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Needle wheel DIY modifications

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by Tom Barr, May 19, 2009.

  1. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I am on the verge of doing some modifications to the Maxi jet and by extension, Rio and most any other power heads. My concern is really a DIY that's simple and easy and can be done cheap, with smaller powerheads that are less obtrusive.

    I've seen a few threads using mesh, and with good results, but a lot more work and DIY than I think is something that will "catch on" in any large way.

    So in effort to reduce that, and to enhance the method I'll detail some thoughts here:

    Modification idea #1:

    [​IMG]

    Cutting the blades. A good pair of snips ought to be able to get at least 3 blades out of each single blade.

    [​IMG]

    This is very easy and anyone can do this. Some had suggested melting holes into the blades etc, I think that's fine. Or scoring the top edge and make little slices with a dremel etc, that's more work etc.

    You could nip off the top layer of blades and add some mesh to that and super gel glue the mesh to the lower set of blades.

    But I'm thinking of something easier and with even more surface area.
    Since we have suer gel glue and it's about creating lots of fine mesh like blades, we can snip the larger blades into 2-3x as many and then coat those with glue and add some hairy, furry shredded plastic, say 1-3 mm long and these will increase the surface area a great deal and be easy to do.

    Something as common a scotch brite type scrub pad cut into very thin strips and glued on. Anything thin and plastc that you can glue on basically should work.

    [​IMG]

    And
    [​IMG]

    I'll see what common items I can use to fur up the blades to make them more effective, then show the rigid airline tuber feed next.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  2. BayBoy1205

    BayBoy1205 Junior Poster

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    How much improvement might one see if the mess is added to the impeller of the MAG9.5?
    Thanks
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Not sure, they make needle impellers for about 10$ for the Mag series already.
    The issue with them is they run at higher wattage and much higher flow than is required for good mixing except for tanks over 120 gal or there abouts, which is to say, perhaps 10% or less of the planted tanks.

    The goal here is a simple DIY for smaller tanks for this method. Mazzei is not really apllicable for smaller tanks, but you can still bubble it in using the Tee barb's from Aqua medic and perhaps modify those, but it's not a real venturi really.

    A smaller Rio180 modified for a 10-40 Gallon tank is an ideal small way to add CO2.
    Small, easy to find, cheap as a Rhinox and easier to clean, + adds some extra flow when the lights are on.

    This method also allows DIY Yeast CO2 folks to cycle CO2 on/off using the powerhead connected to a timer, and has no backpressure unlike disc. A rio 180 used but 3 watts of power also, so for a year, 1.42$ for electric cost.

    Now you can buy those impeller needle wheels for the mag seies, or DIY also, I'm not saying that you should not..........or "fur up" the impeller by adding furry plastic and glue to the blades.

    That can still be done, but with those pumps you have some alternatives.

    We just do not require such high flows and larger volumes of gas/air like the Reef skimmer folks, we need smaller less obtrusive equipment that grinds up the gas longer and finer, quiet, low watt use, etc...........

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. BayBoy1205

    BayBoy1205 Junior Poster

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    The reason I had asked is that I'm distributing CO2 with the mag 9.5 on my 125g tanks. If adding mesh to the wheel would increase the efficency then I would give it a try. The impeller on it grinds up the CO2 fairly well as is.
     
  5. Liakern

    Liakern Junior Poster

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    I was thinking of doing some thing similiar to this using a "bell" with a impeller mounted horizontally inside half sub merged inside the bell to just cause a serious churching but not really any circulation. ANd have an overflow to allow excess co2 to escape so the impeller is always creating the same amount of defussion

    Was goin to use the outlet of the filter to flow by the bell to circulate.
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Is it also for the filtration or just as loop for CO2?
    I'd consider the needle wheel modification they sell(about 9$).

    Cheap and easy and you will not lose much head pressure(not sure, but you will lose some, not as much vs the mesh).

    You lose head pressure anytime to increase dwell time, that's the trade off.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. BayBoy1205

    BayBoy1205 Junior Poster

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    The pump is just for CO2 circulation. Where do you find the modification?
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    So I did a triple snip on the Rio, so it went from 5 blades to 15, I'll fur them up later and take a pic.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    So is 200gph still the minimum requirement for this mod, even in-line with a larger pump?

    -Philosophos
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    No, there is no flow requirement, just depends really on home much you can grind up and how big the tank you plan on using it on.

    For a 20 Gal, a rio 180 is fine, for a 40-50 Gal, maybe a Rio 400-600, for a 70 Gal, maybe a 800, or a 1000 for a 120 Gal and so on........

    If you have a 180 or larger, then the in line Mag's work.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Compared to a disc alone, the efficency is about 30-50% higher, meaning you use less to achieve the same ppm's/effect on plants.

    Also, the evenness and response time to go from 3-4ppm of CO2 at night to the day when you need CO2 is reduced by 80-90% in that first 1 hour or so.

    These are things few aquarist measure or consider.

    But.......they both work as methods for adding CO2......and you use more CO2, which is no big deal really, it's cheap.

    What is a bigger deal, at least to me, is the response time, evenness, and consistency of the method. It needs to be able to produce good stable rapid influx of CO2 and keep it there.

    Why?

    The less I have to mess with CO2, and have it keep rising later after I set it at a particular rate, the less chance I will add too much and gas the fish/add too much CO2.

    The CO2 becomes easier to manage and adjust.
    Disc are always clogging and need cleaning, if you miss doing that, the aquarium gets poorer growth, algae etc.

    I've go the routine down for keeping disc clean, but it'd be nice not to bother with that, make adding CO2 to a good level with less fish issues. the mazzei and the Needle wheel offer that much better than disc, particularly when higher light is used or higher fish loads, more sensitive fish.

    There are trade offs, but they tend/can be reduced and pretty much a non issue if you can easily DIY the needle wheel. Mazzei's require a lot more pressure to strip the gas into a mist making them good for larger systems and bad for smaller aquariums.


    Regards,
    Tom barr
     
  12. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Possible upgrade, this thing is like a koralia on steroids that accepts airline tubing for its intake. Cheap and tiny:

    Taam SEIO

    Personally I'm looking for something I can add in-line, outside of the tank on a 20g to reduce clutter, but this caught my eye while hunting.

    Tom, your idea looks like something that's going to get rid of a large headache. I've always hated trying to keep CO2 consistent. This concept also looks like it'd go along nice with some loc-line.

    -Philosophos
     
  13. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    If that little "powerhead" is reliable it is a great addition to the list of products that should be useful. It isn't clear to me whether the "venturi" attachment runs the gas through the propeller or just into the outlet of the propeller. I hope it is the former. TAAM Inc., Aquarium Products. NEW PRODUCT: SEIO PROP is some more information about it.
     
  14. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    You cannot modify the impeller in those however, the traditional say Rio 100 is perfect for my 180 Gallon tank.

    I set it up without doing the furring of the blades(15 blades, each cut 2x for 3 per 5 of the original = 15 total)

    I'll fur the blades later.
    Uses 12 watts for 10 hours per day. About 5.60 per year extra vs the disc.

    However, I do not have to clean the disc and the Tilex use/chemical impact vs the low electric use is also to be considered. You also get more flow when you need it most, during the day to mix the CO2, so I do get another 300gph of water pushed around the tank, disc don't do that nor have any directionality/spray bar etc.

    I have some nice loc line 1/2" 24" spray bar I might play with, but the tank is seen from both ends, but the 1/2 will fit perfect on the Rio pump.

    I'll convert the 120 Gal which has the most issues to the Rio 1000 next.

    The other tanks I'll leave as is with the disc.
    The 38 I might try with a Rio 180 and fur up the impeller.

    Not sure yet.

    I have those Seio pumps BTW, they do not work well for that, I sold them, I do have one left, if you are interested, 620 gph and a wavetimer as well.
    .


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  16. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    My interest in those new little propeller pumps would only be for adding water circulation, but with a smaller package in the tank. If I could get that to also distribute CO2 mist that would be a bonus, but I can see how it wouldn't be likely that the propeller could be modified to do that. My next CO2 effort will likely be a small Rio, with the "shredded" blades, used to grab the excess CO2 from my external reactor. I may try to add "fur" to the blades, since I have a little bottle of super glue gel on hand now.
     
  17. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    620 gph would plaster my fish to the glass. Thanks all the same, though. It's a shame they won't mod.

    Does anyone know anything about the LifeGuard "Quite One" pumps? They're available at a cheap price around here, and appear to function in-line rather than requiring that they be submerged.

    -Philosophos
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Comments on the Rio 1000 with triple cut impeller blades:

    Excellent, no noise. The mist is about that of the Mazzei 3/4" however, no asssociated head flow loss in the filter, which in turn affects the pressure as the filter cloggs, thus the performance of the mazzei venturi.

    Rather than driving the flow of mist somewhere like with the disc, you already can direct it.

    I placed the Rio down behind some wood and below the Maxi jet mod wave pump propeller(2000gph). Thus they can be polaced and hidden much easier than the disc.

    Much better atomization than any disc. Similar to a mazzei.

    For smaller and even larger tanks in the 240 and under range, this is a very viable method that's cheap and easy to do.

    Particularly if you add extra powerheads for circulation etc anyway.
    You lose some flow by modifying the impellers, but you gain and good CO2 distribution method and atomization.

    So you lose a little flow, but the CO2 is much better.

    A good trade off.

    BTW, this can work well with DIY yeast CO2 by simply turning the powerhead off at night to throttle the DIY on/off without a solenoid etc.

    BTW, the plastic needle point material trimmed with scissors makes a really good plastic fur. About .5mm dia and 1-2mm long. Semi rigid plastic.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  19. eyebeatbadgers

    eyebeatbadgers Junior Poster

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    You may also check into the brands Gen-X and Octopus. They are pre-made needle wheel pumps, and function well in-line. I use the Gen-X 1000 model, and it functions very well. The pump is perfectly silent, and gives me no need to tinker with adding pads or furring up blades :p
     
  20. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,

    I read in the last hours most of the DIY needle wheel stuff. I'm just regretting to have bought the AM1000 :(

    I have one question. If I want to run inline with a powerhead made to run emerged, would be the extra power on the canister outlet cause long term damage to the exernal canister impeller?
     
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