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Old 02-04-2013, 09:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Thinking of changing my reactor... Opinions are welcome

I recently upgraded my 55 gallon tank to a 125. I built a new reg/post body, but kept the reactor that I had before. I also kept the Cascade 1000 that I have driving the reactor. The reactor is a DIY Cerges style using a GE whole house filter from Home Depot. Ever since I hooked it up I have pretty large bubbles coming out of the filter output. The only difference in my set up is that the output of my filter used to beva spray bar. Now I have the output going straight into the tank. I am also running a significantly higher bubble rate because it's a large tank. The bubbles are unsightly, but I am more concerned that I am wasting co2 and it might not be getting to some of my plants. I can see the bubbles come out of the output and go immediately to the surface of the water. My drop checker is green so I know some co2 is being dissolved. I just feel like it could be better. I am wondering if a larger reactor might help and have been thinking of building a RG style reactor to replace it. I have read that a larger reactor can help co2 dissolve better and when I look at mine, it really it's quite small. am interested in hearing thoughts, opinions, pros/cons from anyone.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I recently upgraded my 55 gallon tank to a 125. I built a new reg/post body, but kept the reactor that I had before. I also kept the Cascade 1000 that I have driving the reactor. The reactor is a DIY Cerges style using a GE whole house filter from Home Depot. Ever since I hooked it up I have pretty large bubbles coming out of the filter output. The only difference in my set up is that the output of my filter used to beva spray bar. Now I have the output going straight into the tank. I am also running a significantly higher bubble rate because it's a large tank. The bubbles are unsightly, but I am more concerned that I am wasting co2 and it might not be getting to some of my plants. I can see the bubbles come out of the output and go immediately to the surface of the water. My drop checker is green so I know some co2 is being dissolved. I just feel like it could be better. I am wondering if a larger reactor might help and have been thinking of building a RG style reactor to replace it. I have read that a larger reactor can help co2 dissolve better and when I look at mine, it really it's quite small. am interested in hearing thoughts, opinions, pros/cons from anyone.
I've made all different types of reactors and the only design that worked very well for my sump based setup at the time was a 27in/4in diameter/ with 1/2in in and out reactor.

Cerges are neat and cool looking.. got to give it that. And while I have never used one, based on experience with reactors of similar dimensions it's not very efficient IMO. Sure it can be dialed in to work any tank, but depending on your system the lower flow and/or Co2 rates that is needed to keep bubbles in check. Means longer dissolve rate which- not good for big tanks or sump based systems.

When I say inefficient I mean the time along with Co2 bub rate to get Co2 levels up where it needs to be. Less bubble from the reactor to the surface = more contact time in the chamber = good Co2 dissolution.

Taller and wider with 1/2in and out and your problem will be solved.




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Old 02-04-2013, 08:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thinking of changing my reactor... Opinions are welcome

These are some 2yr old pictures of my setup.


Tall but too not wide enough so bubbles would still be forced out.




My reactor design that worked very well alongside the skinnier version



Reactor installed, notice I do have a valve so that i can fine tune th eadjustments






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Old 02-05-2013, 10:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thinking of changing my reactor... Opinions are welcome

If you would have used a valve to slow the flow on the skinnier reactor, wouldn't that have reduced bubbles blowing out as well? Or were you still looking to have a higher flow rate?
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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If you would have used a valve to slow the flow on the skinnier reactor, wouldn't that have reduced bubbles blowing out as well? Or were you still looking to have a higher flow rate?
That setup did not have an impact on the flow for my tank since this was an external pump setup and had plenty of flow to spare. All I did was put a T which fed the reactor and another T to the return pipe.

Yes valving down it would have reduced the bubbles, but by doing so it would also mean Co2 dissolution took longer since Co2 also had to be adjusted as well. By using a wider pipe I could adjust settings more aggressively to create the churning action since the Co2 had more area up too to remain and get mixed in with water without being forced downward.



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Old 02-05-2013, 11:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thinking of changing my reactor... Opinions are welcome

How would you compare the performance of the 4" reactor to that of the 2" version? I went to Home Depot at lunch and their selection of 4" parts was very limited and very expensive. They did however have everything I needed to build it in 2"
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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How would you compare the performance of the 4" reactor to that of the 2" version? I went to Home Depot at lunch and their selection of 4" parts was very limited and very expensive. They did however have everything I needed to build it in 2"
On that size tank the 4in would be significant, it was for me and it was on a 90.

If you cannot source 4in, the build a 2in but around 4ft tall- I did this as well.


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Old 02-05-2013, 11:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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All my reactors had a valve to have the ability to tweak settings.

Correction on the fittings used. It was 3/4in and 1/2in out.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thinking of changing my reactor... Opinions are welcome

Gotcha. I will go back when I have more time and see if I can piece something together.
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thinking of changing my reactor... Opinions are welcome

OK, I went back to Home Depot and here is what I came up with. I have a couple things still to figure out and the main section (which is 4" pvc) will need to be cut down to fit under my stand. Does it look OK? Anyone see any potential issues?
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