The new expanded range of EcoSystem Aquarium products includes items not seen before in the UK. The Eco Balling Method, a 3-Part Calcium Supplement plus associated minor and trace elements is a new take on the traditional Balling System. The Eco Balling Method is designed to be easy enough for the newest of reefkeepers to use with success.
Continual improvements in techniques and advancements in aquarium technology have made the successful maintenance and propagation of more and more corals in the reef aquarium a reality. This has necessitated the development of an effective dosing system to deliver elements, such as calcium and carbonates, which are vital to the well-being of reef-building organisms.
In the early 1970s, a breakthrough in this area was made by German aquarist, Peter Wilkens, who advocated the use of kalkwasser in the aquarium. In this method, a saturated calcium hydroxide solution was “fed” into the aquarium, drop by drop, via a thin tube, but, this technique also caused a significant rise in pH.
In 1994, Ernst Pawlowsky, of Germany, introduced a new method of calcium supplementation, which soon became quite popular in the United States — Calcium part A and Calcium part B.
At around the same time, Rolf Hebbinghaus, of Germany, produced the CO2 calcium reactor, and Hans-Werner Balling developed the “Balling Method” of calcium supplementation.
By 1996, continued improvements in the Balling Method made it the method of choice for dosing reef aquariums with essential elements, such as calcium, magnesium, and other minerals, whilst maintaining adequate carbonate hardness (alkalinity).
When used correctly, all levels of major elements remain constant, with calcium levels at 420 mg/l, magnesium at about 1300 mg/l and carbonate alkalinity at 7 dKH.
The ECO Balling Method.
The ECO Balling Method Calcium A, B and C, has been formulated in Germany by EcoSystem Europe, and is an efficient, easy to use method of maintaining consistent levels of calcium, magnesium, carbonates and trace elements in the reef system.
For soft coral reefs using the Miracle Mud method, the Eco Balling 3-Part Calcium Supplement may be all the supplementation you require apart from those all important water changes.
According to the numerous German aquarists who have been using the Balling Method, although this methodology has accounted for a doubling is size of small-polyped stony (SPS) corals in their aquariums within about 100 days, colouration has been compromised unless the trace elements Iodine, iron, strontium and NF Metal (all included in the EcoSystem range)
So for SPS reefs using the Miracle Mud method, we recommend using the Eco Balling 3-Part Calcium Supplement plus the Eco Trace Elements.
What follows is a comprehensive, step by step, description of the ECO Balling Method for supplementing calcium, magnesium, other minerals and trace elements, and maintaining carbonate alkalinity at natural seawater levels.
Instructions for Use
Before using the Eco Balling Method – Calcium 3-Part Supplement, measure all vital parameters in the reef aquarium with commercial test kits, including those for carbonate alkalinity (dKH), calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg).
Make the following adjustments in this exact order:
- if the Mg level is below 1300 ppm, adjust to a level of 1300 to 1400 ppm by using a magnesium supplement, such as Eco Magnesium – liquid (for established aquariums with livestock) or Eco Magnesium – powder (for new aquariums with no livestock).
- if the Ca level is below 400 ppm, adjust to a level of 420 to 439 ppm, by using a calcium supplement, such as Eco Balling Method – Calcium Part C (for established aquariums with livestock) or Eco Kalkwasser and Eco Calcium Plus (for new aquariums with no livestock).
- if the carbonate alkalinity level is below 7.0 dKH, adjust the carbonate alkalinity to 7.0 using Eco Balling Method – Calcium Part A (for established aquariums with livestock) or Eco Buffer dKH (for new aquariums with no livestock).
Step 1 should only need to be performed once.
To maintain calcium at 420-430 ppm, magnesium at 1300-1400 ppm, and dkH at 7.0 and other important parameters at natural seawater levels:
Add 50 ml/200 litres of actual aquarium water volume per day of each part of the Eco Balling Method – Calcium Supplement Parts A, B, and C separately. This dosage may need to be varied depending on the stony coral population.
Use a saturated calcium hydroxide solution, such as Eco Kalkwasser, at night to replace water lost to evaporation.
Monitor carbonate alkalinity, dKH, weekly as it tends to decrease due to heavy consumption of calcium carbonate by stony corals.
Do regular weekly water changes and monitor the salinity (salt content) of the aquarium water. Salt concentration tends to rise over time owing to factors such as water lost through evaporation and through the use of a protein skimmer.
Supplement weekly with Eco Trace Elements – Eco Iodine, Eco Iron, Eco Strontium and Eco NF Metal.
You can see this product range on the Midland Reefs website under EcoSystem Aquarium (Miracle Mud)