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Controlling effluent flow


Trailermann
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I have struggled adjusting my new calcium reactor for over a month.  My biggest obstacle is fluctuating effluent flow.

The AquaMaxx C-Tech Nano comes with a pinch valve located after the  the input pump (Tom's Aqualift) and water filter and before the reactor.  The valve is so imprecise that the very slightest turn of the knob causes  effluent flow to change a lot.  My initial goal is two drops per second (6 ml per minute).  I get the flow set and by the next morning, it has dropped by two thirds or more.  Later that next day, it drops even more.  

Next I bought a $25 needle valve from Marine Depot.  Same problem.  After I dial it in, it drops badly by the next day.  Isn't a steady effluent flow essential to the operation of the reactor?  Does every one have similar problems?  I should not have to purchase a peristaltic pump.

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You should consider a peristaltic feed pump. There's a great thread on reefcentral about it with lots of information.  I've been using one for a bit now and the results are excellent. I wouldn't run a reactor without one personally. 

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9 minutes ago, Jorge said:

You should consider a peristaltic feed pump. There's a great thread on reefcentral about it with lots of information.  I've been using one for a bit now and the results are excellent. I wouldn't run a reactor without one personally. 

Yeah - this seems to be the best solution. I have been resisting adding one more piece of equipment but have been struggling with the same issues.  Tweaked things like pH set point to allow for a higher overall flow rate which helps somewhat but hasn't completely solved the problem. 

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You may benefit from setting your effluent to overdose. I've always noticed that the initial flow reduces itself over the course of the next few days. I eventually just set it a bit higher than desired and upped it a bit each day if it slowed. Eventually it rested at a more constant rate.

I've also found more success using the valve on the output rather than the input. I feel like it doesn't get clogged up with stuff. Especially because I don't run filter socks. This is risky though because you're keeping the canister under pressure.

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2 hours ago, Higher Thinking said:

You may benefit from setting your effluent to overdose. I've always noticed that the initial flow reduces itself over the course of the next few days. I eventually just set it a bit higher than desired and upped it a bit each day if it slowed. Eventually it rested at a more constant rate.

I've also found more success using the valve on the output rather than the input. I feel like it doesn't get clogged up with stuff. Especially because I don't run filter socks. This is risky though because you're keeping the canister under pressure.

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Interesting - I wondered about flipping it and regulating on the effluent side instead for that very reason but haven't tried it yet. I managed to get my old unit to stabilize but the new one is being a bit of a bear. 

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100% recommend setting your effluent ph higher to allow a much higher effluent rate. You're never going to be able to maintain 6ml/min with anything aquarium grade. Set ph at 7 and see if that allows you to run at 60-70ml/min. I guarantee you that the media melts just fine this high, just at a much slower rate.

And I don't feel that an aqualifter is a good choice for the application.

 

 

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37 minutes ago, Bicyclebill said:

100% recommend setting your effluent ph higher to allow a much higher effluent rate. You're never going to be able to maintain 6ml/min with anything aquarium grade. Set ph at 7 and see if that allows you to run at 60-70ml/min. I guarantee you that the media melts just fine this high, just at a much slower rate.

And I don't feel that an aqualifter is a good choice for the application.

 

 

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As it turns out this is exactly where I landed for a pH setpoint for that reason. Still working on getting the flow to stabilize. 

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I agree with jorge, get a peristaltic... there is a masterflex thread on reef central that explains how to purchase and setup one.  These a medical grade that can run for years continuously without adjustment... not cheap but then again what is in our hobby!

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Telling you guys, these lab grade pumps are worth every penny! I started with a brushed unit and then moved on to a brushless unit. I'm able to run it at 10ml per minute in a 180g with a consistent reactor ph of 6.42-6.44. The alk has been 10.2 since day one and hasn't changed since. Before trying a pump I tried every needle valve available including Hayward and few other hobby grade needle valves with no improvement. I went down the list of things to check and also no luck. 

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Telling you guys, these lab grade pumps are worth every penny! I started with a brushed unit and then moved on to a brushless unit. I'm able to run it at 10ml per minute in a 180g with a consistent reactor ph of 6.42-6.44. The alk has been 10.2 since day one and hasn't changed since. Before trying a pump I tried every needle valve available including Hayward and few other hobby grade needle valves with no improvement. I went down the list of things to check and also no luck. 

What do you know? You can't even make it on to a party bus you already paid for! ;)

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12 hours ago, madmike said:

I agree with jorge, get a peristaltic... there is a masterflex thread on reef central that explains how to purchase and setup one.  These a medical grade that can run for years continuously without adjustment... not cheap but then again what is in our hobby!

Ok, ok... you guys are all shamming me into setting up the peristaltic pump.  One more piece of gear to cram into the cabinet.  The one bad thing about it is the possibility of split flex tubbing. - good idea to change that out on a semi regular basis. 

And Jorge - you were missed today man!

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Here's a pic of the Dwyer mini manometer. This allows you to see at a glance effluent rate. Guys, he's working with a nano reactor on a 30g tank, so $1000 for a used brushless peristaltic pump is likely over budget. I'd love to have one myself, but consensus is the brush type are too loud for use in my living room. 0ee46aa7d73598815b3eed5613d00c3a.jpg


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4 minutes ago, Bicyclebill said:

Here's a pic of the Dwyer mini manometer. This allows you to see at a glance effluent rate. Guys, he's working with a nano reactor on a 30g tank, so $1000 for a used brushless peristaltic pump is likely over budget. I'd love to have one myself, but consensus is the brush type are too loud for use in my living room. 0ee46aa7d73598815b3eed5613d00c3a.jpg


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This is a real nice application for one of these. Where did you source yours Bill?

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This is a real nice application for one of these. Where did you source yours Bill?

Direct from Dwyer, or from eBay. I think I got used one in eBay from a lab supply place. The MMA series is the one, and in cc/min configuration . They make another similar one that has stainless steel inside, and I had one and it corrodes. 782c59b6cec3380e1daf33748cbf406e.jpg


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Thanks for the info - this looks to be a worthwhile aid for helping to get a Ca reactor dialed in. Obviously, a peristaltic is the ultimate but they are costly (in my recollection) so not practical for all. Also, we used them in the lab all the time and failure of the flex tubing (that sits on the rollers) was a regular occurance. Not sure if folk have experienced that as much in this application. 

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Very interesting!

I found it here, quite spendy but MUCH cheaper than a high end peristaltic.

http://www.pacificsun-usa.com/calcium-reactors/calcfeeder-pro-controller-unit-with-dosing-feed-pump.html

I do wonder, Rudy @goldenbasketreef, how much noise if any do these make?

Can you buy it with spare tubing?

My peristaltic for auto water changes tubing split a while back.  It was quite the mess...

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, TheClark said:

Very interesting!

I found it here, quite spendy but MUCH cheaper than a high end peristaltic.

http://www.pacificsun-usa.com/calcium-reactors/calcfeeder-pro-controller-unit-with-dosing-feed-pump.html

I do wonder, Rudy @goldenbasketreef, how much noise if any do these make?

Can you buy it with spare tubing?

My peristaltic for auto water changes tubing split a while back.  It was quite the mess...

 

 

 

Sorry to hear you had that happen Jeremy but it does sort of prove the point that this can be a concern for anyone thinking about a peristaltic solution.  I used to hate when I would come to work in the morning and find an overnight column run wrecked by a leaking piece of flex tubing!  Weeks worth of work down the drain... or, in your case, lots of salt water on your floor!  Would also be curious about the noise.

Edited by albertareef
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16 hours ago, TheClark said:

Very interesting!

I found it here, quite spendy but MUCH cheaper than a high end peristaltic.

http://www.pacificsun-usa.com/calcium-reactors/calcfeeder-pro-controller-unit-with-dosing-feed-pump.html

I do wonder, Rudy @goldenbasketreef, how much noise if any do these make?

Can you buy it with spare tubing?

My peristaltic for auto water changes tubing split a while back.  It was quite the mess...

 

 

 

If you dig around on the net you can find tubing in bulk typically that works. Took me some trial and error when I used to use a peri pump but I managed to buy several feet for the price of one replacement from the company selling the top off pump 

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On 4/16/2017 at 8:24 PM, TheClark said:

Very interesting!

I found it here, quite spendy but MUCH cheaper than a high end peristaltic.

http://www.pacificsun-usa.com/calcium-reactors/calcfeeder-pro-controller-unit-with-dosing-feed-pump.html

I do wonder, Rudy @goldenbasketreef, how much noise if any do these make?

Can you buy it with spare tubing?

My peristaltic for auto water changes tubing split a while back.  It was quite the mess...

 

 

 

I am not sure about noise, I would think be the same as other peristaltic pumps.

As far as replacement tubing I am sure from Pacific Sun or generic brand will be available.

As with other equipments, none is set and leave alone, still need to check regularly for parts wear down.
For example, pump can break a seal and water on the floor.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/14/2017 at 9:12 PM, Bicyclebill said:

100% recommend setting your effluent ph higher to allow a much higher effluent rate. You're never going to be able to maintain 6ml/min with anything aquarium grade. Set ph at 7 and see if that allows you to run at 60-70ml/min. I guarantee you that the media melts just fine this high, just at a much slower rate.

And I don't feel that an aqualifter is a good choice for the application.

 

 

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I have found this to be the best approach in my experience. 

Why fiddle with trying to fine tune both CO2 injection and effluent rates to hit a certain reactor pH when you can just basically max the effluent so that the flow stays fairly constant and then adjusting the CO2 to provide the amount of alkalinity that your tank needs and letting the pH land where ever it lands. A side benefit is that you are less likely to turn your media into mush since your are running the reactor at a higher pH.

For example, I have 2 identical reactor setups on 2 identical tank setups.  On the heavily loaded SPS system, the reactor runs at a pH of 6.55 and on a lighter loaded LPS and softie system, the pH runs at around 6.87 to meet the tank demands.  The effluent rate is set for the same 100ml / min on both systems.

Investing in a high qualify CO2 regulator like the Carbon Doser is money better spent IMO than on expensive equipment just to move a precise amount of water through the reactor.

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