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DyloHeath

How to dose?

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DyloHeath

Hey,

 

I would like some advice on how to dose for my needs, I haven't dosed before. I hold a range of SPS and LPS in a 10 gallon tank with weekly water changes.

 

My parameters that I want to change are (first number is my current number):

 

Cal: 400 > 420-450

Magnesium: 1150>1350

 

 

My alk is currently 10.9 which I dont have a problem with. I use red coral pro salt.

 

I have no idea how to dose, I will buy an automatic doser to help with this. Where do I start?

 

Thanks

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mitten_reef
1 hour ago, DyloHeath said:

Hey,

 

I would like some advice on how to dose for my needs, I haven't dosed before. I hold a range of SPS and LPS in a 10 gallon tank with weekly water changes.

 

My parameters that I want to change are (first number is my current number):

 

Cal: 400 > 420-450

Magnesium: 1150>1350

 

 

My alk is currently 10.9 which I dont have a problem with. I use red coral pro salt.

 

I have no idea how to dose, I will buy an automatic doser to help with this. Where do I start?

 

Thanks

IMO, it's better to start off manually so you know how much and how often you should dose, as well as give you the ability to understand the effect of it (since presumably you'll be dosing the same time daily - oer whatever time interval you may need initially).  there are many threads about how to figure out dosages (how fast elements are depleted), product preference (brands), methods (manual, timer, automated), etc.   It very much depends on the your tank situation, livestock, what is your stability tolerance.

   

Once you get to a dosing pump realm, there are many ways to do it so unless we know what dosing pump type you're looking at or want to go with, it's hard to generalize the recommendation.  For an example, I have a "dumb" dosing pump (BRS brand), connected to a programmable timer, that activates it 6 times a day for 1 minute each - this is probably the most automated you can have with a "dumb" pump.  There are also other types of dosers like wi-fi dosing pumps (app-controlled), programmable dosing pumps (controller on the pump unit), Apex dosing pump, etc

 

 

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Clown79

The proper way to dose is to replenish what the tank consumes.

 

You need to test newly made sw for your target parameters, then test everyday to determine what the tank is using. It's the only way to properly dose. 

 

Without knowing consumption levels, you are blindly dosing which leads to fluctuations 

 

There isn't really anything wrong with your ca. 400 is fine.

 

The mag is low. That could be what your salt mixes at or it could be due to consumption.

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DyloHeath
8 hours ago, mitten_reef said:

IMO, it's better to start off manually so you know how much and how often you should dose, as well as give you the ability to understand the effect of it (since presumably you'll be dosing the same time daily - oer whatever time interval you may need initially).  there are many threads about how to figure out dosages (how fast elements are depleted), product preference (brands), methods (manual, timer, automated), etc.   It very much depends on the your tank situation, livestock, what is your stability tolerance.

   

Once you get to a dosing pump realm, there are many ways to do it so unless we know what dosing pump type you're looking at or want to go with, it's hard to generalize the recommendation.  For an example, I have a "dumb" dosing pump (BRS brand), connected to a programmable timer, that activates it 6 times a day for 1 minute each - this is probably the most automated you can have with a "dumb" pump.  There are also other types of dosers like wi-fi dosing pumps (app-controlled), programmable dosing pumps (controller on the pump unit), Apex dosing pump, etc

 

 

I think starting of manually is a great idea to understand how things work.. I see people recommend so many different brands so I'll have to play around with that.

 

Okay so I guess it will come down to what my budget is in regards to the doser, and what is reasonable, and what works. Thanks for the reply

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DyloHeath
7 hours ago, Clown79 said:

The proper way to dose is to replenish what the tank consumes.

 

You need to test newly made sw for your target parameters, then test everyday to determine what the tank is using. It's the only way to properly dose. 

 

Without knowing consumption levels, you are blindly dosing which leads to fluctuations 

 

There isn't really anything wrong with your ca. 400 is fine.

 

The mag is low. That could be what your salt mixes at or it could be due to consumption.

I'll measure my tank daily for a few days, and test the freshly made salt for its parameters.

 

Red coral pro salt says magnesium should be: 1350-1430 for accelerated growth. So something is wrong there.

 

I'll track the parameters and go from there.

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Thrassian Atoll

What’s the calcium levels of the freshly mixed rscp?

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DyloHeath
1 minute ago, Thrassian Atoll said:

What’s the calcium levels of the freshly mixed rscp?

I will need to test the water.

 

But the label says freshly mixed will be: 450-480 Ca

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jservedio
1 hour ago, DyloHeath said:

I will need to test the water.

 

But the label says freshly mixed will be: 450-480 Ca

There is typically more variance than that, even on the best of days. If you start with a 150g bucket of salt mix, every single time you make a bucket of water, it's going to be slightly different. While measuring the parameters of freshly mixed salt water will tell you if you are going to get a spike when you change water and make sure you did your job properly, it will not tell you if you need to dose.

 

After you do a water change, you need to test your Alkalinity, Calcium and Magnesium and write them down. Wait a full week and before you do your next water change measure all three again. How far did you alkalinity drop? In one week, update this thread and people will able to give you advice from some concrete numbers. Unless you have a lot of stony corals that are growing rapidly, you probably won't even have to dose at all.

 

If you alkalinity is dropping far enough to need dosing, after you do your water change, you would start to measure your alkalinity daily for a full week. This will allow you to make sure it is falling in a linear fashion (also eliminating human error by doing a lot of tests) and it will allow you to calculate your daily consumption. You would use your daily alkalinity consumption to help you decide which method you would like to use to replenish your usage (kalk, 2-part, one-part) and to determine how much you need to dose. If you aren't using a whole lot of alkalinity, kalk in your ATO or a single-part supplement would probably be easiest. If you use two part, you calculate how much you need to use of each part from your alkalinity and dose exactly the same amount of the calcium part.

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DyloHeath
4 minutes ago, jservedio said:

There is typically more variance than that, even on the best of days. If you start with a 150g bucket of salt mix, every single time you make a bucket of water, it's going to be slightly different. While measuring the parameters of freshly mixed salt water will tell you if you are going to get a spike when you change water and make sure you did your job properly, it will not tell you if you need to dose.

 

After you do a water change, you need to test your Alkalinity, Calcium and Magnesium and write them down. Wait a full week and before you do your next water change measure all three again. How far did you alkalinity drop? In one week, update this thread and people will able to give you advice from some concrete numbers. Unless you have a lot of stony corals that are growing rapidly, you probably won't even have to dose at all.

 

If you alkalinity is dropping far enough to need dosing, after you do your water change, you would start to measure your alkalinity daily for a full week. This will allow you to make sure it is falling in a linear fashion (also eliminating human error by doing a lot of tests) and it will allow you to calculate your daily consumption. You would use your daily alkalinity consumption to help you decide which method you would like to use to replenish your usage (kalk, 2-part, one-part) and to determine how much you need to dose. If you aren't using a whole lot of alkalinity, kalk in your ATO or a single-part supplement would probably be easiest. If you use two part, you calculate how much you need to use of each part from your alkalinity and dose exactly the same amount of the calcium part.

Do you think testing can work backwards, my water change is coming up tomorrow (after 7 days). If I tested before the water change, then tested after the water change would this still work for the weekly measurement? It's the exact same routine as last week with nothing new. Or are their to many variables. 

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jservedio
2 hours ago, DyloHeath said:

Do you think testing can work backwards, my water change is coming up tomorrow (after 7 days). If I tested before the water change, then tested after the water change would this still work for the weekly measurement? It's the exact same routine as last week with nothing new. Or are their to many variables. 

If you've done nothing except top off with RODI, than it's okay assuming you measured after your last water change. If you didn't or you added any additive of any sort that affects alkalinity or added something like GFO, you need to start over. You need measurements a week apart from right after a water change to right before. Anything else is useless.

 

If your alkalinity is within a couple of dkh or so of last week, you don't need to dose. If it's higher, start testing alkalinity daily. If your magnesium is below 1200ppm, fix it and start testing over.

 

Edit: a fts picture of your tank would help too - while all tanks are different, it gives a really good picture of possible needs.

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Thrassian Atoll

It’s interesting that the alkalinity isn’t dropping much but the calcium is.  Usually it goes hand and hand or alkalinity dropping quicker than calcium.  I don’t hear too much about the opposite happening.  If you just dose calcium though it may lower your alkalinity.  Usually you want to dose both equally to maintain proper levels but that doesn’t work for a lot of people, including me.  I dose 1/4 more alkalinity than calcium.  
 

Magnesium takes a ton to increase.  At least of the B-ionic stuff.  Magnesium numbers are all over the place test wise from my experience.  Red Sea will say 1200, my trident will say 1330 and Triton test shows 1440.   

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Clown79
7 hours ago, DyloHeath said:

I'll measure my tank daily for a few days, and test the freshly made salt for its parameters.

 

Red coral pro salt says magnesium should be: 1350-1430 for accelerated growth. So something is wrong there.

 

I'll track the parameters and go from there.

You can check the batch online to find out what the parameters should he for that batch.

 

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DyloHeath
10 hours ago, jservedio said:

If you've done nothing except top off with RODI, than it's okay assuming you measured after your last water change. If you didn't or you added any additive of any sort that affects alkalinity or added something like GFO, you need to start over. You need measurements a week apart from right after a water change to right before. Anything else is useless.

 

If your alkalinity is within a couple of dkh or so of last week, you don't need to dose. If it's higher, start testing alkalinity daily. If your magnesium is below 1200ppm, fix it and start testing over.

 

Edit: a fts picture of your tank would help too - while all tanks are different, it gives a really good picture of possible needs.

Im going to test daily from after the water change for a week. 

 

 

I think i may be making some testing errors because of these numbers, so i'll be more careful with next weeks testing.

My levels overnight went from:

 

Mg: 1150>1200

Ca: 400>495

Alk: 10.9>8.6

 

I've attached some FTS photos for you.

20200605_153100.jpg

20200605_153146.jpg

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DyloHeath
10 hours ago, Thrassian Atoll said:

It’s interesting that the alkalinity isn’t dropping much but the calcium is.  Usually it goes hand and hand or alkalinity dropping quicker than calcium.  I don’t hear too much about the opposite happening.  If you just dose calcium though it may lower your alkalinity.  Usually you want to dose both equally to maintain proper levels but that doesn’t work for a lot of people, including me.  I dose 1/4 more alkalinity than calcium.  
 

Magnesium takes a ton to increase.  At least of the B-ionic stuff.  Magnesium numbers are all over the place test wise from my experience.  Red Sea will say 1200, my trident will say 1330 and Triton test shows 1440.   

I may have been testing wrong, my Alk has gone from 10.9>8.6 with calcium going from 400>395 in 24 hours, I'm going to try and test with much more accuracy for next week.

7 hours ago, Clown79 said:

You can check the batch online to find out what the parameters should he for that batch.

 

Okay Ill do that, thanks

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jservedio
51 minutes ago, DyloHeath said:

I may have been testing wrong, my Alk has gone from 10.9>8.6 with calcium going from 400>395 in 24 hours, I'm going to try and test with much more accuracy for next week.

Okay Ill do that, thanks

Yeah - either you have a testing error, or your freshly mixed water had very low alkalinity. There is absolutely no way your tank went through 2.3 dkh in 24 hours while only using 5ppm of calcium. When your corals, coralline algae, macroalgae, use alkalinity, your calcium should be dropping by roughly 7ppm for each dkh of alkalinity you they use. If they don't match up (or reasonably close since magnesium factors in a little), you've either got a testing error or there was an issue with your water.

 

Looking at your tank, I highly doubt you need to be dosing at all, especially if you are using a salt like RSCP with super high alkalinity. For reference on why I think that, take a look at my 20g in my signature - up until about a year and a half ago, I was able to get by on just water changes without dosing anything and the tank was filled with 4-6 year old LPS colonies, a decent sized monti cap, and a bunch of acro frags. As the SPS grew, the water changes stopped being able to keep up, but it was packed with far more stony coral than you have before I even got close to that point.

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DyloHeath
15 hours ago, jservedio said:

Yeah - either you have a testing error, or your freshly mixed water had very low alkalinity. There is absolutely no way your tank went through 2.3 dkh in 24 hours while only using 5ppm of calcium. When your corals, coralline algae, macroalgae, use alkalinity, your calcium should be dropping by roughly 7ppm for each dkh of alkalinity you they use. If they don't match up (or reasonably close since magnesium factors in a little), you've either got a testing error or there was an issue with your water.

 

Looking at your tank, I highly doubt you need to be dosing at all, especially if you are using a salt like RSCP with super high alkalinity. For reference on why I think that, take a look at my 20g in my signature - up until about a year and a half ago, I was able to get by on just water changes without dosing anything and the tank was filled with 4-6 year old LPS colonies, a decent sized monti cap, and a bunch of acro frags. As the SPS grew, the water changes stopped being able to keep up, but it was packed with far more stony coral than you have before I even got close to that point.

Yeah was a testing error, watched some videos on how to do the salifert tests accurately so ill be doing that from now on.

 

Interesting that the calcium will drop approx 7ppm for each dkh of alkalinity. very interesting. Learn something every day.

 

I looked at your tank! Your photos of the coral are stunning. Yeah thats a lot of coral before you even started dosing! Gives me some faith. Thanks for the feedback

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DyloHeath

Okay so far after water change:

 

I find the accuracy of salifert always a little bit off due to human error. (Too much tank water, not enough solution, drops hitting side of vial, etc)

 

Australian dates:

 

Mg/Ca/Alk

 

4 Days since water change

 

6th: 1320/420/10.2 (missed a day after this)

8th: 1260/400/9.4

9th: 1245/390/9.3

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jservedio
1 hour ago, DyloHeath said:

Okay so far after water change:

 

I find the accuracy of salifert always a little bit off due to human error. (Too much tank water, not enough solution, drops hitting side of vial, etc)

 

Australian dates:

 

Mg/Ca/Alk

 

4 Days since water change

 

6th: 1320/420/10.2 (missed a day after this)

8th: 1260/400/9.4

9th: 1245/390/9.3

Keep on testing, because those numbers still look very much like human error.

 

When your corals and macros are using alk/ca/mg, they are not going to be wildly varying from day to day like your numbers are and Magnesium does not drop like that. When I said earlier that you use about 7ppm of Calcium for each dKH of alkalinity, the actual numbers are anywhere between 6.4 and 7.1ppm of Ca per dKH because corals can incorporate some magnesium instead of calcium into their skeletons, so your Magnesium should drop around 0.5ppm per dKH of alkalinity, at most (likely less).

 

If at the end of the week your numbers still don't make sense, skip your water change and keep testing for a few more days. If they still don't make sense after that, do a water change and bring a sample to your LFS and let them test it for you. Wait a week and take them another sample before you do your next water change.

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DyloHeath
36 minutes ago, jservedio said:

Keep on testing, because those numbers still look very much like human error.

 

When your corals and macros are using alk/ca/mg, they are not going to be wildly varying from day to day like your numbers are and Magnesium does not drop like that. When I said earlier that you use about 7ppm of Calcium for each dKH of alkalinity, the actual numbers are anywhere between 6.4 and 7.1ppm of Ca per dKH because corals can incorporate some magnesium instead of calcium into their skeletons, so your Magnesium should drop around 0.5ppm per dKH of alkalinity, at most (likely less).

 

If at the end of the week your numbers still don't make sense, skip your water change and keep testing for a few more days. If they still don't make sense after that, do a water change and bring a sample to your LFS and let them test it for you. Wait a week and take them another sample before you do your next water change.

Thanks for the information.

 

Yeah the test are not making sense as of now. I double checked the expiry dates and everything seems right. But something isn't adding up.

 

Most videos I see on using the salifert test, the liquid in the 1ml syringe should be around the 0.85 mark with the plunger on 1.00ml. The liquid in my syringe is about 9.3

 

This salifert tests have been sitting away for about 6 months so that might be to blame.

 

My local fish shop is terrible, they use API tests for everything. If it comes down to getting a test done I'll drive somewhere reputable. 

 

But for now, I'll follow your instructions and go from there.

 

I might order a new batch of salifert tests to confirm what is happening. Maybe possible oxidation of the opened bottles, etc

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DyloHeath

I have ordered hanna checkers for Phosphate and Alk, and a new salifert calcium test.

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jservedio
21 minutes ago, DyloHeath said:

I have ordered hanna checkers for Phosphate and Alk, and a new salifert calcium test.

That'll make short work of getting good numbers. When doing testing of any sort in your tank, consistency and precision are far more important than accuracy. Whatever number comes back for Alk on the Hanna, multiply by 0.056 to get the dKH.

 

When switching over to the Hanna, you should do a water change and start over with the testing and disregard all of your old numbers.

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DyloHeath
7 hours ago, jservedio said:

That'll make short work of getting good numbers. When doing testing of any sort in your tank, consistency and precision are far more important than accuracy. Whatever number comes back for Alk on the Hanna, multiply by 0.056 to get the dKH.

 

When switching over to the Hanna, you should do a water change and start over with the testing and disregard all of your old numbers.

Sounds good! I'll start fresh next week. Im in no rush to dose. Ill keep you updated

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mcarroll

Until you're well-practiced with any given test kit, I don't think it's a bad idea (when you have time) to run every test in triplicate – test your own results to see how consistent you are.

 

Consistency is at least as important as doing the tests correctly, BTW....so definitely pay attention to how you're doing the test each time.  Slight imperfections in the process aren't such a big deal as long as you repeat those imperfections each time you run the test. 

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jservedio
3 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Until you're well-practiced with any given test kit, I don't think it's a bad idea (when you have time) to run every test in triplicate – test your own results to see how consistent you are.

 

Consistency is at least as important as doing the tests correctly, BTW....so definitely pay attention to how you're doing the test each time.  Slight imperfections in the process aren't such a big deal as long as you repeat those imperfections each time you run the test. 

 

A perfect example of why you should have paid attention that day during your high school physics class where you were taught precision vs. accuracy.

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