06-12-2010, 07:21 AM
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I've never used Epsom salt, but I would not be concerned personally.
All saltwater aquariums, be it fish only or reef, need to be monitored for alkalinity and calcium. Adjustments should be made to keep them within the correct range. Calcium is targeted at 440 to 460ppm and alkalinity at 12 DKH. A 2 part additive is typical, with one part buffering for calcium to boost calcium carbonates, and the other part adding secondary buffers to maintain bicarbonate buffering ions and other minor buffers, such as borate. I personally use Kent Marine Super Buffer DKH for my buffer and Kent Marine liquid calcium chloride for my calcium supplement. Wake uses the 2 part Bionic product. Both are excellent. Weekly testing and adjusting will allow you to find a trend that works for your tank.
I suggest using a target point to tell you when to buffer. If alkalinity reaches 8 DKH then add the buffer. If calcium reaches 400ppm then add the Calcium Chloride supplement. If alkalinity drops but calcium remains high, then please check in with me or Wake or another appropriate member before taking any actions at all. Hopefully this never happens.
By the way Mike, there is a section on TFK where members can submit articles. One member in particular here that I am very fond of wrote a nice article on alkalinity and calcium testing and adjusting. You might want to check it out!