All-for-reef switchover questions

legalizedreefer

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Hello,
I’m wanting to switch from Red Sea component A and B to just using All For Reef for the simplicity. I’d like to free up a dosing head for something like TM Amino Organic or some other brand of aminos (recommendations welcome of course!)

anyways, I keep seeing that there is a lag with AFR. Essentially it will take a bit, at least at the start, to see it show on an ALK test.

my question is - yes it takes a bit to show up, but is the ALK still present in the water column despite it not showing on a test?

I keep my system around 8.3-8.4 dKH.
my corals consume about 0.4 dKH per day. So I’ve already worked out how much I’m going to start dosing for AFR and it’s coincidentally not much different at all than the recommended starting dose. However, let’s say I start today and I won’t see the AFR show on an alk test for 2 days. What happens during those 2 days? Is there a massive dKH drop and then i rebound? Or will I be maintaining a proper replacement of my consumption but I just won’t see evidence of it until it shows on a test?

thanks I’m advance!
 
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ClownSchool

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Hello,
I’m wanting to switch from Red Sea component A and B to just using All For Reef for the simplicity. I’d like to free up a dosing head for something like TM Amino Organic or some other brand of aminos (recommendations welcome of course!)

anyways, I keep seeing that there is a lag with AFR. Essentially it will take a bit, at least at the start, to see it show on an ALK test.

my question is - yes it takes a bit to show up, but is the ALK still present in the water column despite it not showing on a test?

I keep my system around 8.3-8.4 dKH.
my corals consume about 0.4 dKH per day. So I’ve already worked out how much I’m going to start dosing for AFR and it’s coincidentally not much different at all than the recommended starting dose. However, let’s say I start today and I won’t see the AFR show on an alk test for 2 days. What happens during those 2 days? Is there a massive dKH drop and then i rebound? Or will I be maintaining a proper replacement of my consumption but I just won’t see evidence of it until it shows on a test?

thanks I’m advance!
Issues I had with AFR were due in part to my tank being in the first year.
Coralline growth and the salt brand (Fritz) I use had my Alk dropping significantly faster than my calcium. So, even adding 1/4 recommended dose of AFR to start would send my cal into the 500’s while my ALk and pH remained low.
Once you know you’re at a place where your two-part dosing is balanced close to equal parts, you’ll be safe to start experimenting with AFR.
I’ve started adding AFR again because it covers more trace elements I’ve been losing by limiting water changes with Bionic two-part and I’ve noticed coloration in my corals improving, but I had to wait for the balance mentioned above to switch.
 
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legalizedreefer

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Thanks for this!
I’m currently dosing:
Red Sea Alk: 5.2 ml/day
Red Sea Calcium: 2.5 ml/day

so are you saying that, in a perfect world with perfect balance, I’d be dosing the same ml of each per day? If that’s true, I’d love that b/c that’s an easy metric to use to see how “in balance” my consumption is
 
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Pod_01

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To answer your question the Alk from AFR is in the water and corals are using it from the start. If you got the dose right you should see no swing in Alk.
Regardless during the first week you might want to measure Alk each day just to see the trend. Also make sure your salinity/ top off is the same when measuring Alk.
I use AFR and when it works (consumption is balanced between the big 3) it makes reefing very easy by maintaining the levels.
 

ClownSchool

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Thanks for this!
I’m currently dosing:
Red Sea Alk: 5.2 ml/day
Red Sea Calcium: 2.5 ml/day

so are you saying that, in a perfect world with perfect balance, I’d be dosing the same ml of each per day? If that’s true, I’d love that b/c that’s an easy metric to use to see how “in balance” my consumption is
Yup. I bought the gallon jugs of each and started two-part dosing about 5-6 months ago. I’m just finishing my ALK jug and my Cal jug is only missing about 3-4 inches. But, the ratio has gradually shifted to a one-to-one; 15 ml each. That’s why I’m just now started to use AFR once a week in replacement of my two-part dosing for that day.
Like I said, I believe the trace elements in AFR seem to be closer to the full spectrum of what’s found in reef salt mix. I’m already seeing improved color on my acros.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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To answer your question the Alk from AFR is in the water and corals are using it from the start.

IMO, that's an opinion that hasn't been experimentally established. It may be true, or not.
 
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ClownSchool

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Thanks for this!
I’m currently dosing:
Red Sea Alk: 5.2 ml/day
Red Sea Calcium: 2.5 ml/day

so are you saying that, in a perfect world with perfect balance, I’d be dosing the same ml of each per day? If that’s true, I’d love that b/c that’s an easy metric to use to see how “in balance” my consumption is
Something else to try is to use a very small dose of AFR to address the Calcium supplement, then check your Alk daily for a week or two to see what reduced dose of Alk can balance out the difference. Once you establish your dosing enough to get back to testing weekly, you can pay attention to weening off the Alk as you increase AFR to keep up with growing calcium demand?
When I started dosing, I was doing a three-to-one ratio, so it wasn’t really worth it to me. Also, my experience is from using the powder and I’ve heard some claim they’ve found different results from the pre-mixed solution.
Good Luck!
 

Pod_01

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IMO, that's an opinion that hasn't been experimentally established. It may be true, or not.
Randy, I am not going to disagree. Perhaps different wording would have worked better. Disclaimer I am not biologist or chemist but I understand where you are coming from and this is after all “Reef chemistry forum”.
What I wanted to say is that changing from 2 part to AFR while knowing your dose based on my experience should have no impact on Alk or cause swings. This is based on my experience and my consumption at the time was approximately 0.4 dKH. Hence my comment and my opinion based on sample of one “Yes sample of one does not establish a trend”.
Perhaps there is a swing but my test kit did not picked one up, so my recommendation to check Alk daily for the first week to see the trend and make adjustments as required.
Hopefully that helps to clarify. Maybe not!!!
 

NotoriousDMC

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I have no idea about the science, whether Alk is the water column immediately or not and, very genuinely, defer to chemists and experts on such things. That said, I made the same exact switch you’re considering and I am happy with it. I DID notice a lag (Trident testing) and just supplemented with RS Alk for maybe a week or so. Then it took me maybe two more weeks to dial in. During that time, I emailed TM with a question and ended up speaking with @Lou Ekus who was incredibly helpful. Now, my Trident numbers are incredibly steady and change only when expected (e.g., when I “upgraded” from Red Sea to Radions). I mix my own AFR 1L at a time with a magnetic stirrer and dose 40ml/day on a RSR 300XL to keep Alk right around 8.5. The only “downside” is my Ca and Mg are both a bit high (581 and 1268, respectively), but they started there. I could lower them but skipping AFR and just dosing Alk for a bit. But my tank looks great right now (softies, nems, LPS to acros), so “if it ain’t broke…”


I have zero complaints with Red Sea, but AFR is just easier for me. For a similar reason, I also switched from NoPox to BactoBalance, also after getting in-depth advice from Lou re whether and how to make the transition.

FWIW, I’m only about 18 months into the hobby and still learning, but here’s how AFR has my tank looking right now. I’ll take it.
CF80E7E2-591C-4356-B93B-2D5456F38C7F.jpeg
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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Randy, I am not going to disagree. Perhaps different wording would have worked better. Disclaimer I am not biologist or chemist but I understand where you are coming from and this is after all “Reef chemistry forum”.
What I wanted to say is that changing from 2 part to AFR while knowing your dose based on my experience should have no impact on Alk or cause swings. This is based on my experience and my consumption at the time was approximately 0.4 dKH. Hence my comment and my opinion based on sample of one “Yes sample of one does not establish a trend”.
Perhaps there is a swing but my test kit did not picked one up, so my recommendation to check Alk daily for the first week to see the trend and make adjustments as required.
Hopefully that helps to clarify. Maybe not!!!

My comment was in relation to the idea that corals use it right away, as opposed to having to wait for it to be processed from formate into bicarbonate.
 
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legalizedreefer

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I have no idea about the science, whether Alk is the water column immediately or not and, very genuinely, defer to chemists and experts on such things. That said, I made the same exact switch you’re considering and I am happy with it. I DID notice a lag (Trident testing) and just supplemented with RS Alk for maybe a week or so. Then it took me maybe two more weeks to dial in. During that time, I emailed TM with a question and ended up speaking with @Lou Ekus who was incredibly helpful. Now, my Trident numbers are incredibly steady and change only when expected (e.g., when I “upgraded” from Red Sea to Radions). I mix my own AFR 1L at a time with a magnetic stirrer and dose 40ml/day on a RSR 300XL to keep Alk right around 8.5. The only “downside” is my Ca and Mg are both a bit high (581 and 1268, respectively), but they started there. I could lower them but skipping AFR and just dosing Alk for a bit. But my tank looks great right now (softies, nems, LPS to acros), so “if it ain’t broke…”


I have zero complaints with Red Sea, but AFR is just easier for me. For a similar reason, I also switched from NoPox to BactoBalance, also after getting in-depth advice from Lou re whether and how to make the transition.

FWIW, I’m only about 18 months into the hobby and still learning, but here’s how AFR has my tank looking right now. I’ll take it.
CF80E7E2-591C-4356-B93B-2D5456F38C7F.jpeg
Looks great!! So I guess we can kinda answer my original question about whether the alk was in the water column or not using your experience.

So, day 1 you started dosing AFR, did you also dose your usual ALK that day?

day 2, you tested and there was a bit of a drop showing, so you supplement that day with ALK again to bring you were you want to be.

day 3, measure again, still a bit behind, so you dose your other Alk supplement again to balance out.

so on and so forth for about a week. Then you’re in balance using just AFR?

If you ended up perfectly in balance, it seems as though there wasn’t any immediately available Alk from your AFR and your supplemental dosing was what was keeping you in check, then when the AFR became detectable and available in the water you were exactly where you were supposed to be.

I think if the AFR was available but undetectable from the jump, yet you were also supplemental dosing Alk, you would have had a major surplus showing when the AFR finally became detectable.

I could be off in my thinking here.
 

NotoriousDMC

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You’re thinking is exactly correct. When I first started, I did NOT supplement for a day or so and noticed a drop (I can’t remember even a rough number), so I kinda made an educated guess on how much I should supplement using on online reef chemistry calculator (not sure if I’m allowed to plug other sites) that I believe may have been created by a well known reef chemist . I basically assumed my last tested Alk was a “base” and then put in the number where I wanted it to be and this online tool told me how much RS Alk to dose. I cut that by about half as I knew I was only supplementing. After a week or so of this and playing around with the AFR dosage, I’d skip supplementing, let the Trident test, and the numbers stabilized.

I did end up lowering my desired Alk level from around 10 to 8.5 (VERY slowly), so maybe if I started there, this supplementing wouldn’t have been necessary. Also, I wasn’t so worried about precision because the Trident tests 4x/day so I’d have seen any major swings (never happened).

FWIW, I think TM says somewhere that their Alk is created through a biological process and therefore not immediately available/won’t show up immediately in testing?
 
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legalizedreefer

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You’re thinking is exactly correct. When I first started, I did NOT supplement for a day or so and noticed a drop (I can’t remember even a rough number), so I kinda made an educated guess on how much I should supplement using on online reef chemistry calculator (not sure if I’m allowed to plug other sites) that I believe may have been created by a well known reef chemist . I basically assumed my last tested Alk was a “base” and then put in the number where I wanted it to be and this online tool told me how much RS Alk to dose. I cut that by about half as I knew I was only supplementing. After a week or so of this and playing around with the AFR dosage, I’d skip supplementing, let the Trident test, and the numbers stabilized.

I did end up lowering my desired Alk level from around 10 to 8.5 (VERY slowly), so maybe if I started there, this supplementing wouldn’t have been necessary. Also, I wasn’t so worried about precision because the Trident tests 4x/day so I’d have seen any major swings (never happened).

FWIW, I think TM says somewhere that their Alk is created through a biological process and therefore not immediately available/won’t show up immediately in testing?
Yeah you’re right they do state that. I’m just trying to sort out if it’s both unavailable and undetectable or available but just undetectable. I’d love to sort that out because it changes my approach
 

Pod_01

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Yeah you’re right they do state that. I’m just trying to sort out if it’s both unavailable and undetectable or available but just undetectable. I’d love to sort that out because it
Just a suggestion but you could inquire in the Tropic Marin forum.

Alternatively perhaps @Lou Ekus or @Hans-Werner can comment. Hans-Werner is the developer of AFR.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Yeah you’re right they do state that. I’m just trying to sort out if it’s both unavailable and undetectable or available but just undetectable. I’d love to sort that out because it changes my approach

That’s the part that is not established. Lou of TM has suggested the formate can be metabolized by bacteria in or on corals that allow usable alk (bicarbonate) without being able to detect it in the water. I do not know if that is true, and would be hard to prove short of very careful experimentation.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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Just a suggestion but you could inquire in the Tropic Marin forum.

Alternatively perhaps @Lou Ekus or @Hans-Werner can comment. Hans-Werner is the developer of AFR.

They have already posted the unproven hypothesis that I mention above.
 

Pod_01

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They have already posted the unproven hypothesis that I mention above.
Randy, hypothesis is the correct term.

That is why I suggested to ask the question in Tropic Marin forum. Also I get the impression that the original poster really wants to know “What is the recommended method to switch from 2 part to AFR?”. I could be wrong though.

This hypothesis discussion might be, how can I say it “cloud the issue”.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Randy, hypothesis is the correct term.

That is why I suggested to ask the question in Tropic Marin forum. Also I get the impression that the original poster really wants to know “What is the recommended method to switch from 2 part to AFR?”. I could be wrong though.

This hypothesis discussion might be, how can I say it “cloud the issue”.
Here’s one of Lou’s comments:


. It is currently theorized, that much (not all) of the metabolization of the formate is done by bacteria located within the coral polyps. While other amounts happen in the substrate, coral structure and other areas within the tank system. Not to imply that the metabolization is done by the coral polyp itself
 
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Ef4life

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Yeah you’re right they do state that. I’m just trying to sort out if it’s both unavailable and undetectable or available but just undetectable. I’d love to sort that out because it changes my approach

unless you have a show tank full of grown out colonies, your really overthinking it.

corals can handle swings in parameters just fine - within reason. But when switchng products like this, daily testing for a few weeks until everything in settled is my #1 recommendation. If your alk drops add some Red Sea, if it doesn’t drop- don’t.

Fwiw - i switched to kalk from afr n my 10g its only pennies a month in cost (less than 2 teaspoons worth a week). I plan to supplement the kalk with afr in the future though. I don’t really want to dose fully saturated kalkwasser in such a small tank.
 

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