The Media Reactor!


There is a quote that many reefers talk about. Those who follow this quote are the ones with the beautiful reef tanks that are full of life and colour. Those who don’t are the ones that normally waste a lot of time and money and normally leave the hobby within a year. I can’t remember who said it (so if you know please let me know so I can give them the credit they deserve) but it goes like this…


“Within this hobby you don’t keep fish or coral, you keep water. If you look after your water, it will look after the rest.”


OK, so that quote isn’t the exact wording the person used but you get the idea.


And how do we look after our water?? We use a wide range of equipment and filtration to ensure our water parameters stay stable and at the desired levels. Within this article (That was wrote by Kathrine Barrington, 2013) we will discuss the merits of a great piece of equipment that has many uses within the aquariums filtration system, The Media Reactor.




What it is?


A media reactor is an advanced method of chemical filtration used in saltwater aquariums. These devices look very different from traditional aquarium filters. They have a tube-like design with an input and output valve located at the top of the device.

The tube itself can be filled with the filter media of your choice. These devices typically utilize the up-flow principle in order to fluidize chemical filtration media thereby increasing its efficacy. The water is evenly distributed throughout the reactor, thus increasing surface area contact with the filter media. These units are available in multiple sizes ranging from a mini size for nano tanks to larger devices.



Types of Filter Media


There are several choices of media depending on the type of reactor you choose. One of the most popular types of reactor is the PhosBan reactor. This device helps to absorb and remove phosphates and other pollutants from the aquarium. High phosphate levels in the aquarium have been linked to a number of problems including algae growth. Installing one of these devices in your tank has been identified as one of the most effective prevention methods for problem algae. This type of reactor gets its name from the PhosBan filter media which is designed to bind to large amounts of phosphate, removing it from the tanks water column.


Some of the other types of popular filter media for aquarium reactors include bio pellets, GFO and carbon.


Bio Pellets are exactly what they sound like. Tiny pellets that can be used as a filter media in a reactor. These pellets are designed to improve water quality by enhancing the nitrification process, removing nitrate and phosphate from the tank water.


GFO stands for granular ferric oxide and is a filter media that is used to remove phosphates and silicates from all tyes of aquairums. This type of filter media has the largest absorption rates for phosphates and it doesn’t tend to leech back into the water like some other filter media (carbon). Some other notable benefits of GFO media is that it won’t alter the pH in your tank, it has a high binding capacity and it doesn’t take up to much room in the media reactor.


The third type of popular filter media is carbon or, more specifically, activated carbon. Activated carbon is one of the most highly used types of filter media in a variety of aquarium filters. It is designed specifically for the purification of aquairum water, filtering out toxins and other dissolved wastes in the tank water. Carbon comes in a variety of sizes and porosity levels and it generally has a high absorption capacity.



What do I Use in my Reactor? and Why?


I personally use a standard reactor filled with Seachem SeaGel which removes phosphate, silicates and organic waste. Or at least that’s what the bottle says. I use very little and simply replace it on a regular basis to ensure the carbon doesn’t leech any toxins back into the tank.


Since using this media reactor I have found that my water seems crystal clear and the tank has an overall shine.


I don’t want to over do the filtration at the moment as my tank isn’t heavily stocked I don’t want to run to many reactors and strip the water of all its nutrients. As my tanks fish and coral population grows I will probably add another reactor and run GFO to ensure my nutrient levels don’t spike. More livestock means more waste which means more filtration for me, as increasing my water volume isn’t an option yet.


Many reefers have never used a reactor and have kept a fully stocked, successful reef tank. It is not a necessity and if you don’t run one you won’t necessarily fail. I have only recently used one in my tank and as stated above, they are a great addition to any filtration.



 But in my opinion its like the condom in my wallet. Id rather have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!

Like my second heater, my second test kit, my spare light… etc etc etc.



Happy reefing everyone!