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Nano_Addict

Dosing with Kalkwasser

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Nano_Addict

Hey everyone!

 

I'm looking into setting up a basic dosing regimen for my tank using Kalkwasser and my ATO system and perhaps moving to 2-part dosing in the future when the tanks needs require it.  The tank is a IM 20 fusion (guessing it has about 15 gal of water in it).  The tank has been up and running for about 10 months and has had decent growth throughout most of the past 10 months.  However, things seem to have begun to slow down recently.  Additionally, all the zoanthids have been struggling for quite some time.

 

I've been pretty diligent with water changes, usually changing about 2.5 gal once a week, assuming this would be sufficient to replenish the tanks calcium and alk needs and falling into the lazy reefer syndrome of not testing but once a month.

 

However, I tested the tank this past Sunday (3 days after a water change) and got the following results:

pH - 7.85

Alk - 5.7 dKH

Ca - 390 ppm

 

I performed a large water change yesterday (I've always used Coral Pro Salt) and was able to bring the Alk back up to a more acceptable 7.4 dKH. I'm going to test again today to see what the daily usage looks like.  Currently, i'm planning to follow BRS's recommendation of: Low Demand - 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of top off water and go from there.

 

I've always been super hesitant to start dosing since doing it wrong can have such dire consequences. However, since the overarching goal is to start introducing SPS into this tank, this is definitely a bridge I need to cross.  

 

So, with all that being said, does anyone have any advice / lessons learned to get started dosing Kalk?

 

Cheers!

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rfalk

What is your salinity in the tank?  If you are going to dose kalk I would at least test ALK daily for a week to see how much you tank is using on a daily basis.  I would also figure out how much top off water you are adding weekly.

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Nano_Addict

Salinity is 1.026.

 

Good advice on testing for a week before beginning anything, would certainly give me a better picture of the needs of the tank.  Right now the tank is going through about 2 gallons a week in top off water.

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burtbollinger

sidenote:  please be careful not to spike your alkalinity upwards too fast.  This is how people inadvertently kill tanks.

 

sidenote 2:  I MUCH prefer ESV Bionic 2-part and a Hanna DKH checker.

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RayWhisperer

Kalk is probably the easiest way to maintain cal and alk. It has its pros and cons, just like everything. I’ll try to give you an idea of how to do it right. 

 

First, we’ll cover the pros and cons. 

Pro

easy

quick

keeps ph pinned in the proper range

binds up phosphates

Con

can kill a tank

can turn your sandbed into a stone

precipitates mag

 

Now that we’ve covered that, I’ll cover ways to avoid those cons. Mag will need to be dosed, so, you’ll need to test for that, too. However, it’s cheap and easy to dose it, and you’ll only need that once, or twice a week. Just get some driveway deicer (mag chloride flakes) and Epsom salts (mag sulfate).mix them at (I think) 7 to 1 flakes to salt in a small bottle of rodi water. It’s been a long while, so you may want to check on those ratios. Anyhow, that’ll be your once or twice a week mag doser. Since you are starting out at half strength, that’ll probably last you 2 or 3 weeks.

 

The sandbed of stone comes about most commonly from over dosing. 

 

Killing your tank tank comes from dosing too quickly. The slowest you can dose it, the better it will work for you. I mean that in more ways than one. If you can spread it out over a 24 hour period, that’s ideal. However, if you can dose tiny amounts at a time, that’s even better. If not, it’s not a problem, though. Any drip, or dose method that can spread it out over a few hours will work well enough.

 

i wouldn’t bother with a weeks monitoring to figure out consumption rates. Kalk isn’t as precise as 2 part. Just get your tank close to where you want it before you start. This can be done with 2 part, a huge water change, or calcium chloride and baking soda. Kalk or small volume water changes are not good ways to correct large imbalances. Also, don’t worry about correcting those imbalances slowly. Spiking the alk once to get it up from 5.whatever to a NSW, or higher, level is better than doing it over a week. Stability is key, but when your alk is in the 5’s, action is better than stability. 

 

Once youve got your water water where you want it, it’s time to start with kalk. Figure out the evaporation rate in a 24 hour, week, month, whatever, and mix up a little bit more than that amount. So, for simplicity sake, let’s say 2 gallons a week of top off water is needed. At 1/2 strength, your mixing 1 teaspoon into about 2.2 gallons of water. Why 2.2 gallons, you ask? Because there will be a small volume of unusable product at the bottom. That layer of cloudy water gets dumped out. You’ll want to SLOWLY siphon out the clear water into your top off container.

 

Now on that you’ve got your kalk mixed, and your water params where you want them. It’s time to start dosing. NOW is the time when you’ll want to start your daily testing. This will tell you whether you’ll need to mix your next batch any differently.

 

The other important thing is to keep the kalk wasser sealed. Always keep it sealed. Mix it sealed, siphon it out, and store it sealed. Atmospheric co2 will ruin your kalk mix, so limit it’s exposure as much as possible. That’s why you siphon it slowly, and don’t just dump it into the container. Obviously, you can’t store it in a vacuum, but the less exposure the better. If your top off container doesn’t have a lid, find a different container.

 

That should cover you for getting started. 

 

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Nano_Addict
On 3/6/2018 at 11:42 AM, burtbollinger said:

sidenote:  please be careful not to spike your alkalinity upwards too fast.  This is how people inadvertently kill tanks.

 

sidenote 2:  I MUCH prefer ESV Bionic 2-part and a Hanna DKH checker.

Could you elaborate?  Would you say that starting with 2-part would be a better choice than starting with kalk and eventually moving to 2-part?

 

The detailed write-up is much appreciated @RayWhisperer

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burtbollinger
1 hour ago, Nano_Addict said:

Could you elaborate?  Would you say that starting with 2-part would be a better choice than starting with kalk and eventually moving to 2-part?

 

The detailed write-up is much appreciated @RayWhisperer

my anecdotal research and poll-taking seems to indicate that 2-part is a better choice for me than Kalk on a tank under 40g.  I'd advise you explore this contention yourself.  YMMV. Possible I've searched for the answer I wanted to hear at the time....

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=kalk+vs+2+part+nano-reef+site:www.nano-reef.com&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwid7L_o7NrZAhXBy4MKHeKpBQIQrQIINSgEMAA&biw=1228&bih=1102

 

As to elaborating on my 2-part choice, as you request....simply put:  "fear-based thinking and paranoia". 

 

Messing with Kalk that's auto-dosing via ATO seems scary to me...I've always been intimidated by it...VS. a careful, frequent monitoring with a Hanna checker and manually hand dosing small amounts of ESV Bionic.   

 

I've had VERY bad experiences with spiking Alk (with 2-part LOL)...not respecting Alk. (cocky guessing vs testing) caused the death of several prized and expensive LPS years ago...not a parameter to ever play with.  (I now test every 24-48 hours...spending a fortune on Hanna reagent.)

 

all that said, I'd be much more apt to give it a try IF I had a Ph monitor....I already have the RKL, a Tunze ATO, and a sweet bucket of top-off water.  

 

I also don't feel like messing with my ATO bucket...mixing Kalk, etc....Seems easier to just dump in new RO/DI every few days and walk away....then spend 5 min. per day doing a quick check with the Hanna DkH and deciding on if I want to dose 7.5 ML of 2-part or skip a day.  (my tank is still growing, but I find I dont NEED to do 2-part daily....seems like every other day works for me...sometimes I also get freaky fluctuations (days where consumption isnt as vigorous), like where if I would have blindly dosed, I would have overshot my goal parameters...)

 

Also, and no disrespect intended as RayWhisper is a deeply respected A+ legend in this community....but the second someone, when talking about my tank says...."yeah, first just get some driveway deicer"....LOL, thats when I have to stop :)  I can't even imagine doing that in a million years....then again, I don't even mess with the BRS 2-part mixes anymore...I now like my 2-part solution pre-made....in a pretty labeled 32 oz. bottle, for which I'm happy to pay the premium.

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burtbollinger

double post, sorry

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RayWhisperer

Lol. A legend in my own mind, maybe!

 

i only suggested driveway deicer as its super cheap. A container of that, and a jug of Epsom salts will make enough mag to last a lifetime for about 1/10 the cost of  buying pre made mag. 

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JcSH2o

This is great!  :rolleyes:  I have used Epsom for years in my cichlid tanks to no detriment and much cost saving success. However I must concur with @burtbollinger that including the words driveway de-icer in anything that I dump into such a costly (and fragile) body of water as my reef tank is enough to make my blood pumper palpitate. Even though I know they are chemicals, and even though I had a (marginally less) similar experience prior to dumping in Epsom salts... 

What worked for me is finding and focusing on the list of ingredients.... Cheers though, as I can absolutely relate to this.  

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Cintax

Eh? As long as the only ingredient is Magnesium Chloride you're likely pretty safe. You can always just buy Magnesium Chloride as a premium from BRS and other places. 

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RayWhisperer
8 hours ago, Cintax said:

Eh? As long as the only ingredient is Magnesium Chloride you're likely pretty safe. You can always just buy Magnesium Chloride as a premium from BRS and other places. 

This. 

Everybody is focusing on one thing. It's mag chloride, buy it wherever you want. I just posted the cheapest source. Besides, I got all that info from Randy H Farley and have used it for years. I kinda doubt he's out to #### everyone's tanks up.

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JcSH2o

↑ Which is why I said focusing on the ingredients is what worked for me. 

 

I was simply stating that I can relate to the power of words, and to get past it (for me) I just had to focus on the right words. In these cases the words being pure magnesium chloride and pure magnesium sulfate.

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Nano_Addict

You've all given me plenty to think about.  Right now I think i'm leaning towards dosing 2-part instead of Kalk, but i'm not entirely decided yet.

 

BRS seems to have pretty decent prices on their 2-part mixes.  Any other recommendations based on experience?

 

Thanks!

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