In line CO2 Reactor question - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-20-2013, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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In line CO2 Reactor question

Hello,

I recently hooked up an ISTA max mix co2 reactor (RG type with an impellor driven by water flow) in line with an EHEIM 2217. I have pressurized co2 hooked up @ 35 psi 2-3 bps. I run the co2 for about 8 hours and have been having an issue where near the end of the on period the entire top 1/4 of the reactor is full of co2 (i presume). It takes some time but by morning the reactor is completely full with water again. I worry if I leave it alone the impeller at the top will wear out as it slowly grinds to a halt as the gas builds up in the top. I have the co2 levels in the tank where I want them, drop checker is a nice yellowish green and plants are showing good growth so I figured I'd ask if anyone has seen this before I start tinkering. I am guessing that the standing pressure is a bit high, I had it set that high b/c I was running an atomizer prior to this.

If I decrease the standing pressure will I need to compensate by increasing the bps? or does that make a difference?
Is there something else I should try?

Thanks
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-20-2013, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhody9 View Post
Hello,

I recently hooked up an ISTA max mix co2 reactor (RG type with an impellor driven by water flow) in line with an EHEIM 2217. I have pressurized co2 hooked up @ 35 psi 2-3 bps. I run the co2 for about 8 hours and have been having an issue where near the end of the on period the entire top 1/4 of the reactor is full of co2 (i presume). It takes some time but by morning the reactor is completely full with water again. I worry if I leave it alone the impeller at the top will wear out as it slowly grinds to a halt as the gas builds up in the top. I have the co2 levels in the tank where I want them, drop checker is a nice yellowish green and plants are showing good growth so I figured I'd ask if anyone has seen this before I start tinkering. I am guessing that the standing pressure is a bit high, I had it set that high b/c I was running an atomizer prior to this.

If I decrease the standing pressure will I need to compensate by increasing the bps? or does that make a difference?
Is there something else I should try?

Thanks
I had this same exact thing happen on my tank with the same exact product. I ended up with 20 gallons of water on my floor because the back pressure blew one of the hoses completely off. This product in short is a piece of crap

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Yikes! which tube blew out?
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 02:28 PM
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Re: In line CO2 Reactor question

If you're already using hose clamps, increase your water flow or reduce the pressure. I've been using this reactor (large version) @ 32psi on a 2217 for roughly a year with no problems.

29g high tech, 10g low tech halfmoon, and please see my 5g crescent journal.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 04:44 PM
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I had hose clamps on both ends. The regulator was on the outflow from an eheim canister. It blew the input end of the hose into the reactor. There are just too many things that can go wrong with those. You are better off buying a 40$ gla inline reactor or doing a diy

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 06:49 PM
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What I did was had the co2 turn off about 2 hours before lights went off because all the extra co2 in the reactor was still being used. No sense adding more when there was still tons in the reactor. It pretty much all burned off an hour or two after lights off. It worked for me at least
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 06:59 PM
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I'm using this reactor in the large version powered by a Ecco Pro 2236. CO2 comes on 1 hour before the lights and turns off 1 hour before the dark, Never had any problems with it, other than the "splashing" noise of the propeller. I'm running about 3 bbs at around 20psi. It does a really good job of dissolving the CO2. My only complaint is the tiny bubbles that come out of the filter output (could be solved with some sponge in the reactor).
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 07:19 PM
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Re: In line CO2 Reactor question

^^^ What were the tank and reactor sizes? This was on a 2217?

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 07:43 PM
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Re: In line CO2 Reactor question

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhody9 View Post

If I decrease the standing pressure will I need to compensate by increasing the bps? or does that make a difference?
Is there something else I should try?
Since you're building up such a huge backlog of undissolved gas, you should be able to reduce the pressure, the bps, or both. The bubble you're building up is wasted since it's clearing after lights out.

Put your reactor on a diet.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 10:37 PM
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I have this same issue too when my mesh intake starts to clog up and the flow drops in the 2213 i use to power the reactor. I just clean out the mesh and it usually solves the problem. Pretty much any gas sitting at the top below the level of the two paddle wheels is reducing efficiency, as it's not being actively churned into the water. Dial back your flow so that it doesn't fill up as much, and reduce your pressure. I run mine somewhere below 10psi and it works great. All you have to do is overcome the pressure of the water trying to escape through the gas inlet on the reactor, then adjust your flow with the needle valve.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 11:28 PM
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I've used a few DIY Rex reactors and never ran beyond 10 psi, with no problems.

If you drop the pressure down, you'll definitely have to tweak the needle valve, and bubble count should differ as well: higher pressure means more CO2 squeezed into smaller bubbles. The air on either side of the bubble counter presses against the water in the bc. Water doesn't change size based on pressure applied to it, but that pressure is transferred through the water to the bubbles inside it, compressing the gas pocket, meaning more actual CO2 per given bubble size.

That's the theory, anyway. It took me a while, reading through some long arguments here on the forum (there have been a few doozies over the years) to come to believe it. Don't take my word for it - do some reading and come to your own conclusion. But that's my take on it.

In any case, regardless of reasoning, watch your drop checker, and your fish, and gradually dial in your needle valve all over again.

...and I've heard a few horror stories about the ISTA reactors. Just build your own and be done with it.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies, I did adujust my timer so it turns off earlier so less gas is building. I plan to tweak down the pressure over the weekend when I can watch the results more closely. I'll post the results. I would like to build my own one day... I am not the most DIY savy guy though so I must overcome the "fear factor" lol.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 05:11 PM
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Re: In line CO2 Reactor question

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Originally Posted by kevmo911 View Post
...and I've heard a few horror stories about the ISTA reactors. Just build your own and be done with it.
Could you expand on that, Kev? What should we be looking out for? I've been very happy with mine for a year now but 30 gallons of water dumped on a hardwood floor could change that in a heartbeat.

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 10:21 PM
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Well, I've heard of a hose blowing off a couple times. And - correct me if I'm wrong; I've never owned one - the impression I get is that the entire reactor seems to be made of fairly thin plastic. That would give me pause before purchasing one.

But a couple years back I was looking into purchasing one through one of the sponsors here who dealt in ISTA products. I asked if they could order one for me, and the answer was yes, but their business partner said they'd had the entire bottom blow out of one they'd personally used, and therefore advised against it.

So I built my own, and upgraded the version a couple times, and have been pretty happy with it.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 10:35 PM
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The reactors don't feel flimsy at all. The bottom can't just blow off, as it's screwed on with a decent amount of threading and these things aren't under that much pressure. The only real obvious points of failure are the 3 hose ports. The water inlet/outlets shouldn't be a problem if you use the proper size of hose (and DON'T use the supplied elbows). The gas inlet is rather short and lacks any sort of barb or clamp, so it's conceivable that the hose can blow off if it builds up enough pressure, but even that's unlike as it'll just continue to fill the reactor with more and more gas then escape through the water outlet once it's completely full. Not to say that catastrophic failure is impossible, or hasn't happened, but I think the danger is rather slim. Just use the proper size of tubing, make sure it isn't getting stiff or brittle, and keep the pressure low.
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