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Old 02/16/2018, 08:34 PM   #1
tkeracer619
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Post TKERacer619's Masterflex Lanthanum Chloride Reactor

This thread will discuss the setup and operation of a Lanthinum Chloride Reactor that I put together a while back. Since its last use I haven't needed it so I shelved work on the project. It was wildly successful and could have some use to others, particularly those with massive setups, and constant phosphate issues so I think it deserves it's own thread.

The great thing about this reactor is that you can easily adjust the rate at which you remove phosphates regardless if you need high rates or low rates of removal. You simply adjust the feed rate of the Masterflex. Like any good piece of hardware that is designed to be a regular part of your filtration setup, it's very low maintenance.


*** There are several different ways to dose LaCl and it isn't something you should just wing. Please, before attempting to dose LaCl, take the time to fully understand Lanthinum Chloride, and how it works in your tank. ***


I originally used this reactor on a large vat of rock I was curing that was heavily bound with phosphates. My goal was to bring the rock down to acceptable nutrient levels without much involved cost or work. This will be first time installing this reactor on a running reef tank.

The concept of this reactor is to mix a continuous ratio of of LaCl with tank water and to do so with a system capable of building significant pressure to avoid filter clogging. This is achieved with a two head Masterflex Continuous Duty Peristaltic pump. One head uses a large tube to push effluent through the reactor while the second head uses a small tube to inject a diluted Lanthinum Chloride mixture. Injecting the LaCl into the stream of effluent causes phosphates to precipitate out of the effluent water. This precipitate is fed into the bottom of a mixing chamber that is full of bio-balls in an effort to get a complete mixing and reaction of the LaCl before it reaches the filtration stage. Some of the precipitate will settle into the bottom of the mixing chamber. The remainder of the precipitation moves into the side 20 Big Blue filter housing that contains a 5 micron pleated sediment filter. The majority of particulates will settle to the bottom of this chamber but the fine particles will be filtered out by the filter. Eventually this filter will clog and need to be cleaned by soaking in vinegar, after soaking for 24 hours and rinsing the filter is as good as new. It should be able to be used many times over. Due to the pressure generated by the Masterflex Peristaltic this filter can last up to 3 months without cleaning. The tubing we are using has a continuous pressure capability of 10psi, therefore we will be using a 10psi pressure switch prior to the filter. This will shut down the pump should the filter clog before regular maintenance has been performed. Without the pressure switch you run a risk of a tubing rupture causing a spill if the filter clogs. In a calcium reactor we typically pull effluent through the reactor but in this situation we need to push through due to the 2nd head pumping LaCl. If there was a clog and we were pulling effluent through the 2nd head would back flow LaCl into the sump. The final step is feed the effluent through a 1 micron filter sock as a precautionary method.

Here is a diagram.



This is a chart I plotted while running the reactor on the bin of rock. Unfortunately the hard drive I was keeping data for the last half of the test crashed and I lost the data. Essentially it continued to reduce phosphates down to less than .05ppm. I plan on doing the same for this test. I use a Hanna 736ulr Phosphorus Checker to test for phosphates.



Pictures of the actual reactor and parts to come as I bring it back online. I dosed my fishless display to kill vermatid snails, flatworms, and aptasia with Chloroquine Phosphate and it left behind a considerable amount of phosphates that I will need to remove before adding SPS to the system.

Thanks for following along, hopefully this helps someone out there.


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Old 02/17/2018, 07:20 AM   #2
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Good stuff!! I might give this a go since it seems more cost effective than GFO and some other alternatives out there to reduce phosphates. Will be following along to see how it goes for you


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Old 02/17/2018, 08:31 AM   #3
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Do you have any pictures of the completed setup?


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Old 02/17/2018, 10:12 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by JonezNReef View Post
Good stuff!! I might give this a go since it seems more cost effective than GFO and some other alternatives out there to reduce phosphates. Will be following along to see how it goes for you
Thanks! It certainly has lower operating costs but does involve a considerable investment to get up and running. Mostly due to the masterflex. Depending on install requirements the cost could vary considering if you need it to be quiet or not. Welcome aboard. : )

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Do you have any pictures of the completed setup?
Unfortunately not really, the images were on my laptop that had the HD crash. I'll post new pictures as I set the unit up for this trial. Hopefully this weekend.


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Old 02/17/2018, 05:39 PM   #5
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Keep an eye on the precipitation chamber. You’ll find that over time lanthanum precipitate will form on the walls and bio balls of that reaction chamber. We use LaCl at work, delivered by a regular dosing pump (Milwaukee MP810), and a nice nugget of precipitate quickly forms on the outlet of the delivery tube (slowing delivery) and can clog our “reaction chamber” (a length of 1” clear PVC).


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Old 02/17/2018, 06:29 PM   #6
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The "precipitation chamber" is new for this go around. I noticed the precipitation building up on the input of the big blue housing. It was easily removed with vinegar but thought if that much forms right at the entrance that I could use it to my advantage and reduce the amount that makes it into the filter housing. Will make it easy to soak in vinegar.

Thanks for the input!


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Old 02/26/2018, 09:54 AM   #7
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What model pump and pump heads did you use?


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Old 02/26/2018, 08:25 PM   #8
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What model pump and pump heads did you use?
I'm using a brushed modular drive, 77300-60 with two stainless precision easyload heads models 7518-60. It's not the quietest drive out there but since this is in a fish room it doesn't matter.


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Old 02/26/2018, 09:09 PM   #9
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Reactor is Up and Running!

Had a lot going on in the last couple weeks, finally had the time (not really) to get it back up and running. It's in a temporary location right now but will be moved once my coral flat is plumbed.

Started by assembling the precipitation chamber. The plug at the top is a placeholder for the pressure switch which I don't have yet. I learned it was necessary in my first go around and will cover installation in the near future.





Installed on the size 4 Big Blue Canister.


Assembled the bottom half...


Assembled...


We're using LS13 tubing for the Lanthanum Chloride and LS18 for the effluent. LS13 allows us to run continuously and dose a very small amount of Lanthanum at a time. We want to catch the precipitate in the filter, to much Lanthanum and the precipitation reaction can occur post reactor.

To get an idea of the size of this peristaltic tubing...


Fill a 5gal bucket with RODI that will be used to dilute the LaCl and connect all of the tubing as shown in the chart. I used some frag putty to make a weight for the LaCl intake tube and drill a hole in the top of the bucket lid to drop it through. Run the system at 100rpm or so until you purge the system of air and water starts to flow. Reduce the pump speed to 30rpm. This gives us a flow rate through the LS13 of 5 gallons per week to about 300 gallons of effluent a week. Once this is set and air is purged go ahead and add one capful of SeaKlear Commercial Phosphate Remover. This is the one used for pools. It's about $40 per qt and should last around a year per bottle at this rate.



You can always crank it up or down but I found this as a good place to start. Remember the goal here is not to instantly drop the PO4 out of the system but have a cheap and reliable way to export phosphates in a controllable manner on large systems. Slower is going to be better.

Here is what the effluent flow out of 3/8 poly tubing looks like...


And the reactor running.



I'll take better pictures of the connections once I set it up in its semi permanent home.

Now for the fun part... Measuring performance.
The tank measures out at 1.41ppm PO4 as of 2/25/18. I have some more reagents coming so will wait for those to continue testing. Out of the two boxes I have only 1 out of 10 packets is good so I went through enough to get 3 good tests. They should be here Friday


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Old 02/26/2018, 09:24 PM   #10
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Btw

When I cleaned the filter from its last use it looked like this. It does look a lot worse in person and there was a solid half inch of white mud precipitate that had settled on the bottom of the housing as well as some precipitate on all surfaces prior to this filter. There was no noticeable precipitate post filter cartridge.



To clean the filter I rinsed it and the housing off in the sink, used a full gallon of plain white vinegar in the housing, and soaked the filter for 24 hours. After 24 hours I flipped the filter over to soak the other half. It came out bright white with no signs of precipitate on either the filter or the housing. Should be good as new for many uses.


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Old 02/26/2018, 09:56 PM   #11
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Parts Used

I'm digging through old emails trying to remember what I bought for this. Hopefully I can find it all...

Main Housing
Pentek -150233 Big Blue Canister 1" In and Out

Filter
Aquaboon - 5 Micron Big Blue 20" x 4.5" Pleated Washable Sediment Water Filter Cartridge

Filter Sock
SumpSock - Polyester Felt Filter Bag, 1 Micron. Trade Size #1

Pump Drive
Masterflex 77300-60

Pump Heads
2x Masterflex 7518-60

Pharmed BPT Tubing
LS-13 Equivalent, USPlastic 57316 - 1/32" ID x 5/32" OD x 1/16" Wall PharMed® Tubing
LS-18 Equivalent, USPlastic 57322 - 5/16" ID x 7/16" OD x 1/16" Wall PharMed® Tubing

Connectors and Plumbing
Reducer Bushing QTY2 - USPlastic 26009 - 1" x 3/8" Schedule 80 Gray PVC Threaded Reducing Bushing
Push Fit Connector QTY 2 - USPlastic 58356 - 3/8" Tube OD x 3/8" MNPTF Fixed Elbow
Plastic Barb QTY2 - USPlastic 58346 - 3/8" Stem OD x 3/8" Hose ID Stem
Push Fit Union QTY2 - USPlastic 58267 - 3/8" OD Union Connector
Barb Union QTY2 - USPlastic 65359 - 3/16" x 1/16" Tube ID Natural Polypropylene Reduction Coupler
Push Fit Tee USPlastic 58350 - 3/8" Tube OD x 3/8" Tube OD x 1/4" Tube OD Reducing Union Tee

3/8" Poly Tube from Lowes/HD
1/4" OD Vinyl Tube from HD (the heavier wall kind)
1" Threaded Tee
1" Close Nipple (QTY2)
1" Union (ThreadxSlip)
1" PVC Pipe
1" Cap
1" SlipxSlipxThread Tee


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Old 02/28/2018, 06:54 AM   #12
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Where did you buy the pump motor and pump heads?

Pump Drive
Masterflex 77300-60

Pump Heads
2x Masterflex 7518-60

How are you controlling the pump drive RPM?


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Old 03/01/2018, 02:27 PM   #13
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Old 03/02/2018, 10:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoolan70 View Post
Where did you buy the pump motor and pump heads?

Pump Drive
Masterflex 77300-60

Pump Heads
2x Masterflex 7518-60

How are you controlling the pump drive RPM?
Ebay, I bought them a while ago.

The pump drive is digital, you set the drive into RPM mode and adjust the readout to whatever RPM you want. These are continuous duty pumps that can run for years on end with only peristaltic tubing changes.

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Old 03/02/2018, 10:37 PM   #15
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2nd data point

The tank measured 0.843ppm po4 this evening.

Day 1 - 2/25/18 - 1.410ppm - Start
Day 6 - 3/02/18 - 0.843ppm - Exhausted 5gal, refreshed bucket.


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Old 03/04/2018, 11:13 PM   #16
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I measured the output of the reactor after my last post. The effluent output is .08ppm for about a 90% reduction in po4 in the treated water. Thought I would point this out because what I don't want is this number to be zero. If it is, then likely I am putting too much LaCl through the reactor. In theory I will need to reduce the amount of Lanthanum that goes into the container as the levels drop. This will keep the precipitation reactor inside the reactor pre-filter.

I plan on taking tank measurements every 4 days.


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Old 03/06/2018, 10:44 PM   #17
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3rd Data Point

The display measured .500ppm PO4 tonight. I refreshed the bucket.

Day 1 - 2/25/18 - 1.410ppm - Start
Day 6 - 3/02/18 - 0.843ppm - Exhausted 5gal, refreshed bucket.
Day 10 - 3/06/18 - 0.500ppm - Exhausted 5gal, refreshed bucket.

And for visual people...


Keep in mind before running this I did as close to a 100% water change as I could and also ran some phosphate media. It didn't dent the phosphate. At this point I have used about $.50 worth of seaklear and have dropped the PO4 by almost 1ppm in 10 days.


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Old 03/11/2018, 02:43 PM   #18
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4th Data Point

The display measured .500ppm PO4 tonight. I refreshed the bucket.

Day 1 - 2/25/18 - 1.410ppm - Start
Day 6 - 3/02/18 - 0.843ppm - Exhausted 5gal, refreshed bucket.
Day 10 - 3/06/18 - 0.500ppm - Exhausted 5gal, refreshed bucket.
Day 15 - 3/11/18 - 0.316ppm - Exhausted 5gal, refreshed bucket.

And for visual people...



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Old 03/13/2018, 06:59 AM   #19
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Subscribed! Thanks for taking the time to write this up.


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Old 03/13/2018, 10:48 AM   #20
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Tkeracer what phosphate level/number are you trying to reach


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Old 03/13/2018, 01:03 PM   #21
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Subscribed! Thanks for taking the time to write this up.

You're welcome!

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Tkeracer what phosphate level/number are you trying to reach


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I typically run around .03ppm but will probably run it around .05 .06 until the tank is stocked higher. Eventually I'll get to ulns.


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Old 03/13/2018, 11:58 PM   #22
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The display measured .316ppm PO4 tonight. I refreshed the bucket.

Day 1 - 2/25/18 - 1.410ppm - Start
Day 6 - 3/02/18 - 0.843ppm - Exhausted 5gal, refreshed bucket.
Day 10 - 3/06/18 - 0.500ppm - Exhausted 5gal, refreshed bucket.
Day 15 - 3/11/18 - 0.316ppm - Exhausted 5gal, refreshed bucket.

And for visual people...

The above data point for day 15 (4th data point) was incorrect. I had copied and pasted the info from the previous data point but didn't update the text with the correct data. The chart was correct. Correction in bold...


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Old 03/15/2018, 09:52 PM   #23
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5th Data Point

The display measured .276ppm PO4 tonight. I refreshed the bucket. The effluent measured .046ppm PO4. I added the data points for the effluent output to the chart.

Day 01 - 2/25/18 - 1.410ppm - Start
Day 06 - 3/02/18 - 0.843ppm - Exhausted 5gal, refreshed bucket.
Day 10 - 3/06/18 - 0.500ppm - Exhausted 5gal, refreshed bucket.
Day 15 - 3/11/18 - 0.316ppm - Exhausted 5gal, refreshed bucket.
Day 19 - 3-15/18 - 0.276ppm - Exhausted 5gal, refreshed bucket.

And for visual people...



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Old 03/15/2018, 10:06 PM   #24
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Something you may notice about the chart is that the effluent is dropping a little bit and the measured amount in the display tank is starting to level out. During my 1st run with this reactor I ran enough tests and allowed the system to shut off for a few times as well as changed effluent flow rates and LaCl concentrations.

The reactor isn't removing less phosphate from the system, it is actually removing the same amount as it did from day one. We are dosing a set amount of LaCl into a set amount of effluent, so it will only precipitate out so much phosphate. What is happening is the rock and sand are now leaching the phosphate into the water column since the levels in the display are lower. If I turned the reactor off, you would see a jump back to whatever is equilibrium between the rock and the water. Upon restarting the reactor you would see the initial phosphate drop that has a slope the same as the original drop. This represents the amount of phosphate removed from the water before significant amounts of phosphate leach into the water. It would quickly level back out to a slope equivalent of where it was prior to turning off the reactor, you can see this around day 7 on the chart shown in the original post.

We can adjust the rate of removal by increasing or decreasing the effluent/lacl mixture through the reactor.

Eventually I will need to reduce the concentration of the LaCl mixture to keep the precipitation reaction inside the reactor. This will likely be in 2 to 3 weeks if I had to guess.


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Old 03/17/2018, 05:30 PM   #25
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Have you added the pressure switch yet? If so, what model did you go with?


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