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Thread: DIY Cerge's style co2 reactor SEE VERSION 2 below.

  1. #1
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    Default DIY Cerge's style co2 reactor SEE VERSION 2 below.

    Hey people, thought i would post up my latest DIY. The Cerge style reactor uses a whole of house filter which in the larger 20" x 4.5" size are near $200 here in Australia. Why 20"? Ive read that so many people are pushing bubbles out their 10" whole of house units on bigger tanks with more powerful pumps and high co2 bubble counts....So.... A little DWV sewer pipe and some fittings and presto....made two of them for $35 each. I wanted something free standing, so came up with this. Purging air from the unit will happen through the co2 line initially. Hope you like it. All parts came from bunnings.

    Materials:
    1x500mm length of 100mm sewer pipe.
    2x flat end caps.
    2x 25mm reducing bushes.
    2x25mm elbows.
    1x25mm straight coupling
    1x450mm long 25mm threaded tube.
    1x4mm threaded nipple.
    Some PVC glue (green type) and plumbing tape.
    A hot melt glue gun
    Some paint.

    Photos explain it all.... Reducing bushes and nipple are hot glued onto PVC end cap.















    Last edited by Petetheplantkiller; 01-04-15 at 10:43 AM.
    90 litre and 300 litre journal: http://www.aquariumlife.com.au/showthread.php/57087-Ground-Zero-My-venture-into-aquascaping-begins-Now-3-tanks

  2. #2
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    Pretty cool. No bio balls etc in the chamber to help dissolve the co2?

  3. #3

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    Nice idea, but have you leak tested it under pressure?

    IME gluing PVC to Nylon never works and I think it will develop leaks around those black nylon bushes.

    If it leaks, replace the threaded bushes with PVC threaded bushes/sockets that you can glue to the cap with PVC solvent to get a strong chemical bond.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grubs View Post
    Nice idea, but have you leak tested it under pressure?

    IME gluing PVC to Nylon never works and I think it will develop leaks around those black nylon bushes.

    If it leaks, replace the threaded bushes with PVC threaded bushes/sockets that you can glue to the cap with PVC solvent to get a strong chemical bond.
    Thanks Grubs. I have used Bostik hot melt glue before with no issues. Guess i will find out over time. The paint has dried this morning and i grabbed the threaded bushes and tried to break the glue line by wrenching it.... It stayed true so fingers crossed it stays that way. I will update in a few weeks.
    90 litre and 300 litre journal: http://www.aquariumlife.com.au/showthread.php/57087-Ground-Zero-My-venture-into-aquascaping-begins-Now-3-tanks

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    I dont think i need bio balls....the depth of the unit at 20 inches should give the bubbles plenty of time to dissolve as the gas rises against water flow which is at a reduced pressure.in the larger diameter pipe. Could be wrong on this, but can add later if needed. Again, ill update later with how its travelling.
    90 litre and 300 litre journal: http://www.aquariumlife.com.au/showthread.php/57087-Ground-Zero-My-venture-into-aquascaping-begins-Now-3-tanks

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    Default UPDATE: version 2 is even better. No glue on the fittings.

    Taking into account what grubs said above regarding gluing the Black irrigation fittings to the sewer pipe, i went back to the drawing board when i made my second one for my smaller tank. My suspicion was correct that 20" was enough to not need bio balls with a 2700 litre an hour pump. Given that the smaller tank has a 1400 LPH filter on it, i reduced this one to 15" overall. Nothing passes through to the tank. Have i mentioned how much i love bunnings? So, long story short, found two tank fittings with left hand threads from Holman that have neoprene seals, much like the type you see on co2 regs. That was the easy bit. Now fitting them onto the 100mm sewer cap was challenging. The idea was fit one, mark it, take 5mm off the nut so the second one could get on there without hitting the first. The inner "nuts" were left untouched and are slightly smaller in diameter than the outer nuts. This was then blocked off and pressure tested a day after the PVC cement had set on the sewer end caps using a garden hose quick connect fitting on some 16/22 aquarium tube and an 18mm blocked end piece. Water pressure here is stupidly high and it held well. I have elected to inject co2 directly to the inlet hose via a 4mm threaded barb super glued to an 18mm double flanged connector, just to save drilling another weak point into the reactor. Here are the pics of the female tank fittings i used, and the final product. Internals are the same as the previous model.





    Notice that the in pipe nut has been cut away to fit the out nut.

    90 litre and 300 litre journal: http://www.aquariumlife.com.au/showthread.php/57087-Ground-Zero-My-venture-into-aquascaping-begins-Now-3-tanks

  7. #7
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    Looks good Pete. With purging, you can add a nipple to the top cap and another to the outlet and join the two with hose and inline tap. Turn the tap on to purge the air using venturi effect when needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vladguan View Post
    Looks good Pete. With purging, you can add a nipple to the top cap and another to the outlet and join the two with hose and inline tap. Turn the tap on to purge the air using venturi effect when needed.
    Cheers vlad. Thats a great idea. I have a tip too: I have an inline drain tap between the reactor and the filter that i found to be quite handy yesterday to relieve the air lock when i cleaned the filter. Regarding any build up of gas, that end of day "swooshing" of water sound disappears about 30 minutes after the co2 shuts off, so i gather it is all dissipating away and totally flooded with water at that stage. So far so good.
    90 litre and 300 litre journal: http://www.aquariumlife.com.au/showthread.php/57087-Ground-Zero-My-venture-into-aquascaping-begins-Now-3-tanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Petetheplantkiller View Post
    Cheers vlad. Thats a great idea. I have a tip too: I have an inline drain tap between the reactor and the filter that i found to be quite handy yesterday to relieve the air lock when i cleaned the filter. Regarding any build up of gas, that end of day "swooshing" of water sound disappears about 30 minutes after the co2 shuts off, so i gather it is all dissipating away and totally flooded with water at that stage. So far so good.
    That is what I noticed too. Each time I clean my canister and start it again, the reactor makes water tumbling noise. This goes away after awhile which I presume is that the gas/air has been pushed out. Hence I don't have a venturi purge valve.

  10. #10
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    Default The test of time

    Thought I would update this thread today as have just made another two Cerges style reactors for friends. I can happily report that both versions have not leaked since installation into my tanks. I have tested the 50cm (20") version to 10+ (Uncountable steady stream) Bubbles per second with the Aqua one 2700 filter moving the water with 100% effective dissolution of the co2. This was tested over a few hours with 3 feet of connected bubble wall in the tank so the fish were ok. Not a single bubble was seen from the spray bar.

    The DWV pipe has withstood a few drops. It's much more solid than stormwater pipe (much thicker walled). It's more expensive but worth the investment.

    The second version used the Holman tank fittings and is a more robust, secure seal giving me peace of mind. (I still worry the hot melt glue and silicone on version one may give way one day.) The second version also saw the injection of co2 via an inline barbed 18mm poly irrigation joiner (for 16/22 hose) cross drilled and fitted with a 4mm threaded to barb joiner. I found that shock proof superglue works well to hold the 4mm threaded end in the joiner. Once screwed in, I can't budge it with a pair of pliers, so the thread holds. I think this is better than drilling another hole in the reactor like on the first version, as the 4mm poly barbs aren't exactly robust, and if I ever break one, it's cheaper to make another joiner rather than rebuild the reactor. Incidentally, I saw an eheim 16/22 joiner with a 4mm off take moulded in the side. It was over $20!.

    I made the second reactor shorter after the success of the first one, as it was being driven by a Aqua one nautilus 1400 so I figured that it didn't need to be as tall, and to help fit it in the cupboard of the AR620. That one is 40 cm high (without the barbed off takes) and to my surprise that one I've had to 6bps with total dissolution of co2. I guess it's a balance between height and water flow.

    Anyway, here is a photo of the two i finished today. The barbed Ts are in the foreground. If anyone wants one, I'm happy to make one up for them for cost of materials plus a little for labour and if needed, postage. I will need the flow rate of your filter, hose diameter size and cupboard height internally. Also happy to take questions if you want to build your own.
    Last edited by Petetheplantkiller; 01-04-15 at 10:46 AM.
    90 litre and 300 litre journal: http://www.aquariumlife.com.au/showthread.php/57087-Ground-Zero-My-venture-into-aquascaping-begins-Now-3-tanks

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    Nice work on this . +1 on using O-ring sealed bulk head fittings. Nice!
    -- Taxus

    All men are equal before fish. Herbert Hoover

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    nice work pete

    DWV is actually a rated pipe, hence the thicker walls ( used under slabs and ground for sewers/pipework drains etc ) stormwater pipe is not rated, basically just recycled bits of plastic

    i still find my atomiser under the inlet of my cannister filter works best
    i do have a reactor made up but really cbf installing it!
    my 6 x 2 x 2.5

    http://www.aquariumlife.com.au/showthread.php/57768-Disco-s-new-6-x-2-x-2-5

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    Quote Originally Posted by disco frank View Post
    nice work pete

    DWV is actually a rated pipe, hence the thicker walls ( used under slabs and ground for sewers/pipework drains etc ) stormwater pipe is not rated, basically just recycled bits of plastic

    i still find my atomiser under the inlet of my cannister filter works best
    i do have a reactor made up but really cbf installing it!
    Disco, I used to use the same system with a bamboo skewer poked into the inlet. I found that near the end of the photoperiod I would hear the canister filter "burp" occasionally as the co2 built up - cant be good for the impeller. Tried atomisers and found they need constant cleaning or they become blocked. This reactor solved both problems for me as its on the outlet side of the filter. That makes sense re the DWV pipe. I picked it because it looked stronger, now I know why.
    Quote Originally Posted by Taxus View Post
    Nice work on this . +1 on using O-ring sealed bulk head fittings. Nice!
    Thank you Taxus. Neoprene O-rings are what is used in some aquarium applications and co2 regulator seals anyway and my previous internet research showed it is apparently CO2 proof.... I can confirm that it has survived after a 9 month stint so far. I think this DIY (version 2) can now be called a success. So simple yet 100% effective. Also cheaper than a whole of house 20" x 4" Flilter housing which in Australia are near $90 for a blue version but then need to be modified with a central riser where the filter usually goes and aren't exactly designed to be free standing (most have rounded bottoms). Also, unlike the house filters, my way there are no internal elbows in the head part, so flow reduction to the spray bar is non existent, and the flow is what "breaks down" and dissolves the co2.
    Last edited by Petetheplantkiller; 01-04-15 at 10:48 AM.
    90 litre and 300 litre journal: http://www.aquariumlife.com.au/showthread.php/57087-Ground-Zero-My-venture-into-aquascaping-begins-Now-3-tanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Petetheplantkiller View Post
    Disco, I used to use the same system with a bamboo skewer poked into the inlet. I found that near the end of the photoperiod I would hear the canister filter "burp" occasionally as the co2 built up - cant be good for the impeller. Tried atomisers and found they need constant cleaning or they become blocked. This reactor solved both problems for me as its on the outlet side of the filter. That makes sense re the DWV pipe. I picked it because it looked stronger, now I know why. .
    i had my atomizer int eh tank for what maybe 6 months no need to be cleaned! no idea why i was expecting to have to clean it every 2-3 months liek i did whne it was in my nano!
    no burps either.. then again my canister flows 2500lphr or so :P
    also runs 1" pipe

    might give yours a try as im not that happy with my DIY one
    no idea how ill go with 1" fittings on 100mm pipe!
    my 6 x 2 x 2.5

    http://www.aquariumlife.com.au/showthread.php/57768-Disco-s-new-6-x-2-x-2-5

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    Quote Originally Posted by disco frank View Post
    i had my atomizer int eh tank for what maybe 6 months no need to be cleaned! no idea why i was expecting to have to clean it every 2-3 months liek i did whne it was in my nano!
    no burps either.. then again my canister flows 2500lphr or so :P
    also runs 1" pipe

    might give yours a try as im not that happy with my DIY one
    no idea how ill go with 1" fittings on 100mm pipe!
    That's Easy mate! Use the 2 Holman 20mm tank fittings then in the irrigation area at Bunnings you will find 25mm barbed ends with 20mm thread. That's what I used on my big tank which has the 1" hose. Don't forget to get the rigid riser in 20mm too and it will screw into the bottom of the Holman fitting as it is threaded right through. Cut it about 20mm short of the bottom of the reactor once it is screwed in, but make sure you screw in the barbed fitting first as it is important to get that sealed and fully seated properly. The remaining thread below should give you about 15mm of bite for the riser.
    90 litre and 300 litre journal: http://www.aquariumlife.com.au/showthread.php/57087-Ground-Zero-My-venture-into-aquascaping-begins-Now-3-tanks

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