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FAQs on Calcium Reactors, Installation, Placement 

Related Articles: Calcium Reactors and How They Work by James Gasta, Calcium Reactors: The Top 10 (Plus) Frequently Asked Questions about Calcium Reactors by Jason Chodakowski, Calcium, Understanding Calcium & Alkalinity, Kalkwasser, Calcium Reactors

Related FAQs: Calcium Reactors 1Calcium Reactors 2Calcium Reactors 3Calcium Reactors 4, Calcium Reactors 5, & FAQs on Calcium Reactors: Rationale/Use, Selection, Operation, Media, Measuring, Trouble-Shooting, By Makes/Models, & Calcium and Alkalinity,  & FAQs on: The Science of Calcium & Alkalinity, Importance, Measure, Sources, Use of AdditivesTroubleshooting/Fixing, Products,

Monitors... especially tied to meters (perhaps timers) are very useful if/when using such gear as Ca reactors. Best to mount below main systems, discharge reactor effluent into sumps, refugiums...

Calcium Reactor I have a Knop S-IV calcium reactor and was wondering what the best way to supply the unit with water from my tank.  I don't know if the siphon will hold up 24/7 and am willing to use a pump.  I don't know which pump to use though.  Also, I don't have a sump.. thanks for your help once again, Roel. <If you keep both the inlet and the outlet of the reactor in the water, most will maintain water flow without any problem.  If you want to feed it with a pump, I would choose a very small one (the smaller Rios and Microjets will work well).  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

- Calcium Reactor Set-up - hello today I am have some problems with my calcium reactor it is a Knop model c  the problem is when I turn on the water on from the pump its back feeding in to the bubble counter I am using a tee off my main pump which is a 4md  but soon as I open the valve it starts pushing water in to the bubble counter I sent you a email before and you said turn up the co2 pressure I have it set at 20psi an know change so then I tried the siphon method same thing happens I have talked to Robert Keen and he's tell me that it wont hurt  the bubble counter full I have set the reactor like the manual says. <That is correct.> I talk to Diana an ordered some parts and she sent a manuals one from Knop an from  Mr. Keen in his manual he says to run about 30bubels a minute an 1.1/2liters per hour  an on knops site they 20bubels a minute an 1liter per hour  my tank is a 110 with a 20 gal sump I at point now to give up on this thing can you please tell me what I am do wrong thanks PAUL <The number of bubbles per minute is going to vary from system to system... even if the calcium reactors are identical. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcreactors.htm Cheers, J -- >

Knop C calcium reactor Hello WWM crew, I recently bought a Knop C calcium reactor and it seems to be missing the tube to feed CO2 to the bubble counter. Can I use a clear vinyl tube (bought from Home Depot)? It says it can be used for "gases" and can handle 55psi. Thanks in advance and keep up the great work. Sincerely, Aldrin <Mmm, am concerned re the CO2 "getting loose" here... you can likely use this vinyl tubing... but the more pressure resistant and carbon dioxide resistant (blue) tubing) is better, less likely to lose secure attachment, degrade with exposure. Of all people, my wife (Diana) used to distribute Knop in N. America and still has some of this tubing. If you'd like to contact her, she still maintains the knopproducts@hotmail.com  address. Bob Fenner>
Re: Knop C calcium reactor
Thanks Bob. I will be contacting Diana and see if I can have her send me a foot or two of the blue tubing. I set up the reactor last night with the vinyl tubing. Pressure dropped from 20 PSI to 18-17psi this morning. There's definitely some CO2 escaping somewhere. <Yikes... do leave some windows open, turn on, check the battery on your home carbon dioxide monitor... Or better still, turn off the unit. Bob Fenner> Thanks again. - Aldrin

Calcium reactor help 7/7/05 I am setting up a calcium reactor and could use some help.  A pH controller will close a solenoid, stopping the flow of CO2, when the pH probe measures greater than the controllers set point.  I'm confused about where I should locate the PH probe (Effluent cup or in the sump?) and where I should set the set point.  Thanks, Earl <Mmm, I'd set the probe at the effluent discharge... for a pH of no lower than 6.8... see what this does (measure a few times... in the AM and later) to the overall pH of your system water. The manufacturer of the reactor, probe should also have recommendations... Bob Fenner>

Calcium Reactor Flow - 09/10/05 Hi, <<Hello>> I read that I can connect the solenoid of my calcium reactor to a light timer.  Is this ok? <<Yep...is what I do.>> If yes, I was also wondering if I could hook both pumps to the reactor to the timer and not have any problems?  Save on some electric.  I figured because it is not reacting with the medium it would not need to be circulating. <<Not recommended...liken it to shutting off a canister filter overnight and then kicking it back on in the morning...nasty.>> Thanks David <<Regards, EricR>>

Calcium Reactor and pH Controller  - 02/25/06 I purchased the Knop S IV and am curious how to set it up. I also purchased American Marine Inc. pH controller. I see the pH probe hole on the top of the Knop S IV, I was under the impression you used the pH probe and controller to check the pH of the tank water and that adjusted the flow of co2 into the Knop reactor. <Yes> But now I seem to be reading that you use pH controller to monitor the pH inside the Knop reactor or at least the effluent output, to keep it between 6.0 and 6.5. Is this correct? <Mmm, no... at least this is not what I would do... and I would not utilize such a low effluent pH. Somewhere around 6.8 is preferable IMO/E> Also, does the larger media in the second small chamber on the S IV ever need replacing? <Mmm, yes, possibly> If so, how do I replace it as I don't see a way to get it open as it appears glued together. <Need to replace the unit... over the long haul though> Hyperlink to my pH controller: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/Prod_Display.cfm?pcatid=12795&N=20 04+113458 and Knop Reactor http://www.marinedepot.com/aquarium_calcium_reactors_knop.asp?CartId= <My wife, Diana, was the distributor of Knop Products in North America for a few years, and I did help with "tech. support". Now, I would call, write the folks at Marine Depot re. Bob Fenner>
Re: Calcium Reactor and pH Controller  - 02/25/06
Thank You Bob, I got a response from American Marine Inc, and they stressed that sense this is an alkalinity reactor (in reality...) <... okay> that it was more important to monitor the pH inside the Knop S IV reactor as, "too low would turn the Korallith to pudding, <... no... not possible. The KH of this source of calcium carbonate and carbonic acid...> and too high a pH would do nothing".  I have elected to go with an AquaMedic Kalkreactor with an auto top off and doser pump for the night time.  And got a second pH monitor only (not a controller this time) and Salifert Calcium and KH tests to keep track of things inside the tank (along with the Knop effluent).  Trying to do things right this time =;) <Real good. Bob Fenner>

Ca Reactor Input...Filter The Water? - 04/12/06 Hi Crew, <<Hi Greg>> I really appreciate the time and knowledge you have invested in WetWebMedia so I will *try* to not take much of your time with this question... <<No worries mate...happy to assist>> I have just completed a DIY calcium reactor and, in the process of installing it, I am concerned the possibility of contaminants blocking the input line. <<?>> Anything I put in my refugium end-up swarmed in amphipods, copepods, snails, etc. so I am concerned that many of these will be sucked into the inlet tubing of the Ca reactor. <<Mmm...Why are you feeding the reactor from the refugium?  Why not just tee off a drain line from the tank?>> I had considered wrapping a small piece of filter pad around the inlet line but this would likely just provide a breeding site for copepods. <<More likely it will just become clogged/neglected>> I suspect that none of these life forms would live in the pH-depressed environment within the Ca reactor but I prefer to not have these introduced, only to die, decay and contaminate the reactor. <<Of small concern here...more important to keep the water flowing through the reactor.>> Do you have any suggestions for "filtering" the input to a Ca reactor? <<Can't say I've ever known this to be a concern.  I think anything with a mesh size small enough to do what you want is going to be a maintenance hassle.  And really, I think the fear of introducing "critters" to the reactor is of small matter.  If you can't replumb to feed water directly from the tank, then I would be inclined to just not worry about the pods, et al.  Perhaps I could be more helpful if I had a better idea about your arrangement/how the water is getting to the reactor>> Thank you, in advance, for the advice! --Greg <<Mmm, welcome...such as it was <grin>.  Regards, EricR>>
Ca Reactor Input...Filter The Water? II - 04/13/06
Eric, <<Hello Greg>> Thank you for your response. <<You're welcome>> To explain my situation more fully... I have a 180g aquarium on the main floor of my house, which is plumbed through the floor and into 2 50g refugiums in my basement. <<Ahh...wish I had a basement for such...>> The main tank overflow goes through a DIY 6' tall skimmer before emptying into the top 50g refugium.  All plumbing accessories, such as the calcium reactor are located in the basement to minimize opportunities for leaks on the upper floor. <<Understood>> This is why the calcium reactor is taking input water from the refugium. <<You could still "tap" in to the line feeding the skimmer and run a small (1/4") line to the reactor without affecting the skimmers performance>> The effluent from the Ca reactor drips into an overflow box internal to the bottom refugium.  A pump sits inside this overflow box and powers a second skimmer (Red Sea Berlin) to remove any accumulated surface organics (and to remove the remaining dissolved CO2). <<Neat!>> I suppose I could tee off the main skimmer output, the main return line or the line that powers the refugium skimmer but I have found the 'pods to be present in every part of the tank and plumbing. <<"Agreed" on the presence of the "pods"...but many hobbyists, including myself, don't give them a second thought when it comes to rigging the feed lines to our reactors.  But saying that...feeding the reactor from your drain line (before the skimmer) will give you the "least" chance of introducing these critters to the reactor>> Since the Ca reactor's circulation pump also provides enough suction to draw in water, I had planned to simply drop the reactor input line in the bottom refugium for source water as I did not want to put undue stress (pressure) in the reactor by using a main return line. <<Don't use a return line (though "pressure" from this is of little concern), use the drain line to "gravity feed" the reactor>> If you have never heard of 'pods clogging a Ca reactor I guess I will just leave the setup as-is and continue to check the flow daily. <<Indeed...more likely to clog from compaction of the media as it softens/crumples/depletes>> Occasionally my work requires that I travel for 1-2 weeks so I have tried to design my system to be as automated and as robust as possible, since it always seems that, if there is going to be a failure, it will happen when I am away. <<Mmm, know what you mean...been there...done that...seen the video...  Best to have someone at least "check up" on the system every 2-3 days>> It just seemed that, considering the large amount of 'pods I find on anything that is stationary in my tank, they could represent a potential "clogging hazard". <<Of small concern here my friend>> Thanks again for your input! Greg <<Always welcome, EricR>>

- Calcium Reactors 7/2/06 - Hi Jason, <Good morning.> Thinking about a calcium reactor and have targeted the Knop S-IV. <My personal favorite, although perhaps much larger than you need for a 55.> I have a  couple of questions to clarify my thoughts and to properly plan the project. 1) There are several purchase options to bundle required accessories. Is a bottle for CO2 the same as a tank? <Yes.> Pictures of Ca Reactors have tanks e.g., http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcreactors.htm. Or, should I search for a bottle... where might you suggest I find one? <Bottle is really slang for a tank - typically because of the small amount needed (5 to 10 lbs) these small tanks are referred to as bottle as they are tiny compared to their larger cousins, which are clearly tanks. No worries.> 2) I have a 55G tank, LR & aragonite bed with powerheads (2) and skimmer. You often refer to the above mentioned site for clarification of t-connections, or siphon input approaches. I am sorry, I read the FAQ's and just don't get it. What will I need to move the water through the reactor? <Your choice - a siphon OR a dedicated pump OR a T-fitting off the main return pump.> How would I 'T' the input of the skimmer or AquaClear 110? <Ahh, I see... you will likely need to use a dedicated powerhead in the tank to feed the reactor and then drip back into the tank or the AquaClear.> Where would I drip the effluent, directly into the tank does not seem quite right, yet, I am uncertain how this should be optimally placed, e.g., directly below the skimmer or AquaClear 110 overflow or does it matter? <Am I to understand that you're setting up a reef tank with 'just' a AquaClear 110 and a skimmer? I think before you spend the money on a calcium reactor, you should be thinking about more and larger filtration. It is quite possible that you've got the cart before the horse here and could easily get by with two-part additives like B-Ionic until your tank is well stocked and underway.> 3) Can I use the KNOP S-IV for my size tank? <I think perhaps overkill for your system.> 4) Is it still necessary to purchase Co2-proof tubing? <Always.> Will I still need Teflon plumbers tape? <Helps prevent leaks, so why not? It's less than $2 a roll - seems like cheap insurance to me.> P.S. When folks suggest the use of a red light to investigate the night life of the tank, can a red led laser light be used as in a pointer used in presentations?? <Well... these don't light much beyond the point so I'd use an LED flashlight or similar. Cheers, J -- >
- Calcium Reactors, Follow-up 7/5/06 -
J, <Greetings.> I greatly appreciate your help. <My pleasure.> My tank is stocked... several cardinals, pair of clowns, 6-lined wrasse, key hole dwarf, yellow tang, clean-up crew, healthy Ricordea and polyp colony. <That is stocked... you'll need a larger tank eventually with that tang running around in there.> I would like to move towards a reef system. Ca++420, but dKH is 22. I would like to get this closer to 8-12 without daily manual tasks? <Well, at the moment I didn't see anything on your stock list which "needs" such extensive calcium/alkalinity supplements. If you had SPS corals or clams then the calcium reactor would be required, but certainly not a unit as large as the S-IV.> I was also under the impression that the Ca Reactor was the more economical approach in the long run. <In the long run, but a unit that large will be trouble for such a small volume of water.> I do respect your advice, please advise. <Really, until you get into SPS, I'd skip the reactor. If you've got money burning a hole in your pocket, upgrade the 55 to a 90 or so... should be roughly the same space width-wise and more water is always more forgiving.> I was also under the impression LR & active sand bed meet the requirements of filtration. <They meet the needs of one aspect of filtration. The AquaClear will certainly provide mechanical filtration, but not much in terms of turnover. I'd match the unit to the tank - so a 400 or 500.> The purpose for the AquaClear was just to have a mechanism for additional filtration media if indicated (I use the sponge and at times run GAC). I interpreted your comments as my filtration capacity is lacking. <Yes, that is how it seems to me.> Does this require a sump or refugium, or perhaps an additional canister system, or ...? <A sump/refugium under the tank would be ideal. Provide more water volume, better turn over, etc.> Space is a bit of an issue. <As is for most people. Never the less, for the moment it seems to me that calcium and alkalinity are not something to be concerned about. I'd keep them [Ca - dKH] sustained with two-part additives. When you have animals in the tank that act like calcium sponges, then it's time to consider the reactor. Cheers, J -- >

- Knop Model C Calcium Reactor 7/24/06 - I was hoping one of the fine members of the WWM crew could help me resolve a problem I am having with my reactor. The instructions on the reactor stated that you could run the reactor from a siphon off of the main tank after much tinkering I could not get this method to work for me. <With larger reactors, this can be a problem as the pressure supplied by the CO2 is enough to work against the siphon.> When I started to add the co2 the reactor would begin to form bubbles at the bottom of the chamber and then eventually run dry. <This sounds more like you're picking up air in the siphon - CO2 almost always accumulates at the top of the reactor.> Bubble rate was around 16 bubbles a min. of co2 and approx.120 drips a min. into sump. If I shut off co2 the reactor would run forever and not run dry even if I opened the drip valve fully. I then tried buying a Rio 800 pump to feed the reactor and was rewarded with the exact same results. Is the 800 still not enough feed pressure for the reactor? <Sounds that way.> Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated. <I've always had the best results by T-ing off from the return on the main pump.> I am really looking forward to getting  this thing up and running correctly. Much thanks.  Craig <Cheers, J -- >

Calcium reactor gear  - 10/28/06 Hello to all, I'm in the process of putting together a Ca reactor and I have a few questions about its accompanying equipment.  Is a bubble counter needed or does a flow control valve such as the Dwyer RMA -151 (www.dwyer-inst.com/htdocs/flow/SeriesRMPrice.cfm  and  www.personal.psu.edu/sbj4/aquarium/articles/DIYCalciumReactor.htm) serve the same purpose? <Can... but having both is superior> I like the idea of being able to quantify the amount of CO2 by cubic centimeter rather than by bubbles.   <A visual check is a good second/redundant safeguard> Would a pinch valve on the return effluent instead of a needle valve help to minimize clogging in the return line? <Mmm... better to have an adjustable valve, use of a bit larger pump pressure than needed...> Now for my test kits, I use Salifert across the board, but my DKH test only goes up to 16.  Is it necessary to know what the DKH of the effluent  or is monitoring the  display parameters the main indicator (the answer seems obvious)?   <The latter should be fine. Many folks find monitoring/measuring pH here useful> I have the same question concerning PH, is it necessary to measure the effluent or should the main display take priority? <Oh! Both> I'll get a PH meter if its needed or advisable. Finally, are solenoid's a needed addition for protection against power outages? FWIW - 150gal reef, 25   SPS frags, 1 clam, a few fish, 75 gal sump, 35 gal DSB refuge,   skimmer with ozone, 250lbs of LR. <Mmm... up to you. What is your provision for power loss in all cases? If the effluent is discharged into an intermediate sump... not likely to be as useful/needed. Bob Fenner>

Calcium Reactor - 02/11/2007 Hey guys, wanted to start off saying thanks for all the advice you have given me on my refugium setup for my 30gal mini reef.  The refugium is working nicely and I can see at least 30-40 very large copepods scatter every time I turn its light on (nice eh) <Ah yes> and the macro algae as grow so much in it that I had to pull some out so water can still flow thru. On to my question: I have been (not admittedly) been dosing my tank with alk/CA 2 part system and once and a while dripping some Kalk at night.  The tank seems very healthy and I am getting slow grow from the corals.  I wanted to kick things up a notch and also do away with mixing Kalk by adding a Calcium Reactor. <A useful tool>   The problem is I don't have a sump on the system and the refugium is too small to fit anything into it, can you recommend how I would set this up as to the fact that most of the systems I see go into the sump. <Can be fashioned to "hang on"... best on the refugium> A side question:  I get very small amounts of algae to grow on my rocks, that never get out of hand and seem to come and go with time.  The funny/confusing thing is that it ONLY seems to grow right at the base of the corals? <Interesting...> I have MANY square inches of rock space for it to grow on, it just seems to like the corals.  I don't like it because it makes the corals unattractive for a while, but does NOT seem to affect them, any ideas? Again thanks,  -Gary <Mmm, w/o knowing much more re your standing water chemistry, am wont to make any speculations here. You can wade (literally for hours) through various similarly vague questions/responses archived on WWM re such issues, circumstances. BobF>

- Calcium Reactor Setup Questions - G'day guys, Just a quick question about a calcium reactor. Is there any other way to protect against co2 being put into the system when a pump or black out occurs other than the expensive option of a ph monitor. Will a solenoid do the trick on its own. As we are concerned if the re circulation pump fails on the calcium reactor or doesn't draw any water that co2 will be released into the tank. <The solenoid valve on the regulator should do the job all by itself. A pH monitor should have no affect on this.> Can you give us some advice as currently the calcium reactor is running without a solenoid or ph monitor. Could that cause problems, and if so do we need both the solenoid and the ph monitor together. <I would just get a solenoid. As for a pH monitor, it's not a necessary piece of equipment but you should have at least an electronic pH tester so that you can measure the effluent and tank pH frequently as you get this thing up and running.> Thanks Stu <Cheers, J -- >

- Reactor Effluent, Where Does it Go? - Hello Crew!  Seeking some opinions. I'm adding a Precision Marine calcium reactor and wondered, would it be okay to empty the effluent into the vegetable refugium (Chaetomorpha linum) rather than the sump? <Sure.> I would drip the effluent into the baffled chamber that receives raw system water before overflowing into the refugium.  I know some advise returning the effluent to a skimmer or skimmer box, but my skimmer manufacturer (Euro-Reef) specifically warns against it (will void pump warranty). <Will likely do bad things to the cheesy Sedra pump - sorry, these skimmers are great but the pumps are just bunk.> I would also like your opinion on the best way to feed system water to the reactor.  The manufacturer provides instruction for a "gravity" feed but told me a "pressure" feed could also be used although they have not experimented with this method.  Can you recommend a pump size for pressure feeding a reactor? <Just a small powerhead will do or you could also T off your return line and use that.> I have an Eheim 1048 I could use for this purpose. <Likely larger than you need.> Is there another method you like/have used? <There are three prevailing ones: siphon, dedicated pump, or T-fitting off the main return. All work equally well.> Thanks for your time and thoughts on this. Eric <Cheers, J -- >

- Installing a Calcium Reactor - Thank you for responding to my earlier email. <My pleasure.> I do have just a few more questions.  I purchased the HD Calcium reactor.  Besides the components that come with it, what do I need to purchase yet? <CO2 tank and regulator, can't think of much else.> Do I need a bubble counter and check valve? <Do believe the bubble counter that comes with the unit has a check valve installed.> Also, could you give me the formula for converting 12-20 German DKH to the American value? <Which American value? There are several... I always use the online calculator here: http://www.saltyzoo.com/SaltyCalcs/AlkConv.php > Is there a way to get a sketch or diagram of how to plumb the unit, including the CO2 unit and bubble counter. <Hmm... isn't really that complicated, instructions should cover all the important points. CO2 goes from the regulator on the CO2 tank to the bubble counter on the reactor. Water is fed into the reactor via the connection at the bottom of the reactor, water comes out of the reactor at the top. The 'how' of how you plumb this is all up to you and your circumstances.> I plan to tap in to one of the main pumps for the feed and return to the sump, but I need help plumbing the CO2 part. <Is not complicated... should just be a hose from one to the other.> Looking at the picture that is on the front the instructions for the reactor, there are two pictures.  On the picture to the right of the reactor is a smaller unit with a tube.  Hanging from it appears to be a check valve.  Is this unit a bubble counter? <Yes.> If the unit is not a bubble counter, could you tell me what it is and what is its purpose? <You got it right the first time.> I'm a bit nervous setting this up and starting it.  Do you have any additional information or advice? <Don't be so nervous. As you get the thing going, just begin adding CO2 slowly... start with bubble rates well below the recommended rate so you don't OD your system right out of the gate. More answers for you here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcreactors.htm Cheers, J -- >

CA Reactor Hi Barry, I think the Knop S IV is what I want to buy. However, I cannot find specs that would tell me if it can be setup for my application. First >off, I do not have a sump so would it work for me? Also does the unit siphon water or does it require a remote pump from the tank? I understand >it has an internal unit but does that mean it requires a sump? The link you sent me mentions that the effluent drips into a cup?? for the sump setup I assume, again how would this work in a non sump system. >Thanks again for your help! You will have my business regardless so I do appreciate it. Chuck Stone. >Barry www.clamsdirect.com The answer is not so easy. For starters, no... you don't need a sump, but it does help. If there is no sump then the main issue revolves around placement of the reactor and a method for getting water into it. Siphoning water into the reactor will not work - even if the reactor were at the same level as the tank, the siphon will not be sufficient to get water out of the reactor and back into the tank. The same applies if the reactor were on the floor. A simple T fitting off the return pump is probably also out of the question as without a sump, there is typically no return pump to attach a T fitting to. The only viable option is to place the reactor where ever it makes sense, and then use a dedicated pump to deliver water to it - this will provide sufficient pressure to force water out of the reactor and back into the tank. The pump inside the reactor has no bearing on any of this as it is there solely to circulate water within the reactor. Hope this is helpful. Cheers, J --

- Calcium Reactor Questions - Hi there, Thank you for a great site. My question is what is the proper placement for a Calcium reactor? In the sump, out of the sump? <Out would be best.> My sump is a refugium with a partition. Water overflows into another compartment that hold a protein skimmer. I have a reservoir of fresh R.O. water outside the tank in a closet. Can the reactor draw this fresh water to create high calcium water or it works only with salt water? <It works with either, but given the amount of water that typically moves through these, you're best off feeding it from the tank. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcreactors.htm  > sincerely, Stephan G. <Cheers, J -- >

And now....plumbing, Calcium reactor <Sorry Kent, I saved your post as a draft until I could answer your calcium reactor question and it got posted before I could finish! I'll continue..> Looking for plumbing recommendations. (Clarity 135 with sump and calcium reactor). So far I only intended to use 1 Dolphin 2100 pump at about 4" head.  The skimmers are in sump with their own pumps.  The Dolphin get it's direct input from the sump.  Am I supposed to drill another hole in the sump and add a bulkhead to supply another pump for the Knop S-IV and put the drip back into the sump? If so, the input vs. output of the reactor won't be equal will they?  If they are then question answered. <Feed the reactor with a tee off the pump or use the drip line it comes with. The output is very low, so the input will be low as well. For maintenance, set it up in a convenient spot and plumb with tubing.> Also, I am thinking I have to T the output of the 2100 to go to each return, and likewise T the drains into the sump. <Yes, use valves to adjust flow to each. I don't know if you have to T the drain/overflows, they could have individual lines to sump if it's designed for them.> This seems like an equal in equal out deal with the exception of the bulkhead out of the sump the calc reactor. <Yep, the tank will only drain what is pumped up into it, with overflows properly set-up. The calc reactor will hold the majority of it's volume, so that water is not going to drain into sump and is not a factor in water level. There is no need for a bulkhead, this is a simple tubing set-up.> Can water height in the tank be used to adjust for drain rate versus return rate to compensate for any inequalities in sump levels due to skimmers and or the reactor? <How this works is, main tank water level is constant. Sump level varies a bit normally. The way you set this level is to fill the tank with everything off until it overflows into sump and fills to highest desired level. Now turn it on and it will be operating at the highest water level it should.  When and if power goes out, it will drain down to the fill level, provided you have siphon breaks in your returns. The tank drains from the surface, so it can only drain what you pump into it. Thanks loads, I wanna do this right from the start and have the least amount of probs. <No problemo!  I hope this answers your questions...if not, let us know!  Craig>

Calcium Reactor Plumbing Hi Bob Thank you for your previous help and hoping that you can assist me again. I have searched the web about calcium reactors and have enlightened myself to some degree, but I still have a very basic question. How do you plumb these out of a sump? Branch it off of a T from your return? Separate whole drilled for CA Reactor pump? Please help and thank you in advance. Mike <The best arrangement in my opinion and experience is simply to arrange plumbing "over the side" of the sump for both the intake and return of the reactor... all real units are equipped with their own pumping/circulation mechanism. Bob Fenner>

Calcium Reactor Placement Hey there Bob, Hope your day is going well. Had a question about calc reactor setup (I have an Aquamedic closed system, note to self btw, fittings have to be tight or you'll be leaking all over the place -- a lesson learned the hard way). <Yes... I like this company's skimmers much more...> I have no sump; seeing that this might be a problem for getting the effluent back into the tank, I purchased a Rio 800 to draw water out of the tank and into the reactor, which is below the tank. that's fine, except that the effluent doesn't get enough pressure to get back up the few feet into my tank (if I hold the effluent line lower by a foot, it starts working). <Hmm> I think I have two options: 1.) find a ridiculous stand to place my reactor beside my tank, so that the effluent doesn't have to pump as high or 2.) upgrade to a Rio 1100 or 1400. I'd rather do the second, but I wonder if this would cause too much water pressure into the reactor. <Me too and no, should be fine> would this affect performance in any way, if the effluent still drips out fairly slowly? <Measure effluent pH... and concentrations of calcium, alkaline reserve... ad adjust valving, CO2 respectively> I know calc reactors aren't meant to be run this way (I haven't read anywhere about setting up calc reactors like I do); does it make a difference? thanks bob! <Mmm, not an unusual arrangement here... would use a sump... oh, see you mention this below> - Javier, who should have invested in a sump (and a stand with enough room to fit it) <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

John Guest SpeedFit fitting <Greetings... > Hello friends, I'm curious if any of you are familiar with this John Guest SpeedFit fitting? <I am. It is a brand name and unique type of fitting for small tubing that does not require a collet or retaining nut - hence the name, speed-fit.> I have a calcium reactor and was looking into changing out my ETSS skimmer for an AquaC EV-120, and noticed this fitting called the John Guest. <Is just a place to plug the effluent [output] tubing of the reactor into the skimmer. You could as easily use this for an ozone input. The large quantity of air in the skimmer would help blow off the excess CO2.> I also have seen an item called a calcium reactor pressure adapter to fit the John Guest fitting. <I am not familiar with this piece/part.> How does all this work? What is the difference in these items versus using an inline pump or gravity fed line to the reactor? <The way you feed the reactor shouldn't affect the passage through a JG SpeedFit fitting. As an aside, I'm on the side of inline plumbing or a dedicated pump to feed the reactor. I'm not a fan of siphons for this purpose.> I'm just guessing that is what this is, a type of method to feed aquarium water to your reactor. <see the above comments - let me know if it's not clear.> Any information on these items would help me a lot in choosing the right skimmer. Thanks, Paul <Well - this SpeedFit connection should not be the single reason you buy a new skimmer. The presence of this fitting doesn't make a calcium reactor work better or worse... it's just a way of dealing with excess C02 if that is a problem for you, and in fact it may never be. I'm a big fan of the AquaC line of skimmers and believe you would be quite pleased with the results - JG SpeedFit or not. Cheers, J -- >

Calcium reactors, etc. hello, I have just finished reading your book, for the third time! Excellent reading; I keep going back to it for reference constantly. <Wowzah> In my quest to round up all of the equipment for my reef tank I think I will have a calcium reactor running from the start. I have seen some simple DIY reactors that I feel I could make easily. My question is, do you have a preference to the style: single pass, multiple pass or recirculating? <Recirc. is best> Should it be ran by a controller or timer? <Controller is best...> Does this negate the use of Kalk in the make-up water? <Nope, but you will find the Kalkwasser superfluous in short time> I'm jumping way ahead of myself now, but when I purchase the first fish for this I was leaning towards the Yellow Tang. In your book you state many good reasons for choosing this fish. Will other fish from this family be a proper replacement instead? <Sure, other Zebrasoma, some of the similar appearing, and "resource partitioning" Acanthurus> Something like the Sohal, Kole, or Scopas? If the Yellow  is a better choice, then Yellow it is. <Hmm different animals, but the last two about the same purpose, temperament> Thank you for your time, it is appreciated! Greg Lindstrom You're welcome, Bob Fenner 

Calcium Reactors Hey bob, i have yet another question regarding my investigation on purchasing a calcium reactor...the Knop calcium reactor people said i need a sump to drip the reactor into. can i make a sump just using a 10 gallon tank, with a powerhead in the tank and a pump of similar size in the sump?. or do you recommend using an overflow into the 10 gallon tank and a pump in the sump?... <Yes... I believe in gravity> also, could i put substrate/rock/or anything else you think would be good in the sump for a better system?... <Certainly... good place for a continuously lit Caulerpa, live rock sump...> finally, i don't know if you know anything about the Knop reactor but i have just seen a picture of it and it doesn't look like it pumps water from my system, through the chamber, and back into my system,. it just looks like it holds a certain amount of water, which would need to be replaced every so often, is this true?... <No... there is a pumping mechanism for moving water into the reactor... and slowly back out of it to the main system... or a sump attached to it...> is there any advantages or disadvantages of this type of reactor with any others...thanks again....Jeff  <Many things to say here... what do you think? What are the advantages of a double-loop recirculation arrangement? Use of the carbon dioxide? Control via the valving of effluent pH? Calcium, alkalinity tuning...? Bob Fenner
Re: Calcium Reactors
Hello again bob...i talked to the sales rep at the Knop calcium reactor place. he told me that i would need a sump to drip the calc reactor into, <Hmm? Nah... can be dripped into main systems...> or, which i suggested, to put the system on a shelf higher than the tank and drip it into the tank, which he said would work as well...my question is what's the difference in dripping in a Kalkwasser solution compared to the reactor solution... <the Kalk's relatively toxic and insoluble... the calcium reactor material not only has biomineral (calcium, magnesium, barium, strontium...) but alkaline reserve (carbonates) as well... compared with Calcium hydroxide (aka Kalk, more akin to oven cleaner...) which only has calcium and hydroxyl ions...> I'm sure with some experimentation and practice, i could get the art of adding Kalkwasser to my tank down to a science to keep my calcium level at a constant. why then would i spend all of that money on a calcium reactor?... <Pls see our site re this issue: Home Page > s the only difference between the two, besides a huge price difference, is the convenience of not having to mix the Kalk solution and measuring it all the time??.. <Far from it... the reactor adds most everything biomineral AND alkalinity wise a captive system needs/uses... the Kalkwasser habit see-saws a system back and forth, rendering depletion of alkalinity, other biominerals... poisoning, to a degree selectively biomineralizing life... w/o live/dead rock and other calcareous substrate, Kalkwasser would kill off everything in such systems...> i apologize for asking you all the time but i sincerely trust your opinion and value it before i would spend all that money on a reactor, i just want to be sure my investment is a worthy one...thanks again >> <And I appreciate your interest and trust... Read, study, converse with others till you've made up your own mind on which way(s) to go. Bob Fenner>

Placing a Calcium Reactor, no problem Hi Bob. This calcium reactor is a bit confusing. I will read more about it, I read about the home made ones in your FAQ, but still a bit over my head. Where would I put such a thing. I have a sump under my tank with a 15 watt UV sterilizer and a protein skimmer. Not much room to put something else under there. <Can be easily remoted, placed wherever a flexible tubing line can be run in/out... Take a look at the Knop) site, link on the pages of the same name: www.wetwebmedia.com> You didn't respond to my question about the nitrites n nitrates not showing up as a color on the chart. Is the Marine Lab testing kit I have no good? Thanks again Steve <Hmm, didn't see this msg. as I recall... Marine Lab's kits aren't great... I would check the checker against another brand.> Sincerely, Steve Rubin <Bob Fenner>

Re: Ca Reactor cont'd (pH and Ammonium, Calcium, Chloride, Fluoride, Nitrate and Nitrite ion electrode monitors...) Well I found some interesting info... A meter that tests soooo much.... BUT I bet that it will cost an arm and a leg :) <Only way to tell... contact them... more sensitive than you need...> Well here is the link... maybe you are familiar with it.... I still have not found a price for it yet... <Don't know the company... look like the real thing> http://www.spectronic.co.uk/ion.htm <Will have to add in converter for power (from the UK)... maybe ask them via the Net if there are similar, even less sensitive products they know of in the US (if you're here). Bob Fenner> Catch you later, Rob

Re: Found a ton of meters Hey Bob, Found a ton of meters... including Ca :) http://www.spectronic.co.uk/ion.htm  <Ah, will add to the "Calcium, Reactors" FAQs files> I am investigating they further... regards.... <Thank you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Ca Reactor cont'd
Yup I just sent them an email asking about the lack of precision that I require and the power :) <Very well. Bob Fenner>

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