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makana
08-07-2010, 05:38 AM
I recently bought some elos tests and discovered that my calcium was low. I had been using hagen kits and it turns out the calcium kit was way off. Since then I discovered that the IO salt that I use is low in mag and calc.

I started dosing to bring up my levels and it has taken a few weeks to learn how to dose one without dropping the other but I managed to get my levels up.

The problem I am having is that I can't keep them up. On Wed. my alk was 8.5dkh, calc was 410, and mag was 1400. On tue. alk was 7.5, calc was 390, I didn't check mag. On fri. alk was 6.5, calc was 410, and mag was 1350.

I assume tuesdays calcium reading was a testing error but mag has dropped 50 in 48 hours and alk seems to drop 1 dkh per day.

I only have a sun coral, some mushrooms, an open brain, and a toadstool. Two fish and a shrimp. Nothing that should be using up my alk. Before I started this dosing I had never needed to dose and my alk was always stable at 7.5, a little low but consistent.

I have recently discovered a tiny hitchhiker clam that is about the size of a dime. It has been in there for over a year. I thought it was part of the rock but since the dosing it actually moved twice and now opens up and displays a mantle.

If anyone can help me figure this out I would appreciate it. I can't see anything that would drain my alk like that. I would prefer to maintain my levels with water changes only if I can stabilize it. I am dosing my water change water as well now.

skabooya
08-07-2010, 04:29 PM
My alk goes down too. I dose baking soda every 2-3 weeks. Calcium every month as well as amino acids, trace elements, magnesium and iron. this seems to keep things pretty stable. But every tank is different so I hope others chime in

makana
08-07-2010, 09:24 PM
Thanks for the reply. I would be happy only having to dose once a week but at the rate alk is dropping I am looking at having to dose daily. Which would make the tank very unstable if I tried to add a sps.

whatcaneyedo
08-07-2010, 10:27 PM
Pretty much all coral, even soft coral use up calcium carbonate. While they may not form a skeleton like LPS and SPS, soft coral do create these small sand grain size bits of skeleton in their tissue called sclerites.

You're going to need to come up with some kind of system that works for you if you want to keep your levels optimal.

This article might help.
An Improved Do-it-Yourself Two-Part Calcium and Alkalinity Supplement System
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-02/rhf/index.php

makana
08-07-2010, 10:36 PM
I have read that article actually. Do you think that this is a normal alk drop given my tank inhabitants? Why would my alk have been stable for two years and only become stable when I raised my calcium, mag, and alk?

whatcaneyedo
08-07-2010, 10:51 PM
Adjusting one level effects the others.
A Simplified Guide to the Relationship Between Calcium, Alkalinity, Magnesium and pH
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-06/rhf/index.php

I personally don't bother testing the water chemisty on my 20gal nano. Small tanks are too prone to rapid change so its not worth the hassle in my opinion. So I stock lightly, do large weekly water changes and just observe.

makana
08-08-2010, 03:30 AM
I appreciate the advice. I had been relying on water changes to keep things in check and everything was fine. But I discovered that IO salt was only giving me a mag level of 1250 and calc of 380. My goal for this tank is a clam and some sps so I was hoping to bring it up to a safer level.

Maybe I should just look at switching salt brands.

makana
08-13-2010, 01:50 AM
Are those of you who use IO salt having to dose daily or are water changes alone enough?

Captainhemo
08-19-2010, 03:30 PM
Go have a read of Chemasters thread (http://canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=26590 on how he accomplishes decent levels with IO salt.

makana
08-20-2010, 02:59 AM
Thanks for the link! I will try it out.

lastlight
08-20-2010, 03:31 AM
I've never really taken the time to read how each param affects the other. I just bring levels up to ideal with my chems and keep guessing with my doses in small increments starting from a very small amount and test at the end of the week. Then I adjust.

Dosing daily should be the most stable method. I currently in my 34g bring mag up to normal in my Reef Crystals (other 2 levels are higher than target) and dose alk and calcium with a syringe in set amounts. Once in the morning (an hour between each) and once in the evening (also an hour inbetween).

I have been slowly increasing levels that I dose every week or two as demand ramps up so usually I'm just a little off with alk and calcium since I'm trying to guess the right dose but that amount changes as demand rises too. I'm very close and some weeks I get the exact targets when I test.

Captainhemo
08-20-2010, 07:17 AM
[QUOTE=lastlight;542747]I've never really taken the time to read how each param affects the other. I just bring levels up to ideal with my chems and keep guessing with my doses in small increments starting from a very small amount and test at the end of the week. Then I adjust.

Dosing daily should be the most stable method. I currently in my 34g bring mag up to normal in my Reef Crystals (other 2 levels are higher than target) and dose alk and calcium with a syringe in set amounts. Once in the morning (an hour between each) and once in the evening (also an hour inbetween).

What does your Reef Crystals salt test at for Mg before bringing up the levels ?

lastlight
08-20-2010, 07:29 AM
1100 I think.

All I know is I have to toss 100mL of the BRS magnesium solution into a 5g pail of new water. My target is 1400.

bkelly
08-20-2010, 01:23 PM
I have just cycled my 22 gal and had adjusted the water to correct parameters however with hardly any stock the KH and Ca are now testing low - so I see theres tons of new growth on the live rock - thats what i figure is the drain for my system right now.

makana
08-25-2010, 04:23 AM
So I am now dosing calcium and alk daily. It seems I am loosing about 10mg/l of calcium /day.

Does that seem right considering I have one toadstool, 3 stalks of xenia, a sun coral, and 3 shrooms?