How To Set Up An Aquarium Dosing Pump
If you are one of those saltwater hobbyists that manually dose your tank every day, you know how tedious that can be. It can be a ton of work and it is easy to forget and make mistakes that can be hazardous to a reef tank.
The good news is you don’t have to stress over manual dosing. There are many aquarium dosing pumps available that will make your reef dosing easy and safe. By automating your dosing schedule, you will be able to monitor and maintain consistent water parameters effectively. Remember, stability and consistency is the key to success!
Many people believe that setting up an aquarium dosing pump is complicated and frustrating. While that might be true in some cases, for the most part it is pretty straight forward and easy to do.
In this article, I will show you how to set up an aquarium dosing pump so that you can enjoy the benefits of using one properly.
What do I need to dose into a reef tank?
Most people who have reef tanks will need to dose Calcium, Alkalinity, and Magnesium supplements as corals deplete the levels within your tank. These are the common 3 items.
The first thing to check is to ensure you choose a dosing pump that is capable of dosing multiple supplements with multiple heads and channels. Also, make sure it has a built-in controller.
Let’s use the Aqua Medic Reefdoser EVO 4 as an example. This is a great dosing pump at a really good price. Fishtankadvisor.com also lists it as one of the best dosing pumps to buy.
Step 1: Unbox and make sure all the parts are there
This is important because if anything is missing, you can address it right away. It should include the main pump, hoses, check valves, pump heads with a spare, and power supply.
Step 2: Install the heads and check valves (if required)
Step 3: Place the dosing pump and controller in the desired location
It’s important to set up the pump where it will stay in a permanent location and not be moved around. Also, make sure the end of the outlet tubing is higher than the top of the dosing containers or solution bottles to prevent a siphon. You don’t want the pump too far away from your aquarium or sump tank as fluid will travel through the lines. Usually, the pump is placed within a few feet.
Step 4: Power on the unit and ensure everything lights up on the controller and pump
Step 5: Set the date and time
You will want the date and time to be accurate as you will be setting a daily schedule for the dosing pump to operate on. The Aqua Medic Reefdoser EVO 4 makes it easy to do from the main screen by pushing the center arrow button, then the up/down/left/right arrows as needed. Use the center arrow as the enter button.
Step 6: Install the tubing
This step is pretty straight forward. Install the tubing so that the fluid will drain without kinking. Avoid turns and uphill flows that will prevent the fluid from flowing easily.
Pro tip: Make sure the end of the outlet tubing is higher than the top of the dosing containers or solution bottles to prevent a siphon. Many people forget this part and you could end up with the entire solution draining into your tank. This could be a disaster.
Step 7: Prime your dosing lines
Once you have your pump, controller, and containers with fluid in place, you now need to prime the dosing lines. This will prevent air bubbles from forming and will remove any existing bubbles so that your dosing is accurate. You will find when doing this, you will drip out some solution. Keep a small container on hand to reuse the solution and pour it back into the main container.
On the controller, select the up arrow, select the desired pump and hit enter. Hit the up arrow again and the fluid will start to flow from the container into the line. Once the fluid drips out of the tubing, it is primed and you can hit the up arrow again to stop the pump. Repeat this step for the remaining pumps you are using.
Step 8: Calibrate your dosing heads
A really great feature of the Aqua Medic Reefdoser EVO 4, is the pumps come already calibrated from the manufacturer. If you suspect that they are out of calibration, you can manually calibrate them to check and set the controller.
If you need to manually calibrate the pumps, it is easy to do. This video explains the setup and calibration.
Step 9: Program the pumps
Programming Aqua Medic Reefdoser EVO 4 is really straightforward. To begin, you enter the date and time as mentioned earlier. Then, choose the “Set program”.
The programming follows a few steps. First, choose which pump you’d like to program, then the dose-per-day amount, between 1-24 individual doses per 24 hour period.
Next, set the “Days interval” with numbers between 0-30. Zero means there is no interval and the dosing regime will be repeated every day. “1” means one interval or one dosing scheme every other day, and so on.
The next step is to determine the dosage volume on a scale between 1-9999 ml, with 1 ml increments.
Finally, the dosage time for each individual dose is set. Hit “Enter” to finalize the program or “Esc” to return to the previous step.
Rinse and repeat as you need to.
Learn more about the Aqua Medic Reefdoser EVO 4 here.