Do Algae Reactors Work, And Worth It?

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Forsaken77

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I'm in the process of picking up all new equipment for a 180. I have a Trigger Systems 39 sump, but don't want loose chaeto if I use any at all. I was looking on BRS at their bigger Skimz Algae Reactor, which has a quartz sleeve placed off center to one side and it's an upflow, but the water exits through the bottom internally, almost like the inner workings of a regular reactor switched around. The problem is it's $329!!! Seems a bit much, but it also has tinted plastic.

Then there's the cheaper Marine Depot one which is an AquaMaxx reactor that you wrap LED's around with zip ties.

Does anyone have any experience with either of these? I'm not interested in a turf scrubber because it's more weekly maintenance. The Skimz is 8 x 8 x 20 inches tall. The Aquamaxx is much smaller.

The reviews seem positive except for an o-ring on the Skimz model that's a problem.

Just wanted to see if anyone is using these and how good they work.
 

scriptmonkey

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I'm in the process of picking up all new equipment for a 180. I have a Trigger Systems 39 sump, but don't want loose chaeto if I use any at all. I was looking on BRS at their bigger Skimz Algae Reactor, which has a quartz sleeve placed off center to one side and it's an upflow, but the water exits through the bottom internally, almost like the inner workings of a regular reactor switched around. The problem is it's $329!!! Seems a bit much, but it also has tinted plastic.

Then there's the cheaper Marine Depot one which is an AquaMaxx reactor that you wrap LED's around with zip ties.

Does anyone have any experience with either of these? I'm not interested in a turf scrubber because it's more weekly maintenance. The Skimz is 8 x 8 x 20 inches tall. The Aquamaxx is much smaller.

The reviews seem positive except for an o-ring on the Skimz model that's a problem.

Just wanted to see if anyone is using these and how good they work.

I just stood my smaller skimz one up Saturday with a ball of chaeto the size of a tennis ball. The O-ring is a PITA. Also, the DC power adapter for the light I unplugged and one the prongs pulled out the housing. Didn't fully break the connection but still disconcerting. I have an email into Skimz support to see what they say.
20170610_170914.jpg

I will run a nitrate test this evening after work and will report back if it has changed.
 

andrew james

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Here is the algae reactor I made out of an aquamax I wrapped a red and blue Led strip around the outside of the reactor then covered that with black Vinyl. It's pretty small so it fills up quick, I put in around 1 inch of chaeto at the bottom and it will be completely full in a week. I turn it on whenever my tank lights are off so about 14 hours a night.

This reactor is enough to give my 120 gallon system stable no3 and po4. I no longer need to dose carbon or run GFO. Obviously mileage may vary.

Inside

One week's growth
 
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A13X

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I just stood my smaller skimz one up Saturday with a ball of chaeto the size of a tennis ball. The O-ring is a PITA.

Any chance you could post pictures of this O-ring? And what makes it such PITA...
I'm so interested in this reactor, and kinda want to see what I would be getting my self into.
Thanks
 

lion king

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If you do a search you'll find most of us running them are very happy. I have on 2 tanks like the one from marine depot, one with a cheaper light from amazon; I had the aquamaxx reactors laying around(bad biopellet experience). Even using the aquamaxx reactor which is a nice reactor you can build the large one for 1/2 that price; pump included. It's hard to judge but my reactors seem to be even more efficient than a refugium I run on another tank.

I find maintenance to be ok, The one I have connected to an AIO below in a cabinet I have valves connected on both lines. I turn the pump off, the valves off, disconnect the top and remove the reactor to harvest and clean. Once a month. The larger one is even with the pump in the sump, I just turn off the pump and disconnect the top.
 
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scriptmonkey

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Any chance you could post pictures of this O-ring? And what makes it such PITA...
I'm so interested in this reactor, and kinda want to see what I would be getting my self into.
Thanks

I will try to take it apart and take pics tonight when I get home. For me it is not a show stopper, just needed to be aware when you are putting the top back on that you need to hold the ring down and then maneuver the lid on before it pops off the little lip.
 

hart24601

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I feel these reactors are the future of algae based export for reef tanks. Having that contained efficient light distribution coupled with the ability to use vertical space that we generally have more abundance of seems like a big win.
 
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Forsaken77

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Here is the algae reactor I made out of an aquamax I wrapped a red and blue Led strip around the outside of the reactor then covered that with black Vinyl. It's pretty small so it fills up quick, I put in around 1 inch of chaeto at the bottom and it will be completely full in a week. I turn it on whenever my tank lights are off so about 14 hours a night.

This reactor is enough to give my 120 gallon system stable no3 and po4. I no longer need to dose carbon or run GFO. Obviously mileage may vary.

Inside

One week's growth

Where did you get the LED's? Are they waterproof? I like the vinyl to stop light bleed. Does that keep the LED's from getting wet?

Was this a biopellet reactor or gfo? I just want to make sure there's a screen or foam at the top to keep the little bits of Chaeto INSIDE the reactor. Also what pump are you using?
 

andrew james

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I got the leds off amazon they say they are waterproof but the black vinyl protects them in case they aren't. The black vinyl completely stops the light. The vinyl is 3m the kind you'd use to wrap a car. I applied it over the leds then used a heat gun to shrink it around them. I had to make a small hole to make sure the light was on. I'm running it in a gfo reactor and it is run off my return manifold.
 
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Forsaken77

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Obviously a fuge has many jobs beside growing chaeto. But if nutrient control is your goal. In my system my refugium never produced chaeto at this rate and the light bleed from it cause bad algae growth in other areas of my sump.

Nutrient control is the goal, absolutely. I had half of my current sump spaced off for Chaeto, not the Trigger sump, and the light would grow diatoms all over the sump even though the submersible light fixture was facing downwards from up, out of the water.

I had a small powerhead to roll the Chaeto around and whenever I trimmed it, I had small pieces all over, including getting sucked through the return pump.

That's why I'm interested in these reactors, to contain the Chaeto and give it good water flow with intense light without worrying about growing algae in the rest of the sump.
 
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Forsaken77

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I got the leds off amazon they say they are waterproof but the black vinyl protects them in case they aren't. The black vinyl completely stops the light. The vinyl is 3m the kind you'd use to wrap a car. I applied it over the leds then used a heat gun to shrink it around them. I had to make a small hole to make sure the light was on. I'm running it in a gfo reactor and it is run off my return manifold.

I have a car vinyl wrapping place right up the street. They'll wrap anything in any color vinyl. That would probably be cheaper for me because I don't have a heat gun and a reactor is so small.
 

sheldonjjessup

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Where did you get the LED's? Are they waterproof? I like the vinyl to stop light bleed. Does that keep the LED's from getting wet?

Was this a biopellet reactor or gfo? I just want to make sure there's a screen or foam at the top to keep the little bits of Chaeto INSIDE the reactor. Also what pump are you using?
Can u let me know what canal u used? Pls
 
Fritz

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Following. Seen a few DIY worth checking out. I think a local guy at Vaquatics is making one for production.
I run chaeto in my sump and really like this concept to save space and prevent the floaters when I mess with it.

I'm a firm believer in algae for nutrient export. The data is there.
Brs just did a pretty good experiment on no3 removal via chaeto.
 
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Forsaken77

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