Reef Discussion

Joele

Member
Apr 24, 2013
276
91
Melbourne
I bought most of mine from the shop below, no problems with residue etc.. very happy compared to expensive mixes available in most aquarium stores...

Under 'suppliments' then '100% reef safe'
http://www.100percentreefsafe.com.a...!/~/category/i.d=1804173&offset=0&sort=normal

To the first post, wouldn't using epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) result in some very high sulfate levels? that doesn't cause problems? EDIT: Sorry just noticed it was mentioned in the OP, maybe time to update with new sources readily available..
 
Last edited:

Buddy

Member
Mar 13, 2012
3,142
1,526
I have the stuff from 100% reef safe. Does the job and its cheap, couldn't be happier!
 

Miller

Member
Dec 4, 2012
425
216
traralgon
I been using Randy's mix for the last year and it's worked out great for me nice and cheap and works well
I've just been using super market stuff eg damp rid and Epsom salts no dramas at all
But I Just got a bulk order of calcium and mag 2 part same as 100% reef safe sell just because it was cheap and someone was shutting there system down
But all in all either one is great value compaired to buying Red Sea or the same in another brand
 

TheJordans

Member
Mar 29, 2013
722
369
Sunbury
Maintaining a stable water environment is one of the key requirements of successfully maintaining a reef aquarium.

This post discusses a relatively cheap method of maintaining calcium, alkalinity and magnesium which are three key elements in salt water and are critical in keeping many corals, especially Small Polyp Stony (SPS) corals. The author, Randy Holmes-Farley is an American chemist who has been keeping reef aquariums for over 15 years and has authored many reefkeeping articles with a chemistry emphasis.

Rather the paste the original article I have summarised/extracted the main sections below, and converted measurements etc to Australian standards. However, I would recommend that anyone contemplating using this 'recipe' read the full article which was published in Reefkeeping Online Magazine in February 2006 and can be found here.

Why
I can't answer this better than Randy ;)

This quote was sourced from here.

Here is a great video which discusses the various methods of maintaining calcium and alkalinity and some recommendations as to when to use them.

What

In Australia we use three commonly available, and relatively cheap, products which are available from your local supermarket and/or hardware store.

For calcium, Damprid

View attachment 18503

For Alkalinity, Baking Soda (not Baking Powder as this contains other products)

awww2.woolworthsonline.com.au_Content_ProductImages_big_075201.jpg


and for Magnesium, Epsom Salts

awww2.woolworthsonline.com.au_Content_ProductImages_big_348284.jpg


You will also need some measuring cups and scales, 9 litres of RO water and 3 x 3 litre storage containers - plastic juice bottles are ideal but make sure they are well cleaned before use.

The 'recipe' is scalable - if you need twice as much then just double the quantities.
Calcium and Alkalinity supplements can also be obtained from your local pool supply company - just check the level of purity to ensure it is safe to put in your valuable aquarium ;).

Part 3A uses magnesium chloride hexahydrate which improves the quality of the mix and reduces the build-up of sulfate in the aquarium. This is not readily available in Australia, although if you try hard you will find some of a suitable quality and price. Many people have been using Part 3B i.e. just using Epsom Salts, successfully for many years and, whilst not ideal, has led to no ill effects in their aquarium. The build-up of sulphates can be mitigated by regular water changes which is part of our normal maintenance schedule. More information on this issue is available in the original article.

How

This article actually details two primary recipes. One uses raw baking soda, and the other uses baking soda that aquarists bake before use. The baking drives some of the carbon dioxide out of the baking soda, and raises its pH as well as its alkalinity.

Recipe #1 is for use in reef aquaria whose pH is normal to low. In practice, more reef aquarists end up choosing this recipe than Recipe #2. It will tend to raise pH due to its alkalinity part's elevated pH, as do most of the commercial two-part additives. The increase in pH depends on the aquarium's alkalinity and, of course, on how much is added. Adding on the order of 0.5 meq/L of alkalinity increases the pH by about 0.3 pH units immediately upon its addition (and even higher, locally, before it has a chance to mix throughout the aquarium).
If you are using limewater (kalkwasser) and the aquarium is at pH 8.4 or above, this recipe is not the best choice. Otherwise, it is likely to be a good option. It is twice as concentrated as Recipe #2, because the baking process makes the baking soda more soluble.

Recipe #2 is for use in reef aquaria whose pH is on the high side (above 8.3 or so). It will have a very small pH lowering effect when initially added. The pH drop achieved will depend on the aquarium's alkalinity and, of course, on how much is added. Adding on the order of 0.5 meq/L of alkalinity drops the pH by about 0.04 pH units immediately upon its addition.
If you are using limewater (kalkwasser) and the aquarium is at pH 8.4 or above, this recipe may be the best choice. It is half as concentrated as Recipe #1 because the raw baking soda is less soluble because it's unbaked.

Recipe #1

In this recipe three stock solutions are made. Two are used frequently, and one is used only occasionally to balance other elements not added in the first two. The solutions can be mixed and stored in any plastic or glass container, and they will last indefinitely.

Recipe # 1, Part 1: The Calcium Part
Dissolve 396 grams of calcium chloride dihydrate (Damprid) in enough water to make 3 litres of total volume. You can dissolve it in about 1 litre of water, and then pour that into the 3 litre container and fill it to the top with more freshwater. This solution has about 29,000 ppm calcium.

Note that the solution will get quite warm when dissolving the calcium chloride.

Recipe #1, Part 2: The Alkalinity Part
Spread 470 grams of baking soda on a baking tray and heat in an ordinary oven at 300°F (150°C) for one hour to drive off water and carbon dioxide. Overheating is not a problem, either with higher temperatures or longer times. Dissolve the residual solid in enough water to make 3 litres total. This dissolution may require a fair amount of mixing. Warming it speeds dissolution. This solution will contain about 1,500 meq/L of alkalinity (4,200 dKH). Be sure to NOT use baking powder. Baking powder is a different material that often has phosphate as a main ingredient.

Once these two solutions are created, they can be added as frequently as necessary to maintain calcium and alkalinity. For further dosing instructions, see below.

Recipe #1, Part 3: The Magnesium Portion
The magnesium portion gives us two options, with Part 3A being preferred from an aquarium chemistry standpoint. Pick one and follow the same dosing directions regardless of which version you select.

Recipe #1, Part 3A
Dissolve Epsom salts (2.4 cups) and magnesium chloride hexahydrate (4 cups) in enough purified freshwater to make 3 litres total volume. There will likely be a precipitate that forms even if you fully dissolve both ingredients separately. That precipitate is calcium sulfate (calcium as an impurity in the magnesium chloride and sulfate from the Epsom salts). It is fine and appropriate to dose the precipitate along with the remainder of the fluid by shaking it up before dosing.
This solution is added much less frequently than the other two parts. Each time you finish adding 3 litres of both parts of Recipe #1, add 485 mL (2 cups) of this stock solution. You can add it all at once or over time as you choose, depending on the aquarium's size and set up. Add it to a high flow area, preferably a sump. In a very small aquarium, or one without a sump, I suggest adding it slowly.

The first time it's added, I recommend adding just a small portion and making sure there isn't any problem (such as corals closing up due to stress) before adding the remainder. Make sure corals and other organisms don't get blasted with locally high concentrations of the main ingredients or impurities, or else they may become stressed. This solution contains about 37,300 ppm magnesium, 55,500 ppm sulfate and 68,000 ppm chloride.

Recipe #1, Part 3B
Dissolve 1.4kg of Epsom salts (about 6.3 cups) in enough purified freshwater to make 3 litres total volume. This solution is added much less frequently than the other two parts. Each time you finish adding 3 litres of both parts of Recipe #1, add 485 mL (2 cups) of this stock solution. It can be added all at once or over time as you choose, depending on the aquarium's size and set up. Add it to a high flow area, preferably a sump. In a very small aquarium, or one without a sump, I suggest adding it slowly.
The first time it's added, I recommend adding just a small portion and making sure there isn't any problem (such as corals closing up due to stress) before adding the remainder. Make sure corals and other organisms don't get blasted with locally high concentrations of the main ingredients or impurities, or else they may become stressed. This solution contains about 37,250 ppm magnesium and 148,000 ppm sulfate.

Recipe #2

In this recipe three stock solutions are created. Two are used frequently, and one is used only occasionally to balance other elements not added in the first two. The solutions can be mixed and stored in any plastic or glass container.

Recipe #2, Part 1: The Calcium Part
Dissolve 200 grams (about 1 cup) of calcium chloride dihydrate (Damprid) in enough water to make 3 litres of total volume. You can dissolve it in about 1 litre of water, and then pour that into the 3 litre container and fill it to the top with more freshwater. This solution is about 14,700 ppm in calcium.

Note that the solution will get quite warm when dissolving the calcium chloride.

Recipe #2, Part 2: The Alkalinity Part
Dissolve 235 grams of baking soda (about 0.9 cups) in enough water to make 3 litres total. This dissolution may require a fair amount of mixing. Warming it speeds dissolution. This solution will contain about 750 meq/L of alkalinity (2,100 dKH). Be sure to NOT use baking powder. Baking powder is a different material that often has phosphate as a main ingredient.

Once these two solutions are created, they can be added as frequently as necessary to maintain calcium and alkalinity. For further dosing instructions, see below.

Recipe #2, Part 3: The Magnesium Portion
The magnesium portion again gives us two options, with Part 3A being preferred from an aquarium chemistry standpoint. Pick one and follow the same dosing directions regardless of which version you select.

Recipe #2, Part 3A
Dissolve Epsom salts (2.4 cups) and magnesium chloride hexahydrate (4 cups) in enough purified freshwater to make 3 litres total volume. There will likely be a precipitate that forms even if you fully dissolve both ingredients separately. That precipitate is calcium sulfate (calcium as an impurity in the magnesium chloride and sulfate from the Epsom salts). It is fine and appropriate to dose the precipitate along with the remainder of the fluid by shaking it up before dosing.
This solution is added much less frequently than the other two parts. Each time you finish adding 3 litres of both parts of Recipe #2, add 242 mL (1 cup) of this stock solution. You can add it all at once or over time as you choose, depending on the aquarium's size and set up. Add it to a high flow area, preferably a sump. In a very small aquarium, or one without a sump, I suggest adding it slowly.

The first time it's added, I recommend adding just a small portion and making sure there isn't any problem (such as corals closing up due to stress) before adding the remainder. Make sure corals and other organisms don't get blasted with locally high concentrations of the main ingredients or impurities, or else they may become stressed. This solution contains about 37,300 ppm magnesium, 55,500 ppm sulfate and 68,000 ppm chloride.

Recipe #2, Part 3B
Dissolve 1.4kg of Epsom salts (about 6.3 cups) in enough purified freshwater to make 3 litres total volume. This solution is added much less frequently than the other two parts. Each time you finish adding 3 litres of both parts of Recipe #2, add 240 mL (1 cup) of this stock solution. You can add it all at once or over time as you choose, depending on the aquarium's size and set up. Add it to a high flow area, preferably a sump. In a very small aquarium, or one without a sump, I suggest adding it slowly.

The first time it's added, I recommend adding just a small portion and making sure there isn't any problem (such as corals closing up due to stress) before adding the remainder. Make sure corals and other organisms don't get blasted with locally high concentrations of the main ingredients or impurities, or else they may become stressed. This solution contains about 37,250 ppm magnesium and 148,000 ppm sulfate.

Dosing Instructions

The dosing instructions are basically the same for each recipe, although any given aquarium will end up using about twice as much of recipe #2 as recipe #1 to add the same amount of calcium and alkalinity.
To initiate dosing, first adjust calcium and alkalinity to roughly their correct ranges. This may require a substantial dose of just the calcium part if calcium is low (e.g., below 380 ppm). I would suggest targeting calcium between 380 and 450 ppm, and alkalinity between 2.5 and 4 meq/L (7-11 dKH; 125-200 ppm calcium carbonate equivalents).

The Reef Chemistry Calculator can be found here.

This calculator shows how much of what parts to add in order to boost one or both of the parameters by a certain amount. This is a great calculator and can also be used for a number of the commercial products available.

Then, once things seem roughly correct, select a starting daily dose for routine dosing. Here are some suggested starting doses, but the exact values do not matter much. b


Note: 1 gallon = 3.78 litres​

After a few days of dosing, note whether alkalinity is low, high or on target. Only bother to test alkalinity, not calcium, during this period, because it is much more sensitive than calcium to over- or underdosing. Adjust the dose up or down as necessary to increase or decrease the alkalinity. Once you have determined the proper dose, continue it until there is a substantial reason to adjust it (such as falling alkalinity as the corals increase in size). When adjusting the dose, raise or lower both of the recipe's parts together.

Resist the temptation to keep jiggering calcium and alkalinity independently. They will need occasional corrections, but that should not be the normal course of dosing unless there are substantial outside influences, such as water changes with a salt mix that does not match the tank's parameters or an error in making the mixes.

Check alkalinity fairly frequently to make sure the dosing continues at a suitable rate. Check it maybe once a week to once a month (or less as you get more experienced with the system and the tank). Check calcium once a month to once every few months to make sure it continues on track.

Remember to add an appropriate amount of Part 3 each time you finish adding 3 litres of Parts 1 and 2.

How you dose and how regularly is up to you, but you should add small amounts as often as possible to maintain stable water parameters.

A dosing pump is ideal for this scenario and I will provide details of my setup in another post.

Here are a couple of video's on the subject

Aaaaand, "bookmark" :D

Thanks for all of your time and effort, @MagicJ !!
 

chrisg_75

Member
May 28, 2013
181
34
Newcastle
OK,
So looking to increase my magnesium levels to help combat some GHA that is trying to take over.

I have got both magnesium sulphate and chloride ready to mix. I am just unsure as to the right amounts to add to make up the mixture.

I Know its 3 cups of sulphate and 5 cups of chloride.

As I only have an 80L tank I only need to mix up 1L and need to change cups to gms so I can measure out the right quantity for 1L mixture.

I have found differing information as to weight of 1 cup of sulphate and chloride.

Could you confirm if this is correct for 1L of mag mixture.

I worked out to make 1litre I add 124.7gms of mg sulphate and 203.9 gms of mg chloride into the bottle and mix it all up.

Thanks for the help.

Chris
 

The Reefuge

Administrator
Jul 9, 2011
4,152
1,928
Hello everyone,

I am going to make a calculator for this. Please let me know how you would like it to function.

Thanks.
 

chrisg_75

Member
May 28, 2013
181
34
Newcastle
My problem was if I wanted to make X Litres of solution, how much gms of product do I add to the RO water. I am not sure it is worthwhile to say how much you want to raise say calcium by because you're not going to add the solution in all at once anyway so kind of defeats the purpose a little maybe. The other thing might be what would a reasonable dosing rate be dependant on your tank vol.

I'm a total noob to supplements etc so my comments might be off but that is my basic way of thinking anyway
 

macca_75

Member
Apr 22, 2012
2,125
844
If you make the recipes according to the amounts specified, you end up with a solution of a particular strength.

You then:
  1. Measure
  2. Wait a specified time (about a week or so)
  3. Measure again.
With the 2 measurements and a fixed period of time, you can the calculate exactly what your system consumed.
You then use a balling calculator to figure out the amount of solution (which has a known strength) you need to add per day.

Hope this makes sense.
 
im just trying to work out something... Im just about to make up some (mag) but i dont have enough to make up 3 liters so im trying to work out how much would go into each liter,so now the way i have worked it out Is if 1.4kg goes into 3 liters totle vol wouldnt i just divide 1.4kg into 3 wich works out to be about 466g per liter, does this sound right? Thanks for any help
 
im just trying to work out something... Im just about to make up some (mag) but i dont have enough to make up 3 liters so im trying to work out how much would go into each liter,so now the way i have worked it out Is if 1.4kg goes into 3 liters totle vol wouldnt i just divide 1.4kg into 3 wich works out to be about 466g per liter, does this sound right? Thanks for any help
can someone plz help me with this :)
 

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