Kalkwasser and Topoff?

cherokee_dude

In Memoriam
I have a 30 gallon reservoir I fill with RO/DI, a JBJ handles topoff water and I have a Deltec 509 for Calcium in my 100g tank.

I've been thinking about adding a Kalkwasser reactor and then I thought... Why can't I just add Pickling Lime to my Topoff reservoir and have it feed it when it needs a topoff?
Should I be concerned about evaporation from the topoff container?
Does this increase the 'Potency' of the saturated solution?
 

kcbonsai_matt

New member
I've seen Kalk (lime) leave a 'hard' layer on top of the water where the Kalk interacts with the air. I was told this is normal. Just have to make sure you realize when you're starting to run dry. Also, you see more precipitation out of the solution with the larger amount of air exposure. But, I don't think it is enough to worry about. Just make sure you clean your pump & lines regularly.
 

Megabite

New member
I have a 40 gallon breeder as my reservoir, use a JBJ for auto top off hooked to a aqua lifter. I add 2 tbs of kalk per gallon of R/O water. I've been doing this for about 9 months with zero issues. I do have the tank completely covered and I go through 3 1/2 gallons of evaporation a day.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
It is not as potent alk supplement as compared to kalk-reactor but does the job.

IME, dosing limewater from a settled reservoir is more likely to be be able to be saturated than is the effluent from a typical reactor. It is actually quite hard to get a reactor that doses saturated limewater without dosing solids too.


I prefer dosing from a settled reservoir for a variety of reasons, this being one of them. The ability to add vinegar being another, and the better settling of undesirable impurities being the other.

I dose limewater via top off from a 132 gallon reservoir using two pumps on float switches. :)
 

cherokee_dude

In Memoriam
It is not as potent alk supplement as compared to kalk-reactor but does the job.

IME, dosing limewater from a settled reservoir is more likely to be be able to be saturated than is the effluent from a typical reactor. It is actually quite hard to get a reactor that doses saturated limewater without dosing solids too.


I prefer dosing from a settled reservoir for a variety of reasons, this being one of them. The ability to add vinegar being another, and the better settling of undesirable impurities being the other.

I dose limewater via top off from a 132 gallon reservoir using two pumps on float switches. :)
Thanks for chiming in Randy. Do you run a reactor and dose?
edit: You run Vinegar in your TO? Are you dosing Vodka or something?... The tank man... The tank ;)

I have a 40 gallon breeder as my reservoir, use a JBJ for auto top off hooked to a aqua lifter. I add 2 tbs of kalk per gallon of R/O water. I've been doing this for about 9 months with zero issues. I do have the tank completely covered and I go through 3 1/2 gallons of evaporation a day.

I have pretty much the exact setup. Do you notice any changes in your display PH or TO container as you near the end of the reservoir contents?


I've seen Kalk (lime) leave a 'hard' layer on top of the water where the Kalk interacts with the air. I was told this is normal. Just have to make sure you realize when you're starting to run dry. Also, you see more precipitation out of the solution with the larger amount of air exposure. But, I don't think it is enough to worry about. Just make sure you clean your pump & lines regularly.

Good point! It's amazing how I automated this process and still end up running this thing dry every now and again :rolleyes:

Your thoughs are exactly what I do for top-off. It is not as potent alk supplement as compared to kalk-reactor but does the job. Why are you added Kalk if you have a CaReactor. I started with top-off kalk and later added the reactor.

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-01/rhf/index.php
I've heard that this is a great way to 'Balance' CA and PH for the Day/Night cycle. There have been a few articles about this type of supplementation... Anyone think this is bad or unneccesary? I'm not up to speed on the most current thinking for this topic. I have a 100g tank with SPS, Inverts, Clams (One is a 6" Deresa).
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
Thanks for chiming in Randy. Do you run a reactor and dose?

I dose from a settled reservoir. I have put vinegar into it, but at the moment I add vinegar saturated with lime with a dosing pump so I can add it only during the day when O2 is highest while the limewater is added 24/7. :)
 

aquariumclown

New member
Thanks for chiming in Randy. Do you run a reactor and dose?

I dose from a settled reservoir. I have put vinegar into it, but at the moment I add vinegar saturated with lime with a dosing pump so I can add it only during the day when O2 is highest while the limewater is added 24/7. :)

Randy
I'm confused. You have a reservoir that you've added kalk to, because you don't stir it up you call this "settled reservoir"? So if this is the case, you also add vinegar into it?

Can you define what i put in bold in your above quote? What's the difference? I thought limewater is "vinegar saturated with lime" are they the same or different things?
 

tcblue

New member
Randy a lot of the ulns people say that kalk is bad for the tank as it binds phosphate to it and dumps it on the rocks and sand and causes algae blooms at a later date do you not subscribe to this notion
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
Randy a lot of the ulns people say that kalk is bad for the tank as it binds phosphate to it and dumps it on the rocks and sand and causes algae blooms at a later date do you not subscribe to this notion

Yes, they do claim this, but I've never understood how it makes the least bit of sense.

If I accept that phosphate is precipitated as calcium phosphate (not convinced it happens, but it may) and that the calcium phosphate settles out somewhere, how is that a problem? Yes, theoretically it might redissolve somehow if the pH gets very low, like in a sand bed. So what? How is that different than the initial phosphate coming in with food? Overall, the net available phosphate to the bulk water column system would have to be the same or lower when using limewater. So I fail to see the issue.

Is it the ticking time bomb hypothesis, where it builds up slowly (all the while contributing to lower phosphate), then one day the phosphate suddenly could rise?

Do they think corals or algae might ingest the calcium phosphate particles directly?

I just don't understand it.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
I'm confused. You have a reservoir that you've added kalk to, because you don't stir it up you call this "settled reservoir"?

Yes, undesirable impurities such as phosphate and copper settle out.

So if this is the case, you also add vinegar into it?

I have done that on some occasions, but I do not at the moment.

Vinegar saturated with lime is different than what most dose. Take straight vinegar and add solid lime. That is dosed (by me) in small amounts. Definitely not to replace all evaporated water as the organic dosed would be huge.

Limewater is just calcium hydroxide dissolved in fresh water. That's what most folks, myself included, dose to replace all evaporated water.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
Some people find it stays cloudy longer than others. Probably particle size effects, with smaller ones settling slower. Also, if not covered it can get cloudy throughout as CO2 enters and causes production of calcium carbonate. In any case, it is Ok to use it if it has settled overnight. :)
 

iamwhatiam52

New member
This is exactly the discussion I needed since I just started using kalk and realized I don't know what the heck I am doing.


Here is where I am now:
  • 400 gal system evaporates 4 to 5 gallons per day.
  • Started with 1 teaspoon of Mrs. Wages per gallon of rodi water in a 40 gal Brute trash can.
  • Mixing is done by running a 700 gph pump in the bottom of the reservoir for a few hours.
  • Kalk is added to the sump via Minijet pump and auto-top-off.
  • Reservoir is cloudy and has a crust on top. Thinking that the lime was not properly mixed, I have been running the mixing pump a few minutes each day.


Is this what I should do going forward?
  • Adjust the amount of lime being added to the top-off water to keep my calcium between 400 and 450, and alkalinity between 8 and 10.
  • Use the mixing pump only when starting a new batch. Turn off the top-off pump 8 hours after mixing.
  • Covering the reservoir may reduce the cloudiness and crusting, but is not essential.
  • Keep the top-off pump a few inches off the bottom of the reservoir to prevent sucking up the precipitate.


Other questions.
  • How often should the reservoir be cleaned or the precipitate be siphoned out?
  • If my pH needs adjusting, can I add vinegar directly to the kalk, or is it better to add it separately?
  • What is the advantage of "Take straight vinegar and add solid lime."
  • Since skimming and tank maintenance remove some salt water, my previous solution was to add salt to the top-off water. Can salt be added to the limewater, and if so how much, or will this cause something to precipitate out?
  • Will long term submersion in limewater harm ordinary aquarium pumps.
 

myaerica

New member
Hey iamwhatiam after you mix the kalk for the first time i dont think you have to stir it up everyday.the water stays saturated in A closed trash can for quite A long time.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
Reservoir is cloudy and has a crust on top. Thinking that the lime was not properly mixed, I have been running the mixing pump a few minutes each day.


It is undesirable to mix the reservoir. Let it settle on its own.

Adjust the amount of lime being added to the top-off water to keep my calcium between 400 and 450, and alkalinity between 8 and 10.

Base it ONLY on the alkalinity, making sure the pH does not get too high. Not calcium. If calcium is too low, adjust it manually with calcium chloride.

Covering the reservoir may reduce the cloudiness and crusting, but is not essential.

Covering it is essential, or else too much Co2 will enter it and deplete it. I’ve shown that experimentally.

How often should the reservoir be cleaned or the precipitate be siphoned out?

Not often. Maybe once a year.

If my pH needs adjusting, can I add vinegar directly to the kalk, or is it better to add it separately?

Let’s cross that bridge if you come to it. Vinegar has many of its own complications.

What is the advantage of "Take straight vinegar and add solid lime."


I dose straight vinegar plus lime as a way to drive bacteria. Don’t pick this unless that is your goal.

Since skimming and tank maintenance remove some salt water, my previous solution was to add salt to the top-off water. Can salt be added to the limewater, and if so how much, or will this cause something to precipitate out?

No, none can be added. You’ll precipitate calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide.

Will long term submersion in limewater harm ordinary aquarium pumps.

Not noticeably, unless they have polycarbonate parts.
 

fishreef1

New member
These are some of the exact same questions I had since I started dosing the same way recently. Randy you are saying to monitor alk to see if you are dosing correct amounts? And then adjust calcium acordingly to bring everything into "balance"?
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
Yes. :)

Since it adds 2.8 dKH of alkalinity (and a big pH boost) for each 20 ppm of calcium, you cannot use it to make a substantial correction to calcium without alkalinity getting too high.
 
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