Low Alkalinity

Discussion in 'Water Parameters and Additives' started by Kunhardt, 28 Jul 2009.

  1. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt

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    My Alk has been really low over the past week, sitting at 5.5dkh (tested with Elos test kit) when i checked it last about 10 minutes ago. This even though I have been adding Alk 8.3 to try and raise it. What could be the cause of this? And how do I solve it?

    Some info that may be useful. My alk normaly sits between 8-10dkh, my pH also seems a bit low at the moment at 8.0 it normally sits a bit higher at 8.2-8.3, my Calcium according to the Red Sea test kit is at around 400ppm. Would prefer to test calcium with a more reliable test kit, but there are non here in EL. I also started dosing with Insta-Cal about 3 weeks back, which should raise Calcium levels by 20ppm if dosed according to instructions. I have stopped dosing this over the past week however as i fear if my calcium test kit is infact wrong I may just be pushing my calcium up more and more and thus resulting in the low Alkalinity.

    Any info is welcomed! :)
     
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  3. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    From what I see, you have increased your Ca using Calcium Chloride, therefore decreasing Alk. Ca and Alk should be dosed together. I suggest you increase your Alk using Bicarb, but at the same time monitor your Ca, as dosing plain Alk will drop your Ca. Dose together until you reach a Ca level of 380-420 and Alk 6.5-8.5 DKH.
    Thereafter maintain levels using Calcium Hydroxide AKA Kalkwasser.
     
  4. Tony

    Tony

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    There could be a few scenarios.

    If you are dosing your KH and calcium at the same time. This may cause the calcium to come out of solution as the water can only hold so many ions.

    If you are overdosing one product to compensate for the shortfalls of a certain parameter like overdosing alkalinity to compensate the shortfall will also cause a precipitation.

    Low magnesium levels may also cause calcium to fall out of solution.

    Don't dose to instruction but to consumption. A tank with softies only is going to use a whole lot less calcium or alkalinity than a tank full of SPS's. Test your water, dose the product and retest the next day to see if you are over/under dosing. Adjust the amount to add accordingly
     
  5. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt Thread Starter

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    Thanks Mekaeel,

    I was infact using Calcium Chloride, for the past few weeks, which I have now stopped using. I was dripping kalk before this, but switched over when I installed an auto top up unit. May be safer to go back to the kalk :p

    Will dosing bicarb be more effective than dosing the Brightwells Alk 8.3?
    Another question is when u say they must be dosed together, i take it u dont mean at the same time, as I was told this would cause pricipitation. I presume it would be dose an alk additive one day and a Ca suppliment the next day?
     
  6. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    If you have the Brightwell Alk, use it, but Bicarb is a cheaper alternative ;)
    When I say dose together, dont mix them together, but rather dose one of the two first, then the other after a few hours after testing the levels in your tank :)
     
  7. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt Thread Starter

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    Thanks again!

    Haven't been dosing at the same time and magnesium is spot on 1380ppm so all is good there...forgot to mention that earlier. Dont worry when I say I have been dosing to instruction, I have been dosing the Insta-Cal to the dosing it suggests to raise my Calcium by 20ppm, as I have been trying to get it up a bit higher. I must look at getting a decent Ca test kit, it may be that my Calcium is actually too high and
    thus causing low alk.
     
  8. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    FWIW do not use Kalkwasser as a top up tool so that when your sump is low flow RO through it. Rather estimate evaporation and dose drip wise as replenishment for about 8 hours. Preferably when your lights are off.
     
  9. Tony

    Tony

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    Do you dose 20ppm of calcium per day?
     
  10. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt Thread Starter

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    lol, no i was dosing 20ppm per week...ya i reckon i would have a problem if it was daily :)

    I have a fair amount of stoney corals in my tank... one or 2 sps, 8 or 9 lps and a clam not to mention a lot of coralline growth lately. So from what i could estimate on the Red sea kit 20ppm would do the trick. As you know they only go in 50ppm's so its difficult to determine exactly. As I said before the ideal solution would be a new calcium test kit, but I can only find Red Sea ones in EL at the moment. :(
     
  11. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt Thread Starter

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    FWIW? What does that mean? Anyway whats the problem with using kalk in your top up water? It barely makes a difference the the level of calcium in your water, merely keeping it constant...well in my tank it was anyway.The Only reason i stopped with the kalk is because I got an auto top up for conveniece sake and didnt want the kalk clogging up the top up pump.
     
  12. trad

    trad Fish, thats the word!

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    Do a water change if you dose with bi-carb and it just comes down by the next day could be your waters ability to buffer. Large water changed usually correct the problem unless you have huge amounts of hard corals which use ca and alk very fast.
     
  13. trad

    trad Fish, thats the word!

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    Adding Kalk to the system is about the best method to increase CA and alk IMO. As long as you PH is correct it should in theory be the perfect method of added CA to the tank. The problem comes in when your tank PH becomes low the the Kalk added cannot be converted to the useful ALk elements, i think this is due to lack of Carbon/ate. This is why a CA RX would work so well in combination with a klak stirrer.

    If you Kalk is only maintaining you CA just make a strong Kalk solution of add more often?
     
  14. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt Thread Starter

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    Alkalinity still not right, been dosing the Brightwells Alk 8.3 for 3 days straight now, to the max dosage to raise alkalinity and if anything it seems to have dropped 0.5dkh :(

    Is there anything that could be causing it to drop or not rise? I have done 2 water changes over the past week and I havent been adding any calcium suppliments for the past 2 weeks now either.
     
  15. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Kunhardt, I suggest cross checking your Alk with another test kit bud.
     
  16. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt Thread Starter

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    Hmm probably a good idea, you would think they don't come more reliable than Elos though.
     
  17. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Elos is an excellent brand! Could possibly be a faulty batch.
     
  18. Tony

    Tony

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    I hate the Elos KH test as it's hard to guage the change from blue to yellow. Try the TM KH test and check you calcium, I have a feeling it's sky high which is why it's suppressing your KH
     
  19. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt Thread Starter

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    Ya i know what u mean aout the change from blue to yellow, the way i do it is add until it has changed to a distinct yellow, it changes to a bluish-yellow-green before hitting a distinct yellow-gold colour.

    I agree with your feelings on the calcium, just wish there was a better test kit in EL that I could use to test. May have to order one.
     
  20. Tony

    Tony

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    TM is as good as it gets although it takes a few tries to get used to it. The Elos is good but not a accurate and at least easier to use. A lot of guys knock them but Sera are decent as well.
     
  21. Achilles

    Achilles

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    get salifert test kits if you want some of the best accuracy for hobby purposes
     
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