DIY Cheap CO2 Reactor..(Well almost DIY) - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2006, 03:20 AM Thread Starter
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DIY Cheap CO2 Reactor..(Well almost DIY)

Well I'm new to this forum, but I've been studying here for quite a while. Although I'm fairly seasoned reef keeper, I'm new to planted tanks and have been trying to learn everything I can about it. After being rather displeased at the cost of CO2 reactors that are effective, I decided on a little DIY project. After reading the DIY forums and searching the web, I decided to make my reactor modeled after a protein skimmer for saltwater. For just $21.00 I already had a 'Current Fission Nano' skimmer in my possesion. These thing IMO make for really great CO2 reactors .

For just $21.00 these things are available all over the internet, and all I did to modify it was take out both of the elbows, flip it upside down, Remove the top (now bottom) cap, and remove the venturi tube from the pump. Yes, they come with the pump too.

The nice thing about this setup is that the pump outlet to the reaction chamber is offset from center. This causes the CO2 bubbles to whip around madly in the tube as it mixes with the water. You can actually watch as the bubbles get smaller. The setup is working really well with my DIY yeast/sugar CO2.



Have any questions? Feel free to post.

Last edited by Lycosa; 11-19-2006 at 01:24 AM.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2006, 03:49 AM
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Gotta link for that skimmer?
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2006, 05:33 AM
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Run a small tube from about a third of the way down the main body up to a hole in the side of the water inlet to the pump and you have very close to a Barr Internal venturi reactor. That lets any excess of CO2 be sucked back into the pump where it is chopped up into very small bubbles - CO2 mist.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2006, 03:02 PM
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2006, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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I bought mine for $21.00 but I see that Fish Supplies, Online Fish Supplies, Aquarium Products, Aquarium Accessories at Big Al's Online has them for $22.99. I think these actually work better than some of the commercially made reactors because of the vortex created by the pump. Other sources are www.marinedepot.com, www.petswharehouse.com....many others.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2006, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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OH....one thing to mention. DO NOT use the venturi inlet on the pump with DIY CO2. Sounds like it would work great, but will only suck the contents of a 2 liter bottle up the tube and into your fish tank. Wont say how I know this! The little pump venturi is much more powerful than predicted. It can very easily implode a 2 liter bottle. Glad I stood there as I tested it or I would have had a huge mess! Would work awesome with pressurized CO2 however.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-27-2006, 05:10 PM
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not sure I understand how the water is then pumped out of the skimmer. But I am sick and taking cough medicine so...
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-27-2006, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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The bottom is open. Water is sucked in at the inlet, mixed with the CO2 and discharged through the bottom. CO2 bubbles never leave the chamber as the little foam disc, (which comes with the skimmer..actually like 5 of them), keep the bubbles in the chamber. They just whip around in circles like mad until they dissolve into the water. It's been working incredible so far. I'm just cycling the tank with E. canadiensis and Hornwort...they have to be trimmed daily! My CO2 is very close to 30 mg/L in a 20 gallon with DIY CO2. The whole setup is working very well for me so far.

I'm thinking of modifying the top cap so that the venturi on the pump can suck the CO2 back in front of the pump outlet to shred the bubbles a bit more. But, even as is, I can't complain about the performance for the price!


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-18-2006, 06:20 PM
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hey lycosa, any updates?
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-18-2006, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Actually, it's been working like a charm! CO2 stays steady in the 20 gallon around 30ppm. I've been quite happy with it so far and it works great with DIY CO2 because the gas stays in the 'reaction chamber' until it is dissolved into the water. Because the pump pushes the CO2 enriched water minus any bubbles into the tank, I'm pretty sure I'm getting near 100% efficiency out of the unit.

I'm getting ready to move the unit into a ten gallon breeder tank in a couple of days for another experiment. I've built a really cheap DIY pressurized paintball system that I'm going to be using on the 20 gallon. If I get the time later, I'm going to post some pics of that unit and just how easy it is.


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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-18-2006, 10:57 PM
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Thanks Lycosa for your update. how do you connect the CO2 hose to the unit? Have you tried to connect it to the air inlet on the powerhead (the air hose connector on the return of powerhead)? or you insert a hose into the reactor?
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-19-2006, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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Well, since I switched over to pressurized CO2, I've connected it into the inlet. Don't hook it up to the inlet with DIY! As I posted previously, what can happen, (and most likely will), is that the venturi effect created at that inlet can suck the contents of your yeast/sugar mix into the tank! With DIY CO2, I just pushed the tube up towards the top of the cylinder. That allows the gas to mix with the water without the danger of sucking the contents out of the bottle.

There is an improvement that would make it a little better, but I switched over to pressurized now and have no need to try it. There is a smaller tube inside the larger, outside cylinder. I was going to drill a small hole in the top cap and run an airline from that small hole to the venturi inlet on the pump. If you position the airline from the DIY CO2 so that it expels the bubbles into the inside tube, they would rise to the top, get sucked into the venturi, and then recycled into the 'reactor chamber'.


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