Calcium Reactors versus 2 part dosing

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by NASAGeek, Dec 24, 2009.

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  1. NASAGeek

    NASAGeek Scooter Blennie

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    Now, let's start by saying that I barely know enough to even ask this question so please bare with me.

    I am reading and reading and gradually getting there but I am not yet at a point that I can apply everything that I am learning. It is also difficult because I am trying to learn and understand all this before buying and setting it up. It is kind of like taking a chemistry class without taking a lab with it.

    SO... Corals and organisms in the tank consume various nutrients. The aquarists job is to provide those nutrients and keep the water in balance. I have read fundamentally of three methods: 1) Direct additives commercially produced. 2) Dosing and 3) Reactors.

    I understand GFO and GAC Reactors. They seem to basically be a form of chemical filtration to remove phosphours and other 'bad things'. I wish they weren't called reactors. Since Calcium Reactors and GFO/GAC Reactors don't seem to be the seem thing at all.

    Calcium Reactors have me confused. Seems like adding commercially produced additives would be cost effective for very small systems but probably quite expensive for moderate and large systems. It also seems that additives would "spike" various parameters rather than keeping them constant at the desired level. Dosing makes sense to me... adding buffer for Alk, calcium, Mg, in the proportions needed by your tank to keep them constant. Calcium Reactors don't make sense to me. If you are going to end up dosing for Alk, Mg, and others, why would you set up a separate mechanism for calcium??? What is the benefit and compared to dosing?

    Long post... sorry.... can someone help me continue my education???

    Merry Christmas Eve,
    Mark
     
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  3. jonjonwells

    jonjonwells Great Blue Whale

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    If you are running a heavy SPS tank or have clams, it can replenish CA/MG more consistently than dosing. It is a mostly set and forget system. For someone who travels, dosing is much harder. A calcium reactor once dialed in doesn't require the daily maintenance that dosing does.
     
  4. robwerden

    robwerden Feather Duster

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    Id buy one if they were less expensive. I so far have not been able to justify it. Also I sometimes have to back off on alk because the hardness gets to high, I also dose mag so I worry about salinity building up.
    Im going to stick to doses until I understand how to control all 3 aspects.
     
  5. Peredhil

    Peredhil Giant Squid

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    I don't know why people have this impression. If you setup auto dosing, it is very much set and forget. I haven't messed with my autodosing unit in months and my params are very stable.

    If you automate dosing it is no harder than a reactor. Dosing, once dialed in, does not need any daily maintenance whatsoever.
     
  6. Peredhil

    Peredhil Giant Squid

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  7. NASAGeek

    NASAGeek Scooter Blennie

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    Great thoughts.... I am leaning towards automated dosing... off to read the other thread.

    Thanks
    M
     
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  9. jonjonwells

    jonjonwells Great Blue Whale

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    The reason I stated that is the ability for the system to accommodate more usage with no manual adjustment. I do realize that an auto doser is a very effective way of doing it.
     
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  10. Peredhil

    Peredhil Giant Squid

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    the 'grow out' side of it... and the way a reactor auto adjusts... this is true, but I think it's an overrated argument.

    i haven't had to adjust my doser timers since I got it dialed in. This would be about August. Since then, I have had growth and the addition of one SPS frag, candy canes probably something else.

    By the time I will need to go and increase my timer by one second per day (an exceedingly easy task), I would have had to change media on a reactor (every 6 months right?) and probably a CO2 can. This task in a reactor setup is far more intensive (at least how I picture it, never have done it) than adding a second here or there to an autodoser timer.

    It's not like the Ca needs of our tanks is growing by ml's every day. The self adjustment aspect of a reactor... I just don't really see that as a big pro over autodosing.
     
  11. NASAGeek

    NASAGeek Scooter Blennie

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    SO that was an awesme thread.... I decided on automated two-part doing.

    Thanks
    Mark
     
  12. AZDesertRat

    AZDesertRat Giant Squid

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    After owning a calcium reactor I wouldn't go back to dosing for all the money in the world. No buying bulk chemicals, no mixing up batches of chemicals, no filling containers, almost zero maintenance etc with the reactor. Granted bulk chemicals are more available today and less expensive but its still more work than setting and forgetting the drip rate and buble count on a reactor and adding calcium media and filling a CO2 bottle every 9 to 12 months. The only thing I do is clean a small drip valve maybe once wvery 3 or 4 weeks and that takes about 30 seconds.