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2 part headache


catfish2
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Alright, I've been frustrated over the last month trying to get my calcium and alkalinity on track and I can't figure it out. So, I thought id put it out there for all you wonderful people to help with. I know this shouldn't be this hard.

 

Background: 55 gal with 20 gal sump mostly sps with some lps and a few zoas (see pic below). Been running for over 2 years with no major issues. Ghl doser dosing brs 2 part, kent essential elements and acro power. Dosing 4 ml of calcium and alkalinity 23 times per day. (total 92 ml for each part)

 

Problem: sps won't grow! I know there are Lots of reasons for this, but the most obvious, and problem I'm trying to solve now, is low alkalinity and calcium.

 

Labs: (current as of today)

Calcium 390- Red Sea

Alkalinity 7.0- Red Sea

Magnesium 1320- Red Sea

Ph 8.4- API

Phosphate 0.006- Hanna ultra low phosphorous (corrected to phosphate)

Nitrate 0- API

Salinity 1.026- refractometer

 

My attempts to correct the problem:

I did not adjust my dosing pump at all, but dosed the following by hand in addition to what my dosing pump was putting out.

7/3/15: ca 350, alk 7.6, mag 1240- started by increasing mag to 1360

7/6/15 corrected alk from 7.6 to 9.0

7/7/15 corrected ca from 350 to 450

7/8/15 rechecked levels: ca 450, alk 6.8-7.2 (alk dropped considerably in 2 days, not sure why did my coral take up that much?)

7/9/15 corrected alk from 6.8 to 8.4, ca 450, mag 1560

At this point I decided to await 5 days, retest, and then my plan was to divide the amount lost by 5 to get the daily deficit.

7/14/15 alk 6.7, ca 390-400 I did the math and brs calculator shows I need 37 more ml of alk per day and 56 more ml of ca per day. That would be a total of 129 ml of alk and 148 ml of ca per day.

 

My concern is that those amounts of ca and alk per day sound crazy. Is that a normal amount? You can see how heavily my tank is stocked in the pic below.

 

Question:

Is the solution really as easy as just adding more and more ca and alk until my levels are where I want them or am I missing a piece of the puzzle? I have some precipitation on my heater and power heads, which makes me think it's not a lack of ca and alk, but I don't know what else to do.

 

We'll thanks for taking a look. I'm open to any input/ feedback. I tired to be as detailed as I thought was necessary, but feel free to ask for more info. PNWMAS rocks!

 

image.jpg1_zpsq8mjcwma.jpg

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From what I read you're not missing any pieces of the puzzle. When adjusting the doser I test for Alk daily and bump it daily until the amount you dose gets you to the right amount of alk needed. The swings you're experiancing in alk can cause the SPS stress so I wouldn't wait days between adjustments but rather adjust daily as mentioned.

 

That amount of Alk you mentioned (129 mls) sounds high so maybe double check the figures but after confirming you'll want to make whatever adjustments your calculations call for.

 

Hope that helps somewhat???

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Catfish2 - I have the exact same situation going on. 50gal of water volume and am dosing 130ml CA and Alk per day with a dosing pump in 24 increments. I called brs twice and they said some tanks just consume a ton like this. I have a little participate on my pump but not much else.

Edited by Zwickm
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Not to add much to this thread except that even though your numbers are a little low your tank looks great, and the acros look larger than last time I had seen your system, I swear I was over only two months ago? On another note, dosing 130ml to a 150ml a day in a 55 seems like quite a lot. If you do switch out the GFO you can compensate by doing some carbon dosing\NoPox.

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Thanks for the input everyone. I really appreciate it.

From what I read you're not missing any pieces of the puzzle. When adjusting the doser I test for Alk daily and bump it daily until the amount you dose gets you to the right amount of alk needed. The swings you're experiancing in alk can cause the SPS stress so I wouldn't wait days between adjustments but rather adjust daily as mentioned.

That amount of Alk you mentioned (129 mls) sounds high so maybe double check the figures but after confirming you'll want to make whatever adjustments your calculations call for.

Hope that helps somewhat???

I think I just needed the confidence to go for it. Do sort the calcium out once the alk is stable? I know alk usually fluctuates quicker than calcium so do you still adjust calcium on a daily basis till it's where you want it? Thanks!

How old are the test kits? Have you tried having someone else test the same water sample with their kit to see if the numbers are the same or close to the same?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I haven't had anyone else test my water recently. The kits are new except the ph and nitrate, but even those are still within the expiration date. Thanks for the suggestion!

What type of lighting? How old are the bulbs? I am sure you have this covered but I just didn't see any mention.

I forgot to mention how nice your tank looks.

Thanks for the compliment. I'm using 2 OR t247's they are about 2 months old and I'm loving them. Color has really improved!

Are you using GFO? That stuff can suck the alk out of the water. I had a similar problem as you when using 2-part, and then removed my Chemipure Elite, and was able to reduce my daily dose by 1/3rd.

This may be the key. I didn't know gfo could lower alk. I've been using it since I started this system. I didn't even mention I was using it because I had no idea it could be contributing. Thanks!

Catfish2 - I have the exact same situation going on. 50gal of water volume and am dosing 130ml CA and Alk per day with a dosing pump in 24 increments. I called brs twice and they said some tanks just consume a ton like this. I have a little participate on my pump but not much else.

That's good to know. I appreciate the input.

Not to add much to this thread except that even though your numbers are a little low your tank looks great, and the acros look larger than last time I had seen your system, I swear I was over only two months ago? On another note, dosing 130ml to a 150ml a day in a 55 seems like quite a lot. If you do switch out the GFO you can compensate by doing some carbon dosing\NoPox.

That's an interesting idea to switch out the gfo for some type of carbon dosing. I'll have to consider that. At this point, it seems easiest to just add more ca and alk though.
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