View Full Version : Calc/ALK/PH? I am lost

08/22/2006, 06:26 PM
I am hoping that someone can set me in the right direction. My tank has been up for about a month and half and I have been using three products to keep my Calcium, Alkalinity and PH stable. All three products are SeaChem. Is there a better way of doing this? I have read that using two different products to regulate Calc and ALK is bad. I am really confused about Kalkwasser and DKH. Can someone set me straight on this?



08/22/2006, 07:27 PM
Hey Joe, here's some links to articles that may help:

Reef Aquarium Water Parameters

A Simplified Guide to the Relationship Between Calcium, Alkalinity, Magnesium and pH

What is Kalkwasser? and how do I dose it?


08/22/2006, 08:51 PM
jgb, lets leave kalkwasser out of this for the moment.

You need to determine what your cal/alk consumption is in your tank and suppliment accordingly.

It will change as you add livestock.

Dont use pH buffers to raise pH. It'll just raise alk through the roof.

Get yourself a good calcium and alkalinity scheme and you'll be fine. This article as well as the ones mentioned above will help.

Come back and talk to us when you're ready.
How to select a calcium and alkalinity suppliment scheme

Randy Holmes-Farley
08/23/2006, 06:02 AM
You should not typically be using ANY product to control pH. You may supplement calcium and alkalinity in a way that helps control pH, but adding a buffer to control pH is a big mistake, with the alkalinity rising too much and pH not usually ending up where you want it.

Do you have a low pH problem?

In general, my recommendation is to do routine calcium and alkalinity additions with a single method that controls both in the appropriate ratio: limewater/kalkwasser, CaCO3/CO2 reactor, or a two part system, for example.

08/23/2006, 07:20 AM
OK, I will give you some of the background on my tank:

75 Gallon
I plan on making it a reef tank (fish,LR and corals)
I am running 2 175 MH and may add a third soon

I dont have a RO/DI top off system yet, but based on water evaporation and the wife complaining that she is constantly topping off the tank, I may add one of these soon. In the mean time, I simply store RO/DI water in 5 gallon cans and top off the system as needed.

MY PH runs between 8.0-8.2 usually. I do quite a bit of traveling during the week so its hard for me to run routine tests daily. I could train my reef staff to do it (Wife and Son).
I dont like the idea of adding ingredients to my tank that help gloss over a systemic problem, such as Buffer for the PH or Prime for Ammonia spikes. It denotes a larger issue.

With those parameters in mind, can I add Kalk to my top off water (maybe in lower doses) so that when my staff adds top off water (about two gallons or so a day), it takes care of the CALC/ALK as well? I would have to mix this into my top off cans due to space limitations. I would love the idea of having a constant water supply in my garage, but the tank is about 50 feet away and having to crawl around my attic to run plumbing is not an option I want to mess with.
So what is my best option? Kalkwasser in lower doses in my top off water? This top off water is added approximately 2-3 times a day thus the drip method is not used. Or the two part method, which I am currently doing?

Thanks in advance for any help.

08/23/2006, 08:40 AM
I would start with 1 tsp per gallon if you are gonna put a jar at a time in. Just make sure the impact on you pH is not more that .2 or so.

I dont drip either. I put in about 20 oz at a time 3 times a day. That keeps up with my evaporation.

After a week or so, see what impact 1 tsp has on your cal and alk levels.

Randy Holmes-Farley
08/23/2006, 11:48 AM
Spread out limewater additions as much as possible. Adding 1.25% of the tank volume in saturated limewater instantly boosts pH by about 0.7 pH units. A slow drip is best.

08/23/2006, 11:56 AM
yes, the amount you would add by doing what you say (this method is basically a slurry) will raise ph greatly unless it is done in small amounts(these amounts so small that it wont impact your ph, but likely wont give you the CA and ALK you need)

Are you interested in drippin because i have the fail safe work free and stable way to do so and this way you also dont ever have to top off water as well?

i think you should start dripping it.....sounds like the best solution....having kids dump kalkwasser in the tank may be a bad idea over time...time bomb ticking

08/23/2006, 12:28 PM
Yes, I would be interested. is it dripping the Kalkwasser in higher doses and just adding the plain RO/DI water for evaporation?

Randy Holmes-Farley
08/23/2006, 12:42 PM
The best way is to dissolve the lime into the top off RO/DI, and drip that.

08/23/2006, 01:15 PM
So a top off system? Given the limited size I have to work with (I can do 5 gallons at a time), is there schematics for such a solution?

Randy Holmes-Farley
08/23/2006, 02:15 PM
Many of use use slow addition pumps, but you can just buy a Kent doser:


08/23/2006, 03:03 PM
ok, so I am a little confused... again. This doser holds the concentrated Kalkwasser for the purpose of adding Kalkwasser to the water, not to act as a top-off system. I would add top off water as normal then, right?

08/23/2006, 03:18 PM
You can use that to top off. He showed you the 1400ml version. They also make a 2.5 gallon and a 5 gallon.

Do you have a gauge on how much you evaporate daily ?

08/23/2006, 03:35 PM
about 2 to 2.5 gpd

08/23/2006, 03:50 PM
Well then you could buy the 5 gal. if you have the room. It measures 14.5" x 9.75" x 9.75"

Then you would have to fill it every 3 days or so. In that case you could start out with 1 tsp per gallon and see how your tank reacts after a week or so and bump it up as necessary.

Once you get the right amount dialed in it is sweet. :)

08/23/2006, 04:27 PM
Sounds like a plan. I am going to go with the 5 gallon size. I am going to start a water consumption test see exactly how much I am going through a day, just to be sure. I will order the doser jug this week. Now the next question: What is the best Kalkwasser mix? I live in Florida so I dont have the luxury of Prestone Heat and such. I started looking for pickling lime at the grocery stores and I cant even find that. Am I stuck using the expensive stuff from Kent?

Randy Holmes-Farley
08/23/2006, 05:07 PM
There isn't really a best lime to use. Pickling lime or quicklime (all food grade) or most aquarium brands are fine.

I discuss grades/brands and much more here:

What Your Grandmother Never Told You About Lime

08/23/2006, 06:02 PM
I use Seachems Reef Kalkwasser. A 1 kg jar has lasted me awhile but I only use 1 tsp per gallon. Its about 17 bucks.

But I've heard good things about Mrs. Wages and Mississippi lime, if you can get it in bulk.

I like the purity of my Seachem. Nothing on the bottom of the container, ever.

08/23/2006, 07:16 PM
OK, so I am in Atlanta and I stopped by a local Kroger's. I found Mrs. Wages Pickling Lime!! I picked it up for 2.49 for 1 lb.

Is this stuff safe to keep in my luggage to bring home? I am not sure if I will get questioned or not. I just want to make sure it will be safe. I dont want to start a chemical fire on the plane or something. The jar is sealed up still. Any worries with this?

08/23/2006, 07:44 PM
I think you will be fine. I do understand your concern though with all thats happening lately. I just flew from Virginia to Chicago and I couldnt believe the security.

Randy Holmes-Farley
08/24/2006, 05:05 AM
The lime cannot start a fire, but I do not know if it will be allowed these days.