How much two part is being wasted?

ss88

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Originally posted this in the sps forum. Another member suggested I post the question here.

Hello all,

How much two part is being wasted?

I have an SPS dominated reef system around 400 gallons in total. Some very large sps colonies. 1' to 2’ in size. Around one month ago I switched to sodium hydroxide from soda ash to get a pH bump. Fast forward, I am now able to maintain a stable pH at 8.3 +- 0.05 and a dKH of 7.4 +-0.20. What I have seen however is an increased precipitation of calcium chloride on the walls of the aquarium and increased sps growth. Definitely does not look like I'm precipitating out pounds of calcium carbonate. Yesterday in total I used around 2700dkh from a combination of sources. I dosed 5000ml ml of fully saturated kalkwasser, 950ml sodium bicarbonate solution and 1350ml of sodium hydroxide solution.

Solutions.
302 grams of BRS sodium bicarbonate per gallon of rodi water.
283 grams of sodium hydroxide per gallon of rodi water.
11 teaspoons of calcium hydroxide per gallon of rodi water.
2.5 cups of BRS calcium chloride per gallon of rodi water.

Before asking, the sodium hydroxide is being delivered to the sump directly in front of a power head.

Back to the question, how much two part am I wasting?

Using this much two part seems like a recipe for water chemistry issues. I do use tropic marin part c.

Should I just turn on the calcium reactor and add a large refugium to help with the pH? The tank is only half way full, I can’t imagine the two part requirements at 100% capacity.

Also, what is the saturation limit for two part additives? Can I double or tipple the amount of calcium chloride, sodium hydroxide or sodium bicarbonate being used per gallon of rodi water? It would be nice to go a few months without mixing new solutions.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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No one can say how much you are "wasting", but precipitation at some level is normal and it rises as pH and alk rise. IF you try to maintain higher pH, the precipitation will be higher.

The best way to assess waste and precipitation is to gauge the dKH consumed per day. If you are not over 2 dKH per day, its not a big concern. If it is above 4 dKH per day, I'd look more closely at changing things unless you have very high coral growth.

My recipes for sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate two parts are designed to be near their solubility limits. There is virtually no practical limit on the NaOH concentration (it can be more solids than water at saturation). Calcium chloride can also be made very concentrated.
 
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ss88

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Randy, thank you for the reply.

Can I use 5X the amount of Calcium chloride per gallon of rodi water?

I can visually see daily growth in the acropora and montipora.

Next question, anyone have a suggestion on source material for Calcium chloride and Sodium hydroxide. Currently I purchase Calcium chloride at $2.5/lb and Sodium hydroxide at $4/lb. Are these competitive prices?
 
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At 20 deg C, the solubility limit of calcium chloride is about 745 grams of anhydrous solids per liter. So yes, 5x works.
 
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ss88

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The best way to assess waste and precipitation is to gauge the dKH consumed per day. If you are not over 2 dKH per day, its not a big concern. If it is above 4 dKH per day, I'd look more closely at changing things unless you have very high coral growth.
Based on this statement, a normal dosage would be 550ml to 1100ml per day of a 283gram/gallon sodium hydroxide solution. I'm way above that when you factor in the sodium bicarbonate. Would you agree it would be advisable to stabilize the pH around 8.2+-.05?
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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Other suggestions to ensure the sodium hydroxide is fully dissolving? The majority of precipitation is at the powerhead location in the sump.

The sodium hydroxide dissolved easily. Local precipitation is magnesium hydroxide at first, which will redissolve, and then calcium carbonate which won’t.

The bicarbonate recipe is half as strong. How many dKH per day are you adding?
 
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ss88

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In the past 24hrs I have dosed 8.12dkh if my calculations are correct. 380 to 400 gallon system.

5000ml fully saturated kalkwasser = 0.43dKH
1350ml sodium bicarbonate = 2.49dKH
1410ml sodium hydroxide = 5.2dKH

Solutions.
302 grams of BRS sodium bicarbonate per gallon of rodi water. 2660 dKH
283 grams of sodium hydroxide per gallon of rodi water. 5300 dKH
11 teaspoons of calcium hydroxide per gallon of rodi water.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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In the past 24hrs I have dosed 8.12dkh if my calculations are correct. 380 to 400 gallon system.

5000ml fully saturated kalkwasser = 0.43dKH
1350ml sodium bicarbonate = 2.49dKH
1410ml sodium hydroxide = 5.2dKH

Solutions.
302 grams of BRS sodium bicarbonate per gallon of rodi water. 2660 dKH
283 grams of sodium hydroxide per gallon of rodi water. 5300 dKH
11 teaspoons of calcium hydroxide per gallon of rodi water.

OK, that does seem excessive. You may need to back off on your pH goals.

Here's my recommendation to break the precipitation cycle. The cycle happens because the precipitate acts as seed crystals for more precipitation, and you need the precipitate to become coated with organics/phosphate, and magnesium to slow or stop it.


1. Stop all efforts to boost pH.
2. Stop dosing alk for a bit and let it decline.
3. Reduce pH by switching to a low pH alk mix like sodium bicarbonate, or a calcium organic such as Tropic Marin All for Reef.
4. Ensure magnesium is normal to high.
5. Keep organics and phosphate on the high side.

After a few days of not dosing alk, restart slowly, adding additives to a very high flow area so it mixes in fast.
 
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ss88

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Thank you for the information.

Magnesium is 1400ppm.

Lowering the pH is not an issue, however I can't really lower the alkalinity as I'm already around 7.2-7.4dKH.
I'll slowly switch over to using more sodium bicarbonate and less kalkwasser+sodium hydroxide.
Really not seeing where the calcium carbonate precipitant sink is, certainly not lbs of precipitant. Visually maybe 200 grams of precipitant on the walls of tank/sump per 3000 grams of calcium chloride used. Perhaps this is an underestimation.


Any others have source suggestions on this?
Next question, anyone have a suggestion on source material for Calcium chloride and Sodium hydroxide. Currently I purchase Calcium chloride at $2.5/lb and Sodium hydroxide at $4/lb. Are these competitive prices?
 
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Randy, I think I should mention that outside of part c, I do not dose magnesium regularly. I would think that its unlikely that a large amount of magnesium is precipitating. Do you agree?
 

tanksoftwiddy

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Randy, I think I should mention that outside of part c, I do not dose magnesium regularly. I would think that its unlikely that a large amount of magnesium is precipitating. Do you agree?
Following. I’m having the same issue. Trying to keep ph up for coral growth, but im crushing two part. I’ve got a 120 gallon mixed reef, I do have a clam, and I am going through 600-700mls of brs soda ash per day. Have you figured anything out?

I will say. I had a kalk overdose a few weeks ago. Is it possible I still have “seeds” just soaking up all my dkh dosing?
 
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I don't think that magnesium preciptiates in the tank at significant levels in most cases. It certainly will not exceed 1/10th of the amount of calcium that precipitates and may be far less.

Magnesium at 1400 ppm is just fine.

It is possible that precipitation is ongoing.
 

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I have the same issue with my tank. I have a 260g tank in which I'm dosing almost 800-900ml of sodium hydroxide and calcium carbonate. My pH was ranging from 8.3-8.5. I switched to soda ash during the day and sodium hydroxide at night, which lowered the pH to 8.2-8.3. However, total volume of additives hasn't really dropped. My biggest issue is fighting the constantly rising salinity. I have to do a weekly 10g water change with RODI, which results in a drop in my Alk, Ca, and Mg (and likely trace elements). What's the best way of mitigating the rising salinity without dropping my major and trace elements? I was thinking of setting up daily 2.6g water changes at a lower salinity. Would that work?
 

tanksoftwiddy

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I have the same issue with my tank. I have a 260g tank in which I'm dosing almost 800-900ml of sodium hydroxide and calcium carbonate. My pH was ranging from 8.3-8.5. I switched to soda ash during the day and sodium hydroxide at night, which lowered the pH to 8.2-8.3. However, total volume of additives hasn't really dropped. My biggest issue is fighting the constantly rising salinity. I have to do a weekly 10g water change with RODI, which results in a drop in my Alk, Ca, and Mg (and likely trace elements). What's the best way of mitigating the rising salinity without dropping my major and trace elements? I was thinking of setting up daily 2.6g water changes at a lower salinity. Would that work?
Hmm…I also battle the salinity issues as well. I literally, 15 minutes ago, I just finished setting up a dos with auto water changes. Good idea on the lower salinity AWC (I think, LOL). I’m sure Randy will be helpful on this. I just switched to sodium bicarbonate and am supplementing with all for reef. Not only is the amount of dosing expensive, but I’m having to switch out my DOS Reservoir every two days. Trying different things.
 
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Hmm…I also battle the salinity issues as well. I literally, 15 minutes ago, I just finished setting up a dos with auto water changes. Good idea on the lower salinity AWC (I think, LOL). I’m sure Randy will be helpful on this. I just switched to sodium bicarbonate and am supplementing with all for reef. Not only is the amount of dosing expensive, but I’m having to switch out my DOS Reservoir every two days. Trying different things.
This was my solution to having to swap out my 1 gallon jars every couple of days. I just made 5 gallons at once.
 

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PeterC99

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Following. I’m having the same issue. Trying to keep ph up for coral growth, but im crushing two part. I’ve got a 120 gallon mixed reef, I do have a clam, and I am going through 600-700mls of brs soda ash per day. Have you figured anything out?

I will say. I had a kalk overdose a few weeks ago. Is it possible I still have “seeds” just soaking up all my dkh dosing?
I had the same precipitation problem and switched to a calcium reactor and supplement with AFR during the day. Use a recirculating CO2 scrubber to keep pH 8.4+. Found Kalk difficult to keep stable.

No more precipitation problems and getting great coral growth.
 

tanksoftwiddy

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I had the same precipitation problem and switched to a calcium reactor and supplement with AFR during the day. Use a recirculating CO2 scrubber to keep pH 8.4+. Found Kalk difficult to keep stable.

No more precipitation problems and getting great coral growth.
Thanks! Very helpful.
I’m hoping I don’t have to make that jump to the calcium reactor, but it seems like it’s heading that way
 
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What's the best way of mitigating the rising salinity without dropping my major and trace elements? I was thinking of setting up daily 2.6g water changes at a lower salinity. Would that work?

Use a complete two part like ESV, or use Balling Part C with a simplified one. Then just swap out a little salt water for ro/di once in a while.
 

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