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Lets talk about calcium/Kalk reactors

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mojoreef

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Alrighty then, lets break them down, how do they work, what makes one better then another, what kind of media should we be using? What do you look for when buying one.

MIke
 

Macbeth417

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Forgive the repost, but I still think these articles will help some of those newer to these devices, and the related chemistry, get a handle on what we are talking about here. I did not list any information of Kalkwasser Reactors/Mixers, but there is some applicable information contained within the Calc and Alk links.

Macbeth417 said:

-Erik
 
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Macbeth417

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I am in the market for a solenoid and would like to know if there are any that I should stay away from or those that I should steer toward. I would imagine brass would not be the best of choices, is this a correct assumption? Do you all use your reactor on a PH monitor hookep to the Co2 solenoid or do you just let it run once you have "Dialed it in."


A few things to talk over:

The reactor:
Single Pass
Vs.
Recirculating

Feed line:
Gravity Feed
Vs.
Pump/pressure

The Co2 Gear:
Where to get tanks locally
What Solenoids can we use

PH controler:
What PH do you run yours at?
Do you need one to use it effectively

Effluent:
Where do you let your effluent drip,
Directly to sump or in topoff water?

Dosing Time:
24/7 or only day time to reduce nighttime PH swings?
(or Kalk to counteract acidity of Reactor effluent?)


Wow I just asked more than I helped... :lol:

-Erik
 
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mattseattle

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definitely good questions as i wouldn't know the first thing to ask right now. i've just begun the quest in search of a calcium reactor for my tank.

Erik - thanks for posting such great questions.
 

MtnDewMan

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One that is efficient, when a big calcium load is in the tank, CO2 can go fast. The media is important, it has to be clean which means phosphate free. The fluidized reactors are getting attention these days, ones which keep the media suspended more so than the traditional reactors.

Tuning them can be difficult. The right balance between effluent drip and CO2 bubble rate. But once dialed in, it is nearly forget it until refill time for either the media or the CO2.

MUCH easier than dosing calcium and alkalinity products every day for those SPS and Clam keepers.
 

jmaxwell

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speaking off dialing it in..I have had a hard time finding a KH kit that will read high enough to measure your effluent. Can anybody recommend one or and where to purchase. So far I have been merely guessing by measuring the KH of the tank, but it bugs me not to know what my reactor is producing.

Jim
 

mojoreef

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LOL Eric alot of help you turned out to be lol. Ok wow where do I start??

Ok on the valve, just make sure it is a good one, brass or not does not pertain it never sees the water. On the monitor you can run one as a fail safe, so you dont waste you co2 if the power goes out. Using it turn the co2 on of off due to PH conditions in the tank.........it would be better to have it shut off the reactor and the co2 if the tank ph dropped to low. if you do just the solunoid all the water in the reactor is still low anyway, so even thought the co2 is off you would have to refresh the reactor.
>Second chamber reactors, the concept here is that it helps disapate co2 along with adding media, but from what I noticed with mine it didnt make much of an impact on either, that second chamber never went down.
>On the feed line, are you talking calcium reactor?? is so that is dependant on the reactor model.
>On the gear for co2, tanks can be bought at the local welding supply house. its usualy about 35 bucks for a 5 pound bottle and then about 1o bucks a fill. use welding grade over food grade, the food grade can have alot of impurities. On the valve, beyond vendors for the hobby I am not sure where to get, but dont cheap out here, or you will be screwing around trying to dial in the bubble rate. the solunoid should be built into the valve itself.
>On the controler I dont use it to control on mine but that is just me. mine usually fluxes between 8.25 and 8.4
>My kalk and calreactor both dump into the sump. but for most folks using kalk for top off is the best way to start.
>Dosing time, my kalk only comes on at night and runs for the duration, then when the lights come on the kalk shuts off and the careactor turn on for the lighted period.

wow, lol


Mike
 

Mushroom Boy

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Here's a formula that one of our resident engineers (thanks Chuck :D) gave me when I had the same question Jim. This is for use with a Salifert kit and may or may not work for others.

For the 4ml reading, use 1 ml of effluent and 3 ml of RO water. Take the reading and then multiply the results by 4.

HTH.

Paul.
 

mojoreef

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Jim the way your doing is just fine, but if you can find a salifert they will do it, just keep refilling the syringe until you hit the sweetspot.

Chuck you have to look at it a little different then most reactors. the concept is to just get the ph down to 6.5 in the reactor, from thier just treat it as an additive doser.
You raise another good point on the media that we should use. alot of medias do have phosphates and when you couple that with co2 it can become a green tank in a hurry. This kinda brings us back to our Phosphate talks, we know that argonite sand is saturated already so its not a good plan, also anytype of snail shell is also not good as when they eat algaes and such they bind the P to thier matrix, melt that and you get a refund, hehe. SO stay away from CC, it is also loaded with shells and the argonite particles.

MIke
 

reedman

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So Mike, If aragonite is out and CC is out, what other media is there to avoid the barron look of a bare bottom tank? I know from a clean and sterile standpoint bare bottom is the best option, but I don't want a research tank, I want a display that is pleasing and functional. Too much to ask maybe :)

Question - On the Kalk...when running a kalk reactor is there some rhyme or reason to how often the kalk should be stirred? I have seen twice a day, every two hours and many things in between.

-Reed
 

mojoreef

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So Mike, If aragonite is out and CC is out, what other media is there to avoid the barron look of a bare bottom tank? I know from a clean and sterile standpoint bare bottom is the best option, but I don't want a research tank, I want a display that is pleasing and functional. Too much to ask maybe
Reed you blues fan, lol I was talking about media for the calcium reactor, not what substraight for the tank, lol. the Phosphates in cc and or argonite are lock up and bound in the particles and will only be release when the water reaches a certain ph (like the ph in the reacto). On the substriaght you can use a dsb or cc as you please, they just come with some cons, that you need to deal with as time goes by.

On the Kalk my friend I am not sure so hopefully someone else can chime in. I mae mine in a drum and only mix it the first time and then it sits from thier.

Mike
 

reedman

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DOH! I really should pay closer attention. Thanks for setting me straight...with the media question, not the best NHL team.
 

wanareef

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I'm no eggspert, but have heard that ARM is good for media and available in 50#'s bags= less $$ out. I'm sure there are others out there, koralith and such.

I top off with kalk in the hopes of helping to keep the calcium high till I finish up with the Wifey" chores then I can make a calicum reactor for the tank. :razz:

So what is a good range for the effluent out of the calcium reactor? 6.5 to 6.8 ?
 

mojoreef

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wanareef I heard that arm likes to be a little higer, closer to the 7 zone. On mine it runs the rowalith and likes it around 6.5.

Mike
 

NaH2O

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I know Aqua-C makes their higher end skimmers with a fitting to hook your calcium reactor up to in order to blow off the excess CO2 and help stabilize tank pH (their claim). What do you guys think about this? Is this a nice feature?
 

mojoreef

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You know Nikki I have heard that doing that screws up the chemistry some how, let me dig a bit.


Mike
 

NaH2O

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Thanks, Mike. Now that you mention it, I, too, remember hearing something about that. I'll check into it, also.
 

NaH2O

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So far this is what I've found. Here is a quote from Advanced Aquarist: Solutions to pH Problems

Another approach is to aerate the effluent before it is delivered to the tank._ In this case, the goal is to blow off the excess CO2 before it gets to the tank. _This approach can work in theory, but typically does not because not enough degassing time is permitted before the effluent enters the tank._ Another concern of this approach is that if it really were successful at raising the pH, the supersaturation of CaCO3 in the effluent might get high enough to cause reprecipitation of CaCO3 in the reactor, fouling it and reducing it’s effectiveness._
Seems to be a potential to reprecipitate back into the reactor. What do you think?
 
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