While most would get excited to go out on a Friday night, I instead stayed in and tinkered with my reefs. Reefkeeping needs attentiveness, and tonight was one of those nights where I needed to address specific needs, or lose corals.
Last time I tested the water in the frag system, Calcium was much too high, Magnesium wasn't where I wanted it, and Alkalinity was low. My dosing container had a bunch of white snow in the calcium section which didn't completely dissolve. Once Mg ran out, and Ca was nearly empty, I just had to wait for the alkalinity to be used up. The last couple of days, a couple of frags went south but I didn't put two and two together. All the alkalinity was gone.
I thought I'd be able to remove the dosing container - that was always my plan for periodic cleanings. Except I discovered it isn't coming out at all. Now that the tank is plumbed with PVC, that necessary headspace that seemed perfect was obstructed. Oops. I resigned myself to clean out the container where it is, down on my knees in the fishroom.
Then it was time to mix up all solutions. I had to bake some Baking Soda to turn it into soda ash, and mixed up 2 cups of Soda Ash with 1 gallon of RO water (my RO water measures 2 TDS, so it's good enough for this solution). Next I mixed up 10 tablespoons of Magnesium Pronto with 1 gallon of RO water. Finally, I mixed up 2.5 cups of Fritz Calcium chloride with 1 gallon of RO water. All three sections were refilled, tubing was carefully inspected for cracks, each line was reprimed and it's ready to go.
While I was involved in this task, I cleaned out the sump of any sediment using a pass-through pumps from Cobalt and a filter sock. It's a painless task, trapping all the crud in the sock. Then I installed a very small circulation pump in the skimmer section because that water has zero moment. Now when the additives hit the water, they will disperse quickly into the saltwater.
Turning my head toward the big reef, I saw the need to mix up a gallon of Magnesium for that dosing pump. And spotted that my ATO had not kicked on today for some unknown reason. I cleaned the sensor, checked the power connections, wiped down the inner walls of the sump and got a bunch of RO/DI water pumped back into the sump to the normal water level. I'll have to keep an eye on the SmartATO - it may be time to replace it after two years of service.
The RO/DI system has been making more water for hours, replenishing three different storage vessels this evening. Tomorrow I'll test all the tanks and see what the current parameters are.