As a reef aquarist, deciding on the best method for maintaining minerals in your aquarium is a challenge that you will almost certain encounter (if you haven’t already that is). Currently, use of two-part solutions, Balling/Balling Lite, Calcium reactors, Kalkwasser addition and Triton are all well-known techniques, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. The use of a Calcium reactor is known to be an effective method, albeit perhaps not the most ‘avant-garde’ however we won’t investigate the specific differences in this article. Instead, assuming that you have already settled on using a Calcium reactor as your method of mineral supplementation, we’ll look at the Vertex RX6 purely on its capabilities as such a reactor.
Vertex products have already featured in UltraMarine on numerous occasions and we are therefore not surprised that the packaging and presentation of the ‘6D’ meet our high expectations. Packaged securely inside a sturdy, branded cardboard box, all components are present and safely cocooned inside moulded foam casings, or sealed plastic bags for smaller components… and this is all the way from Germany.
Moving on to the assembly stage and, although initially looking rather complicated, the 6D is actually pretty easy to put-together with the instructions methodically guiding one through the build of the different components, and the linkages between them. We did notice the odd spelling error and translation failure, but really there was nothing significant enough to warrant specific mention. In around 30 minutes we had the unit fully assembled, ‘sussed-out’ and ready to move into our sump.
Before we move onto the operational stage, let’s just make a few specific observations about the design and construction of this reactor and firstly, wow, we were struck by the tangible feel of quality with this reactor! Along with the beautiful, robust 6” diameter main chamber (which features thick, machined acrylic and a heavy threaded cap for convenient removal), multiple unions allow the unit to be broken down into smaller sections to facilitate cleaning, and manipulation. Adding to the feature-set, resin-epoxy sealed John Guest fittings are employed throughout, guaranteeing years of leak-free operation. We also note that this unit features a large CO2 dissolution chamber to maximise contact time, and a CO2 recycling and venting system is added to ensure effective use of the gas. There’s an oversized, ultra-clear bubble-counter too, so it’s easy to keep tabs on how much gas is entering the reactor. In the same vein, a gorgeous effluent flow-metre allows the passage of water through the unit to be monitored and fine-tuned with a high quality needle-valve included. This prism-like metre really makes the 6D stand-out aesthetically and functionally in our eyes, indeed this is a reactor that really deserves to be ‘on-show’ if the situation allows. It doesn’t end there though, indeed the 6Ds key feature is really the fact that it boasts a dual-tiered secondary reaction chamber (the ‘D’ standing for ‘Duo’). Filled with a suitable media, this chamber can assist in raising the effluent pH before it leaves the reactor, and the second tier section can be used for other media if desired. Finally, let’s not forget to mention the all-important pH probe port which provides for those wishing to use a controller to manage the unit.
In terms of the engine block of the reactor, we have another high quality component in the form of Sicce’s highly-regarded Syncra Silent 1.5 pump which is rated to turnover 1350lph with a power draw of just 23 watts. In operation, this advanced technology pump is virtually inaudible while it effectively churns the mixture inside the reactor, indeed the rating of the pump seems well-matched to the volume of the reactor. It also comes with a UK plug fitted as standard. As with other components, the pump stands within depressions on the 6Ds thick white PVC base-plate. Equipped with rubber feet, the pump produces no discernable vibration noise to our ear. On the subject of the base-plate, although this does offer the perfect solution for running the 6D in a single compact footprint (of approx. 30x25cm), we see no reason why the unit can’t be separated and the secondary chamber run apart from the main one (indeed the tubing included gives plenty of scope for this). If the base-plate is not used, the footprint of the unit also decreases slightly. In terms of height, the unit is around 56cm tall, but bear in mind that a pH probe and the necessary tubing will make it slightly taller.
In conclusion, the 6D offers German design and build quality on top of a raft of desirable features. The unit is quiet, flexible, effective, efficient and built to withstand the rigours of sump-based operations. It also looks absolutely beautiful and offers a level of control beyond the norm, especially if fitted with a suitable feed device. Rated for tanks of up to 1000litres, the 6D is distributed in the UK at an RRP of £. If you’ve got the means, we highly recommend it.