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Old 03/18/2009, 05:58 PM   #1
rsuplido
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HELP - Float switch failed, topped-off lots of kalk

My float switch failed on my 30g and my kalk top-off kept pouring. 2 hours have passed when I noticed it. PH shot up to 9.2. After 2 hours, PH started going down since my 3g reservoir was empty (I estimate about 1.5 to 2g of kalk got to the tank).

I started bubbling CO2 slowly in the sump until PH got back down to about 8.5.

What's next? I'm afraid to test for Alk and Cal since I know they will be off the charts. Should I do a 15, 30, 50 percent water change? While the fishes look fine, I'm afraid I would continue shocking the SPS if I do a big water change.

Some advice please.


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Old 03/18/2009, 07:00 PM   #2
Randy Holmes-Farley
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If the pH is down, there is nothing else useful or necessary to do.

This has more:

What is that Precipitate in My Reef Aquarium?
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-07/rhf/index.htm

from it:

The following important points should help in dealing with a limewater overdose:

1. Don't panic! These overdoses do not usually cause a tank to crash.

2. The primary concern is pH. If the pH is 8.6 or lower, you need not do anything. If the pH is above 8.6, then reducing the pH is the priority. Direct addition of vinegar or soda water is a good way to accomplish this goal. Either one mL of distilled white vinegar, or six mL of soda water, per gallon of tank water will give an initial pH drop of about 0.3 pH units. Add either to a high flow area that is away from organisms (e.g., a sump).

3. Do not bother to measure calcium or alkalinity while the tank is cloudy. The solid calcium carbonate particles will dissolve in an alkalinity test, and all of the carbonate in them will be counted as if it were in solution and part of "alkalinity." The same may happen to some extent with calcium tests. Wait until the water clears, and at that point, alkalinity is more likely to be low than high. Calcium will likely be mostly unchanged.

4. The particles themselves will typically settle out and disappear from view over a period of 1-4 days. They do not appear to cause long term detrimental effects to tank organisms.

5. Water changes are not necessarily beneficial or needed in response to a limewater overdose.


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Old 03/18/2009, 07:24 PM   #3
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Yes, PH is now down. I did see a of precipitation on the rocks. The coraline on the rocks are sort of covered with white dust.

Thanks for taking time responding to my post, Randy. I really appreciate it.


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Old 03/19/2009, 05:47 AM   #4
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You're welcome.

Good luck.


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Old 04/30/2009, 10:47 PM   #5
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rsuplido - I hope you were able to react in time to minimize the damage.

I had a kalk accident about a year ago. I didn't have a calcium reactor and hence no CO2 to bubble into the tank to bring down the pH. At first I used some vinegar to bring down the pH, but was afraid of potential long term algae/diatom effects that adding vinegar could have. I also tried doing a massive water change (which had almost no effect on the pH).

I ended up going to the closest fast food restaurant and got them to give me some carbonated water from their pop machine. A couple of biggie sized cups slowly added to the tank brought my pH back to below 8.6 from the original 10. Fortunately I didn't have any subsequent algae/diatom issues. Unfortunately, I did sustain substantial coral and fish losses because the kalk accident happened as I was leaving for work and wasn't discovered till 8 hours later.

I still think using kalk is good. However, I now have a better program in my controller to prevent another accident from occurring. I wouldn't recommend adding kalk via topoff and a kalk reactor without a controller.


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Old 05/01/2009, 09:26 AM   #6
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Check your salinity, it might be low from all the extra top off. Might need to slowly bring that back up...

Also, I know hind sight is 20/20, but just in case. Put your top off pump on a multi position timer or an aquarium controller. Set it to turn on and off during the day, so you never let it run more than say 120% of your highest top off demand.


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Old 05/01/2009, 01:00 PM   #7
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For me it wasn't a matter of adding excessive top off water. It was adding too much in a very short time frame. I had my top off turned off for a day and when I placed it back on line, I didn't think about the fact that it need to add a full days worth, approximately a gallon of (kalk saturated) top off in a few minutes. This then caused the extreme pH to occur in the system. Realistically, the top off needs to not only be on level control, but also controlled via a pH probe so that it will shut down in the event the pH set point is reached before the water level set point. Basically, it falls under murphies law...that eventually anything that can possibly go wrong, does.


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Old 05/11/2009, 12:54 PM   #8
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I had a reactor that ran for 4 hours and added about 6 gallons of kalkwasser to my 200 gallon system. Shot my pH up to 10. It stayed that way for about 5 hours, and wiped out almost all my SPS.


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Old 05/21/2009, 01:46 PM   #9
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I have dosed kalkwasser for years and have mitigated my problems by limiting the amount available at any one time..

My system doses only at night for XX minutes per hour via digital timer and one of the tiny water pumps (converted air pump).

I can load 2 days worth of solution at a time (still sort of a pain to maintain) but if the system hangs up and dumps all into the tank over night, not a disaster.. just moderately high ph levels..

I still prefer a good sump with a reverse cycle but when I had all SPS, I could not maintain CA levels and so liked the dual function of the kalkwasser..


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Old 06/17/2009, 11:30 AM   #10
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Me, I'm old school. I use the easiest method in the world, a one gallon jug with a small valve I turn on at night set the speed to drip it in slowly and in the morning about three quarters of a gallon of top off has been added. I've done this for over 10 years without a single problem. I don't like all these new automated ways to add Kalkwasser. If something works I stick with it.


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Old 06/19/2009, 06:43 PM   #11
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Can ODing possibly desolve some zoas/palys or montipora?


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Old 06/19/2009, 10:09 PM   #12
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It might kill some animals. I'm not sure that zoanthids would be the first to go, but it might happen.


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Old 07/01/2009, 10:53 PM   #13
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So my question is similar, though not exactly the same:

I'm looking into beginning to dose Ca, Mg, and Kalk (pickling lime in my case). Read Randy's extensive article on the subject, etc etc.

I don't have an ATO, I top off using gallon jugs twice a day. I end up putting in just shy of 1 gallon a day during the summer. I generally add 0.4-0.5 gallons at a whack. Think that'd be too much to put in a 90 per day? I'm not necessarily thinking saturated kalkwasser, so the pH may not be too high.

My pH during the summer is down about 7.9 b/c the house is closed up to prevent 120 F air from broiling me, around 8.2 in the winter with the house open.


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Old 07/01/2009, 11:19 PM   #14
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Even 1/2 saturated Kalk has a PH of like 11.5. If you use the gallon jugs, set them up so that they drip into the tank slowly.


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Old 07/01/2009, 11:33 PM   #15
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Hmm. Not sure there's enough room down there to hang a jug. I may have to keep thinking about the feasibility of this plan.

I'm having trouble figuring out why a half gallon of pH 12 water into 90 gallons of pH 7.9 water would be so much of a problem. That's a metric crapload of volume to absorb the excess hydroxyl ions. If I use the trusty C1V1 equation, the final pH isn't that much higher than starting at a half gallon added at a time.


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Old 07/02/2009, 01:16 PM   #16
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The pH of half-saturated limewater should be about 12.24, since fully saturated lime is about 12.54. If the limewater were dripped, the system might be okay, but it's hard to judge because a lot depends on the aeration and how quickly the limewater is mixed into the system. Adding a large volume at once can cause a locally high pH, which can lead to precipitation and perhaps injure some organisms.


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Old 07/02/2009, 07:43 PM   #17
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a friend of mine also had a kalk issue. All his corals bleached out and a few of them died. 2 months later they are getting better.... good luck


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Old 07/19/2009, 01:08 PM   #18
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I sold my kalkreactor because of this problem and havent had any issues since I thought it helped at first but I really didnt ever see a difference. I did lose alot of sps and all the heads fell off my lps and i lost alot of acans the last time and mine never got over 9.3 for more then 4 hrs but it did this about twice a week before I found out why.


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Old 07/20/2009, 12:40 PM   #19
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I run a litermeter for my Kalk and I have my topoff float seperate to make up the balance.

I also only use a 10 gallon can for topoff water and both my ato and my litermeter pull from that container. With a 600 gallon system its about 2-3 days worth of water.

I do this so that even if the litermeter or ato screw up, it can still only dose a max of 10 gallons, which is only about 2 percent of my volume.

My cotainer has a kent float valve hooked to my RODI which I just turn on for a few hours every few days to refill.


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Old 07/20/2009, 04:32 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by OwenInAZ
So my question is similar, though not exactly the same:

I'm looking into beginning to dose Ca, Mg, and Kalk (pickling lime in my case). Read Randy's extensive article on the subject, etc etc.

I don't have an ATO, I top off using gallon jugs twice a day. I end up putting in just shy of 1 gallon a day during the summer. I generally add 0.4-0.5 gallons at a whack. Think that'd be too much to put in a 90 per day? I'm not necessarily thinking saturated kalkwasser, so the pH may not be too high.

My pH during the summer is down about 7.9 b/c the house is closed up to prevent 120 F air from broiling me, around 8.2 in the winter with the house open.
Get an ATO, will be the best $100 you ever spent.


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Old 07/21/2009, 07:04 PM   #21
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Here is a DIY auto topoff. I bought this exact one a couple years ago and it works great!!

It works with a little float switch, but the beauty of it is, there is a second float switch in case the first switch fails. Only costs about $40.

I first saw it on melev's page.

DIY ATO


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Old 06/22/2011, 05:34 PM   #22
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Long dead topic I know, but since it's linked in the last issue of the magazine I thought I'd step in. The pH of the saturated and half saturated kalkwasser are both very similar, but that doesn't count for much in this situation. what you care about is the buffering capacity, which is exactly half as high for the half saturated Kalk. pH is logarithmic, but as the natural acids in your tank start interacting with the bases you reach a new equilibrium. If you took a container full of vinegar and added Kalk at 12.54 pH to it you would probably see the solution go basic faster than if you added 13.0 pH NaOH to it, because the NaOH has a higher pKOH than the Kalk does.


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Old 06/22/2011, 05:51 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OwenInAZ View Post
Hmm. Not sure there's enough room down there to hang a jug. I may have to keep thinking about the feasibility of this plan.

I'm having trouble figuring out why a half gallon of pH 12 water into 90 gallons of pH 7.9 water would be so much of a problem. That's a metric crapload of volume to absorb the excess hydroxyl ions. If I use the trusty C1V1 equation, the final pH isn't that much higher than starting at a half gallon added at a time.
Just to be clear for future visitors, C1V1 has absolutely nothing to do with pH and will not tell you anything about it.


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Old 06/22/2011, 07:04 PM   #24
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but since it's linked in the last issue of the magazine I thought I'd step in.

What is linking here?

If you took a container full of vinegar and added Kalk at 12.54 pH to it you would probably see the solution go basic faster than if you added 13.0 pH NaOH to it, because the NaOH has a higher pKOH than the Kalk does.

Not sure what you are getting at. Calcium hydroxide has two hydroxides per mole of calcium (Ca(OH)2), while sodium hydroxide has only one (NaOH), so calcium hydroxide would raise the pH of vinegar faster for that reason.

But if you add the same amount of OH-, there will never be a point where the pH of the NaOH solution is lower. They will be the same up to about pH 11.5 or so where you start to form some soluble CaOH+ and then later Ca(OH)2 stops dissolving. At that point, and all points beyond it, the pH of the NaOH addition solution will be higher.


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