Media suggestion for CO2 reactor - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 03:10 AM Thread Starter
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Media suggestion for CO2 reactor

I will be building a CO2 reactor soon that will be about 15" tall and I'll either use clear tubing (the splash guard tubes you get for T12 bulbs) or I'll use 2" PVC.


I'm looking for suggestions on what to fill it with other than bioballs, unless I can find bioballs free locally.


What works best for you?
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 03:56 PM
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I filled my first reactor with Bio media but later removed it. Three in use and all the down flow tubes are empty,,, works fine.


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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 04:08 PM
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Nothing seems like the way to go. Mine works perfectly with no media inside.



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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Seems counter intuitive to have nothing in it, but maybe we don't need massive surface area anyhow.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 04:16 PM
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If you are talking about a griggs style reactor, the surface area of the media won't really make a difference. It's the mechanical action of the bubbles fighting the current as they try to go up the tube while the water flows down. The causes enough turbulence on it's own to break up the bubbles and eventually dissolve them. Having media inside can provide more mechanical action (i.e. things for the bubbles to knock around on) but can also slow flow and get dirty - and since they aren't needed there isn't much point.

How big is your tank?



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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 04:22 PM
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Nothing. That is the best option. Tried and true.
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 04:28 PM
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But you know, I am starting to question the idea that because a reactor dissolves the CO2 completely into the water it is therefore more efficient. I find that my reactor dissolves the CO2 perfectly (no visible bubbles) and yet it takes me around 8 BPS to maintain a decent level of CO2 in a 54g tank. Meanwhile, I keep hearing about people using diffusers at 2 or 3 BPS for similarly sized tanks.

Now certainly there are lots of factors at play here, and I'm still trying to find out why I SEEM to need such a high bubble count to keep my drop checker at a nice color. I have some, but not much surface agitation (current, no ripples) and good circulation in the tank. Sometimes I considering going back to a mister, but man I love my clear, clear water!



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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 04:40 PM
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This has been discussed pretty strongly. A bubble at 15 psi does not equal a bubble at 30-40 psi. So their bubble rates are not much different than yours. And I personally believe that because there is undissolved co2 in the tank, drop checkers are not as accurate in tanks using these diffusion methods, as the co2 bubbles get trapped in the dc and change it quicker and more significantly.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OverStocked View Post
This has been discussed pretty strongly. A bubble at 15 psi does not equal a bubble at 30-40 psi.

By the time the bubbles get to the bubble counter..... at least in every CO2 system I've ever owned or seen...... the bubbles in the bubble counter could only be at STP, and I can't see how they would vary as much as 15-40PSI.

Are you saying that the pressure in a bubble counter is higher than STP?


I can definitely see how one bubble counter might produce bubbles that are slightly different size than other bubble counters.
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redfishsc View Post
By the time the bubbles get to the bubble counter..... at least in every CO2 system I've ever owned or seen...... the bubbles in the bubble counter could only be at STP, and I can't see how they would vary as much as 15-40PSI.

Are you saying that the pressure in a bubble counter is higher than STP?


I can definitely see how one bubble counter might produce bubbles that are slightly different size than other bubble counters.
I think the fact that "atomic" diffusers require 30+ PSI to operate is a good indication that everything behind them is at elevated pressure.
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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OverStocked View Post
This has been discussed pretty strongly. A bubble at 15 psi does not equal a bubble at 30-40 psi. So their bubble rates are not much different than yours. And I personally believe that because there is undissolved co2 in the tank, drop checkers are not as accurate in tanks using these diffusion methods, as the co2 bubbles get trapped in the dc and change it quicker and more significantly.
I asked Orlando about the effect of pressure on the bubbles, and he said that there was no such effect. It does make sense to me, though. My lower pressure is at 10 PSI, which I'm realizing is on the low side of what many people have.

Interesting point that bubbles could get right into the DC.



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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OverStocked View Post
I think the fact that "atomic" diffusers require 30+ PSI to operate is a good indication that everything behind them is at elevated pressure.
Now that makes more sense, thanks for clarifying. I've never used one of those types of diffusers, I prefer reactor styles just because I can tell people I have a "reactor" on my tank.
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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 09:48 PM
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err.. what is STP?



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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Standard temp and pressure. Ie, as far as we're concerned, 0 psi and roundabout 70F.

There are all sorts of "stp" standards out there that (unlike me) are actually scientific lol. "STP" is also frequently used to refer to "everyday conditions and atmospheric pressure" which is more or less what I mean when I use it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standar...e_and_pressure
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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 10:24 PM
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The GLA instructions said to set the lower gauge at 10 PSI.

If it were set it 15 PSI, and the bubbles had the same amount of gas in them, the bubbles would be smaller but have the same rate and the same amount of CO2 would be injected.

But, if it were at 15 PSI and the bubbles were the same size, they would have more gas in them so at the same bubble rate I'd have more CO2 injected.

So, is it really that clear that the lower pressure rate requires a higher bubble rate to put more Co2 in the water? I am trying to understand this



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