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MountainManReef
01/08/2014, 06:21 PM
Hi,

I have an older K1 Kalk Stirrer (probably 2-3 years at this point.) which has been giving me fits lately, and I am having sincere doubts about its effects on my reef.

I have about 90 total gallons, but only about 30 of this is actual display and all of my corals are fairly small frags. I've been dosing crazy amounts of two-part solution to keep up with demand. I run anywhere between 2-3 cups of Kalk in the reactor and my evaporation rate is about 2 gallons per day. Water is supplied from my ATO reservoir by a peristaltic 50ml per minute pump. It seems as though I am not successfully using kalk as a buffer at all.

To further this evidence my topoff system got stuck on (and by stuck on I mean I stupidly clicked my apex over from "auto" to "on") overnight. I expected to have major problems stemming from a major overdose of kalk. Despite at least 7 gallons of extra water being dosed (this is just what I pulled out of my sump) and a ton of water on the floor, my water never got cloudy, and when I tested later that day all of of my parameters were on the low side.
This is befuddling to say the last.

Very recently I feel as though I have had to mess with the reactor every day. I go into my fish room and I notice that the stir rod is stuck in one place. It's like my kalk is getting extremely thick and muddy at the bottom of the reactor, to the point that the motor is not strong enough to fight through it. I pull the lid off, and the stir rod is stuck so much that it comes off the motor. So I slosh it around manually enough that it can turn again, but usually the next day I have the same problem.

Currently running my reactor provides me no noticeable benefit, and is more trouble than it's worth.

Do any K1 users, or the Avast staff have any suggestions for me on how to resolve these issues and reap the many benefits of limewater?

MountainManReef
01/08/2014, 06:23 PM
I should also mention that I change my Kalk completely each month, and soak the reactor in a vinegar/water solution until it will rinse totally clean.

ctenophore
01/08/2014, 06:54 PM
It sounds like the kalk powder itself may be bad. How old is it? If it is left exposed to air, it will react with carbon dioxide and form insoluble calcium carbonate. Result is muddy sediment at the bottom of the stirrer. Can you check the pH of the clear solution at the top of the stirrer? Fresh kalk should give a pH around 12. It also needs to be changed every 2 weeks.

MountainManReef
01/08/2014, 07:27 PM
Thanks for the reply. I'll check the ph of the clear stuff. I have no way of telling how old the Kalk is, I purchased it recently, but who know how long it could have been at my LFS. I would check for a packaging date, but I just finished the container and tossed it.

I thought as per the instructions on the stirrer Kalk could be added every 2 weeks and the reactor emptied monthly?

MountainManReef
01/08/2014, 07:35 PM
Just checked it with a salifert kit. It read at the max 8.6....doesn't do us much good. I guess I could bring the reactor over to my ph probe ?

AcroporAddict
01/09/2014, 11:32 AM
The reactor doesn't sound like the issue. If your stir bar is not broken and still turns and the reactor functions as it always has, then it is your kalk mix or something else in the tank, not the stirrer.

AcroporAddict
01/09/2014, 02:46 PM
I was just down in my reef equipment room, and I noticed my K2 Stirrer looked unusual. There was no slowly churning layer of kalk on the bottom as usual, but he motor was turning. Turns out the motor was fine, but the wand/stir bar was not turning. I tightened the set screw that holds the wand/bar onto the motor and it is working again. Could this be your problem?

MountainManReef
01/09/2014, 04:47 PM
I was just down in my reef equipment room, and I noticed my K2 Stirrer looked unusual. There was no slowly churning layer of kalk on the bottom as usual, but he motor was turning. Turns out the motor was fine, but the wand/stir bar was not turning. I tightened the set screw that holds the wand/bar onto the motor and it is working again. Could this be your problem?

Well, this could be part of the problem...

I completely dismantled my stirrer today and gave it a tune-up. When I removed all the kalk there was an incredibly thick, pretty much solid layer of kalk caked to the bottom. I had to soak it in pure vinegar for about 3 hours before I could rinse it out.

So my stir bar came completely off, as it has been lately, when I removed the lid, and I also cleaned the entire lid and the stir bar etc. using a paper towel dampened with vinegar. When I took a small allen-headed screwdriver and tried to tighten the set screw to keep the stir bar from coming loose I noticed it has been stripped/is no longer functioning. So perhaps the stir bar loose over time, or cannot fight through even smaller resistance.

Now that my reactor is completely cleaned, I have reassembled it, and fastened the stir bar to the best of my ability. The reactor is hooked up again, and contains exactly 1.75 cups of kalk as dictacted by my evaporation rate and the Kalk Calc. The Kalk is brand new as of today, I purposely bought a small quantity of Julian Sprung/Two Little Fishies, and when I opened it I definitely had to break a seal.

I think I have done everything I can, this is a pretty simple device. Is there any way for me to purchase a new stir bar, or at least the upper collar which holds it to the motor from Avast??

MountainManReef
01/09/2014, 05:06 PM
Looking at the site, it seems like I need a shaft coupling?

AcroporAddict
01/09/2014, 07:34 PM
Looking at the site, it seems like I need a shaft coupling?

Yup, that looks right. One other thing you could try before ordering a replacement is drill a new small hole in your old shaft coupler, just bit smaller in diameter than the set screw to replace the stripped hole, then try to insert the set screw into it to self thread. Could make the old shaft coupler functional again.

MountainManReef
01/10/2014, 07:35 AM
Woke up this morning, not stirring, stirrer bar stuck.

MountainManReef
01/11/2014, 05:20 PM
Yup, that looks right. One other thing you could try before ordering a replacement is drill a new small hole in your old shaft coupler, just bit smaller in diameter than the set screw to replace the stripped hole, then try to insert the set screw into it to self thread. Could make the old shaft coupler functional again.

Well I went ahead and ordered some parts from Avast, but in the meantime I used your idea. At least at the moment it's working perfectly. I was able to use the original hole as a pilot and drill another, slightly smaller, on the exact opposite side of the coupler. Thanks!

Also, can anyone enlighten me on what the new motor housing listed on Avast 's site would do for me??

http://www.avastmarine.com/ssc/do/product/kalkreactors/K1-MOTORHOUSING

Avast Marine
01/12/2014, 01:25 PM
The new housing wont really do anything for you. They are useful for people with gen 1 kalk stirrers as the original motors from those have been discontinued but those are all 4+ years old so they dont apply to your stirrer.

MountainManReef
01/12/2014, 01:50 PM
Ok great, thank you. My temporary fix is still working great, going to monitor the effects on my tank parameters.