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diy phosphate media reactor

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Hooked

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Okay all you diy gurus. I made this "reactor" for ROWAphos and would like you to critique the design. Mojoreef had given me a link to an insump model that was reasonably priced, but I don't have room. Will this work and what problems might I encounter?

The intake tube goes down the middle to within 1-2 inches of the bottom. I'm going to use a Mini-jet 606, which has an adjustable flow rate from 82-153 gph. Does that seem like too much flow? I think I'll stick a ball valve in the line, too--just in case.

On thing I don't like about the TLF model is it has foam in it to keep the media from escaping. That looks like a potential nitrate factory to me unless you clean or change it frequently. To avoid that, I built mine really tall--about 21". I figure at a low flow rate, the media will never get high enough to escape. This also allows the unit to set on the floor of the cabinet next to the sump.

The only thing I don't like about it is I can't see inside it. I thought if it works okay, I might build another using a clear acrylic tube. If I order a 4" acrylic tube, can I use pvc fittings on it?

TIA :cool:
 
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Hooked

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Thanks Curt. Looks like I can use Weld-on 1802. Now can someone tell me if pvc is the right size to fit on acrylic tubes? Or will I have to use acrylic for the base and top?
 

NaH2O

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^Bump^

Not sure about the PVC and acrylic sizing, but I wanted to comment....Cool!
 

Zephrant

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Weldon #16 would be fine for your use, and much easier to use.

3.5" OD acrylic tube fits 3" PVC fittings. They don't make a standard tube size that fits 4" fittings.

Looks like it will work good. :)

Zeph
 

Hooked

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Thanks Zeph.

I got it hooked up and running and it works fine. I had a little problem with the fittings I put intp the cap leaking. The cap isn't pvc--it's maybe nylon or something and the pvc cement didn't work nor did the Weldon 16; however I finally got it sealed up with good ole super glue.
 

Hooked

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Thanks reeffan,

I did get it to seal, but I wasn't comfortable leaving it running while I wasn't home, so....I shopped around until I finally found a cap (it's actually called a plug I think) made out of pvc and made a new top. It's working great, but the Weldon 40 tip is good for future reference.

Thanks again
 

aquariumdebacle

electrolyte addict
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Jul 4, 2003
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Carbon in a Phosphate reactor

Don reminded me that carbon needs to be used upstream from phosphate media. The media will atract organics in general so to improve the life/value of the phosphate adsorbant, the cheaper carbon should be used as a pre-filter.
 

Hooked

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The reactor I made seemed to be working find so I made one with a clear body so I can see what's going on inside. I used 4 1/2" o.d. extruded acrylic.

Here's what it looks like:
 
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Hooked

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I tried to get a pic showing the movement of the media, but it's difficult. This one came out the best. If you look at the left bottom of the inner tube you can see the ROWAphos perking up. It's kind of like a slow boil.
 

NeilsReef

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Looks Great, could you please give us a list of what you used on your latest model. It looks wonderful and I would like to try my hand at it. Maybe even a couple steps and a price list, would be fatastic. Thank you
 

Hooked

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Sure Neil, I can do that. Parts list from the top down:

2 - 1/2" male hose adapters ($0.24 each)
2 - 1/2" female npt to slip adapters ($0.18 each)
2 - 1/2" street ell ($0.48 each)
4" plug ($1.62)
4" female adapter ($2.97)
4" cap ($3.90)
6" drain ($5.99) made to fit 3" or 4" pipe
1/2" pvc slip connector ($0.12)
1/2" pvc pipe ($1.00 or so)

The pvc parts total $17.40

I used 15" of 4 1/2" o.d. acrylic tubing. I bought from US plastics because you can get it for $6.30 per foot if you buy 6 feet and I also need three feet for a kalk reactor. You can buy less from aquaticeco.com ($12.45 per square foot). I cut it on my power miter saw--the cut is rough, but okay for this purpose.

A couple of assemply tips:

I used a 3/4" wood boring bit to drill the holes for the street ells in the pvc plug, then finished enlarging them with a burr in a Dremel. I attached these with pvc cement (and primer). The input is in the top (square part) of plug and sticks through far enough that you can attached the 1/2" inner pvc tube to it with a slip adapter. I'd recommend you attached the hose adapters to the pvc adapters then glue them to the street ells in order to put less stress on the bond to the plug.

The plug will seal if you tighten it firmly, but you can also make a silicone gasket for it. Put a little vegetable oil around the bottom edge of the plug, then install it in the adapter. Next run a heavy bead of silicone inside the adapter threads where it meets the plug. Let it cure then remove the plug. I installed my plug about 1/2 turn loose before I did this, then built up the bead a little more after it dried and I could remove the plug. Obviously, you have to do this before you install the adapter to the acrylic tube.

I attached the acrylic tube to the 4" fittings with Weld-on 16 ( I had some, so I opted to try it rather than spend $20 on something else) Weld-on 40 is also recommended.

I attached the bottom cap to the base with super glue. Do this before you put the acrylic tube in. This needs to be done carefully so that you don't end up with a leaning tower. I used a small level to get it right, then used a sharpie to draw an outline on the cap. I put a heavy bead of super glue gel around the edge of the drain lip and pressed it into place, then let it cure overnight.

You'll also need 1/2" i.d. hose, clamps and I would recommend a ball valve in the pump side of the line to adjust the flow and keep the reactor from draining when the pump is off. I'm using a Mini-jet 606 at max flow although I have it throttled back a bit with the ball valve. I only have 250 ml of media in it but I believe I could easily use 2-3 times that. If you need more -- make it taller.

Finally, when you first place the media in the tube and fill it with water, it will create a rusty cloud. I filled mine about 3/4 with water and waited about 30 minutes for the cloud to settle, then started it up.

HTH
 
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NeilsReef

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Thanks a lot Katrina, I will have to give this a try in the future. I appreciate the step by step and the price break downs. This will be a fun project, can't wait to start.
 

Hooked

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Just another little tip. I was shopping at a different hardware yesterday and noticed they had a really good selection of wood boring bits including many in 16ths. So I got a 13/16" and it is nearly perfect for drilling the holes for the street ells or 1/2" pipe.

The downside is you have to be very careful drilling--any wobble and the hole will be too big, but if you get drilled straight all that's required is a little clean-up and you'll have a nice snug fit.
 
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