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View Full Version : Keeping up Ca, Mg and str.



Doompie
01-24-2012, 03:13 AM
All,

Because the water with ATS systems is very rich on foods, most tanks are lit like crazy so the growth potential is enormous.
The limiting factor here is in my opinion Ca and MG (and eventually a bit of str).

So I was wondering what is the most efficient method for adding there minerals to the water column?

This is my ranking:

1) Balling (light) method - This is flexible, increasing the Ca and Mg levels can out compete any other method..And it's fairly easy to adjust. Not too <a href="http://www.athiel.com/lib7/drj2.htm">expensive</a>. (So far my favorite for the future)
2) Calcium Reactor - Nice, steady, but size limited in the output capacity. Kinda High on costs (buy and running)..(especially the DeStaCo which I would favor)
3) "Kalkwasser"/ limewatter - Simple, cheap but too limited to meet the potential growth curve..(currently using, but not suiteable for my future plans)


What are the experiences with no water changes and balling? Is that impossible?

What are you currently using and why?
Pro's and Con's are also very welcome..

kerry
01-24-2012, 08:05 AM
This kind of input would be great. I dose with the Kent Cal Reactor stuff and its hard to keep up.

SantaMonica
01-24-2012, 09:23 AM
Kalk + Kent's Cal + Baking soda

kotlec
01-24-2012, 09:51 AM
For my 16G nano I found the easiest way to use Tropic Marin - BIO-CALCIUM . This is all in one solution. But for bigger tanks I thing that would come expensive solution. So I thing method depends on tank size and Ca requirement.

kerry
01-24-2012, 10:35 AM
Kalk + Kent's Cal + Baking soda
Are you using Pickling Lime Powder for the Kalk?

Aeros
01-24-2012, 11:36 AM
Bulk Reef Supply is the cheapest source of Ca and Mag, for Carbonate it's cheaper to buy Arm&Hammer from the Grocery store (and better quality - food grade). Water changes must be performed when dosing any Chloride bound elements to maintain proper ion ratios.

The cheapest route for Ca and CO3 would be Kalkwasser in a top off solution. This does not add Mag and will precipitate out PO4 possibly slowing scrubber growth.

The next cheapest (long term) is a Calcium Reactor. Ca reactors add all "trace" elements and, if you include dolomite, Magnesium as well. They will also add some inorganic PO4 and make a scrubber grow.

I personally use a Ca reactor. However, the optimal approach would be to use both Kalk and Ca reactor together.

Ace25
01-24-2012, 12:41 PM
I do not like BRS 2 part. I would use only B-Ionic for 3 part. Reason being, BRS only contains the elements for raising Alk/CA, it does not contain any of the trace elements, where as B-Ionic contains all of it. Years ago I switched from B-Ionic to BRS and noticed right away things not looking quite as good. I use Kalkwasser + vinegar for 90% of my needs and dosing pumps for the 10% in case something gets slightly out of balance. 1G jug of B-Ionic has lasted over 2 years now doing it that way and it is still about 1/2 full on Alk, 75% full on CA, and 95% full on Mg.

Floyd R Turbo
01-24-2012, 12:54 PM
How does Kalk and Vinegar replenish your Mg? I know I've read it somewhere, but why Vinegar in addition to the Kalk?

I am definitely going to have to get on the ball on Kalk though. After the tank move (which included adding 2+ bags of Special Grade Reef Sand) I have gone through almost a gallon of BRS Alk in a month. It finally started to taper off. Sand must have soaked up a lot of it finally. Now I can just add about 7.5 mL to each 5g top off bucket and it holds it pretty well (at 2g/day evap)

kerry
01-24-2012, 01:07 PM
I use the method that SM uses but never did the Kalk thing as of yet but, I had been kicking it around but with using a bit of vinegar with it as well.
Does anyone ever use Epsom salt? I use it along with backing soda and a touch of instant ocean in my FW African tank to get the gH, Kh, and pH up. I have never used it in may SW ever.

Floyd R Turbo
01-24-2012, 01:27 PM
?? SM uses Mrs. Wages pickling lime (kalk), did you have a typo there kerry?

kerry
01-24-2012, 01:36 PM
Yes, Kind of, LOL. I meant I do like SM but with out the Kalk deal (yet). Sorry the phones here at the shop are crazy today!! If I use the pickling powder I think I will use it with a hint of vinegar. I figured a DIY bottle with the drip would do just fine.

Rumpy Pumpy
01-24-2012, 02:02 PM
Been using Sodium bicarbonate for alc and Seachem Reef Advantage Calcium for ca' mag' & stro'

Found that the mag' kept getting low so have been topping up with epsom salts now & then as required.

Once my latest batch of Reef Advantage Calcium stuff runs out I'm going to switch to calcium chloride and epsom salts (and an additional strontium additive perhaps)

SantaMonica
01-24-2012, 02:09 PM
Yes Mrs Wages.

I don't think the ions need replenishing. We went through this before; they cancel each other out, and/or are consumed by microbes.

Ace25
01-24-2012, 02:14 PM
Vinegar makes Kalkwasser "super charged" in laymens terms. The long answer is:

Dissolving the Kalk powder in the Vinegar first will accomplish several very good things.

First, it will get more Calcium ions (Ca++) into the solution because you are dissolving the Ca(OH)2 in an acid instead of water, and forming Calcium Acetate, which exists as a dissociated equilibrium of free Calcium ions and Acetate ions.

Second, the Acetic Acid (Vinegar) provides an equivalent of all the CO2 you need to avoid precipitating the newly-added Calcium ions as useless white Calcium Carbonate powder.

Third, after all the cool Calcium ion chemistry is over, the leftover Acetate ions from the broken-down Vinegar leaves you with free organic Carbon in the water that feeds the bacteria in your tank so that it converts more poisonous Nitrates to NO2 gas (a very good thing).

Not sure how to add Mg in with Kalk, never read anyone doing it so to me that makes it seem like it can't be done. I just dose Mg seperately via dosing pump with a gallon jug of B-Ionic Magnesium (although for this I see no problems using BRS 2 part Mg receipe since trace elemets are not a concern when dosing Mg since you dose so little of it). I still have a full bottle of Strontium I bought 10+ years ago, never found a need to use it. Bought the test kit to go with it and every test I did came back saying levels were fine, so I never found a need to dose (same with Iodides which I know no one mentioned). I suspect using B-Ionic, plus heavy feeding, has kept all the minor trace elements in check.

kerry
01-24-2012, 02:23 PM
This is all great info!! Its good to hear others are using baking soda and epsom salt as well as I have been using them for years in my African tanks. I really like the DIY side of the Hobby whether its the FW or SW. I have been buying commercial SW products due to the fact of no knowledge of what DIY to use for SW dosing. Thanks to all for the info and keep them coming please.

Floyd R Turbo
01-24-2012, 03:25 PM
I have a salifert Strontium kit, I ran that sucker half a dozen times to make sure I was doing it right and it always read zero. I've added an entire bottle of Seachem Strontium in one shot and it bumped it up a couple points, and in a few days it was gone again. I since gave up on Str since I read it's need was highly debated. Same deal with Iodine/Iodate, test kits always read low and dosing doesn't change it much, plus I read on the dangers of Io dosing and backed off.

All great info. I am always eager to learn more

kerry
01-24-2012, 03:43 PM
I dose Iodine buy less then half of what they say to. I got the seachem iodine test and its worthless if you ask me.

Aeros
01-24-2012, 07:51 PM
I do not like BRS 2 part. I would use only B-Ionic for 3 part. Reason being, BRS only contains the elements for raising Alk/CA, it does not contain any of the trace elements, where as B-Ionic contains all of it. Years ago I switched from B-Ionic to BRS and noticed right away things not looking quite as good. I use Kalkwasser + vinegar for 90% of my needs and dosing pumps for the 10% in case something gets slightly out of balance. 1G jug of B-Ionic has lasted over 2 years now doing it that way and it is still about 1/2 full on Alk, 75% full on CA, and 95% full on Mg.


I don't care for BRS for the tediousness of daily dosing, and dosing pumps cost the same as a Ca reactor. I do it like that I know exactly what I'm putting in my tank though.

B-Ionic OTOH can claim what they like, and it may be a great product. Too expensive, and no ingredients list. And their claim about "trace" elements... "Trace elements" is another name for heavy metals. Many of which are already added through feeding, and in most cases in reefers interest to minimize them. If you can't test don't add...

Great article explaining sources and exports of metals in reef tanks, from Kalk to reactors, food, and salt mixes. and Algae exports...

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-04/rhf/feature/index.php

Rumpy Pumpy
01-25-2012, 11:02 AM
I dose Iodine buy less then half of what they say to. I got the seachem iodine test and its worthless if you ask me.


I have one of those and it's a bit tricky to use, but you can get reasonable results if you're careful and persevere.


Don't bother anymore though, I just stick 5 or 10 ml of Seachem Reef Plus once a month or when I think of it. Not sure I'll bother with it anymore when my current bottle runs out.

Doompie
01-26-2012, 03:32 AM
Wow there is a lot of information here, thanks for all the posts..

Kinda made the descision on all the input to go for the Ca reactor..Because it is low on maintenance, no fidling with recepies, no more need to mix kalkwasser every other day, low on costs and with the additional dolomite, it keeps up all wanted elements..

Thanks very much for all the input given!

Ace25
01-26-2012, 08:45 AM
Thanks for that link Aeros. Very informative. I thought I had gone through every AA and RK article since their inception but the one you linked to didn't sound familiar to me. Either I read it really early on in my reefing days and didn't understand it, or missed it, but today that is a treasure trove of good information on that subject (heavy metals in the aquaria).

Can anyone explain to me how a CA reactor can raise alk so high it crashes a tank, but still leave calcium levels a little lacking? I have a friend with a 240G tank and 6 months ago he switched from dosing to a CA reactor, worked great for 5 months. pH is set right on the effluent. CA last week was 360 and Alk was over 14 and all his SPS corals died. He went from an Alk of 5 to over 14 in less than a week, didn't make any changes at all to his system, all of the sudden he got a huge alk spike. I have no clue how to to explain it (I admit, I have never used or setup a CA reactor myself, only seen them in action on other peoples tanks), which is why I am asking the question.

kerry
01-27-2012, 06:38 AM
Here is a good article I though I would share about adding vinegar to your Kalk solutions. http://www.reefscapes.net/articles/breefcase/kalkwasser.html

Floyd R Turbo
01-27-2012, 07:41 AM
That is the perfect article for me. I need to understand the chemistry behind such a method. Thanks for posting that!

One thing that I thought of when reading this article, is that there is a discussion on the availability of CO2 being a major factor, and that low CO2 can cause the Cal and Alk to actually drop when dripping kalk directly into a system. I wonder if there is any concern here w/r to scrubbers, since the algae pulls CO2 out of the water, would that tend to create a low CO2 situation? I guess it would depend on a few other factors related to gas exchange. On the tank I run a scrubber on, it's rimless but in a cabinet so it's not quite 'closed' and still evap is upwards of 2g/day on a 144 (actually 110 total water volume)

Ace25
01-27-2012, 08:15 AM
It is too early for my brain to work right... but what does it say when adding a fan over the ATS screen gives you alot more growth? Does that mean the tank is O2 limited or CO2 limited? Whatever the answer is to that I think would answer your question Floyd, although every tank is different so results may not be the same for everyone. Also the tank I put the fan on is also the tank I top off with Kalk, which may be the reason the fan helps so much.

I don't run a fan now, but on my 75G I still get close 2G a day in evaporation, with a fan it could be 3-4G a day on my system. I have dosed full kalk for longer than I have been running an ATS on that tank, my 60G I don't dose kalk, just 2 part, although one ATS uses LEDs, the other uses CFLs, so it is really hard to compare them to each other because the CFL scrubber only works about 20% as good as what my LED scrubber seems to do (going just off growth of algae). The LED scrubber tank runs with Kalk top offs.

Floyd R Turbo
01-27-2012, 08:20 AM
gas exchange happens in both directions, so I'm of the opinion that with a tank that is evaporating 2g/day, that indicates you have no problem with gas exchange. That means if you water CO2 level drops, it will pull it out of ambient air in order to attempt to achieve equilibrium, same with O2. I maintain another (non-scrubber) tank that has glass lids and it evaps maybe 0.5g/day and the pH is always much lower (even when it had a skimmer)

Ace25
01-27-2012, 08:31 AM
That sounds reasonable to me, if you have that much evap then gas exchange shouldn't be an issue.

Skimmers provide aeration, not oxygenation, so that makes sense the pH could be lower on that system you describe. If the skimmer is in a closed stand where there is little airflow, the aeration part isn't really able to do much, where as with a scrubber you get oxygenation which will raise/stabilize pH. If you have good airflow around the skimmer I would think aeration would work much better than in a closed stand (just a general statement, not sure if that pertains to your setup).

I think of aeration as simply "the ability to perform gas exchange" but if you don't have good airflow around it then good gas exchange may not happen. Oxygenation forces O2 back into the water, it doesn't rely on passive exchange like aeration does.

Floyd R Turbo
01-27-2012, 08:36 AM
yep, same deal with winter home syndrome. We have local reefers here in Iowa who run the air intake line for their skimmer through to outside air during the winter and it gives the pH a nice boost over using the stagnant inside air. And you described that low-pH system exactly, skimmer in a cabinet, pH never really went much over 7.8 which isn't really that low, but had no corals so who cares.

kerry
01-27-2012, 12:44 PM
Not sure if this is as good as MRS. Wages but, here is a product I have found and ordered. I am sure its got to be suitable. http://www.healthypets.com/kalkwasser1lb.html

kerry
01-27-2012, 01:03 PM
It looks like most people mix a teaspoon of this with a liter, quart or gallon of water (and some mix in a few ml of vinegar). Does anyone know how much this would raise the CA in a certain amount of water, like how much would one teaspoon raise CA in a 50G or 100G tank?

Ace25
01-27-2012, 01:04 PM
Very expensive Kalk there.. you can get 4.5x more from BRS for the same price.

http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/store/1-gallon-bulk-kalkwasser-calcium-hydroxide-for-aquariums.html

I mix 30 grams of Kalk with 5G of RO/DI water. I bought one of those 4.5lb containers over 5 years ago.. still over 1/2 full today. Stuff lasts forever.

SantaMonica
01-27-2012, 01:10 PM
I mix one 8 ounce cup with 30 gallons

Floyd R Turbo
01-27-2012, 01:24 PM
I believe the formula for full saturation is 2 tsp per gallon. If you have a FW reservoir like a Brute trash can you can put as much as you want in and stir it up and let it settle, and it will be fully saturated. Then next time you add FW to the reservoir you just stir it again and let it settle, etc. At some point you need to remove the sludge. Of course, you can just get a kalk stirrer like one by Avast pretty cheap and then just push your top-off water through it and always have a saturated solution (if that's what you need to maintain levels).

My question then becomes, if you're using a kalk stirrer, how would to apply the vinegar? To the top-off water?

kerry
01-27-2012, 01:26 PM
Thats a good price. The wife said she found some at the Walmart for under 3 bucks for a 1 pound container so she is bring that home today as well. I called a few places here in my town and no one said they had it, even the Walmart where she found it at???? So I ordered it yesterday and will have it Monday, oh well, at least its not expensive. How much in a measuring device is 30 grams? I have a scale but no idea where it is anymore, have not seen it in months.

kerry
01-27-2012, 01:28 PM
Thanks!!! That helps a lot. I guess we posted real close to each other. What does a certain qyt of saturated kalk do to a certain amount of water in terms of CA. I will be doing it by the gal then putting it in liter drip devices I made.

Ace25
01-27-2012, 01:38 PM
I honestly don't know how much CA a certain amount gives you, I just know to be very careful when dosing because it is potent stuff, my ATO method is right on the edge of dosing too much at once in my opinion because I get a short term .4 spike in pH everytime the ATO kicks in (for about 10 minutes).

The way I do it is I have a 5G bucket, I fill it 1/2 way with water, dump in 30grams (that I measure on a digital scale), stir the water and dump in the remaining 1/2 of the water along with 5ml of vinegar (making sure to turn your head away from the container, do not breath in the fumes!), let sit for 24 hours to settle with a tight lid on the bucket to seal it from the air. Then I scoop out the top 80% of the water (clear water) very carefully so I don't stir up the kalk. I refill the kalk bucket with water and stir 4x before I dump it out and replace the kalk.

kerry
01-27-2012, 02:41 PM
I plan to mix it up a gal at a time then distribute it to the three 1 liter drip bottles I made for each of my tanks. I will have it siphoned and regulated by a medical rolling do-hicky that pinches off the hose.
Anyone have any idea how much a liter or quart of saturated solutions would have on 50G's?

Floyd R Turbo
01-27-2012, 02:49 PM
Thanks!!! That helps a lot. I guess we posted real close to each other. What does a certain qyt of saturated kalk do to a certain amount of water in terms of CA. I will be doing it by the gal then putting it in liter drip devices I made.

http://reef.diesyst.com/cf/chemcalccf.html

Not the best, and it doesn't have all supplements on there, but if you know your daily Alk/Cal drop, then you can figure out the amount of saturated Kalk to dose per day. If you need less, then make saturated solution and dilute it accordingly I'm guessing.

Ace25
01-27-2012, 03:53 PM
I always found trying to figure out dosage too much of a pain for me. I tried, but it got to be way to much work testing all the time so now I just mix full strength kalk for my ATO and use it and once every 2 weeks I will test Alk/CA levels, if they are a little high, I will use straight RO/DI water for a couple buckets of top off to let it come down slightly. I never had any issues with that method but if I didn't test every 2 weeks I would have ended up going really high and causing precipitates. Still, I find it an easier method than trying to figure out "1/2 dose of Kalk mix, 3/4, what do I need this time?" type of thing. CA levels can swing 100 +/- without any issues if it is in the 350-450 range, but Alk is the one you want to keep as stable as possible, whatever # you feel is best for your tank. I like to keep mine between 7-8.

When I first started using Kalk I tried using the Kent Doser/dripper thingy and it didn't work, the air tubing clogs from kalk where the roller pinches the tubing even if your super careful to get only clear water. Plus it would only 1 liter worth which I was going through daily on my tank so it ended up being more of a pain than it was worth. For a small tank (30G or less) it probably would work fine, but larger tanks it just wasn't enough volume to last more than a day and having to take it off daily to wash it out so it didn't clog got old real fast.

kerry
01-27-2012, 08:03 PM
I am fine with the ball park thing like you do Ace25, knowing that 2 teaspoons saturates a gallon helps a lot. I think a liter (taken from a gallon mixed with 2 tsp of calcium hydroxide) dripped into a 40G in a 8-12 hour time span should be plenty safe for a starting point.

Aeros
01-27-2012, 11:53 PM
Thanks for that link Aeros. Very informative. I thought I had gone through every AA and RK article since their inception but the one you linked to didn't sound familiar to me. Either I read it really early on in my reefing days and didn't understand it, or missed it, but today that is a treasure trove of good information on that subject (heavy metals in the aquaria).

Can anyone explain to me how a CA reactor can raise alk so high it crashes a tank, but still leave calcium levels a little lacking? I have a friend with a 240G tank and 6 months ago he switched from dosing to a CA reactor, worked great for 5 months. pH is set right on the effluent. CA last week was 360 and Alk was over 14 and all his SPS corals died. He went from an Alk of 5 to over 14 in less than a week, didn't make any changes at all to his system, all of the sudden he got a huge alk spike. I have no clue how to to explain it (I admit, I have never used or setup a CA reactor myself, only seen them in action on other peoples tanks), which is why I am asking the question.

Ran into the same issue. I did a 30% WC to reset dKH, it was around 14 and Ca at 380. I suspect the dolomite as the culprit. Since Mag is such a light ion (even at NSW lvls ~1200ppm it makes up a fraction of the weight of Ca at only 380ppm) that when dolomite (Magnesium Carbonate) is dissolved it's pretty much pure CO3 with a hint of Mag.

I ripped my reactor apart and took out some dolomite. Haven't tested yet, but, corals look amazing and am measuring 1mm growth per day (milipora is encrusting a zip tie haha).

Should really call Ca reactors CO3 reactors though that also add Calcium.

If not the dolomite, my lack of WCs while dosing BRS three part is the only thing else I can think of.

Contrary to Santa Monica's stance, sodium, chloride, and sulfate are not metabolized (sulfate a little, but not in the form added via epsom salt, and not faster than added if it is). This leads to "lack of room" in the soup we call salt water. There is a point where any Ca addition will percipitate out as fast as can safely be added, while there is still room for "skinnier" ions, e.g. CO3. Allowing for a runaway CO3 event, while Ca gets lower and lower.

Find out from your friend his WC regiment, and ratio of dolomite to koralith/aragonite.

Expressions-LTD
02-09-2012, 08:05 PM
Using a simple, somewhat inexpensive Kalk Reactor is a pretty easy way to supply the needed Kalkwasser. Very low maintenance, all you do is keep about 1 cup of kalkwasser powder in the bottom of the reactor (depending on your system and how fast you replace top off water, this could be every few weeks, or month).
We use the Two Little Fishies brand, and no complaints so far:

http://www.expressions-ltd.com/Kalkwasser_calcium_reactor_p/aq-tlf42300.htm

It works by pulling RO (or RO/DI) water from your small reservoir, passing through the reactor which slightly stirs the kalk powder that is settled in the bottom, and then 'overflows' out the top, into the tank/sump. Need to lower pH? Add the vinegar to the RO reservoir, which will mix it with the Kalkwasser in the reactor. I suppose you could fully automate the vinegar by having a dosing pump administer the vinegar into the RO reservoir periodically as well.

Floyd R Turbo
02-09-2012, 08:16 PM
Here is a good article I though I would share about adding vinegar to your Kalk solutions. http://www.reefscapes.net/articles/breefcase/kalkwasser.html


Using a simple, somewhat inexpensive Kalk Reactor is a pretty easy way to supply the needed Kalkwasser. Very low maintenance, all you do is keep about 1 cup of kalkwasser powder in the bottom of the reactor (depending on your system and how fast you replace top off water, this could be every few weeks, or month).
We use the Two Little Fishies brand, and no complaints so far:

http://www.expressions-ltd.com/Kalkwasser_calcium_reactor_p/aq-tlf42300.htm

It works by pulling RO (or RO/DI) water from your small reservoir, passing through the reactor which slightly stirs the kalk powder that is settled in the bottom, and then 'overflows' out the top, into the tank/sump. Need to lower pH? Add the vinegar to the RO reservoir, which will mix it with the Kalkwasser in the reactor. I suppose you could fully automate the vinegar by having a dosing pump administer the vinegar into the RO reservoir periodically as well.

My question then becomes this: according to the first article quoted above, you should mix the vinegar in the water and THEN add the kalk powder. If you use a kalk stirrer to make a saturated solution and then pump vinegar-laden top off water through it, does this accomplish the same thing, or is the chemistry different?

Expressions-LTD
02-09-2012, 08:21 PM
Well, I'm certainly no expert so could be misspoken here... but the kalk reactor is using the vinegar/RO water to do the saturating. So if you are asking if it's a problem have a mixed water/kalk solution, and THEN having vinegar/RO water push through it- it's not like that. Anything in the reactor came from your reservoir, so it would 'all' have vinegar in it (if you added vinegar into the reservoir)

Floyd R Turbo
02-09-2012, 08:50 PM
No, what I'm saying is that mixing the vinegar in the RO water and then adding the kalk is not necessarily the same as mixing a saturated solution in a stirrer and then pumping a vinegar and RO solution through it. There may be an order that things need to be done in, and that is my question.

Ace25
02-10-2012, 09:28 AM
Really not a fan of Kalk Reactors.. every single person I know that bought one had their tank crash because of them. Not just talking 1 or 2 people, talking over a dozen just locally, even LFS, all had kalk reactors stick on at one point, dumping tons of kalk into the tanks, crashing them because they had their RO/DI output line plumbed directly into the Kalk Reactor, so it never ran out. They are the one piece of equipment that gets a unanimous "NO! Never use them!" when anyone asks about them on the local forum. My LFS had this happen to an amazing 400G SPS display tank. Years of hard work and 10's of thousands of dollars gone overnight when it stuck on. Using Kalk in a small ATO bucket or using dosers for 2 part are both much safer methods for maintaining alk/ca levels and both are cheaper to do.

kerry
02-10-2012, 09:43 AM
I add vinegar to my KALK when I add it to my dosing unit. I put 2 cap-fulls of vinegar into the dosing bottle then add 1L of KALK. I was also wondering, can you and vinegar to Calcium chloride supplement??

Floyd R Turbo
02-10-2012, 09:47 AM
Good point Ace. I guess if I were to do a kalk stirrer, I would want the ATO pump on a controller that could monitor it and cut it off if it sensed a maximum dose time frame, then set off an alarm.

Still wondering about the vinegar in top-off then pumped through a kalk doser. But probably will just do it in the top off for a start and see how it goes.

kerry
02-10-2012, 09:54 AM
I didn't feel the vinegar should be mixed into the KALK until its ready to be dispensed but, maybe it does not make any difference.

Floyd R Turbo
02-10-2012, 10:00 AM
Kerry, you were the one that posted the article - maybe you should read it again! It sounds to me like it makes all the difference:



Dissolving the Kalk powder in the Vinegar first will accomplish several very good things.

First, it will get more Calcium ions (Ca++) into the solution because you are dissolving the Ca(OH)2 in an acid instead of water, and forming Calcium Acetate, which exists as a dissociated equilibrium of free Calcium ions and Acetate ions.

Second, the Acetic Acid (Vinegar) provides an equivalent of all the CO2 you need to avoid precipitating the newly-added Calcium ions as useless white Calcium Carbonate powder.

Third, after all the cool Calcium ion chemistry is over, the leftover Acetate ions from the broken-down Vinegar leaves you with free organic Carbon in the water that feeds the bacteria in your tank so that it converts more poisonous Nitrates to NO2 gas (a very good thing).

Adding Vinegar in Kalkwasser is one of the few win-win situations for reefers -- it has a great up side and I've yet to encounter a down side to doing it. I don't know why so few reefers do it -- lack of understanding of the chemistry behind it maybe -- but a lot more are starting now that some respected reef writers have discovered it and have recommended it and even written up detailed instructions for it.

-----

The advice not to mix the Kalk too much is right on target. As the equations I posted show, if you are not using any Vinegar in the mix you certainly DO need to avoid mixing the Kalk powder with CO2 until AFTER it's dripped into the tank.

Look again at the equations. Both the GOOD reaction that liberates useful Calcium ions (Ca++) into your tank, and the BAD reaction that wastes the Calcium ions as solid Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3), require the addition of different amounts of CO2.

The problem with allowing the CO2 reaction to occur as you mix your Kalk in a container without Vinegar is that you are mixing it in a comparatively small quantity of water that contains only a very limited amount of CO2. So, instead of having enough CO2 to go all the way to useful Bicarbonate ions (HCO3-, or Alkalinity) as you want it to, the chemical reaction stops at the undesirable Carbonate ion (CO3--). This is what sets the stage for the Calcium ions to precipitate out as useless solid Calcium Carbonate while still in the mixing container -- the Kalk mixes with SOME CO2, but not with ENOUGH CO2.

If your mixing container contained ample CO2, i.e., enough to fully react all the Kalkwasser as Bicarbonate ions, you would indeed then want to do all the mixing with CO2 right there in the container. It's only because there's not enough CO2 present in the small container that you need to limit the mixing to avoid precipitation.

So, you've actually hit on one good reason WHY we want to add the Vinegar to the mixing container -- the Acetic Acid in the Vinegar provides the equivalent of enough CO2 to take the reaction all the way to the desired end products for which we drip Kalk -- that is, to produce free Calcium ions and free Bicarbonate ions in solution in our tanks.

Floyd R Turbo
02-10-2012, 10:05 AM
from reading this, it makes sense that if you have vinegar in the top off water, then push this through a kalk stirrer, you would not be inducing the vinegar at the right time, and not enough of it, as the solution in the kalk stirrer is saturated already, so the reaction has already occurred and the 'stage is set' for precipitation of Calcium ions.

From the way this reads to me, you need to add the vinegar into the top off water BEFORE you add the kalk, so that the reaction that happens in done in a CO2 rich environment.

Ace25
02-10-2012, 10:09 AM
Yup, you are correct Floyd. If you add vinegar after the fact then the precipitation has already occurred. The point of adding vinegar is to avoid precipitation.

Floyd R Turbo
02-10-2012, 10:19 AM
I guess I just saved myself from making a mistake and buying a kalk stirrer at some point.

kerry
02-10-2012, 10:25 AM
Good looking out Floyd!! Thats what I get for speed reading here at the shop LOL. I need to make new here in about a week, THANKS!!

jbmartelle
02-14-2012, 09:12 AM
Hey Bud,
It's Jeff from GIRS. I use vinegar in my Kalk, also. I mix 40ml of vinegar for every full teaspoon of Kalk per gallon of top off. It's been a great revelation. Hardly any precipitate and I'm seeing accelerated growth from the SPS in just the couple months after changing. Obviously there's more usable calcium available as the article states.
I keep a Brute trashcan with about 30 gallons of top off in the basement. My fears are less that a tragedy will occur from a float switch mishap.

Floyd R Turbo
02-14-2012, 09:42 AM
Nice to see you here Jeff! IIRC you had the round center-lit LED scrubber way back when, right?

I'm going to start doing this pretty soon - still have a few buckets of top-of to go, then I'll have good data on alk and cal needs...

jbmartelle
02-14-2012, 02:42 PM
Should speak up more. Always lurking, barely throwing in my 2 cents.
No circle scrubber here...I had a horizontal that experimented with the lower power red and blue led bulbs. They just couldn't take the moisture. Then all the 660nm info has come out and things have become very interesting.
Always have been a diy sucker. Now have a vertical lit with spirals.
Is it just me, or are hardcore hobbiest starting to warm up to the scrubber side?

kerry
02-14-2012, 02:47 PM
Its just not you. I am sure the LED's are going to prove to be pretty good. I have two running now that I am testing and have equal if not better results then the CFL's.

Floyd R Turbo
02-20-2012, 06:18 PM
Based on the discussion in this thread and in the info in this article

http://www.reefscapes.net/articles/breefcase/kalkwasser.html

I decided to make the transition, finally, to kalk in the ATO.

I calculated that the tank in question, which has roughly 100 gallons of actual water volume, evaporates between 1.33 and 2.0 GPD. The Alk drops about 0.5 dKH per day, roughly, and that is based on the amount of BRS ALK I have to add to the top off to keep it stable; about 3 fl oz per 5g, or between 0.8 and 1.2 fl oz per day.

I figured that I would need to dose 0.3 to 0.4 gallons of saturated solution to match this. Skipping all the calculations means that if I mix a saturated solution in a 5g bucket, then I dilute 3 gallons of this solution to 7 gallons of RO/DI, this yields a 30% saturated solution, up to 2 gallons of which could be safely dosed in a day.

So what I did was take 5g of RO/DI and pour in 100mL vinegar (which is 5 mL per quart, the 'starting' amount) and then put in 10 tsp of BRS Kalk and stirred it gently for a few minutes. I'm going to let this settle out for a few hours (or overnight) and then make the diluted solution and test it for Alk and pH. I have another bucket right next to it with 3 fl oz BRS Alk and will do the same thing. As long as they're not far off, it's a go!

I will have to start watching the Cal more too as he wants to get a 7" clam that someone locally is selling for $75!

fauxjargon
02-20-2012, 06:55 PM
Kalk + vinegar will not add any Mg, but will help reduce losses of Mg which can occur when you add Kalk to a system that already has a high KH and GH - the vinegar lowers the pH of the Kalk, therefore reducing the amount of precipitation which happens in the tank water, which consumes Mg.

Floyd R Turbo
02-20-2012, 07:10 PM
Good to know. As long as the pH stays right in the tank, I plan on slowing increasing the vinegar pre-mix dose. So far I haven't had a problem with mag dropping out, usually it takes forever to drop.

Floyd R Turbo
02-20-2012, 09:24 PM
Man how long does it take to settle, it's been like 4 hours and it's still all cloudy!

Ace25
02-20-2012, 09:44 PM
I always wait 24 hours after mixing and then very carefully scoop out what you need. Once you get what you need, refill the container and stir again, put a lid on it and let sit.

kerry
02-21-2012, 09:17 AM
I sure wish Kalk would drop my Mg. Its always around 1500. I have my Alk and Ca going good now so I can start dosing Kalk again long term so maybe I will see the Mg come down.

Floyd R Turbo
02-21-2012, 09:33 AM
I checked it again this morning and it was still pretty cloudy. Is this just normal? I guess I expected whatever was going to precipitate would happen pretty fast.

Keep in mind that I made this saturated solution using only the exact amount needed to saturate, 1/2 tsp per quart or 10 tsp for 5g, with the vinegar mixed in before the kalk added. So maybe it's supposed to be cloudy?

SantaMonica
02-21-2012, 09:37 AM
My mag never seems to drop.

kotlec
02-21-2012, 12:44 PM
NO way you can use cloudy kalk.
Mine clears up pretty quickly but I dont use vinegar.

Floyd R Turbo
02-21-2012, 01:11 PM
I seem to recall hearing that people do indeed use cloudy kalk, in fact some dose a slurry IIRC, and this part of that article states



To avoid this, try mixing and adding your Kalkwasser like this: pour 15ml of 5% Acetic Acid (or ordinary Distilled White Vinegar from the grocery store -- same thing) into a 1 liter (1 quart) container. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of lab-grade Ca(OH)2 (or commercial Kalkwasser mix) in the Acetic Acid, and then dilute to 1 liter (1 quart) volume with either RO/DI water, or even tank water.

15 ml is more Vinegar than some people are comfortable with, but I use it constantly with no problems. There should be no sediment in the mixture, or just a little bit at most. You can let the sediment settle out if you don't like the white flakes in your tank. I just drip the liquid and the sediment both into my tank.


And I've seen kalk stirrers that are pretty cloudy. In fact I can't see how one would end up with a clear saturated solution when using a kalk stirrer, when you push RO/DI through it, it would tend to push the slurry up into suspension, and granted it would settle a little, but probably not all the way by the time the next ATO push came.

Anyone?

SantaMonica
02-21-2012, 04:47 PM
You probably don't want the powder to land on a coral though... would probably burn it.

Floyd R Turbo
02-21-2012, 06:44 PM
I just had a great discussion with the owner of out LFS, they have a 1200 gallon tank in their store that is growing gangbusters and he uses Brightwell Kalk+2. He said they used BRS Kalk and he said "it's cr@p". He mixes it in a 5g jug to a saturated solution then pretty much doses it right away (maybe lets it settle for 30 minutes) in a slow trickle, suspended and all, and they have no problems. I think if you dumped the powder right into your pump input you might have a problem, yeah, but if it's reasonably dissolved I'm getting the general drift that there is no problem otherwise

jbmartelle
02-21-2012, 07:07 PM
Bud- did I read you put the vinegar in the water first? I mix the vinegar and kalk together then add it to the water. This dissolves the kalk in acid/co2.
5 ml of vinegar won't dissolve a full load of kalk. 15 ml is where I started per the article and its worked great.

Floyd R Turbo
02-21-2012, 08:32 PM
Oh, crud. I missed that part. I mixed 5ml per quart, or 100 mL in 5 gallons, then 10 tsp in the water. But I guess I should have mixed the 100ml vinegar with the kalk first, then added the water. Well now I know. I guess the way I did it isn't probably the most efficient, but probably better than not using vinegar at all, so we'll chalk this one up to learning.

After >24 hours, it's still like diluted milk with a film on top. I can see to the bottom of the bucket and there is maybe 1/2 tsp of precipitate in the middle. I called it good. I scooped 1.5 g into a 5g bucket and topped it off with RO/DI. Will test soon.

kotlec
02-22-2012, 03:10 AM
I read all articles about cal+ alk that I can find. But somehow never read that undissolved kalk particles can go in to the tank and only crystal clear solution can be used. I remember reading that every smallest kalk particle landed on the coral will end burning small hole in its tissue. Possibly you wont notice it immediately, but doing so over period of time should have negative outcome. At least using Biocalcium form TropiMarine has proven that. I can confirm that by own experience. Some corals closed immediately while others didnt care at all, when once acidentaly some amount of undissolved pulver entered tank even at very tiny amount,
Hope I am wrong regarding klak.

bucks448
02-22-2012, 04:52 AM
I'm thinking about adding vinegar to my mix of kalk after reading through this and the articles. Currently I add kalk and RO to a clear RO canister that I added a pipe to the center inlet to force the water to enter through the bottom. The inlet is connected to an elevated remote reservoir of RO water. Every night I shake the RO canister to mix the kalk and adjust a needle valve on the inlet side to control the drip. If I premix the kalk with vinegar and dilute with RO before adding to the RO canister, am I correct in assuming there's no more need to stir the kalk? Also, couldn I make the mix of kalk+vinegar stronger to last longer since I'm diluting with RO to deliver it?

kotlec
02-22-2012, 05:10 AM
Also, couldn I make the mix of kalk+vinegar stronger to last longer since I'm diluting with RO to deliver it?

You can make as strong as saturation limits it. No way to make it over full saturation limit , because depreciation speed then equals with melting speed and process stops. Vinegar helps to raise that limit somewhat.

Floyd R Turbo
02-22-2012, 06:24 AM
I am still wondering if there's something wrong with the way I mixed everything (vinegar to water then kalk) because the end product (in a orange home depot bucket) is cloudy. Not full of suspended particles, but cloudy, like if you poured a cup or two of milk into a bucket of water. It just seems odd to me. Having never used kalk before I am just wary. Also when I was measuring out the saturated solution with a 2 qt container, I noticed that it had a sort of oily skin to it. I would dip the container in to get the measured amount and pull it out and pour it, and all the water would bead up and run off the container. I also saw the skin on the top like SM mentioned.

Interestingly enough I might just be switching to Kalk+2, which addresses the issues in the OP - strontium and magnesium. Like I said, the LFS tank uses that and nothing else and their growth is phenomenal

kotlec
02-22-2012, 07:48 AM
The only explanation that comes to my head is that cloudnes is not undisolved particles of ca+alk , but something else. This is not a kind of suspension , but rather colored water. Never seen it in person.

jbmartelle
02-22-2012, 08:29 AM
Koltec is correct. The water doesn't have enough CO2 to dissolve the Kalk. When I mix 60ml with the two teaspoons of Kalk, then add it to the water, the result is a pretty clear solution. I mix 30 gallons at a time in my top off Brute trash can. After doing this for the last three months I can still see the bottom of the trash can. There is very little in the way of left over Kalk particles because the vinegar has done such a good job of dissolving. The article state that 25ml per half teaspoon of Kalk will result in a totally dissolved solution.

I'm a little leery about using that much vinegar and have stuck to 15ml per half teaspoon. When i mix up a five gallon bucket it contains 300ml of vinegar and 10 teaspoons of Kalk. One thing I've found is it really supports the alkalinity and it's making my calcium rise. I might need to back off the Kalk to about 8 teaspoons to make a balanced solution that fits my tanks needs. The addition of vinegar REALLY adds to the amount of available calcium. Before adding vinegar, and just using water to mix the Kalk, I would occasionally have to add calcium in the form of calcium chloride and baking soda to support the alkalinity. I was even using twice as much Kalk as I am now. But, not realizing the top off water was doing such a bad job of dissolving the Kalk into a usable solution. I would estimate more than half the Kalk I was using precipitated out to the bottom of my trash can into a useless white mess.

Floyd R Turbo
02-22-2012, 08:41 AM
Hmmm...definitely something wrong then.

Ace25
02-22-2012, 08:45 AM
Exactly how much Kalk did you add and to what volume of water? I always weigh it out on a digital scale, 28grams per 5G of water. Never had a problem with it being cloudy after more than 12 hours, it is always crystal clear. Then again, I don't add too much vinegar either, only 5ml, because I really don't need "super super strength" kalk for my system (yet). It just sounds like there was too much kalk powder added and it can't fully disolve, although really not sure why that would = cloudy water, usually stuff that doesn't disolve falls to the bottom. Not saying you did this, but something as simple as picking up a 5G bucket and moving it 6" can re-stir up the kalk water and make you wait another day.

Oh, and how exactly did you mix it? Did you do the "Fill container 50% with water/vinegar, stir in Kalk powder, then add remaining 50% of water"? That is my method, similar to how I mix Alk suppliment, because if you add the powder first, then water on top of it, bad things happen.

kerry
02-22-2012, 08:52 AM
I have done it both ways (vinegar before and after) and never had it cloudy. I used the method that jbmartelle uses this last time and it all seems really good. I got rid of the batch that I added the vinegar after.

Floyd R Turbo
02-22-2012, 08:57 AM
I just used a plastic kitchen measuring spoon, scooped it out, then use the jar cover to scrape it level. I didn't think I needed a scale...

Ace25
02-22-2012, 09:01 AM
I think if your knowingly going under "full strength" mix then a precise measurement is not needed, but if you do full strength you want to make sure you don't add more kalk than the recipe states per a volume of water.

Floyd R Turbo
02-22-2012, 09:09 AM
Wait a sec. I thought that you could not make Kalkwasser stronger than a saturated solution. Does this change when you dissolve it in vinegar first?

Ace25
02-22-2012, 09:12 AM
From my understanding, no, you can no exceed the max amount of powder to a volume of water than the recipe states, if you do, you probably just end up with cloudy water (just a guess since I never tried it). Vinegar only allows the powder to break down into a more soluable/potent mixture, but you still can't add more kalk per volume of water. I am sure there is a chemistry answer as to why that is.. unfortunately I am not a chemist.

I know 28 grams is the max for 5 Gallons of water, so that is the max powder I would add, IF I want it stronger, I just add more vinegar. There is a point where you can no longer add/boost the effectiveness of Kalk though, and this is where CA reactors come into play and pick up the slack on high demand systems.

kerry
02-22-2012, 09:14 AM
Floyd, I do like you do because I am going for full saturated but I do not scrape it level, I keep it just a bit rounded on an actual measured spoon. The end result in my 3 gallon pail was virtually no residue left behind when I added the Kalk to the vinegar/water solution and it was clear when I checked it about 8 hours later.

kerry
02-22-2012, 09:21 AM
From my understanding, no, you can no exceed the max amount of powder to a volume of water than the recipe states, if you do, you probably just end up with cloudy water (just a guess since I never tried it). Vinegar only allows the powder to break down into a more soluable/potent mixture, but you still can't add more kalk per volume of water. I am sure there is a chemistry answer as to why that is.. unfortunately I am not a chemist.

I know 28 grams is the max for 5 Gallons of water, so that is the max powder I would add, IF I want it stronger, I just add more vinegar. There is a point where you can no longer add/boost the effectiveness of Kalk though, and this is where CA reactors come into play and pick up the slack on high demand systems.

I find that my Ca goes down quicker then my Alk so I have to dose calcium hydroxide some times so I do not raise my Alk to high. I am hoping that with the vinegar added now that there will be a little more Ca dosing when I use the Kalk solution.

Floyd R Turbo
02-22-2012, 09:36 AM
Still trying to follow the warning Ace. I understand that you do not "need" to mix more than the max amount of kalk powder in order to get a saturated solution, but you stated that you want to "make sure" you don't add more than 1/2 tsp per qt as the recipe states, so I'm trying to understand why you would not want to do this, other than the fact that you're just wasting Kalk that will end up at the bottom of the bucket.

So does everyone that mixes kalk in the ATO water have that oil-like scum on the top of the water?

kerry
02-22-2012, 10:04 AM
I have a white waxy looking skim on the top of my storage container but, I siphon mine out so I do not stir it up. I do not have any film on the top when I put it in my top off container.

kotlec
02-22-2012, 10:27 AM
I'm getting very thin frosted ice like thingy on top of kalk container after 12h or so. Really nothing oily...

Floyd R Turbo
02-22-2012, 10:32 AM
That's a better description, and yes that's what I'm getting. Waxy not oily. I feel better now. It stuck to the 2 qt pitcher and made the water bead up, but that washed off under hot water.

Ace25
02-22-2012, 10:48 AM
The only time I get anything on the surface is when I don't fill the bucket all the way to the top and put an air tight lid on it (Instant Ocean bucket with rubber seal on lid). If any air gets into the bucket I get white crude forming (precipitates) on the top.

I think if Kalk like Alk.. if you mix too much or mix it incorrectly, it clumps up/binds to itself giving you very inconsistent readings. First time I went to mix a BRS Alk packet, I made the mistake of dumping the powder in first, then added water, I ended up with a solid rock in the bottom of the container, no amount of shaking would break it apart. Lesson learned real fast not to do that again (and instructions stated to not do that but of course I read them after the fact). The instructions for mixing Alk and Kalk are the same, add 50% water, then powder, stir, add remaining 50% of water while continuing to stir/shake.

kerry
02-22-2012, 10:56 AM
I hate it when the destructions are right!!

Floyd R Turbo
02-22-2012, 10:56 AM
So with the vinegar directions, you should mix the kalk in with the vinegar, which I assume makes a paste-like substance, then just mix this in to water slowly while stirring? The directions seemed to indicate that you would mix the vinegar/kalk just by adding the water to it, which seems like the opposite.

kerry
02-22-2012, 11:11 AM
I hope thats not the way, otherwise I did it wrong. I added the vinegar to water first, then added the powder. My solution looks really good! I also want to cover the solution on the next batch right from the start and see if I can prevent the film on top.

Floyd R Turbo
02-22-2012, 11:14 AM
Mine was covered tight and still got the film.

Per the directions on by BReefCase, you add the kalk to vinegar, then add the water (or add it to the water, which is what I am asking, which is right?)

jbmartelle
02-22-2012, 11:23 AM
You do add the vinegar and Kalk together first. Adding 60ml of vinegar to two teaspoons of Kalk doesn't make a paste. Although only adding 20ml of vinegar to two teaspoons might. It's not enough vinegar/acid/CO2 to completely react with the Kalk anyway. In the end, probably still more helpful than just mixing Kalk with water. But to fully utilize the calcium and carbonates in the Kalk you need more vinegar. 100ml plus two teaspoons of Kalk make a completely dissolved solution.

It's a milky white liquid when mixed. And you'll feel it getting warm as you shake it. I shake for about a minute to thoroughly mix and then pour it into the top off water.
Doing it this way has prevented a film to form on the top. The Kalk is completely dissolved and the precipitate on the top doesn't exist.
If you don't need a full dose of Kalk, start with half the saturated amount. But I wouldn't cut back on the vinegar. Too many positives for the vinegar/carbon dosing to cut back on that. Most any tank can take some form of carbon dosing and not have ill effects. It's simply increasing the food for the bacteria that process waste.

Floyd R Turbo
02-22-2012, 11:36 AM
Thanks JB, that makes sense now. The amounts I was using was 100ml and 10 tsp Kalk, so I'm going to try this tonight using 20mL Vinegar to 1 tsp kalk. I just thought of this, but what I was doing was mixing 5g of saturated solution, then diluting that to 30% strength. Instead I can just add 30% of the vinegar/Kalk mixture to RO/DI and get the same result. Basically instead of 200mL vinegar and 10 tsp Kalk to 5g RODI, I would just do 60mL and 1 Tbsp (3 tsp) to 5g. That's a lot simpler than diluting.

I called Brightwell Aquatics to see if you can do this procedure with the Kalk+2 product without affecting the Mg and Str. I'll let you know what they come back with.

jbmartelle
02-22-2012, 11:42 AM
Per the article---condensed-cut paste version

"try mixing and adding your Kalkwasser like this: pour 15ml of 5% Acetic Acid (or ordinary Distilled White Vinegar from the grocery store -- same thing) into a 1 liter (1 quart) container. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of lab-grade Ca(OH)2 (or commercial Kalkwasser mix) in the Acetic Acid, and then dilute to 1 liter (1 quart) volume with either RO/DI water, or even tank water.

15 ml is more Vinegar than some people are comfortable with, but I use it constantly with no problems. There should be no sediment in the mixture, or just a little bit at most. You can let the sediment settle out if you don't like the white flakes in your tank. I just drip the liquid and the sediment both into my tank.

Dissolving the Kalk powder in the Vinegar first will accomplish several very good things.

First, it will get more Calcium ions (Ca++) into the solution because you are dissolving the Ca(OH)2 in an acid instead of water, and forming Calcium Acetate, which exists as a dissociated equilibrium of free Calcium ions and Acetate ions.

Second, the Acetic Acid (Vinegar) provides an equivalent of all the CO2 you need to avoid precipitating the newly-added Calcium ions as useless white Calcium Carbonate powder.

Third, after all the cool Calcium ion chemistry is over, the leftover Acetate ions from the broken-down Vinegar leaves you with free organic Carbon in the water that feeds the bacteria in your tank so that it converts more poisonous Nitrates to NO2 gas (a very good thing).

The problem with allowing the CO2 reaction to occur as you mix your Kalk in a container without Vinegar is that you are mixing it in a comparatively small quantity of water that contains only a very limited amount of CO2. So, instead of having enough CO2 to go all the way to useful Bicarbonate ions (HCO3-, or Alkalinity) as you want it to, the chemical reaction stops at the undesirable Carbonate ion (CO3--). This is what sets the stage for the Calcium ions to precipitate out as useless solid Calcium Carbonate while still in the mixing container -- the Kalk mixes with SOME CO2, but not with ENOUGH CO2.

By using enough Vinegar, we can mix to our heart's content right in the container, and don't need to worry as much about dripping the solution slowly into the tank. We have already driven the reaction all the way to the desired outcome, and provided ample CO2 to produce a balance of free Calcium ions and free Bicarbonate ions. This, incidentally, is why Kalk is said to be "ionically balanced" - it produces a one-to-one balance between Calcium and Alkalinity."

Floyd R Turbo
02-22-2012, 11:49 AM
Check this out!!!! FAST reply from the man himself!


Hello Mr. Carlson,
Thank you for your inquiry. Kalk+2 is fine to mix with acetic acid (vinegar) to improve solubility; the Mg and Sr will remain available just as they would if mixed with purified water. Please feel free to direct additional questions to my attention. Thank you for your interest in Brightwell Aquatics; I sincerely appreciate it. Have a pleasant day.

Kindest regards,

Chris Brightwell

CR Brightwell
Marine Scientist
President

Ace25
02-22-2012, 12:24 PM
Ahhhh.. the infamous Chris.. the guy you can't trust a word from (according to Randy Holmes-Farley, whom I do trust). Do a RC search on Brightwell and you will see many of the things Chris claims are completely untrue and goes against all known chemistry according to Randy.

Still.. in this case I do think his advice is correct. It doesn't matter if you put the vinegar in the powder first, or put the vinegar in the first 50% of the water, I believe the end result is the same. It is not the same if you use 50% RO/DI water to mix with and then add vinegar in the second 50%, you will lose some of the benefit if you do it in that order.

Floyd R Turbo
02-22-2012, 12:36 PM
Still.. in this case I do think his advice is correct. It doesn't matter if you put the vinegar in the powder first, or put the vinegar in the first 50% of the water, I believe the end result is the same.

He didn't say that, he just said that the Mg and Str would be the same as if you mixed it without using vinegar at all. Also based on the conversations on here I would say that it indeed does matter where the vinegar mixing comes in, as stated in the article and by jbmartelle, you need to mix the kalk with the vinegar first to allow the reaction to take place, then put that solution in the water. Putting the vinegar in the water then adding the Kalk is probably not as effective, is what I am gathering.

Ace25
02-22-2012, 12:43 PM
Not exactly, it comes down to the acidity of the solution your mixing the kalk with. RO/DI water is pure, nothing in it, can not buffer anything. If you have pure RO/DI with a pH of around 7, and add 10ml of 12 pH vinegar, you will get 12 pH RO/DI water due to the water having nothing in it to buffer or counter the acid. So your still left with a very acidic solution if you mix RO/DI + vinegar before you add the kalk into the liquid. It is only once the powder has his the liquid that the reactor takes place. As long as the liquid is acidic, the reaction your looking for will still happen.

This is why I say is it the same when putting vinegar into the powder or into a mix of RO/DI+vinegar.. only difference is I don't have another container I have to clean afterwards (thinking of the sludge mix adding vinegar to kalk powder would make). Also Kalk is VERY toxic to skin... even being careful when I mix if I get a little splash of kalk water on my hands by the next day my skin is peeling off where the kalk landed. Strong/potent stuff so be careful, more so when mixing to avoid breathing the vapors.

Floyd R Turbo
02-22-2012, 12:56 PM
Ok, read this part


First, it will get more Calcium ions (Ca++) into the solution because you are dissolving the Ca(OH)2 in an acid instead of water, and forming Calcium Acetate, which exists as a dissociated equilibrium of free Calcium ions and Acetate ions.

Second, the Acetic Acid (Vinegar) provides an equivalent of all the CO2 you need to avoid precipitating the newly-added Calcium ions as useless white Calcium Carbonate powder.

and this part


As the equations I posted show, if you are not using any Vinegar in the mix you certainly DO need to avoid mixing the Kalk powder with CO2 until AFTER it's dripped into the tank.


The problem with allowing the CO2 reaction to occur as you mix your Kalk in a container without Vinegar is that you are mixing it in a comparatively small quantity of water that contains only a very limited amount of CO2. So, instead of having enough CO2 to go all the way to useful Bicarbonate ions (HCO3-, or Alkalinity) as you want it to, the chemical reaction stops at the undesirable Carbonate ion (CO3--). This is what sets the stage for the Calcium ions to precipitate out as useless solid Calcium Carbonate while still in the mixing container -- the Kalk mixes with SOME CO2, but not with ENOUGH CO2.

If your mixing container contained ample CO2, i.e., enough to fully react all the Kalkwasser as Bicarbonate ions, you would indeed then want to do all the mixing with CO2 right there in the container. It's only because there's not enough CO2 present in the small container that you need to limit the mixing to avoid precipitation.

So after reading that, you're probably right, but I would think mixing it with a much smaller amount than 1/2 the water would be better. I guess if the end result is a container with little to any precipitate, then you're fine.

The gas content of the water I think was the point I was thinking of, if you mixed the Kalk into an environment with enough CO2 (vinegar) then it should happen the same mo matter what I guess. But I still can't figure out why mine is cloudy. I still can't see the bottom without using a flashlight, so there something in suspension.

Tendura22
02-22-2012, 01:34 PM
This i how I mix my kalk. The only thing I do different is mix in a separate 1 gal container then add to my dripper after about an hour. It mixes clear with no sediment.
This kid is no scientist this is just how I mix it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1ofpryf2eQ

Floyd R Turbo
02-22-2012, 03:25 PM
Someone on GIRS (local site) posted this ink, which i've read before, but now I've got more info

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-01/rhf/index.php

and this paragraph


How much can be used? The more vinegar that is used, the lower the pH of both the limewater and the aquarium will be. One reasonable point to shoot for is to add about the same amount of total CO2 via the vinegar as is needed by the lime to form HCO3-. This balance is roughly matched by using three level teaspoons of solid lime per gallon of limewater, and 45 ml of vinegar per gallon of limewater. For those aquarists choosing to use vinegar in limewater, these values are a suitable starting point. Note that the pH of the limewater is still quite high, so slow dosing is usually required.

Seems to conflict with this one



By the way, the "stoichiometric" amount of Vinegar, i.e., that amount that provides the exact equivalent of enough CO2 to react all the Kalk powder to Calcium and Bicarbonate, turns out to be about 25ml of 5% Acetic Acid per liter of saturated (0.02 moles/liter or 1.5 grams/liter) aqueous Calcium Hydroxide solution (Kalkwasser).

One says 45 mL and 3 tsp per gallon

The other says 100mL and 2 tsp per gallon (converted roughly from 25 mL per Liter in saturated solution which is 2 tsp per gallon)

That's quite a discrepancy. I wonder who is right here. Dang it!

The reefkeeping article also says standard Kalk has Mg and Str in it so what's different about the Brightwell Kalk+2 I wonder...

reefdiy
02-22-2012, 04:31 PM
This is how I mix my kalk.
This kid is no scientist this is just how I mix it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1ofpryf2eQ

I was literally just going to post this video! He is no scientist but this is definitely the correct way to mix kalkwasser. (I use Miss Wages)

There is also some good information here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POsLy2Mp0m8&feature=related, although there is no mention of vinegar, there are still a few tidbits of information not yet discussed in this thread.

Mr. Saltwater Tank (not the best authority on aquariums but most of what he says is well informed) does mention near the end of the video that leaving the container open to the air will not have much of an effect on degrading the "potency" of the kalk. I agree with him here. Although he has already "destroyed" his kalks potency by not using vinegar and then by shaking it so darn much while adding ro\di water (if you dissolve it in vinegar, go ahead and shake it like Polaroid picture, it won't matter).

This is where randy holmes-farley seems to differ on opinion but yet he also seems that he agrees (with me, Mr. Saltwater Tank and Breefcase on Reefs.org).

Here is the article in question: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-05/rhf/feature/index.php

"The result of this reaction is visually obvious. The calcium carbonate can be seen as a solid crust on the surface of limewater that has been exposed to the air for a day or two. It also settles to the bottom of the container. Since solid calcium carbonate is not an especially useful supplement of calcium or alkalinity,8 this reaction has the effect of reducing the potency"

This is obviously correct, but this does not take into account the mixing of kalk with vinegar to achieve full CO2 saturation before ro\di water is even added. So to all those who are worried about airtight containers, degradation of potency, ect. DON'T! If you use vinegar you don't have to worry (stoichiometerically saturated solution only), if not you should be more careful concerning these things.

When randy does bring vinegar into the conversation he makes these claims:
In terms of the degradation of limewater by atmospheric CO2, the addition of vinegar is not expected to have a big impact. The vinegar lowers the pH of the resulting solution, and the lower pH tends to decrease the driving force for CO2 to enter the solution, and for the CO2 in the solution to show up as carbonate (as opposed to bicarbonate at lower values of pH; bicarbonate is less of a concern from a degradation standpoint). Nevertheless, these effects will be small for the amounts of vinegar that aquarists typically use, and the end result is that limewater and vinegar mixtures will typically have about the same reactivity with atmospheric CO2 as will ordinary limewater. The use of very large amounts of vinegar, where the pH drops below about 11, would be expected to reduce the likelihood of precipitation of calcium carbonate. In no instance should vinegar make this problem worse.

It is hard to understand where randy is coming from as he neither agrees with the benefits of vinegar nor denies them when the degradation of the kalk is in question. It seems as though he has not fully investigated vinegar's use and benefits. He claims that because of the small amount that aquarists use there will be minimal effect on the reduction of the degradation of the solution. But he does also say that it would likely reduce the precipitation of calcium carbonate. And that it would certainly not make the problem worse. It should be noted that when the solution is stoichiometerically saturated with CO2 (adding vinegar) there is no concern for degradation when the solution is in contact with atmospheric quantities of CO2. This is clear according to the chemistry pointed out by Breefcase.

This is why degradation is not a worry when using vinegar.
According to Breefcase on Reefs.orghttp://www.reefscapes.net/articles/breefcase/kalkwasser.html:
The problem with allowing the CO2 reaction to occur as you mix your Kalk in a container without Vinegar is that you are mixing it in a comparatively small quantity of water that contains only a very limited amount of CO2. So, instead of having enough CO2 to go all the way to useful Bicarbonate ions (HCO3-, or Alkalinity) as you want it to, the chemical reaction stops at the undesirable Carbonate ion (CO3--). This is what sets the stage for the Calcium ions to precipitate out as useless solid Calcium Carbonate while still in the mixing container -- the Kalk mixes with SOME CO2, but not with ENOUGH CO2.

Randy homles-farely continues by saying:
"This reaction is the basis of the claims by many aquarists that limewater must be protected from the air. It is also the basis of the claim that Nilsen reactors are to be preferred over delivery from still reservoirs of limewater."

"Recently, many aquarists have become interested in using a reactor, often referred to as a Nilsen reactor (http://www.dallura.com/reef/diyfolder/Nilsen Reactor/NilsenReactor.html), to deliver limewater to their aquaria. One of the purported advantages of such reactors is that they are easier to use and the limewater solution is less prone to degradation by atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) than by dosing from still reservoirs."

Again, degradation is not a worry if you are using vinegar. The comment here is referring to the fact that kalk reactors are sealed from the outside air. Although this could be seen as a benefit (when not using vinegar) it is far outweighed by the drawbacks to kalk reactors which I will not list here as they have already been pointed out. To the kalk reactor I say - Hell No! It's just a marketing scam like a everything else in this hobby.

In summary Randy says:
"Limewater can lose potency by reacting with carbon dioxide in the air, forming insoluble calcium carbonate." - True, but not true of vinegar solutions.

"Since calcium carbonate is not an effective supplement of calcium and alkalinity in reef aquaria, the limewater can become less useful through this process. The rate at which this happens in large containers, such as plastic trashcans with loose fitting lids, is much less than many aquarists expect. There is, in fact, little degradation under typical use conditions. Consequently, the dosing of limewater from such large still reservoirs can be just as effective as dosing using any other scheme, and may have substantial advantages. These advantages include simplicity of the system and the ability to use organic acids such as vinegar to boost the potency. The use of a reactor to dose limewater has the advantage of requiring less space, but does not have the oft-stated advantage of eliminating degradation by atmospheric carbon dioxide that is reported to plague delivery from reservoirs."

In conclusion (from my perspective), when vinegar is not used in kalkwasser"the Kalk mixes with SOME CO2, but not with ENOUGH CO2" - (Breefcase on Reefs.org) and therefore carbonate is formed and precipitated instead of bicarbonate which is only formed in a CO2 saturated solution, usually using vinegar. And although,"the degradation of limewater by atmospheric CO2 is inconsequential in many systems" - (randy holmes-farley), it is most certainly inconsequential in systems using kalkwasser that is premixed with vinegar.

Just adding this to the conversation...
These are my findings and some of my opinions...
-Ben

Ace25
02-22-2012, 04:47 PM
I think that article is a little old and not what Randy believes today. Randy actually doses vinegar directly into his tank now a days as a form of carbon dosing (he is 100% against bio-pellets but thinks liquid carbon dosing is good).

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2134049
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2124634

Floyd.. that "advice" your LFS gave you seems like utter BS. Specifically talking about BRS Kalk being bad and Brightwell being good. That seems like a typical LFS line, just trying to sell you something they have on hand so you don't buy from someone else. You have to understand we are talking about a chemical compound here. Either it is the correct compound (in this case Calcium Hydroxide) or not, and the only other variable is the purity. BRS is "pharmaceutical grade" and is very pure. So I am very confused as to why your LFS would tell you something like they did, it makes no sense to me at all.

BulkReefSupply constantly strives to provide the best additives possible at the best price. Our Kalkwasser (Calcium Hydroxide) is produced with pharmaceutical grade material.

Oh, and this thread is GOLD. LOL. Read post #6 by Randy and come back and tell me if you still think the Brightwell Kalk+2 is better than BRS Kalk. ;)
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1762160

SantaMonica
02-22-2012, 05:28 PM
The reefkeeping article also says standard Kalk has Mg and Str in it

I use Mrs. Wages, and for some reason my mag never drops. Str is always low, however.

Also, I leave my kalk trashcan open; once it forms a crust, it does not evaporate anymore, and the pH stays at 12 no matter how many months it sits there.

reefdiy
02-22-2012, 06:53 PM
I think that article is a little old and not what Randy believes today. Randy actually doses vinegar directly into his tank now a days as a form of carbon dosing (he is 100% against bio-pellets but thinks liquid carbon dosing is good).

This is what I assumed I would get as a response. Randy is always at the forefront of reef chemistry and technology.

I was by means putting Randy down or refuting his findings, even in this older article. I was simply using the article to point out that when you use vinegar you do not need to worry about open air containers, shaking the kalkwasser, or any other disruption to the solution. This in my mind adds a great benefit to vinegar, besides the other benefits, because it allows easier less tedious manufacturing of kalk, as well as, maintenance of the your whole ATO/kalk system.

In case Randy or Breefcase ever read this thread (no too sure they will) I would like to thank them for all there insight into the miracle additive that is Kalkwasser!!
To everyone else I would say: Read as much of these two gentlemen's works as you possibly can......your reefing will benefit greatly!!

And for crying out load use Kalkwasser!!

Floyd R Turbo
02-22-2012, 07:31 PM
ow. my head now hurts bad.

Ace25
02-22-2012, 09:47 PM
Well, what I take away from all this is I have been being overly concerned about precipitates/crust forming on the surface. I thought it did much more harm by reducing effectiveness but it seems I was wrong.

Back to the original problem, still curious to find an answer to why your water is still cloudy. I have never seen that reaction with kalk and I have been using it for close to 10 years now. It has always cleared up for me within 24 hours. I am really out of ideas, and I have been racking my brain all day trying to think of what could cause that issue.

Or have you moved on and just dumped out the first batch and onto the second (which is what I would have done by now).

Floyd R Turbo
02-22-2012, 09:57 PM
Actually I just checked it, and it is pretty much clear. The diluted batch is almost perfectly clear, and what's left of the saturated solution is clear also if I blow on the surface to move the wax layer away. I wonder why it took so long. I still have to test the diluted batch.

reefdiy
02-23-2012, 08:55 AM
Well, what I take away from all this is I have been being overly concerned about precipitates/crust forming on the surface. I thought it did much more harm by reducing effectiveness but it seems I was wrong.

Exactly! Especially when using vinegar in the solution.


still curious to find an answer to why your water is still cloudy.

I am no chemist but I know a little bit (just enough to crack off in forums...lol) and I have a few ideas (from my perspective):

From what I can tell any cloudiness, whatsoever, is an indication of one of two things. It is either a simple over saturation of the solution or a precipitate was formed that is clouding up the water.

1) First off, by over saturated I mean that there was simply more kalk (powder) added than was considered soluble for the volume of water. Therefore the remaining kalk powder was "left behind" because it did not take part in the chemical reaction and is therefore either left suspended in the fluid or settles to the bottom. I don't think this was your problem floyd as you added the correct amount of kalk that is considered soluable in pure water, depending on the temperature (we will talk about this in a bit).

I mixed 5ml per quart, or 100 mL in 5 gallons, then 10 tsp in the water.

2) The second option is that a precipitate was formed. This is maybe the more likely answer (unless temperature was the issue with reason one - getting there).

But I guess I should have mixed the 100ml vinegar with the kalk first, then added the water.

This in my opinion would definitely have an effect on the formation of precipitate (ie. carbonate, instead of bicarbonate) because the solution would not have had the opportunity to fully react with enough CO2 to stoichiometrically saturate the solution with CO2 producing only bicarbonate in the vinegar mix before being diluted into the water. Also the amount of vinegar used was quite low (for the volume of water) thus creating a situation by which more CO2 was available than normal ro/di water, but not enough. Still allowing precipitate to form.

Interestingly, there are some who have experimented with tap water for use in mixing up batches of kalkwasser (this is not recommended). What some of them found was that the tap kalk cleared up in 2-3 hours, while the ro/di kalk never cleared up, remaining cloudy. Tapwater already contains Calcium and alkalinity salts, plus lots more. The RO membrane stripes the water clean of all these things, essentially making more "room" for anything to dissolve. I can not really understand and/or comment on these findings as it hard believe or comprehend why tap water might seemingly work "better" (dissolve more/precipitate less). It certainly seems like less would dissolve in tap water than in ro/di water. The only thing that I see that could be happening is that the tap water used had a high concentration of dissolved CO2 and therefore allowed for less precipitate. Just thought I would add this for curiosities sake.

Ok, now to the temperature question. Temperature definitely has a part to play in this reaction. How much this has effected your solution depends on a few variables and to be honest I am unsure. By this I mean that a saturated solution occurs at 25 degrees C (77 degrees F), at a calcium concentration of about 800 parts-per-million. Whether being off by one or 2 degrees C would have an effect on the solubility of kalk in water, I can not comment but it is interesting to speculate. If this is correct then maybe the temperature of the room is not allowing all the kalk to dissolve in the water as in possibility #1.

Here is some interesting information on temperature and solubility:

Effect of Temperature on Solubility:

The solubility of solutes is dependent on temperature. When a solid dissolves in a liquid, a change in the physical state of the solid analogous to melting takes place. Heat is required to break the bonds holding the molecules in the solid together. At the same time, heat is given off during the formation of new solute -- solvent bonds.

CASE I: Decrease in solubility with temperature:

If the heat given off in the dissolving process is greater than the heat required to break apart the solid, the net dissolving reaction is exothermic (energy given off). The addition of more heat (increases temperature) inhibits the dissolving reaction since excess heat is already being produced by the reaction. This situation is not very common where an increase in temperature produces a decrease in solubility.

CASE II: Increase in solubility with temperature:

If the heat given off in the dissolving reaction is less than the heat required to break apart the solid, the net dissolving reaction is endothermic (energy required). The addition of more heat facilitates the dissolving reaction by providing energy to break bonds in the solid. This is the most common situation where an increase in temperature produces an increase in solubility for solids.

It would be a very interesting experiment to CO2 saturate kalk in vinegar and then add that solution to volume of water smaller than what is considered volumetrically soluble at room temperature, but that is heated up, and see if you could super saturate the water with CO2 saturated kalk to achieve a super saturated source of bicarbonate. I am not recommending this to anyone as I do not know the outcome and I am unsure of the possibly disastrous results. If you do try it, please take safety precautions.

A safer form of this experiment would be to use "mildly warm" water to mix the Kalkwasser or using less kalk per gallon/liter when using cold water (as ro/di water is usually pretty cold). This would have the result of allowing all the kalk to dissolve to a greater extent but would not reduce precipitate. Only CO@ saturation by vinegar mixing can reduce precipitates.

As far as dosing this cloudy kalk mix there are two opinions:
1) 100% safe, dose to your hearts content.
2)Dosing cloudy water is potetnialy harmful as it may contain precipitated impurities and more importantly undissolved calcium hydroxide which can lead to an overdose.

I take neither stance because I dose completely clear, CO2 saturated and 100% dissolved kalkwasser!

In conclusion,
1) Temperature affects solubility (not something most people think about)
2) Kalk has two important characteristics: It needs to be fully dissolved into a liquid (just like any other solid) and It requires CO2 saturation in order for it not to precipitate carbonate (unique to kalk).
3) A completely clear kalk solution is the ideal, as it is fully dissolved and has no precipitate. This is the most efficient solution one can attain. It is the most effeciant because no kalk powder is going to waste by being precipitate out or by being undissolved. This allows for no waste of kalk and for an effective distribution of bicarbonate to the reef aquarium (a cloudy solution will still work, but will be less efficient and less effective).

for your consideration.....
-Ben

reefdiy
02-23-2012, 09:02 AM
For more mind bending read this article by Randy Holmes-Farley: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-07/rhf/index.php#7

The sections on limewater are especially of interest to this thread...

-Precipitates on Top of Limewater
-Precipitates on Limewater Drip Tips
-Precipitates on the Bottom of Limewater Reservoirs
-Precipitates in Limewater Delivery Tubing
-Precipitates from Overdosing Limewater

For your consideration....
-Ben

kotlec
02-25-2012, 02:56 AM
Can anyone explain why I am having big trouble keeping alk on par. My 16g is heavy loaded with corals . Especially SPS are expanding at enormous rates. I understand that thats why I need take care about ca+alk very much. Started dosing Randy's DYI 2 part , because of that. It was hard too maintain calcium before. Now calcium is stable with constant dosing amount. But alk is dropping whatever I do. It even seems to me , that more I add alk part , the more it is dropping. Theory says I need equal proportion of both parts to go. I already dose 2x of alk and still alk is dropping very fast . Mg interestingly is slowly raising by itself. Now nearly 1500. I use lab grade chemicals that has certificates of quality. Claims 99.5% purity both.
All Salifert tests used.
Coraline has hard time to grow.
Any ideas ?

SantaMonica
02-26-2012, 12:01 PM
The scrubber is using the alk.

kotlec
02-26-2012, 01:31 PM
Thanks for reply.
Hope it is so. Good to know.

Floyd R Turbo
02-26-2012, 04:20 PM
Well I started with a mixture of saturated BRS Kalk diluted to 30% strength. I put it on the tank on Friday but the air line got pinched and it didn't dose at all (I had added some of the old BRS solution and cleaned the strainer in the tank, so it didn't miss out on much). Yesterday when I figured out what happened I got it running and it dosed about a gallon of the mix. Then I check today and it had sucked down about 1.5 to 2 gallons more. I checked Alk and it has dropped from about 7.5-7.7 to about 6.7! Cal has also dropped a bit (but it hadn't dropped for a week) down to about 415. I'm thinking that I need to up the strength a bit, so the next bucket will be a 50% solution.

Also I recall hearing that you either shouldn't or can't use Kalkwasser to raise/adjust alk. Is this true? It seems like you would be able to do it...curious for clarification

Ace25
02-27-2012, 09:40 AM
The only reason you wouldn't want to use Kalk to raise Alkalinity is if you have good/high Calcium readings, since Kalk raises both in correct ratios. Say you had Alk of 5.0 and CA of 500 then dosing Kalk would not be a good idea, just dosing Alk suppliment/buffer would be the correct choice. If you had Alk at 5.0 and Ca at 280, then Kalk is the perfect tool to use to raise both.

Please be VERY careful with what you believe your seeing on your test. Do not do anything fast or try and fix a perceived issue, because chances are what your seeing is not true. I have been down this road myself and just recently a good friend of mine has as well. When my tank crashed hard I was seeing the same thing, I would dose Alk or Kalk and the next day my Alk would be LOWER than the day before. The problem for my friend and I had nothing to do with Alk, everything to do with other factors (mine was CO2 related, his was a bad ORP probe on his ACIII controller that gave his pH probe false readings plus a faulty Alk test kit).

I am not sure the issue with every tank, but anytime I see someone dose Alk or Kalk and come back the next day stating their Alk went down, I now always say "slow down, really think things though, figure out the problem, and whatever you do, DO NOT dose any Alk buffer and do not up your Kalk dosage, just let it sit for a few days and use your eyes to tell you how your tank is doing, not a test kit or a probe. Ask lots of question online, get lots of input to think about before even thinking of taking steps to try and correct it". If your tank looks happy to your eyes, chances are it is happy, even if test kits are telling you otherwise.

Floyd R Turbo
02-27-2012, 09:54 AM
I hear you there. What I found strange is that I tested my BRS mixture and Kalk mixture for pH and Alk (although I'm not 100% sure the Alk between the two is "the same") and they were reasonably close to each other. So what I expected to see was the alk at least stay the same, or drop at the same rate. On that note I have to mention that the BRS Alk mixture was not maintaining the alk at 9.0 where I like it, it had been steadily dropping to where it currently is. It seems that the alk tends to drop in surges, and I'm not sure this is in relation to the scrubber growth or cleaning cycle, etc. Calcium also tends to drop in surges. For instance, one week I will correct it with BRS cal to say 440, then a week later, it's still around 420. I will correct it to 425-430, and a week later it will drop down to 380. So maybe I caught it on the uptake swing of one of these cycles.

Well I have a full 5g bucket of 30% mix so I will just use the rest of that up and test daily to see if I can figure out what is going on. I'm wondering if it's possible that Kalk is a 'better' version of dosing, and thus the corals are utilizing it better, which would explain how I matched the BRS mixture yet still had a drop in levels.

But the true words you spoke are "how does the tank look". If it ain't broke, don't fix it. So for now, I will monitor and make only small gradual adjustments and let the tank decide if there's something else going on.

SantaMonica
02-27-2012, 11:16 AM
Another think to think about... since mixing vinegar adds carbon, it might reduce the growth of a scrubber, the way dosing vodka/pellets does.

Floyd R Turbo
02-27-2012, 12:38 PM
I think that is a possibility, especially as you add a higher ratio of vinegar to the Kalk powder. I would have to review the articles again to look at the chemical equations in my copious free time. IIRC the purpose of adding the vinegar is to cause the calcium content of the Kalk to increase enough to offset the need for additional calcium dosing. I do remember there was comment that there was the additional benefit of adding carbon for denitrifying bacteria, but if the 'perfect amount' of vinegar was used then I would think most of this would go towards upping the calcium and not increasing the carbon input. I could be completely wrong though because I didn't consider that part of it too heavily when considering this. So if anyone has insight that would be good...

Floyd R Turbo
02-29-2012, 02:44 PM
So, after 5 days of dripping the 30% Kalk solution and testing 4 days, generally at the same time each day (around Noon), the Alk is maintaining at almost exactly 6.7 dKH (Salifert new kit) and Cal is maintaining between 415-425 (also Salifert), and pH on the days I've tested it has been 7.99 +/- 0.03. Cal has come up ever so slightly, maybe 5ppm/day. That's OK though because the 7" clam goes in this weekend.

At this point, I'm thinking that going to a 40% solution would be fine, and I'll continue to monitor levels without doing a correction quite yet. I see no need to freak out when everything looks OK - except the frogspawns, plate, and dendro, none of which have been doing well since putting them in the tank, so I'm taking them out and putting them back in my tank.

Only downer is that I lost a fish, one of the B&W clowns committed suicide sometime between Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon (kalk dosing hadn't started until after he disappeared). I found him today between the stand and the wall.

http://i611.photobucket.com/albums/tt191/FloydRTurbo/2012%20Aquarium%20Pics/Customer%201%20-%20Miracles%20144/Misc/DSC00055.jpg

RIP little dude.

kerry
02-29-2012, 03:45 PM
My false did that a couple months ago.

Ace25
02-29-2012, 04:22 PM
I do remember there was comment that there was the additional benefit of adding carbon for denitrifying bacteria, but if the 'perfect amount' of vinegar was used then I would think most of this would go towards upping the calcium and not increasing the carbon input.

I don't think that is exactly correct Floyd. I believe there is a secondary carbon source within vinegar that isn't used by Kalk. Only the CO2 part is used. I believe Randy stated it was something crazy like 45ml per gallon is the max vinegar to kalk ratio to be able to use up all the CO2. From the quote early on in this thread:


after all the cool Calcium ion chemistry is over, the leftover Acetate ions from the broken-down Vinegar leaves you with free organic Carbon in the water that feeds the bacteria in your tank so that it converts more poisonous Nitrates to NO2 gas (a very good thing)

Sorry to hear about your clown.. what is it with clowns in the last year. Been in this hobby over 20 years, never seen or heard of a clown jumping out of a tank, in the last year I must have seen it happen at least a dozen times. Weird and sad.

Floyd R Turbo
02-29-2012, 04:54 PM
I blame it on the solar cycle.

Floyd R Turbo
02-29-2012, 10:27 PM
I just mixed up a 40% batch, put 4 tsp in a 1 qt container and poured in 80 mL vinegar, shook it up good until it started to cool a bit, then put about a cup or RODI in it then poured into a 5g bucket of RODI. There does not appear to be any precipitate and I can see the bottom easily right away! That is definitely the way to go.

kerry
03-01-2012, 07:40 AM
I re-did my batch to 50% ro/di then added the rest of the ro/di and it was clear right away and barley no precipitate but, I did use 2 rounded teaspoons per gallon so that would account for the little I had.

Floyd R Turbo
03-13-2012, 01:39 PM
Well, at least 2 weeks of dosing and for the last week I've bumped it up to 50% solution, mixing 5 tsp with 100 mL vinegar then pouring that into a 5g bucket of RO/DI. I have been trying to let it settl the best I can, but it's not ideal since I mix the bucket then put it in my car and drive there, so whatever sediment there is (very little) mixes up into the solution and has to settle out again. But regardless, I have a pre-filter before the aqualifter and that actually tends to collect a bit of sediment and I've cleaned it out once in 2 weeks. Been going through about 1.3 gallons/day roughly.

Alk is still holding steady around 6.7 to 7.0 but no higher and bumping the concentration up has done nothing.

Calcium is holding relatively stable, if not dropping slightly. Still never below 415 and not above 425.

The pH has of late started to drop to right around 7.8.

At this point, after 2 weeks of using this, I can say that I like it. So much so that I may build an ATO box instead of doing replacing buckets, so I can get a little more capacity. Also this will take more of the burden off the owner. Right now I do the top off because I'm wanting to get the method down, so I'm in there every other day checking and refilling. Eventually I will just mix up a large batch in a trash can and the pull out the clear mixture. Probably will provide him a pump also, that way he doesn't have to worry about scooping water out of one bucket and into the next, or switching buckets.

I think the next step will be to adjust the Alk upwards with BRS Alk to get it to 9.0 and Cal to 425 and then watch it for a couple weeks to see if the 50% strength will maintain it. I see no reason why not except that a heightened concentration may mean an increase in uptake or some screwed up logic like that...

kerry
03-13-2012, 02:06 PM
I have been a little more aggressive as I am only diluted by about 25%. My goal is to maintain about 10 Alk and about 450 Ca. I need to be more consistent with my dosing. I ran out twice and did a couple days the last couple weeks with straight ro/di. I seem to be very close to my goal but the Alk is in the low to mid 9's but my Ca is 400 425 so if I dont run out I should be hitting my marks. I hope!!

kotlec
03-13-2012, 03:02 PM
I have noticed alk dropping as well. SM comented that scruber takes up some alk as I need to dose some aditional alk constantly while cal is stable more or less.
Floyd , do thing small pump can be used to pump solution ? Will it last ? I use very small pump to top of now and thinking to top with kalkwasser. Or investing in peristaltic is better idea?

Floyd R Turbo
03-13-2012, 03:06 PM
I use a aqua lifter, not sure how often I should clean it but I'm guessing every couple months. I don't know how the kalkwasser affect the innards of the thing, it might have been mentioned in this thread but I know it's elsewhere on this site. Cheap pump so it wouldn't hurt to throw away and replace it once a year.

Ace25
03-13-2012, 04:41 PM
Come back in a month Floyd and let us know. ;) I don't have good luck using Aqualifters on anything other than fresh RO/DI water, even then they seem to only last 12 months. When I tried them on overflow boxes or for dosing kalkwasser they got clogged up in about a month, and that is with the pre-filter on it. For saltwater, running a vinegar bath once a month helped, but I still never got more than 6 months out of them before the diaphragm was shot. With Kalkwasser it was shot in 2 months. I think the pH/acidity of the Kalk water eats/dries out the rubber diaphragm very quickly. Peristaltic pumps are the way to go, or what has worked for me without a single issue for over 7 years now, a maxi-jet 1200 in my ATO/Kalk bucket using a JBJ ATO.

Floyd R Turbo
03-14-2012, 11:09 AM
That's interesting. I might just end up doing that. Also Kalkwasser is not acidic it's basic (alkaline) like bleach.

Floyd R Turbo
03-15-2012, 11:25 AM
As spring approaches the tank temp is already starting to go up. it doesn't help that we've had a string of near 80 degree record-high days lately. So the next scrubber will probably have fans on it which is going to suck the ATO water down. I'm considering building a 2-chamber reservoir for RO/DI for the regular ATO and then full-strength kalkwasser in the other chamber. That way the owner doesn't have to mess with the kalkwasser, I can just bring that in when I clean the scrubber weekly.

I figure right now I'm dosing around 1.5g of 50% strength or around 5g/week of 100% kalkwasser and 5g/week RO/DI. So I can make a reservoir with 5g kalk and 5g RODI and put the kalk on a timer for dosing throughout the day.

Problem is space. It's tight under there

http://i611.photobucket.com/albums/tt191/FloydRTurbo/2011%20Aquarium%20Pics/Customer%201%20-%20125%20Reef/2011-12%20Tank%20Build/DSC03643.jpg

The new scrubber will go the other way across the sump and will be about 1/4 the size so that will help the appearance, but the space that 5g bucket sits is about all there is. About 12 x 18 max footprint, which is barely enough at 12" tall for 10g when you take out the volume of acrylic used.

Ace25
03-15-2012, 11:39 AM
That's interesting. I might just end up doing that. Also Kalkwasser is not acidic it's basic (alkaline) like bleach.

Ya, your right, one of my "issues", I ALWAYS confuse Acid for Base. My brain always wants to say higher pH = more acidic, but it is the opposite, and why my skin falls off my hands every time I get a splash of Kalk on them but yet no burning sensation. Just think though, if you dip your hand in a bucket of full strength kalk, the next day most of your skin is falling off, imagine what that does to a rubber diaphragm in a pump.

Floyd R Turbo
03-15-2012, 01:16 PM
I'm going to stop in today and switch out the kalk for RODI with BRS Alk in a high concentration to raise the alk over the next few days. I'm going to take the pump out and run it for a while on tap water and rinse the pre-filter. After the Alk is up where I want it (about 9.0-9.5) then I'll switch back to the kalkwasser.

See any problem doing it this way?

kerry
03-16-2012, 06:34 AM
I was pondering the other day. Why couldn't we take the vinegar/mrs wages mix and just put this concentrated solution on a timed dosing machine? Just put it in a couple/few drops every hour/few hours or what ever it works out to. This way you can just top off as usual with ro/di and dose with a metered timed pump. Granted there is extra cost there but, it might make it simple to adjust by lessing the dose or increasing the time intervals.

kerry
03-16-2012, 06:38 AM
I'm going to stop in today and switch out the kalk for RODI with BRS Alk in a high concentration to raise the alk over the next few days. I'm going to take the pump out and run it for a while on tap water and rinse the pre-filter. After the Alk is up where I want it (about 9.0-9.5) then I'll switch back to the kalkwasser.

See any problem doing it this way?

Sometimes I add baking soda to my KALK dosing drip bottle to adjust the Alk (Just because its easy). I do this about once or twice a week. I do not see any problem with your proposed idea.

Floyd R Turbo
03-16-2012, 06:58 AM
Good because I did it.

Incidentally with record temps around here, the tank spiked up to 84.1 F by 5pm yesterday. ATO bucket was empty, but I had told the doc to unplug it.

Alk had risen to nearly 8, I'm guessing because of evap and higher top off rate.

Cal still 415

pH dropped way down, 7.55. Prob something to do with high temp though.

Put a 3.5 g bucket with about 6 fl oz of Alk on there. That should bump the Alk up...

SantaMonica
03-16-2012, 01:37 PM
Sometimes I add baking soda to my KALK dosing drip bottle

This may combine with the Ca ions and precipitate out. Not sure though.

kerry
03-16-2012, 03:50 PM
I wondered if it would. Its seems to raise the Alk to a level of over what the Kalk alone would. I guess I need to calculate the soda amount to the gallons and see if it raises to full capacity as it would in ro/di.

Ace25
03-16-2012, 04:24 PM
Not 100% sure, but it sounds like it is working properly if your getting higher Alk by adding baking soda. If it were going to cause precipitates you would actually get less Alk out of the Kalk solution. So it sounds like it is working as expected.

I think the "ion balance issue" comes if you only use 2 part, and use lots of it for a long time. I use it almost daily myself, but usually 10ml or less of Alk/Ca along with Kalk top off and "knock on wood" I don't think it is causing any issues for me.

kotlec
03-16-2012, 04:49 PM
Not necesarily. If things are going the way SM queses , then Ca ions combines with some alk ions from soda and precipitates. Then alk ions from kalk will free up and still raises your total alk. I dont thing it is big scale event though. Simply you raise alk at a price of some depreciated calcium.

All this is my pure speculation . Call it brain training. :)

joelespinoza
04-18-2012, 08:57 PM
pH dropped way down, 7.55. Prob something to do with high temp though.

Has anyone actually chexked the PH of various Kalk/Vinegar mixes?

kerry
04-19-2012, 06:14 AM
Me, No, never. As long as I dose my Kalk mix my pH stays about 8.0 to 8.2 pH. I know the Ca. is 800ppm with 100ml vinegar to 2 teaspoons calcium hydroxide per gal.

Floyd R Turbo
04-19-2012, 06:20 AM
I have and I think I posted it somewhere on this thread

kerry
04-19-2012, 06:56 AM
Looks like its 12pH. SM mentions it on page 11. I dont think he uses vinegar, does that change it??

SantaMonica
04-19-2012, 07:12 AM
I'm now adding almost half the max amount of vinegar.

kerry
04-19-2012, 07:26 AM
I saw where Floyd and I think it was Ace25 where adding the minimum vinegar which looks like 60ml per gallon due to Alk stability. I was wondering how the precipitation rate is with 60ml versus 100ml of vinegar is?

Floyd R Turbo
04-19-2012, 07:42 AM
I was doing 100ml per 5 tsp in 5 gallons to make a 50% solution, that's 20ml per tsp not 100 (and that equates to 40mL per gallon for a 100% solution). I don't know where you got 60mL per gallon as a minimum. If you look back at that article


http://www.reefscapes.net/articles/breefcase/kalkwasser.html

Some words of caution, especially for any reefkeeping newbies out there -- If you are using Vinegar in your Kalk mix for the first time, I'd start off with 5 ml per quart at first. If you find you still need to get more Calcium into your tank per unit Kalkwasser, work up over a couple of weeks to a max of 12-15 ml per quart (the stoichiometric amount for Carbonate as recommended by Craig Bingman), or if you are feeling brave or really need lots of extra Calcium and de-Nitrate action as I do, a max of 24-30 ml (the stoichiometric amount for Bicarbonate, which I use).

4 quarts/gallons...so that's a minimum of 20mL per gallon, MAXIMUM of 120mL/g. At 2 tsp per gallon for a saturated solution, that's 10mL per tsp minimum, 60mL/tsp max.

kerry
04-19-2012, 08:05 AM
Minimum for saturation is what I should have included. Then there are others that said 100ml is saturation. I was just wondering if anyone using 60ml has had precipitation at all. I cannot afford to have precip as my tank eats Ca. like its candy.

joelespinoza
04-19-2012, 03:15 PM
Minimum for saturation is what I should have included. Then there are others that said 100ml is saturation. I was just wondering if anyone using 60ml has had precipitation at all. I cannot afford to have precip as my tank eats Ca. like its candy.

In my experience 60ml of vinegar and 2 tsp of kalk is ok if you leave it sitting for a few hours. If you want to be 100% sure there is no precipitate then use 90ml mix it well enough that it is almost all disolved before you ever add the RO/DI water then shake it up some more, and let it sit for half an hour or so.


I know that saturated solution of kalk in RO/DI water is about a ph of 12, I was curious how much different amounts of vinegar bring it down.

Floyd R Turbo
04-20-2012, 10:09 AM
I was just adding the vinegar to the container that had the kalk powder in it and shaking for 30 seconds or so, then pouring it into the RODI in a 5g bucket and I got maybe 1/8 tsp of precipitate, maybe, and that was for 10tsp of kalk with I think 100mL vinegar, or whatever I was up to. Anyways I had nearly zero precipitate.

SantaMonica
04-20-2012, 10:26 AM
I'm just adding the vinegar to the RO first, then adding the kalk.

Floyd R Turbo
04-20-2012, 12:55 PM
When I did that, the water never got clear enough to see the bottom of the bucket. When I dissolved in vinegar first, it cleared up in a few minutes. Not 100% clear, but much, much clearer.

kerry
04-20-2012, 01:48 PM
I was just adding the vinegar to the container that had the kalk powder in it and shaking for 30 seconds or so, then pouring it into the RODI in a 5g bucket and I got maybe 1/8 tsp of precipitate, maybe, and that was for 10tsp of kalk with I think 100mL vinegar, or whatever I was up to. Anyways I had nearly zero precipitate.
Thats good to know!!! Thank you Sir.

kerry
04-20-2012, 01:48 PM
I'm just adding the vinegar to the RO first, then adding the kalk.

I get a lot less precip when I add the kalk to the vinegar first.

SantaMonica
04-20-2012, 03:26 PM
Yes but that is harder to do.