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Chemical filtration: Media Reactors

One of the most beneficial pieces of equipment to make its way into the hobby in recent years is the media reactor. Media reactors maximize the efficiency of just about any chemical filter media. By actively passing fluid through a reactor, you will eliminate clogging and bypass problems found when using a traditional filter media bags. Media reactors can have very specific uses, like the calcium reactors and kalkwasser reactors that I discussed in a previous blog, or they can be used for a variety of other purposes. Two similar reactors that are sold as fluidized phosphate media reactors, the Two Little Fishes Phosban Reactor, and the Kent Marine Phos Reactor, can be used with most granular or pelletized chemical media. These units are not just for phosphate remover; these units work great for carbon and other resins.

One of the coolest reactors to hit the market is the new Simplicity Fluidized Bed Chemical Reactor from Magnavore. This unit is designed for use in a sump, and is very easy to install and operate. Micron sieves on either side of the reactor make sure that nothing escapes from the reactor, and the media container is reversible to eliminate clogging problems before your media is exhausted.

The Magnavore unit can be purchased as a stand alone reactor, or there are actually two units incorporated into the new Magnavore Berliner 125 wet dry filter, which is one of the most innovative wet dry filter available.

Get the most out of your chemical filter media, try a reactor

Until next blog



  1. avatar
    beautyfulli chaotic

    is this something that is necessary for marine tank set-ups, or is it for freshwater, too?

  2. avatar
    TFP Marine Biologist

    beautyfulli chaotic

    Media reactors can be used on any aquarium, fresh or salt


  3. avatar

    Can’t you just put the phosphate media in the media sleeves that are in most sumps and have water pass through the media? Or wouldn’t it work the same way as a phosphate reactor?

  4. avatar

    I am not sure what you mean by “media sleeve” in your sump. Filter socks and trays that hold filter felt or pads, primary function is to remove debris and particulate matter from the incoming water. This is not an ideal location for chemical media, it will get fouled/clogged from the solid material it is being exposed to. Yes, the media will still absorb its designed wasted material, but will do so at a much less efficient rate, and will be less effective. One of the main purposes of a media reactor is to maximize the efficiency of the chemical media that you are using.


  5. avatar

    I have a recently set up (March) 75-gallon marine system with 30-gal sump. I used rock and substrate from my old marine system. I have a phosphate problem, probably from the use of the old sand and rock although I thought I had rinsed it well. First I algae growth. Then red slime appeared and took over. I removed and cleaned the rock and did large water change. I also dosed the system with Red Slime Remover. Now the algae is coming back with a vengeance. What do you suggest – phosphate reactor or tear down and start over again?

  6. avatar

    Hello Dr. Mike, Have you tested the phosphate and identified that as definitely being the culprit? There are other issues like the normal cycling process of a new tank that can cause algae blooms and cyano. I’d say a phosphate reactor would be your best bet in the long-term if you’ve tested that and found it to be high. Be sure to test your source water as well to make sure the water you are putting into the tank doesn’t already contain phosphates. If your source water already has phosphate, I would recommend investing in a RO/DI Unit as well to remove the phosphate before it goes into your tank.

  7. avatar

    Hi I was reading you info on reactors.. I would like to know if a magnum 350 or a magnum hot can be used as a media reactor. I have a few laying around. now that I only use drip filters and want to make them more efficient. Thank you for your help. P.S. any help how to convert these please let me know…

  8. avatar

    Hi John, You could fill either canister with the media you’d like to use it as a chemical filter.

About Dave Acland

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After graduating from Coastal Carolina University with a BS in Marine Science in 1996, I started my professional career in 1997 as an aquarist at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, SC. This was an amazing experience, in which I gained invaluable hands on training in exhibit design and construction, as well as husbandry skills for a wide range of animals. In 2000 I started working at That Fish Place as one of the staff Marine Biologists, with the responsibility of maintaining one of the largest retail fish holding systems in the world. I presently hold the position of Director of Aquatic Science, where I oversee the operation of our 35,000 gallon retail aquarium systems, and provide technical support for our mail-order and retail store customer service staff. As an aquatic product specialist, I also provide support for our purchasing and marketing departments, as well as contribute web content and analysis. As a Hobbyist I acquired my love of aquariums from my father who was keeping a large aquarium in early 70’s, and set up my first aquarium when I was 12 years old. I have now been keeping aquariums for over 35 years, and through this time have kept more aquariums and types of fish than I can remember. I set up my first Saltwater aquarium in 1992, which led me down the path I still follow today.