DIY algae reactor

BAMatter

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I have a 3” diameter carbon/GFO reactor I want to turn into an algae reactor. I’ve seen LED strips wrapped around plastic or acrylic reactors, and am worried about damaging or cracking the reactor if the LED’s run too hot. Is this a legit concern or have people had luck doing this? Would like to hear from people who have done this and how long their setups have been running for… this is the reactor I have, and this is what I’m thinking about doing. Thanks !!

51B2511D-9078-431A-8B85-1AEEFF7E9598.jpeg F1F6F27F-E89B-4000-BFB3-6969C4207330.jpeg
 
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BAMatter

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What size tank is it for and do you have a sump?
Still in the planning stages, but this is for a 35 gallon build with minimal sump space underneath. Tank is a 20”x20” cube and I’ll only have space for a 15”x15” cube sump under the stand. Will be running a Reef Octo 110S to do the heavy lifting, and will rely on the chaeto reactor to fine tune.
 
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I have a 3” diameter carbon/GFO reactor I want to turn into an algae reactor. I’ve seen LED strips wrapped around plastic or acrylic reactors, and am worried about damaging or cracking the reactor if the LED’s run too hot. Is this a legit concern or have people had luck doing this? Would like to hear from people who have done this and how long their setups have been running for… this is the reactor I have, and this is what I’m thinking about doing. Thanks !!

51B2511D-9078-431A-8B85-1AEEFF7E9598.jpeg F1F6F27F-E89B-4000-BFB3-6969C4207330.jpeg
Never mind I skimmed your build thread. Assuming its for the same 75 gallon setup... I did a lot of research and went through several iterations of trying to grow chaeto. It's so picky and it doesn't do anything for phosphate. If you enjoy DIY i would highly recommend a turf scrubber. There are some calculations if you want to be successful with it but it can be tuned to remove the amount of nutrients that you want, whereas using chaeto especially in a reactor with fixed volume is kind of a get-what-you-get system in my opinion. I could be wrong though as obviously i went a different route and didn't do the reactor. But i can say from lots of mistakes and learning the hard way, that with a custom turf scrubber you can tune it to maintain the nutrients at very stable levels. Screen size and flow are essential and there are resources to help you calculate, and once that is close enough to correct for your nutrient load then you can fine tune with photoperiod. I went through a long period of neglect and got a big hair algae outbreak, stripped nutrients etc. from not having the scrubber tuned correctly... So it's something you have to pay attention to but frankly, so is a reef tank. The algae scrubber is a massive producer of copepods too, i was VERY surprised. seems counterintuitive with the amount of flow and surface area as compared to chaeto. I think hair algae has a better chance of outcompeting undesirables because it's so aggressive, and it takes advantage of more light and more flow than you can get in your display, in order to grow very aggressively and bind up nutrients. Just something to consider.
 
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Never mind I skimmed your build thread. Assuming its for the same 75 gallon setup... I did a lot of research and went through several iterations of trying to grow chaeto. It's so picky and it doesn't do anything for phosphate. If you enjoy DIY i would highly recommend a turf scrubber. There are some calculations if you want to be successful with it but it can be tuned to remove the amount of nutrients that you want, whereas using chaeto especially in a reactor with fixed volume is kind of a get-what-you-get system in my opinion. I could be wrong though as obviously i went a different route and didn't do the reactor. But i can say from lots of mistakes and learning the hard way, that with a custom turf scrubber you can tune it to maintain the nutrients at very stable levels. Screen size and flow are essential and there are resources to help you calculate, and once that is close enough to correct for your nutrient load then you can fine tune with photoperiod. I went through a long period of neglect and got a big hair algae outbreak, stripped nutrients etc. from not having the scrubber tuned correctly... So it's something you have to pay attention to but frankly, so is a reef tank. The algae scrubber is a massive producer of copepods too, i was VERY surprised. seems counterintuitive with the amount of flow and surface area as compared to chaeto. I think hair algae has a better chance of outcompeting undesirables because it's so aggressive, and it takes advantage of more light and more flow than you can get in your display, in order to grow very aggressively and bind up nutrients. Just something to consider.
Yea I appreciate the feedback, but I’m sticking with this style reactor since I already have it, just wanted to find out if the LED’s will destroy the plastic or not.

The tank this one is replacing is a Biocube32 with a fuge in the back that pumps chaeto out and keeps NO3 and PO4 in check, no skimmer, and the 75 gallon is really doing some work… that said, it’s a method I’m comfortable with, and would like to use it again on this build.
 
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Still in the planning stages, but this is for a 35 gallon build with minimal sump space underneath. Tank is a 20”x20” cube and I’ll only have space for a 15”x15” cube sump under the stand. Will be running a Reef Octo 110S to do the heavy lifting, and will rely on the chaeto reactor to fine tune.
In that case you may prefer the reactor. If you have room under the stand for a sump you could likely make a scrubber as well. However to directly answer your question i'm pretty sure the water moving through the reactor would be enough to keep the plastic from getting hot enough to cause damage. The acrylic may however eventually become opaque where the lights are depending on if there's UV in the led spectrum.
 
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I am using a two little fishies gfo reactor for my build. I had the same thought run across in my mind, but I dismissed it pretty quickly since there seem to be quite a few builds out there
Did you already put the LED’s around it and have it run?
 
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BAMatter

BAMatter

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I would rate my DIY skills as “poor,” but I was able to fiddle this thing together and it worked; water-flow came off a valved-manifold from the pump’s return line.
I will have literally 4” of space from in front of my sump to the doors. It’s not that I don’t want to do a scrubber or can’t, I just don’t have the room to fit one. Looks good though!
 
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Here's my build
PXL_20220320_053220618.jpg

PXL_20220320_053241758.jpg


Going to water test tomorrow. the leds don't seem to get too warm
I've made one of these but tbh I dont think its working that great, I have cheato in it and get the growth but still seems like I need to change it up some more. Im thinking of adding mesh to make it like a algaescrubber but the problem is that the hoses get clogged pretty fast so you have to keep up on maintaining with anything with hoses . Hmm. Maybe ill try to make a hob algaescrubber instead.
 
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I've made one of these but tbh I dont think its working that great, I have cheato in it and get the growth but still seems like I need to change it up some more. Im thinking of adding mesh to make it like a algaescrubber but the problem is that the hoses get clogged pretty fast so you have to keep up on maintaining with anything with hoses . Hmm. Maybe ill try to make a hob algaescrubber instead.
I have a hob refugium on my other tank that works pretty well. It grew chaeto like crazy until I stopped regularly removing it. Now it just grows hair algae, but still works to remove nutrients. Wanted to try something different with this build, hopefully it works out
 

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How is this reactor working for you? I'm thinking of doing something similar with a reactor I've got hanging around.
 
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BAMatter

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How is this reactor working for you? I'm thinking of doing something similar with a reactor I've got hanging around.
I personally haven’t set it up yet, I went a different way with that tank. My larger tank I am going to be buying a Bashsea 6-12 reactor and will be fastening a Tunze Fuge LED to the side and making a submersible reactor. I don’t have room externally for the reactor and needed a waterproof light solution… the reactor size may be a touch overkill but I’m pulling my fuge offline.
 

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