DIY CO2 Diffuser/Reactor Warning - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 05:47 AM Thread Starter
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DIY CO2 Diffuser/Reactor Warning

So I followed the directions on here to making a DIY CO2 Diffuser/Reactor not sure what you would call it. It is the inline version that you make out of PVC piping and fittings. Well upon completion I let it sit for two days. When I finally hooked it up and started up my pump I noticed a strong chemical smell. Well needless to say my glue must not have been dry even after two days. Killed everyone of my Neons within minutes. Not an expensive mistake on my part however I feel like crap for killing the poor fish. Did a major water change removed the Diffuser/Reactor for the time being so no other loses. Now I am wondering how long do you have to wait for this thing to dry?

Figured other DIYers like myself who are new to the hobby might want to take note that you should definitely not hook this thing up unless you know what your doing.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 06:03 AM
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Pvc cement should pretty much cure in a few minutes. On a few occasions, I've had to do emergancy plumbing repairs and have had to replace newly glued parts around 20 minutes later. No deaths.


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Why is it that mine is taking so long and still smells heavily of glue I wonder? Any thoughts?
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 03:20 PM
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What glue did you use?
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Regular old quick dry blue pvc glue
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 03:38 PM
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Then the glue is a bad batch, or there's something else that got introduced. My current reactor was in use 2 hours after I put it together, with copious amounts of glue. I've found that 60 seconds after I glue a pvc fitting together, it's impossible to pull apart.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 03:41 PM
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I've done lots of plumbing in both SW and FW and started up the systems in less than an hour. Last couple of DIY CO2 reactors I just ran water through them outside for a few minutes. Still had the smell but no problems.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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I wonder if it wasn't the fumes then because I mean the thing is not coming apart the glue seems to have worked. Do you think simply the initial build up of fumes that shot through my system could cause a mass die off like that? Or maybe it had nothing to do with the reactor at all?
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 03:58 PM
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The only reason I flush them out is the air is pretty much stuck inside it. Still hard to believe that those fumes could dissolve in the water enough to be toxic, could be though. I know I wouldn't drink it. From the timing of the deaths it sounds like it's the cause.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 04:15 PM
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When I built my reactor, I waited several days, then rinsed it out like crazy but, it still smelled like glue. I hooked it up and no issues with live stock though.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 06:57 PM
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Kind of sounds like way too much cement (glue) might have been used creating a bead at the bottom of the joint. The cement needs to be in contact with the PVC to cure in a speedy manner. A bead or puddle will take a long time to cure but will eventually do so as evidenced by all the dried out cans on the shelf in my garage.


Maybe try putting an air line connected to the air pump into the diffuser chamber to help air it out a bit. And/Or run some hot water through it to help remove the smell.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 07:30 PM
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The fumes in your reactor were dissolved into the water just like Co2 is. Make sure your fill it with water and or rinse first.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-15-2011, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice everyone. I am going to give it a good rinse and then run the filter in an empty tank for a day to make sure when I hook it back up to my other tank there is no chance of any problems.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2012, 03:51 PM
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i know this thread didn't need to get bumped... but if you run your w/c'r inline on HOT for 10 minutes it will cure the weld and flush any toxins. PVC compound has a very low boiling point...
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 07:32 PM
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I enjoyed this same symptom once - my CO2 was left on for probably an hour without the filter running, and when I turned it back on it knocked all my fish out within a minute or two. Once I saw what had happened I hurriedly netted them (easy since most were floating on top or belly up on the substrate), placed them in a bucket, and churned the water to oxygenate it. Amazingly, they all survived.

Not sure if that's even related to your experience but thought I'd post it since the symptoms were so similar.
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