Understanding Magnesium,Alkalinity,PH and General Hardness

Discussion in 'Water Parameters and Additives' started by seank, 28 Jan 2012.

  1. seank

    seank

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    Something I have been battling for a long time to understand, are the relationship between some supplements and balances between certain minerals we find in our seawater.
    1.) Why do we need them in our aquaria?
    2.) What type of Coral/Fish/Critters need it to grow?
    3.) Substitutes for the DIY Enthusiast.
    4.) How much of each we need in our aquaria to maintain a balanced system.
    So, I did what most of us do, and started reading up on everything I could find wrt Magnesium, Calcium, Iodine and Strontium as well as the balance between them.
    I will give credit at the bottom of the page to all the authors of these various articles.
    This is my summary as to the above chemicals/additives and basically a guide to all the newbie’s or interested parties:


    Magnesium in Our reef Systems

    Magnesium:
    Magnesium is the third most abundant ion in seawater, behind sodium and chloride. In seawater magnesium is present at approximately 1285 ppm, hence most test kits refer to the right DKH for Magnesium to be between 1250 and 1350ppm.
    Magnesium's primary importance in reef aquaria is its interaction with the calcium and alkalinity balance.
    The primary benefit of Mg is that it allow calcium and bicarbonate levels in the water to exist at supersaturated levels. In laymen's terms, having high Mg allows you to maintain higher Ca/Alk.
    Maintaining Mg levels is necessary to hold Ca and Alk levels where you want them.

    Why do I say that??
    Answer: Whenever calcium carbonate begins to precipitate, magnesium binds to the calcium carbonate crystals' growing surface. The magnesium effectively clogs the crystals' surface so that they no longer look like calcium carbonate, making them unable to attract more calcium and carbonate, so the precipitation stops. Without the magnesium, precipitation of calcium carbonate would most probably increase enough to prevent the maintenance of calcium and alkalinity at natural levels.

    Fortunately , The primary source of magnesium in our aquariums is the artificial or natural seawater we use to run/start our systems and with which any water changes are performed. Another source of magnesium is fish food. Magnesium is present in many such foods at fairly high concentrations, but not enough to have a huge impact on magnesium levels.

    Other needs for Magnesium:
    • Normal calcium balance in organs
    • Healthy muscles
    • Healthy nerve transduction
    • Healthy calcium balance in blood vessel



    Ref:
    Do-It-Yourself Magnesium Supplements for the Reef Aquarium by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com

    So you want to know the meaning of the big word: calcification???

    Calcification:
    Hermatypic coral species are those which form reefs containing the unicellular algae called zooxanthellawhich can have densities of up to 1 million cells per cm2.
    These algae need to have light to be able to carry out the process of photosynthesis, using the carbonic gas dissolved in the sea water, nitrogen and mineral phosphorus to produce the organic matter required by the polyps.
    By causing a shift in the carbonate balance, they promote the precipitation of the calcium carbonate on which the coral skeleton is based, and thus induce the process of CALCIFICATION.


    I have always been adding Magnesium and kept them at the “highish” DKH range, mainly to boost the growth of coralline algae as it has high magnesium content.
    On the table illustrated below, we can see how much Magnesium content we can find in Corals etc


    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]Table 1. Magnesium in Calcium Carbonate Skeletons[/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Organisms [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Magnesium content of skeleton (weight %) [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Reference[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Corals:[/SIZE][/FONT] [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Suborder Asterocoeniina and Faviina[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]0.07 - 0.36%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Suborder Fungina[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]0.095 - 1.22%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1] Fungia actiniformis var. palawensis [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]0.091%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Suborder Caryophylliina[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]0.18 - 0.21%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Suborder Milleporina[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]0.12 - 0.53%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1] Millepora sp.[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]0.12 - 0.53%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Suborder Stolonifera[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]2.98 - 3.52%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1] Family Tubiporidae[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]2.98 - 3.52%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1] Tubipora rubrum[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]2.98 - 3.52%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1] Family Dendrophylliidae[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]0.05%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1] Family Porites[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]0.095 - 1.22%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1] Porites lobata[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]0.40 - 1.22%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1] Family Pocillopora[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]0.34%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1] Family Dendrophyllia[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]0.05%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Gorgonia: [/SIZE][/FONT] [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Eunicella papillosa, E. alba, E. tricoronata, and Lophogorgia flamea[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]2.2 - 2.7%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Other Organisms:[/SIZE][/FONT] [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Coralline algae in general[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]>1%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Coralline algae: Lithophyllum and Lithotamnium[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]2.0 - 2.8%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Calcareous alga: [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Corallina pilulifera[/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]4.4%[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]Benthic marine Ostracoda (crustaceans)[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif][SIZE=-1]0.5 - 1.3%[/SIZE][/FONT]​



    Coralline algae that normally packs a large amount of magnesium into their calcium carbonate deposits has been shown to incorporate less magnesium when the magnesium content of the water is reduced.


    Ref:
    Stephen Spotte's book _ Captive Seawater Fishes

    And now for the substitute in the Commercially bought Magnesium Supplement:
    03 Basic Supplement Solutions:


    Ref: Do-It-Yourself Magnesium Supplements for the Reef Aquarium by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com



    Here you can find an online Calculator to help you with the above 03 methods:
    Reef Chemistry Calculator


    What if I dose too much:
    In very high overdose cases, the 1st you will notice, is snails that might be dying, especially stomatella snails



    References and Credits:
    ·[FONT=&quot] A Homemade Magnesium Supplement by Craig Bingman Aquartium Frontiers, June 1999. http://www.animalnetwork.com/fish2/aqfm/1999/june/bio/default.asp [/FONT]
    ·[FONT=&quot] Magnesium -- Part I by Craig Bingman, Aquarium Frontiers, March 1999. http://www.animalnetwork.com/fish2/aqfm/1999/mar/bio/default.asp [/FONT]
    · Magnesium -- Part II by Craig Bingman Aquarium Frontiers April 1999. http://www.animalnetwork.com/fish2/aqfm/1999/apr/bio/default.asp
    · Calcium and Alkalinity by Randy Holmes-Farley, Reefkeeping, April 2002 Calcium and Alkalinity by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com
    Do-It-Yourself Magnesium Supplements for the Reef Aquarium by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com



    And that basically brings me to the end of this Supplement, next I would like to address PH, Alkalinity and Calcium as well as the [FONT=&quot]General hardness (GH or dGH)[/FONT], but I am not done with it as yet.

    Here is a quick table to ponder on:



    PH
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, Avant Garde]
    [​IMG]
    [/FONT]
     
    Last edited: 28 Jan 2012
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  3. seank

    seank Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the move Dean. Almost done with the PH
     
    Last edited: 31 Jan 2012
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  4. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    nice one seank
     
  5. AndrévN

    AndrévN

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    Nice reading info thanks @seank
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  6. seank

    seank Thread Starter

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    Thanks guys. Hope someone benefit from this
     
  7. ken

    ken

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    Awesome dude.. Keen to read more
     
  8. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    Great job Sean.

    Just a word of caution. Raising Magnesium too quickly results in the production of Ammonia. Only increase Mg at the rate of 100ppm per day.
     
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  9. seank

    seank Thread Starter

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    Good advise
     
  10. herkie

    herkie R.I.P.

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    Dankie Sean, I got similar advice from Nemos Janitor a day or two ago and after changing my mg levels the following is sorted: Ph, dkH alk. This change in parameters was observed when my mg levels reached 1350.
     
    Last edited: 31 Jan 2012
  11. LouiseS

    LouiseS

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    HI @seank, Thanks for this information! Did you ever get round to the PH section :whistling:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  12. seank

    seank Thread Starter

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    I did, but no one used the rep butron, so i refrained from posting......lol, just kidding... No, i worked on it, but still need to compile it... Unfortunately i have been in the bush for the past 4 months, and forgot how a pc looks like. Will get to it, sorry for the delay
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  13. LouiseS

    LouiseS

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    No problem. The above thread was really good reading :thumbup:
     
  14. RenierMartens

    RenierMartens

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    Great. Now I know why my Ca and Kh is unstable and I have to keep on adding kh buffer and Ca. My Mg is running low
     
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