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Sealab #28 block results thread

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I was recently introduced to the Sealab #28 block product in another thread, where some users recommended them. It supposedly replaces ca/alk and other chemicals in your tank as they get used up. I am particularly interested in anything that will make ca/alk additions without so much attention from me.

 

Currently, I am using Kent-CB 2 part with good results, but it requires daily additions or my Ca drops very quickly.

 

I was perusing my local LFS today, saw the blocks, and decided to give them a whirl. The blocks look like a 3/4" square of white plaster. I threw 2 of them in my tank and will post results here for as long as I stay interested :P

 

I bought a PH test today, as normally I don't bother measuring PH. After using the test, I decided it was garbage because it has a color for 8.0 and 8.5 but I need 8.2 for sea water. Grrr. I guess that I will just rely on the buffers in my salt mix to handle the PH.

 

So, day 1, before adding the blocks:

 

Ca - 396 mg/l

Alk - 11 dkh

 

Anyone else using this stuff please pitch in.

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I use it in my tanks.. just make sure to put it in indirect current to keep it from disolving to quickly. I've noticed great coraline algae growth after using it.. I can't say I've had anything negative happen due to it...

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It does a fair job, but I still find myself needing to add calcium in the form of kalkwasser, and a buffer in the form of sodium-bicarbonate. It also claims to reduce ammonia (?), and I found it to be true. I have a molly in my QT keeping the system cycled, but there is a problem: even though it is small, it is very metabolically active, and in three days, shot the ammonia levels to 6 ppm!!! The block I added reduced the amonia some how dropped the amonia level down 2 ppm in 3 days. I don't know how it did it, but it kept the levels down. It didn't convert it like bacteria do, but it was enough to help the .5lbs of LR turn into a biofilter rapidly. I use it in all my tanks, and it does have one negative: it might become an automatic habit, add one every two weeks. In 3 months, your filter jams, and you find there is a pile of new, almost new, half-dissolved, and almost dissolved blocks in the way of the water flow. You need to make them visable, or you might add more than you need. Good thing it dissolves when needed. One more negative: if you forget to buy more, and run out, some of your more delicate animals might have poorer health. This happened to both of my ricordias (I only had two because I'm a cost cutting cheap-ass), as well as the star polyps that were on the LR. If your going to use it , do not become dependant on it. Bad things will happen. Other than that, it is a good product (I wouldn't have bought more if it wasn't. Also, great coraline growth is open to interpretation; in my 10 gallon, an acrylic tank, it is a PITA, but it does grow the stuff.)

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Xavier said it needs to be placed in a low flow area so that it doesn't dissolve to quickly, but maroonclown said that his tank still needed to be dosed with kalk and a buffer. If the block were placed in a higher flow place in the tank, shouldn't it dissolve faster and the tank not need to be dosed extra?

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Nope. It will still pile up if you aren't careful. I placed the blocks in direct water flow.

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Well, it is useless to me if I still need to dose ca/alk, but I will measure and post my results here until I can make a decision.

 

Bird, it was the same thread that you were posting about the stuff that made it go top of my mind. I picked it up on impulse.

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I ordered them (28 and 14) and they haven't arrived yet. I actually got them because I am taking off for the holiday and figured it would be an ideal time to try them out.

 

I don't have them yet but, from what I have read, you put them in a low flow area because they dissolve as needed and if the waterflow is high (coming from a filter or skimmer) the elements being replenished might be lower in that outflow of the skimmer or filter than in another area of the tank. Also, you don't want them dissolving every couple of days.

 

I plan on putting them in the outflow of the fuge. Both the blocks and the 14, which I think is sock filter material. I would imagine you won't need additional dosing of ca (in two part or kalk etc. form) unless you have a high population of ca depleting animals. In that case, I am wondering if the blocks can dissolve too fast, dumping excess elements (other than the ca) into the water. Time and experimentation will tell.

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I opened a jar of the 14 at the store (while squatting stealthily behind a shelf) and the stuff was a fine powder. There were no instructions on the outside of the jar other than "mixes to make blah # of quarts of solution". I got the impression that you just dump some in if your PH drifts too low, and it brings it back up again.

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I figured you could put it in one of those sock filter bag things. I was also under the impression that it is used up as needed, like the blocks.

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A sock filter bag would just release it all in a big cloud. You will see when you get the stuff.

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hopefully the stuff will come before Thursday.

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Yes, I bought both. The powder would be iffy in a filter sock. Currently I have 2 small nuggets on opposite sides of my fuge. The powder is a PH reset and Instructions are buried under the powda' . I have used it already, but that shizzle is strong. I duggest using it in small amounts. my PH was at 8.2 before testing and was at 8.4 4 hours after using 14 :(. I dunno I am sure it takes a few days to level out. So this morning I get up and test, My PH is 7.9 - 8.0 Seems like a large drop. Only been using it for 1 day, so again, I am sure it needs to stabilize. Will let you know how it all goes. Testing PH , CA, and Alk tonight. adn PH in the AM again.

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I agree that coralline algae is a boon and a bust... depends on where it's growing... I've been having hair algae problem so I've fixed the problem, and am attempting to boost coralline algae growth in the rocks.. I had to stop using it for awhile when I was trying to get everything in my tank fixed, but it seems I had much better growth on my digita when it was in use...

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Well, my $.02....

 

I've been running the 28's for almost 2 weeks now. I started using a cube a day, but they have slowed to a cube every other day.....Calcium has been pretty constant around 400. I'm still having an issue with alk, but that's probably an effect of the silica sand.

 

I mentioned in the other thread my buffer crash.....we I think that was a result of low calcium, because with calcium levels stable, I'm able to dose (albiet....carefully this time) the seachem ph 8.3 buffer. Alk levels are now more stable. I forget who said it, but the reagents used in the 14 were "food grade". Which is better quality, but I'm not sure one buffer is better than the next. I've used Kents Super dKH and now Sealab pH 8.3....both are a mixture of carbonates.

 

I started using the 28, because, like Crak, I've got a 7 day Xmas vacation coming up and needed to find a fix.

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I am having issues w/ the kents superbuffer . My alk jumps but my PH stays low, so trying to correct that, My ALK just kept going higher. Stopped using that.

 

Yes the 14 is food grade. Aside form leaving on vacation, I would simply like this to work so as to cut down on testing and to get some stability w/o having to dose daily. or twice daily.

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bird, what do the instructions say for dosing the 14? just drop the powder into the tank?

 

sounds odd. how often? howmuch? details bird, details.

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it's probably similar to kalk where you mix it with fresh water in your make-up water.

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Day 2

 

Ca - 402 mg/l

Alk - 10 dkh

 

CA up a smidge (instead of the usual drop)

Alk down by 1. We will see if that continues.

 

2 blocks, each dissolved about 20%

 

I couldn't post last night because my FREAKING cable is down.

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Crak. The 14 is a PH buffer. mix w/ water and dump in. some precipitate will remain, pour that in also. My ca went from 350ish prior to using ( that c-balance wasn't working properly for me ) to 380, alk went from 13 to 12. But it was high. Levels still need to balance out.

 

I dunno bout the 14. I used it after the lights went out sunday night , PH bumped to 8.3, in the morning it was back down to arounf 7.9 or 8. when I got home, it was back around 8.2. ........... But........

65% of my Digi's were closed up, Ca was 380 , ph 8.2 . I dunno, I am gonna give it more time, they were pretty poopy this morning too. Maybe I should practice the Crak theory of don't post your pics........Pray for me.....

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the package still hasn't arrived. hopefully it will come today or tomorrow.

 

I will probably dump the blocks in and hold off on the buffer until I get back. I'd hate to have something go haywire while I am gone. then I won't be able to enjoy the hell of another tank meltdown firsthand.

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Yeah, It is a buffer "reset" so you don't need to do it on a regular basis, only when needed. Please Nano-Gods, Move this Crakmojo back to the east coast!!!

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Day 3:

Ca - 404 mg/l

Alk 8 dKh

 

I had to add some part 2 of my Kent CB to raise my alk.

 

It is evident that although the blocks seem to do an excellent job maintaining ca at around 400, they do not include any carbonate alkalinity. This actually makes sense because it must be hard to get ca and alk into the same source without them neutralizing each other.

 

I would bet you anything out of Birds tank that the #14 is sodium bicarbonate (food grade baking soda) and will boost alk.

 

I believe that an appropriate strategy is to mix the #14 into your auto-topoff resevoir in the appropriate amount so that your topoffs maintain alk, while the blocks maintain ca. Today, I went and spent $6.00 on a bottle of Seachem reefbuilder carbonate alkalinity powder and will start mixing it into my topoff. Once I manage to tweak in the right concentration, my ca/alk addition should be reduced to mixing a 1/4 teaspoon of powder into my topoff and throwing in a couple of cubes once a week.

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Ok. After 4 one half gallon water changes last night and 2 on half gallon WC's this morning, things are looking better, Still no idea what caused my tank to wig out. I am guessing temp fluctuation, because mine has been steady at 78 degrees for months, and now it's bouncing up to 81 occasionally ( need bigger fans). Ca last night was nearing 400, and my Alk was down to 10. Ph was stable at 8.2 (finally, crap! I must use less #14 next time, trust me fellas, start small w/ this stuff, especially in the really nano [10g and under ] Maybe do as dingus and use a separate ph and alk i.e. Kents superbuffer.). So things are looking better, I have the 16" fan on high behind the tank so temp will stay good till I can get some bigger fans. It looks like I lost one orange frag, the other looks, eeehhhhh.... the Blue polyp looked crappy , but more polyps are poening up everytime I look at it. Pray for me still......wassa nanano thongthong!!

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Birdman, please refrain from insultingly messing with my name unless we are in a forum where it is accepted. You are not nearly cute enough for me to let it slide.

 

I would not worry too much about measuring your PH at all hours of the day. Simpler is better. If you keep your ca and alkalinity in the appropriate ranges, you PH will naturally tend to be correct.

 

Sorry to hear that you tank got borked.

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