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Old 09-29-2010, 12:51 PM   #1
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Get a Calcium Reactor and digital testers, or not?

I have a new 125g reef tank, and I am debating about getting a calcium reactor and digital probes to test/monitor PH and Calcium levels in the tank. What do you guys think about each of those devices? Any recommendations or brands to stay away from?

The main reason I want the reactor is so I can have lots of healthy coral as the feature in my tank.

Thanks!
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:31 PM   #2
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A reef tank can be as complex and automated as your imagination and wallet will allow. A calcium reactor will likely only be needed if you are heavily stocked with stonies or clams. If you are leaning towards SPS, automation and the resulting consistency will be your friend. RKEs get high praise within my local club, but I have not used one firsthand.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:09 PM   #3
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You can have lots of healthy coral without a calcium reactor - it's not a requirement. Until your calcium demand in the tank is high, a reactor will be more of a hindrance than a help. As you increase the amount of coral in your tank, you'll be able to see what the calcium demand is per day, and then decide how to deal with that demand. More frequent water changes, 2-part calcium/alkalinity dosing, and calcium reactors are all ways to deal with it.
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:18 PM   #4
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So, what would be an "average" demand of an average load of coral in a 125 gallon reef tank? I am upping my calcium to 450ppm on the advice of my LFS, as they know what I have enjoyed there. I want a nice mix of critters, stoney, softies, etc, basically things that will look cool and move in the current to entertain my son.
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:31 PM   #5
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Average demand or load is going to be impossible to estimate. A good salt and regular changes will go a long way towards maintaining your calcium levels. 450 seems a bit high to start with. You'll need to test your calcium levels to know the daily, weekly, etc. consumption and that will change with the amount of stonies and growth.
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:31 PM   #6
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What he said. You won't know until you get there.

Just to throw out a number though, with my mostly LPS tank, with a few SPS and a ton of coraline algae, I'm dosing 30ml of the calcium part of a two-part system each day - that equates to about 7ppm of calcium per day for a 46g tank. You're going to find that there really is no "average" dosage because everyone runs their tanks differently and stocks it differently.
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