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FAQs on Marine Water Supplements 4

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 3, & FAQs on Marine Supplement: Rationale/Use, Science, Measuring, Using, Troubleshooting/Fixing... Products/DIY & Brands, & Biominerals, Iodine

Pouring in chemicals into a system is a very poor idea. Here, a very healthy Padina colony.

FOWLR question. Carbon, Purple Up and System Size 2/13/08 I have a quick question regarding my aquarium. I have a saltwater setup 30 gal. that has 1 puffer in it, <What type of puffer? The volume of your tank is pushing the limits for even the smallest species.> no other live stock, I recently added 30 lbs of live rock that I got from another aquarist that had it in a 5 yr old reef setup. I have a Bak Pak skimmer a HOT magnum 250 hang on canister and a Via Aqua pump for circulation. Do I still need to use carbon all the time or only once or twice a month? (this was suggested by someone at the LFS), <You can do either, but it is not necessary with frequent water changes. See the link below.> second since I only have the one fish in there, he is about 3 inches long right now, do I need to add anything to keep the live rock up? <No, it will be fine.> And last is it ok to use something like Purple up to keep the coralline algae up? <No, I would supplement via water changes in this small of a system. With all in one concoctions such as Purple Up you do not know what exactly you are adding in relation to what your water tests, alk/calcium being the main components here.> As always thanks for the advice. Terry <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.> http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfiltrmedart.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffers.htm and related FAQ's

Ca high high high.. alk spot on... Reading assignment  -- 10/04/07 Good afternoon again!! Sorry to bother! I have read the faq's and other email and am having a hard time understanding this. I have read in emails of problems with raising Ca. I read a lot about mag and alk can hinder this. I am having quite the opposite issue. PH - 8.3 My Alk - 9 <Units?> Ca - 500 <Too high...> I have not tested mag yet. My alk this last week was far lower then needed about 7, so over the next few days I slowly raised it to 9. <How?> On the flip side my Ca was at 500. After raising the Alk to 9, I was expecting to see a drop in Ca. Quite the contrary as my Ca was tested over 500 last night. I have not noticed any precip at all. <Likely close...> Its been 48 hours since the buffing <...> capacity got back to norm however my calcium has not started to drop, its gone up. Is the calcium in the tank still not available to the corals and coralline to use? I must be missing something. Ideas? <Yes... reading> I have not been adding any Ca for a week. Aaron <Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm BobF>

Re: Oil on top of water maybe from yellow head Jawfish?? Iodine article almost complete. -- 09/14/07 Yes, very true. Hmmm... I underestimated just how much different the two tanks could be on a biological level (I felt that more a capacity issue) since they share so many similar substrates, live rock and inhabitants going back and forth (vacationing... lol). Here again, many dynamics are at work in similar systems even under the same roof. It is little wonder how much things can and will then be changed going from different source waters and areas of the world. This gives a true appreciation for just how different our little aquatic worlds can potentially be and why so much time should be invested in research. <And valuable insight to our perceptions of reality... finite and infinite... games> This is yet another data point for why indiscriminant applications of tank additives are generally a mistake. <Yes> I have to think the best value/dollar spent is on more salt mix and water changes. We really all manage an import export business in tank nutrients when we get down to it. <One way to look at this> However, no matter how well we perform, there is no way to manage this as efficiently as the currents of the seas to which all our pets (aside from tank/captive raised) adapted to over the ages. It never ceases to be amazing to learn about the little worlds we create. <One way...> It is also nice to see the visual cues and behaviors when you manage to do things they all like and do well with. James <B>

Trace elements in a marine tank    7/25/07 Hi crew Thanks for all your earlier help. I am planning to set up a marine tank. I wanted to know what are the trace elements required for a successful marine tank. In what quantity should i add them per gallon and how many times per week. <Your tank can get all the trace elements it needs from your salt mix. You shouldn't need to add any additional trace elements as long as you keep up with regular water changes.> Any help will be greatly appreciated. <The only chemicals you absolutely need to add to your tank (besides salt) are those you use to maintain calcium and alkalinity. If you end up keeping a tank with a lot of Acropora and Montipora ("SPS"), you might have to start adding magnesium at some point. But I wouldn't worry about it just starting out.> Thanking you in advance <Happy to help, Sara M.>

Purified water testing & trace elements Water Quality 4/8/07 Hello, <Hi Greg.> I've been  testing my make-up water via a Salifert alkalinity test kit.  The water is  purified via an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Tap Water  Purifier. <A very expensive way to purify water.  An RO purifier will save you much money here.> I  always get 0 dKH when testing. The thing is though, recently I got close enough  to the aerating/stored make-up water to notice a fishy stink. <Is the water being circulated/aerated?> So I tested  alkalinity and it read 0.  So I'm thinking the alkalinity test obviously isn't  sufficient. <???Alkalinity has nothing to do with water purity.> I'm  guessing a TDS meter will do the trick.  What is the best way to catch the purifier before it produces anything less than perfect water? If you think a meter is the way to go, will the Pocket TDS Meter from Marine Depot do the trick? The reason I ask is, it seems like it might be cheaply made @  $29.95. <Total Dissolved Solids testing is used to check the effectiveness of RO units and I believe would also tell you the condition of the media in your water purifier. As for the meter MD sells, I'd ask them that question.> Also, I use a Poly Filter  and dose Seachem's Reef  Builder and Reef Advantage Calcium.  Should I remove the Poly Filter for four days every time I add these to my tank? Will the Poly Filter remove a  significant amount of trace elements from either of these two  products? <No.  If regular water changes are carried out, you will replenish any lost trace elements.> I really don't care if it removes the magnesium, strontium, etc.  All I worry about being absorbed is the calcium and alkalinity. <No worries here.> How  much, if any, will it remove from these two products? <Would be negligible at best.> One more question. My make-up water (for water  change) only has 960 ppm of Mg. I'm shooting for 1050. I've got Epsom  salts and I'm wondering if I can just add the powder directly to my make-up water after it's been aerated, buffered, brought to correct spg and pH. If  not, how should I do this?  Dilute in purified water and then add to  make-up water? The tank's magnesium level is at 915 ppm and would like this  also to be 1050 since I maintain calcium around 350 ppm. Am I going about this  in the right manner? <I would mix the Epsom salts in a separate container and add directly to tank when needed.  As for other additives, follow manufacturers directions.  James (Salty Dog)> Take care,  Greg SW additives   4/1/07 Hello, <Good Evening> I have a 924-gallon system with Fiji Rock and Kenyan rock.  I also have around 25 fish, 15 of them being small fish like damsels etc. I am starting to add soft corals, leathers, polyps etc.  I do a 53 gallon change every 2 weeks with synthetic salt of course.  My question is should I be adding iodine, strontium, and trace elements or is there enough in the salt? <Simple test kits will determine this but without a large coral population as of yet they should be adequately maintained with the water changes, but as with most things, tests give figures. Also these will depend on the brand of salt used> Sump lab is out of picture. This was taken a while ago, since then I have added more rock and some soft corals. Still a work in progress really but my fish love the space. <Is and will be quite a tank once completed> Many Thanks, James. <Olly>

Fiji Gold   3/29/07 Quick question please.............   How do you guys feel about "Fiji Gold" as a calcium supplement? <As posted on WWM:  "Mmm, a mix of sodium bicarbonate, calcium chloride, calcium carbonate and a little borate. I gave the formulation for this "Fiji Gold" (delicious, export <FYI is also the name of a beer... Bob, like Homer Simpson... beeeeer... here being temporarily distracted.>) to Walt.S sometime ago and strongly suggested he market same and place a sample in each box of live rock, faux and natural... Bob Fenner"> I am dosing it once a week as it states on the jar. <Monitor levels.  More here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm > Should I supplement any other minerals or is it true what they say on the package that it includes all the minerals in their "natural" state. <Yes, is crushed coral skeletons plus.>   Please let me know what you think about this product. <Bob, inspired by said export, named it.>      Thanks, <Welcome, -Mich> Jeromy  PS- thanks for all the help in the past!!!!! <On behalf of the crew, you're quite welcome.>

What's the Diff. between Magnesium and Molybdenum?   2/26/07 <Greetings, Mich here.> Molybdenum and magnesium... are they diff. substances? <Yes.  Chemically notated MoO42- and Mg2+ respectively.> <<Mmm, just the elemental Mo and Mg symbols for these? RMF>> I think it is a yes...or is Molybdenum just another form of magnesium? <No.> Because Red Sea produces...Molybdenum...they don't produce magnesium...and Seachem sells magnesium but not Molybdenum.... isn't it weird? <Mmm, no stranger than anything else.> What's the effect of Molybdenum to reef tank? <Possibly a micronutrient.> Which is more important ?? <Magnesium.> I am using magnesium only...should I put in Molybdenum too? <No.> What's the effect to my corals if I used Molybdenum too? :) <As far as I'm aware the science isn't well understood.  RMF any comment?  -Mich> <<Not necessary in any system I've ever read about, encountered to add this micro-nutrient... is only necessary in very small amounts... supplied by salt mix, foods... RMF> Alkalinity high, Ca low - ph stuck 8.0   2/25/07 Wife and I have new 75g tank set up and cycling. 2 weeks old. 20g sump and ASM G2 skimmer Trying to monitor levels and do what is necessary to get water chemistry right while cycling tank <Okay> 100# Kaelini live rock uncured originally I think <Yes... is a "Walt Smith" Fiji product... named after one of his and Deb's daughters... have been out collecting... seen the process there for cleaning...> Instant Ocean with RO/DI water 2" aragonite sand bed Here are latest water tests pH - 8.0 can't seem to get it up to 8.3. <No worries... mostly the affects of LR curing...>   Initially was around 7.8 We have added 4 tsp (80g dosage) SeaChem Marine 8.3 buffer on about 4 different days, raised pH to 8.0 but no higher <Is fine> temp - ranges from 78-81.  do I need more fan to stabilize this better or is this normal? <Is fine as well> actinics(4-65w) on for 8hrs with MH (2-250w) on for 6hrs <Would extend once rock is cured> Ammon-0 spiked to high of 8.0 and dropped Nitrites -test .5 today , spiked as high as 5.0 Nitrates - had spiked as high as 80 now hovering at 20 last several days. Is our cycle about to finish?? <Mmm, yes, likely so> My Alk is at 14 dKH today up from 12 last several days. <Less of the alkalinity buffer to add...> Calcium is at 280 up from 240. <More of the alkaline earth to add...> The only thing we have added is about 4 daily doses over 2 weeks of SeaChem buffer to try and get pH to 8.3 and about 3 doses of Oceans Blend 2 part liquid to try to raise Calcium. <Stop the former, continue the latter> All this at recommendation of LFS They said don't worry with water changes yet, just let cycle complete. <About right> No livestock at all.   Pretty coralline on live rock bleached out to pure white initially,  but now appears to be coming back in some places Last several days have a little green algae starting to form on rock and glass.  Looks like single strands about 1/2" long. Today noticed white minute particles floating around.   Thought it may be micro bubbles, but don't believe it is air. Also first time noticed a light film on surface of water in one side of tank.  Redirected Powerheads and seems to be getting better but not completely gone.  No film had been seen in previous 2 weeks. Skimmer running from day one,, poly in filter section. I want to raise Calcium up, LFS said use 2 part mix. <Is one route... see WWM re> We have added about 2-3 dosages of 2 part mix, not sure of what dosage to use, we added 15ml of each part. <Just keep measuring, recording the results of what you add...> This has raised Calcium from 240 to 280, but also Alk from 12 to 14 dKH Can I use only Calcium part of 2 part mix?? <Yes> As I think my Alk is beginning to get to the high side, right?? <Yes... I would leave off boosting it beyond 12dKH> Thanks in advance for your help; Butch <Enjoy the process. Bob Fenner>

PURPLE-UP for Coralline Growth? - Thumb's down... 02/22/07 Anyone have any info about this product by CaribSea? <<Have seen/used...don't waste your money mate>> I have a FOWLR and would like to increase the amount of coralline algae...... <<Then look to providing balance to alkalinity/calcium/magnesium.  Obtaining some "seed" material in the form of coralline scrapings from fellow hobbyists/LFS can help too>> Is this product safe and does it work.....? <<Not in my opinion>> I have some very rare fish and do not want to introduce anything that may harm them... <<I have read and seen anecdotal proof that calcium polygluconate can be helpful to "jumpstart" coralline growth.  Seachem makes such a product and if used as directed it should pose no harm to your fish>> Thanks, Craig Smith <<Happy to share.  Eric Russell>>

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

Amino Acid Supplements For Coral   1/12/06 Hi Crew, <Hello Mohamed, Mich with you today.> I will like to know what is the benefits of using amino acid for corals and has anyone from the crew done experiments with amino acid? <The benefit is providing nutrients that are not easily synthesized from the environment.  Many extol the use of vitamin supplements such as Selcon, which contains amino acids.   Eric Borneman mentions in his book Aquarium Corals on page 58 that "Some of the products required by corals and zooxanthellae that are not supplied by photosynthesis include vitamins and long chain fatty acids.  These compounds are supplied by diet only.    Glycine is also a compound the many coral do not easily synthesize, and it, along with some carbon, may be obtained in the wild by living in proximity to the released photosynthetic products of certain macro algae."   In a home aquarium this association may not be possible.  Therefore addition of amino acids via a vitamin supplement may be quite advantageous. <<If "this association" is not possible, there is or will be big problems... RMF>> Thanks Mohamed

Additives and keeping a reef   12/8/06 Hello, <Hey Jeromy, JustinN with you today.>          A quick question for you. I have a 100g tank with about 100lbs of live rock. I have a 2-3 inch sandbed. I have a reef system with a yellow tang, purple tang, powder blue Chromis, six-line wrasse, and a bi-color blenny. I have a frogspawn, a torch, two huge leather corals, a bunch of mushrooms, some green polyps, and a LTA. I have many hermit crabs and snails also. <Ok>          I have been adding Kent's Coral-Accel (every other day), a Sea-Lab 28 tablet (1 in tank till it dissolves, then I replace it) Purple-Up everyday (2 capfuls), Kent's Superbuffer mixed in with the freshwater top off (5 teaspoons dissolved into 5g of freshwater). I do bi-weekly water changes of 15g. <Mmm... Are you testing for all these additives, or blindly adding them?>          I just added a phosphate reactor with PhosBan by two little fishes. It has been working well, but I hear that PH is effected with these? I also have a skimmer and about three powerheads for water movement. I have a closed system with no sump, so I have a unique situation. <Actually quite common situation, honestly. I wouldn't worry too much about the Phosphate reactor dropping pH too much, so long as you are monitoring your pH.>          What I was wondering was what you would recommended for additives for this system. Do I need to add more calcium, PH, anything. Am I missing something that is obvious? Please let me know. My water parameters are all within normal, although I feel my PH is a little low.   Thanks <What I think you need to add to, is your knowledge and understanding of the additives you are pouring into your tank, what you should be testing for, what your actual demand re is, and what it all means... Reading is in your future. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/suppleme.htm and the linked FAQ's therein. Good luck, hope this helps! -JustinN> Tropic Marin Bio Calcium ... alk. anomaly    11/28/06 Hi guys/gals, <Laura> I have been using tropic Marin bio calcium (powder) for 7 weeks as a way to boost calcium in my 75 sps tank. I add 1.5 teaspoon per gallon of Kalkwasser for evaporation hooked to a auto top off. <Good methodology> Before using the new product I measured calcium at 365 and alk at 4.0 meg/l. After first week calcium was at 380, and alk is 5.0meg/l. <I would stop here> I am adding the dose described on the jar, I scoop per 5 gallons. Problem is my alkalinity is soaring it is now 6.0 meg /l and calcium is still at 365-370 after 7 weeks. I need help, I emailed tropic Marin and asked if bio calcium raises alk, and they quick reply was no. <Mmmm> Something is not right, I have not added anything else to the water except for Kalk. <Not so... new salt mix... and Kalk> I use IO salt and add a little magnesium as IO is lacking it. I fail to believe my 75 sps is using 40ppm of calcium a day. Any advice? thanks     Derick <I would slow to stop the use of the Bio Calcium product... allow the alkalinity to drop on its own. Bob Fenner>

Reef Tank Supplements   11/26/07 Hello, <Hey Nick, JustinN with you tonight.> I have been successfully keeping my reef tank for over one and a half years now and it seems my corals have stopped growing. I know about all of these different supplements. I work at an aquarium store, so I have access to them. I just want to know if there are certain supplements or certain brands that are better than others that you would recommend. I have 2 mushroom rocks, one elephant ear, 2 brown and yellow zoo colonies, a bubble coral, a colt coral, and a starburst colony. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Nick <Well, Nick, you really don't give us enough information to go on here. Tank size, current parameters, other tank inhabitants, equipment, maintenance schedule, and exactly what supplements you're using are nowhere to be found. Are you testing for all the supplements you're adding? Do you understand the balance between alkalinity and calcium levels? Much to learn, know here and we're only being given a small porthole to the picture. -JustinN>

Re: Reef Tank Supplements   11/26/07 <Hey again, Nick. JustinN with you again.> Sorry, <Is alright, thank you for clarifying> I have a 54 gallon reef aquarium with a Fluval 404 filter, a T-5 dual lighting system, 50 pounds of live rock with lots of coralline algae.   I have 2 percula clowns, 2 Banggai cardinals, 2 green chromis, a six line wrasse, a coral beauty, about 30 blue legs, 10 Scarlets, and 20   tricolor hermit crabs. <60 hermits?! Can you even see the sand?? Just kidding, of course, but this is an awful lot of opportunistic feeders, especially for this relatively small in comparison tank. Perhaps snails would be more appropriate?> I have been testing the Nitrite, Nitrate, Ammonia, and pH. Nitrite levels are at 0 ppm and the tank has already gone through the nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia spikes. Nitrate is 0 ppm. Ammonia is 0 ppm, and the pH is about 8.0. I know this is low so I am adding one teaspoon of Seachem's Reef Buffer twice a week. I clean the filter once every two months. The tank is kept at a stable 78 degrees F. I am also adding Kent PhytoPlex Phytoplankton three times a week (a teaspoon and a half). I understand my ignorance and I apologize. But I do not understand the balance between alkalinity and calcium. Thanks again, Nick <I would recommend against the addition of the Reef Buffer, until you have a bit more of an understanding of alkalinity, calcium, and how pH relates to both. I recommend you thoroughly read the wonderful article by Anthony Calfo on the issue, located here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm Your low pH could be indicative of a further imbalance existing in your water, and I would recommend getting your hands on a calcium and an alkalinity test to add to your regimen. Please feel free to write back if you have any further questions. Hope this helps you! -JustinN> pH and Calcium <and alkalinity really> problems   11/25/06 Crew, <B n' K> I am having a few troubles with one of my tanks.  After getting extremely tired of having to counting drops for calcium tests I decided to buy a pinpoint monitor.  I have to say it's great, but it is telling me there is something wrong in the tank.  Before, I believe I was getting inaccurate readings from the calcium tests (too high), so I stopped dosing Kent Turbo Calcium. <... w/o measuring, adjusting alkalinity, this is not a useful product, practice> During this time my pH held very well around 8.25 to 8.3. <Alkalinity is a different measure, at times mostly unrelated phenomenon>   Since I started with the Pinpoint monitor for the Calcium, my readings are coming in around 250 to 275ppm.  Needless to say they are to <too> low for the tank, so I stared back with the Turbo Calcium with little luck.  I was only able to get the calcium up to 380ppm, but it will not stay there for more than 12 hours and then it is back down to under 300ppm.  While this was going on, the pH in the tank also started to drop.  I have always used Super Buffer dKH <Oh! Here's the added alkalinity...> to maintain the pH, but now I can not keep the pH above 7.9.  It seems as if there is no buffer to hold anything.  I started to use some Kent tech-M (magnesium) to help out a bit, but this doesn't seem to help.  The KH is above 300ppm and the sand bed is 1.5 to 2".  All other parameters in the tank are fine, and so are the fish, inverts and corals.  Any thoughts? Thanks Bryan <Yep... past time to stop "just pouring in" such "supplements"... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm and the linked files above. You'll save money, time, mis-placed concern, and save a good deal of your peace of mind... Bob Fenner> Re: pH and Calcium problems... still unclear   11/26/07 Bob, Thanks for responding, just to clarify, I am always testing the parameters, I hope I didn't mislead you there.  I stopped the dosing of Turbo Cal because my readings were too high. <Which reading/s? Calcium alone?>   It was when I went digital that I started to dose again.  As long as I can recalled my KH has always been high without any supplement, and pH was low. <Mmm... a few probable causes here... all posted, discussed on WWM> Water source is well-water and I run a RO unit.  Water after the RO is 20ppm KH, <... something wrong here> Cal 20ppm, <Ditto> and pH is in the 6 range. <Aerate this for a while and the pH should return to near neutral> After mixing (Instant Ocean) KH is 250ppm, <...> pH 7.9, and Cal 407ppm. I can live with these numbers, but once the water is in the tank is when everything changes.  KH goes above 300ppm, pH drops to 7.7, and the Cal drops to 220ppm.  I read the article you suggested, but now here is another question, with my KH so high (resist change), how do I raise the pH and Cal? <Can't practically... you need to "discover" the source of your alkalinity, or barring this, stop adding to it, dilute it through water changes...> Should I just drop the dosing of Kent Turbo Cal & Supper Buffer dKH, and just use the Kalkwasser and Tech-M? <You should read till you understand what you're doing... You decidedly do not yet> Should I increase the depth of the sand bed?  It is strange because in this hobby bigger is suppose to be better or easier.  However my most successful tank is a 20gal mini reef with cheap hang-on bio wheel and AquaC Remora skimmer, with three fish, 2 LPS, GSP, and mushrooms.  pH, KH, & Cal are very stable.  The technique I used on that tank is the same as I use on the large display, but with no luck.  Again thanks for your help, and by the way, picked up a copy of Reef Invertebrates, just like the CMA is too is a great book. Thanks Bryan <Have just skipped down... back to reading Bryan... A clue... develop your own description (that you can easily relate to others) as to what pH, alkalinity, biomineral content are, their interactions with each other... and read, understand what is in each of the products you list, use, including salt mix and substrate. Bob Fenner> Iodine supplements vs.. B-ionic 11/22/06 Dear WWM crew, <Hi> Learning more and more by reading and asking, so here goes with a dumb question.  <No dumb questions.> I'm skeptical about something I was told by a supposed 'expert' in reef maintenance, etc. <Skepticism will take you far in this hobby.> He suggested the use of only a 2-part buffer, such as B-ionic, etc., and stated that the addition of iodine would not be necessary. I have been adding iodine in my system with automatic dosing pumps, and checking with a test kit. <Good with the testing.> It is within the range! So, basically, if I were to discontinue the iodine, does a 2-part buffer system introduce enough iodine to sustain those iodine craving animals. I might add, and maybe I'm wrong, that I utilize my leather corals as a kind of barometer. If they have full polyp extension, then they must be happy.  <The canaries.> My concern is that over doing it with iodine could cause nuisance algae blooms? No?  <Could contribute to it.>  Again, thanks for your time. Keep up the good work. George <As far as I know Iodine is not an ingredient in any of the name brand B-Ionic solutions, although the exact formulas are often considered corporate secrets.  But as long as you are testing and getting the appropriate levels I would keep doing what you are doing.> <Chris>

Supplementing top-off water   11/5/06 Hi WetWebCrew,   Thanks for taking my e-mail today.  I have come to the realization that I should be buffering the water I use to top off the evaporation from my reef tank.  I also want to start dosing with Kalkwasser to raise the calcium concentration in my tank.  I just want to make sure I am getting everything right.        I am kind of confused as to how much buffer I should add to my top off water.   <Mmmm...>   Should buffer be dosed to compensate for the daily loss in alkalinity (like Kalkwasser would be dosed) or should you use a certain amount of buffer for how much water you top off (i.e. 10 gallons will have 10 times the amount of buffer as 1 gallon; such as how you add salt to mix new seawater)?    <Kind of both... the new water should be bolstered to make up for the total lack of whatever you're trying to replace/maintain... up to the capacity of that volume of new/change water to "hold" such>      I understand that high alkalinity and high calcium concentrations are mutually exclusive. <Yes... by and large... up to a degree> Currently my calcium concentration is a little over 350ppm and my alkalinity was around 7 or 8 the last time I tested it. <These are not "bad" values>   I am working on getting a new alkalinity test kit so I can add the buffer correctly and maintain this parameter.  If I try to raise my calcium concentration to 400ppm or a little more and my alkalinity to about 10, will I be in a good range to avoid a precipitation reaction? <Mmm, all else being semi-equal... likely so> Do both calcium and alkalinity have to be in the high range for this to occur (i.e. 450ppm and 12dkH)?      <Most of the time/circumstances, yes. The/this topic is more involved>      I want the change back to more healthy conditions to be gradual. <Good. This is wise> I have about 80 gallons total liquid volume from my display and refugium.  I also have SPS corals so I don't want to shock them. How much could I raise my calcium concentration and alkalinity daily?    <Mmm... a few ppm, tenths of meq/l...>   Finally, as far as the dosing of Kalkwasser.  Should I add buffer to the water I am dosing with Kalkwasser? <I would not... too likely to experience "negative chemical/physical interactions" here>   I also read on a product label that there is a minimum amount of Kalkwasser you should use per gallon, is this true?    <Minimum? Yes... in so much that only so much Kalk will "go into" and stay in solution... per water quality issues, CO2 exposure... time going by>   Thanks again for taking my e-mail.  You guys are the reason I am able to grow SPS Corals!      Tim <Yeeikes! Bob Fenner>

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

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

General supplementing, SW   8/17/06 Hello, <Good evening!> I have a general question. We recently hired a person to come in and clean our tank once a month. We have a 90 gallon with a few fish and mushrooms, polyps and a candy cane coral. I was adding supplements such as calcium iodine and strontium, Moly weekly and he told me to stop. He said that regular monthly water changes would be better then adding supplements and that you shouldn't add anything in the tank that you cant test for. Ever since I stopped  our candy cane coral isn't looking so hot. Is he correct in his opinion? <Well, Nancy, yes and no.  There are a lot of ifs here.  Like the salt mix you're using.  Some salts have more reef needed additives in them than others.  I do dose weekly on essentials that are depleted in my tank even though I am very diligent about weekly water changes also (you should be, in my opinion, doing smaller weekly changes instead of the larger monthly changes that you're currently doing.  Its better for the overall health of the tank).  The key here is to have the proper testing kits to make sure you aren't too low or too high on elements like iodine.  You can purchase these and I highly recommend it.  Considering what you have in your tank, however, you probably don't need more than what the salt mix provides.  You do not have corals that have a major draw on any specific additive - but I would switch to at least bi-weekly water changes to make sure.  The choice is really up to you want to handle this.  Jen S.> Nancy

Some Feedback and a Question   8/8/06 Hi Guys (and girls), <Chris> Firstly just some good news feedback. About 6 months ago my new reef tank was started. The WWM crew has really helped me a lot in identifying issues with my previously failed marine tank (especially Dr Fenner), and also with advice on the setup of the new one. I am proud to say that things seem to be well on track - the tank went through some horrible phases with diatoms, followed by various types of green algae, but finally this has all disappeared and I am proud to say that I now see various types of red and pink coralline algae starting to cover the live rock, with no nasty algae in sight. The main tank is about 150gallons in size, I have T5 lighting only with soft corals, only a few fish (yellow tang, coral beauty, niger trigger, sixline wrasse), some inverts and all seems to be healthy and doing well. Thanks again for all the help so far. at the moment I am really positive about the tank and it is largely due to your support. <Good> The one question I have is about supplements. Initially when I had an algae bloom I did a lot of reading about it and decided to stop adding any supplements, because frankly I was just pouring stuff in without knowing the impact, <Very common situation> except for my calcium reactor which is still running. For the last couple of months all I have been adding to the system is the following: 1. Monitor PH and KH closely and buffer top-up water to keep this constant. 2. Monitor calcium closely and dose a bit to keep it around 360-400. (Still trying to figure if calcium reactor is working properly, because calcium still seems to drop a bit every week). I have added nothing else to the tank at all for months. I am a little confused about whether I should start adding any supplements as I continue to add more corals to the tank. The LFS will tell you to dose Magnesium, Strontium etc. but I am not comfortable adding anything to the tank unless I have a test kit to monitor the values precisely. The general feeling I get when reading the FAQ's is that its probably better to not add any supplements and focus more on regular water changes to add new elements, but I would like your opinion on this anyway if its ok. <Bingo... this is my position... Don't add anything unless you are testing for it... know it to be deficient... Many chemicals have antagonistic and/or synergistic effects with others...> Then just one other question - there seem to be patches of red coralline algae growing on the substrate itself. is this normal ? <Happens, yes> (I'm pretty sure I can identify it as coralline algae). And lastly, can you perhaps identify the interesting looking 'thing' that is growing out of my live rock ? <Appears to be a type of Brown Algae... of the genus Padina. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brnalgae.htm> Thanks and sorry for the long email. Chris Cronje
<No worries. Bob Fenner>

- Trace Elements 6/24/06 - Mr. Fenner, <Actually, Mr. Chodakowski today.> I want to first say what a pleasure it was to hear your presentation to the SCMAS last week.  I found you (as usual) most informative and 'easy on the ears.'  I appreciate it that you came to our Society. I have questions, which are similar but different.  Much has been discussed (and argued as usual) about making additions of trace elements to our marine aquariums.  I'd like your opinion and any reference you can point me towards regarding these questions: Assuming 'normal' water changes every two weeks: 1)  Does adding trace elements contribute to macro algae growth and health? <Not usually in a marine environment. If we were talking about a planted freshwater tank, then yes supplements are beneficial.> 2)  Does adding trace elements to a reef aquarium have any benefits for the livestock? <Really depends on THE trace element we're talking about. Typically the real "trace" [read as: available in tiny amounts] elements are replenished by regular water changes with a quality salt mix. Other items which are necessary in larger amounts like calcium may need additional supplementation.> 3)  Does adding trace elements to a fish only (with or without live rock) aquarium have any benefits to the fish? <Once again, it really depends on which trace element we're talking about. I take vitamins, so I give my fish vitamins... this is a viable use of trace elements, but perhaps not the ones you were talking about...> Again, I appreciate your involvement in our hobby and the time you shared with SCMAS members.  I hope you can find some time to express your opinion(s) about trace element additions. Sincerely, LEE B. <Cheers, J --> <<Mine are very similar to those of Jas's stated here. RMF>>

My anemone is BURNED!! SW supp.s   6/13/06 Hey I have sent this once already and I didn't get a response so I re-sent it, <Thank you... We have ongoing issues with our webmail... Arggghhh> I absolutely adore your website.... Since I am a newbie I need all of the opinions I can get, and I trust your teams opinions the most. I have a purple LTA and when I was adding a diluted portion of Seachem Marine Buffer to raise the PH level to 8.3 <... best to do this through your water changes... not directly into the main/display tank> some of the solution got on my anemone. A small portion of her lower tentacles now look as if they have been burned, they are small and shriveled, and bleached. Will these tentacles regenerate themselves? Lorri Thanos <Can if not too badly damaged... Do add such supplements to your pre-made saltwater for use during change-outs. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Blue Spotted Jawfish ... beh., hermit health, supplement use...   5/9/06 Hi, I have a 75 gallon reef tank. Everything in my tank has been doing fine. I have a 4-inch Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens), 3-inch Clown Tang (Acanthurus lineatus), <Not easily kept> 3-inch 5 Bar Mystery Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus ocellatus), 1 1/2-inch Sixline Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia), 4-inch Lawnmower Blenny (Salarias fasciatus), 3-inch Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides phthirophagus), <Ditto> and just purchased a 3-4 inch Blue Spotted Jawfish (Opistognathus rosenblatti ). I have a hammer coral, a torch coral, a Lobophyllia brain coral, a Kenya tree coral, and a couple button polyps. The lighting is four 65 watt compact fluorescents and one 40 watt regular fluorescent bulb. The sand/coral rubble is about 4 to 10 inches deep (ten behind the rocks and about 4 to six inches in the open). There is a 55 gallon sump, about 60 lbs. of live rock, two Magnum 350s (one on the sump and one on the display) display one only runs carbon), a Whisper 60 on the display for circulation with nothing in it and the main pump is a Via Aqua pump (600 gph), and there is a sea clone protein skimmer on the sump too. I have 4 questions. 1) I had a Electric Blue Hermit Crab (Calcinus elegans) in the tank. It always was in its shell and seemed tipped over. Plus whenever I put it on the rocks it would fall off and didn't move much. Why is this? <The item you mention below, the addition of supplements directly to the system is very likely the root cause here> 2) That same hermit crab was dead after the addition of the Blue Spotted Jawfish. I saw what was left of its legs along with the shell on the bottom. Could the Jawfish have eaten it. <No, not likely> 3) In the back of the tank where the crushed coral and some sand reaches about ten inches deep the Jawfish decided to make its burrow there. I couldn't find it for two days and after one day I went out and bought a lid for the tank knowing they are jumpers. Its burrow is very deep. There is about 4 inches right on the back glass and maybe another 4 below because the fish is about 3-4 inches. I know this seems like a favorable spot seeing as he/she can have such a nice burrow but is there anyway that it will maybe come to the front of the rocks or tank so that I won't have to go behind the tank to view it? <Not likely, though it may become more outgoing with time> 4) My hammer coral keeps its polyps retracted almost all the time. They aren't completely retracted but they aren't out like they are suppose to be. My torch coral is doing great along with the others and both are on the same level in the tank and the torch might be getting slightly less light than the hammer coral. I threw that in because both are Euphyllia corals. Calcium is added daily and strontium molybdenum is added every Sunday. Can you tell me why this may be? <... not a good practice to add such supplements directly to tanks. Add them through your regular water changes, through pre-mixed water... Covered on WWM. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Tim Morrissey P.S. Do you have any really cool ideas as far as fish for my tank? Also considering the bioload I have now, about how many more fish could my system handle? <Your system is already "full-up" fish-wise with what you list. Bob Fenner>

WWM Question on Substrates part 3 4/16/06 How much turn over do you recommend for a tank? Is that filtered or just movement? <<For a reef tank, turn over of at least 10x the tank volume is ideal.  Some aquarists use 20x or more.  Those figures apply to the amount of water movement within the tank.  This can be provided by return pumps, powerheads, power filters, etc., but in-sump protein skimmers don't count.>> What about Aragamite or Aragamilk? <<These products are nearly useless for maintenance of calcium and alkalinity since like aragonite sand, they are practically insoluble at normal reef tank pH.  Best Regards, AdamC.> pH and Calcium supplements 4/10/06 What product do you recommend to raise pH and calcium levels? <<Be sure you understand and test for Alkalinity.  pH measures how acidic or basic the water is.  Alkalinity measures the buffering capacity of the water, or in other words, the ability of the water to resist changes in pH.  Both are very important, and alkalinity is widely under-appreciated.  In any case, Kalkwasser is very useful in supporting pH, Alkalinity and calcium.  It is cheap and easy to use.  Grocery store pickling lime can be substituted for cost savings.  B-Ionic by ESV, C-Balance by TwoLittleFishies and TechAB by Kent are all two part preparations (one part calcium, one part alkalinity) that work extremely well and are extremely convenient to use, but are somewhat expensive.  There are recipes for "home brew" two part additives floating about the internet, but are probably best followed only by those with some chemistry background.  Last, but not least... you can use commercially available dry calcium and alkalinity additives. They are cheaper than two part additive systems but require a bit more care in their use.  Tropic-Marin makes a great dry product called BioCalcium that adds calcium and alkalinity in one product.  Any of the above can work very well.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>>

Homemade Additives  - 03/12/2006 Hi Crew, <Hello Mohamed.> I have decided to prepare my own additive instead of buying commercially prepared products.  <OK> Calcium I have started using calcium carbonate for 6 months without any problems.<OK> Magnesium Which chemical can be used best magnesium carbonate, chloride, hydroxide, sulphate or oxide without affecting anything else?  <Epsom salts> <<Sulphate... RMF>> Who would it be prepared as a solution or added directly into the tank and what quantity per 100L? <Mix into a solution then add to tank.  Depending on the purity of the salts a magnesium test kit would be necessary to determine correct dosage somewhere between 1000-1200 ppm. Iodine My understanding is that Lugol's solution is made up of potassium iodide and iodine crystals. What quantity of potassium iodide and iodine can I mix with water to get a strong solution like Lugol's solution so that I can use it as a dip and in my tank? <Pharmacy grade Lugol's is usually dosed at one drop per twenty gallons.> Alkalinity What chemical can be used to increase alkalinity and stabilize pH? My dKH drops to 7 - 8 per week from 9 - 10 with calcium maintained at 400ppm to 450ppm.  <Most quality alkalinity boosters contain carbonate, bicarbonate, chloride and sulphate salts of sodium, magnesium, calcium, strontium and potassium.  This particular blend is used in Sea Chem's Reef Builder.  This product is rather inexpensive compared to trying to put the proper amounts of each chemical together yet alone finding them.> Thanks  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>    Mohamed.

Calcium and alkalinity   3/3/06 Hi Anthony <No longer with us, unfortunately> this is Genaro can you help me again. I started to add Kalkwasser to my 55 gal reef no sandbed just a little to cover the bottom this is Ph 8.2 in  morning alkalinity 6.4 c Ca? I test and test and I don't get a reading I use Salifert testing can you tell me what am I doing wrong? I drip Kalkwasser   one teaspoon mix on a gallon of water at night and I use one teaspoon of reef builder a ml of reef ca, one ml reef complete in morning to keep alkalinity  up but still get's lower. I thank you again Genaro <Mmm, please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm and the linked files above. You've "complexed" your water chemistry by mixing these materials too much, too soon. I would hold off on both, then treat with only one in any given day/period. Bob Fenner>

Mineral Supplementation - 02/04/06 How are trace minerals such as strontium, iodine, etc.  added to the aquarium if you use RO water. <<Directly...usually...as outlined in  manufacturers instructions.>> Is there enough in synthetic sea salt or should you supplement. <<Mmm...excepting maybe tanks with large populations of stony corals, most folks can get by without mineral supplementation through the use of frequent water changes...which also provides benefit of waste exportation.>> I realize that you said that it is not needed, but no mention if RO water was used and I didn't want to assume. <<RO water is used quite extensively in the hobby.  You may wish to buffer your water prior to adding the salt mix.>> Thank you and you have a wonderful website. <<Glad you like it, EricR>> Grunge "product"    1/19/06 Thanks; I'll try to zoom in.  Might be difficult. How do you feel about "GARF grunge"? Daniel <Have been told it's "one old guy with a hammer smashing old LR"... I would not buy it. Bob Fenner> Iodine and Additives 01/18/06 Hi Bob, <<Hello Linda. Ted on this end>>     Wow I couldn't believe how fast you got back to me about my question re: compatibility of different types of cleaner shrimps - thank you very much!!       I have a different question the aquarium stores [2 salt water ones in my area]  have not been able to answer for me to my satisfaction.  The question is about additives.  I have a 40 gallon reef tank, with about 12 small corals, a couple of crabs, 2 shrimp, 2 star fish, snails, a sea urchin, a cucumber & 2 small fish.  I clean my tank about every 2 1/2 to 3 weeks [about 10 to 12 gallons change], use Instant Ocean reef crystal salt & distilled water.  I add a teaspoon of calcium as directed every day.  Recently, I have been adding 8 mil. [as directed] per day of an additive called "Reef Solution" by EcoSystems that is supposed to have multiple minerals & minor trace elements found in natural sea water so that you don't have to add any other additives.     In the past, BEFORE I used this product, I had been using the Kent products - calcium daily [I still do] + a teaspoon of Iodine weekly + a teaspoon of strontium/molybdenum 2x a week.  The reason I switched products is because of the distilled water - I was concerned my tank lacked iron, etc. as found in normal water & I am afraid to use tap water as it caused my tank to crash with my very first water change. <<Why not use RO/DI water instead of distilled?>>     I am now concerned about Iodine for my shrimp & crabs.  I read you have to be careful how much to add because it may cause premature molting, but yet there is no test I can find to test the iodine levels - not even at the aquarium stores!   What would you recommend for additives?  Do you know of any test kits I can buy & what are the optimal levels that will make everybody in the tank happy? <<I don't recommend the extensive use of additives. Instead, I recommend frequent water changes. High quality salts (like Instant Ocean, Tropic Marin and others) contain the appropriate levels of iodine and other elements. Small, frequent, water changes using a good salt mix will provide the appropriate levels and make everyone happy. If you supplement calcium, do measure the calcium levels in your system and dose accordingly. As far as test kits, I personally like Salifert and SeaChem brands.>> Thank you for your time, Linda Campbell, beginner coral tank enthusiast <<You're welcome - Ted>> Calcium Hydroxide turns gray in reactor 01-03-05 I've been using Prestochlor brand Calcium Hydroxide (for swimming pools) in the place of Kalkwasser for several months - recommended by several local reefers.  The reef looks great!  However, I have noticed that the solution gradually turns gray over the course of a week in the reactor (noticeably gray instead of white when it mixes at the end of the week).  Is this normal? <I would assume it is normal for that product. It sounds like an oxidizing reaction, possibly of the impurities in the mixture.>      The bag says 68% Calcium Hydroxide and 32% inert ingredients.  It takes a lot of Kalk for the tank (250 gallons), so this is a MUCH CHEAPER option than Kalk and it mixes well... but I want to make sure I am not endangering my reef long term.   e <There is a chance you are introducing heavy metals into your aquarium by using this product. I too save money where ever possible in this hobby, but I would definitely need to know what the "inert" ingredients are before I would trust it around my tank. Travis> Thanks for any information!       - Doug Homemade two-part calcium and alkalinity additives  12/30/2005 Hey Crew, <Mike> I ran across a link to an article for homemade two part additives similar to B-Ionic. Basically it is using "ice melt" calcium chloride, baking soda for the alkalinity buffer, and the addition of a Epsom salt mixture once in a while for magnesium. It is mixed into separate mixtures and added just like you would add B-Ionic. Link to article: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/april2004/chem.htm I have read about some good results from users of the homemade mixtures, but wanted to see if you guys/gals had any thoughts one way or the other of using this method before I run off to Sam's Club. <Should work... there are a few other ingredients in "two-part" solutions of these sort... usually a carbonate and borate...> At less than 50 cents a gallon to make this mixture, it sure beats out paying the high price for the commercial mixtures. <Yes> I have read some concerns about if the extra ingredients in the ice melt mixture would pollute the tank, but again haven't read anything about problems created by using this method. If nothing else I wanted to pass on this 'recipe' to others so that they can save some money. Thank you for your help! GREAT Site by the way! Mike <Thank you for being part of it. Bob Fenner> Supplement Question <Coral Vital> 12/30/05 <Dave, Ryan with you today.> I bought this stuff on recommendation from LFS as a way to promote coralline. I have used it once and now doing some reading on it (yes, backwards I know). Is it crap? Is it worth just using the one bottle? <Dave, it's all relative.  Are you having issues with coralline algae not growing?  If so, you should look into your pH, alkalinity and dissolved oxygen levels.  Are you just looking to cut corners, and get the coralline looking more mature?  If so, this isn't the answer.> I'm most concerned by copper being in the ingredients: I'm presuming that is different than treating a tank with copper which would kill many things and never can be completely removed?! I have read you do not think highly of the product, which I certainly respect. I'm just most concerned about it containing copper. <Although in trace amounts, which I'm sure the company says is safe for inverts, you're smart to be suspicious.  Personally, I'd dispose of this stuff and rely on good old water changes with RO water and high quality salt mix when your coralline is looking "down."  Cheers, Ryan> INGREDIENTS: Vitamins: Vitamin A, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E Trace Minerals: Calcium, Cobalt, Copper, Extract, Fluorine, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, NaCl, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Sulfur, Zinc Derived from ferment of: Biotin, Calcium carbonate, Calcium Iodate, Calcium Pantothenate, Cobalt Proteinate, Cobalt Sulphate, Copper Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, DiCalcium Phosphate, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide, Folic Acid, Iron Sulfate, Magnesium Oxide, Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Menadione Sodium B, Monocalcium Phosphate, Niacin, Cohline Chloride, Potassium Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Selenium Yeast, Sodium Selenite, Sulfite Complex, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate Bio-catalysts: Aloe Vera, Cane molasses, Citric Acid Inert Carriers: Crude Fiber Extract, Crude Protein Calcium Reactors/Kalkwasser Reactors Hey Crew, <Ron> Happy Holidays! <And to you and yours> My 50 Gallon SPS reef tank is doing well.  I dose B Ionic 2 part DAILY!!  I drip ESV Kalk nightly for evaporated water... This has been becoming difficult, as I am a touring musician. <Yikes... perhaps a controller, automated dosing gear...> Should I get a reactor or Kalk reactor on such a small reef tank, or can you suggest other options so as to minimize the daily maintenance to the system??? <The best would be a simple reactor... a small Knop unit would be my first choice, but a local hobbyist/marine club may have an upcoming workshop where you could fashion your own> Thanks for your time. Also, SPS doing ok, but growing slowly. I understand many factors are involved.  Besides water motion/quality, lighting, what else helps?? <Many other factors...> Feeding? <Of a certainty, yes> if I feed,, I get phosphates and brown stuff on the sand.  My Phosphates are generally around .03-.04... Thanks! Jennifer NYC <Do try the feeding, extending your light period, vitamin and iodine/ide additions. Bob Fenner> Re: Calcium Reactors/Kalkwasser Reactors Hey Bob!! <Jenn> You rock, by the way! Which vitamins do you suggest.  I dose Lugol's weekly.  Should I dose ESV Iodide as well?  Lugol's is Iodine. <Lugol's has both iodine and iodide... is fine for this element, the other... vitamins, HUFAs... can be supplied via Selcon, Microvit...> Should I feed Zoo or Phyto, always get mixed response here... <I would try both... see if they make any difference> Thanks a bunch. Jenn <Welcome. Bob Fenner> Question on Supplements 12-19-05 Team, Bob, Hope you are well and having a good holiday season. <We prefer to be called the Crew, instead of team Bob (just kidding with you), but thank you and I hope you have a good holiday as well.> I have researched quite and bit and read through over half of the section on the site.  I do have to still admit confusion. To recap (since you are very inundated) 40g Reef 3" DSB, somewhat live 70' Live Rock, appx 1/6" coralline encrusting (but none on the glass, might be a tidbit) - Temp: 78 - 79 - SG 1.023 - Amm, Nitrites 0 or if I stir the sand too much, < 2 - PH 8.1 - 8.3 pretty consistent - I aerate some at night also. Nitrates < 5ppm Calcium: 290-310 when tested various times of day Stock: 1 Maroon Clown and bonded 6" anchor hammer (well placed, no sweeper issues) 1 cleaner shrimp, 18 various snails, 16 small hermits Hitchhiker Aiptasia (actually sort of like it, has not spread) Large yellow polyp colony, small pom pom xenia (sprouting) 4" hitchhiker Condy anemone various micro brittles, tube worms and a few hitchhiker tunicates. Not stocked heavily, will likely add 1 more medium fish and a couple small gobies like clown or Catalina if temperature is not a factor, still reviewing. Corals are doing well but not growing as rapidly as in the beginning (of course, my watching them every minute for growth might affect my perception).  I am likely to add some small frags here and there and want to have an safe, effective and if possible, easy method of dosing supplements and calcium.  A reactor/sump/drip is not feasible.  I would like to raise calcium another 50 or so points and maintain ph and alk, should not be a problem, but.... ....have reviewed several dozen articles and supplements.  What I really need is a bottle system of supplements that I can dose daily small amounts or weekly.  But every supplement I read or research says to use in conjunction or in addition to something else.  Is there not a all in one, or all in 2 or 3, bottled system for a small reef that has no capacity for large dosing systems or reactors or so on.  Even Reef Complete doesn't seem to do everything but am just not sure.  At this point, I am too flooded with information to even know what I am thinking about now.  Everything says Reef but then doesn't take care of the Reef.. lol. Thanks for any and all input, and have a great time!  Whoo Hoo! Bill <Bill, I have had great luck using B-Ionic from ESV. It is a 2 bottle system. The only other item I add is ESV's Magnesium. The trace minerals can be re-established with frequent water changes using a quality salt.  Travis>

Re: Question on Supplements 12-20-05 Thank you, <Glad to help.> I found the product, had seen it but evidently passed over it.  On one of the site, an alternative was the similar product by Two Little Fishies?? Are they similar?   <I have not tried the Two Little Fishes product so I will not comment on it. One of the crew does rave about some of the other Two Little Fishes product though, so take that as you will.> Cost was roughly the same, basically want to go with the ESV product based on your comment but since it is a periodic repurchase for me, I want to keep a back up brand so might try both and test results.  If I do, I will advise you so you can have a reference. < I would appreciate that. I am always interested to hear what people think of different products on the market. Travis> Thanks much!

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