Using an oversized reactor - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-26-2020, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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Using an oversized reactor

I asked this in my tank makeover thread but it didn't get noticed so apologies for the duplicate question. I found an old reactor I used to run in storage:

This worked really well for me on a 125 many moons ago, but I'm putting it on a small (45 gal) aquarium now.
I looked it up and the manufacturer states that this unit is for 250 GPH flow rates and up. I was hoping to use it on a Fluval 205 which is rated at 180 gallons per hour. With a lower than suggested flow rate, would this simply be less efficient than it is capable of, or would there be any worry regarding the CO2 not dissolving in it well at all? I'll have it hooked up before nightfall if the former is suspected. Thank you!

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-26-2020, 11:31 PM
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If the gas can't go into solution, isn't there either a significant danger of overpressure in the reactor followed by a catastrophic leak or at least the accumulating gas further impeding water flow?
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-26-2020, 11:52 PM
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I am currently running 3 foot rex griggs style reactor on my 40. Its working though I am unhappy with it because every time I do a water change my canister filter puts a lot of air into the reactor. My flow has likely been reduced but I honestly can't notice the difference.

My biggest concern for you is that your canister filter is almost certainly under powered for your tank. Typical advice is to have 4-8 times turnover (actual turnover) for a planted tank. Your filter is rocking 4 times turnover (advertised numbers). These filters are measured gallons per hour with their baskets empty of media and the measurement taken right at the filter itself, not up 4 feet of hose to a tank. Real world turnover will thus be less then 4 times. Throw a reactor into that equation.... even less turnover...

If I were you, I would as a matter of course upgrade your filter to something in the 300+ gallons per hour range. Then you can run your reactor without issue and have better flow in your tank. If its too much flow you can always put a pvc ball valve on some barb fittings and turn it down a bit.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer View Post
If the gas can't go into solution, isn't there either a significant danger of overpressure in the reactor followed by a catastrophic leak or at least the accumulating gas further impeding water flow?
CO2 is injected on the output side, so I'd think worst case scenario is bubbles not being absorbed/spat into the tank whole.
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Originally Posted by minorhero View Post

If I were you, I would as a matter of course upgrade your filter to something in the 300+ gallons per hour range. Then you can run your reactor without issue and have better flow in your tank. If its too much flow you can always put a pvc ball valve on some barb fittings and turn it down a bit.
These companies are known for selling undersized filters in kits, and even ones that cost over $1000 are no exception. But for what it's worth, the 205 has done really well for the dozen years I've run one on one of these (I put an Aqua Clear on the other and its 205 filter is still new in box under the tank). I do add a powerhead to these since the shape of the tank -and with huge driftwood -doesn't lend itself to good flow to begin with. But long and short of it is, I've dropped more $ on aquariums in the last year than I usually do in 5 years and buying two new canister filters when there are perfectly functioning ones sitting under the tanks are not something I'm going to convince my wife is a "needed expense" any time soon. These are the filters I have to work with. Unless you or anyone else thinks it simply won't mix CO2 at that flow rate, I guess I'll hook up the reactor and see what I'm able to get. If it doesn't drop pH, I'll have to go the diffuser route.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
CO2 is injected on the output side, so I'd think worst case scenario is bubbles not being absorbed/spat into the tank whole.

These companies are known for selling undersized filters in kits, and even ones that cost over $1000 are no exception. But for what it's worth, the 205 has done really well for the dozen years I've run one on one of these (I put an Aqua Clear on the other and its 205 filter is still new in box under the tank). I do add a powerhead to these since the shape of the tank -and with huge driftwood -doesn't lend itself to good flow to begin with. But long and short of it is, I've dropped more $ on aquariums in the last year than I usually do in 5 years and buying two new canister filters when there are perfectly functioning ones sitting under the tanks are not something I'm going to convince my wife is a "needed expense" any time soon. These are the filters I have to work with. Unless you or anyone else thinks it simply won't mix CO2 at that flow rate, I guess I'll hook up the reactor and see what I'm able to get. If it doesn't drop pH, I'll have to go the diffuser route.
Heh I don't know why but I didn't notice you were the thread starter, I was replying like you didn't know the score :P

Anyway, I will say this, I am easily getting co2 dissolved in my rex griggs reactor. My filter is rated at 260 gallons per hour. So a bit more then yours. I am also however not getting complete dissolution. I definitely still get some micro bubbles getting blown into my tank from my canister filter. Is this being caused by too much flow through my reactor?? Or not enough?? No idea. I am actually planning to cut apart my rex griggs to make a new reactor of my own design in the next few weeks. Since you literally have all the parts lying around I would totally give what you have a shot. Worst case scenario is you get too much gas buildup and your reactor is thus too noisy and not very efficient. At that point its time to reconsider the approach.

And you are right, I am sure the powerhead will help out significantly with flow.
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