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Reactor vs. inline diffuser?

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by angus, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. angus

    angus Prolific Poster

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    I'm not sure if this topic should be posted here or in the CO2 forum, but since I'm a relative newbie to planted freshwater tanks (I'm a recently retired Marine Biology prof), I figure this is probably the most appropriate place.

    I'm in the process of setting up an approximately ninety gallon, open-top tank with T5 HO pendant lighting (four - 48" bulbs that I intend to build into a wall. The tank will be moderately planted and dedicated primarily to a small shoal (8?) of Blue Pinoy Angelfish, along with some Otocinclus, panda corydoras, some suitable species of dwarf plecos, and some Malaysian trumpet snails.

    As for plants, I'm partial to the various Amazonian sword species, but would also like a few floating plants, along with some manzanita driftwood with Java moss (?) attached to it with monofilament line. And I'll be using CaribSea Eco Complete (black) as a substrate.

    I am disabled, so I want this system to be as maintenance and carefree as possible. The filtration system will consist of a Fluval FX6 canister filter driving a three-way manifold consisting of a Hydor inline heater, a Coralife 36W UV sterilizer, and some type of CO2 diffuser/reactor all in parallel. Which brings me to my main question. I had been looking at the Aqua Medic 1000 CO2 reactor until I stumbled across the GLA "Atomic Inline CO2 Diffuser - 16/22 mm. The cost difference between the two aside, which of the two would be the better option for me and my setup? I'm also looking at GLA's "Ultimate CO2 (Two Stage) " system to use in conjunction with the diffuser/reactor, and using the largest CO2 tank that will fit in my aquarium cabinet.

    Also, these plans are not set in stone. I am wide open to any advice, and would be most appreciative of, any suggestions, criticisms, etc. that anyone would care to take the time and trouble to offer regarding any or all of my current plan.
     
    #1 angus, Jan 13, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2014
  2. angus

    angus Prolific Poster

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    I forgot to mention, just in case it matters - my aquarium is not drilled. All the plumbing (and wiring) will be concealed in the cabinet and in the walls surrounding the aquarium.
     
  3. tefsom85

    tefsom85 Lifetime Members
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    One thing you might consider is a low light, non CO2 tank, using only mosses and other slow growers such as anubias, crypts, etc. There is a non-CO2 forum on this site at http://www.barrreport.com/forumdisplay.php/79-Non-CO2-Methods. Also, if you do a search for 'low tech planted tank' on the web you'll get lots of hits. Many people pursue this methodology chiefly to limit the maintenance required, and many have very nice setups.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=low+tech+planted+tank&rls=p,com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&rlz=1I7GGIH_en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=qTTUUoGJM4WDogS1nILoBg&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1536&bih=874
     
  4. angus

    angus Prolific Poster

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    Thanks very much. I'll definitely do some reading on the subject, but I really don't mind the extra work that the CO2 method generally requires. As I stated in my first post, I'm recently retired and looking for something constructive to do to keep me occupied. I'm also tethered to fifty feet of oxygen hose, so most of my activity will be limited to my house.
    Besides, I just love gizmos and gadgets, so in addition to CO2 injection and pH control, I'm also looking to build some type of automatic water changer. And I'm also very interested in a dosing system to dose fertilizers, Calcium carbonate, etc.. Fortunately for me, I have a very understanding wife who indulges me. :D
     
  5. Under_water

    Under_water Junior Poster

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    Inline diffuser

    I went with an inline diffuser and it's working really well. Puts out a very nice mist of co2. One thing to be aware of though is that most inline diffusers take a higher co2 pressure in order to work then some standard co2 regulators put out. My inline diffuser took 36psi to work and I had to get a higher pressure regulator and tubing for it.
     
  6. Vazkez

    Vazkez Junior Poster

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    + 1 to this pos. I will also think about moss, anubias, swords, crypts ... You can still use CO2 no problem and add some fert as long as you not going to overextended it. With low to medium light those setups looks stunning :) I wanted to do full anubias set up but never got the balls for it as I like to collect plants :p

    GL

    Vaz
     
  7. GJ13

    GJ13 Junior Poster

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    I'm also interested in reading some pros and cons of each type. I was looking at similar items the gla inline diffuser vs Sara 500 reactor.
     
  8. Solcielo lawrencia

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    Most people who have the atomizers eventually get fed up with the small bubbles floating around in the water and ditch it.
    The Sera reactor also allows some bubbles to pass through. As to their efficiency, that depends on the tank and pump set up.
     
  9. gsjmia

    gsjmia Lifetime Members
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    Part of the problem with this hobby is that sometimes the cause and effect seems obvious, but in fact there is really no way to know for sure if causative, correlative or just serendipity.

    But anyway, I think that the major cause of various problems (read: algea) I have had over the years is a result of having the Co2 dependent upon the outflow from the filter, as Angus is suggesting above, especially with canisters.

    When the canister is clean, the Co2 is one thing, but as the cannister filter gets dirty, the Co2 will change. I have felt this was the case, whether using in-line atomizers (loved it at first and then couldn't stand the bubbles), Cerges or Griggs reactors. I have used needle wheel reactors in the tank, but couldn't take the bubbles long enough to say if they are better or not.

    I don't know if the foregoing causes instable Co2 or reduced flow, but I think I know the effect (algea).

    I currently have a sump, but the return line is split from the pump into two lines-one goes directly to the tank, and the other line goes to a 2' foot long 2" Griggs reactor that is stuffed with BioBale to reduce bubbles. Its been great for most the time over the last 3 years. It needs to be cleaned very rarely, but all of a sudden the flow will start to reduce as it gets dirty, and this is when the problems usually start.


    So, I have decided to eliminate the reactor from the return line and get a second pump that will circulate back into the sum with no filter media to clog.

    I plan to use an old fluval 306 looped into the sump.

    Does anyone think this is SIGNIFICANT?

    In this hobby there is always something new to try that I am sure will dramatically improve things-then the problems seem to move to a new place.
     
  10. GJ13

    GJ13 Junior Poster

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    Thanks sounds like I won't get bored. Looks like I'm gonna give the inline diffuser thing a go. I'm running a fluval 206 canister filter as my main filter. I've been told I need to change the tubing to install the inline diffuser. Now I'm curious to see how much mist I'll wind up with.




     
  11. Omegatron

    Omegatron Guru Class Expert

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    I have used a atomizer and im currently running on a reactor. If you are looking for a comparison for result i would say they both do their job.

    For me the downside of a atomizer is the bubbles in the tank, more of a fine mist. It doesnt look nice imo. Some people claim that a reactor needs less bps because a reactor dissolves the co2 100% (meaning no bubbles in the tank). My reactor wasnt expensive, its a max-mix reactor i got it for 10 euro's while the aquamedic with bio-balls is around 70 euro's here. Though my reactor does not dissolve 100%, i can still see some little bubbles from the outflow pipe but my tank stays clear so no fine mist that i had with the atomizer.

    For cleaning, they both need it. But again i prefer the reactor because i can take it apart and clean it simple. The Atomizer needs to be soaked the clean the ceramic housing (more work imo).

    1 downside of the reactor is that it runs with the cannister filter so if you have 1 filter running make sure its powerfull enough because the reactor will slowdown the circulation

    So i would say go for the reactor (if your cannister filter is up for it).
     
  12. Solcielo lawrencia

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    I think this is very significant because other users of the reactor claim they get better results from in-tank diffusers. But I think the real cause is the reduced flow that using a reactor causes, just like you described, and that if regular maintenance isn't performed, the flow gradually slows resulting is poor CO2 dissolution and poor circulation.

    The downside to using a pump dedicated to diffusing CO2 in a reactor is the extra space it requires as well as the extra plumbing inside and outside the tank. If this were a large tank, that would be fine, but in a smaller one, that may cause space issues.
     
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