My Setup: Lighting, CO2, Filters and Timers

By Amit Bapat on May 7, 2009 โ€” 4 mins read



My red sea kit is pretty effective accept for the reactor. As you can see i added a ghetto extension to the reactor to increase the gas column for a higher rate of Co2 gas. The previous one was releasing too many bubbles and thus wasting all my co2. I went to Micheals to get these stackable modular jewellery boxes which i then drilled from inside to remove the base. The containers still retain their threading and can be screwed onto each other. This chain of boxes is then attached with a 3/4″ pipe joint which I got from Home depot! The clear plastic is an added benefit and sometimes it is vital like this one time when I found one of my Synodontis Petricols wirl-pooling inside the column. I immediately stopped the reactor and let it out! It was weak and had some bruises on its head! its still alive! all thanks to the clear plastic. I have seen some DIY reactors with PVC pipes and wouldn’t recommend as you never know if a fish gets trapped inside the column! A rubber band holds the reactor and the plastic column together. Without it the column kept on falling because of the sheer force of the spinning water and its weight. A cheap way but I do attain a 99% gas dissolving success with this setup.

I have currently a 2-3 bubbles per sec rate which is low as I only achieve 18 ppm of Co2 levels in my tank. (after measuring ph and dkh levels) My co2 indicator though still shows a light green color which is good but low. The entire setup is powered by a 20 lbs Co2 tank which should last me for approx 5 months.

Co2 injection duration: 9am to 9pm. NOTE: i have recently had massive black beard algae blooms and i could conclude as a result of fluctuating levels due to my night shut offs. I might start injecting in the night as well though I have been reading in many articles that it is unsafe to do so. A few experiments will have to done!!!


My coralife light is ON from 9am to 9pm (12 hours) and my acitinic light turns on at 8:30am and shuts off at 9:30pm thus giving a transitional time. The night lights (blue LEDS) turn on when the coralife switches off. All are controlled by my Dual Day and Night Timer from coralife again. Also, my acitinic compensates for some of the light which is lost due to my floating plants.

My coralife sits on these adjustable claws which rotate the light as well. This is particularly helpful with cleaning and maintenance. I would advice all to have these if you have coralife lights! My single strip acitinic just sits on the inlet and outlet pipes tucked at the back side of the coralife.

Another ghetto quick fix, I had to do was to install a small car fan on the right hand side of the coralife light. The light heats up pretty quickly and the discharge fans on top are only located on one side. The bulb on the front left corner (farthest from theย  built-in exhaust fans) kept on blowing out after a month. After 2 consecutive fails and losing a lot of money!, i concluded that it was a heat dissipation problem and tackled it by slightly opening the plastic lens to create a small chasm and blow air into it using the fan. The setup works just fine and i still haven’t had to replace my lights. its an eye soar but cant help it!

This could be very well avoided if corallife had better exhaut fans and 2 more fans for heat dissipation on the other side of the light as well.Redesign suggestion!

Total Light: 260+32= 292W.ย  Wattage per gallon = 292/72= 3.611 watts/ gallon


I got these cool LED strip lights from IKEA. Lights come in 4 pieces which can either be all connected together in one line or in separate pieces. I stuck them at the base of the coralife. You have a large band on the back side which houses the ballast and is a good space for some night lights! They also change colors in 8 different shades: dark blue, light blue, dark green, light green, red pink, purple, white. You have 3 modes to select from as well. The unit cost me $50+ tax. I usually keep it on Blue for moonlight effect but will change it when i get bored!


My awesome filter is a Rena XP3 which i simply luvvv. Its quiet and effecient. Cheaper than other brands and works like a charm. Easy to clean and maintain as well. I have a coralife dual day and night timer which is the micro controller of this high tech setup. I had it hanging on the inside walls of the stand but the timers kept stopping after approx 30 days. The only solution was to open it and reset each one of them. You could do it with a small pin or screwdriver. The latch on the sides has to be slightly depressed. You’ll hear a ‘click’ and the job is done. Make sure you dont press it too hard or itll break! (like mine did with the first one ๐Ÿ™ย  ) The fix: keep it flat and I though still have to fix it but it is maybe once in 5 months! So adds to the mess but less worries for me!

Posted in: Aquascaping

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  • Strange this post is totaly unrelated to what I was searching google for, but it was listed on the first page. I guess your doing something right if Google likes you enough to put you on the first page of a non related search. ๐Ÿ™‚


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