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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new at this and blundering along. I have a 12 gallon mini reef which I have over dosed with Calcuim, now 650PPM, and my corals are NOT happy :(
My two fish are fine, as are the anemone, crab, shrimp, snails etc. Just the corals. My salt mix measures 550PPM and water changes do not seem to help. How do I fix this before I kill my coral friends?

Thanks for any suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the welcome.

I have green, brown and blue button polyps and a few others I'm not sure of, easy stuff I'm told. I have a frog spawn that has been happy for months and continues so. I hear they are more difficult, but she's OK right now. I have a sun coral that's doing fair...but not growing. The green polyps were real happy for several months and got very big but are now retracted and very unhappy. I fear I've lost the blues.
I need to better learn what I have here.
 

· Golden Shellback
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It sounds like your Alk is too low. If you raise your Alk, your pH will stabalize and your calcium will drop to a normal level. For a nano tank, you might want to look at a 2 part dosing system like B-Ionic or something like that. Part A controls your Alk and Part B controls your Ca.

I'm sure one of the other guys will jump in if I'm wrong.

What are you feeding the sun coral/polyps?

Check out the archived forums...nothing but great information in there. Keep asking questions and welcome. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I borrowed a Alkaline test kit. It's very high as my local retailer suspected measuring 240-360 ppm. I think it's the two part additive that got me in trouble. With only 12 gallons, it didn't take much to drive things off the chart. The first few days everone seemed real happy...then wham. I should have started with conservative doses and failed to measure levels...just followed the recommended dosage.. or so I thought. ...dumb!

I'm feeding Micro Vert and Zooplankton plus flake food to the two fish. Fish, shrimp, crab (emerald) and my anemone are doing fine. Just the corals seem to be suffering.
 

· Golden Shellback
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Well, you could stop using the two part addative for a while and just do a few water changes to help bring things down. Just a few more questions. What brand of salt are you using? (I'm guessing Oceanic with the high Ca make up numbers.) Are you using RO/DI for your top of and change water?

Another thing you might want to consider is getting a different test kit because yours could be off. Not all test kits are created equal, somtimes you can get a bad batch, and if it's old, that could be throwing incorrect numbers. A lot of people like Salifert test kits, I use Seachem because my LFS doesn't carry Salifert.

Once you get your levels down keep testing to see how much Ca is consumed and then start adding Ca back into the tank based on the rate of consumption.

I see you're feeding flake food which are usually pretty high in phosphates. The phosphates could be affecting your coral too. Have you noticed algae growth and/or your coral growth slowing down?

I'm not sure how you're feeding the sun coral, but if it's the same thing at the top of the screen behind the clown fish, each polyp needs to be individually fed. I've seen people cut the top off of a 2 liter soda bottle and put it over the sun coral so they can use a turkey baster and squirt the food inside for the coral. I don't have one yet, but my wife wants to get one.

Let us know how it goes.

Kevin
 

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I borrowed a Alkaline test kit. It's very high as my local retailer suspected measuring 240-360 ppm.
I don't know if you use the wrong test or what but an alkalinity test reading usually measures out to 0.3 to 16.0 dKH or 0.11 to 5.71 meq/L. Most people use the dKH measure 8-12 as a good alkalinity. Chances are you alkalinity is low, clacium and alkalinity work hand in hand. You most try to create a balance usually if alkalinity is low calcium is high, if alkalinity is high, calcium is low. If both are at acceptable measure check your Magnesium, but you magnesium should be
fine if your ph is 8.8 and calcium is high. Low magnesium makes it hard to mantain calcium and cause depressed levels of ph. So your alkalinity must be low, water change and no calcium dosing until this is at acceptable measures. Continue to dose alkalinity because it's going help bring cslcium down. Before I do anything, I would get a good test kit, I like salifert. Because calcium of 650ppm? how did you measure that?, I've never seen/heard of a test kit that measures that high. I also would like to know what type of salt your useing, because IO doesn't mix to 550ppm, it's more like 400-430ppm. I'm not a fan of IO, but have seen a read out supplement reading.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Using Oceanic salt. AL Test kit is Acquamarine. I did get that down from 7.2 to 3.6. I have an Acquamarium Pharmaceuticals master test kit. Ph range is 7.4-8.8 and appears to be still at the top end. The Red Sea calcium test kit calculates to 650 ppm. And, yes, I do use RO water to mix salt or for make up.

I think I will try more water changes. I've done several 20%. Perhaps a 50% change is in order. From then on, I know I need to dose very slowly and measure often. I'm sure that was my downfall. With only 12 gallons, everything is critical. If I can learn to manage this little tank, I'll step up to a 55 gal system.

I should have paid more attention in chemistry class.

Thanks for the guidance. You guys/gals are great.

Marc
 

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hey marc good luck i hope all works out for you

i am working on a 20gal right now.. it is small too and sometimes i see fluctuations that occur quite rapidly.. no fish in mine just yet, but will have my two percula clowns tomorrow!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have a percula (Emmet) and a watchman goby (doby..as in doby gillis, just to date myself). the fish have done well. My only problem has been my corals, though the difficult one, the frog spawn, does fine. I think I need a bigger chemistry set :D

Good luck with your 20. If I can learn to make this bad boy work, I'll spring for a 55 next winter.

Marc
 

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Nope, just looking at the dynamics of the Calcium supersaturation quotient, with alk and the Ca++ at the posted level, the solution would have precipitated Calcium Carbonate unless there were some unusual circumstances for a reef tank. This makes the test kits suspect, although I really do not know the kit listed.

It is difficult to get calcium much above 450 under most reef aquaria circumstances, ESPECIALLY with alk much above 6 dKh or so. To do this, alk has to be somewhat depleted, pH has to be low, and salinity has to be dead on and be of perfect conservative element ratios. If the alk/buffer was high, it is difficult to get the pH low enough to maintain Ca levels above 450 to 500 (unless you're bubbling CO2 into the water or dripping vinegar). Test results above 500 under normal reef aquaria conditions and salinities, temps, and conservative proportionalities usually indicate either method error in testing or faulty or inaccurate test kits. Effluents from Ca reactors will have 600 to 800 PPM levels without precipitation, but this is due to their low pH (6.7 or so.)

Additives may have extremely high levels, as will tanks that have just had additives or boosters added, but for the most part, high Ca and alk in normal reef aquaria conditions result in abiotic precipitation or sudden triggered "snow " events to reestablish equilibrium based on saturation quotient predictions.

Short answer? test kit error or methodology error.

...just late light mental rambling, I cannot sleep tonight,an unusual situation for me, although I do stay up late often.
 

· Older Than the Cretaceous
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I agree with ToM, test kit error. RedSea kits are not so great and are often way off.
 

· Older Than the Cretaceous
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I thought another way to keep Ca levels up, was to lower the salinity?
That would be raise the salinity, for as Ionic strengh increases (which is very high in SW) and activity decreases (lower in seawater) so does the ability of a solution to hold more of a particular ion. You will never be able to dissolve as much Ca in FW as you can SW.
 
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