Calcium reactor Vs dosing pumps

Discussion in 'Test Kits, Controllers, Reactors and Dosers' started by LIVINGOCEAN, 2 Nov 2012.

  1. LIVINGOCEAN

    LIVINGOCEAN

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    Hi there guys

    seems some guys are chuking calcium reactors and using dosing pumps? is this the latest trend?

    Anyone know the advantages to using calcium reactors over dosing pumps or vice versa? still undecided on this topic but mabe some of you can shed some light on this matter and cant make up my mind?

    Thanks
    LO
     
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  3. carlosdeandrade

    carlosdeandrade

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  4. Ridwaan

    Ridwaan

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    I had dosing pumps and changed to a carx and i wont be going back to dosing pumps...

    You will get guys who done the opposite, but they just didnt dial the carx in properly...LOL!

    end of the day its whatever is easier for you
     
    Last edited: 2 Nov 2012
  5. AfricaOffroad

    AfricaOffroad

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    System size and calcium demand determines the economics.
    From smallest to biggest - dosing pumps, kalk stirrer, calcium reactor
     
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  6. PICASSO

    PICASSO

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    In terms of size, what water volume requires the different equipment?
     
  7. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    Well put africa offroad. Have been contemplating a thread on this myself.

    In a situation where i need to bring out and repair the old carx from my prev tank or get a dosing pump. To replace my solenoid and regulator and ph probe will cost me the same as one of thise marine magic dosers.
    The reactor should be easy to fix, but it has blown a few pumps in its life and at around R500 per pump, it really is a no brainer. I was one of the unlucky ones who bought the original Reef Octo reactors, real piece of sh!t. Added to that the schlep of refilling CO2 and media periodically, it becomes even less of a no brainer.
    From a cost perspective, I suspect the running costs wont be made up anytime soon by not having to buy supplements.
    On that point, diy suppliments are sooo cheap, compared to replacing ARM for example......
    However, having a carx is really awesome, especially once it has been set properly.
    ...... Until it needs a refil....

    In terms of biological and other benefits, I suspect there really aint much difference.
     
  8. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    @PICASSO, its not a piece of equipment which should be rated on tank volume but rather on itended alk and ca consumption, i.e. reef building coral population.
    But to stick with the popular trends out there, I reckon anything below approx 500 litres will be fine without a carx. Top up with kalk and suppliment alk with diy bicarb and a bit of carb as needed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  9. gaz19

    gaz19

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    i recently sold my calcium reactor and moved to dosing pumps.
    the calcium reactor was really awesome once you had it tuned in.
    but to get it tuned in started to become a real pain, as i was going through CO2 like crazy and constantly having to turn it off and full the bottle then turn it back on.
    refulling the bottle became a huge pain in the *ss as the closest place was a good 25min drive and they took forever!
    my supply pump would burn out like every 6months and then you would have to reset the flow rate ect, and this always happened at the worst time (the day before you leave for holidays).

    with a dosing pump I've found once its set up and running that's that!
    no adjusting, no flow rate to worry about!

    and what's the worst that could happen? i have a quad doser to dose Ca, alk, and Mg.
    i keep the 4th channel open as a spare in case one of the dosing tubes might break or something goes wrong. At least this way you can quickly swop over to the 4th channel and go on holiday with out worrying if you have set the bubble rate or drip rate correctly.


    unless you going full blown sps where you Ca and alkalinity are going to take a beating, i personally feel a dosing system will be so much less work for an lps or mixed reef system.

    just from my personal experience


    and if you looking at it from a cost point of view

    a quad dosing system (GHL profilux quad doser with controller) cost me about - R5900
    and seachem's reef fusion1 and reef fusion 2 - R300 each for 2L
    i then mix up my own magnesium solution thats like R100
    total RR6600

    my full calcium reactor (reactor, 5kg co2, reg + solenoid, probe + ph controller + media) -over R8000 some time back! the price must now be slightly higher.

    so a dosing system initially works out cheaper but you will need to buy supplements but at R300 for 2l is not bad!

    fulling your CO2 bottle will cost about R20 per kg depending where you go and then you need to spend money on topping up the media in the reactor.
     
    Last edited: 2 Nov 2012
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  10. Sammy

    Sammy

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    Good advice given to all that chipped in, agreed with all.
     
  11. DeanT

    DeanT Dean

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    I had This subject raised when I started out
    Decided against the dosing method but I guess it depends on the size tank

    For me the hassle of going through liquid calcium like water didn't
    Go down well
    At least with a reactor you only need to refil It once in a while and if you keep a spare cylinder and chips it is that bad

    I think tank size has a lot to do with it as
    Mentioned previously
     
  12. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    Hmmm..... i like to be in control....

    A good quality controllable dosing pump does it for me. One can fine tune dosing of elements according to the tanks consumption. Oops, not trace elements or the bitter ones.:whistling: I am referring to ca, alk, mg.

    PS.. IMO the size of the tank and consumption will determine the size of the dosing pump. Don't buy a 1 ton bakkie to move a 100 tone load in a day.




    Calcium reactors dose calcium into ones tank. Some reefers mix mg into the media in an attempt to keep a balance. IMO they are good for bulk supply but lack the final tuning and control I look for.

    Calcium reactors do not necessary need pH monitoring equipment to operate effectively. I am not going to retype a setup procedure here for seting up a CRAX without a pH probe and controler, but the information, which pertains to most CRAX can be found on the D-D web under calcium reactors.

    I have all three on my tank, I think @Adee has all three as well. The CRAX provides the bulk of the ca whilst the dosing pumps fine tunes usage. A kalk stirrer provides Kalkwasser on to-pup.

    I am not 100% sure but when David Saxby was out he was very apprehensive with regards to Kalk reactors and Kalkwasser stirrers. Something about clogging coral skeletal structure. I have not looked into this at this time, nor quizzed him on the comment. Maybe someone else has some info or links.


    All this said, a good DIY option that i used for many years, is a container with solution in and a saline drip obtainable from the local chemist. R50 bucks ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  13. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    Just to clarify. Dosing pumps are available as 1, 2, 3, 4 and possibly more dosing head units. Most that we buy in the hobby are the 1ml/min range per head.

    Bigger ones are available, examples are 32ml/min and 150ml/min and and and

    These are usually sold as single Peristaltic pumps and will need a computer or timer to control output.
     
  14. DeanT

    DeanT Dean

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    True on that but on a big tank say 2000l how often you changing liquid calcium ?

    I haven't changed calcium
    In my tank for a few
    Month but the other stuff like fuel I have to replace every month or so and gets a little irritating sometimes
     
  15. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    @DeanT on large tanks a CRAX IMO is the only way to go for bulk ca supplementation. It also adds Alk.

    We normally install two CRAX one with a CO2 input with a fine ca & mg media pumping through a second CRAX with course ca media. (rehash of a two chamber CRAX) Keeps pH stable and alk is a lot higher compared to just the one CRAX.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
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  16. gaz19

    gaz19

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    of coarse if you talking large volumes such as 2000l you will need a calcium reactor purely because of the cost of additives.
    but for me it doesn't work out to costly having a 600-700l system.
    2l of reef fusion costs me just over R300 per bottle and you need 2 bottles (part 1 and part 2 ) so that's R600 that i spend and 2l lasts a fair amount of time

    the thing i enjoy most about the doser is its control. you can control your dosage at the push of a button and for some one who doesn't have the time to fiddle and setup the reactor and get it fine tuned in then dosing pumps are the route to go.

    if you have crazy consumption rates or seriously large volumes of water, such as the 2000l as stated above, then a calcium reactor will benefit you.
     
  17. DeanT

    DeanT Dean

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    Only thing I seem to struggle with is maintaining a stable kh
    Using 8.4 at the moment to See if it helps
     
  18. Nemeziz_za

    Nemeziz_za

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    @Nemos Janitor
    This post got me pondering....

    Im soon to be running a 3000L DT with a total system volume of about 4500L and am pondering how I could incorporate my old style Aquamedic KR 1000 calcium reactor in conjunction with my Aquamedic 5000 KR Calcium Reactor.

    Im pondering putting MG media into the AM 1000 KR and somehow plumb it into the AM 5000 KR with ARM media.

    Any pointers or suggestions on this?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  19. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    We use the Deltec fine media that has Magnesium in it in one reactor and we use the course media in the second reactor to degass.

    So i would run the fine media in the 5000 and the course media in the 1000. Feed the 5000 from the tank and feed the outlet into the 1000. Only use CO2 on the 5000. This way your pH wont drop and you can run to longer.
     
  20. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    Great idea. Just consider that dolomite (Mg media) is less soluble than aragonite and thus requires a lower pH to be beneficial. I am not familiar though with using AM or Deltec media, but I suspect the AM media to be CACO3 and not aragonite, so will need a lower pH anyway.
    If you want some dolomite, I have around 50Kg lying around somewhere.....
    If you have the budget, do Caribsea ARM in reactor 1 and two and as Keith suggested, add a bit of dolomite in Reactor 2.
     
  21. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Well setting up my new tank I was faced with the same problem, so I have decided to use all 3, and fine tune each for a specific pro of the technology.

    So I have a carx for bulk supply, kalk for ph control and dosing pumps for Ca, Mg and Alk but once running I will be able to fine tune
     
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