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Author Topic: CA/Alk water chem issues... help requested  (Read 128 times)

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Offline rmstevensiii

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CA/Alk water chem issues... help requested
« on: November 27, 2018, 18:37:03 »
It's been quite a while since I've posted but I'm in need of some advice.  In < 5 days, our tank which has been up and running without major issues since 2004 (aside from the power outage in 2008 due to Hurricane Ike) has shifted from a beautiful mixed reef into a complete disaster.   

09/10:  CA = 430 and Alk = 3.5 meq/L
11/21:  Skunk Cleaner Shrimp found dead, Frogspawn closed, Anthelia dying, GSP dying
11/22:  CA = 90 and Alk = 6.9 meq/L

I had been dosing 220 ml of 2-part CA / Alk additive per day using an automated doser and CA / Alk levels had been normal.  The SPS are all now dead or dying.  The fish and inverts in the system are stressed but hanging on.

When I performed the water test on 11/22 and found that the Alk levels were higher than normal, I immediately stopped dosing Alk and I have completed 3 large water changes (~30 gals each on ~90 gal system) since that time.  I am dosing CA only at this point but the Alk levels continue to rise.  Based on the research that I've done, high levels of Alk generally should not have a negative impact on coral health. 

I do not understand what could have caused the Alk spike and the coral die-off. 
I do not understand why even now that I've stopped dosing, the Alk levels continue to rise. 

In your experience, can a high Alk level cause a tank to crash?
In your experience, can Alk be bound within corals and then spike during a major coral die-off event?

Thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: November 27, 2018, 18:43:47 by rmstevensiii »
Dayton - 45459

Offline dbjonesjr

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Re: CA/Alk water chem issues... help requested
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2018, 19:20:28 »
What about your mag levels? I understand you need anough mag to keep the calcium in solution.

Offline jjoos99

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Re: CA/Alk water chem issues... help requested
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2018, 22:29:22 »
Are you sure that you are not getting meg/l and dkh mixed up?  With that many monti caps in your tank the alk consumption would be way up there.  where is your ph levels at?  I would not think that it would be possible to raise the alk levels that high and drop the ca levels to near existent.  I would suggest a near 100% water change with using liveaquaria salt that has near normal alk levels vs a lot of other salts that have high alk.  Also you need to have someone else test your water with their test kits.  there are quite a few of us who have done near total water changes without any issues.  Just try and match the temps and salinity to the existing tanks water.  The corals will be fine out of the water for a bit of time.
Jeff

Offline Warhawk937

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Re: CA/Alk water chem issues... help requested
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2018, 22:43:44 »
When the levels get wonky a 90-100% water change should set you back on track

Offline Reeferntraining

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Re: CA/Alk water chem issues... help requested
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2018, 09:43:52 »
Sorry to hear about your issues. That is a beautiful Monti tank. I think that dbjones is probably correct. Especially if you were dosing 220mL/day of each 2 part. What is your mag level? Once your Mg drops below 1200, the calcium cannot be maintained. In fact, the sand will start dissolving and clumping to a near concrete substance. You will also start burning up equipment because of the calcium precipitation. Let us know what your mag level is and then we can go from there.

Offline Lazylivin

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Re: CA/Alk water chem issues... help requested
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2018, 00:01:34 »
Sorry about the issues. Hopefully you figure it out and donít loose anymore.

Offline rmstevensiii

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Re: CA/Alk water chem issues... help requested
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2018, 16:12:37 »
Mg levels = 1280

The dead or dying Monti Caps have all been removed. 

A couple of my fish are behaving as if they have been poisoned (hiding, difficulty swimming, not eating - see attached video) but others appear to be OK.

Impacted:  Yellow Tang, False Perc (female), Bangaii Cardinal
Not impacted or impacted to lesser degree:  Neon Dottyback, False Perc (male), Sapphire Damselfish, Lawnmower Blenny

Crabs, snails and sand sifting star appear to be OK.

I double-checked my doser and based on the my records, I do not believe that it would have been possible for me to overdose the system to this degree without noticing.  My Ca and Alk dosing containers are side by side and if there were a problem, my Alk container would have contained far less solution relative to the Ca container.  I am now dosing nearly 2.5 cups of Ca per day and the level fluctuates between 300 and 350. 

I am wondering whether or not this die-off could have been caused by something else (bad salt mix (NeoMarine), tainted buffer (Bulk Reef Supply), ...)?

It is still not clear to me whether or not a major die-off of SPS could cause Alk which had already been consumed by the corals to be released and cause the Alk spike.  Does anyone know?

It is also not clear to me if this die-off event is releasing other toxins into the system which is causing the problem with some of our fish.  Does anyone know?

I plan to have Gerber's double-check my water test results and perform another large water change this weekend.

Thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: November 30, 2018, 16:23:48 by rmstevensiii »
Dayton - 45459

Offline Reeferntraining

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Re: CA/Alk water chem issues... help requested
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2018, 19:49:57 »
Is the 1280 Mg test AFTER youíve done water changes?

I will say that I had a similar situation a year ago. I was dosing about 60mL a day to maintain a 390 Calc. I wasnít testing Mg at the time and before I figured it out, I was dosing almost 300 mL Calc a day to keep it at 390. Luckily I caught it before I had major problems. But my sand started dissolving and clumping. If Iím understanding the process correctly, the low Mg actually causes the carbonate to dissolve. Since coral skeleton are calcium carbonate I would speculate that your alk would probably rise from this but also, the corals are dying and therefore not consuming the alk. On top of that your pH is probably out of wack and also playing a part in your consumption decreasing. Therefore raising you DKH if you are dosing the same amount.

 

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