View Full Version : BRS Two Part/Red Sea Tests Not Working

07/19/2017, 03:11 PM
I've been using BRS two part, BRS dosers and Red Sea test kits for years.
No matter how much or frequently I dose, I seem to get the same results:
Ca=345ppm, Alk=8.2 dKH, Mg=1440, pH=8.2, sg=1.024
Currently I'm adding more Ca than I ever have.
Ca: 20 minutes every 8 hours (60 minutes a day)
Alk: 16 minutes every 8 hours (48 minutes a day)
Are these numbers reasonable?
I haven't added Mg for over 2.5 months!
I've tried increasing/decreasing the frequency of doses.
I've tried increasing/decreasing the length of each dose.
None of my changes seem to have made a difference.
My mushroom anemones, pulsing zenia, green leather polyps and zooanthids seem to be doing well.
I have coralline algae.
I have a 65 gallon tank and a 20 gallon refrugium.
I'd appreciate any advice since I'm at a loss.
I'd like to get more advanced coral, but don't have the confidence.

07/19/2017, 04:03 PM
IME, since no tank is the same, finding the right amount of additive in a reef tank requires a lot of time, testing, calculating, trial and error and good old fashioned luck. Here are a few suggestions and some of the methods I would recommend and have used.
First would be to confirm findings. Have you tried using a different test kit to check that your Red Sea tests are accurate or have you taken a sample of your water to your LFS and have them test it to confirm your findings?
If you have and your readings are correct, have you tried to increase your calcium and alk manually by using a reef calculator to determine amounts needed? The BRS reef calculator is indicating that in order to raise a 65g water volume tank from 345ppm to 450ppm you need to add 23.6oz of calcium 2-part http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/reef-calculator/.
Additionally, once you have the water at the desired level then you would want to adjust your doser to maintain that level. In other words, if you see the calcium level drop to 425ppm in a week and you are still only running your pump 60min/day (or 2.3oz/day) then up the time the pump runs to 65 to 70min/day (or 2.4- 2.6oz/day); Run the numbers on a reef calculator; add the calculated amount to bring the calcium level back to 450ppm and let it run for another week. At the end of that week, check the water values and if it is still dropping, adjust once again to 450ppm (according to the reef calculator) and increase the pump time another calculated increase. Keep doing this until you get it right where you want it.
If the level increases, reduce the time the pump runs and test again in a week.

Hope it helps

07/19/2017, 06:08 PM
Let's assume your 65g tank has about 40g of actual water volume. Using this calculator:


I get about 400 ml to raise the calcium by 100 ppm, assuming you're using the soda ash version of the BRS chemicals. I might try dosing half of that, and then measuring the calcium level about 5 minutes later.

The magnesium and alkalinity levels are fine as is. The magnesium is a bit high (natural ocean level is about 1270 ppm), but that won't hurt.

09/18/2017, 11:45 AM
Thanks for your advice.
You told me to manually add Ca to bring the level up and measure 5 minutes later.
Wouldn't it be better to increase the Ca dose time and wait a week before I measure Ca again?
Or, is that a bad idea?

09/18/2017, 12:17 PM
Follow bertonis recommendation exactly to raise cal and see if you can measure that change properly..
If you aren't seeing a change in cal then your testing is off or something and we can't go any further until we get that right..

This is step 1 (making sure you can even test properly).. before even attempting to figure out your daily consumption..

Your dosage amounts are fairly small kind of assuming the 1.1mL/minute dosing pumps so it makes sense that you aren't seeing a change.. and you may have gotten lucky and settled on the proper amount to dose based on your current consumption..
But lets see if you can measure that change and then there is a comfort level

What did you figure out for daily consumption btw?
Are you sure you even need to be dosing at this point? With those corals water changes alone may likely be sufficient

09/18/2017, 03:50 PM
The goal of testing after 5 minutes is to see how accurate the volume estimate and the test kit might be.