Calcium reactor. to count drip rate or not??

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry by Randy Holmes-Farley' started by d_adler, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. d_adler

    d_adler Active Member

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    im just setting up my 2 stage calcium reactor and i have MANY questions..

    i want to try and follow this method.


    i was going to use a steady stream method where you do not count the drip rate but use the melting point to adjust.

    current equipement list:
    geo reef 510 reactor (main)
    geo reef 410 secondary chamber
    carbon doser reguator
    needle valve
    5 gal co2 tank
    2016 apex to turn the regulator on and off

    i am very new to calcium reactors and have done my research but all of it pertains to counting drip.
    when doing this alternative method:

    1. i was wondering what pressure should be going into the regulator?
    2.i was starting with a ph zone between 7.25-7.4 and i cant keep the ph steady. if i have the carbon doser set to 1 bubble every 10 second and it continues to not stay steady can i adjust the pressure to the regulator to try and stabilize the ph?
    3. ive realized since starting 2 days ago that even with the secondary chamber that the ph in my tank has lowered from 7.9-8.1 to 7.7-8. could this be because of how small the second chamber is? should i be worried about raising/chasing numbers?
     

  2. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    Low tank pH is a drawback of CaCO3/CO2 reactors, and extra chambers do not change that fact. All the CO2 that you are adding ends up in the tank, and curiously, the pH of the reactor effluent is not an indication of how much CO2 is being delivered to the tank.

    When you say pressure to the “regulator”, what do you mean exactly? The actual regulator will have the normal pressure of a CO2 cylinder open to it.
     
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  3. d_adler

    d_adler Active Member

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    I did not know the extra chamber didn’t effect the co2 entering the system. What is the benefit of an extra chamber? I thought it was to raise the ph of the effluent.

    As for dialing it in... i know valve 1 obviously opens the tank letting co2 into the regulator. But what does valve 2 control? By raising or lowering the pressure on this valve what does it accomplish? IMG_5812.JPG
     
  4. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    Many people misunderstand the second chamber and how the effluent pH relates to the tank pH. It is to make the most use of the CO2 you are adding, so in a sense it allows you to deliver less CO2 because you can dial it back and get the same total alk delivered to the tank due to extra media dissolving in the second chamber. But just adding the second chamber and seeing the pH in the effluent is higher does not, but itself, cause the tank pH to rise.
     
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  5. boozeman27

    boozeman27 Active Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    Valve 2 sets the delivery pressure (or bubble size) as indicated by the dial above it. Set it to about 6-8 lbs. Then set the small dial (seconds per bubble) to about 4. Mine is set at 7lbs with a seconds per bubble at just below 5. This, combined with my effluent flow rate of about 70-76mls/minute, gives me a reactor ph of 6.65. Of course your settings will all be based on your desired alk and your daily alk consumption. Make sense?
     
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  6. d_adler

    d_adler Active Member

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    Make sense. There’s a lot of misleading information out there that says otherwise.



    this is exactly the information I was looking for. So in my situation the ph is lowering to quickly and I have it set to 1 bubble every 10 seconds. I think it’s set around 9lbs at the moment. what I could potentially do is lower the pressure making the bubble size smaller so i can stabilize the ph.
     
  7. S-t-r-e-t-c-h

    S-t-r-e-t-c-h Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Ocala Reef Club Member

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    Not sure if you've seen this already, but this article is pretty comprehensive. It starts pretty basic, but the info on adjusting the settings ~3/4 of the way in are very helpful:

    http://reef.diesyst.com/crarticle/crarticle.htm
     
  8. d_adler

    d_adler Active Member

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    This is great. I’m definitely gonna read it over later today
     
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  9. boozeman27

    boozeman27 Active Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    Remember when adjusting co2. Changing the pressure valve (bubble size) makes bigger changes than the bubble count dial.
     
  10. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    What would be surprising is if there wasn't. :D

    Nearly every aspect of reef chemistry has incorrect info around, including a lot of big name manufacturers that make incorrect claims about their own products since they do not understand them.
     
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  11. Robert Vacchiano

    Robert Vacchiano Active Member

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    I use a 3 Ft 3 inch pvc pipe with a j fitting at bottom fill it with calcium reactor media and put a air stone in bottom and let the water from reactor to flow down the pipe. The pipe is not full of water just the water trickling through from reactor.It does raise my ph coming out of calcium reactor
     
  12. bubbaque

    bubbaque Never enough SPS R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Randy, in a round about way having a second chamber does raise ph, if the second chamber lets you use less co2 and see get the same alk delivery, correct?
     
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  13. Lousybreed

    Lousybreed Active Member

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    Randy I have been thinking about having my effluent from my reactor discharge into a small pvc reservoir. I would aerate the reservoir in hopes of driving off the CO2. Think it’s worth it. From the aeration chamber it would get discharged to the sump.
     
  14. Lousybreed

    Lousybreed Active Member

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    I saw that same video. Randy what is your thoughts on this? My thought is you are wasting a lot of CO2....but it seems so much easier!!
     
  15. bubbaque

    bubbaque Never enough SPS R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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  16. hybridazn

    hybridazn Acro killer..... Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Photo of the Month Award R2R Excellence Award 3RMAS Member Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Showcase Editor Build Thread Contributor

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    I use the method in the video, basically it just eliminates the need to count bubbles and not even need to adjust the effluent. You will most likely never get the ph in the reactor to stay steady, your end goal is to keep the regulator from clicking on/off repeatedly, this just extends the life of the solenoid. You should try to keep it around 7-10 cycles a day, if you can't it's not the end of the world.

    As for wasting co2 I can't say it does or doesn't. I set up my reactor over a year ago and I am still on the original 20lb co2 fill.
     
  17. d_adler

    d_adler Active Member

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    Thats what ive been trying to do. I cant get the regulator to stay on. As of now i have the ph range on the apex set at 7.3-7.4. it turns on at 7.4 takes about a minute or 2 before it hits 7.3 and then shuts off starting the cycle over again. I have it set to 8 pounds and turned to 1 bubble ever 10 seconds.
     
  18. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    Yes, A second chamber will raise the reactor pH in that chamber. My only point is that this rise in pH is not an indication that the effect on tank pH is necessarily less, and second chamber aside, some things that you might do while adjusting a reactor (such as increasing the water flow rate) might also result in higher reactor pH but not in any rise in tank pH since the CO2 delivered us the same.
     
  19. d_adler

    d_adler Active Member

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  20. hybridazn

    hybridazn Acro killer..... Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Photo of the Month Award R2R Excellence Award 3RMAS Member Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Showcase Editor Build Thread Contributor

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    How fast is your effluent?
     
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