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View Full Version : Mixed results on chaeto reactor


percula99
07/18/2017, 03:40 PM
I bought a large AquaMaxx phosban reactor to use as a chaeto reactor (see link below) and I am feeding it with a Mag 3.5 pump. I get lots of flow. I bought a Topled Light LED Plant Grow Rope Light (see link below) to light it.

I first tested this out on my 20 gallon QT for a month, mainly to QT the chaeto I got from a total stranger off Facebook. I fed the tank one cube a day and got thick bright green chaeto. I got readings of 0 for both phosphate and nitrate. Awesome, so I put it on the DT where the NO3 (20) and PO4 (0.08) have been rising slowly and steadily for a while.

I waited a week and harvested the chaeto and got readings of NO3 (20) and PO4 (0.16). Not what I expected. Maybe I need to wait longer before harvesting the chaeto. I went on vacation and waited a month and harvested again. I actually had very little growth on the chaeto but lots of detritus mixed in with it and lots of growth on the glass. I could not scrub it off so I had to soak the reactor in vinegar to clean it. The sponges in the reactor were clogged with detritus (but still getting lots of flow) so I removed them from the reactor. As for the readings...yikes...NO3 (64) and PO4 (0.24). Again, not what I expected.

I am getting completely the reverse results I hoped for and got on the QT. I know my DT is much larger than the QT and I have a heavily stocked tank. I am still running a phosban reactor and NoPoX so why did everything rise so much so quickly? I would love a conversation on this if anyone has any insights.


http://www.reefsupplies.ca/online-store/AquaMaxx-BioMaxx-BioPellet-Reactor-Large.html

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01MG4SJYN/ref=pe_3034960_233709270_TE_item

der_wille_zur_macht
07/18/2017, 05:59 PM
How big is the DT? What's it stocked with and fed with? Where in the system is the reactor? Does the water fed to it get any pre-cleaning before the reactor (filter sock, etc)?

Kinda hard to guess without some more info. Could be unrelated, could be something quirky with your install, etc.

percula99
07/18/2017, 07:29 PM
How big is the DT? - 180 gallons

What's it stocked with and fed with? - 19 fish from a 10 inch Naso and Emperor to 11 chromis getting four cubes a day and two sheets of nori

Where in the system is the reactor? - In the sump which has two filter socks

Does the water fed to it get any pre-cleaning before the reactor (filter sock, etc)? - It is with a phosban and a carbon reactor as well as the two filter socks and there is a Reef Octopus 220SSS skimmer in the next compartment.

ca1ore
07/19/2017, 01:20 PM
Probably too small.

percula99
07/19/2017, 01:36 PM
Probably too small.

I chose this reactor because it is recommended for use up to 450 gallons (light bioload), up to 225 gallons (heavy bioload) when used as a biopellet reactor and I have a relatively heavy bioload on a 180 so it should work with chaeto as the medium as well. Still, the NO3 and PO4 were rising slowly over the course of a year and since installing the chaeto reactor it has shy rocketed out of control in just five weeks. That is what I am trying to figure out.

I would also like to know what harvesting schedule people keep. How often do you clean out the reactor and what flow rate do you use.

Horace
07/20/2017, 12:58 PM
The rating of 450g was for its original intent, which has nothing to do with your cheato reactor. My guess as others have stated is that its not large enough, and is probably trapping more detritus and garbage in it due to lack of pre-filtering and actually causing a nitrate problem rather than solving it.

IMHO, i would not use cheato for nutrient reduction. Growing macro is somewhat of an outdated method compared to using an Algae Turf Scrubber. I would go the ATS route if it were me (and that IS what I am in the process of building for my 180g).

percula99
07/20/2017, 04:28 PM
I definitely agree that it is trapping more detritus. To that fact I siphoned lots of detritus out of the sump. It was building up over time as I have occasionally used mesh filter socks when I ran out of clean felt ones and they do not work as effectively. I tested again and the NO3 dropped from 60 to 40 (still too high) and the PO4 dropped from 0.24 to 0.16.

I did use a DIY ATS for about a year and a half, with a screen water fall flanked by two lights. I came home one day and could smell a burning smell in the house and it was splash from the screen getting on the light fixtures. I did not want to burn down my house so I started looking for an alternative. NoPoX worked great but I am looking for a natural method rather than a chemical one. NoPoX is also something you have to buy where as chaeto is free and the more you grow the more it cleans. I may reluctantly have to admit that the AquaMaxx is not big enough but I don't have the room for anything larger.

All that aside though, why did it work well on my QT yet produce no new chaeto growth in a month on the DT? Whether it is large enough to keep up with the nutrient export demands of my tank it should still have produced a chamber full of chaeto but did not. The reactor had absolutely no new growth after one month. That is the real question I need to answer. If it did grow a full chamber full of chaeto the test results most likely would have been different.

Horace
07/22/2017, 10:11 PM
Either something else is out competing it or the conditions to grow it are not right. Too little flow, too much or too little light. It's possible you are over saturating it as well. Try only 12hrs of light at night time

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

Horace
07/22/2017, 10:15 PM
Either something else is out competing it or the conditions to grow it are not right. Too little flow, too much or too little light. It's possible you are over saturating it as well. Try only 12hrs of light at night time

Sent from my Nexus 6 using TapatalkAs for the ATS... design it so the lights have a shield. Using light blockers near the top of the screen will prevent algae from getting into the pipe and causing spray. U can also us a floating or in sump hang on too that will remove that risk

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

mkj
08/24/2017, 03:05 PM
Both ATS and cheato reactor work fine. In fact many people are switching to cheato reactor from ATS. I've used both for many years and they both work. I currently use a reactor on my main tank because ATS sometimes have a low tide smell to them due to being exposed to air that I don't like in my living room. Guests tend to smell it more than the ones living in the house. My basement tank still has an ATS on it though. Thinking of changing just haven't gotten around to it yet.

I have a DIY rollermat before my reactor that takes the large detritus "I HATE SOCKS". I only change the role every 60 days instead of twice a week for socks.

It seems like the filtering before your reactor may be the first problem. Reactor size may also be a problem but if working correctly that would just mean you need to change it more regularly. Start by fixing your pre filtering to get the large detritus out of reactor. You've hinted that you feed a lot so the phosban probably is too small but that would be second step. Fix the pre filtering first, see what happens, then go from there.

metrontech
09/08/2017, 11:09 AM
Just like any plant, Chaeto needs a break to actually work.

I would suggest running opposite to your tank lights and slow down the feedings...

Why so much junk in the system? Seems to it is rotting and releasing N

ca1ore
09/08/2017, 12:09 PM
I chose this reactor because it is recommended for use up to 450 gallons (light bioload), up to 225 gallons (heavy bioload) when used as a biopellet reactor and I have a relatively heavy bioload on a 180 so it should work with chaeto as the medium as well.

Assuming the link above is correct, the internal capacity of the reactor is about 2/3 of a gallon. While that might be sufficient for biopellets (dunno, don't use them) it is highly unlikely to be sufficient for chaeto. As comparison, my chaeto refugium is 40 gallons, and I removed 5 gallons of the stuff every 2-3 weeks ..... and I run an ATS. 265 heavily stocked.

percula99
09/09/2017, 01:09 PM
Thanks for the replies guys. Just to let you know I have given up on the chaeto reactor, at least for now. It was a huge success on my QT but the DT is a totally different beast. When time permits I will try to feed the reactor from a different location to hopefully keep the detritus out of it. I agree the chamber is probably too small to rally be effective on a heavily stocked 180.