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two little fishies reactors


scubasteve92

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Was just wanting some different opinions on whether I should set up 2x two little fishies reactors plumbed together for my 20g, first reactor with GFO and the second with carbon.

I dont have a sump and i am currently just running my HOB protein skimmer.

Any thoughts or comments?

Plan is to get a maxi-jet 600 and plumb the first reactor with the ball valve to control flow and then plumb directly to the second and then back to the tank.

And has anyone used bioplastics?

Thanks

Joshua

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I used bio pellets in mine. They did good with a maxi 1200. I had gfo and carbon each separate in one with each a maxi 600 and had it all the way up. You may need a stronger pump to run them together.

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+1 on what Juiceman said, Maxijet 1200 works well for me with two reactors daisy-chained. It'll give you more power that you can easily throttle down, versus not enough power with the Maxijet 600 and no ability to throttle up.

Just FYI, I run my carbon in a bag in my sump off to the side. I've read a couple of articles that convinced me of the passive absorption capabilities of carbon so I just leave it in a bag off to the side in indirect flow. Also, I remember reading an interesting article about a possible link between lateral line erosion in fishes and carbon dust. Just another reason I run mine on the side as the reactors tend to generate a lot of dust due to the mechanical tumbling and the constant colliding of carbon granules.

A quick google search should generate the articles if you were interested in reading them. As always, don't take my word on it. Just something I've read in the past and convinced myself it made since and was worth doing.

-Ty

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I've been running a TLF 550 (the bigger one) reactor with GFO and GAC in it for a few weeks now. For the first couple of weeks, I just had PhosBan GFO. Now I'm running ROWA phos and GAC. All with just a little MJ-400. That's only one reactor, but it's big and packed now. I had to throttle down on the ball valve a lot with just the PhosBan, and I have to throttle down just a little bit with the GFO and GAC. I think a bigger pump is smart, and you should be ok.

Is there anything bad about running GFO and GAC in the same reactor?

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Not that I heard of George. I think its fine.

If you had to be picky, you could separate the two as I'd imagine they would saturate at different rates, albeit very close rates, but that's just me being weird.

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I run GFO in a next reef reactor, and GAC in a TLF reactor. I fill the TLF reactor all the way up to prevent carbon tumbling as I dont like the dust particles that it puts off when it tumbles. GFO just about full since it weighs motor and tumbles well with very little upper water gap. Would run the GFO in the first reactor and then to the GAC that way any carbon dust doesn't get into your GFO media. I dont daisy chain mine, they are run off of separate ball valves from my gen x pump that also feeds the DT.

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I've been running a TLF 550 (the bigger one) reactor with GFO and GAC in it for a few weeks now. For the first couple of weeks, I just had PhosBan GFO. Now I'm running ROWA phos and GAC. All with just a little MJ-400. That's only one reactor, but it's big and packed now. I had to throttle down on the ball valve a lot with just the PhosBan, and I have to throttle down just a little bit with the GFO and GAC. I think a bigger pump is smart, and you should be ok.

Is there anything bad about running GFO and GAC in the same reactor?

It's generally not so good to run GAC and GFO together as doing so is very inefficient. The GAC should not have so much flow that it tumbles, that creates a ton of dust and the hi gher flow greatly reduces the contact time. GAC is also pretty much extinguished in days/hours where the GFO can last a couple of month's so you want the ability to change these out seperately. Standard practice is to have the GFO lightly tumble and then feed into GAC so that any fines created will be captured by the GAC and not irritate coral's. Since this relates to phosphates in the tank, Randy Holmes-Farley just released a very good updated write-up on this a few months back. http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2012/3/chemistry

Cheers,

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It's generally not so good to run GAC and GFO together as doing so is very inefficient. The GAC should not have so much flow that it tumbles, that creates a ton of dust and the hi gher flow greatly reduces the contact time. GAC is also pretty much extinguished in days/hours where the GFO can last a couple of month's so you want the ability to change these out seperately. Standard practice is to have the GFO lightly tumble and then feed into GAC so that any fines created will be captured by the GAC and not irritate coral's.

Cheers,

That makes sense, thank you (and Ty and Derrick). I've noticed a lot of carbon dust in my mechanical filter (downstream of the reactor), and that would explain it. I need to by a 2nd reactor and a bigger/second pump.

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Sweet! Good to know im not the only one that will be doing it!

Thanks for all the replies!

So GFO&GAC vs. Bioplastics? Im looking for something to maintain phosphates and nitrates.. would either work?

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If you run the biopellets, I would still run the GFO. In my experience, the biopellets will remove almost all the nitrates in your system and some phosphates, but leave enough phosphates for cyano to grow and be a problem. It's an imbalance that can be negated by removing as much phosphates as you can as well, with the addition of the GFO.

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Been doing some more looking around for stuff on biopellets. So I am thinking of running just pellets for a little while and then adding GFO, since my phosphates are very low already.

I will be using the reactor in HOB mode, can I have it just go right back into the tank? Again i do not have a sump...

I read some online that it needs to go into the skimmer or really close to it. Is that true? or would it be ok to just let it return to the tank?

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Hate to break it to you Scubasteve but a skimmer is a requirement for biopellets, not an optional hardware to use. The whole premise behind biopellets is a carbon food source for bacteria to grow and use nitrates and phosphates, then they are sluffed off the biopellets by process of the tumbling action and IMO, should go directly into the skimmer... not optionally near the skimmer.

Either way, a skimmer is required. Otherwise, you're just going to turn your tank into a bacteria farm and more than likely kill everything in it.

Just a heads up if you do decide to get a skimmer and use biopellets, my phosphate was measured at 0.015 ppm with my super low Hanna checker (detection down to ppb) and I still had cyano at that phosphate level. Before I got the hanna checker, I thought my phosphate was low because it wasn't showing any color on the color scale and then the first time I tested with the Hanna checker, it read 0.90 ppm! The checker gives you a whole new definition of low phosphate IMO. I'm reading at 0.010 ppm consistently now and my cyano is slowly starting to go away, that is with GFO running in my system constantly now.

I think you're fine with GFO and carbon, especially for a nano tank. That's what I would do at least if I still had my nanocube. Just my 2 cents.

-Ty

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I have a protein skimmer. I just cant really run the biopellets directly to it. Thanks for the heads up! Im also thinking that the gfo and gac is a better option for me.

Thanks for the info Ty!

So as far plumbing to my tank, i will have it as HOB, can i just have them daisy chained. gfo then gac and have the hose going back to the tank?

Josh

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My bad scubasteve, didn't realize you had a skimmer. bye.gif Somehow I got the impression you didn't.

I don't see a problem with your proposed setup. My only concern would be trying to hit that perfect balance of just enough tumble for the GFO and too much for the GAC. I'm sure others will chime in with their opinions but for me, I would think it hard to dial both in as they use the same feed. You can't really throttle one up or down without affecting the downstream reactor's flow.

Is there no way you can have the hose run directly into your skimmer so you can use biopellets?

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My bad scubasteve, didn't realize you had a skimmer. bye.gif Somehow I got the impression you didn't.

No worries bro! Thanks for the input, it is very appreciated! grin.png

The issue is I wouldnt know how to have it go directly into my protein skimmer. I have a reef octopus bh1000 HOB skimmer.

http://www.aquacave.com/Reef-Octopus-BH-1000-Hang-on-Back-Protein-Skimmer-by-CoralVue-P2275C634.aspx

I could put the hose down in the overflow box... ?

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No problem, happy to share my experiences. The reefing community was good to me when I was setting up my tank.

If that was my setup, that's exactly what I would do Steve. Try to work it however you can to get it to pull as much of the biopellet effluent into the skimmer as possible. Just a heads up, IME, I think biopellet manufacturers grossly overestimate the amount of biopellets needed for a system. I found balance at 1/3 of the recommended amount. Prior to that, I was getting faded colors in my SPS, even with tons of feeding.

Also, the stock TLF 150 reactor is not the most ideal reactor for biopellets. It tends to tumble really well for the first 2-3 months, but when the pellets start getting sticky due to the bacteria build-up, the biopellets don't tumble as well anymore and you start to get build-up in your reactor. The idea behind the biopellets is to have them tumble a bit to slough off the bacteria into the skimmer. When mine started sticking at about 2-3 months and not tumbling, you could see the bacterial slime in the reactor. That's when I started getting cyano.

I actually modified my TLF 150 reactor (I do enjoy saving money and the DIY'er experience). I was going to post a "how to" in a couple of months after I confirm that it still works as well when the pellets start getting sticky but if/when you get to that point, just PM me and I'll let you know what I did. It cost me a whole $2.99 and some extra tubing I had laying around.

-Ty

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I didn't have my pellets plumbed into skimmer when I was originally using the tlf. I had trouble with bacteria blooms. once I plumbed it straight in, there was much more skimate. Definitely be careful how much pellets you use. At least cut the amount suggested by half. Possibly by a 1/3 like Ty said since ur not plumbing into the skimmer. Also don't be afraid to feed your coral once the pellets start kicking in!

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Ok, sounds good! Was there a point where you noticed that you needed to feed your coral? I used to target feed all my LPS 2-3 times a week, but lately I have had issues with my nitrates. So my feeding has been cut way down until I get a handle on them.

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When the pellets start kicking in, mine started in about a week or two, you'll notice better coloration and less algae on the glass with the removed nutrients. Are you doing any bacteria dosing. If you dose microbacter 7 or any zeobak It will speed up the process of colonization of you bacteria.

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No, im not. I havent got the reactor yet. Probably wont be able to get it for a month or so...... I was hit by a woman the other day in a brookshires parking lot and i am currently fighting that right now..

I have something along those lines that i had to dose a few weeks ago when i killed all the bacteria in my tank.. I will get the name of it when i get off later this afternoon.

This may be a very stupid question but do you ever have to changed the media out?

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Josh, you just add more media as it gets used up. But at least for me, that's been a very slow process as it takes awhile for my biopellets to get used up. I've basically only added one scoop (1/2 cup) in the year that I have run them. Again, I don't run very much pellets though. Others may differ.

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