What is a Calcium Reactor?
Calcium Reactor Components:
- Calcium Reactor - Pressurized chamber filled with calcium-based media. CO2 and aquarium water are mixed together inside this chamber. This results in an acidic pH which will then melt the Calcium Reactor Media enriching your aquarium water with calcium and alkalinity.
- Input Water Line - Supplies the calcium reactor with aquarium water.
- Dosing Pump - Pushes aquarium water into the calcium reactor. Feeding a calcium reactor with water can be done in a few different ways such as using a submersible pump with appropriate fittings, gravity siphon, or a continuous duty dosing pump into the reactor. When using a peristaltic dosing pump, you could technically install the pump on the effluent side as well, meaning rather than push water into the reactor it will be pulling water through the reactor.
- Pressurized CO2 Cylinder - Stores CO2 gas for injection into the calcium reactor.
- CO2 Regulator - Reduces output pressure from the CO2 cylinder allowing for consistent dosing of CO2 gas into the calcium reactor. The electronic solenoid attached will allow for automated CO2 control with the use of a pH controller.
- CO2 Check Valve - Protects the CO2 regulator and cylinder from the potential damage of water entering.
- pH Controller - Controls the output of CO2 based on the pH of your effluent water via the electronic solenoid attached to the regulator.
- Effluent/Output Water Line - Carries calcium-rich water from the calcium reactor back into your sump or aquarium.
How does a Calcium Reactor Work?
In a reef tank, calcareous organisms like corals and clams along with calcareous algae, such as coralline algae, utilize the calcium dissolved in the water as one of the components to build their skeletons or shells. To keep a constant level in our reef tanks we need to supply calcium into the water column. One of the ways to accomplish this is the use of a calcium reactor.
A calcium reactor, in conjunction with a CO2 system, dissolves calcium-based filter media inside the reactor to replenish calcium and other minor elements in your aquarium water. For tanks with a high calcium demand, a calcium reactor is an invaluable tool that eliminates the need to dose 2-part calcium/alkalinity supplements.
Some hobbyists have the misconception that setting up a calcium reactor is difficult. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, they might take a little time to set up. But you're a reef aquarium hobbyist—patience is clearly a virtue you already possess!
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