Kalk Reactors, Stirrers & Dosers: How do you add Kalk to your reef?

BRS

What method or equipment do you use to dose Kalk in your reef aquarium?

  • Dosing Pump and bucket

    Votes: 83 23.4%
  • Magnetic Mixing Reactor

    Votes: 17 4.8%
  • Kalk Stirrer

    Votes: 77 21.7%
  • Do Not Add Kalk

    Votes: 150 42.3%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 28 7.9%

  • Total voters
    355

ceaver

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Mine does not completely clog, but I use airline tubing for the outlet and knock the crystal off every once in a while. I would keep an eye on it, but I've never had a problem
That's great news, thanks. I'm about to make the switch over from ATO top off to a dosing pump with airline tubing...
 

ineption

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For what it's worth I simply mix up kalk in a large container 30 Gallon keep the lid closed. and add that to my sump with Kamoer fxstp (ecotech versa) can be used as well.
Currently dosing at 3 ml a min which is close to my max evaporaton. Since this I have lost zero sps f u low pH and bad bacteria that comes with it. Hello new growth tips.
I aslo add 2 part on top of that and adjust the dose based on my alkatronic readings. Boom simple
 

ScottB

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What’s an EC meter? I’m in Florida, I evaporate about 2 gallons per day. I have no doubt it’s because of CO2 in the air. We went on vacation for 10 days during the summer and while we were away, I could see on my apex that the pH went to like 8.3. And that was before I started using the kalk reactor. How do I deal with this?
This will measure the saturation of you kalk.

Start with calibrating the probe for sure; you don't want to overdose because of a bad reading. If you are evaporating 2 gallons a day, then you can push more water through the reactor and the ATO won't have to work so much.

The beauty of using the APEX dosing pumps is that you can control them remotely to raise/reduce the amount of kalkwasser according to what pH is doing. If you are feeling daring, you could even automate that.

In a sealed up house, CO2 accumulates. As soon as weather allows, I open up a bunch of windows and then I need to slow down the kalk pump.
 

cryptodendrum

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No photos of it, but here are two articles that may be useful. One is a description of my system overall, and one is about limewater (kalkwasser) and measurements I took on it.

FWIW, I took that tank down after 20 years, but would use limewater again if i set up another.

What Your Grandmother Never Told You About Lime by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com


Randy, I think I owe you about 17 years of gratitude and thanks - that's about how long I've been using a variation of your described setup, which has made my life of managing KH / CA levels a lot easier & cheaper. On top of that, you've been a tremendous source of knowledge for me & my 30 years in the hobby. :)

If you ever travel to the Netherlands (The Hague), I'll gladly buy you a beer or three, or other beverage of your choice.

I'll post a write up of my solution here just after this comment. And again, a huge thanks to you!
 

Pescador

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Surprised ATO was not an option?
I just started using Kalk. So far so good.
My top-offs are simple and low-tech. Gravity powered siphons never fail unless they run dry, and I trust a ball-float stop valve to work how it should. As long as I don't do anything stupid, like forget to close the ball valve when doing a water change , it will never flood my tank with tons of Ca(OH)2. I used to dose alkalinity this way and have been keeping it pretty stable, but had trouble maintaining pH and Ca. I did some simple stoichiometry to translate the dose to Kalk, assuming reef builder is mostly baking soda (does anyone know?) Evaporation rates still throw a wrench in the works, but I monitor and adjust accordingly. As much as I can, I like to avoid spending $$$ on fancy equipment.
 

PeterC99

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I am getting ready to add an Avast Kalk stirrer to one of my tanks. I have a CA reactor that isn't able to keep up with my Alk and CA demands so going to use the Kalk to handle what the CA reactor can't. The positive impact on PH will be an added +.
Recently stopped using Kalk to supplement my calcium reactor and now dose TM AFR. Benefits - run CaRX at higher pH, constantly dosing trace elements, and no more messing with Kalk.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Randy, I think I owe you about 17 years of gratitude and thanks - that's about how long I've been using a variation of your described setup, which has made my life of managing KH / CA levels a lot easier & cheaper. On top of that, you've been a tremendous source of knowledge for me & my 30 years in the hobby. :)

If you ever travel to the Netherlands (The Hague), I'll gladly buy you a beer or three, or other beverage of your choice.

I'll post a write up of my solution here just after this comment. And again, a huge thanks to you!

You're very welcome.

Glad things have worked out well!

Happy Reefing. :)
 

cryptodendrum

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I've been dosing Kalkwasser since 2004. Originally to a 350L system, but that system is now 2500L, comprising a small network of 3 Display tanks + 4 more tanks in the dedicated fishroom. My tanks are dominated (packed and growing fast) by Corals and Anemones, very few fish relative to my water volume. And Kalkwasser can keep my pH and CA up, but both are at the upper limits (500+ppm CA / pH 8.55-8.60) and Kalk cannot match those levels with KH, without spiking pH to unsafe levels. I already ride the upper limits of pH around 8.55-8.65.

So my solution for this problem is to run a Hybrid Kalkwasser & Baling Salt Lite setup. I use Kalk to make up what it can within safe pH/CA levels, and use Baling Lite to close the gap on ALK and manage Magnesium levels.

I dose with 2x peristaltic pumps which are controlled via my controller acting as a Split Brains ATO. Kalkwasser is dosed between 1:00AM until 1:00PM to keep my pH stable while the tank lights are off. The amount is manually set (currently at 6L a day), where as R.O. Water is dosed on demand for the reminder of evaporation make up. But the run times of each are accumulated together so I can monitor total water evaporation makeup amounts for that day & historically.

Screen Shot 2021-08-18 at 14.19.36.png
Screen Shot 2021-08-18 at 14.19.11.png




The result is my pH is very stable, and thanks to Kalkwasser dosing (split across 12 doses, dosed every hour) varies very little at night / lights out. Average total pH diurnal deviation is about 0.5 - 0.8. (screen cap of 6 week history log below, from when I recharged my Kalk reactor on 4th July until today. Single dip was me adding some freshly made salt water to replace water from a sand vac job I did.)

Screen Shot 2021-08-18 at 14.20.11.png



The way I prepare and store my Kalkwasser is also a little bit different. Based on a write up from Randy Holmes-Farley about using a bucket Neilsen reactor, I use a 20 Litre recycled salt bucket, a design I've been using reliably since 2005.

It is a continuous feed design, in which fresh water comes into the bucket via a toilet valve and water level is set to about mid-height (approx 10L). I have a large Eheim pump to mix the reactor in the afternoons after dosing. Since the pump is oversized, I only have my aquarium controller trigger it for 5 seconds, to avoid disturbing the Kalk crust at the water level, which prevents CO2 diffusion into the Kalkwasser.

Kalkwasser is withdrawn from the reactor via a plastic riser bottle, exits the riser bottle and passes through one more glass 1L sediment collection bottle, before passing through the pump and is dosed into the sump.

I use Calcium Hydroxide that is used by cheese makers, and every 3 months I recharge the reactor by dumping 500grams into the reactor. This is enough to last nearly 3 months; it starts to putter out about 1-2 weeks shy of 3 months, and it's decline is measurable by pH. After 4 consecutive recharges of the reactor (1 year of usage), I disconnect the reactor and empty it to clean it thoroughly before setting it up for another years of usage.


It used to be that despite having more than a dozen fast growing LPS "mother colonies", my Baling Lite ALK additions were about 70ml a day, but after adding a couple of Monti's 2 years ago, my ALK additions are now up to 250ml a day to hold my dKH right between a value of 8-10.

Generally, my Baling Lite CA solution is rarely used except to make corrections if CA get's out of line.

BTW, my Baling Lite chems are of the Fauna Marine brand. I know I would plow through the CA & ALK salts far, far, faster if I didn't use Kalkwasser. Which actually saves a lot of money as well.

This sits underneath my fishroom sink. I've got the kalkwasser reactor sitting in a 50L Rubbermaid tub, just to catch any type of overflow / leak / toilet valve / disconnected hose problem (in 15+ years, it's happened once, and it kept kalk from touching the floor.)

Tap water comes in via the grey hose on the backside and connects to the toilet valve though the side of the bucket. The green hose is the extraction hose and leads to the 2nd stage sediment collection bottle, before being sucked through the pump itself. This way, there's always negative pressure on the majority of the Kalkwasser feed hose up until the pump.

Screen Shot 2021-07-14 at 11.47.38.png

I didn't skimp on the Toilet valve - I went to a plumbing shop that services commercial professional plumbers and laid out a full 15 euros for a good one, instead of one of the cheaper 6 euro units, which lasts me at least 5-8 years, which is a pretty good life expectancy I think considering the harsh conditions it's in.

The Reactor Riser bottle is a 2 liter cola bottle with the bottom cut off. The bottom is cut off in a zig-zag fashion & several large holes made into the side towards the very bottom of the bottle to allow large undissolved slurry of Kalk to pass through easily. The bottle has a loosely bound Zip-Tie attaching it to the heavy Eheim pump to hold it in place when the pump comes on, but also facilitates easy removal for annual cleaning.

The Eheim pump is something like a 2500lph pump (forgot the exact rate) which seems like overkill, but it only fires for just a few seconds each day. 5 seconds is just long enough to kick all the kalk slurry up on the bottom, and not disturb the top crust on the surface of the water too much. The other advantage to using such a powerful pump like this is, it never clogs and never really requires cleaning. I find very little build up or blockages of it during my annual reactor clean out & rebuild. It's very reliable & is the same pump that has been in there for at least 10 years now.

BTW, the plastic PEP Cola bottles break down (become brittle) after about 3-4 years and have to be replaced. Usually, it's right around the cap that cracks first as that is exposed to negative pressure and thus breaks the siphon from the pump.

Screen Shot 2021-07-14 at 11.48.39.png



This is the second stage sediment collection filter bottle. This is the accumulation of slurry / sediment after one year, which isn't a lot, but helps ensure that the kalkwasser that gets dosed to my tank is pure clear dissolved kalkwasser. Kalkwasser from the reactor comes in via the green downtube and exits via a very short 2-3cm extension just under the top cap via a siphon from the pump. The run to the pump is about 2 meters and from the pump, half a meter to my sump.

Screen Shot 2021-07-14 at 11.49.04.png

Lastly, these are my 3 display tanks. The fishroom also contains some tanks, but they're my "working tanks" (frags, growout, clownfish breeding, etc.), not meant for display. The big tank is 1000L and 2.5 meters long; and the total volume of the DTs is right at 1450L, with the other 1000L coming from the tanks and infra in the fishroom. The 4x pipes from these DTs which goes under the floor to a room on the otherside of the house to the fishroom holds approx 200L alone.

Screen Shot 2021-07-14 at 12.23.20.png


I have approx a dozen pretty significantly sized mother colonies of Softies, LPS corals, and a few SPS, which all grow pretty rapidly. (It's just me, I prefer corals that move and sway more than SPS) I harvest about half of everything you see here every 6-12 months and sell it to some local fish stores to offset my operating costs & bring more sustainability to our hobby.

The Monti's suck huge amounts of ALK and without my continuous feed Kalkwasser setup I'd be remixing 5L of Alk supplement every 5 days, but with Kalkwasser, it's more like every 20-30 days.

Cost wise, a 5Kg container of Alk Carbonate powder costs me approx 35 euros, where 500grams of Kalkwasser powder that lasts for 3 months costs me about 10 euros. So it's easy to see how that adds up over a year of cost savings.

Kalkwasser is the way to go, even if one has to use additional supplementation to "top up" any gaps Kalkwasser can't achieve.


Screen Shot 2021-07-14 at 12.35.31.png

Overall I'm very, very pleased with my Hybrid Kalkwasser Baling Lite setup. It's optimised for about as little fuss and mess while delivering dependable performance & cost savings, serving my needs very well for the past several years.
 

joseph scott

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Dosing with Kalkwasser is an effective way to add calcium and alkalinity to your reef tank. There are several different ways and pieces of equipment that we can add kalk to our reef aquariums. So how do you do it and what method do you prefer? Let's talk about it!

1. What method or equipment do you use to dose Kalk in your reef aquarium?

2. Have you tried other methods but didn't find them as successful for you?


1629214692613.png
I dose kalk through my ATO. I don’t have any hard corals or clams, but I do have lots of snails, and coralline algae.
 

sarahgo

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Dosing with Kalkwasser is an effective way to add calcium and alkalinity to your reef tank. There are several different ways and pieces of equipment that we can add kalk to our reef aquariums. So how do you do it and what method do you prefer? Let's talk about it!

1. What method or equipment do you use to dose Kalk in your reef aquarium?

2. Have you tried other methods but didn't find them as successful for you?


1629214692613.png
I just add Kalkwasser to my RO top off. Just easier for me. I haven't tried other methods, but I am interested in seeing others responses!
 

TexasTodd

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I use a 68 gallon ATO resivor with kalk at a bit beyond full strength. A Ehiem 1262 in it for constant stirring and a chemical dosing pump that runs 24/7 drip rate into a full blown 210g SPS system. Wall to wall SPS and this is all I add other than Red Sea Colors and water changes. Evap is about 3 gallons a day. Also a Squamosa that has grown from 2.25" to 9" in about 3 years.
 

reefinnewb

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d) I have a LOT of surface turbulence and a (temperature based) fan than evaporates. I don't see your location, but a 300G system should lose a lot of water -- much more than 3 liters of saturated solution per day.
Agreed. I dose 2400mL per day in my 65g system. That keeps me at 450 calcium and 9dkh
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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I'm old fashion I suppose I have a gallon jug and a teaspoon. After I check my levels I spoon the amount I need shake shake shake dump into my overflow as top off.

How much alk are you adding that way? Adding 1.4 dKH will instantly boost pH by about 0.6 to 0.7 pH units.
 

tamanning

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How much alk are you adding that way? Adding 1.4 dKH will instantly boost pH by about 0.6 to 0.7 pH units.
I have a 75 gallon mixed reef and it's draw is not always the same. I measure and add.
One half a teaspoon in one gallon of rain water will give me a boost of .5
 

Plandauesq

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This will measure the saturation of you kalk.

Start with calibrating the probe for sure; you don't want to overdose because of a bad reading. If you are evaporating 2 gallons a day, then you can push more water through the reactor and the ATO won't have to work so much.

The beauty of using the APEX dosing pumps is that you can control them remotely to raise/reduce the amount of kalkwasser according to what pH is doing. If you are feeling daring, you could even automate that.

In a sealed up house, CO2 accumulates. As soon as weather allows, I open up a bunch of windows and then I need to slow down the kalk pump.
What reading should I be looking for on the EC meter?
 

ScottB

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What reading should I be looking for on the EC meter?
It reads to 999 or so maximum. Fully saturated is higher so it will give you error code., but you will see it rapidly count up and you know the solution is plenty strong.

Over a couple weeks, my solution will start dropping to 650 or so and I will dump in some more kalk powder.
 
BRS

IS RTN/STN MORE COMMON THAN IT USED TO BE?

  • Yes! I (and/or my friends) have experienced it more than it used happen.

    Votes: 3 9.4%
  • No. I think it's about the same.

    Votes: 12 37.5%
  • No. It's actually less common than it used to be.

    Votes: 2 6.3%
  • I've never experienced RTN/STN.

    Votes: 5 15.6%
  • What's RTN/STN?

    Votes: 10 31.3%
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