The Versa from Ecotech Marine is a dosing pump with many different applications, making it versatile for a wide range of utilities. It’s programmable, controllable, and most reefers will use it for precise dosing of additives and water changes, but for our reef tanks the Versa seems to be the best at feeding our kalkwasser reactors.
It’s no secret that regular additions of saturated limewater using calcium hydroxide is the best and easiest method to provide a foundation of mineral replenishment in reef aquaria. It’s for this reason that we we widely employ Avast K1 & K2 Kalkwasser stirrers throughout the Reef Builders Studio and will run a tank with a modest coral population this way long before we ever think about discrete two-part dosing.
Kalkwasser additions, especially while using a kalk stirrer, is only as good as the dosing pump that feeds it, and it seems that the Ecotech Marine Versa is uniquely suited to perform this function better than any other. There are controllable pumps, there are dosing pumps specifically engineered for continuous dosing, but we’ve been going through the feature specs of many models and are struggling to come up with a model that is both wireless, controllable, programmable, and capable of running constantly.
You’d think it’d be easier for any programmable, controllable smart pump to perform a continuous, slow dosing function but this is harder than you’d think. It’s much less strenuous for motors to come on at a higher speed for short periods of time – something which most of them are specifically engineered to do – than it is for them to run slowly all the time.
Apparently this type of slow, constant operation is very hard on motors, especially brushless DC motors, which is why it’s not a simple matter to just program it in the software that controls most dosing pump systems, it’s also very noisy. In order to enable true constant dosing in their Versas Ecotech Marine had to incorporate a special power signal that actualy uses more power at low speeds, but it reduces wear on the motor and makes it nearly silent, similar to the Quiet Drive and sine wave signal that makes other DC pumps so quiet.
The continuous or constant dosing regime is really only most necessary for dosing kalkwasser since it raises the pH of your tank water, and in an effort to smooth out pH swings we want it to be added to the tank at a regular rate. My predilection for optimized kalkwasser dosing might be dating my roots in ‘mini reef tanks’ but it just so happens that the newest dosing pump in the hobby is also the one most suited for this old school trick.