Reactors for your marine tank

Taking the mayhem out of marine fish keeping

EQUIPMENT FOR YOUR MARINE TANK

Reactors

 

A reactor is simply a vessel within which various media can be mixed with tank water to help you maintain certain desired saltwater parameters.

 

A reactor can be used to maintain all sorts of parameters from keeping nitrate and phosphate levels down to raising calcium levels and/or stabilising your alkalinity. They are similar to a protein skimmer in the sense that they take water out of your aquarium and push it into a chamber where the water is mixed with a media suited for a particular parameter. The flow through the reactor (and therefore around or through the media) is regulated via the pump to ensure the water flow rate is low enough to maximise its efficiency.

 

Once you have done a bit of background reading you will start noticing reactors coming up more and more, however, as this website is about keeping marine fish and corals simply and relatively cheaply I will only mention them briefly here. If you are in the league of requiring reactors to maintain suitable levels your tank then chances are you are already far more advanced than this website is designed for.

 

 

 

A reactor can be used to maintain all sorts of parameters from keeping nitrate and phosphate levels down to raising calcium levels and/or stabilising your alkalinity. They are similar to a protein skimmer in the sense that they take water out of your aquarium and push it into a chamber where the water is mixed with a media suited for a particular parameter. The flow through the reactor (and therefore around or through the media) is regulated via the pump to ensure the water flow rate is low enough to maximise its efficiency.

 

Once mixed with the media the water is pushed back into your aquarium to be re-circulated and pushed back the reactor for the whole process to be repeated. This is where sumps really start to show their value. Reactors are often quite messy looking pieces of equipment and if you are looking at running reactors for anything and don’t have a sump, it won’t be long before your tank actually starts to vanish behind a myriad of pipes, tubes, gas bottles and wires.

One of the most beneficial or perhaps most wanted of the reactors is the calcium reactor. It helps to keep optimal levels of minerals, trace elements and alkalinity (and of course calcium!). Once, however, you start to pull all the equipment together necessary for running a calcium reactor suddenly financial costs start to rise.

 

Calcium reactors work by dissolving an aragonite media in tank water within the reactor. To do this the water needs to be slightly acidic as the alkaline water in the fish tank will not dissolve it. To make it acidic you mix carbon dioxide with the water, which, in turn needs to be regulated and linked to a pH controller. When the pH in the reactor rises above, say 6.5 the carbon dioxide is turned on to maintain slightly acidic levels. Already you can see that costs are starting to rise, just for a calcium reactor you’re looking at the reactor itself, a bottle of carbon dioxide and its associated regulator, recirculation pump, solenoid valve amongst other things.

 

It’s worth mentioning that a calcium reactor is great for maintaining optional levels but you can also achieve great results simply by manually dosing.

 

 

 

Helpful tips

 

Reactors

 

If you are keeping tank inhabitants that require very stable levels then consider a calcium reactor which will help to maintain calcium, alkalinity and trace elements

 

If you are in the league of considering reactors then you are probably already far too advanced for this website!

 

 

Reactors - in a nutshell

A reactor is a vessel that allows you to mix various medias with your tank water to either reduce or introduce unwanter or desired elements.

Flow is important to and through your reactor to make sure the media gets the correct amouunt of time in the water to work effectively.

Sumps come in handy once you are going down the reactor route as they can look quite unsightly.

If you are keeping a simple tank you should be able to maintain your pramaters perfectly well through water changes without needing a reactor.

Although useful a calcium reactor is not essential and all the elements it helps to maintain can be dosed manually