Alk is driving me nuts!

Ian Baxter

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My tank has been up since Thanksgiving and it's a 65g with a 20g sump. I would say about a total water volume of 60-65g. This tank was upgraded from a 3yr old 32 biocube. I was using premixed IO from my LFS and when I had my anemone die, I realized that my alk had dropped to 5.2. I tested their water and it was 5.4 using Hanna. I have since been making my own water using Fritz RPM Pro for about 1.5 months and started dosing then. I do a 10g wc a week, but my alk is tough to keep stable/get to the right level. The salt I use is supposed to be 8-9 dkh, Cal 400-450, mag 1300-1400. I am trying to get salinity to 1.026.

2/17 after wc: 1.027
dkh - 7
cal - 506
mag - 1245
PO4 - 0
pH - 8.1

2/25 after wc: 1.025
dkh - 7.7
cal - 478
mag - 1260
PO4 - .012
pH - 7.45

I was dosing alk to get it back up and this is where I'm at:
2/17 - after wc 7 added 15ml
2/18- 7 added 15ml
4/19 - 7.4 added 15ml
4/20 - 7.5 added 15ml
4/21 - 7.8 added 15ml
4/22 - 7.9 added 15 ml
4/23 - 8.1
4/24 - no test
4/25 - 7.7 then WC - 7.7 added 15ml
4/26 - Not tested yet.

I have the following corals:
5 head Dragon Soul
Rasta Torch frag
2 head Hammer frag
Favia frag
Bowerbanki 3 head frag
3" Symphillia
Monti cap frag
Pocillopora frag
4" Chalice
6" rock of zoas
Some other Pallys and fireworks

What would be considered a swing in alk? I'm currently dosing by hand and it's getting old. LOL. I'm wondering at what point will I be able to stop dosing or should I get a doser? It seems that I have a small bio load for this. The tank is also fallow until 3/20. All tests are Hanna with mag being Salifert. Any advice is appreciated.
 

Troylee

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Great question… I don’t truly know what anyone would consider a swing as mine ranges 8-9 every day and I see no ill effects.. maybe if you get spikes? Like 2-3 points daily I’d guess.. with the corals you have none should mind it at all.. I’d get the numbers you want and switch to all for reef and get a dose to keep your numbers and sit back and relax. It’s simple and just a squirt a day once you’re dialed in.
 
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Ian Baxter

Ian Baxter

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Great question… I don’t truly know what anyone would consider a swing as mine ranges 8-9 every day and I see no ill effects.. maybe if you get spikes? Like 2-3 points daily I’d guess.. with the corals you have none should mind it at all.. I’d get the numbers you want and switch to all for reef and get a dose to keep your numbers and sit back and relax. It’s simple and just a squirt a day once you’re dialed in.
So, I'm trying to get to stay between 8-9 like yourself. Once I get to, let's say 8.5, I start using all for reef each day and it should stay stable?
 

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So, I'm trying to get to stay between 8-9 like yourself. Once I get to, let's say 8.5, I start using all for reef each day and it should stay stable?
If you stop dosing everything else and find the correct dosage of all for reef yes that’s correct. It shouldn’t be much on your tank I’d guess around 20ml or so. If it starts rising back off the all for reef.. if it’s dropping then raise it a couple ml.
 
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Ian Baxter

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If you stop dosing everything else and find the correct dosage of all for reef yes that’s correct. It shouldn’t be much on your tank I’d guess around 20ml or so. If it starts rising back off the all for reef.. if it’s dropping then raise it a couple ml.
Perfect. Thank you! I'm getting worried because my DS torch is losing a decent amount of flesh.
 
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Ian Baxter

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Raise your mag up around 1350-1400 it helps.
Now I seem to be struggling with all of my parameters. I didn't realize that I added a large amount of Dry Live rock from BRS in mid December. It's all the white rock in the middle of the tank. I understand that it can soak up some of the nutrients. Here are my latest numbers below. I really want to get them right to start all for reef. Any suggestions. Here's a pic of my tank to show the newer rock and that I don't have a lot of coral.
2/15 pre WC:
Salinity: 1.025
Alk: 7.7
Cal: 441
Mag: 1270
pH: didn't test

2/15 after WC
Salinity: 1.025
Alk: 7.7
Cal: 478
Mag: 1260
pH: 7.45

Today pre WC: Will be doing a WC later today when temp is ready.
Salinity: 1.025
Alk: 839
Cal: 409
Mag: 1260
pH: 7.36

I've been dosing alk to bring it up and now my cal is low (which I know can be reflective of the Alk dosing) and my Mag and pH are low.

Dosing Alk is as follows:
2/17 - 7 +15ml alk
2/18 - 7 + 15ml
2/19 - 7.4 + 15ml
2/20 - 7.5 +15ml
2/21 - 7.8 +15 ml
2/22 - 7.9 +15ml
2/23 - 8.1
2/24 - did not test or add
2/25 - 7.7 +15ml
2/26 - did not test or add
2/27 - 7.6 +12ml
2/28 - 8 + 12ml
2/29 - did not test or add
3/1 - did not test or add
3/2 - 7.7 +15ml
3/3 - 7.8 +15ml
Today - 8.3 pre WC
 

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Randy Holmes-Farley

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My recommendation is to stop trying to tweak everything. There is too much error and slow movement in calcium for that to work.

Pick some balanced calcium and alk method and just start using it to maintain alk. Calcium will follow along just fine.
 
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Ian Baxter

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My recommendation is to stop trying to tweak everything. There is too much error and slow movement in calcium for that to work.

Pick some balanced calcium and alk method and just start using it to maintain alk. Calcium will follow along just fine.
Any particular method you would suggest?
 

Poseidon03

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I agree with this. Why do you want to target alk at a certain level? Only reason I'd want to target a certain level is because my salt is that level, so if I need to do a larger water change, my reef wouldn't care.
 
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Ian Baxter

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I agree with this. Why do you want to target alk at a certain level? Only reason I'd want to target a certain level is because my salt is that level, so if I need to do a larger water change, my reef wouldn't care.
My salt is supposed to be 8-9. So I’m trying to get it in that range.
 

Pod_01

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If you want I would bring the salinity to 1.026 first. That will increase all of your other values. You can add bit of salt into your sump and bring it up slowly , or take some water out in a cup mix salt in add back.

Overall the values look reasonable. My Mg is in the 1260 range, Calcium 420 , Alk 7.5-8.5 dKh.
Some corals:
1709593200892.jpeg


1709593297162.jpeg

The pH value looks odd, could be measurement issue. I am not sure if it is possible to have such a low reading.

When you take measurements try to take them at the same time of the day. Also try to make sure the water level is same so that eliminate another source of error.

Since this is new tank with few corals, maybe consider taking Alk measurements once a week or twice a week and relax the other days. Just a suggestion.

Good luck,
 
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Ian Baxter

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If you want I would bring the salinity to 1.026 first. That will increase all of your other values. You can add bit of salt into your sump and bring it up slowly , or take some water out in a cup mix salt in add back.

Overall the values look reasonable. My Mg is in the 1260 range, Calcium 420 , Alk 7.5-8.5 dKh.
Some corals:
1709593200892.jpeg


1709593297162.jpeg

The pH value looks odd, could be measurement issue. I am not sure if it is possible to have such a low reading.

When you take measurements try to take them at the same time of the day. Also try to make sure the water level is same so that eliminate another source of error.

Since this is new tank with few corals, maybe consider taking Alk measurements once a week or twice a week and relax the other days. Just a suggestion.

Good luck,
Yeah, I want my salt at 1.026. This change will be at 1.027 to help that a bit. The pH could be the Hanna probe. I heard they’re not the best. I appreciate the help! Your corals look great.
 

rennjidk

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You can add bit of salt into your sump and bring it up slowly , or take some water out in a cup mix salt in add back.
Mixing salt mix above 40ppt will cause precipitation issues.
what other people have said, but in regards to raising salinity I would not recommend adding salt to sump. the best way is to add salt to your top off supply and that will raise iy slowly.
You could do it that way, but there's nothing wrong with OP doing it through several WCs, as they've already logged. That strategy is better reserved for preventing salinity shock in case of something like an ATO dump.
Any particular method you would suggest?
As @Randy Holmes-Farley suggested, there are several commonly used methods for dosing, but before we get into that, what are you currently dosing 15ml a day of?
 
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Ian Baxter

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Mixing salt mix above 40ppt will cause precipitation issues.

You could do it that way, but there's nothing wrong with OP doing it through several WCs, as they've already logged. That strategy is better reserved for preventing salinity shock in case of something like an ATO dump.

As @Randy Holmes-Farley suggested, there are several commonly used methods for dosing, but before we get into that, what are you currently dosing 15ml a day of?
Alk only to get that up from when I had the major drop.
 

rennjidk

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Stop buying that stuff. It's something they mixed up in house for like $0.35 and probably charged you $20.

For the system volume you have, and how little your demand is, I'd purchase a single dosing pump and run either kalk or TM All for Reef. You're going to spend pennies a month.
 

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