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Calcium reactors.


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#1 lindsay

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:02 AM

How do you run yours?,this may seem like a strange question but i have always run ours a certain way so would like to see how you have your reactors set up and how you prefer to run them.

#2 karnivor

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:27 AM

As you know Lindsay, I run my reactor bubble free, or at least try to. My chemistry background tells me that if you have bubbles, then the reactor is in some way malfunctioning.
I run at a PH of 6.60, give or take a little which should allow fairly rapid dissolution of calcium without turning it to mush.
Ive run reef bones in the past, but find them lacking in surface area and i'm currently running with 5mm aragonite gravel which works much better for me.
One thing I do intend to change however is to feed the output into a Phosphate reactor before feeding the effluent to the tank.

I know there are some that will say that the amount of phosphate released isnt that great in the grand scheme of things, and I would have agreed a couple of years ago, but now that I am more aware of balancing nutrient inputs, and balanced removal, I dont want anything that adds Phosphates without adding any attendant Nitrates, as it will lead to a longer term imbalance in the system.
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#3 lindsay

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 10:53 PM

Fitted a co2 bottle from BOC today so will see if this works better than the Fire extinguishers co2,i suspect it will.I can see where you are coming from with the phosphates from a reactor but if running very slow effluent speeds do you think it will become a problem?,have you tested the nitrate level from the effluent to see if that is also elevated?.I have thought about putting the effluent from the reactor though some phosphate media in the past but because of the amount of debris in the effluent decided against it because it would clog the phosphate media,this may not be the case at slower effluent speeds though.
We have debated the co2 bubbles in the shops reactor many times Tony,and i have to say i do enjoy the debate lol,but i cant debate it at this present time because up to now i have always used fire extinguishers which i have suspected to be part of the reason for the bubbles,will debate the bubbles at a later date lol.
How is that new reactor of yours doing m8?.

#4 dojo

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 11:18 AM

what make and model reactors are you both using? how can you run without bubbles? there's gas going in all day.

#5 karnivor

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 12:57 PM

I'm using our own make of Calcium Reactor, which is on a long term test before we put it on our site. Cracking piece of kit BTW.


Co2 is extremely soluble in water, and carbonic acid is very reactive with Aragonite, so, if you are set up correctly, the Co2 should dissolve almost instantly. The problem should only arise when either the media is too hard to dissolve quickly or the reactor is being run beyond what it is capable of producing. That is of course, providing you are only pumping Co2 into the reactor and not a Co2/air mix from a fire extinguisher.
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#6 karnivor

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 01:10 PM

Fitted a co2 bottle from BOC today so will see if this works better than the Fire extinguishers co2,i suspect it will.I can see where you are coming from with the phosphates from a reactor but if running very slow effluent speeds do you think it will become a problem?,have you tested the nitrate level from the effluent to see if that is also elevated?.I have thought about putting the effluent from the reactor though some phosphate media in the past but because of the amount of debris in the effluent decided against it because it would clog the phosphate media,this may not be the case at slower effluent speeds though.
We have debated the co2 bubbles in the shops reactor many times Tony,and i have to say i do enjoy the debate lol,but i cant debate it at this present time because up to now i have always used fire extinguishers which i have suspected to be part of the reason for the bubbles,will debate the bubbles at a later date lol.
How is that new reactor of yours doing m8?.


You will love the new bottle. I just need to convince you to use a smaller grade media now, and all the debating will be over.

I wouldnt expect to see any nitrates in the media, or at least none of any significance. Phosphates are bound to Calcium Carbonate (Tricalcium Phosphate possibly), which always makes me laugh when people try to wash it out. In Fact, you can buy Calcium Carbonate tablets to take as a method of increasing your bodily Phosphorous levels. The Phosphate is only released when the calcium is dissolved, but i'm not sure what form it takes, but its deffo readable and can build up if Nitrates are not present to mop em up.

Tony
Why do left-over nuts never match left-over bolts?

#7 lindsay

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 01:09 AM

Well the bottle has only been on for a day and there is a clear improvement in the amount of bubbles in the reactor at the same settings of co2 rate to effluent rate,so i have increased the co2 which took me from 20 dkh at 200 ml per min to 25 dkh at 200ml per min.I have been using the fire extinguishers from day one and suspected the quality being poor on a good few bottles for sometime,wish i had gone for a Boc grade bottle from day one because its not just a bit better but is way better,if you are using a fire extinguisher then i would highly advise going over to a custom filled bottle instead.
The idea of a finer media is a little harder to change,our home made reactor has a eheim 1260 on it so i would have thought a fine media would do two things,1 it would slow down the turnover within the reactor which would also hamper the venturi system for the co2 recirc,2 its likely the media would also get around the rector to the pump because of its narrow design,i think these are the reasons Schuran advise a media size of around 10mm,or bigger.
Still not going to debate the bubbles Tony,will get to this later lol.

#8 lindsay

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:06 AM

Ok you win Tony,before building a bigger reactor i will try the smaller media size idea,8mm to 12mm and see how it goes.

#9 karnivor

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:30 AM

Ok you win Tony,before building a bigger reactor i will try the smaller media size idea,8mm to 12mm and see how it goes.


you know it makes sense.
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#10 lindsay

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:35 AM

I will find out over the next few days,with luck the new media will be here today,i still think i will need to build a bigger one but time will tell lol.

#11 lindsay

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 11:18 PM

I have been running the smaller size media for a week or two now and it gave me a little surprise today lol,while running the bigger harder reef bones i found i could run the reactor at a very low ph at speed with no ill effects,as low as 6.20,now i am running this much finer media at the same speed i have risen the reactors ph to around 6.55 to 6.60 which i did so as not to melt the media too quickly and make the reactor and tank milky.I thought that a set point of 6.50 on the controller would be high enough to avoid this but over night the flow slowed and the ph dropped which by morning started to make the reactor go milky looking so it would seem that even though i am running fast on the reactor a ph of 6.50 with this finer media is still to low,i was aware the smaller media would act differently when it came to the ph level than the larger media but it still came as a wake up call lol.I am going to continue with the smaller media because of better readings with a higher ph level but will be looking at the controller and reactors settings a lot more closely now i know what the medias limmitations are when it comes to ph levels and the medias melting point.

#12 ReefAnon

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:27 PM

I went the other way - from smaller media (ARM) to larger reef bones type stuff. I found that the smaller media tended to clump at the bottom of the chamber though you could run the smaller stuff at a higher ph - 6.6 IIRC. Bad reactor design perhaps but have been happy with the larger stuff for a while.

I use fire extinguishers so curious about why you both think they're not as good as BOC?
Daniel

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#13 lindsay

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:09 PM

I went the other way - from smaller media (ARM) to larger reef bones type stuff. I found that the smaller media tended to clump at the bottom of the chamber though you could run the smaller stuff at a higher ph - 6.6 IIRC. Bad reactor design perhaps but have been happy with the larger stuff for a while.

I use fire extinguishers so curious about why you both think they're not as good as BOC?

Yeah i like the larger reef bones but i am getting better readings from the smaller 8mm to 10mm media at a higher ph of 6.62 instead of the lower readings at a lower ph of 6.20 with the bigger media.I should be ok when it comes to clumping at the bottom because we have good flow through it with the eheim 1260 but will keep an eye on it to see how it goes over time.
The boc gas is much better as i found the fire extinguishers to have a fair bit of o2 in them that becomes a problem when running at a fast speed,possibly less of a problem if running at a slower speed,i think the o2 gets in when they are being filled unlike boc who try to make sure the bottle has mostly co2 in it,that said if you are finding the extinguishers ok then there is no need to look to change unless the reactor gasses up.

#14 TrevC

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 02:46 PM

Lindsay as discussed in the shop today, here's a pic of the Altec peri pump.

Mine is the 51 rpm model with 5mm tube fitted. I use it for the auto top-up ( about 2 yrs old )

You also need the enclosure which is part number 110-1824 but not available at the moment (best ring and ask them).

Posted Image

Posted Image

TANK 48 x 24 x 24

NO LIVE ROCK WHATSOEVER

VORTECH MP40
2 x Tunze Nano

48 x 18 x 17.5 SUMP
NO LIVE ROCK IN HERE EITHER!
SCHURAN JETSKIM 150
SCHURAN JETSTREAM 1 Ca REACTOR
"GYRACTOR" running "BIO PEARLS"
EHEIM 1262 RETURN PUMP

FISH AND CORALS SUPPLIED BY
JASON's AQUATICS


#15 lindsay

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 07:48 AM

Thanks Trev,it looks good and has a reasonable price,would like to think it would last a year or so when run continuously before needing to be replaced,not had time to do a search on them but will to see if others are using them.

#16 karnivor

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 07:56 AM

They are quite robust. Ive used one in the past, although some some complain that the gearbox can overheat.

The biggest problem for me, is that they are fixed speed. This means that you cannot match your fluid flow to your gas flow. This impacts on PH within the reactor, which for me, is the the most important thing to keep stable and all adjustments should be made around that fact, and not the reverse.
Why do left-over nuts never match left-over bolts?

#17 TrevC

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:31 AM

Tony, while I agree that the pH in the reactor is important (depending on which media you are running), surely it's a balancing act between:

1) Flow through the reactor

2) CO2 addition, and

3) pH within the reactor, media dependant

If you keep one of the three at a constant level, then you can vary the other two to give you the required dkH and Ca support for your tank.


So does it really matter which one you keep constant?

Besides, with the various designs of reactor available, it is possible to use one which will supply 150ml a minute at 20 dkH, or another which will supply 40ml a minute at 40 dkH.

Both will achieve similar results.


TANK 48 x 24 x 24

NO LIVE ROCK WHATSOEVER

VORTECH MP40
2 x Tunze Nano

48 x 18 x 17.5 SUMP
NO LIVE ROCK IN HERE EITHER!
SCHURAN JETSKIM 150
SCHURAN JETSTREAM 1 Ca REACTOR
"GYRACTOR" running "BIO PEARLS"
EHEIM 1262 RETURN PUMP

FISH AND CORALS SUPPLIED BY
JASON's AQUATICS


#18 karnivor

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:13 AM

I see it from a different point of view Trev.

Ph determines the way that your media dissolves. it determines the rate of melt and the balance between carbonate and bicarbonate production. therefore, there is a known optimal level at which a reactor should run. this is generally accepted as being around 6.5-6.7 PH. if you media melts at a lower level than this, then you are producing too much bicarbonate which when entering the higher PH of the tank will turn itself back to carbonate and release CO2 in doing so. this happens at all ph's in a reactor, but is unnecessarily exaggerated at lower PH's.
The amount of CO2 entering a reactor directly determines the amount of calcium produced and should be adjusted when more or less calcium is required.

Bearing the above in mind, you need to adjust your CO2 to produce the amount of calcium produced but keep the PH at its optimal value, and the only way to do this is by adjusting the water flow.

finally, if your media doesn't melt fast enough within the PH range mentioned, then you have too little media, too large a media or a mined media that has hardened do to the crystal structure being altered (usually a greyish colour).

Sadly, in this hobby, many people seem to think that success with a Calcium reactor is determined by the amount of dkh you can squeeze out of it and people even boast about how low they can run their PH or how much dkh comes out of it.
20 dkh at 100ml or 40 dkh at 50......which is best?

tony.
Why do left-over nuts never match left-over bolts?

#19 TrevC

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 03:46 PM

So,.... are you telling me that I have the wrong media in my reactor?

I'm using branch media and have to push the pH down to 6.35 to get a reasonable (25dkH) from the reactor at around 130ml per minute.

Reactor is run for around 12 hours a day (during the lit period).

This gives me a reasonably stable tank at 400ppm Ca, and 9.0 dkH.

Tank ph sits around 8.2

TANK 48 x 24 x 24

NO LIVE ROCK WHATSOEVER

VORTECH MP40
2 x Tunze Nano

48 x 18 x 17.5 SUMP
NO LIVE ROCK IN HERE EITHER!
SCHURAN JETSKIM 150
SCHURAN JETSTREAM 1 Ca REACTOR
"GYRACTOR" running "BIO PEARLS"
EHEIM 1262 RETURN PUMP

FISH AND CORALS SUPPLIED BY
JASON's AQUATICS


#20 karnivor

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 05:58 PM

So,.... are you telling me that I have the wrong media in my reactor?

I'm using branch media and have to push the pH down to 6.35 to get a reasonable (25dkH) from the reactor at around 130ml per minute.

Reactor is run for around 12 hours a day (during the lit period).

This gives me a reasonably stable tank at 400ppm Ca, and 9.0 dkH.

Tank ph sits around 8.2


well, it depends on how you look at it. If you only buffer using calcium, then your dkh/calcium should be roughly in balance, although it will depend on your background CO2 levels in the room, so its not a good measure apart from the fact that you are maintaining your levels using your current reactor.

The fact that you can do it using reef bones simply demonstrates that you have a reactor that has spare capacity available and can handle a media that has a lower than usual surface area given that you drive the ph low enough.

On the downside however, driving the reactor at a lower PH means that you are using more CO2 by pumping lower PH water into the tank and by producing higher levels of bicarbonate which will revert to carbonates at the higher PH of the tank, releasing CO2. (CaC03= CaCo + CO2).

So, in answer to the question "am I using the wrong media", IMO, yes, because you can produce the same amount of Calcium at a higher PH and thus reduce the amount of CO2 wasted and reduce the stress on the buffering system.

Tony.
Why do left-over nuts never match left-over bolts?




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