DIY Calcium Reactor

Discussion in 'DIY' started by pixelpixi, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. pixelpixi

    pixelpixi Guest

    Yep that's right. I started another diy reef project! This time it's a phosban reactor overflow box wave maker chiller feline tank-viewing pedestal frag rack calcium reactor!

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    Here are the parts

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    - 4" diameter acrylic tube (I had a scrap piece lying around from an old skimmer project)
    - square piece of acrylic (I also had scrap of this from the overflow I built)
    - old maxijet 1200 (this was lying around too.)
    - 4" drain cleanout plug
    - a whole bunch of plumbing parts.

    This piece in particular is of note

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    It goes in the end of a 4" pipe and when you turn the thumbscrew on top, it compresses the rubber bit making a tight seal. I've seen a lot of different designs for DIY calcium reactors. A lot of them use what looks like a trouble-prone gasket assembly and I really wanted something simpler. I was very excited to find this part. :-D

    Now on to the reactor body. I just drilled two 1 1/4" holes and installed uni-seals for the plumbing connections.

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    With the holes drilled and uniseals installed, it was time for a dry fit.

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    As you can see, there are three john guest fittings. The one at the bottom is the effluent output. The other two are the tank water and CO2 inputs. I accidentally got the wrong barb fitting (I got a straight one and I need a 90) so for now the tube from the pump goes around the back of the reactor. That's fine, though. I can easily swap out the barb fitting and cut the tube shorter later.

    Everything was looking good, so went ahead and attached the reactor body to the base with weld-on #16. As you can see, I'm not very skilled at acrylic work. It holds water though, and that's really what counts.

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    After that, I glued up the PVC pieces using my very favorite type of hot blue glue: red!

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    So far so good. Next I added a bleed valve to the top of the plug. The threaded part of the plug is hollow , so all I needed to do was cut off the top, tap threads into it, and glue in a john guest fitting.

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    With that done it was just a matter of screwing the pieces together with a little teflon tape and it was done! Unfortunately there's a slight leak around the maxijet's gasket. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do about that. I also feel a little skeptical of the uniseals. I had a bit of a leak in both of them at first, but after sanding the edges of the holes they're in it seems to be okay now.

    Oh, and I guess I should get some calcium carbonate medium and a CO2 tank!

    Anyway, here's one more shot of it filled with water and running.

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3439/3208037465_8d75463bf7.jpg?v=0
     
  2. xinumaster

    xinumaster Guest

    Very nice. But remember that the reactor is suppose to be pressurize, the uniseal and that top cover might not withstand the pressure.
     
  3. pixelpixi

    pixelpixi Guest

    Hmm. This is the first I've heard of pressurizing a calcium reactor. Is there some benefit to that?

    I suppose that depending on how the reactor is fed and how much the outflow is restricted there could be some pressure, but I wouldn't expect it to be more than a few PSI, which the uniseal and cap should be able to manage.
     
  4. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    oh. interesting erin!
     
  5. pixelpixi

    pixelpixi Guest

    Topic split to http://www.bareefers.org/discussion/index.php?topic=6024.0
     
  6. pixelpixi

    pixelpixi Guest

    I got my Co2 tank and regulator today! I still need a needle valve and I need to make a bubble counter. Oh, and I suppose I should get something to put IN the reactor too. :D
     
  7. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    Erin I have glycerin for the bubble counter if you need it :)
     
  8. pixelpixi

    pixelpixi Guest

    Oh thanks, Gresham. Do you use that because water evaporates too quickly? Would it hurt things if some accidentally got into the aquarium?
     
  9. iani

    iani Guest

    Aside from the pressure talk. Erin if you want the reactor to be more efficient, you should switch the effluent and co2 recycling line. The bottom fitting should be the effluent. The top should recycle the co2 back into the maxi-jet. With the fittings as is you will waste a lot of CO2. I would do that instead of trying to recycle co2 with the intake pvc fitting going to the top of the reactor. To me that looks like an easy way to get the pump to stall. If you do switch the lines, you will need to add a bleed valve to the top of the reactor, to let out the excess CO2 that you will get unless the CO2 is perfectly tuned.
     
  10. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    For dissolution, you want the circulating flow going top down. Same deal as in CO2 reactors in FW planted tanks.
     
  11. iani

    iani Guest

    [quote author=Gomer link=topic=5970.msg76284#msg76284 date=1232608762]
    For dissolution, you want the circulating flow going top down. Same deal as in CO2 reactors in FW planted tanks.
    [/quote]

    She has it set an updraft manner, which is fine if the co2 can't escape. With a few modifications it would work. A lot of new reactors are updraft reactors b/c it makes the reactor harder to clog.
     
  12. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    [quote author=pixelpixi link=topic=5970.msg76276#msg76276 date=1232607870]
    Oh thanks, Gresham. Do you use that because water evaporates too quickly? Would it hurt things if some accidentally got into the aquarium?

    [/quote]

    It's what most high end ones use. I think there is more to it then just evap but I do know that is a big part of it. If introduced it would simply be a carbon source :)
     
  13. pixelpixi

    pixelpixi Guest

    Ian, I have a bleed valve. That "recycling line" is just to plug those two holes. I think you're mistaken about the intended connections. Here's a labeled picture showing how it will be set up

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  14. pixelpixi

    pixelpixi Guest

    Tony, what's the advantage of having the flow go top-down? Ian's right that I meant it to be upflow so that it's less likely to clog.
     
  15. iani

    iani Guest

    [quote author=GreshamH link=topic=5970.msg76287#msg76287 date=1232609359]
    [quote author=pixelpixi link=topic=5970.msg76276#msg76276 date=1232607870]
    Oh thanks, Gresham. Do you use that because water evaporates too quickly? Would it hurt things if some accidentally got into the aquarium?

    [/quote]

    It's what most high end ones use. I think there is more to it then just evap but I do know that is a big part of it. If introduced it would simply be a carbon source :)
    [/quote]

    Gresham, at a high bubble rate water will evap in my bubble counter in about a month. One thing to note however, bubble size changes the more viscous the material. One bubble per second in glycerin is not equal to one bubble per second in water.
     
  16. pixelpixi

    pixelpixi Guest

    PS. This configuration of H2O in and out lines actually allows the reactor to be set up without a feed pump at all, which is why I chose it. The recirculation pump will pull water into the reactor and push it back out.
     
  17. iani

    iani Guest

    [quote author=pixelpixi link=topic=5970.msg76288#msg76288 date=1232609444]
    Ian, I have a bleed valve. That "recycling line" is just to plug those two holes. I think you're mistaken about the intended connections. Here's a labeled picture showing how it will be set up

    [​IMG]



    [/quote]

    Makes sense now, however I think you should plumb the co2 from the bleed valve back into the pump and not put that elbow near the top inside the reactor (as shown in an earlier picture). If you have that elbow near the top a thin layer of air will stall the pump.
     
  18. iani

    iani Guest

    [quote author=pixelpixi link=topic=5970.msg76293#msg76293 date=1232609658]
    PS. This configuration of H2O in and out lines actually allows the reactor to be set up without a feed pump at all, which is why I chose it. The recirculation pump will pull water into the reactor and push it back out.

    [/quote]

    Why didn't you say that at the start, then there would have been no incorrect pressure argument by me. Just make sure the lines don't clog. Check it often. My lines sometimes clog even when using the peristaltic pump for my feed.
     
  19. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    The only thing that concerns me is MJ o-rings are not super safe for external use IMO/IME. I'd run that in sump if you can (remove metal fitting of course)
     
  20. pixelpixi

    pixelpixi Guest

    [quote author=GreshamH link=topic=5970.msg76300#msg76300 date=1232610080]
    The only thing that concerns me is MJ o-rings are not super safe for external use IMO/IME. I'd run that in sump if you can (remove metal fitting of course)
    [/quote]

    Yeah, just in testing I've already been having some trouble with that. Hmm. Maybe I'll put an eheim on it and use the MJ in my tank.
     

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