Using a UV Sterilizer as an external reactor?

sayhy2mark33

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Nov 12, 2007
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Hi everyone, this is my first post on an aquatic forums but I've been fishkeeping for the past 8 years. Hopefully someone here can help me. I have decided that I'd like to use an external Co2 reactor since I feel that my Red Sea cyclone reactor stinks and seems to expel the Co2 to the survace before dissolving it at my current bubble rate of 2 per second. I didn't want to place another unit inline after my UV sterilizer to further impede the function of my Fluval 304, so I was wondering, has anyone thought of tapping a hole into a UV sterilizer and directing Co2 through that in a counter-current flow, much like the AquaMedic Reactor 1000? I currently use a Current Gamma 25w, which is a long tube and may do a very good job at this, if I tapped a line into its PVC housing. What do you all think? I just ordered an Aquamedic through e-bay but trying to mate up Fluval 304 ribbed lines to the 1/2" barbs on the aqua medic will be a chore. I'm very interested as to feedback for my idea, or for someone's idea as to how I could mate my 3/4 inch hosing to the aqua medic. Could I drill out the current barbs and replace with new ones from Home Depot? Reducers seem like that will add a lot of connections. Thanks to anyone that can help.
 

Gerryd

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Sep 23, 2007
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Hi,

I would just use the AM 1000 when it arrives and run it with at least a 300-400 gph separate pump based on the size of your tank. Then your UV flow will remain as is and you won't have to modify it...

You want a decent amount of current through the reactor so the c02 mixes well. I know the flow of UVs can vary at beginning and end of life, so this may affect how your c02 is mixed with the water........

You can then run a piece of tubing from the gas release vent on the AM 1000 back to the INPUT of the reactor pump to simulate a venturi loop. Check out this article:

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


I run a 500 gph mag drive to my AM 1000 for a 180gal which is 1/2 MPT.

To connect:

1 barbed MPT of the diameter appropriate to the Fluval
1 barbed MPT of the reactor diameter
1 FPT coupler that matches the MPT threads

The MPT sizes must match to use the coupler.


This was EZ to do, so please give it a try :)

The output of the reactor can be fed (if possible) back to the main pump for distribution to the tank.

Pic 1 of connections
Pic 2 of valve release line on the AM 1000 which is to the right of the pic....

Hope this helps.
 

VaughnH

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I would not attempt to use a UV sterilizer as a CO2 reactor. The UV spectrum used by those sterilizers is very dangerous radiation. In my opinion tampering with the body of the sterilizer can subject you to possible UV burns if not done right. Also, most plastics are badly affected by UV, so the parts you add, if they are irradiated by the UV could easily become extremely brittle and break, causing a major water spill. This idea just doesn't seem like a prudent thing to do.
 

Gerryd

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Sep 23, 2007
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VaughnH,

I appreciate your reply. I am totally unfamiliar with UV units and did not know how dangerous they could be. Now I know.

I didn't think it was a good idea to modify but more generally as it is not it's intended purpose. I dropped the ball there, should have thought about the question more.
 

sayhy2mark33

Junior Poster
Nov 12, 2007
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Thanks for your help, guys. I am now realizing that I can just mate these things up to the aqua medic just fine and make that work for me. I will certainly give this a shot and hopefully I won't lose too much power through my 304, having the UV sterilizer and Aqua medic both on the outflow line. Thanks again for your help.

Also very useful knowledge about my UV sterilizer. I did not know that it had that type of dangerous capability. Is it true that those UV rays can make my liquid fertilizers almost useless on my planted tank? I heard that it causes some reaction with them.
 

VaughnH

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I'm on thin ice here, but I don't think UV affects non-organic molecules at all. And, all of our non-chelated nutrients are non-organic. So, the UV might possibly affect iron and other micro nutrients that are chelated, but that is all.

I'm sure someone with more knowledge than me will correct me if I am wrong.
 

sayhy2mark33

Junior Poster
Nov 12, 2007
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Fantastic, thank you for sharing your knowledge. I should've joined this forum years ago and I would've known so much more before all my mistakes. :)
 

dzaninov

Junior Poster
Mar 24, 2007
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On my 50 gallons tank I have 36W JEBAO UV sterilizer connected to the inlet of my Fluval 304 and I am feeding the UV sterilizer with 2 bubbles per second of CO2 with the airline tube through the inlet all the way to the sterilizer body. I did not have to drill any holes in UV and it does not have any problems dissolving 2 bubbles per second, it does not accumulate any gas so there is zero noise coming out of it. At more bubbles per second or if my flow slows down it is possible that some gas will collect and produce gurgling noise. I think 36W UV can handle the full flow of Fluval so no need to slow it down. I just started doing this but I don't expect any problems with it. The main problem in dissolving CO2 in sterilizer is that water comes in from the side and not from the top so bubbles have tendency to accumulate and produce noise so bubble rate can't be to high for this to work.
 

Tom Barr

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Jan 23, 2005
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The only real negative I can see is that the UV will lose efficacy.
The bubbles might reflect things better also.....so who knows...........

Still, the Uv is made to kill things, the CO2 to dissolve things.
You can add these into a filter also, but you lose control of each independent to some degree.

I like to be able to add/modify things to each thing and not have too much going on in one tube or box.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Professor Myers

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Aug 24, 2006
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Optimum flow rate for the AquaMedic Reaktor 1000 is listed as 250 gph. I have run them at higher rates W/ poor results. Once reconfigured to 250 gph they worked flawlessly. On tanks larger than 100 gal. I'd suspect you really have no choice but to increase the flow rate, but I personally can't verify the results.

Gerryd;20709 said:
Hi,

I would just use the AM 1000 when it arrives and run it with at least a 300-400 gph separate pump based on the size of your tank. Then your UV flow will remain as is and you won't have to modify it...

You want a decent amount of current through the reactor so the c02 mixes well. I know the flow of UVs can vary at beginning and end of life, so this may affect how your c02 is mixed with the water........

You can then run a piece of tubing from the gas release vent on the AM 1000 back to the INPUT of the reactor pump to simulate a venturi loop. Check out this article:

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


I run a 500 gph mag drive to my AM 1000 for a 180gal which is 1/2 MPT.

To connect:

1 barbed MPT of the diameter appropriate to the Fluval
1 barbed MPT of the reactor diameter
1 FPT coupler that matches the MPT threads

The MPT sizes must match to use the coupler.


This was EZ to do, so please give it a try :)

The output of the reactor can be fed (if possible) back to the main pump for distribution to the tank.

Pic 1 of connections
Pic 2 of valve release line on the AM 1000 which is to the right of the pic....

Hope this helps.
 

Gerryd

Plant Guru Team
Lifetime Member
Sep 23, 2007
5,623
20
38
South Florida
Hi Prof,

I use the AM1000 with a 500 gph Mag drive on my 180 gal.

I used to use a 250 gph rio, and did not get optimal results for my size tank........

Higher rate works very well for me and was blessed by Tom :)

I have a reef ready (twin overflows) and large sump/trickle filter, so c02 loss is an issue with this setup. The venturi mod and larger reactor pump work well for this scenario, and is why I recommended it....

Have a great one....