The Ins and Outs of a Calcium Reactor
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.
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