Many people discover dosing and get so excited they buy every element under the sun and start mixing and this is truly a recipe for disaster. When you start dosing don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things but unless you’re clued up about this stuff then make sure you take it steady. Alright then, with that small warning out of the way, on to the good stuff!
What is Dosing?
Dosing is using elements from the periodic table to enhance the growth of organisms in your tank. Dosing is a very interesting field to invest in since there are a vast number of elements available that have varied effects on your tank, test lots of elements in your tank and see which ones are most effective on your tank. Just make sure you test all the elements before using them fully in your tank.
Understanding your Reef and its Requirements
Before you begin dosing you need to understand the kind of life that you have in your tank. For example, SPS corals consume calcium incredibly quickly as do LPS corals. Soft corals are less dependent on the elements used in dosing as they do not form a skeletal system.
All these corals require different attention. With softies, the general consensus is that advanced dosing will hardly ever be required since they heavily rely on water changes but people have seen success with Strontium and Iodide. LPS coral, however, are going to be slightly more stressful but only need the basics of Calcium, Magnesium and Alkalinity. Now for SPS corals, if you want to start dosing with lots of different elements than these will offer you the most freedom. They are similar to LPS corals since they require Calcium, Magnesium and Alkalinity but all sorts of elements can be added to SPS corals from Iron to Strontium and even Boron.
Once you’ve got a firm grasp of the life in your tank and understand the parameters you need to maintain them. We recommend investing some test kits since maintaining your tank without these is going to be virtually impossible. Make a note of the current state of your water compared to your goal and make the necessary changes.
You need to track the consumption of your corals once you begin dosing to give you a rough idea of the number of elements you are going to need to invest in. We would suggest tracking consumption as soon as you start dosing but it is absolutely crucial that you are tracking consumption once your water has reached the level that you were hoping for. Tracking the consumption allows you to see how regularly you need to be investing in elements and how much to be adding to your tank at a time.
The dosing process can now be fully automated with the use of a dosing pump and dosing containers, these work by slowly adding the mixed solutions to your aquarium water. It is vitally important that you understand the consumption rates of elements within your tank so you can regulate accurately how much solution the dosing pump is adding to the system daily.
A Final Word
The last thing you can do once you’ve nailed dosing is enjoy your tank! Dosing is a big commitment but is incredibly rewarding if you take the time to experiment, so armed with your new knowledge feel free to get stuck in!