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Alk and Cal question (B-Ionic)

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utahtaper View Drop Down
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    Posted: June 24 2003 at 9:33pm

I've got a question....

I am using B-Ionic solutions two part solutions. My PH is always at 8.0 when I measure it. My alk has always hovered around 3.5,  my calcium is usually about 350-375.  I would like to increase my calcium dosage to get it alt least 400. B-Ionic suggest using equal parts of Alk and Cal solutions. I really don't wanna raise my alk. So, is it acceptable to just add more of the cal and not more of the alk? For instance 15ml of alk solution and 20ml of cal?

Any suggestions?

Jason

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfinch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 24 2003 at 10:54pm
Jason,  that's perfectly acceptable.  If you find that you end up doing it more often then just once, it's cheaper to buy some Turbo Calcium and use that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote utahtaper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 24 2003 at 11:05pm

Hey Jon,

To tell you the truth, when I use up all this B-Ionic, I am going to switch to something else. I'm not sure what you mean by doing it once. You mean once to raise the levels of cal?  I was meaning daily. I dose 15ml of equal parts now daily. So what I'm going to do is dose 15ml alk and increase to 20ml cal daily and see what happens after a week or so.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote utahtaper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 24 2003 at 11:09pm

It took a sec for your post to sink in. I understand what you mean. I could continue to dose 15ml alk/15ml cal and supplement with the Turbo Cal. Not a bad suggestion. At least I would use up the B-Ionic equally and not have 1/4 of a bottle left when I ran out of cal.

Thx for the input!

Jason

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfinch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 24 2003 at 11:16pm

Sorry, I'm not always the easiest to understand .

You got it right in the end though!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 24 2003 at 11:48pm
Before b-ionic there was kalkwasser, turbo-calcium and buffer. Actually I guess there still are those products and I believe they work a little less expensively than b-ionic. But don't listen to me, because I haven't dosed with anything but tap water or kold-steril water since 2000!  And in my opinion, by the look of my tank, you wouldn't believe it was so simple!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarineAquatics Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 25 2003 at 12:28am
I agree with Jon before I did my reactor I used Turbo Calicum and had great succsess with all growth inc sps.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfinch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 25 2003 at 7:08am
Lest someone get the wrong impression that I don't like b-ionic... I'm a big fan of any "balanced" calcium/alk additive.  This includes b-ionic (and it's clones), kalkwasser and CaCO3/CO2 reactors.  But if your tank isn't consuming alk and calcium in a balanced fashion, then IMO it's much cheaper and works fine to use Turbo Calcium and/or Baking Soda.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shane H Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2003 at 6:02pm

jfinch,

Wie geht's?

Can you please explain to me how much baking soda you use to raise / maintain your alk? I have been using Kent Marine Super Buffer-dKH. I was checking out the active ingredients (carbonate, bicarbonate and borate salts) and was considering using baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) as an inexpensive alternate to increase my alkalinity.  We use it regularly to increase the alk of our pool. But our pool is about 4500 gallons where my tank is only ~120 gallons.  Any help you provide would be appreciated.

Mit Freundlichen Gruessen,

Shane

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfinch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2003 at 7:39pm
Was sind Sie hier schreiben tuend? Nicht sollten Sie Wasser Skiing sein?

Yup I've used it many times myself.  I acually like it better then the "buffer" sold at the fish store because it's all carbonate alkalinity.  Kent, Seachem, ect buffers usually contain additional boron (borates).  The boron helps to maintain pH better then carbonates, but it muddy's the water when testing for alkalinity (and can be toxic in high enough levels).  If your tank's pH is on the low side you might consider washing soda (sodium carbonate), it tends to raise pH.  Anyway, here's the factors so you can do your own figuring:

Baking Soda:  0.05 tsp per meq/l per gallon of water

Washing Soda:  0.033 tsp per meq/l per gallon of water

So considering your tank (120 gallon).  If you want to raise alkalinity from 2.5 meq/l to 4 meq/l you would add:

0.05 x (4 - 2.5) x 120 =   9 tsp of baking soda

or

0.033 x (4 - 2.5) x 120 = 6 tsp of washing soda

There's an on-line calculator that will do the math for you (I can't remember where it is)...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sjlopez39 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 08 2003 at 7:27am
What's up shane?   Saw ya at Lagoon.  Howabout that wild mouse huh?
Keep your hands and arms inside the tank and enjoy the ride!

Steve
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rstruhs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 14 2004 at 9:43pm
Jon, where can I get some washing soda?  I looked at Wal-Mart and found Oxy something or other, it had sodium carbonate and sodium percarbonate while another brand had sodium carbonate and sodium perborate.  Which would be better?  Neither had any other ingredients listed.
Rodney, Sandra, Jeffery, and Laura Struhs
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfinch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 14 2004 at 10:08pm
I think I bought my box at Smiths grocery store.  It's Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda.  Don't buy the Oxy stuff.  Don't buy it if it has fragrances added and it should say phosphate free.  If your Smith's doesn't carry it, I can always give you some of mine.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KeoDog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 14 2004 at 10:20pm

I bought mine at Albertsons.  I bought the "20 mule team boraxo" washing soda.  I mix my buffer up per the following.  What do you think Jon?

4 cups baking soda, 1 cup washing soda, 1/4 cup soda ash.

Kevin Kunz (Sandy, UT)
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"A trade by which one gains and the other loses is a fraud."   Ayn Rand
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfinch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 14 2004 at 11:01pm

Kevin,  I like hearing the term "soda ash" .  But borax isn't washing soda.  Where are you getting soda ash? 

Soda ash = washing soda = sodium carbonate = Na2CO3

Boraxo = borax = Sodium borate (with a few water molecules along for the ride) = Na2B4O7

Baking soda = sodium bicarbonate = NaHCO3

I use a mixture of 5 parts baking soda and 1 part washing soda (or soda ash)because it doesn't effect pH when added.  Baking soda alone tends to decrease pH and washing soda tends to increase pH.  Borax doesn't effect pH much although it's a great buffer.  In the long run it doesn't really matter if you add bicarbonates (baking soda) or carbonates (washing soda) because once added they will interconvert between each other to reach an equalibrium.  For example, I was out of baking soda a couple nights ago and needed to raise my alkalinity so I used 100% washing soda.  I raised my alk by 1 meq/l (4 tsps in 125 gallon tank).  My tank pH increased to 8.5 within an hour of the addition, but by the next day it was holding at 8.1-8.2.  All those carbonates I added reacted with dissolved CO2 and became bicarbonates.  I didn't like the fact that my pH went so high.  In the future I'll add less or be sure to have some baking soda too.

Kevin, if the mix works for you go for it.  I might be concerned by the amount of borax you're adding.  Do you want to have high borate levels on purpose (do you see benefits to this)?  Do you test for borates?  I've never added borax (boron) to my "buffer" mix.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KeoDog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 15 2004 at 11:52am
Jon, I guess I was misinformed about the borax. I think I will quit using it.  The soda ash I bought at a pool supply store  but if you say it's the same stuff as washing soda (sodium carbonate), I will probably just go to Smiths and get the arm and Hammer stuff and use your recipe. Thanks.
Kevin Kunz (Sandy, UT)
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"A trade by which one gains and the other loses is a fraud."   Ayn Rand
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfinch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 15 2004 at 12:31pm

Kevin, it's not uncommon to use borax in a buffer mix.  Most, if not all, of the commercial buffers contain some boron (although I would guess at lower quanities then your using).  Natural seawater only has 5 ppm boron so it might be easy to overdue it.  And personally I'm not sure if elevated levels of boron are a good thing or a bad thing so I would strive for natural levels.

Both borax and washing soda are found in the laundry section of the store.  They both help to "soften" hard water in the washing machine by precipitating calcium and magnesium. 

Here's a picture of my homebrew kit:

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rstruhs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 15 2004 at 2:22pm

Jon, what's the pickling lime for?  I am trying to raise my pH without raising dKH very much.  Would pickling lime be better for that than washing soda?  Is pickling lime a base or an acid? 

And how much of what should I add to raise my pH 0.1 or 0.2 or 0.5. (Just trying to get a formula or something to scale with later).



Edited by rstruhs
Rodney, Sandra, Jeffery, and Laura Struhs
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55 gallon reef
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfinch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 16 2004 at 7:01am

There is a relationship between dKH (alkalinity) and pH.  There is a fairly straightforeward equation to calculate it.  Click on the Presentations button over on the left side of this window, or go to www.utahreefs.com and click on it there.  Go through the Water Chemistry presentation until you get to the pH/Alkalinity relationship section.  You'll see the big hairy equation.  Now forget about it .  Every tank is different and that equation is for a tank in equalibrium with atmospheric CO2, which our tanks seldom are.  Bottom line, if you want to increase pH do the following:

  • Increase alkalinity
  • Use alkalinity supplements that are consume CO2 such as kalkwasser or washing soda (sodium carbonate)
  • Increase air/water contact.  More tank circulation, fans in the hood or sump, ect.

You'll get a feel for how your tank responds to these changes after doing it a bit.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfinch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 16 2004 at 7:02am
The pickling lime is kalkwasser.  If you don't know what kalkwasser is do a quick search, then ask questions if it doesn't make sense to you.
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