The Reef Tank banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Could somebody tell me what a "Snowstorm" means in a reeftank. I have heard that in Calcium problems they refer to a Snowstorm.

I been having a snowlike affect on my blue coralline and wondering if this is the Snowstorm affect that some people refer to.

Thanks
 

·
Crazed Fish Whisperer
Joined
·
2,611 Posts
Bascially it means that the calcium level in your tank is so high, the calcium sort of groups together, and then "snows down". So what you are seeing is calcium percipitate. If you see this snow...measure your calcium level in your water.
 

·
Crazed Fish Whisperer
Joined
·
2,611 Posts
BTW, Welcome to TRT! :) Glad to have you aboard!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
371 Posts
WELCOME TO TRT!! :D The snowstorm is from an abundance of calicum carb. in the water. If it settles and you can blow it off, then it could be from your sand, depending on what substrate your using. Others, I'm sure, will have more info for you.

HTH, Lee:beer:
 

·
Professional newbie!
Joined
·
404 Posts
I did have the snowstorm when I first set up my tank a few yrs ago. It went away after a week or two. As has benn mentiuoned you just have too much calcium, the snowstorm you are seeing is it precipitating out of solution, you should be ok.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
17,355 Posts
Welcome to trt!!!

The "snowtorms" or "snowing" or "whitout" is caused by a special set of circumstances that all must exist for this event to occur. As already mentioned, the event is a precipitatiion of Calcium Carbonate ( CaCO3 ) from the water column. The solubility of CaCO3 in seawater is around 500 PPM at around 27 degrees C (80.6 F). When in the presence of Magnesium and a few other ions (and the corresponding sulfate ion), the concentration of Calcium can exceed its max solubility by a small percentage. As long as the conditions stay the same (temperature, pressure, ion speciation and concentration), the water column will stay at this "supersaturated" state. Any change in the conditions will cause the calcium to exceed its equilibrium rate between iionized/soluble and unionized/insoluble. Due to the low solubility of Calcium as the carbonate, and as the carbonate is the most reactive specie in seawater for calcium, a small increase in concentration (as when evaporation occurs) or a small increase in temperature, or if both of these are really close to the point of causing precipitation, a change in barometric presure will cause the supersaturated solution to find some starting point that initiates the formation of the precipitate, and the entire solution will precipitate out the amount of calcium carbonate necessary to bring the ionized solution back to equibrium with the solid unionized phase of CaCO3 under the existing conditions. Although sulfates and phosphates of Calcium could occur, they are not significant in the concentrations they exhibit in seawater, as the sulfate salt is quite soluble in comparison to the carbonate, and the phosphate levels are not high enough to precipitate out at its normal concentration in seawater

This is the quick and dirty model, I took a few liberties in describing the phenomenon. Interestingly enough, most calcium salts exhibit the peculiar solubility trait in that they are more soluble in cold solutions than they are in warm ones. Save that for your next trivial persuits game...:rolleyes:
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top