DIY Algae Reactor ideas

Discussion in 'DIY' started by kinetic, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    Algae Reactor

    • My sump is tiny and has no dedicated refugium
    • I'm not a fan of coralline and algae in the sump and skimmer etc (who is really) that would form if I had a fuge light spilling over the whole sump / cabinet area
    • I like gadgets and trying things
    There are some solutions out there, like the Pax Bellum ARID reactor. Those are pretty pricey, though seem well built. There is also the Skimz MBR127 or MBR157, but that sits internally in a sump, which is so ridiculous. And lastly, there's reactor kits that MarineDepot sells, for example, that's just a regular reactor with LED's around it. This last one has the most issues: heat and corrosion on LED power connectors.

    I am thinking of putting a BRS reactor together, getting some red/blue LEDs, and running it inline with my other stuff. The only thing I don't know how to do is to cool the LED's and to get LED's that don't have any fire hazard issues.

    The LEDs that people are using get so hot that it starts to damage the reactor walls. They can also be too bright and basically burn/bleach macroalgae other than chaeto (so they need to dim).

    I don't know how Skimz does it, but the ARID reactor seems to have a pretty cool heatsink. Skimz I think just has a crystal quartz/glass sleeve rather than plastic, and just uses that as a heatsink into the water that runs through the reactor.

    Any ideas?
  2. roostertech

    roostertech reef noob

    @RandyC just built one for this Reefer 250 from Avast MR10 reactor.
  3. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member has some fairly inexpensive reactors that are "you build"
  4. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    no heatsink options for LED wrapped lights. I think that's what it comes down to for me. I don't know how to effectively cool the LED's
  5. scuzy

    scuzy Supporting Member

    The ones from marine Dept dont need a heatsink. They don't get that hot.
    kinetic likes this.
  6. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    Oh good to know. Do you have one?
  7. scuzy

    scuzy Supporting Member

    Yup. [​IMG]
  8. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    oh that's sweet. How long have you had it?
  9. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    Just put this one together with an Avast MR10.



  10. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    Which light did you get? How are you dealing with the heat and longevity?

    Everywhere I'm reading, any LEDs over time are damaging plastic when done this way. And over time meaning over 6 months.

    I'm thinking of just finding something like a metal "sleeve" to mount the LED's on, and slip the sleeve with LED's over the reactor, leaving some air space between LED and the reactor plastic, while hoping the metal sleeve acts as a sort of heatsink.
  11. scuzy

    scuzy Supporting Member

    Those led leaves no heat or marking on my reactor it's been 8 months.
    kinetic likes this.
  12. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    I've only had it running for 2 days. Not doing anything in particular for cooling. Thinking water was enough to keep it cool. Doesn't seem to get too warm.

    These are the lights that I purchased. Uses ~40W for the 5M strip.

    Led Strip Grow Lights, Vemico Waterproof Plant Light Strips Full Spectrum 16.4ft / 5M SMD 5050 Red Blue 4:1 Flexible Growing Light Strip Kit with Power Adapter for Hydroponic Greenhouse Plants Tent
  13. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    You used the whole 5 meters? Or is it able to be cut?

    Yeah, I keep reading (a LOT) of people start with the setup, and on page 5 or 6 of each of these threads, they all notice damage and have to back out of using it. I've yet to find someone with these that hasn't had an issue. Though I haven't heard anything bad about the MarineDepot setup. Maybe those LED's aren't hot at all.

    I'm definitely looking to get the Red/Blue to cover that Chrolophyll A/B spectrum, but a regular warm light led that doesn't have heat issues would be better I guess.
  14. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    Whole 5M. You are able to cut it where it indicates on the strip, but I don't see a reason to. 5M provides good coverage over the entire MR10.
  15. scuzy

    scuzy Supporting Member

    I've had the red blue and it didn't grow as well as these marine depot ones.
  16. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

  17. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    You know the wattage of the strip? Not all led grow strips are made equal. Plus the spectrum of the LEDs will affect growth too.
  18. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    I've heard the same thing. Someone tried both on a different forum and said the Accel ones from MD grew it better.

    Maybe I'll just get a BRS single canister and wrap the accel strip around it and see what happens.

    Are you guys running it 24/7 or reverse of your DT lights?
  19. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    I am running mine reverse for 12 hours right now. 8pm-8am.

    If you're worried, do this (


    I'll let it go as is and see what happens and post back regarding chaeto growth and/or damage.
    kinetic likes this.
  20. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    That looks pretty cool. I think I have an extra CPU fan somewhere. I just wonder if I can find a pvc tube large enough.

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