PH controller on a Calc reactor

slief

RC Sponsor
Premium Member
How necessary is it? Who uses one and who doesn't??
Thanks

I think it's pretty much mandatory. For the calcium or coral skeletons in the reactor to break down properly, you need to target a certain pH range. If it's too high, the media won't break down. If it's too low, the media will turn to mush and your alk and or calcium will skyrocket not to mention that you could also drop the pH in the main system to undesired levels. The controller will not only help you dial the reactor in by letting you know the pH in the reactor but it also shuts the solenoid off to the Co2 so that you don't drop the pH in the reactor too far. Instead it's essential in maintaining consistent target pH levels in the reactor as well as serving as a failsafe in case the regulator has an issue and releases too much Co2.
 

Mike de Leon

New member
Thank you. I know a while ago I had a Schuran Pico that I ran without a controller and just watched the ph and adjusted accordingly.
This time around I am running a large Geo.
Would you recommend a reliable controller without breaking the bank? What about a feed pump? The Masterflex seems expensive.

Thanks again..
 

n2585722

New member
A RKL package with the SLX module will work. Just add another pH probe and you can control the pH in the reactor and shut down CO2 if the tank pH drops below a certain point. A plus is you can control other things with the RKL other than the calc reactor.
 

jda

Dogmatic Dinosaur
It is measures the PH of the effluent and can turn the CO2 on/off to your desired setting. Different media melts at a different PH, so you have to adjust it if you are using man-made stuff or natural.

It is not necessary. You can set the bubbles and drips without it. Been using CaRx since about 1992 without one. I have never melted the media and the reactor has been producing reliable output without one.

It can make things somewhat easier as long as the probe is tuned - they don't last forever, but long enough that it might be worth it for you. I can tell by looking at mine that a fast drip almost to a stream and 18-19 bubbles per minute can keep my 240G SPS tank quite happy.

People forget that it is the ratio that matters. A small stream can still melt media with a lot more CO2 to get the PH dow where a fast drip nowhere near a stream will produce the same results with less CO2.
 

tkeracer619

Premium Member
They're helpful, especially when starting out but I've been using a CaRx long enough I don't need a probe anymore.
 

slief

RC Sponsor
Premium Member
Thank you. I know a while ago I had a Schuran Pico that I ran without a controller and just watched the ph and adjusted accordingly.
This time around I am running a large Geo.
Would you recommend a reliable controller without breaking the bank? What about a feed pump? The Masterflex seems expensive.

Thanks again..

You're asking the wrong guy.. I use my Apex for the controller and run a Masterflex. That said, Spectrapure has a new ATO pump that works very well for a feed pump. You can set the flow rate in 5ml/min increments and has 100 flow settings. You just set the ATO level sensor tubing off to the side or can cut them. This pump also includes a 5 year warranty and the motor in these pumps has a very well proven track record in terms of reliability. While it doesn't offer the very fine control of a good Masterflex, it puts out enough pressure to eliminate effluent clogs and has a good enough range of flow settings to get good enough stability from the calcium reactor.
http://spectrapure.com/DOSING-TOP-O...uto-Top-Off-System-with-Magnetic-Probe-Holder

For a reliable controller, there is always the Milwaukee pH controllers.
http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/milwaukee-mc122-ph-controller.html?gclid=COCs_IfF_NACFZWFaQodTvEAVg
 

slief

RC Sponsor
Premium Member
They're helpful, especially when starting out but I've been using a CaRx long enough I don't need a probe anymore.

Yes but that is one of the advantages that our Masterflex pumps afford us. Very precise flow rate control and when coupled with a good regulator, we can dial our pH levels in so well that the reactor pH is nearly flat line. That is much more difficult or even impossible when you have fluctuations in effluent rates that one would normally encounter (due to effluent lines clogging) in the absence of a feed pump with precise flow control.
 

tkeracer619

Premium Member
You're right :lol: I've been using a Masterflex for so long I've completely forgotten how normal carx users run them.
 

salty joe

New member
Yes but that is one of the advantages that our Masterflex pumps afford us. Very precise flow rate control and when coupled with a good regulator, we can dial our pH levels in so well that the reactor pH is nearly flat line. That is much more difficult or even impossible when you have fluctuations in effluent rates that one would normally encounter (due to effluent lines clogging) in the absence of a feed pump with precise flow control.

I've used calcium reactors off and on for a while and steady effluent was always my biggest challenge. Masterflex looks like the way to go.

But to your original question-I don't trust pH probes with anything critical. It seems everyone uses a pH probe to control calcium reactors these days. You can run a solid calcium reactor without a pH probe controlling things. I'd much rather check the alk in the effluent than trust a pH probe. Don't get me wrong, I think pH probes are great, I use one to monitor pH in my tank. But when it gets out of whack, it's not making unwanted changes happen.
 

slief

RC Sponsor
Premium Member
I've used calcium reactors off and on for a while and steady effluent was always my biggest challenge. Masterflex looks like the way to go.

But to your original question-I don't trust pH probes with anything critical. It seems everyone uses a pH probe to control calcium reactors these days. You can run a solid calcium reactor without a pH probe controlling things. I'd much rather check the alk in the effluent than trust a pH probe. Don't get me wrong, I think pH probes are great, I use one to monitor pH in my tank. But when it gets out of whack, it's not making unwanted changes happen.

In 20 years of running reactors and controllers, I've never had a pH probe fail. I do check mine from time to time and recalibrate them every 6 months and I also use quality probes. That said, the Masterflex and a good regulator pretty much eliminate the need for pH control due to the consistency of the effluent rate and consistency of the Co2 rate. When you use a pump like the Masterflex, the effluent rate is always 100% consistent and effluent line clogs quickly become a thing of the past.
 

tkeracer619

Premium Member
You can use any pump you want. A cobalt mj1200 is a cheap option. Masterflex is definitely the high end option.
 

slief

RC Sponsor
Premium Member
There must be other feed pumps out there other than Masterflex??

I mentioned this one from Spectrapure a few posts up. I have one here for testing and I know GEO is using one on one of their reactors. It has about 100 different flow rate settings that can be set in 5ml increments. While it was originally intended for an ATO pump, the level sensors can be set aside or removed. It also includes a 5 year warranty. These pumps have a proven track record too.
http://spectrapure.com/DOSING-TOP-O...uto-Top-Off-System-with-Magnetic-Probe-Holder
 

Bpb

New member
Is that spectrapure pump rated for continuous duty?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

jda

Dogmatic Dinosaur
You can tee off your main line. This works pretty well - most of the junk that will clog it will keep on going up the line.

Look for something used. CaRx and supplies sell for half of retail when people are getting out of the hobby.
 

slief

RC Sponsor
Premium Member
Is that spectrapure pump rated for continuous duty?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

They and GEO have been working together for this very application. I actually introduced the two companies to each other at MACNA. This pump will not run continuously but rather, it will run on and off in spurts every few seconds depending on the desired flow which will work just fine for a calcium reactor. Instead of pushing a drop a second out of the reactor, it will push a few drops every few seconds. That said, it has a 5 year warranty so even if it's not a continuous duty rated pump which it essentially is, it will last for many years and is backed by a great warranty. Spectrapure has been testing this pump for a while now and they have over 50,000 gallons pushed through the pump. These pumps are bulletproof. The only downside compared to a Cole Parmer is that they don't offer as precise of control in terms of ml/min but they are tunable enough that you can meet your tanks alk/ca demands by balancing flow and reactor pH.
 

Mike de Leon

New member
They and GEO have been working together for this very application. I actually introduced the two companies to each other at MACNA. This pump will not run continuously but rather, it will run on and off in spurts every few seconds depending on the desired flow which will work just fine for a calcium reactor. Instead of pushing a drop a second out of the reactor, it will push a few drops every few seconds. That said, it has a 5 year warranty so even if it's not a continuous duty rated pump which it essentially is, it will last for many years and is backed by a great warranty. Spectrapure has been testing this pump for a while now and they have over 50,000 gallons pushed through the pump. These pumps are bulletproof. The only downside compared to a Cole Parmer is that they don't offer as precise of control in terms of ml/min but they are tunable enough that you can meet your tanks alk/ca demands by balancing flow and reactor pH.


Is it essential that it be continuous flow? Can a typical doser suffice?
 
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