Raising alk ?

sharkbait-uhaha

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So recently I been trying to really get into a rhythm of testing and doing things “right” on my 10g this time around. But with that being said, I have noticed my alk seems a bit on the lower end to my liking. Currently it’s sitting at around 7.2dkh and would like to raise it to AT LEAST 8dkh .

I do 10-20% water changes once every other week as i had low phosphate ( 0 ppm ) and barely any nitrate ( 1.2ppm ) when doing it weekly. I also had to feed reef roids once a week to even get any phosphates detected when testing .

Salt being used is tropic marine pro reef

Tank parameters are as followed

Phosphate - 0.09 ppm ( Hanna checker )
Nitrate - 10.1 ppm (Hanna checker )
Calcium - 475 ppm ( salifert )
Magnesium - 1470 ppm ( aquaforest )
Salinity 1.026/35 ish ppt (Amazon refractometer)
Salinity 33.7 ppt ( Hanna salinity / temp checker )

So now my question is how do I raise alk without raising calcium , everywhere I look says to raise both alk and calcium together ( 2 part ) but my calcium is already on the high side and I just need to bump up alk a bit.

Would I be able to just dose alk till it reaches my desired target and then after dose All For Reed to keep things stable ?
 

VintageReefer

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Are you currently dosing / adding 2 part or anything that could affect calcium or alkalinity?

To raise alk alone you can just use kitchen baking soda for as needed corrections. There are calculators online

Also, very common for people to need to raise one by itself. It doesn’t always have to be done together. Sometimes things get off balance, sometimes one is consumed more than the other.

I agree with your instinct to raise it. Plenty of people say dkh in the 7’s is ok but in my tank, anytime my alk drops below 8, I notice it in my corals.

Aim for 8.5 so you have room for a little drop and time to react
 
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sharkbait-uhaha

sharkbait-uhaha

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Are you currently dosing / adding 2 part or anything that could affect calcium or alkalinity?

To raise alk alone you can just use kitchen baking soda for as needed corrections. There are calculators online
Nope, not dosing anything at the moment just simple bi weekly water changes .. and I have tested calcium 2-3 times in the same sitting with the same result !

I’ll have to do some research on baking soda for sure .
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Nope, not dosing anything at the moment just simple bi weekly water changes .. and I have tested calcium 2-3 times in the same sitting with the same result !

I’ll have to do some research on baking soda for sure .

Baking soda is the best recommendation for this first dose. Don’t be tricked into thinking that a hobby product would be better.

That said, 7 d KH is fine, and a balanced calcium and alk method used to raise alk by 0.8 dKH to 8 dKH will only boost calcium by about 5 ppm. It’s a good habit to get into if you begin to frequently need alk dosing.

Calcium is fine at 400-550 ppm.
 

GARRIGA

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AFR based on Calcium Formate which requires bacteria to process and release alkalinity as I understood Lou and he also believes that corals might be taking that directly. This I believe explains why dosing AFR has an in balance in what one expected vs had they sold typical two part based on sodium chloride. Therefore if one doses based on calcium it might show lower alkalinity and why if I stick with going with AFR I’ll do it based on calcium and not be as concerned with alkalinity. I’m also carbon dosing and utilizing a Fuge/ATS thereby will be converting the base list during nitrification back to alkalinity.

If you’re going water changes without carbon dosing then you’re throwing alkalinity out in a fight to reduce nitrates by manual removal. I’d rather dose carbon and get those nitrates converted back to replacing that lost base and reducing the need to add alkalinity artificially. As I understand corals. They take in alkalinity and calcium in equal ratios to what two part adds.

I’m noting the above. Sodium based products such as soda ash or baking soda will increase alkalinity but then there will be an increase of sodium without corresponding chloride when using calcium formate products as a two part. Guessing water changes will help reduce that but likely at some point there’s a tipping point where that added isn’t getting diluted fast enough.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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AFR based on Calcium Formate which requires bacteria to process and release alkalinity as I understood Lou and he also believes that corals might be taking that directly. This I believe explains why dosing AFR has an in balance in what one expected vs had they sold typical two part based on sodium chloride. Therefore if one doses based on calcium it might show lower alkalinity and why if I stick with going with AFR I’ll do it based on calcium and not be as concerned with alkalinity. I’m also carbon dosing and utilizing a Fuge/ATS thereby will be converting the base list during nitrification back to alkalinity.

If you’re going water changes without carbon dosing then you’re throwing alkalinity out in a fight to reduce nitrates by manual removal. I’d rather dose carbon and get those nitrates converted back to replacing that lost base and reducing the need to add alkalinity artificially. As I understand corals. They take in alkalinity and calcium in equal ratios to what two part adds.

I’m noting the above. Sodium based products such as soda ash or baking soda will increase alkalinity but then there will be an increase of sodium without corresponding chloride when using calcium formate products as a two part. Guessing water changes will help reduce that but likely at some point there’s a tipping point where that added isn’t getting diluted fast enough.

Not sure how the complications of AFR relates to this thread, but I agree it is complicated, and I just have a different opinion than you (and Lou) on how to best control AFR dosing. I'm happy to expand on that, but unless the OP wants to use AFR, that seems unnecessary here.

I will address the sodium comment, that is, IMO, carried to an unwarranted extreme.

Sodium ion in 35 ppt seawater is about 10,800 ppm. If you boost alk from 7.2 dKh to 8 dkh using sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), that adds enough sodium to boost sodium from 10,800 ppm to 10,806 ppm. That would boost salinity from 35.000 ppt to 35.006 ppt, or a sg change from 1.026400 to 1.026405. There is no reef tank anywhere that controls sodium or salinity anywhere close to that variation.
 

GARRIGA

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Not sure how the complications of AFR relates to this thread, but I agree it is complicated, and I just have a different opinion than you (and Lou) on how to best control AFR dosing. I'm happy to expand on that, but unless the OP wants to use AFR, that seems unnecessary here.

I will address the sodium comment, that is, IMO, carried to an unwarranted extreme.

Sodium ion in 35 ppt seawater is about 10,800 ppm. If you boost alk from 7.2 dKh to 8 dkh using sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), that adds enough sodium to boost sodium from 10,800 ppm to 10,806 ppm. That would boost salinity from 35.000 ppt to 35.006 ppt, or a sg change from 1.026400 to 1.026405. There is no reef tank anywhere that controls sodium or salinity anywhere close to that variation.
OP mentioned he doses AFR and why I brought it up.

As for the sodium then why do we care about the Balling Method? I'm not a chemist. I'm just going off the fact excess sodium and chloride eventually needs balancing. Plus we assume he's going to be only raising dkh by 0.8 and won't be adding chloride since he's dosing at the moment AFR.

Reason I feel AFR should be dosed off calcium being that if what Lou mentions is correct as to lag and possibility that corals take alkalinity direct as formate then calcium will rise excessively and it bares that out based on the fact many report that actually happening and I'm just thinking it's more likely they base dosage off alkalinity that lags vs calcium which in AFR determines how much magnesium and trace is added. Latter another reason I feel strongly towards going off calcium.

Not in any way challenging your knowledge but wouldn't Lou be better prepared to speak directly to calcium formate being that's their product or did they get it wrong or perhaps just marketing. Not being a chemist. I'm seeing conflicting views between you and Lou and based on how he's explained the conversion of calcium formate to alkalinity makes more sense to me that it does lag and might actually be taken directly by corals. Where am I wrong on that or the assumption excess sodium will at some point possibly lead to adding chloride to later balance the excess sodium as I know of no means to otherwise dilute that excess sodium. You seem to take on the assumption that for the OP he's adding sodium chloride based two part yet he specifically says he is doing AFR.

Could be I completely misunderstood the need for Balling but it would seem some do have excess sodium and likely an event to happen in the future for the OP as his tank matures and life removes more alkalinity thereby it might not stay at just an additional 0.8 dkh to balance.

I'm genuinely curious to where my assumptions are wrong because this is the method I'll be employing and see no valid reason that those using AFR won't encounter the issues I pointed out by using sodium based solutions in a dosing regiment lacking chloride. Does the accumulation of sodium alone not matter? I don't know.

In addition, wouldn't carbon dosing not possibly solve the OP's issue as it would return lost base during nitrification vs throwing nitrates out?

Was I wrong in assuming that corals take in equal parts alkalinity to calcium as two part adds it? Thereby removing that which lowers alkalinity would help reduce the need for adding sodium based solutions by not removing Nitrates now not allowed to be converted through carbon or algae.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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OK, I did not get from what he wrote that he was already using AFR, but if he is, or if he wants to use AFR, he should just dose more AFR based on alk and the problem is solved.

The calcium rise for his desired 0.8 dKH boost to alk is so small (5 ppm) that he won't even detect it and there's no reason to worry about it.

The excess sodium and chloride that may accumulate with some two parts can be an issue long term. it is not an issue for this very early in the tank life one time correction.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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I'm genuinely curious to where my assumptions are wrong because this is the method I'll be employing and see no valid reason that those using AFR won't encounter the issues I pointed out by using sodium based solutions in a dosing regiment lacking chloride. Does the accumulation of sodium alone not matter? I don't know.

There's no scenario where sodium can accumulate alone. There is always a near perfect charge balance between positive and negatively charged ions.

If you regularly dose sodium bicarbonate and nothing else, you just do not see the balancing ion effects, such as the decline in calcium.
 

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OK, I did not get from what he wrote that he was already using AFR, but if he is, or if he wants to use AFR, he should just dose more AFR based on alk and the problem is solved.

The calcium rise for his desired 0.8 dKH boost to alk is so small (5 ppm) that he won't even detect it and there's no reason to worry about it.

The excess sodium and chloride that may accumulate with some two parts can be an issue long term. it is not an issue for this very early in the tank life one time correction.
My point with everything is looking down the road when it might become a problem. Why I'm cautious about adding more sodium as a practice now that might become later a concern and if OP continues down the path of AFR and sodium based alkalinity supplement then at no point will there be chloride introduced. Is excess sodium in itself an issue? By default, I tend to assume excess anything is bad including oxygen.
 

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There's no scenario where sodium can accumulate alone. There is always a near perfect charge balance between positive and negatively charged ions.

If you regularly dose sodium bicarbonate and nothing else, you just do not see the balancing ion effects, such as the decline in calcium.
Didn't see this. Doesn't make sense but good to know it's not a concern as been rattling my head thinking of how I would solve alkalinity should it be a concern since I won't be performing water changes or adding any form of chloride.
 

Pntbll687

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So recently I been trying to really get into a rhythm of testing and doing things “right” on my 10g this time around. But with that being said, I have noticed my alk seems a bit on the lower end to my liking. Currently it’s sitting at around 7.2dkh and would like to raise it to AT LEAST 8dkh .

I do 10-20% water changes once every other week as i had low phosphate ( 0 ppm ) and barely any nitrate ( 1.2ppm ) when doing it weekly. I also had to feed reef roids once a week to even get any phosphates detected when testing .

Salt being used is tropic marine pro reef

Tank parameters are as followed

Phosphate - 0.09 ppm ( Hanna checker )
Nitrate - 10.1 ppm (Hanna checker )
Calcium - 475 ppm ( salifert )
Magnesium - 1470 ppm ( aquaforest )
Salinity 1.026/35 ish ppt (Amazon refractometer)
Salinity 33.7 ppt ( Hanna salinity / temp checker )

So now my question is how do I raise alk without raising calcium , everywhere I look says to raise both alk and calcium together ( 2 part ) but my calcium is already on the high side and I just need to bump up alk a bit.

Would I be able to just dose alk till it reaches my desired target and then after dose All For Reed to keep things stable ?
Baking soda would be the choice to raise only alkalinity.

The "low" alkalinity is from the salt you're using. It is usually in the 7dkh range. If stated so on BRS site. So when you're doing water changes, you could be lowering the alkalinity of the water.


I would test a fresh batch of mixed saltwater and see where it is. The easiest thing to do, might be to raise the alkalinity of the water change water if there isn't much demand in the tank. This could get you to where you want to be.

either way, just adjust the alkalinity to where you want it to be, then you can dose all for reef to keep it stable. Take a note, you'll still need or should have on hand part 1 and part 2 (calcium and alkalinity) for adjusting parameters when using all for reef. AFR is good at maintaining, but a poor choice for adjusting parameters.
 

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There's a discrepancy between your Salinity checkers

My first guess is you are mixing light,; that the Amazon checker needs calibration or a dust bin

Have you checked your fresh mixed salt water?

Fix your fresh salt water mixing

Then do a couple 50% water changes, then go from there

Seems like an easy cheap fix. With a tank that small, dosing new salt water seems the most sensible route to me

Usually, I use three checkers, the Milwaukee, a light refractometer, and a glass hydrometer in the sump to get my readings
 
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Ok just woke up and currently I am NOT dosing anything. As stated, I would like to raise my alk a bit higher to have some wiggle room when swings occur as 7.2 alk is on the lower end .

My intentions were to just raise alk to my desired dkh ( 8 ish ) and then after doing so, try to maintain all parameters stable with all for Reef which I read/heard does when dosing it, either the single powder form or liquid one .

My Hanna salinity checker was calibrated right before testing the water with their 35ppt calibration liquid. On the other hand my refractometer was calibrated to 0 with rodi water as I have no more calibration fluid
( I know it’s not recommended to use rodi as calibration fluid but had no choice here )

So will dosing my tank with a bit of soda ash to raise alk be ok ? And also if my salt is mixing at 7dkh per se , I will always need to raise the alk in that too prior to doing water changes ?
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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My point with everything is looking down the road when it might become a problem. Why I'm cautious about adding more sodium as a practice now that might become later a concern and if OP continues down the path of AFR and sodium based alkalinity supplement then at no point will there be chloride introduced. Is excess sodium in itself an issue? By default, I tend to assume excess anything is bad including oxygen.

Using AFR is a fine way to go, but sodium bicarbonate cannot cause just sodium accumulation without some other cation declining or an anion increasing. In this case, either water changes will even things out, or calcium will decline and make just adding sodium bicarbonate unable to keep proper parameters (e.g. , calcium).
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Ok just woke up and currently I am NOT dosing anything. As stated, I would like to raise my alk a bit higher to have some wiggle room when swings occur as 7.2 alk is on the lower end .

My intentions were to just raise alk to my desired dkh ( 8 ish ) and then after doing so, try to maintain all parameters stable with all for Reef which I read/heard does when dosing it, either the single powder form or liquid one .

My Hanna salinity checker was calibrated right before testing the water with their 35ppt calibration liquid. On the other hand my refractometer was calibrated to 0 with rodi water as I have no more calibration fluid
( I know it’s not recommended to use rodi as calibration fluid but had no choice here )

So will dosing my tank with a bit of soda ash to raise alk be ok ? And also if my salt is mixing at 7dkh per se , I will always need to raise the alk in that too prior to doing water changes ?
You can do most anything to boost alk right now: baking soda, sodium carbonate, sodium hydroxide, AFR, calcium carbonate reactor, kalkwasser, etc.

If you want to maintain alk higher than 7, I’d either use a salt mix that is higher than 7 dKH, or always boost the new salt water.
 
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You can do most anything to boost alk right now: baking soda, sodium carbonate, sodium hydroxide, AFR, calcium carbonate reactor, kalkwasser, etc.

If you want to maintain alk higher than 7, I’d either use a salt mix that is higher than 7 dKH, or always boost the new salt water.

Yea I was looking at Red Sea salt blue bucket … just sucks because I have 2 new buckets of tropic marine pro from when you had my 100g up and running …
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Yea I was looking at Red Sea salt blue bucket … just sucks because I have 2 new buckets of tropic marine pro from when you had my 100g up and running …

Just add a little baking soda into each batch.
 

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