As we venture into the world of reactors, things can get quite confusing, and quick! There are several different types of reactors, each named for the type of media they are designed for:
- Algae Reactors
- Calcium Reactors
- Kalkwasser Reactors
- Carbon Reactors
- Biopellet Reactors
- GFO Reactors
You get the idea. But I can make this more simple for you, I think anyways:
- Media Reactor – This is for activated carbon, GFO, and biopellets. Basically, you place the media into the container, turn on a submersible powerhead, and that’s it.
- Kalkwasser Reactor – The exact same as the above Media Reactor, except that there is often an additional stirrer, and you connect this to your ATO system.
- Algae Reactor – Exactly the same as a media reactor, with the addition of LED lights to grow macroalgae.
- Calcium Reactor – Exactly the same as a media reactor except with the addition of a CO2 tank and doser.
For beginners, I’m not going to recommend any calcium reactors, algae reactors, or kalkwasser reactors, as these really are a bit more advanced and most beginner won’t need them.
So really, this list is the top 3 (not 5) media reactors!
Be sure to buy all of the gear you need! Most of these reactors below don’t come with the utility pump or flexible tubing, so I’ll choose one for you that pairs well with it!
If you are wondering what types of media I recommend, click HERE for The Top Five Beginner Filter Medias.
3. Two Little Fishies Phosban Media Reactor
This Phosban Reactor was originally designed to hold the Two Little Fishies media called Phosban, which is basically GFO. But it can really hold GFO, activated carbon, and biopellets easily.
Just be careful that you adjust the flow according to each media. For example, if you constantly tumble your GFO with a lot of flow, it would just turn to dust and escape into your tank.
The best thing to do with activated carbon, is to fill it up to the brim so that there is no tumble possible.
The Phosban Reactor does not come with the powerhead or flexible tubing, so I’ve paired it with the Cobalt MJ 900 which is slightly overpowered. But this media reactor does come with a ball valve, so you can adjust the amount of flow in the reaction chamber.
The Phosban Reactor uses 1/2″ flexible tubing, and you can purchase it HERE
2. AquaMaxx Hang On Filter
This Aquamaxx HOB Reactor is great for those of us who don’t have a lot of space. As long as your tank is at least 12.5″ high and has glass less than 1″ thick, then you are good to go!
A versatile media reactor, can be used with various media such as biopellets, activated carbon, and GFO.
This is actually quite a large reactor that can be used for tanks up to 120 gallons. It uses 1/2″ hose barbs, so be sure to click the link below to get your flexible tubing.
This reactor does not come with a pump, flexible tubing, or a ball valve. So click below for a link to each of these:
1. AquaMaxx Standard Fluidized Reactor
This reactor comes in at #1, not because it is so much better than the rest, but because it is the most versatile. But honestly, if your system is under 100 gallons, this will likely be overkill.
The AquaMaxx Standard Reactor comes only with the reactor itself, so you need to buy the rest. This reactor can use either 1/2″ or 3/4″ flexible tubing, so take your pick.
To make this work, you will also need to purchase the following items: (You can click on each item below for a link.)
Just like the two options above, this is a great (albeit large) reactor perfect for activated carbon, GFO, and biopellets.