Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Denver, CO & Phang-Nga, Thailand
Am I correct in assuming that you don't want to go past 12 inches because of space issues? If so, maybe a cerges reactor would be a good option - they can be a bit shorter. If not, a simple griggs style reactor should be fine and.
My guess is that the water moving upward with the CO2 in it won't help much, even if there is media inside. I did quite a few different configurations before I got my griggs reactor working perfectly and the only thing that was 100% solid was the simple 'water moving downward + bubbles trying to move upward' concept.
I would definitely keep it as simple as possible, with as few parts as possible. The bare-bones griggs reactor is incredibly simple and easy to build. I did it with no experience with pvc or anything and it was a snap. If justin says that the cerges reactor is somehow simpler than the griggs reactor it could be a great option.
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