Vinegar and kalk

Discussion in 'Water Parameters and Additives' started by Mekaeel, 14 Jun 2007.

  1. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    awrite crew
    ive heared alot about the idea of mixing vinegar in you RO resevoir and then allowing it to pass through your kalk stirrer.
    my questions?
    what are the benefits?
    how much of vinegar for every litre of RO?
    and is there any specific vinegar that should be used?
    lets talk :045:
     
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  3. cybervic

    cybervic

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    http://www.reefs.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=13770&sid=2139c9ad32ee33cdcf0be51395256a69 post number 8 (Hope I'm not doing something illegal)

    Anyways this should answer most of your questions. Maybe PalmerC can elaborate. Anyways, don't use brown vinegar and acetic acid and vinegar are the same thing. Oh and be careful of dosing to much acetic acid .... could cause havoc on your Ph

    Quote from reefs.org

    llowell: When Calcium Hydroxide solution (Kalkwasser) is slowly dripped into your aquarium, it captures free Carbon Dioxide present in the tank water and converts it to Bicarbonate ions (which is a good thing), like this:

    Ca++ + 2(OH-) + 2(CO2) <==> Ca++ + 2(HCO3-)

    If you drip too fast or if there is not enough Carbon Dioxide available in the water, your shiny new Bicarbonate ions will be converted to Carbonate ions (a bad thing), like this:

    Ca++ + 2(OH-) + 2(HCO3-) <==> Ca++ + 2(CO3--) + 2 H2O

    The Carbonate ions formed will make the Ca++ you are trying to add to your tank get wasted by the useless precipitation of Calcium Carbonate -- the white stuff you are seeing.

    So, too rapid addition of Kalk may actually cause the Calcium and Alkalinity in your tank to go DOWN instead of UP (a bad thing), like this:

    Ca++ + 2(HCO3-) + Ca++ + 2(OH-) <==> 2 CaCO3 + 2 H2O

    In the above reaction, a Calcium ion and two Bicarbonate ions from the aquarium combine to form solid calcium carbonate -- the white stuff you are getting in your tank, which is really just a kind of sand.

    This can happen even with a slow drip of Kalk if there is not enough CO2 in your water -- something you can't easily control.

    To avoid this, try mixing and adding your Kalkwasser like this: pour 15ml of 5% Acetic Acid (or ordinary Distilled White Vinegar from the grocery store -- same thing) into a 1 liter (1 quart) container. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of lab-grade Ca(OH)2 (or commercial Kalkwasser mix) in the Acetic Acid, and then dilute to 1 liter (1 quart) volume with either RO/DI water, or even tank water.

    15 ml is more Vinegar than some people are comfortable with, but I use it constantly with no problems. There should be no sediment in the mixture, or just a little bit at most. You can let the sediment settle out if you don't like the white flakes in your tank. I just drip the liquid and the sediment both into my tank.

    Dissolving the Kalk powder in the Vinegar first will accomplish several very good things.

    First, it will get more Calcium ions (Ca++) into the solution because you are dissolving the Ca(OH)2 in an acid instead of water, and forming Calcium Acetate, which exists as a dissociated equilibrium of free Calcium ions and Acetate ions.

    Second, the Acetic Acid (Vinegar) provides an equivalent of all the CO2 you need to avoid precipitating the newly-added Calcium ions as useless white Calcium Carbonate powder.

    Third, after all the cool Calcium ion chemistry is over, the leftover Acetate ions from the broken-down Vinegar leaves you with free organic Carbon in the water that feeds the bacteria in your tank so that it converts more poisonous Nitrates to NO2 gas (a very good thing).

    Adding Vinegar in Kalkwasser is one of the few win-win situations for reefers -- it has a great up side and I've yet to encounter a down side to doing it. I don't know why so few reefers do it -- lack of understanding of the chemistry behind it maybe -- but a lot more are starting now that some respected reef writers have discovered it and have recommended it and even written up detailed instructions for it.

    By the way, you should check your pH before and after you do this the first few times to make sure it is not affected by the process. It should not be a problem. Also, if you don't already have them, get and learn to use Salifert test kits for Calcium, Alkalinity, and Magnesium. The levels of all of these are related and affected by dripping Kalk.
     
  4. Alan

    Alan Admin MASA Contributor

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    The advantages are lower PH and therefore holds more CA in solution as to how much and what vinegar i will leave to the others as i have not tried it.
     
  5. Reefbum

    Reefbum

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    Sorry guys don't mean to hi jack the thread, but if i may ask, Cybervic, i don't drip kalk yet but i would like to what should the readings for Calcium, Alkalinity and Magnesium be before i start to drip.
     
  6. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    interesting post cybervic!anyone else that has been using vinegar and your comments please :)
     
  7. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    This is not entirely true. The ratio of CO3:HCO3 is governed by the pH of the water, which in turn is controlled to a degree by the availability of CO2, but also by other factors. Also, carbonate is NOT a bad thing, and does not cause precipitation per se - it is the combined levels of Ca, CO3 AND Mg which dictates the amount of calcium carbonate precipitation.

    Dosing vinegar does decrease the pH of the lime water, and increase the concentration of dissolved calcium - both good things.

    The added carbon is indeed a food source for many bacteria, and, I believe, also for many types of algae. I've experienced that in a nutrient rich system (such as 95% of our tanks...) the increased carbon results in algae blooms (especially golden-brown diatoms...). This could be advantageous (food for micro-organisms) or a real PITA if the algae blooms take over the tank.

    Hennie
     
  8. cybervic

    cybervic

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    1stly the chemical stuff is from reefs.org and not my own knowledge I just read and try to understand.

    Calcium should be 400 to 500ppm
    Alkalinity should be between 7 and 12dkh
    Magnesium should be 1200 to 1300ppm

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, this are what they are suppose to be according to all the reading I've done.

    So I do not know at which level you should start dripping, but my guess is, if yours are lower than the recommended values, dripping is a safe option. As to how much, I use a tablespoon of slaked lime to 5 litres of water.

    Words of warning

    Kalkwasser will up you Ph, so be careful. Do not dose kalk and magensium at the same time (24hrs apart should be safe - once again according to what I've read and are doing on my own tank) Use a proper buffer like aquiBUFF to ensure stable alkalinity.

    Calcium is used a lot faster than magnesium, so magnesium might only be needed every 2nd week or so, it will differ from tank to tank.

    Stable parameters are the best for any marine tank according to my limited experience, so test before and after dosing to ensure that you are not out of bounds.

    Dunno what else to say, I drip kalk with all my water top-ups (10l per night atm) and does magnesium every 2 weeks and aquiBUFF as and when required.

    Use at own risk :GEEK:
     
  9. cybervic

    cybervic

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    Thanks :) :045: More reading and more sharing = more sharing = happier reefs
     
  10. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    good to have more than 2 mad scientists on board!
     
  11. palmerc

    palmerc

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    Reef Maniac has said just about all I would have said about the quote from DJMurray.

    Just in general guys, there is a lot of poor chemistry on the net with respect to our hobby. You have to try sift out the half-truths and fiction from the fact. Not that easy if you don't have the background, but then try stick to decent sources of information. When in doubt I would always first check out the information supplied by Randy Holmes-Farley and most of the guys on Wet Web Media are not bad either.
     
  12. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    clinton.when in doubt i always look for the mad scientist :lol:
     
  13. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Limewater is what is known as a "balanced additive" - in other words, it adds calcium and alkalinity (buffer) in the same ratios as they are consumed by corals, etc. One can thus NOT increase only calcium or alkalinity to "balance" your water parameters with limewater. To correct any imbalance one would have to add ONLY calcium or alkalinity, depending on which level you want to boost. There are many excellent products on the market to do this (e.g. those sold by palmerc...), but being a hardcore DIY I just make my own additives:
    • using calcium chloride (bought from a chemical supplier) to boost calcium and...
    • common food-grade baking soda (this supplies HCO3, and tends to lower the water's pH in the short term) or...
    • the same baking soda baked in an oven at ~200 C for an hour or two (this supplies CO3, and increases the water's pH quite drastically in the short term)
    • a mixture of magnesium chloride (bought from a chemical supplier) and common Epsom salt (being magnesium sulphate) to boost magnesium
    This is the famous Dr. Randy Holmes-Farley's DIY Two-part additive - the whole recipe and write-up can be found here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-02/rhf/index.php

    Once the calcium, alkalinity and magnesium levels are balanced, you should be able to maintain the alkalinity and calcium parameters by just dripping limewater (or limewater spiked with white vinegar) if the demand from the inhabitants is not too great. In a tank with many hard corals the limewater may not be enough, and one would have to use a calcium reactor.

    Hennie
     
  14. DragonReef

    DragonReef

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    Nice post Hennie, some great information :045:
     
  15. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    nice info reef maniac!amazing how our household and kitchen stuff can play a role in reef keeping!
     
  16. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Yes, and the good thing about this is that our "food grade" or "medical grade" (BP) chemicals are at least as pure (probably more so...) than the "hobby grade" chemicals which does not have to comply with the minimum purity levels specified for human consumption.
     
  17. djmurray

    djmurray Email me about anything

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    Sorry Clinton just abit confused what did i quote?
     
  18. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    and its also cheap
     
  19. Fickie

    Fickie

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    Hi,

    I may be stating the obvious but just adding vinegar to your normal dosage of kalk is not going to increase the calcium (or maybe I have it wrong but acetic acid is not just another form of calcium is it?) . You have to add more kalk powder into your mixture, the vinegar will then drop the pH of this solution which allows you to add more calcium to the tank without the resultant ph spike. Right?

    I maybe worng but to me the quotes from reefs.org look like they are saying that the vinegar adds more calcium.

    Hi hennie, nice to see you here!!

    Regards,
    rafiq
     
  20. palmerc

    palmerc

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    Rafiq, you are correct. Adding vinegar to your normal doasge of kalk will essentially just drop the pH, not boost calcium.

    Only if you add more vinegar and kalk will the concentration of calcium (mg/l) be increased.
     
  21. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Correct - adding vinegar causes more calcium to dissolve, IF more calcium is available. About one teaspoon of kalk powder per 2 liter of RO water results in a saturated calcium solution - one would be able to dissolve perhaps 2 teaspoons of lime per 2 liter of water if one added ~15ml of acetic acid to the mix.

    Oh, and thanks for the welcome, Rafiq

    Hennie
     
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