Essentials Pro Instability...anyone else??

Caravanshaka

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I'm over a month into a switch from the original 3-part Essentials to the Essentials Pro 2-part. I still can't get anything stable in the tank. Alk is swinging 0.5 one way, then another, all on the same dose. My calcium dropped from 430 to 350 within a week of switching, and has taken nearly double the dose of alk just to keep stable after I corrected it with BRS calcium chloride. It's been a nightmare, and I'm losing corals and nothing looks anywhere near as good as it did a month ago.

On the original 3-part essentials, my parameters were rock solid at 8 dkh and 430 calcium dosing about 330ml of solution per day in my 190g volume tank. The amount I was dosing was getting pretty annoying to keep up with, so I was excited to move to the Pro which is supposed to be 1/5 the volume dosed compared to the original. I started out at 60ml, and watched my alk jump 0.6 dkh in less than a day. I dropped that down to 30, and matched the calcium dose and was getting high 7 to low 8 alk readings for a week or 2, until I started noticing coral health issues. I then checked calcium (which had never moved) and it was down to 350!! By the time I got this corrected, most of my coral had browned out and I have a few that started to STN.

I've been battling the dosing amounts for weeks now, trying to find stability, and can't. I'm down to 24ml of Pro per day of Alk, and it will sometimes go up 0.2 or down 0.2, with no real pattern. This is getting measured by an Alkatronic pretty regularly.

I anyone else having these issues? I know a buddy of mine also went to Essentials Pro and is having tons of problems as well, but wanted to see if it was a common problem, or something related to my system that just doesn't work with it. I would have expected the transition from Essentials to Essentials Pro to be smooth and easy....instead it's causing tons of headaches.
 

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Hello Caravanshaka,

Man I am very sorry to hear about all these struggles! Sounds like a real pain. Let me see what I can do to offer some assistance.

First, it sounds like perhaps you are making too large of adjustments and too frequently. If your alk only moves .2 up or down, dont do anything. You only want to make adjustments when a trend develops. The reef won't necessarily use the same amount of alkalinity every day, or in your case it sounds like you are even measuring multiple times per day. If it is going up and down .2 one day to the next, don't sweat it, let it be. If it goes down .2 every day for 2-3 days that is when you would want to make an adjustment.

I would keep tabs on your calcium, and stick with dosing equal parts until stable alkalinity is reached then make adjustments to your calcium as needed. Manually adding some along the way is fine if you find it is trending downward.

Let me know if this is not clear or if you feel something else needs to happen. I am happy to discuss it on the phone or via email as well.

Cheers
Keith
 
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Caravanshaka

Caravanshaka

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Hello Caravanshaka,

Man I am very sorry to hear about all these struggles! Sounds like a real pain. Let me see what I can do to offer some assistance.

First, it sounds like perhaps you are making too large of adjustments and too frequently. If your alk only moves .2 up or down, dont do anything. You only want to make adjustments when a trend develops. The reef won't necessarily use the same amount of alkalinity every day, or in your case it sounds like you are even measuring multiple times per day. If it is going up and down .2 one day to the next, don't sweat it, let it be. If it goes down .2 every day for 2-3 days that is when you would want to make an adjustment.

I would keep tabs on your calcium, and stick with dosing equal parts until stable alkalinity is reached then make adjustments to your calcium as needed. Manually adding some along the way is fine if you find it is trending downward.

Let me know if this is not clear or if you feel something else needs to happen. I am happy to discuss it on the phone or via email as well.

Cheers
Keith
Hi Keith,

I've never had this kind of instability on the original essentials. It was testing within a 0.1 range every test for weeks on end. Within the last 48 hours, without an adjustment to the dosing, it has gone from 8.3 to 8.1 to 8.4. This is at 24ml/day of solution (compared to my solid alk at 330ml of original essentials).

What I feel might be the problem is the solution is not consistent throughout. At this concentration, there is too much variability in what 25ml of this solution might contain with regards to dkh (and similarly calcium).

I was going to have to move off of the original essentials either way due to the volume I was having to dose. What made the Pro so attractive was the major reduction in dosing volume. If it needs to be diluted to get consistency, then the appeal is gone.
 

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Hi Keith,

I've never had this kind of instability on the original essentials. It was testing within a 0.1 range every test for weeks on end. Within the last 48 hours, without an adjustment to the dosing, it has gone from 8.3 to 8.1 to 8.4. This is at 24ml/day of solution (compared to my solid alk at 330ml of original essentials).

What I feel might be the problem is the solution is not consistent throughout. At this concentration, there is too much variability in what 25ml of this solution might contain with regards to dkh (and similarly calcium).

I was going to have to move off of the original essentials either way due to the volume I was having to dose. What made the Pro so attractive was the major reduction in dosing volume. If it needs to be diluted to get consistency, then the appeal is gone.
I am not sure I understand, are you suggesting the solution is not uniform throughout?

If you were dosing 330ml prior, you should simply dose 66ml now and see if things stabilize. This will be dosing the exact same amount of alkalinity as previously.

I would not make changes with fluctuations from 8.3 to 8.1 to 8.4, this could be a number of things including time of day, testing resolution etc. If it sticks around 8.2-8.3 give or take for days I would roll with it. These minor changes hour by hour or day by day are not a concern its the trends over time.
 
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Caravanshaka

Caravanshaka

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I am not sure I understand, are you suggesting the solution is not uniform throughout?

If you were dosing 330ml prior, you should simply dose 66ml now and see if things stabilize. This will be dosing the exact same amount of alkalinity as previously.

I would not make changes with fluctuations from 8.3 to 8.1 to 8.4, this could be a number of things including time of day, testing resolution etc. If it sticks around 8.2-8.3 give or take for days I would roll with it. These minor changes hour by hour or day by day are not a concern its the trends over time.
That's exactly what I am saying. I was dosing 330ml prior, and when I started at 60ml on Pro, my dkh shot up. I had to come all the way down to where I am now at 24ml before it was close to stabilizing. Meanwhile at that dose, my calcium dropped from 430 to 350. It took nearly 60ml of calcium to keep up with demand, while alk was rising until I dropped to 24ml. To me, that sounds like the calcium solution was uniform, and the alk was not. My testing schedule has not changed from when I was dosing 330ml of Essentials, which gave me stable Alk within a 0.1 range.

When mixing both, I submerged 2 bottles of Pro 1 in warm water, ensuring that it was clear and consistent throughout. I then poured both bottles into my dosing container and hand mixed the solution to ensure it was clear before proceeding to dose. I didn't have to put the calcium in warm water, but did mix thoroughly as well when adding both bottles to my container.
 

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If you don't see crystals form in the dosing container and mixed well in the beginning, I think it is not possible for the for the solution to have different strength in different part. Second law of thermodynamics dictate that the mixing cannot be reversed.

Maybe you could look at whether the dosing line is connected properly. Or whether precipitation forms when you dose the ALK part.
 

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Caravan how much time do you have between your doses? Are you alternating them throughout the day?

It would be highly unlikely the solution was not uniform particularly if you did not dilute it, that would go against the principal of diffusion (I am not a scientist, but that is my understanding).
I would recommend reaching out directly to Dr Ben about your experience at labor at atiaquarstik.com . Give him a run down of your situation and see if he has an explanation of the difference. I am doing my best to help, but he is the expert.
 
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Caravanshaka

Caravanshaka

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If you don't see crystals form in the dosing container and mixed well in the beginning, I think it is not possible for the for the solution to have different strength in different part. Second law of thermodynamics dictate that the mixing cannot be reversed.

Maybe you could look at whether the dosing line is connected properly. Or whether precipitation forms when you dose the ALK part.
There were crystals when it arrived, which was the reason for the warm bath and full mixing. It did mix clear. My concern here is if it went back into crystal form in my dosing container. It is in the back right of my stand and there is no way for me to easily see into that container.

Dosing lines have no issues, no precipitation during dosing either.

Caravan how much time do you have between your doses? Are you alternating them throughout the day?

It would be highly unlikely the solution was not uniform particularly if you did not dilute it, that would go against the principal of diffusion (I am not a scientist, but that is my understanding).
I would recommend reaching out directly to Dr Ben about your experience at labor at atiaquarstik.com . Give him a run down of your situation and see if he has an explanation of the difference. I am doing my best to help, but he is the expert.
I am dosing 1ml per hour right now using a DOS that is calibrated every 2 weeks. Alk is dosed at xx:05, Calcium at xx:15 to ensure that alk is thoroughly mixed in before calcium is dosed.

In the meantime, I'm going to do nightly calcium testing to ensure that it has stabilized as well. It is currently set to 24ml to match alk, and has been since my 11pm testing last night. 11pm testing today should show me how it is going.
 

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Is your dosing container is at room temperature there is no risk of precipitation. Precipitation requires chilling the solution in the 50 degree range (Id have to check to give you the exact value).

I would recommend more than 10m between doses, why not change calcium to xx:35 to ensure maximum mixing?
 

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I was using Bionic and tried the ATI essentials for 3 weeks but gave up because of the swings. It may need to be stirred prior to dosing but it wasn’t worth the trouble. I even tried diluting it per the instructions but it didn’t help. I use Red Sea Coralline Gro occasionally which is an alk supplement and that has to be mixed prior to dosing.
 
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Is your dosing container is at room temperature there is no risk of precipitation. Precipitation requires chilling the solution in the 50 degree range (Id have to check to give you the exact value).

I would recommend more than 10m between doses, why not change calcium to xx:35 to ensure maximum mixing?
Yes, dosing container is staying around 70-75 degrees.

It is being dosed into the chamber next to my drains right before my filter socks. in 10 mins, over 100 gallons is flowing through that section. I can't imagine how that wouldn't be enough time.
 

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Any updates on the pro. Just ordered the pro....because trident cant supply us...
 

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Any updates on the pro. Just ordered the pro....because trident cant supply us...
What kind of update are you looking for? If you are worried about inventory, all open PO's with dealers have been filled and we have loads of units on hand ready to go. Should be no problem with inventory unless something unforeseen happens in the future.
 
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Caravanshaka

Caravanshaka

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Any updates on the pro. Just ordered the pro....because trident cant supply us...
If you are looking for an update from me, I won't be able to help. I have gone to a calcium reactor now and the major 3 are rock solid according to Trident testing.
 

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If you are looking for an update from me, I won't be able to help. I have gone to a calcium reactor now and the major 3 are rock solid according to Trident testing.
Yep, CalRx is great. Although I had better color from the ORIGINAL ATI Essentials.

I don't like when changes are made for no reason.. I don't know why ATI changed things up, but I wish they didn't. I've had more than a few people I'd converted to using ATI Essentials complain the new stuff seems finicky. Most people water it down heavily to make it like the original, but still aren't happy.

Change for no reason = Always bad. Always. Going from a 3 part to a 2 part made me immediately suspicious, and not willing to try the new version on my grow out setup.

Change to fix things only. Don't change recipes for zero reason, that alienates your customers. Stability and Consistency get us borderline sexually aroused in this hobby -- ATI should know that.
 

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Yep, CalRx is great. Although I had better color from the ORIGINAL ATI Essentials.

I don't like when changes are made for no reason.. I don't know why ATI changed things up, but I wish they didn't. I've had more than a few people I'd converted to using ATI Essentials complain the new stuff seems finicky. Most people water it down heavily to make it like the original, but still aren't happy.

Change for no reason = Always bad. Always. Going from a 3 part to a 2 part made me immediately suspicious, and not willing to try the new version on my grow out setup.

Change to fix things only. Don't change recipes for zero reason, that alienates your customers. Stability and Consistency get us borderline sexually aroused in this hobby -- ATI should know that.
Rakie I certainly appreciate what you are saying. I hope you do understand however the change was not for no reason, the change was to both make it simpler with 2 parts as well as making it able to be dosed right out of the bottle which makes it far easier to use. Simplicity and ease of use are 2 very important characteristics for any reef product. There are plenty of people who where not diluting properly, not happy about finding large vessels to hold the solutions or otherwise running into issues. This solution solves many problems, so it is certainly not for no reason.
 

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There are plenty of people who where not diluting properly, not happy about finding large vessels to hold the solutions or otherwise running into issues.
I was under the impression the recipe was "improved", and it was changed mostly to make the product better. If the only factor in the change was fixing user error (which, happens way too often) then my understanding was flawed, and I apologize. While it's unfortunate for the rest of us who like things to stay the same so we know what to expect, I won't blame you guys for trying to fix the biggest problem -- The human element.
 

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I was under the impression the recipe was "improved", and it was changed mostly to make the product better. If the only factor in the change was fixing user error (which, happens way too often) then my understanding was flawed, and I apologize. While it's unfortunate for the rest of us who like things to stay the same so we know what to expect, I won't blame you guys for trying to fix the biggest problem -- The human element.
I suppose it depends on your position as to what "improved" means. In our eyes making it simpler and easier is an improvement. We have not tried to sell it as "better for your reef", but rather that its the same. I would love to get additional details on your experience offline regarding 3 part vs 2 part. If you have a moment to call us I would love to chat.
 

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