Only a couple of years have passed since the first ARID reactors hit the market and today the flagship product by Pax Bellum has essentially risen to become a synonym for reef aquarium algae reactor. These units are now considered a staple in a lot of serious reefers’ filtration systems, being praised for their reliability, unmatched efficiency in growing Cheatomorpha, and their ability to effectively strip excessive nutrients out of a reef tank’s water. Although the new versions of Pax Bellum reactors debuted at last year’s MACNA in New Orleans, this year I had a chance to take a closer look at them and ask some questions about the differences the new models bring to the world of algae reactors.
THE C SERIES
Starting with the larger of the two new lines of ARID reactors, the C-line comes in two models: C-30, rated for tanks up to 500g in volume and C-36, rated for systems up to 1000g. It features an all acrylic build and a centrally located LED unit with 6500K emitters and 660nm red diodes for growing algae. The LED strip is wrapped around a heat pipe- a hollow tube sealed on both ends with vacuum conditions and a small amount of water acting as a heat exchanging fluid. As the heat from the LED transfers to the heat pipe, water inside it vaporizes and flows up to the coolest part of the pipe, just beneath the heatsink, expelling heat and condensing back to the bottom of the pipe, where the whole process starts over until the LEDs are switched off. The use of a heat pipe in ARID reactors ensures an even dissipation of heat away from the LEDs, which in turn prolongs their lifespan, while also preventing most of that radiated heat from transferring to surrounding water. Because of that lower overall running temperature, algae closest to the LED emitters doesn’t get burned by the excessive heat. The removable lid on the C-series is now held by 316l stainless steel machine screws and matching stainless steel inserts on the ARID body. The new, oversized o-ring on the lid sits in a precisely machined gland, which ensures the tightest possible seal even in high-pressure systems. C-series include a hex key to free the twist-to-lock lid and a pair of quick disconnect hose adaptors for easy removal.
THE N SERIES
The other ARID filters, called the N-series, share a lot of the same features with the larger C-line. It has the same heat engine as the C-series, only the heatsink is different. It also has the twist-to-lock mechanism and similar algae trays as the C-line. The main difference between the two groups is that the N-line replaces stainless steel hardware with more standard nylon thumbscrews. The N-Line is also represented by two models, the smaller N18 rated for tanks up to 120g, and larger N24, rated for tanks 250g or less in volume. N24 comes with the same quick disconnect hose adapters as C-line, while N18 lacks this function, but they can be purchased as an option. Pac Bellum ARID is a true algae growing monster and the new series looks even more serious in build and functionality. More MACNA news coming your way very soon, stay tuned!