View Full Version : dosing pumps vs calcium reactors?

12/10/2014, 12:18 AM
Im starting to get my tank to the point where I feel that I need to keep up and dosing I've been doing it by hand but I fell there too many variables doing it that way. Im leaning the way of the dosing pump. But Im on the fence so what the Pros and cons to each? price point, success rates so on.

12/10/2014, 08:20 AM
Either will work. Do your homework and see which one might be more suited to your preferences.

You can find either setup used with high quality materials, so that can save some cost.

gone fishin
12/10/2014, 08:33 AM
FWIW I purchased the BRS dosing kit. I thought it was reasonably priced, easy to set up.

12/10/2014, 08:43 AM
You could try kalwasser in your ATO.
It takes a little experimenting to figure out how much to add, but it will take care of both your Alk and Calc. It will also help keep your pH up if you are having low pH issues.

Once I got to max saturation with the Kalk, i moved up to a CaRx.
I tried dosing, but my tank was sucking up 300ml of Alk every day.
The CaRx can be a little more expensive upfront, but over the long term it's much cheaper vs buying two-part all the time. Once set up, the only thing you will need to replenish is your media every 6 months to a year and your C02, both of which are pretty inexpensive.

12/10/2014, 01:13 PM
With the Kalk will it raise pH? my pH is doing well right now so thats some of the reasons why I was leaning to the pump.

12/10/2014, 02:33 PM
I've used all three over the years. Kalk is straight-forward on tanks with moderate and lower ca / alk needs. It's a balanced additive -- basically you add some to your topup water and you're good to go. Here's a calculator that will help get you going: http://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/Calculators/KalkContribution.php Basically, you figure out your ca / alk demand, how much water you evaporate per day, and use the calculator to figure out how much kalk powder to add to your topup water. I've used kalk off and on for years. It works great until your tank needs additional ca / alk and you end up using two-part to make up the difference (there's a maximum amount of kalk that will dissolve in water). But ... most people need either fast-growing SPS or clams to hit that point.

Kalk, AFAIK, won't drive up a tank's pH past 8.4 unless you add a whole lot to your tank at once (essentially, a day's worth of topup water at once). And a pH of 8.4 is desirable. Kalk has the advantage of being cheap ... but how much ca / alk you add to your tank is entirely dependent upon how much water your tank evaporates, so you're not exactly in lock and load territory. If you overdo kalk, it will precipitate out and coat your pumps and heaters with calcium carbonate. That's not ... bad ... but you have to keep an eye on things and clean everything accordingly.

Two-part is good since you can dial in precise values for alk and ca. Decent dosing pumps are about $100 each. Once you figure out how much ca / alk your tank uses, it's straight-forward to use BRS' calculator to set your rates -- http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/reef-calculator Personally, I like 2-part. And, with 2-part on hand, it's freakin' simple adjust values.

Calcium reactors are great. And the cost to run one on a big tank with a large need of ca / alk is actually pretty good. But ... you need good gear; the startup cost can be daunting for a smaller tank. Here is something pretty close to the definitive guide to having the ultimate calcium reactor setup: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2368618

I've used a cheap calcium reactor in the past; it's not worthwhile. Seriously, it sucks.

Good luck!