Hot Tips: Calcium Tips
A selection of useful tidbits of information and tricks for the marine aquarist submitted by Advanced Aquarist's readership. Readers are encouraged to post them to our Hot Tips sticky in the Reefs.org General Reefkeeping Discussion forum or send their tips to email@example.com for possible publication. Next month's Hot Tip theme will be "Favorite Foods for Feeding Your Tank".
My tanks are low calcium with softies, coralline, a giant clam, and some halimedia. I use the Dr. Holmes-Farley's DIY two part method: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/april2004/chem.htm
With the aid of this on line calculator: http://home.comcast.net/~jdieck1/chem_calc3.html
I dissolve about a cup of either with a gallon of water. Of course, one gallon is calcium chloride and another separate container is the dissolved baking soda.
When alk falls to 9-10 dkh or so is I dose baking soda and calcium chloride. About 200ml of each solution in my 55g. Every month or so check magnesium and if necessary add magnesium chloride and epsom salts.
I have found 50 pound bags of epson salts for $20 at a local feed and seed store. 50 pound bags of calcium chloride cost $10 and 50 pound bags magnesium chloride are $15 at a local chemical company. Baking soda is just from the grocery store. Calcium chloride is also available from local redimix concrete companies.
The calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are extremely reactive with even the humidity in the air. My original 50 pound bag of calcium chloride was almost a solid block in a few weeks after I opened it. So now I transfer it and the magnesium chloride to small air tight containers (gallon plastic jars, 3 pound plastic coffee cans, and so on) immediately after I open the bag.
I also filter my water with 15 pounds of crushed oyster shells with 5x water flow through them. They cost about $6 for 50 pounds and I rinse them out every month or two.
I did overdose by adding an amount every day then testing at the end of the week. So now I do the alk test before I dose.
Submitted by: beaslbob