What Are Calcium Media Reactors And How DO They Work?

A Brief History of Calcium Reactors

Calcium Reactors, as they are known today, are still quite similar to the original reactor designed by Rolf Hebbinghaus at the Aqua zoo Lobbecke Museum in Dsseldorf, Germany. I visited the museum and met Mr. Hebbinghaus in 1993 while attending the World Marine Aquarium Symposium in Lunen, Germany.

Rolf was very excited about his creation and rightly so. The main display aquarium at the zoo was a magnificent coral reef aquarium of 18,000 liters (-4600 gals+). It was home to some of the largest colonies of Acropora I have ever seen in captivity. He made the reactor out of an EHEIM 2050 canister filter filled with large chunks of coral sand. He introduced CO2 by way of the filter intake that entered the bottom of the reactor and, as it made its way up through the sand, slowly dissolved the material freeing the minerals and nutrients bound within. After its installation, growth rates of the SPS increased by 50% and the Soft corals increased by 100%!!

This invention was truly groundbreaking and it was incredible to be there and see it in its original form. Little did I know it would become a common peace of equipment found within reef aquarium systems around the world! Though the original reactor was very simple in design, the concept gave rise to a multitude of different designs that have been refined again and again since 1993 where now, in 2008, we have an incredible array of reactor designs to choose from.

Images and references taken from Bulletin de lInstitut ocanographique, Monaco, n spcial 20, fascicule 1 (2001)

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