CO2 Reactor - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 03:06 AM Thread Starter
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CO2 Reactor

Good evening. I am already sick of my ceramic disk diffusion and am ready to build a reactor and hook it inline to my Fluval 306. I have the parts and plan to build the version here: How To Build A CO2 Reactor | Build a Regulator | Test Kit

I saw on one thread someone say "don't change it or try to improve it." But I wondered about the two 90 degree barb connections. Would it be better to use straight barbs to mitigate decreasing flow rate? I found both 90 degree and straight barbs.

Also how critical is the 15" of PVC? My local big box hardware store had 2" pipe in 2' sections. I can cut it, but was considering going as long as I can (within reason under my cabinet).

Thoughts?

Thank you in advance.

75 gallon
140lbs of CarbiSea Eco-Complete, Black
Finnex FugeRay Planted+ - 9 hours/day
2X Fluval 306s w/ Seachem Purigen
2X Fluval E 300-watt heaters
Pressurized CO2 - 5lb tank, HPT500 regulator, Clippard Mouse Solenoid, Fabco NV-55-18, CO2 dropper
1 Jumbo Mopani
1 Med driftwood
Plants - lots
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 04:42 AM
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Longer and straight barbs will work perfectly.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raife View Post
Good evening. I am already sick of my ceramic disk diffusion and am ready to build a reactor and hook it inline to my Fluval 306. I have the parts and plan to build the version here: How To Build A CO2 Reactor | Build a Regulator | Test Kit

I saw on one thread someone say "don't change it or try to improve it." But I wondered about the two 90 degree barb connections. Would it be better to use straight barbs to mitigate decreasing flow rate? I found both 90 degree and straight barbs.

Also how critical is the 15" of PVC? My local big box hardware store had 2" pipe in 2' sections. I can cut it, but was considering going as long as I can (within reason under my cabinet).

Thoughts?

Thank you in advance.
No reason (that I can think of) why you could not go longer if room allows. I would think that a taller reactor will give you more dwell time and result in better absorption of CO2.

I may come across as a know-it-all. In reality, I have no idea.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 03:09 PM
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Agree with both of the above but I also like to look at how I may want to work with the reactor and how it fits my stand. One point that is missed often is that we do need to clear the water from the outgoing line of a canister as we restart it after cleaning. Some do have a problem on restarts as the air in the canister does need to move out and up the outgoing tubing to get the can to start correctly. The little thing that we all know but may miss is that air WILL go up and out through water but WILL NOT if it has to go down first to get up and out. So if we have a reactor and canister setting on the floor under the tank, the air will not always go down and out if the reactor is full of water. I find I want to use a flat bottom on my reactors, so they set up nice, but I also want to leave them loose so that I can swivel them up to let the air past the water! Different folks report different results on this, so I recommend leaving the design loose for a time until you see how your placement works.
The difference is that the reactor may need to be strapped up off the floor for a straight fitting which does add to flow a bit but may make restarts difficult if you do need to clear the path for the air to move out.
I like the flat bottom from using a PVC plug at the bottom rather than a cap which is rounded and I'm willing to give up a slight amount of flow.
These are reactors that I have built and each has slightly different fittings. The one I liked best was the center as it used an irrigation fitting with a compression type seal. The one at the right needed a metal seal to assure a good connection, but they both do add two 90 bends to impede flow somewhat while the one on the left used a larger curve in the tubing to let the water flow without the second 90. Larger/taller stands let me go with a wider curve.
For size, I used 18 inches for one fed by an Eheim 2075 on a 125 but for 75 gallon tanks a 15" pipe (makes 18" with fittings) was fine for 75 gallon tanks working on 2217 filters. Longer never seems to be a problem if you have room while shorter can let bubbles be forced through if the combo of lots of water moving through and a massive amount of CO2 is added. I have never had that happen except on one where I cut the pipe size down to 3/4 inch for a small tank running on a Zoomed 501 filter. Just too much flow and not enough time, so I got bubbles in the tank. Dumb idea!! But a pretty cheap lesson!
Small point that might help newer folks who do not use much PVC? We often see the purple primer and it get smeared all over. I find no need of primer if I have decently new solvent and pipe. The primer is needed for older pipe that has some corrosion built up or if the solvent is beginning to lose some of it's volatile chemical. It does act to pre-soften and clean the old pipe but we can get a better looking job if we leave it out on small simple joints, done inside where we are dry and there is little water pressure. Rather than use primer, I do a good sanding job as I get the pipe ends ready and try them for fit before adding the solvent.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. I was thinking what you have on the left...I.e. Still a flat bottom to stand on. The barb would be straight out the side in the bottom, but straight in from the top. Can definitely see the need to move things around to work an air pocket out.

75 gallon
140lbs of CarbiSea Eco-Complete, Black
Finnex FugeRay Planted+ - 9 hours/day
2X Fluval 306s w/ Seachem Purigen
2X Fluval E 300-watt heaters
Pressurized CO2 - 5lb tank, HPT500 regulator, Clippard Mouse Solenoid, Fabco NV-55-18, CO2 dropper
1 Jumbo Mopani
1 Med driftwood
Plants - lots
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
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Can definitely see the need to move things around to work an air pocket out.
the air pocket in my reactor is gone within 6 hours. and this only after i clean it out (maybe) twice a year.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 04:16 AM Thread Starter
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Reactor done!

reactor done an installed. had a small leak at the exit, but re thread taped it and all good. picture of the installed reactor and final CO2 setup (DIY regulator and DIY reactor).
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varanidguy and Mike A. like this.

75 gallon
140lbs of CarbiSea Eco-Complete, Black
Finnex FugeRay Planted+ - 9 hours/day
2X Fluval 306s w/ Seachem Purigen
2X Fluval E 300-watt heaters
Pressurized CO2 - 5lb tank, HPT500 regulator, Clippard Mouse Solenoid, Fabco NV-55-18, CO2 dropper
1 Jumbo Mopani
1 Med driftwood
Plants - lots
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 06:21 AM
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Quote:
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reactor done an installed. had a small leak at the exit, but re thread taped it and all good. picture of the installed reactor and final CO2 setup (DIY regulator and DIY reactor).
Looks really nice! Well done! Just a suggestion as an alternative to using enough hose to be able to invert your reactor. You could install a bleed valve at the high point of your input line or at the top of your reactor and use ball valves on the input and output. I use double valves on either side of unions to allow removal of the entire assembly for cleaning. It is probably not necessary to remove the reactor assembly, but it is my personal preference to have that option. The output valve can be used to increase back pressure and thus increase dwell time. The input valve can be shut off to allow you to use the bleed valve to release any excess air/co2 that gets into your reactor. Pretty simple way to bleed off any gasses to reset your reactor so that the entire volume is being used effectively.

I may come across as a know-it-all. In reality, I have no idea.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 08:34 AM
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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The hose is actually not really longer than needed and I was easily able to turn it over and get all the air out.

Seems to be working perfectly.

Now I just need to dial in the CO2 amount.

OVT - looks like a nice option!

75 gallon
140lbs of CarbiSea Eco-Complete, Black
Finnex FugeRay Planted+ - 9 hours/day
2X Fluval 306s w/ Seachem Purigen
2X Fluval E 300-watt heaters
Pressurized CO2 - 5lb tank, HPT500 regulator, Clippard Mouse Solenoid, Fabco NV-55-18, CO2 dropper
1 Jumbo Mopani
1 Med driftwood
Plants - lots
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