Introduction to Water Chemistry

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by Wrassman, May 11, 2003.

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  1. Wrassman

    Wrassman Peppermint Shrimp

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    [glow=Brown, 2, 80%]To be realistic, Water Chemistry is one of those daunting topics that a lot of aquarists are interested in, but feel unprepared to discuss or even investigate. This forum is an attempt to change that. Hopefully, through the articles, the discussions, and the straightforwardness of the language, the subject of Water Chemistry might become less frightening to you. In fact, perhaps it could become just another area of interest, like sand beds and refugiums.

    In order to help you get started, I am going to provide you with a few links that I found helpful when I began researching this "obsession" of mine. Note that I am NOT a chemist -- I didn't do that well in High School chemistry -- but after reading these articles (and MANY others) and being able to actually "see" the chemistry in action in my tank, I began to understand the interactions of Ca and Alk, for instance, in a whole new light. It is my hope that this will also happen for you.[/glow]

    http://advancedaquarist.com/index/
    [glow=Teal, 1, 80%]-- After getting to the index, click on "Chemistry in the Aquarium" by Randy Holmes-Farley[/glow]
    http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/mar2002/chem.htm

    http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-02/rs/feature/index.htm

    http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-03/rs/feature/index.htm

    http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-04/rhf/feature/index.htm


    [glow=Brown, 2, 80%]These five links are just a "taste" of what is available online. If you are interested in exploring any aspect of "Chemistry in the Aquarium" in depth, just post your question (you can also PM me at any time). We will find all the information you need, and get the answers you are looking for.

    This is going to be a GREAT forum, people! Let's have fun with it![/glow]
     
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  3. DuhJeepster

    DuhJeepster Plankton

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    I can make a few posts in this forum. :) I have quite a bit of reference material on this subject, so Wrassman, if you can't find the info let me know and I might be of some help.

    DuhJeepster [smiley=2thumbsup.gif]
     
  4. Wrassman

    Wrassman Peppermint Shrimp

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    [glow=Blue, 2, 80%]I certainly appreciate the offer, Tony! Without sounding arrogant or pompous, I think I can deal with most of the questions that will come in here, or at least get people pointed in the right direction to find the answers.

    But, you KNOW I have your number, Tony. I was counting on seeing you around here a little more often, now that I've opened this little forum up. Don't be a stranger! I value your knowlege and experience.[/glow]
    [smiley=scholar.gif] [smiley=idea.gif] [smiley=book2.gif] [smiley=computer.gif] [smiley=smart.gif] [smiley=thumbs_up1.gif]​
     
  5. Wrassman

    Wrassman Peppermint Shrimp

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    [glow=Navy, 3, 99%]Perhaps one more thing needs to be said, about the nature of this forum. Yes, it is an Advanced Forum on the Chemistry of the Water in our Aquariums. However, that does NOT mean that you have to have an ADVANCED KNOWLEDGE of Chemistry to ask a question in this forum.

    You can ask question about pH, alkalinity, Ca, Mg, or Trace Elements, and not know anything at all about Magnesium. In other words, this is a forum to help bring some of the Chemistry out of the cryptic articles and help YOU understand it.

    If you have a pH problem and you don't know why, ask it here. No one is going to jump on you, flame you, beat up on you, any of those things. What we will try to do is answer your question so that YOU understand it.

    I had a professor in college that told me that "you haven't taught a thing unless someone has LEARNED SOMETHING." That is what this forum is all about. Together, we are going to explore the world of Chemistry in your aquarium, and all of us are going to LEARN SOMETHING.

    Peace.[/glow] [smiley=angel.gif] [smiley=angel.gif] [smiley=angel.gif]
     
  6. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Right on Wrassman. [smiley=thumbs_up.gif] Well said.
     
  7. Jeremy

    Jeremy Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

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    Ok, then ill start. How do i keep my calcium, alkalinity, and PH stable?

    Any products that do all 3?
     
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  9. Wrassman

    Wrassman Peppermint Shrimp

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    [glow=Purple, 2, 80%]Yes, SM, actually there are...

    If you will go to "Product Review" and read my articles on Seachem's Reef Calcium, Reef Complete, and Reef Builder, I think you will find exactly what you are looking for.

    As for the pH, all of Seachem's products are formulated to be pH 8.3.  That means that the more you use them, the more stable your tank's pH settles at the desired 8.3 level.  To help you get there more quickly, Seachem does make a Reef Buffer that will not only raise your Alk, but will also raise your pH to 8.3.

    I'm sure that stability is what you are looking for with Ca, Alk, and pH.  Believe me, I have tried many, many products looking for the same thing.  Seachem's approach is by far the most stable I've found.

    So, please read those reviews and come back here and ask any questions you want.[/glow]

    Edit: Grammar and spelling... [smiley=square.gif]
     
  10. karlas

    karlas Fire Goby

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    thats a nice collection of links there

    i to like the seachem stuff once i tried it i stuck with it
     
  11. Jeremy

    Jeremy Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

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    what about calcium reactors? those keep the calcium and alkalinity up, but they lower PH as CO2 they use lowers it. do you recomend them?
     
  12. Wrassman

    Wrassman Peppermint Shrimp

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    [glow=Navy, 2, 90%]As long as you are aware that calcium reactors lower your pH because of the CO[sub]2[/sub], you should be fine.  Just make sure you are taking proper measures to keep that under control.  Here's a link that talks about the relationship between pH and CO[sub]2[/sub] in the aquarium:

    http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/apr2002/short.htm

    Here's another link that discusses Calcium Reactors specifically:

    http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-05/sh/feature/index.htm

    If you have any other questions, let me know.  This has been a topic of interest for me for a few weeks now... [smiley=thumbs_up.gif][/glow]
    EDIT: To answer the question, Do I recommend them?

    [glow=Maroon, 2, 90%]That is a complicated question and I'm not sure I'll be able to answer it to your satisfaction.  My answer is yes and no. [smiley=freak3.gif]

    In some aquariums, where keeping Ca and Alk levels have been a longstanding problem, they are an absolute must.  These tanks are usually older tanks that have a low "natural" Ca content (because of the age of the LR and the substrate).  Instead of constantly adding Ca on a daily basis, the reactor is used and re-filled monthly or bi-monthly, depending on the type.

    In new aquariums, however, where the LR is new and the substrate is fresh, the Ca level is not going to drop below 300ppm (unless something else is going on in the tank).  Yes, you are going to require Ca additives, but many companies make supplements now that can be added on a weekly or a as needed basis (Seachem is one).  In a case like this, I would not recommend a Ca reactor.

    I hope this better answers your question. [smiley=biglaugh.gif][/glow]