News from the Tropic Marin labor

August 2019

For all users of Carbo-Calcium and All-For-Reef (and all those who want to become users): Here is some scientific background from our Tropic Marin laboratory on the question: “why can´t I measure an increase in Ca and Alkalinity after dosing Carbo-Calcium or All-For-Reef in my aquarium?”

Carbo-Calcium and All-For-Reef are extremely effective for “maintaining” the levels of calcium and alkalinity in reef aquariums and somewhat less effective at “raising” those levels to desired concentrations. Consequently, it is recommended to start dosing these products once the desired levels of these parameters are reached. To adjust these parameters individually, we recommend using Tropic Marin Balling Part A for raising the calcium level and Tropic Marin Balling Part B for raising the alkalinity level when needed.

Carbo-Calcium powder is a pure, organic calcium salt (calcium formate Ca(HCOO)2). Calcium formate dissolves in water to form calcium ions (Ca2+) and formate anions (HCOO-). This happens gradually according to the needs in the aquarium. With the recommended daily starting dose of 5 ml of concentrated solution per 100 liters/26 US-gal. of aquarium water, 2.15 ppm of calcium and 4.8 ppm of formate are added to the aquarium water. This small but effective quantity does not result in measurable changes in pH, water hardness and calcium or alkalinity concentration in the aquarium water.

Formate is taken up by microorganisms in the aquarium and metabolized, eventually forming bicarbonates within the coral polyps, and then used to build the calcium carbonate coral skeleton as it grows.

After dosing, the Carbo-Calcium is present in the water column in a form that cannot yet be measured (by common tests at home) and is only broken down in response to the metabolic demands of the corals. Since the metabolic processes in the organisms take place in a controlled manner (supply and demand), the resulting changes in water parameters are so small they are often undetectable.

These products are highly effective at supplying the essential calcium and bicarbonate components that the coral need for growth, even at extremely low concentrations. These supplied compounds “bypass” a stage where they can be detected in the water column and are taken up by the coral polyps directly.

In summary, it can be said that the components for the growth of corals supplied by means of Carbo-Calcium (and All-For-Reef) are not detectable by conventional test kits. We are actively working on a testing method to measure these organic salt compounds in the aquarium at your home, but as of now none exists.