New Blue Life Resinator - First Impressions

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by FeliciaLynn, Sep 9, 2014.

  1. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

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    Blue Life released their new media reactor at MACNA and immediately sold out of all the units they'd brought to the show. Brandie, Denzil, and I all decided to place orders and try it out. Since I purchased mine after they sold out of the units at the show, they shipped mine from the warehouse at the end of last week. It arrived today and I already have it all set up on the tank. I just wanted to give my first impressions of the reactor.

    • First off, how is it different than other reactors? Its pressurized like an RO unit, which forces all of the water through the media instead of around it in channels. This makes in more efficient than other reactors.
    • Price: Very affordable! A single unit including the 3 types of media (carbon, phosphate remover, and organic scavenger) was on special at the show for only $88 shipped. That includes all the tubing and connections, so you just need a separate pump to set it up.
    • Design: It seems like its very well made. Also, its incredibly compact compared to my BRS single media reactor. This is great for packed stands. It can also be set directly into a sump or put in the back chambers of an AIO. Very versatile! Also, it doesn't have to be vertical, you can lay it horizontal if you want. It includes two nice mounting brackets that have suction cups or can be screwed into the wood of your stand.
    • Media: For smaller tanks, they recommend a single canister running all 3 of the medias. My single canister has carbon on top and then a cotton disk and a plastic grating as a separator. Under the separator is a mix of the phosphate removing media and organic scavenger. For larger tanks, you can daisy chain multiple canisters running each media separately. The carbon is very high grade and low dust. The phosphate-removing media and organic scavenger are both tiny beads that are completely dust free and can't compact like GFO. The canister comes completely full with media, which seemed like a lot for my small 30 gallon tank, so I removed half of the media and will store it until I need to replace the media. You can adjust the amount of media in the canister to whatever meets your needs.
    • Installation: Absolutely a breeze! Just cut the included tubing to size and snap on some fittings and you're good to go! I have mine hooked up to my MJ1200 pump and turned it on.
    • Maintenance: Seems like it should be very low maintenance. I was told at the show that their media should last ~5 months before needing to be replaced. Also, there's no need to open up the canister and scrub it out. Just switch the tubing really quick to back flush it, and since its pressurized, it will force out any detritus.
    My overall impression is that I'm very impressed by the streamlined, small design. I also like their improved medias that don't have dust and clumping issues like GFO. The biggest reason I bought it is that I won't have to replace the media for like 5 months, compared to the once every 2-4 weeks that I was doing with my old reactor. I'll update this thread once I've had it up and running for a while.

    Oh, and here's a write-up about its release at MACNA:
    http://blog.aquanerd.com/2014/08/blue-life-usa-carb-fx-resinator.html
     
  2. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

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  3. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

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    Nice looking unit.

    I'm a bit leery of the 'pressurized' claim. RO is really pressurized by available system water pressure. This gets it's pressure from a MJ1200, same as a BRS media reactor. That pump can't really produce any pressure. Well, OK, perhaps 1-2 psi! :)

    How does it connect to the MJ? Is there flow control (valve)?
     
  4. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

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    I think maybe pressurized is the wrong term. The way I was looking at it, my BRS reactor is a canister, with a second canister sitting down inside of it. If you watch the water flow in, a lot of the water can just go through the gap between the two canisters. So only part of the water going through the unit actually goes through the media. With this new one, the media is backed into the entire width of the canister, so there's nowhere for water to go around the media. All the water pumped into the system is being forced through the media. We'll see if that makes it more efficient. Personally, I didn't have an issue with the efficiency of my old reactor, I just wanted something smaller with less maintenance.
     
  5. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

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    oh man that sure is sexy!!!

    how did you mount it? did you use the suckers or whatever you call it? hard to tell
     
  6. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

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    Cool writeup. Looks very interesting.

    The back-flush to remove detritus is a very interesting concept.
    If easily done weekly, could really improve flow around media.

    The horizontal mounting is nice. But can you replace media without making a big mess?

    A bit skeptical on the 5 months between replacing media. But that would be nice.

    Note: The BRS one should not be leaking/bypassing the inner media canister. Perhaps something is wrong?
    Water goes down the outside, between the inner canister and outer wall.
    Water goes back up the inner canister.
    In mine, there is an orange O-ring on the top of the inner canister. Missing that?
     
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  7. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

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    I think the way the BRS reactors are, they're essentially RO pre-filter holders, is that water goes through the center, then the only way out is through the sides, so it still goes through the media. If you look under the cap you should see a hole in the middle which is where the inflow comes from (Unless BRS completely redesigned the RO lid and screwed things up in their design).

    So is the media separated at all? Or is it just loose and you pour in what you need?

    The shape reminds me of some deionizing resin containers I have.
     
  8. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

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    Agree with mark...5 months, time will tell. And on the brs reactor as well. Shouldn't bypass the inner cartridge.
     
  9. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

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    Yes it does look like a good no bypass system. The size is a big improvement over BRS. Hard to beat the BRS price if you have the space!
     
  10. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

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    The PHOS Fx is regenerable up to six times while the PURE Fx is infinitely regenerable. However, CARB Fx still has to be replaced on a regular basis. I hooked mine up early this morning and my phosphates were reading at .31 ppm with the Hanna. I'm going to measure it over the coming days/weeks to see how it performs. I personally prefer the smaller form factor and I feel that it could potentially perform just as well or even better as any other reactor out there.

    I guess we'll see in the coming months but if you want to find out yourself, I believe they'll be for sale on the website soon. :)
     
  11. bluprntguy

    bluprntguy Webmaster

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    It could be a good reactor to use with zeovit too, since it would be easy to do the daily shake of the zeolites.

    I'm a little suspicious on the PHOS Fx media. They say you can regenerate it in salt water and no one seems to know exactly what it is or how it lowers phosphates...
     
  12. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

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    I don't particularly like suction cups since they tend to fail after a bit, so I used Command Strips to stick the brackets to the side of my sump. They include a screw and nut so that you could mount the brackets directly to the wood in your stand, but the way I have mine set up, I don't have a space to do that, so I needed it to mount to the side of my sump.
     
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  13. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

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    I think what's going on with my two BRS reactors is that the orange o-rings got very gross very quickly. I clean them every time I replace the media, but they're mis-shaped now and they've gotten gunk on them that I can't get off. I think mine aren't sealing well anymore which is why a lot of my water seems to be bypassing the media.

    Honestly though, I can't complain about efficiency, even with some water bypassing the media. They do a good enough job to keep my corals happy. Most of my reasoning behind buying it was size and its simplicity.

    I hate the mess I always end up making when I take apart my BRS reactors, and every time I replace the media, I end up scrubbing every single part. This new reactor has so many less parts to worry about since its just one canister, so it seems like for lazy people like me, it should be easier to maintain in the long run. Also, the way it mounts, its super easy to just pop it out of the brackets and carry it over to wherever I want to deal with dumping out and replacing the media. Just way less bulky and messy than the BRS reactors on that front. The way I have my BRS reactors mounted, I have to unscrew the outer canister with the instrument they give you for that while its still in my stand. I always have a hard time getting leverage that way and then I end up spilling water everywhere as I try to remove the canister. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but its my least favorite chore when it comes to my routine tank maintenance.
     
  14. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

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    I agree on the 5 months. That's what they told me, so we'll see. I'm holding off judgement on that part and will keep you all posted. Unfortunately, I only have an API test kit for phosphate, which is a joke since I can't tell half the colors apart, so I'm just going to be judging performance on water clarity, health of corals and fish, algae growth, etc. I'll keep you all posted on my observations.

    Oh, and yes, the carbon will obviously have to be replaced more frequently. I believe its the mix of the other two medias that is supposed to last that long.

    Btw, ChemiPure clearly states to change it once every 4 months, so it doesn't seem unheard of to have media that lasts that long.
     
  15. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

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    True. With how small it is and the way it just pops into the brackets, it would be easy to pop off the brackets, shake it, and just pop it back in place.
     
  16. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

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    Do keep us in the loop (Denzil) on your numbers.

    I too am skeptical about the voodoo magic it claims it can do, I think Rich taught me that... or maybe it was my grandmother who said "don't never trust no one for nothing!" (yes a quadruple negative!). But if it works, it works.
     
  17. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

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    Me too. I haven't found a easy, no mess way to clean them. I take the input and 0utput lines off then take the whole unit to the sink. Soon after that GFO and Carbon are flying everywhere!

    It ain't pretty. ;)
     
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  18. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

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    i seriously cannot agree more with you on the brs reactors. overall the borrowed design just really sucks. plus there are some weird calcium buildups that i just can't get rid of, along with other buildups that don't go away no matter how much i scrub.
     
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  19. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

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    Will do. I'll post my first reading tonight (roughly 24 hours since installation).
     
  20. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

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    Over 24 hours since installation, my tank looks good. Water clarity is good and none of my corals seem shocked by the change in media. No numbers for you guys though since I don't have a good phosphate test.
     

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