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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering if it is worth getting a kalk stirrer or just as well to add to your ATO water?
There is a used MRC stirrer (I think) for sale for $235 CDN. I have not used kalk before and am looking for opinions.
 

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I'm interested to hear the responses to this as well. I have just started dosing in my ATO water and I couldn't personally imagine spending that kind of money to do basically the same thing. Seems like money better invested elsewhere IMO. But I'm not really sure what the difference is, to be honest, so hopefully someone will enlighten us.
 

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Well I run a *foolish* ATO that never needs interfacing. In other words, I never have to fill the reservoir, so by running the kalkstirrer I would only have to refill it every 3-4 months. I didnt have to make up kalkwasser every few days or weeks.
 

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If your looking for something to add, I say a kalk stirrer is a good addition. Make sure that you have all the other essential equipment first tho.

I have a PM kalk stirrer and love the convenience of it. Like Chris said, you just set it and change the kalk out every few months. No more mixing every time you refill the reservoir or manually top-off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If your looking for something to add, I say a kalk stirrer is a good addition. Make sure that you have all the other essential equipment first tho.

I have a PM kalk stirrer and love the convenience of it. Like Chris said, you just set it and change the kalk out every few months. No more mixing every time you refill the reservoir or manually top-off.
What do you consider essential equipment? I have a decent skimmer, good lights, lots of water movement (thanks to tunze) an ATO I have not yet set up. I do not have a calcium reactor. Would you suggest a calcium reactor over a kalk stirrer?
 

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I would add the kalk before you add a calcium reactor. I also would not run a calcium reactor without kalk. I also would suggest you look at a kalk reactor such as the geo reactor because it uses a maxijet for circulation rather than a stir bar. The reason being is the kalk is more than likely going to make whatever circulation pump you have fail. The mj is a simple replacement and costs no more tan $15 while many of the stir bar replacements can be extremely expensive.

In regards to the mrc reactor you specifically asked about. I would first like to know the size as they have three sizes as that may not be a good price for used equiptment. Also is it one of the newer ones that have a programable stir unit built into the unit? Those are pretty nifty. I would check the new ones out as well before you decide.

For what its worth I have a geo kalk reactor and it has yet to give me any trouble nor has it dosed any undisolved kalk. All you do to install it is place it after your ATO pump and your good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I would add the kalk before you add a calcium reactor. I also would not run a calcium reactor without kalk. I also would suggest you look at a kalk reactor such as the geo reactor because it uses a maxijet for circulation rather than a stir bar. The reason being is the kalk is more than likely going to make whatever circulation pump you have fail. The mj is a simple replacement and costs no more tan $15 while many of the stir bar replacements can be extremely expensive.

In regards to the mrc reactor you specifically asked about. I would first like to know the size as they have three sizes as that may not be a good price for used equiptment. Also is it one of the newer ones that have a programable stir unit built into the unit? Those are pretty nifty. I would check the new ones out as well before you decide.

For what its worth I have a geo kalk reactor and it has yet to give me any trouble nor has it dosed any undisolved kalk. All you do to install it is place it after your ATO pump and your good to go.
The dimensions that he gave me are 9x24". I am thinking that it is probably not a newer one.
So you do not put it in your ato, you put it in your sump?
I was looking at an octopus reactor as well.

http://www.reefperfection.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=545

Is there a really big advantage to using a reactor or stirrer or is adding to your ato just as effective, just a bit more work?
 

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What do you consider essential equipment? I have a decent skimmer, good lights, lots of water movement (thanks to tunze)...
Yep, a good high quality skimmer, water movement and appropriate lights are your essentials. If your keeping any echinoderms an ATO system is another big essential.

...I do not have a calcium reactor. Would you suggest a calcium reactor over a kalk stirrer?
Depending on your intended hermatype load. If SPS and clams are in your future I would recommend a calc reactor first. If your going to keep softies/sparse LPS, go with the kalk reactor. (This is with the assumption of a 50g tank or larger.)
 

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Vince, that clam in your avitar is a beauty! Do you have any more photos of the clam? (sorry to derail discussion, back to topic when done...)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Depending on your intended hermatype load. If SPS and clams are in your future I would recommend a calc reactor first. If your going to keep softies/sparse LPS, go with the kalk reactor. (This is with the assumption of a 50g tank or larger.)
Beautiful clam you have there!
It is a 135 gallon (72"x18"x24")
I have 3 sps a few lps and softies......I am getting 12 frags of sps on Thursday. the ones that I have are doing well...but would do even better with a steady method of dosing calcium in the tank.
I will keep my eye out for a calcium reactor I think. I don't imagine it is much extra work just to add kalk to my ato.
Thanks for all your input!
 

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To help minimize the ph swing as I have found Ca reactors can substanially lower ph. I worded my statement too strongly. I just like having the kalk to counteract the lower Ca reactor ph.
If you were running calcium reactor with a pH controller and the system were still showing a very low (consistently < 7.8 ), this wuld be an indicatin that the reactor is not correctly set or running with problems reading pH correctly by the controller. Systems that are correctly adjusted and running with a normal charge of appropriate reactor medium will have pH that runs between a range of 8.0 and 8.3 even with a heavy load of photosynthetic organisms. The problem in systems that constantly run down to the sub 8.0 range usually has to do with either failiure of the controller or with dirty or inaccuratey calibrated probes. Some brands of contollers are much worse about drifting from calibration than others, so if this seems to be a problem in a particular system, evaluating the function of the controller is ther first place to look for issuese. Other issues:
  • effluent flow rate inappropriate
  • inadequate medium amounts
  • inappropriate controller probe location (it has to be in either recirc fluid or in-linue for effluent, NOT IN THE TANK WATER).
  • age of probe (>18 months makese them suspect).
  • solenoid dirty or failing
  • effluent pump failing
  • recirc pump failing
  • regulator for CO2 tank failing
  • need for second column of media when running high throughput rates for effluent (systems with high demnd for hermatypic supements often have this as an issue)
  • probe and meter for tank is inaccurate, or general use of test kits to measure tank pH inaccurate
  • reactors run without pH controllers
When the reactor is set up correctly and adjusted for tank needs correctly, CO2 will not accumulate in the system unless there are tight lids for that tank and/or poor gas exchange occurring in the sump, sometimes indicating the need to bring in outdoor air via the skimmer air intake (most homes in the US now are "tight" to outside air infiitration to save energy on HVAC, resulting in an indoor environment that may get to as high as 1000 PPM CO2 with few obvious indications other than the tank pH is chronically low or you are sleepy and yawn a lot...)

If your calcium an alk are low and the pH in the system is low, usually adding a secondary column of aragonite reactor medium will fix both issues, especially if you have a big system that has a large pop density of hermatypic organisms and you have a long photoperiod of strong high-PAR lighting (>8-10 hours/day). Most issues with chronically low pH when using a calcium reactor can be remedied by correcting adjustment issues with reactr operations. Adding a kak reactor makes the system both more expensive and ppotentialy may lead to problems by unnecessarily complicating its operation, although it will definitely fix the pH problem (kalk reactor turns excess CO2 into alkalinity via rxn with high-pH Ca(OH)2 in seawater).

JM2CW, HTH
 
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