Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry' started by newhobby, May 31, 2015.

  1. newhobby

    newhobby Guest

    Are you able to maintain Alk with just kalkwasser or you supplement it?
    Would dosing just soda ash + kalk create an imbalance? Or you would have to dose full 2 part on top of Kalk?
  2. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    I don't use Kalk so can't answer your first Q.

    Soda ash is only the Alk part so you'd have to dose Ca too. Kalk is balanced Ca and Alk.
  3. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    @HiFidelity uses kalkwasser.

    Im hand dosing 2 part alk/calc
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
    HiFidelity likes this.
  4. anathema

    anathema Supporting Member

    Whether kalk dosing is sufficient or not entirely depends on the demand in your tank.

    If you dose soda ash you need calcium chloride as well.
  5. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I use Kalk (Mrs. Wages pickling lime) and in a mixed 50g tank I'm doing 1 liter a day (roughly)

    The formula is 50ml vinegar + 3 spoons kalk + 1 gal RO water.

    Locked in at 8.3-8.4 PH
    9 dkh alkalinity
    450 calcium

    The alk & calcium are balanced and super stable, I imagine it would take a catastrophic event for them to sway outside of the aforementioned measurements.
    I imagine for your 57 illuminata (love that tank) you should be able to achieve similar results, here's the last pic I snapped to give you an idea on stocking;

  6. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    oh wow, just realized I have not looked at this photo in a while (it's about 3-4 months old), so umm basically most of the corals in the top half of the tank are nearly double the size you see int hat photo.
  7. Corallus

    Corallus BAR Sponsorship Coordinator

    Hi Fidel - This is interesting, so effectively it sounds like you're dosing calcium acetate (acetic acid + calcium hydroxide), which sounds like a nice way to increase the Ca solubility and provide a carbon source. What about carbonate, do you routinely add anything else to your tank?
  8. newhobby

    newhobby Guest

    My alk decreases with just kalk :(
  9. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Roberto, how much are you dosing and what concentration of lime?

    Everything I'm currently dosing:

    -Kalk solution (Vinegar included)

    That's it, for 3 years I only dosed kalkwasser & vinegar, Magnesium was just added a month ago (vodka's irrelevant to this topic).
  10. newhobby

    newhobby Guest

    I dose every 10 minutes just a little bit. It usually goes about 1 liter a day too.
    kalk with vinegar too, but I don't add that much vinegar.
  11. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    are you doing 2 or 3 spoons of lime?
    I've seen your tank it's not heavily stocked so I'm surprised kalkwasser isn't maintaining parameters for you...

    And I ask because:

    Vinegar And Limewater To Boost Limewater Potency

    Another potentially useful attribute of vinegar is that it can be used to help dissolve additional solid lime into limewater. It does this by reducing the hydroxide concentration in the limewater:

    10. CH3OOH à CH3COO- + H+

    The H+ combines with OH- in the limewater:

    11. H+ + OH- à H2O

    The actual dissolution of Ca(OH)2 is limited by the multiplication product of the calcium and hydroxide concentrations in the limewater as shown below:

    12. Ca(OH)2 à Ca++ + 2OH-

    13. [Ca++] x [OH-] x [OH-] £ 5.5 x 10-6

    where [Ca++] is the concentration of calcium (in moles/L) and [OH-] is the concentration of hydroxide (in moles/L). Consequently, if you reduce the concentration of OH- via equations (10) and (11), then more Ca(OH)2 can dissolve into solution and still meet the equation (13) requirement.

    This would seem like a concern, however, since losing OH- might reduce the amount of alkalinity delivered by the limewater. Luckily, this is not the case. While the OH- is temporarily reduced by the acetic acid in the vinegar, when bacteria metabolize the acetate, they release it back to the water:

    14. CH3COO- + 2O2 à CO2 + H2O + OH-

    Consequently, additional solid lime can be dissolved into limewater using vinegar.

    How much can be used? The more vinegar that is used, the lower the pH of both the limewater and the aquarium will be. One reasonable point to shoot for is to add about the same amount of total CO2 via the vinegar as is needed by the lime to form HCO3-. This balance is roughly matched by using three level teaspoons of solid lime per gallon of limewater, and 45 ml of vinegar per gallon of limewater. For those aquarists choosing to use vinegar in limewater, these values are a suitable starting point. Note that the pH of the limewater is still quite high, so slow dosing is usually required.

    What kind of vinegar should be used? Luckily, cheap distilled white vinegar is likely the best. More expensive flavored and colored vinegars, such as red wine vinegar, will deliver other unnecessary organic molecules to the aquarium, and are best avoided.

    Credit - Randy Holmes-Farley
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  12. Corallus

    Corallus BAR Sponsorship Coordinator

    That's pretty interesting. As a reef newb, I'm coming from a place of dosing 2 parts, one mostly Ca (with Mg and Sr) based, and another, with the timing offset, that's carbonate/bicarbonate based for alkalinity. I'd like to move to a kalk based approach because it seems like it would be bit easier to dial in and correct when it's out. I was thinking of rigging up a kalk solution and sodium carbonate (think BRS sells that as a solid) solution to add at different times. But it sounds like folks who dose kalk don't use supplemental carbonate? Would be interesting to know where that component comes from... And thus if it's out, how to manage it. Please forgive if this is too basic of a question and it's answered elsewhere.
  13. newhobby

    newhobby Guest

    2 spoons, but I get tons of undissolved stuff, so I think the saturation is there.
    Do you think even with undissolved kalk, I still am not in the super saturation point?
  14. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Roberto I recommend you exhaust kalkwasser before trying to supplement it. I will share with you what I have found to work the best with minimal undisolved kalk;

    I mix batches of 5 gallons but my dosing container is only 1 gal which I refill whenever it runs out. This way in case my doser goes haywire there isn't enough kalk to nuke my tank :)

    I fill my 5 gal jug with RO water first
    I add 250ml vinegar
    I slowly add 15 spoons of kalk

    Essensially I'm doing 50ml vinegar + 3 spoons kalk per gallon, this is the max solution adding anymore kalk will simply be waste since it won't be able to dissolve completely.

    I manually mix the solution for at least 2-3 minutes till I can't see kalk spinning around in there, cap the container & let it sit, 24 hours later it's ready to be dosed.

    A few important key elements to look out for;

    -There will always be undissolved solids in the solution, this is not all kalk, some yes but there are impurities which settle at the bottom
    -The last 1/2 gallon or so (from 5 gal container) I dump in the drain to avoid dosing impurities (high in phosphates)
    -I rinse the smaller dosing container every time the large one runs out, I am not as concerned with impurities in the smaller container because every time I fill it I carefully pour the solution into it to avoid stirring the impurities at the bottom, this way I keep impurities out of the dosing container.
    -You are not at full solution at 2 spoons, the 50 ml vinegar (as outline in Randy's formula) is what allows the extra spoon to dissolve without it you're just adding/wasting kalk.

    So basically that's your last ditch, if you can not maintain alk with this method you have reached the limit of kalkwasser (possible but unlikely).
    You can dose as much kalkwasser as necessary, I think the limit on a small tank is when you reach the point where all dissolved water is being replaced by kalkwasser, easy to notice since your ATO reservoir will stay full all the time.

    Hi Corallus - if I shunned a question for being basic I'd be doing a great disservice to BAR as I often post the silliest things hehe :D

    The short answer is, do not mix methods, things get weird and difficult to keep balanced. Some reefers with large heavily stocked tanks will sometimes combine methods by having one primary method and the other simply to supplement it but very seldom will you find it necessary. Both 2 part & kalkwasser methods work well and have their pros/cons. Without getting too complex with my answer I will say that I used to dose 2-part and the main reason I switched to kalkwasser was to save money (pickling lime & vinegar are the cheapest 2 items in this hobby) and secondly because running a single dosing pump is more preferable than 2 pumps and 2 separate bottles to store.

    I like kalkwasser because you will see me often talk about how much I like dosing carbon and based on the formula I detailed for Roberto you will see there is a lot of carbon (vinegar) going into my tank, not to mention the vodka I also dose (vodka's another carbon source).

    If this adequately answers your question I am happy I've done so, if you'd like to read more please tell me I'd be happy to share some links. Randy Holmes has written fabulous articles on the topic. If you chose to go the kalkwasser route follow the details written in the first half of this post.

    Happy Monday Evening guys :)
  15. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    I had to do a double take on this sentence until I realized you are DOSING kalk/vinegar and not just adding it to your ATO like most do. I think most put kalk in their ATO then supplement with 2 part if that is insufficient. At least that was my understanding
  16. anathema

    anathema Supporting Member

    Great writeup!

    Kalk is pretty amazing for how simple and cheap it is, but there is some risk involved. In small doses, the ph effect is also usually a good thing for most tanks, but can cause damage if it malfunctions. On every tank I've had for many years, ato is always 100% kalk, and I supplement past that as needed with two part calcium chloride/soda ash.

    I think it's pretty common to combine kalk with two part (or three part) dosing. Using a doser, I've always found it pretty easy to dial it in. If you are using a diy two part mix, add extra to the first few mixes and subtract a bit from each batch until you get a tiny amount of precipitate. If you mix to saturation, it's easier to dial in dosing.

    If you are looking for cheap two part, Leslie's pool supply has both calcium chloride and soda ash significantly cheaper than the hobby brands. Walmart or Amazon sell pickling lime for about $6.00 a pound. That's the cheapest source I've found that is pure enough that I feel comfortable using it in my tank.

    The biggest issue with kalk ato is avoiding overdosing due to mechanical error. I think you've got more ideas than me to prevent that, though I just pulled my reef angel off for the summer.

    I strongly recommend following the advice to only keep a gallon or so in your reservoir. All of my tank crashes or die off events were at least partially caused by kalk ato malfunction. I use a 50g drum as my ato container, but when I know I'll be home I try to keep less than 5g in it and only fill it up when I'll be away.

    Even with the risk, I feel kalk is by far the simplest and most cost effective method, even if you end up supplementing it with two part.
  17. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    So where would I find Mrs Wages Pickling Lime. Went to my local Walmart and I don't see it anywhere. Employees are no help. On line only?
  18. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Vincent is right, I am dosing kalk via dosing pump.

    There is nothing wrong with putting kalkwasser in ATO and I can not negate Vincent's method but I would strongly advise against using 100% supersaturate kalkwasser as top off, why? the simplest answer I can give is you have no control and the amount dosed can change by a good margin dependent on the ambient temp and evap rate.

    With that being said, I will reiterate that I am not speaking against Vincent's method but I am a control freak, I need to know exact amounts of anything going into my tank down the ml or gram, it's just the way I am.
    The reasoning for the alarm regarding this; imagine on a 50g tank you have a 5g ATO reservoir, that's 10% of your water volume, now imagine your float switch got stuck on, typically your tank will do ok if 5g of freshwater got dumped in it, sump might overflow, salinity gets reduced all fish will be okay but corals would be upset for a day or two. Now imagine along with this your PH going through the roof, let's say at least above 10, by the time you came home from work a good amount of livestock is going to be dead, I've seen MANY people have this mishap. Again it's not something that you should NEVER do, but when I did it I used far less than fully saturated kalkwasser as ATO (1 spoon/gal) so PH was probably >12 thus it can only increase the tank's PH from 8 to nothing above 10. I hope this paints you a good picture of the possible risk.

    Walmart stocks pickling lime seasonally so you won't find it there year round, you could order a single bag online somewhere, you'll pay 3x but still not super expensive, 1 bag should last a whole year. Meanwhile keep an eye on the pickling shelf at walmart, Mrs. Wage's pickling lime can usually be find next to all the "Ball" glass jars, green label mason jar looking things.
  19. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Almost forgot, I dose kalkwasser once an hour every hour while lights are off, I distribute the total daily volume evenly over total number of dosing events.
  20. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    Good info.

    I found the jarring section but no lime. Some pickling seasoning and calcium chloride which I would imagine would be bad to use.

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