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Author Topic: High Ca/Alk levels...kinda confused  (Read 222 times)

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Offline Miles

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High Ca/Alk levels...kinda confused
« on: December 21, 2018, 21:35:28 »
After taking a break for about the last two years from coral, I've decided that I want to get serious about it and start keeping SPS. I had all kinds of problems in the past getting my BRS 1.1ml/min dosing pumps tuned with two part, so I decided to make the leap and just buy a Ca reactor. I got it all set up and started dosing. Had the reactor set at a pH of 6.7 with an effulent drip rate of about 30ml/min.

I tested Alk/Ca and Mg before I started..
Alk: 9.24 dKH
Ca:  467 ppm
Mg: 1100 ppm

I let it run for about 4 days (probably shouldn't have let it go that long) then tested...
Alk: 13.78 dKH
Ca: 535 ppm
Mg: 1320 ppm (I actually hand dosed Mg to try to bring it up to around 1350 during this time)

When I noticed that Alk and Ca were so high, I turned off the CO2 in the reactor and decided to let things fall on their own. I currently have a very light LPS/SPS load. Just a small branch of hammer coral, some candy cane coral that is in pretty bad shape, and a fairly small monti cap.

Testing Alk daily for the next 7 days, I noticed the level slowly drop (which is what I had expected), but after about 4 days of a downward trend, it started to steadily increase over the next 4 days at which point I did a water change (~20%). After the water change the level was 11.42 dKH and now 2 days later it is 11.76 dKH.

During that whole time, the Ca level never dropped and actually slightly increased to 544ppm and then after the water change has gone off the scale to 600+ppm.

My Mg level is now 1240 ppm.

Any idea of what could be causing my levels to increase with the Ca reactor off (I still have water pumping through it, but the pH of the reactor is equal to the pH in the tank)?

Currently accepting LPS and SPS frag donations to soak up the Ca/Alk  ;D
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Offline jjoos99

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Re: High Ca/Alk levels...kinda confused
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2018, 23:05:04 »
watch this video.  Made my reactor dead nuts easy to adjust and maintain.  Are you using a controller for your ph level within the reactor?
 You could drip some muratic acid into your skimmer very slowly to reduce the alk.  pretty scary adding it to your tank but I have done it when I accidentally overdosed kalk.  Not sure why your levels have increased with reactor shut down.


Jeff

Offline Miles

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Re: High Ca/Alk levels...kinda confused
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2018, 14:57:39 »
watch this video.  Made my reactor dead nuts easy to adjust and maintain.  Are you using a controller for your ph level within the reactor?
 You could drip some muratic acid into your skimmer very slowly to reduce the alk.  pretty scary adding it to your tank but I have done it when I accidentally overdosed kalk.  Not sure why your levels have increased with reactor shut down.


Jeff


Awesome! Iím going have to give that a try.


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150 gal mixed reef/ 100 gal sump/ 20 gal frag tank / several other misc. setups
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Offline Reeferntraining

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Re: High Ca/Alk levels...kinda confused
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2018, 20:08:42 »
Be careful with the muriatic acid. It also QUICKLY and dramatically lowers your pH. If you have ph sensitive creatures, the sudden ph drop can kill them.

Offline Miles

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Re: High Ca/Alk levels...kinda confused
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2018, 17:54:58 »
Been using the higher pH in the Ca Reactor approach as suggested in the video from Jeff. Everything seems to be going great here are some pics.


Dec 12th (before hooking up Ca reactor)


Dec 19th (this is during the time when my Alk was sky high)


Dec 27th (have been running the reactor at a pH of 7.4 for about 5 days) Notice that the monti has colored up really well and the candy cane's are showing good tissue expansion.



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« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 18:00:35 by Miles »
150 gal mixed reef/ 100 gal sump/ 20 gal frag tank / several other misc. setups
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Offline jjoos99

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Re: High Ca/Alk levels...kinda confused
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2018, 21:05:40 »
I would check your alk level at first pretty often to get your ph level set to match your alk consumption.  Once set I dont check but every couple of weeks or when things arent doing well and adjust either up or down according to the alk level.  Once set you might not need to do anything to it until the corals start consuming more alk or you add more corals.
Jeff

Offline Miles

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Re: High Ca/Alk levels...kinda confused
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2019, 19:55:05 »
My Alk level has pretty much leveled off with the reactor running, so I believe that means I have it tuned correctly....but my level is still super high.  It hovers at about 11.5 dKH. I did a 45 gallon water change (about 20% total volume), and my Alk level actually went up to 11.98 from 11.31.

I am now very suspicious of my salt mix. I'm using Reef Crystals, and I'm curious if I either got a bad batch, or it had settled. I just opened a new box and am making new saltwater now. I'm going to test the Ca and Alk of this new batch before I do a water change and see if it is mixing super high.   
150 gal mixed reef/ 100 gal sump/ 20 gal frag tank / several other misc. setups
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Offline Miles

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Re: High Ca/Alk levels...kinda confused
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2019, 20:01:34 »
Hereís an updated pic of the monti and candy canes. The dark spot on the monti is a hermit crab.




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Offline jjoos99

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Re: High Ca/Alk levels...kinda confused
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2019, 21:53:35 »
corals are looking better already.  How stable has your alk been?  I love my reactor and wouldnt want to go back to 2 part for anythiing.
Jeff

Offline Miles

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Re: High Ca/Alk levels...kinda confused
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2019, 19:55:27 »
mixed up some new saltwater tonight.... using a new box of Reef Crystals. Alk tested as 256ppm (14.34 dKH)..... :|

I guess I'll let the new water sit over night with a powerhead in it and test again tomorrow. This seems very odd. I did realize that I was using outdated reagent in my Hanna Checker, so I opened a new bottle and tested, got the same exact result.
150 gal mixed reef/ 100 gal sump/ 20 gal frag tank / several other misc. setups
Clownfish Breeding Log
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Offline jjoos99

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Re: High Ca/Alk levels...kinda confused
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2019, 23:04:35 »
I tested a fresh mix of reef crystals last night and got little over 12.  I bring mine down with muratic acid.
Jeff

Offline Miles

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Re: High Ca/Alk levels...kinda confused
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2019, 23:19:29 »
I just took a look on a couple forums and it appear that that is a major complaint about Reef Crystals. It sounds like Reef Crystals is too much for my tankís current demand for Alk and Ca. Iím going to order a box of Instant Ocean and see if I can bring the levels down to where I can have some control with my Ca reactor.


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150 gal mixed reef/ 100 gal sump/ 20 gal frag tank / several other misc. setups
Clownfish Breeding Log
Peppermint Shrimp Breeding Log
Tank Pics
75 gal Tank Profile
150gal Build

Offline jjoos99

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Re: High Ca/Alk levels...kinda confused
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2019, 00:11:53 »
Check out live aquaria's salt.  I believe it tests out at about 9
Jeff

Offline Keith92

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Re: High Ca/Alk levels...kinda confused
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2019, 11:58:14 »
I recently switched to Live Aquaria saint and it test much more consistent

Offline Reeferntraining

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Re: High Ca/Alk levels...kinda confused
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2019, 12:02:43 »
Iíve had good results from LA salt. Although I have had it mix as high as 10 dKh. The top of the box mixed at around 8.5 but as I get lower in the box it seems to be getting a little higher.

 

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