Alkalinity in less than 10 gallon nano tank

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Peonevil

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Hi All,

I am looking into different methods to control Ph and alkalinity in my little 9 gallon nano reef. As I keep adding more coral I feel like I need to add more supplements to care for them but want to make sure they are not having an adverse impact on my water chemistry. so far I have been using: SeaChem Reef Complete, SeaChem Reef Trace Elements, and plan to add SeaChem Reef Carbonate and RedSea Energy plus AB+. Recent tests show low alkalinity. Could any of the additives cause this? Any suggestions on additives or alternative methods to raise the Alkalinity?

thanks,
 
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Peonevil

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You can use regular baking soda to raise alkalinity: https://reef.diesyst.com/chemcalc/chemcalc.html

Just be very careful not to add too much and err on the side of caution with only 9 gallons of water.

You can also dose kalkwasser to raise both alkalinity + calcium, if needed.
Thank you! I was reading about the kalmwasser recently, any advice on administering this? I have an aquatic life buddy rodi, but am waiting for a Tms reader before I use it. In the mean time I am just using distilled water from the grocery store . Does the kalkwasser need a drip preferably or can I just add periodically? Thank you again for guidance from you and other members of the forum . Has helped a great deal.
 

Humblefish

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Thank you! I was reading about the kalmwasser recently, any advice on administering this? I have an aquatic life buddy rodi, but am waiting for a Tms reader before I use it. In the mean time I am just using distilled water from the grocery store . Does the kalkwasser need a drip preferably or can I just add periodically? Thank you again for guidance from you and other members of the forum . Has helped a great deal.
The first thing you need to know is I am rather old school, so I just mix kalk in a small pitcher with some RODI and gravity drip that into my tank using crimped airline tubing. But you need to be careful doing this in such a small tank. You don't want to overdose the kalk, and risk raising your alkalinity by more than 1 dKH.

Now, this all being said, you could probably maintain your parameters simply by doing weekly water changes using a good reef salt as @watson5 suggested. Or I'm sure they sell little bottles of stuff specifically for safely raising alkalinity, calcium, magnesium in a nano tank. I just like using pickling lime (which is food grade kalkwasser) because I trust the QC of anything food grade more so than aquarium products.
 

clsanchez77

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I agree with the water changes on such a small tank. Kalkwasser will work, button such a small volume of water, you could spike the pH accidentally. The reaction between the hydroxide and dissolved CO2 does take a little time. So if you go this route, you will want to use a really dilute solution. Then kalkwasser will provide calcium and alkalinity, but leaving you to balance everything else....so you end up needing the large water changes anyway.

I did maintain my current tank and previous 90g tank with kalkwasser, so yes it does work. I had a hard time keeping magnesium stable.

Disregard pH. There is a misomer in the hobby that this is something we must test for and control. The answer here is no and no. If you maintain your alkalinity, then the pH will be within an acceptable range. If you want to know what it is, a pH probe will be more reliable and useful than a test kit. The reason is that pH is diurnal, or goes through a daily cycle as it is a function of alkalinity and dissolved CO2, among other things (simplified explanation). So when you test for it, you are getting a single static sample point on a number that changes by the hour, if not by the minute. There is no way to know if you reading a low pH at the high point of the cycle or a high ph at the low point of the cycle. A pH probe will give you what you want. But as for needs, you need neither. Stay on alkalinity and you will be fine.

Finally, I used SeaChem products for the first half of the time I was in the hobby (like a decade) and constantly had quality issues with their products. I was still using them in my reef build here 5 or 6 years ago. Specifically, their Reef Fusion (2-part), Reef Salt (currently on their 3rd formula in 20 years I think) and their Reef Magnesium salt, were all problematic for me. Test kits were actually decent, but more expensive than better quality test kits. I did like their liquid Reef Calcium product, which is an organic calcium solution. The marketing behind the product is all bull ****, but coraline algae did show a preference for it.

I would recommend using the AquaForest balling method or Tropic Marin balling method. The AF approach is cheaper and more dilute, which would be better for a younger and smaller tank.

Finally, ditch the Reef Trace Elements, they are doing nothing for you ;) The mineral salts that are part of a balling method OR large water changes will provide the trace elements you actually need.

Not familiar with Red Sea Energy products, but they do have an excellent series of videos on how corals grow and use their various products. Their system is a bit pricey, but the marketing approach is one of the best ;) Seriously though, their videos are high quality and helpful.

And for kalkwasser, you will want to drip that as much as possible. If you cannot do that and you have to add it manually daily, you will want to find out the time of day where your pH is lowest and add it then. This is when dissolved CO2 will be the highest and the kalkwasser will convert that CO2 to alkalinity the fastest. This I think is at the end of the day when the lights turn off.
 

clsanchez77

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You should look into Tropic Marin- All For Reef. It’s a single solution for everything and would be perfect for a nano tank. I use it on my 32gal to maintain levels. It’s not cost effective on large tanks but perfect for small ones.

I was trying to remember that product name and could not find it, because I could not remember its name LOL But yes, for a 9 gallon tank, this is worth looking into. I believe Brightwell has one as well.
 
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