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The pK of a buffering agent is equivalent to the pH around which that buffer most strongly buffers. One would presume, then, that the pK of a saltwater buffer should be 8.3; however, the multitude of organic acids produced by the inhabitants of a reef system forces pH downward to a much greater degree than in a non-reef, marine system. A buffer with a pK of 8.3 would end up yielding a pH more in the range of 8.0-8.2. Reef Buffer's higher pK (8.6) allows for greater pH stability in a reef system where the bioload is significantly more than in a fish only system. Competing products are not designed specifically for the reef environment, so their pK is too low (in most cases, pK 8.3). At this pK, the proper pH can never be reached in saltwater.
How To Use/Seachem Reef Buffer Dosage
Check pH and alkalinity before use . Use 5 g (1 level teaspoon) for every 150 L (40 US gallons) to raise pH by about 0.1 pH units (this will also raise alkalinity by about 0.5 meq/L). Dissolve in at least 250 mL (one cup) of freshwater, then add to the tank. The pH of natural sea water is 8.25–8.30. In a well established reef system pH adjustment may be necessary biweekly to semiweekly. Dosing requirements will vary, but do not exceed the recommended dose without checking your pH and alkalinity (alkalinity should not exceed 6 meq/L).
If an alkalinity of 6 meq/L has been reached and a pH of at least 8.20 has not been attained or substantial cloudiness that does not clear within 15 minutes is encountered, then the system is not ionically balanced. To restore ionic balance perform a water change or adjust the magnesium and calcium levels to approximately 3:1 Mg:Ca.
DO NOT OVERDOSE: Excess alkalinity may enhance the loss of calcium, magnesium, and strontium. Do not directly mix with any calcium, magnesium, or strontium supplement. Best if calcium & carbonate additives are added on alternate days or at least 30 minutes apart.
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