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My calicum has been dropping at an alarming rate I started at an even base of 400. Not many hard corals in that tank.

The 27th it droped from 400 to 380. 28th it dropped to 320 and my candy canes were showin clear signs of distress at this point.

LFS reccomend Reef Complete to raise calcium. First dose it held at 320, 2nd dose back to 380 and its not budging. Then 4 days later following up with a dose of carbonate. Just do not back to back dose. I have not dosed it yet for trying to get the calcium back up.

He also gave me reef carbonate for alkalinity/ kh ranging between mostly 8, at 1 time drop to 6. 

Todays reading shows 107.8 (converted) I have not dosed any of the KH alkalinity ever.

My candycanes are stil looking not so good.

I have several toadstools,, some green tipped, some not. The regular ones have shut down since I started doseing just these the calicum .

They were a pale yellow, now it is if they are bleaching. Almost pure white. Listing over to one side, not standing tall as they always have

They are still plump, no wrinkling or decrease in size.

Flow has been perfect, never been move since day one. Could the dosing be doing this or something else? 

My 2 greentips are tenticals fully extended. Not phasing them one bit


So what could be doing this ?

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4 hours ago, Sierra Bravo said:
If I understand correctly, if you're showing 107.8 ppm then your dKH is only 6.027.  What are your magnesium, nitrates, phosphorus, and pH all at?
Did you have a lot of coralline growth prior to the decrease in Ca?  

I use the refractometer and all my numbers have been in constant range. One thing I was wondering about was my PH being steady at 8.2. It was recommended i raise that up slightly, hince the starting to dose, which is something I have never done before now. Guided of course by my LFS.
Since I am just learning about doseing I have been using my LFS advice.
I buy the premium salt mix everytime, I was told it had nutrients and always check it against my tank perameters before use.
I then take a sample to be tested again by my LFS. Their results mirror my results.
My concern here is mainly why my other toadstools seem to be bleaching, while everything else is doing great.
I was just thinking itmight possibly be product related.

PS my coralline growth has had no changed

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I was asking because the first few things that came to mind as to why your calcium was decreasing would be an increase in growth, really high magnesium (which causes it to precipitate out), or dilution.  For folks to get an idea on why your toadstool is looking bad it's helpful to know if your nutrients are low, and in addition to water quality, your lighting may come into play as well.

I'm not going to claim to know the answer to give you guidance, there are people on here that are much more knowledgeable and experienced than I am, but something is out of whack if your calcium is dropping and your Alk is at 6.  Personally, I would start with some water changes and begin to work to slowly get your parameters in line with the levels Randal Holmes-Farley recommends, especially for Alk, Calc, Mag, Nitrates, and Phosphorus.  Nitrates can be a little higher up to 5 ppm, especially in a softie or LPS reef tank.  For alk and calcium look into BRS two part dosing or kalkwasser.  It's a lot cheaper than the supplements the fish store will recommend.  Hopefully, you'll get some input from some of our more experienced members as well.



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I suppose i need to invest in a magnesium test kit. I never wanted tl get int many hard corals, just mostly soft.

You are not the first to reccomend kalkwasser so o will research more into it. 

I also suppose I have never known much about magnesium and its the role it plays in the tank. I bought a reef masters kit and that was not included .

I just made  contact with a membed that has a par meter, another question will be answered about lighting. 

Thanks for your suggestions!

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I am no expert I will start by saying that but all the reefers I have known over the years the ones who chased a specific number always seemed to have problems. As long as you are in a acceptable range I would say you are good. If you don’t have a lot of coral in your system I see no need to complicate thing and dose anything as long as you are doing water changes. Monthly or bi monthly changes should maintain most systems.

These little slices of oceans we keep in our houses are miniature ecosystems they a lot of time are trying to fix what you are adding to the tank which off sets numbers. Then you change and it changes and never becomes stable.

By no means am I saying don’t dose I am just saying if there is no need except to try and get a different number, WHY? I base almost everything off the way a coral or corals look. Like your toad stools not looking hot do a water change and wait and see for two weeks still no change do a water change again and wait and see. Bet it starts to perk up. Water changes are your best friend unless you are Ty (he is a freak of nature) and another thing is out of 100 members I bet none of them see eye to eye on everything. Find someone who has a tank like yours and you can see what they do actually works and then reach out to them for advice. If you try and do what everyone says on here they will conflict and it will cause you problems

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Ca-Mg-Alk are all related. they should rise and fall in unison.  when one of these gets out of whack, figure out why and correct it by compensating the other two.  So.... say you have high alk, avg ca/mg.  raise the ca/mg, this allows the system to process the alk naturally.  dont chase numbers, but know your ratios and when they get out of whack for your system.

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Thanks Issac
This is pretty much what I had already done. All of my numbers remained in good standing within range until I noticed the calcium starting to drop.

That's when I went to my local fish store and explained to them the problem I was having and they offered chemicals to raise the calcium and balance the ph

Since I have not added any new pieces of coral it is beyond me why Calcium would drop so rapidly.
I was at the understanding that buying the supreme salt water supplied all the nutrients I would need especially considering the fact I only had 2 pieces of hard coral in the tank during this entire duration.
The 2 pieces I had were very small candy canes I was at the understanding that buying the supreme water would keep the county of in balance and as I mentioned before I constantly check the water from my local fish store before adding it to the tank.
After seeing many of the replies and advice from my local fish store I now understand the older attaint gets the higher demand for things such as calcium and keeping ph in line is more difficult as the older tank gets.
I do not currently own a magnesium kit but at this point I think it might be a smart investment.

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To be honest Beaux I would be looking at something else entirely.  I've never known Sacrophyton sp. toadstools to be particularly sensitive to calcium or alkalinity supplements.   Lighting and temperature extremes are more likely to be an issue in my opinion.   Temperature extremes expecially can be frustrating as I've seen toadstools experience highs and lows and not initially show much of a negative response only to slowly go down hill over several months.   What I am wondering based on what I've read here is what temperature extremes have these toadstools been subjected to over the last 6-8 months?  Generally I agree with Issac but my experiences with Alk, pH, Calcium and Magnesium not tracking led me to dig into what else is going on in our systems and there are biological processes that are dissolving any carbonate substrate releasing stuff (my systems only get sporadic dosing)  And anything that photosynthesisizes sucks up alkalinity (HCO3) so all the algae and cyanobacteria is using it besides corals. 


I feel I need to point out some issues with Homes-Farley's numbers Sierra Braovo posted.  I haven't been able to find the reference for the ocean surface PO4 level he used but Conkright et al published a paper in 1999 compiling surface PO4 levels from 10s of thousands of observations and it's significantly higher than the .005 mg/l stated.  What I find fascinating is along with Kleypas, et al, 1999 they show PO4 are only low around reefs, add in the research showing corals appetite for it and it's an obvious conclusion corals are sucking it up.  Additionally research conducted over a ten year period at the University of Southampton found phosphate deficiency severely compromises the coral simbiont relationship making the coral very sensitive to light and temperature changes as well as increases in organic or inorganic nitrogen.  Maintaining corals with the numbers given is a very delicate balance and while it might increase a corals aesthetic value as it may demonstrate brighter colors I don't see how it can be considered healthy.  Another issue in trying to restrict the number of zooxantheallae a coral has in order to enhance it's colors is a significant portion of a corals immune system is derived from its simbionts.  Restrict them and a corals immune system is directly impacted negatively.  

(And even though alkalinity does need to be kept stable one curious discovery is one of the most pristine reefs left to us is very happy with just 1.9 meq/l,  5.3 dKH.  And if you want to see a beautiful reef in low alklinity look up Hydrologic's 400 gallon thread.  The last year it was running alkalinity stayed between  and 5 and 5.5 dKH.)


Just for reference here's one of my systems I know I haven't dosed with anything for over a year.  It does get water changes with just tapwater which is pretty alkaline however:


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Funny, bringing up temperatures.
Around the same time that I was having problems with my calcium we had a our AC go out hat lasted for over a day.
I tried my best to keep the temperatures within range although it did exceed the green(80- 82) level on the floatings thermometer for a short period of time meaning that it did go above the temperature range that would be acceptable.
While I was awake I tried to keep the temperature low by turning off the lights entirely and taking ice cues and floating them in my sub tank to try to keep the water cooler and not get too hot.

But again nothing but the toadstools were affected. My mushrooms closed up along with a few other soft corals, but are fully recovered.

I am beginning to wonder if this might tie in with some of the troubles that I'm having with my smaller toadstools while my larger toadstools are doing just fine it's just the smaller ones that have started to whiten and bleach out. That and along with the fact that the small toadstools are different species rather than the larger ones which are green tip toadstools.

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Ca tends to precipitate at higher temps**, this might explain why Ca dropped w/ the more info of your higher temps for a day.  dont chase pH, it will fall in line when "the three" are in check, your salinity is right, aeration is in place, and the temp is stable***.  all those "recommended" readings in the chart above are at 78.  as temp rises, Ca precipitate kicks in at "lower" levels. ie.  520 @ 78, vs 460 @ 80 (examples, i dont know the exact numbers, and it will vary based on many factors in each system)

I think somewhere in the middle of Ty's thread we all had a discussion of which type of salt we use.  it seems most use the cheaper "reef" mixes, since we dose or use reactors more than we water change.  why pay extra for salt, when you have other systerms maintaining those values?  the bottom of my "salt" barrel is lined w/ precipitate & other things settling out, since my garage is friggin warm/hot.  but using this water in a water change doesnt impact my numbers, aside from dropping nitrate and phosphate (i have a pump and airstone in there).

** http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-07/rhf/index.php#15
*** http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-07/rhf/index.php#13

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I'll defer to the folks with much longer experience in the game than I have since I'm rather limited in my knowledge.  Interesting stuff; I have used that reference starting out as has many thousands of others and took it as dogma.   Always learning.


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