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View Full Version : CaRx second media chamber, is it worth it?


BlackTip
12/02/2016, 08:22 AM
In my quest to improve the PH value, I am considering adding a second media chamber to the CaRx. I have Geo 624.

This thread is about Calcium Reactor second media chamber, and not about my PH or other ways to improve it.

From your experience, does a second media chamber help improve the PH value?

Does the size matter?

Can I use any reactor, or does it have to be designed for CaRx? Geo now sells second media chamber, but they are expensive. I have a brand new NexReef XL media reactor. Can I use it?

ca1ore
12/02/2016, 09:12 AM
I actually have a high rather than low pH problem, so I've been toying with taking off the second chamber on my calcium reactor :lol:. Buddy of mine has experimented with routing the output of his single stage to be ahead of the chaeto in his sump versus a second chamber. He found both to be superior to just sending effluent to the return chamber, though didn't find one better than the other.

Imagine you could also route the effluent to your skimmer as it would likely blow off any residual CO2.

Seems to me any reactor would suffice as a second chamber.

BlackTip
12/02/2016, 09:51 AM
I actually have a high rather than low pH problem, so I've been toying with taking off the second chamber on my calcium reactor :lol:. Buddy of mine has experimented with routing the output of his single stage to be ahead of the chaeto in his sump versus a second chamber. He found both to be superior to just sending effluent to the return chamber, though didn't find one better than the other.

Imagine you could also route the effluent to your skimmer as it would likely blow off any residual CO2.

Seems to me any reactor would suffice as a second chamber.

Thanks Simon. I am unable to keep macro algae alive in my fuge, so this not an option right now. Currently, I have the affluent drips right before the skimmer, I don't have an injection port, so that is the best option for now. But, still, I suffer from low PH.

timnem70
12/02/2016, 09:58 AM
When low pH is detected, it will undoubtedly have something to do with your Mag. levels.

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slief
12/02/2016, 10:08 AM
I run a second reactor for this very reason. Not sure how much it helps the 2nd reactor will buffer the effluent raising the pH a bit. I will have to test the effluent of my calcium reactor to see what the pH is. I know the pH of the reactor so testing the effluent would give me an idea of the impact of the 2nd reactor.

ca1ore
12/02/2016, 10:18 AM
Thanks Simon. I am unable to keep macro algae alive in my fuge, so this not an option right now. Currently, I have the affluent drips right before the skimmer, I don't have an injection port, so that is the best option for now. But, still, I suffer from low PH.

Ok, fwiw, I run my main chamber at 6.7 and the output from the second chamber is about 8.1. Second chamer is about half the volume of the first. Effluent drip rate is quite high.

BlackTip
12/02/2016, 10:21 AM
Thanks guys, that is exactly what I hoped to hear. I know my PH took a dive after the CaRx installation.

So, any reactor should work as a secondary chamber, right? I want to use the NextReef XL, if I can. No need to spend extra money.

slief
12/02/2016, 10:41 AM
Thanks guys, that is exactly what I hoped to hear. I know my PH took a dive after the CaRx installation.

So, any reactor should work as a secondary chamber, right? I want to use the NextReef XL, if I can. No need to spend extra money.

I run a Geo 818 which is a big reactor. My 2nd reactor is a Geo 415 which is much smaller. I also use ARM media in the 2nd reactor which is much more dense than the Reborn I run in the main reactor. That said, this has be curious enough that I will likely test the pH of the effluent this weekend and will report back if I do.

gus6464
12/02/2016, 10:51 AM
I run a geo 612 but I just got a umc 420 last week from black Friday sales to try out for second chamber. I was told by geo to use the smallest arm media for best co2 scrubbing. My main reactor has reborn.

BlackTip
12/02/2016, 10:51 AM
I run a Geo 818 which is a big reactor. My 2nd reactor is a Geo 415 which is much smaller. I also use ARM media in the 2nd reactor which is much more dense than the Reborn I run in the main reactor. That said, this has be curious enough that I will likely test the pH of the effluent this weekend and will report back if I do.

Thank you very much, please let us know.

Any particular reason you have two different types of media? I bought a 44lb box of Reborn that likely to last me couple of years. I don't want to buy more, if I don't have to. The tank burned deep holes in my buckets for the past year, and I'd really want to slow the spending a bit.

slief
12/02/2016, 11:13 AM
Thank you very much, please let us know.

Any particular reason you have two different types of media? I bought a 44lb box of Reborn that likely to last me couple of years. I don't want to buy more, if I don't have to. The tank burned deep holes in my buckets for the past year, and I'd really want to slow the spending a bit.

2 reasons. One, the ARM is cheaper if memory serves. It's also much more dense when packed into the reactor which means that the buffering effect of the ARM should be better than Reborn. When I was doing my research years back, I found that most people who run a secondary reactor use ARM in their 2nd reactor too instead of running Reborn or what ever they run in their primary. Well, at all those that don't use ARM in their primary reactor as well.

BlackTip
12/02/2016, 11:19 AM
Which grade of ARM do you run in the second reactor?

Any suggestion on a mesh to use in the bottom of the secondary chamber, so the media keep off the bottom of the chamber?

dartier
12/02/2016, 11:19 AM
When low pH is detected, it will undoubtedly have something to do with your Mag. levels.


Huh? Why would low PH be in anyway related to low Magnesium? I don't see the connection. Please explain.

Dennis

ca1ore
12/02/2016, 11:32 AM
I run reborn in both primary and secondary, but as I noted earlier, I don't have low pH problems. Seems to me more densely packed ARM might work even better.

timnem70
12/02/2016, 12:58 PM
Sorry Dennis, I misspoke. As I was listing test kits and such I had Mag. on the brain. What I meant to say was a Calcium carbonate and pH correlation. Finding out what all three of those parameters are and trying to stabilize them as much as possible takes time. In a newer tank like this, after the first couple initial algal blooms, these parameters are paramount for success long term. No matter the livestock.
Apologies for my mistake.

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tkeracer619
12/02/2016, 01:16 PM
I think so. I use regular arm. It seems to work the best.

gus6464
12/02/2016, 01:24 PM
If you are running second chamber use the smallest ARM.

ksed
12/02/2016, 01:30 PM
If you use Reborn, you will be able to run your calcium reactor at a higher PH than ARM.
Simply as stated above, because ARM is more dense and Reborn more porous.
The more porous the media is the faster it will dissolve.
Your primary chamber should contain coarse media regardless of the brand. This is to prevent channeling, you want good flow around the media.
Secondary chamber should contain smaller gravel sized media preferably, due to more surface area to buffer as much co2 out. The fact that the secondary chamber is not a circulation chamber channeling is not a concern as much.
HTH

BlackTip
12/02/2016, 01:37 PM
Ok, thanks. So which one of this product: ARM extra coarse, or ARM small?

http://aquarium.bulkreefsupply.com/search?w=arm&asug=

slief
12/02/2016, 01:48 PM
Ok, thanks. So which one of this product: ARM extra coarse, or ARM small?

http://aquarium.bulkreefsupply.com/search?w=arm&asug=

I use the small.
http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/caribsea-arm-reactor-media-small.html

dartier
12/02/2016, 01:52 PM
Sorry Dennis, I misspoke. As I was listing test kits and such I had Mag. on the brain. What I meant to say was a Calcium carbonate and pH correlation. Finding out what all three of those parameters are and trying to stabilize them as much as possible takes time. In a newer tank like this, after the first couple initial algal blooms, these parameters are paramount for success long term. No matter the livestock.
Apologies for my mistake.

Ah, OK. No worries. You had excited for a minute thinking there was some relationship between Mg and PH that I was unaware of. I will continue pushing air from outside through my skimmer to raise PH :)

Dennis

BlackTip
12/02/2016, 01:57 PM
I use the small.
http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/caribsea-arm-reactor-media-small.html

Stupid question: Isn't it too fine? does it fall through the mesh to the bottom of the reactor?

If I put a filter sponge in the bottom, it can get clogged right?

slief
12/02/2016, 03:34 PM
Stupid question: Isn't it too fine? does it fall through the mesh to the bottom of the reactor?

If I put a filter sponge in the bottom, it can get clogged right?

Nope. It doesn't fall through the screen or get clogged. I've been running mine with that media for more than 1.5 years without issue. Remember, the flow through the reactor is REALLY slow. Mine is running at 35ml/min which is around a drop or two a second. Clogging will never be an issue. That said, I feed mine with a Masterflex pump and my reactor never needs to be touched. It's always consistent and one of the more set it forget it reactors I've ever run.

wishntoboutside
12/02/2016, 05:33 PM
Very interesting read. I loved the old knopp media better the the ARM but I don't think it is available any more.

DamonG
12/02/2016, 06:28 PM
Funny you all just brought this up because I built my own 2ndary chamber.. I wanted to try and do it on the cheap, while at the same time, I had the itch to build something. It is a 3" diameter chamber, 24" tall.. And if I spent 20.00, I'd be surprised..


I am running reborn media in it, and the main reactor(geo 618).. I also run my effluent to my fuge tub, to actually, if possible inject any last little bit of Co2 into my cheato for growth. The tub then spills into my second filter sock, which then goes into the skimmer section.. Excellent topic though, subscribed.. And I think I am going to measure the ph out of my second chamber to see now also...http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20161203/a4f8a052b646561e9e1ece8a7ef5dcc3.jpghttp://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20161203/bb51dd45965c504b38ffd4fc11caec9c.jpg

From note 5.. rip note 7

tkeracer619
12/03/2016, 12:01 AM
I've use both arm coarse and extra course in standard sized reactors with poor results. Those should only be used in large reactors. For anything on a less than 1000gal tank use the small (normal) arm.

A simple way to reduce ph impact is run the effluent into a degassing chamber. When I get to driving a reactor to the limits I typically use a pee cup with a small airstone in it. Effluent drips into the cup, gas exchange happens, overflows into tank.

DamonG
12/04/2016, 12:27 PM
Hey slief or anyone else, is it bad that I am running reborn in my blow off chamber? I will top it off with the small, but just until that time, am I good? Or should I add some of the fine now, and remove maybe a few inches on the top of the reborn?

From note 5.. rip note 7

slief
12/04/2016, 12:35 PM
Hey slief or anyone else, is it bad that I am running reborn in my blow off chamber? I will top it off with the small, but just until that time, am I good? Or should I add some of the fine now, and remove maybe a few inches on the top of the reborn?

From note 5.. rip note 7

I wouldn't say it's but I suspect that more dense media such as the ARM fine stuff will help buffer/increase pH better than the less dense Reborn in the 2nd reactor. Essentially, you probably not making as efficient use of the 2nd reactor from a buffering standpoint.

DamonG
12/04/2016, 01:02 PM
I wouldn't say it's but I suspect that more dense media such as the ARM fine stuff will help buffer/increase pH better than the less dense Reborn in the 2nd reactor. Essentially, you probably not making as efficient use of the 2nd reactor from a buffering standpoint.
Ok, sounds good thanks a ton.. That's what I was thinking also.. Lol, I'm watching your fishguy episode on ca reactors right now.. That, and this discussion made me think of it..

From note 5.. rip note 7