Help! - Failing Cerges Reactor - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Help! - Failing Cerges Reactor

After getting carried away and spending ~$700 on my aquarium setup, the last piece of equipment keeps failing and I can't figure out how to fix it. It's my DIY cerges reactor (pic 1).

It's the the Co2 entry point (pic 2). I thought I was a genius by drilling a hole in the top and using a drip-irrigation barb adapter (pic 3) and sealing it with RTV Silicone. But alas, and the water pressure from my SunSun 304B keeps exploding through the RTV sealant and water sprays everywhere. Pretty scary actually.

So I think I need to ditch the drip-irrigation barb + RTV silicone and try something new.

Any ideas on how I can make a water-tight co2 entry point here?

P.S.

Pic 4 is a picture of the hole I drilled on the top lid. It's leads to the cerges inlet (filter's "out").

Pic 5 is my setup so far, 1 month in the making. My glossostigma shows up today. I'm so close!

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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 11:08 PM
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Ok, some observations / thoughts so far;
RTV silicone is not going to work as you figured out already. My best suggestion, if you want to leave the co2 entry point in that location would be to go to Menards/Lowes/Home depot and get a brass hose barb fitting that has the correct hose size on one end and a threaded pipe on the other end. I suggest pipe thread as it is tapered which will help it seal better to the plastic housing. Will it seal perfect, that depends on your DIY skills. A correctly sized drill hole, just big enough to get the pipe tread started, should do the trick. Don't use teflon thread tape, it will just get chewed up. Thread the fitting into the housing bare, than once some threads are cut into the plastic, use thread sealing paste or maybe even epoxy for the final assembly.

The other thing that stand out in your pictures is there is no draft tube in the middle of the housing. Your incoming water needs to flow into the housing thru the port that is OUTSIDE the center port. This will beat up the co2 until it dissolves. The co2 bubbles sit at the top of the housing until they dissolve, are carried to the bottom of the housing, into the bottom of the draft tube, up the draft tube (middle port of the filter housing head) and out to your tank.

Knowing the above makes me question putting the co2 injection port where you did. If the co2 injection port IS in the wrong place, get a brass plug and thread it into that spot and chose a better injection location.



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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Immortal1 View Post
Ok, some observations / thoughts so far;
RTV silicone is not going to work as you figured out already. My best suggestion, if you want to leave the co2 entry point in that location would be to go to Menards/Lowes/Home depot and get a brass hose barb fitting that has the correct hose size on one end and a threaded pipe on the other end. I suggest pipe thread as it is tapered which will help it seal better to the plastic housing. Will it seal perfect, that depends on your DIY skills. A correctly sized drill hole, just big enough to get the pipe tread started, should do the trick. Don't use teflon thread tape, it will just get chewed up. Thread the fitting into the housing bare, than once some threads are cut into the plastic, use thread sealing paste or maybe even epoxy for the final assembly.

The other thing that stand out in your pictures is there is no draft tube in the middle of the housing. Your incoming water needs to flow into the housing thru the port that is OUTSIDE the center port. This will beat up the co2 until it dissolves. The co2 bubbles sit at the top of the housing until they dissolve, are carried to the bottom of the housing, into the bottom of the draft tube, up the draft tube (middle port of the filter housing head) and out to your tank.

Knowing the above makes me question putting the co2 injection port where you did. If the co2 injection port IS in the wrong place, get a brass plug and thread it into that spot and chose a better injection location.

Thanks Immortal. Yeah there's a draft tube in the middle of the housing. Zoom in.

I'm 99% sure it works, as I let it run ( and leak) for some time, blasting co2 in there it dissolved well with no bubbles coming out the outlet.

I was thinking of doing what you suggested, using a threaded copper adapter up there. Only issue I have is that the hole I drilled isn't threaded, so the likelihood of leaking is still high if I just thread something into a hole without anything else .

I might be able to get underneath with a nut and sealing washer... if the make them that small.


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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 11:39 PM
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Ok, must be a clear draft tube (mine are all opaque white so I just assumed).
With the tapered pipe thread, it should work like a thread tap in the plastic. As you thread the tapered adapter into the plastic it should cut (squeeze?) threads into the plastic. Now, I am assuming (hoping) at that point the plastic is thicker that a few sheets of paper. For what it's worth, I have threaded brass fittings right into the side of a PVC pipe and it worked just fine.


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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, must be a clear draft tube (mine are all opaque white so I just assumed).
With the tapered pipe thread, it should work like a thread tap in the plastic. As you thread the tapered adapter into the plastic it should cut (squeeze?) threads into the plastic. Now, I am assuming (hoping) at that point the plastic is thicker that a few sheets of paper. For what it's worth, I have threaded brass fittings right into the side of a PVC pipe and it worked just fine.
Perfect. I'm gonna try a tapered threaded adapter tomorrow then.

The filter housing as well as the top cap, where I drilled the entry hole, are high quality thick material. So I have that going for me.

Thanks. I'll let you know how it goes

I welcome any other advice on water-tight co2 entries.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 11:53 PM
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I would second the idea of just simply forcing threads into the plastic. It actually does work pretty well, assuming the plastic is thick enough to get at least a couple turns of threads going.
Another line to change, though? Are you letting the silicone set up for very long before adding water? Silicone is one that does need air to cure well and with it closed in, it can take what seems like a long time to cure. When pressed for a cure, I use silicone on some pipe joints that I know will have to come apart later. However, I have learned it is safer to wait at least 6-8 hours to make sure things will hold before I start using them. So maybe an alternate might work if you give it more time to set really well??
Also I have found that small parts can be sealed with super glue when there is a defect that won't seal otherwise and it is low pressure like this. If you can get the hole cleaned well, maybe a quick try with super glue would be a worthwhile shot?
More than one way to skin a cat, so finding the right one is the trick? Good luck!
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 12:23 AM
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Perfect. I'm gonna try a tapered threaded adapter tomorrow then.

The filter housing as well as the top cap, where I drilled the entry hole, are high quality thick material. So I have that going for me.

Thanks. I'll let you know how it goes

I welcome any other advice on water-tight co2 entries.

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Threading into plastic doomed to fail.

JB Weld is the answer. Shape it liberally around the barb on both sides.
https://www.jbweld.com/collections/e...ld-epoxy-putty

If that doesn't work, build a Griggs with threaded PVC coupling.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Threading into plastic doomed to fail.

JB Weld is the answer. Shape it liberally around the barb on both sides.
https://www.jbweld.com/collections/e...ld-epoxy-putty

If that doesn't work, build a Griggs with threaded PVC coupling.
Putty? For real?



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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 12:43 AM
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Putty? For real?



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Aha, youve obv never used jb! Its stronger than fiberglass but easier.

Threading into plastic...crapshoot at best. Will fail eventually.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 03:40 PM
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You could also buy a 1/4" pipe thread tap from Amazon for under $5.
deeda and deeda like this.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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I used both a threaded barb adapter and jb weld. It's curing now, I'll let you guys know if it holds.

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisX View Post
Threading into plastic doomed to fail.

JB Weld is the answer. Shape it liberally around the barb on both sides.
https://www.jbweld.com/collections/e...ld-epoxy-putty

If that doesn't work, build a Griggs with threaded PVC coupling.
Definitely the way to go. Silicone will not bond with plastic. You either need some type of rubber cement or epoxy. Epoxying that bad boy into place is the best option...no need to ever take it out. Hopefully you cleaned off the surfaces you're trying to bond really well or you may have issues with leaks.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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Definitely the way to go. Silicone will not bond with plastic. You either need some type of rubber cement or epoxy. Epoxying that bad boy into place is the best option...no need to ever take it out. Hopefully you cleaned off the surfaces you're trying to bond really well or you may have issues with leaks.
Why do you think silicone doesn't bond to plastic?

Silicone bonds to great to plastic. Check your plastic bathroom surround caulking... it's silicone.

My company uses 3M silicone caulk to bond PVC equipment together in wet Seattle weather. Holds up over time.

Anywho, pretty sure it was mostly the cheap rainbird barb I was using, not the silicone.


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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 06:31 PM
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I used both a threaded barb adapter and jb weld. It's curing now, I'll let you guys know if it holds.

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Let us know how it works.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 06:45 PM
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I have a sneaky feeling that is permanent


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