calcuim reactor suggestions

Discussion in 'Test Kits, Controllers, Reactors and Dosers' started by kassimere, 9 Jun 2016.

  1. kassimere

    kassimere

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    looking for suggestions from guys currently running ca reactors: which brands recommended, which to stay clear of, media, etc. Need to start budgeting exercise. Additives costing a fortune. Running a SPS dominant tank - volume around 900L. Reckon ROI is around 12-18months with escalating supplement cost and ROE fluctuations, will make it closer to 12 months....Really not interested in experimenting with commercial chemicals.

    I always aim for a middle way. No use to procure the very best (unless it can be properly motivated) - but no use to buy the cheapest just to end up with major problems and tricky workarounds. Need something stable, with very little fiddling. Also need a complete system. Not a huge fan of DIY stuff. Don't want to risk losing entire tank because something went astray.

    Very open to suggestions.
     
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  3. Adrian B

    Adrian B

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    O yes been down this road and back again. Now the proud owner of 3 Calcium reactors.

    First thing you need to know is what the reactors claim and what they deliver in real terms of what tank size they can serve are miles apart.

    This may be caused by the fact that Media wise the only brand that is readily available in SA is ARM extra course. Not the best – you need huge volumes of it at a PH of 6, 4 or less to get effluent with a KH or 22 or more out of it. (Google it)

    With other media the reactors may well walk the talk in terms of ratings but I can tell you after months of fiddling you can pretty much take the SPS Heavy demand rating, deduct another 350 litres off it to get the realistic tank volume the unit can service.

    In terms of available brands as far as I know only Reef Octopus Calcium Reactors readily available in SA. If their other brands they well hidden.

    Reef Octopus reactors are pretty good – I own two, spare pumps are readily available. My CR 140 has run almost 3 years without a blip.

    The other one I own is a Deltec reactor but you can’t get spares or the media they were designed for in SA. I recently imported a spare pump from the UK at a price that will make you weep.

    So currently on my 750 litre SPS set up I run the Bubble Blaster 3000 and a CR 140 Rigged in tandem and my KH is finally stable after months of fiddling at 9,4.

    If I were you just buy the Reef Octopus Bubble Blaster 5000, had I bought the right one the 1st time I would probably not be sitting with 3 reactors today.

    The 5000 are like hens teeth second hand but CO2 bottles, gauges, solenoid, PH controllers etc. are not that hard to find.

    All the above aside once you got the right unit set up right, KH and Ca problems are a thing of the past.

    The initial outlay is high but once it is set up you in for a media change every 6 months and a PH probe once a year and an occasional CO2 refill.

    I have been running the big CO2 bottle for the last 8 months still hasn’t needed a refill.
     
  4. kassimere

    kassimere Thread Starter

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    thanks Adrian - really appreciated. Bit surpirse that the media is only good for 6 months - that's a bit of a shocker. I assume the media is not that cheap either.....especially the volume required? Same goes for the pH probe - fairly sure those things are on the wrong side of R1000.......:(
     
  5. Adrian B

    Adrian B

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    About R600 a tub of media and you will probably need 3 tubs to fill the RO 5000. Last probe I bought was a R1000. Due for a new one soon.

    R3600 a year on media + 1 probe a year+ 1 CO 2 refill if you got the big cylinder = About 5 K a year.

    Sounds like a lot but divide that by 12 months and its R425 a month. If you buying branded CA, Mg and KH additives on a 900 litre tank you probably spending 3 times that a month.

    To my mind Ca reactor most cost effective tool on a big tank. Sure the DIY chemical guys will argue with me but I could never maintain rock steady parAmaters dosing. In fact it nearly drove me mad.
     
  6. kassimere

    kassimere Thread Starter

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    thank you Adrian - need this type of info to make proper decisions. I suppose you can risk running the probe temporary to extent it's lifespan. Would the pH vary much? My understanding is that once you dial in the reactor, you don't touch it until it's time for a media change??? Probably can get away with monitoring the pH only now and again - risky I know.
     
  7. Adrian B

    Adrian B

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    You can run a Ca Reactor with no probe but I would suggest learning with a probe 1st.

    You run the risk of your PH in your reactor dropping to bellow 6,3 at which point your media turns to mud and your PH in your tank will drop bellow 7.8. Tank PH of bellow 7,8 and you will start loosing SPS.

    Basically with no probe your CO2 bubble won’t switch off when your PH gets too low.

    With experience you can look at your bubble rate and tell if it’s about right but the human eye is not accurate when you playing with an ideal PH of 6,4 and mud at 6.
     
  8. kassimere

    kassimere Thread Starter

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    forgot - those things are controller-based these days. Still had the idea of manually setting CO2 - using probe to monitor. Point taken.
     
  9. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    The quick and easy way, is to run CA, Mg and KH additives via a doser. A lot of guys does that. Takes up less space and is easier for non-reefer or tank sitter to look after if you are away. Then again, a properly tuned calcium reactor should not need fiddling once its up and running.

    On tanks 500L and smaller, dosing option would be easier, maybe cheaper but definitely take up less space in that cramped cabinet area.
    Big tanks, cabinet space is normally not an issue.
     
  10. Ridwaan

    Ridwaan

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    Only problem I have ever experienced with calcium reactors is trying to get a steady feed to the reactor...
    Sometimes the drip rates stop and then you have to set it again...

    Some people advise using a peristaltic pump but the heavy duty ones are expensive...
     
  11. leslie hempel

    leslie hempel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    My tank pulls too much cal for me to maintain. I'm adding a aquamedic CR5000 and putting aquamedic hydrocarbonate in it.

    One I get it dialed in I'm hoping it will help with the demand.

    Thinking of running a stirrer aswell

    I go through about R200 in cal alone per month

    Also looking at feed options for it but I think I'll work on a bypass off the main return. Perasteltic pumps won't keep up.
     
  12. Adrian B

    Adrian B

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    You can run the RO reactors under slight pressure i.e restrict the effluent pipe and have more pressure on the feed. Never have any issues with the drip or trickle miss behaving that way.

    Can't do that on my Deltec unit - it springs a leak immediately. Those units not designed for any pressure.

    They work like a bomb once you have got it dialed in.
     
  13. Adrian B

    Adrian B

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    Leslie where you getting the Aquamedic media from?
     
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