How To Install A CO2 Scrubber For Reef Tanks
CO2 Scrubbers are designed to connect to a protein skimmer or some other piece of equipment that is currently introducing ambient air into your aquarium. The CO2 absorbing media in the scrubber will effectively strip and capture CO2 from that air that comes in contact with the media. In many cases, reefers can obtain a noticeable increase in pH, helping to promote maximum coral growth and health. When installing a CO2 Scrubber we highly suggest using a separate pH monitor to watch your pH as it can rise higher than the desired 8.3 pH range.
Mounting and Connecting the Reactor Body
- Mount the CO2 scrubber close to your protein skimmer's air intake. We suggest keeping the reactor close to your skimmer since longer spans of tubing will cause excessive air intake restriction.
- Remove the air intake tubing and silencer from your skimmers pump.
In many cases, the 3/8” tubing that is included with the CO2 Scrubber will directly attach to your skimmers pump and you can simply remove your current air tubing and silencer from your skimmer. If your tubing does not fit barbed adapters may be required to adapt the tubing on your skimmer to the 3/8” tubing supplied with the reactor.
Using the Refillable Cartridge
- Unscrew the reactor body from the head and remove the refillable cartridge.
- Remove the strainer at the top of the refillable cartridge and one of the two foam pads.
- Push the remaining foam pad down to the bottom of the cartridge
- Fill the cartridge to the top with BRS CO2 Reactor Media and install the sponge that was removed on top of the media and press down to lightly compress the sponges.
- Install the top strainer and O-ring back onto the cartridge.
- Add 1 Tbsp of RO/DI water to the bottom of the reactor body to maintain moisture inside the canister. Be careful not to submerge the media though. The RO/DI Water should not be touching the media itself.
- Replace the cartridge back into the reactor body (O-ring side up).
- Screw the body of the reactor snugly back onto the head.
- Monitor your pH every couple of hours for the next few days, making sure that levels do not go over the desired pH.
Recirculating CO2 Scrubbers
A recirculating CO2 Scrubber works very similarly to the standard scrubber but instead of pulling air from outside, the canister is connected directly to the lid of your protein skimmer. This way, the scrubber just recycles the air running through your skimmer that has already been scrubbed as opposed to constantly scrubbing new air from outside. This should help to reduce the exhaustion rate of your media by up to 40% - 50%. Keep in mind your results may vary based on the particular level of CO2 around your tank.
Controlling pH Via A CO2 Scrubber
If you wish to control the amount of air going through the CO2 scrubber, you can install a WYE fitting on the airline between your CO2 scrubber and protein skimmer. One leg of the WYE will have a ball valve and is designed will pull air directly from the ambient environment around your tank. The other leg of the WYE is connected to the CO2 scrubber. By opening and closing the ball valve, you can control how much air is pulled through the scrubber or how much air is pulled from the air around your tank.
For example, should you want 100% of the air running through your CO2 scrubber? Simply close the ball valve 100%. Should you want 50% of the air going through the CO2 scrubber, just open the valve halfway.
This will give you control over the dissolved CO2 levels in your aquarium water and, therefore, help you to fine-tune your pH. It will take some tinkering to get the airflow settings exactly right for maintaining a stable 8.3 pH, however, this is a great solution for those who only need a slight 0.1 pH boost and it will give you control over how high your pH rises.
If you have any other questions or need further help contact a reefing expert today!