Dosing Pumps

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by patchin, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. patchin

    patchin Facilities / Event Coordinator

    I'm looking to automate my tank dosing. At this point it's only about 35ml daily. Drew's Dosing pumps seem to be the favorite. What advantage do they have over aqualifters? Aqualifters are sooo much cheaper.
  2. screebo

    screebo Supporting Member

    The design of the Drew's pumps is identical to medical dosing pumps that have been proven over the years to provide dependable transfer of liquids that don't lend to direct contact with pump components. Although I'm not familiar with aqualifters, I love the simple, dependable design of the Drew's and prefer to time dosing pumps, fuge lighting, two tiers of T5 lighting and two Mh independently. Because of this, I don't need a dosing pump with built in timer and, in fact, purposely chose not to go that route. I require 7 lighting circuits to be timed which soon will be handled by a Neptune Apex controller.

    I consider the Drew's pumps to be inexpensive in comparison to other financial components of the hobby. IMHO, running two Drew's pumps to handle bulk mixed Twopart is the simplest and most economic and dependable way to handle the changing CA and ALK requirements of an established reef tank. If you don't wish to use a controller, you can simply plug them into inexpensive digital timers. Mine run about 55 minutes a day delivering 1.5 ml per minute in a 107 gallon system. I dump my ALK in the early morning and my CA in the late afternoon. Be sure to have the discharge in a place with lots of water movement or you'll get little piles of ALK precipitate in your sump rather than being distributed. It's easy to figure if you need to add or subtract running time of the pumps.

    That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
  3. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I too have no experience with an aqualifter, but what i can say is that they are two completely different mechanisms for how they work to accomplish a similar job.

    Drew's doser is a peristaltic pump, and the aqualifter is basically like an air pump in that it creates a vacuum to lift and move water. Now the doser by all means should be much more consistent and accurate in how much gets doses, where as I'd expect the aqualifter to be somewhat based upon head height. So as your dosing fluid gets lower and lower it actually pumps less each time.

    Not to mention the doser is much more precise for how much to pump, not sure the rate on that doser, but they have much smaller transfer rates, where as a quick look at MD shows the aqua-lifter to pump 3.5 gallons PER HOUR. There's about 3785mL per gallon, so you'd basically need to only dose for a quarter second per day... assuming it all was primed (I don't think the aqua-lifter stays in a primed state) good luck dosing with that level of accuracy :)

    For small precise amounts of dosing, get a peristaltic pump like Drew's Doser. For imprecise amounts, like fresh water top off where a float switch is telling you when enough has gone, then use an aqualifter.
  4. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    Auqua lifters are diaphragm pumps. their pumping rate is dependent on head height. This can be problematic. they also can back siphon.
  5. patchin

    patchin Facilities / Event Coordinator

    I knew you guys would have the answer. That's what I'll do. Use the aqualifter for the topoff and Drew's for the two-part. I've noticed that BRS doesn't call the Drew's Dosing pumps. Have they changed pumps or just call em by a different name?
  6. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    That is exactly what I do :)

    Here are the Drews
  7. patchin

    patchin Facilities / Event Coordinator

    Would you buy new DD pumps or buy 2 that have been used for 2 mos for 2/3 the cost of new?
  8. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I'd buy the used ones myself, 2 months is nothing. Unless they ran them 24 hours a day there really shouldn't be anything wrong with them.
  9. patchin

    patchin Facilities / Event Coordinator

    Great minds think alike :D
  10. screebo

    screebo Supporting Member

    I just love watchin' those little babies doin' all the work! It seems so "correct".
    BTW, automatic dosing of Twopart is the single most important addition to my system affecting overall tank health and growth rate.

    BTW, despite enjoying a few years of "keeping" marine aquaria, it wasn't until I hooked up with BAR this year that I got off the platform and climbed on board the train regarding "new school" thinking of the mechanics and chemistry. Now I'm routinely keeping species I never had luck with in my earlier days of the hobby. Of course, it didn't hurt moving up to a decent tank and fixture either.

    Take away message: I learned more in the last 8 months paying attention and searching BAR posts that in the prior 8 years. No kiddin'. H)
  11. slim_jim989

    slim_jim989 Guest

    I had an aqualifter but for a different reason then dosing. But it would clog on me alot and i wasnt happy with it. Just my two cents
  12. pixelpixi

    pixelpixi Guest

    I've previously used both aqualifters and the OEM equivalent of drew's dosing pumps. They were okay, but I always had difficulty precisely and reliably controlling the dosing amount.

    Then I switched to the LiterMeter III. It's more expensive but in a whole different class and I'll never go back.
  13. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    I use the Bubble Magus 3, it comes with three pumps, super easy to use, my Alk is spot on after 3 weeks.
  14. patchin

    patchin Facilities / Event Coordinator

    never heard of that one.
  15. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    Ian talked me into getting one, it shipped straight form China:

    It's fairly cheap for what it does. So far I'm only using it to dose Alk and it's been doing a good job. My ALK is exactly what it was when I was manually dosing by hand, but without the ridiculous pH swings.

    Unless you need incredible preciseness, I think it's a solid 3 pump solution.

    I use the LiterMeter III for my auto water exchange. I've had issues with my first unit, but so far this new one looks good. It's precise because you have to calibrate it, it shows you the flow rate and everything. What isn't great about it is the pumps are all sort of external and aren't as cleanly packaged as the profilux or bubble magus. The pumps are also really shaky on the LM3, but quieter though than the bubble magus (but they're dosing pumps, how often will you hear them anyway?)

    I'd recommend looking into the bubble magus as they're a cheap but decent doser for most use cases. But I haven't used the LM3 for dosing nor the Profilux at all so I can't speak for them.

    I'm setting up the other two pumps for Ca and Mg this coming week, hopefully it does a good job =)

    Ian: can you put in your input to why you decided on the bubble magus?
  16. xinumaster

    xinumaster Guest

    I been using the bubble-magus doser too. Fairly accurate enough as long as you calibrate your pump. First time I used the doser I set one pump to dose 50ml per day. But when I measured the output it gives me 60ml, so I have to adjust it back to 40ml dosing which then gave me exactly 50ml.
  17. Eight

    Eight Guest

    I have used an Aqualifter. It is good for very specific purposes. As Tony mentions, they are very highly suceptible to head height. At some heights (not much, like maybe 5 feet) they fail to pull any water at all. I would consider using them for topoff when the resevoir is at the same level and very close to your sump. The other problem with Aqualifters is that if you don't position the discharge properly relative to the intake, (i.e.: if the discharge outlet is lower than the intake outlet) you will drain your whole resevoir. (Yes, I've done this.)

    I am also a huge fan of the Litermeter. I have two, an old gen and a new gen one. The newer ones are really nice with all metal motors, etc. The thing I like best about the litermeter is that it's very powerful. I use the old gen one to pull topoff water from my garage to my kitchen through 1/4" icemaker line. The tank is over 70 feet away from the resevoir. Customer service is great too.

    On my main tank, I have a LM3 with a Remote Pump and Water Exchange Module to automate my entire water change system. It's rock solid. The only bad thing IMHO about the LM3 is that they're really expensive.
  18. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    I get ~ 3ft of usable headheight with the aqualifter. As noted, have the output above the supply height, and if you have the output in the sump, use a siphon break.
  19. 177ike

    177ike Guest

    I've been using the drew's dosers hooked up to my controller for about 6 months now. My dosers are mounted on the wall inside my tank stand. I've noticed that sometimes the dosers do not dose when they are turned on by my controller due to the motor shaft possibly binding. In the past, I have had to tap the dosing pump while they are turned on, in order for the motor to "unbind" and work again. This is a reliability issue for sure.. I have not tried the other dosing pumps offered by BRS, but would give them a go next time around.
  20. xinumaster

    xinumaster Guest

    I've used the LM3 before too as well as the 2 doser pump aquamedic with build-in controller, but the bubble magus is just so much easier to use.

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