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  1. #1
    Former Moderator swiseman's Avatar
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    Can't Get my Alk Up.

    This is a fairly new problem. I recently have begun testing Ca and Alk daily. I am trying to get a more detailed picture of my consumption rates as I move towards an SPS tank. My Ca is very stable at 400 - 420 each time I test. I dose Seachem Reef Advantage Calcium twice per week at the recommended dosage on the container. I dose Reef Builder by Seachem on the day following the Ca additive according to the instructions on the container. My Alk has almost always remained stable at 9Dkh. Since I started tracking the Ca and Alk daily, I have not been able to maintain the Alk beyond 7. Last night after a dosing of Reef Builder it was 7.7 and this morning it was 6 Dkh. I have done the max dose based on my water volume that should have raised the Alk by 1 Meq/L. I just retested and it is at 8.4Dkh for the first time in the two weeks that I have been testing daily. The Ca is at 400. I am not sure why it is dropping so much. The tank is predominately softies and LPS. I have 1 larger SPS and 3 frag. There are 3 clams as well. Not a hugh drain and I am maintaining Ca. I am using FastTest Alk and Hagen Ca test. I use RO/DI water and I/O sea salt mix. Ph is stable at 8.2. Any thoughts?
    If my wife asks, it was only $20.

    Hardware:
    220 Gal Mostly SPS Reef, 66 gal sump with refuge, 33 gal refugium, Gen-X Mak-5 Return, 3 x IceCap 250 MH, 2 x 110 VHO, Deltec APF600 Skimmer and a Deltec AP-600, Geo 6-18 Calcium Reactor, 2 x Tunze Stream 6100, Profilux Plus II EX Controller.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    I have a similar setup, the only difference I see is I use reef buffer instead of reef builder. In my setup dk moves pretty much right after adding the buffer additive. The only thing I'm wondering if reef builder uses a different buffering system that is not readily measured with your test kit. You could drop the company a note and see if this is normal for your buffer system.
    John

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    My guess is that your tank is really starting to mature. As this happens calcium and carbonate demand goes up as coraline and stuff starts to really grow.

    It seems like you have been keeping up with the calcium demand with supplements but not the alk (carbonate). I'd suggest you start using a balanced additive that supplements both instead of chasing each one independently. You can get yourself in trouble if you get one or the other parameter way out of whack.

    It may be time to start dripping kalk (a balanced additive) or consider a calcium reactor. The other balanced approach would be Bionic, but could run into money if your tank really starts eating it.

    Just some thoughts,
    Bill

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    A couple of more thoughts....

    You may want to try some new test kits before you get too aggressive. It is really bad if you overshoot and get a precipitation event. I personally use Salifert. An extra test kit will never go to waste.

    I have used a lot of Reefbuilder. I can't think of a better product to target alk without messing too much with pH. You probably need to get a little aggressive with the Reefbuilder (with verified tests) for the next couple of weeks. You really should try to get your alk above 9 dkh and then start with the balanced approach. Carbonate plays a role in many biological processes in the tank. Things will be happier and more stable if you get the level up.

    As far as consumption is concerned, if that SPS is montipora, it sucks a huge amount of alk and ca. Happy clams can really pull it in as well.

  5. #5
    Senior Member clown_fish's Avatar
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    I'd try different test kits i.e. Salifert CA & alk before you do anything.
    90G bb mixed reef set up in April 2005. I had 40g mixed reef for one year before that

  6. #6
    Former Moderator swiseman's Avatar
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    Its not the test kit as these kits are considered by most hobbiest to be one one of the best. This test had been yeilding test results in the 9-9.8 range on all previous tests before the past two weeks. If your not familiar with the kit it involves dripping a soliable into a small sample and waiting for a color change reaction. The test this morning was 9.8 Dkh, Ca at 420, and Ph at 8.2. All in the ideal range. I think my Alk was off because I was using vinager to fry some aptasia. Ph may have dropped before I noticed and that may have had a negative effect on Alk. It was at 7.8 one day which caused me to start testing daily after the waterchange until it climbed back up. No more vinager for me, back to boiling water for Aptasia. I guess I will go back to dripping Kalkwasser at night for a while to see how that maintians things.
    If my wife asks, it was only $20.

    Hardware:
    220 Gal Mostly SPS Reef, 66 gal sump with refuge, 33 gal refugium, Gen-X Mak-5 Return, 3 x IceCap 250 MH, 2 x 110 VHO, Deltec APF600 Skimmer and a Deltec AP-600, Geo 6-18 Calcium Reactor, 2 x Tunze Stream 6100, Profilux Plus II EX Controller.

  7. #7
    Senior Member clown_fish's Avatar
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    I'm using Salifert CA & ALK kits to test my tank once every two weeks. I use Salifert because they have excellent feed back from reefers to give the most accurate reading. IMO ofcourse.

    I only use Fastest/Hagen ammonia & nitrate kits since they are cheaper than Salifert.
    90G bb mixed reef set up in April 2005. I had 40g mixed reef for one year before that

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kenzy's Avatar
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    If you've lowered your alk by using vinegar, just add some baking soda(dissolved in fresh water) until you get your alk back up to where you want it. Also I've had good luck injecting aptasia with a kalk paste which doesn't affect my waters chemistry as much.

  9. #9
    Member
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    If my alk is down i use Baking soad works good for me ..

    I wa like that too i couldnt get my ph up passed 8.0 with my FOWLR and the tank is Bare bottom. So i have to add Reef builder to get the alk up and now i have my ALk at 12-13 DKH i dont care about my CAL. it my PH that i worry about ...


    mike
    120 Gal ,TEK Light 8 Bulbs, ATI BM 250, tunze 6000, OA Kalk Reactor. MIXED REEF. working on a 60x24x24 with euro bracing and external overflow in MAY
    Doesn't matter how much you have been reading , until you take the plunge. You don't know as much as you think.
    Deployed to Afghanistan til Sept

  10. #10
    Junior Member
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    swiseman, I found this link last night, it might offer some insight

    http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/nov2002/chem.htm

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