Calcium Reactor - Decisions Decisions!!!

Discussion in 'General Equipment, Hardware, Filtration' started by BfishLpond78, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. Nep2nRev1

    Nep2nRev1 Member Build Thread Contributor

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    That's the idea for sure. You're melting down coral skeletons to make coral skeletons. All elements should be 1 to 1. I'm sure there's some uptake of calcium, trace elements, etc. to other inverts in the tank that utilize these same elements at different rates than corals, but what your supplying is 1 to 1.
     

  2. Water Dog

    Water Dog Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    They all seem to come with 501rl heads, as did mine.
     
  3. Water Dog

    Water Dog Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    For everyone looking into these Watson Marlow pumps, make sure you get the 220 rpm version, not the 55 rpm one. The 220 will give you adjustability in smaller increments. Again using the L/S 25 (3/16” ID x 5/16” OD) tubing you can make adjustments in 3.95 ml/min increments.
     
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  4. BfishLpond78

    BfishLpond78 F.U.P.A. R2R Supporter

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    Figured what the heck is a few more bucks...added on the secondary media chamber just in case! UMC618

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Mykesocalreef

    Mykesocalreef Active Member

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    If you don't mind explaining, I'd love to hear what your setup is going to be. The how, what and why.
     
  6. BfishLpond78

    BfishLpond78 F.U.P.A. R2R Supporter

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    Well where to start seeing as I started this calcium reactor journey only a few days ago with the starting of this thread looking for information between two different reactors....I was trying to decide between a used Precision Marine and a brand new Vertex. The PM was tried and true and a very good deal, but I am always worried about used equipment. The vertex was shiny new, had lots of features and built by a solid company known for good designs...but the reviews for didn't support the claims. I read lots of complaints around the pump connections leaking...again just what I read as there was lots of positive reviews as well. Rewind almost a decade, I had walked into my local fish store and there was this short, squatty, thick black and white looking device with a big pump on it...then I saw the name GEO...ever since then I always wanted to have something that big on a system...wasn't till years later I learned it was a 818 CalRx by GEO reef...so fast forward to today...I had to have a CalRx by GEO due to the solid reviews about the products and the quick customer service!

    So I purchased a GEO CR624 with a secondary UMC618. From my reading the secondary chamber acts as a degassing chamber, helps Ph rise back up so the potential for dropping main system Ph is limited and you can also add another type of media to the secondary chamber weather its a finer media than the main chamber which will help saturate the effluent more.

    I went with an Alan Le Stainless Steel regulator (which I will name the ALESS) to control CO2. Alan has been recommended on almost any CalRx thread I have read and believe me i've spent many hours....days...reading and watching videos. Alan's reactors are industrial grade and the tuning capability are second to none. I also wanted to reliable dual stage regulator to assist with the "end of tank dump" that can happen when a CO2 tank runs low and pressures are off. When it comes to dialing in your reactor its definitely worth it!

    I went with a Watson Marlow peristaltic feed pump for controllability of dialing in the effluent drip/feed to the system. If you've read this far you can tell that i've gone a little overboard with this portion of the build...so I figured using a medical grade pump was my best option vs a secondary feed pump and using a valve to control flow.

    I have not decided on a Ph Controller as I will be experimenting with using this reactor on a 200 gallon new coral system. So I am trying to use my existing apex system which is about 35-40 feet away. If I can't, I will most likely go with a Milwaukee Controller.

    That was a very long winded response and I hope it makes sense...I'm sure a lot of the things I've said are very subjective and could be wrong, I've gained a lot knowledge from the folks in this thread!
     
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  7. Mykesocalreef

    Mykesocalreef Active Member

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    That was a perfect response. Exactly what I was looking for. From what I’ve researched your plan seems to be the best. I will follow the same plan! I was nervous with reading about them as it seemed most had to constantly adjust the drip, bubble and whatever else. I wasn’t sure if I would do the secondary chamber but it’s beginning to look like a great addition for not much more in the grand scheme. Do you have a link for the ALESS? I see the reactors are rated in tank size similar to skimmers, is there any issue with getting an oversized reactor that you’ve read? I will be adding to my system and would rather purchase the first time if it’s possible. For secondary chambers have you read what size the secondary should be in relation to primary size? Sorry for the questions.
     
  8. BfishLpond78

    BfishLpond78 F.U.P.A. R2R Supporter

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    Just remember this is my first go around with a CalRx, many seasoned folks in this thread that have helped me with my decisions. As far as the Alan Le Regulator, I believe someone posted a link in here to the other sites thread that he started that has his contact info. He's finishing up my build today and I should receive it next week. His communication is awesome and sends pictures of the update like a growing puppy maturing! It surely is a thing of beauty!

    I worked directly with Geo on the addition of the second chamber for the CalRx, as stated before the benefits are the ability to add additional media of a different grain size, additional saturation of Cal/Alk/Trace and degassing of the CO2 to help raise the Ph before entering your system.

    In terms of reactor size I had the same question. From my research you can have an oversized reactor on a smaller system like you do a skimmer...but I wouldn't say grossly oversized. The Geo CR624 I purchased has a rating of 200-400 gallons so there is flexibility on sizing. It all comes down to demand...etc. Reading a couple of the Randy Holmes posts you can slow the flow rate of the feed pump to the main system if you're running at lower demand and slowly increase as demand increases, you'll just need to maintain proper Ph levels inside the chamber which vary from media to media. 6.5 to 6.8 seems to be the norm for your natural media where some of the synthetic stuff requires a Ph of 6.0 to start the melting process.

    Geo recommended the UMC618 reactor for my future tank build of about 4-500 gallons. So thats what I went with!
     
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  9. PedroYoung

    PedroYoung Valuable Member Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    I wouldn’t normally ask this on open thread and feel free to decline to answer, but sounds like you do stuff the same way I do. Could you give a rough $$ number to what you will have invested in the reactor when finished? Reason I ask is I am in the process of a large(ish) build that I am starting up on 2-part with a plan to transition to CaRX when the tank starts humming and need to start squirreling away some $$ now.
     
  10. BfishLpond78

    BfishLpond78 F.U.P.A. R2R Supporter

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    Doesn't really bother me as what I pay is my choice and all the things i've bought are pretty much listed

    GEO CR624 - $618 - Direct from GEO
    GEO UMC618 - $250 - Direct from GEO
    Alan Le Dual Stage Regulator - $550 (opted for stainless steel vs nickel plated which was $360)
    Watson Marlow 505u pump - $250 on ebay

    Few more things are needed
     
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  11. crusso1993

    crusso1993 Valuable Member Partner Member 2019 Hospitality Award

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    Some might think, "Whoa! This guy is dropping some serious coin on a CaRx!" The way I see it, however, is an investment that will/should last a lifetime and also pay for itself. Although, I have no idea about the paying for itself timeframe but one has to calculate in the amount of time saved once the CaRx is dialed in.
    I'm looking forward to seeing you hook everything up and dial it in on your system. Maybe you could shoot some videos of the process. Just a thought...
     
  12. BfishLpond78

    BfishLpond78 F.U.P.A. R2R Supporter

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    I agree, but what some might not know is that we have a yearly hobbyist show where I live called Frag Farmers Market (FFM). Some may have heard of it, its a large show that is geared towards hobbyists, they come and sell their tank grown corals (it went from 7 people in one classroom 12 years ago to over 100 vendors today). So I've taken the money from frag sales and applied it to this purchase along with salt and chemicals for the year.

    Could I have gotten a used unit ready to go, of course...my original post was deciding between a used and a new unit and based on a few days of research, hours and hours of reading and videos...here we are at the end of 70 posts on a thread. At the heart of me I am a closet geek and new equipment, customization and HEAVY duty is my thing.

    I'm very excited for it as i've been a 2-part doser reefer for about 9 years now and love trying new things!
     
  13. crusso1993

    crusso1993 Valuable Member Partner Member 2019 Hospitality Award

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    Very cool! I have heard of FFM and, oddly enough, have never had any idea where it was held. It's fantastic that you sell there to make your hobby semi-self-supporting.
    BTW - IMHO, I think your statement about being a closet geek, new equipment, customization and HEAVY duty thing kind of guy is applicable to about 92.4% of the members on this site! It could even be as high as 92.5%! Lol
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019 at 12:41 PM
  14. BfishLpond78

    BfishLpond78 F.U.P.A. R2R Supporter

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    Yea its held at a high school and organized by the science teacher who has a huge 800-1000 system in his lab teaching the kids about marine biology, corals, fish...etc. They do coral propagation and various experiments. The show has gotten so big that he's able to provide $4-5,000 scholarship to those pursuing a degree in Marine Biology. Such a great show and program.

    Yea a lot of folks go really overboard in the hobby and I think its great...its all about personal preference and whatever makes you happy. $1,000 sps frag or some wild piece of equipment.

    I mean I have a friend who has more light over his tank than I think Joe from LI Aquariums has and he's only got a 105! (stretch of the truth but he's our captain overkill) Cebu Sun twin 250 20k radiums, M80 ballasts, 2x XHO Reef Brites, 4 x 54w T's, Reefbreeders High Octane UV and 2 kessil 360's!!!
     
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  15. crusso1993

    crusso1993 Valuable Member Partner Member 2019 Hospitality Award

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    That's great about the scholarships offered through hosting the frag swap!

    I'd be impressed with Captain Overkill if he threw in some old school VHO Actinics! (Is he a member here?)
     
  16. BfishLpond78

    BfishLpond78 F.U.P.A. R2R Supporter

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    @Tweaked - He's out there somewhere....
     
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  17. PedroYoung

    PedroYoung Valuable Member Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    Perfect, thanks. I am just trying to get an order of magnitude ($2K is a good benchmark). I also have learned the perils of “just good enough, maybe” and tend to go overboard/heavy duty. Peace of mind is worth a lot of $$$ IMO. I will be very interested in following your experience through startup and tuning if you keep this thread going. I have been looking for a reactor info thread, but they all seem brand specific. Thanks for sharing with the community.
     
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  18. Water Dog

    Water Dog Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    For those of you who are looking into the Watson Marlow 505 220 rpm pumps, here is my source for the equivalent of L/S - 25 tubing, which will give you adjustability in 3.95 ml/min increments, and all the required fittings...

    Here’s the 3/16” ID x 5/16” OD Pharmed BPT tubing...

    https://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=25400

    These are the barb connectors, get 4...

    https://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=29608

    These are the quick connect fittings, get 4...

    https://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=26411

    These are the hose clamps, get 4...

    https://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=37611

    I’m recommending 4 of each fitting so you could have a set in the pump and a spare set, ready to go.

    Also, here is the owner’s manual for the Watson Marlow 505u pump for reference...

    https://watson-marlow.com/Documents/knowledge-hub/Archive/manuals/UK/m-505u-gb-03.pdf
     
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  19. Water Dog

    Water Dog Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Here’s my set up... GEO CR612, GEO SMC415, Watson Marlow 505U, 5# CO2 tank and a DIY regulator. My favorite piece of my set up is the Alanle style full stainless Victor SGT 160B dual stage regulator that I built myself.

    0C7DDC11-3AFE-4C73-AA11-B7E3A3A825FF.jpeg
    DEE07CE8-F8F8-4F42-BFEE-F53CC6AB016A.jpeg
     
  20. Breadman03

    Breadman03 Valuable Member Catskill Reef Member

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    My Watson Marlow has some sort of electronic issue. This thread had me reach out to a place that refurbs them so I can take my CARX off of my DOS. Fingers crossed that they have an economical solution for me.
     
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