Calcium and alkalinity relationship

What ratio should a tank use calcium to alkalinity? | REEF2REEF Saltwater and Reef Aquarium Forum

calcium and alkalinity relationship

This article will describe the relationship between calcium, alkalinity, magnesium and pH in simple, intuitive ways. These include very simple pictures that will. If a measurement of alkalinity is not undertaken, the calcium level may be . as there is a relationship between calcium levels and alkalinity that. Magnesium interferes with this process, permitting both calcium and A Simplified Guide to the Relationship Between Calcium, Alkalinity.

After gong through this I began to evaluate what options were available to make my life easier and to keep the alkalinity, calcium and magnesium levels stable in my tanks. I thought of going to the Balling or individual dosing method, where a fixed amount of buffer, calcium and magnesium are added throughout the day via dosing pumps and this would keep the tank stable and solve the problem.

This method is pretty straight forward in that once you start dosing these elements for the first few weeks and do regular testing throughout, you can tweak the amounts of what is being added and adjust accordingly and once you reach the desired levels you pretty much just set it and let it go and test as often as you find is necessary and readjust to meet the needs of the tank.

So this was the first option I considered. The only problems I saw is that I would have to mix up either big batches of these elements or would have to mix up small batches frequently.

calcium and alkalinity relationship

As a result, it needed to be stirred up regularly, which I some time forgot to do. Second it is kind of tedious in terms of not only the mixing, but also the testing and tweaking, so I assumed it would be worse on a system that was three times as big. So since it was after the holidays and I had gotten a decent end of year bonus, I decided to look at the options for a new calcium reactor.

Fortunately, in my travels to Europe last Fall, I had seen what many of the largest and nicest tanks in Europe were using on their tanks. It was a calcium reactor unlike any I had seen in operation here.

What ratio should a tank use calcium to alkalinity?

Made by Dastaco, it was a two-chambered calcium reactor that did not require all of the manipulations that my old calcium reactor required.

The amazing tank of Martin Lakin. It is difficult to grow corals this healthy and big without having stable alkalinity With my old reactor, as the CO2 pressure dropped the bubble rate slowed. When the bubble rate slowed the pH in the reactor tended to creep up. When this happened the flow rate of the effluent either needed to be reduced or the bubble rate via the bubble counter and needle valve had to be increased. As with many things in the hobby, keeping the reactor adjusted to the optimal levels required by the tank was like balancing plates on sticks.

And on top of this the reactor needed to be regularly adjusted owing to the growth of the corals and their seemingly constant increasing demand for more calcium carbonate.

calcium and alkalinity relationship

In talking with David Saxby, Martin Lakin, and others, all of whom were using the Dastaco reactor, doing all of these adjustments was not necessary with this device for the most part once the desired levesl were achieved. Unlike most calcium reactors, which dissolve a fairly light and porous media at around 6. The unit has an electric eye, that should be utilized, so that none of this low pH water is released into the tank at night once the lights are off, when the pH is already low.

The KH guardian in operation on my gallon tank I will admit it, that looking at it, it is not the prefect streamlined package that we all have come to expect with new equipment in the hobby, but to me at least it would reduce the time I was spending constantly measuring and adjusting. I thought about waiting for some of the other alkalinity monitors that are supposedly coming to market, but I did not want to have to buy a whole new monitoring system in order to use one that may or may not be as reliable as this one, nor did I want to have to wait for others that may not make it to market when this one was already out there and from the demonstration I saw at ReefStock was shown to be incredibly reliable.

Fortunately, since this equipment was relatively new to the market, when I contacted them they both gave me a discount to beta test their equipment and tell them of any problems with it so the flaws could be worked out before it was widely used.

Also, sometimes our source water is the source of the issues. If you are using tap water or old RO or DI filters, this can be the source of extra ions. You are getting a high Ca reading, so you are not sure if your Calcium kit is right. If you are sure you are following the directions exactly, you can either buy another brand e. They should know their value with their kit and you can compare the two. If your salt mix is OK and your test kit is correct, then somehow your Ca is getting larger, not smaller.

If you have been dosing Ca then this is likely the source.

Alk and Mg relationship | REEF2REEF Saltwater and Reef Aquarium Forum

If you have not been dosing, then my thinking is that Step 1 or 2 is still an issue. Normally, reefers will need to dose Ca and Alkalinity. Some get away without dosing Magnesium by using a high quality salt and weekly water changes of sufficient volume. This means they get the Mg they need from the water changes. I have too many obligations for weekly water changes, so I do monthly. The blue dot represents the values present in natural seawater.

We will use this figure to determine a course of action for each of the four numbered zones outside of the red target area. So the first step is to see where your tank falls on the graph, and then follow the directions given for that zone. Corrections for Zone 1 Zone 1 is the easiest problem to correct. Unfortunately, it is also very uncommon. In this case, both calcium and alkalinity are on the high side of normal.

Moreover, if you leave the tank alone, the problem will likely correct itself, and you will end up in the red target zone though you may also pass through it into zone 2 if you wait too long.

calcium and alkalinity relationship

A graph showing how to correct values within zone 1 by allowing calcium carbonate to be deposited in the tank the blue arrow. What this zone implies is that both calcium and alkalinity are elevated, and that by removing calcium carbonate from the water, either through biotic deposition into coral skeletons or coralline algae, or through abiotic precipitation, as on heaters, the levels of each will drop in an appropriate ratio.

More specifically, the tank parameters will move along a line parallel to the two lines bordering this zone, and directly into the red target zone the blue arrow in Figure 2. If you are smack in the middle between these two lines, as in Figure 2, then you will continue to move in the middle of these two lines down into the target zone.

Corrections for Zone 2 Zone 2 is also an easy problem to correct, and is very common. In this case, both calcium and alkalinity are on the low side of normal.

pH, Alkalinity, and Hardness for your Water Treatment or Distribution Exam

If you take any tank in the red target zone, and let corals and coralline algae grow i. Just as above Figure 2you will move downward in a fashion such that you parallel the lines bordering the zone.

That fact is why it is so common to have this problem: To correct this situation back to the red target zone, one wants to add calcium and alkalinity in a balanced fashion. The more that you add of these, the further upward your correction will go the blue arrow in Figure 3.

The correct balance of d/KH alkalinity against calcium level

Of course, adding too much will push you into zone 1, but if that happens you can just sit back and watch it drop back to the target zone. A graph showing how to correct values within zone 2 by supplementing with a balanced calcium and alkalinity additive system the blue arrow.

For example, adding calcium chloride and sodium bicarbonate will work fine, but you must fine-tune exactly how much of each you add. Consequently, more careful monitoring of calcium and alkalinity levels is necessary if you go this route. Remember that manufacturer recommendations are based on maintaining a tank, not in making substantial corrections. To make such corrections, you may need to add much more than is recommended.

If you are adding a balanced additive and the pH is not getting out of the range of about 7. These balanced additives are discussed in more detail at the end of the article. On the other hand, if you are using independent calcium and alkalinity additives, you must be very careful to not create an imbalance by adding too much of one relative to the other.

Directions for deciding how much of these types of additives can be found below, but you should rely on frequent testing more than recommended amounts, to determine how much of these types of additives to put into the tank.

Finally, if you are adding large amount of calcium and alkalinity supplements, but just cannot maintain the desired values, you might want to measure the magnesium level in the water.

Magnesium plays an important role in preventing the abiotic precipitation of calcium carbonate1and if it is substantially depleted, you may be experiencing excessive amounts of calcium and alkalinity loss to this route. Corrections for Zone 3 Zone 3 problems are a little harder to correct, and are fairly common.

This problem is typically caused by overdosing alkalinity RELATIVE to calcium, but does not necessarily imply that calcium is either too high or too low though it is almost always too low. To correct problems in this zone, monitoring of calcium and alkalinity values during correction is especially important.

One more word about this zone before getting to solutions: If you are low on alkalinity, it is a fine course of action to raise the alkalinity. But if alkalinity is OK, or even high, adding an alkalinity supplement to alter the pH may simply create a worse problem.

Better solutions to pH problems are discussed in this recent article 6. If this problem is extreme i. I would advise correcting this problem by adding a calcium chloride supplement until you have moved into the target zone or zones 1 or 2 that you can then treat as described above as shown in Figure 4.

calcium and alkalinity relationship

Certain other calcium supplements may also be OK such as just the calcium component of the two-part calcium and alkalinity additive systemsbut you do not want to add any alkalinity. Any of the balanced calcium and alkalinity additive systems will move you parallel to the line at the edge of the zone, while you want to move over to it, and cross it.