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Kate's first tank

This is a discussion on Kate's first tank within the Saltwater Journals forums, part of the Aquarium Photography category; --> I have the kent marine buffer and calcium. Wasn't sure to use the buffer cause you kinda scared me a few days ago when ...

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Old 03-07-2010, 07:43 AM   #31
 
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I have the kent marine buffer and calcium. Wasn't sure to use the buffer cause you kinda scared me a few days ago when you said it wasn't a good idea to use a buffer just yet.
I havn't had a diatom bloom, and my nitrate is just now starting to climb.I'll keep watching it.
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Old 03-07-2010, 08:36 AM   #32
 
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Example #1: With calcium at 300ppm and alkalinity at 11 dkh.
Example #2: With calcium at 340ppm and alkalinity at 8dkh.

Very good point, lets look at the difference in these 2 test results. They look similar, but they tell a totally different story.

The safe range that we want for calcium is 360ppm to 500ppm, with a target of 400ppm to 460ppm. We are trying to stay in the target range, but we won't cause serious problems if we are in the safe range.

The safe range for alkalinity is 8 to 14 DKH, with a target of 10 to 12 DKH. We prefer to stay in the target range, but won't get to worried so long as we are in the safe range.

Your goal is to get both calcium and alkalinity inside the target range at the same time, and then develop a buffering and supplementation routine that keeps it there. You will do this by testing frequently until you find a pattern, at which point you can begin to test weekly. Every time you add new livestock this will change slightly, as the bioload increases. Once the tank is fully stocked, you will eventually just be doing the test every week, unless you see something out of the ordinary.

Calcium drives alkalinity to a degree. Calcium will drop, then alkalinity will follow. If alkalinity is low, you have an absence of multiple buffering ions, including calcium carbonate, but also including bicarbonate buffers, borate, magnesium, and others. Calcium Carbonate is the primary buffer.

If you attempt to rains alkalinity and the calcium level is not where it needs to be, then alkalinity tends to drop back down quickly.

In Example #1, your alkalinity was within the target range and calcium was low. Adding a buffer to increase alkalinity would not have increased the other buffering ions at an improper ratio with calcium. We first needed to increase calcium into the correct target range.

In Example #2, both calcium and alkalinity are in the bottom of the safe range. You had been adding calcium, and it was depleting quickly. This was because the other buffering ions are also low, as indicated by the alkalinity test result. You need to add both calcium chloride and the super buffer product to move both calcium and alkalinity up into the target range.

Notice that Example #2 is a better place to be than #1. In #2 you have both alkalinity and calcium moving together on the scale, and indication that the buffering ions are at a balanced ratio. You are only 1 or 2 doses of both away from having each inside the target zone, at which case it will be easy to maintain.

There is one more variable to this, which is coraline algae. Coraline aglae takes up calcium from the water. So at times you may find that you need to dose Calcium Chloride and not the buffer. When you see calcium on the low end and alkalinity in the target range, then this is when you add Calcium chloride by itself, without adding the buffer.

Don't feel bad. This is a crazy complicated topic that very few people understand. I don't have a clue about the WHY behind the chemistry, but I have learned the WHAT to do to keep it safe, which is all that matters for our purposes in this hobby. If you want a real high level discussion on alkalinity, I suggest that you google "Randy Holmes Farley". He is the guru and his methods are where I have adapted my methods from.

For a more simple long version, I posted an article that might provide more help:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/m...-marine-33079/

Last edited by Pasfur; 03-07-2010 at 08:38 AM..
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Old 03-08-2010, 03:53 PM   #33
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasfur View Post
Don't feel bad. This is a crazy complicated topic that very few people understand. I don't have a clue about the WHY behind the chemistry, but I have learned the WHAT to do to keep it safe, which is all that matters for our purposes in this hobby. If you want a real high level discussion on alkalinity, I suggest that you google "Randy Holmes Farley". He is the guru and his methods are where I have adapted my methods from.
Thanks. That really helped me have a better understanding. I even printed it off.
These are the results from today:
calcium-400
alkalinity-9
nitrate-appears to still be around 40-maybe a little higher. I used two different test to be sure. One shows 40 the other looks like a tad more.
I'm guessing I should do a water change tonight. I ordered the skimmer you (pasfur) recommended (the reef octopus bh 800) but they were out of stock where I ordered, so it won't be here until the 10th.

-n1zjd,
That was hilarious.
It's been hard for us to find a palce we trust, or even like. The old lady we went to has by far the best selection of fish and rock in town, but her attitude just drove me away. Her rock was $8 a lb (eesh) but I woulda bought it there cause I was in a hurry! haha. Ah well, I ordered mine for $4lb and with shipping it was still cheaper than hers. Pet store people are crazy =D




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Old 03-08-2010, 05:08 PM   #34
 
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You could do a water change, but it won't help the nitrate much. A 25% water change will lower the Nitrates to 30ppm, and within a few days it will be right back where it was, having added new live rock. Prepare for an ammonia spike and rising nitrates over the next week. That rock is loaded with life and not scrubbed at all.... meaning it is NOT cured rock. You may even have an odor in the tank. Just be aware. No big deal, but you may as well save the water change until after the rock cures.

Calcium & alkalinity are moving well together. Go ahead and add the buffer & calcium supplement again today to get nearer the top of the target range.
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:35 PM   #35
 
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I added the buff and cal again today.
I figured since the tank was just setup that I could let the rock cure in there.
If I get more live rock,say,in a week, I'm assuming I should set up a small basic tank/container to cure it in?
I've seen a few different ways to do it-scrubbing it,not scrubbing, completely dark, actnic lighting for a few hours and working towards longer hours...which makes it confusing on which way to do it myself.
Just wondering your opinion on how to do this. I didn't even think to look and see if theres an article on here about it.
Sorry for all the questions. =)
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:43 PM   #36
 
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Thats just what I payed for my rock, $8/lb. Im afraid I was dumb enough to buy all of my rock there, haha. $210 later I have my rock. Oh well, live and learn. Next time I will be buying better rock, www.marcorocks.com and seeding it with the rock I have now. I wanted to dive right into the upgrade but Ive gotten too deep into the 29G tank so its going to have to wait. Never in my life would I had imagined a 29G tank would be $1500 or more to finish! Thats about where Im at right now.

But Ill say one thing, its been a great learning experience and a complete joy to do. It wasnt all a joy however! I got stressed several times throughout the build but thats part of the fun. If I could do it over again the thing I would do is go SLOWER. Im at a month and 6 days into the build and there is already fish in the tank. If there wasnt however I bet I would still be going crazy wanting them, lol. But it is what it is and Im still loving it. Im looking at the tank right now as I type, watching the fish swim around under the actinics, what a sight!

Enjoy your build, its coming along nicely! Im looking forward to watching it progress. Cheers, Mike.
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Old 03-09-2010, 07:00 AM   #37
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DYHamazon View Post
I added the buff and cal again today.
I figured since the tank was just setup that I could let the rock cure in there.
If I get more live rock,say,in a week, I'm assuming I should set up a small basic tank/container to cure it in?
I've seen a few different ways to do it-scrubbing it,not scrubbing, completely dark, actnic lighting for a few hours and working towards longer hours...which makes it confusing on which way to do it myself.
Just wondering your opinion on how to do this. I didn't even think to look and see if theres an article on here about it.
Sorry for all the questions. =)
I just use a storage tote, with a power head. You could rig a simple home made skimmer if you want to help the rock cure faster, or just change out some water every 3rd day or so if the ammonia spikes to high.

Here is how I cured my rock:



The 2 liter skimmer did a decent job for its 2 week life span:
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:44 PM   #38
 
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We got the skimmer but we're having some problems putting it together. I looked up pictures(the instructions..suck) of it put together and I cant figure out what the blue sponge(bubble stopper) is for,where it goes-and if it goes in your water connected to the pipe thing..or what.
I also am confused by the two clear lines coming out the top and the blue hose coming out the top.
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Old 03-11-2010, 07:26 AM   #39
 
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We finally got it together after a couple hours of playing with it. Now we'veran into a bigger problem this morning. Last night i wiped up all the spilt water around the tank and suspected there was too much of it,so I lefta dry towel around the front of the tank. This morning the towel was soaking wet. The skimmer isnt leaking, and its only like this at the front of the tank.
I'm pretty sure I have a leak in the bottom of the tank =(
I guess I'll have to run buy another aquarium and transfer everything.
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Old 03-11-2010, 08:37 AM   #40
 
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This is horrible news! On the bright side, a 55 gallon tank is widely available and not overly expensive, so it won't be to much of a disaster.

The plan should be to drain as much water as possible into buckets and clean storage totes. Remove the live rock and place it into the buckets. Transfer the sand into the new tank. Fill it SLOWLY with water to avoid cloudiness. Then transfer the live rock and finish adding water.

As a precaution, you may want to add a piece of cork board between your aquarium and stand. This allows the tank to settle and ensures that you do not have leveling problems with the aquarium or floorboard.
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