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post #1 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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Co2 reactors

Hey guys,
I've come to realize as I evolve my tanks that I need a reactor or at least a better way of dissolving co2.

The two tanks I would be needing a reactor for would be a 40g with an eheim 2215 and a 90g with a eheim professional 3

What do you guys run and what would you recommend, I've seen the 15-20$ option which according to reviews is decent with some fixes.

Gulfstream Tropical AGU00529 Ista Max Mix Co2 Reactor for Aquarium, Large https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005DGJEGC..._QenoEb5YN60C9

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post #2 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Crazyjayb View Post
Hey guys,
I've come to realize as I evolve my tanks that I need a reactor or at least a better way of dissolving co2.

The two tanks I would be needing a reactor for would be a 40g with an eheim 2215 and a 90g with a eheim professional 3
How are you diffusing co2 now? Those tanks are easily diffused using any method. Look at this video of the large tanks and see the way co2 is diffused.



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post #3 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazyjayb View Post
Hey guys,
I've come to realize as I evolve my tanks that I need a reactor or at least a better way of dissolving co2.

The two tanks I would be needing a reactor for would be a 40g with an eheim 2215 and a 90g with a eheim professional 3
How are you diffusing co2 now? Those tanks are easily diffused using any method. Look at this video of the large tanks and see the way co2 is diffused.

They use diffusers but that is mainly for show, it gets nowhere near as much co2 dissolved as a reactor.

Currently I have a fluval diffuser on the 40 and a terrible Chinese ceramic diffuser that has long outlived it's better years
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post #4 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Crazyjayb View Post
They use diffusers but that is mainly for show, it gets nowhere near as much co2 dissolved as a reactor.

Currently I have a fluval diffuser on the 40 and a terrible Chinese ceramic diffuser that has long outlived it's better years
It does make you wonder, in my experience the way those diffusers are setup wouldn't have worked for me on my setup.
On my 55 gallon I was easily adding in 2-4x the visual amount of Co2 out of my neo-diffuser and it wasn't even enough to change the drop checker to green let alone enough to reach optimal Co2 levels and stay stable at them.
I tried multiple ways to see if it wasn't just the way I was using the diffuser. In the intake to my AC filter, on either end of the tank, right under the flow of my HOB filter, nothing worked.

My rex grigg reactor is a much better diffusion method then the in tank diffuser and it's silent, where the neo-diffuser with how much Co2 I was putting through it I could hear the Co2 blowing out of it from the next room.

For a reactor I would go with the rex grigg design with 3" PVC and a bypass valve setup like the nilocg na advanced product. The bypass will allow you to tune the flow in the reactor without affecting the total amount of flow going back into the tank as much.
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post #5 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 02:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Crazyjayb View Post
They use diffusers but that is mainly for show, it gets nowhere near as much co2 dissolved as a reactor.
They are for show? Why would you want to show a diffuser? Are you saying the plants are grown with a reactor and they place the diffuser in the tank? i'm not sure what your saying?

BTW I've used in-tank diffusers on all my 3 and 4 footers (72 gallons) and no problem getting optimum co2 levels. Just saying you don't need a reactor on a large tank, not that there's anything wrong with doing it.
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post #6 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 03:09 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazyjayb View Post
They use diffusers but that is mainly for show, it gets nowhere near as much co2 dissolved as a reactor.
They are for show? Why would you want to show a diffuser? Are you saying the plants are grown with a reactor and they place the diffuser in the tank? i'm not sure what your saying?

BTW I've used in-tank diffusers on all my 3 and 4 footers (72 gallons) and no problem getting optimum co2 levels. Just saying you don't need a reactor on a large tank, not that there's anything wrong with doing it.
No, that is not what I am saying. What I am saying is they look pretty, conversation starters if you will. They obviously work but they have to put more co2 in to get the same level that a reactor would with less co2.
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post #7 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Quesenek View Post
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Originally Posted by Crazyjayb View Post
They use diffusers but that is mainly for show, it gets nowhere near as much co2 dissolved as a reactor.

Currently I have a fluval diffuser on the 40 and a terrible Chinese ceramic diffuser that has long outlived it's better years
It does make you wonder, in my experience the way those diffusers are setup wouldn't have worked for me on my setup.
On my 55 gallon I was easily adding in 2-4x the visual amount of Co2 out of my neo-diffuser and it wasn't even enough to change the drop checker to green let alone enough to reach optimal Co2 levels and stay stable at them.
I tried multiple ways to see if it wasn't just the way I was using the diffuser. In the intake to my AC filter, on either end of the tank, right under the flow of my HOB filter, nothing worked.

My rex grigg reactor is a much better diffusion method then the in tank diffuser and it's silent, where the neo-diffuser with how much Co2 I was putting through it I could hear the Co2 blowing out of it from the next room.

For a reactor I would go with the rex grigg design with 3" PVC and a bypass valve setup like the nilocg na advanced product. The bypass will allow you to tune the flow in the reactor without affecting the total amount of flow going back into the tank as much.
Same problem for me. How much does a Rex grigg 3" reactor cost to make? Do you have a video example or of sort, I've never really understood diy reactors

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post #8 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 04:42 AM Thread Starter
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I'd like to make something like this

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Last edited by Crazyjayb; 02-04-2020 at 05:07 PM.
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post #9 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Crazyjayb View Post
Same problem for me. How much does a Rex grigg 3" reactor cost to make? Do you have a video example or of sort, I've never really understood diy reactors
How much are you looking to spend on one? It may be better to buy one from nilocg instead of doing DIY if you're not familiar with everything.
The cost of the diy one depends largely on the tools you already have and the features you want to have on it.
If starting with no tools a standard original rex grigg reactor that is outlined here rex grigg reactor probably going to run you $35.
A 3" version with all of the reducer fittings and extras to get you down to 3/4" fittings in and out will probably run you $50
and a 3" one the same as above with a bypass will likely run you $60-65.

If you want to run a brass 3/16" fitting for the Co2 line include about $10 for the fittings needed

All of these are just ballpark numbers it may be more it may be less, and it includes the fittings, pipe, pipe cement, teflon tape for the screw fittings, and a pipe cutter. Depending on what you have and don't have already changes the price somewhat.

For a prebuilt rex grigg reactor from nilocg it runs $70, cerges runs $75, and rex grigg with a bypass $95. Yeah it's a premium, but if you have to buy everything from scratch it might not be that far off from the price of the all the parts needed when all said and done + it's built for you.
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post #10 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 04:51 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Quesenek View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazyjayb View Post
Same problem for me. How much does a Rex grigg 3" reactor cost to make? Do you have a video example or of sort, I've never really understood diy reactors
How much are you looking to spend on one? It may be better to buy one from nilocg instead of doing DIY if you're not familiar with everything.
The cost of the diy one depends largely on the tools you already have and the features you want to have on it.
If starting with no tools a standard original rex grigg reactor that is outlined here rex grigg reactor probably going to run you $35.
A 3" version with all of the reducer fittings and extras to get you down to 3/4" fittings in and out will probably run you $50
and a 3" one the same as above with a bypass will likely run you $60-65.

If you want to run a brass 3/16" fitting for the Co2 line include about $10 for the fittings needed

All of these are just ballpark numbers it may be more it may be less, and it includes the fittings, pipe, pipe cement, teflon tape for the screw fittings, and a pipe cutter. Depending on what you have and don't have already changes the price somewhat.

For a prebuilt rex grigg reactor from nilocg it runs $70, cerges runs $75, and rex grigg with a bypass $95. Yeah it's a premium, but if you have to buy everything from scratch it might not be that far off from the price of the all the parts needed when all said and done + it's built for you.
Cheap, cheap, cheap and cheaper is how much I'm looking to spend on one. I got all the tools and I'd imagine for cement I could simply use some two part epoxy? I really don't need a fancy one I just liked the features

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post #11 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Crazyjayb View Post
Cheap, cheap, cheap and cheaper is how much I'm looking to spend on one. I got all the tools and I'd imagine for cement I could simply use some two part epoxy? I really don't need a fancy one I just liked the features
So for cheap cheap, you might just want to try your luck with the one you linked earlier and look at the comments on that product to see what people are doing with it. A reactor in my experience really needs a bypass or at least a valve at the top of it to limit the flow into it because without one mine just dumps all of the co2 out into my tank without diffusing it. Without a bypass if you just limit the flow to stop co2 blowout you're likely going to have issues with flow in the tank.

Neither the rex grigg or the cerges are cheap cheap, but they are a piece that never has to get replaced so it's a one time purchase assuming variables don't change much.

For example my 2" rex grigg reactor with all fittings without a bypass, but with a ball valve to limit flow and with a 3/16" brass fitting setup cost me $32 for just the fittings and pipe. For one with two 5/8 barb x 3/4 mpt and fittings to accommodate the setup to a canister hose add $16.
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post #12 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Crazyjayb View Post
Cheap, cheap, cheap and cheaper is how much I'm looking to spend on one. I got all the tools and I'd imagine for cement I could simply use some two part epoxy? I really don't need a fancy one I just liked the features
You can see my rex griggs style reactor in my 40 breeder journal in my signature. I built mine without a bypass because my canister filter is sized for my tank with very little flow to spare. This is also why I have 45 degree elbows at the top and bottom of the reactor instead of a single 90 degree elbow. Anyway they are pretty easy to build and lots of youtube videos are out there on how to make one. I spent a little more on mine and got a clear 2" tube because I wanted to see what was happening inside. This is not necessary but sure is nice.

My strong recommendation is to use the correct materials when putting them together. Do NOT use epoxy when creating the reactor. Use the appropriate pvc cement. It will only run you like 7 dollars and it will mean your reactor parts will melt together performing a perfect seal vs epoxy where maybe you will be fine... and maybe your aquarium water will slowly work at it till one day in the middle of the night it springs a leak and your entire aquarium empties itself onto your floor...

By the same token if your pvc parts end up being threaded (mine are combination of fitted and threaded) then use the appropriate pvc thread goop not teflon tape. Teflon tape is for metal fittings not pvc fittings. This according to quite a few videos I watched on home plumbing. Will teflon tape give out?? No idea but plumbers use thread goop so I do as well. What is the difference between thread good and cement? Well thread goop will stay goopy and not harden. This means that you can take apart the threaded parts in the future if needed. Cement literally melts pvc fittings together and they are not ever coming apart.

Anyway considering how important a good reactor can be to an aquarium I would definitely just bite the bullet and buy the right parts to make what you want. I also would make it yourself because frankly its both easy and fun.

One last tip to keep in mind. You will need to turn your reactor upside down when first starting up. I also need to turn mine upside down after every water change (not sure if that's just my canister filter or if everyone needs to do this). So do not put it in a location where that is impossible to do.
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post #13 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 01:05 PM
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No, that is not what I am saying. What I am saying is they look pretty, conversation starters if you will. They obviously work but they have to put more co2 in to get the same level that a reactor would with less co2.
Well, if you feel (and others) that you need to bump up the co2 that's different. I have nothing against reactors, all methods of co2 diffusion work, I'm just stating that you can use in-tank on any size tank effectively. Interesting note: On their 180cm tanks they are only diffusing 6 BPS and on their 3 footers 3 BPS, so something is amiss.


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post #14 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazyjayb View Post
Cheap, cheap, cheap and cheaper is how much I'm looking to spend on one. I got all the tools and I'd imagine for cement I could simply use some two part epoxy? I really don't need a fancy one I just liked the features
You can see my rex griggs style reactor in my 40 breeder journal in my signature. I built mine without a bypass because my canister filter is sized for my tank with very little flow to spare. This is also why I have 45 degree elbows at the top and bottom of the reactor instead of a single 90 degree elbow. Anyway they are pretty easy to build and lots of youtube videos are out there on how to make one. I spent a little more on mine and got a clear 2" tube because I wanted to see what was happening inside. This is not necessary but sure is nice.

My strong recommendation is to use the correct materials when putting them together. Do NOT use epoxy when creating the reactor. Use the appropriate pvc cement. It will only run you like 7 dollars and it will mean your reactor parts will melt together performing a perfect seal vs epoxy where maybe you will be fine... and maybe your aquarium water will slowly work at it till one day in the middle of the night it springs a leak and your entire aquarium empties itself onto your floor...

By the same token if your pvc parts end up being threaded (mine are combination of fitted and threaded) then use the appropriate pvc thread goop not teflon tape. Teflon tape is for metal fittings not pvc fittings. This according to quite a few videos I watched on home plumbing. Will teflon tape give out?? No idea but plumbers use thread goop so I do as well. What is the difference between thread good and cement? Well thread goop will stay goopy and not harden. This means that you can take apart the threaded parts in the future if needed. Cement literally melts pvc fittings together and they are not ever coming apart.

Anyway considering how important a good reactor can be to an aquarium I would definitely just bite the bullet and buy the right parts to make what you want. I also would make it yourself because frankly its both easy and fun.

One last tip to keep in mind. You will need to turn your reactor upside down when first starting up. I also need to turn mine upside down after every water change (not sure if that's just my canister filter or if everyone needs to do this). So do not put it in a location where that is impossible to do.
Alright, I've been convinced. I don't know how to check your signature on mobile but I will look into making a reactor with a bypass. Can you explain why a bypass is so important? I presume it is to make sure the flow doesn't push the co2 down and into the tank before being dissolved?

How loud is a diy reactor, I've seen videos where they be quiet and hold it up to the reactor but I can't really hear anything bc of the lack of quality.

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post #15 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quesenek View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazyjayb View Post
Cheap, cheap, cheap and cheaper is how much I'm looking to spend on one. I got all the tools and I'd imagine for cement I could simply use some two part epoxy? I really don't need a fancy one I just liked the features
So for cheap cheap, you might just want to try your luck with the one you linked earlier and look at the comments on that product to see what people are doing with it. A reactor in my experience really needs a bypass or at least a valve at the top of it to limit the flow into it because without one mine just dumps all of the co2 out into my tank without diffusing it. Without a bypass if you just limit the flow to stop co2 blowout you're likely going to have issues with flow in the tank.

Neither the rex grigg or the cerges are cheap cheap, but they are a piece that never has to get replaced so it's a one time purchase assuming variables don't change much.

For example my 2" rex grigg reactor with all fittings without a bypass, but with a ball valve to limit flow and with a 3/16" brass fitting setup cost me $32 for just the fittings and pipe. For one with two 5/8 barb x 3/4 mpt and fittings to accommodate the setup to a canister hose add $16.
Ok, for something that completely diffuses co2 I think I can live with that.

I don't understand all these pipe and thread measurements which is why I'll look for a visual.

You know of any diy reactors with bypass valves that has pictures lol. I feel like a kid that can't read but I don't want to do this wrong.

I really want to make something like this
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