As experienced reef tank hobbyists know, knowing how to set up a dosing container the proper way is absolutely critical. Otherwise, an improper setup can increase the risk of overdose, which can be catastrophic to your tank. In today’s blog, we’ll discuss the most important steps and best practices for setting up your tank’s dosing container.
Where to Install the Dosing Container
First, we recommend installing your dosing container in a location that will prevent a siphon by ensuring the dosing container is lower than the end of the outlet tubing. The dosing container should also be easy to view and refill.
Preventing a Siphon
You should always have the end of your dosing lines higher than your dosing container. As long as the output where the lines drip into your sump or aquarium are higher than the liquid in the container, it cannot siphon. The location of the dosing pump does not typically matter. Improper placement can cause the dosing container’s entire contents to siphon into the sump or tank without the dosing pump running.
Easy to Access
The other item to consider when placing your dosing container is how readily available and easy it will be to fill. Having a clear view of each of the compartments on the dosing container allows you to check solution levels visually. Also, you will not want the challenge of refilling in a spot that may otherwise risk spilling after you remove the container.
How to Keep the Lines Primed
One of the challenges many first time users of a dosing pump encounter is ensuring that lines are primed. The easiest way to accomplish this is to install a check valve on the dosing pump head’s output side. This way liquid cannot flow back into the container. Failure to keep the lines primed will result in inaccurate dosing. This is because the pump may not self-prime or spend the first few minutes re-priming when it is supposed to be dosing liquid.
How to Install Dosing Tubing
Installing your tubing can also be a challenge. You should always run the lines in a way that will prevent accidental tugging or kinking. While the tube’s length has some impact on your dosing pump, it shouldn’t play a significant role once correctly calibrated. Therefore, you will want to use some extra length to run behind other equipment and keep them out of the way. There is nothing worse than accidentally tugging a dosing line and spilling your solutions, or worse yet, dumping them in the sump.
How to Install a Float Switch
Managing your solution levels can be tricky, and if you run out, it can be detrimental to your livestock’s health. One solution is to use a float switch inside the dosing solution to notify you when the level is low. While most people use an aquarium computer for such notifications, it’s not too difficult to rig it up to turn on a light or sound an alarm without requiring an aquarium controller. For example, you can install a simple water detector into the float switches to provide an audible alarm when liquid levels run low. These are generally available at big box stores for less than $15.
How to Mix and Add Solution
Frequent solutions people use in a dosing container are purchased as a dry chemical or concentrated liquid. Both of these situations require dilution and proper mixing. We always recommend mixing before adding them to the dosing container to ensure an adequate blend. This will also reduce the risk of precipitation due to spillage.
Other Tips and Tricks
You will always want to ensure that you use the same solutions in their respective compartment. For example, if you use calcium initially and then alkalinity in the same container without thorough rinsing, this will undoubtedly result in some precipitation and changes to the usable product’s concentration. We also recommend labeling your mixing jugs to prevent cross-contamination.
And there you have it! Learning how to set up a dosing container isn’t too complicated, but it is vital for a healthy tank. As long as you take care while placing your container, mixing, filling and routing lines, you should undoubtedly have great success. Happy dosing!