Chaeto Reactor - food for thought

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by saintsreturn, Jul 19, 2018.

  1. saintsreturn

    saintsreturn Well-Known Member

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    Good Day All,

    I bought the components to build a chaeto reactor as i do not have a refugium in my sump, nor do i want one. I finally built the thing and decided to do some tests (apparently i am avoiding other house tasks, HA!) which i wanted to share with the group.

    I was talking to a friend about finally getting this up and he informed me of some growing concerns with these setups getting to hot and eventually cracking the housing. Obviously this is not what we want when trying to make changes to our system. I did a bunch of research and found folks saying they work great, they broke, they didnt achieve their desired results, etc.

    I am going to skip the debate on their value and just focus on the water temps, as i have not found this information readily available. The tests with be with RODI water only, with an understanding that salt mix or larger water volumes could change the results. Unfortunately, i cannot test every application; so I figured this information may be useful to others as a starting point in their decision process.

    Test will include:
    1) taped and sealed system without water flow
    2) taped and sealed with water flow
    3) lights put into a housing with the reactor centered and no light contact

    I may test:
    1) enclosed in a housing with a fan
    2) on my system full time

    external links for materials:

    Reactor:
    https://www.marinedepot.com/AquaMax...ate_Reactors-AquaMaxx-UJ5311-FIFRISPR-vi.html

    Lights:
    https://www.marinedepot.com/Accel_A...riums-Accel_Aquatics-6H94602-FILTFILD-vi.html

    Temp reader (TDS)
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079DN9DRS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Pump and hoses are misc laying around.
     
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  2. saintsreturn

    saintsreturn Well-Known Member

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    Test 1:

    I took the reactor and wrapped the lights tight around the housing. I then took electrical tape and wrapped the lights to reduce 99% of light creep. I left a couple small peek holes on the top so i could look at it if i wanted to.

    Then i filled the system with water and took the water temp. here are the results

    1) Starting temp 76.8 degrees
    2) 30 minutes: 79 degrees
    3) 60 minutes: 82 degrees
    4) 90 minutes: 88.7

    Test ended.

    These results are what kicked off the research and the desire to run further tests.

    More to follow.
     

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  3. saintsreturn

    saintsreturn Well-Known Member

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    Well i finally finished my cooling attempts for my water change and got this one done.

    Test 2:

    Room temp was 74

    1) Starting temp: 81.5 degrees
    2) 30 minutes: 82 degrees
    3) 60 minutes: 82.7 degrees
    4) 90 minutes: 78.8 degrees

    So water temp started to rise, it was already high due to the water in the pipes. It is hot here! Over 100 with weekends looking to be around 105-109.

    I was shocked when I did the last check, and even checked it twice to make sure i wasnt crazy. There is no data yet on the outside of the chamber's temperature, but i was able to hold the body with feeling a little heat, unlike test 1 that got almost to hot to hold.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
  4. saintsreturn

    saintsreturn Well-Known Member

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  5. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    What is the air temp of the room your doing the test in? In other words, how much heat could be coming from that?

    While I'm not a big fan of chaeto reactors, at least we'll get to see how much heat such LED strips can add to the water.
     
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  6. saintsreturn

    saintsreturn Well-Known Member

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    I was in my main room at 74 degrees (via thermostat) so give or take 2 degrees.

    Yeah I dont believe they should replace more practical export options, but i would have to break my tank down to change my sump out. My last refugium caused me several issues, and i like not having one. So i figured i would try this since i have everything laying around for other plans that didnt pan out.

    I hope this effort pays off for me and helps others in their decision. I was shocked at the difference in temps with no flow. I really hope flow changes things.
     
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  7. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Administrator
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    I would think that just a little flow would make a big difference in temps inside the chamber. Adding it to a "system" hopefully it wouldn't add any heat to the "System" unless it was a HUGE reactor in proportion to the "System".
     
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  8. saintsreturn

    saintsreturn Well-Known Member

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    Yes sir, that is my thought and hope as well. The reason i decided to test it without flow is there are a series of reports that the LEDs put off enough heat to cause a series of micro fissures along the acrylic and they will eventually rupture enough to cause leaks. This concern is relative as it would be putting salt water onto electrical components in a confined space.

    So i also plan on finding my old temp gun to check the housing temp as well. Even if the water stays relative to the temp needed, does the housing contain heat that does not dissipate throughout the acrylic. If so, i am not going to put the risk in place.
     
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  9. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    If you don't want a refugium, why not consider an algae scrubber? Because of their design, you usually get a lot more algae in a given space, compared to a reactor or refugium. Algae scrubbers are usually not too difficult to retrofit to an existing tank or sump.
     
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  10. saintsreturn

    saintsreturn Well-Known Member

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    Mostly cost. I have decided to not put more money in the support of my system for the time being. The tank is stable and established, so anything at this point is just tweaking or learning. I have been doing great without the refugium and these parts have been laying around the house for over a year. i spent about 10$ is new things to do this test, but even this is just me trying things out.
     
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  11. saintsreturn

    saintsreturn Well-Known Member

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    updated test 2
     
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  12. saintsreturn

    saintsreturn Well-Known Member

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    So i decided to run test 2.1 as the results made me feel like i did something inconsistent... Here are the results:

    Test 2:
    Room temp was 74
    1) Starting temp: 81.5 degrees
    2) 30 minutes: 82 degrees
    3) 60 minutes: 82.7 degrees
    4) 90 minutes: 78.8 degrees

    Test 2.1:
    Room temp: 74 degrees
    1) Starting temp: 78.4 degrees
    2) 30 minutes: 79.7 degrees
    3) 60 minutes: 79.1 degrees
    4) 90 minutes: 78.4 degrees

    The cylinder was once again warm to the touch but not hot. The lights cooled as they reached the end of the strip.

    Water flow absolutely made a difference, but with the first test showing that amount of heat; it is clear these LEDs do get very hot in this condition.

    Tonight i plan on stripping them off of the chamber and securing them to the housing i bought.

    More to follow.
     
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  13. saintsreturn

    saintsreturn Well-Known Member

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    Test number three is canceled for the foreseeable future. It turns out the 6" pipe i read about and bought was for the phosban reactors and will not slip over the aquamaxx reactor with the lights attached to the inside. I may modify the test to include the lights tied onto the reactor with the housing used as a light blocking agent still.

    here are a couple points to end this for now:

    1) when i removed the tape from the reactor, sections of tape got hot enough to "melt" to the light strip
    2) the strip closest to the plug got hot enough to leave tape residue on the strip
    3) after removing the tape, the lights remained adhered to the housing via its tacky coating
    4) no visible damage to the housing, although you could see where the lights were once removed
    5) water flow made a major difference in the temperature of the internal water and the light strip, however, it is clear these things put off enough heat to make it uncomfortable to hold at times.

    My concern has been reduced, but not enough to put this on the system at this time.

    Hope this helps others in their decision process.
     
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  14. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Administrator
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    Maybe use some "off the shelf" LED units that are presealed and lower wattage. When LED are ran at higher power rates they produce a lot of heat but it's usually off the back of the diode instead of being "shot" into the tank via the light source itself. LED can be hot but they produce the heat away from the light source. Since you're only dealing with Chaeto and not SPS coral use a lower output LED system.
     
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  15. saintsreturn

    saintsreturn Well-Known Member

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    That is a great idea. I am thinking about getting a very clean, semi shallow tray to put the reactors in and then run a water sensor in there. If the sensor picks up water, it will kill the pump feeding the reactors. This way, the fail safe is in place and i get to run it as is. There is no better test than time... haha.
     
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