Out with the old...
And in with the new...
I've always dosed 2-part or 3-part (+MAG) on all of my tanks (also called the "balling method") first using b-Ionic, then later BRS. It has worked well for me over many years. The reasons I'm now making the jump to a CA Rx (espcially on a smaller gallonage system) is,
- Salinity creep due to large dosing amounts in a small water volume system
- Anticipation of a larger build which makes operating a Ca Rx much more economical over time than a dosing regime.
With a larger system, although more expensive initially, a CA Rx can operate at lower costs than most any other CA/ALK supplementation scheme. Back in 2003 Randy Holmes-Farly wrote a great article comparing the various CA/ALK supplementation methods and their associated costs. I'd strongly recommend reviewing prior to making the dosing vs. reactor decision.
The equipment I chose was rather expensive, but I view it as a one-time investment - and as I travel a lot, I wanted the most reliable solution possible. I also went with a digital regulator as finite control is critical in such a small tank. There are many less expensive options, including a lot of used equipment. That said, based on my research and needs - here's what I purchased,
Electronic CO2 Regulator
Tropic Eden Course Ca Rx Media
APEX PM1 (To support the second pH probe needed to monitor effluent pH.)
Lab Grade pH Probe
I'll continue dosing Kalk in my ATO to help support pH and for the rumored additional benefit of precipitating out phosphates.
Still waiting on the AquariumPlants CarbonDoser digital regulator and have to grab a 5# CO2 cylinder (which should fit nicely in the Frag tank cabinet beside the Geo.) As this is my first Ca Rx install and I'll be "learning as I go", I thought I'd share the journey