DIY Project Co2 reactor build for Fluval FX5

Alastair

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27 Dec 2009
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Denton, Manchester
Following an earlier thread regarding my interest in building a DIY reactor for a FX5 filter, I've now taken the plunge and ordered all parts necessary with some help from Mr Ed Seeley (thanks mate).
The parts have arrived And this is what I've received.
1. 1 meter of 2 inch PVC pipe (metric)
2. 2 x 50mm to 1.25 inch PVC plain to male threaded adaptor. ( 1 for spare)
3. 1 x 90 degree elbow 50mm to 1.25 male thread
4. 2 x 1.25 female thread to 25mm hose barb
5. PVC cement.
6. PTFE tape

All for a total cost of just over 26 pound, of which 10 of it was delivery, which I'm pretty impressed with.
I'll add some pics shortly once back home.
The one thing I did make sure of, Is that there isn't much in the way of additional flow reduction, By making sure non of the unit or connections had a diameter smaller than the fx5 tubing itCself as there could possibly be a reduction from the reactor which I'm hoping isn't much.
Also I haven't bothered with a bleed valve as inside the male adapters, there's no flat surface more a funnel neck inside so not really a chance of a build up of co2.
Co2 will be injected Just by simply drilling a hole about 2 inches from the top and inserting the co2 tubing so it's in the path of flow. I didnt want to go spending any more on little extras that I feel wasnt needed.
I'll be sitting down to do this shortly with step by step pics to for anyone who might fancy trying it too.

Pics to follow. :thumbup:

Edit: here's links to the fittings needed as have had few people ask

1 1/4 inch F Thread to 25mm Barb - Hose Tail Female Thread ........x 2


Metric PVC Male iron adapter | Metric PVC MI Adaptor 50/63mmx1.25 | City Irrigation Ltd
......x 1


Metric PVC Elbow 90 Deg Plain x Male Thread | Metric PVC Elbow 90 Deg 50mmx1.25 M Th | City Irrigation Ltd
.....x1


Metric uPVC Pipe 50mm | Metric uPVC Pipe 50mm 10 Bar x 1m | City Irrigation Ltd

X 1 metre ( cut down to 70cm)
 

Alastair

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Denton, Manchester
Just a quick pic of the pieces I'll be using.

6305930050_9cf995bf90_b.jpg
Reactor pieces by Mr-T-, on Flickr

Im going to try putting in a couple of squares of filter foam to to help smash up any co2 as I'm thinking that with only stepping down from 2 inch to 1.25 inch before the hose barbs, that there may not be enough mixing time of the co2 compared to say a 2 inch reactor with only 16mm barbs. I'll see how it goes anyway but I'm pretty confident
 

Alastair

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Denton, Manchester
Ok so here goes. From start to finish the reactor took about half an hour to make I total and I found it relatively simple to do.
The piping itself came in a 1 Meyer length which was way more than needed. Most DIY reactors seem to be around 50cm, but given the flow produced by the fx5, I opted for 70 cm.

After cutting the pipe, I sanded any rough edges at both ends, then also sanded the outer diameter of the piping along with the inside part of both the 90 degree elbow piece and the male threaded adapter to help the cement bond.
6306261651_2eeb376c2b_b.jpg
Untitled by Mr-T-, on Flickr

I then drilled a 5.5mm hole 3 inches down from the top of the piping, which is where my co2 tube will be fed in. This allowed a very tight fit so I'd only need to use minimal aquarium safe silicon around the hole.
I snipped the tubing at an angle to make it easier to thread through, then pulled it through with some large tweezers

6306273461_391fedc56f_b.jpg
Untitled by Mr-T-, on Flickr

6306275087_1ac34bba07_b.jpg
Untitled by Mr-T-, on Flickr

6306277063_4ab17fd0df_b.jpg
Untitled by Mr-T-, on Flickr

6306802136_c76928dfdc_b.jpg
Untitled by Mr-T-, on Flickr

Once this was done it was time to cement the end to the pipe. Boy does this stuff smell funky. It made me a tad light headed so would recommend a well ventilated area to do this.

I applied a thin coating inside each adapter piece, but applied quite a thick layer to the piping itself and also the edges, and inserted the pipe whilst giving it a turn about quarter of the way to help spread the cement. It seals relatively quick so I wouldn't take too long
6306281461_e106303d76_b.jpg
Untitled by Mr-T-, on Flickr

6306287803_8449fcfb77_b.jpg
Untitled by Mr-T-, on Flickr



I allowed about 5 minutes once I'd done this for the cement to form a good bond before moving onto the final bits.

I then applied a generous amount of ptfe tape the the threads at both ends so that when it came to screwing on the female hose barbs, it was a very tight fit

6306814522_c17ddc5836_b.jpg
Untitled by Mr-T-, on Flickr
6306818738_5e0b49ba13_b.jpg
Untitled by Mr-T-, on Flickr

6306816646_d3cf0f481a_b.jpg
Untitled by Mr-T-, on Flickr


And that's it. Here's the finished product. Far from a piece of art bit should do the trick....I hope.

6306822456_1256953114_b.jpg
Untitled by Mr-T-, on Flickr

The standard fx5 piping fits very snug over the hose barbs but I'll also add some jubilee clips for my own piece of mind.

I didn't bother putting any bio balls or media into the pipe itself as I figured the length of the reactor should be sufficient to allow it. If I do feel the need to I can remove it and squeeze in some filter foam or pot scrubs.
It's been left overnight to make sure it's completely dry etc. and have given it a good rinse through just now. I believe it should be ok to test but may play it safe and leave it the full 24 hours.
I'm expecting some bubbles for a bit due to the air that will need pushing out from inside the reactor bit once this has stopped I'll get no bubbles at all ha ha ( here's to hoping)

Thanks for looking so far. I'll pop up my results once it's on and running
 

Dave2a

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30 Oct 2011
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Looking good!! Let's hope it does the trick and with no leaks lol
 

Alastair

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Thanks dave and billy boy, I'm hoping it can be of use to someone who wants to do the same.

Well it's been up and running for 7 and a half hours now, and I must admit I'm very impressed.
Number one, I no longer have to sit back from my tank to avoid seeing bubbles every where. This thing is AWESOME! I'm getting occasionally a couple of bubbles that pop out of the outflow now and then, but it's not even noticeable. My tank looks crystal clear again and my fish seem a lot more active.
I'm not sure if it was just me, but once the tank started to fill with tons of bubbles with my old mist diffuser, they seemed to shy away or just stay I the one spot. They only returned to normal once the diffuser was off. There all over the tank now, shoaling in there groups.
My main observation was the speed of the colour change on my drop checker. Co2 was turned on at 12, lights on at 2. Now normally after about an hour of lights on the drop checker would gradually thriugh the course of the photoperiod change to lime green/yellow by round about now. I noticed at 2 it was green, then checked back at half 4 and it was lime/yellowish. I had kept my initial injection rate the same to start with but this clearly showed that the reactor is far more efficient mixing the co2, so it been knocked down to 4 bubbles a second from 6. Big big difference.
There initially was a bit of air starting off but that came out in a matter of seconds. The funnel type nozzles inside help I think. I've also not noticed much reduction in flow at all too.
I did have one spot of bother starting off in that I'd not put enough ptfe tape on the threads for the hose barbs and had a tiny trickle but that was soon sorted. I may stick some foam in to completely eradicate the occasional bubble but it's far from a concern.
I also noticed pearling much earlier on too. Bonus!!
I hope this can prove as useful for anyone thinking of doing something similar as it was for me, with any filter but in particular the fx5 as inline wise there's sod all available.

Thanks for looking :thumbup:
 

J Butler

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Very nice build log Alastair, thankyou for taking the time to put it all together.

Do you have an in situ shot? Have you just mounted it upright behind the cabinet and tank?
 

Alastair

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J Butler said:
Very nice build log Alastair, thankyou for taking the time to put it all together.

Do you have an in situ shot? Have you just mounted it upright behind the cabinet and tank?
Thanks mate. Glad it can help someone. I'll pop a pic up of it running later or tomorrow. It is currently upright yes but just to the side of my tank as the end the filters at has a big daft plug behind so can't get it behind. My sockets aren't skirting board level lol. I'll be putting my filter at the opposite end so it can fit behind but to be homes it's inconspicuous anyway where it is at the minute and easily accessible .
One thing I'd possibly like to do is make another with clear PVC so I can see what goes on inside. Also I'm thinking of putting in a mesh grid in the bottom socket so I could possibly pop in bio balls and them not get pushed into the hosed as the outlets are 25mm and big enough to suck them up no problem.


In situ shot before it was finally fixed into the cabinet
6313090260_5bb3908940_b.jpg
Untitled by Mr-T-, on Flickr
 

idris

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Don't know why you want me to do your speaybar and intake. I think you've just proved you're up to the job.

I'd keep an eye on where the CO2 enters the reactor. Just having it siliconed in could prove a weak spot. That said I do like to over-engineer things by a factor of 50, so it'll probably be fine. ;)
 

kizkiz

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19 Sep 2009
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Have read this thread with interest as i have exactly the same set up and may well nick your idea :D
How is it going?
Anything you would change?
thanks
 

Alastair

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Hi kizkiz, it's been great and is probably the best decision I made in terms of dissolving my co2. There's nothing at all I'd change regarding the reactor. I found if I turned the flow down ever so slightly that the occasional few bubbles that popped out stopped, and that the drop checker changed quicker too. I guess it wouldn't hurt to stick in some media but I found I didn't need it, and, flow didn't seem reduced by much at all. I'm eventually taking off the fx5 as I've got a 2080 to compliment the 2078 running on the same tank so I shall be building two new reactors for these two.


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greenink

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Sorry to be stupid, but which end does the water flow go in - the top or the bottom?

If the bottom, why is the CO2 put in the top? Would have thought you want it going through a much as possible.
 

Alastair

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mikeappleby said:
Sorry to be stupid, but which end does the water flow go in - the top or the bottom?

If the bottom, why is the CO2 put in the top? Would have thought you want it going through a much as possible.
Water flows from top to bottom and co2 enters at the top giving it more time to mix :0)


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kizkiz

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Alastair said:
Hi kizkiz, it's been great and is probably the best decision I made in terms of dissolving my co2. There's nothing at all I'd change regarding the reactor. I found if I turned the flow down ever so slightly that the occasional few bubbles that popped out stopped, and that the drop checker changed quicker too. I guess it wouldn't hurt to stick in some media but I found I didn't need it, and, flow didn't seem reduced by much at all. I'm eventually taking off the fx5 as I've got a 2080 to compliment the 2078 running on the same tank so I shall be building two new reactors for these two.


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thanks for that alastair
How long is eventually? Fancy selling it? :lol:
Will definitely give it a go anyway
 

Matt1988

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12 Sep 2012
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Hi Alastair,

Can I ask where you bought your fittings from and do you think it would work in 40mm pipe? As I have about 4M in the shed :)

Thanks,
Matt
 
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