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Wandering alkalinity

  • Alkalinity measured in SmartStir

I feel like I blog about calcium reactor stuff a lot.  I wonder if I would do the same with 2-part dosing? lol

Last Sunday, I did a 100g water change on the reef.  I pumped out all the water out of the skimmer zone, and the return zone, and then more water out of the reef aquarium itself.  I refilled it with new saltwater, and went about my normal life.  

The next day, I noticed my alkalinity had dropped a bit, which was a little strange.  The Trident gives me updates regularly, and helps me stay aware of this number.  An odd reading isn't a concern, but a few of them makes me investigate further. I immediately mixed up two tablespoons of soda ash with some RO water, and trickled that into the reef to keep the alkalinity stable.

I looked at the reactor and the surrounding area, and discovered that my little prefilter was bobbing on the surface like a cork, rather than being fully submerged so it can suck in water that feeds my calcium reactor.  Once that was addressed, I watched the Versa pump but water wasn't moving.  I replaced the tubing in the Versa, and greased the gears.  Next I calibrated the dosing pump to make sure it was running at the correct rate.  It was, so I reconnected the line to the calcium reactor so it could resume flow.  I turned off the calcium reactor's circulation pump so it would purge out any trapped air.  

The next day (yesterday) I saw another notification that my alkalinity again had dropped below my preferred threshold (less than 7.9 dKH). Again, I mixed up another 2 tablespoons of soda ash, and added that to my reef to keep the dKH above 8.0. 

alkalinity graph

It was time to measure the reactor's effluent to see what that alkalinity measured.  It should be between 19 and 35 dKH.  My test result: 8 dKH. No wonder the number in the reef was dropping, it wasn't getting enough via the effluent because the solution was weak. Why? Because I never turned that recirculating pump back on!  I flipped the switch, waiting 20 minutes, and then tested the effluent again.  Now it measured 26 dKH - perfect.

And today, the reef's alkalinity is already up to 8.44 and rising back toward my desired 9.0 range. 

Reef keeping will keep you on your toes, and the trick is to #1) don't forget to turn things on, and #2) stay aware of what the latest notifications report.

... and now I need to figure out why one of my leak sensor got wet at 5 a.m. this morning, which created some other minor drama for me.

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