Length Of In-Tank CO2 Reactor Tube - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-24-2006, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Length Of In-Tank CO2 Reactor Tube

Greetings everyone.

I'm building a CO2 reactor that's made of a gravel vac tube attached to a powerhead. The CO2 bubbles into the vac tube, the powerhead swirls the gas around some bio-balls (held in place by a foam plug), and CO2-rich water escapes out the bottom. Evidently this is a very popular design for us non-cannister filter folks...

Every reactor of this type I've seen on the net uses a 10" or so gravel tube. I'm considering using a longer one because I don't think I'll like the look of the tube extending halfway down in a back corner of my 55g. Does anyone foresee any problems if the tube extends an inch or two above the substrate? Or for that matter, what if I stuff the foam up the tube 3 or 4 inches from the substrate, have the bottom of the tube extend INTO the substrate, and drill some holes in the tube below the foam plug but above the substrate to allow the CO2-rich water to flow into the tank?

The powerhead should be strong enough to accomodate the extra length, I think -- Maxi-Jet Powerhead/Pump Model 600 (160 gph).

Thanks,
Ricq
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-24-2006, 05:52 PM
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Hi Ricq, welcome to the Planted Tank!

The longer the reactor, the less likely bubbles can escape at the end. So additional length will not hurt and not add much (if any) backpressure for the pump.

What I would suggest to consider is to remove the bioballs and the sponge alltogether and see how that goes. You can extend the tube down to the bottom of the tank, or even move it down so it will be easier to hide with plants, and when you remove some water during water changes, the pump will not run dry and you don't need to turn it off.


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-25-2006, 01:09 AM
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I have tried this model of CO2 reactor in the past and never had good luck with it. Had one in my 29 gallon tank with both DIY and pressurized CO2. Could not get the CO2 levels over 15 ppm. This caused me to build my first of many DIY external reactors. Using the external reactor with the same bubble count gave me CO2 levels over 50 ppm.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-25-2006, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies! I've been lurking here on TPT for a few weeks and have learned so much. It's funny that both of you (Wasserpest and Rex) replied because I'm building an auto-doser based on Wasserpest's design and when I eventually go the pressurized CO2 route I'll be using a reactor based on Rex's design...

I don't doubt that an inline reactor gives better CO2 dissolving power but a cannister filter isn't possible right now. Maybe in a few months. At which time I'll also switch from DIY CO2 to pressurized -- yippee!

In the meantime, I'm curious to see what I can achieve with the powered in-tank reactor I described above. Hopefully I can put the DIY CO2 and this reactor all together this weekend...
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-25-2006, 04:36 PM
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You don't have to use a canister filter to run an external reactor. A pump, some hose and hose clamps and some way of mounting the hose in the tank...but DIY on an external might be a bit of a pain...for DIY, a ladder did it for me.


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-25-2006, 06:49 PM
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I've been toying with these for a week or so, comparing DIY vs. Plantguild style vs. Tom Barr Venturi Mist style.
I've found that placing an partial obstruction where the powerhead outputs into the tube will get much better results. Anything you can fashion to get the water flowing in a circular pattern inside the tube helps immensely.

My best results (so far) have been with a 10" tube, a plastic pot scrubber stuffed in the end, fed by a mj 1200 through a 1/2" cpvc 90 to get the water to 'swirl' inside the reactor. No bioballs, and placed so that the tube end is about 1" above a piece of flat flagstone laying on the substrate. 1 bubble per second, in very hard water, gives ~22 ppm CO2 in a 20 long aquarium.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-25-2006, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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[QUOTE=gbhil]fed by a mj 1200 through a 1/2" cpvc 90 to get the water to 'swirl' inside the reactorQUOTE]

1/2" cpvc 90 = a half-inch 90-degree PVC elbow?
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-26-2006, 12:20 AM
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A 1/2 inch CPVC 90 degree elbow. CPVC is smaller in outside diameter than PVC. Depending on how you direct it inside the tube, a 45 degree fitting might work as well or better.

Either would work, just a bigger hole in the top of your python tube if you go with regular PVC. Note that neither fit exact on the end of a MJ pump, so take the powerhead along with you to the hardware store to scrounge bits of tubing and adapters to fit the elbow on the output of the powerhead.


Also note - before you spend too much money on this, a Plantguild reactor (http://www.plantguild.com/html/power_reactors.html ) can be bought new for 50.00 including the powerhead, or used from other hobbiests for even cheaper. IMO they work just as well (maybe better) as my DIY right out of the box, and have the benefit of not pumping 295 gph straight towards the bottom of my tank.

Also have a look at Tom Barr's venturi mist system - ( http://www.barrreport.com/gallery/sh...e.php?i=25&c=7 ). I've heard lots of good things about it, and it's next in my comparison tests here.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-26-2006, 12:32 AM
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DIY and external reactors can be problematic. Often the DIY does not have enough pressure and you always run the risk of sucking a bottle of stuff into the tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhoetzl
You don't have to use a canister filter to run an external reactor. A pump, some hose and hose clamps and some way of mounting the hose in the tank...but DIY on an external might be a bit of a pain...for DIY, a ladder did it for me.

Moved to Tucson.
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