||Automate calcium reactors for convenient calcium supplementation in your reef aquarium
||pH controller monitors pH level in calcium reactor chamber
||CO2 pressure regulator with solenoid delivers constant supply of CO2 to calcium reactor
These components help automate calcium supplementation. Combine with
Hydor Perfomer CR Calcium Reactors to make reactor CO2 ready. Pinpoint pH Controller monitors pH level in upper and lower ranges and cycles solenoid valve on or off accordingly to adjust pH readings. Features easy-to-read large LCD and includes a probe and calibration fluids. 9V battery required (sold separately). CO2 Pressure Regulator with 110V electrical solenoid valve works in conjunction with the pH controller for precise flow of CO2 from CO2 tank to calcium reactor. Blow-off valve allows manual release of built-up pressure, and easy-read gauges tell how much pressure is flowing from the CO2 tank as well as how much CO2 is left.
Includes: pH Controller, CO2 Pressure Regulator with Solenoid, and 20 ft kink-resistant Silicone Tubing. CO2 bottle not included.
Calcium reactor set-up
The set-up and maintenance of a calcium reactor is rather straightforward. The long-term maintenance of the reactor is where problems often occur.
You will need the following components for the system:
- A calcium reactor with a re-circulating pump
- A CO2 bottle with regulator and solenoid valve
- pH controller and probe
- Calcareous media or Korallith
- Appropriate hoses and connectors
To set up the system:
- The calcium reactor is assembled and placed in or next to the sump of a wet/dry filter.
- Before turning on the reactor, the calcium and alkalinity levels should be tested and noted so that a baseline is established. These levels will then be used to determine when the reactor is working at an optimum level.
- The reactor should then be filled with rinsed media, and all of the hoses should be attached.
- Once the reactor is filled with media, and connected to a CO2 source and water source from the aquarium, the flow should initially be set so that 1-2 bubbles per second can be counted in the bubble counter. The water flow should be set so that 1-2 liters of water per hour flow through the reactor.
- After a day, the effluent (water stream or flow coming from the reactor) should be checked to see that it has a pH of approximately 6.5. If the pH is higher, then the bubble count can be increased, or the flow of water reduced. It is usually better to adjust the CO2 bubbles, as reducing the water's flow will reduce the amount of calcium and carbonates flowing into the aquarium.
- Once these flows have been adjusted, the reactor should be allowed to run for a few days, after which time, the calcium and alkalinity levels should be measured. At this time, the levels should be at least equal to the initial levels, or they should be slightly higher (assuming they were originally within the normal range). If they are lower, then the flow and the CO2 bubble rate will need to be increased.
Calcium reactor maintenance and important maintenance checks
A calcium reactor is very easy to operate as long as it is understood that to dissolve the calcareous media, the pH will need to be around 6.5. If the flow through the chamber needs to be increased to raise the amount of calcium flowing into the tank, then the bubble rate will also need to be increased. Care should be taken, however, that the CO2 dispersal rate is not too high. If this happens, the pH coming from the reactor will be very low, and there will be excess CO2 in the water. This low pH can have deleterious effects on the invertebrates, and the excess CO2 can trigger unwanted algae growth. To reduce the likelihood of this becoming a problem, the effluent coming from the reactor can be run over or through a second chamber containing media. This will help to prevent excess CO2 from being released and will allow more calcium to be dissolved. As long as these conditions are maintained, there is little problem in running the reactor, but the levels for calcium and alkalinity should still be monitored closely to make sure that everything is working properly.
Important maintenance checks
Without proper maintenance, calcium reactors can cause multiple problems. Perform regular checks on your system.
- The most frequently encountered problem is that the outflow from the reactor may slow down over time, often in just a day or two. If this is not remedied, the alkalinity and calcium levels can fall quite quickly. For this reason, the outflow should be checked daily to make sure it is at a proper rate.
- Another problem is that, over time, media other than Korallith may turn into a type of inert sludge in the reactor. As a result, the amount of calcium being released is reduced, even though the flow and CO2 levels look normal. To remedy this, the media should be removed and thrown out once or twice per year and the whole reactor should be cleaned out with mild vinegar and thoroughly rinsed. This will help to keep the reactor working at an optimum level.
- Also, over time, the flow through the reactor may become reduced. The reactor, pipes, and valves need to be cleaned from time to time.
- For aquariums containing large quantities of small polyped stony (SPS) corals that utilize a lot of calcium, the flow rate through the reactor may have to be increased constantly, as these corals consume more and more calcium.
- It is wise to periodically check the accuracy of the pH controller with a pH test kit (some testers calibrate ±0.01 accuracy) to ensure that the calcium reactor is working properly.