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Dosing products for mag, cal, alk


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#1
Aqualara

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I want to keep a good amount of sps in my 40B and I'm lost about which products to buy to dose my tank.

Can someone give me a couple of suggestions? Instead of suggesting one product, please suggest a complete group of products that I would need to dose all the things.

I was looking at the BRS kits, but I have no idea whether to get the pH up or pH down one... I'd be open to other more affordable suggestions as well :D

#2
nibor

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How do you know you need to dose?

What are your parameters for calcium and alkalinity and how do they change from one water change to the next?

Animals that build calcium carbonate skeletons need certain levels of calcium and alkalinity in the water for healthy growth. You measure these levels by testing. If you find your water changes don't keep up with things then you need to start some sort of dosing. You need to be testing for calcium, alkalinity (and magnesium) to know if you need to dose at all.

If you do need to dose, two part dosing systems are simple to use. You know if you need the pH up or down one by testing your pH (as well as the other three parameters).

You can DIY two part dosing chemicals.
http://www.advanceda...004/4/chemistry

Another alternative is kalkwasser. You can add kalk with your top off water. Kalkwasser is only good for maintaining levels and should not be used to raise them. You need to use another method (like two part) to bring things to a good starting point.

Whichever dosing system you choose, you need to test to know how much to dose and at what intervals to avoid parameter swings. Buy accurate test kits.

#3
Aqualara

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I don't know for sure that I need to dose, but I'm buying test kits for cal, alk, and mag, and I figured that since I'll probably need to dose at some point, I might as well be prepared for it.

Whenever I mention wanting to keep SPS and the clam I already have, people tell me that I need to start dosing. Yet whenever I ask about dosing, everyone always seems so skeptical about me saying that I want to dose. Why? Isn't that a huge contradiction, or am I missing something important?

Also, are the BRS dosing kits good, or is there a more economical option?

#4
Criley7

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I think if you keep up with your water changes, and you have a good salt mix, that you wont have to dose until your SPS frags start growing into larger colonies that start using more of the trace elements. But everyones tank could be different so you just have to test to let you know when, what, and how much to dose.

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#5
ek9vboi

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I think if you keep up with your water changes, and you have a good salt mix, that you wont have to dose until your SPS frags start growing into larger colonies that start using more of the trace elements. But everyones tank could be different so you just have to test to let you know when, what, and how much to dose.


Agreed, that and proper testing. Go with Salifert kits, one of the best and have been around forever. The BRS kit is probably one of the best ways to go about this. I would do this along with a water down version of kalkwasser for ATO. In your case, if your demand for calc/alk is not too much then kalkwasser mixed with your top off water is the answer plus the usual water changes. Once your tank shows signs of demand, start the two-part system along with the mag.

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#6
mrbigshot

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ph down when your using kalkwasser, ph up 99.9% the rest of the time. only real way to know is by checking your ph.
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#7
Aqualara

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Sounds good.

What's the most user-friendly way to dose? I've been testing my water and levels of Mag and Calcium are low.

#8
mrbigshot

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http://www.bulkreefs...reef-calculator

that will tell you how much of each part to dose. magnesium, and calcium can be added all at once. alk needs to be added slowly. it really jumps your ph for a little while (about 10min or so). i use a little clear condiment bottle from walart (the kind you see mustard in on hot dog carts i think). that way i can squirt a little in whenever i pass by the tank. you could just pour a little in hear and there as well.

the ph spike is temporary, high swings will be ok because it will be back to normal shortly. i could go from 7.8 to 8.6 in no time.

Edited by mrbigshot, 29 March 2012 - 04:59 AM.

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#9
bizzarro

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If you're going to buy the Seachem mag product, you might as well just go to the Dollar Tree or store and get a $1 epsom salt in a half gallon container. It looks almost identical and even contains sulfates like epsom salt. I thought it was a different product because I already have used epsom salt but was worried about the sulfates build if that has any effect on the corals. The product just looks more refined.

#10
bdare

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I suggest if you are dosing manually you should buy recipe #2 which drops pH. Many times the localized pH spike from recipe 1 will cause precipitation and you'll start wondering why your levels don't ever level out.

#11
JDK

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The BRS kit is probably one of the best ways to go about this.


+1 BRS starter kit is a great value. Use the calculator on the site.

#12
HecticDialectics

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Without dosing and only normal water changes your calc and alk cant help but to be depleted below baseline salt levels. Its basic math and laws of physics. Just learn to dose now while frags are small and ramp up as necessary.

#13
mrbigshot

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with a moderately stocked sps tank i use kalkwasser in my ato and dose just under 4oz of calcium two part and 2oz of alk two part. this is about 4 days usage.

even with 20% water changes every week its not even close to keeping up.
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