1400 ppm cal, 115 kh

ayort

New member
I have a 75 Gal. tank. although there is very little in the tank. I recently decided to add a coral banded shrimp and an emerald crab.
Before moving I ran a successful reef for 5 years. Now in my new water system still using a 3 stage RO.
I added these animals. The crab turned white over a month then died, the shrimp lived ( if you could call it that ) for a couple of days then died. I found due to these deaths that my calcium was 1400 and KH was 60. I have been doing max water changes 25-30 gal. once per week for over a month. and using superbuffer to maintain KH at 110-115. But calcium shoots back up from 960 ppm 1 hour afer the cleaning to 1400+ in a few days. I have started removing my crushed coral sugar sand. But is this really the cause and if so what should I replace it with. My local store says this can't happen, but I've used multiple test brands. It is 1400.
 

ayort

New member
I've been using Hagan calcium and KH. However I also tested calcium with an aquarium systems test that also showed 1100+. I was sure the hagan was wrong until The second test showed the same results.
Also I've been using instant ocean due to an average calcium of 280 after mixing.
 

ayort

New member
I read that before logging into this forum. Yes the test kit is the same kit as I tested the aquarium with. instant ocean has the lowest calcium level I can find. Reef crystals is the better reef salt by the same company, Coming in around 440ppm. instant ocean is made for fish aquariums not reef tanks. Kent marine salt is 510ppm. I haven't tried red sea because they admit on the bag ( the only one by the way) calcium 450ppm.

As I said in the begining of this question. I purchased really cheap sugar sized crushed coral sand ( in bulk). This stuff is made of calcium. This is the only sorce of calcium in the tank, other than the salt. Calcium can't come from the air, or my coraline alge coated rocks. What is the best substate for reef aquariums.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
Reef crystals is the better reef salt by the same company, Coming in around 440ppm. instant ocean is made for fish aquariums not reef tanks.

Better is in the eye of the beholder. I choose to use IO for my reef system, although I do boost the calcium in it.

As I said in the begining of this question. I purchased really cheap sugar sized crushed coral sand ( in bulk). This stuff is made of calcium. This is the only sorce of calcium in the tank, other than the salt. Calcium can't come from the air, or my coraline alge coated rocks. What is the best substate for reef aquariums.

Unless you selected something very strange (like gypsum), the substrate is not contributing to the calcium level. So if you have not added anything, I'm concerned that the testing may be in error.
 

ayort

New member
I feel as though you think I'm an idiot.
7 Drops regent 1... 3 drops regent 2... 70 drops of regent 3 x 20 =1400.. No mistake. under the other test 3 drops regent 1... one packet regent 2... then 90 drops regent 3 x 15 =1390. Almost the same with both tests. As I said before IO = 280 with the same test... RC=440 with the same test...KM=510 with the same test.
Are you accusing me of successful testing in the mix tank, but for two months and 18 tank tests I did it wrong over and over and over. Or due to using up all of my regent 3 all three test kits I purchased were bad?
As I said I purchased bulk sand from a box, By the pound. They claimed it was crushed coral(tiny shells have been found). 80lbs =$35.00
WHAT IS THE BEST SUBSTRATE FOR A REEF AQUARIUM????
 

BobTheBuilder

New member
What unit of measure are you using to target your alkalinity meg/l, dKH or ppm? Perhaps you are targeting dKH for your water changes that would make your water extremely alkaline. I cant imagine anything could live with that. I would stay away from the super buffer for now and any additives and do extreme water changes until your levels are normal. If you are targeting Alkalinity using dKH it should be around 10 dKH vs 115 ppm
 

BobTheBuilder

New member
Actually the balanced calcium for 60 meg/l alkalinity is 1500 ppm of Calcium. Not far from your numbers. It has to be the super buffer.
 

David Grigor

Registered Member
Premium Member
I was unaware such high CA/ALK numbers where even attainable in a tank. If there are accurate, then you would have to have been adding a whole lot of additives to achieve.

I tend to beleve either problems with the test kits themselves or user error in administering or reading the result.

Got a local hobbiest that can come by with his or her own test kits to confirm your readings ?
 

Mike O'Brien

New member
LOL. I think he is reading in ppm caco3 equivelants. That would be 2.3 meq/l.

You just can't have a tank running with an alkalinity 60 meq/l and 1500 ppm calcium.

I'd get a quality test kit for calcium. Something is fishy here.
 

David Grigor

Registered Member
Premium Member
Can't aragonite powder/residue cause interference with test kits ? Any suspended substrate particles floating around in the tank that could interfere ?
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
I feel as though you think I'm an idiot.
....

Are you accusing me of successful testing in the mix tank, but for two months and 18 tank tests I did it wrong over and over and over. Or due to using up all of my regent 3 all three test kits I purchased were bad?



Relax, and don't take it personally. I've answered literally tens of thousands of questions like yours, and at least 10% of the parameter problems posted here are testing errors. Some people find the directions so confusing that they simply add the wrong ingredients in the wrong order or interpret the results incorrectly. My question doesn't mean you necessarily did anything wrong, although that may be the case. The kit may be inaccurate to begin with.

That said, calcium over 1000 ppm does not just happen, and shells will not be the cause.

Lets take the possibilities one at a time.

The reason I asked if the salt mix read lower (normal) was to try to see if Mikes question was the issue: reading calcium as ppm calcium carbonate equivalents. In that case, 400 ppm calcium = 1000 ppm calcium carbonate equivalents.

Second, fine aragonite suspended in the water may case false high readings, as David mentioned. Is the water mostly clear of suspended particulates?
 

ayort

New member
Well I thank you all for your responces.
However, I have read and re-read the instructions on my tests. due to the ability to get accurate readings on mix water by the manufacturers of the salts calcium readings. then using the same test on the aquarium water and getting these outragous readings (I didn't even believe). I purchased the second test kit. the store owner aimed me away from a cheap kit toward the seachem ( He didn't believe the figures either). This kit gave me the same results. I also have been able to calculate the new calcium levels after a water change by taking 80 gal water total subtracting 30 gal. and adding 30 gallons of new IO 280ppm cal. water. for example... 1400 x 5 = 7000... 280 x 3 = 840... 7000+840=7840....7840 \ 8 = 980. Then an hour after the water change I run a test, calcium is 960ish... This verifies that the original tests and calium levels were accurate.
When this was first discovered I was asked by a store employee about KH. I'd never done this test, So I purchased a kit and tested KH. The reading was 60 according to the kit instructions this reading should be 110-125, Low numbers could cause exposed calcium supplies in the tank to desolve just like in a calcium reactor.( also according to the article I read and was later refered to) So I purchased KM superbuffer. I thought this would solve the problem with a few water changes. I've maintained KH around 115 ever sence. However the calcium hasn't improved.
I do not have aragonite sand, until three months ago I'd never even heard of it, and still don't know what it is or where it comes from. I went to the store where I purchased my cheap sand, they said this crap is intended for calcium reactors not as a substrate. They suggest I remove it from the tank. Which brings me back to the ORIGINAL QUESTION.....again...
What is the best substrate for a reef aquarium????????????
Regardless of if everyone believes me, regardless of my test results, regardless of who's right and who's wrong...
What is the best substrate for a reef aquarium????????????
Please someone tell me...
What is the best substrate for a reef aquarium????????????
The water is clear.
Thanks again
 

Mike O'Brien

New member
Aragonite sand is the most popolar. It's just a fine calcium carbonate. Alot of folks use the oolitic type wich is tiny spheres and is friendly to anything that will dwell in the sand. Verses sharp edged silica sands or crushed coral.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
The alkalinity is fairly low, assuming you are reporting it in ppm calcium carbonate equivalents. I usually recommend 125-200 ppm calcium carbonate equivalents. . If the pH was also on the low side, that calcium level would not be impossible to maintain, but you'd need to have added a lot of something to get it that high.

I went to the store where I purchased my cheap sand, they said this crap is intended for calcium reactors not as a substrate. They suggest I remove it from the tank.

It may not make an optimal substrate due to large particle size, but it is not dissolving or boosting the calcium.


Which brings me back to the ORIGINAL QUESTION.....again...
What is the best substrate for a reef aquarium????????????
Regardless of if everyone believes me, regardless of my test results, regardless of who's right and who's wrong...
What is the best substrate for a reef aquarium????????????
Please someone tell me...
What is the best substrate for a reef aquarium????????????


We are all here trying to helping you, not because this discussion is helping us. We have determined that you have problems far larger than what substrate to buy, and are trying to help you solve that.

But, if you want to focus on sand, then the answer is most any sand of an appropriate particle size is OK. I use calcium carbonate play sand that I bought from Home Depot. Others use silica play sand. Others use expensive calcium carbonate sands from aquarium suppliers. Many are fine. One important issue is whether the particles are too large (allowing detritus to settle into it.

I discuss some issues with silica sand here:

Silica in a Reef Tank
http://advancedaquarist.com/issues/jan2003/feature.htm
 
Last edited:

oldsaltman

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=9248671#post9248671 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by ayort
Well I thank you all for your responces.
However, I have read and re-read the instructions on my tests. due to the ability to get accurate readings on mix water by the manufacturers of the salts calcium readings. then using the same test on the aquarium water and getting these outragous readings (I didn't even believe). I purchased the second test kit. the store owner aimed me away from a cheap kit toward the seachem ( He didn't believe the figures either). This kit gave me the same results. I also have been able to calculate the new calcium levels after a water change by taking 80 gal water total subtracting 30 gal. and adding 30 gallons of new IO 280ppm cal. water. for example... 1400 x 5 = 7000... 280 x 3 = 840... 7000+840=7840....7840 \ 8 = 980. Then an hour after the water change I run a test, calcium is 960ish... This verifies that the original tests and calium levels were accurate.
When this was first discovered I was asked by a store employee about KH. I'd never done this test, So I purchased a kit and tested KH. The reading was 60 according to the kit instructions this reading should be 110-125, Low numbers could cause exposed calcium supplies in the tank to desolve just like in a calcium reactor.( also according to the article I read and was later refered to) So I purchased KM superbuffer. I thought this would solve the problem with a few water changes. I've maintained KH around 115 ever sence. However the calcium hasn't improved.
I do not have aragonite sand, until three months ago I'd never even heard of it, and still don't know what it is or where it comes from. I went to the store where I purchased my cheap sand, they said this crap is intended for calcium reactors not as a substrate. They suggest I remove it from the tank. Which brings me back to the ORIGINAL QUESTION.....again...
What is the best substrate for a reef aquarium????????????
Regardless of if everyone believes me, regardless of my test results, regardless of who's right and who's wrong...
What is the best substrate for a reef aquarium????????????
Please someone tell me...
What is the best substrate for a reef aquarium????????????
The water is clear.
Thanks again

Actually this was your original question.
But is this really the cause and if so what should I replace it with
:rolleyes:
 

ayort

New member
OK,
In my tank there is a 15lbs lava base rock (Not made of calcium) 1 35lbs base rock with three large caves (also not made of calcium). 1-7lbs live rock and 2-3lbs live rocks then a couple of smaller dead corals which I've had sence before I move (pointing out that they never changed the calcium before the move) 55lbs of sand (used to be 80 lbs) I don't know where the other 25lbs went, but 1 year ago the sand was 3 inches deep, now its 2. There are a couple of small frags which are not doing well, a frog spawn, a cabbage leather and a plug of green star polops. all about 1-2". one alge blennie, one royal gramma, one sand sifter gobie and a blue damsel. I am running a 5 gallon empty sump and a 15 gallon refugium with 20 lbs of miracle mud. the only calcium in the tank other then that found in the mix water is the 15ish lbs of live rock/dead coral. and the sand. This is why I asked if the sand could cause this because the live rock and dead corals are not shrinking. and other then the sand there is no other calcium supply available. I only add superbuffer about 1 teaspoon every week during top offs because I know the water here is very soft.
So I guess that the sand CAN NOT leach calcium into the water. so where is it coming from?? I believe my air is nearly calcium free.
I'd rather not replace my sand as good aragonite sand is around $80.00 for 40lbs. But if what I see happening can't happen then I am at a loss. I've re-verified my results. I got my calcium down to 980 on saturday, KH is on the money according to my test kit. calcium today is 1160. Up 180 in 4.5 days.
 
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