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Calcium Reactors

Aug 11, 2008
A calcium reactor is a device used in an aquarium to help keep levels of alkalinity and calcium level to the requirements of the livestock in the tank. A calcium reactor is a tool of convenience in a tank filled with mostly plant life, but if you have stony corral then it becomes a matter of necessity, as you will need to monitor and maintain both calcium and alkalinity in order for the corral to thrive.

Calcium reactors release CO2, dissolving calcium source material in their reactor. The result is calcium is added to your tank helping corral and other aquarium livestock thrive.

However, using a calcium reactor can be a hazardous activity if not done properly. Co2 is colorless and odorless, so can be dangerous if released in the air without fresh oxygen entering the enclosed space. So, when handling your Co2 container, keep a window open nearby, keep away from radiators and other heat sources, and use all safety cautions when handling the container.

Given that you utilize your Co2 container safely, the next step is to assemble your calcium reactor, which is different depending on the manufacturer, model type, as well as the feed pump and valve you choose to use. Because there are so many types available, investigating these will not take place during this article. Do your research on the different kinds of reactors and choose the one that's right for you. This goes for the valve, which needs to be tight enough, and the pump tube, of which there are different shapes and sizes. You'll want to feel comfortable with your design.

Now that your reactor is set-up and ready to go, the next phase is to set the Co2 bubble count on a low setting. Manufacturers will suggest a setting for their reactor and you should follow the guidelines for their product. The second step is to adjust the PH setting to properly dissolve the medium you are drawing the calcium from. You will want to set the PH to between 6.5 and 6.7 for the best results, by using a PH meter to check the effluent flow rate and then make the adjustments, allowing a few hours between changes to check if the PH is between 6.5 and 6.7. Continue this process until you have successfully changed the PH to the correct level.

Next use your alkalinity test kit to see if the reactor is successfully replacing the calcium used by your livestock. It is important to know what your normal alkalinity is like so that you can adjust the CoH in the reactor to ensure that you don't go higher or lower than you normal level, for the safety and well-being of your livestock.

Once you are satisfied that your reactor has restored the calcium level in the tank, you are done. Check your alkalinity levels every few weeks to ensure that more calcium replenishment is not necessary.
About the Author
Richard Gilliland writes articles on aquarium supplies. Other articles written by Richard Gilliland related to Protein Skimmers, Elos Test Kits and Octopus Protein Skimmers could be found on the internet.
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