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Can someone lend some insight in to this?

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SkylerS View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 11 2012 at 11:15am
For the longest time I'd never had to mess with calcium and alkalinity in my tank. I never had enough hard coral to make a dent in those parameters that water changes didn't already fix. Well, I've finally got enough and last night mt calc was 360 and my alkalinity 9. I used the reef calculator and it wanted 12 oz of my calcium and 4 tsp of baking soda. I added 4 oz of calcium and I took 4 tsp of soda dissolved in a couple cups of tank water, I added half this to my tank and the rest went in my top off water. In an hour my tank was super cloudy. I've read articles where people added too much baking soda that caused this, but I didn't add all that much, not even the whole recommended dosage. Everything seems fine, the tank is a lot less cloudy this morning and the inhabitants are fine. Just curious if someone can offer an explanation and how to avoid it in the future. Thanks!
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Melissa View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 11 2012 at 11:31am
You mixed the calcium and baking soda?
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Ann_A View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ann_A Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 11 2012 at 11:32am
How are the parameters?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wickedsnowman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 11 2012 at 11:53am
Whenever u add calcium and alk you need to seperate them and add them at different times. I usually wait at least 10 mins in a high flow area. When added to close together they percipitate.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SkylerS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 11 2012 at 12:03pm
I did not mix calcium and alk. I suppose they were 5 minutes apart. Wait longer? Haven't checked parameters today. I suppose I should recheck alk and calcium after the snowstorm.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SkylerS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 11 2012 at 3:54pm
Calcium today is at 460ppm and alk is at 11.  The alkalinity worked just right, but apparently my calcium is a LOT more concentrated than I thought.  I'll be sure to spread those out next time I dose both.  My pH is a little lower than usual however.  ABout 8.0-8.1 vs regular 8.2.  A little reading indicates straight soda can slightly lower pH and baked soda ash will raise it slightly.  Will the pH recover on its own or will I need to buffer it?  I freaked out because the first pH test showed a pH of 7.4, but looking at the tank I knew that couldn't be right because everything is inflated and happy, so I retested.  There must have been a contaminant in the first tube.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 11 2012 at 5:04pm
The pH will recover on it's own. Never, ever mess with pH using chemicals. pH can be easily increased by agitating the water or adding a bubbling airstone.

Raising Ca from 360 ppm to 460 ppm was not a problem, though I would not raise it any faster than that in one swoop.

On the other hand, raising Alk from 9 dKH to 11 dKH in one swoop is harmful. If left alone, the tank should recover and the cloudiness will be gone by tomorrow. Watch the tank carefully and if coral start to show stress, add another 75 ppm of Ca supplement. This is the quickest way to balance Alk and Ca, in fact that is why the water went cloudy. (The extra Alk combined with the Ca to form a precipitate, or in other words tiny particles of Calcium Carbonate. This is Mother Natures way of fixing our mistake. Smile) If within a few hours of adding more Ca, coral did not start recovering, I'd do a 20-30% water change and or add that bubbling airstone (which raises pH helping Alk and Ca to combine and precipitate and be quickly utilized by coral.)

Alk should not be raised more than 1 dKH in 24 hours and adding the supplement in two portions over 24 hours is the safest method.


Edited by Mark Peterson - May 11 2012 at 5:09pm
Reefkeeping Tips, & quick, easy setup tricks:
www.utahreefs.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=9244
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SkylerS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 11 2012 at 6:51pm
Thanks Mark.  I'm glad the forum is here for this kind of thing.  I know enough about the chemistry that small adjustments are best, but I'm still learning what "small" really means to different measurements.  As stated, originally the reef calculator indicated I add 12 oz of my calcium supplement, I only added like 2 (small changes) and the alkalinity was 4 tsp of baking soda, and I mixed this and only added half the solution.  Had I added all of each I imagine I would be posting today that my tank was dying.  haha.    I've been in to saltwater for about 2 years now, but for the first 1 1/2 years it was mainly fish and soft coral.  So my branching out into LPS and some SPS, I'm still fairly a newbie in that regard.  I never had to doctor water parameters before with just fish and softies.  I run a large skimmer so I get plenty of aeration in the tank, everything seems nice and happy so everything worked out nicely I think.  Your suggestions are duly noted Mark.  Thanks for all the info.
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