Top Five Beginner Media Reactors

Updated 2024

As we dive into the world of reactors in 2024, things can get overwhelming with various types designed for specific media:

1. Media Reactor – Ideal for activated carbon, GFO, and biopellets. Simply place the media in the container, turn on a submersible powerhead, and you’re set.
2. Kalkwasser Reactor – Similar to the Media Reactor, but with an additional stirrer and the option to connect to your ATO system for dosing Kalkwasser.
3. Algae Reactor – Similar to the Media Reactor but equipped with LED lights to cultivate macroalgae.
4. Calcium Reactor – Comparable to the Media Reactor, but includes a CO2 tank and doser for precise calcium supplementation.

Whereas there is a time and a place for all of these, this blog is all about media reactors. 🙂

1. BRS Deluxe Carbon & GFO Reactor

This is not my favorite reactor, but I have used it for many years.  First what I like about it.  It’s good quality, it comes with everything you need including pump, tubing, push connectors, and even a sturdy ball valve.  The container is large so you can fit a lot of media in here, even for larger tanks (120 gallonish).

But what I don’t like about it, is pretty much what I don’t like about all reactors.  They are clunky, messy, hard to open, not maintenance friendly, don’t stand upright well, and are a general pain in the you know what.

Why is it so hard to make a media reactor that makes a weekly change-out easy, comes with an integrated pump, maybe even a controllable DC pump, and doesn’t require the strength of Goliath to open?  I think it comes down to price point.  

This reactor works well, but if you have a small system, definitely under 70 gallons, then this is just too big. 

2. BRS Mini Carbon & GFO Reactor

I have the exact same feelings with this reactor as the larger deluxe version above… except smaller.  It again comes with everything you need, including the pump (optional add on), and is great for tanks around 40 gallons.  It works great, and has the same pros and cons as the #1 reactor, so rather than typing it all out again, just read it above!

3. Nyos Torq G2 Modular Media Reactor

Okay, now this media reactor is a game-changer.  All of those downsides I mentioned previously about it being clunky and hard to service… are solved with this Nyos media reactor.  Before I dive in, you have to purchase two separate parts and spoiler alert, they are definitely more pricey.

The first thing you need is the Torq Dock.  this is the base with included pump that the reactor will sit on.

The second item you need is the media reactor itself.  They come in three sizes from 0.75L to 2L, and they are interchangeable with the base.  And what is really cool, if you have money just burning a hole in your pocket, you can get two reactors, so you can easily swap them out and put off your maintenance another week!

What is amazing about these is how easy they are to maintain.  Rather than having unplug the reactor, pull out the entire unit, pump included, nearly break your wrist unscrewing the canister with a wrench, and then having to do it all again when you reinstall it, the Nyos Torq is two separate parts.

To remove the canister, merely twist to unlock, and pull up.  The Torq Dock can keep the water flowing, but now you can replace the media.  It’s amazing.  And on top of that, instead of having to get a DC pump or ball valve, there is a built in flow regulator so by merely turning the canister from side-to-side, you can fine tune the float rate to match the media requirements.

If you are able to pay the high price, go with this Nyos reactor.

Thomas made a great video about this reactor.

4. Innovative Marine Auqa Gadget Minimax Pro Media Reactor

It’s small and designed to fit in the rear filtration chamber, which is nice.  For those of us with all in one tanks, our media options are limited.  We can go with media baskets and caddies with media bags, but media bags are not nearly as effective as reactors.  There are also hang on the back reactor options, but they are big and clunky, and will definitely draw the eye… away from the tank where the eye belongs.

This IM reactor comes in a couple different sizes that will fit in most rear filtration chambers.  Nothing super fancy here, but what is nice is that the media container separates easily from the body, so you don’t have to turn the pump off or remove the pump every week to change out the media.

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