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Innovative Marine Aquariums

Low Alk... Dosing additives or change salt?


boscoT

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Just had a quick question as I am going to start getting my 24gal ready for corals.  I am currently using the Red Sea Salt (blue bucket) and my Alk has been 6.5 to 6.8 over the past few weeks.  

 

I am considering Red Sea Coral Pro but I have read so many posts with sticking with the blue bucket and using additives as required.  

 

If I start dosing All for reef, will it raise my Alk levels or will I need to start with a part A like Red Sea to get my levels to where I want them, then start dosing with All for reef.  

 

I am really wanting to just use the AFR and plan on using an Eco Tech Versa with a line directly into a bottle of AFR.

 

I recently read an article suggesting that AFR isn't the best for increasing Alk, but an excellent choice once desired levels are achieved.  

 

Thanks in advance for any comments and suggestions

 

Ryan

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Best thing to do is find a salt that has the parameters you want. I have a personal preference of salt that mixes to about 8alk. This way your water changes won’t affect your alk and they are used for for nutrient control. 
 

Then dose as needed. But in order to use all for reef properly you may have to dose alk/ca/mg to your desired levels beforehand since AFR doses everything. 
 

With my past tank I got kinda OCD and tested the alk of my mixed salt water before a water change and made sure it matched to my tank. But once you find a high quality salt they tend to be pretty consistent. 
 

Be careful when you first use all for reef. I have read it can take several days to show the change in alk after dosing. Unlike a typical two part. 

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Don’t use all for reef to adjust alk levels use it to maintain. Any adjustments should be done with 2 part. (To be honest I wouldn’t use AFR at all) but that’s all personal preference. 
 

I’d honestly just pick a salt that mixes clean. Don’t worry too much about matching numbers. You can always add some alk to the mixing container to match your tank. That’s what I do. My salt mixes to 7.8 but I add some ca and Alk yo bring it to 8.5 or so. 

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I want to give Nyos Pure a shot when J run out of my current salt. Right now I am using Aquaforest salt which seems to mix really clean. There are many great salts out there. HW-Marinemix is another salt I have use that was good. 
 

For alk/ca/mg I had good results with Aquaforest Components. It’s already in liquid form which is nice if you are worried about mixing powders and RO water to the proper levels. 


I have heard great things about all for reef for smaller tanks. If you choose to go that route you need to start slow and steady and test your alk often. 

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I am using Brightwell aquatics Neo Marine which mixes to 7.5-7.8 at 1.026 SG.

I've used TM Pro in the past, but after the turkey debacle I'm not touching that salt again.

 

I’ve been using  NM for about 4 buckets now and I’ve never had to clean my mixing container.

For my two-part dosing I’m using ATI essential elements Pro. 

 

If you really want to use AFR, i would look into buying the powders and mixing it yourself with a magnetic stir plate, it's so much more cost effective and not hard to do at all if you have a scale. 

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 10/15/2023 at 8:19 PM, boscoT said:

I am currently using the Red Sea Salt (blue bucket) and my Alk has been 6.5 to 6.8 over the past few weeks.  

Wondering if you ever sorted this out?   Sounds to me like that salt needs to be re-mixed since it should be 8 dKHK once dissolved at the proper salinity.  

 

image.thumb.png.5d9344a8e49eb2d00bd5c5a89b705bbe.png

 

Speaking of salinity, what salinity is the sample you're testing?    6.5-6.8 would be about right if salinity is too low.  Maybe check refractometer calibration if that's how you're checking salinity?

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25 minutes ago, mcarroll said:

Wondering if you ever sorted this out?   Sounds to me like that salt needs to be re-mixed since it should be 8 dKHK once dissolved at the proper salinity.  

 

 

 

Speaking of salinity, what salinity is the sample you're testing?    6.5-6.8 would be about right if salinity is too low.  Maybe check refractometer calibration if that's how you're checking salinity?

Over the past 5 weeks I am testing 7.7-8.0 salinity of 1.025.  

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12 minutes ago, mcarroll said:

Any idea what the issue was, or did it just work itself out?

That is a very good question.  I am trying to stay consistent with water maintenance schedule.  I know that you have mentioned that I am overdoing it with water changes, but for me it was about figuring things out primarily.  I prefer doing them often as I am really only replacing 5 gal. a week for the most part.  I am not too worried about chasing numbers just yet.  

 

If anything that I did since I started to what I am doing now...

 

I have added a digital Hana salinity checker (I have read so many mixed reviews but find that it is working well for me so far) When I first set up my salinity was 1.023.  That is what I always use to keep it at.  I believe that this lower salinity would have contributed to the lower alk.  I then read the mixing directions and started mixing 5gal of water with the desired weight.  That was causing me to reach over 8dkh but I was mixing 1.026 closer to 1.027.  

 

I feel super comfortable at 1.025 and over the past month and a half I have figured out the exact weight for my mixing bucket.  I have a fill line that requires 650g of salt added for a perfect 1.025.  I am now seeing 7.7-8.0 consistently.  

 

This is all that has changed so far, as I have not yet added coral.  I am still trying to find my sweet spot of PO4 and NO3 and dealing with this mild film algae before we get going.  I am 100% on board for AFR dosing once the tank is ready for it.  I do want to try and keep things simple with minimal water changes. 

 

Do you think the volume of salinity that was being mixed could have contributed to my alk readings being low early on??

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15 hours ago, boscoT said:

Do you think the volume of salinity that was being mixed could have contributed to my alk readings being low early on??

Sounds like it.    Red Sea claims 7.5 dKH at 1.025 and 8.0 dKH at 1.026.    Your 6.5-6.8 dKH at 1.023 seems in line with that trend IMO.

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