Will dosing your kalkwassar too close to the skimmer result in unintended consequences?

Fritz

Garf

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 23, 2020
Messages
1,756
Reaction score
2,283
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
BEEFINGHAM
If your kalkwassar top-off gets sucked into your skimmer, does it reduce or enhance effectiveness? Will it react in some way with all the gas exchange happening in the skimmer? Or is it pretty much a non issue?
I’ve always kept it away from pumps.
 

Garf

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 23, 2020
Messages
1,756
Reaction score
2,283
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
BEEFINGHAM
Thank you for the input, but I’m more curious about the chemistry portion of this, and how, if at all, would gas exchange in the skimmer affect things.
I’m willing to give it a go, if you do. I’m due to clean the skimmer pump anyway, lol. There was a theory years ago that phosphate would precipitate onto the formed particles. Lanthanum seems to have taken over that mantle though.
 
Avast
OP
BaghdadBean

BaghdadBean

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
92
Reaction score
50
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Scio
100%, move it away from the skimmer chamber. My kalk tops off after all pumps in the sump except my return pump. I dose into a bubble trap on top a sponge. Keeps all equipment clean.
Thank you for the concern, but it’s misplaced. I don’t even have a system running at the moment. This is a purely hypothetical question about chemistry.
 
OP
BaghdadBean

BaghdadBean

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
92
Reaction score
50
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Scio
I’m willing to give it a go, if you do. I’m due to clean the skimmer pump anyway, lol. There was a theory years ago that phosphate would precipitate onto the formed particles. Lanthanum seems to have taken over that mantle though.
I don’t think it would be an equal experiment unless you were running a external pump and a downdraft skimmer. It’s all theoretical at this point anyway, I’m just curious about the effects of that much gas exchange. I’ve searched for the subject on here and reef central, gotten a whole bunch of “I would never do that to my pumps” posts which are absolutely well meaning and probably prudent, but not a single answer to the chemistry part of it.
 

Garf

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 23, 2020
Messages
1,756
Reaction score
2,283
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
BEEFINGHAM
I don’t think it would be an equal experiment unless you were running a external pump and a downdraft skimmer. It’s all theoretical at this point anyway, I’m just curious about the effects of that much gas exchange. I’ve searched for the subject on here and reef central, gotten a whole bunch of “I would never do that to my pumps” posts which are absolutely well meaning and probably prudent, but not a single answer to the chemistry part of it.
There’s actually no need to put it through the pump, with a few mods to the collection cup. Just drip it straight into the bubbling fury.
 

RedReefer

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 10, 2013
Messages
1,838
Reaction score
3,881
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Eastern NC
Thank you for the concern, but it’s misplaced. I don’t even have a system running at the moment. This is a purely hypothetical question about chemistry.
LOL...
 

JAC-

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
220
Reaction score
345
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Douglasvlle
I'm pretty sure it would increase precipitation of the alkalinity, but that's purely hypothetical from my imagination.
I could also see the higher CO2 levels producing more carbonate than bicarbonate which is less preferred I think...
I may and probably do have that all mixed up. I'm drawing something I barely understood from way back in my memory. lol

Trying to steer the conversation in the direction I believe you were hoping for.
 
Tidal Gardens
OP
BaghdadBean

BaghdadBean

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
92
Reaction score
50
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Scio
There’s actually no need to put it through the pump, with a few mods to the collection cup. Just drip it straight into the bubbling fury.
That would be easily done on my big beast. For that matter I could just run it straight into the bio-ball chambers. But: would there even be a reason to do so? Would it be a significant enough amount of carbon exchange from atmospheric gas in the chambers to even make a difference? The way my system is built, I have a return from the skimmer into a bubble capture chamber before it goes through baffles to the actual return chamber, which also is fed through a refugium on the opposite side. I’d planned on just using that chamber to feed my kalk into, since it would have plenty of water flow there to mix with. But again, I’m curious about the chemistry of what it would do in a skimmer, if anything. Doesn’t mean I’m going to do it, it just means I’m curious about it.
 
OP
BaghdadBean

BaghdadBean

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
92
Reaction score
50
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Scio
I'm pretty sure it would increase precipitation of the alkalinity, but that's purely hypothetical from my imagination.
I could also see the higher CO2 levels producing more carbonate than bicarbonate which is less preferred I think...
I may and probably do have that all mixed up. I'm drawing something I barely understood from way back in my memory. lol

Trying to steer the conversation in the direction I believe you were hoping for.
Thank you! I’ve been reading and rereading the chapter on this in The Reef Aquarium Volume 3: Science, Art, and Technology by Delbeek and Sprung. It touches more on correcting imbalances prior to adjusting kalk and CA reactor dosages than on this though, so it’s just got me really curious.
 

Dan_P

2500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
Messages
2,676
Reaction score
2,710
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
If your kalkwassar top-off gets sucked into your skimmer, does it reduce or enhance effectiveness? Will it react in some way with all the gas exchange happening in the skimmer? Or is it pretty much a non issue?
The question is not an easy one to think about because of the factors involved. Let’s try for fun.

I assume the “kalkwasser top-off” is freshwater with Ca (OH)2 that mixes with tank water. That would mean a local decrease in salinity (to what degree?), an increase in pH (how high?) and generally, a dilution of the aquarium water (how much?). There are two responses: foam rate and duration of the effect.

The easiest term to evaluate is the dilution of tank water. I would say diluting aquarium water with a dose of freshwater would diminish the amount of foam. You would see the foam column decrease in height and maybe the fine foam transition to bigger, weaker bubbles. The duration would be as long as it tanks to bring the internal skimmer water back to 100%.

I imagine the pH effect could be more subtle. It could change the charge on the molecules that adhere to the air bubbles, either making them more or less “sticky”.

The decreased salinity might not be good for foam strength maybe.

I think that I talked myself into recommending to only put 100% tank water into a skimmer :)
 
OP
BaghdadBean

BaghdadBean

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
92
Reaction score
50
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Scio
The question is not an easy one to think about because of the factors involved. Let’s try for fun.

I assume the “kalkwasser top-off” is freshwater with Ca (OH)2 that mixes with tank water. That would mean a local decrease in salinity (to what degree?), an increase in pH (how high?) and generally, a dilution of the aquarium water (how much?). There are two responses: foam rate and duration of the effect.

The easiest term to evaluate is the dilution of tank water. I would say diluting aquarium water with a dose of freshwater would diminish the amount of foam. You would see the foam column decrease in height and maybe the fine foam transition to bigger, weaker bubbles. The duration would be as long as it tanks to bring the internal skimmer water back to 100%.

I imagine the pH effect could be more subtle. It could change the charge on the molecules that adhere to the air bubbles, either making them more or less “sticky”.

The decreased salinity might not be good for foam strength maybe.

I think that I talked myself into recommending to only put 100% tank water into a skimmer :)
For sake of clarity, yes, it would be from a fresh water reservoir and through a kalk reactor via a dosing pump. (In reality I’ll be using a gravity fed reservoir & a float valve into the bubble chamber on my sump).

Fantastic point on the decreasing salinity in a skimmer bit, although would, say, a 5mL hourly burst actually change the salinity enough to matter? Now you’re gonna have me measuring the skimmer for volume. :D
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 5, 2014
Messages
46,469
Reaction score
35,906
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Arlington, Massachusetts, United States
Thank you for the concern, but it’s misplaced. I don’t even have a system running at the moment. This is a purely hypothetical question about chemistry.

The only long term effect aside from pH and alk and calcium boosting that can happen to kalkwasser after addition is localized precipitation of calcium carbonate if it is not mixed in fast enough.

I don't see the skimmer being any different, but the pump on the skimmer may get some preciptiation of calcium carbonate ion it (like any pump). So might the inside of the skimmer.
 
BRS
OP
BaghdadBean

BaghdadBean

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
92
Reaction score
50
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Scio
The only long term effect aside from pH and alk and calcium boosting that can happen to kalkwasser after addition is localized precipitation of calcium carbonate if it is not mixed in fast enough.

I don't see the skimmer being any different, but the pump on the skimmer may get some preciptiation of calcium carbonate on it (like any pump). So might the inside of the skimmer.
Oh snap, thank you very much!
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 5, 2014
Messages
46,469
Reaction score
35,906
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Arlington, Massachusetts, United States
Here's what it looked like where my limewater (kalkwasser) hit the sump near my skimmer return. Note the stuff on the sides might be mostly from the limewater drops hitting the side before hitting the water:

What is that Precipitate in My Reef Aquarium? by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com


Figure 4. When limewater drips onto surfaces, such as the sides of a sump, precipitation of calcium carbonate takes place. The off-white coloration probably comes from metals such as iron binding to the calcium carbonate surface in the place of calcium.

1634491177974.png
 

Dan_P

2500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
Messages
2,676
Reaction score
2,710
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
For sake of clarity, yes, it would be from a fresh water reservoir and through a kalk reactor via a dosing pump. (In reality I’ll be using a gravity fed reservoir & a float valve into the bubble chamber on my sump).

Fantastic point on the decreasing salinity in a skimmer bit, although would, say, a 5mL hourly burst actually change the salinity enough to matter? Now you’re gonna have me measuring the skimmer for volume. :D
Surprisingly small changes can effect the foam. I would be interested in what 5 mL freshwater did to skimmer foam.
 
OP
BaghdadBean

BaghdadBean

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
92
Reaction score
50
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Scio
Here's what it looked like where my limewater (kalkwasser) hit the sump near my skimmer return. Note the stuff on the sides might be mostly from the limewater drops hitting the side before hitting the water:

What is that Precipitate in My Reef Aquarium? by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com


Figure 4. When limewater drips onto surfaces, such as the sides of a sump, precipitation of calcium carbonate takes place. The off-white coloration probably comes from metals such as iron binding to the calcium carbonate surface in the place of calcium.

I really appreciate the response and your time. We get a lot of precipitates here in our freshwater out at the livestock troughs because our stock well has ultra high iron content, but I hadn’t ever thought about iron precipitating from saltwater.
 
OP
BaghdadBean

BaghdadBean

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
92
Reaction score
50
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Scio
Surprisingly small changes can effect the foam. I would be interested in what 5 mL freshwater did to skimmer foam.
I’d think that it might also be dependent on how clean your skimmer was. I do remember that with my smaller tanks that ran baby skimmers, there was a real sugar spot in regards to how much film was too much or too little. Drove me nuts at the time because I had to really struggle not to overclean.
 
AquaCave Logo Banner
Queen City Corals
Top