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Mazzei vs Reactor for large tanks

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by tefsom85, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. tefsom85

    tefsom85 Lifetime Members
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    I know this has been bantered some in other threads but wanted to get the current thinking. I am about to restart my 120G tank and want to see if I can't improve CO2 delivery from the git go. I would like to understand, for my situation, what I should pursue.

    Previously I have used a Dupla S reactor driven by an old 2213 Eheim (which btw is the best filter ever.. almost 20 years old at this point). This worked ok but I was barely able to get in enough CO2 - high lighting drives the issue. I do like the reactor for the fact that it is simple and it has been trouble free for almost as long as the Eheim.

    I tried to experiment with a Mazzei 384-x and had less than pleasing results. First off, I did not have a powerful enough pump to drive it and so based on advice from others bought a big ol eheim canister which also did not have enough umph so gave up on this expensive experiment. In the end, ended up with a non working Mazzei, the same CO2 delivery as prior, and a huge Eheim which I had to buy another tank to use :D


    I would like to just build one of Tom's venturi reactors, hang it outside the tank and add a sufficient powerhead and sit back and enjoy pruning plants. This option is my favorite due to its simplicity and relative inexpensive nature but.. I want to do things right from the start. If I go Mazzei, it means a more powerful pump, eg $$$$, plumbin, and perhaps a different model of Mazzei.

    Now to my question.. I would like to know what people would do if they were in my position. For example, I know Tom, Gerryd, VaughnH, MrKrookM, and Helgymatt have all been down a similar road. If you were to do it again from scratch, what would you do?

    Thanks,
    Will
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    Well too bad on the advice you got on powering a mazzei with an eheim canister.........

    You need a high pressure pump for a mazzei.

    If I had to do over again???????????

    Well the big problem is that by changing/experimenting etc it helped my understanding of what did and did not work FOR MY TANK.

    If you feel you have a good grasp on c02 and it's functions/importance to the plants, I would probably suggest either a DIY reactor powered by a 400-600 gph pump or maybe two diffusers, one on each side.

    These are less expensive items and easier to install and get initial good results with less messing around.

    A mazzei does require more thought, planning, adjustment, etc and can also be affected by plumbing, say if plumbed AFTER the filter and the filter clogs. Less pressure to the venturi and so less performance. So if you don't keep up on filter maintenance (all of us do sometime) your c02 will be affected and most likely sub-optimal.

    It also does need a better (more $) pump to get the best results..........

    I originaly had an AM1000 with the venturi mod, but should have built a bigger reactor myself.

    Again however, reading threads doesn't always 'click' until you have the actual experience of it.

    I have learned plenty I thought I knew or understood over the last year lol

    You can also lower the lighting intensity and thus reduce the need for c02.................Many folks are underpowered for their lighting intensity...

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. inkslinger

    inkslinger Guru Class Expert

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    Would you had built the reactor with the BIO Balls in it like the AM1000?
     
  4. rafel

    rafel Junior Poster

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    Gerry, when you said bigger reactor than the AM1000, what would be the diameter and length, so that I only need one reactor to be powered by a 600gph pump ?
     
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Well the issue with the AM is that it is only 3/8' inlet/outlet so flow is reduced greatly.

    I would think 1.5 - 2" diameter for the reactor and about 18-24 inches would be fine. Then you can use 3/4- 1" or so for the inlet/outlet and get more flow in there.

    Here is the original DIY thread:

    http://www.barrreport.com/articles/3444-dual-venturi-diy-external-co2-reactor.html?highlight=reactor

    Ink,

    Both as I tried it w/o the balls in the AM1000 as well. No real difference at least to my setup at the time............
     
  6. tefsom85

    tefsom85 Lifetime Members
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    Thanks Gerry :)

    I think between the reactor and the diffusors I would definitely choose the reactor. I played with a diffusor for awhile and I know I will end up with shards of glass in the tank due to the maintenance required in combo with my less than gentle ways. However, I would like to try misting and so.. I have continued trolling the web and it seems that many people are now going with needle wheel pumps and/or mesh wheel pumps. This just throws another kink in the equation for me.

    Mesh wheel: Iwaki Mesh Wheel for Co2 injection

    Needle wheel: Needle Wheel CO2 Diffusion....

    Both require a new pump just as a mazzei but sound like they might be an easier solution.. less tweaking/setup

    Any thoughts on this method of misting?
     
  7. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    The needle wheel pumps work well for some, but I did not have much luck. However, I did not buy a pump like that, but modified a mag drive 500 gph and punched tiny holes in the impeller...

    Nice thing about this is that the c02 hooks to this pump and that's it. Also can be used in a sump setup. The NW (needle wheel) pump sits in the sump and outlets c02 enriched water to the sump, where the normal sump pump then delivers to the tank.

    If no sump, most of them need to be inside the tank, which is a drawback to some..

    BTW, 500 watts of light is a LOT!!!!!!!! I have 450 (3x150 mh) over my 180 and are now suspended about 20" above the water surface..........

    This much light will drive a high demand for c02 and other nutrients which may be hard to supply, esp the c02.

    I would recommend mounting the lights so they are adjustable....

    That way YOU can better control growth rates and thus nute/c02 demand.

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. tefsom85

    tefsom85 Lifetime Members
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    Yeah.. its way too much light and unfortunately its what I thought I needed way back when I didn't know better. But I agree.. if I had to do that over again.. never again this much light as it does drive the need for CO2 and ferts way too high - but that's another post on things I"ve learned not to do :). I did install the lighting suspended from the ceiling so that it is adjustable and I do raise it up quite abit, but not 20" since I have a couch next to the tank and it blinds ya if you're too close.. haha.

    Since I am likely needing to buy a pump for this, any recommendations on a decent cost-effective pump?
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    A small mesh wheel, say a maxi 1200 ought to do pretty good.
    Or you can go the DIY reactor + a 400 gph pump or thereabouts.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. ccLansman

    ccLansman Guru Class Expert

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    I like the inline reactor; I plumbed it into my 2026 output with no bio balls and cheap flexible pvc from home depot. The nice thing about the flexi stuff is the ability to jam it into corners or bend it ect... The hard pvc stuck out behind my tank, this new one is banana shaped and fits nicely and allows me to run a longer piece. As well as not lose flow rate due to 90degree turns. The ability to shine a flash light from behind and see if im getting good co2 dissolution is a nice bonus.
     
  11. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    Edit. someone already linked to the Needle Wheel Thread.
     
  12. inkslinger

    inkslinger Guru Class Expert

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    Would a 3x24 w/1inch in/out DIY CO2 Reactor be good for a 1100gph pump?
     
  13. tefsom85

    tefsom85 Lifetime Members
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    After doing more reading on this, I think I have definitely talked myself out of the mazzei. I would hate to do a mazzei with anything other than a larger, higher quality pump. Plus there appears to be some that have had issues getting this method to work properly in their tanks.

    However, I am very intrigued by the needlewheel pump method. I have to admit, I am not sure why this is not more of a front runner when it comes to mist methods. It's simpler to install than mazzei as well as being cheaper. The mazzei will cost $30+ for the mazzei plus well over a hundred for a pump suitable to drive the mazzei. On the other hand, I found a Mag9.5 NW for $95 and an Octopus 1000 for $60.
    Mag9.5 Needlewheel
    Octopus Pumps - Aquacave

    It appears that NW is getting decent approval from some at the link I posted earlier in this thread. I think at this point I am leaning toward trying the mag9.5 NW pump. Even if doesn't work out well, I can swap the impeller out with a normal impeller and have it drive a DIY venturi reactor.

    I know Tom had a recent thread talking about the tradeoffs of disc vs mazzei but after further reading about the NW, I am not sure why the NW was not included in that thread based on its simplicity and relatively 'low' cost. Does anyone have any input on why the NWs are not more preferable (or perhaps they are and I just didn't pick up on it)?
     
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