Am I overstocked with coral?

BRS

iaa12

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I have a 55 gallon tank, and I am having the worst time keeping calcium in check. I'm losing about 50 ppm of calcium every 3 days, while dosing 175ml daily of RHF's "recipe 1" calcium solution made with calcium chloride. Used about 500g anhydrous calcium chloride mixed in 1.5 gallons of ro/di water. The recipe says reduce 20% for anhydrous, I'm at 1.5 gallons instead of 1, all in all the concentration is a little lower than the recipe, but still the recommended dose is 1ml/gallon for heavy demand, I'm at over 3 times that and still dropping. Alkalinity is being kept well in check with soda ash in top off water, I'm using about 10tsp every 5 days, 2tsp per day. I understand only so much calcium can be dissolved in 50-ish gallons of water, and corals will consume what they need without regard for tank size. So where do I go from here, do I keep upping the calcium solution dose or do I have to trade in some coral?

I have a fairly large birdsnest (about 8 inches in diameter), 4 frags of the said birdsnest at about 2 inches in diameter, a pink eye chalice on the bottom about the size of a child's palm, a green galaxea about 3 inches in diameter, two small montiporal caps about 3 inches in diameter but growing, a fairly large cyphastrea encrusting a rock, and a hammer coral. I have plenty of zoas but they probably don't matter as far as calcium goes. And plenty of coralline algae growth. All corals are doing well.

Edit: measurements are taken using Red Sea calcium kit.
 
Fritz

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That doesn’t sound like a ton of coral, if you using that much you could add some Kalk to your top off or add a dosing pump and add calcium. Less coral is never the right option
 

Dkmoo

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SLOW DOWN...lol...

I bet you have tons of abiotic precipitation. Your alk is being dosed very heavily too and is actually makes sense with your calcium consumption. Alk and CA form calcium carbonate at a fixed ration of 18 to 20 PPM per 2.7dkh. Your 2 tsp of soda ash for a 55g (im assuming 45g of water volume?) Is approx 2.5dkh, which is in line with your 17ppm daily CA

I have a very heavily stocked SPS tank and my daily rate is half yours.

Whats happening is that you are overdosing everything and it's fueling abiotic precipitation so its not your corals absorbing it. Based on your description of your stocking id think somewhere around 1/4 to 1/3 would be in the right ball park.

Whats yiur pH and Mag? These are the two factors dictating abiotic precipitation rate. High pH/low mag = more precip. Generally high pH is desirable so usually we raise mag to combat abiotic precipitation. If I have to guess I would think your Mag is probably very low and the abiotic precipitation is sucking out all of your alk/ca.

Its a bit counter intuitive, but basically, without keeping the rest of your params in line and stable, the more your dose ca/alk, the more abiotic precipitation consumes them, and the faster it drops.
 

Bo.

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SLOW DOWN...lol...

I bet you have tons of abiotic precipitation. Your alk is being dosed very heavily too and is actually makes sense with your calcium consumption. Alk and CA form calcium carbonate at a fixed ration of 18 to 20 PPM per 2.7dkh. Your 2 tsp of soda ash for a 55g (im assuming 45g of water volume?) Is approx 2.5dkh, which is in line with your 17ppm daily CA

I have a very heavily stocked SPS tank and my daily rate is half yours.

Whats happening is that you are overdosing everything and it's fueling abiotic precipitation so its not your corals absorbing it. Based on your description of your stocking id think somewhere around 1/4 to 1/3 would be in the right ball park.

Whats yiur pH and Mag? These are the two factors dictating abiotic precipitation rate. High pH/low mag = more precip. Generally high pH is desirable so usually we raise mag to combat abiotic precipitation. If I have to guess I would think your Mag is probably very low and the abiotic precipitation is sucking out all of your alk/ca.

Its a bit counter intuitive, but basically, without keeping the rest of your params in line and stable, the more your dose ca/alk, the more abiotic precipitation consumes them, and the faster it drops.
GIF by The Bachelor
 
Maxout

ou12004

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SLOW DOWN...lol...

I bet you have tons of abiotic precipitation. Your alk is being dosed very heavily too and is actually makes sense with your calcium consumption. Alk and CA form calcium carbonate at a fixed ration of 18 to 20 PPM per 2.7dkh. Your 2 tsp of soda ash for a 55g (im assuming 45g of water volume?) Is approx 2.5dkh, which is in line with your 17ppm daily CA

I have a very heavily stocked SPS tank and my daily rate is half yours.

Whats happening is that you are overdosing everything and it's fueling abiotic precipitation so its not your corals absorbing it. Based on your description of your stocking id think somewhere around 1/4 to 1/3 would be in the right ball park.

Whats yiur pH and Mag? These are the two factors dictating abiotic precipitation rate. High pH/low mag = more precip. Generally high pH is desirable so usually we raise mag to combat abiotic precipitation. If I have to guess I would think your Mag is probably very low and the abiotic precipitation is sucking out all of your alk/ca.

Its a bit counter intuitive, but basically, without keeping the rest of your params in line and stable, the more your dose ca/alk, the more abiotic precipitation consumes them, and the faster it drops.
Ok you know a heck of a lot more about this than me, thanks for the knowledge drop.
 

thatmanMIKEson

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I have a 55 gallon tank, and I am having the worst time keeping calcium in check. I'm losing about 50 ppm of calcium every 3 days, while dosing 175ml daily of RHF's "recipe 1" calcium solution made with calcium chloride. Used about 500g anhydrous calcium chloride mixed in 1.5 gallons of ro/di water. The recipe says reduce 20% for anhydrous, I'm at 1.5 gallons instead of 1, all in all the concentration is a little lower than the recipe, but still the recommended dose is 1ml/gallon for heavy demand, I'm at over 3 times that and still dropping. Alkalinity is being kept well in check with soda ash in top off water, I'm using about 10tsp every 5 days, 2tsp per day. I understand only so much calcium can be dissolved in 50-ish gallons of water, and corals will consume what they need without regard for tank size. So where do I go from here, do I keep upping the calcium solution dose or do I have to trade in some coral?

I have a fairly large birdsnest (about 8 inches in diameter), 4 frags of the said birdsnest at about 2 inches in diameter, a pink eye chalice on the bottom about the size of a child's palm, a green galaxea about 3 inches in diameter, two small montiporal caps about 3 inches in diameter but growing, a fairly large cyphastrea encrusting a rock, and a hammer coral. I have plenty of zoas but they probably don't matter as far as calcium goes. And plenty of coralline algae growth. All corals are doing well.

Edit: measurements are taken using Red Sea calcium kit.
alot of information there how come no pictures? pictures are worth a million words and sentences.... have any pictures of this overstock
 
OP
I

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SLOW DOWN...lol...

I bet you have tons of abiotic precipitation. Your alk is being dosed very heavily too and is actually makes sense with your calcium consumption. Alk and CA form calcium carbonate at a fixed ration of 18 to 20 PPM per 2.7dkh. Your 2 tsp of soda ash for a 55g (im assuming 45g of water volume?) Is approx 2.5dkh, which is in line with your 17ppm daily CA

I have a very heavily stocked SPS tank and my daily rate is half yours.

Whats happening is that you are overdosing everything and it's fueling abiotic precipitation so its not your corals absorbing it. Based on your description of your stocking id think somewhere around 1/4 to 1/3 would be in the right ball park.

Whats yiur pH and Mag? These are the two factors dictating abiotic precipitation rate. High pH/low mag = more precip. Generally high pH is desirable so usually we raise mag to combat abiotic precipitation. If I have to guess I would think your Mag is probably very low and the abiotic precipitation is sucking out all of your alk/ca.

Its a bit counter intuitive, but basically, without keeping the rest of your params in line and stable, the more your dose ca/alk, the more abiotic precipitation consumes them, and the faster it drops.
Thank you for your response. I considered precipitation, but wouldn't I be seeing some sign of it, like a white powder over the rocks/surfaces? Or is it inconspicuous? It would make sense , it's a lot of calcium to go missing. I do have decent water movement so maybe it gets blown off the rocks.

As of right now, the tank parameters are :

- pH 7.9 (this is the norm for my tank)
- Ca 390 (measured at 340 yesterday and added Seachem Reef Adv to bring it back up. Red Sea test)
- Alk 10.8 dKH (this holds steady with little variation with my current dosing. Tested using Hanna Alk checker)
- Mg 1360 (no addition since last week. Tested using Red Sea test)
- Phosphate 0.07 (tested using Hanna checker)
- Nitrate 8.7 (tested using Hanna checker)

I'll post a picture in a little bit as well, light are just coming on and ramping up.
 
OP
I

iaa12

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OP never posted what his calcium levels are. A 55gal won't drop 50points calcium with that load of coral in three days.
Sorry, I should have. Please see above. Not only did it drop 50 points, it dropped 50 points while dosing 175 ml of RHF's Recipe 1 calcium solution daily (calcium chloride). It's baffling.
 

Dkmoo

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Thank you for your response. I considered precipitation, but wouldn't I be seeing some sign of it, like a white powder over the rocks/surfaces? Or is it inconspicuous? It would make sense , it's a lot of calcium to go missing. I do have decent water movement so maybe it gets blown off the rocks.

As of right now, the tank parameters are :

- pH 7.9 (this is the norm for my tank)
- Ca 390 (measured at 340 yesterday and added Seachem Reef Adv to bring it back up. Red Sea test)
- Alk 10.8 dKH (this holds steady with little variation with my current dosing. Tested using Hanna Alk checker)
- Mg 1360 (no addition since last week. Tested using Red Sea test)
- Phosphate 0.07 (tested using Hanna checker)
- Nitrate 8.7 (tested using Hanna checker)

I'll post a picture in a little bit as well, light are just coming on and ramping up.
Whats your pH at?

Also how are you dosing ca and alk? Are you dosing at the same time? If so its possible that the temporary higher concentration of alk or ca in the immediate dosed area will cause immediate precip as you dose the second.

Alk at those levels make it very easy to precip, esp if the pH maintained at those levels are also very high.

Precip takes a while (a few weeks or months, depending on rate) to become visible, mostly in smooth low flow areas like on your heaters, return pump surfaces, etc. .

How much is your mg consumption daily? Normalized MG consumption varies from coral to coral but on avg for a mixed reef it should roughly be around 1ppm MG per 10 ppm CA

A faster mg consumption rate may indicate that its trying to form more MgCO3, which is what slows down CaCO3 abiotic precipitation. If that's what your tank is doing then it will take some time for the various surfaces to be "contaminated" with the mg ions so that the ca ions don't crystallize into precip.

Depending on where your pH is at, I'd consider slowly lower the alk to the 8.5 range.

1360 mag, if accurate, is good enough. But red sea is very inaccurate bc the various "drop" process in the testing process that can lead to variations. For mag i would test it daily for a week at the same time and see a trend to get a better idea of what your mg level and consumption is at.

Please read this article, its a treasure trove of good info which will help you trouble shoot your specific problem bc as much as we try to be helpful, you are the best source bc you have the most first hand knowledge of your tank


Then check out the "additional readings" section at the end. Im confident that once you read and understand them you will be able to not only solve your current problem but also have better success at keeping stony corals (which depend a lot more on the caco3 process)
 
AS
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iaa12

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Whats your pH at?

Also how are you dosing ca and alk? Are you dosing at the same time? If so its possible that the temporary higher concentration of alk or ca in the immediate dosed area will cause immediate precip as you dose the second.

Alk at those levels make it very easy to precip, esp if the pH maintained at those levels are also very high.

Precip takes a while (a few weeks or months, depending on rate) to become visible, mostly in smooth low flow areas like on your heaters, return pump surfaces, etc. .

How much is your mg consumption daily? Normalized MG consumption varies from coral to coral but on avg for a mixed reef it should roughly be around 1ppm MG per 10 ppm CA

A faster mg consumption rate may indicate that its trying to form more MgCO3, which is what slows down CaCO3 abiotic precipitation. If that's what your tank is doing then it will take some time for the various surfaces to be "contaminated" with the mg ions so that the ca ions don't crystallize into precip.

Depending on where your pH is at, I'd consider slowly lower the alk to the 8.5 range.

1360 mag, if accurate, is good enough. But red sea is very inaccurate bc the various "drop" process in the testing process that can lead to variations. For mag i would test it daily for a week at the same time and see a trend to get a better idea of what your mg level and consumption is at.

Please read this article, its a treasure trove of good info which will help you trouble shoot your specific problem bc as much as we try to be helpful, you are the best source bc you have the most first hand knowledge of your tank


Then check out the "additional readings" section at the end. Im confident that once you read and understand them you will be able to not only solve your current problem but also have better success at keeping stony corals (which depend a lot more on the caco3 process)

pH is at 7.9. I'll test Mg daily for the next week, I've been testing Mg maybe weekly or every other week because it just doesn't move as much. I try to follow the test instructions, including one drop then 15 sec mix between drops etc. and I tend to get consistent readings, not too much variation.

On a side note, I've been having issues with pH testing - I have Hanna pen tester and it's been giving me inconsistent readings, it's slow to get to the value, and then when the hourglass goes away it keeps climbing. Last measurement was way off , at 7.4, so I think it needs recalibration. I used an API test for pH and a cheapo chinese pH reader off Amazon, those both indicated 7.9, which is in line with where my tank has been historically. To eliminate all doubt I went to the LFS to get a Red Sea pH test and confirm, and found a Red Sea Reefer 350 (used) on sale for about a grand, including sump setup and return pump and plumbing. So I've been hauling the tank home in my Outback all afternoon. Not how I imagined this day would go, but here we are.
 

Dkmoo

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Hmm interesting - 7.9 ph is actually not that high so if alk/ca is still being precipitated away it can only mean that its just being dosed too high and too much. Or that you are dosing them together and they are being precipitated away before they had a chance to properly dissolve in the tank - you are not mixing them together before dosing right?

If you were trying to keep alk high bc you want to keep pH from dropping to low, then actually there are better ways. Low pH is a high CO2 issue - either try to open some window to get fresh air in, or tube your skimmer inline from outside air, or get a co2 scrubber. This can be your second project after you stabilize the alk/ca consumption issue.

Check out those articles i linked, those articles will point you to the right direction better than I can bc you know your tank the best.
 
BRS

PICK the Most Tested & Least Tested Parameters of your Tank (Pick 2)

  • Calcium (most)

    Votes: 48 6.0%
  • Alkalinity (most)

    Votes: 546 68.8%
  • Magnesium (most)

    Votes: 6 0.8%
  • Phosphate (most)

    Votes: 75 9.4%
  • PH (most)

    Votes: 75 9.4%
  • Nitrate (most)

    Votes: 87 11.0%
  • Nitrite (most)

    Votes: 7 0.9%
  • Ammonia (most)

    Votes: 24 3.0%
  • (least) Calcium

    Votes: 14 1.8%
  • (least) Alkalinity

    Votes: 4 0.5%
  • (least) Magnesium

    Votes: 77 9.7%
  • (least) Phosphate

    Votes: 16 2.0%
  • (least) PH

    Votes: 42 5.3%
  • (least) Nitrate

    Votes: 14 1.8%
  • (least) Nitrite

    Votes: 219 27.6%
  • (least) Ammonia

    Votes: 298 37.5%
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