Jestersix

Are CO2 Calcium Reactors out of favor nowadays?

Vincerama2

Supporting Member
it seems to me every uses 2 or 3 part dosing and drip dosers. Why are CO2 reactors no longer popular? I remember the best coral growth I had was my old 58g tank running a CO2 reactor. I was just too lazy to move it to my Wifebane 180. I think now the regulator is too corroded to use due to the reactor and the equipment being in storage.
I currently dose nothing except I use kalk in my top off water. Coral growth is minimal though, so I've reconsidered dosing. I had bought some DIY CA/ALK/MAG stuff from BRS, and I have a doser that I bought and never used, but I also have the old CO2 setup.
Was there a reason for CO2 reactors to fall out of favor, or are people still using them, but just not talking about them?

Thanks!

Vince
 

Da_Neefer

Supporting Member
The initial cost is prohibitive because it requires good components to do it's job reliably. I'm using one but I already had the CO2 equipment from my planted tanks to repurpose. Most tanks can do just fine (inexpensively) on 2 part until Alk consumption reaches a certain level where volume of components becomes long term cost prohibitive or not viable at very large doses. At that point it's time to reevaluate how you're doing things.

I agree it's also just old tech and people aren't talking about using them.

Related... steady PH of 8.1-8.4 is a huge driver of faster coral growth. Saturated Kalk, CO2 scrubbers, outside airlines all help there and a much more advanced solution might be Kalk slurry to replace 2 part or a calcium reactor. Kalk slurry requires a thorough understanding of the pitfalls if you do it incorrectly before even considering using it. Some won't even call it an option but there's lots of new experience and users that are making it safer and more reliable. Especially considering it's super cheap to run vs the alternatives.
 

iani

Supporting Member
it seems to me every uses 2 or 3 part dosing and drip dosers. Why are CO2 reactors no longer popular? I remember the best coral growth I had was my old 58g tank running a CO2 reactor. I was just too lazy to move it to my Wifebane 180. I think now the regulator is too corroded to use due to the reactor and the equipment being in storage.
I currently dose nothing except I use kalk in my top off water. Coral growth is minimal though, so I've reconsidered dosing. I had bought some DIY CA/ALK/MAG stuff from BRS, and I have a doser that I bought and never used, but I also have the old CO2 setup.
Was there a reason for CO2 reactors to fall out of favor, or are people still using them, but just not talking about them?

Thanks!

Vince
I still use it and love it. I hated two part as it would always run out when I didn't have time to mix more solution.
 

Thales

Past President
Most new tanks are not 'large' and dosing is an affordable way to keep up one smaller tanks without the extra foot print of a reactor and co2 bottle. Mostly though, I think there is a recent push for bottled solutions to reef needs - they seem easier. Neither way is better or easier, just different things to think about and check.
Give it a few years, someone will 'discover' carx much like kalk slurry has been recently 'discovered'. The current drive to raise pH will also fall again as people realize that to most reefers, it makes little practical difference. I have spoken.
 

IOnceWasLegend

Secretary
BOD
Mostly though, I think there is a recent push for bottled solutions to reef needs - they seem easier. Neither way is better or easier, just different things to think about and check.
I noticed this sort of phenomena when I was a grad student in a bio lab: a lot of common/everyday experiments were relegated to kits and, 99% of the time, they worked fine. That 1%, though, meant it was a massive PITA to figure it out because a lot of the time people didn't understand exactly what was going on at each step of the kit.

I agree that bottled solutions aren't necessarily better or easier, but something I've tried to encourage everyone I've spoken to during troubleshooting tank stuff is to 1) know, within reason, what you are adding to your tank, and 2) think it through. I feel like that gives the benefits of both worlds, but I also know that also runs counter to a lot of bottled solutions since one of the benefits is, "Hey, you don't have to think about this."
 

robert4025

Neptune Aquatics
LFS Owner
Most new tanks are not 'large' and dosing is an affordable way to keep up one smaller tanks without the extra foot print of a reactor and co2 bottle. Mostly though, I think there is a recent push for bottled solutions to reef needs - they seem easier. Neither way is better or easier, just different things to think about and check.
Give it a few years, someone will 'discover' carx much like kalk slurry has been recently 'discovered'. The current drive to raise pH will also fall again as people realize that to most reefers, it makes little practical difference. I have spoken.
One of the most important aspects of using a CaRx to me is that it doses natural ratio of trace elements. Something that no other dosing methods can do. That’s why I think for large tanks where even normal water changes are done, I still don’t think it’s enough. Hence for large tanks, a CaRx is a must.
 

IOnceWasLegend

Secretary
BOD
One of the most important aspects of using a CaRx to me is that it doses natural ratio of trace elements. Something that no other dosing methods can do. That’s why I think for large tanks where even normal water changes are done, I still don’t think it’s enough. Hence for large tanks, a CaRx is a must.
I appreciate the input! Just for a better handle on this (since I'm looking forward, in a few years, to getting a larger tank), where would you put the bounds of 'large' tanks?
 

Da_Neefer

Supporting Member
I appreciate the input! Just for a better handle on this (since I'm looking forward, in a few years, to getting a larger tank), where would you put the bounds of 'large' tanks?
I actually have been running the CarX I pulled off the 69g tank and am running it on the little 6g frag tank John let me borrow. :)

No edit just acknowledging my excessive use of "running"
 
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sfsuphysics

Frag Swap Coordinator
BOD
I've never been a fan of calcium reactors, but mostly for financial reasons, nothing to do with their effectiveness. Just too much added cost to what a CaRx costs and the total cost when you add on all the necessary equipment to make it work. With Kalkwasser you get a mixing vessel of some sort, and a dosing pump (which can be quite a bit cheaper than one you'd want for a calcium reactor) and you're set.

But again, not trying to sway anyone, it just was easier for me that way.
 

sfsuphysics

Frag Swap Coordinator
BOD
One of the most important aspects of using a CaRx to me is that it doses natural ratio of trace elements. Something that no other dosing methods can do. That’s why I think for large tanks where even normal water changes are done, I still don’t think it’s enough. Hence for large tanks, a CaRx is a must.
I'm guessing this is only if you use media that is made from coral skeletons, which yes a lot of media is, but if you use one that uses a simple aragonite or like the DeStaCo one with marble(??) chunks those ratios are not the same. This is assuming those ratios in seawater actually make a noticeable difference.
 

Meshmez

Supporting Member
I'm guessing this is only if you use media that is made from coral skeletons, which yes a lot of media is, but if you use one that uses a simple aragonite or like the DeStaCo one with marble(??) chunks those ratios are not the same. This is assuming those ratios in seawater actually make a noticeable difference.
Even if you're using coral skeleton, I would imagine this doesn't replenish all trace elements. I would assume coral tissue uses some different elements than skeleton.
 

robert4025

Neptune Aquatics
LFS Owner
I'm guessing this is only if you use media that is made from coral skeletons, which yes a lot of media is, but if you use one that uses a simple aragonite or like the DeStaCo one with marble(??) chunks those ratios are not the same. This is assuming those ratios in seawater actually make a noticeable difference.
Correct, DaStaco system calls for very specific media that doses only Calcium And Alkalinity instead of real Aragonite. This is because their reactor runs at a native 6.0 PH. However, I’am using Aragonite in the 2nd chamber where the PH is just a tad HIGHER at about 6.1-6.2 and so far the Aragonite seem to be holding up okay. No sign of turning to mush, yet.

FC0B7C72-966E-4250-BCE1-6F2986072A50.jpeg
 
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Correct, DaStaco system calls for very specific media that doses only Calcium And Alkalinity instead of real Aragonite. This is because their reactor runs at a native 6.0 PH. However, I’am using Aragonite in the 2nd chamber where the PH is just a tad lower at about 6.1-6.2 and so far the Aragonite seem to be holding up okay. No sign of turning to mush, yet.

View attachment 41107
i am interested in seeing how that works having aragonite in the 2nd chamber. i have the pure media in both chambers as what dastaco suggests.
 

L/B Block

Supporting Member
Right now I am using Tropic Marin’s carbo calcium -that is a one dosing solution to CA & ALK. Supposedly it keeps it at a specific ratio and it seems to work for me (for now)

I bought a 700 g dry powder container in March that will prob last me through the year for $22 (plus S&H) -and it does NOT precipitate.

If I should hit the max dosing rate of 50 ml (right now at 16) -I’ll consider a CX reactor.

I was dosing soda ash -as it is fairly inexpensive but the the PH spikes bugged me as did the precipitation over time and I always wondered if the solution was consistent over time.
 
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