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3g Pico Alk Dosing Questions

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I have a 3g pico setup and I am experiencing alkalinity fluctuations like crazy. I am currently dosing 2.1ml (0.5 dKH) of Randy's Recipe #2 liquid sodium bicarbonate (baking soda and water) and I am still losing alkalinity. My dKH went from 9.6 to 7.0 between weekly 50% water changes.


So I am convinced I need to begin dosing, but I want something that I can change rather easily, and I realize I will have to start dosing calcium eventually too as my calcium also dropped from about 450 to 390 over a week recently.


Currently the Coral Box WF-04 is what I am looking at purchasing as it is WI-FI controlled. The only downside is the mixed reviews I am seeing on it. I am quite diligent with maintenance so I feel I could upkeep regular maintenance on parts to slow deterioration. But, I'm also wondering whether it can pump vertically very far.


Currently my setup is sitting atop an IKEA Kallax Shelf Unit  with a cupboard which houses my ATO reservoir that I would like to also add the things I would like to dose. I would also like to have all of the tubes running from the dosing pump into my AC70 converted fuge that hangs on the back, but I'm also wondering if the pump itself would have to be higher than the tank itself or could it also be below the tank and pump up.


If anyone could help me answer some of these pump related questions, or speak towards the craftsmanship of the pump it would be greatly appreciated because the sooner I get this the sooner I have to stop worrying about my wild alk swings lol

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Most peristaltic dosing pumps can pump up vertically to a tank on a stand.  I'm not sure of the specs on that particular pump.


Look into ESV B-Ionic two part.  For a pico, it shouldn't be too expensive to use.  You might also try dosing manually for awhile, and then later try to automate it.

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Just do 100% waterchanges, my reef jar swings from 10.4 to 4.6 weekly.  Are you seeing stressed corals in response or have you only noticed because of the numbers?  In my case only the numbers show the swings the corals themselves remain happy.

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52 minutes ago, GraniteReefer said:

my reef jar swings from 10.4 to 4.6 weekly

That's a lot.  I was going to recommend 100% changes until I saw his alkalinity swings.  However, your experience, with much larger swings, makes me feel a lot better about it.  Thanks for sharing.


I might even be tempted to do some dosing, along with the weekly 100% changes (just for stability's sake). :unsure:

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@seabass Thanks for the tip on the B-Ionic. I believe the pump uses the guts of a Jebao? Could be wrong on that one. But regardless I think I'm going to go ahead and grab it and play around with it. 


@GraniteReefer I have noticed the swings affecting some corals, namely my cyphastrea. Also, I am dosing 0.5 dKH 6 times thoughout the week so it would drop further, and although the drop I'm sure is ultimately fine, I would rather have it automated to make it 'perfect'.


@Floundering_Around Even if I did two water changes a week, maybe 20-30% I would still be losing alkalinity faster than I am replacing it. I'll look into Kent's as well.


I plan to add much more livestock to this little pico, and I have only temporarily stopped because I want to address this issue. It wouldn't surprise me that my alkalinity/calcium requirements are going to get even higher, so I believe the dosing pump is a necessity. I'll probably only use about two of the heads on the pump, but it's nice to have the option for the third and fourth in case something happens and I need to dose some medication.


Thank you all for the answers!

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Alk consumption changes, it can increase or drop.

If it's a new tank, I find they often consume more alk. 


I really like esv bionic 2 part. Works well, easy to use, keeps things balanced.

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Curious what you are using to test your Alk and Ca? Have you tested your Mg? If your Mg is low, Alk and Ca can get crazy. Just looking at the pictures of your tank and how new it is, it's definitely odd that it's dropping that far and fast with how few coral frags you have in there. Are you seeing lots of calcium carbonate buildup in the bottom of your filter? It may be precipitating out if Mg is low or from your dosing, if you don't space it out enough.


I ended up entirely stopping testing on my old pico because the numbers were all over - I just kept up with 50% water changes and never had problems for the more than 2 years it was set up. It wasn't swinging as much as granites - but it swung a lot over the course of a week.

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