Aquaforest Components 1+2+3+: The Balling Method Made Easy

I n this ongoing [CVtv] series we explore and demystify the Aquaforest method.  We will cover Aquaforest products, how they work, what is needed to get started, but more importantly, how to properly and safely implement Aquaforest into our aquariums and how to read and monitor our tank inhabitants to ensure success. 

In episode one, we covered Aquaforest Core components like bacteria and salt to reduce unwanted nutrients. 

Episode two covered what to feed our corals once we stripped our water from those unwanted nutrients. 

In this 3rdepisode, we will cover what the balling method is, how to prepare and mix each of the components and what to test for in order to know how much to dose.

The balling method is one of the most commonly used ways to supplement your tank.  It was developed by Dr. Hans Balling as a way to solve the issue of maintaining Calcium, Alkalinity, Magnesium and Trace Elements in reef aquaria. 

What makes the balling method so attractive is that it is easy to supplement as there are only three liquid parts to it.  It can be easily controlled to predictable concentrations that make it simple to know how much to add in order to obtain a desired level.  Finally, it is scalable.  Even large systems with high demand can be fully maintained by using this method without negative effects to the pH level of the water.

Aquaforest has taken this balling method and enriched it with trace elements that are fundamental for marine organisms to live and thrive. As a result, they have created three liquid components that can be easily and systematically dosed in equal amounts on regular basis.

Components 1+2+3+ were developed to fulfill coral demand not only in terms of Magnesium, Calcium and Alkalinity, but also in terms of other elements that are required by corals but are difficult to test for and supplement.  Those additional trace elements are included in optimal quantities to ensure corals have easy and constant access to them.

Keys to Success

As with any method, there are rules that we must follow.  These rules are in place to ensure proper implementation and greater success.  We call these rules our Keys to Success!

  1. Test, test and test.  Blindly adding chemicals to a tank is a sure recipe for disaster.  Before you add anything to the tank, be sure to test your water parameters.  That way you will know exactly how much to add in order to obtain the desired results. 
  2. Balance the equation! In order for the balling method to work, you need to add equal parts of the three components.  This means that if you add 100 ml of 1 part, you also need to add the same amount for parts 2 and 3.
  3. Demand is like the price of gas, it constantly changes. I always chuckle when people tell me that their tanks alkalinity never changes.  A coral’s demand can change from hour to hour.  In our systems here, Alkalinity demand spikes from 12 noon until around 8 pm and then the demand goes down overnight.  The more you test, the better you will be in tune with your tank’s demand pattern.   
  4. And finally, Patience. Not being patient is the number one reason why we hear and read negative stories online. We jumped the gun and introduced something when the tank was not ready and experienced an issue that could have been easily avoided if we waited just a little bit longer.

Aquaforest 1+2+3+ comes in three individual components that are dose separately allowing for much higher control.

Component 1+ is the Calcium supplementation.  It contains Calcium, Strontium, Barium, Cobalt, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Nickel and Chromium. 

Component 2+ is the Alkalinity supplement.  It contains Sodium Bicarbonate, Fluorine and Iodine. 

Component 3+ contains Reef Mineral Salt, Magnesium, Potassium and Boron and it helps maintain Ionic balance in your reef aquarium. 

Dosing Aquaforest 1+2+3+

Dosing Aquaforest 1+2+3+ is very simple. 

First, we need to figure out our tank’s current demand.  This is a lot easier than it sounds.  All you need to do is:

  1. Test your tank’s Calcium and Alkalinity and make note of the levels. 
  2. Then stop water changes and do not add any trace elements or other additives to your tank for 24 hours. 
  3. Then test your tank’s Alkalinity and Calcium again.
  4. Compare the results to the ones you got 24 hours earlier and that gives you your current tank’s consumption. 

For example, yesterday your Alkalinity measured at 9 dKH and today, 24 hours later, your Alkalinity measures 8.5 dKH.  This means that your tank consumes .5 dKH in a 24-hour span. 

Now let’s take this number and plug it into our handy Aquaforest Calculator

Enter your tank’s volume on the top right and then under the Alkalinity column, type in 8.5 as your current Alkalinity and then 9 as your desired Alkalinity.  Select Component 2+ from the product list and click “Calculate”. 

In order to maintain our tanks Alkalinity at 9 dKH, we will need to add 153ml of Component 2+ on a daily basis. You can add it all at once or what we recommend is splitting the total over 24 equal but smaller doses to ensure long term stability. 

You can do this by using a Dosing machine such as the Kamoer X4.  It is equipped with 4 individually controlled dosing heads and a super simple to use App. 

As we mentioned on our 2ndKey to Success, Aquaforest balling method works best when all three components are added in equal parts.  This means that if you are dosing 153ml of Component 2+, you also need to add 153ml of Component 1+ and Component 3+. 

Mix Your Own Components

For those of you looking for a powder version for easier shipping and storage, Aquaforest developed Calcium, KH Buffer, Reef Mineral Salt and Components Strong. 

Mixing to the same concentration as the liquid counterpart is very easy.

For Part 1, Simply take 50 grams of Calcium and dissolve in 1L of RODI water.  Now take 5ml of Component A Strong and Component B Strong and add them to the solution.  Make sure to shake well so it is fully dissolved.

For Part 2, take 80 grams of KH Buffer and dissolve it in 1L of RODI water.  Now take 5ml of Component C Strong and add it to the solution. 

For Part 3, take 25 grams of Reef Mineral Salt and dissolve it in 1L of RODI water.  Take 5ml of Component K Strong and add it to the solution. 

It is very important to test your water parameters on a regular basis.  Testing will allow you to detect any changes in demand and let you adjust your dosing regimen to maintain your tanks parameters stable. 

FAQ File

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

I have been using Aquaforest 1+2+3+ and I noticed that while my alkalinity is stable, my Calcium level has gone down.  Can I just increase the amount of Component 1+? 

Technically, we do not recommend that.  While your tank is deficient in Calcium, it may not be for the other trace elements included with Component 1+.  Adding Component 1+ will help you get your Calcium levels up, but you may also end up overdosing one of the other trace elements.  For this reason, we recommend instead use Aquaforest Calcium and do a one-time manual adjustment.  Use the Aquaforest Calculator to know exactly how much you need to add.

Can I add Component Strong to my own recipe of Calcium Chloride and Alkalinity? 

No. The concentration will likely be different causing an imbalance of trace elements. The amount of Component Strong added is based on the concentration of Aquaforest Calcium and Aquaforest KH Buffer.

Well, this is our video for today.  On our next episode of the Aquaforest series, we will explore problem solvers.  What to do if your tank is deficient on a particular trace element or if your tank is experiencing high levels of Phosphates or Nitrates.   

If you have any questions or issues with the product, don’t hesitate to visit our support portal at coralvue.com/support.  Our friendly support reps are eager to help you with any questions or issues you may have. 

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to stay up to date on all our latest products reviews and tutorial videos. You can also follow us on twitter @CoralVue and give us a like on Facebook at Facebook.com/CoralvueAquariumProducts.

 

Author: Carlos

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