Dosing Help

Discussion in 'Advanced Topics' started by Reefreak, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. Reefreak

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    Hey everyone.

    I seem to be having some problems with dosing ALK with BRS 2 part. Over the last week I have been trying to raise Alk, Ca, Mg to proper levels. Ca and Mg were no brainers and worked perfectly via the BRS reef calculator. I have been trying to raise my Alk to 8 DKH and I can't seem to bring it above 7.6 DKH. I am dosing using two 1.1ml BRS dosers via an Apex jr with OSC commands given to me via this calculator I found on the neptune forum; http://www.reeftronics.net/adpg/dosingcalc.php/ . I have Alk and Ca off set by 30 minutes and it is also dosed into a high flow zone in my return section of my sump with the extra circulation via an extra power head to stir things up.

    These are my records of my parameters and dosing in the last week. Trying something new by using a spread sheet and so far I am liking it.

    Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 8.55.38 PM.jpg Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 8.59.27 PM.jpg

    Any advice?
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. LowersMyBP

    LowersMyBP I contributed!
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    Sounds like a bad test kit, what are you using? If api, go buy salifert, Hanna or (?elos or red sea? I am not as sure about) and get back to us. Or take water to an LFS and have them test, particularly if you have a "good" test kit, you could be doing something wrong, happens a lot.

    Just in case the spreadsheet tells me some of that, I can't see your spreadsheet on my phone well.
     
  3. OP
    Reefreak

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    I am using the Hanna Alk Checker that I just picked it up over the recent black friday sales. I just double checked the Checker's measurements to my Red Sea Alk test and it came out as about 7.4 DKH. Based on these results, I don't think I'm doing the test wrong.

    I am trying to do the tests at the same time everyday (8pm-9pm) as it is my understanding that Alk can vary throughout the day.

    My main goal is just to stabilize these levels and being that my system being only ~25gal they seem to be able to swing pretty rapidly. This swing caused a period of time where I was losing acro's a couple months ago that almost made me shut down the system. From everything that I've read it was most likely from inconsistent Alk levels.
     
  4. David Grigor

    David Grigor TCMAS Old Timer
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    I wouldn't use the doser to try in increase levels. Just want the doser to maintain. Manually add the needed amount to get to where you need to be. Then if it's is falling you know its becuase your doser is not adding enough per day.

    You can have the illusion its not doing anything becuase per day it can easily drop 1dkh. So you add some but still not enough to offset the normal daily drop will look like it's not doing anything.

    So just add say 10ml wait a few minutes test again, add another 10ml or so test again to get it to 8dkh. Its shouldn't take much to get from 7.6 to 8 so unlikely to have issues with pH for the one time dosing. Once you get the 8dkh reading and if the next day it's something lower then you know to increase your dosing osc frequency.
     
  5. OP
    Reefreak

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    David, thanks for the advice.

    I manually dosed the tank and it's now at 8.1. I currently turned off all dosing pumps to see what it will fall to over the next day so I can get an idea of what my daily dose should be and adjust the pumps from there.

    Does this sound like the right steps to take?
     
  6. David Grigor

    David Grigor TCMAS Old Timer
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    That's fine. You can also run the doser doesn't really matter as you will still know if maintaining or needs additional time.
     
  7. David Grigor

    David Grigor TCMAS Old Timer
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    That's fine. You can also run the doser doesn't really matter as you will still know if maintaining or needs additional time. Always better to be too little than to be too much. Sudden bump in alk by making a calculation mistakes is the biggest thing to avoid.
     
  8. OP
    Reefreak

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    Yea after I made the manual dose I realized that I should of did smaller doses to bring it up to 8 DKH. As I over shot what I was aiming for. Thanks Again!
     
  9. Bodegus

    Bodegus I contributed!
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    +1 dosers should be used to maintain. If I need to lower Alk I cut dosing until it is at the right level, if I need to raise it I manually add what I need to over some period of time.

    Dialing in dosers is a pain; once you have it don't mess with it!
     
  10. OP
    Reefreak

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    I have almost found my daily dosing needs for Alk, just need to dial it in a bit more I think.

    How much does everyone let there Alk, Ca and Mg vary?
    I am assuming a variation of +/- .2dkh is ok.
     
  11. David Grigor

    David Grigor TCMAS Old Timer
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    I'm not aware of any issues with it varying. The most important thing is for it not to get below 6.5-7dkh. The second most important thing is not to let it jump a huge swing such as from 7 to 12+dkh quickly that will melt corals.

    But daily swing of 1-2dkh ( tanks with high amounts of coral can easily use 1-2dkh per day ) just so long as it never gets below 7dkh is perfectly fine acceptable. I personally have mine ( I use kalkwasser not 2 part but the same reasons apply ) to dose only at night ( assuming your using soda ash for alkalinity that increases pH which most people use ). If you dose when pH is lower or falling you have less likely to have precipitation issues and second it helps offset the normall pH fall from coral respiration. This will help you pH from being quite as low by morning thus doesn't take as much time during daylight for it to get back to 8+. So when you dose only at night the alk will fall during the day from calcification and that is totally fine but again just so long as it doesn't go lower than 7dkh during the day.

    If you do choose to run a higher alk level ( say above 10dkh+ ) then just keep a close eye on the encrustest bases of acros. If you start to see it recede very slowly 1mm ish at a time, your alk levels may be too high compared for your phosphate levels. The lower you keep your phosphate the more this comes into play. So just be aware. I can always tell without even running an Alk test when my alk gradually drifts up a little too high.


    Your never going to see a Calciuim or Mg swing with our test kits. A 1 dkh drop in alkalinity equates to a 7ppm drop in Calcium and our test kits aren't accurate enough to even detect such a reading. Mg the same as it's about .07-.1ppm per 1dkh drop. At best our test kits can see a 20ppm +/- and most cases due to human perception of color change its probably more like 40ppm. The key here is also not so much that it matters how stable it is just that it doesn't get below 360ppm. There really isn't any noticable calfication etc. by running a high CA range.

    Magnesium a quick check a dose every 2 weeks or so is totally fine since most test kits won't even see a 40ppm +/- change accurately. The key with Mg again is just that it doesn't get chronically low. There is quite an acceptable range and it falls so small that just doesn't matter so long as your checking it at least every once in a while. You won't really see adverse effects from Mg unless you have dosed for say a year and no water changes.

    Now having said all that, you should still strive to keep as stable as possible within you and your equipments ability but it's really not a huge top priority. The top priority is just that is never gets below the levels that limit calcification which are 7dkh alk and 360ppm calcium. Mag 12800ppm or above ( at full 1.026 / 35ppt salinity ) to match natural levels but can be even lower without adverse effects but should be corrected when below 1100-1200ppm.
     
    #11 David Grigor, Dec 10, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  12. OP
    Reefreak

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    Wow, David you are sure the bottomless pit of reef keeping knowledge! Thanks for the information! I was under the perception that Alk needed to be kept dead stable and never really shift.

    I am aiming to match all my parameters to the Red Sea blue bucket at 35ppt. That way when I do my weekly 25% water change (5 gal on a 20 gal system) I don't see any significant spike or dip in Alk or Ca.

    As of right now my PO4 is holding @ 0.00pm according to my low range phosphate checker (I don't believe it is really 0 but every time I test it thats what i get). I have thought about increasing the amount I feed to bring it up a little bit but I don't want to open a can of worms with nitrate levels. That being said my nitrate levels are holding at 6ppm (nothing I am to worried about at the moment) but I have thought about pulling out the filter sock and only using it for a couple hours post water change. That way I don't have to worry about things decomposing in the sock. The thing that is stopping me from doing this is that i know the skimmer can't pull out pieces of food and it just seems easier to change the sock twice a week.

    Well that last bit didn't really pertain to dosing but since you mentioned low PO4 levels I thought I would mention what my levels were.
     
  13. David Grigor

    David Grigor TCMAS Old Timer
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    Yeah, not sure about your test readings. Sounds suspect unless you are doing some like heavy gfo, bio pellets or something on purpose to keep it low. Rarely ( unless you feed very lightly ) will water changes and skimmer only will phosphates levels get as low as the .02 target range. If your running agressive algae such as ATS or big refugium, most will have the opposite issue, higher phosphates and zero nitrates. If running something along those lines bio-pellets, carbon dosing such as vodka though it can happen where you stripped out all the phosphates and limits how much nitrates can be removed. Theres a balancing act between the two.

    I don't know how you use the test, I can just tell you some of the things I had trouble with on the HI-736. You have to shake very vigourously to get the regent to dissolve. Shaking like you see those paint can mixers at home depot almost. Just swirling around etc. isn't going to mix it. Be sure you don't see any white particles before you press the button for CL2. In the beginning I would get so pissed that the thing would turn itself off before I could ever get it mixed well. Second, the vials need to be really clean as that will throw off the readings. Lastly, your doing the converstion after the reading correct ? multiply by 3.066 then divide by 1000 to get ppm.

    If your readings were sustained at 0 and legite your corals can become pretty pale much like some zoevit systems. If you still have good vibrant colors it may be a sign your levels are higher then 0 ( which is not necessarily bad ).

    I've found my tank seems to do best around .06-.08ppm and start to see algae and go down hill when creeps up to 1 - 1.2ppm. If I keep prolonged lower I don't like how my corals react with the lighter colors, LPS seem to get pissed off some etc. So what I'm trying to say is really observation is probably more important than the number itself. I really only see the value in testing if your running LaCl3, gfo or some other agressive phosphate removal techniques just to be sure your not over doing it or going too low too fast.
     
    #13 David Grigor, Dec 10, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  14. OP
    Reefreak

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    I try to do every test the same. I always have the 10ml facing me so it reads through the same spot on the vial. Shake the vial for 2min after the addition of the powder to be sure it is dissolved. Also I wipe the vials clean with a typical cloth you would use to clean glasses with to get rid of all finger prints and anything else.

    Since it is reading 0 every time I am just assuming it is between 0.04-0.00ppm since the HI713 has a accuracy of +/-0.04ppm. That being said based on observation and my little experience I believe it is about in that range. I really only need to clean the glass during the water change because very little algae accumulates on the glass during the week. I also only use a 1/4 cup of ROX carbon. A couple months ago I did try using Red Sea's NOPOX but have stopped using it altogether and have not used GFO in months.

    As far as feeding. I have been feeding New Life Spectrum's all purpose formula pellets (2 small pinches a day), PE mysis (small amount once or twice a week), Reef chilli (once a week). The only fish in the system at the moment is a purple striped Dottyback and Ocellaris clown fish.

    For the protein skimmer I run a space saver 110 reef octopus. Way over kill for what I have at the moment but the idea was to get something I could upgrade with when the time comes. Not sure this matters just trying to address everything you said in the last post.
     
    #14 Reefreak, Dec 10, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014

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