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FAQs on Calcium Reactors 4

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 3, Calcium Reactors 5, & FAQs on Calcium Reactors: Rationale/Use, Selection, Installation, 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,

The basic units of a typical calcium reactor... A carbon dioxide tank, regulator, controller, reactor and pumping mechanism.

Re: Knop-C Technical Support Request Knop-C Technical Support Request You both may remember me.  I recently purchased (partially given) a Knop-C reactor that was down for one month while the owner switched to a higher capacity Knop reactor.  I have done extensive research on calcium reactor before I centered on Knop.  I read all the good and all the bad.  I waited two years before I found a reactor that was in excellent shape and only had a single owner. After receipt of the Knop-C, I worked with both of you to get instructions, and to replace any part that I even thought were too dirty, or unusable.  I purchased a new filter for the unit and completely dissembled & cleaned it and replaced any blue tubes that I thought even looked damaged.  I replaced the Eheim pump just because that is how particular about my reef (which I now must return to dosing).  Both Ralf and Diana were spectacular.  In my research I also went to Di's husbands website and read all the calcium reactor FAQ's and information found there.  I went to the Knop website and read and printed the FAQ about calcium reactors I found there. However, I am now frustrated beyond belief!! The reactor always, always runs dry! Now before you both think I am a whiner or a simpleton, after me extensive research, and after my thorough cleaning and replacement of any Knop parts with factory Knop parts I tried the following. Upon start up, I noticed a blue tube that supplies CO2 in the center of the reactor, extending about ? way down the cylinder, and cut at an angle.  I did not replace that tube. FYI, and in case I screwed something up, here is what I replaced: media round blue filter at the bottom of the media chamber, I replace the supply and discharge lines with the silicon (4/6mm) ones supplied by Diana, I replaced the pump supply and discharge tube couplers.  I replaced the CO2 supple line with silicon tube (4/6mm).  I found an American equivalent for the pump discharge tube coupler, but the pump supply tube coupler is a little large (not metric) and Ralf is sending me the tubes (but I could not wait).  The pump supply tube is clamped with four hose clamps to keep it secure and it does not leak water when the pump is off or when the pump is on (left idle overnight).  I also replaces all the media with the correct size as supplied by Diana. (I think 1.8mm it said but I still have one unopened container is you need more information.  I replaced the two o-rings with American equivalent as advised and the unit seals well and there is no leaks.  CO2 check valve is present and yes, I cannot blow through it at all ( a test I read to see if the check valve is working).  I replaced the pump for no reason other than I wanted a new pump with a spare.  It fit on and runs fine. To start the reactor, I did the following: 1-       filled reactor chamber with Knop reactor media (leaving approximately 2" at the top as advised by factory).  I did not measure the 2" precisely just FYI. 2-       Filled reactor chamber with Reverse osmosis water to overflow. 3-       Secured the 2 unions and sealed the reactor. 4-       Bled the reactor with the effluent line using the grey/orange Knop discharge valve as kindle supplied by Diana until no more air discharge from line. 5-       Started CO2 to 18-20 bubbles per minute.  I have two bubble counters, one on the gauges and one Knop version on the reactor.  The counts I am referring to are at the Knop bubble counter. In the morning, the chamber below the media was dry and the pump was running dry.  I read a small FAQ on the Knop website that stated to a person running 60 bubbles per minute that his reactor ran dry as the bubble count was too high.  SO I reduced it to 16-18, 12-14, 10-12.  I now am finally down to 8-12 at the bubble counter on the gauge which is about 3-5 bubbles per minute at the Knop counter.  The unit runs dry in about 6-8 hours.  All FAQs tell me to run the unit with the effluent valve closed for 24 hours while the reactor media clears.  The reactor fluid is clear now. I then tried a dry run by running the Knop-C at one liter per hours to see if that was the problem. no change. reactor still ran dry.  I read a FAQ on Diana's husband's website that said the CO2 may not be dissolving.  So I checked my source, a welding supply that has been in business since 1950.  I was told the CO2 is food grade, and that there is a hospital grade of CO2, but they don't carry it.  No where have I read that I need hospital grade CO2. I am ready to throw the thing through the window. Please help…I have tried every thing!  I have re-filled/re-bled the reactor so many times I had to add new water to the 100g tank.  I re-fill/re-bleed the tank through the effluent valve and the siphon tube so I know the siphon tube is doing it's job! There must be something I am missing, but I bought the Knop for it's simplicity…so I cant imaging what I am doing.  Attached is a pic if that will help. Any and all suggestions will be tried and are appreciated! -Ray Ray, JasonC here from the WetWebMedia crew. After reading your email, I have a couple of suggestions. For starters, when you first fill the reactor, you want to let it circulate for a day or two with no CO2 addition and the effluent valve shut. This will allow the dust to settle. Any CO2 added during this run-in period will most certainly accumulate and put you behind the eight-ball when you finally do open the effluent valve. Also, when filling the reactor for the first time, you should be using saltwater - ideally water from your tank. On that note, the reactor should be supplied with water directly from the tank either by siphon, a T-fitting from the return pump, or a dedicated powerhead. Do not use the reactor for freshwater top-off as CO2 will most certainly accumulate in the times between when the reactor is actually toping off your tank. Also, I saw no mention of the drip rate coming out of the reactor. It sounds to me like you're not letting enough water out of the reactor. Shoot for something in the range of about three drops every two seconds. I've run the Type-C reactor before and this drip rate combined with about one bubble every 15 seconds seems to work very well for this setup. If CO2 still accumulates at these numbers try increasing the effluent drip rate. Lastly, the source of the CO2 is a rare cause of troubles. Nine times out of ten, the run-dry problem you describe can be remedied entirely by adjusting the input rate of the CO2 and the output rate of the effluent. My CO2 setup is quite similar to yours and I always use the bubble counter on the CO2 regulator as the guide to the rate CO2 is being fed to the reactor. Please feel free to contact me directly if you continue to have troubles. I'm confident we can get this reactor working for you.
J --

Using a calcium reactor Hello, <Hi there> I get my saltwater from a research lab pumping it out of the sea here in Cape Town. However it is very low in alkalinity so I am continually adding loads of buffer.  My tank is 400 gallons with fish and live rock, no coral. Does a calcium reactor keep the alkalinity high meaning I don't need to add buffer or is it for something completely different?  Please forgive my ignorance. Many Thanks James. <It is my opinion that for especially larger "reef" systems with much in the way of biomineralizing life, there is no way better to assure/supply alkaline reserve, steady pH and alkaline earth elements (calcium, strontium, magnesium) than the use of a calcium reactor. Bob Fenner> - Bubble Counter Problems - I'm having a problem w/ the bubble counter on my reactor filling up w/water. Water is dripping in slowly but is coming in from the reaction chamber. This is apparently an older design of the bubble counter as the input and output are both on top. What can be done to stop this? <The only time I've seen this is when there is a leak and/or lack of pressure in the CO2 supply to the bubble counter. Most often this can be observed when power is lost at the solenoid and the CO2 supply is cut off. I'd make certain your CO2 regulator is set to about 10 lbs and that there are no leaks in the CO2 supply.> I only need it 2/3 full and it's completely full as is. I also have water dripping out of the top. <Should probably remove this fitting and put some pipe tape on it - any leaking at all in the CO2 supply to the reactor will cause problem similar to those you describe.> Your assistance would be much appreciated. Thanks. Sincerely, Mike <Cheers, J -- >

- Setting up a Type-C Calcium Reactor - I am currently hooking up my C reactor.  I have a 180 gal. main tank with a 55 gal. I use as a refugium.  The sump is probably in the neighborhood of 20 gal.  Since the reactor is rated for a 200 gal. capacity tank on the high end; do I need a faster flow rate than normal or higher bubble count? <Hmm... best to start off in the recommended range from these and then slowly turn them up - increasing the CO2 too much will cause a large bubble of CO2 to form at the top of the reactor and prevent the outflow from the reactor from working. You will need to find the middle ground by adjusting and testing.> Also, should there be some valve at the end of the outflow line to control the flow to the tank? <Yes.> I read the flow should be in the neighborhood of liter per hour.  If so, I don't have that piece. <Can be obtained directly from Knop.> I got my Knop about three or four years ago and am just connecting it to the tank.  I have read more and more and am persuaded to get where I want to be with a reef system; the key will be alkalinity stability and a steady calcium level. <Indeed.> I read in one place on your page where the reactor should be filled with substrate and in another place that it should be 3/4 filled.  Which is correct? <On the Type-C, you want to fill the unit to just below the Knop label on the reactor.> Your earliest response would be greatly appreciated as I am anxious (after having the unit for years) to get going. Manfred <Cheers, J -- >

Calcium Reactor Not Required?   <Hey there, Scott F. here with you tonight.> I have a 400 watt 10k bulb on with a spider reflector, metal halide lighting setup. My question is how can I keep Acropora hard corals in it without a calcium reactor? <How?  By regular additions of calcium in the form of Kalkwasser or two part Calcium\Alkalinity additives such as B-Ionic, or C-Balance, etc.  Yes, a calcium reactor is more convenient with some respects but wonderful reef systems can be maintained with calcium supplementation as outlined above.> If so, what can I start out with that's not too demanding as far as Acropora goes? Are there any easy SPS that will thrive under these conditions? <There are many species that will fill the bill.  I highly advise that you purchase a good coral reference such as Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" or Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation.> I just want clams and SPS corals. Can I get away without purchasing a calcium reactor? <Sure, as I already mentioned above.> In dire need, Carlos, in Salinas, California. <Good luck Carlos, and happy reefing!  Regards, Scott F.>

- Adjusting a Knop S-IV - Good afternoon. Firstly, thanks for a great site and helping us 1st timers to this hobby. I have just purchased and installed a Knop S-IV reactor and medium grain Korallith on my 90G tank. <Good choice, is what I run.> I decided to use this product after reading good articles on WetWebMedia. If I may, my water parameters are as follow: Before reactor pH - 8.4 (day), 8.3 (night) dKH - 11.5 calcium - 350 After reactor (past 2 days) pH - 8.4 (day), 8.3 (night) dKH - 11.4 calcium - 340 Effluent (current) pH - 7.1 dKH - 17.5 calcium - 450 effluent drip - 650ml - 750ml per hour CO2 - 18-19 bpm When I first setup the reactor on Saturday, my effluent drip rate was 1ltr per hour (measured with soda bottle) and CO2 15-16 bpm. I left this running for 24 hours but the effluent pH never reached lower than 7.4 - 7.5 after the CO2 filter. The dKH was at 11.5 which was the same as my tank water. This led me to believe (maybe incorrectly) that the pH was not low enough inside the reactor to dissolve the media. <Correct.> I decreased the effluent flow, now about 650ml - 750ml per hour, and increased the CO2 to about 18-19 bpm. The effluent pH dropped to 7.1 after CO2 filter as a result of this change (the current reading). My questions are: 1) What should the effluent pH be after crossing the CO2 filter? <Roughly 6.7 is ideal.> 2) Should I run with the 18-19 bps CO2? <Probably not... this seems a little high unless you meant BPM.> 3) Should I increase the effluent drip rate back to 1ltr per hour and also increase the CO2? <No, better to adjust one or the other and then wait a day or so to test, then make more adjustments as needed.> According to the manual the pH inside the reactor should be 6.0 - 6.2, my readings are 6.7 - 6.8. Too get the pH that low would require much more CO2 if I understand things correctly. <Or a slower effluent drip rate.> I did not think increasing the CO2 to achieve the stated pH above would be a great idea without checking first. <I'd start by reducing the drip rate.> I would like to fine tune my unit by measuring effluent dKH and pH and would appreciate your response. <No worries, you're on the right track.> Thanks in advance. Fazil <Cheers, J -- >

- Knop S-IV Reactor Problem - I bought a Knop s-iv reactor & set it up about a month ago but it seems that I keep building up excess air on the top of the chamber. I want to know if this is normal or its a problem with the reactor. <Let's read on...> How can I correct this problem so it doesn't happen again. My drip rate is about 2 drops every 3 seconds. BPMs are about 40. <That's too much CO2... is the source of your problem. Should be in the neighborhood of 12 BPM. Try adjusting this and see if things improve.> Please respond to this e-mail to let me know what to do. I really would appreciate it. Thanks, Vinny

- Knop Type-C Questions - Diana (Diana Fenner, Knop distributor N. America) said to give you a buzz about some tech questions I have so here goes. All questions are for a Knop-c reactor 1-Diana's website lists silicon tubing as a replacement part.  Is this the tubing that I should use for the tank water supply to the reactor and tank calcium discharge lines to the tank? <Yes.> So the blue tube is only used from the bubble counter to the reactor interior? <That is correct.> 2-Is there a recommended lubricant I can use when servicing the reactor? After a time, the saltwater really makes all connections tight and I am worried that I may damage the reactor plastic connections during service periods.  I was considering Vaseline but I have read that it actually dries out o-rings and I am sure it is no good for the tank! <Yes, use silicone lubricant on the o-rings. Do not use spray silicone, but obtain silicone grease... available at your local scuba shop. Other than that, just don't over-tighten the fittings and you should be all set.> Thank you -Ray <Cheers, J -- >

Knop C >I would like to know if Knop c calcium reactor can run in sump. Is the discharge side of the main pump tee provided with the reactor? Thanks. Greetings, To answer your questions, yes the Type C reactor can be run in a sump, although it would take up perhaps more space than is practical. Enough tubing is included to allow you to install the reactor elsewhere. As for the pump T-fitting, no, there is not one included with the reactor. I hope this helps - feel free to contact us if you have any further concerns. Cheers, J --

- To Add the Reactor, Or Not -   Folks, Having saved my pennies long and hard I was about to buy a calcium reactor, prior to adding clams and some LPS to my 5 x 2 x 2. However testing has shown that my current DKH and calcium levels are bad. DKH at about 6, calcium at 280. I suspect that if I add a reactor now it might make things worse... <Why would it do that?> should I try to get a better balance before I add one. <I wouldn't - the calcium reactor will bring things into line over time - just don't rush.> How would you recommend I go about it... currently trying 25% a week water changes. <Go ahead with the reactor - let it run for a month or so an test your calcium then.> Thanks Brian <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor Problems - Hello Robert, <Hello, JasonC here in his stead...> I bought your book "Conscientious Aquarist" and enjoy it very much. Recently set up a DIY calcium reactor and had a few questions.  Was hoping you might be able to provide some guidance or refer me to a site for advice. <I will do my best.> Questions: 1.)  What's the normal break-in period and what exactly does that mean? <There really isn't one - what is breaking-in is you - getting used to how the various adjustments work in conjunction with your tank.> 2.)  Seem to be having difficulty getting effluent PH to drop below 7.0 with CO2 rate at about 15-20 bubbles per minute and effluent dripping too fast to count, but not streaming.  Is this related to a break-in period or do I need to increase CO2 or decrease effluent rate? <Either but not both - I would leave the CO2 as it and reduce the drip rate exiting the reactor.> 3)  Are these reactors supposed to work under some pressure? <Only the smallest amount.> seems by adjusting input rate and effluent rate, it will eventually equalize anyway. Yes/no? Does pressure affect amount of dissolved CO2 in the chamber? <Yes.> 4)  Measured calcium level of effluent and it seems to be no higher than the water in the tank itself.  I expected to see a much higher level.  Suspect this is related to PH level in chamber not being low enough to dissolve media.  Correct? <Correct.> In essence, how do I get this thing tuned properly and how long should I expect this process to last. <Please read an article I've written about this exact topic: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcreactors.htm > Starting with low calcium levels in the first place about 260.  Could this have something to do with it?  Tank PH ranges from about 8.0 to 8.2 using Pinpoint monitor, temp ranges from 76.5 to 78. Not much in the tank, other than live rock, live sand, some cleaner critters and a lone Yellow Tang.  About 220 gallons including sump and refugium. Want to get things just right before adding any more critters. <Do read up.> Thanks for your help. Regards, Julio South Florida <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor Problems, Follow-up - JasonC, <Hi.> Thanks for the feedback and article. <My pleasure.> See below. <Ok.> Well, I finally have this thing tuned and, I think, working properly. Bubble rate of about 40 per minute and effluent rate of about 60 per minute results in an effluent out of the second chamber with calcium level in excess of 500 ppm and alk of about 16. <How about the pH of the effluent?> Both of these are at the maximum ranges of my test kits.  So I feel good about where I am at this point. On the other hand, I'm confused.  After about two weeks of the reactor running 24/7 at the above effluent parameters, I've seen no change in the calcium level of the tank (about 270 ppm). <It's going to take a little longer than just two weeks to actually see this thing bear fruit.> Alk/dKH has gone up considerably from about 8 to just over 13, but calcium level isn't doing anything.  Any thoughts? <Patience.> Magnesium level is about 1200, which is a bit low.  I've read this can influence the calcium levels. <It can.> So here are my questions: 1. Do you think Magnesium at 1200 is the cause of my problem? <Not necessarily, but could be the result of the media you are using in the reactor. A good media will help supplement this.> 2. Do calcium reactors have the ability to raise already low levels of calcium, or do they simply replenish what is consumed by tank inhabitants? <Depends on how it is adjusted and sized to the tank.> I only have live rock at this point in time. 3. Is the high Alk/dKH now part of the problem? <It's a limiting factor, but the byproduct of the calcium reactor is calcium carbonate so there should be a good amount of calcium about. You might want to try another test kit.> 4. Where do I go from here? <Forward, onward.> Yours truly going insane, <No worries.> JT <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Complications - I have had a saltwater tank for over 10 years. It has been an up & down battle all 10. I recently decided to go for it and purchase some good equipment. New Hamilton Protostar 4' light. 2 x 250w HQI & 2 96w 7100K power compacts. I made my own calcium reactor that is working quite well.(3"x20") I just added Korallith media to it (removed old media) because I was getting such a high KH 28.8 PH 6.8 calcium 460 out of the reactor. Now, with the Korallith, my KH is off the scale calcium 460 PH 6.7. I am using Salifert test kits, brand new. Bubble rate co2 1 every 4 seconds, drip rate 1 drop every 2 seconds CO2 shuts off with the lights. <I'd increase the drip rate out of the reactor - perhaps two drops every three second.> I have had trouble getting a consistent drip rate, any ideas on a good valve? <Probably not the valve but calcium precipitating on the tip of the valve - turn down your CO2 for a little while, let a little more water out of the reactor.> I'm getting frustrated. <Well... try to save it for later, calcium reactors generally take a good deal of adjustment before they work just right.> From what I have read, there is no way that I should be getting these kind of numbers out of this set up. <Oh no... it's very easy to produce these results - your reactor needs more adjustment.> I have gotten the drip rate up, but the PH out of the reactor goes up to 7.0 or higher. <That's OK.> Why is my KH off the scale? <Because calcium reactors are really alkalinity reactors, with calcium being a by product.> My tank PH is 8.1 during the day, 7.9 at night. I have new PH controller, regulator with solenoid valve. All of this equipment is new. The reactor is working great. It can pull the co2 all the way down through the pump. I have a couple of the SPS frags that are going down for the count. Others look good, but little if any growth. I have some LPS coral that are doing good, and My leathers are OK too! I do have some coralline popping up, most of my tank was void of it before I started the reactor. I have had troubles keeping the PH up. Things are better but this off the scale KH has me bothered. <It should be expected - what is the alkalinity of your tank - that is the more important number.> If the KH is this high, My PH should not be a problem? <Could be other items - perhaps dirty gravel/sand pulling down the pH - look for all possible sources.> I think that I am also getting SNOW. <Then turn off the reactor for a while - run a full round of calcium and alkalinity tests on the tank - this should be telling.> White yuck laying around the tank. I change 4 Gallons of water every week to try & keep it under control. 70 gallon tank, 10 gallon sump, chiller set at 80* heater at 78*, protein skimmer, small NNR in the sump. My nitrates are zero, I quit testing it because it has been zero forever. RO/DI replacement water new setup) Instant ocean 1.024 SG. What's up with my reactor????? <It needs more adjustment from you.> Jeff <Cheers, J -- >

- Hooking up a Knop HD-S - Hello - I have purchased a while back an Knop HD-S Calcium Reactor and seem to have lost the instructions. I would like to install it. I spoke with Diana at KNOP and she suggested I write this e-mail. She did fax me a one page of instructions, but it has no diagrams and is still leaving me pretty much in the dark. <Ok.> Do you have any additional more detailed instructions you could send me. <Not really... I can answer questions about it until we are both blue in the face however.> Also, could you please provide direction of whether or not you suggest a co2 solenoid valve controlled by a ph monitor. <I always suggest a solenoid valve, I don't suggest a pH monitor/controller unless you are a gadget hound.> And how about the second pump to drip into the sump. <Not necessary, but could be useful in your situation.> Any help you could provide would be appreciated. <Please start by reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcreactors.htm  - then feel free to write back and ask any questions that come to mind.> My tank is 2500 gallons, has a fair amount nice corals and I'm just getting tired of supplementing the calcium and alkalinity. <I bet.> Thank You Bill G. <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor and pH Controller - OK I feel stupid asking this but I can't find a reliable answer anywhere. Oh by the way, GREETINGS !!! I have an MTC calcium reactor hooked in to a Pinpoint (American Marine) pH controller. The instructions refer to the 2 plug-in outlets on the back of the controller as outlet 1 and 2. With 1 being the outlet that controls the CO2 addition (activates at low setting), and #2 should control the "flow" (shuts off at high). <Hmmm... would always leave the circulation pump on a calcium reactor running... unless of course the power is out.> The outlets themselves are not labeled, so I assume the one on the left is #1, the one on the right, #2. <Not sure myself.> I plugged in the solenoid gauge plug into the left, the calcium reactor pump in to #2. <Again... don't recommend putting the reactor pump on this controller.> There are no diagrams on the instructions and no help on their website. Am I doing this right ? <Couldn't tell you precisely... would contact the company that makes these directly.> Secondly. I would think that I want constant flow from the reactor into the system, especially if the pH is too high, correct? <Ahh yes... we are on the same page.> Under this set up, if the pH goes above my settings, the CO2 still flows but the pump shuts off... Really lost here... Should I just plug the pump in separately? <I would.> Keep the solenoid in the left (as you are looking at the controller) outlet? <Again... be certain, call the company. Always feel strongly about such things as you paid them money - they owe you some help. 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 -- >

- Which CO2 to Use, Follow-up - I'm back. Changed gauges and tubing on reactor. So far seems to be working properly. I have been trying to raise my PH in aquarium, has been 8.0 fairly constantly. In checking water coming from reactor, it is at 7.4. Is this O.K.?? <It's actually a little high... should be about pH 6.7> My sump water has PH around 7.6 (this is being feed through my RO/DI unit). Is this normal for fresh water??. <Yes.> I also use this water for my water changes. How do I get my PH up to 8.3?? <Add buffer compounds, and probably stop using RO/DI directly into your sump... consider premixing it with a buffer and then using the same for top-off and mixing.> I am told I need to add powerheads to increase flow/turbulence. <I'm always a big fan of this but it won't do much to improve your pH.> Your help/feedback would be greatly appreciated. THANKS <Cheers, J -- >

S-IV reactor Diana, I emailed you yesterday and have not heard back from you.  I do have a quick question about the reactor.  Is the internal bubble counter subject to the pressure that builds up inside the reactor?  I have a new dual gauge regulator setup with a very expensive needle value, and no matter how hard I try the bubble rate will not settle down.  I can set the rate to say 25 bubble per minute, and twenty minutes later the rate has changed, it will go either way, up or down, but never stays the same with your supplier.  You can't set the reactor up without having a constant bubble rate.  Is it possible that this reactor is more damaged than I first thought?  Have other customer complained about this problem?  I need a response quick as I am trying to make a decision about whether to keep this reactor, or send it back to Marine Depot for a refund.  I assume since I haven't heard from you that you haven't sent the check out.  In either case If we can't solve this problem, I will simple return your original check, as I would never cash the check if there was a problem.  Regards, Tim Roberts <would first switch out your needle valve here, the tank pressure and flow through your regulator are very likely static (fine). Bob Fenner> Hello... JasonC here. Have seen this problem before and is typically caused by a leak in the CO2 plumbing... either a crack in the tubing, a leak in/near/around the regulator - if it has it's own bubble counter, this is a common place for the leak to occur. Would examine all these things closely... between the CO2 tank and the reactor all those fittings need to be air tight and plumbed with CO2-proof tubing. Cheers, J --

- Calcium Reactor Problems -  Jason C, thanks for the reply. <My pleasure.> When I replaced my old gauge set with a new set, a set with a working pressure gauge which goes from 0 to 15 PSI (why old one went from 0 to 150) , I noticed that the pressure on the gauge would continually drop. <Sounds like a leak somewhere...> I set the gauge five times last night. I would set the working pressure to 10 PSI, and a few minutes later the gauge would read 8 PSI, so I would readjust. I am thinking I have a hairline crack in the tank valve. <Or somewhere close...> A leak in the gauges, or after the gauges would not effect the working pressure. <Actually, the working pressure is somewhat reliant on back pressure in the rest of the 'plumbing' between the CO2 supply and the reactor... have seen this exact behavior caused by a crack in the CO2 proof tubing which is not infinitely elastic - can be cracked by stepping on it or too tight of a turn radius.> Remember I have had this same problem with two different gauge sets from two different manufactures. <All the more reason to make sure you don't have a problem in the lines.> The odds of having two regulators, both defective, with the same problems, are really small. What do you think, am I on the right track? <Perhaps... would be diligently checking in all possible places, not just the ones that make sense.>  Thanks, Tim  <Cheers, J -- >

- Reactor Trouble, More Follow-up - Jason, thanks for your help.  I am not trying to disagree with you, I am just grasping for straws to get the reactor to work. <No worries.> The air line I used is supposed to be CO2 safe, however, I will replace it with some tubing that came with another reactor I had.  Please don't misunderstand me, you are the expert, and I appreciate your time. <I am hardly an expert... everyone's experience is different.> I didn't get the instructions or the tubing that was suppose to come with the reactor. <Bummer.> Diana is sending them to me this week. <Excellent.> Thanks, Tim <Cheers, J -- >

New Calcium reactor 3/28/04 Hi gang- <howdy!> I just finished setting up the 265 (phew !). The 110 gal is getting broken down :( One addition to this system is the MTC calcium reactor. It too is up and running but my calcium levels are low currently (320). <actually...they are just fine. It's more/most important to simply keep Ca levels steady. A steady 320 ppm will grow reef creatures faster than a spiking 420ppm> DKH is 10.2 which is a little higher than I would want it ideally (9.8 or so). I have been using the B-Ionic 2 part system which I may discontinue in the new setup. My question is this. How do I boost the Ca level without risking lowering the pH ? <you mean raising the pH I presume... and as such, temporary use of Calcium Chloride will do the trick> It is currently 8.2 which is ideal... Last time my Ca levels got this low, I started losing some coral... <I can assure you that was not because the Ca was low, but from other dynamics that worked in concert (business/laziness that led to overall neglect of other aspects of water quality beyond Ca supplementation> Can I add only part 2 of the 2 component system ??? <you can... although its too expensive to make that a habit IMO <G>> Dan <best regards, Anthony>

Kalk - calcium hydroxide use 3/8/04 HI: I just started using Kalk in my seventy gallon reef a month ago. Until I read some of you faq's I see dosing is best at night. <yes... a must because Kalk is caustic (high pH) and pH climbs by day and falls at night. Its the best time to dose it> My question is do I ever stop feeding the Kalk and if so for how long. <you must test for you daily need of calcium (test kits) and then calculate how must Kalk (or any calcium supplement) is needed to meet that need.> If I bring in my water for testing and I an told the pH and alk is ok do I still dose. <this is not about pH, my friend, although Kalk does help to support pH and alkalinity. It is a calcium supplement and is to be dosed and finessed as such> I use purified water when I dose, I was told never to add tap water to a salt tank. What do you advise? <purified water should be aerated for 24 hrs in advance to increase the pH and then it likely should be buffered before salting or using it for evap top off. Leave plain if its for Kalk use though. It sounds like you really need to buy and read a good book on reef husbandry my friend. Seek Paletta's "New Marine Aquarium" for marine basics... and read the first half of my "Book of Coral Propagation" for reef keeping coverage. Thank You, Richard Levine <kindly, Anthony Calfo>

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 Operation - Hi Folks, First I would like to thank you for your reply on the Paint Ball gun CO2 bottle. I did go with a standard 5 Lbs bottle and I now have my reactor bubbling away with some 4th day questions after its operation and reading as many articles as possible from your site. To begin I have a 90 gal reef Tank with mostly the light living type corals...exp: Elegance, Hammer, Fox.. etc. My water is at 7.9 ph (Low I know) hardness of about 9 DKH (Also Low). I run my outlet from my reactor to a 1/2 liter hang on holding cup with holes drilled half way up. I do this to filter sediment out and is a good place to get a test on effluent. <Sediment? There shouldn't be any.> Recently I have placed about 2 inches of Aragonite (ARM) in the bottom. I figure it can't hurt whatever CO2 is still present can work on this and kind of act like a second stage. <Ok.> My Ph levels in the effluent cup are 6.9 with a hardness that is off scale. I have a Knop C reactor with a bubble count of aprox. 24 and a effluent drip of about 1 to 1.5 drops a second. Ok the questions. I understand that there are 2 output variables 1) CO2 flow 2) Effluent Flow We have 3 result factors 1) Tank Ph <Uhh... effluent pH which will affect tank pH, but must start with and consider effluent pH.> 2) Carbonate Hardness 3) Calcium I read your FAQ's about the Marble Theory My question if you get a high Hardness and a lower Calcium content, what do you adjust to turn it around? CO2 flow or effluent Flow? <Neither... calcium reactors are really alkalinity reactors. The main byproduct is highly alkaline water with some calcium added. If you're not getting much calcium out of the reactor, you might want to try something other than ARM, and perhaps the Knop Korallith, which is recommended for this reactor.> Or how do you increase both to correct levels with out adversely affecting the Tank Ph? <You've got to address all in concert - one reason why turning CO2 off over night is an option worth considering... won't drive down the pH over night. If you've only just gotten this reactor running on the tank, then you won't see system-wide results for a week or so... give it some time.> If your tank is lower in pH then you still have a choice of increasing CO2 flow and decreasing the Effluent drip. <Uhh, no. For starters, don't make both adjustments at once - doing one or the other will accomplish the same result - doing both will produce the same result in much greater quantities. If you increase the production of carbonic acid in the reactor, this will drive down the pH in your main tank.> Or would you opt to go with a lower CO2 flow and increase the effluent Drip. <This is a better option, but again - one adjustment or the other should bring you into a useful range.> I will soon be getting a Ph controller and then this will be more like a doser, injecting CO2 to a certain lower Tank Ph and then allowing it to return to a higher Ph value as the effluent does not have the CO2 influence. My Corals have never been happier right now even with my numbers off a bit but I am sure this must be the introduction of some CO2, for Light living types this must be like happy gas for them. Still a bit confused... <Keep on reading.> Thanks, Fred <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor Operation - Hi, I recently purchased an ALS CR-500 Calcium Reactor.  Currently I supplement 1 1/2 scoops of Tropic Marin Bio-Calcium in order to keep my calcium level at 425ppm, PH 8.0-8.4.  I don't recall the alk but it was within the accepted levels.  I was wondering, when I setup my reactor and start dosing, I am assuming that I will have to stop using the Bio-Calcium.  Correct? <Yes, you should adding other calcium additives with the exception of Kalkwasser - you can add that in small amounts.> My other concern is that I do not have a PH controller. <Not really a concern if you set up the reactor carefully, spend the time to learn its nuances.> I have read on your site where you suggest running the reactor when the lights are on so that the PH does not get too depressed. <Again... you won't know until you run the reactor on the tank, how the two work together. Not all tanks have this problem - if you have an algal sump that is lit opposite of the sump for instance, you'd have no trouble running a calcium reactor 24/7.> The manufacturer suggests a certain drip rate, but that is for the full day operation.  Am I better off running when the lights are on only? <Perhaps you misunderstood - you turn only the CO2 on and off with the lights. No need to adjust the drip rate of anything... just turn off the CO2 and the reaction will stop, the remaining carbonic acid will slowly be replaced by regular tank water due to the continual drip. Leave the reactor's circulation pump running 24/7.> Does this mean I have to increase the drip rate and effluent rate to compensate for the fact it is not running all day? <No.> Thanks, Jo <Cheers, J -- >

- Alternate Bottled CO2 Source for Calcium Reactor - Hi Bob, I started with your book as a guide quite some time ago. I have a 90 gal. Reef and I am going to install a Knop C reactor. My question is, Can you use a paintball 5 lbs C02 bottle are they adaptable or must you use the standard one sold by aquarium stores? <Not certain, but do think finding a regulator for the paint gun bottles - in this country - are remote at best. Have seen same at trade show in Germany - small CO2 bottles with sized chrome covers very popular in the planted tank arena, but are not as far as I know being imported by anyone yet - so same would go for the regulator. Most CO2 regulators that I've seen in the states are made to fit the larger tanks, similar to the ones at the store. You can also get the tank directly from a local gas supplier - might not be polished and pretty, but functional.> Far be it from me to like the norm... hahaha <If you can find a regulator, you can use the bottle. Not sure how long they would last.> Thanks, Fred <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor and Kalkwasser - H, I have a 210 gallon tank with a calcium reactor and do 38 gallon a week water changes. After aerating and adding the salt can I use Kalkwasser alone to adjust the ph in my 38 gallon replacement water mixture? <Wouldn't do this. Although the Kalkwasser will raise your pH, you're adding calcium at the same time. Could be a lot to add in one dose via the water change, if tank chemistry is right, could cause a precipitation event. Best to add Kalkwasser as a drip or in small amounts first thing in the morning.> Thanks Greg <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor Issues - I have a KNOP S-IV calcium reactor that I have had in service for nearly 6 months. I have problems with the unit taking on to much air at the top of the unit lowering the water line below the outflow and cavitating. My CO2 input is less than 15 bubbles per minute so I do not believe that this is a build up of co2. I recently installed a check valve on my co2 "in" line as I was getting water backed up in this line. <Seems odd... there is a check valve already installed in the reactor body - the black do-hickey threaded into the bubble counter.> Do I need to install a check valve on my water in line??? <I wouldn't.> Where my water line drips in to my aquarium, this line stops above the top of the water. Does this line need to extend down into the water??? <No.> Do I need to install a check valve on this line. <No.> The firm that installed my system has been of no help. Can you help me troubleshoot this?? <Hmm... would look to the inflow line to make sure it's not taking in any air with the water. Have seen this problem before with calcium reactors, and is the most common issue. CO2 dissolves very easily in water, air does not... start here, report back to me and we'll get this thing running correctly.> THANKS <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor Issues, Follow-up - Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. <My pleasure.> The inflow line was connected to a water line feeding my ECO-WHEEL and I think that with agitation/other there may have been some air entering thru inflow line. Last night, I ran intake line directly to tank and I see no way that air could enter this line. Got everything up and running. This morning I checked and I have air in my reactor however, water is just above outflow and water still dripping in aquarium. Is this "air" supposed to be there?? <One should expect that a little CO2 will build up there, but not enough to stop the operation of the reactor. A last option to you is to try another CO2 source. Low-grade CO2 is not pure, and even small amounts of air in your CO2 supply will make the CO2 much less soluble in water and would show up as that air pocket at the top of the reactor.> Something worth checking.  My drip to aquarium is about one drop every 2-3 seconds. Is this OK?? <That's a little slow - I prefer two drops every three seconds with this reactor.> THANKS for your help!!! <Cheers, J -- >
- Calcium Reactor Issues, More Follow-up -
As a follow up to my earlier e-mail, I went home at noon and the air level was below my outflow to the aquarium. I reduced my drips to the aquarium, could this be creating problems?? <Yes, I think you need to speed it up - commented as such in my previous reply - about two drips every three seconds. Cheers, J -->
- Calcium Reactor Issues, More Follow-up -
What rate do you suggest for the CO2 bubbles to reactor?? I am trying to go for one bubble every 3-4 seconds. Is this o.k.?? <Yeah... that is fine, although testing the effluent will get you closer to what it needs to be - on average one bubble every four seconds or so is about right. Cheers, J -- >

- Which CO2 to Use - Sorry to bother you again. <No worries.> I contacted a firm on the purity of the CO2, and they say they can provide any level/grade. Medical grade is 99.9% pure but is really expensive. Is there a middle of the road or is the 99.9% the way to go?? <As pure as possible is really what is necessary - but still, you're paying for the guarantee... much of the CO2 dispensed is 99.9% pure.> Also, I am having a problem trying to regulate my bubbles and maintain same. I did have water back-up to my regulator before but have added check to prevent reoccurrence. <Seems very odd - again, am pretty sure there is a check valve built into the S-IV reactor.> Could regulator be damaged?? <Quite possibly if saltwater was what got into the regulator.> If I were to replace regulator, what would you suggest?? <No suggestion - these regulators are for the most part all created equal.> THANKS <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor Media - Dear WWM Crew, What is the difference of fine to coarse calcium reactor media? <Just the grain size.> I purchased the course Korallith (6-10 mm).  I was a little surprised at the size of the pieces.  Should I have purchased finer media? <Yes. The large media is really for the extra-large reactors.> The online store indicated that the fine or the course would work. <I think you have super-coarse - there are three grades, you have the largest. You need the medium sized one - pieces between one and two millimeters.> Thanks for help, Brian <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 -- >

- Broken Knop Part- Hello Bob, How are you? <I can't speak for Bob, but I am well... JasonC here.> I'm writing you because I've exhausted my other leads and was hoping you may have the answer. <I think I may.> I have a Knop calcium reactor (the original type) and I've seemed to break the small blue plastic compression fitting that the bubble counter has screwed into it's top. The thing is useless as we all know and I'm eager to get it back up and running. Please let me know what you think about locating one. Thanks. <Yes, contact Diana Fenner at http://www.knopproducts.com/serv01.htm - she is the importer/distributor of Knop reactors and you can purchase spare part from her there.

Questions regarding the S-IV >Hello- >I'm fairly new to reef keeping, and I've never had a calcium reactor although I hope to change that soon. I have a 75 gal FOWLR aquarium. Once the reactor is set-up and calcium is good (I can only get it to hover at 300-350 now) I hope to add corals and a clam.  >I've been looking into the S-IV model, but I have some questions regarding its specs. >1) Do I need some sort of feed pump or tee-off to supply water to the reactor or does it siphon in? <The S-IV model comes with an internal pump to move water through the reactor. Other KNOP models come with their own external pump> >2) Is there an integral check valve leading to the bubble counter or does this need to be purchased and attached separately? <The KNOP models come with check valves and bubble counters... very nice gear altogether.> >3) What is the CO2 consumption on this unit like? Some reactors I've looked at mention bubbles rates up to 60/min while other models (aspirating venturi?) are down in the 10/min range. <Mmm, somewhat depends on your desires, biomineralizing rate in your system... for instance, more stony corals, more light, more feeding... more CO2 can be applied. Most folks, applications utilize a bubble every 2-3 seconds...> >4) How do I control the effluent flow rate? <There is a valve supplied on the discharge end> >5) Do I need some sort of quick disconnect coupling when hooking this up? (OK, I honestly don't know where I would need these, but I'm looking in the marinedepot.com catalog and they have them listed in the calcium reactor supply section.) <Not necessary. There are other manufacturers of calcium reactors, and some of these have different arrangements for set-up/operation.> >6) Is it a top-loading reactor? <Yes... and thankfully one that is the very easiest to open, re-fill and close... A very important feature, advantage with KNOP> >7) What sort of warranty comes with your products? <One year> >That's all the questions I can think of at the moment. I probably sound like a newbie, but then I guess I am. I just hope I didn't ask any stupid questions. >Thank you, >Karen <Nope, all good questions, intelligently posited. BTW, there is more on calcium reactors and KNOP posted on WetWebMedia.com. You might take a look, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcreactors.htm and read through the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top).  Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Calcium reactor, pH Controller, Measuring dKH Hi, I have had a salt water tank for 25 years, and have been successful with water changes and additives.  My tank is  300 gallons and  just purchased the Knop Calcium Reactor.  Could you give me ANY additional set up advice? <I'll do my best.> The information included with the unit was a bit sketchy. I understand the plumbing of the system, but have questions: 1.  The instructions say to measure the reactor output - to be 12-20 degrees DKH.  Is that a simple alkalinity test? <Yes.> Is there a way to convert results from a conventional kit to degrees? <Well, unless the 'conventional kit' contains a specific alkalinity test, no. One the other hand, the units of measure vary from kit to kit, and there is a way to calculate to German degrees of hardness [dKH].> I currently use Aquarium Systems FasTest saltwater aquarium test kit. <Not familiar enough to say if this kit has an alkalinity test.> 2.  I purchased a CO2 Azoo unit and a marine pinpoint ph controller.  Is this necessary to monitor PH swings, for example, at night. <I don't thinkthe monitors are 'necessary' but certainly good to have around.> I read on your website that they are not being recommended.  If this is true, how are the pH swings handled? <Depends on whether or not the pH is actually swinging. A drop in pH overnight might be best dealt with by shutting off the CO2 with the lights.> 3.  During a water changes, the main pump that feeds the reactor will be shut off.  Can I leave the circulating pump on the Knop running? <Yes.> 4.  Once the Knop is set up and running - do I need to continue additives, such as iron, trace elements, iodine, etc.. <Iodine, yes... many others are provided by the dissolving reactor media. Do look at the bucket your reactor media came in - should be a list of what you can expect. Not sure if iron is on that list. Do feel that most trace elements are best supplemented by regular water changes.> Thank you for your assistance! <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor Selection - Wow, thanks for the lightning response !. A follow-up question... How would you rank the following reactors overall...(I know you favor KNOP in the WWM pages)...Art's K2R; Precision Marine; Knop; MTC; Korallin. I look for efficiency, and ease of use and overall best piece of equipment... Thanks a bunch! <Yeah, I do like the Knop products, the S-IV is my favorite, mostly because it is an elegant design, simple to use and maintain, and efficient.> Dan <Cheers, J -- >

pH, marine, reactor First of all I would like to thank you for answering a question I had earlier on a elegance coral, I do have a question to ask about pH. I have CR-1 CO2 unit running on my 90 reef dKH is 12.2 <Am I to understand this is the Reef Creations calcium reactor, CR-1? You realize that if you were running straight CO2 into your tank without a calcium reactor, this would be the source of your problems.> The problem I have is with the pH not able to climb above 8.0, I do buffer my top off water to 8.2 and my salt mix is instant ocean, ph does drop at night to 7.8 - 7.9 up only during the day to 8.0 I do monitor with Milwaukee ph smart monitor. Any ideas why I can not bump up ph higher than 8.0, some times this even falls to 7.9 during day light hours also. Metal halides 2/ 175 10,000k 2/110 actinics halides on for 10 hours actinics on for 13 to 14 hours, salinity 1.28, calcium at 430. Your thoughts will be grateful. <Hmm... no information about the pH of the effluent coming out of your reactor... please let me know, I might be able to make a better guess as to what's going on.> Thanks Brian <Cheers, J -- >

- Low pH, Reactor Adjustment - Yes this is a Reef Creation reactor, my effluent is at a pH of 6.7 and the bubble count is 1 burst every 3 seconds my effluent is at a steady drip not a running flow but to fast to actually count the drips. <You could be ending up with excess CO2 in your water. Can be tested by taking a water sample, and taking a pH reading of it. Then aerate the sample for a couple of hours and the test the pH again. If the pH rises significantly, you have issues with excess CO2. For now, I'd shut off the CO2 solenoid with the lights on the tank. Prevent the reactor from pulling down the pH any more than necessary over night. Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor Question - Hello Coral Oracles - Another mundane question. I am in the process of planning out my new 265 gal reef tank. Upgrade from a 110. I am considering adding a calcium reactor to the new system. I am currently using the B-Ionic 2 part system with satisfaction. I would like to see more growth in my Acro's but maybe its a timing thing. Anyways, what is your opinion on one vs. the other? <A calcium reactor is a fabulous investment. You will 'buy' a reactor's worth of calcium supplements if you continue the way you are going. Not to dis ESV, as their product is very good, but you have to dose and dose and dose and... buy more bottles and so on.> Is the calcium reactor worth the cost? <Absolutely - once the cost of procuring one is past, your only reoccurring costs are the CO2 and the media and neither of these is changed very often.> Thanks for your help (again)... <Cheers, J -- > - Calcium Reactor of a Different Kind - Hello all, First, I have to rave on how much I have enjoyed your latest book REEF INVERTEBRATES. I love all of the pictures included and have toiled many nights over all of the big words in the book. Great reading!! Now to my question- The make up water that I use for my tank comes from a well. It is processed by a Craftsman water softener and runs into a Kent Maxima High-S RO unit. <Hmm... I would run the RO/DI in front of the water softener.> When it reaches my float valve to maintain the level in the sump the PH reading is 6.6. If I ran some of my fresh make up water into a re-circulating calcium reactor (minus the CO2) and allowed the output to drain into my sump at a SLIGHT drip, wouldn't this be the same as if I were using CO2 to lower the ph in the calcium reactor? <Hmm... would have to see the chemical composition of the water, as in what exactly makes it acidic. The CO2 produces carbonic acid in the typical calcium reactor and that produces calcium carbonate which is the byproduct your calcium-loving organisms can use. It's the carbonate that becomes a buffering agent for the calcium. I would want to know what the freshwater would produce - you may find it's not a useful form of calcium or doesn't produce the desired affect.> And since the purified water had little dissolved solids wouldn't the fresh water hold more calcium? <Don't think that's the issue here.> The only drawback I can see is that the required output of the reactor might be more than the fresh water make up required by my tank. <That too.> Am I nuts? <Seek a second opinion.> Or could this work? <It 'could' work, but again, I'd be doing some careful examination before I commit it to the main system.> Thanks all, K.P. <Cheers, J -- >

New Candidate - For Calcium Reactor I have had a 55 gallon reef tank for about one year.  I have some soft coral, 3 anemones, some LPS, and a few SPS, maybe 20 corals in total, and two clownfish (one maroon and one black percula (the mate disappeared overnight the day after I bought them maybe mantis shrimp)). Anyway  I can't seem to get coralline algae to grow quickly or at all! My setup contains a 55 gallon tank with a 10 gallon sump holding a Seaclone skimmer (hoping to replace with larger, better skimmer soon) and Eheim 2215 and a heater.  I have about 60-70 pounds of live rock (which does have coralline on it, but not fully covered), and about 3/4" live sand. I also have a pH monitor, three powerhead 402's in the main tank and a small powerhead in the sump.  For lighting I have a 175watt 10,000K metal halide and four 65 watt power compacts (two actinic and two 10,000K).  I have been dosing Kent Ca (5-7ml per day), Aragamilk (5-7ml per day), and every few days Seachem marine buffer, all for about two months.  Ammonia is zero, nitrite is zero, nitrate is high around 15-20ppm (can't seem to get it lower even with biweekly 20% (sometimes 40%) water changes with DI water), temp is 78-80, Alk is 5meq/L, and Ca is about 350. <Those seem to be good-enough alkalinity and calcium numbers to me...> I have read your faq's about Kalk (which are VERY helpful by the way) and decided to start dosing (started tonight 10/23/03).  If you have any comments, things I should change or can help with my lack of coralline algae and lack of growth on my stonies, PLEASE email me! Sorry for such a long email, I know you are very busy, but I NEED HELP!!!  Thanks for any help or advice you can give! <You sound to me like a good candidate for a calcium reactor. 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 -- >

- Calcium Reactor Selection - Hi, I've been reading about calcium reactors and haven't been able to find reviews from folks who have used them.  I'm looking at K2R, Precision Marine, Knop and Korallin.  The Knop (S-IV) and Korallin(1502) packages are about $200 dollars in difference  Like I say I haven't found a lot of useful information.  Which one is the best to buy? <My personal favorite is the Knop S-IV - have used this reactor and find the design the most simple and elegant.> Also, what should I look for when buying a good reactor? <Lack of delicate parts - one of the best ways to maintain a calcium reactor is to give it a good shake once a month, so you don't want parts that are going to snap off accidentally. Likewise, a lack of metal parts is also helpful - the saltwater environment is corrosive enough, but the area inside the reactor will be a low pH, and even more corrosive so... even stainless steel parts are suspect - and that includes pump internals. Eheim pumps have ceramic impeller shafts so there's something to look for.> Are there any extras that I should know about like additional pumps or ph controllers? <Give this article a read, should cover those bases: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcreactors.htm > Thanks, -Brent <Cheers, J -- >

- Ca & Alk, Calcium Reactor - Hello again and thanks for all the past help. My system has been running at pH 8.2, Ca 320ppm and Alk 10-11dKH since installing calcium reactor three months ago. I have tried to increase Ca by increasing bubble count to 120/min (started at 60) while keeping flow constant at manufacture's recommended starting point of 2-3l/hr. Effluent is close to ph 6.5 and 40 dKH. Trend seems to be that as I increase bubble count, alk increases but not Ca. I understand that Ca is necessarily lower when alk is high. Is this just a function of reactor media (ARM) and will I have to supplement Ca or will I eventually be able to dial in Ca to 350-400ppm with the right combination of CO2 and flow. <Well, two things come to mind - first, the ARM media is notoriously impure, which means you really can't rely on it for consistent results. Second, calcium reactors are 'really' alkalinity reactors, and by boosting alkalinity promote better availability of calcium - of course it helps that the effluent is calcium carbonate, but really, I don't see anything wrong with those numbers. Do also use the growth of your calcium consuming organisms as a guide.> Perhaps I need different media (suggestions?), <Knop Korallith.> or is 320ppm & 11dKH just fine and I should leave it alone? <Yes to that as well.> A. yongei frag is doing well so far but want to get everything right before starting to stock in earnest. Regards, George. <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor Adjustments - Hi Bob and Crew, I have had a KORALLIN C-1502 Calcium Reactor for about 4 months. It was purchased new. I have tried repeatedly to adjust it to the proper levels of CA and DKH. The Korallin web site is of little help as are their instructions. I have kept a log of my settings and results. They are as follows and my readings are taken 2 days after an adjustment. DRIPS    BUBBLES    CA     DKH 20            12    380    14.1   24            12    380    12.5 40            20    350    13.4 28            16    360    12.2 60            24    370    12.8 40            20    360    12.5 28            20    370    12.5 <I'm guessing the bubble numbers are per minute?> With most all of these settings except the lowest I get an air lock and must bleed off the CO2 every 12 hours. I don't understand how to create the proper adjustments as I can't get the CA above 380. Do any of you see anything obvious that I'm doing wrong? <Perhaps - I would be shooting for a rapid drip rate - about three drops every two seconds. CO2... probably best around one bubble every four to five seconds, but this is the adjustment I'd tweak. I'd get the water coming out the reactor as consistently as possible, and then adjust your CO2 to bring the pH of the effluent to about 6.7 - 6.8, and a dKH of roughly 16-17. After a week or two of this, you should see more consistent calcium levels.> I know it shouldn't be this difficult or no one would purchase this brand of reactor. I have a 110 gal. with soft corals and fish. Filter is a Euro-Fil-2 with the protein skimmer that came with it. The reactor media is only 4 months old. The media label says it's Korallin Natural CACO3 KTK ORCCM . Tank PH stays at a steady 7.9 at night and 8.0 at lights off. Effluent measures with a CA of 750 (if that's possible) and a DKH of 6.0 I am using a PH meter which is calibrated bi-weekly. Should I replace the media as none of my settings get me over 400 CA? If so do you recommend the brand A.R.M. Calcium reactor media or some other brand? <No, I'd use anything BUT A.R.M - just too impure for my tastes. I'd use the Knop Korallith - is very consistent quality.> Do any of you know if Korallin has a west coast rep? <I believe they are distributed exclusively by Bayside Aquarium which is in Anaheim.> Their web site makes no mention.  Thanks in advance, Dick <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor Adjustments, Follow-up - Hi J, Good morning. <Greetings.> Again I want to thank you and the crew for all the help you give reefers everywhere. <My pleasure.> After this I'll give your suggestions a try and get back to you with the results in a couple of weeks. <Good, would like to know how it's going.> Korallin should ask you and your team to write an instruction booklet. :-) <Perhaps... but I won't hold my breath.> Thanks again, Dick <Cheers, J -- >
- Calcium Reactor Adjustments, Follow-up -
Hi Gang, I just noticed an error in my statement. My effluent measured CA 750 and a DKH of 64. Not the 6 as I noted.  Thanks again, Dick <No worries, but it does seem to me that you are trying to pump too much out of this reactor - again, you should shoot for something more in the range of a dKH of 15-17 on the output side of the reactor. Calcium will be more readily available to the system at this level. Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor Adjustments - Hi J, I have set my bubble rate and drip per your suggestions. I suspect that my tanks DKH is going to rise. <I don't think it will get too out of hand.> The weekend is coming up and I doubt anyone will be online. <Oh sure they will be, myself included.> If my DKH rises to 15 or more in the tank should I abort or keep going until it levels out. <Just turn off the CO2 via the solenoid... but I don't think you'll have much trouble.> What level of DKH do you think should alarm me to stop? <Over 15, 17 max... but this will depend also on calcium - keep an eye on both.>  Thanks again, Dick <Cheers, J -- >
- Calcium Reactor Adjustments, Follow-up -
Doctor J, <Hey, I like the sound of that... too bad I'm a white boy that can't jump like him.> Your info is working. <Excellent - glad to hear that I was able to help.> Thanks for the tips. So far my DKH has only risen slightly after 24 hrs and my CA is now rising. It's at 380 right now and I'm not having to bleed off excess CO2. Will check again tonight. <Sounds good.>  Thanks for everything, Dick  <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor Tweaking - G'day guys me again. <Hi, Stu.> Just a quick few questions: Firstly I have connected my Calcium Reactor up and things are working okay. Just wanted to know how to raise the PH in the Effluent, as at the moment it is about 6.2-6.3 and from your info it seems 6.6-6.8 is ideal. <Either turn down the CO2, or increase the drip rate of the effluent.> Secondly with a solenoid now connected to the CO2 unit and on a timer as the lights, is it okay for the calcium reactors pumps to still be operating when the solenoid is switched off with no co2 being pumped into the system. <Yes, you want this pump to be operating all the time.> And when the CO2 turns back on via the solenoid being activated in the morning will the pH, Ca and kH resume back at the same level? <After a couple of minutes, yes.> So in short term once I find the right pH, ca and kH, the unit should continue to work at that level every day? <Yes.> Lastly after 2 years I want to remove the existing sand from the bottom of the tank and put in some new live sand. Any complications with this? <Just clouding/dusting up the entire tank, but not a big deal... will go away in a day or two.> Thanks Stu <Cheers, J -- >

- New Calcium Reactor - Anything Else I Need? - I just purchased a ca reactor for my tank.  If I use this, will I need to add any other supplements to the tank. <Depends a lot on the type of media you use, but in a general sense... iodine perhaps, but you should always test for this before you add it.> Also, should I try to T the water going into the reactor off the return or siphon it. <Your choice here - both solutions work just fine.> Should I also buy a pH meter or just use testing kits, do you have any preference on the test kits? <I'm a fan of a digital meter for pH testing, especially with a calcium reactor as you'll have to do multiple tests while you get this thing going. There are many good non-digital pH tests out there, even though I am not color blind, I personally have trouble differentiating between different shades of purple - a digital meter solves this problem and they are very accurate. Cheers, J -- >

- CO2 Injection for a Reef Tank - Good day. <Good morning.> I have been admiring your website for quite some time and I now may have a question worthy of asking you. I noticed that the area of FAQ's under dissolved oxygen  ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dissolvedoxygen.htm ) is empty so you may want to put this in there as it may apply. <Ok.> My question relates to adding C02 to my reef tank. <Why would you do such a thing?> If I bubble in C02 into the tank will the skimmer take it out by trying to saturate the water with another gas ( air / nitrogen and O2 )? <To a certain extent, but depending on the efficiency of the skimmer it likely won't get 100% of it.> I have a 110 gallon tall tank with an 80 gallon sump that has been divided for filtration and for macro algae growth to remove dissolved organics. I would like to inject C02 into the water to help with the macro algae growth (razor Caulerpa) I understand this will effect my PH so I would have to watch this closely. <I wouldn't recommend this. Should be sufficient CO2 from other organisms in the tank and also from the plants and corals during the dark phase. The presence of CO2 is rarely the limiting factor in algae growth but rather the other foods: phosphate, nitrogen, and potassium... [think fertilizer] which typically come from the tanks inhabitants.> I am currently looking into getting my calcium reactor going thus I may have some residual C02 in the effluent... <Usually not much... the residual amounts are typically used up very quickly by other processes, including your algae and also skimming, overflows, etc.> That may be enough to help the plants enclosed are some pics of my set-up ... I have been doing this " reef thing " for a good 10 years or so and there is still so much to learn, any comments will be appreciated. <I think the reason for slow algae growth is a lack of organics... you don't have much in your tank, and it's my guess that as a result you're not feeding much. I will reiterate, I don't think it is wise to add raw CO2 to your tank... the water will acidify and cause other problems - deplete your buffers, etc. Much better to add CO2 via a calcium reactor, where the 'reactor' will use most of the CO2. As for you the growth of your algae, I'd look to extended lighting and dissolved organics from fish/feeding to fill this gap. Give the system some time and I'm willing to guarantee that the algae will take care of itself, to the point that you'll be asking us how to get rid of it.> In the sump pic you will see a top fathom skimmer, this has recently been replaced with a modified version of the TF utilizing a air injection system before the impeller and a taller reaction tower. This modified skimmer pulls out some nice dry foam on a regular basis. The lighting on the sump is not shown either as this sump pic is an early one. I am running close to 100 watts of compact fluorescent light on the "refugium". I hope this question is worthy of your attention. Kevin <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor & Rising pH - Hello, I have a question that seems just the opposite of all that I have read on your site, I just set up a calcium reactor made by "My Reef Creations" it is a dual chamber reactor. The bubble count is 22 per minute and the drip rate is 3 drops per second. <Seems a little fast to me on both counts... should be about 15 bpm on the CO2 and 3 drops per two seconds on the effluent... but not a rule set in stone.> The effluent out from the second chamber is as follows: PH 7.2, alk 16 DKH and Calcium 500ppm. <These readings seem good enough.> I have been monitoring the tank parameters and alk and calcium are rising, but I have also seen the tanks PH rise daily sense the installation from 8.25 to nearly 8.5 over a weeks time. My question is will this stabilize or just keep rising? <Well, I'd like to say it would stabilize but it may not. What else is in your care regimen that you've not mentioned here - do you add Kalkwasser? Do you have an algae refugium?> The drip is going into my sump through a overflow bulkhead and is getting mixed with some air so I am thinking any excess CO2 is getting released into the atmosphere. <With a second chamber on your reactor, I doubt seriously that you have any excess CO2 at all. In fact, I would test the effluent before the second chamber... should be in the range of pH 6.5-6.7. If not, make some adjustments... it would seem in this case that you can afford your final effluent to be a slightly lower pH.> Will alkalinity from the reactor keep increasing the PH? <Not forever, but you do understand that the presence of buffers makes the maintenance of a higher pH much more easy. As I mentioned before, you should look to other things you might be doing - buffering top-off water, Kalkwasser, two-part additions as sources for a pH boost [as the most common trend in aquaria is towards a depressed pH] and stop those practices. A calcium reactor all on it's own won't raise the pH but the additional buffers along with the aforementioned practices could cause some problems.> Thanks Mike <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor & Rising pH, Follow-up - Since the reactor has been set up I stopped using Kalkwasser, I do have a refugium inline, My PH prior to the reactor never climbed that high 8.2-8.35 was the normal range. The only additives I add is iodine. I do add buffer to my water before adding salt when making water for changes, but add no buffers to tank since setting up the reactor. I will try making some adjustments to the reactor to lower the effluents PH. <Sounds good. Let us know how it goes.> Thanks <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor Tweaking - Hi guys, Hope all is well. <It is indeed, thanks for asking.> Wondered if you would mind answering a couple of questions for me. <I can certainly try.> I have just made a calcium reactor, partly from OZ reef Diy plans (great site), and similar projects. After some tinkering it works a treat. The calcium level is coming out of the reactor at around 550 ppm, and the alkalinity is around 35 KH in dKH, or approx 11.50meq/L! <Egads, that is a little high... best to shoot for a dKH of about 15 to 17.> Bubble rate is around 12-15 p/min., pH is 6.70. Here's the problem. I have been reading up on the amount to dose the system, and I know that every tank is different, but I would really appreciate your input on the amount I should drip in to the tank. The tank and sump is 200 litres capacity, there is 20Kg of live rock heavy coralline, and around 6-8 soft corals of different descriptions. I have estimated, although I am in the process of doing this again without adding remineralized RO  top up water, to be around 0.305 meq/L per day. Which is not a lot really I know, but as soon as I can afford good lights I plan to stock some SPS corals. Current tank levels are 3.09 meq/L, and calcium is at 400 ppm (still working out the demand for calc at the mo) I have had problems past of depressed pH in the main tank, and with great advise from you sourced it to poorly prepared RO water. I am therefore a little hesitant of dripping the effluent back into the tank straight from the reactor, so I have been bottling it and aerating it before dosing, which kind of gets rid of one of the benefits of not having to dose manually! <Indeed.> So really to get to the point! I would like your opinion on what I should set the effluent drip rate at, <Three drops every two seconds should be about right, but this is different for every system... test a lot and make adjustments as necessary.> should I concentrate on keeping the alkalinity at the right level, or the calcium using the reactor). <Concentrate on alkalinity and the resulting pH in your tank - the calcium will take care of itself.> If the alkalinity is at the right level and the calcium falls, should I dose with other supplements to bring it back up, or just reduce the CO2 input& or increase effluent and do it that way. <Typically, unless your calcium demand becomes very high, you should be able to keep up with demand using just the reactor. Again... testing is the key and you don't want the pH of the effluent to be too low so be careful how much CO2 you put into the reactor.> I know you receive many mails about this topic and I have spent many an hour going over them. <The answers were there, my friend.> I have built this reactor for a cost of 40 pounds, but don't really want to stress my tank which cost around 1000 pounds! <Just because good things bear repeating... test, and test some more... make small adjustments and then test again.> Any help/advise always greatly appreciated Many Thanks Rob (UK) <Cheers, J -- >

- 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 -- >

Anenomes capability, Air pumps and Calcium Reactors 08/09/03 <Hi Stu, PF here with you> G'day Guys, A few dilemmas that I need clarification on if you wouldn't mind helping. <Well, that's what we're here for.> I have an ocellaris Anenome and a pair of clowns that have been in my tank for a few years now. The Anenome itself is about the size of a dinner plate. <Do you mean a Heteractis magnifica? There's no such thing as an Ocellaris Anenome, at least that I've never heard of. Glad to hear it's living and thriving, it's a rare and happy thing to hear.> I was wondering whether or not the Anenome and the clowns would get along with another Anenome of the same species but double the size and that has a pair of ocellaris clowns with it. Would the anenomes get along together, and how about the clowns? If the two anenomes touch is that a no, no? <I'd say maybe to the anenomes, but you'd need a very big tank to do it. As for the clowns, no, they'd probably fight. Remember, they're in the same family as damsel fish and are territorial. As for the anenomes touching, I'd say no.> Are there circulation pumps on the market that are for sale that do not allow wandering anenomes, sea slugs and nudibranchs from getting sucked up and therefore creating disasters within the tank? <Well, you could hook a SCWD to the return pump from a sump (or do it as a closed loop). Tunze stream pumps are also supposed to be safer for such animals as well.> Lastly I have purchased a Korallin calcium reactor c-1501 and the co2 and regulator to go with it. The instructions that go with for the calcium reactor are only 1 page long, and from these instructions they seem to assume you have previously had experience in the setting up process beforehand. Are there any photos you have of how the connections works or clear instructions for a guy that has no experience in this area before. From my understanding the 4 outlets work like this. The Co2 outlet goes to the co2 bottle, the top air outlet is not connected and is just to let out any excess air in the chamber. The connection on the outside of the reactor with the valve I assume is the effluent to put water back into the sump, but needs to be above the water line to see the drops. Then  I assume the centre connection is for water to be collected from the tank and into the chamber, I assume this is sucked up by the pump on the top from the sump, but this is when things went wrong, no water seems to be sucking up? It says to somehow get the tank water into the chamber which I did to where I thought it looked full and also removing the air through the top outlet. When I turned the pump on and the C02 gas, you could here the pump working but no water being sucked up, the C02 was bubbling and occasionally a few drops would be sent through the so call effluent connection. About 10 minutes the fish in the tank are gasping for air and it looked like co2 was getting into the tank?? Any ideas? On the pictures it shows a blue attachment which I never recd, do you know what this is as it looks like a 2 inch tube connected by some tubing and clamped on the c02 outlet? <Well Stu, in all honesty this would be a lot easier if I was there to eyeball it. I recommend that you contact the manufacturer and/or a member of a local aquarium club who has setup a calcium reactor before. Sorry I can't do more than that, but I would have to look at it to do more. Good luck, PF> Thanks Stu

- Calcium Reactor Solenoid - Got another question I was told that when the lights go off on the aquarium so does the calcium reactor... I was told that it stays on 24/7 ... I'm not sure need help <All depends on what is going on with your pH and how your system is setup... systems with algae refugiums tend to have more stable pH overnight so it's a safe bet to leave the calcium reactor running. If your pH takes a dive overnight, it works out better for your system to turn off the reactor with the lights so the reactor doesn't drive the pH down further. If you're not sure where to go from here, run a bunch of pH tests at many times of the day and night - if your average pH overnight is dropping below 8.0 - 8.2, run the reactor with the lights. Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor Adjustment - Anybody and all of WWM Crew, I have to know you're opinion on a couple calcium reactors.  I currently own a Knop C reactor and I find it very troublesome,  There is a lot of air that gets trapped at the bottom of the reactor, the effluent valve keeps clogging and I can never get it set to a constant rate, water comes in and back-fills the bubble counter when I loose power  or shut down  the solenoid valve, the calcium is at 450 at the effluent but the tank wont' go above 350, I've had it for about 7 months and I just don't really care for it. <Sounds to me like it's not adjusted properly and/or you're not using the Knop media.> As I said though my biggest concerns are the CO2 build-up at the bottom and that effluent valve that just doesn't seem to work for me. <Try increasing the effluent drip rate.> I'm wondering if any of you have used the Korallin reactor and had any problems with it, and also if anyone has any problems with the Knop S IV reactor. <I've used the Knop type C and the S-IV.> Those are the 2 reactors I'm thinking about getting, could someone tell me if one or the other is a better running one, or if one of those has had any similar problems as I have with the Knop C. <I really like the S-IV and I am aware of some of the shortcomings of the type-C [bubble-counter filling up when the CO2 is off, but I've used one for over a year without other issues - it is a fine reactor. If I were you, I'd spend a little more time trying to tweak the reactor before I ran out and bought another one. You can cause yourself the same problems with a maladjusted S-IV.> Steer me right, thanks <Cheers, J -- >

WWM new book and CA reactor 7/8/03 Anthony, GREAT BOOK YOU TWO, and to the rest of the contributors.  Thanks for the signed personalized copy!!    <our pleasure... thank you!> Do I understand it right when you say this is only the 1st in a 3 volume set?   <quite correct... Fishes and then Cnidarians to follow> Anywho, I have a 90 gallon reef with one maxima clam and about 10 LPS corals, and hooked up to it a Knop model C calcium reactor.  Here's my readings: tank:  Alk.-10dkh,  CA-330-340, PH-8.1-8.2 .   <all good except the pH is a little flat. Do consider a second media chamber on the outflow of the reactor to temper this> Reactor readings are: Alk-17dkh,  CA-440,  PH-6.6 .  Is this reactor going to push up the calcium in  the tank ?   <can be finessed yes... but your moderate readings if kept consistent will be better/safer for coral growth than difficult and inconsistent spikes to idealized high end extremes. No worries> I've been running it for about 5 months and changed out the Korallith media once already.   <good> I thought I might be able to stop adding Kalkwasser everyday, and maybe just once or twice a week with a CA reactor but that doesn't look like its going to be the case.   <can be... but then... Kalk still has huge benefits> Any ideas to get some more of this CA from the reactor into the tank?   <definitely the second reactor chamber will help> Or is that all I might be able to get out of it?  Also I know my tank PH is a little low , any ideas on getting that up?   <do check to see that it is not an aeration issue (accumulated CO2 in the system)> Thinking about adding a second chamber to this reactor setup, but I don't know what to use for it, <same media if you like> or what kind of readings I would want to get for the effluent out of the second chamber (do they want to be the same as for the first? )   <a higher pH for sure> Maybe a simple plan on what  to use for the second chamber would be a good start for me.  And one more thing , I know I know,  I have the reactor feed off a tee from my mag. 9 , and I think I might be over-pressuring the reactor because I shut off the co2 and RA for water changes and then when I turn it back on the gas has a hard time getting out of the bubble counter without my help, (a couple power outages and I noticed that the co2 was not going in, it was just stuck in the bubble counter tube.)  Should I go to a dedicated powerhead for this supply and if so what one and size would suffice? <hmmm... not sure the dedicated PH would do the trick... but it is a safer and more sensible strategy. I agree. Do consider adding a proper Eheim as a dedicated pump. Best regards, Anthony>

Calcium reactor, UV, Ozone Hi again, <Hello to you, JasonC here...> I have a simple one this time. I am constructing a FOWLR. Will this benefit from having a calcium reactor? <Not especially.> Will the presence of calcium help me grow a more diverse range of "things" on the live rock or in the sand (I plan to have a deep sand bed too). <It would pay to keep the calcium in a decent range, but you could achieve that with additives. Calcium reactors become more useful when you have organisms that consume large amounts of calcium.> Will a UV sterilizer help or hinder a DSB and LR? <Don't think it will affect it either way, but in general more useful for hospital and quarantine tanks.> I want to use ozone, how do I know what size of unit to buy? <Buy what you can afford WITH the controller.> I cant find much on that. I plan to use an ORP controller so that will take care of things for me but I don't want to buy a unit that is too big or small. <Most of the small units available to aquarists are too small to get into big trouble with.> Thanks, Adam L <Cheers, J -- >

<Kalkwasser Reactor vs. Calcium Reactor> Hello all, hope things are going well. I am looking into purchasing a calcium reactor and have been reading the different FAQ's on your site. During other research I have been reading about < http://www.aqua-web.org/users/ealex/calcium/> Kalkwasser Reactors, any experience with these? <Not directly...> In your opinion is one better than the other? <In my opinion, yes - the calcium reactor would require less maintenance.> Did not see anything being discussed on your site about these. <There will be now.> I want to try to eliminate the need for daily Kalk/buff dosing so I really want to make the correct purchase. As always thanks for your suggestions <Go with the calcium reactor. Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor Question - <Good morning, JasonC here...> I have a K2R Calcium Reactor in my sump. I have a powerhead running it. Right now I have it set up so the powerhead and the recirculating pump are running all the time. The controller turns the CO2 off and on. I think from reading on the web site that you are supposed to turn off the pump the feed's the reactor. <Nope.> I have tried this but the reactor just back siphons into the sump. <That's why you don't want to do it.> Do you have any suggestions on how to stop the back siphoning? <Leave the pump running, turn off the CO2 with the controller like you have it now... is fine.> Thanks a lot for your help! <Cheers, J -- >

- Bargain Calcium Reactor - Hey Guys, <And hello to you, JasonC here...> I have a question for you.  I have recently found a new calcium reactor being introduced by Azoo called the Twin Calcium Reactor.  It is rated to handle up to a 450 gallon tank with flow of 13 GPH.  The price of this baby is $79.99!!  This sounds VERY appealing... but I'm leery when I look at the price of other calcium reactors. <Sounds too good to be true.> Do you know anything about them? <I've not seen this particular AZoo product, but have seen much of their other equipment which rates somewhere between cheese and crap.> I have been looking, but I haven't found much yet, and I am going to find out more before I spend money on anything. <Well, for that price, you could almost afford to get it and return it if it's not up to snuff... have seen other extreme-bargain calcium reactors that come from the far East and they typically are not of suitable quality to be worth-while. Do let us know if you pick one up.> Thanks, Paul <Cheers, J -- >

- Kalkwasser & Calcium Reactor Question - Greetings :-))) <And hello to you, JasonC here...> My kH and Ca was quite low (8 dKH & 400mg/l)), even when i was using CalciumReact. <I don't regard either of those as being critically low.> so I've decided to drip Kalkwasser > good decision??? <As long as you are careful.> After dripping, my kH rinsed to 10 dKH and Ca was still 400 - I'm happy about kH and Ca, i think that they are on good level. <They were fine before.> My question is: Will using Kalkwasser and Calcium Reactor may cause problems (e.g.. snowfall)? <Could, if you're not careful.>  - I'm dripping very slowly... Another question quite off-topic: why when my ca was quite low (400), <400 is not low.> the kH was also low (8dkH)??? I though that when kH is low Ca is high... <Not necessarily - both can be lower.> - It is a new tank with 2 corals so these elements aren't VERY needed... And now when kH rinsed Ca is still 400 - why??? <400 is a good number, I wouldn't worry about it.> Off-topic: Will +0.04 pH raise in 1 hour is harmful? <No.> THX for answer <Cheers, J -- >

- Kalkwasser & Calcium Reactors - hello, <And hello to you...> sorry for wasting your time :-) <'tis not a waste.> simple question: May using both Kalkwasser and calcium reactor cause any problems? <Only if you're not careful.> (I've read that it's not good... > low Mg) <I've not read this myself, but again... anything added to a tank should be tested for before addition - in other words, don't dump in a bunch of Kalkwasser without testing first.> If yes what kind of troubles? <Calcium precipitation.> Will connection CalciumReactor + CalciumMixer be good? <Again... testing will determine what you're missing/needing.> Can i use Kalkwasser all time or it's not good for a long term? <If you are using a calcium reactor, then you shouldn't need to add Kalkwasser very often, and daily would be too much.> THX VERY MUCH PETER off-topic: My xenia is in place where water flow is quite strong (she likes it). But water makes 'roller-coaster' to her and she is 'twisting' in all directions > is it good? <Would probably be better with a little less current. Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor Questions - Greetings    <Good morning to you - JasonC here...> My restlessness is on the reactors of calcium.       ?Is it true that you/they are exclusive for aquariums with hard corals? <Not really - there are other mechanisms for supplementing calcium in a reef aquarium. That being said, a calcium reactor is probably the best way to supplement calcium, but does represent an investment in equipment.> My aquarium belongs to a mixed population in its majority soft corals (15) and some few hard (6) The soft corals don't benefit in (! anything!) of a reactor? <Untrue - soft corals do have calcium in their bodies, and do benefit from the addition of calcium.>   Do I have understood that a reactor "no" alone it produces calcium. <Calcium reactors add calcium and increase carbonate hardness in the system - both very useful for reef aquaria.> Ahead of time I give them thank you for the attention and the orientation that can give me    Greetings    Gsoler    PD. Excuse the translation but I am not very I practice with English <Your English is very much better than my Spanish. Cheers, J -- >

- CO2 Reactors - <Greetings, JasonC here...> hi guys' somewhat of a newbie here looking for some info on co2 reactors. <For a planted tank or marine tank?> After reading  some of your responses in earlier forums' I take it some of you guys like those 2 chamber units. <Perhaps you are speaking of a calcium reactor?> can you tell me why, and if yes what kind of media would you suggest using. <The 'why' of the two-chambered calcium reactor depends mostly on your setup and calcium demands. The second cylinder is meant to dissipate excess CO2 and bring the pH of the effluent up from the norm of about 6.5. I use Knop Korallith media in my calcium reactors.> thanks, Reefermadness   P.S. can it be dumped into a sump along side a skimmer? <Again, depends on which unit you are using - whether it is submersible or not. Cheers, J -- >

- DIY Calcium Reactor Question - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I have made my magnum 350 into a calcium reactor by making a manifold out of pvc, to inject carbon dioxide, an outlet for effluent, and a dedicated pump for intake. Seems to be working well.  I have also put a passive reactor in the effluent line to rid the system of residual co2.  The system has been up and running for about a week.   I read your FAQ's, and it seems that people are getting really hard water out of their systems.  Does this take time? <Days...> My dKH is only 13. <A little on the low side, but not terrible to add to your tank.> The tank (full-blown reef) dKH is 7.  Calcium is 450 ppm, but so is the tank. <Ahh, the improved alkalinity will help, though.> I am dosing 25 bpm.  About 60 drips per minute. Effluent ph is 6.5 or so. <Be careful, you don't want the pH much lower than that.> Media is Korallith.  Do you think that the hardness will increase with time? <No... you need to look at how you might keep the water in the reactor a little longer. Most commercial reactors a recirculation devices, with the water in the reactor turned over several hundred times an hour. If your magnum is hooked up in the standard loop to your tank, you are likely not keeping the water in the reactor long enough to react with - hence the need for such a high rate of CO2.> I used to use Kalk exclusively, and am still dosing periodically, hoping the calcium reactor will catch up. <A couple of tweaks to the design and you will be fine.>  Any help is appreciated.  Thanks in advance. Mike <Cheers, J -- >
- Re: DIY Calcium Reactor Question -
The magnum is not in the standard loop like it normally would be.  I simply took the output, and put it into a pvc loop, right back into the input.  A dedicated pump feeds the manifold. I have co2 going into the manifold, and a cinch valve for the output, also in the manifold. So, I can keep the water in the magnum for as long as I like. <Ahh, ok... makes sense.> What should the "targets" be? <You mean for pH and alkalinity out of the reactor? 6.7-6.8 pH and alk. in the 15-17 range would be perfect.> LFS says that 450 ppm calcium is great, you sound like it's a bad thing? <No, no... just that your alkalinity in the tank was a little low, but the calcium reactor will fix that in time.> A little confused, here. <No worries.> Thanks again Mike <Cheers, J -- >

- Bubble Counter and Bubble Coral - Hello again, <And hello to you, JasonC here...> reading your FAQs everyday and always finding a lot of useful info that's new to me.  Hopefully these Qs aren't new to you but hope you can answer them.  I have been using a Knop C calcium reactor for the last year along with a high dollar electronic regulator/bubble counter set up that came with it.  The needle valve that I turn to adjust the bubble rate in the bubble counter ALWAYS needs adjustment and is a pain.  I get it running at 4-5 CO2 bubbles per 15 seconds today and then have to either turn it up or down tomorrow depending on whether the CO2 bubbles are coming out too fast or too slow.  When I turn it I only turn it the very slightest distance one way or the other.  Barely even noticeable to me or my fingers and that is still too much or too little one way or the other.  Is there some type of electronic digital CO2 bubble counter set up gizmo that is available to the hobbyists that I don't know about that can be set at so many CO2 bubbles per minute and then don't have to worry about it? <I am not aware of one.> "Set it and forget it"?  <Not a good mind-set for marine tanks - best to check up on things. Set and forget will lead to problems.> Does anyone know of anything like this or is this available or am I just dreaming? <I'm sure something like that exists for the medical community, but I'd be willing to bet it won't be remotely cheap.> Also, I sent in a picture of my bubble coral that had a baby bubble coral growing out of its side a few weeks ago. <The picture does not seem to have made the trip.> I found another growing within about an inch of the first one last night!!!  I could swear they are sprouting from the dead tissue that the receding flesh is leaving behind.  I think another is sprouting but will have to wait another week or two to confirm.  Is this what I am seeing?  Regeneration from the dieing flesh that is remaining? <Asexual reproduction is probably a better explanation.> Do you want me to send more pictures of the new sprouts to confirm? <No worries.> Please let me know about both topics above.  I would greatly appreciate it.  Thanks again, Jeff <Cheers, J -- >

- More on Low Calcium Problem - Hi, Jason...thanks so much for your getting back to me (especially so quickly). <My pleasure.> You ask: >> Uh... what was the unit of measure for the alkalinity? dKH? Well, I don't think so.  I am still fairly new to this hobby, so please bear with me. <No worries.> I am using a FasTest kit, and the 4.5 seems to be a meq/L reading. They have a conversion table below the normal table, which seems to suggest that multiplying the reading by 2.8 gets you to a dKH reading. <Sounds good to me.> If my interpretation is accurate, a 4.5 meq/L would equate to 12.6 dKH... but that seems much too high, no? <It's high, but not silly high - I would stop all additives for the moment though.>  I also checked the Internet, and found this, which seems to indicate that the FasTest alkalinity readings are, indeed, meq/L readings:   http://www.aquariumsystems.com/testing.htm So, perhaps I'm back to square one? <Well, not really... I think perhaps you are close to be where you want to be... I would wait for a little while and let your system gain equilibrium. Continue with the water changes, perhaps even a little less - 10% every two weeks is fine. In the mean time, consider a small calcium reactor.> This is a real puzzler to me. <I'm not real familiar with the Tropic Marin Bio-Calcium, but I'm pretty sure it's calcium carbonate along with a bunch of other stuff... quite likely that this is what has your alkalinity where it is now.> Thanks so much for your suggestions. Best. Ralph <Cheers, J -- >

- Calcium Reactor and Kalkwasser Slurry - Hi... <Greetings, JasonC here...> I've recently added a calcium reactor, and have tweaked it to the appropriate dKH (11) and calcium (~470) that I was looking for.  As happens with reactors, though, my pH has suffered a tad - 7.8 in the morning, 8.0 in the afternoon.  I've had recommendations of using a light Kalkwasser slurry with my nighttime RO top-off, and was wondering if you had a recommendation on that, or any other additive that I could use with the top-off to help raise the pH ~0.2 or so. <I would just add buffers to the top-off and for the most part skip the Kalkwasser. Perhaps add the Kalkwasser once a week - test for calcium, don't add more than your system needs or you may precipitate the calcium.> I know that some advocate a calcium reactor as well as a Kalk reactor, but I really can't sink more money (or under-tank space) into a Kalk reactor. <I don't think the Kalkwasser reactor is necessary. You might also consider turning off the CO2 via the solenoid over night to avoid the corresponding pH drop.> Thanks... Arthur <Cheers, J -- >

Calcium reactor and Kalkwasser Hic! Good evening guys, it's 8.00pm over here on this glorious st pats day, and I've just got in from the pub with 5 pints of the best Guinness this side of Dublin firmly tucked up inside, i am sat here with my beer goggles on so if my typing goes a little astray you'll know why, after my email this morning i have tested my water parameters are as follows: Nitrate 12mg/l SeaTest Phosphate 0mg/l SeaTest Nitrite 0mg?l Ammonia 0mg/l ph 8.08 Could I be right in thinking that the nitrate might be depressing the ph slightly and ultimately the dKH, as the dKH of the tank is 8 (German) and the effluent leaving the reactor is 19. <Doubtful it would depress dKH/alk.  More likely to depress pH, which is only slightly depressed.> I have only had it running like this for about 2 weeks as a lot of reefers over here like to have the dKH leaving the reactor at about 35 degrees (German) this is virtually impossible to achieve using a Knop, so I visited Bobs site on Knop reactors and altered the parameters as per his instructions (effluent about 1 litre per hour/gas about 20 bubbles per minute).  So I am hoping that in a couple more weeks the dKH will rise, if this doesn't work I was pondering purchasing a small aqua medic denitrator, my tank is chock full of Fijian live rock and I change 5 gallons every weekend, using instant ocean with r/o water (but i do not use any buffer). <I would lower nitrates but I doubt it is depressing alk.  How about top off?  RO as well?  This may be your issue. No mention of total volume here, but top off and new water with low alk/dKH could off-set reactor while you are trying to actually elevate alk. I would aerate and test new water and ad buffer/carbonate supplement as needed to get alk/dKH in proper range.> Lastly with regard to the Aragamite, I will still use it but can it be used in the same water as the Kalkwasser? <I would dose separately.> Sorry about the length of the mail but its the ramblings of a half p-----d Manchurian. Paul <Hope you are having fun Paul. Happy St. Patrick's day! Craig>

- Equipment Issues - Good Morning Wise Wet Ones, <Good evening now... JasonC here.> I hope you can help me with two problems I'm having with my tank. <Me too.> The 1st one involves my Knop C reactor.  With the unit setup properly, I can get the effluent Ph around 6.5, however, that's without the units circulating pump running, it can maintain it at this level for weeks. If I have the pump running, the reactor will run dry within several hours. <Something is really odd about that... I've used these reactors myself. The circulation pump should be running - I think perhaps you should turn the CO2 down, or perhaps better to ask, what is the drip rate of your effluent and bubble rate of your CO2? Effluent should be 2-3 drops per second. CO2 should be 1 drop every 4-5 seconds.> I have good flow supplying the unit, it's off the return line which is a Mag 12.  The valve flow rate is set to around 1.5 ltrs/hr. My second problem is with my Aqua C skimmer.  My tank and sump is inhabited by a number of small, 1/4-3/8 inch snails, that love strong water flow. They tend to crawl up the intake of the skimmer pump and then are blown into the jets, thereby reducing the effectiveness of the skimmer.  I have to remove the jets at least once a week to clean out the snails.  If I put a sponge filter over the inlet to keep the snails out, will that decrease the skimmer output? <Only a little bit and surely not as much as having a snail in the nozzle of the skimmer.>   Thanks so much for all your help over the years. Andy <Cheers, J -- >

- kH and Ca question - Greetings my lords... <Oh please... I'm just a regular old human...> I just want to ask a few simple questions: 1) Am I right that Calcium reactor increases kH but Kalkwasser increases Ca? <The calcium reactor is good for both Ca and kH - the Kalkwasser is good really only for the calcium.> 2) Now I'm using only Ca Rector. My kH is 8 dKH and Calcium ~ 400 mg/l. Is it ok? <I think that is fine.> 3) If not what should i do to increase kH (using only Calcium Reactor and/or Kalkwasser [i mean: not using any other solutions like KENT etc.]), if it's possible of course? <It is possible, but is it necessary - I think if you've got some calcium-greedy inhabitants, and you can keep those Ca and kH readings consistent, the system will do just fine.> 4) I'm adding water from Ca reactor with 1,5 drop / second and 0,5 bbls / second > Is it well calibrated or should i recalibrate it? <While that seems like a lot of CO2 to add, I'd say that all reactors are different and if you can keep these results consistent, you will be doing just fine. Perhaps keep your eyes on the pH of the system for stray CO2.> Tanks for answer in simple words ;-) Great website by-the-way <Is the result of contributions like this.> Peter
<Cheers, J -- > 

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