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What are you using to boost Alk?


pledosophy
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I am having quite the time keeping Alk up. I have been using the Kent A&B part but only dosing the alk for a couple weeks now. Also am using Seachems pH buffer in the top off water to boost alk. I can't keep it above 7 for more then a few days. I am trying to slowly get it way higher, I'd like to shoot for 12.

 

Ca is 450 on the nose, was above 500 but is dropping.

Mg is 1400

Alk was 6.5 before I added two more caps of alk booster and some top off water. Going to wait a couple hours and retest to see how much that rasied it.

pH is 8.2 on my meter.

 

Your expertise is appreciated. I wanna stay away from a reactor, but am considering setting up a kalk drip if it's the only way.

 

Thanks

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simple baking or washing soda works very well and much cheaper than the stuff made specifically for aquariums. Washing soda is preferred as it has no phosphates. baking soda can easily be used just bake it in the oven for about half an hour. This will get rid of any moisture which can contain phosphates in it. there are some great guidelines as to how to dose it on reef centrals chemistry forum, look for a sticky about homemade 2 part solutions. one word of caution keeping your alkalinity at 12 dkh when your calcium is already at 450ppm is a bit sketchy as any miscalculation in dosing could easily cause your solutions to precipitate.

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Kalk reactor' date=' here. I was adding kalk to ATO water, but it was too much of a pain since my ATO reservoir is relatively small.[/quote']

 

What kind of pump were you using from the ATO and how did it hold up? I still manually top off this tank but am looking to add a ATO anyhow.

 

simple baking or washing soda works very well and much cheaper than the stuff made specifically for aquariums. Washing soda is preferred as it has no phosphates. baking soda can easily be used just bake it in the oven for about half an hour. This will get rid of any moisture which can contain phosphates in it. there are some great guidelines as to how to dose it on reef centrals chemistry forum, look for a sticky about homemade 2 part solutions. one word of caution keeping your alkalinity at 12 dkh when your calcium is already at 450ppm is a bit sketchy as any miscalculation in dosing could easily cause your solutions to precipitate.

 

Thanks for the input.

 

I just picked up Phillip Hunt's book. It's the first book I have ever read on the hobby were I agree with almost all of the philosophy's. He is running his mixed reefs at 450 CA and 12 for Alk and having great results after years of experimentation, so I would like to get close. I'm up for testing and water changes if needed. I do appreciate the concern.

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I actually have an aqua lifter around. For some reason i thought the kalk clogged them and you could only use pure RO through them. Will give it a try. Need to get over to Waves and pick up one of there float switches.

 

How much and what brand of kalk where you using in your tank to raise it by how much?

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I've set it up both ways. When I was adding kalk to my ATO I pumped the kalkwasser through the aqualifter. Now that I'm using the reactor, I use the aqualifter to push RO/DI water through it. For kalk, I've used Bulk Reef Supply's, Joel's bulk and now am using Mrs. Wages.

 

I'm able to keep my tank at ~10/470 (alk/Ca) with kalk alone -- that's a 55 gal, with 20 or so SPS frags/colonies and a couple of clams. I'm worried that with the cooler weather, I'll be evaporating less so will be topping off less too... leading to a drop in alk/Ca. I've bumped up the stirring rate on my reactor to compensate and it seems to be working. For now. When the SPS get rolling again (I had a broken bulb/UV disaster a while ago) I expect to have to dose 2-part as well.

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I use kalk in my ATO. I have a dual floatswitch in the sump and a small AC powerhead in the ATO tank. I use 2teaspoons per gallon kalk. I use Mrs. Wages usually but recently got a bulk order of kalk, i don't know the brand offhand.

 

When i simply just need to boost alk i use Kent DKH superbuffer or baking soda.

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Kevin keep in mind when talking about alk at 12 and calc at 450, this may or may not be possible depending on pH. IF you pH is low (like a lot of people this time of year) then it may be possible. If your pH is 8.3 you may never reach those high numbers because it will precipitate (not necessarily fog your water, but on your impellers etc).

 

The higher the pH the less saturation the water can have of these elements, thus even with lower numbers and high pH corals can just as easily lay down new calcium. If your pH stays lower like 8.1 down to 7.8 at night, those numbers are realistic.

 

For the same reason a calcium reactor works, meaning, dropping the pH to 6.8 to super saturate the water, is the same reason tank pH plays into your calc/alk ratio.

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Too true. I'm at 10/480 or so and I have to keep an eye on my pumps, since calcium builds up on the impellers. And on the floor of my sump. And on the outside of the pumps. It's a good thing the fish keep moving, or they'd probably seize up too.

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So 12 is way to high of a goal to shoot for huh. 10 maybe? I believe you guys, really. I have just been trying to do some of my own research too. The fact that the goal alk level seems so ridiculous, must be because it is to high. No worries, learned something anyhoo.

 

Right now I am having a hard time keeping the alk up to 7. I dosed two capfuls of the Kent last night after getting a 6.5 reading, and tonight, the tank read 6.5. So I added two more, and added the rest of the Seachem pH buffer (which raises alkalinity) to my top off water. I'll get a new reading tomorrow. I went on jdeck's site and it said I would need 7 oz or just under half a bottle of the kent stuff to get to the 12 alk. So maybe I would need 5.5 oz to get to the 10 alk level. Either way due to it's affect on the tank it has to be done slow right. I have determined that my tank uses twocapfuls of alk booster a day, if the alk is still at 6.5 tomorrow. At least I will have a base.

 

My pH is stable at 8.2 all day long. It doesn't move. I credit the refugium, and the amount of algae for sustaining it. Just a guess. Honestly I don't test the pH ever hour or anything , but when I do test it it is always at 8.2, my Ro is always 7. I'm using a meter, not a probe, been wanting to get a probe. I wonder if the meter is broken?

 

I'm gonna have to go with a different way so I can add it more slowly over the day. Might be time to setup an ATO on the tank, or something similiar.

 

So far I have never noticed a build up on my pumps, but I do clean them every other week with white vinegar. So maybe it woudn't be that noticeable in two weeks time. Maybe it would be if my alk were not so low.

 

In my understanding Kalk, raises Ca as well as Alk. My Ca is in a good range, just my alk is low so I have been trying to raise just the alk. Ca was still at 450 tonight. If it drops below that I will add more Ca, just adding more of the Alk until I get it higher.

 

If you can't tell I'm pretty confused. To be honest I never really paid that much attention to alk before until it seemed it was a problem. In the past I've stuck with mainly soft corals so it was not as demanding. Now that I am changing less water and have more SPS, and LPS it seems like something I need to get a fix on. Still trying.

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I have always just used kent marine superbuffer dkh. Stuff is pretty strong, never took more then 1 1/2 teaspoons for my tank with about 100 gallons total volume. I used it along with purple up for about the first 6 months my tank was set up, worked like a charm! Still have the original container thats how strong the stuff is! I also used it when i was first getting my ca reactor set up, my ca was up at 500 so i just turned off the reactor for about 2 weeks(not very many corals to use it at the time) and dosed the superbuffer dkh every other day to keep up my dkh, until my ca was down at a more acceptable range. HTH. I have never messed with the "kalk", always been to afraid to, that is some pwoerful stuff!!

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Kevo, a few things quickly,,,

One Test your magnesium. I dont see how in your size of a system you could add that much and not see a difference. If your mag is low, it would explain it. Magnesium is like a "precipitation barrier". Its like a repelant of precipitation.

 

Test your test kit, bring a sample in, or borrow a kit.

 

If your photo period is 24.7 I would guess your pH could remain pretty consistent, lucky you!

 

RODI water does NOT have a pH. now matter what your kit or probe tells you, if it is absolutely PURE water, it doesn't have a pH. your probe lies because it doesnt know better.

 

2 cap fulls a day is HUGE, something else is the issue, your demand isnt that high unless you have a 36" gigas clam and 25 acro colonies in that tank :)

 

Im home Thursday, give me a ring, Ill drop by and take a look. I may not have kits though, I use Waves kits, so I dont have a home stash.

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Joelo, Your to nice of a guy, hope you enjoyed day off.

 

I tested the tank again tonight.

 

Alk in dKh

Salifert says 7.2

Elos says 7.5

 

Elos goes in .5 intervals so they are saying the same thing. So after four capfuls of Kent buffer in two days my dKh has risen by 1.

 

Mg is at 1400 and holding, same as two days ago but test goes in intervals of 100.

 

Ca is at 440 so down ten from two days ago.

 

My little Hanna pH meter seems to have died on me. Maybe I left it on two nights ago. Excuse to upgrade to the probe? :D So for now no idea on pH.

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I stopped by Waves and had Jordan double check my test results. They were a bit different.

 

Alk was 7.5

Mg was 1300 so maybe I miscounted a drop

Ca was the big difference and read at 550, not the 450 I was showing. So I bought a new Elos Ca test kit.

 

Also picked up the Seachem alk buffer.

 

Right now my plan is to do a water change, then continue to dose alk to get it up a bit higher and drop the Ca back into the 420-450 range. Then find a balance to keep both levels there. I'll pick up a pH probe next check or so.

 

At least I have a plan. :D

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RODI water does NOT have a pH. now matter what your kit or probe tells you, if it is absolutely PURE water, it doesn't have a pH. your probe lies because it doesnt know better.

 

 

 

No No NO NO NOOOOOO!

 

RODI water has a pH of 7. There are H+ ions ... an -OH ions...

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No No NO NO NOOOOOO!

 

RODI water has a pH of 7. There are H+ ions ... an -OH ions...

 

 

It appears you could be right and Im wrong, but it also appears its not easy to test the pH,, it could be the reason I have read what I have in the past regarding the pH of PURE water is because you cant trust a kit or a normal electrode to give you an accurate reading.

 

From a quick google search "whats the pH of PURE water"

 

 

http://www.coleparmer.com/techinfo/techinfo.asp?ID=556&htmlfile=pHPureWater.htm

 

What could possibly be so difficult about reading the pH of pure water? It should be neutral—pH 7.0—without any ion interference, right? In fact, it can be quite difficult and often frustrating to obtain reproducible pH values in samples with low-ionic strength.

 

Water that has very few ionic species is said to be low in alkalinity, ionic strength, or to have low conductivity/high resistivity, such as with distilled or deionized (DI) water. And due to the varying junction potentials that develop across the reference junction, when attempting to measure DI water it is common to attain different pH values even with new, sealed electrodes that calibrate perfectly in pH buffers.

 

Choosing a pH Electrode

 

More expensive double-junction and calomel electrodes have a number of advantages over traditional electrodes. However, they are generally no better than their counterparts for pure water applications. The best choice is a refillable, liquid-filled electrode, ideally made of low resistance glass. A flowing reference junction has a higher flow rate to minimize junction potentials. Sealed electrodes, usually gel-filled, are best known for their "long-life", due in part to the extremely slow leak rate of the reference solution. However, a fast leak rate is desirable with pure water so that a pH potential can be established more quickly. This is also the reason why sealed electrodes should not be stored in DI water—the sample will accelerate the leaching of reference solution, which cannot be replaced.

 

Refillable Glass-Body Combination Electrode

Since ultra pure water is a bad conductor, it can also be a source of static potentials. These static potentials may present problems while measuring pH. To compensate for this interference, pH electrodes are available with a special shielded or grounded compartment. Such electrodes are expensive and specifically designed for measurement of ultra pure water.

Other Measurement Tips

 

* It is also beneficial to measure pH in the smallest sample volume possible. Direct pH measurement in large volume samples, such as drums or tanks and other samples with flowing or moving water, produces results that tend to fluctuate and will require excessive stabilization time.

* Addition of a tiny amount of KCl will increase ionic strength to the sample and improve response time. However, only high purity KCl should be used as trace contaminants, as low-grade KCl can artificially alter the pH.

* Maintain good laboratory practices (GLP), including using clean glassware, avoiding cross-contamination after calibration by rinsing thoroughly with DI water, and using only certified calibration standards.

* Temperature compensation should be used during measurement and calibration. Calibrate daily at multiple pH calibration points.

* Minimize exposure of your sample with air. CO2 gas absorption can actually decrease pH.

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I was interested in that as well and looked some stuff up. I found some posts by water treatment specialists and this seemed to apply here

 

It is nearly impossible to measure the pH of ultrapure water. It takes both a special probe and a specially designed cell to even have a chance of getting an accurate result,and just because your pH meter gives you a reading doesn't mean it is accurate. A lot of people have considered this problem,and there are many articles on the subject. One of the earliest and best was in the July, 1972 Issue of "American Laboratory", written by Gerard Otten. This may be the source of the curve that was referred to by an earlier respondent. In it he shoes that at a Resistivity of 2.0 Meg-Ohm-cm, the maximum pH range is from 6to 8.2, and this range gets narrower as the resistivity increases.

 

The other problem in measurements with ultrapure water,is that you can't take a sample and expose it to air and get an accurate reading. The resisitivity of 17 Meg-Ohm water and the pH will drop within just seconds after exposure to air due to CO2 dissolution and absolutely no buffering capacity in the water. To be accurate, any measurements with water > 10 Meh-Ohm almost have to be done on-line.

 

http://www.finishing.com/258/08.shtml

 

There is also a link there to a chart that shows the maximum/minimum ph ranges for various megaohm/microseimen(conductivity) readings on DI water.

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