DIY Cerges Reactor - Too much flow? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-08-2020, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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Question DIY Cerges Reactor - Too much flow?

Hi everyone!

I am using a Red Sea Reefer 350 as my Planted Tank, with pressurized CO2. I had an inline atomizer connected to my return line from my sump. However, I ran into the typical issue with a ton of bubbles in my DT. I thought I would solve this problem by building a Cerges reactor and plumbing it into the return. However, that doesn't seem to have solved the problem, and I'm wondering if perhaps there's too much flow and not enough time for the CO2 to completely dissolve? My pump has about 1,150 gph flow, and the reactor doesn't seem to slow it down much.

Assuming excessive flow is the issue, what's a good way to solve this? Should I split the flow coming out of the pump, and control the flow going directly into the tank to find the right mix to allow time for the CO2 to dissolve?

If that's not a good solution, what are some recommendations?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-08-2020, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jbl429 View Post
Hi everyone!



I am using a Red Sea Reefer 350 as my Planted Tank, with pressurized CO2. I had an inline atomizer connected to my return line from my sump. However, I ran into the typical issue with a ton of bubbles in my DT. I thought I would solve this problem by building a Cerges reactor and plumbing it into the return. However, that doesn't seem to have solved the problem, and I'm wondering if perhaps there's too much flow and not enough time for the CO2 to completely dissolve? My pump has about 1,150 gph flow, and the reactor doesn't seem to slow it down much.



Assuming excessive flow is the issue, what's a good way to solve this? Should I split the flow coming out of the pump, and control the flow going directly into the tank to find the right mix to allow time for the CO2 to dissolve?



If that's not a good solution, what are some recommendations?
Hey @jbl429 - one way to slow the return would be to split it into two lines. While being a good idea to have 2 return lines to the tank for better CO2 dispersion, I do not think that will have enough of an affect on your flow. I would recommend placing a ball valve on the return line prior to where you will split the return. This will give you the control you're looking for to fine tune your Cerges.

Hope this helps.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-09-2020, 04:51 AM
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I have a red sea 300XL planted, so pretty similar to your setup. I had a hard time dialing the co2 for a good while before settling on this...

https://imgur.com/a/S3iHXtP

Having the bypass and back pressure valves are key. It allows you to tune the overall and reactor flow independently with a single return pump. no bubbles and no problem saturating the water column. Here's a pic with the ato reservoir removed

https://imgur.com/a/Kpyq1lu

Hope that helps.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-09-2020, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks ReeferRusso and EmotionalFescue (fantastic username btw). You've pretty much described what I was thinking, but I forgot to mention the ball valve, and had not considered the back pressure valve. I assume that's because there's way more flow going straight into the tank than into the reactor? Also, EmotionalFescue, in your picture, it looks like the back pressure valve is just another ball valve, or is there a specific part you're using for that valve?
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-09-2020, 01:59 PM
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I'm just using a ball valve for back pressure. It serves three purposes...

First is that it increases pressure inside the reactor which increases dissolution of the co2. This can make a pretty huge difference.

Second, it allows you to burp the reactor to purge gas pockets. You close the back pressure valve and depress the pressure release valve/button on the top of the RO housing with the return pump on. All the gas at the top of the reactor is allowed to escape. This is really handy, especially right after setup or cleanings.

Third, it's the combination of the bypass and back pressure valves that allows you to control tank flow and reactor flow separately.

I actually use the same design on another tank with a canister. It might be a bit easier to see what's going on in that setup:

https://imgur.com/a/CFbkyYS
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-09-2020, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbl429 View Post
Thanks ReeferRusso and EmotionalFescue (fantastic username btw). You've pretty much described what I was thinking, but I forgot to mention the ball valve, and had not considered the back pressure valve. I assume that's because there's way more flow going straight into the tank than into the reactor? Also, EmotionalFescue, in your picture, it looks like the back pressure valve is just another ball valve, or is there a specific part you're using for that valve?
@EmotionalFescue pretty much described what I was going to add. A typical 10" tall reactor is capable of fully dissolving enough CO2 to supply a pretty large tank (think 200-300 gallons). The trick is in the tuning. The picture below is my setup that has been in use for many years. On my current 75g display tank with a Fluval FX4 filter, the bypass valve is about 1/3 closed - which means about 2/3 of the filters flow goes around the reactor. Tuning - once you get your regulator flow rate somewhat adjusted, then the by-pass valve needs to be adjusted so that you don't get a bubble of CO2 gas forming at the top of the reactor (not enough water flow thru reactor). If you are seeing a lot of micro bubbles in your tank, alow a little more water flow to bypass your reactor.


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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-09-2020, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies everyone, this was super helpful and I have my project setup for this weekend!
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-11-2020, 07:37 PM
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@EmotionalFescue and @Immortal1 - I am running a dedicated FX4 for my reactor. I am running the 1" line to and from the 20" reactor. I have no valves or bypass on my flow. I do get some "mist" in my tank and am going to throw a simple ball valve after the reactor to the tank to try and slow the flow and create a little back pressure. I am hoping to get by without a bypass as, with an FX6, FX4 and CO2 tank/regulator, I do not have a lot of room in the stand. I'll report back how it goes so, if this way works, anyone will know they do not have to incorporate a bypass.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-11-2020, 07:58 PM
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@ReeferRusso - I think some back pressure and reduced flow will really make a difference.

The bypass is really only needed when you're trying to do it all with a single pump/canister (if you were trying to do it all with just your FX6 for example). I agree that with a dedicated pump just for co2 and a back pressure valve a bypass is not necessary.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-16-2020, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by EmotionalFescue View Post
@ReeferRusso - I think some back pressure and reduced flow will really make a difference.

The bypass is really only needed when you're trying to do it all with a single pump/canister (if you were trying to do it all with just your FX6 for example). I agree that with a dedicated pump just for co2 and a back pressure valve a bypass is not necessary.
Nothing to report as, unfortunately, I've not had the chance to throw the valve on the return yet. Hopefully today or tomorrow.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-23-2020, 03:34 PM
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Just a quick note, a gate valve will allow much finer tuning. I used one in a Herbie style overflow in a cichlid tank years ago. The downside to a gate is that they are far more expensive. I'm also not sure the finer control is needed here. I did use a large ball valve elsewhere in the system and was able to successfully regulate the flow I needed there. So a gate valve may actually be overkill.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-23-2020, 03:49 PM
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Just to throw this out there for others who may be facing the same problem, you can always build a multi-stage Cerges reactor. These whole home filters can be plumbed in sequence, allowing for more dwell time. See photos below for how I set mine up. For reference, I'm getting a 1.4 ph drop in an open top 125G tank, in 1 hour.



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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-23-2020, 04:38 PM
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I threw the ball valve on the return only yesterday. The initial finding is that turning it to 3/4 flow does not seem to make a difference. I'll be messing around with it today and will also see if I might need to slow the output on the FX4 (dedicated to the Cerges).

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-23-2020, 04:52 PM
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@jellopuddinpop - that's fantastic. if i ever finish my basement, i'm planning on having a large freshwater planted peninsula tank with sump. i was thinking i would try 2 20" sequential cerges reactors. cool to see that someone has already done this.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-23-2020, 09:27 PM
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@EmotionalFescue I think the important thing if you're going to be pumping a lot of CO2 is to have the last reactor set up as a bubble trap. If you look in my diagram, the first two would allow bubbles to make it out of the reactor. The last chamber acts as a trap. This is because of the orientation of the filter housing. There are 2 openings in the filter; one goes in the side of the cap, and the other in the center. If the last one is oriented so the water travels up the center tube before going to the tank then it will trap all but the very smallest bubble.

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bubbles, cerges, co2, flow rate, help needed

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