Ice Cap Kalkwasser Reactor Use Inquiry

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rhostam

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Hi there,

I have an IceCap Kalkwasser reactor that I put to use several months ago. It's been great for helping me maintain a remarkably stable pH as well as alkalinity.

Unfortunately, my setup is a bit strange and I encounter relatively frequent problems with it overflowing from the cap. In an unrelated post, I asked if that lid was supposed to threaded or not. The answer I got was that it is just a cover, not air/liquid tight.

I have a closet behind my AIO tank. Being an AIO, I can't exactly place the reactor right next to the DP and having it dose as expected. Instead, I thought I would be clever and position the reactor higher than DP water level and in the closet just behind the tank as close as I could get it. The total distance from the outlet of the reactor to the DP sump is about 3 feet (diagonally). There are no kinks and the flow path is in constant decline (no ups/bends/twists in the dosing tube).

The input to the reactor is connected to a Neptune DOS which is scheduled to provide X ml of RODI throughout the day provided some conditions are met (i.e. pH and Alk don't exceed a specific threshold, dose no more than 30 seconds at a time, waiting 15 min between doses, maintenance mode, or other conditions that turn off returns, etc).

Weeks can go by without a hitch. I periodically check the reactor (days sometimes up to a week) to make sure the KW hasn't built up and clogged the outlet port. I use a pipe cleaning brush to do this. It does seem to clog frequently enough to be a problem. When I notice that DOS shows large amounts of volume without a corresponding increase in pH or Alk that there is probably an issue. Sure enough, the issue is usually that the reactor is overflowing. If I jiggle the outlet tubing just right sometimes the fluid comes out in a torrent or it trickles. I can then clean the ends of the tubing or check the outlet port again.

In order to minimize clogging, I only have the reactor stir for about 5 minutes once a day with an hour-long settling period. During this time no KW is dosed.

So the questions I have are:
  1. Should I expect my configuration to work?
  2. Is there something I haven't considered (other than the distance) that might lead to this behavior?
I recently put the reactor in a container resting on firm foam pads so that I could catch it overflowing if it happened again. Not a day later, it overflowed again.

My application may not simply be optimal. I see YouTube videos showing the units placed directly next to sumps minimizing any travel or tubing.

Thankfully, the recent occurrences haven't caused damage, but they were messy. I will likely move this unit to the tank in my build thread that is presently underway, but until that happens I'd like to see if I could keep using it where it is. If not, I'll have to find another solution to my problem. I've even thought about adding an optical sensor to the mixing chamber! But then that doesn't solve the problem.

I've attached a few pictures to show what is going on (including the container that caught the overflow from today's incident).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


icecap positioning.png


20210511_185622383_iOS.jpg



20210511_185637998_iOS.jpg
 

TX_Punisher

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I’m unfamiliar with this reactor. Is it designed to be pressurized? can It be reconfigured to be drawn thru from the DOS?

I use my old PM kalk reactor the same way with my DOS but it’s tightly sealed and designed to be pressurized thus I see no leaks. It sounds like the cap just sitting on top as you stated won’t provide an air tight seal while the DOS is creating pressure this leading to an overflow situation.
 
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rhostam

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I’m unfamiliar with this reactor. Is it designed to be pressurized? can It be reconfigured to be drawn thru from the DOS?

I use my old PM kalk reactor the same way with my DOS but it’s tightly sealed and designed to be pressurized thus I see no leaks. It sounds like the cap just sitting on top as you stated won’t provide an air tight seal while the DOS is creating pressure this leading to an overflow situation.

Yeah. Apparently not designed to be pressurized. If I were to pull from reactor instead (clever idea), I would definitely need to create a seal. Of course, then I would also not have this problem. Hehe.

Something to think about!

What brand is PM short for? I might check one out for the AIO. I can move the Ice Cap to the new tank.
 
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Mine does the same thing. I don't know if it is a surface tension thing that keeps the water from exiting the reactor or what, but it will over flow if not careful. I started using my ato to basically clean the tube when it kicks on and I haven't had the problem since. May just be that I'm more vigilant now. I noticed if you lift up the fill lid every now and then it helps with the air lock also, so I started gently setting it on at a slight angle. I'm doing a new build right now and it's such a pain in the rear I may switch to Avast reactor so I don't have to deal with it.
 
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rhostam

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Do you have the output restricted at all?

I don't believe so. I am going to try changing tubing out. But from what I can tell, I don't think there is any build-up or clogs. When I notice the reactor water level sitting higher than the output (but not yet overflowing) sometimes all I need to do is tap the end of the tube attached to the output it all drains immediately.
 
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rhostam

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Mine does the same thing. I don't know if it is a surface tension thing that keeps the water from exiting the reactor or what, but it will over flow if not careful. I started using my ato to basically clean the tube when it kicks on and I haven't had the problem since. May just be that I'm more vigilant now. I noticed if you lift up the fill lid every now and then it helps with the air lock also, so I started gently setting it on at a slight angle. I'm doing a new build right now and it's such a pain in the rear I may switch to Avast reactor so I don't have to deal with it.

I've thought the exact same thing re: surface tension due to the film and also just resting the cap of the reactor gently so as to not create a vacuum.

Can you describe what you mean by "started using my ato to basically clean the tube?"

Also checking on the Avast reactor. I am assuming Avast Marine Works? I have their feeder and it works quite well - my tank inhabitants have never been happier.
 

PanhandleReef

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I've thought the exact same thing re: surface tension due to the film and also just resting the cap of the reactor gently so as to not create a vacuum.

Can you describe what you mean by "started using my ato to basically clean the tube?"

Also checking on the Avast reactor. I am assuming Avast Marine Works? I have their feeder and it works quite well - my tank inhabitants have never been happier.
I have a Y attached to the hose with the ato line attached to one and reactor attached to the other. As long as the tube is unrestricted the fresh ato water flows out the reactor tube and flushes it out every time the ato kicks on. Still have to be careful though because if the hose gets clogged all the ato water will go into reactor. I also had the the ato line zip tied to the reactor line at one time and just the water flowing down the side and across the exit seemed to work also since that’s where the build up typically is.
 

PanhandleReef

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I have seen pictures of people attaching a 90 degree elbow on the inside and they said that helped prevent the gunk stopping water from making it out. I was going to try that also but haven’t tracked down an elbow that would work. It really shouldn’t be this much of a pain so I’ll more than likely move on from it.
 
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I have a Y attached to the hose with the ato line attached to one and reactor attached to the other. As long as the tube is unrestricted the fresh ato water flows out the reactor tube and flushes it out every time the ato kicks on. Still have to be careful though because if the hose gets clogged all the ato water will go into reactor. I also had the the ato line zip tied to the reactor line at one time and just the water flowing down the side and across the exit seemed to work also since that’s where the build up typically is.

Neat idea.

I saw a video (I thought BRSTV) that suggested putting the reactor in line with the ATO.

So, ATO --> Reactor --> Sump.

I loved the idea and I tried it, but I forgot about the pressure of the ATO pump (Neptune PMUP). Big mess. I may also try gluing the cap on. My only concern with this setup is that if I remove large volumes of water, I may introduce more KW than the tank requires in one fell swoop. Having the KW reactor decoupled is convenient for that reason.

I have seen pictures of people attaching a 90 degree elbow on the inside and they said that helped prevent the gunk stopping water from making it out. I was going to try that also but haven’t tracked down an elbow that would work. It really shouldn’t be this much of a pain so I’ll more than likely move on from it.

Agreed. I noticed the Avast uses an elbow inside the tank for its gravity-fed drain. Perhaps that is how they mitigate the gunk build-up at the waterline. Maybe that is an avenue to pursue. Just need to find the right part. Time to go shopping.
 

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Neat idea.

I saw a video (I thought BRSTV) that suggested putting the reactor in line with the ATO.

So, ATO --> Reactor --> Sump.

I loved the idea and I tried it, but I forgot about the pressure of the ATO pump (Neptune PMUP). Big mess. I may also try gluing the cap on. My only concern with this setup is that if I remove large volumes of water, I may introduce more KW than the tank requires in one fell swoop. Having the KW reactor decoupled is convenient for that reason.



Agreed. I noticed the Avast uses an elbow inside the tank for its gravity-fed drain. Perhaps that is how they mitigate the gunk build-up at the waterline. Maybe that is an avenue to pursue. Just need to find the right part. Time to go shopping.

The Avast is also using a much bigger opening
 

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I don't use the ato method to feed the reactor because I prefer to have better control of how much I'm putting into the system. Currently I use a BRS 50 ml doser controlled with apex. I'm certain the problem is the 1/4" elbow so an option may be just removing that and drilling it out a little to put in a 1/2" like the Avast.
 
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I don't use the ato method to feed the reactor because I prefer to have better control of how much I'm putting into the system. Currently I use a BRS 50 ml doser controlled with apex. I'm certain the problem is the 1/4" elbow so an option may be just removing that and drilling it out a little to put in a 1/2" like the Avast.

Great idea.
 

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