Precipitation event advice

Adam1985

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Hi all,

I’m setting up my new tank. I was adjusting Ca up to target (was planning to do KH later) and dosed the wrong thing. Instead of Ca/Mg/Sr I added a large amount NaOH/Sulphate. This is Randy’s high pH 2-part. I’ll label the bottles better going forward.

pH went through the roof and the tank is milky white due to precipitation as would be expected.

My question is, will this dissolve back into solution or do I need to drain and redo.

I believe it will not go back into solution easily and I’d better drain the tank and make new water, but wanted to get your feedback too.

Fortunately no life in the tank yet aside from some live rock which I’ve moved back to the old tank while I resolve this issue. I’ll drain it if needed but it will be over a bucket of salt wasted plus all that RO/DI.

Thanks,

Adam
 
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arking_mark

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It turned into CaCO3 which is insoluble at tank pH levels.

You can just let it settle...no harm to the tank.

I recommend you use a quality salt which matches your desired parameters and not tinker. In this way, you can easily maintain stability with water changes.

Also, adjusting Ca based on our hobby grade testing isn't advised. Most tests aren't any better than +/- 20ppm. Also, as Ca is much more abundant in our tanks...it's levels aren't as important. A 21ppm drop would coincide with a 3dKH drop in Alkalinity which we can measure much more precisely.

So as long as your using a quality salt and replacing Alk/Ca based on Alk consumption...you should be in a good place.

If this is a new tank, you shouldn't need to supplement for a couple months. You may see a slight dip in Alk when Ntrates come up getting your cycle started...but will then go back up as the nitrates are consumed. You may also see Alk/Ca consumed from abiotic precipitation. This typically happens more at higher pH levels.
 
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Adam1985

Adam1985

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It turned into CaCO3 which is insoluble at tank pH levels.

You can just let it settle...no harm to the tank.

I recommend you use a quality salt which matches your desired parameters and not tinker. In this way, you can easily maintain stability with water changes.

Also, adjusting Ca based on our hobby grade testing isn't advised. Most tests aren't any better than +/- 20ppm. Also, as Ca is much more abundant in our tanks...it's levels aren't as important. A 21ppm drop would coincide with a 3dKH drop in Alkalinity which we can measure much more precisely.

So as long as your using a quality salt and replacing Alk/Ca based on Alk consumption...you should be in a good place.

If this is a new tank, you shouldn't need to supplement for a couple months. You may see a slight dip in Alk when Ntrates come up getting your cycle started...but will then go back up as the nitrates are consumed. You may also see Alk/Ca consumed from abiotic precipitation. This typically happens more at higher pH levels.

Thanks Mark. I actually knew this was the case but wanted confirmation somehow (or sympathy haha).

The tank is new but it’s a transfer from my very full existing tank. Actually once I move the contents over I was planning to maintain the dosing at the same levels as the existing tank, and then adjust up or down based on measured consumption.

You think it’s best to not dose at all after the transfer?

As for the salt, you’re right. I’m just hesitant to change. Have been using TM Pro Reef for 16 years and always have added buffer to get KH up and later Ca. Bit tired of the tinkering though.
 

arking_mark

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Thanks Mark. I actually knew this was the case but wanted confirmation somehow (or sympathy haha).

The tank is new but it’s a transfer from my very full existing tank. Actually once I move the contents over I was planning to maintain the dosing at the same levels as the existing tank, and then adjust up or down based on measured consumption.

You think it’s best to not dose at all after the transfer?

As for the salt, you’re right. I’m just hesitant to change. Have been using TM Pro Reef for 16 years and always have added buffer to get KH up and later Ca. Bit tired of the tinkering though.

I use TM pro as is.

If it's a transfer...you probably want to match existing parameters to maintain stability. If you want to adjust those parameters then do it with normal water changes over time.
 
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Adam1985

Adam1985

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Thanks Mark. Maybe I’ll also start using as is; how’s your growth using TM Pro Reef with no KH adjustment?

You’re point about matching parameters for the transfer; you hit the hammer on the head as I was trying to get KH up to match the existing tank. I was aiming to get from 7.5 after mixing to 9.5-10 (current tank running slightly under 10; 9.8 dKH on last measurement. Now my new tank is fubar.

Couple of pics taken just now, now about 6 hours post mistake. Still a ton of CaCO3 in suspension. The roller filter seems to be pulling it out as it’s advancing new material at least once per minute. But it’s hard to tell how much is being pulled out.

So could you (and others are very welcome) comment on these questions?

1. You for sure would or would not drain and make new water? Trace should still all be fine?
2. How long do you think it’ll take for it to clear?
3. Do you know of any saltwater flocculants to speed up the removal?


Thanks Mark and all.

Adam
 
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Adam1985

Adam1985

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Thanks Mark. Maybe I’ll also start using as is; how’s your growth using TM Pro Reef with no KH adjustment?

You’re point about matching parameters for the transfer; you hit the hammer on the head as I was trying to get KH up to match the existing tank. I was aiming to get from 7.5 after mixing to 9.5-10 (current tank running slightly under 10; 9.8 dKH on last measurement. Now my new tank is fubar.

Couple of pics taken just now, now about 6 hours post mistake. Still a ton of CaCO3 in suspension. The roller filter seems to be pulling it out as it’s advancing new material at least once per minute. But it’s hard to tell how much is being pulled out.

So could you (and others are very welcome) comment on these questions?

1. You for sure would or would not drain and make new water? Trace should still all be fine?
2. How long do you think it’ll take for it to clear?
3. Do you know of any saltwater flocculants to speed up the removal?


Thanks Mark and all.

Adam
 

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arking_mark

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Thanks Mark. Maybe I’ll also start using as is; how’s your growth using TM Pro Reef with no KH adjustment?

You’re point about matching parameters for the transfer; you hit the hammer on the head as I was trying to get KH up to match the existing tank. I was aiming to get from 7.5 after mixing to 9.5-10 (current tank running slightly under 10; 9.8 dKH on last measurement. Now my new tank is fubar.

Couple of pics taken just now, now about 6 hours post mistake. Still a ton of CaCO3 in suspension. The roller filter seems to be pulling it out as it’s advancing new material at least once per minute. But it’s hard to tell how much is being pulled out.

So could you (and others are very welcome) comment on these questions?

1. You for sure would or would not drain and make new water? Trace should still all be fine?
2. How long do you think it’ll take for it to clear?
3. Do you know of any saltwater flocculants to speed up the removal?


Thanks Mark and all.

Adam

Personally, if the tank was small enough, I'd just replace the water. Otherwise, I'd wait till it clears (it shouldn't take more than a couple days) then adjust the parameters. If Ca was in a good ballpark (>350) I'd just adjust Alk to match incoming tank parameters. CaCO3 is used as a flocculent...so you're tank should be crystal clear when it settles. ;)
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Treat it like a limewater overdose, except calcium will have dropped too:

What is that Precipitate in My Reef Aquarium? by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com

Precipitates from Overdosing Limewater
When limewater is substantially overdosed, the transient precipitation of magnesium hydroxide from normal use may not be the only precipitate that forms. If the pH becomes elevated and stays that way long enough, calcium carbonate can precipitate throughout the water column. In such situations, the entire aquarium can become very cloudy, looking almost like skim milk (Figures 9 and 10). Such precipitation events have the beneficial effect of lowering the pH and alkalinity that were raised by the overdose, limiting the ongoing damage that takes place. In many cases, there is no apparent harm after a day or two, but in a few rare cases, when the overdose was especially extensive, a tank crash can occur, killing many organisms.

The following important points should help in dealing with a limewater overdose:

1. Don't panic! These overdoses do not usually cause a tank to crash.

2. The primary concern is pH. If the pH is 8.6 or lower, you need not do anything. If the pH is above 8.6, then reducing the pH is the priority. Direct addition of vinegar or soda water is a good way to accomplish this goal. Either one mL of distilled white vinegar, or six mL of soda water, per gallon of tank water will give an initial pH drop of about 0.3 pH units. Add either to a high flow area that is away from organisms (e.g., a sump).

3. Do not bother to measure calcium or alkalinity while the tank is cloudy. The solid calcium carbonate particles will dissolve in an alkalinity test, and all of the carbonate in them will be counted as if it were in solution and part of "alkalinity." The same may happen to some extent with calcium tests. Wait until the water clears, and at that point, alkalinity is more likely to be low than high. Calcium will likely be mostly unchanged.

4. The particles themselves will typically settle out and disappear from view over a period of 1-4 days. They do not appear to cause long term detrimental effects to tank organisms.

5. Water changes are not necessarily beneficial or needed in response to a limewater overdose.
 
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Adam1985

Adam1985

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Thank you guys. Ended up taking a week of cleaning and filtering to clear most of the precipitate out. One of the larger messes I’ve made. New system is around 200 g, so not a piece of cake to replace the water.
 

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