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2639
02/19/2007, 10:03 PM
I started this new thing ( to me anyway ) where I'm simply mixing up freshwater with a variety of different calcium supplements ( mostly from SeaChem ) to give my top-off water 450 - 500 ppm of calcium. I started this due to the inconvienience I was having using kalkwasser.

What drawbacks will i run into if i try to add enough Reef Builder to the water ( after waiting a day of course ) after adding the calcium?

Is this just wishful thinking on my part and should stick to kalk for my calcium/alk top-off needs?

The main reason I'm even asking is simply because it's freshwater and not saltwater. I'm unsure of the results and do not wish to find out the hard way LOL

bertoni
02/20/2007, 12:45 AM
You can't mix Reef Builder into water that contains the calcium supplement as well. The alkalinity and calcium will precipitate. It's possible to dose one or the other via topoff, but not both. If I were going to dose only one, I'd probably dose alkalinity, since it's the more critical parameter. Limewater does have the advantage of adding both in the proper ratio in one solution.

A 2-part might be a more convenient alternative. It requires dosing by hand, or a two-channel pump, but it's cheap and easy to do.

2639
02/20/2007, 07:12 AM
Thanks :D

I had an instinct that the two couldn't be mixed together. I think I'll try some 2 part solution when all my current inventory runs out :D

I just came to the conclusion that limewater was too much trouble for me. Ya know? LOL

MrPike
02/20/2007, 07:59 AM
too much trouble to mix it once and let it topoff your aquarium with balanced alkalinity and calcium, while also raising ph to natural salt water levels? Its about the easiest most effective solution I can think of :rolleyes:

2639
02/20/2007, 08:07 AM
Well, I was mixing up 5 - 10 gallons of it a week, I'd have to carefully siphon out the supernughtant ( is that the word? ), then I'd have to make sure to keep my pump in the auto top-off bucket maintained, I was constantly finding settled debris in the auto top-off and it was making it's way to my sump and that was looking nasty.

My auto top-off bucket is sorta a pain to remove too and that's another thing that I hate LOL

Basically, it was just the constant maintenance of my equipment that led me to stop using kalk. { shrug }

bertoni
02/20/2007, 12:59 PM
Siphoning out the clear limewater isn't necessary. I just use an acrylic bar to raise the input of my pump an inch or so off the bottom.

reverendmaynard
02/20/2007, 01:03 PM
Really. Sounds like you're overthinking the kalk thing. IMO, nothing is easier. You're sump is so clean you're worried about kalk debris "looking nasty"?

2639
02/20/2007, 01:04 PM
Interesting. So in other words, the kalk can be mixed in, say a 5 gallon bucket, and the solution doesn't necessarily HAVE to be seperated from the fallout? That entire bucket could be put in my auto top-off and all I'd need to do is raise the pump about an inch or so?

I'll give that another shot then cause that really would simplify the process for me. How often do you clean out your auto top-off container? Just whenever the residue is real thick on the bottom?

This really gives me a new insight on the whole thing :D:D

2639
02/20/2007, 01:07 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=9289899#post9289899 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by reverendmaynard
Really. Sounds like you're overthinking the kalk thing. IMO, nothing is easier. You're sump is so clean you're worried about kalk debris "looking nasty"?

heh heh..it's fairly clean, yes. I keep a filter sock on the drain from the display to the sump. As a matter of fact, I had to take it apart last week or so ago and re-seal the sump due to a pretty nice leak and I went ahead and scraped the coraline and all the muck off the walls and it looked brand new. I was pretty happy. LOL

bertoni
02/20/2007, 01:09 PM
I haven't cleaned out my autotopof containers yet, and I've been using them for a few years, at least. I guess I might have rinsed them once when I moved.

2639
02/20/2007, 01:12 PM
That's really cool to learn. I'll certainly be trying this again. I thought this whole time that the limewater had to be treated like plutonium. I was c a r e f u l l y moving the mixed water to my tank and then s l o w l y adding the clear ( as clear as it could be I guess ) to the top-off container. LOL

Just so I understand, it's NOT necessary to be so 'gentle' when filling the top-off container? Shoot, I may try this all tonight LOL

Randy Holmes-Farley
02/20/2007, 02:50 PM
I mix up 88 gallons at a time, use it over a few weeks, and also rarely clean out the container. I do like to use it after settling out.

2639
02/20/2007, 10:04 PM
I'm definetly gonna give this all another shot since I have some new ideas :D

Randy Holmes-Farley
02/21/2007, 05:36 AM
:thumbsup:

This article has more on limewater:

What Your Grandmother Never Told You About Lime
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-01/rhf/index.htm

Good luck. :)

2639
02/21/2007, 06:25 AM
Yeah, thats always been one f my favorites. I haven't read it in a while though.

My biggest concern was always just the muck being introduced to the system :D I read in that article that adding slurry is acceptable ;)

Just one of those learning processes :D:D

TropTrea
02/21/2007, 07:19 AM
Okay I read the article and now I got even more confused.

I have seen Kalk reactors that have CO2 pumped into them with the bases that they CO2 allows a greater precentage of the lime to be concentrated into the water, as well as reduces the pH that is being introduced into the water.

Yet reading the article CO2 soulds like it is a serious no no since it basicly causes the calcium to precepitate out of the solution.

Then there is nothing to give someone a clue of hopw much lime is required for these reactors. Are we adding teaspoons full every week or pounds every week?

Dennis



<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=9295704#post9295704 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Randy Holmes-Farley
:thumbsup:

This article has more on limewater:

What Your Grandmother Never Told You About Lime
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-01/rhf/index.htm

Good luck. :)

2639
02/21/2007, 07:32 AM
From my limited understanding about the reactors...you simply add some calcaerious ( sp ) media to the chamber and the c02 dissolves that. The rate would be determined on the amount of co2. That's a calcium reactor.

A kalk reactor is a little different in my understanding. It takes lime ( kalk ) and simply doses that into your system at a rate specified by you. That would be pumps on timers I guess. Vinegar would be your acetic media that causes the water to 'soak up' more of the kalk therefore making the solution more potent.

I'll be corrected I'm sure LOL but that's my basic understanding.

reverendmaynard
02/21/2007, 07:58 AM
That sounds about right, 2639.

A kalk reactor is generally a container with the solid lime in it and some kind of stirring device. Fresh top off water is pumped through the container and then into the tank, presumably saturated. The strength is controlled by the water flow and the frequency of stirring. When the solids are mostly gone, you add more.

I've not heard of a kalk reactor that emplys CO2. I'd think, if it was going to work, the kalk would have to be mixed with saltwater first, so the magnesium will be there to prevent precipitation.

Most of us do as Randy does, and just mix the limewater up and dose that as topoff. It saves the cost and complexity of the reactor, and the only real drawback is the space required for the reservoir. Vinegar can be added to increase the strength and/or lower the ph of the solution.

TropTrea
02/21/2007, 09:00 AM
So then where is the advantage of the calcium reactors that use CO2?
If the Kalk reactors wok so good as adding both calcium and alkilinity then why would some go to the added expense running a calcium reactor that does not boost the alkilinity.

Just looking cost difference it is possible to build a Kalk ractor for well under $100.00. But the Calcium reactors with the CO2 pH monitors, etc can easily cost well over $500.00.

So where is the advantage?

Dennis

2639
02/21/2007, 09:07 AM
that's like the age-old question of how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop. The world may never never know















Wait, it's three licks.

bertoni
02/21/2007, 04:22 PM
A calcium reactor can add a lot more calcium and alkalinity to the system, since it dissolves calcium carbonate into tank water. Kalk reactors must inject fresh water into the system, which limits their additions to the level of evaporation. Also, kalkwasser is limited to about 800 ppm calcium and 40 meq/L per gallon.

Randy Holmes-Farley
02/22/2007, 06:23 AM
So then where is the advantage of the calcium reactors that use CO2?

Both limewater and CaCO3/CO2 reactors add calcium and alkalinity in a balanced ratio. But there are other differences. FWIW, I use limewater, but I do not prefer to dose it from a rector. I think it is better to dose settled limewater from a reservoir.

I compare the relative merits of different systems here:

How to Select a Calcium and Alkalinity Supplementation Scheme
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/feb2003/chem.htm

2639
02/22/2007, 07:31 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=9290750#post9290750 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Randy Holmes-Farley
I mix up 88 gallons at a time, use it over a few weeks, and also rarely clean out the container. I do like to use it after settling out.

You're saying basically that you use the clear water and try to keep any of the 'sludge' from getting into your system, correct?

From the article you just posted a link to, it sounds as if that 'sludge' should be kept out of an aquarium system because of the heavy metals in it and the phosphates that are also found in it.

How 'anal' should one be about keeping the fallout out of the system?

Randy Holmes-Farley
02/22/2007, 12:11 PM
You're saying basically that you use the clear water and try to keep any of the 'sludge' from getting into your system, correct?

Yes. :)

I would not worry excessively about the solids. Some folks dose a lime slurry, all solids. I'm not a fan of that,but the risks of a little of the solid are small. :)

2639
02/22/2007, 12:36 PM
sweet. You guys helped me understand this process more. Thanks a whole bunch :D:D

manderx
02/22/2007, 12:53 PM
if you are that worried about solids, just plumb in a 'settling chamber' between the topoff bin and the sump. i've been thinking about making a dual chamber kalk reactor for a while, where the first chamber mixes and the second chamber doesn't. this way i could mix more frequently in the first chamber than normal, and with no mixing in the second chamber it should all settle out. it would also let me get away with a smaller reactor body since i wouldn't have to worry about it diluting between mixes.

Randy Holmes-Farley
02/22/2007, 12:59 PM
That's an interesting idea, but I've never heard of anyone actually using one. If you try it, let us know how it works out. :)

2639
02/22/2007, 02:06 PM
That is a very good idea...with the proper design, cleaning would be easier too :D