New Reefer Dosing Questions- Not Sure Where to Start!

machtuck

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After getting absolutely hooked on the hobby, I'm ready to take the plunge into the world of automatic dosing. My end goal is to keep a Maxima clam and maybe delve into hard corals at some point. I do feel like there is a large learning curve to this dosing procedure, and I'm not sure where to start. I'm a buy once, cry once consumer as I've already figured out buying cheap is not the way to go with reefing. I've got a 40 gal Aquatop Recife. My questions are:

1) What dosing pump do people recommend? I'm planning on dosing calcium, magnesium and alkalinity. Do they come as a package with every part that I'll need?
2) Which brand of elements are best for ease of use? I'm looking for the already mixed liquid variety for ease of topping off when necessary (unless they can cause issues)
3) Any recommendations for a newbie beginning the dosing process?

Appreciate the help. I feel like this is my last hurdle before the training wheels start coming off!
 
Zoanthids

redfishbluefish

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First off @machtuck , welcome to Reef2Reef.

I wrote an article on dosing HERE, that might me a good place to start with the chemistry.

Now, as far as equipment, there are a number of plug-n-play dosing pump units that do it all. I'll leave that to others to comment and actually call in the #reefsquad to comment as well. I'm more old school and purchased "dumb" peristaltic pumps that need a timing device to tell them how long to dose. So I have BRS 1.1 dosing pumps that are controlled by a controller (A ReefKeeper II). I only dose alk and calc, each three times a day. Magnesium is needed so infrequently that I do that manually, when needed.

As far as brand, they are all pretty much the same....some a little "stronger" than others, but very similar. If you have a large tank, I do know B-Ionic sells 5 gallon buckets that hold 4 gallons of alk or calc. Otherwise, any one will work just fine. If you read the linked article above, you'll see the chemistry is fairly simple.

Advice for a newbie....get familiar and comfortable with testing. Initially, you'll be testing frequently, and in some cases twice a day, or more. When you have dialed in your dose, you'll find you can back off on testing, especially if you're not adding more hard corals/clams frequently.
 

alxrosco

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I purchased a month ago the new dosing pump from Red Sea and I really liked it. Another option would the Versa from Ecotech, but it is double the price, and have been out of stock for months. Those are my choices. In regards to the 2 part I have used ESV for years. For trace elements I use Red Sea, but there are four bottles, so I dose it manually.
 

Gtinnel

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1. I had been using the cheap kamoer x1 dosing pumps in the past and they are really nice for the price, but if you are looking for better quality pumps I would get either neptune dos, ghl, or ecotech versa pumps. I have been using the dos and love it. If you are planning on getting an aquarium controller (neptune apex or ghl at least) I'd get the dosing pumps that are from that company. With the dos pumps you have to have a apex and for ghl they make slave pumps that require the controller but they also make standalone pumps that do not require it.

2. I know you said you want to use the pre mixed liquid but I use baking soda from the grocery store for alk and calcium chloride from BRS. Making your own liquid from those 2 powders is incredibly easy and you can make a few large batches and store it as liquid in gallon jugs (or bigger if you want) until you are ready to use it. The hardest part is that I bake the baking soda in the oven before mixing it into the water. For calcium you literally just measure out the powder and add it to a gallon of water and shake the jug to mix it.

3. When starting out measure your alk/calcium everyday at the same time of day and after a few days determine how quickly you are loosing alk. You can then enter your tank, type of liquid you'll be dosing, and how much alkalinity you need to maintain a certain level into an online calculator and it will tell you what your dosage should be. Start dosing a little lower than what the calculator says and continue to test at the same time each day. Increase the amount to dose slightly every few days until alk stays where you want it. Always just dose an equal amount of calcium. The key is to test a lot when first starting out.
 
BRS

SPR1968

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Hi and welcome to R2R!

On my S650 I use a Kamoer 4 channel dosing pump and these aren’t the cheapest but it’s very reliable and been faultless. There are others depending on budget etc.

For several years I used Red Sea additives for alkalinity etc. But as already said you can make your own for pennies. I changed over to my own versions in February 2021 and it’s made no difference. Here’s the post I made and details


If you need anything else just ask.
 

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