Grasping Alk / Cal 2-part Supplementation???

NickBee

New member
OK I have a few people on here who are helping me out with this issue (thanks again Jer & Bert), but I figured I would post also for the benefit of others…

We have a 3 month old 75 Gal FOWLR (100 Gal system) that is showing slow signs of Coralline growth. In my collection of test kits we added Alk and Cal and are getting readings of 7.5 Alk and 320 Cal. Our SG was recently raised from 1.023 to 1.025 and it was recommended that we start supplementing with a 2 part system (just got my order of ESV B-Ionic in). So far I am grasping the fact that our calcium level should be around 450 for better Coralline Algae growth and to be balanced with our Alk. But here are my questions:

1) If our Alk is at an ok level do we still need to supplement both parts? Or can the cal be brought up 1st to balance with the Alk? I’ve seen the on-line calculators for supplementation but they give different doses for Alk and Cal. The instructions on the bottle recommend equal dosing.

2) What should be the Alk / Cal level we should aim for?

3) Knowing our situation what would you recommend as a safe dosing scheme. We are not in a rush, just would like to see more of the purple stuff eventually.

Other Parameters:
PH- 8.2
Am â€"œ 0
Nitrate â€"œ 0
Nitrite - .1
Temp â€"œ 77

Oh, I’ve read the articles about dosing online and it makes me wish I paid more attention in chemistry class. That being said I’m still scratching my head a bit about this one. Some plain-English recommendations would be great.

THANKS!
 

dots

Premium Member
Your a little low on both Alk and Ca, but within the ball park.

As you stock your tank with calcium using livestock, and as the coralline takes hold, they will use more and more alk and Ca.

I like to pick a number in the middle of the acceptable ranges for all to give some wiggle room in case of something going wrong. In your case, you are on the danger side of too low alk.

I shoot for 9.6dkh and 450ppm for Alk and Ca.
Reference here for ranges:http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-05/rhf/index.php

The coralline will grow as your tank matures and provided your params are stable you will have it sooner than you think and it will grow everywhere to the point of it being a pain. Currently its flaking off the bottom of my tank and plugging up the power heads!!!!!!:mad: The coloration will vary on lighting you have.

To dose by hand daily:

1. At the same time everyday and after you top off your water measure your alkalinity.

2. Based on that reading and your predermined Alk level (10dkh for me), dose enough to return it to that level daily. Add equal parts or both Alk and Ca based on this need.

Yes, you can vary the ratio to correct an out of balance situation, but you are not needing that and appear to be close to balanced levels of Alk and Ca

Note, due to stocking and biological reaction rates that this will vary daily slightly and increase as you add calcium dependent livestock.

After awhile of doing this you will know how much to add and won't need to test everyday and can switch to weekly alk tests.

I test montly Ca levels to ensure I am at the proper level and still in balance with the alk. In addition if you are having trouble keeping these stable, check your Mg level as it plays an important role.

reread all Randy's articles, yes there are alot, but written to help explain the confusing subject that chemistry can be.

At first, your dosages will be very small, but will increase over time, be vigilant and stay up on them because these levels are VERY important to the longterm success of your tank.

Good Luck!!

Does anybody have a chart showing at what level the Ca needs to be for an "x" level of alk to be in balance?
 
Last edited:

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
You're first action should be to boost the calcium to 420 ppm or so. You cannot do that using both parts of a two part equally. Use just the calcium part, or less expensively, use calcium chloride.

This calculator shows how much to use:

Reef chemicals calculator
http://home.comcast.net/~jdieck1/chem_calc3.html


and this article may help guide you through it:

Solving Calcium and Alkalinity Problems
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/nov2002/chem.htm

I recommend aiming for 380-450 ppm for calcium and 2.5-4 meq/L (7-11 dKH) for alkalinity. :)

A two part additive is a fine way to go, as is limewater or a CaCO3/CO2 reactor. :)
 

NickBee

New member
Thanks guys!!! This is starting to make sense!!!

To raise my Cal 100 ppm (to 420) it's telling me to dose 21.1 fl oz.

Should I try about 10 oz a day?
 
Last edited:

NickBee

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=9229327#post9229327 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Randy Holmes-Farley
or less expensively, use calcium chloride.
Could you elaborate a bit on this when you have a chance? Thanks!
 

jag1979

New member
you can get cheap forms of calcium chloride form ice melters such as dow flake, peladow and prestone driveway heat
 

NickBee

New member
OK So I'm going to be using up my ESV B-Ionic 1st. But I'll attempt to make my own mixtures using Dow Flakes and Baking Soda. Knowing were I'm at should I be using recipe 1 or 2?

Thanks Again!
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
Even if you buy ESV or Kent calcium chloride, it will be less expensive than purchasing a two part to give a calcium only boost. :)

For the two part, most people use Recipe 1, unless they are also using limewater.
 

NickBee

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=9232614#post9232614 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Randy Holmes-Farley
Even if you buy ESV or Kent calcium chloride, it will be less expensive than purchasing a two part to give a calcium only boost. :)

For the two part, most people use Recipe 1, unless they are also using limewater.

Gotcha! Goes back to the theory that calcium chloride is calcium chloride (no mater how much it costs). This has been a very educational thread. Thanks again! I'll post results after tonight's dose.
 

NickBee

New member
Ooookokkayyyy..

I stopped at a LFS to pick up some Kent Liquid Calcium and dosed half of the 12 oz the calculator told me it would take to raise my cal from 320 to 420. My calc reading is now at 380. Tomorrow I’ll dose a bit less (maybe 4 oz) and it should get me to 420ish. Then I’ll start using my 2 part to get up to 450 cal and 9ish on the alk.

Thanks again for the help guys!
 

NickBee

New member
Here’s a question that’s kinda related to this thread. It seems like most of our Coralline growth so far is happening right at or slightly below the sand bed (on the glass). Could this be because that’s where the highest concentration of calcium is right now?
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
I doubt it.. Perhaps when you scrape the glass elsewhere you take it off. It is also possible that isn't coralline, but something else, like cyano or other type of algae.
 

NickBee

New member
Here are a few images of what I’m seeing…

algae1.jpg


algae2.jpg
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
If that is hard coralline, it is likely just because scraping removes it elsewhere. My tank has a ring of coralline all around the edges for that reason.
 
Top