Were you Googling, “How To make Your own DIY algae Reactor”? Well, you pertained to the right location if you room seeking a step-by-step overview on how to do simply that. Now, if you’re prefer me, climate you love the reef tank hobby, but aren’t persuaded that the people setup those “market competitive” prices on tank devices are every that best in the head. There are many materials we reefers need that don’t even have any kind of electronic or relocating parts, however somehow they cost an arm and also a leg. Take a look at sumps for example…what renders a box with some plastic dividers, cheap rubber and also a logo worth $450? The price that this glorified Tupperware the someone drilled a few holes must have a decimal the end of place. No thanks…


So, the leads me to the object of today’s short article – the sub-$120 DIY algae Reactor! You deserve to Do-It-Yourself, and while the steps below look long and somewhat tedious, they are not difficult. In short, needed a method to alleviate my nitrates as well as increase my Copepods population and add a organic filter to my system. Since I have a timeless thin-glass aquarium (no drilled holes), i wasn’t fond of the idea of do the efforts to include a sump to mine system, because I the meant having actually to drainpipe the tank, drill feet in the glass (only a 1/4 inch thick, mind you), hook everything ago up and hope that the glass wouldn’t crack (likely while ns am in ~ work, and my wife would obtain stuck clean up the overwhelming – and also me? never to be checked out or heard of again!). Hmm…also going to take a tough pass ~ above this option as well. However, i still had actually a difficulty I required to settle – HIGH NITRATES!

For a while, my tank had actually been running on median at 15ppm for Nitrates. This is not egregious, however still not an excellent long-term for fish health; much less invertebrates as soon as I start adding those. Ns knew I necessary a solution, yet one that didn’t rest the bank.

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I was talking to
bkurtz about this issue, and he mentioned he acquired the Tunze birds Reactor, which seems to be the go-to for reef hobbyist feather to add one to your system. Brian love it, and I wanted the same outcomes he to be reporting, lower nitrates and also a copepod bloom (*salivating*), but I might not expropriate the $340+tax price tag. Ns studied it because that a couple of hours, and also watched part YouTube videos, and it looked like a basic enough maker such that I can construct on my own…that planted the seed because that this post, therefore let’s dive right into the journey! I’ll go over the itemized parts list and prices, also as provide links come the resource where I acquired them; then we’ll talk about how to actually gain it hooked up and working. Every in all, the parts expense me under $95, and if you incorporate the starter algae then that’s another $20. This build and also implementation takes about 3 hours from build-start to having actually your DIY algae Reactor up and running!

Materials List:

Measuring tape and water-change bucket (you likely already have these)Total price = $115 USD (prices as of January 2020)

Build Procedure/Steps: (click photos to enlarge)

Assemble the Somatic UF-1 Reactor (this is an extremely self explanatory if you just look in ~ the images below; all parts and also connectors you require come in the Reactor box). Note: do NOT usage the red one sponges the come v the Reactor. They will decrease the efficiency of her DIY algae Reactor, so leaving them out.Cut 2 lengths of tubing (same size for both) come fit your needs: the size of every tubing should be the elevation from floor to top of your tank + the elevation of just the tank itself. Because that me this became 70 inches per tube.Attach both segment of tubing come the Reactor outlets (red connectors)Connect the pipe coming native the center Reactor outlet elbow, to the Pump (this is the hose that will certainly pull water the end of the tank and force it into the Reactor)Connect the tube coming from the offset/side Reactor outlet elbow, come nothing (this must be left open-ended as this is the return hose that will push water ago into the tank). Note: The encourage tubing’s id (inner-diameter) of 1/2″ is slightly smaller sized than the connectors – i did this INTENTIONALLY. It will certainly take some elbow grease and determination to obtain them attached to the Reactor’s red-colored connectors; but once done, this will certainly ensure a watertight seal there is no the require for extr clamps, rubber gaskets or messy epoxy.Move the linked tubing and pump out of the way, then starting with either finish (both the mine were wired, so it didn’t matter), pave the LED irradiate strip approximately the exterior of the reactor in a spiral fashion, through the rubbery LED side facing INWARD (the strip will move about a bit since it is no secured, the is ok ideal now). Note: Theoretically, a tighter coil will bombard the birds with more light, and thus reason faster growth; however, I favor a looser coil together there’s just ‘so much’ light the the target chaeto have the right to absorb in the offered space.When you have actually the coil in place, placed a tiny piece of tape in ~ each finish to temporarily host down the strip, and also remove the self-stick adhesive protection paper.Cut the finish that has actually excess, if you have any kind of (I did). Be certain to cut where indicated, halfway through the periodic metal leads.Rotate your Reactor slowly, and examine your LED strip’s slope together it spirals around the Reactor. Usage your finger and also thumb to scoot/nudge locations of the spiral into place to resolve spacing issues, or relocate slack come one end or the other as essential to be certain the light will certainly have also distribution throughout the height of the Reactor chamber.Once you space satisfied through the LED piece pathway, usage the clear Gorilla tape come secure the LED piece to the exterior plastic wall surface of the Reactor, maintaining the LED strip focused in the broad of the Gorilla tape together your wind the tape from one finish to the other. When the tape is in place, you should flatten it under to be certain it’s secured well. Note: using the tape can be tricky uneven you have four hands, so ns recommend another person assist you host the Reactor and also rotate that slowly, if you apply the tape in an also spiral, centering on the LED strip pathway and also matching that slope together you go.Strip the red and also black wires at least a half-inch (if needed) and connect then to the environment-friendly power adapter. Note: Be sure to test the LED strip here to make certain it lights up, prior to going any kind of further. (I guess we should have tested it before we did all this work, but I guess ns trusted it would certainly be fine). When this turns on, you’ll feeling an impressive sense of accomplishment (at least I did, making the past hour or two or job-related all worth it).Ensure the white LED piece wiring sheath is spanning the finish of the strip properly, climate wrap the whole wiring assembly (from finish of her LED strip, all the means to end of the power adapter) utilizing black Gorilla tape (you can reduced smaller/slimmer pieces below if that makes it easier/prettier)Wrap the an initial 12-18 customs of tubing associated to the peak Reactor outlets (both hoses), with black Gorilla tape. Note: The purpose of this action is come blackout the tubing the is in close proximity to the Reactor’s LED light strip, so that birds doesn’t grow inside the pathway, clogging her setup.

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This COMPLETES the build process for your new algae reactor!
Pictured above: The completed DIY algae Reactor

Tank Integration & Implementation Steps:

Move the perfect DIY birds Reactor to your tank area and using a clean cup, manually transfer some tank water into your reactor till it is about fifty percent full.Place the Clean Chaeto (starter algae) into your reactor, and seal the lid. Ar the submersible pump, through the hose to run from the pump come the center Reactor outlet/elbow into your tank directly, or into your sump somewhere the end of the method (e.g. In a back corner)Place the other tubing (return hose) down right into the tank and also arrange it on the bottom, such that it will certainly not pressure it’s method out (e.g. Ns lodged mine under a little of my aquascaping/rocks so that is weight down)Turn ~ above the pump, and also observe it because that 5-10 minutes. As you watch it, check each connector at the pump, and on peak of the Reactor outlets/elbows. You may need to do some young wiggle tests to ensure things are tight. Include the Gorilla tape if essential on any type of of the hosing close to the reactor. If you have leaks, then something is wrong, or not totally secured. Note: If needed, usage the clamps the came v the Somatic UF-1 Reactor kit to save the rubber elbows and also red pipe adapters secured together. See listed below for mine initial setup where I inserted my Reactor in a 5-gallon bucket v a bath towel in the bottom therefore I might easily observe any leaks that occurred (none walk after initial setup and hasn’t because that the main it has been running, so i am fortunate).