DIY reactor not working?? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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DIY reactor not working??

I made a DIY reactor (for pressurized co2) recently and I think that its not working. PH levels are staying about the same. I dont think that it is dissolving the bubbles (1.5bps) properly. What happens is about every 30-40 seconds I get what sounds like trickling water in my reactor and a large amount of bubbles being dispersed into my tank. I believe this is a build up of CO2 that just isnt getting dissolved.

My reactor is a common design that people seem to be making.
In-line on the out take of my fluval 304
THe water flows from the top of the reactor down through bio-balls and then out into the tank.
The co2 is injected at the top of the reactor (pressurized btw)

What I am thinking
My co2 tubing is connected to a 1/8" barb which is then fitted into 1/8" x 1/2" adaptor. This is where I think that my problem is. At this point my 1/2" adaptor connects to a check valve. THe check valve is 1/2". Kind of a monster check valve.

Is this check vavle the casue of my problems. I think that it may be too big. I think at 1.5bps it takes 30-40sec for enough pressure to build up and open this monster of a check valve. And a mass amount of built up co2 is then disspersed into the reactor and passed through without time to react. Could this be right???

I need some trouble shooting advice please before I go and buy the reactor 200 for $50
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 09:18 PM
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It could well be the check valve. I would suggest building another reactor and just running the CO2 line right into the reactor. I use a small drill bit and drill a hole smaller than the tubing. Cut the tubing at an angle and then use pliers to pull it though. Works like a charm and gives a great seal. This will allow you to use a smaller check valve.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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I can just cap the place where I have the check valve and use the same reactor right? I am a little confused about the check valve. I understand what you are saying about putting the co2 line directly into the reactor can you give me an example or a place to buy one of these small check valves.

If I rig it like you said Rex would I even have to use a check vavle?
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-05-2005, 12:24 AM
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can't you just use a airline tubing check valve?
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-05-2005, 03:39 AM
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You can for a short while. But the best I have found and the cheapest way to go is with a Clippard MCV-1BB and a couple of 11752-1 barbs.

If you have a Clippard distributor close by it's going to set you back about $7 or so. You pretty much have to buy a package of the barbs.

If there is enough interest in something like this I'm sure we can work up a group order. These are brass bodied check valves and the work great.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-05-2005, 09:55 AM
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sounds like your useing an inline non return for pneumatics? these work with a spring and a rubber ball into a chamfer, when the pressure is high enought(as you suggested you think might be the problem) the rubber ball pushes against the spring and lets the air through, returning to closed when the pressure drops below its rated operating level.
youve obviously realised this might be the problem, and if your useing the part ive described like norgren or something, it wont be good enought, even tho your useing high pressure co2 the output doesent even compare, its mild especialy at 1.5 bubbles per sec.

also my experience with building reactors has been the same as yours, the only inline reactor i bodged up (bodged due to not being able to get the parts like the americans can ) used to build up air, but i think this is the due to the timespan of the photo period and it comming to an end. however it still builds up and it seems to me that it could also be the low power of most canister filters, i hear people getting wicked results useing the same filter as me yet my flow is to kak to power something, then i wonder if its just my design, to powerful a pump and you lose co2 out the outlet...... not powerful enought you wont get enought 'churn' to eat the bubbles away no matter how many choppers and balls and whatnot you use.

i still havent found/built a good reactor for myself, but im sure i will sooner or later. as im sure you will. maybe you could run your reactor from a adjustable flow pump inside the tank, and still keep the reactor outside.

hight of the canister to top of the water level can also make reactors not perform as desired IMO

by the way im not directing my point at rex griggs comment but your comment on what you have used and think could be the problem , although what he is describing sounds like pneumatic parts.. they have been recommended by the man to work with low pressures so maybe you should take him up on that.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-05-2005, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. In reading through the forums I found that many people angle their reactors. So I tried a 20 degree angle and viola no more trickle sound. Whether it was a problem with the check valve I will not know. Now whether my reactor is working right, I don't know. I am still a noob. THanks again
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