Unable to increase calcium levels

Nbr

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Hi all,

I have an sps dominated tank with some large colonies. In hobby for 3 years, and this is the first time i have had this problem and nobody seems to know what to do to help me in local community. Anyhow here is the problem:

My calcium level is 250, measured by 2 separate salifert test kits, one shows 250 other closer to 200. Both test were used in a different fish only tank one says 350 other 290.
In past 48 hours ive been manually dosing calcium like a mad man without any effect. Poured about 2 and a half litters of Fauna Marin balling for calcium (this amount usually lasts for a month). Those 0.5 liter in first 12h from an old batch, 1.2 liter from a freshly mixed batch in first 30 hours and 1 liter that i borrowed from a friend.
Tests were done throughout the days and calcium levels maintain steady 250 value as if i was dosing calcium besides and not into the tank.
When dosing manually i normally dump elemwnts into overflow. This time i was doing overflow, return pump area and onto a stream pump too. Nothing seems to be working.
Kh works normally was at 8.5, mg is a bit higher was 1500 now its 1600 although there was no dosing of mg of any kind. Po4 and no3 are 0 and ph is at about 7.7

System has about 360 gallons of water.
I run vertex alpha 250 skimmer, aquamedic uv 55w thats 24/7, ati hybrid lights and thats it.
Im dosing trace elements by fauna marin 1 2 3 as well as the color elements for blue and green color also by fauna marin.

Its obvious that something is binding all the CA in the water im just unable to determine what.

Any ideas? Ill be happy to provide any and all information about the tank that you might need.

Any input is high appreaciated

Kind regards
Nbr
 
BRS

Sabellafella

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Hi all,

I have an sps dominated tank with some large colonies. In hobby for 3 years, and this is the first time i have had this problem and nobody seems to know what to do to help me in local community. Anyhow here is the problem:

My calcium level is 250, measured by 2 separate salifert test kits, one shows 250 other closer to 200. Both test were used in a different fish only tank one says 350 other 290.
In past 48 hours ive been manually dosing calcium like a mad man without any effect. Poured about 2 and a half litters of Fauna Marin balling for calcium (this amount usually lasts for a month). Those 0.5 liter in first 12h from an old batch, 1.2 liter from a freshly mixed batch in first 30 hours and 1 liter that i borrowed from a friend.
Tests were done throughout the days and calcium levels maintain steady 250 value as if i was dosing calcium besides and not into the tank.
When dosing manually i normally dump elemwnts into overflow. This time i was doing overflow, return pump area and onto a stream pump too. Nothing seems to be working.
Kh works normally was at 8.5, mg is a bit higher was 1500 now its 1600 although there was no dosing of mg of any kind. Po4 and no3 are 0 and ph is at about 7.7

System has about 360 gallons of water.
I run vertex alpha 250 skimmer, aquamedic uv 55w thats 24/7, ati hybrid lights and thats it.
Im dosing trace elements by fauna marin 1 2 3 as well as the color elements for blue and green color also by fauna marin.

Its obvious that something is binding all the CA in the water im just unable to determine what.

Any ideas? Ill be happy to provide any and all information about the tank that you might need.

Any input is high appreaciated

Kind regards
Nbr
First a picture of your tank, second welcome to r2r lol, third its very unlikely your calcium would be that low. Its deffinitly an error made somewere, try a new test kit. Try to test a fresh batch of saltmix to confirm if it may or may not be the test kit
 
OP
Nbr

Nbr

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Here is a picture. I tested with 2 different test kits one i used so far and my friends test kit both showed very low ca reading

20160425_184646.jpg
 
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OP
Nbr

Nbr

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Ok so heres an update lol, after yet another unsuccessful attempt i decided to power off skimmer and the uv, dosed again (some minutes before thread was posted),now i just did the test again and it shows ca is at 300.
How can skimmer or the uv take/break ca?:/
 

BluewaterLa

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It may be that the levels are taking longer to rise after dosing the product.
Another thing I have noticed in all my years of reefing is that not all products are created equal. Mainly talking about how much product it takes to raise mag, cal or alk.
I've used different products and have recently switched to BRS from seachem. Both are good products in my opinion.
I was dosing 270 ml a day of calcium and 300 ml a day of alk with the seachem for a 90 gal sps tank.
With the new product I am dosing 35 ml of alk and 30 ml of cal a day.
So it may be that the product you are using may not be all that strong.

I would also advise to check your new saltwater to check the values of it with your test kit and just for the sake of doing so let someone else test your water with a different test kit to verify.
That is a boat load of product you have been adding with no or little result. Something isn't adding up.

Severely over rated skimmers can strip trace elements out the water but I wouldn't think at the rate you are experiencing.
Are you running heavy GFO? This also strips some things out of the water, I've noticed a decrease in alkalinity while I run it.
 
RAP

A.J.

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I had the same issue about 2 years ago. I kept adding more and more Cal and Alk and I could not get my levels up, about the same levels your seeing. By the end I was adding 70ml a day with dosing pumps on my 55 gallon tank. I had my local fish store come over and look at everything and test with their test kits. Conclusion - I was over saturating the the tank with cal/alk and it was basically precipitating out. I stopped adding everything for 3-4 weeks and then started dosing at much lower rates. I now dose the same BRS 2 part at a 17 ml per day rate. My cal is consistently 400-420 and my alk is 9-10. My tank is pretty much packed with LPS and SPS.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Hi all,


Its obvious that something is binding all the CA in the water im just unable to determine what.

Any ideas? Ill be happy to provide any and all information about the tank that you might need.

There is nothing that consumes calcium except via calcification, formation of calcium carbonate. Adding alkalinity and not calcium can get you to very low calcium. At a low enough calcium level, calcification will stop.

I would just look to make a one time correction over a week or so, assuming you believe the result. :)
 

omykiss001

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Vendors sometimes do make mistakes when formulating. The old and new batches are from different lots correct? Also assume the old lot previous did show an increase in Ca in a predictable manner. Never used this stuff so don't know how much it should take to raise x amount of water x ppm. I know with the BRS calcium chloride mixed per their directions and about 150 gallons of water volume it takes about 150 ml to raise my Ca by 10 ppm. I would think if there was Ca in the stuff and the volume you added it would be through the roof.

Wonder if there could be something in the water or your tank that is inhibiting the test kit and giving you a false number. I would start with using a test kit from a different vendor say red sea etc. that uses a slightly different chemistry just to rule something like that out.

Kind of a head scratcher to be honest
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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have you tested your mg my bet is its low

You'd still need to have a lot of alk dosing to get calcium that low (say, 24 dKH) , regardless of the magnesium level. :)
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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i've heard that low levels of magnesium cause a change in uptake of calcium. is there any truth to this?

Low magnesium may inhibit coralline growth (reducing calcium and alk consumption) and may increase the abiotic precipitation of calcium carbonate (increasing demand for calcium and alk).

Here's a blurb of mine from an article which has more:

Magnesium

Magnesium's primary importance is its interaction with the calcium and alkalinity balance in reef aquaria. Seawater and reef aquarium water are always supersaturated with calcium carbonate. That is, the solution's calcium and carbonate levels exceed the amount that the water can hold at equilibrium. How can that be? Magnesium is a big part of the answer. Whenever calcium carbonate begins to precipitate, magnesium binds to the growing surface of the calcium carbonate crystals. The magnesium effectively clogs the growing crystal surface so that they no longer look like calcium carbonate, making it unable to attract more calcium and carbonate, so the precipitation stops. Without the magnesium, the abiotic (nonbiological) precipitation of calcium carbonate would likely increase enough to prohibit the maintenance of calcium and alkalinity at natural levels.

For this reason, I suggest targeting the natural seawater concentration of magnesium: ~1285 ppm. For practical purposes, 1250-1350 ppm is fine, and levels slightly outside that range (1250-1400 ppm) are also likely acceptable. Higher levels may be fine, but there is no reason to keep it higher, with the possible exception of trying to kill bryopsis with certain magnesium supplements (which may work due to an impurity rather than the magnesium itself). I would not suggest raising magnesium by more than 100 ppm per day under normal conditions, in case the magnesium supplement contains any toxic impurities. If you need to raise it by several hundred ppm, spreading the addition over several days will allow you to more accurately reach the target concentration, and might possibly allow the aquarium to handle any impurities that the supplement contains (such as ammonia or trace metals).

An aquarium's corals and coralline algae can deplete magnesium by incorporating it into their growing calcium carbonate skeletons. Many methods of supplementing calcium and alkalinity may not deliver enough magnesium to maintain it at a normal level. Settled limewater (kalkwasser), for example, is quite deficient in magnesium relative to a coral skeleton. Consequently, magnesium should be measured occasionally, particularly if the aquarium's calcium and alkalinity levels seem difficult to maintain. Aquaria with excessive abiotic precipitation of calcium carbonate on objects such as heaters and pumps might suffer from low magnesium levels (along with high pH, calcium, and alkalinity). In general, magnesium is usually depleted at roughly 10% of the rate of calcium depletion, or less, depending on the creatures in the aquarium. Any depletion rate that is much higher than that is either due to testing errors, or water changes with a mix that has a different magnesium level than the aquarium.

Many people never need any magnesium supplements. Some salt mixes start so high that it will never drop below natural levels, and some calcium and alkalinity supplement methods, such as a good quality two part system, add enough magnesium that it should not decline.
 

Ross Petersen

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Super old thread but I’ve run into this same finding. 100 gallon tank, mixed reef with lots of coralline and SPS Frags, dosing 2 part DIY. Calcium stationary at 300 ppm, alk at 9.0 (but was at 10.0 so I dropped slowly), Mg a little high at 1550 or so (Red Sea kit).

I’ve tried to get calcium up to 400 ppm by manual dosing of calcium chloride solution and increased automated dosing. Currently dosing 40 mL alk and 50mL calcium daily.

Red Sea test for calcium; Hanna for alk.

@Randy Holmes-Farley and co-, any insights my friends?

I made a new batch of saltwater using IO purple bucket and tests were normal (Ca 450, Mg 1580, alk 8.5) so it’s not the test kits. A 10% water change didn’t move the calcium off 300 ppm when tested 24 hours later.
 

Garf

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Super old thread but I’ve run into this same finding. 100 gallon tank, mixed reef with lots of coralline and SPS Frags, dosing 2 part DIY. Calcium stationary at 300 ppm, alk at 9.0 (but was at 10.0 so I dropped slowly), Mg a little high at 1550 or so (Red Sea kit).

I’ve tried to get calcium up to 400 ppm by manual dosing of calcium chloride solution and increased automated dosing. Currently dosing 40 mL alk and 50mL calcium daily.

Red Sea test for calcium; Hanna for alk.

@Randy Holmes-Farley and co-, any insights my friends?

I made a new batch of saltwater using IO purple bucket and tests were normal (Ca 450, Mg 1580, alk 8.5) so it’s not the test kits. A 10% water change didn’t move the calcium off 300 ppm when tested 24 hours later.
10% water change ain’t gonna do a lot to your test result. Have you bulk dosed it with calcium or just relying on the extra 10mls of dosing?
 

Ross Petersen

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10% water change ain’t gonna do a lot to your test result. Have you bulk dosed it with calcium or just relying on the extra 10mls of dosing?
Thanks. I dosed 30 mL of (additional) calcium chloride stock solution yesterday, but the test today didn’t reveal a change from 300 ppm calcium. So I dosed another supplemental 40 mL today. I don’t want to shock any of my SPS.

My gut now is that 40 mL is too little for a 132 gallon system and I’ll need to dose a lot more to bring the calcium up to 400 ppm.
 

Garf

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Thanks. I dosed 30 mL of (additional) calcium chloride stock solution yesterday, but the test today didn’t reveal a change from 300 ppm calcium. So I dosed another supplemental 40 mL today. I don’t want to shock any of my SPS.

My gut now is that 40 mL is too little for a 132 gallon system and I’ll need to dose a lot more to bring the calcium up to 400 ppm.
Looks like it’s gonna take a lot, spread over time; plug your numbers and calcium type into the link below;


Do you know how it’s got so low?
 

Ross Petersen

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Looks like it’s gonna take a lot, spread over time; plug your numbers and calcium type into the link below;


Do you know how it’s got so low?
That’s the question.

I think I was overdosing sodium carbonate (alk got to 10.3). Maybe a lot of the calcium was precipitating out?

Magnesium was running high at 1550-1600 as well. But my understanding is that that would compete for binding sites between calcium and carbonate, not lower calcium… ?

I clearly need to test calcium more frequently. Thought I had the ratio somewhat dialed but it’s likely way off.
 
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