Let's talk Calcium Reactors

ReefGeezer

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Hi all. I've been dosing Kalk for a very long time. It has worked well and I've developed a pretty bulletproof system for dosing the proper amount. SPS growth and population are using ca & alk faster than I can reasonably supplement it with my Kalk system. That's a great thing, but now I have to do something else. I've made a deal for a way oversized calcium reactor. I've still got some components to buy, but over the next month or so I want to get it installed and dialed in. I understand the basics... in theory. So, what do I need to know? What mistakes are common? What media is best? How many use magnesium media? Etc.? Any advice is appreciated.
 

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Hi all. I've been dosing Kalk for a very long time. It has worked well and I've developed a pretty bulletproof system for dosing the proper amount. SPS growth and population are using ca & alk faster than I can reasonably supplement it with my Kalk system. That's a great thing, but now I have to do something else. I've made a deal for a way oversized calcium reactor. I've still got some components to buy, but over the next month or so I want to get it installed and dialed in. I understand the basics... in theory. So, what do I need to know? What mistakes are common? What media is best? How many use magnesium media? Etc.? Any advice is appreciated.
You don't need a controller but they are awesome, and make using a CaRx worry free.

Reborn by Two Little Fishies is great, and inuse ReMag also but only since my Magnesium consumption exceeded the ability of water changes and Reborn to replenish.

I personally suggest a PH of 6.4-6.6 be maintained but everyone has their sweet spot.
 
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ReefGeezer

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Yea, a controller is on the list. I have a Sicce 2.0 that feeds my GFO reactor. I run that pump choked way down so it doesn't tumble the GFO too much. I plan on adding a plenum and needle valve to that pump to feed the calcium reactor. I can't (won't) spend $300 + on a regulator, so a Tunze Regulator with a solenoid will have to do.

The reactor is a Vertex Model Rx-C 6D so it is way over-sized for my 90. The tank has several SPS corals in it that are growing like weeds. They provide a decent need for alk/calcium, but nowhere near the reactor's potential input. I would like to discuss how to get the reactor dialed in without causing too much in the way of alk swings. Any ideas?
 

kapnkush608

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Following. I'm about to make the same jump. My plan is start slow and test often until it's tuned in. Debating the controller as well either going with the tunze, milwaukee or a custom built regulator. Might just get the Milwaukee until I can find a reasonably priced 2 stage.
 
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ReefGeezer

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The electronic regulators are where it’s at bud, totally worth it. I would not run a Carx without one
What's the advantage of an electronic regulator like a Carbondoser that makes it worth 3X other regulators? I asked the same question about MP40's back in the day, so yea... I guess I'm that guy! LOL
 

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I think you say you’ve already got a deal on a reactor but maybe take a look at the Deltec Twin Tech calcium reactors which are very easy to use, but there also expensive

I’ve got the 1500 version

This is a good video if you haven’t seen it already

 
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ReefGeezer

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Following. I'm about to make the same jump. My plan is start slow and test often until it's tuned in. Debating the controller as well either going with the tunze, milwaukee or a custom built regulator. Might just get the Milwaukee until I can find a reasonably priced 2 stage.
While I'd like to use a controller and solenoid eventually, or a Carbondoser if I hit the Lottery, my plan right now to start with a Pinpoint pH monitor and Tunze regulator. I thought I'd dial in the pH inside the reactor with just the monitor & a bubble counter. We used to do this back in the day. The part of the process that I'm not sure about is flow through the reactor. I have to admit I don't know what constitutes an unacceptable alk swing for SPS corals, so I'm afraid that I'll wipe out a bunch of corals. I've had the alk change by maybe 0.7 dKh within a week with no harmful affects, but I may have just been lucky.
 

kapnkush608

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While I'd like to use a controller and solenoid eventually, or a Carbondoser if I hit the Lottery, my plan right now to start with a Pinpoint pH monitor and Tunze regulator. I thought I'd dial in the pH inside the reactor with just the monitor & a bubble counter. We used to do this back in the day. The part of the process that I'm not sure about is flow through the reactor. I have to admit I don't know what constitutes an unacceptable alk swing for SPS corals, so I'm afraid that I'll wipe out a bunch of corals. I've had the alk change by maybe 0.7 dKh within a week with no harmful affects, but I may have just been lucky.
I don't see why a little manifold off the sicce wouldn't work just get a valve for both outputs and a needle valve for the reactor output. The carbon doser just doesn't do it for me lol. I like the gla stainless regulators and the St aquaristic looks nice. I really would like a 2 stage though. Just seems like a better solution than an electric solenoid.
 
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Hi all. I've been dosing Kalk for a very long time. It has worked well and I've developed a pretty bulletproof system for dosing the proper amount. SPS growth and population are using ca & alk faster than I can reasonably supplement it with my Kalk system. That's a great thing, but now I have to do something else. I've made a deal for a way oversized calcium reactor. I've still got some components to buy, but over the next month or so I want to get it installed and dialed in. I understand the basics... in theory. So, what do I need to know? What mistakes are common? What media is best? How many use magnesium media? Etc.? Any advice is appreciated.
It is a small change, then check it 18-24 hours later.

You either adjust pH or flow, but not both. There are online calculators to help you with getting close. Because I use a controller and a Kamor, I tweak pH before touching flow.

Let it run a few days with tank water in it to get the air to purge out of the system.

Following. I'm about to make the same jump. My plan is start slow and test often until it's tuned in. Debating the controller as well either going with the tunze, milwaukee or a custom built regulator. Might just get the Milwaukee until I can find a reasonably priced 2 stage.
GLA has a reasonably priced 2 stage available.

What's the advantage of an electronic regulator like a Carbondoser that makes it worth 3X other regulators? I asked the same question about MP40's back in the day, so yea... I guess I'm that guy! LOL
Carbondoser is a single stage regulator that uses an internal timer and (an additional?) solenoid to control the bubble rate. It is a reliable product, but overpriced for what it is imo.
 

LC8Sumi

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Here are my thoughts:

1, The Carbon doser is a waste of money*. I've had my reactor up for a year now with a cheap old-school needle valve ($50), and never had to touch it - *this is only true if you're using the now so popular constant flow method, other wise it would be a PITA.
2, If you decide to go with the constant flow & regulate the pH in the chamber with a controller, then
a, You don't need a peristaltic pump, it can be done via a seperate cheap pump, or from the manifold (however it is recommended to add a filter inline, most people use fuel filters) - this gives pretty stable results, but needs some attention every 2-3 months. I'm not saying that a peri pump isn't better, I'm just saying that the results without it are adequate.
b, You don't want an oversized reactor, as it will need a lot of CO2 to melt the media & will lower your pH in the tank a lot (remember we're still talking about the constant flow method) & it will be hard to dial in the bubble count to keep the solenoid clicking all day. You don't want to melt the coral in your tank as well, do you?:D

If you want to go old-school and use the dripping method, then IMO the Carbon Doser and a Peripump (Kamoer being the cheapest, but it's chingchong at the end of the day, don't forget) is a must. You can get away with a bigger reactor with this method though.
 
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motortrendz

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I run the vertex reactor and use a cheap co2 regulator with electronic solenoid. I run a milwakee ph controller to maintain ph and allow the co2 regulator to be controlled at a specific ph. I run at 6.7, I use reborn media in my big chamber mixed with a bag of zeo mag. And use a bag or brs large particle aragnite in the second chamber. Currently its fed off my manifold and I use a needle valve to control my drip rate. But recently purchased a kamoer fx doser that I'll be using to maintain a steady and even return rate bx the needle valve gets gummed up and slows over time.
 
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ReefGeezer

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a, You don't need a peristaltic pump, it can be done via a seperate cheap pump, or from the manifold (however it is recommended to add a filter inline, most people use fuel filters) - this gives pretty stable results, but needs some attention every 2-3 months. I'm not saying that a peri pump isn't better, I'm just saying that the results without it are adequate.
I do plan on using the continuous flow method along with a slightly higher pH. Did you put a gate or ball valve between the plenum & the reactor and a needle vale on the output of the reactor?
 

motortrendz

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I used a 1/4" quick connect ball valve to the reactor from the manifold. And then the needle valve on the return
 
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ReefGeezer

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I run the vertex reactor and use a cheap co2 regulator with electronic solenoid. I run a milwakee ph controller to maintain ph and allow the co2 regulator to be controlled at a specific ph. I run at 6.7, I use reborn media in my big chamber mixed with a bag of zeo mag. And use a bag or brs large particle aragnite in the second chamber. Currently its fed off my manifold and I use a needle valve to control my drip rate. But recently purchased a kamoer fx doser that I'll be using to maintain a steady and even return rate bx the needle valve gets gummed up and slows over time.
Thanks. I'll probably get to a dosing pump in the future. Trying to get this thing up & running for now without causing the finance dept to squawk. I'll look into Reborn, Zeomag, and argonite. I assume the needle valve is on the reactors output. Do you have a valve between the manifold and the reactor?
 

motortrendz

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The valve on the manifold is the valve for the reactor. I moved the needle valve from the reactor output to inside the sump so I can adjust the drip rate while actually looking at the drip. My reactor is not under my tank its below in the basement.
 

LC8Sumi

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I do plan on using the continuous flow method along with a slightly higher pH. Did you put a gate or ball valve between the plenum & the reactor and a needle vale on the output of the reactor?
I’ve put a ball valve on the manifold and a $.5 plastic valve on the input for fine tuning. I don’t have a valve on the output, just a check valve
 
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ReefGeezer

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Does anybody have any experience with CO2 ART, PRO-SE Series Dual Stage Regulator? Seems like the price is good for a dual stage.
 
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