Co2 reactor design - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Co2 reactor design

As an engineer, I felt it was a must to build my own .... question for anyone who has built one - would putting a access plug at the bottom (to clean, add/remove bioballs, etc) cause a significant disruption in flow? I could also fashion a diverter and attach to backside of plug to make sure the most of the flow is deflected into the 90 degree bend -> hose barb. I figure any little turbulence at the bottom might also help chop up any bubbles trying to get out.

Running a Eheim 2213 into a 20H tank, which is already a lot of flow, so not too worried if I lose a little.

Also - what's the best way to size it for a given tank size. Is 2" pipe overkill for a 20H? - I've got around 16-18" of vertical room in the stand to mount it. But want to make it big enough for the eventual tank upgrade

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 09:29 PM
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I cannot say that I have seen it as the reactors I build are opaque but there is good evidence that where and how the CO2 enters is somewhat critical. Many do report they get noise of splashing water and there is almost always a common change they have made to the original Grigg's which works so well. Rex Grigg's felt it was important enough to design/figure a way to avoid putting the CO2 in at the side of the water flow.
Original design?
https://rotalabutterfly.com/rex-grigg/diy-reactor.htm

Note how he went about pulling the tubing through the side? I feel this avoids something which we hear about quite often. In my thinking, putting the CO2 in at the side of the flow where water movement is slowest, is risking the bubble going up along the sidewall to collect at the top and then the water entering through this space can splash.
I also find some value in using a tee fitting at the bottom and adding a flat plug so that the reactor can set flat on the floor. Elbows make it hard to get them to stand up right?
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 09:57 PM
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I use 1-1/2" pvc with bio-balls inside, no bubbles exit either, 80 gallon tank.
Run @ 3psi and 8 bps through a small orifice.

Use a union to take apart for cleaning.
This will not impact flow.


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
Note how he went about pulling the tubing through the side? I feel this avoids something which we hear about quite often. In my thinking, putting the CO2 in at the side of the flow where water movement is slowest, is risking the bubble going up along the sidewall to collect at the top and then the water entering through this space can splash.
I also find some value in using a tee fitting at the bottom and adding a flat plug so that the reactor can set flat on the floor. Elbows make it hard to get them to stand up right?
I have a plan for that It's not on the diagram, but I was thinking of putting a small tube connected to the co2 hose barb inside that will put the co2 bubbles smack in the middle of the pipe.

Thankfully PVC is cheap - the only expensive parts are the brass barbs and fittings, so if it doesn't work, I can just rebuild in about 15 min and $15. A lot more fun than buying diffuser after diffuser that I don't like.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 12:02 AM
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I agree that PVC is cheap. I didn't bother setting up my reactor with a way to clean it. I figured it would be much easier to just build a new one when the time comes instead of taking apart an existing one and cleaning it. This also helps avoid any additional, potential leaks in the reactor. I do agree with PlantedRich that having a flat bottom makes it much easier to place the reactor in a vertical position.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 12:20 AM
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I know it's not the same kind of reactor but I mount mine to ensure it always stays in the position I want it in.
This way it's always upright



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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 01:08 AM
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It's a mean old world and we all have to take some chances.
I took the chance that I would not have to clean the reactors as I don't put anything in them. My thinking is that the 1 1/2 or 2" pipe will be good far longer than the tubing feeding it! But then IF I do need to get into it, my plan is to lay it out on the saw and rip it apart. It only takes a coupling to put it back together. The whole unit will get a bit longer each time but for the last few years, I've never needed one open.
I do have to tilt mine to clear the air out of the canister on restarts. For whatever reason the incoming water won't push the air out past the filled reactor. So having a flat bottom, I tie it loosely at the top and just swing it up to let the air pass.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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I've read a lot about what Tom Barr says about venturis, and found these recently:

Venturi Tees



Might be fun to get one to play with - they are pretty cheap - given the nature of the venturi, you might even be able to mount the reactor horizontal, as long as the CO2 comes in from the top, to form a gas pocket that gets drawn into the vacuum - this might even eliminate the need for a purge valve.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 07:56 PM
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I would also put in a bleedvalve, makes priming your canister a lot easier.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 07:55 AM
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I have one of these, it's a German reactor and it's really sturdy and works very well. The site is in German but the images might give some ideas for a design. It comes in different versions, different hose dimensions, with or without bubblecounter and so on. Has a bleed valve as well.

CO2 Aussenreaktor AR-US50 16mm, mit Blasenzähler

CO2 Reaktoren
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Nice... always leave it to the German to engineer the heck out of something.

I haven't seen a source for those co2 connectors - only hose barbs... I'm not even sure what they are called....Compression fittings?

Bump: USPlastics's opinion is that "soft" tubing like silicone and polyurethane need barbs..... http://www.usplastic.com/knowledgebase/article.aspx?contentkey=726
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 02:08 PM
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We all have differing interests and that leads to far different ways to get the job done. For myself, I like the Grigg's design because the engineer part is already worked out and verified as a good working design---if it is still used as designed and not modified to the point that problems are thrown in. Some of the complaints I see are things that I don't feel are fair to blame on a Grigg's reactor as they have moved away from that. Can one really be fair to complain about a Ford if he has put it on a Chevy frame? So when I see a Grigg's design used with some mod done and then there is a problem, I can't really see it being a complaint on the Grigg's.
We all tend to want to reinvent the wheel at times. But I find it very easy to do the simple design and it works in almost all cases and is much cheaper. Since I do a fair amount of PVC and I also use a number of reactors, I like to buy the big piece of pipe ande cut it down. If you look at the prices of full sections of pipe versus the pre-cut, you find a ten foot length at Lowe's is $2.45. Not much more than the 18" precut so I get the long and "guessimate" what will do and then if I'm wrong it is very simple to add more.
I use the original design and so far it has worked very well except in one case where I got really silly and undersized a long way. I had a 20 long working on a Zoomed 501 and thought there surely was little concern in blowing bubbles through into the tank so I went with building it using 3/4" pipe. Wrong, that one let bubbles sneak past and had to be redone.
This is my standard for reactors:
https://rotalabutterfly.com/rex-grigg/diy-reactor.htm

Just so simple, it works?
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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True - and I have modified my design to better match the original.....

But I also love the theory of it all... understanding *why* it's a good design.... which of course lead me to the "advanced" Griggs-style with the bypass (like the one NilocG makes).... I'm guessing that's for much higher flow rate filters tho? I was thinking about the benefits of having the main pipe be the size of the tubing, and the bypass having the larger diameter/gas input, and the mix valve. I haven't come across any geeky science explanations for the bypass.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 02:38 PM
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I agree that the Nilocg mods are for very high flow canisters like the FX series. Without the bypass, you can't practically make it long enough to avoid bubbles making it out. The bypass is there to reduce the flow through the CO2, allowing it to break down all the way.

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