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DIY CO2 reactor - Am I setting it up right?

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by Beachkrazd, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. Beachkrazd

    Beachkrazd Junior Poster

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    I'm setting up my first pressurized CO2 system for a high light/'high tech' 29 gallon tank with one Eheim Classic 2215 for filtration. I finally got the regulator/solenoid/needle valve/bubble counter assembled. Next I had to select a method for effectively dissolving CO2 which will also operate quietly since the tank is right next to my husband's computer desk. :D A test run with a Mr. Aqua ceramic diffuser/atomizer revealed that it is noisy (high pitched whistling), and I did not like the look of so many tiny bubbles in the tank. A test run with a Red Sea 500 reactor revealed that it was ineffective due to frequent bubble 'burps' which also created some noise.

    I discovered Rex Grigg's DIY CO2 reactor and decided it might be a good option. I went to a plumbing store (Ferguson's plumbing parts department) and a nice man there helped me set up this device (links embedded in text below) (device not glued together yet). The main body is a piece of PVC 2 inches wide x 12 inches long. The hose barbs are made of brass. A 12/16 mm Eheim hose fits snugly onto the barbs, but I will also be using hose clamps around them as an extra precaution.

    Full view

    Bottom of reactor

    Top of reactor

    The reactor will be attached to the inside of the tank stand via Velcro so it will sit upright. It will also be empty (no bio balls) and will be fed in-line through the top end with the output hose of an Eheim Classic 2215. I also want to have a Hydor ETH in-line heater set up directly after this reactor, right before the water enters the tank. I want to minimize any slowing of filtration through the filter, so I will try to use as little tubing as possible.

    Question 1: Do you think this will be an effective set up in terms of dissolving CO2 without sacrificing too much filtration?
    Question 2: About how many inches from the top should I drill the hole for the CO2 line? Unfortunately, the parts were not as cheap as I would have preferred so I really need this reactor to work the first time (after tax about $50 for the whole thing, including some PVC cement). This makes me a little nervous about the device not being effective since PVC cement is not forgiving of errors, and I would have to buy parts all over again as a do-over.
    Question 3: This type of reactor should be fairly quiet...right? :)

    I really appreciate any advice you all might have. This forum has been my primary source of information for setting up my first high tech planted tank, and I couldn't have gotten this far without all of your helpful posts throughout this forum. :) Thanks!!
     
  2. Gbark

    Gbark Guru Class Expert

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    Yes and No, I found they effectivly dissolve CO2, but flow on filter does drop, and also when using inline heater as well.

    Have you checked out my Blog for my DIY reactor, cost a lot less than others, It doesnt really matter how far down from the top maybe 2-3 "

    i also use a hose barb for the Co2, this means if you drill in the wrong place you can seal barb with cement;)

    quiet yes :)



    just to note, I now dont use an inline heater or inline diy reactor. Why, due to loss of flow. Flow is more important to me, i have my eheim filter and a tunze nano providing flow. CO2 via ceramic disc and heater in the form of a traditional internal. :D
     
    #2 Gbark, Sep 22, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2011
  3. Beachkrazd

    Beachkrazd Junior Poster

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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Gbark. :) Your comments gave me several things to consider.

    Would replacing the 2215 with a 2217 be a better way to offset loss of flow? Or perhaps adding a second filter, like a 2213 to run the in-line heater and provide additional flow? Any other ideas for adjusting the proposed setup to make it more efficient?

    I like the idea of an in-line heater since the foot print of a 29 gallon tank is already limited, and I want to minimize as much in-tank clutter as possible. I have also never used an in-line heater yet so I think it would be nice to give one a try. I'm hoping I can overcome limited flow somehow to accommodate its use.


    I agree that ceramic diffusers are not very expensive, slim and easy to set up. It would have been great if the one I bought weren't so noisy. Is it common for them to hiss/chirp/whistle? But then again, they still create a lot of bubbles so I'm still not sure I will be able to accept the aesthetic effect of micro bubbles in the tank. I would like to continue exploring some options via the in-line route. I like to problem solve and trouble shoot, and since others seem to have good outcomes with in-line reactors, I'm not quite ready to give up on the idea just yet. :) Once I've exhausted all of the in-line possibilities, I may reconsider a ceramic diffuser since that definitely seems to be a path of least resistance with regard to simple CO2 diffusion.
     
  4. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    50 USD? That's very expensive for opaque parts.

    OK, I would drill 6 inches from top for CO2 line, or even lower
    AND another for gas bleeding, as close to the top as it could be for this one.
    This is very useful when you clean your filter. Since there will be a lot of
    air bubbles accumulated there when you're repriming the filter.
    And just plug/cap it when not in use.

    Yep, as long as your bubble rate is not too high to create big gas pocket in it.
     
  5. Beachkrazd

    Beachkrazd Junior Poster

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    I really appreciate you sharing your ideas Nipat. If it seems like the design will not be feasible I can always return the parts and get my money back. That's why I decided to post here for some brain storming. :)

    I hope someone may be able to shed some light on a few questions I have about ceramic diffusers.

    Question 1: The ceramic disc would not stay suctioned to the tank and kept floating up. I even tried a different suction cup. Any ideas how to get it to stay in place?
    Question 2: Are certain brands of ceramic diffusers better than others or are they all essentially the same?
    Question 3: Do they all make chirping/whistling noises and is it a normal effect of their operation?

    Thanks again for all of your help! :)
     
  6. darkoon

    darkoon Prolific Poster

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    dont' use anything copper, it will leak into your water especially when water is acidic.
     
  7. Beachkrazd

    Beachkrazd Junior Poster

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    Thanks for the warning darkoon. :) The metal ends are brass so I think it should be ok. (Someone let me know if it's not.) :)

    Does anyone know if the Green Leaf Aquarium atomic CO2 diffuser creates much noise?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ia2iYC96lo&feature=related

    Or their in-line CO2 diffuser? http://www.greenleafaquariums.com/co2-diffusers/atomic-inline-diffuser-12.html

    I may be able to put up with CO2 mist if the mechanism isn't too noisy... Or maybe my husband will just have to wear his headphones while at the desk near the tank. :) That would also be an easy solution. :D
     
  8. milesm

    milesm Prolific Poster

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    i'm not so sure that a 2215 (or even a 2217) will provide enough flow in a 29g tank. you could build a closed loop with an external powerhead (maxijet) to run the reactor.
     
  9. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller Lifetime Charter Member
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    From the limited amount I've played with them none of the tubular Atomic style diffusers make any noise. Their ceramic profile is quite heavy and stiff and if you were able to make it chirp it would likely be well north of 50Khz. The disc diffusers have a profile which is much more likely to resonate a bit like drum head I suppose.

    Jim
     
  10. Gbark

    Gbark Guru Class Expert

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    I use eheim suction cups, but you can get magnetic ones from zoo med.

    I think that all ceramic diffusers are essentially the same, you may find one that is better than another but i use cheap ones from ebay.

    yes, but not as loud as my filter :)
     
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