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Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by ritter678 on Fri 16 Sep 2011, 7:00 pm

That's my thinking too Donnie. I ran GFO for a long time with the smaller skimmer with no problems but adding that big skimmer probably eliminated the need for the GFO. Adding the kalk probably tipped the tank over the limit and all those things combined threw things out of whack. I'm not running the GFO anymore (I read I was supposed to slowly remove the GFO but I didn't, maybe that's what caused the STN on the BOP birdsnest) but I'm still using the kalk and the skimmer. I'm hoping things settle down and I can add a few sps corals again. I've been debating throwing some big softies and xenia in there and being done with it but that wouldn't be any fun now would it. geek

I've had a few people ask me why I'm running all this crap on my tank. I'm a big fan of not doing anything unless you need to but the alk/cal demand on my tank is too much to keep up with by manual dosing and I don't have the time for it. The kalk is supposed to keep up with the alk/cal demand and add it proportionately to the tank. That's why I started using kalk. I think you can run a tank for a long time without doing anything but water changes but there comes a point in keeping sps, clams and even some lps that you will need to dose the tank. It even gets to a point where you'll have to dose the tank daily to keep parameters stable and some method will need to be setup to maintain it unless you want to test EVERYDAY and dose by hand or change about 50% of your water everyday.
I ran the GFO because of phosphate problems I had before I got the mega skimmer. The old skimmer did a great job as a hang on back skimmer but it didn't keep up enough when I added the sump so I ran GFO to lower phosphates and it worked great and the sps really took off. I just didn't know I needed to remove the GFO when I added the new skimmer.
I'm not doing these things because I want to or trying to make anything grow faster than anyone else but it's the simplest methods I could come up with to maintain the tank. I just made a few errors in my learning curve. I'll get it straight and get back on track eventually. If it was easy then everyone would have a beautiful tank crammed full of sps. I post good and bad here so maybe someone will not make the same mistakes I did and everyone on here is always willing to help and I really do appreciate it. Very Happy
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by DonnieP on Fri 16 Sep 2011, 7:56 pm

Yeah, water changes alone caught up with me thats why I am doing the kalk, I got tired of doing the two part additions. I lost that big green slimer but so far everything else is looking ok. The pickling lime surprised me, its keeping my alk and calcium up just right if it will just keep on keeping on. I am still swore off skimmers though, never had any luck with them even on my big reefs.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by J.Davis on Fri 16 Sep 2011, 8:18 pm

Donnie- your green slimer made it to at least a half dozen other tanks. I still 3 frags left. All doing well with darker color returning and good polyp extensions.

Gabe- I know you'll figure it out. Your too determined and resourcefull. I havn't got around to kalk on the prop tank. Too much going on in the 200. 1 thing at a time. Besides, everything in it is growing great.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by ritter678 on Thu 22 Sep 2011, 6:58 pm

I haven't lost anything else since removing the GFO so I'm hoping to be getting back on the sps track. The clams are still growing faster than ever. In my attempt to get everything back on track I spent over an hour last night trying to get the flame angel out. Dwarf angels don't get tired like some fish do, they just keep going and going and going. He's in the home I intended him for in the first place, the 40 gallon breeder. I'm pretty sure he wasn't the cause of the problems but he wasn't helping either. I want to eliminate any and all stress while I try to recover the sps.

I cut my kalk dose back to 2tsp/5gal since I lost so many sps my usage dropped a little. My alk was slowly creeping up so on my next bottle of top off water I cut back the dose. The kalk is keeping my parameters in line very well. As of last night; Alk 7.90, calcium 460, ph 8.3.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by DonnieP on Thu 22 Sep 2011, 7:17 pm

Sounds like a plan. I'm really impressed with the pickling lime, its working much better than the expensive stuff. Since I started using it my water has been very stable and alk and calcium are perfect, thanks for turning me on to it.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by ritter678 on Thu 22 Sep 2011, 7:59 pm

DonnieP wrote:Sounds like a plan. I'm really impressed with the pickling lime, its working much better than the expensive stuff. Since I started using it my water has been very stable and alk and calcium are perfect, thanks for turning me on to it.

I'm happy with the lime too. It dissolves a lot better than the BRS stuff and doesn't leave chunks in the bottom. There's a little white sludge leftover in the container as expected and that's all.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by ritter678 on Sat 15 Oct 2011, 2:57 pm

Just an update. Since pulling the GFO I have not lost any more corals and I added some new ones that seem to be doing fine. I had ripped out my dead orange monti cap and where the old white skeleton was has orange polyps coming out of it. Around the edge there is a new bright orange rim growing out of the old skeleton. I set a favia on top of where the cap used to be and it's already covered in blue snowflakes so it could be interesting to see what happens if this monti comes back. The superman monti still doesn't look very good but when the blue lights only are on it's covered in orange polyps. I was just on the verge of removing it but since I see polyps again I'm going to leave it alone for now and see what happens. I still have some sps with burned looking tips but it's not getting any worse. The red planet healed itself up but I don't know if the others will do the same. I fragged off as many pieces as I could just in case. I had a lot of losses from the problem I had but the tank still looks pretty good, I'm just back down to frags and not so much colonies. I have never been good at growing zoanthids but I literally have new polyps everyday on almost all my colonies. My frogspawn is bigger and my candy canes are splitting to make new heads. My war coral has the best color it's ever had and the rock it came on is almost completely covered front and back. The clams always have new shell forming and getting bigger everyday.

I have to say even with the troubles I had at first I'm sold on the kalk. I can't think of anything that would be easier to dose a tank with. I don't even check my parameters everyday now. I'm testing about once a week and at 3 tsp/5 gal. my numbers have been solid for weeks now, Cal. 460, alk. 7.90, ph 8.3. There's no way I could dose 2 part everyday or set up a calcium reactor and kalk is as easy as setting up an ATO.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by J.Davis on Sat 15 Oct 2011, 3:58 pm

Sounds good Gabe. I'm not there a Kalk yet... but I'm encouraged by your tank. Still 2 part for now.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by DonnieP on Sat 15 Oct 2011, 4:58 pm

Well, mine is looking much better since I stopped the kalk. I may have been overdoing it with two teaspoons per gallon but thats what it was taking to keep up with alk and calcium. Right now I'm back on two part but will try the kalk later at a much lower dase and see. I know the kalk is a good thing because I used it for several years in my 110 way back, but it just has not worked out to well in the nano.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by ritter678 on Wed 16 Nov 2011, 11:30 am

I'm pulling the plug on this operation. I'm still getting what looks like alk burn on some corals but I can't imagine it is. My alk has actually been dropping gradually since adding more sps and a new clam. The last I checked the alkalinity was 7.3 dkh. My next theory is ph burn. That's really the only thing it could be. I've never tested and found my ph over 8.3 but maybe at some point too much kalk is being dumped in from the ATO and spiking the ph. I'm going back to baking soda in my ATO and I'll just manually dose calcium for now until I come up with something easier.

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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by matt_longview on Wed 16 Nov 2011, 12:33 pm

That's the thing I've never liked about adding kalk through your ATO. I believe because of lighting you'll have more evap during the day so your ATO will mainly run during the day. They suggest dripping kalk at night to help balance the ph swings. That's one reason I'm hoping to go with 2-part and dosing pumps. I can automate the dosing pumps to add very small amounts throughout the night when the ph drops. I'm also considering a kalk reactor to run through my ATO if things get really stocked in there.

Any reason you don't go for 2-part?

Also, I've got a bottle of calcium that Jason gave me. I don't believe I'll use it since I'm going with 2-part so you're welcome to it. Unless of course you end up convincing me that baking soda and calcium is better than 2-part! Haha. :-)
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by DonnieP on Wed 16 Nov 2011, 12:38 pm

Well, I have resumed the kalk at only one teaspoon per gallon and so far all seems ok. I'm still having to dose 2 part but not near as much. Even with the dosing my numbers in the tank stay around 7 DKH and 400 calcium. I have higher numbers in the salt mix but after adding to the tank it all settles back to those numbers.

Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.
by matt_longview Today at 10:33 am

.That's the thing I've never liked about adding kalk through your ATO. I believe because of lighting you'll have more evap during the day so your ATO will mainly run during the day. They suggest dripping kalk at night to help balance the ph swings. That's one reason I'm hoping to go with 2-part and dosing pumps. I can automate the dosing pumps to add very small amounts throughout the night when the ph drops. I'm also considering a kalk reactor to run through my ATO if things get really stocked in there.


Matt, I have my ato hooked on a timer so it only works at night now so no kalk is added during the day.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by ritter678 on Wed 16 Nov 2011, 1:43 pm

matt_longview wrote:That's the thing I've never liked about adding kalk through your ATO. I believe because of lighting you'll have more evap during the day so your ATO will mainly run during the day. They suggest dripping kalk at night to help balance the ph swings. That's one reason I'm hoping to go with 2-part and dosing pumps. I can automate the dosing pumps to add very small amounts throughout the night when the ph drops. I'm also considering a kalk reactor to run through my ATO if things get really stocked in there.

Any reason you don't go for 2-part?

you end up convincing me that baking soda and calcium is better than 2-part

My thought was that adding a gallon or more of kalk at night would be worse than dripping it in constantly. Maybe I was wrong. I just thought that it would be too much added at once.

Baking soda and calcium is 2-part, isn't it? It's just not bought in a bottle called "2 part".

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-02/rhf/index.php

It was easier and cheaper for me to just set up the kalk in the ATO rather than manual dosing or buying pumps. I'm going back to the baking soda in the ATO since it's easier to mess up using the manual dosing method. I'll try to get on a system with calcium dosing so I don't have to test everyday once I figure out my calcium usage per day.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by DonnieP on Wed 16 Nov 2011, 2:56 pm

Gabe
I have a question, according to the article calcium needs to be dosed at the same time alk is.

One part is calcium chloride dissolved in water, and the other part is baking soda (either baked or not prior to use) dissolved in water. The balance between these two additives is very important, and the recipe is designed for aquarists to dose equal portions of the two parts every time they dose. An aquarium using such a balanced additive system is unlikely to undergo large short-term swings in calcium and alkalinity, as can happen if an aquarist using independent additives were to inadvertently overdose one or the other. This problem is surprisingly common, and using balanced calcium and alkalinity additive systems for most additions serves to eliminate that potential danger.


How are you going to dose calcium at the same time you dose the baking soda? Also how are you going to dose the magnesium, sulfate, and chloride that is required? Sounds complicated to me, this is what the kalk was supposed to elliminate. So if you are dosing baking soda without calcium at the same time, how much PH spike are you getting? Lots of variables and the commercial two part is supposed to take care of these. I don't get a noticable PH change when I dose two part. Only thing is they are expensive, not so much for my small system but on a large tank, man the two part would be the biggest part of the budget.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by matt_longview on Wed 16 Nov 2011, 3:27 pm

I'm getting a 2 liter of each part A and part B from Brightwells for $13 a piece. I couldn't imagine a 2 liter not lasting for at least a good long while...

As far as baking soda and calcium being 2-part... I haven't done that much reading yet. The thing I love about 2 part is equal doses for perfect chemistry. If you weren't trying to keep perfect numbers on mag they even make 2-parts that contain mag so you don't have to test and dose mag all the time either (if you're doing enough water changes anyways).

As long as baking soda contains everything else except calcium that 2-part does I don't see why it wouldn't work, but once again I love the simplicity of using the exact amount of each. Maybe I'll hate spending the money enough to make the same decision later! :-)

Good deal on the timer on your ato donnie. I know your pump just happens to be at the perfect height so that when it does turn on it basically drips in also... so it doesn't add it all quickly. I could possibly add something on my controller where it would work the ato pump for a max of a few minutes and then leave it off for 30 minutes before turning on again. I'll have to check the programming.


Last edited by matt_longview on Wed 16 Nov 2011, 3:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by ritter678 on Wed 16 Nov 2011, 3:28 pm

DonnieP wrote:Gabe
I have a question, according to the article calcium needs to be dosed at the same time alk is.

One part is calcium chloride dissolved in water, and the other part is baking soda (either baked or not prior to use) dissolved in water. The balance between these two additives is very important, and the recipe is designed for aquarists to dose equal portions of the two parts every time they dose. An aquarium using such a balanced additive system is unlikely to undergo large short-term swings in calcium and alkalinity, as can happen if an aquarist using independent additives were to inadvertently overdose one or the other. This problem is surprisingly common, and using balanced calcium and alkalinity additive systems for most additions serves to eliminate that potential danger.


How are you going to dose calcium at the same time you dose the baking soda? Also how are you going to dose the magnesium, sulfate, and chloride that is required? Sounds complicated to me, this is what the kalk was supposed to elliminate. So if you are dosing baking soda without calcium at the same time, how much PH spike are you getting? Lots of variables and the commercial two part is supposed to take care of these. I don't get a noticable PH change when I dose two part. Only thing is they are expensive, not so much for my small system but on a large tank, man the two part would be the biggest part of the budget.

They're not supposed to be dosed at the same time or it will cause precipitation. They need to be dosed hours apart. They just need to be kept in balance. I'll do it the same way I raised my calcium before I started dosing kalk, baking soda in the ATO dripped the same way as the kalk and add calcium as needed, for now. The calcium in Reef Crystals is high anyway and my tanks demand for trace elements isn't that high so it takes some time before calcium is used up below acceptable levels. My calcium didn't even fall too low until I let my water changes go for too long. Even then it was still acceptable, (380 or 360 I think). I'm thinking maybe I could get away with adding a couple of cap fulls of liquid calcium once or twice a week and keep the baking soda in the ATO all the time. That's what I did before without any issues but my calcium was barely being used up. Magnesium is very least used of the 3 elements you have to dose so I'm not to that point yet. Kalk wouldn't add any magnesium anyway so I will still have to dose for that eventually.

Honestly, I don't want to give up the kalk but it's just not working out for me. The only thing I could try differently is dripping it at night but I still think a gallon to 1 1/2 gallons at night of kalk would be too much. I've added new frags long since removing the GFO and I'm still getting the burned tips.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by matt_longview on Wed 16 Nov 2011, 3:34 pm

I'm going to trust some frequent small water changes to help me stay fairly stable as well. Might even go for 5g three times a week in the 100g frag system. I'm going to plumb in a gate valve to drain off water from my return pump. I should be able to open that and drain water right outside while I'm pouring some in. Should make for an easy and quick water change.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by matt_longview on Mon 05 Dec 2011, 2:11 am

I'm reading a ton on this right now and just wanted to ask you guys what your numbers were... Cal, alk, mag and ph. What ph swing are you getting?

I think my ph swing (.4) is larger because of low alk, which seems true because it was smaller today after dosing to raise it for two days. I'm also reading where keeping high numbers of both alk (more than 9dkh) and cal (more than 450) without having high mag (1350+) can cause some issues similar to those you were running into gabe.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by ritter678 on Mon 05 Dec 2011, 12:21 pm

matt_longview wrote:Cal, alk, mag and ph. What ph swing are you getting?


460 calcium, 8 dkh alk, 1350-1400 mag (I rarely test for mag), ph 8.1-8.3 day/night. I fear the ph swings were more than what I tested for. It was probably raising when the kalk was added and then settling down by the time I tested. I don't have a probe, just an API test. Maybe my test isn't so accurate either.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by matt_longview on Mon 05 Dec 2011, 1:50 pm

All those numbers look good. I'm thinking 8 or 9 dkh with 450+ cal as well. My mag will need to be 1350+ to sustain those numbers.

My ph swing is already down to .3 last night so raising the alk seems to be helping.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by DonnieP on Mon 05 Dec 2011, 3:09 pm

Matt
I am still dosing kalk at one teaspoon per gallon but it takes my tank over a week to evap a gallon so I am also dosing two part plus mag when needed. my numbers almost identical to Gabe's. I do use a PH meter though, I could never read the API test kit on PH.
SG---1025
PH---8.0 night--8.3 day
Calcium--420-460
Alk--8 DKH
Mag--1350

If I don't dose two part at least every other day at a cap full of each which is 5ml of each I find my numbers will drop, I always dose before lights on to keep PH spike down. Right now I am dosing Kent tech cb but am almost out of it. I got in two large bottles of Two little fishes C-Balance along with a new bucket of Reef Crystals ( these two are a great compliment to each other ) so when the Kent runs out I will start dosing C-Balance, in my opinion it is a far better product and will keep my numbers more stable just like it has in the pico, they are always right on. I also use Kent Magnesium when needed. If you are using B-ionic to dose, you might check into a minor trace element replenisher such as Combisan because I may be wrong but I don't think B-ionic replenishes trace elements, thats why I like C-balance, it replaces all elements not just calcium and alk. Also I am back to using the Brightwell kalkwasser, it is supposed to increase Magnesium as well as Strontium. Remember, there are a lot of trace elements that need replenishing as well as calcium, alk and mag.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by matt_longview on Mon 05 Dec 2011, 4:01 pm

I'm using brightwell two part. I'll check on the trace elements that it replenishes. Thanks for the info!
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by DonnieP on Tue 06 Dec 2011, 4:46 pm

Hey Gabe
I was reading today and found something that might be pf interest to you since it discribed your problems with the tank to a T. I know you don't use evaporated salt like Red Sea Coral Pro but it may still apply, check out the post below.

Re: water chemistry question... Alk. anomaly & Red Sea synthetic/borate, & salt mix issues f's 3/8/11
Thank you for the response Bob!
<Welcome Adam!>
I've been waiting a while before writing you back because I wanted to be sure I had isolated the exact problem. While things improved a little when I increased the pH of my tank, that situation did not hold and my Acroporas started to deteriorate again soon after. However, after a couple weeks of testing every day, I believe I've discovered, and corrected the real culprit:
<Ah, good>
As I mentioned, I had just recently switched to a new Red Sea salt, which is the first time I've ever used a salt that is evaporated directly from the ocean, I've always used synthetic salts. Shortly there after, I started using baking soda. For the past year and a half, my daily/weekly maintenance routine on my tank has involved testing alkalinity, calcium and magnesium levels, and I do more thorough tests for things like borate alkalinity specifically, strontium, iodide, silicates, etc. monthly.
<Ok>
I upped my testing to daily for most of those parameters since I wrote you last, but with a special focus on the alkalinity component because the tissue damage I was seeing looked so much like the Alk crash my tank went through before I set up the auto-doser. In that time, I've done two largish water changes. It turns out the naturally evaporated sea salt has a much higher borate concentration than the synthetic salts
<Yes... there are some brands that do this... for a couple of reasons>
I've used in the past, which have almost no borate. The volume of carbonate solution my auto-doser is set to dispense was also determined based on the reef specific carbonate source I was using before I switched to baking soda.
While my dKH has stayed relatively constant, each time I did a water change, my total alkalinity would spike, and then over the course of a couple of days return to 'normal' levels. What was actually happening was that over time, the salt was adding far more borate to my water than my tank was consuming, and the baking soda solution wasn't concentrated enough to keep up with the carbonate demand at the set dispensing volume.
<This is an apt description... what was likely occurring>
Each water change my relative concentration of borate was increasing, so the total alkalinity test continued to return 'normal' values. In the time between one water change, my carbonate alkalinity fell to as low as 1.79 meq/L,
<Yikes>
only to be propped back up to 'safe' levels by another water change (when magically, things would start to look better), then start to fall again.
This repeated stress over the course of a month+ lead to the problems I saw.
I'm now testing for both borate alkalinity and carbonate alkalinity separately every other day, and have adjusted my auto-doser accordingly. My total alkalinity is now on the high side at 4.64 meq/L (or about 13 dKH), but my carbonate concentration 3.4 meq/L (about 9.5 dKH). It will take a while for the tissue that burnt to fully recover, but already the reversal is night and day - the tips have their colour and 'fleshiness' back, the surviving polyps are out in full force, and the corals are already starting to plate over the areas that died. It appears the carbon and biopellet reactors had nothing to do with it!
<Agreed>
Again, thank you for your time. I don't know where I would be without WWM - well, I do know, I would have a tank full of dead coral.
Adam
<Thank you for your valuable insights offered here. You have helped many others, myself included. Cheers, BobF>

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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by J.Davis on Tue 06 Dec 2011, 6:21 pm

Great read Donnie .. oddly enough, it makes since.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

Post by matt_longview on Tue 06 Dec 2011, 8:28 pm

Very nice find!!!

I'm wondering if this is why so many people who run ultra low nutrient systems have better luck with the basic fish only salts.
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Re: Giving Kalkwasser a Try.

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