Getting Serious about Parameters! Need help and advice moving forward on dosing and correction!

Rijodan

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The long and short of the this post will be that I'm trying to step up my reef game and start being the tank that i ooh and awe over again.

I entered the hobby with a 29g aio and over the time i had it, it was glowing with color, growth and personally success. When i moved i upgraded to a larger 110 and havent reached that level of wow or awesome growth like i did with it. With perceived defeat i let my tank become a side focus instead of the focal point that it should be, Now i dont have algae problems, tbh most my rock is covered in thick coraline and every now and then i go through a dino outbreak. to try and help me get back on track im finally using the whiteboard I installed over a year ago when i set this tank up.
20220609_215206.jpg


But back to point to get there I will need to get my params a bit more inline with the meta. Not tryna chase exact perfect numbers, but get close and keep em consistent. As shown above I'm atleast testing everything and making slow changes to get 1 thing in line at a time. Last few weeks i fought salinity back to norm as i had relied too much on my Hanna probe and pushed my salt up to 1.032. This past week I was trying to figure out a pH swing from 8.05-8.65 daily that turned out I just had calibrated my pH probes with expired fluids, fixed that yesterday, and the new swing is from 7.74 to 8.04 so better but it is low.
My other issues to address start with alk as I'm testing around 6 and want to be around 9, nitrates as they around 30 and want around 25-30 but as long as I'm not going past 35 and burning things we should be good. Final issue is that my calcium seems abnormally high but is likely just due to reef crystals.
With alk i have been testing daily at 5:30 tracking usage, but have not done anything to change it other than some small w/c. Looks to be as it sits im using ~.4dkh daily but expected this will rise as i get it more favorable. The plan is to finally set up a doser i bought years ago and never even opened and make a solution to dose with baking soda or soda ash depending how I should best balance the alk and pH rise. Nitrates being so high is probably from the fact I'm feeding heavy and dosing aminos with quite a few fish that are all starting to get large. Now for a long time i managed this with just some purigen and monthly w/c but this was never a good way of dealing with it. I do not want to run a refugium as they just end up being such a mess and eyesore and tbh i do not have the space for one that would appreciably reduce my nitrates. What i have done is finely tuned my skimmer to be effective and it is pulling massive skimmate out. Thick, gag-inducing fluid that needs emptied every other day, its definitely working, addditionaly transitioned to a 2.5/5g daily waterchange. Not ideal and long term an expensive way of dealing with nitrates. Long term i think i need to research into an external turf scrubber.
Phosphates Ive literally never tested for before yesterday. 0.05 yesterday and today 0.06 seems a good number but tbh i dont know enough about this paramater to go one way or the other.
Calcium I've read is best in the 440-480 range and with me testing a 100 over shouldn't be great, but I'm not sure if there is a great way of slowly lowering this other than my slow water changes. So it sits for now and ill track its movement.

Any recommendations on mag testers? Know hanna came out with one but its supposedly off and inconsistent, Currently using the RedSea Pro but really hate it, always end up having to do it twice or three times cause add drop swirl for 15 repeat and with my adhd i lose count how many drops i have done and other times your squeezing to get one drop and struggling and then all of a sudden it comes out quick as lighting losing my count of drops anyways. I see many people talk salifert but is this because its good or because its cheap?

I also picked up Redsea;s ABCD trace colors kit as LFS had a few too many on the order and cut me a deal and had been asking him about iodide dosing. Think i may have jumped the gun a bit on this as im still trying to get a handle on the main params but my understanding is once i get to dosing Calc itll be a 1/10th dose

Ran a few more tests before coming to bed to write this up and ask for help and heres my current parameters and the testers i use for them
Salinity 1.026 refractometer
pH 7.74 to 8.05 apex double checked with Hanna Ph stick
Orp 270-290 apex
Temp 77.4-78,5 apex and inkbird
Nitrate 33,5 hanna
Phosphate 0,06 hanna
Alkalinity 6,2 hanna
Magnesium 1440 redsea
Calcium 462 hanna


Said and done if youve read this wall of text, i appreciate the thoughts you can offer, and if not well its me just explaining my thoughts and mechanisms to be a better reefer.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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I'd boost alk to at least 7 dKH. Baking soda is fine for that.

Nitrate seems high to me and I might look to lower it a bit, but its not an emergency of any sort. Maybe some organic carbon dosing, if you do not want to grow macroalgae.

pH is a bit low in the AM. Higher alk will help a little bit, but fresher air to the simmer or room may solve the issue.

Everything else seems fine.
 
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Rijodan

Rijodan

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organic carbon dosing
So ive read a bit and this is basically dosing tbings like nopox or vodka,vinegar,sugar. Is there an much of an advantage over one or the other? I read a post from back in 19 where you mentioned you used vinegar, and what info ive foind that vodka is the traditional way. While a few mention using sugar its mainly seen as a great way to cause issues.

On the alk side of things i made a solution following brs' guide pf 1 cup 2 tblspn of baking soda in 1g rodi and used a half cup of solution over the day yeaterday to brong my alk back up to 7.1. Crazy how much longer my torches got after that. Plan is to go somewhere in the neighborhood of .7 -.8 a day till im at nine, then hand dose daily for a week before i find average usage and set up my doser.
 
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IslandLifeReef

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So ive read a bit and this is basically dosing tbings like nopox or vodka,vinegar,sugar. Is there an much of an advantage over one or the other? I read a post from back in 19 where you mentioned you used vinegar, and what info ive foind that vodka is the traditional way. While a few mention using sugar its mainly seen as a great way to cause issues.

On the alk side of things i made a solution following brs' guide pf 1 cup 2 tblspn of baking soda in 1g rodi and used a half cup of solution over the day yeaterday to brong my alk back up to 7.1. Crazy how much longer my torches got after that. Plan is to go somewhere in the neighborhood of .7 -.8 a day till im at nine, then hand dose daily for a week before i find average usage and set up my doser.


I agree with @Randy Holmes-Farley, nitrate is a little high. Other than that and Alk, everything looks good. I would try to match your parameters to the salt mix you use for water changes. This will make it easier to match parameters. No need for your Alk to go higher than 8 unless the salt mix you use is significantly higher than 8.
 

arking_mark

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Stability is key.

Everything starts and ends with your water and tank maintenance routines.

For my tanks, I pick a salt that matches my desired levels. In my case, I like parameters closer to natural sea water, so I use TM Pro. By maintaining the salt mix levels, water changes never impact stability.

So I recommend just picking a salt and maintaining those levels.

To maintain parameters, I've automated almost everything from filtration, to monitoring, to dosing.

However, I believe there are only a couple of things needed to maintain stability:
  1. Meaure salinity monthly and replace evaporated water daily to maintain salinity.
  2. Measure Alk weekly and dose balanced Ca/Alk daily based on actual consumption. Ca test kits are notably inaccurate and Ca changes much more slowly. For balanced dosing, I like Kalkwasser and AFR. Kalkwasser gives a nice pH boost and AFR gives trace.
  3. Every 6 months get an ICP test and rebalance Ca/Alk and other elements and ions you believe impact your tank.
  4. For nutrient control, I like heavy in/out. In is food and fish waste where I balance dry (heavier in PO4) and wet (heavier in NO3). Out is mechanical filtration, fuge, Coral, carbon dosing, and Skimmer.
  5. If you want pH stability, which I think can most likely be ignored as long as tank has good aeration, then kalkwasser drip with either a recirculating scrubber/Skimmer combo or Skimmer fed with fresh air.
 
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Rijodan

Rijodan

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Stability is key.
Fully agree and is the end goal.

On the topic of carbon dosing to battle nitrates, does the 1 ml of vodka per 25g rule of thumb still become the standard or better to follow with 7ml of vinegar per 25? With my ph being low as it is, vinegar seems it only exaperate the issue, correct?
 
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arking_mark

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Fully agree and is the end goal.

On the topic of carbon dosing to battle nitrates, does the 1 ml of vodka per 25g rule of thumb still become the standard or better to follow with 7ml of vinegar per 25? With my ph being low as it is, vinegar seems it only exaperate the issue, correct?
In my experience most pH problems are either measurement problems or house air CO2 problems...the latter not being too important unless you are trying to maximize growth. See point 5.

I like DIY NOPOX for carbon dosing...

500ml distilled white vinger
375ml vodka
125ml water
Multimply each number by 4 to equal a gallon. Follow red sea instructions on dosing.
Measured Level (ppm) ....................Daily Dose ml/100 L (25 gal)
NO3 above 10 ---------------------------------------3
NO3 above 2.5, but less than 10 ------------------2
NO3 above 1 but less than 2.5 ---------------------1

I would start with 1/4 of recommended dosing and adjust as your tank responds. You don't want rapid changes. As this works through bacterial growth...you have to give it a little time to kick in...
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Fully agree and is the end goal.

On the topic of carbon dosing to battle nitrates, does the 1 ml of vodka per 25g rule of thumb still become the standard or better to follow with 7ml of vinegar per 25? With my ph being low as it is, vinegar seems it only exaperate the issue, correct?

Viengar can be dosed with no pH drop by adding calcium hydroxide to it.

IMO, I prefer that to dosing vodka, but both work. Vodka also lowers pH, just more slowly.
 
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