125 Gallon Co2 Suggestions/Help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-04-2018, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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125 Gallon Co2 Suggestions/Help

As the title suggest I am at an impasse on what the best method for getting Co2 in a 125 gallon will be.

The first method that I was going to implement involved a inline Co2 diffuser on the output of a 350gph Cascade canister filter. I will also be adding a 70mm ceramic diffuser under another 110 AquaClear HOB which should blow the bubbles back into the tank. I just want to state that I understand a HOB will cause surface distruption and will result in some Co2 loss. I am more than willing to make up for that by pumping up the Co2 like I do in my 20 and 65 gallon.

The second method was to get a SERA reactor and run that inline with the Cascade canister. I personally have never used a reactor, but from what I have read they are very efficient. I am still not sure if it will be enough by itself to distribute the Co2 throughout the tank. I also have a concern that the reactor might cause a bottleneck in the filter lowering its performance. I am trying to figure out which method to choose so I can decide on which regulator to order from GLA. I figure if the SERA reactor can cover the tank then I only have to get the regulator with one output. Either way I am open to suggestions and different ideas. Thanks.

-CES
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 09:47 AM
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On my 90 gal planted tank, I initially used an inline diffuser. It was OK but over time they tend to clog and need cleaning or replacement. I then switched to the Sera reactor and got much better results and it seldom needs any maintenance. If your going to get one, you might as well opt for the larger one, the Reactor 1000. It's not much more expensive and will handle injecting more CO2.

All that being said, if your at all handy with DIY projects, it's very easy to build your own CO2 reactor. Here is one set of plans as an example - https://rotalabutterfly.com/rex-grigg/diy-reactor.htm There are plenty of others out there. A search for grigg reactor or cerges reactor will yield a host of possible plans.

I close the Sera reactor over a DIY project because I needed something right away, and just didn't feel up to doing a DIY project at the time. If I had to do it all over again, and I had the time, I'd have likely gone with a DIY project.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 11:40 AM
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I would recommend either a Cerges or Rex-Grigg type reactor. I use both and and both perform well. As far as regulators go, I would opt for a reasonably good one (eg Aquatek Premium) and a Dwyer flow meter. You will get much more controllable CO2 injection. Several TPT members have opted for this method.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
On my 90 gal planted tank, I initially used an inline diffuser. It was OK but over time they tend to clog and need cleaning or replacement. I then switched to the Sera reactor and got much better results and it seldom needs any maintenance. If your going to get one, you might as well opt for the larger one, the Reactor 1000. It's not much more expensive and will handle injecting more CO2.

All that being said, if your at all handy with DIY projects, it's very easy to build your own CO2 reactor. Here is one set of plans as an example - https://rotalabutterfly.com/rex-grigg/diy-reactor.htm There are plenty of others out there. A search for grigg reactor or cerges reactor will yield a host of possible plans.

I close the Sera reactor over a DIY project because I needed something right away, and just didn't feel up to doing a DIY project at the time. If I had to do it all over again, and I had the time, I'd have likely gone with a DIY project.
Did you run your inline diffuser in your out or intake? I have had mine for about a year and only had to clean it once, but I also run pre-filters on my intakes. I did not realize SERA had a bigger reactor! I added that to my build list in case I go this route, but I appreciate the mention because I likely would have ordered the 500. I have read reviews about the Co2 plastic being fragile on that reactor and was wondering if you had any problems. Either way I will check out that link and see if I am willing to dive into a DIY project.

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I would recommend either a Cerges or Rex-Grigg type reactor. I use both and and both perform well. As far as regulators go, I would opt for a reasonably good one (eg Aquatek Premium) and a Dwyer flow meter. You will get much more controllable CO2 injection. Several TPT members have opted for this method.
Which type of reactor is better for flow? I am just overly concerned with this and since you used both I want to make sure that I am not going to kick myself in the butt down the road. I have a couple off brand regulators that I have rebuilt and can use, but I have decided to buy one from GLA for quality insurance. I have never heard of a Dwyer flow meter. Is that used to make sure the far reaches of the tank are getting proper flow/Co2 dispersion?

-CES
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 02:00 AM
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The flow meter would replace the needle valve and bubble counter. Rather than trying to eyeball how many BPS you are getting you can tune to a number using a floating ball. The idea here is you can now be more accurate and precise, specifically on larger tanks that use more CO2. Now note, all the numbers are relative to your tank and setup. I have a Dwyer RMA 151 on my 55 gallon and run just of 25 cc/min at 40psi. Take a look and my journal, I have some more information there on it, as well as a DIY cerges reactor.

Also, if you search the forum there are soon really good threads on the flowmeter and reactors.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Spitnale View Post
Did you run your inline diffuser in your out or intake? I have had mine for about a year and only had to clean it once, but I also run pre-filters on my intakes. I did not realize SERA had a bigger reactor! I added that to my build list in case I go this route, but I appreciate the mention because I likely would have ordered the 500. I have read reviews about the Co2 plastic being fragile on that reactor and was wondering if you had any problems. Either way I will check out that link and see if I am willing to dive into a DIY project.



Which type of reactor is better for flow? I am just overly concerned with this and since you used both I want to make sure that I am not going to kick myself in the butt down the road. I have a couple off brand regulators that I have rebuilt and can use, but I have decided to buy one from GLA for quality insurance. I have never heard of a Dwyer flow meter. Is that used to make sure the far reaches of the tank are getting proper flow/Co2 dispersion?
Flow should not be an issue if you use an independent pump or filter to feed the reactor. Both perform equally well but based on MY experience, I found the RG a lot easier to set up and use. Whichever route you choose, just make sure that you include a ball valve on the exit of the reactor to introduce some back pressure. This will help in dissolving the CO2 and thus minimizing micro bubbles in the tank.

As mentioned above the flow meter replaces the bubble counter and is more accurate...especially in larger tanks.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 04:59 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Grobbins48 View Post
The flow meter would replace the needle valve and bubble counter. Rather than trying to eyeball how many BPS you are getting you can tune to a number using a floating ball. The idea here is you can now be more accurate and precise, specifically on larger tanks that use more CO2. Now note, all the numbers are relative to your tank and setup. I have a Dwyer RMA 151 on my 55 gallon and run just of 25 cc/min at 40psi. Take a look and my journal, I have some more information there on it, as well as a DIY cerges reactor.

Also, if you search the forum there are soon really good threads on the flowmeter and reactors.
I did my research today and found a plethora of information mostly on this forum. Unfortunately my responses are delayed because each post needs to be approved by a moderator because I am new. I honestly am surprised I have never heard of a flow meter before, but after reading up on it I am 100% sold. I ordered one tonight and hope to see it in a week.

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Originally Posted by OreoP View Post
Flow should not be an issue if you use an independent pump or filter to feed the reactor. Both perform equally well but based on MY experience, I found the RG a lot easier to set up and use. Whichever route you choose, just make sure that you include a ball valve on the exit of the reactor to introduce some back pressure. This will help in dissolving the CO2 and thus minimizing micro bubbles in the tank.

As mentioned above the flow meter replaces the bubble counter and is more accurate...especially in larger tanks.
After doing some searching I decided to go with the RG reactor. I will pipe in the supply to the top and run clear PVC down to a T joint that will lead to a ball valve. I work on HVAC equipment for a living and have experience with water source systems that rely on similar PVC setups. I was kind of laughing reading build guides because I work with the stuff so often that I can't believe I never considered building a reactor before. I am fairly confident I can get the water flow right where I want it.

I just want to thank you all for everyone's input and suggestions. I honestly have lurked for a about four years, but since upgrading to this size tank I had very specific questions that needed to be answered and you guys/gals did not let me down. I will post pictures in this thread on my setup when I start to get the ball rolling on this 125 gallon tank in a week or so.
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-CES
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 03:22 PM
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I built Griggs reactors for all of my high tech tanks (150g, and 2 75g). I used 2.5 PVC and length is very important. My reactor on my 150 is 40" maybe a little longer. I wouldn't go less than 40" with the amount of C02 needed to get a 6' tank to 30ppm from one outlet. I didn't need a ball valve since I'm running it off of an XP3. I would need one if I were to step up to an FX6. That being said it won't hurt to have one. It will substantially decrease flow. Just basic physics. I have a powerhead pointing at the outlet to circulate the water. Simple and effective.. but I also have 2 AC110 filters to get some sort of flow in the tank. Don't count on any "flow" from the outlet of that Cascade.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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I built Griggs reactors for all of my high tech tanks (150g, and 2 75g). I used 2.5 PVC and length is very important. My reactor on my 150 is 40" maybe a little longer. I wouldn't go less than 40" with the amount of C02 needed to get a 6' tank to 30ppm from one outlet. I didn't need a ball valve since I'm running it off of an XP3. I would need one if I were to step up to an FX6. That being said it won't hurt to have one. It will substantially decrease flow. Just basic physics. I have a powerhead pointing at the outlet to circulate the water. Simple and effective.. but I also have 2 AC110 filters to get some sort of flow in the tank. Don't count on any "flow" from the outlet of that Cascade.
I planned on building the reactor with the same size PVC as you did. Unfortunately I am limited on my length of the reactor because it needs to be hidden (per wifes instructions). The max length that I will get will probably be about 20-24 inches. I will just have to tinker and see how it performs. I ordered two powerheads and I had the same idea about pushing the water throughout the tank. The only thing different is I am going to run one AC110, but I think that having the extra powerhead will more than make up for it.

-CES
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 12:58 AM
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Hello, I am new to this site, I have a Co2 art dual gaugeregulator with solenoid hooked to a 5lb Co2 tank. In a 125gallon Aquarium. The bubble counter will not speed up, it will only go up to 2.6bps. It came with a co2 drop checker, it's been running but still hasn't registered or changed color. I'm not sure what could cause it not to speed up or increase co2 output, seems like an issue with the regulator. If anyone has any tips or answers pleaseeee let me know. I am new to the hobby. Thank you for your time and help.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 01:06 AM
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Hello, I am new to this site, I have a Co2 art dual gaugeregulator with solenoid hooked to a 5lb Co2 tank. In a 125gallon Aquarium. The bubble counter will not speed up, it will only go up to 2.6bps. It came with a co2 drop checker, it's been running but still hasn't registered or changed color. I'm not sure what could cause it not to speed up or increase co2 output, seems like an issue with the regulator. If anyone has any tips or answers pleaseeee let me know. I am new to the hobby. Thank you for your time and help.
So when you open up the needle valve the BPS stays the same. If this is the case you probably have to increase the working pressure.


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