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Discussion Starter #1
My regulator has been shipped and my water filter housing is already here, so it is time to design and build my Cerges reactor. I'm very familiar with the famous post 770 outlining all the parts but I've also been shown by @EmotionalFescue and @Immortal1 the reasons behind a bypass valve and a back pressure valve. So here's my design:



Water exits the Eheim canister at 1, splits off at 2 to either bypass or head to the reactor. 3 is the bypass valve, 4 is a cutoff valve. CO2 is injected at 5 and of course 6 is the reactor. 7 is the back pressure valve.

  • a - hose barbs
  • b - tee connectors
  • c - ball valves
  • eqd - Eheim (or JBL) quick disconnects.

I have a few questions and of course I welcome additional comments. First, the cut off valve. It just seems that it should be there. I can close it and the back pressure valve and open up the reactor for servicing. However. Given the height of the reactor and the internal tube, it doesn't seem possible to actually remove the clear reactor for any servicing. Is this an issue?

Leaks. How can I possible assemble this and test it for leaks? It is complete rigid and once assembled cannot be disassembled for leak preventing.

The Eheim (or JBL) quick disconnects are pretty cool. It looks like I can use them at points 4 and 7 instead of ball valves. It lets me remove the reactor for servicing and at the same time it solves the rigidity problem since the reactor will at least be in 2 pieces now, top and bottom. However, I cannot get them locally and although Amazon Prime might get them here by this weekend that is iffy. Basically I have to order today and cross my fingers. They're also about $35 for pair. I can add them later, at point eqd and make the reactor removable, but it doesn't help with the rigidity issue. Beside, I don't think it will look at nice if it isn't rigid. @Immortal1, your picture of your reactor is a thing of beauty.

What else have I missed?

Oh, the reason I want the back pressure valve is for future re-use. I can see a 125 gallon tank in my future once I retire. I'm pretty sure I won't need it now on my current setup.
 

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i think this looks good!

regarding the cutoff valve - i see no reason to not put one in. it's not needed to control the flow through the reactor, since the bypass and back-pressure valves let you do that. it could conceivably allow you to remove the reactor with the pump on (open 3; close 4 and 7). not sure how often you'd need to do that, but it can't hurt.

one thing i'm noticing is that it looks like you're having the co2 infused water flow down the central pipe of the reactor and back up through the main volume of the housing. if that's right, i think you'll want to reverse that to give the co2 maximum contact time with the water inside the reactor. you can have the infused water flow down the central port if you have an empty RO canister in there (you'd want to remove the fabric rings at the top and bottom so there is unimpeded flow) as that would devote most of the reactor's water volume to the area where bubbles churn.

is your reactor housing the type that has the pressure release valve at the top? if so, that is reason enough to have a back pressure valve. when you first install the reactor, close 3 and 7, open 4, and depress the pressure release 'button' on the top of the housing and all of the air will be immediately purged. this is another good reason to have the water flow out through the central port rather than in through it.

Bump: actually, the cutoff valve would allow you to remove the reactor with the tank full without you starting a siphon that would lead to an unexpected water change onto your floor. so, i say go for it :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
i think this looks good!
Thanks!

regarding the cutoff valve - i see no reason to not put one in. it's not needed to control the flow through the reactor, since the bypass and back-pressure valves let you do that. it could conceivably allow you to remove the reactor with the pump on (open 3; close 4 and 7). not sure how often you'd need to do that, but it can't hurt.

Bump: actually, the cutoff valve would allow you to remove the reactor with the tank full without you starting a siphon that would lead to an unexpected water change onto your floor. so, i say go for it :)
Exactly my thinking. Easy and cheap to put on now, unless I go with the Eheim cutoff, and hard to put on later.

one thing i'm noticing is that it looks like you're having the co2 infused water flow down the central pipe of the reactor and back up through the main volume of the housing. if that's right, i think you'll want to reverse that to give the co2 maximum contact time with the water inside the reactor.
Oh! Good catch, thanks! I've read so many posts I saw one with multiple reactors where the last one had the central down. But when I think about it more, "your" way here makes more sense.

is your reactor housing the type that has the pressure release valve at the top? if so, that is reason enough to have a back pressure valve. when you first install the reactor, close 3 and 7, open 4, and depress the pressure release 'button' on the top of the housing and all of the air will be immediately purged. this is another good reason to have the water flow out through the central port rather than in through it.
It does and thanks for the instructions there.

I was planning on using PVC, not metal fittings. When attaching to the reactor, I'm guessing I'll need some teflon tape. The other PVC to PVC joints will just use that purple PVC glue. And the barbs will use hose clamps.

The more I think about it I think I like the Eheim quick disconnects though, but PVC would look better. :- )
 

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Discussion Starter #5
fwiw, i use these in place of traditional quick connects: Camlock Fitting ? Green Leaf Inc

you can get them in all sorts of diameters and they integrate well with pvc.
I love being able to browse and hold stuff in my hand. I doubt my rural hardware stores or even Home Depot carries them, at least the HD website didn't even list them. But... really cool to know about for future projects. I've ordered the Ista clones of the Eheim connectors. Actually, I stole them from my wife since the Ista ones won't be here for a week. They are half the price of the Eheim ones and seem to be more like the JBL ones, you can use the levers to help separate, as opposed to using the levers to spill water on the ground when separating... :- )

It's not 6pm, too late to head to Home Depot. But I found some all the parts I need to carry with me to Home Depot tomorrow after work, even found some old Fluval hose which looks exactly the same inside diameter as Eheim 16/22 hose, so I can carry that with me to check out barb fittings. Found two barb fittings also, one almost too small but the other way too big. Even the hot water trick on the hose didn't get it one. I'll probably have to use the too small size and a hose clamp, but I'll see what the Home Depot aisles give me.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I just got back from Home Depot. Weekday nights are the best for designing on the fly. I had a very helpful associate who just loved DIY weird stuff. He helped a lot.



I wasn't too happy with the left hand side not being 3/4" ID but the guy thought they there wouldn't be that much flow reduction and then when I realized that the Eheim Quick Disconnects, used on many tanks, had that exact some reduction, and then I thought about the spray bar. Now there's some reduction.

That reminds me, I need to drill the holes in my spray bar bigger. LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My CO2 Arts regulator arrived today. I can start the Leak Test but I don't know if the white washer they give us in the box is a "use once" crush washer or I can use it multiple times. CO2 Arts' video show the installation, but not a leak test.
 

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I just got back from Home Depot. Weekday nights are the best for designing on the fly. I had a very helpful associate who just loved DIY weird stuff. He helped a lot.

I wasn't too happy with the left hand side not being 3/4" ID but the guy thought they there wouldn't be that much flow reduction and then when I realized that the Eheim Quick Disconnects, used on many tanks, had that exact some reduction, and then I thought about the spray bar. Now there's some reduction.

That reminds me, I need to drill the holes in my spray bar bigger. LOL.

Just my 0.02 - if you arrange the (2) elbows as shown in the picture below it will give you some natural back pressure to the flow going thru the reactor. This likely will give your a little better response on your by-pass valve. Total GPH thru the reactor and thru the by-pass valve "should" end up being the same as the total GPH of your canister filter w/o the reactor.

 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just my 0.02 - if you arrange the (2) elbows as shown in the picture below it will give you some natural back pressure to the flow going thru the reactor. This likely will give your a little better response on your by-pass valve.
Oh I like that, thanks!

But... I do need to return all this stuff and start again. Why? All those blue connectors and the eheim quick disconnect makes for a total length of 34 inches! That's unacceptable. I laid it out on the workbench today after work.



I'll go to straight PVC, not threaded, use a PVC union and ball valve, not the Eheim quick disconnects. That should trim it by a lot. I'll loose 2-3" on the quick disconnect and an 2-"3 inches on each barb to barb connection, they're just huge.

I need to sit and draw some diagrams tonight and then head over after work tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
@Immortal1 I'm looking at the picture of your reactor. How did you assemble it?

The elbows in and out of your canister, are they threaded on the outside? I don't see how that attaches.

It is completely rigid, which I like, but I don't see how the last joint was made. The lengths just seem too short to allow any flex. Here's one one to start gluing the joints.



It all makes sense until you get 8 and 9 done. It's not a rigid assembly, how does ? get in there?
 

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:) I suppose it looks a bit intimidating at first.
First off, a fair amount of test fitting was needed before the PVC cement was opened up.
Starting with #4 and #? - these are 3/4" PVC "street elbows" (male threaded on one end, slip joint female on the other end). #4 is input, #? is output.

Between #5 and #3 is a standard 3/4" PVC slip joint "T". Where the CO2 enters, I glued a piece of 3/4" PVC pipe into the end of the "T" to make it smaller. The PVC pipe was threaded with a standard pipe thread tool (tap) to allow a brass reducer to be threaded in. The brass reducer allowed me to thread in a pipe to compression fitting which connects the co2 tubing to the reactor (basically like what you already have).

Connecting the "T" to the street elbow (#4) and the 90 degree elbow is regular 3/4" PVC pipe - glued in-place.

The 90 degree elbow is then connected to another slip joint "T" with 3/4" PVC pipe. This "T" is then connect to a 90 degree Elbow with 3/4" PVC Pipe (#2). Then there is a 3/4" threaded female to 3/4" PVC connector (#1) which connects to the 90 degree elbow with 3/4" PVC (glued).

Going back to the "T" between #6 and #2, I then used 3/4" PVC pipe to connect to a 3/4" PVC adapter (3/4" slip joint to 3/4" male pipe) on each end of the 3/4" threaded PVC Ball valve (by-pass valve)(very much like what you already have).

Now, go to the other end of the reactor (output)(#?) - I assembled the Output to Tank, "T" fitting, 3/4" PVC pipe (#8) and 90 degree fitting.

I then used 3/4" PVC pipe at #? and the output of the ByPass Valve to connect the above assembly (#8) to the rest of the reactor.

Once completed, the down side is you cannot take it apart (hope those threaded connections to the reactor housing and all the glue joints don't leak). In my case, after years of use my By-Pass valve is very tight due to Calcium build up - does not move much but was close enough when I switched to a different canister filter. A gate valve might be a better choice.

Something else to look at - the little holes in the head of the water filter housing (reactor) tend to be smaller than I would like. i.e., 3/8" hole even though the head is set up for 3/4" pipe.
I enlarged the holes in the head of the water filter housing to allow for more flow.

You having a clear housing is nice - you can see how the bubbles are reacting within the reactor. You will have bubbles bouncing around in there, that is normal. If a big bubble of gas builds up, close down your by-pass valve more. If you get a lot of CO2 bubbles in your tank, open up your by-pass more.

Hope this helps, and more importantly makes some sense ;-)
 

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My CO2 Arts regulator arrived today. I can start the Leak Test but I don't know if the white washer they give us in the box is a "use once" crush washer or I can use it multiple times. CO2 Arts' video show the installation, but not a leak test.
Generally speaking, those washers are nylon and can be reused without issues. If you end up getting your CO2 tank refilled at a industrial supplier like Praxair or Airliquide or the like they will usually give you a couple of nylon washers for free. Worst case scenario is they charge you like $.89 for one.

Sent from my mobile device using Tapatalk Pro
 

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Discussion Starter #15
:) I suppose it looks a bit intimidating at first.
First off, a fair amount of test fitting was needed before the PVC cement was opened up.
Starting with #4 and #? - these are 3/4" PVC "street elbows" (male threaded on one end, slip joint female on the other end). #4 is input, #? is output.

...

Hope this helps, and more importantly makes some sense ;-)
Thank you! I was able to follow along, so it did help. My new design, which is still forming in my head, will have 2 PVC unions, I wasn't able to get those cool cam lock ones locally. The unions take the place of the quick disconnects and they are only about 2" across. But the really cool thing about incorporating the unions is that I shouldn't have any assembly issues. Of course I'll have to dry fit, but it should work out nice. I'll share build photos, hopefully this weekend.
 

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Thank you! I was able to follow along, so it did help. My new design, which is still forming in my head, will have 2 PVC unions, I wasn't able to get those cool cam lock ones locally. The unions take the place of the quick disconnects and they are only about 2" across. But the really cool thing about incorporating the unions is that I shouldn't have any assembly issues. Of course I'll have to dry fit, but it should work out nice. I'll share build photos, hopefully this weekend.
Look forward to your build pics!
 

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I've enjoyed this thread, OP. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

I'm helping my wife set up a new planted tank at the moment, and took the opportunity to try something a bit different with the reactor. Inspired by your bypass design, @Immortal1, though I cheated and used some flexible tubing. Also trying out the wide body 10" housing, which I've never used before.

http://imgur.com/a/mqlLbSZ

Plumbing is fun!
 

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Captain
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I've enjoyed this thread, OP. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

I'm helping my wife set up a new planted tank at the moment, and took the opportunity to try something a bit different with the reactor. Inspired by your bypass design, @Immortal1, though I cheated and used some flexible tubing. Also trying out the wide body 10" housing, which I've never used before.

http://imgur.com/a/mqlLbSZ

Plumbing is fun!
Absolutely nothing wrong with that design - reasonably compact, and in a way expandable. By that, I mean you could add larger hose barbs if you got a larger canister filter.
The little red air bleed on the top of the housing is handy.
 

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I've enjoyed this thread, OP. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

I'm helping my wife set up a new planted tank at the moment, and took the opportunity to try something a bit different with the reactor. Inspired by your bypass design, @Immortal1, though I cheated and used some flexible tubing. Also trying out the wide body 10" housing, which I've never used before.

http://imgur.com/a/mqlLbSZ

Plumbing is fun!
That is a clean reactor setup, great job!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I've enjoyed this thread, OP. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

I'm helping my wife set up a new planted tank at the moment, and took the opportunity to try something a bit different with the reactor. Inspired by your bypass design, @Immortal1, though I cheated and used some flexible tubing. Also trying out the wide body 10" housing, which I've never used before.
Thanks! Your new design looks very neat but I don't under stand the function of the upper ball valve. If that's providing back pressure, shouldn't the bypass go around it?

Plumbing is fun!
It is! I Just got back from Home Depot with all the parts I need for version 2. I had a great bit of luck. There was one section that was weird. I had 2 designs, one of which was far better than the other, but I didn’t know if the part existed, I thought I would need multiple adaptors. The very first part I picked up was that part!
 
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