DIY Reactor vs. Commercial - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-04-2005, 04:51 AM Thread Starter
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DIY Reactor vs. Commercial

Hi,

I'm planning making a DIY CO2 system and am debating wheither I should make my own C02 reactor or buy one. It seems that I could get a commercial reactor for less than $20 and I'm guessing it doesn't save much money in making your own C02 reactor.

What differences are there performance wise? Any suggestions?

Thanks,
BC
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-04-2005, 07:12 AM
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solvent weld piping and parts is allways gonna be more durable than something youll buy from the shop. the cheapest ive seen was 50 quid. and its big and bulky and crap lookin.

stick with diy. it will work out cheaper and its entirely to how you want it. size and OD is all up to you. so if you have a big tank you could run it off a high flow powerhead. and make a massive reactor or something.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-04-2005, 10:42 AM
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I built the "hoftiezer" reactor cheap and very efficient. I used regular PVC instead of the clear stuff and left out the bioballs.

http://www.hoftiezer.net/personal/aq...co2reactor.htm


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-04-2005, 12:27 PM
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internal reactor

I have a Plantguild internal reactor and one that I made that looks like it. I use the bought one in the family room, the one I made is just not as nice looking.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-04-2005, 04:38 PM
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I had too much trouble and not enough time to run around and find all the right sized bits and pieces here...

So I bought the Aqua Medic 1000 and am very happy with it.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-04-2005, 08:44 PM
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I built a whole bunch of reactors, inline, outline, internal, external, sodabottles, tree branches, whatnot, and it's a blast to see why one works and the other doesn't. If you don't mind spending an hour trying to find that perfect elbow at your favorite home improvement store, I'd say go for it and build your own little pipe bomb. If it is placed in your stand, it doesn't need to be pretty, and if it doesn't work you can build another one out of all the plastic you have accumulated
This applies to internal reactors as well... if you build yourself, you can get get between 0 and 100% efficiency depending on what you need and want.


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-04-2005, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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The sentiment seems that building a DIY reactor is more for having fun and creating something that you can say, "i built that".

Besides that point, do commercial reactors work better than DIY?

Also, wondering about the price difference you achieve between your DIY system, assuming a $20 commercial reactor.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-04-2005, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bc_hawaii
The sentiment seems that building a DIY reactor is more for having fun and creating something that you can say, "i built that".
If glueing a few plastic pieces together and pushing some tubing onto it makes you say that, well then yes

Quote:
Originally Posted by bc_hawaii
Besides that point, do commercial reactors work better than DIY?
Not really. It's all about dissolving CO2, and both can achieve 100% dissolution. And either can fail for a variety of reasons. The principle is so simple that I don't see an advantage of commercial reactors, regarding their function. They might LOOK better though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bc_hawaii
Also, wondering about the price difference you achieve between your DIY system, assuming a $20 commercial reactor.
I think the materials altogether cost me about $12, which includes PVC cement that glues at least a dozen reactors. So it's not a great difference. Like you said, it's more the fun part of making something out of stuff that you have laying around mostly.


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-05-2005, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Anyone use this cheap reactor:

http://www.aquabuys.com/miva/merchan...roduct_Count=5

Looks pretty cool to me...
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-05-2005, 01:00 AM
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Many do. Works great for 10 gal tanks, maybe 20 gal. What size is/will be your tank?


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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-05-2005, 02:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bc_hawaii
Anyone use this cheap reactor:

http://www.aquabuys.com/miva/merchan...roduct_Count=5

Looks pretty cool to me...
I think this qualifies more as a diffuser rather than a reactor. It doesn't work well with bubble rates higher than 1bps. Anything faster causes the bubbles to run into each other, forming large bubbles that don't have time to fully dissolve before clearing the top of the ladder. This makes it unsuitable for larger tanks that need a faster injection rate to maintain CO2 levels.

As for the DIY external reactor, if you've never worked with PVC and have little knowledge of the fitting sizes, be prepared to spend a good deal of time wandering through the HD or Lowes plumbing ailes collecting all the parts. I have a good deal of experience working with PVC and still spent 45 minutes digging through parts bins looking for that one elusive piece that would complete the reactor. Even with a parts list I often found a critical piece out of stock, forcing me to reconfigure the reactor on the spot to make use of the parts that were available. Don't mean to scare you off, but building a reactor is like Chinese stir-fry cooking...all the work goes into the preparation, the actual building is a 10 minute process

óBill

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-05-2005, 04:14 AM
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bc hawaii,

Do you have any old gravel vacs lying around. If you do, you already have your reactor waiting for you. Cap and glue both ends - drill a couple small hole and snugly fit some tubing through them (seal with silicone or PVC cement). One small tube runs to your CO2 source; the other, place an air valve on it and use it as a gas release valve (this part isn't necessarily needed, but will give you the exact same functions the Aquamedic 1000 has). Looking at my reactor, the CO2 bubbles in from the bottom, and the top air tubing is a short length with a gas valve on the end. Water flow goes in the top (black tubing) and out the bottom.

Like Wasser alluded, there are uncountable ways to design a reactor. "Reactor" makes it sound sooo technical, but it's actually just a wide link of hose that disperses water flow enough to allow CO2 bubbles to bounce around and get dissolved.


Ted


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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-05-2005, 06:02 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the help guys...

Anyways, I'm planning on planting my 29 gallon, so the forementioned "diffuser" wouldn't do? Also, what's the difference between a diffuser and a reactor?
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest
Many do. Works great for 10 gal tanks, maybe 20 gal. What size is/will be your tank?
My tank will be 29 gallons.... Too big?

Still debating on how I should go along with my co2 diffusion...
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-17-2005, 08:02 PM
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I bought a rena micro bubble air stone, & fitted my diy line to it. it makes smaller bubbles, & I feed it underneath the intake on my canister. I assume that the co2 I am putting out is not going to vapor lock my Ecco, but I guess time will tell.
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