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Old 07/05/2017, 05:53 AM   #1
NorwayEagle
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Calcium Automate 3171 a few early user experiences

I have been using this now for a few weeks, and would like to share some of my views on this.

First I run a almost 2 year old 165 gallon sps tank which is equipped with a Eco Dreambox from Royal Exclusive and a BK Deluxe 200 internal skimmer.
I have for almost 10 years used a Deltec 501 calciumreactor, on existing tank, and before that on my old 100 gallon tank. I also use a KW mixer and a Phosban reactor both from Two little Fishies and a KZ Zeovitreactor.

I exchanged the 501 with the Tunze unit because of available place issues, and the goal of getting as much as possible equipment within the sump. Especially be able to put lids on the sump is a preferred focus.

Since I use a zeovit reactor, which is planned to be removed soon, I installed the 3171 outside the sump temporarilly.

When picked up from my LFS about 3 weeks ago, I installed the 3171 on a bench in my laundry room with recirculating RO water and CO2 connected.

It filled up nicely and everything seemed to work as expected, but I almost immediatly found a severe leakage from the electrode port. I will not use any electrode, so I had only tightened the port as receive with the small plastic piece which is supposed to plug this critical port.
I discovered that this small plastic piece formed as a small cup had to be turned 180 degrees. That reduced the leakage, but not before using a bit of "fingerspitsgefühle" and somewhat extra force, I succeeded to get it tight/leak free.

The unit was thereafter installed in my system and put into production using a combo of 90 % ARM fine aragonite and 10 % Grotech Magnesium media.

The following is my observations:

1. Dependent of flow you must expect some small "noise" as the pump sucks both water and gas. Does not matter for me since the cabinet doors usually are closed.
2. The gas collects as small pockets below the lid, when inspecting I usually tilt the reactor so excessive gas are led back the return channel and pump.
The bubble counter has a somewhat dark plastic, making it a bit difficult to inspect in my not to well lit cabinet.
3. The included hoseclip placed on the water suction tubing is somewhat difficult to precisely adjust. This leads to running a bit higher flow than I have been used to from the Deltec. I may install a small valve instead.

4. The effect seems OK, I have a pH of 6,8 to 7,0 out of the reactor With 1-2 drop/CO2 pr sec and a waterflow close to, but not dropwise.

Finally I have to inform that I, when at work got a call from my wife telling me about a leakage in my cabinet....
I went home straight away to find the pH port leaking again.
As of now I must force my plan of removing the zeoreactor, and place the reactor in sump for security reasons.

Summarized; the reactor gives expected results, it is compact and easy to Place and install. It is very convenient to not be forced to use a separate feed punmp.
Materialwise there are some room for improvement:

The obvious; the pH connection port must be equipped with another and much better solution to be kept leak free!
An improved possibility to regulate water inlet seems to be another tips.

Any other experiences with this unit is appreciated


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Old 07/05/2017, 10:42 AM   #2
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Thank you very much for this thorough review.

For the pH probe fitting, I would contact Tunze for replacement, this should not be, we use really the same port I have seen typically used and I don't know of another, it seems all use the same port, I have to assume it is bad or maybe needs some teflon tape at the thread.

I have 2 3170 running in tandem in my tank, this product was never actually made for the public because they decided a better design could be made with some time. I am happy with them but I notice the same as you regarding drip rate. My observation is that their is a delay, so make the settings slowly and wait a minute at least before more adjustment, and the adjustment changes a very little with the pressure of the CO2 being added so it is less when CO2 is off. In either case I have not found it to be a big problem and I generally find the drip is more stable than the conventional drip setting on output.

I have been told to avoid the medias which are not like ours only because the medias made of coral skeletons tend to dissolve incompletely leaving a mushy residue which clogs the pump and inside so the limestone or marble type media is cleaner. The draw back of course is less Mg and Sr and a lower pH is needed to dissolve it, closer to 6.5. I am using our Calcium Carbonate media and it has given good results, paired with kalkwasser I very consistently keep a KH of 10-12 degrees, almost always 10.5-11.5 and Calcium is always 420-450.


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Old 07/16/2017, 10:11 AM   #3
NorwayEagle
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Sorry for late reply.

The leakage from the pH port is really from the black plastic insert (protecting cap) in the center.
The water collects on top of this, meaning in the center of the outer screw for the pH port.
The insert, as mentioned formed as a cup, and is placed upside down. The outer screw is tightened as hard as I dare by hand.

It may be I can ask Tunze for a replacement, but do not see how this would help.

My thought for a functional solution should be to replace the outer screw of the pH seal and the protecting cap with a kind of one-piece hoo to be screwed on, if necessary with a kind of rubber o-ring on the inside.
This should as far as I think be a leakage-free tightening which may increase safety when reactor is outside a sump.

The drip rate obviously gets better after some time tuning in, and I do not see this as any large issue, until further I will stick with the original hose clip.

Concerning the choice of material the ARM is used since I have in stock. I think I will change to a Tunze material combined with a clean magnesium material next time.

Anyway the reactor is now placed inside my sump, so security is taken care of😀


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Old 09/16/2017, 01:07 AM   #4
BubbleMyTip
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My pH port is also leaking on my 3171, from the base where it connects to the lid's acrylic. Is there anything I can do to fix that that would be recommended? It's not a major concern as it is placed in my sump, but obviously slightly worried about its efficiency etc

Thanks


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Old 09/18/2017, 08:10 AM   #5
rvitko
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This piece on screws, teflon tape or possibly just tightening it slightly should fix the leak.


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Roger Vitko
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Current Tank Info: 210 gallon planted tank with Altum Angelfish
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Old 06/05/2018, 03:33 AM   #6
NorwayEagle
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Roger: Just for curiosity and to hear about any updates of the product.

Has Tunze acknowledged the weakness in the electrode port. and made any improvements on this small, but critical part?


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Old 06/05/2018, 08:30 AM   #7
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I have heard nothing since your initial complaint and I accept the answer that this is the one type of port available, it is a standard commercial part for waterproof entries and I can say from my own observations of other products, I haven't seen anyone using a different one so I believe it is the only option for this part. I have not had any other complaints about the seal.


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Roger Vitko
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"He's for every one of us, stands for every one of us, he'll save every man, woman and child in a mighty Flash!"

Current Tank Info: 210 gallon planted tank with Altum Angelfish
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Old 06/22/2018, 06:16 AM   #8
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OK
I just a few days ago dismounted and cleaned the complete reactor after one year use. Actually the first maintenance I do...
Reason was I discovered the pump had stopped, and i thought maybe there were any residues of the ARM media that could have locked it.
However even if the rotator was very hard to get out, there were no visible rests of media inside.
i rinsed everything and cleaned the pump parts with some diluted acetic acid.
Filled the reactor now with Tunze's recommended calciumcarbonate 0880.901 plus a small part Grotech magnesium carbonate.

When mounting the top I fastened the screws by hand, and used a screwdriver a half circle just to tigthen, with the result that I suddenly had the reactorhousing in one part and the lid with top ring below in a second part. The glue that fastened the top ring to the housing had actually gone apart.

After some swearing I cleaned the parts and glued it together with cyanoacrylate glue.

I tested it on the bench before placing it in my system again, and it was tight, also the pH port shows no leakage even if I had not done anything about it.

My experience after a year:

I sleep more well with the automate inside the sump than outside....
The unit is stable, it is easy to control gas and water flow and keeps my Mg/Ca/KH values at reasonably stable levels.
The ARM media has been OK to use, but I now change to a Ca/Mg combo.
In sump the unit is quiet and I really like that I only use one power outlet instead of two.

Within some months I plan to buy an Alkatronic for control and stabilizing KH, and will see if and how the pH measurements from this can have any effects on how the 3171 performs.


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Old 06/22/2018, 08:16 AM   #9
rvitko
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For the lid problem, if you contact Tunze Germany they will replace the housing for you. This was a problem on some of the first units and the gluing was changed. Be careful with muriatic acid, even very dilute it causes the plastic to swell, it may not be noticeable but the dimension change means in the future calcium builds up even faster from less cooling, the ceramic parts are OK with muriatic acid but the plastic is affected and the silicon can also be deformed.


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Roger Vitko
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"He's for every one of us, stands for every one of us, he'll save every man, woman and child in a mighty Flash!"

Current Tank Info: 210 gallon planted tank with Altum Angelfish
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Old 06/22/2018, 08:18 AM   #10
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Also, the main reason we recommend our media, but it can be any pure calcium carbonate media instead of coral skeleton media, is it is cleaner, less sediment to jam the pump and tubing. Knop media is also almost the same material as ours and some others, the coral skeletons become a mush in time and can cause channelling and jamming.


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Roger Vitko
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Current Tank Info: 210 gallon planted tank with Altum Angelfish
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Old 06/22/2018, 01:22 PM   #11
NorwayEagle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvitko View Post
For the lid problem, if you contact Tunze Germany they will replace the housing for you. This was a problem on some of the first units and the gluing was changed. Be careful with muriatic acid, even very dilute it causes the plastic to swell, it may not be noticeable but the dimension change means in the future calcium builds up even faster from less cooling, the ceramic parts are OK with muriatic acid but the plastic is affected and the silicon can also be deformed.
So you think I can contact Tunze in Germany directly and ask for an exchange housing?
The unit is tight now with my gluing👍

As I wrote I used diluted acetic acid not muriatic, and I only used it on the pump and rotator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rvitko View Post
Also, the main reason we recommend our media, but it can be any pure calcium carbonate media instead of coral skeleton media, is it is cleaner, less sediment to jam the pump and tubing. Knop media is also almost the same material as ours and some others, the coral skeletons become a mush in time and can cause channelling and jamming.
I see the point of using cleaner medias, so will use it from now on, but there were no visible residues I could see of the ARM media


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Old 06/22/2018, 01:26 PM   #12
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I don't think it will be an issue, I would just email them and explain, any photos will help.

Sorry for the misunderstanding on the acid.


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Roger Vitko
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"He's for every one of us, stands for every one of us, he'll save every man, woman and child in a mighty Flash!"

Current Tank Info: 210 gallon planted tank with Altum Angelfish
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Old 06/25/2018, 03:34 AM   #13
NorwayEagle
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I have made a claim to Tunze Germany now and await their answer, in the meantime thanks for Your advices Roger


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Old 06/25/2018, 08:53 AM   #14
rvitko
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Thank you!


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Roger Vitko
Tunze USA

"He's for every one of us, stands for every one of us, he'll save every man, woman and child in a mighty Flash!"

Current Tank Info: 210 gallon planted tank with Altum Angelfish
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Old 06/27/2018, 05:51 AM   #15
NorwayEagle
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Today I received a confirmation from Matthias at Tunze that he will send me a new housing.
I am very happy with that and it shows again Tunzes excellent service👍


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Old 06/27/2018, 09:16 AM   #16
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Thank you!


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Roger Vitko
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"He's for every one of us, stands for every one of us, he'll save every man, woman and child in a mighty Flash!"

Current Tank Info: 210 gallon planted tank with Altum Angelfish
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