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FAQs on Supplementing With Kalkwasser, Dosing

Related Articles: Calcium, Understanding Calcium & Alkalinity, The Use of Kalkwasser by Russell Schultz, Calcium Reactors

Related FAQs: Kalkwasser 1Kalkwasser 2, Kalkwasser 3, Kalkwasser 4, & FAQs on Kalk: Rationale/Use, Calcium Measuring/Test Kits, Sources of Calcium, Calcium Supplements, Mixing/Storing Kalkwasser, Kalk Reactors, Kalk Automation, Alkalinity Interactions, About Kalk Use & Other Supplements, e.g. Magnesium, Troubleshooting/Fixing, CaCl2 (Calcium Chloride)/ Pickling Lime Use, Calcium and Alkalinity

Kalk dosing... is it for you? For what purposes? Drip, slurry, reactor? Shaken not stirred?

Kalkwasser- Delivery Method   6/6/11
Good Morrow Crew,
<Hey Daniel>
I have to ask you this very important question (for me) regarding the use of Kalkwasser, or more to the point, its delivery to the reef system. I have come across two seemingly disparate ideas:
<Only two!?>
Option #1: Kalk must be constantly stirred (in a reactor; expensive!) to keep the solution fully mixed (saturated) at all times. It is this saturated solution that must be added to the system.
<Mmm, yes. Ideally>
Option #2: This idea/method flies in the face of Option #1- add the Kalk to your Auto Top-Off reservoir, allow several hours for the 'sludge' to settle, then use the water above said sludge. The saturated Kalk sludge solution is dangerous, as it can raise the pH & Alk too quickly.
<Can be>
Which is correct?
<Actually both... the supernatant sol'n is what you want to add... sans apparent solids. Option #1 presumes you're not going to be stirring so much of the solids as to keep them in suspension, delivering them to your main display. Option #2 may not get you as concentrated a sol'n of Kalk, but it's close enough. The long and short of this is that you're to avoid the white solid...>
Currently, I have a 35-gal trash can full of RO/DI water (ATO Reservoir). Next to this, I have a tall (4') reactor containing Kalk & RO/DI. When the ATO is activated, a pump in the Reservoir sends water to the reactor, mixing RO/DI water with the Kalk & RO/DI water in the reactor, being careful not to stir the sludge at the bottom (tried this for the first time on 6/05). There is no stirrer for the reactor- I allow the sludge to simply settle at the bottom before activating the ATO system.
Also, when saying that the dose of Kalk should be 2-tsp/5-gal, is the gallons the number of gallons in the entire system, or gallons in the Reservoir?
<In the reservoir, the Kalk container...>
Thank you very much for your time,
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Kalkwasser Drip location & Buffer addition 4/4/2011
Gentleman, <& some ladies> your willingness to share your experience, knowledge and ultimately your wisdom on this site has encouraged me to keep on when I had almost given up hope.
<Ah, good>
Years ago I had a successful freshwater tank but always was drawn to the reef side of the store. 2 years ago decided to give it a go, I have read & read & read on so many sites on so many nights into the wee hours on how to build, stock and maintain a reef tank in my house. Small price for the opportunity to daily see the splendor of a coral reef in ones own home.
<I do concur w/ you>
For to have a bit of a reef in my home is a richness that many a king would have given a ransom for in early times. The despair I was feeling was because I was not getting it -- mostly the chemistry. Chemistry and retention are not my strong suits and I know I have messed up on my parameters a bunch of times.
<"When, where in doubt, trouble... change water">
But the 'visual' of the solutions offered to many an issue brought to the talented staff of WWM has me going in the right direction for sure. Thank you so much. I will spend a lot more time reading and trying to understand before I request your time for my questions but a couple that are very basic but I am just not confidant in what I think I understood. My system is outlined below: My battle, a ph that is always low and a carpet of brown/red hair algae that I just have not been able to control.
Drilled 36x18x24(h) w/3'DSB (Southdown),
<Mmm, I'd add an inch here... can be mixed in or will be in time... something fine, aragonitic>
55lbs LR, 2 x 175w Iwaki MH (6&6hrs), 2 x 96wVHO actinic (9hrs)
36g sump w/ 8g fuge w/ return pump fed spray bar, 3'DSB (Caribsea medium), 20lbs LR,
20g frag/quarantine w/Aquaclear 200, + return pump fed spray bar , LED's
90g total volume, 6g weekly WC
Flow of 620 gph CL + 580 gph return (combined into OM4 for 1200 gph main tank flow)
Euroreef RS80, Rowaphos & Matrix carbon in 2LittleFishys reactors
DIY chiller, DIY Auto TO w/RODI fed to DIY Kalk reactor
9.5dKH (Elos), 480Ca (Salifert),
<Too high... I'd settle in the low 400's>
7.7--8.0ph (Neptune & Milwaukee), .03 phos (Hanna), 1500 Mg (Salifert)
<And this, a bit too high... I'd allow to adjust or force through whatever supplementing practice/s you're involved in (limiting them)>
0, 0, 0 (Nh3/4, Nitrate, Nitrite -- all Salifert), 78-80 deg F
<... no Nitrate? This is telling. You very likely have an (entrenched unfortunately) BGA problem>
Yellow Tang, Clown, 6 Line Wrasse, 8 Chromis, 2 Yellowtail Damsels, 20 hermits, 2 Turbos, blood & cleaner shrimp, 20 snail
I am confused on these two subjects.
I have a beautifully simple, foolproof and reliable Top-off & Kalk reactor system that drips saturated solution into the return area of my sump after the main lights go off. I have read in several posts that Kalk should specifically be dosed into a high circulation area of the main tank. Without too many details of my system, this is really difficult for my setup. Aside from the risks to the return pump, is it acceptable to drip into the good circulation in the return section of my sump?
<Indeed it is>
And if my Alk, Ca and magnesium stay ok, do I just keep adding buffer (bicarb & Carb) until over the course of a few days I have incrementally raised my ph to 8.1 (min level) and then keep adding buffer (in the AM) to keep it there?
<... Please see the above. The too high Ca and Mg are hurting you here>
What is the time frame of the 0.2 ph up/down limit?
<Two days or so; not less>
Do I aggressively buffer up my WC water prior to introduction into the tank?
<I would not do this "too" aggressively, no>
If you get to these, thanks a bunch but thanks anyways for all you have already shared and invested in this great hobby!
John Stevens (2CC's)
<Do read here John: http://wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm
Doing what I've briefly touched on here... adding to the substrate et al., and what you can and do choose to supplant the BGA as detailed and very referred to in links therein, will get you to where you want to go. There are "other roads" (e.g. driving RedOx through an ozonizer)... but I'd take a "sailboat" mentality/route here rather than a "motor-cruiser". Questions, concerns, please write us back, Bob Fenner>

Re: Kalkwasser Drip location & Buffer addition   4/6/11
Thank you Bob. I will top off my DSB to a min 4" in the main tank with out mixing as it is already a "sugar" grain size and it is already 4" in some places, just less than 3 in higher flow areas, I don't think I should stir up the bed to/o much. I will blend in the same with the medium Carib sea in the sump to a 5" depth - maybe that will also help prevent the solidifying that this sand has shown itself to be prone to (the main tank is fluffy).
I also have a EuroReef RS135 on the way.
<A good product>
I think I need to skim more effectively. I was prompted to actually measure the skimmate production from my RS80 and even when its tea colored liquid I am only getting a cup every 3 days. I have had a hard time to dial it in. The skimmer is prone to intermittently go nuts and then overflow so I have it dialed it down to get the dark sludge. I clean it every couple of days - lots of sludge in the neck. I have concluded in my study that it can't hurt to upsize. ( side note - The instructions for cleaning the EuroReef very specifically mention that the neck must be dried after cleaning - any idea why).
<To facilitate the movement (not stall it) of the skimmate... so the bubbles "pop" in/near the top of the collection area>
I source the venturi fresh air from outside (Newer house, Canadian winters, dogs, 4 teenagers).
To clarify - the Matrix carbon and RowaPhos are in individual 2LF 150 fluidized reactors in series - Carbon first. Carbon is changed every 2 weeks the Rowaphos every three months (actually I recently bought a Hanna Phosphate tester so I will monitor the discharge for saturation).
In reference to the BGA - I will continue to browse the FAQ in the algae section but I don't think that BGA is the one I am battling.
<Seeing your photos included here, I am given to disagree>
I definitely have seen BGA shortly after the tank cycled. I have also had a variety of "Caulerpa" that spread like a hair net over all my rock (which is very porous). Both those died back when I upped the water changes and movement, started to dose Kalk and lowered the tank temp from 84F to 80F max.
I have looked through many a book and website for a match to the current one (for a year). The closest I have been able to come up with is maybe "Acanthophora spicifera". If you could take a look at the pics I have attached and possibly comment on the variety it would probably make my browsing more fruitful.
<Mmm, maybe just the Caulerpa overgrown w/ the BGA. Again, a few minutes under a few hundred power microscope will get you this>
I concur with the "sailboat" approach. I will spend money on the right stuff when needed but at the same time my Dutch heritage (and 3 kids in University) is cause for frugal behaviour for this season of my life.
Once again, I am humbled and grateful that you and the crew are so willing to help me and so many others find their way to success in this wonderful hobby. Cheers! .....John
<Glad to share w/ you John>
Ps. Do I keep the string of emails intact when dialoguing with the forms or send a new individual one? (Never done this before)
<As long as the last is included, most of us most the time can remember pertinent data. Cheers, BobF>

Kalkwasser quantities question  9/21/10
Hi Guys
<Hello Malcolm>
I have a question relating to how much Kalkwasser mixture I might safely inject into the system water without screwing the PH etc.
I'm building an auto top-up system comprising monitored float switches controlling the flow of RO water into a Kalk stirrer which then dumps into the sump return.
<I would NOT do this>
The display and sump system hold some 700 litres (~185 gallons) of water and currently looses around 9 litres (~2.5g)
<Per day? That is a lot'¦ too much to be topped up with a Kalk mixture>
with evaporation and skimming.
There's no dosing pumps involved as the RO is exiting the filter reservoir directly. The only flow rate limiting will be a JG tap on the output of the stirrer.
<I see and understand why this set up seems desirable, but it is a recipe for disaster>
My question comes down to what volume of Kalk solution could I safely add in one hit without causing problems. From a mechanical point of view, the greater the quantity the better as its easier to set up the
float switches to detect a greater drop.
<The problem here is that if you have a leak on your system, or are away for a few days and you have an abnormally high evaporation for some reason, or if the float switch fails then the top up will dose Kalk to your system continuously, flooding the system with not only Kalk, but freshwater as well. If you must set this up, then consider utilising a freshwater solenoid valve on a timer placed on the exit of the RO unit. This way you can also control the amount of water added per day. The Kalk just wants to be dripped slowly, overnight only, a few minutes per hour using the timer & solenoid, with the float valve in the sump as a fail-safe. This is still not ideal, but is much better. You might find that this is not enough to keep the system topped up, which is why the best solution overall is not to have the Kalk linked to the top-off, but to have it dripped slowly overnight from a separate reservoir.>
Do you think I could get away with one or two litres per dump?
<No I don't. For this amount of evaporation I think you need to run these separately, or run just the freshwater top-off and forget the Kalk>.
Appreciate your thoughts on this.
<You have them>
Re: Kalkwasser quantities question  9/21/10
Thanks for the quick reply Simon.
<No problem Malcom>
Well that modifies my thinking somewhat then.
<Indeed so>
I think I can still have my cake and eat it to by 'T'ing off the RO system's reservoir and feeding the Kalk stirrer via its own timer driven valve.
<Yes, this would work. You are relying on the solenoid failing closed here, but I have never heard of one failing open so you should be ok. Another option is a peristaltic pump from an actual reservoir not the RO unit>
I'm trying to avoid a separate tank that feeds the stirrer and needs its own auto top-up.
<Ahh, understood, but this is the safest option>
Part of the attraction of what I have is that the main RO system has enough oomph from its own pressure reservoir to dump 15 liters into the sump in about 10 minutes via 1/4" tube.
<Yes, hence the danger should things go sideways>
No pumps required so less to fail and float switch triggered for about a 2 litre min/max variation to top-up.
<Understood, but I would use the float switch as a back-up and control the input of fresh water with a timed solenoid>
The evaporation rate I mentioned is not so great for Australia and as I have covers over most of my sump, its lower than most... Winters worst as the humidity is so much lower than summer.
<Running any Kalk drip separately to your main top-off is wise here>
What would you be setting the drip rate at night for then - Say one drip every 5 seconds for 10 minutes every hour 10PM to 6AM?
<Something like this, for overnight pH maintenance with some calcium addition, yes. But it really depends on what your purpose for using Kalk is. I only use it for the purpose just stated, with a calcium reactor for my main additions, but if it is your main source of calcium then the animals and your testing of calcium & pH regularly when you start will determine how much you can add. You need to measure the pH carefully am and pm for a while, and change the drip rate/ timings as appropriate. Kalk can really push pH up quite considerably if you are not careful. To repeat, the amount needed is dictated by your system, set up and it's requirements. Have you gone through these? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/kalkh2ofaqs.htm>

Carbon and Kalkwasser. 3/13/2009
Hello all,
<Hi Tom>
Quick question:
<Quicker answer.>
Does activated carbon remove Kalkwasser?
<Possibly to some very minor degree.>
I am asking because the point in my sump where I would like to drip Kalkwasser immediately flows through the activated carbon/PhosPure section of my sump. I don't want to waste Kalk and carbon!
<Not a worry>
Thanks so much in advance! You guys are THE BEST!
<Thank you>

Dripping lime water - Dosage adjustment needed?  1/18/09 Hello fish Gods, <Hello Aaron, Minh at your service.> I've been dripping Kalk for 3 days and this is the first time I have ever tried it. Before starting I was successfully using calcium chloride and reef builder, but learned of the dreaded chloride ion build up. I tested my water before starting the drip on the first day and after finishing the drip on the third day. I've begun monitoring my levels and entering them in a database. <Excellent practice.> Starting Point: Calcium=430, dKH=10.1, ph 8.4 (10:00pm) (my magnesium test kit is on the way, levels unknown, however I change 7% water twice per week with Instant Ocean and add essential elements bi-weekly) <Your consistent water change schedule should go a long way in addressing any potential magnesium and strontium depletion by dosing Kalkwasser over time.> Kalk dosage over 72 hour period: 3 gallons of Kalk, each gallon contained 2 tsp Kalk mix dissolved in 1 tbs vinegar and added to 1 gal RODI Ending Point: Calcium=445, dKH=10.5, ph 8.4 (10:00pm) The resulting levels are on the high end of the desired range, although the calcium/alkalinity is no longer balanced according to the reef chemistry calculator I found here: http://home.comcast.net/~jdieck1/chemcalc.html The alkalinity did not rise in proportion to the rise in calcium. My alkalinity should have gone up to 11.5 to be in proportion to the rise in calcium. <The good news it that Kalkwasser meets and exceeds your system's current calcification rate. It is just a matter of tuning your dosing rate to match it.> My question is that if this was your tank, would you modify the current dosage? Stop using vinegar? <As your pH is on the upper limits, I would suggest for you to continue using vinegar to reduce the pH of the saturated limewater. Instead, either cut back on the amount of Kalk mix or increase the RO/DI water volume in the solution.> I heard vinegar could cause less carbonate alkalinity to result from dripping Kalk, but also increases the solubility of the calcium hydroxide. <Vinegar helps dissolve additional solid lime into Kalkwasser by reducing the hydroxide concentration in the limewater. This reduction in the hydroxide concentration does not reduce the amount of alkalinity delivered by the limewater because while the hydroxide is temporarily reduced by the acetic acid in the vinegar, when bacteria metabolize the acetate, they release it back to the water.> Do you think the calcium will continue to rise since it rose this much over 3 days, or will it level off where it's at? <Saturated limewater contains about 808 ppm of calcium and 40.8 meq/l of alkalinity. If you continue to drip the current dosage at the current calcification rate, calcium and alkalinity will continue to rise. For further information on this subject, the article "What Your Grandmother Never Told You About Lime" (http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-01/rhf/index.php#7) has much more details.> You guys are the best reefer resource in the world!!! <Cheers, Minh Huynh.>

Using white malt vinegar with Kalkwasser   9/16/08 Hello All, <Alex> I am constantly having trouble with my alkalinity. <Mmm... you do understand the "ins and outs" here?> I own a 180 litre tank with a daily dosage of Julian sprung C-balance <Actually Peter Wilkens... diluted to a variable degree...> with additional turbo calcium, <Mmmm...> I drip KH buffer 3 times a week. Magnesium 2 times a week. Calcium 420, Mag 1280, pH 8.0 to 8.2, KH 3 to 9. <I see> I have added some sps and I know they will require quite a bit of calcium. I want to dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of Kalkwasser with 15ml of water malt vinegar top up with 1 litre of RO. I read this will benefit my calcium and KH. Can I have your approval? <Worth trying... though, t'were it me and you were really interested, I'd be going the calcium reactor route here... maybe with occasional Kalk supplementing. Do read on WWM re pH, Alkalinity, Calcium, Reactor use...> Kindest Regards, Alex <Bob Fenner>

Re: using white malt vinegar with Kalkwasser  9/22/08 Hello Bob, <Alex> Very grateful for your advice. <Welcome> I have went ahead with the vinegar and Kalkwasser, although the solution smelt awful, it actually maintained my Alk to 8. One major fault is that my calcium has dropped to 320 and a dusty white film started to appear on the surface. Would this be the result of too much Kalk? <Could very well be, yes> There are some side-effects; I noticed clumping on the live sand, white film appearing on the glass and my dosing tubes are turning white, would this be calcium carbonate? <Likely so> But I thought the whole point of adding vinegar is to maintain ample carbon dioxide to avoid such precipitation. <Mmm, no... for one, CO2 is very transient in saltwater... either leaves solution or more readily precipitates as CO3 (carbonates)> Due to the calcium being at the low end, would it be advisable to add turbo calcium? <Mmm... there are but a few inputs here... but necessary for you to understand the common interactions...> I really would like to invest in a calcium reactor, unfortunately the purchase of many vital now useless aquatic hardwares have resulted the confiscation of my visa card...... by my wife. The smell from the top system didn't help either. Kindest Regards, Alex <I would read for now: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/maintindex.htm scroll down... and likely settle on the use of a good "two part" system for biomineral and alkalinity... perhaps B-Ionic... Bob Fenner>

Calcium, opinions re the use of reactors AND Kalk  8/22/08 Att: Anthony Calfo <Mmm, Antoine is no longer "here", nor associated with such services as far as I know. You may be able to reach him at ReadingTrees.com, but...> After reading your excellent article on calcium and alkalinity, I have one clarifying question. If you have a calcium reactor, do recommend additionally dosing with calcium hydroxide "Kalkwasser"? Or do you suggest using one method exclusive of the other? Charles <I happen to know his (and my) opinion/stance on this topic: We both agree with this practice... have seen many professional (including Daniel Knop) folks utilize both reactors and Kalk... Bob Fenner>

Kalkwasser Slurry method - 7/2/08 Dear Crew, <John> I emailed you guys a few months ago about my little red slime, hair algae, dinoflagellate problem that has killed angles <Angels?> that were in the aquarium when I did a water change... after disturbing the substrate... they were perfectly healthy before the water change. <Does happen> I have a brown coating on my substrate.... and rock.... like the new tank diatom bloom you see.... but this tank has been set up for 4 years. <This as well... there are, at the "wee level" continuous "wars" going on in our world, including our aquariums... with microscopic life forms competing for space, food, light... and each other at times... some groups "win" (your brown material) at the expense at times of others...> I found a recommendation on the internet to crash the dinoflagellate by doing the usual things to help with red slime or hair algae bloom by nutrient reduction.... <Is one simpler approach, yes> but it was really important to raise the ph of the aquarium over a period of say a week or more to 8.5 to 8.6 during the day and keep it about 8.3 at night for 2 or 3 days. Kalk was recommended for this. <Can be done> I've been reading about the Kalk slurry method on your site as well as other sites. I just wanted some clarification on this method. I know your supposed start with a 1/8 or 1/16 of a teaspoon of powdered Kalk added to cool or cold RO water, mix it and add the slurry slowly to the main tank. What I'm not clear on is... I've only read one article that mentions...you should only add the cloudy water layer...not the precipitated Calcium Hydroxide solids on the bottom. <Yes... best to decant, otherwise avoid introducing the solids> When I've read some other sites about this method... they don't really say either way. I don't yet have Anthony Calfo's book... where he spells out his method... but I'll likely get it soon. <Is a very worthy work IMO> I've got a 180 gal with a 30 gal sump with miracle mud with lighting 24/7. Before any Kalk was added my ph was 7.92 at night...and 8.15 during the day (a little low, maybe too much CO2 in water, tank is kind of tightly covered). My alkalinity is about 9 dKH (maintained by weekly additions of Kent SuperBuffer). <Did just review: http://www.kentmarine.com/saltwater/buffers/superbuffer-dkh.htm> I have been using calcium chloride to maintaining Ca++ levels. <Oh! This is what I was looking for... I would NOT do this... Not a good idea to continuously bolster Calcium with CaCl2... see WWM re> I've noticed that when I add the slurry made with 3/4 teaspoon (which seems like a lot to me, but smaller additions don't really increase the ph) without precipitated Kalk in it... the ph only moves up about 0.05... then after 1.5 hours drops back down. <Yes...> When I add the slurry with precipitated Kalk slowly over an hour of time... the ph moves up 0.10 ph units. I'm careful to only increase the ph about 0.15 ph units per day. <Mmm, this method will not get you to where you want... You need to add a great deal more concentrated supernatant... during the evening... over a period of hours... dripping> This morning at 6 am the ph was 8.05 (no lights on yet, except the miracle mud/Caulerpa refugium). <I want to mention that I'd also get rid of the Caulerpa... replace this with other, much better algae (Gracilaria, Chaetomorpha...) It may well be that the Caulerpa here is a very real/large source of your trouble... with the brown film AND the alkalinity, biomineral issues> I added another 3/4 teaspoon of Kalk mixed with two cups of fresh RO water that was chilled with the precipitate included over the course of 1 hour and got the ph up to 8.20. I have a pinpoint ph meter to monitor this. So... the bottom line is that it seems I need to keep adding Kalk over the next several days <Mmm, no... will only elevate temporarily... each time... the pH dropping within a few hours> in order to reach the daytime ph of 8.5 to 8.6 and night time ph of at least 8.3. Any thoughts? Thanks, John. <Please peruse here: http://wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm With the term Kalk Drip... read the cached views. Bob Fenner>

Kalk dosing - 11/26/07 <Hello Jeff,> I have a sort of quick chemistry question.<Ha! Quick?> I did get a degree in chemistry as an undergrad, but without use, pretty much all knowledge has disappeared. I have been dosing Kalk by trying to get stable readings on my kH and Ca tests and have used a separate 2 part mix to fine tune the kH/Ca balance. My current readings are kH 11.2 and Ca 370.<KH above 10 will drop calcium below 400ppm> This system doesn't really address pH maintenance unfortunately, and that parameter has had some fluctuation (7.9-8.2).<The pH will fluctuate naturally as the KH and Calcium levels change. It will also bounce a little (few points) with light levels and photoperiods.> Basically, my understanding is that the kH is a measure of the buffering capacity of the water, i.e. the ability to resist change in pH.<true> Kalkwasser is a solution of CaOH that both maintains the kH and the Ca in roughly the same proportion.<Yes and no. Kalkwasser, also known as Calcium Hydroxide will raise the pH significantly(over9.0) and boost calcium levels. It's main purpose is to supplement RO/DI water back to a buffered solution and to add calcium daily with make up water from evaporation. It will not be a reliable buffer for pH and calcium levels alone.> Consumption of buffering material by stony corals and the buildup of C02 and organic acids all contribute to decreased pH. I have very good aeration, and have tested the pH with vigorous aeration and see no difference, so retained CO2 does not appear to be impacting my system pH significantly. Any build up in organic wastes will decrease the pH and consume the buffering capacity, proportionately dropping the kH, true?<Yes> Based on all of these postulations, I've come up with the following hypothesis: A drop in pH is a ultimately a direct reflection of lost buffering capacity. Measurement of pH is thus an adequate parameter for assessing consumption of kH, whether by coral consumption or binding to organic acids and being skimmed off.<NO. pH is far too unstable in reef aquaria as so many outside forces affect it in a 24 hour period. For example, lighting with Metal Halides can increase pH levels at the end of a 10-12 hour photoperiod, yet the lack of light will lower the pH at the opposite end of the photoperiod. Bio-load and fish activity, feedings, etc. will all have small affects on pH(1-2 points like 8.2-8.0)> If this is true, then Kalk dosing could be automated to maintain a stable pH. I haven't really heard of anyone doing this, so I think one or all of my premises are off base. I figure there are more factors at play. Setting the Kalk reactor to turn on when pH drops below 8.2 probably bears significant risk of dangerously increasing kH and causing supersaturation and precipitation or "white-out". Why this would be true, I don't know and would appreciate your input.<If automated, the chance of precipitation would be much higher as you stated. The reason is there would be a build up of buffer over time that the system would not be able to balance out. Also, the higher buffer levels would lower the Calcium levels too low. Let's say the pH reached 8.4 .How would you remove buffer to get the pH back to 8.2? There in lies the problem. It only buffers automatically up the scale. In the end, Calcium and Alkalinity levels are paramount and pH is really not as important. (outside of some strange extremes). So, if Calcium is maintained at 400-430ppm and Alkalinity levels are between 8-10 KH or 3-4meq/l then the pH will fall between 7.9-8.3 naturally thru out the day.> Here are some more articles to explain further... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm http://advancedaquarist.com/issues/may2002/chem.htm http://advancedaquarist.com/issues/feb2002/chemistry.htm http://www.reefs.org/library/talklog/d_warren_090797.html Enjoy!> Thanks so much for your help, Jeff <no Problem, Rich...aka...Mr. Firemouth

Kalkwasser dosing question -11/09/07 Hi again. I am hoping you can help me clarify something. I have a 16 gallon nano and am trying to raise the calcium level. My PH is 8.4 and my current calcium level is 340. I have been using B-Ionic calcium buffer system as a daily supplement. I am using a CPR in sump skimmer, and my tank inhabitants are a clown fish, a cleaner shrimp, a baby deresa clam, a small brain coral, some mushrooms and a baby bubble. <What's your alkalinity?> Since the tank is so small, I would prefer not to use a drip system and would rather add the Kalkwasser manually to avoid overdosing . If I am careful, can I add it to my top-off water, which I pour into the sump? <Depends on how you do it...> And if it is safe to add directly to the top-off water, what would you suggest as a safe ratio? I know that this is going to be a trial and error thing, but obviously I would like to keep the "error" part to a minimum. <It depends on your alkalinity and the nuances of your particular tank. However, I'd start off with just a pinch in a gallon of top-off water (but only add 1/4 gallon at a time). Measure your pH before, 5 min after and then an hour after. Measure your alkalinity and calcium before and a few hours after. Generally though, Kalk might not be your best solution here. Is there some reason you don't want to just use more two part solution? ...or use calcium chloride? Also, be sure to see the FAQ on Kalk addition: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/kalkh2ofaqs.htm> Your help would be very much appreciated. Thank you. Lindsey. <Best, Sara M.>

Kalk Dosing... A Must To Accurately Measure/Monitor pH -- 10/30/07 Howdy guys/gals, <<Cheers Mike!>> Just have a quick question I can't find an answer to. <<Let's see if I can help>> I just recently traded a fish tank for a Stony Reef Kalk reactor (super excited!!!!). <<Neat!>> I don't have an ATO unit or pH controller yet.... but wanted to get this thing into action! <<Mmm...you can get by without an 'automated' top-off unit (and I suggest the Tunze Osmolator over the ATO gear), but you will need to be able to closely/frequently monitor pH. I strongly recommend you put the purchase of a pH meter ahead of any automated top-off equipment, if finances preclude getting both>> Input comment here LOL. <<Comments inputted>> Here are some quick specs - 100 gallon tank ph - 8.2-8.4 SG - 1.025 Cal. 400-450 Alk 8-9 Mag - 1300 Mainly Acropora (10+ small-med colonies), Montipora (10+ small-med colonies), and one derasa (growing like no tomorrow). <<Sounds very nice>> It seems like they are consuming quite a bit of carb/bicarb, and Calcium because I test once a week and the numbers drop by 1 dKH and 50ppm calcium. I was thinking about setting a Tom's Aqua-Lifter pump on a digital timer for 1-2 minute intervals 2 hours apart, 6 times at night. The pump runs about 3.5gph so the dosage would be 1min - .058 gallons - or 2mins. - .116 gals. Is this going to be too much at one time?? <<Not likely>> 1/10th of a gallon seems like nothing in a 100gallon tank but do you think it would be detrimental to dose this quick? <<It is always wise to be cautious, start small, and monitor continuously to determine the correct 'dosage' of Kalkwasser. The water in the reactor can only dissolve/absorb 'so much' of the Kalkwasser...as long as you are dosing the supernatant and not allowing solids to enter the tank then I suggest you set the pump and timer to replace 'all' water lost to evaporation...i.e. -- run all your top-off water through the Kalkwasser reactor. If you have an idea of how much water is lost to evaporation on a daily basis (and you should), then it is a matter of just doing the math to determine how long the pump must run to replace this. You could set it up to make the replacement overnight when pH typically falls...or space it out over a 24-hour period>> pH spike ?? <<Thus the need for an electronic monitor...in my opinion>> Suppose I won't know until I try it but my pH titration test kits aren't accurate enough. <<You need to correct this or purchase a pH monitor before proceeding with the Kalk reactor>> Any advice on how to get this reactor in action would be greatly appreciated. I really should just wait, I bet... <<Until you can accurately measure/monitor pH...yes>> Thanks -- Mike <<Regards, EricR>>

I am wondering if one can dose too much Kalkwasser? Is it safe to add it on a continuous drip when your levels are already at 450? I would like to use it to raise pH and help get rid of phosphates as you had previously suggested, but I am concerned that it may raise my calcium levels too high...is that something to be worried about? Thanks! By the way thank you for your suggestions on curing my rock with light! My new rock was cured in 9 days! (A record for me.) >> Thank you for writing for clarification. There is such a thing as having too much free calcium in your water, and overuse of Kalkwasser can lead to this scenario. An upper limit for me is about 500 ppm, which in the vast majority of settings (natural and synthetic water, decor and substrate, supplement conditions) should allow for an elevation of pH to the desired temporary range of 8.4-8.5.  The real potential downside to even higher calcium levels has more to do with the antagonistic relationship of Kalkwasser (calcium hydroxide) solution with the equally important consideration of alkalinity. In so much as adding the Kalk (at night, dripped in, near an area of rapid mixing like a powerhead discharge) doesn't reduce alkalinity below let's say 3.5 meq/l, I wouldn't worry about how much calcium there was present. Put another way, I'd drip in the Kalkwasser in attempt to elevate pH, precipitate your phosphates up to the point where your alkalinity was diminished below 3.5 meq/l. Bob Fenner

Dosing Kalkwasser Bob, I would like to start dosing with Kalkwasser. I have an 80gal. reef with no sump, yet. The instructions say to use 1-8th to 2 teaspoons of mixture for a gallon of water. Would it be best to start on the low end of the spectrum and go on from there?  <Umm, careful here... the instructions are for making "stock solution" of Kalkwasser, NOT the amount to directly, indirectly put in your tank per gallon. Put another way, this is the amount of Kalk you try to get into solution for dripping into your tank slowly, at night, in an area of rapid mixing... NOT two teaspoons per gallon of your system/tank...> I am thinking of getting the 2.5 gal. Kent marine aqua-dose for this. Is this a good choice? <Yes, a good product> My calcium is @430, pH @ 8.3, dKH @ 8(I need to work on this).  <These are fine values.> All the corals in my tank are healthy except for a fading elegance. I read in the FAQ that you can feed them. What would I feed an elegance coral? <Most any large, small meaty food items... applied right to the animals polyps when open... with plastic feeding tongs if possible... once or twice a week...> One last question, is phytoplankton a recommended additive for a reef tank? I've never used said product before but have read a bunch. <IMO/E, yes... very useful> Your input always helps, THANX. Charlie <Glad to be here my friend. Bob Fenner>

Kalkwasser slurry Hello, I was reading through the articles on Kalkwasser and noticed something about a "slurry of Kalkwasser (whisked in cool water)" as an alternative to dripping. I honestly tried to find this information so as not to bother you. I am very interested in this method. I currently drip Kalkwasser, but do it sometimes infrequently laziness). I use a Kent Aquadoser and it sometimes is aggravating because it will sometimes stop dripping during the night. I clean it regularly with vinegar. I would appreciate any help on this subject. Thank you, Steve. <Cheers, Steve... that was my recommendation. I detailed it in my book (www.readingtrees.com and Bob's review at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bkcorlproprev.htm) and have referred to several times here on WWM. It is very easy to apply this way and very easy to abuse... you really need to have a digital pH tester (pen $30-50, meter $75+). Add slurry at night in small doses at first to a strong stream of water. Add no more than what will raise your pH by .1-.2 (critical) limited by what your net daily demand for calcium is (verified by going without a calcium supplement for a day or two, testing before and after and then figuring out through careful and slow experimentation how much Kalkwasser you need daily to keep up with it). This is a grossly abbreviated synopsis of it... but I hope you get the gist of it. Best regards, Anthony>

Kalkwasser in deep... use of CH3COOH <Anthony here waking up from an alcoholic haze from visiting our friend Bob and a great time in San Diego. Or maybe it isn't alcohol at all... perhaps just intoxication from all of the noxious gases produced by my body from the unnatural amount of Mexican food that I ate in sunny Southern Cal...Ha!> I was reading an article from Leonard Ho (the article was traduced into Spanish which is my language, so apologize me for my mistakes) in that article he speaks about the use of Kalk in combination of Acetic Acid. <yes... some aquarists have been experimenting with this> It suppose that the Acetic acid gives (or at least function as) all the CO2 needed to react.  <this is not fair, likely or even accurate. I don't mean that the method is wrong... just not exact or easily replicable if proven to be helpful. One cannot fairly say "all"/adequate CO2 needed is provided when such levels vary naturally in displays from inadequate through plentiful> His formula is 15 ml of Acetic Acid (diluted at 5%, as vinegar) in one liter of water (Distilled or from the aquarium) plus 1/2 spoon of Kalk. The vinegar will provide all the CO2 in order that all the Kalk react. This solution will provided a lot of good things: first one: we will obtain more CA++ than using just water <negligible... but acceptable> Second: The Acetic Acid will provide an equivalent to all the CO2 we need to avoid the precipitation of the new calc ions into useless calcium carbonate. <the precipitation of carbonates cannot honestly be assured/prevented just by the application of acetic acid. This is inaccurate. And any such precip by Kalk used alone is easily avoided by proper application of the hydroxide. Adding too much or too fast will cause a local spike that begins the crystalline precipitation of carbonates. Proper dosing of Kalk will not cause this so this benefit is moot> Third: When all the calcium chemistry finished the residual of the acetate ions (from the vinegar) will leave organic carbon which will serve as food to the bacteria which will redound in an improvement in the capability of those bacteria to convert nitrate to nitrogen. <or it can impact the natural pool of buffers just the same> The paper abound in chemistry explanations, and everything sounds good. <My personal opinion is not as bad as it might sound from above. I believe the method may have some merit... but ultimately it is an attempt to "re-invent the wheel" or rather, to fix something that isn't broke, so to speak. Such notions are spawned often from the Misapplication of Kalkwasser. With knowledge the proper application of Kalkwasser is so simple, quick, safe and easy> My questions are: 1) Did you ever heard about this method? <yes, as above> 2) if you heard, do you know how fast this solution has to be poured into the sump?<all Kalkwasser is more effective when dosed gently into the top of the display proper> 3) if you need a lot of calcium, ¿can you pour more than one liter at a time?, can you double the acid acetic and Kalk in the same liter of water? <any application of Kalk is entirely dependent upon what the actual daily demand for calcium is... not how much or how little Kalk can be added to a system per day without causing a precip or other negative effect. I have detailed this in my book (regarding Kalk slurries) and it has been rehashed in the wet web media archives (Google search or follow links)> 4) how much time it will take to raise the calcium enough to be measurable with a colored calcium test? <varies by tank/system > 5) how often it suppose that we have to use this formula? <my preference is for plain Kalk slurries and/or calcium reactors> I know it is a lot of questions, but the paper explain a lot about chemistry, but nothing about the dose or protocol of use. Thank you, Carlos Díaz <with kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

Kalk dosing Hello and thanks for all of your helpful hints and suggestions!! I am now bringing my pH up to acceptable levels with the Kalk dosing. Was 7.9 and now am keeping it up to 8.25 regularly.  <good to hear... do check recent posts on the FAQs also about low pH and well insulated houses (atmospheric influence) and opening a window to raise pH in the aquarium!> The question I have with the Kalk "slurry" is: Do you mix up the solution and then dump all contents from the glass into the aquarium or do you pour it slowly and stop when the undissolved Kalk starts dripping in? This has been a bit vague in your Q&A forum.  <no worries... both ways can be done. I elaborate on this application in my Book of Coral Propagation if you are inclined. The gist of it though is that it is not so much a matter of slurry or decanted solution, but rather what is your daily demand for calcium (go three days without any dosing and measure calcium before and after then divide by three to get a daily average). Once we figure out how much calcium is needed daily, we then need to slowly dose calcium to fulfill that demand (confirmed by testing that reveals the calcium level isn't straying downward with your x mg of Kalk daily). You could begin with an eight or a quarter of a teaspoon daily (probably a little low if you have a good bit of live rock and/or coral). The only limiting factor here is that regardless of what your daily demand for calcium is, you should never add more slurry or decant than your pH can sustain without jumping my more than .1-.2 (i.e.- before slurry 8.2, after slurry 8.35). For such measures and experiments with Kalk slurries, accurate pH testing equipment is necessary (digital pen or meter). It is uncommon that your tank will not be able to get all of its daily calcium needed through a single dose without spiking pH. Only tanks with massive coral loads need a second dose or more. Remember to only dose Kalk after the lights are out too> Also in my 60 gallon acrylic sump I have hard and soft corals, snails, emerald crabs and a Niger Trigger, one sand sifting goby and a lawnmower blenny. Is it safe to add a baby Clown Trigger or would that not be wise?  <not at all wise: not invert safe, gets too large/aggressive, and will kill most tankmates in time> I have always wanted a Niger and a Clown Trigger and I have the Niger.  <the Niger Odonus is a wonderful and passive species. An exception among triggers> Can I get the Clown too? Thanks as always, Jeff Reed <best regards, Anthony>

Kalk Slurry 7/18/04 I have read all your forums on Kalk dripping and some of Anthony Calfo recommendations, also info on calcium reactors and Kalk slurry methods.  I want your opinion on which one to pursue, slurry or drip.   <simple my friend... along the way you missed (or did not have/read the original passage in my book)... the Kalk slurry is for people that have so much coral growth or an otherwise high demand for calcium that a drip of supersaturated solution cannot bring enough CA in. If that's you... and you aren't using a Ca reactor, then perhaps the slurry is for you. Else no worries. Run a safe and easy drip> I have a 75 gallon sump-less reef with mostly softies and a few LPS, a one SPS (candy cane). I run a remora hang-on, carbon and 2 power heads for circulation.  I have been having problems maintaining pH (8.0), and wish to start dosing Kalk (have wanted to for sometime, PH problem became a good motivator). <do try dripping it first perhaps... or very tiny amounts in slurry if you prefer> My system evaporates about 1/2 gallon a day, not too light intense (4 X 65 watts pc), open back canopy.  I have been reading up on DIY Kalk drippers, seems easy enough.   <yes, agreed> How much pickling lime do you recommend that I add? Most advice says 1 teaspoon per gallon to drip nightly. <a teaspoon will not dissolve in a gallon of water... only so much to supersaturate. Save some CaOH and shake up half as much> Currently, I top-off about every other day (1 gallon) would it be better to add a slurry or shot of Kalk into my top-off here?  Or would the pH swing be too great?   <also important from the original passage... you must use a digital pH meter with the slurry method. That will help you determine how much to add at once and how fast> If going this route, how often should I check for PH afterwards as I am out the door for work shortly following top off? <check pH about a half hour afterwards> Thanks..........Mike (Toledo, Ohio) <best regards, Anthony>

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