Calcium reactors sound big and scary but they are actually a fairly simple device (once you understand them!) Essentially you inject co2 into a canister of tank water and crushed coral skeletons. The co2 lowers the PH of the water making it acidic which in turn slowly dissolves the coral skeleton within chamber. The dissolved coral enriches the reactor water (which is called the effluent) then is slowly dripped back into the tank. This balanced nutrient rich effluent doses calcium, alkalinity and trace elements back into your tank.
When you first setup a calcium reactor it does take some time and daily testings.. however once its set it requires very little maintenance and go for months before you have to tweak it again (unless you add or remove a lot of coral and your calcium and alkalinity demands change)
To tuning the reactor simple.. i would strongly recommend you use a PH probe to control the co2 solenoid.. this will act as a safety net of not running your PH to low and melting your media to fast and turning it to mush. Anything under 7PH is considered acidic and will slowly dissolve the media.. while most reactors shoot for around 6.5-6.7 but that depends on your reactor media.
In my reactor i run A.R.M media which has worked well so far.
Low PH? Now the one downside of a calcium reactor is your are dripping an extremely low PH solution into your tank… which you guessed it.. will lower your tanks PH.
In my setup i decided to combated this a by building a DIY second Calcium reactor chamber. The second chamber is full of tiny crushed coral skelleton which force the water to perkelated up though the media and obsorb more co2.. which further raises effluent PH. I then put the output into a drip cup which raised it about 0.25PH… then to up it a bit more i used a limewood (skimmer) air stone in the settling/drip cup. The oxygen injection helps force out the PH… With all these methods combined my effluent went from 6.2 to 7.2 Which helps prevent the tanks PH from doping too much
What all do you need for a calcium reactor? – Calcium Reactor
– Feed Pump
– CO2 tank/regulator
– CO2 Solenoid/PH controller(optional but recommended)
Check out the video below for a better explanation of how it all works
After letting the tank cycle for about 5-6 week’s it was time order my Jellyfish. I had they overnight…however there was of course an issue with the shipper and they poor guys ended up taking an extra night. I had been eagerly watching for the magic postal fairy for 2 days….. then finally it happened.. they arrived!
The poor guys must have been frozen.. the bag water was 3-4 degrees when i opened it… i knew a very slow acclimation was key to their success…. for the next 5-6 hours the jellys sat in their shipping bag on my desk to slowly bring them up to room temperature.. Once the water was about 15C i slowly started to mix tank water into the shipping bag.. I moved a ladle full every 20-30 minutes to allow the moon jelly fish time to adjust
2 hours later they were in the tank… at first there wasn’t much moment… over the next 24h they slowly started to move and pulse as they adjusted to their new home.
Its now the morning of day 3: 2 of the jellys are happily pulsing around. one of them had a tear in the bell which already looks to be healing up! (these guys are amazing at repairing them selves! ) 2/3 are good to go!
The last one is fully open and floating around.. i see a bit of movement in the oral arms.. but not pulsing as of yet.. hopefully soon.
Thats all for now.. check back soon for the next update.
I fill my 5g salt mixing bucket as well as my top-off container directly from my RODI unit… I added a 50′ hose to the output so i can just bring it directly to the tank rather than hauling buckets around the house…
Now if you are like me.. and get distracted easily you have have ‘forgotten’ about your water running and come back to a damp floor.. yes i admit it happened 4-5 times now over the past year or two… so i finally wised up and purchased some float valves.
I installed a valve on the top off bucket and will do another on my 5g mixing bucket… This way if i ever forget the water on … the valve will kill flow and prevent another wet floor.
About a month ago I gor a fancy schmancy Apex DOS stepper dosing pump.. I was previously using a Jabeo dosser however, unplugged it once i got the calcium reactor going. I decided to get back on weekly testing and stocked up on test kit refills..
For the first time since cycling my tank I decided to test nitrates and found it was much higher than i would have liked. I used a red sea test kit..and was way off the charts for the low range test.. I then repeated the test in the “high range” mode and it read some where beteween 16 and 32…. So i decided it was time to try Vodka Dosing!
Shortly after I dug out the fancy apex dos that was hiding in the closet waiting to be unwrapped. I chose the apex DOS as it deliver an extremely precise dose and was perfect for vodka dosing ( i actually got it for future automatic water changes but wont be implementing that until i move the tank closer to a water source.)
I figure my tank is around 120-130G with the sump.. subtracting sand and rock i settled on 100g to make calculations easy. I’m following the chart below as a general guide on slowly increasing my dosage
Ill update this post as i go to keep you guys updated on how it goes!
Week 1: Day 1: 29/11/2016 I started on 0.5ml/day
Week 1: Day 3: 02/12/2016 Upped my dose to 1ml/day.
After being tired of bare spots and sand dunes forming in my tank from the undertow of the mp40.. I finally decided to build a solution
I designed a plate that contours to the cage of the mp40 and snaps on. It’s made from ABS which is aquarium safe and secure should rid me of the dunes and bare spots!
I just picked up a Jacod CP-40 gyre but was disappointing to see that the jabeo > apex connector does not work with this unit.. In efforts to figure out a way to work the signal and make my own i decided to do a little reverse engendering and see how it worked.. No keep in mind i’m still learning to use my oscilloscope.. this may be a bit of a leap for me.. but hey its a good time to learn!
The connector wiring
Backside of controller
front side of controller
Yellow line is the yellow wire. Blue is brown wire.
Magnetic stirrers are one of the simplest ways to build a DIY Kalk stirrer. I used an old reactor with a missing lid for the tube. You could also just use PVC or an acrylic tube. For the used a hole saw and made a hole in the centre of a square of acrylic and bonded it to the tube. I sandwiches some rubber beteeeen a second price and drilled holes for nylon wing nuts The rubber in the middle seals the lid
The base is a square of acrylic to hold a 120mm PC fan. I did have to shave a few mm off the side of the fan to make it fit. I glued a rare earth magnet to the centr of the fan and aligned it a few mm below the top of the frame to ensure it can spin freely
Inside the reactor be sure to put a piece of glass on the bottom to prevent the internal stir bar from wearing through the acrylic over time