Reactor Choices - The Planted Tank Forum

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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-13-2003, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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I decided to send back my new Carbo-Plus system before ever using it and instead decided to put together a high-pressure CO2 system. I'm getting a 5 lb. aluminum tank ($45), a dual-gauge regulator from beveragefactory.com ($45), a needle valve from Clippard (~$15), some sort of bubble counter (still open to suggestions for one of those but I'd almost rather buy one than make one), and then finally a reactor. This is all going in my 37 gallon tank. Now for the reactor...

I was planning on building my own reactor using the plans at the bottom of the page here:

http://www.qsl.net/w2wdx/aquaria/diyco2.html

It'd wind up being about $35 to build this one, so that isn't bad. But what I'm wondering is if another powerhead-driven reactor would be better and easier (no assembly). The main ones I was looking at can be seen here:

http://www.aquabotanic.com/shop/en-us/dept_3.html

and

http://www.plantguild.com/html/power_reactors.html

So what do y'all think? The DIY powerhead-driven gravel vac reactor shown on the first page I linked or one of the already-built powerhead-driven reactors shown on the other two pages I linked? Thanks for your input, guys!

Sincerely,
STAT 007
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37 gallon AGA Black Seal, Emperor 400, Ebo Jager 200 W, 100% Flourite Substrate, 2x55 Watt AH Supply PC Lighting (5300K & 6400K) @ ~3.4 WPG, High-Pressure CO2.
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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-14-2003, 01:15 AM
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Unless you really like tinkering around with stuff, I would buy the vortex for $50. Why build one for $35 when you can buy one that you know will work for a few extra bucks. Thats just my opinion.
I actually enjoy building my own stuff so I might build one because I'm a glutten for a challenge.

Marcel

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75 gal heavily planted,50/50 Black beauty,Eco-complete substrate, Pressurised CO2 with solenoid, ph controller, AB Reactor 1000, 330 watts 9325K GE PC lighting,Ehiem Liquidoser, 2-Filstar xp3 canisters.
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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-14-2003, 04:04 AM
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I think if you can hide the powerhead/gravel vac combo in your tank, go for it. I got annoyed at the way it stood out in my 20G. With my filter and heater in there it got hard hiding all that equipment. The vortex is really small so it will making concealing it much easier.

Felix

20G heavily planted tank with Eco Complete
Pressurized CO2, Eheim Ecco 2236, 1 55W and 1 36W bulb
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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-15-2003, 05:31 AM Thread Starter
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Although I wound up paying quite a bit more than I would have spent making my own reactor, I decided to go with the Reactor 200 seen here:

http://www.floridadriftwood.com/prod...17&1=253&3=147

I tried to order it from Florida Driftwood, but ran into problems with their web-based shopping software, so I wound up ordering it from Arizona Aquatic Gardens. It comes with some CO2-resistant tubing and a few other items, so I think it'll be a good deal. The main reason I didn't go with the smiliar, but smaller Mini Vortex is because it looks too small for my 37 gallon tank (37 gallons is near the upper limit of the Mini Vortex's listed abilities). Also, I'm probably going to require quite a bit of CO2 injection since my pH is around 9.0 and my KH is around 23 dKH. =/

I'm getting pretty excited because I'm getting closer to having all the high-pressure CO2 stuff I need. I got my 5 lb. aluminum tank today (THANK YOU, GulfCoastAquarium!!!) and should get the regulator from BeverageFactory.com pretty soon and the reactor from AZ Gardens sometime soon too. Now I just need to find a way to get the Clippard MNV-4K2 needle valve without paying $15 for shipping & handling.

Sincerely,
STAT 007
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37 gallon AGA Black Seal, Emperor 400, Ebo Jager 200 W, 100% Flourite Substrate, 2x55 Watt AH Supply PC Lighting (5300K & 6400K) @ ~3.4 WPG, High-Pressure CO2.
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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-15-2003, 01:44 PM
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That looks like a nice reactor there! If I would have known about it, I may have bought it instead of building my own powerhead/gravel vac one just because of the convenience. Also, it looks like that one doesn't take up as much space.

It is exciting when you are getting everything together, I remember my own experience... Just make sure you have a fertalizer regimin picked out so once you start injecting CO2, you have everything, that wasn't the case it was with me!

-Tim
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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-15-2003, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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LOL. Fertilizer regimen? LOL. I don't think so. Have you seen the fertilizer thread? It's freakin' three pages long and the posts seem to be in Greek (to me, at least). I guess that'll be the next topic I tackle/research, but for now I'm generally in the dark using Seachem's Flourish and Flourish Excel. One thing I'm particularly curious about is this rumor that some plants absorb fertilizers through the leaves (like from liquid fertilizers in the water) and other plants absorb fertilizers through the roots (requiring fertilizer sticks to be planted under the plants). I don't get how you figure out what plants do which and how you could possibly plant fertilizers under all the plants in a heavily planted tank. I have a hard enough time just getting the plants in the substrate. LOL. =/

Sincerely,
STAT 007
Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of 2004

37 gallon AGA Black Seal, Emperor 400, Ebo Jager 200 W, 100% Flourite Substrate, 2x55 Watt AH Supply PC Lighting (5300K & 6400K) @ ~3.4 WPG, High-Pressure CO2.
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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-15-2003, 07:57 PM
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Yeah, I was confused too at first... I found it is the easiest to just make your own using dry nutrients so you have everything in one bottle, but we'll be looking forward to your fertalizer questions .

-Tim
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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-16-2003, 12:58 PM
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52$ is pricy for that reactor...looks nice but...
http://www.aquatech.com/pumps.html Rio 50 pump $7.89
http://www.pythonproducts.com/replacem.html Tube $9.80

Tubing and filter floss (or sponge) is cheap.. this can be built for half the price and its the exact same thing...

Yup.... Im cheap when it comes to simple things I can DoMySeLf...
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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-16-2003, 04:22 PM
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Since this seems like a good topic to ask this question, here it goes... I made one of those gravel vac diffusers, but I find it rather long. Would it be OK to cut it down a little so it isn't as big? My gravel vac I'm using has an opening of about 2.5 inches but it is like a foot long. If I cut it down to maybe inches or so, would that be OK?

-Tim
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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-16-2003, 06:00 PM
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As long as undissolved co2 doesn't escape out of the bottom it'll be o.k.. Cut it just long enough to prevent bubbles from escaping.

Marcel

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75 gal heavily planted,50/50 Black beauty,Eco-complete substrate, Pressurised CO2 with solenoid, ph controller, AB Reactor 1000, 330 watts 9325K GE PC lighting,Ehiem Liquidoser, 2-Filstar xp3 canisters.
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post #11 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-16-2003, 09:09 PM
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OK, I meant to say 8 inches in my post, but I'll shorten it and then test it before I make any more shortenings to it. Thanks!

-Tim
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post #12 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-16-2003, 10:30 PM
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Just a note here. I once had a gravel vac reactor. It worked, but not as well as I would have liked. I made an external in-line reactor to put on my cannister filter and found that it was about 200% more efficient.
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post #13 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-17-2003, 03:36 AM
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Rex, I've seen the gravel tube reactor plans and I've seen the external reactor plans.... but I don't reallly see much difference between the two. Water flow against gas flow, bio balls or similar to break up gas.

Could you explain to me why one was more efficient than the other in your case?

Is it the size, the flow rate, or the location of the device -- as in before or after the filter?
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post #14 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-17-2003, 01:08 PM
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Well I'm not sure. Other than the fact that with the external reactor I was able to get much better water flow though it. Smaller diameter and more bio-balls. When I switched I was able to cut my bubble rate by about 1/3 and actually get more CO2 into the tank. Also the tank looks much better without the reactor in it.
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post #15 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-17-2003, 03:53 PM
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Was that external reactor located before or after the filter?
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