I just had so much go down with my equipment... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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I just had so much go down with my equipment...

I just hooked up my rex grigg reactor, i drilled a hole for the co2 tubing, pulled the tubing through and used silicone sealant on it. I hook it up and it starts dripping, so i am messing with it and the tubing gets pulled out and starts SPRAYING WATER EVERYWHERE am i am sitting there trying to figure out what the hell i can do while i have my thumb covering the hole. I end up figuring out how to disconnect the reactor, i got water everywhere, but i had like 5 towels around me so that was fine. But my reactor is shot and i need to figure out how to connect my tubing to my reactor WITHOUT it leaking on me again! Any suggestions, i realized that the silicone sealant was not sticking to the co2-proof tubing, so i was wondering if it would stick to the silicone tubing i have. I also was wondering if there is a better way to attach my tubing to the reactor.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 02:02 AM
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Sorry if I am not getting a clear picture but cant you stop water flow from your sump/canister filter then install the reactor without a large leak?
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smcline06 View Post
Sorry if I am not getting a clear picture but cant you stop water flow from your sump/canister filter then install the reactor without a large leak?
I installed the reactor fine, it started leaking from where the tubing that was injecting co2 entered the pipe.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 02:10 AM
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Ah gotcha!

In the past for those types of holes I have found hot glue on both sides of the tube to work very well (used on DIY C02 coke-bottle setups).
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 02:10 AM
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I think there are threaded spigots (airline barb on one end, with threaded male end on the other side) you could thread in the hole (the thread basically self drills into the hole by you tightening it with a wrench).

But I thought I read people just drilled a smaller hole than the width of the airline and just wedge the co2 tubing and no leaks?

I am not familiar with what bonds to what materials or what chemicals have a degrading reaction on certain materials, so hopefully others can chime in on that.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 12:36 PM
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I am a fan of cerges reactors where all of the connections are done with fittings. To mod your reactor though, I would tap the hole in the housing to accept an air line fitting that you would then attach your CO2 line too. Silicone the threads on the air line fitting before installing it into the reactor housing to ensure a good seal.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 01:22 PM
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You could also use on of those plastic airline connectors and glue that into the hole you have for the airline.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 01:45 PM
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I just had that experience about 3 weeks ago. tried to silicone the co2 proof tubing, but just had leak after leak.

I ended up just re-drilling a small hole and ran a short piece of silicone tubing into it instead and ran it to a check valve and then used co2 proof tubing from there on out.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 01:59 PM
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Silicone caulking does not stick very well to plastics, silicone, rock or a few other things. It is not a good material for this sort of project.
Model airplanes use a fitting in their fuel line that may help. It is small, accepts the size tubing used for air pumps, and makes a secure seal.

I just drill a smaller hole and thread the air tubing through that, though I am not dealing with very high pressure. (Yeast/sugar)

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 05:51 PM
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The problem with sealants on flexible stuff is that they will leak at some point when the item is more flexible that the sealant. We do a lot of moving around on the tubing and reactors so the original design has some real advantages.

In this case, I would go this way. Cut the reactor at the point where the current hole is . This will solve the problem of the hole which is too large. When done I would seal the reactor back using a simple PVC coupling. The coupling will cover the hole and the basic reactor length is unchanged.

While it is cut open, drill a much smaller hole. Allow some space for the coupling or drill through it? One that takes real pull to get the tubing through. This will compress the tubing and make the seal. Can't get the tubing started, right? Cut the tubing end at a very sharp angle so that there is a sharp tapered end left which will go through your undersized hole part way. Then since the reactor is open, you can reach inside to grab the tapered end of tubing and drag it on through to the right position in the center of the reactor.
The advantages are easy to miss but several. One is that the tubing won't leak of course, but the second is that the CO2 is entering the water where the flow is much stronger and less apt to let a bubble sneak up the sidewall of the reactor and make a noisy bubble at the top.
Too bad Mr. Grigg's original posting is gone. I see lots of mods that change the plan and some work. But I see several that create problems.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 06:20 PM
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As others have said, sealant doesn't stick to flexible stuff especially silicone, and will fail immediately or sometime down the road. A mechanical seal is what you want. Either the tubing needs to be larger than the hole, or a miniature bulkhead should be used.

Are you able to close the existing hole and drill a new, smaller one? It should be difficult to pull the tubing through the hole...you'll need to cut it at an angle and use needle nose pliers to get it started. Also it's important that the edges of the hole are smooth. You can use a tiny piece of sandpaper or a lighter to remove any burrs left by the drill bit.


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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 06:23 PM
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use a brace fitting between the reactor and tube. It is also convenient to have this when you want to clean the reactor and the filter. Just pull out the co2 tube from the barb-fitting.
I just applied epoxi around the fitting and it worked great too (read on some DIY reactor, can't remember where).

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 08:38 PM
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As Planted Rich says, it's best to get the tubing into the center of the reactor. Cutting, patching, redoing the hole all work....but why not just get a foot of the next size larger tubing, pull it through the hole and adapt to the existing tube? My reactor is a small hole with the tubing pulled through with no sealant or fitting. Been up and running for at least a year. No issues.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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I tried to pull the tubing through a smaller hole, however when I tried to pull it the tubing stretched and ruined the seal
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