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badu11
10/30/2002, 12:24 PM
Thank you for the article "A Guide to Using Calcium Reactors". It has been a lot of help so far and I am now realizing I should have paid closer attention to it.

I have had the K2R calcium reactor setup for 4 months now and I have had limited succes with it. I think my mistake all along has been that I am testing only the calcium levels of the tank and not paying attention to the alkalinity levels as suggested in your article! Also I thought this reactor is supposed to eliminate the need for adding calcium supplement. Before the addition of the reactor I had my calcium level up to 440ppm via kalkwasser and liquid calcium.

Anyways I started out with the manufacturer's suggested settings of 15-20 cc/min and 12 bubbles per minute. This brought me to an effluent pH of 6.75. I let this go for a week and my calcium level dropped very small amount to 420ppm. I did stop the addition of the liquid calcium the day I added the reactor. So I figured I have to lower the effluent pH and increase the drip rate to get my calcium to raise again. I thought this due to the suggestion of some media needs a lower pH to break down as mentioned in your article. I got the media with my reactor and did not know what type of media I actually recieved. I let this go for another week and my calcium level dropped even lower to 395ppm. This made me nervous so I dropped the effluent pH even lower 5.9 and increased the drip rate to 45/cc min. This seemed to bring my calcium up again over 400ppm but the calcium level seemed to be erratic at this point. It seemed erratic since I left the setting on the reactor @ 45cc/min and effluent pH 5.9 for a few weeks and tested the calcium weekely and it would jump all over the place.

In the meantime my coraline algae has been slowly disappearing and I have had red slime problem. I believe the red slime is from my incorrect settings with the reactor since I have eliminated almost all of the other causes to red slime! Maybe you can shed some light on that issue as far as a reactor would go?

So after a few weeks at the low effluent pH 5.9 and high drip rate 45cc/min with no success, a few days ago I brought my effluent pH back to 6.7 and drip rate to 17cc/min. I am realizng I should have been testing alkalinity all along compared to testng the calcium level to get the reactor dialed in. Let me know if this is incorrect! I am thinking that since I had the reactor effluent pH set so low this has messed up my levels on many aspects (tank pH, alkalinity, calcium) and this has caused my calcium to jump around.

Am I supposed to get the reactor dialed in by measuring alkalinity in the tank (3 mEq/L )and not the calcium level? If this is so once I get the alkalinity @ 3 mEq/L and the calcium is not up to 440ppm do I have to use liquid calcium to raise calcium or would a second chamber do so?

Sorry for the long post but I am trying to understand the way a reactor works.