DG Investigates: Chaeto Reactors

Discussion in 'Equipment: Setup and Discussion' started by David Grigor, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. David Grigor

    David Grigor TCMAS Old Timer
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    I have been successful for the last 5 years running Algae Turf Scrubber as the main filtration ( no skimmer ).

    Nitrates are undectable. Phosphates are undectable ( if I add KNO3 to temperarily increase nitrates over the night cycle ).

    A phenomenon though has happened in the last 3+ months. Algae scrubber growth is down significantly yet nitrates nor phosphates are still undectable. I have no idea why but it doesn't really matter just so long as nutrients aren't accumulating.

    It's time to shake things up and see, can chaeto reactor replace my Algae Scrubber and still maintain nutrients levels ? After seeing the BRStv episodes on chaeto I wondered if on larger scale can this replace turf scrubber.

    I purchased over July 4th online sales the largest Media Reactor I could find. The Avast MR16 which is 9" in diemeter and approx. 18" tall. I will be adding 12v LED string that I already have ( I planned to test on the Algae Scrubber but never did ).

    So Stay tuned. Media reactor has not yet arrived but I will document my findings here.
     
    #1 David Grigor, Jul 8, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
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  2. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    If you want to go big... go BIG!!!
    Couldn't there be a way to convert these into a chaeto reactor?


    [​IMG]

    I remember back in the early 2000's that pillars like these were a fad; LED lights with fake fish that would travel up and down the pillar. I'm sure there's one or two sitting in someone's basement collecting dust.
    [size=7][/size]
     
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  3. cathorn

    cathorn Senior Member
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    Yes I remember the led lights and fish inside
     
  4. Jonty

    Jonty I contributed!
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    I have an Arrid 30 you can play with if you want David. I am not using it right now.
     
  5. dirtrider225

    dirtrider225 Junior Member
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    Interested to see what you find, I was looking at removing or atleast leaving my skimmer shut off on the rsr 250 when I reboot it and building a chaeto reactor.

    Ironically I used the same reactor for my plans on my r2r thread.

    Following along
     
  6. clownnut

    clownnut TUNNWOLC
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    keep us posted, i am already looking for something to build. :)
     
  7. cheezybuda

    cheezybuda I contributed!
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    That's funny, DG....I have been thinking about one for my frag tank. I ordered the lights a week or two ago.

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
     
  8. abhishek

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    Awesome idea David. Will be following closely . Which led strip you are going for ?

    Regards,
    Abhishek
     
  9. fivesmallworlds

    fivesmallworlds Halichoeres Bivittatus
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    Thinking I may jump in on this as well but on a much smaller scale. My experiment with turning my center chamber in the AIO into a fuge didn't pan out and I would like to incorporate chaeto into the nutrient export equation somehow.
     
  10. Gary

    Gary Started in '96
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    I've also been kicking around the idea of a Cheato reactor. I think that the old refugium I used to have actually worked better than the ATS.
     
  11. infinityends

    infinityends Senior Member
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    I'll freely admit that I am not as versed in some of the science behind this as others, especially David.

    But it was my understanding that because an ATS is growing a simpler form of algae than a cheato reactor it should be able to grow algae faster and therefore remove more nutrients from the system and better out compete algae attempting to grow in the DT. Not that a cheato reactor can't work just as well, and they are much more readily available for purchase than ATS which most commonly has to be DIY.

    David, as far as a light strip. (EDIT: Realized LED strips are also produced in hydroponic growth spectrum. Although the multicolor ones would probably still work set somewhere in white or red) Are you just talking about one of the typical led waterproof light strips found on amazon etc. for $20-30? Assuming I am correct on the light strip since most of those are color changing I am assuming it will be set to somewhere in the red spectrum for plant growth.

    I do think as far as the overall work involved in a DIY project the reactor is probably a much simpler build than an ATS which makes it a very tempting alternative. I've wanted to setup an ATS but to fit it into my stand/sump it would have to be custom and the work involved in just planning it not to mention actually cutting the acrylic and building it has caused me to keep putting it off. I will definitely be following with interest.
     
    #11 infinityends, Jul 13, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  12. infinityends

    infinityends Senior Member
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    Not to hijack the thread, but after another 15 minutes to have the idea roll around in my head.... I might try converting my Zeo reactor to try this out, I also have extra LED strip at home I didn't need for my media center build a year ago.

    I tried out the zeovit system for a few months with mixed results, didn't help that Zeo is really intended to be started with a new tank. I had some corals freak out and experience tissue loss, others seemed to be perfectly happy and looked really good. When our daughter was born in May I got bad about dosing and everything else required on daily/weekly basis for zeovit and the system has been doing fine without it since. My biggest issue I think was Alk swings due to a doser issue with air bubbles getting into the tubing and causing inconsistent dosing of 2 part. Now that I corrected that around month ago corals seem to be overall much happier and have regained lost coloring for the most part.

    The vertex zeo reactor I have is 1.5L size, so while I don't expect I could filter my entire system with it (90g + 40b sump). It seems like it would be a reasonable beta test that I could set up quickly without buying anything other than getting some cheato from LFS or another member.

    Curious if anyone sees any flaws with the idea of converting that reactor that I'm not considering, the amount of water flow through the reactor is the biggest thing I can see as a potential limiting factor other than reactor size. Only other concern for this idea is the LED strip itself. This reactor would be in the sump in water. The LED strip I have is waterproof, however, any time water and electricity mix there is some concern on a cheap product like that.

    The larger concern I have with the LED strip is related to the sticky back adhesive that comes on these. I doubt the adhesive is reef/fish safe. My first inclination is to attempt to remove it using GooGone or rubbing alcohol or something like that. I suppose potential issues like that are a good justification for this to be an external reactor, not that I have room to do that without replacing my sump, or hanging a different reactor from the 2x4s below the DT.
     
    #12 infinityends, Jul 13, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  13. OP
    David Grigor

    David Grigor TCMAS Old Timer
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    Arrived today. It holds 1.5gallons of water. I hope its big enough. It might take two.

    Trying to source some chaeto to seed this with. I configure it and getting it up and running as soon as I can get some.
     
  14. acharpenter

    acharpenter Senior Member
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    Seriously - MAHY has to make an effort to find Cheato? LOL
     
  15. Riley

    Riley I contributed!
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    If ones not enough, I'd take Jonty up on his offer to borrow his ARID. Looking forward to your testing and results.
     
  16. infinityends

    infinityends Senior Member
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    Not sure how much you wanted to start with, but I picked up a wad from New Wave last night. If you can't get to a store I could split it in half and run some over.
     
  17. acharpenter

    acharpenter Senior Member
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    You know I bought an LT2 to set up on my tank once we move based on your experiences with your ATS. Now your going Cheato reactor?

    Im getting whipflash trying to keep up!

    By the time I get the tank set up at the new place I will likely have to make room for my skimmer, swabbie, skimmate locker, ATS and Cheato reactor!
     
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  18. infinityends

    infinityends Senior Member
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    David. What was your plan for feeding water to the reactor?

    You had said that the ATS will stay in place with one side of lights off to test the reactor as if it were half of the filtration.

    Will you be using a manifold from the drain feeding the ATS or running a secondary pump?

    Any goal for the gph through the reactor? I assume water flow is a limiting factor in how quickly the algae can grow. How much of an impact did the flow rate impact the ATS?


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  19. OP
    David Grigor

    David Grigor TCMAS Old Timer
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    I had a horrible week and weekend for work. Didn't get to fire it up yet.

    I'm going to start out with a MJ1200 ( 300gph before head loss ) and see what happens. Don't really want to buy another pump and that's all I have that will fit the tubing.

    Li has offerred up another media reactor that is not as large diameter but a bit taller so volume may be similiar. We have plans to pick it up in August. So I will likely run two of them in parallel. Thinking to try different type of algae in the second one for fun. Maybe flame algae if I can source it locally.
     
  20. infinityends

    infinityends Senior Member
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    I think the longest part of the setup was figuring out the spacing to wrap the LEDs around for even distribution. Took me 3 or 4 tries.

    I was pleasantly surprised that the whole setup took under an hour and that included getting a little creative with the plumbing


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