Calcium Reactor Tip

Brian Prestwood

Premium Member
If you've got a digital timer or controler (e.g. AquaContoller) then here's a way to control your calcium reactor pH with it. NOTE: this technique requires a solinoid on the CO2 injection system.

There are two variables for controlling the strength of the effluent coming from your calcium reactor, CO2 in and effluent out.

Increase the CO2 in and the effluent gets stronger. Increase the effluent out rate and the effluent gets weaker. Unfortunately, both of those adjustments are pretty finicky.

Here's what I did...

Fix the CO2 bubble rate at the slowest reliable rate, usually around 3 bubbles a second. This is usually too fast for most tanks. Fix the effluent out rate at the slowest reliable rate. I use a dripper from a drip watering system for plants. The 1 GPH dripper works well. Faster drip rates tend to introduce carbonic acid into the tank so slower is better.

Plug the CO2 injection system solinoid into the timer. Set the timer for 1 minute on and 15 minutes off. Adjust the off time up or down to keep up with your aquarium.

Done

ps If you've got an AquaContoller the on/off timer is great for this. This also frees up the pH probe to use in the tank.
 

bored4long

New member
Brian, do you recommend this method over having a pH monitor like the Milwaukee SM122 or second pH probe on an AC controlling the CO2 injection based on the desired pH of the reactor effluent? Or is this just an alternative if you don't want to pony up the $100 for the pH controller? Most writeups on Ca Rx recommend a pH controller controlling the effluent.
 

P.Kelly

New member
Brian, nice writeup! I'm getting ready to finally setting up my Korallin. I need to drill a hole in the lid for my pH probe. I'm going to run it with a dual pH probe, just becasue I'm kind of retentive that way, but for those that don't have an ACIII or a Milwakee monitor, this a great tip!
 

bored4long

New member
Pete, if you decide to go with new pH probes, there is a really good thread on the Neptune sponsor forum about quality replacement probes.
 

Brian Prestwood

Premium Member
This is an alternative that solves both the unreliable bubble rate at low rates and the difficulty of controlling variable drip rates without incuring the cost of a dedicated controller or giving up the tank pH monitoring capability of an existing AquaController.

This solution doesn't address the daily effleuent strength swings caused by the daily tank pH swings. A pH controller will.

In other words, its cheaper and almost as good.
 

bored4long

New member
Brian, thanks for offering this alternative. I hope to get a Ca Rx up shortly after my 120 is up (which I guess would be 2 weeks after never at this rate!). I have an AC Jr right now and have been torn about what to do. When I bought the AC Jr I wasn't thinking about a Ca Rx. So now my options are AC Jr + separate pH controller or upgrade to AC3 or other. Your suggested alternative may be the other I'm looking for. At the least, it sounds like a great interim option until funds allow something better.

I had read some really good information regarding CO2 regulation on a planted tank site, but can't seem to find it now. Anyways, the gist was that regulation had a LOT to do with quality of the needle valve. I was able to find some suggested valves from a quick google. An upgrade may help your situation. Look here: http://www.bestaquariumregulator.com/CO2.html#needle
 

Brian Prestwood

Premium Member
Hey Mark

You're welcome. In the eight years I've been using an AC I've found them to be well worth the cost. I upgraded my AC to and AC3 about a year ago.

Thanks for the link. I've owned two CO2 regulators. Both of them came with the Clippard needle value. Neither of them provided consistent bubble rates in the 1 bubble per second range my tank required. If I ever have to replace the needle value I'll use the Fabco.
 

P.Kelly

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=12201595#post12201595 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Brian Prestwood
In other words, its cheaper and almost as good.

A LOT cheaper
 
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