Automatic Calcium Reactor Showdown

Discussion in 'Equipment: Setup and Discussion' started by RSnodgrass, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    The advent of automatic calcium reactors has opened up possibilities it seems while still not officially being linked to an Apex with some hacks.

    Big hitters on the market
    Deltec
    Twintech-600.png

    DaStaco2, aka The German Taco
    dastaco-ext-calcium-reactor-automatic-7.jpg

    Aquarium Engineering ACR
    8_in_auto_ca_reactor.jpg
    auto_ca_reactor_valve_module_and_timer.jpg

    Aquarium Engineering automatic co2 tank switcher which allows a backup to always be hooked up.
    c02_tank_switcher.jpg
     
  2. OP
    RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    They all work on the basic principle that a float switch let's in co2 only as needed vs the constant drip.

    This in turn allows the effluent (output to the tank) to only run when needed or in bursts often resulting in the output line remaining clear of built-up. At the same time it let's in new tank water, either from the tanks return pump line or a separate pump that turns on when the output solenoid opens.

    They then require a closed loop circulation pump since new water isn't constantly running through the chamber.

    Their pH also tends to run at a co2 saturation level of 6.0 - 6.2 compared to a conventional reactor at ~6.7. Because it's saturated there is no need for a pH probe... granted manual versions really don't need one either except for maybe set up according to many.
     
  3. OP
    RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    Anyone have any experiences to share on these kinds of units?
     
  4. nox.rupaw

    nox.rupaw I contributed!
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    Can’t talk towards the other brands but I’m a big fan of Aquarium Engineerings Co2 recirculation feature. It recirculates excess co2 in the reactor that builds up on the top. That in turn makes the CalRx more efficient, silent, and the also makes co2 tank last longer

    I incorporated the same design into my CalRx


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  5. OP
    RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    Ya one strange thing is that the others (not Aquarium Engineering) tout "venting" out the co2 as much as a few times a day as a positive. It's based on the belief that inert gasses build up in the chamber in a meaningful way and essential dilute the concentration of co2 and thus its not as effective.

    Can't say I've found anything talking about the validity of that. Praxair say depending on the version of co2 it's 50-99.9% co2. Venting may make sense depending on the version of co2 and assuming the other gasses aren't absorbed anyway.
    Screenshot_20200301-195726.png

    *if you're getting actual co2 and not a mix then I suppose after 30 times of co2 filling via the float switch will yield 3% non co2 gasses in the chamber but since the float doesn't refill the entire space each time (just a small amount) then the 3% is diluted by the rest of the air volume bringing it down to... say 0.5%? IF it's not absorbing into the water anyway.
     
    #5 RSnodgrass, Mar 1, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
  6. OP
    RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    What I don't understand about Aquarium Engineering's recycling method of reclaiming excess co2 is that if their float is working properly it shouldn't need a recycling function at all.

    * unless this is how they force the other gasses to dissolve into the water.

    Either way it's one less thing mechanically... venturi tube vs. solenoid on the others.
     
    #6 RSnodgrass, Mar 1, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
  7. OP
    RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    I'd sure like someone to explain how a normal reactor melts everything to mush at 6.2 pH but Aquarium Engineering people are supposedly still using coral skeletons without that happening.

    Bill Waan didn't even know... he suspected the higher turn over rate of the closed loop pump but I'm not connecting the dots.
     
  8. Jonty

    Jonty I contributed!
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    I ran a Dastaco for years it ran flawlessly a truly great piece of equipment.
     
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  9. abhishek

    abhishek Senior Member
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    I hope you are aware of the shortage and scarcity of TLF reborn media around . ARM is still available but I hated it as it needed below 6.3 to even start melting . The reborn is probably the best media I used for traditional CaRx .

    Am very interested to know your experience of Bill Wann’s unit and the support you receive . May be one last thought before I pull a trigger on Dastaco .

    Dastaco has an amazing support but only through Facebook I think .
     
  10. OP
    RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    Ya Reborn (I'm told) is maybe only a couple weeks out of being reintroduced along with a second version of the product.

    Assuming it is, I'm guessing there will still be a shortage because of pent up demand and people over buying "just in case" it goes away again.
     
  11. OP
    RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    Will be interesting on the customer service for Aquarium Engineering... everyone says he makes a great product but desperately needs pay someone to improve his site, setup, & how to run materials. He's good at his part of the business... shoot even trade some equipment to someone capable of giving it a once over.

    I was able to find more on Facebook at least and I think I know how to hotwire it to the Apex if it ever fails... just basic internal programming.
     
  12. AsianReef

    AsianReef Former: 90ct
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    Not sure about his products, but I’ve experienced very bad situation when I bought something from Bill Wann. He’s not a man of his words in my book. He could be nice when you buy something from him, but when you’re in trouble, he just let you hanging in your own.


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  13. OP
    RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    There definitely have been a few with that fear/experience for sure. I'm banking on any unit I buy being one I can cut apart and fix myself as mailing equipment is rarely a good option... have to do it with my closed loop next week.
     
  14. OP
    RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    Well I had some questions on the Aquarium Engineering version. Sounds like they beefed up the programming on the controller, so it runs less at night, is connected to the apex to adjust output if you want or in my case kill the output in a leak situation, etc.

    I'd still be hesitant to let a trident tell it when and how to dose but they could be effective in telling it not to dose... presuming the reactor was dialed in already.
     
  15. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    I should be fine a while.
    I have about 30lbs worth of the big box of ReBorn sitting on my shelves. It's what I'm using in my calcium reactor and what I'm using for substrate in the 120gal display.
    And I also have an unopened 8.8lb bag of Little ReBorn. I was thinking of adding it to my substrate to fill in the big gaps, but I haven't pulled the trigger yet because I don't think one bag will make much of a difference. Although, I could use it to replace the sand bed in my 32gal system.
     
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  16. infinityends

    infinityends Senior Member
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    I have zero useful input. But I've really grown to like the idea of moving to a calcium reactor if I ever manage to convince my wife that a larger tank is a good idea.

    I'm sure some people are controlling reactors with the Trident, but I understand the hesitation. Admittedly I haven't payed attention to if Neptune has released an update that has some official support, or if people are just using work around methods for now. I would be leery of a workaround that doesn't still use the safety features in place for 2-part.
     
  17. abhishek

    abhishek Senior Member
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    Am very excited to see your experience with the AE reactor .
    Personally , I would go with Dastaco for it’s proven records , years of amazing customer support and the completeness of the system .
     
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  18. OP
    RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    Said reactor is built but finishing the controller so should deliver on schedule.
     
  19. ADeepBlueSea

    ADeepBlueSea I contributed!
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    I had a terrible experience with DaStaco. Didn’t like mine at all. Micro bubbles in my co2 chamber, kept throwing alarms. Support is through Facebook which is slow for response. No one at DaStaco had any idea how to fix my problem, just said it was excess protein in my water, which was clearly a BS excuse. Maybe I just had a bad unit, but they didn’t offer to replace it or help..... for $2k it should have been a different experience.

    Also hated how it killed my Ph. I didn’t want to dip Kalk.


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  20. OP
    RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    Mine's suppose to ship today and included was a pinch solenoid to prevent water flow in a power outage, leak, feeding time, etc. He apparently just switched all his solenoids to that style which is nice because at no time does water touch a component... just rubber hose.
    He wiped up this prototype in about 15min after I explained my concern and wanting to control it more with an apex.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

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