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CaCl2&MgSO4

Discussion in 'Aquatic Plant Fertilization' started by deucebiggss, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. deucebiggss

    deucebiggss Guru Class Expert

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    I read in Tom Barr's EI article and Watson strategy that the CaCl2 does not dissolve that well in water. Well, it sure does not. Does anyone have any tips on dissolving this stuff? I also read about using GH Booster, but how much of this stuff do you need to bring KH and GH up by a 1 degree at a time? I have soft water and wanted to know how much Ca and MgSO4 I need to raise my levels.
     
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    More Water?

    Hi,

    Wait a minute...

    Wait please...

    Thank you for waiting; in a little over 8 minutes, including getting stuff out...

    In a 500 ml Erlenmeyer flask, I poured 250 milliliters of distilled water.

    I mixed 50 grams (about 11 teaspoons) of CaCl2, 5 grams (call it a heavy teaspoon) at a time into the aforementioned flask while swirling said flask.

    Personally, I have never had problems with CaCl2, I tend to mix and keep it separate. Keep the PO4 away, but that is true of any of the calcium, dose hours apart or on alternate days.

    I mix all my fertilizer solutions with deionized or distilled water; remember CaCl2 in water is exothermic, capable, if I recall correctly, of reaching 140 F (60 C).

    The first 35 grams went almost immediately (7 or 8 swirls) into solution, 40 and 45 grams each took several times longer. After 45 grams, I did notice an almost fractured surface forming, a few swirls and that went away. The last 5 grams did take 35 or 40 seconds of intense swirling; I also recorded a temperature of 110 F (43.33 C).

    Thirty-five minutes later, the solution has cooled to room temperature, 72 F (22.22 C) from a high (recorded anyway) temperature of 114 F (45.56 C). Swirled in front of a bright light, it is a milky, say 10-15% opaque solution; I can indeed see individual particles suspended in the fluid.

    I will put a #7 stopper in the top and report tomorrow.

    My guess is the answer is more water, 50 grams Calcium chloride into 250 milliliters of water is much higher solution than my dosing regimen.

    I can only speak to my own experience and this little experiment here.

    Time for Fringe. :eek:

    Biollante
     
  3. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    You can use the fertilator to calculate the ppm of Ca and Mg or you can do it by hand. You need to know specifically which exact chemical that you have for your results to be accurate.
    http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/fertilator.php

    MgSO4 is usually found in the form of Epsom Salt which is MgSO4 • 7H2O. CaCl2 comes in several forms. It can be in the anhydrous form or it can be in one of several hydrated forms. I have the dihydrated form which is CaCl2 • 2H2O.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Seachem has an Equilibrium calculator on their new site. http://www.seachem.com/support/Calculators/Dose_planted.html

    Equilibrium's directions also has info about your question. http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/Equilibrium.html
    Directions

    To raise mineral content/general hardness (GH) by 1 meq/L (3 dH), add 16 g (1 tablespoon) for every 80 L (20 gallons*) when setting up an aquarium or when making water changes (add to new water). Equilibrium™ can be added straight, although for optimum solubility we recommend mixing with ~ 1 L (1 qt.) of water (the resulting mixture will have a white opaque appearance). When this mixture is added to the aquarium it will impart a slight haze that should clear within 15–30 minutes. HINTS: Do not use Equilibrium™ when replacing evaporated water. This dose is based on DI or RO water; for other water, measure hardness (GH) first, then add according to need. Plant preferences vary, but a general guide is about 1–2 meq/L (3–6 dH) or match the existing or target carbonate hardness (KH), which, ideally, is also about 1–2 meq/L (3–6 dKH).
     
  4. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    CaCl2 has a solubility around 600-750g/L depending on room temperature. It's incredibly soluble in water, but it also does a nice job of creating precipitates out of other compounds. CaCO3 on the other hand has very poor solubility; at least it takes a long time to get into solution at the levels we see in hard tap water. Most of what you'll find around for CaCl2 is anhydrous, including what's sold on aquariumfertilizer.com.

    I recently answered this very same sort of question for someone else regarding both CaCl2 and MgSo4.7H2O over on APC:
    http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/showpost.php?p=520393&postcount=13

    You may find this bit from it the most useful:

    1ppm CaCl2 = .9090ppm GH = .0509 dGH
    1ppm MgSO4.7H20* = .2425ppm GH = .0136 dGH

    Enjoy :)
     
  5. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    Thanks. I didn't know that af.com's and most folks CaCl2 is anhydrous. My dihydrate came from the chemistry lab at the college near me.
     
    #5 Left C, Feb 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2010
  6. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Just Curious

    Hi,

    I am just curious. :)

    What form of Calcium chloride you were using? As Left C points out there are different hydrates available, I happen to use anhydrous Calcium chloride, that is CaCl2 as opposed to Left C's dihydrate Calcium chloride, CaCl2.2H2O.

    How much water were you dissolving how much Calcium chloride into?

    What kind of water were you using?

    I double checked Dan of Philosophos fame's statements and of course found him to be correct (by the way nice article).

    I should be able to dissolve 3.75 times as much anhydrous Calcium chloride as I dissolved. :D

    The 50 grams of anhydrous Calcium chloride in 250 ml of distilled water is about 4 times as rich a solution as I normally dose.

    Biollante
     
  7. deucebiggss

    deucebiggss Guru Class Expert

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  8. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    CaCl2

    Hi,

    Then I am quite sure you are using the anhydrous Calcium chloride, CaCl2.

    It seems odd that it simply did not go into solution at all.

    How much water were you dissolving how much Calcium chloride into?

    This morning almost 14 hours after my last report, I note the opacity of the solution has dropped to under 5%, likely actually, under 3%, the improved clarity of the solution is easily explained by the fine coating of apparently CaCl2 on the bottom of the flask, I can still see through the coating. The temperature in the room the solution was stored over night, probably dropped into the low 60’s F (16.6-17 C).

    Biollante
     
  9. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Being Anna Torv

    Hi,

    I took four 10 ml samples of my 50-gram anhydrous Calcium chloride into 250 ml distilled water solution and added one 10 ml sample to a 100 ml sample taken from four different planted freshwater tanks.

    I noted no discernible precipitates coming out of solution after one hour.
    I took a 50 ml sample of the original solution and added two drops of Equate Enema, a sodium phosphate solution. Major precipitates of snowy Calcium chloride, it was actually quite lovely. :)
    By adding 50 ml of distilled water to the above solution, the precipitates went back into a (yucky) milky solution, about 40% opacity.
    The resultant poured into a 2.5-gallon tank dispersed in a shimmering, glimmering way that could only mean either, I am Anna Torv and my 2.5-gallon tank comes from an alternate universe or that the resultant solution was a higher density than the water in the tank.
    Since the shimmering went away in a few seconds, I will have to assume the latter. Which is too bad since being Anna Torv would have been almost as good as being Gerry.
    Into a 50 ml sample of the original solution, I added 2ml of a stock trace solution (32 grams CSM+B, 16 grams 10% DPTA iron, in 1 liter of distilled water).
    The resultant solution had a very fine precipitate, a single coalesced string a millimeter or so long. The solution coloration varied light from light at the bottom to dark amber at the top. I had anticipated more precipitate.
    In another 50 ml of the original solution I added 5 ml of the stock trace solution. The resultant solution had more fine precipitate and a single coalesced string two millimeters or so long. With more pronounced light, cloud-like at the bottom of the beaker to rich dark amber at the top.
    After 90 minutes the ‘cloud’ at the bottom of the beakers is now discernible particles coalescing, the ‘strings’ are gone.
    Biollante
     
  10. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    That precipitate you get from tossing in MgSO4 is incredibly insoluble; I've tried boiling it and the little "strings" simply broke down into a fine powder.
     
  11. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    The precipitate in question is rather Calcium Phosphate, a poorly soluble salt

    Also, adding MgSO4 (contained in CSM+B and Booster) to CaCl2 solution will lead to CaSo4 salt formation, which is poorly soluble and will precipiatete depending on the amount added
     
  12. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Fun With CaCl2 & MgSO4

    Hi,

    I mixed 20 grams, 5 grams at a time, of anhydrous Calcium chloride into 250 ml aquarium water (392 mv).
    It took me several times longer to incorporate the Calcium chloride into the aquarium water (392 mv) at 80 F (26.67 C). The resultant solution is milky, 25% opacity, with some fine (40-60 microns) white particulates suspended in solution and a few larger, darker (~100 microns) particulate matter, that I had not noted in examining the aquarium water in front of a bright light.
    I mixed 20 grams of anhydrous Calcium chloride into 250 ml aquarium water (392 mv), as above then added 10 grams of Epsom Salt.
    The resultant product was an opaque milky mixture, immediately precipitate began forming and dropping out. Within 20 minutes, the upper third was clear.
    I swirled the flask, got everything back into suspension. I removed 40 ml and dumped it into my hapless 2.5-gallon aquarium (378 mv).
    I watched the glimmering (since we have established that I am not Anna Torv, we know that this is a difference in density and not a tank from an alternate universe) water swirl the fine particulate around the tank.
    Since the tank has a dolomite cap on the substrate and a high water turnover rate (32 times an hour) I was unable to follow what happen to the suspended fines. The tank which had been 368 mv, dropped to 318 mv, one would expect the ORP values to drop with the addition of calcium or magnesium. One hour later the water was 365 mv; I do not know the significance.:eek:
    When I emptied the flask, I found a tough crystalline coating on the bottom of the flask. Poking and scraping with glass stirring rods only scratched the surface; distilled water did next to nothing. Heating 250 ml of water to boiling in the flask, removed some. Distilled white vinegar of course did the trick and cleaned the flask.

    Biollante
     
  13. Neil Frank

    Neil Frank Lifetime Charter Member
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    So what about CaSO4?

    I have used several different sources of Ca over the years including powdered plaster of paris (hydrated CaSO4), powdered dolomite (CO2 will help it to [slowly]dissove ) and crushed coral. The latter is the easiest to raise Ca levels but the hardest to control the amounts.

    After hearing some of the issues with CaCl2 i hesitate to change my current regime. I dump dry measures of plaster of paris (CaSO4·0.5H2O) and epsom salt in my sump. While the epsom dissolves fast, the P of P takes longer, although after a few days the white glob on the bottom glass seems to be gone and presumably dissolved. Maybe i should test the Ca and GH levels. :)

    Another thought is to create little plaster cubes which will slowly dissolve over several days.... kind of like a weekend fish feeder. I used to remember way back in the stone ages when i actually used weekly sized feeders when i left for vacation and upon return noticed that my plants put out lots of new growth. Those feeders were providing nutrients for the plants, including Ca which after all can be a limiting nutrient for soft water. I later learned that fish can last for a few weeks wo food (like nature or shipping from collector to wholesaler), so no longer use.... and just leave the tanks alone when i am gone.

    But could the concept be useful for plants? Instead of a weekend feeder for fish, it could be a multi-day feeder for plants. and maybe more than just Ca.
    Say, include some macros in the cast, or even traces and use the dry plaster as a vehicle to slowly dose Ca as well and other stuff. One problem could be Ca interference with certain trace element solubility. Also, the proportions of Ca to other nutrients might not work if you wanted to keep the GH low.
     
  14. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Well... Er...Gulp...!

    Hi All,

    Before I saw Neil Frank’s comments, I had come to essentially his conclusion, or properly in the context of this thread, Tom Barr and Greg Watson’s opinion.

    I have to say this little exercise caused me to think through and test some, obviously incorrect assumptions, I had, about getting calcium in a useable form to my plants.

    More in a bit.

    Biollante
     
  15. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Upon Further Review...

    Hi,

    Well, there is no fool like an old fool… :gw

    Upon further review, I will continue to use anhydrous Calcium chloride, CaCl2, at least until I finish a bit more study.

    The point Neil Frank makes is well taken. The statement he makes regarding plaster of Paris (CaSO4•0.5H2O), is exactly what I dislike(d) about Calcium sulfate, “the P of P takes longer, although after a few days the white glob on the bottom glass seems to be gone and presumably dissolved.”

    I dose Barr’s GH Booster in the tank, sump or nowadays in my hoity-toity world I have reservoirs and dosing pumps, don’t ya know, the CaSO4 part takes forever.

    What I like(d) about Calcium chloride, is well, the calcium and the chloride. I guess I was fooling myself about the calcium getting into solution faster. The whole dissolution thing, the exothermic event, the apparent speed with which Calcium chloride goes into solution, blinded me to the demonstrable reality of how quickly the calcium can fall out of solution. :eek:

    It occurs to me after engaging in the for me, ever painful and usually futile process of thinking, that in reality the calcium in Calcium chloride, may simply be acting as the calcium in Calcium sulfate does. Since I do not simply toss, a bunch of Calcium chloride in the way I toss Calcium sulfate in does not mean the calcium is not working.

    I have set up a couple of 10-gallon tanks with bare glass bottoms; I will probably need at least six to test the permutations.

    The problem is I want my calcium and my chloride too.

    Biollante
     
  16. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    You know it's not much of an issue if you premix CaCl2 at 110.77mg/L then dose 1ml for every 6L 3x a week to give 20ppm. I've found it mixes into solution within a few minutes of stirring, doesn't fall out of solution, and it's pretty convenient. I have had zero indications of Cl2 toxicity while doing so.

    CaSO4 means premixing every time you dose; there's no making a stock solution that's below its solubility point, in a convenient size, that achieves a meaningful level.

    Chlorides should be achieved through tap with little effort, even using dechlorinator... I've never seen chlorine deficiency in a tank before.
     
  17. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    ides and ines

    Hi Dan,

    Your dosing rate is about what I aim for. :)

    It is the chloride I want my plants and fish to have not the unstable chlorine.

    Looking for cell structure, osmoregulation and so forth, might wish to check out Barr Report July 2006 http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/2131-Barr-Report-Newsletter-Sodium-and-Chloride?highlight=calcium+chloride.

    I know I have seen a really good explanation by Tom Barr in a post somewhere, my search thing does not seem to be working so well. :)

    Biollante
     
  18. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,

    There's a small confusion here between Cl (chloride) as a salt and Cl in the composition of chlorine (a soluble unstable gas) or chloramine (a more stable chlorine compound)

    Those are 3 different things. The last 2 are toxic while the first (chlorine = Cl) is part of our body and we bring it every day through table salt (NaCl)

    CaCl2 is not a chlorine salt, just chloride salt that in water will give free Cl- to mix with other cations (K+, Mg+...)

    So, you'll never get toxic chlorine or chloramine by adding CaCl2. Tom has already mentioned this some time ago, I don't recall where.

    Also, Biollante, look at my post N°11 above about part of your precipitates
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/6909-CaCl2-MgSO4?p=46266#post46266
     
  19. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi All,

    Thanks Jonny, I appreciate that, I saw your post and your post along with Neil Frank’s, suggested my next steps. :)

    When deucebiggss asked the original question, I realized the obvious error of mixing Epsom Salt and Calcium chloride.

    I guess the statement of ‘fact,’ that prefaced the question, jolted something in what passes for my brain. In part, I had never had trouble dissolving Calcium chloride in distilled or de-ionized water. To be fair I did not try to find the statement attributed to Messieurs Barr and Watson. I simply ‘knew’ that it was incorrect. I recall no such statements offhand.

    My ‘standard’ solution is ~60 grams in one liter of distilled water. Not being as smart as Dan, or smart enough to look it up myself, I did not know how much Calcium chloride I would be able to get into solution. I started with 250 milliliters of distilled water and started out 5 grams (a very heavy teaspoon) at a time. I knew 15 grams would go in easily, I continued until it stopped going into solution easily, 50 grams.

    It was not so much the addition of Epsom Salt precipitating Calcium sulfate, or Sodium phosphate to the Calcium chloride solution, precipitating Calcium Phosphate. It was adding the Calcium chloride solution to my tanks.

    Apparently, I had never taken a close look at Calcium chloride solutions as we add them to the aquarium. What I witnessed was a flurry of calcium precipitates.

    Calcium appeared trickier than I had imagined. Prior to Neil Frank’s post, I had concluded that what I had been doing did not seem like such a great idea.

    Then I thought about Neil’s comment about sticking with Calcium sulfate, CaSO4 and Jonny’s good catch of my misidentification of Calcium Phosphate, Ca3(PO4)2.

    The thing is CaSO4 is CaCO4 whether it is plaster of Paris or a precipitate of whatever reaction.

    As Jonny kindly corrected me regarding the ‘snowy white’ precipitate, Calcium Phosphate, Ca3(PO4)2, is a fertilizer.

    So I dried the resulting precipitates, CaSo4 and Ca3(PO4)2. I dumped 5 grams each into various tanks in various locations along with Barr's Booster and some plaster of Paris. :)

    Sure enough, the CaSo4 I precipitated took the same amount of time to dissolve as the Barr’s Booster, as the plaster of Paris. The Calcium Phosphate, Ca3(PO4)2 took considerably longer, but did dissolve, as far as I could tell, completely. :cool:

    Conclusions: :cool:

    1. Being Anna Torv would be great; being Gerry would not be bad either.
    2. Calcium is Calcium it really does not matter quite what form.
    3. I like chloride in the ‘equation.’
    4. I will continue to use Calcium chloride, CaCl2.

    Biollante
     
  20. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    Is there a thread that preceeds this one? I get the impression there is.
     

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