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I am starting to get curious about calcium reactors and how hard they are to get started using? I have never been able to get SPS growing well and am debating on getting a calcium reactor to help get my tank levels more stable to assist with that. 

 

What is everyones preference? I have always used B-ionics 2 part but am seriously considering switching.

How much maintance does a calcium reactor cost?

what media do people run in it?

for minerals do you need to dose anything extra for trace elements?

How often do you need to refill/change the media?

how often do you test your parameters once its dialed in?

 

I have seen a few people selling some used ones which is also adding to the possibility to switch. 

 

Edited by bamburgb

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Sharing, for what its worth and to help with your research.

This is a great article to get started:

http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-05/sh/feature/

 

I run a CR. 

Why?  I simply was tired of seeing all the awesome tanks that were running reactors.  Oh, and also buying gallons and gallons of my preferred 2 part.  

Now days I run a calcium reactor with kalk as well.  Easily keeps up with my personal load.

A good quality dual stage regulator is essential.  Those cheap regs don't cut it IMO...  Many who have fought it will agree.

A good needle valve is nice for fine tuning.  The fabco needle valves are popular.

A peristaltic feed pump is super nice.  Not a necessity I suppose, but super nice.  You can build a decent one for 50 bucks or so, or get a great quality used turnkey feed pump off of ebay for a few hundred.  If just getting started, there is nothing wrong with an MJ or T-off your return, just sharing info...

This thread is an interesting overview of the diy 50 dollar feed pump.  Be sure to skip to the end, I ended up using a different pump/motor.

 

 

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Quote

How much maintance does a calcium reactor cost?

what media do people run in it?

for minerals do you need to dose anything extra for trace elements?

How often do you need to refill/change the media?

how often do you test your parameters once its dialed in?

Costs very little.  Occasionally refill co2 tanks for 20 bucks.  Maybe a few times a year at most.

TLF Reborn media is quite popular, some also run additives for magnesium too, like remag 

https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/remag-magnesium-media-for-calcium-reactors-two-little-fishies.html

For trace, that is all over the board.  I run Balling Lite part c.  It is basically reef salt minus the sodium chloride.  Running other stuff you cannot measure is controversial though.

Media gets topped off for me a couple times a year at most.

Once dialed in, I still try to test once a week.  Why?  Because some of the best of the best SPS growers are testing daily.  Life is just too busy for me to keep up that routine, but I do shoot for once a week.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, TheClark said:

Costs very little.  Occasionally refill co2 tanks for 20 bucks.  Maybe a few times a year at most.

TLF Reborn media is quite popular, some also run additives for magnesium too, like remag 

https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/remag-magnesium-media-for-calcium-reactors-two-little-fishies.html

For trace, that is all over the board.  I run Balling Lite part c.  It is basically reef salt minus the sodium chloride.  Running other stuff you cannot measure is controversial though.

Media gets topped off for me a couple times a year at most.

Once dialed in, I still try to test once a week.  Why?  Because some of the best of the best SPS growers are testing daily.  Life is just too busy for me to keep up that routine, but I do shoot for once a week.

 

 

Second all this.

I have typically dosed trace elements and occasional aminos but the reactor holds all the basic parameters (Ca, Alk) for me... even Mg has been steady.

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Is the reactor typically in the sump or what? thats another thing Im kinda debating is because I dont know if i have enough room in my sump for a reactor... Any pictures of the reactors people are running would help. Its just so foreign to me that its kinda overwelming. 

 

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33 minutes ago, bamburgb said:

Is the reactor typically in the sump or what? thats another thing Im kinda debating is because I dont know if i have enough room in my sump for a reactor... Any pictures of the reactors people are running would help. Its just so foreign to me that its kinda overwelming. 

 

You can run them either internal or external to the sump - pretty flexible placement wise.  There is one brand that uses the recirculation pump to also draw in feed water and it actually needs to be sitting in the sump to function properly but this is unusual.  As for pics, a lot of the build threads have some great shots of how reactors are incorporated into the system so well worth perusing when you have some time.  There is a separate forum category for those which helps.

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1 hour ago, TheClark said:

Once dialed in, I still try to test once a week.  Why?  Because some of the best of the best SPS growers are testing daily.  Life is just too busy for me to keep up that routine, but I do shoot for once a week.

I agree with this statement. Whether you choose dosing or Reactor both methods have there pros and cons but will get the job done. Though Testing is extremely important in ensuring that you keep levels consistent and stable. So just keep in mind if you weren't successful in keeping parameters stable with dosing, you wern't paying enough attention to it and adjusting the amounts as needed.  Jumping to another method will simply require just as much if not more attention.

I personally like dosing as I don't want the mess of a new reactor, Co2 tank etc. to keep an eye on, yet still I test weekly and every month or two I end up making slight adjustments, as corals grow they consume more, or adding new corals or in some cases removing corals.

Good Luck!

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Part of the fluctuation was that I would run out of 2 part and not notice or the dosing pump (I went cheap) would just stop sucking up the fluid and I wouldn’t catch it for a few days and have to play with it. 

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3 hours ago, bamburgb said:

Is the reactor typically in the sump or what? thats another thing Im kinda debating is because I dont know if i have enough room in my sump for a reactor... Any pictures of the reactors people are running would help. Its just so foreign to me that its kinda overwelming. 

 

There are some great pictures in this article:

http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-05/sh/feature/

 

Also lots of great info..  good luck!

 

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2 hours ago, bamburgb said:

Part of the fluctuation was that I would run out of 2 part and not notice or the dosing pump (I went cheap) would just stop sucking up the fluid and I wouldn’t catch it for a few days and have to play with it. 

I hear that! When I first started dosing I Bought one of the Jeabo dosers, before letting it loose on my tank I tested it for a week letting it dose water into a measuring cup. I would say for the most part it was in range but just didn't have a good feeling about it, traded it off and got a couple BRS dosing pumps attached to my Apex. As well I have let my reservoir run dry a couple times :doh:

On my new build I decided to add an FMM Module and optical sensors to the Reservoir to prevent that again.

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jeabo is what I use, it’s the dp-4 and I have had a lot of issues with it...

i think my res will go dry like next week so instead of buying a new gallon set I am debating the switch

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I’ve done both, preferred the Ca Rx. TheClark has pretty well outlined most of it. The biggest issue is the upfront cost of getting a reactor going with all the right equipment. Once you have it, it’s cheaper long term (on larger tanks). The thing I liked about it was as long as my needle valve wasn’t getting clogged (I just made sure I looked at the stream daily but didn’t require much adjustment overall), levels only drift gradually, which corals are generally adaptable too so you have more time to react to and adjust accordingly. On my 210 gal system I replaced reactor media every 6-9 months and had a 15lb CO2 tank so it never ran out, I’d just fill it out of fear yearly and was fine. Obviously it all depends on what’s in your tank. Getting it dialed the first month Is the hardest, after that, usually smooth sailing.

 

how big is the tank you want to switch to Ca Rx on?

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14 hours ago, Exodus said:

I hear that! When I first started dosing I Bought one of the Jeabo dosers, before letting it loose on my tank I tested it for a week letting it dose water into a measuring cup. I would say for the most part it was in range but just didn't have a good feeling about it, traded it off and got a couple BRS dosing pumps attached to my Apex. As well I have let my reservoir run dry a couple times :doh:

On my new build I decided to add an FMM Module and optical sensors to the Reservoir to prevent that again.

The FMM modules are amazing, I am in love with them.  That is a great use for them.

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The importance of regular testing cannot be stressed enough. 

I run BRS 2-part on 1.1mL/min peristaltic pumps controlled by stock digital timers.  The only failure I've experienced is my middle son turning on the soda ash timer and dumping all my alkalinity solution into the tank. He's done this twice now though both times it apparently precipitated right back out.  This is just a theory that I formed because both times the following day the dkh was back to normal.  

Really though, if you buy soda ash and calcium carbonate in bulk from BRS the costs aren't bad at all.  A cool side effect of soda ash is that it raises pH.  I've only tested pH 3-4 times ever in the several years I've been doing this but it's always pretty happy because of this.  I've never touched or replaced the tubes on my peristaltic pumps either and this has been functioning for 3+ years now.  As for running out, I always keep a spare of both of those products on hand so that doesn't happen.  Run out of one, order another.  I'm currently using 3g jugs for each and I estimate I need to refill them every 3-6 months depending on bioload so I'll probably never run one dry before I notice.  I dunno, it's not perfect but my little creation is cheap and very safe; other than from children.  

Disclaimer:  I've never used a reactor but I'm frankly not interested due to the ease of use I have with my current setup. 

Edited by youcallmenny
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17 hours ago, youcallmenny said:

The importance of regular testing cannot be stressed enough. 

I run BRS 2-part on 1.1mL/min peristaltic pumps controlled by stock digital timers.  The only failure I've experienced is my middle son turning on the soda ash timer and dumping all my alkalinity solution into the tank. He's done this twice now though both times it apparently precipitated right back out.  This is just a theory that I formed because both times the following day the dkh was back to normal.  

Really though, if you buy soda ash and calcium carbonate in bulk from BRS the costs aren't bad at all.  A cool side effect of soda ash is that it raises pH.  I've only tested pH 3-4 times ever in the several years I've been doing this but it's always pretty happy because of this.  I've never touched or replaced the tubes on my peristaltic pumps either and this has been functioning for 3+ years now.  As for running out, I always keep a spare of both of those products on hand so that doesn't happen.  Run out of one, order another.  I'm currently using 3g jugs for each and I estimate I need to refill them every 3-6 months depending on bioload so I'll probably never run one dry before I notice.  I dunno, it's not perfect but my little creation is cheap and very safe; other than from children.  

Disclaimer:  I've never used a reactor but I'm frankly not interested due to the ease of use I have with my current setup. 

Keeping a spare of pretty much every consumable is great advice!  Basically, you know its going to run out, and you gotta buy it anyways, so get 1 order ahead of the curve, great advice!

I do keep a spare co2 tank just for that reason.  Sometimes my co2 runs outt on the weekends and airgas is closed...

 

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Haha, yea you only run out of a product you need to use so many times before you start altering base habits.  Now to stop leaving the frozen food out...

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1 hour ago, youcallmenny said:

Haha, yea you only run out of a product you need to use so many times before you start altering base habits.  Now to stop leaving the frozen food out...

Hahah, totally relate to that one.  So frustrating! 

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1 hour ago, youcallmenny said:

Haha, yea you only run out of a product you need to use so many times before you start altering base habits.  Now to stop leaving the frozen food out...

Yeah - like Clark, I finally invested in a spare CO2 tank.  I thought I had it covered with a vendor that was conveniently located and open Sat/Sun... until they didn't get their delivery and I was having to drive out to Holly's after work to borrow her backup tank.  Done with that!

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Where do people get there tanks filled? I’m about to head over I hillsboro area doesn’t look like the tank I got today has much in it 

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38 minutes ago, bamburgb said:

Where do people get there tanks filled? I’m about to head over I hillsboro area doesn’t look like the tank I got today has much in it 

Airgas I believe will fill them. There is one in Hillsboro  

Edited by lewisriverfisherman

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3 hours ago, bamburgb said:

Where do people get there tanks filled? I’m about to head over I hillsboro area doesn’t look like the tank I got today has much in it 

If you are OK with swapping rather than refilling (don't have to worry about the tank needing inspection) there are several home brewing related stores that will do that and are open much more convenient hours than either airgas or the welding supply stores.  I use Homebrew Exchange (http://homebrewexchange.net)  which is on Interstate and open Sat/Sun and until 7 on Tues-Friday.  There is another over in SE but I haven't looked further up your way.  $16 for a 5lb tank as long as you have an exchange.

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Does anyone have pics of there calcium reactor? Preferably a CR-70, can’t seem to figure out how it is suppose to be hooked up. Can’t find any manuals on it anywhere online and can’t figure out where the input water is on it.

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Nothing real fancy here. Eheim pump. The airline and water intake T together and get brought into the reactor along with recirculating water that is already in the reactor. The effluent then leaves the top.

06223403d487b40763c80cf0dc257cc6.jpg

 

 

The amount of water that enters the reactor and then flows out is controlled by that gate valve, which Ts off my main return line.

 

09ccefbdf65e4aa9fc2568a0e39d3080.jpg

 

767b6ac50ed7335d7af6ac5fc8a0aa64.jpg

 

37fc3eae14986a2f9d765e473199bf60.jpg

 

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

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