It has become common practice nowadays to use some kind of media reactor to run Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) to keep your the water of your tank crystal clear and/or Granulated Ferric Oxide (GFO) to keep the phosphate levels down. Because GAC & GFO media usually come in small granules, most reactors use foam pads at the bottom and at the top to prevent the media from coming out. In time, the pads get clogged due to media and detritus getting trapped. As the water flow decreases due to the clogging, the media starts clumping up until water flow is reduced to a trickle, or worse, completely stop.
Reef Octopus has released a new type of media reactor, which they call “media filter,” that does not use foam pads. Instead, it uses two conical strainers with long fine slots at the bottom and at the top. Coral Vue (the primary distributor of Reef Octopus products in the US) was nice enough to send me one to review.
As with the Super Reef Octopus Biopellet Reactor that I reviewed previously, the Reef Octopus Media Filter (MF-1000) came in a very similar white rectangular box. It is well packed, with the reactor and some of its parts securely held between two carved styrofoam pieces.
Read the full review after the jump.
The image below shows how fine the slots are on the cone. The 1/2-inch water inlet is also located at the bottom.
Water is then pushed up through small holes underneath the cone strainer.
The cone strainer at the top is of the same size than that of the bottom. It is held in between the top cover which is screwed on to a rubber gasket that makes it air tight.
A 90-degree elbow is also built to the top cover above the top strainer.
The water outlet comes with a ball valve with a union connector to control the flow, just in case you are using a strong pump or a small amount of media. A 3-foot 1/2-inch hose is also included in the box.
It is recommended that large media is used with the reactor to make sure that it can’t get through the strainer. I took several pictures of different types of media beside the cone strainer to give you all an idea how thin the slots are.
With the Bulk Reef Supply ROX 0.8 GAC (not recommended for the reactor):
With the Bulk Reef Supply High Capacity GFO (not recommended for the reactor):
With the Bulk Reef Supply Lignite (Large Particle) GAC (best for the reactor):
I’m sure you all want to see how it performs. I really wanted to push the reactor by using a small pump with a huge amount of BRS Large Particle Lignite. Here’s a video of the reactor in action:
From the video, notice that the GAC tumbles nicely inside the reactor even by using only a small pump. However, some of the GAC at the the bottommost part of the reactor seem to be not moving. It looks like this is mainly due to the small pump that I’m using, and there is not enough horizontal force to move the GAC at the sides.
Also, note that the bottom cone strainer is fixed at the bottom. My primary concern at first was what if large particle detritus make their way from the sump to the reactor and start clogging the thin slots. When I was adding GAC however, I did notice that some really fine media did pass the strainer and when I was adding water to rince the GAC, I just slightly tilted the reactor and all the finer granules were flushed out of the bottom.
All in all, the Reef Octopus Media Filter looks like a great product. The build quality is excellent, and it solves the main problem of clogged foam pads since obviously it doesn’t use any. This means that media will tumble longer and more effectively inside the reactor. Note that this reactor will only take in larger particle media so if you have a huge stock of BRS ROX 0.8 GAC, you might want to use them all up before getting the reactor, and switch to the BRS large particle Lignite GAC. One thing I want improved on its next iteration is, well, seeing how well the Super Reef Octopus Biopellet Reactor tumbles biopellets, what I want to see is a hybrid media reactor product with the biopellet cone bottom and the a Reef Octopus Media Filter cone filter at the top — perhaps Reef Octopus can release a cone filter cup for their biopellet reactor.
In any case, I will try to post a follow up post in a week or so to see if any clumping or a reduction in flow occurs.
I hope you all enjoyed my review.
Oh, the Reef Octopus Media Reactor comes is two models:
MF-1000: 3.5″ Diameter x 21″ Tall — $100
MF-2000: 4.5″ Diameter x 21″ Tall — $110
Several online retailers are selling them already but for some reason, their stock images look a bit different from the one that I got. Some show the reactor foam pads rather than cone strainers and some shows the top doesn’t come with a ball valve. I hope Coral Vue can clarify.
Here are my full unboxing pics:
Disclaimer: Note that this product was sent for review. My opinion of the product is never affected by how it was aquired.