Teach me how to (calcium) react(or)

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by Kevin_E, Jun 9, 2014.

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  1. Kevin_E

    Kevin_E Giant Squid

    Apr 30, 2009
    This is how I see it:

    I have a 30 gallon system that is full of healthy, colorful and growing SPS. I also have a system that is susceptible to quicker changes due to the smaller water body. My thoughts are that by stabilizing my system with a calcium reactor, I can enhance my success (Stability Promotes Success). I found that baking soda in my ATO did a good job of maintaining my alkalinity, but I stopped using it when my tank began to crash from a foreign chemical addition. That has since been corrected and growth has exploded again.

    I decided to try Kalk, but I am having nothing but problems with it. I was using 1/2 tsp per gallon of water (even dissolved it in vinegar), but all I get is sediment in my bucket, around my float valve and in the bottom of my sump. I don't feel like it is benefiting me whatsoever, and the fact that my alkalinity has dropped by 40 ppm in 4 days speaks to that. My calcium has fallen from 395 to 375 in that stretch. That kind of drop cannot be promoting optimal growth.

    I know for every 50 ppm of alk.,you lose 20 ppm of calcium and my tests reflect that amount in the past 4 days. On a per day average, I am losing roughly 12 ppm alk. and 5 ppm of calcium.

    I know a reactor is unnecessary and that I could just manually dose, but again, I want stability. Dosing every 24 hours doesn't eliminate the daily drop, it just adds what I lost. I know another would be to add dosing pumps and I have considered that. However, I did some research and found that I could get a used Aquamaxx nano skimmer w/ regulator, solenoid, CO2 and some media for $150, which is cheaper than dosers, so obviously you understand my second reason for wanting the reactor.

    Let's get down to the chemistry now:

    The benefits of a reactor is that it adds the proportionate amount of Calcium, alkalinity and minor trace elements that coral take in, because you're dissolving coral skeleton to use.

    With a daily drop as minor as mine, will I be able to dial in the nano reactor (i.e dial pH in on the higher range of the suggested 6.5-7.5, limit amount of effluent going into system adding smaller quantities of media) to add small amount of effluent to compensate for my daily loss of roughly 12 ppm alk. and 5 ppm of calcium. Keep in mind, I am still dosing Kalkwasser, so it may even be more than that.

    After answering that, how do you limit the amount of effluent entering your tank? Obviously the pH controller controls the amount of CaCO3 dissolving into solution, but how do you limit that solution from entering the tank? or don't you? Do you just control the concentration by pH?

    For stability purposes, my ideal dosing method would be small, dilute doses all throughout the day rather than one dose or two with auto-doser/manual teo-part.


    What is the best way of getting water from your tank, into your reactor and from your reactor to your tank? When the effluent enters the tank, how does the reactor know to fill back up with water? I assume there is a constant steady drip into the tank and into the reactor, correct?

    This is what I am looking at: