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2) Describe the water inlet and outlet.
3) The top of the reactor would have to be out of the water?
4) The picture shows it lights up when in use. Is that the case or just a dramatization?
Chaetomorpha and other macro-algae do require a cutting or tissue sample to get the algae culture started. From there, the algae should grow and fill in the reactor as nutrients are available. The reactor works through an up-flow design and the water is returned back to the bottom internally and will exit at the bottom. Because the light's wiring connections are at the top of the canister, you will need to ensure that these are above the water. The reactor utilizes internal LEDs to provide light to the algae and will produce a reddish light with the idea wavelengths to promote plant/algae growth.
This reactor can be used with a variety of macro-algae types, but the most popular and easiest to find by far would be the Chaetomorpha types. I'm afraid we really don't get into selling any livestock and as a result wouldn't really be able to offer a complete starter package. There are lots of sources both locally and online that should be able to provide you with a small starter culture.
Glad to hear you're liking your new reactor! We've been very pleased with the results we've seen so far as well. The maintenance interval will depend quite a bit on your nutrient levels in your tank, but a good starting point would probably be every 1-2 weeks. You will need to periodically harvest a portion of your algae mass so that you are completing the process of exporting the bound-up nutrients in the algae bio-mass, and also providing space for new growth.
Refugiums are a proven nutrient reduction method that grow specific algae like chaetomorpha that intake nutrients such as nitrate and phosphate. However, refugiums take up a lot of space, usually make a mess of your sump, and they are not efficient at directing flow through the algae. The Skimz MBR127 Macroalgae Reactor allows you to grow algae within a contained system, letting you have full control of the flow rate through the reactor and direct contact with the LED lighting system.
All Skimz Macroalgae Reactors include a high power LED lighting system that is encased in a crystal clear quartz sleeve. Quartz sleeves provide the highest optical clarity allowing much more light to pass through when compared to typical glass. The LEDs were selected to provide excellent nutrient intake while providing rapid growth. As water flows through the reactor and contacts the quartz sleeve, it will actively cool the LED lights. We do not recommend turning the light on without water flow through the reactor.
Controllable Quiet Pro DC Pump
The included DC pump gives you full control of the flow through the algae. The highly efficient Quiet Pro DC pumps run extremely quiet, using a brushless 6-pole synchronous motor. They also utilize a slow start-up mode that gradually builds up speed over the duration of about 20 seconds. With 20 different speed settings, dialing in the reactor is as simple as pushing up or down on the pump controller.
Max Tank Volume Recommendation - 100 Gallons
The size of macroalgae reactor your aquarium requires will vary depending on the amount of nutrient reduction needed. We suggest using the largest macroalgae reactor you can fit in your sump.
Dimensions - 7" x 7" x 17"
Min Water Level - 2.75"
Reactor Total Volume - 0.85 Gallons (approx)
Number of LEDs - 36 LEDs
LED Colors - Red, Blue, White
Pump Max Flow - 320 GPH
Pump Max Power - 13W
1x MBR127 Reactor
1x QP1.2 Skimz Quiet Pro Pump
1x Pump Controller
1x LED Lighting System
1x LED Power Supply
1x Pump Power Supply
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Works great! By Dayna on 6/19/2017Dayna would recommend this product to a friendSo I've had this set up for about 2 weeks running for 7 hours after my lights go out. I started off with a tiny amount of chaeto and it has already doubled in size and I'm seeing a decline in phosphates. I was worried about heat being an issue but it gives off none. My only issue is the o-ring is a little tricky to replace, but nothing major. It's also a little bulkier than I was expecting so it's a snug fit for a small sump but well worth it for the natural removal of excess nutrients. All in all, it looks sharp and is a much cheaper alternative to the Pax Bellum.
Clean and Functional By Insane on 5/13/2017Insane would recommend this product to a friendEasy to install. O-ring on the top seal can be tricky. In a little over 2 weeks there has been visible growth the chaeto. The sump on my RedSea max 260 makes this a sleak option and a clean looking setup. I plan on getting on for my new 180 tank.
Build Quality is amazing By Eric on 5/5/2017Eric would recommend this product to a friendI own several Skimz products and I am always impressed by their build quality, this item is no exception!