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melev
11/27/2005, 09:48 PM
Hi Randy,

I've been asked why PO4 is such an issue in my tank, and it was suggested I test the effluent.

Tank: .5 (nice drop for 24 hours)
Effluent: 2.0 (assuming the test is accurate with higher alk and lower pH)

Assuming the test is reading accurately even though pH is lower and alkalinity is higher in the effluent gathered in a cup.... (Visible below)

http://melevsreef.com/280g/my_sump1.jpg

Now here's what I'm thinking. I have a nice tube that reef putty comes in (Two Little Fishies for mounting frags). Why not fill that up with some type of media and let the effluent drip through that and into my 'beer cup' that measures effluent (for the CO2 solenoid).

I don't like aluminum-based phosphate removers like Kent's Phosphate Sponge because it really affects leathers badly, but I don't know that it would be a problem using it in this way versus a typical canister filter.

What would you suggest? I remember reading a thread about a month ago about how one person took ARM and put it in RO/DI water to soak for a week, then rinsed it well before using it to remove PO4 for the media. Which is better? Starting anew or removing it from the effluent as it drips out?

melev
11/28/2005, 12:44 AM
Okay, while waiting on RHF to reply to my thread, I decided to pursue my idea for now.

I took the tube that the reef putty came in, and drilled a bunch of tiny holes near the sealed end. I used the smallest drill bit I owned, and drilled about 15 or more holes around the perimeter.

Next I took some filterfloss batting, and rolled it up until it was thick enough to fill the inside diameter nicely without being incredibly dense. This was pushed down the tube to the base with a wooden spoon handle.

I added about 3 heaping teaspoons of Pura PHOSlock, then poured RO water through it until the water come out of the tiny holes completely clear.

Here was my cup before I started. The effluent drips into this cup 24 hours a day, and a pH controller probe measures the value. As necessary, the controller opens the valve to add CO2 to the Calcium Reactor, then shuts it off again when appropriate.

http://www.melevsreef.com/pics/05/11/beercup_effluent.jpg

Here is the modification in place.

http://www.melevsreef.com/pics/05/11/po4_mod4.jpg

From another angle.
http://www.melevsreef.com/pics/05/11/po4_mod1.jpg

Here you can see the effluent dripping off the base, into the cup.
http://www.melevsreef.com/pics/05/11/po4_mod3.jpg

Since the effluent drips into the tube, I don't see it having a problem exiting with plenty of time.
http://www.melevsreef.com/pics/05/11/po4_mod4.jpg

(10 minutes later....)

Before posting this message, I decided to double check on my mini phosphate filter. It isn't draining quite as quickly as necessary, since the cup is full of effluent now.

However, I tested the effluent for PO4 and it is 0! :D :bounce1:

NexDog
11/28/2005, 01:58 AM
I think the question is that will the low PH in the effluent break down the PO4 removal media into something that could potentially harm the tank?

Randy Holmes-Farley
11/28/2005, 06:48 AM
Habib has suggested that phosphate kits often give inaccurate results at very high alkalinity. I think he suggested an upper limit of 18 dKH for his (IIRC). If your effluent is higher than that, try diluting it first.

It may still be significantly elevated, however.

In generral, I would not prefer to pass the effluent itself over a binder as the low pH may accelerate dissolution of the binders, in many cases.

melev
11/28/2005, 06:50 AM
Since the first test showed PO4 and the subsequent one showed none, I imagine that it is an accurate reading.

I'll go check the alkalinity of the effluent. Thanks for the response. I was sitting here waiting in line for your reply. :D

arconom
11/28/2005, 06:55 AM
I was also very interested in Both questions.

Randy have you heard of Biophos? Were there be any advantage of passing the effuent over this media verse a iron base phosphate binder?

Randy Holmes-Farley
11/28/2005, 06:55 AM
Since the first test showed PO4 and the subsequent one showed none, I imagine that it is an accurate reading.

Well, I'd assume it indicates that there is substantial phosphate, but perhaps not correctly how much. :)

melev
11/28/2005, 06:57 AM
The alkalinity tested 14.7 dKH, under Habib's limit. :D

I know I could use Kent's Phosphate Sponge instead, but... :(

So let's say I stay with this process for a while. What indicators do I want to watch for? My goal of course is 0 phosphate. Would the media do something negative, which is why you are recommending against it?

You don't run a Calcium Reactor, so I suppose you can't do any kind of test to establish this one way or the other with any degree of certainty. Correct?

NexDog
11/28/2005, 07:01 AM
Originally posted by Randy Holmes-Farley
In generral, I would not prefer to pass the effluent itself over a binder as the low pH may accelerate dissolution of the binders, in many cases.
What are the ill-effects of this? Also, if the media in the MelevTube ( :D ) was changed out weekly rather than the standard monthly?

melev
11/28/2005, 07:06 AM
Dissolution means it no longer absorbs phosphate, correct? So testing the effluent for PO4 weekly would determine if it is working or not, especially if the effluent was diluted the proper amount to get an accurate set of results, I think.

I was reading another thread where Habib talked about testing for PO4, but I think it was in Kalk and not Calcium effluent. It would be good if our scientific leaders could give us a definitive answer or guideline to follow.

Tossing out the ARM and replacing it with new media is another option. I found a post an hour ago abut soaking the media in RO/DI water for a week, stirring it occasionally and changing out the water twice will result in 'safe' media.

Randy Holmes-Farley
11/28/2005, 07:07 AM
What are the ill-effects of this?

That depends on what impurities may be in the binders, but low pH may accelerate release of iron, and impurities such as zinc. I've become concerned enough about this issue even for normal use that I may test some commercial samples before too long.

melev
11/28/2005, 07:10 AM
How about today? :D

Randy Holmes-Farley
11/28/2005, 07:12 AM
:lol:

I think not. :D

Dissolution means it no longer absorbs phosphate, correct? So testing the effluent for PO4 weekly would determine if it is working or not, especially if the effluent was diluted the proper amount to get an accurate set of results, I think.

If 1% of it dissolved, that is a lot of metal added to the water, but no sigificant impact on phosphate binding capacity.

melev
11/28/2005, 07:12 AM
You know how long I've been trying to conquer the tank's PO4 level. To think it has been coming out of my Ca Reactor all this time is extremely unsettling. I've reduced feeding, reduced bioload, skim hard, and grow macro algae like its a contest. And my numbers never go away.

If this is a source, we need a workable solution.

melev
11/28/2005, 07:14 AM
Originally posted by Randy Holmes-Farley
If 1% of it dissolved, that is a lot of metal added to the water, but no sigificant impact on phosphate binding capacity.

Iron is good for macro algae, and Kent sells it by the bottle. Maybe this tiny amount will be a boon to my tank.

"Hobbyist is determined to convince scientist that he's right. News at 11."


:rolleyes:

dgasmd
11/28/2005, 07:15 AM
I am almost scare to say, but I think for the first time in history I may be one ahead of you on this one Mark :lol: :lol: :lol:

About ayear ago, I saw someone post something similar and they had a little reactor built for it. Basicaly it holds the pH probe in it and it also has some PO4 absorbing media in it too for the same reasons. I can't take credit for the idea, but I'll take credit for showing it to you as I have one also. Given you are so handy with acrylic, maybe you should build me a dual one so I can use one for the Ca reactor effluent and the other chamber for te kalk reactor (just for testing pH).:lol: ;) :lol:

http://www.dgasmd.org/750g%20tank/GEO%20reactors/effluent-reactor.jpg

By the way, I know that Randy does not recommend running the low pH water over the PO4 absorbers, but I've never had issues from doing so. When I run only kalk, my PO4 tends to cake in over time, but this one never do due to the low pH of the effluent. I know several people using this method without problems either. PO4 is high in the effluent with ALL media, so it only makes sense to me.

melev
11/28/2005, 07:18 AM
Cool! Now explain how it works to me. Where's the pH probe? What media are you using to remove PO4?

Let's see if Randy chews you out. He's being nice so far, but the day is young. ;)

Randy Holmes-Farley
11/28/2005, 07:19 AM
If this is a source, we need a workable solution.

Switching to a different media may be an easier option. :D

melev
11/28/2005, 07:20 AM
Could you post that any more vaguely? :lol: We want specifics. What's your poison of choice?

melev
11/28/2005, 07:22 AM
Dang, you mean the media in the Ca Reactor and not in my effluent tube? Okay, which media do you recommend? According to an article you wrote that I saw mentioned a few hours ago, your tests indicated that ARM was the least problematic media.

dgasmd
11/28/2005, 07:32 AM
Originally posted by melev
Cool! Now explain how it works to me. Where's the pH probe? What media are you using to remove PO4?

Let's see if Randy chews you out. He's being nice so far, but the day is young. ;)

I am using Phosban myself. I refuse to use any of the Al based medias though. As far as Randy, I have seen his picture and I can safely say I can take him. I used to shank bigger guys in jail in the mornings just to break the bordom of the day:lol: :lol: :lol: Just kidding Randy:D

See the link below as it has better pictures. Ignore all the zeovit and german idolizing talk in the next 3-4 pages though.

Link 1 (http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=488819&perpage=25&highlight=fluidized&pagenumber=1)

Another similar link (http://)

melev
11/28/2005, 07:43 AM
The bottom link is a dead link. The first one was good. I didn't realize the effluent was going down the center where the probe is.

Hmmm. ;) I'm not that good, but I can try to come close.

Lots of guys in that thread are moved on. I felt dirty just reading it. :lol:

NexDog
11/28/2005, 07:44 AM
That BioPhos thread is what started us off on this actually. ;)

We just couldn't understand what the need for such a super-dooper reactor was when all you're doing is passing the Ca2 effluent out over some PO4 removal media.

Marc, if you have some spare media how about doing a test with the rinsing in RODI method and test the water afterward. :)

I mean, if the phosphate is coming from some kind of covering on the media then this is the best solution but I can't see it being that easy!

melev
11/28/2005, 07:48 AM
True. But at the same time, I'll have to dispose of my current media that is maybe 3 months old. I hate waste. :mad:

I have to wonder why this product is leaching PO4 though. I'm going to call CaribSea to hear what they have to say.

dgasmd
11/28/2005, 07:48 AM
The PO4 is not covering from any "covering". It comes from the composition of the media itself as it breaks down unde acid water. All media do this. I highly doubt that soaking it in RO/DI water for a while would extract it from the media, but I guess it is not a definate answer until it is proven in a replicable fashion.

The second link doesn't add up much to the first one. Most of the moved on guys are zeovit fanatics and currently reside in their own website/forum. Some are very nice guys though and people I respect seriously, but I think they get too passionate about zeovit and sometimes can't seen to see passed that.

Marc:

By the way, the guy that built mine was a guy named Kevin that lives in Houston I belive. I just tried ging to is site and it is dead. Edward (invincible) knows him as he was the one that did his 2 units too. I think it was like $45 delivered. Very good quality.

melev
11/28/2005, 08:13 AM
I just got off the phone with CaribSea, and they are going to send me a new container of ARM to replace the current media. All they asked in return was for me to send them a small sample of what is in my reactor. I'm also going to send them a little bit from the original container, because I had about 1/2" extra left over. In this way they can see it before and after. The person I talked to is going to look at the grain sizes and see if any calcite was mixed in accidentally.

Much of what he told me on the phone would have made more sense to Randy I'm sure, but all I care about is PO4-free effluent.

melev
11/28/2005, 08:15 AM
Originally posted by dgasmd
Marc:

By the way, the guy that built mine was a guy named Kevin that lives in Houston I belive. I just tried ging to is site and it is dead. Edward (invincible) knows him as he was the one that did his 2 units too. I think it was like $45 delivered. Very good quality.

The price is great. I don't have that size acrylic anyway, nor the nice screw top. Maybe I can find out if these are still being made.

NexDog
11/28/2005, 08:22 AM
If you find out and they are, please let me know. :)

Also hope CaribSea get back to you but I'm sure we've both seen plenty of threads recently discussing this.

If Randy is getting 0 readings for phospahe in his Ca reactor effluent then we need to know and he reads PO4 then we need to know his solution. :)

dgasmd
11/28/2005, 08:22 AM
Originally posted by melev
The price is great. I don't have that size acrylic anyway, nor the nice screw top. Maybe I can find out if these are still being made.

You can easily build something similar out of 3" PVC and some other PVC parts. Acrylic here adds nothing to functionality.

melev
11/28/2005, 08:37 AM
Acrylic will look much nicer than PVC.

Laurence, I don't know if they'll follow up with me, but I can always make a call. I did bring up the suggestion to soak it in RO/DI water for 7 days and he said that doesn't do anything for PO4, but it would if I soaked carbon. Since it didn't pertain to the conversation, I didn't pursue it.

arconom
11/28/2005, 10:01 AM
That guy who originally made that mini reactor for "Invincible" went out of business to my knowledge. Towards the end he was very backed up with work. He started slacking with orders.

He built me a sweet Fluidised reactor that I sold since I decided not to use phosban cause of all the horror stories. Now I have to buy another reactor ROFL. Everything in moderation.

Also not to intentionally hijack Marc but maybe we need to find out more about that Biophos? I could use a reactor also;) Let me know how yours turns out.

I also heard about soaking the ARM in RO/DI I think it might have to do with the phospates actually being released with a the low PH in a calcium Reactor.

Marc I'm glad your finding out the source of your phosphates. I wished I did what I suggested to you in my first setup:( I guess you live and learn.

Rickeejb
11/28/2005, 11:59 AM
Marc, if you have been running the media that is in calcium reactor for quite some time. You said that it is like 3 months old. How do you know where the phosphate in the reactor is coming from? Your tank was very high in phosphates not long ago. The water that was running though the calcium reactor was coming from your tank. Maybe the media the in container is now full of the phophates from the water that was running over it(as well as the sponges in the reactor). The only way to test the media would be before using it in a reactor. I would bet it is very likely that you test the effluent coming out of reactor running set in very low phosphate tank, you would get a lower reading. The same as I would think if you kept the phophates 0 in your tank, changed out the media in the reactor and cleaned the sponges thoroughly. The phophate reading coming out would be a lot lower. By the way, nice job getting a new container of A.R.M.

dgasmd
11/28/2005, 02:01 PM
I think the obvious is being ignored here. ALL MEDIA HAVE PO4!! You want to know for sure? Turn off your CO2 for a few hours and measure the pH of the stuff coming out of the Ca reactor for PO4. I bet you it is the same as your tank. Replace the media with the mew one they are sending you. Test again with water running through it and I bet you it is the saem as your tank. Turn on your CO2 again and give it enough time for the pH to get to where it would be disolving media. Test again and I bet you it will be high again. I have been wrong, but this is too easy to prove me wrong and the conditions are lending themselves to be able to prove me wrong.

By the way Marc, why is your effluent's DKH so low? What pH do you run your Ca reactor at? Even when I was using crushed coral I was getting a DKH ont he effluent close to 30.

Randy Holmes-Farley
11/28/2005, 02:44 PM
If Randy is getting 0 readings for phospahe in his Ca reactor effluent then we need to know and he reads PO4 then we need to know his solution.

I deal with that by not using a CaCO3/CO2 reactor. :lol:

melev
11/28/2005, 02:54 PM
<b>Arconom</b>, I contacted a guy named Kevin on Marshreef.com today, and he's still making the reactor. I'm waiting to get the price with shipping, but he told me it was $59 for the unit itself. Biophos appears to be aluminum-based phosphate remover, but that is all I've determined up to this point. I did quite a bit of reading early this morning before the sun rose.

<b>Rick</b>, that is a good point. I talked with CaribSea about my system, and how I've been battling PO4 in my tank a lot for the past year, how I've always used ARM, and Phosbuster Pro - both are their products. The guy I spoke with asked what the PO4 in the tank was, which I told him was .5, and then he asked what the effluent was, which was 2.0. I didn't think about it loading up in the reactor just like it would LR and LS, but that is logical. FYI, I didn't ask for more media for free, because I bought a container at MACNA and have it here ready to use. My question was why is this media leaching out PO4 at all. Maybe you came up with the answer, but I'll still send in the samples as requested.

<b>dgasmd</b>, I would actually like to test it as you suggested. So I'll give that a try. However, to get an accurate test, do you still test dripping effluent or do you leave it open to get decent flow through the media? Maybe I'll take the entire reactor apart and clean it with vinegar, to remove any traces of PO4.

Btw, I had a light over a part of my sump that made algae grow on the inside of the reactor. Would that be a potential source? It was growing in the tubing that recirculates, in the effluent tubing, and even on the walls of the reactor itself.

My reactor is set up with a pH Controller (thus the reason I like that little effluent reactor), releasing 1 bubble per second. The controller is set to pH 6.7, and the effluent dripping out is maybe 3 drops per second, or more. I just tested the alk in the tank this morning and it was 8.3 dKH. Calcium was 415 two days ago.

arconom
11/28/2005, 03:15 PM
Nice Marc:) I sent invincible a PM maybe he knows some more info on the Biophos.

I might get that reactor. Now the media is the issue.

Regardless if the Phosphates have built up over time and are being stored or are realeased over time with the low PH the phosphates are still a issue.

It's not like your going to take the stuff out of the reactor every 2 weeks and rinse it.

dgasmd is right, all Reactor media has phosphates or releases them. It's just how much I guess that matters.

Rickeejb
11/28/2005, 03:41 PM
I am not saying that any media is phosphate free. I am saying in the overall scheme of things that if you have high phosphates in the tank, it's not the fault of the media melting in the calcium reactor. I have been using A.R.M. from the beginning and I never have a phosphate problem. I do have a refugium, and use two phosban reactors, with a bare bottom tank. Not that I am problem free but phosphate usually isn't one of them. Like he mentioned Marc, your effluent sure is low on the alkaliity side. Mine is up around 25dkh also.

melev
11/28/2005, 03:54 PM
So how is that number brought up typically?

arconom
11/28/2005, 05:56 PM
You have a PM Marc.

Travis
11/28/2005, 07:58 PM
FWIW, I have also always used ARM and never had phosphate problems in my tank. I do plan to start dripping it through some phosban in the future once I DIY a container for it.

I know JBNY runs his effluent through phosban and by the way his tank looks, I would think it doesn't seem to cause any problems.

melev
11/28/2005, 08:43 PM
Well, if people are dripping the effluent through media, that indicates the definite likeliness of PO4 coming out of their reactors.

Rick, have you ever tested your reactor's effluent for PO4?

dgasmd
11/28/2005, 09:33 PM
Originally posted by melev
<b>dgasmd</b>, I would actually like to test it as you suggested. So I'll give that a try. However, to get an accurate test, do you still test dripping effluent or do you leave it open to get decent flow through the media? Maybe I'll take the entire reactor apart and clean it with vinegar, to remove any traces of PO4.

Marc:

Test it the same way you use it, whether it is dripping or a steady stream. I seriously doubt your PO4 were so high as to impregnate into the reactor's media. It is likely to have been high all along. You just did not know because you never tested it before.

I am glad to see you found Kevin. If you don't mind it, please forward me his email to contact him to make me a another.

In the little experiment of the effluents, I would test the following way to eliminate all variables:

1. test tank water
2. test reactor's effluent as it is now without touching the reactor
3. turn off CO2 and test the effluent again when pH has reached the same as the tank.
4. clean the reactor and replace media.
5. test effluent of reactor without CO2 running with new media
6. turn on CO2 and reach you optimum working pH. Test again the effluent.
7 test the tank's water again.

That should give you a picture of the tank and effuent before and after any variable.

Alberto
PS: did you get my email or PM?

melev
11/28/2005, 10:14 PM
Originally posted by dgasmd
Marc:

Test it the same way you use it, whether it is dripping or a steady stream. I seriously doubt your PO4 were so high as to impregnate into the reactor's media. It is likely to have been high all along. You just did not know because you never tested it before.

I am glad to see you found Kevin. If you don't mind it, please forward me his email to contact him to make me a another.

In the little experiment of the effluents, I would test the following way to eliminate all variables:

1. test tank water
2. test reactor's effluent as it is now without touching the reactor
3. turn off CO2 and test the effluent again when pH has reached the same as the tank.
4. clean the reactor and replace media.
5. test effluent of reactor without CO2 running with new media
6. turn on CO2 and reach you optimum working pH. Test again the effluent.
7 test the tank's water again.

That should give you a picture of the tank and effuent before and after any variable.



Man, nothing like a little homework, eh?

For #3 and #5, are we talking about the little bit that drips out, or do I want to open the valve to get a steady flow going through the reactor? The wait period could be substantial as the pH rises and drops ever so slowly.

I have his username on Marshreef in my PM box. I'll look it up and give it to you, as he didn't give me an email address.

dgasmd
11/29/2005, 04:15 AM
Just let it drip on the cup and raw from the cup. For #3 and #4 you could do it either way. Certainly opening the valve will flush the CO2 present in the reactor faster, but it may be a little too much CO2 dumped at once. I seriously doubt it will do anything, but watch your tank's pH just in case.

Alberto
PS: Did you get my PM or email?

Rickeejb
11/30/2005, 09:20 PM
Originally posted by melev

Rick, have you ever tested your reactor's effluent for PO4?

I tested the effluent coming out of the calcium reactor today, twice, with a brand new phosphate test kit. Both times the reading was zero, or as close to the zero color as I could tell. That is with A.R.M. and the reactor is very low, so it is media that has been in there for a couple of months.

melev
11/30/2005, 10:30 PM
Can you tell me how to raise the alkalinity of the effluent? Do I need to decrease the pH more? I asked this earlier and never got a reply.

PO4 today was still around .25 in the tank, and 0 in the effluent cup.

NexDog
11/30/2005, 10:46 PM
You might be fixing the symptom rather than the root cause but at least you're on the right track with zero readings in teh effluent. :)

melev
11/30/2005, 11:20 PM
Oh, no doubt. I'm going to replace the media. I'm just testing what is occuring in the tank now.

Bojan
12/01/2005, 02:00 AM
Originally posted by melev
Tank: .5 (nice drop for 24 hours)
Effluent: 2.0 (assuming the test is accurate with higher alk and lower pH)

What are the units ?

0.5 ppm in tank and 2 ppm in effluent.

Is this true ?

Bojan
12/01/2005, 02:09 AM
Originally posted by melev
[B]Can you tell me how to raise the alkalinity of the effluent? Do I need to decrease the pH more? I asked this earlier and never got a reply.

If you want to raise the alkalinity with the same Effluent Flow you have to increase bubble rate od CO2, so you have to decrease pH inside reactor.

There is my article about setting of the Ca reactor.
http://home.comcast.net/~jdieck1/reactor.htmlhttp://www.sloreef.com/bojan/CaReactorPerformance.htm

dgasmd
12/01/2005, 07:22 AM
Melev:

The only problem with lowering the pH below 6.7-6.8 with ARM is that tons of it will turn into dust and clog the living heck out of your reactor's pads/filters. That is the very same reason a lot of people are trying the Schuran media because the lower the pH the lhigher the DKH. Running the pH at 6.2-6.1 with that media can give you DKH values in the 90's on the effluent without much dust formation. It may be too much CO2 to add into your system depending on your effluent rate and the efficiency of you Ca reactor.

Bojan
12/01/2005, 08:13 AM
I use DIY Ca reactor

http://www.sloreef.com/bojan/CaReactor.htm

and I fill reactor with coral sand, actually pieces of the corals . I prefer granulation 10 mm up to complete branches of corals ( 5cm long) for Ca reactor media.

Based on my experiences optimal pH is 6,5 up to 6.6.

melev
12/01/2005, 12:28 PM
I could try to go to pH 6.5, something I've never tried before. <b>Bojan</b> - your DIY looks excellent. Nice job! And yes, in my last post, I was referring to ppm (Salifert test). Sorry, I got a little lazy and didn't include the units of measurement.

Lunchbucket
12/02/2005, 07:07 PM
i have started using Schuran "knock off" media (sold at premiumaquatics.com) they said it looks teh same as the schuran stuff and might be from the same company. i use it due to the dust issue that dgasmd was talking about w/ arm...i hated it. and for the lower po4 values....not proven but suposed to be lower in po4

Lunchbucket

Lunchbucket
12/03/2005, 01:25 PM
tested my tank and effluent for alk and phosphates today here are my numbers:

tank:
alk - 11dKH (salifert)
po4 - 0.0ppm (salifert)

effluent
alk - ~34.0dKH (salifert)
po4 - <0.03ppm (salifert)

i'm glad to see that the po4 is low out of the effluent and undetectable w/ the salifert in the tank. i do realize that my po4 test might be sqewed due to the high alk when i tested it though

melev i'm sure the media has sucked up some po4 and possibly the other stuff in the reactor. hope that it gets all figured out soon!!

BTW - love in the first shot your ER skimmer :D

Lunchbucket

melev
12/04/2005, 05:22 PM
The reactor is circulating water and a little muriatic acid (1 cup worth), so it and its pump will be nice and clean. I need to clean the tubing as well, next. The ARM arrived yesterday, so I'll refill the reactor in a little bit.

I was talking with Rickjb today and he mentioned that the way I control the effluent may be part of the reason the alkalinity is so low. Since water is added to the reactor very slowly, and drips out into the beer cup, the pH rises and drops much slower within the reactor itself. He thinks measuring it within the reactor will turn the Co2 on and off more quickly. I would have to buy some type of probe holder and mount it to the reactor's lid to change the way it is running now.

Lunchbucket
12/04/2005, 05:40 PM
melev - i was wondering why you didn't test the pH in the reactor. i have an extra probe holder if you want it

Lunchbucket

melev
12/04/2005, 05:55 PM
There is no way to test it within the reactor without turning it off and opening it up. I measure the effluent, which should be what the pH is inside the reactor.

arconom
12/04/2005, 06:29 PM
Melev

What you measure coming out is what is inside.

That little reactor that we were talking about I ordered. Here is what I'm going to do.

I will buy a cheap PH controller and place the probe where the probe holder is inside that mini reactor. I will have it turn on and off the Soleniod on my regulaterto control my PH inside.

I learned with my last setup the best way to control PH is to just mess with the Bubble count. It becomes very difficult if you change the effuent rate and bubble count at once.


Originally posted by melev
I was talking with Rickjb today and he mentioned that the way I control the effluent may be part of the reason the alkalinity is so low. Since water is added to the reactor very slowly, and drips out into the beer cup, the pH rises and drops much slower within the reactor itself.

You shouldn't be controlling Incoming water flow to the reactor. Regardless of speed it will recirc.

Your unit has a specific GPH feed pump tha is recommended.

Lunchbucket
12/04/2005, 07:42 PM
melev - i just figured you would have a pH probe mounted in the chamber...that is what i meant. i have a holder if you want it

Lunchbucket

melev
12/04/2005, 08:10 PM
Wow, two posts in a row by Eric & Eric. ;)

That is pretty much how I planned to run it, Eric #1.

I appreciate the offer, Eric #2. Let me know what you want for it in a PM. Is this something I would screw into the acrylic lid, then put the probe in and tighten a collar to keep it from leaking water out of the reactor? A picture would probably answer all of this.

My reactor is all clean and ready to refill.

Travis
12/04/2005, 09:21 PM
Marc, I'm guessing that guy was assuming that the dripping action of the effluent into the cup was aerating the water and causing the ph to rise before being measured. With that mini reactor that Kevin makes, it doesn't look like the effluent drips at all. If it does it is in an enclosed area that isn't exposed to O2 anyways so the ph in that mini reactor will be the same as what is in the calcium reactor chamber. The only thing that would change that is if you run a second stage on your reactore, which will make the ph a couple tenths higher.

melev
12/05/2005, 12:23 AM
Tonight I cleaned the calcium reactor completely, using 1 cup muriatic acid and tap water.

I let it run for several hours, then rinsed it out well. All tubing was cleaned as best possible.

The media was replaced with new, the reactor assembled and filled with tank water. During assembly, I kept looking to make sure nothing was missing. I also remembered a friend telling me how he replaced the sponge because the old one was too hard to clean out, but mine didn't have one. I didn't see it anywhere.

While the reactor was running, I was looking at the media and saw a few granules in the base, something I'd never seen before. Did it have a sponge in there before? I decided to check the trash where the media was poured out, and found it. So the reactor had to be disconnected, drained and rinsed out completely again, the sponge installed and refilled.

Once the reactor was full and the water was clear coming out, I tested the effluent of just water going through the ARM media.

Effluent without CO2: 7.7 dKH
Effluent PO4 .1 ppm (makes sense since tank water was in the reactor now)

Tank water: 8.3 dKH
Tank PO4 .5ppm

Phosban reactor #1: .5ppm PO4
Phosban reactor #2: .25ppm PO4

So the reactors were taken offline, emptied, rinsed and refilled with 12 heaping teaspoons of Pura Phoslock and ROWAphos, each. From the side, this is just a little less than 2" of media in each reactor.

Next I turned on the CO2 to the Calcium Reactor, adding 1 bubble per second. The pH controller measures the effluent and dictates when the CO2 should turn off. I'm still waiting for it to reach pH 6.5 in the reactor...

10:50pm 7.7
11:20pm 7.4
11:50pm 7.3
12:20pm 7.2
01:00am 7.0
01:20am 6.9

I'm not going to test the effluent for alkalinity until it reaches pH 6.5 - I guess I could decrease the pH if I increased the bubble count or by allowing the effluent to exit more quickly. Current effluent is 40 ml per minute, which isn't exactly easy to measure. I set a timer and collected what drained out in a graduated cup, but since it was so large, I had to use a syringe to suck out 5ml at a time to determine the amount. I guess I need a smaller device with ml markings on the side to make that easier to determine.

Btw, this is much faster effluent than I have run in the past. Usually it is 3 drops per second, and now it is alotadrops per second. ;)

melev
12/05/2005, 01:31 AM
02:30am 6.7 - still waiting for it to hit 6.5

melev
12/05/2005, 02:29 AM
Still 6.7 at 3:30am. :(

NexDog
12/05/2005, 03:06 AM
Whack up the CO2 so it gets there quicker and then dial it back after?

melev
12/05/2005, 03:55 AM
I agree, as one hour later it was still 6.7. I turned up the bubble counter. I counted 160 bubbles per minute, or roughly 2.5bubbles per second. After 30 more minutes, it finally hit 6.5 and the CO2 shut off. Wow, that took 6 hours!

Effluent with CO2: 32 dKH (Salifert, using two full syringes of the 2nd solution)

Is there a different way to test for Alk using that kit to not use up so much of that solution? Do I use less effluent and double the results perhaps?

melev
12/05/2005, 04:28 AM
Two images from the Phosban Reactor. It turns out I only use about 1.5" of media.

http://www.melevsreef.com/pics/05/12/phosban_low_fill.jpg

http://www.melevsreef.com/pics/05/12/phosban_inch_half.jpg

Lunchbucket
12/05/2005, 04:48 AM
Marc - hope it works out for you.

all i want for that probe holder is shipping cost. you can either drill and tap your lid oryou cna put it in your plumbing of the recirc pump (it is 1/2" pvc threaded)

what a reef junkie...even has a reef product ruler :D

Lunchbucket

Habib
12/05/2005, 05:07 AM
what a reef junkie...even has a reef product ruler

I think we need to bring out a tape ruler which gives a dimesion 25% less than actual value to convinvce the spouse that the delivered tank's size is as agreed and is not larger.

NexDog
12/05/2005, 05:11 AM
Did you test the phosphate in the effluent again?

melev
12/05/2005, 12:46 PM
No, I thought I'd test it tonight after it has been running for about a day. Those test kits Habib makes never seem to last long enough for me. :lol:

That ruler was a freebie at MACNA, and the minute I got it I knew it would come in handy. I have a metal ruler that I've used in the past, but with this one you can put it in the tank if you want to display the size of an item... and it was handy last night, as you can see. I'll PM you, Eric. Thanks.

melev
12/05/2005, 09:19 PM
I did a couple of tests tonight now that the newly cleaned Calcium Reactor is up and running, and the Phosban Reactors were refilled last night.

Tank PO4: .1
Effluent PO4: .03 - .1 (to close to call)
Tank Alkalinity: 9.1 dKH

I noticed that the effluent tube is gathering more and more air in it. Last night it was a tiny bubble, but today it is more like 10" or more. The effluent continues to go out but that's a lot of air. I have a feeling it is CO2 actually. The reactor has a few bubbles at the top, but not a huge pocket of air/gas. Does this happen to any of you?

Travis
12/05/2005, 09:24 PM
I used to get some CO2 build up in my reactor when I used a mag2 for the recirculation pump. I now use an Iwaki 20 with a spray bar and no longer have any CO2 bubbles at all. I think the combination of the spray bar and the more powerful pressure rated pump help keep the CO2 dissolved better so it doesn't build up at the top, but that is just a guess. What pump does your reactor use for recirculation?

Travis
12/05/2005, 09:25 PM
Now that I think about it a little more, your reactor may still just be purging air from the refill. The directions that came with my reactor say to run it with the effluent valve wide open for 24 hours after refilling to purge all the air.

melev
12/05/2005, 09:54 PM
Wide open for 24 hours? What about Co2? I could imagine opening it for 5 minutes perhaps, to flush it out.

It is a Lifereef Calcium Reactor with a Mag 7 circulation pump.

Lunchbucket
12/06/2005, 04:58 AM
that is exactly why i have a bottom flow reactor. any air that is in the top is right by the pumps (panworld) inlet..so it gets sucked up and chopped up. also it will get purges out throught the effluent...it just takes some time too.

also i have seen air purge valves on a few ca rx's

Lunchbucket

Travis
12/06/2005, 09:42 AM
The C02 is supposed to be off for the 24 hour purging time.

arconom
12/06/2005, 10:07 AM
I had to do the same thing with my old MRC Calcium reactor. Let it run for 24 hours to purge the air without the Co2. If you don't you will get a very inconsitent Effuent rate.

javajaws
01/16/2006, 02:41 PM
Hey Marc,

Whatever happened with this?

Did your new media add PO4 as well? If so, what have you found the most effective for removing it (which media)?

I'm going to setup my CA reactor this week. I bought one of those biophos reactors a long time ago in preparation for this...so I'm most curious about what media you are running your effluent through if any.

melev
01/16/2006, 03:58 PM
I need to test it again to see what it is currently.

When I replaced the media and washed out the reactor, the PO4 was 0. After a week or so, it was .1 but the tank was higher. Makes sense, right? Water from the tank is pushed into the reactor at a very slow rate, and exits at the same lack of speed. So as the tank situation resolves itself, the reactor may still show PO4.

On Dec 31st, 2005, the tank finally had 0 phosphates. I may never test again, so I don't ruin that perfect record. :lol:

The effluent is currently flowing into my infamous red beer cup, filled with more ARM to degass any excess CO2 before it can enter the tank.

Lunchbucket
01/16/2006, 08:53 PM
well i hope you tank stays at 0.0ppm. it is a great feeling when you test and test and test and it still is at zero

Lunchbucket

Gudwyn
01/16/2006, 09:56 PM
In my system, I've decided to run the C02 reactor effluent thru phosban before letting it into my tank. But I was concerned about the low pH.

So I've rigged up the following system. The TEE (red arrow) is between the carbon reactor and the phosban reactor. The hose going up allows C02 effluent (green arrow) to drip down and mix into the water stream before going into the reactor. And the air inlet on the effluent hose (blue arrow) kills the siphon so I don't get air sucked down the TEE into the reactor.

http://reefcentral.com/gallery/data/500/36318phosban.JPG

Don't know if it matters, but I figured it was relevant to this discussion. Water level in the vertical pipe is right at the top of the TEE. It is pretty stable but will change as a vary the flow thru the reactor.

JerseyReef
04/12/2006, 06:25 PM
Marc,

Curious if you ever tested your tank after you reached your goal? Do you believe it was the media all along or the media was impacted by your elevated tank PO4 levels?

melev
04/13/2006, 03:39 PM
Mike, since the thread has been revived, I'll test it and see what numbers I get.

I have a feeling the reason it was so high is because my tank was so high (3.0), and the effluent drip rate was so slow since it was truly dripping. Basically the reactor was full of 'old' tank water since it would take forever to refill with lower PO4-laded water. Plus the media may have absorbed some since it was so high for so long.

Last test was .25 in the reef, about 10 days ago. The calcium reactor media is brown all the way around, like algae or diatoms. I do have lighting from the refugium and the phytoplankton station, so it could be growing in there from the daily dose of lighting. The top of the media is white though, so I think it is only right at the periphery between the media and the acrylic wall.

JerseyReef
04/14/2006, 01:34 PM
Marc - Looking forward to seeing the results :)

melev
04/14/2006, 09:01 PM
Okay, here's tonight's readings:

Tank - .5
Effluent - 1.0
Phosban Reactor - .03

So it appears my media is yet again outputting phosphate, which explains why I see the brown algae inside the chamber. :rolleyes:

I guess I can soak my other container's worth in RO water for a week, and then swap it out. It seems the effluent needs to be run over some type of phosphate absorber if I want to keep the tank's PO4 level down.

Lunchbucket
04/14/2006, 10:00 PM
why not use the schuran stuff. that is supposed to be lower in PO4. i've never had a problem w/ mine

Lunchbucket

melev
04/14/2006, 11:18 PM
Mainly because I don't have it.

JerseyReef
04/15/2006, 06:27 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7180012#post7180012 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by melev
Okay, here's tonight's readings:

Tank - .5
Effluent - 1.0
Phosban Reactor - .03

So it appears my media is yet again outputting phosphate, which explains why I see the brown algae inside the chamber. :rolleyes:

Marc - why couldn't it be the other way around? I believe your media isn't causing the phosphate, just a trap for it from your tank.

When I had my Ca reactor up and running, I pulled the water from the last segment of my sump, after the water has had a chance to go through the skimmer and the macro algae section. Maybe the tank water that is entering the the Ca reactor is loaded with phosphate and detritus from the tank. I'm not familiar with your setup, so I don't know where your pulling the water from.

You could do a few things here

Place a media sponge on the inlet of the Ca reactor pump to catch and detritus entering the reactor.

If the flow out of your phosban reactor is high enough, plumb it to the Ca reactor instead. This should lower in PO4 coming into the reactor. However, you'll need a through cleaning of the Ca reactor to remove any built up detritus. I've never done this, it's just an suggestion.

Pull the tank water from the last section of your sump (after the skimmer and macro algae sections). This area should relatively "cleaner"

arconom
04/15/2006, 06:34 AM
Marc I can tell you one thing, I can only wish to one day have a Reef like yours. It seems to me Phosphate is not hindering any growth or colors in your tank.

Lunchbucket
04/15/2006, 06:43 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7180591#post7180591 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by melev
Mainly because I don't have it.

order it up :P

Lunchbucket

melev
04/15/2006, 10:49 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7181231#post7181231 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by JerseyReef
Marc - why couldn't it be the other way around? I believe your media isn't causing the phosphate, just a trap for it from your tank.

When I had my Ca reactor up and running, I pulled the water from the last segment of my sump, after the water has had a chance to go through the skimmer and the macro algae section. Maybe the tank water that is entering the the Ca reactor is loaded with phosphate and detritus from the tank. I'm not familiar with your setup, so I don't know where your pulling the water from.

You could do a few things here

Place a media sponge on the inlet of the Ca reactor pump to catch and detritus entering the reactor.

If the flow out of your phosban reactor is high enough, plumb it to the Ca reactor instead. This should lower in PO4 coming into the reactor. However, you'll need a through cleaning of the Ca reactor to remove any built up detritus. I've never done this, it's just an suggestion.

Pull the tank water from the last section of your sump (after the skimmer and macro algae sections). This area should relatively "cleaner"

I am pulling water from the return section of the sump, after the skimmer and refugium. I still see detritus in the return section, which gathers in spots here and there. Maybe putting a mesh sock around the intake of that pump would do the job.

That's funny that you mentioned it, but I was thinking the same thing about using Phosban effluent as Calcium Reactor input. I don't know if I can pull it off, but I like the idea.

JerseyReef
04/16/2006, 06:45 AM
Marc - Since I don't have a phosban reactor. I don't know the answer to this question I'm about to ask.

Is the pH lower coming out of the Phosban reactor?

melev
04/16/2006, 07:59 AM
I doubt it. I'd have to check though.

JerseyReef
05/02/2006, 07:27 PM
Marc - Any update on my previous question?

melev
05/02/2006, 08:26 PM
I'll check right now!

Tank pH - 8.14
Phosban Reactor pH - 7.73

Randy Holmes-Farley
05/03/2006, 06:03 AM
Curious. How long has that reactor been set up?

JerseyReef
05/03/2006, 10:52 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7293321#post7293321 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by melev
I'll check right now!

Tank pH - 8.14
Phosban Reactor pH - 7.73

I wonder why the pH is lower coming out of the phosban reactor?

Randy - Can the media used to lower phosphate, lower the pH as well?

Randy Holmes-Farley
05/03/2006, 10:55 AM
IME with some brands, it does not. But I have not tested Phosban specifically yet. However, if there is precipitation of CaCO3 inside the reactor, that would lower pH. Also, I presume the flow is quite slow in melev's reactor, or the pH could never drop that much. I use a Magnum to run GFO, and the flow is quite high (few gallons per minute), and in that case, I cannot believe there is a detectable pH drop.

JerseyReef
05/03/2006, 11:11 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7296359#post7296359 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Randy Holmes-Farley
IME with some brands, it does not. But I have not tested Phosban specifically yet. However, if there is precipitation of CaCO3 inside the reactor, that would lower pH. Also, I presume the flow is quite slow in melev's reactor, or the pH could never drop that much. I use a Magnum to run GFO, and the flow is quite high (few gallons per minute), and in that case, I cannot believe there is a detectable pH drop.

Curious, have you measured the pH coming out of your GFO?

Randy Holmes-Farley
05/03/2006, 11:29 AM
No, but I can tonight. I have measured the pH of tank water in which GFO is added for testing purposes. Even at very high doses it did not drop pH a lot.

melev
05/05/2006, 08:41 PM
Randy, the flow coming out of both Phosban Reactors are very slow, almost a trickle. The media is RowaPHOS-like stuff I got in a group buy, but not the official RowaPHOS. I tested both outputs when I posted those numbers the other day, and they matched surprisingly.

jnarowe
05/05/2006, 09:09 PM
rats. I missed number 20000! Congrats, I guess.:D

melev
05/05/2006, 10:00 PM
It is hiding in the DIY forum. I even stated the number in that post, since the counter continues to change after each post. :)

http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=7313061#post7313061

jnarowe
05/05/2006, 11:47 PM
Good post too. I haven't been real enthused about the Rowa carbon I have been using and that article describes why! Anyway, I am a bit surprised to read several times in the last few days that carbon is only good for a few days. I have been using carbon for years and in particular in my under-stand power filter on my FW Planted tank.

I am building a multi-media reactor for the reef with carbon in mind for the first chamber but maybe I should think about other medias? I have a large bag of carbon in one of my filter socks right now and I have been rinsing it thoroughly every week and a lot of crap comes out. I change it out about every 4 weeks. I guess maybe I should be throwing it away every week but man that gets expensive! It seems to me that if I rinse it well it should still have some cleaning capacity but I am no scientist.

melev
05/05/2006, 11:49 PM
Randy would know better, but you could just run carbon for a few days, every few weeks perhaps. Or change it every 14 days instead of every 30.

Randy Holmes-Farley
05/06/2006, 06:42 AM
What article are we talking about and what was the concern with running carbon?

melev
05/06/2006, 07:34 AM
This is one I tend to defer to: http://www.pets-warehouse.com/carbon.htm

jnarowe
05/06/2006, 09:50 AM
Some carbon manufacturers, in order to combat this info., claim that their carbon becomes a biological filter after a few days. I can attest to that, or at least to its ability to trap particulate matter! :D

Randy Holmes-Farley
05/07/2006, 09:52 AM
I am a bit surprised to read several times in the last few days that carbon is only good for a few days.

How rapidly carbon becomes depleted depends entirely on the level of organics in the water, and I would not assume it only lasts a few days. IMO, changing it after 3-4 weeks is a fine plan. :)

jnarowe
05/07/2006, 10:04 AM
OK now you guys are just messin' with me! :D Actually I do have some experience that tells me carbon loses its effectiveness fairly quickly but I cannot imagine that is not directly related to the level of polution in the tank. Anytime I swap out carbon there is an immediate benefit to water quality so I can somewhat agree with the limited lifespan theory.

I just hate to use it up so fast! I find that if i pull the carbom weekly and give it a good rinse, it does help some. For my tank, based on the calculations within the article noted by Marc, my tank needs just slightly over 4 cups per dose.

That's a lot of carbon to go through.

Question: Have you found a way to buy the Calgon activated carbon (or has anyone)? The Two Little Fishes Hydrocarbon is easy to get as well as the Marineland activated carbon, but I cannot find the Calgon product for sale to the public. I sent a note to them so maybe I will hear back from the this week.

melev
05/07/2006, 12:03 PM
Here's what I did: I bought 45lbs of Kent Carbon (big box with a sealed bag inside) for $151 shipped (Premium Aquatics). That was the best deal I could find.

I've been told that the carbon sold at Walmart (private label) is actually Black Diamond Carbon, without the higher price tag. I haven't checked to see what it costs yet.

4 cups isn't much. I think the flow going through the carbon is more important than the quantity anyway.

jnarowe
05/07/2006, 01:34 PM
Marc, what is the volume measurement of the 45 lbs.? That's one of the issues in buying carbon is that these manufacturers have taken a lesson from computers and use screwy incompatible measurements so it's tough to compare.

drfostersmith has the Marineland activated carbon on sale for $14 for 3.65 ltr. which is not a bad deal at about half the price of the Two Little Fishes hydrocarbon.

melev
05/07/2006, 01:58 PM
I don't know. I basically divided the box into four equal portions (four 1 gallon Ziplock bags full per buyer) as it was a group buy. Each person ended up with 11lbs roughly. I think the measurement was accurate.

jnarowe
05/07/2006, 02:05 PM
So that roughly makes the Marineland $5/lb...give or take and much more than your Kent buy. Thanks for the help!

GSchiemer
05/07/2006, 02:40 PM
[i]<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7314701#post7314701 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by melev]
This is one I tend to defer to: http://www.pets-warehouse.com/carbon.htm

Another good question is whether "Pets Warehouse" had permission to reprint Richard Harker's old Advanced Aquarist articles on their website. Isn't this the company with a dubious reputation?

Greg

melev
05/07/2006, 03:56 PM
Greg, that article has been there for a few years. I'd love to have it on my website just to avoid it being lost one day, but I'd need permission from the author.

GSchiemer
05/07/2006, 04:00 PM
I sent an e-mail to Richard Harker asking him if he gave permission to Pets Warehouse. We'll see...

Greg

jnarowe
05/08/2006, 02:50 PM
I am on the phone right now with a Calgon technical adviser and he says that Calgon has NEVER had a Lignite based product, so I am now suspicious of that article!

I did get a quote from him for $4.39/lb for BPL 4 x 10 (55 lb. bag), but that is still a bit higher than what Marc paid...plus shipping!

The search goes on.