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Thread: Calcium levels

  1. #1
    Senior Member reefsurfer's Avatar
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    Calcium levels

    Can anyone in here please answer. Does having a higher reading of CA. (Lets say in the 440s and up) actualy give an sps coral the enviroment to thrive better than in an environment that has a CA reading of lets say 380? Id be interested to read of any experimenting you might have done. Thanks.

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    It also depends on what your alkalinity is at too. If you have a high calcium count and a low alk, the corals will get their unequal amounts and won't grow as fast/good. If your levels are both high, then you should be good to go. I've found that even with a constant level of the both, my sps go in spurts of growth, somedays I can see new braches coming and sometimes nothing for months.

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    Most definitivly, i've noticed a HUGE improvement on my sps corals since i've kept my Ca levels higher
    Mark
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  4. #4
    Senior Member ABahn's Avatar
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    Thats a good point. In my reading I learned that keeping both calcium and Alk ionically balanced is the most important. Reefers have been looking into the benefits of higher Ca levels, and some say its actually better. I would think it would be difficult to make that sort of observation given all the different parameters that can affect coral growth. One thing to keep in mind is that keeping the levels near saturation (500 range) can be tricky if you have difficulty keeping stable conditions. I would not try this without a Ca reactor personally. In the end you may be un-necessarily risking Ca precipitation keeping your Ca in those upper levels.

    I try to keep my Ca at 440ish

  5. #5
    Senior Member reefmutt's Avatar
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    PAt!! That's an awesome question. I don't know if that exact experiment has been done.
    Personally, I don't see the point in trying to outdo nature. Accept if it is required to hold an adequate ph-ie: boosting the alkalinity from 7(natural sea water) to 9-11 so that the co2 from a calcium reactor won't depress the ph too much.
    I guess a level of around 420 is best because that is what is found in nature and we ARE trying to replicate nature, but even if you hold a calcium level stable at, say, 330 ppm in an sps tank, the corals will be getting what they need to grow. As the corals grow, they remove calcium etc if you maintain a level of 330 it means that you are keeping up with demand, or else it would go down. Granted, maybe they aren't growing as fast as they would with a higher level...
    Most probably corals have adapted to be able to best absorb calcium from the water when the level is around 420. Now, do they absorb more and grow faster at a level of 500ppm? I don't know and actually I don't really care because I know that at 420 the corals are getting EXACTLY what they need.
    Gools I don't believe that a high alk and a high calc. level is good or beneficial- having ADEQUATE alk is essential, but having too many carbonate/bicarbonates and too much calcium all saturated in the reef water MAY very well inhibit growth, but if it doesn't, it certainly presents the possability of some precipitation event as Abahn points out which could put the tank out of ionic balance- especially if one also likes to push ph levels, too.
    When using a calcium reactor one has more lattitude in terms of safely pushing the parameters because you get a balanced additive coming out of the reactor and because you usually get a lower ph from reactors. Trying to push the levels with buffers and additives is a tricky business, they don't work quite as well because they have to interact with each other once they hit the water.
    Pat, Imo, having a calcium level in around the mid 400s is perfect and prividing there is good alkalinity and ph- it will give optimum parameters for corals to thrive. (but you've probably heard me say this many times!!)
    I have had my calcium up around 500 at times with good alk and ph and haven't noticed a growth spurt, BUT as Gools also points out sps definetly go through growth spurts and then calm down a little and start again- this I see all the time in my reef- I think it is normal and therfore difficult to attribute water parameter changes to growth spurts or stoppages.
    Reef water and it's inhabitants have evolved with the levels we see today- alkalinity around 7dkh calcium around 420ppm and ph around 8.2 I don't see any reason to try to improve on this..accept to keep the ph boosting alkalinity a little higher-if necessary.
    Matt.

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

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    Thanks Mutt. That confirms then the fact that you can posibly have good coral growth with 380 CA provided all other elements are where they should be and provided as youve told me that your are replacing what is being used ( stable at 380 CA). What remains to be discovered is weather or not your coral actualy grows slower with 380 CA than lets say 440. I am truly intrigued. Well actualy, I have seen good coral growth with lower CA levels (380). What is then left to do is compare with high levels. I am certain that these readings flutuate in nature and therefor corals are constantly adapting. Especialy lets say durring rainy season for ex. it can rain very heavily in the tropics, changing salinity diluting everything in the natural coral reef. Interesting stuff!!!!!
    PLEASE SEND ALL ACROPORA FRAGS TO THE REEFSURFER

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    One thing I've always question is the calcium test kits. From what I've heard most of them out there, aren't very accurate and can be way off the mark. I'd ask what people think is the best Kit but I know that everyone has a favorite and most likely, every brand will come up.

  8. #8
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    I bet you are going to get one consistent answer for Ca.

    Salifert rules.

  9. #9
    Senior Member reefmutt's Avatar
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    I really like Salifert as well. It has been the most consistant for me.
    Matt.

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

  10. #10
    Senior Member Toooloud's Avatar
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    Myself..

    I have great growth,. Now it has slowed down with the new 20k bulbs..

    My levels are as such..

    CAL - 480
    ALK - 11 DKH
    PH - 8.2
    Temp - 79

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