Why is my Alk low buy my calcium is normal.

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Larry101

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I do water changes every 2 weeks on my fluval 13.5 and I haven't been testing on a regular basis as I should be. Anyways I tested my alkalinity and it was at 6.7DKH but I tested my calcium and it was at 420ppm which is normal. What is causing this to happen and what should I do to fix this. (As I side note I should say that I have never dosed in the 8 months I have had this tank, just water changes.
 

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I do water changes every 2 weeks on my fluval 13.5 and I haven't been testing on a regular basis as I should be. Anyways I tested my alkalinity and it was at 6.7DKH but I tested my calcium and it was at 420ppm which is normal. What is causing this to happen and what should I do to fix this. (As I side note I should say that I have never dosed in the 8 months I have had this tank, just water changes.

you don’t say what it is meant to be?
 
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Reef crystals
Is it the bucket or box? I ask because with the buckets there have been reports of the elements settling out and one level being low and others spiking. The solution was to put the bucket on its side and roll it around a little bit do mix it back up.
 
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Larry101

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Is it the bucket or box? I ask because with the buckets there have been reports of the elements settling out and one level being low and others spiking. The solution was to put the bucket on its side and roll it around a little bit do mix it back up.
I am using a bucket, but I transferred all of the salt into another bucket using a cup so I would imagine that would have mixed it all up for sure.
 
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Larry101

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Sounds like it's time to start dosing boss.
I really do want to start dosing! The only thing that worries me is that shoudn’t calcium and alkalinity be taken up in equal parts? This is really important because I want to dose all for reef which is calcium, all, and magnesium all in one.
 

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I really need a sticky for this:

Calcium and alk only deplete in proper ratio *IF* you have lots of fast growing SPS or clams. The carnival barkers selling two part dosers don't tell you this.

Alk on the other hand can get depleted by all kinds of normal biologic cycles, bacteria, algae outbreaks etc. So, it's quite common that that many tank owners find their alk low over time but calcium fine. 420 is about the level Reef Crystals is by default, so it's obvious you don't have much SPS going on, so calcium just sits there, and it will because there's no coral using it. Alk or better known as carbonate will always keep being used up.

There's no mystery here and the solution is easy - just dose alk now and then to bring your level up to 8 or so. A box of grocery store baking soda and the below reef calculator tells you how much to add.

 
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Larry101

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I really need a sticky for this:

Calcium and alk only deplete in proper ratio *IF* you have lots of fast growing SPS or clams. The carnival barkers selling two part dosers don't tell you this.

Alk on the other hand can get depleted by all kinds of normal biologic cycles, bacteria, algae outbreaks etc. So, it's quite common that that many tank owners find their alk low over time but calcium fine. 420 is about the level Reef Crystals is by default, so it's obvious you don't have much SPS going on, so calcium just sits there, and it will because there's no coral using it. Alk or better known as carbonate will always keep being used up.

There's no mystery here and the solution is easy - just dose alk now and then to bring your level up to 8 or so. A box of grocery store baking soda and the below reef calculator tells you how much to add.

So will I need to be continually dosing alk or will this just be a one time thing?
 

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How long has the tank been running?

Have you recently had a diatom outbreak?

I had the same thing happen 2 weeks ago, my alk dropped by nearly 2kh, no corals.

I’ve put it down to either part of the cycling process or the diatom bloom I had. I did nothing to correct it but it has now increased to the correct lvl, I am guessing water changes has achieved this, I didn’t increase the water changes, just my normal routine corrected it.
 
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Larry101

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How long has the tank been running?

Have you recently had a diatom outbreak?

I had the same thing happen 2 weeks ago, my alk dropped by nearly 2kh, no corals.

I’ve put it down to either part of the cycling process or the diatom bloom I had. I did nothing to correct it but it has now increased to the correct lvl, I am guessing water changes has achieved this, I didn’t increase the water changes, just my normal routine correct it.
I am currently at the end of a cyano outbreak. But I was also slacking on my water changes as I didn't do one for almost 3 weeks but I finally did one last week. Do you think I will need to continually dose alkalinity all or do you think it will just be a one-time thing? If I have to continually dose it I will buy a dosing pump and the brs pharma soda ash otherwise I will just use baking soda from my local grocery store if it is just a time dose for at least a little while.
 

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I am currently at the end of a cyano outbreak. But I was also slacking on my water changes as I didn't do one for almost 3 weeks but I finally did one last week. Do you think I will need to continually dose alkalinity all or do you think it will just be a one-time thing? If I have to continually dose it I will buy a dosing pump and the brs pharma soda ash otherwise I will just use baking soda from my local grocery store if it is just a time dose for at least a little while.

if you are planning on corals then yes, if not I would expect water changes to fix it, with the odd correction with Arm and Hammer.

My plan is to use Tropic Marin All For Reef, I believe a doser is not needed for AFR, I’m going to manually add it, maybe twice a day, if that becomes a pain then buy one of those Komoer Single doser.
 
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Larry101

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if you are planning on corals then yes, if not I would expect water changes to fix it, with the odd correction with Arm and Hammer.

My plan is to use Tropic Marin All For Reef, I believe a doser is not needed for AFR, I’m going to manually add it, maybe twice a day, if that becomes a pain then buy one of those Komoer Single doser.
My tank is soft coral dominated with a few lps. That is actually what I was planning on doing as well. The only problem for my tank with all for reef is that My calcium and alkalinity aren't being taken up in equal parts.
 
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My tank is soft coral dominated with a few lps. That is actually what I was planning on doing as well. The only problem for my tank with all for reef is that My calcium and alkalinity aren't being taken up in equal parts.
New to this myself, I think you have to get all 3 balanced before you start AFR, so maybe add the Arm and Hammer, then see how you go.

I’m not doing sps either so I’m guessing water changes will mostly do it, the AFR is just a little extra, I can’t see us needing much alk etc for LPS and softies.
 

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You will need alk and cal for lps. How much or if you even need to dose, depends on the uptake, and we can't tell you that. You gotta test.

Soft corals don't really use any.
 

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You didn't mention Magnesium levels. Coral do take up Ca and bicarbonate in a consistent ratio but there is a lot more Ca in the water than bicarbonate (Alk) so you'll see that fluctuate more. However, Mg plays a critical role in keeping both in solution. Without sufficient Mg the carbonate and bicarbonate will precipitate out and you won't be able to keep either Alk or Ca stable. Check Mg and if it's below 1200 ppm then fix that first. I strongly recommend at least watching the BRS TV 5 minute guide on reef tank chemistry to get started and you can go deeper with their "Mastering Reef Tank Chemistry" series.
 
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