Tropic Marine's Carbocalcium: A one-stop-shop for carbonate, calcium, AND nutrient export?!

Ross Petersen

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Hey there,

I have a 132 gallon tank to which I recently added several more blooming SPS frags.

I am using kalkwasser in the ATO and dosing Tropic Marine's All-For-Reef daily at about 25 ml/day. Using Hanna checkers, my nitrates have plummeted to 1-2 ppm and phosphates around 0.01 ppm. Starting to realize I'm effectively carbon dosing - evident by my skimmer taking out a lot more wet skim these days (and still lots of gunk).

This raises the question... why not use carbocalcium / all-for-reef as a one stop shop for carbon, calcium, AND nutrient control? Aside from cost...

Curious to hear your thoughts on this one!

Cheers,
Ross
 
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Courtney Aldrich

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I think this product looks great and would love to hear more people's experience. Do you buy the powder and make your own solution (the 1400g (3lbs) Carbo-Calcium Powder makes 10 L for only $31 from BRS)? One can purchase calcium formate in bulk for about $0.50 per kg (and even less if you go truly crazy and buy in mega-bulk).
 
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Ross Petersen

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I think this product looks great and would love to hear more people's experience. Do you buy the powder and make your own solution (the 1400g (3lbs) Carbo-Calcium Powder makes 10 L for only $31 from BRS)? One can purchase calcium formate in bulk for about $0.50 per kg (and even less if you go truly crazy and buy in mega-bulk).
I've just been using the pre-made bottles but will be making up stock solution for my Nuvo 40 gallon smaller tank.

Still on the fence about dosing carbocalcium for my larger system or not over the long-term.
 

Righteous

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This has been discussed elsewhere, but the biggest drawback (for some) is that it takes some time for the formate to be metabolized, and hence it takes a while for the alkalinity to rise after dosing. The calcium component will rise after dosing however.

Personally I would not use it keeping sensitive SPS since it can be very hard to monitor alkalinity swings with it. I do use it in a smaller tank with soft and less sensitive corals where I think it’s really well suited. I’ve noted that alkalinity is able to continue rising for up to a couple weeks after dosing, so use caution if you dose based on alkalinity levels.
 
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Ross Petersen

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This has been discussed elsewhere, but the biggest drawback (for some) is that it takes some time for the formate to be metabolized, and hence it takes a while for the alkalinity to rise after dosing. The calcium component will rise after dosing however.

Personally I would not use it keeping sensitive SPS since it can be very hard to monitor alkalinity swings with it. I do use it in a smaller tank with soft and less sensitive corals where I think it’s really well suited. I’ve noted that alkalinity is able to continue rising for up to a couple weeks after dosing, so use caution if you dose based on alkalinity levels.
Many thanks - I’ve heard up to a day or so for alk increases after formate dosing but weeks? I’ll have to go easy on dosing until I have a sense for things. Thanks for the consideration.
 
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Righteous

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Many thanks - I’ve heard up to a day or so for alk increases after formate dosing but weeks? I’ll have to go easy on dosing until I have a sense for things. Thanks for the consideration.

I think this happened because I had not been using it on a regular basis, and dosed significant amounts. Probably if you’re dosing on a regular basis the bacteria that metabolize the formate will be in greater supply and you won’t have such a large delay.

I also aim to keep my SPS dominate tank at 7.5dkh, and I’m also running very low nutrient, so sudden high levels of alkalinity give me burnt tips and unhappy acros.

If you’re running a system with higher alk and nutrient levels where swings are less an issue it might not be a problem. Just something to be aware of.
 

ReefBeta

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It's said to be slow to show up in test, but I used in my acro dominated tank and lps focus one, both have automated alk testing, and neither show significant delay for the reading to change after adjusted the dosage. I tested it twice a day, and only adjust it by a tiny bit each time, that could be why. IIRC, coral can use the formate alk just fine, so if they use those up, then more broken down alk will remain and show up in test.

About the nutrient reduction, the formate part did have some similar affect as carbon dosing. But I emailed Tropic Marin to ask exactly this, and he said the amount of it should not have any meaningful impact. I later realized, the effect of nutrient export, for my case is chaeto dying, is because coral growing well and used up nutrients.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Hey there,

I have a 132 gallon tank to which I recently added several more blooming SPS frags.

I am using kalkwasser in the ATO and dosing Tropic Marine's All-For-Reef daily at about 25 ml/day. Using Hanna checkers, my nitrates have plummeted to 1-2 ppm and phosphates around 0.01 ppm. Starting to realize I'm effectively carbon dosing - evident by my skimmer taking out a lot more wet skim these days (and still lots of gunk).

This raises the question... why not use carbocalcium / all-for-reef as a one stop shop for carbon, calcium, AND nutrient control? Aside from cost...

Curious to hear your thoughts on this one!

Cheers,
Ross

The carbon dosing effect is very small.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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I think this product looks great and would love to hear more people's experience. Do you buy the powder and make your own solution (the 1400g (3lbs) Carbo-Calcium Powder makes 10 L for only $31 from BRS)? One can purchase calcium formate in bulk for about $0.50 per kg (and even less if you go truly crazy and buy in mega-bulk).

Calcium acetate has been around and used for a long time, but the drawbacks are cost, inability to adjust calcium and alk independently, and a substantial carbon dosing effect at high doses that cannot be independently adjusted.

Calcium formate is newer to the scene since it has not been available at a reasonable price in the past. The primary concerns are difficulty dosing based on alkalintiy because, according to Tropic Marin, bacteria may develop slowly (or maybe not at all)to metabolize it, and that corals may use it directly. If they do, taht messes up the standard practice of dosing based on alkalintiy, and they have recommended dosing based on Calcium for that reason. That is a far cruder way to control "alkalinity". The carbon dosing effect is small and possibly unimportant due to the small amount of energy provided by oxidizing formate, and by the fact that formate metabolizing bacteria are uncommon. And, as with calcium acetate, adjustments to one or the other of calcium or alk require a different product.

Bear in mind that folks are dosing quite a bit each day, so decent purity is potentially important.
 
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Ross Petersen

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Calcium acetate has been around and used for a long time, but the drawbacks are cost, inability to adjust calcium and alk independently, and a substantial carbon dosing effect at high doses that cannot be independently adjusted.

Calcium formate is newer to the scene since it has not been available at a reasonable price in the past. The primary concerns are difficulty dosing based on alkalintiy because, according to Tropic Marin, bacteria may develop slowly (or maybe not at all)to metabolize it, and that corals may use it directly. If they do, taht messes up the standard practice of dosing based on alkalintiy, and they have recommended dosing based on Calcium for that reason. That is a far cruder way to control "alkalinity". The carbon dosing effect is small and possibly unimportant due to the small amount of energy provided by oxidizing formate, and by the fact that formate metabolizing bacteria are uncommon. And, as with calcium acetate, adjustments to one or the other of calcium or alk require a different product.

Bear in mind that folks are dosing quite a bit each day, so decent purity is potentially important.
There’s clearly a lot of uncertainty. I will test calcium alongside alkalinity more often now - valuable insight.

For whatever reason, since dosing all for reef, my nutrients have plummeted. It could simply be the increase in coral biomass. I have also increased feeding with pellets, frozen and reef roids significantly.

Either way, going to 2-part dosing for this larger tank for the independent control of parameters and confidence in this established approach.

Thanks Randy - sharing these science considerations with my high school classes that love the dialogue.
 
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hart24601

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I have been using all for reef plus kalk for quite a while now. I have sps display and a dozen clams consisting of every common species. While I dose almost 7L of kalk a day I use all for reef for the rest and use my alkatronic to see levels. I do leave out the magnesium of the diy all for reef as my small awc with instant ocean seem to keep it steady.

I have had great clam growth and sps too, ime all for reef acts just like 2 part levels just need to wait a day between adjustments, although 12 seems to be enough.

I have run out of solution before and had a doser head pop off, just like with normal 2 part I noticed this because of the drop in alk in trident testing the same day as I check things at night so at least in my system with what I dose it seems to be converted quickly and doesn’t build up. Also with my extreme clam growth clearly they are getting plenty of alk. It honestly has been exactly like 2 part with just a delay in testing.
 

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