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Chemical Additives

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DonW

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I would like to start getting organized as far as chemicals go. To date I'm still in the setting up process but would like to keep alive the small critters that did come on my live rock and sand. I have alot of baby feather dusters, 1" colony of polyps, and about 10 green striped mushrooms. Im am seeing pods at night if I sneek up on the tank with a flashlight.
I tried Kalkwasser for two weeks kind of a pain for my small tank (43G hex). I just started (two weeks) using Kent marine buffer (2tsp 2x weekly)and Seachem reef complete (4ml 2x weekly). These seem to be a good mix, calcium remains steady at 450 and ph at 8.3. Nitrates, nitrites, phosphates and ammonia are a steady 0 with a SG of 1.025.
All SEEM perfect. Am I missing something?? I figured I should go another 8 to 12 weeks before adding anything (corals). Almost forgot I started adding DT's biweekly.

Don
 

jazznreef

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set up

sounds to me like you're doing everything right... how long has this been set up? do you have any fish in there yet? maybe a damsel or two would help. as for corals, maybe start with softie frags like leathers. those are usually pretty tolerant. maybe even some xenia. i had great luck with that when i started. others might disagree though. the julian sprung book on corals lists the easy softies to keep. i know i made the mistake of not considering what i put in when i started. doing that should really help you out. as you put animals in there you might need to adjust your trace additions as the load goes up and the elements go down. just something to consider. good luck.
 

reedman

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Go easy on the chemicals

I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to the chemicals. I figure the less I add, the less things can get out of whack. My advice is to be patient (which it seems you are), and watch the inhabitants. They will tell you when things aren't right.

Test the water the way you have been and watch for changes. If you don't have any corals in the tank your need for calcium is minimal (just to keep the coraline algae going). Focus on keeping the levels constant over time. That is key to sucess. Small changes over time when necessary.

In the mean time, start (or continue) to research the needs of your future inhabitants. For corals, don't be tempted to jump into "easy to keep" corals if you plan to move to SPS later. It can be very difficult to erradicate some of these (i.e. Xenia). Plan your placement so that you can have the coral mix you want. If you plan right you can have a nice mix of corals and great tank.

Good luck. It sounds like you're off to a great start.
-Reed
 

mojoreef

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Don I tend to agree with Reed. Your going to need to also test for alkalinity, Ph wont be important, as long as you maintain a good alk level your ph will be inline. I am also not a big fan of of individual components when it comes to water chemistry, I would strongly suggest using a two part Ionically balanced additive, such as Reefpure.

Take care

Mike
 

DonW

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Chemicals

Two months ago this was a fish only system ran for a few years easily. I do have some mushrooms and a few polyps. All fish have been eliminated except three Green Chromis, (which will be going to a new home soon) and one Lawnmower Blennie. It should be completely cycled and has undergone an extreme algae bloom with the addition LR and MH.
What should I look for as far as Alkalinity? What brand of test kit should I purchase?

Thanks
Don
 

reedman

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I like the salifert Alk test. It's pretty easy to get a good (consistant) reading. The actual level you want is often debated. Sea water, I believe is about 7 dKH (I could wrong). Most people with reef setups try to maintain around 12 dKH or so. Alk acts as a buffer for the PH level. When your Alk is around 12 you get much less fluctuation in the PH level than you do when it is around 6. This can be especially helpfull when you dose Kalkwasser.
 

Solov

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I will ask a stupid question maybe... but I'm going to ask it anyways :)

Alk - is basically property that does not let pH go low (buffers extra acid to different types of salts).
Kalkwasser - suspension with high pH, and balanced Ca/Alk levels.

The question: how high Alk can help buffer high pH additives?
 

DonW

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HUH

So how is alk adjusted? If my ph is 8.3 and SG is 1.025 and alk is high or low what do I do with that number?

Don
 

reedman

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Let me try again.

Alk - is basically property that does not let pH go low (buffers extra acid to different types of salts).
Kalkwasser - suspension with high pH, and balanced Ca/Alk levels.

The question: how high Alk can help buffer high pH additives?
Solov,
Yes. Alk helps to prevent PH from dropping. I also thought that it would buffer a spike as well, but I think you may be correct in saying that it only helps in situations where the PH wants to go lower.

Even if it does not buffer a spike, kalkwasser is not typically used to increase Alk or Calcium. It is usually used to maintain it at a level already established. That was what I really wanted to point out. It just didn't come out that way. :rolleyes:

So how is alk adjusted?
Don,

There are several products designed for this. Seachem, Kent, and others all have their own names for the products. Something like Superbuffer dKH.
 

DonW

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Alk

So basicly I'm on the right track using the Marine Buffer?? I just need to check the Alk and adjust the buffer accordingly.

Don
 

reedman

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I think the point is to check the Alk level, then if it needs adjustment, make that adjustment...SLOWLY. I don't know what exactly "marine buffer" is, so I can't say that you are using the right product, but it sounds like you have a good idea of what you are doing. The product will clearly state that it is designed to increase Alkalinity. For example Seachems product says this "Reef Builderâ„¢raises and maintains carbonate alkalinity (KH) ..."

I think marine buffer is similar.
 

DonW

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Buffer

I understand. I am using seachem marine buffer. It says maintains ph at 8.3 and alk at 4.0. So I need a product that will build it slowly if I find alk to be low.

Thanks for all your help.
I'm just starting to figure out the water chemistry. Can anyone advise me on a good Reef book. The books I have are to far outdated.
 

mojoreef

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Solov your alkalinity is a buffer. your alkalinity will determine how much acid can be added to your system with out effecting your ph. Example if you have a low alkalinity it can only absorb so much acid before it will begin to affect your ph. The higher the alk the more acid it can absorb before it begins to affect your ph.
PH is something to monitor but its not important to your water chemistry. All elements are ionically balanced and each ones level effects the other, to high an alk could percipatate your calcium, not enough magnesium could effect your calcium also, to much mag could supress your alk.
This is why I suggested using a ionically balanced additive, it will add all the elements in a balanced manner. going individual is real hard even for those that are real experenced and have all the required kits.
Don as per a book you do need to spend any money on it. Here on the board we have assembled the largest ree related library on the internet, with up to date studies and article about reefing. NO charge, lol.
Here is a link to reference articles on water chemistry, hope you enjoy
http://www.thepsas.org/phpbb2/viewforum.php?f=17

hope it helps

MIke
 

DonW

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Thanks

Thanks Mike, I did do a Kh test tonight and found it at 12. So now what ?Should'nt it be 9 to 10?

Thanks
Don
 

mojoreef

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Don thats not to bad. if your calcium is 450 a dkh reading should be at around 11 to be concidered balanced. I would stop the buffer dosing, it should come down on its own. or it will on your next water change.

Mike
 

jazznreef

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alk

one thing i found interesting is that you can only raise both calcium and alkalinity so high. the analogy i've heard is that your tank is like a bucket and alk represents red marbles and calcium represents blue marbles. you can only add so much of each. if you raise one element beyond a certain point then it impacts the level of the other. i guess the challenge is finding and maintaining that balance. as for books, i think fosa and nielson's modern coral reef aquarium has really good water chemistry discussions. it's the best i've seen outside of the technical papers. i think it has more of a scientific slant than delbeek and sprung's volume 1.
 

DonW

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Calcium

Mike pointed me to some great article's here. What I did learn by doing the research, is maintenance of Cal. and Kh. is probably the best way to achieve the best results. I was under the impression that Kalk was for the addition of but I found out it maintains. That being the case I think that once those magic numbers have been reached then Kalk should help keep them there. I really should get into the marine chemical business. They have to be making huge money getting people to perform such balancing acts. But while were talking about chemicals, do Green Striped mushroons need Iodine or Lugos?


Don
 

jazznreef

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logus

i use to dose lugols when i was really into softies. xenia seems to go absolutely nuts over it. i don't think i had any problems attributable to it but some will warn against it. mushrooms like it but regular water changes should do the trick. if you have a really high load of softies i would recommend it but be careful and try to test. with your current load i really doubt you need to dose with it though.
 

Solov

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mojoreef said:
Solov your alkalinity is a buffer. your alkalinity will determine how much acid can be added to your system with out effecting your ph. Example if you have a low alkalinity it can only absorb so much acid before it will begin to affect your ph. The higher the alk the more acid it can absorb before it begins to affect your ph.
PH is something to monitor but its not important to your water chemistry.
MIke
That is correct, and what I came to understand both by trying to remember some chemisty, reading articles and practice :)

So, correct me if I'm wrong, but here's what I consider true:

Kalkwasser - balanced Alk/Ca (high concentration, thus can be used to reimburse coral's demand for Ca and natural drop of Alk at the same time), but it also has a naturally very high 12+ pH, so if you add it, be ready to get your pH higher (which is also not bad for most tanks).

Baking Soda - neutral pH (7-8ish) and high Alk.
 

mojoreef

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Solov yep thats it pretty much. Beware baking soda and or washing soda. They have been known to have surfactants in them which could turn your tank into a bubbly affair.
 
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