New DIY Two Part Recipes with Higher pH Boost

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Here's a first crack at what may end up being multiple possible recipes for a DIY two part that either has a higher pH or can be made more concentrated than traditional two part recipes. This one has about twice the pH raising effect compared to a carbonate based two part, per unit of alkalinity or calcium added. Note that I have neither made nor used this recipe. I fully expect it to work, but first adopters will be guinea pigs. :D

Note that the formation of some cloudiness of magnesium hydroxide is expected when the alk part hits the water (as carbonate versions also do). That is OK since it redissolves on mixing in more. But since the local pH is higher, there may be more chance for local precipitation of calcium carbonate, which is not optimal since it may waste additive (but otherwise is not a huge problem, IMO). To reduce this chance, add slowly to a very high flow area.

This first one is based on Jim Welsh's version of a DIY two part:

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/switching-from-brs-to-esv-b-ionic-what-should-i-expect-to-change.215171/#post-2466696

Jim's recipe (with some text added by me):

Part 1 - The Calcium and Magnesium Part
Dissolve 500 g of calcium chloride dihydrate plus 261.2 g of magnesium chloride hexahydrate in enough water to make a total volume of one gallon.

Part 2 - The Alkalinity and Sulfate Part
Dissolve 374.7 g of sodium carbonate (594 g of baking soda that has been baked; = 3.535 moles of sodium carbonate) plus 68.7 g of sodium sulfate in enough water to make a total volume of one gallon.

This recipe is the same strength as Randy's Recipe #1 (e.g., BRS). To make these two parts with the same strength as B-Ionic, then multiply the amounts of the salts by 1.5 (but note dissolving the carbonate can become challenging).​

The sodium hydroxide version:

Part 1 - The Calcium and Magnesium Part
Dissolve 500 g of calcium chloride dihydrate plus 261.2 g of magnesium chloride hexahydrate in enough water to make a total volume of one gallon.

Part 2 - The Alkalinity and Sulfate Part
Dissolve 282.8 g of sodium hydroxide (=7.07 moles of sodium hydroxide to match the 3.535 moles of sodium carbonate in alkalinity) plus 68.7 g of sodium sulfate in enough water to make a total volume of one gallon. BE CAREFUL WITH THIS SOLUTION: IT HAS A pH ABOVE 14. Do not get it in your eyes or on your skin.

This recipe is the same strength as Randy's Recipe #1 (e.g., BRS). To make these two parts with the same strength as B-Ionic, then multiply the amounts of the salts by 1.5. This version can readily be made more concentrated, if that is a goal.​
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Servillius

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Woohooo! Thanks Randy.

My back of the envelope estimation tells me I can go to about four to five times the strength of two part before I’m pushing my luck trying to dissolve more Calcium Chloride. Am I wildly off?
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Woohooo! Thanks Randy.

My back of the envelope estimation tells me I can go to about four to five times the strength of two part before I’m pushing my luck trying to dissolve more Calcium Chloride. Am I wildly off?
I'm not sure which ingredient will limit the concentration first since all are very soluble, and it may be how the alk part interacts with the tank water that is more of a concern than the actual solubility limit.
 

Servillius

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I'm not sure which ingredient will limit the concentration first since all are very soluble, and it may be how the alk part interacts with the tank water that is more of a concern than the actual solubility limit.
Fair,

I’ll experiment at ESV level then go up from there.
 

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Thanks Heaps Randy...I will try as soon as I can get thru Xmas ...looking fwd to the pH effect.
Have a good Xmas from us here is Aust..............John
 

Mindi

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Question....the 282.8 gms NaOH ...what form.?/ can it be bought as flakes..? Keen to trial this now that I have a stable usage of recipe 1 to compare with.
 
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redfishbluefish

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Thanks Randy (and Jim)for this new recipe. Randy, I've been using your DIY recipe since 2007. My alk and calc are dosed using dosing pumps, but being a lazy procrastinator, I've struggled maintaining mag. I'm usually dumping loads over a couple days when I realize it's too low. Hopefully this new recipe will put me back on track maintaining being a lazy procrastinator. :D
 

Cory

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How would this ph raising effect differ from calcium hydroxide?
 

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Cool!! Just ordered everything to try this out. I've been running Randy's 2 part for a long time, should be easy to make the change. I also like the idea of combining the Mag and Cal parts to make keeping up with Mag easier. I should have ingredients soon (holiday shipping), and will report results of this new "blend". Thank you Randy!!!
 

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Will the sodium hydroxide version raise pH more than Jim's version?

Any reason not to use these versions along with a calcium reactor?

How do these recipes compare to kalkwasser in terms of raising pH?
 
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FunkEngine

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Will the sodium hydroxide version raise pH more than Jim's version?
It will, for a given alkalinity increase/dose. Hydroxide > carbonate > bicarbonate.

Any reason not to use these versions along with a calcium reactor?
I'm not super well versed with calcium reactors and how people usually run them, but I don't see these being detrimental to each other, just that you won't be using as much of either. You'll also pick up the disadvantage of 2 part in that your overall salt will rise over time. I'd consider combining kalk instead since salt remains basically unchanged and the two methods compliment the other's shortcomings (low pH, and additions limited by evaporation).

How do these recipes compare to kalkwasser in terms of raising pH?
The hydroxide 2 part would for a given alkalinity dose be basically the same, but can be more concentrated so you can add more of it for a given amount of evaporation.
 

WWIII

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Does the purity of the calcium chloride dihydrate affect the recipe any? If the source we use lists the purity, would that change how much goes into the gallon?
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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Does the purity of the calcium chloride dihydrate affect the recipe any? If the source we use lists the purity, would that change how much goes into the gallon?
Yes. Jim's recipe and this one assumed we are using calcium chloride dihydrate. Since those two water molecules (the dihydrate) weigh a lot, it is only ~76% calcium chloride (Dow lists it as about 77-80% as the hydration levels are not exact in such a product). If you use a higher percentage than about 77%, use proportionally less.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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What is the strategy for improving the solubility of sodium carbonate?

Sanjay
I'm not sure I understand. The only possibility I am aware of is heating the liquid slightly to about 40 deg C (no higher or the solubility drops again). There is no sodium carbonate in the new recipe. :)
 
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