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Old 08-10-2012, 1:45 PM   #1
kirkplunkett kirkplunkett is offline
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Questions on Water Parameters

Howdy folks,

Brand new here... This is my very first post. However, I joined here because I've gotten a lot of great knowledge from reading these threads. Anywho... Here's my Aquarium's water parameters.

Aquarium:
6 months old.

30 gallon tank with 30 lbs. of Live Sand and 26 lbs. Live Rock

HoB filter (no sponge... removed one week ago) containing bio-media and carbon.

HoB Reef Octopus BH 100 Protein Skimmer (running for two weeks, skimmate has started to be consistently syrupy and brown, but not very dark)

I use RO/ID Water to top off from my LFS, and use Saltwater I purchase there as well. I do a 5 gallon water change every Tuesday, religiously.

Inhabitants include:
2 Ocellaris Clowns (6 1/2 years old)
1 Four-Line Wrasse (1 1/2" in length)
2 Emerald Crabs
1 Coral Banded Shrimp
1 Sand Starfish
2 colonies of Florida Ricordea Mushrooms (and about five smaller ones starting to spawn on LR)
1 colony of Polythoas
1 small Finger Leather
1 small Frogspawn
3 very small Red Mushrooms that randomly appeared

Water Parameters:
pH - 8.2 ppm
Ammonia - 0 ppm
Nitrites - 0ppm
Nitrates - 3 ppm
Alkalinity - 9.3 dKH
Phosphates - 0.26 ppm
Calcium - 280 ppm
Magnesium - 1160 ppm
Salinity - 1.021


My tank has maintained these levels since the nitrogen cycle ended. It's been very consistent despite my attempts to level things out. I have only used one buffer, as I am try very hard to get the tank to be as natural as possible. The buffer is B-Ionic's dual Ca and Kh buffer. I dosed it 12ml everyday for 6 weeks, but to no avail. I probably won't use it any more after today.

I purchased the skimmer in an attempt to remove the NO3 and PO4. I know it's probably not "broken in" yet, but I'm not even sure what that means.

Here's my question:
Is the high NO3 and PO4 effecting my low Ca, Mg and Kh?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 08-10-2012, 1:47 PM   #2
MustangCaleb MustangCaleb is offline
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i ran bionic in my old biocube for a couple of months, and man that tank was the coraline factory! the whole tank turned purple.

about the low cal and mag(i believe ur Kh is fine), what kind of salt are you using?

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Old 08-10-2012, 1:51 PM   #3
kirkplunkett kirkplunkett is offline
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Well, I purchase the water pre-mixed from Optimum Aquarium in Kennesaw. But the mix they use is Instant Ocean.

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Old 08-10-2012, 2:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkplunkett View Post
Howdy folks,

Brand new here... This is my very first post. However, I joined here because I've gotten a lot of great knowledge from reading these threads. Anywho... Here's my Aquarium's water parameters.

Aquarium:
6 months old.

30 gallon tank with 30 lbs. of Live Sand and 26 lbs. Live Rock

HoB filter (no sponge... removed one week ago) containing bio-media and carbon.

HoB Reef Octopus BH 100 Protein Skimmer (running for two weeks, skimmate has started to be consistently syrupy and brown, but not very dark)

I use RO/ID Water to top off from my LFS, and use Saltwater I purchase there as well. I do a 5 gallon water change every Tuesday, religiously.

Inhabitants include:
2 Ocellaris Clowns (6 1/2 years old)
1 Four-Line Wrasse (1 1/2" in length)
2 Emerald Crabs
1 Coral Banded Shrimp
1 Sand Starfish
2 colonies of Florida Ricordea Mushrooms (and about five smaller ones starting to spawn on LR)
1 colony of Polythoas
1 small Finger Leather
1 small Frogspawn
3 very small Red Mushrooms that randomly appeared

Water Parameters:
pH - 8.2 ppm
Ammonia - 0 ppm
Nitrites - 0ppm
Nitrates - 3 ppm
Alkalinity - 9.3 dKH
Phosphates - 0.26 ppm
Calcium - 280 ppm
Magnesium - 1160 ppm
Salinity - 1.021


My tank has maintained these levels since the nitrogen cycle ended. It's been very consistent despite my attempts to level things out. I have only used one buffer, as I am try very hard to get the tank to be as natural as possible. The buffer is B-Ionic's dual Ca and Kh buffer. I dosed it 12ml everyday for 6 weeks, but to no avail. I probably won't use it any more after today.

I purchased the skimmer in an attempt to remove the NO3 and PO4. I know it's probably not "broken in" yet, but I'm not even sure what that means.

Here's my question:
Is the high NO3 and PO4 effecting my low Ca, Mg and Kh?

Thanks in advance!
It would be helpful to list the test kit manufacturer you are using for each test, the extremely low calcium number could be a false reading from a basic low end test kit ( not suggesting you are using any, just don't know what type you have). In my experience, IO salt is not that low in calcium, more around the 350 range. Same goes for MG. If you are not using Seachem titration test kit or elos, or salifert or red sea pro test kits, you may not have accurate readings. So they could be different than you think. Do you have any stony corals or clams? If so, how are they doing? Any new growth evident on your stony corals? Visual evidence is also very important rather than just relying on numbers from a test kit. My 2 cents for what it's worth.

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Old 08-10-2012, 2:26 PM   #5
kirkplunkett kirkplunkett is offline
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Red Sea is the brand for all test. I've found that by using their test, I consistently get the same readings my LFS get. This is the only test brand I use. My LFS uses API. My results have been consistent through both as far as results.

No Stonies or clams... I've been waiting for things to balance out first.

Also, my salinity is from a Hydrometer. My refractometer arrives tomorrow!!! YEAH!

And I should note, I've not seen any additional growth of Coralline at all... Until two days ago. I've got four tiny (less than 1/8" in diameter) spots that appeared on LR.

I should also note, I have a T5 light fixture with two 10,000K daylights and two 420 nm Actinic. These lights have only been running for two months.

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Old 08-10-2012, 2:58 PM   #6
rdnelson99 rdnelson99 is offline
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First off, I commend you. Looks like you have paid attention while doing all the reading. :-) I used IO for a long time and found that while not as low as your readings, I did have to dose Cal, Alk and Mag. IO is not really designed for Reef tanks but more for Fish Only with Live Rock (FOWLR). Instant Ocean Reef Crystals has higher levels of the things corals need to thrive. However, I have switch to the Red Sea Coral Pro and find it does a great job.

The first thing I would try is getting salinity up to at least 1.024. That alone will raise the other parameters some. But, if you are using the store bought water I would try to raise the magnesium up to around 1350. Ions is a good supplement for that. If you don't do that, your calcium is pretty much unusable by the corals and will precipitate out. Once you get mag up, you will find it easier to maintain the other parameters. I used Reef Fusion 1 & 2 with pretty good success but have since switched to BRS two part which is doing great.

Hope that helps.
Rich

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Old 08-10-2012, 3:09 PM   #7
kirkplunkett kirkplunkett is offline
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Awesome! Thanks Rich!!!

I've been doing extensive reading on Vodka dosing as well to address the existing NO3 and PO4. I'm thinking I will give this a shot. I've probably got about a week before I've got enough bacteria in the skimmer (I found out what they mean when they say "break in" referring to skimmers!). At that point, I'm going to start a 3-on 2-off vodka dosing schedule for ten days. If my NO3 and PO4 have wained enough at that point, I'll start dosing my Mg.

I'll also have a MUCH better reading of how accurate my salinity is with my new refractometer. Hopefully, I can bring that up during the process and address just the Mg when it's time. My goal is 1350... I figured the Ca would follow suit, but thanks for the conformation on B-Ionic.

I'll give Reef Fusion or BRS if need be.

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Old 08-10-2012, 6:06 PM   #8
Jaycen B. Jaycen B. is offline
 
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I would raise the salinity to 1.025-1.026 and the cal, alk and mag will go up as well.

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Old 08-10-2012, 6:08 PM   #9
rdnelson99 rdnelson99 is offline
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Don't listen to Jaycen B. He has been trying to get me to do this for months. LOL Actually, he is the one I stole that idea from but I prefer to keep mine around 1.024 or 1.025. Either way, 1.021 is a bit low in my estimation.

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Old 08-11-2012, 1:17 PM   #10
kirkplunkett kirkplunkett is offline
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So, I've received my refractometer and my account holds true to what I've read for people switching from Hydrometer to a refractometer. My Salinity is actually 1.019... Too low. I also test the water I've been purchasing from my LSF and it's 1.021.

Now that I have an accurate reading, what is the best plan of action to raise my salinity? What is a safe increment to increase daily? How do I do this?

Since I've been buying my Saltwater from my LFS and it's Salinity is 1.021, should I just use that to top off until the proper Salinity is reached? Or should I purchase a salt-mix and raise the Salinity quickly???

Edit: BTW... Thanks for all the advice so far. I have no idea WHY I waited soooo loooonnngggg to join. THIS IS GREAT!!!!

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Old 08-11-2012, 2:55 PM   #11
Ralph ATL Ralph ATL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkplunkett View Post
So, I've received my refractometer and my account holds true to what I've read for people switching from Hydrometer to a refractometer. My Salinity is actually 1.019... Too low. I also test the water I've been purchasing from my LSF and it's 1.021.

Now that I have an accurate reading, what is the best plan of action to raise my salinity? What is a safe increment to increase daily? How do I do this?

Since I've been buying my Saltwater from my LFS and it's Salinity is 1.021, should I just use that to top off until the proper Salinity is reached? Or should I purchase a salt-mix and raise the Salinity quickly???

Edit: BTW... Thanks for all the advice so far. I have no idea WHY I waited soooo loooonnngggg to join. THIS IS GREAT!!!!
the easiest solution would be to add salt to their saltwater to 1.026.....then with each water change you will be raising the salinity slowly. However, I would add some salt/rodi mix immediately to raise it at least a point a day (add some every 2-4 hours until reaching 1.020, then the next day, 1.021)

After you reach 1.021, I would raise it the rest of the way with weekly, or twice weekly water changes.

The best way, imho, would be to make your own from your own RO/DI water, or get some RO water from publix.....buy Salt.

Alk at 9.3 is great....

I would raise Calcium to over 400 and Mag to over 1300 by getting two part from BRS.
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Old 08-11-2012, 3:04 PM   #12
kirkplunkett kirkplunkett is offline
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That's what I gonna do, mysterybox. I've decided, after hours upon hours of research, that I'm going to use Red Sea Reef Pro salt mix. I'm going to mix it to 1.025 (my preferred measurement) and starting today, I'm gonna start a regimen of 3 gallon water change every day until I reach my goal. Afterwards, I'll address the Ca and Mg.

As it sits right now, I'm dosing with vodka to address the NO3 and PO4. I will continue this until both are at 0, while raising the Salinity at the same time.

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Old 08-11-2012, 3:08 PM   #13
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Your doing just under 20% weekly in water changes. That's pretty significant. I wouldn't expect your skimmer to pull out as much you'd like, especially with a low bio-load. Seems like if you switched to a higher quality salt and maintained the weekly water changes, you should have no problem keeping levels stable without dosing. At least in the short term until you've stocked your tank with more demanding corals and such.

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Old 08-11-2012, 3:10 PM   #14
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If you plan on keeping corals seriously I would shoot for 1.025 salinity. Your KH looks really good, but mag and calc are very low. Raising salinity to 1.025 may solve your mag and calcium issues.

I have 40 breeder with about 20 gallons in the sump and I run 1.025 - 1.026 with IO Reef Crystals and hardly ever have to dose. I almost never dose mag or calc, but do have to dose KH every few days. I bought a big ole BRS 2 part kit and only have to dose the alkalinity part. I also do 5 gallon water change every week.

Anyway, if you want to raise your low parameters then I would suggest just raising the salinity to min 1.025 and check it out because you may not have to dose. If you do I will sell you my BRS 2 part sitting in my garage.

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Old 08-11-2012, 9:32 PM   #15
Jaycen B. Jaycen B. is offline
 
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Just top off with saltwater till you get the SG you want.

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Old 08-20-2012, 8:29 PM   #16
kirkplunkett kirkplunkett is offline
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Sooooo... How many of you actually stop your Power-heads and clean them???

I decided too stick my hand in the tank and just shuffle the surface of the substrate around to breakup the Cyano that was accumulating with ONLY my Skimmer running. When I turned everything back on, two thick clouds of Ditrus puffed out of the two Power-heads.

Could this be the culprit that has kept my Phosphates and Nitrates up, there-by CAUSING the Cyano?????

Edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkplunkett View Post
Sooooo... How many of you actually stop your Power-heads and clean them???

I decided too stick my hand in the tank and just shuffle the surface of the substrate around to breakup the Cyano that was accumulating with ONLY my Skimmer running. When I turned everything back on, two thick clouds of Ditrus puffed out of the two Power-heads.

Could this be the culprit that has kept my Phosphates and Nitrates up, there-by CAUSING the Cyano?????
BTW... I stopped them again and got out my friend Mr. Toothbrush. They are squeaky clean now!

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