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FAQs on Marine Water Supplements, Troubleshooting/Fixing 

Related Articles: Marine System Additives, Marine Maintenance, Understanding Calcium & Alkalinity,

Related FAQs: Marine Supplements 1, Marine Supplements 2, Marine Supplements 3, Marine Supplements 4, & FAQs on Marine Supplement: Rationale/Use, Science, Measuring, Using, Products/DIY & Brands, & Biominerals, IodineCalcium and Alkalinity

When, where in doubt, STOP supplementing... do successive water changes to dilute... And do read on the general index re alkalinity, pH, calcium, vitamins, iodine/ide/ate, iron...

Overdose on Minerals - fish are dying!  8/19/10
Last night my husband gave the corals in the tank a mineral supplement
<Of what sort, brand... how much, how administered? And, "why"? I.e., what did your water quality test as that you thought adding such was warranted?>
and turned off the filter. He forgot to turn it back on. About 6 hours later we woke up and the tank was completely cloudy and most of the fish were dead or barely hanging on. I believe he has overdosed the tank and put too many minerals in there. Is this what has happened?
<Perhaps related>
We did a water change immediately and turned the filter back on. Is there any way to save the rest of the fist in the tank?
<If you have another up and going system, I'd move the bulk of the livestock to it>
We are absolutely devastated, it was an accident. He used a calcium supplement that is supposed to raise the PH level for corals and the 2 other items that come with the reef set that are coral supplements. He
also used a small amount of reef bugs. He thinks it was the calcium. Is there any way to neutralize the excess amounts?
<Dilution... changing out a good deal of the water really is the only advisable action>
Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated. I tried to find something in WWW but couldn't.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

SW Reef: Nutrient control and supplement balancing. 10/18/2009
Hey there,
I'm at a dead end in my research and am wondering if maybe you could help out.
<Will certainly try.>
I have a 75 gallon sps bare bottom reef tank with 175 Iwasaki 15ks, 54 w blue plus t5s, octopus skimmer, 30 gallon sump, plenty of flow.
I top off with Kalk.
I have a problem with my tank that I can't really put my finger on. My parameters check out (calcium 420, alk 8-9, mag 1250, no3 and po4 undetectable, salinity 1.025) but I have some issues with algae, corals, and calcification. Here is whats going on: My tank seems to go into cycles where something seems to "click" into place and everything starts thriving, only to fall back out of place. The tank has a brown algae issue and a severe lack of coralline.
<Hmm.. A telling clue there.>
When the tank hits that magic spot, coralline will start depositing everywhere and the brown algae will start to die off and green algae will start showing up (I actually look forward to seeing the green algae because whatever is becoming deficient/too abundant is favoring the brown algae and not the coralline/green algaes which I think may require a slightly different set trace elements than the brown algae), corals will start growing much faster and color up nicely, but when it goes bad the coraline fades, the corals fade in color get pale, growth stops, and the brown algae flourishes.
<Coralline algaes need high alkalinity and high calcium. I suspect your Ca and Alk levels are fluctuating.>
I took out the sand thinking it was phosphate leaching, but that didn't seem to work, then I added a Phosban reactor a couple weeks ago but that didn't work either.
I started dosing iron thinking maybe it was missing element, but I have yet to see any benefit.
<Iron will help all algae.>
I also started dosing strontium hoping that might work too, but nothing.
<Strontium is tied to calcium\magnesium and alkalinity. They all have to be balanced for everything to flourish.>
I will also note that the main parameters do not change much. Also I do 15 gallon water changes every couple weeks.
<Try changing this to 15 gallons every week and see if things improve. I suspect that your parameters are balanced shortly after your water change, and then fall off, so the brown algae takes over.>
I've considered maybe things would get better after a water change, but there really is no noticeable trend to this "cycle" my tank is experiencing. Any input would greatly appreciated.
<Step up your water changes to once a week. Also, I would teat your water at about the same time daily for a week to 10 days, along with testing your top off water. Take notes on this data, and I'm certain that some sort of pattern will appear.>
<You can real the following articles for more information:
Thank you so much.
<My Pleasure.>

Liquid Calcium and Iodide: Dosing without testing SW Chemistry\Supplements 10/13/2009
<Hi Tom.>
I have a green carpet anemone which is hosted by two saddle back clown fish.
I went to the LFS and they told me that I should be adding liquid calcium, iodide, and strontium to my tank because I have corals that need it.
<Well, corals, and in fact most invertebrates need those to some extent.
Unless you are heavily stocked, and doing regular water changes, you probably have all your system needs in the salt mix.>
They recommended the Kent Marine bottles to me.
Ever since I have been adding them my carpet has been shrinking up very small.
<It is trying to tell you something.>
I am only putting the exact measurements my tank requires but the carpet still seems to be affected with the slightest add of the supplements. I was wondering if you recommend this brand?
<I will use them in a pinch, but prefer Seachem personally.>
I have a 100 gallon reef tank 5 months old, all parameters are stable, are there any all in one reef safe formula(s) you would advise?
<The first thing I will recommend is to stop adding supplements and buy yourself a few test kits. Do your regular water changes, then 24 hours later test for calcium, iodine, and magnesium. and get some baseline numbers. Do the same tests again a day or so later and see if the numbers have changed. That will give you a rough idea of the calcium demand. You will likely find that it has only changed by a few parts per million (ppm) or not at all. Iodine is touchy, everything in your tank does need it, but if dosed too high, it can become toxic. There is a test available for strontium, but it is expensive, time consuming, and involves working with strong acid, so I cannot in good conscience recommend it, unless you have a huge reef system with a large amount of stony corals.. Plus, as I said before, unless you are heavily stocked with stony corals or clams, you likely have all of the strontium you need already. Please read here:
as well as the linked files on the top of the pages.
Thank you very much !
<My Pleasure>
Orange County, CA
<Brevard County, FL>

Alk/Mg/CA Questions: When the quest to hit a specific number has you running in circles. 5/28/2009
Hello Crew...
<Hi Cassidy.>
I've been trying to figure out what exactly is going on in my 240G reef tank with the ionic balance.
To summarize - I had hired a company to setup a fish tank; it turned out to be a reef tank. I knew nothing about it what so ever. I took care of it personally for the first 3.5 months, then hired several company to perform maintenance. They started dosing chemicals for ca, mg, ph, trace, etc. .
<Most reef tanks do need supplementation. That is largely based upon what is in the tank.>
Ever since then things have not been where they should be.
<Things aren't looking healthy? Too much algae growth?>
I have since fired them and started to manage it myself again. I read and read and read but cannot figure out what's going on.
<You are trying to hit theoretical 'perfect' numbers, and all too quickly discovering how hard it is. Remember, stability in a given value, even if it is slightly low, is much better than fighting to hit a perfect value. That is why most values for marine tanks have ranges rather than absolute values.>
Tank Specs are:
55G Sump
4 x 250W MH 20000K
ASM G3 Skimmer
2X72" Actinic
2x 1/3" HP Chillers
Phosban Reactor
Berlin Style / Closed Loop System
Photo Period is about 8 Hrs for MH and 2 hours before and after with actinic.
40G water changes are performed weekly.
All filters/pads/socks are cleaned every 3-4 days.
Carbon/Phosban is changed monthly.
<Sounds like a nice setup.>
Water Conditions are:
CA: 500ppm <Ragged edge of high>
DKH: 7.5-8 <Fine>
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Phosphate: .01-.03 <A little high.>
PH: 8.3-8.55 <Fine>
Nitrate: 10 ppm <OK>
Magnesium: 1100ppm <A bit low given the calcium level.>
SG: 1.25-1.26 <Very good>
Temp is constant at 77-78° <Very good>
My CA is always decent; around 420-480 ppm.
<That is fine, realize that as a general rule, the higher your calcium, the lower your alkalinity is going to be.>
However, DKH always drops rapidly after water changes/buffer to increase ALK.
<It drops to what?>
PH is constant around 8.3 evening / 8.45 day time. In an effort to combat the low ALK I purchased a Dual Chamber "Marine Technical Concepts" MTC PROCAL Reactor. Was a breeze to setup and running fine. But the ALK is still low.. 7.5-8 without dosing any buffer.
<You added a calcium reactor,. Adding calcium will drive your alkalinity down.. In either case, a dKH of 7.5 - 8 is fine as long as it is stable. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm >
My calcium continues to climb and it was at 500ppm last night.
<Turn the reactor off, stop adding calcium.>
I am concerned that this is too concentrated and I am worried about the 'snowstorm' effect.
<I would be too.>
My initial though was that the MG was low and it is at 1100.
<It is low - generally, you want the magnesium to be at three times the calcium level, so you would want a calcium level of at least 1350 This is easily done by adding simple Epsom salts.>
I performed a large water change 50% to try and 'reset' the balance. My MG is still low at 1100 so I added some liquid SeaChem Aqua Vitro Ions and it has not raised the MG one bit. I use Sea Chem Reef Salt (not sure if that matters). I have a 1.5-2" fine sugar sized sand bed. I am not sure if its worth noting that there has been a explosive growth of coralline algae since the CA Reactor was added.
<Stop adding supplements, turn off the calcium reactor. Add some Epsom salts to get the magnesium levels up.. Continue with normal water changes. Measure your alkalinity daily to see what it is doing. If it starts going under 7, add a tablespoon or two of plain old baking soda. Don't add anything else for a week.>
I am worried the CA is too high.. is this going to have a negative effect on my corals/inverts?
<Only if you get a 'snowstorm'>
Is there any simple way of getting the DKH up and keeping it where it should be?
<Again, 7 - 8 is fine as long as it is stable Trying to hit 'exact' numbers will have you running in circles adding this and dosing that.>
My tank is heavily stocked - is it at all possible they are making use of the carbonate and magnesium and not using the calcium consistently? Its my understanding that all these elements work in synergy with each other and should be used proportionately by the livestock.
<They do, but you are overdosing on calcium>
Any insight into this would be greatly appreciated - I'm ready to pull my hair out. And I've been through three maintenance companies that have not been helpful at all.
<My advice is very simple. Stop adding things to the water and turn your reactor off. Correct your deficiency in magnesium using nothing but a tablespoon or two of plain Epsom salt, Test your water daily to get a read on what it is doing. If you see the alkalinity dropping below 7, add nothing but plain baking soda. Add nothing to your change water other than salt mix. After a week to 10 days, see where you are in regards to calcium\alkalinity\magnesium>
Also on a side note - I have an issue with feather dusters.. they are multiplying by the thousands.
<Must be the tiny feather dusters>
I know they are beneficial but when they get to this point they are not very easy on the eyes. Is there any method to decrease their growth?
<They are breeding because you have an excess of nutrients in the tank (Nitrate and phosphate). Try adding some algae to your sump to help with the nutrient control. The feather dusters will decrease in time. Remember, NOTHING good happens quickly in a reef tank.>
Or do people want these? More than happy to collect them and give away.
<You could try a local pet store.>
Thanks again and sorry for the looooong email,
<My pleasure, do write back after a week with the readings. From there, we can see where your system sits and what it needs.>

Re: Alk/Mg/CA Questions: When the quest to hit a specific number has you running in circles. 5/29/2009
<Hi Cassidy>
The DKH will drop and drop...
<Add baking soda as necessary to buffer it back up. Alkalinity will continue to drop as long as the calcium is high. Once you get your calcium down into the mid 400 range, the alkalinity should stabilize.>
I have yet to let it get down past 5 but each day it will drop a point or two and doesn't seem like its going to stop.
<May want to add more substrate to help buffer the system too.>
I will follow through with your advice with Epsom salt and baking soda.
<Good, add the Epsom salt now, that will 'unlock' the calcium that is in the tank so your corals can use it. Add baking soda only as needed to keep your alkalinity up. Do keep up with your regular water changes.>
You were not quite clear about the calcium reactor. I know I turn it off - but after 10 days if things return to normal shall I turn it back on and turn it on very very slowly to see what happens?
<That will depend on what the levels are and what is in your tank; do write back then. As the saying goes, "let's see where we are before we figure out where we are going.">
I know my levels were way off before the ca reactor and was hoping that would be the end all - of it. Again thanks for the advice!
<My pleasure, again, do write back, and do test your water daily.>
Thank You,


B-Ionic Metals 2/20/08 Hello, I have a question regarding this product, but did not find a query I am interested in. <OK> I did find several matches about this product, and many who have used it. When I purchased this product, I was not able to see the ingredients due to the way it was packaged. Does B-Ionic have too many metals? <No> Is there any use for some of the metals in Component NO.2 that concern me and are they dangerous? ie, copper, nickel, and iron? <Not a problem in the concentrations provided. There are many very successful, beautiful reefs that use this solution.> I am new to this hobby, and wish to give my charges the utmost care. The warning label on Component NO.1 it states it may cause moderate to severe eye irritation, with corneal injury which may be slow to heal. Repeated contact may cause redness and dry cracked skin. <It is a concentrated alkaline solution, any such solution should have these warnings.> Component NO.2 has same as above with the addition of gastrointestinal irritation or ulceration. <Another caustic concentrate.> Now, if it is dangerous to us, wouldn't it be dangerous to them? Thank you <These solutions present some danger in the stock solution concentrations. At the rate you add them to your tank this is not a problem. I believe the directions call for up to 1ml per four gallons in one dosing, very diluted. Anything in strong enough concentration can harm your tank or us. Think of it as mixing salt, you can easily add too much and wipe out a tank. These solutions are the same, you should be testing Alk/Calcium to determine how much to add. Good luck, Scott V.>

Re: B-Ionic Metals, now Cu  2/21/08 Thank You for the reply. <Welcome.> I am very new to this, and appreciate your help. My last question regarding this is, I thought copper was dangerous to reef systems? <It can be in unnatural/increased concentrations.> I understand your statement; the amounts in this product are not dangerous if applied correctly. But, can it be absorbed by the rock, then leached out which would increase the copper levels in future? Please be patient with my redundant question. <grin> <Not a problem. The amounts in this solution are of no worry for your reef system. Any artificial accumulation of these metals will be resolved through water changes long before they reach levels of concern. Use this product with peace of mind, Scott V.>

Naso Tang & Colony Polyps... ? hlth., supplement madness    7/20/07 Hi. Thanks for trying to help me. <my pleasure> Here is what the levels in my tank are: Ammonia - 0 mg/l Nitrate - 40 mg/l <too high> Nitrite - 0 mg/l PH - 120 mg/l <huh? pH measured in mg/l?> Salinity - 29 <This is too low. Salinity should be at 1.025 to 1.027 s.g. or 34 to 36 ppt for reef tanks.> Temp - 76 Degrees <maybe a bit too cool, 79 to 82 would be better> When my mushrooms wouldn't open up I added Iodine and Strontium. <Ok, but that's not going to help.> I added 3 capfuls of each twice a week for the last three weeks. <Hmm... you don't need to do this. You have more than enough iodine and strontium in your salt mix. Just do regular water changes and you'll be fine.> I also have balance blocks I add in once in a while and Reef Complete that I put 3 capfuls in once a week. <Why are you adding all these supplements? The Reef Complete seems ok as a calcium supplement, but how do you know you need it? You shouldn't be dosing these things without knowing what your calcium and alkalinity levels are.> I hope this helps. Knowing this can you tell me why the polyps and mushrooms won't open up? <The most obvious problems are your salinity and nitrates. You might be over doing the supplements too. But again, we can't know that without knowing your calcium and alkalinity measurements.> Thanks again! Jenny <No problem. Let me know if you're still lost after you test your calcium and alkalinity. :-) Best, Sara M.>

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>

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>

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

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>

Alkalinity too high Dear Bob, <<JasonC today, greetings.>> We have a marine reef tank and I've checked ph, phosphates, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, calcium...everything checks out fine....but the alkalinity is reading 4.5. <<In dKH, that's a 12.6, so while on the upper end of practical it isn't really 'that' high.>> I've done partial water changes, added magnesium, but still cannot control alkalinity. <<I would stop adding anything [Kalkwasser, buffers, calcium, etc.] for a little while, perhaps consider how/why you are adding all this stuff beyond partial water changes.>> Calcium is at 450 ppm - (dosed with Kalkwasser) PH is at 8.2 Rest checks out to 0 to trace ppm <<Well... with the calcium and alkalinity both towards the higher end of the scale, you are on the precipice of a calcium precipitation event. I would stop with the Kalkwasser for a little while and examine other additives to make sure they aren't also boosting your alkalinity.>> What are we doing wrong? <<Hard to say without a little more information, like what else you add to the tank and how much, how often. I would also consider the possibility that your test kit is off so testing with another kit can at least be a good sanity check.>> Please advise... Drex <<Cheers, J -- >>

Precipitate in new tank: let it snow, let it snow, made it snow now I don't know what to do? I have tried searching the site and I cant seem to find what am looking for? is this water wasted already? can I add anything to make the precipitate dissolve? thanks for your help in advance Francis Perez <no worries here, my friend. Once the reaction runs its course, the precipitate is insoluble (practically) and harmless. Simply do another water change (25-50% perhaps) to dilute the imbalance and then resume slow additions of calcium (nightly) and buffer (by day) as necessary to reach targeted levels. Aim for 8-12 dKH and 350-425 ppm Ca. Remember...when in doubt, do a water change: "Dilution is the Solution to Pollution!" Best regards, Anthony>

Hardening substrate Hello WWM crew! Not sure who I'll get, but I know you all know your stuff.  My set up is as follows: 90 gal. reef tank, with 70 gal refugium w/ 18" x 48" plenum. and 50 gal sump.  Mostly SPS and LPS corals and a couple anemones.   <good heavens... please split this group up soon if you want any of the to see 5 years old let alone ten. A lot of chemical aggression with this garden reef (soup) of drastically different corals. Please resist mixing LPS, SPS and especially anemones (species tank) unnaturally> 150 lbs of LR and about 100 lbs Live sand. My skimmer is an AquaC EV 400. Total system water is about 180gallons.  The question I have is over the last couple of months I have noticed something leaching out of the water and covering the pumps impellers and heaters of the sump, but don't notice it on anything else  It is a white cement like substance that can only be scraped off glass by a razor blade.   <calcium carbonate?> Also the substrate in my plenum is starting to "crust over" or "cement" together.   <ahhh... yes. Spiking your pH with supplements too much or too fast. Either fast running Kalkwasser or excessive/unshaken (shake vigorously every time) 2-part mixes. Do water changes to dilute and temper your dosing protocol> Nothing visible in the substrate but when you run your fingers through it, it comes up in giant clumps 1" to 1.5" thick.  Any ideas?  I use a couple of additives. EVS B-Ionic 2 part alk/cal,  EVS Iodine, Kent Marine Strontium, and EVS activated carbon.   <all sounds fine... I really like ESV products> I do 5-10% water change each week with RODI water & Instant Ocean.   <larger water changes needed here especially as long as you have such a wild mix of corals and no application of ozone. Approach 25% weekly for ideal> Also am thinking about added a calcium reactor.   <quite convenient> Is the Knop C a good choice and big enough for my tank?   <hmm... that depends. What is your daily demand for calcium? ppm? I use a Knop reactor myself and love it. Others favor different brands> Looking forward to the new book.  Keep up the great work! Be chatting, Brad Stefanko <thanks kindly! Anthony>

Any suggestions? I started adding supplements to my tank about 4 months ago. At first everything was opening up and looking excellent. Now, everything still looks ok but my very large octopus coral and elegance coral have been closing up on a daily basis. (I've had both corals for many years) The octopus coral has 4 large stalks and they seem to take turns closing up. These are the supplements I've been adding and the amounts in a 75 gal tank, with live rock. Nitrate, etc. levels are fine and I do regular water changes. Red Sea Vita 5 ml. 1 time per week Red Sea Green 5 ml. 1 time per week Kent Marine Tech-M 12 ml. 1 time per week Kent Marine Tech-I 6 ml. 1 time per week Kent Marine Strontium & Molybdenum 6.5 ml. 1 time per week Kent Marine Essential Elements 6.5 ml. every other week  These are all per instructions if you don't have test kits to test levels. Any suggestions what might be going on? <Well, you might have an accumulation problem, but not too likely with what you list, given that you're also doing regular partial water changes. I would definitely invest in at least a calcium and alkalinity test kits here. If these two corals continue to look bad (no problem if they're regularly opening/closing), I would effect larger water changes (like 20-25% weekly) and add a unit of activated carbon to your filter flow path. Do you feed your corals? You might try soaking their meaty foods in a vitamin preparation prior to offering. Bob Fenner>

Messed up tank Hi Bob, Merry Christmas! I need help with my 60G reef acrylic tank .. I was stupid enough to dump too much buffer (water Kent buffer) into it last week and half of the front glass is now coated with "white stuff". <Yeeikes!> I tried scrapping it off with my credit card and with the cleaning pads but still there is a lot of "white stuff" left. Good thing is I am actually moving this weekend so I would get a chance to give it a good clean. Do you know of any good way to get the "white stuff" off? <Not w/o emptying the tank... gently wiping with dilute acid (like vinegar, acetic) on a sponge, or better, swishing successive washes of it (white is better) onto the panels... Or letting time go by... it will wear off... Don't scrape! Bob Fenner> Thanks again!

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