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DIY internal Reactor, great for Yeast CO2 users!

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Tom Barr, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Here's a small little highly effective DIY Reactor that cost about 11$ with the powerhead, or about 2-3$ without.

    Materials:
    12" rigid airline tubing 3/16" OD
    4" L x 2" OD Viewtainer
    Lighter
    Snips or shape knife
    Metal rod/small screwdriver, about 1/8" or 3/16" diameter

    Procedure:

    1.The bottom removal part of the viewtainer is discarded.

    2.A small slice is made in the top of rubber cap to wedge the elbow that comes with the Rio powerhead 180, see inside picture. The direction should provide a spiraling downward direction of flow, no sponge cap at the bottom is needed.

    3. Be careful to make the slice small enough to get a good seal for the
    powerhead. This is the hardest part of making this reactor.

    4. Take the lighter and heat the small rod or screwdriver up. The diamater should be slightly smaller than the standard 3/16" rigid tubing used for aquarium aeration.

    5. Melt the two holes on the side of the reactor tube

    6. The burp hole should be able 2.25" down from the top of the reactor.

    7. The venturi loop should be about 1.75-2" down from the top of ther reactor. This hole should be on the same side as the filter basket, the burp hole should be on the opposite side.

    8. Insert 1" rigid tubing to both holes.

    9. cut a 5" piece of rigid tubing, make a slight bend 1" from the tip, this will help cebtor the CO2 bubbles up the middle of the reactor and prevent the bubbles from being blown out.

    10. Make small notch so that the seal is air tight and snug next to powerhead and insert the 5" piece of rigid tubing through the top rubber lid(this is where the CO2 gas is added, it also acts as a bubble counter).

    11.Roate tube's bend until it's centered

    12. drill or melt small 3/16" hole into the powerhead intake basket so that a 1" piece of rigid airline tubing is snug.

    13. Connect with silicone air line the venturi and the filter basket. This will make the venturi loop and degas the build up thatb occurs after a few hours and produce a mist effect.

    14: Melt proper size suction cup hole with lighter, insert suction cup

    15. Add CO2 line to 5" rigid airline tubing

    Place in tank, plug into the light timer and you are done!

    Time: about 15 minutes once you have the parts.
    Viewtainers can be found on line, at Home Dept, Orchard Supply and Hardware etc.

    Hints:

    1. You can take the tips of the rigid tubing after it's inserted or prior and slightly heat and the tip should swell, this will prevent the tubing from being pulled out later.

    2. I tyically add the rio 90 degree elbow through the rubber cap first, then snap on the powerhead after the tip is pushed through the rubber cap.
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I have been trying to clean out all of the algae I can find in my tank, an almost impossible job. One problem is that algae is growing inside the viewtainer part of my venturi reactor, and it's construction is so flimsy that I can't do an effective job cleaning it out. So, I made another one, with some changes. First, I discovered the secret to finding viewtainers in the stores. Orchard Supply Hardware keeps them in the tools section, where it is very easy to overlook them, but after searching the entire store I found them. Only $2 for a 2" diameter by 6" long version.

    So, here is what I ended up with:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This one is made from my Maxijet 600 powerhead. I have the outlet going into the side of the top of the viewtainer instead of down thru the top to an elbow. It is a bit off center on purpose. The purpose is so I can use the existing suction cups on the powerhead to mount it making it much more securely mounted. Next, I have the CO2 inlet coming in thru the side of the viewtainer instead of thru a long tube down from the top. This makes it easier to brush out the inside. Finally, I have a coarse sponge on the inlet to the powerhead to keep baby shrimp, etc out. Tomorrow I will see how well it works.

    Edit: It works just fine. Smaller CO2 bubbles coming in, since they go thru a little airline connector, and it starts producing a little CO2 mist almost as soon as it starts up. It quickly builds up the CO2 to around 40 ppm with no problems at all.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. kazooless

    kazooless Junior Poster

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    Tom,

    I noticed the other night when the reactor was turned off (and the lights as well) that the CO2 buildup was bubbling every so often, like 5 minutes or so. I thought nothing of it, because that is what the burp hole was designed for.

    Well, I decided to watch it just for curiosity's sake, and it turns out that it doesn't even build up close to the burp hole. Instead, it is burping out of the powerhead intake! What do you think of that?

    Here is a pic of it, although it has moved to the outsource of the filter now:
    [​IMG]

    Current placement:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    That's fine, the only issue is potentially locking the impeller with the gas, but that's why it's mounted vertically and should pose no issue.

    The burp hole allows for volume specific volume before leaking out, say if you added too much gas for the venturi can handle.

    This prevents the entire tube from filling up and knocking off the suction cup and having the entire reactor come loose.

    You can add several such burp holes in the side of any such reactor, then use those air line plugs to add or remove the holes to get the desired level or effect.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. kazooless

    kazooless Junior Poster

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    Makes Sense


    That makes sense. The burp hole works while the reactor is on. Guess I should have put a little more effort into the thinking process first. I hate getting older.

    ;)

    Thanks,
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Since your tank is long, you might consider placing near the filter in take end, and blast the water without the spray bar, just the open tubing, all the way towards that side.

    This will mix the CO2 throughout the tank well.
    Either that, or adjust the water flow so that the filter blast near the diffuser and then down the length of the tank.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. Bartman

    Bartman Prolific Poster

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    Hey Tom,

    What size power head do you recommend for this reactor?

    I assume that there's an optimum size that will provide good mixing to dissolve CO2 and shoot out the small bubbles without ejecting large bubbles and wasting CO2.

    Also, did you try other diameter reactor tubes or just this one because it was easy to find and worked well?

    Thanks!
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I tried a few other sizes, but they get too big or so small that they do not work well..
    I use a rio 180 powerhead typically.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. Bartman

    Bartman Prolific Poster

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    Cool. Do you happen to know the flowrate at 0 head for that model? I was flipping through the That Fish Place catalog last night and the rio's they offered started at the 400 series model which would probably be too strong based on your comments...

    EDIT > Never mind, I found it at D&T Aquarium Supplies for $9. Pumps 120 gpm at 0 head and 85 gph at 1 ft of head.
     
  10. thapatient

    thapatient Junior Poster

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    Hey,

    can you recommend something as a replacement for the viewtainer as i cannot seem to find them in Canada, specifically Toronto.

    Thanks
     
  11. thapatient

    thapatient Junior Poster

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    i guess you guys don't like newcomers...
     
  12. tcomfort

    tcomfort Junior Poster

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    I don't think your conclusion above is sound... ;)

    If you're handy with PVC pipe, that would work fine. I'll let some others with more experience building this particular reactor themselves.

    Meanwhile, I hope you don't think this is a beginner-unfriendly site, because my experience has been just the opposite.
     
  13. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    It is advantageous to have a transparent cyclinder like a viewtainer, but it isn't essential. The transparent cylinder lets you see what's happening inside, and lets the reactor serve as a bubble counter too. But, viewtainers are not at all made of thick plastic, so you could use half of a plastic soft drink bottle, or some other clear plastic bottle. You just have to be willing to experiment.
     
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    All you do is look up Welcome to Viewtainer
    You can order or ask them if there's one locally.
    Canadian tire often carries such items or a similar one.
    Buy several and sell them after you make a few.

    Use Google if you are looking for something hard to find locally, you are web savy ?

    That, and some in Canada might not have frequented this thread, rather than that we do not like newcomers, is much more the reason. Just repeat the question or PM me or someone in Canada etc (Ottawa Aquarium Society etc).

    You'll get a lot more response that way.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Vaughn,

    I have 4ft of 2" Clear PVC for a few photo projects and a few DIY's CO2 reactors. So if you or the club wants a 1ft section, let me know, they are about 10$ for 12" or so.

    They fit precise PVC fittings, unlike acrylic and it's tougher.
    If you want some acetate (same as the viewtainers) lengths, go to Florin road, Tap plastics right off HYW 99 have it. Several diameters and caps etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  16. kinatzh

    kinatzh Junior Poster

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    Dear All,

    I have a long ~30lts tank. I found the methods described in this forum really work.

    I have found an empty tube obtained from my branded vitamin c effervescent tablet product. I am sure the material is absolutely non poisionous.

    Then I drilled three holes to connect the CO2 supply with an atomizer (I mean a $1.5 gas stone) inside the tube, connect the venturi loop, and plug to the powerhead like a silencer to a gun.

    I am now getting misting with lower CO2 rate (bubbles / min). The tube is 10 cm long x 2 cm in diameter. It works very quite and no abrupt bubbling.

    It is recommended for small tanks like mine.

    Thank you for all your contributions.
     
  17. Hilde

    Hilde Junior Poster

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    I was reading the instructions on how to make a diy co2 reator using a powerhead, which I have. It says you need an OD Viewtainer. What is this?

    One person used venturi loop. What is this?
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    See diagram, also, you do not need a viewtainer (see green top clear plastic tube), the above poster used a Vitamin C bottle for example, anything that's semi soft plastic and clear will work, but might not look that attractive...........

    Really up to you.

    Viewtainers are for sale on line, just go to veiwtainer.com

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  19. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Viewtainers are sold as storage containers for workshop use - for screws, nuts, bolts, etc. The clear cylinder lets you see what is stored inside, and the slit cap lets you squeeze it to open the slit so one screw drops out. Once I got my brain engaged properly and understood this, finding them in Orchard Supply Hardware became very easy - I looked in their home workshop tool area. Before that I couldn't find them anywhere. Now I suspect they are sold in many stores, but just not featured in any way so they would be easy to find.

    When you buy one on line the shipping cost is almost as much, if not more than the cost of the viewtainer, so finding them in a local store is a good idea.
     
  20. markkoelsch

    markkoelsch Junior Poster

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    powerheads

    Hi, I am new to the site, but i have been working with DIY CO2 for a while. I was doing some research on reactors, and I stumbled across this site.

    I see that for your reactor, your are recommending the Rio 180. Has anyone here tried to use one of the Rio 600+ with the Venturi Intake? I am curious about this as an option as it would seem to be tailor made to get the CO2 chopped into the water whether as the main CO2 input or from the venturi loop.

    Also, as someone who does not possess either of the Rio pumps listed above, do you happen to know if standard size airline is compatible, or is it another size?

    I was also considering an Aquarium Systems Maxijet Powerhead...any pros or cons there?

    Thanks,

    Mark Koelsch
     
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