Calcium Rise Without Dosing

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry by Randy Holmes-Farley' started by TheKyle, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. TheKyle

    TheKyle Member

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    I have a fairly new setup that is about 4 months old. It has 250 gallons of total water volume. As for calcium demand I have maybe 10-15 lps, a handful of softies, and maybe 50 or so snails of varying size. Also I have been starting to get some small corraline algae growth. I have been testing Ca and alk to see when I need to start dosing. I plan on using kalkwaser in the ato initially. The strange thing is my calcium hasn’t fallen at all but actually the opposite, it has risen. Initially I was getting reading of 460 Ca and 8-9 dkh. This is with api test. This makes sense with the fritz rpm salt I am using. About a month in my tests started consistently reading 500 Ca with the 8-9 dkh. Just tested yesterday and had 500 Ca and 8 dkh. Is this normal? I’ve considered the test kit may be bad but since the alkalinity test is steady too this leads me to believe something else may be happening. Only other thing I could think of adding calcium to the water is that I drilled my rocks for aquascaping and didn’t really clean the dust off too well. Is it possible this is adding calcium to the water? Gonna try to mix up some fresh saltwater to compare my test results with. Any other thoughts? When should I normally expect to start dosing? Am I just being impatient?
     
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  2. glb

    glb Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    I would say that’s probably test error. My Ca has never gone up on its own. API isn’t that accurate so when budget allows, I’d get a better testing kit. I use Salifert for Calcium and nitrates, Hanna Checkers for alk and phosphates. The fact that you’re getting coralline is a good sign. As far as dosing, the test results will let you know when you need to dose. Then you calculate how much you need to dose based on your water volume and the dosing directions. Measure the next week and adjust up and down depending on the results. As your corals continue to grow, you’ll need to up the dose of levels start to fall. Good luck and keep us posted!
     
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  3. TheKyle

    TheKyle Member

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    Thanks for the help. After testing some new saltwater I think you’re right and my test kit is probably bad. Water in my mixing barrel also tested to 500 Ca. This is frustrating since the kit says it should be good til 04/2019. Guess you get what you pay for.... I’ll have to get some new higher quality test kits asap. Hope my actual readings aren’t too low. Did a 40g water change a few days ago so maybe that will play in my favor.
     
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  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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    Calcium won't increase on its own unless you add it somehow. I agree it is probably test error, or it is in something you are adding (or salinity is changing). :)
     
  5. TheKyle

    TheKyle Member

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    Update - thinking the test kits were bad I had my lfs test my water. Their test had near the same results at 490 Calcium. This would seem to indicate that the problem isn’t with my test kit. Bought a new salifert test kit anyways so I can continue to compare results. I guess I can understand if my salt is mixing a little high on calcium but I don’t understand the rise in calcium in the aquarium. This was without any water changes when I first saw the rise from 460 to 500 with the api test kit. Also seems strange these levels did not drop at all in the month prior to my 40g water change. Not sure what to think but I will continue to monitor.
     
  6. 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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    You didn't rule out an inaccurate test before the "rise", or lower salinity.

    That said, calcium will not keep rising on its own. It also will not go down if alkalinity is not dropping significantly. :)
     
  7. TheKyle

    TheKyle Member

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    This is a great point. I suppose it’s possible my calcium was on the high side from the very beginning and I don’t have enough calcium demand to see a noticeable drop yet. Being new at this I don’t really have a gauge for how long it should take before I need to start dosing. Guess I will sit back and continue to test and let the readings tell me when I need to dose. Appreciate the help.
     
  8. 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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    Use alkalinity demand as the gauge to whether anything is needed in a new tank. :)

    You're welcome and good luck! :)
     
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