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View Full Version : Reef Dosing Solution - From manual to what?


OliverS
07/09/2015, 06:22 AM
I am aware what a can of worms i am about to open and everyone will have very different opinions on this BUT...

Currently moving from my starter tank, a54l nano to a 155l Fluval Osaka with a sump. This means i finally get the ability to automate in some way my dosing method.

2 main questions, with a few other bits thrown in.

1. What would people recommend as a dosing system?
Is triton overkill for a 155l?
What about calc reactors?
What about dosing pumps?

Any help very much appreciated, ive only had my tank for 6 months so im pretty much a newby.

MBC2012
07/09/2015, 06:34 AM
From experience, I wish i never tried to automate dosing. Id stay manual on a system that system that small.

OliverS
07/09/2015, 06:39 AM
MBC2012, what would you suggest as a good manual dosing method?

I have just been dosing the two part kent nano A & B with purple tech.

In truth I just used it because thats what a friend did so unsure if thats a good option for the 200l (inc sump) sized tank.

Ive also been messing about with how much and how often. Any suggestions on that front too?

billdogg
07/09/2015, 07:05 AM
I use the BRS additives (although there are reciepes for diy of the same). I chose the BRS additives because of the known purity of the products and their ease of use. I started dosing manually but that quickly became a royal PIA. I then purchased a Marine Magic dosing pump and although it worked fairly well, was difficult to program and I was never really able to get it dialed in corectly, so when a skimmer overflow soaked it, I upgraded to using 2 of the Drew's Dosers from BRS. Although they require external timers (digital lamp timers from your local hardware store), they were very easy to set up and use. Certainly one of the better purchases I have made, at least IMO.

hth

Mark9
07/09/2015, 07:16 AM
+1 on what billdogg said.
I did exactly what he did, the full kit from BRS + 2 digital timers from amazon.
Couple days dial in time, then basically forget about it until the jugs run dry.

billdogg
07/09/2015, 08:45 AM
I use a couple of 1.5g rubbermaid food storage containers that just happen to fit well in the stand. They last me ~ 6 weeks between fill ups.

hth

FSUwxman
07/09/2015, 09:34 AM
I recommend buying an APEX and then at least one DOS unit. You tell it how much you want to dose and over what period of time and it takes care of the rest for you. Not to mention the pumps used in the DOS units are more accurate and far superior to 99.9% of the dosing units out there today.

thegrun
07/09/2015, 09:43 AM
For a 155L system (40 gallons) I think dosing pumps are the best way to handle demand (over calcium reactors) and I would strongly recommend a good controller like an Apex Neptune.

tmz
07/09/2015, 10:26 AM
This thread of mine discusses the mainstream methods for dosing alkalinity and calcium, including: two part dosing, calcium reactors , and kalkwasser/limewater as well as the effect of water changes.

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2447251&highlight=alkalinity

This is from it:

Caclium and alkalinity supplementation methods
<hr style="color:#FFFFFF; background-color:#FFFFFF" size="1"> Often folks seek advice on how to maintain calcium and alkalinity. It can be confusing. There are a number of informative articles by Randy Farley accessible via the sicky at the top of the Reef Chemistry Forum.

The following is a brief summary of the various dosing methods to help folks start to understand the options.

There are 3 mainstream methods which can be used independently or in combinations:

Two part dosing consists of dosing calcium chloride and carbonate in the same proportions as calcifying organisms ( coral, coraline, calms, etc) use them(50ppm/2.8dkh /1meq/l) carbonate alkainity to 20ppm calcium . Commercial mixes are often used and when dosed per instructions provide carbonate alk and calcium in those proortions. It is less expensive to use baking soda or soda ash/ baked baking soda for carbonate alkalinity and generic calcium chloride ;significantly so for larger systems with high demand but for smaller systems or those with low demand the commercial mixes may be more convenient. These supplements may be dosed manually or via dosing pumps. Either tha calcium part or the carbonate part can be dsoed separately to adjust alk or calcium independently.

Caclium reactors( CaCO3 reactors). Media consisting of coral skeleton and or other forms of aragonite is dissolved in acidic water in a fluidized reactor via the injection of CO2 which lowers the pH .The calcium and carbonate alkalinity are disassociated and provided to the tank where they are available for precipitation in the tanks higher pH water as calcium carbonate (skeletal mass) . Impurities / trace, minor and major elements stashed in the media are also dosed for better or worse depending on the actual contents of the media used. The pH of the dosed solution is usually around 6.5 to 7.0 ;so, it has a pH lowering effect on the tank water . Most tanks running on calcium reactors run with pH around 7.8 .


Limewater (calcium hydroxide;aka kalkwasser) provides carbonate alkalinity and calcium in the proportions used in the precipitation of calcium carbonate ( 50ppm carbonate alkalinity and 20ppm calcium) just like a balanced two part dose or the effluent from a calcium reactor. Limewater at full saturation ( 2 tsps of calcium hydroxide powder per gallon of fresh water ) has a ph of about 12.4. When it enters the tank the hydroxide binds with CO2 forming CO3 carbonate.This reduces CO2 while providing alkalinity( CO3) and raises the pH of the tank water. Limewater must be dosed slowly to avoid pH spikes which can lead to abiotic precipitation of the calcium hydroxide as calcium carbonate ,basically like coral sand.

I personally like limewater because of it's pH raising effect and it's self purifying nature .Many impurities precipitated out in the high pH limewater so the realtively pure calcium and hydroxide get to the tank.

I have used all three methods sometimes all at once. Many use limewater dosing along with a calcium reactor to balance off the low pH effluent from the calcium reactor.

With any of the three methods it is important to maintain magnesium as well.

tmz
07/09/2015, 10:30 AM
Is triton overkill for a 155l?

I'd take the time to read the critiques and debates about this system on the reef chemsitry forum before deciding if it's something you want.

For me , Limewater dosing( aka kalk) meets the needs of my sps dominant system. I dose from a still reservoir via a timed peristaltic pump( a liter meter 3) Small regular water changes along with foods meet the needs for other major , minor and trace elements.

OliverS
07/09/2015, 06:14 PM
Thanks to everyone who has been kind enough to offer advice. Based on the feedback I am looking into dosing pumps.

I think it's safe to say after a quick look at apex they look great but I will be going for a more 'value' option.

Then I need to decide what to put in their dosing pumps. Although BRS seems popular so I'll start there.

ericarenee
07/09/2015, 07:10 PM
I just started using dosing pumps . I Have the jabao dp4 doser it has 4 pumps and can be programmed to dose 24 times a day from 1 ml up each dose on each pump. I use it to dose 2 part calcium and alkinlinty . Magnesium and Kent phytoplex

NO Matter what doser you use. Only use small containers to dose from and watch there levels Doser pumps have been known to dump the whole bottle at once on error . Just do not use enough in a container that would crash your tank if you spilled it all in at one time..
OHH Know your consumption rates on the elements dosing. there are many who can explain how to get this much better then I.

Mark9
07/10/2015, 06:47 AM
NO Matter what doser you use. Only use small containers to dose from and watch there levels Doser pumps have been known to dump the whole bottle at once on error . Just do not use enough in a container that would crash your tank if you spilled it all in at one time..


I have my controller set to shut off the dosers if there is a ph spike, for this very reason.

OliverS
07/10/2015, 06:47 AM
ericarenee.

This was exactly the doser i found before i came back and you were suggesting it.

Thank you for the tip on using small bottles. Other than the dosing pump itself.... what else will I need? What bottles do people use?

ericarenee
07/10/2015, 04:52 PM
ericarenee.

This was exactly the doser i found before i came back and you were suggesting it.

Thank you for the tip on using small bottles. Other than the dosing pump itself.... what else will I need? What bottles do people use?
I use liter glass bicardi rum bottles just drill two holes in the top .run ridgid are line to near bottom then standard vinyl tubing to pump than from pump to sump . some here suggest using anti syphon valves on each direction. http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/07/10/99cf6ff828bc6193b3d90b455e7b2e59.jpghttp://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/07/10/7e5a14dd00bc0ae58a360a804b090790.jpghttp://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/07/10/966b3819cd205ce112d5cc8b44f23127.jpg

Dkuhlmann
07/11/2015, 05:59 AM
OliverS I've got to ask what it is that you have in your tank that is requiring you to dose anything? I ask this because in most cases water changes are all that's needed in small systems to keep the levels needed for a healthy corals and inhabitants. Whether it be weekly or biweekly water changes. There isn't usually any "NEED" to dose anything.

kmbyrnes
07/11/2015, 07:18 AM
When I needed to start dosing, I chose the BRS chemicals and pumps because after all the reading, I was still confused.
I got everything I needed but the timers. I found some great ones a the big box. They have 16 on/off cycles per day, with increments as small as a minute.
Using the online calculator, I had my dosing figured out in less than 2 weeks. Now it will just be small adjustments as my tanks needs change.
I like the drilled holes in the brace as shown above, but my sump is acrylic so I got this from BRS as well. It holds the dosing tubes and the tube for the ATO to prevent siphoning.

http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/bubble-magus-tube-holder-bracket.html

Mark9
07/12/2015, 07:20 AM
ericarenee.

This was exactly the doser i found before i came back and you were suggesting it.

Thank you for the tip on using small bottles. Other than the dosing pump itself.... what else will I need? What bottles do people use?

The brs kit comes with everything you need, except for the timers, something like 25 bucks for 2 on amazon.