stumped on my parameters

Barnabie Mejia

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ok guys in my 29 gal tank I am having some issues with the parameters. I have reached out to my LFS and I think they might have become tired of me asking questions on different topics. like anything new that I get into i always want to know what is going on, how it works and what i can do about it to make it better. i want to learn and eventually teach someone about it whether it be through my mistakes or from others mistakes.

the tank currently has
1 clown
1 lawnmower blenny
1 duncan with 4 heads
1 trumpet with 4 heads (3 are splitting)
2 acans
1 war coral
1 chalice
1 plate coral?
1 torch two heads
2 hammers (one head each)
1 green bubble tip anemone
and a small sized clean up crew.

Parameters have been the following
Alk - 5
Calcium - 425
Mag - 1320
Ammonia - 0
Nitrates - 0-5ppm
phosphates - .019
Salinity - 1.025
Temp - 78*

i noticed a couple weeks ago that some of my acans had been looking pretty bad, i could see the skeleton coming out and i ended up losing one of them recently (one of my favorites). and i noticed this when i started testing the water, I had started testing the waters when i bought a testing kit from a member on R2R. in the 4 months of having the tank (which was already established and running for about 10 years, it was inherited) i hadn't tested, i was just doing 5-10gal WCs and kept up with the husbandry.
i was a little concerned when i compared them to ranges found on R2R, remember i was not trying to chase numbers here I was just wanting to stay within the ranges to keep it stable and safe for my livestock.
i went to the LFS with the numbers and he suggested that i start dosing because i am using IO purple bucket for mixing salt and he said that the elements are a little low after a mix and most times require dosing to keep stable.

I started dosing

Alk 2ml
Cal 2ml
Mag 2ml

and I saw my alk go up to 6 the next day and from there on out for it was stuck at 5dKH for the next 5days. i went back to the LFS and asked them what to do next and he said to go to 3mls each.
did that and i saw no change after 5 days. went back with my results and he basically told me "i don't know what to tell you....sometimes you just have to figure it out on your own...."
i am 5 - 6 months into this hobby and confused on what to do cause i see my coral getting weaker and i don't want my sons to get discouraged in the hobby cause this is something that we are doing together.
talked with another reefer and he recommended dosing 5 mls of just alk to see if there was a change in the levels since i had some calcium range to play with if it were to drop a little.
did that for 5 days and i have only seen my alk go to 5.

I even went to the extent of testing the water before a WC and the ALK was at 8 and calcium at 440....

what should i do here? should I be using a doser and not hand dosing?

thanks guys!

Barnabie
 
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Bleigh

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I was in the same boat with my 29 g biocube about 2 hours ago. Turns out I wasn’t mixing enough salt because my refractometer needed to be calibrated. Was saying the salt concentration was higher than it really was. What parameters are giving you issues?
 
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Barnabie Mejia

Barnabie Mejia

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I was in the same boat with my 29 g biocube about 2 hours ago. Turns out I wasn’t mixing enough salt because my refractometer needed to be calibrated. Was saying the salt concentration was higher than it really was. What parameters are giving you issues?

when I check the salinity I use a refrectometer and a hydrometer just to be sure, and its fun to check the salinity with my son, cause we can compare results. he enjoys the reef stuff and it keeps him off the video games.
 

Flippers4pups

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As @Bleigh stated, assuming your using a refractometer, is it calibrated?

Is your test kits within expiration dates? What kits do you use?

Your alkalinity is low.
Your calcium is okay.
Your mag is okay.
Your N03 is low.
Your P04 is okay.

Nitrate can be raised by feeding more.

Alkalinity can be dosed by using sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, not baking powder). Straight arm and hammer baking soda.

In a one gallon jug, mix 1 1/8 cup of baking soda in with a gallon of RO/DI water. Dose no more than 1dkh per day. 7-8 dkh is ideal. Use this calculator to dose:


Dose slowly into flow, ideally in a sump.

Works everytime.
 

lapin

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MAybe instead of dosing, change salt mix. Find one that mixes out higher in alk and it should have more of the other elements you need. Mix some of your old with the new. Also I ran an ICP test on my water. Found I was low in Iodine. I got some lodide (Sea Chem). It seemed to brighten up a few dull corals. The test is expensive but might be worth it.
Oh ya I i forgot Randys baked baking soda.
thanks @Flippers4pups
 
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Barnabie Mejia

Barnabie Mejia

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As @Bleigh stated, assuming your using a refractometer, is it calibrated?

Is your test kits within expiration dates? What kits do you use?

Your alkalinity is low.
Your calcium is okay.
Your mag is okay.
Your N03 is low.
Your P04 is okay.

Nitrate can be raised by feeding more.

Alkalinity can be dosed by using sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, not baking powder). Straight arm and hammer baking soda.

In a one gallon jug, mix 1 1/8 cup of baking soda in with a gallon of RO/DI water. Dose no more than 1dkh per day. 7-8 dkh is ideal. Use this calculator to dose:


Works everytime.
I am dosing the BRS stuff for the alk calcium and Mag.
refractometer is calibrated and the Hydrometer is spot on with the refrac.

Expiration dates on the test kits are 6/2020 which is the closest.
 
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Barnabie Mejia

Barnabie Mejia

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MAybe instead of dosing, change salt mix. Find one that mixes out higher in alk and it should have more of the other elements you need. Mix some of your old with the new. Also I ran an ICP test on my water. Found I was low in Iodine. I got some lodide (Sea Chem). It seemed to brighten up a few dull corals. The test is expensive but might be worth it.
Oh ya I i forgot Randys baked baking soda.
thanks @Flippers4pups
are you saying to get a saltmix that is higher than 8dKH upon mixing?

is there something that might be soaking up the Alk? I have been looking hard to see if there is any precipitation from the alk and the calcium and I have not found any. I add alk and then 30 min later I add the calcium.

Also, I thought it was good to have my nitrates at the 0-5ppm? I don't want to deal with another algae bloom like I had.
 

Flippers4pups

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I am dosing the BRS stuff for the alk calcium and Mag.
refractometer is calibrated and the Hydrometer is spot on with the refrac.

Expiration dates on the test kits are 6/2020 which is the closest.
What brs stuff are you using for alkalinity?
 

ahiggins

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As @Bleigh stated, assuming your using a refractometer, is it calibrated?

Is your test kits within expiration dates? What kits do you use?

Your alkalinity is low.
Your calcium is okay.
Your mag is okay.
Your N03 is low.
Your P04 is okay.

Nitrate can be raised by feeding more.

Alkalinity can be dosed by using sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, not baking powder). Straight arm and hammer baking soda.

In a one gallon jug, mix 1 1/8 cup of baking soda in with a gallon of RO/DI water. Dose no more than 1dkh per day. 7-8 dkh is ideal. Use this calculator to dose:


Dose slowly into flow, ideally in a sump.

Works everytime.
I agree with the above. Biggest concern is alk and nitrates. Lps like more nutrients but not like softies. I would suggest aiming for 10. Where you aren’t isn’t terrible on nutrients though. It’s probably because of your alk. Personally I hate IO salt. Never had much luck with it. I use Red Sea either regular salt for my softies or the reef blend for lps/sps.
Good luck!
Ps. Your lfs makes me mad because I’m the same way with questions.
 

Flippers4pups

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are you saying to get a saltmix that is higher than 8dKH upon mixing?

is there something that might be soaking up the Alk? I have been looking hard to see if there is any precipitation from the alk and the calcium and I have not found any. I add alk and then 30 min later I add the calcium.

Also, I thought it was good to have my nitrates at the 0-5ppm? I don't want to deal with another algae bloom like I had.
5-10ppm N03 and P04 at trace 0.02 is a good place for most corals. Having "0" will starve them unless your running a ULNS and dosing aminos, elements and coral foods directly into your system.
 

Flippers4pups

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2 part

soda ash
calcium chloride
You can dose sodium carbonate (soda ash) with the calculator I provided. I personally had problems dosing soda ash as it precipitated very quickly as I would slowly dose it. White cloud as it hit the water.

Alkalinity is used up as corals up take calcium to form their skeletons.
 

Bleigh

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Corals uptake alk like crazy. I’m using a salt that is suppose to mix at 12 dkh. Did you continue dosing everyday? If so, it sounds like your dose amount is a maintence level and not enough actually raise it. You should be able to increase your dkh between 1 and 1.4 every day. Once you get it where you want it, you’ll likely have to keep dosing to maintain that level.
 
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Barnabie Mejia

Barnabie Mejia

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5-10ppm N03 and P04 at trace 0.02 is a good place for most corals. Having "0" will starve them unless your running a ULNS and dosing aminos, elements and coral foods directly into your system.
so increasing the nitrates a bit will help the other parameters or just the corals? I didn't think there was a direct relation in having low NO3 and low ALK....
 
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Barnabie Mejia

Barnabie Mejia

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You can dose sodium carbonate (soda ash) with the calculator I provided. I personally had problems dosing soda ash as it precipitated very quickly as I would slowly dose it. White cloud as it hit the water.

Alkalinity is used up as corals up take calcium to form their skeletons.
I know what you mean, I add it in a drop at a time right above a powerhead to mix it in.... takes forever and I have not heard of anything better.... maybe I should be pouring it in and I'm just wasting time dosing 5mls one drop at a time.


Corals uptake alk like crazy. I’m using a salt that is suppose to mix at 12 dkh. Did you continue dosing everyday? If so, it sounds like your dose amount is a maintence level and not enough actually raise it. You should be able to increase your dkh between 1 and 1.4 every day. Once you get it where you want it, you’ll likely have to keep dosing to maintain that level.
i think i am going to increase to 7 ml alk and check results.
since my calcium and mag are good levels, should i increase those or just keep them where they are?
 

Flippers4pups

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so increasing the nitrates a bit will help the other parameters or just the corals? I didn't think there was a direct relation in having low NO3 and low ALK....
You are correct. N03 is "food", alkalinity allows them to build skeleton as they grow.
 
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