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View Full Version : Using Randy's 2-part, things are whacked, what am I doing wrong?


20 20
10/08/2006, 07:05 AM
Heh, I gotta be doing something wrong. I've got a 29 gallon reef that's been running for about a year, wiht a 15 gallon sump/fuge. I'm currently setting up a 125 gallon reef, and have decided to use Randy's 2-part. So, I've been using it in the 29 gallon for almost a month now. I've followed the instructions (at least I THINK I followed them...), making a gallon of CA using Pelodow, and a gallon of alk supplement using baked baking soda, using the amount described in recipe 1 of http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-02/rhf/index.php

So, started out using 20 ml of both a day. Calcium was fine, but alk kept dropping from about 10dKH to 7.5-ish dKH. So, upped to 40 ml. Same result. Upped to 50. Same result. Upped to 70, then 100 ml, same result. But now I'm getting a thin white film on the glass that is very hard to get off. I figured the calcium was way to high, so this morning I took some readings:


Alk: 6.85 dKH
CA: 380
Mag: 1320

All tests done with Salifert kits that are not too old.

So, what the heck am I doing wrong? Maybe the only possiblity is that I somehow screwed up making the alk supplement. But I figured I'd ask here to see if there are any other possiblities. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated!

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/08/2006, 08:11 AM
How high is the pH getting?
You are not mixing them outside the tank are you?

20 20
10/08/2006, 09:56 AM
I hate trying to read these dang PH tests. PH had been steady at 8.2 before I started the 2-part, and for most of the time since then. I just checked it, and by my bad eyes, in the house can't really tell, but outside in daylight it appears to be 7.8. using an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kit. No, I don't mix them, I put the alk suppliment in the tank, let it mix for 15-20 seconds (no more 'milk cloud'), and then put in the CA supplement. There was one exception to that, a couple of days ago. In a real hurry 2 or 3 days ago, I put the alk supplement in the return section of the sump, and then put the ca supplement in right after that. Was quite the white cloudy mess, but I couldn't stick around to watch it. There appears to be a whitish residue on the the stuff in the return section. Might that account for the thin white film on the glass? The problem with the alk has been from the start, though, not since I used the return section.

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/08/2006, 10:16 AM
Yes, that might be what happened. I'd wait longer between the additions. Maybe 10 minutes. :)

20 20
10/08/2006, 12:24 PM
Any idea as to why the alk keeps dropping? That was happening way before I mixed the 2 parts in the return section.

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/08/2006, 12:28 PM
You may have been allowing much of it to be wasted as calcium carbonate precipitation. So I'd add a lot less but more often and see what that does after a few days. Maybe back off to a half an mL per gallon per day and see what that does.

20 20
10/08/2006, 02:23 PM
Thanks, I'll try that.

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/08/2006, 02:51 PM
Good luck and let us know what happens. :)

20 20
10/10/2006, 07:27 PM
Two days ago, readings were:

Alk: 6.85 dKH
CA: 380
PH: 7.8 (I think, bad eyes, ya know)

For the last two days, I've been adding 20 ML of the alk suppliment, waiting at least 30 minutes, and then adding 20 ML of the CA suppliment. Tonight the readings are:

Alk: 6.1 dKH
CA: 380
PH: 8.2

CA is remaining steady (I'd like it a bit higher), and the alk has dropped from 6.85 to 6.1 dKH. Should I keep adding 20 ML and see what happens the next couple of days? Or add more, maybe 40 ML? Or, raise the alk with baking soda to 9 or 10 dKH and then add maybe 40 ML? Or, some other option?

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/11/2006, 05:18 AM
Boost the calcium to 420 ppm or so with just the calcium part. Then raise the daily dose of both parts to 30-40 ml per day and see what that does after a few more days. :)

20 20
10/11/2006, 06:47 AM
Will do, thanks. I'll post back in a few days with the results.

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/11/2006, 09:26 AM
You're welcome.

Happy reefing. :)

20 20
10/11/2006, 04:49 PM
Got home tonight, and found that slight white film starting to form on the glass again. Was dang hard to scrape off the first time, and I'm leary about putting in any more of the supplements. I figure it's calcium deposits, but what the heck, I'm not the chemist. ;) Anyway, after adding 40 ml of both supplements last night, readings tonight are:

Alk: 6.1 dKH
CA: 410

So, CA is up a bit, alk steady at 6.1. With the white buildup starting again on the glass, I'm not sure if I should add more or not. Any opinions?

tonyscoots84
10/11/2006, 06:50 PM
have u rechecked ur mag levels...

20 20
10/11/2006, 08:09 PM
Yep, 1320.

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/12/2006, 08:22 AM
Where exactly are these deposits and where not?

Can you look closely to be sure it isn't an organism (like coralline algae).

I can't see any reason for you to have precipitates, unless one of the tests is wrong.

LittleBlueGT
10/12/2006, 10:27 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=8323056#post8323056 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by 20 20
Yep, 1320.

I used to have the exact same problems as you.


I highly suspect your magnesium is low.

What test kits are you using? Up to date?

What salt?


I imagine your magnesium is a little low and once you bring that up you will have no problems.

LittleBlueGT
10/12/2006, 10:29 AM
Check out this thread I wrote about my experiences with magnesium:

http://www.canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=26590

20 20
10/12/2006, 01:18 PM
Salifert test kits. Magnesium test kit expires in 2008, so it should still be good. I believe 1320 is an exceptable level for magnesium, or am I mistaken? Should it be higher?

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/12/2006, 01:23 PM
If accurate, it is fine. I recommend 1250-1350 ppm for magnesium. :)

rigleautomotive
10/12/2006, 01:28 PM
i wonder if the alk kit is off

20 20
10/12/2006, 01:30 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=8325675#post8325675 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Randy Holmes-Farley
Where exactly are these deposits and where not?

Can you look closely to be sure it isn't an organism (like coralline algae).

I can't see any reason for you to have precipitates, unless one of the tests is wrong.

Oops, forgot to answer this. The deposits are on the glass, mostly on the front, some on the sides. Looks a bit like hard-water deposits that can form. Sure doesn't look like coralline, or any other type of organism.

oldsaltman
10/12/2006, 01:40 PM
started out using 20 ml of both a day. Calcium was fine, but alk kept dropping from about 10dKH to 7.5-ish dKH. So, upped to 40 ml. Same result. Upped to 50. Same result. Upped to 70, then 100 ml, same result. But now I'm getting a thin white film on the glass that is very hard to get off

FWIW, I went through this last month. Almost the same thing. Thin white film and all. I kept adding more and more of each. I stopped the 2 part for 2 days and only dripped kalk. The white crust on the glass didn't come back. Now I don't test everyday like I did. I drip kalk 24/7 and test on weekends and make my small adjustments with the 2 part then. I think I was just precipitating all the 2 part away! FWIW ;)

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/12/2006, 01:50 PM
You might want to stop the limewater and just use the two part to see what that does. It raises pH less and is less likely to cause precipitation.

oldsaltman
10/12/2006, 01:54 PM
I thought about that, but I have to add it manually each day. I have my kalk on a pump with top off and it's working ok. I may get a dozing pump for the two part. My levels are staying real close right now. Thanks to Randy and all.;)

Nathan
10/12/2006, 01:56 PM
Randy, would it help if he used straight Baking Soda, instead of cooked baking soda (washing soda)?

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/12/2006, 02:06 PM
Yes, especially if the pH measurement is off.

20 20
10/12/2006, 02:13 PM
So I should make a batch of the alk supplement with non-cooked baking soda?

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/12/2006, 02:27 PM
That would be worth trying, yes. Recipe 2. :)

20 20
10/12/2006, 02:32 PM
Will do! Thanks!

LittleBlueGT
10/12/2006, 09:06 PM
What salt?

I once had a Seachem test kit that was off when measuring alk, check at a friendly LFS.

I always measured 1200ppm magnesium with IO and I could never ever ever get my calcium above 360. I would mix up new water let it aerate for a couple of days, add calcium, test at 400, next day container was full of precipitate and calcium back down to 360!

I then added enough magnesium to raise by about 180ppm and now no problems at all.

In fact I once over dosed kalk for a week straight and accidentally got my calcium to 500 and alk to 13 and then had a snow-storm, but that is another story. BTW 500 & 13 were after I stopped the storm.

2nd question: what is you average temp?

20 20
10/13/2006, 04:21 AM
I use Reef Crystals. Temp hovers around 81 (ish).

LittleBlueGT
10/13/2006, 05:48 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=8331852#post8331852 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by 20 20
I use Reef Crystals. Temp hovers around 81 (ish).

My tank is around 81-82 as well which can cause more precip.

Try mixing up 20 or so gallons of water and raising the calcium in the pail. Then measure.

If no go then add magnesium, and then add calcium so if that works.

You can experiment a lot more there with no livestock to worry about.

20 20
10/13/2006, 08:07 PM
Er, that sounds like work, though. ;)

Actually, not a bad idea. I'm going to give it a couple of more days of dosing 30-40 ml and see what happens. The white stuff isn't forming any worse, I'll try and scrape it off and see if it stays away. And when I get a chance, I'll check the alk and CA again. Been busy at work, I'm there right now. :(

20 20
10/13/2006, 11:02 PM
And STILL at work... :(

reverendmaynard
10/14/2006, 08:23 AM
When I was dosing the 2-part regularly, I would dilute it in some fresh water first and then drip it in slowly using a simple siphon with an airhose and a valve at the end to control the rate. Whenever I poured the alk part straight in, I'd get the cloud like you describe. IMO, this wasted most of it as precipitation.

20 20
10/14/2006, 11:57 AM
And STILL at work... :(

Honest, still at work. Well, I did go home and get 3 hours of sleep, but back here I am! Ugh. I need a nap.

Anyway, I'm not sure if the alk 'cloud' is lost as precipitation, but I could be wrong. Any opinions on this, Randy?

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/14/2006, 02:11 PM
Any opinions on this, Randy?


Yes, it sounds like you need a different job. :(

Any white precipitate that remains in the tank after the normal mixing period is sucking up calcium and alkalinity to make calcium carbonate.

20 20
10/14/2006, 02:43 PM
Heh, still at work, believe it or not. Might be done in an hour or so, who knows. Don't really need another job, just the winning lottery ticket.:p

I guess I'm confused, maybe lack of sleep. The way I read reverendmaynard's post I thought he was saying that the 'white cloud' that is created when I pour the 40 ML of alk into the tank can be some of the 'precipitation' in question. Even without putting in the CA additive. He was suggesting diluting the alk additive and dripping it in, to eliminate the 'white cloud of alk'. So, I guess I'm asking if the alk suppliment 'by itself' can cause the hard white precipitate 'stuff' on my glass that forms over the next day. Or if that 'stuff' is only a factor of the alk AND ca suppliment mixing together to quickly.

20 20
10/14/2006, 02:44 PM
Heh, anyone else think I overdid using the 'quote' marks in that post? :p

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/14/2006, 06:08 PM
Yes, adding too much alkalinity additive, or adding it in a way that doesn't mix it in rapidly can cause some precipitation, but that is not usually a problem. There is always some transient precipitation of magnesium hydroxide when adding it, but that redissolves.

20 20
10/14/2006, 06:47 PM
Thanks for the info yet again!

Oh, and btw, I'M HOME!!! :)

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/15/2006, 07:40 AM
Finally! :D

20 20
10/15/2006, 07:48 AM
Heh, yeah, but believe it or not, I'm working from home now! :p

20 20
10/17/2006, 07:15 PM
OK, two things now. First, I'm now guessing that the white preciptate on the glass was caused when I, way back in the beginning of this saga, mixed 50 ml of both the alk AND ca suppliment in the return section of the pump, the ca a couple of seconds after the alk. That created quite the cloud in the return section, and somewhat in the tank. Ever since then I've been getting the white precipitate on the glass. But, it appears to be getting better. I clean it off, it comes back, but slower all the time. So, that's my uneducated guess. ;)

Second, I still can't keep the alk up. 30 ml, 50 ml, doesn't matter, keeps dropping like a rock. I haven't done any of the magnesium testing that LittleBlueGT has suggested, not really enough time in the day for me. Been working alot. Anyway, before I started using Randy's 2-part, I used to use straight baking soda, and Seachem's 'Reef advantage calcium'. I would add anywhere from 1 to 1.5 teaspoons a day to the tank (29 gallon, with 15 gallon sump) to keep the alk steady at around 10 dKH. I was wondering if that seems excessive for that size tank? I'd take a cup of tank water, put the baking soda in, stir it around until it dissolved, and dump it in. Maybe my tank has been sucking alk all along, and just didn't know it?

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/18/2006, 04:41 AM
Magnesium is worth checking out. How would you describe the calcifying organisms in the tank? Lots of coralline growth and SPS, or not so much, etc.

20 20
10/18/2006, 07:09 AM
When this issue first started 10 days ago, I checked the magnesium with a Salifert test kit, it was at 1320. Test kit has years to go before it expires. I'll recheck tonight. I don't have any SPS, just some mushrooms, zoo's, and some LPS. I have good coralline growth, all over the back of the tank and the rocks, I need to keep scraping it off the front and side glass.

I'm just wondering if having to add 1 to 1.5 teaspoons a day for the last year is more than should be expected to keep the alk level up in a 29 gallon tank?

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/18/2006, 01:55 PM
I'm just wondering if having to add 1 to 1.5 teaspoons a day for the last year is more than should be expected to keep the alk level up in a 29 gallon tank?

What is in the tank will impact the answer. Coralline can use a lot of calcium carbonate, that's why I asked. The value you quote is not obviously too high, but is on the higher side of normal.

20 20
10/18/2006, 08:22 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=8327639#post8327639 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Randy Holmes-Farley
If accurate, it is fine. I recommend 1250-1350 ppm for magnesium. :)

Well, I rechecked the magnesium tonight, plus other parms:

ALK: 7.0 dKH
CA: 360
Mg: 1125

Alk and Ca dropping fast. Magnesium low, I wonder why it tested at 1320 a few days ago? Maybe I'm just 'Salifert challanged'.:p

I'm going to try and 'up' the magnesium, and see what that does.

Billybeau1
10/18/2006, 08:49 PM
Yes the Salifert mag test can be challenging at times. Must be careful and do it slow.

I jumped in late so what salt mix do you use and how often do you do water changes ?

20 20
10/18/2006, 08:56 PM
Reef Crystals. 15% water changes every week. Except for the last 3 weeks, I haven't done one since 9/25. :(

Billybeau1
10/18/2006, 09:05 PM
That might be part of your problem. Once you start doing things once a week and then you skip a few, its hard to get a grasp on what your tank is consuming.

Reef Crystals is usually around 420 calcium, 11 alk and 1260 mag if you mix it at 1.026 so you have to factor that in whith your situation.

Alk usually drops faster than calcium (unless heavily stocked with calcium consuming livestock)

I'd get my mag up a little then think about dosing limewater. This could possibly make your life much easier.

I would think between the Reef Crystals and limewater, you should be good to go. :)

atvdave
10/18/2006, 09:32 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=8369176#post8369176 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Billybeau1
Reef Crystals is usually around 420 calcium, 11 alk and 1260 mag if you mix it at 1.026 so you have to factor that in whith your situation.

I must have got a bad batch of Reef Crystals. I got 2 buckets from Foster & Smith and I started to notice my PH and CA was a bit low. So I started to test new make-up water and it has been:

CA around 350
PH around 8.0 to 8.1
ALK is around 9 ml

I thought I was testing wrong so I took a sample to my LFS and he got very close results.

Like I said I got both buckets at the same time so I think I just got a bad batch, or marked wrong. Many people here on RC have said that there Reef Crystals test good.

So.. test your make-up water and see what you get.

Dave

Billybeau1
10/18/2006, 09:36 PM
Atv, what test kits for cal and alk ? pH is not a concern here.

atvdave
10/18/2006, 09:38 PM
seachem on everything.

Billybeau1
10/18/2006, 09:51 PM
hmmmmm.

Dave, dont want to start a war here, I've never tried Seachems calcium and alk test kits, although I've heard they are pretty reliable.

With calcium around 350, I would almost think you were talking about Intstant Ocean, but what puzzles me is your dkh of 9.

Both IO and RC have alk levels around 12 dkh so that throws that out the window.

When you mixed up your RC, what specific gravity did you mix at and how did you measure. My tests were at 1.026 so if you mixed it a little less, that could skew the results.

atvdave
10/18/2006, 10:00 PM
I was in Desert Storm... No war here.. here it's just fun.

anyway.. I mix to 1.025 with a refractometer. I thought my meter was off also so I took that to my LFS and he tested the water with his and it was the same.

So I really dont know.. I think I just got a bad batch.

about 90% of the people here on RC say they all get good reading's so I think it's just my bad luck.

Billybeau1
10/18/2006, 10:11 PM
Could be Dave. There is a first time for everything. Actually, there sometimes can be some settling in buckets. Where the stuff gets separated a little. I've seen that before.

And oh by the way, Thank you. You have no idea how much I appreciate your helping defend our country. :thumbsup:

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/19/2006, 06:06 AM
I'm going to try and 'up' the magnesium, and see what that does.

That sounds like a fine plan. :)

20 20
10/19/2006, 06:35 AM
Added 50 ml of Kent's 'Tech-M' magnesium additive, and 50 ml of both the alk and ca supplement last night (spaced out by 20 minutes :p ). I'll check the levels tonight, and see what's happened. I don't think that amount of magnesium additive will raise the level enough, but I didn't want to raise it too fast.

LittleBlueGT
10/19/2006, 07:36 AM
Yep, magnesium, classic story!;)

Billybeau1
10/19/2006, 08:18 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=8370862#post8370862 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by 20 20
Added 50 ml of Kent's 'Tech-M' magnesium additive, and 50 ml of both the alk and ca supplement last night (spaced out by 20 minutes :p ). I'll check the levels tonight, and see what's happened. I don't think that amount of magnesium additive will raise the level enough, but I didn't want to raise it too fast.

You can raise it up to 100 ppm per day. Dont go by the bottle directions. Use this calculator to determine how much to dose. Kent is on there.

http://home.comcast.net/~jdieck1/chem_calc3.html

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/19/2006, 08:53 AM
I agree that you can boost it pretty fast.

20 20
10/19/2006, 09:11 AM
That's a great calculator, thanks!

Randy Holmes-Farley
10/19/2006, 10:18 AM
:thumbsup:

Yes, it is very useful!

Happy Reefing. :)

Nathan
10/19/2006, 10:40 AM
20 20,

With the Salifert test kit, the number and size of the drops from the small dropper are critical. When doing your test, make sure that you hold the dropper upside down and that there are no air bubbles getting in the way (this will affect the size of the drop), and make sure to use the recommended number of drops.

-Nathan

20 20
10/19/2006, 10:58 AM
I try and be very carefull, don't know if I'm always successful at that, though. ;) I figured I screwed up one of the two previously mentioned tests, or the magnesium dropped dramatically in a few days.