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Kalkwasser Best Practices

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Fatman View Drop Down
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    Posted: December 10 2015 at 4:53pm
I'm interested in hearing how many people are dosing kalkwasser and how they are doing it.

Early in my saltwater experience I mixed up kalkwasser and used my ATO to dose it into the sump area with the return pump. I had some significant issues with calcium buildup on the impeller magnet and was constantly changing pumps and cleaning them.

Currently I have been doing a slow drip into a high flow area of the sump with about a gallon a day of kalkwasser going into the 120 gallon. It has a 40 gallon sump and a 30 gallon frag tank attached to it.

My mix is 2 teaspoons of pickling lime in a gallon of DI water with about 30 ml of vinegar to help suspend the lime. I dose carbon anyway so this lets me dose a bit less. It mixes well and weekly I clean out the reside from the jug I use.

What are others doing and who successful have you been with kalkwasser?

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Fat
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Adam Blundell View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adam Blundell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 10 2015 at 5:28pm
In my top off reservoir I dump in a cup of kalkwasser every few months. I let the top off water saturate, and I have a pump on a float switch.

Adam
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Mark Peterson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 10 2015 at 5:44pm
In my previous large coral farm I used a dosing pump to dose Kalkwasser every night from a 5 gal bucket/reservoir to replenish evaporated water. This worked, it helped reduce nighttime pH just slightly but not worth shouting about, since the system was very open with good surface water agitation that kept pH in range through the night anyway. 

If you ask me, Kalkwasser is really just a hassle and is quite unnecessary in my opinion, since it hardly impacts Alk and Ca supplementation in any worthwhile amount. Of course, as Jon Finch pointed out, it is a balanced supplement, a Carbonate Reactor(also known, albeit incorrectly, as a Calcium Reactor) is much better, yet there now is a better/easier way, that Jon was not as familiar with since his reefkeeping days were somewhat in the past. 

In my recent coral farm, which was even larger than the previous one mentioned, directly dosing individual Alk solution with the dosing pump took care of all the needs, delivering as much or as little as any size system could use. In case you're wondering, I found that the bottom layer of Utah Sand was pretty good at releasing Ca and Mg into this coral farm system, requiring only periodic adjustments via manual dosing. This is an effect that I see duplicated for all mature systems that use a Utah Sand bottom layer.

Using Kalkwasser with vinegar added as a way to dose additional Carbon, if it's working, is actually very acceptable. If it's not broke, don't fix it. Smile

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Mark  Hug
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adam Blundell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 10 2015 at 7:00pm
That all sounds crazy.

Adam
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adam Blundell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 10 2015 at 7:08pm
Originally posted by Mark Peterson Mark Peterson wrote:

Kalkwasser is really just a hassle and is quite unnecessary in my opinion, since it hardly impacts Alk and Ca supplementation in any worthwhile amount.


By the way, assuming my math is correct, in a 100 gallon tank: to raise the calcium 100ppm you'd need 25 teaspoons of kalkwasser. That's a half cup of kalkwasser is all you need to raise it 100 ppm!!!
And it is balanced.

Adam
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reefer4Ever Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 10 2015 at 7:27pm
I could be wrong as well and the wife isn't here so I thought 3 teaspoons make one tablespoon and 3 tablespoons make 1/4 cup so 25 teaspoons so maybe closer to 3/4 cup
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adam Blundell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 10 2015 at 9:34pm
48 teaspoons in a cup... right?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote phys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 10 2015 at 9:50pm
17 teaspoons of calcium in a 150g raises it by 100ppm. without adding unnecessary alk.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2015 at 7:00am
This may seem like it is becoming an argument between us, but that's only because each reef aquarium has different demands/needs for Alkalinity and Calcium. Remember too that Kalkwasser is Calcium Hydroxide. It's a balanced additive but that does not mean that testing can be ignored, nor that Alk and Ca supplementation will not be required. Also, it contains no Magnesium, so Mg will still need to be monitored and dosed periodically.

Even if all top off water is Kalkwasser, the amount of Alk and Ca it delivers is only enough for tanks with just a few stony coral, unless other direct Alk and Ca supplementation is utilized. Even Coralline Algae and Snails use Alk and Ca. "Purple" rock tanks can be higher demand users where the need cannot be met by Kalkwasser only.

Caution: It must be dripped slowly otherwise too much Calcium Hydroxide added at once will make the pH shoot up through the roof, damaging the animals. (Vinegar added to the Kalkwasser solution moderates this effect.)

Aloha,
Mark  Hug

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Trevor40 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2015 at 8:55am
I dose Kalk on my top of water to help balance pH and assist my Ca reactor. I would never use it as my main source and get the impression that most people use it in addition to other dosing methods.

With a tank heavily stocked with SPS I find that it helps keep Alk and Ca more stable than using a Ca reactor alone.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adam Blundell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2015 at 9:12am
Phys- well true, for the times you don't want to add alk you'd be better with CaCl snow melt, but that's just to correct levels not maintain. Typically you do want to add both.

I'm still wondering if Mark is arguing that kalk doesn't have much of an effect. Sure sounds like it does to me.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fatman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2015 at 12:50pm
My reasons for doing the kalk is to help balance the alk/ca in the tank. I still dose alk, CA and mag. Carbon too.

I'l hoping the kalkwasser dosed in a drip will help keep the tank stable. I worry about dumping a whole dose of alk and ca in the evenings. I'm trying to get things to be stable and lower my dosing requirements. If I didn't have six kids and ten grandchildren to shop for this Christmas I'd buy some BRS dosing pumps and not drip kalk.

I'd also like to get some additional BRS dosing pumps to set my tank up for a 1% daily water change.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ttabbal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2015 at 3:39pm
Using this calculator...

https://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/Calculators/KalkContribution.php

1 gallon of saturated kalk solution (not vinegar enhanced) added to a 120 gallon system contributes.. 

7.31 ppm Calcium 
1.03 dKH Alk 

There's also the PH rise to be concerned about. If it's spread out over the day like those that use an ATO for dosing it, it's likely not a big issue. But it does limit how much you can use in a given time period. Those numbers match my observed results. 

I've been studying this stuff, as my alk/cal kept dropping. I don't have any SPS, mostly Euphillia LPS, and some Z&Ps. Kalk keeps the levels up pretty well in my case, but it's starting to show its limits. 

The reason it seems like small amounts should work well is that you're looking at the solid form. Once added to water and settled out, it's less potent. However, doing that allows impurities to settle out along with, according to some research, some metals like copper. You don't want to dose the powder, it's pretty harsh and if it comes into contact with your animals they get irritated. I found out the hard way, accidentally, don't do that. Mix and let sit for a few hours, then dose the clear liquid. 

I recently started using really small amounts of BRS 2 part, about 20mL/day, along with kalk at night, about 500mL/day over 6 doses. Using a Jaebo dosing pump. That seems to keep things about where I want them now. 

Auto water change is next on my radar, just need to get my 3D printer dialed in and get some designs printing. I'm leaning toward a 2-head peristaltic pump driven by a stepper motor. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fatman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2015 at 3:44pm
Originally posted by ttabbal ttabbal wrote:

Using this calculator...

https://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/Calculators/KalkContribution.php

1 gallon of saturated kalk solution (not vinegar enhanced) added to a 120 gallon system contributes..テつ

7.31 ppm Calciumテつ
1.03 dKH Alkテつ

There's also the PH rise to be concerned about. If it's spread out over the day like those that use an ATO for dosing it, it's likely not a big issue. But it does limit how much you can use in a given time period. Those numbers match my observed results.テつ

I've been studying this stuff, as my alk/cal kept dropping. I don't have any SPS, mostly Euphillia LPS, and some Z&Ps. Kalk keeps the levels up pretty well in my case, but it's starting to show its limits.テつ

The reason it seems like small amounts should work well is that you're looking at the solid form. Once added to water and settled out, it's less potent. However, doing that allows impurities to settle out along with, according to some research, some metals like copper. You don't want to dose the powder, it's pretty harsh and if it comes into contact with your animals they get irritated. I found out the hard way, accidentally, don't do that. Mix and let sit for a few hours, then dose the clear liquid.テつ

I recently started using really small amounts of BRS 2 part, about 20mL/day, along with kalk at night, about 500mL/day over 6 doses. Using a Jaebo dosing pump. That seems to keep things about where I want them now.テつ

Auto water change is next on my radar, just need to get my 3D printer dialed in and get some designs printing. I'm leaning toward a 2-head peristaltic pump driven by a stepper motor.テつ


Nice on the auto water changes. I'd be interested in seeing how you are going to do that.

My kalk drips about a gallon or a little more in a 24 hour period. I'm doing a water test today to see where I am as a baseline and work from there. Thanks for the calculator.

Fat
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote phys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 13 2015 at 3:28am
I've never even wanted to try dosing kalk just due to the extra work involved. But it sounds like you have it mostly figured out. A quick reading suggests you need to maintain mag levels as it may cause higher than normal ph shifts and you must also keep the alk in constant check as it can be depleted at a higher rate which can also be affected by CO2 levels present (which is taken care of by the vinegar). I'm sure you know that but just doubling up since it hasn't been fully mentioned. Ps.. I may have some equipment/suggestions for you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 13 2015 at 5:11am
Originally posted by ttabbal ttabbal wrote:

Using this calculator...
https://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/Calculators/KalkContribution.php
1 gallon of saturated kalk solution (not vinegar enhanced) added to a 120 gallon system contributes.. 
7.31 ppm Calcium 
1.03 dKH Alk 
That doesn't sound right. Kalkwasser is a balanced additive. The ratio of 7 ppm Ca to 1 dKH Alk does not seem balanced when you compare the operating parameters ratio of 350-500 ppm Ca to 8-11 dKH Alk. I could be wrong but I don't think the increase in Alk could be that much from 1 gal of Kalkwasser(Limewater) solution added to 100 gal of saltwater.
.
.
To answer Adam's comment, Yes, that is what I am saying. 

Aloha,
Mark  Hug

P.S.
If I understand the chemistry correctly, Kalkwasser delivers a load of ions which immediately and substantially raises the pH (thus the need to dose by slow drip). Then, within an hour or so the ions join with other elements and compounds allowing pH to drop back down to just a little higher than the original reading. I'm going to go back and re-read these by the guru Randy Holmes-Farley: 


Edited by Mark Peterson - December 13 2015 at 8:43am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fatman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 13 2015 at 8:25am
pH has been a problem in my tank, typically running around 8.0. Dripping kalk in a 150 gallon system (estimated water volume) may increase the pH, but I'm constantly dripping so it shouldn't swing to much, just work up gradually.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 13 2015 at 8:38am
I don't see 8.0 as being a problem, not if Alk is good. Have you ever checked ORP/Redox? We used to put a lot of stock in that too, like it had to be above 300, but we have also found that to be kind of a waste of time. 
By waste I don't mean we should throw it out the window. What I mean is that we don't need to worry about it and like pH we really don't need to be checking it. Keeping the basic parameters like Alk, Ca and N in range and making sure there is good gas exchange with turbulent action of the water surface seems to be enough to keep coral happy.

Btw, I edited the previous post P.S. just now.

Here is the Randy Holmes-Farley article on ORP:

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote phys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 13 2015 at 1:56pm
From what I read, its a difficult process that requires a lot of patience and careful calculation/implementation but can be quite beneficial once dialed in. Normally ph doesn't need to be checked but when you're doing something that could potentially cause a large swing or low/high ph beyond what it should be, you should keep track of it so you know you're not getting into bad spots.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote reefer86 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 13 2015 at 10:54pm
I use kalk in my auto top off water for my 28 gallon nanocube. I've been using it for the past year with great results. It keeps my calcium and alkalinity very stable. 
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