Has anyone used Kalkwasser in aquaponics? It is designed specifically for use in marine applications and according to the label is is pure calcium hydroxide. calcium hydroxide is an ideal compound for raising ph due to the added benefit of raising calcium levels which are commonly deficient in systems due to the low level in fish feed. If anyone has used this stuff did you record any data on how much you added for a and how much it affected your specific system? Any input would be appreciated!

Tags: alkalinity, buffer, calcium, hydrated, hydroxide, kalkwasser, lime, ph, pickling

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You have to have at least 40 ppm carbonates in order to sustain your bacteria colony's long term so that would be your bare min even if you were going to use hydroxides. In my opinion its just too dangerous keeping your kh that low. What if for example your fish dies or spawns these both can cause a fairly fast increase in ammonia which could easily get ahead of you and crash your pH in a system with little or no buffer. If I'm missing something I'm all ears but my understanding is that the hydrates system was designed buy some one with a hydroponic background and hence why they want that control. The problem is that's far from Ideal if you don't want to have to check your system everyday and the low carbonates slow bacteria colonization among other issues. In the wild carbonates are the source of pH stability that's how plants evolved to use why change that?

Well I have successfully sustained my bio-filter for 6+ months with little to no carbonates. If you talked to Dr. Nate Storey of Bright Agrotech I'm sure he could also attest to sustaining a bio filter with similar conditions for many many years longer than I have. If I have a fish die, or have an ammonia spike for any given reason, due to the fact that I maintain my pH in the mid to high 6's, it's going to mostly be in the NH4 (ammonium) form, which is going to be a bit more forgiving when it comes to fish health. But regardless, I have seen no decrease in my bio-filter's ability to efficiently and effectively convert ammonia to nitrates. So given that rock solid first hand experience, I would say that though it might be true that 40 ppm kh is that "ideal" amount, you can still run a system with great success at lower levels and due to the fact that it gives the user the ability to supplement other nutrients on a more regular basis, you can have greater control over your system. And Carbonates are one of MANY factors that have an effect on pH in any natural or man made ecosystem. 

Personally I completely disagree with hydrates based balancing its simply not stable enough for the average aquaponics user who might go away for the weekend and not want to have to come home just to dose his hydrates. Not to mention with hydrates you use WAY more lbs per year of hydrates vs carbonates. More dosing means more money per year.

I think your missing the fact that you need a bare min of carbonate to maintain your bacteria and your plants. all life forms on earth need carbonate to make new cells why on earth would you intentionally starve them of this it makes literally no sense at all? I don't think your understanding that bacteria cant make more bacteria at all below that level it just cant make new cells. all life on earth that we know of is carbon based so why starve them of it again make no sense. There is only downsides to using hydrates which is why its been almost entirely phased out in the aquarium trade and replaced with carbonate based systems. Fish, Plants, corals, Inverts all grow fast better faster and healthier in that environment this has been proven and tested around the glow by companies like seachem and other major producers of chemicals for aquatic life. I was literally floored when I heard some one was stilling using hydrates for PH stability.  The people pushing hydrates just want you to buy more powder from them because they know it uses more per year so you spend more. Its more profitable for them if your buying from them all the time because your going through hydrates constantly. Carbonates are VASTLY more efficient.  Its simply in no way more cost efficient or less labor with worse results. Again why severely compromise your system? You also could not keep shrimp or crayfish alive in a hydrates based system there shells won't harden properly with out carbonates so hydrates CAN NOT BE USED if you are keeping inverts AT ALL.  Again why use something that limits you so much?

Benjamin said:

Well I have successfully sustained my bio-filter for 6+ months with little to no carbonates. If you talked to Dr. Nate Storey of Bright Agrotech I'm sure he could also attest to sustaining a bio filter with similar conditions for many many years longer than I have. If I have a fish die, or have an ammonia spike for any given reason, due to the fact that I maintain my pH in the mid to high 6's, it's going to mostly be in the NH4 (ammonium) form, which is going to be a bit more forgiving when it comes to fish health. But regardless, I have seen no decrease in my bio-filter's ability to efficiently and effectively convert ammonia to nitrates. So given that rock solid first hand experience, I would say that though it might be true that 40 ppm kh is that "ideal" amount, you can still run a system with great success at lower levels and due to the fact that it gives the user the ability to supplement other nutrients on a more regular basis, you can have greater control over your system. And Carbonates are one of MANY factors that have an effect on pH in any natural or man made ecosystem. 

Can you please tell me why my bacterial colony is thriving even though I have been depriving them of their one and only source of carbon? I even recently added 25 tilapia fry to my system at home a few weeks back (pH is also exclusively adjusted with hydroxides) and saw an initial ammonia spike (up to about .25 ppm) but has since dropped back down to 0 ppm. It's almost as if the bio-filter has adjusted and is compensating for the ammonia increase, but that's impossible given my current KH level of ≤ 17.9 ppm. Some omniscient insight as to why this may be would be greatly appreciated. 


Steve R said:

I think your missing the fact that you need a bare min of carbonate to maintain your bacteria and your plants. all life forms on earth need carbonate to make new cells why on earth would you intentionally starve them of this it makes literally no sense at all? I don't think your understanding that bacteria cant make more bacteria at all below that level it just cant make new cells. all life on earth that we know of is carbon based so why starve them of it again make no sense. There is only downsides to using hydrates which is why its been almost entirely phased out in the aquarium trade and replaced with carbonate based systems. Fish, Plants, corals, Inverts all grow fast better faster and healthier in that environment this has been proven and tested around the glow by companies like seachem and other major producers of chemicals for aquatic life. I was literally floored when I heard some one was stilling using hydrates for PH stability.  The people pushing hydrates just want you to buy more powder from them because they know it uses more per year so you spend more. Its more profitable for them if your buying from them all the time because your going through hydrates constantly. Carbonates are VASTLY more efficient.  Its simply in no way more cost efficient or less labor with worse results. Again why severely compromise your system? You also could not keep shrimp or crayfish alive in a hydrates based system there shells won't harden properly with out carbonates so hydrates CAN NOT BE USED if you are keeping inverts AT ALL.  Again why use something that limits you so much?

Benjamin said:

Well I have successfully sustained my bio-filter for 6+ months with little to no carbonates. If you talked to Dr. Nate Storey of Bright Agrotech I'm sure he could also attest to sustaining a bio filter with similar conditions for many many years longer than I have. If I have a fish die, or have an ammonia spike for any given reason, due to the fact that I maintain my pH in the mid to high 6's, it's going to mostly be in the NH4 (ammonium) form, which is going to be a bit more forgiving when it comes to fish health. But regardless, I have seen no decrease in my bio-filter's ability to efficiently and effectively convert ammonia to nitrates. So given that rock solid first hand experience, I would say that though it might be true that 40 ppm kh is that "ideal" amount, you can still run a system with great success at lower levels and due to the fact that it gives the user the ability to supplement other nutrients on a more regular basis, you can have greater control over your system. And Carbonates are one of MANY factors that have an effect on pH in any natural or man made ecosystem. 

And because of that your bacteria is replicating at 5% of what it would be at 40ppm. You also claimed your system was at 0 which its clearly not if its almost at 20. Its far from ideal and your actively hurting your plants for absolutely no benefit at all. I literally jsut went to an entire presentation but one of the if not the expert on aquaponic bacteria cultures and he had an entire piece on growth rates of bacteria below 40ppm. It absolutely cripples your colonization and bacteria replication. Will it happen yes but no where near as fast.  There are many ways to skin a cat but it doesn't mean its right. I can lower my PH with vinegar it will work but its a horrible idea hydrates are no different. Again you also can not keep invertebrates alive which is widely kept in aquaponics and you are going out of your way to destabilize your PH and compromise bacteria replication. You still haven't addressed the fact that you cant kept shrimp in an hydrates system. hydrates come from people in the hydroponic industry where you aren't using bacteria for your chemical break downs. this is aquaponics and we need those bacteria to help us. this is why hydrates are vastly inferior. hydrates are more money per year more work and less stable for slower growth in bacteria and plants against your only hurting your own system by using hydrates. I know you can control PH with hydrates is it possible absolutely but its not ideal if you want to grow plants inverts or fish. Another thing about your bacteria. To answer your question your bacteria fully colonized the tank before you stripped out the carbonates. i highly doubt you used R/o water so i know you had lots of carbonates in the beginning to colonize your system. You then striped them down slowing your bacteria growth to the point now where its just able to keep up. Point is you didn't colonize your system with carbonates that low and its cycled now so even if they are at 5% of what they could be you'l be ok because there is enough at this point but if your PH got away from you because you missed one dosing for your hydrates your whole system will crash and you will spend MONTHS trying to recolonize a tank with no carbonates. You are also actively adding carbonates every time you top that system off unless your using R/o. Dr. Nate is totally and utterly wrong about the PH crashes in carbonates unless you never maintain them until this horrible info gets whipped from the internet we will still have people who for some horrible reason turn to hydrates over carbonates for practical keeping.  I have kept or maintained  well over 10,000 bodies of water at this point in my life with and with out terrestrial plants and i can tell you from first hand experience your PH will not randomly crash unless you never dose carbonates. Its an urban legend. 

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