I just got a KH and Phosphate test kits in yesterday. My tank is 8 weeks old.
I currently have 35 pounds of live rock and 25 of sand. 2 clown fish and some snails and crabs. My tank is 36 gallon with a 20 gallon sump. I just noticed today I have some small creatures in my Ref in the micro algae. They are about the size of fleas. I wish I could take a picture but the are just to small. I hope they are pods. LOL
I checked the KH of my RO water and it was 2. I have only been using RO water far a couple of weeks. I checked some water I have mixed to do a water change and it was 12. I'm using Instant Ocean. I plan on putting some soft coral in the tank later. Are these numbers ok?
Also I checked the phosphate in my well water and my RO water. The well water was .5 and the RO was 0. But the water I have mixed was .5.
Are these number ok ??????
Everything sounds good. Your readings are exactly what is expected. I would keep a close monitor on the Nitrate, Alkalinity, and Calcium every week. You will need to determine how frequently to add a buffer and calcium to keep the readings at 12-14 dkh Alk and 400-500ppm Calcium.
The Nitrate reading will help you create a water change schedule based on your livestock. Assuming your sand bed is of proper depth, you should see the Nitrates also drop to zero in time.
The little bug you see is probably a copepod or amphipod. They came in on your live rock and are good natural food sources. The population should grow rapidly and be visible most evenings.
Attempts should be keep Alkalinity in the range of 8-11 dKh. Alkalinity levels much above 11 dKh will only serve to accelerate the abiotic precipitation of calcium, especially at higher pH levels. This is not only wasteful in respect to the additives you are using to maintain the calcium levels, but also makes it difficult to attain and maintain optimal levels of of both.
The Alkalinty test I have came with the salt mix. It is a Red Sea PH and Alk test in the same kit. It only goes from 0 to 3.6 range. Now the Carbonate Hardness test kit goes from 0 to 12 KH. Is this the one you are talking about?
Both test kits are measuring the same thing. The RedSea kit is utilizing the mEq/l (Milliequivalents per Liter) unit of measure. This is the Scientific unit of measure.
The other test (I assume is API?) is using the dKh (Degree Karbonate Hardness) this is the German standard measure for carbonate hardness alkalinity.
PPM (Parts per Million) is another commonly used unit of measure.
1 meg/L = 50 ppm CaCO3
To convert meq/l to ppm CaCO3, multiply by 50
To convert meq/l to dKH mutiply by 2.8
To convert dkH to meq/l divide by 2.8
To convert dKH to ppm multiply by 17.9
The fact that your readings are so far off from one another leads me to believe that there was a significant change in your system between tests, there was an error in conducting one of the tests, or that one of your kits is faulty. Based on the testing and reading procedures of the Red Sea kit, I'd wager my bets on human error. But not to worry, it happens quite often with this type of test. If your other Test Kit is the API (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Inc) kit, I would stick with that one.
When dealing with systems utilizing a buffer to increase alkalinity, I have never seen or heard of anyone having a precipitation problem at levels of 12 to 14 dkh. The reason for my slightly higher preference is to help fight off cyno outbreaks. I have also noticed pH tends to dip below 8.0 in systems with alkalinity readings below 10 dkh, which is probably due more to overstocking and underskimming that anything else. But staying at 12 to 14 dkh provides a safety net for the less experienced hobbyist.
I will see if I can dig up some info. I've always been a Sprung, Tullock, and Borneman reader, so I will look in that direction first.
Finding articles may prove difficult. I did come across some references to increasing alkalinity in other internet forums:
(Last post on page 1, suggests increasing alkalinity to fight cyno)
Still working on articles.
With all due respect, the only clear tie that I've found between Cyanobacteria control and Alkalinity levels is that by maintaining appropriate, stable levels of Alkalinity (along with calcium) helps to promote healthy coralline growth which would discourage Cyanobacteria growth via nutrient uptake. This is common knowledge in the hobby and is a frequent suggestion, coupled with improved husbandry practices, for the control of Cyanobacteria.
As for the information contained in the 2 links provided, the former does suggest that increased alkalinity "seems to help get rid of Cyanobacteria", however the poster provides no evidence whatsoever to validate this claim. Furthermore, he makes no suggestion that levels beyond the normal recommendations (7-11 dKh or 8-12 dKh depending on the source, and hence my "happy medium" recommendations of 8-11) would serve as any benefit. In fact, the poster recommended the OP keep his levels at 10-12 dKh.
The latter of the two links makes no suggestion at all that there is any tie between Cyanobacteria growth and Alkalinity levels. The mere mention of raising alkalinity in that thread can be easily attributed to the simple fact that the OP states his Alkalinity has tested in an area that his test kit deems as "low normal" (see post #4).
I do find it somewhat odd that a practice entertained, with successful results, by masses of local fish geeks in your area for over 10 years, would not have made its way into the mainstream pipeline of information swirling around the WWW by now. Especially something so globally problematic as Cyanobacteria control.
Again, I mean no disrespect in this post. I would love to see this claim proven as accurate and without consequence, and I would be happy to promote the idea if it is. But certainly you can understand my skepticism.
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