kalk in ato without ph controller?

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

  1. Justfebreezeit

    Justfebreezeit Active Member

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    I have a tunze osmolator and I've started to dabble into lps.

    That being said I've done a ton of reading and figure kalk in the ato was the easiest way to maintain my levels.

    Im worried the ato will get stuck on and ph fry my tank. Has anyone had this problem? Does anyone run kalk in the ato without a controller?
     
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  2. Emery

    Emery Active Member

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    I actually just bought an avast kalk stirrer and an avast 2 part peralsaltic dosing pump (2.4 ml per minute, about a gallon a day). In my setup, it’ll drip 24/7 and be a little less than my evaporation rate. My tunze ATO will run separately and kick on and keep up with whatever the drip can’t evaporation wise. If you evaporate more than a gallon a day, while dripping the kalk thru the reactor 24/7 with the peralsaltic pump you won’t have to worry about an over dose. Plus the stability will be better with a drip rather than a burst of about a gallon or so worth of kalk.
     
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  3. Finhead

    Finhead Active Member

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    I used to use Kalk in my ATO for all my top off 24/7 for my Nano tank, I used a Aqualifter and never had a issue. I cleaned the lifter every 2-3 months by running vinegar through it for 5 min or so. You'll only be able to use Kalk up to a certain point unless all your keeping is softies and LPS though.
     
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  4. Justfebreezeit

    Justfebreezeit Active Member

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    True, that would be ideal if I was willing the spend more money! My tank is only a 20g and the evaporation rate isnt terrible.

    Ok this is good to hear, yeah I might keep a monti cap in there eventually but im really just trying to keep frogspawn, hammers, and acans. (as far as lps). My tank is a 20g nuvo and i do 3-4g water changes weekly. This was enough to keep corals alive in the past, sps and lps, but definitly not grow them at any noticeable rate. So im looking for kalk to pick up the slack.
     
  5. Salt1972

    Salt1972 Active Member

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    I started Kalk on 12/26 in our 125g after using 2 part to increase Alk & Ca levels to target. I quickly found that even with only Duncan's, Frogspawn, GSP, & Torches (and a small red setosa frag), that kalk could not begin to keep up with the demands. Even with the kalk, our tank is depleting 1.3dKH per day. I'm a neophyte. Our situation may not correspond at all to yours. As I've read on R2R, many people successfully use kalk to maintain levels, but, from my limited perspective, it's falling well short of demands in our system. The good news is that it's cheap and you've not much to lose for trying it... But, we ordered 2 part and a dosing system within the week.

    With regard to the Ph... we don't have a graphing monitor so we may have fluctuations, but it's been 8.1-8.3 at every test at varying times.
     
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  6. Flippers4pups

    Flippers4pups Fins up since 1993 R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    I have used kalkwasser in my ATO's for decades. I've always tried to adhere to a rule that "The ATO reservoir total volume can't be larger than the systems ability to hold that volume. "

    What's in my ATO totally filled, if dumped all at once, would fit in my sump without overflowing.

    So yes, years and years ago I had a mechanical float valve stick open and dump all of the kalkwasser in my ATO into my system. Came home to a tank of "milk water". Believe it or not, everything survived, fish coral, inverts.

    I did a large water change that cleared up the water collum a little and the next day I had very clear water. Precipitation was on everything like snow and I vacuumed out all I could.

    Here's a good read on this:

    http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-07/rhf/index.htm
     
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  7. Justfebreezeit

    Justfebreezeit Active Member

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    hmm I hope that doesn't end up being the case for me as i'd rather not have to get dosing pumps and set up the 2 part system. (sounds like i might have to though). Luckily all my lps at the moment are frag sized so im hoping kalk can grow them out at least for a half a year. I appreciate this perspective though as I never really considered kalk would fall short in a non sps dominant tank.



    This makes alot of sense and i'll probably not fill my reservoir all the way up anymore if i go with kalk. Thanks for that tip.

    Its also great to hear everything survived even after a full dump in. That is what worried me the most. So the worst case is that happens to me and I can do 100% water change (20 gal aint to bad).



    Thanks for all the info guys and i'll read that article as well.
     
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  8. Justfebreezeit

    Justfebreezeit Active Member

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    New idea, What if I put the ato on a timer (digital, 8 set point) to only come for 1 minute at a time 8 times a day.

    Possibly to much in short bursts? I might experiment with that.
     
  9. Flippers4pups

    Flippers4pups Fins up since 1993 R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    As long as the timer doesn't fail or mess up. I know you put money in your ATO system, but for me, I've always had consistent and reliable performance from my autotopoff.com electronic float switch systems over the years. It's the only ATO switch I'll use.
     
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  10. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

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    This is how I run my ATO, although I don't have any calcium hydroxide in the water. I set a timer to run a peristaltic pump for a certain number of seconds every hour, every day. The evaporation needs change with the season sometimes, but it's usually not significant. I have dosed calcium hydroxide using this system and it worked fine. I would not attempt this unless your ATO pump was a peristaltic pump. You also ideally should have a timer with enough resolution that it will allow you to set the on/off time in seconds.
     
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  11. 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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    I’d use a pH controller as an emergency dosing stop rather that try to actually control anything. I’d set it around pH 8.6.

    That said, I dosed limewater for 20 years in my ato without one. I had some overdoses, usually caused by sucking lime mud into the doser. Turned the tank white a few times, but never lost anything.
     
  12. Justfebreezeit

    Justfebreezeit Active Member

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    Perfect. That was my question with the controller. To use it as a fail safe, not to actually try to monitor ph besides that. I suppose I wasn't very clear. Thanks!


    Thanks!

    Very true. My intention was to still let the optical sensor control the actual water level and use the timer as a fail safe shut off. Thanks for the info though that does make sense.
     
  13. rkpetersen

    rkpetersen Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2018

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    I also make sure that my ATO reservoir won't overflow my sump if dumped acutely. I'm not using kalk but am considering adding some to my 2 part dosing. Did you happen to have measurements of your pH and alkalinity before and right after this event? I'm pretty sure half my SPS corals would immediately RTN if something like this happened in my tank (but I'd rather not test that theory.)
     
  14. terri_ann

    terri_ann Well-Known Member

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    A friend has run kalk in her topoff since her alk demand started. Her tank is over 20yrs now and she continues to use kalk along with 2part for her sps dominate tank. Keep everything maintained and you shp uld be ok.
     
  15. tony'stank

    tony'stank Member

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    I have used kalwasser in my ATO for 4 years. When I used the Tunze osmolator I had to replace the pump every 6 months. The Tunze pump uses a rubber diaphragm and the kale damaged it. I now use an Icecap ATO that has an impeller pump. I have had no problems with it for the past year
     
  16. MaiReef

    MaiReef Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I use the Two Little fishes Kalkstirrer 300 attached to my ATO. Never had a problem.
     
  17. rkpetersen

    rkpetersen Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2018

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    Can I ask - How much kalk are you using per gallon of water? And at that concentration, do you get a lot of precipitate or surface crust?
     
  18. rkpetersen

    rkpetersen Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2018

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    That's interesting. I wonder if I could even leave that standing inside my ATO reservoir? (I have no additional room under my tank.) Does your ATO pump have any difficulty pushing water through that and the tubing to your sump?
     
  19. trio91

    trio91 NJRC (New Jersey Reefers Club) R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor NJRC Member

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    I've used Kalk in my system from the start and haven't gone any other route since. Originally I was at a 1x tsp per gallon ratio and my reservoir is a 2gal ceral container. My tank is a 34gal AIO

    I switched salt brands and noticed a spike in my Alk and have since toned down my dosage to 1x tsp per 2 gallons of water (went from IORC to AF)

    I was running a smart ato for my top off for a while without any major kalk issues (except for the kalk choking my ato pump from time to time but a quick cleaning fixed that) Now, I'm running the neptune ATK which goes from under the stand, into the rear chamber of my tank without any Kalk related issues.

    I don't have a PH monitor on my system
     
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