Understanding reef chemistry? I'm lost.

painfullycurious88

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I am new *obviously*, but I just did a test on my aquarium and the calcium topped 620, the Dkh was around 10, nitrites, nitrates, phosphates, ammonia were all zero, and my salinity was 1.025.

I am not dossing, I need to pick up a magnesium test, but what am I doing wrong to have calcium that high with just water changes? My water is never higher than 1.24 salinity from my waterchanges.

Lost,
 

DrZoidburg

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It could be your source water if you don't have deionization filters. It could also be your salt mix. I had one batch of rea sea test as high as 660 calcium another 550. I always test new batches of salt for this reason. It could also be a test kit that is off.
 
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painfullycurious88

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New tank/ rock with high calcium content/ high magnesium - this was a kind of start I had too. It will settle. You will have things will use up the access amount of all of them.

watch out for 0 nitrates and phosphate. That is inviting trouble.
Rock I used was mostly 2 years + I'm dealing with brown algae attack I'm starting to overfeed just trying to get some ammonia/nitrates to show themselves.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Which kit? Some people read some kits (e.g., Salifert) backwards.

Try your test kit on the new water you are using.

The kit may be faulty, you may be using it wrong, or the calcium in the new water may be very high.
 
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painfullycurious88

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Which kit? Some people read some kits (e.g., Salifert) backwards.

Try your test kit on the new water you are using.

The kit may be faulty, you may be using it wrong, or the calcium in the new water may be very high.
API I retested and it came up as 520 calc still higher but better. Im really considering the redsea kit.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Is that your nice way of saying api test kits are horrible?

lol

No, all kits have the potential for errors and mistakes and being old, etc.

One of the biggest "problems" reefers face is assuming their test result is accurate.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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Doesn't Ca basically precip out above 500?

No. It's fine in the range of 400-550 ppm.

The bigger driver of precipitation of high pH and high alk.
 
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painfullycurious88

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So I started dosing nitrates using brightwell nitrates dosing one cap a day in my 75 until I see .25 and then working to maintain it. Dino's are fading thank god. I need a more accurate test kit than API I'm realizing very quickly.
 

CMMorgan

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Is that your nice way of saying api test kits are horrible?
The API test kit for calcium is actually one that I have tested against NYOS and Red Sea. I have fact checked this on numerous occasions and it has always given me the same reading as the other two, but it was easier to test. As @Randy Holmes-Farley said, this does not rule out that you will not ever get a bad kit. Just don't also assume that every API kit is junk either. FWIW - I use Hannah for Nitrate, NYOS for Alk, API or NYOS for Calcium, Red Sea for Phosphate, PH and Ammonia, Nitrite. Overall, I am not a huge fan of any test that is overcomplicated or hard to read.
 
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painfullycurious88

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The API test kit for calcium is actually one that I have tested against NYOS and Red Sea. I have fact checked this on numerous occasions and it has always given me the same reading as the other two, but it was easier to test. As @Randy Holmes-Farley said, this does not rule out that you will not ever get a bad kit. Just don't also assume that every API kit is junk either. FWIW - I use Hannah for Nitrate, NYOS for Alk, API or NYOS for Calcium, Red Sea for Phosphate, PH and Ammonia, Nitrite. Overall, I am not a huge fan of any test that is overcomplicated or hard to read.
I mean for phosphate and nitrates. Those two I'm scratching my head at. The coral in my tank is doing great, but I can't get nitrates for anything and API's guess its yellow shade isn't making me feel great.
 
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CMMorgan

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I mean for phosphate and nitrates. Those two I'm scratching my head at. The coral in my tank is doing great, but I can't get nitrates for anything and API's guess its yellow shade isn't making me feel great.
I hated the red sea nitrate test - I had high nitrates and it never matched a color. NYOS was much better. I was stuck between two numbers for a long time. I LOVE the new Hannah HR Nitrate checker. It takes practice to remember the steps but worth it.
Phosphate, I have used API and Red Sea - same results.
 

Dkeller_nc

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There's a few aspects to your test results that are worth commenting on. The first is phosphate test results. Because of the chemistry involved, and the range we're looking for in reef tanks, the judge-by-eye wet chemistry phosphate tests are nearly useless. There's just very, very little color difference between zero (actually, below the kit's limit of detection) and the typical 50-100ppb phosphate that is advised for an SPS tank. This is primarily why the Hanna Checker phosphate assays are so dominant in the hobby. The chemistry is the same phospho-molybedenum blue color reaction, but the electronics in the checker itself are far better at discerning the color difference from this chemistry in the low range of phosphate concentrations than any hobbyist's eyes.

The second comment is about nitrate and the API nitrate test. I've not used the API in quite a few years, but if they've not changed it, properly executing this test is problematic for most reefers. Particularly the part about shaking one of the reagent bottles and the completed test sample thoroughly. For this reason, I'd recommend choosing another brand.

But the overall aspect of my comments isn't about the specific test kits chosen, it's about the importance of the specific results. For very experienced reefers growing "stick tanks" (i.e., acropora and other SPS), yes, keeping nitrates elevated above zero and phosphates in the 100ppb range does matter if the particular aquarist keeps the tank at a high pH and/or higher alkalinity range. Otherwise, the combination of high pH/alkalinity AND very low to undetectable nutrients may cause loss of SPS corals.

However, for beginners, especially those with brand new tanks that may contain "easier" stony corals, the nitrate and phosphate concentration in the tank water just isn't that critical, and it would be advisable for the budding aquarist to concentrate more on establishing the habits necessary to keep specific gravity, temperature, alkalinity and (to a lesser extent) calcium stable in the tank. That's particularly true if the aquarist doesn't yet have an ATO and/or 2-part dosing pumps.
 
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painfullycurious88

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I hated the red sea nitrate test - I had high nitrates and it never matched a color. NYOS was much better. I was stuck between two numbers for a long time. I LOVE the new Hannah HR Nitrate checker. It takes practice to remember the steps but worth it.
Phosphate, I have used API and Red Sea - same results.
I just feel behind the curve..
There's a few aspects to your test results that are worth commenting on. The first is phosphate test results. Because of the chemistry involved, and the range we're looking for in reef tanks, the judge-by-eye wet chemistry phosphate tests are nearly useless. There's just very, very little color difference between zero (actually, below the kit's limit of detection) and the typical 50-100ppb phosphate that is advised for an SPS tank. This is primarily why the Hanna Checker phosphate assays are so dominant in the hobby. The chemistry is the same phospho-molybedenum blue color reaction, but the electronics in the checker itself are far better at discerning the color difference from this chemistry in the low range of phosphate concentrations than any hobbyist's eyes.

The second comment is about nitrate and the API nitrate test. I've not used the API in quite a few years, but if they've not changed it, properly executing this test is problematic for most reefers. Particularly the part about shaking one of the reagent bottles and the completed test sample thoroughly. For this reason, I'd recommend choosing another brand.

But the overall aspect of my comments isn't about the specific test kits chosen, it's about the importance of the specific results. For very experienced reefers growing "stick tanks" (i.e., acropora and other SPS), yes, keeping nitrates elevated above zero and phosphates in the 100ppb range does matter if the particular aquarist keeps the tank at a high pH and/or higher alkalinity range. Otherwise, the combination of high pH/alkalinity AND very low to undetectable nutrients may cause loss of SPS corals.

However, for beginners, especially those with brand new tanks that may contain "easier" stony corals, the nitrate and phosphate concentration in the tank water just isn't that critical, and it would be advisable for the budding aquarist to concentrate more on establishing the habits necessary to keep specific gravity, temperature, alkalinity and (to a lesser extent) calcium stable in the tank. That's particularly true if the aquarist doesn't yet have an ATO and/or 2-part dosing pumps.
all I have are Duncan’s, and frogspawn, hammers, and torches thus far, and a rose bubble tip.
 

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