine/iodide or calcium or do the water changes accomplish this, even reduced as I want to? <Regular water changes accomplish this to an extent... sometimes iodine additions are useful if you have anything that is consuming it, or a protein skimmer that is removing it from your tank. But above and beyond all else, you should test for the presence of these things before you start adding them.>  Should I be testing for any of these (or ammonia?) are the tests even very useful have read lots of msg saying they are reading falsely. <Depends on the quality of the tests, purpose for salt or freshwater... If your tank has cycled, the ammonia and nitrite tests are somewhat superfluous, but still useful to have around. Nitrate tests are always useful, and once you get into the more demanding corals, alkalinity and calcium tests are a must.> Sorry to be so dumb but my god how much is involved in this it has definitely transcended from hobby status. <To what pray tell... I'm guessing it is still a hobby, just one that perhaps takes more commitment that you were initially prepared for.> But I do so love and enjoy my hours watching and playing in my aquarium. I have a 4 footer. <? There are number of tank volumes that are four feet, from 40 to 180 gallons, perhaps more...> Would much appreciate the advice, cheers. <Start reading. Cheers, J -- >

Confused on Supplements 6/11/04 Hi am very confused about supplements, <no need... two very simple rules of thumb: "If you cant test for it... don't add it!" and... "Dilution is the solution to pollution" [do water changes to dilute unwanted elements and to replenish desirable ones]> I have a 4 foot tank which completed nitrate cycle 6 weeks ago presently have a damsel (which is a bully), black/white striped fish of similar size to damsel, three black Nudibranchs with red rims, <yikes! this tank is too young for any kind of Nudibranch. And do you even know what they eat/need? Seriously my friend... Nudibranchs are carnivores, and I doubt you have what they eat in your tank. Furthermore, they naturally are short lived and are rather toxic (releasing their toxin in the tank when they die or are nipped/eaten. A bad choice here mate> various small starfish, two unidentified anemones, <ughh... some concern here too with the starfish and anemones. The tank is again too young to support the stars if they are grazing Asteroid species (if they are brittle or serpents, you are safe as they probably can be target fed instead)... and the anemones have no place in a new tank... and not in mixed species... and not with corals if that is your hope. The reasons for all of this/these are well documented in our WWM archives if you'll take the time to read through. We also have husbandry for all of these creatures except the cnidarians detailed in our "Reef Invertebrates" book (Calfo and Fenner). Please do check out the reviews for it on Amazon.com> some snails and hermits, what I think is some sort of brain coral (tan/brown ridges in maze pattern with hollows a fluoro green), all are happy and healthy as far as I can tell. <sigh> Have finally managed to stabilize pH, spec grav and nitrite levels which blew out as a result of a few mishaps and mistakes (sorry to all the dead) and would like to restock which I will do gradually to build up bacteria levels again. <please remove the anemones to prevent a serious disaster in the long run... motile cnidarians have no place with sessile ones (corals). The mix is unnatural and often leads to problems in the confines of aquaria> Plan on adding more coral, a blue Linckia, <Arghhh! No blue Linckia either, please my friend. Their rates of survival are dismal and there is little hope of survival in a tank under 100 gallons, under 1 year old and competing with other starfish and snails for food. I have just penned an article detailing some of these issues on Reefcentral's e-zine: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-06/ac/feature/index.htm > more fish of varieties (should I get rid of damsel will it be a problem fish?) <yes> Should I be supplementing? With what? <start with the fundamentals... calcium, buffer and iodine... and use a test kit to monitor how much/when to dose. Critical> Currently do 1/3 weekly water changes with self lugged natural sea water <there are serious threats/dangers to using natural seawater for your aquarium if unsterilized (ozone, UV, etc.). This too is documented in our wetwebmedia.com archives in the FAQs... also in the above mentioned book> would like to reduce to fortnightly or monthly (being winter and all). Will I need calcium, or iodine/iodide? Should I be testing for any of these things or ammonia? <yes to all> Haven't fed my coral didn't know anything about it until recently and cant get anything posted here till mid next week, have had it a few weeks now what's your verdict on its predicament? <you can feed most any seafood from your grocery store... use small amounts and mince very fine. Shrimp and crab are best bets> Sorry so many questions but my god how much is there to learn are their any good books or contacts (apart from you guys who are fantastic!) as I'm pretty much on my own here in country WA. <you really do need to stop buying livestock my friend (you are leading yourself astray or getting profoundly bad advice on stocking suggestions... really bad!). Please do make books your next purchase. Seek "Reef Invertebrates" for husbandry on non-cnidarians (corals and anemones)... it covers so much. And seek Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals". Perhaps Mike Paletta's "New Marine Aquarium" for general tank hardware and keeping> Does it get simpler eventually as I keep promising every one. <yes, my friend... you clearly are too eager/impatient and have rushed in this too fast. You need/needed a lot more information before buying livestock. Patience, patience :) > They all think I've gone beyond obsession! <I do too <G> It has definitely transcended hobby status very quickly. But its soooo interesting and fun, I love my little reef and its dwellers! <but you are killing and stressing the things you admire by your lack of knowledge and patience. Stop and take heed and you will succeed> Would much appreciate the advice, cheers. <best of luck! Anthony>

Trace Elements 6/9/04 I have a question about reef additives.  I am currently looking for a good product that adds trace elements to my tank.  Do you have any that you prefer.   <I like Dick Boyd for vitamins and Seachem for trace elements FWIW. There are other fine brands/products out there. But the aforementioned are time-tested and well regarded by many> I don't need calcium as much but just one product that adds trace elements.  In my tank I have LPS and soft corals.  Any other special additives I need for their growth and health? <iodine in small daily doses is important for growth and color in many reef organisms. It is removed form the system quickly (hours) and needs to be dosed daily IMO> Thanks! Andrew Powell <best regards, Anthony>

Mark Weiss products 5/3/04 Anthony, Thanks for the info. <always welcome> Just one more question. I noticed your comment after the Mark Weiss ComboVital. I've always heard good things about it, but do you know otherwise? I have no experience using it myself, and if it isn't all it's cracked up to be, I'll pass on it. Thanks as always! <among novice aquarists and aquarium clubs to whom these products get donated generously, they enjoy a "good" reputation. Among many experienced aquarists and industry professionals, they... ahhh... do not. Some have been quoted as saying they would not take it for free ;) Anthony>

Seachem dosing schedule - 4/6/04  Hello all, <Good morning>  I have a quick question about SeaChem additives. <Let me see what I can do> I was recently given a dosing schedule by LFS and wanted to run it by you guys for your input. All of this guys tanks look great which leads me to believe he knows what he speaks of <Always a good place to start> but....just in case. <A second opinion.....also a good place to start>  He suggested the following:  Mon - Reef Plus  Tues - Reef Complete  Wed - Reef Calcium  Thurs- Reef Plus  Friday- Reef Complete  Sat - Reef Calcium  Sun - no daily additive <Sounds fine but why is he dosing? That is more important. Do you understand what these additives are and what they do? This is very important. If you don't then please go to www.seachem.com  and look through the support and products pages>  In addition to the above, he rotates the following on a week by week basis  Week 1 - 10% water change so no additive except as noted above  Week 2 - Reef Advantage Calcium every day in addition to the above <Wow!>  Week 3 - Reef Builder every day in addition to the above  Week 4 - Reef Adv Calcium every day in addition to the above  Week 5 - Reef Builder every day in addition to the above  Then back to Week 1 <This is a lot of dosing in my opinion. I am not of the opinion that dosing is necessary unless tested for and there is a reason to add it. I don't dose just to dose if you know what I mean>  For example, during Week 2 on Friday you would add Reef Complete and Reef Adv Calcium. <I understand>  This guy has about 20 yrs experience and all of his personal tanks look fantastic but this seems a bit much to me. <I agree> I have a 20gal with 130w PC, LR and LS. I have some zoos, green star polyps, pom pom xenia, feather duster, cleaner shrimp and about 5 snails. <Yeah....I wouldn't dose in a tank of this size with those inverts. No need> I will be putting a AquaC Remora on later this week when it arrives.  <Now the Aqua C Remora is a great addition!!>  Just wanted a second opinion before I start dosing. <I wouldn't start this regime in my experience or opinion.> I have all the additives needed to run this plan but it seems some of these are the same additive except that one is powder and one is liquid. <Take a look at Seachem's page for more info on the products but I wouldn't do this. What is the reason for dosing these products again?>  Thanks in advance! <There is a good "dosing recipe" for coralline growth and this is the only one I would support if someone had to have coralline growth or needed a boost to their coralline growth, otherwise I wouldn't dose the above "recipe" as I can't even fathom a reason for such a massive regime. Save the money!!! ~Paul>

Sand- bed problem 4/6/04  Hi there, To the greatest site I have learned a lot throughout last 2 years.  <Good to hear!>  I have a 30 gallon reef tank with a 10 gallon sump, hang on protein skimmer and a Skilter filter. the system is about 10 months old and a handful of corals and fish I have all doing fine. Even the psychedelic mandarin. I use Kalkwasser to top of and daily 10 ml additions of b-ionic parts 1 and 2. Once a week I also use Kent marine strontium & molybdenum and Kent marine concentrated iodine. all additives are added according to packaging instructions.  <Please do be cautious with iodine and Strontium/Molybdenum additions. It is quite easy to overdose in such a small tank. Also, you should be testing for these elements if you are adding. In most cases, regular partial water changes will supply enough of these elements without additional dosing.>  My problem and question is that the top quarter to half inch of the sand bed keeps getting hard like a rock every now and then. I can break it into pieces but it never goes back to its original state. I am guessing it has to do something with the additives I use. can you please advice on this matter? Best regards Koko  <I suspect that your additions of Kalkwasser and B-Ionic are driving your pH, Alkalinity and Ca to very high levels. At high levels, calcium carbonate will precipitate onto the sand in your sand bed, solidifying it. If you don't currently test for calcium and alkalinity, you should start. You can then dose your Kalkwasser and B-Ionic according to your tanks needs. Best Regards. Adam>

Need info on Seachem products - 4/5/04 Hello, please I have one big problem. <OK> I like to know this information. I need more information of the parameters of these products. <Not sure what you are asking? If you need information on these specific products (made by Seachem), then I suggest pointing this question to their site. They are very responsive and are more than willing to help you get the information you need. http://www.seachem.com/contact/contact.html Be sure to be specific in your question to them. Let them know what parameters you are looking for. Also, be sure to look into their FAQs on the above link. Many answers of their most popular questions are found there> 1: Reef Strontium 2: Reef Iodide 3: Reef Advantage Magnesium 4: Reef Draws. Thank you <Good luck. Let me know if I can be of any more assistance. ~Paul> Trace Element Removal?  Hello,  <Hi there! Scott F. here today!>  I'm currently running a 29 gallon reef tank at the foot of my bed (The wife loves TV and I'd rather watch fish).  <Don't let the TV networks hear that!>  Anyway, I previously had a SeaClone and the only thing it skimmed was me out of $59.99.  <Not an uncommon complaint>  Today I went out and purchased an Aqua C Remora Pro and gave my SeaClone a proper burial on EBay.  <LOL>  So now I have the Remora Pro which puts through 400 gph, and I also have a Penguin 330 and a 315gph powerhead for flow. Is there any need to keep the Penguin 330 around after the Remora breaks in?  <Sure. Additional circulation and oxygenation are almost always beneficial>  Is there any harm/benefit of leaving it on?  <Not unless a direct. laminar flow is pointing right into one of your delicate sessile inverts>  I realize that the Remora Pro is much more than needed for a 29g. Because I have corals in there I'm worried about trace elements. I can use Tech I since it's time released, but do I need to add more of the other elements more often?  <I would not use trace element supplementation, especially in a small tank like yours, with little water volume (when you take into account the water displaced by rocks, sand, etc.). A better way to "supplement" the tank in almost every situation is to conduct frequent, small water changes with high-quality source water and a good brand of salt mix. There are many other benefits (besides trace element supplementation) of frequent water changes.>  How long does it take to skim them out?  <It really depends, but I personally believe that the animals will remove trace elements almost as fast as the skimmer. This is not based upon any scientific study-just my opinion. But once again, I am a firm believer in not adding things to the tank that you cannot test for. I'm not aware of any hobbyist-grade test kits for trace elements, so why bother? Just do regular water changes and you'll be assured of "dosing" them in the correct proportion>  Thanks, Justin  <You're quite welcome, Justin! Gotta go- my favorite show is on TV tonight...err- well- you get it...Regards, Scott F>

Lighting and supplementary equipment questions 2/26/04 Dear Mr. Fenner,  I am 11 years old and have a 60 gallon reef tank. <Hi Evan.  Adam here today.  Congratulations on such an early start to the hobby!  So many years you have to enjoy it!> I check my water parameters each day and perform water changes 10% every month. I was thinking about adding to my lighting system of two 96 watt power compact bulbs. I was thinking of adding two 150 watt 20,000k metal halides. If I did this would I need  a chiller or could I use three of four cooling fans? <If your house is air conditioned in the summer, you may not need a chiller.  A couple of fans will often work fine.  You will need to consider the noise, appearance and added evaporation in your decision.  If you want to keep animals that you really think need halides, you may want to consider the compromise of a single MH over the center.  That way you will have areas on the sides for lower light animals.> I was also thinking about adding a calcium reactor and a nitrate reductor to my tank. Would these be necessary? Would I need a sump for these? Could they sit under my tank using plastic tubing to get and return the water to my tank? Could you please e-mail me back. Thank you in advance.  Evan Morris Santa Monica, CA <You can run these devices without a sump, but you might need pumps to move the water through them.  A calcium reactor is nice for the convenience of not having to make daily Ca and Alkalinity additions, but is not necessary.  A nitrate reducer should be totally unnecessary for a properly set up and maintained reef tank.  If your nitrates are over 10 or so, you should correct the source, not just try and eliminate the nitrate.> P.S.  I loved the Conscientious Marine Aquarist. It was a huge help for me when I started reef keeping. I have read every page at least 3 times each. <Bob sees all of these messages, even when he doesn't reply personally, and they are all very much appreciated.  Best Regards, Adam>

The Necessity of Additives... Hi Guys, <Scott F. your guy today!> Just set up a new 125 reef tank, transferring from a 29 gal. which I am going to keep up as a small-aggressive type tank, maybe 1 trigger, Imperator,  and puffer, etc. What can I use as clean up critters in that tank that the trigger won't eat? <Very little, actually! Snails and hermit crabs will be snapped up like so much popcorn! In these types of systems, there is really no substitute for good husbandry and talented use of the siphon hose by the aquarist!> In this tank I was using previously strontium and iodine twice a week. In my new 125, my reef store guy suggested B-Ionic part 1 and 2 instead. The bottle tells you to use this once a day. Can I get away with twice a week like before. Is this stuff that great, or should I stick with my previous strontium and iodine, or can you suggest something better? <B-Ionic is a great product, IMO. Do ask yourself, however, what purpose you are adding things for. You should always test for anything that you add to a system. In most systems, strontium and iodine are replenished via regular frequent water changes. If there is some sort of deficiency in your system revealed by regular testing, then their addition is warranted. B-Ionic is designed to help maintain the calcium/alkalinity balance in your system. The frequency and amount of the dosage can only be confirmed through- you guessed it- testing!> This tank will have mostly soft coral, maybe a couple of hard, a couple of reef safe fish, and a pink Anemone. Also just bought RO/DI set-up. Can I store some of this water for topping, and also pre-mixed with salt for water changes, if I store in, say, a container like the Instant Ocean comes in, with a big O-ring gasket cover, and if so for how long? <I'd make it a few days ahead of time, so that you have a supply ready to go.> Hate to be so long, but I hear so much, and you guys have always steered me in the right direction. Thanks, Louie <Glad to be here for you, Louie! Regards, Scott F>

Super Washing Soda vs. Baking Soda... buy Aquarium safe instead 2/14/04 Hi,  just a few more questions for you :)) <OK> I did a search and could not come up with a good answer comparing these two buffers.  I would greatly appreciate a response detailing the differences between A&H Super Washing Soda and Baking Soda (pros and cons) as well any difference between food grade pickling lime vs. aquarium grade calcium hydroxide. Price I presume on the later. <I am outspoken on this issue. For the significant time and money you have invested in even a small marine aquarium (thousands of dollars) not to mention your moral responsibility to the untold number of living organisms that you've elected to take into your care/captivity...please (!) do resist the urge to save even a few tens of dollars (far less here even with a big tank in one year when we are talking about buffer)... by buying products that are not tested (chemical assays) or refined for aquarium use. There are many different grades of reagents and you may be inviting a serious problem with incidental contaminants from unproven non-aquarium use products. My advice in a sentence {joking here... hope you have a sense of humor <G>]: put a crowbar in your wallet and buy a QC  confirmed aquarium product :) And if you cannot afford the difference between spending $5 year on baking soda or $50 year on SeaBuffer, then perhaps you need to reconsider if you are truly prepared financially for the aquarium at all (bulb replacements every 6-10 months, weekly/monthly water changes, etc. Half joking again here... but you get my point, yes :) And in part I'm speaking to the many readers that will browse this post in months/years to come in our archives> While I am at it, if you happen to have any experience with electronically actuated ball valves. Specifically Spears 3 way, 2 position 75% duty cycle valves. I need help deciding what is the best to control the power cycles.   <best to take this one to the message boards, my friend. Some great talent on RC... technical minds and experience. I have no personal experience with this brand> I also am looking forward to Calfo and Fenner' next book release.  Any date set on release yet? <no set date... but we are in full swing and intend to release it later this year> Thank you for this invaluable resource. Greg <thank you for your interest and participation my friend. With kind regards, Anthony>

Calcium/Alkalinity Supplements WWW Team, I know that you normally do not like to endorse products, but I am receiving conflicting advice from 2 LFS that I go to.  I currently use ESV 2 part B-Ionic Calcium Buffer System which was recommended by one of the LFS.  The other store said that this stuff is bad due to increasing phosphates and causing hair algae, even though the package states that it does not increase phosphates.  They recommend using Kent Marine Calcium and Pro Buffer.  I have noticed a little hair algae, but not overwhelming, and I have not tested for phosphates (I know I probably should).  Which LFS is right? Do you recommend one product over the other? Thanks for your help <I can only speak with my personal experience with both of these products. I have used the ESV B-Ionic for several months at a time and have never experienced any elevated phosphate or hair algae because of it. Kent Marine calcium and buffer worked best at raising the calcium and alkalinity levels. Overall, I would purchase the Kent product.> Hope this helps, Graham Stephan

Feeding a Nano reef - 2/9/04 Hello crew!  Thanks so much for your helpful site. <Thanks for being part of it> I have a 12g salt nano and having a hard time deciding how much: Iodine Strontium & Molybdenum Calcium to add. <Well, I will tell you what, the best way to add these supplements in such a small tank is to do weekly water changes, if not twice a week. Do you test for these? The rule of thumb is if you don't test for it don't add it. Words I live by> I have some yellow polyps, trumpet coral and a xenia. I have one clown fish as well. <this is almost too small for most clowns but....I digress. It can be done.> Water condition tests fine, but I can't find on my products how much to add for such a small tank. <Water changes are the best way to replenish lost minerals See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/suppleme.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/watrqualmar.htm>  The trumpet coral is looking a little ill. <Lots of reasons for this. Without more specifics, it would be hard to diagnose> I have the Kent Marine Reef Starter Kit with the above solutions. And should I add any other food besides the solutions (for the corals)? <Yellow polyps (Parazoanthus) and the Trumpet coral (Caulastrea) should be fed small mysids, small krill, baby brine (nauplii), zooplankton, and other meaty matter in that size range.> Any guidelines for me? <Hope the above helps ~Paul> Thanks so much, Steve HJ

A "Vital" Mistake? I've been running a CPR BakPak II unit on my 30g reef tank for a couple months now and I am very happy with it's performance. I have about 20lb of LR with a 5" DSB and I was wondering if it would be good idea to remove the bio-bale media completely and replace it with a bag of activated carbon. It just looks like a very convenient place for chemical media to reside, and would probably lead me to replace it more often. <It IS a good place to put the carbon, and if it creates an incentive to change the carbon frequently due to the easy access, all the better!> Since I got the DSB up and running, my nitrates have been reading near zero, so a bio-bale "sink" isn't a concern yet and it is easy to rinse. <Yep- but unnecessary if you have a DSB, IMO> Also, my tank has been nuisance-algae free since setup 3 months ago. Last week, I noticed a bloom of brownish rust on the substrate and glass. I made three changes last week: 1) Increased my lighting, 2) Added an Indo-Pacific Live Sand Kit (awesome stuff!), and 3) Began adding Weiss' Coral Vital to help with coralline algae growth. After reading thru the FAQs, I believe the cause maybe the Coral Vital. <I'll bet you two bubble algae and an ounce of Bryopsis that you're right!> Since adding it, my skimmer production has increased by double. <So has the amount of organics in your water, no doubt!> I'm going to stop adding the Coral Vital, keep doing my water changes, and see if the algae goes away. <Good idea! I don't think that these products are necessary for many tanks. Why add extra pollution to the tank? If you want to feed inverts and corals, do consider purchasing a phytoplankton or rotifer culture kit from Florida Aqua Farms, or order some Reef Plankton from Indo Pacific Sea Farms (my favorite place!). To grow coralline algae, maintain proper calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium levels (which can be achieved through careful dosing of Kalkwasser, two-part solutions, or a calcium reactor, not to mention, regular water changes!).  There is no substitute for good husbandry, IMO! Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Mira Tip Trace Element source Please help....  We (my husband and myself) are trying to find Mira Tip (trace elements).  We simply cannot find this product anymore.  Do you carry this, if not can you recommend anyone that we can purchase from? <This is a HW (German manufacturer) product: http://www.hwwiegandt.de/Englisch/Meerwasser/Mira_tip/mira_tip.html Their line is distributed in the U.S. by Hawaiian Marine Imports: I take it you're in the U.S.. HMI's authorized dealer listing is here: http://www.hawaiianmarine.com/Auth%20Dealers.htm otherwise you can contact them directly re product. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance Jo and Fred

- Adding Supplements - Hi guys. I need help again!! For the past year I've been dosing my reef tank with Kent's calcium, strontium and Moly. and iodine. Though the results have been okay I've decided now to switch to  SeaChem's ReefBuilder and tropic Marin's bio calcium. Well after reading the labels, both claim to contain amounts of strontium and Moly. and the bio calcium also claims to contain iodine. The question now is, is it still necessary to dose additional iodine and strontium and Moly. or will regular use of bio calcium and reef builder provide enough of both. <I wouldn't add anything without testing first - how do you know what you 'need' if you haven't tested for whatever 'it' is... would get test kits for all you've mentioned and test first, then determine if additional trace elements are required.> Thanks a lot (again) Jay Toronto, Canada. <Cheers, J -- >

Cultivating Algae Hi Scott, how are you doing, hope you're doing great. <Doing great!> In the research that I have made, and in the advice you give me, you mentioned that Iron and Magnesium, Trace Elements, so I went to the pet store and ask for it, and they told me that they don't sell that stuff, because they fight to get rid of algae, not to help it, so were can I get the Iron and the magnesium?? <Several companies manufacture iron supplements just for aquarium use, such as Coralife. Magnesium (which I personally would not dose) can also be purchased as an aquarium preparation> My wife told me to dissolved a vitamin capsule that contains both elements, and put them in the water, but honestly anything that you don't purchase at the pet store maybe can kill your fish, I have had a few bad experiences. <I agree...I'd only use a supplement designed for aquarium use> can you tell me were can I purchase it, and what presentation does it have. Thank again Scott, for your time and advice. att. Juan Santos. <Well, Juan- you can find these products on many retailer's web sites, such as Dr. Fosters and Smith, and others. Do a little searching on the web, and you'll find what you need quickly! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> PS. happy holidays.

This can't be right -- Balancing Ca/dKH/Mg I've been having trouble for at least 2 months with maintaining my Calcium and dKH levels in my 75 gallon reef tank.  I've been putting in Kent's liquid Pro Buffer dKH nearly every day.  I've been using Kalkwasser about 5 days on and 3 days off (to mix another batch), with an occasional dose of liquid calcium.  I usually dose the buffer during the day and the Kalkwasser at night.  I thought maybe my magnesium level was too low so I tested it.  It was about 1100 ppm, which is low but I don't think it's terrible.  Yesterday, I got a bottle of Kent's Tech-M to raise my Mg level.  I followed the directions on the bottle and put 1 ml per gallon, which is supposed to raise the Mg level by 39.1 ppm per day.  That seems too high for a daily dosage, but who am I to argue? <You should be arguing... the instructions on the bottle are only guidelines.> My dKH is now 6.5 and still gradually dropping.  (It was 7 a few weeks ago.)  My calcium is 285, again gradually getting lower.  I try to do 10 gallon weekly water change with Tropic Marin salt.  I can't do more that 10 gallons at a time because the water level would go below the tops of some of my corals. <You do know there are several corals in the wild that are exposed to daily when the tide goes out... letting the water level down to perform a do a water change probably won't hurt anything.> My fish have been showing signs of stress during this time, especially my Blue Tang.  My invertebrates seem to be doing fine, though I would have thought that they'd be doing worse than the fish.  My corals and clams, oddly enough, are thriving and growing fast.  One of my Acroporas is growing so fast that I'm having to fragment it for the second time in two months to keep it from overshadowing my other corals. I'm not really sure what I'm doing wrong.  Should I hold off on the supplements and start doing more frequent water changes until the levels return to normal? <Water changes alone probably won't change much. I'd start by looking for sources that would be dragging your alkalinity down. Perhaps it's time to swap out some of your live rock and substrate if this tank has been running over a year.> Should I use a stronger dose of Kalkwasser? <Would use caution.> I'm using 1 tsp per gallon of RO water, but the directions say that I can go as high as 2 tsp. <Need to measure the pH of the mixed product and use that as your guide as to whether or not it is 'safe'.> Should I continue to dose the magnesium until the level increases to at least 1250 ppm? <I'd skip this for the moment... the water changes may be a better influence on this.> Maybe my hard corals and clams are just growing too fast for me to keep up using the liquid supplements? <Quite possible.> I've been researching a calcium reactor, but I'm not sure that I'll be able to get it set up in time to fix this problem before my fish start getting worse. <Well, just keep in mind that there could be reasons other than shifting water chemistry, or perhaps you are shifting the chemistry to drastically. If I were you, I'd leave any/all Kent products on the shelf and investigate some of the brands they imitate.> Any advice you can give me would be appreciated. Thanks, Patrick <Cheers, J -- >

- Additives and Test Kits, Follow-up - Thanks, <My pleasure.> I'm still sooooo confused... <Oh? Please explain.> I'm thinking of ordering a Red Sea Calcium test (which tests dissolved calcium), and a Red Sea pH/Alkalinity test.  How does that sound? <Uhh... was Red Sea on that list of worthwhile test kits I gave you? I don't think so... I've not used these personally but have heard less than favorable reports from other aquarists. It's worth your time to spend a few extra dollars to get higher quality test kits.> I was thinking of also ordering a magnesium test kit, but can't seem to find one...is one really needed? <Not in my opinion.> Can I get by with just the calcium and alkalinity test kits? <I'd have nitrate, pH, calcium and alkalinity.> Since I will be putting in an order, which additives do you recommend? <I wouldn't 'order' any but wait until the tests come and confirm what you may or may not need.> I currently have Seachem reef complete, Seachem reef calcium, Seachem reef trace, and Seachem reef carbonate.  Will these suffice, or should I order different additives? Thank you sooo much, I wish there was some way to make this a little simpler! <Cheers, J -- >

- Low pH Problems, Follow-up - Hi I have also got 2 inches of aragonite sand - lots of Ocean/Texas Holey rock and lava rock. <Interesting... is quite possible the lava rock is what's pulling your pH down - is not really a suitable marine decor.> The magnesium level is low and according to the LFS that will keep the calcium and pH down - it reads as 1000 ppm. <I don't agree with that.> So I'm adding TechM made by Kent marine to raise the magnesium - could this be it or am I is the wool being pulled over my eyes? <I think the store is trying to sell you supplements - you should get all the magnesium you need from regular water changes with a reputable salt.> I will also try baking soda as suggested. <And do consider losing the lava rock.> regards Meirion <Cheers, J -- >

- Adding Additives - Hi Bob, I have a 75 gal salt tank.  The tank has 45 lbs of Fiji live rock and 50 lbs of HI rock.  It's filtered by an Aquaclear Aquatics Pro 150 wet/dry. I have a maroon clownfish pair, yellow damsel, "white damsel" (?), and a flame angel....are fish are doing wonderful. I also have a colony of mushrooms and three button polyps that grew on the live rock...now almost four, its "budding" a little polyp again.  Along with these polyps and mushrooms I have several snails and a cleaner shrimp.  I have never added any additives for the polyps, mushrooms or live rock... all seem to be doing fine.  I don't have very much coralline algae growth.  The rocks are purple, but it doesn't seem to be spreading much. I have recently added a toadstool leather.  For some reason I decided I better start adding some reef additives...???  I added two capfuls (two tbls) each of reef complete, reef calcium, reef carbonate and reef complete.  The tank  has  now turned slightly cloudy....is this normal? <Hard to say... I don't recommend adding anything without test for it first. Could have been you didn't need to add these. Please go out an get a calcium and alkalinity test and then we can talk about what should and shouldn't be added.> Will this hurt any of my fish or corals? <Might - depends on exactly what is making things cloudy.> Is it necessary to add any reef additives if I just want a few mushrooms, polyps, hardy corals, and coralline algae? <At the very least calcium... but again, tests will show how much and how often.> What should I be adding and how much, how often? Thank you so much!  I really want to keep this simple, the reef additive thing is really confusing....please help! Great web site by the way! Thanks, Daryl <Cheers, J -- >

- Additives and Test Kits - Thanks, Which Calcium and Alkalinity test kits do you recommend. <Hach, SeaTest, and Sera are all worth owning.> Are there any other test kits I should buy? <Hmm... a good nitrate test is always useful. Iodine/dide tests are good too but harder to find... other than that, I think you can skip most if you stick to a regular schedule of water changes.> Daryl <Cheers, J -- >

Water quality issues, Coralline receding, snails dying WWM Crew, As many others have said, THANK YOU for the fantastic web site!  My wife and I are new to the marine environment, and your website has been extremely helpful.  Also the new Marine invert. book looks amazing from what I have seen from the sample pages. <Thank you for your kind words> We are setting up a Oceanic 75 gal. mini reef tank.  The equipment currently in the tank are 2 MaxiJet powerheads,4-65W PC Coralife (2-10000K and 2-actinics),Prizm Pro skimmer, Oceanic w/d sump (bio balls removed - put skimmer in the "old bio area" - the output of the skimmer goes into the refugium with has LS and red Gracilaria growing - reverse photoperiod of about 12 hrs.- which then overflows into the pump area to be returned to the main tank), Eheim power canister filter (with floss and activate carbon in it) and a UV sterilizer (not on) in a separate loop. We currently have about 60 lbs. of LR (LR is Fiji (45%) and Aqua cultured from FL (55%)) and 45 lbs. of LS.  The sand bed (mix of sand and LS) in the main tank is 3" of fine sugar sand (a little medium fine aragonite mixed in). Inhabitants: No fish yet (trying to be patient and add slowly) 8 red legged hermit crabs 2 Astrea snails (only surviving snails - question to come soon) 2 peppermint shrimps (controlling the Aiptasia anemones) 2 Aiptasia anemones too large for the peppermint shrimp to eat (have to take care of these soon) lots of pods Zoanthids (two "stalks" currently) growing out of the LR A few feather dusters growing out of the LR At least 3 bristleworms that also came out of the live rock <Mmm, this is your "missing email" from a few days back...> The tank is about 7 weeks old.  The tank was cycled with the uncured LR and LS.  For the past 3 weeks our water tests have shown ph 8.2, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0,and a temp. of 80-82F.  Within the last week we have been testing alkalinity and calcium.  The current results are KH 11 dKH, GH 40+dkh (got tired of dropping reagent - is this possible or do I have a bad test kit?),  and CA of 255.  I know that I need to increase the CA levels.  I have been adding small amounts of Kalkwasser to increase the CA, but from reading your website, I would guess that I am close to a precipitate snowstorm.  Therefore I need to do water change to lower the alkalinity so that I can raise the CA -- Do I understand this correctly?  If so, then when I mix up my water for the water for the water change (RO water aerated for 12hrs, mix in buffer or not (I assume not since I am trying to lower the alk.), mix in Instant ocean salt to the correct spg, and heat to the "match" the tank temp) should I put buffer in the mix? We added the PC lights about 2 weeks ago (before only ambient lighting and 1 48" NO Coralife flour.).  Over the last week the coralline algae on the LR has been receding (mainly the dark and light purple, and dark and light green algae -- the pink coralline seems to be growing well within the last few days (after we started supplementing the Ca - small spots on the glass, on the dead rock, and a little on the sand).  Is the receding coralline algae due to the water quality issues (low Ca and high Alk.) and/or acclimation to the new lights?  Or is this too much lighting for this tank?  Or some kind of disease? Also a few days ago we had several snails die during the night (They had been in the tank for about 2 weeks at this point).  2 red footed moon snails (I have read since then that red footed moon snails need a cooler tank (78F max) and will die otherwise - is this true?), 2 other snails of unknown variety (recommended by LFS) (shells conical in shape similar but not markings to Astrea), and 2 Astrea snails.  Could my water quality (high alk. and low Ca) have caused this?  One LFS thought that we might be starving the snails - is this likely?  Or should I be looking for a predator? <Likely you're suffering from "too much, too soon" here... better to wait a few weeks to months when setting up marine systems, especially with live rock... Do read where I sent you previously and consider your options in attaining a balance in your water chemistry. It is dangerous (and expensive!) to mix various supplements together w/o a thorough working understanding of their interactions. Bob Fenner> Sorry for writing a book! Thank you in advance for your assistance! John

- DIY Dosing Question - Hey guys :)  I made a DIY drip unit for my top-off water, which will be distilled water buffered to the proper KH.  My question is this-Can I dose Iodine with the buffered water? <I wouldn't.> Can I add gluconate CA to it as well? <You could, but I wouldn't.> I'm no chemist, and don't claim to know anything about it, but it seems as though these could be dripped together in one unit. <They 'could', but I wouldn't - I'd stick with the standard bearers - Kalkwasser or just clean water for top off. As for the iodine - I just wouldn't add this without testing. Gluconate+calcium is not the optimum way to get calcium into your tank, and then leaves you with all those sugars... look out problem algae. So no... I wouldn't bother topping off with either of those.> Thanks guys, you rock. <Cheers, J -- >

- More Reef Questions - OK, I've compiled a larger list of questions that still ponder me (marine/reef aquarium) :-) - What do you think about Marc Weiss products? <Not much.> The marketing for them paints them as this huge breakthroughs in reef keeping, but are they really worth it? <I don't think so and wouldn't use them for free, but perhaps you should try for yourself and see...> I mean for instance, one of their products claims that besides being great for corals, it will prevent Crypto from adhering to fish, do you think it's true? <Nope.> The two aquarium dealers in my city really recommend the products, but what is your take on that? <Everyone is different - your two fish stores need to make a profit, so perhaps that influences their recommendations. I personally don't go for products that make amazing claims - includes products that slice, dice, and make Julienne fries.> BTW, are those products only fancy names for things offered by Kent Marine or Seachem, or is Marc Weiss really spending tons of money on research and patenting the technology? <Have to ask Mark Weiss that question, along with Kent, et al.> - Is Strontium and Molybdenum supplementation really necessary? <In some tanks, yes - in most, no.> - On one of the 'bristle worm' traps product it said that bristle worms will eat corals. I have bristle worms and hard/soft corals. Should I try to get rid of bristle worms? Will those traps be effective? <I wouldn't worry about the bristle worms - there are both good and bad types, but luckily for you, the good types predominate. It's a rare occurrence that you will get a predatory bristle worm - and for those, yes, the trap will work.> - What is the best way to export/decrease phosphates in the water? <Don't overfeed. Second route to go is to use phosphate absorbents.> I don't have RO and my tap water has a bit of them. I don't have any real problem with algae, but the phosphates are somewhat high. What are my options? Will Maxima clams suck up the phosphates? <No.> Any species of corals? <Only slightly.> How about any of the commercial resins, which one would you recommend? <Polyfilter.> - Is Powder Blue tang ok in the same tank with Yellow Tang and Hippo/Regal tang? <Powder blue tang isn't the wisest choice for any tank - they don't ship well and are prone to bouts with ich.> - What would you use for internal bacterial infection? Any antibiotic that could be mixed with food and fed to fish in reef tank? <I might try the new Spectrum foods.> Thanks again, Luke <Cheers, J -- >

Marc Weiss. All it's cracked up to be? 9/21/03 Hi, <howdy> I have been looking into some of the Marc Weiss products, in particular, Coral Vital. If what the advertising claims is all true, I've got to have this stuff. <heehee...> (Does everything from exploding growth of everything you want, to shutting down ich). However, just felt it was not quite fully explained exactly how it all works, and wondered if it is in fact too good to be true? <many aquarists share this same doubt/concern. My impression seems to be that it is a line of interest to new aquarists, but is not favored or regarded highly by advanced/experienced aquarists> Not sure if you are under any constraints about answering product related queries, but any info would be appreciated. Cheers, Alastair <no worries, my friend... I can honestly and legally share with you my opinions on aquaristic matters. And my opinion of the product in question is that it is not necessary at all to have success with a marine aquarium. If you choose to use and experiment with this product, please do share with us your results. I'm not inclined to use the brand at all. best regards, Anthony>

Marc Weiss. All it's cracked up to be II? 9/22/03 Thanks for that. Well, the bottle I ordered has arrived, although I am wondering if I may have wasted my money. Anyhow, I will use it as per instructions, and will report back in a few months as to how it went. <do consider too, that products that do not list their ingredients require a lot of faith from you to use in your aquarium. I personally refuse to dose any supplement that does not honestly disclose its ingredients. best of luck, mate. Anthony>

Marc Weiss. All it's cracked up to be III? 9/22/03 Thanks Anthony, good advice. I will experimentally use this bottle, but from here on in, I will use this ingredient disclosure principle as a guideline when purchasing. <it has been a good rule to live by for many aquarists. Secretive merchants of unknown (compositionally) elixirs certainly have their right to claim proprietary needs... and aquarists in turn have the right to decline buying/using undefined additives. For how very expensive (loves and money) our investments in reef aquaria are... it amazes me that anybody would put a mystery product into their aquarium of sensitive dependants> Perhaps if every aquarist did this, it would force some of this dodgy stuff of the market. <exactly correct my friend... the consumer has the final word! Our industry would still be fine without consumer watchdogs and better regulations if folks would duly conduct themselves as educated consumers. Snake oil products exist because of the stream of indifferent and ignorant/unknowing aquarists that buy them. That is not to say that the product in question here is not a good product. But rather, that it is included in the discussion of supplements at large and what aquarists will support in the marketplace. I shall look forward to hearing of your experiences. Wishing you the best of luck. Anthony>

Calcium/alkalinity supplements 09/09/03 Hello crew, <Hi Marty, PF on call tonight> I am looking for some clarification on two part supplements, specifically Kent A&B. I have a 120gal reef tank with a 100lbs live rock that has been up a running for 8 months. My livestock consists of a hammer coral, candy cane, open brain, green mushrooms, green star polyps and some brown and yellow button polyps. I also have a couple of tangs, clowns, Chromis, cardinals and some shrimp. I have been adding equal parts A&B daily and maintaining a fairly good balance. (12 dKH & 350 cal).  These are currently the only supplements I am adding.  I tested the other day and noticed the calcium was starting to creep down under 300 while my alkalinity remained at 12 dKH. I know that both cal/alk can not be simultaneously high, but I would like to get the calcium back up to the 350-400 level.  In reading the FAQ's I have found that the answer to increasing the calcium is to temporarily add calcium chloride until the target value is reached then continue on with the equal parts of A&B. Is this the same as just adding more of part A, in which the main ingredient is calcium salts?  I'm assuming that this is the same as calcium chloride. I just want to make sure I am not going to screw up the of the balance if A&B are not always added in equal amounts. I know the real answer to this question is to buy a calc reactor,  hopefully I will get there in due time. Thanks a lot for your help. Marty <I would advise you to just use the calcium chloride, "calcium salts" implies more than one kind. And you're right, the real answer is a reactor. You might also want to look into adding Kalkwasser to your daily top off. Have a good evening, PF>

Kent Liquid Calcium Reactor - Product change 8/9/03 Many thanks, your help is invaluable <always welcome my friend> Your site is fantastic -- I have found it invaluable and have used it to avoid many pitfalls, I emailed Kent who have told me that they have changed the formula of Kent liquids reactor for the very reason that I emailed you about it set rock hard on the bottom and I had to break it up on my second bottle with a screw driver. They are sending me 2 bottles of the new formula as way of an apology. <good to hear some resolution here. As the daily readers of the WWM daily FAQs may recall... I have had a long-standing "lack of love" for this brand :p > Best regards Mark P.S. I have read about a book that you have written can you give me more details? <I have two books available my friend (the second co-authored with our fearless leader Robert Fenner here at WWM)... do check out the cover art, reviews, etc at http://www.readingtrees.com/books_in_print.htm  If interested, you can also get signed copies of the books there https://secure.wetwebfotos.com/order_form.jsp [secure server] Thanks kindly, Anthony>

Calcium/magnesium/kH Imbalance 8/8/03 Hi folks, <cheers> I have looked over your web site and seem to be able to find a lot about why my calcium etc have crashed but cannot find any help about how to recover from one. <no worries... it is very simple, albeit laborious - "Dilution is the Solution to Pollution". You need to do a series of very large (50% or more) water changes without any other supplementation. This will get you back on par after a few weeks> I was using an additive called liquid reactor and the calcium had settled on the bottom and set hard , so I was not dosing in balance. this caused a drop in all my values <understood... we often hear similar although less severe situations with folks that use 2-part additives without faithfully shaking them well before every single use> Calcium 310 Magnesium 920 DKH 5.7 How do I recover from this? <as per above> Do I do water changes until everything is back to normal -- if so how much and how frequent <if it was my tank... I would literally do a single and skilled (very accurately adjusted) 100% water change. But then, I've likely got a bit more comfort if not experience in aquatic husbandry. My advice to you to be safe would be 3 to 4 50% water changes weekly> Do I need to dose with magnesium then bring my other values back up gradually <no supplementation in the interim... you can speed the w/c cycle up a bit if you like to 50% every 4-5 days for a total of 4 exchanges> I have a 65 gallon cube tank with live rock, soft corals, and inverts Best regards, Mark <kindly, Anthony>

-Undetectable iodine and strontium levels?- Thanks Kevin! Forgot to add that I do have an Aiptasia-friendly Lysmata amboinensis but no peppermint shrimp. How would peppermint shrimp get along with its tank mate? <They'd get along fine and dandy> When I looked when I got home this afternoon, I could not find the smallest of the Aiptasia. Do you think a snail or hermit crab found them? <Doubtful, it may have gotten stepped on and retracted.> I would think that feeding to support all snails and hermit crabs may be too close to over-feeding. Is it appropriate to feed for the fish and corals and let the chips fall where they may in terms of carrying capacity? I assume that means some shrimp and hermit crabs will become food for each other. <You got it> I have been testing and St and I have been almost undetectable. <That's bizarre, I doubt that the tests are accurate.> Have read that one may not want to add these nutrients or much else when fighting unwelcome inhabitants. Should I keep those levels up anyway for the sake of the animals I want to keep? <If you are going to add anything, you should be testing for it. Since both of those levels are undetectable, you may want to verify with another quality test kit, because quite frankly I think they're dead wrong! Good luck! -Kevin> Cheers, George. -Low Sr. and Iodine- Okay, maybe they are not undetectable but they are at the low end of the spectrum. Using Salifert test kits. <Very reputable> I guess my question is, should I go ahead and bring Sr and I concentrations up to what would be considered adequate or keep them low for now considering the presence of Aiptasia. <If your goal is to best replicate NSW, I would keep these concentrations at NSW levels. Adding either of these chemicals shouldn't result in an increase in Aiptasia in the tank. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks again, George.

What a mess I made....... Hello All, It's been many months since my last question, partly because all has been quite well, up to my last water change that is. I have a 75 g. reef. I do water changes about ever 2 weeks changing about 30 gallons each rime. This time, I decided to add a few supplements: Reef Advantage Calcium "       "              Magnesium "       "              Strontium Reef Builder Reef Complete (raises calcium) Seachem Buffer Reef Plus (vitamins etc) I can hear you as I type. <I hope you are hearing 'Holy Cow what was this person thinking! <G> Seriously, most all of us have done something like this at one time or another. Welcome to the club! Learn from this and try to move on.> At the time, I thought I was doing some good for my inhabitants. I NEVER add sups, and I thought they would appreciate a good dose vitamins and such. Well, maybe this was too much of a good thing? My 2 year old banded coral shrimp died. Great loss for me. <I am sorry to hear this.> He was so beautiful and robust. Now, my mushroom corals, which have grown quite large in the past year, (about the span of my palm) have shrunk down to the size of a quarter. They look truly miserable. What can I do to alleviate this mess I made? Another water change? This sounds to be the most logical solution. Please advise this long time beginner. <Yes, you are right on track. 20% or so for several days would be in order to bring the tank into some semblance of balance. On the supplement subject. With a high quality synthetic salt mix and regular water changes, supplements can be kept to a minimum, if used at all. I would not add ANY chemical supplements unless you are testing for the element you are supplementing. As far as food supplement is concerned, Selcon is an excellent product to soak the food in before feeding. After things come back in line, would you consider 7-10G water changes once a week? Small weekly or twice weekly water changes are more affective than semi-monthly or monthly. Something to think about. Thank you <Again, I am sorry for the loss of your shrimp. Try to move past this and continue as you were before as it sounds like your tank was thriving. Don>

Re: What a mess I made....... Thank you Don for your advice. I began small water changes after I wrote my letter to you. Already, my mushroom corals look wonderful. They are back to their full size! That was incredible fast. <Yes, the Corallimorph is very hardy.> I wonder what to do with all my supp.s? Trash them? Well, maybe I'll just keep them in the fridge, and next time I consider using them, I'll make sure I need them! <Maybe there is a marine society in your area? You might find out if any of them could use the supplements.> Thank you again, A loyal follower of Wet Web Media, Pamela <You are welcome, again <G> and let us know how this works out for you, Don>

Ironing out a problem 07/19/03 Hi Crew <Hi Tim, sorry for the delay> I have been dosing Chelated iron supplement but after 2 days the tests show no iron. Is this because the skimmer removes it, or is there any other reason? I am having problems keeping Caulerpa alive it bleaches out then fades away this is why I need iron. Thanks for your help Tim <Well Tim, have you tested your skimmate to see if it's high in iron? I'd look there first. I'm not familiar with your setup, so I really can't give you a more definite answer. You could try slowly increasing the dose (and I mean slowly, if you spike the iron levels quickly, you could have nuisance algae out the yin yang) a little at a time over a period of weeks. Have you also looked at your bulbs, they may just be old and need replaced. Hope this helps, PF> 

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