Kamoer X1 doser (& Tropic Marin's All-For-Reef/Voss DIY dosing container) review

Orm Embar

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I'm new to automated dosing, as I have always added either kalkwasser (via gravity fed ATO which would clog all of the time, or via a manual dripper which was way too variable and imprecise for my tastes) or 2-part (added manually to the sump) for the most part. I've always considered dosers to be "really complicated stuff for really advanced reefers" (SPS?), and between that, the price tag, and lack of space under my tank, I've never seriously considered a dosing pump.

Several months ago, that changed with 2 separate products: 1) Tropic Marin's calcium formate one-part additive, and 2) Kamoer's relatively very cheap Bluetooth X1 dosing pump. I was also pushed in this direction by my laziness in letting my alkalinity drop repeatedly (leading to some coral losses) and a tank partial crash due to adding 2-part quickly right over the return pump leading to precipitate landing all over many coral frags, which killed many of them (and some of the rest dying after an ill-advised change to my LED lighting spectrum towards whites which increased my PAR far more than I expected and bleached much of the rest).

My goals: a very simple (and therefore more reliable) dosing setup to maintain Ca/Alk/Mg for a 43 gallon system (Red Sea Reefer 170). I'm hoping that between this doser, Tropic Marin's one part, and a DIY dosing container, that my reef supplementation needs will be "better" (fewer mishaps due to my forgetfulness, less need to fiddle with stuff).

Kamoer X1 doser: (bought used; it didn't come with the graduated cylinder for calibrating so I bought 10 and 25 ml plastic graduated cylinders from Amazon.com)


It's quite small and light, with a simple plug and some clear tubing (not shown). Bluetooth, so it's controlled by a downloadable app (iTunes has it, and my understanding is that Google's equivalent has it as well). It also has a daisy chain cord, so you can daisy chain multiples with only 1 power cord.

The online video by CoralVue is pretty clear, and I was running it with one end dipped in a cup of vinegar to clean it out within a few minutes. The app is pretty straightforward. I can't yet comment on reliability or precision, but it certainly looks good from my perspective.

My only gripes are that the tubing is 3/16" rather than standard 1/4" push-to-fit tubing. Later this week, I have a Bulk Reef Supply package with https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/ozone-resistant-kynar-straight-male-npt-x-barb.html (3/16" barb to 1/4") , https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/mur-lok-1-4-female-npt-x-1-4-push-connect.html, and their 1/4" clear push-to-fit RO/DI tubing so hopefully that solves the connection problem. Special thanks to @Mark Bianco for his post (#2) at https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/connecting-john-guest-push-connects-to-barb-style-dosing-pumps.400322/ which answered my adaptor questions (for some reason, his username isn't activating)


Tropic Marin All-For-Reef: (on bottle #2) calcium formate, in one of 3 options. I remember seeing several threads on this (https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/has-anyone-tried-tropic-marin-bio-calcium-or-carbo-calcium.410153/), but it's essentially one part plus magnesium and trace elements. CarboCalcium is pure calcium formate (power or liquid), which are your other 2 options. My understanding is that it's similar to calcium acetate (calcium is consumed directly; acetate is metabolized into bicarbonate so it "turns into" alkalinity) but with less carbon dosing from formate than, say, Salifert's calcium acetate one part.

It's certainly more expensive than DIY 2-part, but I figure that for a smaller tank, the convenience is worth it. I could switch to powdered CarboCalcium in the future (which looks like the cheapest option) if desired.

It comes in a Bettix bottle, which is great for measuring out 10/15/30 mL with a squeeze and pour. I highly recommend Tropic Marin's dosing calculator, as it prevents errors like mine (I was off by a factor of 4 leading to an alk crash, as I may have not converted from Liters to Gallons :-( ): https://www.tropic-marin-smartinfo.com/en/minerals/all-for-reef.html#open-5

I've been using this for a month or two, and (when I remember to dose it!) it works as expected - it replaces alkalinity, and presumably calcium (I haven't been very diligent about following that). It doesn't cause any precipitate, and when I add it next to my return pump I don't notice any tank inhabitants reacting to it at all. I also didn't see any precipitate problems when added to an open ATO reservoir like I had with kalkwasser.

My one question is this: for All-For-Reef, it contains one of Tropic Marin's additive formulas as well (their A- product) but not their K+ additives, so I just bought a bottle of the K+. Presumably, that covers my trace element needs (although I do need to check if silica is present in either product or if I have to add that separately). I have an email out to Tropic Marin on this question (do you need K+ with All-For-Reef?). I think that I also asked if you could mix the products; I'm assuming not, otherwise why wouldn't they simply add everything? Addendum 5/11/2019: I missed @Lou Ekus 's email (thanks!) - All-For-Reef apparently contains both Trace A and Trace K elements, so I didn't need the bottle of Trace K after all. So, another reason to stick with All-For-Reef for simplicity.

VOSS water bottle doser: (based on multiple threads on here and elsewhere, including a video online) there's a slightly more than 3" wide space between my sump side and the side of the tank stand, so if I wanted a dosing container that didn't sit inside the sump (which I thought about, but decided that putting the doser on the side with the gap/outside the tank allowed more space to move the ATO whenever I need to fiddle with that) then I needed a narrow one. I have some Bulk Reef Supply Mur-Loc push-to-fit adaptors, so I drilled a 3/4" hole for that and a 1/16" hole separately to prevent a vaccuum forming in the bottle. I think it looks quite slick!





Once I get my clear 1/4" tubing and my adaptors (3/6" barb to 1/4" push-to-fit) up and running, I'll see where we are at.

Hope this was helpful!
 
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Proteus Meep

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Hi Orm what is the noise level like with this doser...i am currently using the Aquamedic sp3000 and the clacking at startup is ridiculous


Edit....it seems that laying my aquamedic one on its back instead of hanging it completely eliminates the clacking at startup
 
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Orm Embar

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Hi Orm what is the noise level like with this doser...i am currently using the Aquamedic sp3000 and the clacking at startup is ridiculous


Edit....it seems that laying my aquamedic one on its back instead of hanging it completely eliminates the clacking at startup
I haven't noticed any clacking; there is an audible whirring as it runs, but nothing bad. I haven't tried running it inside the stand to see if any noise gets out.
 
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Orm Embar

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Update: the Kamoer does a bit of clicking when it's been running for 30 seconds or so. Not loud, and not entirely consistent. Still experimenting with it.

The tubing issue is a bit more problematic - while the above mentioned barb fittings do work (with stretching and hot water!), the output flow has air pockets in it starting from when the tube widens, and it affects how much it pumps out. Because of that, I'm going to be using airline tubing (same thickness) instead of push-to-fit connections with RO tubing and drill a small hole in the top of my container while simply feeding the airline tubing in through that.

I still like it, but the tubing issue is annoying. 4/5
 
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Orm Embar

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Tubing continues to be annoying; unless you only need a very short length of tubing, I recommend ordering tubing from Coralvue ($4.99 for 3 day shipping, $5 for 5 feet of the clear tubing that fits on the ends of the connectors). Airline tubing is too big. As best I can tell (ruler measurement of the clear tubing which is the same as Coralvue's website), the tubing is 3 mm internal diameter/5 mm outside diameter. I will be very happy when this finally gets set up; I do think that Coralvue should have simply put 5' of tubing in each package given how difficult it is to find.
 
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Orm Embar

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Rinsed everything with vinegar (tubing from Coralvue had a little of a processed scent, but otherwise was as expected and fit as expected), then rinsed and internally primed with RO/DI water, so waiting for everything to dry for installation tomorrow. I had to move my Ranco and found out that the Scotch heavy duty Velcro tape is incredibly strong (to where I thought I was going to rip the paint off of the inside of the stand!), so a butterknife to create an opening was needed. Relatively quiet while priming, no loud clicking. Getting around 7 mL for 10 seconds when calibrating with shorter tubing; will recalibrate with dedicated tubing tomorrow (hopefully). So far, everything works as expected aside from needing to buy more tubing from Coralvue.

Rating 4.5/5, as I've cooled off from the "find the tubing" issue. They really should throw in 5' of tubing, though.
 

Tamberav

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Interested to see how the all for reef works for you. I have been debating on trying it but it had some not so promising reviews on another forum. They couldn't get alk stable with it...but who knows....maybe it was something else going on with their tank so I haven't written it off.
 

jrill

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Interested to see how the all for reef works for you. I have been debating on trying it but it had some not so promising reviews on another forum. They couldn't get alk stable with it...but who knows....maybe it was something else going on with their tank so I haven't written it off.
I've been using it for about two months now and am happy with the results. Alk has been stable and corals look much better than before I started with it.
 
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Orm Embar

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Interested to see how the all for reef works for you. I have been debating on trying it but it had some not so promising reviews on another forum. They couldn't get alk stable with it...but who knows....maybe it was something else going on with their tank so I haven't written it off.
I don't have enough data to comment on alk stability; what I plan on doing is checking it every few days (ideally, daily for a week to establish a trend) and then space things out when they are stable to a maintenance schedule of once weekly checking. I'll try to keep y'all posted, either here or (more likely) the other Carbocalcium thread.
 
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Orm Embar

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OK; start of doser experiment (that's what it feels like!):

-alkalinity at 8.9 dKH by Salifert test kit (target alk roughly 9)
-doser calibrated at 6.66 mL per 10 seconds
-rough estimate of alkalinity consumption from 0.13 to 0.46 dKH per day for a 43 gallon tank by my calculations (alkalinity drop corrected for additions of All-For-Reef); using Tropic Marin's online calculator, 8.14 mL recommended daily for daily consumption estimated at 0.28 dKH daily which is in the middle of my calculated estimates
-I was going to dose 8 mL daily, but the Kamoer app gave me 1, 3, or 9 dose points so I went with 3 during the day (9 AM to 6 PM) as I'm afraid that with very tiny additions there may be a greater chance of error. So, with 3 dose points, it's going to add 2.6 mL at each point for a total daily dose of 7.8 mL
-I will recheck alkalinity in a few days; the app should show how much was added so if that is off then I will adjust as needed
-There's about 300 mL of product in the Voss bottle; I wanted to be sure to cover the intake at the bottom, but not to fill the bottle at this point

To do: find a better way of securing the drip line; it's looped through a little probe holder that doesn't fit even remotely on the sump side! I need to find a saltwater safe (plastic) clip. I also need to order more All-For-Reef and another Salifert alk kit.

Pics: (note the hole in the lid of the Voss glass bottle is slightly larger than the tubing, so it isn't airtight to avoid vaccuum error); pic 2 is the end elbow to try to avoid the tube from accidentally ending up flush against a wall blocking flow). Yes, pic 4 looks incredibly unstable and unsafe - I will at least try some masking tape on the sump outside to stabilize it somewhat.

 
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Orm Embar

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Success! I think - the doser was supposed to add 2.6 mL solution this morning, and per the app 3 mL were dosed (the display doesn't include fractions) with 297/300 mL remaining. The end of the dosing line is still in place, and there's a new half-droplet of liquid additive at the end of the tubing. No leaks, no unexpected occurrences.

I'm thinking that the "track volume of dosing container so it lets you know when to refill" is really handy - hand't really thought about that before.

I'll retest in a few days to see where my alk is at. I could test daily, but given the margin of error for the test, I wouldn't expect to see any changes.
 
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Orm Embar

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Parameters (with underdosing) today: Ca 450, Alk 7.3, Mg 1440. My tank generally runs high with calcium (Fritz) over the last year or two; I've been replacing alk but not calcium prior to one part for months.
 

Proteus Meep

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It seems that this doser sadly will not resume dosing after a power outage and requires reconnecting to the bluetooth device/app before it can continue with its program just flashes red until then...not good if away from home or goes unnoticed for a while

One flaw in an otherwise nice little doser
 
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Orm Embar

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It seems that this doser sadly will not resume dosing after a power outage and requires reconnecting to the bluetooth device/app before it can continue with its program just flashes red until then...not good if away from home or goes unnoticed for a while

One flaw in an otherwise nice little doser
The same just happened to me; unfortunate. I didn't realize it until I just read your post - my unit is blinking red as well. Thanks for the warning!
 

Waynerock

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I have had one running for about a month now and I am very impressed! My Alk has been rock solid at 8.8 since. My reefer 170 has taken off and I was having to dose 10ml a day of Fusion part 2. A little over 100.00 And I got a reliable way to dose cal and Alk. Can’t beat it and having no room under the 170 the size of the doser is awesome too
 

adawg362

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How is your tank looking after using it for a couple months? I was thinking of using the exact same set as you have with a kaomer pump and all for reef for my 20 gallon
 
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Orm Embar

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My tank is looking good, considering I'm way behind on maintenance (macroalgae growth, need to trim my cespitularia). Corals are doing well, alkalinity is a bit tricky to dial in, but overall I'm very satisfied - I would certainly go with the same setup again if I had to do it all over. If I had a larger system, I'd probably buy powdered CarboCalcium + 12 grams Bio Magnesium + 100 mL of A- and K+ trace elements and make my own All-For-Reef. As it stands, I use little enough and have little enough time that I'm simply buying the big bottle of All-for-Reef (a 1000 mL bottle lasts about 40-50 days).

2 caveats - I need to check the container weekly to ensure I don't run out again, and also after power outages as it doesn't reset until you reconnect with the app.

The Voss water bottle reservoir also works well.

Good luck!
 

Chris Spaulding

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I have been using All-for-Reef with the kmor x1 pump for about 5 months now on my RedSea 250. For me it has made my life easier. ATM I am dosing 21.6 ml a day spread out over a 24 hr period,1.8 ml every 2 hrs .My Alk I check daily at 7:00 am before heading off to work and it has been steady at 7.8 too 7.9 constantly. I check Cal every weekend and that stays steady as well. Mag is checked every 3 weeks and steady as well. I dose directly from the bottle as I do not have room under the tank. For me this works well. The cost is a little hirer but the convenience and simplicity for me out weighs this. Will se how this goes as my tank grows out.
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