DIY Project Co2 reactor build for Fluval FX5

Scootbog

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10 Nov 2013
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After my first attempt, I have modified the first one quite a bit. I was getting CO2 bubbles in the tank and algae. With the modified version everything is spot on. Ive used 90mm acrylic, 42mm bio balls, some 4mm stainless tubing (one to inject co2 the other to hold the bio balls in place) and some plastic step downs. It is now a very efficient system. Total length of tube is 26",


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Scootbog

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A thick bead of aquarium sealant is placed in the gap, the acrylic tube is then pushed into the reducing bush approximately 1" (its a interference fit), a bead of sealer is then applied to the external joint. It is the same principle as how aquariums are held together. You have to remember there is very little pressure in the reactor itself. The reactor balls do not restrict flow, the water inlet hose is 25mm diameter which then opens into a acrylic tube which is approx 85mm diameter, the flow is reduced due to entering a larger volume which gives the CO2 more time to dissolve, the flow increases again once it exits the reactor. Although it may not look like it from the photos there is loads of room in there, the balls are 45mm diameter and serve the purpose of smashing the CO2 as it travels down the tube. There is the added bonus of a little more biological filtration. I have no CO2 bubbles exiting into the tank, only O2 bubbles from the pearling. PVC fittings are very easy to seal using solvent.
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I am going to modify it in a couple of weeks (putting in a bleed nipple) for when cleaning and restarting the external filter. It is low maintenance and very efficient. As soon as I can get some more free ATEX grade acrylic tube from work I will be knocking a couple more up to sell. I think I have got a 18" piece of acrylic tube in the shed, I might experiment with a shorter one.

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I used to use one of the aqua-medic 1000 reactors which was also filled with bio balls, I only made my own as my current external filter has 25mm hose and the aqua-medic only goes up to 22mm. :)
 

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Alastair

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The reactor balls do restrict flow to some degree. I tried them in the initial build on the first page. They do the same in the am1000 reactor too.
 

foxfish

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Personally I don't think it is a good idea to promote using silicone to glue PVC.
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There will be considerable pressure if the reactor is situated under the tank & I would not recommend trusting silicone as a suitable long term seal.

In your case you have a piece of metal pushed through the joint, so this will add a mechanical fixing & prevent the parts separating.
 

Scootbog

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Lol, I have not promoted using silicone to seal PVC, I use solvent. Sealant is used in sealing the acrylic to the PVC which is a very tight push fit. Your design used a smaller diameter tube, if you put bio balls in there you would notice a difference because the internal volume is greatly reduced. My design goes from 25mm diameter into a opening of approx 85mm which greatly increases the volume. The only thing that would affect flow greatly is excessive air in the top of the tube. The pressure with the reactor is under the tank is little in the grand scheme of things. You are correct in that the stainless 4mm tube holds everything together, and also stops the bio balls from rattling. Having the bio balls in there is no different to adding more media to a standard external filter. With your design you were unable to see what was happening inside your tube, you may of had trapped air as well as a reduced volume.

Regards

Scort
 

Al P

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19 Oct 2014
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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
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by Mr-T-, on Flickr
Hi, sorry to bother just quick question about reactor that you built. I built the same one, but I am having too many micro bubbles I didn't get it do you have yours on intake or outake and if it is on intake how did you bend the hose that coms from the top? I have my one on outake, so I believe that could be th reason I have micro bubbles. Thanks.
 

Alastair

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Hi, sorry to bother just quick question about reactor that you built. I built the same one, but I am having too many micro bubbles I didn't get it do you have yours on intake or outake and if it is on intake how did you bend the hose that coms from the top? I have my one on outake, so I believe that could be th reason I have micro bubbles. Thanks.
Hi
I had it and do have them on the outlet of the filter as putting on the inlet makes it become dirty very quick and restricts flow coming in as the fx5/6 aren't gravity fed.
I occasionally got the odd bubble but not lots. Did you build it to the same Size? What size tank is it running on and what injection rate are you using
 

Al P

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19 Oct 2014
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Hi, thanks for reply I made everything exactly how you did it, my tank is juwel trigon 350l, my co2 comes on 2 hours before the light and I think I have too many bubbles per second on my bubble counter for the drop checker to change to right colour. I did run my one without and with bio balls and the same thing was happening. I have spray bar that goes all the way at the back of one corner. I reduced the flow and it is a bit better, but I still see them coming out, I will try to play around a little bit to see if I can get it better.
Thank you.
 

Dave_IOW

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10 Aug 2014
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Hi, realise this is an oldish thread, but what step down things did you use to attach the 90mm acrylic tube to the 90degree bends?
 

jsiegmund

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15 Nov 2014
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Nice thread (despite it being oldish). I'm looking to adjust my existing AM 1000 to fit to the FX5. I have two spare nozzles lying around which I want to adjust to fit 20mm hose barbs on. I'm thinking on glueing them instead of doing threads. So I'll buy two of these and modify these to fit them. Can anyone think of any problems which might occur?

By the way, I noticed you guys are using normal hoses as well instead of the fluval ribbed stuff. So what are you using then, 19/25mm?
 
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