GFO Carbon reactor

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by frankinswine1, Jun 2, 2017.

  1. frankinswine1

    frankinswine1 Member

    I've been looking into adding a GFO/carbon reactor to my 65 gallon. I'm not real happy with my algae issues as of late. My current filtration is limited to a filter sock(which doesn't get changed often enough) and my skimmer. I am looking at the BRS two stage reactor, it seems to have a pretty solid reputation of being a good filter. I guess my question is, is this a needed part of a system , is it just a bandaid, or should I be focusing my time/money towards other things(better lighting). Also what substrates does everyone use, or does it really matter.
    If I go with the reactor I may loose the filter socks. Mine may get changed every 7-10 days. Some places are saying replace every 3 days. My socks aren't the easiest to get to for changes so I get lazy with them.
     
  2. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    I have an 85 gallon. I am running a gfo mainly because I had phosphate problems with my previous tank (mainly because I started with tap water and then found out we have a ton of phosphates!) and because it came with the setup. It's just a single unit and it's a Nextreef.

    It keeps my phosphates at about 0.02 when new and I replace once it rises. I replaced this time at 0.06 but I think I may wait longer next time.

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    I try to change my socks 3-7 days. I recently bought some mesh socks and they are much easier to deal with but may clog a bit faster. It seems I'm constantly adjusting my Skimmer. Either I'm doing something wrong or it's just a finicky one.

    Algae. I have some brown diatoms on a few newer rocks and the tank floor. I'm running bare bottom. I do get some on the glass too and usually run the magnet cleaner about once a week. I only clean the front and left side and leave the rest for the snails. I also put a rock from my other tank that had a lot of what may be turf algae on it. I have noticed it has not spread at all and may have even gotten smaller. It's not as puffy and flowy as it was and it has turned from its vivid green to sort of reddish brownish. I left it to see if any of the critters would eat it and also because it seems to be a good home for pods. I have a slight covering of some light green algae on the two rocks with the diatoms, but the snails have been munching on that. I think that is just because those rocks were newer and have to go through the motions too.

    IMG_1971.JPG

    I'm definitely no expert and learning every day and I'm not sure if this even helps you but it's what's happening in my glass box of ocean!
     
  3. huntindoc

    huntindoc RRMAS BOD Membership Director Staff Member

    The problem with the dual reactor is that GFO and GAC require different flow rates which you really can't create with that reactor. I run two separate BRS reactors. The other option is to put both of them in the same reactor. By packing the mixture like you would carbon there isn't any worry of the GFO grinding the carbon down. Many people do this.
     
  4. frankinswine1

    frankinswine1 Member

    Okay so I've looked at the amounts of carbon and GFO I would run starting out. I could get away with running both in the BRS single reactor. How do you account for the different exhaustion rates of the media? The GFO runs roughly 4 weeks or so, but the carbon is suggested to change out every two.
    I could just run the GFO in the reactor and just bag some carbon. Would I place the bagged carbon in the some area as my filter sock? Or could I put it in with my return pump section of the sump? Would bagged carbon work as well as reactor aggitated carbon? Boy this got out of hand quickly......
     
  5. huntindoc

    huntindoc RRMAS BOD Membership Director Staff Member

    That is one of the disadvantages of running them together. There are some threads that talk about the proper ratio to mix it at. Since the carbon is not critical most people just measure their PO4 and change the mix when they need to. The other way is to use less GFO than recommended and change the mix every two weeks as you would for GAC.
     
  6. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    Well from what I read, you don't want the carbon agitated. You pack it tightly so they don't rub against each other and just eventually turn to dust. But the gfo is best tumbled..
     
  7. frankinswine1

    frankinswine1 Member

    Well I just broke down and bought two single reactors, and the phosphorus hannah checker. Hopefully this will give me some flexibility to get my levels in check.
     
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  8. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    I have the ULR phosphorus checker and I like it. When I first used it on the small tank it read off the chart! :eek: It's very sensitive. Also, it doesn't say this in the directions but cut open your packet and have it ready to go before starting the sequence because it will shut off after 3 minutes and you mix the solution for 2. You have to work quickly. It comes with 2 vials but in an attempt to be as accurate as possible, I use the same vial for both tests (control and test). There is a BRS video that goes into more detail. Anyway, I find setting my phone for 3 minutes helps me to not let it time out while mixing!! Oh! It also doesn't beep or anything when the test is done and will also time out so make sure you set an alarm or watch it during the countdown so you don't miss it. I'm always multi tasking and have had to repeat the test because I missed it.

    Sorry that was so long! Lol:D
     
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  9. huntindoc

    huntindoc RRMAS BOD Membership Director Staff Member

    I set a timer on my watch for 3 minutes. Like Christi said, prepare the pouch before starting the test. Always use one vial for the whole test. When I add the powder after C2 comes up I hit the timer and put it in the checker at the 1:00 mark. Hold the button until it starts the 3 minute countdown. Then I reset my 3 minute timer and it reminds me to check my result when the count down is over (I usually run my alkalinity or calcium test while it's counting down)
     
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  10. frankinswine1

    frankinswine1 Member

    Thanks for the tip, I'd hate to waste a bunch of reagent due to a brain fart.
     
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  11. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    Well if it would just say all of that in the instructions it would be helpful! lol I love how accurate and sensitive it is (I feel it's at least consistent if it's not completely accurate) but there is definitely some room for improvement!! (I should write a review!)

    And you'll have to translate your results. You can look it up online. It's simple. Or if you have the apex just tell it what test and the reading and it will translate it for you!
     
  12. huntindoc

    huntindoc RRMAS BOD Membership Director Staff Member

    The calculation is your result in ppm x 3.066/1000 for instance 5x 3.066=15.33/1000=0.015
     
  13. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    Ppm or ppb? I think the ULR is ppb but that equation looks familiar.
     
  14. huntindoc

    huntindoc RRMAS BOD Membership Director Staff Member

    You are right, ppb not ppm.
     
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  15. frankinswine1

    frankinswine1 Member

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    So reactors came on Thursday, and here they are un-boxed and ready for install. One tip they ship with the semisolid tubing which is good, but can be hard to work with since they ship it bound so tightly. I found a little heat from my wife blow dryer made it a lot easier to work with.
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    So here they are tubed up and running. One big problem with this tank is the small amount of space I have in the cabinet. So I had to move my plugs to outside the cabinet to make room for the reactors. Not a huge deal but power cords in the cabinet was a cleaner look. I placed both pumps in my fuge section. The return from the GFO feeds into my filter sock, but the carbon just wouldn't handle the twisting with the rigid tubing so I just let it go into the return section.
    I was going to post a picture of my tumbling GFO to see if you all thought I had it too cranked up, but can't seem to get it to work.
    As far as the Hannah checker, it still took me three tries to get it right, and I'm not convinced I did. I just finished up running some phosban on Friday so my readings are probably low due to that. My reading was 5 after which seems way too low for all the crud I'm looking at in my tank. But that may be right after using the phosban. It will probably just take longer than I'd like to see all the bubble and other algae start to disappear.
    As for the BRS reactors I'd have to say set up was pretty easy, and the addition of two more pumps hasn't added any extra noise to my tank. Overall they seem to be a solid choice, but time will tell.
     
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  16. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    I think you want to shoot for a score of like 4-16 I think. For 0.02-0.05. I think! Lol :rolleyes:o_O

    Why run it back to your filter sock? Just curious. I have mine running from my Skimmer section to my fuge section. I had the pump in the fuge before and bits of chaeto kept getting stuck in it. I also had the output in the return pump section but decided to move it to the fuge section to help circulate a bit. That's also where my probes are so I don't want it too stagnant in the corner where they are.

    So what do you think you did wrong with the test? Maybe I can provide some pointers.
     
  17. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    Check out this video too!
    http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/video/view/brstv-investigates-phosphate-or-phosphorus-which-is-best/
    It gives some good info on testing accuracy but I don't like how they show pouring he packet in. I personally cut it around the dotted line after shaking and tapping it to the opposite corner. I then spread the pouch open and tap all of the powder out of the crevices and get it ready to pour out of the rounded cut edge. Just squeeze it a bit so it makes a nice curve. Then tap the sides good to make sure you got all of the powder in. If you cut it and get it ready before you start the test I find it takes about 30 seconds to remove the tube, add the powder and wipe off the container before I start rotating back and forth while holding it by the lid so I don't get more prints on it. This is why setting a 3 minute timer as soon as it's done with the control is so good. You have to shake for 2 of those minutes. I hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
  18. huntindoc

    huntindoc RRMAS BOD Membership Director Staff Member

    Bubble algae is tough one and one that's often not nutrient related. Manual removal while siphoning them out is a good way to go. If you just try to remove them manually and they rupture you're just spreading them. I just start a siphon with some small tubing and carefully dislodge them and siphon them up.
     
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  19. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    I've got a couple popping up on opposite ends of the tank and had some on the rock shelf too but removed it before putting in the DT. They are much harder than I was expecting. I don't think I broke any but they seemed pretty sturdy. I just rolled them gently.
     
  20. frankinswine1

    frankinswine1 Member

    I think part of the bubble algae problem is my conch. There was a frag with some on it on the sand bed, he comes bulldozing along and busted the larger bubbles(I think). In the past I would just pick off a ball here and there, but this has grown to almost every rock having some small bubbles, heck even the sandbed has them. I try to siphon but some are so small I'm afraid I'll pop them and make it worse.
    My snails on the other hand have full-on green fuzzy afros from the hair algae. There's some small spots on the rock nothing concerning, but dang those snail look crazy.
    I'll just keep trying and maybe one day I'll get ahead of it, or at least take it down to a reasonable level.

    As for why I put my returns in the, I have no idea. I don't think it matters where the return off the reactor goes. I just put it there beacuse there was an opening.
    With the test it's just trying to get all the powder out without spilling it all on the counter. They make little metal spatulas that would make it a lot easier, just need to find one.
     

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