First calcium reactor setup

plunderisley

New member
Just got a new Ca reactor setup on my 75gal and I think it is set up correctly.
I got a reef octopus CR-100 calcium reactor. To that I got a aqua medic peristaltic pump (Sp-3000). I got a CO2 tank with a solenoid hook up. And a pH probe in the Ca reactor. The media I'm using is a Ca+Mg mix or something, and from what I read it says it should be dissolved around 6.3.
I got a RKE with the following configuration:
Outlet 1: peristaltic pump - on
Outlet 2: CO2 solenoid - on when Ca reactor pH 6.3 or higher
Outlet 3: Ca reactor circulating pump - on
and I got a alarm set that if the tank pH drops below 7.7 the whole Ca reactor (outlets 1,2,3) shut off.


Few questions:
-Is the setup correct?

-I got the effluent flow on full. That is some 25ml/min with the SP-3000. My reactor pH is 6.25ish. As it being so low, there is no CO2 going into the reactor (as I got the program to turn on the CO2 when it gets 6.3 or higher)

-I tested the outflow and pH is 6.3, Ca is some 700ppm and the Alk is off the chart. I assume that isn't correct?

-My tank pH is 7.8, which is low.

-What's the best way to calibrate this reactor? Can I lower the outflow with a peristaltic pump? What can I do now to tweak the settings and keep my pH from dropping?

- When the CO2 solenoid clicks on, I get a burst of CO2 before it levels out the correct bubble count (1/2ish BPM). Is that normal?

-What about running the Ca reactor on a timer? Only during the daytime for instance?



*This has been up and running the last 6hrs, so I don't know if I should wait a day or so before I start to mess with it more...
 

Mmiller40gt

arrogant reefer
Your alk levels in the effluent should be very very high, so that's ok. You should not be getting a burst when the controller turns the co2 on. Mine resumes the normal bubble count, the only change is off and on, the bpm is always consistent.
 

James77

Team RC
Yes, and I am one that uses one.....well will be using one. The AquaMedic and most hobby pumps like Drews Dosers or LiterMeters are not made for continuous duty. The motors cannot take constant 24/7 operation. You can find continuous duty pumps like masterflex on ebay for decent prices. I have a digital masterflex I bought from a member here, tkeracer619 a few months ago. I have complete control of the flow and it is a quiet and relaible pump. Not cheap, but if yuou are going to use a peristaltic pump you need to use one like that. Otherwise I would just go with a powerhead feeding it.

tkeracer sold the rest of the pumps he was selling that were like mine, but shoot him a PM he may be able to suggest to you what would work best with your budget. He was more than helpful with me :)
 

JAustin

Acropora Nut
Premium Member
Every now and then you'll find a great deal on an adjustable peristaltic pump on ebay for about $100.

Look up Simon Veristaltic pump. That's what I have and it's fantastic. Does 20some ML/MIN all the way up to several hundred ML/MIN. You can really tune a reactor with a variable pump like the Simon. That piece of equipment new is about $1,000, so getting it used is key.

If your getting a burst of Co2 then your regulator pressure may be set to high. What PSI do you have your regulator set at?

I recommend you purchase an aquariumplants. com regulator in the future......one of the best regulators out there. I have not heard of one failing to date.
 

plunderisley

New member
I'll keep an eye out on that pump.
I don't think my reg adjusts the pressure. I can adjust the flow but not the pressure directly. Of course I can close the tank valve to lower the pressure a bit..
 

JAustin

Acropora Nut
Premium Member
Your regulator should have two gauges. One is your tank pressure and the other is the pressure going into the reactor. If you don't have this adjusted to lower
Than 15 psi, you risk turning in your reactor into a pipe bomb.
 

Mmiller40gt

arrogant reefer
I'll keep an eye out on that pump.
I don't think my reg adjusts the pressure. I can adjust the flow but not the pressure directly. Of course I can close the tank valve to lower the pressure a bit..



Mine is the same way. One allows the co2 to pass into the regulator and the other controls the bubble count. It's a pacific coast imports regulator.
 

plunderisley

New member
OK here are the last 36hr changes of the tank stats with the peri pump running (and the whole system up and running 24/7)

start
KH-11.2dKH
Ca- 460ppm
Mg-1350ppm

now
KH-12.2dKH
Ca-460ppm
Mg-1380ppm

change
KH-1.2 +
Ca-0
Mg-30 +


I'm looking at the varistaltic pumps but for the time being I'll have to use the peri pump I got.
So, I'm thinking for the time being I might have to run it on a timer to keep the KH and Mg in check. I was thinking to keep it off 2AM-8AM (6hrs) when the lights are off in the tank. Is that a good idea?

the pH gets as low as 7.8 at night and 8.0 at day. I was thinking about using kalk in the ATO. How much would I need/use? How do you use it?
 

JAustin

Acropora Nut
Premium Member
I wouldn't put the reactor on a timer. I would just reduce ph inside the reactor.

Get kalk from brs and try 1-2 teaspoons per gallon of ato water. Mix it once and your done. I use 2tsp per gallon in my 5g ato container. Keeps my ph at 8.15 at night and 8.32 in the day.
 

dan-in-gr

New member
Hi, Many of us are running the cal reactor 24 hours a day. You do not need the solenoid valve. Adjust your bubble count for about 15 per minute and the output drip at about 60 per drip. Use this as a basis. Wait a several hours, I normally check the next day. Check pH and if high past 6.5 (or whatever your want, increase the bubble count, if two low, decrease the bubble count. You can also fine tune with the effluent output by number of drops.

The pH is solution on mine is about 6.3 or so and the Alk is like you say off the charts, the one method is to do part test and rest RO water (example: if you have a Hanna, it wants 5ml in test vial, do 1 ml the other 4ml is ro water, multiply by 5 for test result, mine shows about 56 dkh. It sounds like you are on right track. Two things I have done on my Korallin C-1502, is to take the solenoid valve out of circuit and i replaced the check valve, now I get much more consistent bubble count with out readjusting every few days. My tank is steady at 10dKh and 430 cal, I am using Reborn media.

I see above your dkh is in the 12 range, you should lower it a bit, try reducing your bubble count.
 

plunderisley

New member
I can't get the flow above 25ml/min as thats the max the peri pump can put out.
The Ca media is around 6.2pH and can't get it higher. It does call to 6.1.

My regulator is a 2 part one. The first part tells me the tank pressure then I got a adjustable flow (l/min) set at almost nothing. So I don't know what could be causing the issue with the bubble burst..
 

JAustin

Acropora Nut
Premium Member
The Ca media is around 6.2pH and can't get it higher. It does call to 6.1.

Do you mean the water in the reactor is 6.2? What do you mean can't get higher? If you shut off the co2 it will get higher.

What does "it does call to 6.1"? Do you mean fall?

Program your controller for 6.4-6.7 and start there.
 

plunderisley

New member
Do you mean the water in the reactor is 6.2? What do you mean can't get higher? If you shut off the co2 it will get higher.

What does "it does call to 6.1"? Do you mean fall?

Program your controller for 6.4-6.7 and start there.

I turned off the co2 and it wouldn't rise the reactor pH.
I think I need to return and rebuild the system. Looks like the solenoid broke already 1 week in. I bought a veri pump on ebay used, so I can adjust the flow. Looks like I might as well return everything and start again. Get a proper co2 regulator. Can someone link me with a co2 reg that works for ca reactors correctly?
 

Mmiller40gt

arrogant reefer
I turned off the co2 and it wouldn't rise the reactor pH.
I think I need to return and rebuild the system. Looks like the solenoid broke already 1 week in. I bought a veri pump on ebay used, so I can adjust the flow. Looks like I might as well return everything and start again. Get a proper co2 regulator. Can someone link me with a co2 reg that works for ca reactors correctly?


Sounds like your PH probe is broken.. If you got zero c02 and water flow through the unit the PH should be right at the same as your aquarium.

Anyway this is the BEST regulator you can buy.

http://www.aquariumplants.com/CarbonDoser_Electronic_Co2_Regulator_p/co2.htm
 

plunderisley

New member
pH probe is working. the co2 solenoid failed and was left open. When the ph dropped, the power to it went off, but it still had co2 flow.
Any regulator thats good but not that expensive? :)
 

James77

Team RC
Reef fanatic if I had to have a cheaper one, but I was not all that impressed with that one. Aquarium plants is pretty much My favorite. I'd like to try the ones from greenleafaquariums but they are even more pricey.
 

dan-in-gr

New member
pH probe is working. the co2 solenoid failed and was left open. When the ph dropped, the power to it went off, but it still had co2 flow.
Any regulator thats good but not that expensive? :)

Hi, see my post above, what you will find is that may of us do not use the solenoid valve as it will fail sometime. Run your reactor 24/7 and adjust the co2 and drip rate correctly. try 20 bubbles per min with co2 and about 50 drips per minute of effulent as a start, adjust slightly from there, recheck following day.

The best way is to unscrew the solenoid valve and screw the needle valve directly to the main co2 valve, do not forget to use the white plumbing tape or it will leak.

What would be helpful is if you list what components you are using the: reactor, main valve, ph probe setup, etc.
 
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