Alkalinity drops 0.7 dKH in 10 hours

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry by Randy Holmes-Farley' started by Literallyhydro, Feb 25, 2018.

  1. Literallyhydro

    Literallyhydro Active Member

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    I never thought about that. The longer you maintain such stable levels, you begin to just expect the numbers to always be consistent. You slowly fall out of the habit of closely monitoring parameters. Alkalinity is such a crucial aspect of a reef tank, yet it can be so easily forgotten about.

    It makes sense that automating everything from testing to dosing could be game-changing. It takes human error out of the equation. I know with certainty that there are times I forget to test my Alk, or would have forgotten to dose entirely. Now I have a dosing pump which I'm working on tuning in, so I'm testing daily. Here's what I find interesting; Maybe I'm just seeing things, but the more I tighten the Alk swings, the more polyp extension I see from the corals.
     

  2. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2018 Build Thread Contributor

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    Hey - the point 67o0loGFV
    Until the method of stabilizing fails - and it will...
     
  3. Literallyhydro

    Literallyhydro Active Member

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    Of course it would eventually fail. If there was a completely foolproof way to have a healthy, thriving reef with perfect parameters, I'm sure it would be very popular.

    On one hand, you have a risk for human error - forgetting to dose, or accidentally overdosing. Failure to keep up with regular maintenance.

    On the other hand, there are the systems run predominately with automation equipment. While the risk for human error is largely out of the equation, you also run a much higher risk for equipment failure.

    One isn't necessarily safer than the other. Even with all of the automation equipment, it is still the responsibility of the owner to regularly inspect and service the equipment to minimize the likelihood of equipment failure, and sure, it's still bound to happen sooner or later.

    That's just my two cents.
     
  4. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    What?
     
  5. James Kanouff

    James Kanouff Active Member

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    I'm not even so sure its about eliminating common user error as there will always be an error factor, it for me, is more about making up the small adjustments i don't see from hour to hour, day to day, week to week that I want to accomplish. And the catching my mistakes is a bonus. I don't get lazy on testing anymore after the aforementioned Starfish thing and it keeps me awake at night now. I race out n test ALK all the time to see if all this we are talking about is misplaced fear or honestly a avenue i want to follow to the tune of lots of DOLLARS of equipment ill need to do it right. My doser does its thing pretty easy. I have a large container that doesn't run out all the time unnoticed for days. I don't usually get unreliable reedings and need to retest or verify test results the test kits are very usable and reliable i think as much so as how often you can use them. Seeing someone say they saw a .7DKH drop in ten hours fits the idea these tanks drop ALK alot in one day and not evenly over 24 hours either. And that warrants my attention and I hope leads to good discussion and better reefing one way or the other for everyone.
    Its really about putting ALK in as its needed by the system not when ever my test kits says its missing days maybe as much as a week after it actually happened. Pro active VS reactive. I think alot of people are gone for a period of time which is more than the tank can go with out something noticing ALK moving abnormally due to what ever and losses as growth potential or DEATH happen before they can observe or diagnose and react to the issue. Many people travel or vacation or just don't work on the tank twice a day. The monitor fits that GAP nicely. I believe the APEX version may be significantly superior as there is no PH probe to fail or come out of range. Less parts to break or need adjusting is good if not better than human error and test kit error risks. I personally fear the power going out more than anything to be honest. I only get the note power was off when it comes back on and i only have about 4 hours of battery back up. I have very stable power but still its would be a total loss at 36-48 hours mark for sure. I have generators yes. But someone has to know its off and hook them up in time.

    A highly experienced Reefer will almost always learn the visual signs of all these "things" going bad before they cause damage is what I always thought and still agree to mostly. BUT.......After seeing a highly stabilized ALK tank that is monitored every 2-4 hours and what it does for corals via polyp extension, growth rate, and colors, i am convinced once you notice some of this stuff is off visually, its too late to some degree. The available ALK in the ocean does not change in the water column. Nor should ours in our tanks if possible. There is a gap there between when they need it and when they start showing it to you. Closing that gap smooths the roller coaster of a confined system.

    I do still believe that daily Ph swings effect all this as well. And the dose at night VS during the day is two different birds and two different stones at this point. Its possible with an APEX I would program a certain ALK supplement solution for Photo period additions and a different solution for Off photo period additions. OR maybe modify the ATO with two separate pumps a KALK and a plain RODI pump that made up additions to the tank that helps stabilize PH swings and allow the feed back from my ALK monitor to dial in the rest of the consumption additions over time.

    I would address PH separately from a stable ALK level in the water column when possible. You could have a saturated solution of dkh in a CA reactor at 6 PH or say a saturated solution of dkh in a ph of 8.5. both would not grow corals well of course even if they were rock stable.
    I think the ALK level comes first and the resulting PH is then less important. VS if Ph came first and the resulting ALK was then considered less important to some folks "like heavy KALK users might do if pushing KALK only at night". Based on what I see thus far via the new monitors.

    I didn't used to worry about how or when the ALk got there. I was more concerned with the PH swings and presence of excessive C02 in the water. all along knowing ALK was taking a "roller coaster "penalty somewhere along the line.

    Coming back to the original post question. Maybe the ALK level changes am to pm, Kalk ATO, various methods of adding ALK to a system, and so forth, are needing a re ordering of importance to the reef system to some degree. Or at least a enhanced understanding of what we think was going on.
    I imagine plenty of reefers already know this answer and maybe the rest of us just didn't want to hear it or failed to realize the important of some of it.
     
  6. Tklb

    Tklb Well-Known Member Reef Tank 365

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  7. James Kanouff

    James Kanouff Active Member

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    I think here your not grouping the stability target correctly there. Were saying stable on any "target" DKH. Which I didn't see anyone debating the Best ALK level in this tread. A specific DKH number say 10 DKH or 7 .5 DKH will be different for different desired outcomes. Commonly lower DKH goes with lower nutrients and lower growth rates, but better coloration. Opposite applies to HIGH DKH typically. The rate at which it goes one way to the other is not as dangerous going up as going down to fast I believe but thats minor as well because both are stressful to corals and trigger RTN.
    I under stand your comment better now after re reading it, and it confused me, and I think RANDY, and were not thinking the ALK DKH level your targeting is in debate right now. We are referring to the daily swing of any said ALK level your trying to maintain. I personally see some corals do better at different DKH than others. A happy middle ground has been 8.7 DKH for growth color and type of corals compatibility for me and my system. I highly suspect its very relevant to nutrients and other stability factors as well and ranges from 7-9.5 are just as reasonable if other things are adjusted properly most commonly considered is the nutrients in the water when this discussion comes up and possibly PH as well. I'm sure folks have 6 dkh and 12 dh as well which has never worked for me. It is known that different areas of the ocean have different 'but stable" ALK levels to some degree Red sea being one of them I believe. Thus being more compatible for certain inhabitants. But thats a totally different subject. I'm discussing Stabilizing ALK level in the water column hour to hour and what the original post/ question was referring to.
     
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  8. mattdg

    mattdg Member Build Thread Contributor Hudson Valley Reef Keepers

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    I second the use of the BRS dosers with a reliable controller. They won't back siphon and the parts are cheap and last a long time. My Drew's are going on 8 years. The BRS Alk/Cal calculator is a useful tool for getting your levels back on track. As far as a .7 drop in Alk, if everything else is balanced in your system and your acros are already thriving, you should be all right.. Much higher or lower, the fluctuation would be a different story but 8 dkh is an overall safe range. Always best to split your daily dosing into 3-5 parts.
     
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  9. James Kanouff

    James Kanouff Active Member

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    FOLKS ....Start slow with dosers and make sure all fittings are tights and there is no chance to siphon to or from the tank. Also keep testing anyway. and mark what your settings were as you go along and adjust. I keep a log book with years of adjustment season to season and can link growth, frag events, Water changes n so forth to changes in the amounts I dose. All very useful long term info for success and figuring out what went wrong fast. Where you add the components into the system and how much time between them maters. The order they go in might matter as well to some degree, and is commonly considered MAG then ALK then CA. As much time between each as the doser program allows. minimum 5-10 minutes I think. My dosers have caused me as many losses as they have given me growth. Its a love hate relationship. I have a bubble magnus a few spectra pure liter miters, some other no name ones, and BRS ones and prefer the one mil per minute BRS ones on a timer to any others I own. They allow fixed flow rate per minute daily additions or hourly or as needed based on some other factor like PH or something if you find that is a reason to do something assuming you have a controler to trigger that or digital timers or something works as well.
    Following in with what this tread is about, any old apex user or simple digital timer owner could trigger a inexpensive simple reliable one ml per minute BRS doser to dose X solution at night and a different doser with a different solution from 12-6pm if, eventually, our wallet welding comrades with Alkalinity controllers/ monitor/ titrators convince us its worth the effort to do such HOURLY things to stabilize ALK levels more than just day to day or week to week adjustments which are more customary and excepted right now.

    The pay off of hourly stabilization potential has shown it selves to me enough to get me moving to get a method to do so and track such additions for proper analysis in my own main system setup. 1300$ PH probe based Kh guardian was out of my range but now 600$ is more doable and with another new non ph based "photometric I think is the term" system coming out by APEX, I'm weighing my options before I jump and engaging in good conversation with the community here about what they think as well. Thanks everyone.
     
  10. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2018 Build Thread Contributor

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    Sorry I wasnt clear - At first, I had wondered whether alk stability was documented to be 'beneficial' in our tanks as compared to let it fluctuate naturally.

    Someone posted that in one article corals grew better when the 'alk was stable'. Lets say the Alk in a tank fluctuates between 8 and 9 during each day. If the person stabilizes the alk at 9, corals may grow faster than if they stabilize it at 8. (which could explain why in this study, corals grew faster at a 'stable alk'.). That was my point:)
     
  11. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    OK. I can't be sure what folks have done in that regard and I understand the issue. All I can report is that some users (e.g., Jim Welsh) reported improved growth:

    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/chase-the-alk.312824/page-2#post-3855014

    " I can't really say that there has been a huge growth increase with the new dosing schedule, but I did notice a small improvement."
     
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  12. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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  13. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2018 Build Thread Contributor

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    Having had several instances of various equipment (APEX, etc) doing unexpected things - and usually at the worst possible time, with devastating effect. I have a different philosophy, I guess. My point was that unless there is a 'proven' benefit to 'stability -yet to be defined' I wouldnt risk losing my entire tank to automate/control alkalinity. (i.e. wouldn't rely on an APEX or pH monitor or Alk monitor to control dosing.
     
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  14. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2018 Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks - those were the comments I was talking about, Its just not clear since there is no 'control group, and also since you dont know how unstable the alk was before the change. Im sure it will eventually settled out
     
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  15. Literallyhydro

    Literallyhydro Active Member

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    I do agree with you that there needs to be a control group to observe the difference in coral health in an environment with very stable alkalinity and an "average" system.

    Maybe I could be considered a fool for it, but since I'm not an expert in the field, i want to take approach that has the most anecdotal success. If those observations begin to show that stability is not as important as originally thought, then I learned through the experience of others, instead of risking my own livestock to come to the same conclusion.

    I'm interested in hearing both sides of the equation so I can come to the right conclusion. I'd be interested in any articles about the topic linked from either side, if anyone has any to share.
     
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  16. Rick.45cal

    Rick.45cal Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    I’m someone who has used a monitor to track the trends in my system pretty closely for about a year. I saw a significant growth increase in my system when I instituted it’s usage for the simple fact that it revealed that the Hanna checker that I had used was reading 1 dKH lower than both the KHG and a salifert titration test. Once my alkalinity was at a 7.5 dKH things took off.

    It predominately taught me the trends of alkalinity consumption and a few other basic lessons that you don’t need a monitor to follow. I figured out that dosing consistently using a doser over the whole 24 hour period worked best for me at maintaining the smallest daily swing. When I started trying to adjust my dosing to account for consumption it just caused a larger daily swing, and complicated things more for me.

    I had to send my KHG in to get the internal board swapped and have been running without it now for several months (just because I am too lazy to hook it back up). It’s taught me enough about alkalinity management in my system that I don’t miss it terribly. (I’ll hook it back up eventually).

    The biggest alkalinity consumption in my system occurs the last few hours of light to a few hours after the lights have gone off. (That’s the low point). The high point is in the morning and generally continues throughout the day.

    Yes, different alkalinity levels result in different growth rates as well, I have played with several in my system, and currently am running 9.6-9.3 dKH, and all the sticks are really growing like mad now. (I also run detectable nutrients 5ppm NO3 and .08-.12 ppm PO4).

    :)
     
  17. Rick.45cal

    Rick.45cal Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    CACED9D8-33BC-4445-9978-D7705F5CD2CC.jpeg

     
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  18. Literallyhydro

    Literallyhydro Active Member

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    Interesting read, everything you've stated lines up with what I've discovered with my tank tinkering with alkalinity.

    Beautiful tank as well. Given how much livestock you have, I just have to ask.. What do you do to maintain the N03/P04?
     
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  19. Rick.45cal

    Rick.45cal Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Heavy feeding, twice a day!
     
  20. Literallyhydro

    Literallyhydro Active Member

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    Anything for export? Large water changes? Refugium? Carbon dosing?

    Often I find the stories of successful tanks to be just as fascinating as the tank itself.
     
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