View Full Version : water additives,chemicals and other things to add?
03/17/2006, 02:08 PM
So I am curious what type of products should one be adding to a tank. I see lots of people talking about phosphates, copper, metal ions, carbon and such things.
03/17/2006, 02:26 PM
I'd say that more people add things to their tanks that are supposed to REMOVE things :confused: if that makes any sense.. lol. I think it's fair to say that currently people are closely watching their calcium, alkalinity, magnesium, pH, phosphate and dissolved organics.
Calcium reactors are a popular way to constantly replenish calcium that is used up by coralline algaes, invertibrates, SPS and LPS, but calcium chloride and calcium hydroxide (Dow Flake & Slaked Lime) are also widely used as a regular supplement.
Alkalinity can also be controlled with a calcium reactor, but those who preferr manually adding supplements usually use Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda) or commercially available buffers. Alkalinity helps to stabalize pH, which in turn effects solubility of other nutrients such as calcium.
Magnesium is also linked to solubility of calcium, but more imporantly should be looked at because it is the third most abundant ion in natural sea water, but salt mixes are often defficient in Mg. Common additives are Mag Flake, magnesium sulfate (epsom salts) and magnesium media that can be put into calcium reactors.
Many people are concerned with certain metal ions, phosphates, and dissolved organics because they can inhibit coral growth and the general health of a tank. Ion exchange products such as Rowaphos, Phosban etc. are common for removing phosphate, and I believe some of them remove silicates and other ions as well. Ion exchange media is not commonly used to remove metal ions directly from the tank. Activated carbon and protein skimmers are commonly used to remove dissolved organic compounds and proteins to maintain clear water and deter algae growth.
I digress.. The most common additive is undoubtedly water changse. Water changes are the least expensive and most effective of all supplements you can buy (in my opinion). Many people in this club feed their tanks with phytoplankton products such as Phyto-Feast. Also, you mensioned copper; copper is the Reaper to a reef and shouldn't be a problem unless one contaminates their reef with copper treatments.
Good luck. Just ask if I missed your question.
03/17/2006, 02:51 PM
Nope you got it on the mark, The ones you mentioned were the ones i was mostly curious about. I am start a 50g which i would like ti to be a reef tank, so its FOWLR right now. But i wanna have the water be ready and maintain it when i get my first coral,sps, lps and such.
Where could I read up on the baking soda and epson salt methods?
I dont have any corals in it now, so how much of a calcium level should i have?
I think my protiem skimmer should help alot, I got a Bak-Pak 2 by CPR and a dual bio wheel which have activated carbon in the filters. Should I add more acivated carbon to the tank. or do you think that would be enough
The Ion exchange products are those something of a powder form or is that a physical item?
Thanks for answering my questions.
03/17/2006, 03:00 PM
Tristan - very well said!
03/18/2006, 01:00 PM
The ion exchange resins are usually small round beads that are made of either aluminum oxide(Phos-sorb) or chelated iron compounds(Phosban/Rowaphos). Other chemical sponges look similar to crushed coral, but personally, I wouldn't worry about any of these just yet, if ever. I would only use them in cases of fine tuning with say, SPS systems.
That sounds like enough carbon, though most people don't run bio wheels or anything like that on reef systems. the CPR hang ons are sufficient usually. I've read about people who only use 1 teaspoon of activated carbon in a small bag (placed in a high flow area of the filter), and change that very small amount every week. It doesn't take much. I forget the figure, but the surface area of 1 teaspoon of activated carbon is some several thousand square meters or something ridiculous like that. The stuff works well.
Since you have no corals, you needn't worry about calcium levels right now. The only corals that require high calcium levels are SPS and LPS.
Baking soda method: get an alkalinity test kit (any will do since they're all pretty accurate). Most people shoot for 8-12dKH, so follow the instructions of the kit, test, and add baking soda to raise the number if necessary. I can't think of the amount you need to raise 1dKH, but I think it's 1 teaspoon in ~40-50 gallons. So, take 1 teaspoon of baking soda, dissolve it in a cup or so of DI water and add it to your filter and then test again. Raise to your desired value over a couple days. Slow changes are best with anything in your tank.
Epsom salts method: Same as above pretty much. You'll need a test kit, unfortunately a decent one such as a Salifert kit ($$$). Test and add epsom salts or Mag Flake (both dissolved in DI water first) and then test again. If you get a reading from your test kit in ppm and give me your tank volume (50g, heh) I can calculate the amount of either that you would need to add to the proper level, I just don't have time to explain out that calculation right now.
03/18/2006, 01:04 PM
Yeah right now its a FOWLR and it will be like that for a while while i Get the who saltwater thing down.
After that ill go with a canister filter or some type of wet/dry
03/18/2006, 01:08 PM
Great answers Tristan:)
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