Best way to add alk and calcium all things considered.

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chicago

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So here is what I keep going over in my head. Calcium reactor , two part or kalkwasser.... all have pros and cons. I own all these units in the past and currently have them. I was running a two part apex dos, a kalkwasser and calcium reactor all at once.. but I bumped up my kalkwasser reactor to 2.5 gallons a day. And tweaked the calcium reactor a bit. Enough that I turned off the two part dose..

So if one could keep up with alk and calcium consumption with kalkwasser alone would that be preferred lets say over a calcium reactor. But then again a calcium reactor is adding more than just alk and calcium. Trace elements are being dissolved back into the tank..

Randy and others... thoughts..

Thanks.
 
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Andrew Zimmerman

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I am also running all three; calcium reactor, kalk and 2 part. I started with a calcium reactor and everything was fine until my corals started to grow. My ph started to fall to dangerous levels at night due to the co2 being added. I then added kalkwasser to combat the low ph and it worked great. Then my calcium reactor started to get finicky. I preemptively put two part on the tank with the DOS/Trident because I was leaving town. Low and behold my calcium reactor fell off line when I was gone and I was able to keep my tank going with two part. Now I have all three and it is a bit much.

All of that being said I am really thinking two part would be way simpler and I could get rid of alot of equipment. You can add tropic marine trace elements right into the two part if you need.
 

Michael White

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There is no best way, but in general I'd elect some sort of two part/Balling for most systems.
Does your recommendation change with system volume? I was able to keep up with my stocked 150 gal sps tank using kalkwasser super saturated by using vinegar in the past . My new tank’s system volume is 300gal and I’m debating using a Ca Rx or getting a quality dosing pump setup for two part. Balling method or dosing pumps planned to dose trace elements if using 2 part. Reverse cycle lighting on my refugium so I’m less concerned about ph. I’m leaning towards 2 part, but I also change out less water than most at only 10 gal a week just for detritus removal. Will salinity likely increase too fast for my water change schedule using two part in this scenario? Thanks for any input.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Does your recommendation change with system volume?

Not really, unless you go to very, very large where CaCO3/CO2 reactors may become more preferable, IMO, due to cost.
FWIW, I used limewater (kalkwasser) alone for 20 years, but it has limitations.


I compare methods here:

The Many Methods for Supplementing Calcium and Alkalinity - REEFEDITION

The rise in salinity of these products over time can be very roughly calculated, though there are several reasons why this calculation is only an estimate. For every 1000 meq of alkalinity added in this fashion (and the matching amount of calcium) these products will deliver on the order of 60 grams of other ions to the tank. In a tank with a low calcification demand (defined later to be 18.3 thousand meq of alkalinity per year in a 100 gallon tank (0.4 dKH/day)) this effect will raise the salinity by 3 ppt per year (compared to a normal salinity of S ~35). In a high demand tank (defined later to be 219 thousand meq of alkalinity per year in a 100 gallon tank (4.4 dKH/day)), the salinity will rise by 35 ppt in a year, or approximately doubling the salinity. Consequently, the salinity should be monitored closely in using these types of additives, especially in a tank with high calcification rates.


How much salinity is a concern will thus depend on the amount added. 10 gallons a month in your 300 gallons would not keep a very highly dosed tank in salinity check, but in a lower demand tank it could, and other factors also tend to lower salinity, such as skimmers.
 
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Biglurr54

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I love my Carx and my Kalk reactor. They compliment each other nicely and provide a nice stable supply of Alk and Calc. 2 part was a pain to constantly be mixing up and I was using a ton. The hardest part with CaRx and Kalk Rx is the cost of the equipment. Sounds like you have the equipment already. alot of people recommending dosing 100% of the kalk capacity and making up the rest with the carx. I try start the kalk reactor at 50% and then the carx runs a little more. This way, as demand in the tank increases, i can increase both kalk and carx. In theory his prevents the ph from changing because the increase in the kalk rx counter acts the ph drop from the increase carx. Its worked great for me.
 

Michael White

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Not really, unless you go to very, very large where CaCO3/CO2 reactors may become more preferable, IMO, due to cost.
FWIW, I used limewater (kalkwasser) alone for 20 years, but it has limitations.


I compare methods here:

The Many Methods for Supplementing Calcium and Alkalinity - REEFEDITION

The rise in salinity of these products over time can be very roughly calculated, though there are several reasons why this calculation is only an estimate. For every 1000 meq of alkalinity added in this fashion (and the matching amount of calcium) these products will deliver on the order of 60 grams of other ions to the tank. In a tank with a low calcification demand (defined later to be 18.3 thousand meq of alkalinity per year in a 100 gallon tank (0.4 dKH/day)) this effect will raise the salinity by 3 ppt per year (compared to a normal salinity of S ~35). In a high demand tank (defined later to be 219 thousand meq of alkalinity per year in a 100 gallon tank (4.4 dKH/day)), the salinity will rise by 35 ppt in a year, or approximately doubling the salinity. Consequently, the salinity should be monitored closely in using these types of additives, especially in a tank with high calcification rates.


How much salinity is a concern will thus depend on the amount added. 10 gallons a month in your 300 gallons would not keep a very highly dosed tank in salinity check, but in a lower demand tank it could, and other factors also tend to lower salinity, such as skimmers.
My water changes are 10 gal per week, so about 40 gal per month total. Does this change the salinity outlook? I may mix kalk addition with 2 part or carx once my demand is high enough. Thanks for the quick response and link to your article.
 

Michael White

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I love my Carx and my Kalk reactor. They compliment each other nicely and provide a nice stable supply of Alk and Calc. 2 part was a pain to constantly be mixing up and I was using a ton. The hardest part with CaRx and Kalk Rx is the cost of the equipment. Sounds like you have the equipment already. alot of people recommending dosing 100% of the kalk capacity and making up the rest with the carx. I try start the kalk reactor at 50% and then the carx runs a little more. This way, as demand in the tank increases, i can increase both kalk and carx. In theory his prevents the ph from changing because the increase in the kalk rx counter acts the ph drop from the increase carx. Its worked great for me.
I’m going to be buying new gear for this build. I moved across country last year and sold most of my stuff. I have been very slowly building my new system. My cal/alk makeup equipment is the last piece of the puzzle. I haven’t even bought coral for this tank yet, getting my first round of fish into quarantine this week, but want to have my solution planned well in advance. Sounds like your setup works nicely. It makes sense to use kalk with a ca rx, and I’ve read of others who have done the same. Do you dose any trace elements or do any icp testing? I know some people using ca rx rely on the ca rx to supply that, but by using a 50/50 solution do you feel it keeps up? Thanks.
 
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chicago

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Randy... my thought was this....

1. if two part only adds alk and calcium while Kalkwasser does the same but with proper portions ... My issue has been chasing numbers with my Dos system on two part. so Kalk takes that issue out of my head and I recall Kalk will liberate a small amount of phosphate?

2. On the calcium reactor.. when dissolving are we not adding back in the goodies to the tank...i.e. trace elements.

3. What are the limitations of Kalk. other than the need to have enough evaporation on the system to supplement with Kalk. ???

Since removing my two part... and only using Kalk and my calcium reactor my alk seems steady at 7.20 to 7.50 and calcium 420 to 445..mag is at 1370 to 1390 per Apex Fusion...

NOTE.. my comparison is excluding issues of buying equipment dollars ect as I have already spent $$$$$$$$$ over the past 35 years... Yes my first reef had an undergravel with air pumps... (days of bleaching large stag-horn corals for decoration .LOL)
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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Randy... my thought was this....

1. if two part only adds alk and calcium while Kalkwasser does the same but with proper portions ... My issue has been chasing numbers with my Dos system on two part. so Kalk takes that issue out of my head and I recall Kalk will liberate a small amount of phosphate?

2. On the calcium reactor.. when dissolving are we not adding back in the goodies to the tank...i.e. trace elements.

3. What are the limitations of Kalk. other than the need to have enough evaporation on the system to supplement with Kalk. ???

Since removing my two part... and only using Kalk and my calcium reactor my alk seems steady at 7.20 to 7.50 and calcium 420 to 445..mag is at 1370 to 1390 per Apex Fusion...

NOTE.. my comparison is excluding issues of buying equipment dollars ect as I have already spent $$$$$$$$$ over the past 35 years... Yes my first reef had an undergravel with air pumps... (days of bleaching large stag-horn corals for decoration .LOL)

1. Actually, the ratio in a two part could be perfect (depending on the magnesium actually consumed) while kalkwasser is inherently flawed in the sense that it always adds too much calcium (because magnesium takes up some of the spaces in calcium carbonate). I ran a low calcium mix (normal IO) for 20 years while using only limewater to keep this in check, and still had calcium substantially higher than the salt mix.

2. With a CaCO3/CO2 reactor, you are adding only the elements in the skeleton, not elements in the tissue. So yes, it adds some useful elements, but may not eliminate the need for elements such as iron. It also is not entirely clear that all elements in it actually dissolve and get delivered.

3. The limitations of kalkwasser are detailed in the article above, but evaporation limitations are the main one, lack of magnesium is another.
 
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chicago

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Thanks for that insight ... Very informative... and makes sense.. I did not know Kalk might be adding too much calcium. I somehow missed the link above to your articles.. I always enjoy them and will take a look.. thanks again..
 
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