Ca Reactor

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by kinetic, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    Here I go, I've never had a Ca reactor before, just manually dosed B-Ionic 2 part. Since I like gadgets, I decided to finally set one up. I bought this small unit custom built from Aquatic Systems by Scott McLeod. He's a standup guy and very helpful.

    There seems to be 2 major controls: effluent, and solenoid.

    I have two pH probes connected to my AC 3 (well one, the neptune lab grade is coming in the mail). One will be in a high flow area of the sump, and the other will be inside the reactor.

    I'm thinking for my controller to turn on the effluent if my pH rises above 8.3, since it only goes that high at night for a few hours (weirdly enough), and off again when it gets down to 8.28. This will basically make pH swing a bit less, but also be a good time to use the Ca / ALK when I can bring the pH down a bit.

    But then how do I control how much Ca / ALK goes in? Does this all have to do with a fine balance between the bubble count and the effluent rate? What's a good base line I should start at?
  2. Eight

    Eight Guest

    You should use the CA reactor to make up for lost Alk, not try to balance your PH, imo.

    The way most people set up a reactor is to have the probe inside the reactor set to open the solenoid (add CO2) when the PH of the reactor goes above a certain set level. This PH level will depend on your reactor media. If you are using large grain media then you should run in the 6.2-6.3 range. If the PH of the effluent drops below the range, then have the AC3 close the solenoid.

    The second probe in your tank should be set to close the solenoid (stop CO2) if the PH drops too low. i.e.: If your tank goes to 8.0 then turn off the CO2.

    Then you just adjust your effluent rate to match your ALK take up by doing daily alk testing.
  3. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    To restate what Jason said, yeah don't set your pH probe to turn the thing off if it gets too high, the CA reactor will lower your pH so you could easily crash your tank if you do it that way.

    And read this article, you'll have to wait for part 2 I'm guessing next month :)
  4. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    oh cool, I get it now =) thanks guys!!!
  5. hiepatitis

    hiepatitis Guest

    I prefer Kalk reactors. I've had both but the kalk reactor is so much simpler.
  6. pixelpixi

    pixelpixi Guest

    This is basically how I've come to understand calcium reactor tuning...

    The concentration of calcium and alkalinity in the effluent is almost* entirely a function of the pH inside the reactor. So decreasing the reactor's pH will result in more concentrated effluent and increasing it will result in less concentrated effluent. Given a certain pH, then, you can control how much calcium and carbonate you're adding to your tank by just adjusting the effluent flow rate.

    So I just adjust the effluent rate up or down depending on whether alkalinity is falling or rising. After adjusting the effluent rate, I adjust the bubble count to keep the pH the same.

    *The above assumes there's sufficient flow and enough media in your reactor. If there's not, then the water in your reactor may not be saturated and the effluent flow rate will change the effluent concentration. I suspect that this is rarely a problem so long as the effluent rate is fairly low compared to the reactor volume.

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