DIY reactor -- flow direction & place of CO2 injection? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-13-2005, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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DIY reactor -- flow direction & place of CO2 injection?

I am putting the finishing touches on my new tank setup and one of the last things is making the CO2 reactor. I will be making one very similar to the first pic on this thread ---> https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...hlight=reactor

My setup will not include the PVC piping. I have a clean, empty, clear plastic container that used to hold plant fertilizer. I bought some aquarium silicon sealer (and bio balls) and am planning on attaching it inline with my Eheim 2222 cannister.
In a setup like this, will water flow go top-to-bottom with CO2 tube injected at the top, in order to maximize contact time for the CO2 to dissolve?
I am also wondering if the silicone sealer will be enough to ensure a leak-free reactor. I am not looking to make something that will last years, necessarily. I may go buy the parts for the PVC version one of these days, but I'm just trying to use what I have right now...

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-13-2005, 02:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ringram
In a setup like this, will water flow go top-to-bottom with CO2 tube injected at the top, in order to maximize contact time for the CO2 to dissolve?
That is correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ringram
I am also wondering if the silicone sealer will be enough to ensure a leak-free reactor.
Nobody can tell or guarantee you that. You just have to try. Silicone bonds especially well to glass, but it should seal plastic stuff as well. Just make sure it is really really cured before pressuring it up with water, and then observe it closely for a couple of days.

I have good experience with some adhesive glues like Elmers stix all, and not so good experience with others which don't like contact with water at all (liquid nails for ex).


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2005, 01:18 AM
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you can try Weld-on 16 it works on clear plastic and polycarbonate and pvc i pick up mine at a Glass Co. and i have seen it at a plastic supplyer where i bought my polycarbonate tube for my diy co2 reactor [i also did mines like ibn but i drill and tap the brass hose barr for the co2 and i use small bio balls instead of the large one]
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2005, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Note that this plastic container is made out of fairly thin plastic which flexes (not the best when you're trying to make a seal with silicon, which also flexes.
Anyway, I'm afraid I was a bit hasty. I got everything put together, having siliconed all seals and then let everything dry for probably 4-5 hours. When I hooked it up, water leaked like a seive out of the lid --- it made quite a mess and I had to shut off the cannister filter, get several towels....you get the picture.
I figured I'd give it 1 more try. I pulled all dry silicon off the container. To make the seal more flush/tight, I used a lot of teflon tape on the threads, while dabbing silicon on several points of contact as well at along the seams (very liberally). I redid all the other connections also, just to make sure. I'll give it another day or so to thoroughly dry, but if this doesn't work, I'm going to opt for that PVC version. Can that Weld-16 that you mentioned be bought at a Home Depot type store? Or better yet, online at that website for "American Plastics" or something like that -- I don't have the URL handy.
I appreciate the advice. I'll figure this thing out -- Now it's a mission!

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Last edited by ringram; 02-14-2005 at 11:59 PM.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2005, 07:46 PM
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I tried the top to bottom flow and i had alot of problems with trapped gases filling the reactor. I also tried it on the intake side and had too many air lock issues.

You need to have a way for the accumulation of non co2 gases to escape. I use to tilt teh reactor until its horizontal and let the gases run out of the out flow side. I permanently found a fix by laying the reactor almost horizontal. the inflow side is slightly higher than than the outflow so the co2 bubble slowly rides up against the current. If the accumulation of gases is too much it will overflow out into the outflow and be dispersed. This also eliminates teh danger of a co2 dump from the tank.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-15-2005, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Well, my DIY didn't quite work. I thought I had it at first, but after water ran through it for about 5 minutes, I saw a small leak that only got bigger and finally, I just took it all apart again and threw away the container. It seems that the container was just too flimsy to withstand the pressure of 132gph of water flowing through it. That, and the silicone sealer just doesn't seem to bond well to it and the eheim tubes. I'll be building the PVC version of the DIY reactor, but in the interim I'll be using ---> http://www.thatpetplace.com/Products.../Itemdy00.aspx (only $15) temporarily , or longer if it proves effective. I'll mount it low in the tank and let it get double-diffused by running a powerhead directly above it to push any undissolved CO2 bubbles back into the water for more contact(and hopefully more dissolving). Has anyone had experience with this one? I didn't want to spend $30+ for a better reactor, since I'm planning on making my own, but the plants will arrive in 1-2 days and I'll need some way to efficiently break up the CO2 bubbles.
Thanks for all the help and anything else is welcome.
-Ryan

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-02-2005, 03:52 AM
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Boy, nothing like being late to a post.

I have an Azoo diffuser and I use it just as you described. It does work but I do question it's efficiency. I haven't decided if I want to build something out of PVC or buy one of those fancy membrane diffusers for $30.

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This message is always under construction: 75-gallon tank; 2, Eheim 2026 filters - one twice broken; Tek Light with 4, 54W T5s (6000K) ; Sand on top of 4:1 sand:clay mixture; Milwaukee CO2 controller; PlantGuild vortex CO2 reactor; pH = 6.6, kH=70mg/l, GH=120mg/l; EI; Flourish excel on 50% weekly water change: AGA Member.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-02-2005, 06:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayhwong
I tried the top to bottom flow and i had alot of problems with trapped gases filling the reactor. I also tried it on the intake side and had too many air lock issues.

You need to have a way for the accumulation of non co2 gases to escape.
That's been my biggest problem with designing a reactor. The gasses build up and it gets noisey, and I like to fall asleep watching my tank, so it has to be quiet. I had to shorten mine so the gas escapes, and it still builds up at the end of the photoperiod, but not as bad. I'm thinking some bioballs might help. I haven't considered laying it horizontally though, thanks for the tip.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-02-2005, 12:49 PM
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ide suggest useing something like solvent or potting compound. i guess you want to take this strait tube. with a hole in each end? and plug it with silicone and a hose in either end of 2 hoses in the top? one reaching to the bottom of the tube (your outlet) and one just protruding (the inlet)

the silicone wont hold it. if you do try it graze the surfaces up and clean them with meths. i tried silicone just 2 days ago on a gravel vac and 2 end caps and the result was to be frank... [censored][censored][censored][censored].

they pushed off under something like 1bar pressure when i tested it before fitting it up. to me tha wasent good enought even tho my ehiem doesent make 1bar of pressure.

my experience.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-02-2005, 12:56 PM
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sorry i see youve allready tried that anyways. ise also suggest to use a different plastic, you say yours is thin. its more than likly MDPE or something used to make bottles thats why its thin and flexy, sorta like plastic milk bottles. if you get them in the states. they make cheap gravel vacs out of it
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-02-2005, 01:08 PM
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Reactor - mine works great

Hi,

Thought I'd pipe in (ha, no pun intended, but there it is!). I built a reactor from PVC pipe and fittings and it has the water flow from TOP to BOTTOM, with the CO2 injection at the BOTTOM. It is filled with an unrolled plastic kitchen scrubby (I got 12 for $1 at the dollar store, so for that price, I just will throw away the stuffing when it gets clogged, if it does.)

What happens is that the bubbles get injected in the BOTTOM of the reactor and try to float up through the scrubby mesh matrix. The mesh matrix holds them back if they are too large a bubble, and the water flow is constantly pushing the bubble DOWN while the bubble is trying to RISE, so the bubble is basically suspended at the same position until it dissolves. I have no trouble getting the bubbles dissolved completely and my reactor is running a 75 gallon, KH 8 tank at 25 ppm CO2.

When I first set it up and was getting the bubble stream timed correctly, I put too much stream through at first and the bubbles accumulated at the TOP of the reactor, making an air pocket. This sounded like a trickling fountain in the house. All I had to do was bleed off this air pocket, and then I could crank up the bubble rate fine, no noise.

My reactor is plumbed in line onto the output line of and Eheim 2217.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I suggest you plumb your reactor with quick disconnects on either end WITH spigots. I spent an extra $15 for the spigots/disconnects (I had to buy the eheim ones to match up to the disconnects that were already on the eheim output line), but if there is ever a need to get to the reactor (such as to bleed off a bubble or to clean it out), all you do is turn off the spigots, disconnect, and re-connect your filter line to itself, without the reactor. Then you can fool with the reactor easily and not worry about no filtration on your tank. Also, use screw ends on the ends of the reactor rather than glued caps. Then, you can get inside the thing very easily to clean it out.

My reactor is 3 inch PVC and is about 18 inches long.

Hope this helps. I was suprised how simple it was, if done this way.

Donna
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-02-2005, 01:22 PM
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I forgot to add that I think the scrubby works better than bioballs because it fills the entire cross section with matrix, so there is no place an errant bubble can flow around it to float to the top and create a bubble in the top of the reactor. The mesh is very loose and I can't imagine it could become clogged, either.

I have a picture, but don't know how to post it. Email if you would like to see it or if you would want to post it.

D.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-02-2005, 06:34 PM
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This rector is the best DIY yet.

Venturi Once at the page go to the gallery.


This will solve your problems
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