Calcium Reactor recommendation needed

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by 650-IS350, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. 650-IS350

    650-IS350 Supporting Member

    Hello All,

    Due to long work hours and busy schedule I’m not able to follow my manual dosing schedule which is affecting the tank. I usually dose 2 part, but now I’m rethinking and might bite the bullet and get into purchasing a Calcium Reactor system.

    I’m looking into purchasing a new system that is more like an all in one and relatively simple to use. I really don’t want to purchase a calcium reactor, then have to purchase other supporting equipment for it like , different manufacture pumps, regulators, bubble counters etc. But not opposed to doing so if I really need to.

    My preference for the reactor is to have a built in pH probe holder and have a built inpump already with it.

    Mind you that this tank is only a 37 Gal tank that is SUMPLESS, I run a HOB skimmer ( Aquamaxx Cone S HOB). I don’t have a lot of SPS but would like to eventually keep some, current process isn’t SPS friendly. Figuring a Cal Reactor would help with that.

    To go back to my question, I’m looking for a good All in one Cal Reactor recommendation but no looking to break the bank on a monster set up as I don't have plans on upgrading to a much larger tank in the future.

    Currently, I’m looking into Korallin C-1502 Calcium Reactor Package includes; C-1502 Calcium Reactor, AquaMaxx Dual Gauge Professional CO2 Regulator, 5 lb. CO2 Cylinder (Empty) and CaribSea 8 lbs Reactor Media.

    I want a reactor system I can have external from the tank that I can sit in the cabinet under the tank along with my other aquarium supplies.

    Other reactors I’m considering are the following: Not my primary pick as they are not complete like not having a pump, built in bubble counter or other needed aspects of performance.

    Bubble Magus C150-1AT Calcium Reactor

    AquaMaxx Star Nano Calcium Reactor orAquaMaxx cTech T-1 Calcium Reactor
    GEO 6x12 White Calcium Reactor with Sicce Syncra Pump

    Would like your opinions as I’m a novice when it comes down to Reactors.
  2. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    Aside from the CaRx itself none of them (that I'm aware of) come with a co2 tank or regulator.
  3. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    On top of the equipment listed, you will need a way to control the ph level in the rx.

    Unless you have an aquarium controller like an Apex or DA, a Milwaukee ph controller, ph probe and a solenoid will be needed.

    I am running a Vertex Ca rx. Ph is controlled by my Apex. I built a custom SS industrial grade dual stage CO2 regulator. Rx is feed by a medical grade brushless peristaltic pump drawing tank water and feeding the Rx.

    This is the most stable and precise way to feed and control a CaRx.

    There are a couple of RC threads on it if you want to read about it.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  4. iani

    iani Guest

    Charles I've got a ton of SS regs and supplies to build regs. Downside is that they are expensive even though I got parts on the cheap.
  5. 650-IS350

    650-IS350 Supporting Member

    Vhuang, I forgot to mention I use a reef keeper on my tank to run the pumps, skimmer, lights etc.

    For Regulator I was thinking of Milwaukee dual regualtor , I thought about getting a Pinpoint pH controller as well.

    Ian, great to see you still around, when are you going to a larger tank?
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  6. roostertech

    roostertech reef noob

    If you are going with cheaper reg, then you will definitely need a PH controller. The most common problem with crappier reg is keeping stable working pressure / flow rate. I wasted a good two months struggling to get a reg to hold bubble rate and finally gave up. Also dual stage is what you want for more stable pressure, most reg are dual gauge (working pressure and input pressure).
  7. 650-IS350

    650-IS350 Supporting Member

  8. roostertech

    roostertech reef noob

    GLA makes decent reg. But for the same price @alanle can build you something sexier.

    As for the carbon doser, it is a smart solution using electronics to compensate for crappy regulator. I have not use anything like it before so can't comment in detail. But there are few things that stick out to me:
    * Are the bubble size always the same? Since each bubble is created by opening and closing of the solenoid as opposed to natural buoyancy in bubble counter.
    * How reliable is their solenoid with such frequent activation
    * Noise factor for clicking on and off?
  9. 650-IS350

    650-IS350 Supporting Member

    That would drive me crazy and a no go.
  10. kalare

    kalare Supporting Member

    Way cheaper and way better quality to DIY your regulator. I've done one for my planted tank and one for my reef, both work flawlessly. I've gone through 3 regulators of lower quality that were meant from aquariums (all sub $200 retail). The DIY route, you get a heavy duty reg, and switch out the fittings to be aquarium friendly. Less than $150 bucks usually all in.

    Not sure what the link posting policy here as I'm new, however if you google "DIY CO2 regulator", the first link is a great thread on a planted forum with descriptions on how, and the 2nd link is a source where I usually buy all my parts and fittings to switch out...than name of which is in your search query...

    Sorry if that's cryptic and apologies if that is somehow still breaking the bylaws.
  11. 650-IS350

    650-IS350 Supporting Member

    Thanks for the info. much appreciated
  12. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Talk to Ian. He's got a stockpile of ss parts that I built my FWP regulator with.

  13. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    I've used the carbon doser for a few years now. Pretty darn easy, no noise at all, very steady all the way to the end of the tank. I usually don't realize I am low on Co2 until the tank is completely empty. It gives a flash from a red LED each time a bubble is sent. You can watch the corresponding bubble in the float chamber. I would recommend it if you are intimidated by all the adjustments of a regular regulator as I was.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  14. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    Nice regulator!

    What I'd always found was that the valves were so small and stiff that it was really hard to dial them in. I realized using a long wrench on them allowed much finer resolution and better control.

    But after I moved tanks, I haven't re-enabled my CA reactor. I'm trying to get my kalkmixed working again though. The CA reactor always had me wondering how to feed it, what rate to use, etc, etc..

    Though one thing for sure ... when I WAS using it, I had immense corraline growth and very nice SPS growth.

  15. 650-IS350

    650-IS350 Supporting Member

    Hello Kris,
    The Carbon Doser you mention is this product right? , do you think it was worth the price?

    That's what I would like to finally do, have a tank that is SPS friendly as well. Currently a few SPS stay alive in my tank, a couple montis, Sticks don't, I would like to remedy that issue but also automate my calcium/alk maintenance/feeding and I think a proper reactor and components tied to my reef keeper can do that. I'm just on the fence with it as its alien to me.
  16. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    Here is my reg.


    We use needle valves that have vernier adjustor. Very adjustable.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  17. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    I ahven't even tested Calcium in a long while... I guess I should.
  18. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    For me, yes it is. However you could probably build a really nice one for the same. I just wasn't interested in doing the research to really learn how to do it right. So, this was an easy fix. It is very simple...almost painfully simple. Feels pretty cheap (cause it probably is) however it has done exactly what I wanted it to do. The dial on top with the gauges, adjusts the size of the bubble, and the dial, on the box, adjusts the frequency of the bubbles. I would probably spring for the John Guest fitting. The barb that is on it is very, very short, and it always makes me feel like the tube will fall off, and I'll suffocate all my pets in the garage. :( Hasn't every happened, but ya know?

    If you are anywhere near the city, or Pacifica, you are welcome to come look at it, listen to it, see all the problems I have had with my reactor. LOL! And see that it actually does make for some great SPS if you are willing to put in the work. ;) Ha!

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk[/QUOTE]
  19. 650-IS350

    650-IS350 Supporting Member

    That looks nice Vince.

    Kris, I may take you on that offer some time. I'll PM you when there's time in the calendar. (Damn work just killing all my time)

    I've worked on cars, guns and other things before but for some reason pressurized tanks, plumbing and regulators seem to make me double think or hesitate for some odd reason.

    Everywhere I've read, there are concerns about "End of Dump" from empty Co2. I've ready that the carbon doser helps with that, but for folks that have built their own, how do you prevent this?
  20. yellojello

    yellojello Supporting Member

    Reviving this thread, looking for recommendations or if anyone has any equipment for sale.

    I've got a 120g display, 50g sump, 40g frag, about 175g water total, but will swap to 60g frag, so about 20g more to about 200g. Currently auto dosing about 80 mL each of 2 parts, less for Mag through Vertex stepper 3-channel autodoser. Although not too many issues with autodosing, I believe CaRX with trace elements will get me better SPS health, color, and growth. Plus I'm getting lazy making and refilling the supplements.

    1. CaRX reactor: GEO 612 or 618? Add secondary chamber?

    2. Recirc Pump and Feed Pump: GEO comes with recirc? Feed Pump MJ1200 or Aqualifter?

    3. Check Valve: GEO supplied one good enough?

    4. I have Neptune Apex Classic Lite with Single PH Probe in tank. Do I need an additional one in the CaRX or just move the tank one to the CaRX? If need a second, I will need to get another PM1 module, or get a standalone Milwaukee?

    5. Regulator: Quite a few used ones out there, can maybe build one myself, or ask Alan Le or fellow BAR member; seems like Aquarium Plants regulator is popular, but not sure of electrical failures/power outages, Electronic Solenoid controlled by PH and Apex?

    6. CO2 tank: Use 10 lb or 5 lb tank? Or both for backup?

    7. Needle Valve (included with GEO?) and/or Feed Pump: Masterflex Pump (7523x model?); or can I use my Vertex auto-doser, prob not meant for constant motion?

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