Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. #1
    Senior Member thien's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    290

    calcium and magnesium

    I remember reading somewhere that if "stuff" and/or coralline algae is crusting on your heater/powerheads and not on the live rock then magnesium is probably too low. And something about not being able to maintain calcium levels at 400. Is that fact or fiction? I'm sure I read that but can not find the ref to it anymore. Can someone enlighten me on that? Does it even make any sense for corallien algae to encrust on the heaters/PH and not on the live rock?
    thanks.
    thien

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    730
    Coralline algae seems to like plastic/glass before it does living rock. It helps if you keep your lr clean (debris blown off). Coralline algae also seems to encrust in high flow areas first. If you are seeing coralline algae on your powerheads, etc., then conditions are right and it is only a matter of time before you see it start on the lr.

    If your calcium levels won't go above 400, then check your magnesium. Quite often that is low. As soon as you bring that up to 1300 min., then your calcium will climb.

    Here's a list of some excellent water articles - http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...hreadid=102605

    from - Solving Calcium and Alkalinity Problems - http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/nov2002/chem.htm

    "Finally, if you are adding large amount of calcium and alkalinity supplements, but just cannot maintain the desired values, you might want to measure the magnesium level in the water. Magnesium plays an important role in preventing the abiotic precipitation of calcium carbonate1, and if it is substantially depleted, you may be experiencing excessive amounts of calcium and alkalinity loss to this route. Magnesium gets the blame far more frequently, in my opinion, than it is likely responsible, but since it is easy to check with a test kit and easy to supplement if necessary, there’s no reason to not see if it is a problem. I’d advise aiming for a natural seawater level of about 1300 ppm. "

    Vickie

  3. #3
    Senior Member reefmutt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    1,770
    VICKIE!!! That's the mother load on reef chemistry- nice links!! If everyone read those articles, they'd all be masters of their reefs!!
    As an addition to Vickie's excellant advice, thien, if you are having trouble maintaining calcium, this implies (to me) that you are supplementing with something and testing, and might be escalating the additions as you test and keep finding the levels low. If this is the case, keep in mind that, while corraline algea growth will remove calcium etc, the demand is pretty low in a tank with only a few corals. Is your tank loaded with corals? If not, there is also the possability that you have overdosed buffers or calcium. And if you are dosing kalkwasser improperly, ie; too much, these potential mistakes could screw up the levels of calcium.
    It is not uncommon for people to think that just a little more of a product will do a little better, when in fact the opposite could happen.
    --I'm not trying to imply that you are doing something wrong--, it is just that when I hear someone say 'I'm having trouble keeping calcium levels up' and they don't have a densely packed tank, I start to wonder if maybe too much of something is being added.
    If you have read some or all of the articles Vickie presented above, you know that the relationship between ph, calcium, and alkalinity should be in balance along a ratio scale, If you test these three things and they don't seem to fall into the normal balance area, then you MAY have added too much of something, causing either the magnesium or calcium to precipitate.
    Having said all that, usually as Vickie pionted out, if your corraline algea is growing, it is a sign that things are good in the tank.
    Matt.

    Old system torn down to make a playroom.. planning a 62x42x28 high

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    730
    Reefmutt, this is what I use to know how much of what I need to keep calcium and alk in balance - http://www.kademani.com/reefchem.htm This link is in one of the above articles but I point it out in case you missed it.

    Vickie

  5. #5
    Senior Member thien's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    290
    Thanks for all inputs.
    Currently, Ca sits at 325 (Seachem test), Alk at 2 meq/l (FasTest), and PH 8.1 (PH pen), 4 fishes, about 7 mushrooms, 1 small GSP, 1 finger leather, and bunch of snails and crabs. Everyone seems to do fine and look happy.
    I have not dosed anything in 1 month. Previously, I would put in Turbo Calcium and Aquarium System's Seabuffer. Not regularly either. I would use the calculator from Vickie's link above. I would get Ca to 400 and Alk to 4 meq/l but they always drop to current levels after about 2 weeks...sometimes less. PH always stays around 8-8.1

    That's when I read something about the magnesium and about crusty powerheads and heaters. I do get coralline aglae blobs crusting on the glass and equipment, but on the rocks it looks like it is getting less and less. To me that doesn't make much sense. I have posted before about my ALK levels (way to low) but my snails seem happy (not falling off) and laying eggs all over (cerith)...my mushrooms are spreading every other week...my GSP is slowly spreading...and my finger leather has definitely gotten bigger. Maybe it is my test kits.

    Anyways, I didn't realize I just wrote this much. SOrry. Some advice on how to proceed next would be greatly appreciated. I'm thinking I should get Mg tested next.

    BTW, I have read tons on this. Maybe too much.
    thanks.
    thien

  6. #6
    Senior Member reefmutt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    1,770
    thien, the only real problem I see with your test results is your alkalinity- as you said, it IS too low and NOT healthy- if it were higher and stable, your corraline algea would grow in the rocks and not be dying off.
    The issue of crusty powerheads and heaters has to do with overdosing buffers and calcium- which you are obviously not doing. places that generate heat are the first places that calcium will precipitate. Purple encrustations (corraline algea) are attracted to plastic surfaces- apparently because thay carry a tiny electric charge and therefore promote the growth of corraline algea- I rea
    Matt.

    Old system torn down to make a playroom.. planning a 62x42x28 high

  7. #7
    Senior Member reefmutt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    1,770
    sorry pressed the wrong button...I read this somewhere.
    Anyways....have you tried dosing kalkwasser on a daily basis or adding a small amount of kalkwasser every other morning or every morning. You could probably get away with every other morning. this would stabalize your alkalinity, raise your calcium a little and help remove phosphates. Its the single most conveniant and easy additive except that you have to add it regularly to really do any good.
    Your tank is definetly a low demand tank in terms of additives. This is indicated by the fact that in one month of no additions, your levels are low but not too bad.
    BTW I prefer Seachem's reef advantage calcium over most others because it is a more balanced additve.
    However, I would bet that with regular water changes( every two weeks or so) all you really need is KW dosed regularly or a dose of alkalinity booster, like Seachem's reef builder ( NOT reef buffer) once a week to keep your alkalinity at around 8-10 dkh..3-3.5 meq/l
    I don't really think magnesium is the issue here- it can't hurt to test, but I think you really need to get on to some sort of regular schedule and stick to it. Testing regularly to see where things are going, of course.
    A natural reef is rock solid steady in terms of chemistry- we as hobbyists should by trying to recreate this stability in our tanks in order to give the animals as similar an environment as possible in which to live. This can only be done with regular husbandry habits- the smaller and more frequent the addition the better...
    Matt.

    Old system torn down to make a playroom.. planning a 62x42x28 high

  8. #8
    Senior Member reefmutt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    1,770
    Oh yeah, Vickie, that is a cool calculator- I have not seen it before-thanks!!
    Matt.

    Old system torn down to make a playroom.. planning a 62x42x28 high

  9. #9
    Senior Member thien's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    290
    ok...first, about my Alk. What are the first signs of low Alk? What kinds of things begin to happen and how long does it take to show? I'm asking because maybe my test kit is no good. Maybe my alk is fine. But if my alk is indeed 2meq/l, what kind of things should I start seeing?

    I have never done kalk because I've always read that it can be a PITA plus it is "dangerous" stuff. I'm not crazy about the idea of setting up a thing to drip kalk either. When you say adding a small amount of kalk every other morning, do you mean mixing in a bit of kalk in say 1 cup of RO water and then just dumping it into the tank? If so, that might be something that I would do. If that is what you mean can you just give me an idea as to how many tsp of kalk in 1 cup of water would be a safe amount to just dump in? I think I remember reading in AC about someone doing this. Lemme try to find it.

    thaks.
    thanks.
    thien

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    730
    An easy way to know if your test kit is good or not is to ask another hobbiest/lfs to test the water. If the results are close then your kit is good. Every test kit has tolerances so the results are not likely to be the same.

    Vickie

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Magnesium suppliments
    By chujai in forum Reef Discussion
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 05-16-2008, 10:35 PM
  2. Salifert Magnesium test
    By sidewayz in forum Water Quality
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 03-10-2007, 09:59 PM
  3. Calcium, Alkalinity and Magnesium problems
    By northernboy in forum Just Getting Started
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-26-2006, 04:01 PM
  4. Determining Magnesium Levels
    By SloHand in forum Water Quality
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 09-12-2004, 03:26 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •