Calcium reactors yes or no

Discussion in 'Equipment: Setup and Discussion' started by Nickz, Dec 17, 2019.

  1. Nickz

    Nickz Nobody
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    So, I've been considering a calcium reactor, and I keep hearing about people leaving them and going back to 2 part. Quite frankly I don't want to invest in one only to get rid of it so am looking for thoughts from those that have or had and are going away and why.
     
  2. infinityends

    infinityends Senior Member
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    I have no first hand experience, but it is something I have been curious about for a while too. It will be interesting to see opinions/experiences
     
  3. abhishek

    abhishek Senior Member
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    These are some of the questions am asked often and below are my answers :-

    Is a calcium reactor needed - definitely not !

    When to decide on calcium reactor - when your Alkalinity demand is so high that you fear of dumping a lot of it :D

    Will it be an amazing addition making your tank stable - only after you have it dialed in .

    Is it safer than 2 part with no danger of doser dumping excessive Alk - absolutely

    Is it cheaper in the long run - depends but mostly you recoup the cost in years only

    Is it costlier to setup - absolutely and cheating out on the initial setup will only cause headaches .

    Is it difficult to dial in - not really but there are many variables to consider and its better to follow one method . Can discuss later

    Do you start with automatic calcium reactor like dastaco or manual ones like geos - always start with manual ones to learn the basic working of calcium reactor . Then you can upgrade to automatic ones as going to automatic ones directly will only cause headaches

    Do you need a dual stage custom regulator of high quality solenoid or a carbon doser - In my opinion , yes and a carbon doser is easier

    Do you need a peristaltic pump - I have never run one and I don’t think there is any need . It’s a nice to have feature and there are other ways to mitigate the issue of needle valve clogging .


    Is it maintenance free - No !!! You still have to calibrate the pH probes every other month to keep it functioning at the height of its ability . Applicable only for manual common ones - not automated ones .

    Does the size of the reactor matters - yes ! Or else you will be topping it off often . Better go larger than smaller .

    Lastly - does the pH drop matters - not for your case Nick ....
     
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  4. OP
    Nickz

    Nickz Nobody
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    Lol on the pH drop...

    This came up as I've heard bits and pieces of conversations and seen others dump the cal reactor and go back to dosing, and others doing both. When you hear and see enough of that it really starts to make a person wonder. I know with the 180 cost won't be a deciding factor in the long run but I hate buying things to replace them in a short time.
     
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  5. Gary

    Gary This all started with "Rivers South Reefkeepers"
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    I did not have good results with dosing 2 part. I used the cheap BRS jug and found growth to be minimal. When I upgraded to the CAx my corals really took off. My alk and calcium tests show the same now as they did with the 2 part so I'm not sure of the difference other than the addition of Co2 and the better media. I've also noticed a difference in cost for my systems. Buying some CAx media is cheap in comparison to constantly purchasing 2 part chemicals. No need to spend money on constant testing when you achieve stability with a reactor so you can sell that Trident and ditch the monthly costs.

    I have no idea why anyone would move away from a CAx other than wanting to have more things to screw around with (ie mixing chemicals, setting up dosing pumps, constant testing, etc). Can you tell I'm sold on a CAx? They can be difficult to get setup and stable but after that it simplifies your life. Definitely do the Carbon Doser and peristaltic pump. These will simplify the setup and also make for a more stable dosing of effluent.
     
  6. csb123

    csb123 Senior Member
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    I’m maxed out on adding Kalkwasser, since I’m adding about the same volume as my daily evaporation. I love my calcium reactor to make up the difference. It’s very stable and doesn’t need really any fiddling due the Carbondoser regulator and masterflex pump.
     
  7. Mordim

    Mordim Just keep reefing
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    I like my CaRx. I did kalk before but have not done two part.
    I found the CaRx to keep my alk more stable. Coral growth increased noticeably but a number of factors could have contributed. It has slow constant dosing.
    I feed it into my fuge. My chaeto loves the co2 & the touch of po4 from reborn media.
    Been the fuge and increasing my alk to sit at 9 dkh, I actually have higher, consistent pH. It sits at 8.1.
    I love the less frequent maintenance. With how busy my life is, this is a life saver.
    I do recommend getting a quiet operating one or have it in a different room from your TV.
    Definitely use a ph controller, like the Apex, to control the pH in the reactor. That was key for me to keeping it stable.
    If you are going to spend the money for a carbon doser, spend it instead in a stainless steel, dual stage regulator with a decent needle valve. I know local people who bills good ones for less than store bought. All check valves fail eventually, and it only takes one time if salt water getting into the carbon doser to corrode it. Salt water corrodes brass and the carbon doser has some brass parts. With a dual stage regulator you are better protected against end of tank dumps and couple it with a good needle and it is just as easy to dial in as the carbon doser.
     
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  8. OP
    Nickz

    Nickz Nobody
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    No comments from people that have moved away from them yet.
     
  9. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    What's that tell you...


    I temporarily shut mine down for a few months before reinstalling it recently. That was only because I didn't have much demand for the CaRx so I resorted to adding kalkwasser to my ATO water.
     
  10. OP
    Nickz

    Nickz Nobody
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    It tells me I obviously need to start piecing one together.

    I was looking at the vertex one( I liked the split up secondary chambers) but that's discontinued now, not sure if I want a reef octopus or something else
     
  11. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    I went with a Geo's Reef reactor with a secondary chamber and I'm liking it thus far.
     
  12. abhishek

    abhishek Senior Member
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    vertex one works great only if it doesn’t leak ! Please don’t get it only to do patch job on it for years to come .
    Reef Octopus one has twisted lid which I like more than the geos . But the recirculating tech of geos and the build quality is second to none and hence most of us choose Geos for manual calcium reactor and ease of use .

    Unless - you get a MTC Pro cal :eek:
     
  13. Mordim

    Mordim Just keep reefing
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    BTW Below is my pH with the CaRx and alk of 9 dkh. The the other graph shows pH and when my CO2 is on.
    Capture+_2019-12-23-11-50-25.png Capture+_2019-12-23-11-50-41.png
     
  14. Mordim

    Mordim Just keep reefing
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    I run my light on my chaeto fuge at night.
     

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