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RO Reservoir circulation and coral reactor system

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  • RO Reservoir circulation and coral reactor system

    I have a 27 gallon Rubbermaid container I use to hold my RO water so I have plenty on tap for water changes on my 29 and 10 gallon tanks. I have had crushed coral sitting in modified coffee cans (the plastic kind) with air stones inside and holes all around the bottom and tops of the cans in hopes it would move enough water to infuse the calcium and minerals from the coral into my RO water as well as keep the water circulating. I had ton's of crushed coral in there but never could raise my calcium or KH to the level I wanted to I decided to switch things up a bit. The following is what I ended up with.

    List of materials
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    1. I had to modify my 3" - 1 1/2" bushing by using my drummel tool to remove the stop in the center to allow me to fit both the 1 1/2" pvc and the 1 1/2" threaded bushing in to it. I also used my drill to drill all the holes around the outside as you see in the pic.
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    2. Fit the threaded bushing and the 1 1/2" pvc pipe into the 3" bushing.
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    3. Slide the 3" coupling over the 1 1/2 pipe and over the 3" bushing. Then take the 3" PVC and slide it over the 1 1/2" pipe and into the coupling. I don't have photos but I realized I needed some type of screen to prevent my coral from coming out the holes and npt fitting so I ended up sacrificing a medium sized fish net and placed it over the end of the 1 1/2" PVC Pipe then sliding that into the 3" bushing and then holding the edges of the net around the bushing while I placed the 3" coupling. I hope that makes sense without the pics but if not I'm sure you can figure something out if you decided to make such a device on your own. first pic from the side. Second pic from the bottom.
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    8 GloFish
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    1 Dwarf Gourami
    4 Mystery Snail

  • #2
    4. Fit the 3" threaded coupling over the open end of the assembly and screw the cap in. Then flip it over and screw your npt fitting into the end with the 1/2" threaded bushing. The 5/8 tubing is to connect the pump to the assembly and when it's all done it will look like this!
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    I was able to fill it with about 4.5 lbs of coral and I filled both the inner and outer tubes. The whole idea is to keep the space the water is flowing through small to ensure maximum contact with the coral and no dead spots. The water travels from the pump through the 5/8" tube into the NPT fitting and down the 1 1/2" PVC center tube all the way to the capped end and then back up around the outside of the center pipe and out the wholes drilled in the bushing at the other end flowing through 4.5 lbs of coral all the way. It's not a very polished end product but hopefully it will perform well. I'll update once my tub has finished replenishing and I test the water parameters.
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    • #3
      I'm excited to see your results! I have super soft water and constantly have to dose my invert tanks to keep kh and ca up. I may try your pretreat method
      36g ram community, 10g blue jelly shrimp, 10g orange pumpkin shrimp, 5g ADF, 12g reef, 55g hex reef

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      • #4
        It's definitely saved me time just having the large reservoir of RO water ready for use. I've even outfitted my tub with a siphon hose and a valve so I only have to start the siphon once then just turn the valve on and off as needed. Much faster than waiting for 2 5 gallon bucket to fill with water from my ro system. A simple float shutoff valve makes sure it doesn't overflow because I forgot to shut it off. I should have taken some pics of the whole shebang while I had it apart but I was to excited to get it back together and working.
        8 GloFish
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        1 Dwarf Gourami
        4 Mystery Snail

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        • #5
          Today I shall test my water and see how well my new system is working for me! When I'm done being morning time lazy that is.
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          • #6
            Done being morning time lazy yet?

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            • #7
              Oh yes! My KH was 4 this morning. I'm hoping it will be 5 or 6 by tomorrow. I didn't test GH because I'm out of drops and am awaiting a new kit.
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              • #8
                Well the KH still seems to be hovering around 4 or maybe 4.5 depending on how you interpret the color of the test. I'm really kind of dissappointed all though 4 isn't a bad number. I think it's an OK starting point. I really thought that the 4 lbs of coral would bring the 23ish gallons of water up higher than that though.

                The other disappointing thing is the calcium readings. I was really looking for higher numbers but I'm only getting around 40ppm. I would love to get that number up to at least 80 or 100.

                I'm looking for any constructive criticism anyone can offer on this. Any idea's on how to get it higher if needed. Does crushed coral have a limited ability to get the KH up?
                8 GloFish
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                • #9
                  Today's test results.

                  GH 3 dKH / 50.3 ppm
                  KH 4 dKH / 71.6 ppm
                  Ca2+ 20 ppm or less
                  pH 7.6

                  My conclusion is that even though I was initially hoping for better results, as I set up more tanks with different parameter requirements, the results I'm getting are a great starting point. GH and KH can both be raised through additives during water changes to match the desired levels of the tank. pH will naturally adjust to a stable level and generally you don't need to worry too much about it unless you have special requirements. All in all I probably didn't need to take on this project because the results aren't much different than the old coffee can method however it was fun figuring it all out and I do like the improved water flow and efficiency of the system. I am using about half the coral I was before and getting the same results. The total project cost less than 15 bucks and will pay for itself over time.
                  8 GloFish
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                  • #10
                    Maybe pre crush the coral (more), to get more small particulate avail for dissolving?
                    To he fair, that's about the numbers I get off my filter with crushed coral.
                    36g ram community, 10g blue jelly shrimp, 10g orange pumpkin shrimp, 5g ADF, 12g reef, 55g hex reef

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                    • #11
                      After my research into Water Chemistry I'm not surprised with the results. It really is a good starting point for just about any tank and since I have multiple tanks with different needs I think it will work just fine.
                      8 GloFish
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                      • #12
                        Boy good thing someone wrote that write-up Do you plan to make any changes to get better results?

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                        • #13
                          I don't think i'll make any changes to my water reservoir setup untill the 25 or so gallons it provides me isn't enough. I think the current gh/kh/pH it gives me is a great place to start at and adjust as needed for the needs of my different tanks. I'd say a KH of 4 is the minimum for any tank and it will be easy enough to increase using something like Seachem Alkaline Buffer, Cichlid Salts or Malawi/Victorian Buffer. The later of the two are nice because they also include other important compounds essential for a healthy water column. The GH will almost always need to be brought up. I'm currently targeting a gh of 12-15 in my community tank and 10 in my daughter's 10 gallon divided as well as the 15 gallon that will hopefully soon be ready for the 8 molly fry to grow out in.
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