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View Full Version : Calcium Reactor, kalk reactor?? which one?


banditpowdercoat
02-15-2010, 03:31 PM
I think I need something to keep my CA levels in check while im out at work. My wife will not dose. She feeds and cleans glass, thats about it. There have been some accident's while she has been looking after the tanks. none her fault, but she feels overwhelmed by all the dosing etc. So, I am gone on a 50/50 basis, right now 2weeks out, 2 weeks home. But other times it's 3wk/3wk.

I really don't want to spend the $, nor have the room 'yet' for Co2 tank etc for a true Ca reactor, unless I found a setup cheap enough???

Now what about Kalk? I have read and like the Nilsen reactor or Kalk stirrer style reactors. I was thinking of feeding my ATO through one? But, here's where I can't find much info. How do you know How much Kalk to add? Like does it vary? or does it self regulate? Can you overdose with ATO style addition? I know it needs to be added slowly, My ATO ads only about 2-3 cups at a time to the tank, so keeps fairly constant levels. But, we use the ATO res for other FW tanks water too, and it's on an auto refill system off the RO/DI so adding kalk to the res is not an option.

I don't have much Ca requirements in tank right now, but will be adding some shortly. I just have this fear of the Ca plummeting while i'm away and killing my corals :(

imcosmokramer
02-15-2010, 03:38 PM
how big is your system? 2-3 cups is a ton. You add a bunch of kalk to the reactor, and then watch it dissolve over time. You can't add "too much" per say, bc only so much will dissolve in the water that is in the reactor at any given time.

Hopefully your system is huge, bc 2-3 cups of kalk water will shoot your pH through the roof.

Please add some more info and I'll check back.
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banditpowdercoat
02-15-2010, 03:42 PM
150g tank, with about 45g in sump too.

So a reactor will be kinda self limiting due to only so much being able to dissolve?

PS, I can set my ATO to add less, more frequently too.

imcosmokramer
02-15-2010, 04:20 PM
yes, you can only dissolve about 2 tblsp in a gallon of water, if you add more, it will just remain at the bottom. The reactor will keep mixing the kalk every so many hours, so you'll be good.

As far as your ATO, isn't it on a float switch? Why do you need to regulate it at all?

If you must, then small amounts throughout the day is much better.

There is a risk, however, that you should be aware of. If something goes wrong with your ato, you can overdose on kalk. I, personally, am willing to take that risk. You can always user a controller to tell you ato to stop topping off if pH > x and alert you :)
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banditpowdercoat
02-15-2010, 04:32 PM
Nothing will go wrong with my ATO, it's PLC controled, and yes, it's on a float sw. I dont have the sw control the pump directly, there is a timer programed in. A 'debounce' timer. The floats like to bounce a bit. turning on/off/on/off. This is hard on pumps. The Debounce timer is set so the float has to be ON for X time, before turning the pump on. Presently, I have it set for 20 minute's I think. Which equate to 2-3 cups water evap. If I lower it to say 1 minute, it should be <1 cup. Longer times mean less pump cycles, less wear. Starting and stopping is harder on contacts and motors than leaving them run

mark
02-15-2010, 04:42 PM
got a Ca reactor and they can sort of be set and forget but considering moving to a dosing unit. Been reading good things about the Bubble-Magus BM T-01 (http://www.bubble-magus.com/en/productShow.asp?id=970)

untamed
02-15-2010, 04:52 PM
So a reactor will be kinda self limiting due to only so much being able to dissolve?



Careful here... The CONCENTRATION of Kalk will self limit because it can't dissolve any more...but that doesn't mean that you can't add too much Kalk to your system.

The amount of Kalk your system needs is based on how much Ca/Alk your system needs..NOT how much evaporation you happen to have.

It is certainly possible to add too much Kalk to a system by assuming that you need the same amount as your evaporative water. Checking your Alk level will tell you if you are overdosing.

Once you have significant Ca/Alk usage, you'll probably need more Ca/Alk than Kalk alone can provide. At that point, you might as well allow Kalk to flow with the evaporative replacement...but at that point you would also be supplying Ca/Alk some other way as well.

banditpowdercoat
02-15-2010, 05:02 PM
Ohh soo confusing!!!

xtreme
02-15-2010, 05:26 PM
Have you considered 2-part dosing? If you already have a PLC it can't be that hard to set up a couple dosing pumps.

whatcaneyedo
02-15-2010, 05:39 PM
Another issue you might have is kalk back syphoning into your ATO water holding reservoir. I bring this up because its a problem that I have been having and if your fresh water tanks are using the same reservior they could end up being supplemented with kalk too... I've tried adding a small check valve. It jammed open within a few weeks so I dont know what you can do to prevent this.

imcosmokramer
02-15-2010, 05:53 PM
Another issue you might have is kalk back syphoning into your ATO water holding reservoir. I bring this up because its a problem that I have been having and if your fresh water tanks are using the same reservior they could end up being supplemented with kalk too... I've tried adding a small check valve. It jammed open within a few weeks so I dont know what you can do to prevent this.

I've used the new tunze check valve, it's worked well.
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banditpowdercoat
02-15-2010, 06:02 PM
Have you considered 2-part dosing? If you already have a PLC it can't be that hard to set up a couple dosing pumps.

No, I havn't explored that avenue yet. Most dosing pump's I have seen are expensive. I'm a cheap, DIY kinda guy LOL

Is there a good read somewhere? Cause I got till Tomorrow Noon to figure out what which way I'm gona go LOL. headin to Van and the stores Wed.

mark
02-15-2010, 06:12 PM
again no experience on this but from reading, seems a good DIY doser for two part can be a couple of Drew's Dosers (http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/store/drew-s-doser-peristaltic-dosing-pump.html) or even a Aqualifter pump and individual timers or since you have a PLC, control the AC receptacles as required.

The Drew's come in a few different ml/minute sizes.

Check this thread (http://canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=60371), some pictures and gives an idea how much to dose

banditpowdercoat
02-15-2010, 06:26 PM
I actually like the Aqualifter idea. Hmmmmm

whatcaneyedo
02-15-2010, 07:18 PM
I've used the new tunze check valve, it's worked well.

Thanks I'll have to take a look and see if I can find one of those. I used a Mur-Lok check valve. It added a lot of resistance and then became plugged pretty quickly. I tried cleaning it a few times but it just kept sticking open.

banditpowdercoat
02-15-2010, 07:18 PM
So basically you make up a concentrated batch of Ca and a batch of baking soda, Use the Aqualifter to dose these? Thats cool. I allready use ChemMaster's Ca and Mg in my New SW and manual dose. Why didn;t I think of automating it I dunno?? LOL

PoonTang
02-15-2010, 08:26 PM
Dan you could move your tank over to its own top up system if you have the room and then just use kalk in the top up resevoir. This is the system i have been using for the last 3 years. Old salt bucket, timer, MJ400. I just vary the amount of kalk i add to the bucket to match the uptake by the corals. I dont know if your wife will be ok with adding the powder and refilling the bucket tho? Having said that tho i will be moving to a 3 part dosing unit when my current supply of Kalk runs out. Pretty much set and forget and just refil the resevoirs as needed. You shouldnt have any troubles getting 3 weeks out of it before any attention is required.

banditpowdercoat
02-15-2010, 09:04 PM
Ya, no room. And I would like the sys to not need refilling for 15-30 days LOL, I don't want much. I'm working on a 1g/d auto water change too, that will last 30 days. but again, comes down to room. I'm pretty limited.

o.c.d.
02-16-2010, 03:32 PM
I used 2 part for years then went to a dosing pump for 2 part and had nothing but problems. Constantly having to check the lines, the tubes, ect. They would crud up something fierce. The accuracy of doses was in question also small doses throughout the day just didn't work I had to do full daily doses all at once. Finally after spending way too much on the replacement tubes I looked into a Calcium reactor. Now I've been running it for about a year and love it. The Tank is happier than ever. I should say I also looked into Kalk unit and thought it to be too much of a risk.

banditpowdercoat
02-16-2010, 03:46 PM
I'm gona try the Aqualifter style for a while here. I allready have controllers, accutate to 1/10 sec and programable for as many dosings a day as I want. It seems like the cheapest route for me :D