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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ok!

so we've got these boxes that we've filled with water, rock, sand (maybe), and a salt mix. our boxes are through the cycle...we're done testing ammonia & nitrite...maybe we've done a water change or two, but now what? let's use this thread to discuss what we should be testing for, the numbers we should be aiming for, and methods to maintain those numbers.
 

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I suppose that is really quite dependant on what you want to keep in your box. Right now mine is a lagoonal nano and so levels are generally maintained with water changes. I rarely test but when I do its Kh, PO4 and NO3. After ahwile of getting consistent tests I don't check unless something goes wrong or I go out of town. I know I probably should but I'm just a little cavalier. If I was trying for a reeftop then I might try to keep alk, mag and Ca levels elevated beyond what I get from good old reliable IO mix :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i like that answer!

i kept a 46 bowfront softy tank for about 6 years without knowing anything about reef chemistry and with regular ole io.

curious, when you do test - what are the numbers? just so we have a record of what's working for you for those aiming to keep lagoons.
 

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In my mixed reef, I'm pretty happy with my levels, I have minimal equip and it's fairly automated with the auto top off. 12.5% (16 gal) water changes every two weeks with IO, supplemented with Mg up to 1400ppm. I run GFO in a PVC reactor and run an auto top-off with kalk. I add a spoonful of ReefBuffer to the overflow when I change the GFO.

dKH-11.5 (constant)
Ca- 380-420ppm (variable)
Am/trite/trate- undetectable
Mg- 1300-1400ppm

For anybody dosing two-part, I'd recommend an auto top-off with kalk, it really has done a lot to making my reef much more stable.

I couldn't even keep my pH stable with two part, now that I make sure my new saltwater is 1400 ppm mag, and my top-off is working, my pH is a rock-steady 8.3.
 

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I don't test my water.:dork:

IMHO. The most important test for the average reef tank, and hobbyist, would be nitrate. If the tank has a large calcium draw, then calcium, mag, and alk testing becomes important.
 

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i like that answer!

i kept a 46 bowfront softy tank for about 6 years without knowing anything about reef chemistry and with regular ole io.

curious, when you do test - what are the numbers? just so we have a record of what's working for you for those aiming to keep lagoons.
I will generally have undetectable N03 and PO4 and my kh runs a bit low between 7-9. A lagoonal tank is probably tolerant of higher nitrate than that and some would even argue it might show more growth with more nutrient rich water. I change water every week or 2 with 5 gallons of 1.025 IO, feed every other day and have 2 occelaris in a 30 w/ a octopus HOB rated for 135 (though only one side is on).

I could likely cut back the size of my w/c but its just what I am used to. I actually have a small acro and micromussa frags that were given to me even though I had not planned on stonies in the tank originaly. They have grown a fair amount since I got them and I suppose I am afraid to let the tank get too lagoonal with them in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
what are your preferred levels?

what do you consider "elevated" levels?

what is more important - targeting elevated levels or maintaining balanced levels?
 

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Its in the weekly discussion archives. I will try to post a link to it later after I wake up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
so nobody else wants to discuss balanced alk, calc, and mag levels other than saying "read the other thread"? it's like someone turned up the squelch and zapped the life right out of this thread. :(

i will post my numbers for sake of argument, if for nothing more than to keep the thread alive.

8 dkh (or 2.86 meg/l)
420 ca
1265 mag

imo these are not "elevated" numbers (still waiting for a definition on that), but numbers that are in balance (alk and calc) and relatively easy to maintain. my reef salt mixes to these numbers, so i target to keep those numbers steady so that when i do a water change i am not changing the chemistry.

i will note that i keep a stony reeftop type biotope.

i have found this calculator to be of great assistance in finding balanced levels: http://www.ultimatereef.net/calculators/alkcalcalc.html
 

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The most important test for the average reef tank, and hobbyist, would be nitrate.
I agree, provided there are no ammonia/nitrite levels in the tank Nitrate is most important.

I keep my Nitrate levels to 5ppm and under with clams and water changes. I do a 5g water change 3 X's a month. I have 6 clams in a 75g. They are "cleaner clams" I bought at the supermarket for 2 or 3 dollars back in October.

I used to leave my filter sock alone for weeks at a time, now I clean it a little more regularly.

I also use IO salt. Which seems to keep everything in check. But, I made a big mistake, I listened to a friend and started adding "purple up" without testing. After the 2nd dose, I had the LFS check my levels and the ca was about 500. No harm was done, but lesson learned.
MrP.
 

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so nobody else wants to discuss balanced alk, calc, and mag levels other than saying "read the other thread"? it's like someone turned up the squelch and zapped the life right out of this thread. :(

i will post my numbers for sake of argument, if for nothing more than to keep the thread alive.

8 dkh (or 2.86 meg/l)
420 ca
1265 mag

imo these are not "elevated" numbers (still waiting for a definition on that), but numbers that are in balance (alk and calc) and relatively easy to maintain. my reef salt mixes to these numbers, so i target to keep those numbers steady so that when i do a water change i am not changing the chemistry.

i will note that i keep a stony reeftop type biotope.

i have found this calculator to be of great assistance in finding balanced levels: http://www.ultimatereef.net/calculators/alkcalcalc.html
Thanks for the link Benny. I consider anything above the levels found in NSW to be elevated. I would have to look up exactly what those are but that is what I consider baseline. I will slowly be raising my mag levels to 1600 with Kent tech M to battle bryopsis and that is quite elevated. I will try to get a baseline level on that 2nite but that will be posted in the Bryopsis control thread.
 

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so nobody else wants to discuss balanced alk, calc, and mag levels other than saying "read the other thread"? it's like someone turned up the squelch and zapped the life right out of this thread. :(
HEH HEH HEH HEH!

Short Note: So long as levels of elements are close to that of NSW and maintained with these values as minimums, MOST CORALS WILL ADAPT TO THESE CONDITIONS to at least survive. This is not to say that these conditions will be the ideal captive conditions for all corals to thrive, or that they will display anyhing more than their basic performance in terms of rates of growth, but that they can live for years under such conditions. Corals, especially stony corals, have evolved to exploit the conditions of NSW as deserts of DOC in the water, and as such will do their best when these conditions are matched (Darwinian selection is funny like that). However, when discussing the topic of ideal conditions, we really must specify which corals (Stony reeftop "SPS", or corallimorphans, or zooanthids, etc.) we are discussing the ideal conditions for... ...one coral's ideal may be the derth of another (e.g., Octocorals with slow current and high dissolved organic nutrients in moderate to low hermatypic eutrophy vs. stony reeftop corals experiencing high flow and high Ca++/alk oligotrophy).

Whew! not enough time in a day, I need a clone of myself... :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
very good points, tom.

personal observation (here we go w/ the anectdotal data... :D ) has shown me that not only does growth accelerate in sps corals when the levels are in balance, but they achieve their best coloration when the levels are in balance as well. above all else, i have found stability is the key, no matter what levels you end up at. fluctuating alkalinity levels will brown out a coral faster than high nutrients...if it doesn't rtn first.
 

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very good points, tom.

personal observation (here we go w/ the anectdotal data... :D ) has shown me that not only does growth accelerate in sps corals when the levels are in balance, but they achieve their best coloration when the levels are in balance as well. above all else, i have found stability is the key, no matter what levels you end up at. fluctuating alkalinity levels will brown out a coral faster than high nutrients...if it doesn't rtn first.
:D

Another reason in "SPS" reeftop and forereef systems to "juice" high alk IO WC's with kalk and redjust the salinity back to 34-35 PPT Salinity values.

Kinda like me, cheap and easy in a decidedly scientific way... :nuts:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
:D

Another reason in "SPS" reeftop and forereef systems to "juice" high alk IO WC's with kalk and redjust the salinity back to 34-35 PPT Salinity values.

Kinda like me, cheap and easy in a decidedly scientific way... :nuts:
i really want to understand this... is this a correct rephrase of what you're saying works?

- use io salt (high in dkh - not a "balanced" salt)
- boost the dkh even higher with kalk
- let calcification soak up the additional alk in between water changes

i'm curious what acro coloration is like in a tank run this way? ime the best coloration comes out when the alk level is consistent.
 
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