Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Keeping acropora – Dosing Ca, KH, Mg

Keeping you acropora and other SPS healthy and colorful
Acropora is the most complicated coral in our opinion and requires more attention than LPS and Soft corals.  
We will not go in to the complicated explanations and scientific terms in this blog. This is to help reef keepers start with SPS corals.
We presume you have some experience with reef tanks and already have good lighting and reliable filtration in your reef system.
So where to begin? First of all you need to make sure you are keeping a stable level of Calcium, KH/Alkalinity and Magnesium in your tank. This is very important as hard corals do not like drops and rapid increase of these elements. Many reefers dose Ca, KH, Mg manually once or few times a week, this may cause a shock for acropora and other SPS corals.
We would recommend you to consider a dosing pump and/or calcium reactor.

Our personal choice is dosing pump. We dose all three elements daily.
We stick to “Randy’s Mix” you can find full information on this mix here http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-02/rhf/index.php
Our preference is recipe #2. All supplements are sold by Aquaworld

1. Calcium.
To make one litre of Calcium mix:
Use 70grams of calcium chloride dehydrates per one litre of water. Mix it until dissolved and solution is clear.
This mix will contain about 18,500 ppm in calcium

2. KH
To make one litre of KH mix:
Use 76grams of of baking soda per one litre of water
This mix will contain about 950 meq/L of alkalinity (2660 dKH). Make sure baking soda is totally dissolved and solution is clear. It can take you a while to achieve clarity

3. Mg
Dissolve 450grams of Epsom salts (can be bought in any Pack&Safe) and 833grams of magnesium chloride hexahydrate in 3.8 litre of water. Mix it until dissolved and solution is clear.
This solution will contain about 47,000 ppm magnesium, 70,000 ppm sulfate and 86,000 ppm chloride.
Before you set up dosing intervals and amounts you need to understand how much your tank is consuming of each ingredient.
Once your dosing pump is ready we recommend you to test your tank water for Ca, Kh, Mg
Adjust your levels accordingly:
Ca – 420ppm
KH – 8dKH
Mg – 1300ppm
We recommend you start dosing in the morning from small dosage. For example:
Ca and KH 5-10 dosing per 24hours. 5ml each dose.
Mg 2-6 dosing per 24hours. 3-5ml per dose.

So, you do the test in the morning and start dosing. Now your next mission is to test your Ca, KH and Mg levels twice a day (in the morning and at night) for the next week and adjust your dosing amount accordingly.
Your goal is to achieve constant level of those 3 important elements in your tank. You would need to bring your dosing amount up or down for each supplement, regarding if you ppm going up or down.
Once you have stabilised your dosing, keep testing regularly, usually we do our tests once a week.


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